Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Chicago Recap: Part II

So I guess I did run a marathon last weekend that I promised to talk about...

Going in to Chicago, I was pretty excited. I wasn't as excited as before Columbus (my first marathon), but I was still looking forward to the experience and ready to bust out a huge PR.

First up: the expo!

Speedy friend Karen!

Hashtags are annoying, but hey, this was cool. I guess.

So Karen and I got our packets, bought expensive Nike tops, and headed back to the hotel for a pasta buffet dinner and some good ol' college football. I wasn't really nervous when I went to bed, but when I woke up...

Grape race nails + Mizuno Sayonaras = race ready!
So my race didn't go the way I had envisioned it. I was excited to start, especially after Karen and I made it through security and the porta potty line (me) and gear check (Karen, with my bib, so she could check my stuff) and into our Corral B without any issues. I never did find the rest of my Fleet Feet crew before the race, but that was ok.

I tried to get up toward the 3:15 pace group with limited success. I was pretty close to 3:20, so I wasn't too worried. I was warned that my GPS watch probably wouldn't get a signal for the first 5 miles or so, so I wanted to stick with the pace group(s) so I wasn't too far behind.

Not. A. Problem. Quite the opposite, actually, as the 3:15 pace dude was a kamikaze marathoner and was a bit fast. I realized this (eventually) and backed off the pace. I was doing ok for a while, but I wasn't feeling awesome. I rolled through the half in 1:38 and it felt Hard. I was worried. At this point, I knew that Chicago wasn't going to be my big PR race, but I could probably still manage a small PR and still hit a BQ time.

Wrong! Somewhere between miles 15 and 17, my calves started cramping up pretty badly. Cory passed me at mile 17 and I told him I couldn't do this. I've never been so negative during a race before, but it was hard to stay positive when a.) my legs were seizing up and felt worse than anything I had ever felt before, b.) my chance at a PR was totally shot and the BQ pace group for my age just passed me, c.) the previous 4 months of hard work seemed like a total waste of time, money, and effort, and d.) I was crying as I was pushing again a tree trying to stretch my stupid, stupid legs out.

I was pissed that my body had basically imploded and I was trying to figure out in my head how long it would take me to walk the final 4 miles. I walked through every aid station from 35K to the end, managing to run about a mile before things got too bad.

I am proud to say, however, that I crossed the finish line of the 2013 Chicago Marathon with a smile on my face.

It's taken me a little while to get to this point where I can be mostly upbeat and positive about the general experience. Yes, I finished my third marathon and yes, a 3:40 is a time that tons of people would kill to run, but that's not what I set out to do and that's not what I was training for. I appreciate all the people that tried to cheer me up post-marathon by saying stuff like that, really I do :) I know they were just trying to help!

Post-race with my Fleet Feet crew - all smiles!

This dynamic duo is pairing up again for Boston 2014 - we're going to have a GREAT race
I'd just like to point out that Nichole Porath is pretty much the coolest person ever. She had a herd of cow-costumed friends and family to cheer her on! Even though her race didn't go the way she wanted it to either, she was super supportive and positive when I (finally) found her after the race. She's been awesome post-marathon as well and I can't wait to see what she's dreaming up for Boston 2014 :)

So remember the Saucony poster - the further you go, the bigger the sundae? Late Night Snack - my pity party ice cream. Caramel Hazelnut Fudge Truffle - the "I just ran a marathon" diet plan. Denali Chocolate PB Moose Tracks - because I was still angry/upset/bummed about my race when I went ice cream shopping and decided that if I was going to be fat and lazy, I was going to do it right, gosh darn it!

I ran a grand total of 10 miles the week after Chicago...and I didn't run for TWO WHOLE DAYS after the race. I just didn't want to. I didn't want to run yesterday either, so I didn't. I did, however, get a Jerry Scott massage on Friday. His verdict is that I am a giant ball of muscle knots and he's surprised I even finished Chicago. I guess I'll be buying massages instead of ice cream for the next few months!

This week, I'm just trying to rediscover my passion for running. I made it 10 miles today with a few aches and pains, so tomorrow I'll take it easy (and maybe push a fartlek run to Friday instead of Thursday). 

There's only so much you can do to prepare for a marathon. Some days, you're unstoppable, and other days it feels like you should just quit now before you kill yourself doing something stupid. I guess that's why I'm looking forward to marathon #4 - you have to take the good (marathon #1, mostly) with the bad (marathons #2 and #3). 

I'm tired of lazy and ice cream. The running bug is nibbling my toes :)

10/23 EDIT:
So this beautiful post showed up in my Feedly (RIP Google Reader) feed this morning. That far-out goal? That Homer Simpson meme? The love of (possibly faulty, at the very least, it's sketchy) math to prove whiners WRONG? Love it, love it, love it :)

Monday, October 14, 2013

Chicago Recap: Part I

I went into the 2013 Chicago Marathon hoping to have an incredible race. I ended up with one, but not exactly what I was expecting.

So in light of that, I'm just recapping the non-running bits of my weekend. The other stuff will come later :)

I didn't get lost, I didn't get in an accident, I didn't get mugged in the Millennium Park garage. I found the hotel, I found Karen, I got all my stuff up to our room. The hotel was awesome, the expo was crazy, and I got lots of fun pictures :) Dinner was delicious, I learned about Karen's Jamba Juice addiction, and we watched a great game between Penn State and Michigan before going to bed early like old people.

Mid-50s and sunshine for the start, sparkle skirt bedazzling my corral pals, pirate flag tattoo on my left shoulder blade. Gu's tucked away for later miles, the porta potty had toilet paper in it, no tummy troubles and no 'I gotta pee NOW' moments when there's no time left.

Sunrise and the Chicago skyline, hearing 40K people singing the national anthem when the PA system kept cutting out, meeting a group of enthusiastic Mexicans at the start. No tripping and falling over other runners, no tripping and falling over the concrete lane dividers.

Drag queens in Old Town, a huge dragon in Chinatown, a pep band and cheerleaders by UIC. At some point, there was a huge group of Japanese drummers. I saw SpongeBob and ran past a guy dribbling two basketballs. I ran with some Canadians for a while, ran with Adam in a rainbow tutu, and saw lots of South American athletes. There were points along the course where the crowd was so loud, I wanted to turn my brain off. I think there were maybe 100 feet of open sidewalk the entire 26.2 miles.

Thank you to the guy at the aid station somewhere between 17 and the end who said "Here you go, beautiful" as he handed me a cup of Gatorade. Thank you to all the people along the course who told me they loved my sequins/sparkly skirt. Thank you to the super sweet finish chute volunteer who picked up tons of free food for my bag and made sure I could walk after my calves kept seizing up. Thank you to my fantastic training group at Fleet Feet for starting long runs in the middle of the night. Thank you to Nichole for making me a stronger runner and for hanging around after the race to catch up with me and, most importantly, for reminding me that I am NOT a 3:40 marathoner or even a 3:30 marathoner.

I had a blast this weekend and finished my THIRD marathon. I'm running Boston in April. Dear Chicago, I'm not mad at you for a crappy race. I'll be back sooner or later :)

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Taper time!

Ack, I know, I know, another tardy update.

Running has been going well. I had a couple of very good tempo workouts between the last time we talked and now. I had a really good race/marathon pace workout at the Fort4Fitness half. It was also a test-run of my Chicago outfit (ugghhhh, I sound like such a girl):

Sparkle skirt for the win!

Today was my last workout before Chicago! It went well (3 x 1200) and it was nice to get back on the track for a little bit. It was also nice to run into J on my run last night and talk to her for a bit. I've been alternating between being very excited and very nervous about this marathon. I'm trying my best to not let either emotion get totally out of control, but it's easier when I can talk to someone about it too :)

Anyhoo, today's the last day of Purdue's Fall Break (lots of sleep...YAY!). This time next week, I'll have marathon #3 done and can finally eat all the candy corn (chocolate/orange/white, please) I can stomach. (This is a dangerous thing about fall marathons - candy corn is so tempting. Also: spring marathons + Easter candy = danger.)

This exchange on Facebook happened. I love my friends here at Purdue! I educated Neil about running (and hopefully taught him that the Midwest isn't that weird), found out that Erin is a closet cereal junkie, and learned that candy corn does indeed count toward a balanced diet:

Friday, October 4, 2013


The first time I typed the title, it ended up as "Bootober" which, while also seasonally appropriate, isn't quite what I intended.

In case you live under a rock, October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. It's when the NFL decks their players out in pink shoes/gloves/towels. It's when all the tacky 'Save the tatas/Save the racks/I heart boobies (or boobs)' pictures start showing up on Facebook. All of a sudden, it's cool to talk about boobs.

I can't help feeling a little icky and annoyed by it all, though.

Before you fly off the handle and accuse me of being a heartless waste of carbon, I have lots of experience with breasts - I'm a woman. I know people who have dealt with breast cancer or had abnormal mammogram.

Do we have a prostate cancer awareness month where we can run around with witty slogans about "Save your bloke - give him a grope!" to raise awareness? Nope. Why? Because your prostate isn't sexy, perhaps? It seems like the majority of the 'awareness' slogans are not very tasteful. It seems like October is the only month of the year where it's acceptable for lots of people to talk like frat guys and not have anyone slap them for it.

Do I want to talk about my mom's boobies? Does my 'aunt' have a nice rack? Ugh.

I have breasts. They will feed my children one day. I don't have tatas. I don't have a rack, nice or otherwise. If I have boobs, it's because I'm annoyed with them and will refer to them as boobs.

Let's get back to breast cancer awareness. It's not an excuse to talk about boobies but hey, I'm wearing pink, so it's ok. It's about early detection and support and research towards finding a cure or more effective treatments.

Seeing my favorite QB wearing pink gloves doesn't make my breasts feel safer. I just feel like I'm going to be objectified for a month because of my breasts but I can't get mad at people because they're just supporting breast cancer awareness. I realize that some people use humor to lighten up a serious situation, but I can't help feeling like we've gone overboard with it.

Women are more than just boobs. Quit talking about tatas, take off that stupid pink throwing glove, and do something that will actually help someone.