Posts Tagged With: race

Moving On

It has been a month since I heard the news. It’s been a month of doing absolutely nothing. By choice. But, But. but! Isn’t that what they say? The choice to do nothing is still doing something? I chose to ignore.

In truth I ran in purple this weekend with you in mind. Doesn’t that contradict everything I said I feel? Nothing I said I would do? A prince’s power to make me think of you. A Purple Reign. The night before I got the word. You are still a heartbeat; alive and kicking they say. You just don’t have as much to say. Duly noted. I won’t say it either.
But, let me back up and just say “But, I ran.” I know I will sound like someone else when I offer up excuses, but they are all true. I wasn’t feeling well before the Purple Run. I was tempted to turn a ten into a five and call it good. No. I could only tell myself came here to run. Not make my excuses. The temptation was fleeting and gone before I could really chew on it. Instead I threw up.

This was a good run, all things considered. A solid sub ten minute mile the entire way. Through crowds of meandering families strolling with their strollers and dogs I managed to break an hour. Boston in my ear, telling me he’s going to buy me a beer…right after a run to the Dunk. It’s only an app but it had me giggling. I like my Boston.

I have moved on from this. I’m setting my sights on a half. My first since September. I have moved on.

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Show Your Mettle

The Worcester FD6K gave out medals this year. This bemuses me to no end. I always thought you had to run something a little longer – say, 13 or 26 miles – in order to earn hardware. No matter. I’m not about to turn down the shiny bling because it was “just” a 6K.

Remember how I said the Noodle was my first race actually running with someone? I take it all back. Now that I think of it, that wasn’t a real race. When the bumble bee had to walk I sort of jogged to wait for her. Never came to a complete stop and, and. And! I even let her come across the finish line before me. I look back on that race as Whatever.
The WFD6K was something else. I was supposed to run with Stealth last year. I’m not sure what happened but he ran his race and I ran mine. I finished a few seconds before him and ever since then I’ve known he’s my match.
First things first. I need to set the stage: weather was sunny, a bit blowy as my Australian friend would say (gusts up to 40mph – sound familiar?), a little on the cool side. Perfect…except for the wind. Before the start Stealth and I agreed – if one of us felt stronger than the current pace we should let the other go. For some reason I was counting on him to ditch me by mile three. What I wasn’t counting on was the congestion. It’s a walk AND run so you get all kinds of people. We spent more energy dodging strollers, lovebirds and those who insisted on stopping dead in their tracks for whatever reason. At one point we were running in the grass just to get away from the herd.

Here’s the thing. Remember how I said I expected Stealth to take off? Every time I thought I lost him he was right with me. I learned to look to my left to locate him. Just a glance at my feet and I would find his, just two steps behind. The only time I truly detached from  him was at the very end. As I surged up the final hill I had a sense he wasn’t there. I couldn’t find his feet. Turns out, he was four seconds behind. Our times: 33:06 & 33:10 🙂 He said I pushed him but I thought he pushed me. Now, that’s a running partner.

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Four Minute Rule

I have exactly four minutes to say something, anything about the Memorial 5k I ran last weekend. In a word, quick. In two words, flat and fun.
This was part of a two-day festival, craft fair, parade, you name it, complete with a cannon blast signaling the start of a civil war reenactment. The run kicked off the whole affair at, wait for it, where else but the library. And talk about informal! No start line to speak of. No timer within sight. I joked about my bib number being the area code for Maine and no one got it (Hello? 207? Never mind). As I looked around I saw a bunch of fancy people with Garmin gear all warming up and feeling for pulses. Probably, I’d say, 70 people running. Total. All of them wealthy as fukc. I mean, who runs in diamonds? Who sweats with pearls? All in head to toe matching outfits. I knew my place immediately. Back of the lulumon pack. Seriously.
I ran a good run. 28 minutes flat according to MMR. I would have broken 28 except I stopped to help a girl who had fallen flat on her face right in front of me. She tripped over a pebble somewhere in the road and planted. Hard. I couldn’t just run by her. Could I? That would have been rude. Right?
After the run the church hosted a pretty decent pancake breakfast. Me, myself and moi, we like to eat, so you know what we were doing. 😉
So. That was the 5k. The end.

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Everyone has their bag of tricks. It might be as simple as a lucky pair of socks that someone has to wear before every race. Mine is a pain of lime green Wright socks. It might be that favorite hydrator (cola Nuun) or fuel (espresso GU) during a run. Or it might be the sweet sweats you slip into after a hard workout (Simmons pants circa 2003). Everyone has their thing to keep them fighting. Except when they don’t.

I lost my mojo a few weeks back. Actually, it started with the groin thing and progressed into a head thing. I am officially a nutcase. I know I have said this before, but since I still feel this way I’ll say it again. I feel as though I have been dropped from a great height. Nothing is broken beyond repair but I’m put back together differently. The right leg is on the left. My head is on backwards. Everything is awkward and sideways.
Two weekends ago I ran a 5K in the driving snow. Champion moment: I actually ran WITH someone for the entire time. A first for me. She has a faster pace but she’s a firecracker, burning out to the point of needing to walk. We’d be killing an 8 mm pace and suddenly stop dead. I ended up jogging ahead each time she walked. I was willing her to catch up; just so I could keep up when she bolted off again. This happened three different times but at least we finished with a sub-30 time. Sigh.
This last Tuesday another first. Sciatic nerve pain. Back pain is finally a harsh reality. For nearly a week it has been hell trying to stand, walk, sleep, anything. I haven’t run. Feels like deja vu. I’m three weeks out from Alton Bay and again, I’m working through an injury that came from nothing. Kisa wants me to stop training to let everything “rest” before the race. He thinks because I ran 26.2 in November I’ve trained enough for 13.1 in May. Such a sweet boy. I wish I could lay on the couch for the next three weeks and then run Alton like it’s nothing. But, I can’t. Alton Bay is everything.

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Depends on Who You Ask

The St. Patrick’s Day Run. Okay. I don’t want to talk about it, but we know we should.
If you ask moi how it went myself will answer with a question of my own, “The race according to whom?” Because it depends on who you ask. The run according to RaceWire is wildly different from the run according to MapMyRun. Observe:

RaceWire: 1:07:31
MMR: 1:00:48

See what I mean? So, let’s talk about this. From the beginning. I was supposed to run with someone else. Someone who runs a six minute mile. I was okay with that. I will never run that fast, but he’s never run more than three miles. He’s unaccustomed to hills and I hadn’t been training for them. My only edge would have been I know these hills so I know what to expect. I know what’s coming. I thought given our strengths and weaknesses we would balance each other out. Long story short, when he bowed out I was half disappointed, but half relieved as well. The half relief comes from being a solo runner. My comfort zone typically doesn’t have room for a companion. The idea of running alone was bringing me back to what I know. Yet. And yet, I was half disappointed because I felt I was undertrained for this run. We established that already. I did one incline practice run with New Guinea and that was it.

Everything about this run was weird from the beginning. For starters, I never got a confirmation email from race coordinators when I registered. Subsequent alerts like bib number and corral placement never came either. In order to pick up my bib I had to delve into the guts of RaceWire, find my registration & determine my number from there. You can’t pick up your gear without it. Luckily, there were no problems.

Race day dawned clear and chilly, warming up to a balmy 42 degrees. For three years in a row I put myself in the eleven minute mile corral. It’s my lucky spot. This year I was supposed to be in the ten minute mile corral (based on my registration). I had decided to get out of the lie of “eleven” and tell the truth of “ten”. Turns out, I ended up in the way, way, waaayy back. We’re talking back of the pack porta-potty way,way back. With the walkers. With the people joking about stretchers and oxygen tanks and exclamations of What Did I Get Myself Into?

How do I describe the run itself? I couldn’t find Kisa in the first mile. That’s a first. My playlist stopped after the kick-off song (Supply and Demand by Amos Lee). That’s a first, too.
Tuba guy. I found him walking up the penultimate hill and never saw him again. Speaking of hills. Have I mentioned the hills? Elevation goes like this: 164 ft -> 259 -> 315 -> 452 -> 187 -> 222. I powered up every one of those hills as if my life depended on it. No walking, no resting. Just a lot of deep breathing and meditative pacing. I ran them just as strong as any other year.
Probably the most moving part of the run wasn’t the near naked guy in a tutu. It wasn’t the couple who insisted on holding hands. No, it was the entire 82rd Recruit Training Troop of the Massachusetts State Police running in formation in honor of fallen office Thomas Clardy. Running along side them made my whole day.

But. But! But, I don’t know if I have a new PR for this run. If I were to go with RaceWire’s time I most definitely did not PR. In fact I ran six minutes slower. I’ll say it again – S L O W E R. I don’t even know how that is possible unless I remind myself I was undertrained. Maybe it only felt like I was running stronger?

If I were to go with MapMyRun I would be thrilled to say I PR’ed it by 1 minute and 47 seconds. I want to believe this time because I really pushed it this year. I felt like I was working as hard as I could. I powered up every incline and sailed through every straightaway; sprinting on the downhills. My split times match the course perfectly mile for mile. I didn’t take time for water, nor to hobnob or high five anyone. In other words I didn’t fukc around.*

Who do I trust? The chip in my bib or the gps in the sky? RaceWire tracked me crossing the start & finish lines. MMR tracked me the entire way. I simply do not know my own time.

*Okay. Confessional: I DID fist pumped a 3′ inflatable alien but only because he was in my way.

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Hit the Ground…

You know how the rest of the saying goes, I’m sure. Let me bring you up to speed on that subject of running.

I ended 2015 on a really gentle note. After the LV mara I took almost a month off and turned my attention to more pressing matters like the holidays (Thanksgiving was the following week) and my health (I got really sick a week after the mara). I finished December with a smattering of small runs (all on the treadmill and all runs under two miles at a time). It felt good to be okay with that. I didn’t even run the Jingle.

January. A new year with new expectations (some of them great, I might add). I registered for a really cool run for NEXT December. Yes, you read that right. December 2016. It’s a charity run in Maine, I’ll tell you more about that later. I am registered for my love, St Pat’s 10k. I also registered for…wait for it…Big Lake! The quick and dirty on this run (skip it if you know it): The year is 2005 and I am most definitely NOT a runner. In fact, I abhor the activity and cannot for a single second imagine how anyone could run a solitary mile, least of all me. And yet! Yet I find myself in late December signing up for a half marathon for the Lymphoma & Leukemia Society’s Team in Training in Alton Bay, New Hampshire. How I got sucked into that, I’ll never know. I had four months to figure out how to run 13.1 miles. 13.1 (!) when I couldn’t run 13.1 yards without gasping for breath. Fast forward three months: March. I’ve hurt my knee to the point of tsk-tsk from my physical therapist. He wants me to bow out. I don’t. May 2006. In the pouring rain I “run” the race (breaking down at mile ten to perform this horrible walk-run-hobble thing for the last three miles) and am told by my physical therapist to “take up swimming” because as a runner, tsk-tsk, my days are done.
Ten years later in the pouring rain I “run” a marathon (breaking down at mile 23 to perform this horrible walk-run-hobble thing for the last three miles) and am told by me & myself we need to rerun Alton Bay. It has bothered me (all these years) that I couldn’t run the whole thing. How many times have you heard me say that? So. It’s time. Redemption time.
So, yesterday I registered for Alton Bay’s Big Lake run. Race coordinators via email tell me, “You’re in!” as way of confirmation. I’m in. It’s official. May 7th, 2016. Maybe it will be pouring rain. I certainly hope so.

One last thought. Someone special said he can’t run but he can root. Root as in root me on. Maybe he’ll be there?

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Run For Your Life

I admitted to the Kisa five little words. I’mStartingToLoseIt. I wasn’t talking about the toenail. That finally fell off two days ago. I was talking about my state of mind. Losing the grip on well-being. With that, the admittance of those five confessional words, I gave myself permission to run again. Last night in the basement. True: it was only 2.06 and I took it s.l.o.w…as in 22 minutes slow. I had my broken toe and all the little aches since the mara to consider. The bigger concern was I think New Guinea was in shock. I haven’t been on a treadmill in what? nine weeks? Something like that. What happens when you neglect a lover for nine weeks? I waited for the retaliation but none came. No motor malfunction, no data distress. The tread ran smoothly below my feet as if I had never left.

But! But. But, now what? What exactly am I running for? Yes, my sanity needs this. But, what else? I’ve always said the run has to have purpose (with the exception of St.Pats because that’s just me being selfish). Where am I going now that Vegas has been said and done? In a word it came to me. In a word – redemption. May 2006 I ran my first half marathon. It sukced. It has always bothered me that I walked part of it. It’s time for me to go back to the Bay and rerun Alton. And not walk a single step of it. And PR it. Wait. Before you say it: it doesn’t matter that I’ve since run nine other half maras, all without walking a single step. You should know my mantra by now: not one step walked. Those other 13.1 distances, they weren’t Alton. It’s time to go back to where it all started. It’s time to redeem myself for the run that has haunted me for nearly ten years.

More later.


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Best Laid Plans

My last blathering was about Chicago and all the planning the Kisa and I were doing in preparation. Well, you know what they say about the best laid plans?

Let me just talk about the 5k and get that out of the way. I have this runner friend who is constantly dissing his race times with disasters: I didn’t sleep the night before; I got lost on the course; I didn’t train AT ALL; my ankle has been giving me trouble…And yet, he would PR this particularly “terrible” race. Each and every time. I, my friends, am going to sound like that friend…minus the PR.

The night before we were to fly to Chicago; the night before the Terrapin 5k remember, I came down with a stomach bug. My first ever. I’ve had food poisoning and I’ve had the flu but I’ve never, ever, ever had this kind of gut-twisting, can’t-decide-if-I-should-kneel-or-sit (cuz I gotta do both at the same time) kind of stomach vileness. And. And! And, at the the same time as my period. I’ll be blunt. It was not pretty. I spent the entire night either in the bathroom or thinking about being in the bathroom; all the while praying this thing would clear up by morning…or at least in time to board the plane. No such luck. I’m a nervous flier but the flight down was a white-knuckler in more ways than one. Then the hour long taxi ride to the hotel was a study in bowel control. Lots of deep breathing and humming to myself. I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry over the ridiculousness of it all.
Then it was time to run the Terrapin 5k. So there I was – I hadn’t slept. I hadn’t eaten in 36 hours. I wasn’t hydrated. I couldn’t keep anything in. My period was raging. To top it off, earlier in the week I had received an email from race officials stating there would be no race-day bib pickup. You would think it would be a no-brainer to give up this run, especially since it didn’t look I’d have a bib number to run with anyway. I think, all things considered, I could have logged a DNS just this once.

But. But! But, I have never DNF let alone DNS. Now was certainly not the time. Never mind that I was literally sick and tired and not just saying that. When I found out I could pick up my bib I didn’t want to pass up this run. I just couldn’t. Illness be damned.

So I ran. In truth I forgot about being sick. I forgot about being tired. I forgot about being in a corral (I was actually pleased to be in the way back in case I had an incident). But, the more I ran the better I felt. Soon I was cruising along the waterfront and watching the boats bob. I was enjoying the sun sparkling on the water. With runners behind me and ahead I was in my element. I love being in a pack. Soon I felt strong enough to pick out runners to quietly slide by. Each passing mile felt better and better. I finished in just under 30 minutes (without incident) with a smile on my face.

And the rest of Chicago? I’ll say this. It took me another two days to find an appetite but that didn’t slow me down. That’s a story for another time.

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The Run of None

If you have been keeping up with us you will know that me and moi were worried about this Sunday’s 6K. Not worried in the fuel, attire, pace, or injury sense, but in the ocrap I don’t want to run with anyone worry. In a sea of feet all I want to do is pay attention to my own.

The night before the race I wasn’t thinking about food. There was none of that I Need To Carb-Load nonsense. A last minute invitation to Korean BBQ found me inhaling extremely delicious stone pot Bibim Bap and kimchi dumplings and laughing with great friends.
The night before the race I wasn’t standing before my closet agonizing over the perfect running outfit. Believe it or not, most of my clothing is on a cycle. I rotate my shoes taking the guess work out of which ones to wear next; my bras are sorted according to mileage (under and over 10K – I call it the chafe threshold); my pants are either long or medium; my shirts are either sleeve or no sleeve. The only real pondering I did was on the morning of the race…when I found out about the weather. Because of the heat (a rumored 80+ degrees at start time) I swapped out capris for shorts (a real first for me) and changed my mind about thicker socks. No brainer.
The day of the race I wasn’t trying to calculate pace. For the simple sake of finding each other my husband and I agreed to meet at a birch tree 45 minutes later. I knew that I wanted to my legs to churn a 10.5 min/mile pace and finish around 40. But, with the heat and hills I couldn’t be sure. 45 just seemed like a better number. Just in case.
The day of the race I didn’t think about tight hips, wonky ankles or whispering knees. The previous three runs were short (2.35, 2.94 and an even 3), but they were strong and relatively without complaint from anyone. I knew 3.75 wasn’t going to be much different.

No, if you know me you know the biggest worry for myself and moi was about having to run this race with someone else. Side by side with someone either much faster or just too slow. In truth, I was worried about ending up running someone else’s race just because I was too polite to be alone. I don’t know how to tell people I am a selfish runner. In the end I worried for nothing. With a smile I was set free to find my own pace.

Here’s the damage: Bib#629 46 F 35:10 9:26/M

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Okay Corral

I don’t race that often. Me, myself and moi have our favorite Holyoke St. Patrick’s Day 10k, which you have heard all about ad nauseam – you know the one. The one with the hills moi always bitches about every year? The one myself is determined to PR every year? That’s the one. Aside from that there are the smattering of opportunistic races that crop up from time to time. The Toronto half and Worcester 6 are two such examples of opportunity. But because I am not a consistent racer. I don’t know my true average pace. Mindful of the asthma and heart issue I always run comfortably (read slowly). I don’t push it and yet I always end up surprising myself. Last night’s New Guinea excursion was 2.95 miles in 30 minutes. Legs are okay. Head is not. Hell, I am just now getting out of the I-Just-Want-To-Finish mindset. Listen to that: I. Just. Want.To. Finish has been my mantra for years; forever actually. For the longest time it was the honest truth. I wasn’t racing anything except my heart. But, let’s be honest here. Nowadays this mantra has gone beyond being humble. To say that I just want to finish is ridiculous. Of course I will finish. It’s high time for moi to put away the doubt and climb into the skin of confidence. Here’s a thought: Why don’t I claim a place in a corral? State a pace and own it? Isn’t it time I put my best pace forward and wear it proudly? Why can’t I?

What brought this on? Kisa found a race in Chicago! Terrapin Station 5k. Start time is a few hours after we land and (this is the best part) it takes place within walking distance of our hotel. How perfect is that? After asking are you sure? Are you really sure? I registered right away (of course I did). But. But! But, here’s the thing – they wanted proof of my pace in order to determine my place. I can’t give them Toronto because of my porta-potty predicament. Dare I push the Worcester 6 and state that time for Terrapin? Dare I say yes? I say it’s time I’m okay with claiming a corral.

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