Kilts make you faster

It’s a fact.

If you don’t believe me, buy a kilt.

Then, run in it

…Okay, fine. Maybe they don’t make everyone faster. But they are sexy right?! (I’m Irish, so the answer is YES!)]

after the race

Saturday marked a big day for Raleigh. It was a big anticippointment (I coined that word in college- when a day has a HUGE build-up, but just falls so epically short). Saturday was the St Paddy’s Run Green 8K in Raleigh, plus a “World Record Breaking Kilt Run”.

Okay, before I start describing kilt run- know this- I had a lot of fun, and it was a great race, and supports a great charity- National MS Society…

So, we were told to be there at 1245pm so we could sign an “affidavit” saying we would wear a kilt. We had a lawyer in our group, and he laughed, and declared “This is a liability waiver!” According to facebook, 1700 runners had registered for the kilt run. The kilt run was a separate event from the 8K (which was 200 m in length, in attempts to get a lot more people interested in running it). The previous record was 2012 with 1764 or something.

Well, we got there at 1pm- me, Dan, Brucy, and the Lawyer. By 1:10, Brucy officially had registered. And we met up with some people we knew, said hey. By 1:20, we had completed the proper paperwork, and were cold, and kinda annoyed by the crowd, and a little hungry. So, we walked back to Brucy’s (around the corner from Moore Square). We came back around 1:50, just in time to get “counted” for the kilt run, and lined up.

Okay, the 200m kilt run was supposed to go around Moore Square. We lined up across the middle of the square. A bag pipe band was going to “lead” us… Which we all thought to ourselves obnoxiously pointed out “Wait… Are they gonna run while playing the bag pipes?!”

So 2 came, and all 1556 of us began our run (note that is shy of the record, but we had no clue at the time). Our “run” stopped about a meter after it started because (1) it was so crowded and (2) the bag pipe players were NOT in fact running. Funny note- I saw a few people actually almost trample the bag pipe players in trying to “run” the kilt run. So, instead we are walked a casual 17:00 pace for the 200m stretch around half of the square. I am not kidding- it took 5:30 to finish the walk, and we were in the middle of the pack.

Though it was a good reason for everyone to hang out and grab a beer, and wear a kilt.

So, by 2:10, the four of us were bored again. And with the option of getting drunk lingering across the street at Tir Na Nog, we decided to head back to Brucy’s again, and hang out there to keep warm. At 2:45, we headed back to Moore Square, and “lined up”

We just lined up in front of Tir Na Nog (which apparently was in the “walk” pace). I was so excited about having my gps for this race… My first time. And it had satellites and everything… Until 2:58. So no GPS. The race started at 3:00, and we crossed the start line at 3:02ish. And then Dan, Brucy, the Lawyer and I kept trying to get past all the people who were winded from running across the start line and decided to walk at 0.25 miles in… I kept dicing through the crowd, with the boys following me.

Did I mention I ran 9 miles, which included hill sprints on Friday night? Oh… well I did. So, I was just going for an “easy” pace. But kept looking over and seeing Dan and Bruce and the Lawyer… Which told me I was probably going too fast (they run easy 8:00s). Oh well.

After a couple miles in, I think we had lost most of the walkers. And Brucy and Dan had left the Lawyer and I in the dust.

It was a hilly course. And I remembered that from the previous time I ran this course, but I forgot until I was running it again HOW HILLY it was. Thankfully, I did remember that it really is only flat the first and last 0.25 miles, so I didn’t believe the people who were saying “the hills are behind you” at 3 miles in. The Lawyer did. Poor guy. He also doesn’t run that often, but held strong with me. And I had no idea what pace we were running. I just kept pushing it, hoping I’d make it in under 44 minutes…

Around 3.5 miles in, we caught up with this stupid blonde cheerleader who just kept yelling. No, seriously. The girl was like late 30s, but dressed in an annoying Notre Dame cheerleader costume, with blonde pig tails, and screamed in a high pitched voice “Woo! Let’s go Iris!” every ~30 seconds or so. I was like “who is Iris?! and why is this person soooo important!” She had a running buddy who was pushing her pace as hard as possible, in an identical costume, but her name was “Beth” or something… Stupid blonde cheerleader would ask “Beth” “Do you want to push the pace this last mile? Woo! Go Iris!” to which “Beth” would roll her eyes, and moan. And Stupid Cheerleader would yell something again, and then ask “what?!” to “Beth”. “Beth” looked miserable.

And I was recruiting people to chase down Stupid Cheerleader and kick her, or shut her up. No, seriously. I was asking everyone around me to please catch up to her, and tell her to shut up.

Well, I guess we eventually ran past some neighbor’s house who went to Notre Dame, and they yelled (upon seeing her costume) “Go Fighting Irish!” I suddenly understood who “Iris” was… The Stupid Cheerleader apparently also had a lisp. So, the Lawyer and I kept pushing our pace to get rid of this girl. And she just kept effortlessly catching up. We’d dust her. I’d overhear her saying something like “I’m gonna run back and check on ____” to “Beth”, and then she f***ing appear again out of nowhere. And everyone in our crowd would suddenly start moving faster to get away from her, and get quiet, and hold our breathe (and tongue probably too; except me. I was ready to give away my beer $$ if someone would have tripped her. THAT is some serious stuff!)

In the last half mile, she asked “Beth” again if she wanted to kick up the pace for the finish? Or do you want to turn back for ____? Or… And Beth cut her off, gasping for breathe saying “I just …. want…. to finish…”Β  That-a-girl. Beth!

And I guess Stupid Cheerleader understood, and left us once and for all, just as the course leveled out and we could see the finish line.

And I saw “44:00”, and thought Holy Crap! I might PR!” And gave it a final kick to catch the Lawyer (he’s 6’3, so I’m okay with his kick being faster than mine). And got this killer shot, that a friend tagged me in (upon seeing this in her random friends’ photos)

Image

my final kick… So serious!

We found some friends, chatted a bit, got our free beer; then went around the corner to Raleigh Times for dinner and beers. And the Lawyer updated us on our results- Dan 38:48, Bruce 39:08, the Lawyer 41:58, me 42:02.

So, PR’d by 30 seconds. Which is fun. But yeah, the kilts. So much fun to run in!

Advertisements

speedy Wed and kilt run!

Wednesday, a few of us met up for a run and then some beers… It’s a tradition with me. It may make me sound like an alcoholic, but I just kind of put a hard run and good beer hand in hand.

Wednesday went like this–

Sarah (who is slightly slower than me, so a good running buddy) bailed; she couldn’t get out of work on time.

So, I was left with “the boys” who all run easy 8’s. I figured I’d count it as a tempo run, and try to “hold on” with them as long as I could. Seeing as I was still a little tight from Sunday’s run, I thought I’d slow them down a lot.

Well, I did a good job- 8:23 for the first mile, 8:22 for the second mile, and 8:13 for the third. Then, I kind of lost it. I hit the last steady uphill, and tried with all my energy to “charge” it (at probably a 9:30 pace). My last mile was 9:04, and the last half mile was about a 9:02 pace. Still, not too bad all-around.

We went around the corner to Trophy; had a beer, and enjoyed ourselves.

Tomorrow is a kilted 8K for St Paddys in downtown Raleigh. It will be lots of fun, and they are expecting about ~2000 kilted runners for the race (a record if that happens). Bruce and Dan agreed they’d just hang back with me and “take it slow”… which means I may PR πŸ™‚ (Because their “slow” is my “OMFG?! I can’t breathe! And a hill? Is this course getting longer?” pace)

I’ll post pics of the race. I know a few people running, so am sure to get a couple shots of the kilted beer-loving runner and my kilted beer-loving runner friends πŸ™‚

Some inspiration for any St Patricks Day races….

keep calm and wear a kilt

Meet Agony of de Feet

In April, I have my second relay race. From Columbia, SC to Charleston, SC. it will be lots of fun. And our team rocks. And I’m really looking forward to it. And trying to pick up speed along the way.

Speaking of the Palmetto Relay, you all were dying for an update right?! Well the recruitment for Van #1 has been pretty great. As in, if we all ran like the last two runners we recruited, we’d probably win the whole race. Yep, they’re that good.

My Palmetto team is very similar to our Tuna team, except a few replacements. Olga started her own team, taking Dave and Allison with her (who honestly are two of our stronger runners, but I hope to see them out there). One of our replacements runs Ultras regularly (including a 50K the week prior to Palmetto) and also sports metallic gold shorts while running a 1:30-something half marathon in November. There is nothing not awesome about that sentence…

Our second replacement- Chris- I know the least, but he is really excited about it. And we didn’t even have to really sell the relay thing on him. We explained it, tried to talk him out of it, and he was still super enthusiastic, and is a pretty stronger runner too.

Our third replacement is one of Dan’s best friends, and is just getting back into a regular running routine. He’ll probably pick up speed over the next few months.
Plus Sarah (Tuna Captain), Dan (rock star boyfriend of mine who loooves mornings), and me (Palmetto Captain). I think Van 1 will be great and we will do well time wise.

Van #2 is basically the same, but swapped Jason for Renee, and Beth for Sheryl. Sheryl is hilarious, and the only sad thing about having her on our team is that she isn’t in MY van, so I will hardly see her… πŸ™‚ And, personally, I think everyone in that van is sandbagging their times, and they will be surprised when they see they have mostly short legs.

Somehow, Van #1 ended up with only a handful of less-than-5-mile runs. So, no one will have it “easy” per se.

Running family and real family…

Today is Thanksgiving.

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

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

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

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

Today was different.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Richmond Marathon weekend- recap (long)

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

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

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

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

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

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

How the “B Group” prepares…

RACE DAY!

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

Flat Chandi!

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

Anxiously waiting to start…

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

on Monument Ave

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Me and Allison. Beer and medals in hand.

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

My walk of shame, thru a marathon

Yes, you read that right. I am going hold back some details, because, well I have class (BAHAHAHA! No I don’t! I just can’t remember all the details).

Saturday night was my old friend Dave’s 25th birthday. Given that he is the youngest of our group, we felt it necessary to go out. He did as well. This Dave is not the Dave I run with. He’s a Dave that hooks up with one of my best friends, and the two of them are head over heels for each other, but she refuses to actually call them a couple. But, everyone else just presumes they’re a couple. Anyway, not the point. The point is- I invited Dan (guy I run with) out with me. He had met the gang before.

Dan was meeting some friends at the Borough. [There are three gay bars in Raleigh; the Bears go to the Borough, the Queens go to Legends, and the Twinks go to Flex]. Some of Dan’s gay friends were there. One I already knew (and loved! Someone said something really awkward and he looked around and took a long sip. I knew we’d be besties!).

Oh, and Dave was wearing a tie for his birthday. This Dave used to have dread locks and smoke pot all the time, and I kid you not- was a member of the drum circle in Asheville. So if he’s wearing a tie, all us girls decide to wear dresses. I didn’t tell Dan. But I was wearing my sequin mini skirt, black tights (with rhinestones up the side), and 5 inch heels.

I sent Megan a picture while she was working…

So we met up at the Borough, I ordered a Big Mama (most lesbian drink on the menu… not that I’m lesbian, but all the others had that weird combo of gin or scotch with fruity mixers). Then we made conversation, as I quickly killed the drink and we headed to meet up with Dave’s birthday gang. On the way, I got the traditional ‘So Megan and Dave aren’t together?’ and quickly briefed Dan on the situation. Megan (my oldest friend- like since I was 10) was working an event until 10pm in downtown, so she came over soon after. We moved the location a few times.

And then someone suggested Tequila. I don’t think I drank anything after that, but maybe I did? Either way, since I couldn’t remember I told Megan I would stay at Dan’s. (Dan and I had also made out a little at the bar. What?! It was only a little bit. A couple kisses really.) Then, I stayed at Dan’s. That’s all I’ll say about that.

But, I had agreed to cheer on the City of Oaks Marathon and Half Marathon in the morning, at Sarah’s. She lives at mile ~25. We were meeting at 8ish.

Dan’s: mile 1 (yellow), Sarah’s mile 25 (green)

Dan is great. Have I mentioned that before?

Because I’m not used to that. I was all like… Oh god, I have to go (Allison and Sarah had been texting, then Allison called, and soon found out why I would be “late” and “walking” which she didn’t understand before hearing me). I asked Dan for a hoody (it’s cold outside). And he offered to give me a full outfit. Still wouldn’t fix the 5 inch heels, which were the major problem (and pants would have been big). And I calculated the distance- 1.8 miles.

So I was downstairs yelling up, “OK! I’m Leaving Now!” (Thinking Gosh he’s not going to even walk me to his door? Wow, what a jerk <- I date stellar guys). He yelled down Hang on! I’m trying to find my beanie! And came downstairs. I’m coming with you. (Btw- he left the beanie in Megan’s car) He was shocked I thought I was going to walk alone ~2 miles, especially when meeting fellow Tuna runners, who he knew.Β  We stepped outside, walked out to the main street, and Dan said “I could drive us closer” and I jumped on that. So we drove to the middle, but I still had to do the walk of shame from the finish (26.2) to mile ~25.

Dan went into Cup of Joe’s quick, then we saw Jarod (finished in 1:42?). And Carrie (1:43?). And there I am- sequin mini skirt, rhinestone tights, 5 inch heels, and a hoody. Yelling! Like a crazy person. And my friends running the half started pouring in. We rushed to Sarah’s and she handed me a “FREE BEER AHEAD!” sign which had “WALK OF SHAME” written on the back. And we all laughed about it.
[Our other signs- “Chuck Norris never ran a marathon” and “In our mind, you’re all Kenyans” <– Some woman said But I really am a Kenyan as she ran past. But most of the people got a kick out of the signs]

I had so much fun cheering people in though! The last mile- best spot for a spectator. Really. You see the fog start to lift. And one of our Tuna team-mates, Andrea. That girl rocked the half. Shaving 13 minutes off her PR (2:21 to 2:08). She ran the last mile in 8:30… And then the full marathoners started trickling in. And we just kept yelling and yelling for them.

Basically, I was stocking up on race karma. I totally believe in race karma. If I see someone struggling, I cheer them on (even if I’m hurting too), because I would want that if I was hurting that bad. If someone needs water, and I have some, I share. If they looked like they were hurting at mile 25, I reminded them of the cool space blankets, and the medals, and months of training leading up to this moment. And the stale bagels. And tried to make them laugh “Start practicing your photo finish! You only got a mile left to perfect it!” or Time to fix your hair or (when a speedy full marathoner was passing a slower half marathoner) Trip him! He’s going too fast!… Making us all look bad! Which usually made both people smile.

So now, on Tuesday, I still have to whisper because I have no voice. And Dan and I are going out to help me begin carb-loading tomorrow night. I can say more on all that later. For now- I’m focusing on stretching my legs, foam rolling, and wearing 2 inches or less on my feet this week.

Something I never knew until cheering people on- wearing something unique DEFINITELY helps! We cheered our hearts out for Wonder Woman and Gold Shorts Guy (who turns out is one of Dan’s friends, and dropped by later). We yelled for shirtless guys (in 40 degree weather?), and people with their names on their shirts. So I plan to do something- write “Candy”Β  on my arms/ legs. (No one ever pronounces Chandi right, and at mile 23, it would annoy me more than encourage me if they say it wrong, so I’ll embrace Candy- my “stripper name”).

FOUR DAYS! I keep wanting to go to Fleet Feet to get things. But I would just keep buying, and probably not need any o it.

FOUR DAYS TIL RICHMOND!

When planning a relay

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

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

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

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

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

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

Signing up for 2013 already right?!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So our line-up:

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

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

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

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

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

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

And that’s Van #1.

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

πŸ™‚