Saturday, March 31, 2012

Jackpot winner - spoiler alert: it wasn't me

When training for my first marathon, hitting new distances for the first time on my long runs was always an exciting little boost. Now I'm getting that same adrenaline high on the bike while training for the half ironman. Yesterday Lily and I hit 40 miles for the first time, and while it nearly killed me, it also felt good (when it was over).

I had a half day of work to kick off spring break, so once I was finally freed from that never ending hell, it was time for the big ride. I was actually pretty nervous going in, 40 miles just seemed SO far. 

This ride had it all - busy rush hour traffic with little to no shoulder, uphills that destroyed my will to live, and downhills that I was positive were actually going to take away my ability to live. I honestly haven't been frightened (nervous maybe) going down hills recently, but we went down one never ending, winding route that looked like it was going to drop us off the edge of the earth. When we finally reached the bottom, Lily pulled up next to me and said "I'm not scared of hills, but I was praying for my life on that one" and even Mike, the expert cyclist, had to brake on the way down. We had plenty of time to discuss all this because we couldn't continue until Lily and I waited for our hands to stop shaking.
40 miles and still smiling
40.5 miles, total ascent 4,031 feet, top speed 38.6 mph. Next time you are going around 36mph in a car, stop for a second and imagine going that speed without all that nice protective steel around you. It's a little nerve wracking.

Despite all that, I really enjoyed the majority of the ride. We got to see all sorts of beautiful views and multi - million dollar houses.

After the ride, we enjoyed a night filled with all of my favorite things - pajamas, delicious food, wine, and frozen yogurt. Last year, I kicked off spring break by going to dinner with Lily and Jackie. This year, we decided to up the ante and get Indian takeout and eat it on Jackie's couch in our pajamas. It was the right choice. Jackie introduced me to my new favorite red wine. 

I never would have guessed that my late 20s would have just as many slumber parties as my early teens did, but I'm quite pleased with that fact.

As always, I was quite the wild party animal.

I would have thought such a fabulous night would have been impossible to top, but I returned home today to a package in the mail. My mom got me this:

Seriously - best mom ever.
I did have a bit of a let down when I woke up this morning and realized that someone in Baltimore County was $640 million dollars richer, and yet it wasn't me. I can't believe the winner was so close!

What's the FIRST thing you would do if you won the jackpot? The absolute most immediate crazy purchase you would make? Don't say donate to charity, that's all well and good, but it's no fun to fantasize about. I can't decide on the first thing, but I'd definitely start my own marathon. The way to qualify would be to prove you are slower than me, so I would win.

Friday, March 30, 2012

I hate inspirational quotes

I've frequently waxed poetic about how much I love running groups. This is my second year as a member of the Baltimore Area Triathlon Club (BATC) and it's equally as wonderful. Last year they offered beginner rides that pretty much taught me to ride a bike.

Now that summer is coming, and triathlon training is back in full swing, they are starting to have a lot of events again. Last night was a brick workout. I typically get a bit panicky on my way there and contemplate turning around. This club has a lot of hard core triathletes doing things like training to win their 10th Ironman, and they don't really want to do a group ride with me plodding along at 13mph (I think that's like a 13 minute mile in running or something, I don't really know, but it's slow). At least, in my mind they don't. No one in the club has ever been anything other than nice, welcoming, and patient.

It was ironic, because I was listening to a Jillian Michaels podcast about ignoring your inner critic on the way there. I'm not really into "self help" literature but I love Jillian so much that I'll listen to anything she says.

Anyway, I'm not trying to spout off some "inspirational" BS about how I ignored my inner critic, just trying to say that I freaked out for nothing, as I tend to do 16 times a day, then had a great ride and met some cool girls. One of them had done the HAT 50K last weekend and won her age group (if you are local, be impressed). Not that I talked to her since she was flying and at least half a mile ahead of me the entire time.

The BATC appears to seek out the hilliest possible bike routes for their rides, which is really good for me, as I tend to seek out the flattest possible routes when left to my own devices. There was seriously no flat parts, it was either climbing hills or going down them. I even passed someone on a downhill, which is quite a rarity for me. We rode just under 15 miles and then a few of us changed to running shoes for a brick. We did about 2.5 miles on a nearby trail. I was pretty excited since I have done almost no trail running since the 50 miler.

Due to my showering (or lack thereof) practices discussed on my last post, I was shamed into showering, even though I got home late and was going to be up early for a swim. HAHA. Just kidding. I won't be shamed by a bunch of strangers on the internet, or even my real life friends and family. It was just that I was still sweaty when I got home, since the bike ride wasn't too far away. As many people who live life on the wild side without constant showers (like me) mentioned, once the sweat is dry, it's like the workout never happened. I think that's a totally acceptable distinction, IF you are working out again in the near future. 

This morning I did another ladder workout in the pool. I did it once (two minutes faster than last time) and then repeated it to extend my swim a little bit. 75 minutes flew by. I can't believe I wasted so many swims just going back and forth. 

In exactly 4.5 hours, my spring break begins. Maybe I'll actually take some pictures so I don't have to keep trying to amuse you with random crap from Pinterest.

Which one do you think my spring break will more closely resemble? Spoiler alert - I agree with Belle.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Triple brick?

I've heard real triathletes talk about a "triple brick" and I think I may have done one of those yesterday. Based on what they said, it didn't seem that official "triple bricks" have a bunch of teaching children and meetings and driving in the middle, but close enough. 

Yesterday, I swam before work, and then biked and ran after work. See, I even got all the sports in the right order. I thought it was the first time that I'd ever done all three during training but then I remembered I've done two swim/bike/run events that the triathlon club has hosted. Still, those felt more like races, they even had transition areas set up and everything. So, this was the first time I just did one on my own/with my training buddy.

Lily and I did a loop of the BWI trail (plus a little extra to make it a full 15 miles) last night, followed by a 30 minute run. I think I need to man up and run a little faster on these bricks, even though I'm tired because it's past my bedtime. It's only 3 miles or so.

By the time I got home it was around 9pm, and I needed to leave by 5:10 am to get to Lily's to run the following day. As I whined about yesterday, that really isn't enough sleep for me, but I only have 2.5 days to go until spring break, so I guess I can pull through. Obviously I didn't waste any precious sleep time on showering at night, so that helped.

We did 6 miles this morning, and they were slow. I need to run faster. That seems to be a common theme here. Despite being slow, it was a good run, except I felt so out of breath. Who knows what my problem is?

As usual, I don't have any pictures, so I'll share this one of two of my favorite things ever combined.

Blurry, yet awesome.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

A nagging concern

This past weekend I saw The Hunger Games twice within 24 hours. Now all I want to do is watch it every single day. There is also one, and only one, concern in my life right now. 

WHO WILL PLAY FINNICK? This has really been plaguing me. Especially with my plan of going to NC when they start filming to be a professional stalker. 

I do have one other slight concern. Seeing the movie made me a little nervous about my eventual motherhood (notice I said "eventually", this is not a hint). Not because I fear a new government policy that will involve reaping children into death arenas, but because I got only 5 hours of sleep after the movie, and was completely unable to function the following day. (Obviously I pulled it together to see the movie again, but that was it). Then I slept for like 10 hours the next night. I've reached the age where I have many friends with children, and from what I hear, that's not going to fly.

I know it's not exactly typecasting, but I really feel Dolvett could nail the Finnick role. 
Can't you just see him with a Trident?

One time this used to be a blog where I talked about training for races, so I'll try to get over my HG obsession and move back to that. I woke up Saturday to a notification (I love you iPhone) that my group ride was canceled since it was pouring outside with crazy thunderstorms. That basically killed my entire motivation to do anything movement related all day. I managed to get in an hour on the trainer with Felicity, and an hour of intense dancing at the bar later that night. I was sweating and had to put my hair up, so it counts.

Sunday was also supposed to be full of thunderstorms, so Lily and I decided to postpone our long bike ride until this Friday, when she has off and I have a half day of work. The sun was out by 3 or 4 pm, so, technically I could have done something other than read a book all day. FAIL. To be fair, I did manage to walk to the car so Eric could take me to DQ for a blizzard. I'm a true role model of health.

Monday was full of further fails. I didn't get up to swim in the morning. After work, I took my bike off the trainer, strapped it to my car, and headed to a group ride, only to discover that the beltway was a parking lot, so I got off at the nearest exit, went home, and put the bike back on the trainer and did a spin DVD.

Football players motivate me

One time Ray Lewis had a restaurant, and I went there, and there were mice running around under the tables. This was a better experience with his products. I nearly died doing this workout.

This morning I made up my missed swim workout, and even managed to use my own towel afterwards. Additionally, Emily from Journey to the Center of Manhattan suggested I do a ladder speed workout in the pool. Having looked up the time cutoff for my HIM yesterday, it wasn't a moment too soon to work on some speed in the pool. Doing speed intervals felt insanely tough but it also made the hour fly by, and apparently made me look hardcore, because the lifeguard complimented me after I was finished.

Are you able to function on a lack of sleep? Should I start building up my tolerance now so when the time comes I can easily survive on 40 minutes a night?

Does dancing count as a workout, if it's serious dancing? We were the only ones on the dance floor and we were really working it.

Friday, March 23, 2012

The time I pretended to be a movie critic

Last night was the night I'd been waiting many long months for. The Hunger Games premier. At midnight.

Yesterday, it was even harder to get through work than normal, even though fellow Hunger Games fanatics were there.

So professional
When I was finally done with work, I still had a whole 8 hours to fill before the movie. I'd like to think I used them productively. 

We'd invited a bunch of friends who were also crazy enough to stay up until midnight to watch the movie over for coffee and hair braiding.


Upon arrival, everyone was informed that they'd have to shoot some game in hopes of trading it at The Hob for coffee.

Tributes also challenged each other in the arena.

We arrived at the theater a little before ten, and completed the final preparations in order to stay awake until midnight.

 Movie theater photos suck - the preparation was 5 hour energies. Then, it was a lot of hurry up and wait. Eric worked on words with friends, Lily frantically tried to finish the book, and my friend Mary took a little nap break.


Turns out, Taco Bell was onto something with their whole "Fourth Meal" idea. I had eaten a normal dinner around 6:30, and I was starving by 11pm. Naturally I had a ton of chocolate in my purse, but I felt I needed some real food. The new Dorito Taco that I have been dying to try would have been perfect for this moment (like Kari I never claimed this was a healthy living blog), but of course I couldn't leave the theater. Lindsay and I shared some pretzel bites after spending about 20 minutes preparing mustard for dipping. 

Of course, I was still hungry after that (totally, because I ran six miles that morning, not just that I love to eat so much), so I cozied up to Eric, who'd gotten pretzels with nacho cheese and mozzarella sticks. I'm a huge cheese snob. I refuse to buy any cheese that's low fat, sliced, or shredded, because they all taste inferior. However, apparently my tastes change after my usual bedtime because the neon orange "nacho cheese" that the movie theater sells tasted like heaven. So did the mozzarella sticks. I kind of wish we'd brought the rest home for breakfast now.

The movie was phenomenal. My hopes had been so high for months, to the point where I was worried nothing could live up to them, but it really did. The acting, the sets, everything, was just amazing. My heart was pounding the entire time (and I was bawling approximately 4 minutes in). Unlike a midnight show of a Twilight movie (my only other experience) there was no screaming from teenagers, in fact, the theater was almost eerily silent, I think because it was such an incredible story, and so much tension watching it. Other than wishing it was twice as long so they wouldn't have had to speed so much of the plot up, it was perfect. Also, I mainly wrote that paragraph to brag because most people haven't seen it yet.

Today is my rest day, and not only did I take off from work, but Eric and I are going to finally watch The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (another trilogy I loved, and saw all the Swedish movies). Then we're going to see The Hunger Games again. Seriously. Eric got invited by his coworkers, and I wasn't about to just sit home like a chump and be jealous. I already can't wait to see it again though, it was that good.

If you haven't read the books and don't know what I'm talking about, first of all, it's hard to imagine you would have made it to this point in the post. Second of all, I'm sorry. For so many reasons.

When are you going to see The Hunger Games?

Wednesday, March 21, 2012


So far, my "don't suck at life" plan this week is going pretty well. 3 bike rides, 3 days in a row. I'm positive this is a personal record. As much as I bitched and moaned about losing my hour of sleep for daylight savings time, getting in outside rides instead of watching Felicity on the trainer is likely to prove beneficial during my triathlon. 

Last night, I met Lily after work and we did yet another loop of the BWI trail (we did three loops of this trail for our long ride on Sunday). I love this trail, but I really need to find some other places to ride. One loop gave us about 15 miles, and we rode a little bit faster than Sunday (still extremely slow by expert cyclist standards). The comments on yesterday's post reminded me that last year at this time I knew even less than I do now about cycling, so since most of my readers are runners, I should just quantify biking workouts with descriptions like "slow" "slower" "slowest" or, ideally, "less slow".

After the ride we did a 30 minute run, also slow.

This morning was another hour long swim. I really need to figure out some actual swim workouts because back and forth across the pool for an hour is pretty monotonous and I'm already sick of it. I did change it up today and did about half the swim in breaststroke. 

After the swim things got really awesome. I always feel really shaky and out of it when I return to being horizontal on land for a minute or two. I was toweling off when another woman paused at the end of the lane to politely ask if I was using her towel. I was about to tell her she was crazy, because I remembered bringing that exact towel to the gym. On Monday. Unfortunately for her, I'd brought a completely different one today. She was really nice about it and accepted all of my 72 apologies and just went back to her swim. I really give her credit because I can't imagine anything worse than swimming happily along, getting your workout in, only to see some total stranger rubbing your towel all over their body.

On the bright side, I'm about to eat some Peanut Butter Cheerios from Emily for breakfast. Also, I woke up to find out that this had been posted on my Facebook wall.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Return to the Scene

A little less than a year ago, I bought my bike and went on my first real ride (as in, not in a parking lot) with a beginner's group hosted by the local triathlon club. It was pretty much the worst night of my life. I was totally unprepared to be riding in traffic and down hills and it was essentially a ten mile complete panic attack. I still remember the terror.

Yesterday I got an email that the triathlon club was hosting Monday night rides again, starting from the same spot. I'm pretty far behind where I want to be training-wise for the HIM, so any time I can get in on the bike needs to happen. Not going to lie though, the idea of going back to that specific spot for a ride made me pretty anxious. There's a really awesome Hunger Games reference I could make here. I don't want to include any spoilers, but I'm sure true fans can figure out what I'm thinking.

Only one other person showed up, and the two of us had a great ride. We started out on the same hilly panic attack route down a busy road in rush hour, with approximately 2 feet of shoulder in the "wide" spots. Then we went to some quieter neighborhoods and did some ridiculous climbs. My long rides have been on pretty flat terrain with a few short, steep climbs. This was more like mile long gradual inclines that had me sucking wind like crazy.

Elevation profile - pretend to be impressed even if you're not.
The exciting thing is that I wasn't gripping the brakes so hard my hands hurt in a panic on the downhills. Even flying down curves at 30mph wasn't fazing me. (They may not have been sharp curves, and that may not be flying to some, but it was to me.) My nerves were more at the level of when I check my grades  (my own grades, not grades I give my students) compared to last year when they were more at the level of hearing someone break your bedroom window in the middle of the night while you're all alone. 

However, it did make me a little nervous about my preparedness for the HIM - I need to get more hill work in, stat. 

In other news I received some almost decent race photos. 

This one has me almost smiling, eyes open, both feet possibly off the ground at LPM. Bonus, you can see the pretty water view in the background.

As I crossed the finish of the Rock and Roll DC half marathon, I swore that for once I was going to get a finish line photo where I wasn't pausing my Garmin.

Actually I think this means I didn't run hard enough
 I took this one after DC RnR. If only the photographer could have waited until I looked at her and stopped covering my medal. I felt more like that girl behind me looks.

Casi and I are pretty covered with the "proof" watermark here but Eric looks adorable before the race. So happy and unaware of what awaited him.

What's a fear that you have overcome?

Did anyone else get nervous looking up their grades (or finding out grades in some other way before they were online)? I strongly suspect this is not totally normal.

Monday, March 19, 2012

How the old people celebrate St. Patty's Day

The transition from my early 20s to late 20s turned St. Patrick's Day from this:

Into this:

I was supposed to go out for another wild St. Patrick's Day like the good old days, but after getting back from the race at close to 6pm, it didn't happen. Eric could barely move, I wasn't feeling great, and we were both totally over being in huge crowds.

However, I'm never too tired or ill to meet my BFFs for some frozen yogurt.

Check out that hot outfit.
 We had to walk through the bar scene to get there so we took a "drunk pic" to fit in.

Not spending Sunday hungover was especially beneficial for my Half Ironman training. Lily and I did our longest ever bike ride, 36.5 miles. The weather was gorgeous and my legs felt fantastic, but for the last ten miles my neck, shoulders, and back were killing me. I think I need to work on shifting my posture more. Or bring advil.

Goal this week: Don't suck at life. In terms of waking up to work out. So far, I'm one for one with a one hour swim this morning. Tomorrow I have an evening bike ride planned so I'm really already 2 for 2. 

Happy Hunger Games week! 3 days until my life is complete.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Rock and Roll Half Marathon Recap

More than 2 minutes off from my Garmin time with no stops? Weird.
* Edited to add - 2 hours later my dumb brain figured out that the Garmin loses reception in tunnels. DUH.

Well, I got what I expected. A fun race only 50 miles from my front door that took me less than two hours to run, and cost me more than 8 hours in travel time.

Note: This isn't a criticism of the actual race, because I knew exactly what I was getting in to by signing up for a huge DC race. This is information that I need to look back on the next time I start saying "oh, that race looks fun! and they have one in DC!".

Friday Eric picked me up from work at 3:45 so we could get immediately on the road to DC to get our bibs from the expo. Since we didn't get to the expo until 7pm (remember, 50 miles, that's DC traffic during rush hour), they didn't have a single shirt left in the size Casi had requested when she signed up (note: this IS a criticism of the race, we paid a lot!). I was starving and somehow managed to ignore all the wonderful overpriced clothing and beeline for any place giving out free samples.

When we finally got back to our hotel in a nearby suburb it was almost 9pm so we got salads and sandwiches from Panera and ate in bed watching Friends. Wild night.

Casi and I had been super psyched for Hampton free cookies, but we got back too late and they'd run out for the day (wow, this post is turning out REALLY whiny). We couldn't live without our sugar fix, and the vending machine options were terrible. We took a tour of the different vending machines on all 14 floors of the hotel until we came up with a somewhat suitable dessert.

The Rice Krispie treat had non name brand M&Ms in it.
The next morning, my greatest race fear happened and my alarm never went off. Luckily, Casi's did, so we still managed to make the 6am metro.

When we got into DC and had to change trains to head to the race, the station was so packed that Eric didn't managed to make the same train as us. He needs to learn to push and shove better. We rode in with our bodies pressed against other random runners, being thankful that the race hadn't happened yet.

When we arrived at our station, there was a huge wait to ride the escalator up and exit the station. Somehow in the crowd a reader recognized me! It was my super exciting I feel like a celebrity moment. I'm sorry I wasn't more chatty, but I was freaking out about if Eric had got on the next train and trying to find him.

The crowd using this escalator was pretty frightening, although apparently the real threat was this guy
who was secretly the devil.
 We finally found Eric, arrived at the race, and checked our bags inside the armory. Just leaving the armory to go outside and wait in the porto-potty line took ten minutes, because we had to wait for the crowds to bottleneck out through the doors. At this point it was 7:30 and I had to make a choice if I wanted to start the race on time (8am) or use the bathroom first. In other words, which would hurt me more in the race - trying to hold it, or trying to weave in and out of crowds when I started way behind people at my pace?

Really though, there was no choice. Bathroom won out, so I stayed in the portopottie line until after the race started. It was tough, but I tried to make peace with it.

At least we had time for pictures.
 There were 27 corrals, and I was supposed to be in corral 5 (which sounds way off, I'm not super fast like that). After I finally got my turn, Casi and I jogged as far up as we could (there were still tons of corrals waiting to start) and ended up in corral 10, which wasn't too bad. Due to the staggered start, we were in the front of the pack at the start line. Since I was in a lower corral than I was supposed to be, I sprinted out in front and broke away from the pack at the beginning. It was super exciting and I am positive that will be the closest I get to feeling like an elite winning the race so I made the most of it and ran as fast as I could (for like a tenth of a mile).

During the race, I tried to just run by feel and aim for that "comfortably hard" pace. I couldn't resist and looked at my Garmin at mile 2 and of course freaked out and decided I was the slowest runner ever and got mad at myself, but I managed to avoid that the rest of the race. The course was fantastic, we got to see most of the monuments, a lot of cool neighborhoods in DC, and there was tons of crowd support. We went through a tunnel at one point and everyone was screaming to hear the echos which I found highly exciting. I knew going in that this was a fairly hilly course, but it was harder than I thought. The good news was that even with something like 20,000 runners AND with me starting late, the points where I had to dodge and weave through crowds were few and far between. The corral system had everyone so spread out that it never was overwhelmingly crowded.

The bands were fun and all, but you hear them for a second and then you're gone, so I'm not sure I really get why everyone goes crazy for the Rock and Roll thing. 

At the start I'd been borderline euphoric about only having to run 13.1 miles and then I was done. I know that's a total snobby marathoner thought, but it was true. Around mile 12.5 the race split and I just looked at all the marathoners who were only halfway done thinking "haha, SUCKERS" and happily pranced over to the half marathon side.

I finished, got my medal, and then took one look at the food and said "hell no". I got really nauseous just looking at it and I couldn't stomach the thought of even holding it for later (plus there were huge lines). At this point, I'd like to save everyone the time of writing "you're preggers!!" comments by promising to reread all the ones that were left the other day. I'd also like to point out that racing in "heat" after training all winter in the cold has left me and countless others (including my husband) sick in the past.

Anyway, I tried to wait for Casi in the finishers area but the smell of the bagels was making me sicker and sicker so I finally stumbled away and laid down in the grass wrapped in my space blanket. After she found me we hung out in the grass for awhile until we both felt ready to move and then went back to the armory to get our bags and wait for Eric to finish.

This guy was picking his blisters, and mumbling "I'm an athlete" into the phone.
He finally stumbled in, in even worse shape than I was.

"Next time I'm at least doing a few training runs"

Pulled it together for a victory pic - sort of.

 It took us awhile to metro back and get the car, and Eric immediately passed out again.

Here's something that (I think) is cool - 6 days after I completed my 6th marathon, I completed my 6th half marathon.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Rock and Roll

I took all my blogger friend's expert advice from my last post and took Wednesday off, and felt a million times better as a result. Well done. I am issuing you all official internet MDs and you can now internet diagnose anyone with authority.

Thursday I did a fairly easy hour on the trainer followed by an easier 30 minute run. I thought the run was going to feel great, and I enjoyed it, but the humidity attacked and I couldn't breathe. I need to get acclimated to summer.

And that sums up my exercise for the week. Mainly because I'm running a half marathon tomorrow morning.
 I was berating myself for being so lazy on exercise this week in bed this morning, but I guess I am running a full and a half marathon in less than a week. So there's that.

I'm running the DC Rock and Roll half marathon.Last year Eric and I volunteered at this race, except then it was the National Marathon, no rock and roll. I'm pretty excited to see what the RnR brand has in store, mainly because I've heard/read on blogs either absolutely wonderful or completely terrible reviews.

I only live about 40 miles or so from DC, but after it took me approximately 14 hours round trip to run the Marine Corps Marathon, I SWORE no more DC races. After the Hot Chocolate race was a complete cluster f$%$, I REALLY SWORE no more DC races.

And yet I'm off to DC after work tonight. So far, it seems that RnR has made it their mission to further my resolve never to come to DC to race again, or to do one of their races. After paying a ridiculous amount of money for my entry, I have to make the dreaded trip from Baltimore to DC in Friday rush hour to pick up my packet. (Just to give an idea, I'm leaving at 4 and praying to make it to the expo by 8.) Three people have kindly offered to get it for me, but RnR is charging $20 per packet if you pick up more than one extra. I'm running with Eric and my BFF Casi, so that would mean an extra $40 we would have to pay. I'm boycotting buying anything at the expo to protest, but I almost never do anyway, so that's probably not driving my point home.

Ashley ran LPM last weekend as well, and is running tomorrow, so she's described it as "A tour of the city on foot". I'm going with that, since I really have no clue how a half marathon will feel 6 days after a full marathon.

I just really hope I get a medal again. SO EXCITING!
I may have survived LPM last weekend, but despite the race director crying "WE HATE IPODs!!!" moments after I arrived, they didn't convince me. This may be a Rock and Roll race, but I'm still super excited to be reunited with my headphones.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Every marathon is different

After running my 6th marathon on Sunday, I'm experiencing a marathon first. My legs seem to be recovering faster than my stomach. 

I've felt pretty "off" since the luncheon immediately after Sunday's race, even refusing snacks at Kara's after she offered to bring them to me while I watched reality TV. I chugged some Powerades in the car on the way home and felt much better so I chalked it up to dehydration.

I ate dinner Sunday night and then started digging in to a Baskin Robbins Reese's sundae, only to discover it had to go back in the freezer because it was making me sick. That's when I knew things were serious. 

I have no pictures to offer, so how about some food porn?

I actually felt so terrible that I didn't even go to work yesterday. Around 11 or 12 I started feeling back to normal (coincidentally the same time a Katy Perry music video marathon came one....interesting).

I cleaned the house, because nothing helps an off stomach like the smell of bleach. After that, I decided going to yoga was probably my best bet. My legs still felt pretty good (relatively) but my hamstrings were tight. At the YMCA, you get tickets, that let you in to class, which are highly coveted and equivalent to gold. If you get there any later than 20 minutes prior to class starting, you're screwed. So, yoga starts at 6:30, and  by 6:05 the area outside the yoga room is packed with women....sitting on the floor.

I'm sorry, but I cannot get on board with people coming to a gym and sitting for 25 minutes. Even with running a marathon the day before, I got on the elliptical and did 15 minutes worth. It wasn't like I worked up a huge sweat doing some killer workout, but at least I was MOVING. You know, because I was in a GYM. Maybe I'm missing something, but even with my admitted laziness I still don't get camping out on your yoga mat. I still got in to the class and got a great spot. 

Maybe I was being punished for mentally mocking people last night or maybe I was a little too quick to grab that Reese's sundae out of the freezer the second my stomach started feeling better on Monday, because this morning was a bust. 

I was up at 5:15 (still feels like 4:15 to me though) with grand plans of swimming for an hour before work, then biking and running in the beautiful weather after. I made it through 30 minutes before the nausea got ridiculous. Plus, I was so lethargic I was barely moving (even more than usual) so I just cried uncle and got out. I went home, showered, blow dried my hair, and then used the extra time to fall asleep on the couch next to my coffee. 

Luckily, after my 7am nap, I woke up hungry. I'm thinking the biking and running might not work out. Maybe I'm pushing too hard to get back into training after Sunday's marathon. Thoughts?

If you are sick and can't eat, does it ruin your life? It ruins mine, because eating is one of my favorite hobbies.

Monday, March 12, 2012

LPM recap - Running in Style

Official time 4:14:31, third in my age group!

When Kara offered me a free entry to the Lower Potomac Marathon, I was disappointed that she'd be volunteering and spectating, not running the race with me like at Baltimore or MCM. It turned out to be a fantastic turn of events.

I arrived at Kara's for a slumber party with her and Emily on Saturday night. She took care of my carb - loading needs by making delicious pizza on her fabulous homemade dough, and generously cutting me the piece with the most frosting from this celebratory cake.

When a good friend breaks up with someone who doesn't deserve her, cake is in order.

 We then got to work on the race signs.

Kara informed us that we needed to be ready to leave at 5:40am, and set up the coffee pot for me so all I had to do was turn it on in the morning. Not having to worry about race day logistics? Just getting dressed, coming downstairs and turning the coffee pot on? Heaven.

I'm working really hard on being a healthy living blogger. Kara is trying for the weirdest pre-race breakfast award.

I forgot my gloves the next morning when we left for the race, and considering I had to scrape frost off my car before leaving, that was a problem. Luckily, Perry, my good friend who was also tortured in the Stone Mill 50 miler, had an extra pair in his car.

We killed two birds with one stone when we went out to get it, and carried the clocks for the start/finish line out with us. That really drove home just how different this marathon would be than any I'd ran before.

Being at a race so small that runners help set up the start line is not a bad thing at all though. We parked right at the start, had a nice, warm school to wait in, and tons of real, clean bathrooms with no line. 

After sitting in a nice, comfy chair to enjoy my bagel while Kara and Emily worked the registration table, I was ready to seek out other runners to freak out with. I found Ashley in the lobby of the School of Seamanship (how awesome is that name) and we got to briefly panic together in between bathroom trips.

I stopped worrying and got my game face on just in time.

We got to wait in the warmth until just about a minute before start. Kara introduced me to her neighbor, Kim, who was running her first marathon, and we were off.

I had three goals during this race:
  • Don't pee
  • Don't completely go insane from lack of music and talking to myself
  • Have fun

Here's some decisions I ended up regretting during this race:
  • Trying Peanut Butter Gu - thanks to my friend Mike for bringing this to me, but it was disgusting. Tasted great, felt like paste in my mouth.

  • Giving Kara and Emily my phone. I thought it was great that I could hand them all my crap that I didn't want right before the start. I was wrong. I found some surprises on Twitter after I finished.

She said she kept my Facebook status appropriate because she didn't know if I was friends with my mom or anything. I guess my family is more technologically advanced than most because my mother, father, and stepfather follow me on Twitter. At least my grandma isn't on there yet.

Anyway, the race director purposely planned the race start to coincide with the sunrise. We were heading toward St. George Island, so we got to watch the sun come up over the Potomac. The first 11 or so miles of the race on the island were beautiful. The whole time I was getting to know Kim, and chatting was making the race go by pretty quickly.  Kara and Emily were out cheering for us with is always an exciting little boost. 

Why does my "running a marathon" look suspiciously like "standing on one foot" so often?
One of my best marathon pictures ever, meaning I look something like a normal human being.
And we're back to the usual look.
After the first 11 miles, we headed out on the highway. Running with Kim was great since not only I had someone to talk to, but she also was an expert on the course. Apparently after we exited the island, it was just a straight out and back. I was pretty worried about this section being boring as hell (since that's what I'd heard). It actually wasn't too bad. I'm so used to running on the sidewalk next to honking cars, fast food joints, and trash cans, so running through farmland and wide open areas was a nice change of pace. Plus, the beautiful day.

At the halfway point, the clock said 2:04. At first I dismissed it as "just the clock time" but then I realized that since there were no chips, that WAS my time. I got pretty discouraged since I could feel myself slowing down a bit, and started thinking I was going to have a terrible time. 

Mile 15 I hit the dreaded low point - in pain, exhausted, and thinking "11 more miles of this? REALLY?". We also started hitting the hilly section here, so miles 15-20 were the slowest ones of the race. Around 17 I decided to go back to my original goal of just enjoying the race and decided - who cares what my time is? It wasn't like I was anywhere near a PR, and trying to kill myself to get a better time in this marathon wasn't exactly going to do my Half Ironman training any favors. I really didn't want another MCM experience either, where I basically hated every second of the race (I'm prepared to do that for a PR, but not for a random marathon I'm just doing because it was free). 

Not to worry, I retained my ability to run with my eyes closed.

Around 17 Kim confessed that she was starting to struggle so I tried to focus on cheering her up by telling her random dumb stories about myself. I knew Kara and Emily were waiting at mile 20 to jump in and finish with us, so in my mind I just had to make it to mile 20 anyway.

We turned around at something like mile 18 or 19 and started to head back toward the finish line.
Oops - didn't go around the cone, I'm a total cheater.
Kara and Emily even graced us with their presence for an extra half mile, and jumped in at mile 19.5. Emily finished the race with Kim, and I ran with Kara. Having someone fresh and cheerful to entertain me for the last six miles was fantastic. I can honestly say I didn't hate my life at all until the last .3 (not .2). Kara even carried candy that I'd brought with me and fed me pieces whenever I requested.

In the last mile a girl asked if she could run with us since she was totally struggling. It turns out she was 16 and running her first marathon! That's dedication. My sole focus when I was 16 was getting a driver's license and talking on the phone. She wasn't even the youngest finisher at this race - a 14 year old boy finished in like 4:23.

I finished this marathon about 18 minutes slower than Myrtle Beach and it's amazing how much difference those 18 minutes made. I crossed the finish line of LPM feeling spent, but not like death warmed over. I could barely step up onto a curb after Myrtle Beach, but I was able to go up and down Kara's stairs to shower with no problems yesterday.

I'm not thrilled with my time from yesterday's race, but I met all my goals, and had a great time and managed to enjoy most of the race. Plus, I finished a marathon without music, something I thought I'd never do (although I had people to talk to the whole time). I ran the Shamrock Marathon in 4:17 (a completely flat race) and was utterly shocked by my time, because it was so much faster than expected. That was less than a year ago, and now I'm able to run a hillier marathon in 4:14 (3 weeks after another marathon) and for the most part feel like I was taking it easy.

There was a lot of talk about the tough hills in the second half of this race. I had to ask Kara if we were actually on those "tough hills". Total elevation gain for this race was 2,952 ft, which is a lot, but it really didn't feel terribly hilly compared to my neighborhood. 

It's crazy to say that I've completed 6 marathons now!

This race had a fancy hot luncheon at the school. Way better than waiting in line for an airplane sized bag of pretzels and a third of a banana.

 They announced the awards at the luncheon. Ashley won first place in our age group! I was shocked to hear my name called for third place.

Winning an age group of mine has been a bucket list goal of mine for forever, and I never thought it would happen in a marathon, much less a marathon where I didn't even feel like I put forth race effort! Pretty exciting though.

Today my legs feel tough workout sore, not marathon level sore. I can get up and sit down fine, which is a big deal. 

Overall, the Lower Potomac marathon is a great race. It was well organized, had a lot of great amenities, and was run by friendly volunteers. Even though I made it through though, I just can't get on board with prohibiting iPods. That's just sadistic to me.