Archive Page 2

Not Hating, well, Everything

Even though I woke up this morning and rushed out the door at 6:50 hating the world (where is my watch? why is my hair so flat? THESE PANTS LOOK TERRIBLE ON ME WHY DID I DECIDE TO WEAR THEM?) I somehow am on the couch at 8 p.m….okay. Not…angry. I know that’s hardly happy sparkles and rainbows, but it’s progress over here in the rainy, dreary South Pacific.

A few things that I’m forcing myself to write down, that contributed to me being less, erm, rageful (shut up red squiggly line, that IS a word) today:

Noticing that every dumb wah wah wah blog post I throw out on the interwebs snags a comment from the lovely (overused word but it’s true here) Heather. I’ve never been lucky enough to meet her in person, though I read her blog religiously (and uh, never comment. Because I do my blog reading on my iPad via Google Reader at the office when I have spare moments…aka no live connection while I’m perusing.) She always has something nice to say. Something that makes me smile. Something that tells me we could totally be friends if we could just live on the same damn continent. Also? She’s a tremendously talented runner who works hard. I like that.

This is an old photo that I snapped at my desk, but it was the day I learned from bloggerville that Peanut Butter Cheerios were apparently a thing. (No access to normal groceries here, so, uhm, I’m kind of a martian on this front.) It makes me a little sad that this is all it takes to be exciting these days, but it’s still pretty funny (to me and possibly no one else.)

workplace chatter.

I went to the gym at lunch today (like usual) with no desire to run. At all. (Mostly usual.) And somehow I mind-gamed myself through six miles. I’m not going to pretend it was some killer workout (it wasn’t; it involved lots of hill here! speed up there! I’m getting treadmill ADD…) but I made myself do a thing I didn’t want to do. To get myself closer to a goal (being a better runner.) That’s not so bad.

I bought these online and in like 6-8 weeks, they’ll be here. No, I don’t puddle-jump much, but who cares?

I won't pretend I need these. Don't judge.

My boss brought me back gels and a pair of shoes from Houston after his latest stint there. There’s a sworn duty around here to be a courier of goods whenever you’re able.

fuel! and purple!

The shoes are the Mizuno Wave Enigma and they’re a little stiff for my liking, but I wear them for blah-de-dah runs where I’m not shooting for specific distances or paces. They’re not quite my cup of tea but they work (and help offset the miles I put on my true lovers, the Brooks Launch.)

Because uploading a photo is a time-consuming affair, my patience is now used up. But there you go, I said some things that weren’t totally negative. Baby steps.

Happy running.

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You Still Have to Finish

Thanks for listening to me whine last week. And thanks even more for your thoughtfulness. A suggestion I got in response (from several people) was to get my yoga on. (Or in my case, uh, start doing it.) I’ve never been into it, but it can’t hurt, right? When we go to Hong Kong in a few weeks (see what a jerk I am? I have one of those great vacations coming up and yet WHINE WHINE WHINE) I plan to take a few classes and download some podcasts or find some DVDs.

This week has been pretty lackluster training wise – I definitely don’t feel like I’m firing on all cylinders, but it was still an improvement from the week prior, which I’ll take. I have a little IT band thing bothering me so I’ve been spending more time with my foam roller, but otherwise physically things are good. Any struggles I’ve had are really more centered around the fact that the treadmill is becoming so so SO boring. (Also, new shoes, please get here! Pretty sure too many miles on the current two pairs in my rotation are to blame for the aforementioned IT band pain.)

I ended the week with 47.5 miles, and February was 185 miles, which I think might be a high for me. So even if I felt like I was slogging through a lot of those miles about to meet my untimely demise because surely I was about to DIE OF BOREDOM, I’m keeping my promise to myself to keep up a good base while we’re here. And I guess that’s something.

I’ve been in one of those moods this past week where almost anything can push me to tears – have you ever been there? Can’t get my headphones untangled? Tears. Spilled coffee all over the counter?  Tears. Snarl in my hair that won’t come out? Aaaand tears. (Are you seeing a theme here?) During one of my random outbursts of crying like a small child, Mr. Engineer said something that’s helping me change how I think about, well, things.

“You’ve been having a tough couple of days, huh?” he asked.

*Sniffle* “Yeah. I’m just not getting any better at this.” *Snot everywhere. Unattractive sobbing. More sniffles*

“Yeah, I suppose. Mile 26 of a marathon isn’t easier than the first one is it?”

Wait, what’s that now?

He said it so matter-of-factly, so casually, I don’t think he meant to make some big sweeping generalization…but it got me thinking. Why am I so convinced this is supposed to get easier? Why do I waste so much energy being frustrated that I’m not better at this a year later?

For me, the hardest miles of a marathon are those ones in no-man’s-land around 15 or 16. You’re past the half, but uh, crap. There are still like 10 miles left. It’s certainly not when I’m congratulating myself on how great an accomplishment it is to have run 16 miles. And it’s definitely not when I’m thinking “WHY IS THIS GETTING HARDER AND NOT EASIER DON’T UNDERSTAND OMG!” To expect mile 16 to feel better than the first mile (while I realize it can if you know what you’re doing) is just silly. It’s supposed to be hard. Well that somewhere-in-the-middle mile marker is about where we’re at in this little adventure right now. There are still at least 10 to go.

I don’t mean to make some cheesy life=marathon bumper-sticker type generalization, but, damn. Maybe I’d be happier if instead of wondering why I was some kind of mutant for not liking it here, I just accepted the fact that it’s ok to not like it. No need to feel bad about it, right?

I fell apart somewhere around 15-16 in Fargo a couple years ago. While at least a million things ran through my mind that day, never once was one of them “wahhhh this hard I want to quit.” It was always “get to that tree,” salvage this mile,” “YOU BOUGHT A FINISHER’S JACKET YOU ASS YOU HAVE TO FINISH!”

So to myself, I say the same thing that eventually got me to finish line that day:

Suck it up. You can hate it, but you still have to finish.

Happy running.

That Thing I said I’d Do

Remember when I last posted (like a month ago or something) and said I’d run 26 miles on my 26th birthday? Well I did it.

The start of year 26 commenced with a 4 a.m. wake-up for 12 pre-work miles. I did 9 over lunch, and got the rest in after work. And then I ate three (large) pieces of the cake our group’s admin so sweetly got for me. (She actually staged a whole little surprise party type deal in one of our conference rooms. I thought I had a meeting about an upcoming workshop and bam! Cake! It was incredibly thoughtful.)

(Also duh I ate way more than that, I just thought I’d point out that I was lucky enough to get cake, even in this turd-hole of a country.)

A couple power outages prevented me from recording exact times, but total run time was about 4 hours and 20 minutes. Right where a conservative 26 mile effort ought to be for me, I think. (Especially since I’m not at the best level of fitness I’ve ever been at.)

I’ve been trying to up my mileage lately, and have done some reading on Lydiard’s “Miles make Champions” business…it’s bait I’m willing to take. I’ve always thought that I stood up to moderate (50ish a week is what this means for me…I know it’s subjective) mileage fairly well, in that I’m (KNOCKS ON WOOD) not injury prone and honestly just like running big (for me) miles. I feel good when I’m over 40. Mentally, physically…it just works for me.

Last week I was going for my first ever 60+ mile week. By Friday I had 41 miles on the books and plans for a 20 miler over the weekend. And then I came down with (what I think was) food poisoning, and well, I’ll spare you the details. But I got through 4 miles of my run before I had to go spend the next two straight days rotating between the bathroom and the fetal position.

This week was a planned cutback week, and it’s been abysmal. My stomach funk isn’t gone, and I just don’t give a damn right now. I can’t stand the the thought of being on the treadmill for hours at a time anymore. I lost a day of running to feeling like hell, and another one to a day where I had to be at the office before 6 a.m. and didn’t get home until about 8:30 p.m.

You “full-time blogger” types? Can suck it.

I’m in this magical place where I just hate pretty much everything. Today our power went out because the infrastructure here is a joke. It didn’t even affect everyone in our complex–just us. Lucky us! This is the second time we’ve been so lucky to get the it’s-just-you power outage. (And that’s to say nothing of the times the power goes out ((DAILY)) that affect everyone).

Yesterday I wanted nothing but peanut butter and jelly toast for breakfast. And then I opened a brand new NOT EXPIRED (hard to find here) jar of jelly and it was covered in mold.

And THEN I bought $80 worth of asparagus and brussels sprouts unknowingly. (As in, no posted prices, and I didn’t get that fun little gem of information until the bastards had my credit card.)

robbery.

 

HATE. EVERYTHING.

I got in less than 30 miles this week. And I just can’t bring myself to care.

I know I’m being a whiny brat here, and every now and again I get to take kick-ass vacations…but the time in between those? Fricking sucks. My life is one giant repeat of wake up, bus to work at 7 a.m., run at lunch, eat something shitty, home around 6, re-watch some episode of something we downloaded the last time we were in the first world, sleep. And repeat.

I’m lucky. I know I am. Mr. Engineer and I work for what I’m guessing some magazine somewhere has rated one of the best companies there is to work for. And I’m grateful for that.

But living here is just so hard. We’ve been doing it for a year and I’m just not good at it yet. I’m not.

So, to my five readers, how do you pull yourself out of a funk? I’m chest-deep in negativity and can’t shake it. I think I want to–I have at least a year left here, so I have to–but damn I’m struggling right now.

Happy running.

Nothing great, but something.

I junked Saturday’s long run because I heard from my boss (he’s on leave back in Houston right now) that he might not be ready for the half marathon FACE OFF in February (Insert boooooo here. And frustration. And aggravation. And failure to elaborate further because I don’t want to get dooced.)

Instead, I jumped on the treadmill and decided to run 800s. I had no idea what I could do and finished knowing I could have done better (no puke threshold encountered! win!) Here’s what happened:

3:40.3
3:34.2
3:34.8
3:35.7
3:41.4
3:28.5
I did them Yasso-style, with recovery (approximately) equivalent to run time–I kept it at 3:35. So there’s still something there, I hope. It’s pretty weak, I’ll admit. But someday when my running shoes get to hit pavement again, hopefully it’s worthwhile.
Right now, I’m just bummed. There’s no racing in sight. No opportunity to get in meaningful training (I KNOW there are people out there who run bananas miles on a treadmill and then run killer marathons…to those people I say, you have a LOT of natural talent. Promise. You do.) I miss that feeling of willing my Garmin to find the signal early in the morning so I can stop freezing…so my legs can move and I can be warm…seeing a mile beep across the watch and knowing warm-up time is over and it’s time to kick it up a notch.
It occurs to me so much of my frustration with living here deals with how it’s impacted my running; something I’m mediocre at (at best) and yet, it meant the world to me. It still means the world to me.
I haven’t found a way to deal with this healthily yet. And I don’t know if I will.
(And some photos because my business trip to Brisbane has been postponed and therefore fast Internet is, well, far far away. This? Took forever. Hope you enjoy.)

with my (not so) baby sisters over Christmas.

I freaking love this girl.

And I’ve now spent 27 minutes waiting for these two photos two upload. That’s my limit for tonight…guess I still don’t have any patience.

Have you been here before? Stuck in some void of training neverland? Misery loves company, you know.

Happy running.

In Case You Were Wondering, I Still Run

So in the last month I did some globe-trotting (Australia! Vegas! Korea! and the most exciting, South Dakota!) saw some people I missed dearly, and had a ton of fun. When I’m in Brisbane for work in the next couple weeks I’ll upload photos…the internet here is too damn slow to bother. But for now, I wanted to get something in writing here to hold myself to it.

I don’t have any strong prospects for getting in a marathon anytime soon. For a while there it looked like I’d be able to get to LA in March and run there, but that’s since fallen through. I’ve been staring at the calendar with little direction for training, wishing there could be SOMETHING to get excited about.

And then last night after a team PNG-Mex dinner (it’s a thing now, and it’s not nearly as good as TexMex, but we sure do try) and a few too many Coronas (we can get Coronas here now! This is big!) my boss and I somehow ended up challenging each other to a half marathon face-off (insert cheese-tastic gesture from that terrible movie here.)

Obviously it has to be on the treadmill (don’t worry though, our gym at work has 3 treadmills so we’ll be duking it out alongside each other) and the date is set for February 18th. Based on his age (in his 40s) and the fact that he’s not a competitive runner AT ALL, we agreed on a handicap of 5 minutes and 2 seconds for him. (I did some creeping around on age-graded performances to find this number.) He’s already said he thinks it’d be a stretch for him to win (I smell sandbagging), but he was down for the challenge to finish it.

And me? I’m taking this as a challenge to beat the pants off of him.

I figure since I’ll be running from the comfort of a temperature-controlled gym with water/gel/whatever at my fingertips (but not having to carry it or stop/slow down for it) with no hills, there’s no reason why I can’t match my current PR (1:48:33). I don’t have any illusions about being in shape to run a REAL 1:48 right now, but on a treadmill I think it’s possible. I think I just might be able to get under that too, and that’s officially my goal: to hit stop before the clock gets to my PR.

Clearly I’ve got to bring my A game for this one, lest I be ribbed mercilessly by the guys I work with. (We’re a pretty laid back dish-it-out group. I’d NEVER hear the end of it if I lost to my casual gym-goer boss when they know I spend my lunch break on a treadmill most days.)

So basically, I’ve got a month. Since it suited me well in Philly, I’m not making a training plan. I will, however, start running some of those painful mile repeats again, and getting in some serious suffering on the ‘mill. I’m back at 35 miles a week, so I think I can jump into some intensity without too many negative effects (aside from the regret/horror that comes along with putting the treadmill at anything over 8.0 for a considerable amount of time…)

And just because I can, I’m running 26 miles on the my 26th (February 6th!) I won’t be able to do it all at once since it’s a work day (unless I got up at 2 am…) but that’s something I’ve been meaning to commit myself to as well. Just for fun.

So there you have it. February 6th, my legs get a marathon worth of miles. And on the 18th, I shall obtain some bragging rights with the boys at the office. Wish me luck!

Happy running.

Random Musings

I’m straight-up OBSESSED with Ingrid Michaelson’s “The Chain” (particularly the live from Webster Hall version). I’ve left my AP lit days behind me and have yet to interpret exactly what this song means, but I nearly tear up at the end and I don’t know why. I like it. (EDITED TO ADD: I googled the lyrics. That? Is not what my ears heard. Got the meaning now. Hah.)

I’m home alone this week (haha blogger safety SUCK IT! I’m 7,000 miles away from most of my readers and I have an electrified fence, guards, an alarm system, and far greater threats than blog creepers nearby) because Mr. Engineer is up in the Highands (aka the actual middle of nowhere). It’s supposed to be some incredibly beautiful scenery. It’s also where all the tangible threats of, um…unfriendly locals, uh, lurk. (Use your imagination/google here…I’m bound by a confidentiality agreement not to divulge all the things I know.)

Last Monday I flew the most miles I’ve ever consecutively flown ever. (I’m also now turbo-platinum with American/OneWorld! Score!) I’d post some ridiculous map showing my journey but I actually went AROUND the world so it’s hard to draw out in one dimension, you know? But every flight was late, and I did a mad-dash sprint in the Atlanta airport carrying two fairly heavy bags on legs that had juuuuust run a marathon (ow!) Lucky for me I made it back to Port Moresby with my bags (and all the good coffee I smuggled back!) If you’re curious, the route was Philly-Atlanta-Houston-Dallas-Brisbane (like a 17 hour flight FRICK!)-Port Moresby. Whole lotta butt time.

This meant that when I woke up the morning after getting back (Thursday! you lose so much time coming here!) I was ready to RUN!) Just four miles…I know better than to push it post-marathon…but I’ve gotten in lots more miles since and the legs are good. I’m counting myself lucky to be someone who can handle/likes high (relative term–like 50ish  a week makes me damn happy) mileage…now if I can just figure out how to run those miles quickly…hmmm….

I’m dying to get out of here for Christmas. So much so that I’m already dreading our return post-Christmas. I know that’s terrible, and I’m trying to get myself to stop thinking that way. I mean, we get nearly a MONTH away! It’s hard to be be homesick for so long though, you know? It’s also crushing my soul that we have no Christmas decorations here and all I want to do is decorate like mad and bake cookies and sing Christmas carols like there’s no tomorrow. And it’s 90 degrees out.

I wore a sweater and a scarf to work Friday even though the aforementioned temperature was in full swing. The day after Thanksgiving is for cuddling up and feeling cozy DAMMIT.

Well, if you’re still reading even though your quick scan of this post told you there were no photos (the horror!) two gold stars for you. Hope you’re well, loving life, and doing a better job of appreciating the present than I am. I’m working on it.

Happy running.

Philadelphia

If you’re all about the numbers, we finished in 4:26:51, hand-in-hand, smiling like fools.

Here’s how we got there.

I arrived in Philly at about 6:00 Friday evening, and Megan and Jeri were scheduled to land just a little bit later. I was waiting at the terminal exit for them and we all jumped around and screamed like prepubescent girls meeting the Backstreet Boys when we first saw each other. (WHAT?! It had been nearly a year. It’s totally allowed).

After wrangling everyone’s bags (they all made it there! Hooray!) we took a cab to the Downtown Marriott, our home for the weekend. Then it was off to the Hard Rock Cafe (starving!) which was conveniently right outside our door.

beer. natch.

We were having a grand ol’ time chatting away until some less-than-stellar band got on stage and drowned out the ability to hear your own thoughts. Also? We ordered way too much food. And left an embarrassing amount behind.

reunited!

And then obviously we stayed up way too late drinking overpriced white wine from the hotel bar and catching up. (See how we adhered to that whole two-nights-before-is-the-most-important-sleep rule? Heh).

is wine a carb?

And then after not nearly enough sleep it was expo time!

We got our bibs and all that jazz, wandered around, took all sorts of photos, and met our old training program standby author Hal.

shoppin! (we didn't buy that ill-fitting tank, btw).

I have gorgeous friends.

I think I'll just pose by this here balloon arch. yup, that's what I'll do...

evidently I'm now one of the Von Trapp Family singers. Cuck-oo!

Hal!

Later we headed out for a shake-out run to the start line (we were a little over a mile away…foreshadowing! It seemed a lot farther post-race!)

cheeeeese!

getting familiar with the start/finish line

After that, it was time for our pre-race dinner. We ended up just eating a decent but rather unremarkable meal at the hotel restaurant because Maggiano’s (awesome looking Italian place across the street) was jam-packed booked and had a crazy wait for take-out.

obviously we coordinated outfits.

Sometime after dinner Jeri and Megan told me about Get Off My Internets (I’m like a martian now you guys, seriously…I don’t know anything about what the world is watching/listening to/up to) and I proceeded to be entertained for, um, a while. And then we all got hungry again and spent like $20 on hotel gift shop snacks. For the carbs? Soon it was time to get some sleep.

The next morning it was all about oatmeal, coffee and more matching outfits.

those weird lumps? that how I carry my GU. Now you know.

So this wouldn’t be a running blog if I didn’t overshare about something bodily function-related, right? Well we were getting ready and I was the only one who couldn’t, um, take care of the business. No amount of coffee seemed to do the trick. I wasn’t panicked though…in fact it had barely entered my mind were were running a race–I was cool as a cucumber. I tried convincing myself I really just didn’t need to go. (Hint: that wasn’t the case). Pretty soon we headed out into the perfect temperatures towards the race start.

there's ol' lumpy sports bra again

We made a super quick porta-potty stop right outside our corral before making our way to the line and congratulated ourselves on the fact that the three of us going in the same one (one at a time) took less time in total than ALL the people in line ahead of us individually.

That’s how it’s done. (<—We maybe yelled that triumphantly as we jogged away…I dunno…it’s hard to recall…)

Our corral inched its way toward the line (they put actual minutes between corrals this year to help the crowding–a good thing) and the horn sounded. And just like that, we were running a marathon.

I don’t have exact splits for you because I forgot my ANT+ stick and thusly haven’t uploaded the run yet, and my Garmin is conveniently packed in one of my checked bags. (But if you’re dying for splits, my bet is that Jeri will post them). Here’s how I remember the race though:

Early miles:

We were going slow. Effortlessly slow. The crowds were pretty packed and we made a decision not to weave and waste energy. The overall race plan was to run smart, run a negative split, and finish together. Our motto was “If one of us poops, we all poop!” (More foreshadowing: I benefited most from this group decision to stay together on unanticipated bathroom stops). We figured we were going to be able to easily land in the 4:20ish range, and nobody flinched at the slow miles. Better to start slow than fast, we told ourselves.

We all carried our shuffles but didn’t have them on. We were chatting away, enjoying the cool temperatures and I was incorrectly recalling everything I thought I remembered from 2009. Everything was peachy.

Sometime after we saw the first set of porta-pottys on the course (around mile 2? I can’t remember and I threw away my race guide) it occurred to me I might need to use one. But it could wait for the next ones, I decided.

And then less than a mile later, my stomach made that horrible dropping feeling where you just KNOW it’s time to find a bathroom STAT. I ran ahead of Jeri and Megan craning my neck for one, and they kept on the lookout too. And here’s my only complaint about this race: there aren’t enough bathroom stops on the course. Nowhere near enough.

After several miles of feeling like I might have a Very Embarrassing Thing happen to me, we came to a water stop where I practically screamed at the nice people handing out water “Where’s the next bathroom?!?!” They said it was right around the corner.

They lied.

Thankfully about half a mile later Jeri suggested we duck into this Starbucks. That girl is brilliant. Jeri came in with me while Megan documented it for posterity’s sake

the scene of the crime...#1

I don’t remember anything remarkable about these miles–I kept my Garmin on the current lap screen so all I could see was how far I was into this mile (do you do this Susan? are you who I stole this idea from? Thanks!) and it really helped keep from being all “OMG SO MANY MILES LEFT!” and instead every time I happened to look at my wrist I’d congratulate myself on being .xx into a mile instead of dwelling on what was left. For a while later in the race I even managed to lose track of which mile we were on and it was actually really great.

Not many miles later my stomach let me know it wasn’t done with me yet. Luckily, we came up on one of the very very few bathroom stops and I hollered that I was stopping. Obviously we took a photo while I waited in line.

the scene of the crime...#2

After that one I actually felt 100% good to go, so that was nice, but I cost us some minutes. Normally in a race stopping is a mental game-ruiner for me, but this didn’t phase me so much. I had to stop, so I stopped. And then we kept running. Simple as that.

The only other memory that stands out prior to the half was the hill at mile 9 which was a little sudden and then became gradual and took foreverrrrr to get to the top of. Somewhere in there though we remembered that this was the worst hill in the course and started (between gasps) encouraging ourselves with this little nugget. It’ll never be worse than this!

Then we split from the half marathoners and began our trek out to Manayunk.

Somewhere after is the only time I distinctly recall struggling. My legs were just sort of achy–I assume because they were used to the treadmill and not pavement-pounding. Megan and Jeri took the lead and I fell in right behind them. I didn’t say out loud that I was hurting–I figured if I did it made it real. Instead I said this:

“If I start to complain, remind me that 48 hours form now I’d KILL to be right here.”

(It was what I was telling myself, after all. And if you’re wondering, YES, being in mid-marathon pain is SO MUCH BETTER than living in PNG. SO. MUCH.)

It wasn’t until 18ish that I snapped out of my funk–by then we had gone by some awesome cheer zones and were getting to some heavier crowds. Once we hit 20ish and made the turnaround in Manyunk something clicked–I just knew I was going to be okay. We were going to do this.

Not much after Jeri suddenly declared it was bathroom time NOW. Having experienced the same horrible feeling only miles earlier, I started frantically scanning the road for bathrooms–none. Then Megan spotted a CVS across the road. Done. Jeri conveniently had her stop right by a sign great for photos (and someone even offered to take one for us!)

inbound!

Jeri’s totally in there…

the scene of the crime...#3

(Somewhere around here we all drank some beer that spectators were handing out. It was amazing).

After this we just kept trucking back towards the art museum, and soon we all stuck our headphones in to zone out to our respective power jams. (For me, Lady Gaga does the trick). Jeri and I were stride for stride in these miles, and Megan tucked in just behind. I can’t even type how awesome these final miles felt without getting all teary-eyed–we must have passed HUNDREDS of people, and were just in the zone. We moved swiftly as a pack down Kelly Drive, silently in our own heads. No one needed to say it. We had this.

We decided to give it hell around 25, and Jeri and I started to push harder. For a split second Megan seemed like she was hurting, and then suddenly she was right there, busting her ass and staying right with us. I kept one earphone in and let Lady Gaga scream in my ear while I kept the other one open for the crowds I knew were coming.

Not many strides later I shut my music off and pulled out my headphones so I could take it all in. THIS was the finish line experience I so badly wanted back in 2009, and dammit we were getting it. Tons of people were calling out our names and cheering for us (we stood out in those shirts!) and we just kept passing people left and right. So this is what finishing a marathon is supposed to feel like, huh?

Just before we got to the point where we could see the finish line I hollered to Megan to come up to my side so we could position ourselves for the finish line photo (<—basically the underlying goal of this whole weekend) and I think she said she was sorry or something–I think she was hurting–and Jeri and I just started yelling our heads off with all sorts of stuff. I remember her saying “This is so freaking cool!” and I recall blurting out “This is why we run!” It was truly the coolest damn feeling to know I had 26 miles on my legs and I was hauling. And all these people were there to cheer us in.

Whatever it was Megan said, she was right there, and as the line came into view we positioned ourselves between a few finishers so we could make sure our photo was amazing. We grabbed each others’ hands right before we hit the line, raised them in the air and hit that final timing mat.

(Also, Megan ran an 11-minute PR. Off of a 6-week training cycle. BOOM).

We all immediately bent over and grabbed our knees and the volunteers questioned us vigorously as to whether or not we were okay (which we later learned was sadly because two runners had collapsed earlier in the day) while we caught our breath. I had the dopiest smile on my face  and assured him I was fine–I was just a little tired. Excellent volunteers though. Gold stars for them.

We slowly started to make our way through the chute, get our blankets and medals, and pose for a few more pictures. The stiffness started to set in and we moved slowly, but not without finding some nice person to snap this photo:

we finished! together!

We got some chicken broth (which I’ve never had after a race and was like the nectar of the Gods!) and made the slow, slow trek back to the hotel. I was feeling the miles, but Jeri definitely had it the worst of all of us. I won’t steal her thunder and try to tell her story, but that girl is a badass who must have run many many miles with a jank foot. The whole way back we marveled at how well-executed it was–so that’s what it feels like to finish a marathon the right way? To run a kick-ass negative split? Awesome.

(Note more for me than anyone else: GU Roctane at miles 5, 10, 15, 20, sipped Gatorade at the final water stops with water as well. Worked perfectly).

It must have taken us hours to get back to the hotel (I actually have no idea…but seriously, it was a while) and we got to showering the stank off ourselves. It was while Megan was in the shower that Jeri said something to me I couldn’t agree with more:

“I’m more proud of this than I would be if I had PR’d.”

Me too. We ran smart, we stuck to our plan, and we gave it hell at the end. That’s how it’s done.

Being the type-A nutjobs we are, we obviously recognized that simply not having to make SO MANY poop stops alone would have put us under 4:20, and we definitely took it very slow in those early miles–but who knows what would have happened if we hadn’t? No regrets on this one. And that’s never happened to me before.

Also, having three of us stay together was just perfect–we all had our moments where we needed a little help. Megan said she felt like she might have given up towards the end if we hadn’t been there–I felt the exact same way around 15-16. Teamwork for the win! And running 26.2 miles with two of your best friends is just indescribably awesome.

Later we hobbled to a cab to to take us to the traditional post-race Mexican, picked up cupcakes from the Flying Monkey in Reading Terminal Market (I had a pumpkin spice one! So good!) and then laid around the hotel for a while. Obviously we got hungry again not long after and headed out for sushi, followed by beers at an Irish pub.

post-race with mrs. PR!

she just sparkles, dontcha think?

When we walked into the pub there was a group of people who had obviously run as well and they all started clapping for us (we had our medals on) and I couldn’t help but smile like a fool. This is the first time I’ve ever run a marathon I was truly proud of.

finish line re-enactment. as it turns out, Megan's chip time was one second behind ours. this was our very arty visual representation of that happening. you totally get it, right?

We spent a couple glorious hours between the sushi joint and the pub just chatting away, reliving the best parts of the day, and assuring ourselves two and a half weeks isn’t that long at all (<–when I’m back in the states for Christmas vacation!)

a beer and a marathon medal? color me happy.

I couldn’t possibly be happier with how everything went–it was nuts in the first place to try to run a marathon off such a short training cycle, plus I had the added monkey wrench of not being able to train outside, and Megan and Jeri have always been injury prone when their mileage gets high–and yet, we all came through it with flying colors.

Hand in hand.

Happy running.


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