My Half-Half Marathon

MONDAY, OCTOBER 7, 2013

I wanted this blog entry to go a a lot differently after my first crack at 13.1 miles, but what I’m learning about running is that there is no normal day. Every time you lace up, you really have no idea what’s going to happen. And my first ever appearance at the first ever Rock-N-Roll Half Marathon in Cleveland was no exception.

The day started out great! I was pumped. I was nervous, but they were controlled nerves. I was full of energy, excited and could not have been more ready to tackle 13.1 miles… physically and mentally.

It was supposed to rain that morning. Supposed to. And with every fiber of my being, I wish it had, if even only some sprinkles. I was prepared for it and quite honestly, I dig running in rain. Not torrential downpours with lightening, but running in rain is refreshing and badass. Who wouldn’t love it?! But it never did.

I’ll skip ahead the first four miles and go to mile 5. We had just come up a monster hill out of The Flats (irony?!) and my heart was pounding. It was brutal, really. One of my running partners said while we were going up that she wanted to cry. So did I. It really sucked. But we absolutely made it and looked strong in the process, despite the mental angst it caused.

It was shortly after the hill that I looked down and noticed the goosebumps on my arms. And it was pretty hard to miss the chills that were starting. CRAP. This isn’t good. I got quiet. A few point-something miles more and I started getting really lightheaded and dizzy. It was about at this point, maybe mile 5.5, that I figured I should say something to my running partners, before I just fell over out of nowhere.

“Uh, guys. Something isn’t right.” My voice was soft and it was all I could do to form the words coming out of my mouth. My face was feeling numb. They asked if I wanted to walk and after some arguing with myself about it, decided that was probably for the best. We slowed to a walk and as soon as I did, I got super dizzy and veered off a bit. And that’s when my friends took over and had me sit in the grass, then put my feet up. All I could think was that I was screwing up their time. And all I could say was “I’m so sorry” and “I swear, I trained for this.”

After laying there for a few minutes, I got back up. My friends wanted to call the EMT’s, but I bargained my way in to going for one more mile and if at that point I didn’t feel well, I promised I would stop.

As we approached the 10K mark, I saw the red medical tent. I was feeling a little less dizzy, but still pretty cruddy and ultimately decided that my day was done. My running partners assured me that there would be other races in my future and that no race was worth risking my health. They were exactly right, but hot damn, is that a bitter pill to swallow when you think about all of the work it took you to get to that very point.

MEDICAL TENT 1 (10K Mark)
I make my way in to the 10K medical tent and they start taking my vitals and what not and that’s when the tears started to fall. I’m feeling lousy, to say the least, and it’s hitting me that I have just epically failed the task in which I had worked so hard to achieve. They put some cold cloths on my back, took my temp, blood pressure, etc. My running partners figure out the communication plan, which included getting my phone number and my husband’s, which I couldn’t remember. At that point, I just handed them my phone.

I heard part of the phone call to my husband. “Hi, Mike? This is Julie. I was running with Becky and….” I didn’t hear the rest, but I felt bad for the panic that was potentially ensuing on the other end of the line. I mean, who wants to get that phone call?

After some heavy convincing that I was “fine”, that there was nothing more my running partners could do and that I was in good hands now with the EMT’s, I shoved my friends back on to the course. I am so grateful they were there with me. So grateful.

At this point, I’m ready to barf. I look over to one of the EMT people and rather calmly say “I’m going to throw up now.” Their response was “OK.” I was hoping for more. Like maybe a bucket or a finger pointing me in the direction of the nearest trash can. So I replied “Where should I do that?” Blank stares. So I got up, headed behind the port-a-potty and proceeded to dry heave until my stomach cramped.

That’s when EMT Jackwad (really, he was a nice man, who just said an incredibly stupid and hurtful thing) came over to me, put his hand on my back and asked “Are you a runner?” AM I A RUNNER?! What I wanted to say: “No, a-hole, I just woke up this morning and felt like going for a 13.1 mile jog on a freaking whim.” What I actually said:“Yes, I’m a runner. And I trained for this all summer.” Queue the tears again.

After that, I sat back down while they determined if I needed to be whisked away in an ambulance or if the limo bus was substantial. I heard them determine I was “stable enough” to go in the limo. I stood up and started walking. I nailed the open back door of the ambulance with my right shoulder as I walked by, then managed to hit the door to the limo bus with my left one. The limo bus driver turned her head and looked at the EMT, at which point the EMT assured her that I was well enough for the ride in her bus. (I saw her face. She wasn’t buying it. And that did make me a little nervous.)

Due to all of the road closures, it took FOREVER to get back to the finish line. I really don’t know how long it was, but it felt like an eternity. In reality, it was probably about 20 minutes. I sobbed in the limo. Just sobbed. I was in there with the driver, a knee injury, another woman who was dehydrated and a medical tent representative, who I’m pretty sure thought I was going to either chuck all over the limo bus or pass out. I made her very nervous.

MEDICAL TENT 2 (The Finish Line)
After getting lost and not knowing where the medical tent was, the limo bus finally dropped its passengers off “pretty close” to the finish line medical tent. “Can you all walk from here?” Uh, yep. Sure. The Knee asked me if I needed help off the bus and I gladly accepted. The Other Dehydrator was helped by the Med Tent Rep.

We made our way over to the medical tent. These people are all now assuming that I just crossed the finish line and am about to pass out. They were acting very fast. One guy quickly found a wheelchair and sat me in it, while the finish-line-medal-hander-outer-lady is putting the medal around my neck. All the while I’m yelling “I didn’t finish! I didn’t finish!” The medal lady was hilarious. Obviously assuming I was hallucinating, she pushed my hand down as I tried to take the medal off and said “It’s ok, honey. You did it! It’s ok.” while I’m yelling back “I only made it to mile 6!” They all thought I was out of it, since no one knew I had just come off the bus.

I’m wheeled over to a golf cart, they put me inside, then drive my still-sobbing-ass over to the main medical tent.

MEDICAL TENT 3 (Main Medical)
I’m helped off the golf cart and escorted in to the main medical tent. They lay down one of those aluminum foil looking “blankets” on a cot and tell me to take a seat. I’m shaking uncontrollably and sobbing. They take my pulse-ox, which was low. They also took my blood pressure, which was wonky. While this is happening, I hear one of the EMT’s say something about a taking someone’s rectal temperature. In my mind, I’m thinking that I sure pity the poor bastard who’s about to have a thermometer shoved up their rear. And then I hear them tell me to lay down on my side… which I did… and then it hits me. I’M THE POOR BASTARD! The EMT then tells me directly they are going to take my rectal temperature. I popped up like an actor out of a sitcom and say “Oh, no you’re not!” to which the reply was a gentle shove back down on to my side with a “Yes, I am!” She pulled my pants down and… mooooooon river! Yep. That just happened. As if my day couldn’t get any worse.

The IV lady then came over and told me she was going to start a line and that I’d feel a “big pinch”. “A really big pinch.” “Big pinch coming.” “Here’s the big pinch.” I GET IT FOR CRYING OUT LOUD! It’s a big pinch! And did she not see what happened just 10 seconds before that? I think I can handle an IV at this point.

I’m still shaking and completely freezing, laying there covered in blankets. I sat up to drink some chicken broth they gave me, but I was shaking so badly that it was splashing up and out of the cup. I managed to find my mouth a few times and drank it half way down.

Still freezing, they decided to move me to a chair out in the sun. I felt like I was in a M.A.S.H. unit. People were streaming in to the medical tent, attached to IVs, shaking. In a strange way, it was comforting to know I wasn’t the only one who didn’t make it, but I felt terrible for everyone in that tent.

I’m seated outside, IV bag hanging on the tent, wrapped like a mummy in 2 blankets, shivering and still crying. Adding insult to injury, (well, I should say further insult due to the temperature reading incident) I had the perfect view of the runners just after they came across the finish line. They’re elated, exhausted, wearing their medals, knowing they just accomplished something big and celebrating that moment. I was happy for them! And so sad for me.

Saying that my day didn’t go as planned is the understatement of the century. Never did I imagine that I’d go through a couple of hours like the ones I experienced in those medical tents. And I certainly didn’t think there would be an anal probing at any point!

One of the EMT’s asked me if I had done anything different before this particular race and I really didn’t. He asked if I drank enough water and I proudly said YES! I had done a great job drinking water and professed so to him. He responded by saying, “Next time, you also need to hydrate with electrolytes and not just water.” DANG IT. I didn’t do that.

The only other difference in this race, which I realized on the walk to the car, was that I wore a hat. I wore it to keep all that rain (which never came) out of my face. I’m wondering if the hat kept too much of the heat in and perhaps I overheated as well?

Who knows. Like I said, every run is different and every race is a learning experience. And now that I know how they take your temperature at the medical tent, I learned that next time, I should just keep running!

The 7.1 Mile Mark

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 20, 2013

I’m not a double digit runner. There. I’ve said it.

Training for a half marathon has been one of the craziest rides I’ve ever been on.  It started with a simple Couch-to-5K program where I struggled and pushed and hyperventilated my way through every interval. Yelling at my iPhone, begging it to tell me I was permitted to walk for 90 seconds. Fast forward about a year and now I call 3-4 milers going for a “quick run” and have two 10Ks under my belt. (I know, I know. That doesn’t guarantee a spot for me in the Runner’s Hall of Fame, but for a gal who has been “not a real runner” all her life, I’m holding my own.)

So in theory, the next logical stop on my trip up the runner’s ladder was a half marathon. But the thing of it is, I hate really long, double-digit mile runs. And if I’m being perfectly honest with myself, my wheelhouse really exists in the 8-miles-and-under realm. Ok, ok. 7-miles-and-under. That is when I feel my best. That is the distance where I come home and think to myself, “Hot damn, girl! Look what you just did! And you can still walk and not spontaneously cramp up or cry for no reason!”.

So it amazes me how at mile 7.1 (yes, there may be some mental work at play here, too, and I get it), my body totally falls apart. It doesn’t want to go any more. My knee starts hurting. The outside of my foot feels like I’m hitting straight pavement. My hip aches. My back side strikes me with sciatic nerve pain. My left side tenses up and my neck cramps. My legs feel as though they weigh a thousand pounds each. Everything. Hurts. And I’m thirsty! So thirsty. But I can’t drink or I’ll get a side stitch. (So who’d like to join me on my next long training run?! Bueller? Bueller?)

Does all that make me a crappy runner? Hells to the no. But I’ve learned my limitations. I put a lot of pressure on myself. To make a goal, reach it and not suck in the process while getting there. In working my way to a half marathon, I think I’ve reached the suck. But I’m actually OK with that. This whole thing has been such a learning experience. I’ve tested my body at each new distance and have fought through some injuries. And since I’m too much of a chicken-shit to go out on a really long run with my runner’s group (I don’t want anyone to witness the 7.1 mile combustion), I’ve been doing it all solo.

My last long run before the half marathon is slated for two days from now. I’m tackling a 12-miler. And even after everything I just wrote about hating the distance, I’m excited for it! I want to see how far I can go. How far my body can push itself. How far my mind will let me push myself. You just never know what’s going to happen until you lace up and get out there. And who knows, there may just be life for me after the 7.1 mile mark after all.

The Classification of Runners, Walkers & Cyclists

SUNDAY, JULY 7, 2013

I’ve been traveling back and forth to Austintown visiting some family that came in to town this past week, so I had to do a couple long runs on a bike path near my parent’s house. Man, do I wish this thing was around when I was growing up!  It’s 20-some miles of paved bike path, through some really great scenery, most of which is shaded by tall trees and forest. It’s quite lovely and peaceful.

I loved the path and to my surprise, there were really a lot of people on it!  I did a 7-miler at 8am on a Saturday and I probably passed about 30-35 people over the course of my run. Three and a half miles out. Three and a half miles back in. Seven miles gives you plenty of time to start stereotyping your fellow bike path enthusiasts, so of course it didn’t take me long to start classifying some of the types of people I encountered:

1. RUNNERS

  • Hard Core Friendlies (HCF) – This was me. This runner waves to everyone that passes by, whether eye contact has been established or not. The HCF wears a Fuel Belt (which to me, means they are running at least 6+ miles) and will eventually look like they ran through a car wash. (Unfortunately that look only takes me until about mile 2.) The HCF will also say “good morning” (or whatever time-appropriate greeting is in order) as they run past. It will be stated loud and proud between miles 1-4’ish… a wee bit more winded and forced over miles 4’ish-7…. but the sincerity is always there.
  • Hard Core Unfriendlies (HCU) – I only saw one HCU on the path, but our turn around points had me passing by her twice, so I got a double dose of her ice. The HCU also wears a Fuel Belt, but she’s got zero time to lift her arm to wave. I like to think she’s in a state of total concentration and so zoned in and focused that she is physically unable to lift her hand to wave or mutter a hello. That is a better thought than the alternative, which is that she’s just a big meanie and has no respect for the runner’s code that encourages us to support one other.
  • Short Distance Friendlies (SDF) – Anyone not in a Fuel Belt. They’ll wave, smile and say hello. They know they’re going somewhere from 1-3 miles, so they’re happy. They’ll be done in, like, 30 minutes, so there is no time to get ugly or zoned in. They have a spring in their step and the sweat on their skin seems to glisten.
  • Newbies (N) – Sometimes they’re happy. Sometimes they look like they’re about to croak. But the Newbie will always return a wave. I think they need the support more than anyone else on the pavement, so I’ve even been known to kick it up a notch from “hello” and throw out an encouraging “looking good” or the like in their direction.

2. WALKERS

  • Over-Friendly-And-Maybe-A-Bit-Lonely-Old-Guy (OFAMABLOG) – He’s super sweet and gives you a nice big wave and smile and when you smile back, you feel like you’ve actually brightened his day. There is also a bike version of the OFAMABLOG. As you pass walker or biker OFAMABLOG, you think to yourself, “I hope everyone is returning his kindness.” But then you remember there’s an HCU on the course and that won’t be the case.
  • Power Walkers (PW) – The PW is incredibly busy pumping their arms and there is no way in hell they are about to break stride to say hello, let alone wave it. You can see a PW coming from a mile away. They tend to send chills down the spines of everyone on the path. Even the HCU.
  • Teenagers Looking To Score (TLTS) – You can see the looks of disappointment on a TLTS’s face as they realize the bike path through nature isn’t as remote and deserted as they had hoped it was.

 3. CYCLISTS

  • Spandex Helmeteers (SH) – These guys are no freaking joke. They are in helmets and are wearing neck-to-mid-thigh spandex and they will run your sweaty ass over if you don’t get out of their way. (Sidenote: I always think to myself as an SH passes me by, “He has to go twice as far as me, but in less than half the time as me and we both kill the same number of calories. Why is my ass not on a bike right now?!”) The SH never… I mean NEVER… acknowledges other people on the path. But maybe it’s for the best that they keep both hands on the wheel.
  • Sunday Cyclist (SC) – Much like the “Sunday Driver”, they’re just out on the path because it’s a nice day and it’s a fun thing to do. 99% of the time they are with a friend or their significant other and 99% of the time they will wave or say hello. They’re really quite lovely people, although even the SC should be wearing a helmet, and 99% of the time, they are not.

I also came across my fair share of bunnies on the path.  Bunnies who think it’s fun to stay in your way until you’re only a couple steps from them. By that point, you’re in a mild panic because you are unsure which way they will dart off. I know they will always choose to dart in the direction closest to the woods, but it never fails to scare the pants off of me when they finally do.

Of course all of these classifications are made up in my head. I’ve developed life scenarios, estimated paces and guessed distances for people I don’t know, have never seen and will never see again. I’ll do just about anything to keep my mind off of the task at hand. And it must have worked, since both my 6-miler and 7-miler on that path went pretty darn well!

A Girl, A Guy, and a Group

MONDAY, JUNE 10, 2013

It’s cold outside. I’m tired. I just ate. There’s a “Real Housewives of Wherever” marathon on Bravo. And so on…

These are just a sampling of some of the excuses I’ve made for myself to avoid lacing up and hitting the sidewalks to get in a run. (Note: In my earlier posts, I called them “jogs”. I’ve come a long way, in that I don’t saying I’m “jogging” anymore. I go on “runs” now. Sounds like a minor detail, but for runners, it’s a pretty big distinction, and I’m a runner now, damnit!)

My point being, there are about a million different reasons not to run. So for me, a support group isn’t just a nice-to-have, it’s a necessity. I’m not afraid to admit that I can’t do this shit on my own! I get lazy. Unmotivated. Blobish. But when I see or hear about someone I know (or only know through a Facebook group) say that they’ve gone out and done something, well, I’m more likely to go out and do it, too.

Case Study #1: The Girl
I have a friend who I met at work. She started out as a co-worker and quickly became one of my best friends on the planet and she is such an inspiration to me. She’s the gal in my life that says, “So yeah, I’m gonna do the Rite Aid 10K.” and I immediately say back, without hesitation, “When’s the next discount registration day, cuz I’m doing it with you.” (I’m really quite cheap.) So when my friend said, “Yep, I’m gonna do my very first half marathon in October.” without hesitation (Ok, that’s a big ‘ol lie. This is 13.1 miles here! I did have to think about it for a minute.) I said yes. And I quickly found a coupon code and registered for the Rock-N-Roll half marathon.

Everyone needs a girl like this in their lives. The gal that you follow in to the unknown and who will make you push yourself to the next goal. To that I say, thank God for my girl Jen!

Case Study #2: The Guy
Behind every good man stands a girl who is willing to crush every single PR he sets for himself. That guy is Jerry and that girl is me. He’ll email me and say, “I ran a 8:58 pace over 2 miles!” and I’ll reply with “That’s so awesome! Way to go! Congrats!”. And then I’ll head outside, run an 8:56, email him about it and he’ll call me an a-hole. I smile for days when this happens, as does he when he’s the one crushing some random goal I just set for myself. But that’s the dance we do and we both enjoy it immensely. (The a-hole recently beat me in the Run @ the Ridge 5K, so I guess I have some training to do.)

He helps me think outside the box and gives me ideas to keep the training fresh. He’ll do a trail run, then I’ll try a trail run for the first time and fall in love with it. He’ll tell me about some interval training he did up at the track and immediately I go check my schedule to see when I can get up there next. It’s awesome and he keeps me from getting in to training ruts. So much of this running stuff is mental, so keeping things fresh is very important.

Case Study #3: The Group
My latest motivation acquisition is a little sorority called “Finish the Race”. It’s an amazing group of women, most of whom I’ve never actually met, who gather on Facebook (and in real life) to talk about their running, their injuries, races they’ve done, goals they’ve met, pole dancing… ahh yes, pole dancing… and just about anything else happening in their lives.

Admittedly, I joined the group with hesitation. I was invited in and then sat back… stalker style… for a few weeks before I posted anything. I wasn’t sure if they were for real. (Any “Buffy The Vampire Slayer” fans out there? Remember when Willow joined the Wicka group, but they weren’t really hard core witches and she got frustrated… but then she met Tara… so it wasn’t really a total loss. Although, did anyone really like Tara? I thought she was weird.) Anywho, that’s what I thought might be the case for the FTR group. Boy did I think wrong! I find myself checking the group’s Facebook page, oh, about every 3 minutes to see if anyone has posted anything. My thumbs ache at the end of the day from the scrolling refresh maneuver I do on the  Facebook app on my phone, because I simply need to know what these ladies have been up to. They get me moving, make me laugh and I can relate, on some level, to just about everything that gets posted by this awesome group of women. It was a pretty cool find and a motivating force for me to turn off the “Housewives” and turn on the training.

_____________

To update my progress, I’ve got 2 races under my belt so far this Spring/Summer. I missed my goal on the 10K, but managed to PR a 5K. I’ve got three more races lined up in the next 4 months. A 4-miler, a 2-miler with my nephew, which I’m really stoked about, and then the 13.1 in October. I’d love to add a few more races in here and there, but that will just depend on how many coupon codes I can find.

The Hitch in My Giddyup

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 24, 2013

Countdown to the Rite Aid 10K:  24 days : 21 hours : 13 minutes : 10…9…8…7 seconds. The clock is definitely ticking, but unfortunately my training has taken a slight detour due to a few injuries.

I was going along well. Like, reeeeeally well! I had worked my way up to being able to run 7 miles. IN A ROW. And without stopping. For me, that’s a feat I never in a billion years thought I’d be able to do. I remember my days building up to a 5K and thinking to myself “How do people keep going?”.  And now I’m the person who keeps going. It’s pretty cool and when I think of running 2-3 miles as a “short run”, it still kinda cracks me up. Who is this girl?!

Well, she’s a runner.  And with that label comes injury and being that I’m a new to running longer distances, it was only a matter of time before injury fell on me.

I’ve self diagnosed myself with ITBS. (Iliotibial Band Syndrome) I’ve read the internet from front to back on the subject and everything I see tells me that this is what I’m dealing with. It’s pain on the outside of the knee, and for me, also in the hip, from the IT band rubbing over the bone. It’s due to a lack of good form (check!), bad hip alignment (check!), increasing your mileage too fast and too soon (check!) and so on. So I guess I’m not totally shocked that I ended up with ITBS, but it still honks me off, nonetheless.

All you can do to treat ITBS is rest, ice, take some Aleve and buy yourself a foam roller, which I totally did.  I have a love-hate relationship with that thing. Anyone who has used one will tell you the same. They suck.  But it’s a necessary evil and it feels pretty good once the torture is over.

The purchases haven’t stopped there. Oh no. I also bought up an IT Band strap, some KT Tape and of course, what do ALL runners do when something feels off? They buy new shoes. I also made a trip to my podiatrist to see about getting my (what I think now are bogus) orthotics adjusted. Can you sense the desperation in me to get back to my training? I’ll try anything.

The IT Band strap, I think, was a bust. But in fairness, I only gave it one test run. I had the pain, so it quickly became dead to me and I moved on to the KT Tape. The jury is still out on this one, because I had a great run with it, a not-so-great run and then another good run, but I keep using it because I really do think there’s something to it. The shoes were my latest acquisition and I was able to do 2 speedy fast miles in them with only some mild hip pain. (I was also KT Taped up at the time.) So I think the new Asics were a great purchase. And they’re super cute, so that’s always fun.

It’s been about two and a half weeks since the onset of my pain. In that time, I’ve run five times. Just 2 or so miles here and there to test out my latest purchases. Looking back, perhaps the best thing to do would have been to just hang up the shoes completely for those two and a half weeks and totally rest. But who does that?! I mean, really, WHO CAN DO THAT?!?

Especially when the Rite Aid 10K is now in 24 days : 20 hours : 33 minutes : 10…9…8…7 seconds……..

I’m Bringing Sexy Back

TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 19, 2013

The running program is going really well. I’m up to 3 miles already and feel pretty good about my performance. Well, on most days, anyway. Of course they aren’t all going to be good ones, but for the most part, I’m doing fine. It’s just a good thing running isn’t like gymnastics. In gymnastics, it’s a .2 deduction if your underwear sneaks out of your leo. (Or at least that’s what I heard. The seasoned pros may just be hazing the new mom.) At any rate, I can only imagine what the jogger judge would give me on presentation.

I believe in function over form. That was burned in to my brain as a kid, so I come by that philosophy honestly. And since I’m a freeze baby, it’s important for me to layer before I go out. And, well, since it’s also dark on most days, neon is key. It’s quite possible that getting dressed for the run can take half as long as the run itself. Let’s review:

Layer One: Compression sleeves on my calves. (Heard from a friend that these would help with my legs cramping. So far, he’s right. The next cramp I get, tho, I may go knocking on his door for the 40 bucks these things cost me. But so far, they are pretty right on, so his wallet is safe.) Socks. Gotta count them somewhere, so layer one it is.

Layer Two: Under Armour Cold Gear pants and long sleeve mock turtleneck. Not only does it keep me warm, it makes me look as thin as a rail! If it was socially acceptable, I’d never take it off and would wear it everywhere.

Layer Three: Red mock turtleneck with the Indians logo. Black yoga pants.

Layer Four: Black KeyBank logo zipper pullover jacket with hood.

Layer Five: Bright lime green Barnes Wendling t-shirt. Black gloves. Black hat. And my bright orange running shoes to cap off the wardrobe.

I couldn’t help but laugh at myself when a few days ago, Justin Timberlake came on the playlist singing “I’m Bringing Sexy Back” to me. Sexy is just about the furthest thing from what I am when I run, so thank goodness that’s not the point. Cuz if there were, in fact, a jogger judge, I’d never make the podium.

95 Degrees

MONDAY, JULY 26, 2010

95 degrees. That was the temperature at the starting time of my second race. This one was in Lakewood and it was a full-fledged 5K. 3.2 miles. And my world, was it HOT!

I’m talking hot! Hot, like, you sweat standing. Just standing. There were huge beads of sweat rolling down my back and I hadn’t even moved yet. It was hot.

It was me and about 140 other insane souls who decided to do this run. I knew I was in trouble. With a crowd that small, there’s no where to hide, and when you come in near last, there’s no hiding that, either. (And yes, I came in very near last.)

I made a “friend” right off the bat. This woman… for no reason… out of the blue… decided she’s going to hold my hand and braid my hair as we run. Oh, and towel me off apparently, too. That is how close she ran next to me. I’ve read that people will latch on to you during races some time to pace. I get that. It’s cool. But I’m not kidding when I say we bumped shoulders on multiple occasions. At one point, she really did offer me her towel to soak the beads of 95 degree sweat that were pooring down my head. First of all: GROSS! And second of all: GROSS!

The first mile was awesome. My split was 10 minutes and some change. Wooohooo! (Except for pacer lady, who was still shoulder to shoulder next to me.)

At a mile and half, I started seeing the leaders double back. I’d later come to realize just how freakin’ far I was behind them! I had FOREVER to go until I got to turn around and they were basically on the home stretch. This is when I really start to dwell on the embarrassment factor of me being in this race. But I forged on.

I… err… WE approach mile 2. I’m still cruising! My split was 20 minutes and some change. Holy cow, I’m running 10 minute miles! I was so very pleased. And then I hit mile 2.2’ish….

I’m not sure what happened at 2.2’ish, but it felt like 20.2’ish. The heat was really starting to get to me. (For some history, when I was 9, I used to sit in an air conditioned car in between innings of my softball games. That’s how well I’ve been able to manage heat in the past.) I started getting the chills. Yes, the chills. In 95 degrees. I started running through the warning signs of heat exhaustion/heat stroke and decided to take it down a short notch and walk for a few driveways. Coming in 135th out of 140 instead of 134th was NOT that big of a risk for me at this point.

I walked for 6 driveways, then started running again. Then came more chills… 3 driveways of walking…. running… chills… walking. When I got to the point where I could see the finish line, I sucked it up and ran the whole time. Chills be damned! At this point, I just needed to be done with this day and get in my air conditioned car. (Ahhh, how times have changed?!)

I finished in 34 mins, 20 secs. Not that great, but considering the heat and the lady I was carrying with me, I found it to be a huge success. My goal for my next race is 30 minutes, but I’d be pleased with 32 or less.

A Shot in the Side

WEDNESDAY, JULY 14, 2010

I ran my first race! It was a 2-miler in downtown Cleveland that was sponsored by The Winking Lizard. The event was called “A Shot in the Dark”. Here’s a recap of events.

Mike went with me and we arrived about an hour early. This was ideal, since it allowed us to take our time parking, walk to the Lizard and got Mike the perfect spot at the air conditioned bar.

The next hour took about a year. Or so it felt. I was nervous as all get out and anxious to get going. Finally, about 15 minutes to post, I went out and took a brisk warm up walk. Then I headed to the start.

It was very exciting! I had my number pinned to my shirt. I had my race tracker timer thingy attached to my shoe. I was crowded in to a group of people who were all like me. Ready to go!

It was about 86 degrees at the 5pm start time and being that it was downtown, there was no
shade on the course. So, yes, it was HOT! But I was still feeling really good, even though Mr. Heat and I don’t get along so well.

The bell finally wrang and we were off! I started out fantastic. I felt really good. Ran to the beat of my music, as I always do. One mile in, my legs are great, my conditioning is good… holy cow, I might actually hit my 20 minutes or less goal! Or so I thought…

One and a half miles in, I feel a pain in my side. And out of nowhere, it completely takes me out. The cramp was so intense that I couldn’t stand up straight and breathing was very difficult. That was my worst fear for the race… a cramp… and it happened. Boooo!

So I had to walk about the last half mile. I ended up finishing in 24 minutes, which was 4 minutes past my goal time. But these things happen. I finished! But there’s more work to do and more races in my future.

I’ll be trying to redeem myself this weekend at a 5K (3 miles) in Lakewood. If nothing else, I get 2 free beers for running in it. Woohoo! Let’s see how it goes!

Here’s What’s Been Happening…

FRIDAY, JUNE 25, 2010

So, yeah, it’s been a looooong time since I’ve written. Here’s a bit of catch up.

Soccer ball is over. Peyton did AWESOME! She really did. She had one especially killer game where she scored, like, 15 goals or some crazy thing. We were the parents that week who felt badly that their child was out performing… and let’s just be real here… embarassing the other pre-k’ers.

Aside from that game, Peyton was good for at least 1-3 goals each week. And she wants to play again in the fall! That is, if she gets “faster shoes”. She’s got this thing about fast shoes. Because the shoes, you know, are clearly what separates the men from the boys in 3-4-year-old girls soccer. (I’m going to bedazzle the crap out of her current soccer shoes for the fall. No need to buy a new pair!)

My health kick, I am very proud to say, has continued. I’m even down a few lbs. Maybe not as many as I’d like, but I’m still trying to be good about what I eat and my running is going very well. I’m up to a 30 minute non-stop jog and plan to do my first race on July 10th! I’ve actually become somewhat addicted to running. It’s the best feeling… when you’re done. Can’t say that I’m loving life while I’m in the process quite yet, but it’s not completely heinous and it’s getting WAY easier to do. I’m not sucking air and end up in minimal pain now when I’m done. Whoop! Whoop!

I’m absolutely sure more has gone on in my world since the last time I posted, but for the life of me, I can’t think of what. And that’s a fantastic reason for why I shouldn’t wait so long between chapters. But like I said in the beginning, I’ll do what I can, when I can.

So there!