Friday, February 26, 2010
I was flying from Jacksonville to Chicago on Monday evening, and seated next to me were 2 high school girls from the North Shore. They gave me the Spanish Inquisition as I settled into my seat- where are you from, how old are you, did you run the race, do you have a boyfriend, etc. I answered their questions and turned back to my book. Later on in the flight, the girls were talking about where they wanted to be in 10 years. I swear I'm a magnet for this type of conversation, but the one says, "If I'm not married by the time I'm 27, I'll kill myself." An awkward silence ensued as they looked at my left hand, then back at me.
I almost laughed out loud. When I was their age (*cringe* I hate how I can say things like that), I never imagined my dream wedding, or my perfect husband, or babies. I could never imagine the white picket fence of my dream house. And 10 years later, I still can't see the dream wedding, don't really want a husband (unless he's British and has a cool last name... just joking... maybe), and am definitely missing the mommy gene and definitely don't plan to acquire it. As for the dream house? Well, let's just say I'm holding out for a location without winter.
I did, however, imagine that the Cubs would have at least played in the World Series. So I might be insane. Whatev.
But I'm content. I like my life. I have a good (albeit boring) job that pays well, but with a boss who likes me and doesn't get mad when I use my sick days to go to Wrigley Field. I have food on the table, shoes on my feet, and a great bf to share my day with. I have running, which has taught me discipline and dedication. You truly get out of it what you put into it. I have good friends on speeddial, cold beer in the fridge, and a great hockey team to root for. You can't ask for much more.
Maybe at my high school reunion next year I'll be the odd one out. (But then again, I don't think I do reunions. So they'll never know, muah ha ha.) But that's ok. The greatest day of my life so far was the day I decided to live for me and not give a crap about what other people think. I like who I am. And the other stuff? Eh. I could go either way.
Except for the Cubs and the World Series. C'mon, it HAS to happen eventually. Maybe? I hope...
We can't ask the pitcher to lob us slow ones. I think the best we can do is step up to the plate and swing at the pitches that are thrown, whatever they may be. I'm content with that.
Thursday, February 25, 2010
I purchased my particular belt (black with a hot pink zipper) at the 26.2 with Donna expo in Jacksonville, FL. I also got the toggles for bib numbers. I was looking for something to hold my gels during the summer months... the fuel belt and I don't always get along, and keeping them in the pocket of my shorts led to some nasty cuts on my stomach. I had always wanted one and figured, no time like the present.
The lady who sold it to me said, "Just make sure you try it on and adjust it before tomorrow." WHAT?! This can be used immediately?! I don't know if I can do such a thing!
I guess I'm a rebel. I went against everything I'd ever been taught, and any rule I'd ever made for myself when *gasp* I TRIED SOMETHING NEW ON RACE DAY!
Here are my observations:
*I needed no adjustment on the belt. It literally does not bounce.
* I don't feel like I'm wearing anything around my waist.
*These toggles for the bib numbers certainly come in handy. I never have to worry about safety pins again! I never have to freak out if there's only 3 in my race packet and I forgot to grab more (I'm talking to you, RnR Las Vegas!).
*Even with my gels and ipod, I definitely have room next time for my phone (to take photos), band aids and a little tube of body glide. Best invention ever!
*5 miles into the race, it hasn't moved. It literally does not bounce.
*When my ipod shuffle acts like a retard, I can just bring the big one as well. There is no need to go without music EVER AGAIN!
*It does NOT make me look like I'm wearing a fanny pack, which I had originally feared.
*All the cool kids are wearing Spibelts.
*If only it held compact size water...
*It doesn't take up much room in my suitcase at all. In fact, I could even carry it in my purse.
*NO MORE GEAR CHECK LINES! It can hold everything I would normally put in my bag, except a clean shirt. But I can suck that up.
*When I go to races in the city and park my car where its free and walk a fair distance to the lake, I can keep my car keys, ID for beer, ipod, gels, etc etc etc. It's handiness knows no bounds.
*By the time I finished the Donna Pikermi, I had totally forgotten that I was even wearing the Spibelt.
*If the old triathlon granny on The Amazing Race can rock one, so can I.
*Have I mentioned that it definitely does not bounce?
If you don't have one, GET ONE! Spibelts totally rock.
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
My PR quest in Jacksonville actually began on Saturday morning, when I participated in the 26.2 with Donna Family Fun Run. I had decided on this basically because of my hibernation preventing me from running outside in 70+ days. I wanted to get some of the junk out of my legs before Sunday's Pikermi.
The Fun Run was only 2.3 miles- just across 2 big bridges that span the St John's River and back to the start. My goal was to be under 20 minutes, and I achieved that with a 19:50 time! I got another pleasant surprise when I crossed the finish line as the 1st woman! Yay me! Too bad there wasn't any other kind of prize involved...
After the fun run I went to the expo to pick up my goodies. The t-shirts for the race are AWESOME, despite the fact that they are white. I also picked up a windbreaker with the race logo, AND a Spibelt! (I'm writing an Ode to the Spibelt that I'll post later in the week... it's basically me telling you how awesome it is and encouraging you to get one of your own.)
On to the Pikermi... I set my alarm for 4:30am, allowing me tons of time to get ready and walk to the shuttle bus. My mother, who went with me for the race, snored like a hog the whole night. Lord knows what time I finally passed out, but I think it was after 2am. So imagine my surprise when she screams, "It's 5:30! Wake up!" That's right, I slept through the alarm. I got dressed in 5 minutes, and we actually made the last shuttle to the race start. But only got there when my corral was lining up... and I was in the front corral, so not enough time for a pit stop, boo.
*Note* I was really sleepy, due to my lack of sleep, and as such my photographic memory was not at its best. Personally I think the following RR is really boring, but you can be the judge of that!
The confetti cannon went off, and I started the race. I didn't have an overall goal per mile- I just wanted a PR, however that came about.
The first few miles were on the hard highway (which was also tilted... weird), complete with HILLS! I was totally not expecting those. My stupid ipod shuffle was doing weird things, so I ditched it in my Spibelt pouch after mile 3. I was on my own.
I'm always amazed during a race when you go through neighborhoods and tons of people are sitting on their lawns cheering for the runners. It's my favorite thing about Chicago, and now my favorite thing about Jacksonville Beach. SO MANY people outside cheering! Plus there was a country band playing in someone's garage for entertainment. Maybe it was a good thing I ditched the ipod...
An aid station, then a ramp down to the BEACH! (The ramp was super slick... I'm so happy I didn't fall!) I can't remember the last time I was on a beach. And I've never run on one, so this was a first. The smell of the Atlantic, and the sun beating down on my face, and the waves crashing in, oh it was heavenly. Definitely worth all those lonely days on the treadmill back in the Chi!
After the beach mile we split from the fullsies and headed back towards the Mayo Clinic (race start/finish). I loved running through the beach town and looking at all of the houses. I also wondered how much they cost and if House Hunters had ever been down there. Random, I know.
I started to freak out around mile 7 about not getting a PR, so I grabbed a Gu from my awesome Spibelt and took a little break. Problem solved. Still running good. Back onto the highway we went, closer now to the finish.
Around mile 10 I got the yucky tummy feeling... hold on, I told myself, we're almost done. Not so. I couldn't take it anymore. I had to go NOW! At the next aid station, just before 11, I ran to the port-o-john... which was slanted on a hill... oh it would not have been a pretty sight if that had tipped over! I was scared for a second. Despite my little break, my mile time was 10:10. But I felt much better now and could finish the race without yucky feelings.
And finish I did. I knew that after my break, the 1:50:59 was impossible. But I was still on PR pace, so I grabbed everything I had left and ran my guts out. I could see the finish and knew it was going to be a great day. I sprinted into the end for a final time of 1:54:31 (average pace 8:44), over a minute better than the PR I set in November. Hooray!
What a great day! The medals at the end were AWESOME, I ate 2 little cups of delicious soup and drank my free Bud Lights. Beer tastes so much better when you run to earn it. My shins were sore on Monday from the sand, but after a 3 mile run then and 8 today, I'm perfectly ok and ready for Monster Month to start on March 1st.
Thursday, February 18, 2010
It's hard to believe that 8 weeks have already passed by in my Wisconsin Marathon training program. 10 weeks from Saturday is race day! While I still have a long ways to go, and at least another month on the treadmill before the weather improves, I'm much more confident in my ability to smash my PR and run a consistent full marathon (or double Pikermi, as I understand it).
It's also hard to believe that I haven't run outdoors in 70+ days. I'm looking forward to pounding the pavement instead of the treadmill belt... looking forward to going places instead of being trapped on a loop.
That being said, here are my goals for this weekend's Pikermi, the 2nd of 2010.
A: 1:50:59 or better
My longshot goal, the one that will remain the "A" goal for as long as it takes. This is the time I need to get out of the open corral and into a nicer, less crowded one for the Chicago Marathon in October. I don't know if it's doable right now, but I have been running extremely well as of late. It's just a matter of being able to hold roughly a BQ pace for 13.1 miles.
B: To PR, or better than 1:55:43
I was so close to my PR at the indoor marathon last month. So close I could taste it. I still hauled in a very respectable 1:56, but I know I can get that PR. Will the warm weather come to my aid, or slow me down?
I know that this is doable; it's what I ran at Rock n Roll Las Vegas back in December. And that was a cold race where I wasn't feeling at my best. Not breaking 2 hours appears to be a thing of the past. I hope I didn't just jinx myself there!
D: To finish and to have fun while doing so!
I think every runner should have this as their D goal. Why else do we run, if not because we love it and it's fun? The health benefits is just gravy.
Full race report and pics to come!
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
The old me would give up completely if I forgot to pack socks in my gym bag... the new me sees blisters as battle wounds.
The old me would have cut mileage short if she "just wasn't feeling it"... the new me doesn't accept excuses.
The old me thought good enough was just that... the new me constantly pushes to get better.
The old me would wear an old cotton t-shirt to the gym... the new me recognizes cotton as the enemy.
The old me thought runners who wore hats were hardcore dorks... the new me is a hardcore dork.
The old me didn't have a training plan... the new me couldn't live without one.
The old me didn't think about fueling during runs... the new me doesn't understand how she could have ever been so negligent.
The old me saw running as a hobby, something to pass the time... the new me sees it as a lifestyle, a chance to be something greater.
Tuesday, February 9, 2010
Now I'm at a crossroads. I have 7 miles to do today. Do I... 1) skip it entirely and push my last 3 runs to Wed, Thurs, Fri; 2) run outside in the snow; 3) drive to the gym on crappy roads to get that 7 in.
Thursday, February 4, 2010
*Not every race has to be "raced" or run for a PR. I train by myself, so sometimes I enter races just to run with others. And to practice aid station etiquette, because I know I suck at it. (Put it this way, I can't drink while running. Too spazzy.)
*Per the groundhog: 6 more weeks of winter. That means 42 more days (well, 40 now) of treadmill running. OH GOD I CANNOT WAIT TO GET OUTSIDE!
*My toes are covered in blisters. And I'm only on week 6 of my training program. I'm just learning to live with it.
*I miss my Garmin. Manually taking mile splits on an old Timex is no fun. I wish Garmin worked indoors.
*I don't care if people make fun of me, I'm wearing my dingy old running hat to the gym on Saturday. I just decided that, oh, right now. I've tried all kinds of headbands, and nothing prevents sweat from running down my face and causing horrible breakouts the way my hat does. I can't live like this anymore! (Ok, I'm done being dramatic, I swear.)
*I don't get what all the fuss with Kara Goucher is about. Stop choking, win a big race, and then we'll talk.
*Over 10,000 people have already registered for the Chicago Marathon. Registration opened on Monday. I read an interesting article the other day about how full marathon participation is BOOMING. I guess the days have finally come where we'll all have to stay up late to ensure we get into our favorite races at 12:01am.
*Why does my dryer have to eat my nice technical socks? Why can't it eat the cheap-o ones from Target?
*Does every runner love peanut butter as much as I do? Because really, I would put it on steak if it were socially acceptable.
Tuesday, February 2, 2010
What IS the final cost of the marathon? Starting at $0, let's look at the bang-for-your-buck properties of this race.
*Keep in mind that some of these dollar values are for the sake of argument... it's hard to put a dollar value on toilets!*
20 aid stations, all with water & Gatorade, some with bananas & Powergels - $20
(20 aid stations, 8oz cups of both water & Gatorade, say 32 oz of fluid costs $1.59, bananas $.25 apiece and Powergels $1.50 a pop)
Cups for fluids at said aid stations - $2.99
(I assumed that each person would use a box of Dixie cups, costing roughly $2.99)
Nike technical shirt - $25
Port-o-johns - $5.50
(I assumed that 20 aid stations + start + finish, using the bathroom each time , and using about $.25 worth of toilet paper at each stop.)
Traffic control - $1547
(I assumed that there are 28 traffic people, 1 at each mile marker, and then at start and finish , each making minimum wage [$8.50] for 6.5 hours [course limit]. We know that there are many, many more police and traffic officials out there, as well as volunteers. This number is SEVERELY underestimated.)
Waste management - $1547
(I assumed the same variables as traffic control listed above.)
Misc. course amenities - $2.28
(I assumed that each person used 1 single dosage packet of Tylenol [$1.29] and 1 small tube of Vaseline [$.99])
Finisher's medal & space blanket - $3.15
(I assumed that both items were purchased in bulk, with the medal costing $3 to make and the space blanket $.15)
Finish line beer - $4
(I assumed that the Goose Island 312 provided at the finish line was on special at your local tavern.)
Finish line goodies - $5
Total cost - $3161.92
Never mind the intangibles, i.e. the things that we can't put a price on. Like possible seeing a world record go down. Or the ease of transportation to the start/finish/all around town. Or the fact that Chicago has the highest percentage of first-time marathoners. AND thousands of people get their BQ at this race every year.
At $135, I'd say we're getting a bargain that not even the late Billy Mays could produce!