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Marine Corps Marathon Ooh Rah Recap: Hot Dammmm

6 Nov

Hi friends! Here I am with MARATHON NUMERO DOS under my belt!!! Hot dammmm.

I never knew that screaming hot dammmm could be both a good and bad thing! Let me explain.

Pre-race: good thing.

Mid-race: good thing.

Last 3.2 miles: bad thing x bad thing x bad thing. It was hot dammmm! Seriously! When is this isht going to be effing over? My Garmin was flashing 26.2 miles and I was NOT done. Where was the finish line? Was that the finish line? I couldn’t see. Hot dammmm[it]!!!

Let me define hot dammmm by breaking it down.

Hot [good]: I refined my training for this marathon. I got this! Feeling good! Feeling light. Feeling flight. Wind under my legs. I got this!

Hot [bad]: My calves were on fire. My calf muscles felt like they were falling off my bones with every strike on the pavement. Ouuuuuchhhiessssss. Then there was my anxiety. My anxiety was running hot. It had a fever. A bad one because I couldn’t see. I couldn’t see because I lost my left contact at mile 9, (my left eye requires the strongest prescription) lucky me.

So there I was with a fever of anxiousness and a crowd cheering “You’re almost there!” They were relentless with their excitement to include clapping, whistling, shouting, cowbelling…I might have had a fever but the only prescription was finding the finish line, not more cowbell!!!

Dammmm [good]:I got this! I trained. Hot diggity dog, I might BQ!!! Wooohooo I’m flying.

Dammmm [bad]: It felt like I was sprinting when the reality was I shifted into granny gear!!! Talk about a Sunday joy ride. It was Sunday and I belonged in a walker at that point to carry my weight.

The Real Recap

The morning of the marathon was unlike any other. I hopped on the metro and was greeted with a swarm of runners (civilians, Marines, and other service members), volunteers, bands, and spectators. We were all crammed on the blue line heading to the Pentagon. The metro ride was a concert of songs, Ooh Rahs, and praise. The acoustics were unlike the normal route into the city. The clamor was a stark contrast from the Monday-Friday commute when most are plugged in to their phones being disconnected from the very person who’s sharing their personal space. These people were all up in each other’s personal space and they were welcome there! It was really something.

Fast Forward.

It’s race time. Hot Dammmm [good]. There were no “real” corrals. If you think you’ll finish with a 3 hour time, 4 hour time, 5 hour time, etc., you were to go park your feet near the designated sign. Oh I hate that kind of pressure. I wanted a 3:35 time because that is a Boston Qualifier (BQ). But I hesitated because I was suffering from acute bronchitis and didn’t know whether or not I would run fast or if my breathing would be exhaustively labored. I took one look at the crowd, the 20,000+ people (talk about sharing personal space), and recalled how much effort it took to weave in and out of the crowds of runners in my last race. So I deliberately parked at the 3:35 sign until the gun went off.

Gun went off.

Welp, I was wrong. What’s new? I am wrong a lot. The 3:35 sign did me no favors. I was stuck behind crowds of runners. I was shuffling my feet.

Thank gosh I stand 5’2” tall because I darted through people and any open space given the right opportunity. It took a lot of effort but none from my legs or lungs. I had to watch the people in front of me to gauge the motion and timing of their stride and elbows. Who said you don’t use physics and math in real life? I had to strategically and deliberately plan my attack to squeeze through limbs, spit, and other runners like me trying to dart ahead, while not colliding with one another. I was gauging speed and velocity at 8am, with the intent to BQ, while maintaining steady breathing, with a focus on my stride, fuel intake, etc. Are you kidding me? This isht gets difficult. I managed not to collide with anyone other than a fellow shrimpette, who like me, was planning her breakaway and taking full advantage of her 62 inches or less. We barely touched but shared a chuckle. We exchanged an excited “Sorry!” and kept moving forward. If you know me, you know how I say this!!! [“Sa-weewww-thank you cab driver!]

Mile 3 people were stopping. I remember thinking “It’s mile 3. How are you going to line up at 3:35 and stop here!?!” I mean seriously, it’s kind of dangerous when you’ve got me and shrimpette number 2 darting around. I mean flying around. Especially dangerous because it was a decline. Declines are FREE SPEED and I was all about that high velocity. I wanted more!

The FREE SPEED lasted a while. I took full advantage of it. Hot dammmm [good]. I loved that I didn’t have to return any favors either. Each decline and incline over the course was a silent declaration of what was to come. I paid close attention to its subtle hints (how often do those get overlooked girls?) and adjusted my body to its forewarning.

I leaned into the road. I was one with the road.

I was one with the road until mile 9. I had a gnarly cough paired with its obligatory accessory-phlegm. It was radiant in shades of green. OooOoo green! My favorite color! And neon green to boot! Thanks acute bronchitis! I digress. Anyway, I had just ate a GU so everything in my mouth felt sticky. Plus my cough was deep and my phlegm was thick. That’s the time when my left contact developed a film so thick I could no longer see. I stopped to make an effort to clean it. I had no other choice. I had to. I had to because it was more uncomfortable not being able to see than hacking said lungs. I can’t see 2 feet in front of me without contacts but this was worse. So I took my contact out and planned to spit on it to clean it. (As if you haven’t before. Spare me!) But my spit was thick with Jetberry GU residue and phlegm. I couldn’t do it. Sanitary purposes. I had to draw a line.

I ended up putting my contact back in my eye. Unclean and all. And with one intentional blink to make it fall in place that sucker fell off my eye and was gone. Shit!

I glanced at my Garmin. No I didn’t. I squinted. I couldn’t see very well at all so I placed the Garmin right in front of my right eye. That’s when I realized I had lost approximately one to two minutes of precious BQ time. Hot dammmm[it] [bad].

I ran the rest of my race, 17.2 miles, with one contact. I was blind. I was uncomfortable. And I couldn’t see the spectacular air show above. I couldn’t read the funny marathon signs. It sucked. 😦

As sucky as I felt I found pleasure in how great my legs felt. I just crested the course. I relied on my other senses to elevate me. I breathed in the remarkable, and inspirational cries from the crowd. I maintained focus. I repeated the mantra, Pain Only Hurts. Flight. Glide. Fly. Easy. Light. Smooth. It worked. I was clocking 7:40 miles give or take a few seconds. I even clocked a 6 minute mile somewhere in the mix. HOT diggity DAMMMM [good]. I fell back to a mid-8 minute a few times. Even losing a contact! Insert Hot dammmm  [good] one more time! Yes!!! My potential to BQ was still real.

But the pain began to set in at mile 18. Hot dammmm [bad].

The pain got so bad in my chest that I had to stop and cough for thirty seconds at least. My BQ fell further from reality. Hot dammmm [bad].

My legs were still fresh and agile. But my chest hurt. I was hacking. I dug deep. Pain Only Hurts. Pain Only Hurts. Pain Only Hurts. Pain is Temporary. Pain is Temporary. Pain is Temporary. When, OWWWWwwwweeeeee happened. The discomfort of being blind coupled with my heavy chest was one thing. But by mile 23, with 3.2 left to go, my calves felt as if they were on fire. That was the other thing; the ugly thing.

Each time my foot touched the pavement my calves ached with excruciating pain. I tried to ignore it. I tried to ignore the ugly pain by telling myself that if the whole race goes to shit in a hand basket at this very moment, and I fall back to 10 minute mile pace, I would still, at the least, PR. So that was a good thing. 🙂

But I would resent myself if I did. I knew I was a tough runner and could endure pain. I knew I could endure even more pain. So pain, I taunted with, summoning it to BRING IT ON. I double dog dared it!!!

That was the pain I had been begging for during my last marathon. Pain is the telltale sign that you’ve pushed your limits. (For me at least.) There it was staring at me at mile marker 23. I was tickled with excitement that it finally came to meet me. I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. It was that same feeling you get when you massage a bruise. (Right?)

I wanted nothing less than to be seduced by it. I wanted it to take all of me.

But I played hard to get. I wasn’t quite ready to give up. My effort was twinged but at I still had some.

For the last three miles pain and I danced around the course. It seduced me with water stops, orange slice stops, Gatorade, etc. I wanted to give in. The temptations were hydrating. The allure had me salivating.

However, I knew relief was only three short miles ahead. And in three miles I would be greeted with a medal and a beer!!! Mmm beer! Please! And it was only three short miles away. Three short miles away after having already covered 23.2 miles!!! Why do I do this to myself? I’m crazy!

I begged my body for merciful forgiveness as I repeated: Only Three More Miles. Only Three More Miles. You Got This. You Got This. Easy. Light. Smooth. Glide. Fly. Flight. Run For Those Who Can’t. Pain Is Temporary. Beer. Beer in Thirty Minutes or Less! Fly.

I convinced myself that not all pain is significant. I focused on the finish and not my legs.

I started to fly.

Or so I thought…

With less than a mile to go I started to focus on my will rather than my physical strength. I was running on empty and enveloped in pain. I wanted to walk so bad! I squinted at my Garmin to see how much more distance I had to cover before I would finish. I was p.o.’d. The Garmin told me I had already run the distance of a marathon. Ugh!

I recall thinking that I must be close. The trouble was I couldn’t see ahead. I saw two or three massive displays of orange balloons. One of them promised to be the finish but I could not decipher which one.

I had a fear of sprinting too early, granny sprints or not, so I maintained my pace.

When I could finally see the finish line I realized I should have started sprinting a quarter-mile before. Hot dammm [bad].

I dug deep, shifted gears, and I ran as hard as I could to the finish. Granny kicked ass! I think.

I crossed that finish line. Hot Dammmm [good].

I was in pain. I was exhausted. I couldn’t walk. Hot Dammmm [bad].

I was overwhelmed with emotion. I PR’d! Stopping to breathe, contact issues , and all! Hot Dammmm [good].

I finished in 3:39:35. An 8:22 pace per mile!!! Hot diggity Dammmm [good].

I missed Boston by 4 minutes and 35 seconds. Had I run 10 seconds faster per mile I would have BQ’d. But I accepted the circumstances. Had I been 100% healthy, I bet I could have celebrated a BQ. Regardless, I PR’d by 11 minutes. That’s something I’m proud of, sick and all!

This was the first race where I finally met pain. I finally met exhaustion. I finally met the wall. They all stink, literally: Pain. Exhaustion. Wall. = PEW. Hot Dammmm [bad]. But I can’t wait to meet them again and crush them. Hot Dammmm [good] J

Thanks for stopping by!!!

Happy Running!!! Happy BQ’ing. Happy Cowbelling, he he he. Happy whatever makes you happy! Just be true to you!

XO

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Running: You Give Me Fever

6 Feb

I’ve been hitting it hard lately. Running. Running. Running. Did I mention aside from running all the things that take my time away from running? Things such as working, studying, not sleeping well, and a session of Crossfit (new addiction) to name a few.

Sometimes when fatigue hits me and boy when it does it hits hard, I question if I should rest. But resting is for woosies. Right?

Wrong.

But when I do give into rest days, I feel like a big baby and I’m guilt-ridden.

You see, when I am in desperate need of a rest day I battle my logic, my heart, and my training plan-the dreaded marathon training plan in which I do not follow, at all. But it’s there on my counter, glaring at me with tons of unspoken suggestions. When I finally make eye contact it tries to prescribe a 6-10 mile run. So what I do is a quick self-assessment to determine what my prescription ought to be amped up to because I have a fever and it’s running hot (You like that? You see what I did there? Pun intended!). I run 12,15, or 20 miles on my long runs because I can, not 10. A 10 mile run is sprinkled in somewhere during my Monday-Friday routine. Perhaps I’m delirious but that’s what fevers do. 10 miles just doesn’t cut it for a long run. After all, I have my base miles down and I really need to work off those gummy bears I devoured at lunch. But then again, I’m friggin tired.

It is during these moments when I realize I need to question my sanity. Delirium and fevers aside, why wouldn’t I rest when I feel like my breathing is labored from pure exhaustion, when my body aches, and when I’m showing tell-tale signs of a suppressed immune system that is trying to ward off the flu and other bugs I’m certain I caught from public transit? Why did I sign up for a full marathon, again? Holy shit! I am a nut. I signed up for a marathon! I need to be institutionalized. The reality of running 26.2 miles is finally setting in. I mean, can I really run 26.2 treacherous miles, consecutively? I’ve only managed 20.1 miles to date and didn’t know how on Earth another 6.1 miles could be feasible. But when I’m running, I develop this fever for running, this addiction, this euphoric feeling that anything is possible. You see, the fever eliminates any pain and gives me a false sense of security. I call this delirium. Because the moment I’m done with a run I become fully aware that I signed up for a marathon-thinking I could really do it. That’s what’s funny. When I’m running I think I can finish a marathon. But during rest days and moments when I’m not running, the notion of running 26.2 miles exhausts me and I question my abilities. I’m just not too sure anymore if I’m capable of this labor unless I’m in an altered state of mind- running.

This marathon commitment requires me to log miles, miles, and more miles while I simultaneously beg my mind to give in to a rest day so that I may curl up in my bed under all the covers and get some shut eye, promising to savor every second of it.

And as the reality of this marathon thing sets in, so do other things. Things like the exhaustion. The exhaustion of my day leaving my mind numb and my limbs tired, heavy and begging for mercy.

I took a day off from running recently. I wrestled with the idea for hours. To guarantee my half-ass (I lost my full-ass—long distance runner problems) didn’t hit the treadmill I poured myself a glass of Malbec. I sipped my tasty red wine, sat back with my feet propped on my coffee table, and relaxed (or tried to). I still had a hot fever for running but forced myself to enjoy the solitude. I acknowledged I could tame my fever the following day and resolved that my prescription would be doubled. (2 runs in one).

The following day arrived and guilt hit me hard. Not only guilt for not logging the necessary miles the day prior to prep for my marathon (only 5 weeks away), I felt GUILT because I felt as if I retained all the water, the wine, and light dinner from the night before. My waistline felt 5 inches thicker and I felt as if I was a whopping 5 pounds heavier. At that very moment my fever began to blister!!! Screw the double dose prescription, this would be cured only if I tripled the dose (thank gosh I’m not really talking about drugs here).

I realized I wasn’t be rational so I got over the triple dose methodology to cure my fever and settled on the double dose. I continued my morning and as I perused the March 2014 Runner’s World while sitting on the metro I couldn’t help but laugh. I recall laughing at my madness and the madness of other runners. It appears most of us runners run a little hot and we are all a little neurotic… or a lot a bit neurotic.

Here’s what got me laughing.
________________________

March 2014 Runner’s Word, Screw Up–Like a Pro!
With a little stubbornness and stupidity, you can injure yourself the way elites do. Written by: Lauren Fleshman
Rest days are for babies:

I like to run, and I want to get better, so why wouldn’t I take a day off? The hard-core don’t take days off, do they? I bet Shalane worked out twice today. What will I do on my day off, anyway? Think about working out while my mitochondria evaporate? In one day my jeans feel tighter. There is no way this is from being hydrated for the first time in a week. It is fatness as a direct result in laziness. It’s only 9:30 p.m….still time to get in a quick four-miler.
_______________

It appears we are all addicted to the run and we all experience guilt. This article and I experience guilt and feel it on our waistline… And as our fevers blister, the only lovely way to burn is to run…

Takeaways

A rest day doesn’t mean you’re a woose or a baby, it means you’re tired and you’re body is begging you to slow down.

You can’t gain 5 inches in a day.

You can’t gain 5 pounds in a day. If you did, I assure you it’s just hydration and you will be 5 pounds lighter in no time.

Your jeans aren’t tighter because you took a rest day. You’re delirious and those jeans are just as tight as they were after you ran your last long run.

It’s okay to rest.

It’s okay to rest. (Intentionally duplicated)

Stop being guilt-ridden and enjoy your rest days.

Do one thing that scares you every month. (For me, it’s running a marathon)

Love the run.

Make pain a friend and you’ll never be alone.

Stop feeling guilty for eating gummy bears (Okay, that’s me…it’s my blog I can write what I want) 🙂

Keep running your race.

Have faith.

Enjoy being neurotic.

Thanks for reading and stopping by!

XOXO

Valerie
Runnergirl

My Night Table

28 Mar

My night table is stacked with magazines. There is a collection of Women’s Running, Running Times, Runner’s World, Fitness, Self, Muscle and Fitness Hers etc. It’s incredible! These magazines accumulate not because of an annual subscription but more like because on a whim I pick one up thanks to the curiosity that hits me when standing in line at the grocery store (primarily Sprouts) when there is only one cashier working on a double ad Wednesday. (Double ad Wednesday people!!!) Needless to say, the cashier often works as fast as he/she can all the while there are typically four people in front of me. It appears we are always stricken with boredom while in line if we aren’t being entertained by our phones. If we don’t pull out our phones and tune in to the social media sites, text, or make a call, our hands become restless and idle and become desperate for activity.

 
And then my mind registers the excess of magazines at eye level. There is an array of magazines well placed to capture the attention of the very eclectic audience that Sprouts drives in. Like a ton of bricks I am often hit with a sudden interest toward Gluten Free Eating, Gluten Free Baking, Eating Green, Paleo Diet, Yoga and more. It’s ironic because I know it’s coming but it still shocks me each time when I am lured towards a magazine my lifestyle will never mirror. Vegan Health and Fitness… REALLY? I think NOT! I’m not knocking it but that just doesn’t suit me. Yet I’m always so captivated to learn more about it. Then this white light glows down upon a Women’s Running magazine. The word RUNNING sparkles and becomes 3D like. I’m fascinated and drawn to it! I opt to reach for the magazine versus digging in my gym bag for my phone to surf the net. It’s nice to feel pages versus scrolling through them. It’s nice to read an article without my having my eyes have to adjust to the bright LED light. I peruse through the articles in the magazine and boom, it felt like a minute hadn’t gone by when it’s finally my turn to check out. I often don’t become reluctant on whether or not to buy the magazine but I hesitate. If it were the normal gossip trash I wouldn’t protest as to whether or not to put it back in the newsstands. But this was Women’s Running. I felt obligated to purchase it. After all, there are articles that I could actually benefit from reading unlike the who’s who of drama you’d find in the normal People or US. You might know what’s going on with Taylor Swift or the newest drama from the Bachelor or Real Housewives of whichever city, but I know how to avoid runner’s knee and what proper yoga stretches to do after a long run. What’s more valuable? I tell you this, the only gossip I know is from the quick entertainment reports that KTAR, the voice of Arizona 92.3, affords me on my way into work. And perhaps the few times I shuffle through the gossip magazines at other grocery stores. Come to think of it, I like that Sprouts doesn’t have that assortment of reading material. Sprouts is founded on providing their neighborhoods with fresh and natural foods which I’ll interpret to also be synonymous for providing us a fresh and healthy lifestyle free of contamination (ie gossip magazines) 

 

With that, fresh and natural foods, I might have to add that though it has nothing to do with running directly, I’m addicted to Kale. Kale salads. Kale chips. Kale. Kale. Kale. Kale! I love it. Thank you, Sprouts for always delivering the best and most freshest quality!

 
May you have a Happy Wednesday! Followed with Happy Running! And a Happy healthy lifestyle!~
XO

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