Respect the Run: Getting to 500

Happy Tuesday Lovies.  I ran the One America 500 Festival Mini Marathon last weekend on Saturday in temps above 70 and  90% humidity, it was great and it sucked all at the same time.  Pretty sums up any 13.1 run right?   According to Runkeeper the race pushed me over the 500 miles run mark since I started running in November of 2010.

Race Recap

The One America 500 Festival Mini Marathon is the nations largest Mini capping entrants at 35,000 each year.  It is held in downtown Indianapolis, Indiana as part of the month long festivities for the Indy 500 and part of the lure of this course it the privilege of walking on the track for 2.5+ miles of the race.  I can only liken it to running in a 3 ring circus or festival.  There are bands at regular intervals all along the course and spectators are plentiful  throughout the course as well.    There are so many walkers and runners that you are always moving in a mass of people.  The line of those currently on the course stretches for miles, the starting corrals go from a-z and stretch for blocks  past the official start gate.  There are TV crews, the water stops are manned with giant crews of people, in short it is huge.

I was nervous about this race for the entire week. I had no idea how my legs, foot, hips were going to cooperate.  The forecast of heat, humidity and possible thunderstorms was freaking me out.  I’d (still) really like to have a half marathon where I run the entire thing with only walking at the rest stops.   I seem to  lose it in the last 3 or so miles every time when my mental and physical strength are low.  I made sure to hydrate and get outside to get acclimated in the days leading to the race.  Babu and I got plenty of relaxation and sleep, we got up on time  and  I noticed I felt pretty good.  I took a trip to the Chiro the Monday before the race for an hour deep tissue  and adjustment tune up.  I’m going to do this before every big race now because I think it really helped.   Saturday morning when I got up I was able to dress and walk around with zero pain or tightness.  I can’t tell you how long it has been since I had a morning like that.  The early morning was plenty cool and comfortable.  I knew it would be closer to 80 by the time we hit the last hour of our run, but I was counting on adrenaline for the end and the bling to get me by. We crossed the gate at exactly 23:23 in and I took that as a little sign. We started running and I felt GREAT! Like giddy great. I could breathe,  I wasn’t sore, the foot stopped hurting in the first 5 minutes.  This is the run start feeling I have been craving and missing for the last 2 months of training.  Before mile 2 I had sweat dripping off my arms, my first indication that it was humid in spite of missing that chewing your air feeling that comes in July.  We stopped at every water stop and in the beginning I mostly did the swish and spit, take a few small sips, then pour the rest on my wrists and hands trick.  One stop I put half the glass on my head.  I learned not do do that do much though or by the end my running skirt weighs about 5 pounds.   I ate my Sport Beans before we got into the track and wished I didn’t make that pit stop to pee when we got in. It cost me about 5 minutes and I don’t even think I had to go that bad.  Discovering my running skirt felt like an extremely wet swim suit of sweat was my confirmation that it was really humid.   The thing was in spite of the humidity we were keeping a sub 13 pace.   I even got high!  The  rush started at mile 3 and took me all the way to about mile 9.  Right before mile 9 we came out of the track.  I didn’t notice any big difference in weather or terrain. My legs still felt great, my foot still felt good, my attitude was in check.  We were only 4 miles from the end.  I  spent the first 9.5 or so miles feeling like the race was going great and it was pretty easy to do. At this point I even started cautiously calculating if we could make my goal of 2:45.  Out of the blue it seemed like it got really hard.   Not muscle hard, they were tired but no pain, I had no worries about my legs or foot making it the whole way.  I could still breathe, my mouth stayed wet, my heart rate was nice and steady. In truth if the weather had been different I could of pushed all of those things harder and I wanted to. But in order to force your body to make that leap you have to have either physical or mental boosting. You have to trick your body into giving you more, because it really doesn’t want to.     We didn’t get the 2nd package of beans onto our race gear so I didn’t have anything for a boost. Next time I’ll  make sure we have enough for me to take them at 6 and 9.  My ear buds were toast from running under every mist station they provided and I couldn’t get a music boost.   I have the worst wear bud luck at races. I noticed that in spite of the increased heat of the later time I was sweating less.  I started to get paranoid about feeling light headed.  I wanted to finish more than I wanted to finish at a 12:45.  I have 2 more races to run this season.  So I started walking.  When I noticed the feeling go away I’d start running again. this went on for another mile or 2 and it got harder and harder to run.  I made the call that we were walking to  mile 12 and running as much as the last 1.1 as we could.  Every mile from 10 on  our pace climbed higher, but I still felt great. I just could not for the life of me get a run going and maintained.  Those first 9+ miles were some of the strongest I’ve run in my life.   I wish I’d talked myself into trying harder to keep running at 10 and see how long it took to push through.

Babu isn’t good at giving me a mental boost during running.   He just kind of goes along with whatever I say I am doing.   He sometimes tells me to back off if I am spurting too much and that often annoys me, even though he is right.   He doesn’t push me too much to keep going and working through things when I want to back off.  He won’t do it just because I say it, he will wait until I actually do it and follow. he figures it isn’t his job to get in my head and make me push through. This is where girl running buddies are amazing.   We understand our mental run battles, and how to gently push and distract each other.  Babu doesn’t have this skill and he isn’t going to magically get it, he can’t grow it.  I’ll have to focus on my mental state those last 3-4 miles. I think  recognizing it is the first step because I think I could of run those last 4 miles at a sub 13 pace in spite of the weather.    It’s not like I haven’t had practice  pushing through, I took 2+ months training myself to run on tight legs for 4 miles.

We finished at 3:03 and I was a sopping, wet, stinky, super hot mess. But I  still looked good with my shiny new medal!   I feel much better knowing it was the slowest Mini in 20 years and finding out post race that  they put a yellow flag on the course at 10:15 am.   One day I will run an entire  Half and get that 2:45.  I am dreaming of a 2:15 some day, maybe in my 50’s!

My legs  are run ready this morning.   But my foot is not. I went to a new sports doc, I hate him and will be giving  him a little come to Lola talk on my follow up before deciding to part ways for good,  because my left foot finally cried uncle after the race.  It’s the same place I’ve been keeping an eye on since February.   Now don’t get all new sports doc on me.   When it hurt it stopped within 5 minutes, it didn’t start hurting after runs until the 10 miler and it was always pain free by the next run.  But yes I knew this was coming. I just hoped it would hold off until after the Mini, giving me time for 4 weeks in a boot and 6 weeks to train for the Rock N Rock Half Marathon in Chicago.  Turns out I have arthritis, bring on the old lady jokes. I also have an inflamed node and/or a Sesamoid  fracture. New sports Doc emphatically states if it is a  Sesamoid fracture I won’t be running in 10 weeks either.   If that is the case I’m transferring my Rock N Roll Bib to Babu who hasn’t registered yet and going to cheer him on.   I’m bummed about the injury, but it isn’t the same end of the world that it was last year.  I hate the boot, it really sucks for many reasons. But I will wear it and heal and try to concentrate on staying active in spite of it. New sports Doc says  no running for 4 weeks but I can do anything else as pain allows.  I got a stern warning about if it hurts during or after I’m not to do it.  I will be good, promise.  I have 2 more races to run this year!


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”…..

Running it all away. A lesson in strength and endurance.

This morning I ran my first race since the mini (13.1) that The Husband and I completed in early May.    I wasn’t always a  runner, metaphorically or physically.  Sure I’ve run away from my share of bad situations or problems  but in general my nature is to dig my heels in and force you to try to break me..good luck.   MiniMe and The Destroyer have both inherited this stubborn streak.   As insane as it drives me sometimes I often can’t help but be proud of them.  May their road be much smoother than mine, but if it isn’t they are more than well equipped for the fight.    I ran cross country one season in High School because I was trying to get into Harvard and I wanted a Varsity letter to go with my stellar GPA  and other extra curricular activities. I  was not athletically inclined. Running seemed like something I could do enough to get by.   I wasn’t very good at it and the team was fairly haphazard and motley for my inner city public school, but I got that letter. It didn’t get me into Harvard though.    My Dad  told me there was no  way I could run 3 miles when I presented him with the permission slip and he wasn’t going to sign it. I faked his signature and ran anyway, asshole, may he rest in peace.

When I found myself on the floor in absolute pure grief after PJ vanished,  The Husband suggested I should run. He had taken up running over the summer  after he moved out and was set to run his first 5 mile race  the next month.   He said it had been very therapeutic for him and that “you cannot cry while running”.   My main coping mechanisms so far had been only chemical and I had already lost about ten pounds from Spring to Summer on my “Divorce Diet” .  I figured what the heck.   PJ ran away, so I’d run too. Only in a very different way.

Running was a hobby we could share, we had never shared a hobby before.  We were not actively getting back together during this time, I was WAY too broken and angry and confused.  And even though The Husband never stopped fighting for me once he started actually fighting for me, even he could tell that time needed to pass before true conversations could happen about reconciliation.

So I started to run on the treadmill at the local Y while listening to music.  And he was right, you can  shed a few tears while running (I’m sure almost all runners have been there). But you cannot have the ugly gut wrenching sobbing snotty nosed and sore throat keening crying that I had become so familiar with on those first very dark weeks after the implosion of all my dreams for the future.  Running is GOOD for you. It’s good for you body, it makes it stronger because it is a struggle against itself to be stronger.  Running makes you stronger emotionally because all that stress and anger and sadness can be let go while running.  Running is an emotional battle in your head with yourself sometimes.  Running is pure. Nothing but you in your head and your breath and your body and the road or treadmill.  And the thing is I do my best thinking and non thinking while running.   If you are pushing yourself mentally and physically there is only the run in your head.   If you want to run better, faster, longer it is YOURSELF you  are battling.   I screamed on runs…get out..go away… fuck you..I can do this.. to ALL of those negative and hurtful thoughts that would pop into my head.  There is no shame on a run,  anger only serves to push me further. And at the end of a good run, and most of the “bad” ones  there is only calm and peace and pride.   I was running all of that hurt and anger and shame  off of me.. I was getting rid of PJ and all his poison one brutal mile at a time, little by little getting stronger and happier and more centered.   I ran in the ice and snow to train for the half marathon in May.  And then in February I was injured, stress fracture in my third metatarsal  of my right foot.  I would spend the next 6-8 weeks unable to run. This was at first emotionally devastating.   So there were some weeks of whining and wallowing and a few pity parties thrown by me for me. And then I decided I would do what needed to be done and I was still running that 13.1 no matter if i had to crawl across that finish line.   So I did my long “runs” on cross trainers and ellipticals  and I pushed the foot and had to back off because it wasn’t ready yet.  The kept to what Dr. Hate (I’m sure he loves to hate me, I have yelled at the man more than once)  said I could do mileage wise.  Then race day came and hubby stayed with me even though he could of finished much faster  and we finished in under 3 hours.  I was actually able to run most of the first 10.5 miles in spite of my longest pavement run being about 5.  This was my first long race and I figured at the end of it I’d be sobbing and crying and all emotional about the journey and how it started.  But it didn’t end like that. There was only peace and pride and strength, and sweaty stinky  tired bodies.

This morning’s 5K run  was  with a training program friend from the mini.  We ran into her near the start line and after big hugs and catching up she and I started out together while The Husband and kids ran the 2 mile Family Walk 5 minutes behind us.   We had a 5k to complete and it was being held in the same neighborhoods that we trained in all that ice and snow and rain over the winter/spring.   We joked about if we would be running on “F/T” the extra few streets we always dreaded on our training routes in the beginning when the going was harder.   I haven’t run much since finishing that 13.1 and hoped to finish in under 39.   My buddy politely requested to run on ahead about mile 2 and  of course I said “yes go on get it girl, I’ll see you at the end”.  RunKeeper had me crossing the finish line in the 38 minute and I haven’t check official results yet because I met my personal goal.   Humidity or no more Camels in my system is screwing with my heart rate. Avg was 168. That’s high for me and more indicative of a a sub 11 min mile than a 12+, but that doesn’t matter.  I’ll conquer that too in time.

I’m running my next 13.1 over Labor Day weekend and need to  get back to the serious business of training for the next tennish weeks.   It’s a girls only race, so my biggest hurdle in this one will once again be mental.  But I know I can do it,  I know I can work hard enough to do it to my own definition of well.   And really, it is only your own definition of well that should matter to you.