Sunday, October 28, 2012

shallow to the core

Ok, so I admit I'm more than a little bummed I didn't run yesterday.  This cold is really kicking my ass so I know it was the right decision - trying to run 10 miles in this condition would have been an absolute suckfest.  But still.......

Why am I bumming?  Because I didn't get to try to improve my time from last year? Yeah, partly.  It's a great course that's mostly downhill so I was looking forward to trying for a shiny new PR.

Because it was a missed opportunity to run with the husband?  Of course!  I love running races with him.

Because I didn't get my precious bling?  Well, duh.  You KNOW how I am about the bling.

What's missing from this picture? Oh yeah, THE FINISHERS MEDAL.
But the biggest reason I'm bummed about not running in yesterday's race?  Not the chance to rise to the challenge of a new PR...... not the opportunity to run with the husband....... nope, I'm bummed because I didn't get to wear the arm warmers purchased specifically for the Monster Dash.

My awesome arm warmers
In addition to being a bling whore, I am a gear whore.  And I was looking forward to rocking my newest gear!

Extreme arm warmer close-up.  Aren't they cool?

Oh well, there's always next year, right?  And really, who says I have to wait a whole year?  Skulls are always appropriate - I'm sure I can find another opportunity to rock 'em!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

monster dash 10 mile dns

I was all set to run this one again but alas, it was not to be.  <cue the violins.....>  I have a nasty, terrible, no good, miserable cold, complete with clogged ears, sore throat, sinus pressure, sneezing, excessively running nose and I'm coughing up all sorts of yuck..... I've been blowing my poor nose so much that it's all red and raw and painful.  Just imagine, with the cold weather and the way my mucous production has been in overdrive, I would have been the queen of snot rockets out on the course today!
I would have needed something like
this if I tried to run in today's race.  source
But enough about me (said the self-absorbed blogger.)  

So yeah, I didn't run in today's race but the husband did!  Believe it or not, it's the first race he's run solo.  He likes to run but isn't a bling whore like I am, thus, he gets enough satisfaction just from the act of running.  I could use the weak argument of, "I usually run by myself so I like to run races because then I'm with other humans...."  but really, we all know the truth, don't we?  

Anywhoo, back to the husband..... I'm so proud of him!!  It's his longest run since Grandma's and he killed it!

He's done way more than his share of showing up at races to cheer me on so I decided I would do that for him.  So Jane and I piled into the car headed over to the big city to see our man run. My original plan involved catching him at a couple of places along the course, but princess that I am, didn't quite feel up to being out in the cold for that long.  We'd have to settle for watching him cross the finish line.

I conveniently forgot the little factoid that approximately 10,000 people signed up for this race, and that numbers like that might impact my ability to park close to the finish line.  Luckily, I got lost and ended up on a lonely side street, where I stumbled upon a parking spot about 4 blocks from said finish line.  Score!! 

volunteering with the boy 2010
Jane and I wove our way through the throngs of runners and spectators to the finish line and waited about 20 minutes for the husband to cross.  Holy crap there were a lot of runners!!  It's definitely a different perspective being on the sidelines rather than in the race. Surprisingly enough, it makes me want to volunteer again.  

Side story: Sweet Son and I volunteered at a 7k race in 2010 but were sent out to direct traffic to and from the race, which meant we didn't get to see any of the runners actually run in the race. I was hoping that seeing the huge numbers of folks running would inspire him to run a race someday, but it didn't quite work out that way.  Oh well.  On the up side, he was pretty impressed with the huge number of runners who thanked us for volunteering.  So that was cool!

The husband striding to the finish line!
I'm dying to know the story of the woman next to him. Maybe
she thought the finish line banner was really low....
Back to the husband and his awesome race today.....

I got up with him this morning and was all, "Did you have breakfast?" "Do you have some type of energy food to eat during the race?" "Do you have gloves?" "Are you going to wear a hat?"  "Make sure you use the bag drop, you don't want to be without warm clothes like we were two years ago when we had to wait forever for that damn shuttle!" 

Last time I checked, he's a grown man who is able to take care of himself.....guess I sort of forgot that for a few minutes.

Anyway, back to the husband again....I was super excited to see him looking strong and heading toward the finish line!  I shouted (croaked) his name but he didn't hear me.  Jane went crazy when she saw him.  (The German Shepherd in her HATES it when we're out in public and not right next to each other.) We had to try to weave through the crowd again to find him.  When we did, Jane leaped upon him with relief. He looked like he hadn't even been running! Just looked totally relaxed, like he'd been out for a walk.
The husband and a much calmer Jane post race.

I drove the husband back to his car.
Sort of a side note: This is a point to point race. The 10 mile course for this race ends 3.1 miles before the half marathon finish (I'm a math whiz!) so the 10 milers have to take a shuttle to the half marathon finish to get their stuff from bag drop and to be closer to their cars.  The line to the shuttles was indeed long, and it wouldn't have made a damn bit of difference if the husband had listened to me and relied on the bag drop for quicker access to his warm clothes. Yeah, he didn't listen to me on that one. He ignored me about the hat and gloves, too. Always exercising his free will.  
Anywhoo, while we were driving, I asked him about the race and how it went.  He said the first mile flew by, the next couple of miles went pretty fast as well, but the last three, not so much. And that was it.  It would appear that, unlike me, he doesn't get verbal diarrhea when describing his races.
A coffee for the husband, and a little treat for the wife.

But I think he's pretty proud of himself.  And he PR'd!!  1:43:13. Did I mention I'm proud of him too??  I am!!

Being the good wife that I am, I offered to hit Starbucks on the way home and get some coffee for him to drink while he languished in his ice bath. (A REALLY good wife probably would have made coffee at home but whatever.) I saw the Pumpkin Spice Latte on the menu. It looked soooooo yummy!  Right away I'm thinking "Damn, too many calories." But then I remembered a very important fact.  You always feed a cold.  Feed.A.Cold.  Feed all those luscious, flavorful, fat-filled calories to your nasty, terrible, no good, miserable cold.  Use it to make that cold your beyoch!  So that's exactly what I did. I included the whip cream for good measure.

And I got a coffee for the husband too. :)

Friday, October 12, 2012

chicago marathon race report

Bling for Marathon #3
Spoiler alert - I finished the marathon!

5:19:43 is my official time.  I started slow and ended slower.  But I finished! It was a tough one, no doubt about it.  The last few months have been tough for me on a personal level, and training really took a backseat to everything else going on.

My long runs saved me.  Good thing I know myself - I'm both lazy and a bling whore. (Because I know that about myself, and because I obviously need external motivation to get my ass out the door, I signed myself up for a ton of races so I wouldn't have to map out my long runs or carry my own water, and then when I'm done, I get rewarded for running, with things like food, medals, shirts and sometimes jewelry. Winner!!)  Anywhoo, it was all those races that kept me in some semblance of running shape.

The husband and I flew to Chicago on Saturday morning.  Race or no race, we were going to be celebrating our wedding anniversary on October 7th (which just happened to be the same day as the marathon.....the man loves me so much he agreed to travel to a distant city to watch me run a marathon ON OUR ANNIVERSARY. I'm a lucky woman) and then spending a few extra days to prolong the celebration.

Unless you're new here, you know that my training for this marathon has been, shall we say, less than ideal. Until I went to the race expo, I wasn't even sure I was going to run the marathon.  But damn, it was hard to not get all caught up in the excitement of the event and being a part of it!

So I was waffling.

I bought a pint glass (had to - it's tradition).

I bought an official Nike Chicago Marathon shirt.

See if you can spot my name.....
Ok, there's a back story here.  I wanted the shirt in day-glo orange. I looked and looked for a medium but all I could find was XL and XXL. I tried on the XL and it was ginormous. Pretty much all women's shirts in size medium were hot property. Then suddenly a woman holding my desired day-glo orange top says, "Hey, is anyone looking for a size medium?" I said yes and she was handing to to me when some ballsy beyoch RIPPED IT RIGHT OUT OF MY HANDS. Unbelievable. The husband looked her in the eye and said, "REALLY??"  She didn't even flinch. In retrospect however, she probably did me a favor. Day-glo orange shirts and red hair do possess a bit of a conflict.) Aaaaanyhoooo......

I think there were about a bazillion people at the expo. Seriously. I counted.  Can you say clusterf*ck? But that's a subject for another post....

You know what sealed the deal for me?  Finding my name on the wall of runners. How could I NOT run now??

Pre-race. "Hey stranger, would you please take our picture?  It's our anniversary!!'"
So that's how I ended up in corral L early on Sunday morning. Me, along with 44, 999 of my closest friends.
It was cozy at the start.
It was a fun run, if you can believe it.  I had my earphones in just in case I decided I needed some music, but never did turn the music on.  (Yurbuds - the best, most comfortable earbuds EVER.)  It was much more interesting listening to the crowds!

My timing chip.
I should probably leave it on my shoe as a reminder to help keep me upright.
Did I mention that there were 1.7 million spectators at this marathon?  Yeah, one point seven MILLION. It was amazing. The various neighborhoods take their cheer sections seriously.  My favorite section was (I think) in Old Town. A bunch of crazy enthusiastic people in yellow shirts yelling out encouragement to us slow runners. I loved it!

Mile 2.  Still feeling fresh as a daisy.

Though it was a fun day, as I mentioned above, it was a frickin' tough run for me. No lie. I had to dig deep for this one. On the upside, I think going sooooo slow prevented me from having any GI issues.  That was a nice change! (I did still have to take two potty stops but no 8+ minute breaks in the action like at Grandma's last year.  Oh, sorry, I guess that qualifies as TMI......)

Around mile 23 or so, I saw Bobbi and her sister Michelle.  That was a huge boost for me - I was pretty tired at that point and seeing Bobbi's familiar face was fantastic!  Michelle was running her first marathon; her knee had pretty much given out on her but she was determined to finish. And finish she did! I took a picture of the three of us and Bobbi & Michelle look adorable.  I on the other hand, look absolutely hideous.  Even the husband when looking at the photo said, "You're beautiful!  Buuuuttt, that picture isn't your best." God love him, he's the king of understatement.  

Mile 25.  Sore as hell but still smiling. And still running!

I kept going and saw the husband at mile 25. Only 1.2 miles to go!  He gave me a kiss and sent me on my way.

Finish line!
(Actually, now that I think about it, this is just the painted photo-op area about 2 miles from the finish.  But whatever.)
I pushed on, turned the corner to the finish line and powered on through. My goal (had I been in shape) was 4:30.  I crossed the finish line almost 50 minutes slower than that.  But it was a most satisfying marathon finish.  I'm pretty damn proud of myself.

Actual finish line photo.
This must be my "happy marathoner" pose.
(I'm the one in the grey shirt.)

My slowest marathon time to date, but I think it's the one I'm most proud of.
So far.  But perhaps I should rethink the headband. <sigh> At least my ears stayed warm.
Damn straight I did!

And now for the big question: Which marathon should I set my sights on next?

Friday, October 5, 2012

ai yai yai

In two days, I'm going to attempt marathon number three.

A bucket list marathon.

Chicago.  Shi-Ka-GO!!!

How's my training been going, you ask?

Ummmm, honestly?  Not so great. Remember how I was whining about life getting in the way of my training? Yeah, well, I'm still whining about that because it has continued to do so. I've managed to do several long runs but my weekday runs have been practically non-existent.

Despite that, I figure I may as well toe the line Sunday morning and see how it all shakes out.  I mean, what's the worst that could happen? A DNF? That would suck but in the grand scheme of things, not the end of the world. Besides, I think I'll feel worse if I don't even try. So I'm going to try.

The weather looks just about perfect.

I'm told it's a pretty flat course.

As long as the body holds up, I know I can do the miles.

Ok, I THINK I can do the miles.....

So it will most likely be extremely slow (but the course is open for six and a half hours - I can WALK the whole way and still finish in that time, right??)......

And I'm guessing it's not going to be too pretty.......

But what the hell.  It's not like I have anything else planned that day! (Well, except that the husband and I will be celebrating our anniversary, but that's why we're staying a few extra days in the windy city)

It's going to be more of a test of my mental toughness than my physical fitness.

I'm ok with that.

But if you have time on Sunday morning, would you do me a favor and toss a prayer or two my way?  Especially around 1:00 CST.  I'm guessing that's when I'll be needing them the most.