Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Dear World: Don't ask a woman if she's pregnant unless the baby is crowning

Today was a really special day. First of all, I woke up knowing I'd have to face my biggest fear this evening. No, not petting a dog. Worse. 

Getting blood drawn (for a routine physical next week). 

Everyone normal has phobias, but it seems to me that when people say "I'm afraid of heights" or "I'm claustrophobic", these things get respected as real fears. When I say I'm terrified of needles, it's more like "Man up and stop being such a p-word, you loser". Maybe everyone else gets that too, I don't know, but that's how I see it.

So, the day wasn't off to a great start, but I was doing my best to be in denial about what was going to happen. I was innocently minding my own business, when out of nowhere came this lovely question (spoiler alert - the answer is no).

"Are you expecting?"

What now? Despite being completely caught off guard and mortified, I gathered my quick wit and came back with this stinging retort.


IT COULD HAVE ENDED THERE. We could have walked away awkwardly, sufficiently humiliated on both ends. I could have consoled myself with something like "she must have had me confused with someone else!". But it wasn't over.

"Oh....because you have a bulge". 


Why did we need to go on? It all could have been over. It's bad enough to imply that, but to come right out and say it? There's no bouncing back from that.

So I did what anyone would do. Scuttled away without replying, went to a dark, dark place in my mind, called Eric, texted all my friends, and posted about the exchange on Facebook and Twitter. I mean, I don't think I have a terrible body image, but when someone basically calls you a fat cow straight to your face, it's a bit of a blow.

Luckily all my friends, both actual and the social media kind, rallied me with stories of even ruder things people said to them, and assurances that I didn't look pregnant (because let's not pretend that I posted that comment for any other reason than to hear "no way you look totes skinny!", but don't worry, I got my fill, not necessary in the comments.) 

Suffice to say, I'm pretty sure I won't be posting any bikini selfies after our vacation next week, unless I learn Photoshop between now and then.

The obvious temptation at this point was to go directly home and drown myself in ice cream, because clearly I was already fat and disgusting so I might as well continue to ride that train. BUT, life is unfair, I couldn't, because I had to go get blood drawn.

Eric was supposed to go down with me around 6pm, but I couldn't handle the anxiety of waiting (again) so I told him I was going as soon as I got home from work. I also told him he couldn't go, for reasons that weren't entirely clear, even to me. I think because I subconsciously felt like that if I could drive myself like a Big Girl, it wasn't a big deal. 

When I was in high school my doctor suspected that I had mono and I refused to take the blood test to confirm so my mom bribed me with a new sweater, which my BFF Casi and I called "the blood test sweater" for years. It's not socially acceptable for a 30 year old woman to require a bribe from her mommy to undergo routine medical procedures, so I had to bribe myself. With Panera. Not life changing, but it was right across the street from the doctor's office and seriously, if you don't like Panera and not having to cook dinner, you're not right.

After getting past the mental battle just to show up, things began poorly. Right away, the technician asked me if I had fasted. Um, NO, because nobody told me I was supposed to. I was not about to summon the strength to come back and even if I could have, the receptionist had said this was the latest I could give blood before my appointment on Monday. 

Luckily it had been almost 6 hours since I'd eaten lunch and I told the lady what I ate (fish and cabbage) and she said it was fine but then I was silently freaking out because I ate this random thing that I got in a race packet in the car on the way over and I couldn't figure out what it was called or how to describe it.

So I was blabbering about how I ate "this fruit thing but it was really small I swear" and she said it was fine and started to get the needle ready. That's when I started to really panic and remembered something else and blurted "I HAD TWO PEACHES AFTER LUNCH" in a volume that was much too loud to be appropriate for that information. Luckily it seemed to clue her in to the fact that I was crazy so she mothered me like I was her own baby and talked me through the whole thing so as a result I survived and I LOVE THIS WOMAN.

And that's the story of my traumatic day. Three positives: 

1. I had a great 3.75 mile run.
2. The run was made possible by going to Bikram yesterday! My mom got me two of their ridiculously overpriced classes as part of my 30 for 30 birthday gift and all that stretching really was just glorious.
3. It's pretty much over, and hopefully tomorrow nobody will ask me if I'm pregnant.

Let's keep this going, please share ridiculously rude/inappropriate things people have said to you!

Edited to add: my suffering is even greater because I just arrived at the chapters on Theon in Game of Thrones book 5 so now I have to endure that horror all over again in written form and it might even be worse but I can't say for sure because I mainly covered my eyes and ears during his scenes on the show.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Idiot's 100k - check: Now what's next?

For possibly the first time since I created my "upcoming races" sidebar, there's nothing listed there.
I could actually go back and check, but that's too much work.

Endless Summer 6 was the last race I had scheduled, and now that it's over, I'm free and clear!

Not that I don't have anything in mind. I have a few thoughts for my fall race schedule, but I'm not sure I want to commit to anything yet. Kari recently posted about feeling a little burnt out from training and wanting to sort of step back and just run for fun before trolling and committing. For the same reasons, I'll be doing the same. 

In the immediate future, I'll be taking a serious break from running. And exercise of any sort. This weekend, Eric and I will be in NY to celebrate my BFF/love of my life/cutest person on earth's first birthday.

If you think this picture is cute, check out some naked baby pictures that my sister just posted on her blog.

We'll get back late Sunday, and then we are leaving on Wednesday for a few days in Orlando, followed by our long awaited cruise vacation! This summer is my 30th birthday and our 5 year anniversary, so some extra special celebration is necessary. 

Exercise is extremely low on the priority scale until we return from Florida on the 18th. I do plan to pack my running shoes, because we are flying southwest. Really the main reason for bringing them is because there's a track on the deck and I want to wear my Garmin and then have the little map show that I was running in the ocean. Other than that, my only goal is to have soft serve a minimum of once per day on the ship and spend 95% of my time laying in the sun.

My post race recovery seems to have followed the same pattern as last week. On Sunday, I did the half mile walk to get a bagel, and that was it. I worked at the running store for 6 hours, so I figured that would keep me moving just enough to prevent soreness, and I felt great during my shift.

It's that second day after the race that things go to hell. The first day is a complete tease. Monday, I didn't really feel too sore, which was surprising - I thought things would be worse since ES6 is entirely on pavement. I just felt that tasks like showering required way too much energy to even consider. Luckily, although I didn't realize it at the time, I "planned" the Idiots 100k perfectly. Grad school is over now (and I got an A in my summer class, FYI), so after work I was free to not move for approximately 8 hours, at which time I moved from the couch to the bed. I had that "I should feel guilty but I really, really don't" mentality the whole time. 

Today I'm not feeling too energetic (I really never do) but I managed to resume riding my bike to work.

Yesterday, I got home from work to this. 

He's on a rope tied between two trees right outside our front door.

Yeah, no clue.

Do you exercise on vacation? I have in the past, but this time....not really feeling it. 

Ever taken a break from racing for no clear reason (injury, school, etc)?

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Endless Summer 6 Hour race recap

 In May, I ran the Bob Potts marathon and then gushed to the RD about how much I loved it like a star struck schoolgirl that Carson Daly choose to come up and see her favorite singer on TRL. 

I just really can't get enough of memes with this image.
When I arrived at the Endless Summer 6 hour race, I discovered they had the exact same Brooks race shirt, in the same color, (with a different logo, obviously). And an awesome bag. I should have known right then that the race gods were going to bless me with another perfect race experience.

So let's recap this magical day.

I went in with no anxiety, no expectations, nothing except the desire to end the day safely, and if that included a finish, that was just the cherry on the sundae. After last week's drama, I was just glad that this race was in a populated area, and that it would be easy to quit if needed. I spent the night before at my BFF Carolyn's housewarming party. Some friends from a local running group were there and asked me if I had any more ultras coming up. I was like "oh....yeah....well actually I do have one. Tomorrow morning. Well, hopefully".

This may be a good spot to explain the deal with this race. 

Typically, a road race gives you a distance, and your goal is to complete the distance as fast as you can. ES6 is flip flopped. Everybody runs for 6 hours, and your goal is to cover as much distance as you can. The race took place in a cute little park in Annapolis. It began at 7:30, and you spend your 6 hour doing as many 4-ish mile loops through the park as you can. Each time you returned to start, it was considered a completed loop, and your bib number was recorded. It was also the aid station, so after each loop most people (us included) would stop, refill our water, and get some snacks.

Once the 6 hour mark was approaching and people were beginning their last loop, each runner was given a flag with their bib number on it. At exactly 6 hours, you heard an air horn, stopped in your tracks, and planted your flag in the ground. A volunteer went through after the race to find all the flags and calculate everyone's exact distance (official results haven't been posted yet).

Fun, right? At this point you may be thinking that doing loops over and over like a hamster in its wheel sounds terrible, but I really didn't mind it for two reasons. 

1. I'm a creature of habit. I'll eat the same meal over and over for weeks or months on end. I run the same route almost every day. I would rather watch repeats of The Office for the 17th time then try out a movie I haven't seen before. I like things to NOT CHANGE EVER.
2. I'm not observant. On a regular basis, we'll drive past something new in our neighborhood, like a restaurant or something, and I'll get all excited about it only to have Eric tell me that it's been there since we moved in. 4 years ago. Eric is really concerned about me getting robbed because I have a unique ability to zone out and completely ignore my surroundings at all times.

The race began at 7:30, and I arrived at 7 with plenty of time to hit the porto-potty, get my bib on, find Kara, and listen to the pre-race briefing. 

I don't know if I can ever go back to big races. There were a little over 100 runners in ES6 (with some doing the relay, so fewer than that on the path at any given time). Here's my car in relation to the start line.

There was a drop bag option, but it turned out we didn't need it. A lot of runners just set up a little area on the ground near the aid station with whatever they might want during the race. So easy, so perfect.

At 7:30, we were off. 

Twinsies. On purpose. Because we're cool like that.
It was humid, but only about 71 degrees and that felt glorious. A good portion of the path is shaded and the sun wasn't yet out in full force. The path has some rolling hills. On that first loop they felt like a joke. We walked up one really just to be polite because everyone else was. 

Starting with maybe the 4th loop, we began to call this "the mountain".
The first three loops seemed to fly by. We were mainly running (only walking a little up hills) and feeling strong. We took our first aid station break after the second loop (mile 8-ish). I also took my only pee break of the race at around 6 miles.

There was a big hill leading up to the aid station with a sign like this on a tree that read
"No slacking".
They had the best, most perfectly ripe watermelon I've ever tasted. Eating watermelon is a pretty dumb strategy for an ultra (the idea is to focus on calorie dense foods, so you can take in more calories with minimal impact on your stomach, not voluminous, fiber rich foods), but this was way too delicious to pass up and I think we each had two slices (plus some pretzels for me).

Unfortunately, the watermelon didn't really sit well with me and I had kind of a side stitch on the third loop. No big deal or anything, it just meant I had to turn down the watermelon. The aid station at ES6 was the second best I've ever come across (the best being the Stone Mill 55 miler). They had tons of delicious foods, and the volunteers were enthusiastic, sweet, and basically ready to do anything short of giving you their first born to ensure you were having a good race experience.

This was just one of the two loaded tables, plus there were huge coolers for the chilled items!
I wasn't really sure exactly how to fuel. I usually focus on only "real" foods (no Gu) during ultras, because my pace is so much slower than a road race. But this was on roads, so while it was slower, it was still a lot faster than my trail pace. I think I had:

  • 2 Gus (one was Roctane!)
  • 2 pieces of watermelon straight from Heaven
  • pretzels
  • a few Mike and Ikes
  • a small cup of gatorade
  • most of a can of Mountain Dew (they had ice cold cans in the cooler and grabbed it for me so I could have a little bit each time through!)
  • Two icees - sort of like slurpees in a little paper package, ice cold, super sweet, and PERFECT
  • 3-4 salt pills

Other than the watermelon my stomach felt fine during and after the race so I guess it worked out!

You hear a lot about negative splits (running the second half faster than the first) as a racing strategy, and it's a good one for normal races. Ultras in July are not normal. It's much easier to run in the first half while it's cooler and less sunny, so positive splits are really the way to go there. We finished our 4th loop (around 17 miles) when the clock was only at 2:54, which put us well ahead of our goal pace. Ok, I lied, I did go into the race with a goal of completing at least a 50k (31 miles), but I felt like that goal would be pretty easy to accomplish, so I wasn't stressed over it.

The second half of the race was hotter and hillier (the hills grew steeper with each loop, just like at Rosaryville), and the ratio of walking to running was starting to get a little heavier on the walking. Still, it seemed to go by pretty fast and for the most part, we were still having fun. We each had our dark moments, but luckily they didn't come at the same time. Mine was somewhere around 4:20-4:40, but the Roctane snapped me out of it. 

You know that feeling of "OH MY GOD I WILL DIE IF I HAVE TO RUN ONE MORE STEP THIS MILE SHOULD HAVE ENDED LIKE 30 MINUTES AGO"? Especially common during miles 20-26.2 of marathons, but also has a tendency to hit on like, 5 milers in your neighborhood sometimes? Never happened. I don't know if it was just the focus on time, not distance, or the relatively cool day, or the great company, or what, but we were at 5:30 and collecting our flags before I knew it.

We hit our goal of 31 miles with 11 minutes left to go, and basically phoned it in until we heard the air horn from there (but we made sure we were running when we heard it). It was weird running a race with no finish line. You know how you usually get that huge feeling of relief, and then a volunteer hands you a water bottle, and you're thrilled to be able to stop running? Well, none of that. You just stop and plant your flag, but then you still have to get back to your car (we were able to cut through the park so it was only about half a mile). So, built in cool down! 

Kara's husband was surprised that we didn't run back, and I guess if you think about it from an outsider's perspective, we were already crazy enough to run for 6 hours, why not just tack on an extra 5 or 10 minutes? He couldn't have been more wrong though. I'm pretty sure a lion could have been chasing me and I still would have walked it in.

 Final (Garmin) stats: 6 hours, 31.8 miles, average pace 11:21.

We hung out for a little bit. I considered getting some food, because my stomach felt fine, but I didn't trust it, so I walked up to the Pavillion twice and came back with only water (and a few pretzels) twice.

They had only diet coke to drink and a veggie tray, which cracked me up.
Yes, I just ran 32 miles and I'd like to eat a baby carrot.
When I finally headed home about an hour after finishing, I was getting really hungry so I decided to take advantage of one of my race bag goodies.

I had to really debate between the sandwich and the bottle of water. Tough choice. 
The place was bacon themed and I need to go back when I haven't just run a 6 hour race and can eat whatever I want. ASAP.

Who's in?
I did the typical whimpering from chafing pain in the shower, covered all my war wounds in bandaids, then hit the pool looking like a burn victim in a bikini. I almost took a picture for the blog, but then I decided there were already plenty of bikini selfies and the internet didn't need another one. Instead, here's a picture of my foot after two 50ks in a week.

Eric had to work, so I was on my own to celebrate. This next part I'm ashamed to admit, but after the pool I got my first ever 5 Guys burger. Verdict? I just wasted 30 years not eating these, and will need to make up for it throughout the next 30 years. 

I spent the rest of the night eating these (which I just learned are called millionaire bars),

and doing this.

I know how to party.
What is your favorite chain restaurant for burgers (or if you live in the MD/DC/VA area, name any restaurant)? This is serious, I want to eat all the burgers.

What are your thoughts on bikini selfies?

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Less crap, more important stuff

GREAT NEWS. For me. Our street installed a speed camera, so now I can imitate Michael Scott and do this.

My personal best so far is 12.

I did an easy, untimed, 3-ish miles today. I went out without my Garmin with no set distance in mind. I wasn't really feeling it. I had a side stitch, I was starving, and I was pretty excited to get started baking a new dessert for a party tomorrow. So I decided to just hold out until it's time to run for 6 hours on Saturday and turned around somewhere around where I turned around yesterday.

Today is a glorious day. Yesterday, when my grad class ended at 8:30 pm, it marked the end of the summer semester, making today my first official day of summer freedom. I've only had an 8 day break since January, so this comes not a moment too soon. Yes, we all know that working on a masters in education isn't as hard as nursing school, or law school, or getting an engineering degree, or, ok, any type of higher education really, but it is time consuming.

I really don't have time to write a bunch of crap in APA format. I have things to do. I get funny memes, gifs, youtube videos, Buzzfeed articles, and the like in my inbox from friends on a daily basis. And if you think all that is going to watch and/or read itself, well, you're mistaken. Plus, can we all agree that APA format (or whatever academic format you are forced to write in) is the worst? I mean, I'm just saying, this blog gets a nice sized handful of hits from people who aren't even directly related to me, and I haven't had to go to Purdue Owl even once while writing a post.

I get the irony of a teacher complaining about learning, but I teach my kids useful information, mainly basic math and reading skills. Enough said.

With my time freed up from useless crap, I was finally able to turn my attention to the important things in life. Sleeping, and coffee, and how to maximize my enjoyment of each. (I'm not ignoring chocolate, I just feel I'm pretty solid on that one, and it's not an area of my life that needs improvement).

In an unfortunate catch 22, while I love sleep more than anything, I am also terrible at it. I can't sleep without an eye mask, ear plugs, the perfect temperature, my pillows arranged just so, I have to read at least a page of my book, etc, etc. Then I still wake up a million times a night and when the alarm goes off, I basically act like I'm heading toward the guillotine. Or to Ilyn Payne.

It doesn't matter what time I got to bed, every morning is pure groggy hell.


 To fully illustrate, Eric was kind enough to reenact the daily scene.

He's a lucky man. PS the body pillow was an anniversary gift. I tried one out in Kari's guest bedroom and it changed my life.

So I downloaded an app that is supposed to help with sleep. You start it before you go to bed and it uses the iPhone's accelerometer, whatever that is, to monitor your sleep.

Anything with data and graphs is science.

Then instead of a fixed alarm time, it uses a 30 minute window to wake you up during your lightest sleep phase so you don't wake up feeling like you want bitch slap morning with a 2x4. Kind of sounds like BS when I type it all out like that but the fact is I'm highly susceptible to the placebo effect and I woke up this morning and didn't hate the world.

Oh Grumpy Cat how I love thee- and sleep... I love sleep, but I also love coffee... I bet most people can't look at this without singing the song in their head {evil grin}  #grumpycat #animals #meme

Since apparently my lightest sleep cycle was 20 minutes before I actually needed to be up, I took advantage of the extra time and cool weather and finally busted out the french press Eric gave me for my birthday to make my fancy new coffee. French press is the holy grail of coffee, and the best way to enjoy a cup. However, it requires a long, complicated process that includes steps like weighing the coffee in grams, so it's kind of a special occasion only thing.

So that's the story of what I'm doing with my spare time, and my "preparations" for ultra marathon #2 in approximately 36 hours. 

Please describe your going to bed/waking up routine. Inquiring minds want to know.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Recovering between ultras

Following Sunday's terrifying ordeal/50k PR, it's been really important that I rest up for my next ultra; a 6 hour race which takes place in just 3 days.

How does one recover from a 31 mile race in order to prepare for a (hopefully) equally long race in a week? Well, no one knows. Surprisingly, there's little to no information on the internet about that process. 

Monday, I followed my standard recovery process. I always like to start the day post-race with a bagel. I actually got up half an hour early to walk to the bagel place before work, which is kind of a big deal. Usually, the sleep is the only thing in the whole world that I value more than food (which is why I usually eat my breakfast in approximately 1.5 minutes while checking my work email). But walking does tend to help with muscle soreness, and we are lucky enough to live only a quarter mile from an amazing bagel place. You can trust me when I say that, I'm a huge bagel snob. I don't think I ate a single bagel for like the first four years I lived in Maryland unless I was back home visiting NY. 

I felt good enough on my walk to ride my bike to work, but then things significantly declined. My legs weren't super sore, but I was insanely tired, like the type where if someone paused mid sentence I was afraid I would fall asleep before they continued. Once I was done with work and finished with grad work for the night, Eric and I watched a significant portion of The Office season 5 while I ate three desserts and refused to move. BTW, one of the desserts was my fatty, sugary free birthday Mocha Cookie Crunch Frappuccino and it was all I'd hoped it would be and more.

Tuesday was more of the same, except that I drove to work because I had errands to do afterwards. Except I was too tired to do them so instead I ate cereal for dinner at 4pm and was in bed by 7. I knew that my tiredness had reached a new level because an unprecedented event occurred. I had bought ice cream on my way home from work (yup, I was too lazy to do errands, but not too lazy for that), but I was too tired to eat it. It's still unopened. This is even more shocking when you factor in that I hadn't bought ice cream in months. Not because I'm trying to be healthy or rock a bikini on our upcoming cruise. But because, for reasons I won't get into, our freezer looks like this.

So basically if you need anything frozen you are facing an avalance and are completely screwed.
Today I've felt a tiny bit more normal and managed a 3 mile run and some serious foam rolling, stretching, and compression gear. Plus, I had a little boost when I got home from work. Kari and Kara got me a three month membership to the Dean and DeLuca coffee of the month club, and my first arrival is here! It smelled like pure Heaven.

Kara's actually doing real running in between the races, which is perfect because we'll be able to compare which method is better and finally provide the internet with this valuable information. After Saturday, the world will finally know what to do in between two ultra marathons in the same week!

Feel free to provide advice, regardless if you've ever run an ultra, a race, or a mile. It's a crapshoot at this point.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Rosaryville 50k recap #3

I went into one of my favorite races, the Rosaryville 50k, for the third time today with two goals.

1. Survive
2. Don't get stung by a bee

I'm pleased to report I accomplished both of them, and even somehow pulled out a surprise PR (by 3 minutes, but still). I was even 2nd in my age group - not bad for my first time in the 30-39 club!

I really love doing races I've done in the past. Obviously knowing the course is a benefit, and knowing where the race is, what the parking situation will be like, how early I need to get there, etc eliminates a ton of stress for me and allows me to solely focus my anxiety on the race itself. Or, in this case, just skip it entirely. I don't know why, but for some reason I was just completely underwhelmed going into Rosaryville. Maybe it was the fact that I have another ultra in less than a week, maybe it was the week of miserable running in heat indexes reaching 115 degrees, maybe it was just apathy in general, but I couldn't bring myself to care about a goal time.

As if getting myself soaked in sweat multiple times a day for the week leading up to the race wasn't a solid enough hydration plan, I decided to spend the day before at Artscape, an outdoor festival. But the heat index only reached 99 degrees, so it was practically chilly.

Artscape is 100% worth the heat for the people watching. Outfits like this are the norm.

Can you tell he has wings or something?

And things like this "ten minute theater". 

The boxes were part of the play.

I went to bed around midnight Saturday (I was at work and then couldn't settle down) and when my alarm went off four hours later woke up not knowing what the hell was going on. 

I was supposed to pick up my friend Matt, so I showed up at his house a little after 5. After pounding on his door and calling him for about 15 minutes (while hoping his neighbors didn't wake up and call the police), I gave up and drove the rest of the way to the race myself. (He apparently was sleeping on the couch like 5 feet from the door, and somehow still made it to the race on time!).

Then I was running a little later than I would have liked, but Kara picked up my bib for me so I still had time for two bathroom breaks before the race began at 7am. Rosaryville is a trail race that goes around a 10 mile-ish loop. The 50k had 71 finishers this year, which I think is the most I've seen so far. Being vets, we missed the pre-race briefing and just headed to the start about 6:59 and were off.

Dry and happy
There's a 50k, 25k, 10 mile, and 10k option, and the 50k begins first. This is pretty nice because it breaks up the loops. Having done the race 3 times now, I can safely say it always follows this pattern.

Loop 1 (miles 0-10): The first two miles are great, you can still find dry (not yet sweat soaked) spots on your shirt (if you really look), and running is wonderful! Sure, the humidity is through the roof but the temperature is still safely below 80. Then you start getting passed constantly by people doing the shorter races, which is annoying, but you're not bitter, because they won't get to feel as hardcore as you in the end. 

Loop 2 (miles 10-20): The sun's coming out, it's starting to get really hot, the hills have mysteriously grown, and moments of that lovely "I'm running on a trail!" zen feeling are interspersed with growing suspicion of your own intelligence for signing up for an ultra marathon during the month of July.

Loop 3 (miles 20-29.5, the last bit is off the trails): Well, now the majority of the other runners are out of the way, and you are starting to get really pissed off thinking of those assholes already at home enjoying their air conditioning in dry clothes. The one advantage is that finally all the trail congestion is gone and you can enjoy not seeing another human for miles, the way trail running is supposed to be. Except now those damned mountain bikers are out and ringing their stupid bells and you have to jump into the grass until all 6 of the group passes and by the time that happens you have grown to enjoy just standing in the grass and don't particularly care to run again. Oh, and now it's hotter than hell and if someone blindfolded you and said you were in a sauna no one would question it.

This year continued to follow that pattern, but I was having a pretty good time. I had Kara to talk to and while it sounds insane, after last week the heat really didn't seem that bad to me. Plus one of the aid stations had ice. The very kind man volunteering was trying to help out and asked if we wanted to eat it, drink it, or put it in our packs. He seemed shell shocked when we each grabbed a huge handful and put it directly in our bra, and muttered "I didn't know they liked those things cold" as we walked away.

 I really love Rosaryville because it's all all on trails in the woods, but the trails are not at all technical and easy to follow, so you get all the joy of trail racing without the hard parts. Plus, it's rolling hills which are just enough to keep it interesting but not enough to really be strenuous.

So we were trucking along on our third loop, complaining about the head and how dumb we were for doing a summer ultra. I thought it was all fun and games until I realized Kara was walking more and more and breathing so loud I could barely hear my own delirious thoughts. I suggested we stop and drink some water for a minute. She just stood there, so I thought maybe she needed some of my water, but when I asked why she wasn't drinking she just gasped that she couldn't catch her breath enough to drink. I took a good look at her and saw she was covered in goose bumps, and that's when I was like "SHIT JUST GOT REAL". 

My own thoughts were still moving pretty slow, but I grasped that she needed to DNF, but I wasn't sure that was going to go over too well. Kara has a martial arts background, plus carries around heavy kids each day, so I didn't feel too confident about my ability to physically prevent her from running, but I did currently have the advantage of being able to breathe. I thought it over and decided my tactic would be "you must think of the children!".

I was pretty relieved when not long after she said "it would suck to DNF at mile 25" and I was able to point out that it would suck a lot more to end up in the hospital. Luckily, she resigned herself to the idea pretty quickly. Unluckily, we were about a mile and a half from the nearest aid station, and no one was around, so there was really no option but to walk until we got there. Kara always thinks of others, so she kept trying to convince me to just finish running the race and leave her to die in the woods. 

Once we got to the aid station, they sat her down, covered her head in ice, and offered her a ride back. After making them promise not to let her keep running even if she said she felt better, I grabbed a saltine PB&J (possibly my new favorite trail running snack) and finished the race. I actually felt pretty good after the break, so I barely walked from then on, and the last few miles were some of my fastest (I even passed two women!).

The last mile is in direct sunlight, on asphalt, uphill, and just as I remembered, pure unadulterated hell. I forced myself to run the whole time to end the misery sooner. The last tenth of a mile or so is on grass, and when I saw the finish line clock I thought I was hallucinating. It said 6:13, which was three minutes faster than my time last year! I had pretty much given up any thoughts of a PR, so that was quite a pleasant surprise, and I was able to "sprint" to the finish. 

There were still a few people remaining at the park pavillion and they were all really nice and cheered for me and personally congratulated me after I finished. Kara wasn't there so I immediately called her to make sure she wasn't in the ER, but she was doing better and on her way home.

I took a selfie for proof, hosed myself down, and went over to the cookout that the race director hosts by the finish line.

I had been all excited to have a burger this year, but I was sweating just standing there, and the thought of hot meat wasn't really doing it for me.

Weather at the finish

I really just needed to not be outside, so I got back in the car and drove home. I satisfied my burger craving at Ruby Tuesdays a few hours later, and also ate about half my weight in croutons, and the other half in frozen yogurt. 

Fingers crossed that next week's ultra is significantly less eventful!

Friday, July 19, 2013

5 years!

The worst kind of runs are the ones that should be easy, but instead are insanely hard. No one minds when like, sets of 800s at the track are hard, because you go in knowing it will suck. But, for example, when you go out for a 5 mile run "easy" run at 6am and can't even make it through without walking, that's annoying. It happened to me Wednesday.

Even worse, Thursday's run. 3 miles on the freaking treadmill, and I was tempted to walk. I really don't think I should ever feel that way while running on a flat surface in air conditioning.

I may have figured out the culprit though. This week, I finally started biking to work again. So just before my run, I'd biked home in this.

Feels like 112. 
Yeah, whatever, it's summer, ok it's supposed to be hot, but there's hot and then there's AC barely working/still over 100 at 9:30pm/can't breathe because the air sucks situations, and we're in the latter.

Still, I'm liking biking to work. I've been getting to observe some sort of skeleton on the side of the road each day. I really didn't want to get completely out of biking shape, but I seem to have lost motivation with no triathlons this summer. It forces me to get a few miles in, and to my uneducated mind, I seem to be working different muscles than I do while running.  It's only 7 miles round trip, so it's not like I'm reducing my carbon footprint a massive amount, but every little bit helps, right?

I would also recommend because just on the incredibly off chance that something....maybe plucks your nerves at work, it really helps calm you down a lot more than just sitting in the car stewing all the way home.

Oh, I forgot to mention, there is another reason my 3 miler was so tough. Yesterday was our 5 year wedding anniversary, and I really wanted to make the day special.

This made me so glad I got a dress without a train.
Since our big celebration is going on a cruise next month, we kept things low key yesterday, and just had dinner at home, but we did toast with this champagne we brought back from our trip to Napa. I also made some collages.

Our wedding had karaoke.

In honor of our anniversary, here's a list of reasons why I love my husband.

JUST KIDDING. No one wants to read that shit. I live with him, I can actually just tell him that and NOT put it on the internet. Bloggers, and especially people on my Facebook feed, take note.

I know I give a lot of sarcastic advice, but I'm about to lay some serious wisdom on any unmarried ladies out there. Get a videographer for your wedding. We watch our wedding video every year on our anniversary, and it's so much fun. A lot of brides say stuff like "no, I need the money for my flower budget!" but trust me, those are going to die and no one will remember them, but you'll have your video forever. As the bride, it's the only way you'll ever see the ceremony, and there's tons of funny stuff in ours that we would never remember if it hadn't been recorded. 

Ok, if you suffered through my advice, which was probably pointless for most people since I think a lot of commenters are already married, here's a special treat. Our wedding dance. It took me five whole years to finally get it from the DVD to the internet, and I almost lost my mind with excitement yesterday when it was up. I'm thinking maybe for ten years I can improve the quality.

You may have noticed, if you are a child of the 80s, that the dance started off to Forever, by Jesse and the Rippers. You may also know that they are reuniting TONIGHT for the first time on TV. Pretty sure that can't be a coincidence. I don't even have plans, so I was all excited to watch them, until my mom informed me that the show airs at 12:30am, and I was all like "WHAT? That's not happening" and she was like "well it's the LATE show, when did you think it aired?" and I was like "um, maybe like 10pm?". Cool story, bro. So she's DVRing it for me to watch in 2 weeks when we visit for Harrison's first birthday. 

What was or what do you want to be your wedding song?

Did you ever do anything crazy in your wedding dress after the big day?

Thoughts on our AMAZEBALLS, EPIC dance?

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

My unpopular hatred of Pinterest

Yesterday I posted about how great it is to have blogger friends. Another benefit is that I don't even have to blog about the 50k I have coming up on Sunday, because Kara already posted all about it. This is particularly helpful for me because the extent of my preparation has been extensively researching what cake I want to bake to eat afterwards, and crossing my fingers that I can make up some time by not getting stung by a bee like last year

So I'm "tapering" this week, or doing what would be considered tapering if I had been running really high mileage for the past few weeks. Let's just say I started my taper early, like right after my 62 mile birthday week in the middle of June. 

I continue to fail at waking up before work (I'm teaching summer school), but in all fairness it's not my fault because my alarm didn't go off yesterday. Yesterday, I ran 8 miles on the treadmill at an 8:52 pace. I thought my treadmill mental endurance was finally increasing, because it seemed to fly by. Then I made the tremendous mistake of bragging about that to Eric, and for today's 7 miles (8:56 pace) on the treadmill, I was back to "AM I DONE YET" every .06 miles. If there's one way to prepare for an insanely hot, sort-of but not really hilly trail run, it's in air conditioning on a treadmill with no incline. 

Monday night I actually used Pinterest for something other than dessert recipes or funny memes. I didn't stray far, but it was something. I made Philly Cheesesteak Stuffed Peppers, and even Eric agreed they were amazing.

The recipe was weird, it was just ingredients and a series of pictures. I guess that's where society is headed. Forget fooling around with that pesky reading.

Despite that success, I still hate Pinterest. Yesterday, I told my friend I hate Pinterest. She's one of those damn crafty wizards where everything she touches turns to adorable. Her reaction (shared by everyone at the table at work) was as though I'd said I hate puppies. I should know, because I do hate puppies and I'm not afraid to tell people.

Unrelated except that it's further proof of my social awkwardness, Eric and I have been really busy visiting our friends because they've all bought new houses and of course we want to see them. I'm really happy for each and every one of them. I'm also proud to report that I've come a long way in containing my jealous rages. Yesterday, when we pulled into our parking lot, I didn't even feel the urge to gouge my eyes out with a spoon, in order to avoid having to see our apartment, with that cheap, sticky supposed to be but not really white paint, bargain basement leftover appliances, and my horrendous lack of decorating skills. Granted the last one will be a problem no matter where we live, but it doesn't help matters at all currently.

What do you hate that everyone else seems to love?

Monday, July 15, 2013

Dinosaurs and stumps

On Friday, I ran 6 hot miles before work, and then Eric and I headed to Connecticut to hang out with Kari and Mike. As Kari has already explained, internet friends are the best.

I couldn't get the red eye out of this no matter what I tried. Which wasn't much.
Googlemaps said the trip would take about 4.5 hours and then there was basically a monsoon and it took 8.5 so that was super fun. Luckily those guys showed us a good time or all hell would have broken loose. 

Kari and I did a 10.36 mile run with her friend Saturday morning. I was pretty sure that I'd start lagging behind from the get-go and end up just doing laps around the car until she was done, but I somehow managed to keep up with the respectable pace for 94% humidity (9:26).

Then we cemented our status as super cool blogger by spending the day at a science museum. It had actual dinosaur bones and a mummy, so it was pretty awesome.

We learned about Stegosaurus in school this week, so it was JUST THAT PERFECT

After that, we went to this amazing dinner place. There was a giant tent top, and underneath were tables surrounded by stumps. You sit your "rump on a stump", they cook meat or fish for you, and you bring your sides and drinks. 

Eric is currently doing Insanity and somehow managed to email me this picture while still working out.

It made me really appreciate my new lifestyle.

We contributed that box of wine.
Obviously no weekend for us is complete without some sort of outrageous dessert. This time, it was homemade tagalongs brownies, which were about 8 million times better than they sound.

For once, I dessert I made/picture I took actually looks similar to the Pinterest version!
Sunday morning we were clearly starving and needed more delicious food as soon as possible. Kari and Mike were kind enough to treat us to their favorite breakfast place. There was a huge line when we arrived, which is always a good sign. It was well worth the wait. I had a tomato, mozzarella and bacon omelette.  Kari and I also split a blueberry crunch pancake. This sounds like typical diner food, but trust me, it was something special. Plus, it was gigantic and still good cold in the car for lunch on our way home.

After a few hours of crying, we were ready to say goodbye and hit the road. One of my good friends from college lives in Queens, NY (right on the way back) so we stopped and hung out with her and her family for awhile.

In my mind, we look exactly the same as we did at the bar in 2004.
As you can see, her daughter is the cutest thing ever, and I think I underestimated how hilarious 2 year olds can be. 

The takeaway from this post is, it's hard to make friends as an adult, so always turn to the internet. And eat meat. 

Your top 3 best friends. Don't think about it. How'd you meet them? GO.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

The frappuccino that never was

While I only managed to wake up to run before work one time this week, I have, in fact, worked out. Unlike last week.

Monday: 6 mile treadmill run (8:57 pace)
Tuesday: 6 mile treadmill run (8:47 pace) plus this torturous old friend

Yeah I'm still feeling that 2 days later
Wednesday: horrible 7 mile run, 10:10 pace and a 14 mile bike ride!
Thursday: 5 mile run (9:33 pace) and another 14 mile bike ride!

So yeah, I've ridden my bike more in the past 24 hours than I have in all the rest of 2013 combined. 

So I had a traumatic experience tonight. I have a free birthday drink to use from Starbucks for my birthday, and as I discussed with Steph in San Antonio, things like that cause me a lot more consternation than is reasonable. Despite my love of and history with Starbucks (6 years as a barista!) I almost never actually go there anymore. Mainly because most mornings I can barely make it from the bed to the kitchen to get coffee, much less out of the house to interact with other people. When I do go, I usually order an americano, which is one of the cheapest drinks on the menu. 

Clearly, ordering a (relatively) cheap drink with my free coupon is a total waste. The problem, sometimes I get so caught up in "saving" things that they expire and then I never get to use them at all.

The whole way home from my run/bike tonight I was agonizing over whether or not tonight was the night. I really didn't want to show my face in the Safeway by our apartment in my disgusting state. I normally really don't care, but it's pretty close to my school and my intern works there. I mean, whatever, it wasn't like I was rolling in clutching an 8 ball of coke, but I'd really prefer to keep my nasty sweaty bike shorts appearance separate from my professional life. PS I had to use urban dictionary to find a slang term for something to do with coke.

So, I decided to risk it, because I really wanted to try the new mocha cookie frappuccino, which is kind of a big deal because I haven't had a single frappuccino since I started working there at age 19. They are a major pain in the ass to make and so most people I worked with never drank them out of protest. 

Once I was finally in line, I immediately checked out all the cashiers and thought I was safe. Then I realized my intern was sitting like 5 feet away from me AT STARBUCKS. Awesome. 

Then I was forced to pretend that I was doing some sort of urgent business on my phone that required my head down two inches above the screen for the next 10 minutes while the barista was super busy flirting with the guy ahead of me. Her technique was telling him how the frappuccino that I was about to order was "so gross" and "OMG SO MANY CALORIES" and "ew, all that sugar". 

Safeway Starbucks girl, if you're reading, here's a little tip from a former barista: don't call your products gross right in front of all your customers. 

When it was finally my turn, I ordered my drink, even though I'm sure she was judging the hell out of me with  every bit of her 98 pound body. She kept her judgement to herself, but told me that they didn't honor birthday drinks. So I screamed "FORGET IT", except that was just in my head, and in real life I was more like "oh ok thanks so much bye!" because I'm a wimp. 

you don't see judging on the calorie lost chart on the wall . . . .. too bad
Well it is pretty fun.
I don't really know if that story served any purpose other than to reveal on the internet how much mental agony I go through to make simple decisions that most people spend approximately a quarter of a second on, but I already typed it so it's done. 

This weekend we are going to visit Kari and her husband Mike! Every time we've hung out, it's been to run a race. Then half the weekend is spent not drinking, and carefully trying to eat just the right foods for optimal  performance (which clearly I'm still pretty far from mastering). The part after the race, if we're even lucky enough to spend it together, usually goes along the lines of "woo hoo, race done, time to party!" and then one glass of wine and it's off to bed by 9:30pm. This weekend will be our first time hanging out together and actually getting to have nonstop fun!

If you made it this far with my incessant whining, here's something for your troubles.

my favorite animal

Would you have jumped in and told the girl to give this fatty her damn frappuccino? Or are you like me, where your plan is "silently seethe and then complain about it on your blog later"?

Monday, July 8, 2013

Local delicacies and pinterest

So I took the last week off from blogging, which worked out nicely because I took last week off from running too (well, mostly, I ran 13 miles total). Everybody get ready for a long list of reasons why that I'm really just writing to justify it to myself.

Oh, wait, no one cares? Good because I don't either. Let's just say I enjoyed a fabulous week with my family and glorious weekend mornings sleeping in, and move on.

I don't know about you and your family, but when our clan plans a get together, our first and foremost priority is food. We immediately start browsing recipes and brainstorming restaurants and usually eventually come to the realization that carrying out all our plans would require like 19 meals a day, and it would make the "before" reels they play on Biggest Loser look like child's play.

Speaking of child's play, what the hell is going on here? YOU ARE SUPPOSED TO BE A BABY.

 But we still manage to fit in tons of good food, much improved now that I'm eating meat. As soon as we arrived Sunday, it was time for a fajita bar. The grilled chicken was amazing, but I think the watermelon pico was even better.

One chicken, one beef
Now, I've already made two incredibly decadent desserts for my birthday this year, and making three would just be ludicrous. But my mom wanted to bake me a cake, and I would certainly hope that by 30 years old I've learned to listen to my mom. Besides, for big birthdays one cake per decade seems reasonable.
Malted milk ball cake (sadly we couldn't taste the malt)

Tried my first garbage plate - for any non-Rochester-ites that's a cheeseburger on macaroni salad and home fries (baked beans is the third option). Don't knock it till you try it, it's a local delicacy.
This is only half! I split it with my mom.
Yeah I have a million more food porn pics but I really don't want to come off like one of those lame food bloggers so let's just say I ate lots of good meat, have a good TWSS laugh, and move on. Except for this last one, because I learned to use a new app.

This happened a lot. I can't handle it. I'll limit myself to only two pictures.

Have I mentioned my family is amazing? They got me 30 things I love for 30 as a birthday gift. It was the best. 

I could never choose a favorite gift, because clearly they are all things I love, but the most exciting one was this one.

Fellow upstate NY-ers, please note it's Redcat
Of course, I already knew I was maid of honor, but it was super exciting to make it official. By the way, I'm not a 65 year old spinster librarian, so please don't refer to me as "matron". I got to help my sister do all sorts of wedding dress shopping, and it was awesome. 

As excited as I was to receive this, I must admit that I think I'm equally excited to be good and married off before Pinterest was invented. Get ready kids, I'm about to lay a history lesson on you. 

See, back in my day, if you wanted someone in your wedding party, here's what it sounded like. 

Ring Ring! (That's the sound phones made a long time ago, when they were used primarily for verbal communication, and you would actually have to speak with people, using your voice and everything).
Friend: Hello?
Bride: Hi, how are you, etc, etc, small you want to be in my wedding?
Friend: Wow, yes, I'd love to!

And that was that. But the bar has been raised, and there's no going back. So things have worked out pretty well for me, because I can benefit from all these adorable Pinterest ideas, but not actually have to ever get crafty and do them myself. Then I can just be like "OMG SO CUTE! Totes wish I had done that for my wedding but gosh darn there were no fake bulletin board sites to guide me back then! If only I had a DeLorean!". 

Thoughts on Pinterest? Had any adorable requests to be in someone's wedding like me?

Do you have a little known local delicacy from your hometown?