Archive for May, 2012

  • Alternate Title: Why I won’t be your running buddy
  • Alternate Title: Why I love my running group
  • Alternate Title: Trust me when I’m not lying to you
  • Alternate Title: A rare sighting of the running Fasthole
  • Alternate Title:  I hate it when shit turns out just like I thought it would.
  • Alternate Title: Another long-ass running post. 

In case you can’t tell by the titling, I’m kind of struggling with this post. I’ve got a lot on my mind about it and it just won’t come out clean and pretty. Probably because I’m kind of pissed off and kind of sad and kind of appreciative. No clear cut emotion on a thing can make trying to write about it kind of clunky.

So clunkity, clunk, fuck, clunk.

 I’m a slow runner. I’ve been running off and on for 7 years now, more on than off for the last 3, and I’m slow. I’ve improved from ‘is she walking or running? I can’t tell’ to being a slow runner. An improvement I’m really damn proud of because trust me, I have worked HARD just to be slow, but I’m still slow. And writing that I’m still slow makes me wince even though I like to throw jokes out about it from time to time. It’s still like a secret confession that even though I’m proud of my progress, I still feel embarrassed about. 

Hello, my name is Cynthia. I’m run an 11-minute mile and I put the ram in the ram-a-lam-a-ding-dong. Please don’t judge me. I like rams. 

This is why I won’t run with you. It’s not you, it’s me. And the rams. 

You see, runners being the social group that they tend to be, it never fails that as soon as I make a new running friend, they start on the ‘we should go for a run together’ and I start on the ‘um, why don’t you join me at running group’. 

I evade. 

I will say I’m slow, we’ll talk paces for a second. They’ll tell me they don’t mind running slower so that we can run together. I’ll tell them that I know running slower than your normal pace is about as fun as running a lot faster than your normal pace – it’s not. It’s miserable and frustrating and unsatisfying. Then if they’re smart, they’ll say ‘Okay, I can see how that wouldn’t work. Maybe if I get injured and lose a leg and need a slower recovery, we can run together.’ So great, now I can hope they get injured. Not. 

Though, if they’re really smart, they’ll say – ‘Maybe I’ll give the group meet-up a shot and we can have beers after’. Because even though I’m not fast, I’m still cool to hang with and my running group ROCKS!!! no matter what your pace is. They have coaches and people running at all kinds of paces, including mine. (And really fun people drinking beer after the runs.) I’ve brought several friends into my running group over the past 3 years and no one has mentioned a regret. Come to my running group with me and I’ll hook you up with people that are YOUR PACE, while I do my own thing with my appropriate pace group. Then we can both have a good run and still hang out and I’m not alone with you in the event you’re an axe murderer/camouflaged zombie. Besides, I don’t really talk while I run. Too busy not dying. You giving me CPR is not the kind of running bond I want to form. 

But every once in awhile, I get a runner that just won’t believe me when I say I’m slow. They won’t give up the ghost on the ‘I’ll run slower, it’ll be okay” argument and won’t take the hint on the ‘we aren’t a good running match’ response – which is my polite Plan B ‘No’ answer. I don’t know why this is. 


And that’s who I found myself up against this week – the Non-Believer. A person I’ve been evading for awhile who decided to take me up on the group invite – but then didn’t take the hint on my pointing out the faster coaches and saying ‘you go with them, see you at the finish’. Nope, wanted to stay locked into running with me and the experience went pretty much exactly how I thought it would if I ever accepted an invite to run 1:1 with someone WAY faster than me. 


Instead of doing my coaching assignment the way I should have, I pushed got dragged bitching and repeating ‘just go’  my pace too hard at the opening (@ 9 m/m) and ended up crashing, while NB shit-talked the entire time about how slow I was. Except that we were in a group of MY running friends WHO RUN SLOW TOO. So the shit being talked wasn’t just hitting an awkward spot with me. Quite a few people around me, who I know and care about, were wincing as they overheard him.

This, my friends, is a slow-runner’s nightmare. Trust me. We know we’re slow. Also trust me that we WANT TO BE FASTER. I’ve never met a slow runner yet that didn’t wish they were Kenyan. Usually, we’re doing our best. We’re fighting the good fight to try and improve. Shit-talking to tell us how f*ing slow we are, makes you a HUGE ASSHOLE, will not encourage friendship. In fact, it pretty much sings front-man for the choir of negative voices we punch hard in the throat every time we lace up our running shoes. That choir DOES NOT need a front-man for the band. And egads! – you do not want to be the person that brought the shit-talker into the fold. There isn’t a pothole big enough to trip you and suck you in when you can guess exactly what demons you are bringing up for the people around you with every step that person runs next to you. Luckily, after I hit the hard tone in my voice, NB decided it would be best to race on ahead of me so I could handle my crash alone until the rest of my pack caught up. 

In getting it out of my system, I’m going to say there should be some kind of law, that when you’ve already got runner’s block, been shit on by a coach (not my coach), and have actually said out loud “maybe I just need to not race anymore”, all in the same week, that when a non-believer gives you shit about your pace and the pace of everyone you run with – you should be able to just kick them in the shin as hard as you can. It’s not assault. It’s a public service. De-asshole-ization.

There should be a flag or a whistle, like in football. 

  • Non-Believer: You run all the time. You should be faster than that. I didn’t realize you couldn’t hang.
  • Me:  I told you I was slow.
  • NB:  I thought you were joking. No one’s that slow. (at a table with a group of people that are that slow)
  • NB:  What?
  • Me:  I’m throwing an ass-flag.
  • NB:  What?
  • ME:  You’re being an ass. I’m throwing an ass-flag.  Penalty – hard kick to the shin.
  • NB:  OUUUUCH! WTF?!!!
  • Me: *smiling*
  • Everyone else: *smiling*

Unfortunately, I’m not into assault and my friends didn’t have tar and feathers are real damn polite.

No one said a thing. 

People, there are sooooooooooo many conversations in this life that could be helped by an ass-flag. Oooooh – and THEN – if they don’t back off after the first ass-flag, we could institute a double-ass-flag penalty.

  •  NB:  I’m going to post on Facebook the point where my garmin shows you breaking off and me speeding up to my regular pace.
  • Me: DOUBLE ASS-FLAG! *kicking him right in the nut sack*
  • NB: sputters and dies

Just kidding – but he is required to turn blue and STFU.

It would be worth making a whole ass-flag code of justice just to be able to say DOUBLE ASS-FLAG PENALTY!!! proud and out loud in a crowd. 

But alas, I’d probably get out-run by some of the fastholes I needed to kick…

*Tee-hee* Fastholes. I just came up with a new running word. I love it! 

Folks – be kind to your slow runners. They are trying really fucking hard and giving it all the heart they have to give. Just because they’re slower doesn’t mean they aren’t working just as hard as you speedier types. Everyone has a different level and their own personal goals. I promise I will cheer just as hard for you getting your 3:30 marathon as I will my friend getting her 5K PR down to a 12:10 pace. Because your run is about what is important to you, not about what someone else can or can’t do. Peace.

*Disclaimer: I know the Fast-hole is an unfortunate outlier to the running community as a whole. The overwhelming majority of the running community, as I know it, is the most supportive and welcoming body of people I have ever met in my life. Regardless of pace. This was proven to me once again by the very fact that my (slower) friends did try to be welcoming and make conversation on other topics with this person at beers after the run, despite some hurt feelings. And some of the best encouragement I have gotten along the way has come from the sub-7:00 and sub-8:00 m/milers in the running group who have never looked down on my efforts to be a better turtle.

Skeptical Side-eye

Posted: 05/28/2012 in Uncategorized

Proof that I don’t make my bed

To be filed under ‘What was I thinking?’ – one package containing bikinis.

These are supposed to be on my body later today.

I am not sure my 37-yr old belly, or the two donuts it ate for breakfast, are ready to see daylight. (Don’t judge me, it’s a holiday!)

Before 5AM

Posted: 05/18/2012 in Uncategorized
Tags: ,

4:41 AM: Alarm #1

4:41:02 AM: The sound of me smacking Alarm #1.

4:45 AM: Alarm #2 (Yes, it’s a different alarm clock).

4:45:02 AM: The sound of me furiously tapping the touch screen on Alarm#2 to MAKE. IT. STOP!

4:51 AM: Alarm #1 again.

4:55 AM: Alarm #2 again.

Me: Got to get up. Clothes are laid out. Gotta go to bootcamp.

The Resistance: But you’re going to run at lunch. You can sleep in.

Me: But what if I don’t run at lunch. I won’t get to work out tonight. And I’ve got that run tomorrow. That run will feel like crap tomorrow if I don’t get a workout in today.

The Resistance: Oh well, if you’re running tomorrow, then you don’t even need to run at lunch today. Just go for a walk. You could use a rest sweety. You’re tired. Go back to sleep.

Me: (to myself) C’mon. You know you need to get this bootcamp in or Monday’s bootcamp is just going to feel twice as hard. You know you’re getting up, now put your feet on the floor. You’re just making it so you’re going to have to rush and you know how you hate to rush. With all this thinking, you’re already up, you might as well sweat. You’ll feel better sweaty.

The Resistance: See, you’re running late now. Why do you want to rush? Go ahead and sleep in today.

Me: (to myself, as I am doing my best to ignore The Resistance) That’s a good girl. Put your feet on the floor. There you go, and up out of bed.

5:02 AM: I am downstairs throwing on a sportsbra & my Nikes. 

Yaaaaa’ll – it was a hard morning to get out of bed for that early wake-up. But I did it and I’m glad I did it, though I still feel pretty tired. I’m still stubborn-ing through runner’s block. I fought through Tuesday’s run. Did Wednesday’s bootcamp. Took a rest day on Thursday as I thought a visit to the chiropractor might help me shake off the fatigue, and then Bootcamp this morning.

I’m planning to go to running group tomorrow morning for a short 3 mile preview of a 5k the group is doing next weekend, and then I have a fun run – a 4k Tap ‘n Run I’m registered for tomorrow night. So 2 runs tomorrow (though I’ll probably walk a good part of the second one) on a body that is just so. damn. tired.

And I don’t think it’s even the workouts that are killing me – they’re hard, but not any more extreme than usual. They just feel a lot harder than usual. I think I’m going through what I call a “teardown” cycle. Just like we cycle through fits of enthusiasm and doldrums in our workout routines, the body has it’s own cycle of plateaus and progress. Mine usually cycles through a plateau, then a “teardown”, then a really short plateau, and then a huge spurt of progress.

The first plateau can be indefinite – from 2-3 weeks to 2-3 months. The scale doesn’t move a whole lot and I feel better with the workouts, but nothing hugely noticeable. Then a teardown cycle usually lasts about 3 weeks – that’s where everything hurts and workouts feel way harder than they normally do. And because it feels so hard, and you’re so bitchy tired, the motivation just isn’t there. Also, I want to eat like crap, so I have to wage that war at the same time. MUST. EAT. LOTS OF YUMMY CARBS!!! THE GREEN THINGS. The Resistance is a pro at taking advantage of the the teardown cycle – tempting me to skip workouts, sleep late, and eat way too much of all the wrong stuff. It’s like watching the Energizer Bunny crap it’s batteries, flip you the bird, and go crash out for a long nap in front of the TV – but only after he tells you to turn the volume down on the show you’re watching ’cause it’s not like he can just GO IN THE BEDROOM and take that stupid nap.

That is one crabby-ass bunny sometimes.

Teardown is a prick too. And if I’m not careful – and stubborn – I can undo a lot of good work I’ve done in the previous weeks. Got to fight the good fight.

But I’ll get through it. And I’ll fight to keep as many of the good things on track as I can. And eventually it won’t feel so hard – I’m almost through week 1 already. And then I’ll move through to the next part of the cycle where things feel alright again. The fatigue starts to lift. Everything isn’t irrationally exhausting. I begin to enjoy the running and the workout routines again. Optimism strikes. After that, it’s like someone throws some nitrous into my muscles and that huge burst of progress hits. THAT, my friend, is worth working it out for. In the progress cycle, I’m ten feet tall and bulletproof (though still irrationally afraid of bugs and heights – some things don’t change). I can leap tall buildings, or at least press the ‘up’ key several times really fast, and I’m almost faster than a rickshaw stuck in traffic. In the progress cycle, I OUT-AWESOME MYSELF. And since I’m already awesome, that’s even awesomer. The scale starts to move down, I feel GREAT and alll of the parts that have been ‘torn down’ are built back up and stronger than they were before. Did I mention that I feel GREAT? and FAST? and STRONG?

Thinking about that happy feeling – grasping at that straw of hope – is what gets me through the 3 weeks of teardown. Knowing that at the end, if I just keep working through it, I’ll end up stronger because of it. Before the cycle starts again.


Green Bench

Later on Saturday, after coffee and breakfast, I was perusing Facebook to find a friend of mine lamenting his lack of spark on his P90X2 workout – basically admitting that he wasn’t feeling compelled to do it and had been half-assing some of the workouts. It was his second time through the series. He sounded bored. I commented that it’s really difficult to maintain the level of intensity that P90X requires on a continuous basis and that so long as he was remaining active through “the doldrums”, that was the most important thing. Eventually he’d cycle through and get re-energized or find something inspiring again. I think this is something that everyone who works out goes through – we cycle through intense periods and we cycle through doldrums.

Sleeping through that two mile Blast run was tugging at me and I thought to myself, Self – you’re in a doldrum. That Pig beat you up & you need to beat it back. Take your own advice and get moving. I was also arguing with a wild hair idea that I wanted to go run Lunken that afternoon. Arguing with myself because Lunken is NEVER a satisfying run for me. Why I even thought I wanted to do it, I don’t know. A lot of runners around here like running Lunken – it’s a FLAT 5-mile loop around an airport with options available to extend mileage using out & back offshoots. It’s uninterrupted by roads, lights or stop signs and fabulous for speedwork.

I hate it.

I don’t like flat runs – my booty was made for hills. It’s boring. There is no water anywhere on the loop, so you have to carry water. About 95% of the route is in the sun, unless you go really early or really late. Once in awhile you see a deer or a bunny. That’s the only redeeming factor – I like bunnies. Usually, I get an inclination to run this loop about twice a year, then I run the first mile – get incredibly bored – interval the rest and vow never to do that again. It’s a great walk spot with a friend, but I don’t like running it.

Except for that tugging wild hair saying – go get your run in! go to Lunken! Don’t let the doldrums win!

5 mile loop. In the sun. 75-degrees. Hmmm – that sounds familiar, particularly if you make that 5 miles into 6.84.  And no water. It almost sounded like my brain was setting me up for a rematch of the Pig run. Not having run all week, I knew I didn’t want to do 6.84. In fact, I really wanted to stick with the Blast plan and do the 2 miles, but that didn’t feel right either. Tugging. Get dressed. Tugging. Lace up. Guzzle some water. Tugging. Some sips of Gatorade. Then somehow, I’m in the car and on my way to go run this route that I absolutely can’t stand and not because anyone is making me do it. It’s just tugging at me and I don’t quite know why. All the way there I’m thinking about what I’m going to do with this run. No water on the route in all that sun and heat gives me a good chance of crashing on the far end of the loop if I don’t run smart. No music. I’m still mad at my Garmin for freaking me out but I have it on and have turned it backwards so I can’t really use it. I’ll get the data later because the data isn’t the point of this run.

The point of this run is that I need to do right everything that I did wrong at the Pig. I need to formulate a plan and set a quiet intention. I need to challenge a route that I don’t like and stick to that plan even if the conditions suck & I’m not fueled proper. I need to run smart and LISTEN to myself – act as my own best coach all the way through. I need to get my legs moving and I need to stubborn my way through the doldrums.

I decide that the sheer mind-numbing boredom of this route is challenge enough without trying to work speed or pushing the envelope on the heat. I don’t want to crash on the far end. I decide to run the first 2 miles, walk a mile on the worst part of the run (where the sun is particularly unforgiving), then run the last 2 miles back. That essentially doubles my Blast assignment and reduces the crash risk. It’s also going to give me a workout on my focus – which is the main focus.

From where I am parked, I see a green park bench that will mark the start and end of this task. I use it to stretch out and do some push-ups. Get my mind on. Get moving. I have my mind set on the 1 mile landmark – I am bored before I get there. This is the only route I can name that is worse than a treadmill. I see the 1 mile marker and am sorely tempted to turn back or go straight – options that would give me the 2 mile or 3 mile totals – anything but the turn to the right that will mark heading fully into the loop. I remind myself that this is The Resistance just trying to charm me out of my June PR. I make the turn and focus on one of the two hills on the route – it’s a steep, but very short, incline shortly before the 2 mile point. Once I’m up that incline, there isn’t any point in turning back. Also, I’ll be past the ugly streetside portion and the golfers – a section next to the golf course where I feel like a zoo attraction to the golfers teeing off right next to the path. Only forward. I own that hill. Once upon a time I would’ve been huffing and puffing at the top of that thing fit to die – now I just keeping right on going. My Garmin beeps 2 miles at me and I set a point about a tenth of a mile down the path as my marker. When I get there, I’ll start the walking part. This is the only part of the course where you can really watch the planes take off and land. Two girls who have been behind me since the 1 mile flower urns pass me. I do not like being passed by them, but I have a plan. I need to stick to it. Also, this route is not flat – at least not as flat as everyone thinks. Going clockwise, there is a slight incline almost all the way around. From my vantage, I am reminded of this – I am going up this entire time. On this longest, most boring walk ever. The fact that this portion is a straight shot makes the route feel like one of those hallways that just keeps on going, you think you’re getting to the end but then realize the end is moving farther away from you while you try to reach it. Why am I not at 3 miles yet? Beep 3. Oh – okay. Running now. I want this over with – but again – speed is not the plan. I have realized that I keep picking up speed to reach those two girls, then I remind myself to slow down. It’s still 75-degrees. I’m still in the blazing sun. I still don’t have any water. PACE CONTROL for the win is the name of the game. I play the push and pull game with speed & pace, working mantras, and passing those two girls – who actually glare at me when I do. Oh well – you don’t like it – then catch me! They never caught me. There is a father and son on bikes in the oncoming lane. The father is in front. I watch the kid topple over off the edge of the path into the grass and congratulate him on falling well because that takes skill. Um, dad – your kid fell down went boom! Call me heartless, but I kept on running while I paid the props and alerted the dad. What? He had on a helmet & he fell soft! There was a parent there! If the kid had looked damaged at all, I totally would have stopped. Really! I would! Oh Thank you – the final stretch is the only shady part when you go clockwise! A break from the sun! For 1 minute! 1 minute of shade! Then sun again. And then there’s the park bench – the end point – and I will go strong towards it. I will be stubborn and run every last step towards it and just past it because you don’t stop dead at a finish line.

The plan has been stuck and I’ve met my goal of staying engaged and coaching myself on this dreadful piece of pavement. As a victory celebration, I treat myself to a walk down to the airport super-cold drinking fountain instead of grabbing my hot water from the car. This girl knows how to party!

I haven’t kicked the doldrums, but I have challenged them. They know their days are numbered. Bootcamp yesterday morning. 30 minutes on the dreadmill as a Blast assignment yesterday evening. The dreadmill wasn’t assigned, but it was convenient. While not my running preference, it is a useful tool to control pace when doldrums strike and I need to complete a timed run. Tonight will be another running meet-up with the Blast group and I’ll go do that. 30 minutes. Gotta get it done. Still not feeling excited about it, but if I want that PR in 6 weeks, excited has to take a back seat to stubborn until the doldrums pass. Re-energizing will happen and I intend to be prepared for a really good run when it hits.

Lousy Aftertaste

Posted: 05/14/2012 in Uncategorized
Tags: ,

To get the thing out of the way, I’m just going to say it – I think that almost-7 mile run for the Pig beat me up a little worse than I thought it did. It shouldn’t have. I’ve run further, and harder, in worse weather. But it did – it beat me up a bit. I have had ZERO inclination to run since – and I’m not so sure that it’s even about how that run went that’s made me feel that way – but more about the aftermath. I honestly think I had a wicked-bad case of heat exhaustion afterward and it left a nasty aftertaste in my running shoes.

When we got home from the Pig running and the cheering, I was STARVING and GROSS. Gross to the point that the husband kept all the windows down on the ride home. Gross. Food & shower. Need to get ’em. No biggie there. 30,000 other people had those same priorities. Got that done. Guzzled some water & Gatorade. But then as soon as I sat down, I just felt like ass. In fact, after more water, more Gatorade, a 4-hour nap, Advil, more water, iced coffee, more water, dinner, more Advil and a Coke later- I still barely felt human – exhausted and groggy. Let me tell you – I don’t usually nap after a half-marathon. Too much adrenaline & endorphins going on for too long afterward to nap. I rest, but have never been able to sleep. And I RARELY RARELY RARELY drink pop. So the fact that I slept a LOT (I get about 5-6 hours a night, so a 4-hour nap is a LOT.) AND had a pop. I didn’t feel so hot and I couldn’t find the winning lottery combination to fix me. And this wasn’t even a 13.1 – this was barely over a 10k!!

Yet my groggy head still laid out my clothes for bootcamp the next morning. I wanted to make sure I gave myself the option and I set the alarm. Can always hit the snooze and roll over if I need to. And at the 4:45 alarm, I felt good enough to go – with a promise to myself that I would tap into my water bottle every time I stopped moving. Still felt a little low on the H20. Probably not the smartest decision, but something in my brain told me I needed to get to the gym for some redemption.

Nothing shakes off a bad run like a good workout.

I was totally glad I went. I had a fabulous workout despite an unhappy hamstring and my trainer set up an obstacle course at the end, which is one of my favorite things. Every time we do one of those, I start thinking about finding a beginning “parcour” running group. Then I watch Quantum of Solace and get some sense back in my head. I bruise easy. Parcour looks bruisey. Anyway, we did have to do a SHORT – like 30 feet short – run as part of the obstacle course and I kid you not, as soon as the man said ‘run’ my brain groaned. Like I heard it. Inside my head. And it was loud and kind of like the Wizard of Oz before the curtain gets pulled back. All it said was “RUUUUNN.” It sounded like it was coming from someone else – but nope. It was inside my head. And there was some sort of half-growling groan that accompanied it. Pre-curtain Wizard of Oz in my brain is kind of scary – and it really didn’t want to run. But then I said ‘Suck it WOZ’ and I ran the 30 feet a few times. Got it done.

Tuesday- a running day- my unhappy hamstring said ‘Rest day or else!’. I listened. He was serious. (Yes, I called my hamstring a ‘he’ even though I’m a girl – what of it?)

Wednesday – back to bootcamp. Thursday should’ve been a run day. Friday should’ve been the run day that I skipped on Thursday. Like I said, ZERO interest in running and my stomach in knots all week. Still just didn’t feel like me.

By Saturday, I hadn’t run all week. The running group for the Hyde Park Blast was starting Saturday morning. That being a run that has had my short-distance focus all Spring. I want to run that well and PR it, and prior to the Pig I was pretty excited about that group getting started. Until I rolled over and turned off the alarm clock on Saturday morning. My running shoes gasped in horror. My friend, my friend – you can not PR a run that you will not get out of bed for. And sadly, the first run is the easiest. The Blast is a 4-mile race (moderately challenging route). 4 miles. Four. FOOOOO-UR. So our assignment for the first run was only 2 miles. Easy-peasy.

Or it would have been easy-peasy had I not opted to sleep through it.

ZERO interest. Zip. Zilch. Nada.

Fail. Blatant crap-ass failure.

That pretty much sums up my race experience for the Pig. It was like everything I know about running – and more specifically, about ME running – went right the straight fuck out of my head. In case you were ever wondering, it is possible to be both incredibly overconfident and abysmally sloppy at the same time. Give me the gold star for figuring that out.

Things I know about me running:

  • Where I seed myself is incredibly important. I tend to pace my opening to move with the crowd.
  • I tend towards starting out too fast when I am not paying close attention to NOT doing that – which is why I need to seed myself properly. I use the crowd to keep me tamed until I’m ready to speed up.
  • If I go out too fast, I crash equally fast. My body has a run warm-up process that will not be rushed. So says it and it will be obeyed.
  • If I run with music, I’m not good at listening to my biofeedback or working my mantras. In the background at the gym – AWESOME! – in my ear directly during a run, it’s a huge distraction. I literally can’t hear myself think. For a training run where I can ignore the Garmin, no big deal but I am not mature enough at my speedwork to have music directly in my ear for a race.
  • I usually have a better quality run when I take a few moments to be quiet and focus my intention right before the run. Set an intention. Think over the route one last time. Asses how I feel and take a deep breath.
  • Humidity is evil. It is my Moriarity. Sometimes aggressive, sometimes sneaky – but always, always trying to do me in when it has opportunity. Humidity is as evil as the word ‘moist’. *shudder*

These are the things I knew before I got into the Pig Corral. What did I do when I showed up to the Race?

  • Spent my time before the race & even standing in the corral socializing instead of focusing. Quiet time, schmiet time.
  • Programmed my iPod with some really fast music – and then put it in my ears & hit play. Insert overconfidence here. Somehow I had convinced myself that running with music was going to be really enjoyable – and it would have been had I been focused at all and been running my own race. But I wasn’t.
  • KNEW I’d been signed into the wrong corral & was going to be starting with a group WAY OUT OF MY LEAGUE. I even told my friend who was there (& runs a full 2+ mins/mile pace faster than me) that I was in the wrong place and needed to let them go as soon as we started moving. I put myself as far back in that corral as I could get. My intentions to let them go were good.
  • But then I didn’t let them go. Mind you, I wasn’t pacing them 100%, but I was moving with the crowd. The way-too-fast crowd. Apparently the really fast people are super-skerred of zombies, because I was running like I was running from zombies. Which is excellent considering I’ve been focusing on speedwork and working hard at improving my 5k pace. Not excellent when you’re doubling that distance, plus some. Oh – and it was 60 degrees at 4am (when I got up for this race) with 90% humidity that had me sweating before I even got dressed. I better hope the zombies can’t run further than a 5k or I’m toast.
  • I ignored Moriarty. Really fucking dumb. Change that – REALLY FUCKING DUMB.
  • I did not ignore my Garmin. In fact I found myself looking at it in disbelief way more than I should have saying ‘WTF? Slow down!’ – followed by ‘WTF? Why aren’t you slowing down?’ Some day – that will be good – where I will be running like the wind and all will be well. Pig Day was not that day. Pig Day was the day I saw my run becoming a train wreck I couldn’t look away from and seemed powerless to stop. And my Garmin just had me freaking out even more. Instead of using it to make good decisions about my run, I let it and the heat send me straight into panic mode.

I ran really hard until about 2.5 miles in and then crashed just as hard. We made a turn, went up a small incline, and then into what should’ve been a nice flat 1/2 mile draw before the serious hill started The turn was also into the rising sun – what felt like my personal rising sun sent straight from hell to turn the pavement into a giant oven just to bake me. I couldn’t look up for it being in my eyes, and it seemed like there was a halo around the entire crowd. Considering that the halo could be a sign I was dying, I dropped into a walk/run interval and from that point it was all over. I never got any kind of running mojo – and if the garmin is to be believed, I never held a steady pace from there on out for longer than 30-45 seconds – I yoyo’d all over the place with my pace control right up until the hand-off point.

6.84 miles of really hot failure. I swear I had a plan going into this race. I even visualized how this run would go and how it would feel while I was doing it. But it all just went straight out of my mind when I got moving. *sigh* Rookie mistakes. Lessons hopefully learned.

Things that were good:

  • The husband was super supportive for the whole run. The man rode around the course on his bike to meet me at the handoff and then back at the finish, stuck with me through HOURS of cheering on running buddies he’s never met, talked over me saying I sucked to tell me how wonderful I am, let me bankrupt his iTunes account to load up my playlist, and got up at 4am to paint this on me:   This later became extremely ironic as people were patting me on the back to say ‘thanks’ and ‘dig deep’ as they passed when my deep felt like a shallow grave – also, props to ‘that pink girl’ for the inspiration on the warpainted calves. I totally stole her idea. I can’t find the post, but trust me, I’m a thief. If I ever get the chance to run with that chick, I totally am – she seems like my brand of crazy.
  • I got to know 3 people at my boxing gym a bit better through the relay team – one of whom I didn’t even know until the day before the run. I had to hand off to her. She stayed & hung out with me while I cheered on other people – so I made a new friend.
  • I got to scream my fool head off when my friend Jene not only PR’d her marathon, but beat her former record into the ground with a sledgehammer. Peeps – she shaved 9+ minutes off and became a sub-4 hour marathoner. I was there. I saw it.
  • My boxing trainer (the gym sponsored our relay teams) was on his bike taking pics of the teams and the crowd. He managed to snap some decent photos of me – which we all know how hard it is to come by decent running photos.
  • And finally,This horrible event gave me some fresh perspective on how I want to train for some Summer runs I have coming up – ones where I do want to PR and conditions may be less than desireable. “Remember the Pig!” just became a cautionary mantra for running in the heat.
  • Oh, and yeah, I got to add another one of these to the pile:

On to the next one….