Sunday, April 29, 2012

Roses are Red... and a 26.2 Sticker for my car!

So I get to check this off my bucket list,  and while yesterday on the way home I was saying NEVER again.... 24 hours later ,  kind of like child birth,  I'm saying...okay maybe one more time.  

The week prior to the race was not exactly what I had planned for (aka..relaxing)  I had an unexpected trip to Florida tossed in,  no real sleep,  or normal meals for 4 days and a 2 am flight back get the picture.  But maybe it wasn't all that bad..I didn't have a chance to obsess or worry about what was coming up.  

We headed over to Champaign, IL on Friday afternoon.  First was a stop at REI in Indianapolis.  Cincinnati is getting one of these stores this fall,  and we wanted to check it out in person.   Very nice indeed.  Picked up a few extra nutrition bars and back in the car to head to downtown Champaign for packet pickup and the Expo. 

The Expo was small,  not too many vendors,  but the Jazz Apple people were there handing out apple samples and a free apple cutter.  Very cute!  Lindsey had mapped out a back route to our hotel which was 1/2 hour south of the city. This was the closest hotel we could find... but first..on the way out of town we grabbed some lunch at Atlanta Bread Company.  (Remember when we used to have these in Cincy?  I always liked them more than Panera!) 

On the way to the hotel,  we passed signs like the old Burma Shave signs posted by a place called They were very entertaining! Like 

but our favorite....

Hotel was comfortable and a quick trip to the IGA provided salads for dinner.  10:30 came around quickly and we needed to be up by 5:30 am to drive back to Univ. of Illinois campus and park.   It was after dinner I realized.. my phone was missing.. GRRRR  searched the rental car,  searched the room,  called the Expo and Atlanta Bread Company... bingo.. they found it and said they would lock it in the safe until I could return after the race.   But in the stress of running around looking for my phone,  I managed to eat an entire packet of Raisinettes..and I didn't even realize it???  

We woke up to rain storms and 40 degree weather.. Ugh.. but by the time we got to the parking lot,  the rain had stopped Yeah!  It was chilly out,  but the rain held off all day and it was actually perfect running weather.  

Kudos to the entire city of Champaign Urbana for an extremely well run event.  Great crowd support,  water stations every mile,  music on course , happy police protecting the street crossings....all of this made the running a little easier.   At the point where the half marathoners split off from the full marathoners I got a little emotional.  I had always left Lindsey at this point and headed in to finish my race.  The thought of doing another 13.1 scared the shit out of me!  Lindsey stayed with me  until mile 18, motivating me and reminding me to look around and enjoy the journey.   I was starting to drop behind her and while she was very willing to hang in until the end with me.. I knew I just wanted to be alone with this.  I popped in my head phones and tried to use that as a distraction from the pain that was starting in my back.  

I had run 20 miles during training but at 21 things got bad.  My back seized up and I was reduced to walking.   I panicked a little, started hyperventilating, and spent the next miles talking to myself and remembering to just breath.  Once I got to 23 though I knew this was in the bag... I mean.. I only had a 5K left.. piece of cake right?  I was able to start mixing in running with the walking.  

Lindsey was waiting at the finish line and snapped a picture .. of me with my classic running pose of my head down on the ground... Is it any wonder my shoulders and neck are killing me today? 

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Relentless Forward Progress

3 years ago,  we started down the path of weight loss.   2 years ago we ran our first 5K.  For someone who NEVER thought running could be an enjoyable past-time,  I looked at it more as a marker of fitness,  a box that needed to be checked off,  to say you can do this.   It took me almost 45 minutes to finish,  but felt amazing... and something clicked.   Running could be fun.  

Fast forward 2 years... and several 10K, Half Marathons,  and 2 Tri-Athlon's later... and for the past 4 months we have been training for my first Marathon.  My first....and my last... I have already decided.   While Lindsey enjoys this ,  and has the admirable goal of becoming a 50-50'r  (1 marathon in each of 50 states....)  I just want to finish one.  To say I did it,  to check another box off the list,  to know I was willing to put in the effort required.   But I'm not enjoying this...  my body is too old... and to screwed up to take the pounding without some serious damage... I fear.   So after this one.. I'm going back to Half Marathons.. and will wait at the finish line to cheer my crazy daughter as she works on her goal.  

But the funny thing is through all this training...  where 3 miles used to feel like the impossible.. now 6 miles is a comfortable Saturday run.  10 miles is a work out... but not a hated distance,  and the occasional 13.1 feels like the perfect thing to make sure I keep my fitness level up enough to continue to accompany her.

So yesterday was my last long run before the big event.  20 miles. My longest distance so far.  16 miles went well... 18 miles made me cry... I was terrified of 20... and they all say if you can do 20... you can do 26.2...because the last 6 you run with your heart... not your legs.   I understand that more now.

First off the prep work..
Can you believe all the crap you have to have to go run for 20 miles?
Paper towel.. for blowing your nose,  gloves (it was cold when we started and I wore these the first 10), water bottle,  wet wipes (in ziplock bag)  in case I needed to take an emergency bathroom break in the woods..yes you do this....Spibelt to carry snacks (you have to eat every hour),  Ipod,  and a cooler with a water re-fill. 

  So our plan was to head to the Loveland bike trail and park in down town Loveland.   Run south for 5 miles,  back 5 miles to the car... refill water ,  grab more food if needed... use the bathroom that we knew was open...  then run north 5 miles and return to the car.   And off we went.  

 Issue number 1... 5 miles in... where we normally take our first fuel break.. I realize I left my spi-belt in the car and I had no food with me.   Lindsey is able to use Gel packs and has no issue with them... they kill my stomach,  so even though she had an extra one,  I was reluctant to try , and decided I would just wait until I got back to the car to eat...  by mile 8,  I could tell I was running out of energy... and starting to "bonk".   My brain gets goofy and it makes it hard to think...but we have a system,  where Lindsey runs to my left and I tend to watch her legs moving out of the corner of my eye... so I focused on watching her... and made it back to the car in good time.    I wolfed down 1/2 of my espresso bonk bar in 2 bites,  refilled my water,  quick trip to the bathroom and hit the trail..   

The north bound trails is a lot busier than the south,  so that helped to distract us through the next 5 miles.  That and Lindsey's catching my up on the last 2 episodes of Tabitha.  At 15 miles though it was time to put on the head phones and focus on getting back to the car.  I waved Lindsey off (she is faster than I am ,  and at this point I need to just go into my head and figure out how to ignore the pain. )     Mile 16 and 17 wasn't horrible,  but by 18... I was forced to throw in way more walk time than I wanted.   Everything hurt,  and I was ready to be DONE!   By 19 though,  I looked at my watch and my goal was to finish in under 5 hours...and it was going to be close...  So I picked it up  and shuffled my way to the end.     

I honestly don't know if I have 6.2 more in me...  I guess I'll find that out in 3 weeks.  But I want the damn 26.2 sticker for the back of my car... and I'm hoping the marathon atmosphere will help me along the last couple of miles.   And I'm going to remind myself that I'm NEVER doing this again.