Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The tale of the 20 miler-Part 2

OK.  Where was I before pesky work got in the way of my blogging?  Ah yes. The adventure started as we headed through MSU campus and hopped on the river trail.  We were pretty shielded from the elements throughout the 6 mile stretch of the trail.  We debated taking a pee on the trail but decided against dropping our drawers (well, shorts) when we saw a colorful looking gentleman hanging out by the bushes.  We thought, no need for him to see our *bushes* (sorry, I had to say that).
At any rate, we decide to press on to our first water break (of five...hey, we like to stop every once in a while).  As we approached, we couldn't help but notice a rather sketchy looking man holding a rather Cujo-esque looking mutt (we guessed Pitbull so if that makes the story more interesting, go with it). The couple was right next to where our water was hidden and wouldn't you know that Cujo mutt lifted his hind leg up and took a tinkle frighteningly close to our hydration?  Since we didn't have Peg the Dog Whisperer on this venture, Lisa and I decided Sara should get the water for us.  Hey, she placed it there...she knew where it was, right?  The man held Cujo tight on his leash and we (well, Sara) got our water, hoping there wasn't a little extra on our bottles. Sara offered Cujo the rest of her water and we were on our way. 
The next stretch was up Turner Road in a not so pretty part of town.  Let's just say certain areas made us run a little faster, for example when we saw 2 brothas in sideways tilted hats dancing and hooting across the street from us.  Definitely put a little pep in my step.  And there were a few cat calls from an apartment complex further down the road.  But, the smell of bacon and pancakes from a hole-in-the-wall joint called "Golden Harvest" almost stopped us dead in our tracks.  Come to find out this place is the best breakfast place in Lansing...there was a line out the door when we passed.  May have to be a post-marathon Diva excursion.  We dealt with some pretty nasty wind gusts as we left our 2nd water stop around mile 9 but all and all the weather was cooperating.  Well, maybe it was a tad warmer than I would have liked. (picky, picky).  We pressed through and weaved into Staci's subdivision for water stop #3 (around 13 miles).   She and Peg hammered 12 out earlier but Staci left us a cooler full of hydration goodies.  Never was I so excited to see water and a bit of Gatorade...although I could have done without seeing Staci happily sipping on her Diet Coke, all finished running, when I still had 7 to go. 
As we pulled out of her sub, I started day dreaming about the big foamy Oberon I'd be drinking in about an hour.  We continued on and came to our only official cheering section (besides the cat callers on Turner).  Sara's co-worker Phyllis and her husband were outside their house cheering us on.  Phyllis's husband even ran with us for a few steps.  And they made a sign in the window that said "GO SARA GO".  It definitely gave us a push to keep going. 
We chugged some water at the second to last stop and it was pretty quiet.  No laughing, no joking.  Not even a smile. I was just ready to get "the bitch done" as Lisa would say.  And, I knew Cutler Road was coming up, which is a 2 mile stretch of country road where there is no protection from the weather.  The wind was to our back on Turner, so we'd be running into it on Cutler.  What's more fun than running into 20 mph wind gusts after running 16 miles?  Hm. Perhaps scratching your eyeballs out?
I ran that stretch alone.  I got a second wind and just wanted to be done.  I was cranky. My knees hurt.  My feet hurt. I wanted beer and pizza.  My house was the last water stop and I realized that we would be running too far if went there.  So we decided to cut into town and stop off at our favorite unofficial water stop, Sweetie Pie, and then pick up extra by Rellis, where our journey would end in mozzarella bliss.  Sweetie Pie couldn't come soon enough so we detoured into St. Jude Catholic Church.  Yes, church.  Thankfully there was a water fountain there or else I would have been sticking my head in the holy water (sign of the cross).  We made a brief potty stop (why not? Not the bushes...), had a quick prayer with Jesus for strength, and we were on our way.  Can't call me a Christmas/Easter Catholic anymore...
Anyway, the last couple of miles were rough, I'm not going to lie.  Amazingly I started to feel pretty good around 19.5 and picked it up a little bit.  Some people say a mantra like "I AM STRONG" or "I AM SPEED" to get them through the last bit of a run or race.  My mantra for this 20 miler was "GET THE BITCH DONE".  Peg cheered us on from her car right around that point and I gave a 2 fist pump in the air and a "whoo hooo!".   I turned around and Lisa and Sara weren't looking so happy. I am not sure, but I may have seen an obscene finger gesture coming from Sara.  So, I put on my coach Kim hat because I knew if I was struggling, they'd do the same for me.  We got through the last 1/2 mile until all of our Garmins chimed for 20 miles.  We got the bitch done.

And then we stumbled into Relli's where a big, cold pitcher of Oberon was waiting for us.
cheers!  we did it!

We sat our sweaty smelly behinds down (hopefully Relli's cleaned those seats after we left!) and relived every moment of our epic run.  We inhaled our bread sticks and pizza and beer, relishing every bite.  And why not?  According to my Garmin I burned 2,020 calories!

The "piece de resistance":  warm, doughy, buttery breadsticks

Looking pretty good after 20 (and 12) miles ladies.  Chicago and Baltimore, here we come!

Now I know why Hal Higdon and every marathon trainer makes you run a 20 mile run.  Yeah, I guess it is for the endurance and to teach your body how to deal with the physical and mental stress of running over 3 hours. And I am sure it is to practice your nutrition, hydration, and what you will wear for race day:  a dress rehearsal if you will.
But for me, it gave me the confidence to finally say, "I am running a marathon in October and I know I am going to be able to finish it".  We can do it ladies!  It's all downhill from here...

The tale of the 20 miler-Part 1

**Disclaimer**Just like the actual run itself, this post may be epic in proportions.  It's been a while since I detailed a long run to you all, so why not do it now? Sit back, grab your favorite beverage, and enjoy.  I also cannot be responsible for the use of naughty words.  Feel free to skip over those that are offensive to you.

Twenty F-ing miles (I won't bust the big dog out.  Yet.).  This is what I was thinking ALL week.  I was wound tighter than a spool of string as I listened to the wind HOWL outside my window Friday morning at 5:30 am.  I checked for the millionth time and there were no changes.  Chance of thunderstorm and winds at 20-25 mph.  At least I'd be distracted for the moment as I rallied the kids to get ready for school.  As I finished brushing my teeth, Sara walked in the house.  She didn't want to be alone thinking about the run, so she played bus driver with me as we shuttled a car full of kids off to school. We dropped one of our beloved crates in it's rightful water stop and headed to Rellis, our end point, to wait for Lisa.
As we waited there, and used the potty quickly, I couldn't help but think "Holy Shit, the next time we come back here it will be about 4 hours later and we will have RUN the entire way from East Lansing!".
Momma Relli even thought we had fallen off our rockers.

Our beloved crates...always ready for the Divas

Lisa arrived and she looked about as freaked out as we were.  On the ride, we bantered back and forth about weather, the technicalities of when to eat our GU and drink water, how much water we would drink, etc. Type A runners...gotta love it.  We dropped a meijer bag full of water in Old Towne Lansing (water stop #1) and prayed it would still be there an hour later.  Lots of sketchiness surrounding that water stop, but more on that later...

We make it to the start of our run in East Lansing at Plante Moran, the accounting firm where Lisa's husband worked.  We all take advantage of the basement potty because let's face it, for the next 3 1/2 hours we could be peeing with weeds sticking up our butts for all we know...

We set out on our journey which will take us through Michigan State University campus, on the Lansing River trail, passing Potter Park Zoo and downtown Lansing.  We will then head through Old Towne Lansing and up Turner Road (with lots of interesting things to look at...).  Then we will weave through 3 subdivisions in DeWitt, run through country roads and finally make our way to downtown DeWitt and our final destination: Rellis for beer and pizza.  We will run through 2 counties, several cities and townships, 5 water stops, 1 official cheering section and 1 church.  Yes, everyone needs a little Jesus at mile 18.

Find out all about it on my next post...

Thursday, September 23, 2010

I needed further inspiration for tomorrow...

A quick shot of me finishing the Playmakers Autumn Classic 8K (39:03)
typically i take horrible running photos so i figured i might as well post this half way decent one :)
click below:
Gallery: 10PAC-42:20 & under

And here is Sara: (click below)
Gallery: 10PAC-42:20 & under

And here is Lisa: (click below)

The glass is half full

Tomorrow is the day of this marathon training I have completely and totally dreaded.  The 20 miler.  Yes, I did run 18.  And 19 miles.  But 20 miles?  Gulp.  That is going into another numerical bracket and getting out of the teens.  Being as type A as I am, I have been voraciously studying to see what Friday's skies have in store for us.  As of 6:12 pm Thursday evening, here is what we've got:
9am: Scattered Thunderstorms.  21 mph winds. Chance precip: 40%
10 am: Scattered Thunderstorms.  21 mph winds. Chance precip: 30%
11 am: Isolated Thunderstorms (hey, it's getting better!).  22 mph winds (shit, spoke too soon). Chance precip: 30%
12 pm (yes, we will still be running): Isolated Thunderstorms. 23 mph winds. Chance precip: 30%
1 pm (you got it...still could be running:  WINDY. (you know you're screwed when it just says that) 24 mph winds. Chance of precip: 20%

Let the obsessing begin:  What to wear?  Will it rain?  Will we get struck by lightening? We are already jammed up about when to drink water and eat GUs and hell, I am freaking out a bit to run 20 miles but now we get to add mother nature to the mix.

So let's do the flip-side and make it all sound better.
-Instead of 20 miles in this weather, we could be running our 26.2 in this junk.  Doing it now ensures that we'll have nice weather for Baltimore, right?
-It could be 90 degrees instead of 70 degrees
-It could be a 90% chance of rain instead of 20-40% chance.  So that means it's 60-80% likely it WON'T rain.  I'd take those odds in Vegas.  I think.
-23 mile per hour winds.  Not too much I can come up with that other than at least it's not wind with hail, ice, sleet and the like.  Perhaps that wind will push our rears from behind the whole time and make us super speedy?
-I could be doing this alone.  Thank goodness for the Diva's, or else I'd call 19 miles two weeks ago good enough.
-The end of the run is at Relli's where we will feast on greasy pizza, over sized bread sticks, and large Oberon beers.  Ahhhh...that will get us through.  I hope.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Only 12

Here we go...only 4 more long runs until the big kahuna.  Today it was "just" a 12 miler on a beautiful overcast 60 something degree day.  Normally, "overcast" and "beautiful" do not coincide but in a runner's mind, they do.  No sun to contend with, just the cool breeze in our faces as we ran a couple of loops around East Lansing. And after trotting along for almost 2 hours, we treated ourselves to some Bigby coffee:  for me a big old steamy Bigby mocha (chocolate, caffeine, and milk-it was the perfect recovery drink, right?  Scratch that, the perfect recovery drink is a big old frosty Oberon beer...but we'll save that one for post 20 miler). 

It seems hard for me to believe that after the dreaded 20 miler next week, we'll have "just" 12 and "just" 8 miles to go for long runs.  So many months of training, planning, speculating, dreaming...and it's almost over.  It makes me kind of sad that the training is coming to an end (what am I crazy?!?!?!?) but I am sure the Diva's will come up with some other crazy race to get us through the winter months.

Our flights are reserved.  Our hotel room is secured.  Pre-race dinner plans are being thought of (Dinner at Little Italy in Baltimore...yummm...).  We even have our massages scheduled already for crying out loud (something to look forward to for sure).  It's really almost here.

Just that big old 20 miler looming ahead of us next Friday.  But don't worry, we've got even better post run plans in store for that...look forward to a photo documentary of this last big training run.  I am sure it will be quite classic...(promise I won't take any pics of anyone pooping in the corn field.  you know who you are...)

Sunday, September 12, 2010

You know you are training for a marathon when...

Having trained for this godforsaken marathon for 13 glorious weeks now, I have had time to experience many aspects of getting ready for this race.  I would like to present to you:


You know you are training for a marathon when:
-weeks away from the race, you are already thinking about what you will wear on race day (this may only pertain to us "Type A" runners)
-during the last few weeks of training your long run is "JUST" a 12 miler
-a 3 mile run doesn't even seem worth running
-you can't stop eating everything in bless'd sight (like blowing through an entire jar of peanut butter in a week)
-on that note, you run more miles per week than you ever have, yet you have gained 2 pounds (READ: unfair)
-you find yourself discussing your nutritional intake on yesterday's 19 mile run to someone at a party (and you can't understand why he isn't engaged in when/where you should take your GUs)
-you can perform a myriad of bodily functions (i.e., pee, poop, snot, spit) just about anywhere during a run.  Pop a squat on the River Trail? check.  Poop in the corn field?  check.  Farmer's blow on command?  check.
-you have more running shorts, running tanks, and Smartwool socks in the laundry than you do jeans and Tshirts
-on your "rest day" your kids ask you why you are not running
-you hear the distance alert chime from your Garmin in your sleep
-you eat the same meal before a long run every week (That one is for Sara and her goulash)
-you are slightly amazed at the fact you just ran for 3 hours consecutively, but don't toot your horn too much knowing for the marathon you need to go another hour or so.

please feel free to add to the list...

Sunday, September 5, 2010

The Sign

OK. Now I promise you won't see this invention on an infomercial with Billy Mayes's (RIP) predecessor barking about it's value and screaming "BUT WAIT!  THERE'S MORE", but I think the running community out there would dig it for sure.  My invention is a sign that you can pin on your Tshirt that says a little something about the run you are doing.  Almost like a race bib, but dry erase fashion so you can change what reads on the sign daily, hourly or by the minute.

Let me give you an example:
Last Friday the Divas and I were running our 3rd to last loonnnnnggg run before the BIG ONE (EEEK).  We were on the "4-mile loop" in DeWitt (that everyone and their brother runs around) and at that point we were at mile 16 or so.  I am sure we were looking a bit whipped.  Maybe just a liiiiittle bit tired.  On the other side of the road a spunky little lady runs by, fresh legs and all. She's just a-bopping along, big old smile on her face.  She probably just left her house a moment ago.  She breezed past us and waved.  I could almost see the pity in her eyes, as if she was thinking, "Oh My.  They must be beginner runners if they look that beat running the 4 mile loop".  Tsk Tsk.
This, my friends, is where the sign comes in.  I'd have that sucker pinned to my chest and it would scream in all caps: "I HAVE JUST RUN 16 MILES!".  And since it would be a dry erase sign, I could quickly erase it once I hit 17 miles.  And 18.

Or how about this one?  You ran 13 miles and then taught a really tough "BootCamp" class all in one day.  You are sore.  You can barely walk down the stairs without wincing.  Sitting on the toilet is a chore.  Not that this has ever happened to me, I can only speculate...
Anyway, you need to push out a 5 mile run and you run it realllllly slow.  I mean, turtles are passing you by.  Now, couldn't that sign come in handy?

Yet some more ideas for "The Sign":
"RACED A 21 MINUTE 5K YESTERDAY" (not really, but a girl can dream)
"I JUST DID 10x400s.  SUCKA."

Or it could be a warning system for other runners too:

Maybe someday we'll have "The Sign".  For now, we'll have to keep them all guessing.

Friday, September 3, 2010

There is something a-matter with me

I am not quite normal.  You see as I type this it is 4:30 AM (yes, AM).  I sit before you on the computer with my running clothes on, sneakers laced, with a banana and peanut butter and a strong cup of joe.  We are all meeting here in about a 1/2 hour for a 13 mile run.
Since when do I think it's OK to wake up at this ungodly hour and do these things?  Abbey, our 9 year old yellow lab who has perfected the art of lazy-dog, actually gave me a dirty look when I stepped over her on my way down the stairs.  I am certain if my coffeemaker could talk it would say "STOP! Wait!  Don't brew you realize it is the middle of the night?"
You may ask, "If you are running at 5:15 am, why do you wake up at 4:20 am?"
Let me explain.
First of all, it's 4:20 and not a minute more.  4:15 seemed horribly close to 4 am and that is stupidly early.  Then, I need to be sure I get a little nourishment down for the run, along with coffee, which system going.  Let me tell you, you need to get ALL things out of the lower GI before embarking out on a long run.  So, we need some time for *that* to peculate.
Then there is the water situation.  Far be it for us Divas to carry our own water, we need water stops.  First we had some garbage bags full of bottled water, but those got stolen.  Now we have 2 full-time full on crates, complete with labels ("Do not DRY out the DIVAS") with water bottles in them.  Along with GU, jelly beans, gum, bandaids, wet wipes, toilet paper/tissues (because sometimes things don't come ALL the way out), extra hair ties, advil, and perhaps a tampon or two.  You just never know.  Anyway, I need to drop the water in carefully planned out locations so we are properly hydrated.  Oops.  I should probably leave now...gotta get that water out there and I think *something* is brewing down there.
And I ain't talking coffee...