Thursday, July 28, 2011

Death March 2011

It has taken me this long to be able to talk about last Sunday's death march of 13 miles. This run has risen to the top of being the worst long run in the three years I've been training.

Yep. It was that bad.

At the start I knew it was going to be ugly because I felt tired. Bone tired. The day before I ran what was to be a 5k (see previous post) but ended up running close to 4 miles at a tempo pace (8:59). Plus I just got back from vacation and didn't run much because of the heat wave of 2011. Add on that I totally screwed up taking my thyroid medication. It would help to actually take it! Put all this together and it added up to me wanting to slit my wrists by mile 4 into our long run.

To prove it (I can't believe I am doing this) here are my splits. Typically, my long runs I can hold an average of 10:30-10:35 pace.

11:46 (this is going to fucking suck pace)
11:14
11:13
12:29 (WTF am I doing pace -- get the razor blades!)
11:26
11:24 (someone kill me now pace)
11:18
10:53
10:42
11:59 (starting to doubt everything in life pace)
13:02 (and we are walking)
13:08 (still walking)
10:58

My legs literally ached so bad. I could not move them any faster (obviously). It hurt. It sucked. And I wanted to cry. At one point I was 100 percent positive that I was going to bag the marathon. Say 'fuck it' and just run when I want to, when I felt like it, and not a moment before.

Then I showed up for hill repeats on Tuesday.

I am still devastated about last Sunday and have a lot of doubts swirling in my head. This year I wanted to get a 4:30 or better marathon. With the way things are going, I am not even sure I can do the marathon without walking. What is wrong with me?!

This Saturday we are scheduled for a 16 miler. I am praying to the running gods that just part of the run feels okay. I expect the end to suck monkey tits, but dude, I need a good run.

I NEED IT. I need a fix.

Sigh.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

The 5k Clusterfu*k Race

I've ran some poorly organized races in my days, but this one wins the Clusterfuck of the Year award. It was so screwed up that the organizers basically put a bullet in the head of this race -- it is dead. No one is going to go back.

The race was a 5k to raise money for a non-profit organization. It was also the race for the beginner runner group I teach. What a mistake. I feel so bad.

I chose this race for these reasons:

1. It was local. Not much travel and it was really close for most of the group.
2. It was at the Parkway which is as flat as a course as you can get. Out-and-back. Easy.
3. It was small. Not a lot of pressure or large crowd to deal with.
4. It was timed.

Here was the major problem with this race. It was organized by non-runners. Right there my friends is why this race was a huge cluster. The people organizing the race weren't runners and had no freaking clue on how to have the CORE elements for a successful race.

There was no defined start line. Which is okay. They did have a nice finish line because of the timing. Runners were timed at the END of the race, which was okay too because the race was REALLY small.

The head volunteer was not clear on her instructions at the start line about where to turn around, where the water stop was, etc. It was clear she was A. not a runner and B. new to this whole race thing.

As we know it has been hot as shit with the heat & humidity. Today was no different and the East trail of the parkway was freaking brutal. Not a lot of shade so you feel like a piece of bacon on a frying pan. The race organizers did not account for the heat. There was one water stop that consisted of a woman and her 10 yr old daughter next to a small blue cooler holding out little dixie cups of water. If you blinked, you would have missed them. The water stop was to be at the halfway mark and that is when the runners were to turnaround.

Two problems -- it was at the ONE mile mark and they had no clue on telling people to turnaround. So, we kept running and running and running and running.

Wait. Make it three. They were the ONLY TWO VOLUNTEERS on the course.

At one point, I looked at my Garmin and it reads 1.7 miles and I haven't seen ANY of the front runners on their way back. My second thought was FUCK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I reach the salt museum and go around the loop (following others) -- some of the front runners when further to the Wegman's playground another .25 miles.

At the start of the race, I told my group I was going to 'race' and I would come back to get them at the end. Well, that went out the window when I realized how screwed up the course was and it turned into a survival to the end kind of thing. On my way back (finally) I came across members of the group and told them to turnaround at the Marina sign (just ahead of them). Actually, I told everyone on my way by to turnaround at the sign because the course was wrong and they were running a lot longer than 3.1 miles.

When I crossed the finish, I ran 3.78 miles and the runners who went to the playground ran over 4 motherfu*king miles for a 5k. My group ended up running about 3.5 miles. I was SO PISSED.

All of this could have been avoided by having an orange cone. One little orange cone.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

The Time I Didn't Race

Had an absolute blast running the Boilermaker. Why? I didn't race it. And I am SO fine with it.

A friend of mine had a stroke three weeks ago. She is my age (42)!! Say it with me. What. The. Hell.

She made a full recovery and was out of the ICU in 4 days. Seriously. You would NEVER guess she had a stroke. The doctors told her that if it wasn't for her level of fitness it would have been a whole different story. Actually, she is going to be on their website! Anyway, this was her first run since it happened. Yes. The doctors said it was okay for her to run.

We decided this was an easy...EASY...long run. And we took that seriously. It was GREAT! We laughed, sang, did the YMCA and rocked out the R.O.C.K in the USA, thanked the volunteers and went through sprinklers. At the 8 mile mark my friend felt so good that she was near tears. A great weight was lifted from her shoulders. Mine too because she is my running rock. Do you hear me, friend!! NOTHING CAN EVER HAPPEN TO YOU.

I was more than happy to be by her side. The Boilermaker is not a race I like to really go full out because it is too freaking crowded. The first 3 miles are extremely frustrating of bobbing and weaving around people. You are NEVER not shoulder-to-shoulder with people. My energy is more focused on the people around me and not my running.

When you decide not to race a race you get to see a lot of douchery during a race. Here is a recap of some of the douche behavior we witnessed:

1. Dude in a full spiderman costume. I hate...HATE...people who run in costume. I don't get it? Why would you want to put on a full polyester costume on with a face mask during a race called the BOILERMAKER. You deserve the dehydration, douche.

2. Girl talking on her cell phone at mile six. To quote "it is to hard to text while running so I called." You have NO idea how much I wanted to slap that phone out of her hand. Or slap her in general.

3. This is a good one. A guy hands water to the girl he is running with. She drinks and then throws the cup directly over her head behind her. The person unfortunate enough to be behind her got a cup in the face. Really?! Have you NEVER run a race before?

4. Guy wearing the shorts that was only being held up by his penis. Dude. Pull up your shorts!!!

5. The girl wearing a running outfit that should never have been seen in public. We nicknamed her kaleidoscope girl. The shorts were TIGHT spandex in lime green, orange swirls and the top was the same fabric, same colors but a different design pattern. It hurt my eyes. And my brain.

6. We also saw a BIG hairy dude wearing a similar color scheme, but his shorts were the silky, short, shorts with the slit up the side. Yeah. It will take a while to get that image out of my head.

7. The lady that was running so far up my friend's ass that her feet went underneath my friend's heel and she stepped on her foot. They both almost did a face plant. She didn't apologize or say a word. I have a word for you, lady. DOUCHE.

Maybe next year I will carry "douche" stickers with me and slap them on people? I will be sure to start with myself.

Friday, July 08, 2011

Beginners

Yesterday was the last class for the beginning running program I teach at our local YMCA. For 12 weeks I've been coaching a group of people to complete a 5k without walking. Most of them have never run before. They were scared, nervous and lacked confidence that they could complete the program.

They started out running 1 minute/walking 4. When we hit running 5 minutes/walk 3, you thought I was asking them to run a half marathon. They were THAT sure they couldn't run 5 minutes.

Each week they accomplished something they didn't think was possible. They ran in 90 degree heat and awful humidity. Each week they did their homework of running 3 x's a week and their confidence grew.

Time to get ready for the "race."

I marked the course (with a few choice sayings along the way) and told them I wasn't running with them. Time to take the training wheels off. They were totally on their own. I would be out on the course on my bike, but it was all on them to get the job done.

The course for a first time runner is not easy (evil snicker). I am huge about running hills. They suck monkey balls, but they make you a stronger runner mentally and physically. There is a hill in the beginning that is like climbing up a wall (short wall, I am not that evil). At the end, there is a gradual incline then downhill to the finish (see, I am not that much of a bitch).

"Max" is in his 30's and has great potential. I wanted to push him because he is like a little volcano waiting to erupt. Last half mile he was cruising along. Of course, I wasn't having that shit and made him pick up the pace...faster...faster...and he was up the challenge. He finished in 27 minutes.

"Mary" is in her late 20's and a former cross country runner. She was in front of "Max" for most of the race. She started out too fast. As soon as she hit the straight-a-way, I made her turn on the jets. She finished in 28 minutes. She is SO going to kick my ass in races.

"Sam" is a big guy in his early 40's. Sam has lost some serious pounds and is the surprise of the program. He worked his ass off during this program. For his size it couldn't have been easy, but he was determined to do this program for his kids. Mid-course he just caught fire. Crossed the finish line at 36 minutes -- his goal was 40. He CRUSHED it.

"Gina" wife of Max. This girl had BLISTERS all over both feet and this was her first 3.1 miles. She didn't let the pain stop her. She kept pace with Sam for most of the course. Time: 37 minutes.

"Sarah" wife of Sam. Tiny little thing that is always smiling. BEST attitude ever. Seriously. Up for anything and will just do it. Time -- 38 minutes.

"Gina" in her early 20's came around the corner and you could see it on her face how hard she was trying. She was laying it all out on the course. She wanted it. You could just see it. During the program she had a lot of problems with her left foot. Despite her foot issues she put in the time and work. She finished in 38 minutes too. She was so happy.

"Suzie" also in her early 20's was next. Quite little Suzie. I swear I think she may have said 10 words to me the whole program. Face red and sprinting to the finish line - 40 minutes.

"Judy" in her mid 40's was the last runner. At the start she was so nervous that she couldn't do it. Her last couple runs have been tough ones. She ended up walking, but come to find out because she wasn't eating before class! She also battles that "negative" chatter that goes on in the head. She didn't walk. She finished strong and in 41 minutes. She had tears in her eyes as she finished because she ran her first 5k without walking.

All of them were cheering and hollering for each other. They were so happy. Inspired by each other. And just flat out proud of themselves. DAMN. It was awesome. This is why I teach the class. For that exact moment.

Now it is time for them to fly from the nest. Their first official 5k will be July 23rd. My hope is after this a few of them will catch the running bug. That they will continue their journey and come back to kick my ass in a race some day. Which will really piss me off.

Monday, July 04, 2011

Seriously?!

When I read blogs about the struggles of fellow runners, I usually feel empathetic. Can appreciate the pain, frustration and feelings of inadequacies.

Then I read their race time.

Sympathy out the window. Insert anger. Even consider trying to find an address to mail a personalized bitch slap.

Seriously?! A 5k time that is a 7 minute mile is not fucking slow. You know what I would give to be able to run that pace for a mere 30 seconds?!

*rocking back and forth in fetal position**

Okay. Okay. I am fine.

When I read post's like these I think what the fuck is consider slow? In running there is no measurement...is there?

Well, now there is --

5:00-6:30 m/m - Motherfucking-Kenyan-Leap over tall buildings-UBER Fast (and typically uber skinny).

6:30-7:30 m/m - Burning with jealously and envy- Really fast.

7:30 - 9:00 m/m - Kind of hate you - Fast

9:00-10:00 m/m - Strong dislike with a tinge of envy and a dash of jealousy - boarderline fast.

*10:00-10:30 -- Hello, average. Nice to see you. Let's hang out for awhile. Average.

*10:30-11:00 -- Limbo. Feet still moving forward and dream of consistently falling in the above average category. Boarderline Average.

11:00+ -- Keeping it real. Someone has to cheer on the UBER fast runners. Slow.

*Is typically where I fall. ONCE I fell in the boarderline fast category. Once.

Although I am an average runner and in some circles slow, I don't care!!! Well, I do. But I have to keep myself in check. My goal is to do the best of what MY ability is and not measure it to the bullcrap above. However. If anyone bitches about their 7 m/m pace in front of me I cannot be held accountable for my actions.

Friday, July 01, 2011

Views of a Run

Today was one of those days as a runner that I felt amazing. Like I could run forever.

Entering the trail I see the incredible beauty ahead of me. The rain has made all the things around a vivid green and lush. Then I look up to see the baby blue of the sky above me with the rays of the sun sparkling off the path.

I turn a corner and see the span of the lake. How clear and clean. The colors bouncing off one another.



On the trail the only sound is the crunching of the stone beneath my feet. Birds chirping and singing and a rustle of a squirrel moving through the brush. I quicken and let my breath set the rhythm. My body is relaxed. My legs are powerful.


Next corner is a view that makes me realize how tiny I am in the universe. How on days like today, I feel like a small speck in something greater than I will ever know.


So many times when I am out running I forget to see what is really around me. Trees are my ultimate favorite in the summertime. Looking across the lake I get excited to get to the other side. After my run, I jumped in the water for a 25 minute swim. The water was crystal clear and as I swam, I could see the fish beneath me. Beautiful fish the colors of gold, blue and green. One gold one that I nicknamed Bob never moved from his spot in the warm water of the shallow end.

Today I appreciate being a runner and bow down to the humble and beautiful things that surround me everyday.