Monday, March 24, 2014

Shared Stupidity

“It’s nice to run with someone who has experience.”

A greater compliment has never been paid to me as a runner. It was especially nice that it came from a cyclist I admire and respect.  He is somewhat of a newbie runner.

To be honest, I was happy to run with him even though our paces were different. Sharing “my experience” was not my motivation for accepting the invitation to run on dark roads at o’early hour.

I was out there to enjoy some time with a friend and his running group.

The first thing I realized was that these runners were painfully uneducated about the ways of the road.  When I asked if they had any lights, four pairs of eyes looked back at me with blank stares. “Um. No. We run on sidewalks, we don’t need lights”.


“You need lights.”

It occurs to me that helping a newbie runner be "safe in the dark" and "learn to pace" isn’t the only thing experience has brought me in the last year. It has also brought me patience.

Patience with myself, with my body, and with my ongoing injuries that seem to be ever present.

Yes, runners are hard on their bodies, but invariably there always seem to be those who are injured and those who are never injured. It feels very unfair, from my perspective as one of the frequently injured runners.

Maybe the reason I’m frequently injured had to do with a lack of patience.  My “I’m going to run that race no matter what” attitude hasn't done my body any good, and it certainly hasn't earned the respect of my fellow runners.

To be honest, up through 2012 I took sadistic pride in running through pain.  For better or worse.  Usually for worse, according to my Chiropractor/Witch Dr.

Talking to other runners, I realize that this is a shared trait.

It’s talked about at finish lines, race expos, group runs, water coolers, and wedding receptions. Anywhere you find runners talking about running, you will find at least one person talking about that time they ran on some horrific injury in the name of finishing a race they had trained to run. There are stories about waiting until after race day to get an MRI or Bone Scan.  THere's even a few about "That time I checked my 'boots' at the race start and picked it up at the finish line."

I’ve heard all those stories, and told a few myself.

Shared misery, one of my favorite topics in running and one that runners Love to brag about, is only trumped by shared stupidity.

I am starting to believe that “experienced” runners who equate being a badass with bragging about that time they went running on an injury are doing harm to those newbie runners who admire them

Aside from that, running through pain isn't something that could be labeled as courageous.  Because every runner knows, there’s nothing more badass than having the courage to sit out or volunteer on race day.  For me, that is akin to staring death in the eye and living to tell the tale.

So this year I've taken a slow start to running.  I've been patient and slow with my mileage build up, mostly because I've been in Nursing School.  But the other day I verbalized, "I can't run because I don't run 2 days in a row right now".

It was a really big step, and I think it was in the right direction.

~savor the run~

Friday, March 21, 2014

OFF to the RACES

Aaaand they’re OFF!

When I was a little girl I loved the story of The Black Stallion in all forms.  The book.  The movie.  The picture book that was based on the movie.  Ah, I loved it.  

I must have read that book 50 times.  And then the 23 books (or so) in the series.

As an athlete, I think about horse athletes sometimes.  The one's who race The Derby.  What happens when they wake up just not feeling the run?  Do they still go run?  Yes.  They do.  They still go workout, because someone says they have to whether they’re tired or not.

So here we are, a few days into my new training plan, and I’m shockingly, on track.  I need to tailor it down a bit to be a 4-5 day week, versus a 6 day week.  By Thursday at around noon I realized that there is pretty much no conceivable way for me to workout on a 6 day schedule.

Of course, one of the reason’s I’m so extremely on track this week is that the first workout on my plan was “Rest Day” for the Monday after the Half Marathon, but hey, there’s no judging.  If it says Rest, we Rest.

Mon – Rest
Tue –  Swim 1,000 w/ 8x25
            Ride 40 min w/ 6x 20 sec sprints
Wed – Rest (I was supposed to do something but instead I worked a 12).
Thurs – Rest (ok, I was supposed to do something else but I worked and wrangled kids and wrote a paper for a class).
Fri –  Swim 1200 (apparently I was supposed to do 1000, but I didn’t look at the schedule before arriving at the pool so...)
           Run 6 of the most perfect blissful miles with TMB ever.
Sat – Scheduled to ride with a group for 25ish miles, might try to squeeze a swim into my day also.
Sun – 40 min tempo run on tap.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Shamrock Beer Tent Report

When my running wife, TMB, writes a blog about a race, she writes about The good. The bad. The Ugly.
So ~ yeah.

If we’re writing about Shamrock Half Marathon it self, it would break down exactly that way.  If we’re writing about the weekend, I would say it was
1% UGLY AS (insert ugly word here).

Ultimately, the Half Marathon EVENT became less about the RUNNING and more about The Social Aspect of The Event.

The Good Dr and I went to Va Beach for the Half Marathon Weekend.  We had dinner at our favorite place, met my family for some family time, had dinner with IronJ and her family, met new runners, and found some delicious food and beer.  We went to the expo, walked on the beach, sat in the hot tub, and did all the things one would do on a 75 degree day in March at Va Beach.

The race plan was to run a sub 2 with IronJ, but on the morning of the race, as we started out, I had a feeling that IronJ was feeling EPIC where I was just feeling ... well, I was not feeling epic.

By mile 5 IronJ was pulling us and we crossed the 5 mile marker around 45 minutes.  Right on Schedule.  But again, I wasn’t feeling EPIC.

And at Mile 7 I sent IronJ on (to a 1:57) without me and settled in to try to hang on to my sub 2.  At about mile 7.001 I realized that my insides were actually kind of angry.  Very. 

So I hit a porta potty.

And then a mile later, I stopped to wait in a different porta potty line.  

Yeah.  It was going to be like that.

It was a long line.  I drank a cup of water.  Ate part of a Gu.  Drank a touch more water.  Doubled over once or twice in pain.  I knew that I was going to be less hydrated after coming out of the potty... and I was right, and I figured – when life hands you porta potties, you don’t make lemonade but you may as well drink something before walking in the door...

I finished the race in 2:07:59, which I kinda loved. A few years ago I ran a 2:07 at Shamrock.  I know exactly where I am now.  And isn't that nice?

And then I went back to my hotel room via a few potty stops, which I kinda hated.

Interestingly enough, the potty stops resolved within 20-30 minutes, and I was able to shower, get dry warm clothes on, and find a beer or two in the tent.  It gave me a chance to hang out with some old friends, make new friends, and generally, make it into a great day.

The Beer Tent went GREAT.  Good Food.  Good Temp.  As far as the "report" goes, the Beer Tent was PERFECTLY EXECUTED.  If I had to do it again I'd do the Beer Tent exactly as I did it.

"You know it's a good day when BEER."

I love that race.  I highly recommend wrangling your running group and doing the race next year.  It’s not always about the PR, sometimes it’s about the BEER TENT and the people with you.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

the keyS are not working

I'm struggling to write this blog post. 

I'm at the hospital, on a break, and the computer I've borrowed has an issue with the S key. nd the A key. And pretty much all the keys on the keyboard...

I'm typing furiously to get the words on the screen, and they are only 3/4 of the way formed when they get there. I'm clacking away as fast as I can, but the letters aren't lining up, and the faster I go, the longer this seems to be taking. It's like trying to pick up the pace when you're running, and glancing down at your watch to see that the pace is RIDICULOUSLY SLOW when compared to your EFFORT.  These old keys are not working.

I'm struggling a lot these days. With this keyboar, my schedule, my run. And I desperately want to get back to my run. 

Harry Potter, a runner friend who seamlessly blends art and science into his galactically badass run, used to coach me, whether he meant to or not.  And, I was RUNNING MY BEST at the time.  

Now, I'm not saying I'm running my worst at the moment, but yeah, I'm at mid-point average right now. Only days away from a Half Marathon, I'm only prepared to run it at MRP. Meaning, if I raced full out on Sunday, I might eek out a sub 2. That's a far cry from the 2013 pre-pnuemonia me, who was working my way towards racing for a sub 1:50.

Fortunately this week I will be chasing IRON J, and that should keep me moving forward toward the Sub 2 stepping stone goal. I had to make some kind of plan to get from not running well to running my best, and it involves steps. This is just another step.

Harry Potter reminded me that maybe the next step is to put my watch away for a little while. And I think it's good advice. I'm toying with the idea of finding a little out of the way 5K to run to remind myself I can run hard and not die, and not wearing my watch at it. Even if I don't PR, it'll be faster than a training run, and with my base at the moment, 5K would feel pretty short. Miserable, but short. The charity aspect of 5K's is rewarding as well.

HP also made other suggestions.

He suggested running with faster peeps, which is happening by default. The Good Dr is faster than I am, and Iron J is running better than I've ever seen her run before. 

Drills, Strides and Track work were on the list, of which I will likely only do 2 of 3. I'm already struggling with a schedule, adding track day sounds like more of a challenge than I'm ready for at the moment.

Finally, he suggested I stop drinking as much - which is a hilarious suggestion because a) I'm in nursing school. and b) for a nursing student I don't drink that much maybe 2-3 glasses of wine a week. and c) I realize the last time he saw me was Q's wedding and I was beyond 3 sheets to the wind but that's not typically my Saturday Night.

Speaking of my crazy schedule, last week I managed 5 workouts, and this week I have managed 1 so far.  I'm interviewing this week (all three are 2nd interviews) for R.N. positions.  

That's my workout.  I'm certain I'll be heart pounding and sweaty in intervals.

Also, forgive the typos.  An the edit.  It's exhausting to work so hard for such little return.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

A gift: To Live a Life Without Fear

At any given time there are probably 63,291 posts on the Internet about Second Chances.

I'm sure a lot of them are focused on not giving them to Liars.  I suspect many are in favor of giving them to Children.  To Addicts.  To Runners.  To Dreams.  To Bad A** Mother Runners.

I was getting ready for my swim today and the thought that barreled through my head was how tremendously lucky I am, and that I'm so thankful I got a second chance at life.  

Two years ago I gave myself a chance to live a life without fear.  It was my gift to me; my second chance.  I decided that no one should live every day in fear of tomorrow.  All I had to do was have the courage to leap and hope that the fall into the abyss wasn't going to destroy me.

And I leapt 
and I fell
and I wasn't destroyed.  

I was reborn, for lack of a better way to put it.  I came back tougher, but softer at the same time, able to look at life without fear.  I arrived whole and able to love.  

It is such a relief to live a life that is, for the most part, free of fear.  That weight is gone, safely tucked two years in my past where it can no longer hurt me.  

I realized this week, that no matter what obstacles keep getting tossed in my face or at my feet, I have nothing to fear from that ugly past.  Everything will work out the way it's supposed to, and history has proven time and time again, that it will be so much better than I imagine.

~savor the run~

Monday, March 3, 2014

A letter to my child’s first grade teacher...

Dear Mrs Awesome,

I’m sorry B’nut is having a tough time reading, but it’s not her fault. 

When she reads “grand” as “graund” and “draft” as “draught” and “ask” as “ausk” its completely my fault...

See, at dinner my kids get a ridiculous kick out of British Mummy, my pretend alter ego, who talks in a truly horrible faux accent.  The kicker is that they do what “British Mummy” says... so when British Mummy says, “children, go put the dishes in the washer” or “place your aluminum (aluminium) bike in the closet as we have no garage” they do it..

 But ...  maybe “British Mummy” shouldn’t be assisting with the reading homework...


Another Mother Runner