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....