Date #2 and challenge update

So, this whole “do something active every day” is hard to find time for.

Yesterday was busy. I had to leave work early (3pm) to go to the iPhone doctor Apple Store and get a replacement iPhone. No worries, I have new phone- woo! …But lost all my pictures and music (which is backed up to my computer).I had to activate my phone, which should be easy, but took 3 calls to Verizon, because my mom was dodging their calls (WTF?!), and her voicemail box was full, and I had texted her 4 times earlier to tell her what was up, and I had even emailed her. The problem was I didn’t know our account’s password.

I told the third (and final) verizon representative I would send up a smoke signal, and hope my mom saw it… He thought it was amusing.

So, at 6pm, I emailed Dan the old-school way, from my computer, to say I was almost on my way, and should be there by 645. As soon as I got to his place, I was like “WHERES YOUR PHONE?!” And immediately texted my mom, and instructed her to text/call his cell phone with the password. My mom’s response? She emailed me at 11pm the password. Which I got this morning when I got into work. And am happy to report, my life iPhone is up and running again.

So I got to Dan’s, and we hopped in the car for dinner, then to the fun. concert. It was a fun people-watching concert. As in this kind of people watching-

I hate to admit this- but I totally felt hipster. Because I followed the lead singer of fun. from when he was in The Format. Because I’m totally underground like that. haha!

But yeah. Most of the people there were wearing scarves (boys included), and were complaining about the beer selection, and how everyone around them was a sell-out. Oh my gosh! It all made me laugh so hard. Just listening to some of them.

So, we got back at like 10, and Dan wanted to wash all the sweaty hipsters off him, so took a shower. And I had to find time for a little fitness action, so I took the time to work my glutes and hip abductors. He got out of the shower, and jsut started laughing, as I’m exercising on the floor, at 11pm. Date #2 completed. ๐Ÿ™‚

Maybe I’ll just go back to running, and not worry about other fitness stuff. It seems slack to work out for 10 minutes and call it the “same” as running for an hour… Today’s plan is to go for a short run while I’m getting an oil change. Yep, I do that. They always ask “are you going to wait here?” And my reply is always “Well, how long will it take?” And I plan my running distance accordingly. And then the mechanics look at me weirdly, as I just take off running.

Tomorrow, I am moving my gay best friend, so that will be athletic. He is on the third floor, and has a LOT of stuff, so lots of stair climbs with weights. Yeah!

So, Day 7: 2×20 hip abductor leg-bends (I never know the real names of these exercises), and 2×20 fire-hydrants, and 2×20 “pizzas” (on knees, kick leg up toward sky. I never understood why my coach called them pizzas, but it stuck with me)

Happy Weekend! I hope you all get to sleep in some tomorrow, and you enjoy tonight- crisp, freezing cold air and all!

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bad omens to a new group run

I decided to try out a running store closer to me. I always see them when I’m out on a run on Wednesday nights, and with the after-work runs becoming seemingly-late-night-runs (seriously 5pm? Why are you disguised as midnight suddenly?!), I thought having extra people to count on would be nice.

So, every Wednesday, Inside-Out Sports does a group run. The first Wed of the month, they finish at a wine shop and do a wine tasting, and call this whole event “Chase the Grape”. I like the sound of that, so I thought I’d start running with them. And no time like the present?!

So, I got there early, like a true runnerd. And, like a true runnerd, I was dressed in my reflective gear, dayglow green long-sleeve shirt, and headlamp. What’s up Cary?! You will see me coming! Feeling like a nerd, I grabbed my things, and kind of slung my headlamp and armband in my hand, with my iphone (4). And walked about 5 steps across the parking lot.

And dropped my phone. Now, maybe people with crappy (older) phones cannot relate. But, it landed screen-side down. And I had the moment. That Yep, it’s broken moment. And bent down to pick it up (Though I really wanted to admit defeat, and abandon it, likeย Nope. Not that one. It’s not mine. My phone is new and shiny, and other… there!)

But, I picked it up. The screen was completely shattered. (See picture)

I almost cried. And walked back to my car. Totally defeated. Clearly, I was not meant to run with this group. I cannot run without my phone or a watch (Or Allie and her trusty garmin). Right?!

Wrong!

I decided to run anyway. “The pack” of us was 6 strong. Yeaaaah! Two were a couple in their 60s, who run very slow (like 12-13 minute pace). So I started off at the front of the pack. With guys who had recently had 3:30s marathons, and were mad about it… Their standard half marathon times were 1:40s, and one guy had just finished a 8K (5 miles) in 28-something, and got 13th place overall. Let me say my times for the record- full marathon (singular)- 4:30, half marathon 2:08, 8K 42:30… And those are my PR times… Ummm… This might hurt. But I kept thinking, they’ll go on without me when I am going too slow.

Instead, they stayed with me. And told me I was pushing their speed. Which is sweet, but I knew it couldn’t be true.

The loop itself was torturous, mentally. The store is about a mile from my house, so we ran by it in the beginning (and my body instinctually, picked up the speed) and then, again about a mile before the end.

They eventually left me around mile 4, but I knew my way (as I said, in my backyard). They were usually about 100 meters ahead of me. They were doing an “easy” pace- probably 8s, which is my tempo pace.

All in all, a great run. Though I have no idea my overall time or speed or pace. But afterward, all the guys complimented me for really pushing it and staying with them, knowing my times (which I told them).

But yeah, my iPhone- I’m hoping apple can fix the screen. Or is like “oh god! We feel sorry for you. You still have the iphone 4? …Here’s another, for free. Seriously. We were gonna throw them out…” Here’s hoping!

Oh, Holiday Challenge Update-

(Mon, 11/26) Day 5– core strengthening (had been planning a run, but was hungry when I got home, and it was dark, and it was cold, and I just didn’t want to run, and for me, this whole challenge is a way to enjoy staying fit, so I didn’t go). So I did: 2×20 of a pilates series I’ve done since high school (see picture sequence below- for good laughs), then 2×50 “penguins” (Can you tell I coached gymnasts for six years?ย  Video hereย  Thank you Youtube!), then finished it all off with 2 1-minute plank holds.
(Tue, 11/27) Day 6- Had been thinking I would run up and down Dan’s stairs and have him time me for 5 minutes and see how many “laps” I could make. However, I was fighting a headache all day. So, I didn’t do much of anything. But! I did sit on an exercise ball at work for 4 hours, and did at least one “V hold” every hour or so… I mean, that counts for something right? (Wed, 11/28) Day 7- Group tempo run. 5 miles, first three at a sub-8:00 pace super fast, the last two more like a 9-something very slow. But hey, I was running with new people and basically the mile after we passed my house, my brain was telling my body Wait a second… Something’s wrong. We are supposed to be done by now…
Tonight is the fun. concert, so I am planning to go to the gym for 15-20 minutes (for either a treadmill speed mile, or some weights, depending on time). Of course that is after I drop by the doctor apple store, and get the official diagnosis on my phone. I had to look for my old cell phone and charger last night, as I’m using those as a short-term fix. Oh god (funny), I charged my old cell phone last night, and my alarm went off at 5:10am this morning, which is a cruel reminder that I will be waking up that early for work in the spring. I usually get up around 6:30, so I was not a happy camper this morning.

Sometimes I date…

This is my all-about-Dan post.

Where to begin? We met on a hot August day. Nah, I’m kidding. Though it might have been August. Telling about how I met him is parallel to how our Tuna 200 team was created. We were looking for extra people, and I guess Sarah posted it on facebook. And Dave, a guy she played kickball with for a season, decided he had always wanted to do a relay. And talked his best friend, Dan, into signing up with the other 10 strangers.

So, we all met one night after work to divide the legs. I guess that’s how we met. Though that part isn’t too exciting. I remember first impression- he seemed shy and humble about his vet status (he had done 2-3 relays before?). Dan and Dave were the outsiders- of the 12 on our team, 9 had trained together for 4 months in the spring, including 3-4 runs per week. Honestly, I remember telling Dan “Sarah will be here soon” (as if he knew her, not realizing he was not Dave, and did not know Sarah). And him looking at me blankly, like “ummm okay.” (Probably thinking Sarah’s the team captain right? Why is she singling me out to tell me this?)

Dan and Dave are quite the pair. Dave is younger, energetic, and talkative. On the other hand, Dan is more reserved; he holds back and listens before he talks. So you can see why they’re best friends. And they really bring the best out in each other.

Well, Allison and I wanted to get to know them since we’d be spending 24+ hours in a van with them, running. So we invited them (and all the other relay runners) to a tempo run, which soon became a standing tradition for me and the boys. I didn’t really get to know them over night. I eventually ended up going for a 8.5 mile run with Dave (look back). Then, that Saturday, I met the boys for a drink.

That night is when I started realizing I may like Dan (which for me, was a problem- we have mutual friends, and still had like a month until our relay race, and I tend to mess things up really quickly, so I did not want to like him). We talked a lot that night. Though I wasn’t like “OH MY GOD! I LIKE HIM SO MUCH!” … I was thinking, “yeah, maybe I do like him…” I did a few more runs with the boys.

Then, I had a few lone runs with Dan. D’oh!ย  I could swallow any thoughts or feelings in a group. The first lone run with Dan was miserable, as in kind of hilly (and my third run in 24 hours), and I could feel my legs cramping up. And he runs about 1-2 minutes/mile faster than me (my “easy” pace is 9:30; his “easy” pace is about 8:00). The next one- it was supposed to be me, Dave, and Dan. And Dave cancelled (again!). But I still needed to get in a somewhat-fast 8-10 miles for the day, and Dan had been itching for a longer run. So he planned it out. And we met at his place. I didn’t write about this at the time, because, well, because I wasn’t sure if he felt the same way as I did.

But, it was a great run. Like, one of those runs, where you are easily going 30-seconds faster than your easy pace, but don’t even notice, because the conversation is flowing. And the person you’re running with is challenging you with hills and speeding up slightly, then falling back some. We ran 8.7 miles, at 8:45 pace. Much faster than usual for me. And then, we walked around a bit. And got some water. I think it was also this like perfect September weather- and was just getting dark as we got back toward his place.

And I knew I was bitten. And I had 2 weeks until Tuna200, so I basically made sure I avoided him, as I may do something incredibly stupid before spending 24+ hours in a van with him, and 4 other running friends.

It sounds silly, but even being around him (and Dave) during the relay made me feel more at-ease. The two of them were like my family, we all took care of each other.

So, after the relay…

I was sick. And in a stick-to-my-training-plan-so-I-don’t-fuck-up-the-past-five-months’-training mode, so no unplanned speedwork, no longer than 6-mile runs on weeknights. And then it was Dave (a different Dave)’s birthday. And he had met Dan and Dave, and liked the idea of not being surrounded by girls on his birthday, so he said I could invite them. And Dave (Dan’s bestie) was out of town, so I hesitated at inviting just Dan out. But decided it was okay, and little bit of a bold move, but I’d see if we could hang out just the two of us.

And with some liquid courage, moves were made and accepted. I don’t mean to be vague. But it all happened so fast, that I’m not sure who kissed who first. Though, I think I was definitely being flirtatious and a little handsy.

And I spent the night at Dan’s that night. Well, we didn’t really sleep. But I’ll be classy. Honestly, we talked a lot (too). About how I really liked him, but didn’t want to fuck up any friendship, because I also really liked him as a friend, and how he really liked me, but he totally respected me and didn’t want to make any moves, and feel like a dick because I wasn’t interested. He reassured me it was more than a one-time thing. And I think he wanted to make the walk of shame with me through the marathon to prove a point, that he wasn’t ashamed, and didn’t want to hide “us” from our friends.

And the next weekend, I was in Richmond for the marathon (but he came over Wednesday night to help me carb load at Mellow Mushroom). And I went to his place Sunday night after the marathon, to unwind and get a little stretch and massage (and he is genuinely interested when I recap my “and then, at mile 23. oh my gosh!” stories). And then, the next weekend, he was in Chicago, visiting his sister. But he came over that Wednesday night. I told him he was going to have to take me out on a real date. And he didn’t even blink, like Of course! I was planning on it!

And then, I saw him last Wednesday (before Thanksgiving), and we did the Turkey Trot “together”, in that we stood together before, and looked for each other after we finished (I maintained 8:30s- miraculously, while he maintained 7:00s). Can I just say I am awkward? I met Dan and Dave at packet pick-up Wed night, and then the three of us went to grab a beer. That was the first time I’d seen Dave since Dan and I started dating (and Dave knows all the details). And at one point, Dan totally moved his chair so it was next to mine, and I think I recoiled. Like the idea of being PDA in front of Dave just threw me. But then! Thursday morning is was like 30 degrees, and I (stupidly) was wearing a tank with arm sleeves, so I was a little cold, and just kept snuggling into him for warmth before the race. Apparently my need for warmth supersedes my need to not beย that couple

So, Saturday, he took me out. On a real date. I met him at his place, because he basically lives in downtown Raleigh (I live in the suburbs; it’s closer to work). But he was all dressed up, like dress pants, button down. The works. And had gotten me flowers (and put them in a coffee mug in the sink- he didn’t have a vase).

#notroses
(I hate roses)

We went to this nice small-plate/ tapas restaurant, where I ordered a $20 glass of wine. Oops! (Talk about awkward moments. I’d been reading the wine list upside-down, and was asking the waiter for a spicy red. And glanced down and saw they had a Spanish Tempranillo, and began saying it as I basically had a stroke when I saw the price. There were no other Tempranillo’s on the menu, so I couldn’t play it off as anything else. And Dan just started ordering his wine, without blinking. Probably because he didn’t see the price, until the check came. But, then, he knows me. And knows I wouldn’t purposely order the most expensive wine, or even knowingly do that). But dinner was great! The fish tacos were the best thing on the menu- with a wasabi guacamole. Delicious!

What? You don’t want to read about the food?

Also, it was like 28 degrees that night. So I was snuggling into him as we were walking back to the car. And he said ‘See? You do couple things’ and I replied ‘Yes, when it’s cold :)’ So, I would love to say that he dropped me off. And I gave him a kiss goodnight, etc. But that did not happen. I had already stayed the night several times, so Saturday was no different. And for the first time in spending the night with him, I slept through the night. It was great! One of those forget you are sleeping until the morning sun hits your eyes. And I woke up next to someone who genuinely cares about me. It’s been a little bit since that’s happened for me.

And we had coffee. And bananas. I’ll have to remind him to stock up on eggs/sausage/cheese/something that can be cooked in the future… And then, I was off to Sheryl’s studio for the best yoga ever. And back home.

My GBF (gay best friend), Josh, is in town for training for work this week. So, Dan and I are meeting him at my favorite Mexican place- Chubby’s. Thursday, we are going to see fun. And Saturday, he is hosting a Holiday Christmas Party, which my presence has been requested. Oh, and next Sunday is a Holiday Game Night, my friends do at every major (and minor) holidays, which he was invited to. My friends have basically adopted him as one of us. He just fits in my life. Which is nice.

Holiday Challenge- Day 4: Align & Shine!

So, I’m on Day 4 of my personal Holiday Challenge. Do something active every day.

Day 1- Turkey Trot (5 miles, 42:30, or 8:31 pace)
Day 2- Ran ~5 miles (including sprinting all the up-hills, and slow on downhills)- 47:30
Day 3- 2×10 of: lunges (alternating sides, 10 on each side), kicks (front, back, side, 10 each), squats (for glutes), then squats (for quads- aka “2nd position pliรฉs”)
Day 4- Align and Shine Yoga at Cirque de Vol (my friend, Sheryl’s awesome studio!)

***************************************************************************

Today’s yoga class was soooo nice. It was just what my body and soul needed.

I had my first official date with Dan Saturday night (which deserves its own post, so more to come on that. And I know- I keep saying that- but this time I mean it. Seriously, I’ll finally tell the whole story- beginning to present, but it deserves a ‘non-running-nothing-but-Dan post’, so next post- I promise).

[insert next post with all the Dan details… ๐Ÿ˜‰ ]

So, I woke up feeling great. And drove straight from Dan’s to Sheryl’s yoga studio (about a 3 minute drive). And went to the wrong door. It was locked. So I got back in my car, checked my email, checked facebook. Then, decided to look forย  different door. And went to door #2, which was also locked. And then, found door #3. Also, all these doors were attached to a studio with wall to wall windows. So, everyone could see me doing all this. Bahahaha!

The yoga instructor introduced herself. And asked if I had any issues I was working on (privately), then asked the class the same question at the beginning of class. She just had a great vibe. Seriously. I think she was the best yoga instructor I’ve ever had. And we began class.

We started off the class with a partner stretch. I met Chris (who was so cute. I wanted to know how I approach a gay man after yoga and say ‘I want to be best friends with you. Let’s do this often.’ without sounding creepy). The partner stretch was clasping alternating hands and squatting. We then started (individually) with a standard sun salutation, spending a lot of time in each pose. Our focus for the day was gratitude. We were told to focus on what we were grateful for, and send positive energy that way. For me- I was grateful to have Dan in my life (I know cheesy), and grateful for my health.

We got to handstand pose, with a partner assist. And Chris was apparently a pro at yoga. And assisted me. And gave me some great pointers. (Although I am a former gymnast, I’m not usually grounded per se. I’m usually “pretty” and stiff, which is not very yoga-like).

After the class, I truly felt grateful to have practiced yoga, and texted Sheryl immediately to tell her she chose really phenomenal instructors. The yoga put me in a great mood. It was just what I needed. I drove home in this zen-like state. And put my flowers in a vase. And just basked in the glow of a great Sunday morning (even though it was easily 1pm by then).

Holiday Exercise Trend

I’ve seen these challenges (every year)- run a mile between Thanksgiving and the new year. Though I like the idea, I think there are more fitness outlets other than running, and if I ran a mile every day, I think I’d get sick of it, get hurt, or just get busy one day.

So here’s my personal challenge-

Do something active every day between Thanksgiving and the New Year

This could be:

Strength Training (at least 2 reps of 10 for it to count)
Yoga
Running
Hiking (has to be off-road or at a “vigorous” pace)
Cycling
Push-ups
A 30-second (or more) plank
Pilates
Dancing (includes backing it up for at least the full duration of a song)
Running up stairs (at least two times consecutively)
Etc. Etc.

The point will be- to stay active other the next ~40 days. And try to be creative. If it can be done in bed or on my couch, that’s not active enough.

So, anyone have any creative activity ideas?… ๐Ÿ™‚

Today, I ran 5 miles (with sprinting all the up-hills).

Running family and real family…

Today is Thanksgiving.

For me, that means beginning the day early with ~3,000 other runners for the Ridgewood Turkey Trot 8K (5 miles). In 2010, I was training for a half marathon, and someone suggested I do the turkey trot. I was planning to do a 5-6 mile training that day, so I signed up.

And something about running through the old neighborhoods off Ridge Road. It feels like home. Running through all the piles and piles of orange and brown leaves. The crisp, cold air. The calm, that doesn’t generally accompany races. It’s like we are all there for one reason- to cancel out the food we plan to eat later to give thanks for our ability to run.

So, my first time at this Turkey Trot, I had no idea what to expect, but thought I ran 8’s, so would finish in ~40 minutes. I went out really strong. At Mile 1, I had done a sub-8. Woo! Then, I started hitting the hills of Raleigh. And then, I hit the last hill. Basically Ridge Road is a slow, steady up-hill for the last 2 miles. And I just had gassed it way too early, so I (sadly) walked for about a mile. And managed to finish in 44:30-something. And was devastated.

After doing a few more 8K’s, I realized 45:00 is about my average, and not to expect any faster.

Today was different.

Last night, I met Dan and Dave at packet pick-up and we enjoyed some beer out on the patio. And some great conversation, and good laughs. Then, I spent the night at Dan’s. I just relaxed. It was such a nice night.

And he woke up at 6am, I woke up closer to 630. And got coffee, and slowly made out way to the cold winter air outside. I wore a tank top (with my Brooks arm sleeves), and simple capri tights (not fleece lined). Everyone we met was decked out in major winter gear. I was thinking Guys, c’mon! It’s ~40 degrees, the sun is shining, and it’s only 5-miles. And hugging Dan for body warmth.

We headed over to the start to find our pace groups. And Dan and Dave convinced me to start in the 7:00-9:00 pace group. Dan had been thinking 7-something, Dave was thinking sub-40. I was thinking my blisters hurt this morning in bed… And I just ran a marathon 12-days ago. Where is Steve (first timer), and Oh! Sondra said she was running an 11:00…ย But I hung with the boys until the start, and fell back quickly.

My hands were freezing (as in hard to move them, and they didn’t hurt), so I pulled my arm sleeves down over them. And wished I’d brought gloves. Once I warmed up, I started taking charge on the hills. Tearing off toward the sidewalk, and running on the outside during turns, in order to pass people, and find some “space”. At halfway, I wondered what idiot was blaring their music, and realized it was coming from my butt. So, I reached back to turn it off, and saw the dreaded time. Why did I start this app? I thought to myself, and saw the time- 23:00 (2.58 miles in)… Okay, not bad, I want 45-minutes. That works fine. You ran a marathon 12 freaking days ago. Just finish.

Except, I also used to run this way back for every tempo run for a good 10-12 weeks. It’s like my body just knew that, and kept pushing more and more up the hill. Until I saw the Steeples (a church that’s about a mile away from finish), and tried to give it as much as I could. And then I saw the parking lot. Which always tricks us into thinking the finish line is there (it’s not! You have to run a small zig-zag of about 200 meters in), but I always kick it too early. And as I approached the final turn, I heard Dan yelling my name, saw the time was in the 42’s, and noticed everyone was blazing past me.

I stopped my watch- 42:50. I’ll take it (chip time was actually 42:34, but I always start it early/ end it late). So, I PR’ed by 2 minutes. I looked for Dan and Dave. Found Dave, who finished in 39:50-something, and then we wandered for Dan… who finished in ~36 minutes (woo! woo! That’s fast to me. The winners are usually like 30 minutes).

So, I started off the day with some people who always inspire me, and make me feel like I can accomplish anything. My running family. And starting the day with Dan. Well, that was nice. It’s been a long time since I wanted to see someone I dated on a holiday.

So, then family time. And oh my gosh. I am so. freaking. stuffed. Like, laying in my bed. Thinking, I will have to run a good bit tomorrow to try and get rid of it all. …And looking forward to our first official date on Saturday.

HAPPY GOBBLE! GOBBLE! I hope you all have something in your life to be thankful for.

Me- my health and happiness. They both take work to get to, but are always worth fighting for ๐Ÿ™‚

Richmond Marathon- in photos

For those who prefer to look at photos (with brief captions), rather than read the entire post:

Early on in the race

We tried. Really hard. To get a good picture…

Allie and me, preparing to photo-bomb this “Lisa” girl

Lisa: You’ve been photo-bombed.

I did feel bad, because it looks like we ruined her photo. However, we were holding hands and running for a good 400 meters… And didn’t even get a picture of us doing so… Unless you include this-

“Oh no. Not those two- they look ready for a photo…Can’t have that… hmmm… I know! I’ll cut one of them out!”

I basically kept giving thumbs up.

Isn’t that vein that pops out on my forehead sexy? I’d also like to point out my good form running— look at those feet- pushing perfectly straight, and landing totally flat-foot (this I’m sure is not in all the pictures… )

Pondering life’s mysteries… Like why I am I still running? Where is the finish?

Just keep pushing… Don’t look down…

Somehow I still have good form? Awesome.

Me and my new friend, Meg. We ran the last 2 miles together… I ran with my eyes closed. Awesome.

Good thing that vein went away. But I definitely did not see the camera, and was just thinking ‘Please don’t let my blisters burst until after 26.2′

Mile 26.2– Can you see the elation on my face?!

Damnit! That vein is back… Luckily the last .25 miles is downhill… Oh wait, that means my feet will be pushed to the front of my shoes, and oh! blisters…

If no one is in front of me in the picture, it means I won, right?

Blisters, blisters, blister. Ow ow ow! You can see that those words on my face…

Also, I was 6 minutes behind the clock, so chip time= 4:30:39. Go me.

And, I found this picture, but have no idea when it was from- mile 17 to mile 24…

Not insane power walking. I was running…

rant about a lot of stuff

Apparently, I am socially inept. I knew I was awkward, but apparently, it’s worse than I thought.

Here’s a little news flash- I am not a mind-reader.ย  And I do not know how to become one.

So, recently, I’ve had a few social interactions, where in the days or weeks that follow, I get the feeling that I must have put my foot in my mouth. Here is what I do-

1. Apologize if there was anything that I did or said. I didn’t mean to hurt you in that way. I was just being stupid/thought I was being funny/ stressed/ drunk/ etc.

2. Ask ‘Are we okay?’

a. If the response is yes, I continue business as usual

b. If the response is a negative one (it’s usually not a “no”, but more like a “Youre such a bitch Chandi!”), then I fight it out with them, and try to make sure whatever I did to hurt them doesn’t happen again.

However, more times than not, people are afraid of confrontation, and believe in my ability as a mind-reader keeping their mouth shut is the best way for us to remain friends. It’s not.

Here’s a scenario. You go into the doctor’s office.

Doctor: “So, what seems to be the problem?”

Patient: “Guess”

Doctor: “Well, I’m a dermatologist so I’m guessing it’s something to do with your skin…”

Patient:ย  “Yes….”

Doctor (losing his patience, because they usually only spend about 2 minutes on a patient, and he’s spent 30 seconds with this whackjob, who hasn’t even told him the problem yet): “Let me refer you to a good psychiatrist I know…”

In running news- my blisters hurt. A lot. I went for a 5-mile run (very slow, recovery run) on Thursday of last week, and woke up Friday morning to reddish-purple blisters. So I tried to stay off them as much as I could. My aunt, who is a nurse, suggested A+D ointment (diaper rash ointment), overnight with a thick pair of cotton socks, and I think it’s helped out a good bit. So I have to cross-train until the Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving. Yoga tonight (if Sheryl is at the studio), then over to Dan’s tomorrow night.

Dan signed up for the Turkey Trot. Which I thought was kinda cute. And he lives nearby, so I’m just gonna stay there. And then, Dave signed up for it. And Allison and her friend are signed up. Something tells me there will be awkward moments in the coming weeks, resulting from these unconfrontations (they are boiling on the back burner, with that “I’m about to boil over and f*ck with your whole stovetop” sound, but you can’t hear it over the bitches yelling about their phone bill on Judge Mathis… What? It comes on around dinner time for me… ๐Ÿ™‚ )

Gobble! Gobble! Turkey time is around the corner, and Christmas is photo-bombing the hell out of it ๐Ÿ™‚ Let’s make sure to focus the camera on the Thanksgiving until Friday… ๐Ÿ™‚

I’ll post a marathon pictures re-cap (My aunt thought the pictures were really good, so called me at 1am to tell me she bought them. Thanks Aunt Terry!) But for now- best photo-bombed picture of the bunch:

Just to be clear, ‘Lisa’ ruined OUR photo ๐Ÿ˜‰

First marathon look-back

Okay, a few days after my first marathon. So what are my feelings about the race?

What worked well?

Well… There was a lot. Not to be cocky, it’s just I think this race ended up being the ideal first marathon for me.

I think carb-loading helped. Honestly, it alleviated my stress. Whenever I stressed about the marathon, I shoved a doughnut/slice of pizza/crackers/etc into my mouth. So that helped. A lot. Also a couple glasses of wine the night before helped.

The temperature was perfect. Since it was cold at the beginning, we were kind of forced to go slow, because we were cold/warming up.

Training up to 22 miles definitely helped. And training through tired legs. And training with Dan/Dave for my mid-week mid-distance runs, so I was used to comfortably hurting on a long-ish run. Still, nothing feels like that last 4-5 miles of pure pain. My best advice for training for a marathon is run hard, run often, and push yourself to stretch a further distance or speed when you just “don’t feel like it” for mental fortitude.

That being said, I also went into the marathon on fresh legs. I didn’t do any speed work the week before the race. I didn’t do any runs over 5 miles the week before the race. I even skipped out on the first tapering long run (16 miles) because I was sick. A significant taper, after the wear and tear on your legs is crucial. At 13.1 miles, I felt like I could begin to pick up the pace because my legs felt sooo rested.

Once Allison and I split, I was able to open up some (there was more space as I got closer and closer to the finish), and able to just concentrate on running my own race.

Getting water at every chance was also a good move. I never felt dehydrated. Putting Nuun in my fuel belt; I was chugging that like crazy mile 22-25. Bringing the Honey Stinger Chews (that way I could slowly eat the electrolytes throughout the race).

What would I do differently?

I would have liked to do some of the Junk Food stations (I think it would have loosened me up a bit), and maybe even a “shot” of beer at mile 22.

I would love to cross that 4:30 barrier, since I was so close, and think I could do that by actually paying attention to my pacing on my long runs, and teaching myself how to slowly negative split (I tend to do what I did in the race; run for 20 miles at a 10:30 pace, then drop down to 9:30 for the last 6 miles). It would be smarter to do 10 miles at a 10:30 pace, 10 miles at a 10:00 pace, then 6 miles a 9:30 pace, and would improve my time too ๐Ÿ™‚

Honestly, I would have tried to pick up Allison’s spirits some. I was hurting by the time she told me to ‘go on’, and I didn’t have the (mental) energy to be positive. At some point, you have to run your own race (I get that). But I wish she had a more enjoyable race, and feel like I left her in the dust to fend off negative thoughts on her own. (Even though she said ‘go on’ and the golden rule with running partners is to trust them, and let go when they tell you to)

Oh, and I would have hobbled straight over to the medical aid tent to get my blisters checked out. …I’m pretty sure the one that burst in the last stretch is somewhat infected (yuck!) because it’s red and inflamed. My legs are fine, and I plan to run tonight (and tomorrow), but my toes may be in too much pain to get all the way through a 5-mile run. Might be an elliptical/ strength training night.

My goals

My goals had been to
1. Enjoy it <— Check! (smiles up to mile 22, and then again when I saw the 25)
2. Be able to walk after the marathon <—Check! (4 mile hike on Monday)
3. Finish in <4:40<—Check! (4:30:39)

So what’s in the future for me?

I have a Turkey Trot 8K next week (Thanksgiving morning).ย  I just hope to be able to run the whole way, without pain. Though, I always run with a goal in mind- so 45-something?

Organizing our next relay team (Palmetto200), which currently has 9 people. But I’m sure we will get more people interested. If not, more room for food/luggage ๐Ÿ˜€

And, I signed up for next year’s Richmond Marathon, while it is only $65 (for a 7,000-person and strongly community-supported race, that’s awesome price). It’s only $65 until Nov 15 at 11:59pm, then it jumps to $80, and slowly increases. Even if I drop to the half, $65 for a half marathon is a decent price. It really was a great course- pretty flat,ย  scenic at times, and crowded/loud at times (in a cheering/good way). It was well organized and a lot of fun!

Oh, and yoga at my friend’s studio. I kept saying I would go, and it’s now been two months since it opened. I will make my debut this Monday…

And Friday night Cheers! …At least until December. Also, winter running means you don’t have to get up early because it’s too f-ing hot outside by 9am, so I can casually run (some alone running might be nice again; get my head right) however long and whenever I want. GASP! People run 12 miles at 1pm?! I know! Insane!

Richmond Marathon weekend- recap (long)

There is so much to say about Richmond, and about my first marathon.

First things first, my training was amazing. Having Allison there every Saturday morning was one of the things that kept me going. And the week of the race, we kept reminding each other “it’s just another training run” to calm the nerves.

Second, the Richmond Marathon truly is America’s Friendliest Marathon. I have done several half marathons- small (~300 people) and large (20,000+ people), and no other race I’ve done had better crowd support. There were people the entire way. There may have been about 500 meters where I didn’t see a spectator cheering us on, handing out pretzels, or high five-ing the runners. It felt like the city opened its arms to runners for a day, and embraced us all and helped push us along. So that was great.

I knew it would be a good race when we got into and out of the expo in about 30 minutes, and the “long” time was mainly because Sarah, Allison and I decided to get shirts and go to the majority of the booths to check things out. Then, we grabbed food (which we ate insanely quickly, proving skinny girls can put away food too. Especially the night before a marathon). After getting food, we saw a Target and pulled over to check out the athletic apparel and Sarah and Allison got cheap “throw away” beanies for the start line. [Weather man said it would be 30 degrees at 7am, and 65 degrees by noon] We, of course grabbed a 12-pack of beer, and wine for each of us.

Just a quick recap- our pre-marathon priorities were: clothes, then alcohol. Yep, that’s why I love these girls.

We designated my room as the “party room”, and I loaded my fridge with the beer and a gallon jug of water.

How the “B Group” prepares…

RACE DAY!

I woke up at 5am (before my alarm), and decided to get up and get ready. I had already packed everything the night before (including headphones in my capris, socks in my shoes, to remember).

Flat Chandi!

We got on the shuttle, which was really more of a “pre-party bus” set up with empty champagne flutes. Everything about getting there and getting set up was stress-free. It felt eery how smoothly things went. Usually, you are running to the bag check, trying to find your corral, etc etc. Everything was so calm. We sent Sarah off to the half marathon start and cheered her on. Then went back to our marathon corral (the last one), and lined up just in front of the 5:00 pace group (we wanted to start off slow).

Anxiously waiting to start…

Before we knew it, people were throwing sweat shirts in the air, and we were walking to the start, and throwing our hoodies off to the side. We started out beautifully- in the low 11’s, which is where we wanted to “warm up” for the first couple miles. And even though we had gone to the portapotties twice, Allison and I both had to pee after about a mile. And decided to stop at mile 4 (since there was no line). And then, we felt much lighter and started shaving some time, until we were comfortably in the low 10’s (10:10s, 10:20s).

on Monument Ave

We turned down Monument Avenue, which has a lot of Victorian homes, and statues of famous people (though I wasn’t paying attention to who), and looped for turns. We got water at every water station (every 2 miles for the first 20, then every mile the last 6). Around mile 8, we started looping to a road that went along the James River, and we quietly zoned out. Just glancing over at the water occasionally. Then, by mile 10, we came back into some neighborhoods, and saw the next portapotty/ water station, and we stopped for about three minutes. We had been somewhat relying on Allison’s Garmin to keep our pace, but stopping kinda messed with it, and our next mile was like a 9:50 or something, so we slowed down some. And saw the 13.1 (Half) marker. YAY!

Allison and I were preparing to cheese and she said “do you want to hold hands?” ….Um yes! Heck yes I do! So, I hope that picture came out good. And we were at 2:24 according the clock. But I got a text, telling me Allie was at the half marker at 2:18, so we were about 6 minutes behind the clock. At mile 15, there was a Accel Gel station. We walked as I reached for a GU (had been munching on Honey Stinger chews every so often), and some water. After a couple minutes, we started running again.

We got to the Robert E Lee Bridge (mile 16 or 17?), and Allie seemed to be getting in her own head. I made idol conversation with a fellow Raleigh runner (thanks to his Raleigh Running Outfitters shirt), and we saw the beautiful view of downtown Richmond against the riverfront. Then, there was a junk food station with coke and gummy bears. I took the coke, thinking it was water. And realized quickly it was not. But I took a few sips anyway. Soon after Allison wanted to walk again, and I just couldn’t. My body was in so much pain, and walking hurt. That water/GU break to walk had mentally defeated me, and I couldn’t do it again. And I started to say “Okay, I can walk” and she said “go on”, so I did.

And zoned out to my music. Nikki Minaj, Lady Gaga, Lil Wayne, etc. I started cruising. I won’t say I felt great. But my legs knew what they were doing so, I had to let my mind get out of the way of my body. At mile 18, I felt the inner parts of my big toe and second toe blistering up with every step. But I pushed through. I was passing people left and right. And only 1 or 2 people passed me between mile 18 and 22. At mile 20, I saw the clock said 3:34, and I knew I was 6 minutes ahead, and I could taste 4:30. I knew I’d be in the 4:30s, even if I backed off a little.

My head kind of negotiated with my body to slow down, but my body knew better. It’s like my body knew that I could do it. And it just kept going. It hurt to pass people between mile 22 and 24. And I passed by the beer station (dixie cups of beer), and a guy in front of me took 4 shots of the beer back to back. And I was thinking this hurts. What is wrong with my body? Why won’t my body slow down? And instead, I started speeding up again. And I could feel the blisters multiplying on every step on uneven pavement.

And then, suddenly a girl appeared next to me. “You! We started at the same time. I remember your [neon] green sleeves. You’re gonna run me in.” As flattering as this was, I felt she must have mistaken me for the strongest runner in the crowd. Then, I looked around, the two of us were flying past everyone else. So I agreed. She kept telling me she was going to drop off, because I was going too fast, and I kept saying the same to her. And then at mile 25, I saw Sarah, and she laughed (I know she was thinking Of course Chandi found a friend. She’s a social runner. She always finds a friend”). She ran with me for about 100 meters or so, and it felt great, to know she was there. Sarah described the finish, wished me luck, and then went looking for Allie. My new friend, Meg, kept saying “I can do this. I can do anything for a mile. I can do this” and it kind of became our mantra.

I would love to have seen my actual mile splits for the last 10K. It felt like the last two miles were sub-9:00 pace. And I said “I haven’t seen the 4:30 pacer yet, but I know we’ve got to be getting close to it…” And a guy said “yeah, there’s no way- they’re way up there” but I just kept pushing with my new friend Meg. Every hill was like a challenge for me to dig in. And I just kept pushing, and I definitely felt like my last mile was my fastest.

The last .25 miles was a steep downhill. Did I mention my toes had blisters, beginning at mile 18? And any cracked pavement hurt to run on? Well, running downhill hurt. And then I felt the blisters split open. On the last downhill stretch. But, I literally didn’t have it in my quads to slow down, so I tried to turn my grimace into a smile for the photo finish. And looked up- 4:35:31. Sweet! 4:30s! And I bent over and thought I’d cry because I could barely walk on what I imagined were bloody feet. A medical aid ran over to me to try and catch me (she thought I was going to fall). And I said to Meg “my blisters split on the last downhill. I can hardly walk” and contemplated going to a first aid tent to have the professionals take care of them. But I also knew Allison was only a few minutes behind me. So, I thought, I’ll cheer her in first. I remembered to stop my watch and it said 4:31:57, so I thought to myself Did I do it in under 4:30?!?! Hell freaking yeah! (I texted Sarah to let her know I was done and around 4:30, so said “U had 4:30:39! Great job!” In looking back at my 10K splits, I can tell why the last 6 miles sucked. I dropped about a minute-per-mile pace for the last six. But, hey, it’s what my body wanted ๐Ÿ™‚

Thank you, Meg, from DC, for choosing me. I’m sure I looked strong at the time, but was mentally and physically drained at that point, and wasn’t sure I could maintain the 10:00 pace I’d been hovering at. And you helped me get into the sub-10:00 to finish strong just as much as I helped you.

The Numbers:
10K- 1:05:33 (10:34 pace)
Half Mar- 2:18:25 (10:35 pace) <– Also stopped for 3 minute bathroom break (mile 10?). hehe.
20 mile- 3:29:31 (10:18 pace)
Finish- 4:30:39 (9:33 pace)
*Those “paces” are on my split times, so 9:33 was my average pace from 20 to 26.2, my overall pace was 10:20. But for my first time, I am so proud to finish, and to finish strong.

A little word of advice- if you’re ever struggling in a race, find someone who looks physically strong upright, and yell out “You! Run me in!” Because it will actually help you both finish strong.

Me and Allison. Beer and medals in hand.

Great experience. And I’ll probably post more at some point. Today (Monday) my plan is to do a 2 mile walk to start shaking things out some. I went to Dan’s last night, and he drove us to a bar that is about 0.5 miles away from his house. And this morning, I was able to go up and down stairs like a normal person (not granny- one step/two feet, holding onto the railing for life- style). It’s slow, but still moving ๐Ÿ™‚