Run for the Booty and a New PR

6 Mar

Gasparilla Tampa Bay Half Marathon: COMPLETED

Is that not the most rockin' finishers medal you've ever laid eyes on? I KNOW. BAD. ASS.

Chip Time: 1:52:09

Days since race: 2

PRs CRUSHED: 1

Minutes I took off my last time: 24

Concert attended race day: Yep

Hours spent PTFOd on the couch yesterday: apx 7

Post race massage: Most brilliant idea any race organizer has ever had EVER

Race Weather: Sketchy, hurricane-y, wet, windy, and almost pleasant.

Conversations I had on course with strangers: 5

Random running buddy Raoul: Better than the pacing team I started with.

Official results from the website

OK. I can’t believe it’s been over a month since I last wrote. Especially since I did in fact break the 40 minute mark on a 5 miler (finished strong in 39:07), set a new 5k PR and kicked ass on a couple tempos. My last 2 long runs were completely miserable however, and made me question why in the world I put myself through this garbage and don’t just run 5ks like a normal person? Well…because I’m a nutbag and 5k is not enough. That’s why. Last time I updated I just registered for this race. Well, I ran it and WIPED THE DAMN FLOOR WITH IT.

One of the official pics from the half. This was getting close to the finish. It was a little soggy and blustery.

For as much of a “yea whatever” as this felt like during training and even leading up to it and walking around the expo, the race was pretty awesome and I have to hand it to the organizers, they did a great job. There were plenty of aid stations, everyone was super friendly, we started on time and it didn’t feel like a mob scene and they funneled us right down through all the recovery stations to the convention center after the race right to where our massages were. And holy crap. That 10 minute massage probably is what kept me upright at the concert Sunday night rather than laying on the floor in a mangled pile of aching joints since it kept my right hip from locking up when I stopped moving. BRILLIANT. I will get the 20 minute one next time. I did feel bad going in there straight from the finish line with my sweaty gross legs, but everyone else was too and I know relatively it wasn’t that bad since it was all kinds of windy during the race.

The race shirt is pretty awesome too. Damn...I actually have runner's legs.

The feel of this race was SO completely different than the last and I think it was both due to the fact that I knew without question that I would finish and the pace I was running. The crowd you’re mixed in with while running 8:30 and faster miles is so much different than the 10 minute mile crew. Everyone in that group is running for a time goal and are much more focused than the jovial casual atmosphere in the 10:00/mile group, but they’re still super supportive of each other and friendly. I hardly saw anyone walking at all until I passed the 10 mile mark and even then not many. It’s cool how the attitude shifts as you get faster without losing the camaraderie. We still all cheered for the leaders as they passed on the turnaround and joked with each other, but there was also more conversation about pace and timing.

Runners may be crazy, but they really are pretty awesome people, I’m finding. During a race, we all band together and help support each other through each painful mile even though we’re all strangers and all running our own races with our own goals. If someone breaks down and walks, there are people around to give a peptalk, encourage you and get you started again. People yell out where the puddles are for those behind them and if there are potholes or rough spots. Everyone says “thank you” to the live entertainers, volunteers and supporters on course as they pass. In the predawn early race portion when all you hear are feet hitting the pavement, breathing and Garmins beeping to mark pace and distance it’s sort of surreal. I had to remind myself I was actually running a race. Especially because it’s distance running, so you settle in and get comfortable and it’s not a frenetic, adrenaline fueled flight to the finish with spectators cheering. There are occasional pace time checks and laughing, occasional yells of “Water, Right!” “Squeeze coming up!” or “Left turn ahead!”, occasional words of encouragement from people parked on the sidelines, but it’s just 6000 crazy people all running on quiet blocked off roads both together and in their own race. Crazy crazy people. And I’m one of them.

Ready to head to the start approximately 30 seconds before the deluge started. My sweet war shirt says "Trample the weak, Hurdle the dead" on the back. That was my mantra this race. ARRGGHH!!

Sitting in the car at about 5:15am waiting to head to the start, the wind was so strong you could feel it pushing the car around and it suddenly started pouring buckets. It legit looked like a hurricane outside and my crazy ass was getting ready to go out in it in some tech shorts and run. They weren’t going to call the race unless there was lightning, and if it was on, I was running. Have you seen that finishers medal?? It’s frickin’ sweet! I didn’t come all the way to Tampa to be scared off from taking that thing home by a little wind and rain. I say little….but the wind was 20+mph sustained. It was not fucking around. Hence why I wore the headband and double braided my hair. You do not want to have to fuck with that stuff in the middle of a race. Especially if it’s wet and windy. Makin’ sure it stayed out of my face and contained.

While I did get all kinds of prepared and packed up and brought all my stuff, ate a good breakfast and all, the weather distracted me and I totally forgot my knee brace and my sportshield. I had a moment of panic at the start where I went “SHIT. My knee is gonna blow out and I’m gonna have thigh/underboob blisters the size of pancakes by mile 5. This is bad.” Then I looked around, realized it was either run without or don’t run at all and went “Meh, fuck it. Let’s run.” I know. Super serious. Turned out I didn’t need either. My knees did just fine, my new Champion sports bra was AWESOME and my chicken legs are still skinny enough they don’t rub together anyway. So there. I consciously decided to not bring the camelback since there seemed to be enough aid stations and with the wind and wet it seemed like it would be more of a hindrance, which also meant I left behind the phone since I had nowhere to carry it and it was safer not getting rained on anyway.

I'm not paying $35 for this pic, so you get to see it with PROOF stamped on it. We'll just say that's for "PROOF" I did run the race. This was me early in the race while I was keeping up with the pace group.

At the last minute I hooked up with the 1:50:00 pace team in the starting area and stuck with them for the first half of the race. That meant they were trying to average 8:24 per mile. Since everyone’s packed together at the start and your first mile tends to be kind of slow, you have to make up that time in the subsequent miles. Well, the lady leading the group was not fucking around and by mile 3 we had made up a full minute and kept running somewhere between 7:40-8:00 per mile for the first 5 miles, I guess to buy some time for the bridge and wind. Yes, the wind was strong enough that it slowed you down considerably when it hit you full in the face and sometimes even when you caught the crosswind off the water. At around the 5 mile mark though, I realized if I didn’t cool it and back off to an actual 8:24-8:35 sort of pace, I’d burn out too early and be in bad shape towards the end, so I stopped for a second to drink my gatorade at the second aid station instead of just throwing it towards my face and hoping it landed in my mouth and I lost them over the bridge. Whatevs.

Side note, it is really hard to drink out of a paper cup while running. I’ve seen techniques like scrunching the cup so the opening is more of a slit or just straight pouring the water over your head with your mouth open, but the one time I did successfully get more water in than on me, I was spluttering and coughing for the next quarter mile from half inhaling some since I was, you know, running still. I finally determined it was better to just walk for 3 seconds, pound it and continue (those nights doing shots at the bar paid off!). Also, even though I know you’re supposed to, it is very hard to convince myself it’s OK to throw the cups and my Gu packets on the ground. Just feels wrong, both in the littering sense and the “I’m not a disrespectful slob and won’t make you volunteers who are nice enough to stand out here in the rain with water for us clean up after me” sense, but there weren’t any trash cans at all save for 1 or 2 stations, so that actually was the only option. Thus, I THREW IT ON THE GROUND!

Around mile 5 I paced and chatted with a grandfatherly sort of guy in an orange shirt who asked “you were with the 1:50:00 pace team too, huh?”. We then chatted about how the lead lady’s pace was sort of crazy and how we were in fact right on pace to meet the time anyway and he reminded me to “always run your own race, not someone else’s” which is good advice for distance running, but also a good thing to remember in general. Forget about “keeping up” with someone else. Run the race that’s right for you right now. Thanks Orange Gramps for the conversation and life lesson. See ya at the finish.

This is Raoul my pace buddy. I found him at the finish. He reminds me of my friend's dad.

At the halfway point, I started pacing a running-dad kind of guy who introduced himself as Raoul. He was super consistent in his pace and super friendly. We chatted a little and I yoyoed from next to him to ahead a bit and back for the rest of the race. The one time I broke down and walked at around mile 9 to work a kink out of my hip, I heard him behind me coming up yelling “Come on Kelly! You can do it! Keep going!” after which another guy in white passed me and said “Let’s go yellow! Don’t stop!”. I laughed and picked it up again. I wasn’t walking more than about 30 seconds to a minute. These guys weren’t having it. I need them on my training runs!

Yea, I finished. No big deal. They even gave me a sweet shiny cape for being so awesome.

At about 10 miles I had to do that “Ok. That was just a REALLY long warmup for a 5k. ONLY 5k left. That’s NOTHIN’. You got this.” By mile 11 though, I was out of steam. I was tired and achy and the wind was blowing against me hard enough to knock me off balance a couple times. I kept waiting for the last Gu I took at mile 9 to kick in and it kept not happening. I slowed down dramatically, but kept plugging. I ran 11 miles in about 1:33:00 and kept looking at the Garmin for time and distance going “Don’t give up now. You’re on track to kill it as long as you don’t start sandbagging now. No walking. Keep plugging. In like 15 minutes, you’ll be getting your sweet sweet skull medal and feasting on bananas and bagels and victory. Don’t listen to your hips and knees. They’re being whiny bitches.” Raoul helped peptalk me into picking up the pace a little, but then since he was being all consistently paced and I was petering out, I lost him in the last couple miles.

Not too much the worse for wear! SUCCESS!

In those last 2 miles I am hard pressed to tell you why I do this. Everything in me is screaming to stop, to sit down, to just not run any more. And then I round a corner and can see the finish line. And I push even though I don’t think I have anything left. Once I cross that line and stop the timer, there is a feeling that floods through me. Maybe it’s part relief that I don’t have to run any more, but seeing that timer just barely clicking over 1:53:00 and knowing my actual time was less than that as I finished and knowing just how huge an improvement that was and that I did in fact just run 13 miles on my own steam feels so good. Yes, a lot of people run these things now, but it’s still a small percentage of the people I know that can say they’ve finished a half marathon, and in a damn respectable time, to boot. I had the dedication and drive to train for and finish this thing. Fuck yea. I’m pretty awesome.

Hurroo Hurroo!! My phone takes pretty good pics!

Since I am apparently crazy in the coconut, I also bought tickets to go see the Dropkick Murphys in Orlando with my friends the night of the race. I could barely walk up the driveway to the house by the time we got home after jumping and stomping for 4 hours in the pit, but it was totally worth it. The show was awesome and I had a great time. All in all, a really bitchin’ day and another milestone.

Now to decide if I can squeeze in one more race and one more PR before I back it off for the summer. I’m not training in the heat again this year. I’ll stick to 3-5 milers early in the morning and then pick up seriously when the heat breaks in the fall. Got my eye on a half at the end of April, though. We shall see…the addiction has taken hold for sure.

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Foot Stabbings, Creepers and Sunrise Running

25 Jan

Days to race: 40

Scheduled: 5 miles
Actual: 5.01 miles, 41:01, Avg: 8:13/m

Temp: 68F, Humidity: 91% – Oh, Florida. That’s cute. It’s supposed to be winter though, remember?

Gasparilla Half: I AM REGISTERED

10 minute post-race massage: Purchased. Sneaky fuckers.

Last week:

Huge sandspur spines that stabbed my feet: 2

Runs it prevented me from doing: 0

Tuesday Scheduled: 6 mile tempo run
Tuesday Actual: 6.0 miles (after cutting spines out of my foot), 48:16, Avg 8:02/m   Splits: 8:19, 7:46, 8:00, 8:27, 7:33, 8:06

Night running: Still easier

Morning running: Still nicer

Spinning bike: Totes my bitch

9 mile run: Should not be done without breakfast

Palm Bay: Rivals Rockledge for skeez-bags

I haven’t written anything for the last week because I have been extremely busy kicking ass at life, but now that I have a moment, I will fill you in.

Like wheat of death. This is a cruel joke by nature.

Last weekend I somehow had a stroke or mental episode of some sort and forgot that this is Florida and you can’t just run out to your car willy nilly barefoot through the grass to get your water bottle unless you have stone soled feet or hooves. I have neither. Thusly I got my feet turned into pincushions by a load of sandspurs. It happened to be the one chilly day of the year that locals endearingly call “winter”, so for an added bonus, they were frozen and extra sharp. For those of you fortunate enough to be unfamiliar with this atrocity of nature, I have included a handy dandy educational photo. There’s probably more of this than actual grass in any given area in this county. It’s horrifying neato. So after cursing profusely and leap-running back inside, I stood on the tile at the front door and gingerly picked them all out of my feet, trying to avoid having them stab my fingers too badly in the process and promptly set them on fire. Not really…but I should have. I thought I eradicated all of them without lasting damage, but I was mistaken.

Surgical implements used to dig out the offenders

Unfortunately I did not realize my oversight until the next morning when I got up and got ready to go out for my 6 mile tempo run. I tied on my shoes, stood up and…OMGMOTHERFUCK OUCHOUCHOUCH! I had 1 large sandspur spike and 1 smaller one lodged DEEP in the sole of my foot and the outside arch support of my shoe pushed directly on them. OK. This is not something I can just suck it up and run through. They were too deep to get at with tweezers (though that didn’t stop it from bringing tears to my eyes when I touched it wrong and sent a TWANG through my whole foot), even after soaking in Epsom salts. At this point it was too late for me to run before work, so I grumbled, got dressed and the run got put off. When I got home from work, I soaked my foot again and pulled out the big guns. Exacto knife and needle were sterilized and I gritted my teeth and dug those suckers out of the bottom of my foot like a badass. The big one was probably 1/8″ long. Not fucking around. Now that that is taken care of, I have 6 miles to run at tempo pace, if you don’t mind.

So very true.

I was so cocky about successfully digging those things out, I took my pre-run Gu and THEN sat down and started performing surgery on myself. I was going out. Better believe it. Stupid little devil plant isn’t sidelining me. I’ve dealt with way worse shit and still gone running. And I KICKED ASS. I rocked my tempo splits and kept a decent pace in the recovery sections. I’m pissed I had to stop and wait for a truck to pass to cross the street or I would have done 5 miles in under 40 minutes. Hit the 5 mile mark at 40:03. Next time, Batman. This was a good reminder that I have not totally acclimated to being a morning person. Running at night is still easier for my body. Pushing the pace just felt good. I’m able to hydrate and fuel better pre-run and that’s when my body WANTS to be active. But this race is an early morning race, so I’m trying to keep my runs in the AM hours.

The last few runs my shins and calves have been bothering me. Not sure if it’s because I’m running faster and so am pulling my toes up more than I used to or if my shoes are nearing the end of their useful life and not cutting the impact shock sufficiently. I still rocked even with screaming shins. Next tempo I’m aiming for 7:30 pace in the fast miles.

My worried about it face

My long run last week was a 9 miler. Due to alarm clock failure, I missed it on Friday so just pushed it to Saturday morning instead. I decided to do an out and back run from where I was in Palm Bay, which B-T-DUBS is the super redneck classy southern swamp portion of the county, like Rockledge’s southern cousin. I forgot to throw a granola bar in my bag, so I just hydrated really well and went out. I should also note that the previous night my dinner consisted of 2 brownies….and then 2 glasses of whiskey. Ummmm….that’s totes what distance runners eat before a long run, right? Definitely gonna get me through. Whatever. It’s fine. Let’s run.

Like this, but with less mountains and water and more traffic and houses.

I filled my camelback and started out just before dawn when it was still dark, foggy and chilly and headed east. The sunrise that morning was AMAZING. Just before the colors started showing up there were rays of yellow light shooting through the clouds into the hazy sky. Then the oranges and pinks started showing up on all the little scattered clouds and got super vivid before the sun popped through. It was BEAUTIFUL. I ran straight east for the first 4.5 miles and watched the whole thing until the sun was all the way up over the clouds. Even ran over the highway overpass and was tempted to stop for a second. SO pretty. One of those mornings when yea it’s early, yea I have a long way to run, but damn if I don’t feel good. By 8 AM I was finished and showered. I was so damn hungry I even ate McDonald’s for breakfast and it was delicious. W.T.F.?

On the way back, I passed a house with a skeevy lookin’ dude sitting on a bike in the driveway messing with his phone. One of those bikes that’s way too small for him but he thinks it makes him look “street” rather than developmentally stunted. About a half mile later I notice he is hanging behind me, pedaling slowly. OK creepo, I know you’re back there. Hope the view is nice. Try it and see how far you get before I relieve you of the few gold-capped yellow-brown teeth left in your skull. I moved onto the grass to make it clear I knew he was back there and was giving him room to pass. Eventually he did and hung about 200 feet in front of me for the next mile. He then slowed and stopped to mess with his phone and I passed him again. We did the hovering and “I know you’re back there asshat” again. This time though, he just got close and since I had at this point pulled out 1 earbud to keep closer tabs on him, he tried to string human words together into sentences aimed in my direction.

Skeez: “Dang, yu’r runnin faster than Ah’m pedallin’ ”

Me: “That’s kind of embarrassing for you.”

Skeez: “Nah, s’whatever. I dunn care. I can’t buhleeve you kep up that pace from all a way back there”

Me: “Yep”

Skeez: “Yu’r like the onny girl I know s’even up dis early”

Me: “Really? You know many girls?”

Skeez: “Haha. Haay, how far you go?”

Me: “9 miles today.”

Skeez:”Daaaaaaaaaannnnngg. Atsa long way. Whatchoo runnin’ that far for?”

Me: “Marathon”

Skeez: “Word. At’s coo. Whatchoo runnin’ a mayrthon for?”

Me: “Cause I feel like it”

I know. Be still my heart. At this point I noticed a break in traffic and used it to escape across the main road into a neighborhood before I succumbed to his charm and proposed marriage on the spot.

Sometimes I think there should be a missed connections section on Craigslist for creepers that stalk you and yell lewd things from cars while you run. There must be some emotionally damaged people out there who could find love that way.

“I was running along the side of the road Saturday morning when you glided up behind me on your super cool bike. I could tell you were environmentally conscious and an athlete like me since you were riding your bike instead of driving. The way you had your hood pulled up was really mysterious and sexy and I could tell by the way you stayed behind me as I ran that you felt the connection too. Tell me what color shirt I was wearing and let’s meet up again for a few more miles.”

“I noticed your super cool 1987 Oldsmobile with the 24″ rims and custom flaking rust paint when you yelled out the window at me as I was running on the side of the road. My headphones blocked out most of what you said, but I thought it was very flattering you would make a gesture like that in front of your friends and would like to hear more. I’ll be running again tomorrow night. I’ll look for those chrome rims and listen for your call.”

Ummmm……yea….this is why I carry pepper spray.

Tap It….and Run

15 Jan

Day Random:

Scheduled: Lift   (I still do that?? Umm…sort of…maybe…I mean, YES…that’s another post)

Actual: World of Beer Tap It and Run 5k

Chip time: 23:57, 2nd place in Women 25-29 division

Preparedness Level: Low to Medium

Breakfasts: 2

Redbulls chugged: 1

Redbulls I regretted chugging: 1

Weather: Oh my glob!! Sweet glorious majesty it is lumping gorgeous!!

Temp: 39F, “feels like” 27F and sunny

Attire: Shorts and tank top. It’s totally fine, it’s awesome out. NO I’M NOT CRAZY. IT’S NOT EVEN COLD YOU PUSSIES! NO, I AM NOT SHIVERING!

Today I ran a 5k race. My first real, well organized 5k. The last one in October didn’t even count. I could have organized a better race in a mental hospital while on nyquil. This race was put on by the Running Zone, a local store that I frequent for all my running goodies because they are awesome and dog friendly and super cool and I love them. GO THERE. They sponsor a shit ton of local races throughout the year and I will be partaking in more of them. I’d like to do at least 1 5k or 10k a month this year I think…just to keep me pushing the speed a bit and break up the distance runs. I’m entertaining the idea of a full marathon towards Thanksgiving, too….but that’s a ways out.

I tend to be a cheapass and not actually enter races ever because the $20-$25 entry fee for someone to tell me I have to run at 7:30 AM on a Saturday was…well…fuck that. But now that I’m a morning person and fiscally irresponsible and all, that’s no problemo. Sign me up!! And I didn’t have to run until 9 this morning! I mean, that’s sleeping in for fuck’s sakes! I think they made the start time late because they gave us beer at the finish and drinking before 9:15 is definitely alcoholic territory. I mean, really. Let’s have SOME standards here, people.

I got dressed and stretched in a REALLY half-assed sort of way this morning, chugged a redbull, put yoga pants and a sweater on over my running gear and got in the car. I ate my granola bar and banana breakfast on the way there and drank some water. This is a much better preparation already than the last time I ran a 5k. I even had a SALAD for dinner last night and went to bed early! Remember last post when I said 5k doesn’t really even count as a workout? Yea. I tend to not give it a lot of thought (or any thought for that matter), except that I was on a team for this race, the weather was SUPER nice, I wanted to see if I could set a new PR and all that jazz, so I actually ate, hydrated and (holy shit) warmed up when I got there by jogging around the parking lot, doing a few strides and some high steps and such.

This is what I look like when it's cold out. No, that's not me, but you get the idea.

In a half marathon it’s not such a huge deal if there’s a crowd at the starting line because you’re gonna be running for a long time and those few extra seconds/minutes to find a hole and clear the slowpokes you can pretty easily make up on course. When there’s only 3 miles and the race will be over in 25 mins or less, that 30 seconds to a minute it takes for you to get around the shuffling wide old guy and moms pushing strollers can mean the difference between setting your PR and not. Like today. That extra 30 seconds (and the redbull) killed me. I really should have thought ahead and gotten myself a sweet spot near the front, but alas, I didn’t think of it until the race had already started. Once I found a hole….and by that I mean once I got fed up and totally long-jumped over a planter and scared an old dude in fluorescent yellow spandex…*shudder* some things you can’t UNsee… Anyway, once I got around that I took off and started passing people with my crazy-legs. I used my half marathon strategy and latched onto a couple guys wearing crossfit shirts running about a 7 min mile pace and let them split the crowd while I drafted off them. It’s pretty effective.

At about 2 miles the redbull started to dissolve the lining in my stomach and cause me some discomfort. This regrettably slowed me down. Which made me upset. I lost my crossfit buddies since they were still rocking 7 minute miles and I slowed to around 7:45/mile. At around the 3 mile mark my body decided that since I was not paying attention to my stomach being corroded, it would throw a sidestitch at me to force me to stop running. HELLLL NAAAWWW! I only have a tenth of a mile left mothafucka. I sped that shit up and made for the finish. Feeling like vomit was a looming possibility as I crossed the finish line, the smell of bacon from the post-race breakfast smacked me in the face. NOT exactly what I wanted to smell just then. UGHHHHHHHH. I’m gonna need a minute.

Now, admittedly even though the weather was superglorious, my body was not totally on board for this speed run for whatever reason. I do admit that there is a small possibility I should have worn leggings or a jacket or something and that the temp may have been slowing my muscle twitch function even though it felt super nice….but I’m gonna ignore that and just say it was a mediocre run day. Still came in 2nd in the division, but I think I coulda done better. Next time, Gadget. Next time.

I Took the Crazy Pills and I Like ‘Em

13 Jan

Friday the 13th:

Scheduled: 3 mile easy

Actual: 5.03 miles, 41:08, avg 8:11/m

Wake up time: 5:41 am

My Alarm: Totally badass way to wake up

Sunrise: Too slow to catch me

Music: Daft Punk, Celldweller

I realized this morning that I have, in this process of rebuilding myself, truly become 2 things I never ever thought I would be. My old self even went so far as to loudly proclaim anyone who was either of these things (let alone both) as being irretrievably insane while shaking my head in bewilderment and pity. I m ay have been right about the crazy part….but here I stand.

The first is a distance runner. I truly LOVE running now and really…yes….even love long runs. As painful as the slogging was at the beginning and as much as looking at those milage goal numbers makes you tired sometimes, the feeling of finishing a good solid long run is unbeatable. Even on the days I have a “bad run” or don’t meet my goal, etc, just being outside running is enjoyable for itself now, almost meditative in an energetic, muscle-burning sort of way, and I look forward to it. That is MY TIME. Just me and my Garmin and my music. Don’t bother me, don’t call me, I’m unavailable. I felt like a running snob earlier in the week because I got through a 5k run and scoffed because I ONLY ran 3 miles. PSHT. That barely even counts for crap’s sakes! Uh, no. That counts. I’m just a crazy distance runner now.

I had a pretty bad day yesterday. Was in a funk I couldn’t shake and kept getting tripped up and spun around. I realized last night that it was because I hadn’t been able to run at all that week and went 2 days without working out AT ALL and that made me crabby and off. The workload for school is pretty intense, so I was up early in the morning every day watching class lectures while glancing longingly out the front window as the sun came up just wishing I was out pounding the pavement instead of warming my computer chair. You’d think there was free ponies out there or something. I was even calculating how many miles I could have run by now if I had gone out. I am definitely a runner.

The second thing is a morning person. My alarm went off at 5:30 this morning. I hit the snooze…but that’s only because the snooze is huge and the off is tiny. I sat up, took a few minutes to wake up and turn on a light and send a few texts, but I was out of bed stretching by 5:45 and was EXCITED about my run. Self vehemently proclaims that I should not be excited about ANYTHING that early in the morning, let alone athletically demanding activities, and yet, there I was. I don’t listen to her much any more. I was stretching my hips, singing and tapping my hands on the floor to the song stuck in my head and being exactly that chippery nutbag I would have strangled 6 months ago. You can actually go back through my posts and see the documented evidence of me saying morning is terrible and morning people are freaks.

Well…..freaks, I need a membership badge now. I’ll bring the bagels to the meeting. I will go to bed early or skimp on sleep so I can get up pre-dawn and have my me-time walk or run. It’s quiet in a way that even late night is not and it is the time of day that is just for me. Almost no one is awake yet to bug me and nothing bad has happened in the day yet. There is something about the fact that I fucking got up and ran 5 miles before the sun came up that makes me feel bad ass and awesome, no matter if the rest of the day is a total bust. On the days I don’t run, I just take my tea and go for a long walk and think. It’s incredibly peaceful and therapeutic. Usually I get home just as the sun is peeking over the trees and just sit in the driveway and drink my tea and watch it.

I like this new me. She’s still cynical, jaded and sarcastic, but she’s WAY more positive and centered and she’s out to get shit done. No whining, more laughing. Unmitigated awesome all around.

Cold Weather is Pretty Great. And so am I.

4 Jan

Planned: Make up 5 miler for Monday

Actual: 5.01 miles, 40:29, average 8:05/mile

Temp: 41F

Humidity: 52%

Sky: Clear and starry

Ears and nose: Tingly from cold and awesome

Breath: Visible

Makeshift warm running attire: SUCCESSFUL

Badassery Level: DING!

I usually hate blinky animations, but I felt this one adequately illustrated my point, so I went with it. This is not a habit. I promise.

So, last night after a superdelicious sushi dinner with mom and dad, I did my lunges, pushups, ball jack-knifes and crunches and all my running stretches and warmups and went out the door into the superdelicious chill. I am SO happy right now. I am in my element. Know why? A cold front came through earlier this week and knocked the temperatures way the fuck down (by FL standards, that is). We have frost warnings, bitches. Highs in the 40s and lows in the 20s. It’s go time. Bring out the beanies, blankets and hot chocolate and celebrate! I fucking love the cold. L.O.V.E. I thrive in it. I feel a million times better, like my body wakes up. My skin is happier, my sinuses are happier and my brain is happier. When you go outside, you involuntarily go “whoooooo!!” while you do that all over exaggerated shivershake and hug your hoodie tighter, your nose and ears tingle, all the hairs are standing up on your arms, the air is still and clear, you can’t help but bounce around while you’re standing still and you can smell fireplaces and dryer sheets. OH, heaven. I would rather be shivering than sweat any day of the year. Period. Yup. Once again, I DO live in the absolute wrong place.

This is the first time I’ve ever run when the temperature was cold enough for me to clearly see my breath. Wait….no. That’s a lie. But the last time I did it I was just starting the couch to 5k program and was only running (a.k.a. slowly ramble-jogging) for 30 seconds at a stretch so it barely counts. This is the first time I’ve been running for any kind of significant distance, time or pace in what would be considered a chilly-type temperature. At least low enough that I had to make SOME adjustments to my usual attire. Not much, but a little. I don’t really own anything warm and athletic, so I pulled on a pair of leggings I use under dresses and such and a long sleeved underarmor shirt I had in the back of the closet under my shorts and tee shirt (which I wore for visibility’s sake).

Since I hadn’t really run in this kind of weather before Self started in about muscle cramping or it being too cold to breathe, or wearing too much, sweating and subsequently getting chilled and how I should maybe wait till daylight hours since I wasn’t sure and curl up on the couch with Netflix tonight instead. I punched her in her dirty mouth, put in my earbuds and went out. And it was fucking spectacular. Like verging on life changingly amazing. I never want to run in anything warmer ever again. I’m going to cry a lot when summer rolls around again now that I know the true glory of cool weather running. I’m not gonna call it cold either, because I know a lot of runners in other parts of the country having to truly bundle up who are out running in temps seriously close to or below 0. That counts as cold. 40 is glorious. Just enough to give my ears and nose a bite but not so much it hurts to breathe.

All that's missing is Derrick.

My easy slow warmup miles were at the previously “I’m awesome” pace I’d been running for the last few weeks, right around 8:30 and 8:20. Then my muscles were truly warmed up and I was feeling light, energized, happy and like I could race the Flash, so I kicked up the pace a bit and started doing sprint sets to my music during the choruses. And singing along. And laughing. And moving my head and arms to the beat. And skip-hopping curbs and kick-jumping around cars parked across the sidewalk. I even vaulted a knocked over trash can. All while still feeling super comfortable and within my effort threshold. ‘Cause my badassery, it knows no bounds. I ran all of the last 3 miles damn consistently at 7:49, 7:48 and 7:50. Which, B-T-Dubs set a new 3 mile PR for me. By a 30 second margin. That’s 10 seconds a mile for those of you too lazy to do the math. BAM. I even started getting that stupid muscle cramp at the top of my right quad somewhere around mile 4 and didn’t even give a single fuck. I just ignored it and went faster.

It felt amazing. The breeze had a tiny bite to it and the air was clear and light. I was having to shake and move my hands and jaw to keep the circulation going and I LOVED it. Such a difference from the miserably fiery, muggy, suffocating, energy sapping summer. This is how it’s supposed to feel. This is why I do this. It’s just me and my legs and the pavement and the pure joy of feeling strong, fast and awesome under nothing but my own power. To finish smiling and feeling like I could go forever and then realizing that I just ran 5 miles. That distance used to be so daunting and take so much hyping up and recovery. It’s just an easy “whatever” run for me now. I finish, stretch, shower and go on with my life. No big deal.

Damn I’m awesome.

I’m BAAAAAAAAAACK!!

29 Dec

New Race: Gasparilla half  marathon, March 4th, 2012

Goal time: 2:00:00

Bonus: Pirate themed race!!

Day…..I dunno. Today:

Planned workout: 7 mile long run
Actual: 7.02 miles, 1:01:09, average 8:43/mile

Random pairs of titey-whiteys on the sidewalk: 1 (keep it classy, Rockledge)

Legs: Not amused

Morning run weirdness factor: HIGH

Hydration: insufficient

Times I imagined myself running and jump-kicking through a dark and monster infested dungeon: Too many. Let’s just skip that.

Teenagers who almost took out a mailbox in a Focus while staring at me: 1

Kinda. Sorta.

Hello world!! I am back! I have slogged through the swamp of mental instability and have come out the other side mean and chock full of badassery, wearing pelts and tooth/claw-necklaces from all the monster motherfuckers and R.O.U.S.es Self threw at me and I wafflestomped along the way. I have finished being pitiful and hollow, have grabbed the crowbar and shotgun, dispatched self in epic zombie-battle fashion and started being an unapologetic badass. Yes, I’m mixing references. Deal with it. Not saying I’m 100% there, but the montage is in progress and we’re nearing the finish. Watch out.

I (and possibly Brittany as well) have set our sights on the Gasparilla half marathon in the spring over in her neck of the woods. This means I’m a little behind on training since I….ahem….essentially did a whole lot of nothing but worry and be an insomniac for the month and a half following the race. Oops. Whatever. Not even worried. We have 10 weeks, I have done this once before already and (MOST EXCITING) it will NOT be a billion sweltering degrees outside while I train this time! Hello low(ish) humidity and bearable temperatures!! It still feels warm out, but the difference is already palpable and exciting. Then again, I may NOT be running that race and may be choosing a different one since I have bought tickets to go to a Dropkick Murphy’s concert that night. While there is certainly TIME to do both since they’re 12 hours apart, the question is whether I will be physically capable of standing up long enough to make it through the concert. I ran half the distance and went to a Skrillex concert right afterwards a couple weeks ago, but still, I’m thinking it may be better to seek out an alternate race. We’ll see. Either way, I’m aiming for a half in the spring and I’m back in training.

I counted backwards on the old training schedule from the race and jumped in in the middle.  That’s why I have no stinkin’ idea what day in training this would be. This also means I was supposed to do a 7 mile run 2 weeks ago on my first week back. Um, excusemewhat? No. So I ran a few times that week, managed a 5 miler for the long run that week and added 1 last week and again this week. It’s a bit aggressive, but if I keep that up, by the next mileage build on the schedule I should be caught up.

Part of my new routine and newfound badassery is that I have almost, in fact, become a morning person. I know. I KNOW. Pick your jaws up off the floor. I started getting up and taking a walk at sunrise every day to have some time for introspection that was only for me. Once that became less painful, I tried a short run. Then a 5 miler. Today I did my long run at sunrise. That’s right. I left my house while it was still hazy and dark and ran while the sun came up. You can see right there on Endomondo where it says 6:43 AM when I started my run. It hurt the first couple of times and getting ready to run in the morning is very different from running at night, but there really is something about being outside running while the sun rises that makes you feel indestructible. Especially when it’s a little chilly and your legs are on board and you’ve got great music to keep you company.

I have found that I have to treat morning runs like hangovers. I have 2 alarms set. 1 is set for 5AM. This is when I wake up and chug down the liter of water I set out by the bed then promptly pass the fuck out again. Then at 6, I actually get up, drink some more water, have some toast and OJ and a Gu and head out. This is the only way to not feel like my esophagus is trying to glue itself together while my legs fill with sand. I will have to start planning my routes past the convenience store more often so I can stop for agua.

I did the big Rockledge loop this morning to make sure I’d do all 7 miles. My legs were kind of unhappy with me and I was feeling a little sluggish. I went a little harder than I should have at spinning last night. There were only 2 of us in the class so I couldn’t just sandbag it in the back. Ah well. Took me until about mile 5 to really settle in and get comfortable and start moving. Which is when I thought I’d be running out of gas. Whatevs. Chock it up to the cooler weather.

Speaking of which, my mile splits have gotten SIGNIFICANTLY faster since the weather cooled with absolutely no training on my part. This is where I say “I TOLD YOU it was the heat and humidity making me run like an old lady!”. As soon as the humidity drops to around 60% and the temp is below 70, I’m rockin’ 8-8:30 miles like nobody’s business. My Garmin keeps telling me to slow down and I say “No. I will not” and I laugh and speed up. For about 10 seconds. Then I slow back down, cause I mean…I’m running distance, not speed. Sheesh.

I will try to post occasionally as I train for this next race. It’s funny, with moving and school and all going on, this time around training for a half marathon is just the background. It’s just  the “Oh, yea. I’m doing that too, I guess”. Don’t get me wrong, I’m serious about it and I’m gonna train hard and I do intend to set a time goal on this one, but somehow it’s not the huge looming monstrosity it was last time. I’ve got this. I’m a badass. No problem. Now keep up or get off my sidewalk.

Stop Being Sad and Be Awesome

3 Nov

Planned workout: Plan??? I think I’m going running…I think I’m gonna do 5 miles.

5k completed: 1

10k registered for: 1

Halloween costume: Huge Success! I mean…nobody knew what it was, but it looked awesome.

Mood: Uhhhhhhhhh……I’ll get back to you.

Florida Weather: Can’t make up its mind either.

OK. So here’s the deal. I haven’t updated in a while. I HAVE been working out. Not as much as I wanted, and REALLY cut back on the running, but it was happening. Mostly spinning, short runs and lots of pushups and crunches at home. I actually ran a 5k, which I will tell you about if you can keep your panties on for a hot second.

Yea. THAT motherfucker.

I have stayed away from the blog because I kind of hit the floor and turned into probably the worst version of myself I’ve ever been for the last week or 2. I was as close to a “normal girl” as I’ve ever been and it was disgusting. Like headcrab zombie disgusting. I was like the one covered in jumpy poisonous fuckers that throws them at people. Bonus points if you got that reference (add me on Steam or XBL later…). I bought a pint of Ben & Jerry’s even. It’s still in my freezer since I go in the opposite direction when stressed and lose interest in food….but let’s just leave it with I’m not proud of the last week, and we’re going to pretend it didn’t happen. OK? We shall never speak of this again on penalty of poisonous headcrab and/or crowbar. Whatever’s more available.

Self is still pretty solidly in control of my head at this point…but I have a toothpick the guard dropped and I’m trying to pick the lock on my handcuffs. Just wait, Self. Just wait. Your days of making me say/do degrading, pathetic things and feel shitty about myself are numbered. I’m getting really sick of this and want to feel good again. People send me postcards in my cell of what it’s like outside and it looks pretty badass. I’m gonna shank that bitch Self as soon as I get these cuffs off and bribe the guard and then we’ll see who’s in control.

So anyway, back on track, the place my dad works held a breast cancer benefit 5k last Saturday. Race started at 8:30 AM. You all know my penchant for waking up early, but since they needed entrants and it wasn’t TOOO early, I agreed to run it. Wake up morning of to grey and gross. It’s WET. And MUGGY. Hovering right around the 97-100% humidity marker. Greeaaaaat. Who’s excited to get up and go run in the rain, rather than stay in my nice comfy bed and listen to it? Not exactly me. But get up I did and we headed out.

This race was REALLY badly organized. Particularly in comparison to the Disney race….ouch. The field was really small. Probably 20-30 people total. I figured I’d just wail on it, go as fast as I could and then sit by the tent and have a nap until the walkers came in. Started out and stuck with 2 guys at the front. Then the 1st place guy actually started running and just straight disappeared. He was one of those guys with 0% body fat and little skinny legs for miles. NO chance you’re gonna catch him. The guy in 2nd place I paced until about a half mile in, at which point I managed to pass him and felt awesome for being in 2nd place for about 2 seconds, until a late starter flew up from behind and passed us all. Whatever. I’m still in 3rd. The earliness and the humidity (and let’s not forget the burger and beers I had the night before…I mean…it’s just a 5k…no need to prepare or nothin’…*cough*) started to catch up with me and my legs felt heavy, but I kept telling myself it was ONLY 3 miles. Come on, wussbag. Suck it up and get it moving.

Outta my way, bitches.

I ran the first mile in 7:31. Slowed down after that when the rain started coming down heavier and I had to breathe it/avoid puddles. Where’s my snorkel?? I kept glancing over my shoulder to see if I’d opened up any distance on the guy I passed. Not much. He was sticking with me, so I couldn’t slow down. Managed to finish out the race 3rd overall and fastest of the ladies with a time of 24:51. My goal was 25 mins or less, so BAM. Squeaked it out. Not a HUGE accomplishment since the field was so limited, but still. Not shabby. Squishy wet shoes and soaked clothes standing under the tent waiting for everyone else to finish. Got lots of compliments on my tat. Runners are cool people. 🙂 I didn’t even get an “attagirl” for coming in 3rd, except from the other runners. No prizes, no callout, nothing. A little disappointing. Oh well. I just want a hot shower and dry clothes. I did win a basket of flowers in a raffle, so I’m pretending I won them for coming in 3rd. ;p

Not too shabby! My mom is awesome for helping me with all this. And I know. I'm doing Halloween wrong. I should have been "Sexy Chell" and made that jumpsuit a miniskirt.

Later that day I finished up my awesomely nerdy Halloween costume and went out in downtown with some friends. My longfall boot springs lasted all of about 30 mins, but the rest held up really well. If anyone knows what I was…you’re probably as big a nerd as me and already my friend. A total of 2 people of the thousands in DT Orlando figured it out. The boots weren’t terrible to walk around in once I ditched the broken springs, but they had no padding. Let’s just say that waking up on the couch the next day still wearing half my costume and trying to move my legs was….sensitive. I didn’t stretch or anything after the race and was walking around and dancing in heeled boots all night. My legs were angry. Meh. Count it as a workout. Walk it off.

In an effort to “stop being sad and be awesome instead” which I think is my new morphed version of “nut up or shut up”, I booked a ski trip to Colorado 2 weeks from now which should be epic good times playing in the snow, and also signed myself up to run a 10k on Thanksgiving morning. I KNOW. I’m gonna eat tons of pie Wednesday night, pass out, wake up early and try to run 6 miles before going and stuffing myself again. How could this possibly end badly?? I think I have convinced a couple people to come with me and run the 5k and I think the courses start the same. We’ll see how fast I can do this. I’m not setting a goal because…well…..pie. LOTS of glorious pie. A girl needs priorities.

So what am I getting at with all this? I’m not going to be a ball of sunshine suddenly, but I am not gonna be this pitiful any more. I want to start being awesome again and make it through a day smiling instead of crying. Fuck him. I know I’ve said this before, but I’m done letting him make me feel pathetic and useless. It sucks. I can have a new life. I just have to drag my ass out of bed and get it. I need races and fun things to do and I have lots of vacation time. Anyone that wants to join me, let’s do this.