Long run reunion

This week, I got a great Facebook message. Honestly, I usually loathe these messages, and look for the easiest way to ‘opt out’ of receiving these. But this time, it was from a dear friend and old training buddy (to a bunch of us), asking who was interested in a long run. I was delighted!

I’ve been struggling to get past ten miles solo. At a slower pace, it takes, well, longer than at a faster pace (go figure!).

So, at 8am, 8 of is met, and reminisced, as 8 gps synched (does gps need an extra s if plural?), then started our run. If we could have, we would have ran 8-wide. It has probably been a year or longer since we all ran together. I floated from line to line, talking to everyone. The first three miles were so slow and easy, as we all chattered and caught up, joking and teasing each other. These people are my running family. It was a running reunion!

Eventually, my legs were good and loose and the 11-11:30 pace wasn’t quite fast enough. Something I realized as Jarod and I chattered away about various life, politics, kids, dogs, etc. we turned around a few minutes later, and the rest of the group was way back. Whoops! Well, let’s keep it up, and catch ’em at the turn-around. Except they turned around early, so with just Jarod and I, we pushed a 9:30 pace to finish out 9 miles and a little (steep) hill by the lake, to walk it in.

Not the 12 miles I had planned. But I am so happy with my mileage. And more so, to see old friends.

Now, at the pool, I am relaxing gloriously with my own nuun concoction. It always soothes me- wine (or champs) with strawberry lemonade, a pour of vodka, and splash of bourbon. Strong, sweet, and rehydrating. Oh, and add ice for pool.

What a beautiful day!20140524-135643-50203264.jpg

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!

return to speed!

This Tuesday was our first official Tuesday Track party/ speed night.

Dan and I recently moved in together (yes, it’s exciting; except the introducing of our cats). One cat was under the bed hissing angrily, as the other purred affectionately (and loudly) in my ear. I got about an hour sleep Monday night. In the morning, Dan and I trudged out of bed, and did a head count of the cats. One was missing, so we called her name several times. We could hear she was responding, but we couldn’t find her. We eventually decided she was in the kitchen, and between two cabinets (ugh, I hate cats for reasons like this. A dog is never like “Gee, a small nook, I want to go there!” …). Still, poor girl- she had gotten the best hiding spot- in between the two corner cabinets. The entrance was about 3 or 4 inches wide, by about 2 inches wide. I could barely squeeze my hand in there. Yet, the tard-cat (she’s sweet really…) had decided I want to be in there!

About an hour later, we had gotten her out. So I was about an hour late to work, and running on little energy

****SKIP TO HERE IF YOU HATE CATS AND CAT STORIES (me too) *****

So track night…

I got to the track a little late, so everyone was warmed up and ready to go, but I had to run around once to loosen my legs up a little. The boys ran together and Sarah and I ran together. It felt like a happy reunion for Sarah legs and my legs (she and I often worked the track together for speed workouts in 2012’s Spring training for Nashville).

It has been a while, so we eased into speed night with 4x400s. A year ago, Sarah and I would aim for 2:00 or more since we were doing a lot of reps at 5K speed. This time, we aimed for 1:50s.

After my legs were a little loose, I met up with Sarah; and we were off. We kept meeting each other’s speed, which meant we were picking up the pace more and more with each stride.
(1:39)
First one done, and we decided 1:45 would be a better goal as we walked the recovery (I’m still coming back. I would otherwise lightly jog the recovery). We prepped for our next one, which felt much easier.
(1:44)
Honestly, it felt much easier than 1:44, and I could have maintained that speed for several more reps. With only two more left, we agreed to ‘maintain’ for the third and go balls to the wall for the last one (to beat the first). Our next felt okay.
(1:41)
And now for the final. Sarah and I had been step for step, but the last one youre always a little on your own (trying to beat the person next you). We did laugh though… The boys were so serious- lining up as if they were racing and then pulling single file. Sarah and I stutter stepped as we lapped our watches, laughing at each other. The straight-away at ~200m, we picked it up, and never let up. I was struggling to keep with Sarah. And in the last straight, I let her have it when she sped up for the final ~50m.
(1:38)

It felt like a good return. I actually haven’t lost too much speed. And my legs are responsive. My problem is in my breathing. My abdominal injury has left my breathing more labored than in the past. Still averaging 1:40 for 400m makes me happy. I still want another PR 5K this fall. It gives me something to strive for; something to train for and concentrate on when training.

HAPPY HUMP DAY (said the camel)

Sign up for motivation

I ran a mile Saturday. 8:53.

I ran a mile tonight. 9:12.

That’s more than I ran in May. And it made me think- there are a few things that push my recovery…

1. Writing about them. Knowing I have to ‘report in’ about my running progress makes me stick to it. So thanks to all my followers. And to all my friends, who have asked (with sincere hesitation and grimacing) if I’m running again. Both my running and non-running friends have asked how things are going. The first month was tough, and, honestly, some of the times I was brought to tears in thinking of my response. But they stuck with me, and continued to ask; because they had faith I’d declare ‘I ran 5 miles last week!’ (Still not there yet)

2. My Tuna team Knowing that I have a relay race in October keeps me motivated. It’s a relay, so my teammates are relying on me, and I don’t want to let them down. I am sure they would do just fine without my speed or distance (haha! As if I’ve ever been speedy), but I want to feel like I’m pulling my weight.

So moral of the day? If you lack motivation, sign up for something. Maybe a 5K. Maybe 5 months away. And slowly work up to it.

Happy Wednesday/ pre-fourth-of-July-four-day-weekend — Woo!

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!

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]

best kinds of relays

When we first signed up for the Palmetto200, I felt the anticipation of competition. It wasn’t until today that I felt it again, upon hearing that our frenemies (best way to describe them based on the driving competition) on another team would be starting 30 minutes ahead of us, and were wondering when we would finish.

So the best kinds of relays (I’ve decided) are when you know another team. Bonus points is there is some underlying beef between you. For instance, apparently Jarod (on my Tuna team) and Casey (on the Big Katunas) do not like each other, on principle, and were smack-talking on the sidelines.

They stole Dave.

‘Nuf said.

They are going down. Oh, sweetie, the smack talk has just begun!
(There is a sassy black woman inside of me. High five, bro. Cards Against Humanity flashback)

Okay, no really, it will be fun. And we will play back and forth. And I think there is enough varied speed in our runners that we will probably ping pong a good bit.

But, it does feel satisfying to know their start time is before ours (because they’re a little slower than us).

Again, I repeat: They stole Dave

[Dave is Dan’s best friend, who got confused and ended up on the wrong team… We found great replacements, and I am truly happy with our van’s end result, but they stole Dave! hahaha]

Let the games… BEGIN!

how to train for a relay

Disclaimer: I am not an expert. This is what works (or worked) for me:

So, I had done a few “tempo” 5-9 milers, then met with the group for a 6-11 miler in the morning (mentoring a half-marathon program). This seemed to work fairly well, but wouldn’t test my legs with a longer distance in 24 hours.

So, today. I chose to do three runs mainly because I have a week off, and it is 2-weeks out from our relay. (OMG! Two weeks!)

If you are thinking What the heck is a relay?! Here is a brief overview of the Tuna200, which I did in the fall…

love seeing these!

love seeing these!

Now that you’re all caught up…

I am captaining this relay team van, from Columbia to Charleston, SC. My first leg is the hardest of the relay according to the race directors, and those 8 hilly miles will earn me a car magnet (Woo!). My next leg will be 10 miles at around midnight. My third and final leg will be 4 miles in the morning, after the sun has come up. I get to “rest” in between, and eat plenty of doughnuts and Nuun, so I should recover just fine. But, in my head, that’s 22 freaking miles!

relay_leg6

So, I wanted to get in at least one day, where I did a “mock” relay, and ran three times.

Last night, I purposely chose a hilly 8 mile loop. I took it easy on the straight-aways, and charged the hills. My average pace was about a 9:00, but that included the 9:42 warm-up and 10:11 cool-down. I stayed around a 8:40 the rest of the time. It was hard, but brought a sense of clarity. I envisioned my van-mates cheering my name on, or picking up roadkill (when you pass someone), and pushed through the pain.

This morning I met another half marathon mentor, who runs around a 8:30 pace, sometimes a 9:00 on long run days. We had agreed to run 10 miles. And I figured she’d want to go a little faster, and push my speed.

We met at 9am (yay for State holidays! Good Friday indeed!). When we started our loop around the lake, we saw a “dog” scoot into the woods. I said “that dog didn’t have a tail… Omigod, I think it was a deer”… Sure enough, it was. There were two doe just standing at the edge of the running pavement, staring out toward the lake. It was so quiet and serene. It was really beautiful! I didn’t pay attention to my speed any. But my running partner kept checking to make sure I felt comfortable, because she didn’t want to go any faster (haha).

The last few miles, I felt like I had something left in me, so I started pushing the speed, as we came back to the lake. We pushed our pace from a 9-9:30 down to a solid 8:30. Then the last 0.5 miles we were running a steady 7:30 pace. She smoked it in a little faster than me at the end, but I still felt like I finished strong with a 9:08 and 8:06 for my last two miles of a 10-mile run. That rounded it out to a 9:12 pace (which is right on target for my predicted time).

So, now, I have a 4-miler tonight. I intend to smoke it as fast as I can.

My advice for running a relay, in general, I’ll post separately.

relay_sleeping

how to sleep during a relay…

But as far as the running part goes-

It helps to run often. You don’t have to run fast or hard, but don’t let your body recover. It sounds strange at first. You want to teach your legs quicker recovery time. If you currently run 3-4 times per week, this may mean running Monday and Tuesday, then Thursday and Saturday, and eventually throwing in another run. Or running twice one day, then leaving your body time to recover.

Treat each leg as a separate race. If you don’t hit your pace on one leg, don’t worry; you may have more kick on the next one. You may be side-by-side with someone to encourage you to push your pace. You may just be sick of running, and want to run faster, so you can get to the beer and post-party faster. Or you may be freezing cold, and want to run as fast as possible to get back to the warm van and eventual coffee (my third leg from Tuna).

Enjoy your night runs. Some research has suggested you run faster at night because you run closer to your true pace. Seeing the trees blur as you run past them tells your brain you are going fast and many of us slow down. In the dark, that is not an issue. You get a chance for clarity. You can see your roadkill flashing along ahead of you as you come up on them, greet them, and pass on by. There’s also an extreme bonding with the people on the road. Teams tend to line up and cheer for you, even if you aren’t their runner.

And stretch. And foam roller (or stick massage). And eat right. Oh my god, eat right. Test out which foods work for your stomach. Which gels or chews work for you. Not just during the run, but in between. What is your time window before you run? Do you need an hour, three hours? For instance, I can almost always eat a banana. During a run, before a run, after a run; it doesn’t matter. However, I’ll admit- after living on bananas, apples, Nuun, Honey Stinger chews, and donuts, my stomach wasn’t feeling too great before my final run, in those 1-4am hours. And judging by the porta-potties, everyone else must have felt worse than me.

If you’ve never run a relay before, the biggest thing is to enjoy it! Laugh. A. Lot. Cheer on others. Honk. A. Lot. Just have fun with it!

Captaining a relay team

I think relay races are tons of fun. They are like a combined destination wedding of best friends and a race weekend. In that, you get to hang out with some people who are truly awesome, run several mini-races, and travel to somewhere you maybe never thought you’d ever want to go (usually on the way to somewhere you do want to be).

For this relay team, I was chosen as captain. Or was defaulted to captain. Which became slightly awkward when I started dating one of my teammates. Trust me, he’s getting no preferential treatment; he has one of the worst leg set-ups, in my opinion.

So things to know-
1. Speed does not matter as much as personalities. Personalities have to mesh well, as there will be times when, for instance, you ask for a banana at 5am, and demand someone search for a freaking banana because I know I grabbed two bunches, and unless you turned into a freaking monkey back there, there are more bananas. Most people wouldn’t mesh well with me.
2. People like leadership. People like to get some direction. So you should email them daily with tasks. Oh, and these emails need to be extraordinarily long, and not get to the point until the last couple lines. Bonus points if you forget to attach a document you reference.
3. Organization is key. You must enjoy (or just be good at) organizing to keep track of everything. You want to have a list of who has paid you (& how much/ what for- hotel, van, registration). Personally, I used google docs, and had an excel sheet. This came in really handy when I would randomly run into a team member, and they would hand me $100 cash at a bar. I could simply open my google drive on my iPhone and add $100 to the “paid” column for that particular person. On another note- having either disposable savings account or a high credit card limit helps too (At one point, everyone on the team owed me about $1500 for the registration [$1100], plus van rental [$350? I have it saved somewhere how much that was…]). Either way, without an organization system, I would have gone crazy. It was stressful at times as it was.
4. Remember these are adults. Although you can make suggestions about what or how they should pack, they are grown-ups, and if they forget necessities like underwear, they can deal with consequences (commando). You will want to email 1000 times between signing up and race day, and probably kick your best friends when they do not respond with a simple “4pm sounds good” or when one person of the six people in your van respond “430 works better” and the other four are mute.
5. Create a packing list the week-of. This will help you visualize what is left. You clearly don’t need to buy a box of trash bags. Likely, everyone has a trash can at home, and have a few bags lying around. If everyone brings two bags, you should be covered. As captain, you get veto power as the van begins to fill up.
6. You will need access to a printer. Handbook, course map, race worksheet, etc. Although you could lug around a lap top; it’s much easier to just print it all off.
7. There will likely be the following types of people-
The vet. He has done 5 relays, but refuses to say much when you ask him for a breakdown of what to expect in front of the group. He will likely be one of the “non-responders” to emails. The good thing is you can give him whatever leg, and he will run it πŸ™‚
The newbie. This person may be new to running, in general. This person is most likely to get injured while training, so it’s best to calm their nerves. They are anxious to be a part of the team, so they will tell you their injury is nothing; until after their first leg, then struggle through the second leg; and finally someone will have to pick up their final leg. (You always hope to be wrong thinking you will have to pick up their leg, but you may).
The disappearing act. This person is the last person to pay for everything (even though he may have been the first person signed up), he will not respond to emails, texts, or facebook notifications. You will wonder if he is still planning on showing up when you told him to. But, he will likely show up, and kick butt on some of the longer/harder legs. And he is usually someone you want on your team again.
The pack-rat. This person plans everything. They are one of the first people to sign up, and ask you thousands of questions about when/where/etc. They will likely bring enough food to feed an army, and enough toilet paper and wet wipes for an oversized newborn. You will likely have to reign this person in some with their packing strategy. If someone mentions a bringing a tent, hammock, or yoga mat, this is your pack-rat. You will tell them you are all bringing X, Y, and Z; but they will bring their own box of food, two rolls of toilet paper, a large duffle bag, enough wet wipes for the octo-mom, several foam rollers/ massage sticks, an extra first aid kit, an extra relay handbook, several car chargers, and possibly their best friend. Basically, bear with this person- they are just excited to relay. And you can usually talk them out of bringing one of these options, but likely not all, without major drama.
All of these people are essential to a relay team. You will need the vet to pick up an extra leg when the n00b develops a stress fracture. The disappearing act will generally be doing something for the van, or just occupying less space in the vehicle. Likely, the pack rat will pack something that you need- like a 12-pack of beer in her third pair of shoes.

But, most importantly, remember to enjoy the race; even though you are captaining the vessel. Also, people should get the free drinks for the captain at the end- they deserve it. And hey, they’re free! πŸ™‚

Fartlekking St Patricks wknd

This weekend was pretty hectic… I was rarely by a computer, and trying to limit my iPhone usage in front of company (thanks SarahsDoodles for making feeling guilty about that one πŸ™‚ )…

I moved my gay bestie on Saturday. I love his family and his boyfriend, and we get along great, so no worries or unnecessary drama. In fact, we have kind of gotten into a routine of it. He has moved 6 times in the past 3 years- we calculated, and I’ve been around for all of them. So because this was planned out, I knew I wouldn’t want to get in extra miles after our training program’s 10-miler Saturday morning

So, I wanted to get in some miles Friday. Ideally, I wanted to do a short warm-up, then a close-to-5K speed for 3 miles, then just mess around with mileage until my legs felt shaken out. I had been thinking somewhere in the 5 to 7 mile range. The weather was beautiful- in the 60’s and sunny, so I was ready for whatever.

Well, as I’ve mentioned before- I’m recovering from a cold that has a cough that seems harder to kick than using my iphone so much. Every night last week, I got a cramp on my run (probably due to change in breathing). This run was no different.

Fri (3/15): Oops! I fartlekked!

I started out easy, and everything felt good. Then, when I started the 5K-pace, it felt like I turned into a wind turbine, creating extra (unnecessary) resistance. I managed a 8:12, but it felt so hard. I got through another 0.85 miles before “giving up” (on a fast speed… though I did almost stop completely), which I later saw was a 8:06 pace, so would have still been good. I dropped down to an easy jog for 0.5 miles, then tried again for a fast speed. I felt like I was hitting my stride, but after 0.5 miles, I started coughing so bad I thought something ugly might come up. So I dropped back down to an easy pace, and knew I’d stay there for the rest of the run. So, I got in one last 100-meter sprint (all out), then dropped down to an easy pace to settle into. When I got back into my apartment complex, I decided I had another mile in me. When I got on the treadmill, I decided I could be ambitious. I pushed my speed a little and got a 7:03-minute mile. Woo! Which means my “average” pace was a 8:45, not bad… Esp for 5 miles. Definitely a little harder than I had originally planned.

[Fartlekking= intervals by which you play with the intervals. Rather than use a specific time or distance (say, 0.5 fast, .25 easy), you run for whatever distance you want at whatever speed you want]

Sat (3/16):

So, Saturday morning, I had my half-marathon training group. We only had one lonely participant in the 10-11 group, and she had just dropped down to the 10-11 pace group, so I figured we’d go extra slow. It was 10 miles, so that’s not the time for a half-marathoner to push your pace. Well, I really liked her. The conversation was enjoyable. And she pushed a good amount up some of the hills, and took it easy when she needed to. Our first two miles were too fast- 9:11, 9:24… But, I kept asking if she felt okay. And she did, so we kept going in the 930’s, which was a speedier pace than I had thought we would go, but is a comfortable pace for a long-ish run for me. We completed 9.91 miles in 1:35 minutes, which isn’t too shabby at all.

*** Flash forward to moving my gay bestie. And he moved into a two-story house, so I probably did the equivalent of 30 stair climbs, and I burned a good bit of calories this weekend… Clearly, I earned St Pats this year

Sun (3/17)

I woke up bright and early- 645am to be exact. Stupid getting old! I stayed in bed (in the second bedroom) until 7am. Until I was finally like This is stupid! Just accept that you are old, and get up more regularly than these younger guys… And got up to pee.

Went to turn the doorknob. Ruh-oh! It wouldn’t open. I did that stupid thing everyone does in similar scenarios though- continue to jiggle it in hopes that I had just forgotten how to open a door. Still no luck.

So, I laid back down, and tried to convince my bladder to go back to sleep. Then, texted my bestie- “her-row? (the sound my cat makes at 2am looking for someone to snuggle with- or scaring the ghosts or something, either way it’s a creepy hello and we always do it) I am locked in the room”

He woke up 45 minutes later, and let me out. We waited for the cable guy, who came 3 minutes after his time window, and took 45 minutes to install. This is all pre-coffee. Which can be a scary state for those around me.

FINALLY! At 11am, I had coffee! Woo! St Patricks Day could officially start now!

I went home, met up with Dan and some other various friends- a few who had recently finished their first marathon- CONGRATS to them! And drank some good beer. And perhaps got a little too excited about stouts. Oh, and Dan lost his credit card in his kilt/ on his kitchen floor (apparently the cats decided to mess with it in the 5 minutes we were gone, and played with it until it was hidden under something). So, I was buying.

Fun times! Happy St Pats! Oh, and random, Johnny Knoxville has been in Raleigh for the past few weeks, and everyone is amazed! I’m more amazed that he must think Raleigh Times is the only place in Raleigh to get a beer (all the sightings have been there. Maybe he just moved here. After all, everyone else is moving here, per all the reports)