Saturday, April 27, 2013

Every Taper Should Start With A Marathon!

A few months ago when I really started writing in the training schedule for this 50k I'm training for, I noticed that a local marathon fell right on my highest mileage weekend. Hmmm.... A full road marathon as a training run for a trail 50k? Well this is either the best idea or the worst idea EVER! It would also settle my mind to know that whatever happens on race day, at least I got a marathon in. Yup, I've lost my mind, but somehow this all made sense on paper.

Cut to race day eve.

I was getting ready for work, I turn to exit the bathroom and WHAMMO! I smack the living snot out of my forehead. I still don't understand how it happened. But I will blame it on my large skull and bad spatial awareness... So, I didn't pass out. That was good, but I started getting a knot on my head that literally looked like a goose egg. It's ok to run a marathon with a slight concussion right? Is this a bad omen? Crap.

I spent the morning at work making sure I could remember things. And then I was off to packet pick up. Packet pickup was over an hour drive away so I was overjoyed to have a friend join me. And by join me I mean make sure I didn't pass out.


Race day started early. We decided that we would stay together because heck, if you're running a marathon as a training run, why not keep your friends with you? A quick photo with running group and then we were off!

The race wasn't huge, so it was easy to find our "place" in the pack. And off we went. We were keeping it slow, and we notice a running group on the sidewalk. They seemed like a lovely bunch. As they were splitting apart for different mileage, we noticed that everyone kept saying bye to this lovely lady, Wanda. So... of course we start talking to Wanda. Boy, she was nice. Recovering from an injury but an absolute delight. She went along her merry way and we all commented on how great she was. We would meet a few people later that weren't..

Enter "I have an Official Pacer shirt on guy and I'm not running anywhere near advertised pace and I don't actually have a group". As the name might suggest.... there he is with his Official Pacer sign on his shirt, running WAY slower than advertised and he has no group. These should have all been warning signs to us, but he started chatting and before we knew it we were stuck... oof. See, the thing about heart rate training is that you can't just zip ahead if you get stuck with a runner you don't want to be with. You have to out SLOW them. So, the three of us took a walk break and let him go ahead. Whew.

Then I needed a pit stop, so the girls walked ahead while I jumped into the port o let. As I came out, two gals say to me, "great work!" They quickly clarified that they meant great work on the race, not on the peeing. Either way, I raised my hands in victory and we all had a good laugh. As I was jogging ahead to catch my friends, I meet a fellow I like to call Chatty McChatterton.... he seemed harmless enough at first, but then I realized he was probably looking for someone to run with for the entire race. I caught up to my friends and the we had to out slow Chatty. As we took another unnecessary walk break, we watched Chatty catch up to I'm not pacing anyone guy and we just KNEW it would be a match made in heaven! Turns out they couldn't even handle each other for too long. Shows what we know.

We had a great time talking and jogging. All three of us have been training so much on trails that we kind of forgot how boring a road race can be. At one point, we ran on a path in a wooded area and pretended to be trail running. Of course, we didn't take it so far as to pee behind a tree, but we did consider it. That probably wouldn't have gone over too well. This race ran through a really nice area in Indianapolis. All the lawns were lovely, the people were smiley, and I don't think there was any trash.... anywhere. It was the weirdest thing. Even the runners were placing their trash near cones or mile signs to make sure it would get picked up. It was almost creepy like a Twilight Zone episode. But also really thoughtful. YEAH thoughtful!

Turning the corner to the finish line I asked the gals if they think they could do another 5 if it was 50k race day and we all three said YES! So, that's a success. We crossed the finish line with smiles on our faces. The volunteers handed us our giant Mr. T sized medals and we wandered through the shoot looking for water. Only to be greeted by Chatty McChatterton meandering aimlessly asking us where to get our timing chips cut off. Oh Chatty, we just got here, how the heck would we know?

Of the many dumb things I've said in my life, this seems to be the current dumbest.


It really is a fun way to start a taper you know? With a medal and all. Good times

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Keep Running...

How do you have a blog that’s mostly about running and not mention what happened in Boston? I tried to think of a way not to write about it. I wanted to skate over it and go right on to my marathon on Saturday. Why don’t I want to write about it? Because I’m not qualified to, I don’t know how to express what I’m feeling. But, if I were to skate right over it, would it appear to that I don’t care?
I do care. I’m terrified, angry, sad, defiant, grateful, furious, and confused. I don’t possess the words to express any of it properly.
I went on a run with a dear friend yesterday. It helped to talk to her. That soothing combination of a good friend and physical exhaustion seemed to calm me down. I can’t say that I ran yesterday to prove a point. I ran yesterday because I didn’t know what else to do.
I run.
It’s who I am. And I hope that no low life douchebag can take that away from me.

But during my run I did notice something. Fellow runners were a little friendlier. A few days ago I might not have seen nearly as many smiles or heard as many hellos. It even seemed like people in cars were more thoughtful…A little more eager to wait at an intersection. Maybe that was all in my head. But if it was real… can we keep it up? Let’s not just be extra nice when a tragedy strikes. Let’s do that all the time.
I hope that we can heal from this. And I hope that we can move forward. I hope that we will keep running.


Thursday, April 11, 2013

Abe Lincoln Half Marathon.... you just rocked my socks off!

I did the Abe Lincoln Half Marathon this weekend! And there's a so much awesome that happened... I'm not sure where to start. For the past few years, some gals and I made a point to do a half marathon in the spring. Last year, as we were driving home from the Champaign/Urbana half marathon, I found the Abe Lincoln half marathon in Springfield, Illinois. When we saw that the medal was a giant penny... the decision was made!!!
Our hotel was three blocks from the start and one block from the finish line! Win. And the race day weather had it looking to be one of the prettiest days all spring. Things were looking good!
We settled in at the hotel and quickly starting discussing clothing options for race day. Temps were going to start in the 50s but head up to the 60s. And our friend that once brought two different types of shoes to a race realized she had no shorts and no capris.  Shaking our heads, we found the local running store and were on our way to find her more acceptable options. We met a local that described the race course and the HUGE hills. My friend not only found a pair of capris and shorts, but they were both on sale. I swear she has magic powers. And we were all wondering... are Springfield hills like our hills? Bigger? Smaller? I guess we'll see.
RACE DAY! Small race, not too cluttered starting line...PERFECT! And one of my friends was terribly under trained so I was going to have company! YEAH! So here's some fun things that happened along the way:
-Guy dressed as Abe Lincoln
-Girl dressed as Abe Lincoln
-Guy dressed as giant penny
-Girl running race while carrying her phone, race packet, and race map? Really? Did she think she was going to get lost?
- Not a ton of spectators but an AMAZING group of 8 or so on a corner screaming their heads off. So Fun!
-Stopped to get picture with Abe Lincoln guy. My eyes are closed, but probably because I don't want to see his "Babes for Abes" sign. A little creepy... but when you're running a race as a training run on heart rate training... might at as well stop for a photo op, am I right?
-Lots of beautiful parks to run by and historical markers. So cool!
-At about mile nine I look to my right, then I look at my friend and say..."hey, if we went that way we could cut the course". Now let me make one thing painfully clear, I would NEVER cut a course! EVER. But for no reason, the thought crossed my mind. My friend that was running with me was understandably in shock. Of all the people in the whole world that might cut a course, she knew I would be the last one. We laughed and kept moving on. The very next turn, we realized that if we had cut the course.... we only would have made it longer! Crap. Go figure. That's why cheaters never win. And that's why I don't even try. I'd be the WORST at it!
- We got to the finish line with smiles and were handed the BEST medals EVER (see picture above).
-There were doughnuts, chocolate milk, bananas, and oranges at the finish line. Yeah! The oranges looked great until we notice where the bucket was from...
 The meat room? No thanks... But makes for a good post race laugh.
We got our free crappy beer from the local bar and some lunch. We got to see some sights in Ye Old Springfield and had an all around fantastic weekend. The race was great the company, even better. And the meat room orange slices? Questionable.
Run this race!

Friday, April 5, 2013

Packing For a Race... did I forget something?

I've got a race this weekend that's about a 4 hour drive away. Travel race? FUN! Packing for travel race? STRESS!!! Here's what I have so far

Does it look like everything I own? Well, yes, it might be. I actually lost sleep last night trying to figure out what to pack, what I might have forgotten, what I CAN'T forget, what I might want to bring but probably won't wear, what I will want to wear during the race, what I will want to wear after the race.

My style is to typically throw everything I own into a giant pile. Then I realize it won't all fit in one bag so I sift through it. Always terrified that I will forget the ONE thing I dearly want. But realistically, there are only a few things that I cannot live without. Sports bra (gals when you find one that works, non other will do), heart rate monitor, and SHOES.

Shoes. A few years ago some gals and I went to Cincinnati for a travel race. We picked up our packets, got settled in at the hotel and were going through the tons of crap they like to hand out at expos. We started harassing one of the gals about how she lets her shoes get too worn down before she gets new ones. Ha ha ha fun and games. She pulls out her shoes to show us that they aren't really that worn down. And this is what we see...
That's right, two different styles of shoe, two different BRANDS of shoe. It was hilarious! Well hilarious because it wasn't happening to me. She considered running in the two different styles of shoes, we convinced her that was a terrible idea. So, we raced back to the expo and she picked up a brand new pair of shoes. We were convinced her feet would be bloody stumps by the end of the race. But no, she loved the shoes and felt like a million bucks. If it had been me.... bloody stumps for sure.

So that's my fear. Compounded by OCD, my packing process is  real delight. I better get back to packing....