Tag Archives: running

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.

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.

Make Yourself

21 Oct

Planned Workout: 5-6 miles, easy pace

Actual Workout: 8.01 miles, 1:09:09, average 8:39/mile, fastest mile: mile 5, 8:12 

Music: Animal I Have BecomePlay for Real, Kill Your Heroes, Shut Me Up (this makes me BOOK), Monster, Burn It Down

A cold front came through Wednesday night and plunged the temperatures down a solid 20 degrees. I slept with the windows open (had a minor freak out and decided to sleep with my pepper spray and the sword since I’m alone in the house now) and yesterday was GORGEOUS outside. I don’t think we hit 70 all day. Sunny, breezy, beautiful. Definitely a day to plan a run outside. Since I haven’t run any kind of distance since the race, I figured I’d aim for 5-6 miles and just go at whatever was comfortable. Well….I ran 8 and only stopped because I was almost back home at that point and figured I should call it. My theory was this. The weather is AWESOME and I had physical anxiety and anger in spades to burn. SO I would just go out, enjoy the weather and run until my legs didn’t feel good and my brain did. Well…that took a while. And then I was just enjoying being outside running and NOT feeling like I was dying, so I just kept going. And not just going, I did sprint sets through the entirety of the run. I kept not feeling tired and expecting to tank at any moment. Just didn’t happen.

This run was the primo example of how much the heat affects me. I struggled to run 9:30/miles when the temp was around 80, but when the humidity plummets to 50-60% and the temp is at a comfy 64 with a good strong breeze…I can go forever and hold a damn respectable pace.

I looked at the calendar and I didn’t think I’d be able to do the Thanksgiving half realistically until I finished the run last night. On the schedule was a 9 mile run…I did 8. I’m still not sure if I actually will run it, but I can enter pretty much up until the day of the race, so I’ll just wait and see. But even if I don’t, that’s fine. That means I can just go to tons of classes at the gym and enjoy getting strong. Also means I can actually make it all the way through the New Rules program, so I’ll document that here. 🙂

I’ve been going to yoga more lately and remembering why I used to love it so much. It’s a good workout and I’m usually tired when I finish, but in ways that lifting and running neglect. It’s the balance, flexibility and control that you gain there and it lets me put all my focus on going a little deeper into a pose than last time, holding it a little longer, breathing a little deeper and NOT thinking about what was making my heart skip beats and my stomach lurch. I’ve never been so upset about something it made me actually vomit before Wednesday. To have your brain so violently react to and reject an idea that it tries to physically purge it from your body is something of an experience. I fought anxiety and nausea all day after that, but managed to make it to yoga and felt at least a little more level afterwards. Overall…not a good day.

I feel like instead of counting down days to a race or days of training, I’ve been unconsciously counting the days since the marriage ended. Days in recovery, if you will, although that number is fuzzy since I keep being re-injured and the true recovery starting line is not clear. It could still be yet to come in the next week or 2 when the divorce is final. All I know is I will try to stay distracted enough to not realize HOW high that recovery day counter will get.

In this vein, I have been trying to figure out for the last week, in the midst of the violent shitstorm of emotions, what it is that I actually want. I keep being stalled. I have no idea and it’s terrifying. Why is it so hard to figure out a direction, vocalize and act on what I want to do with myself now? It should be so easy! I started thinking about THAT and came to a realization.

It is so very easy to dream big and clear, make “someday” plans and say what it is you want when you have limitations and obligations holding you back from achieving them and settle into a comfortable state of complacent “maybe someday when” while allowing all those excuses to keep you from even trying. No money, can’t move the family, the house needs fixing/won’t sell, we can’t take the pets, I have to work, too much to take care of, etc etc, on and on. When the only limitation is my own ambition, enthusiasm and resourcefulness, it becomes terrifying to try to clearly define and verbalize what I really want and what to do. It’s because if it isn’t right, doesn’t work or doesn’t happen at all, there’s nothing and no one to blame for it but myself and my own work ethic and ability or lack thereof. There is a suffocating fear of failure and of having to take ownership of that failure and explain it (not just to others, but to myself) if I’m not successful that took over and paralyzed me.

There’s fear that I’ll find out what I choose was NOT actually what I wanted, of being wrong, not even knowing myself to a basic level and having to come crawling back and try again. Why am I scared of that? Who’s to say something is or isn’t right for ME or that I’m not allowed to not like something? That’s why you try things, right? Are we all so worried what others think we talk ourselves out of trying to make ourselves happy? I think a lot of people get stuck in this phase; some never get out, and I can see why. It’s much easier and more “comfortable” to sit back, not take the chance and complain about how you can’t and how things suck, than it is to problem solve, work and go get what you really want.

I’m not saying there aren’t other challenges. There is still debt and obligations that will have to be dealt with and Self has put on her battle armor and lit the trebuchets, but perhaps the first step to making a clear real decision is to busily liberate myself from all of those things and anything else that could anchor me or prevent me from progressing. Now that I’m not responsible to anyone else for my time, money or well-being, and won’t have the house and all the “stuff” that weighs you down I have an opportunity to “Simplify, Clarify, Economize” and go in a totally new direction. Question is WHAT direction.

In a blind dart throw sort of move, I applied to UCF to finish my bachelors degree starting in January. I know I do want/need to finish it, and I suppose now is as good a time as any, I’m just fighting the urge to knee-jerk, be irresponsible and impulsive, pull up stakes and move someplace new all on my own and figure it out when I get there since being here is so mentally toxic for me right now. I think this circles back to my fear that school will be too difficult and I will fail at it again. Struggling with a tight budget and daily living challenges I am used to and is “comfortable”, struggling to improve is difficult, painful, and has an unknown outcome.

But no, I will be reasonable. I will pay off the debt, finish school and save up a strong financial foundation so that when I do move, I can do it on MY terms and go wherever I want. No settling this time. I AM planning to be a bit manic about school and take as many classes as are humanly possible so I’ll be so busy with that there will be no possible way to think about who’s doing what or whom and why. No thinking about why he thinks I’m not as good as her or how he could do all this any more. I want to get school done FAST so I can be out of here sooner and don’t have time to establish a new comfortable routine of complacency. I’m done being stagnant, apathetic, silent and obsequious. No more just “making do” and taking care of everyone else at the expense of my own happiness and success. Maybe somewhere along the way I can start being a TRUE badass, confident, name-taking bitch so that I don’t make the same mistake of letting someone else’s needs and wants dictate my actions and lifestyle again. Particularly if they are not showing me the same consideration.

I’m shaky and unsure, but I am having moments of clarity now where my rational brain duct tapes Self’s mouth shut, throws her in the trunk of an unmarked black sedan and lets me see that this split WILL actually work out to be a good thing for me eventually and I’ll be stronger for it. I just have to burn the car and dump it in the river before Self escapes and wreaks havok on me again. She’s such a sneaky, evil bitch.

Oh Hey, Victory. Pretty Sweet Setup You Got. Think I’ll Stay.

3 Oct

WE DID IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

WEDIDITWEDIDITWEDIDITWEDIDIT WE FUCKING DID IT!!!!!!

The spoils!!! Finisher's medal!!

We went, we carbo loaded, we stretched, we ran, we fucking CONQUERED.

Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon, October 1, 2011 Official results:

Straight off the Run Disney website!

Because I know it’s small and hard to read, and also because I’m super proud of myself right now and want you to read and appreciate this, here’s what it says:

Chip Time: 2:15:57

Overall Placing: 2390 of 8254 finishers (Disney said there were 10,000+ entrants)

Sex Placing: 1065 of 5213 women

Division (Women 25-29) Placing: 262 of 1105

My first time out, with a bum knee, I managed to average 10 minute miles and beat my tentative goal time by 14 minutes. WHAT’S UP?! BRING IT, LIFE!! This weekend has been the most amazing mix of nerves, doubts, excitement, worries, aches, pains, adrenaline and incredible highs.

After spending yesterday icing and soaking and napping and recovering, I am just going to spill out my impressions of the weekend and this first of what I am sure will be many races. I am trying to organize my thoughts, but no guarantees since a lot of it blurred together and I’m not sorry. I earned the longwinded-ness.

I got a REALLY good massage on Friday morning from my neighbor John who owns a massage therapy place in trade for some design work. He spent a solid hour on my legs doing stretches and myofascial release and working out all the kinks. I think I gave him a workout trying to un-knot me and am reasonably sure he is the reason my right leg was able to make it through the race as comfortably as it did, so HUGE thank you to him. 🙂

My on course survival kit, sans Sport Sheild and phone.

I also went and spent a solid 20 minutes comparing knee braces at CVS. I was that person that takes them all out of the package and stands there contemplating the merits and shortcomings of each and talking to myself. I decided on a dual layer system of a light support sleeve with a moderate support adjustable brace over it. That fucker was gonna be SUPPORTED. Saturday morning I woke up earlier than I planned and couldn’t sleep any more so I made a protein shake and 2 pieces of peanut butter toast and watched a movie with my feet up to distract me from the butterflies. Went over my checklist, making sure I had all my gear and necessaries, squashed that last little bit of Self that wanted to listen to my achy knee and stay at home rather than risk mid-course failure and headed out the door.

HOLY SHIT THIS IS REAL. WHAT WAS I THINKING?

I spent most of the ride over texting with Brittany about our pre/during snack choices, hydration issues, dinner plans and nerves, texting my friend John (not the neighbor) who would be using the spectator pass I bought about logistics and meeting up at dinner, and painting my nails green to match my running shorts. Hey, I wasn’t in costume. Gimme a break. As we pulled in to the ESPN Sports complex, I saw them setting up the start line and had a mini freak out. I’m not a real athlete!! My knee hurts, I haven’t really run in 2 weeks, I’m gonna crash and burn in front of thousands of people, I shouldn’t be here. SHUT UP, SELF!!

Packet pick up, hotel check in, party pass reassignment and seafood alfredo dinner all went relatively smoothly and we were on to pre-race prep. Saw Brittany for just a few minutes when we picked up our goody bags at the expo and then separated again until race time.

Acting like confident athlete types on the bus to the starting area. That woman in pink is a bad ass, BTW.

At 7:30 it was real no shit get dressed and on the bus go time. John so very helpfully hunted down the ice machine and packed my camelback full of ice for me while I changed, put all my Gu’s in their respective pockets, packed up, laced up, braided and pinned the hair, pinned on my bib and took a deep breath to quiet down the nerves. They dropped me off by the bus loop and I met Brittany in line. We both kept fluctuating between excitement and panic as we rode on the bus over to the start corrals and saw various people and race areas. Nikko called me on the phone to give me a last minute peptalk and encouragement as my long distance support team and my mom called to say they would be able to be at the finish line to see me, which we didn’t think would be possible. This was getting scary real.

Doesn't do it justice at all.

The start area was a massive field and there were people EVERYWHERE. 10,000 people all ready to run a race (some in costume, LOTS in tutus), chatting, stretching, warming up, dancing to the music being played, laying on the grass and taking pictures. Insanity. We all had to be there an hour ahead of race time so they could close the roads we were running on, so we had time to sit there and stretch really well and get good and nervous. They had Mickey and Minnie up on stage and were leading dances and checking in with the relay switch off point. It felt like a festival. 9:30 finally rolled around and it was time to get into line in our corrals to start. I thought I’d be in the last corral, but it turned out I was in the middle. Right smack in the middle of 10,000 runners. WOW. Since Brittany and I were in different corrals, we hugged, wished each other luck and parted ways. I was on my own. It was scary.

I totally stole this from Brittany because I was too busy setting up Glympse to take a pic. This is what it was like starting the race! SO MANY PEOPLE!!

As we were waiting to go, stretching our calves on the curb, they started playing Zombie Nation and counting down each corral. Fireworks went off at the starting line as each group started the race 5 minutes apart. It was chaotic and remarkably smooth at the same time. Then my corral was up next. Everyone around me started moving and buzzing. My heart was hammering. It all hit home like a wave. I’m here. I’M HERE. RIGHT NOW. All the training, all the long weeks of mileage, doubts and soreness, foam rolling and protein shakes, heat strokes, breakthroughs, life and emotional breakdowns, all the minor victories and major struggles have culminated in this moment. And I am here. I made it. I. MADE. IT. I am standing at the starting line to this race and nothing is going to stop me from crossing the finish line.

The crowd was so thick I wound up walking the first tenth of a mile or so since I couldn’t go any faster than that. Had a moment of internal fighting where I was simultaneously pissed and thankful for the mob. It kept me slow and reasonable out of the gate while the music and adrenaline would undoubtedly have made me go way too fast. Once we made the turn out onto the main road it got quiet and all I heard was feet on pavement, people chatting and coaches asking how knees or ankles were and advising on hitting in the toe box. I hopped up on the grass median and started passing people on the outside looking for a more open spot while I waved to all the cops working the event. I started latching on to various runners ahead of me going about my pace and letting them split holes in the crowd. I would just basically draft behind them, slipping through the holes before they closed again, dodging fairy wings and antennae on costumes. I followed a pair of middle aged guys running about a 9:30 pace for about a mile or so this way until I hit an open-ish area and passed them on a hill.

A little after mile 2 The race leaders started passing us on the far side of the divided highway. WTF?!?! We were at mile 2.3 or so and these guys were already closing in on 8!! I had a moment of feeling extremely mediocre and then looked at the literally thousands of other runners right next to me and behind me, all of whom were cheering for these super fast guys and each other and just enjoying this and it went away. I reminded myself I was DOING THIS. I was running a half marathon. Relax. Enjoy this end goal of all my hard work.

They had the floats and dancers from the light parade in Magic Kingdom out on the course. The guys on stilts in light up suits were in pairs in the middle of the course and along the sidelines at intervals along the roads encouraging us and giving out high fives as we ran past. One of them raced me for a few seconds since I was in an open spot at the time and then high fived me before I went on. They had stages set up with live bands playing at different points. All of them were playing THIS SONG when I passed and it was playing on speakers too….this seemed to be the theme of the race. It will be stuck in my head for a month now. A couple other runners and I were joking about it.

It wasn’t until a little after mile 3 that we hit Animal Kingdom. It was kind of neat running up to and through the front gates and on into the park. Felt like a mob scene. I had been consciously keeping my stride really short with higher turnover to protect my knee and hips, but it was starting to get uncomfortable. When I got into the park I accelerated a little bit to pass some people and fit through some holes and was running more of an 8:00-8:30 mile. It actually felt better to stretch my legs out and go faster for a little bit so I maintained that through most of the park. This was sort of tricky since the paths were a bit narrow around the park and I had to keep my eyes peeled for holes. I stuck to the outside mostly, but I felt kind of dumb since I totally missed that I was running around the tree of life because I was concentrating on dodging people, watching the uneven ground and all the twists and turns the track was taking. I was aware of the race photographers snapping photos as I was passing twice and thinking “at least I’m running right now…”. It was really nice, there were trees overhanging the paths and they had special lights and things out all along the track, so there were things to look at even without noticing the HUGE tree…..yea…

The whole race, all along the track there were Disney employees cheering, clapping and encouraging us. I know they were paid to be there and do that, but it still was really nice. Especially since I was on my own with no music for the whole race. As much as I usually scoff at that kind of insincere crap, most of them really honestly did look like they were cheering for us and excited for us. They were telling us we looked great, we were so close to __miles, keep going, we were awesome, etc. A couple times they yelled out “Whose first half?!” And we’d put up our hands and cheer and they’d give an extra loud “YAY!! GO GO GO!!!” It was cool.

I didn’t take my first walk break until just before mile 6 out in the parking lot/highway where it was dark and quiet and my hip started hurting. I walked about a half mile, I think, and then stopped on an overpass to stretch out my hip and quads before starting back up. I ran out of water in the camelback about this time too. I remember miles 6-8 being pretty rough. There were a lot of hills going up and down on-ramps on the way between Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios and no music, employees or entertainment and my hip was really starting to kink and give me grief. Part of this we were running along the highway and lots of cars were honking at us. I caught my impulse to flick them off since it wasn’t Rockledge and it was likely a supportive honk from a family rather than an asshole trying to impress his friends.

I remember seeing one of the light floats sitting on the side of the course at one point and being confused for a second because all I could see was 2 orange stripes on a bunch of blue and thought it was an 11. It didn’t look like a mile marker and the next one should have been 8…weird…Oh. It’s a peacock. That’s its legs. Never mind. Around the corner and up another hill. I heard the GPS on my phone crap out from low battery a little after mile 8, so I took a short walk break and switched it out so Glympse would keep running and my long distance people could keep watching me slog along. Glympse held the track and place and everything!! I didn’t have to reset it!! SWEEET!!

Running through MGM (Sorry, Hollywood Studios) was neat. We went right past Tower of Terror and down the main strip with it all lit up. I was in a clear spot then so got to coast and enjoy it and nobody was telling me not to run, or to be careful because I’d trip or run someone over. They were all encouraging me to run faster! I stopped for my second stretch break on the side of the road shortly after that in one of the back areas of the park. When I stretched it made my leg feel great for about half a mile and then it started cramping again right at the top of my quad and on the outside of my hips. URG. I started really getting tired around 10 miles, but reminded myself I had just broken another personal record. No matter what, this was now the farthest I have ever run and I’m only 5k from the finish. I can do this. Right after the 11 mile marker I stepped off to the side for my last stretch break to make the rather loudly yelling hip kink shut up and get me to the finish. I basically did some yoga on the side of the race course. Deep lunges, crescent pose and pigeon pose since my hands were too sweat slippery to hold on to the post for standing stretches and my leg was shaking a lot.

Leaving MGM heading out around the parking lot beside the lake towards the boardwalk, Epcot and the finish, a good 60 degree breeze kicked up off the water and felt like air conditioning. It was absolutely awesome. I swear I heard angels singing. Gave me a little boost as I ran along the water.

At mile 12, I sent a text to John and Dad letting them know I was closing in on the finish (just said “12!!!!” I was running, after all. Don’t text and run, kids). It is absolutely amazing how close and how far that finish line felt at that moment. Between there and 12.5 miles I hit the wall. My legs turned into lead, I felt like I was running in water, my hips were screaming, I was thirsty and tired and had a moment of panic as I wondered if I could make it.

About that point, I rounded a corner and there was a whole street lined with supporters and employees holding signs and cheering, one of which said “ONLY 400 YARDS LEFT! YOU DID IT!” I almost cried and I pulled out whatever couple drips of steam I had left stuck to the walls of the tank and pushed. I don’t know how, but I pushed and sped up. I could hear the finish line music and announcer. It was close. I was almost there. I WAS GOING TO FINISH!

Came through the last S turn and just when I was starting to contemplate walking, I blasted into the bright lights and crowd and ran across the finish line. I stumbled back to a walk and kept moving through the areas funneling us out of the way to the post race area half wondering if I had really just actually crossed the line (It was huge and lit, there’s no way you could miss it). A girl on the side lines about a hundred yards down put the finisher medal around my neck and I started choke/cry/wheeze/laughing as I remembered to stop my Garmin timer. I tried to stop moving for a second and realized I would fall if I did.

I pulled out my phone to text Nikko and John and thanks to Glympse, I already had a text from Nikko saying “YOU DID IT!!!! YOU FUCKING DID IT!!! I’MSOFUCKINGPROUDOFYOOOUUUU!!!!! 😀 😀 😀 :D” I started laughing and gasp sobbing. I walked through the rest of the lane, got stopped for an official photo where I think I smiled…I was in a haze. I got my snack and checked bag with my clothes and a compliment on my tattoo from the attendant and started texting John to see where they were as I scarfed a banana and tried to calm down my breathing. I was still in shock and disbelief. Did I just do that?! I JUST DID THAT.

I'M A FUCKIN' HALF MARATHON FINISHER!!!! Sitting on the ground recovering.

I figured out where John was and that I was in fact still outside Epcot and made my way to the entrance. As I walked through, John yelled for me and waved and then ran around to where we were filing into the park. He scooped me up in a huge hug and huge congratulations; it all hit me and I broke down and started crying and laughing. All the doubt and worry and nerves and pain and sleepless nights, and I DID IT despite all of it. I FINISHED!! The feeling was overwhelming and incredible. We stumbled a little ways into the park and found a quieter spot to sit and stretch. As soon as I stopped moving, my legs went out and I was sitting on the pavement shaking, crying and laughing whether I wanted to be or not. John was reminding me to switch legs stretching and helping me get some Powerade and being excited with me while we waited for my parents. I have never felt anything like that. I was totally spent and covered in sweat and salt crust, achy and cramping and caught in an emotional whirlwind. The feeling of accomplishment was amazing. I couldn’t stand up on my own power, but I felt stronger right then than I have in months and months.

I wound up being too nauseous and tired to really enjoy the Food and Wine festival, so we left early. John helped hold me up as we walked out to the car and up to the hotel room. That shower and sleep are some of the best I’ve ever had and the victory pancakes the next morning were DELICIOUS.

It seems odd to me that so many people told me I was inspiring. Me? No. You have me confused with someone that does amazing things. I’m just a crazy, messed up girl that’s too cheap and proud for therapy that found running instead.

This has not been a journey for the faint of heart, but if you really want it, I can absolutely guarantee that it’s worth it. I’m still no Wonder Woman and the coming months are still likely to be confusing and hard, but something changed on that course. I’m different now. Stronger.

I’m a runner now. I’m a half marathon completer. And it feels REALLY damn good.

There’s a New Me in Town, and She’s All Business

20 Sep

Days to Race: 12 (For last night)

Scheduled: 6 mile easy

Actual: 3.3 miles, 28:21, Avg 8:34/mile

Knee brace: Effective

Swimming and spinning: Are the shit and I will be doing them more

Major Mood Shift: Achieved

Hours spent in tattoo chair: 7

BADASS ARM ART: ACQUIRED

Times I cried this week: 0

Weeks since my last run: 2

Music: My Body (If this is not in your workout mix, it should be), The New Flesh, You Think I Ain’t Worth a Dollar but I Feel Like a Millionaire (This NEEDS to be in your workout mix. If you can sit still while it’s playing you’re not human.), Make Yourself, Propane Nightmares

My sweet ass brand new tattoo right after it was finished. I'll get better pics when it's healed and her face has faded out to where it should be instead of black eyes. NEW ME FTW.

So I really am not sure what caused it exactly, but I had a major mood shift late last week. I am done crying. I have spent more than a month and a half in a pathetic state crying and stressing over someone who has made it abundantly clear that he obviously does not care about me any more and has moved on and I’m done. I’m ready to be mad and make it hurt. I started doing some of the things I’ve wanted to do for a long time but couldn’t because we didn’t have the money or whatever, the biggest of which was I went in and got my first BIG tattoo. I’ve always wished I had the guts to start a sleeve and this piece lent itself perfectly to the space so, I did. Amazing what I can make decisions on and work into my budget when someone else isn’t irresponsibly wasting the money. It took 7 hours of sitting in the chair and it was like a transitional marker for the old pathetic life ending and my new awesome life starting. This is going to sound crazy, but I was almost disappointed it didn’t hurt. Aside from about 10-15 minutes where it registered as uncomfortable, I could have taken a nap almost the whole time. My pain tolerance is pretty high. Maybe this is also why I can work out as hard as I do. Hmmmmm.

The artwork is a piece by Audrey Kawasaki that was one of those I found while stumbling months ago that just made me stop and stare for a long while. It hit home for me then and now it’s all the more meaningful. I’m not going to go into all of what it means for me here. It’s not important and is for me to know and feel. What IS important is that the tattoo artist (Leif McHatton at Studio XIII in Cocoa Beach) did a beyond amazing job and I’m so excited and happy with it. He freehanded in the fall leaves and those may be my favorite part. I may go back for more. 🙂

Right before I went for the tattoo, I went and got a massage and had all my muscles unknotted. Lisa said my knee issue was likely coming from my sartorius (?) muscle being so tight (that’s the one that connects lateral hip to medial knee. YAY medical terminology), but I was totally twisted up head to foot on the right side. I have been swimming and spinning and foam rolling like a nutter to keep the fitness level up and the joint stress down. Have also been doing lots of lunges and one legged squats to build up all those stabilizers and hammering on my core to get that 6 pack out in the open (almost there). Since it’s now do or die time and I have to stay out of the pool until the tattoo heals, I rested the knee and foam rolled twice a day over the weekend and went out for a test run last night. I’m supposed to be starting my taper now, but this week is going to be the last week of training and I’ll just do an easy rest-ish sort of week next week to get ready.

Just planned on an easy 2-3 miles last night just to get back into the groove of feet on pavement and see how everything felt before trying that last 11-12 mile long run on Thursday. I was TIRED all day. Like randomly waking up faceplanted in a puddle of drool on my desk kind of tired (not that that…uh…happened…what?). So I decided to take a quick nap since caffeine was failing me because I was not skipping workouts. I woke up 2 hours later at 9:30. Ah, well. Drag myself up out of bed and out the door.

I was guardedly optimistic. The knee felt pretty good. I put on my knee brace and tunes and stretched really well. Started running and immediately noticed how much more stable and strong I felt. The swimming was GOOOOD. This is DEFINITELY becoming part of the routine at least once or twice a week once my arm skin is back to functional again. I made myself slow down for the first mile and then just stopped worrying and started cruising at whatever felt comfortable which happened to be an 8:00-8:30 pace. I didn’t even bring my Garmin so I didn’t worry about pacing. I just ran. And it felt great. There was a nice cool(ish) breeze blowing and it was quiet outside. I just got to enjoy the run. Felt my right quad trying to get unhappy towards the end, but I foam rolled the crap out of it when I got home. Not taking no for an answer, legs.

My knee is bothering me a little again today, but I’m hoping it’s just some stiffness. I’ll go for a walk later and put some heat on it and see if it helps. While I know even if I just do shorter runs between now and the race I can finish, I want to do that last long one. I want to KNOW I can finish this race and finish it strong.

While I’m certainly not going to say I’m OK now, I’m done crying over people and things that don’t consider me important and I’m done letting things slide. It’s time to cut the anchors, make me the most badass, name-taking me I can be and then, maybe look for someone who can keep up, encourage and challenge me instead of holding me back and feeding the self doubt. It’s scary since I don’t remember who I am outside of the relationship, but also kind of freeing. It means I can be whoever I want to be. I can make myself whoever and whatever it is I have aspirations of being and not worry about if it’s “me” or not. If it feels right, then yes, it’s me, and it ONLY has to feel right to ME. Maybe scary isn’t the right word. It’s scary in the way I imagine taking that step out of the plane to skydive is scary. Once you’re out in the air it’s awesome and exhilerating, but it’s that sitting in the plane on the climb up that makes your stomach twist.

I’m even semi-seriously planning on entering another half marathon for a time goal in November, 8 weeks after this race. Only hitch is it’s in the morning. If I can start getting up pre-dawn for runs, I’ll make it happen and I’ll bust the 2 hour time mark. Bet on it.

Fucking ONWARD. Bitches.

LEGIT, BITCHES!

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!!!