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!

 

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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!

For Your Viewing Pleasure: My Race Pics

The race pics are in, and though there are no pics of me touching my fingers together in the midst of my out-of-body experience, there is still plenty to laugh at!  So, for your Friday amusement, I now present my last half marathon summed up in three short pics…

First, HH…running strong at the end of Mile 9 (the wheels on the bus were still going round and round at that point, he said, but fell off shortly thereafter)–

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I would give anything for his skinny thighs and ass…it’s not easy being married to a man whose butt is smaller than yours.  These are my problems.  Feel for me, people, feel for me.

And here I was, a few minutes earlier at the same spot…half delirious, but somehow rocking an 8:55 mile (not great, but acceptable given my state.)  Hey, Mr./Ms. Photographer, where were you at Mile 4 when I pulled that 8:10 mile out of my ass?  My stride would have photographed beautifully!

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And now I would like to demonstrate the power of two photos, taken just a second apart, to demonstrate both the agony of defeat and how a slightly different angle and snapshot in time can look so different.

Photo 1: I appear to be moving, which is good considering that I was in the middle of a damn race.  My eyes are closed in an expression that is part what-the-hell-am-I doing, part I-am-headed-to-the-medical-tent-can-anyone-give-me-a-ride, part I’ll-be-damned-if-I’m-not-going-to-finish.  I am moving the fingers on my left hand, because I had lost sensation in them.  Was I trying to snap?  Who the hell knows?  At least I don’t look that fat…I look like me when I look in the mirror.  This is what I see in myself…and I’m okay with it…

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Photo 2:  NOT OKAY!  I have highlighted the areas of my discontent.  HH and I laughed for at least ten minutes over this photo last night, but secretly I am just glad that I have a well-worn sense of humor and can laugh at myself; otherwise, I might cry.  Who is this dumpy speed walker and what is she doing with my race bib on?

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I hope this pic gave your your laugh for the day…it is certainly giving me motivation for next weekend’s redemptive half marathon!  Happy running, readers!

Close is a Lingerie Store Without a Front Window: Rock the Parkway Race Recap*

*Alternate title A: Boy, did I Suck

*Alternate title B: I Laid Off Booze for This?

*Alternate title C: At Least I Didn’t Have to Shit Myself

Let me set the tone for my race recap with this telling statement:  I only made it to the finish line because I knew that’s where the medical tent was…and that’s not a lie.

I am frustrated and fired up over yesterday’s disappointing performance.  Did I meet any of my three tiered goals (sub 1:55, a PR if under 1:52, a piss-myself-with-joy balls-to-the-wall-HeavyT-style pipe dream of sub 1:50?)  Yes.

The lowest one.  

Boo.  I finished at 1:54:12, 850 out of 4931 (top 17% overall), 31 of 469 for a top 7% finish in my age group of 40-44 year old gorgeous shebeasts (and as HH pointed out, still a respectable top 17% in my Heavy T age group of men 40-44).  I should take some solace from those numbers, because it’s a damn miracle that there isn’t a DNF by my name.

I hydrated to the gills.  I ingested so much salt to try to get my blood pressure up for the race.  I STAYED AWAY FROM WINE ALL WEEK.

But some things are just beyond control, and that’s the joy and pain of racing.  You spend 12-16 weeks training and hoping for your best day, and it doesn’t always happen.  The stars don’t always align.

Sometimes you show up in bright Smurf shoes and you just don’t get it done.

I have to say that it was so fun having HH with me in the morning.  He had tweaked his back on Friday and spent much of the evening on ice.  I was so worried about him running, but he just laughed it off and said he hoped not to have to be pulled off the course on a stretcher.  I filled out his emergency info on the back of his bib just in case.

I had my usual pre-race breakfast of scrambled eggs and a banana and also sipped some Nuun.  We laughed all the way to the course and repeated our mottos.  Don’t shoot out of the gate like a freak.  Power and poise!  Don’t you go dying on me!

I freaked when we got out of the car and I realized that my bottle of Nuun was leaking.  I had to leave it at the car.  I knew that could be a problem, because I really count on the electrolytes and salt to keep my blood pressure up.

Prerace selfie…we are so going to own this race!  Heavy T wore a pink headband so people would know she is a woman…

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It was so hot.  Tuesday was the first spring run where I was able to head out in shorts and a tank, and there we were at the starting line in 65-degree sunny humid weather.  Not good at all.

Still, can I admit that I was so excited and confident?  I knew I was at least up for a PR.  I lined up just behind the 1:50 pacers.  And we were off…and it was great.

I hung with the pacers and enjoyed the first several miles.  My splits were 8:48, 8:39, 8:38 and 8:10 for the first four.  The hills didn’t feel that bad, but the temperature was uncomfortable.  I ate a few Honey Stingers at around the 35-minute mark and planned on eating another bunch at around 1:20.  That didn’t end up happening, as I was in the throes of a major physical episode (major foreshadowing.) 

I ran Mile 5 at an 8:13.  And the wheels started to come off midway through that mile.  What’s weird is that I never felt like it was lactic acid.  My muscles never burned, and I never felt like I couldn’t catch my breath.  What hit me was just an onslaught of nausea, chills and shaking.  I was trembling, and my body just felt so tired, so suddenly.  I let the pacers move on ahead and prayed that it was just a temporary issue.  I can catch them, I thought.  Fucking positive thinking.  

Two or three minutes later, I took my first walk break, something I’ve never done in a half.  It was walk or puke.  I walked for ten seconds. The feeling passed a bit, and I ran again.

I took six walk breaks from that point on, and debated quitting about a thousand times.  Many others were walking too–more than I expected to see, given that we were all runners from the 1:59 and under wave.  I wanted to cry.

I grabbed Gatorade at the next several water stations and cursed my leaking Nuun bottle sitting back at the parking lot.  My entire body was in a fog, and I just rode the waves of holding in vomit/shaking/chilling while trying to keep moving forward and maintain consciousness.  I was in real danger of fainting.

My splits for Miles 6-8 were 8:20, 8:23, and 9:11.  Obviously, Mile 8 was a difficult one.  I can look at those splits now with the perspective of being a day removed and take a little pride in the fact that I managed two sub 8:30 miles while fighting death or a hypoglycemic coma (ha! the drama!), but there was no pride to be had in my heart at that time, only anger and disappointment in myself and my ability.

Splits for Miles 9-11 were horrid at 8:55, 8:57 and 9:21.  Not the negative split I was hoping for, but then I never could have anticipated that I would be coaxing myself through such a spectacular flameout.  Heavy T was hurting, folks!

I convinced myself to finish only because I knew that’s where I could get some medical attention.  I have never thought that in my life!  Talk about pathetic!  My only consolation was that the 1:55 pacers hadn’t swept me yet, although they had been a solid two minutes behind me at the start.  If they had, I might have summoned my last bit of strength to steal their stick and shove it up their asses.

I never saw HH, who had lined up behind me.  I didn’t even care if he passed me.  All I could think for him was, “Be okay.”  I saw a woman off to the side around Mile 11, cradled by bystanders who were pouring water into her mouth.  Her eyes were glazed.  No one was home.  Hell, neither was I.

Jesus, I was in a war zone 🙂

I was cold, but I couldn’t really feel my fingers.  I touched them together at one point to see if I could feel them.  I had no real sensation, but I could feel that they were super hot, which was so strange because other parts of my body were so cold.

I hope there’s a race pic of me hobbling along touching my fingers together…that would be hysterical in a shoot-me-now kind of way.

I ran by some chick sitting on her ass yelling, “One mile to go!” and almost kicked her in the face.  Must have been the testosterone, but bitch was lying and I knew it.  Don’t fake us out!

I got up to a downright miraculous 9:11 for Mile 12, as visions of IVs and paramedics danced through my head.  Then, by something more like desperation but which I shall call mental fortitude, I zipped it up to an 8:27 for Mile 13 (all downhill.)  Mama needs either a drip or a gun to the head…whatever will make the fog lift.  I did not want to puke.  I have my standards.

I am proud to say that I kicked ass on the last 1/10th of a mile with a 7:52 sprint.

And that’s a race!  Disappointed and frankly pissed, I approached the medal holders and picked a kid that I thought had Down’s Syndrome to take my medal from.  As I got closer, I realized that he did NOT have it…just had a bad haircut.  See what I mean?  I wasn’t right in the head (I mean worse than usual, of course.)

I got my chip cut off, and decided to walk for a minute to see if I could pull myself together or if it was tent time.

I am proud to say that after a few minutes, I was better.  

HH crossed the finish line in 1:59:09, hobbled but proud.  His back gave him trouble, but he ran a smart race and had a great time before his wheels fell off around Mile 9.  He met his goal of coming in sub 2:00.

And I met my lowest goal.  I did laugh when I looked at my Garmin stats and saw that at one point, I briefly hit a 6:43 pace.  When the hell did that happen?

Now I reflect.

What happened?  Can you offer any advice?  Was it hypoglycemia, low blood pressure, or some combo (I know they are linked, and I get both sometimes, but I try so hard to put myself in the best possible position to overcome it.)?  Was it heat stress?

Or, dear God, was I just running beyond my ability?  That would be hard for me to accept, because I worked hard this training cycle AND because I just didn’t feel like the pace was beyond me until the nausea hit.  I was running comfortably and confidently…power and poise!

It reminded me of when the epidural didn’t work while delivering my second, and the pain was so bad that I was puking, and the nurse was yelling at me that I needed to stop puking so I could push, and I wished a painful and immediate death upon her and the members of her family.  It would have been great to just put the nausea aside and run faster, but sometimes it just ain’t that easy!

I welcome any advice.  I feel like I am never going to achieve my sub 1:50 goal if I don’t get a handle on what happened, and I am sad.  Am I just not fast enough or good enough?  Maybe it’s just not in the cards for me…

I maybe should have waited another day to post so I would be less emotional, but this is just how I am feeling.  Thanks for reading!  I should add that HH and I had a lovely afternoon talking over the shared experience, we had our first cookout of the season with the boys and had a great family night, complete with lots of time outside sipping rosé and enjoying the evening.  I think we both earned it, right?

I was just happy not to be prone in the medical tent here postrace…

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As an extra bonus, a pic of HH’s postrace blisters….let this be a lesson to you kids out there…blisters suck!

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It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World, and a Pre-Race Mantra

FIRST, the mantra for tomorrow’s Rock the Parkway half marathon (the first in my Heartland 39.3 Challenge of 3 half marathons in 5 weeks)–it’s very short and goes like this—

Don’t shoot out of the gate like a freak.

That’s it, really.  I like to keep it simple.

I am hydrating and mildly carb-loading…more than I need to for a half marathon, but why stop something that’s so enjoyable?  I also have been watching the weather obsessively while debating what to wear.  Unfortunately, it has progressed from “should I wear a long-sleeved layer and end up hot?” to temps in the high 50s to start (with plenty ‘o sun) and up to the mid 60s by the time I fist pump my way across the finish line with a new PR of anywhere under 1:52 (the Nuun must be making me delirious.)  It shall be full on Sun’s Out Guns Out weather, which is great for decision making but not so good for racing.

At least we won’t all freeze, right?

I am obviously excited for tomorrow’s half.  I had made a personal goal at the start of the year that I would break the 1:50 barrier this year (my PR is 1:52.)  I figured I would have the best chance in the fall, but now that I made it into the NYC Marathon, I am realizing that tomorrow’s race will be my best chance at meeting that goal.  Do I think it’s realistic?  Not really…I just don’t think I’m there.  So I am going to shoot for a PR instead and hope for the best, but I really do want to focus more on enjoying the race, since my last half marathon was so damn fun because I ran it with no expectations and actually had a negative split for the first time ever (wow, what a difference it made in my joie de vivre!)

Am I rambling?  I feel like I’m rambling…

Anyhoo, I hope to PR, I will probably piss myself if I break 1:50, I will shit myself if I lose to HH but also will be ecstatic, and I really hope to enjoy myself as a bonus (usually I hit the seventh circle of hell around Mile 11 in these things and spend Miles 12-13 listing out the reasons why I will never race again.)

Second, I have to share a personal story that is part embarrassing, part too-funny-not-to-admit (and no, honey, not the story where I ran out of gas the other morning and you had to come bail me out!) 

So I’ve been breaking out with acne lately…at 41.  Yes, it’s a joy running around town with zits and wrinkles.  I’m sure you can imagine my happiness.

I thought it was maybe from running and sweating and applying so much sunscreen (remember that the sun is not your friend, peeps, and slather on a broad spectrum SPF.)  Well, I went to see a dermatologist on Wednesday, and she told me that adult female acne is quite common and that I just have “too much testosterone” floating through my body.  Apparently, if I was a man it would attach to my skin and make my beard, but since I’m a woman it just attaches to receptors and causes acne.  

I was simultaneously horrified and salivating at the comedic aspect.  First, I have decided that my new rap name shall be Heavy T. From now on, please refer to me as such.  I also preface all statements to HH with, “This may be the testosterone talking, but…”, and I scratch myself regularly.

The lovely and ultra-feminine PA went on to describe the medicine I need to take and asked me if I was okay with it, since it’s technically a diuretic which might cause my already low blood pressure to crash more severely.  I simply grunted and shook her hand with my big meaty paw.

Then yesterday, I went to pick up my race packet and noticed on my printed registration receipt that I was listed as a male.  Seriously?  What gives?  People, I am not a man!  I shall seriously be wearing pink for the next few months until I once again feel confident in my femininity.  

I made sure to get it straightened out in the system, ‘cuz you know I check my gender stats every race to see where I stack up.  Hopefully it is fixed for all three races.

As a bonus for sticking with me for this long post, here is a list of my favorite second-half race songs…I am torn between calling them Negative Split Songs or Spastic Songs for Speed.  Regardless, these songs help me crank up my pace, so if you’re looking for new tunes, maybe you’ll find one here in this not-so-original list!

Happy running!

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Old Injuries, New Shoes and a Quest for Fun

The first half marathon of the Heartland 39.3 Challenge is four days away, and I am wondering why I thought it would be fun to run three half marathons in five weeks.  I fee like I might be whistling Zip-a-Dee-do-Dah out of my you-know-what by the time I’m done with this quest.

Thanks to all who gave suggestions for my long run last weekend.  I appreciate it!  I ended up running a very comfortable 10 miles at around a 9:20, then shut it down with plenty of gas left in the tank, as I was running a bit late to take the boys to see War Horse (overall “meh” rating, but amazing puppetry!)  So it all worked out well…

The race is just four days away, so I drove the course yesterday.  I know most of it, but hadn’t been down by the start in quite awhile.  I sort of wish I hadn’t made the drive, because now I am nervous.  The overall course is fantastic and relatively flat, but the first three miles are all uphill…a steady, unyielding ascent up pain mountain.

Yuck.  I hate uphill starts.  I really was hoping to start slow and easy, but it looks like the first three miles will be a fight to contain my speed and desire to hurry up the hill and get it the hell over with.  I don’t want to pay for a mistake later on.  Hell hath no fury like lactic acid (or technically hydrogen ion) buildup.

HH is sick of running and just ready to get this over with.  Neither of us can remember what we listed as our projected finish time, so I am hoping we will be put in different corrals.  I just don’t want to see him during the race, because I have a feeling it would be highly DEmotivating for me.

And now for a lesson on shoes…lesson being that you should not go to your favorite running store and ask about new shoes on a busy weekend.  My plantar fasciitis has been kicking up big time in recent weeks, including my right foot, which is a new and frankly alarming development, as being hobbled on both feet is infinitely more difficult than limping around on one good foot.

My first thought was that my shoes needed replacement, as I knew they were close to the mark.  I went to Garry Gribbles (a major chain of stores here in KC) a few weekends ago and got a young kid in a full store.  He examined the soles and told me I was fine for quite awhile yet.  Well, three weeks later, and the little plantar fasciitis elf is still stabbing me in both heels with his tiny sharp sword.  I went back a few days ago, got an older dude, and was promptly told that the shoes should have been replaced quite some time ago and that the midsole had totally broken down.

Perhaps I should make a voodoo doll of the young worthless lad out of the frozen water bottle that I am constantly icing my feet with these past few weeks.  Ahole.  Wishing you an abundance of hydrogen ions on your next race, young man!

My new shoes are my same model (Asics GT-2000), but in a horrendous new bright aqua and orange orgasm of color.  I feel like a circus clown in these things.

Shine bright like a diamond!

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My feet are feeling foolish but much happier, which is great considering that they have to take me through this weekend’s half marathon and two more before May 11th.

My race prediction? I am going to go lasso a 1:38:03 like Early to Rise Runner…no, I jest, but please go check out her AWESOME recap where she “chicked” some guys (my new favorite term) at the finish and spurred herself to a PR by five minutes.

I think she’s one of “those” people I’ve complained about in my post Ten Types of People Who Annoy Me During Races…you know, the real fit bitch.

I say that with love, Alyssa! 🙂

As for me, I could end up anywhere from a 1:52-1:56, I am guessing.  I will be happy with anything under 1:55, and I will drown myself in wine with anything over that number (who am I kidding?  It will be a wine fest either way!)

If I don’t do well, I will blame my running coach…

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He’s always interrupting our training runs so he can defecate in a yard…