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Hot Chocolate Run: The Bad

I’ve calmed down a lot.

Had I written this bit a couple of days ago, it would be… well.. more angry.  Instead the anger has cooled to disappointment.

Allow me to just state the awful bits in sections….

The course: Picture it… you’re running down two lanes of road and it’s crowded because there happen to be 15,000 people running with you.  It’s workable although annoying as those who choose to walk are walking anywhere they feel like it… at times coming to a halt right in front of you sending you careening sideways to avoid them.  Now, imagine this two lane road suddenly turning into a sidewalk… a sidewalk lined with tables full of water/gatorade.

And that, my friends, is when your pace hits 47 minutes/mile.  Yes, really.  I couldn’t move.  I couldn’t breathe.  I couldn’t get through the people.  I kept thinking it would get better after the water station but the water station marked the start of where the race went from road to the lake front path.  It didn’t get wider again until the final 1/3 mile.

The People: This sorta goes with the above.  Too many people on the course means I was constantly breathing down someone’s neck, weaving in and out of people, dodging people who suddenly stopped in front of me, looking for ways to become UNTRAPPED by slower moving people.

I didn’t run with my Zune and honestly, I didn’t miss it.  I had to focus so hard on where I was going and how the hell I’d get there that I didn’t have the focus to listen to anything else.

The Scenery: They say it was pretty.  All I saw were shoes, butts, and backs.  You know, because if I were to have looked at the scenery, I’d have run someone over.

The lack of concern for safety: This may sound harsh but yes I really do mean it.  We bottlenecked through the water station and onto the path.  The path which was right up against the water which was I don’t even KNOW how much of a drop off….. no railing.  So  not only were we suddenly running in a much smaller area, we were doing so on a path with a drop off on one side and a landscaping wall on the other.  Really?

People were running up on the lawn in an attempt to pass.. only to realize there’d be a sidewalk and they’d have to jump down a 3 foot bit of landscaping wall and jump up on the other side of the sidewalk… or as one woman I watched tried to do… leap over the sidewalk and land on her face on the wall.

Needless to say, not many people were passing on this part of the path.

In General: It just wasn’t fun.  It could have been mostly my attitude as I realize I was disappointed going into it because I couldn’t run the 15k.. but honestly, they need half the people running that course… if that.  I didn’t have fun.  I didn’t come away with a feel-good feeling.  I definitely won’t be back.

Hot Chocolate Run: The Good

As promised, I will attempt to stick to the good bits for today’s post.

I’m trying to give myself a bit of time to cool down before I write about the bad.

I have to admit to being eerily calm on race day.  I think it has more to do with suddenly being responsible for 6 fewer miles and knowing I can do 3.1 in my sleep than anything to do with having “nerves of steel.”  The temperature happened to be below freezing,  in fact, just across the lake they were having some snow.  Yikes!

Luckily I’d been planning my race-day attire for ages and I had run in enough cold weather to know my vest, hat, and long-sleeved tee would do me just fine once I got moving.  Before running well… yeah, I froze my butt off.

As I lined up in the corral I couldn’t believe how many people there were or how many of us were squeezing together.  I also couldn’t believe how calm I felt.  Seriously, situations like this usually freak me out and – given the fact of this being my second event ever – I swear I’m just in shock at how calm I felt.

So anyway, the race started and I spent the next seven minutes or so walking to the starting line.  As we hit the start line I hit the start button on my garmin and we were off!

I ran at what felt like a moderate pace.  Ha!  When I looked down to see how slow I’d been going while I waited for the people to thin out so I could really get moving I seriously stared at my garmin in shock.  I was running a bit over a 1o minute mile.

Yeah, you know, that elusive pace I just can’t seem to maintain for long?  I was doing it.

Without getting too far into the bad bits, I’ll just say I ran hard when I could run.  I even had a burst of speed trying to get by some folks which my garmin clocked at a pace of 4:45/mile.  Ha!  Who knew I had it in me?  Adrenaline, my friends, is good stuff!

I finished with an official time of 36:03.  Given my first 5k time of 41:58 I’ll take the improvement!  I’m fairly certain this is one of very few times in my life when I’ll be able to say I shaved that much time off my 5k time…. then again, who knows?

Why is my time 36 when I ran most of it at a pace much faster?  Well, that is a subject for tomorrow.

The goodie bag consisted of a zip up technical jacket.  I’d been worried about this jacket since registration.  Any time it’s exercise-related, they seem to like to make things skin tight which just isn’t flattering on me.  And so, when I removed the jacket from the bag and held it up, my heart sank.  The jacket looked TINY.  As in so tiny I’d likely have to lose another 20 lbs to fit into the damn thing.

 

Yes, the cat runs the household.

 

I decided to try it on anyway and then….. it fit.  It totally fit.  It zipped and everything.  It didn’t even look bad on me.

So you know what I did next?  I took it off and made sure it still looked as tiny as it had when I first put it on. And you know something?  It hadn’t magically gotten larger.

Go figure!

So that, my friends, was a pretty cool moment.

 

Ignore the cat hair.

 

And here’s a shot of the back.  The cat, naturally, laid on the jacket the moment I laid it on the bed.  We came to a compromise where he would move and I would snap the picture as quickly as possible as he was just gonna lay on it again anyway.

So there you go.  The good.

Hot Chocolate Run: The good, bad and ugly

I wish I were coming off my week-long absence with some kick-ass story to tell you.

Sadly, this is not the case.  Heck, I don’t even have cool pictures.

I can’t even muster up the desire to hook you up with some photos.

After all my hard work, after weeks of training and re-arranging my schedule to make my training fit in… After running 8 miles in brutal winds just to ensure I could run the 15k today when I wanted to…

I was only registered for the 5k.

Yep.  Despite the email I showed you guys dating the 21st of September where the girl said I could trade up and she’d send me an email when it happened… Despite having six weeks to get it done… I showed up to pick up my stuff on Friday and I had a 5k bib.

It’s a cool bib and all, it even has my name on it.  Fine.  Great.  Super.  But could someone write a one in front of that five please?

Because seriously?  I cried.  All that effort and determination.  All that work.  All my hopes… poof… gone in an instant.  And boy oh boy did that instant HURT.

It’s silly, really…. but yeah, it hurt and yeah I’m still bummed.  So I just thought I’d give you the UGLY first.  Tomorrow I’ll focus on the good and then after that I’ll give you the bad.

Stay tuned folks, it’s gonna be a bumpy ride.

Time vs. Distance

As I thought about my run for Monday night I had two thoughts:  Will I seriously be ready to run again after my brutal 8 miler?  And…Mannn do I hate running for a specified amount of time.

To be honest, I fully expected to still be feeling the effects of my Saturday run on Monday evening.  I mean, seriously, Saturday hurt and Sunday found me all stiff and tired.  However, Monday morning found me feeling “normal” and it lasted the entire day.

So there I am, thinking about my run and staring at my training schedule wondering how much I should run and how much I really hate my timed runs.  Why is it so much easier for me to go put in an “easy 4 miles” than it is for me to run for 50 minutes?  Why is the mindset so different?

So what is a girl to do?

Well this one doesn’t load up a program into her garmin.  Instead I just decided to wing it, run a bit over 3 miles and see where the time hit.

And here you go….

I can honestly say I’m pleasantly pleased with my pace.  I did NOT feel like putting a lot of effort into this run and for the most part I felt as though I was taking it easy… niiiice!

As the Hot Chocolate Run looms closer I’m frustrated that I haven’t heard back from them with confirmation that I’ve been bumped up to the 15k.  I mean, she said she’d send me an email confirmation but….

At this point I’m pretty sure I’ll find out when I pick up my bib.  It would be nice to know ahead of time but I’ve got a pretty good attitude about the whole thing.

On one hand, the 15k would be an epic thing for me to accomplish when just a couple of months ago I couldn’t run 3 miles regularly.  On the other hand, I’m sure I could blow my first 5k time out of the water.

Wasted training?  Not at all!  I’ve come so far and believe in myself so much more now than I used to!  My long drawn out plan for running involved 5k’s this year, 10k’s next summer, a half the summer after that and then maybe the year after that a marathon.

At this point, I’m pretty sure I’ll be doing a half marathon next year.

Un-freaking-believable…. and in the very best way!

I didn’t think I’d get it done

Saturday morning it rained.

After a quick look at the weather report I knew it would rain Sunday morning as well.  Sucky because I had 8 miles to run this past weekend and I certainly didn’t want to do it on the treadmill.  Of course, the treadmill would be preferable to doing it in the rain.

I wish I could say the rain devastated me, but it didn’t.  I had planned another Girl’s Night In for Saturday night and having the extra time (and energy) seemed a nice little gift from the universe after my hectic week.

And then noon hit.

And the sun started to come out.

And I realized I’d pissed away my morning doing not a whole lot and it seemed if I acted fast I would be able to go for my run.

Well crap.

So I did a scramble to finish everything up and I went for it.

You know the rule I made?  The one where I said wind wouldn’t stop me from running anymore?

Yeah…. about that….

The wind brutalized me.  I faced the kind of wind which pushed me around as if I weighed nothing.  I ran into that wind.

I think my legs worked harder on this run than they’d ever worked before and that made this run…. painful.  It kicked my ass.

My heart rate never got super high, but man I worked hard!  Toward the end I had to take a few walk breaks, I’ll admit it.  I am not, however, upset about this.  When I first felt the wind, I said to myself I didn’t care about my pace so long as I got the thing done…. and trust me, I got it done!

Did you see that calorie burn? 1006

Can I get a hell yeah?

******Only read on if you want to know the brutal truth about an 8 mile run **************

I am one of those unfortunate souls who gets a stomach ache after a run.  Seriously.  Unless I refrain from eating ANYTHING for a period of 3 hours after my longer runs… I stand a huge chance of getting an awful stomach ache which can last the rest of the day.

A 1006 calorie burn meant I really couldn’t wait.  I was beat, I needed food, and I needed to get showered and ready and finish up for my party.  I stretched out, nibbled on a Lara Bar, relaxed and killed as much time as possible before heading to the shower.

In the shower I got light headed and my stomach started in on me.  By the time I got out it was all I could do to stumble into bed, wrap a towel around my wet hair and lay there until I fell asleep. (I had to, I just had to.)  In a word, I felt ROUGH.  In two words I felt, F@#$@ ROUGH.

When I woke, I had an hour until my guests arrived and I was scared to sit up.  My stomach usually doesn’t settle down that quickly and I didn’t relish the idea of getting my blood flowing enough to feel the problems again.

However, through some miracle I sat up and was….fine.  Starving and with wild hair I managed to get everything done with a few minutes to spare before my guests arrived.  How I pulled it off I don’t know but I am thinking the nap might have done the trick.  Or my prayers were answered and the universe took pity on me.

So anyway, the 6 hours after my long runs are usually pretty brutal.  I just don’t want to leave anyone thinking it’s all sunshine and roses!  It hurts!

Whew! (Part 1)

I’d have liked to start this post off with “I made it”!!!  But I’m still pretty far from done being super busy and stressed.

In fact, the only reason I have time to write this post is that it’s raining and I’m holding off on my 8 mile run until tomorrow in hopes I won’t have to do it on the treadmill.  If tomorrow morning is rainy, I’ll be putting in some awful time on the treadmill.  I’m not even sure I can do 8 miles on it – I seem to have a lot of issues running on the thing now that I’ve been running so much outside.  My entire stride is different and I struggle a lot.

Let’s see…. Monday….

Monday’s run was…. bad.  I hadn’t slept much the night before… and by that I mean about 3.5 hours.  In fact, I’ve had issues sleeping all this past week and it really sucks.  I felt tired and stressed and I don’t know why but that usually makes me push myself too hard and yep – that’s exactly what I did.  My average pace was 5.3 mph when I’ve been hovering around 5.1 for a long time.  All I could think about was how tired I was and how I would likely end up in bed by 7 pm (and yes, yes I did).  It didn’t feel right.  My body felt tired, I felt out of sync and out of breath.

So I stopped.  I felt bad about it but not terrible.  I figured my lack of sleep had  more to do with it than anything.

Tuesday I had a two hour long department meeting after work.  We’re working on a big project to redo our curriculum (years of being in No Child Left Behind’s looming shadow has led to too big of a focus on standardized testing which led to teachers being encouraged to cram as many facts into student’s heads as possible which led to very little learning and very few thinking skills being taught – now we’re just saying to heck with it and getting back down to teaching the thinking skills).  I’m super glad my district has come around on this.

You’d think it would all be sunshine and roses when some teachers get together and get to improve their curriculum for the good of the students, yes?

No.

I’m pretty much the only one really on board in my department of 4.  I’ve got a bit of support but not in the form of any real willingness to do the work…. which is…. frustrating.

That’s me (if I were male) pretending my poor hapless laptop is a coworker.

I truly meant to work out on Tuesday.  I got home two hours later than usual determined to work out to relieve stress.

And then I couldn’t find a sports bra.

Fine, I’ll wear a regular one.

And then I couldn’t find the shirt I’d planned on wearing (yeah, to work out in… major tragedy, yes?)

Fine, I’ll wear a different one.

And then I found out my cat had peed in my basket of clean clothes I hadn’t had time to fold and put away.

And I put on my pj’s, put the clothes through the wash twice (because once doesn’t get the smell out) and stress ate for the first time in ages.

I won’t even tell you the stupid amounts of food I ate or the poor quality of it.

I will tell you it made my IBS act up (well, I’m pretty sure it’s stress coupled with too much grease).

And that, my friends, kept me up all night in pain.  Another night of no sleep.

I’ll save the rest of the gripes for another post.