Respect the Run: Rock N Roll Marathon Chicago Race Recap

4 Medals earned so far, space for roughly 27.

Sunday morning Babu and I ran the XSport Fitness Rock N Roll Mini (5k) Marathon in Chicago.   Earlier in the year I signed up for the 1/2 Marathon portion of this race.  I came off the Indianapolis Mini (13.1) Marathon with an injured sesamoid joint, rested 4 weeks and then lazed ( the active verb tense of being lazy, coined by a friend of mine).  I wasn’t properly trained for another 13.1 so soon, but  I also wasn’t going to just throw away  hundreds of dollars in race fees and hotel costs.  So for a few weeks prior to this race I had crazy girl runner is going to run/walk 13.1 anyway plans going on in my head.  I know I have said this before but ANYONE can complete a half  marathon.  You might not be able to complete it quickly, you might not feel very good during or after, but you could get up off your couch and go bust out 13.1 miles right this very second if you chose.  I wasn’t worried about my  ability to “get it done”.  I have been training for  about a month and Sweet Thang/Speedy (still working out running buddies nickname) and I have reached the 6.5 half-way mark in distance runs.   I am smart enough to understand trying to run a half marathon right now would have basically ruined the rest of my trip to Chicago and possibly left me injured with only 40 days until my next scheduled Half Marathon over Labor Day Weekend.

So imagine my glee when I discovered that there was a Mini (5K) and there was a medal for it!  Here in Indy a Mini is 13.1, that is why I keep making the distinction, but I imagine you are clear now, so I will stop.   I basically race for two reasons, to feel strong  and proud of myself and for the bling.  In the middle of 13.1 miles getting to the next water stop begins to be replaced by getting to the medal.  I like shiny things, and I’ve started a medal hanger in my home office.  Behind it sits an apron my mother embroidered.  She was a stay at home mom and local piano teacher who also raised and showed Schipperkes.  She  married in the 50’s and lived in the housewife era and died in 1971 at the age of 40.   I am the antithesis of housewife, I hang the apron there so my Mom can be a part of those medals, a little cheesy I know but it is also red and my home office color scheme is retro robin’s egg/tealish blue and red for the exact same reason, a nod to mom.  But I am digressing.

The event in Chicago was very well-organized and executed.  It was our first out of town race and there were things I really liked about it. For starters the 5K and 13.1 all start at the same time. The corrals are stagger started one at a time every 1-2 minutes.  This is quite different from what I’ve experienced in the past where the whole mass of people just starts moving at once and you feel like you are some sort of death march to the start line.  The  Race emcee actually gives a start countdown  for each and every corral from the top seeds to the slow people in the back like me.  We were in corral 25 of 29.   The 5K bibs  were red and the 13.1 were blue.  At first I was worried I would be one of only a few “losers” in blue bibs running the red race, but as it turned out  I was worried for nothing, lots of blue bibs ran the 5k.   Babu avoided this by waiting until the  packet pick-up Expo to sign up for the 5K, thereby getting a red bib.

THE EXPO

Speaking of the Expo it was fantastic, we walked about 2 miles down the lake front path from  The Palmer House Hilton, where my Hilton Honors membership scored me a VIP check-in and a courtyard room that had zero street or L noise, to McCormick Place for the expo and back. It was hot but we enjoyed the scenery and the exercise.   We walked out of the Expo with probably enough SWAG to cover at least his $50 5k late entry fee,  our nice new bags were quite heavy on the way back.  I only bought some NUUN at $5 (a good price)  a tube so I felt like I restrained myself quite well.  We got to try a whole bunch of different GU’s, Gel’s,shot blocks and bars. It was like being at the Sam’s Club on a weekend and eating lunch from the samples, only with running energy options.   I discovered that Cliff Bars are WAY better than the PR Bars I am choking down before long runs or as run night dinner these days, that RAZZ GU is quite tolerable and that Snickers started making something they are calling Marathon Bars.

RACE  TIME

Race Morning we woke up at 5:30, dressed and stretched quickly then made the 3 block walk from our hotel to our corral.  The race energy and vibe was friendly in our corral and we cheered for each of the 24 corrals in front of us as they were released.  It was hot, I had sweat running down my back before we even began and the humidity was pretty high.  The emcee went on and on about how we should all back off and slow down due to weather conditions, that today was not a day to try for a PR.  I  have been running in these conditions for a few weeks now and I told Babu that I wanted him to push me during this race, I wanted to go HAM because I was only going 3.2 not 13.1. I  figured I’d see how far I could push myself in prep for having to run 13.1 in close to the same weather.  I often feel like I don’t push myself enough to go faster.  Soon enough it was our turn.  I knew I simply had to follow the red bibs and stay to the right.   The route took   us under some tunnels and then dumped us along the lake path for most of the miles before turning us in the middle of mile 3 back up the street to the finish.  There was an extra water/Gatorade stop added to the route.   I really do NOT like Gatorade, I think the yellow tastes like goat piss, it upsets my stomach every time but I took a few sips because of the heat and humidity.

THE RUN

Running felt great. My legs, breath and heart were all in sync, Babu pushed us as promised and backed off to slow down when it started to become too fast too soon.   As we hit  the mile 2 marker I knew I was going to have enough energy to push through the last 1.2 and  maybe even PR. In spite of my Runkeeper seriously screwing up in the first mile I  was pretty sure we were  at a sub 12:00 pace and could keep it for the duration.  Then we found the “dude with a tude”.   Age and body type are not a unilateral fitness indicator, every runner knows this.  In every race I am going to get beaten by a seriously fat dude, an old lady and a little kid.  It is simply a fact of running. Plus you can never truly tell on the course if you are faster than someone else you are passing because a- everyone starts in a different corral and b- lots of people do run/walk intervals. The best indicator is to keep an eye on the other runners you started with and gauge your performance based on theirs.  Every runner picks out  people to pass, it is part of being competitive, I don’t take it personally when I get passed and neither do most other runners.   But without fail there is always some guy we pass who is younger and in  better shape than me who is not pleased that the chubby  middle aged woman is “beating” him.    It is easy to tell when this  happens because Babu and I keep a steady run stance and we almost always encounter the ‘dude” while he is walking.  This time  as we got past him,  he sprinted  and then stopped just ahead and went back to walking.  We kept our pace and passed him again, as soon as we got past him he again sprinted to get past me and then went back to  walking.  This  happened at least 3 times.   I always  get a bit “fuzzle you dude with a tude”   and if I can I pick up my pace and just keep running knowing that every single race (so far) I’m going to beat the dude.   Sure enough we smoked him on the small up hill climb at about mile 2.5.   As we made the turn to head to the finish we could see it up ahead.  I knew it was further away than it looked, but  something  about seeing that banner always puts some pep in my step.   There was NO WAY I was letting this dude beat me.    I knew he was back there,  I knew he was tiring himself out by not holding a steady pace and I knew he was going to try to book it past me as near the end as possible and that, Lovies, was not going to happen.   We picked up the pace, pushed it to within a quarter to a tenth of a mile near the finish, set our sites on the person  who was some what ahead of us we wanted to beat ( this isn’t personal, I just need  extra mental motivation to sprint at the end so I always pick someone I want to reach and pass before the end and others are likely picking me out as well)  and let loose.    Babu and I passed her within the last 100 yards  one on each side, I kicked into after burn and gave it all I could muster knowing he was back there, trying to pass us and wanting so badly to stick to him. And we did, he didn’t come through the  post chute until  at least 30 seconds after we did.   Feeling like I was going to puke for a full minute after finishing was worth every second of distance we put between him and us.   Babu and finished together at 35:58, an 11:14 pace in heat and humidity.  I thought I might of PR’d but alas I was wrong, my PR is a 33:42 (10:30 pace) I achieved in  February of 2011.  This race definitely falls in my top 5  favorite runs though,   and serves a spring board of confidence to get me to the next half in 39 days.

POST RACE SWAG

We were handed so much in the post chute I almost couldn’t carry it all.   Full bottles of water, full bottles of Gatorade, Jamba Juice frozen smoothies,  chocolate milk, fruit cups, marathon bars from Snickers, the list goes on, I couldn’t possibly take it all.  The best thing  ever was not nutrition or hydration, it was small towels  dripping wet as they came out of huge ice water vats.  We each were given two and we placed them around our necks and on our heads.  I  first used mine to lay them on both wrists and wipe my arms down.  It was instant body temp drop, we kept them on while we walked back down to the sidelines of the finish and cheered the  rest of the 5K and top runners of the 13.1 on.  I was lucky enough to see the first female half runner cross the line within 5-10 minutes of my 5K finish time. She glided in without even looking all that worked up. These elite runners have such smooth gates, they are so beautiful to watch.  I get choked up about the fast girls during every race. I have only an inkling of how hard they must work to train and maintain that level of fitness and strength.   They are badass  mother runners and an inspiration to me to train harder, longer, smarter.

All in all I give 2 thumbs up to the Rock N Roll and Chicago race organizers.  Very well done.


Random musings on running and beating myself up

Running season started again for me last week.  I signed up for my 2nd Indianapolis 500 Mini Marathon and the lengthy  training program at our local Y.  I haven’t run much since I finished the inaugural Women’s  Half Marathon over Labor Day weekend.  It started out innocently enough, taking a break to rest and bask in the glory of completing two halfs within a year.  Initially I had plans in my head to run a third half in either October or November. But as the weeks progressed I found that i just wasn’t doing any training to get the job done.   I hadn’t  registered for either, so there was no immediacy to the situation and i just chose not to train.  I ran a  5k Turkey Trot over Thanksgiving and hoped it would motivate me to to at the very least start a regular work out schedule of running 3 times a week and add in some cross and strength training.  But it was the holidays and I was busy and full of excuses. I had also started smoking regularly again and the next I knew it was Christmas. I knew training would start on the 16th of January and that become I’ll just enjoy and slack off until running season gets here.  I put about ten pounds back on during that time, not to mention  the hard earned muscles I’d garnered from earlier training had turned to mush.  I began last week very excited but knowing I am terribly out of shape.

The thing is, I am excited to be training again, and even though that first run last week in the cold and wind was brutal, I enjoyed it.  Mentally this time is different. I’m not getting that runners’ high from these limited runs because at this point they are a struggle to finish without walking.   I also sort of feel like I’m in a don’t really belong anywhere no man’s land.   This year they are offering two levels of training, beginner and advanced.  I didn’t want to mentally put myself in either of those places. I don’t feel like a beginner, I’ve done this before. I know what I’m doing and how my body will respond.  The advanced program calls for higher mileage, and I am woefully out of shape. At first I was like, It’s no big deal, it is just more miles, I know I can do this so I signed both of us up for the advanced knowing it was all the same group and we could talk to the coaches and make the right  choices on a run by run basis.  Except for I don’t like living in case by case basis world, I like to have a set plan and stick to it.  The Husband recently suffered a back injury that revealed he has disc problems in 3 places.  He has gone through rest, has had one epidural injection to ease his pain and he agreed to  sign up for the race and training program so we could do it together again. He probably shouldn’t be doing extra mileage and so far has declined to do so.   His pace could be much faster than mine, when left  to his own devices he runs about a ten minute or slightly less pace and I am still in the 12+ range, that is a pretty slow pace for a runner.   None of the other runners in our advanced group are that slow. No no one is telling me I shouldn’t be in the advanced group, the advanced coach is one of my personal hero’s. He always comes back to the end for me and helps me finish my run, doesn’t admonish me when I have to walk for a bit and always gently coaches me to the end and pushes me further than I planned to push myself.   But in spite of that I found myself choosing the 2 mile options vs the 3 mile advanced option last night.  I  made this decision mid run for reasons I will outline in a moment, but he was expecting to see me do 3, and had to go back and look for me when I didn’t do it. I inconvenienced him and caused him concern, I felt really badly about this.   Though it only re-iterated what I already  knew.  If I choose to pursue the advanced path, if I choose to declare myself and advanced runner in this training group, I am always going to finish last on probably every training run.

Then there is the stubborn and injury factor.  Last year I started out of shape and by mid February had run myself into a stress fracture on my right foot.  I was in a boot, dealt with the mental and physical set backs and went on to run  my very first half  marathon with no problems.  One of our coaches is very familiar with my stubbornness and it has been a topic already this year, spoken out loud in front of everyone.  I don’t mind it, I know it is true and for me it is sort of a badge of honor. A lot can be overcome with stubbornness, but it can also cause a lot of problems.  When I was training for the  Women’s half I started to notice a familiar feeling in my left foot.  I simply ignored it.  I wear heels a LOT, my appetite for shoes and especially heels is not secret to those that know me.  I wear them to work, I wear them  on GNO.  I like them high, the higher the better and most of my heels I wear on a regular basis are 4″ or taller.  I’m already 5’8″ and I like being even taller in heels.  I notice when I wear them that sometimes by left foot does not like this, especially  in the part of my foot where the big toe meets the foot.   This  same spot started talking to me almost immediately last week after that first run.  I’ve been ignoring it. Thinking maybe I will try to solve the problem with new shoes and the inserts I  already wear to help prevent further stress fracture injuries.   last nigh when I headed out for the 3, it started in the first half mile. I made the decision at the turn to do the 2  because it would be better for my foot. Maybe my foot would reward my scaled  back effort by not hurting after.   Bad news, my foot is unaware or unwilling to accept this plan.

So here I sit, not even two full weeks into another running season, wrestling  emotionally with what all this means. I KNOW it means I should make an appointment to go see Dr.  Hate, that I should start mentally planning to be in that damn boot on another foot for 4+ weeks and find a way to NOT repeat the mental pit party and slacking I indulged in last year.  I’m already in  a much better place. There isn’t a lot I’m wrestling with emotionally this year. I’m not hiding a 3rd chat career from my husband, I’m over PJ and all of the Almost Divorce shenanigans.  All in all things in my life are quite good. So why don’t I feel more  empowered and strong and badass right now?   I’ve quit smoking all things, and I feel so much better having done so.  There is limited nicotine and  THC working itself out of my body. I’m mentally and physically healthier than I have been in the last 3+ years.   I’m getting my brain back as each week passes and my mental acuity and focus continues to climb. I’m more focused and plugged in at work and home.  By all accounts I should be feeling pretty good about myself right now.  I don’t have anything mental to wrestle on runs other than daily life and work stressors. By all accounts I should be setup to push my body to even higher limits and bring  my pace time down closer to the sub 11 minute mark.   I  should be in super runner ninja kick-ass mode, but I’m just not.   Instead I just feel sort of meh about the whole thing.  I sit here hiding from the pain in my foot, the feeling that I don’t really belong in that advanced group and  wondering why on earth at almost 41 years old after everything I have   triumphed over that I still feel the need to beat myself up as harshly as possible when  things don’t go just like I expected.

I don’t have an answer.  But I do know what needs to be done, it’s the same basic answer to all problems, put on my BGP and  own it.   So tomorrow I will call Dr. Hate and  make an appointment, but I will also complete my scheduled 3 mile pace time trial and push myself as hard as my body and lungs will go. I’m going to downgrade myself to the beginner category and if later in training I feel like I can and should take on more mileage I will. There isn’t anything wrong with me if I choose to be smart instead of stubborn for once.   If he says it’s boot time again I will do it without the pity party that accompanied last year.  I can do upper body strength work outs while The Husband runs and I can pick up mileage as soon as he clears me.  Rather than hide from the problem I can face it and make my contingency plan.  Maybe it won’t be a new stress fracture and everything  can continue as planned. In the meantime  I will simply choose to BREATHE and not wallow in the meh.   I’ll probably still be wearing 5″  heels on Saturday night though, a girl has to hold on to some stubbornness.


Thankful #22-26 How is your weekend going??

It’s the 26th and I’m a bit behind on my thankful for the month of November.  So without further ado

#22: Running and Martini Curls:  I had the pleasure of running in one of local Thanksgiving 5k runs.   I chose to do the one closer to home and on the route I ran during the Mini training program.   I’ve only run like 2-3 times since I finished my last half marathon.   I need to get signed up for the next one in May, and the training program which starts January 16th.  If I’m going to stay successful in my experiment to stay completely off Wellbutrin I think I need to incorporate regular working out to my regimen, as well as dump a  few other habits.   The Husband is completely out as a running buddy for a while as he has 3 bulging discs in his back, yes that is about as much fun as you might imagine.  He has been in daily pain since mid October.  Hood running buddy was walking it with other friends so I planned to just run it alone.   I’ve been slightly experimenting with a run 5 min walk 2 min interval, and I am torn between sticking with that and simply  training to try  to run the whole 13.1, which is truly my preference.   I signed for the race;  I’m planning on signing up for a few others; as a way to force me to at ;least run a little through the holidays until blessed January 16th arrives and I’m forced into the Mon-Wed-Sat training schedule.    Thanksgiving morning I talked The Husband and the Destroyer out of bed and out of the house at 7:15am  to come and watch me run.   The Destroyer wanted to do the kiddie run through the woods and we are trying to nurture them both into budding runners.  You don’t need babysitting during races if your kids are running alongside you!  Anyway, as we pulled into the parking lot I had the great luck of parking right next to my friend Martini Curls!  This i super exciting because I haven’t seen her in a while, don’t get to see her nearly enough, and I  absolutely love her to death.  I met her years ago at a MNO in an over crowded private restaurant room.  We shared our love of Vodka.  You know those people who you look forward to being around because of how you know you’re going to feel just being around them?  She is one of those people, whenever I am around her I KNOW she is going to be smiling and laughing and friendly. You can’t help but absorb some of her joy when  you’re near her.  I get super excited when I see she is going to be at a group event I am attending.  AND>>> she recently started running!!!!  Which means I have a hope and a prayer that she shares my below average pace of 12+ minutes and maybe I can keep up with her for the 3 miles.  Turns out I can hang for the first  mile and a half or so.  I dropped back to walk and managed to finish in 36:20.   Almost a full 3 minutes off my last 5K race time.   It felt pretty great!

#23 My Readers:  I don’t know If I’ve thanked you all properly yet or not, so let me take this moment to say THANK YOU!!!!! As Martini Curls and I got started at the 5K we were with another Mommy in the group. I’ve met her once or twice. And the One memorable time was the night at Champs when the joint salesman wanted to talk Project management with me naked in his hotel room.  We-reintroduce ourselves and  I mention meeting her before. “My life was a lot different then.” I laughed.   Martini Curls look at me and says ” I love your blog. I read it every time it comes out.” ” Aww, thanks.” I tell her. I absolutely LOVE hearing that. I love it when you guys email me or call me or tell me when you see me that what I write matters enough to you to keep reading it.  Thank you for reading whichever parts of this blog you do, I love writing it and I hope it brings you joy or understanding or helps you in some small way.  Even you juts stop by and even if all it does it help you to laugh at me laughing at myself.  I appreciate all 23 countries and rising of you!

#24 Bacon:   Yes, bacon.  Due to some family drama circumstances I had the ability to eat Thanksgiving in my own home this year at whatever time I felt like it.  I had a bacon, egg and sharp cheddar sandwich on ciabatta bread after finishing my 5k.   For dinner The Husband made:  Smoked a prime rib roast,  Smoked garlic cheddar mashed potatoes, Apple onion stuffing, Braised leeks au gratin  with bacon.   I made dill, garlic bacon green beans and the gravy. For dessert we had ice cream and fancy cupcakes because The Husbands Birthday is near Thanksgiving every year.  After MiniMe said the prayer we all went around and talked about what we were thankful for.  We were a few turns down the list and I was taking a bite of my leeks. Bacon. I am thankful for bacon. I had it again on my egg sandwich for  brunch and again on my pizza for dinner.

#25 My SIL:  My SIL joined us for Thanksgiving this year.  She is The Husbands sister and one of my dearest friends.   She recently moved further away and we do not get to see her nearly as much as we used to. And boy do I miss her.  She is one of those people you can sit down with and cry both from laughing and from sharing all in the same visit.   She has a beautiful heart and a stubborn will and she gets herself into some real pickles. But just like she loves me as is I don’t hold it against her when she leaves and my vodka supply is depleted, her bed is unmade and I have no idea when we w get to see her again.   She is my favorite member of non-immediate family, hand down.   She is my concert buddy  and my vodka buddy and my pick on her brother partner in crime.  This game is fun because it works both ways. I can help the husband pick on her too.

#26 New Husband:   New husband  does a lot of things differently than before AD Husband.    We are starting into year 2 of being back together I am enjoying that most of those better things have stuck.  Including no longer being an absolute Grinch about Christmas Decorating.  Which we started today by picking up the new real tree  and greenery. Then we had a great afternoon and evening in the cul-de-sac enjoying the weather and all of the adults were out doing the outside of their houses while the kids ran and played.   I was puttering with my greenery churning out 8 swags (pics and post later)  while he climbed on the roof and hung the lights.  I looked up the street at all the screaming kids, my two among them,  at all of the houses on our cul-de-sac getting prettier and prettier, and I thought “I’ve never been happier than I am right in this moment.” Thank God for new husband.


Running after a break, time to train harder and smarter

Medal #2

The last time I wrote about running was right after finishing my 2nd half marathon.   I had plans for a third in 4 weeks , but that is probably not going to happen.  I have run approximately 3x in the last 6 weeks.  The list of excuses is long. School is in full swing and 3rd grade home work is plentiful. Work has picked up and I am currently running 3 of the largest projects in out company, all program and  2 with regulatory deadlines.   At first I was just resting on my laurels, then  the time just kind of snuck up on me and I started noticing this week especially that my body ( I’m sure the out until 4:30 am Saturday night shenanigans had nothing to do with this)  and energy levels  (I’m sure the lack of water and huge amount of Diet Mt Dew had nothing to do with this) were jacked up, my loose jeans were getting better fitting and my skinny jeans were getting unwearable.   Time to hit the pavement.  So this afternoon I stole some time from work to make up for the lunch I didn’t get to eat and I strapped on the brooks and went out for a 3 mile run.   This was very spur of the moment as I’ve been beating myself up for days that I need to run.  I was properly fueled nutrition wise, but  the only liquid I have consumed before sitting down to bang this out , was a giant 44oz of  Dt. Mountain Dew. The weather here right now is fabulous and has been for the last 10 days or so.  The leaves are on the path already and as I started my run/walk/run pattern i got to enjoy the crunch and the cadence of my pace.  I was pleased to find that pacing wise I am still about where I was 6 weeks ago.  I was dismayed but not surprised to discover that my body had to work much harder than it should of to make this a happen.  The phone call I had to take in the middle of the run didn’t help matters much but at least I can  cross one more to do from my list.  I’m crossing “lunch” off right now with and apple and a string cheese and some water.

Hood running buddy has already signed up for the Half  in 4 weeks, but I had not.  She hasn’t been training either and no one has been keeping the other accountable.  Earlier this week I finally just decided that I am juggling right now another race in 4 weeks is probably not feasible. BUT, that doesn’t  mean continued slacking.   The days are much shorter here right now than they were last summer so I am going to have to set some  hard goals and get to it.  I’m still working through the details of the master plan but it looks something like this.  get back out on the pavement or treadmill and add in 2 times a week of cross training and  at least one strength training.  This is going to allow me to strengthen my core some more (adding back in yopi), build up some more muscle and tone and if I am crazy enough allow me to re-learn my swim stroke in the hopes of adding tri-athalons at some point in this journey.  So I need to sit down with the Y schedule and map out my spinning and turbo kick classes, sign-up for that awesome yopi class I grumble all the way through and then wow at the results I get and negotiate with The Husband on who gets to run and when.   I’m glad I’m doing this now because the Holidays are coming and I want to get ahead of the,  another 20 pounds weight loss goal.   BookBitch and I are making plans to meet and run  a  Half , we wanted to to do Disney Tinkerbell or Princess Half. Tinkerbell is sold out and The Husband says I can’t go to Disney without MiniMe and The Destroyer. So we will have to pick a state in between us and make it a girls weekend. Shorty has also shown some interest in running halfs as well.  This would be awesome because we could plan our long runs together to get alone and girl time, she would get much needed away from the kids time and then I’d have another running buddy for races.  I love it when my getting off my butt and moving to manage my grief and anger, and then keeping it up past the initial burst of fuck you,  gives rise to not only things I can be proud of, but also motivates others to tackle running as well.  I mean it when I say anyone can do this.  trust me, if I can, you can too.

Even though today’s run was a bit stilted and rough it felt amazing to be back out there on a such a sunny beautiful day with a smile on my huffing and puffing red sweaty face.   My ass look amazing in these jeans therapy has once again commenced.


Running another 13.1 ; 1 week post race day; 5-8 weeks till race day

It’s been another crazy week. I think right now they are all just going to be that way for awhile.

Last Saturday I ran my 2nd 13.1.  2:58.    It was an inaugural women’s only Half Marathon aka 13.1 miles, as in you can’t pick M as a sex and get a bib.  We saw at least one dude out on the pavement though, had to pass him just to be sure. It didn’t bother me,  but I did wonder why some dude would be so set on running a women’s only race.  I’m much more embracing of the rebel inside of all of us these days, so while I wanted to check out the proverbial balls on this dude,  kudos to him for having them.

The first  Half Marathon I did was with The Husband and a big deal in our area. There are bands all up and down the course, local, but still the entertainment is much appreciated.  There are tens of thousands of runners and walkers and there are thousands of people cheering for you as you make your way through the course.  Last weekend I found out what a real race is like.  Less than ten thousand people and not very much outside encouragement along the way. The fantastic thing is that those who do stay or come out to cheer are quite dedicated and every little bit of encouragement helps along the way.

It was due to be record breaking heat and the race started in the dark-ish at 7:05am. There were water stops at every single mile and I think we took advantage of them all.  NOTE to self, while pouring water on my head at every stop felt awesome, not noticing it was weighing down my skirt until mile 8 and it was too late was not fun.   an extra 8 water stops of a few ounces of water dumped onto your body at mile whatever feel like 20X the amount of weight by mile 11. Next time I will keep a better eye on how much of that water is going to start weighing me down.

We started out together all three of us and had a few delays and mishaps along the way for the first 4 miles.   The first step I discover I have very little sound in my ear  buds.  My job is the intervals it’s my iphone and Runkeeper that  coach us for this.  They have back-up watches, but literally it’s the VERY beginning.  We have to solve this problem.   I yank out the phones and ditch em in a trash can by mile marker 1, this means I will no longer have ANY music for the next 2.5 to 3 hours.   But our intervals will be intact.

The great headphone debacle was followed by some intense calf pain in hood running buddy that needed physical and emotional attention.  This is always frustrating at the beginning of a race, because it is when you are the strongest both emotionally and physically and every second you are not GOING while you have this strength is another second added on your finish time.   I had a goal of 2:45, this doesn’t really matter in that moment because to me getting everyone simply TO the finish line is the most important part of the day.  We didn’t train this hard to not push through it. So between the 3 of us we analyze and work to solve the problem, finally around mile 4 we are back in business as a happy group.

A nice surprise at Mile 6 is our friend who plans to meet us at mile 10 and see us home.   It’s also Gu and  Sport Beans time, we fuel as we walk an interval.  She checks in  and heads to 10 to wait.  Only 4 more miles to 10 we think.  And then we settle into the business of getting there.   They run faster and I can typically walk faster so we take turns pulling and closing distance between us during the next 4 miles.   The general runner etiquette is if you are stronger and I am not,  go.   We have had some practice with this arrangement on the two long runs all 3 of us made as a group.   This makes for great fun starting at about mile oh 9 maybe when I start to get tired and the girls  get ahead of me by about 30 yards and stay there.  Finally I just tell them they are on their own for intervals. Sorry to any of you ladies in that race that had to put up with me shouting walk now or run now at you but not FOR you.

Other than that this race was pretty uneventful. At Mile 10  our friend met us and they stopped, but I pressed on knowing I was getting close to really tired and loopy walking time. When I get tired I actually walk faster than I move in run posture. Even The Husband has to jog to keep up with my fast walk.    By 11ish the group catches up to me and our friend stays back with me so I have company.   I’m having a great race emotionally, but I am quite pleased for the extra boost of someone to actually talk to because I have had no music of any kind for the entire race and man sometimes that just sucks.   She walks and runs and talks with me until we come around the corner for the finish. Having her there made the last 2+ miles go super fast.  I get geared into running posture and she stays with me till the last tenth or so of the race and sprint across the finish line at 2:58 alone.    My 2nd medal is hung on my neck, I get a little teary eyes but hold it together since there isn’t anyone there to cry about it to anyway. My Husband and kids didn’t make it time for any of the race or finish.

Within an hour I’m showering at Lefty’s to go away for  a fabulous weekend of relaxing.

The next race is either 5 or 8 weeks away depending on which one I do.  I have completed 2 now, I suppose I can say  “I’m a runner. I run Half Marathons”…..