Friday, May 31, 2013

Falling for Running

This morning I fell.  It was really gross; I skinned both knees and scraped my hands a little bit.  I had the presence of mind to turn off the Garmin while I checked out my legs to see if I broke anything, and then I started right back up again to finish the run, blood streaming down my legs.  I looked like a zombie.

This is EXACTLY how I look when I run after a fall.

It's interesting that I fell this morning because I was just thinking about falling. . .and then BAM!  

After the Medina Half Marathon, I talked to a Tuning Fork and Color Therapist (shhh.  Don't judge.), and she told me that I had "lots of heat in my left knee."  Well, duh, I thought.  I fell on that knee in October, so it makes sense after 13.1 miles that it might radiate some energy.  "Did you ever wonder WHY you fell, and WHY the injury is in the knee?" she asked me.  "People deal with emotions in different ways.  Runners tend to run away from their troubles, so the pain goes downwards, to the knees and the ankles." Uh oh, she caught me.  I had to tell her the name of this blog.  Validation.

Anyway, I was thinking about that conversation this morning because I was also thinking that today would have been a good day for a running/crying jag, but I wasn't running alone, so I had to hold it together.  Then I started wondering WHEN and IF I could schedule a good run/cry and my calendar wasn't looking good and I needed to hold it together a little while longer and BAM.  There you go.  

The moral of the story:  It comes out in some way, folks.  Express yourself now, or you'll be dealing with bum knees.  It may be cool to look like a running zombie, but I won't be looking so pretty when I try to wear a cute summer dress tonight.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Medina Half Marathon

Saturday, May 25, I ran the Medina Half Marathon.  It was a practice for the inaugural Medina Half Marathon in 2014, so it was free.  FREE, People.  I can't pass that up!

I put a call out to my Medina peeps, begging them to acknowledge me some way, ANY way on the course.  This was only my second half marathon, and I haven't put in ten miles in a few weeks, so if you want to call that a taper, be my guest.

The Good:  There is so much to write here!  The course covered many different Medina neighborhoods plus some trail running around Lake Medina, which is gorgeous.

This is Lake Medina.  Photo Credit:  Christa Hammontree

This is me when I pretend to be happy on a trail.  This is David, who is probably wishing he could tape my mouth shut. Photo credit:  Dan DeRosha

I also especially liked the neighborhood supporters around mile 11.  There was lots of chalk art, cowbells, and little kids cheering, and believe me, at mile 11 it is VERY welcome.  Thank you, Medina people!

Runners is the craziest!  Photo credit:  Tracy Thomas

The Bad:  Because this is a free practice race, some of the  route was diverted to sidewalks, which I don't like.  Sidewalks make me very nervous; remember--seven years of orthodontia.  I am assuming that this won't be the case next year.  Also, the race finished on a brick road with an incline to the finish line.  I was worried about falling (David DID fall), and the hill demoralized me, so I couldn't kick it to the end.

The Ugly:  Ummmm. . .the hill was disheartening, but what REALLY demoralized me was when a runner PUSHING A STROLLER passed me on the bricks and left me in the dust.  He was having a conversation as he did it.  Stroller-Man, I hate you.  Also, while most of the Medinians were absolutely fantastic (the crowd at the finish was great, too!), there were some REALLY angry drivers who did not hesitate to express their opinions of us via the finger, horn blowing, scowls, etc.  When a runner next to me thanked a driver who was stopped in a queue as we passed, he responded, "OH WHATEVER."  Huh.

Overall, this was a great race, AND I PR'd by 3 and a half minutes!  I already signed up for next year's inaugural race (the medal is going to be suh-weet!) for only thirty dollars.  Pretty soon Medina Half Marathon will be offering entries starting at forty dollars.  I encourage you to take advantage of this rate.

The best thing of all about the race was running it with my peeps.  Thank you to everyone, especially The Ohio Runner's Network.

This is how I look BEFORE I run 13.1 miles.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Cleveland Rite Aid Experience

I was totally prepared to dislike the Cleveland Rite Aid race.  I didn't sign up last year (even though it was a Turtle race) because I was worried that a) I wouldn't be able to find a parking space in time, b) there wouldn't be enough bathrooms, and c) I wouldn't be capable of running a 10k.  I looked up the race on Marathon Guide, and as you can see, the reviews were horrible.  This year I realized that I must face my fears, and I signed up for the 10k for twenty bucks.  Twenty dollars, people; that's it.  I figured that even if it was bad, I only paid twenty dollars for it, so I couldn't complain too much.

Let me tell you, I was soooo wrong.  This race was awesome!  There were over 22,000 runners in four events: the 5k (on Saturday), the 10k, the half marathon, and the marathon.

This is how I look from a helicopter.  See me smiling and waving?

Let's get the worries over with, shall we?

Parking:  I parked in the Cleveland Muni lot (cost was only $5.00), and it seems that NOBODY else did.  It was difficult to get to the lot because I had to go through the city first, but it was super-easy to get out because I could get directly onto the expressway to go home.  PLUS.  People in front of me were waiting in line to get into parking garages that cost $15.00 or more.  Suckas.

Bathrooms:  There were several huge lines for the portapotties and the bathrooms just inside the stadium, but I walked about 500 feet farther around the stadium, and I NEVER had a line.  And I went at least four times, just sayin'.  Oops.  Was that TMI?

Ability to Run a 10k:  Pshhhhh.  I got rid of that fear running the 10k at the Canton Marathon last year.  In fact, I PR'd here by 4+ minutes!

The Good:  The last 1.2 miles were COMPLETELY downhill.  How awesome is that?  I felt GREAT in the last kick, partly because of the hill and partly because of the St. Ed's Trash Talkers, who played cadence on trash cans as we came in.  Also, it was a great surprise to see this guy:

John Adams , the Tribe drummer, is the bomb-diggity.

The Bad:  The crowd was too big for me to get my beer.  Boo.  Never fear; I drank one with lunch at home.

The Ugly:  I would like to sincerely apologize to the gentleman that I punched in the area-where-gentlemen-should-not-be-punched-unless-they-are-very, very-bad-men.  It was a complete accident.  I was walking through a water stop, and I dropped my right hand (which was in a loose fist) to shake it out a bit.  Unfortunately, this poor man was right behind me (in my blind spot), and I nailed him.  Since it happened around mile 3, I'm sure the rest of his race wasn't very comfortable.  I hope he's had all the kids he wants.

Shout-Outs:  Thank you to Jenn, who was just near the finish line cheering for us.  Thank you to Sheila, who has made sure that we are more than adequately trained for our races.  Great job to Bill, Amanda, Marilyn, Steve, Suegene, and any other TORN members who ran this race.  Lastly, a message to Vashti and Rosie:  I am so impressed with the two of you!  This time last year I chickened out and refused to run this race, but the two of you came on your own (ok, with Bill), and you ROCKED it!  There will be plenty of great races in your future!

Overall, this was a wonderful day for a race; I thoroughly enjoyed it!  I love you, Man.

Video of my finish

I'm the one in turquoise shorts and a red turtle shirt at :50.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Pre-Race Tradition

Shout out to my peeps!  Remember my post about pre-race traditions?  This is one of them:

This is EXACTLY how I look when. . . well, this is how I look.

Before every race we are in together, Julie, Deidre, Teresa, and I take our picture.  We sometimes have pre-pre-racing photos, too.  Those involve booze.  Ahem.

I just found out that I missed a PR in the Mother's Day 5k by five seconds.  I am not at all upset.

This is EXACTLY how I look when I miss a PR by five seconds.

  This race was about establishing a tradition, and this time I got to participate in starting a new tradition for some of the Towpath Turtles.  There will plenty of other races, and I have lots of PR's to chase.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

You Run Like a Mother!

Today was the Munroe Falls Mother's Day 5k.  It is the first race I ever ran, and it is lots of fun.  Today was even more special because I ran it with the Towpath Turtles, and we have snappy new shirts this year.

This is EXACTLY how I look when I am freezing my ass off in May.

Normally I complain about 5ks because if you really want to do your best, you have to know that there will be lots of discomfort, even some hurting.  If you are not at the very least uncomfortable during a 5k, you aren't running hard enough.  I like the Stop-and-Smell-the-Roses attitude of the 15k or the half marathon.  Today I felt more relaxed than I have ever felt before a race.  Normally I can't get to sleep the night before, and I worry about parking and bathrooms the whole time.  None of these things were problems this year, and I attribute this to the fact that it's a small race (last year there were about 400 participants) and that I've run a few races now, so I know the drill.

My main worry was dodging the strollers, the children, and the walkers.  I had a vision of me flopping on my face and ruining seven years of orthodontia after trying to go around a stroller with a family dog attached to it.  Luckily, it never happened.  I lined up with Deidre, Teresa, and Julie (as I do for almost every race), and when I got through the starting gate, I took off, dodging, picking, and rolling like LeBron.  Ok, maybe more like this guy.

I glanced at my Garmin near the end of the first split, and I noticed I was doing an 8:45 minute/mile, which is impressive, but the WRONG THING TO DO if you want to try negative splits.  Oh well.  I couldn't see my official time because there were too many people crowded around the boards, but I did see that my pace was 9:03.  I haven't checked, but I'm pretty sure this isn't a PR for me.  That's ok; I left the race with my teeth and nose intact, and I got to cheer for some pretty terrific runners.

Towpath Turtles, you will always have a special place in your heart for your first race; this was mine.  I am so proud of all of you.  I stood at the gate and watched you come in, and it made me so happy to see how far you've come.  Congratulations!

Next week:  Rite Aid 10k.  Time to start worrying about parking and bathrooms.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Pace? Isn't That Salsa?

I am trying to figure out my pace goals for this year.

Today I ran some Pre-Turtle miles with Leigh, who is about half my age and at least sixty pounds lighter than I am.  She just finished a 24-hour endurance race the previous weekend, so I thought that I would have no problems keeping up with her.  It's like lunging a horse before you ride him, right?  You wear him out, and then he's docile enough for you to deal with him.  Keep in mind that this is only a theory.  I used to own a horse, and lunging never stopped that evil son-of-a-bitch from trying to scrape me off under every tree on our property.

This is EXACTLY how my horse looked.  The fire made it very painful to ride him.

Ahem.  Anyway.

Leigh's idea of "taking it easy" was a nine minute mile.  Then she casually turned to me and said, "So, how's it going lately?"

I gasped and sputtered a reply until I realized that IT SHOULDN'T BE THIS HARD!!!  "Leigh, I'm like your mom or something; you've got to SLOW DOWN or I'll have a heart attack."  She obliged, and we settled on a 9:30/mile, but my body wasn't happy about it.  Luckily for me, poor Leigh wasn't feeling very well, so at mile 3.5 she said she was turning around and walking, and I could keep going to the turnaround and catch up to her on the way back.  I breathed a sigh of relief when I realized that I could run my 9:50/mile and no young whippersnapper would be pushing my ass on the path.  I turned around at 4.5 miles and caught up to her about two miles from the end, at which point, thoroughly rested(Leigh), we started the same crazy pace as before.

I am thankful to have survived.

So, now I am trying to figure out my pace goal for the Medina Half Marathon on May 25th.  My pace for Akron was 10:22/mile, and I thoroughly enjoyed it, but I'm pretty sure I can do better.  I think I can happily maintain a 10:00/mile for 13.1.  If so, I hope that my summer speed training will help me to take at least fifteen seconds/mile off that time for the Akron Half Marathon in September.

Then I will race Leigh.