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.