Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Meb For President

Oh, my goodness.   Did you watch? Tell me you watched.  If you're saying "Watched what?" then obviously you don't need to be reading this blog.

The 118th Boston Marathon was held yesterday and OH MY GOSH, what a race.

I won't re-cap it, because if you care, you watched it (or read about it), and if you don't care, then me telling you about it isn't going to change your mind.

I will say that I'm sorry that Shalane Flanagan didn't win, because I know that she really, really, really wanted to, but man, she did a great job.  She set a record, both personally, and for American women, and that is saying something.

And Meb.  Oh, my.  Meb Keflezighi.  What an amazingly awesome and supremely gifted runner. I will be honest, I did not think he was going to win.  When the race started, I cheered for him but was kind of expecting him to get over taken.  Ha.  That'll teach me to doubt!

By the last 400 meters, I was on my feet in my living room, bouncing up and down, yelling at the television.  "Don't celebrate! Keep running! Faster! He's behind you! Faster!"  I can't remember the last time I was that stressed out. LOL

*sigh*  What a great day. 

And, as always, watching amazing runners run got me all fired up.  So I spent some time last night looking at the calendar and fretting and came up with a loose 14 week training plan for the Endless Summer 6 Hour Run.  It looks like a crazy amount of running.  I honestly don't know how it's going to go.  But I'm gonna try!  

2 weeks till my 5K, 4 weeks till my HM, 14 weeks till ES6, and 22 weeks till NC24.  I have a lot of running ahead of me, and I am seriously crazy excited.   

Did you watch Boston?  Does watching a race get you pumped up for your own running? 

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Wicked Good Fun

Oh, hello there, internet!  How I've missed you!

It's funny what a week in the Tennessee wilderness (ok, so not really wilderness, though I did see a deer and a turkey) will do to you.  I managed a little Facebook-ing on my phone, and that one piddly post the other day because Boston was on my mind, but really I was not on the wild wild web all that much.  Which meant that when we got home this weekend, I had a ton of blog reading to do!  Ya'll are a talkative bunch. Holy Moses.

So, what did I do in Tennessee, you want to know?  Well, what everyone does when they go stay on a lake in Tennessee!  Fishing, horseback riding, running, and, of course, dinner and a show.  Because, really, what is a vacation without going to see a musical?

That's right, while visiting my mother and father in the boonies, my husband and I (along with my wonderful mother) snuck off to the "big city" (120 miles away!) to see Wicked.


It was so good!  I'd seen the show before, but my hubby and mom had not, so I was glad that we could all see it together.   Before the show, we went to the Old Spaghetti Factory, which is apparently a chain that I've never heard of.  I had been missing out!  The food was really good, and the restaurant was really eclectic and pretty.

Stained glass windows and gorgeous chandeliers (and a bad photographer, i.e. me)

A trolley inside the restaurant - and you can eat inside it! 

After dinner we walked to the Tennessee Performing Arts Center, and since we had time to kill I got a glass of wine and we wandered a bit.  We saw a cigarette machine across the room and were mildly startled, since it seemed out of place.  Upon closer look, we discovered the machine wasn't selling cigarettes at all.  

I had never seen one before, but I love it! Art-o-mat machines are "retired cigarette vending machines that have been converted to vend art."  You can read all about them on their website. Very, very cool. 

. . .  and I already told you that Wicked was great, apparently because I am unable to write this particular post in a linear fashion.  Can I blame it on my brain still being on vacation?  I can? Awesome, thanks.

And now, my dear friends, it's time for me to leave you (for now) - mostly because my brain left a few minutes ago.  So I will be back another day to talk about something else that hopefully makes sense and isn't too blithery.  Ooh, apparently blithery is not a word.  Come on, spell check. Blither is a word,  why isn't blithery?  Never mind.  See?  Brain fried.   I go bye bye now.

Do you ever write blog posts when you're too tired to think straight?  Do you think blithery should be a word? 

Oh! I almost forgot! (See?  Brain issues today, people.  I'm tired!)  I got to meet another "internet friend" while I was in Tennessee!  I knew that he lived somewhat kinda not really sorta close to where my parents live, but I wasn't sure exactly where.  Turns out we were able to swing a meeting, and he kindly bought me a coke and chatted with me and my mom for awhile before we had to go.   Runners are the bestest! =) 

Ok, now I'm really going.  Toodles! 

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

One Year

There are different events over the course of a lifetime that you will always remember. There are certain tragedies that you will discuss with friends and the conversation will start, "I remember exactly where I was when. . ."

A year ago today, I was parked in the car loop at my son's elementary school, checking Facebook on my phone. It was there that I read the words "bomb" and "marathon" and I thought it had to be a horrible practical joke.

Then the reports started rolling in. 

Today, many have healed and attempted to move on. But we all remember, and a little part of our hearts will always belong to Boston. 

Friday, April 11, 2014

Slow-ass Runner Seeks Same

Let's get one thing straight, shall we?  It's not lonely at the back of the pack.  There are plenty of people next to me and behind me in races.  We are legion, we, the slower-than-thou.

I know there are lots of slower runners out there, because as slow as I am, I have never been last in a race.  Even in the smallest race I've ever run (170 people), 33 people finished behind me - and I was only managing a 13:00 pace that day.

I know they're out there, these 12,13,and 14 minute milers.  They are not shy, they are not afraid to show their faces. They race with joy and with pride, and I salute them for their efforts and wish them well (and sometimes curse them when they pass me).

And yet.....

Where the hell are they?  Outside of these races, where do they congregate?  Why do I never see them out on the streets and paths and trails where I run?

Every time I lace up my shoes and head outside, I am passed by the fleet of foot.  Young, old, and in between, runners lope past me and I am left shuffling along.  Don't get me wrong - I'm ok with solitude.  But it would be nice to be able to chat, sometimes, with another runner.  It would be nice to have someone by my side at mile 8 or 9 when I'm bored and want to stop and go home and eat a bagel (or an entire cake).

I used to think that I'd get faster, and "one day" I'd be able to go join a group run and actually keep up.  "One day" has not arrived.  I'm not getting (much) faster.  And I'm certainly not getting any less lonely.

(Insert big sigh here, cue the violins, etc, etc)

What's a slower runner to do?  Craigslist?  What would my lonely-heart ad sound like?

Slow-ass Runner Seeks Same

Faster friends leaving you behind? In need of a training partner who's more your speed?
If you are a turtle in a land of cheetahs, this is your lucky day! 
Non-threatening, mid-30s female who runs 12-13 minute miles and likes long walks on the . .  .
wait no, wrong ad, what the hell was I saying?   Oh, right.  Running. 

I need a freaking running partner! *sob* Someone who understands that sometimes walking is ok, and that on long runs, snacks are mandatory.  Someone who doesn't wear split shorts in December, and agrees that there's nothing wrong with the occasional tutu. 

If we have similar paces and similar interests, please contact me at 1-800-NoBQJustBS

I may have to start accosting chatting up people after races.  I'm not sure the whole Craigslist thing would work.  I mean, there are some crazy people on the internet.  

Do you have a running partner? How did you meet? 

Thursday, April 10, 2014

What's Next?

What's the best thing to think about after an endless winter?   Why, an Endless Summer, of course!

When I signed up for the North Coast 24-Hour Endurance Run, a friend suggested that I sign up for the Endless Summer 6 Hour Run as a sort of test-run/supported training run.  So I could get my feet wet, so to speak.  My first thought was "6 hours? I can't run for 6 hours!"  But then I reminded myself that I'd just plunked down over $100 to run for twenty-four hours, so I'd darn well better be able to run 6 hours two months ahead of time! 

After deciding to run the race, I cyber-stalked it, reading every race report I could find, and checked in on the Striders website every few days to see if registration had opened.  Then I got busy with other things and just kind of forgot about it.  Not the race itself, but the actual act of registering for it.  

Today good friend Michelle told me that she wanted to sign up for a race, even though she's walking and not running these days, and that she had decided that ES6 was going to be it.  And, oh look at that, registration opened two weeks ago.  Whoops.  Glad she reminded me!  So now I'm signed up, as is my friend who originally told me about the race.  (He didn't know registration was open, either.  So, really, I'm not THAT oblivious.)

(Me & George after last year's ES6)

What I'm most excited about now is that Michelle and I are going to do some of our training together.  I knew that I needed to add in an extra day of training to get my mileage up, and I wanted it to be just walking because I know that I will be doing a lot of walking at NC24 - but to me walking long distances is super boring.  Being able to do some longer walks with Michelle will be great! 

Of course, I'm sitting here talking about ES6 and NC24 .... and yet I have a 5K and a Half Marathon coming up that I should probably be thinking about, at least a little.  But training for a 6 hour run (and eventual 24 hour run) should make the 5K and HM super easy, right?  Right.  =) 

Have you ever done a timed race?  Any tips for an ultra-virgin? 

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Bloomin' Terrific - Credit Union Cherry Blossom 10 Miler Race Report

When my alarm went off at 4:45 on Sunday morning, I'm not sure I knew where I was.  I dragged myself into the shower in an effort to shake off the last vestiges of sleep, and ran through a mental list of what needed to be done before I toed the line at the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler in DC. 
  • Get dressed 
  • Find watch and Road ID
  • Eat something
  • Walk the dog
  • Figure out what metro stop I needed
  • Find cash for the metro
  • Tape up my shin
  • Question my sanity
Once most of those got done (I didn't manage to walk the dog - she's old and sometimes just doesn't want to cooperate!), I got in my car and headed to the Metro station.  I still wasn't really thinking about the race.  I was just kind of on auto pilot.  Some part of my brain knew that I wasn't ready for this.  I hadn't been running as much or as often as I should have been, and hadn't run more than 7 miles at a time since October.  My calves were tight, my shin hurt.  I was running (literally!) on no sleep.  Blah, blah, blah.  But all that stayed in the back of my mind and mostly I was just calm.  

Then I got to the Metro, which opened early on Sunday just for the race, and I saw other runners getting out of their cars, talking, laughing, pinning on their bibs, and I started to get excited.  "These are my tribe," I thought.   We all got on the train and it was just us.  I think I counted two people who were not headed to the race, but the other couple of hundred that I could see when the doors opened were all going to the same place.  This is my tribe. 

Arriving at the race after a short walk from the metro, I immediately hopped into one of the super long lines for the porta potties.  I'd had an entire bottle of water on the train and knew I'd be hating life if I didn't take care of business before hand.  The line was so long that I was still waiting when the first runners started the race.  Sometimes it pays to be in the last corral! 

Once I was finished I popped over into the purple corral to wait for our turn to start the race.  Everyone around me was in great spirits, and I was starting to get more excited.  I turned on my watch and set it for 2/1 run/walk intervals since I knew I wouldn't get through the race just running, given how craptastic my training had been.  (Plus, I did this race last year doing 2/1 intervals, and it went pretty well.)  

We slowly started to move forward towards the start line and the announcer was doing his bit and then he said something along the lines of "Give it up for the party wave - these runners really like to maximize their racing time, it's the PURPLE WAVE!"   We all cheered and laughed, though technically not all of the runners in the purple corral are slower runners.  If you don't have a previous 10 miler time to give at registration, I think they automatically put you with purple.  But nevertheless, we did all seem like a fairly happy crowd.   And then... we were off. 

The first bit of the race is really crowded, so I didn't get into my run/walking until almost the first mile mark.  My pace for that first bit was relatively slow, though, so everything felt fine and my legs were cooperating.  At one point, there was a trio of young guys behind me singing "Do you want to build a snowman" from the movie Frozen.  I spun around and said "Please, oh please tell me you're going to do the whole movie!" They laughed and began a conversation about how they should bring a boom box next year.  Soon they passed me and I never saw them again, but the definitely put me in good spirits for the first part of the race. 

(I think this was near the Kennedy Center -it was just after this that there was a turn-around and I saw the local guy who juggles while he races.  This time he was juggling 2 small balls and 1 basketball, and he was bouncing the basketball as he juggled.  That guy is amazing, I should have taken his picture. I didn't want to slow down, though, because if he'd gotten ahead of me I would have been really mad. LOL) 

(Walking and taking pictures at the same time is not as easy as you might think!)

Along the way I was a little disappointed that the Cherry Blossoms weren't actually in full bloom (or much of any kind of bloom), but it's still a fairly pretty course (for DC).  It was the perfect temperature, and things just felt good.  I was tired, sure, but didn't really struggle at all until about mile 6.  Mile 6 felt really, really hard.  I didn't know why until later in the day (more on that later).

One of the great things about this race is the spectators.  Funny signs, people with dogs, little kids, etc.  Plenty of people out there cheering, giving high fives, etc.  Another great thing is that this race puts your name on your bib, so I got six (yes, I kept count) personalized shout-outs.  One of them made me really happy, actually, because it was towards the end of the race and I was really tired by that point and this little boy, maybe 8 or 9, said "Whoo! Diana! You can do it!" and gave me a fist bump.  Tears, people.  

My time for this race last year was 1:59:32, and my original plan (way back in the fall when I signed up) was to beat that time.  Race morning, I was pretty sure that wasn't going to happen, but somewhere around mile 8 I realized that it could happen.  Unfortunately, by mile 10 I was so tired that I let my walk breaks go longer than they were supposed to.  I ended up finishing in (an unoficial) 2:00:22.   Looking back, I'm a little peeved that I gave up on myself and didn't fight for a PR.  On the other hand, considering my lack of training, my painful shin, and the fact that I hadn't had a decent night sleep in a week, I am incredibly pleased with my time. 

(Man, I get red-faced when I run!)

When I got home from the race, I uploaded my Garmin data and I realized that I ran crazy inconsistent splits.  Not only that, but I realized why mile 6 felt so hard.   Check it: 

Uh, yeah.  Sub-11?  For me?  That's darn fast.  No wonder it felt hard. Also, it slowed me way down in the subsequent miles, but oh well.  I do find it kind of cool that I can bust out a 10:59 mile in the middle of a 10-miler, though.  =)

After going over my splits I got cleaned up and headed out to meet friends for Bingo.  Not just any Bingo, mind you, but Bingo where you win Coach and Micheal Kors purses.  And they serve booze!  Really, what more could you want after running a 10 mile race?  (Well, I would have liked to actually WIN something, but whatever.) 

(Both Cokes were mine, but only one of them had rum in in, I swear!)

When I got home from Bingo I pretty much collapsed. I was so tired that my husband says I was talking to him when he came up to bed, but he could tell I was asleep, and I made no sense.  I have no memory of that at all! 

Today I'm a bit sore, but mostly I feel good - and I am anxious to sign up for this race again.  Entry is based on a lottery system so I'm not guaranteed to get in, but I'll try.  Hopefully I'll actually manage to train next year.  Either way, I'm hoping that I'll be back in the fray, surrounded by 17,000 other people out to enjoy the day.  My tribe.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Step Sisters Ribbon Run

On Saturday morning, I got up bright and early and drove 65 miles or so to Ashburn, VA to meet up with some "internet folk" at the Step Sisters Ribbon Run, a 5K & 10K run for breast cancer.

It was colder than I was expecting and the wind was crazy stupid, but the sun was shining and I was happy to meet my friends in person for the first time, after having been talking to them online for quite awhile now.  (They were just as awesome in person, in case you're wondering!) 

Of course I am an idiot and took NO pictures.  But you guys have imaginations.  Pretend, ok? 

The idea for the 5K was for me to just do my super-slow running and meet up with people at the end.  I had no intention of actually trying to race this thing.  I ended up hanging with K for most of the race, and she's faster than I am, so I was actually going at a fairly steady clip for awhile.  Faster than I should have, that's for sure.  Around 2.4 miles, my right shin (the one that loves me SO MUCH) started to speak up and I knew I needed to slow down/walk if I had any chance of running my race the next day.  So I told K to go on ahead, and I walked for a few minutes.   

I picked up the pace again in the last 2/10 of a mile or so and ran in it - hey, even if it's not a "real" race, you can't walk across the finish line, right? 

(Thanks to W for this picture!)

I think my time for this one was somewhere around 38 minutes, which is slower than my fastest 5Ks, but faster than my slowest 5Ks, so I'll take it.  It beats sitting on the couch all morning, in any case. 

After I finished we hung out for awhile, waiting for the rest of K's family to finish, then we all went to breakfast at a great place called Mimi's.  They had fun looking mimosas on the menu but since W & K were treating me, I felt bad adding $8 to my meal, so I didn't have one.  I will be making my own soon, though.

When breakfast was over, we said our good-byes and I headed home.  At that point, I had no idea what I was going to do about Sunday's race.  My shin hurt, my calf was tight, and I was just overall tired from a stressful week, and not enough sleep.   It would have to be a race-day decision.  

Would I drop down to the 5K?  Stay home and sleep? My alarm was set for 4:45 a.m.   Time would tell.   Details tomorrow. =)

Did you race this weekend? Have you ever done two (or more) races in one weekend?