April/ spring look-back

The past couple days, we have been experiencing crazy weather here in Raleigh (like, flash-flood warning Mon-Thursday, and tornado warnings and watches, with eery skies).

That means two things-

1. It’s not a time to test out longer distances outside
2. Everyone and their mom were in the gym this week (as in 5 of 6 treadmills, 3 of 4 ellipticals, and all 3 bike machines ocupado).

I went to the gym yesterday for a killer circuit workout (killed my legs a month ago, but was okay this week): 3x 0.2mile sprint, 20 calf raises (8 lb weight), 20 overhead presses (8 lb weight), 20 jump squats (8 lb weight… yes this was the hardest part), 20 back-kick leg extensions on each leg (no weight necessary), in case you were wondering…

And I am at ~59 miles for the month, and a few thoughts immediately followed–

I cannot believe I am only logging 16-20 miles per week, mixed with Holy crap! I am so glad I am finally logging 16-20 miles per week!
How many miles did I log each month? Was April more or less? So, here is my look-back on the beginning of 2014.

In January

I averaged about 8-10 miles per week, with lots of effort. Anywhere from a 9:30 to 12:30 pace. The 9:30 pace runs, were usually 2-3 miles, while the 11:30-12:30 pace were long runs which required me to walk (as I would feel pain). My longest run in January was a 7.85 miler with Sheryl, in which we got insanely lost due to a detour, and my horrible directional skills.
Total= 42.25 miles, 4 strength-training, and 1 yoga sesh

In February

I started to feel strong again, and began pushing my limits. In Feb, I ran my first 10 miler since Palmetto (April 2013). And I followed it up with another longest run since January 2013- 14.5 miles with Sheryl. Average pace was around 10:30 (11:00 on long runs, and 10-10:30 on shorter runs). I ran about 10-18 miles per week. All in all, February was brutally cold, I was crazy busy with work, but pushing for those extra miles made me feel strong again.
Total= 60 miles, 1 strength training (but various sprint workouts), 1 yoga sesh

In March

This has been my peak month for sure… I started getting my speed back, and felt great! The weather started to cooperate, and pushed me to be outside, or at least active. Oh, and Daylight Savings… I love the later sunny nights!
Total= 81 miles, 3 strength training

In April

It’s officially been a year- since I was “healthy” and strong. A year since my ab pain started interfering with seemingly everything. And I am finally getting back to where I was 2-3 years ago. It’s taken less time than I thought, but I’m getting there… April marked my return to half marathons, and racing, in general. It also marked my return to “speed” (as speedy as I can currently be).
Total= 58.9 miles, 2 strength training, 1 yoga sesh

Let me put something real quick into perspective… Here are my numbers for May- Dec 2013:

May, 2013: 1.5 miles ran, 4 miles walked (mostly laid up in bed for days after a run or walk)

June, 2013: 12 miles ran/walked (with lots of pain and ignored re-injury)

July, 2013: 13.5 miles ran, 4 miles walked (again, with pain)

August, 2013: 8 miles ran (finally got serious about rehabbing my ab)

September, 2013: 10 miles ran

October, 2013: 17 miles ran

November, 2013: 14 miles ran

December, 2013: 32 miles ran (this is when I consider myself starting to “come back” as I convinced myself it was okay to run very slowly, 11:00-12:00 minute pace to get my mileage up, with occasional walk breaks).

This is all not a pity party, but the opposite. I am so excited to finally get my life back. I get so mad sometimes that I cannot maintain a 8:30 for 8 miles like I used to, but I forget about how far I have come. And how much I have struggled (physically and emotionally) to push through the pain and get to where I am today.

I reset my garmin in December, because I was tired of not reaching “new records” even though I was getting faster. I pushed myself in November and December to reach a 30-minute 5K speed, with all-my-freaking-might. Last week, with Dan, I managed to go sub-29-minutes. And, actually it didn’t feel that hard. It was actually during a 4-mile run. I “ran” my first return 10K speed through run/walking in 1:10 in November, and ran my fastest 10K during the Rock n Roll half in 1:00:40… That’s something to be proud of.

We beat ourselves up, and expect change so quickly, that we sometimes forget all the change that has already taken place. I am doing phenomenal, and I think I sometimes forget that.

I also feel the need to thank everyone who stood with me. I had several identity ‘failures’ we’ll say, where I wasn’t sure who I was without some form of exercise, and had pent up energy I just couldn’t release as I wanted. Dan really stood by me, trusting that I would eventually become the happy and active girl he fell for.

this time a year ago…

Today is my birthday (Woo!)… My gift to myself was a day off work. It’s Friday, so let’s start the weekend off right πŸ™‚

On birthdays, we tend to look back at the past year- at everything that has changed. This is the first time in years (six to be exact) that I’ve been in a relationship, so that is pretty major for me. Last year, I had just started to get to know Dan

Last year, I was tapering down for my first marathon. My goal had been (for a long time) to complete a marathon before I turned 30. I was 28, and in great shape, so it was perfect timing. I had just finished my first distance relay– Tuna200. I ended up staying home from work because I was super sick, and slept the entire day- until about 5pm (when I started getting ready to meet up with friends for low-key birthday drinks). Ironically enough, I’m meeting up with the exact same group tonight- just a different location πŸ™‚

My brother had just gotten married, and my sister-in-law was pregnant with little Mason. Now, I am a proud Aunt of the most adorable nephew in the world. He plans to be Winnie the Pooh for Halloween, and I can’t wait to see the pictures. I can’t believe he is almost 9 months old… He’s such a big boy (as you can see below):

in a pumpkin

in a pumpkin

My dad is coming over this afternoon for some quality father-daughter time, and considering he’s one of my best friends, it will be good just to hang out with him some.

Although I am super happy, in general, with my life. My health has been less than stellar the last six months… But, it feels good to say I am getting better. I ran 4 miles last Friday (woo! The most I’ve ran since April), and at a 10-min pace, which isn’t too too bad. It felt like my standard long-slow-run day. I’ve gone to the gym twice this week- including what are called “thrusters” (I had no idea that’s what all those crossfitters are talking about when they complain about thrusters… I just thought it would be better than regular squats with a weight). My legs were super sore Monday, but my ab hasn’t hurt in over a week… I have officially started working on getting my strength and speed back, and plan to call my Saturdays my “long run” day (even if it starts out at a 4mi run). The struggle of the past six months doesn’t seem as important as the fact that I am getting better and stronger.

I still like beer. We also cook more often than we used to. We go to the farmers market often, and have only killed it a few times- an eggplant that we kept forgetting about, and a pepper that went bad within a week of getting. I eat more salads than I used to– dark leafy greens, a creamy cheese, nuts, dried fruit, apples… It’s delicious. And the apple cider sangria was a hit! Though, I’d suggest not to use sweet apples- they absorbed the alcohol, and tasted like pure ethanol after a few hours of soaking.

And girly things- I started getting birchbox this summer, and it opened me up to more makeup and playing around with girly things… However, I got a couple boxes where I only liked 1 or 2 items, so I cancelled it. I did find a few things I liked- Eyeko Skinny Liquid Eyeliner… but it was in a teal (not exactly an “everyday” eye liner color). I found an amazing face moisturizer- Benta Berry G1Β but you have to join a wait list, and it took 3 months to even get to the top of the list… Ain’t nobody got time for that. Anyway, it seemed like there was alwaysΒ something… More recently, I signed up for JulepΒ and love it! Use the code “FREEBOX” to get your first box for free πŸ™‚

No tangents. This birthday will be good… Wishing you all a good weekend as well. Happy Friday!

Overcoming PTSD of injuries

Settle in kids. This may be a long one.

Lately, I’ve been trying really hard to come back.

In May, I found out the sharp cramp in my side was actually a torn abdominal muscle. My PCP did not do an x-ray like I suggested, and just thought it was a fluke, and it would go away with rest and muscle relaxers. It would be fine for a few weeks, then I’d push it a little harder, and would end up laid up in bed for a week or so. Of course, I still had to work, but I’d take a day off, or go to work, get the essentials done, then come home, take muscle relaxers and be in bed by 8pm.

Finally, in August; I decided there was still something wrong with me. I searched the area for an ortho- specialist who would work with abdominal (muscle) issues, and came up empty-handed. After much exasperation, I settled on going to our chiropractor (I went to him often when I was a gymnast and my mom still goes to see him. She has brought him fresh baked cookies at Christmas for the past 30 years). I trust him, which is big. But, more importantly, I thought he would be able to help.

Finally, I got the help I wanted

My first visit was a mixture of nerves and excitement. I was nervous he wouldn’t be able to help me. And I was excited that I may have finally found a solution. He met with me; we caught up about the past ten years (apparently my mom alluded to Dan and I getting married… Hopeful exaggeration I’m sure), and I jumped right in with my problem. I told him I want x-rays, I was sure I was dislocated something, or that I had a broken rib or something I hadn’t even thought of yet.

The x-rays came back as this: My left hip was all out of line, and had pulled my sacrum (your very lower spine) to the left. My upper back was being pulled right and down, pulling my shoulder out of line. The diagnosis was pretty clear- my body had been pulling itself apart, resulting in a severe ‘crunching’ of my right abdomen. I wasn’t getting full circulation to the area. Nerves and arteries were likely being pinched, causing extra pain on top of the pulled abdominal muscle(s). Basically, it would have never healed on its own.

He popped my shoulder and hip back into place, and did a little treatment on my upper spine (by your shoulder blades), and by my sacrum. He told me the plan was to see me weekly for a little while.

That night is hard to describe. I could feel my abdomen again. It felt like every breathe opened it up. I also felt a lot of pain. Your body gets used to misalignment, and being corrected hurts.

He urged me to run further and further each week. At first, I ran maybe a mile; afraid of pushing it too far.

Fear lingers, even through recovery

I am still afraid. Each time I run, I try to push it a little extra. But there is a wall I can’t push past. It keeps me from giving it my all. I am afraid that I will literally give it my all, and be left with nothing. Nothing meaning I will be laid up in bed for another week or two.

I’ve added strength training. But I can only do it once per week. I often ‘don’t have time’… The truth is I’m afraid when the strength training hurts. I really can’t feel it my body when I’ve pushed it too far. So I back off quicker. I don’t always complete a workout (which makes me feel weak- mentally and physically). I am learning to accept this, but it is a hard struggle.

This summer, I was pretty depressed about my injury. I had to choose between doing a 10-min run or hanging out with friends, because I knew a run would put me out for the day. I wouldn’t be in ‘a little pain’, but the kind of pain where sitting up hurts. Holding a conversation with people, laughing, leaning forward; all of it put in pain. So I would stay in. I lost a little bit of the vitality that makes me who I am.

I was so mad about it. I was mad that Dan was forced to be around me when I never wanted to go anywhere or do anything. Like I was a rock, weighing him down. I’d get mad at myself for getting upset about it. I’ve learned to just live the hand you are dealt.

The good news is

I’m done with all that. I have acknowledged I have been experiencing chronic pain. There are good days and bad days. My good days are getting better and better, and are more often. My bad days are fewer; and although they upset me, the pain isn’t as bad as it was over the summer. I’ve owned up to the fact that the muscle relaxers help me on the bad days. They keep me still and tire me out, which helps my body heal. I am not weak because I choose to stop a workout, or take muscle relaxers, or go to bed at 9pm to ensure extra sleep. I am healing, I am getting stronger; all of it is necessary to get there.

So the most recent update-

The most I’ve ran since April is 2.95 miles, which I did on September 19 (and celebrated with Dan and Dave, pizza and beer). It was at a 10:22 pace, which is a lot slower than my former 3-mile pace, but I was able to complete it; so it was a day of celebration.

Last week, I ran 6 miles total; broken over 3 separate runs, and I swam ~20 mins one night. For the most part, I felt okay; good even. That is very different than June/July. celebration.

My work schedule is a little chaotic (working til 7 or 8pm), so this week is less than last week.

Overall, my goal is to complete 5 miles (running without stopping), within the next month. I plan to do the Ridgewood Turkey Trot (5 miles) no matter what this year. I may have to walk some, and will probably finish a LOT slower than in years past, but I will finish it. celebration.

If by February, I can’t run a decent long run (8-10 miles), I will defer the Rock ‘n Roll Raleigh’s inaugural year. As it is, I’m not crazy; I plan to drop down to the half. I am hoping that I can slowly build over the next few months, and begin ‘training’ in the new year.

So that’s my injury story. I’ve been avoiding writing about it. Partly because it makes me sad. Partly because I’m still in the middle of it. Partly because it had consumed my life for the past six months, and I didn’t want to give it any more power over me. But I needed to write it. This is one of those ‘blogging for me’ moments.

And anyone who reads down this far, run a little extra/ push a little extra for me. Because I can’t, but so badly want to. Set your goals a little higher than your comfort zone.Β  I’ve always ran because I work with people who inspire me. Their health made it hard for them to dream of completing a marathon, so I ran with them in mind. It’s very strange for me to be on the other side now, even if its temporary…

finally functioning!

It has been a long time. And as much as a lot has happened. Most of this was me like this–

sleep

And heavily medicated on muscle relaxers. I essentially pulled (possible tore?) my abdominal muscle, which put me out for like 3 weeks, where I basically was lying down as often as possible. And working a 8-hour day was difficult. For 2-3 weeks, I was either in pain or medicated and in a daze.

I didn’t see friends. I don’t remember much of the first couple of weeks of my injury. It’s kind of all a blur.

My doctor cleared me to run, and I wasn’t sure about it, but I wanted to run. So I ran. The first time was successful. I took more muscle relaxers (in case my body spasmed again) for the next couple days and tried again. Try #2 was painful. In fact, I think I re-injured myself and had to start from scratch.

So, I just stopped moving all together. I told myself I’d wait until I had no pain for a week or two before trying again.

And this month has been busy. When I haven’t been working, I’ve been sleeping. Pretty much.

Saturday, I went father’s day shopping. And was just feeling great. My apartment complex got new gym equipment (3 new ellipticals, that looked nice and a new treadmill that I tested out and I like). So, I decided to go elliptical style at the gym; 20 minutes. If I felt good, I’d jump on the treadmill. So I did 20 minutes on the elliptical with 50% workload, then feeling great, hopped on the treadmill.

I did 0.5 miles in about 4:00 (starting at a 8:30 pace, and knocking down to a 7:00 pace), all feeling like I could do for another 3-4 miles. But, I didn’t. I know I will be coming back slow. No worries πŸ™‚

And I may try it again tonight (or maybe tomorrow, since I work til 8 tonight).

But, still alive. Kicking. Literally, and metaphorically; and making my comeback (though a marathon may be out of reach in 5 months…)

road to recovery, paved with doubt and detours

Thursday was rough.

[I have a muscle spasm in my abdomen- on my stabilizing ab muscle (transverse abdominus)- which doing anything but lying down aggravates the muscle]

So, Thursday- I started writing this long woe is me, my life sucks, I’m in pain, etc. post. But, I figured I’d wait til I saw the doctor Friday to post anything…

Flash forward to the doctor visit– She consulted with the head doctor regarding my injury. I always get these rare injuries, which are hard to diagnose. Like my hip- in 2011- it wasn’t a muscle tear, or a fractured femoral neck, or even ITBS (IlioTibial Band Syndrome). Nope, my hip was tilted out of line. Who gets that? I do!

So my doctor consulted with the head physician, who advised her to think of horses, not zebras. Any time you have abdominal pain, they have to check for everything… Like EVERY-FREAKING-thing. She decided it was likely musculoskeletal, since the muscle relaxers seem to be helping. But she also mentioned that if it didn’t go away, to call her; they would test my liver function and my spleen, as those organs are in the area which I describe the pain.

She told me to continue to take my muscle relaxers as I have been, and to take the ibuprofen (I stopped taking it on Monday- it messes up your stomach lining unless you take it DURING a meal, and I kept forgetting while I was eating). She also told me to run.

Say what, miss thang?!

I know, that was my reaction too!

You want me to do the one thing guaranteed to make it hurt? I don’t know…

She must have picked up on my hesitation, because she then went from “Maybe a long run?” to “a long walk with some running as a test”… I could agree to that, knowing I had plenty of the trusty muscle relaxers if that sharp, shooting pain came back

So, yesterday I ran. I won’t lie. I was not looking forward to it. I was really afraid my muscle will act up, and I would end up doubled over in pain all weekend long. But, I think her logic is that I’m not going to stop running completely. If we believe it happens during a run, then I need to test that hypothesis.

So I walked 0.5 miles to my gym, and then ran a mile on the treadmill. I started out slow- 9:41 pace, as I was nervous. I got settled into that pace and started hitting the front of the treadmill, so I kicked it up a little. Until I was at 8:49, which felt comfortable. With 0.3 miles left, I wanted to push it and see how it felt. I got up to a 7:00 pace (8.5 mph). And then dropped to a walk. That mile was 9:17 which is my steady easy pace, so that was encouraging.

After walking for 5 minutes, I decide to run an additional 0.5 miles (at a 8:00 pace). I started to feel sore in my stomach, so I hopped off, calling it successful and walked back to my apartment.

My stomach was a little sore when I woke up this morning, but my doctor encouraged me to keep ‘moving’ when I could. So I went for a 2 mile walk. And am now laid up on my couch again.

It may take a while to get back up in the mileage, but I can run again (a mile is better than 0), which means I’m officially on my road to recovery.

Yay! Tiny celebration for a tiny step πŸ™‚

rest period. (or rest, period)

There are so many great reasons to keep a running log. Injuries are easy to track with a log. Miles on shoes are also easy to track. You are also able to reward yourself, by comparing month-month analyses of mileage/speed, etc.

I have kept a running log since 2008.

Yes that is a little obsessive. Yes, I am aware of the CRAZY factor. However, when I was injured in 2011, it was a lifesaver- I could say exactly when the problem occurred and what I had been doing the weeks before that lead up to it (a hilly 16-miler, two 10-milers back to back, hill repeats (4-5 miles), and trail running). I actually had kept a running log from 2007-2009, but when I switched computers, I forgot to transfer the file before my ex, who took my old computer, wiped it clean. I am not a hoarder of real things, but I am a digital hoarder. At work, I keep old versions of things and put them in a folder marked “old ____” because I am afraid I might decide I need the older version. Crazy? Yes, I know. But I digress…

My excel file tracks:

Daily Tab- date, miles ran, total time, average split time
Weekly Tab- week dates, miles per week, average split times of runs
Monthly Tab- last date ran, total number of runs, total miles per month, and any goals. This tab also includes a chart of month-to-month progress (miles per month)
The weekly tab has room for “notes” about each run. Generally this is blank, but if I was dehydrated (and could feel it), if I experienced any pain, went particularly fast, had a race, etc, I note it.

In looking back over my log, I noticed my abdominal “cramp” started in early March. Approximately a week after being sick (and still running, while sick. Remember this? Well, the verdict is in: it’sΒ  stupid).

So it took 6 weeks of a progressively more and more painful feeling to decide there was something wrong with me. I’d like to add the pain would only happen occasionally at first; then it was every run between mile 2-3 and would go away during the run; then it was every 1-2 miles during every run.

Last Tuesday was the worst pain yet. I was running with Dave and Sarah, and I was trying to fight through the pain to finish our simple 4 miles. We were probably 2.5-3 miles into the run, so I kept thinking I can make it to 4 miles. Sarah finally told me to stop running, as she could see the pain on my face. I stopped, defeated, and keeled over, grabbing my stomach in pain. We walked a bit, then I convinced myself the pain had subsided and I picked up to an easy jog. The pain was still there, but I wanted to get back to our end quicker.

This time, when I stopped running, the pain didn’t go away. It was a dull pain, but still a 5-6 on the pain scale (1-10). I went back home, showered, and it still hurt. I could barely get through two slices of pizza. I hardly slept because every position was slightly painful. I rolled onto my stomach at one point and it hurt a lot. I thought it felt swollen, but also thought that might have been just my hypochondria kicking in… πŸ™‚ I made an appointment for the first available time- Saturday morning. It still hurt Saturday morning, though the pain was getting more and more dull.

And the diagnosis was pretty simple- that pain is an abdominal spasm, most likely due to a pulled/strained tranverse abdominus muscle (it’s a muscle below your “6-pack” abs that kind of cushions your organs) or part of my diaphragm, such that heavy breathing causes the muscle to spasm (as I would experience when running). It is more common for people get these in their back than their abdomen.

The doctor sent me on my way, with a prescription for muscle relaxants and 800mg ibuprofen. Exciting right? I scheduled to follow up with her this Friday, and she will do an ultrasound, xray, and general follow-up to ensure there is no hernia or anything internally wrong with my stomach/diaphragm/ribs that could be restricting my airways.

I decided for myself that I am not doing any physical activity for 2 weeks after the pain is gone. The doctor agreed that is a good idea. So, for the first time in 5 years, I am going to take 2+ weeks off. It might put me behind in my training for Richmond, but I am waiting til July to see how off I am from where I’d like to be.

My body wants rest. It needs rest. So, I am taking a rest, period.

April look-back

This spring has been odd. I am not training for anything in particular, which has been sometimes motivating. I can do speedwork whenever I want, blow off long runs, blow off a run for yoga, etc., and not feel guilty about it.

But, there have also been times I’ve felt uninspired when I look at my “training” log. Truthfully, there has not been a lot of running going on.

I’ve had this ongoing abdominal pain for the past month. I finally (after an excruciatingly sharp pain on Tuesday night’s group run) decided to get it to the doctor. No more ChandiMedicine. I am thinking I pulled an abdominal muscle or something equally non-threatening, but with internal issues; it’s always a little scary to think of the possibilities.

I have gotten faster and stronger this spring by doing “my own thing” but haven’t wanted to publicly admit how little I’ve done.

So here it is:

April miles: 80.8

I completed the Palmetto200 relay legs with good times. I am convinced I can do a sub-2 half marathon. If I wanted to. But, registering, traveling, scheduling “training runs”, that just doesn’t sound fun. Another thing I do is compare one month to the prior year- April 2012, I was in a training program for a half marathon, and ran 89 miles, spread over 15 runs. This April, I ran 81 miles, spread over 18 runs. Which isn’t half bad. And I wasn’t training for anything. I no longer need that motivation (and added anxiety) of a race πŸ™‚

My goal for the spring was to enjoy running again, and aside from this strange abdominal abnormality, I’ve succeeded.

April Showers

Isn’t health the key anyway?

(random thoughts, by yours truly)

I am hoping the doctor won’t say “two months rest” or something similar.

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” πŸ˜‰

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 πŸ™‚

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 πŸ™‚

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. πŸ™‚

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 πŸ™‚

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 πŸ™‚ 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 πŸ™‚

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 πŸ˜‰ (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 πŸ™‚

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.