Sunday, October 31, 2010


After our run-in with scary dogs & guys hollering at us last week, my dad went ahead & got my running buddy Jamie & I some mace. Of course I feel like, "Ohhhhh daaaaad..." BUT it's a great idea. Even if I never use it I'll feel more comfortable having it when I'm running alone, or when we accidentally re-route ourselves to a sketchy part of town. We wanted to avoid that for this week's long run, so Jamie & I met at a nice park with a fitness path that had a lot of loops & was full of runners, cyclists, & families walking six abreast (scoot over please!). We had a great time talking about things that won't be divulged here, laughed, & did not come across any perverts or weirdos (apart from a guy who was roller-blading & singing at the top of his lungs). It's a good thing because I had not yet picked up the mace from my dad's house. We have a half marathon next weekend, so Jamie ran 13 with me & since my knees are feeling fantastic now I went ahead & finished my scheduled long run of 18 miles. They say that 18 is the magic number, meaning that if you can run 18 miles physically & mentally you can run 26.2. We held a consistent pace, felt fantastic, & I finished fast & strong. I couldn't be happier with my training than I am right now.

I left the park feeling awesome, & headed directly to the grocery store on the way home to pick up my 20 pound bag of ice for the ice bath, some beer, & bananas. The standard, I call it, & staples for every runner. It was a pretty cool morning, but was warming up, so I left my warm up pants in the car, put on my jacket & headed in to the store. Enter the split shorts: thin, nylon shorts that are split up each side & are build for performance. So I run in to get my items, & surprisingly in the liquor section I hear someone say "You have nice legs...would you mind flexing your calf muscles for me?" I turn to see a strange looking man in his 40's, who was visibly excited & nervous, & looked like he didn't get out much. I said, "No, & you're f*ing weird." & I walked away. I'm certain that he watched me & my shorts walk all the way down the aisle, & I think I just threw up a little bit in my mouth. Here is a composite sketch of the individual in question:

I headed straight to the checkout, where I spotted the store manager. I told him about my run-in & was able to identify the pervert. The manager walked over to the guy, asked him to leave his things & exit the store. After watching the guy drive off, the manager then walked me to my car. Women get in these situations all the time & it's horrible. He didn't threaten me, or invade my space, but I was still violated. If I had my mace with me & used it I would be the one breaking the law. I understand that I was wearing decidedly flimsy shorts in a public place, but in no way was I "asking for it" or anything that he must have been thinking. While what I said to him probably wasn't smart in hindsight, it was my first reaction & I hope it sent a message to him that I wasn't afraid of him & that he could take his comments & shove 'em. Anyway, I went home & continued to have all kinds of different emotions. We're down to joking about it now, but I hope I never see that guy around here again.

In conclusion, be careful out there. Guys too. There are a lot of crazies out in the world & the more you're out there the more likely you are to encounter them. Even though, with our tights & headlamps, we may look like our own personal super-hero, most of us wouldn't know what to do if we were attacked. I'm glad I have my mace & hope I never have to use it.

Sunday, October 24, 2010


The long run is definitely the most anticipated run of the week for marathoners. It's the run that all the other runs that week revolve around. It is the run that our weekend inevitably revolves around. Somehow the statement, "I'm sorry, I can't go to your daughter's birthday party because I have to run 20 miles," doesn't cut it, so we work it out to work it in. We have high expectations for it, really. It's not like the Thursday tempo or the Monday shake-out, in that you have a chance to see what you are really made of. Most of the time you run a portion, or not all, of these long runs alone, with no one getting you back to your car but yourself. We painstakingly prepare for this run (read as: gorge ourselves on nachos & beer the night before), and we hope that we meet our goal in the end & still have enough energy for our family. They all inevitably have a story attached, & this is no exception.

My running buddy & I were going to preview the course for our upcoming half-marathon here in town. I wrote out all the turns on a piece of athletic tape, stuck it to my forearm, & off we went. Gorgeous buildings & homes, tree-lined streets,  lots of other people out riding their bikes & running. We had a lot to catch up on (read as: gossip) & as usual the laughs were in no short supply. It's very hard to run when laughing, by the way, but it does pass the time & a (reliable) running buddy is an awesome thing. We were talking about our goals for the race, taking note of the course, & knocking out the miles. We wound up missing a turn & somehow ended up in a sketchy part of town (read as: scary). After being hooted & hollered at, & nearly killed by 3 german shepards (I didn't mean to look them in the eyes!) we decided to ask for directions. A very nice man pointed us in the right direction, to which we decided just to turn around & go back the way we came. My running buddy (who is much smarter than I am), is only training for the half marathon & only needed to get in 13 miles, so we wound up safely back to our cars in 13.23 miles after keeping a nice even easy pace. The course is great, & I look forward to race day when I can run the other half of it.

Now, I forgot to mention that I ran a 5K (5 seconds slower than my PR) the day before. It was a great race with an awesome post-race party. I did partake in a couple of pumpkin beers after taking 2nd overall & coming so close to my PR. This race was to be a fitness test, so I could see where I stood for the upcoming half-marathon, & would know how to pace myself appropriately. I do, however, believe that this race, possibly my post-race debauchery, & the fact that I ate a huge (I mean HUGE) plate of fried chips with nacho cheese all over the night before, led to the most epic bonk imaginable. This was a true caloric bonk, & one that I've never experienced before. I am meticulous when it comes to nutrition, & I try to always make smart decisions when it comes to fueling my body. "To eat is a necessity, but to eat intelligently is an art." - La Rouchefoucauld  Aaaaaand, I didn't listen to that guy, clearly. So, to set the scene, my running buddy is getting me a water out of her car so I can refill my Nathan handheld, she's saying "Thanks for the run," & I am seriously wishing that I was headed home to ice-bath heaven myself. But, like a good little soldier, & for fear that my all-knowing Garmin will somehow realize that I hadn't met my milage for the day & would inadvertantly b#tch-slap me back to reality, I trudged onward. Pretty sure I shouldn't have stopped to chat, & pretty sure I should have taken a Hammer Gel  for a run that long, but whatever. I've run 16 miles many times before. Things were going just fine & then all of a sudden WHAM! out of nowhere it hit me like a ton of bricks. I'm telling you I was tingly all over, head to toe. My teeth were vibrating, I felt like I was no longer wearing shorts (I kept checking & they were there) - I'm not even making this up. I felt possessed, & I looked at the Garmin to see that I had fallen off my pace by nearly 2 minutes. Pushing along as hard as I could & it felt like I was walking. I mean, I'm no stranger to the phenomenon that is bonk, but this was ridiculous, "What did I do wrong???" & so, with .4 to go, I decided to stop. Not to stop & walk, as is customary, but just to stop & stand.

I found myself in front of a huge sculpture of a shoe, made of shoes, & it felt like some kind of crazy acid trip or double rainbow effect "What does this MEAN?!" A lady walking by asked if I was OK, & I didn't even look at her. How rude! "I'm never like this!" I thought. Finally, she said, "You better get going." She was right. Less than a half mile to go, & I forced myself to finish the torture session - no cool down, no stretching, just straight into the car, straight to the grocery store (where I found myself eating 4 chocolate covered almonds that someone let spill from the bulk food bin - I'm sure they would just throw those away, right? This will plague me for years to come). I then went home & got something to eat (or as my husband would call it "The Feeding"), took my shower of shame, sunk into ice bath heaven & took a nap. I am a statistics girl, & so I will be looking back over the numbers & what I ate to figure out what could have caused me to crash so hard. The long run is also where we learn what works for us, what does not, what causes gastrointestinal discomfort, etc.  I now know that smothered chips do not work for me. In my disillusioned state, I also realized that I only shaved one leg & so.... dear reader: off I go to finish what I started.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Off to a bad start...

Last year I ran my first marathon after having three kids & losing 55 pounds... yada yada here's the link to the story:  Anywhooo, I had such a great time that I decided that just 7 weeks later I would take the ankle express for another 26.2 miles - this time in Indianapolis. Bad idea... I wound up tearing my left rectus femoris (hip muscle) & getting tendonitis so bad in my right leg that I couldn't straighten my foot. You counted right... that's 2 legs out of commission. A few days on a walker, then several weeks in an air cast, followed by several weeks of physical therapy was a huge wake-up call. I'm not indestructable as it turns out. ouch. Also, I know that I can run a stronger marathon (see personal record's below), so I'm anxious to prove that to myself.

Finally, after adding swimming & cycling to my life, I'm able to run pain-free. It's a ridiculously awesome feeling. Problem is, I don't just do things in moderation. Just not my style. I decided that since I was doing so much cycling, & loving it BTW, that I would just go ahead & do a century ride before the season ended. That equals 100 miles, & that is officially a long way to ride. Training went well, until a couple of weeks ago when I made the rookie mistake of riding in cold weather, & rain, without covering my knees. Nothing huge, just some achiness & soreness... that won't go away. The century ride was brilliant! I had no knee pain, just achiness & soreness when it was all over. Bummer is, the run seems to aggrevate it so now I have a dilemma... I'm finally ready to run another marathon. I've got one in my sights. I've started to train for it. Such is life... 26.2 miles is a really long way to run. No really. The guy who did it initially, in Greece or wherever, dropped dead when he arrived. I can't risk a serious injury, & so... I may have to put the brakes on the whole operation. I'm still holding out hope, but... in the meantime, I will continue to swim, bike, and run when prudent. I will continue to show up at scout meetings, bake sales, school conferences, and the like. I will do my best to mingle & mix with regular (read: non-running) people & have meaningful conversations with them about regular things. I will be patient, and I will wait for the run...