Tag Archives: long run

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


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.


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.


3 Sep

Days to Race: 29 (AHHHHH!!!!! WHAT?!)

Scheduled: 10 mile long run

Actual: 10.01 miles, 1h:38m:37s, Avg 9:51/m

Stops: 0

Pace for last 1/4 mile: 7:30/m

2nd Gu: taken WHILE RUNNING

Camelback: MUUUUUCH better with small adjustments

Phone battery: Can’t last as long as I can

Sunrise yoga: Difficult after a 10 mile run that ends at 11pm

Seeee?!?!?! Garmin tracked the whole thing!!

Last night I broke through a milestone and completed the unofficial rite of passage that means I can legit, for real, no bullshit call myself a runner no matter who I’m talking to. I did my first 10 mile continuous run and finished feeling good enough to wail down the last quarter mile homestretch all engines ahead full and feel good afterwards. I actually started picking up the pace a little after the 8 mile mark cause my power songs came on and I felt good. Unfortunately this is also conveniently when my cellphone battery got too low to keep GPS tracking me, so the accurate feedback stopped. My mom can vouch, though. She was following me on her bike the whole way. I think mom may have outdone me in the badassery department on this workout since earlier in the week she had a shelf fall on her head and got 3 STAPLES put into her scalp. Did that stop her?? Hell no. 10 mile bike ride? Bring that bitch on. Role models, I has them.

We had awesome luck with crosswalks the few times we needed them and were waiting 10 seconds or less on all of them. Most of the time I’d pause Endomondo, only to have to start it right back up again and barely took a step of walk. I was purposely keeping it slow since it was really humid out and kept my splits really damn consistent at right under 10:00/m. My knees started to feel slightly stressed around the halfway point so I shortened my stride and went for more turnover rather than longer strides to make up the pace. It worked pretty well and they felt better after another mile. Since I was still feeling pretty comfortable at the 5 mile mark when it was time for the prescribed Gu break and I had it stored in a convenient little pocket right on the shoulder strap of my camelback, I decided to not stop to take it. I managed to open it with my teeth and take it a little at a time with sips from my camelback, all WHILE RUNNING. I DIDN’T STOP. It’s these stupid little things that make you feel SUPER legit. Running in the rain, drinking weird concoctions, foam rolling, whatever. Took a Gu while running?? FUCK YEA. I’m serious now. Know what else is serious? The amount of sweat I produced on this run. I quite literally wrung out my shorts in the driveway and was still dripping all over the house on the way to the shower. G.R.O.S.S.

I know I should have been coasting on the afterglow of this run all day today, but it was a bad day emotionally and I couldn’t shake the funk. Not for lack of trying, either. I got up before the sun and went to yoga class at 7 in the fucking morning with a friend. PS, my legs thought this was a funny joke and kept making me almost tip over in the warrior series. I played video games and ran errands. I saw a movie. I took the dog to the park and the store. I impulse purchased stilleto heels for craps sakes!! I DON’T DO THAT!! GIRLS DO THAT!! WTF?!?!  WHO AM I?!?!?!

I was depressed, insecure and on the brink of tears all day and it just sucked the victory right out of me. I should have been walking around all day today telling everyone and anyone that had the misfortune of saying “hi” in my general direction that I kicked 10 miles in the face with my energy legs last night and exalting in the fact that even if I just repeat that performance and walk the rest of the race I will still finish in less than 2:30:00 which was my tentative goal. I was just lost, failing miserably at the instructions given to me by the counselor and thinking about the one person I’m not supposed to. How can I NOT, though, when literally every facet of my life was woven in with him and everything funny, interesting, meaningful or even infuriating, I instantly want to tell him about or think of how he would react. Even this major goalpost got the wind sucked out of it because he wasn’t here to share it with and to tell me he’s proud of me. I feel pathetic for that and hate myself for being so dependent on another person for my happiness, but then that only multiplies the depression. It’s a vicious, perpetual motion machine of mental anguish.

I know it was supposed to be a rest day today, but I did the yoga this morning and I took the dog for an hour long walk tonight. I have managed to forge enough positive mental associations with being outside, on my feet and moving at night that while I was out I felt better and my mood lifted a little. Once my body stops moving, that’s when the brain shifts into overdrive and the spiral continues. I can’t just go forever, so I have to find some way to quiet my brain while my body rests at least a little. As I say this I’m looking at the clock thinking I need to try to sleep because I’m getting up for spinning in the morning.

I’m wondering if my mind or my body will give first and hoping that I’m back on an emotional upswing tomorrow.

Strong on the Rebound

19 Aug

Days till Race day: 45  (Copying Brittany)

Scheduled: 9 mile long run

Actual: 9.02 miles, 1h:27m:02s, average 9:39/mile

Stops: 1 for Gu gel and water, NO WALK BREAKS BITCHES!!!

Gu Gel: DEFINITELY worth the gross out. They are mana from heaven.

Breeze: Also mana from heaven

Best Gu flavor so far: Mandarin orange

Humidity: 90% (Come on, August. Be over already. This is getting old.)

My dad: Seriously awesome running support. You guys are missing out. This guy is on top of things.

Mental State: On the rebound to establishing a new state of normalcy

My friends: A.W.E.S.O.M.E.

As Brittany said, we are now close enough to race day to begin counting DOWN to the race instead of counting UP from the start. Only 6 weeks left. Crazy. However, I finally really feel like finishing this thing is within my grasp. Even if I have to walk the last few miles, I know I can finish now. That’s a pretty awesome feeling and a little boost that I needed right about now.

I got home from work and was trying to form my food and hydration plan since my all day carbo-load plan kind of went out the window what with it being busy at work and me forgetting since my appetite still is not exactly what you’d call healthy. I can eat again, but not very much and nothing super smelly (read: tasty). Runner’s World posted a very timely tweet with an answer to a question regarding what to eat pre and post run. SWEET!! I ate earlier than I was planning since they recommended eating a light meal 2-3 hours prior and then eating again after. Done and done. Stretched, warmed up, took a Gu, and out the door I went. I also packed a Gu and my debit card in the convenient gel-sized pocket inside my shorts so that at the convenience store about halfway through the run I could buy a water and take my second Gu. Planning, I has it! I was very pleasantly surprised that this did not rub a hole in my hip while I was running. Success!!

I started out at short run Gu fueled speeds and did the first mile in 9:03, which is when I told myself to slow the fuck down so I wouldn’t burn out early and be crying and broken on the way to the finish like last time. Made a full loop around Eyster and Barton for 3 miles and then headed out on the long Rockledge loop. I’m about 90% sure that I passed the guy who lives across the street from me and does triathlons running the other way at this point, but his headlamp shining in my eyes meant I couldn’t see his face really well. Said Hi anyway and kept on going. Right about the time my legs were starting to feel heavy and I was getting tired, what do you know, but it was time for a Gu break! I walked into the store, grabbed my water and tried to open the Gu while the guy was ringing it up. These things are not easy to open if you’re in the AC, not sweaty and have glue-fingers and super strength. When you’re tired and sweat soaked, they are fucking impossible. After struggling with it for a hot minute, I asked the clerk if he would be so kind as to assist me. He very nicely started it for me so I could get that sweet sweet mana down my gullet. Down it went (orange went much easier!), chugged my water and threw out the bottle and got ready to go….but wait! Who’s that?! MY DAD!! Pulled up with water and Gu gels for me!!! AHH!! Just 30 seconds too late, but SUPER AWESOME anyway. He said he would continue on and meet me again up ahead. My dad rules.

The pep-up from the Gu and water was almost immediate. I made myself slow down in case it was just a little temporary insanity from stopping for a minute and because the water-belly was a little sloshy. After about a half mile, though, it was pretty obvious that no, the girl at Running Zone was telling the absolute truth and these things are indispensable for long runs and make all the difference in the world. I will be stocking up and packing them for the race for sure!!! I got new energy, felt awesome and put the cruise control back on while I laughed at Brittany and my dad discussing sparkly men through my peptalks.

It didn’t start to feel hard again until about 8 miles. That last mile I felt heavy and my knees were starting to complain, but at that point, I only had one mile to go. I could make it!!! Push push push! In the last quarter mile, running up Barton, there was a guy walking the other way coming towards me. I got ready to give the finger and/or pull my pepper spray, but when I got close he just smiled at me, gave me thumbs up and said “Keep it up!”. WHAT?! Uhh Thanks!!! Think I passed the one guy walking around in Rockledge that’s not a douchenozzle! The ratio is still standing pretty firmly in favor of the “these assholes are a waste of oxygen”…including the winner who yelled from his shitty busted up car “You feisty, biiiiiiiiiiitch?!” at me 3 times on my Monday run, but it’s really nice to give my middle finger a rest now and then. 🙂

Got home and had 4 comments on a previous run from friends giving me encouragement as well as a bunch on Facebook on the Endomondo link. Even though I didn’t get them as peptalks, it was still awesome. Made me smile for sure. Ate my eggs and wheat toast for recovery, iced my knees and soaked my feet and off to sleep.

Today is a rest day, and even though I’m working, I have my feet up on the desk (my boss is out and it’s super quiet today) and am chillin’, basking in the afterglow of finishing my longest continuous run ever and successfully, to boot. I’m stinkin’ hungry too for the first time in a month, so I believe I will, as recommended by the prolific words of Brittany “Eat the damn cheeseburger Kelly and don’t ever fucking apologize because cheeseburgers were made to be eaten.”. My friends are awesome. Have I said that?

On a related note, Brittany is coming to visit me tomorrow so we can get drunk be responsible and play Halo all night. She is amazing and I’m SOO excited to see her. Can’t wait!!!

5 Stages of Long Run Acceptance

29 Jul

Day 68:

Scheduled: 8 mile long run

Actual: 8.01 miles, 1h:23m:52s. Average: 10:28/mile

Route: New and Pre-mapped

Pleas for Peptalks: Shameless and numerous

Peptalks received: 0

Calorie intake: Insufficient

Secret Weapons: Ineffective

Shirt: Literally wrung out on the side of the road

Body: Broken

Running buddy: Left behind at mile 3.6

Screenshot from earlier. Outlook is not good.

Today all day long there were heat advisory warnings telling everyone in the area to limit their outdoor exposure and use caution. Let me tell you, that made me super excited to run outside tonight. Knowing this would be the case and that I would be covering enough distance to actually go somewhere, I decided to map out a route of a big loop so that once I got to the far end, there was nothing for it but to run back home. I’m pretty sure I would have given up around mile 6 if I hadn’t done it this way. I barely managed to drag myself the half mile back home after finishing. One of Glenn’s old highschool friends was in the area and asked if I wanted a running buddy, so he joined me at the beginning. He’s more of a fast 5k sort of runner though, and I lost him after mile 3. At 3.6 he yelled up to me he was heading back to the house. So onward I go alone.

I was all prepared for the heat. I froze a gatorade when I got home from work so that I would have something cold to ice myself with in the first half of the run and some electrolytes and calories for the second half. I also put some ice in a bandana and tied that around my neck to keep the heat at bay. They worked great…for my warm-up walk. By the time I hit 1 mile, my gatorade was not frozen at all any more and most of the ice on my neck was gone. By 2 miles the gatorade was warm and I just had a wet rag around my neck. Awesome.

There are stages of emotions and mental states that shift with the effort during a long run. It’s a lot like the Kubler-Ross model of grief. On difficult and painful long runs that last forever more than an hour with no music or distractions, there is plenty of time for me to work through all the stages of running denial and acceptance while I slog.

It's gonna be great!

At the beginning of the run I am in complete and total denial about how hard it will be and how painful the forthcoming slogging is. I completely minimize how hard previous runs were and I’m still psyching myself up for the miles ahead. I am telling myself that the tightness in my legs will loosen, that the tiredness I feel at the starting line will dissipate when the blood starts flowing and I will find the energy. I tell myself it’s not that far and that I can do this no problem and that the heat isn’t that bad. I set outrageous time goals and tell myself it should be no problem to hit them.

By miles 3-4, I am into stage 2, Anger. I am pissed at my Garmin for telling me I’m not running as fast as I feel like I am. I am upset about how much I am sweating already and how much of it is running in my eyes. I am furious with Florida for making the humidity so high and subjecting me to this misery. I am fuming at myself for signing up for a race that required me to train in the heat of summer. I am affronted by these inconsiderate assholes who park their trucks across the sidewalk for no reason and block my way. I am annoyed by my pepper spray that is difficult to hold in sweaty hands. I get irrationally irritated with how long traffic lights and crosswalks take to change and let me cross. I am incensed that the gatorade I drank is giving me a stomach ache rather than helping. I am bitter about how difficult running feels despite all the effort and training I have put in. I boil, curse and grumble as I continue slogging. I pity anyone that would try to abduct me while I’m in this phase of my run. It would not end will for them.

Once the energy for anger has been beaten out of me, I move into the Bargaining stage. Self starts telling me that if I can just make it a little further, then tomorrow I will get sushi for lunch. If I can only just make it to like…5 miles, then I can have a walk break. If I can just make it to at least 6 miles, I can stop and head home if I’m really not feeling up to it. Well, I ran a little extra on Tuesday, so maybe I could subtract that quarter mile today and it will even out? I just have to slog through at least like 7 miles…then I can call Glenn to get me. I ran the first mile at a pretty good pace, so if I just walk a little the time should average out and I can pick up the pace again in the next mile.

When I reach the Self-bargained goal-posts, I realize that I am too stubborn to stop running and I fall into the Depression stage. This is where I look at my time and calculate just how woefully behind my goal time I am and how much further behind I’m falling with every passing second because I can’t find the energy for a push since my legs feel like lead. I feel like I’m never going to get faster and running is never going to be easy for me. It’s almost always a struggle. I’m just not good at it and why did I ever think this race was a good goal to make? I’ve only done HALF the distance I have to cover in the race and I want to die on the side of the road. I’m struggling and wheezing, my skin is on fire, it’s too damn hot and I’m never going to finish this stupid race, anyway. This is where a lot of pitiful groaning happens and my feet start to drag. There are very probably walk breaks in this stage.

Depending on the length of the run, when I finally stumble into the last 1-2 miles, I hit the Acceptance stage. This is where I realize that I have, after all, run this far, and I have to get home one way or another, so I might as well run it. The quicker I just knuckle down and grind through it, the quicker it will be done. I’m not giving up on the race this time and I’m going to finish this run even if it hurts. I refuse to walk any more until robot lady tells me I’m done, so I just force my legs and lungs to accept their fate, shut off my brain and try to stumble-cry through the finish.

As I was struggling along through those last couple miles tonight, I had a memory flash of when I was in junior high trying to get the presidential fitness award. The only thing that stood between it and 12yr old me was running 1 mile in 10:00 or less. It seemed like it was so far and so impossibly hard for my slightly asthmatic non-athletic self. My dad took me out to the school track on the weekend and ran with me to help me try to get to that time. I remember my lungs and legs burning, wanting to quit and him saying something like “You have to push at least a little bit past what’s comfortable, or you’ll never get better”. My dad has never been an athletic guy, but for whatever reason that stuck with me. I left comfortable about 4 miles back with that running buddy, but still, it kept me slogging along to the finish, so, thanks for that, Dad.

By the time I finished all 8 miles, my right quad had locked and I actually contemplated calling Glenn for a pick up instead of walking home, but then I thought he wouldn’t want me sitting in his car completely soaked in sweat totally forgetting he’d probably bring mine. Sad, yes.

My optimism about this race is all false. I’m seriously doubting whether I can finish. I know we have 9 weeks left, but these long runs are kicking my ass so hard, I’m just not sure how I’m going to make it. Even if I do, I’ll have to rent a wheelchair to go to the food and wine festival afterwards and probably fall asleep holding a beer like a total lameass non-athlete.  I desperately need to spend some quality time with the foam roller and my bed now.

Onward. I guess.

Grinding the Milestones

10 Jun

Day 18:

Scheduled Run: Long Run (5 miles)

Actual Run: 5.04 miles 53:59

Dezzi’s Run: 3.6 miles 37:25

Times I asked Florida to strike me down with lightning and end this: 8

Expletives uttered: innumerable

Walk breaks: fucking ZERO

Pushups: Not today, Batman. Not today.

The last couple days have been uneventful. Tuesday during the day, I was still riding the high of my tempo run badassery and felt awesome. By the evening, I wasn’t feeling well and laid down for a nap. The animals laid on top of me in a warm furry pile (including Dezzi when Glenn told him to “get me” so I’d wake up….he just plunked down on top of me. Good boy.) and I REALLLLY wanted to just sink into the Tempur-pedic and disappear for the rest of the night. I did eventually get out of bed and go out, that perfect record was hanging over my head, not to be broken without a damn good reason. “But, I’m really comfy right now” is not a good enough reason, Self.

It was definitely a case of “drag my sorry carcass out the door”. Dezzi and I finished out the 3 miles slowly but surely. From about .5-1.5 miles I felt good, but then cement-legs set in and it was back to slogging. It was rough for an easy run, but we averaged about 10:30/mile.

Yesterday was yoga day and while I didn’t do a full hour, I did a light practice broken up into a couple sessions making sure to concentrate on my hips where I usually have the most tension and I used the tennis ball to work the knots out of my calves while Dezzi was locked out of the room and couldn’t steal it. I was exhausted and opted to give my body a little extra rest time rather than kill myself holding warrior poses. That, and we went to dinner for my dad’s birthday so I made a workout of eating as many Red Lobster cheddar bay biscuits as I could cram down my mouthhole. YUM.

Fun fact: Chicken parm does not make good long run fuel. I learned that tonight.

And now, it’s time for another Good Idea, Bad Idea starring Kelly!
Good idea: Eating a healthy balanced diet and hydrating properly throughout the day before a long run.
Bad idea: Forgetting to eat all day except for a granola bar and some snap peas and neglecting your water bottle until a half hour before the run when you chug the whole thing like a beer at a frat party.

Guess which I did today. Yea. I’m a dumbass. I guzzled a Zipfizz and about a liter of water after dinner, stashed another liter in the mailbox and put out water for Dezzi so we could swing by the house midrun and rehydrate. I know. Pretty cunning.

Stop it! I just want to run! Why are you making it so hard, Florida?!

Mile 1 had some early knee pains that concerned me, but I warmed out of them and hit a sort of rhythm. My GPS watch battery died straight out of the gate, so all I had to rely on for pace and distance checkpoints was Cardio Trainer. Even in the first mile, I knew I was in trouble when I was consciously waiting for the percentage markers to come. It seemed like a really long way for it to be not even a mile yet, but I had a good breeze and it didn’t really hurt, so I just kept it slow and kept churning. At about mile 2, the wind flat died and the humidity hit me in the face like a sledgehammer. This is not going to end well. Commence painful slogging. I slogged. And cursed. And kept slogging for what seemed like hours. I kept trying to figure out if the GPS was tracking me right because surely I had reached the next 10% checkpoint by now. I suppose it was good the Garmin died because it kept me from obsessively wasting energy by checking how far I’d gone every 5 seconds and being sad that it wasn’t farther. All I could do was put the proverbial nose to the grindstone and wait for that beautiful sound.

My skin is crawling just looking at the picture. Seriously, Science. Can we please get on napalm torching these fuckers into oblivion?

There is one thing that can and did make me speed up at least for a short while and that is the crazy huge Florida killer attack roaches that come out of the woods at night to sit on the cool pavement. The cool pavement where I’m running. Did I mention these bastards are 2 inches long and fucking FLY?! I don’t care if they run away from me or don’t move. Once I leap over/past them and can’t see them, I’m bookin’ it for a few seconds because I instantly start to feel them crawling up my legs and the back of my neck *shudder* Blech. HEEBIE. JEEBIES. FOR. REAL. Yup. I’m a total girlie girl wussbag when it comes to these things. If they touch me, I will scream and likely cry at least a little. I fucking hate them. They are disgusting and creepy and just….NO. NOT EVER. I’m still slightly traumatized by the huge one that landed on my leg at Disney when I was 10.

At about 3 miles, Dezzi started to fall back behind me. He had that pinched face tired look and didn’t catch up. He’s run a lot this week for his little pup legs, so when we got to the house for refuel I just opened the front door and chucked him in, then grabbed a mouthful of water and on I went. I may not be fast, but I’m determined.

Guys, I apologize in advance. This paragraph does not interest you. Skip on ahead to the safety zone.
Right before the 4 mile mark which, by the way, seemed to take an absolute eternity to arrive,  there were some very ominous cramps happening in the vicinity of the “evil twins” a.k.a. my ovaries. Bitches were starting a prison riot. OK, I don’t have much farther. Suck it up. Slog on. I’m not giving up now. I’ve made it this far, I’m gonna finish this thing. Yes, I am that stubborn and yes, I have fights with my lady-parts. I am not going to concede victory to those spiteful little demons if I can help it. I thought running was supposed to EASE cramps?! Not enrage the hostile natives!! The last half mile it was all I could do to not curl up in a ball and roll the rest of the way. I swear I thought it was never going to end.

Safety Zone. You can read again without fear of estrogen poisoning.
When I finally got the “workout complete” in my headphones, I did a half-hearted little celebratory dance…ok…not a dance. More of a relieved “OHMIGODTHANKYOUFINALLY” as I stumbled down to a walk and dragged my poor depleted carcass back to the house. On the upside, I made it through the first 5 mile continuous run I’ve done in more than 2 years. This is not the farthest I’ve ever run, but it is a bit of a milestone in the training process. One of those baby steps to being able to legitimately call myself a real runner instead of an impostor in compression shorts.

I am REALLY glad tomorrow is a rest day.

No Matter How Slow I Run, I’m Still Faster Than My Couch.

2 Jun

Day 11:

Scheduled Run: Long Run 45:00 blue and green zones

Run According to miCoach: 45:00 5.69 miles

Actual Run: 45:00  4.26 miles

Times miCoach told me to change my pace: 87

Yea. It pretty much felt like this. I hope they can give me bionic legs. That would be sweet.

I’m counting this week as the first drop on the training roller coaster of ups and downs. Last week felt pretty good and I was on the upswing. This week just hurts. I can feel that my body is making new, stronger, faster muscles, and it will be better soon, but damn if the process isn’t uncomfortable. I can only hope that while I’m resting tomorrow it will hurry up and make with the muscle repair so I can kick ass next week.

I also ran out of good food today and was scrounging so I was not as well nourished as I should have been for this run. While I thought a few handfuls of mixed nuts and some gatorade would make a good pre-run energy booster snack, it is apparently the recipe for stomach ache and near vomit. So don’t do that.

Out on this long run (my second outdoor run with miCoach) I discovered a very large problem that may make me scrap this app and go back to Cardio Trainer. If there are ANY clouds or trees it seems to just randomly make up pace figures and GPS positions, pulling them out of its digital ass at whim. Most of my run route is open sky. There are a few trees I run under, but usually I’m not obscured from satellite view for more than 1 or 2 data points worth of time. Cardio Trainer has no problem following me and it and my Garmin 305 GPS watch (which is very accurate) agree every time I do a check run on pace and distance.

This was just ridiculous. Being a long run, it’s a 5 minute easy peasy blue zone warmup, followed by a long chunk of time in the green zone where you should be comfortable and conversational. miCoach spent most of that time telling me to “speed up to green zone” because according to the fantasyland pace timer it seems to use my pace was something between 13:45 and 17:52 (green zone pace is 10:20-8:59/mile). I have run outside enough to get a pretty good feel for my pace. I WALK faster than 17:52 a mile and was probably running at less than half that when it gave me that pace. Regardless of all this, I kept thinking that maybe I was just really tired and not judging my pace right and for the first 1 to 2 miles I tried to “speed up to and maintain green zone”.

I then figured out that it wasn’t going to straighten itself out and spent the rest of the run self-regulating my pace at between 9:30 and 10:00/mile and “conversationally” telling miCoach to go fuck itself in a plethora of ways because I hadn’t actually changed my pace and his snooty British ass had probably made me run in the yellow zone for the last 20 minutes needlessly.

Breakin' the sound barrier, bitches.

Due to me running too fast for the first half leaving me on the edge of vomiting in someone’s yard, I needed a rest break. I walked about half a mile, just before which point GPS lost me COMPLETELY and thought I randomly teleported over a mile from where I was into the middle of a golf course and started sprinting at speeds the Flash would be jealous of back to my track. It actually told me for about 3 minutes solid I was running a 3:27/mile pace and needed to slow down. UH, WHAT?! It then told me for an additional 2 minutes I was running a 5:03/mile pace and should slow down. RIGHT.

I may just be grumpy because of the wastefully strenuous and annoyingly over-coached run I just had, but at this point I’m pissed enough that I’m ready to say I’m going back to Cardio Trainer and my old training schedule on Saturday. That would mean I have intervals on Saturday so I may rethink that plan when I have to head to the gym…..but right now I don’t see this being useful if it can’t track me outside. Running outside is harder than zoning out on the treadmill and the race will be run OUTSIDE. If I can’t train outside…that’s a problem.

What I’m saying is, disregard my post from last Sunday about how great this app is. It IS a great interface and the app itself is slick and the training plans are helpful, but this is something I just can’t ignore.

This is my route track from miCoach. As you can see....SUPER accurate.

As I am now a huge achy grouch, I’m gonna go shower, eat a burrito and ice/sulk for the rest of the night until it’s time for my rest day massage in the morning and formulate my apology to my Cardio Trainer British coach for doubting him.