Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 - Ending On A Positive Note

I’d had such high hopes for 2013 – PRs, BQs, completing 365 days of run streaking, travel, and fun. Cancer threw a wrench in my plans to PR and BQ but I did some streaking, some traveling, and I had a lot of fun. :)

I am not going to let Cancer turn me into a whiner so I am posting my top 5 moments/memories of 2013 so I can end 2013 on a positive note. Here’s my best of 2013:

1. Fontana Days Run 5K - I didn't PR but now that I know I was dealing with Cancer win I did this, I am VERY happy with being just 20 seconds off my PR. Especially with not real speed work prior to it. I am proud of myself for running so hard it hurt and I thought I'd puke! And getting 3rd in my Age Group was icing on the cake!

2. Bataan Memorial Death March - The memories from that weekend in New Mexico still give me chills. It was an amazing experience made even better by sharing it with my friends Cliff and Jeff. This is definitely one of my top 3 marathons. I was slow but it didn't matter.

3. Horseshoe Lake Trail Marathon - I celebrated my 45th birthday with a trail marathon in San Jose. I had a fun running adventure that weekend. And even though that marathon was SO slow that my friends Josh and Naresh were afraid I'd died, it was a beautiful place to run and I enjoyed it. Getting to have dinner with Naresh (who bought me a birthday cake) was a great birthday present too.

4. Run Under The Stars 10 Hour - What happens in Kentucky, stays in Kentucky! ;) LOL, seriously, I know most people would think I'm crazy to include a race where you run in circles around a half mile track for 10 Hours but...I did this race with 70ish of my Run It Fast friends. I loved seeing everyone and running with them throughout the night. It was my first trip to Kentucky too.

5. Thanksgiving Run - This wasn't a race but it was my first day back running after not running for 11 weeks! It felt so good! This is me on that day. Do I look satisfied or what? Woo!
Even though I know I have a long way to go to get back to where I was, I am excited to be able to put my running shoes on again. I've been running 3 to 4 times a week and have been able to run trails again. I can't tell you how happy that makes me! I'm a runner again! Now, here's a summary of my 2013:
Can't complain about being able to do 19 races, right? And 1539.2 running miles is nothing to sneeze at. I was also able to streak for 337 days. Oh so close to a year but will have to try that again soon.

Let's see...I got a lot of cool medals in 2013 but these 2 are my favorites:

The RUN medal for my 3rd AG at Fontana Days Run for the reasons specified above.
And my Snoopy Coaster Run 10K because this one also hurt and I am Snoopy! And it's cute!

There were a lot of other great memories, too many to count or recap here. But one of the best things to come out of 2013 was all the great support I received from my friends and family. I definitely felt all the love and prayers and it was a great comfort to me during the scariest and hardest moments.

This year, I learned that running gave me the strength and knowledge to tackle life's problems head on. At each stage of my journey through Cancer, I've felt overwhelmed and scared. But running taught me to take things one step at a time. To worry about and take care of what you can and deal with the rest as it comes up. I treated Ovarian Cancer as an ultra and instead of running away when I didn't want to know what was wrong, I took the first step towards health. And then the next. And then the next. Now I'm halfway through chemo and I'm doing the same thing. One chemo round at a time. Don't think about what's to come. Run when I can. Rest when I need to. Just keep going.

The biggest lesson I learned about myself in 2013 was that I am stronger than I thought. I am also more stubborn than I thought. Okay, that's a lie. I knew I was VERY stubborn. :) But the next time I toe the line for a race, I won't be as scared or nervous as I was before. I will do my best and have fun but racing is not something to be afraid of. It's something to celebrate.

I plan to celebrate a lot in 2014.

Happy New Year! See you on the roads and trails!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

On The Mend...Mostly

It's now a little more than 3 weeks post surgery. I am recovering pretty well physically. I still get really tired but my stamina is growing. I started out with 3 10 minute walks a day and then went to 2 20 minute walks. Now I'm doing a 30 minute walk and then a 15-20 minute walk a day. Slowly but surely I'm getting stronger though I'm surprised at how tired I am after 30 minutes. I have to be careful not to overdo it. I definitely overdid it this weekend and have been sleeping a LOT the past few days to recover from it. I think I'm back on track now.

I can eat normal food again. It was an issue for a while. Some things are still not good for my stomach. I found out the hard way that pizza is still a no go and so is salad. I haven't had a burrito since before the surgery and I'm having MAJOR withdrawals but I'm afraid to try it yet. Soon. Hopefully.

The staples are all out and the scar is healing up. It still hurts to laugh and cough and sneeze. Who knew you used your stomach muscles for SO much. It even hurts to blow my nose! My doctor said I could try running and riding again in another 3 weeks or so. But no weights, sit-ups, push ups, etc. for 3 months. I see the oncologist next Tuesday and will find out what my chemo treatments will be.

*Warning - emotional dump ahead - proceed at your own risk!*

So, like I said...physically I'm doing pretty well. Emotionally...that is another story. And that is where I really miss running. Right now, I don't have an out for everything I'm feeling and I find myself crying at the weirdest times. I'm frustrated easily and I get so mad sometimes. I need to talk to someone but I'm not sure if I should talk to someone I don't know or one of my friends. I need to look for a support group, I think.

I feel sad, mad, frustrated, scared, ugly, jealous, hurt, and nervous.

I feel like I've been there for other people thru this but I haven't really let anyone be there for me. Like I have to protect them. Or that I wasn't sick enough to ask for help. I don't know.

Maybe I'm just tired.

I still feel nauseous on most days still. That makes me afraid the cancer is still there or that it is coming back. Because of that, I'm looking forward to getting the chemo over with. I'm dreading it but I want to make sure the cancer is gone! But then in my reading, I see that this type of cancer can be recurring. But if they took everything...wouldn't that mean it couldn't come back? I also apparently have to watch out for breast cancer now. Will I ever get over this fear? How do you get over the fear?

Speaking of taking everything...I don't know if my emotions are out of whack because of being thrown into instant menopause. I still have all that to figure out. Apparently, it's unlikely I'll get hormones to help with it because of the possibility of breast cancer. Besides the cancer, this is the thing that makes me most sad and angry. People keep telling me how lucky I am that I won't have to deal with a period anymore and I want to scream at them. I have ZERO chance of having a child now. NONE. Why would I be happy about that? I never in a million years imagined I wouldn't have children. It's just not fair. I know I'm 45 and for the most part I'd accepted it wouldn't happen but it hurts. It really hurts.I feel like a complete failure.

On top of everything else, I'm losing my hair already. My stupid body has always betrayed me like this when I'm stressed. When I as 12 and my parents divorced, my hair fell out. Yeah, not fun for a 12 year old girl. And then when I was hit by a car, I got two bald spots. I feel so old and ugly right now. I hate the way my body feels and how out of shape I am. I feel like I aged 10 years in the past 3 months.

I want this to have never happened. I want to not have cancer. I want to not have to worry about doctor visits and treatments and if my insurance will cover it. I want my body back the way it was. I just want to be strong and whole again.

Fucking cancer! I hate it.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

The C Word

So I had the surgery to remove the cyst.

There was bad news but also good news.

I had/have ovarian cancer.

They took all of my female organs and my appendix and took a sampling of my lymph nodes. They thought they got it all and that it was Stage 1 but we had to wait for labs to come back to be sure. We got the labs back this morning and they were negative! So it was very early and contained to the one ovary. My case will go before a tumor board and they will decide on the best course of action but I will have to have chemo.

He said actually that it was considered Stage 1c because the cyst had burst and there was some fluid but he was very positive and happy with the results.

So am I! I really had hoped there wasn't cancer there. When I woke up from surgery, I asked what time it was and they said 1pm so I knew right away they had had to do all he anticipated. When he came to tell me that it was cancer and they had removed everything, I felt calm. I don't know why but I wasn't scared or angry. Ha, maybe it was the drugs still. ;)

I am still in the hospital but hope to go home this afternoon or tomorrow. Mostly it's because I just started eating last night. I feel pretty good though. The pain is minimal and I am walking around. I actually feel kind of peppy. Which is probably because I'm so relieved right now.

The plan now is to recover quickly and smart. And move past this so I can get back to being me.

Thank you for all of your thoughts and prayers! Your support has been awesome. :)

Saturday, September 21, 2013

September 30th

9 days until my surgery.

It's scheduled for September 30th at 9 am. The doctor, who I saw yesterday, said it could take an hour or 3 depending on what they find. The order for surgery has a lot of long words on it but mostly it says exploratory.

I still don't think it's the C word. One good thing is that the blood test I took for ovarian cancer came back 31 which is slightly above the negative line but he said it really depended on the lab and their tolerance levels. That he would be worried if it was 300 or 400 but 31 is nothing.

But I guess that doesn't rule out the possibility that it's a different type. Which is why it's exploratory and why they will be doing a biopsy during it. But he told me that even if that is negative, it is just preliminary and we have to wait for the full test to come back so more surgery could happen. But if it comes back positive, then they will take everything and see if it has spread to other areas.

I know he has to tell me all the possibilities before and that they probably won't happen. It's just...there's just too many IFs right now. While I know generally what's going to happen, I just don't know what they are going to find or have to do. I really am trying not to think worst case scenario but I did cry last night. Nights are the worst. I wake up and my mind starts racing and I can't go back to sleep.

I don't want to be a grown up!

Being a grown up sucks. While I really want to just curl up in a ball and let someone else deal with the appointments for CT scans, blood, pre-op, asking for leave from work, filing for disability, getting things ready for the hospital and after, etc., I put my big girl panties on and am getting it done. It would be nice to have someone to help me with it though. Sometimes being single sucks too.

It's Saturday and while all my peeps are out racing and doing long runs, I'm at work prepping like crazy for my staff so things won't be too bad for them while I'm out for 6 to 8 weeks. The doctor said I should plan for 8 weeks. Sigh. There goes my PTO.

It's going to be a long 8 weeks. He said no driving for the first 2 weeks. And that I could do short walks but not to tire myself out. And that I will get tired. Will it be more tired than I am right now? I hope not.

I think we have the plan set for after. I'm going to stay at my mom's after the surgery for a while. And my sister, dad, and stepmom are coming for the surgery. One other good thing is that I am having it at the hospital where my cousin is the Director of Nursing so I know that she will help me through it and my family too. She's been a big help to my mom who was really worried. We are pretty lucky to have her for this.

So yes, I'm nervous and I'm dreading 8 long weeks of being inactive and trying to fill my time with things so I don't go crazy. But...I can't wait to get this out of me so I don't feel like an alien is trying to make it's way out of my stomach anymore. I can't wait to not be tired and nauseous and not have an achy back and stomach and have to pee all the time. I can't wait to feel normal again. I can't wait to start my way back to running.

I hope this wasn't too much of a pity party. I just needed to get some of these thoughts out. So thank you for listening. And for all of your prayers.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

So It's Surgery

I guess it was a little more serious than I thought…

I had kind of rough day on Sunday so I called the doctor on Monday to see if there were any cancellations I could take to move my appointment up. His office people said no so I resigned myself to waiting until October 10th to see him. But then I got lucky. They called me back and said they had done some research and could I come in at 4:50 on Wednesday? I said YES!


So I had my appointment yesterday and I found out I will have to have surgery. Sadly, it won't be laparoscopic like I'd hoped. I guess the mass/cyst is a little bit bigger than we'd thought. He said "It's this big." and held his hands out. Much farther out than I would have preferred. He said "It's as big as a basketball."


But also...oh, this explains so much! The being tired, the aches and pains, having to go all the time, the feeling like an alien being is trying to make it's way out of my stomach.

Anyway, he said I would have to have surgery and it would be a 3 day hospital stay and then a 6-8 week recovery. I don't know the exact date for the surgery yet but he said in a couple of weeks. First I have to have more blood work done and also get a CT scan. Neither him nor I are thinking the C word but that's what the blood work and CT scan are for, I think. And he also said they would be doing a biopsy during the procedure and that would determine how much they take out.

So, I'm relieved to know exactly what's going to happen and what I need to plan for. I'm freaked out a little that there's something so big growing inside me. When I told Josh he said "basketball is like a baby". I said "yeah, but there's no prize at the end". It's hard to wrap my mind around it.

I would be lying if I said I wasn't scared about the surgery. And a little nervous about what they will find/how much they will take. I don't want to go into menopause already. Not that I was planning on having kids but there may have still been a teeny, tiny hope it could accidentally happen. I would not have been sad if I "accidentally" became a mom at 45. My friend Cliff, surprisingly, was the one who brought it up and helped me with those thoughts/worries. Like I said, I wasn't planning on becoming a mom but with the possibility that definitely is not in the cards, it makes me sad. But we will cross the bridge when we get to it.

337 Days

That's how long my runstreak was. I had to stop. I asked him if I could continue until the surgery and he said "Well, maybe if you go really, really slow...no, I have to say no. If it bursts, you will be in a lot of pain and it will be an emergency situation. It's better to stop now and call it". I said okay. And then asked him if walking was okay and he said yes. So at least I have that.

Sadly, it looks like my plans for fall racing are out the window. No Long Beach Marathon (which means I won't get to finish the Beach Cities Challenge either). No R&R LA (and did you see how cool that medal is?). No Flying Monkey (sob). But on the plus side, I should be on my way back to run Tinkerbell in January and, if I don't go too in debt with PTO and money, hopefully Princess in February.

I know that my health is more important than running and that I will feel much better after. I just am sad that some of the fun I'd planned this fall won't be happening. And I'm having race bling withdrawals!

But seriously, I want to thank all of you for your thoughts and prayers and offers of help. The best part of running is the community I found and I am thankful for all of you.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

It's Not Serious

I think. But it feels like it to me.

So this is what happened since I last blogged...

I had an ultrasound on Sunday, Aug 18th and then had to wait until that Friday to find out the results. The ultrasound wasn’t enough t tell them what was wrong so they scheduled an MRI for me on the 24th and the doctor called me to make sure I didn’t miss it. She said there were multiple masses on in my stomach but they couldn’t see exactly which organs they were in so they could refer me to the proper surgeon. I’d had blood work and a urine test and she said the blood work came back fine but she was worried about the urine test. Oh, and she told me I had gallstones which she said was the least of my worries. Sigh.

The MRI was not fun. I’m not really claustrophobic but I don’t like not being able to move. Plus, it was loud and hot and my back was hurting. It took over an hour. I ALMOST pushed the panic button a couple of times. :( So then I had to wait a week to hear the results for that test. I had been hoping it was fibroids in my uterus because that would have been the “easy” fix so I was disappointed it wasn’t that. And I was a little scared.

My grandmother had polycystic disease and the cysts were in her uterus, liver, and kidneys. Her kidneys stopped functioning because of that and she spent the last years of her life on dialysis. I used to take her to her Saturday treatments and saw how much it took out of her. Of all the things the masses could be, I was praying most it wasn’t that.

It wasn’t that. Thank god. It turns out I have multiple masses on/around my ovaries; the largest is the size of a lemon. My doc wouldn’t say “cysts” and she wouldn’t say “not cancer” and she referred me to an ob/gyn to take it from there. I couldn’t get an appointment until Oct 10th. Sigh. But I am going to call back often to see if there were any cancellations.

Even though she wouldn’t say “not cancer”, I’m going with they are “just” ovarian cysts like my mom had. I still don’t know what that will mean surgery wise. I don’t know if they are just going to take the cysts out or if they’ll have to take other things along with it. I’m still hoping it will be like a 2 week recovery period and not 6 to 8 weeks. A girl can dream.

Running wise…I’m not really running anymore. I am still doing my 1 mile streaksavers but that doesn’t feel like the true spirit of a runstreak? Sometimes I want to do more but I just don’t know if I should. Most days it’s uncomfortable to run because of the swelling in my stomach (which also has been causing back pain). It looks like I’m 6+ months pregnant and at times, it feels like a really bad case of PMS. I still have the nausea and sometimes I feel lightheaded. And of course, I’m tired all the time. Some of that is because I can’t get comfortable at night. I can tell that my body is working to fight what’s wrong with it and I don’t want to do too much and tire my body out while it’s doing this. I have been supplementing the not running with walking and doing a lot of spring cleaning. I’ve also been trying to stay away from Twitter and Facebook because while I’m happy for all of you and your running/racing…I’m also jealous!

And sad. I miss running. I miss the endorphins. I miss being out on the trail. I’m nervous to go out by myself right now (because of the lightheadedness) and I’m too slow to go with anyone so I put that on hold. A friend asked me if I would rather be running or alive. I said both!

I thought it was really kind of ironic that I couldn’t get an appointment until Oct 10th…the day after I will reach my 1 year runstreak anniversary. I just hope I can at least get my 1 mile a day in until them. Though some days I don’t care, I know that I will be pissed at myself if I give up. And a part of me hopes that I will miraculously get better every day.

A runner girl can dream.

Monday, August 5, 2013

This Is Sparta!

Well, maybe not. But I did reach a milestone in my runstreak today! 300 days of running!
I wore my Skirt Sports Celebration skirt to mark the occasion during my 5K run this morning. :)

My first runstreak only got a little past 100 days so I wasn't sure how this one would go but so far, so good. There have been days where I've had to do a one mile "streak saver" when I was sick or body parts were hurting but for the most part, I've done at least 5K a day for my streak. :)

There were a couple of times that I thought about giving it up...like when I had the flu back in April. Sometimes it feels like a burden but mostly it is incentive to get out the door. There were days when I just didn't feel like running and the streak was the only thing that got me to put my shoes on.

I'm not sure how long it will go. Josh was asking me if I was going to continue past a year and I hadn't really thought about it. Sometimes I think I'll just keep going and then sometimes I think that I'll stop at a year. A year is a good stopping point. But I really do like running every day.

I'm just hoping that what ever is going on with me won't kill my streak before the year is up. Some days are a struggle right now but at least I'm running.

I haven't been writing in this blog much because I felt like all I could do was whine. I just couldn't get why I was having crappy runs and races all the time. I was VERY frustrated with myself and my running. It seemed no matter how many steps forward I took, I'd take 2 steps back. I would watch everyone else continue to PR and go farther and I would be jealous. Why wasn't that happening with me?

Looking back, I can see that I was feeling some of these symptoms for more than a few months. And now that I think about it, when I fell during the R&R San Diego Half that my back and stomach were hurting...it must have been this. I thought I'd landed on my arm or something but I realize now I didn't. Also, how I wasn't having fun running downhill because it would bother my stomach...same thing. Feeling out of breath when I'm not running that hard...ditto. Taken individually, they didn't seem like that much but I did know something was wrong for quite a while. Mostly, I just thought I was tired. Or some people suggested I was overtrained. But I didn't feel like I'd been doing enough to be overtrained!

So I talked to my coach last week and we decided I would take the month of August off from training. I'm still going to keep up my streak and try to maintain but nothing hard or too long. The funny thing is that now that I know there IS something wrong and that I'm not trying to hit the hard workouts, I feel more relaxed about my running and a lot less frustrated. It still makes me a little sad that sometimes I run 12 min miles. I miss running hard. But at least I enjoy them again and don't dread putting on my running shoes.

Personally, I've felt calmer this past week too. I still don't know what it is but suddenly the stress of work and other obligations I have doesn't feel so important anymore. I feel...relieved I think. Hopeful. That I'll finally figure out what's going on, fix it, and get back to feeling strong and healthy again. :)

I know it's vain but other than the aches, the only thing that's bothering me is my stomach. I feel puffy. I keep waiting for someone to ask me if I'm pregnant. :( Sigh. It's probably not that big. It just feels like it.
Pics from my run this morning. I'm a nut, I know. But doesn't it look like I could be?


Cross your fingers I get to run 65 more days to hit a year! And then we'll see what happens next. :)

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Lisa Called The Doctor, The Doctor Said

Sometimes Fate is just mean.

For the past few months, I have been feeling nauseous. Mostly in the morning but sometimes throughout the day. It wasn’t terrible so I didn’t do anything about it.

About a month ago, I started feeling like I had a hamster bladder. I felt like I had to go all the time, even if I just went.

And then last week, my stomach started hurting. And there was a bump there. It felt like I’d eaten a really, really big meal and was very, very full. I like to sleep on my stomach and suddenly, that was painful. I kept thinking “but I didn’t eat that much”. I didn’t know what was going on but it bothered me enough that even Spike lying on my stomach was an issue. Poor kid has been shooed away since and doesn’t know why.

I kinda thought maybe it was an ulcer or maybe IBS. I thought it was stress that was making me feel nauseous and tired.

I started noticing that I didn’t have that extra speed gear when I ran. Pretty much the entire month of July I didn’t have that gear and it was really frustrating. I wasn’t coming close to the times my training called for with speedwork. The pace that I ran a 5K back in June suddenly felt impossible to hit for an 800. What the heck was going on?

But it wasn’t until it became uncomfortable to run that I decided to go see a doctor.

I was nervous about it. Especially at night in the dark. Sometimes I would think I was overreacting and that it was nothing but then I would feel my stomach and get a little scared.

So I went to the doctor yesterday. She asked me all the usual questions. She said had I been on any trips lately. I said only to Kentucky and Tennessee. She said she should have said trips out of the country and I said for a SoCal girl, it did feel like another country. ;) (I’m kidding! I totally love TN and KY and all the people I’ve met there but it IS very different from SoCal!).

She asked me my family history and I think with the symptoms she was thinking it was my gallbladder. Then she had me lie down so she could feel my stomach and the conversation went like this:

Doctor (with a small smile): “Could you be pregnant?”
Me: “No.”
Doctor: “You’re still having your period…are you sure?”
Me: “Not unless it was an immaculate conception.”
Doctor (no longer smiling): “Well, you’re uterus is enlarged so I’m going to have to send you for an ultrasound to figure out what’s going on.”
Me: “Okay.”

But really inside I’m thinking “NOT FAIR, NOT FAIR!” The only real regret I have in my life is that I did not have a child. And here I am having crap go wrong inside me that’s simulating a pregnancy (nausea, having to go all the time, a round belly) but it’s not something joyful and happy like that. :( It pisses me off! Why Fate, why?

So we talked possibilities of what it could be based on my family history (fibroids or maybe cysts) but she said she really couldn’t say until she saw the ultrasound and I had some blood tests. I’m having the blood tests today but couldn’t get in for an ultrasound until the 18th.

I guess fibroids would be the best case scenario. I don’t really know. My mom and grandma had cysts and had an ovary removed (mom) and a hysterectomy (grandma – who also had cysts on her liver and kidneys which ended up with her on dialysis). But there's no use wondering until I know for sure. Except I am. How do I stop that?

The thing that bums me out is that I have to wait so long to find out what it is. And will my stomach continue to grow? Will it get worse? Will it get to the point where it hurts to run instead of just being really, really uncomfortable? At this point, I don’t even want to eat anymore except I am eating to fuel my running. I hope that gets better because you all know how much I love burritos! And pancakes! And ice cream!

I can’t see it getting better miraculously on its own. Though I suppose that could happen. But probably not.

I don’t know what I to do about my running at this point. I was supposed to be training to BQ at the Big Cottonwood Marathon on Sept 14th. And then I have Long Beach Marathon and R&R LA Half Marathon in October. And the Flying Monkey Marathon is having their lottery this week. But this is how bad it is that I was supposed to do a 16 miler on Saturday and I was thrilled when my coach said to do just 10. Of all the types of runs, I love long runs the most but have no desire to do them right now.

I offered my entry into Big Cottonwood to Josh and he’s going to take it and I decided not to enter the lottery for the Monkey. I am also thinking of dropping to the half at Long Beach too. I don’t want to miss that one because I need it to finish my Beach Cities challenge and I don’t want to miss R&R LA because…have you seen the medal? But right now the thought of running a marathon just exhausts me.

I feel like I’m in limbo right now. Do I continue to try to train hard or do I go into maintenance mode? Honestly, sometimes in the morning I don’t feel like running but the only thing getting me out the door is my runstreak (day 296 today!) and my coach. But should I continue with my coach if I’m not in a place to train hard for anything?

What should I do?

I keep telling myself to suck it up and just run and quit whining. But is that the right thing to do?

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

They Say Running Clears Your Head

But what about lack of sleep?

5 Run It Fast Club Members are currently running 314 miles across Tennessee:

RIF #1 Joshua Holmes (@bayou)
RIF #79 Dallas Smith (@smithbend)
RIF #101 David Wingard
RIF #159 Diane Bolton
RIF #276 Diane Taylor

They have been on the road for 5 solid days now and have covered from 164 to 270 miles so far! They are doing great and just keep pushing forward and it is really inspiring to watch...from afar. :)

I have been posting daily live blogs on Run It Fast and you can check them out to see what running across TN in July looks like. Josh has been trying to get me to run this for two years now. I always think no way! But then I start following along and I think...maybe...Who knows? Maybe one year I WILL do it. It sounds like crazy fun. :)

How crazy does it get out there? Check out this email from the conclusion of Day 3 from the race director Lazarus Lake that includes a funny section abour RIFers Diane B and Dallas. The runners must check in every 12 hours and let the RD where they are. It seems simple enough... 
clear thinking after 3 days on the road
this morning's check-ins are off to a flying start.
i am groggy when the phone rings,
after having been up most of the night waiting on the stinky feet
to finally choose the correct roads into alabama and georgia.

the connection seems to be no clearer on the opposite end.

shaking out cobwebs, i answer;
"good morning! 3-day check-in"
"this is marcia"
(ah, this one remembered to tell me who was calling!)
"so how was your night?"
"yes, yes it was."
then she hangs up.
i have all the critical information,
except where she is.

i don't have long to think about this,
because the phone rings again.
"good morning! 3-day check-in"
"do you have any coffee?"
"no, i don't have any coffee here."
"i thought you might bring some coffee."
"no, i won't be bringing any coffee."
"oh well; i am at the church of latter day saints."
"who is i?"
"diane bolton."
"i don't know the distance for that church."
"between parsons and linden."
(that would be between 103 and 125)
"which side of the tennessee river are you on?"
"you haven't reached the tennessee river yet?"
"oh no, we crossed that a long time ago...

but we haven't got to linden yet."
i am trying to think of a way to narrow this down some, and she volunteers a clue.
"dallas is right behind us."
"oh, dallas."
"dallas smith. poor dallas."
"poor dallas?"
"i have a crew, and he doesn't.
(she laughs)
i think i have lost my humanity.
i should feel guilty, up here eating ice chips....

and there is poor dallas.
he doesn't have a crew.
he doesn't have anything."
then she laughs again and hangs up.

so far i know that marcia had a night,
and diane has ice chips, but would like coffee.
(also dallas still has no crew, but that is only hear-say)

the phone rings again.
"good morning! 3-day check-in."
"this is (garbled) bruce's crew"
"and how are yall doing this morning?"
"we are doing good. bruce is at 102."
"102? it seems more likely he is at 202?"
"oh, yes. it is probably 202. not that it makes any difference....

well, it might make a difference to bruce."
(i am sure it makes a difference to bruce.)
"i have you down, ya'll have a fun day out there."
she hangs up.

i am not sure the vol-state is good for brain function.
but the important thing is,
everyone seemed to be in very good spirits.

i better get these results to carl,
so we can start figuring out where people are
(within a planet)


Saturday, June 29, 2013

I Got Lucky In TN - Part 2

So in Part 1, I blogged about the days leading up to my 13th marathon, the Asphalt Jackal. I did all the things you are not supposed to do before a marathon - stay on your feet all day, eat bad stuff, and don't drink a lot of water - but I knew this wasn't going to be a fast marathon so I didn't worry too much about it. 

Who knows, maybe I tried to sabotage myself in some way to make it as bad as it could be. Truth be told, I was really nervous and even offered to do the relay with Clark so I wouldn't have to run the whole thing. And damn Josh told me I didn't have to run it. I don't know, maybe he was nervous about me running it too. 

Whatever. I'd signed up for it and I was going to do it. 

But I really, really did not want a DNF. :( I felt like if I had one more DNF, especially now with all the crappy races I've had, that it would be the straw that broke the Coyote's back and I'd be done with racing. For good.

I love racing. I really do. I love the atmosphere and the excitement and going to new places and meeting new people. It's fun. Until my race goes to hell and then I'm frustrated and tired and trying to cover it all up because there's no whining in running. 

So my race was on.

I woke up at 5 on Monday and ate breakfast and got ready for the race. And must have gone to the restroom 6 times before I left for Pinson Mounds, where the race would be held. That's how nervous I was. I packed up all my stuff and threw it in the car and checked out and headed down to the race. It was about a 30 min drive there and luckily wasn't too hard to find. We waited for the park ranger to open the gates and then drove in to the picnic area that Josh had rented for us. 

I helped set stuff up and hand out bibs and shirts again while I finished getting ready for my race. It helped to stay busy and catch up with friends to keep me from dwelling too much. We got together for our pre-race pic:
And then we were off!

Pinson Mounds is a state archaeological park and the inner Indiana Jones in me loved the idea of running there. We would be running on one of the paved trails in the park and about half the course was shaded. We would be running 9 loops of the course. This is what the course was like:

The first 4 loops, I did pretty well. I ran most of it and tried to take as little time as possible during my stops at the aid station. It was pretty and not too, too hot but very humid. I thought I might actually have a decent time out there. As I came in for each loop, I filled my water bottle and had either a slice or two of frozen orange (totally like having an orange popsicle and my new favorite race food) or some potato with salt. I was also taking an Scap every 3 miles starting with mile 7 (I'd had one before the race).

I thought I was in good shape until I headed out for loop 5 when my stomach went majorly south and I had to walk for a while to let it settle. I still ran some though but I knew I was in trouble when I started yawning and feeling like my ears needed to pop. That's exactly what started happening at the 50K last September. When I got to the restroom that was on the course, I decided to wet my hat to cool off and  really knew I was in trouble when I leaned over to drink too and almost fell over. No more running. :( But the cooling off I did there helped. I was debating with myself the mile back to the aid station whether or not I should stop or keep going. I really didn't want to stop but I wanted to be smart. 

When I was close, I met Clark out on the course taking pics with my camera. I stopped to tell him about one of the setting for continuous shooting and we posed a shot so it would look like I was running and not walking. 
He didn't say I looked like hell so I took that as a good sign and by the time I got back to the aid station and filled up my bottle and had more potato and salt I felt better and decided to go out for at least one more loop so I could take my phone out and take pics. It really was very pretty. It was so green and there were dragonflies and butterflies flitting about. If it had been about 30 degrees cooler, it would have been the perfect day!
And this is the shady part:

My favorite part. :) One other thing that was fun was that some little running fairy (RIF #159 Diane) had left notes for us on the course. This was my note:

This note and the others made me smile big time! :) I also got a lot of encouragement from the other runners on the course which made me smile too. And a lot of them were checking on me. I wondered if Josh had said something or if they remembered last September too since Josh had posted about it on our Facebook group page. Or maybe I was just paranoid and they were just being nice. ;) Anyway, it was nice. :)

Josh came by on this loop and asked me how I was doing and I said fine. He asked me if I was lying and I didn't respond. Because of course, I was but there was no way in hell I was going to admit it to him. Besides the roaring in my ears was gone and so was the dizziness. As long as I kept walking, I would be fine but I was still contemplating quitting. 

And then a wonderful thing happened...

One of the other runner's caught up to me on this loop and we ended up doing the rest of the laps together. Her name was Carol and I swear to god we must have been separated at birth! What I was picturing to be a long, lonely drudge suddenly turned into a party. 

We talked about anything and everything out there and found out that we are both directionally challenged and can't sing well enough to save our lives. Oh, and we were both kicked out of school choir for that very thing (traumatized for life because of that!). And the thing that sealed our friendship for me was that she was shocked (or at least did a great job of pretending she was) that I was 45. Love that girl! You really get to know a person when you spend 3 1/2 hours with them. 

I found that  as we finished each loop, I didn't even think about stopping and headed back out with her. If not for Carol, I probably would have quit. But instead, the miles flew by (relatively speaking) and I did finish my 13th marathon. :) And got a big, ole medal for it:
Pretty fierce, huh?

Sadly, I took so long completing this marathon that I didn't really get a chance to relax and enjoy it after because I had a plane to catch...and it would be close! I missed out on the post race burgers and shakes too. :(

But I was lucky that I made it to the airport on time and everything went smoothly. If there had been any traffic or delay at the rental car agency or a line at security, I would have missed my flight. But the running gods must have been smiling down on me. I made it home a little after 11:30 that night and boy was I tired. But it was worth it! I slept like a baby that night. 

With all the racing thru airports and uploading pics for the race to the Jackal Marathons page on Facebook, I didn't really process the day. In fact, I still haven't. The day kind of seems dreamy to me. It was very pretty and I had fun seeing the other RIFers and making new friends. But I have mixed feelings about the race itself. Or I should say, my race. Because Josh did an excellent job of putting the race together and making sure we all had what we needed. I just wish I'd been able to run more. I wish I could be a beast in the heat like my RIF peeps were and that I didn't have to hold back. I know I'm not supposed to compare myself to others but it's not fair! Why can't my body do what I want? Sigh.

Still, there was a lot of good that came out of the day. I got to see a bunch of RIFers including 2 of my favorites: the great RIF #4 Marj and the awesome RIF #79 Dallas:
I got some great, fun pics from the day thanks to Clark and Josh who took pics with my camera while I was running. Including this one of Clark which I saw while I was on the plane and burst out laughing. 
The plane was pretty empty so everyone heard me and turned to look! Oops!

I figured out that I really did learn the signs of my body going south in the heat so I can back off when I need to.

And I'm going to start freezing oranges for a fun, cool, healthy snack!

Really, I have to be happy that I did get my medal for lucky marathon #13 because it was the icing on the cake. The real purpose of this trip was to help out on Saturday and Sunday and that was a success and would have been enough. Another cool medal to add to my collection is a bonus. :)

I feel lucky and blessed to be able to have had an adventure like this. And even though I've been struggling a lot with my running lately, it's adventures like this that remind me why I love it. 

Thanks for reading!

P.S. The headings in this post are from Nina Simone's Feeling Good. The lyrics just seemed to fit the weekend, especially the Asphalt Jackal. Have a listen if you've never heard the incredible Nina. Or even if you have. 

Friday, June 28, 2013

I Got Lucky In TN - Part 1

This past weekend, I went to Jackson, Tennessee for the Jackal Marathons - 4 marathons in 4 days put on by RIF #1 Josh (@bayou). I went to help out at the first 2 and run the 3rd one on Monday, the Asphalt Jackal. It would be my 13th marathon!

Being the normal person crazy runner girl that I am, I woke up at 2:30 am on Friday morning to get a run in before flying to TN. My flight left at 6:05 and that is darn early! But I made it and my connection so I made it to Memphis at 2:45. I picked up my rental car and drove to Jackson to check into the hotel and go for run #2. Yes, I'm that nuts. I only needed to get 2 more miles in to hit my plan for the day and figured how bad could it be...

BAD. Very bad!

Holy cow, it was hot and humid and I was soaked within the first mile. Granted, it was about 5 in the afternoon and there was no shade but I was seriously reconsidering the idea of running on Monday. I took it easy and checked out the area. I needed to do 6 on Saturday and 3 on Sunday so was hoping to run near the hotel before I left to help at the races. This test run didn't seem like it was such a good idea to be running there so early in the morning though.

I finished my run and then showered and got ready for the first pre-race dinner at Fazoli's. There were 7 of us there and it was fun.
I had the spaghetti with meatballs and it was pretty good. After that, I drove to pick up the timing clock and then took it over to Josh's parents house to help with race prep. Clark was there as well and once we finished with cutting up the oranges & potatoes and getting the bibs & shirts ready, we left Josh slaving over a hot stove and went swimming. It felt good and was pretty nice...except for the part where Clark attacked me with a huge killer frog! And when both of them teased me about serial killers in the woods! Boys!

I relaxed in the hot tub for a while, just watching the fireflies (the first I've seen in 16 years!) and looking at the stars and then I went back to the hotel and got ready for the next day.

Clark and I were going to do the timing and race support for this race and I'd told Josh I would be there about 6:30 and he said they would be there about 6 so I skipped breakfast (not my best idea) and met them there about 6:15 to help set up. It is a lot easier to get ready when you aren't racing! I wore the race shirt I'd gotten from Josh the night before and was ready to be Ms. Race Support for the day. Here is the back of our shirt for the weekend. It's a new favorite!
As we got stuff set up, I handed out shirts and bibs and checked people in. Then it was time for the pre-race pic and prayer and then they were off!

I'd never been a co-RD for a race before so I was a little nervous but there weren't that many runners so it wasn't hard. Clark and I checked people in as they came thru each lap and we wrote down their times. We made sure the water jug was full and the ice was good for them and helped fill bottles, etc. When Clark took over for timing, it gave me a chance to take pics out on the course and cheer people on. It was a lot of fun.
This is RIF #179 Arthur and RIF #27 Anthony out on the sunny portion of the trail. This is what running one of Josh's races is like...running with friends and having a blast. Of course, we pay to do this!

I also got to meet Monique on Saturday. She designed the shirts and medals and Josh introduced us. She is going thru some of the same things I did in that she's losing weight and just starting out running so I've been trying to help ease the pain of beginning running. Guess what? She brought me presents to thank me!

Very cool Wonder Woman socks, a "never, never give up" necklace and a bracelet with my favorite George Eliot quote. I was not expecting that at all and it was really nice to know that I'd made a difference, even a little bit. :)

About lunch time, I was starving and so was Clark so I went and got burgers for us. Also not my best idea because I needed to get a 6 mile run in. With the heat and then the burger, I wasn't feeling a run. :( There also wouldn't be time between race clean-up and meeting the Donnas (RIF #181 Donna Pittman and RIF #277 Donna England) at the hotel (they were staying with me) and I for sure didn't want to run after the race dinner in the dark so I decided on a 1 mile streaksaver.

There were only a few runners left on the course so Josh told me to go ahead and run during the race. I decided to run 1 mile in the reverse direction on the course so I could meet up with RIF #45 Leanne who was running her first trail marathon and on her last lap and then I could walk back with her. I timed it perfectly and got to keep her company for the last mile. :)

Once everyone was back, we cleaned up the site and took everything back to the cars and then I headed to the hotel to shower and meet the Donnas. After they got there and rested a bit, we drove over to Rafferty's to meet the others for the race dinner.
Of course, my eyes are closed for the pic! But it was a lot of fun and the food was good. I REALLY wanted to try the honey buns but I hadn't run enough to justify them. :( But I did have a pulled pork sandwich. :)

After dinner, we went back to the hotel so they could get ready for their races on Sunday and I could get the shirts and bibs ready for the morning. I slept like a baby for 6 hours. Even when I remembered that I had left Josh's watch hooked on a tree at the trail. Oops. I prayed it would be there or I knew I would never hear the end of it.

Sunday was pretty much a repeat of Saturday except I had been smart enough to pick up some protein bars for breakfast so I wouldn't be starving all day. First thing I did when I got to the trail was check to see if Josh's watch was there and it was! Score! :)

We had the routine down better for the second day so it felt more relaxed. I handed out shirts and bibs and checked people in and pretty soon it was time for the pre-race photo and prayer and they were off!
Sunday felt slightly cooler than Saturday and everyone seemed to be having a pretty good day. I had thought that the runners who ran on Saturday would slow down for their second marathon on Sunday but they were all just as fast or faster!

Clark and I had more help on Sunday from some of the other club members throughout the day and time just flew by. I got to take more pics and do a lot of cheering and crewing for everyone.
Really green, eh? Before you knew it, it was lunch again and I got burgers again for us. And then the day was over. We finished earlier on Sunday than we had the day before so I decided to run after we cleaned everything up. I think it was about 3:30 when I got my run in. My schedule said 2-3 miles and I decided 2 would be enough. I was going to run around Union University and there was no shade so I didn't want to overdo it since I would be running in the morning. It was HOT but I survived. I slowed way down and drank plenty of water. I was soaked again but felt better once I got back to the hotel and showered.

For dinner that night, we went to Coyote Blues which is a Cajun-Mex place. Good food and some great conversation. I love, love, love hanging out with runners because you learn so much about where they've run and what they've done and it inspires me to do more. I didn't want to eat anything too crazy since I was running a hot marathon the next day so just had 2 tacos and rice. But I did stop at Baskin Robbins on the way back to the hotel. I tried to go to bed early and not freak out to much about the race the next morning but I was pretty nervous. I did sleep okay though. After 2 days of helping out other runners, now it was my turn. I was as ready as I'd ever be for what was to come. Or so I thought....

I have volunteered at one race before but only manned an early aid station so didn't really do much. I'd also crewed Josh at YT100 and did a mini crewing for him at a couple of other races. But that was the extent of it. I wanted to do more and give back to the running community and that's why I flew to TN for these races. Not to mention the bonus that it would mostly be friends and Run It Fast Club members running so it would be a lot of fun.

The other reason I wanted to go was to support and help Josh. I have been on the receiving end of a lot of the good he's done - from encouraging me at the beginning of my journey to ultras to offering help when I ended up in the ER to driving me to races and waiting for me many times. I've seen him do that for others too and I wanted to make sure he had all the help he needed for the weekend. He still did a lot but hopefully Clark and I were able to take some of the burden from him.

Helping out felt good. I was happy to be a part of so many great runs on both days and spend time with friends and make new ones. :) The first 2 days were a blast and I would do that every weekend if I could. Except that I would want to run too so not sure how that would work out. ;)

Part 2 will be coming this weekend. I hope you'll check back! Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Run Under The Stars 2013

Last weekend was one of the most fun weekends of my life! I visited Kentucky for the first time to run the Run Under The Stars 10 Hour Endurance Run...along with 66 of my Run It Fast Club friends. It was a blast!

Sunday night, my layover was in Vegas and I mentioned to one of the RIFers how I don't gamble anymore because I am not lucky. PJ (@runnerinlv) replied : "You are lucky. You get to go run how many races?". Dallas (@smithbend) has said something similar to me many times. They are right!

I am very lucky that I get to travel and race as much as I do!

So, my weekend of fun started on Friday with a flight to Denver at 6:25 in the morning and then another one to Nashville. In Nashville, I picked up my rental car and drove the 140 miles to Paducah, KY. It was a beautiful drive...except for the 2 torrential downpours I drove thru! Sheesh. But I made it safely and checked into my hotel and then headed out to make our reservations for dinner the next night at Olive Garden. Then I headed to the Riverfront to check it out and get something to eat.

The Riverfront was very cool and it was a nice evening to stroll along the river to walk off the meal I ate:

After I left the river, I headed back to the hotel. Or tried to. I sometimes have directional issues so I somehow ended up crossing the Ohio River and going into Illinois. Oops! Bonus state! :) In my defense, I realized I was heading across the river but there was no place for me to turn around and the bridge was pretty darn cool to cross.

I eventually found my way back to the hotel and tried to stay up as late as possible so I would sleep in the next morning. But darn if I didn't wake up at 6am. I did stay and bed until 10:30ish though to rest. Then I showered and got ready and walked over to get a sandwich at Arby's. I spent the rest of the afternoon reading and trying to nap. The napping never happened but for sure I got plenty of rest! About 4, I got dressed and gathered up all my gear and then went over to the Olive Garden to wait for the RIFers to arrive.

I had pasta to carbo load for RUTS. :)

There were 24 RIF Club Members and family that came to the pre-race dinner. It was a lot of fun and I got to meet a lot of them for the first time. It's funny because after following them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram I felt like I know them already and had to remind myself that we hadn't met before.It was great to get to know everyone.

Dinner was good. Salad, bread, and spaghetti. It was over too fast! And then it was time to head to the race which was held at Carson Park and is a .5 mile horse track. It only took a few minutes to get there and I'd already packed my stuff up in the car for it. At the race site, I found where RIF #1 Josh (@bayou) was and got my stuff sorted out and shoes on. Luckily, Josh had brought a chair for me to sit on so my stuff...and my butt...wouldn't be on the ground. All around the track, runners had set up chairs and/or tents for themselves, family, and friends. It was a festive atmosphere.

Josh had ordered shirts to celebrate the big crowd of RIFers at RUTs and I helped hand them out so it gave me a chance to meet even more RIFers before the race. Here's Josh modeling the shirt. It has all our names on the back.
Pretty nice, huh? Oh, yeah...the shirt too. ;)

Anyway...then we got together for the big group picture. The top photo is from the dinner and the bottom was before RUTs:

And then it was 8pm and time to run!

The race director sent us off promptly at 8. I was toodling along and when I got back to the start line everyone was just milling about. It turns out there was a problem with the timing system so they asked to wait a few minutes while they ironed it out.

So...then we were off again! This time I got 4 laps in before they stopped us again. Still timing issues. So they had us wait again while they reloaded the old software and tried again. This time though they said that if it didn't work, they would let us keep going and we would be on the honor system to tell them what lap we were on/finished.

So we started up again about 9:15. One thing I'm happy to say is that I didn't hear any grumbling from the runners. Everyone took it in stride and took the extra time to talk and meet people. The race would now end at 6:!5 so it would be a shortened race and I just adjusted my goals. I'd planned/hoped on running 40 miles but when I thought it was going to be 9 hours instead of 10, I just said whatever I did would be fine.

In the end, I think the mix up with the timing worked in my favor because I didn't have a good night. I was fine for the first 13 miles but then my ITB and foot started getting really unhappy. I think they didn't like going in the same .5 mile circle the entire time and my right foot didn't like the banking on the one side of the track. I ended up walking for most of the rest of the night. I'd actually battled with myself throughout the night. First, I thought of stopping at 13 miles, then at 20, then at 26. Then they said our laps from the first 2 false starts would count so I figured I would go to 31 miles and call it a day. And that's what I did.

I finished in time to grab my camera and get some pics of the RIFers who were still running and see them finish strong and with new PRs and new PLs. It was very cool to see!

Really, the thing that kept me going all night even though I wasn't running anymore (and I really hate walking) was getting to see and talk to the other RIFers. I spent the majority of my laps talking to and catching up with various members. Those that weren't running, were always good for an encouraging word as I went by. One of the best moments of the night was getting to see RIF #4 Marj (@marathonmarj) racing by me on her way to finishing her first ultra! Another favorite was getting to hear the stories and the jokes from RIF #27 Anthony, RIF #169 Billy, and RIF #179 Arthur. They were hilarious! Here are Anthony and Billy running at the end:

A fun night was had by all. :)

And of course, here's the most important part...my bling:
Love that it is a horseshoe shape and has the moon and stars on it. Great medal! And it glows in the dark!

After I packed up my stuff and helped Josh with his, I went back to the hotel and showered and then rested for a little while. After I checked out, I met Josh and RIF #181 Donna (@RunslikePhoebe) for lunch for my first ever Taco Johns lunch. It was pretty good but more it was fun to rehash the night with the two of them. Who both did AMAZING there, by the way.

And then I drove back to Nashville and flew home. And one of the best weekends EVER was over. :(

I can't wait to do it again!

Thanks for reading! And by the way, if you would like to do a timed race, check out this post I did on Run It Fast - Running Loopy - Why you should run a timed race: http://runitfast.com/2013/06/17/running-loopy-why-you-should-run-a-timed-race/

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Wild Racing Weekend - Part 2

Ok, so Saturday started off pretty stellar with a great run and AG placement at the 5K, right? Well, then it got even better!

So, after the Fontana Days 5K, I went home and showered and packed and headed down to San Diego for the Rock n' Roll San Diego Half on Sunday. I had to pick up my bib, etc. and I wanted to check out the expo. Although I swore I was not going to buy ANY running gear! Ha!

I got to the expo around 2 and picked up my bib and shirt:
Then wandered the expo looking for the Sketchers booth. I knew there were 2 special visitors there until 3 and I wanted to see them. I must have walked in circles like 10 times before I found it and got to see RIF #69 Nadia Gonzales who would be running her 99th marathon on Sunday. Then I saw the other person I had hoped to see and got in line. And waited patiently while I thought of what I would say. And then I met him! In person! Oh my god, it's Meb!
Do I look like a total geek or what? But I was super excited to meet him since he is a big inspiration for me. He was really nice and then he signed this for me:

After that, I went over to listen to Deena Kastor.
So very cool to see both of them, especially now that Deena is racing as a Masters now. That is one of the cool things about the Rock n' Roll events...they have some great speakers there.

One not so good thing about them is that there are a LOT of vendors at the expo! I made it past all the skirt and shoe places. Though I must admit, I did stop at a couple. But my wallet was safe in my bag. As I was leaving though, I made the mistake of wandering by the Sprigs booth...and going in. I tried so hard to resist...no, I'm lying...I saw their headbands and fell in love and walked out with not one but TWO headbands! They are reversible though so it's like getting 4 for the price of 2! This is me in my favorite one:
So, my wallet was a little lighter but not too bad. I left the expo and I went to check into my hotel then walked across the street to Old Town San Diego to look around and have dinner...and dessert:
Oops...better run more! Good thing I was running a half the next day! I went back to the hotel and tried to go to sleep but had a hard time. I woke up with the alarm at 4 am and got ready and ate breakfast and then left for the race.

In the race instructions and at the expo, they had warned that parking would be a problem for the start of the race. They suggested we stay at a downtown hotel and take a shuttle to the start or take the train or trolley. The hotel I had booked near Old Town was 2 blocks from a trolley station so I decided to take that to the start. I left my hotel a little before 5 to walk over there and saw the first trolley to the start go by. Oops! No problem, there was another one in 15 minutes so I waited with everyone else. At 5:23, the next trolley pulled in...and they didn't open the doors! It was already full so I was out of luck again! That's when I found out that even if I'd made the first trolley it wouldn't have mattered because it was so full they didn't let anyone on then either. Yikes! Now what were we going to do?

A group of us starting looking at the schedule and then calculating how far we were from the start and how to get there. We found out we were 6 miles from the start so getting there on foot didn't seem like an option. We were starting to panic when a trolley pulled into the station from the direction of the start and an announcement was made that they had added a special trolley to get to the start. They opened the doors and we all hopped on and waited. Not long but we were anxious to get going. There were a couple of marathoners on board and they started at 6:15 and it looked slim for them to make it to the start (if you didn't make it by a certain time for the marathon, you had to drop to the half). But finally we were off and we all breathed a sigh of relief.

But by the time we reached our station for the race and knowing it was a long walk to the start, I knew I would not get to see the start of the marathon. And I had another problem. I really, really had to go. I just hoped there would be enough port-a-potties that the lines wouldn't be too long. Ha! What a dreamer I am! I finally made it to the start area and the lines were horrendous. And not really moving. I waited in one for like 5 minutes before I figured I should just head to my corral. I made it into corral 9 at 6:41. The half started at 6:45! Close but I made it! But I'd had no warm up and I still had to go to the restroom. Uh, oh! Not a happy coyote:
But my red Sprigs bandana is pretty sweet, right?

So, the Rock n' Roll San Diego Half Marathon course has more downhill than uphill in it. The last portion is a huge downhill. The weather was great for running and it would have been a great day and course to run a PR. Not to mention there is just so much energy at the Rock n' Roll races you can't help but get pumped up.

We started right on time and the corrals moved up and then it was our turn to go and we were off and running! I felt good for the first couple of miles. I can't say I enjoyed the views along the course but the bands, cheerleaders, and spectators more than made up for it with lots of cheering and encouragement. In mile 3, I realized I would not be able to hold it and would have to make a pit stop. Which was pretty disappointing. I stopped at the port-a-potties just after the mile 3 aid station and got in line. I lost around 6 minutes there and was bummed about it.

But I felt better and the got back to running and laughing at the sight of the big-boobed cheerleader guys, the monkey cheerleaders, the giant hands, the cheer squad dressed as Marilyn, and all the funny signs. Oh, and the beer and tequila "stations" and seeing people actually stop there!

While I thought I might not have a great run, I thought I might have a good run and was trucking along when...BAM! I hit the pavement in mile 10! My sunglasses when flying and the water bottle I was carrying splattered everywhere. Two very nice runners helped me up and another woman helped me find the top to my water bottle. I think I was in a daze. I couldn't believe I had fallen. :( I took assessment and realized that my right ankle hurt a little, my left quad and knee, my left pinky, and my right arm were the most sore but I thought I could still run. And I could. Can you say relieved? Not only because I wanted to finish this race but also because I had the Run Under The Stars 10 Hour Run in a week!

When I ran, I realized I must have also landed with my arm under my body because my stomach and back were sore too. But I ran on. Slower and easier than before but still moving. I wasn't tired but I just wanted it to be over and was grateful it was all downhill from there.

I was so happy when I could see the finish line and tried to run strong thru the end.
I look determined but I don't look happy! ;) Anyway...I got my medal:
Pretty, don't you think. Then I tried to make my way thru the huge crowd to get a little breathing room. I loved that they gave us a wet towel and we also got an ice smoothie from Jamba Juice and chocolate milk. The smoothie totally gave me a brain freeze but it was delicious! I started to get cold and since I hadn't done a drop bag, I decided to just head for the trolley and go back to the hotel. It was too crazy to try and find anyone anyway since we hadn't made plans to meet up. Luckily, the trolley station was across the street from the finish so I was there in no time. I got back to the hotel and showered and then headed home.

On the way home, I stopped at the burger lounge and got a burger, fries, and shake and it was AWESOME.
I can't believe I've already done 2 dozen half marathons. The Rock n' Roll was a fun way to celebrate my 24th half marathon. I wish it had gone better but I would do it again. I would just make sure I got to the start much earlier! And didn't fall.

The weekend started out with a bang and ended with a whimper but I think that's okay. It's better that I didn't tire myself out too much there because I have 10 hours of running to do at RUTs on Saturday night! I hope to get in 40 miles there...while I party with 70 Run It Fast Club members. :)

Thanks for reading! Wish me luck because it's going to be another Wild Racing Weekend!.

And I can't wait.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Wild Racing Weekend - Part 1

I had wanted to sign up for the Fontana Days Half Marathon this past weekend but by the time I got around to it, it was sold out. :( I decided to sign up for the 5K and then do the Rock n' Roll San Diego Half on Sunday instead.

I wasn't really nervous about the double weekend because frankly, I didn't think I had it in me to run a hard 5K right now. My 5K PR is 24:59 and that felt so far off from where I am at. I'm not even really hitting those times in training except during 400s. I had kind of resigned myself to running between 27-30 minutes with it probably being closer to 30 minutes.

I started lecturing myself the night before the 5K though. I told myself to quit whining and go after my goals. I started thinking about what it would take to PR and how fast I would have to run. Instead of telling myself I couldn't do it, I told myself I could.

On Saturday morning, I woke up at 4 and got ready to go down to the race. It's only about 10 minutes from me but I needed to pick up my shirt and bib first and then board a bus to the start. I got there after 5 and made my way over to registration. I got my bib and then went over and got my shirt. And we had a bonus pin in our goody bag! My shirt and pin:

Then I hung around while I waited for the bus and drank water and ate a banana.
Someone on Instagram said they could totally tell that was my shadow. Was it the pony tails or the skirt that gave it away? ;)

I was able to get on the first bus and it got us to the start line in plenty of time for a warm up. I ran 2 miles to get my legs nice and warm. I find that my legs don't feel peppy until after they have 2 miles in them and I wanted to start out as peppy as possible. The view was pretty nice up there. I had been hoping for some June Gloom to keep things cool but it was clear as a bell. And warm.

I was nervous before the start because I wanted to do really well and I was afraid I would give up or slow down because it was too hard. So all while I warmed up, I lectured myself over and over again...You can do this. You gotta try. You know you'll be mad at yourself if you don't. You know how to hurt. Embrace the sufferfest. Suck it up buttercup!...and I was ready to run.

Fontana's Mayor said a few words to us about the 100 years celebration and this being the 58th running of the Fontana Days Run and then she sent us off!

I should have gotten closer to the front because I had to do a lot of weaving in the beginning but it eventually thinned out and I was flying. I looked down at my Garmin and it said I was doing a 7:48 pace and thought about slowing it down but it never actually happened. Oops. So the first mile was maybe a little too fast especially with the dodging the walkers slower runners but it was fine.

The second mile, I did slow down a little and go with the planned 8:00 min mile and that one went by in 7:59. Somewhere in the 2nd mile, I think it was, I saw Richard Maya from Instagram and he gave me a huge cheer when he saw me in my Run It Fast shirt and that helped a lot. I was starting to hurt but felt I could keep up the pace for another mile. What's another mile, right?

The third mile was hard. And it hurt. I gotta tell you, I thought briefly about slowing it down and settling for 27 minutes but I knocked that thought right out of my head. I did slow a little though and that mile was 8:10.

Then I saw the finish and I ran my little heart out because I was going to finish as strong as possible! There was lots of encouragement from the crowd and I ran and ran and then I was done! 3.16 miles and 25:08 per my Garmin. 7:36 pace for the last bit! I thought I was gonna puke!

But I didn't. :) I got my medal and then got some water and fruit and laid down in the shade in the grass to cool down. After a little while, I went to cheer at the finish until the times were posted. I was curious to see what my official time was. And then it was posted:
I saw the 25:15 first and was a little disappointed that it wasn't closer to my garmin's time. Or even a little faster. I was wondering if I'd stopped it too soon or started it too late but thought I'd started/stopped it on the right lines. But then I saw the 3 next to my name for my division and I was like "Whaaaat?" Cool! Here's a pic of my medal from the 5K (on the left) and my Age Group medal (on the right):
Woo! I was super excited! :) I wanted to hang out and wait for some of my friends who were doing the half but I had to shower, pack, and drive down to San Diego for Sunday's Rock & Roll Half so I got a pork tamale for breakfast and then headed home:
It was yummy!

So many times in the past 6 months I've set a goal for a race and it hasn't panned out. There have been just 2 races since the DNF at Death Valley that I have been satisfied with my time (Snoopy Coaster Run 10K and the Hollywood Half). I have been afraid to set true goals because I didn't want to be disappointed when I failed. I have not been running races as races but more as fun runs and I've forgotten how to hurt.But this time I was satisfied with how I ran it. I gave it everything I had and while I didn't PR, I think I did pretty well. I was a happy runner girl on Saturday!

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

My 45th Birthday Adventure

On Sunday, I turned 45. I was actually kinda sorta looking forward to 45 because it meant a new age group and because my Boston Qualifying time would go up to 3:55…which feels a whole lot more doable than 3:45. :)

Who knew that running would give me a different perspective on getting older! That right there is an awesome gift but I decided that I needed an adventure to celebrate my 45th birthday. I decided to run the Horseshoe Lake Trail Marathon in Palo Alto, CA. It’s one of Coastal Trail Runs races in the Bay Area and I’ve been wanting to do a race in the hills up there. Plus, I knew one other RIFer was doing it and I thought maybe I would get to see RIF #2 Naresh (@iamarunr) while I was there. It would have to be a quick trip though.

On Saturday, I ran my last run as a 44 yr old…

Then I flew to San Jose later that morning and spent the afternoon doing a little sightseeing at the Winchester Mystery House. It’s this wild house that Sarah Winchester built to accommodate the ghosts/spirits of those killed by the Winchester rifle. At one point, the house was 7 stories tall and had over 200 rooms but the 1906 San Francisco earthquake knocked off one of the towers so now it’s only 4 stories with 160 rooms. Not only is the history of how/why the house was built strange, but the architecture and the decorations are pretty wild too with stairs and doors that lead to nowhere, skylights in the floor, secret passages and more. Oh, and it’s filled with spectacular Tiffany windows and doors. Sadly, you aren’t allowed to take pics inside so I could only take pics of the outside.

Here's a shot of the Door To Nowhere.
I did get this kind of spooky one in the museum though… ;)
After that, I drove over to Zombie Runner to pick up my shirt and bib.
Pretty nice of them to put my age in my bib number! Oh, and I bought a new pair of shoes - La Sportiva Helios! My birthday present to myself! :)

Then I checked into my hotel, got some dinner, and went over to Whole Foods for snacks/breakfast. I mostly read for a while and then went to bed fairly early. The race didn’t start until 8 but I had to find my way there first and I wasn't sure how long it would take. So I set my alarm for 5:30 and went to sleep.

On Sunday, I woke up, ate breakfast, got ready, and packed up to leave. It took longer to get to the race site than I expected. Mostly because I had to stop and check my maps/directions a couple of times because I thought I was lost. But I made it! Good thing I'd already picked up my bib! The bad part was that there was no time to hit the port-a-potty and I desperately needed to go.

I had time for my first selfie as a 45 year old...

45 year olds wear pigtails, right? :) And I got to meet RIF #140 Dennis (@dennar)...
(although there was no cell signal up there so I couldn't post them) and then we were off and running!

The Horseshoe Lake Trail Marathon was gorgeous. Let me say that right off the bat. It was hilly and there was no fog or overcastness like I expected there to be up there. The course was a lot of fun - dirt road and single track and nothing technical. We ran thru redwoods and along the ridge and I kept looking around thinking how lucky I was! Here are some pics of the course:

Pretty amazing, right? I can't think of a better way to spend the day. :)

And it did turn out to be a "day". I think I did a couple of things wrong going into this. First, I didn't carbo load and second, I did a terrible job of hydrating on Saturday. I got so caught up at the Winchester House that I forgot to drink water and I got really thirsty. Lastly, it might not have been the wisest thing to take a 2 hour and 15 min tour where you are wandering around and climbing stairs the day before a trail marathon. ;) But it is what it is. And the result was that on the way back on the first loop, I started crashing (it was a double out and back). Enough that I briefly thought about dropping to the half marathon. But when I hit the turn around, I found myself heading back out.

The out part on the second loop was miserable. I got hot and I had no energy in my legs it took forever. My black RIF shirt was white with salt by the time I got to the aid station at the half way point (there were only aid stations at the start and the end of the out and back). I took some time there to eat (though I didn't want too) and replace electrolytes and the return trip was just as slow but less miserable.

Now, usually when I have a day like this I am beating myself up out there...I am so slow...I don't deserve to be in a club called Run It Fast...I should just stick to half marathons...etc. But while it wasn't the most fun I've had in a race, I can't say it was bad. I was in a good place mentally and really just enjoying the views and how beautiful it was. The only thing that nagged me was that I'd told friends and family I would probably be done by a certain time and I was going to miss that by 90 minutes and I couldn't tell them because I had no service. But I tried not to think about that and just kept moving.

My only saving grace in this was that I didn't have a cut off that I had to worry about so that took some of the pressure off. I finally finished and got my medal:

Then I headed back to the car to head down the mountain. But I'd forgotten my drop bag! D'oh! I had decided to wear my new shoes for this but since it was an out and back, I put my Hokas in a drop bag at the start. I'd also put my fave pair of sunglasses in there (which I'd forgotten to put on before the race). I honestly considered leaving the Hokas I was that tired and ready to leave but remembered my sunglasses in there so went back!

But finally...finally, I drove down the mountain.

As soon as I got signal, my phone started making all kinds of noises...notifications about missed calls, voice mails, messages, and emails. Tons of them. It made me smile to think of all the love from my family and friends. :) For once, my family was pretty patient and just let me know they wished me a happy birthday and to call when I could.

The texts that made me smile were the ones from Josh (@bayou) and Naresh. I mean, you take one trip to the ER because of heat exhaustion and suddenly they worry about you dying! ;) I guess they were trying to reach me and anyone they knew who had been there. I think they were about to call the RD to make sure I was alive when I finally got a hold of them! Ha! But it sure did make me feel loved. :) I pulled over to clean up a little and texted my family that I was done and would call them later. Then I called Naresh and texted Josh so they would know I was alive and the two old worry warts could stop worrying about me. Then I made plans to meet Naresh for dinner. Yay! I haven't seen him since the Jackson Jackass in February 2012. It felt like forever!

So we had dinner together and caught up...
And he brought me a fabulous cake and had them sing to me!
And then we hung out at Starbucks until I had to leave for my plane.

I was sad to see my adventure end but it was a good 2 days:
  • I had a quick weekend getaway to the Bay Area.
  • I got to visit a strange and mysterious mansion (totally right up my alley)!
  • Got new trail shoes that I love!
  • Ran some stunning trails and finished my 12th marathon!
  • Had dinner with Naresh!
  • Who bought me a delicious, chocolate cake.
  • I got to meet a cool RIFer (Dennis who finished his first 50K).
  • And got some heartwarming affirmation that I am blessed to have such good, supportive, and caring friends.
Pretty darn good birthday weekend, wouldn't you say?

Yeah, 45 is going to be a good year...

Thanks for reading!