Friday, December 30, 2011


Biolabud was reading my Facebook post about my new workout regimen and wondered "What is slogging?"

Slogging = the art of sucking while pool jogging.

I mean, no matter how FREAKING EPIC you might be at pool running, pool jogging, aqua jogging, etc. if you're a runner, accustomed to running on land through neighborhoods, city streets and rolling country roads... aqua jogging kinda sucks.

But since it's my "new thing", I figured I better embrace it.  Cos that's just how I roll.

Seriously though I didn't know how to go about doing my first slog, so I went online and googled How to Aqua Jog.  True story.  There were ~like~ 31000 options, so I went ahead and clicked on option 3.  Three is my lucky number, I figure, how can I go wrong.

Holy Heckfireandshoot.

The suggested workout for the triathlete (which i'm not, but T is, and she's my wife so that's close enough) was a 3700m swim/45 minute aqua jog BRICK.  I can swim, yeah...  I'm even pretty decent at it, and am back up to about a mile.  So, 3700m?  and 45 minutes?  What was this, the Ironman level BRICK workout?

oh. yeah.  It was.

So I modified it and went with this instead:
Swim #1 500m
Jog 15 min
Swim #2 500m
Jog 20 min with intervals
Swim #3 600m (so I could get a full mile)

It was still pretty intense.

I used the first 15 minute jog to 'just get the hang' of it.  The actual workout called for 3 X 5 min at tempo, but I figured (correctly) that there was a learning curve and I should use the first 15 minutes to figure it all out.

I was pretty zapped by the 2nd 500m swim.

And by that I mean I could barely move my arms.

But I still went for it when it was time for the next set of jogging.  My idea was that if I did intervals the time would go faster.  It was true.  Intervals are the only way to survive this kind of workout.

And by the last 200m of cool down, I was barely swimming.  I mean that too.

So tomorrow is New Years Eve.  And guess what I'm doing....


Thursday, December 29, 2011

aka Hot Doctors make everything more Fun even the bad stuff

My Hot Orthopedic Doctor and I spent some quality time together today.

There was Good News & Expected News & Not Awesome News

I arrived promptly at 9:28 for my 9:30am appointment and settled in with Angry Birds, gmail, and some paperworks type stuff.

A mere hour later, I found myself giving an extensive history on the tingly foot, the weird intermittent pain and before I knew it, I was being whisked away into an Xray room.  They had to cover the bases.  OF course WE knew it wasn't broken, and... it's not.

A bit later HD arrived.

Good news:  He's still hot.

He walked in, took my hand, looks me in the eye and says, "It's nice to meet you."

I said, "Wait a minute, I know we've met before, here, in this office."

Charming HD gets bonus points for looking me right in the eyes and saying, "No way I would forget you...  are you sure we've met?"

Since I've cut my hair I've been walked passed and unrecognized by people who actually know me, so OK, I'll give him that.

We had some good laughs, he poked my foot with a paperclip ~ a true medical instrument ~ and we bantered while he decided where the problem was really located.

I said, "I really need to get your picture so I can text it to Karasmatic."

He furrowed his beautiful brow, and said, with a slight tilt of his head, "Why?  So she can see that I'm still me?"

Deadpan, "No, so she can see that you're still hot."

He burst out laughing, blushed a beautiful pink shade of awesome.  And just like that, HD and I were BFF's.

The Expected News:  It's a Morton's Neuroma.  (it's an inflamed nerve, I've included an image, but this image isn't exactly what I have.  It's close enough though)

So he ordered up a "Morton's injection" for my foot.

It went a little like this: HD (still blushing) cradles my foot in his hand, looks up and says with a perfectly straight face, "Bear with me, I'm a little nervous, I've never done this before."  There was a pause while I soaked that in, and we ALL started laughing.  Of course he's done it before.  Anyway, we had a great time with the laughing, and burning stinging of the cortisone shot that didn't hurt as much as I was expecting (he is very distracting... or maybe he has good hands... or both).

"now I'll always remember you, because you were my first...."  insert more giggling ~by all of us~ here.

And then, the Not Awesome News:  He banned me from running AND cycling for 3 weeks.  Not sure which sounds worse, 3 weeks of no running, or 21 days of no running, or 18 days of pool time... I guess it depends on how you view it.  He wants me POOL RUNNING, with the belt and ~yeah~.

I can't call that Bad News.  It's not bad.  Its just not awesome.  I'm not too unhappy with the whole thing.  I knew I had a problem.  3 weeks of not running is not the end of the world.  And, HD was very optimistic about my prognosis.  He believes that IF I follow the rules and IF I'm a patient patient I will get better and be fine.

SO, there you go.

The Hot Doc is still hot.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Chocolate Neuroma

Irony tastes like pure chocolate.

Not the warm gooey kind you get in the bottom of your cocoa mug.  Irony tastes like a broken chunk of Baker's chocolate.

The first taste is almost always unexpected.

And never sweet.

The other day, my Witch Dr nearly broke the Hippa rules. 

He and I were having our usual cheerful banter/conversation.  And I said, “oh, can you look at this spot on my foot, I think… well, if feels like I stepped on a rock.”  I knew right away it was going to be bad by the expression on his face at my description of the injury. 

He squeezed my foot as hard as he could, his eyes widened.  He lifted his face toward me and, with my foot still in his grasp, said, “It’s a neuroma…  You should see an Orthopedist.  This is what….  Do you know…?  I know, you're friends with… yeah.  You should reach out to him if you’re comfortable.”


Yes I know (dot)(dot)(dot).

and when he had his surgery in February I felt so sorry for him.  He was patient and positive, and muscled through the time of troubles related to his neuroma.   His resilience is a reason he’s one of my favorite people.  Yes, I know him.

I just wrote the word surgery on my blog.  I do not need surgery.  I have a long time and a lot of treatments to try before I could even consider surgery as an option.  Oh hell no.   I’m seeing my 2nd opinion MD tomorrow for an aggressive non-surgical plan.  I’m not sitting on the sidelines of 2012.

I’m not because I think I could go insane.

I'm going to be a patient patient and do as I'm told so that I get better ASAP.  Every day without running is like a day on the crazy train.  

The depression that comes with not running has slammed into me harder than the 4 pounds of weight I put on over Christmas.  It’s heavy and pins me to my bed when I think about going for a swim.  I lay awake at 4 a.m.  I know there’s a Rowing Machine and Pool who would both enjoy my company.  Yet I don’t get up.  I roll over and ignore the world.  Depression is painful.

Far more painful than the neuroma in my foot, which I find a little ironic.  The neuroma is all tingly and ~weird~ feeling.  Unless it’s pissed off. 

THEN it’s more painful than the depression.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Hey Mr. Fat Man

Once upon a time... 

no, that's not going to cut it. Any true story that includes Henrico's finest, "Are you F*#king kidding me!", and concludes with whether or not charges were brought should probably have a different beginning.  Let me try again...

A few years ago it was my job to host 
(from hell).

I had my family, H's family and any extended family type persons residing on the Eastern Seaboard arriving midday on Christmas.  My siblings.  and parents.  and grandparents.  and H's parents.  and H's siblings....  

So, like, 25+ people, true?

We celebrated the night before with our usual Christmas Eve type stuff... wholesome activities like church and Baileys and cookie decorating and Baileys and Twas the Night Before Christmas and Amaretto and Baileys.  

While I was finishing the "prep work" on the Kincaid Print ~slash~ Martha Stewart-esque meal event that would begin at 8am with an Emerill Lagasse breakfast bake and conclude at 4pm with an exquisite leg of Lamb roasted with all the fixings, H picked up his parents at RIC.  It was the first time they had ever visited us in Richmond for a major holiday.  All that reunion jazz took us well into the wee hours of the morning.  

Ok, what I mean by that is "I slaved like a dog while the father & son bonding time went well into the wee hours".

I was still hauling food stuff to the garage fridge well after midnight, and on what would turn out to be my last trip into the house, my hands were too full to lock the garage door behind me....  I wasn't even worried about it at the time.  

The garage is detached.
We have a fence.
Inside the fence there are frequently two fierce dogs.

They will bark at anything.  Small children, Squirrels, Rabbits, Mailmen, Fed Ex men, you name it. 

After all the Santa chores and cheers were finished (i.e. I ran out of Baileys) I passed out in my bed dreading the o'early hour wake up.

The next morning at about 6AM we heard a loud hollow "WHOMP" from our sunporch.  It sounded like vibrating plastic. I turned to H and mumbled, "Honey, the kids have gone downstairs and are playing with the sled we gave them..." 

"Oh yeah..." he grumbles.  "Hey wait, did YOU get the sled out of the attic?" 

Me, instantly awake, "No...." 

We both laid in bed for about 1.2 seconds before he bolted down the stairs and I shot into the kids' rooms only to discover that they were sound asleep in their beds. 

So, what was that noise?

H's parents & Sister's doors are closed, the kids are in bed, the dogs are with me... so...? 

Then I heard a much more intriguing sound.  My husband is now downstairs talking in a calm sounding voice, "3XX6 Ridge Drive, yes.... yes... A man is trying to break down our door.... no ma'am... no.... no.... yes.... ",

Hey, wait a minute...  he's on with 911!  I came running down the stairs just as H asks me... "loudly with emotion"... to "please" lock the kids in with his sister - I heard a shouted, "GOT IT!" from upstairs.

The kids are safe with an adult behind a locked door.  

I am now downstairs with the dogs. 

Remember, they'll bark at anything?  

Well.  Apparently not.  

Those less than worthless mutts will not utter a sound at the sight of a 5'10'' 280+ lbs naked man trying to break into our house. 

Admittedly, I was stunned into silence as well.  

He was naked.  And large.  And pale, er, fair skinned.  

And throwing himself against the sliding glass door.  

And large.

Each pass at the door resulted in the door bowing under the strain.  

Each pass at the door resulted in my eyes bowing under the strain.

H turns to me and asks, "do you know him? Is he a neighbor?" 

I'm thinking, Are you F*#king kidding me?, but what I went with was, "No, but it's 17 degrees and he's naked, so... he might not look like himself".

H, myself and our two silent dogs were now standing in the livingroom looking out through the sun porch doors at a man who was slobbering and screaming at us.  Its as though a mute button was hit on the sound in the living room and all you could hear was the muffled "too loud TV" from the other side of the glass. 

Whomp!  there it is...

The large pale dark haired man was throwing his body against the door, walking 3 steps away, before launching himself again. 

(I mentioned, NAKED, right? Quite a site, I assure you)

Upstairs we suddenly heard H's mother talking to H's father, "Greg? Greg! Wake up! The police are here... and... AND they have their GUNS DRAWN! Greg, I'm SERIOUS. Get. Out. Of. Bed! Did you hear me? Guns!!!"

Five uniformed cops showed up, each in their own cruiser with lights flashing, and each with their guns drawn. Using the duck and cover method as seen on TV, they advanced across our yard. These boys were young cops.  The kind who draw duty on Christmas day, and they were so obviously happy to be on a call. 

I watched them stealth across the dry grass with hand motions and nods, silently hop our fence gate before the lead cop shouted "FREEZE!"

Did the Naked man freeze??? 


Remember I said it was just like TV?  No one ever "FREEZE"s there either.

Instead he ran into our garage.  The police had to kick in the garage door and drag him out into the front yard. They were kind enough to cover him with some kind of tarp from our garage on the way across the yard so my neighbors wouldn't be shocked.

~would that I'd been so lucky~ 

They popped him a cruiser, and Officer Hottie came in to take our statements.

Remember my silent dogs who have yet to speak a word?  

As Officer Hottie crosses the threshold, the mute button was released and the dogs were lifted from their trance.  Fangs snarled as they leapt to life in a deafening roar of unleashed rage.  I'm grappling with the white one as my husband dragged the other from the room.

The cop grinned an ~awe shucks ma'am~ routine as he drawled beautifully, "they all act that way.  It's the uniform that makes dogs afraid & therefore aggressive toward cops and postal workers."

"But", I protested feebly as the shock of the morning set in, "they didn't bark at the intruder..."

Still smiling, "well, he was naked... so they assumed he wasn't a threat."

It was about 9am when they finally left, and not one present had been opened.  Breakfast was not in the oven, nothing had been done to prepare for my meal for 20+.  My "Halmark Holiday" turned out the way I could have predicted... a disorganized jumble of lateness and crazy, but with a story worth telling.

It turned out the naked would be intruder lived about 5 streets away and was so drunk that the cops said he could have died. He was 19, and we didn't press charges. Around 8pm his father came by our house to apologize. There'd been some damage to our car & garage door, so he casually wrote out a check to cover it and thanked us for not pressing charges.

So, now each year on Christmas when the presents are opened and the wrapping is cleared, when the dishes are cleaned and H & I are sitting by the toasty fire watching the embers burn into ash, we have a standard "Was it a successful holiday?" Checklist that gets covered... 

1) no illness? 
2) no major cuts or injuries? 
3) no cops...?

Happy Holidays!!!

and if you've heard this one before, my apologies for the repeat.  I first told this story on the blog several years ago, and at the time I believe I had about 20 readers.  So I figured the odds were in my favor.  Poor Mel has read it several times.

Monday, December 19, 2011


This isn't the first time I've written about fear.

I think every runner has felt it to some degree.

It ranges from the physical fear that grabs at the throat every time I choose my start position at a 5K race to the 16 weeks of psychological terror that punctuated the phrase, "I just signed up for my first marathon....what if   (fill in the blank, there are a lot of blanks to choose from here)  ."

In general though, I don't suffer from those forms of fear any more.  Well, maybe a little, but at least the 5K fear is fleeting.  Now that I have four marathons under my feet, the first time marathon fear has been replaced by something stronger.  This new fear is potent.

I first tasted it after the Richmond Marathon '11, and it burned a hot path as it traveled to the pit of my stomach.  I quickly learned that too much at once can render me senseless, and the hangover the next day is nothing to joke about.

It's not really fear of failure, because I don't wonder if I can finish.  I don't question if I can get through the race...  I know I can.  I know that experience has taught me that I can get my sorry a** across the finish line of a marathon with a flu-like virus.  If there was an opportunity for "traditional failure" it was there, right?

No, failure isn't the fear.

I am far more afraid of sucking.

I have F.O.S...  aka, fear of sucking.

"Try not to suck"
(a sign on the RVA Marathon course)
What if I go out and do this and I suck at it again.  What will my friends, family, coach, peers, blog readers, and self think?  Won't they think I'm a selfish B*tch if I keep asking for their support if I suck at this sport?

After sucking at the Richmond Marathon...  I thought... well for a few minutes there, I thought I might not be a runner.  Shut the front door.

Nina Rosenstand, an ethicist I'd never heard of until Ethics a few semesters ago, said, "Courage is not the absence of fear, rather it is the appropriate response to fear."

I think the news here is that I get to say I'm either courageous ... or stupid.  You see, I suffered from bone jarring fear in the four weeks between the two marathons.  I felt it on every run, whether it was four miles or fourteen.

This was fear that made me nauseous.  Fear that stopped me mid sentence.  Fear that I could not ignore and yet I pretended did not exist.

This was the kind of fear I feared acknowledging.

In a lot of respects I live with the idea that if you acknowledge something, it can take the power away.  Like, admitting to a boy you have a crush on him is sometimes the easiest way to "get over him", or starting a public speaking engagement with, "Wow, this is a really intense crowd, I'm a little nervous" can pop the cork and release the tension of the moment.

Sometimes though, "speaking evil makes it stronger".  I mean seriously, if you learned NOTHING from Harry Potter, surely you learned this.

My main fear going into RBm was centered around the idea that if I failed, I had no one to blame but myself.  At RVA I had a virus that knocked me down for days.  At RBm, if I sucked, it was all on me.

me, and no one else.

I would have to claim responsibility for my OWN sucking if I sucked.

Of course, that thought is a bad one.  Then the pressure the fear grows to another level... and includes embarrassment.  People will know I just plain old suck at this...  And won't they wonder why in the world I'm doing this if I suck so badly?

Moreover, if I suck, how could I possibly find the courage to try again?  26.2 miles isn't easy.  It hurts a lot, and it's more of a mind f*#k that you could possibly know.  Why does someone who sucks put themselves through this?  There are plenty of other things I could be doing with my time...  

...shuffle board anyone?

I did not suck at Rehoboth Beach Marathon.  I wasn't epic, but I didn't suck.  I was happy with my plan, and I executed it the way I envisioned.  Within reason.  ~shower~

I wish I could say that the Fear of Sucking was completely extinguished by my success in Rehoboth Beach DE.   That it was left behind on the beautiful tree lined path, or had blown away in the gusts that whistled through Henlopen State Park.

I can't though.  It's still there.

However, today the appropriate response to that fear is to look ahead with confidence.  To keep training, and to set goals that skirt the edge of my abilities.

Because if there's one thing I am, it's courageous.

or stupid.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Uniform Rules

Dear "Those People",

Please accept my sincere apologies for not properly calling "You People" out when I passed you while I was running a few weeks ago.

I consider myself a SHINING example of the ART of using proper run etiquette.  For me to have missed an opportunity to call You People out in a loud early morning mock-up of good cheer is very unlike me.  very.

I can appreciate that it must have been devastating for You People.

Please allow me to recommend a good Therapist to help you overcome the rejection.

And, not to make excuses, but I think I know the source of the problem....

Have you ever run into someone you run with, near, or past at a social event and not recognized them?  It happens to me all the time.

When I run, I wear outfits that look like this....



and because my uniform is so well known, my fans friends are able to find me in a crowd.

But when people run into me wearing "real clothes", they don't usually know what to think.  Occasionally they've been known to walk right past me without even saying "hello".

Well, "Those People", when "Us People" ran past you the other day, you looked like a group of runners who were familiar but unknown to me.  So I believe I gave the standard low key 3/4 wave and nod, but I guess "You People" didn't see it....

The problem being, when you're The Richmond Elites known for running around RVA in black shorts and running shoes and nothing else, you're completely unrecognizable wearing clothing....

(Huh, that sounded so much less interesting in my head...)

Bray modeling the new
I mean seriously, if This Reflective Person had run into me on the street I'm pretty sure I would have never recognized him, despite the fact that he's mocked me on too many occasions to count...

because now that the weather has turned, he's wearing a shirt....  

So I don't want to make excuses for my etiquette fail, because I usually wave at all runners.  I will do my best to modify my behavior.  And, to be clear, I appreciate the efforts You People have gone through to ensure that You will not be denied a GBA_gf greeting with the adoption of your new Uniform.

Of course, I fully recognize that You People were so inspired by my Dress Code Rules that you selected an appropriate and ~epic~ Uniform of your own.

In the mean time, again, please accept my very sincere apologies.

I promise, you will not escape unnoticed again.
and yes, the
new uniform rules.


(yeah, I know.  That last sentence reads like a little like a threat...)

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Experimental Design

Training for a marathon is an experiment of one.

We train, we try, we reject, we try again...  Each marathon is it's own experiment, and each one has more variables than can possibly be anticipated or controlled.

For my training for Suntrust Richmond Marathon I did everything "right".

I practiced in the outfit, I carefully timed the purchase and miles in The Race Shoes.  I tasted the race day "nutrition", ate the Tums, did dress rehearsals for The Show, I lined up my supporting cast, I wrote my academy award speech... and none of that mattered because as we are all sick to death of hearing ~ I was sick.

So the week before Rehoboth Beach Seashore Marathon I realized I was not conducting my experiment in the same rational meaningful way.

I didn't have a pair of shoes with the right number of miles on them!
I did NOT have a shirt that was the right weight.
New shirt, New Shoes, New Experiment.
I had NOT practiced my nutrition strategy since early November.
I didn't even know what I was going to eat before the race, and had no idea what I wanted to do if the weather was too cold, windy, rainy to wear my "go to socks/skirt".

I bought new shoes with 8 days till RBm.  I had no choice, right?  Well, not only were they new and untried, I ended up a new style entirely.  ~gasp~  I loved them so much that I went for it.  It worked out.  Lucky me.  Don't try this at home.

I cut the tags off a new Turtle neck on race morning.  Seriously a gamble.  Of course, I did have Pixie coat my entire back in body glide... it was cozy.

My pre-race meal was something I struggled with...  I made it up on the fly....

I accidentally bought the wrong flavor of Honey Stingers.  So, I ate something I had never eaten before during the race.  It was just what it was.  Fortunately Honey Stingers are light in flavor so I didn't vom.  Probably a lucky break to be honest, given how sensitive my stomach is....

And still, with all these unknowns, my day turned out well for me.  It wasn't perfect, but then, these things never are....

I learned so much in Rehoboth Beach Marathon.  I'm still processing it all.  But I think one of my take away lessons is to relax a little, stop trying to control every single little detail.  Life isn't meant to be managed at that level.

~savor the run~

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Run the plan, keep it simple.

You didn’t train for 28 weeks not to bring it on race day.

In one respect, truer words have never been written.  But in another respect, I felt as though I never trained for Rehoboth Beach Marathon.  I just ran a whole bunch between Richmond Marathon on 11/12 and RBm on 12/10.   

The why of the 2nd marathon in 28 days is simple.  I had to see if I sucked at running.  I had to know.  Because why was I out there doing this, if I actually sucked?

I don’t suck at running.  Did I run a sub 4 at RBm?  Nope.  But running a sub 4 marathon does not define the difference between sucking & not sucking.

For me to get a sub 4 marathon, I would need a PERFECT day.  I am fully aware of this.  And as beautiful of a day as it was on Saturday, the wind forecast definitely indicated that it wasn’t THE PERFECT DAY.

Pixie and I arrived at her friend’s house in Harbeson DE at exactly the same time on Friday afternoon.  We dropped our bags and hit the road for Rehoboth.  The Expo was tiny, but efficient.  Pixie was torn between doing the full or half.  She was trained for both.  We talked to the race director & decided decisions could be made in the morning.

In RB the wind was 9mph.  No problem right?  Well, the couple Pixie & I stayed with are a boat owning family, and Ben says, “But you’re not running in RB, you’re running up to the Ferry Terminal?  That’s not in RB.  The wind forecast up there will be different.

Weather Forecast for Rehoboth was 27 degrees at the start, 9mph wind.  Okay, that covers the first 4 miles and the last 3…

Weather for miles 10 – 20?
Wind Speed
14 mph

Gust Speed
21 mph

So I made a decision.  I would add 5 minutes to all my goals. 
The UBER goal 3:59:59 4:05:00
The Actual goal 4:05:00 4:10:00
The fall back goal 4:18:01 4:18:01... yeah, so?

My race plan = KISS.  Keep it simple stupid.
  1. Don’t rush, you’ve got all day.  Run the 1st mile at around a 9:30 – 9:40.
  2. Hit every water stop. I planned to walk every single water stop.
  3. Run even splits.  There’s no such thing as a bank in Marathon.  Anything you ‘put in the bank’ gets taken back at 2X the cost at the end of the race.  My idea was that I would just run 9:05 – 9:15’s for the rest of the race.  well, it was a plan anyway...
  4. ~Savor the run~

Pre-race Pixies

Overnight there was rain, which wasn’t in the forecast and I didn’t have clothing for…  it was on my mind as I was sleeping.  I had a pile of clothing… because the wind was going to be an issue and I have raynaud's disease.  I’ve never mentioned it here before because in all seriousness, it’s been years since I’ve had a flare up.  I’ve had 3 in the last 3 weeks.   I knew if I could keep my core warm, my hands would be OK.

I wore a base layer, a compression T-neck, a vest, a Lululemon skirt, compression socks, real gloves (UA – not throw away), and a running hat.  And because I’m me, I tossed a light-weight Santa Hat on top.

I ate ¼ PB&J sandwich, a large banana & 2 Tums.  Packed honey stingers, Tums, salt tabs in my skirt.

Pixie and I ran into MTT Kristi ~ who STILL needs a cute bloggy name as cute as she is ~ pre race & wished her luck.  I knew we would be no where near her in the start corral (she CRUSHED her Half).  Pixie decided to run the Half = smart.  I still dragged Pixie all the way to the back of the race pack.  I said, “we’re not getting sucked out too fast if we start back here.”  I had a great playlist, thanks to my friends... every now and then I noted a song as I passed a mile marker.

It's no surprise to me I am My Own Worst Enemy…  kick the living sh*t out of me…

Miles 1- 2 residential.  I cut the corners tight, ran tangents.  There was no weaving as the race was small.  By mile 3 my garmin said I was slightly ahead of the mile markers.  Determination and a laid back attitude combined to get me a nice easy relaxed marathon start.  mile 1 - 9:45, 2 - 9:08, 3 - 8:54.

Cow Bell spectator made me smile.

Walked the water stop at mile 4 and dropped my vest.  It was planned, but I worried I would need it later…  I was right to worry.
I didn't take this photo,
I found it on the net, but
this is mile 5 or 6 of RBm.

Pixie and I ran off and on together, but really, she was trying to find her pace.  At mile 5 the route picked up a path.  Yes, a tree lined path.  A spectator was holding a sign, “Run Like Zombies Are Chasing You”.  I thought of my little sister.

mile 4 - 9:13, 5 - 9:05, 6 - 8:59

Kesha~ if I keep it up like a love sick crack head!  I can never hear that song without thinking of Q.

I passed this guy dressed in all black and a santa hat, in my driest voice, “Nice Hat.”  He laughed.  I noted his bib was for the full and we settled in together.

It was comfortable.  People assumed we were together.  All black.  Santa hats.  There were not many spectators.  Occasionally we’d come to where the path ran near a street and a cluster of spectators would cheer us.  They were great. A shout out to the guy dressed as Will Ferrel complete with Cow Bell, and two women spectators who were EPIC, laughing, and cheering EVERY runner - they chased the course and were ALL over the place when we least expected it. 

miles 7- 9:04,8 - 9:09, 9- 8:47, 10- 9:10

anyone familiar with my recurring
marathon nightmare will find this
particularly interesting, because THIS
was on the marathon course.
At mile 9 the Half split off.  I introduced myself to my neighbor Rick, from CT.  A Patriots fan who grew up in RI. In Rehoboth to redeem himself after a poor showing in Philly.  We had that in common.  The pace was relaxed.  We talked in little bits.  I would lose him at each water stop and catch him about 1/3 mile into the next mile.  The wind started to become a factor.  I drafted a big runner.  But he was going too fast for me. 

11- 8:48, 12- 9:01, 13 - 9:07, 14 - 9:07

Rick and I hung together until well into Cape Henlopen Park.  Funny, I overheard someone say it was “hilly”.  After running the cities of San Francisco CA, Providence RI & Richmond VA ~ those aren’t hills.  Those are tiny little sand dunes.

After the mile 15 water stop I didn’t catch Rick.  I was about 10 feet behind him… and then 20.  I was being battered by the wind, my legs were tiring and I realized that I needed to let that go.  (He ran a beautiful race of 3:59:change)

15 - 9:24, 16 - 9:50, 17 - 9:23.

Beastie Boys ~ Whatcha whatcha whatcha want?  ... I said where'd you get your information from huh?

At 18, glanced at my watch and knew a 4:05 was do-able but going to be tough.  At 19 I turned the corner, a gust of wind funneled between two buildings smacked into my face and I was blown to a stop.  It was COLD.  I tugged my gloves back into place.

18- 9:22, 19.... 12:06,  20 - 10:04, 21 - 10:02

That mile was probably the physically hardest.  Wind from all directions.  But I was determined.  I kept thinking, “Dude, you knew it would be windy.  Be thankful that you’re here doing this and doing it well”.  Around now I got a bad cramp in my diaphragm.   It prevented me from drawing a full breath.  I choked a salt pill down, 2 tums, and spent a little extra time at the next water stop taking in 2 cups of liquid.  About a half mile (?) later it released and I could run well again.  I lost some time in that, but I wasn’t worried about my PR.  I was worried about my 4:10.

At mile 22ish we picked the trails back up again.  I was alone.  ~like~  I could see a runner about ½ mile ahead of me because she had pink sleeves on, I could hear a runner behind me.  

I tried hard to stay in the moment.  To not let my head get the best of me.  I've never run a marathon alone before.  I've always run at least part of it with a Posse.  Marathoning is one giant mind f*#k.  You’ve got to know that before you go in…  

I thought of KC & 3L:  Focus on Breathing. Steps. Shoulders.

I thought of Paulie & my form.  So I leaned into my run.

I thought of two women I consider friends.  On the east & west coasts.  Both knew I was out running.  And suddenly I felt a hand on each shoulder pushing me.  I was completely alone except for a man about 100 meters behind me.  But it felt as though someone was there carrying me.

So maybe all the good wishes from around the country came to me right then. Or maybe the gods of running touched me in the moment. Or maybe, probably, I was just hallucinating.  But for a few minutes, running was so easy, I wasn’t even working.

22 - 9:37

Super Freak … the kind you don’t take home to mother…. she's all right.

Mentally this was the hardest... 23 - 24.  Not because I hit the wall, but I started to dry heave as I was running.  Then I had a sensation of vertigo.  I couldn’t figure out if it was the shadows/light peeking through the trees, or real vertigo.  I walked for 49 seconds, and ran on, and walked again for 30 seconds a few minutes later.  The dry heaves stopped.  I didn't want to get discouraged.  I shook off the negative thoughts and grumbled aloud, "You don't suck.  Dry heaves while running suck, but you don't suck."

 23 - 11:41, 24 - 11:01, 25 - 10:15

At mile 24 we came back out to the road.  I was leapfrogging the pink sleeves and the guy.  I walked the mile 25ish water stop.  He did too.  I started to run, he was walking.  I turned to him as I passed him and said, “Dude, you didn’t train all this time to not bring it the last mile on Race Day.” (T rocks)  He smiled and said, “You’re right!”.  We introduced ourselves and slugged ahead.

Not 2 minutes later my new friend Joe, from NJ, invited me back to his hotel room to shower so I wouldn’t have to drive home all sweaty…  and I guess he was feeling gutsy so he went ahead and asked me to dinner… maybe some wine to celebrate?  

I thanked him for the offer, and explained that my husband would take a dim view on a dinner/wine/shower scenario, but that IF I was single it would have been an offer I would have seriously considered.  I don't know what to say here, it must be the socks/skirt... aka slightly naughty catholic school girl look...

26 - 9:35

Then we saw Pixie waiting for us at 25.2.. She was great.  Cheerful and bouncing, (HIGH OFF HER 1/2 PR) and we all enjoyed her energy.  Joe kicked it into gear, and I thought, “Go get it Joe!” and Pixie asked if I had anything to bring?  Well.  That was it.  I was bringing it. 

I ran 4:09:44.  

Two years ago I would have sold my soul for a sub 4:10.  A few weeks ago I would have probably had a tough time swallowing a 4:10.  It’s funny what 28 days and a reality check will do for a person.

I know there’s a 4:05 in me, and the sub 4 will happen.  But right now, today, I am satisfied with my 4:09. 

Because I ran the plan.  I didn’t rush, I walked my stops, I muscled through the wind, and I didn’t let the self doubt over take me.  I still added 10 minutes to the 2nd half of the marathon.  The wind, the cramp, the dry heaves, the vertigo… that all added up to just about 10 minutes.
the "boring" course passes this view.


It's well organized.  The volunteers are STELLAR.  The course was pretty (I heard someone say boring, but I didn't find it to be particularly boring, just peaceful).  It's a small race, so they picked up all the discarded clothing and brought it to the finish, including my vest.  And the pancake breakfast/after party was fabulous.  I will do that race again.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

a.k.a. 28 days later...

28 days later.... 

Rehoboth Beach Marathon.... 4:09:46

I ran 2 marathons in 28 days.  

More details tomorrow or the day after, once I've had time to process and sleep.  In the mean time, let's just go with:

"I didn't suck."

Friday, December 9, 2011

a.k.a. we hope for the best and run the plan....

If marathoning has taught me anything this year, it's that life is not within our control.  So if I was to run another marathon, all I can do on race day is hope for the best, and run the plan, and that will result in the best possible outcome for the day.

I will not guarantee the best possible outcome.  But, instead, the best possible outcome for THAT day.

Like Shifu tries to argue - I like to think that I can control things.  I can control my training, I can control my eating and sleep.  I can control my pace.  I can control...

not a whole lot else on race day.

We are all runners here, for the most part.

Some times we wake up, and we go for a run, and we channel Kara...  or we are RUN PRE... or our bodies are running machines.  Nothing can stop us.  Our lungs, hearts, legs, arms, core and mind work together and we cover the miles with ease.  Even blistering paces feel easy.

Sometimes we wake up with lead strapped to our feet.  Or poured into our quads.  We slug through our run with tired minds, legs, arms and core.  Our hearts pound in our chests, our lungs fight to exchange air.

And a lot of the time I have no idea when I'm going to have a good day, or a bad day, until deep into my run.

I can't control that, because I don't often know what's missing or been missed until after the fact.  I know where I went wrong on my 18 miles from hell in September of this year.  I failed to drink all day on Friday and stayed up late, through no fault of my own.  4 hours of sleep and no liquids = run fail.

I can't control the weather - be it wind, heat, rain or cold... or worse, wind... I said wind twice because it's twice as bad than anything else on that list.  I can't control the germs either.  I can wash my hands and douse the household in bleach, but it's all in vain, because all it takes to get sick is one sweet good night kiss from a 5 year old.

While I can control my training, I can't control the timing of an over use injury.  I can control my iron intake, but I can't entirely control the amount of ferritin in my blood.

There is nothing I can do but hope for the best and run my plan on race day, because I don't suck at running.

I mean, there would be nothing to do but hope for the best...  if I happened to be doing another marathon.

Not that I am doing one... but if I was, I mean...

Here's hoping.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Christmas Newsletter Fail

I have decided.  I don’t need to write a Christmas newsletter anymore.

I have Facebook.

The newsletter is obsolete.  

No really, the newsletter is for bragging about awesomeness, right?

Well, seriously, isn’t Facebook for bragging about awesomeness?

like bragging about how awesome my kids were when they assembled the tree?
About bragging about how I got into the tough nursing program?
And about how I ran an XYZ minute PR on XYZ date at XYZ race?

So why do I need to write a newsletter….

Not only that, but the status updates of my friends never fail to keep me up to date on their children & the greatness that their children produce in the form of art, music, glue facials, and grades.  So many trees will be saved this year, all thanks to Facebook.

Of course, part of the reason that I don't write a newsletter this year is because of it's obnoxiousness....  

Dear Family & Friends,

We hope this year has been as good to you as it has been for us.  This year has been exceptional on many levels. 

GBA gf’s parenting skillz reached an all time high when she threatened to sell the kids on e-bay enough that our youngest child threatened just this week to sell Daddy.  We’re not anticipating a lot of income off that endeavor, but B’nut is hopeful that we make enough to go back to Disney World.

As a family we scored a new babysitter.  She’s remarkable, and lovely.  And has “mad basketball skills”, and #1 Son’s really hoping he grows very tall very fast in the hopes that she might agree to marry him, or at least teach him to play basketball in the near future.

C has survived the first 13 weeks of middle school with some quickly passing tears and minimal cussing.  Ok, there was some cussing & crying by mommy, not too much though.

It was a near miss, but GBA gf did not choose to drop H's cat off at the SPCA, even after it sprayed her new Brooks Adrenaline....

Yes, I think probably we should just skip the letter and send out a photo card instead...

Friday, December 2, 2011

An Open Letter to my 10K PR

Dear 10K PR,

I know, you're feeling neglected.  The last time I talked about you in a positive way was March of 2010.  And it wasn't even a big brag.  It was a "1 second PR because the Witch Dr said I wasn't allowed to run faster than that."

Most of the time I start out with, "10K PR is kinda old...", or, "well, 10K PR is 54:54, but I haven't run one in a while....".  I'm sorry for that 10K PR.  I really am.

It's not that I love 8K PR more than I love you.

Ukrop's Monument Avenue 10K
Fast, flat, fun... come run it with me!
It's just... that... I love 8K PR more than I love you.

You're a little long in the tooth.  (gasp)

And that's fixable.  I know exactly what I need to do.  I have a race all picked out.  I need to train for a race specific goal.  I need to let the long slow distances of the marathon go for a while and focus on shorter distances.

Not because they're easier.

They're not.  Truly, each race holds its own challenges.  A marathon is freaking hard.  Well, someone's going to have a stroke when I say this but, in my opinion, a 5K deserves respect too.  And as such, so does a 10K.  So from now until April I'm going to focus on you 10K PR.  Because you deserve my attention.

You are worthy.

I know what needs to be done.  And I know where my weakness lies.  Accountability with speed work.  So knowing this, I signed up for the A10K training team with RRRC.

I remember when all I wanted was to finish a 10K without dying.
(hey, some goals are loftier than others)
I remember when all I wanted was to finish a 10K in less than an hour.
(and not have my running partner go into labor on the course)
I remember when all I wanted was to finish a 10K in less than 55 minutes.
(and finished that race in 54:54) All I want is to just run as hard and well as I can at the 10K distance.
(Well that's a little vague).  

10K PR, you and me, we're going places together.


Thursday, December 1, 2011

and that's what happens when you sell one of your offspring on eBay to the highest bidder

Last night was a typical night here.

We did the homework Nazi routine, scrambled to chauffeur our kids to their various events, I came home and started dinner, H came home and we had the usual exchange.  You know,

"Hi, how was your day."


"Great, good.  yada yada."  (we've been married a long time, he doesn't really listen to me 92% of the time).

"So what's for dinner?"

And that's when I casually told my husband that I sold one of the kids on eBay for $12.82.

He stood before me with a stricken look on his face, mouth slack jawed and slowly dawning horror as my words sunk in...  "Seriously?"  He choked out through trembling lips.  His indrawn breath was followed by a second gasp.  "That doesn't even sound normal!  You're making that up."

OK.  What I actually said was not actually related to e-bay, it was instead more along the lines of:

"I'm making Spaghetti Squash Taco's for dinner."

And so that's how I ended up cooking 2 meals for dinner last night.

One for me.  And one for Them.

So.  Does anyone want to guess how his response to the information regarding the new/used treadmill delivery date went down?....

Yeah, it was almost as good as spaghetti squash.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

OBX running

I keep trying to figure out what it is I want to say about my weekend of solo running on OBX (Outer Banks of North Carolina).  It wasn't a stellar run.  The air was sweet though.  Blog worthy.

It was a beautiful day.  There was no blast of wind in my face to discourage me, and yet, I wasn't feeling it.

The green was still green and the sky was still blue.  I saw runners and cyclists.  Surfer dudes and fishermen in giant diesel coughing pickup trucks.  The roads were my only option.  It is hunting season.

The watchful lady looked over me with her solitary eye.  I ran from shaded roads to blinding sun and back again.  I was scolded by Canadian Geese, probably because I'm a southern girl, but you never know with geese.  They don't seem very discerning.

And I ran into a deer friend of mine.  Literally, within feet of him.  If I'd been insane, I could have reached out to touch his chestnut coat.  He was magnificent.  I heard him make a low woofing sound of air as he took me in.  The wet black nose flared, and his wide eyes widened.  I'm pretty sure he's telling his deer wife about the magnificent human runner he met on the road.  As I slowly extracted my phone from my pocket for a photo he jumped two graceful bounds that covered about 20 feet, and then he stopped, posing for the camera.  His gaze said, "So are you going to take it, or what?"

I took the photo, and then we both ran on.

I dropped past Shutter Up and ate a small piece of banana and took some water, but it wasn't quite enough.

Or perhaps too much.

Within a few more miles I was done, and I headed for the shower.  Initially, I thought I wasn't strong enough to finish.

And then I shrugged off the mantle of guilt and said, "this kind of thinking is unproductive".

I went back to eating too much pie, drinking margaritas and enjoying the time I get with my father at the beach.  Because some things are worth feeling guilty about, and dropping off a solo vacation run just isn't one of them.

Besides, I told myself on Saturday, It's not like you're training for a marathon or something.  You're just running.  A lot.

~savor the run~

Thursday, November 24, 2011

21 Random Facts: GBA_gf

I was tagged by TMB @ Racing With Babes to post 21 random facts about me me me.  Seems like all I do is talk about myself, but ~ what'ev, it's my blog~.

Richmond marathon '11
 1. CORE 4:  I run with a lot of strong women.  But there are 4 of us who just fit together like a puzzle.  We're all very different, from our ages to our upbringing, but we love to run.  And that love & purity for our sport, plus the understanding that "this isn't a game" and that "any competition you have is really with yourself", is ingrained in us.  Together we're pretty much unstoppable.

 2.  NAME SAKE:  My family's roots are in Virginia.  Very very much so.  My Grandmother is a fried green tomatoes, bacon, fried apples and fried okra kind of woman.  So my entire life I believed I was named for the beautiful state in which I was born.  Uh, Grandma Hannah informed me a few years ago, I was, in fact, named for VMI.  ~um~ sure, why not.

snow run!
and yes, I'm in a skirt
 3.  RUN AWAY, RUN AWAY!:  I love Monty Python, but more than that, I love to run OUTSIDE no matter the weather.  Snow?  No problem.  Cold rain?  Absolutely.  115 degree heat index?  Sure, why not...  So, don't ask me to join you at the Y on a dreadmill "run".  I will be busy that day.  Unless you plead your case really well or are particularly hot and there are mirrors.  And a bribe doesn't hurt either...

 4.  SINGING THE BLUES:  After my marathons I'm typically shut down with a short term depression that promotes some beautiful writing.  And crankiness.  But this year, I didn't have that.  I didn't have time.  I was sick.

 5.  OFF KEY:  Actually, I used to sing.  I had enough talent that I ~ yeah ~ ok, I didn't suck.  But at a young age I suffered a serious ear infection that left me unable to hear myself very well, and I lost my Mo-Jo.

 6.  COWBOY UP:  When I was in highschool I worked on a ranch wrangling horses.  I wore a western hat, long sleeved shirts, and jeans 90% of my time.  I didn't wear skirts.  Couldn't stand them.  ~irony~.  I bottle fed calves, mended fences, and was on a horse for about 4 hours a day/5 days a week during that time in my life.  It didn't suck.

 7.  FASTINISTA:  Imagine what your reaction would be if Sarah Bowen Shea of Run Like A Mother: The Book called and asked for an interview for the magazine article she was writing for Runner's World on women's running fashion?  Yeah, well, I wasn't NEARLY that cool in real life.

 8.  BQ or DQ:  A few years ago a woman posing as my running coach told me I could never be a fast runner and that I could never qualify for Boston.  I stupidly believed her and have always told people I was never interested in a BQ.  Only, you know what?  I ran a 37:41 8K this year.  That sort of performance suggests to me that maybe, just maybe, I've been selling myself short.  So for the record:  One day I'm going to Boston.

 9.  BADA** IN LEVELS:  me ~ "I hung out and chatted with Bart Yasso tonight... I think that makes me a little bit bada**."  Q ~ "Tonight, you are a little bit bada**, on Saturday, you're going to be Galactically BadA**".  Oh, that Saturday, I totally was....  Anyway, my initials are gf, as in Girl Friend.  Thus, GBA_GF.

10.  BFF:  Speaking of Bart Yasso, he actually claims me on Twitter as his BFF.  And Facebook.  And at the San Francisco Marathon/Half Marathon.  So... I guess, yeah, I'm Bart Yasso's BFF.  You're jealous.

11.  PLAYGROUP DYSMORPHIA:  I started running because I was jealous of all my friends who were runners.  They seemed convinced that "I could do this too".  I kept running because we made a habit of "running playgroup".  That is, we would meet for a BOB run, and then let the kids play afterward.  Life was good.  Eventually we were just running with out the playgroup.  Poor kids rarely even get to play anymore....

12.  HEY WAKE UP!:  Hey Wake Up is a Sandra Boynton book.  I love her books.  Particularly But Not the Hippopotamus.  I also get up freakishly early.  I am comfortable with  a little less than 6.5 hours of sleep a night.

13.  FITS OF LOVE:  Bike fit is everything.  I never believed that until I believed it.  Believe it.  I owned a stupid brand new pink schwinn for over a year and rode it about 5 times... I bought a TREK sl1000 used and rode it about 5 times in the first 5 days I owned it.

14.  WEIRD HOBBIES I DON'T HAVE TIME FOR:  I love to decorate cakes.  I don't have time to do that.  I love to draw.  I don't have time to do that.  I love to write.... I make time for that one.

15.  WRITE STUFF:  On a whim I submitted something to a publication this year in April.  I'm now a regular contributor for a local running publication and I LOVE IT.  It's just the right amount of writing for me.  There's no pressure.  And the people who run the magazine seem to rather enjoy my articles, so that's nice too.

16.  BACK IN BLACK:  I'm not elite.  I can run though.  Still, when the advanced "black" team coach asked me to join them this year for a day, I wasn't sure it was a good idea.  Turns out it was one of the smartest things I did in 2011.  My Advice To All My Readers - sometimes it's a good idea, once in a while, to go run with people who are much, much, faster than you are...  Trust me on this one.

17.  OBX.  I go to the OBX the way some people go to the grocery store.  Yeah, like frequently for small trips.  But I love it there.

18.  I DON'T CAMP.

19.  PHOTO FINISH!  My finish photo from Suntrust Richmond Marathon this year should be an advertisement for Lululemon, Brightroom photography, and the Suntrust Richmond Marathon.  I mean seriously, who looks like that after running 26.2 miles?

20.  RUNNERS ARE WEIRD:  I came to this conclusion a while back.  Runners are weird.  We will talk about anything, whether it's appropriate or not.  Many are socially awkward.  Some are geeks.  Some are nerds.  Some are safety Nazi's.  But weirdness abounds.  Even the coolest runners are a little weird.  I get up at 4:30 almost every day so I can run before the sun "wakes up".  who does that?  A weird person, that's who.

21.  ~SAVOR THE RUN~:  I could write 10,000 words about why I say ~savor the run~.  Or I could write 3.  "I love running".  The truth is, I love to run so much that I wish I could taste it, let it melt on my tongue, let it slide down to the back of my mouth so that the flavor assaults my senses.  I would want to smell it first though, to get a hint of what was to come.  For that matter, I might look at it on my plate and just admire the vibrant colors.
I have a sensitive stomach and I'm allergic to shellfish.  If I'd known that mousse would make me sick every time I ate it, I might have really savored that first and last taste.  If I'd known I would become deathly allergic to shellfish out of the blue, I would have slowed down and enjoyed that last bite of lobster.  I would have eaten slowly because that was the last bite I would ever get.  Sometimes I think we're (Americans in general) very focused on getting to the next thing.  We're impatient as a society.
I try to be in each moment for as long as possible while I'm running.
Do I savor every run?  No, not a chance, but I think it's an ideal I can strive toward.

Now I am supposed to TAG 10 bloggers - forgive me if you've been tagged, I'm a little behind on my reading!

Alex @ Tales of an Iron Housewife
Rene @ Amherst Shuffle
Jen @ Setting you Free
Mer @ Thereputic Runnings of a Mom
Red @ CAUTION:  Redhead Running
Chris @ Heavy Steps

Shanz @ Shanz1913's 
Pam @ Life Began at 30
Jenny @ Small Beginnings

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


Seriously, I *think* this is my last follower racing this month... If I'm wrong or I missed someone, my apologies... 

Carrie is running her first Half marathon on Thanksgiving.

I'm proud of her.

She trained smart.
She listened to her body.
She's going to FREAKING ROCK.

Own.every.mile. Carrie.  You only get to run your first Half Marathon once.  Believe in yourself.  Savor EVERY moment.  Half Crazy, or Half Sane, you're in good company.

Taper Island will be lonely without you!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Short Cuts

I wasn't struck down with the Post Marathon Blues this year.

In truth I think I was so devastated by how the race went that my depression started at mile 17.5 of the race, and had a chance to fully burn off by about 3 days after.  That's not to say that I am not still a little sad about how things turned out... but on the other hand, how could I possibly be sad about the marathon?  It was a beautiful day, 100 of my friends ran it, the people I love finished strong and all are healthy & whole.

I ran alone today.  It was ~savor~.

But it wasn't easy.  I didn't bother looking at my watch, I just ran.  in the dark.  I was meeting some friends about 45 minutes into my run, and I contemplated cutting my mileage short to make sure I had time to get there.  Instead I just picked up the pace.

If I cut the mileage, I would have known.  It would have bugged me all day.  I *should've* run the rest would play in my brain.  And then there would be guilt.  Ah, guilt.  How I loathe thee.  What runner doesn't suffer from some kind of guilt now and again?

Of course, we've all heard of the runner blogger who skims a few miles off her marathon ever year.  I don't really know why she does it.  It makes me sad because in all truth, she's a lovely girl.  Super nice, and full of the qualities we all enjoy in a friend.  The last time I saw her though, I thought she looked a little guilt ridden. Her eyes looked haunted, and she seemed fake.

I wish I'd had the guts to pull her aside and say, we like you.  You're a great girl.  You're too fabulous for words and not because you raise money for (insert charity here), but because you are fun, and funny, and deep down inside I know you have a good heart.  You're going to be a success at whatever you do...  so if you don't want to run the whole 26.2 miles, then don't.  But don't register for it either.

I wish I'd said that because I know what it's like to pine for a short cut so you can get your goal.  Oh, I admit - I thought about it.  I know Richmond like the back of my hand.  At any point I could have made a turn, a cut, a loop, and boom - I could have "run" a brag worthy marathon time.  I would have surely done a sub 4.  Hell, probably could've eked out a BQ in all that.

Of course I didn't do that.

Not because someone might have seen me and asked.  Because that's so unimportant.  I would have known.  I would have seen me.  And at the end of the day, I am the only one who matters to me.  My 4:26:and change isn't brag worthy, but I own that time.  I have to, it's mine.

And maybe that's where my redemption for Richmond marathon will be found too.