Tapering Sniffles

So I am tapering down for the marathon.

Oh, my birthday was last Thursday. WIN! …Except that I was sick.

I went for aΒ  run, and felt great so I stretched it to a 7.25. Yes, I was supposed to be tapering, but I pleaded with the running gods that it would be my last long weeknight run so I was allowed to do 7+ miles. I guess the running gods were not happy. Basically, the sickness began about 10 minutes after I got home from the run. A sore throat. So I drank OJ (I’d been oddly craving it Sunday after Tuna. Is that my body’s way of telling me I’m gonna get sick), and tons of water and hoped it’d get better with some sleep.

It didn’t.

I woke up Thursday with an even scratchier throat, and it was my birthday. I was supposed to go to work. But I had already been feeling iffy about going to work on my birthday. I mean, what am I, a grown up or something? πŸ™‚ So I typed an email to my coworkers, and got breakfast. Then went back to sleep til 1.

I planned to meet friends with a few beers at Tyler’s in Raleigh. And it was a few friends from this group, a few friends from that group; basically, they were there for me. So I couldn’t cancel. But, I could take a nap, oversleep, get a phone call from my GBF (gay best friend), and head out, leaving my ID in my apartment, drive for 10 minutes before realizing, have to turn around, and be 20 minutes late. Whatevs. It’s my birthday, I do what I want. πŸ˜‰

Thursday was fun. But I felt obligated to drink. I mean, I dragged my friends out on a weeknight. To a bar. Sarah was preparing for the Tough Mudder (look it up- it’s too crazy for me to do… Ever. <— remind me of this if I ever post about doing one). And Allison basically did the same thing as me- oversleep. And hey, it wasn’t her party. So she stayed in bed (bravo girl! I would have been there too!). And my friend, Carolyn had been working for 12 hours, and managed to walk over from work for a drink before going home to work for a few more hours (She works at a law firm and they were scheduled to go to court Monday). Megan and Dave were there. And Dan and Dave. I know! Two Daves! It gets confusing!

It was fun though. My drinks were covered by various people. And I had one of these: SKA Autumnal Mole Stout It’s spicy, with cocoa nibs, so spicy, but drinks really smooth. I thought the spice would clear me up, and the smoothness would coat my throat. Oh, and in bigger news- Dan and Dave brought me a present. In true Tuna teammate fashion, they got me a Dunkin Donuts gift card, and Cadbury Screme Eggs (and you thought they were only around at Easter… Not anymore! I seriously scour stores looking for these in April. I have spent 30 minutes in Target trying to find them. And had told Dave about my obsession). They’re the best. Really, just great guys. Any ladies interested, totally let me know. They’re cute. I should probably sell them as individuals, shouldn’t I? haha, ooooh well.

I slept most of the day Friday. And family dinner, where I was forced to eat birthday cake. Yes, I know how lame that sounds. I felt forced to eat it. I generally LOVE birthday cake, and buy it year-round. But, my cold stole my appetite. And then Saturday was a long run day. 16 miles. Ugh.

I woke up at 530, per usual. And just kept saying ‘If I vom, I’m going back to bed; Allie will understand’ But I felt okay- like 70%, so I was off to run the muddy hills of Umstead. I knew I wouldn’t make it 16 miles; maybe 12 miles of running? Maybe 10, maybe some walking. It was worse than I thought. After 5 miles at a decent pace (10:15s), I felt queasy, and slowed to a walk. And then started the hacking. Allison and Matthew ran ahead, and I swear they probably could hear me for miles, that’s how loud the coughing was. I decided it was best to turn around, and struggle to get 10 miles in. I ran/walked the rest of the way back to my car.

Then went home, showered, and slept some more. And finally, Sunday, I started feeling better.

So, tapering. Apparently a lot of people get sick. Especially if they do a no-sleep, run-in-the-cold approach. Like I did with Tuna200. So the goal isn’t to set any records, or even boost my confidence during this taper period. In the next ten days, my goal is to get better. And be 100% by race day.

Side note- I ran 4.6 miles at a 9:00 pace with Dave yesterday. And felt better this morning, so 3 miles today; then resting until Saturday’s long run (11 miles).


Tuna 200 recap (long one)

I just got back from one of the best weekends ever. Definitely the best running weekend ever. Walking away, I know I will be doing another relay. And will be so much more prepared for it too πŸ™‚ So Oct 19-20 was the Tuna200 which is a 200-mile relay from Raleigh, NC to Atlantic Beach. Our team was 12 people, and two vans. Seriously, I won’t go into all the details, but if it’s something you’re curious about, click the link. It gives every detail. I had legs #5 (“Hard”), #16 (“Hard”), and #25 (Easy route, but terrible timing haha).

So our adventure started Friday morning at 6am. Dan, Dave, and I met at Sarah’s to pack the Tahoe, and got out of the driveway by 6:10am (go us! We were planning for a ‘no later than 6:15’). Dan, who’s usually a little late, was the first one there. I took co-pilot seat; the GPS was mine so I input the address of the start line. A great sign to a trip- we missed the turn for the park where everyone was meeting… Whoops! And Sarah got to test her five-point three-point turn skills on our first country road. It was raining when we started, so Allison was nervous, and had texted 2-3 times and called Sarah’s phone, asking where we were. As soon as we got there, Olga and Allison loaded the Tahoe with the stuff, and we all began to wonder silently ‘where is the fifth person going to sit?’ … Well, not me. That early in the morning, I’m hardly silent. I made snide comments about how much Allison packed (uncalled for- but I was anxious too, and anxious about everyone fitting in the Tahoe comfortably). We lined up at the start to go over the rules, and with a little spanking, sent Allison on her way to kick off this 200-mile race. We made jokes that she was on her own, and we’d see her at the beach. πŸ™‚ #CornyDadJokes

We headed off to the next spot, and saw all the 730am runners, Allison barely trailing the others. Allison handed off to Olga flawlessly, and the relay had officially started. We attempted to paint the van, since it had stopped raining. It ended up looking very pretty πŸ™‚

Olga handed off to Sarah. Who, handed off to Dan, and I realized I needed to change shirts and get ready… Here goes nothing- I had the first long/hard leg.

LEG #5 (my first leg): 9.08 Miles “Hard”

I couldn’t feel the “downhill” in the beginning… You can see my elevation edits πŸ™‚

Dan handed off to me at 1034am, and I took off. I kept telling myself to go slow and just hit my stride. Unfortunately, when running on the road, here’s a few things to think of. On a curvy country road, the road slants in the direction of the curve. And my left hip started to feel that by mile 3-4. You also have to jump on and off the road depending on how fast the car is coming toward you/ if they see you. Also, you get no shelter from the sun. It was beautiful and 75 degrees, but I went through about 12 oz. of water in the first 4 miles. Okay, Chandi, time to reserve the water. I went for about 5 miles without seeing another runner. One guy “blazed” past me. Then stopped to walk a couple minutes later. He seemed just out of reach the whole time. I kept trying to pick up the pace to catch him, but couldn’t do it. I came upon my last curve and saw the church. And heard the church bells. I remember I was supposed to finish at 12pm according to schedule (after 12pm, you were required to have water on you). So I made my final sprint. And Ca caw’ed to make Dave smile, as I handed off to him. (Finished in 1:26:15. Yay! 9:29 pace… look at me, picking up the seconds hehe)

My vanmates basically rocked. I had told them a few things before the run- I wanted a cold Nuun and 2-3 Dunkin donuts when I finished (We wrote Running on Dunkin on the Tahoe… and I ate five throughout the race). And Dave asked that I ca-caw to him (Allison and I stole a brilliant idea to ca-caw as you are coming in at night, so the next runner can tell it’s you from a distance… Then that runner yells “Hootie Hoo!” so the runner who is coming in knows you’re ready. It also gives a little extra encouragement. We saw so many teams who their runner would go fast/strong, and then end up standing around for 10 minutes, trying to find their person. This doesn’t just cost you time, it would be aggravating and a little stressful in my opinion).Β  Dave could clearly see me- it was noon, but it was fun to ca-caw.

After my run, we ran into Kerry, our old coach. His team actually won the whole thing. They started at 9:00am (giving us a 1.5 hour head start), and had already caught up with us by that exchange- #5. So I was on an endorphin high. I walked back to the car, and declared proudly, “I’m taking off my shoes!” And threw my phone to the ground…
“I hope my 10-miler is shorter than my 9-miler” I said to Dan. He responded Maybe. Just Maybe. And we burst into laughter. Then, I walked around the Tahoe to get some water, got distracted by donuts and jumped in. … Leaving my phone and shoes behind. I also tried to get in a 15-passenger van at Exchange #1… So, hey! I got the right vehicle this time, right?!

We realized I left my shoes when we were getting ready to leave the next Major Exchange, after sending Beth off into the country… Thankfully, we told Jesus (a runner in Van #2), who had been talking about it and someone overheard him and walked over with my shoes and my phone. And he showed up Jesus. Saves. The Day. (That guy has such a great sense of humor!) So, then, we took off for Smithfield for lunch, and eventually to the next Major Exchange. [Major Exchanges= all the vans meet up because you are switching from the last runner in one van to the first runner in another van] We had about 3 hours, even after eating lunch. So we all set up towels and worked on our tans. Did I mention I did the middle of the day 9-mile run… Well, I didn’t need much “work” on my tan after that… haha! Dan and I practiced gymnastics (I was a coach for about 6 years). Olga and Allison continually updated their facebook, and gave us the updates (including one of our running buddies, who had joked about running with us, but thankfully decided not to, as his wife had her baby Friday morning). We also took bets on who would come out of the port-a-potties first, as we had a front row view. And listened to a random woman playing violin in the field.

FINALLY! We got the text from Van #2, saying they were headed our way, and we met up with them. They were making great timing and we were about 10 minutes ahead of schedule. Allison geared up with her “night” gear at 5:30 (had to have it after 6pm). So she was walking around with a reflective vest, headlamp, and blinkies until Jason came across the exchange zone. And she was off- for the hardest leg of all- 11.06 miles. And there was about 2 miles where cars weren’t allowed access on the road, so no van support. We headed off to get gas and water, and looped back to catch Allie at mile 5, just in time. One of her blinking lights wasn’t working, and it was just getting dark. We switched it out for her. Cheered her on, and went on our way, barely avoiding hitting a HUGE dog. Allison later told us that dog scared the piss out of her at mile 6…

Reflective gear is fun. [Dave, Dan, Sarah]

The next point was a field on the corner of two highways. And no port-a-potties. So we stood in the field. Laughing and talking. Dave’s next leg was 1.81 miles, and he joked that he was going to try to beat the Tahoe. He predicted he’d finish in 6:30’s, which was a little ambitious (he usually runs a 8:30-9:00 pace). After Dave took off, we waited at the light. And he ran by. Then, we got to another light, and passed by him. We got to the exchange zone, thinking we’d have a few minutes. Dan got out of the Tahoe, and stretched, with just enough time to hear “ca caw! ca caw!”… “Dan? DAAAAANNN! Where the hell are you!?” (Dave pounded that leg in 12:30, sub-7s). And Dan took off for the road. Sarah and I changed.

LEG #16 (my second leg): 9.96 miles “Hard”

Felt downhill until the last 0.5 miles πŸ™‚ Great run! Thanks Charles!

I was up next- 9.96 miles in the dark. When Dan came blazing in, there were two other runners with him. I thanked god there were others, then freaked out that I would run too fast and burn out and be stuck walking in the dark (which seems sad). I took off fast! So fast my blinking light jumped off. I had to turn to grab it from the road, and struggled to find a place for it on my back, while I made introductions with the other two runners.

One was a girl, who said she was going for a 8:30-8:45 pace. I laughed and dropped away from her. The other man- older with a gray mustache and a headlamp that spanned the entire width of the two-lane road, said he was just looking to finish. He was on an ultra team, and had already done ~20 miles. His name was Charles. And we had a lot in common (his first full marathon was Vegas, which was my first half marathon… the same year). We hit the first few miles too fast- 8:07, 8:20, 8:30, then finally 8:57. My GPS jumped from that to sub-one-minute pacing, and I mean even when I’m fast, I’m not that fast. So I turned it off. And just ran my heart out. But it felt like we were hovering around 9-minute splits, and Charles glanced at his watch every so often and reported we were at 9-minute miles. I felt like my legs were running as fast as they could. One foot in front of the other, just staring at the white line, making conversation with Charles. At mile 5, we decided we were in it together; if he sped up, I sped up. If he wanted to slow down, I would too. But we both refused to slow down. He later told my Van#2 teammates that it was the best 10 miles he’d done to date, and most enjoyable too.

We saw the sign for “exchange zone ahead” (which varies but can be anywhere from 0.2 miles to a mile away from the zone). Charles assured me it was just around the corner. And I realized I had been tearing up the asphalt, going way faster than I had told my vanmates. I had said “I’m just looking to finish. Don’t expect before a 9:30 pace…” And had been going 9’s and below. I said to Charles, I’m going to do something crazy… And he looked at me like “Oh no. she wants to go faster!” And I ca caw’ed as loud as I could. It was like a battle cry. I had no idea where I was, or what time it was, but I knew I was coming in strong, and probably 5+ minutes ahead of time. When we came upon my van-mates. I heard our two teams cheering us in, and pushed it with every fiber in me. I saw Olga scrambling to get to the road to meet me [I later found out they had all been talking outside, when Olga suddenly looked around, going I might be crazy, but I think I hear her… Someone ran to the road, saw me coming in hot, and grabbed Olga. Thankfully, she was ready to go a little early]. We fumbled a little with the hand-off, but then she was off into the night. I quickly scrambled to get my things together and excitedly jumped into the Tahoe, telling my vanmates every little detail. How there were three drunk guys who pulled over to cheer us on. I shared my water with Charles, and we got fresh water at mile 6. And how Charles had yelled Chandi! Quick on my right! when a dog approached. Haha! And how I wanted to get to a port-a-potty… I had just ran 10 fast miles, and my metabolism was kicking into gear.

After Olga was Sarah. I suggested we stop to cheer Sarah on. Dan reluctantly agreed. I was still in co-pilot chair… hehe. I think there were only 2 or 3 times I wasn’t in co-pilot seat. Sarah came on us so fast, we actually almost missed her and felt like we could have done so much better cheering her on. haha. oh well… there’s always next year!

Then we were done for the night. Dan drove us to our next major exchange, where Sarah and I asked the boys to exit the Tahoe, so we could change (no inside bathrooms).Β  After getting settled back in the van, with the temperature outside dropping into the lower 40s, Dan and Dave thought it would be brilliant to crack their windows because it was going to get steamy. Time to sleep…Β  move around awkwardly on leather seats, crammed into little human contorted bodies in the Tahoe. Every time I glanced over at Dan, he was in a different *unique* position (he said the same about me). Dan was behind the driver’s seat. And I tried so hard not to laugh when he would lock us in or unlock the doors, turn on the emergency flashers, all while trying to find a comfortable position. I guess he saw me shaking at one point (I was wearing my running skirt- ready to go for my next leg), and thought it would be nice to roll up his window. Except, he rolled down Dave’s first, then turned on the child safety. And didn’t notice. So Dave was shivering, and all of us were wondering, why is it getting colder in here?

Leg #25 (my third/final leg): 3.33 “Easy”

My 4:45am run. Felt like a death march…

At 4:20, I decided to was time for me to start waking up. Clara was supposed to get the exchange zone at 4:41am, but they were running about 5 minutes behind, so I figured 4:45 would be fine to get out there. I went to the port-a-potty a few times. It was sooo disgusting. At that point in the relay, people had made poor decisions about what to eat, or not hydrated enough, etc etc. And the overnight port-a-potties… Well, they aren’t pretty. I took my headlamp so I could make sure not to trip on something, and gagged at the illuminated sight of it all. And got back in the Tahoe. Jarod (our big brother type, and super competitive Van #2 “co-captain”) texted me “Where are you?! Get out here!” to which I replied “I am out back, in the Tahoe. It’s only 4:40…” He soon appeared tapping Dan’s window, then his watch, and throwing his hands in the air, as if to say “when are you going to run?!”
me: “Okay, okay”
Sarah: “Dan, can you drive us around to the front? By the road?”
Dan: “no”
Dan: “If you want to drive, I’d be happy to switch places with you Sarah.”
the rest of us… exchanging awkward looks…
A few minutes later Dan agreed to drive me to the road, and I got out of the van at 4:45, thinking Clara’s not fast… I hope she’s here soon. I don’t want to wait an extra minute in this 42 degree weather in my running skirt longer than I have to…
I slowly and reluctantly walked toward the road, and heard Ca Caw! F*ck! I thought. Hootie Hoo! Hootie Hoo! And walked a little faster toward the road (4:48am). “Where the hell is she? Who am I giving this to?” Clara screamed. I snapped Hootie Hoo! I’m right here bitch!” grabbed the snap bracelet and took off running. I kept thinking, just run as fast as you can. You’ll warm up. And I did, around 2.5 miles in… I tried to chat with other runners, but it was clear all the other runners felt the same way as me. No one wanted to chat, so I just listened to their feet pounding the pavement and tried to keep up. I came across the Exchange Zone Ahead sign, and CA CAW’ed at the top of my lungs. And then, I heard Sarah Hootie Hoo Bitch! I gotcha! And I sprinted in as fast as possible. ~28 minutes. Go me. 5:16am. I had never been so happy. I proudly exclaimed “I’m done bitches!” And Grumpy Pants (aka Dan) reminded me I ran the most and the high would soon fade. I felt bad- he had his longest leg last (almost 9 miles) up next. And would not be able to get coffee. We rushed to the next exchange and waited anxiously for Sarah. She finished in ~30 minutes (a 3.5 mile run). Go Sarah! We were starting to hit a high as a team, and the energy just kept building. Sarah handed off to Dan, who ran into the night. Probably grumbling to himself.Β  Since his leg was longer, we had a chance to grab coffee.

Allison to Dave

Yay! Hardee’s is open! We grabbed a large coffee for Dan. Dave opened his Splenda packet and sprinkled it over the trash. We all laughed. I was still wearing my reflective vests. And the guys in the hunting attire were looking at me weird. Sarah wanted chicken and eggs and didn’t understand why more people didn’t put those two together, on a biscuit. We got to the exchange point, and waited for Dan. Allison took off, after sunrise. Dave was next, and KILLED his 8 miles, with 8-minute splits. Dan, Sarah, and I slept a little. And snored a good bit. I’m sure I drooled too. While Allison and Olga prepared for Olga’s last leg. Except it wasn’t her last. One of the runners in Van #2 was injured and couldn’t finish his last 3 mile leg, so Olga (our 5K specialist) stepped up. After she finished her final leg for our van, we drove to the hotel at the beach, showered, changed, most of us drank a beer or two. Picked up Allison’s friend (who had grabbed the beer), and headed for Olga’s final leg. It was leg #35, of 36 legs. She would hand off to Jarod, who would bring it on in to the beach.

Our total time was 31:09 as a team. For 205 miles total. So we maintained a 9:02 pace (our predicted time was a 9:07 pace, so very close to it). We finished 25th out of 53 teams. We celebrated on the beach with Mother Earth Brews, and a few slices of Tuna. And just enjoyed the perfect weather (Seriously, sunny, and 75 degrees, with a slight breeze. Totally perfect!)

Side note- we had been kinda racing against another team. I may have mentioned there were about 20 people who wanted to do the Tuna. Sarah and I grabbed the first 12 that responded, then more and more kept responding they were interested, so Casey started his own team- the Big Katunas. We were the Deadliest Catch. The Big Katunas’ Van #2 talked a lot of smack to our Van #2. So Jarod was determined to beat them. And we did. Very easily, by about 30 minutes. But we all talked and hung out and made nice at the post-race party.

We eventually did our own team’s partying at the local Tackle Box Tavern. But that wasn’t as interesting.

I love my team, and especially my van-mates. Even when there was tension, I still love them dearly. I cannot picture doing a relay without those 5 people in my van. Yes, my legs were a little sore (tight really, but fine). But my cheeks and abs hurt more from laughing so hard. There was a point where I thought I was going to choke on crackers because I couldn’t stop laughing. Also, we are going to probably do a relay from Columbia, SC to Charleston in the spring. Yep, we’re cool like that… πŸ™‚ Not sure if other van-mates could ever replace my Tuna200 van-mates, but I will accept one switched out.

It’s hard to get 12 people to stop talking, smile, and face the same direction. Especially after spending 30 hours together πŸ™‚

Marathon is 17 days.

Birthday in 2 days.

When planning a relay

Quick background on what a relay is. If you already know, scroll down πŸ™‚

The idea is almost always the same. You get 12 people (unless you’re crazy or just want more leg room in the van, then you go with less people, as few as 4). And two vans start at one location, and basically take turns running until you get to the end point- usually 200 miles away. It’s split up into 36 legs. And most legs range in length- about 3 to 10 miles, though some are longer.

What that really means is you spend 24 hours in a van with 5 other people. You run through the night. And there’s not a lot of space, so you only bring the necessities. The roads aren’t closed, so you get extra cool points for wearing dayglow and reflective vests, headlamps and blinking lights. Other rave attire is optional (remember those glow-stick necklaces… heck yeah! we will be rocking those!)


I had never heard of a running relay before. I would have pictured the olympic relays- in which they run once around a track and hand-off the baton… It was a Girls Night at our local Fleet Feet (running store), and my running buddies were congregating around the champagne and Sarah said “Hey, this looks fun. Do you guys want to do it” while holding a flyer for the “Tuna 200“. I laughed and said sure, as long as I didn’t have to do any long legs or any runner recruiting… I seriously thought she’d never actually follow through with it.

And a week later, she brought it up on a run, and a few others were interested. And eventually we had so many people interested, we had to split into two teams of 12.

Signing up for 2013 already right?!

The Tuna 200 is an inaugural event. For those who didn’t go to college, that means it’s the first year. Ever. And things aren’t really set up way in advance like they are for other seasoned races. It runs from Raleigh to Atlantic Beach. The reason it is called Tuna- they provide a Tuna beach party with local brews from Mother Earth. Mother Earth has exceptionally delicious beers, so this will be very nice Saturday afternoon. We haven’t gotten our official start time, but we are thinking it will be 7-8am on Friday morning, and we will take turns running until 2-5pm on Saturday afternoon.

The race is Oct 19 (next Friday). We just got an updated/ finalized course map on last Saturday (Oct 6)- 13 days before the race. We expected minor changes. Instead of a few of the 36 legs being adjusted, there were pretty significant changes to about 15 of the legs, and minor changes to another 5 legs.

Anyway, so I had been envisioning a 9-miler to start out. Then 6.5 miles later that evening, and finally a 6.5 miler at sunrise. In my head, a slow easy 9 miles, then two tempo runs (at a sub-9 pace). But, now, I will be running 9.08 miles at ~1030am, 9.96 miles at ~10pm, then finish up with a speedy 3.33 miles at 5am.

courtesy of AMCTV. At least I’ll be better dressed

For the night runs, I will just imagine I am a post-zombie world like The Walking Dead and running from zombies on a country road. In that case, maybe the blinking lights is not such a good choice. (BTW- why are zombies attracted to light and sound? Good thing I’m a stealthy lightweight/minimalist runner…)

I even got in a 3.33 mile run on the treadmill last Monday. And including a 11:00 pace warm-up, I finished in 29:25 (which is a sub-9 minute pace, if you’re counting). And my legs felt like death at the beginning of it, but I managed to pump out a 6:45 pace for the last .25 miles. Okay, honest time here- I am faster than I really tell people. I could probably run a sub 8:00 pace; just not for long, and am too lazy to work that hard on a regular basis.

Other things to know about life relays- You will never be as prepared as you want to be. There will inevitably be something you “need” but didn’t grab and tons of things you grabbed, but never used. So, back to the post-apocalyptic zombie world; I will pack as little as possible. My packing strategy- what would I absolutely need? Okay, now what else would I grab if my apartment was burning down, and I couldn’t go to the store… (bare essentials and then one more thing haha).

Just add a hoody, running shoes, deodorant, and toothbrush, and ready

We sent out list upon list upon list. Mostly the email thread was jokes like “I’ll kick you out of the van if you bring a blanket!” or “I’m building a fort of pillows around me. And my espresso maker” But Allison and I finally came up with a list. And went shopping Tuesday; which went like this-
Allison: “Should we grab ____? We might need it…”
me: “I think we’ll be okay without it”
Allison: (warily) “Okay, but I might bring some just for myself”
me: “Okay, you’re right. We should grab a pack of ____”
Allison: “Do you think a 88-count is going to be enough?”
me: “um, yeah. I think so” (laughing)
Allison: “Well I use them a lot”
me: “Then you should buy more πŸ™‚ ”

All in all, we will probably have to stop. At one point in an email chain with Sarah, I asked her if there was a pending apocalypse that I didn’t know about. Are we not going to be able to stop at stores? Are the stores going to run out of basic supplies like water?

So our line-up:

Runner #1- Allison (aka “Turtle Killer Turner”). She is bright and cheery, and will probably be the most stressed out and the most prepared. Also my long-run and Richmond-marathon-training buddy. She likes turtles. Total= 20.44 miles miles. Plus a few hundred yards here and there at about mile three of each run.

Runner #2- Dan. He is our veteran relay runner. He has done three before, but when we ask him for advice, the comments are generally I don’t know. Yeah, you don’t really sleep. I think I maybe ate a doughnut? Yeah. He was roped into it byΒ  Dave, who once played kickball with Sarah aka “Champagne”. Total= 20.79 miles. And speedy too.

Runner #3- Olga. She likes to drink diet mtn dew, and is bringing a 12-pack. Which I picture her chugging like a frat boy and PBR πŸ™‚ And has done two Blue Ridge Relays, so I am envious. SheΒ  is our speedy/shorter distance runner. Total= 9.46 miles. Also, she ran three 5K’s last weekend. Clearly dedicated to practicing for Tuna πŸ™‚

Runner #4- Sarah (aka Skipper or Champagne). Too much for me to even start with here. But she is pretty much awesome, and oh- she’s ran a relay before. Which she apparently got on a plane with one backpack for the whole weekend of festivities. Pretty badass right there. Total= 15.32 miles.

Runner #5- That’s me! I feel really prepared and am ready to be the anchor of distance for our team. I’d say my pace is about a 9:30, but I tend to be faster than I think I am… I am also probably the crankiest one of the bunch. I’ve already told people like 20 times “Don’t touch my food!” But I’m in the zone, and will be fine. As long as I get my 3 doughnuts after my 9miler. For real, even though I’m skinny, I like my food. Total= 22.37 miles.

Runner #6- Dave. Dan and Dave are all bromantical and do almost everything together. He’s the youngest. And hardly ever runs more than 6 miles and has only been running for a year. But he does crossfit, so that’s like the same right? No, he’s the youngest, so he’ll do fine. (I hope) Total= 16.79 miles.

And that’s Van #1.

There is a Van #2, but let’s not kid ourselves- they’re not important.


A chronicle of Friday nights

My Friday nights are generally boring… But people ask how I spend the night before my long run, so here goes:

Fri, 9/21: I went grocery shopping (I have a couple upcoming events I get bring something to cook).Β  Then, I rushed to my dad’s for dinner. Except my dad is in Brazil, so it was just us girls (his wife, and her two teenage daughters). Dinner was yummy. But my stepmom and I wanted to talk, so we went out on the front porch to chat while the youngest daughter skipped rope in the street. About 10 minutes into being out there, we heard a weird clicking and saw something that kinda looked like a bird… Turns out, it was a BAT! Then there were two of them, then three. Then it was too dark to really see them. Then, I left. Turns out I’m the brave one in the family. Without me, they all headed back inside… πŸ™‚
My old roommate, and gay best friend lives about two hours away. He saw an estate sale that had a patio set he wanted to buy and refinish in my town. So he ended up coming over at like 9pm. We glanced at my wrap patio to picture how his set would fit next to mine (temporarily). I noticed the largest spider I’ve seen on my patio (BODY was the size of a quarter, like spherically). He offered to kill it. Upon doing so, he realized the spider was attached to one of my patio chairs and hung the chair over the railing, saying “c’mon little spider. drop more silk out’cha lil butt” We blew up his air mattress, and pretended to do the awkward sips over the loud air pump (the kind you do when in a club that is entirely too loud- “I love this song!” …”What?” “Oh yeah, i like this song too!”) Then, it was time for bed for me. He made fun of my “night before the long run” rituals. I showed him how to use my foam roller, in case he got bored after my 10pm bedtime. I also showed him my stick, but told him that stays next to the bed… I put on my hot pink PROcompression socks (love them! always wear before night before a long run), he commented on my “color blocking” for bed . I had on my orange Turkey Trot shirt and green/ purple shorts, with the knee-high hot pink compression socks. He laughed as I made my Nuun, and I joked it was really alka-seltzer. Then, I drank two liters of water, set the coffeemaker (warning him it would beep at 5:15am), and went to bed. I really miss that kid. He’s family.
Sylvester (my fat cat) LOVED having two people again. He’s such a slut. He just hopped from one bed to the other. Until in the morning, Slyvester (cat) was shocked I would lock him out of the bathroom. He must really like my pre-long-run rituals, and feel like he is a part of them. He howled outside the door, begging me to let him in. Also, he is really creepy and sounds like a human baby when he cries. He has mastered “her-ro?” (hello), and “merrr-ommm” (mom). Which totally creep me out (and amazes guests). And creeped out a guy I was once seriously dating. To the point that he never spent the night ever again. And we dated for another 6 months. True story.

Fri, 9/28: I had today off from work (yay for working my butt off February-July). So today was a sleep-in and catch up on all the new TV shows morning. Followed by a trip to the mall with one of my oldest and dearest friends.

At like 12pm, I still hadn’t heard from Pheebs, so I started making chili for camping. Even though the weather man said it was going to pour all Saturday. By the time Pheebs showed up, it was about 2, so I put the chili on to simmer and headed to the mall to return a few things… And buy a sleeping bag (because, really? how many grown 27-year olds have a slumber parties? Or go camping- when they live in a city? haha)

When we got back, I started layering the chili with a Black Raven IPA (yummy!), after pouring a pint for myself. Ahhh, the deep complex bitters. Soooo yummy. I knew it would really compliment the heat best. Oh, so I asked my dad one time why you add beer to chili, and apparently it’s because it absorbs the heat, and gives it a “layered” flavor. The “layered” flavor is that feeling when the spice doesn’t hit you in the mouth like biting into a habanero, but instead in the aftertaste.

Onto dinner. Pheebs had the idea to make a whole wheat pizza with provolone, mozzarella, goat cheese, and feta. And some veggies too (no sauce, instead tomato slices). By ‘some veggies’ I mean mushrooms, because she forgot to grab the olives. She lives literally 1/2 mile down the road, but didn’t feel like going back for it. (I wouldn’t either, especially on a Saturday). The pizza was delicious. Pheebs had like 3 slices. I had the other 7 (or 9? … I think it was 9…). I had to limit myself to just the one beer, and every sip of beer meant like 3-4 chugs of water. We watched this week’s Grey’s. Which mostly turned into a bitch fest about how downhill the show has turned. And how the producers must be crazy, because everyone keeps leaving. And I kept thinking they were going to cut to Mark in his version of heaven, with Lexie, while everyone else was crying [Oh spoiler alert! though I doubt anybody watches that show anymore… ] because Mark died.

It started pouring. And about 5 minutes later, Allison Singing Turtle Killer (no actual turtles were harmed) called. We were discussing the route and details for Saturday’s run. Apparently this was not entertaining Pheebs. So said she had to do laundry. Quick side note- I’ve known Pheebs 12 years… We both have code phrases for “I’d rather be doing something else”. Laundry is one of them… πŸ™‚ it was 9pm- basically my bedtime, so I was okay with that. And even I was bored with our conversation about the out-and-backs we could do (none of which we ended up doing, btw).

I showed Pheebs how I taught Sylvester cat to sit. On command. He did it three times in a row. She was so amazed. She decided he deserved a treat. So I went and got one, and he did it a fourth time. Too funny.

Friday, 10/5:

I literally did nothing. Caught up on older Real Housewives- thank you Hulu… Drank some water, packed my stuff for Saturday morning’s run (22 miles), and went to bed. Pret-ty boring.

Friday, 10/12:

Wedding rehearsal for my brother’s wedding. I kinda wrote about this already, but I had the day off work, so my night consisted of eating homemade (grilled over a fire pit) chicken and the Groom’s cake. Oh god! I wish I had a picture of it before everyone tore into it! My brother is really into couponing, so Cole printed out a page of coupons, and had them put on the cake. So the cake topping was coupons. Too funny! The food was good, but too messy for plastic forks. And I had no run Saturday morning, so it wasn’t much of a typical Friday night. And next Friday won’t be either- Tuna 200 will consist of me running 10 miles at 10:30pm and then again at 530am. Woo! Tuna! The Friday after that is my birthday Friday, and only a 16-miler on Saturday, so I’ll be spending it with family. And birthday cake (which I actually will eat for my birthday… I tend to buy birthday cake and indulge in it year-round hehe).

Basically, my Friday night (pre-long-run Saturdays) are coming to an end. For now. Hopefully no one will talk me into a marathon in the spring. I’d like to have a life weekend again.

Also, I suck at taking pictures. I will be better. I will become paparazzi-esque πŸ™‚

My brother’s wedding weekend

This weekend was filled with wedding events. My aunt/ god-mother came into town Thursday night, and stayed with my Dad, near me. Also, on Thursday night, my aunt and cousin on my mom’s side(and some random friend of theirs) and stayed at my mom’s house- about an hour east of me. My brother lives about an hour west of me, and the wedding was there.

Since I knew Saturday’s long run was not going to work out (I had to be at the church at 12pm for the wedding). So, no long run Saturday morning. And with Tuna coming up, I thought I could do a couple mid-distance runs Friday and then Saturday morning (if I felt like it). So, go me- planning for runs.

I got my Friday morning run in just fine (6 miles, 61 minutes, with good negative splitting and 2 miles to warmup). Then Friday afternoon’s went a little slower than planned (6 miles, 67 minutes), and I hit traffic. I had planned to leave my house at 4:30pm. Instead I left Sarah’s at 4:10, and got home at 4:27. I hopped in the shower, turned on my straightening iron, and quickly washed the sweat off my body (making sure not to get my hair wet). I then straightened the top pieces of my hair and pulled it back into a neat little bun. I made it out the door at 4:35. Not bad at all. And I could tell my dad was annoyed that I would be late for the rehearsal. I hit a little bit of traffic- to be expected- and managed to get to the church at 6:05pm. Go me! And no crazy speed demon driving either!

All that for a wedding I wasn’t even involved in. Once the bridesmaids starting lining up, I started to feel the insult. She had NINE bridesmaids. Three of which were actually junior bridesmaids. I wasn’t even asked if I wanted to be a part of the bridal party. And I had just presumed she had 5-6 of her closest friends. But I mean, most of her family had no idea the groom had a sister. Thanks, Brian.

I was completely forgotten about when they discussed “immediate family” sitting in the front row. Mind you- I wouldn’t care about this, except for the fact that every single cousin and aunt and uncle on the bride’s side were involved in the wedding. Just not me. The bride’s aunt who was organizing the wedding said to my family (as we sat and watched, and watched, and watched) “only immediate family in the first row”… And I said “I’m his SISTER” She looked shocked. And I’m not sure if it was because he had a sister or that she was insulted by the tone in my voice. Either way, I started noticing how little I was a part of all of this.

And it hit me how little I am going to be a part of my nephew’s life. My brother couldn’t (or wouldn’t) make a stand for me; so how was he going to make a stand for a child?

So then Saturday. I was the greeter at the door, which was nice, because I got to meet everyone as I was coming in. We got a quick picture of me with my brother in his tux. The colors were purple, black and white. So I wore a black dress with a white lace trim and my purple velvet 5 inch heels. I’m sure in every picture, you can’t see the heels, but whatever! Not the point.

The actual wedding was a typical church wedding. I had to keep it together when the minister started talking about how God made man and woman to become one flesh in marriage (and I was thinking they’ve already done that. And will soon have a baby to show for it). And then had to bite my tongue when he quoted the scripture stating marriage is made for everyone- all those made in His eyes (with a tone of except the gays). But it made me laugh because that’s the scripture people use to condemn gay marriage? It actually says every human being is capable of love and deserving of love and the commitment of marriage. Gay people are people. Therefore, gay marriage is not an abomination. But that’s my stint. And I silently decided no church wedding for me. And I will certainly be doing the red sash, as if to say “Yes, I have had sex. I am still one of God’s children!”

Then, after the wedding, were all the pictures. Two hours worth.

A couple things- to say my mom and I’s relationship is strained is understatement. My mom and dad got divorced 15 years ago. My dad has been in three significant relationships since. My dad brought his wife to the wedding, and her two children. And even though they just got married, I truly think he’s found his soul mate and she deserves to be in the pictures. My mom, does not share my opinion on that subject. My brother has we’ll just say a shady past. It seems like as soon as his past cleared up, he proposed to his now-wife. Her mom passed away when she was 16, and her mom’s birthday was Oct 13. So, they decided to rush the wedding and get married Oct 13, 2012, since it was a Saturday. Then, in May, she got pregnant. However, they haven’t told most of her side of the family; they’re conservative. As soon as my brother was engaged, and with a child, my accomplishments were forgotten. My brother was going to yield my mom a grand-baby, and apparently, that’s more important. (I love babies, and I think raising a family is hard, but I just don’t think it’s the only thing in life)

My mom jumped at the chance to take a picture with her successful child son. She then invited her sister and my cousin up there. Completely forgetting about me. Classic. Later, my mom and dad were on each side of the bridge and groom, and my brother suggested getting me in the shot. And then the photographer said “pick a side”… and I went, “That’s a loaded statement” with a hearty laugh, as my mom pulled me to her side. Story of my life.

I played the happy sister. I was pulled aside by my aunt and mom for spending time with my dad’s side of the family. In front of all the guests. I explained that they fight too much and it gives me a headache. My aunt explained this morning was out of the ordinary (it wasn’t), and my mom rationalized it was my aunt’s fault (it takes two to tango, dear). I told them both to “Shut it down” which soon became a choice phrase of mine for the day. Being pulled in multiple directions makes me want to run for the door. It didn’t help that I hadn’t eaten since 12pm, and it was now 430pm.

I eventually just needed some air, and went outside. And decided I would talk to who I wanted to. My night got better from that moment on. I bonded with my stepsisters (one is 11 and one is 16). We played pool, and I taught them how to decorate a car properly for the bride and groom. The youngest one kept giggling, because she never does anything bad or sneaky, and the 16-year old tried desperately to pretend like it was an everyday occurrence in front of the bride’s cousins who were helping me with the dirty work (getting under the car to tie on the stringed cans). I eventually said my bit to the bride and groom, and left around 10, as they were getting in their car.

All in all, pretty successful. Unfortunately, I didn’t have my camera most of the night, and every time I sat down, someone else wanted my attention. Oh, another great moment- Cole (the bride) roasting marshmallows over the fire pit in her wedding dress. I truly loved that. And will have to include s’mores at my wedding reception πŸ™‚

A tale of a runner’s feet

Oh my feet.

It’s been years now I have abused my feet. As a child, I ran through the neighborhoods barefoot. I was a competitive gymnast, so I spent years chalking my feet, landing on them as hard as possible without moving, and expected them to be fine.
I was even a dancer. I taped my toes. I tore off a few calluses around audition and eventually performance season. One time in college, I even stepped on something while intoxicated and didn’t realize until it started to feel “sticky” (aka covered in blood).
I got my first pedicure in college. I was always too embarrassed before then. I felt the need to give them a $20 tip just for not running out screaming. They would ask if I wanted them to shave down my calluses, and I’m proudly say “no, I’m a dancer. I need those…” which they never understood.

My first black toe nail (March 2012)

And recently I experienced a first. During my training for my third half marathon (with a group and hoping to PR), I got my first black toenail. My second toe.

Then, during the race, it was hot, and I was gunning it at the end. I felt the throbbing in my toes but didn’t think much of it until I got back to the hotel room. I had blood blisters all over my big toe and second toes- both feet. I thought, no one ever loses their big toe toenails. I’ll be fine. They’re stronger than the other little toes…

The blood blister on my big toe poked out from under the nail a little. Yep, it’s gross; thankfully you can’t really see it.

In June, I lost my second toenail on my right foot (the one that went black in March). Which was lots of fun, considering I went to Charlotte to see an ex-bf. Then, in July, the unthinkable happened: I lost both my big toenails. I was just filing them down, and one tore right off! I was tempted to look for glue, and work my magic. But I knew better. They were really gone! It was time to face the music. And a week later I met up with same ex. I still love that he thought it was funny and showed me his black toe nail instead of insisting I wear closed toe shoes, not snuggle, and keep on my socks.

So basic story- my feet have been jacked up for the past six months. And my toenails- well it’s been a running joke (no pun intended promise) with all my friends since June.

Today, I got my first pedicure in the past year (I was too ashamed to have someone look at my feet, and was afraid they’d say “we cant help you”. And here they are– so pretty πŸ™‚ I feel so girly again. What’s the toe equivalent to a brazilian? Because that’s what I feel!

SO PRETTY! (Also this was a day after running 22 miles)

September wrap-up and relay meeting

I’ve been so busy lately. It seems obvious, but spending time running really puts a strain on any hopes for a social life.

After last Saturday’s wet, cold, and at times, mentally excruciating 20 miles, we all skipped on a camping trip. About 30 minutes after skipping out, there was a tornado warning (apparently a few hours south, but still… Ever since that one tornado tore through downtown Raleigh, and my roommate, cat, and I sat huddled in my tub with pillows and comforters all around us while the walls shook and hail was crashing against the outer walls in the dark, I take those things seriously). Anyway, so it was fine that we didn’t go camping. Then the boys posted pics on facebook of their s’mores. I almost put on pants and drove 15 minutes to get a few s’mores. Almost. Yeah, okay I almost thought about doing that. I was pretty snug without pants in bed.

So Tuesday was our Tuna 200Β  Relay planning meeting. Sarah actually told Allison and I “I figured I’m hosting and you guys are running it right?” Which helped to allow Allison and I to freak out plan a little bit. We did cover a few things. \And in general, just seeing everyone, and feeling like we could answer any questions they had, made me feel more prepared. I woke up this morning realizing that I was worried about Van #2. To be honest, well, I’m in Van #1, and I’m not trying to win the race, so who the hell cares about how prepared Van #2 is? They’re either prepared or not. Van #1 is great. So problem solved- stop worrying Chandi!

And I calculated my September mileage. 169.9 miles! HELL FREAKING YEAH! Seriously?! (I reworked in various programs, each run; I used different formulas to calculate; I even added it up by hand, thinking technology must be failing me- that’s too high). I’m not sure how I managed 170 miles. I’m pretty sure in 2009, I ran less than that (in the whole year). But my legs feel strong. And after talking to our 3-time vet about it, I feel really confident in my ability as a runner. (I actually am getting accustomed to feeling like a [gasp!] strong runner… though maybe not speedy, just reliable- like a Volvo).

I ran 3 miles this morning, so slow- I think I was still asleep for the first 2 miles! And then was supposed to meet up with a small Wednesday night group. I decided we could pump out 6.7, though the boys were iffy about doing that much could barely contain their excitement about running that much on a weeknight. I got to our meetup 45 minutes early. So I figured the boys would be happy if I pumped out 2-3 miles before meeting them. I managed 2.5 miles. I got a text as I was crossing the street to the greenway that Dave (slower/younger of the boys) was bowing out. I would have made a smart-ass comment, but I really had to get started. So I pumped out 2 miles, then got a text from the other- Dan (older/8-minute pacer) “Am I the only one running?” I quickly dropped to a walk as I saw my last turn off the greenway and texted I would be there in a second. I knew there was no way I could do the 6.7 miles with this guy, after doing 3 this morning, and 2.5 just before. I suggested we do a shorter out-and-back. I made it 7 total.

And we quickly dropped the pace to an in-between speed. I could tell it was too easy for him, he could tell it was too hard for me. So I told him, the polite thing would be to entertain me “STORYTIME!” It was hillier than I remembered, and I just kept reminding myself that going faster would make me stronger. And I plan to drop pace for Tuna, etc etc. At one point, I felt a cramp in my left shoulder. I told him whenever I get this particular cramp, my reaction is “Omigod! I’m having a freaking heart attack! I’m going to die!” He tried to talk me off the ledge. Either way, we finished. I have to say, he stayed with me the whole time. I kept telling him he could leave me. I even told him at the end I was going to walk the last few meters to fully stretch/ cool down my legs, and suggested he sprint it in. But he just kept pace until my legs gave out I stopped to walk. There were moments though where I was thinking, I wonder how fast his reflexes are. If my legs gave out, would he be able to somehow stop my head from crashing to the ground? Glad I did not have to test that.

Oh, awkwardly disgusting moments. Because I figure you were waiting for that-

Sweating before I even met up with this guy. (Like dripping- it’s been humid and 80-85 degrees, and ya know what? I don’t have to explain myself)

When attempting to spit, and it ummm ‘stayed’ with me a few (long) seconds longer than expected.

The whole ‘I think I’m having a heart attack’ (eye roll response, followed by ‘you’re just breathing harder than normal for an extended period of time’)

And ringing my hair out (Yes, as if when you get out of the shower)- not once, or even twice, but three times, between our walking cool-down and getting in my car to leave.

Not sure if those make me bad-ass (that girl is totally bad ass!) or just gross (Ew! Stay away from her She probably smells really bad too!) <— In the theme of Budlight’s Real American Hero commercials. Oh long runs. I may miss your hilarious inside jokes that are only funny to me…

Tuna… 16 days

Richmond (First Marathon!) 38? I might have counted or remembered that wrong… I have a few weeks though.