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Posts Tagged ‘i run to look better naked’

Some people are photogenic, no matter what they do.

Some people are especially good at spotting any camera in their vicinity, and can therefore pose and appear to always be photogenic.

I am neither of those people.

And the times that has proven to be most true?

Races. Always races.

Sometimes, the photos aren’t so bad – just goofy looking:

sleepyrace

Not the only photo in which I closed my eyes this race.

Granted, running-while-sleeping did result in a PR, but I would still recommend keeping your eyes on the road.

Sometimes, though, the race photos are bad – seriously bad – and belong on Seriously Ugly Race Pics.

Husband introduced me to the site months ago, and I figured I’d submit one of my gems. You know, embrace the ugly.

Chicago - worstfaceever

Chicago Marathon, 2011

I never heard back and never saw it posted, so I assumed it didn’t make the cut and forgot about it.

Until I got an email confirmation last night that it was being added to the queue.

Now, being part of a photo collection with the word “ugly” in the title isn’t exactly something I’ve aspired to in my life, but I was oddly pleased to share.

Maybe it’s because every runner knows that they hit this point eventually, whether the camera captures it or not.

Maybe it’s because I can’t help but laugh at how ridiculous I look.

Or maybe it’s because I know from experience that there will always be another photo like this, and you just have to learn to run with it.

MCM2011-oof

Marine Corps Marathon, 2011

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My previous 10k PR was from 2008, from the second race I’d ever done in my life. I ran the 6.2 miles in 56:16 and was fairly proud of myself (even though I really didn’t have anything to compare it to).

I expected to get faster, but subsequent 10ks were slower, and I started to feel that maybe I had already peaked. Maybe 56:16 would always be my fastest.

But after some recent PR success in other races, I figured it was about time to (try to) update the 10k, and began looking for a race in which to do it.

Enter Heather.

Through her blog, she alerted me to the Run for Shelter 10k, and I decided that now was as good a time as any to go for speed. As Husband has noted, I’m a slave to the weather, and fall is far and away my peak race season.

The race was billed as fairly flat, an easy out-and-back. The organizers also offered free parking and indoor facilities in which to wait for the race start. After many many races of waiting outside in the cold, this was a very welcome change.

My favorite part, however, was the size of the race. There were only 414 10k finishers. That means no weaving, jostling, or crowding on the course. It means that you can focus 100% on you.

Which is exactly what I did.

Aided by a few key running songs (these two are perfect) I pushed myself along, glancing every so often at Guillermo, to make sure we were on track.

My reward was a final time of 50:23, and a brand new shiny PR.

I also managed to finish in the top 10 (okay, #10) of my age group for the first time in…well, ever. So there’s that.

Bottom line: Saturday was the perfect combination of a well-organized race and ideal weather.

And I couldn’t have asked for better PR-setting conditions.

Heather’s far more photo-friendly recap is here.

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In the weeks leading up to the half-marathon (which was yesterday), I ran 9 times. Of those runs, only two were 6 miles or more – not even half of a half-marathon.

I basically did everything wrong when preparing for this race.

But still I thought that maybe, just maybe, I could beat my old time of 2:06:50. (Even though my pseudo-secret goal – before lack-of-training was obvious – was under 2 hours.)

So I suited up – complete with a pace band, to keep me on track – and thanked God for yesterday morning’s absolutely perfect running weather.

A recent injury kept Husband on the sidelines, but he biked around the course, looking for (and usually finding) me at certain mile markers. It became a game for me. I knew that the next time I saw him I’d be x% done with the course.

Nothing like a good math problem to distract from how tired your body is.

I was afraid that I’d started off too fast. Afraid that I hadn’t paced myself properly (even with the pace band on my wrist, spelling it out for me). I was afraid that I’d crash before hitting the finish line.

And I could have. Except for two things:

  1. I knew that Husband was waiting at the finish line for me.
  2. I could see from Guillermo that, if I could stay steady, I would achieve my secret goal – by a lot.

So I stayed steady and sprinted the last stretch.

And when I crossed the finish line – finding Husband immediately – Guillermo showed me that it was totally worth it, reading 1:53:58.

At the finish line – I really was happy, but the smile doesn’t quite make it to my eyes because I was about to fall over.

I beat my previous PR by more than 10 minutes, and I came in well under 2 hours.

As I wobbled over to the food and water, Husband was there to hold me up and tell me how proud he was. As well as (understandably) slightly surprised.

You hardly trained for that! You really are a slave to the weather.

He’s right. If there had been any humidity yesterday, I would have been a goner.

But there wasn’t.

So now I have a brand new PR, and one more thing to cross off my list.

*All photos courtesy of Husband. Thank you for finding me.

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I have been on a running hiatus.

After becoming a Marathon Maniac, and riding the running wave through the end of the year, my body simply decided to stop. I became better acquainted with the elliptical, and kept the running to a minimum.

Which doesn’t exactly mesh well with my race goals from the 27 list.

Because to accomplish them, I actually have to register for races. And to be able to PR, I need to train for said races. And to train, I need to actually run with some regularity.

And at this point in time I really don’t feel like running on a regular basis if I’m not training for anything.

So it would seem we are at an impasse.

Or rather, that we were.

Because now…

In four and a half weeks I’ll be racing another half-marathon, gunning for a PR.

Husband and I signed up about a week ago, at the invitation/encouragement of Heather (who will be running as well).

I started training on Monday, and have so far completed a grand total of 1 run. Woo. Hoo.

That doesn’t leave a whole lot of time to get up to speed – especially if my training is limited to the treadmill.

And, let’s be honest, if the humidity keeps up, I’m not training outside.

But maybe – just maybe – this race will be the motivation I need to regularly slip back into my little running shorts and embrace my new, barely used (but very stylish) sneakers.

After all, isn’t the outfit what running’s all about?

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Leading up to Sunday, I told myself that Philly should be a fun marathon. No pressure. I’d already PR’ed twice, and I really just wanted to enjoy the run. That was my intention.

Photo Credit: Mama

But then, around miles 8 through 10, I realized that I was keeping a fairly steady average pace of just under 10:00. And I started wondering if I could keep that up for the entire race.

Photo Credit: Mama

The short answer is no. I couldn’t. I kept it up until about miles 20 to 21, and then I hit the wall. The weather was great; the course was beautiful (albeit, hilly); the spectators were loud; and the signs were creative. But my body knew that it was almost done for the year and it decided that it wanted to be done NOW.

So I pushed. I talked to myself. I sang out loud a little bit. I promised my body that we’d be done in just a few more songs.

Around mile 24, I wanted to cry, because every inch of my body was in pain, but I couldn’t. There was simply no moisture left.

Around mile 25, I turned off my music and let myself be propelled by the cheering.

And as I crossed the finish line, I acknowledged that the pushing was worth it, as I saw my third PR in three attempts.

Official time: 4:26:34

Once I’d finished my bottle of water, I did cry. But they were very happy, very exhausted, very proud, and very relieved (that I don’t have to do this again for a long time) tears.

Philly’s tag line was “Best:Time of Your Life.” And it was.

Literally.

Photo Credit: Harry

*Before the race started, BNF saw a guy with a sign that said, “On a scale of 1 to 10, you’re a 13.1.” As the sign guy saw him appreciate it and saw BNF’s marathon bib, he told him, “You’re a 26.2!”

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  • Tonight: we leave for Philly.
  • Tomorrow: we pick up our running packets at the expo.
  • Sunday: I run my third marathon in six weeks and officially qualify for Marathon Maniac status.

I have to admit, my body has surprised me these past couple months. After Chicago, I found myself thinking, how in the hell am I going to do this again in three weeks? But my body rallied. It recovered quicker than I remembered from past marathons, and performed consistently better.

Maybe because I didn’t coddle it quite so much.

I’ve now seen a new city; gotten two new PRs; become a CamelBak convert; and realized that body glide is worth every penny (if I remember to use it).

I am ultimately glad that I pushed my body this year, and that I know what it’s capable of. I’m glad that I did it now, and that there’s no reason for me to do it ever again. (The maniac part, not the the marathon.)

And I’m glad that we’re ending the maniac run in Philly. At home. With friends and family and Wawa to celebrate.

Who says mimosas don’t go well with hoagies?

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When we were in Chicago, the day after the marathon, MJ and I got to chatting with a few other runners about past races they’d done and how they compared.

Well,” one guy started, “I did the Marine Corps Marathon last year and Chicago’s spectators were way better. In DC all you get are bitchy Washingtonians sipping their lattes and cheering you on. It’s so annoying.

Really?” I responded. “Because we’re actually from DC* and did Marine Corps last year, too. And I have to tell you – Chicago’s spectators may have been more organized, but the signs in DC were far more creative. I loved the spectators at Marine Corps.”

It kind of took the wind out of his sails, which was part of the point. But the other, FAR more important part was that Marine Corps spectators are phenomenal. And this year – yesterday – they were even better.

I had a smile on my face nearly the entire time, thanks in part to signs like “You run better than Metro!” and, at Hains Point, “No sweat! It’s just the tip!” and also thanks to the Cheer Squad, consisting of Mama, Daddy (thank you both for coming down!), BNF, Vandy, and Nicstress.

BNF even managed to snap this photo as I ran by around mile 17.

Photo Credit: BNF

See that smile? I was having an amazing time. And I was feeling far better than I ever thought possible after running 17 miles.

That, plus seeing the Cheer Squad again at mile 20ish (sorry I missed your high five, Nicstress!), was enough to keep me motivated over the bridge, through Crystal City, and up to mile 25.

There I saw a sign that said “Accio finish line!” (a Harry Potter reference that thrilled me) and was able to push it just a little harder to meet BNF at 25.5. He finished the race with me, even doing the Iwo Jima hill again (even though he’d already done it once earlier in the 10K), pushing me the entire way.

And I’m so glad he did because now I have a brand new, shiny PR of 4:29:09! I took 5 minutes off my Chicago time, proving that temperature can make far more of a difference than elevation.

I might be shuffling today, and my knees are absolutely not happy with me, but it is so very worth it.

Everything about the race was amazing – especially the spectators. Truly, Chicago has nothing on you.

In three more weeks we’ll see how Philly stacks up. Two down, one to go!

Photo Credit: BNF

¬†*It’s a whole other debate about when you can actually say that you’re from DC. But for the purposes of this conversation, I felt it appropriate.

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