Sunday, December 20, 2015

Dang--It's Cold!

This post is going to be short and not-sweet.

1.  I am battling the crud, so I shouldn't be around anyone.  Except my family.  They will get it no matter what.  Then they will give it back to me.
     A.  Of course this is my Winter Break.  I hope I'll be able to breathe through both nostrils on Christmas Day.
     B.  I kicked up my anti-crud fight with my regular Emergen C Super Orange Immune Booster, NyQuil, and Zicam (after the Cold Eez ran out).  Zicam is awesome.
     C.  The Neti Pot is back--oh yes.  Neti Pot, why can't I quit you?  This time I'm boiling water to avoid brain amoebas.

2.  I wonder if Emergen C Super Orange Immune Booster would be a good mixer with Grey Goose?  Hypothetical question.

3.  I ran ten miles this morning on the Towpath.  I saw a mink running on the thin layer of ice at the Beaver Marsh.  I have no picture of that particular mink, but here is a picture of a mink:

Sorta cute.  Maybe not.

4.  It was super-duper cold, and I was irritated almost the whole time.  I bought a Fila jacket from Woot.  It was very cheap, and I thought it would be good for running in cold temps.  I still love the jacket, but I hated running in it; I felt like my shoulders were too constricted.

5.  This time, instead of listening to music or my own Voices, I listened to two podcasts: Wait, Wait! Don't Tell Me! and Car Talk.  I liked this because it made me slow down (combined with a too-tight jacket), and I felt like I was running the pace I should run for long, slow distances.  This will be important when I start training for my first marathon.

I'm looking forward to relaxing, reading, and running during my break.  I've got nothing to train for (officially) until May, although I'm certain I'll talk myself into running the Shamrock in March, so really, if I can maintain a minimum of ten miles on the long-run days, I'll be happy.

I hope you run happy, Peeps!

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Sunday, December 13, 2015

Race Recap: 2015 NERC Interclub Relay

Today I ran 10 miles on the Towpath. . . in capris and a t shirt.  Last week at this time, I wore tights, shorts, a long-sleeved shirt lining, a t shirt, a jacket, a hat, and gloves--and I was still freezing my tuckus off. Welcome to Ohio, Peeps.

Last week was the Northeast Running Club (NERC) Interclub Relay and Fun Run at The West Woods Park.  I'd tell you where that is, but I haven't a clue; Sheila drove me so I didn't pay attention.  She could have just dropped me somewhere by the side of the road, and I would have died of hunger there after I ate my one GU.  It's a good thing she didn't, or she and Shelby would have had to run the eight mile leg of the relay.

I knew nothing about this race when I signed up for it.  I thought, "Yeah, trails, a relay, I'll do eight miles.  No biggie.  No pressure."  Then I looked at the list of runners: Snakebite Racing Team with my fellow Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon Ambassador Pam and her husband.  Crap.  They are serious badasses, often taking first place in their AG or even overall in races.  My only consolation was that Pam finished her second Iron Man not so long ago, so I thought maybe she'd back off today.  Yeah, right.  Also I saw Nate and Giovanna, who are ultra runners (and Nate is a tri-athlete).  They both ran the Ragnar Appalachians Trail Relay this summer as part of an ultra team, and I see Nate zipping by in the neighborhoods when I run in the mornings sometimes.  Lucky for me, Giovanna told me she was taking it easy that day, so I was able to relax a little bit when we started.

The routes had been posted a few days before the race, but I am not at all familiar with this neck of the woods (see what I did there?), so it meant nothing to me.  Guy Gadomski, the race director, explained our eight-mile leg to us, but that meant nothing to me either.  I just hoped the course was clearly marked and I wouldn't be completely alone for eight miles.  I didn't need to worry; there were volunteers pointing us in the right direction, and I was able to run with and/or near a group of nice ladies for most of the race.
I'm smiling here because A) it's in the first few miles and B) I'm relieved that I'm not lost and alone.
The course was ALL HILLS.  If it had been snowing or icy, I wouldn't have run this race because there were also stairs.  My music died in the first 200 feet, so it was me counting my breaths and trying to make conversation with the runners around me.  Then I realized that they didn't want to talk to me, so I went back to counting my breaths.  It wasn't so bad running without music, even with the brutal hills and tired legs from my trail race the previous day.  I walked some of the hills, more at the end, but I feel like I finished strong and made a decent showing for my team.
At least I mustered up the energy for a thumbs-up towards the end of the race.

Those aren't fat rolls you see on me.  I put my gloves and phone in my pockets.

After the race there was a chili cook-off.  I didn't eat any chili, but I did shove a cookie in my head, as well as a homemade energy bar that was the bomb-diggity.  Then I did my selfies:

Team TORN: Shelby, Sheila, me.  Shelby is REALLY happy to be there.

Look!  I found CleMarathon Ambassador @pam_mcgowan!

All in all, this was a very nice day in the woods with some very nice people.  I've told you before that trail runners are good people, right?  Plus, you can't beat a free race, which this was. It was good to know that I can do eight miles of up and down, up and down because guess what?  I just signed up for Leg #7 in the Burning River 100-Mile Relay.  It's fifteen miles and change, and I'll be running at night, Peeps.  Crazy, ammirite?

I'll start panicking in a few months.  Until then, run happy, Peeps!

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Sunday, December 6, 2015

Racing Naked: Ohio Outside Trail Race 3

Friday evening's Facebook post:

Will somebody PLEASE give me an excuse not to run the Ohio Outside Trail Race #3 tomorrow morning?

Yep.  That was my attitude.  I only had one person (Sheila) respond, and she told me to go to bed.

I got up for the race, had breakfast, yadda yadda yadda, and I left with my bag o' racing supplies (towel, warm jacket, gloves, Garmin, phone, earbuds, FlipBelt, Kleenex).  It was freaking COLD.

I was further irritated when I discovered that I hadn't recharged my Garmin.  "Well, that is just dandy," I grumbled. "Now I won't know my pace or how far I am on the course or ANYTHING. Way to go, Stephani."

It turned out that running without the Garmin, or "racing naked," was the best thing I could have done.  I didn't look at my wrist during the whole race.  I didn't judge my pace or make any calculations on where I could gain time.  I didn't think, "OMG.  I SWEAR I've gone farther than .27 miles."

And. . . I shaved a minute off my previous time.  Not bad, eh?  Now, I don't think this is entirely due to running sans Garmin because I  know that I am a faster runner in cold weather; however, I do think that the fact that I didn't keep judging myself and measuring the course paid out for me, too.  I did measure myself against other runners--this dude, for example:

You think you're going to beat me?  Really?
You, sir, are going to get chicked.

All in all, I finished happier than when I started, especially after a slice of breakfast burrito and two carrot cookies.  Did I mention that the cookies are the bomb diggity?

This is EXACTLY how I look after shaving off a minute of my time and eating two carrot cookies.
All in all, the Ohio Outside Trail Series is a good, relaxed sort of race if you never have hopes of placing in your AG or at all.  The trail isn't too difficult, and it's very pretty.  The hoodie is freaking SWEET, and the beer glasses are cool, too.  I'd also like to do a shout-out to the mother who brought her ADORABLE Little Punkin to every race and always cheered in the same place--the last bend by the lake before the stairs.  I looked for that cute baby every time I did that loop, and I had to smile every time.  Lady, your baby is a life-saver.

Those cookies, though.

This post is a bit long, so I'll save my recap of the NERC Interclub Relay for next week.  Until then, run happy, Peeps!

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