Saturday, June 28, 2008
I have some control issues.
I know, I know, you're not surprised...I'm not sure why it took me so many years to discover that running is a great way for me to manage some of my control issues...but I'm glad I did. It is making me a much more sane person.
In addition to the running, I have many ways of mitigating the effects of my extraordinary desire to control all situations. One of my management techniques is that I prefer to be the person who drives the car. I'm a horrible back seat driver (This is especially true when Walter drives because he prefers to wait until he is within THREE FEET OF ANY STOP SIGN BEFORE HE HITS THE BRAKE! This makes me CRAZY and frequently it causes me to STOMP MY FOOT in the floor of the passenger side of the car, as if the mere action of me stomping my foot is ENOUGH TO STOP THE CAR! which it isn't of course, but it makes me feel as if I'm doing SOMETHING to avoid hitting the CROSS TRAFFIC...and since we've never actually HIT the cross traffic, I figure that my foot stomping/braking is somehow helping and CONTROLLING THE SITUATION...SO THERE)...
But I digress...
My point is that I do most of the driving to track practices and workouts. Like I said, it works better this way. Betty and I have it down to an art form. Usually, she is waiting on her porch swing for me to drive up, even if I'm picking her up early in the morning, so I was pretty surprised when I pulled up at about 6:35 this morning and she wasn't waiting for me.
But, I know that Betty's been working hard this summer, so I waited for a few minutes, figuring she'd be right out...but she wasn't...so I decided to go to the call her cell phone
I waited a couple more minutes and then decided to go to the door...which I wanted to avoid because Betty has dogs...who bark...LOUDLY...and I didn't want to wake her whole family (just her) but I figured she might have overslept...
So, I knock lightly on the window (because maybe Betty will hear this light tap at the back of the house, but the dogs won't?) which is not how it EVER works out...The dogs begin barking quite enthusiastically (of course)...which is when I hear typically hear Betty yelling at the dogs to shut the F-up...but this morning...nothing...
So, I went back to the car and waited a little more...and decided to call her cell phone again...no answer...
I was about to knock on the front door again, when Betty comes out the front door...SMILING QUITE HAPPILY...but with no shoes on (not unusual)...and gets in the car
"Did I interrupt?"
"No, we were done..."
It was a sign of the satisfying morning to come (yeah...you read all the way for that line...thank you very much)...
So...after last week's less than satisfying Iron Girl 10K, Betty and I ran around Coronado this morning... 6.35 Miles in 1:07:10...a 10:35 pace! Woot! Woot! Woot! (Yes Betty, the jaunt around the back side of the Hotel Del was longer than if we'd run down Orange)
So much better than last weekend's debacle in Del Mar...
To what do I attribute this?
1. No Poli-crap
2. Gu (after 30 minutes of running)
3. No sun...beautiful morning fog in Coronado
Sunday, June 22, 2008
Be that as it may, we took some time Sunday morning to run a little race. Mik, Betty, and I ran the Aflac Iron Girl 10K. We were joined by Betty's daughter and her friend who ran the 5K...all things being equal, it may have been wiser to take th 5K option.
Weather Channel fans may know that over the weekend, the west coast endured a HEAT WAVE.. over the weekend, but we decided to run a race anyway...which led to the following race report (with headings!)
1. What's the difference between a January and a June 10K? (Answer: Almost 10 minutes)
It was hot Sunday morning...Damn Hot. Last summer, I ran the first Iron Girl 10K in Solana Beach in 1:10 (in August no less). Last January, in training for the marathon, I ran the Super Run 10K in 1:06...then in May, I ran an 8K in 49 minutes...so I really thought I had a chance to be close to 1 hour this time. Alas, it was not to be. I finished in 1:15.
2. Start the Race Already!
The race was supposed to start at 7:30...but the gun didn't go off until 7:45. At race time, it was nearing 80 degrees...and did I mention we were running at the Del Mar Racetrack...the place where horses usually run? And did I mention the heat? And did I mention that it was really crowded...about 3000 women ran this morning (which was undeniably cool), but still, by 7:40, I could hear Betty snarking "sing the song! sing the song! (the National Anthem)."
3. They call it Poli-Turf; I call it Poli-Crap
The race started where the "Surf Meets the Turf at Del Mar" on the horserace track... Yes, I fought the urge to NEEIIIGGGGHHHH LOUDLY, as the race started. That being said, I couldn't help but notice how many of us jockeyed for position on the rail. At least that was my strategy. I can't say enough how much I didn't particularly enjoy running on the Poli-Turf and I couldn't help but think about what happens to horses who run these things when they twist and break an ankle.
4. They Shoot Horses, Don't They?
So, last year, Del Mar was one of several tracks around the country that switched over from using a dirt track to Poli-turf, which is some kind of a synthetic dirt. Really, it was like running in loose sand. I have a whole new understanding of how race horses break ankles...and to think that somehow Poli-turf is supposed to be a safer surface for running...well for horse running anyway (be careful out there!)
5. Ah...the Irony of It...
In my last post I whined and complained about how much I really didn't like running on dirt trails...I've ranted in other posts about how I don't even particularly like running on the sand (even the hard sand) at the beach, but this was worse...way worse, it was sort of like running in soft sand. All I could think of for the first (really crowded) 1/2 mile or so was how much I really hate running on dirt, how slow I was running, and how much I really HAAATE running on dirt...I would have given anything for a solid dirt trail at that point, much like the one at Chollas Lake. Did I mention that I don't care for running on dirt?
6. What Would Gu Do?
OK, so there was the heat and the dirt, which no doubt negatively affected my time, but despite these things, I was moving along pretty well. At the 3 mile marker, I looked at my watch and saw 33 minutes...so I was thinking that the 2nd and 3rd mile must have been under 11 minutes (I assume the first mile, which included and the dirt was pretty slow, but my first mile often is). Thus, I thought finishing in close to an hour was within my reach, especially since I tend to run faster at the end of a race. But at about 4 miles, I was realizing the effect of the biggest mistakes I'd made in not eating and not hydrating sufficiently. Even worse, I had planned on taking a Gu with me and I forgot it...I really could have used it too...let's just say that the 4th mile was just plain ugly and I had to (gasp, shame, tears) walk...which I haven't done in a race outside the marathon in a pretty long time.
8. Chewy Gatorade & A Shower on the Course
My favorite aide station was the last one (at about 4.5 miles) when one of the volunteers just poured water from her jug over my head...so I ran the last mile and a half soaking wet. I don't know if that affected my time, but it sure felt good. I figure by that point it was getting close to 9am and Weather.com says it was nearing 90 degrees in Del Mar by then. ACK!
I really needed the salt and sugar at the Gatorade, but I'd have to agree with Betty who remarked later that she thought it was chewy.
9. A Cool Finishers Medal & Great Swag
One of my favorite things about the Iron Girl races is the extraordinarily cool finisher's medal...so now I have two...and the other swag we scored. At the end of the race, a volunteer handed me an ice cold sponge (withe the Aflac Duck on it) which I squeezed over my head (then Betty did it again...did I mention that I was soaking wet at the end of the race...I'll get to the effect of that later). Also, I managed to score a stuffed Aflac duck which when pressed says "Aflac, Aflac, AAAAFFFFLLLLAAAACCCKKK." Turbo and Drama Girl LOVE it.
10. Which Way are The Girls Pointing?
Later on we made our way to the grandstand to get our breakfast, and since we were no longer in the direct sunlight, and were up in the grandstands, it got a little cool and windy, so "The Girls" were helpful in pointing out the way to go and we all commented on how important it is to make sure that when the girls are pointing, they should be even.
I'm reading over this now, and thinking I sound pretty whiny and snarky about the race (I've been told that twice this morning that I'm being rather snarky today...not a good sign when you're presenting to a group...), but without the snark, I'll admit that I love the Iron Girl runs, even when it's hot and I'm running on dirt. I love seeing the all the over 3000 mothers, daughters, grandmothers, girls, friends running and being strong. It really was a very good time. (See...there we are just under the Iron Girl banner...)
So, our next BIG race is the AFC 1/2 in August, but there are a couple of 5K's I want to do before then.
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
OK, OK...The Lake Murray Route does look like a "boy part." A heffer, who prefers to remain nameless, emailed me to point out this fact...which caused me to wonder why SHE IS SO FOCUSED ON SUCH THINGS? It will certainly give me something to ponder when I run at Lake Boy Part next, probably tomorrow morning.
On Monday, Betty and I ran at Chollas Lake. Betty LOOOOVES running there. It takes her back to wonderful memories of her youth when she and her 47 brothers and sisters and other family members hung out there...or maybe she used to alternate between Chollas Lake and the St. Augustine's Wall on Friday nights...you'd have to ask her about it. In any event, about once a year I run there with her since she loves it so and since she runs regularly at Lake Boy Part (I'm renaming Lake Murray by the way) with me...so I owe her.
Unfortunately for me, since I have no fond memories of the place, I get to focus on other things, like the fact that I'm running on an uneven, soft, dirt trail. Now I know that running on trails is supposed to be easier on the legs, but for whatever reason it just KILLS my ankles and calves. Which is what happened on Monday night...but Betty was a rabbit, and just kicked my ASS.
It's about .8 miles around the lake...I managed to get around it 4 times ...which is pretty good for me. In any event, my effort to run at Chollas will hopefully tide Betty over until next June, which is when I'll run there again.
I think we all missed the Tuesday night run with the track club. I was at what turned out to be Walter and Turbo's last little league game of the season. They'd made it to the final week of the District Tournament of Champions, only to lose a heartbreaker last night 4-3...with Turbo standing (well...jumping up and down really) on third base when the last out came. Ah well...it was a really fun ride, that's for sure.
Edith was checking in with her Team in Training group, and you might notice that I've posed a link to her fundraising page...all this effort to run the Nike Women's 1/2 Marathon in October because she doesn't know how to spell my name...but it is a really good cause. We all have family members who have battled or are battling Cancer of one sort or another. On her fundraising page Edith writes that she has always run for herself, but this time is running for a larger, more worthwhile cause (nice try at making us feel guilty)...me? I'm still selfishly running for myself...and the regular post run mimosa or pint...
So, speaking of selfish runs...this weekend is the IronGirl 5K/10K in Del Mar. Betty, Mik, are already registered...post race mimosas and pancakes...and only 6 miles...which means I won't be worthless for the rest of the day...
Woot! Looking forward to that!
Saturday, June 14, 2008
So, Friday the 13th sorta makes me nervous because I just have that kind of luck...and yet, I got through yesterday relatively unscathed. Walter's team even won another game in the Little League Tournament of Champions...(which means we have ANOTHER WEEK OF BASEBALL, which I will consider good luck at this point). I was on time to said game. I almost finished one and a half of the six presentations that I need to have finished by Monday afternoon for a reading institute that I'm running next week. (Did I mention that I'm also a huge procrastinator?)
I really thought I was past the bad luck this morning when Betty and I did our first Saturday run with the Half Mad - Half Marathon Training Program. (I love the "I'm running half-mad" slogan). It's a much more mellow program than the RnR Training Program was. Paul was usually hell-bent on starting practices on time, which makes sense when you're trying to manage hundreds of runners on a Saturday morning. Our new coach, Stephen, is much more laid back... He tells funny stories...and doesn't use a bullhorn (although he almost could have used one this morning). I like both styles...but I must say for the summer, I think I'm going to enjoy the more laid-back attitude
So, Betty and I showed up a few minutes before 7:00...we started our warm-up somewhere between 7:10 and 7:15... And during the run, I felt GREAT! (No Bad Luck). Betty made me remind her that she's doing this because of ALL THE THINGS I'VE DONE FOR HER...
In short, the run starts. Everything is running smoothly. But here's the funny thing about this run. Today we started on the north side of the lake and ran to the gate and back...4.68 miles.
Also, starting the run this morning at the place which is usually a turn-around point for me could have led to all sorts of challenges. For example, when I run my usual-forward route, I try to pick up my pace for the last mile and a half or so, usually because I'm eager to be finished running, and partially because I'm so used to this path that I know exactly where I can push it (up slight hills for example) because there's a downhill stretch that's coming up, where I can relax a little.
So of course this morning, I could feel myself start to pick up my pace at, pretty much, the exact same spot. Only this time, I'd run only about a 1.5 miles...not bad luck exactly...in fact I'm pleased to say that I didn't walk, even though I wanted to, but I didn't.
But when I got home, the bad luck really got rolling. My goal for the morning when I got home was to quickly put together an iMovie slide show of Turbo's Little League season for parents because today was the team party (yes, even though we have another week of b-ball in front of us, the party was today)...now as the Heffers, and those who know me will attest, I'm a bit of a tech-geek and typically have no problem navigating technology, but silly, overconfident me decided to install the upgrade (iLife 8.0)...and of course the iLife 8.0 version of iMovie is not even marginally similar to the earlier version...
Can you see the bad-luck really starting here? Clarence does...
So, of course, it took me longer to put together the slide show than I anticipated...but all was still not lost... I was just tempting the bad-luck gods of fate. I decided that I wanted to burn the slide show onto DVDs so parents could watch the movie on their televisions ...which meant that I also had to quickly navigate and learn the upgraded version if iDVD...
It's sort of like I was shaking my fist at the fates isn't it?
To make a long story short...I pretty much created an overcomplicated DVD and it took my, pretty fast, Macbook Pro about 3 hours to burn it!
Did I mention that the team party started at noon?
So, stubborn me decides to wait it out (I'd promised Walter I'd do the DVD about a week ago, and of course I waited until the last possible moment to do it, because I was confident that I could do it quickly...and did I mention that I have a tendency to procrastinate?)
And can I kick myself because it took me 2 and a half hours of waiting for a single DVD to burn, to realize that the best thing to do would be to quit the DVD I was burning and create a simpler DVD... So I did that, but it took me about an hour to re-tool it.
So I missed the party.
What a frustrating way to spend an afternoon. I mean if I was going to miss the party, I could have at least worked on the 4 and a half presentations I still have to do by Monday. Or I could have folded the three baskets of clothes that have remained unfolded since, oh I don't know, Wednesday, or I could have run another marathon.
Instead I used up five hours this afternoon doing a task that I should have been able to do in two...
Friday 13 on Saturday...
Oh yeah, and Father's Day is tomorrow...Walter's whole family is coming over here for lunch...I'm hoping the dark cloud of bad luck will have passed by then.
Did I say ACK?
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
If a pint is 16 oz (and I think it is), then according to one of my favorite calorie-counting software applications, EVER, CalorieKing, a pint is 235 calories... I don't even want to calculate the calorie count of the Greek Food...).
But isn't it pretty how the Auld Sod somehow gets the impression of a cloverleaf into the beer-foam? Pretty, pretty, beer.
So, we welcomed Mik to the Heffers last night with pints and food, but felt justified in doing so since we worked out with the track club. Betty, Edith, Mik, and I were in attendance...and we were also joined by Tall Tim! (who now has FOUR mentions in this blog, so, I went back and labeled all those entries so that he now turns up in the Things I Write About log!)... OK TT, you have to leave a comment now. It's a rule I just made up. (I mention you in the blog, you read about it, you write).
Edith would want you to.
She told me so.
Before the pints, we ran on the grass at Balboa Park. I HAAAAATE running on grass or trails. I know in that our first official run after the marathon, we were supposed to take it easy and save our legs and all that, but I felt like my legs were working twice as hard (at least) running on the grass than I ever feel running on pavement or the street. I'm also really happy that after the run, we did some extra strides and some sit-ups...my core could use the workout.
It was funny that Paul told us to run at 45 seconds faster than our "real" marathon pace, not our "anticipated" marathon pace...
In other heffer-running and non-running news this week...
- You read it here first! Betty told me that listening to Paul made her THINK ABOUT RUNNING ANOTHER MARATHON! (sorry Momma).
- The car air-conditioner can also be used as a "spot specific" clothes dryer (useful when going to the Auld Sod for pints after running... and you tend to sweat in unmentionable places... and you are wearing running pants in a color other than black that doesn't hide the wet-spots so well.)
- Betty is going to wear all orange to the next race.
- I can parallel park PRETTY DARN WELL.
- Strides are fun.
- Alberta is going to start lifting weights with me...won't that be fun when we find out that Alberta can lift, oh I don't know, about 25 times the weight I can lift.
- BBJ added "music" to the list of things men think about (you all know the other three, sports, sex, food), because it helps "develop rhythm."
- And because if I don't write about this, someone else (Betty) will...and because I have learned that it is best to write about my own humiliations myself, rather than waiting for someone else to... I learned last week that entering the dugout during a championship Little League Baseball game to see if your son, who was crying over being hit by a baseball, needs some ice is a VERY BAD IDEA and apparently EVERYONE knows this rule, except for the team manager's wife.
All the boys got a medal and we get to house for the week a completely ENORMOUS trophy.
The bad news is that we now have two more weeks of baseball in front of us now.
The obvious news is that I'll never enter a baseball dugout again as long as I live (really, I'm scared of them now).
Monday, June 9, 2008
Anyway, first onto this first part of this post...
Well...it's official, we have named the runner formerly known as ... (you won't find her name in this blog anymore...I changed all references) ... to (wait for it, wait for it)
Yes, after a fair amount of negotiation, some excellent suggestions, and a well reasoned plea, we now have Mik...our Irish Cow...and a male cow-name to keep Clarence company...here she is crossing the finish line.
We will be welcoming Mik tomorrow after the Tuesday night track-club workout, so she'd better be there!
First Post Marathon Run
Betty and I ran about 3.5 miles on Sunday at Mission Bay. I was worried that I'd run all of the run out of me in completing a marathon. Seriously, I was a little concerned that maybe I wouldn't have any more steps left in me...that maybe running was a finite process...that maybe I could only run so many strides in my lifetime, and if this is so, I'd certainly hit my limit at about Mile 22 during the marathon (the rest was just overkill). So I was a little nervous about the first post-marathon run. The first mile was a sorta painful. My pace and breathing were off, my legs felt like lead...but then, just as in many of my long runs, after I warmed up (at about mile 3) I felt pretty good and was ready for more running...just the oddest thing ever. I'll be at Balboa Park tomorrow night for a different track club workout, one that does not involve running around in circles on the track.
1/2 Marathon Training
Speaking of the track club, there's some information on the club website about the 1/2 marathon summer training program. Betty and I talked about doing it and I emailed Steve to see if we could still sign up. It costs $55 and for that we'd get a HalfMad technical T shirt, a can of Vitalite (Gookinade), and some $10.00 gift certificates (probably for Movin' Shoes and Road Runner Sports, but can't verify)...and the 10 week training schedule for the AFC 1/2 in August.
The main bonus of the training is the aid station support on Saturday long runs, as we can download what I assume is the 1/2 marathon training program from the SDTC website. Although the HalfMad t-shirts are cool too...
Is it worth it?
I Got Tagged!
Tagging is one way that bloggers connect with each other and each other's blogs and I'm such a big-time blogger now (NOT) that Reluctant Runner...who finished her 1st marathon in Ottawa Canada (how cool is that?) a week before the Rock and Roll Marathon... tagged me today! My first tagging incident...Betty & Madge have to promise to not suspend me...
So, here are the rules of tagging:
Tagging is easy. Just copy the following onto your post. The rules of the game are posted at the start of your blog post. In this case, I'm asking you 5 questions about running. Each player answers the 5 questions on their own blog. At the end of your post you tag 5 other people and post their names. Go to their blogs and leave a comment on their blogs telling them they've been tagged and to look at your blog for details. When they've answered the questions on their own blog, they come back to yours to tell you. Got that?
So here goes:
1. How would you describe your running 10 years ago?
Ha ha...me? run? 10 years ago? 10 years ago, I was nursing a brand new baby boy (Turbo-boy), chasing around a 2 year old (Drama Girl) and trying to figure out how I was going to juggle children... and teaching...and cookies... I used to make the joke that I'd start running if I ever saw anyone smile as they ran...
This probably explains why I always smile when I see a camera during a race (or training run) now.
2. What is your best/worst running experience?
My best running experience has been running with my friends. You always read in magazines that it's important to have buddies to exercise with to keep you motivated. I always sorta sneered about that idea figuring I was strong enough to do it on my own (which I clearly wasn't...see #1 above).
The worst running experience? I gotta say the day at Torrey Pines. The heat, the hills, the sand, the heat, my shoes that didn't fit...that I felt completely defeated afterward...all of it was pretty bad and I still haven't gotten over it.
3. Why do you run?
In the beginning I ran because it was social. It was a great excuse to hang out with my friends and have breakfast afterward. Now I think I run because it gives me little piece of time that's entirely about me. I know that may sound selfish, but it's true.
4. What is the best or worst piece of running advice that you've been given about running?
The best advice came from Paul, our SDTC Marathon Training Coach, who repeatedly told us to slow down. I wish I had listened to him earlier in my training. I think I wasted some training time by running too fast (even though my fast is other runners slow). When I slowed down, I discovered that I was actually running faster than I thought I was, and I had better endurance.
The worst advice usually comes from myself and has to do with eating (or not eating) before running, or tells me that it's OK to skip a run (when it's not) or tells me to run when I should rest...yep, all the bad advice comes from me.
5. Tell us something surprising about yourself that not many people would know.
When I dream about me running (and I do), I can run fast and forever...
Now, here is who I am tagging...
- I'm tagging Irene at Magazine Smiles because she blogs every day and also because I ran with her husband throughout the SDTC training season, and had been reading her blog, but didn't figure out they were related until after the marathon.
- I'm tagging Denise at Why Cows Don't Jog - who is training for her first 5K, which is what I was doing three years ago...and look where it lead me. I just discovered her blog a few days ago, and can't believe that I've found another bovine-themed running blog.
- I'm also tagging Al at You Run? No, Really, you run? and
- Kelly at Road to Nowhere because they're east coast and midwest bloggers where it's hotter and more humid than hades right now...and they need something to do to take their mind off if it... (this may not be the ticket) that and I also really like reading their blogs too.
- And I'm tagging Tammy at Am I Really a Runner, because I ask myself that very same question all the time now!
Friday, June 6, 2008
So, yesterday, I went downtown to have lunch with Walter, and took the opportunity to drive 163 from the 8 (not quite Friar's Road) ...then down Broadway almost to Harbor...and it did bring back some memories (ah...doesn't Sunday seem so long ago now)...
So, here is my list of what I'll always remember from the Heffers Running the RnR...
- Seriously! We exited the porta-potties and started the race.
- Rolling my ankle on Mile 2 because I was watching Elsie recover from tripping in a pothole and thinking...ah shit, only two miles and we're done...(Obviously, we weren't)
- The woman who was howling like an injured cat in the bushes at Balboa Park.
- The madness of the water station on Harbor Drive and losing sight of Elsie, Edith, & Betty.
- Seeing Wilma downtown (twice!)
- The random cheer of the runners as we left downtown and got on the freeway.
- Runners peeing in the bushes on the 163.
- The random cheer of the runners as we left the freeway and got on Friars Road.
- Seeing and running with my family members.
- Pointing out who Boob-guy was to Chris and Jesse.
- Passing the Team in Training 1/2 Marathon stopping point and not wanting to stop.
- Edith's full frontal display because she forgot to lock the porta-potty door. And the guy who opened the door saying "thank-you!"
- Seeing two runners doing position 72 on SeaWorld Drive in which a girl (on top) helps some guy (on the bottom) stretch his hip flexors by straddling his feet, and thinking, "now there's something that you don't often see in public."
- NEON LIME GREEN RUNNING SHIRTS - best thing ever for finding heffers. Even when I wasn't running with a heffer, I could find one...and being pissed off at anyone else who was wearing lime green.
- Running through the photo op at Mile 21, then walking.
- Seeing Wilma (again!) at Mile 22 and almost crying because I was so happy to see her.
- The fog machine on Pacific Highway (random...but neat).
- Hearing and then seeing BBJ cheer for me at the finish line.
- Sobbing big-fat belly sobs on Edith's shoulder after the race.
- That first beer. A miracle.
- Learning that Elsie ate Vaseline on a stick because she thought it was some kind of energy snack.
- Watching us do the marathon-shuffle around the pool-deck after the run. We looked like the people in the video.
- Eating enough Carne Asada burritos, chips, & beer after the race to actually gain weight for the day.
- Elsie hugging the potato chips.
- Betty telling me that she'll never do this again (we'll see...we'll see)
- Momma, making Betty promise she'd never do this again.
- BBJ telling me that he'll never do this again (yeah, right...), but I don't believe him.
- Thinking, by Wednesday, that I might do this again (just not next year...don't worry Walter).
I'm looking forward to AFC 1/2 in August, the Nike Women's 1/2 in SF & the Iron Girl 10K in two weeks (who's in with me? I'm registering this weekend!) ONLY 6 MILES ...it'll be a piece of cake!
Tuesday, June 3, 2008
Since I was packed and ready to go, all I had to do was get dressed, down a little coffee & a Clif Bar (runner's breakfast of Champions), and get over to Betty's to pick up the rest of the crew. Since we'd picked up a stray runner who needed a ride to the start (the night before at Turbo's Little League game, one of his teammates parents asked), we had a full car....7 runners and Walter driving. Jeff, the stray, was already at the house by 4:45.
I tried really hard to not be an obnoxious back seat driver (especially since I was in the third row seat), giving directions to Walter about how to best get to Balboa Park because I know he really knows his way around the city better than anyone. Probably sitting in the third row was a good idea.
Once at Balboa Park (I don't remember it being nearly as dark at the photo makes it appear), we found Paul with his bullhorn, did a quick warm-up run, and stretched. I enjoyed using Alberta's chest as a resting point when I was stretching my quads, but we both agreed that Betty's chest would have been much more, shall we say, cushion-y. Then we went to check in our gear and in search of the shortest porta-potty line we could find.
Luckily, the lines to the porta potties were really long...and so got in line and we waited, and waited, and the wheelchair division of the race started...and then I finally got into the porta potty...and while I'm squatting there, I can hear the race announcer say:
"Runners to their marks, get set, Goooooooooooo"
And the race was off...so I finished my business, pulled up my pants (more about what a challenge that could be later), and stepped out to start the race. I'd already met my first marathon goal which was to pee at the last possible moment before the race started.
The beginning of the race was an amazing scene of running humanity...seeing almost 18,000 runners making their way up 6th avenue was just...well...awesome.
As for the run itself...it's like childbirth I think. You forget the pain and you're left with some pretty incredible, if somewhat blurry memories of what actually took place. For the most part, I think I had fun. I know for MOST of the race, I felt great, strong, like I'd trained well and certainly, many of these photos make it appear that we all were having a great time.
Elsie smiles for the camera...a rare instance of Alice not noticing the camera.
Edith told us that in Maine, pink and green DO go together.
ya gotta admit we are easy to spot in the lime-green shirts.
I continued to run the next 5 miles with my fabulous brothers-in-law. I don't think I will ever be able to articulate how much I appreciate that they came down to run awhile with me, even though part of my motivation to run the marathon was because of Jesse and even though Chris drove 6 hours (two ways) to run with me for 45 minutes, which I think is crazy, but I love him for it too. Their presence made all the difference to me. LOTS of people talk about how the run along Friars Road is one of the most difficult parts, but for me, it literally flew by because Chris and Jesse were there to keep me entertained and distracted.
Look at us...at 16 miles, we look like we're still having a great time (well...except for Jesse and Chris, who are sorta looking like they want to get off this crazy ride).
Also props go to Drama Girl for taking this photo. I left her my camera to take some running photos...the result? 2 pictures of us running, 20 self-portraits of Drama Girl...
for example...there was lots of this...
but there was also some of this (Drama Girl with her cousin.
We shall call her Little Drama Girl)
Unfortunately, the good/happy running feeling soon left within two miles of J's & C's exit. In short, I bonked. Hit the wall. A pretty solid brick one too. At about mile 17.6 in front of the PowerGel station. I'm still not quite sure what happened. One moment, I felt OK, the next, everything was closing in on me. I was surprised because I'd been hoping to avoid THE WALL, so I'd been drinking only the Accelerade (nasty stuff...I so prefer Gookinade), and even threw back a package of salt to avoid dehydration. I thought I remembered being extremely disappointed that there was only PowerGel available and not water available at the PowerGel station, and it wasn't until I looked at the course map as I wrote this entry that I realized there WAS water there too, and I probably drank some, but I really don't remember it.
All I know is that I was really, really, really happy that Edith and Alberta were nearby and that I could see their BRIGHT NEON LIME-GREEN SHIRTS slightly ahead of me, so I caught up to them. They really got me going again, as we zigged and zagged through some of the neighborhoods surrounding Crown Point. I don't know what I would have done without them because lots of runners around me were starting to walk, and I might have started walking and never started running again!
The rest of the race remains a blur to me. Parts I remember clearly–like Edith and I running as we got our pictures taken at Mile 21, then walking once we were past the camera, seeing Wilma again at Mile 22...the evil out and back portion on Friars Road, deciding at Mile 23 that I could run 3 MORE MILES (and then the three mile conversation with myself that if I kept running, I'd get to the end faster and then I could stop), being really pissed off when I entered the Marine Corps Base and still had a 1/2 mile to run to the finish.
Other parts are not so clear–most of the 22nd mile along San Diego Riverbed for example.
Wanna see how "Done" I was? Compare these pictures to the earlier "I'm so happy to be running" ones...I, quite frankly, don't know how the rest of the herd looked so happy at this point.
maybe it was giving some guy a free frontal show in the porta-potty
I finally made my way through the food line (pretzels, I needed pretzels) and gear pickup and was sitting on the asphalt when Walter found me. What are you doing? he asked.
"Sitting" was my concise answer.
In any event, Walter is a god because one of the first things he did, after bravely giving me a big hug and kiss and telling me how proud he was of me (I'm sure I was a smelly, sweaty, vasciline-y, slimy mess at that point) was get me a cold beer.
I never understood why there were beer gardens at the end of races. But now I understand the true medicinal value of the beer garden. It was a miracle. I don't know if its the instant carbs, calories, salt, barley, hops, yeast, cold, or the combination of all...but I immediately felt better...good enough to walk 3/4 of a mile to the car.
Unbelievable. I ran a marathon. 5 hours 33 minutes...slower than I thought it would be at mile 16, but on pace with my longest training runs. I still have a pretty difficult time wrapping my brain around the idea that I actually did this, but there's photo proof.
* Don't worry, the next post will be funny stories from along the route...and notes from the after-party, but I needed to get this one out of my system.
Monday, June 2, 2008
But before I get to the (now proclaimed) Amazing Day, I need to start with the day before the race when BBJ, Betty, and I went to the RnR Expo to get our bibs, chips, and other gear. I was glad that we got there early because by the time we left, it looked like it was going to be a zoo there as thousands of people were arriving as we were leaving. As it was, we got into the expo easily, picked up our stuff, including an awesomely large gear-check bag, which I loved, shopped around for a little while (probably nearing the threshold of BBJ's shopping limits) and left.
Betty and I did pick out some fabulous t-shirts, including the one I wore to school today that says "Toenails are for Sissies" on the front, and the one Betty wore yesterday after the race that says "This IS my Race Pace" in honor of "The Wog." We also got these nifty running belts (although BBJ decided to NOT get his in flashy lime green to match his running shirt) called SPIbelts. Betty and I discovered this ingenious item at last summer's AFC 1/2 Marathon Expo. Somehow I lost the one I bought, and I just HAD to have another (yes, another gadget). It's a great running belt...the pocket expands to hold three or four Gu, chapstick, a free sample of HC pain spray, and two other small, shall we say, personal items. Well...that's what my SPIbelt held on race day...not sure what was in anyone else's.
After we left the expo, I thought I would spend some time relaxing...but it was not meant to be. I spent the remainder of the afternoon trying to find some sunglasses...which I finally did at Sports Authority. They weren't the really cool Oakley glasses I wanted (irony is deciding not to drive to Mission Valley to buy sunglasses because you want to save gas, then driving around to several different places "nearby," and wasting more gas than you would have if you'd just driven to the Valley.) Unfortunately, it seems that none of the sports/sunglass shops in La Mesa are cool enough to carry Oakleys, so I settled on some Bolle glasses. Drama Girl helped me pick them out...although I think she would have said that glass-bottles would have looked good on me because she is only happy when we are shopping for her.
In the other part of my life, the part that is NOT about running a marathon, I also managed to get to the end of Turbo-boy's Little League game, which his team won, so both Turbo and Walter were happy.
Then we rushed to Kim's for our carbo-load pasta dinner/potluck, where I got to enjoy all of the really yummy foods that we all brought to share. It was awesome to get together for that one last meal and laugh-fest. In many ways, I think that where it really started to hit me...Paul's line about the marathon training not being the destination, but the journey.
Finally, when I got home, I relaxed a little bit, finished obsessing about which shorts I was going to wear the next day. Pinned the most ENORMOUS race bib I've ever seen, to my lime-green shirt, tied the race chip to my shoe. Decided NOT to read the medical information brochure because the print was small and it looked boring (yes, I am an English teacher), which according to Elsie and Edith the next day was a very good choice. I put out all of my stuff (iPod, watch, sunglasses, hat) on my dresser and went to bed. Then got up at least four more times to make sure that I had everything ready for the next morning.
Lots of runners talk about how difficult it is to sleep the night before a big race, but once I settled in, I slept really solidly (maybe the wine I had at the year-end staff retirement party the night before helped).
Geez, Saturday night seems like a lifetime ago.
(more about race day tomorrow)