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...