27 September 2011

things I learned on my 20-mile run

1. If you have a route planned out, and a running partner lined up, and it starts raining minutes before you are set to walk out the door, and then you check the forecast and there are going to be freaking intermittent thunderstorms all morning, it is really 100 percent okay to decide you are not going to run outside.

2. But two weeks before your first marathon when your longest run so far is 17 miles, it is not okay to SKIP the run entirely.

3. Which means your only option is to go to the gym and YES, even the IDEA of running 20 miles on the treadmill is gross, but it is YOUR ONLY OPTION and also you already ATE AN ENERGY GEL so if you don't go you will just have syrup sitting in your stomach and it wasn't even particularly good syrup so whatever, just go to the gym.

4. It is a freaking fantastic idea to break that 20-mile run up into four five-mile segments. You are kind of a genius for thinking of this, especially since the treadmill FOR WHATEVER REASON only goes to 99 minutes. Not that you really think it's illogical on principle because really nobody should ever be running on a treadmill for more than an hour but because it is stupid to pick a cut-off point BECAUSE THE DISPLAY CAN'T HANDLE THREE DIGITS.

5. Once you are over the rage of the treadmill's lack of logic, you will realize it's a good idea, also, to use the breaks between each five-mile segment to run to the bathroom and refill your water bottle and stretch your legs.

6. If you can find Titanic on TV while you are running 20 miles on the treadmill, it is a nice distraction, particularly if you happen to turn it on at the exact moment the ship hits the iceberg because then for the rest of your run you can just keep thinking, "Well my legs hurt, but at least I'm not dying on the Titanic."

7. Golden Girls are also nice.

8. Energy gels are not as disgusting as you think. They are not GOOD; you probably won't want to snack on them in your spare time but they are actually easier to get down than the much-tastier Gu Chomps because there is no chewing involved. And when you are a person who has trouble walking without falling, chewing and running is a hazard. Swallowing and running, though, you can probably handle. Downside: opening a gel packet with your teeth while running is a similar hazard so it may all be a crapshoot.

9. Nuun is amazing.

10. Twenty miles is not awful, really, except for the leg pain, and if your legs were already hurting thanks to a 12-mile trail run two days before, then it's a pretty safe bet the leg pain isn't all the 20-miler's fault.

11. If you can find a terrible, terrible song about your beloved football team, it'll probably get you through those last two miles just fine.

Thank you, Pop Evil, for existing, I am not sure how I ever lived without you.

12. When you finish 20 miles with not terrible pain and no lack of energy and a sizable boost in confidence, it is more than okay to think that you're a little bit awesome and that your marathon will be fun.

Because I feel pretty awesome.
And I think my marathon WILL be fun. :)

My legs aren't so sure but I'll convince them before next weekend.

Angry legs. Angrier because I had to rush to work and had basically no time to stretch and definitely no time to ice. Will soothe with ibuprofen and a temporary moratorium on heels.

26 September 2011

it begins (or ends? I don't know)


My cough/sickness/plague of death lasted through Saturday and I woke up Sunday still feeling like crud but I had made plans to knock out a 20-miler with some similarly crazy-minded coworkers so I got up early, ate toast and headed to Blue Clay bike park for some trail running.

UNFORTUNATELY it had rained the night before and UNFORTUNATELY I didn't know exactly how trail-like the trails were. They were very trail-like. We were doing a six-mile loop that my coworker informed me was broken into "the hilly side" and "the rooty side." As in, tree roots. As in, jutting out from the ground waiting to trip me. As in, they'd be doing that anyway but also did I mention it rained the night before so now it was also slippery and muddy. My coworkers have seen my bloodied knees and scraped palms, they know I am clumsy and always within two feet of death at any given time. I decided not to interpret their choice of running venue as a referendum on how they feel about me.

SURPRISINGLY I only fell once. I fell not on a tree root or a slippery downslope or a wet-rock uphill, all of which I encountered. No. Instead, I fell in the place where the trail crosses a nice flat paved road. I was in front at the time and wasn't sure which way I was supposed to go, so I stopped running - full stop - paused, turned around to ask if I should turn right or left, and fell. Flat on my face. On the pavement. Sigh.

My 20-mile partner bailed out after six miles because of knee pain and after 12.2 miles of sliding, twisting my ankles, jumping puddles and almost falling, I decided to call it a day. This was not a bad decision as I am SUPER sore today (my puddle-jumping muscles are apparently not used often; they are also apparently located at the tops of my thighs and hips), and it started pouring rain about five minutes after I got home. Death would have been imminent.

But unfortunately this still means I have a 20-miler looming on my schedule. The marathon is 13 days away, and I have been informed by no less than three running rockstars that you don't reap the benefits from a workout until 10 days after it is complete. So tomorrow morning I will do the unthinkable: I will run 20 miles and then I will go to work.

I MEAN. CAN YOU IMAGINE THE LEG PAIN. I know this is kind of insane, both in regard to proximity to the race and in proximity to the work day before me tomorrow, but I need to do it, mostly for my own mental toughness. I need to know I can run 20 miles and survive. I need to know that so I can stand at the starting line in Chicago and feel even semi-prepared. I need to do this so I can feel like I can do that.

So, done. Went to a bike store today and bought a handful of gels, Nuun and post-exercise drugs. Talked to an Ironman who told me that if I can do 20, "you'll reach the finish line just fine." I'll eat carbs for dinner, wake up and pound it out and then run easy for the next week and a half. Go time. Done.

23 September 2011


Enjoy this post of random, don't say you weren't warned.

1. Since about May I have been venturing back into the world of online dating. I don't know if it's because I'm using a free site or of it's because I am a magnet for the crazy, but the guys I end up going out with are insane. In my experience with men from the internet, there tends to be a severe emotional meltdown around dates two-four. With Elroy, the guy I mentioned briefly back in July, it happened after a perfectly nice evening of dinner, when he had a panic attack, started crying and told me it was all just TOO INTENSE and he just DIDN'T WANT TO FEEL LIKE THIS ANYMORE and then he left at 2 am. I'm currently seeing another guy - tonight is date five - and he's already had glimmers of breakdowns so I think the full-blown emotional meltdown is probably going to happen tonight, at a cocktail party event for his job. Stay tuned! At least when this one happens I'll be in a cocktail dress and heels. I don't know, somehow that makes it better.

2. It is the first day of fall. It is 80 degrees, because here in the South it is apparently always 80 degrees. RIP corduroys, scarves and boots, I miss you.


Don't get me wrong, I am ridiculously over the moon about no longer living in Wisconsin and also a little bit in love with my new job and new location, it's just....the heat, people. FALL IS SUCH A GOOD SEASON, NORTH CAROLINA, I SWEAR IT IS. Give it a chance!

3. There has been a lot of drama in blogland this week. It's the internet, people. Play nice like I do, which is to say that whenever a blog irritates me Melissa and I have a gmail dialogue about it, usually involving a lot of capslock and hilarity, and then I move on. If you don't have anything nice to say about a blogger, just say it to your friends instead, duh.

4. I have been sick this week and have not been running. I am going to go here in a bit, after I eat a baked potato and watch a lot of DVR'd cartoons. I just got a DVR for the first time ever and if you judged me solely based on the content that I choose to record you would discern, probably correctly, that I am low-brow. Here is a sampling for you:

- Project Runway
- Bridezillas (this show is apparently on all the time)
- Toddlers & Tiaras
- Family Guy
- American Dad

Mmm. I'm not sorry.

5. My dad and stepmom are coming to Chicago for the marathon, which is nice of them in general but EXTRA nice since the marathon takes place on my stepmom's birthday weekend and watching someone run for four hours is a decidedly not awesome way to spend your birthday. My dad's a marathoner (he did Boston twice) so we have been discussing strategy a lot lately, but not really running strategy so much as "where should we eat pasta?" and "what will you wear so we can find you?" I have not picked out my own clothing yet but have decided that my family should dress in yellow and that they need to make a sign so I can pick them out of the crowd, and that that sign should have Hannah Montana on it. My dad was confused by this and I had to send him a step-by-step instructional email complete with a link to my Hannah Montana head of choice (here, if you're interested) and a description of glitter glue and where to buy it. My stepmom is a guidance counselor at an elementary school and so I told him to tell her to deal with it because she is used to prop-making for small children (like me), but I talked to him last night and after mocking me about football for 10 minutes ("the road to the national championship runs through Madison Wisconsin this year," barf) he told me he had yet to tell her about it. SIGH.

6. Apparently there is a marathon in March 10 miles from my house. Apparently it costs $25. The outcome of this information is pretty much preordained.

The end. Happy Friday, internet! May your day be much more productive than mine. Because oh yes, now I am watching non-DVR'd 90210 (the original). Dylan and Kelly are breaking up. It's intense.

17 September 2011

mustard (not catch-up)

Every time I think about blogging I think about having to write a catch-up post and then I lost all interest in blogging. Meh! So I'm just going to go ahead and not catch you up! Take that, internet!

Okay, kind of a lie. What I do want to say is this:

The Chicago Marathon is three weeks from tomorrow and my training is just not where I wanted it to be at this point. This is the result of a lot of things; of taking a part-time job in Madison that ended up as a 60+-hour-per-week job; of Kismet dying, of moving to a brand-new city and starting a brand-new job in the middle of heat-wave and hurricane season and having zero idea of where to go to run, but mostly, when you get down to it, is it the result of a lot of excuses and a lack of mental toughness. After about three weeks of failing to stick to my training, it also turned into a situation where I would plan to go for a long run, then instead of going I would sit in a corner and eat my hair with panic over the fact that the race was fast approaching. All of this sucks. I am unhappy about it. But, it is what it is and at the end of the day if I don't want to die on the streets of Chicago, I need to suck it up and do what I can for the remaining time. So, thanks to my brand-new running guru (acquired on dailymile; if you're not on dailymile, stop reading this and go join immediately), I am on a new plan and I am still running the marathon, I just believe it will be much more painful (so much more painful) than it would have been if I had been smarter about all of this. (Also, my new plan started two weeks ago, lest you think I am busy trying to cram unrealistic training into three weeks. ALSO, it's not like I didn't train at all, I just didn't train the way I wanted to, moving on.) Y'ALL REALIZE THAT MEANS I AM GOING TO HAVE TO DO ANOTHER MARATHON RIGHT, in order to see if I can Realize My Potential? LET'S NOT TALK ABOUT IT.

Instead let's talk about this: this morning I got out of bed, drank some coffee, ate a breakfast sandwich, sat around for awhile thinking about how much I did not want to go running, got dressed, drove to the starting point of the 17-mile run I had mapped out, sat in my car at the starting point for awhile thinking about how much I did not want to go running, then got out of the car and ran 17 miles. WHAT.

Here is the thing. I live in a beach town now. So I ran on the beach. Well, sort of, actually I just ran adjacent to the beach because I didn't feel like dealing with sand in my Mizunos, but I ran over a bridge on the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway and up and down a beachtown admiring the big houses and then back which is just so much better than running other places, like in Wisconsin by the BP station. I was only supposed to do 16 miles today, but I found this route online already plotted for me, so shrug. JUST TACKED ON AN EXTRA MILE. WHO AM I. I listened to music the entire time, which I don't think I've ever done on an outside run, but it was exactly the extra boost I needed to get out the door. 17 miles later my legs hate me, but whatever. I am especially excited that I brought neither water nor nutrition on the run (it's finally cooler here, I actually ran in capri leggings), and while I did make a water stop the lack of energy gels didn't get me at all. I also took two walking breaks, one for about two minutes and the other for about four. All in all, pretty good stuff.

I'd like to thank Papa John's and Indian food for making my pre-night fueling happen, and I would also like to thank the Michigan Wolverines for winning so handily today that the game was over when I got back. After last week's shenanigans against Notre Dame, we needed a little bit of a break from each other, but don't worry boys, I thought of you many times on my run.

01 September 2011

the return

Internet, I'm not even kidding you, I have not blogged in so long that when I came to Blogger today, the site informed me that its interface is new. Fantastic.

So, hi! Uhhh it's been forever, so here, in laundry-list form, is what's been happening:

1. I ran the Full Moon Half Marathon and it was amazing. I finished in 1:53, well ahead of my "less than two hours/less than my tumor time of 2:13" goal. It was an especially big deal for me because
2. that morning, Kismet, the cat love of my life, passed away.

I've never lost a pet before, not really. Kismet was the first cat who was ever all mine. I had him for six years and I loved him like crazy. He had heart disease, but was doing very well, so his death was both expected and completely, totally, wholly unexpected. Losing a pet is a very weird and very hard thing. I miss him all the time. And I ran that race like hell but I started crying literally three minutes after I crossed the finish line. It was a weird day. Then

3. I moved to North Carolina just in time for my first hurricane, and then
4. I started my new job.

So, that about brings you up to speed, and this would all have been much more entertaining if I'd blogged about it while it was happening, but I didn't and there you go. I'm back now, and I live in the South, and Michigan football is back on Saturday, and I ran 16 miles on Tuesday, and that is all you really need to know. That, and apparently there are cockroaches down here, and they call them "waterbugs", and that just doesn't make life any better because they are roaches and they are disgusting. Sophie (my little orange cat) keeps killing them and bringing them to me all proud-like. And I can't yell at her, because I'm GLAD she's killing them, and I also know they are GIFTS, but I wish she would go to Kate Spade or Modcloth instead because it can't be good for her self-esteem that I just flush every present she brings me.

Also, this happened on my very first North Carolina run (also, the day before I started my job):

Nothing like showing up to work looking like roadkill. I'm glad my losing battle with gravity persists even in my new home state.