Sunday, December 30, 2012

So This is How Grownups Play in the Snow?

I don't have kids. My dogs are tiny and they HATE snow. That means, as a grown-up, I tend to use snow as an excuse to hang out in the house, drink beer, eat excessively, and cramp up my back by shoveling snow with bad form. Kids seem to make parents brave the outdoors to build snowmen and sled and what not. Dogs that weigh more that 15 pounds mostly LOVE snow and are a delight to romp and frolic in the snow with. Again, I got no kids, one nine pound dog, and one 15 pound dog. Until recently, snow = eat to insulate.

The past week has been pretty unpleasant for me. Bronchitis and running don't mix. Add in a super busy lotsa overtime work week with a side of blizzard (the snow kind not the delicious Dairy Queen kind) and I was way overdue for a total meltdown. Viola! Last night the meltdown happened. I hadn't felt like I had seen my husband all week so of course when he came home I lost my mind, bit his head off and had a spectacular meltdown!

We decided that this morning we would check out the local park trails and see how they were after snowpocalypse. We kept the plan to ourselves so that we could ditch out and hit the roads if the trails were too much to handle. And away we went! Some of the trails had only been trod on by snowshoes and some were fairly packed down. We picked our way across a few streams and then huzzah came across another runner. The only other person crazy enough to be out there.... was of course a good friend of ours! So now we were a trio. We turned a corner and started trudging through snow that hadn't been touched. Knee high snow that felt like this while running through this.
But it looked like this

I walked a lot because my bronchitis isn't quite gone. But it was worth every second. I got some time away from work and stress with my best friend and got a bit of "running" in. I'm sure that running these 4.5 miles were equal to 785 miles on roads. And I'm sure that I've discovered a way to enjoy a sunny snowy day. No children or snow loving dogs required.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Walking Isn't a Bad Word, Is it?

I got up early this morning to run on the treadmill before work. I hate the treadmill, but when it's dark and early, sometimes it's just easy, so I'm happy I have it as an option. So that's how my morning was going to start. Up and at em! Hop on the treadmill, run a few miles, listen to some podcasts, and get into work early.

Well, plans don't always work out as.... planned. I walked a little to get things loosened up and then started a little jog. Then my knee grumbled, then maybe it yelped, back to a walk, try to jog, my knee hates me. What to do? What to do?

Do I crawl back into bed? Do I tough it out? Do I ride the stationary bike? Do I make coffee and catch up on my Words with Friends games? Or do I WALK?

I chose to walk. And then I spent a good part of the two miles that I walked on the treadmill trying to remind myself that it's ok to walk. Walking is better than going back to sleep isn't it? It's not like I was strolling, I was Walking with a capital W. So why did I have to convince myself that it was ok?

I run/walk lots of my longer races. I always have. Some of it is habit but sometimes it just feels good to walk and rest my running muscles. And come on, it's not like I'm going to win. So if taking a few walk breaks makes it more fun then why not? WELL, tell that to some of the runners I've told it too and their reaction would make you think that I had told them I soak my sports bra in urine before every race! What's the big deal? I've heard it a million times:

That race was crap I actually had to walk

What kind of idiot does that run/walk crap?

Why would you walk? It just slows you down.

It's not really running if you're walking.

UGH, dumb dumb dummies! Here's the thing, any forward movement counts. Some of it's prettier than others, but ALL of it is better than sitting on the couch! If it's not a good day to run, but walking is ok, it still counts. People that say dumb stuff about walking don't realize that someday walking might be all they can do. They also don't realize that no one likes a jerk. Walking isn't a bad thing, but being a jerk DEFINITELY is. Especially if you're being a jerk to yourself.

That being said. This morning I thought I was going to run, but it didn't work out. Instead, I had a lovely walk where I pushed myself, upped my incline, and got some decent exercise. It was all my body could give me today, so I took it. THE END

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Is This What Superman Feels like?

I've got the post race blahs. I've held them off with constant marathon training since June-ish, but here I am. And I knew it was coming. You know how on race weekend you feel like Superman? You're all strut and swagger, you've just done the impossible, you've kicked all of the couch potato's butts. You can eat and drink whatever you want and be merry merry merry!!
I got back to work on Monday and a few people asked how the race went. It was sweet of them to ask, but I couldn't express to the them how cool it was, and how awful/wonderful I felt. I can't describe to someone what it's like to hate moving forward, but finding the energy to do it anyway. I just smile and nod and say yeah it hurt, I am sore, but it was good.

And then I die on the inside.

BECAUSE IT'S ALL I WANT TO TALK ABOUT!!!! In detail. I've learned, however, that the non runners in my life are not interested in how many gels I had, how many salt pills I took, what socks I was wearing, how I wore my hair, if I will lose a toenail, and how many times I pooped before the race. Why wouldn't they want to know about this? Because to a non runner it's the most boring stupid dumb crap ever.... oh yeah, that.

So I sit at my desk and wait for race pictures, reanalyze my splits, look at results over and over again, and wonder... is this how Clark Kent felt when he read the newspaper? He's out saving the world, then goes back to work like it's no biggie. Everyone is all, "oh Superman this and Superman that", and he's just sitting around casually acting like he doesn't have this amazing secret life. Maybe that's what these races are. A way to be superheroes on our down time?

Superheroes sounds much better than mildly self abusive, often OCD types that enjoy relentless forward movement, huh?

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Tecumseh Marathon... whoa, did that just happen?

Holy Crap. A dear friend and I say this about many runs we go on....

This is either the best idea or the worst idea EVER

I still can't decide which it was when it comes to this race . I have been interested/obsessed with the Tecumseh Marathon ever since I started running trails. This race looked amazing and terrifying all at the same time. The elevation profile alone would scare away many people.

There's a 17 minute mile cutoff, there are hills so big they have names. So of course, when I saw how well I was recovering from my October marathon.... I signed up. Crap crap crap crap. Thankfully, I once again found a friend that wanted to run with me. She's faster than me on roads, but less experienced on trails.Whew, glad I wouldn't have to pull this off alone. And I knew I would push myself harder with with a faster runner on my tail. I was a nervous and emotional wreck going into this race. Here's some disjointed thoughts on how it all went down.
-It's a point to point race. So you park at the finish and are bussed to the start. Met some really nice folks on the bus ride out and was feeling ok. We got to the start, got in line for the port-o-pots and a friend comes and tackles us for good luck! She and her fiance had come out to wish us good luck. Yeah! The race was supposed to start at 10.... but it wasn't starting. Then we find out two buses are lost and one bus is broken down. Oh crap. The giant 17 MINUTE MILE cutoff is looming in my head and getting shorter with every passing minute. I want to cry and puke and punch someone, but instead I just wait... Then surprise friend #2 pops up at the starting line. She recently moved out of town and we didn't even know she'd be there. This dear friend has given me strength and confidence that I didn't know I possess more times than she knows and a giant hug from her brought tears to my already welling up eyes. But FINALLY 45 minutes late we were off.
-I spent the first 3-4 miles doing math and wondering how on earth we could pull this off in daylight. I couldn't calm down. Then we started seeing these signs... run run Rudolph... Santa's got to make it to town. They were spread out. Then there were snowflakes... then tinsel.... then an aid station blaring Run Run Rudolph. They were amazing. Right after the aid station a few feet into the woods there's a woman in a full reindeer costume. That helped me calm down.

-The girl I was with took a fall early on. Thankfully it wasn't terrible. I didn't fall, but shortly after that I had a slow motion almost fall that lasted about 16 years. I think I was practically parallel to the ground for 45 minutes. When I avoided the fall I then started screaming at the top of my lungs with my arms in the air. Way to keep your cool Hazler.That near fall, plus a huge toe stub later on will certainly end with some blackened toenails.
-We talked to lots of great people as we ran. But I have no idea what their names are. However, between my friend and I we referred to them as walk/run guy, white shirt guy, the power walkers (those two could take a hill like you wouldn't believe), singing lady, and green shirt guy. People at trail races are so much more friendly than road racers. It's so much more relaxed. But my head kept doing the math... got to beat daylight.
-Random observation: Did you ever notice that trees that will soon fall over sound like the Predator? This was just hilarious to me and my exhausted brain.
- So my friend and I find ourselves mostly alone and I say, I'm gonna jump over by that tree and pee really quick since no one is around. Oops, there comes the next group of runners down the hill... with a bird's eye view of my shockingly white rear end. But I've already started to go, so all I can do is laugh! Who cares. Maybe it'll make for a funny entry on their blog.
-My fantastic husband was on top of the gigantic hill that was 75 miles long around mile 13. This was awesome! And awful. Awesome because I was so excited to see him. Awful because I just wanted to jump in the car with him and go home. Instead he filled up our Camelbaks gave me a kiss and away we went.
-Dear dear friends screaming like lunatics at mile 21 with a sweet power arch and a butt smack. Who knew a butt smack could help you so much in a race you've both hated and loved to extreme degrees within the last 5 hours?

- We were racing daylight, but there was also a 4:30 cutoff for mile 22-23ish. I kept looking at my watch saying we've got to push it. We've got x amount of time. But we kept wondering... with a 45 minute delayed start they've got to give us a little. We pushed our pace more than we thought we could, PASSING PEOPLE! I told my friend that if they stopped us I was just gonna punch someone in the gut and then we both need to take off! No gut punching required! We hit the mark at 4:35! My husband later told me that he was saying to the other cheerers, "god help the person that tries to tell my wife to stop running this race". After ten years of marriage, he knows me pretty well.

-Shortly after the 4:30 cutoff mark we ran for a bit with singing lady and green shirt guy. We were chatting with them about food and Gu's and how Gu is like fake fruit flavored spackle and it sits in your gut like a rock. The next thing we know we're singing the Bob Seger song Like a Rock. But we're all picturing the Chevy truck commercial.



 -My head was done with this race a thousand times over. But in the last two miles we stumbled into two great friends screaming awesome and hilarious things to us. One last hill, but we were laughing and smiling on the way up. We beat the sun! We did the race! HOLY CRAP EVERY INCH OF MY BODY HURTS!

-So many friends were at the finish line. And so were SOUP AND COOKIES!! Delicious soup and cookies and friends.
What a day. Our average pace was 15:35ish per mile. Which is crazy. I was worried about the 17 minute mile cutoff and here we were in the 15s! I did not know I had that race in me. I loved it and hated it. I was DONE with that race a million different times. I felt nauseous, dizzy, and like I was gonna crap myself off and on through the whole thing. I smiled and laughed and sang and shouted. 
Would I run it again? Ask me in a week and I'm sure I'd say yes. Because holy crap that was amazing/awful/awesome/terrible/fun.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Birthday Fun Run and Returning to the Scene of the Crime

Today is my birthday. Never an ideal time for parties due to its proximity to a little known holiday called Thanksgiving. Maybe you've heard of it? The older I get, the less I care about gifts and parties and the more I care about doing some fun stuff with people I love. This year I got that plus a reminder of how far I've come this year.

Turns out one of my best friends was born a couple of days before me. I have no problems at all sharing a birthweekend/ birthweek/ birthmonth with such a great gal. And that's saying something. This year we somehow roped a crew of people to do a trail race on the 24th of November. The day after her birthday and my birthday eve. I loved the idea of race that we could pretend was only created to celebrate US! And there was beer at the end. So that's always good.

It wasn't until a few days before the race that I really realized where we were going... The race was in the same park where my same dear birthweek sharing friend and I ran our first full marathon on trails. A race that I didn't think I was able to do, ready to do, or talented enough to do. But sometimes all it takes are some slightly crazy and overly positive thinking friends to convince you that you are able to do things that you didn't realize were possible. Then you find yourself at the the starting line with amazing friends, questioning your sanity, but loving that you took the chance. It was a convenient time for me to remember these fears and thoughts when I'm a week away from my next trail marathon that kinda scares the living crap out of me...

It was really powerful to be back on the same trails (with out the brain frying heat of an August marathon) with the same friend that carried me through our last adventure here. What made it better was sharing it with other friends that had never been there and having our own personal cheerleader/ photographer who had also conquered the searing heat marathon with us this summer (using the term "with" loosely, she's way faster than us) come along.

We ran and drank and ate and laughed. And then this morning I had another great run on my favorite trail with more people I love. I also had a red velvet cupcake. And as I sat there surrounded by people I love, enjoying my caffine, sugar rush, runner's high combo, I realized how happy I am to be where I am.

Super awesome things that happened before, during, and after the race:

-Long conversations in a van with friends about strangers with panty lines
-Busting my friend's chops because she brought skiing gloves to run in (seriously they looked like lobster claws, they were giagantic)
-Runners slow to a crawl going down a very steep incline. Friend turns to me and asks, "why does it smell like raw sewage here?" I answer, "because someone just let one rip..." Farts are always funny.
-Eating cookies and hot chocolate from the back of a van after a lovely trail race.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thanksgiving Running!

I love running. I love my friends. And I love my community. That makes the Bloomington Bagel Company's Turkey Trots 5K on Thanksgiving one of my favorite runs ever!

The first year I was a runner, I did this run. My husband thought I was crazy, but I loved the idea of getting up at the crack of dawn on a holiday known for gluttony and running around a sleepy town with other people from my community. This run has no entry fee, no t-shirts, and no winners. You just show up, run a 5k and enjoy bagels, coffee, and well wishing! That was six years ago and this is still one of my favorite runs.

Earlier this week my scar tissue in my knee reared it's VERY ugly head at me. Being the calm and collected person that I am.... I had a complete freakout! We're talking I can't breath what am I gonna do, I have a marathon in a week and a half, OHMYGODIMBROKEN freak out!!!! So, today's turkey trot wasn't just a fun run, it was a will my knee let me run test. No pressure, right?

In completely unhealthy bury all your feelings deep deep deep down style, I acted like today was no big deal. Just my favorite 5k with lotsa friends and some dude in a turkey costume. La dee da....

Thankful for turkey day miracles!!! The knee whined a little, but no barking. And I got to see tons of friends, got lots of hugs, and generally felt so grateful that this is where I am in my life. Oh and I got my picture taken with a giant turkey and some child I don't know.

So now it's time to eat a truckload of pie, have a couple of beers and start properly obsessing over this taper. Let's do this thing!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Just one more....

Seriously? This is me? When did this become me? Dang.

So there it is. The Tecumseh trail marathon. It's a beast. So I've heard. It's got giant elevation gains... so I've heard. And I'm gonna run it on December 1st. I fought it and fought it, but now I'm in. CRAP CRAP CRAP CRAP.

It's THE local trail marathon. And I've wanted to do it ever since I fell in love with trail running. But I kept thinking my schedule wouldn't allow it, it was too hard, the cutoff was too fast for my slow legs, and on and on. And then I had a great marathon, followed by a great half marathon, and then I just thought... maybe. I said to myself, if I can get 18 in a hilly Pate Hollow, I can do this. And then I realized that if I was planning on an 18 mile run, I was going to run the race. So I signed up.

Then the 18 mile run came. Mother Nature ordered up AMAZING weather! And lots of fools in my running group had a lot of miles to run too. The next thing we know this run is turning into a "thing" and it's a thing we call TRAILGATING!
Photo: Out 'trail-gate'

Seriously? This is genius!Friends+Food+massive amounts of running and hills! Our trail was a 6 mile loop and people just ran what they needed and ate and laughed post run! Everyone wins. EVERYONE! I got 18 miles of running, tepid coffee, m&ms (peanut and plain) AND HAM! Holy crap, sometimes magic awesome days happen and you just want to hug everything...

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Monumental Half Marathon 2012

My most sentimental race was this Saturday. The Monumental Marathon/ Half Marathon in Indianapolis. I did my first half marathon there in 2008 and my first full marathon in 2009. It's an easy race to get to from Bloomington which means I get to sleep in my own bed and not pay for a hotel room. AND all kinds of crazy fun friends from my running group go to this race! AND we can all hang out indoors until minutes before the race starts, give hugs, take pictures and giggle nervously! Magic!

This year I had just scheduled the Columbus full marathon two weeks before this half marathon and I managed a ten minute PR so I had Zero expectations for this race. I didn't even care to walk most of this half marathon, I just wanted to be there with my friends and shuffle along.

This is how my week started out....

This was still early on in the bruising process for the sweet broken toe I acquired on Monday morning. Because that's the way you want a race week to start. You know, walking down the steps and your foot slips down a stair but your pinkie toe stays on the stair... So, ouch, that happened. But I've done this before. And I've run on it before, so I knew that would be ok.

Then on Thursday's easy threesy (easy three mile run, cute name makes it more fun) I roll my ankle and sprawl out on the road. But, I hopped back up thinking it was fine. After the adrenaline of falling on the road in front of oncoming traffic wore off I did realize that my ankle was a bit stiff. Ok ok ok... here's where the crazy comes in, never once did I think of not running this race.


When I'm not running a full I'm always so grateful to not be running a full! That's how I felt on this race day. The weather was not looking good. It was cool/cold, which was great for me, but we were looking at a good chance for rain as the morning wore on. I wanted no part in the rain+cold equation.

Thoughts from the race:

-Am I running too fast?
-Why is that woman wearing a full size fanny pack? And what is making so much noise inside of it? Is it filled with tic tacs?
-Am I running too fast?
-WOW that guy is dressed just like Forest Gump right down to the old school Nikes with the red swoosh.
-Aw, guy missing many teeth screaming, "JUST DO IT! Anyone wearing Nikes? JUST DO IT!" That guy is good stuff
-Am I running too fast?
-Why didn't I look at the map? I have no idea when these water stops are coming
-Why does that woman stopped in traffic have a GIANT cardboard cut out of a cat in her car? WHO CARES?!?! It's fantastic!
-Am I going too fast?
-Wait who am I? I didn't know I could run a race this fast????

5 minute PR, HUH? I did not expect this result at all. I just felt good and kept going. What a pleasant surprise! The tiny hail/slush for the last half mile or so, not a pleasant surprise. But boy-o boy, those full marathoners got stuck in some crappy cold rain! I grabbed my warm clothes, acquired some hot coffee and spent a bit of time cheering for strangers and friends. Thoughts while cheering:

-Man I sure did win at finding coffee!
-Why is the coffee gone already?
-Why didn't I bring more clothes?
-Tracking says my friend just passed the 30k. I AM TOO TIRED TO DO MATH! What does 30k MEAN?!?!?
-Is that long grey haired, shirtless man wearing white jorts (jean shorts)?
-How do I break it to my friends that they got beat by the guy in the full elephant outfit?
-So glad I didn't run the full marathon...

Everyone finished! I even ran a friend in for the last .4-.5 miles. Of course, I thought she would be a bit more tired than she was. But, how do you tell someone, "oh sorry, I didn't want to run this fast, I know you've been going for 25 miles, but could you please adjust to what I'm comfortable with?" Yeah, I didn't think that would be a very good option. So I kept up with her, and she finished strong!

Afterwards we had more coffee, giant hamburgers and lots of laughs at a late lunch with some friends. Days like this make me love being a runner....

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Now What?

I set three running goals at the beginning of 2012:

1) Run a trail half marathon (this scared the crap out of me)

2) Redemption Marathon (Columbus, Ohio Marathon)

3) Run 1,000 miles for the year

And now here I am. I ran my first trail half in May and threw in a trail full for good measure. I had a blast and got a PR at the Columbus Marathon. And somewhere around mile 18 of the marathon I hit 1,000 miles for the year!

One thousand running miles for the year is a goal that I have made for the last two years. Last year was a fail. I don't even think I really recorded many of the miles I ran. I wasn't in love with running last year and fought through a few injuries. I didn't want to be reminded of how few miles I was running. But this year I figured I'd give it a go again. And here I am! Already over 1,000 for the year, all other items checked off and this leaves me wondering.... now what?

You know that point in the marathon where your Garmin hits 26.2 and you think, "ok, I'm done. 26.2 is all I agreed to!"? Minor issue is that you probably didn't run all of the tangents at correct angles so of course the course is a bit long. You have to keep running to the finish line, I mean, if you want your medal and space blanket you do. And I do want my medal and space blanket... always. Well part of me feels like that about the 1,000 mile goal. Welp, I'm done! No more running for me! But really, if I didn't run anymore this year, I'd be ringing in the new year as a single lady in a mumu. Single because I'm such a grump when I don't run, my husband would likely walk out on me. Wearing a mumu because I would probably weigh a thousand pounds by year end... So I suppose I'll keep running.

But it's not even the end of October and I'm goal-less. And I've been racing and trainings so much I forgot what casual running is... This is one of the dumbest problems I've ever complained about...

I suppose my goal for the rest of the year could be to have fun running? Oh, and stop griping about problems that aren't really problems....

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Columbus Ohio Marathon...Take that Chicago 2010!!!

I've mentioned it a million times and I'll mention it a million more... The Chicago Marathon of 2010 practically stole my will to run. It was a bad race at a bad time in my life and it was a quadrillion degrees.

I signed up for the Columbus Marathon as a redemption marathon. A full marathon that I would run and hopefully it would heal the wounds that Chicago opened. Hopefully, I would run a strong race, have a good time, and be in love with running again. And guess what?


Great race course + great weather + great travel companions = magic running day!!! So I'll hit the highlights....

- They start the race by firing a cannon. It was terrifying and the woman next to me almost jumped into my arms! Is it a good omen or a bad omen for the race when a stranger jumps into your arms?

-Oh great, I'm in the starting corral with the race "expert". Ugh I had to listen to her go on and on and on with her helpful hints for her fellow runners:
   Be careful where you walk for the first few miles, people throw clothes off and it's dangerous. Did you know that the half people run with the full for almost their entire race, but then those silly full marathon people have to keep going for another 13.1? Who would do that? (me lady, thanks for asking). If your bib number is showing you can buy pictures after the race. Did you know this is a timing chip on the back of your bib? I'm the smartest person alive....Are you wondering how fast you will have to run to get away from me?

She was a real pip. I couldn't wait to get away from her.

- Backwards runner girl. Ugh. She was running backwards somewhere around mile 6 or 7. Now, if you're running backwards to break a record or something, that's awesome. She was not. She was running backwards because, "it works different muscles and it's really great and I'm super smart" WHAMMO she wipes out into a guy running the CORRECT direction. Thankful to ditch her as well.

- Lots of running, lots of thinking. Lots of gigantic beautiful houses. Lots of sporadic O-H-I-O cheers (not an OSU fan so I pretended they were all for my alma mater Ohio University). I kept thinking I was starting too fast. But it felt good and I figured, who cares. I'll just keep running and see what happens! Lo and behold I was smiling....

- And then I was laughing. Hysterically! There was some weird guy cheering and saying inspirational things... like Oh my god you're doing this... this is amazing... this is gonna change your life.... Now I'm all for cheering and shenanigans, but this guys was so into it I felt like he was going to break down in tears. And it struck me as HILARIOUS!! I couldn't stop laughing and I'm looking around and no one else finds this humorous and that makes it even funnier because I feel like I'm on crazy pills.

-Directly after weird overly sentimental cheering guy is some DJ spinning tunes and standing a few feet away with there is a guy with tambourine obviously listening to very different music in his head. Again... hilarious.

- More running. Still smiling.

- Mile 19 shot of PBR. Always take the beer.

-Best music ever... two dudes wearing tuxedos playing Chariots of Fire on Keyboards. THIS WAS PERFECT! I looked directly at the red head and told him I loved him. Because oh my god how awesome is that!?!?! And I knew that they had been there all morning doing the same thing! So fantastic.

-So I get to that mile 25 that lasts forever and there are my dear friends screaming like lunatics! One had already finished and the other had come all the way to Columbus to cheer for us. So happy to see friendly faces. Even happier when they told me the race had a swear to god downhill finish.

- I passed about four people in the finish chute which has never  happened and again I was SMILING!

I had a blast at this race. My training had felt so crappy that I had no idea how this race would turn out. The stars aligned and gave me the road full marathon I needed. The good news is, I still love running, I loved this race, and I ran my fastest full by 10 minutes. Even better, the evening was filled with good food, delicous local beer, and good friends.


Great race! Go run it:

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

I know I can beat Al Roker

Lots of people have goals for races. They want negative splits, a certain per minute mile, not pooping themselves and on and on. My number one goal for every race has always been to get to the finish line without saying, "I am never doing this again". I'm not gunning for the win. I just want to have a little fun and challenge myself. Another ongoing goal is to beat the sweeper van.

So I thought that it would be fun for this race to pick another goal.

Everyone knows about Oprah and Ditty. And it was a humbling experience to know that they're marathon times are out of my league. Good job for them blah blah blah. So who is in my league?
Al Roker - 7:09 - I know I can beat this. Even when the road turned to lava and the runners started      to look like extras from the Thriller Video at Chicago 2010, I beat this.
David Lee Roth - 6:04 - I can beat this. And I also find it hilarious that I found his name in an Internet search of celebrity marathon times. It also showed up with this picture.
The thought of this picture and this man running a marathon will hopefully carry me through at least 6-7 miles... laughing.
Meredith Viera - 5:59 - She's a TV personality, she's charming, witty... and I'm gonna beat her too!
Katie Holmes - 5:29 - Insert Scientology joke here... I remember when she ran this time and some uppity so and so wrote into Runner's World saying things like how she wasn't even running and people as slow as her should be flogged and kicked and all races should only allow people that can run under 4 hour marathons and all us 5+ hour marathon people are just taking up everyone else's oxygen. And I hate that guy. Good job Katie! I'm still gonna beat you! ( I hope so).
And now we come to my real nemesis.... Jared Fogle - 5:13 - The Subway guy. He got famous for loosing weight eating Subway Sandwiches. And now he travels around with his "I used to be a big fella" pants encouraging people to eat sandwiches or something. I want to beat that guy.
We'll see.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

What's the weather gonna be like? What's it gonna be like now? Now?

Sun Oct 21

Partly Cloudy
Partly Cloudy
Chance of rain:
SSW at 9 mph  

This race day forecast looks amazing. And in case you're wondering, it's change only by about 5 degrees here and there in the past few days. How do I know this? Because I obsess over race day weather. Okay, I obsess over a lot of things. But when the race day weather shows up on's ten day forecast... sh!t starts to get real. And I focus on race day weather.

I check the weather on my phone and on my laptop... are they different? Why are they different? Has it changed in the last few hours?

Right now, it looks too good to be true. I love chilly race starts with overcast weather. But I realize things can change. Did I just check to see if it has changed? Yes I did. And yes it has.

Sun Oct 21

Partly Cloudy
Partly Cloudy
Chance of rain:
SSW at 9 mph
Seriously.... I could do this all day. And I do. No kidding.

The first thing I always hope for on race day is no rain. And when no rain looks like a reasonable, I start getting picky. 50 degrees at the start would be good, overcast at the start and sunny when I cross the finish line, low humidity.... it's not too much to ask is it?

I remember the 10 day forecast the year I did Chicago. And I watched the temps go up and up and up and up. By the time I got to race day I just assumed we would be running on hot lava. It was kind of like that. Did all that watching help? No, not really, it just added to my anxiety. But I'm not going to do something crazy like STOP obsessing about the weather. It's just what I DO. I wonder if it's changed yet?

One week til marathon day.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

1st Rule of Taper is... Make the Runs you do AWESOME!

Taper Shmaper....

I would have told you Saturday morning that I'm over running. I'm slow, I'm tired, and I'm sore all the time. Let's get this race in the bag and be dunzo! Every time I get to the taper I hate everything. I'm so excited to taper, but I hate not running. I also hate sleeping, being awake, walking, writing, cooking, chewing, other people chewing, using a stapler, and on and on.... But what if I did a different kind of taper this time? What if I tried to make all the runs I am allowed to do awesome? What if I make it a goal of my taper to fall in love with running! Genius? Maybe...

This idear started on Thursday. I was a super hateful grump monster. But I suckered a friend into unpaid therapy (running with me). I word vomited all the things that had been making me crazy. She listened. I healed. Ahhh. Friends that run and listen are the best friends in the world. She kept asking me, "do you run faster when you're venting?" I guess I do.

Then Saturday... You see, there was a trail race I had thought about running. I didn't really want to race. It was a triple loop 15k. I had no interest in doing it to be honest. But I wanted to be around my friends. Decisions.... I made the "smart" move and said, no I'm not gonna do the race. I was thinking, I'll just run in the State Park near my house. I had a friend that had agreed to do the first 4.5 loop with me, and then I'd do the second lap solo. Sounded good. Then Friend got sick. Then race got canceled. There was a part of me that thought a solo run was a good thing. Me and nature. Heaven. But I got out of my selfish runner I already have my day planned out brain and thought... I'll just tell them they can meet me.

WIN! I pushed myself harder and ran more miles than I would have solo! We crossed a creek with water up to our thighs 4 times! Had I been running alone I would not have crossed it once... We ran up a thousand stairs and laughed and smiled and the leaves are changing color. And I love running. Maybe I didn't get as many miles in as I would have on the road. But I LOVED running that day. I think this can work..... we'll see.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

I'll Imagine I'm Someone Else... And I'm AMAZING!

I've struggled with my mental game this training round. I've been doing a lot of solo runs which I had intended to be a magical time with myself to contemplate really smart stuff and become my full potential. Um... yeah. That was my intention.... and well, that just hasn't happened. Instead I've spent lots of time running alone and the little gremlin of self doubt has been a cruel little shit to say the least.
He keeps telling me I'm not picking up my feet enough, my pace isn't good enough, I'm taking too many walk breaks, everyone everywhere is better at this than me, I should have run more miles, I should have done more speed work, I should have lost 10 pounds and grown my legs 4 inches longer...

But the fact is that my taper is starting and the work I've done will carry my body through this marathon. In theory, right? Ugh.

How do I deal with this doubt and Debbie Downer thoughts going through my head? Well, I pretend I'm someone else! A "natural". There are a couple gals in my running group that are incredibly talented and when they run it just looks like no big deal. Probably how I look when I eat half a pizza. You know? No big deal, I do this all the time! So in the middle of a crap run I pretend that I'm "good at running, isn't this easy, fast girl". And for about 5-10 minutes it works really well!!! I'm amazing! Then it goes away. But maybe comes back later.

I'm driving in my car the other day and I hear this song and I start laughing because of this scene from a movie you've probably never seen. But I'm downloading this song for the race. And I'm gonna hear it, and I'm gonna laugh, and I'm gonna imagine I'm Chazz from Blades of Glory, and I'm AMAZING!

So that's what I'll be doing during my race to keep the gremlins away and to keep myself entertained. Pretending I'm a really good runner and also a really horrible and awesome ice skater. Oh let's see how this one turns out...

Saturday, September 29, 2012

An 18 mile warm-up for a 5K....

I thought about doing a before and after post. Before being last night, after being this afternoon. But I couldn't do it. I was nervous about today's run. Too nervous for a before post. Here's what it would have resembled.

I have a 21 mile run tomorrow. I've been thinking about it all week. I haven't had a successful long run for this marathon yet and tomorrow is the longest long run before the marathon. Gag this run down and then it's taper crazies... please let this run go well, or ok... just let it be ok.

The plan was to start at 6am, get in 18 miles and the stumble through a local 5K. This 5K has special meaning to me. It was the first 5K I ever ran back in 2007. And besides, what a great way to end a 21 mile run? A finish line!

Thankfully a dear friend joined me for the first 6 miles. She kept me at a great pace and we ran til just about sunrise. I felt good continuing on to the local rail trail and I hit it right after sunrise. It was then that I notice Fall had come! What? The leaves are changing color and the air was cool. Things were going well. All in all I'd say about 15 of the first 18 went well. Those other three sucked bad. But I had a deer pop his head out of some trees, see me and then skittered away. It was kind of like a cartoon.

I got back to the stadium to meet my friends for the 5k. That's right, I still had a 5k to run. Problem number one was that we stopped moving for awhile and then had to move again. Oh my OW! We started the race moaning and groaning like zombies. Great.... The best thing about this 5K is that they have orange slices at mile 2. Orange slices are silly for a 5k, but for your 20th mile... they are filled with magical rainbows and unicorns!
Finished the run, ate delicious food with my friends, drank a gallon of coffee, ice bath, and a mostly successful long run! Yeah! I'm breathing a sigh of relief. I needed that decent run to believe I could even get through this race. Done. Now on to the taper crazies... here we go!!!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Another Saturday... another long run

What is with me and these long runs? I go in with the best intentions but it just seems like at some point they all fall apart... Like today for instance.

My intial plan was to start at 6am before meeting the group, knock out 5ish miles and then finish up with 9 more. Well that didn't happen. The alarm went off way to early. 6am became 6:30 and 6:30 became oh I'll just start at 7 with everyone else. I did have a better breakfast than last week. So I've got that going for me.

I expected this to be a solo run filled with deep thoughts (ok dumb thoughts about dumb stuff), so I was pleasantly surprised to find out I would have a bit of company. One friend stayed with us for one or two miles and then I had a new friend to keep me company for ten miles. We kept the pace a little faster than I expected, the weather was lovely, and the conversations were easy. What could go wrong? Well, first my Garmin start/stop button wouldn't work. So that was weird, but no sweat I'll just give it the ol hard reset when I get home. I dropped my new friend off at the parking lot and then I was off for 4ish miles. And that's when things got unpleasant.

Thankfully I had charged my Ipod last night (learned my lesson last week). So I put on some music and off I went! I immediately felt tired and disinterested with the rest of my run. My back started hurting, my legs hurt, I'm a giant crybaby... Oh lord. I took a salt pill to see if it would help with some of the cramping. But mostly my game face had entirely left the game. I was just over it. Again. Struggled through 3 miles. The End.

Now back to this Garmin. The more I thought about it, the more I realized that a hard reset isn't gonna help crap if the button doesn't even beep. And the button doesn't beep. And of course it's the most important button. That would be the start/stop button. DOH! But I can fix stuff right? I'm super smart right? Want to know what the inside of a Garmin 210 looks like? It looks like this

They are also made with the crappiest stripable screws ever. In case you were wondering. I thought I got it fixed. But it broke again after one button press. Sooooo...... now I've got a new Garmin on the charger and I'm a little bit poorer.

Today's run had a few results:

New runner friend. YEAH!!!!
I have a new Garmin.
I have some SEVERE sports bra chafing.
And I'm wondering when the heck I'm going to have a "winning" long run!?!!


Sunday, September 16, 2012

Ow. The Things You Learn

Nothing makes marathon training more real to me than running an 18 miler. Until I hit that point I can just pretend I'm messing around and continue to talk about how far away the race is. But the 18 miler is like a semi truck of reality for me. And that is what I got hit by yesterday. A semi truck.

I started an hour before I met everyone to say hi. Just me and my pepper spray ready to take on a sleepy campus. It was actually a very peaceful 5 miles to start. I realized I had forgotten my salt tablets, but it was a perfectly cool morning so I was sure I'd be fine. I did almost mace a runner guy that came bolting out of a driveway that was surrounded by trees. He didn't do anything wrong, but perhaps he could constantly announce his presence during his run? No? Ok. So the first 5 was good. Except I kept feeling like my pace wasn't matching my effort. Oh well, met up with the group to get my water belt, down a gel, and head off for the next 7 mile loop. I pull out my music, Ipod is dead. Ok, I don't really need music. Just keep running. By the the 5th or so mile of this loop my shins were starting to ache. This shin pain is not quite shin splints but some kind of horrible leg tightening that always happens to me while road running when my weekly mileage starts to creep into the 30s. It is always there, but occasionally it barks very loudly during runs.

So my shins were hurting, my  knees were hurting, and my tummy was growling. And my pace was slowing. Fan-freaking-tastic. Back to the car, another gel, fill up water belt, ditch planned route, just 6 more miles. Onward! Running has become shuffling, walking has become much more common, and pace has been thrown out the window. My new mantra is GET THE F$%#ING MILES IN! Just forward movement. Then the full body cramps come in. AHHHH!!! My whole body is locked up in pain. But what do you do? Storming into the nice Saturday Brunch place and grabbing a salt shaker was definitely an option I considered. But I abstained.  Thankfully, my route I was making up had me run into a few friends that allowed me some fantastic reasons to stop and chat. And then I was done. This run was about one third ok, one third oh well it's just a training run, and one third total shit show.

BUT! Training runs are just that... TRAINING (you see, that's why them call them that. Clever huh?) Training runs are great for upping mileage and learning what works and what doesn't work. I learned a lot about what doesn't work on yesterday's long run.

1) Tiny peanut butter chocolate chip sugar ball candy things do not a breakfast make. Eat something real. What was I thinking?

2) Bring salt pills. Duh.

3) Make sure your stupid Ipod is charged if you want to listen to music. Oops.

4) This shin pain isn't getting any better on it's own. Must be more diligent about rolling out and compression.

5) You can make it through a shit show run. F'ing awesome. 

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Speed workouts? Ok fine...

So it's been over a month since my trail marathon. I've stopped doing a race every Saturday... I guess it's time to start facing the facts that I've got yet another full marathon coming up in October. Time to get to work. I mean, even my blackened toenail from the full in August is growing out. Ugh...

What does get back to work mean today? Today it means, my legs are tired and I'm kinda grouchy. Enter awesome running friends. I texted my friend earlier when running seemed fun this morning. And I didn't want to be a deadbeat, so I showed up, grumpy mood still intact. AND tonight was workout night. Workout? Man, I hadn't done a workout in so long I kind of forgot about them. Oh boy was I reminded.

I know that speed work is supposed to be good for you. My coach/guy that gives me suggestions I ignore has talked about this and that and lactate threshold and science that I don't understand. And I know he's right (don't tell him I said that), but man it's hard work. Oh it pays off too. I may not gain a lot of speed but I gain some and I gain a lot of "suffer" practice. Suffer practice? It's that part of a one mile repeat that you get to and  you want to stop cause it's a nightmare but you speed up. It's that last Fartlek that you want to skip but you said you would do 10 so you suffer through the last one because that's just what you do. And when you get to mile 22 of your race and you hate everything and you want to be done, you remember that you know how to do this.

So, I worked my way through two one mile repeats and then my legs were dunzo. They were dunzo from the get go. But I actually put in a good effort. And I forgot the good "hey I did that" feeling you get after a good effort. Ok ok ok it's not my favorite. But I'll try to do it... sometimes.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Double Running is Double Funning?

Running twice in one day seems like a silly thing to do. I mean, it would be an awesome thing to do if I didn't have a job, or dogs to manage, or laundry, or a house to pretend that I clean... But I do have all of those responsibilities. Some days I do lift weights in the morning before work and then run after work. But those runs are often crap and I often say things like,"ugh this was a stupid idea, why did I think this was a good idea".

But I also like even numbers and double digits. Oh sure that sounds crazy. Because it is. I bought my first Garmin and immediately became the girl that jogged around the parking lot to make a run 8 miles exactly rather than 7.96. I could just leave it hanging at 7.96 could I? COULD I?

So yesterday I had a LOVELY seven mile run in some cooler weather with a friend that is one week away from her full marathon. I should have gone further, but due to my F Rule training plan... I said screw it, it will be more fun to run with my friend! So I did that and it was super fun. But then my training panic set in and I felt like I should go farther. That was after cheering for a 5k, getting coffee, and going to the farmer's market. What's a girl to do?


I had someone ask me once if it's still a long run if it's broken up by a few hours, like running half in the morning and half in the afternoon. The answer is no, it's not a long run. The end. But.... the extra miles can set a gals' mind at ease when she feels like she's abusing the F Rule in her training plan. When a gal feels like she is blowing off a weekend long run opportunity. Well, you get the idea. So I went home, dropped off my groceries and took off on a three mile run to give me 10 for the day. An even number AND a double digit. Still not as many miles as any training program would say I should go, but enough miles to set my mind at ease. It's not a terribly long run, but it works....

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Sounds Like a Fun Race! What's the Time Limit?

Everyone looks for different things in races. Nice shirts, finisher medals, flat, hilly, trails, big, small, and on and on...I definitely think about those things too. But I look at one other key piece... what's the time cutoff? I have good races and bad races. But I've accepted the fact that I'm not Boston Qualifier material. I'm slowish. So it's something I have to think about while selecting a race.

My first half marathon, I trained for the whole race with one thought in my mind. Beat the van. You know, the sweeper van. It morphed shapes in my head throughout the training, but most of the time it look like this in my head.

Yep, I pictured an old timey dog catcher car chasing me down the streets of Indianapolis, Indiana. Every training run I had came down to... did I beat the cutoff? That's all I wanted to do. When I started the race I had worked myself into such a frenzy about the sweeper van I imagined I could hear it creeping up behind me. It wasn't, but the image helped move me along which was kind of a good thing I suppose.

Now I look at races and if the time cutoff is not within reason for me, I say, meh forget it, I guess I just wasn't invited to that race. I respect a race director's choice. It's not a job I would want, because man we runners can be a bit gripey. But if you don't invite us non-fasties, aren't you just throwing money away? OR, if the race directors aren't inviting us average runners but that's only in fine print on the advertising for the race... do those directors feel bad when our names don't get listed as finishers? I suppose it's really a case of buyer beware. I try to make sure to run fun races with fun people. But it's my job to know if I can "beat the clock"... or the van.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Always Pick the Fun Race

I ran a Women's Half Marathon yesterday. I did the same race last year. Last year it was about 100 degrees in full sun. This year it was about 85 with 100% humidity. Not raining, just oppressive, soul stealing humidity.DOH!

When I signed up for this race a million months ago, the prices were lower than some local 5ks. My thinking was that this race would be a training run. Sure it will be hot, but I'll have to run anyway, so why not have friendly volunteers give me water and get a medal at the end of a training run? That is a fantastic theory.

My running has been more about miles and less about speed  of any sort lately.And I'm enjoying that....when I'm at home. When I'm at a race I get that sense that I should be "racing". I sometimes wonder if I'm a defective runner because I rarely get the "racing" feeling. I like to run. I like to run races because they are a different way to run, but I don't care to much about the racing part most days. Some days, when all the stars align and I feel like I could PR, I might push myself a bit, but most races, not so much.

So here I was at the starting line with two of my friends that I ADORE, but never get too spend enough time with. Our three husbands were also there prepared to run to various viewing points, shouting encouragement and ringing a cowbell. Why would I try to "race" this race in miserable weather, when I could spend it catching up with these two lovely ladies? To me the choice is obvious, always pick the fun race.

When you pick the fun race it doesn't matter what your time is. What matters is that you finish with a smile. I never wan to finish a race saying "I'll never run a ______ again". I always want to finish saying, "it was fun" or "that didn't go as planned, but this funny thing happened". I finished this race with a smile. And I had an amazing cheering squad, and I got to run through sprinklers to cool off my legs, and I danced when I heard music at mile 12, and I got to spend a few hours with two delightful women. I'd say that was a good race.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

One More Race...

I've got one more race. Then I can get back to some good old training.... for a race.

When I made my schedule it made so much sense in my head. Run a race as a training run, it will be FUN! Well, right now I feel like all I do is run races. And it's not like I'm a RACER. I just show up for the snacks, shirts, and people watching. And now I'm so burnt out on doing a run where there's a clock, I'm going to lose my mind!

I suppose it has something to do with the dang full marathon I threw into my schedule. Without that I would have had some real down time. No down time here. Just race race race race race.

I've never been so excited to do a long run where I can stop at a flushable toilet, purchase a Gatorade, or peruse a yard sale if I so desire (it's no wonder my long runs take so long). Just one more race to go this weekend. It's a women only race. And it's supposed to rain. I hope the snacks are good. Cause the ladies like to eat. Or this lady does. Wait, am I using the word lady right?

Sunday, August 26, 2012


I had a crap race yesterday. My body and my head felt like poo. I just wrote about half a post that read like this:

WAAAHHH... it was legs were tired.... WAAAAAHHH.... I got dizzy... and on and on

Gross, that's a big giant crybaby fest. Sometimes a race sounds like a good idea and it's just a shit show right from the beginning. That's all, it's sucks, move on.

But there was something awesome yesterday. My running group. You see, I was last place (not really, I kicked those DNF'ers BUTTS!). And after a crappy crap race it can be kind of weird to run through the chute when all the fast people are sitting facing the chute because the awards started. I watched one of the DNF people behind me step out of the chute rather than go through it. But I ran the race, so screw it. I'm gonna cross the finish line like everyone else. I did the work! It was just a little slower. Now to the awesome.

My crazy running group/family tore into the chute to make a power arch for me screaming like lunatics! If more slow people got this kind of finish, maybe they would show up for these things? So my friends cause such a ruckus, the announcer stops the awards to point out that I must have quite a fan base. Then there I was staring at all these people. And my tiny brain said, you should say something. So I did.


That's what I said. Yep. Because, if you're fast you don't get the awesome finish. I'm pretty sure I'll never know what it's like to cross a finish line first. But I know what it's like to finish in the back of the pack with your friends acting like you were first place. Even a crap race can remind you how lucky you are sometimes.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

That's what I look like when I'm running? ewwww

Do you remember your first race with real race photographers? I do. It was my first half marathon. I was excited and terrified to see how amazing I looked running at my lightening fast (or so I thought) 12:30ish minute miles. So I finished the race....and then I waited. And the pictures were just as I expected. I looked slightly angry and confused. Yup, that's about right.

My next race I went from angry and confused to looking like a T Rex. Why a T Rex you say? Well, because apparently I was running with my fists pulled back to my shoulders and every picture looked like I had wee tiny T Rex arms. I didn't buy those pictures. But I assure you that they look like this.
My next few races I was determined to get some super tough runner pictures. But it turns out I'm not a super tough runner. Dang it. What's a girl to do?

Act like a moron that's what!!!! I started acting like a fool at most races when I see a photographer. Because at least the photos will be interesting. And if I look like an idiot I can just say that was the plan. It's better than saying that I wanted to look really fast, but it turns out I'm not. I point, I clap, I scream, anything that makes it look like I'm not trying to look like a "serious runner". I'm not a terribly serious runner, but I just don't look like one at all in photos.

This practice typically works well, until I'm in a race that I just want out of. Like the Chicago Marathon of 2010. My lord I even considered faking an asthma attack to end that race. But then I thought about the people that might have ACTUAL medical emergencies, and I kept moving forward. Ugh. I digress. I was proud of myself for not giving the photographers the finger at many points, but I couldn't pretend to be running and I couldn't pretend to be having fun. I was just moving forward. So how did I end up with THIS amazing picture from that race?
I got this ridiculous and awesome picture because:
1) I had finally located a friend (yeah I do know that girl on the right, she's not just some weirdo trying to hoard in on my awesome photo)
2) We were very close to the finish line, I was so excited about this finish line I cannot put it into words how excited I was about the finish line.

I've bought very few pictures, because they cost a million dollars. But I always love to look at them. I also love to look at other people's pictures. Especially strangers, because if you think you look like a fool running... I can guarantee somebody always looks worse....

Monday, August 20, 2012

Dear Madison Mini Marathon... I love you

Last weekend I was off to Madison, Wisconsin to run in my favorite road half marathon. I ran this race two years ago and fell in love with it. And this year was no different.

I've been anxious about getting back on roads for training. Ok, maybe dreading getting back onto roads. But if I'm gonna run a road full in October I need to be training on roads, huh? I wanted to use Madison as a "transition race", to ease the pain of getting off of only running on trails, which I'm in love with running. And what could be better? Run my favorite race=excited about all running=excited about road running=WIN!

Race day weather was PERFECT! Start in the 50's! The 50's! I kind of forgot what the 50's were all about. They are about heaven, that's what they are about. Beautiful weather and a beautiful course. What more could you ask for, really? Ok, you might ask for a shorter commute than 6 hours, but beggars can't be choosers.

I know I love the VIP race experience at the end of the race (you pay extra but get beers, massage, food and the best post race view in the house). But as I ran the race I tried to figure out the other reasons why this is the race I'm in love with. For me it's the perfect size. And the course has a great mix of city and park. And frankly, it's just a gorgeous area.

There wasn't anything during this race that was overly hilarious or strange. Just a nice race. Made a friend that I ran with from mile 4-10. She kept my pace higher than I intended, but it was nice to have someone to talk to. At mile ten my knee started to get wonky so I sent her ahead and the last three miles were much less interesting.

All and all, it makes for a great weekend. Even better when you're with friends. Even BETTER, when you have enough beer, cheese, running, and adventure that you don't feel a bit guilty about laying around in the hotel room all evening and watching Will Smith movies. 

Thank you Madison Mini for the perfect transition race to get me BACK to training for my next marathon! P.S. DO THIS RACE!!

Friday, August 17, 2012

I Had a Mantra... Once

I read some fantastic book about some magical training program before I started training for my first full marathon. Ok Ok I read like a dozen books with magical programs. I didn't FOLLOW these programs, I just wanted to read lots of people say that I could get to the finish line. And they all said that using all kinds of pretty words. YEAH!

One of the books I read had a lot to say about the mental game. Which was an interesting concept. My main concern was just not dying. And also finishing. I wanted to do that. I thought that getting to the finish line just meant that I had to make my body learn to move forward, don't die, and repeat. It didn't even cross my mind that my brain would have to function the whole time. Ugh.

So this magical book says I have to come up with a repetitive phrases (a mantra if you will) to repeat over and over and over and over in my head. And that will help magically knock this thing out. Well, I do have OCD so I'm a girl that knows how to be repetitive (did I lock the door? did I lock the door? did I lock the door? did I lock the door? Screw it I'll just drive back and check). So the first thing I did before I took my first leap into marathon training was pick a mantra. And now I will share it with you....................

I love to run. This is fun.

Genius right!?!?! Oh my good lord. My mantra, that I would repeat over and over in my head was just a reminder that this is something I like to do. Total lame. I repeated those stupid words in my head a trillion times through training and race day and I have no idea if it helped me at all. But it was the ONLY thing in all the prerace books I read that I felt like I could do well. You know, I can't run well, but I can repeat words in my head. I don't know what Fartlek means, but I can repeat words in my head.

So, do I still use this mantra? No. I think of all kinds of other dumb stuff to fill up my head. But if I had to pick a new mantra today, what would it be? I dunno, maybe...

Cookies at the finish line. Cookies at the finish line.

Mmmm.... cookies.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

What Am I Doing???

I have no idea what I'm doing right now. I ran a marathon on the day my *actual* training for my full marathon this fall was supposed to start. So rather than take my typical two weeks off after running a marathon, I started running again. And I'm back at the gym lifting weights. The week after the race, I logged 16.5 miles. And my upcoming Saturdays look like this... this Saturday - Half Marathon, the next Saturday - Trail 15K, Saturday after that - Half Marathon.

This all looks reasonable on paper. It all seemed smart when I registered for these races at their lowest prices a million months ago. But then I threw in that "on a whim" full marathon. And now I don't know my head from my ...... you get the idea.

So here's what my OCD raddled brain is trying to figure out:

Am I recovering?
Should I be tapering for the next race?
Am I training for the full yet?
Is it normal to sleep in compression tights this often?
Why did this all seem like a good idea?

I suppose that shorter slower runs is a type of recovering. So that answers that. I can't really taper for all these races or tapering will just turn into "not running". I know I'm not training, but can't help feeling like I should be. I suppose that my fantasies of serious training are out the window for right now. My legs are working but they are laughing at the idea of speed work. As a matter of fact I had to take an ice bath after a 7.5 mile run on Saturday.... is that a bad thing?

So I guess I'm back to the F Rule for right now. Current training schedule... Keep running, run more (but not too much), do whatever the F I want.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Post Marathon Resolutions

So, I ran that marathon thing on Saturday. And after the race, I made some post marathon weekend resolutions. They are similar to New Year resolutions. Granted, you probably won't hear as many I will quit smokings, but I have made plenty of post race resolutions in the past:

I'm going to start cleaning the house again
I'm going to take the dogs for walks on a regular basis
I'll start making dinners that are more than just a slab of meat and frozen veggies
I'll start to fold laundry (not just wash it)
I'm gonna finally stain that deck

The list goes on and on. You see, when I get about 3-4 weeks away from a big race like a marathon, everything else falls by the wayside. I surrender to the constant pain, and recovery, and the running, lots o running.

For this race I made one post marathon resolution. Stop treating M&Ms as a food group. Because it turns out they are not one. And when I am not running 30+ miles a week, my daily bag of M&M habit is going to become a big problem... for my waistline.

I'm not someone who is naturally thin. Ever since I lost 30 pounds in 2007, I'm hyper aware of how easily it could all come back. But, towards the end of marathon training I just don't care. You can get away with things like double dinners and a bag (or two) of M&Ms daily. Now, however my mileage is back down again and double dinners are no longer an option (although my appetite would beg to differ).

So I'm taking M&Ms off of my food pyramid or my plate or whatever clever visual aid they are using now to remind you that you shouldn't eat crap food. And so far this week I have failed miserably at this.

Monday - Bag of M&Ms
Tuesday - Chocolate covered pretzels
Wednesday - Bag of M&Ms AND chocolate covered pretzels

Perhaps some public shaming on this here blog will help with the project....

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Trail Marathon...Hey, I did that!

We knew this race would be epic. I mean, who signs up for a full marathon in August in Southern Indiana? Morons. That's who. Oh wait that's me.... moving on.

How is it on race day, I was still in disbelief that I was running a full marathon? My last marathon was a crap race, to say the least. And I had just had so much fun training for this race. It seemed weird to think that a marathon could feel this different. but my nerves put me in check. I was nervous. I was freaked out. I just wanted to START RUNNING! And then we did that.

This course was gonna be rough on my head. Because it was an out and back... half marathon... that you did twice. And then there were these patches of road/asphalt that I wasn't ready for. They hurt. My feet have been mostly on trails for this training. Not ready for asphalt. There was a one mile stretch that was not fun right on a lake causeway that was yuck on the first run out, but we spotted two dead raccoons, so that passed the time, I suppose. More running... blah blah blah, a sucky gravel part, back over the causeway, back to the start. Because oh yeah, we had to do it all again.

That's when things got interesting.

My wonderful training partner and I had the same thinking... get over the causeway, get through the gravel, causeway won't be so bad on the last pass. Let's get this thing done! Good plan.

-We got to the causeway and I said, "ok, we'll run to the bridge". No sweat. But then we needed a new goal. "OK, next we'll run to the second dead raccoon". Who says that? I do. Turns out that second dead raccoon felt much farther away then the first two times through. But it got us across.

blah blah blah... more running. Wait, was that thunder? Nah, we're just close to the airport. No, that was thunder. Well this could get interesting. So there we were at mile 21 (or was it 22?), back to the stupid causeway. We both knew that super exposed causeway was not the place to be during a thunder storm but what do you do? So we started running. Running is a relative term at this point. It was a jog/ shuffle/lumber. Then we saw the wall of rain coming at us and the lightening. And we ran as fast as we could. I had to cover my ear to prevent the tiny hail from flying into it, but we just kept running as hard as we could to get to cover in the woods. All of my everything hurt, but I kept thinking that being struck by lightening would probably hurt more. Thankfully it blew over quickly and we weren't struck by lightening. And when the adrenaline wore off we realized we were hurting. But what do you do? You keep going.

Then we heard a noise. And my friend asks me if I said something. I didn't. That noise was someone enjoying the sex they were having in the woods. Really? You picked marathon day to have sex in the woods? That's your thing? I'm just happy I didn't get visual confirmation.

More running. Power arch for stranger that was slightly terrified of us. More running.

Wait. I walk back a few steps. Is that underwear? Did someone remove their underwear on the race course? Is that normal? Who the f does that? This race just took a quick turn to crazy. We need to be done.

And then we were. It didn't feel like a marathon. I think that's a good thing, because I'm doing another full marathon in about two months.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

This taper is driving me crazy... even in my dreams

One of the more interesting things about losing my mind during a prerace taper is that the insanity carries over to my dreams. I often get very vivid and ridiculous dreams leading up to races that I'm anxious about. Here's a few dreams I have had leading up to this race.

-Adult cheerleader squad
I got accepted onto the grownup cheer leading squad. However, when I met with the co captains and they told me that practice would be 3 hours a night I freaked out. WHEN AM I GOING TO RUN? They explained to me that we had state championships (yes, for adult cheer leading) coming up soon and we had to get ready. After one more meeting where they explained to us that we would have to start going to a designated doctor who would report back to the co captains, I shouted something about HIPPA and stormed out.

-Intruder breaks in.
Apparently I was living with about 4 other people who all headed out to go to the movies and this robber breaks in. More like walks into the house casually wearing the very non-robber outfit of a blazer and jeans. I yelled at him and told him to get out of the house. He ignored this and headed right to the bathroom where apparently my husband and I had an elaborate hidden panel that disguised where we kept all of our precious jewels. (This is very amusing because we do not have any precious jewels in reality). Instead of calling the police I stomped upstairs and repeatedly bashed his head into the wall of the shower. Is this dream telling me that I'm a little stressed?

-Running club friends design an elaborate "triathlon".
The race involved various obstacles and challenges. One of the first challenges was that the competitor had to select an unlabeled box of cookies in a room that was designed to look exactly like the room from the movie Saw. This obstacle really stressed me out, because I enjoy cookies very much and wanted to choose wisely.

Another obstacle was walking through a small maze. Take a wrong turn and you're at a dead end, with a live chicken.

There was also a 1980's dance room (the snacks were good there, but some other racer made fun of me for staying too long) and an arts and crafts station. I don't remember any biking, but there was a creek you had to swim across, even though it was only knee deep water.

- get a massage at work.
In this dream I had a coworker that gave massages (I do not have a coworker that gives massages). So we went into a room we had at work that had a dentist chair so that she could get my legs loosened up for race day (we also do not have a room at work with a dentist chair in it. And furthermore, a dentist chair is not ideal for massages). I then woke up six hours later (in the dream, not in real life) and was completely stressed out about how I would make up six hours of work the week before a race. And why did none of my coworkers wake me up?

What do they mean? Who cares? It's just another side effect of this never ending taper...

Saturday, July 28, 2012

One Week til race day...

One of my dogs woke me up last night to go outside. And before I went back to sleep, I realized that next week I'll be running a marathon. And then I started sweating uncontrollably.

And ever since race day came into the 10 forecast on, the song 25 Minutes to Go by Johnny Cash has been stuck in my head.
Today's run was supposed to be an easy 8 miles and it felt really hard. Is that normal? Wait, what's normal about running a marathon?

Half marathon's I'm used to. I've done enough half marathons to feel comfortable with the distance. I know when I'll start to get tired, I know when I'll get a second wind, and I know what parts will suck the worst if I'm having a bad day.

But the full marathon? I just don't know it well enough to go to this one calmly. I'm a mess.

Oh and I fell during today's run! Miles and miles of training runs on trails and I get a sweet wipe out a week before race day. WTF!?! Thankfully, my knee jammed into some soft dirt and my butt cheek took the worst of the log I rolled in to. I now have a black and blue butt cheek + giant welt on butt cheek. And once I stopped forward movement I looked up at my running friends and said, "wait, did I just hear you turn off your Garmin before you made sure I was ok?" She didn't want to count the time if she wasn't running. I get it. I mean, didn't I turn off my Garmin when we surprised a black bear while hiking in Montana? We runners are a f'd up bunch that's for sure.

One week to go...

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Yellowstone Long Run. This isn't Indiana

I've been running all kinds of trails in Indiana to get ready for this trail marathon on August 4th. When I plan out a long run I just figure out how many miles I need to go and find some trails to match. Done and done.

The husband and I had planned our vacation to Montana MONTHS before the phrase "trail marathon" was even in my vocabulary. Turns out, the phrase gets into my vocabulary, and the trip lands right on FINAL LONG RUN weekend. DOH!

I planned a run, like I do in Indiana. A 10 mile trail right across the street from a 6 mile trail. In Yellowstone. I figured I would add on a few miles at the end. Sure it's at elevation, but I'll start slow and then slow down. Just get the miles in. In my head it was going to be amazing! It was all going to look like this.

Here we go...... Trail one = 10 miles. Bunsen Peak/Osprey Falls. The word peak should have clued me in right away. Whoops. 3 miles up to the top of an 8,000ish foot peak. But it was early and fun and magic. And here's me at the top.

Major concern was bears but the husband and I kept talking and shouting things. It was funny. We skittered back down to lower ground and headed toward the falls. And then we went down. And down, and down, and down. And my knees were aching. I kept saying to husband, "I don't know if I can climb back outta this". And he kept telling me to suck it up and keep going. He said it in a nicer way, but that's what I heard... The falls were awesome (dang it, he was right).

And the climb up was horrible (I was right too). We should have paid more attention to this sign.

We climb out of the falls and I felt like my legs were going to fall off. This is not Indiana trail running. And I am an idiot. Thankfully, there was a little bit of even ground that I felt like I could get some sensible running on. Husband looks at me and says, "we could just do that trail again". Ha ha ha so funny. If I coulda caught him I would have punched him. And I'm thinking, is a 10 mile run close enough to a 20 mile run? No it is not.

On to trail two.

It started out more level, through some nice scrubby stuff. Lovely to not be climbing a mountain. But there was definitely more up to come. And more bear crap! Fantastic. We were tired and it was no longer fun to to warn the bears we were coming. I found myself just shouting random things like, "I'm running". My husband just looked back and said he was so tired that he didn't care if a bear ate him anymore. Agreed.

We then ran in to a couple of hikers that told us what great views were ahead of us. FYI great views=more up. Crap. We were running up to this rocky area called the Hoodoos that would have been amazing if we weren't in some kind of zombie march. And I kept thinking, what if this doesn't come out in the right place? The thought of any extra miles was terrifying! We crested a hill (yes, more up) and I almost broke into tears. OUR CAR! I could see the car!!!! That lit a fire in me and I ran again

All in all, we ended up with 17 miles. Not the 20 I had intended, but what an adventure! I don't know if any of it is enough to get me through this race, but at least I won't have to worry about bears on race day. No bear threat = win. Let's do this thing.