Archive for June, 2012

Race Prep: Hyde Park Blast

Posted: 06/29/2012 in Uncategorized
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The forecast for tomorrow’s 8:00am starting line is mildly hot 79-degrees with a “real-feel” of “yeah, that’s hot” 86-degrees and humidity of “what were you thinking registering for this” 80%. Usually, this is something that would have already been bothering me for days as often I do not do well running through Death Valley in a run under such conditions. A chant of ‘fuckity-fuck-fuck’ would be running through my head.

Instead I am smothering that thinking with a stinky running bra quieting that.

I am reminding myself to set an intention to do what I can do with this run when it begins tomorrow. Reminding myself to leave the expectations and pressures behind. Telling myself that even though I seem to have it in my head that this run & I have a history of bad runs together – I set my pace PR for all of last year on this run and that I am much healthier this year. That I have run this route twice this month and been PROUD of how I’ve run. That I have already conquered all of this course twice to my satisfaction, which also means conquering the very hardest part of it twice, to my satisfaction.

At the beginning of this year, I set a goal to PR this race by 4 minutes. That’s shaving 1 full minute-per-mile off of last year’s PR. An aggressive goal for me. And while I wouldn’t be upset if that happened, I haven’t even looked at the Garmin data from the last two runs of that route to see if it’s reasonably possible. I’m kind of afraid. I really liked how I felt about those two runs – thought I did excellent with the biofeedback and pace control. I’m afraid if I look at the data and it doesn’t support how I felt, if it’s slower than I hope, then it’ll open the door for some negativity to creep in. I don’t want that. I think the past few weeks have changed my initial goal – not to be so concerned about the time and the pace, but rather to stay in a good place mentally, talk myself through tough spots effectively, and respect what my body is telling me about how hard to push and when to pull back. While at the same time not letting myself quit just because things might get hard somewhere in there – call myself out on the bullshit. That is one mouthful of a goal!

Whenever the thoughts about heat and challenge are creeping in, I am beating them back with the mantras that got me through that route twice – “it’s supposed to be hard” and “soak up the goodness” and “push through” and “don’t settle”.

My friend Bean is running the Leadville Trail Marathon tomorrow. I sent her good wishes for fast feet earlier today. That woman is a WARRIOR!  The course profile for Leadville looks like this:

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So, in the morning, when I take off to do my 4-mile race, Bean will be starting a hellacious climb – the first section of which exceeds my run by 2 full miles before her glutes and hamstrings will get a break. If I remember in the morning, I’m intending to write the words ‘hard’ and ‘good’ on my forearm to help keep me focused on positive during my run – if only because “at least you’re not Bean” seems a bit long. 

(Good Luck Bean and Mr. Bean!)

This morning, in a rather hard to explain maneuver, I dropped a grappling dummy on my nose. Yes, on my nose. Not on my face, but smack dab on my nose. Not my finest or least embarrassing moment. Especially with the amount of time I spend at the boxing studio. You would think I would be past such things by this point. Even my trainer, who was present, had to ask me afterward how the hell did I do that?! (Okay, he probably said heck, but whatev…)

Um…when I raised my hips up, it shifted forward, and I ended up going over, and then the back end slipped, and I didn’t control it. The butt of it hit me in the nose…

Um…yeah. Even if I had it on tape, I’m still not sure I could explain it well.

Luckily for me, it was the 30-35lb version and not the 60 lb version. Had it been 60lbs, my nose surely would have broken. Instead, I trotted off to the restroom and had the bleeding stopped pretty quickly. I wiggled the bridge – nothing broken. Probably just bruised – glamorous as that will be at work tomorrow.

Also luckily, we were at the end of our practice. When I returned 2-3 minutes later, my trainer had called the session over. Not that it mattered. I’d already decided that the injury wasn’t serious, and when I came back on the floor, I expected to return to sweating. These things happen once in awhile.

I’ve had sore hamstrings, shin splints, ass tendinitis. I’ve cut open a toe throwing a crescent kick. Numerous rolled ankles – the last one occurring when I was out on a run by myself and had to limp half a mile back to my car. I’ve got two pinched nerves in my back that blow up at their whim. I’ve tripped over a dog while running and ended up with bandages wrapped around both hands that made me look like the stigmata happened.

Most of these injuries a bit embarrassing to explain at the office.

Seriously, just try and explain ASS TENDINITIS to your co-workers. I dare you!

And I’m sure there’s plenty more I’ve forgotten. I’ve fallen down and gone boom my fair share of times. As an athlete, sometimes I get hurt. As athletes, sometimes WE get hurt. It’s part of the risk we take on for the reward. We push our bodies, our limits, even the way we think. Sometimes we push a little far, get a little clumsy or distracted, or rely on equipment only to have it fail. An injury happens.

This past week at group, a girl fell down on the run. Embarrassing. A little traumatizing. A slower runner at the back of the pack – a position I am all too familiar with – the feeling of being slower and alone compounds when something like that happens. The trauma deeper. Even worse, it was her first run with the group. I can only imagine her feelings, but none of what I imagine is good. Coaches talked her through it, but mostly they worried that she wouldn’t come back. Wouldn’t try again.

And that’s really the athlete’s choice, isn’t it? Do we get up or do we stay down?

If you’re going to push your limits on a regular basis, you have to accept that once in awhile, you’re going to find them. At least, if you’re working hard, you will. And that goes for an experienced athlete as much as it does for a beginner. Out of the hundreds of thousands of steps we take running, occasionally one of them is bound to go wonky. When you choose to spend time in a boxing studio, odds are that, at some point, you’ll get a bad hit by accident. Either one you throw, or one you receive. Statistically, it’s inevitable. We fall down. We go boom. We find limits.Then what do we do? Respect them and keep a comfortable distance? Recover and work to strengthen ourselves, so we can push against them again? An individual choice for each of us. Do you want to box your experiences in or keep opening them up? When we decide whether to stay down or get back up, that’s the choice we make. Do we stay within safe boundaries or are we still willing to explore?

It made me sad to think that the girl won’t come back to group. The coaches seemed pretty convinced she wouldn’t. I hope she surprises them and gives it a shot again. But that’s her choice, not mine. I already know what my choice would be, because I’ve been there, done that. More often than not, things go well. Once in awhile, you end up punching yourself in the face with a grappling dummy to start off a Monday morning. How it affects the rest of the week… well – for me – it won’t. Not really. I’ve learned something about my limits, even if it bruised the bridge of my nose. But more importantly for me, I learned something about exploring a new move with the grappling dummy and now I know what to do next time when I go too far over, and the weight shifts, and I don’t have control over it…

Namely, protect my nose.

All Overdue

Posted: 06/22/2012 in Photos, Uncategorized
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I only finished one of these. Can you guess which one?

All of them grossly overdue. I think sometimes you just have to be in the right place to read a thing, and the timing on these wasn’t quite right. Pick it up. Put it down. Pick it up. Put it down. Leave it down. Pick it up. Put it down. Leave it down. Leave it down longer. Dust it. Leave it some more…

Time to send these back. Maybe try them on again later.

PS – The last post was a little long. Bloviated, as Cultfit would say. I’ll try to keep the next few short in penance.

Intention. Expectation.

Since last week’s post, I’ve been mulling some more about how I’ve been treating this whole running thing I do. What goes on in my thought process. How I feel about it and how I need to feel about it. Intention and expectation, running laps around the track in my head.

Another good run with the group last night – 3.5 miles in 87-degree heat and lots of sun, again on a less-than-favorite route. Conditions under which I would normally tank. Dislike of the route would put me into a negative frame of mind before I even got there, and then the heat would do me in. I would talk to myself about how hard the run was and that I just couldn’t handle it any longer because of heat and fatigue and sun and global warming because we should blame everything on global warming. It’s okay to crash because running is hard! Making excuses for myself, I’d end up walking as much as running and using the extra time it took to finish to alternately beat myself up and then coddle my sad outer inner almost-last-place-finisher. In fact, this is part of how I started intervalling 3:1’s in the first place – to enforce some modicum of discipline over how much negative thought I would entertain and how long I would walk. Oh, and to recover from an injury, there was that too. But the thing is, I don’t think I really knew that my self-talk BEFORE the run was having the HUGE impact that it seems to have. Armed with a boat-load of mantras, I thought my inner running monologue was REALLY GOOD. Intervalling was going very well, though I still wasn’t getting results I wanted. I could finish a run with my dignity intact – that was a plus – but for a long time, something has still felt ‘off’ about my thinking and I didn’t know what it was.

If my running monologue is REALLY THAT GOOD, why am I still crashing on runs? Shouldn’t all those peppy mantras be able to get me to keep running come-what-may? Often times, my will would crash before my body did. Yes, I’d be out of breath – but my legs would feel fine and yet, for some reason, I just couldn’t keep going.

I didn’t realize that while I’d armed myself with mantras, I’d also armed myself with excuses to fail. It’s hot. It’s hard. I don’t like the route. My favorite running peeps didn’t show up. I haven’t worked out in a day or so. I’m not fueled well today. I’m just not feeling it. I’m not built for this. Some reasonable (like the fueling thing), but for the most part just a lot of wussing out before my feet even hit pavement.  All runners know running is more a mental game than physical. Once my brain quit the run, my body followed in short order. I’d think these thoughts before I got started, give them more power as I went into a crash, and then cite them as the reason for failure at the end.

Then I started thinking about intention-setting. I’d had a ‘make a plan, stick the plan’ approach and mantra for running, but that didn’t really work for bootcamp/boxing since I didn’t know what we were going to be doing each morning. I couldn’t make a plan. I had to walk in open to trying anything and sweating for everything. Hitting a breaking point one day, I asked myself ‘WTF did you come here for? If you aren’t going to work hard, you might as well have stayed in bed!‘.

What did I come here for? To be better. stronger. faster. This is, literally, the ridiculous but dead serious answer I gave myself. Apparently I went there to become Lee Majors. I WILL REBUILD ME!

However ridiculous, that response got me moving again in the moment. I started making it a habit to ask myself that as I was getting started before every bootcamp. And it was making a difference. Through the workout, I could revisit that intention statement – check in with myself – am I meeting that intention?  Though not nearly perfect, doing that was making a positive difference in how I felt about my workouts at the very least. I felt better at the end of the session. So a few weeks ago, I started transferring that same intention-setting frame to running. Taking a quiet moment (when I remembered) to ask myself – what’s your point with this? what are you here to do? – before I got out of my car.

Except with running, that statement of intent wasn’t working nearly as well. Why?

Having had that epiphany about my thought process on expectations last week has brought some of the failings of my intention-setting approach to running into a more crystalline view. With boxing, not knowing what the workout was to be in advance, I really couldn’t set much of an expectation for myself. Just state an intent and then do my best to meet it. This lack of expectation is what I think made the difference. With running, even if I didn’t know the exact route planned, I knew where to meet and so could make an educated guess about it. I had plenty of time to think about weather and fuel and how do I feel? Boxing is at 5:30 in the morning – I always feel tired and it is always dark out. And frankly, I’m just not awake long enough to give excuses much thought before we get moving. With running, I have a pace history and a race history, and a mental roadmap of hills I have excelled on and routes that have whomped on me. I have a good expectation as to how a run would go in both a best and worst case scenario before I start running.

With running, I have the ability to overlay expectation onto intention. Hmmm. Now to suck that out of my brain like a rabid zombie…(can zombies get rabies since they’re already dead?)

I went into yesterday’s run with a focus on retaining the FEELING of the past two weeks – to not spend too much time on considering obstacles – yes, there is a hill, I will run the hill –  and instead prepare for success. I made sure I was fueled well for the heat, had time to stretch, and then said once again to not put an expectation on the run. Do the route. Adjust the pace as needed. Don’t worry about the history on that particular route (not good). Keep the intention to respect what my body is saying – but call myself out on the bullshit of expectation/excuses. Don’t give in to it. Get it done.

I am not sure if they were running slower with the heat (probably), or if my restated focus just let up enough pressure to speed me up a bit, but I ended up pacing with a group a little faster than my usual pack. A little faster. I toughed-out some hard parts I’ve failed on previously. Somewhere in there, “soak up the goodness” made it into my run mantras along with my standard 90-counts, 3-counts, thatpinkgirl cheering HARD! and NUTRIA! into my brain and steena telling me to HTFU!!. (No, I don’t know why I adopted the Nutria! mantra, except that it makes me giggle.) In the heat, I reminded myself that this running thing is supposed to feel hard – that means I’m pushing myself. And I pushed myself straight through that whole route, noticing the bitching and moaning of other runners a little more than usual, as well as standing as an observer outside of my own bitching and moaning for a moment.

It’s hot! BULLSHIT – you knew that and you dressed for it. It’s hard! BULLSHIT! If it weren’t hard, everyone would do it! It’s SUPPOSED TO BE HARD! This sun is beating down on me! Oh Good Grief! Just shut-up about it and think about snowcones.

(Sidebar: I’m sorry, but in 87-degree heat, if all you’re doing on a run is complaining about how hot it is, you’re an asshole. We all know it’s hot. Making me think even more about how hot it is is just not nice. I started shouting out ‘cold’ words randomly into the crowd – SNOWFLAKES! GELLATO! LEMON CHILL! MEAT LOCKER! OOOOOOOOOHHH – MEEEAT LOCKKKER!! I’m just saying – when you’re running in the heat, a meat locker is a good mental image to hold onto. Yes, I’m weird. Like you didn’t know. I digress…)

I called myself out on the bullshit that would normally make me drop to a walk and then I pushed myself to run past it. I kept my water stop speedy and ran away from it. I made myself get up the hills. I ran all the way through the stoplights and crosswalks because ‘you don’t walk to the finish line’. And most essentially, I kept my ass moving in a way that I could be proud of.

I HAD A REALLY GOOD RUN – INSIDE AND OUT, BEFORE AND AFTER.

I could probably spend more than a few nights analyzing why I didn’t expect that ending from myself to begin with, but for now – I think I’ll just let this process sink in and enjoy the outcome. With a beer.

This morning, I was checking out a listing of local runs/races to see if anything piqued my interest for the weekend more than my usually scheduled training runs, when I ran across the Heart Chase. In the description was the sentence fragment:

“No one gets healthy by accident…”

And I thought to myself, Damn. How true is that?

My life and lifestyle have changed DRAMATICALLY since I started making concious and educated choices about the work I’m asking of my body every day and the fuel I’m putting in it. I walk into every single day with a plan for how much activity I need and/or want, and how I’m fitting that into my schedule. Also, I do not consume food carelessly. I wouldn’t call myself obsessed by any means, but I am trying to lose weight, and that means that I really do need to think through everything I put in my mouth. The phrase “You can’t outrun your fork” is what I use to beat back temptation when there’s lasagna on the lunch buffet. Not that I don’t chuck it all and spend a day eating pizza in my jammies here and there, but that’s an exception now rather than the rule it had been. Carefully considered consumption. Be a person of motion. Those are the new rules for me. So reading that phrase – that “no one gets healthy by accident’- struck a powerful chord with me.

I like it. A lot.

And then the mind wandered to thinking about some of the recent conversations I’ve had surrounding health. Someone told me the other day that I was lucky to have my health. This is partly true. I’ve gotten some lucky DNA – strong bones, good teeth, rockin’ immune system. But for the overall result, luck has less to do with it than choosing to get up at 5:30am to go workout 3 days-a-week, with running in-between, and hitting up the salad bar instead of the grill every day for lunch. Good DNA only gets you so far. You have to earn the rest. I still have a ways to go with losing some weight, being the runner I want to be, trimming off some body fat, but I’m getting there. I’m earning it. Without shortcuts, because taking the long way around will pay off better in the long run.

My health is not an accident. Nor does it have anything to do with luck. My health is about sweat, and cussing at my trainer 20lb kettlebells, and talking myself through runs up ginormous hills, and spinach instead of iceburg, and ‘yuck, I can feel the salt on my face’ or ‘crap, I just got sweat in my eyes’. It’s about owning more running capris than I do regular pants, tripping over 3 pairs of running shoes in different states of wear, and smelling really bad on a regular basis. It’s about not wearing makeup to the gym because there’s no point when I’m planning to sweat so hard it will melt off. It’s about working so hard that I forget I don’t have makeup on and that my hair is drenched in sweat when I’m talking to my workout/running companions. It’s about doing a lot of laundry that brings out my ‘stinkface’. It’s about walking to my car in the early morning dark with my gym bag before there’s another light on in any of my neighbors houses. It’s about being grateful that my husband is willing to get up 10 minutes early to let the dog out so that I don’t have to worry about rushing home the second my workout is over, and that neither my carpool or my boss care if I’m 10 minutes late to work since my workout puts me in a better mood for the day.

None of that is accidental. Or lucky. It’s hard work and hard choices. And totally worth it.

So the running doldrums have been passing slowly. I stubborned-through some more treadmill time to keep the legs moving and work on focus, then last Tuesday (the 5th) I headed off to running group as usual, talking to myself in the car about what my intention was for the run and half-expecting it to be hard. Another run to stubborn-through. And then it hit me…

What if I didn’t put that on myself before I started running?

*That* thought – that the run would be hard. What if I just didn’t go there? What if I just went to group, and started out slow, and decided to have a good run in whatever form that took? Not worry about what my pack is doing, or what my Garmin is saying, or if I feel tired before I even start. What if I just relax and go? Slow down if I need to. Walk if I really need to. But basically just enjoy the run and see what happens.

I set my Garmin to 3:1 intervals as a safety net in case I started to crash in the heat, but put it on backwards so I couldn’t read the times or worry about pace. I decided to run continuously until I felt the need to do otherwise, then I put myself in the back of the pack and set out slow. And honestly – it was FABULOUS! I just let the run go before I even started so I wasn’t putting any pressure on myself. When I got frustrated at the pace of the people in front of me, I knew it was time to pass & speed up. This made for a nice progressive warm-up. My Garmin beeping off the intervals was comforting somehow – even though I was ignoring it and running continuously. (It was a really nice cue as to when people in front of me were going to drop to a walk, so I could move left when they moved right and not run straight up their asses.) A co-worker of mine was keeping pace with me just over my left shoulder, so when she caught up with me for the third time, I let it be a challenge to keep her behind me, which pushed me into some unplanned fartleks. I ended up passing a lot of people, running continuously on a route I would normally interval, and finishing before TWO of my coaches. IT WAS A REALLY GOOD RUN and one I hadn’t unexpected to have when I laced up my running shoes.

Hmmm. What if I didn’t put on the expectations? What if I just set an intention to have a good run and listen to my body respectfully? That’s some new thinking. I have been really focused on setting intentions lately – to a successful end when I do it – but I hadn’t taken the time to examine how I had tied expectation and intention together…

So, fast forward to yesterday, and I hadn’t run since that last one. D’OH!! I had workouts scheduled, but everything got thrown out the window after Wednesday’s bootcamp when we got offered some EXCELLENT Reds tickets for Thursday and Friday night. In our house – you don’t turn down these kind of seats to baseball. Hot dogs and cheap beer cost me my Thursday night & Saturday morning runs, as well as Friday’s bootcamp. Life and choices. Oh well, I had a good time at the games and I can’t ever be sad about a date with my husband. That’s worth a missed run or two.

Monday’s boot camp was all about shaking off the long slugfest and bad food choices of the weekend. Which took me into Tuesday’s group run having not run for a week and being a bit behind on the fitness routine. The group was doing the first pass of the route for the Hyde Park Blast, which is 3 weeks away. It was 80+ degrees and sunny, and this is a route that challenges me on a few levels. Once again, less than ideal conditions for me. And I started to talk to myself about it on the way there, telling myself again that it would probably be a hard run with the heat and the sun, that I should interval it so I didn’t crash in the heat, that I didn’t make it all the way up Erie hill the last time I did that part of the route, that that hill really sucks…and then I thought, well – I had a really good run last Tuesday, it’s kind of tragic that I let go of that momentum when I could’ve used it for a good run tonight…

And then I stopped again. Could’ve used it? So I can’t use it because I haven’t run since? WHY AM I THINKING THAT?

I haven’t run since, but the last run I had was good. And I didn’t expect it to be. So, why not just soak that up? Soak up a little of that unexpected goodness. What if I don’t put on the expectation that this is hard and instead I just go do it? And I start at the back, and I just let myself be happy with it however it comes to pass? What if I don’t have to expect a damn thing from this run other than that I do it?

Can I set the intention to just do it and not expect anything from it? Kinda label it “lessons to be learned later”? And damned if it didn’t happen again!

After a whole week of not running, I had a pretty damn good run last night! Not particularly fast (though I really don’t know since I had the Garmin on backwards again and haven’t looked at the data from either run) – smart decisions on water stops – talked myself up the ginormous hill that is a trouble spot on that route – couple of fartleks at the end when I didn’t want to get passed – and I felt good about the entire run. It was sooo nice! I ran continuously except for one little spot after a water stop where I gave myself time to burp before I started running again – sometimes you need to let the burp happen, meh.

Interesting. Not the burp. The run thinking is interesting. The burp, most certainly uninteresting.

I still haven’t had that nuclear run yet. The one where the doldrums are finally over and it feels like someone shoved a rocket up your bum. But I am enjoying what’s happening with setting the expectations aside. I need to think on that for a bit and I wonder, do other runners feel that push and pull – of intention v. expectation? Do they run better when they set one over the other? Which is more important? Curious things to consider.

 

Mistery Mystery

Posted: 06/10/2012 in Photos, Uncategorized
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When we were gutting the kitchen Summer before last, between the layers of old linoleum, plywood, and ancient painted oak subflooring, there were layers of newspapers. Mostly from the 1970’s – 1976, I think. Not a huge find, but it added a bit of interest to an afternoon of prying hundreds of nails and industrial staples out of the floor with a crowbar.

Two weeks ago, Eric commenced with tearing off our front porch – one more step in a really huge project we’ve undertaken. At the bottom of the pile of rubble getting loaded on the dump truck was this beautiful piece – torn from the roofing:

So tell me, how does a piece of metal, with the name of a village in Wales (Pontymister) – a village that specializes in scrap steel from steam trains – come to be part of a 110+ year-old roof on a porch in Cincinnati, Ohio not too far from the train tracks?

Now *that*, my friends, is way more interesting than a 1976 inter-linoleum Enquirer.

I swear, if my tetanus shot were up to date, I would just want to hang this on a wall as art and pet it all the time. Tell me that “C. Vos” isn’t the most gorgeous script ever. Absolutely amazing.

The K4K RGI River Run 5k took place about 2 weeks ago, I just haven’t gotten around to writing about it yet. Mainly because I just didn’t feel like it, but also because it seemed like every single post was starting to be a race recap and part of me was like “look at me go! Wahoo!” and the other part was all “another race recap, seriously don’t you do anything else?”. Wait – that was the chorus of voices in my head that represents you guys, not me. You guysssss need some nicer representation. I’m just sayin’.

On the surface, this run looks like a pretty harmless little 5k – there are 4 bridge crossings, back-and-forth across the Licking River Bridge then over the Taylor-Southgate Bridge and Purple People Bridge that span the Ohio River. Elevation rolls over a 200-250′ range, mostly as a result of ramping on and off the bridges. However, because people don’t tend to plant trees on bridges, there is almost no shade – just a 2 minute little pocket of it somewhere near mile 1 and another 30 second pocket of it almost to mile 3.

It was over 80-degrees at the 9:30am start, with a “real feel” of the flaming fires of hell 95-degrees due to the humidity. These weather conditions are pretty consistent for this race. I don’t know why, but every freakin’ year, hot & sunny. You can tell I’m a runner by the way the words hot & sunny make me frown. Not even a random cloud in the sky. I can’t say any other run I’ve done more than a few times has been so consistent with weather conditions that are absolutely crappy for my body. Weird. And probably cursed.

So if the conditions are so consistently awful, why do I keep doing it? Because I’m cheap. I get a free entry and it’s chip timed. You shouldn’t pass on a free chip-timed run, right? Or at least that’s what I tell myself every year until I see my final chip time, and then I’m muttering ‘it’s free to skip it too, you ninny!’.

One water stop at around 1.5-6. 

I knew from the get-go that this one was going to be a challenge for me based on the conditions, the fact that I have a bad history with this run, and the fact that I seem to have amnesia as to how bad this route is for me. It NEVER goes well for me, and now I’m thinking that since that’s the expectation I have of it, that’s what I get. I had a strategy to deal with it, as I usually do, and as I usually do, I ended up chucking it into the murky depths below the bridge.

With the heat, I went extra slow for the first mile – which was exactly according to the plan – but still felt like I was struggling and just couldn’t get my breath. I was trying to be good and disciplined, and told some running friends at a party later that I was actually proud that “Mile 1 went exactly like I planned it”. To this, Coach Caroline responded with “It should’ve. Mile 1 was the easiest part!”. I heart Coach Caroline. I know her intentions are good but I still want to trip her. Also, I found myself wanting water before I hit the mile 1 marker. That wasn’t good. I was well hydrated going into the run and usually, I don’t really think about water until I get to mile 3 or 4 when I’m out around town. Hmph.

With the struggling, I gave myself permission to walk for a minute at the Mile 1 marker. From there, all the little pep-talkers in my head went on strike, self-discipline went straight out the window and I basically quit the run. And then I saw the worst part of the run – the one my amnesia blocks out completely – where a downhill part of the run meets the worst uphill part of the run – at a 90-degree angle. I hate it when that happens! Especially, since you can’t really adjust your track in a crowd to swing wide and move continuously. It feels like downhill, downhill, downhill. STOP. Oh-my-f’ing-god-UPHILLLLLLImaydie. And every muscle in your lower back gets cranky simultaneously until they kick your glutes to wake up and pitch in again. When I hit that turn, I know why I can never remember much of the race or the feel of the route – BECAUSE I’VE BLOCKED THE PAIN.

I did do a bit more running on the route – probably more than I’m giving myself credit for – but my ending pace time was the worst time I’ve had since this same run last year. And I shit-talked myself the entire way to the finish line – including a few “i suck at this” and “maybe I just need to not race anymore” statements. I couldn’t poke my happy place with a very long stick from where I was in my head. Sometimes that’s the breaks. I’m just glad it’s over with.

All that being said, I will say this is one impressively organized little 5k! Everything is laid out well and the water station is well manned. They have some serious sponsorship for the goody bag – free appetizer at P.F. Chang’s, free Chick-fil-A sandwich, 3 different bottles of lotion (bigger than sample sizes), a $10 off $50 at the local running store, and a few other things. ANNND, they have First Watch – a local breakfast joint – serve waffles after the run, with a live local band. ANNND Starbucks handing out coffee before the run and cups of ice afterward. ANNND, the bar across the street gives out a coupon for a free hot dog or pretzel and beer or soda immediately after the run! I skipped the waffles, but you know I got my beer & hot dog on with my running buddies afterward! We were all stinky, but the bar had the windows open, so it was okay.

So basically, this one got me again. My bad for not taking it really seriously beforehand again. Note to self – at least go drive this route once before the run so you can remember what you need to do to get it done and plan better.

 

From a parade a few weeks ago.

This pretty much sums up how I have felt about a great deal of my life.