Monday, September 28, 2009

Barbie Gets a Massage

If you're just tuning in, I've been a runner for about a year. I ran my first marathon in January 2009. Since then, I have been on fire to train for and run the Rock 'n Roll Marathon in San Antonio in November. I was hoping to qualify for Boston 2010, which would be a 3:50:59 time for my age group (I'm 42). I had the discipline, I had the momentum, there was no stopping me. Until something stopped me last week: A stress fracture to the cuboid bone in my right foot. No running for eight weeks. And guess what's in eight weeks? San Antonio.

Scream, cry, wallow in self pity. Read reader's comments and feel mountains better. So encouraging, insightful. So full of confidence in me to make my big comeback. Running and Living said, "You need to make a mental shift here and find a way to get excited about cross training." Marcus Grimm said, "I'd recommend respecting the long run a bit more -- in other words, there's not really a good reason for there to be a "moderate" run the day after a long run." Katie said, "You are so dedicated to running that God knew you would never take a break on your own. So he went to drastic measures."

In light of my running injury, I am re-assessing. Playing Monday morning quarterback, if you will. What could I have done differently to avoid this, or was it unavoidable? The culprits are:
  • Shoes: I chose a neutral shoe without much support. Wanted to go minimalist and light. I had been told by the Olympian that neutral was fine as I don't pronate, assinate, fartinate or any other "nates"

  • Overdoing it: I had upped my miles and my intensity in the days leading up to the injury

  • Overdoing it: I have been training for 13 months straight. I never stopped training for races in the past year. Here are the ones I did:

Full marathon: 1/09
Half marathon: 4/09
10K: 5/09
5K: 7/09
Half marathon: 8/09
Relay (16 miles): 8/09
Half marathon: 9/09

  • Predisposition: the injury I have is uncommon, especially for runners. It is typically a dancer or gymnast injury. I was a gymnast for four years in high school. Could that have weakened the cuboid and set me up for this?

  • Cross training: When people asked me what I did to keep in shape, I'd proudly say "just running and yoga," like it was some badge of honor. I didn't hardly cross train. Running fives days a week, yoga one day a week

What is to be gleaned or benefited from all of this? I am a former gymnast with neutral shoes who ran a lot of races between January and September, and did yoga.

I truly don't know if any or all of this matters, but I do know that I will be approaching things differently from here on out. First of all I will be sitting on my ass for the next two weeks. Then I will be (hopefully) given the right of way to get myself and my air cast out walking. Then it will be elliptical, swimming, biking. Then sometime in November, I will be given the "go" to run again, and I will go out and run the San Antonio Marathon that day and qualify for Boston. Gotcha, you freaks! Have a learned nothing? Running will start slow and steady. This is where things will change up from my former run-until-you-keel-over training plan.

Running and Living writes on her blog about the Runner's World book, "Run Less, Run Faster." Sounds kind of gimmicky and oxymoronish, like "Crap Less, Eat More Mexican Food," or "Stress Less, Talk to Your Mother-in-Law Everyday."

Nonetheless, it is a very scientific and sensical training plan based on having three "key runs" every week (speed, tempo, long) with cross training on the other days. Thousands of people, especially those who are prone to injury or simply do not have the time to train for endless hours per week, swear by this plan. It has even taken many of these people to their marathon PRs. I know many of you out there are into running 60-70 mile weeks and this has worked for you. It could still work for me, but I'm just messing with different approaches. And you, my insightful intelligent running friends, I want to know what YOU think.

Okay, this has nothing to do with running, but it is some comic relief. Yesterday my daughter, eight years old, told me that her Barbie was getting married later in the day and was getting a massage. I took a look and found that Barbie had quite the set up with a) no shirt on, boobs holding her up, b) Ken on his knees and giving her the choperoo, and c) her face planted into the bed like she just didn't care:

Just think: If I had been running I would have missed this most excellent photo-op.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

A Fart In the Face Makes Me Smile

I look happier than I feel. Man, I never would have thought 35 comments from people I have never met personally could make me feel so supported!! Thanks so much for sharing your personal stories of comebacks and recoveries. You have made me see that this is temporary and I will be back at it someday - and maybe even stronger and smarter this time around!

To state the obvious, there is a lot of downtime with a stress fracture. I read my Health magazine cover to cover yesterday. Since I am not running and therefore do not have any good crap-yourself or fart-on-your-running-partner stories of my own, I decided to post this hilarious anecdote from the magazine. Plus, Jamoosh has reminded me I am on probation for not posting enough about poop/farts/boobs lately. Between the crutches and my daughter vomiting yesterday, this brought a much needed dose of humor to me and my fracture (from Sasha in Wisconsin):

"I'm lactose intolerant, but I just can't kick my cheese and chocolate milk cravings. The unfortunate result of my dairy bingeing is usually gas, but I consider myself something of a flatulence ninja because I'm a pro at concealing it. That wasn't the case though when I recently went in for a bikini wax after a night of lactose gluttony. I wanted the full monty, so when the aesthetician was done with my front, she made me flip over on all fours. As she smeared wax in the most nether regions of my behind, I just couldn't hold it any longer and accidentally let one rip in the poor woman's face. If that wasn't enough, I fell down laughing, which made my butt cheeks stick together form the wax, so the aesthtetician had to separate them and re-apply."

I think I love Sasha and the fact she calls herself a "flatulence ninja." I have not yet had the opportunity to fart in someone's face. I have, however, blown up more toilets than I care to think about, squeezed out turds on the delivery table and have come close to farting right on an Olympian. These stories to come on future blogs.

That's all I got for today. Good luck to all of you racing this weekend. I am going to live vicariously through each and every one of you!!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

It's BAD News

Thanks dear blog friends for all of the well wishes, prayers, etc, but dammit, it didn't work!!

Diagnosis: Stress fracture of the cuboid bone. Who knew there was a flippin' cuboid bone. It is a rare place to get a stress fracture - my sport's medicine doc has only seen two in the past ten years. Go figure. He also said he saw the start of a second fracture in my heel. WTF???

My foot literally started hurting a week ago. I had not the slightest pain before then. Go figure again. But when I look at my runs before the pain started, here is what I see:

Friday: 11 miles, easy
Sat: off
Sun: 18 miles, hard 8:36 pace
Mon: 6 miles, moderate
Tues: yoga
Wed: 6x800 speed work. 800s=3:30 (foot starts to hurt)
Thurs: off
Fri: off
Sat: off
Sun: Half Marathon Race, 8:53 min/mile (foot KILLING me the whole way)

And of course the week before that I was racing in Oregon. And the week before that another half marathon race.

Maybe I shouldn't be so surprised that I got injured?? I also realized that in the past 13 months I have never taken a break from training. Oops. Probably not the smartest.

So San Antonio Marathon is out. No BQ'ing for me this year. I think you can qualify straight up until Feb 2010 (as long as the marathon has room), but not sure if that's in the cards for me or not. Anyone want to buy a bib for SA?

Here's the thing: As a new runner, I don't see the big picture. People who have been running for years have probably had injuries, have recovered and have come back stronger. I have only been running for one year. I've never been injured. I don't have the confidence to know that 1) I won't lose everything I've gained over the past year 2) I'll move past this injury and run distance again. It's kind of like getting pregnant and not believing you will ever get your body back to where it was originally.

So since most of the blog world seems to be injured right now, or recovering, or trying to not get injured again, tell me your success story about your big comeback. I really need to hear it.

Oh and hey, I still ran a 1:58 half marathon with a stress fracture, 85 degree temps and a strong headwind. That's gotta mean something.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Advantages to NOT Running. Really!

Today I am turning my pity party around and trying to come up with the top ten advantages to not running:
  1. Not as many clothes to wash or water bottles to clean
  2. Quality time spent with the TV and the dog (damn he licks himself a lot)
  3. Don't have to charge iPod or Garmin
  4. Hands are not sticky from all of those GUs
  5. More time to ruminate about what happens if I can't go to San Antonio in November
  6. Head start on Christmas shopping
  7. My car doesn't smell like ass
  8. Don't have to consume all those pesky extra calories I get to eat when I run
  9. Pants are clean with no skid marks or worse yet, solids
  10. No chance of getting injured - and one more -
  11. Plenty of time study the Boston Marathon course and convince myself that Boston sucks in the springtime and who needs that marathon anyway.

This is what I know: x-ray was negative for a fracture, but doc said that is usually the case with stress fractures. MRI is Thursday. Still cannot bear weight on the foot, but it is no worse and might be slightly better.

The results are in from the half:

1:58; 19/174 in age group (40-44); 96/893 female finishers. Could have been worse.

B.O.B. is so right when she compares not being able to run to ending a relationship. We runners are a strange breed. You can't pay most people enough to make them work out twice a week, but tell a runner he/she can't run and it's depression, tears, pity parties and sheer desperation.

So do you all do this, or is it just me? When you get injured, do you blame yourself? "If I just hadn't run that much or that fast. If I had just stopped when it hurt. If I had just...." The hard part about this running thing is when you feel yourself getting stronger, better, faster, you want to keep that momentum going. You up your miles. You increase your intensity. You feel strong. You feel insurmountable. Then you crash. But at least your pants are clean.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Race Report: It Sucked

Me at the end of the run: like the dress? Those kids clapping are my babies.

Warning: this post will be very unlike me. Probably not funny or sarcastic at all. So if that is the only reason you tune in, you might want to tune out.

The half marathon yesterday sucked the big one. It didn't start until 9am and it was already pretty hot and windy. The course is very exposed, right up against the Boulder foothills. That means no shade and intense wind. From the first step my foot hurt. Yes, I ran about 10,000 steps and each time my right foot hit, it hurt and was intensifying as the race went on. Throw in an uphill first half, 30 mph headwind and 80 degree temps and I wasn't having any fun.

A little side note about pain. Some people may think it was foolish of me to keep running with the pain. Pain is a weird thing. Sometimes you can run through it. Sometimes it comes and goes. Sometimes it is not indicative of anything more serious. As runners, we all have pain at some points, especially while racing. I knew I was uncomfortable, but did not think I was doing any further damage to my foot (possible foreshadow here for you English majors).

The course is an out and back. Have you ever run a race where you kind of hated every minute of it? This was a first for me. At the turn around I thought things would improve because it would be a slight downhill to the finish. I was banking on the headwind that I had on the way out turning into a tailwind (as the wind should do when it behaves). For me, the way back was no better, mostly because it was hotter and my foot hurt even more.

I am the type of runner who always gets liquids at the aid stations, but never stops. Yesterday I found myself not only stopping, but walking some at the stations (gasp!!). At one point I grabbed to cups of water, one to drink, one do throw on my head. I was holding both of them when a runner came by and took one out of my hand. Guess the running dress made him think I was a volunteer. I screamed at him, "WTF??? Who do you think you are?" Well, not really but that would have been fun.

Speaking of the dress: that was the best part of my run. LOVED running in the dress. Even if the rest of me felt like crap, the dress speaks for itself! (and no, I did not wear the slippers during the run). And for those inquiring minds: no I did not crap in my new sweet dress.

So as I neared the end of the race I was dying. Nauseous, in pain, mentally disturbed and psyched out. At some point early on I knew I would never beat my 1:47 PR. So my goal became a sub two hour run. I crossed the finish at 1:58. All things said, this wasn't SO bad, but when you are so far off your PR you feel like a loser.

I will say the power of the mind is amazing. The minute I crossed the finish I sat down and found I could not walk on my foot at all. I mean at all. Any pressure was excruciating. How I ran the whole race is beyond me.

I know you are thinking what I'm thinking. Two of the worst words a runner can hear (after leg amputation): stress fracture. Today I am still in a lot of pain and can't put pressure on the foot. I am seeing a sport's medicine doc this afternoon. If the x-ray confirms a fracture it is 6-8 weeks of no running. My marathon that I have been training my ass off for, my possible BQ, is in 8 weeks. I am trying not to start the pity party yet, until I know the nature of the injury.

Last night I woke up at 2:00 a.m, in pain. I took Motrin and Ken got me some ice. I lay there, like you do at 2:00 a.m., my mind racing. Running has become such a big part of my life, that not being able to do it for eight weeks would leave a major void. Not only do I love to run, but it is so much more for me. It keeps me balanced. It makes me feel successful. It is meditative. It makes me a better wife, mother, daughter, friend. It makes me feel strong physicaly and mentally. Am I a different person if I can't run? Is there any substituion that would work for me?

Tune back in later for an update on the foot. I hope I have good news.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Preparing for the Race Day

What do you do the night before a race? I am preparing for my Boulder Half Marathon tomorrow at 9am. The anxiety is less for me if I feel ready:
  • Coffee is pre-programmed to brew
  • Race bib is pinned on new running dress
  • Garmin/iPod are charged
  • Gel/glasses/etc on the counter
  • Ankle band on on the counter (this instead of a timing chip on the shoelace) - what am I on some kind of probation?
  • New songs are loaded on iPod (Black Eyed Peas, Kings of Leon, Weezer)
  • Strategy is in my head: go out slow first couple of miles, then speed up, do negative splits second half. Try to hold an 8 min/mile. Hope foot doesn't give me problems. Try to PR. Cut myself some slack if I don't
  • Big plate o' pasta for dinner (yeah I'm old school)
  • Change of clothes for post-race in case I shit myself (you's happened before)
  • Worry that my foot hurts. Remember that what you worry about usually never happens
  • Re-check the start time and the weather forecast (perfect: about 55* at the start)
And voila - here is the dress that I worked hard to snag before the race. It took some finagling, not unlike working a drug deal, but I did it. These are some of the most unflattering pictures ever. Taken by my eight year old.

My ass. It looks so f'n large and unattractive. Trying to show you the cute pockets in the back of the panties you wear underneath. I make the sacrifice for you.

The cute panties. I love how they make me look like I'm wearing a cup or have a penis.

Wish me luck. Nothing bad can happen when you're wearing a running dress, right?

Thursday, September 17, 2009

And It Doesn't Even Taste Like Turd

Bleh. That's what I have to say about yesterday's speed work.

We were supposed to run our 10K pace for the first six 800s, then get faster. But no one does that. Everyone runs way faster because this group is hardcore and speedy and competitive. That's why I keep going back. No pain, no gain. I just made that up.

So what do I do? Instead of running what is best for me, I get all crazy and I found myself doing 3:30 800's. Actually my first 800 was 3:17. I am not superwoman. I do not run a 6:30-7:00 minute mile for a 10K. Or for any "K".

So by #7 of these dreaded and endless 800's I was tired and my foot was killing me and I stopped. I NEVER stop. I never quit. But with my half coming up on Sunday I didn't want to overdo it. Or so I told myself. I just wanted out of there. A big cup of coffee and a trip to Outdoor Divas to look for my running dress helped my mood a bit. I found the cutest dress, but not in my size. Fortunately I have a friend who works for, makers of the famed running dress. She is going to get me one before my race. Thanks, Maggi!

I am putting that ick day of speed behind me. My foot still hurts today (right foot, on the top right, when I put weight on it). I had a ten miler on the agenda, but need to heal before the race. I got a flu shot and cleaned the toilets instead. Do you find that track running is harder on your feet?

I did learn a lot about speed work, though. Like how to set my Garmin for laps. And how to keep an even pace. And how to breathe when you feel you might die. And how much mental energy it takes to keep pushing when you have nothing left.

These are the attributes that I believe make us faster and more mentally strong. We need to be willing to be really uncomfortable sometimes in our runs. It is that ability to push to our edge and stay in that place for a few minutes, seconds even, that makes us able to push even further next time. Existing with the pain and discomfort and misery, even welcoming it, is key. I actually get nervous before speed work, tempos and races because I am afraid of the discomfort. Knowing that it is temporary and doesn't define us is important. It just makes us better.

I'm not sure about a PR on Sunday. Beating my 1:47 time from my last half will be hard and it's only been a month. The only dependable thing about a race is that something unexpected will happen. Sand storm. Diarrhea. Aid station is out of water. Cramp in your pinkie. Who knows, but it always makes for a great story.

On a new subject, I was excited yesterday to get these from Lara Bar:

They sent me some new flavors (well, new to me) to try: Peanut Butter & Jelly (dates, peanuts, cherries, salt); Cashew Cookie (cashews, dates); Tropical Fruit Tart (dates, pineapple, coconut, almonds, coconut oil, orange juice concentrate, orange peel); and Apple Pie (dates, almonds, apples, walnuts, raisins, cinnamon).

Lara Bars are genius. I'm not just saying that cause they're based in Denver. Anyone who can make a yummy and healthful product with minimal, basic ingredients and no preservatives and not have it taste like turd is on the right track. The PB&J sounds really good.

So tell me - provided you never got injured, do you find you keep getting faster if you train consistently? Do you usually get PRs on the races you run? What's your race secret? How do you keep going and pushing when every cell in your body is telling you to stop?

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


Today I had my hair dyed brown (from my previous very blond). Just so my husband could feel like he was cheating on me without really cheating on me. Not sure why I did it. I thought if I had darker hair I would be a faster runner. Well, not really. It just seemed like the thing to do for a sassy change. However, when I picked up my son today he said I looked like Nicky Sixx from Motley Crue. And that's not a compliment. I rushed home to google-image Mr. Sixx and apparently I look like this:

But this blog is about running and not about my hair or a heavy metal band or my sex life (although you would like to know, wouldn't you?)

Tomorrow is more torture with my special running group. I looked at the workout plan and decided that if there ever was a day I would be puking from running, it is tomorrow:

Track workout:
Warm up 20 minutes/Stretch/4 x 100m strides (bring it on)
9 x 800m with 2 min recovery (holy shit)
Run 1 thru 6 @ 10K effort (mother effer)
Run 7-8 @ 5-7 sec faster (mother f'n effer)
9 will take care of itself (yeah, because 9 will involve running at the pace during which I puke my guts out and get it all over my new brown hair)

So think of me at 11:00 a.m. eastern/10:00 a.m. central/9:00 a.m. mountain/8:00 a.m. Pacific. And some ungodly hour if you live in Beijing.

For my half marathon this weekend I am on the prowl for a running dress. Yes, I said dress. I am not a girly girl, but the thought of running in a dress is strangely appealing. Probably because I like attention. Might even go it without underwear and stand on a large mirror at the end with my brown hair flowing just to give the boys a thrill. As if this 42 year old could thrill any boy. In my dreams I'm a cougar and/or a MILF. Or RILF since I'm a runner.

Told you the brown hair made me sassy. And hey it's my 100th post and if you leave me a comment I will be happy.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Solo 18-Miler

Psyched out. That's how I was feeling about confronting my 18 miler this morning. I'll tell you why:
  • I was going it alone. I don't care who you are. 18 miles is a long freaking way to go alone, even with your friend, iPod.
  • It was chilly. Warm bed, coffee and Sunday paper were calling my name.
  • I drank quite a bit of wine last night.I haven't run 18 since training for my last marathon (so that would have been back in Dec.)

I mapped out the route - the back roads of Boulder County which is a propos ("appropriate" for all you non French speakers) as I am doing the Boulder Backroads Half next weekend. Roads are all dirt and rural which I love (although that llama staring at me was a bit disconcerting - I knew she was going to spit a loogie on my fuel belt - BTW, I've never written the word "loogie" before. Had to look up how to spell it).

I was planning on an out and back. Nine out, nine back if you need help with the math. I tried to find a way to make it sounds shorter - like three six milers or nine two milers or 18 one milers - but no matter how you slice it, it's just f'n long.

Once I got going it was all good. The way out is mostly up hill and quite challenging. I found my stride early on. My goal was about a 9 min/mile. I was doing a bit faster than that. About six miles in, there was a pack of dudes running towards me. When I got closer I realized it was the Strands team, the guys from the relay! That gave me a total boost. I trudged on. I got to the halfway point, stopped for a gel, Advil, blister band aid. No sooner had a started back when I had that familiar feeling - you guessed it - turd honking for the right of way. I was clenching, trying to avoid messing myself until I could find a warm, clean bathroom with an US Weekly Magazine. Or maybe just a bush large enough to hide my white ass when I squatted. Finally I scoped out my spot and laid one down. Then I had a newfound lease on life.

The next five miles were awesome and fast. I was jammin' to the Black Eyed Peas ("I gotta feeling, I'm going to finish this damn run after all") and my feet were turning over fast. Too good to be true - my hamstrings started to seize up and almost felt like they might collapse under me. I stopped to stretch on a fence and that helped get me to the end of the run.

Over all I felt pretty good for the whole run - there is always a lot of mental energy that goes into doing something like this. Running through and with the pain is part of it. I never expect to feel great while I'm running. If I am pushing hard and working how I'm supposed to be, I'm usually pretty dang tired. But the reward comes at the end and what a sweet reward it was! Guess what? Over 18 miles - 8:36 avg pace.

Now, to qualify for Boston I need to run a 3:50 marathon in November. That is an 8:46 pace. But I want to stay closer to an 8:35 just to give myself some wiggle room. So while today's run was only 18 miles (even though there is nothing only about 18 miles), I ran it at marathon pace which makes me VERY happy and proud.

Splits: mile 1: 9:00; mile 2: 8:55; mile 3: 8:57; mile 4: 9:11; mile 5: 8:36; mile 6:8:50; mile 7:8:37; mile 8: 8:40; mile 9: 8:55; mile 10: 8:25; mile 11:8:25: mile 12: 8:01; mile 13: 8:36; mile 14: 8:46; mile 15: 8:15; mile 16: 7:55; mile 17: 8:16; mile 18: 8:26.

Yeah, that's right. Mile 16 - 7:55!!!

So after a grilled cheese and a banana, I am glad the bathroom is nearby. These runs really jack with my stomach. But I have this feeling of accomplishment. I really did something today! This has been a 44 mile week for me in total...not too bad.

And one more thing, my son, 11, ran his first cross country meet yesterday. Did the two miler in 15:50. Didn't even crap himself.

Friday, September 11, 2009

More Than Running

Today, on September 11 I ran 11 miles. And I thought this:

"Spread love everywhere you go: First of all in your own house... let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier. Be the living expression of God's kindness; kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile, kindness."

~Mother Theresa

We can't undo what happened eight years ago. But we can move forward with generosity, kindness and full hearts.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

And His Body Glistened in the Sun

I went back for more torture today. I thought I might be done with that running group - the one where no one talks to me and everyone exists in these little cliques. The one where I was frowned on for doing the "wrong" race (I chose the Boulder Backroads Half in ten days when apparently I should have chosen the Indian Peaks Half - something political I guess).

Given that I actually paid to be in this group and to get some coaching, I thought I should return. I have found lots of excuses to not go: black toenail, sore back, relay, it's Tuesday, I'm asleep, my mom called, Rugrats is on. You get the picture.

So I show up. Everyone is in a little circle. One girl briefly looks at me and says, "Hello." I stand there. The outsider. Wanting to get back in my car and listen to Dr. Robin tell me I'm special. Feeling like the last one picked for teams on gym day in sixth grade. A loser. If you're thinking I'm overly sensitive, you're probably a man or a lesbian and you're probably right, but we women like to feel included. We like to feel validated, dammit. Sometimes it's fun to play the victim. Just let me have a moment.

Boobs, fart, big turd, football. There you go, men - something to relate to.

We start running a two mile warm up. I'm glad to be running and not standing there picking my nose. We stop and stretch. We are splitting into two groups. The head honcho coach is leading one group - he says for people who run sub-8 minute miles. The other group is for people who might be a bit slower. I gravitated towards the slower group, but was told by that coach to go with the other three girls. The fasties. Thus commenced one of my hardest workouts in a long time:

Whistle blows, coach yells, "We're doing 7 intervals. 3 minutes each. 10K pace." Apparently everyone's 10K pace is a 7 min/mile cause that's what we're doing. After each interval, we get 60 seconds to run slower and capture our breath. Whistle blows: start again. And again and again. 7 freaking times. Last one I was seriously dying. As in if no one was looking and the coach wasn't right on my ass I would have laid down in the dirt and wet myself.

We finish and I chat with the fasties over lemon lime Gatorade. We are sort of friends now, bonded over a hard workout with lots of sweat and hard breathing. Coach meanwhile takes off his shirt and runs off into distance. Glistening in the sun. Apparently our little 7 mile speed workout was the appetizer to his "real" workout. Go Coach. After all, he is actually a good/knowledgeable coach and a kick ass runner.

I know this is supposed to make me faster and better. But I leave you with this: I hate speed work.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Bear Crap with Berries

Two things stand out that I love:

Facebook. I know, I know. Not because I can be updated on Sally's status that she just took a bath and shaved her pubes and used Dove soap and made bubbles out of her farts in the bath then went to bed. But where else could I post: "Anyone up for a 2 hour run?" and immediately get some much needed company?

Training for a marathon is hard, but training alone and having to hang out with myself for so many endless miles each week is harder. Don't get me wrong, I do love myself. I can be funny, competitive, compassionate and lively. I forgive myself for all those snot rockets, skid marks and farts along the way. I don't mind if I have to steal off the route to lay down a turd and my B.O. doesn't offend me as much as it would offend anyone else. But good God, I'm tired of me sometimes!

So a new friend, Leigh, who is training for her first Ironman in November, said she'd go. After all, she only road 61 miles on her bike yesterday. Today she needed to run three hours then go swim another mile or so. My measly two hour run was a drop in the bucket to this stud muffinette. When I say new friend, I mean we've only met once before through another friend who I met in cyberspace. It's all very convoluted, but we're moms, same age, live in the same place and have some of the same goals. Plus I really like this girl, so it works.

Which brings me to another thing I love: other runners. After doing the relay, my faith has been restored in runners. We are one cool and welcoming and supportive group (unless you join some running group in Boulder and are not chic and new age enough to be included).

So Leigh suggested a trail run outside of Lyons, CO. And onto the other thing I am loving today (and everyday) Colorado. Voila le Picture Rock Trail:

We drove to the trial head about 15 minutes away. Middle of nowhere. Her husband, Mark, joined us. I immediately loved Mark because he tucked a plastic water bottle in the back elastic band of his shorts and said, "Do you like my fancy hydration system?" Here's what happened along the way:
  • About three miles up we stepped over a steaming 1 ' x 1 ' pile (mess) of bear crap. Brand new crap with all kinds of berries. Bear must've been nearby, but I didn't want to think about that for fear that the bear's next turd would have my chewed tampon and pieces of my running shoelaces in it.

  • The trail was rocky and steep in places. I wiped out twice. The second time Mark said it was graceful like I was on a pummel horse. See I knew there was a reason I did gymnastics in high school. So that when I fell running on a trail when I was 42 I would look like I was merely doing a routine on the horse.
  • On the way back we saw a family of four trying to take a Sunday morning mountain bike ride together. I said to the mom, "Hey looks like you're out for a nice family ride." She shot me a look as if to say, "Shut up you skinny bitch runner. This ride sucks and I'm only out here and not eating donuts and drinking coffee because my husband made me." Yikes. I think divorce occurred after that run.
  • We went 12 miles in two hours. It's only an 11 minute mile, but lay off you speedies. A 12 mile steep trail run at 6,000 ft. elevation is equal to at least 50 miles on asphalt. So really, we did about 2.5 min/miles.
  • My socks at the end of the run. You should have seen my feet. They look like I had just dipped them in a vat of diarrhea:

So I'm only 70 days out from San Antonio, my hopeful Boston qualifier. I've already psyched myself out somewhat. Can I sustain an 8:30 pace average over 26.2 miles. Damn I hope so. What do you say to yourself to psych yourself up to meet a goal that you're not entirely sure you can meet?

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

What's Under That Kilt?

Just a couple of photos from the relay. I know you're sick of hearing about it, but this will be my last relay related post.

Photo #1: This picture cracked me up. The best van at the race if you ask me. Obviously this guy has the same toilet issues I do.

Photo #2: So there were some guys running in kilts and we kept asking if they were free ballin', but got no answer. A friend of mine managed this shot, however. I know it's blurry, but it had to be taken fast and you get the idea. Guess I got my question answered. For you male runners out there, wouldn't it be uncomfortable to run with your junk flying about?

Photo #3: And I had to put my running photo in here. If I look in pain, I was. This was leg #3. It was raining, there was a big hill up ahead and I hadn't slept in over 26 hours. At least no one is passing me and my pants are clean. Don't tell anyone about my copyright infringement.