Sunday, January 27, 2013

I Love You, Man

Don't walk ahead of me; I may not follow.
Don't walk behind me; I may not lead.
Don't walk next to me either; just leave me the hell alone.

This pretty much sums me up.  The older I get, the more I dislike people.  The people who have known me since I was young are now wondering how it is possible that I can dislike people more than I used to.  I don't have that answer.

It may seem bizarre that I am sharing this with you when my last post was about the joys of running with a club, but stay with me here; I can explain.

For me, running is a continuous high.  The good feelings usually start around mile 3, and then I just keep getting happier and happier.  By the time I finish, I am like a blissed-out heroin junkie.  I try to hide these feelings, but inevitably something slips; I might start by saying, "We are so lucky to be running here!"  or "This is so beautiful!"  My running buddies look at me and usually grunt something in reply, and if I can, I put a lid on it.  Inevitably, if the miles are long enough, or if I'm in an exciting race (like the Akron Half Marathon, where I saw the blimp AND fireworks), I will get more sentimental.  In my head, I call this the Bud Light Syndrome.

bud light bottle alcohol pictures, backgrounds and images
I love you, Man.

When I did see the blimp surrounded by fireworks in the morning sky of the Akron Marathon, I turned (tears in my eyes) to my running buddies and said, "I am so happy to be here with you!  Thank you so much for running with me to get to this moment!"  I'm quite sure they were wondering who I was.

You can only imagine my reaction after a race, when I combine the Bud Light Syndrome with ACTUAL beer (well, if you count Michelob Ultra as real beer.  Normally, I don't, but that's what you get at races).   I am a high-fiving, sweaty-hugging, fellow-man-loving fool.  Take a picture of me then because chances are good that if you remind me of this later, I will bite you.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Going Clubbing?

To club or not to club?  That is the question.  When you decide that you are a runner, you need to make some other decisions.  I've already talked about shoes and races; now I want to address the issue of running clubs.

In February 2012 I joined the Towpath Turtles, which is a group associated with The Ohio Runner's Network.  My main reasons for choosing this group were 1) location--the Turtles primarily run in the Akron area--and 2) times--The Turtles do their group runs on Sundays, and that is the only free day I have in the week.  It is through the Turtles that I was able to break most of my mental and physical barriers to running.  The day that I was able to run four miles without stopping was pretty significant for me, and I owe it to the Turtles.  One of the most empowering moments (besides childbirth) that I've ever experienced is when I ran the Akron Half Marathon, and I owe this to the Turtles, too.  They are extremely supportive and knowledgeable, and they are just good people.

This is the motto of the Towpath Turtles.

One advantage of joining a running club is that you get discounts at running stores; believe me, it adds up.  Plus, being a part of a running club is a great way to hold yourself accountable.  You won't skip the long run because you know that a bunch of people are going to notice if you aren't there.  You can curse all you want during the run, but you aren't allowed to wussy out of it.  If you fall behind, someone will wait for you; if you want to go faster, someone will race you.  Plus, you have a strong group mentality that is very addictive.  When I run races, I wear a Turtle shirt, and runners know that I belong.  When I see fellow Turtles during a race, we have a turtle call (it sounds like an Arab wedding cheer), and people know that we are together.  It's a good feeling.

The Towpath Turtle season starts at the end of February 2013, and this will mark my first full year of being a runner.  I'm glad I chose this group, and I intend to stick with them.  Here is some info if you are interested in a running group.

Training for the 2013 Towpath Turtles season will begin Sunday, Feb 24th at 10am! If you are interested in training with us, there is a $50 enrollment fee that covers your Turtle shirt, and membership in The Ohio Runner's Network running club. (Additional training is available later in the season.) If you are interested in signing up, you must contact Sheila Avsec on FB, or on the OneLife Coaching's FB page for more information/an enrollment application.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Betrayal is Complicated

Lance confesses to Oprah.

I didn't watch the complete interview that Oprah did with Lance Armstrong.  I watched part of it on Thursday, but I was too tired on Friday.  I have been spending the morning catching up on snippets of the interview.  This article from NPR immediately caught my attention because it is exactly what I was thinking yesterday: What does he tell his kids?   How can he live with lying to his children about such a  major part of his identity?

Lance Armstrong Talks about His Kids

This summer I watched a series of interviews between Lance and Kristin Armstrong on the Runner's World and Running Times webpage.  One impression I took from those interviews was, "Gee.  He's a real jerk."  I looked at those interviews again this morning, and what I see is a man who was so driven to win that he alienated his wife.  I see a woman who is so strong that she is able to protect her kids from this media feeding frenzy caused by a very selfish man.  I see a woman who has the grace to have a series of conversations with the father of her children about strength and the joy of running, and she knew he was a cheater.  Here is a segment where he discusses their children:

Lance Talks with Kristin Armstrong about His Kids

In a different interview, Kristin says that running makes her feel "clean," which is how I feel after a good run, although I like the word "cleansed" better since it implies catharsis.  She asks Lance how he feels about running, and he says he only feels "clean" after a bike ride.  Ironic?

Lastly, my heart goes out to Kristin Armstrong, and I want to say that I admire her fortitude.  This next link is her blog, which addresses the idea of trying to achieve "NORMAL" during this time, and how running fits in with comfort and normality.

Kristin Armstrong's Running Blog

Saturday, January 12, 2013

I Suspect I Got Screwed.

Here I was, all happy and badass because I decided to sign up for the Canton Hall of Fame City Challenge Half Marathon.  Last year I ran the 10k for the inaugural Canton Marathon, and I LOVED it.  Well, I loved it while I was drinking beer and eating Fritos; while I was running it I was thinking, "One more frigging hill and I'm going to upchuck."  Runners are weird, right?

Canton Marathon medals--They weigh a gazillion pounds!

So, I received several Facebook updates and emails to my private account from the Canton Marathon (or so I thought), telling me to switch my page likes and email preferences to the Hall of Fame City Challenge, as it would be the replacement for the Canton Marathon.  On New Years Eve, a really sweet deal opened for the half marathon:  50 bucks.  I waited a week, and I snapped up the next deal:  55 bucks.  This is the same price I paid for the Akron Half for 2013 (I signed up as soon as I came home from the race).

Now, I have seen reports from the North Canton Patch about the partners for the Marathon, who are apparently involved in a royal pissing match.  Here is the letter to the editor written by one of the partners:

Julia Dick says, "Sorry, suckas."

She has decided to continue with the Canton Marathon, scheduled the DAY AFTER the Hall of Fame Challenge.  Great.  I emailed the partner with the Hall of Fame Challenge, and I haven't received a response.

Will I be running a half marathon on June 15?  At this point, I am an optimist.  I would like to believe that I will either be running a race, or I will get my money back.  My running friends shake their heads, smile, and say, "That's a good way to think about it."

Sunday, January 6, 2013

It seems that between facebook and running blogs, I've been seeing a lot of goals for 2013. Run with Jess posted a chart with her fitness goals, and she sure has a lot of them. She also talks about preparation for her 2013 races.  David from Daddy Runs Fast evaluated his runs from 2012 and how they compared to previous years.  Several of my running buddies posted retrospectives of their 2012 running seasons (complete with medal shots) and made racing goals for 2013.

I never thought about setting any running goals for 2013; I never thought I'd be running enough to have a goal. My running club buddy suggested that I keep a running journal and gave the example goal of running 1,000 miles in one year, so I thought that was a good idea. I signed up at to record my mileage and pace, and you can see the mileage tally below. As for racing goals, this is what I've decided: I want to get as close as possible to a two-hour half marathon. I've only run one half marathon (Yay, Akron!), and that was in 2:15, so I think that cutting fifteen minutes may be a lofty goal. To that end, I intend to re-join my coach's prep workshop this summer, and I will pay more attention to pace when I run. So far I've signed up for the following races:
Cleveland Rite Aid 10k (May)
Hall of Fame Challenge Half Marathon, formerly the Canton Marathon (June)
Akron Half Marathon (September)

I plan to fill in the spaces with 5k's, and I definitely intend to register for the Columbus Hot Chocolate 15k when that becomes available for November.

Someday. . . someday I will run a marathon.  I am so jealous of people who are starting their marathon training right now.   I know I will do this, but I also know that I am not ready to devote twice as much time to training as I have been doing for a half marathon.  I guess my long term goal is to run a marathon in two years.  By then I will have completed the major components of my graduate coursework, and my kids will be a bit older and more independent.  Until then I will enjoy the races I have.

I leave you with this video, which all runners will recognize as the exact truth of our lives, no matter how weird it seems to others (yes, Husband, I'm talking to you).

I am a runner. It is fun.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

The GNYER (Great New Year's Eve Race)

Sure, run a 5k on New Year's Eve; it will be fun!

SARC (Summit Athletic Racing Club) sponsored the Great New Year's Eve Race at 4:00.  The weather looked cold, but runnable. . .until I set foot in the parking lot.  I've been running for less than a year, so every race I run is a new experience.  My running buddies told me that this was a fun race, and the jacket is super-cool.  Okay, I can endure anything for under thirty minutes, right?  It had BETTER be for under thirty minutes.

This is the hill I had to run.  Twice.  Look all the way up.

As soon as the siren blew, the snow blew along with it, right into our faces.  It got colder and slicker with each step.  I was amazed to see a group of women dressed as Playboy Bunnies, complete with bustiers and tiaras.  "Don't mock them, " a friend told me.  "They are much faster runners than either of us."

I didn't match or break my personal record for the 5k, so I have to take my victories where I can find them.  As I was running uphill (again!) to come back to the finish line, a man next to me decided he was going to blow by me.  Because I have a good coach who makes me do the painful stuff, I knew that wasn't going to happen.  I kept my pace, and within thirty seconds he dropped back, gasping, while I chugged on ahead.  Maybe I had a tiny, smug smile on my face.  More likely, I was trying not to keel over.

After the race, I basked in the glow of endorphins while sipping lukewarm soup.  Was it worth it?  The runner's high was incredible, but I don't know if I'll do it again.  I suppose that because of global warming I'll be able to run this race in shorts and a tech tee in future years.

But that damned hill will still be there.