Best Laid Plans

IMG_3995I couple of years ago I bought pants from Eastern Mountain Sports that I love. I’ve worn them for nearly 24 hours while flying to Africa, countless kayaking trips, and I practically lived in them last summer during the Grand Adventure.  They don’t wrinkle, are SUPER comfortable, cool, and dry quick.

However, last weekend, during Shamrock, it finally warmed up enough to be able to wear them again.  I pulled them on.  Now, I am not a fashion expert, but I am fairly confident when your pants fall down to your ankles while still buttoned and zipped they are too big.  Crap! But I LOVE these pants and I rarely love clothing.  I pulled the draw string as tight as I could cinching them in, but I knew their days were numbered.

When I came home I went to the EMS website looking for these pants.  Oh no!!! They weren’t there.  Ok, granted I did get them a couple of years ago, but still!!!  I called customer service and gave them the item number from inside the pants.  The lovely lady on the phone told me that they weren’t making them any more, but they just so happened to have two pairs left in their store in Massachusetts. I call the Mass store them and ordered both pairs. One was the size I thought would work for now (one size down from my current pants) and one was two sizes down.  You know, so the next time I shrank out of my favorite pants I’d have a back up.  Hey, when I like something I like it.

One tiny flaw in my plan.  They came and I wanted to see just how much further I had to go before I fit into the two size down pants.  I slide them up, buttoned and zipped them.  Um, I can fit into the two size smaller pants now!  I mean this is AMAZING, but now what do I do??? I know, first world problems.  The good news is that if I needed any affirmation that the nutritionist knows what she’s doing now I have it.

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Shamrock 2015

IMG_5812After months and months of training it was finally here; Shamrock!!!  For me, it Sunday morning started at 3am.  Then 4.  Finally at 5 I said fuck it and got out of bed and made coffee.  I knew as soon as I started putting one foot in front of the other I would be fine, but until that point in time I was going to be a complete mess.

I had picked the perfect hotel as our start corral was literally one block from the start line.  This made life incredibly easy.  Although, as we weaved our way between the port-a-potty lines I joked that we could have paid for our entire weekend hotel costs by selling access to our bathroom.

C and I had not actually run together in our training.  With her being in Colorado and me being here this was going to be a real test of our ability to stay together.  We agreed before we crossed the start line that our strategy was going to be run a song walk a song.  While it isn’t as accurate as the 4 min on 2 min off that I had been training for; the interval timer wasn’t working so we decided this was our best back up course of action.  It actually worked out great!

half wayThe course itself was absolutely gorgeous.  It was basically a lollipop shape.  This gave us an awesome opportunity to see the elite runners coming back (already) when we weren’t even at mile 4 yet.  Having spectator supporting (which I didn’t get at Diva’s) was awesome.  As we began to pick the miles off we fell into a rhythm that was very easy.  We crossed the half way mark at 1:18 which was 40 minutes faster than any other 10k I had done.  I said as much to C.  There was a runner in front of us who said, “Whoever said that congratulations!”  I was tickled pink. IMG_5804

Running on Little Creek/Fort Story was just gorgeous.  Both in terms of the nature scenery and, well, the Marines that were out on course.  Hey, I can appreciate both, right?  Even on base there were plenty of spectators, signs, and support.  Of course, when we saw the light house we had to pause for a quick ‘runfie’.  Hey, how often do you have an opportunity to take a great picture like that?

IMG_5808Coming off of base  I spotted a guy approximately in his 70s carrying a full sized American flag.  As we caught up with him I tapped him on the arm and asked him if he had run Diva’s in the fall.  He said he had and in his red white and blue tutu.  I smiled at him and told him I remembered him.  I asked him if he had served in Vietnam.  He said he had.  We wished him luck.

We both we remarking how great we were feeling as we crossed the 10 mile marker.  Then we came out of the protection of the woods and rounded the corner onto Atlantic Avenue.  The air got very cold and very damp.  My lungs immediately started giving me the warning that they were not happy.  Rather than risk doing something stupid, I took another shot of my inhaler.  That made all the difference.  We laughed as we ran in front of our hotel jokingly whining about “can’t we just stop and go get in the hot tub now?” Passing the hotel we knew that we were getting very close to being done.

We both agreed that we were going to run the boardwalk.  We broke our run a song, walk a song rhythm to get a quick breather in before we made the zag onto the board walk.  Rounding the corner it was there right in front of us; THE FINISH! Ironically one of the songs that I hear in barre class started playing; Chambermaid Swing.  I started to smile and sing; “Pulse, pulse, pulse, and tuck, and tuck”.  It really gave me a swell of happiness knowing that all of the work I have been putting into this particular moment was worth it.

C and I grabbed hands about 150 feet from the finish line.  We started together and PRwe were going to cross together.  We opened up our stride and sprinted it all the way to the finish.  WE DID IT!!!  While my body was aching my mind was perfectly clear something I didn’t have the last time.  My rhino horn didn’t hurt even though I didn’t tape my feet; those Altra Running shoes are awesome! We reached our goal! We crossed sub-three hours! I couldn’t have been more pleased.   A PR for both of us!

Overall, this experience blew my first half marathon out of the water.  The volunteers were awesome.  The spectator support rocked.  There was still plenty of water left on course even when my slow fat butt went by.  While there wasn’t anything other than a banana available for me to eat at the finish there was plenty of food for everyone else a rarity when you are slow.   These guys know how to run a race!

While training through the winter was rough I would most definitely do it again.  I’ve set my sights on completing my Washington 10k in less time than 1:18.  Guess this means more time at Biker Barre for me! Onto my next goal and my next race EX2 Aventure’s 10 miler in two weeks!

My people: Back of the Pack

This morning I had an opportunity to watch the Shamrock 8k go. I’m running tomorrow with C, but one of our other friends signed up for the 8k and we wanted to cheer her on. 

As the first wave (the elite runners) took off there wasn’t a smile to be seen. Serious business this was.  They took off like beautiful gazelles. And then they were gone. 

As the wave numbers got larger the tutus, costumes, but more importantly the smiles started to show up. I turned to C and said, “these are where our people are.”  This is where just finishing is an accomplishment. 

 

Wave 16 departed and we headed for Murphy’s to warm up. As we walked up the block we saw the elites already in their cars and headed out. I just laughed. I have never actually seen the exodus as I’m usually the one rolling in well after those folks have departed (and most likely gotten home and showered). 

Prior to today I was embarrassed by my back of the pack status. After today I’ve realize that I’m proud to be a back of the packer. We may not finish the fastest. We may not win any prize money.  There may not be anyone to cheer us on when we get there. Heck, there may not be any food left. You know what we do get? A finishers medal just like they do. We just have a better sense of humor about ourselves. 

  

Dragons playing rugby

All week long all of my co-workers who run (or who are supportive of me doing this, probably because I am their boss and they are trying to suck up, LOL) have been asking me if I was ready.  I smiled and nodded and said yes.  LIAR!!!

Up until this morning I’ve been handling my anxiety rather well.  Then last night I started having all sorts of nightmares and this morning I feel like I have dragons playing rugby in my insides.  Butterflies they are not.  I don’t know why I am so nervous.  Yet there they are.

This morning I’ve been scurrying around trying to figure out what food I need to bring with me.  Say what?  Food???  Ah, welcome to the joys of being unable to eat gluten.  I’ve learned this lesson the hard way.  Races rarely (if ever) have any post race snack that don’t have gluten in them.  Combine this with being in an unfamiliar town for two nights before the race and it could be a recipe for disaster for my poor GI track.  Lucky for me, not only are my friends super supportive, but the hotel has a microwave and mini-fridge, I’m bringing my blender so I can have my Vega shakes which means (cue trumpets) I will be able to eat!

I know I need to have faith in my training. I need to fall back on the fact that I have already done one of these.  Most importantly I need to keep my shit together.  We shall see how well this goes! Now, to finish packing and hope I don’t forget anything on my list.

T-7 Days

It’s amazing how you prep and you plan and then everything goes to hell in a hand basket.  This past week was “suppose to” be my last week of hard training for this next week to be my taper week.  Well…..turns out I am going to have two weeks of taper instead.

During the last major snow storm we had I stepped down onto my patio in my snow boots and got a wicked twinge up my calf.  I thought it was just a charlie horse so I kept going.  Well, a couple of days, four spin classes, two barre classes later I tried to go for a 3 mile run.  A quarter mile in my calf seized up and said, “Lady you are nuts.” I hobbled through the three miles (yeah, not very bright), returned to the car, and immediately called my massage therapist.  She worked on that muscle on and off for 90 minute slowly getting it to release.  When she was done she said, “You are definitely going to be sore, and you are definitely going to need a few days off.”  Well, biscuits, there goes my last week of training. (Insert copious amounts of swear words here.)  Oh and WHY couldn’t this have happened when it was 9F out??  No, it had to wait until it was sunny and 65F.  (More swearing)

Next week at this very moment I will be running with C.  I’m nervous and excited.  Every twinge in my body and every cough I have I’m worried that something is going to thwart all of the hard work I’ve put in.  I know it’s probably nuts, but this means a great deal to me.  I want to not just finish, I want to strongly finish not limp in like I did last time.

Fingers crossed that everything will not only heal but hold up.  I will be a Shamrock Finisher, but I want to get a PR too.  Is that too much to ask for?

GAH!!! Two weeks!

Two weeks from tomorrow I will be standing at the start line of the Shamrock Half Marathon trying to not let me breathing get out of control.  One of the wonderful side effects of asthma is when I get over anxious or excited I wheeze.  Isn’t asthma grand?  Lucky for me I have the most awesome friend ever who is also broken, thanks to the U.S. military, and she is going to ‘run’ it with me.  Two broken people=one whole person, right?

Since the weather here has been absolute shit running outside has been curtailed.  Snow is fine, but we don’t get snow . We get ice.  Whee! For two weekends in a row my 10 mile races haven been cancelled due to the ice.  From lemons comes lemonade.  One of the instructors (Lauren) was offering a charity spin class benefiting Children’s Miracle Network, and she had a couple of spaces left!  Hot diggity.  I immediately signed up for her class and then 1130 spin before it.  Yes, you read that correctly, two back to back spin classes.  I just hoped that I didn’t pull a “Bridget Jones” after Lauren’s class.

I did surprisingly well.  I practiced my fueling techniques that I am going to use on race day.  I drank lots and lots of water.  After all was said and done, yes, my legs left like jelly, but in a good way.  Bonus?  We got a group shot afterwards and for the 1st time you can actually see the difference in my body.

Here’s to hoping that the weather (and trails) are decent enough tomorrow for me to be able to get some kind of run in outside.  I need to test out my hydration pack!  Two weeks to race day!