Thursday, May 19, 2011

I know, I know!!

I promise I will get the final installment of the OKC race report done before the next OKC marathon, I will! But we interrupt this blog for a special reminiscence.  Because today, my oldest son turns 16.

Yow. 16. He's driving now, still doesn't have his license since we started late, but he takes the controls of the EBV when we go to Scouts or the grocery store or to the gym. He is bulking up and filling into a more mature physique now, courtesy of 4x weekly workouts with a sport-specific strength & conditioning coach, plus speedskating workouts and hockey. He is no longer my baby boy. But, yet, when I look at him, no matter that he's taller than me now, no matter that he has grown into a handsome young man, I will always see the squidgy baby boy with cheeks and hair that they first showed me at nearly midnight 16 years ago. Happy Birthday!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Lucky #13... Not Quite... Part the Second

So, Race Day. I had not slept well, despite the luxe accommodations. We scored us a sweet suite at the Marriott, courtesy of the very last of my dwindling status as a road warrior, so we had plenty of room for Kris & I to have our own queen beds, Megan to have a rollaway twin and Jason & Mel to share the pull-out bed in the living area. But, I had some family issues to contend with, pretty big ones, along with work stress toward the end of the week, so it had been several nights since I'd had solid sleep.  Didn't matter. Alarms went off at 4:45 and we slowly started stirring in the room, getting dressed and prepping mentally and physically for what was ahead.

Getting dressed. Ah, yes. The shirts. Once we determined we had critical mass for this race, and that this was the event at which we were all going to gun for Sub-Five, it was decided that we should have shirts. The original idea was bright yellow shirts, the better to see us with, but when that didn't work out, we ended up with these superb white shirts with a custom logo designed by Fawn's husband Jack.  We had them printed and shipped, and then we personalized them with our nicknames on the back, so people could cheer for us as we ran through town, happy and smiling and having a grand time.

Organizing the shirts! See how pretty!! SQUEEE!

Missing our cheerleaders Megan, taking the picture, and
Shannon, who couldn't make the trip last-minute =(

Megan in her tutu, ready to cheer, wet weather be damned!

The question for me had been whether to wear shorts, my Texas skirt or capris, especially as the temps forecasted continued to drop. I believe the best decision of the day was when I went with the capris, as I figured they were cool enough that even if it hit 80s later in the morning I would still be OK, but it would provide some warmth on my legs early on. Going with that logic, I'd pinned my bib on my leg, ultra-style, the night before, and laid out everything else I would need so it was easy to grab, even bleary-eyed and drowsy as we were.  As we all finished getting dressed, we fueled up on bagels, bananas and Nutella, watching the clock and making our way downstairs at 5:30 to meet the other girls for the four-block walk to the start line.

Going down the elevator, we saw Marci and Bojana coming into the lobby, and then found Fiona shortly afterward. We all hit the very comfortable and clean Marriott lobby bathrooms one last time; while we were waiting for everyone to get done, I stepped outside and got a sneak peek at the weather - it was cool and VERY breezy.  First reaction was "crap, it's COLD!" but then I quickly said, "That there's PR weather!!" a comment which a couple of other runners walking by applauded.  After our required group photo, we gathered ourselves up and then headed out toward the start. No sooner did we walk out of the lobby, into the same morning air I had been out in FIVE minutes before than it started to rain. Wha?? This wasn't supposed to start for a couple of hours yet. Dangit!! Oh, well, let's just head over and see what's what.

We get half a block down the street and are greeted by a flash of lightning and a roll of thunder. And not the OKC basketball team, either.  Seriously??? Then, a couple  of folks walking toward us say there is a half-hour delay.  A quick check verifies that the official marathon twitter account had tweeted the same, so we grabbed space under an awning to wait it out a bit. No use heading down to the crowded start when we didn't need to be there for another half-hour. We stood around for a while, then I turned on the mothering and made all the full runners sit down - no need to be on our feet any longer than necessary.

Waiting and watching the light show. No, we're not freaking out at all... Not one bit... 
So we're waiting. And watching Twitter explode (those of us with phones, at least. My phone had been left behind and my camera was entrusted to Megan) with news of the weather and the delay. Meanwhile, the rain is NOT letting up. Nor is the thunder and lightning. If anything, the rain is getting heavier and wetter. And the anxiety is starting to mount.  Nutrition is the first concern - our fuel is going to be off by the half-hour delay. Then the worry is about whether we will be warm enough. We're dressed for 40s at the start, but DRY 40s. Some of us have throwaway jackets, but they're cheap cotton, not designed for rainwear. Mel and I have nothing but our team shirts. Fiona gives Mel her bright green NTX Runner shirt since she has her jacket. Mel needs it more than I do - I have built-in warming with my extra layers of bulk - not being able to lose these last pounds has a benefit in the cold, I tell ya!  Very quickly Bojana decides to run back to the hotel and get the disposable ponchos and angelically returns with big black garbage bags for the rest of us. Lifesavers!! So, now we are huddled in the dark, looking like the California Raisins in our big black bags, under an awning, furiously checking Twitter for updates and wondering if we are even going to get to run this stupid race. It doesn't look good, so we start checking for May races, because dammit, we're trained and ready. Oh, and by the way, I NEED this damn race to level up for Maniacs. I'm going to freakin' Minnesota next month to complete my 6 in 6 months, so I HAVE to run this stupid race. How dare they consider calling it because of lightning?! And then, there's another strike of lightning, closer this time, and we all look at each other and shake our heads. 

Thanks, Bojana! We would be dry for a little bit!

Marci & Bojana were super-styling in their clear ponchos! We were jealous!

Pretty soon, it's nearly 6:45, and it's time to do this if we're going to do this. And it's still raining, but we head down to the start. We pass the church with the pancake breakfast, and we pass the Memorial gate, but we're in too much of a hurry to stop in and see it, even though it is most striking in the early morning light, and even more haunting in the drizzle of that day. As we get closer, we see the big banks of the porta-potties, with no lines, thank you, small blessings, so we all hit them one last time before we try to find the start.  And the wheelchair runners are off, and we hear the music, and if you've ever been at the start of a marathon, you know that there are basically two songs they play at the start of a marathon (unless you're in NYC and then you get Sinatra, natch), so we don't get Black Eyed Peas today, no, instead we are treated to Bono telling us It's a Beautiful Day. But it's not. Bono, you're a freakin' liar. It's not beautiful. It's STILL raining, and it's wet, and we haven't even started yet, and my shoes are wet and we're wearing garbage bags!! What the F$%@!! 

We shoulda just had pancakes. 

Picture makes it look like the rain stopped... it hadn't.

Throngs of people in the corrals. One day I will get into an OKC corral properly...
But, then, really, if you stop and think about it, he's not a total liar. It IS a beautiful day, because we get to do this crazy thing whic is our passion and our love, and we get to do it together, and we don't know what the next four, five, six hours holds for us, but we are starting together, and we'll be together at the end, somehow. We hand our sunglasses to Megan, because we realize, no we probably won't need those today. We stay together as much as we can, but it's crowded now, so very crowded, and it's hard to stick together. We wind our way through the crowd, then realize we are in the wrong corral - we are in the freakin' 5K corral!! People, MOVE! We have a race to run! And the gun goes off, and it takes a few minutes, but then we get into the right spot, and we've lost each other a bit, but it doesn't matter, it's time to run. Just run. Wet or not, thunder or not, whatever the day brings, we are in it now, so just Run It Out. 

Next: The Actual Race. Promise!! 

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Lucky #13... Not quite....

White Rock Lake Girls. Ready to Roll.
Seems like this race was a really long time ago, but it's actually been less than 10 days since we jumped into a rainy, wet mess in downtown Oklahoma City for this Race to Remember.  Some of us had the race of a lifetime, crushing PRs, and others had less-than-ideal days, spending time in the medical tents after battling the elements.  But for sure, all of us who toed the line that day will remember May 1 in Oklahoma City. 

Dinner in Bricktown with Mike Moore, Kris & super-cheerleader Megan.

There is so much to tell, yet so much that cannot be described, about this weekend. If you weren't in the car with me and Kris and Megan, then you missed out on the laughs and the hysterical giggling over bad Cosmo magazine advice, and the realization that the elevator really works best if you ACTUALLY press the button. If you weren't at dinner in Bricktown on Friday night, then you missed discussing what kind of a handgun can squeeze into a fitness belt. We cut out sticky letters and figured out how to spell backwards so our nicknames on our shirts would be readable. I IRONED, for goodness sakes (those of you who know me well know that this is a feat more miraculous than me running 26 miles!)!  At the expo, we had pancakes and met up with friends like Glenn and Jen.

At hotel after a very sketchy 2-mile run.
For the record, the concierge at the Marriott is probably NOT a runner.

Kris and PANCAKES! at the expo

Yay! Met DailyMiler Jen C at the expo!

Missing Mel at the expo. But we got her packet & bib! 

We took turns getting foam rolled by Megan, who barely survived getting blown around Lake Hefner during her long run Saturday morning while Kris and I ran around Target buying sweatpants and jackets and stocking up on Nutella. Afterward we hung out with Marci and Bojana, revisiting the Cosmo articles (nope, advice did not get any better on second reading!) and relaxing and enjoying each other's company in comfort for once, instead of out on some sweaty path somewhere like we usually do.

Taking the limo to Bricktown. Because it's all of .16 miles away!

When Mel and Jason arrived  from Dallas, we exchanged big hugs and then jumped into a stretch white limo for a four-block ride to dinner. Because that's how we roll! When we got to dinner, we were lucky enough to meet Nicole and Christie, along with their friend Melissa, and got more of a chance to talk to them in Oklahoma even though Nicole & Christie live in Fort Worth! (and, yes, Nicole, we *will* be running it out at your house this summer so we can jump in your pool!!). We laughed, we ate, Marci threatened anyone stealing her bread with death or at minimum loss of a digit. And then it was time to go back to the hotel and get ready for the next day. Because it was almost time. 

Marci & Bojana - lovely ladies!

Kris and Mel! Can't tell Mel is a beast in this, can you?

Love, love, love this pic!

DFW Runners at Zio's

Carbed up & ready to roll!
Yes, it was almost time. The day that we had been training for and waiting for after months of preparation and and training and excitement had actually arrived.  We had run together for our long runs, in varying permutations, throughout the spring. Mel and Fiona, Mel and Kris, Marci and Mel, me and Fiona, me with Mel and Kris, me with Kris and Marci. We had run miles at White Rock, miles at GRAW, loops around Marci's neighborhood and down Katy Trail and in Rockwall and in Allen. We had trained hard, and we had trained smart. We each had fits and starts with our training, tweaks and twinges, lung problems and GI issues, shoe fit problems and knees and IT bands and all manner of things that can get in the way, and none of it mattered on Saturday night. None of it. Because ready or not, we were there, and it was time to do the damn thing.

Marci, Mel, Kris and Fiona were each running their 2nd full marathon, and this was number 13 for me, but we all had the same goal. Sub-Five. Sub-Five or Bust. Let's Do This. We Got This. Everyone had lessons learned from their first race, and everyone was dialed in to what needed to happen for that goal to become reality.  Kris and Fiona had to keep their stomachs in line, and get their nutrition right.  Mel had to be able to breathe with both lungs. Marci had to get out of her head and let her legs do what they needed to do. I needed to have both knees work for a full 26 miles, and I needed to not give in to the urge to walk it out and just finish when it got hard.  We had talked, and I had even posted, about how we decided that we would have our own race to run. Could we do it? We sure as hell were going to try.

All week long, the weather forecast had been getting better and better, with the highs dropping into the mid-50s. This was heavenly for us, as we had already been slogging through temps hittting high 80s for our last long run. We had already had our inaugural sprinkler run on our 20-miler in Grapevine, even though it was barely mid-April. After hideous heat both at Chicago and at Cowtown, we were excited about cool temps. We were not quite as excited about the forecasted winds, but figured any quarter we had to give to a headwind early on or at the lake we would get back with a nice tailwind heading into downtown in the homestretch.  It was a sacrifice we were willing to make to have cooler temps.  The chance of rain, well, 30 percent is kind of a low shot, right? And it wasn't supposed to move in until mid-day. With a 6:30 start and a 5-hour goal time, we'd be showered and having post-race cheeseburgers before the rain hit. Right? Maybe.

To Be Continued...

Monday, May 02, 2011

Run to Remember, Top Ten Moments

Here are the Top Ten moments from this weekend's OKC road trip. Full report to come later but if I don't get these down now, they will be lost to the ages and we just can't have that!!

10. Marci saying, "I don't want that - it's wet!" at mile 20. Um, EVERYTHING was wet!!
9.  Discussing exactly what kind of handgun will fit into a fitness belt.
8.  Taking a white stretch limo four blocks to the Twitter meet-up.
7.  Everyone taking turns getting foam rolled/tortured by Megan.
6.  "You can show it, just don't say it!"
5.  Discussing the prizes found in breakfast cereal...
4.  Three times you can bite me!!
3.  Driving around trying to find Megan after her aborted run around Lake Hefner because the wind literally blew her away (OK, not really, but close enough!).
2.  Sitting under an awning, wearing garbage bags, watching lightning displays and rain drench downtown OKC, while we Google marathon calendars to find an alternate May race in case we got cancelled.
1.  Sharing our victories and disappointments, supporting each other, and making memories to last a lifetime. The Oklahoma City Marathon 2011 was certainly a Run to Remember!

Sunday, May 01, 2011

Lucky #13

Going to be out of pocket for a few days here so the full race report will be delayed. Here is all you need to know:

White Rock Lake Girls, Ready to Run It Out! (missing cheerleader & sherpa extraordinare Megan) 
Me with "Princess" Fiona at the finish. 
Also.... we said we would run our own races in our quest for sub-five, and see each other at the start & again at the end, but in between, we were kinda-sorta on our own.... Well,  Eff that. Just Eff that.

More to come...