Archive for the ‘2013’ Category
The 2013 California International Marathon was my fifth competitive marathon. While I have never had a perfect build up as I would define without stress, without injury, without illness, without anemia, without over training, without insomnia… Does anyone ever? Occasionally yes. I have met a few. But most of us who push to our upper limits struggle just to make the starting line….in one piece….ready to go.
I have learned the long hard way to celebrate starting lines. My CIM training significantly derailed under stress, over training, and a hamstring injury. However, on a frosty 22 degree morning, I lined up in Folsom, California ready to run 26.2 miles to the Capitol.
The night before the race, I had a dream. I dreamt I sat a long wooden table full of Christmas cookies and my friend Stephanie and her friends began belting out operatic Hark the Harold Angels Sing…. I begged them to stop, but they only grew louder and more angelic with their voices. Afraid that this song would stick in my head, I picked up some popcorn that sat on the table and stuffed it into my ears and began singing Nine Inch Nails’ Head Like a Hole. I woke up.
Despite my layers, I stood shivering like a jack hammer on the starting line. Head like a Hole, black as your soul, I’d rather die…. I never heard “Go.” People just started running. Now I’m running and this is a very long way to run. Months of training goes into a marathon. Runners prep their bodies with miles, massages, nutrition, footwear, vitamins, chiropractic appointments, physical therapy, hydration……all the babying between the weekly beatings….. No I can’t have that I’m training for a marathon. No I can’t drink that I’m training for a marathon. No I can’t go out late, I need sleep! Marathon! When the gun goes off, the marathoner now seeks to destroy themselves. Sorry body, now I shall ruin you. I’d rather die than give you control…..Bow down before the one you serve…
Alright it isn’t the most poetic pep me up song, but I dreamt it and it got stuck hard between my ears. I set off asking my body to give me every drop it possibly could for this moment. For this right now. I firmly believe in not wearing a GPS watch in a marathon. In a stopwatch, I check in with mile splits at the mile markers and gauge my effort appropriately. Mile 1: 6:30. And on this day, Mile 26: 6:31.
All my body could give me was to maintain and it was never easy. I don’t even blink until mile 8. If I do, little private conversations go off in my head. This sure is a long way to run fast. You really want to run 18 more miles? You know, I hope you’re aware that your snot is freezing to your face and your hip hurts like Hell. Also, exactly how many toe nails are we supposed to donate today? You’re mean! SHUT UP! See, it’s best just to not talk to yourself. It’s best to sing. No you can’t take, No you can’t take it, No you can’t take that away from me…..
I think I mumbled my first words at mile 10. I went through the half in 1:24:30 aka 2:49. It’s an odd game to run 26.2 miles, but still get caught up in the seconds. There is so much work, so much effort and focus and time that really still breaks down to the little itty bitty second. The small pieces matter. I watch runners jostle ahead of me and fall behind. A few come from behind and surge ahead only to trickle back later. Tim stays off to my right shoulder and we don’t talk. We run.
By mile 17, I am beginning to talk myself up for the final 10K. Now my head is up and two tiny gals from Impala racing team pass me. Their stride is light with a smooth rhythm. I watch them go. I’m drifting and mile 19 turns out my slowest mile: 6:41. Methodically I state that my quads are weakening and I choke down a GU. For as much as I love running and racing, there is this weird twilight in the marathon where nothing really matters until you break 20. There is only one mile at a time and I find myself almost void of emotion. Then 20 comes: 2:09:20. I have to run a 40 minute 10K to crack 2:50. Let’s go dancing on the backs of the bruised…..Head like a Hole…
My head is up, my arms are pumping and I’m pressing hard into the 21st mile: 6:32. Damn. My breathing is accelerating, my legs are heavy, my arms push harder into the 22nd mile: 6:34. Damn. I’m losing time. Tick Tick Tick. And this is why I race in a Timex and not a GPS. Each mile in the final set is a solid 6 1/2 minute (dreaming it would be a 6:00!) chance to take back those seconds. I have no clue that all I’m doing is barely maintaining until the mile marker….. This puts me into the race. The little Impala gal is drifting back and I pass her at mile 23: 6:38. Damn. I pass and I pass and I pass more people. It’s sickly fun to keep your shit together. Now I hear the crowd and I appreciate them. This is a moment that I won’t get again without many more Blood Sweat & Tears. These final three miles….this is the marathon. I keep trying to go faster, mile 24: 6:34. It hurts. Every part of your body is telling you loudly, You’re an Idiot! While every synapse in your brain screams back, No! I’m a lion!
The 26th mile goes on forever. I’m pushing as hard as I can: 6:31. Rounding the final turns, I do my best to surge for the finish line and without thought and without regret I put my arms out: 2:50:32.
It’s a time that I would have said, Not good enough. But a time is just a number. How you earn it, the struggles you over come, the pressures you feel, the set backs you encounter, the way you run your race, the energy that goes into it….if you do all that, the clock is always going to smile on you.
It’s a PR. It’s a finish line. It was a great day.
Now let Hark the Harold Angels get stuck in my head. It’s about time for that too.
There are many ways to be insufferable on Facebook. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m guilty of every single one of these on any given day. I’ll do my time in the corner. There are many ways I love Facebook- connection, seeing friend’s vacation photos (I LOVE THOSE!), baby photos, wedding photos…. quirky weird status updates as long as you aren’t updating every five minutes…..puppy photos. Love those! I like seeing youtube videos of my friends whizzing down ski hills and their babies spitting Gerber out their noses. I don’t mind seeing pictures of your awesome food or cool cocktail and I never get bored of the sunset photos. Snap and post. Go on!
However, so much on Facebook….admittedly is not real. It’s like High School. High School wasn’t real. Sure I went. I was there. But that doesn’t mean it was real.
Regina: But you’re, like, really pretty.
Cady: Thank you.
Regina: So you agree?
Regina: You think you’re really pretty?
Cady: Oh… I don’t know
Personally I don’t like being told by a 20 year old to Eat Pray Love. I didn’t even like it when I read the book and I was told by the thirty year old. Was I the only one who didn’t like that book? Perhaps. However, when it comes down to it who are any of us to question another person’s emotions? Ah-Ha! Like this High School was real!
“You don’t KNOW how I feel!”
There is no one uniform feeling and in a digital world Lost in Translation seems to be more common. The actor Paul Walker very recently passed. I’m sure you heard. Everyone did. I saw a FaceBook generic Billboard post that said, “Why do celebrities get so much attention when they die? How about we get a “like” for all the other people who died today? RIP.”
WOW! Celebrities get more attention from more people because more people connected with them and therefor have EMOTIONS. Could you imagine giving a similar post to a parent who just lost a child? ”Why do you give your child so much attention when they die? How about we get a “like” for all the other kids who died today? RIP.” Yet, that crass Paul Walker quote got over 2 million likes.
Connection is important.
When was the last time that you had a disagreement with someone and you simply picked up the phone OR walked up to them and privately discussed before you texted, emailed, or vaguely Facebooked your status? I’m guilty! I’m usually very good about this, but lately I haven’t been.
Did you know that you can say whatever the Fuck you like as long as you end it with a smiling yellow face?
You looked so awesome today! You’re one sassy fat bitch !
I totally HATE you !
I hope you break your leg, then I can have your job !
Porn Star !!!!
I met your mother . Wow . The apple never left the tree !
I’m shopping with your credit card
It was me. I farted
Just kidding. It was you. You smell like ass
SEE! No offending anywhere at all ever
So whatever you say……….. Say It with a
Almost every year since 2008, I have headed down to Ventura to participate in the Ventura Turkey Trot aka Ventucky. It’s a flat fast course that brings competition. I certainly wouldn’t call it scenic, but I rarely look around in the hurt locker of a 5K. Twice I have used this race as a burn out workout before a marathon and twice I’ve clocked 17:34 doing that. However since my body got flattened sometime ago and hasn’t returned to me since, I didn’t expect much. I also finally get a diagnosis of High Hamstring Insertion Tendinopathy. It’s a real pain in the rear! I also got PWTTMBS and that is also a pain in the ass.
With an ass on fire in all the wrong ways, I line up for the slap that is the 5K. A woman named Melissa toes the line next to me and mumbles, “Why do I do this!? It always hurts so much.” Melissa is clearly gifted with ESP. I wave to fellow teammates Jessica and Cindy and the gun goes off.
I’m curbing enthusiasm by the half mile while I let the inevitable winner break the wind. A woman named Casey rides up on my shoulder and we click through the first mile in 5:38. I have a hot fire rod riding up my right leg and a healthy dose of humility weighing me down. I just have not felt good since July and today proves no different. Cindy cruises up on my right shoulder and as we tackle the second mile there is a pack of five women huddled together. For a local race, that is quite remarkable. The leaders sneak away as we round the bend through the second mile: 11:15.
Now it is as promised. The 5K, she won’t disappoint you. My arms are numbing, my breathing is operatic, my turn over slowing, and Casey says good bye to me too. The final turn presents the finish line and I clear the line in 17:56, 5th female.
I congratulate Cindy who broke the 18 minute barrier (significantly- 17:46) for the first time. I am relaxed about my performance and I head home for a wonderful Thanksgiving.
Next weekend will be my fifth competitive marathon. Each 26.2 has left me a little bit different of a person. This one took its bite before the starting line. This has already been the most successful year of my running
career hobby. Next weekend it’s simply time to finish what I started.
With time between clients and classes, I pull up a stool in WholeFoods and chomp down lunch. I read the article out on Christian Hesch. Then I re-read a funny WSJ piece on promoting 0.0 stickers. I choke a chuckle that the author forgot the worst offender of all the runners…..THE RUNNER BLOGGER! I carry my all recycled plastic container, toss it in the recycle bin and walk to my electric vehicle.
Yep, it’s gettin’ real in the WholeFoods parking lot. Creeping through the parking lot, I sneak up on a blue Prius. Who is creepier? An EV or a Prius? I’m gonna go with the Prius because old man winter inside it was crawling!!!!
He turns the direction that I need to go. Like a snail on holiday, he sort of jelly slides down along Hitchcock toward the feeder road of the 101. While driving this slow can’t possibly be legal, I’m peacefully listening to Coffee House music on the Satellite radio. It’s an absolute beautiful day and I’m not in a particularly mad rush. There won’t be a butt waiting in a bungee by the time I get to work.
We crawl upon a black car parked at the red light waiting to turn left onto the feeder. The dearly departed puts on his blinker for a left hand turn: tick tick, tick tick. The light turns green. I see the little arrow pointing YES GO LEFT. The black car turns like an A+ student driver, but pappy reacts like Eeyore. Oh Hum, I guess I’ll go Left.
That IS it! I make a hard sharp veer right and scoot around the creeper punching overdrive into the left hand turn. That’s right. I cut grandpa off. Now I’m in front driving along at a normal 30 mph right into the next red light….and the next….and one more….gets us to the 101 HWY. Blue Angel is still following me.
I hit the open road and check my rear view mirror. He’s still there. I’m going 75mph. He’s creeping up. I move right. He moves left. I’m going 85 mph. Is….Is….Is the old man racing me?
I glance left. There peering over his wheel gripping it like the final laps of Nascar is my snail…..gunning it down the 101! Shit! I’m really not comfortable going faster than 85 mph, but that means he’s gonna win! He pulls AHEAD! His blinker is still flashing left! The only left we took is when I cut his slow ass off! Ha Ha Ha!
I have yet to miss a running of the Santa Barbara International Veteran’s Marathon and Half. It is our greatest local event and always feels like a big running party. I have always run pretty well including winning the marathon and the half in back to back years. Last year I was delighted when after a particularly long spell of fatigue that almost had me quitting competition, I lined up and popped a 1:21 half marathon.
January to July of this year was a complete high ride for me. I started to see the runner that I always knew I was. After five years of looking for her…that felt fantastic! Starting around August of this year, I have been watching that black fatigue creep back into my life. Workouts are flat. Slow runs are extra slow. Tempo runs find me struggling to hit paces that I used to finish up at in my long runs. The sizzle is MIA. My DNF at San Jose was a rude awakening that my high mileage was getting the best of me. It isn’t easy to be a working mom who runs 100 miles a week.
But if you build it, it will come? Right? That’s the faith I’m holding. With every run feeling like a struggle, I lined up at the SBIVM 2013 Half looking to run marathon pace. No lies to be told, I not so secretly hoped that a little magic would pop in my legs and that I would have a day that allowed me to race. I wore my Oiselle SBRR team uniform and lined up carefully optimistic.
After the fighter jets flew over head and the gun went off, I eased into the first mile at marathon pace and felt out the day. Yep, my Fairy GodRunner totally slept in. I got nothing. Marathon pace it is. I ran an 85% effort and forgot the numbers. That should be marathon pace, but marathon pace it wasn’t.
I finished the half in a 1:25:05. That’s not what I want to see in a marathon. And something must be wrong with me because I just smiled, collected my medal, and shrugged Oh Well.
Has someone stolen my angst? Where is the edge? Oh, it’s over there? Well, I like the view from here. I have had a fantastic year and each opportunity and adventure reminds me why I run….I just love it. I congratulated Jill on her win and also said my congrats to the two out of town girls who took second and third.
In four weeks, I might feel amazing and rocket along the CIM course backed by miles and strength or I might go up there and actually take the beer that is hopefully offered at mile 24. Like so many times in life, you just don’t know what is going to happen and what you worry about happening never really does anyway. Last year I NEVER worried about a hurricane on the starting line. That’s the marathon. And each marathon has taught me something very special. Santa Barbara 2009- Blessed me with a surprisingly strong performance. Grandma’s 2010- Granted me 20 mile per hour head winds in which I still ran well. Eugene 2011- Reminded me to take no starting line for granted as I tripped 5 weeks before the race and did not make it. Houston 2012- Found my true grit as I rocketed off the starting line just two weeks after being benched for three weeks due to injury and yet still ran a sub 2:50 pace all the way to mile 23….then locked up and seized over the finish line. CIM 2012- Rained on my parade. A legit hurricane struck my funny bone and had me pretty much shrugging WTF and then pummeling through 40 mile per hour headwinds.
What will CIM 2013 teach me? It might just be to let go.
I enjoyed jogging back to my car along the course. My cheering of the on coming runners was marked in many comments, “Hey you’re going the wrong way!” Each person who said this would laugh so enthusiastically that I had to play along. It’s a fun game.
By the time I arrived at my car, I was quite pleased with my perspective on the day and past few months. I bent over to stretch and out of a repetitive habit touched my ears. One of my diamond earrings that were given to me the day my daughter was born….. the ones where my husband said, “Let me get this straight. You want to take all our savings and have me buy diamonds for your ears….” AND I said, “Yes Yes! Absolutely! Do that!”…..one of them was missing. I felt a naked ear lobe and of all of life’s stupid material possessions….this made my heart drop.
You never know what you’re gonna get!
I know I just said that…..but I didn’t mean THAT! I did a moderate to high intensity FREAK OUT that turned into spastic dry heaves and crying that led to concrete searching at the starting line which resulted in retrieving my Turkey Trot wanted to throw it away and never see it again Sweatshirt.
I always thought the WORST thing I could lose on a race course was my shit in my shorts WHICH THANK GOD HAS STILL NEVER HAPPENED, but as it turns out it’s a diamond.
The good news is that I now have that awesome road cone orange hoodie with a big dumb turkey on the front sweatshirt to throw away at CIM.
Congrats to SBIVM on their 5th year!