Friday, April 30, 2010

Country Music Marathon- Running- the first half

And so the race began to the sounds of Black Eyed Peas "I got a Feelin" (not sure if this is the real name of the song, but you know which one I'm talking about) on the big people speakers and Christina Aguilera's "Come on Over Baby" on my ipod. I quickly changed my ipod to something more appropriate and motivating, though I don't remember what song it was.

And so I ran.

I was running with that girl who was also wearing pink. We had a similar pace but weren't really concerned if one or the other fell behind a few feet. I liked that about this girl- I will never know her name. Yet, she was a source of calm those first 10 minutes of the race. Neither of us were alone, and someone knew we had started and looked good.

After the first mile, when we stopped at the water pit, she said she was going to slow her pace down. I marched onward, going with the flow of my body. I felt fan freaking tastic. I managed to sneakily take off my little jacket i was wearing, and reattached my my race number to my pink under armor shirt. I vividly remember running across a little bridge and seeing some dude wearing his vibram five fingers. I wish that i could be that guy. Maybe i will be soon.

Running a marathon is a blur. There are crowds of people lining the way, cheering you on. There are pit stops every mile or two miles. There is music and there are other runners getting in your way. There are sweet puppies that give you more inspiration than the zillions of people you dont know cheering you on.

Before the race started, i had read the little info book they give you. It had mentioned this dude and his wife who sit in frnt of their house with a little table and a bottle of champagne, toasting the racers. CHECK- saw them! totally cute.

Before i knew it, i was at mile six. And, i have to let you know, that i got emotional a few times during the race. The start was a little emotional, but not like mile 6. At mile six, i ran past my handsome and health conscious boyfriend's apartment complex. And as i ran by, i thought about all the sweet things he had done to help me prepare for this big day. I thought about all the ways that he had been supportive, and probably didn't even know it. And by golly, i started to cry. Well, really my eyes watered and i couldn't quite breathe, so i knew that i had to get it together because running, in fact, does require the act of breathing. So i got it together, and RIGHT as i settled myself down, i saw my dear friend Caroline jumping up and down cheering for me as a came around a corner. We had talked about her being at the split later in the race, but i was so surprised that she was there at mile 6ish! Annnd, i got a little teary again. Her support really meant a lot to me. I can't even express how uplifted i felt seeing her there, just for me, to let me know that she thought i could do it.

Anyway, enough mushy gushy. I ran on. We looped back on the same street. We ran past Belmont University and there were people there giving out oranges which tasted very delicious. at about mile 10, some middle aged man just decided to up and talk to me. The strange part about this was that while i was really annoyed with him at first, after a few minutes, his presence was very comforting. We talked about how he and his wife run marathons together, but she didnt want to run this one. We talked about how he thought i was making good time and would have no problem finishing. We talked about vibram five fingers and running barefoot. We talked about the crazy marathon fans dressed up as the band, Kiss. He helped me keep a good pace when i was started to get just a little bit tired. Then, i stopped to grab a Gu packet and he stopped to get some drank. At that point we got separated. Yet again, another person whose name i will never know, but who was a great source of calm for me.

If you are wondering if my foot hurt, i can't really tell you. I don't remember any pain at all. But for all i know, that could be the race adrenaline. Moral of the story is my "injured" foot was not causing me problems. My muscles felt great, and i had the energy to finish.

Next up came THE SPLIT. where they separate the boys from the men. And when i got to the split, caroline was there, jumping up and down, high fiving me because i was GOING TO RUN THE MARATHON. I had managed to keep a great pace so that i was right on target to finish. My legs weren't super tired- they were a little because i had run 12 miles at this point..... But there i was. I was gonna do it. The FULL freaking marathon.

Of course, i started to get a little teary eyed here too. I had been working so hard for so long, and despite the weather and my foot, i was going to finish.

The second half is on the way. I am milking this blog post for all its worth, which is three blog posts.

Ultra Love

Monday, April 26, 2010

Country Music Marathon- Before The Race

I woke up at 4:15. I put my eyeballs in, brushed my teeth, rinsed off in the shower, and put on my running gear.

My handsome and health conscious boyfriend called at 4:30 to make sure I was awake. He then sent me a sweet and encouraging text message. The day started off well. :)

I took care of my feet- little vaseline on the problem areas and a blister preventing band aid. I put on the blister preventing socks that my sweet man bought for me and put on my shoes.

I double checked my email to see if anything had changed (nothing new), and began to prepare my breakfast. My bf had cooked me eggs the night before, so all I had to do was heat them up. I poured a bowl of some yummy kashi cereal, and tucked a banana away in my gear bag to eat right before the race. I filled two ziplock bags with ice and put them in my little ice chest for after the race.

Next I copied down directions to LP Stadium and loaded my car.

As per usual, I got a little lost on the way to the stadium, but I only had to turn around once. It is rather easy to figure out the right way to go at 5:30 am on a Saturday when 35000 people are going to the same place. Once I was headed in the right direction, I was able to use one of my most prized personal talents: crowd manipulation. See, the thing about crowds is that most people are idiots. stupid doodoo dumb. So, of course, the left turn line into the stadium was 3 miles long. I drove along it, seeing if maybe I could sneak into the line somehow, but when I couldn't find a spot, I just kept going. This was the smartest thing I did all day- I went around the crowd and turned onto a street that led to rather empty parking because people had been too dumb to find it. Fantastic parking spot. WOO WOO!

I hopped out of the car with my gear bag, and saw the LINE for the shuttle. This baby wrapped all halfway down the length of the stadium. I began to wait in line, praying that I would make it onto a shuttle in time. A few minutes later, some dude cam along RIGHT where I was standing and said, "there are 5 lines for the shuttle, and the others are considerably shorter." So, I hauled it over to a shorter line, and before long, I was on a double bus with my own comfy seat. I sat next to and across from these people who seemed to be chronic half marathoners. One dude was talking about the time that he ran a half marathon and other people were running it naked. I think it was in California, go figure.

Then all of a sudden our bus driver is honking his horn, and I witness some tiny little car crossing inches infront of our bus. It was a scence out of a movie, I swear. We almost hit that car- granted, it was the car's fault because it pulled out in front of a bus rolling down the street at 45 mph. Scary all the same.

I got off the bud, took some tylenol, and got out my banana to eat my last minute snack.

THEN I SAW IT. there was a sign, calling my name, that said, "PEE LIKE A ROCKSTAR." -- and I knew that was where I was meant to be. I had to wait in line (I know, you are thinking, "do rockstars have to wait in line?" but this line was infinitely shorter than the LINES to the other porta potties.) Standing in line was one of the best parts, there were 3 other ladies around me who were so nice and encouraging. We totally bonded. I liked it. Now, there were bathroom attendants wearing tuxedo t-shirts who also happened to be holding patters of these energy gummy chew things. Classy- I felt pampered.

Once inside the bathroom, I almost cried. It was CLEAN and SPACIOUS and SMELLED NICE. I could SIT ON THE TOILET and WASH MY HANDS with SOAP. Just a little tid bit of info for anyone looking to run a marathon/half: make sure you take a good serious dump before the race begins, otherwise, you have to do it while you are running with no guarantee of toilet paper. And yes, this means that i took FULL advantage of my time in the VIP porta potty. Too much info? This is a running blog people, not suzy homemakers how-to-do everything and make it pretty blog. We runners talk about poop.

After my zen-like experience in the VIP porta potty, I proceeded to bag check. I checked my gear bag in Van Number 1 (special perk of having a last name that starts with an A is always being number one/first in some way or another) and hurried to my corral.

If you aren't familiar with the lingo, a corral is the group with which you start the race. Contrary to popular belief, the start line isn't just a free-for-all. Everyone is organized depending on how fast they run. I was in corral 15- which was a projected pace of about 10 minutes a mile. Therefore, 14 other corrals started before me.

While waiting to run, I started talking to a girl next to me who was also running the full. She was alone too, so we chatted it up before the race started. I told her that if she wanted a buddy to start the race, we could run together. That seemed to freak her out a bit (I was just being friendly because she looked lonely), so I said, don't worry, I am not a chatty runner and do not feel any pressure. That seemed to make things better. We put in our head phones and inched up to the starting line......

Part 2 is on its way....

ultra love

Monday, April 19, 2010

Marathon Pre-Race Prep

t- minus 5 days and the pre-race jitters are beginning. today, I went on a 1 mile run just to see how my foot would respond. I spent the whole run being terrified that my next step would result in pain, and this made it a very un-relaxing experience. My body responded with the physical equivalent of "WTF" - i was short of breath and my legs felt pretty heavy. But, my foot didn't hurt- though I am not sure if that is saying much after only 1 mile.

t-minus 4 days:today i went to spin class. nothing too intense. nothing too special. just a normal spin class. ate dinner with dad and other family. made dad start to read, "ultra marathon man" so we can share our opinions later.

t- minus 3 days: today, i took Luna on an hour long walk. cooked yummy chicken, green beans, and rice-a-roni. watched ghost whisperer. cleaned up dog poop in the back yard. all round success of a day.

t-minus 2 days: today i went to spin class. didn't push too hard because you aren't supposed to. otherwise normal. nerves really setting in.

t- minus 1 day: today i slept until 11. had a carb-a-licious breakfast. ate a picnic style lunch with a dear friend. picked up my race stuff (the t-shirt is GREAT- it's like a reallllll running shirt, not just a cotton t-shirt). Now i'm getting all my pre-race stuff together.

BUT there is bad new on the horizon, in the form of tornadoes. The email i received is below:

"After consultation with all the involved city authorities, due to the weather forecast in the Nashville area which is projecting severe afternoon storms, the MARATHON will most likely be subject to an abbreviated timeline.

At this time, there is a contingency plan to limit the marathon to 4:30 and under. Any runner who is behind this pace (10:20 per mile) at mile 11.2 will be directed to complete the half marathon course. This timeline may change based on the actual race day weather pattern.

While we know that this will be a disappointment to some (as it is to us); if implemented, this plan is in the best interests and safety of all involved, especially the participants and volunteers. Thank you for your understanding and cooperation."

Yeah, so where does that put me because at this point, i am set to finish in 4:20. I picked that time long before i hurt my foot. I have no idea if my hurt foot pace (aka how fast i can run after a few weeks of not running and how fast i will be if i have to run/walk bc of my foot) will be fast enough to finish the marathon. Perhaps this is a sign from God that maybe I am just not ready for the full. Maybe I should run the half, no big deal, and rest up for some good races in the fall.

OR MAYBE- i am just gonna go for it. Dorothy and Toto totally survived a tornado. No prob...... Sometimes I am a little too stubborn for my own good. it makes me mad that i trained so hard for this marathon and now it might not happen because of my foot AND and "act of God" (according to my race waiver). Thus, this anger makes me just wanna do it. So, in light of this ever burning fire within, I give you, my pre-race prep.

1. Eat lots of carbs the day before. (check, check and check-- thanks boyfriend!)
2. Drink lots of water. (check- thanks boyfriend for being such a pain in the butt about this one)
3. go to bed early.
4. wake up- 4:am
5. Eat breakfast: banana, cereal, little bit of eggs.
6. put on race clothes: black running skirt, pink under armor short sleeved v-neck, new brooks shoes, jacket, hair band, bobby pins.
7. get feet ready: little gold bond powder to help soak up germs and moisture, little vaseline on problem foot areas that are prone to blisters, blister band aid on my callous that came off the other day for extra protection.
8. get my body ready: sunscreen (YES), and vaseline in areas prone to chaffing (YES), chapstick,
9. gather gear check bag: Gu, Cliff bar, gatorade, keys, baggies of protein mix that my handsome and health conscious bf gathered for me, hand held water bottle, cell phone, ipod shuffle, extra t-shirt, toilet paper (YES), water bottle, garbage bag,
10. get ice chest ready: cheap-o cooler with ice so i can ice down my legs after the race.
11. put on race bib: number 15040
12. double check VIP potty pass is on my race rib. (most important prep of all)
13. wish my sweet luna were coming with me
14. leave house around 5 for LP field parking. Take shuttle to Centennial Park for race start. Enter VIP PORTA POTTY.
15. RUN

Other people have a lot of things they do too. Here are bit's of their advice. FYI- their is an ambiguous term. i took this stuff from lots of places, all you have to do is google it. My side comments are in red.

  • There's nothing you can do in the last week to improve your race time but there are a thousand things you can do that will hurt your time. (like hurt your foot, for example)
  • In the last two weeks before your race, don't run more miles in a single day than the number of days remaining before your race. (wasnt going to happen anyway, hurt foot, remember?)
  • Don't double lace your shoes, just tie the knot tightly and tuck in the lace ends. (not even sure what double lacing is. maybe that's double knot? well i'm gonna double knot mine anyway. hasn't failed me in all my years of running)
  • Stay off your feet as much as possible the day before the race.
  • Don't run in new shoes. (mine are kinda new, but i have worked out in them. just part of the whole, "need something to support my failing foot deal")
  • Get one hour extra of sleep each night the week before the race. (actually a big fan of this. i love sleep)
  • Get to the start early. Sit down or lie down and rest. (well, there is plenty of soft grass in centennial park)
  • Avoid stepping in puddles. (i thought this would be obvious)
  • Clip your toenails. (check, did that wednesday night- don't want to do it the day of the race because you might cut them too close)
  • Take a large garbage bag to wear at the start if cold or wet. (good idea, just added it to my gear bag list above)
  • Don't get a massage in the five days before your race. (no problem, can't afford it)
  • Sip, don't gulp, water on the course.
  • Take one gu (or whatever you're use to) just before the race and one each hour during the race.
  • Don't eat red meat for several days prior to the race. (interesting...)
  • Don't lace your shoes too tightly, your feet will swell during the race.
  • Drink 2 to 4 ounces of water every 20 minutes.
  • Run the tangents on turns but stay away from the very inside of turns because they tend to be too crowded. (too much detail)
  • Eat your final snack no more than 30 minutes before the start of the race. (you mean i get to eat more than just breakfast! woo woo!)
  • Make sure you have tried out the electrolyte drink that will be used during the race. (fail)
  • Review the map of the course. (very helpful so you can get an idea of where you are going, duh)
  • There should be no strength training the week of an event. (glad i read this one a few days ago)
These last two paragraphs are good for a little scientific info on hydration. Enjoy- i know i did.

Consuming sports drinks shouldn't be "saved" for late stages of the race, when significant fatigue is beginning to set in. At that point, sports-drink consumption actually has little effect on performance, since the carbohydrate in the beverage must make its way past the stomach, into the small intestine, across the wall of the gastrointestinal tract, and through the blood to the muscles, all of which take a lot of time (in fact, so much time that the runner may be across the finish line before the first drops of carbs actually reach the sinews).

Take a bottle of water with you to the start of the race. The most-important quaffing of sports drink actually takes place 10 minutes before the race begins, when eight to 10 ounces should be consumed. After that, five to six ounces should be imbibed every two miles or so during the race. Incidentally, one ounce is considered to be a normal, regular swallow of fluid. Don't forget to utilize this sports-drink-intake pattern during your long training runs, too.



Thursday, April 15, 2010

my worst nightmares

I have had three terrible nightmares (or, as my handsome and health conscious boyfriend calls them, evening horses. think. laugh. there you go) the past few nights.

1. the first was less a scary night mare but more of an excuse for continuing to hit the snooze button repeatedly in the morning. see, i watch the show, Ghost Whisperer, religiously.And well, this is gonna sound complicated BUT Melinda's husband, Jim, dies, and then his spirit takes over the body of a different recently deceased person whose spirit successfully and quickly crossed over into the light (thats why it all worked, ya see, the body was pretty fresh, if you will). Anyway, once Jim took over Sam's (the other dude) body, he couldnt remember ANYTHING. Like amnesia- except this was all weird and ghostly.In my dream, I had to stay asleep or else Sam wouldn't be able to figure out he was really Jim, but in a new body. The dream made me really on edge because there was SO much at stake here. I HAD to make sure Sam figured everything out.

2. I had a dream that I found out why my foot was injured. The real reason. And it was not a good one.

The doctor told me that my right stride was 9.5 inches longer than my left stride, and this caused an undue burden on my left foot. He then told me this wasn't something I could fix because it was my natural stride. AHHHHHHHHHHHH.

3. My third and final nightmare/eveninghorse was this morning when I dreamed that I was at the start of the marathon but had FORGOTTEN to go to the Brooks VIP porta potty. It was terrible. Really. I have been looking forward to this thing for months, even though i just got my potty pass last weekend.
Tonight I am going to a Birthday Party at Pump It Up, so I will probably have night mares about blow up clowns chasing me for 26. 2 miles while I try to get these weird flag things that Ellen keeps telling me about.

Stay Sane.

Ultra love.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

ugh, i guess you people need an update

so, in case you don't remember, though i can't see how you wouldn't remember since it's the biggest f-in deal in the whole f-in world---- i have an injured foot.

AND in case you people can't tell, that doesn't make for any exciting blog material, since, well this f-in blog is about f-in running.

what have i been up to, you ask? well. not running, that's for damn sure.

I have been stuck on stoopid elliptical machines. I continue to spin (if i didn't have spinning, i would lose my mind), but let's be honest, it isn't running. i don't get to feel the wind on my cheeks, run the hidden pine trails of the forest, hear the wolf cry to the blue corn moon, or ask the grinning bobcat why he grins. i don't' get to sing with all the voices of me mountain or paint with all the colors of the wind....... eh, sorry bout that. trip down Disney lane there. inevitable, really.

the only good news in all this crap-o-la is that my foot hasn't hurt in a few days. whoop dee freakin doo.

in an effort to help myself help others---- i mean, really just help myself---- i bought a new pair of running shoes with arch supports. before i tell you THAT story you need the back story. see, i have a friend who is a physical therapist and my dad has friends who are doctors. both peoples said- you don't have a stress fracture or plantar fasciitis, but you will if you don't support your arch. SO i listened to them, even though all the barefoot people tell you you don't need that stuff. well, i think you don't need that stuff if your feet are strong. apparently, mine are not. i need to work on that.

the shoe story: i went to fleet feet Brentwood in Nashville for my new pair of Brooks running shoes. there is a very specific reason that i went to this store and bought a pair of Brooks shoes......

before your imagination drifts off wondering if, indeed, i managed to secure this oft-desired vip potty pass and the questionable methods to which i went to obtain said pass---- please know that i got it fair and square by purchasing my pair of shoes.

The dude who helped me was a rando friend of my handsome and health conscious boyfriend from way back during the college years. He listened to my babbling, looked at me walk barefoot, put me in shoes, watched me run (said i have a perfect gait- what what!- i was actually nervous running for someone else, wondering if i run sideways like luna or something-- thankfully he boosted my confidence), and fitted me for arch supports.

i used them at the gym the next day (on the freaking elliptical, vom) and was pleased with the results slash the way my feet felt post workout. at this point, i am still resting my foot from running, but advancing to some weightlifting.

which brings me to tonights story- i was squatting tonight before spinning. my former trainer (james) was working with these boys- very obviously in high school with their scrawny bodies and baby faces. i went on my merry way, squatting a gentle 165. after wards, i stopped to talk to james. he said that as i added on the pounds, the two high school boys turned to him and said, "um can she lift that?" -- at this point i only had 25 pounds on each side-- and james said to them, "y'all just watch." these boys were impressed by my squatting skills, thinking each time that there was no way i could lift that weight, and apparently have an intense leg workout scheduled for thursday since neither of them can squat more than 95 pounds.

though it is no magnificent feat to squat more than a 17 year old boy who looks like i could break his arm with one swift scissor kick, it is an amusing story to me.

that's all i have for you. the marathon is swiftly's gonna be a huge challenge, but i can't wait to say that i have run 26.2 miles. the tshirt better be good, and i better get something cool to commemorate my magical experience in the VIP potty....

i leave you with dreams of an air conditioned porta potty with puppies and flowers and butterflies.... and a marathon run without a painful foot.

ultra love

Sunday, April 4, 2010

One of those days.

Saturday's mileage for my marathon training schedule: 22 miles.

I had decided to do 24 because it was just mathematically easier. The trail is six miles so 4 times 6 equals 24. I had thought about going out to Shelby Forrest, but a few things changed that plan. The first was this sweet little creature:

Her name is Ginny (Like Ginny Weasley), and she is my mom's new puppy. Ellen and I went to meet Ginny on Friday night. We got out there late because we ate a late dinner with my dad. Anyway, we played with sweet Ginny for a while. She is an angel- half golden retriever and half yellow lab.

Since I went to bed late, I woke up a little late. This meant that in order for me to make it to my 3:45 hair appointment (which was SOOO necessary. I was getting a little wild), I had to go to shelby farms since it isn't 30 plus minutes away.

On to the run--- I woke up at about 8:30. Now, I will not lie to you, faithful readers. During my 30 minute snooze time, I had a very detailed conversation with myself. It went a little something like this:

Self: maybe i can just run tomorrow after church
Self: but you dont know what time you are eating with your family. there might not be time.
Self: but who really cares? no one will know if you dont run.
Self: THE WHOLE BLOG WORLD WILL KNOW. (side note- i love dark chocolate m&ms)
Self: the whole blog world can.......... okay but it's so comfortable in my bed.
Self: get up. you can do it.

Somehow I managed to get out of bed. Still not sure how i convince myself of certain things when I am half asleep. Anyway, I ate the breakfast of champions: cheerios (no milk) and applesauce and a mini cliff bar. (another side note- ellen is super impatient with this episode of ghost whisperer- i cried for about 30 minutes straight watching it) -- anyway- this was all that I had to eat because, well, I am poor right now. saving my pennies and all.

After I ate, I got my "stash" together:

Pictured: Cliff bar, blue frost gatorade, water, Gu, apple, cheerios, water, and dark chocolate m&ms. I also got my pre-game pep talk from my favorite cheerleader:

Then I hit the road.

One thing you must know, dear readers, is that it stormed late friday night. I was a little worried it would be muddy, and I was also worried that my foot wouldn't hold up for the 24 miles. But, off I ran, all fears aside.

Fortunately, they finished the "facelift" at the start of the trail. I will say that it has made this part much less muddy. Good thing. As I was running, I started to settle into my pace. It felt fantastic after a week of "taking it easy" -- The trail was wet, but not gross muddy. I got a real life tutorial on how to judge the "muddiness" -- packed trails dont get muddy right away. but if the mud is smooth on the surface and it looks like you want to touch it- it's squishy mud. Squishy mud makes you lose your footing and then sticks to the bottom and sides of your shoes. Squishy mud is bad.

Anyway, the run was feeling perfect. Perfect temp- perfect pace. I had even remembered sun screen that morning. And then I stepped in a puddle. The puddle was hidden by some grass and such. But the thing is, that when i stopped running, the pain started. The pain shot through the arch of my foot, and I knew I was down for the count.

I walked the last two miles. It was so embarrassing- I effing walked. ugh. I just felt miserable walking those last two miles. I was going to run 24 miles, and I only made it 4.

That was the end of my run. I went home and cleaned up Luna's poop in the backyard. That dog poops alot.

At this point, i don't really know what is wrong. A few of my dad's friends ruled out stress fracture and plantar fasciitis- which is good. But i guess i just have to rest it and see what happens. Updates to come.

Stoopid foot. Stoopid doodoo dumb.

Oh yeah, and dumb Duke won.

Ultra love.