Archive for March, 2010

This is not a running blog, nor was it ever intended to be. But running is such a big part of my life that I couldn’t leave it out if I tried. And now it’s an even bigger part, because this past Saturday was Marathon Day.

The day I’ve been blabbering about for the past week or so.

The day that I’d been trying to train for since November, and actually training for since February.

The day that made me realize just how much my body is capable of.

The distance is a little off because we ran through tunnels, and my official time was 4:58:57, but this is what I saw when I crossed the finish line.

I could tell you about every mile – how it felt, what obstacles were there, whether or not I felt prepared – but I won’t (unless you ask). That’s what running friends are for. We like to be “bored” with those little details. We like to analyze the rolling hills and where the terrain was best and worst. We like to note how our form changed with our energy level.

Around mile 12

Instead I’ll tell you that the crowd support, particularly throughout Dupont and Adams Morgan made all the difference. I thought that I knew it would, but it mattered so much more than I expected. I nearly cried when I saw Cla, and I was so excited to see BNB and HeeHa right before the big hill. From there on out, I saw a familiar face –  RB, Vandy, JVo, Greater, DVo – every mile or two, right up to mile 20.

That's the 15 mile grin, right there

And knowing that I was going to keep seeing my parents and MJ’s mom and aunt as they rushed around to various points of the course gave me something to look forward to. Every photo they took has me smiling because I was so incredibly grateful to have people there to support me.

Are we actually elite runners? Well...define elite...

And despite the aches and pains that I do feel (it’s true what they say – it is easier to walk down stairs backwards after a marathon), I had an amazing time.

Call me crazy, but I definitely want to do another one.

Marine Corps – I’m looking at you.

Thank you guys again for all your support and I promise, I’ll lay off the running (posts) for a bit.

At least until next week.

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You know what tomorrow is. And let me repeat, you’re more than invited to participate – in any way you choose. Support is key.

I am currently spending my morning trying to calm the butterflies in my stomach and reminding myself that I can do this – that I’ve prepared for it as much as I can.

  • I’ve done the training runs.

I know for a fact that my body can go up to 20 miles and still function. At least minimally.

  • I’ve got the fuel.

I’ve been carbing up and hydrating all week, and I’m prepared for a delicious pasta dinner tonight.

  • I’ve got the tunes.

Thanks to your contributions the other day, I have more than enough music to power me through 26.2. And some that I’ll be playing on repeat.

  • I’ve got a support system.

When we signed up for this race, one of the required sections asks, “Will you be met by someone on-site post-race?” And if you answer “yes,” the response fills in with “YES – I will have a support group.” When I registered, I didn’t realize why this was a necessary field. Now, even after just training runs, I completely understand why it’s so important.

It’s so someone can catch you when your knees buckle.

Even though I know what a marathon does to your body, and it’s not good, I am so SO excited to do this. And to end this “psych up” on a truly motivational (cheesy?) note, I’ll leave you with a few of my favorite Runner’s World quotes, that will probably be running through my head as I, well, run:

  • It should make us proud to know we are part of a running lineage that stretches back from the original Olympic Games in 776 BC to this very moment. ~Michael Sandrock
  • I don’t train to beat another runner. We are out there together, competing with the marathon, and I train to run the marathon as fast as I can. ~Juma Ikangaa

And, if all else fails:

  • Act like a horse. Be dumb. Just run. ~Jumbo Elliot

Thank you guys for all your support, have a great weekend, and I’ll see you post-26.2!

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Keeping with this running theme I’ve got going on right now, I thought I’d share a little story from a race that took place nearly a year ago. Last April I was running the GW Parkway 10-Miler on what turned out to be one of the first really warm days of the season. As in, the temperature reached about 80 degrees by 11:00am.

I’d eaten a CLIF bar before starting out, deviating from my normal routine, but I figured I could use the energy. Around mile 3 I remembered just why I don’t usually eat before a race.

Now, I don’t know if you’ve ever tried running while clenching, but it’s not fun. And it’s not easy. There weren’t very many bathrooms along the way (I remember only one, there may have been another) so, had I stopped, there still would have been a line of people to contend with. And seeing as I was still in my competitive “maybe I can beat my last 10 mile time” mode, I didn’t want to stop.

But, good lord, 7 miles feels like forever when nature’s calling.

Can you tell? I'm concentrating so hard on just making it to the end.

Now, take into account that I was getting dehydrated and the heat was making me loopy, and you’ll understand why I was a mess when I finally crossed the finish line. I was standing in front of the porta-potties, just staring at them, white as a sheet, when one of the friends I’d run with (the now-boyfriend) found me and asked what I was doing.

I whispered, “I have to poop. I’ve had to poop since mile 3!” He looked at me like I was crazy (fair) and gestured to the mostly empty porta-potties, that I’d just been staring at, blankly. “So…go.”

Basically what I looked like when he found me...except I was even more out of it then.

Afterward, and after I restored my energy levels a bit, I admitted to him: “The whole time I was running I kept thinking, if I actually poop my pants, do I have the guts to blog about it?

Yeah. I don’t think so.

So here’s hoping that something similar doesn’t happen on Saturday (2 days!). Because mile 3 out of 26.2 is MUCH worse than 3 out of 10.

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I think it’s probably safe to say that I’ll be thinking about running and racing non-stop from now until about noon on Saturday. Not that it’s been very far from my mind since I signed up for this whole marathon craziness last July, but it hasn’t been as all-consuming.

But now it’s 3 days away.

(Or, to be more exact) 2 days 17 hours and so many minutes and seconds, thanks to the official countdown on the website.)

And I need to keep reminding myself to breathe. That I’ve trained for this. That it won’t kill me. And that I’ll get a super sweet medal out of the deal when I’m done.

So I’m asking (again) for your help with a certain aspect of my preparation. Aside from the crowd support, one of the big motivators during running is the playlist. Whether you run, bike, or just hold spontaneous dance parties in your apartment (just me?), what is your favorite song to move to? What gets you pumped up?

I’ve got 5 hours to fill, people. I think I can fit any song you offer onto this playlist.

As a kind of totally NSFW aside, even if you think I’ve become a crazy runner, I still haven’t signed up for a camp like this. At least…not yet.

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I have a confession. And it’s not something I’m proud of.

Back in November, when the new Twilight movie, New Moon, was coming out, I wrote about how bad I thought the first one was, and how I would not be seeing the second. And how I didn’t want to read the books (for fear of liking them).

I still haven’t read the books.

But Sunday afternoon, after a productive morning, mind you, all I wanted to do was veg out and watch a movie. And I didn’t want to re-watch anything I owned, so I looked on the interwebs. Now, maybe I was influenced by the recent ads showing the release of New Moon to DVD. Maybe I was just feeling particularly in touch with my inner (former?) teen angst. Maybe I just wanted to know if Taylor Lautner‘s abs looked as good as everyone said they did.

Or maybe it was all of the above. Because I spent Sunday afternoon watching New Moon.

There you have it. I caved. I fell to the power of Hollywood and boredom – a lethal combination.

And you know what else? I didn’t hate it.

Was it still a little melodramatic and absurd? Of course. Hello, teen angst! Do I still enjoy this LOLCats version of the movie? Well, how could I not? Do I still not fully agree with the glittery vampire idea? No, I don’t. Were the abs everything I thought they would be? And more.

Wait, what? Sorry. I was just on a roll there.

Anyway, I just thought you should know – in the interest of being honest. And, as much as I try to resist, I’ll probably end up seeing the third movie, too. Not in the theater, but who really cares about that distinction at this point?

But I’m still not reading the books. That’s a line I’m just not willing to cross.*

*I reserve the right to change my mind. Or cave, as the case may be.

P.S. 4 days ’til the marathon…

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The other day we my boyfriend and I were discussing the plan that DC has to expand bike lanes across the city and he noted how the Express poll showed that only 46%  said they agreed with the decision. “Must’ve been all drivers that voted,” he said.

After reading some of the comments below the poll, I have to agree with him.

But, as a driver, I kind of understand that. It’s not that I dislike cyclists, it’s just that they scare me a little bit. I’m afraid of hitting them as they dart in and out of lines of traffic. And even when they’re just riding along the side of the road I find myself inching toward the middle, just to give them their space. They might appreciate it, but the cars in the left lane don’t.

It’s times like those that I wish they’d ride on the sidewalk.

But there’s another part of me that wants cyclists to be on the sidewalk, as well. And that’s the part of me that wants to be a cyclist.

I’ve thought about it for some time now and I really think it would make sense for me to get a bike. Warmer weather is fast approaching and biking would be a nice alternative form of transportation. Not to mention a speedy one. Now, setting aside storage space and cost, there’s one itty bitty thing holding me back: it has been easily 10 years since I’ve ridden a bike.

I know they (whoever they are) say that you never forget how to do it. But I still worry that I’ll get back on one and I’ll pull a Phoebe:

(right about the 2:50 mark…)

I’d like to practice. But I can’t practice without a bike to ride in the first place. And even if I could borrow one, after practicing in the park, I’d want to start off on the sidewalks. Parents spend years teaching their children not to play in the street. Why shouldn’t we carry that life lesson into adulthood?

So, while I think it’s great that DC is catering to its bike crowd by making more lanes (which, presumably, will make it safer for cyclists in the street), maybe there could be another plan to widen the sidewalks, too, so the amateurs among us don’t have to worry about wiping out any pedestrians in our travels.

In my case, I don’t think that even a bell would be enough of a warning.

P.S. 5 days ’til the marathon

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One week from tomorrow I will be in the midst of running my first ever marathon. Or, depending on when you read this, I may have already collapsed over the finish line. But regardless, however you slice it, Saturday March 20th is Marathon Day.

I’ve run plenty of races in the past year and a half, and I’ve learned the value of crowd support. And never will it be so necessary as during these 26.2 long miles. I’ve already convinced my parents to come down and cheer, and we have a few truly insane devoted friends who have already agreed to leave the comfort of their beds that morning to watch us participate in this craziness.

But now, I have a proposition for you, should you live in the DC area. Come out and be a spectator! (Or, you know, run alongside us. That would be awesome.)

This course is 100% in the District. It covers Dupont, Adams Morgan, H Street, Capitol Hill, Nationals Park, and Anacostia.*

It does start at 7am (early, I know), but will last easily until 11am (probably even noon, for me). And the best part? Look how warm it’s supposed to be!

You’ll want to be outside anyway! Even if it coincides with nursing that hangover. Which could be counteracted with the coffee and bagels being offered at the Spectator Community Spirit Festivals!

Yes, I know this is a shameless plug and plea, but I can tell you from experience as both a runner and a spectator that the cheering can make all the difference.

Let me know if you think you’ll be able to make it out – OR if you know anyone else running.

Just one more week…

Happy Friday!

*Legalities (kind of): After a conversation with Heather, where we discussed begging asking people to come out and cheer, it was determined that we couldn’t actually ask anyone to cheer along the Anacostia route – even if it is during the tail end of the race when we need the motivation. Therefore, should you decide to spectate from there, consider this the official notice that I’m not asking you to go to that specific area, nor am I responsible if it’s too sketchy.

But still come out to the non-sketch places, please!

It has been brought to my attention that the above note could possibly be construed as offensive. If you were offended, I’m sorry. I meant no disrespect to any neighborhood – it was my poor attempt at a little humor.

But, then again, I am a WASP. I should know better than to try to be funny.

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