Summer funtimes scars

Scars. We all have them, both physical and emotional. People have written about them, sung about them, lectured on them. Scars show a map of where our journey has been. There are certainly scars and marks that are traumatic or bring up bad memories. But I love the marks that are all over my body right now. Because they are a testament to the fact that it is nice out and it’s almost summer and I’m having fun.
I’ve got a scratch across my right shin from some sort of thorny twig thing from a run on a new route that turned into a hot mess. Three nails on my right hand were sacrificed to the packing of Krystal’s kitchen. Which made me feel less guilty about cutting my run short. Because boxes of dishes and pans are no joke! I’ve got a huge scratch across my left lower shin from walking into my beach chair on my way to “cross train” by building a sandcastle for a two year old to stomp – yes, technically I yoga’d later for actual cross training. I can’t be lying to get that green square! But it’s fun to pretend for a minute that sand castle building would be enough. I added a new mark last night when I had to sneak off into the woods for a pit stop on the side of Memorial Drive during a 2.3 mile run. Isn’t running just so glamorous? I’ve got mosquito bites on every part of my skin that has been exposed since the snow melted. The itching reminds me that I was out running, eating ice cream, walking around Boston, and running. So many running bug bites. So. Many.

But my favorite marks? My feet. The bottoms of my feet are gross town, USA. I’ve got runner friends losing toe nails left and right. It happened to me before. I expect it to happen again. And though we runners sometimes complain about the distinct awfulness of the look of our feet/lower legs (oh the sock tan lines) there’s always a hint a pride in there too. Because each of those lost toenails or blister or weird skin spot is a record of the miles I’ve put in the books. The mental fight I had to overcome to get through the hard parts. The triumph for finishing a tough workout. So when I look at my feet it just looks like sweet sweet victory.

Anybody else got a good scar or mark from running or summer fun?

Hearts and more marks!

PS Short and sweet this week, but can’t leave out the chart update. Because damn is that thing a good motivator. That and watching my friends’ charts fill up too!

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How many times can I write ‘bra’ in one post???

I’m trying really hard to get used to my routine. I want to get a hella lot of green on that wall. I want most days to include just putting on workout clothes and getting the workout done. I want to be so used to it that it doesn’t even occur to me to try to find an excuse. To do that I reeeeeealy need to stop leaving the packing of my gym bag until the morning. I was oh so close on Thursday. I remembered my watch, a hair tie, a headband, and a breathing strip. I had the right shoes and they matched (not as guarentee as you would think). I had mis-matched socks (I like it that way – don’t ask me why). I had sunglasses and my favorite shirt. I had the pants with the pockets that hold my car key safe while I run. I did NOT have a sports bra. Sigh. I remembered having it in my hand. I was sure of it. Because I did laundry on Tuesday and it was hanging from my light – you think I managed to buy a drying rack since the last post?? I remember having it in my hand with my shirt but I was running late (so what else is knew) and figured I must have dropped it. Thankfully I work across the street from Sports Authority and I could really use a new sports bra. So I put on the rest of my running clothes and hit up Sports Authority with a swing by the clearance section while I was there searching through for what other deals there were. When I first started running 3 years ago I didn’t want to go out and spend money on all sorts of gear. Over time I’ve picked up items here and there but I keep running on the same old clothes. Which is how I am with regular clothes too – much to the entertainment/frustration of my mother. But I’ve been doing this a long time. I think its ok to spend a little money so I’m comfortable and I look good (because I know while I’m running my face is probably contorted into a HORRIBLE look and at least I can be in a cute shirt with my chevron headband – thanks KP! – and some sweet $1 aviators. Duh) I don’t even remember what I was talking about. Oh! Shopping. I got the bra and some Nuun and checked out. When I only have a couple things, I leave the bag behind. It’s a little thing, but I try to conserve where I can. At the bottom of the stairs I saw a sign that Gap outlet had a sale. So I went in, sports bra and 4 tubes of Nuun in hand. I found a couple dresses, jeans, and some shorts. And realized that if I went in and tried them on I could change into my new sports bra – win! I ended up with new jeans, a new dress, and a bra stuffed in my gym shorts pocket. So yeah. I toooootally didn’t look like I was shoplifting.

I got to the park to start my run and right as I pulled my car into a spot, a goose pooped on the grass in front of me. Awesome. I stretched (on what I hope was a poop free zone), fired up the Garmin and hit the pavement. And the first interval didn’t suck. And then the second one was good. And by the third I knew I was ahead of last week because I got across the bridge on my route and still had running to do. Last week I stretched the running to get across the bridge. And then. On interval 5. I had 30 seconds left. And then ran through the first 15 seconds of the walking. My legs were still a little sore from Harvard Stadium climbing. But they didn’t feel heavy like they did the last couple runs. Yay drinking enough water! Then I was momentarily waylaid but some fuzzy goslings and there hissing parents.

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if only it could have been Ryan Gosling

Coming up to the second bridge, the clouds had cleared an eensy bit and I was getting late evening light on the Charles. The way the path is set, to cross the road, you run under the bridge and then come out around the other side and up onto the bridge and I was feeling good. Last week climbing up the little hill to the bridge was tough. Thursday I felt like a rock star. Getting up the bridge was getting tough but I looked over and the tops of the Hancock and Pru were peaking out and ‘Dog Days are Over’ was blasting in my ears. And it was perfect. I went flying down the other side of the bridge and kicked it up for the last tenth of a mile. Coming to a stop, I felt fantastic. And then I spotted the 5k that some friends were doing so I headed over to try and spot them. No dice. Instead I clapped for the runners I saw then went and did my cool down stretches. In the only patch of grass with no visible goose poop. Then driving home I was stopped by a flat bed tow truck blocking two lanes of traffic. Which was a nice bookend to the day because I started my Thursday helping one other guy push the van of a third guy out of traffic. That’s right. ONE dude and I. Pushed a van! A van!! Full of construction equipment. Ok, so yeah, the driver hit the gas on reverse and that helped some. But that thing was definitely not backing up on its own. Bam!! All the might!

I’m doing this post chronologically wonky. Because the beginning worked with the lack of decent gym bag packing. But you may have noticed I mentioned the Harvard Stadium. I ran the seats on Tuesday. Well. Ran is absolutely the wrong word. More like I hauled my ass up the steps using every method possible. Those bad boys are high and steep!

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At one point I came awful close to rolling my body over onto the last seat. I’ve become intrigued with the November Project (a huge group gets together every Wednesday morning at 6:30 to climb the seats) but I’m not ready to show up yet. I wanted to try this out a few times on my own first. It was actually pretty good. Its definitely a work out. I feel like it will work out well as a good cross train for running. And everyone else that was there was sort of just going at their own pace, too. Then I did my power core work out and realized just how much of my core I used to climb those seats. But it felt pretty bad ass to whip out some russian twists to wrap up the night. But. I did not really pay attention to the weather. And didn’t know winter was coming back. So was not appropriately dressed and ended up with my long sleeve work shirt over my gym clothes. Whatever. I got it done. There are 37 sections in the stadium and my training had me doing 20 minutes of XT so I decided to do 10. 2 days later and my legs were only a little sore. I’m sure if I did more, they would have hurt more. But I was sure I would be dead. My body felt like it had had such a great workout. I’m sort of happy that I was able to estimate a good workout for my body. It didn’t derail the rest of my training this week, but I got the workout in. Looks like I have to up the number of sections next time though.

I followed this up with another fantastic run on Saturday morning. The weather was so so so so so nice. Perfect temp, clear skies, moderate pollen (ok. All the pollen. And I sneezed the rest of the day, but whatevs). And I knocked 31 seconds off my 2 mile time! Then I went and had my first massage (thanks KP’s Mom!). Why did I wait so many years to have a massage? They are amazing. AMAZING.

Sunday I went to a Sox game with my mom. It was about a bazillion degrees in the bleachers. But it was a fun game! However I had planned my morning poorly and didn’t cross train before the game. Coming home I stopped off to view an apartment (ugh, this process is a pain in the face) and then hit up Trader Joes for some stuff to make dinner. I was still a mile from home and though normally I’d just walk, I grabbed the bus a a week’s worth of yogurt is heavy, y’all. And the train for another 3 blocks (I was hot and tired and I still didn’t use my car so whatever). I just wanted to make dinner and be done with the day. Couldn’t I just pretend that walking all over the city was cross training? Instead I did yoga and then my strength work out. And then made dinner. And then went to bed at midnight and fell asleep at 1:30.

Monday was a new running interval and I was nervous. Towards the end of the day I wasn’t looking forward to the run. At all. So I turned to my running group for some cheering and “go get ’ems” and instead they said “bitch please, just go run, no excuses” which is why I love them and I love our little (expanding!) family. The run was going ok. It was hard, but parts were good. And then at 12:14 I fell off the edge of the path, rolling my ankle. The path is a maximum of 2 in. above the grass. Maximum. How does that even happen?! Oh, yeah. Be the clutziest person in the vicinity. At least it was pretty.

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Hearts and another week of green

 

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Something is different with this 2014 training cycle

I’m only two and a half weeks in, but it feels different this time. Maybe its because I’ve made improvements in other parts of my life? When I first launched my training in November of 2012 I was working in a job that I was growing to hate. I loved the work and a lot of the people I was doing it with, but the culture of that place wasn’t for me. As the holidays passed I slid deeper into my hole, going directly from engineering to either my part time job or home to TV and bed. I stopped seeing friends. I stopped going out. I stopped running. I took a week’s vacation Christmas to New Year’s and just sat in bed watching bad TV. Which made me start to evaluate if this job was worth it. By January 2nd I had updated my resume. 8 weeks later, I had a new job. I was lucky and found a new job that was great. I started running again. I started cooking again. I started seeing friends again. And I signed up for that half marathon. (It should be noted that taking this job is what put me in Jennie’s neighborhood and got me meeting her to run and convinced me to sign up for that race)

Maybe it’s because I feel less alone this time? It’s not just me in my living room trying to figure this out. I’m not making those tentative first connections with my online running group/family/tribe. And it’s certainly not running alone. 18 months after I first signed up, and a year after I really started training for a race, I regularly meet Jennie for cross training or running, I have a co-worker whom I’m beginning to regularly run with, and I’ve got runner friends all over the US and the world who will find a way to reach through the internet and kick my ass if I don’t get out there. Plus. A bunch of us are now training for the same race. And we’re actually going to meet. In person!!! If I slack off and they don’t I’m going to feel angry at myself for not keeping up. I want to keep up. I want this to be fun. Real bad.

Maybe the motivation is different this time? I’m only two weeks in and maybe I felt like this last year. If I did, I really don’t remember. Probably a little? But this time is different. Last year I wanted to finish strong. Then when I hurt my back and was waylaid for 5 weeks, I just wanted to finish. Looking back now I see the mistakes I made in my training. I’m not crying over spilled milk – I’m trying to learn. Because this year I want to finish strong. Actually strong. So I can hang with my runner friends after and not feel like a giant cloud of pity party.

Maybe it’s my fitness level? I can’t say that I maintained any sort of fitness from last year; I didn’t really end up with much fitness there near the end. And I certainly got a little squishier over the winter. But parts of this feel a little easier. Not so easy that I want to amp it up and add weights. For now I like that my workouts feel right. They’re challenging, I sweat my face off (well, make up), and I push myself as far as I should. The result of which is that at the end of the workout, I feel like a machine. Which makes every thing else in the day feel awesome. Even when I’ve forgotten shampoo and then 12 hours later spill beer onto my pants down to my underwear at a Sox game – hypothetically, of course.

Whatever it is, something feels different. Good different. But different.

Because for maybe the second time ever I didn’t try to get out of a Saturday run. I got up, tried some new pre running food (some success, some failure), and just went running. And a funny thing happened. While I waiting for my breakfast to digest I actually did some chores around the house. I took care of some emails. And I was just plain productive on a Saturday before 10 am. After the run it was time for a quick shower and then off to Boston Calling music festival day 2. And there’s only one way to do that.

Nuun and diet coke.

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Not pictured? The banana and string cheese I inhaled.

Hearts and confusing questions

PS training update: a full week of green!!

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My first red mark and approximately 17 others things that are more like 6 but I have runner’s brain and can’t math

I bailed on a race on Sunday. Thoroughly and completely. My 2 mile runs for the last two weeks have been abysmal and because running is such a mental game, I was afraid I would take too long to get over finishing in the bottom 10 people again and my training would get off to a lackluster start. Sunday’s race was 5 miles. 5k I would have slogged through. But 5 miles was too much. Going through the week, I was trying to psych myself up for it. I was racing with a lot of friends and I didn’t want to be a quitter in front of all of them. Last Thursday I tried to run 3 miles. I ran 1.6. I was at the gym with Jennie who is healing from injury (like a boss, I might add) and was biking. I walked over to where she was. She took one look at my face and asked “shit show?”. And I said “The shittiest of shit shows.” So she told me to get my butt on the bike and sweat it out. Pulling out my best insolent teenager act, I sat and pouted through 30 minutes. The next day Jennie emailed and basically told me that no one would judge if I didn’t run. And if it ruined my mental game that would be bad. I was still on the fence and finally decided Sunday morning I wouldn’t run, I would spectate. Still I left the house very slowly and didn’t get over there until the race was over. I was pretty upset over the whole day – wishing I was one of the runners – and very nearly regretted going. But once I found my people and just hung out, it was worth the trip over. I was upset enough that I really didn’t take pictures. Promise it happened.

That red mark is going to sit there until early November, staring at me. Reminding me that when I say I’m going to train I should just suck it up and for the love of Christmas just get out there. Based on all this, I made a decision to step back a couple weeks in my training. I swore I wouldn’t move around workouts, but I think it’s totally fine to move back in the program. Because if I’m about to survive 5 months of training it has to be fun (at least sometimes – occasional bad runs are inevitable). Last year after my back stopped hurting and I started up training again I started too far into the training and it wasn’t fun. Every run. For almost three months. I’ve got the time in my schedule. Really I cut into the 5 week gap I had in the middle and put two more weeks at a shorter interval at the front. I think I did the right thing. I think I’ll enjoy these runs and they’ll give me the training kick in the butt I need to make LA the funnest fun it can be.

There’s the week. And the damn red mark. But look at all the green!

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I had my first park-at-Herter-Park-and-run-along-the-Charles runs of the season. Really I should just keep running through the winter but I was in such an epic funk this winter that I didn’t. I will say this. I forgot how freakin’ high those bridges climb! And how tiny they look on RunKeeper after. I promise you they feel eternally uphill huge. Despite that, it was still nice to be back out there. Cool down stretches, however, were a challenge. The Canadian geese are migrating back north and are pooping near every. single. waterway. Trunk blanket to he rescue! Can we talk about how magical it is that my trunk supplies are now a blanket, sweatshirt, and beach chair instead of a shovel, snow brush, and bigger snow brush? All the magical.

Side note on this amazing weather. I talk a lot about hating the cold, but Boston this weekend? I can’t even begin to describe how unicorn rainbow sprinkles on top fabulous it was. Saturday I went to meet some family visiting from Michigan and walking down the Comm. Ave median park under trees with bright green new leaves and fading flower buds under an almost painfully blue sky was something I’ll look back at next January. Theoretically. I’ll probably still swear a lot. My love for the John Hancock Tower knows no bounds. And so I take a lot of pictures of it. But look. Look at that blue sky!!

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Ok. Back to running. Last week I was mad. I left my Garmin charging all day but when I went to use it the next day, the battery was dead. I brought it to work to charge Monday and after having it plugged in for an hour I checked – still “low battery” I had noticed some black on the back of it but I had figured it was dirt. Turns out if you write on your arm and then put your watch on and then sweat/have 1500 cups of water spilled on you (ooh. I still owe a how-to-work-a-marathon-water-stop-in-a-million-easy-steps post) the marker smudges and effs up the contacts on the watch. Luckily for me, I work with science! and we have alcohol wipes left, right, and center. A quick clean up and problem solved.

After my pretty good run I had allllll the energy and did some laundry, finally washing all my running clothes at once instead of sneaking them in loads here and there. I know that can be bad for the fabrics but I HATE laundry and thinking anything about it was too much. I’m trying to take better care of my things and not just shove all these tech fabrics into the dryer. Problem: I don’t have a drying rack. Solution? Make one. Any tool can be the right tool (that’s a throw back to my childhood watching the Red Green Show with step dad John). Right now my clothes are drying on a) my reconditioned steamer trunk (thanks John!) b) the bendable arm of my standing light c) the thumb switch of said light d) my towel and bathrobe hooks e) the top of my empty (thanks to runner’s energy cleaning) trashcan f) a rolled up and stood on its end yoga mat g) my pop-up tail gating tent (packed up into its bag thingy) and the pièce de résistance h) a ski pole. I was like Oprah and my clothes were free cars.

Methinks it’s time for a trip to the Tar-jay.

Just 12 hours later; le sigh. I have committed to not packing a gym bag in the morning because I always end up at the gym at work with no post workout non sweaty underwear or un-moused hair or no work shoes. Despite being sleepy and wanting my bed real real bad Monday night, I packed a bag. Tuesday morning I kicked my workout’s ass. I mean, after I was done with it, it wasn’t even recognizable to its mother. And after a good run on Monday I was riding a sweet sweet high. A high that came crashing down when I discovered I had no shampoo or soap. So I turned on the shower and then holding my towel with one hand, I fill the other with the foamy hand soap from the sinks (glamorous!) and then getting in the shower, held that hand above me while I rinsed off and then soaped up. There was no WAY I was putting that in my curls, so my hair just got wet and then went to work dirty. I’ve been doing this workout before work thing almost a whole year. I have a toiletry bag I keep in my gym bag. And even before that, I did this occasionally. So WTH?? In my defence, I changed bags for the summer and forgot to move it. Still. Total and complete #epicfail . This also explains the extra shot coffee that made it’s way to Instagram this week. Because sometimes – lots of coffee.

Hearts and I don’t know, random stuff

Let’s get visual, visual

If that title doesn’t make you sing Olivia Newton John the rest of today then your brain and my brain are wired very differently.

I’m singing that 80s-hit-that-no-one-understands because I’m trying something with training and the planning that goes into a big race. Because I’ve discovered in the last couple of years that I really do well with paper visual aids. At work when I’m reviewing a big document I nearly always print at least part of it. When I’m working out a tough problem or searching for the right words, I’ll pace and toss around a wiffle ball/bat – my co-workers always worry I’m going to take a swing, but I haven’t been tempted. Yet.

I think all this visual/physical interpretation comes from the quarter of me that’s Italian. Or at least I tell myself this. I’m a hand talker. I don’t understand people who aren’t. What do you do with your hands while you’re talking?? Just let them lay there? It confuses me. This is also why anything beyond calc 1 and 2 in college would have destroyed me. How can math lead to theoretical points in theoretical space that isn’t actually space??? All of this makes me wonder about my approach to training. With all the modern conveniences of technology I track all of my training online. It works out pretty well. My google doc that has all my workouts is easy to access from anywhere. And my Garmin and RunKeeper keep my stats and running routes. Plus connect me to other active friends. My running group is virtual. I communicate primarily through Facebook or email. But with all that virtualness, it’s easy to say “tomorrow” to say “oh, my schedule is moveable” and sneak into my spreadsheet and cut/paste cells left and right. Which let’s me come up with excuses. Not this time. No sir.

This time I’ve printed my schedule. I’ve hung it up. I bought red and green markers.I’ve taped it to the wall.

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I’m set.

I want this training to be a priority. I want it to go well. To do that, I can’t slack off. I have to do the cross training – and not just half assing it on the elliptical. I need to do the rest of the workouts. I need to run. On schedule. I’m running this race with so many friends. And after the last hot mess of a race, I know I won’t have as much fun if I go into the race wishing I had trained better. So there it is. 24 weeks in black and white (plus 2 weeks of recovery). And blue and orange and yellow. And already 3 green days!! Let’s hope there’s a lot more green that shows up. No. Not hope. Let’s WATCH more green show up!

Hearts and runnerding

It’s Happening Again

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Back in October 2012, I received an email from Nicole at Lifelessbullshit.com telling her followers about a half marathon training plan and group she was putting together. I signed up so fast I can’t even tell you. I looked at all the training materials and realized I was woefully under prepared for half marathon at the end of that month. I decided to DNS that one and plan my next.

Fast forward 18 months and I’ve run a half marathon with the plan and made (what I suspect) lifelong internet friends. When I crossed the finish line of my first half which went less than awesomely, I didn’t say “never again” but I did say “Not again for a while”. It would appear that a “while” is one year and 3 weeks. Because I pulled the trigger this morning.

Half Mara Reg

That’s right. My registration finger got itchy and I signed up for the LA Rock ‘n’ Roll half marathon in October. Eep. Nicole emailed out about running this thing with our group and I emailed two of my virtual runner friends Kathy and Rachel to ask “are you doing this thing, I’m 98.9% I am.” You see, I’ve been trying to meet these women for more than a YEAR! We’ve been running together virtually, cheering each other on after successes big and small (good run days and half marathon finish lines), and commiserating over injury or bad weather or any other little thing. And though I would have probably gone either way because I love my running group, I was really hoping I’d get to meet these two (and Nicole!) finally. This running group has been amazing. And I think probably all of my facebook friends and IRL friends would agree, because I have a single place where I can go and talk about running non-stop and I don’t bore them with every little detail about fueling and watering and being bored or exhilarated by a route (except Jennie. She has to listen to it no matter what. Of course, I listen to her too. So it works out). And now I have an opportunity to run with these people that I’ve been talking to online forever. Our emails went back and forth a little and then I woke up yesterday to a message from Rachel “So…we’re doing this? ARE WE DOING THIS? YOU GUYS!” And A) I was in. 100% and B) the 0 to 13.1 bull shit free runners are the best. This email, of course, sent us into a tizzy of emails flying back and forth all day, a happy dance in my cube, and so much excitement I had to sit down for a minute. Because, you guys? It is on.

I am so unbelievably excited to finally meet people I’ve been cheering on/being cheered on by virtually for more than a year. And it feels good to be training for another big race. Good. And also scary. I don’t want a repeat of that last race. I don’t want to let myself train poorly again. I want this to be an unbelievably fun weekend. And only a well prepared for race will get me there. So it’s back to spreadsheets, a better dedication to eating well, and a slightly higher rate of saying no to drinks. Slightly. I still have a summer of Sox games and patio drinks to get through.

The race is In 24 weeks. Uh. What? I guess I should put down the beers, un-bury my Garmin, and pound some pavement. Has anyone seen my body glide?

Hearts and half marathons!

I ran a half marathon and finished to tell about it

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Look! A new home. I’ll get into why the move another time. For now, here’s my Half Marathon race recap. Half. Marathon! What?!

It’s done. I did.it.

I. Am. A. Half. Marathoner! And it feels a little gangsta.

Most runners will tell you that during a race they think it’s the worst thing ever. And then 30 seconds, 10 minutes, or 2 hours after the finish they are already set to sign up for their next race. For me, with this distance, this feeling took three days to set in.

Let’s start at the beginning. Saturday night Jennie’s sister and bro-in-law had us over for a spaghetti dinner, keeping the Sox game on in the background (priorities, people). Dinner was great, company was excellent, and they were totally on board with my plan to just not think about the race in any way, shape, or form. Except to talk about what time to meet and where Molly and Andy would try to spectate.

Sunday dawned dark and rainy. And though I don’t want to ever run in hours of pouring, gushing rain, I’d rather it be a gray sort of rainy day than warm and sunny. Driving to and from dinner Saturday night and driving to the race on Sunday took me over a lot of the roads I’ve been training on and it gave me a little boost.

Race morning

Race morning

Once in Harwich I hit up the porta potty and then headed into the gym for registration. I saw Jennie on the way in and dropped my stuff with her to go grab my bib. On the way back over Shanna came running up to say hi. Shanna and Jennie are my two biggest fellow runner supporters so it was particularly special to have them both there. We hung around for a bit, hit up the porta potty again, stretched, and then headed to the starting area. For some reason I thought this was a huge race. Instead it was only about 700 people. I was sort of panicing when Shanna gave me some advice. Run your own race. I was already in that general mental state but to hear someone say it out loud solidified my plan.

Jennie decided to run with me for my first interval but I needed to run slower if I was going to make it 13.1 miles so I sent her on her way. And began my own race. I knew I’d be slow. I knew I’d finish near the end of the pack. I thought for the first time, I might actually be last. But then I told myself to stop thinking about it. I was already 18 minutes into the race. Which meant I had at least run 1 mile. In an effort to not freak myself out, I covered the distance part of my watch with some bacon tape courtesy of Andy/Jennie

A re-enactment because I was too nervous at the start to remember to take a picture

A couple miles in, I knew I was in trouble. I had fueled correctly, but I had eaten it too close to race time. My stomach was too full. I didn’t have an upset stomach, but I could tell my body was working on digestion and not blood flow to my legs.

The race claims to be “rolling hills”. Rolling hills, my right foot. All we did was run uphill. It was a loop course. Elevation gain has to be zero. I still don’t believe my garmin elevation profile that says we ran down hill at mile 6.

LiesAll those hills were killing my spirit. And my legs. At mile 4 I tried to convince myself I had done a 9 mile training run. But that run was awful, so I was banking on mile marker 5. Because my 8 mile run had felt great. A little after mile 4, the woman that was behind me passed me. I was pretty sure there were only two people behind her. I was a little bummed she caught up, but I kept thinking “run your own race”. A few minutes later I saw her taking a gu out of her pack. So I ran up a little closer and opened my first Gu as well. We chatted for a minute and then she had a rock in her shoe so she stopped and I kept going. I figure she’d eventually pass me again, but I only got one more brief glance of her behind me until we were on the other side of the finish line. At mile 6 I started to think “One more mile and you’ll me more than halfway” but my race was getting ugly. Fast.My legs and hips hurt. I didn’t feel like I could catch my breath. And there wasn’t another person on the course. The volunteers were still out and were so very kind. Their clapping and smiles were a welcome sight and sound. But even those started to dwindle. I don’t remember much of mile 7. I do remember being stoked for mile 8. Mile 8 meant only 5.1 to go. 5.1 is not much. I’ve run 5+miles at least 7 or 8 times. 5 miles is not a scary distance. And just around the corner from mile 8 would be mile 9. And at mile 9 would be only 4.1 left. Which is only one mile more than a 5k. Mile 10 was the worst. I hit a wall and could not break through. My legs and hips hurt so bad when I ran but not when I walked, everything was cramping, the trucks were cleaning up the cones so now I was out on a road by myself and I was passed by the two people that had stayed far behind me for a long time. And one of them was a dude in cargo shorts and barefoot. I told myself to block it out and just run my own race. His wife then offered me a granola bar. At that point I knew I needed salt. All I had was Gu. And the words granola bar make me only think about chewy sweet quaker granola bars so I said no. And then I thought “maybe they’d have something salty” so I asked. They had one of those nature valley crunch bars and though I’ve been warned to not try something new during a race, I was desperate. Everything was cramping. I didn’t feel like I had any water in me. I ate half and was so grateful to this couple as they pulled further and further away. I passed a porta potty during mile 10 and decided that was the last thing I needed. 5 minutes later I had to pee so bad I thought I’d collapse. So I found some woods, waiting for the motorcycle cop that kept going by to go by again, and answered nature’s call. Classy.

I knew there was a big hill at mile 11. And I was hurting. I made a deal. I could walk the rest of mile 10 if after the mile 11 hill I got back to the 5:1 intervals I had used most of the day and most of training. And that’s exactly what I did. I had 2.1 left. Jennie told me once I hit the bike path I was home free. I gave in and pulled off the bacon tape. I was watching mile 11 move along. At the start of the bike path the volunteer there gave me directions for the end and said “it’s a couple miles down”. I was already at 11.6 and thought “it better not be 2 miles more!” I knew he was estimating and just took him at that. On the bike path, I was in the middle of the woods. I couldn’t keep up with 5:1 so I bumped it to 3:1. I put my head down and kept going. At the 12 mile mark and gave myself a pep talk. I was 1 mile. 5,286 feet. Approximately 2500 steps. I had started this in training. Counting my steps. It kept my mind off the pain and made the end that much more manageable. I queued up the amped up part of my playlist and just kept moving. Coming out of the bike path with 0.5 left Money for Nothing came on and as I was getting into the mindset of finishing strong, Andy came and met me. I was pretty sure it was him and as I got closer it was. He turned and started running with me. He told me where to turn and where the finish was. I walked for 1 more minute thinking I was going to have another third of a mile when I turned the corner. When we did and I realized how close it was, I guess I could have kept running. But I knew to start running before I turned. And there, down a tiny hill, at the turn for the finish were my friends. I guess my bright yellow shirt was helpful in finding me in the crowd, or up a quarter mile hill. Because they went crazy. The people on the course walking back to their cars clapped, they tossed out encouragement, and gave me smiles. I hit the corner for the finish and gave it everything I had left. Jennie has a shaky video of it. I just kept going, eyes half closed. At the finish the volunteers were breaking down the fencing. But one asked my name and they announced it just like all the other finishers.

In the gym was a little left over food and no one else. The finishers medals were missing but the two that had finished before me were on a hunt and finally found them. Shanna took it and put it around my neck for me. It was really nice to be surrounded by friends. And then I told them what I had thought for most of the race and what ended up being my facebook status. “what do you call the guy who graduates last from medical school? Doctor. What do you call the girl who finishes second to last at the race? Half marathoner”.

We then went to Friendly’s and I dove into salty greasy goodness. I took a picture, but no one needs to see that. Krystal couldn’t be at the race because of prior commitments, but she called me during my drive home and let me relive the whole race. Because that’s what best friends are for. Also for sending me some truly hilarious encouragement during the race. (thank you smart phone and several friends with text message jokes/cheers).

Finally at home, I showered, adviled, foam rolled, and then did legs up the wall with ice down my pants (on my hips). Hotness.

IMG_6599

I woke up the next morning and was a little sad about how slow I was, how long my final time was. But it’s what it is. I know I can do better, and I will. On Wednesday I decided to go and look at my runkeeper file again. And it was sort of awesome to see all those mile markers. I really did run 13.1 miles.

race map

I know that I hurt my back and was sideline for more than a month. I’ve gained a lot of weight in the last 6 months. And I didn’t train as hard as should have because I was busy with other stuff and didn’t give it the right priority. Still. At the end of Sunday I had a new medal and a new PR. Turns out Jennie and Shanna PR’d too! A fact I didn’t find out about until at home. I wish I had asked more about their races but I was pretty out of it and just wanted to be done the day.

I want to work on my fitness, me health, and my running and come back to this distance stronger and faster. It’ll happen again. And I would be shocked if it didn’t happen again in the next 10-12 months.

Hearts and half marathons PRs!

Finished, fed, and quite smelly.

Finished, fed, and quite smelly.