Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Grins & Giggles: Another runner in the making

Keep an eye out for this one. If that outfit doesn’t spell fast, I don’t know what does.runner

Thanks to Judy (who’s blog is A Day in the Life of the Bashas btw…)for sending over the picture. Her son was our very first Grin. He better watch out though because it seems he may have an Empress hot on his heels.

'Til next time...

P.S. If you’ve got a picture, story, joke, video, link or whatever that you’d like to share to make us all grin (or giggle), please email it to me at runfastmommy@gmail.com. Family friendly of course, never know when one of my kiddos will wander on in.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

USAF Marathon Conclusion: And the very best part

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And brace yourself folks, because I’m at a loss for words to explain just exactly how I felt at that moment and for that matter, how I feel now looking at this picture. But somehow, I think the good majority of you get it.

Big thank-you to the organizers of the USAF Marathon for leaving the finish area set up just for me (and anybody else who happened to stop by the Air Force Museum the day after the race). It was nice to actually SEE the planes that lined the way because all I saw the day before was that big giant sign in front of me that said FINISH.

And also thank-you to my family, not just for coming out to cheer me on, but for the million and one different ways they helped out while I was training so that I was ready to set foot at the start line.

DSCF7235Especially this good looking fella, who dressed our girls every Sunday for church while I was out on my long run, made sure I ate something when I got home, mixed countless bottles of recovery drink, and had no qualms about dumping the last remaining ice in our refrigerator on me in the bath tub whenever necessary (in fact, I think he kind of liked that). But mostly for driving 3 hours plus to Dayton after a loooong day at work, getting up at 4:30AM the next morning to make sure I got up at 5:00AM so I wouldn’t miss the start that I missed anyway and then getting nearly the same workout I did at the marathon, trying to spot me at different locations, carry supplies, move the car, and probably a ton of other things I don’t even know about. I can not even begin to tell you exactly how much it meant to me to see him at so many different locations on a course that actually had very few locations for spectators. I could go on, but I did promise everybody a short post after that last one. So let me just say Happy Anniversary babe! I love you!

And THAT my friends, was the United States Air Force Marathon 2010. Hmmm….what ever shall we talk about now?

'Til next time...

USAF Marathon Part One: I’m Driving

USAF Marathon Part Two: Soldiers, soldiers everywhere

USAF Marathon Part Three: The actual running part

USAF Marathon Part Four: Ok really, NOW I’m running (and a duck)

P.S. Ok, I’ve got to post one more picture, because I never really seemed to have the exact right location to put this one in the (super long 5 part) story. Ever wonder what it feels like to have just run a marathon? Well, let me show you:DSCF7209THAT is exactly it. That’d be Tiger Baby immediately post marathon. And in kiddie world, she pretty much ran her own version of a marathon that day. When I got out of the hot shower that I took immediately after my ice bath (because you know, that makes perfect sense), this is what I opened the door to find. “My thoughts exactly baby girl, my thoughts exactly.”

P.P.S. I posted this on Facebook already, but just in case I’m not good enough for you to “like” on FB ;-) and you missed it, there’s a brand spanking new online running moms’ magazine that came out this month, This Mother Can Run, that you should all go check out (and not only because one of my articles is in it and I’m SOUUUUUPER excited about that). It’s the brainchild of, created by, written by, edited by, and all about running moms. And also because it is completely and totally FREE!! You’re gonna love it!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

USAF Marathon Part 4: Ok really, NOW I’m running (and a duck)

meselfi We apologize for the brief interruption (I was out of town at the RRCA coaching seminar which was far more time consuming than I expected, especially the way I attended it, but that’s a post for another time). Now we continue with our regularly scheduled programming…

While I might have started the race on my own, it didn’t take me long to unintentionally pick up a running partner.

bufoot

Ok maybe not exactly, Amby Burfoot or Bill Rodgers. I don’t actually know if they even ran anything that weekend. But I did see Bill Rodgers for a fleeting second as I chased down my runaway purse at the expo. So it’s kind of like I ran with him in an entirely not running with him sort of way. But I digress…

Now, had this have been any other race, on any other day, I might have liked the company of a completely unknown to me in every way kind of runner. But this race, this race I had a goal to hit and 26.2 miles of chit chat with a complete stranger was not on the agenda.

Really, it was my own fault. You can probably guess that much the way I write, I’m really rarely ever short on words and that goes for in person too. I was just so thoroughly excited to FINALLY be running that I was compelled to share that excitement with somebody, anybody and the nearest person to me at the time happened to be a short blond lady in a virtual fist fight with her iPod and I’m pretty sure her iPod was winning.

“YAY!” I shouted in her general direction, “We’ve finally started!” (or something about like that I can’t really remember). To which she not only replied something about the horrid parking situation, but also did what I did not expect. She picked up her pace substantially to run with me while still trying to untangle herself from her ear buds.

“Oh no. Oh no. Oh no!” I thought to myself. “This can not be happening.” This was supposed to be my race and adopting some new running partner was going to forcibly turn my race into a shared experience which, I’m no expert, but I think makes it a little less mine. So I did the only thing I could think of. I gradually picked up the pace until she was forced to drop back behind me.


And before all you holier than thou runners out there cast judgment on my lack of marathon social skills, keep in mind that my other option, running with her, would most likely have ended badly for the both of us. Either she would have been forced to run a pace she was not entirely comfortable with possibly resulting in a massive crash and burn (and I probably would have been guilted into sticking with her and getting her to the finish line since I was the cause of said burn). Or I was going to have to forget about the 4:30 goal I had set and settle instead on just making a new friend. And you tell me, how deep exactly can that friendship go when it’s built on a foundation of crushed running dreams? Hmmm? I think you see my point.

Nope. It was better for the both of us if I went on my merry way. So I did. And shortly thereafter, we crested the first of two sets of hills. “Not too bad.” I remember thinking. “Not too bad.” I pretty much thought we were out of the hill section then, when some dude behind me yelled. “Here comes the overpass!” “Huh?” I thought. But it didn’t take long to figure out what he was talking about as a mere minute or so later we began the incline of “the overpass.”

I really have no explanation as to why the good people of Ohio deemed it necessary to build an overpass that inclines for an eternity. Nor do I know what exactly it was below that required a mountain in order to pass over it. And ok, perhaps I am exaggerating just a touch here, but what is not an exaggeration is that the overpass at the Air Force marathon is a larger incline than that of the Ambassador Bridge in the Detroit Marathon which has to, you know, connect two countries and be tall enough for giant freight ships to pass through on the Detroit River. (Yes, I went back and compared the elevation maps). And the good news, is that unlike Detroit, joy of joys, I was going to get to run that puppy again on the second set of hills. At around mile 22. Almost the exact perfect time for a hill. YAY! (please detect sarcasm).

But the first time up it, was really not too bad. I might even actually call it fun (**GASP** I know, I know, I hear ya. I think it was all that massive amount of coaching info I sat through this weekend. I quite possibly may not be thinking clearly at this moment in time, thus my love of hill talk). The uphill I just took as a challenge. And after all, there was a downhill to run too and who does like flying down a hill every once in awhile?

Not too long after the monster hill, I befriended my second random running partner. This time it was a 69 year old 50 marathons in 50 states man. And hold your tongue there my friend, because you might think due to the 30+ years he has on me that he’d be, let’s see how can I put this, not quite matching me stride for stride. But oh no no. Learn this now if you haven’t already. You can never judge a runner by appearance (or age, or sex, or weight, etc. for that matter) Some of the most “runnerish looking” (whatever that means) people you’ll find at the back of the pack and vice versa. I was running about a 1/2 step behind this guy once we started running together and even had to pick up the pace a little to do so (wait…I just realized I was IPod lady in this situation. DOH!).

I didn’t really want to pick up the pace, but I kind of had to because he was talking to me. I had seen him run/walking earlier so I figured I could run a little faster pace until he walked and then we’d go our separate ways. And why was he talking to me you might be wondering? Because I did it again. Much like my kids, I don’t learn not to dive off the couches until I crack my head on something, usually pointed. I asked this guy a question. So it’s purely my own fault. But in my own defense, I thought it’d be a quick answer.

“Which was your favorite marathon?” I asked (Indianapolis Monumental Marathon, btw. It was his 50th). I thought he’d just shout out the answer as I went by (he was walking then). But nope, he cut his walk short and I got a full story. And hey, that’s cool. But I was right back in the same position I was at the start except now he was pushing me faster than I wanted to go (while at the same time ignoring his heart rate monitor and I’m pretty sure skipping at least one of his walk breaks which I’m thinking was probably not a good thing for him either). This was again gonna be a no win situation.

But I couldn’t break free. He kept moving on to other topics, which by the way, I could only half hear since I am virtually deaf on one side when I run and he was on that side (really, I am. It’s weird). I felt obligated to stay. UNTIL that is, he started talking about the Philippines and how it’s his favorite place to travel because “young girls” will date an old guy like him and they won’t do that in the states. I’m sorry, WHAT?!

At that point, I became a little less concerned about the rudeness of my actions and more with how to successfully escape. He needed a walk break and so I couldn’t just slow down. He’d match pace. And I couldn’t really speed up, because I was already running 9:10-9:15 minute per mile pace and my goal pace was 9:30.

Fortunately, God sent me an angel in the form of an 83 year old 50 stater who caught up from behind to talk to cradle robber about their shared accomplishment (I mean the 50 states thing, not the dating “young girls”). Doing so, somehow managed to slow the pace of our little group down to a point where I could break free. “I’m sure you’ll be catching me in the near future. Good luck!” I said and took off. I never saw him again.

Then everything was peachy keen. I was running fairly even splits around 9:30 every mile. I had run those first couple hilly miles a little bit slower right around 10:15 minutes each, but that was intentional so I wouldn’t start off too fast. All I really needed to run to break 4:30 was 10 minute miles. That’d get me in at 4:22. A 9:30 pace at the marathon was within my capabilities, would break 4:30 and leave me a little time for bathroom breaks or the inevitable marathon unexpected. Really everything was going according to plan.

SIDENOTE: I’d love to be able to give you mile by mile splits here, actually I’d love to even just know what they were myself, but apparently I forgot to clear out some of the memory on my super hi tech fancy (read $20 watch from Target) and there was only enough room to save 1/2 of my splits so I’m just going to do the best I can from memory.

Most of the course was fairly sparse by way of spectators. A good majority of the marathon is run on the Air Force Base and closed to the general public. Ironically, I actually have no idea at which point I was on the base and when I wasn’t. I thought it was this whole big section after we passed a guard house of sorts in the middle of the road with a bunch of Airmen standing around it until we ran by it again in the later part of the race in the opposite direction, but Muffin Man (my brother-in-law) reminded me that in the middle of that chunk of the race we ran through downtown Fairborn which was very obviously not part of the base, since everyone’s families were there. So basically, I have no clue.

We got to downtown Fairborn around mile 9. And I’ve got to say the people of that city rock! It was PACKED. Probably also because that was one of the few spots you could see your family (twice actually if you picked the right spot, since you ran in and out of the city). But still major props to the good citizens of Fairborn because they were rockin’. The city was loud, decorated for the occasion and absolutely a blast. I also loved being able to see some of the other runners running in the opposite direction. I tried to spot SOARM reader Rachel and Muffin Man but he, I’d later learn, was waaaaay out ahead. Not only because he started nearly 20 minutes before I did, but also because he seriously kicked my you know what (whatever you first time marathoner you ;-) ). No Rachel either, but I knew she’d be tough to pick out from her teeny little FB picture anyway.

But I did see my little fans…Air Force Marathon 007

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And that would be me spotting them for the first time. Now, see the cones in the picture. On the other side of those cones would be where you run out of Fairborn at. Realizing this and that I was then probably going to see me family again, I had a very serious decision to make in Fairborn. Keep the shirt or lose it? As you can see in the picture, I opted for my Iron Goddess Tri shirt because if you’re going to run a marathon and you have a technical shirt with a super hero runner woman on it, what else would you possibly run in? (Plus it’s white and white is always good when the projected high temp for race day raises from 72 to 86 in the week preceding the marathon. I kid not.)

And the reason why this was such a dilemma is pure and simple. It wasn’t hot yet. I mean don’t get me wrong. I wasn’t cool as a cucumber or anything. I was certainly sweating, but I wasn’t quite at the level of I’m ripping this sweat drenched shirt off because I can’t stand it anymore kind of hot. I was let’s say, as comfortable as you can be having just run 9 miles. But the problem was, while I’d see my family on the way out in what I figured was another mile or two, I wouldn’t be able to see them again until MILE 22 and I certainly didn’t want to just toss super runner woman away like some random comic book character, this was after all, super runner woman and my very first tri shirt. So…

DSCF7182 I went with the toss. Just in case.

And good thing I did, because it got freaking hot. Well, maybe not freaking hot because it wasn’t really humid at all which generally speaking makes hot feel soooooo much hotter. But it was definitely hot. We left Fairborn around mile 10 and a mere two miles later, right about the time I hit the half way point, things had heated up good. I remember thinking that tossing that shirt had been a really terrific idea.

Now about this time I was starting to need a pit stop, but I had this goal to not stop ‘til after the halfway point. I don’t know why except because I thought maybe that’d be the only stop I’d have to make and then the whole time my legs weren’t moving and thus I wasn’t making any forward progress I’d at least be able to tell myself, “hey, you’re halfway there.” But once I got to the halfway mark, I started thinking it’d be kind of cool to hold off ‘til 15. I needed to take a gel then anyway and it’d be easier to do so stopped or walking just after I hit the port-a-potty. So on I went.

The aid station was actually about 15 1/2 and it there was definitively no denying the heat then. The worse part of that being that at that point we were running through a wooded area with shade and you knew there were some serious shadeless stretches to come.

I made my pit stop, walked back to the road, took my gel and got going again with no idea that I was just a few minutes from what, to my surprise at the time, was the absolute worse part of the course.

Imagine this. You’ve run 15 miles and now you’re baking. You’re not even in the sun and you’re baking. You’re almost to 16, a point where, at least for me, things start to get a little tough and you come out of the protective shade of the trees to see that you are just about to make a sharp right turn onto a plane runway that you can’t even see the end of. It just seems to go on for forever like people are just running this straight, shadeless, flat, path of pavement off the edge of the world or something (what do you mean it’s round?!). I believe the exact words of the woman in front of me were, “YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME!!”

Sure, on paper it sounds interesting. Run on an air force base runway. Cool. In real life, uh, not so much. It’s almost demoralizing. Possibly even worse than the overpass. Possibly. (Depends on which point in the marathon you ask me).

It just stunk royally. And as we passed the mile 16 marker, I remembered a promise I made to myself before the race started earlier in the week as I watched the predicted temperature climb daily. If it got hot, I was going to run/walk. Pure and simple. I don’t do well in the heat (unlike everyone else in the world I’m sure). It’s why I get up at 4:30AM to do my long runs in the summer. It’s why I carry a fuel belt with Gu Brew with 2X the electrolyte content of their regular stuff and it’s why if the weather is really really not going to cooperate, I run on a treadmill. I just don’t handle heat well and I’ve had way too many scary encounters with hyponatremia to mess with it. The promise I made to myself was basically that I wasn’t going to let the competitor in me take over and run stupid, but that I’d recognize AND listen to what my body was telling me AND slow down if conditions called for it. And they did.

Besides, my miles had already slowed down gradually all by themselves. When I hit 16, I was just barely hanging below 10 minutes, but that was ok. I could still run 10 minutesish miles and break 4:30. In fact, I did some highly complicated math calculations (for me anyway) and figured out I could even slow down to 11+ minute miles and make it in under goal time. So I had a little bit of time to work with and I could squeak in a walk break without blowing what I had set out to do. But I wanted to get off that God forsaken runway first.

Sometime between miles 18 and 19, I put the run/walk backup plan into play. Run 5 minutes/walk 1. But I had another problem simmering just below the surface, one that would eventually lead to my downfall. I needed to drink more. I generally drink a few ounces every two miles. This being the case, I had plenty of Gu Brew on me. 40 ounces to be exact. Technically, I had extra. But I was sweating more, and knew I needed to get more fluids in. So back on the runway when I settled on the run/walk plan, I also settled on drinking every mile instead of every two. Now, I knew this would probably cause me to run out of fluids and so I’d have to rely on the regular Gatorade the course was offering. It wouldn’t have a high enough sodium content for me, but it’d have to do. Really I’d have no other choice.

Unconsciously though, I tried to conserve some of my fluids so they’d last me longer. So yes, I was drinking every mile, but I was only taking in little swigs and not nearly enough to sustain me for the rest of the race. THAT would come back to bite me.

Mile 19- Run/Walk 5:1

Mile 20- Run/Walk 5:1

DSCF7187Mile 21- Nice to see you big stupid overpass. NOW you are not fun and to think you’re not even one d#$n inch on my elevation map. Slightly misleading don’t you think? I’m a firm believer that elevation maps should be to scale no matter how entirely unrealistic that sounds. So yeah, I started that mile Run/Walking 5:1 but I’d say a 1/4 of the way up I decided to screw that and walk the whole sucker and run the downhill instead.DSCF7192

Sometime on the downhill I spotted my husband. He ran over to me once I got to the bottom just barely past mile 22 and I told him 4:30 was gonna be just fine for a goal (I had this idea that maybe, if everything was going swimmingly I might run 4:15. Unfortunately, no pool that day). He told me not to mess around and to go on and get it, but I assured him not to worry. I was still hitting 11 minute miles even with the walk break (give or take a second) and I had 48 minutes left to get in 4 miles. Just 4 stinking miles. Even if I slowed down a little bit more each mile, I should still be ok. As long as I kept it under 12. (Famous last words).

But anyone remember this guy?

turkeyduck1_thumb[4]Turkey duck. He threatened me back home on my trails on my early spring runs. Then was absent for a little while until I spotted him again just recently on one of my very last long runs pre-marathon. He just stood off idly by watching as Big Daddy Goose tried to intimidate me with his massive long neck and whole lot of hissing to get off his trail. Well, Turkey Duck knew something then that I didn’t know. That’s surely why he just stood nonchalantly off to the side. He put a curse on me.

I should have taken his sudden, although subtle, re-appearance as an omen and the Donald Duck egg pre-race nightmare as another. Because sometime shortly after mile 24, I turned into a duck.

You see, one sign of hyponatremia is calf cramps. I was on an incline (and I don’t even see that one on the map really, it must have just been one of those little do jiggers that don’t look like anything but so so ARE something after 24 miles. Here’s the link you can see for yourself). The right side of my lower leg started getting really really tight and the tighter it got the more my right foot started to turn outwards as I ran. Next thing I know, it’s like a knife to the back of my calf. BUT I was not yet to the 5 of my 5:1 run/walk gosh darn it and I intended on running it out.

So instead of walking or stopping, I kept going and started to compensate with my left leg, sort of hobble running the whole time with my right foot pointing out. And what do you think happened? Let’s just say, my left leg was not thrilled and decided to try the same tactic as the right to get out of the extra work I was throwing at it. The side of my leg started tightening up, left foot pulled out. “What the duck! (although duck was not actually the word running through my mind) This really can not be good.” I thought. So I relented and walked until my feet returned to their normal running position thinking maybe, just maybe, it was an incline thing. FOR CRYING OUT LOUD I had less than 2 miles to go.

It was about this time, that I ran out of my fluids and thought, “you know, that probably should have happened a lot earlier. No wonder my legs are spazzing out.”

I tried sucking down extra cups of Gatorade at that last aid station, but it was far too late for me. I had to walk/duck run those last 2.2 miles and watch my 4:30 slip away. Those last two were 15+ minute miles (Stupid stupid thug duck. We’re gonna have words.)

And to make the whole duck running experience even MORE enjoyable than it already was, I picked up yet another running partner. Some young guy who just kept talking to me and all I could think was, if you have so much energy to be just gabbing away here at the end of this marathon maybe you ought to go run a little. Although, now that I think about it he probably thought I was physically handicapped or something the way I was running, could see on my face I was struggling and wanted to help me make it to the finish. So perhaps I should be thankful, but at the time I just wanted him to zip it.

I never ever saw the 26 mile marker. I have no idea where it was, but sometime around about where it should have been my husband, like a knight in shining armor riding in on his white horse to save me, came running across this field just before I made the turn to the J that led to the finish line with an 8 oz bottle of Gatorade Endurance. I really wasn’t talking much at this point, but I think I muttered something like, “calf cramp.” I was thinking “Oh God bless you!”

Still even as I got to that last straight away, about 150 meters or so, I was dogged by those calf cramps. There are all these really cool military planes that line the finish, I totally did not look at a single one. I kept my eye on that finish line. People were yelling at me by name to finish strong because my name was on my bib (stupid bib) and really I don’t know exactly what the best thing to yell at a runner who’s tanking at the finish is, but finish strong isn’t it I don’t think. If I had had enough energy in me to finish strong I would be. I mean come on now, if seeing the finish line with your very own eyes after 26 miles is not enough to get you to run faster, than some guy yelling at you to do so is probably not going to make it happen either.

But I will tell you what did make me run faster. That finish line clock. I DSCF7196saw it hit 4:38 and thought no friggin’ way is that sucker getting to 4:40. And I really have no idea why that mattered so much to me at that point in time. 4:40 was not my goal and it’s not like 4:40 is a bad marathon time. Quite frankly any marathon finishing time is a serious accomplishment in my book. But it just did matter. And somehow I figured out a way to dig down and get in at 4:39:11.

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That’s me in the chute waiting my turn for a medal sucking down the last of that Gatorade Endurance. I’d link you to my official marathon photos of me getting ready to cross the finish line but RunSis told me I look like I’m going to cry. She saw them first and I really had to rack my brain a bit because I didn’t remember being super emotional at the end. Then I saw the pictures. Nah, I’m not about to cry. I’m wincing in pain. So no, I don’t think I’ll be purchasing any of those pictures or sharing them either thank-you very much.

All I wanted to do after the finish is find my husband. He snagged two water bottles and mixed me 32 ounces of Gatorade Endurance and I needed it bad. I chugged that stuff like a frat boy with a 40 and we started the loooooooooooong walk back to the car.

I didn’t make it very far. I just wasn’t up for another 2 miles at that point DSCF7202even if I didn’t have to duck run it. So I looked at my husband and said pointing, “See that tree right there. I’m just going to lay down underneath it and wait for you to figure out a way to get our car into that parking lot.” It was closed for volunteers or something but it was just a few steps away from the tree and I know my husband. He’s one for a challenge and I knew if anybody could make it happen he could. “I don’t really care how long it takes. I’ll just be waiting right here.” And that’s just exactly what I did while he and my dad figured it out. For the last 6 miles of that course there had been not a single smidgen of shade, except for maybe under the wing of a plane or two near the finish. I can not even begin to tell you how nice it was lying under that tree, at least a little bit cooler and breezy. And I felt accomplished.

Nope, I didn’t hit my time goal. In fact, I missed it pretty substantially. But ultimately, through all 4 marathons I’ve gone out there to run, I’ve just wanted to give it my best. And until now, I don’t think I’ve really done that, something weird has happened. Marathon 1 (Detroit)- I was overly excited and forgot to drink pretty much entirely. Marathon 2 (Chicago)- I was sick. Marathon 3 (Monumental) – my running partner got injured. But this time, I knew what I was doing. I trained well. I gave it all I had and that day in the heat was all I had was 4:39:11. I’ll take it.

And yes, if you are wondering, I’m still going to hunt down that 4:30. I think I’ve got it in me. I’m just probably going to attempt to do it at a marathon that’s not mid September and a little bit cooler because I don't give up. I just run another one :-)

'Til next time...

USAF Marathon Part 1: I’m driving

USAF Marathon Part 2: Soldiers, soldiers everywhere

USAF Marathon Part 3: The actual running part

P.S. You are almost released from my USAF Marathon grasp. I just have one more little thing to tell you. So yep, looks like there’s going to be a USAF Marathon Part Five: And the very best part. That’ll be short though. Swear. My fingers are not secretly crossed.

DSCF7185P.P.S. MUFFIN MAN!! Let’s not forget him shall we? (He’d like his identity to remain a secret so this is all you get. He’s the one in the white shirt)Muffin Man came in at a blazing 4:16:something. Well, maybe blazing is not entirely the right word to describe the way he came in. He too ran positive splits and further found that putting time in the bank might not be the best strategy for a marathon. In other words, his first miles we’re pretty ambitious, especially for the hilly terrain and impending heat as opposed to those last miles. But still, it was his first marathon and who doesn’t learn something at their first. In fact, I’d say you learn something every time. Nice work Muffin Man! I smell a sub 4:00 hour marathon in the not too distant future.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

USAF Marathon Part 3: The actual running part

When I woke up in the middle of the night because I had dreamt I was choking on a Donald Duck egg, I had no idea it was a foreshadowing of things to come. I just thought it was weird. I mean, I don’t even think Donald Duck CAN lay eggs.

I managed to find my way back to sleep, although unable to turn my middle of the night mom ears off (the ones that can identify the whether my 4 year old is getting out of bed or just rolling over by the sound of her sheets), it wasn’t the only time I woke up. There was a change in the sound of the air conditioning, the mysterious cracking noise of a plastic water bottle, but surprisingly, not so much as a peep from the dog across the hall which was probably in his best interest as I had pretty much decided earlier in the day that I was going to take that yippy little sucker out if he so much as sniffed a little too loudly and wrecked my night before the marathon slumber (JUST KIDDING!!! I love dogs).

Despite only sleeping in short bursts, I was happily rested at 5AM and thoroughly excited. Even more so when my husband knocked on the door just a few minutes later. He had slept in the suite with our girls and my parents to spare me from a night of nasal symphony and had gotten himself up at 4:30AM to head over to the start with me and my brother-in-law (Muffin Man) who’d be running, and my sister (RunSis) who would not be, as part of the support crew. But I didn’t think he’d be coming to the race until later in the day. I was thrilled to see him, but even more thrilled that he was short on chit chat and then ushered himself straight down to the lobby to wait so as not to distract me from the task at hand, getting ready. (Yep, he scored big brownie points that weekend).

That 1/2 hour getting ready flew by and felt like just a few minutes. Before I knew it, I was in the car headed to the race. Traffic was sparse until we got closer to the Air Force Museum where the race would be starting. We knew we were there because it looked like this:DSCF7164 That’s from our car. Air Force Marathon. Air Force Base. Air Force Runway right? Nope. That’d be traffic. The line to get in the parking lot. Wait…did I say THE line. I meant ONE of the lines. Not even the line we were in.

They tell you in all the race information to get to the race 1 1/2 hours at least before the start (start at 7:15AM). Well, I am here to tell you that is GROSSLY inaccurate. If they say the gate opens at 5AM, get there at 5AM. We were there 1 3/4 hours early and well…you’ll find out in a second.

So needless to say perhaps, but we waited…and waited…and waited. The longer we waited. The hotter (as in angry, not devilishly good looking although he is certainly a handsome fellow) Muffin Man got. After waiting in line for close to 40 minutes, we were FINALLY only a few cars away from the point where we’d make a left hand turn to get in another short line which entered the parking lot, but I saw this dude on a golf cart ride up which I dutifully announced. Now all three of my compatriots teased me a little for my play by play, but my reason for announcing the arrival of golf cart man was that I knew with near certainty that his appearance on scene could not be good. What purpose could golf cart man possibly serve? There was already an Airman directing traffic. We needed not another one and definitely not one with the golf cart privileges. It could only mean one thing and one thing alone…traffic patterns were about to change.

And I was right. No more left turns. “Follow those cars,” golf cart man ordered which introduced me to an entirely new side of Muffin Man I’d never met before, yet all the while in the back seat all I wanted to do was laugh. It really wasn’t funny. I mean, we really truly were now in serious danger of missing the marathon start, but I’m just that kind of person. Sometimes when it’s highly inappropriate, I just can barely contain myself from laughing. What else am I going to do?

We followed those cars to a different gate, to wait in another line to make another left turn that this time wasn’t thwarted by a golf cart, but then still had to wait in yet ANOTHER line once we were inside the gate to park. (Have I lost you on all the lines and waiting yet? Yes, it was that confusing.) You can imagine I’m sure, how at this point we’d had it and we weren’t the only ones. Everybody had. So finally, some (probably enraged) marathon runner, took matters into his (or her) own hands and just pulled right out of line and parked in the open field immediately next to us. We and many many others followed suit. Opting instead to walk to the start wherever it may be. (Turns out wDSCF7169e were actually parked in the field they were parking people in. They were just trying to do it in a somewhat orderly, yet extremely slow fashion from the point nearest the start out. Still, I’m glad we didn’t wait. See how I’m smiling and happy to be out of the car).

We walked for a good 10 minutes, when Muffin Man spotted some port-a-potties. Rookie marathoner that he is (Yep, Muffin Man. Like I told my sister, I’m totally blaming this part on you) even though the lines we’re pretty long, he thought he’d better get in one to…well really, do I need to explain that much?

Me with all my race experience however, did not think stopping at this point was a good idea. We still had only a vague idea of where the start was and couldn’t yet see it. And at a race as big as this one, there had to be more potties, probably lots more, a little bit closer. Plus, we’d be able to hear the announcements if we were closer. If push came to shove we could just skip the potties altogether and hit one on the course. Not ideal, but at least we’d have the option.

But Muffin Man wanted to go and go now and my husband and RunSis were trying to stick together and as she astutely noted, it didn’t make much sense for me to stand around waiting and not do so in a line for the pot. So I relented.

And wouldn’t you know it, a meager 5 minutes or so later, Muffin Man decided to go au naturale and head for some trees. I do not have that luxury. Ok whom I’m kidding, I totally would’ve except I didn’t exactly have THAT kind of business to take care of (TMI? So sorry.)

I was stuck. I had committed now and been in line long enough that I didn’t feel like I should lose all the time I had invested to go get in a new line. So I just had to stand there like the big schmuck I was for not following my gut earlier. While Muffin Man finished his deal and headed for the start. YEP! You read that right. He totally left me there in line. DISCLAIMER: Don’t judge him too harshly. We were not planning on running together anyway. In fact, we did NOT want to run together because we are far too competitive with each other and neither of us wanted to screw the other one up (trust me, we can do that well enough on our own). Besides, I totally would not have wanted him to risk missing the start of his very first marathon anyhow and would have sent him on his merry way had he come back and asked for my opinion. Not that he did. (But I’m totally just razzin’ him here. Really. Swear. Jerk. No seriously, I’m kidding.)

I had overheard the half marathoners in line behind me send another marathoner off on her way a little bit earlier. They sort of seemed to know what they were talking about and now that my watch had crept down to 15 minutes before the start, I thought maybe I should ask them where actually the start was located. “Oh…It’s just around the corner,” they replied. Which made me take a sigh of relief. Still as the minutes passed and I counted a good 15 or so people still in front of me waiting between 3 or 4 bathrooms each taking a minute or so for their turn…well, I’m no good at math, so I don’t really know how that’d all work out, but it felt a little too close for comfort. So I stepped out of line.

Now, do the words “just around the corner” indicate a short distance to anyone else or am I totally a crazy person? Because another 10 minute walk to the start was not what I had expected. Not at all. I actually heard the gun go off just about the time I saw the big gigantic start line banner from afar. It was just great. I guess there was another performance by the USAF Honor Guard Drill Team, a B-52 flyover and probably the President himself fired the starting gun. Who knows? Because I missed the whole darn thing. I would have totally panicked had I not known my bib had a timing chip on it and the announcer just a few minutes later remind all us stragglers of that fact and to take our time warming up. I took that as a green light to get back in line at the much shorter line in front of the massive row of port-a-potties right near the start (Since you can’t see me, I should probably tell you that although I won’t say it, I am totally mouthing 4 words right now. It starts with I and ends in so. I’ll let you guess the rest).

DSCF7174Eventually, I did actually cross the start line and begin running. Only a mere 17 minutes or so after the rest of the participants. No hoopla, hollerin’ or anyone to cheer me on. Not even the announcer was hanging around the podium anymore. Anybody who was still there, was certainly not paying attention as you can see from the picture (except for maybe my husband and RunSis who you can’t see).

DSCF7175

But I didn’t care, I was running the USAF Marathon baby.

DSCF7176

'Til next time...

USAF Marathon Part 4: Ok really, NOW I’m running (and also a duck)

P.S. Ok, I totally expected to be doing a little more running in this post I swear (hence the title I made up yesterday). I really had no idea I had so much to say about port-a-potties, but then again I should’ve known better. After all, it’s not like this is my first potty post. But look at it this way, at least you know now that I am actually ON the course, so there MUST be running next time. I give you my solemn oath that I am making every effort to be brief. I just can’t help myself. It’s a sickness. Really.

P.P.S. I further promise the whole Donald Duck thing will make sense in the next post. Well…maybe.

USAF Marathon Part One: I’m driving

USAF Marathon Part Two: Soldiers, soldiers everywhere

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

USAF Marathon Part 2: Soldiers, soldiers everywhere

My 4 year old daughter loves soldiers. If you ask her what she wants to be when she grows up, she will unequivocally without hesitation reply soldier. A litany of various ever changing vocations will follow. But soldier is always on the list and it’s always the first one.

So imagine her delight upon the realization that mommy’s big race was going to be run on an Air Force Base where soldiers live, work and train. Thrilled does not even begin to describe her reaction upon walking into an expo where full fatigues abound. And you can probably further imagine the sheer and utter horror my poor child felt upon not being able to meet and greet a single one.

We were running late.

While we left the pre-race dinner at OG at 5:00PM giving us plenty of time to make the 10 minute drive to pick up our packets and get to my mom’s 5K by 6:30, we were not fully prepared for the traffic. At the expo exit, cars were at a complete standstill and backed up clear to the expressway. So we waited…and waited…and waited some more.

And then, my 4 year old had to pee. I mean, of course she did. Because when you are stuck in a traffic jam with someplace to be yet nowhere to go and your patience is wearing thin, of course that is exactly the time your kid says “I have to go potteeeeeeeeeeeeeee.”

nutter centerEventually we slipped our way in through an entrance I’m not really sure was an entrance, but the fella directing traffic, or whom I at least assumed was directing traffic because of the bright yellow vest and little wand stick thingy he was holding (although really not using) didn’t seem to be opposed to our idea of entering so it worked out. But then again, maybe that was just some dude who wanted to make sure he was safely seen by oncoming traffic at the expo. I don’t know.

Upon our arrival, we quickly enacted a divide and conquer plan. My parents would head to packet pickup with Tiger Baby in the stroller so my mom could get her bib and get ready to run. I’d race my about to explode daughter to the bathroom meeting them near packet pickup when we finished so I could get my goodie bag too. Easy peesy lemon squeezy we’d be all set in just a few minutes.

Only one problem. Just as we were walking out of the bathroom, someone announced over the loud speaker that if you hadn’t picked up your packet for the 5K yet, you’d need to do so at the start. All other packets were inside. And all I could think was “CRAP.”

You see, this meant my parents were headed outside with my toddler, my stroller and my purse, my purse which had my wallet in it which contained my license required for packet pickup NO EXCEPTIONS (which I must have read 97 times before I left). And furthermore, they were headed outside with oh a FEW THOUSAND OTHER PEOPLE. I had to find them and I had to find them fast. We were closing in on 6:30 and I didn’t want to miss my mom’s race, but the expo was officially closed at 7:00 and I certainly didn’t want to miss my marathon because I lost my parents and thus my id and couldn’t pick up my packet. Really. How seriously stupid would that have been?

So my poor desperate soldier lovin’ child! I literally, dragged her by the hand through the entire expo as quickly as I could trying to find my parents. “Mommy! Mommy! There’s a soldier! Can I meet him? Look there’s another one. Mommy! Mommy! MOMMY! Look there’s two! I HAVE to meet them. Mommy I just want to talk to that one. Mommy pleeeeeeeaaaaase. THAT ONE IS A GIRL! I HAVE TO MEET HER!”

But dangit. We just didn’t have time. I finally stopped. Got down and looked her in the eye and said, “Honey, I promise you. You WILL get to meet a soldier, probably even more than one. But right now we have to find Papa and Nana. Ok?” She looked at me with the saddest little eyes and said, “ok.” What a trooper! (no pun intended).

We weaved our way in and out through the crowd around the expo ignoring all the vendors I so desperately wanted to check out, but if my daughter wasn’t going to get to meet a soldier, then I couldn’t justify stopping to look at running gear no matter how funny the shirt slogan. Finally, we found my dad, 2 year old, stroller and purse waiting right at the bib pickup. I grabbed my wallet and he went outside to find my mom who had gone on to where ever they were now handing out 5K packets.

After picking up my bib, my 4 year old and I had to head down a massive flight of stairs to get my (super sweet) shirt. And there at the very top of the stairs, before we even took one step, she spotted him. Another soldier. “Yes baby, you can meet that one if he’s still there when we get down.” She talked about him with every step, the entire way, “I hope I can meet him. I hope I can tell him my name. I’m so exciting to meet him.” (She never says she’s excited. She’s always exciting.)

And she did meet him. And let me tell you, Shane made my daughter’s day. She still talks about meeting him. This larger than life, tall as an oak tree fully fatigued Airman, got right down, shook my daughter’s hand, asked her name and spent a good five minutes or so talking to her. And he was even a “runnin’ soldier.” He was going to run the marathon the next day. She was tickled pink. And I sadly, I didn’t have my camera. Talk about kicking yourself. It was just so precious. Shane, where ever you are, thank-you. Not only for your service, but also for creating a mental picture I will never ever forget.

Fully satisfied that she had now met a soldier, we were free to head out to watch my mom’s race. It was actually far easier to find them amongst the crowd than I had thought. Tiger Baby hadn’t slept a wink all day and had had it with being confined in a stroller. All I had to do was follow her growls. It took about a minute.

Then we were all in for a treat. The Air Force Honor Guard Drill Teamhonor guard performed just before the start of the race. They were A-MAZING. Well, at least they were once I got a chance to watch them after consoling my distraught daughter that these soldiers throwing rifles with knives on the end of them were not going to hurt us. “They’re our soldiers remember. They would never ever hurt us. They’re here to protect us.” To which she kind of giggled and said, “oh yeah, that’s right I forgot.”

Still I have to admit, the mom in me surfaces rather easily. As I watched these highly skilled professionally trained Airmen toss their weapons around with precision and seeming ease, my initial thought was, “I surely hope those guns aren’t loaded.” Which was quickly followed by, “How on earth do you practice for something like this?” Think about it for a second. I mean, even if you start off with pillow soft mock weapons, the first time they give it a shot with the real deal has got to be seriously intense don’t you think? (Anybody else have, “You’ll shoot your eye out,” running through their head?")

And yes, we also got to meet some of the Honor Guard at which point I resorted to taking crappy camera phone pictures which apparently I am unable in any way, shape or form to get off my mom’s camera and post for you here or enjoy myself later since my own phone was left in the car and my camera was making the trip to Dayton a little later with my husband to keep him company on the long ride down since I FORGOT IT. Grrrr….

But anyway, next was the national anthem sung by an Airwoman with an amazing voice (yep, my daughter totally dug that) followed by a B-52 flyover (what a massive airplane that is!), then the gun for the race.

Now, my mom had claimed she was going to run around a 36, but must have been wearing her speedy shoes because she smoked it and actually ran 34:38, placing her 4th of 60 in her age group. Way to go Mom! That’s some serious wheels.

We headed back to the hotel after the race (Residence Inn. Totally excellent besides the wretched complimentary breakfast in the morning. Huge rooms with a full kitchen: refrigerator, dishwasher, microwave, cook top, real plates and silverware, so you actually don’t need their breakfast anyway).

My now slap happy baby was bouncing off the walls. And when I say bouncing off the walls I do really actually mean bouncing off the walls, and coffee tables, couches, etc. She pretty much couldn’t walk straight anymore she was so tired and was bumping into everything nodding her head up and down, but fought sleep with everything she had the minute my mom tried to lay her down. So I gladly (and thankfully) slipped out to a room of my very own that I’d have to myself all night

Back in my room, I mixed up my Cytomax for pre-race, Gu Brew for during, and Gu Recovery Brew for after like a little chemist. Then laid out all my clothes, bib, watch, sunglasses, Chica Band, shoes, fuel belt for the next day figuring the more I could get ready that night the better. I checked the alarm clock one last time and called the front desk for a 5AM wake up call just in case the alarm failed me. Took one last peek at the course map, then snuggled down into the big deep cozy bed I’d have all to myself. Ahhhh….

It’d be 26.2 in the morning…

'Til next time...

USAF Marathon Part 3: The actual running part

P.S. Miss part one? You can read it here.

Monday, September 20, 2010

USAF Marathon Part 1: I’m driving

My sincerest apologies right from the get go here. Try as I might, I can not do this in one blog post. We’ve come far enough in our relationship here I do believe that you understand I lack a certain amount of brevity and to do this in one post would make this not a blog, but an online novel. So at the wise beyond her years suggestion of my sister Yoda (AKA RunSis), I’ll be breaking this up into parts to give you the full story because after following along all this time, you deserve nothing less (Plus then I get to drag out the fun of the marathon throughout my entire recovery week and continue to enjoy it).

So. The festivities of marathon weekend began on Friday. My parents, my girlies, and I all left shortly after my 4 year old and my mom got out of school (my mom’s a teacher, not really behind on her ABC’s or anything). We were running on a kind of tight schedule. I had somehow formulated this stellar plan, that we’d leave around 1PM, make the 3ish hour drive to Dayton, check into our hotel, sit down and have dinner at the nearby Olive Garden, scamper over to the expo to pick up our race packets and make it in plenty of time for my mom to get herself all warmed up and ready to go for her 5K at 6:30PM. Now maybe this sounds not entirely too intense of a schedule, but remember we were accompanied by an almost 2 year old and a 4 year old who, perhaps it goes without saying, but along with comes more than a little of the unexpected. (My husband, in case you’re wondering, had to work and made the trip down a little later).

By the time my parents pulled in the driveway, I had the bags packed and the girls ready to go (minus one last diaper change). All they had to do was add their luggage to the gear I had piled up to a near rear window obstruction level in the trunk (geez there’s a lot of gear to pack for a marathon…wait, maybe that was mostly for my teeny spectators).

Now, my dad drives. Period. He just always does. Before retiring he spent a lot of time working on road crews and he could probably successfully drive around the entire state of Michigan blindfolded were it not for you know, other cars, wild animals, and small children. So after my mom had climbed into the back and the girls were strapped into their respective car seats, he stood near the driver side waiting for the keys. “I’m drivin’” I told him. Which received that dad look. You know the one. The one that even when you are 32 years old with children of your own and it’s your car means something along the lines of “excuse me, but you might want to check yourself and what you just said.” That look. To which I replied, “I need to be in control right now” and then ran back into the house as quickly as possible to check one last time that I had everything. I grabbed one more sports bra and running top just in case. (In case of what, I’m not actually sure. It just seemed like the right thing to do at the time. And now that I think about it, I actually have no idea where that sports bra and running top are.)

But I did need to be in control. If something happened, and by something I mean literally anything, like a flat tire, one of my kids screaming their head off in the back seat, or even the world coming to an end (b/c you know, had that happened, I’d definitely been concerned about missing my marathon ;-), I wanted to be the one making the calls. That way I’d have no one to blame but myself should something go awry, even if that something awry had nothing to do with me driving. I realize this sort of makes no sense, but let me tell you, at the time, it totally did.

Fortunately, we got down there without a hitch. Only one “Mommy, I really really really got to go pee!” stop and not too much by way of traffic. But we still adjusted the schedule just a touch and skipped checking in at the hotel and headed straight for dinner. I’m not sure why exactly but sitting down and eating was EXTREMELY important to me. I didn’t want that night before the marathon meal to be rushed. It just felt like that would set the race off on the wrong foot. Somehow that meal was pre-race decompressing from all the anxiety leading up to the marathon.

Fortunately my sister agreed to check us in. (Her husband would be running the marathon too. His first. Woohoo!! More on Muffin Man to come) that way we wouldn’t have to mess with it later and could get right to bed following my mom’s race.

momchloedinnerSo it was straight to the good old Olive Garden for us. I wanted to stick with something I’d eaten from time to time pre-long run and being that we’re frequent fans of the OG near us, I figured the one in Dayton ought to be pretty much the same (Never thought I’d say this but, YAY! For restaurant chains and knowing pretty much exactly what you’re going to get ahead of time.) Plus I could get the girlies, plain noodles which I know sounds less than appetizing, but I’m pretty sure my kids could live off plain noodles and plain noodles alone. I’d seriously make it for them every night, if it didn’t turn my dining area into some kind of Italian pasta experiment gone massively wrong afterwards.mebreadstick

Noodles for them (and the floor). Shrimp Caprese and a little Bruschetta for me (and breadsticks, hence the picture)at the nicest Olive Garden I’ve ever been to. (Seriously. If you’re ever in north Dayton, check it out. It was fabulous.) Since it was only 4ish, when we sat down to eat and the big dinner crowds hadn’t arrived yet, we were in and out in a flash.

After dinner while I loaded the girls back into the car and my dad delighted them with those delectable little chocolate mints, my mom like some kind of superhero, went into the OG bathroom a school teacher and came out a running rock star. Then we were off to the expo and the race…

And that my friends is all you get for now. But there is oh so much more to come.

'Til next time...

USAF Marathon Part 2: Soldiers soldiers everywhere!

P.S. See I told you this wouldn’t be short. We’re not even at the expo yet. If you can’t stand the wait, go friend me on the daily mile and read my super short post on the marathon. And if you just want to know what the course is like, click here for my Racevine review. And to answer you’re question, no, I have no idea why all those slashes are in my review. I didn’t put them there.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Chica Band Winner

Quickly, because I am so very sleepy after wrangling a little overly exhausted toddler tiger who was fighting sleep with everything she had, I want to announce the lucky lucky winner of the chica band.

And that winner is…

Whitney

I’ll be tracking you down tomorrow to give you all the details or if you happen to see this first, please send me an email at runfastmommy@gmail.com. Congratulations!

And the marathon story…well…you all know that’ll be coming too asap. The good news is I broke 2 out of 3 goals. Woohoo!! I finished and I PR’d (by 33 minutes), but I did not break 4:30. My officially official Air Force Marathon time is 4:39:11.  But trust me, I’m thrilled with that time all things considered.

And of course, there is a story. Because every race has its story. Mine’s got heat, hills, flyovers, random running partners and the curse of the turkey duck. I should of known better than to write so many nasty posts about that fella. In the end, he’s had the last word I do believe.

Wondering how a MI turkey duck could possibly be involved in a Dayton OH marathon? You’ll just have to stick around to find out! I’m off for some much needed sleep.

'Til next time...

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

And now I’m nesting…

Some women nest while they’re pregnant. Others (or maybe perhaps just me), nest pre-marathon. Really.

Yesterday I cleaned two bathrooms, the kitchen, did a massive amount of laundry and pretended to be a talking turtle for about an hour. Ok, maybe that last one did not actually have anything to do with cleaning, but my 4 year old was thrilled and it served its purpose of taking my mind off the marathon so I thought I’d mention it.

Best I can figure, the nesting instinct has taken hold for two reasons. Numero uno, I can’t sleep. So the idea here is that if I clean all day, I’ll be exhausted at night and will be powerless against the heaviness of my drowsy eyelids no matter how cluttered my mind is with all thoughts running. And last night, I gotta say, it worked…kind of. Instead of going to bed at 10:00PM and laying there wide awake until 2:00AM tossing, turning and planning my race. I fell asleep sometime around midnight. Still not ideal, but a substantial improvement nonetheless. With a 6:30-7:00 AM wake up call all week, I’ll take it.

And reason number two, which is perhaps far more compelling: I just can not fathom coming home from a 26.2 mile race to a mess of a house that I will of course be forced to live with, because I won’t have the energy to rectify. (What can I say? I like my ice baths in a clean tub.)

So that’s about where I’m at, made oh so much easier by the fact the my 4 year old decided (on her own, I swear.) that yesterday (and today actually) should be cleaning days. She “really really really” wanted to clean my bathroom. Despite my “really really really” wanting to take a nap (remember the whole lack of sleeping for the previous 2 nights), I figured this is probably an instinct in her that I’d do well to nurture. So I gave in and let her help me.

Surprisingly, she so enjoyed the task I gave her of cleaning toilets (not really, it was mostly wiping things dry after I cleaned them, although she did ask and I may or may not have been tempted to oblige)that she was singing and whistling the whole time which actually made the whole ordeal somewhat enjoyable for me too.

And being the supremely wise mommy that I am, I capitalized on the opportunity which had materialized. “You know honey,” I told her. “One day when you get bigger, if you’re really good, I’ll let you clean the whole bathroom all by yourself!” (Good is a relative term btw). **GASP** “Yeah!” she replied excitedly.

I feel obligated to mention at this point that, she does not get this urge to clean from my side of the family. Since I’m on foreign territory here, you can bet your bottom dollar I’ll be treading very carefully, so as not to ruin the fun of her new found hobby and my quickly developing devious new plan for household chores ;-).

So that’s what I’ve been doing. Well, that and reviewing my last few long runs on the Daily Mile (online social training log if you’ve never heard of it), where I’m pleased to report that I’ve discovered I’m not nearly as fast as I think I am. Somehow my memory was slightly skewed on how quickly I ran those long runs.

But don’t worry, I’m not upset or disappointed at this revelation. It’s actually helped relieve some of the pre-race jitters. It might have even been a factor in my being able to get to sleep a little easier last night.

You see, I’d been upping the ante on my goal finishing time based on my incorrectly remembered long run times. Now having gone back through and looked at everything again, I realize I was being overly ambitious and it’d probably be a good idea to stick with that 4:30 marathon goal time that I set, oh about 3 years ago, that has of yet eluded me. It’s what I’ve trained for. It’s where I’m at. If all things are going super swimmingly, I’ll up the pace at the end, but not until I’ve made it through that last section of hills (those dirty dastardly hills).

But there’s no sense in blowing the goal that I’ve trained for to pursue an overly ambitious goal that I’ve just recently realized might be possible for me. (Thanks to my husband for that helpful bit of advice).

There’s other races on other days and I’ll reach those other goals, when I’ve trained for them. For now, I’m going to stick with the program I started, despite the intensely difficult task of suppressing my inner competitor. I’ll run the race I’ve trained for and enjoy the day. I mean what’s 4 hours of running if you don’t enjoy it right?

So nah, I’m not really that nervous anymore…but if you need me, chances are, I’ll probably be cleaning something.

'Til next time...

P.S. Just found out an old high school friend will be running the Chicago Marathon this fall to raise money and awareness for the Alternating Hemiplegia of Childhood Foundation. AHC is a rare neurological disorder in which repeated attacks of hemiplegia occur (paralysis of the body, don’t worry I didn’t know either). According to the AHC Foundation’s website, children who have this disorder may also exhibit a number of other symptoms in addition to hemiplegia including: lack of muscle tone, stiffening of extremities, eye disorders, developmental delays, mental retardation, and/or seizures. There is no known cause and no known cure.

So now I’m about to ask a favor. Brace yourself. Could you lend my friend, Kristy, and these little sweethearts a hand? You don’t have to do much. You could follow Kristy on her running journey at her blog www.marathon4del.com. Maybe leave her some words of encouragement on her last blog post here. Or perhaps make mention of the AHC Foundation or Kristy’s blog on your website, Facebook Page or Twitter. Or if you feel so compelled, maybe even make a contribution to her fundraising efforts on her site. Remember every little bit helps!

P.P.S. Hmmmmm…trying to figure out how to type the Chica Bands song I’ve made up in order to entice you to enter my giveaway. But I’m at a loss. It’s a good one though. Woo! If you could hear it you’d be so impressed with my musical stylings and I can say that with full confidence from this side of my computer screen. Ah well, the good news is you can enter the contest even without the song. Here’s the link.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Christa’s Cookies & A Mental Blogging Block

I can’t write. Some people have running woes during their taper. I have a blogging block during mine.

In less than one week, this Saturday, I’ll be running in the Air Force Marathon in Dayton, OH. It’s not my first marathon, but it’s the first one I feel fully prepped to run and all conditions are shaping up to be just about right. I’m not sick. The weather is going to be perfect. No nagging injuries and my good old Aunt Flow just left so there should be no surprise visits if you know what I mean.

But BECAUSE everything is shaping up to be just about right,  I seem to be ridiculously on edge. After all, there’s no excuses this time. I don’t even have a running partner to blame an untimely demise on.  It’s just me, my feet and the pavement (ok and maybe a few thousand other people but really who’s counting?). And since the ball is entirely in my court this time, I guess I’m just a little bit nervous that I’ll, well, drop it.

**SIGH** There I’ve admitted it. You see, because of all this, the thing is, I just have no idea what to talk about right now. I don’t want to dump a bunch of my worries out there for fear that they will come to pass, but I also don’t want to be overflowing with positivity and then wind up disappointing and disappointed. So I guess in essence, I’ve just resorted to silence which is really no fun for anyone.  So what to do? What to do?

Maybe I should randomly post on non running related topics about my kids. My 4 year old for instance this last week wanted a salad for dinner with only lettuce, cheese and raccoons on it. That was pretty funny. (She meant croutons btw). Or perhaps I could vent about the couple at the grocery store who despite the self checkout lane immediately next to mine being entirely empty, decided to get in my lane and start scanning and sending down their stuff even though the entire bagging area was still full of MY groceries which I was rapidly bagging. When they started huffing and puffing and rolling their eyes at me (while that lane right next to me was STILL empty I might add), I’m pretty sure that entitled me to bagging THEIR groceries and taking them home with me too. (I didn’t, but I seriously considered it. Have I mentioned I hate self checkout lanes?)

But that’s not the kind of delightful little diddies you’re here for now are you? So let me just move on to something we can all enjoy. Cookies. How about that highly sought after cookie recipe Christa promised us?

Christa is a Secrets of  A Running Mom (or SOARM as so many of you put it and I happen to love) reader and a running mom of 4, who happens to be running her 2nd marathon this year, Chicago. It’s sort of a revenge marathon for her, like this one will be for me, but you’ll have to go read her story to find out more on that.

She also happens to be one of the chosen few who were asked to profile their experience for the Chicago Marathon. You can follow here online diary by clicking here (that other link, her name, is a link to her personal running blog fyi).

Christa comments from time to time, but her recent comment on my food will not be ruling this house post, caused a bit of a stir when she mentioned she makes cookies that “are so healthy you feel guilty calling them cookies.” You can imagine the pressure I was under to get my hands on and publicly post this cookie recipe. In particular, from my own family, not only publicly on the blog, but also privately in person. So what could I do? I asked and Christa so graciously offered up the goods.

And not only did she send me just one cookie recipe, she sent me a few cookies recipes, some non-cookie recipes, and a few tips. I think it’s safe to say we’ve hit a virtual gold mine here with Christa folks.

Let’s start with just one cookie recipe (sorry, I have to find ways to keep you coming back for more or what else will I do with free time?), that I bought ingredients for this weekend, that way I can come back and tell you in the comments how tasty they were. And in the meantime, if any of you have a healthy, yummy, and/or fairly easy recipe you’d like to share to help me (and everybody else) out on my healthy eating journey, feel free to send it to me at runfastmommy@gmail.com. I’ll be forming a separate section on this site somewhere to compile all of them for future reference.

Oatmeal Carrot Cookies

  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup quick cooking rolled oats
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup margarine or butter softened
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts
  • 1/2 cup shredded carrots

1) Heat oven to 350. Grease cookie sheets. In large bowl, combine all ingredients except nuts and carrot; beat at low speed until well blended. Stir in nuts and carrot. Drop dough by rounded teaspoonfuls 2 inches apart onto greased cookie sheets.

2) Bake at 350 for 8 to 12 minutes or until edges are light golden brown. Immediately remove from cookie sheets.

There now, I believe I’ve successfully distracted you all from my upcoming event with cookies. Carry on with your day.

'Til next time...

P.S. Don’t forget about the Chica Band giveaway! There’s still time to get in. Click here for details.

P.P.S. Rachel and Adorable Wife be sure to let us know how the 5k and the Tri went! Leave us a link if you blogged about it (or are going to) so we can read about it.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Review Crew: Chica Bands + Giveaway

Nope. I haven’t dropped off the face of the earth or given up running for the very tempting sport of couch cushion cuddling and mild cheddar cheese dip consumption (it’s both of them together that makes it a sport in case you were wondering and I’m pretty sure I could own it).

Just a last minute trip to Disney World pre pre-school is to explain for my virtual absence. I even ran while I was there. Are you so proud of me or what? Oh and remind me never ever ever to complain again about the heat and humidity in Michigan. It’s laughable, no, hysterical compared to what my Florida friends are running through (I totally feel for you guys. You are the true rock stars of the running world.)

But I’m back and after a day or so of resting from my vacation (which is completely a necessity after a Disney vacation I just learned), I’m ready to kick it off with another review and of course, what’s a review without a giveaway eh? So let’s get to it shall we?

Meg Perez, the Commander-in-Chica of Chica Bands, sent a few of the (recently featured in Runners World) Chica Bands for me, The Crew and my 4 year old, who for the purpose of this review will be considered an honorary member of the crew (she’s thrilled), to test out.

I snagged two, plain pink and blue camouflage to give a whirl and by whirl I mean a speed workout, a tempo run, and two long runs (20 miles on one & 13 on the other) because I’m not messin’ around when I test these goods out ladies and gentlemen.

Now what totally shocked me about these Chica Bands is that they actually wicked sweat. I wore one before I went to the website and read all about them and because they are only about an inch wide I just assumed these little head bands were more for looks and keeping stray hairs out of your face neither of which I’m opposed to btw. In fact, I rather like having hair out of my face when I run and since my bangs are still in that super annoying not quite grown out just yet phase and thus not long enough to make it to the most desirable location for them to be while running (my ponytail) I’d be all about Chica Bands even if their sole purpose was stray hair wrangling. But my assumption would prove incorrect. Surprisingly, these little bands did far more than you’d expect.

I was literally shocked when I finished my speed workout (about 6 miles total) and not only had the Chica Band not moved or squeezed my head mercilessly either for that matter, but it really kept the sweat out of my face too. Shocking not only because they’re small, but also because I sweat so much that sometimes when I finish a run I appear to have chosen a complete and utter downpour for the appropriate time to go for a run. Really. But my thoroughly disgusting sweating habits we’ve discussed at length already and I’ll spare you the re-hash (if you must know. You can find it here.)

And since the little head band worked so well on my speed workout, I figured I’d up the ante so to speak. I mean really, 6 miles on a treadmill is one thing, but 20 miles in the blazing hot sun and humidity could be quite another. (Wait…did I just complain about the MI heat again? Slapping myself in the face. So sorry. Old habits die hard. Ask me about my Disney diet relapse, for further proof.)

But I’m happy to report, blue camo chica rose to the occasion. I can not honestly say that it kept ALL the sweat from dripping down, but I will say it kept MOST of the sweat from dripping down my face and that was plenty good enough for me (and definitely attests to the superior wicking power of those head bands). It didn’t move at all during the 20, and thus successfully kept those heavy wet bangs from falling into my eyes (which I hate) AND I was thrilled to discover that it lifted that little bit of hair off the back of my neck that usually slips out of my ponytail at some point during a long run (which I hate even more than the bangs).

And of course, it almost goes without saying, I looked super cool wearing it and with over 200 styles (including some with reflective material for those of you who happen to find yourself running in less than optimal lighting conditions and would prefer not to go unnoticed by those sharing the road with you of the vehicular variety) there’s certainly something for everyone. In fact, I almost feel obligated to warn you. With all the different patterns and designs, Chica Bands are almost slightly addicting. In fact, I could quite possibly be in big big trouble here.

But enough about me and what I have to say, here’s what the other wear testers had to say (minus one, who’s review will be coming asap. Promise.)

mom Runnana Says: Love the Chica Band ! I did a three mile run on a hot day on the treadmill wearing it. It is really light and I kind of forgot it was even there. I was pleasantly surprised that such a little, light thing could keep all that sweat out of my eyes, but it did the trick! Mine was very cute too. I had the black and white sort of zebra print. It really looks like a hair band you might buy just as a hair accessory but really does the job well. Doesn't slip off either! Love it!

karen_thumb[1] RunSis Says: Thumbs up- finally something that will stay on my misshapen head, seriously I can NEVER get a headband to stay on my head. Even while running, this bad boy stayed magically in place. It also seemed to absorb some sweat which was nice and it is small so I didn't feel like I was melting under lots of fabric. Lots of cute colors to choose from online too

DSCF6603 RunGirlie (my 4 year old) Says (with prompting): What do you think about your sparkly pink head band? I think it’s pretty. How does it feel on your head? Good. Does it feel too tight? No. Does it fall off? NO! Is there anything else you want to tell me about it? No. Would you like to have more of them? Uh huh. Yeah. I’d like to have more. Do they make you run faster? Yeah! And on a mom note, no head bands EVER stay in this child’s hair. In fact, almost nothing stays in her hair. Even her pre-school teachers have complained. But the Chica Band stayed put all day even despite her rolling around upside down on the couch like a wild child which I let her do solely for experimental purposes and not at all because it looked like it was fun.

marie The Spazz Says: I got my hair cut last week and now I have bangs that I have to try and keep out of my eyes. Lucky for me, that same day Kelly gave me a ChicaBand to try out. I have tried headbands before, but never had much luck. No matter what I did they always slipped off. The Chica Band (to my surprise) didn’t fall off, or move at all! The underside is lined with velvet and apparently that is the key to a good grip. Also, after wearing it for a few runs I hand washed in the sink with mild detergent. The stitching and material held up well with no shrinking or twisting. The material on the outside comes in a variety of patterns and colors. I think I’ll have to get a few more of these to match my outfits. I am definitely a fan of Chica Bands!

So if you just can’t wait for this stinkin’ giveaway to end and you want to order one up for yourself to try out right now, Meg has generously offered us 15% off. Just enter the discount code TKS10 at checkout for 15% off your entire order. (Woohoo for discounts!) You’ll need to order before September 20th to take advantage of this discount PLUS there are some other offers going on right now at www.chicabands.com that you’re definitely going to want to check out if you’re thinking about giving them a whirl of your own.

For those of you who would rather test your luck out first, Meg is going to send one of my readers their very own Chica Band of choice. Here’s how you enter (only one comment is necessary):

Mandatory Entries (1 each):

1. Become a follower of this blog or let me know you are already.

2. Visit the Chica Bands website and let me know which design you’d choose if you win.

Additional Entries (1 each):

All entries must be received by, September 17th, 2010 and then my 4 year old will excitedly choose the winner from a big bowl which I’ll announce on September 18th (that way you’ll still have two days to use the discount if you didn’t win). If you’ve already become a FB fan, Twitter follower, or added me to your blog roll that certainly counts too, just be sure to let me know.

If you have any questions, feel free to ask. Otherwise, good luck! And may the best chica win or at least one of them anyway :-)

'Til next time...