Spitting the Bit: The Summer of My Discontent

It’s been so long…I’ve neglected to post and basically abandoned the blogosphere for months, including following the blogs of so many readers. I apologize and hope all has been well and that everyone is smashing PRs. I just needed a break.

Though writing is easy for me in general (if not quality assured), writing about running can at times be a bit tedious. There are only so many ways to describe a Wednesday morning run, right? Plus, by the time I write about my run and then read the blogs of thirty other people describing their morning run, then go out for another run myself, the world can end up looking pretty small.

What’s more, writing burnout has coincided with running burnout.  No surprise, huh?  I have been mentally and physically fried.

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I talk about how running is a gift, and though I’m snarky as hell, I hope that my overall message is a positive one.  I love to run.  I appreciate the gift of good health and am grateful for each day that I am able to lace up my bright Smurf shoes with the custom orthotics and head out the door to kick some ass.

Still, the summer running has done a number on my attitude and my running times, and so I haven’t wanted to write much because it would have been 90% bitching, and who wants to read that?  I’ll try to condense my whining in this post yet keep it real as I describe what I’ve been up to this summer (assuming anyone will still take the time to read…and if you do, bless you!)

I’ll start with the running and then move on to some personal summer bits and bobs in the next post for those of you who love all of this very special flower and not just my running petals.

NYC Marathon Training

(Quick summary:  FML.)

If you’ll recall, I got into the NYC Marathon on the lottery drawing.  I did not expect to make it, but when I did, I (like many others) freaked out with excitement.  If I can make it there, well, you know…I can make it anywhere!

Here’s the problem.  I am a complete lazy bitch princess when it comes to summer running.  I fucking hate it.  What’s more, it doesn’t like me one bit either.

I typically run spring races for longer distances and take most of the summer off to rest my body and just do maintenance running.  It gives me a mental and physical reset.  I have run one marathon (Spring 2013), and I chose it specifically for those winter training months (Viva la Winter Running!)

Unfortunately, the NYC Marathon doesn’t set its calendar based on my training whims, and so I’m stuck with summer training for the first time ever (I will run fall half marathons, but those are much easier to train for.)

Now, I’m all full of admiration for those of you who knock out the lengthy summer runs with nary a complaint, especially you Texas folk, as I lived in Houston for 12 years and still remember the weather.  Some of you get up at 4 or 5 am to power through long miles and then go to church, work, etc.–

but as for me on a Sunday morning?  I love my king-size bed and the chance to sleep in.  So does HH (Handsome Hubby for new readers), and I hate to wake him up.

I’ve been getting up far too late (no one to blame but myself) and heading out the door too late in the morning to escape the heat.  In fact, the one morning I did get up at 6am and get out the door, I came in dying around Mile 9 only to have HH ask me if I’d checked the forecast and noticed that cooler weather was going to blow in around noon that day.

Such has been my luck, and boy have I paid the price.

I now know my sweat patterns and can time their appearance down to the half mile (do you know yours?).  The first running river of sweat always trails off the inside of my right elbow starting at the end of Mile 1, followed by the river trailing down the front of my tank followed by buckets of sweat dripping into my eyes and burning my corneas from Mile 2.5 on.  I have tried bringing a towel (tucked into the band of my SpiBelt) to wipe or at least hopefully redirect the flow, but by Mile 6-7 the towel smells so bad I can’t bear to bring it to my face.

I read once that more experienced runners might in fact sweat more (source), and I think that’s true.  I didn’t used to be a heavy sweater, but in the decade-plus that I’ve been a runner, I have turned into a SWEAT MONSTER.  I don’t just glow with sweat, I open a faucet somewhere in my pores and MAKE IT RAIN!

Just don’t come near me.  It’s gross, and what’s more, I’m flicking beads of it off my ponytail.  Be warned if you are running behind me.

All this sweat distracts me and makes it hard to relax and just get into the zone–not that I could anyway because my heart rate is elevated and I feel like I’m running through a sweat-flavored milkshake.  Humidity and I are not friends, and it makes 10 miles seem like an ultra.  Suck it up, right?  I know…but I’m just being honest.

To complicate matters, my plantar fasciitis in my left foot is as bad as it’s ever been, to the point where I am hobbled after runs and can barely limp for most of the day after a run.  Given that I run 5 days a week, this means that I am walking around like an invalid the majority of the time, which means that if I am not running, I am gimped out.  Fun stuff!

I think this is mostly due to to the plan I am using this time around.  I am a Hal Higdon devotee, and for my first marathon I used his Novice 1 plan.  This time I decided to step it up to the Intermediate 2 plan.

That lasted a few weeks until I recognized that I was cutting too many corners for other obligations/laziness/time issues/injury and leaving off too many miles.  So I dropped down to Intermediate 1, which has the same basic problem as Intermediate 2–a required medium-length run the day before the long run.  Hal says the medium length run the day before will ensure that you are tired so that you run the long run at an appropriate pace.  I say that Hal, you are the damn devil, and why not just trust me?  To quote Tommy Boy,

“I can get a good look at a T-bone by sticking my head up a bull’s ass, but I’d rather take a butcher’s word for it!”

For example, on Sunday I ran 7 miles at goal pace, which ended up around 9:30/mile, followed by 14 yesterday (I’ve adjusted the schedule so that my long runs are on Monday, and I will adjust back a few weeks before the Sunday marathon.)  It was just too much for my foot (the total for the week was 36, which isn’t so bad.)  Usually my PF only hurts in the morning and after runs, never during, since running loosens up the fascia.  Right now, though, it’s intense pain through the whole run, plus I’ve got pain shooting up both sides of my ankle, which I think is tendon pain from not landing on the foot right and from limping around when not running trying not to put weight on it.  I am icing tons and applying my special compound cream, but the pain and inflammation is winning.  I made an appointment with my podiatrist for next week.  She loves seeing injured runners limp in and insist that backing off miles is not an option.

If it were any other marathon, I would bail right now, but I can’t.  It’s New York!

So I hang by a thread, bitch and moan a lot, rub my cream, ask my kids to fetch me stuff, and run with a bad attitude, because I am running with pain, mentally am not in my happy place and further have nothing to prove, which was a huge motivation for my when training for my first marathon.  I wanted to show myself that I could do it, I was raising money for my sister’s disease, and in a strange way I think I felt like I was running those miles as an apology..a penance for being healthy while she suffered.  I had mental motivation and strength out the wazoo.

This time I feel like I have nothing to prove to myself or anyone else but plenty of things I ‘d rather be doing other than spending quite so many painful hours on the hot asphalt, and I am struggling to find the desire to run the training miles, which is is the REAL marathon as most of us would agree–not the race itself with the support of family, friends and strangers and the medal and perhaps the Facebook/Instagram/Twitter bragfest, but the lonely miles, 20-40-60+ each week, known only to you and spent in your own way, one minute, one mile and one sweat drop/river at a time.

I am not giving up, just searching for some healing in my foot and some mental motivation.  It’s been a fantastic summer, just not where running is concerned.

What I’m running to: I’m Not the Only One by Sam Smith, Pusher Love Girl by Justin Timberlake

Coming in my next post…what I’ve been up to this summer and a description of Penis Thumb!

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Product Ho: Spending My Money So You Don’t Have To

Running is an incredibly simple thing.  Put on some shoes (or hell, skip ’em and be trendy) and head out the door.  Carry your body weight.  Step forward with one foot and push your back foot off the ground before the front foot hits.  Continue this pattern until you are tired.

That’s all you really have to do to run, right?  That’s the beauty of it.  But we complicate things.  We add our preferences for clothes and gear in an attempt to enhance the experience and/or make it more enjoyable (and beginning runners might read that statement and ask, “Now when does it become enjoyable?”).

As my darling HH could tell you, I have mastered the concept of muddying the run waters with accessories.  My moisture-wicking gear, laid out end to polyester end, could reach further than Hands Across America.

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I have drawers, bins, and hidey holes filled with running accessories.  You name it, I’ve tried it, with the exception of the CamelBak backpack, because I just can’t bring myself to do that.   Some have been big successes, and others have been donated or pushed to the back of the closet.

So what works for me and what doesn’t, and can I save you some money?  Here is a lowdown of what I take with me on my runs…which as I strapped on and geared up before my 10-miler on Sunday, is a ridiculous amount of stuff.

Let’s start with the essentials…clothes.

Lululemon Cool Racerback Tank

This is BY FAR my favorite running top.  It’s tight but not compression.  It doesn’t have a built-in bra, because I hate those things.  It’s long, so it doesn’t ride up and stays under running belts or waist leashes.  I love that feature because I am long-waisted, so most running tops (especially Nike) are way too short on me.  It’s pricey ($42), but lasts FOREVAH.  I have these in three colors, including the hot pink that I wore in my last half marathon (including the fun pic from my last post where I look like an angry giant Photoshopped in amongst tiny happy people thanks to the gal next to me.)

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Athleta Presto Shorts

Well, we are in summer, when I fervently wish I had the bod to run in just a bra and some ridiculously cute runderwear, but alas, I am aware of my physical limitations and don’t want to scare people.  I would love to wear the cute basic running shorts I see in all the stores (for their ass-covering ability), and I have a few pairs, but they always move around on my inner thighs and rub me wrong, so I always return to the staple–compression shorts.  Yes, I would rather show off my assfold than chafe in the inner thigh.  Let someone else suffer.

Lately I have worn the Athleta Presto Short with the 7″ inseam (they also offer 10″, 4″ and 2″, I believe, like penis sizes…pick what you prefer, but the 2″ might be a little short!)  If I remember right, Run Far Girl mentioned these in a previous post because she wore them in her last marathon and wrote that she love the three-pocket feature.  I left a comment saying that I needed a pair–then realized I already owned them.  Yes, that is how much gear I have.  It might be a sickness.

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Feetures Socks

Runners are picky about their socks, and I am no different.  I wear custom orthotics in my running shoes due to my ever-present plantar fasciitis, so I am extra particular, as the orthotics raise my feet up a little in my shoes.  I want no-show socks, but many brands slip below the shoe and cause the back of my heel to blister.

That’s why I love Feetures No Show socks (in Ultra Light for summer.)  They have a tab on the heel that prevents heel blisters and rises up just the right amount behind the shoe.  Me likey.  You would likey too.

Now for the accessories…the accoutrement!

Garmin Forerunner 220

After ten+ years of running, I finally broke and got my first Garmin this year.  She’s a hot little number, even if she constantly pisses me off by telling me I’m running slower than I think I should be.  She’s a heartbreaker, she is, but I love her anyway and bring her on every run.

Waist Leash

When I bring Oscar the running coach (though in this heat he’s more Oscar the 60-pound anchor that I drag along behind me), I wear a waist leash, as I’ve discussed before.  I don’t know the brand, but I love it because I can adjust the length and control him with my body weight (my arm is not strong enough when he sees a squirrel!)

SPIbelt

In the winter, I love my Armpocket, which works great for twig arms like mine, but summer means tan lines, and so I’ve switched to my SPIbelt.  This sucker doesn’t move, I swear.  Just strap it on and it stays in place.  It’s remarkably expansive too.  They come in different sizes, colors, prints, etc., and just now as I browsed the site I saw a new offering…the SPIleash!  Hot diggity dog…I need this!  I am usually wearing the SPIbelt plus the waist leash when I bring Oscar, and it’s a bit of a mess…much like me!

Sweaty Bands

I have a big head.  No, really…it’s literally large (see above photo.)  I have trouble finding headbands that will stay in place, and I’ve spent more of HH’s money than I care to admit looking for one that will hold my hair back and not move.  Sweaty Bands are the answer for me, but only in the super thin 3/8″ version shown in the link.  They don’t move, and they hand wash well.  I have them in the pink and white stripe and in a couple of blingy colors, which really isn’t my style but does look sassy.

Lululemon’s Bangbuster headbands work well, too, but they make me look like I’m undergoing chemo.  Why do they look adorable on other women but not on me?

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Yurbuds Focus for Women

I’ve blathered on endlessly about my search for the perfect earbuds, so I’ll keep it short (read my previous post for a detailed bitch session on earphones.)  These are the best, even when you’re sweating copious amounts into your ear canal.  Warning, though—the behind the ear piece itself detaches, and I’ve lost one despite my best efforts to keep all the pieces together between runs.  Luckily, the bud still stays in place even without the earpiece.  Lucky me!

Outdoor Tech Adapt (Bluetooth Audio Adapter)

I’ve talked about this too, but it’s worth a mention.  I got it on sale for $20, and I love it.  It does glitch out occasionally, but the combined price of the Yurbuds ($30) and this ($20) is still less than I would pay for behind the ear Yurbuds with mic control.  Warning—if you attach the Tech Adapt to your SPIbelt and then lean over to tie your shoes, your muffin top will block the Bluetooth signal and you will lose your music momentarily! 😉

Ultimate Direction Handy 20

I have a Nathan Fuel Belt with 2 bottles, but I’ve always hated that thing.  It bruised me after my marathon last year, it leaked all the time, leaving me with Gatorade-drenched legs, and I never thought it was easy to drink from.  I recently bought the Ultimate Direction Handheld 20 oz. water bottle and haven’t looked back.  It is so easy to drink from—just pull the valve open with your teeth and bite on it a little to drink or squeeze the bottle for a burst.  The pocket holds keys, gel, whatever, and it’s comfortable to hold.  Winner winner.

Tifosi sunglasses

Love these things.  They keep the wind from drying out my contacts and camouflage the look of pain oozing out my eyeballs.  Plus, they make you look hardcore.  Bonus.

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All the electrolytes without the sugary carbs?  No Gatorade belching?  Sold!

Honey Stingers Energy Chews

Because gels make me sick.  Even looking at a gel packet makes me sick.  From both ends.

What have I spent money on that doesn’t get my MaybeMarathoner seal of approval?  The Nathan belt, any Nike top (too short!) or any top with a built-in bra (not comfortable!), many Athleta capris (hate to bag on them since I love their stuff but most of their capris slide down in the waist looking for a path of least resistance!), Gatorade (causes inhuman amounts of burping and also induces nausea), most race t-shirts (they say they wick, but they don’t breathe and are often too short!), Bic Bands headbands, and the Yurbuds Inspire Series (slip out once you sweat).

I should note that these are solely my opinions, and since I am a tiny lowly blog, I am not sponsored by anyone (though to quote Michael Douglas in Romancing the Stone, “I ain’t cheap, but I can be had!”, sponsors!)

What works for you?  I’ve listed the obvious, but do you wear/bring anything that you can’t live without?

 

 

The Going Ups and the Coming Downs

Anybody know that song by Gladys Knight and the Pips?  It’s one of my favorites.  

Here in MaybeMarathoner world, the temps are rising, the base miles are building, and the speed is slowing in inverse proportion to the humidity (and not that anyone cares, but my hair is looking like total frizzy shit.)

Ooh, just when my hopes run high
And I think I’ve got it made
Hey, hey, along comes a rainy day
To rain on my parade, hey, hey, hey

There have been some good times, like last night when we went to a friend’s house for dinner and played a short game of Cards Against Humanity.  I am proud to call myself the winner.  It isn’t hard to win when you get genius cards, like when the black card was a Pick Two (where you use two cards from your hand) and the prompt was something along the lines of, “(Blank) leads to (Blank).”

I was fortunate enough to have “an erection lasting longer than four hours” AND “lockjaw” in my hand.

#WINNING!

They contemplated awarding me an extra point just for being so damn good.

There have been some bad times, too, and I’m not going to go all Tears of a Clown on you, because everything’s fine, but I’ve had a few good stress-relieving runs this week that I’ve sorely needed.  One was a tempo workout on the treadmill, which was actually hellish.  Why is a certain pace so easy to maintain on the road but then so torturously fast on the treadmill?  I hate you, conveyor belt from hell, and I am on the fence about whether tempo runs and I really do go together.

One minute you’re warm and lovin’
The next your hearts grown cold
The way you keep me guessin’
Is killin’ my soul

The kids are out of school, summer is here, and I leave you with one pic, shared by that last half marathon I ran a few weeks ago.  This popped up on Facebook, and I laughed my ass off.  This pic was apparently taken at Aid Station 4, and I stick out like a sore thumb for several reasons.

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Bitch that I am, my first thought seeing this pic was anger that that many people were still close to me and trying to steal my rightful place in line (yes, I think that way.  Don’t you?)  Screw you, people–you can’t have it!

Second, the bright pink tank and my placement in the photo, I feel, make me stand out.  I look at my a-cups in this photo and cackle.  My sister has already asked me to pick up one of that kind of bra for her and said that it looks like I’ve had a boob job.  I have not.  If you are interested, I am wearing the medium support Lululemon yoga bra, and yes it had slight removable cups in it to prevent bullet nips, but DAMN!

Third, and best of all, THE. LOOK. ON. MY. FACE.  I should hold a Caption Me contest.  The munchkin gal next to me looks so happy to be running and receiving water, and I look like I always do in race pics.  Confused, mentally challenged, like I thought I was running a 5k and wandered into an ultra marathon…WTF?

Did I smell cow manure?  Was I already trying to scope out a finish line?  Looking for hills up ahead?  Picking a suffering runner to chase down?  One of these days, as the good Lahd is my witness, I will take a good race pic (which of course I would trade in a heartbeat for a sub 1:50 half marathon, as I do have my priorities in line.)

Do you have a good caption for this photo?  Is the heat and humidity taking a toll on your speed?  Do share!  Happy running!

 

Thoughts on Yoga

Everyone touts yoga as a perfect complement to running.

ImageThe stretching and flexibility gains in your core, quads, hamstrings and hip flexors can only help your running, right?  Where running brings out the inner freak in many of us (what’s my last split? Trample the weak, hurdle the dead! Outta the way, bitches!), yoga brings balance and peace.

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“In this rare hand-tinted portrait from the Kutte Ka Studio in Agra (c. 1900), we see Swami Chote in Kukkutasana pose. This swami known for his diminutive size (chote means tiny in Hindi) and amazing flexibility became a sensation throughout India at the turn of the 19th century.”

Yoga Dog photos by Dan Borris, found here with hysterical captions!

So I have now attended a few yoga classes, as I bridge the gap between the Heartland 39.3 series and the official beginning of training for the NYC Marathon…the running wedgie, if you will, where I crank up my base miles and turn my thighs into Flo Jo lookalikes (minus the muscle.  They just look big and flabby.)  These are just easy yoga classes offered up at the club we belong to…nothing too heavy, no bikram or hot yoga (ew!), just the basics.  Frankly, the basics are difficult enough.

Here are my initial thoughts on yoga, recognizing that I’m not an inner peace kind of gal.  I like to think I’m laid back, but in a tightly wound sort of way.  That’s probably why running appeals to me…I can zone out on slow runs, but in a focused manner (that probably doesn’t make much sense.)  So yoga is a stretch for me (get it…a stretch?  Damn, I am funny!)  

1:  The Happy Baby Pose.  This feels ridiculous, especially when she tells us to roll around.  I’m paying money to roll around on the floor like an asshole?  Then you tell me it’s also called the Wind Pose and that many people fart here?  If I smell gas, I want a refund.  That old guy next to me looks like he’s primed and ready.  Point your happy baby some other direction, mister.

A word of advice?  Don’t look around during this pose.  You don’t want to see everyone’s junk.  Eyes on the ceiling.

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2: The Downward Facing Dog.  Ok, I get it after a few sessions.  This is a base go-to move, and it feels amazing.  Still, I can’t help but think of all the raunchy jokes I can make here.  My mind races in this pose.

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I feel like Fifty Cent every time I get into position…

Face down, ass up!

and I’m pretty sure that singing Just a Lil Bit is not what I’m supposed to be doing right now.

Get it cracking in the club when you hear this shit!

3: The Vinyasa Flow/Sequence/Whatever.  I love this.  Start in the DFD, get out to the plank position, lower with elbows tucked, push up into Cobra, back down, and back up into DFD.  I really like repeated exercises of this, but it is work for my twig arms to support my body weight (these a-cups really add some heft.)  My friend calls this the Fuck You Pose.  You can probably see why we get along.

4: The Block.  Block?  I don’t need no stinkin’ block!  I’m better than that!  I can reach my foot/the floor/my ass without any help.

A few seconds later…where’s the damn block?  I have all the flexibility of a fence post.

5: Warrior III Pose.  Yep, it’s a fight, alright.  Me against the floor.  Floor wins.

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6.  Child’s Pose.  The name for this resting pose is a joke.  I’ve had two children.  Children don’t rest, and apparently, neither do my hips, because they will not lay down in this position.  Maybe it’s my muffin top getting in the way.  Damn kids.

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7.  The Tree Pose.

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I can’t find the article now, but I read something about thinking of your inner thigh and the sole of the other foot as two pieces of bread, and that you’re making a serious panini.  I can hold this pose, but it’s like I’m a tree during a hurricane.  I wobble like a weeble, and I want to fall down.

The answer, my friend

Is blowing in the wind

8.  The Eagle Pose.  We had a new instructor the other day…British Charlotte.  She had the voice of someone who was on downers, and the attitude of Satan’s minion, as she introduced us to the Eagle Pose.  Any pose that takes four different steps to even get into puts me one step closer to a sprained ankle.

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How do you breath between your shoulder blades?  Do tell.

I loved it when we got into the position (somewhat) and then she told us to lower our asses and sit on that leg.  If I could have unwrapped myself, and if she had been a little closer, I might have backslapped her.

9.  The Attitude.  Ok, so I like yoga so far.  I admit it.  I just don’t like the attitude, the soft voices, the comments to breathe into our tightness (WTF?) and to let our thoughts go without thinking of them (in the corpse pose.)  It just makes me want to laugh.  And when we finish in the corpse pose (I’m great at that pose), the one instructor comes by and scares the bejesus out of me by suddenly rubbing my temples and pulling my hair out of my headband so I’m left looking like a Chinese Crested dog.

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Still, I will be back, because I am somewhat hooked.  What do you think of yoga?  I would love to hear any thoughts!

I will leave you with a link to a great article on drunken yoga poses…

because this is funny!

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Namaste, bitches!

Race Pics Are In!

The Running With the Cows Half Marathon pics are in, and boy did I have a good laugh.  Of course I have to share…

The only photos of me were taken at approximately Mile 13 (just a minute or two left!) and at the finish line.  I actually like this first pic (a rare thing) because my feet are actually wide apart, thus showing that I was actually running and not just quickstepping the damn race, PLUS I’m not even heel striking.  And I appear to be snapping my fingers, like all the cool kids do.

I would love to be a curvy gal with an actual waist, but as you can tell by this pic, I am built like a tree trunk…

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Those three people around me were trying desperately to hang…snap!

This next pic is perhaps more reflective of the agony that is Mile 13 in a half marathon, and I’ve included a nice caption so you can see what I was thinking (as well as the guy behind me)…

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If you couldn’t guess, we ran a little further then turned left.

Let’s zoom in on my face…

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I look like someone just farted, and I had no idea that that much of my right boob was hanging out.  I am still snapping.

I’ve saved the best for last.  I had a bit of a moment at the finish line where it hit me that I’d run three half marathons in five weeks, and I threw my arms out in oh so dramatic fashion.

This is how a princess crosses the finish line.

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I can’t stop laughing at this picture.  Hope you enjoy it too!

 

Catholics and Cattle: Running With the Cows Race Recap (Praise Jesus, the Heartland 39.3 is Over!)

Let me come right out with it…the lovely rural Catholic school that put on this race schooled everyone.  They have a hotline to God and a knack for what they are doing, and they brought their A-game to this race.  It’s as if the hell of the Garmin half marathon (poor organization, no police presence to help get everyone to the starting line, driving rain and stinging hail) cleansed our running souls, and we finally got to see the bright shining light that is half marathon heaven.

It was beautiful (though not a PR for me…don’t want to mislead anyone!) 🙂

I’ve whined incessantly about hating the running limbo between the races, and the running purgatory gave me a serious case of nerves the day before the race, as I’d spent five weeks in a resting/taper mode before and after each half marathon.  That doesn’t exactly inspire confidence going into the third half marathon in five weeks.  My legs felt fatigued from the accumulation of racing yet strangely unprepared for another (how do the Dopey Challenge people do it?).

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I fixed one mistake from the last half marathon and did NOT eat Taco Bell the night before; however, I made another by playing 18 holes of golf with HH (God was not with me on the course, as I shot a 132 and therefore walked the entire course three times over looking for my ball in the rough on every dang hole.)  I couldn’t not play though…it was a gorgeous afternoon, and life is meant to be lived!

God giveth and he taketh away.  Um-hmm, that’s right.

So I woke up at 4:30 with sore legs and tight glutes.  Hell is a tight ass pre-race, because you know that means your butt cheeks will soon be pushing on your shoulder blades.

I hit the road early, determined to avoid any prerace traffic jams.  For any local readers, the sweet ladies at packet pickup told me to go past the first exit when coming south on 69 Hwy. and to exit instead at 247th Street.  This worked like a charm…there were police at the exit and at every turn directing traffic, and then there were many marvelous volunteers directing us into the field behind the church (if you parked at the first exit location, you had to bus in.)

I was parked and at the starting line in minutes.  Hooray to race organizers!

There were plenty of port-a-potties, and the church had opened up the cafeteria so that runners could get out of the cold and wait inside.  I almost died when I walked in…nice and warm, music playing (“She Thinks My Tractor’s Sexy”–ha!), pastries and coffee already being served, and Queenie the Cow making the picture rounds.

Catholics do it better.

Lining up was easy.  I placed myself around the 1:55 pacer and talked to a few runners around me.  One guy had started Rock the Parkway shooting for a 1:50 and gotten sick from the heat (just like me!), walked the last 5-6 miles just so he could finish since he was doing the 39.3, but then slept through the Garmin marathon and missed it.  That’s a tough break.

The weather was beautiful (prayers were answered!  I’m telling you these people have an in), and we took off to the sounds of Van Halen…a clear sign that the man above was thinking of me, as I LOVE Van Halen (can’t remember now if they played “When Love Walks In” or “When It’s Love”).  The only thing better would have been if they’d played “Running With the Devil.”

Funny stuff.

We were off, and I felt surprisingly good for the first two miles, other than getting hemmed in right on the ass of the pacer with nowhere to move.  It took about three miles to get clear of the jostling group and make a break.  I ran ahead, talked with my old college roommate and her boyfriend for a bit, then pushed a little harder, as I was feeling very relaxed.

This was the perfect course…all country roads, completely closed off, plenty of room to run, and no huge elevation changes, just gentle rolling hills.  It was varied enough to keep it interesting, and I enjoyed the slight challenge of the hills and the respite of the downhill portions.  It would be a great course to try and set a PR…and might I add that the occasional smell of cow manure can prove mighty inspiring?  🙂

To the cows at Mile 6…I hope you feel better soon!  Eat some fiber!

Now as we all know, the devil is in the details (are you getting sick of the religious references yet?), and the race delivered.  Have I mentioned the aid stations?  They were everywhere, manned by different grades of the school with parent helpers.  They had signs indicating which side had Gatorade and which had water, and the kids also yelled out what they were holding.  They also had trays of orange slices and bananas…these people were saints!  I can’t count how many thanked me for running as I passed.

Are you serious?  Thank you for hosting!  For being organized!  For everything!  Hosanna in the highest (I remember my Catholic school days!)  These kids were amazing…I wanted to hug them all for being so sweet.

I sipped my Nuun and ate 2-3 Honey Stingers before most aid stations, chasing it with water supplied by little angels.

My splits for the first seven miles:

9:05, 8:53, 8:41, 8:39, 8:40, 8:34, 8:33…consistent.  Not earth-shattering, but fun and comfortable.  I enjoyed every minute of them.

I started to feel fatigued around Mile 8, not too far after the turnaround point, and my splits started dropping a bit, just when I was hoping to have enough energy to start ramping them up.  I didn’t feel bad, just a bit tired, and I wondered if general race fatigue from the previous two races and little serious running in-between was catching up with me.  Still, I wasn’t dizzy or nauseous (yet), and I could still run, just not at quite the pace I would have liked.

I really drew inspiration in these miles from watching the slower runners still coming up the front half of the race.  I saw such spirit and determination in those people, and I tried to shout some encouragement to them as I passed.  I don’t know if it helped them, but seeing their struggle sure helped me.  I wasn’t setting a trailblazing pace, but I was cooking up a decent race, and I was thankful.

Best sign of the race?  The one that said “There will be a day when you cannot run.  Today is not that day!”

That sign sums up the whole reason why I run, and it gave me inspiration (it didn’t give me any more speed, unfortunately, but it gave me a smile and happy thoughts, which is worth a lot too!)

I thought I had built up about a 2-minute lead on the 1:55 pacer, and I felt fairly strong.  I passed the guy I’d talked to at the beginning of the race, just as he was stopping to stretch his quad.  I shouted some encouragement as I chicked him, but that may not have helped him, upon reflection.

I tried to run more by feel in Miles 8-10, as I was starting to fight some low energy and didn’t want to get hung up on pace.  I thought I was pushing hard and that I was still well ahead of the pacer…in fact, I was beginning to think that maybe I would end up under 1:54.  I was starting to feel a little nauseated though, and it was getting pretty warm, so I was hesitant to try and make a push.  Still, though, my discomfort wasn’t severe like Rock the Parkway.

I need to stop ignoring my Garmin, because every time I do, my natural inclination is apparently to go slower (my splits were 8:42, 8:48 and 8:48 for Miles 8-10).

Right at the Mile 11 mark and just before the last hill, I saw the 1:55 stick wiggle up next to me, and there she was like Satan on my shoulder…the pacer.  She had caught up with me, like past sins or too many pieces of birthday cake.

It was like my entire running ego was shoved into one big balloon, and she poked it with her damn pacer stick and left it all on the road.

It’s hard to process a full-on depression attack while still running.  I was just so instantly deflated for some reason, and whatever spirit those Catholic kids had given me evaporated faster than you can make the sign of the cross.

I tried to tell myself that though I was moving slower than I’d thought, I was still running an enjoyable solid race.  I put my eyes on that stick and chased it like it was the last bus to Heaven.  Just stay close, I told myself, but I was seriously adrift spiritually and physically, and I needed food in the worst way.

I’m not proud of my Mile 11-13 splits (8:57, 8:52, and 8:42), but I can’t really complain either.  I was still conscious, I didn’t have to stop to walk, which I was starting to see a lot of, and I didn’t lose track of the Satan pacer.

I crossed the finish line in 1:55:30 to the cheering of a great crowd, the ringing of numerous cowbells and the smell of home cooked food waiting in the church cafeteria.

I stopped to grab a bottle of water in the finish chute, and a volunteer thanked me (again!) for running.  I told her that I should be thanking her and that this was the best race I’d ever participated in.  She was thrilled and introduced me to the lady next to her, who was the organizer of the run…lucky me!  I had the chance to thank her in person and tell her how much it meant to me (and I’m sure the other runners as well!)

Hi Liz Meek, and thanks again!  Isn’t she nice?  She even put her arm around me, and I was a sweaty disgusting mess!

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Now here is where the race organizers (kudos, Liz!) came through yet again.  The spread inside that church was something to behold.  Here is a pic of just one table, and there were several…

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Pulled pork, hot dogs, hamburgers, McDonald’s and Panera, chicken salad, baked beans, Hostess cupcakes, fresh fruit, etc.–they had it all, not to mention numerous side tables with homemade cakes, pastries, etc., and samples from the Corner Bakery Cafe.  It was overwhelming.

To whoever made the chicken salad…I applaud you.  Your chicken salad made my day.  Please make it again next year.  Peace be with you.

I ate my food (eat all the food!), then wandered over to the outside coffee vendor (they had coffee inside and outside…these are my kind of people!)  He said that he’d had several people wander up and ask him why people would want coffee on such a warm morning, and we had a good laugh about it, because coffee drinkers don’t care if it’s 100 degrees outside, they want their coffee!

Amen to that.

After collecting my shiny medals (blingtastic!), I took another pic with Queenie the Cow and hit the road…

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I checked my numbers once I got home and was reasonably pleased to see that I finished in the top 9% of my age group (angelic shebeasts 40-44) and in the top 23% overall.

So my final numbers for the series were 1:54, 1:56, and 1:55.  Not what I had hoped for , but respectable.  Will I do the Heartland 39.3 series again?  I really don’t know.  The limbo in-between races was torture, yet the feeling of completing three in five weeks is a good one.

After experiencing Running With the Cows, though, I might just try to target it next spring as a solo race with the hope of chasing a PR.  Regardless, I will be back to run this incredible race again (with God as my copilot!) 😉

And would you believe I played nine more holes of golf on Saturday afternoon?  I was exhausted by Saturday evening.

Happy running, and I hope you had a happy Mother’s Day (mine was wonderful!)  Thanks for reading!

 

Outdoor Tech Adapt Review (and Final Half Marathon Prep)

My eagerly awaited shipment of wine Gap pants Penguin Drop Cap series hardcovers the Outdoor Tech Adapt came in the mail on Monday, readers, and I was thrilled to take it out for its first spin this morning.

But first, yesterday was our older son’s 15th birthday…which he spent sick, unfortunately.  Boo.  He rallied in time for evening birthday cake, but we spared him pictures since he was unshowered and wearing his Globogym Purple Cobras t-shirt.

I hate birthdays.  I spent half the day reflecting on mortality, motherhood and all that he has meant to me, and the other half just wishing time would freeze.  He’s fifteen now…only three more years until he marches off to college.  How that can be, I have no idea, but it’s what the numbers indicate, and numbers don’t lie.  Some of the most important years of his life are hurtling toward him, but those upcoming milestones occur without us, once he’s gone and out of the house.  I am excited for him and each new year, but I also want to hold him close and cherish each moment more than is possible.

Time is short.  He is hilarious and wonderful and unique, he and his brother truly the greatest source of joy and pride in my life.  I am ever thankful that God not only allowed me to be a mom, but his mom, the guardian of his precious soul.

Birthdays are the worst.  He is the best.

Moving on…

Here is my discount pink Outdoor Tech Adapt, modeled on my twig wrist with my Garmin 220 so you can see the size, because size matters, and I was worried that the boobalicious model in my pic from the last post might lead you to think that the Adapt was smaller than it actually is.  It’s the perfect size…small enough to fit anywhere easily, but big enough that the buttons are easy to push.

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Though my wrist be but small, my middle physique is looking a lot like that monkey man in the picture, and he has my lowrider El Camino ass.  Note to self before commencing marathon training: ease up on the white devils.  They are no substitute for love, and you are not running 40 miles per week yet.

Another pic with my Yurbuds Focus for Women earphones, which I am still crushing on…

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The clip is sturdy…I don’t think it will snap off easily.  Though I had read one review that complained about the device being difficult to pair, my iPhone made the magic happen in about two seconds.  Draw whatever comparison you like…just don’t make it about teenage boys, because I have one of those and have now decided that all males before the age of 30 are celibate, asexual or just not interested in ladies.

Don’t rain on my parade.

Anyhoo, I stashed my iPhone in my Spibelt, attached the Adapt to the headphones, clipped it to the belt and sauntered out for a 3-miler (I love that sassy word.)  

My initial reaction?  Not good.  For the first minute or two, the connection kept breaking up, so there would be tiny blips in the music (the signal being lost for just a second or so each time.)  Totally annoying, BUT the one good thing I could say was that at least when the sound came back, the music hadn’t stopped (obviously), so it was like the beat kept going, just with intermittent gaps.  It just wasn’t what I was hoping for, and I wondered, ignorant non-techie that I am, how Bluetooth works and what was happening. 

Oddly enough, it soon stopped, and then I just ran on for the three miles, able to adjust volume and skip tracks with the easy-to-use buttons.  Once I stopped running, though, the interruptions in sound started again.

Strange coincidence?  I have no idea, but even if the problem continues, I will use the device.  The Focus earbuds are the perfect headphones for me,  but I also really want the mic and easy-access controls.  I will keep you posted with any new observations on future runs, but I give the Tech Adapt a B- for now and plan on using it for Saturday’s half marathon, Running With the Cows.

I can’t describe how much I am looking forward to ending this Heartland 39.3 Challenge.  Though I will be super proud (that’s a technical term) to collect my medal for three half marathons in five weeks, right now I would wager that I will never do this series again, simply because I have hated the weeks in between each race.  Since running the disastrous Rock the Parkway half marathon on April 12, it has been four straight weeks of running limbo…recovering from a half marathon and taking it easy while trying to keep enough energy to run another race.  Four weeks of easy 3-4 mile runs every other day, along with taking 2-3 days off after each race, has left me feeling like I’m not running at all.  Couple that with reduced mileage long runs on the weekend (I only ran 5 on Saturday because I had Oscar with me and he about overheated and died), and I feel like a sloth.  It’s like living in a holding pattern, and I’m running out of patience.

Breakfast conversations with HH have included many a complaint from me: “I feel like I’m hardly running!” (complete with major whine).  “Um, didn’t you just run a half marathon last week?” “Yes, but other than that, I’m hardly running!”

“I just keep treading water…I’m not running hard.  How will I be ready to run another race?” “Um, didn’t you just run hard for 13 miles just over a week ago?” “Yes, but other than that–you know what I mean!”

I feel unprepared for this last half, yet running more isn’t the answer, as I know my legs are not 100%.  My 3-miler on Monday was a slugfest.  My ankles both ached in the front, like where the shin curves into the top of the foot, and the entire run hurt like the devil.  It felt like my tendons were leaking lactic acid, and every step was a challenge.  I knew I wasn’t injured, since the feeling was identical in both feet (a surefire sign that I was dealing with fatigue or overuse/training rather than an acute injury).  It just hurt with every step, much like a new runner might feel while adjusting to the impact of running.  Though I’d set out for 4 miles, I downgraded to 3 and walked the rest of the way home in disgust.

Today, the pain was better, but I still felt a bit tired at the end of 3 miles, which shakes my confidence.  I just want to get the race over with, at whatever the pace, so I can get back to real running without holding back.  I’ve got the NYC marathon in my sights, and I really want to start some significant cross-training plus go all Ace of Base on my mileage before launching into the actual training program.

Happy running!

 

With a Rebel Yell…Bitchin’ ‘Bout (Ear)Buds

With all my carrying on about the past two half marathons, I forgot to mention one MAJOR problem in each race…my damn Yurbuds.  Let me be clear…the debate about whether to run with music is a nonissue to me.  Like margaritas with Mexican or mayo on a BLT, I gotta have it, and everyone else can just shut up and leave me to my tunes.  Be a purist if you will and soak up the zen, but I shall listen to my music during runs and races (you name it…mostly alternative but lots of cheesy pop, Rocky music, R&B, rap, jazz and 70s music thrown in too, kept low enough so I can hear ambient noise and the incessant cheers of “Jesus, lady, you are so damn fast!” as I fly down the streets.)  I am still present in the moment and soaking up my surroundings, but a little Vampire Weekend or Billy Idol never hurts when I am climbing my own personal version of Heartbreak Hill.

I’ve gone through several cheap headphones in the past several years, and I’ve hated them all.  I am a heavy swearer sweater when I run (yet amazingly delicate at all other times), and the stupid things constantly slip out of my ears after the first few miles.

I thought I had solved the problem once I discovered Yurbuds, which are supposed to “twist-lock” into place and are guaranteed not to fall out.  I asked for the Ironman Inspire Pro series for Christmas in 2012, just as I started marathon training and began logging more miles.  Sis and bro-in-law delivered, and I thought my problems of sweaty ears and slipping buds were solved; plus, the set came with the cool controller on the cord to adjust volume, move through tracks and accept phone calls on the run (“No, honey, I’m not cooking tonight, care to pick something up on your way?”).

They’ve inspired nothing but failure ever since.  The silicone enhancers (which come in several sizes to fit your ear perfectly) fell off easily, and I lost one about thirty seconds before beginning my marathon last year (mon dieu!)  I’ve lost several more since.  I ordered a replacement set, and they worked for a bit, until the last month or so, until they started falling out around Mile 3 of every run.  I followed the website instructions and washed them thoroughly.

Alas, at about Mile 3 of Rock the Parkway a few weeks ago, before I got bitchslapped by the urge to vomit, they started slipping out on me.  I twisted more than Chubby Checker, but they just wouldn’t stay, a fact which bothered me less and less as the urge to die became more and more pressing.  I let it go (along with my PR dreams and a significant amount of water weight) and hoped for better last weekend.

They fell out again, and I lost the left enhancer somewhere in a sea of Runegades and Lycra around Mile 4 of the race.

So, F*&^ you, Yurbuds, right?  Well, wrong.  I wandered into my local running store last week to nab a 20 oz. handheld water bottle for the race and noticed that Yurbuds has come out with some behind-the-ear earbuds made specifically for women…the Focus for Women series.  They were under $30, so I bought them on impulse and got so excited that I ripped the package in half getting them out.

Bummer.  No mic controller.  Seriously, Yurbuds?  WTF?  You know we want this!  I hate you!

I was going to try and return them, shredded package and all, but I decided to take them out for a quick spin yesterday, as I needed to get my first shakeout run in since the race.  Despite several days of rest and a fairly intimate relationship with my muscle stick, you can still bounce a quarter off my calf muscles (sadly, the only part of my body that can qualify as “tight.”)  They just won’t seem to relax, though I have rolled, cajoled and sat on my ass to no end.  So I’ve rested, until yesterday.

Strange how restless I feel having taken three full days off from running…I don’t normally go crazy during tapers or feel like a lunatic if I miss a run or two, but I have definitely felt it these past few days.  Oscar the Running Coach also was feeling it, having not run with me for close to a week.  The bad thing about training your dog to run with you is that you train your dog to run with you, meaning that if you shortchange him/her, somebody’s going to get it.  This time his fluffy dog bed paid the price, as he ate the stuffing out of it in a clear plea for a 3-miler, minimum.

We headed out, with my new earbuds in place, held in the perfect spot by the behind-the-ear piece.  I wanted to hate them, but I couldn’t.  I couldn’t feel them at all.  It was like I had nothing in my ears.  The earpiece held them in place perfectly, the sound quality was better than my Inspire Pro losers, and I could still hear ambient noise…they were perfection except for the lack of the controller.

Did I mention they were perfect?

I was in a quandary…I found comfortable headphones that I’d already purchased and used, but I still wanted an external controller so I could tuck my iPhone in my SpiBelt and not have to deal with it!

Well, problem solved, I hope.  I got my Active Gearup email this morning advertising various types of headphones and noticed the Outdoor Tech Adapt, an adorable little doohickey that turns your iPhone into a wireless device.

I googled it to find an image for you, and this came up, which is frankly too priceless not to share…when I get mine, I’m going to hoist my A-cup boobs into the top of my sports bra and take a selfie just like this, because I just have to!

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Now that I’m done giggling…

So I can clip this to my belt, singlet, whatever, and just plug my headphones into it instead of my iPhone.  Genius.  Active.com had it on sale for $19.95, which will bring my grand total to still less than the Inspire Pro Series.  I’ve read several good reviews, so I pulled the trigger.  I can’t wait!

More, more, more!

What I’m running to:  Fancy by Iggy Azalea

 

Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad*–Garmin Half Marathon Recap

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(I can’t find the source for this…don’t hate me!)

*Alternate Title:  The Race Where I (Did NOT) Set Fire to the Rain

*Alternate Title:  The Race Where It Fucking Hailed On Me

Half Marathon 2 of 3 in the Heartland 39.3 Series is in the books, readers, and it was one of the strangest races I’ve ever run.  As strange as fighting vomit for 7 miles and losing feeling in my fingers?  No, but strange in a different sort of way, and looking back, “There ain’t no way I’m ever gonna love you,” Garmin Half Marathon 2014!

Pre-Race

I’m giving myself a C for race prep in the few days prior to the race.  Maybe because I wasn’t expecting a PR after the previous debacle and given that my legs didn’t quite feel funky fresh, I threw caution to the wind a bit.  On the advice of PirateBobcat, I had wine.  We were out late Thursday night at a fundraiser…

I cleaned up!  HH was stunned…

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To make matters worse, we had Taco Bell for dinner Friday night (bad circumstances.)  I just knew that was going to come back to bite me in the ass…perhaps literally.

I got up on time, fueled and geared up, then hit the road.  The Garmin half marathon runs at the same time as the full.  This was my marathon last year (my first marathon, so special memories galore.)  The race was scheduled to start at 7:00.  I reached the highway exit at 6:12…and twenty minutes later still hadn’t made it off the exit ramp and onto the highway overpass.  Traffic was trés hideous, and there were no police officers ANYWHERE.  I hate to be negative, but that was ridiculous.  This is a big event, and a showcase race for the city of Olathe, yet no one was around to help direct traffic, and there were a million of us sitting around with worried looks, all lined up in our cars with our cheesy running stickers on the back.

I finally got over the overpass at 6:35, just as I saw one officer passing on a motorcycle to head to the ramp.  Way too late.  Then as i approached the Garmin complex, I saw that there still was no one directing traffic into the complex (which was a steady stream of red lights), so I had no way of knowing if the lots were full or at capacity.  I ended up parking behind a tire and lube shop with a bunch of other runners.  We all flew out of our cars (after I dumped a salt packet under my tongue and grabbed my brand-new handheld water bottle filled with Nuun) and tried to do an energy-conserving 10-minute hustle across the complex to the starting area.

Lots of port a potties…and lots of lines thirty deep to gain access.  I could hear the announcer telling everyone not to worry and reminding us that it was chip time, not gun time that mattered.  Um, yeah right.  I knew what I was in for, and I was right.

Pre-Race Grade: C-.  Eating Taco Bell as preface fuel?  Not being ready at the starting line when the gun goes off?  Boo.

Race Time!

I held on to the side of a port a potty, swung my legs a few times and hit the starting line with the 5-hour + marathoners and the 3:00 + half marathoners.  I’ve never started a race so far back.  It was like bizarro world to see the thousands of runners in front of me (many of whom never got to go to the bathroom one last time!), and it was a truly novel situation to be back with that kind of runner.

Here I go bitching, mostly for laughs, but with one caveat.  These people were awesome.  They were chasing down a half marathon dream, and they were lined up appropriately.  They were doing nothing wrong, and their spirit was incredible.  I wanted to yell encouragement to every single one of them!

But it was a ginormous wave of tutus, matching running group t-shirts with cute sayings (“no maps! no coaches! where’s breakfast?”), groups running five abreast, run-walkers (3 minutes jog, 1 minute walk, and always right as I ended up behind them!) and wide lumbering runners, and I had to work to get past every single one of them in order to be able to run my pace that I was striving for…which took time and energy.

Remember my list of the Ten Types of People Who Annoy Me During Races?  Meet #11 and #12…the person who wears an unnecessary layer and gets so hot, so fast, that she has to strip it off in the first three minutes of a race when everyone is still bottlenecked and her big swinging elbows are a danger to everyone around her AND the person who runs REALLYYYYYYY slow but hugs the left side of the street right along the curb so you can’t get by her.

I tried to minimize the weaving but get to my pace as fast as I could.  It was just a lot of work, but I just hoped that I would soon break through the logjam.

Splits for the first two miles = 8:55 and 8:50.  Not what I wanted, but my legs felt fine and I passed a ton of people.

By Miles 3-5, the marathoners broke off and I needed to make up some time.  Yet, looking back, I see that I didn’t, and I don’t know why, really.  I could tell that I got lulled into a slower pace a few times because of the other runners.  I was trying to run more on feel and less on watch-checking, and I found myself a couple of times running pretty comfortably with a group of reasonably fit runners, then suddenly realizing that I wasn’t really pushing very hard.  It felt good, I was high-fiving kids and saying thank you to supporters and volunteers, but I wasn’t really going for it.  I was a little scared from my last half, I think, and I was soaking up how nice it was to be feeling normal again.

Splits for Miles 3-7 = 8:38, 8:40, 9:03 (major hill), 8:52, 8:55.  Unimpressive looking back, but like I said, I really wasn’t paying attention.  I should have.  These are not difficult paces.  I didn’t push it real good.

The rain started in the ninth mile.  A sprinkle or two fell, which was fine.  Then the sprinkles turned into a shower, which then turned into DRIVING POURING SHEETS OF STINGING SIDEWAYS RAIN AND MY GOD I COULDN’T SEE.  I kept trying to wipe my eyes, but my hands were so wet.  Nothing helped.  Everyone went silent, except for someone yelling behind me, “I’m melting!”, which went great with the Wizard of Oz theme.  The drops were huge, and they kind of hurt.

It was a quiet group of determined runners who quickly got more determined once we started seeing the lightning.  Picture if you will (and I think you will) me plowing along, mouth open gasping at times because I was getting so cold and soaked.  Throw in a few worried faces and a lot of splashes, and you’ve got Miles 8-10.  It was difficult to run through, even sprinkled with the motivation that was lightning, and I knew I was running slow, though it felt like close to max effort.  I didn’t look at my watch.  I couldn’t see it anyway.

Splits for Miles 8-10 = 8:43, 8:41, 9:04.  Sigh.

The streets flooded quickly, and we all ended up running through rivers pouring down the streets.  I saw one guy in front of me stop to ask a police officer a question, which I assumed was, “Are they calling it?” or “Are we safe?”, but I couldn’t hear what the policeman said.  My thoughts were only of my car three miles ahead and the fact that I don’t love racing enough to die for it.  Unfortunately, this was the point where I started to feel fatigued, like the previous half marathon two weeks prior was catching up with me.  I was fine and running hard, I just knew that I wasn’t running very fast.

Then the hail hit…extra unfortunate.  Misery, thy name is marble-sized hail falling on my head.

A chorus of “ow”s and a few curse words (those might have come from my mouth), but otherwise silence, except for one tremendous reverberating burp let out by a delicate-looking gal in a tunnel.  I’ll give her credit for great timing.

I thought my pants were going to fall down.  My feet were soaked.  I knew my time wasn’t anything outstanding.  Yet I wasn’t experiencing the physical pain of two weeks prior, where my brain consciously uncoupled from my body in pain.  I was running, I was present, and I was about to wrap up my second half marathon in two weeks.  I had nothing to hang my head about, even if I was capable of better.  There are many joys in racing, and they don’t always come with a PR attached.  My legs weren’t giving me my best, but it was okay, as long as I didn’t die and it ended eventually.

I splashed on.  Looking back, I’m surprised at how slow my 13th mile was–8:48.  In comparison, two weeks ago when I was just trying to get to the medical tent, I put up an 8:27.  My last 1/10 on Saturday?  An 8:58 in comparison with a 7:52 two weeks ago during my out-of-body experience.  So weird.  It was the best I could give at that moment, I guess, so I need to live with that.  It’s not like I wasn’t aching to finish–I just was spent!

I rode the wave of water in and finished in 1:56:23, a shockingly bad number.  I was so wet that I didn’t care, and given that I’d started so far back, I had no sense of how good it would be in comparison with other runners.  I ran into two friends (also running the Heartland 39.3 and very strong runners) who told me their legs were also a bit fatigued, which made me feel better.  I shivered my way home and walked in the door to the laughs of HH and the boys.  I could not stop shaking.  I had the best hot shower of my life.

Race Grade: B -.  The Taco Bell stayed put, I was conscious for all of the race and ran reasonably hard in terms of effort, but the hail and rain was godawful, the course was incredibly boring for much of the last three miles winding constantly through residential streets (run one block, turn, run another, turn) and my paces were dismal.

Final numbers?  14/184 in my Shebeasts 40-44 smoking hot division (top 7%), 183/1317 for women (top 14%), and 550/2199 overall (top 25%).

I took some solace in the numbers and spent the rest of the day doing my best Lili Von Shtupp around the house (“I’m tired!  Tired of playing the game!  Ain’t it a crying shame!  I’m so tired.  God dammit I’m exhausted!”)

Let’s face it…everything below the waist is kaput!

Now I rest and regroup one more time for the third half marathon, Running With the Cows!  I share this video because it makes me want to run, right now, and that’s pretty amazing given the state of my legs.  If you watch this, look for the dancing and clapping priest.  He makes my day (but the older lady terrifies me.)

The word on the street is that the postrace food here is fantastic…lots of Catholic ladies make homemade food!  I can’t wait to finish the trifecta, and I will be keeping my fingers crossed for no freaking hailstorms!

 

Tweaking Miles and Twerking Tails

Half marathon #2 of 3 is fast approaching, and I am so ready…ready to enjoy it and to run some real miles again.  I’ve never run two races like this close together (only two weeks apart), so I’ve been a little confused as to how to recover yet stay prepared for the next race. 

Basically, I’ve hated it.  I decided to follow Run Far Girl’s plan based on her experience last fall, which essentially called for a few days’ rest, then easy runs every other day until the next race.  I made one modification, subbing a 6-mile run for her 3-mile run last Saturday.  I just couldn’t bring myself not to do at least six miles.  I feel like it’s not enough running–like I’m losing what little edge I had–but yet I know I need to recover and take it easy so I’m refreshed for the next race.

My paces and energy have been fairly scattered.  My legs have felt pretty strong and like they’ve recovered quickly, but yet my energy has felt a little sluggish (“like a wet sponge!”) at times.  I tell myself, “It was only a half…suck it up!” and then keep plowing the road when I feel droopy, but I’ve also tried to listen to my body and not push myself to run too fast.  I am just trying to tread water until I can go out there and stink it up again! 🙂

I’ve been dragging an increasingly overheated dog on the last run or two, which hasn’t helped.

It’s all fun and games until I’m pulling him down the street…

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My only goal for this next race is to avoid what happened last time…I don’t ever want to experience that type of episode again.  I am going to take a salt packet before leaving the house like I did before last spring’s marathon, and I am going to get a better water bottle so that I can take my Nuun with me (it leaked last time and I had to leave it at the car.)  I also am going to start off slower, in case that was part of the problem and also since my legs probably aren’t as fresh.  I am trying not to set any time goals, although I will be pissed to come in anywhere over 1:55.

In other news this week, HH and I took the boys to see Mizzou (our undergrad) play Wichita State at Kauffman stadium the other night.  We got front-row seats, which really paid off when the KC Royals mascot, Slugger, decided to get a little fresh and entertain us with a little tail twerking.

Work it, Sluggerrr…anybody got some ones I can tuck into his waistband?

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Even better than his piece of tail was our close-up view of the great hot dog race…it was close, but the “wiener” was Mustard…”squirting” by Relish for the victory!  Ketchup “squeezed” out of the gate too slow and just couldn’t “Ketch-up!”

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Yes, I am laughing at my own lameness…pardon the buns puns!

As always, happy running, and to all those blogging friends who also are running races this weekend, good luck!