I put this on my Yes List for a reason… because as a former dancer, dance makes my insides insanely happy (I have a bit of an obsession with So You Think You Can Dance, even if it does make me feel old because I used to dance with or take class from at least four of the choreographers on the show at the Edge Performing Arts Center, you know before they got *THIS* big, when I was in LA. Even if I am PEEVED that they cut Miranda- are you KIDDING ME?? Someone on that panel wouldn’t know talent if it hit them upside the head!). And unfortunately due to the former part of that sentence, I don’t tap into that intense joy as often as I should. Now in case you don’t “know” who Savion Glover is… Let me tell you, you have no idea what you are missing 🙂
So many of you actually do know of Savion without knowing him (yes, I can talk first person about him as over 16 years ago I took class with and from him :)). For the older people in the room you might have heard of Bring in da Noise, Bring in da Funk… That is Savion, and let me assure you he BRINGS IT! The rest of you probably know him as the sound for the movie Happy Feet. And I dare you to watch that Youtube Video of him and not be happy or at the least see Savion happy. Also Savion is one of the key dancers of the past 20 years I know of that not only made his own way in his genre- he defined it AND he pays it forward. He might be hotness with funk, but he is also one hell of an inspirational MAN.
Dance and sound are something I always have a hard time explaining to other people. I firmly believe we all relate to music differently. Sure music motivates many of us (I cannot for the LIFE OF ME imagine running without my music!), but for me as a dancer I don’t hear sound, I hear movement. I know that sounds odd, but that is what I hear. I have shared this with hoofer friends and they feel similarly, but hear sound in that movement- which is why they often have their eyes closed as they tap. And that alone right there is a feat that even my balance beam specialist self is impressed by.
It was an incredible show with Marshall Davis Jr. with over 1 and a half hours of amaz-e-balls tapping where both of those men honoured tap and it’s legends, with their feet and the funk, heart, soul and sweat that they left on the boards. There are so many adjectives that quite honestly do not do service to the joy and awe of the evening. Another one on the Yes List bites the dust 🙂
Happy 4th of July to the US! And happy Monday to the rest of the world 🙂
After a few hectic weekends and 2 weeks of burning the candle at all ends, I have taken a slackers approach to this long holiday weekend. I tidied up in the house, I slept and I have done little all else 🙂 So for the 4th of July- this is my version of red white and blue. Reading on my Red kindle (I heart the Kindle and am currently reading the Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks). Drinking water from a blue beloved Camelback water bottles (I can’t bring myself to turn the AC on yet as it isn’t swamp like so my fan and water bottle suits me fine). And some thinking sitting in my white butterfly chair.
When I started writing this blog, it was mostly about getting me from the registration to the finish line of the Seattle Rock n Roll Half-Marathon. Moving from intention to action. I have previously written relatively successful niche blogs, but I had lost my voice somewhere along the way. Sure I loved going back and reading what I had written along the way, hearing how funny and witty I was (or so I think :)). And I knew I needed some of my voice back, so I tried to write my process and story for myself about my path to the half-marathon. But I kept it quiet because I wasn’t sure of myself. Let me just say: Self-doubt is an ugly monster! It led me to hold back and not dig in as much as I could have either.
Interestingly the transformation in the process for my first half-marathon hasn’t been dramatic, but importantly I can feel the subtle shifts. I don’t weigh less or feel leaner, but I have more endurance and my legs are definitely stronger. I am reading more healthy living blogs (blogroll for my favorites). I want to make a genuine effort (not just talk about…) eating healthier. I am itching to train/run another half-marathon (yeah that one got me the most). And it has me taking photos again! What started out for “just running” that I did NOTHING to engage in a community with, I realised could be something more.
Back in January I felt a stirring and bought up a URL. Learning to Say Yes.com. At that point a lighting bolt had hit me up side the head and I recognised that most of my childhood had been framed by No. In a lovely, but ever so more than overbearing and slightly controlling family, it was the only way I got to have my way and have any power (have I ever told you how I am the youngest of 16 grandchildren…). As I have gotten older I have started to realise that I have more power in saying Yes. Sure I need to be thoughtful and selective, but Yes is much more positive and much more powerful in my life. So today I decided to say Yes. I did all the work to merge the old site to this one and I am actively going to be trying to join the community. And no still has it’s place… NO more half-assed! 🙂
But I know myself… And if I am going to keep this up then I need new goals with some accountability. I have always been keen on starting my “resolutions” for any year at my birthday (which conveniently was a week ago) so time to kick it off simple and achieveably for July.
1. Sign up for my next half-marathon. I am currently considering the Hamptons Half since it is close and relatively cheapish. And one of my best friends said that a half-marathon was on her bucket list and she is interested in the Healdsburg Half in Northern CA wine country. Pick or sign up for both it doesn’t matter… I just need another race on the calendar ASAP before I loose steam 🙂
2. Eat more veggies. I don’t dislike vegetables, I just don’t ever crave them. It is like I have some kind of mind block around vegetables. I can convince myself to pay $10 for a plate of arugula with some balsamic and eat salad at a restaurant; but I can’t convince myself to buy a tub of arugula for $3 and make my own salad? LAMESAUCE! So I am going to aim to take a salad to work twice a week and try to make a Green Monster this month.
3. Time for strength training. In the training for my first half I relied on yoga twice a week for this along with my physical therapy. Bikram is great for the stretching and balance I know my muscles need for flexibility, but when it comes to strength it isn’t enough. And I just went to my last physical therapy appointment… My former gymnast and dancer body does not like sitting in a desk nor do my knees. However, since the desk job pays the bills, I need to get on building up some strength in that mostly muscle mass I seem to have (seriously how the hell was I only 18.4% body fat- I am still gobsmacked about that one)
I have four more days that I am targeting for inflammation reduction (with acupuncture tomorrow) to see if I can’t kick any and all runners knee twinges to the curb. But I think I might be up for a brisk walk, some salad, with whatever else Tuesday has in store for me tomorrow. And if anyone out there is reading this yet… let me know if you have any goals for July too 🙂
Before I go any further and detail my weekend… Race day was full of surprises, of which the biggest was that they were all of the pleasant variety. Despite my throw it to the wind swagger up to race day and a case of mild runners knee convincing me to reduce my goals to dragging my arse across the line one way or another… I met all of my original goals. I am officially a first time half-marathon finisher. I finished having ran that whole b*tch too (well I walked water stations but drinking liquid with ice and running take coordination not even I have and constitutes a choking hazard). And I finished in 2:29:08. That would be under 2:30 by who the eff cares number of seconds… it is under goal time and 5 minutes faster than Runners World predicted. TAKE THAT HA! So yeah I have been pretty happy (though my knees the next day OH SO NOT THE MUCH) and rode a high for the past week.
But backing up… the best decision I made for my first half marathon was to run it “at home.” I am a nomad, home is where I sleep on my pillow, but in the US if there is anywhere I consider home it is Seattle. It is my happy place, and I have my peoples. So running there even though I don’t live there anymore gave me a little bit of peace of mind against the jitters.
I landed Thursday and did my best not to get on Pacific time as functioning on East Coast time Saturday was my saving grace. I woke up Friday and went to the expo. I wandered aimlessly. I bought a race shirt and some socks. I got a magnet currently on my fridge. I tried GU chomps and immediately wanted watermelon ones for race day (hello tastes like jolly rancher goodness!). And I bought a new headset for my iPhone, all hail the snuggbuds. I am not sure that the remote changes the music all that well, but I sure do like how they fit in my ears.
Next up started my culinary madness of the weekend. So ummm if you live under a rock and aren’t aware of this. Seattle has some of the best food around. Bar none. Promise! So I met up with my friend Viv and we headed to Bravehorse Tavern. Fried cheese curds, housemade incredible sausages, fresh made pretzels, and a grin inducing sour cherry pie… YES PLEASE. Even better Viv’s friend is Tom Douglas‘ PR/Marketing Guru. So I got to go and take a tour through the back of the Dahlia Workshop and then was treated to a delectable macaroon. I love you Robyn and Tommy D!
But that was not enough for Viv. Nope she hosts incredible events in the “dorm” of her condo building, and I was invited to join for a pie demonstration from Ms. Kate McDermott the Queen of Pie herself. Who says you don’t start dinner with dessert?? I do 🙂 I also learned a lot about pie making in that brief time. Even better the hosts included me in the invite to dinner at Blueacre.
So at this point I should have given thought to “race fuel.” We were originally thinking to go get Beechers Mac and Cheese… but who can turn down one of the best seafood restaurants in town on the Pacific Coast which is notorious for their incredible seafood. If you can you are more insane than I. With a world champion oyster shucker at the bar, I was treated to some effing good oysters (no seriously they are, but that is what they are called as they are from Effingham), and I got MESSY with 2lbs of Dungeness Crab goodness. Might not have carb loaded, who the hell cares I was in foodgasm heaven.
I got home to crash out as we had a 4:30 am Pacific Time wake up call. Yeah I am not a morning person- so staying on East Coast clock meant Mr. Fitness Nut didn’t get much flack out of me. I had my breakfast of Chobani Greek Yogurt with chia seeds, an Odwalla green juice and Ezekiel with vegemite. And we were off in the chilly morning. Because the race is a one direction race you have to take a shuttle down to the start line. So while the temps were fine for running, me and my running shorts were not exactly happy with the 30 minute wait to get on a shuttle (later on they would not be happy with miles 11-13.1, lesson learned- BODY GLIDE next time!).
Once there I handed off my gear bag for UPS service. Rock n Roll series might cost more, but they run a tight ship. Mr. Fitness Nut needed to use a port-a-potty, so I decided it was a smartish pre-race thing to do too. And then we headed to the starting line… With over 28,000 people running that day by the time we got to the start line we were in coral 30. I crossed the start line almost an hour after the 7am start time with It’s me B*TCHES queued up on my running play list. Showtime it is!
And before I really had too much of a chance to get inside my head and freak myself out with whatever it was that was going to be a head of me… It was time to go and I just ran with it. I had pre-planned where I was supposed to walk, and I tried intentionally to go slow or at least not feel like I was pushing myself. But by the time I got that first “walking” point I didn’t feel like I needed it. Then I realised it was too late as I was getting close to the first hill so I had to keep going. My only rule pre-race was I would NOT walk up the hills. So up I went, down I went and on I kept going. Then I saw the 6 mile marker. I thought… I have run this before. I did this 2 weeks ago. I trucked right on. Mile 7-8 was where I started toying with myself and the idea that I could just keep going. My knees while not without some annoyance were not shouting. And as a former gymnast and dancer I know the difference between inflammation and injury. Why not push until after the hill at 9 miles? I think I can. I think I can. I think I can.
Next thing I knew I was in the 1-90 tunnel and it was mile 10. From here on in it was all virgin territory… I had never run over 10 miles. But I have a competitive side (I joke that I am type A-) and my pride was saying… its 3.1 more miles. You can do this. So I kept pushing. By mile 11 I could see Safeco and Qwest Fields and I knew I would feel lame if I didn’t keep running. And run I did. Mile 12 was on the viaduct and while I was holding back a wee bit through out the race now I started to push. I had absolutely no clue what my time was going to be (I forgot to watch as we crossed the line) but I knew that finishing having run the whole thing was in my grasp. so I busted my arse right across that line with a sense of awe and accomplishment.
Post race I met up with friends, walked through the beer garden (no way in hell I wanted a MGD at that point) and then we headed back to the car to get to brunch at Anita’s Crepes. Because MAMA WANTS HER BACON… 🙂 It was also 2 hours post race and if there was not food in me soon I was going to tear off a car fender and eat that. Hunger it hurts. I spent the rest of the day bouncing. I went to have margaritas and chips with friends in the afternoon. Had a dinner at Pair with another friend who ran the race (survivors get to eat steak frites) and then slept at her house as in my rush to meet up with people post brunch/race… I got the wrong keys and was locked out of Mr. Fitness Nut’s place. No one ever warned me that running 13.1 miles wipes all of your braincells out!
Also let me just say that when I woke up that next morning…The profanities that flowed about any bending of the knee. Let’s just say they were plentiful and salty. My muscles had no soreness or strain, thanks to all my movement I believe, my knees- whole other story. But I was up and on my way to brunch at Jeff’s. Jeff is not only a runner who has done ultra trail races, he is one of if not my favorite foodie/oenophiles and definitely my favorite pyromaniac 🙂 Cheese, Ranier cherries, crackers and mimosas to start. Green (pesto) eggs and (black forest) ham followed by venison in a killer red wine reduction sauce. Yes please… it makes me oh so happy! It is also absolutely going to screw his daughter when she gets to college! Much time was then spent playing in the sun with his daughter, splashing Daddy from the pool and getting sunkissed. I then continued on to head south and have dinner with my honorary family (I ate way more this past weekend than the 1700 calories I burnt in the race, that is for sure!) and by the time I made it back (with keys this time) to Mr. Fitness Nut’s I collapsed.
On Monday with a certain amount of apprehension and dread I went to do a hydrostatic body composition test. I had hoped in the training for the half-marathon these 8-10 lbs I have gained living in NYC would have moved somewhere else or be leaner (yes I know. I loose weight in Italy and France eating cheese and bread and prosciutto and gain it in NYC drinking green juices and what not. Yes, I walk the hell out of both. I stand by my belief that it is the quality of the ingredients and food here in the states combined with perpetually elevated stress levels in NYC.). But I was also feeling puffy and well aware that my eating bonanza had probably not helped my cause. Oh well I was happy and what was done was done. Anyways I was in for a surprise again. While my weight was most definitely not where I wanted it to be, my body fat was WELL below what I had in my feeling flabby mind expected. I thought I was going to be 23-25% I am 18.4%. Not too bad, and now I have a starting point to attack the weight and tone over these next few months.
I then headed for my “work it out” exercise walking around my old haunting grounds with my old pool boss. Greenlake I lurves you. Even better, Big Blue (heron) followed me around the lake. I had been certain it would be too late to see him, let alone see him 4 times in the 3 mile walk. I heart Seattle something fierce.
After catching up with another friend (yes I was packed in wall to wall with love :)) we went to lunch at Local 360 and a Trophy Cupcake (disappointment that there was not a margarita one available- though snickerdoodle and hummingbird were good second options) and then I went to meet up with Viv again. She and Robyn had invited me to a book signing/ice-cream tasting/demo event. Salted Caramel Ice-cream. Oh hell to the mother effing yes! Jeni’s Splendid Ice-cream is exactly that and I had an absolutely lovely time. We all left with a copy of the book and I am now *this* close to buying an ice-cream maker 🙂 From there we went up to Serious Pie and I had what I think was one of the best pizza’s of my life that I am likely to spend god knows how long trying to recreate a half as decent version. Chanterelles and truffle cheese. BOW DOWN TO THE FLAVOR!
After gorging myself on the pizza I moved the car (oh the parking joys of Seattle and a rental car :)) and went to meet up with Mr. Fitness Nut as there was a concert to bounce too. Dropkick Murphys at the Paramount. I had forgotten how nice of a venue the Paramount is. I had a great time, but I won’t lie and say I didn’t feel old as I was ready for bed by the end of the concert. Burning the candle at all ends while having done major physical exertion was catching up with me.
I woke up on Tuesday, packed myself up, and then headed to UVillage to shop for a bit of reward gear (Lucy… you got some splaining to do on why there was so much in your sales piles I liked that were not discounted more deeply :)) I promptly realised driving into the lot- I had a flat tire. Piece of Crap rental car… A guy off duty at the Jiffy Lube kindly saved me $80 to have the rental car company send someone to mount the tire (caveat: Yes I know how to change a tire, but it has been 10 years and I had a flight in 4 hours- didn’t seem like the time for DIY) and thankfully the kid at check-in said the tire looked old so he wasn’t going to charge me the $75 for the tire either. There was a bit of scrambling to get to the airport. I got on my flight. I made it back to NYC and on Wednesday I turned 34. I think I started this year off right… and though I am giving my knees all the space in the world to get over themselves right now, I am starting to think about signing up for another race…
Guess I am going to have to start calling myself a runner now aren’t I 🙂
I am fully confounded at what time warped continuum I have been thrown into, but it is race week. In 5 days I will be across the country and running 13.1 miles. I won’t lie and say I am not a little more than mildly freaked out. With my cranky knee and taking this week off running so that said cranky knee would get over itself, the back of my mind is definitely spooked.
I know this because I have had my one dream of the year. I sleep like a ROCK and while I am sure I dream, I just never remember them. Except the anxiety versions. It was a pretty clear story line for those few moments that the memories of a dream linger.
- I couldn’t find all the things I needed for my run (why yes I am traveling for this race, only my second race ever).
- Then I was running late to get the ride to the race (my family is from Spain I function on a Latin clock)
- For some reason a high-school friend I haven’t seen or spoken to in probably 15 years had a lead role and was shouting at me about how she didn’t want to miss or muss up her first race (projecting a bit much… NEVER).
- Next up on the anxiety merry-go-round was forgetting things and importantly not being able to find my iPhone (the means of communications to find friends race day, the camera of fun, the music that keeps me moving, and also a true paranoia of mine given that despite over 15 years of cellular phone ownership it is only in the past year that I have ever lost a phone, OF COURSE it was an iPhone… actually I lost 2 within 3 months. Yes I go big. For The Win!).
- And then for the glory… not starting and subsequently not finishing the race, wait make that not running it nor finding my friends… (does anyone need to have this written out??)
Nope don’t need a psychiatrist to read between the lines on that one. No hidden messages with me… I be a literal one. I might not be freaking out in daily life because last week when my body made noise I listened and ended up taking rest, though I wanted to get one last go at mileage in. I could do this because I had distractions to the tune of house seats to Book of Mormon right after they cleaned house at the Tony Awards (oh god yes it is worth it! I even got the best photo of Mark Bittman in the theater) and the earliest I got home all week was 10:30pm. But my mind was taking care of that all on it’s own for me.
Choosing helps us to create our lives and the only thing I can think for right now is that it seems it is time to switch up my inner dialogue. I wouldn’t talk to anyone else like I am talking to myself right about now, everyone else is positive and believing in me. So… it’s time to sit myself down for a positive talk and convince myself to embrace the positivity. Watch out my inner snark is trying to get her Pollyanna on… this could get entertaining 🙂
Each twinge leaves me wondering… Is that my knee? Will it last? Is this a mind over matter game where my mind has freaked out my knee matter… Only running on it will tell. So I be running. I can test out my spibelt purchase pre-race now 🙂 And as long as all goes without and major pain possibly also on Thursday morning as well. Might not be best for the legs timing-wise… But with anxiety dreams on my mind, this should put a nix on the racing in my hamster brain. I need to remind myself that I can still run. At this point, I think I’ll take a bit more confidence and crossing the finish line over racing wisdom!
<Insert Pep Talk>It’s Game Face time lady. You signed up and did all of this for a reason and without a medical pink slip you are not about to call this one in and let Mr. Fitness Nut get one over on you that you will never live down. Once race day is finished (and I know I will finish. I walked 7 miles Sunday without any annoyance and was in a sweat to the death-tastic Bikram yoga class on Saturday) I can think about how to strengthen and speed up (and please for the love of god loose a pound or two and find my abs!). But now is not the time for that. I don’t want to hold myself back but I am not about to go and run stupid for 13.1. </Finish Pep Talk>
Goals shift and that is ok. There was a short window post 10K where I was delusional and thought I might be able to zone in on the 2:30 mark. I decided today that there is no more time goals allowed into my head for this race (lalalalalala Runners World Race Prediction Calculator). It is all about finishing. I love the progressions I have seen and my inner-competitive kid wants to watch my times get faster and see my endurance build… But it is race week and at this stage those things pass on to the next race (Holy schiesse I am talking about and looking into doing this again? What has happened to me?? Who am I???).
This race’s strategy was to get my legs enough oomph to cross the finish line. And despite my anxiety dreams I do believe I will do that on Saturday. Sure I wasn’t twigged by 10K because I had been doing 6 mile runs for a while and have enough 6+ runs under my belt to know I have got that… I only have one double digit run (a 10 miler that was pretty craptastic) under my belt and there are still another 3.1 miles after that to the finish line. But I don’t have to run this all, and if I tackle it bit by bit when I am on the road I know I can get through this (I expect, especially given the elevation chart, to walk for 2-4 minutes at mile 3.5 mile 7.5 and mile 11).
I have pretty well rested legs at this point. I am working to eat decently this week. There is some serious love/stretching happening between me and my foam roller. I have the acupuncturist’s version of Bengay for my knees (oh yes I am NOW officially old). My stomach of steel can handle a mainline infusion of Vitamin I. And… I can always bargain with myself on race day. For the Mini I thought I would walk at some point, especially when my shins were being noisy at the start. I bargained to get to mile 2 and then surprised myself as my shins shut up and I kept going. So as long as I tackle this in 4-or-so mile increments and can get two runs in this week that are in that range, I know on race day I will make it work and drag my arse across that line one way or another.
What I think I am starting to realise in the running and the training is that so much of this is about my mental state. Believe you can do it, and you will! And today I am going to cut myself the slack and shut off the noisy parts in my brain to do just that… And if I can’t manage to do that, instead I can think about all the good things in Seattle that I am going to get to eat, see and do once I finish this 🙂
What is it with my joints and repetitive stress injuries? Sure I spent 13 years of my life competitively flipping myself out (physically not metaphorically- ok maybe metaphorically but I am focusing on physical :)) and 16 years jamming things up with grace and ballet. All this meant I used to sing the Toes-Ankles-Knees-and-Toes-Knees-and-Toes song while cracking each of those joints (plus many more that scare a goodly dose of people) on command. To this day when I bend down it is like those little gnomes Snap, Crackle, and Pop took up residence in my joints… But still why??
So the fact that I get IT-band friction syndrome, or tennis elbow from tumbling as an adult or have had ankles with enough scar tissue in them that a cortisone injection burnt through only tissue in the impingement or now runners knee… Shouldn’t be any big surprise. Still the comedic timing right before my race, that is only one of those “No Tink only you…” components of my life.
I am pretty sure with my erratic running training… Taking a week off and then running what turned out to be 19.1 mi in a week (yes I only now realized that…) the most I have done in all the training. Yeah, it might have blasted the whole no more than 10% increase so that there is no injury holy grail. Which when added to running outdoors with hills… Plus not stretching much after the race… I am guessing probably didn’t help my cause.
I thought I was OK though. I have been over protective through out most of my training. I hit the treadmill to protect my ankles and knees. I had no pain all day Saturday or Sunday. Not even muscle soreness. Lactic acid be gone! It wasn’t until a few minutes before bed that I squatted down to pick something up and lightning before my eyes. Sharp pain around my knee cap with some bruise like tenderness. If I had thought things through I would have started icing then and there. Instead I took some Vitamin I thinking it would calm itself down while I slept. Ummm negative ghost rider.
I know my knees. I know this isn’t a big problem or “true” injury. It is a cantankerous joint with a nice case of irritated inflammation thanks to weak muscles. And thanks to the power of Google I have info! Medically it is called/known as patellofemoral pain syndrome (PPFS). The pain is caused by tracking issues with the knee cap (HA! did I mention I used to have floating ones and get fluid removed from underneath when I was a teenager- seriously why am I even pretending to feign any surprise at this??) that irritate the bony groove the knee cap actually sits in. This annoying and common problem most often strikes newbies (present and accounted for), it is most often caused by tight hamstrings and calves (so did you talk to my PT specialist?) coupled with weak quads (oh yeah them…).
One of those dichotomies of running is that the same muscular legs that run me 10 miles, are also pretty freaking weak, and yet they are “muscular looking.” I am an enigma wrapped in a Spanish tortilla, and my quads need help. Not for the strength in the sense of leg-press my weight plus, no in the sense of doing that more than a few of those. Oh magic ball- I see more wall sits in my future. And if I am going to keep up with the whole running thing (which I am surprisingly thinking Yes to more and more) a true regime of strength training is on order.
I am relatively hopeful that this will self heal (at least to the only annoyed level) quickly. My body despite all I put it through or my age, is pretty damn healthy and resilient if I am respectful of it. And a few days of laying low, trying to eat better, walking funny up and down the stairs and some acupuncture later this week isn’t going to kill me. In the meantime and despite my half-marathon concerns (it is the 25th and that is like 10 days away!), I have a few rest/recovery days ahead of me. Not to mention a few cool and hot dates with my new beau ACE and his competition for my love and attention Arnica Gel. All while mainlining of Vitamin I. RICE it’s not just what’s for dinner!
Besides a Jingle Bell Run or Patty’s Day Dash 5k fun run I have never “road raced.” And I ran those almost a decade ago… Yet somehow 3 months back I thought it was a good idea to sign up for a half marathon. Why yes I need more tequila to explain that last sentence…
Way back when I made the training schedule I subscribed to the idea that it might be smart to run a 10k before I ran a half marathon… So I signed up with a friend from work for “fun” and accountability. Fast forward 3 months of ERT (trademark pending) and twas the night before the 10k. I knew I had put in enough training to I feel OK about today’s run. Sure I slept in my running gear and rolled out of the bed, tossed on the shoes and grabbed my breakfast as I headed straight out the door. I had to pick up my bib morning of so I can confirm that I was up and on the subway at an hour no self-respecting human should be… But I was OK. I knew I would finish, but I had no idea how the race/run was going to pan out. See there was this one nagging thought in the back of my mind- “you have not run outdoors in any of your training.”
Yeah I have a dirty little secret to let you in on, I like the treadmill. It feeds and nourishes my inner control freak and let’s me get my OCD on by letting me track and pace myself. It also is climate controlled. And in the sub-zero straight to tropical clime of NYC that matters as far as I am concerned. Earlier in the week though I was sweating that dirty little secret (literally) when all of a sudden it was 97F and 60+% humidity. I was pretty sure that this race was going to kill me. I could do it slow, but hot and sweaty- that was something else.
However despite my insistent belief otherwise, I am generally quite lucky. The weather fairy has a bipolar disorder that is currently not under treatment and as we swung 20F up earlier in the week, it swung 30F down by Saturday. Hows bout dem apples as proof global warming doesn’t exist?? So race morning was gray with a possibility of misty that twists into downpour at 66F with humidity that was not oppressive for once. Yay weather fairy and her DSM IV classification! Closest to perfect weather I could ask for…
The Mini was the first ever Women’s only road running race, named after the mini-skirt. This year the race was dedicated to Grete Waitz. A unique part of the race is that though most of the race is run around the main Central Park loop, Central Park West is shut down and you run up it for a little more than a mile before you cut into the park. So Saturday at 8am I lined up with 5,000 or so other women (including a lovely work colleague who ran with me) at the 40th NYRR Mini 10K start line. For a while there I thought the nerves might get a hold of me, but the environment had such a camaraderie that I just went with it. My only goal was to finish 🙂 But things went so much better than that!
For the first mile I was a bit paranoid as what felt like an attack of shin splints was hitting my left shin pretty hard, but I went slow and I kept on chugging along. At mile 2 I was a bit disheartened as I noticed I was running 13:15 minute miles, but I decided instead of stopping for a walk, I would just keep on going. I must admit having people on the side lines cheering made that decision MUCH easier. Then at the top of the park you go around this corner and all holy hell there is *that* mofo hill. Mile 3 marker is at the bottom of it and I have to say there was a line up of men there many of them with cowbells SHAKING those things like they were their money makers for us. I love them. They were enough to convince me that it was smarter to run up that thing DEAD slow than it was to stop. After that hill, the rest of the race was pretty much easy. But the real surprise was that I just kept running. I took water at each station, so there were a few steps in there as I poured the water in the pie hole, but I didn’t stop running overall. Even more impressively I started to pick up time. By the time I was at mile 5 the timer was just turning over on 01:00. That and the fact that it was mile 5 jacked me up with some adrenaline and endorphins as I listened to Pink sing So What (I need running music with a pop-y beat and that along with Imma Be by Black Eyed Peas and Tambourine by Eve took me in the last haul) and pushed it for the last 1.1 mile. At the point I saw the mile 6 marker I knew I had it. I knew I was going to finish and I was going to have run the whole damn thing!! The last 100 m I sprinted my way in darting around others who didn’t realise that THERE WAS A FINISH LINE TO CROSS NOW PEOPLE! I always was the kid in middle school on the dreaded timed mile run that at the finish line would just GO FOR IT. Still am that kid it turns out 🙂 The timer read 1:13:03 and I lifted my arms up in a victory pump as I stomped on the timer pad.
After the run the race provides Gatorade (I partook), a bagel (I passed), a carnation (shared with my friend from work’s almost three year old) and a nice medal which I wore for the rest of the damn day! I met up with my friend, we found her family and after 10 minutes of playground time for the Little One (from here on in known as the King of the Castle) it was off to breakfast. Waking up at the god crack of dawn and running for over an hour makes me HANGRY!
Pre-race I’d had a slice of Ezekiel bread with butter and vegemite (it has been an obsession since I went to Australia earlier this year and tried it for the first time). Now it was time for post-race fueling, all the books say it is important to my muscle development, repair and recovery. What? A mimosa with its vitamin C and bacon for the salt/electrolyte replacement were essential! And I even got whole wheat toast to go with those three sunny side up eggs that I pulverized 🙂
Later on in the day while I was at a second brunch with a good friend who will be moving soon (where I virtuously ate an arugula salad with mint lemonade and then had a slice of lemon thyme pound cake with yogurt and strawberries) official race times were posted. I was flabbergasted. Turns out I ran my first 10K for a PR of 1:09:54. Under 1:10 with a 11:15 pace according to NYRR!! That may not be fast for most, but keeping in mind that most of my mid-longer runs at best are done in slight intervals, involve walking, and over at least 1:00 slower per mile (the fastest I have run a long run was 12:15 minute avg per mile) I was quite chuffed!
It’s now two days later and I am still not sure what to think about it all. I wasn’t really sore over the weekend, but late Sunday night my knee flared up (*pray it is not a true case of runners knee just a cranky old gymnasts knee*). So I am laying a bit low while dosing up on Vitamin I as I to try not to have a full panic attack given that I have a half marathon in less than two weeks that I am traveling for… I absolutely understand now why people run races- totally worth it! Especially the people on the sidelines- they are amazing! I am astounded by what I did (I ran 6.1 miles straight, faster than I expected!) and have accomplished with only 3-3.5 months of training. I am somewhat frightened by the whole “that was only half of what is going to be barreling down at you in less than two weeks” thing (CUE THE PANIC!). And if you had told me 4 months ago I would be doing this and thinking I might start calling myself a runner- I’d have asked to have some of whatever that good stuff you were taking a toke of. But I have to admit, I am *that* much closer to saying it.
So ummm hi there… Turns out I am not as good as I hoped I would be about le blogging. But as I am now in the final stretch to the Seattle Rock n’ Roll Half-Marathon, I figure it is now or never to try this again! 🙂
I don’t know that I believe I have made it this far. Not that I thought I wouldn’t do it, but I would be lying if I said it didn’t surprise me. Three months into my four months of half marathon training and the rollercoaster continues. I kept to my schedule RELIGIOUSLY for the first month. In the second month I made schedule version 2.0 and more or less got in all the workouts planned but had to shuffle things around. During month three I traveled and more or less ditched my training calendar. I had a whole week in there (last week actually) where I didn’t do a damn thing. And next up the unknown of month four and Race Day!
I call it erratic running training (ERT- trademark pending). Not necessarily the best approach, but after a week of doing no intentional training activities… I dragged my ass out anyways and ran my long run today. It was my first double digit run- 10 miles. I feel like I have taken hallucinogenic or psychotropic drugs each time I say that. I was never the distance girl, I was always a sprinter. Now I am the tortoise not the hare…
So while my run it was slow, it also is only 3.1 short of my half marathon! Sure there were plenty of points where I was *THIS* close to saying I should make this a shorter run. My thunderthighs took everything I had in me to heave them step by step, there were a few moments where I was nauseous (a first), oh how the mileage was S-L-O-W to move and towards the end I gave up any race against the clock idea to run shorter intervals and focus on finishing because did I mention, my legs were no longer interested in this run??
Thank the gods I am born of a great lineage of impressively stubborn and thick-skulled people. I said it was 10 miles I was running before I started the run and by the love of all that is holey and the baby Cheesus… I ran my 10 miles! While I might not have gotten that energetic runners high yet, I do have that SCREW YOU KNEE AND DEADWEIGHT BUTTCHEEKS victory face planted on my pucker 🙂
More importantly despite my worst fears about falling off horses and rolling down a hill so inevitably fast that I would be cracked up with Humpty Dumpty down there… I have learned how to get myself back on the rails and rolling. Not always easy for sure, but it is a simple enough thing to do. I do it one day at a time, committing to that day, that activity, and that moment from the moment I start of just getting shit done. That is how I do this…