Monday, December 5, 2011

Recovery: 26.2 miles equals 35 days in my world

Today I am wrapping up my "one day for every mile you ran" recovery plan hence, the 26.2 miles equals 35 days in my world, and daydreaming about all the great things I did during that time.

Like a good girl I followed up MCM with TWO HUGE glasses of chocolate milk. First one because they say it is good for recovery and second one just incase. Chocolate Milk may not have picked me (meaning I don't have enough friends to vote for me) but, I picked chocolate milk... happily. I take recovery seriously and I think it is just as important as preparing for the race… as do I think the six pack of beer that cames with the milk is important. Heehee. Needless to say by the end of the day I wasn’t feeling much pain. I unfortunately cannot say the same for Monday morning. It is interesting to see the different hobbles/dragging/in need of a wheelchair/crawling and/or walks people do after a big race, in fact any race. I apparently have the zombie walk.

Put left foot forward and bring right foot to meet left foot. At some point during the day it changed to put right foot forward and bring left foot to meet right foot.

(I think I was running like that too)

For the most part I recovered pretty well. Wednesday night was the only time I was concerned. I went to bed shivering uncontrollably. The Thursday after the race was the first day I went out for a recovery run, only 2 miles, and it felt fantastic. I wish I had done it sooner. Don’t get me wrong things hurt but nothing was broken thankfully.

As for the parts I am daydreaming about:

With MCM so close to Halloween I came to terms with the idea that I would not be doing anything for Halloween... that was my first mistake. Covergirl decided for us that we were going to dress up (3in heels for me, 6in heels for her) and get our groove on. Second mistake was wearing a wig… I don’t recommend it if you plan to go buck wild on the dance floor. There are other things I wouldn’t recommend from that night but I think my father reads this. So just use your imagination… chances are you are right or close. And I am not saying almost getting arrested by a very attractive cop who wouldn't let me back in the club had anything to do our night out either.  


Two weeks after the race I hopped on a plane to Huntsville AL to be the Maid of Honor at my best friends wedding.
 (There are no words to describe how much I love this girl)

Nothing like putting a non-religious, girl that has lived most of her adult life in New York in Bible Belt southern hospitality central and tell her to be focused on getting the job done.

Pretty sure I didn’t make many friends while I was there but I did however make sure the most important thing happened... come locust, hell or parted waters. D and Mgirl were going to say “I do”. And they did.

Sidenote: If you are not the crying type or don’t want to be the crying type… don’t go to a wedding that is completely and utterly drowning in love. Sobbing mess the entire ceremony.

Alabama was actually a great place to go run, believe it or not. A couple of times that week I came face to face with this:

 It was glorious. Do you see how the sidewalk ends in the middle picture...its like they knew nobody would go up that hill by foot.

Many folks in the house were glad I went running… apparently I am a little high strung and needed an outlet. Southerner’s don’t do high strung.

A day trip with running group that involved no running for me.

During my recovery month I celebrated my birthday which was nice and low key just like I wanted it to be.  

I also set out for a trail run race, Turkey Burnoff in Gaithersburg MD,with a fellow running buddy and dear friend. It was all on paved road in a park.


  (I am back there somewhere)
I was slightly disappointed however, the rolling and rolling and rolling hills made me forget I was disappointed. This race was a loop which the 10 milers had to do twice. I would be lying if I said I didn’t consider just crossing the finish line after first loop.

 (Totally raced ahead of him so it would look like I was in the lead)

But I didn’t. Come 50K training, my life is going to be all about endurance so I thought I would get a head start on that mantra.

(Official time 1:38:08)

Running Partner and I threw a kickass Thanksgiving party for all our friends. As you may have noticed in “MCM… I didn’t do it alone” we have some awesome people in our life and we wanted to share a Thxgiv dinner with them. 

So with good times had by all, I am now mentally preparing for Full Bloom 50K on April 21st. Marathon training was 4 days a week with a long run on Saturday. Ultra training is 5 days a week with 2 long runs over the weekend.

I said on my birthday I wanted to do things that would scare me this year. I am scared.

Do you follow the "One day for every mile you ran" recovery plan?

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

MCM... I didn't do it alone.

So you would think the biggest race of my life I would have an update the day of but no instead I wait until all the Gu packets are cleaned up along Haines Point, the professional photographer has uploaded and photo shopped Every. Single. Picture before I start writing about the Biggest Race of my life. 

I will still call it the biggest race of my life because it is the race that has opened my mind up to so much. At this point it is not anymore about can I do it but more so when and how can I afford to do it. (Now if I could just get my hands on a Sugar Daddy then the only thing holding me back is “when”)

Texas, Cover Girl and I getting ready to ruin the potty.. I mean run the race.

Morning of the race, all the girls met up and we made our way to the bag check and the all important porta potty. I stood in line thinking I will just get this out of the way… maybe a little tinkle considering I left the other goods at the nice clean loo back home. Dear Mary Mother of anything unattractive and unsexy I apparently didn’t. After an almost devastating deposit we made our way to the start line. I say ‘almost’ because apparently I wasn’t done. My heart and soul was signed up for this race but anything and everything that had a way out of my body made a run for it. (pun intended). This is all before the start line. The person that put porta potties right before the start line is pretty much the smartest person alive.

At this point I was committed to running the whole 26.2 miles by myself as I lost everyone in the group. As I started jogging slowly to the start line I heard people yelling my name… it was the rest of the group (minus Tracy). They stopped right at the line to tie shoe laces. I will use another blog to express my opinions about shoe laces and races.
And off we go laces tied, potty destroyed and arm warmers gone.

The first 6 miles was pure torture despite the hugest smile on my face.

Somewhere in the race while still smiling

Every fear I had regarding the last 6 miles was coming true in the first 6 miles. First pit stop took an entire SEVEN minutes of waiting in line. I have always taken pride in running my races without ever needing to stop to tie laces, adjust watches or make stops at potties so this was beyond annoying. I quickly forgot my frustrations once I lost every ounce of nutrients, carb-loading, vitamins and electrolytes accumulated over the week. I was now running the next 20 miles on just what was stored in my muscles because the idea of eating a Gu, gummy bear or anything was out of the question. 

Around mile 9 I kicked it in gear and took off. The entire week of holding back in running, life’s curve balls and getting dumped got left on the road from mile 9 through mile 16. There is not a therapist on this planet earth that can do for me what mile 9-16 did.

Still smiling
Mile 16 through 19 was the most painful part. From my waist down everything hurt. I was too scared to stop and stretch because I was sure that would be the end of me.

Not smiling as much but this is were things hurt

At mile 19 all kinds of beautiful things happened. My girlfriends K-Dawg and Q, frantically waving their arms, came running up behind me screaming out my name. (getting teary just remembering that moment). They were suppose to meet me at mile 20 but were running behind on their morning run resulting in jumping in at mile 18 or so and caught up with me. I know it doesn’t quiet make sense but either way it was a blessing. I was in so much pain at this point so seeing them gave me much needed strength. Without even saying hello or so glad to see you guys or why are you here and not at mile 20, all I could say was “I fucking love you guys”. 

Mile 20 with K-Dawg, Q and Running Partner about to join

Around 19.5 there was this amazing beating sound and I would love to say it was my heart but no it was something even more incredible. Another girlfriend plays in a drum band and her band was beating those drums with everything in them.

Drumming her heart out

 I know she said she played her heart out because she knew she was playing for so many of her friends in the race. “Beat the Bridge” is a significant point on MCM. It is the start of a 2 mile bridge and from what I had been told mile 20 is the start of the most difficult part in any marathon. It also was the start of the furthest I had ever run in my life.

If you are someone that follows my training you will know I lost Running Partner to an injured foot…well I am happy to say I did not lose her completely. Secretly I think the drum band was there purely for her entrance to racing with me.  She stood on the sideline cheering at the top of her lungs and with no hesitation she jumped in and took her standard place right at my side. (Now I am sobbing just remembering all this again). We took that entire bridge down, curled around into Crystal City and looped back through Crystal City together like she was never gone. My favorite part was when she said to me

“You are running a marathon!”

I said “No, I am finishing a marathon”

Having her and the other 2 girls there was so fantastic and made it the biggest and most incredible race of my Entire. Life. We made our way through Pentagon parking lot all the while Running Partner darting ahead to get me orange pieces and water because there was no way I was going to stop now. As we came up on the homestretch the girls dropped off at mile 26 leaving me to laydown everything I had left in me.

Thank you guys, I love you, bye... see you at finish line

A very smart ultra runner once told me “You shouldn’t be sprinting the finish cos you should leave everything on the course”…I left everything on the course and still sprinted the finish.

Finishing this marathon would go down as one of the three most challenging things I have done in my life… you damn straight I was going to finish strong.

And I did.     5:02:01

Thank you everyone that trained with me, educated me, encouraged me, believed in me and came out to cheer for me. I am so blessed to have you in my life.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Pre- the biggest Race of my entire life!!!!! (For now)

OH MY WORD the day totally came rushing at me like a bat out of hell. Friday I got a txt from one of my running buddies saying “Are you getting your bib tonight or tomorrow?” I was like Wait!!! What???

Yes the day is upon us and I needed to start getting everything together for 36th Annual Marine Corps Marathon 2011!!!! (Ok I will stop with all the !!! but gosh darn the excitement, no words to describe the excitement).

So after taking .05 seconds to decide that I was meeting up with him to get my bib I was out the big glass doors. It was 5pm somewhere and had my sights set on the Armory Stadium for some bib action, Marine viewing action and Expo action. All those actions were met. Good lord there are some good looking men in the service.

Couldn't decide which one to use.

Bib and shirt

Yellow is such a good color on and around me

My new fav numbers

At this point I was already 2 days into making every smart decision known to mankind regarding my food. If you are someone that reads most of my blogs you will know I discovered in “7 pounds of salt” that eating is everything. So once I spent way too much money at the expo on water belts and magnets we headed out for a very calculated pasta dinner with minimal cheese and only a beer. Something I have done time and time again. Saturday I had a great breakfast, ate during the day, drank some water, not enough and had my soda. Again this is all things I have done in the past. If you are wondering why these observations are so important… wait for it, I will explain.

My Saturday evening was spent getting everything together for Race Day and facebooking with anyone and everyone that wanted to talk about the race. I could lie to you and tell you it took my 3 minutes to put my things together but nope I could never lie … it took me hours to put together this masterpiece…

Sneakers check, Alka check, warmers check, sneakers check, glide check, sneakers check again.....

I was so proud of myself when I stood back to see my work of art. I had everything out and ready to go including my dollar store leg warmers that I use as arm warmers (by the way, why call your store a dollar store if you have crap that is $5?). I didn’t do anything with the patch but I did use the Alka Seltzer. That is a secret I am happy to share with you… Alka Seltzer is a good idea the night before or morning of race day. With all that done I crawled into bed a 9:30pm like a good girl. 11:30pm got woken up by a lonely puppy (roommates 8 yr old pitbull that I love dearly) then awake again at 2:30am. Ugh all I wanted to do was sleep but around 3am it felt like some evil spirit took my insides, tied them into a huge knot and pulled with all its evil might. Two Alka tablets later and curled up in a ball I was able to go back to sleep. Alarm clock went off at 4:30am….I love running and races but not really sure how I feel about a 4:30am wake up. Especially when I know I did not get enough sleep. Jumped (not really) out of bed, showered and ate 2 whole wheat thin bagels with Nutella. Usually I wouldn’t care about showering but I was about to go running for 5 hours…. I needed to shower. Honestly, I wish a few people on the course did the same thing. Plan was for running partner to drop off Tracy at my place, Covergirl girlfriend was walking over too and then we would do the 1.5 mile walk to Pentagon to get my Texas girl. To Tracy from NY surprise, I am an avid follower of her blog so it was great to have her there with us.      

Girls collected up and out the door we went…..

Race day events will follow shortly, with a side of porta potty devastation...

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

“SURPRISE!!!...You are doing 8 miles with me in downtown tomorrow morning, right?”

A couple of months ago I had the age old conversation with one of my most amazing male friends “When are you coming to Chicago?” and I respond with something like “When would you like me to come? I have a trip to NY this weekend, something planned the next weekend and oh no, I can’t do that weekend either”. He will then follow that up with well we have family in town for this month and I am in this and this country this and this week. In the Indian culture family visits for MONTH… I can barely maintain a 5 min facebook conversation with my family… these people don’t leave for a month. Well low and behold we once again engage in such conversation and he suggests Oct 21st. I, panic stricken, say to him “That is the weekend before MCM. Am I complete ass for not wanting to fly before my first marathon?” He says “It’s her birthday and I want to surprise her” I say “Done! I am flying to Chicago on the 21st”.

So after many ignored IM’s, emails from his wonderful wife (I was so terrified my big mouth would have a case of verbal diarrhea) we were successful at getting me to O’Hare undetected. Little tidbit I suck at keeping my mouth shut…no really I do.


After all the screaming and excitement subsided, the first thing out of this running addicts mouth was “You are doing 8 miles with me in downtown tomorrow morning, right?” Another tidbit… addicts stand alone in their world of madness, alone I tell you, alone.  

So with no alarm clock and no running group to hold me accountable I was still able to get myself up and dressed for the 8 miles. My wonderful girlfriend (not an addict) was awake and very chatty while I was getting ready. Chatty girlfriend sounds a little like this”

“Are you taking your cell phone?”
“what if you get lost?”
“I will find my way back”
“you going like that?”
“you need a jacket, it’s cold”
“I will be running, I’ll be fine”
“Do you know what route you are doing?”
“Going out of your building and going to start running sounds like a good route”

This is where it gets funny

“No! You need to turn right and then left to the elevator, take the elevator down and turn right again, then left into the lobby. When you are out of the building just run straight down Monroe to the water. You must stay on Monroe and along the water” 

Yes her directions involved lefts and rights to getting out of the building… anyone else see the humor in this Mother Hen? One of the main reasons I love her so incredibly much. So after much discussion she is somewhat reassured that I will be fine, however does have a search party on standby hiding in the coat closet just in case.

It was a good discussion because it reminded me that I had not yet told her my post MCM plans that meant things like street signs would be replaced with painted patches on tree trunks,

 “along the water” would be replaced with single track trails miles away from civilization 

 and “left into the lobby” would be replaced with a small 5x8 tent that might have water, might not.

Out the lobby (thanks to her directions) and I am off to do my last long run before the big day. This is where it is blatantly clear I am one sick puppy. Downtown Chicago in the middle of October is not downtown DC in the middle of October. In my ‘barely there’ hot pink running shorts and crisp white shirt I went blazing past every black cloaked local accessorized with hat, scarf and (not or) gloves huddled on the streets corners. Based on the heads I was turning I think I was clearly under dressed for the local folks. 

Sadly in my stubborn attempt to prove to the Mother Hen I didn’t need a phone I did not have a way to take pictures of my amazing, beautiful, exhilarating 12 mile run in downtown Chi-town.

Thank you World Wide Web for this picture

Two more tidbits… I can be THAT annoying Type-A overachiever that makes others want to punch me and I suck at tapering.

Upon return I was blessed with a breakfast only a runner could truly appreciate. This breakfast goes by the name “Breakfast Casserole”. This potatoy, eggy, sausagey, cheesy, loved filled casserole pretty much made my life the most incredible thing ever.

 Breakfast casserole

So with only days to Marine Corp Marathon I can say I am ready and getting excited.

Who is your Mother Hen? And what amazing things do you inhale after a long run?  

Monday, September 26, 2011

Trail running, I am in a committed relationship with MCM, please stop flirting with me.

 Saturday I went up to NY for a 45 min Doctor appointment, somewhat kicking and screaming my way up there. I needed to do 18 miles and hated the idea of doing it alone in an area I don’t know but, like any other committed runner I would find a way come hell or high water.  I walked into my girlfriend’s apartment and got straight into my running clothes, filled up my badass Army camel bag with 2 parts Gatorade and 1 part water. Took a good 10 million minutes to figure out how long I should set my stop watch for (I am not fancy or rich enough to have a super cool GPS watch yet) and decided 3:30 ought to do it. Called my girlfriend to tell her my route, conversation goes as such “Hey Brower Power, I am taking a right out of your apartment building and running through White Plains, past Walmart, down to County Center where I will pick up the paved trail and head south. It will be an out and back so if I am not back in 4 hours be worried.” She said. “You should go left out the apartment and go down the hill, then up and then down the next hill and then up and you should be able to pick up the Bronx River pathway there”. Clearly she wasn’t able to comprehend what running 18 miles meant because she was about to send me up and down not one but TWO Mofo hills at the start and finish of my run. Needless to say I stayed with plan A.

Although I loved that she had so much faith in my abilities.     

I headed right out of her apartment and got started. The first 2 miles every step hurt. This long run was going to be the make or break moment of marathon training and things were not looking good so far. I got down to the paved trail and headed south in the direction of NYC wondering how close to the city I would get. About 3 miles in I felt my stride picking up. Pain and stiffness was gone and I was feeling pretty good about going all the way. As my mind started to drift to recent conversations about trail running post MCM, I came around a bend just to stare trail running right in the face. It was like a tall, dark, handsome mysterious man leaning against the wall pretending like he didn’t know I was coming but know full well he was going to seduce me. This mysterious trail came to me in the form of a broken up bridge.

Well, at this point I decided I had no choice but to turn back and go north on the paved trail. I looked back at the trail, and then at the broken bridge. It looked so scary and fun and forbidden and how in the world does any self respecting trail running dreamer pass up a chance to cross a dilapidated bridge where the “DANGER PATHWAY CLOSED” sign is used to cross over. I took another look behind me and decided screw it I am going for it. The rush was incredible and my blood was pumping with excitement as I scrambled my way over. I got over and looked back, smiling from ear to ear pleased at my rendezvous. Able to pull myself back together, I got back to running on the nice paved road, telling myself to stay focused on normal running as MCM is little over 1 month away and getting hurt is not an option. This internal conversation turned into me scowling at myself for acting a fool. Just as I finished up that argument with myself I came up on a sign that saids “END OF TRAIL”. Well once again I had to decide whether to go back or go exploring for more trail. A lady ran by and I asked her if the trail picks up ahead. She said “Yes just go over the train tracks and along pipeline and you will be able to pick up about a mile down the road”. Awesome I headed down the road and come up on the train tracks.  

 At this point I was thinking what sick bastard puts a set of stairs like that in my 18 mile run route. Okay apparently I am doing Bootcamp today too. Up and over the tracks I looked to the left for a pipeline. Thinking to myself apparently we are in Alaska or Russia now cos we run along pipelines. Really this is how we roll?!? (Yes there are moments where there are more than one of me in me). I saw no pipe but I did see a little road along the tracks and I decide maybe roads like that are called ‘pipeline’ in trail runner lingo. 

 As I headed down this little road I wondered if I should be concerned about the area but my mind is put to ease by the slew of BMW’s, Mercedes and Audi’s driving along this road. Nice area along the tracks, go figure.

Nowhere did I find a trail but I did find myself running straight smack into
Bronx River Parkway

Once again I am asking myself “what now?”. I can turn back, run 55 miles an hour to the next exit or do my best to run on the 6 inch shoulder while cars are flying by me. We all know I can’t run 55 miles an hour, but again how does any self respecting trail runner dreamer not run her heart out on the side of a 55 mile/hr Parkway. About 200 yards later I made a left off the exit and crossed over the overpass and picking up the trail. At this point I was a good 6 miles into my run which usually I would be pretty tired but my heart was about ready to burst out of my chest with excitement and there was just no stopping me now. Of course the side of me that is committed to MCM and doesn’t want to get killed is yelling and screaming… yet again. This voice was barely done freaking out when I was faced with this…

WTH!!! All I wanted to do was my 18 miles on a smooth path but at every turn I am faced with such exhilarating dilemmas. Do I stay on the straight and narrow or do completely and utterly lose myself in this forbidden adventure. At this point I don’t think I need to tell you what I did.

Feeling basically invincible I was able to run the 1hr 45 min out and it was now time to head back. And of course it wouldn’t be a trail run if I didn’t get a little lost at least once. Found my way back to the paved trail (remember the thing I was meant to be running all along). At this point I had to decide do I go back to race with 55 m/hr cars along the parkway or do I find a different way across. I found a tiny little trail that lead me to the other side of the trail.

Totally gave my screaming self I shit eaten grin because I didn’t do the crazy thing. That grin was short lived as this lovely little path leads me to this…

 Well I do know how to swim but screaming me doesn’t want to run the remaining 8 miles in soaking wet sneakers so we had to find a different way


I climbed up over the flooded part only to find myself standing right next the train tracks.

Yes! Right! Next to the tracks.

“Mary mother of god! Can this run get anymore amazing?!?” is what I said. 

By the way on the way back I found the spot where the lady said the trail picks up, because apparently not everyone is trying to run 55 miles an hour along the
Bronx River Parkway

Do you see where the trail picks up?

Exactly! Who thinks to look for a 1.5ft opening in the guardrail?!?!

I made my way back to White Plains over the tracks,

around tree roots,

through the underwater path

and through another muddy path

and back over that incredible busted up bridge.

With thighs burning (forgot to put anti-chaff gel on), hair a mess, sweating from head to toe, draped over the entrance stairs, panting and cigarette lit I found myself saying breathlessly

“F#ck that was amazing”       

Are you having an affair with other sports while training for a big race?

P.S I am aware we are missing a few weeks but this couldn't wait so I will catch up later.