Monday, April 26, 2010

Decisions, decisions

So, after The Marathon that Wasn't, I ended up having to search for another race that I could do within two weeks of OKC to get into Marathon Maniacs this spring. Yes, I could probably wait and do it in the fall with three races in 90 days, but that's SO LONG AWAY!  If you don't know me personally (although more and more of you do!  SQUEEE!), you wouldn't know that once I decide on something, I like to have it happen right away. And I pretty much stop at nothing to Make it Happen. This character flaw trait has been noted by others in my life (my husband, my boss, etc.). So, while I *could* wait until fall and do NYC in November, White Rock in December and another full TBD in January, why do that? Why wait when you can go after what you want RIGHT AWAY?!***

In any case, the plan had been to do OKC, then evaluate and see how I felt before making the decision to drive to Beaumont and do the inaugural running of The Gusher Marathon on the Lamar University campus. A couple of things intrigue me about this race:
  • It's an inaugural running - you know that holds special appeal to us crazy marathon types
  • It's a two-loop course. I've never done a two-loop marathon course - a half, yes, but not a full
  • The medal - have you seen the medal?  Oh, my, I WANT! You know how I am about Texas and all things Texas!! 
But, then... Then, something STUPID happened to me. Or, rather, I let it happen, no, I made it happen.  My full race report is on DailyMile here, so you can go read it and see how stupid it was (sorry, Blogger, it's just so easy to track there, and it goes to FB and Twitter AUTOMAGICALLY!).  So that puts me in a big decision mode...

What should I do?
1) Lay off entirely until the next scheduled Red Light Runner event (an easy 5K on pavement five minutes from home)...
2) Compromise and do the Heels and Hills Half in Las Colinas this Sunday? Closer to home, can sleep in my own bed the night before, and it's only 13 miles... OR
3) Risk further injury by going ahead and signing up and running Beaumont anyway? On five days rest?

Here's the deal:  Except for the ankle being tight, and my knees being bruised, I don't hurt today. Not in that usual post-race, OMG, please don't make me sit down, or get up, or have to climb stairs. Upper hamstrings are a little tight, but feet are great, everything is all good. Except for the fall and the need to slow down the more my ankle swelled, Oklahoma City was pretty good. I really had 5:30 in my sights until about mile 22. And I don't need to do anything but FINISH Beaumont.  My hotel is free on points, and the entry fee, even race day, is only $90, which is only $35 more than Heels & Hills.

BUT, if I go to Heels & Hills, it's obviously a much kinder distance, so if there is something tweaky still, it won't hurt much. And I'll get to see (and probably run with,) my buddies Mark and Felix - and they'll be wearing skirts (hubba, hubba!)!!

So,you can see my dilemma. Maniac, fun with guys in skirts, or total couch potato?  What do you think?

*** Not sure what's up with the multi-all caps today.  Maybe it's the post-marathon haze my brain is still under. In any case, SORRY!!!


So I decided not to try for Marathon Maniacs this weekend after thinking about it all afternoon, I've decided I will instead volunteer at Heels & Hills, for a few reasons: 
1) the drive to Beaumont is five hours, and it's a Saturday morning race, so I'd have to drive on Friday afternoon, then probably drive home after the race. Nope. Can't do it, not so soon after OKC.
2) I'm driving to Houston for work on Wednesday. That means another six hours in the car midweek. Nope. Can't do that and then get back in on Friday night.
3) I don't know that I want to pay $65 for a half. Heels is a great race, but that's a little pricey, mostly because I didn't register ahead of time because I hadn't planned to run it. But tons of friends are going to either be running it or pacing people so I know it's going to be fun to be out there.
4) By volunteering, I still get to see everyone and be a part of the race, but don't have to worry about paying for it, or possibly tweaking the ankle even more.
5) the OKC volunteers were so great, I really feel motivated to make a difference to another runner out there on Sunday, and if I can be half as encouraging as they were, I definitely would feel good about paying it forward.
So, come on out to Heels & Hills on Sunday morning and catch me out there volunteering, high-fiving and doing whatever else needs to be done to give the runners a great experience. Maniacs can wait a few more months!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Why I Run

I run and race for lots of reasons. For this weekend, I race to remember the 168 people, adults and children, who were tragically and senselessly killed 15 years ago this week. Please scroll down and read the race founder's letter to understand why I run.

From the letter by Thomas A. Hill: 

You tell us about crossing the finish line and knowing that you can do whatever you set your mind to. You tell us that you see life differently.....
The Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon is a Run to Remember, but it is also about Celebrating Life and Reaching for the Future.
The goal for this weekend's marathon, number eight, is to remember, to honor, and to see life differently. 

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


are probably not the best carbo-loading food for me, but I have been unable to resist. I hate the Taper, especially considering that this one has been extended after the debacle at Big D. And of course, I'm fighting the usual aches and pains, stuffy head, and sneezing that seems to plague me four-five days out of any race.

Weather report looks promising, if not a little warm, for race day, and I am definitely looking forward to an OKC tweet-up the night before. I've decided on my race-day attire, shoes (going to stick with the Kilkennys this time around - still haven't been able to get the Shays to work properly for anything longer than 5-6 miles), and fuel. Let's do this thing.  For real this time!

Monday, April 12, 2010


So the plan was for me to race Big D Texas marathon yesterday.  It was the middle race of the three in 90 days needed for me to qualify for Marathon Maniacs (actually, with it coming two weeks before Oklahoma City, those two alone would have gotten me into MM). I had originally wanted to do the LA marathon in March, but finances and the foot problems I had after Cowtown made LA unrealistic.  So I had decided I would instead stay local and complete Big D, using it as a last training run of sorts before Oklahoma City.

It's a small race - grown in the last few years, for sure, but still small enough - so they have race-day registration. Cash flow issues and the increased number of shorter 5Ks I'm committed to for the Red Light Runners meant that I really couldn't sign up ahead of time. And in the past, I've signed up for the half on race day with no issues. So I hadn't sweated the fact that on race morning I didn't have a bib and chip. Even though I had played with the concept of an April running streak, I consciously backed off the mileage last week, limiting my runs to 2-3 miles at a time, wanting my legs to be as glycogen-packed as possible on race morning. 

So I set my alarm, laid out everything I needed the night before (even making a special trip to Academy for a fresh stick of BodyGlide) and headed out to Dallas a little after 6:00 am. I arrived at Fair Park right before 7:00, and slathered on sunscreen and snapped on my two-bottle belt pack. I'd parked in front of the science building, so there was a little bit of a hike over to the registration building and start area, but nothing huge. I'd had no problem getting to the fairgrounds and parking, but already I could see that the traffic was already increasing.  It seems to me that this race is having some of the same issues as the Cowtown - the half is getting bigger, the full stays about the same, but the 5Ks are growing huge and almost out of control. 

I walked into the building and headed for the registration table, stopping to fill out my little form. And then, the cluster started. I handed the volunteer my form and my credit card, only to be handed it right back and directed to the sign that said "Cash and Checks only." WTH?  I only brought my one credit card - I didn't have my debit card with me (call me a paranoid suburbanite, but I don't typically bring my full wallet with me and leave it in my unattended car for five+ hours when I am in the Big City) and who uses checks anymore? So even if there was an ATM around, I didn't have my debit card handy anyway.  So I was done for the day before I even got started. A couple of Twitter friends suggested banditry, but besides a moral and philosophical inability to do that, I know when things got tough I'd have given up if I wasn't going to get a medal at the end. I also need an official finish to qualify for Maniacs.  Plus, mentally, I just wasn't in it after the events. If I had been thinking clearly, I would have gone out to the lake and ran 12-14 on my own. I carry my own fluids anyway. But I was not thinking clearly in any way, shape or form that morning. 

I was pissed as hell, but more disappointed than anything. The fact that if I had checked the website I could have avoided it all (or, hell, registered in advance - duh!) really aggravated me the most.  I had really looked forward to this race, and to meeting up with some of my Twitter buddies again. More importantly, it was a critical part of my strategy to make Marathon Maniacs this spring. My clock is ticking on the 90 days since Cowtown, and OKC is on the last weekend possible, so to qualify I'll have to do two within 16 days instead and complete another race within two weeks of Oklahoma.  There are lots to choose from, just not a lot that I can get to easily (and cheaply). Right now it looks like the most realistic choice logistically will be Beaumont on May 1. But is that a realistic choice physically?  Mentally? A lot will depend on how OKC goes.

So there you go, my first official DNS. I've yet to have a DNF, but I imagine it sucks even more than a DNS, and I can tell you that the DNS really bites. Really.

The first thing I did when I got home?  Registered for Oklahoma City. Lesson learned.

Saturday, April 10, 2010


Marathon number eight is tomorrow. Headed out now to get Clif blocks and BodyGlide. Wearing the Kilkennys instead of the Shays. Water bottles will be loaded with half-water, half-Gatorade. Oatmeal in the morning before heading out to the start line, with a Forze GPS half an hour before go-time.

There are no expectations tomorrow except crossing the line and getting the hardware.

See you on the other side.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Have I mentioned?

that I have a marathon in three days?  Haven't registered yet, haven't thought out a race strategy (um, finish would be a good one..), haven't considered yet what I'm going to wear. Have never felt so utterly unprepared for anything (besides having children) in my life. In my delusional state of mind, though, instead of panicking, I'm thinking it bodes well.

Don't break the illusion.  Please.

In other news, my new doctor put me back on high blood pressure medication. She basically said my previous doctor (the one who accused me of eating in the middle of the night, and BTW also the one who missed my mother-in-law's cancer diagnosis for three months...) was an idiot for telling me I didn't need them. I now need to have all kinds of tests to see what the last three years of living with borderline hypertension have done to my heart. I did convince her to let me wait until AFTER Sunday's race to start them. She bought it only because while my blood pressure is checking in at 160/95, my heart rate was 49. Yeah, my body is sooo jacked up.

She also told me that it seemed to her that I was doing all the right things to lose weight, and I was probably in the small percentage of people (who do exist! outside of my mind!) for whom diet and exercise and a negative calorie balance does not result in weight loss.  I'm SPECIAL!  F^#^% me.

But, hey, on the bright side:  I have a marathon in three days!!  Eeeep!

Friday, April 02, 2010

Some good news

for a change. Sorry to be so down in the dumps on that last post.  I hate feeling like my weight is the end-all and be-all of my existence, because it's really not, but it's so easy to get discouraged about it, and I know it's not the right thing to get hung up on.  I just get so frustrated when I hear of all these success stories about people losing weight so easily just by walking a few times a week, or by cutting out soda, and, wow, who knew it could be so easy?  Well, it's not. Not for me.  And I have some strategies in mind to help with it, but I can't really put them into play right now, so I just have to be patient a little longer.  After all, I've been at essentially the same weight for three years (at least according to Sparkpeople, who showed me the EXACT same weight from the last time I logged in in 2007).  Yeah. But anyway, I do have good news...

I've formed a running team!  Yeah! So I told you about my friend Jason, who I paced to his first 5K in January.  Well between the two of us and another runner friend, we managed to cajole, pressure, encourage, entice, and otherwise force some of our other friends into running or walking another 5K (and some of us ran the 10K event) with us last weekend.  The Red Light Runners made their debut at the Run to Joe's, with 11 total members (we had one more who was sick and DNS). Even my husband ran! He swore off running several years ago after I made him do a 5k with me and the older boy, but when you get *his* friends involved, all of a sudden, he was interested again!  No matter, I'll take it!

Since the "founders" of the team are all hockey parents, we named the team the Red Light Runners, after the red light that goes off when someone scores a goal. We have another team signed up for the Zoo Run Run in Fort Worth in a couple of weeks.  Jason is planning on doing the Memorial Day 10K as his first entry at that distance in May, so we may try to get some folks signed up for that with us as well.  There's noise, not instigated by me, surprisingly, about some of the folks joining up to do either the half or the relay at White Rock this fall.  Pretty much what happened is that everyone got out there and ended up having a good time and enjoyed the competition, so they are stoked for more!  I love it! Not only do I get to do something I love, but for so many of my friends to come out and join me and my other friends, that's really something special for me.  It is odd to have friends from different areas of my life converging into one big group, though!  Not bad, just odd!

So that's what I have to say about running for today.  I can't think of a better way to celebrate running than by starting a few more new runners out on their journeys, and I love that my enthusiasm for it played a part in sparking their interest.

Oh, and one other thing - I have another marathon in eight days!  EEEP!!