FFTFL premiere

FFTFL premiere

Monday, May 13, 2013

LI Half Marathon- The good, The Bad and the Fugly

Alarm set for 4:30 am. No need for it this morning. I slept, but off and on, and finally got out of bed at 3:15 to watch some tv. Unfortunately, getting out of bed kind of woke Charlie up too, so there wasn't going to be any issue with getting out the door at 5:30 am for the hour-long drive. I got dressed and made my breakfast, which was my usual huge cup of coffee and a dark chocolate coconut Balance Bar. *de-frickin'-licious* I brought my coffee with me, but forgot to drink it. pooh.

We arrived at Eisenhower Park by 6:25 am, and the parking fields were almost completely full. We managed to get a spot, grab all of our gear out of the car, and head to the start line which was at least a half mile away. It was pretty cold and breezy out. I was prepared with mittens, but only had on my LIMA 5k tech tee and capris. Charlie had a jacket on over his shirt plus track pants. He was still cold, poor thing.

My hair looks hideous here.

See! Windy!

We used the port-o-potties and I'm happy to say I was the first one to use mine! I even had to take the wrapper off the t.p.! Apparently there was a really bad issue with parking, causing lots and lots of people to be late to the start, which meant no time to wait on the potty lines; we started seeing a lot of guys climbing a nearby hill and peeing in the grass. Never in my life have I seen what transpired just minutes after that- LADIES dropping trou and popping a squat all over the same hill. Lily white asses were everywhere. I thought of the PStyle I won from a blog, which I brought with me to FL. One or both of the Jens got to test it out. It's the ingenious invention that allows women to pee standing up, and I bet some girls would've appreciated it on Sunday, instead of chilling their cheeks in the wind!

Sorry, no hiney shots!

Thankfully, the race started on time. We didn't actually start running until we crossed the timing mat, about 4 minutes after the gun. We were averaging about an 11 minute mile and everything was looking good. Even though it was cold and we hadn't warmed up, we felt fine. My calf wasn't announcing itself to me and my heels felt great in my new shoes. The beginning of the course takes you around Nassau Coliseum, home to the NHL team, the NY Islanders, and Museum Row. It's pretty boring. I just kept an eye on our pace and watched for the mile markers.

The 1st 4 miles were great and we stopped for some chews and Gatorade. We walked and ate for about .1 miles and got moving again. I figured we'd stop again at miles 8 and 12. I was wrong. Mile 7 came and I was struggling. We walked about half of that mile while I ate my gel. Mile 8 wasn't so bad after that. Then came mile 9, where I totally bonked. I took out my ketchup packet, which a runner at Ragnar had suggested for the salt intake, and after the initial throat-closing shock of the vinegar, it was okay. I love ketchup, so it wasn't a horrific chore. While I was eating it, I saw my friend Lynda come up from my left, and the only reason why I noticed her was because she had slowed down to yell out "Keith!" to her husband. He must have been socializing, slowing their pace. When he passed us as we were walking he asked "What are we having, a BBQ?" I think it had to do with us walking and NOT the ketchup in my hand!

We picked up the pace again at around 9.75, and I said I would run from there on out. I lie like the devil. I honestly don't remember walking TOO much after that, but our roll was slow. Charlie said as I was walking mile 9 I said "I don't know if I have another 4 in me," and that made him nervous. I don't remember saying it, but I definitely know I was thinking it! I do remember looking at my Garmin at mile 10 and seeing a time that was not going to make for a PR, unless I could get a 5k in under 30 minutes after running for 2 hours already! Once that realization hit me, I kind of stopped pushing. I knew I'd finish, but I didn't give a shit about my time. It's almost like when you have a bad day eating-wise and your crazy head turns that into a bad week. Makes sense, right?

I think mile 12 was 2 miles. Bastards. When we made the turn into Eisenhower Park, I knew the finish line wasn't far, but it still took an eternity. The boost I needed was right before mile 13, when one of the LIMA 5k guys I had met at the race expo cheered me on with "Go LIMA 5k shirt girl!" (At the expo, I told the LIMA 5k reps that their race was my first 5k, first race, ever, and it was coincidentally their first time putting it on. I've done it every year since then and I can't wait to do it on June 1st!) The energy he shouted out at me was enough to get me to the finish line. I pushed it and we crossed the finish line, hand in hand, arms raised in victory. Of course my right calf cramped the moment we crossed the timing mat and the photographer captured the moment for all eternity!

Every muscle in my legs pretty much seized as we walked through the finish line chute. We got our medals, mine fell, and I could NOT bend down to pick it up. The volunteer had a good laugh, and then we got our goody bag backpack, which was filled with a muffin, bagel, banana, donut, corn bread and a slice of pound cake. Holy carbs! I grabbed a bottle of water and decided to stretch. About 2 minutes later it hit. Light-headedness, a little nausea, the sweats, rumbling in the stomach... People were asking Charlie if I was okay, if I needed the medic tent, but I just wanted everyone to stop talking. So we sat down and I drank my water, slowly, and I felt a bit better, but my heart felt like it was racing. When I felt well enough, I got up, but it hit me all over again, so we sat back down. We sat there forever, about 45 minutes. Finally I mustered the strength to get up and we started for the car, but the guy who asked if I was okay earlier saw us leaving and asked again if I wanted to go to the medic tent. Knowing that I had an hour car ride ahead of me, I figured we should make sure I was okay. I did NOT want to puke or get the grippers in my car!

After going into the tent and coming in out of the sun, I was freezing, so they wrapped me in a space blanket. My B.P. was 120/80. They gave me some Gatorade to rehydrate. I drank two cups while laying there for about 20 minutes. They took my vitals again and they were the same, so I was able to be released. I got up slowly and began to walk away, and the action of sitting up managed to cramp one of my upper abdominal muscles so badly that it felt like a rock under my shirt. I just walked it off because I wanted to get the hell home already. I walked out with the blanket wrapped around me and volunteers were asking if I got my sweatshirt, because marathoners get sweatshirts, and they're the ones usually wrapped in the blankets! I should've snagged one, but that's not right, is it?

As we made our way to the car, I was able to eat a snack-sized protein bar and I was feeling a lot better. We watched one guy hobble down the sidewalk and we could totally commiserate with him. When we finally caught up to him, he was lying on his side on the grass. He said he didn't need help, just waiting for his ride. During our conversation he said that the sun could have helped in my dehydration. I still haven't researched that, but it does make sense, because sweat would evaporate more quickly on a sunny day, causing more dehydration. I guess 20 oz. of Gatorade, 2 PowerBar gels, some PowerBar chews and a packet of ketchup was not enough to get me through a half marathon without the dreaded side-effects I experienced post-run. I should have grabbed more fluids at the water stations they had EVERY mile! I should have drank my morning coffee! DOH!

The slow walk to the car had me back on even keel and I decided to do the drive home, but not before getting a picture of us and our bejeweled necks!

Charlie was a trooper. He walked when I needed to walk. He ran when I could run, whatever pace that might have been. He's so damn agreeable! He said his only goal was to finish, with me, no matter how long it took. Yesterday, in my Mother's Day card, he wrote "I would rather crawl across the finish line in last place holding your hand than sprint across the finish line in first alone." I'm so blessed to have him as a friend, husband and running partner.

(You can see the rest of our race proofs, if you're at all interested, here. My favorite is the first picture. Charlie's expression is priceless.You'll also like my impersonation of Michael Jackson in a couple of them!)

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Getting There

Pre-race day. 4:30 pm. I'm calm. If I think about things too much, the heart starts racing. I made it to packet pick-up this morning, an hour long drive, with my 14 year old daughter as my wing man. We got there with no issues. The expo is small, but since the Diva expo is there also, I don't have anything to compare it to. I got mine and Charlie's bibs with no problems and then got on another line for the race shirt. You obviously don't run in it, since it's a cotton, long-sleeved hoodie. I LOVE it! It'll be what I change into after the race, (sans bra)!! We also got a pair of New Balance socks and a race lanyard. I saw my buddy from Sayville Running Company at his booth and I was very happy to see the people that put on the LIMA 5k there so I could tell them it was my 1st race and theirs as well. That'll be my 4th LIMA 5k on June 1st. That's a race I can really get excited about.

Here's the race sign that my friend Jen (who is running the New Jersey half simultaneously with me) made to help cheer me on to the finish line! I'll be hearing Shaun yelling at me to "DIG DEEPER!" for many miles. And at the finish? "This sh*t is buh-nanas!!!"

The ride home was a different story. I printed out reverse directions, but it's crazy around Nassau Coliseum, (where the NY Islanders play), and Museum Row, so things got sketchy. We did get to see geese and their goslings and an actual duck crossing sign, just blocks from a frickin' mall. Well, we wound up taking the scenic route, completely south to the Atlantic and then headed east, then north and east, again, home. Thankfully I know my way around since I'm driving more for work. It was a very peaceful drive and only 5 or 10 minutes out of our way. Anyone who knows LI will appreciate the amount of driving I did on the following roadways: William Floyd Parkway, Long Island Expressway, Northern State Parkway, Meadowbrook Parkway, Ocean Parkway, Robert Moses Causeway and Sunrise Highway. Believe it or not, on an island that's only 118 miles long and 23 miles wide (I Googled that), there's plenty of highways I didn't touch. Joy of joys, I get to do the ride again tomorrow.

So, I've been doing some laundry, buying some songs and rearranging my running playlist and playing plenty of Candy Crush. My legs feel tired from just laying around doing a whole lot of nothing lately. Charlie and I went for a 1.25 mile run yesterday and we got it done in 12:49, and the calf felt good. I can't see into a crystal ball and know that there won't be issues, but for now, it's put my mind at ease. I've been a sobby mess, though, the last couple of days. I've been reading and hearing about a lot of people's race stories and I can feel every bit of frustration and sadness that they experienced as they were running their race. And when they finished? I was right there with them at the finish line, knowing the pride, satisfaction and jubilation that was bursting out of them, while they held their medals and smiled for the camera. I will hold that memory of that feeling while I'm trotting along the course tomorrow. The best part? I'll be experiencing the entire thing with Charlie!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Pre-Race Jitters To The Umpteenth Power

It's Thursday. The LI Half Marathon is on Sunday. That's 3 days away. As I write I'm icing my left calf. My last long run, actually my last run, period, was FUGLY. The weather was perfect for a 10 mile run. I was feeling fine. We decided to start on the trails of the refuge again, do both trails, totaling about 7 miles, and then finish up in the neighborhood around the house.

So, once my Garmin found a satellite we started running to the refuge. We started on the longer trail and finished it at around mile 4. We stopped and had some chews to help refuel. This was my first run with my new hydration belt, and I was so glad I bought it! All I have to carry now is my sweat mop and my right bicep thanks me for it! My handheld holds my iPod, phone, chews and 20 oz. of liquid. Carrying that for a long time really tired my arm, so that's one worry crossed off the list. Now Charlie carries it, which I feel bad about, but it IS a step up from him carrying a regular old water bottle. He can put his iPod in there and carry his own fuel.

After the 1st leg of the run, we then ran the shorter trail and finished at about 7 miles. Running those trails are tough. There's a lot of small hills, constantly, and a lot of sticks, pine cones and small holes from squirrels, I'm guessing, (and hoping), to avoid. I like it because you don't have to worry about cars, kids, dogs, bikes, etc. but you could wipe out at any moment from the debris. A couple of times my left foot shoved a stick into the side of my right foot and nearly gave me a heart attack. Falling would not be good.

I felt better after 7 miles this time than my last run. We stopped again and ate some more and I made the stupid decision to do the short loop again. Only a mile in my left calf cramped. It was just a quick twinge, but I knew I'd be fighting it the rest of the way, and I did. By the end I was basically shuffling through the pine needles. At 10 miles we were on our way home. A half mile walk took about 15 minutes, that's how slow I was moving. Charlie was in great shape, which makes me happy.

When we got home I stretched and foam rolled a lot. On Monday I was feeling fine. I went to the gym and did 45 minutes on the arc trainer. Tuesday is when it hit the fan. I went to the gym and did 15 minutes on the rower, 15 minutes on the elliptical and then a half hour walking 3.5 mph at a 5% incline. That's what did me in. My calf muscle felt like a rock. I could walk with no pain, but when I pointed my toes which flexed the muscle, I felt pain. It's not excruciating, but it's there, and I'm worried.

Listening to everyone who I've asked, I'm dutifully icing it and stretching. It feels better today. Yesterday I just mowed the lawn, but nothing strenuous. Other than that, if I'm not up to prepare food or do some light cleaning, I'm sitting here, babying my legs and on the computer, most likely playing Candy Crush. That game was made by the devil. If you haven't played it, don't! Your house will fall down around you and you will become a slug! At least that's my experience.

I believe that the trail running in regular running shoes effed me up. Add the fact that I AM running in the new shoes, which is changing up the rest of my alignment, and my calf could not take it. So, I'm sort of panicking about 13.1 miles. I can only hope that all of that trail running will make running on asphalt easier and I'll become The Flash out there. The calf is feeling better and I hope it's as good as new and not an issue at 8 am Sunday.

I have a lot to think about and remember while I'm running those 13.1 miles. This picture will hopefully make me think of Sheldon from 'Big Bang Theory' and how hysterical he looks in this costume. I also have the new mantra "Run if you can, walk if you must but finish for Boston" to chant in my head. There are many innocent people that were standing on the sidelines of the Boston Marathon cheering on runners coming into the finish line that no longer have a leg, or even two, to walk on, let alone run. If I have to hobble and shuffle across the finish line, I will. Charlie will make sure of that.