Hanson’s Marathon training?

A fellow running buddy emailed me this morning. She will be training for Marine Corps Marathon (about 3 weeks before Richmond Marathon), and wanted to know if I’d be interested in training with her on some of her faster runs (I’m a little faster; at least, in shorter distances. I think our marathon times are comparable).

I read up on it, and got excited (but also nervous). It sounds like exactly what I thrive on– You run 6 days per week, with your last day in a row being speed work. You never run more than 16 miles (and only do 16-miles three times in a four-month training cycle).

The idea is (or sounds) simple- You are training yourself to be mentally and physically strong by keeping your pace, even on tired legs. Your legs will likely be tired at some point during the marathon, so training them to keep this pace is helpful. The beginner program goes from ~20 miles per week to 55 miles per week. The advanced goes from ~35 miles per week to 65 miles per week. She is going to do the advanced. I am thinking I could do the “Beginner” and tweak it to have a 18-miler somewhere in the rotation.

They (the Hanson brothers) focus on quality workouts, and spreading the mileage over several days, rather than running 40+% of your mileage on your one day (as the traditional “L.S.D.”). I fully believe in this tactic. And, it means I get to work speed. BONUS (I love speed work, no matter how painful. I am, by nature, a sprinter).

My goal (if I dare say it out loud) is to go sub-4:15. I am tempted to say sub-4:00, but I haven’t even started training yet, and that seems very daunting at this stage. Also, I have yet to run a sub-2:00 half marathon. If I can run 10 miles in 1:27 (during a relay race/ with no support and while eating bug), I’m confident I can maintain that pace for a half marathon (which would be 1:54).

So, I guess I am wondering if anyone else has tried the Hanson’s training method? I think I would still want to include one 18-22 mile run, but I may forego that upon beginning the program

It basically looks like this:

Mon: 6 miles (mid-distance “easy” run)
Tue: Speedwork (warm-up 1.5 mi, 12×400@5K pace with 400m recoveries, cool-down 1.5 mi; for 9 miles total)
Wed: rest day/ cross-training/ strength-training
Thur
: Tempo (1 mi warm-up, 5 miles at marathon pace, 1 mi cool-down)
Fri: 6 miles (4 at easy pace, 2 at 1/2 mar pace)
Sat: 8 miles (easy pace/ “long run” pace)
Sun: 8 miles (easy pace/ “long run” pace)
Total: 40 miles

So, I’m nervous. Do I forego the long run? Also, running 6 days per week means I may not have time for the essential cross-training and strength training… It is hard to fit in two workouts in a day? Maybe I can double up one day of running to trade out for a “free” workout day?

Any thoughts?!

run + beer + grill = awesome

Dan lives just near Trophy Brewing Company (a cute new brewing company in Raleigh, though all our hipster friends point out the numerous breweries that keep popping up in Raleigh, I still like it). A few of us met up one week on a Wed night for a run at Dan’s, and wandered over the Trophy. The next week, Dan, Bruce, and I went for a run, then immediately following for a beer. There were other runners. We had even seen them out on our run!

What?!
How dare other people run and drink beer in our vicinity?

A week later, I noticed on their facebook page that Trophy holds a run group every Wednesday night. Just a note- they must have started that the week we noticed them, because we would have noticed sweaty people in running attire before then…

So Wednesday, we decided to join their social run. (If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em, right?)

We overheard her explaining the pace groups and mileage to people. Cheetahs were sub-8, Gazelles were 8-9 minute pace. I stopped paying attention then, but I think Lions were 9-10 minute pace. Then she asked each person how far they planned to go- 1 mile? 3 miles? 5 miles?

I’m a quick study.

I just grabbed the sharpie and wrote my name (no one can ever guess that “Shan-Dee” is spelled Chandi), GAZELLE, 5miles. And she (shocked) took the sharpie back and directed her line of questioning to Dan and Dave. “Don, is it?” … [picture Dave and I calling Dan “Don” the rest of the night, as if it were hilarious]. Dave wanted to contest that he was not a Gazelle. I said loudly They are Cheetahs everyone; they’re just sticking with me tonight. I’m a gazelle. Sorry for the confusion. The check-in girl didn’t get my humor.

Typical.

She handed out route cards. I glanced at it, and made an eye for the Cheetahs, thinking I could keep them in sight, as Dan and Dave slipped their name tags into their pockets. And finally, everyone checked in, donning their name tags, holding hands, and skipping through Glenwood South. Kidding! Just the name tags.

We started off a nice little route, past Moonlight Pizza Co., and over through Glenwood South (a slow steady downhill), then made our way over to Peace/Clark, which is a slow, grueling, steady uphill (for about 2 miles?). For some reason, I was the pack leader. Maybe because none of the boys in the frilly Gazelle group wanted to hold a piece of paper. Either way, I was setting the pace for us. And somehow ended up in front of the Cheetahs. 8:08 for the first mile. In the second mile, I tried to push it since the Cheetahs were still behind (8:33), and I think it’s common courtesy not to stop/slow on an uphill if it’s congested and paces haven’t really split yet. Finally, in the third mile, the Cheetahs passed, and Dan, Dave, and few other guys were able to slow/mellow a little (8:38).

We made a few turns through the Cameron Park/ University (NCSU) area, and eventually back down Dixie Trail to Hillsborough. At that point, I was experiencing that stupid cramp again. And every time I slowed, the pains were worse, so I pushed the 8:30 pace. And told the boys, I was going to slow at Hillsborough. I didn’t slow down any, but they sped up. Dan and Dave finally took off, showing their true Cheetah prowess, hunting down a few gazelle… (See what I did there? Yeah… Yeah, You’re welcome for that!).

When I got past the 5 mile marker, I slowed and jogged it in around the last curve until I saw Dan and Dave and the others congregating outside Trophy.

We chatted a little. Everyone was shocked that we went 830s, but then agreed that it felt hard, so maybe it wasn’t so shocking (they were trying to go closer to 9s, but maybe a tiny girl [me] gave them a little motivation to go faster/harder).

Overall: 5.12 miles, 43:38

I stole this from their facebook page. Thanks guys!

I stole this from their facebook page. Thanks guys!

What did I think about the run?

  • It was a great route (I did the 5-mile), showcasing some nice neighborhoods of Raleigh, and lower traffic areas for a downtown run.
  • It seemed like a fun, laid-back group of people (but then who isn’t when it’s a run with beers after?)
  • It was well organized.
  • [Don’t tell anybody this, but…] I kinda like that they make you wear name tags. It creates a social atmosphere, where everyone is there to meet other people. Which is nice. And it’s kind of like initiation, and I guess you could (in theory) glance at a person’s speed before falling in tow with them. Whoa! He’s a Cheetah, 5miler! I only want to be a Lion, 3miler tonight…
  • Trophy’s beers are pretty good. It’s a laid-back environment, and they seem to have a good “tap turn-over”, so there are 3 or 4 that are always available (i.e., Trophy Wife, Best in Show, Biggest Flirt), plus 2-3 that seems to rotate out very quickly.
  • I’ll definitely go again. It’s too convenient not to go. And they have a 1-mile, 12-13 minute option, which is PERFECT for newbie runners, but ranged up to (I think this was everyone in our group) half marathon and marathoners, looking to work a little speed.

And then Dave had brought over a steak and chicken. Thanks bro! So we grilled out, and baked some amazing asparagus and sweet potatoes. We hung out on Dan’s patio, catching up, drinking Dan’s beers, while he grilled. Yum! Thanks boys!

Hello spring!
I have missed you so so much!

Why Can’t I Quit You? and my latest obsession

Why can’t I quit you?

It seems like a sad revelation, to remember these shoes. They got me through my first marathon, through some harder training cycles. I technically have just been holding onto them for months now, wearing them maybe 5 miles per week. I tried to pretend like it was me that was feeling sluggish on days I wore them. Or pretend that my right toe blister happens all the time (It does not). So finally, I am quitting you. I will put you away in my closet until I can get to a local PlanetAid.

I am quitting you today.

Ghosts – R.I.M.C. {Rest in my closet} (~320 miles)

September, 2012 - April, 2013

September, 2012 – April, 2013

On that note, I will also be quitting my Pureconnects (third pair) – November, 2012 – April, 2013 (~250 miles)

The Ghosts were great for me as I transitioned into longer distances. But my 16-miler in January in my PCs proved that I can go the distance in the minimalist shoes, and no longer need the extra 4 oz the Ghosts offer.

Quick review of both shoes- Brooks Ghost 4- Great substantial shoe for long runs. Still light enough to wear on an everyday basis. I had the Ghost3 too and loved them as well. I get minimal blisters when I wear these on hotter days, but that is partially my foot’s physiology. My first pair of Ghost4’s (yes, I went through 2 pairs while marathon training… I was running a lot!) I went through in about 230 miles, so switching out and giving the shoes “rest days” definitely helped me get more out of these shoes (almost 100 miles more and they are less worn down visibly).
Brooks Pureconnects (original)- I love these shoes so much that I am on my fourth pair of them! Yes, fourth pair! I think these shoes are so awesome that they make me want to run more. Why? They are very lightweight, so your foot has freedom of movement, but they feel like you are running on clouds, or pillows. They heat up quickly when you road run on hot/ longer days, but I find more substantial shoes make my foot hotter and don’t breathe as well (resulting in blisters/black toenails/etc). And I don’t get as many miles out of them, because there is less material, so of course it breaks down quicker. I still get 200-250 miles out of these shoes. I have ran faster races in these. I have ran as much as 16 miles in these with no discomfort/pain. I will say, transition into them. My calves get more of a workout with these than a clunkier shoe. They do have a significant arch, so these are not for you if you have flat feet. They just aren’t. I love these so much that I plan to buy the PureConnects (second edition); it sounds like they just changed the upper. I’ve had the light blue (original color) and the purple, and got compliments on both. Basically, job well done Brooks. Job well done! I am interested to see how you can make these shoes any better 🙂

More miles means more money on shoes. Oh, Fleet Feet, I love that you give me $15 every $150 I spend… It means the more shoes I get (plus my obsession with Nuun), the more I save!

And my new obsession?

Green apples with Nutella (or Trader Joe’s Cocoa Almond Butter, just as delicious), with a Watermelon Nuun.
(Fat kid, cake = me, nutella+apples)

It’s been my morning and afternoon snack for the past week. I carry a knife with me at all times so I can cut up an apple.

I do not front. I will cut. An apple.
Then dunk it in delicious “healthy” chocolately goodness.
And tell myself this is a healthy meal because it once was an apple.

[This is not healthy. Unless you are comparing it to State Fair options]

being a spectator

(And I will never do an Olympic triathlon)

Yesterday, Dan had his first tri ever. He has a half ironman in 6 weeks. And it’s about time he actually complete one triathlon before then. I mean, he’s not even training (kidding! He’s training plenty! Just not crazy, and over-training like I would be)

So, as a dutiful girlfriend and fellow athlete, I decided to go for moral support, and to help pace him on the run part.

We got there bright and early at 8am, and wandered through the body markings area and I started SoccerMom’ing it up- making friends with all the other ‘supporters’.

The swim was first (1500m or almost a mile), and the first guy came charging out of the water in like 18:30 or something… Insane! And he had a few minute lead on the others. We all cheered violently when we saw the first white cap come out of the water (40+ male), and even harder when the first pink cap came running out (female).

Still no Dan.
But it was like 30-minutes, so these people were smoking it! Finally a group emerged with Dan at 37:30. I hit ‘lap time’ on my iPhone’s timer, and ran to the transition area sidelines, as Dan got ready for the bike. He seemed to take his time changing out of his wetsuit and preparing for the ride, and told me he got kicked several times and got a little freaked during the swim (so it was a tad slower than he had hoped).

Yep, he sat down to change. I would have too!

Yep, he eventually sat down. I would have too!

And he took off, biking around the lake for 26.5 miles. I made mental notes that I could run that far…

mouth full of shot blocks

mouth full of shot blocks

We had no idea how long this ride would take. He had been going 16-18 mph with a local bike group . But, I couldn’t do the simplest math, so I just waited until I saw him come to the transition area.

Finally, an hour and a half after he left for the bike, he came rolling in. The clock read 2:12, but the winner had already finished (2:04! That’s crazy!). I cheered as loudly as I could to get Dan’s attention, but he was tired and the music was loud. So I jogged/walked to the run start to help him get started.

Dan is fast. BTW. Like 20-minute 5K, and could probably pull a 41 or 42 minute 10K time. I’m not that fast, so I thought I’d pace him a little, and if he was really hurting, I’d stay with him longer.

I saw him and started smiling (like a dope, waiting for him to see me). He finally saw me, and I set off with him. He told me a little about the tri, and told me he felt like he couldn’t get his feet back under him after cycling for that long. So we started at nice easy 8’s. And I stayed with him for .34 miles before I had to drop off.

Look him taking out that old man. Who cares if the 75-year old started 4 minutes later?

Look him taking out that old man. Who cares if the 75-year old started 4 minutes later?

The course was an out-and-back 5K twice. Which made it easy for me to pace in pieces. I walked ahead and cheered for other runners, as they finished up their tri. I kept walking until I saw a turn, and stopped there, waiting for Dan. He wanted to finish in less than 3:00, which meant he had to finish the 10K in less than 48:00, which is very do-able for him. But would be hard, and I could tell he was getting tired.

Have I mentioned Dan doesn’t really do distance? Like 8-9 miles (in an hour and change) is the longest he trains. 🙂

I finally saw him, and I felt a surge of energy, so I wanted to stay with him for close to a mile (back to the 5K completion). We were pushing 7:40s. And I felt strong, but could tell Dan was struggling to keep that pace. So I stayed with him a little longer, and we pushed down to 7:20s before I needed to drop off again (after 0.7 miles). And he was almost to the 5K marker/ turn-around. I hit my iPhone timer for another lap (25min or so), but that was including his transition time.

I looked for him. I ran with him again for another 0.5 miles. He was struggling. Barely keeping up my 7:45 pace, so we dropped down to a 8:00 pace, to let him adjust before the home stretch. I made jokes that I was taking it easy on him now, because I wouldn’t on the last mile.  I wanted to make sure he came in under 3:00, and the run is his easiest part.

I dropped off again before the same turn (just by the final turn-around). I glanced at his overall time- 2:50. 2:51… Okay, Dan, you need to get here by 2:52 to safely bring it in before 3:00. 2:53 may work… C’mon, c’mon!

Finally, I saw him again (clock read 2:52:30), and we took off. One mile left babe. You’re at 2:52 on the clock, you can do it but you’re gonna have to work for it! I forgot that meant I’d have to run that fast too… And pushed quickly down to a 6:30 pace. I told him to just stay steady with my legs, Just stay with this pace. You’re doing great. We’re down in the 6:30s. Keep it up. Keep it steady, etc. We got to the finish so quickly. And I felt really strong (I know, it’s not about me, but I can’t usually run that fast). I gave him a final pat on the ass, and yelled ‘Bring it on it!’ And just cheered as he hit the final 0.2 miles. As I peeled off and ran through the cycle finish, I stopped my timer- 2:59:02, but I had no idea when he finished…

He had finished in 2:58:40! Wooo!

"It hurts to smile. This is the best you're getting out of me"

“It hurts to smile. This is the best you’re getting out of me”

I was so proud. And proud to have been a part of it, and able to help. Turns out we ran the last mile (according to my garmin) in sub-6:00 pace. Not sure if that’s accurate. But we were flying. And eventually going too fast for me to glance down, so it’s possible. And he brought it in in under 7-minutes FTW (from 5 mile mark to the finish, or 1.2 miles).

We went to shower (ugh! Boys smell so gross after endurance events), and then to Raleigh Times for a celebratory beer (Mother Earth Second Wind. Mother Earth makes good stuff and the name attracted me to it. It was a good solid American Pale Ale).

And in case you were curious, Dan finished the 10K portion in 46:21, faster than I can run a 10K, and all in all, a good solid time. Proudest girlfriend ever. And glad I got to be a part of it all.

Ironman will be interesting. I might have to run the whole half marathon with him. To help him keep a slower, steady pace (which is still fast for me). We will see. We joked that I might have to pace Tom, his brother, as well. And I was like, Ummm. I ain’t running a marathon to support you two 🙂 with a kiss. Also we estimated he will finish the Ironman in 6.5 hours. Better bring my sunblock (I’ll be in the sun 930am-230pm then). And I’ll give you all the highlights for that as well.

Friday Hill Sprints

Friday, I had planned to do 10-12 miles.

I also had to get my oil changed, so since I’d be on that side of town, I thought I’d run the dreaded Lassiter Mill hill (a long, slow, steady hill that is the start and end of the Midtown Half Marathon). It sucked ending on that hill, so I thought I’d start/end on it for good mental practice. And I am thinking it would be good to work that hill over the course of the summer, to see if I can get faster on it.

With the pending storm, I decided to do hill sprints instead (As if that’s easier or a compromise of sorts). But that way, I’d be no further than a mile from my car at any given point. I aimed for 4 hill sprints, not remembering how long the hill was.

I ran out, and ignored the cramp starting on the DOWNhill portion. aka- my warm-up. I glanced down at my garmin- 0.41, and I wasn’t to the bottom yet.

this is going to suck

I turned around at the bottom, and my garmin read 0.58; so each uphill sprint was pretty long.

My goal was simple: maintain a steady jog on the first couple, preferably under 10:30 pace.

Isn’t that elevation pattern pretty? 🙂

My sprints were as follows-
5:32 (down)
5:59 (up)
5:54 (down) Time to slow this down, Chandi
5:41 (up) I sprinted a little too hard on this one, and paid for it on the next
6:08 (down) I walked a little to slow myself down on the downhill
6:01 (up) Okay, one more… Try to make it in under 6-minutes… D’oh!
5:51 (down)
6:06 (up) Just don’t stop. Until you get to the top.

A few notes–
1. The wind was blowing South, I was running North (17 mph), so a little extra resistance
2. It was 84 degrees. That sucked.
3. The total elevation change was 130 ft within 0.58 miles (which is a decent elevation gain)
4. I had to run with my head down, since the wind was blowing pollen straight into my eyes, which burned.
Otherwise, I’d say a successful dead legs feeling, and eventual endorphins post-run.

after the hill sprints

A post-run “glow”. It was gross out there. I think the REI cashier recoiled when I put my watermelon Nuun and post-run protein recovery options [I stocked up] on the counter (like “ew, I have to touch this?… Here, have it… Just don’t make me touch it”)

I had a crappy run

No need to wave politely as you run past it!

No need to wave politely as you run past it!

I never write about my crappy runs or bad days. But they definitely exist.

I like to write inspiring quotes, about how I rocked that 8 miles at 10K speed or how I pushed for a 8:15 pace at the end of a hilly 9-mile run, etc. But don’t be fooled. We all have bad days. And we often try not to talk about it, because we think if we ignore it, it will get better. But, I think to really bond as a running community, we have to embrace the suck.

So, yesterday, after a 10-hour day at work, Dan came over. And I laced up. And for once, I had no plan. Usually, I find these unplanned runs liberating. I get to decide how far or fast based on how my body feels. And it all feels so freeing. The way running is supposed to be.

I was really looking forward to my run. I told Dan I didn’t know how far we’d go, and I’d definitely start off slow, but no idea how fast or slow I’d end up.

We took off down the road. Within the first few minutes, I felt that agonizing cramp in my torso I’ve been experiencing on-and-off for the past few weeks. It reminds me of the side-splitting cramps of my first few months of running.

I just kept focusing on my breathing, but we were going so slow. I couldn’t be patient with myself. We were doing a 10:30 pace. I physically do not know (anymore) how to slow down past that and continue to run. I tried to focus on my pace.

I eventually had to stop. The pain was awful, and only getting worse. So, I stopped at 1.15 miles, and walked for a few minutes. And then, picked it up again to an easy jog. For a minute. Then, had to stop. Again. I was soooo disappointed in my body.

I thought of everything that has happened to the world of running in the past few days. How someone could take a jubilant day and turn it tragic, and felt selfish. And it made to want to just stop altogether. But, I dug deep, got even more selfish, and thought about me. I run for me. If I didn’t want to run, then I shouldn’t. But how many times had I pushed through some pain and darkness to have a kick-ass run? To get stronger? To be worthy of pride.

I finally convinced myself to run again. And decided if I was mentally strong, I could push through it. And I did. My side-splitting cramp didn’t go away, but I accepted it, as an unwanted friend for this run. Unfortunately (or fortunately), there were a few times Dan made me laugh too hard and the gut-wrenching-bent-over-in-pain feeling came back. But, I was able to get my breathing back, and continue the run.

We went by a god-awful-smelling area (smelled like a pond filled with stink bombs from my childhood), so I “sprinted” at a 9:00 pace for those portions, and was able to gain some of my breathing and speed back.

But, yeah.

It sucked.

The entire run sucked. Every little step sucked a little hope out of me. It made me feel weak- physically and mentally.

But, with 5 miles behind me, we walked the last 0.5 miles back to my house. It was getting dark, and we were eating bugs (Hmmm… protein!)

And suddenly, I was in a better mood.

The work “stuff” was gone. My 10-hour day, gone. What to cook for dinner? Gone. Worrying about tomorrow? Gone. And maybe, it was Dan; but then again, maybe it was a run. Even a crappy, slow, but painful 10:10 pace that made it better. Maybe.

For the future? Tonight? Abs. Because that is quite possibly why I’ve been experiencing this pain- lack of ab strength, regardless of how good they look, I could still be weak.

I also need some goals to focus on. So, my next post will likely be that- training goals, race goals, etc.

Palmetto200 relay recap (long)

After the race (includes race nicknames)

This weekend was amazing. That really is the only way to describe it.

Our Van 1 consisted of some of my new best friends. My abs hurt as much as my quads from laughing so hard. I could go on and on about the non-running parts, but I digress…

(So straight to the recap)

It was a rocky start. We were all planning to meet at my apartment at 430pm. Bruce picked Dan up in downtown, and they headed to get the 12-passenger van (aka our new vacation home- kitchen, bedroom, party room, etc). Dan texted at 421pm “we’re still in line. haven’t gotten the van. will be late.”

Soon after, Will showed up. Will is the runner with the most mileage (all long/hard legs), and is accustomed to running ultras at a decent pace. But, I don’t really know Will too well. And it was definitely awkward, him being the first to show. “Welcome to my home. Thank you for being on time. You will not be rewarded because everyone else will be late” 😉

Will also told me he brought a duffel bag full of food, a gas ‘hot plate’ for oatmeal or mac & cheese, and a ruck sack full of various items (including 4 headlamps, in case someone forgot one. Note- he is the Pack Rat). He also said he had a bigger stick than mine, so we agreed to bring his. We were all happy that he brought all his stuff; especially given the amount of food Bruce managed to put away.

I got a call from Sarah, asking where we were.

Sarah: “I don’t see you”
me: “Oh, I’ll come outside”
Sarah: “Oh, I meant the van. Where’s the van?”
me: “On its way”
Sarah: “Oh… ?”

As Sarah and I conversed in the parking lot, my cat decided Will was his new owner and acted like a whore and Dan and Bruce showed up with the van. Chris was still not there.

We started packing our vacation home down, and decided there was no need to organize or prioritize because we had so much space. We headed over to Target when I realized I didn’t have my phone. We headed back, I ran upstairs for my phone. And couldn’t find it. But I left my brush and water bottle, so grabbed those. Then, asked that someone call my phone. We called a couple times… It was under all the bags. Thanks boys. Note to Sarah and myself- We will have to be in charge of packing and organizing from now on 🙂

We got on the road, and the van felt like a boat, swaying side to side in the wind.

We arrived at the hotel in Columbia around 10-1030pm.

Front Desk Person: “How many people are staying with you?”
me: “just one more”
F.D.P.: “Phew. Good, we only have a room with one bed for you.”
(no questioning of if I wanted to share a bed with said person)
me: “Okay, our other room is going to need more than one bed” (Thinking that’s where all the boys are staying)
F.D.P.: “Oh, okay. Well, when they get here, I’ll see what I can do. We’ve had issues with several of the rooms”
me: (gesturing to Dan, who was standing next to me the whole time) “They’re here.”
Then, going outside to break the news to Sarah that we will soon be snuggle-mates.

********Flash to relay race********

Relay terms to be familiar with:

Kills: You end up passing quite a few people, as the start is staggered. Every person you pass is a “kill”… This can be especially motivating for a longer night leg.
Legs: The 200-mile course is split into 36 separate courses, or legs, that range from 1.7 miles to 10 miles long. Usually, a full team means you run 3 legs, and about 13-20 miles.
Exchanges: This is where you hand-off the baton (a slap bracelet) to the next team member. Major Exchange is the Army Major in charge of all the Van Captains, and he hangs out at exchanges… what? is that not accurate? Okay, fine. It’s where all the vans meet up, and usually there is food.

We had a 7:00am start time, meaning we were supposed to be at the start line by 615am. Dan was our first runner, and was particularly grumpy (he tends to be that way in the morning; though he’s usually better after a run or after coffee). The race started on a tiny race track (maybe 0.25 mile around) in Columbia, then headed out about 5 miles. Since it was 7:00am, he didn’t have to wear the night gear (reflective vest, headlamp, and blinking light on front and back); but he was supposed to wear NEON colors. He was wearing a grey shirt and black shorts. So Sarah and I made Dan wear a vest- I mean, the race director (enforcer of rules) would be kicking off the race)

We watched the Way Far Runners (running frenemies) head out at 6:30am; then we started getting ready for the race to begin. We listened to the race director go through all the rules, while Dan bitched and moaned and declared “I’m never doing this sh** again!” (We laughed and said “ok.” He was our vet, having 5 other relays under his belt)

At 7:03am, they finally began the countdown, and we sent Dan off. He maintained the lead around the track- which was pretty impressive against some of the other runners, who we learned how fast they were by driving by them 🙂

First lap around the race track, and Dan is the orangey blur in lead… WoOoooO!

We hopped in the van, and headed to the next exchange. A boat landing, which was very pretty that early in the morning. It was hot, and crazy humid already- at 7am. I started getting nervous about my 8-hilly-miles at mid-day.

Dan crushed that leg with a 7:03 pace (and came in shirtless with the reflective vest), and we sent Sarah off down the road for her 6.5 mile (hardest of her legs). She estimated she’d finish in 9:30 splits.

Flawless.

We had some time, so we looked up the closest Starbucks- about 20 mins away (and it would take her about an hour to finish). We headed to the Starbucks, which turned out to be a distribution factory. The next closest starbucks was in Charleston (195 miles away)- no, I am not kidding. Apparently, people in South Carolina are strictly against coffee. We rushed to the next exchange- a gas station, and Will got ready for his long/hard leg (9.26 miles with some decent hills). It was getting hotter and more and more humid, so Will opted for Dan’s tactic- reflective vest with a bare chest, and short shorts. Except Will’s vest cut in to reveal his nipples (sexy). Does this make my boobs look big? Will and I saw a group of people coming in strong, and I said “no, Sarah is probably not in that group- we’ve got like 3 to 5 minutes til she comes in” And we heard “Ca Caw!” and I sent Will out for a flawless exchange of the baton.

We grabbed coffee at the gas station, and told Will we would meet him “halfway” or close to it with water/Nuun. And since there was nothing else to do in that neck of the woods, we stopped a few times. Part of his 9 miles was on a dirt road that was difficult to drive through, and every runner said was hard to push through.

Will passed off to Bruce. Sarah and I snuck in PB sandwiches. Bruce headed out for his teeny 2.4 miler; then soon after Chris. And I was up next. We pulled over at the top of Chris’ major hill, and I thought mine is a little bigger, this will suck. Then headed on to our next exchange, where I prepared for a hard 8-miles.

Leg 6: 7.99 miles (Hardest Leg)

11:09am.

Chris handing off, as I get started on my hardest leg

Honestly, it wasn’t too bad; compared to other courses that are actually hilly (like the Blue Ridge relay, or say Big Sur Marathon, which include 1000+ gain of elevation). By comparison, this hill was teeny. But still, it loomed. And made me wonder if I took the wrong turn into the mountains…

I took off a little too strong, but knew I could maintain 8:30s for a regular 8-mile run, in race mode. And I remembered the first couple miles were rolling, slightly downhill, so faster was okay. About a mile in, someone from the Mustache team ran past “Sorry, but I mustache you” (must dash you). I thought it was cute. And his grey mustache told me that big hill would hurt him more than it would hurt me. So, I’d catch up; just keep him in your sights, Chandi.

I ran my little heart out. And was feeling exhausted. And hot. I could feel the heat of the pavement within a mile or two. It was 79 degrees out, with little shade. Though it was cloudy at times, with a warm breeze for the first couple miles. The humidity was about 75%. And pollen-filled. At about 4 miles, I felt a good downhill bit, and braced myself for the coming hill. Honestly, the hill reminded me of my college running days (in the mountains). It loomed in front of me. And I think it actually cast a shadow. A lot of vans were stationed at the bottom. I envisioned one of my vanmates gearing up to run it with me. I just thought don’t drop below a 10:00 pace. You can do this.

Elevation change. And my splits (the last two-minutes are post-run)

Elevation change. And my splits (the last two-minutes are post-run)

My mantra for that hill was Dig in, Breathe deep, Dig in, Breathe deep. And it helped. I knew I couldn’t surge the hill, because I had another 3+ miles to go after it. And then two more legs. I kept running though. That is key. Dan was stationed at the top, with Nuun, and water to refill my fuel pack. I just took my water bottles out and said “here babe” between breaths. He said he was surprised I kept running. Apparently all the runners before me had stopped to walk over to their van for support and water. Not this chick. I saw the Mustache man slow down too much on that hill. And after 4 miles behind him, I was hungry for a kill.

I got through the hill, and struggled to find my footing again. And Dan filled my Nuun too much, so it was fizzing all over my skin. Which, I didn’t mind too much; it was hot. And there were no longer clouds- just sun. My watch chimed for the 4th mile, and I was afraid to look- 9:40

Not bad, considering that hill, I dropped to as slow as a 12:00 pace. Okay, Chandi, get your breathing back, and catch that guy. And then the wind picked up. It was like running up that hill all over again. The wind was blowing so hard, my vest was tearing off my body. My next mile was equally slow- 9:39. Crap! I’ve got to make up some time… I looked up ahead to see that Mustache man was a few hundred meters ahead of me. So, I dug in (mentally) and tried to catch him on a curve. And was successful, but also gave myself a splitting side cramp. I saw there were two people just ahead of him, a hundred meters or so away. I tasted my kill, stalked my prey for a mile or two, then felt my second wind. I was able to catch them and pass them. Three kills total. Not bad this early in the race. I made my final turn, holding onto the 8:40s again. And I saw my final hill. Are you f***ing kidding me? Another one?! It was tiny (+100 ft over 0.5 miles), but like a smack in the face, at the end of a hot, hilly 8-mile route.

I dug in, and mustered all the courage I could to surge the last hill. I managed to catch a guy who was all tattooed up. He was struggling. Walking a little up the last hill. We had our final surge together. Running into the exchange, I was looking for Andrea, and couldn’t see her. I held up the snap bracelet waving it as I ran in. Turns out she was standing behind my running buddy’s teammate (who was like 6’5). I screamed “watch out! My teammate is behind you!” as I almost tackled him to get to Andrea. 🙂

And Van 2 was off. We had time to get lunch and head to the next major exchange for a nap. While we were in Subway, it started POURING outside.

There was a road closure on the way to the next major exchange, and my navigation skills got us there earlier than most of the teams, so bathrooms were clean, and there was room to spread out a towel under a covered picnic table. We napped a little. We walked down to the lakeside dock. Then set up by a playground. As soon as Dan and I sat down, fire ants started attacking us. Damnit! We walked away with only a few bites each, thankfully. But all on our feet.

We started waking up, and hit the bathrooms- disgusting- after just a couple hours of runners. We got a little excited upon seeing the first team come in around 4:30pm, and started perking up for our own runner (Andrea again) at 5:10pm. We heard yells for Olga before 5pm, and hoped Andrea was killing the leg a little faster than we had projected. 5:10, and no Andrea, or anyone from Van 2. Around 5:15pm, we started to get nervous. Finally, Van 2 arrived, reporting she was just down the road, would be here any minute. All the while, I prep Dan, suggesting he needs to finish his 4.2 miles in 30 minutes or less (or a 7-minute pace). Even for him, that’s fast; but I thought it was a good goal. Finally, we saw Andrea. She looked exhausted, and didn’t even have it for an extra kick, but kept steady and strong to bring it in for Dan. Who took off his shirt upon noticing Andrea’s sweat and exhaustion. Then, took off like a bat out of hell. We quickly followed. And waited nervously at the next exchange, down the dirt road; tagging other vans with our “foot” (tarheel shaped). I am no artist, and we all joked that it looked like I was tagging vans with a penis, until I drew the toes on top. [Sorry, we had a van full of boys, and me and Sarah, and lacked sleep] But no one interrupted us, except R.U.I, who tagged us back at the next exchange.

and off she went; soon into the night

and off she went!

Dan came in at about 29:30, for a 6:53 pace. Which motivated us to keep it up. Sarah started off a little too fast- 8:25, 8:30, 8:25; then had to slow dramatically when the heat and humidity suddenly hit her for the last two miles, but still came in on predicted pace. Will took off for his sunset leg, with no night-time gear. We stopped the van to give him a vest and blinkies. While we were stopped, the biggest spider I’ve ever seen came flying across the road. I’m pretty sure cars swerved to avoid hitting it- it was that big! I jumped on the van, and refused to go into the grass again (it went into the grass by us). When we decided to hit the road again, I went through the driver’s side, and tripped, hitting my knee square on the first row of seats. OUCH! (I have a bruise a couple days later, and it’s still tender)

Will handed off to Chris, for his night leg. Chris, aka the Swamp Thing, who is a tall guy; beasted it. Keeping a good pace, and even picking up some runners in the last mile (which was a straight shot, so we could see him coming down the road, his headlamp about a foot above the other runners). It looked like he was a swamp beast, eating the smaller runners for dinner.

Leg #12: 9.67 miles (Hard)

And I got all excited. Let’s go! Let’s go! Chris just picked those people up; I couldn’t let their runners catch me. I ran out at 8:30s for the first couple miles, then felt like I was all alone, so slowed down, as I was afraid I missed a sign. I saw no street lights, no race signs, no vans (usually you see vans driving past at this point in the relay), no blinking lights ahead for me to “kill”… I do not want to make 9.67 miles any longer than necessary… Finally, a 12-passenger van drove past, and cheered for me. I said “I thought I went the wrong way”. It was the race director. He decided to stay near me until other vans came up, he was within 0.5 miles of me the rest of the way (Thanks guys!)

Still, no runners until about 4-miles. I started calculated how many minutes I was knocking off our pace.
Okay, my predicted pace is 9:15/mile, so 8:35 is +:40, 8:43 is +:15 +:17, which is +:32, added to the :40; wait, where am I? No, I see a sign. So, where was I? +:40 +:32. Woo! I am already over a minute ahead of pace. Ah! What was that noise?! Oh gosh, did I swallow that bug? Ugh…. (spit) etc.
Finally, I heard footsteps behind me. She seemed like she was coming up fast, but I felt like I could go faster; especially to stay with someone. I wanted to make her work for it, so dropped to hold a steady 8:30 until she met my speed. After a couple miles, I decided to drop back, but keep her in my sights. I stalked my prey, never letting her get around a curve without me; staying 5-10 paces behind her. After seeing my van, I was rejuvenated, and picked up the pace to 8:30 again. I lost count of my sandbagged minutes, but was at about 3-minutes before picking up the pace. We had 3 miles left, and I was determined to finish strong; preferably ahead of her, but with her would be fine. The last two miles, we kept dropping the pace. I kept glancing down- last mile, I’ll kick, I thought. Finally, 8.7 miles. I told her, Last mile, and we kicked. She glanced at me, and said Are you sure? I don’t see the exchange? I knew it in my body, and trusted in my little garmin. No, we’re almost there. It’s just a curvy road; last 0.5 miles… C’mon girl! Get it! (we mercy killed a few walkers)… This might be a murder/suicide between you and me. Finally we could hear our teams, and saw the steeples. I almost cried. I was not going to let her beat me on the last 0.33 miles. I gave it all I had. We finished the last 0.67 miles at a 7:45 pace. The last bit, when I looked at the pace, it said 7:05.

I Ca-Cawed for Clara (in the dark it makes it easy to find your person). Except my entire team was there (or 7 of them) Hootie Hoo’ing back at me. No, WHO? …. Where? between gasps for air. I handed off, and we sent Van 2 on their way. 8:56 average pace. My 10K pace is about a 8:50, so I basically maintained 10K pace for 10 miles. Sh**********t!

They had sandwiches there, and all of my van (except Dan) was in there killing some sandwiches. I think we took out about 10 sandwiches, our van alone. I was uninterested in sandwiches though.

I snuck back to the van, where Dan was sleeping (on our suggestion, before his 3am 9miler), and finished off the remaining donuts, and got rid of the box evidence 🙂

We all slept, overnight. A few hours. Until my alarm went off. I checked my phone- no updates. Great. The other van could be here, or they could be 20 minutes behind. I told Dan the update, so he could prepare for his 3am 9-miler. (Ugh)

We got him outside to warm up, and saw Andrea and Sheryl scuffling around looking for our van. Jarod’s leg before that was short (2.5 miles), so it would be close. Dan got out the street just as Jarod brought it in, right on cue. 3:01am. I woke everyone else up (Sarah was the only one awake, as everyone else just slept on the sidewalk), and we hit the road to cheer him on a few times, and hand him some Nuun, water, and support.

Dan handed off to Sarah, who was aiming for a speedy 9-minute pace for her last 3.75 miles. Will picked it up at 4:50am for his last leg- 7.47 miles. Bruce got up, and got prepared for his last run. Meaning he ate everything in sight, and downed some crackheads (chocolate-covered espresso beans). Chris, Sarah, and I refused to leave the van, so Dan went outside to be moral support while he got ready, grabbing his things. Bruce, then let a long loud fart. And Backseat Sarah woke up, laughing hysterically at the 15-to-20-second long fart. Bruce had not realized she was still in the van. It was really priceless. And Dan almost went back into the van to say You’re on your own, bro.

Bruce had a nice leg. 7.47 miles at sunrise over the marshy wetlands of South Carolina. He was just coming over a bridge when the sun starting getting into the sky. We were all a little jealous. It was just me and Chris left, so we strategized how we were going to kill our respective 4.72 and 4.11 miles- I’m gonna try to just kill some sub-8s, but not go any slower than 8:30s (Chris). We went into the nice gas station to make a deposit because the bank was open, and ready for business. The bathrooms were still nice, but we planned to change that.

I stood by the road with Chris, pumping him up while the others got coffee, water, etc. Finally, Bruce came in, and Dan and I gave him a love tunnel, which made him smile, and sent Chris off into the morning light.

The sun was fully in the sky (and was about 70-degrees with a cool sea breeze), so I decided to wear my blue booty shorts, my Nike There’s no I in Team, but there is in Ice Cream tank, and neon green Brooks arm sleeves, with PROCompression baby blue socks. I looked fast.Will prepped me- as the last runner, this was our last chance to get a lead on the WFAR group. I said I wanted to finish in 35:00, thinking that was a little lofty, but do-able (4 miles at just above 5-K speed).Will- Well, any minutes you can pick up. I mean why pick up just 2 minutes? We need 3 minutes. No pressure. Thanks, Will. I’ll see what I can do. If I get a sub-8, I’ll be happy, but that’s over 1:00 faster than my real pace, so let’s just see. I’ll try to get 3. No promises.

I almost put on a game face (aka eyeliner, etc.), but decided I’d rather pee. I had about 3-5 minutes until Godzilla aka the Beast aka the Swamp Monster was coming. So I sprinted to the bathroom, and back. As I was running back, Dan yelled “He’s coming” As Godzilla took out some small children and a car to get to the exchange point. He was running fast (probably 7:00-7:30 pace), and he handed all the energy for me.

Leg #30: 4.11 miles (Easy)

I’d even say very easy (there were sidewalks part of the way that made me feel at home, running through a shopping center at 7:00am). I took off WAY too fast, matching Chris’ 7:00-7:30 pace. I told myself to breathe and slow down. I kept getting honks from random people on the highway, due to the blue booty shorts. Thanks, SC 🙂 I saw someone about 0.5 miles ahead. I will catch her. I need at least one more kill. As I got closer, I realized she was going much slower- 9:00, and catching her didn’t mean too much for my pace. But, I caught her around 1.5 miles in, and kept sprinting, breathing easily. Crushing my pace. 8:30, 8:19. And feeling the burn in my dead legs. Then I hit the shopping center and got a second wind, opening my pace up to 8-8:15, I got a little hung up trying to figure out how to cross a busy traffic circle without sidewalks, but maintained a strong pace, as my vanmates cheered me on as they drove by (I also noticed they were coming from the wrong way, aka, they got lost. haha).

There was no shoulder on the road, and it seemed like rush hour traffic. So I was going slowly to make sure people saw me, and squishing my stride up a bit. 8:30. Finally, the traffic broke, and I made one of the final turns. I let myself open up again, and pushed my speed. I saw another guy ahead of me… Maybe I can catch him, and glanced down. Oh, I have less than a mile left (and he is cruising at 8:30s). Okay, pretend like you can catch him… Last little bit. It’s supposed to hurt. That means you’re doing it right. Don’t leave anything left. They’re counting on you. I Ca Cawed, and searched the crowd of cheering people for Clara. I didn’t see her yet. I felt my watch buzz, and saw something in the 8s (8:19, in case you were wondering), and pushed it for a true sprint of a 0.11 miles, in 39 seconds. And the wheels came off. Just as I slapped the band on Clara. My muscles couldn’t stop moving, and I ran through the crowd without any quads/brakes to stop me. Everyone was cheering, and total strangers told me how awesome that was.

The WFAR group couldn’t believe it. I had narrowed their lead to a few minutes within my 4 mile run. Apparently when the first person on my team said “Hey, I think I hear her. That’s Chandi”, their team members said “no, couldn’t be” and similar. I felt victorious when I crossed into that exchange. I ran so strong, and was so happy. And proud. I felt like I showed Van 2 how to keep it up. How to push hard for the “win.”

And then I got Chick Fil A biscuits and coffee, and made conversation with Allie (on WFAR group), while our two vans congregated. My van said they saw the fear in their eyes as I came in. I was too high on life to notice any of that. And they might have been seeing what they wanted to see, but we knew it’d be a close call who would finish the course faster (It was clear we would not finish before them, as they had a 33-minute head start, and we were a strong 10 minutes behind with our slower paced van now running). But, WFAR had been running strong as well, so we decided at that point to just enjoy it. We wanted to finish and have fun together as a team. We headed on to one of Van 2’s checkpoints to hand off park tickets for the last stop, and cheered on Sheryl for her last leg. She had a beautiful view over the bridge, down to the water, which she took a picture of, and still killed it at a 9:01 average, with her fastest mile ever on that run. Woo! Woo!

Finally! We were in Charleston! And we decided to set up camp at the finish line/ post-race. Just as they cracked open the first keg. First team to the beer, #33 to cross the finish. Seems fitting for my team 🙂

We got word that Jarod was beginning the Cooper River portion- this was the leg that could hurt our time. It’s the last hard leg (If you’ve ever ran the 10K, it’s basically that, plus 0.25 at the end). Then, Jesus. They were making decent time. And soon Van #2 joined us in the post-race beer-drinking festivities, after our third or fourth beer. We watched as several teams came in. The clock kept ticking. I told them Jesus should be here 12:40-12:45 if he stays on pace. 12:10 came, WFAR made an obvious effort to announce Olga should be there any minute… 12:15 passed, no Olga. We were nervous. Anything that could slow Olga could slow Jesus as well. At least Jesus had Clara to pace him, and support him on her bike. 12:20, still no Olga. I wasn’t paying too much attention.

I was enjoying my beers in the shade, and realized around 12:30, we should head to the sunny, grassy area, and start looking for Jesus. I started seeing who else would want to go with me. And I just honestly thought I had missed Olga’s arrival. Oh well. I guess we won’t know when she came in, I thought, as our team made our way to the grass. Then, finally, Olga rounded the corner. And we cheered so loudly for them. Their outfits looked great, and they represented as a team, running Olga in.

Our team started getting ansy then. We got nervous at 12:40 came and went. Anyone who sneezed, every bird that flew by Is that them?! And finally! 12:42, Jesus and Clara entered the park, and we threw off the flip flops and ran over to greet them, and Jesus made a final kick, which none of us could keep up with. And we all ran it in, just under 29:45 for 198.4 miles (or 8:58 average). The Way Far Runners maintained a 9:02 pace, so yes, those extra minutes counted. And yes, those extra kicks at the end of our runs counted. We all got beers. Olga looked wiped. I really felt bad. She looked as exhausted as Andrea did after her first leg.

so bad ass, we didn't wear our team shirts...

so bad ass, we didn’t wear our team shirts…

We hung out for a while; Dan decided he no longer wanted to be hanging out with a bunch of tipsy runners, as he was our driver. And we headed back to the hotel. Some of us to the pool, some of us to nap. Everyone to shower.

We later went to Noisy Oyster, and tried basically everything on the menu, including a “bite-and-pass” of all desserts available (8?). Van 2 couldn’t finish their plates, so Van 1 cleaned up again 😉 (Totally kidding there!) Dan and I headed out, and we were told the party just got better and better. We hadn’t napped, so by 10pm, we were OUT. And we woke the next day to sore muscles and empty stomachs.

Stumbling through the hotel lobby to find coffee, I see someone making zombie gestures out of the corner of my eye. There was Jesus. So funny and good-spirited. We, apparently, looked like zombies due to muscle fatigue and lack of coffee in hand 🙂

We looked for the closest restaurant- Hominy Grill? I say to Dan. Bruce’s fat middle-aged woman’s ears perk up Omigod! It’s settled! That’s where we’re going. (starts gesturing to people eating various continental breakfast options) Throw that shit out. We’re eating real food now! And, oh, my, god. It was amazing. The grilled vegetable omelette with goat cheese was the best omelette I’ve ever had. Easily. It was all delicious. We ate like we hadn’t seen food in days, despite destroying Noisy Oyster the night before. And Bruce piped up again, Dessert? And convinced the table to order a round of desserts (4 between the 6 of us- pecan pie, beer float (espresso porter with caramel ice cream), strawberry rhubarb, german chocolate cake). We then rolled our fat asses back to Raleigh.

So, total for me: 7.99 miles in 1:12:01 (9:03 pace), 9.67 miles in 1:26:28 (8:56 pace), 4.11 miles in 34:20 (8:21 pace) [or 21.77 miles in 3:12:49, or a 8:52 pace]

Boston re-post

I generally don’t repost, but T-Rex Runner just said it all so perfectly, and took the words out of my mouth–

Boston

Aside from that, I plan to get in a run tonight. I am meeting my half marathon training program to celebrate their half marathon (Sunday), and hope some of them will join me for even a mile or two. Otherwise, I will run on my own when I get home. That is my reaction to this travesty: Put on a race shirt, go to work, run, and enjoy every minute of my run.

Thank you T-Rex Runner; and hope you don’t mind my spreading your sentiments.

today we leave… tomorrow we relay

Today; well tonight, we leave for Columbia. To begin our Palmetto200 adventure from Columbia to Charleston.

I generally go into a race with a plan. But, if you have ever done a relay, you cannot have a plan. Best case scenario, you run all your legs way faster than you planned, and everyone else sucks. All you can control is your attitude.

In a relay like this, you are counting on your other 12 11 teammates (we are down one runner). A lot can happen within 200 miles. The most likely thing to happen is a lot of fun, but still plenty of competition. For me, I will try to make friends with almost everyone. Then, realize that means I’m running too slow, and make my newfound friends eat my dust. If I can help it.

So, tonight, we set out for a crammed hotel room in Columbia, SC. We will wake up bright and early to get to the race track (how cool is that- that it starts on a race track?) by 615 for a 7am start time. Dan is leading us off, and it will likely be in the rain.

Then, Sarah, Chris, Brucy, and Will-y-em, and I will jump into our luxurious (and likely overpacked) 12-passenger van, and head to the first exchange, to drop off Sarah, and pick up wet and smelly Dan.

I will be running the last legs for Van 1, so I won’t see any members from Van 2 until I hand-off to Andrea and wish her a speedy run for her less-than-two-mile-can-you-tell-I’m-jealous run. Then, Van 2 will have to rush to get to their next exchange where they will take over playing runner’s leap frog. We will then have a few hours to rest, bond, eat, rest, go gymnastics, and oh yeah, drive to the next major exchange.

Right around sunset, Van 2 should show up, waiting anxiously for Jarod (their final runner). We will talk excitedly, and get recaps of how Sheryl rocked her 4-miler at a 9:00 pace or how Andrea and Clara almost forgot where they parked the van, or other silly randomness. Hopefully, we will all have shoes and our cell phones at that point.

Then, Van 1 will take back the slap bracelet baton, and travel into the darkness, running, pointing and laughing at reflective gear, hoping no wild dogs actually catch us, and finish up as most college kids are heading out to the bars; hoping we will sneak in some sleep in the van (and tent?)… Then Van 2 will show up, and take over until most of the college kids are heading home from said bars; then Van 1 will send Dan off in the middle of the night for his hardest (and final) leg, without coffee. Maybe. By the time I run again, the sun will be fully in the sky, and I will hand-off to Clara for the last time (which seems fitting as she handed off to me at 445am for my last leg on the Tuna200 in October).

Then, Van 1 gets to head to the hotel. Detox, shower, and go in search of beer to stock our fridge. We’ll attempt to get in a short nap, perhaps during the shower, for optimal time management. Then, head to the street to cheer Jesus in on our final leg, after the “dreaded” (beautiful, in my opinion) Cooper River Bridge. We will enjoy the sun, and sand in our toes, do some more handstands in the grassy areas, drink a few beers (or a few too many), talk about the good times we had and do a lot of remember when…?, and make our way to downtown Charleston to celebrate in style. And by style, I mean likely with a foam roller in hand, flip flops, and A&D ointment for chafing. Classy.

Charleston, here we come!

…It may take a while; we’re running to get there

what is wrong with me?

Wait, don’t answer that.

Well, not yet.

Last week, I did something incredibly stupid- signed up for my third (full) marathon. I think if there was a race every month of the year in Raleigh, I’d sign up for more races, coasting on the “convenience” factor (and probably skimping on the training more often).

So, here I am.

Signed up for my second marathon (Richmond) in November, and the Rock and Roll Raleigh in April (2014).

On a slightly related note, there has been a lot of controversy about the Rock and Roll coming to Raleigh. Here are my scrambled thoughts.
First, I have done two Rock and Roll half marathons (my first- Vegas), and Nashville last year. I have also done a tiny (300 person) half marathon. I would prefer the middle ground- 1,000-5,000 person race. The 20,000+ person races are intimidating and crowded (regardless of how well they corral people). I will agree with that point. However, they put on a good show (including a good course, tons of food and energy gels/drinks and crowd support); this helps give me energy to last longer.
The main thing people keep saying is “race local”… We have two local full marathons in the Raleigh area (and several half marathons). I did one of these local races (a half), and hated it- I had to bring my own energy gels (which I was not told in advance, I realized at mile 8, when I hadn’t seen anything yet), there were maybe 4 water stations (I drink a lot over the course of 13 miles in MAY in Raleigh), there was next to no crowd support, and by the time I finished, there was no food. Like, no food. Or juice. Just water. Also, i finished in 2:29, not so ridiculously slow that i should miss out on those post-race goodies. Anyway, my point is- sometimes Walmart/Target has more options than the local country store, making it worth it to shop ‘non local’. It also makes me laugh that some of the people who are strongly anti-RnR are the same people who go to starbucks every day. Your coffee choice impacts your local economy much more than which race runners do. A little math lesson– $4/day for a week is $20/week, which is $80/month, or $1000/year. That affects the local economy on a much more significant scale than a few runners paying $60-120 once per year. Just sayin’! If you are going to make that argument, stand behind it with all your spending habits 🙂

The honest truth is I trained for City of Oaks in 2011, and got injured. Last year, I decided to train for Richmond, which is the following weekend. I then signed up for Richmond again this year. Maybe in 2014, I’ll run City of Oaks (which, by the way, is a great local race of about 5,000 runners in the full, I think, with great crowd support most if the way, including me at mile 25). I have wanted to pay tribute to my hometown (and current city) as well, with a good course, and RnR tends to do a good scenic course. And it was only $65, which for a marathon, is super cheap. So, I signed up.

And now I am left thinking When did I become a marathoner? Sure, one marathon is one thing, but THREE? And immediately following that (and a “calm the f*** down” beer), I decided this will be my last marathon… famous last words, right?

So, here goes nothing. Here’s to hoping next winter will be friendlier than this winter. My 15 miler in the snow was horrible, and I can’t imagine a 20-miler in those conditions (Andrea rocked a 27-miler that day, due to bad GPS signaling… go get ’em girl!).

Basically, here’s to early mornings from July to April; drinking water as if I’m storing it like a camel; here’s to foam rolling and yoga (both necessary); here’s to felling tired and hungry all the time. But mainly, to the feeling of accomplishment, to the joyful years at the finish line, the sense of comrade in training and in race day! To all of it! I raise my coffee mug (It’s 8am, I’m not drinking a beer before work silly!)
Raise your glasses (or mugs, or just Nuun pint glasses) with me for whatever goals you have coming. And in advance, for all the hard work you’re going to put in!