Monday, October 30, 2006

Marvelously Made

Here's what I just happened to read Saturday night:
I will thank you because I am marvelously made/ Your works are wonderful, and I know it well.
—Psalm 139

So I wrote "marvelously made" on back of my hand, and it became my mantra for the day. A reminder of how marvelous and miraculous it is that I am able to do any of this.

But enough of that, let's get to the good stuff. (And sorry if you thought yesterday was the recap. Obviously, you don't know me. Oh, and my tenses are all over the place. Shockingly bad form.)

Prelude to a Race

First, David and I get GOLD medals for being on time. We were the ONLY ones out of five people! In all fairness, I did set a ridiculous meet-up time of 7 a.m. for an 8:20 (or 8:40) start. But I wanted time to take group pictures, and lollygag.

David, me, happy before the race

Poor Rich. David and I called him at 7:20, and asked where he was? He was in his hotel, why? We told him what time it was. Poor Rich! He insisted that we were kidding, that it was 6:20 a.m. (I think he finally caught on that we weren't.) So, we pretty much saved his race for him, which fact I will now remind him of for the rest of his days. (Lucky boy!)

Bex called around 7 ish to say she was running late. Then called again to say she missed her train. Then called again to say she was on her way to Charity Village (near the finish) to drop her gear. We never did see her, but I'm pretty sure she made it to the race on time, since, holy cats, she "placed in the top 10 percent of female finishers as well as in the top 10 percent of age-division finishers, and in the top 18 percent of the 20,855 runners who completed the marathon. More than 32,000 runners started the race." Go send Bex some comment love!

Back to me. Certain things had not happened by the time I left home at 6 a.m. I had been experimenting with taking Metamucil wafers (tasty!) every night before bed for a week. Worked like a charm every morning except marathon morning. I was so worried that I went and bought a cup of coffee, totally forgetting that I do not drink caffeine because my body can't handle it. I was hoping that the coffee ... well, you know. But no luck. (Poor David had to listen to all this. I mean, I just met the man!! No shame.)

It was decision time, and I knew I couldn't run this thing with a bellyful of ... well, last night's dinner and that morning's oatmeal. So out came the Immodium. I took five. Now, I had immodium and Metamucil swimming around in my stomach, along with coffee. Which one would be the victor? Three guesses.

David and I finally left our cozy perch at the Organization for Autism Research booth, and headed toward the start, with 50 million other people. We were walking against the crowd. He was meeting up with Michelle somewhere around the 4-hour pace sign, and I was looking for the Other Jen, at the 5:30 pace sign. We hugged goodbye, and I went on my way, back back back back to the waaaay back.

I never did find the Other Jen. I asked the pacer about how she paced and she said she'd be doing a walk/run thing. Ut-oh. She said it was too hard to run that pace without walking. I'd trained to run this race, so I wasn't going to change that now. I had my pace band all neat and tidy on my wrist. My goal was to shoot for 13 min miles for the first two miles, which are pretty much straight uphill. And then switch to 12:36 til mile 20, when I'd knock it down to 12:26, all set for a 5:30 finish (I'm hilarious, non?).

The race was delayed for a medical emergency (the first of several). It was cool, crisp, sunny, a bit breezy. I was literally shaking, teeth chattering. (Here's where I remembered why I don't use caffeine. It makes me insanely jittery and anxious.) We stood for an eternity, finally crossing the start at 9:11.

The Race

Mile 1: 12:11 Ok, this part of the course was only slightly uphill, so I must have read the map wrong. No problem, I thought, I'll just do the next two miles at 13. Because, God knows, the only way I can screw this thing up is to start too fast. How many times have I read this??? And been told it??? Thousands.

Mile 2: 14:42 This time is wrong because I missed the mile two marker. But this was the first hill. Pretty steep but I ran it like it was buttah. This hill killed me last year!

Mile 3: 9:10 OK, this isn't right either, because I started the watch after mile 2. So no idea what my pace is, but I'm pretty sure it's not 13. We entered Spout Run Parkway on our way to the George Washington Parkway which runs along the Potomac. A beautiful, beautiful morning. The crowds were out in full force.

Mile 4: 11:24: The crowds continue along Key Bridge and into Georgetown.
I have this conversation:
"Jeanne, what are you doing? You are so going too fast and you will regret this later!"
"Yes, but what if I go slow now and I'm still slow later? That will suck. I have to bank some time now!"
"You know it doesn't work that way."

Mile 5: 11:59 Pace band goes out the (metaphorical) window. Is it possible I can do this in 5 hours? Oh yes! I head up Rock Creek Park for a three-mile out and back. Another hill and I'm not feeling a thing.

I see runners flying along the other side of the road, on their way back. An emergency vehicle comes past on our side, scooting everyone over to the right. Suddenly on the other side, I see the Marines holding back the runners. They have stopped the race for the emergency. (It looked like a girl fell off her bike.) They soon get going again.

Mile 6: 11:59 So, all along I've been listening on and off to the Phedippidations "Bravery" episode on my Shuffle, turning it off whenever we passed bands playing or crowds cheering, because I wanted to be in the moment and remember everything.

The park is glorious! The day is gorgeous. Not a cloud in the sky. A bit windy, but we're well protected here. We're on our way up towards the National Zoo. I'm so glad we trained on these hills! I've turned Phedip back on, and I hear the host, Steve Walker (who also ran MCM yesterday) say, "I'm adding a new feature to the podcast. I'll be featuring a blog or podcast of the week." And I'm thinking "Cool! I wonder if I know who he'll pick! And it would be great to find some other good running podcasts."

And it turns out, I know quite well who he picked for this week's featured blogger. Quite well indeed. And I had a big stupid smile on my face for a long long way.

Mile 7: 11:56 Hmm. Funny tummy rumblings. I start looking for a portapotty, but they all have lines and I am not going to wreck my time by waiting in line! Heavens, no!

Mile 8: 12:02: I'd rather wreck my time by darting hither and yon into the bushes lining the park. Except we're running alongside a straight uphill on the right and a severe drop to the Creek on left. What to do?

Mile 9: 14:12: Ah, I spot an underpass! And run over to it. Cars are blocked from coming this way, so no fear of being seen (this was when I still cared). There was a little concrete barrier and I went behind it and ... I went behind it.

Mile 10: 12:28: We're now running along the National Mall, past the Washington Monument. It feels so different this year, I actually have people around me! I start looking for my friend S. so that I can ditch the pullover I've tied around my waist.

Mile 11: 11:37: Still looking for S.! I so want to see a familiar face. I'm now running along the part of the Mall where the Smithsonian is. I chat with a girl for a few minutes and tell her there's only one more big bad hill, up and around the back of the Capitol building.

I finally see S. a bit after mile 11. Woo!!! But, I can't hear what she's saying. Why can't I hear her? Because my Shuffle is on and there is music blasting in my ear and I don't think to turn it off. I back up and run again so she can get a photo. I do have the presence of mind to ask her if she can hold my pullover. Relief! She looks cold and unhappy. I find out later she was battling a migraine. Good Lord!

Tummy again. I see a low sculpture in front of the East Building of your National Gallery of Art. And sad to say, I think I may have defaced it. Two security guys are sitting nearby, watching the runners. Thankfully, they did not arrest me. Let's just call what I did performance art, OK? Also, thankfully, I see that no one is going up Capitol Hill! I was so wrong! Instead, we turn in front of the Capitol building, where it's nice and flat, and run back on the other side of the National Mall.

Mile 12: 13:27: ... And a tree grows on the Mall. And now it is fertilized. This time, all of God's creation got to see what should never be seen. Tourtists strolling the Mall. Security people. Homeless. Spectators. I. Don't. Care. I catch S. again on this side of the Mall. She says I shrugged my shoulders. I have no idea what that meant!

Mile 13: 13:07: I see the first electronic clock and it says 3:15. 3:15!!! Oh man, I am so off pace! That's a six hour finish! I panic and speed up. We're heading towards the tidal basin.

Mile 14: 11:41: See? panicking is good! I realize here that the official clock time is not my time. Idiot. My watch said something like 2:40 for the 1/2. So now I can slow down again.

Mile 15: 12:51: Slowing down.

Mile 16: 12:16: I pass am ambulance, one of many that day. This looks serious, so I refuse to look. It turns out it was serious. A runner died. I find this out last night. So heartbreaking. Marathons are deadly serious business and we must never forget that.

Mile 17: 13:14: Am entering the feared Haine's point. The wind has picked up a bit. Haine's point is a peninsula known for its winds and for being a desolate part of the course because there are no spectators out here. Last year, it went on for miles (it's a 3-mile loop). Lulu had said she would join me at mile 17, and there she is! I had warned her I might not be able to talk, but I manage a few words here and there. She has kindly brought Gatorade, and happily dumps it into my water bottle. She also has a garmin, so I tell her to keep me at 12:30, no 12:40 min. mile pace. I swear she's running 10 min. miles, just to trick me.

Mile 18: 13:09: Lulu is trying her best, but look what she's got to work with?

Mile 19: 15:14: And it's the tummy again. This time near the Haine's Point golf course. I tell Lulu she should turn away, but forget to tell that to the other 5,000 runners. After I finish, we see several people barfing their brains out. I say, "Thank God I'm not barfing!," and Lulu gives me a look, like "Please, must you tempt fate?"

Superman (my work colleague) jumps in here, cleverly avoiding my last roadside episode. He gets a lot of attention! I'm so glad I get to escort him.

I run right past Susie and David, who are waiting at the base of the on ramp to the 14th St. bridge. Superman tells me that someone just said my name. He says, "Who is it?" I say, "I have no idea." I'm expecting Susie at the other side of the 14th street bridge, so it takes a few minutes to register that she and David are here on this side! They jump in and start running.

I now have an official entourage! I feel like royalty! Lulu, Superman, Susie, and David! We power up the ramp to the bridge, where I saw D. and C. from work. C. shoots some photos. Mile 20 starts at the top of the ramp.

l-r: Superman, Lulu, and moi

l-r: Superman (he's so shy!), moi, and David

Mile 20: 13:15: The bridge? Is a bitch. The wind is bad. I run for a bit, and then on and off I say "fading," like I'm a piece of electronic equipment giving a warning. As I fade i move to the right and walk. But my entourage is there encouraging me on. I do a lot of run/walking across this effing bridge.

Susie has Dianna on the phone and hands it to me. The first thing I say is "I went out too fast!" Dianna says "No kidding!" along with some encouraging words, and I finish by saying "I love you." I'm heartened to know that when I finally do go completely bonkers, it will not be the angry version of insane; it will the slobbering lovefest version. Because I really do love everyone. I cannot believe all these people are here to help me! I LOVE EVERYONE! No cursing at anyone this year.

I'm listening to Billy Bragg singing, "You're an accident waiting to happen!," which of course I sing out loud, with every refrain. God, I have a Great Voice! Who knew? Susie advises me, wisely, to save my breath.

And then, in a gesture worthy of Florence Nightingale, she offers to carry my water belt for me. It's like heaven on earth getting rid of that thing. I almost cry with joy.

Mile 21: 12:46: Noooo! The bridge is only one mile! How is mile 21 in the middle of this bridge? HOW?

Mile 22: 15:54 Finally off the bridge and into Crystal City, Virginia. There's a line of portapotties and no waiting. Oh, the luxury of a real toilet! Lulu says good-bye before I duck into one. I can't believe she's leaving so soon! Time stands still in a marathon. When it's not biting you in the ass, that is. Superman ducks into another portapotty. And just like the real Superman? He disappears. Susie tells me we can't wait for him, so off we go. Maybe that was the real Superman, after all.

Mile 23: 13:22: Now, it's just me, Susie and David. Susie reminds me I can just run slowly. BRILLIANT! I swear, the thought hadn't occurred to me. My left knee started hurting on the bridge and I'm doing my best to ignore it. I get strange bursts of speed and then totally fade. I am out of water, so ask Susie to run on to the next water stop and fill my bottle. Before she returns, David and I reach the water stop and we walk thru it, but don't see Susie. I figure she'll catch up to us. I figure wrong.

Mile 24: 14:03: David is great. He helps me keep running. I hug David because, well, yes, he's a nice guy, and all, but I suddenly notice that I am freezing and that he is quite warm. Warm feels good! What is wrong with me? Where has my cynical bitch gone? Last year at this point I was hurling curse words at Bex and Naomi! There is nothing to see from mile 24 on. It's all concrete. Spectators are sparse. The Pentagon comes into view and that makes it feel like we're close. We're not close. It's a mirage.

Mile 25: 12:45: Look, a one-mile negative split! Because it is time to get this over with. We're running on a barren highway. Lots of people are walking. Some are barfing by the side of the road. It looks like something out of the Civil War. Somewhere in here is the last water stop, which I walk thru, and then start running again.

Mile 26: 13:09 I finally make it, and say good-bye to David, because this is where the chute starts.

Mile .2 2:48 (hey my goal was 2:30!): The last .2 miles begins with an uphill that is brutal. I ran this uphill every single Saturday during training. Funny, it didn't feel so hard then. I am by myself now, and take out my headphones so I can hear the crowd roaring for me. I want to walk so badly but I refuse. I feel like there are lead weights on my legs running up that hill. Lots of people are walking, but I'm not one of them. Several times I try to kick it in, but I don't think it's working. Point two miles is a long freakin' chute! I can't even see the finish. Finally, it comes into view. I try to remember to smile and not look at my watch. At the very last minute I think I should raise my arms but it's half-assed so I'm pretty sure I screwed that photo up.

The Finale

Yes, I kissed another Marine. It was good. Was it good for him? Who cares?! Collected my medal. It took an eternity to get a stupid space blanket but I was freezing. This year I remembered to look up to see the Iwo Jima Memorial. (It's huge. It's right there at the finish line, and last year I missed it.) I follow the signs to have my photo taken in front of it.

And then? I'm in a daze. Last year my posse was waiting at the finish, telling me what to do, but this year my posse had been very busy running me in. And the rest of my posse, David, Rich, Michele (who I never met!), and Bex, had all come in earlier. The place where we planned to meet ("under the letter 'Z'") was a million miles away. I had to retrieve my bag from Charity Village, which was in the opposite direction from "Z." My knee was killing me. My stomach was killing me. I was trying to remember what to eat, but felt nauseated. I grabbed water and a drinkable yogurt and carried them around.

I limped over to Charity Village to collect my stuff and had my photo taken there, and got another medal from the Organization for Autism Research. They gave me ice for my knee, too. I was getting cold. My phone battery was dying, but I reached David. He was far away, waiting for his ride.

So, I slowly limped my way to my parked car, which was a solid mile away, but I bet all the walking was good for me.

I drove home alone, elated.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Stick a Fork in Me, I'm Done!

Official result: 5:36:37

Last year: 6:30:40

Edited: I forgot to throw this in:
START 9:11:55
5 Mile 59:18
10 Mile 02:01:51
Half 02:41:21
15 Mile 03:04:36
20 Mile 04:11:45
23.5 Mile 04:53:50
Finish: 05:36:37

I'm very happy, if a bit sore!

I had sooooooooooooooooooooo much help, it was unreal! Angela (aka Lulu) from miles 17-22, Craig (dressed, as promised, as Superman) from 19-22, and the beloved Susie and David from 20-26! Well actually, I managed to lose Susie, despite my blisteringly slow pace, somewhere around mile 23 (?). I sent her ahead, like she was my personal servant, to fill my water bottle and then come back with it, and somehow I went skipping by her at the water stop, so poor Susie was left running back and forth trying to find me and her David. I feel for ya, Susie!

So much to say, so many stories! That's just one of them.

Here's another: On the 14-mile long bridge (mile 20), Susie called the Running Chick and passed me the phone, and I'm not entirely sure what I said, but Dianna, I'm pretty sure we're now engaged!

Here's another tidbit: I left my mark on every monument, underpass, and bridge in D.C. and Virginia. Yes, Nancy Toby, despite taking FIVE immodiums, no good. I found out, once again, that I have no shame nor any inhibitions whatsoever. Sigh. When I think of the number of people who saw my ass today ... oh, the humanity!

Then there's the stories of the all the missed connections. Only David and I met up this morning. I never saw Bex or the Other Jen.

Full report tomorrow, where I tell you how David and I saved Rich's butt.

Congrats to everyone! And 10 trillion thank you's to all of YOU. I thought of you constantly.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

All I Want

I was inspired to post this particular video because the wind in your nation's capital is currently at GALE FORCE, blowing all plans of what to wear out the window. I mean, I'm talking about some serious WIND people. My car just got blown out of its lane. So, the natural seque is
All I want is a room somewhere, far away from the cold night air...
It just came into my head! "Lots of chocolate for me to eat..." Oh yes!

I'm feeling a bit discombombulated at the moment. The nice restful day I had planned evaporated when I came home last night to a note from the condo office informing me that I needed to completely clear out the storage unit on my balcony, by Monday morning, because they're doing some fiber optic rewiring thing. Monday would be the day after Sunday. The day of the marathon. I couldn't really envision myself coming home from the marathon and hauling nine years of accumulated crap out of the unit; so that was today's excitement, along with laundry, and 27 phone calls to Bex and the Other Jen (who I did my best to scare the hell out of but she was unflappable), trying to figure out What Not to Wear. And where to meet in the morning? Oh my God, forget the marathon, it's the details that will kill you!

So now, I am finally, finally trying to get things in order for the morning. I plan to leave home around 5 a.m.-ish. Meet the gang at the Organisation for Autism Research booth at 7 a.m. (that's right i'm leaving two hours early. Parking.), who have generously offered to store all of our gear. And then? Then it's off the bed to sleep the sleep of the dead (note to self: turn back clocks!!!)

And finally, thank you thank you thank you for all your encouragement and for making me laugh so hard things came out of my nose.

You rock. And You Know Who You Are.

(EDIT: #31935)

Friday, October 27, 2006

Yo Mama!

That's what I'm talkin' about! (God, this is fun.)

And while we're at it, here's a sneak preview of the RBF meet-up tonight at the posh Zola's, restaurant to the International Spy Museum:

David, Rich, David, Jeanne, Bex, Susie, Hallie, Peter

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Oh, It Is So On!

After all, I do wear Nike Pegasus. So it could happen just like this on Sunday! Cuz after the bus doused them? They got married.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

I Say, Old Bean

Continuing with our theme of Getting My Game Face On (GMGFO), tonight, I give you the remarkable Jesse Owens in the 100M, 1936 Olympics, Berlin

In 1936 Owens arrived in Berlin to compete for the United States in the Summer Olympics. Adolf Hitler was using the games to show the world a resurgent Nazi Germany. He and other government officials had high hopes German athletes would dominate the games with victories. Meanwhile, Nazi propaganda promoted concepts of "Aryan" racial superiority and depicted ethnic Africans as inferior.

Owens surprised many by winning four gold medals: On August 3, 1936 the 100 meter dash by defeating Ralph Metcalfe; on August 4, the long jump - after friendly and helpful advice from German competitor Lutz Long; on August 5, the 200 meter dash; and, after he was added to the 4 x 100 m relay team, he won his fourth on August 9 (his performance wasn't duplicated until 1984 when Carl Lewis won gold medals in the same events at the 1984 Summer Olympics).

On the first day, Hitler shook hands only with the German victors and then left the stadium (some claim this was to avoid having to shake hands with Cornelius Johnson, who was African-American, but according to a spokesman Hitler's exit had been pre-scheduled). Olympic committee officials then insisted Hitler greet each and every medalist or none at all. Hitler opted for the latter and skipped all further medal presentations.

(Read more about Jesse Owens.)

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Ooh Rah? Whatevah!

Well, who am I to argue with David or the Urban Dictionary about boo-yah, which apparently has nothing to do with the Marines, who curiously enough prefer "ooh rah." Who knew? (Though, I could swear that they gave out Boo Yah-branded power bars at last year's MCM. In fact, I probably still have the wrapper somewhere.)

Moving on, I decided that I would use these final days before my demise—I mean ascent!—to inspire and motivate all of us at whatever impossible task we have set before us—be that running a marathon, completing IronMan, or coping with a new baby (hi Anthony!).

So tonight, at T minus FOUR days, I give you this:
History was made with the running of the 5000m Final at the 1964 Tokyo Olympic Games. The field was packed with gold medalists and world record holders including Ron Clarke of Australia, Kip Keino of Kenya and Michel Jazy of France. The US was represented by Bill Dellinger and Bob Schul.

On this video clip you will see the final two laps of the race, perhaps the most exciting finish in American distance running history.
Because blogger sucks, you have to click here (7.21MB) to see this amazing vid. It made me cry! Ya just don't hear commentary like that anymore!

(From Running Past.)

Monday, October 23, 2006

What Week Is It?


(I couldn't go in to marathon week with that last snarky post up there. Bad karma.)

The big RBF Meet Up is on for Friday night at the restaurant attached to the Spy Museum, paid for no doubt with your tax dollars (the museum, not the meet up). Finally Running Susie and her betrothed, David, will join us, as they are KEY in this race, people. KEY! Susie has promised to run me in the last four or five thousand miles. They will be cheering for the rest of us.

So, T minus FIVE. How are we all feeling?

Bex (She's GOOD!)
David (He's EXCELLENT!)
Michelle (She's AWESOME!)
Rich (He's so READY!)
Steve Walker (The nicest CELEBRITY I know!)

and my training partner in crime, the Other Jen, along with my good friend, Bob, who are both, sadly, blog-less.

The Other Jen is feeling AMAZING! And Bob is gonna kick this marathon's ass!

Who am I missing? Oh yeah: ME! (Jeanne's feeling ... well ... um ... yeah ... I'm TRYING to get my game face on! I'm sure it will come. Right? RIGHT?)

Well enough about that, what have I been up to, you ask? Well, last week I had the killer headache, which enforced my taper. I did four slow miles on Wednesday, five less slow ones on Thursday, and then 10 on Saturday in lieu of the three that my group was doing, allowing me to feel morally superior. Which is probably why God decided I needed a smackdown and gave me lead legs for my last run. I still finished faster than any 10 mile run I've ever done with DCFIT, in 1:57, with a new blister to boot. Curiously, it did nothing to reassure me.

Other Ways I Am Getting Ready

1. Speaking of blisters, I went to the podiatrist today, and told him I could not take one more blister, not for 26.2 miles and begged him to fix my orthotics. Again..

2. With the help of the amazingly talented and speedy Running Chick, I made myself a pace band.

3. I got me some peeps to run me across that big bad bridge at mile 20!

4. I bought a $20 overhead long-sleeve shirt thing-y to wear in case it's cold, windy and rainy. Which it will be tomorrow.

5. After much debate, I will be wearing the fuel belt, even if it does make me look like the pillsbury dough girl. I was just vain enough to consider not wearing it. What's a little dehydration in exchange for ONE decent photo? But Susie talked me down.

6. Still need to arrange morning of meet up place. I want to get there at 6 a.m. (starts at 8:45) and the Other Jen wants to get there at 7:30.

Can we hear a boo yah??

Right on!

Tomorrow: Jeanne gets her game face on! Or ELSE!

(Big congrats to everyone who did Chicago in not-so-great weather! And who managed to finish upright, unlike this poor guy who, incidentally, won. But, you are all winners!)

Friday, October 20, 2006

This? This Is What I Signed Up For?

Yes, it's true. I do have another life outside of this blog, and part of it, which I believe I have alluded to once or twice, involves dating. Some of it online. So far. But, I always like to keep an open mind.

So I joined a very popular internet dating service associated with an upscale online magazine that shall remain nameless, and have had two nibbles that haven't gone anywhere. OK, no problem. (Or, as Number One Daughter, living in Espana would say, "no problem-o!!" Sidebar: Today she taught me how to say "vomit" in Spanish. But I digress.)

So, this online dating thing involves "winking" at people who you think look interesting. Today, I got a "wink" from a dude who filled out his profile thusly [my comments in upper...i'm pretty sure you can tell which comments are mine):

# The last great book I read
mark twain short stories. [SO FAR, SO GOOD.]

# Favorite on-screen sex scene
I don't particulary like on screen sex occasionally..mickey rourke and whats her name were pretty good in angel heart.
And I love Carol Baker...(baby doll) [OH, I LIKE HOW YOU SLIPPED THE PORN THING IN THERE! VERY IMPRESSED! But please, learn how to spell!]

# The celebrity I resemble the most
robert Downey jr [MY BUTT!]

# If I could be anywhere right now
I would be walking down the city street, maybe smoking a cigarette, with you. [SMOKING? Did this man actually say SMOKING?? WITH ME?? HA HA HA HA]

# Five items I can't live without
I actually could live with out any of these (excepting oxygen, food, shelter) but I am playing along. [LUCKY ME]

Indian Food...asian/mexican//latino

Musical instrument (preferrably guitar or piano ..or

Court Tv (pop culture tv) King of the Hill [UM, YUCK??? DID YOU READ MY PROFILE? NPR? MASTERPIECE THEATER? THEATER???]

excitement (horse racing) [OK, YOU'RE A COMPULSIVE GAMBLER.]

# In my bedroom one will find...

# The word or phrase that best describes my personality
Way up beat, compassionate, creative, sardonic. [JACKASS???]

I dunno. Maybe my standards are too high. Maybe I should date a porn-watching smoker, living in filth (or reading it, hard to tell his meaning) who likes his ponies and his mindless sitcoms.

On the other hand?

Um, no.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Pardon Me for Whining

Small ills are the fountains of most of our groans. Men trip not on mountains, they stumble on stones.
-Chinese Proverb
No freakin' kidding.

This was the "Morning Mantra" awaiting me in my inbox today.

This week's headache started Saturday night. It's what I like to call a "loose brain" headache. The kind where when you stand up too fast, or bend over, your brains slosh around in your head. Fun.

It continued thru Sunday, while I went out on a very very short "hike" with the "over-40 group" at my church. (Turns out, this was the over-90 group. Sigh.)

Head was slammin' on Monday, all through bell-ringing class. So no running on Monday. Same thing on Tuesday. No running on Tuesday, and I skipped my meditation class, since listening to my head pound for 30 minutes would not have been very meditative. Instead, I opted to take some codeine-laced tylenol someone so kindly offered me. And slept from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 a.m. So Tuesday was Day Three of no running.

And, that brings us to this morning.

And I still have this %#!#% headache!!!

I told myself I will WALK four miles today if I have to.

Just how much fitness do you lose in a week if you don't run?

Let's change the subject ... check out Anne's thoughtful comments on DNF-ing.

Turns out, failure can mean success.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

My Own Half Marathon

My highly unpaid coach agreed with my plan to swap today's 6-mile run for a 13-mile one, writing:

You can do 13 miles by yourself. Easy. Start thinking that way. 13 miles is a lark for you now. It's good that you're doing the last half downhill. (Note: I'll say.) Run negative splits for the last half, at marathon pace or even a little faster.

Well, I am very sorry to disappoint my coach and all of you. Because, in fact, I did none of my 13 miles at marathon pace. Not a single step. Nada.

That's because I would have had to slow down too much to run at marathon pace! Bwaahahahahaha!

Last night, I remembered the Phedippidations Worldwide Half-Marathon Challenge. Which was last Saturday. Officially. But registration was still available, so I signed up.

So this morning I ran 13.1 miles by myself, while listening to the special WorldWide Half Marathon edition of Phedippidations.

I got to the start of the Capital Crescent trail at 7 a.m. It was 37 degrees, crisp and clear. The mist rose off the Potomac as I started the long slow 6.5-mile climb from mile marker 10 to mile marker 3.5. There were a few others on the trail, including a fox, who stopped everyone dead in their tracks until he (she?) sauntered back into the woods. (A fox in D.C.? There's a joke in there somewhere.)

I felt strong. I banished all doubts. Unlike at last month's half marathon where my time was 2:38:00 (12:03/mile).

This morning? My time was: 2:23:16 (10:56/mile).



I'm not sure but I think the reason I had a good run today was because 1) I didn't get enough sleep, 2) I ate crap most of the week, and 3) apparently I can't run fast in a race or when I am actually running with other people.

But that's only a guess.

Friday, October 13, 2006

You Ask, I Deliver

Some people have accused me of hiding behind others in pretty much every shot of me running, racing, eating dinner, or standing around doing nothing. Mostly? This is quite true.

So, here you have me, in all my glory, bounding toward the finish line of the Montgomery Parks Half Marathon. (Apologies to Runner Susan who strikes this same pose on her site, with much better results.)

Meanwhile, in my sidebar, over there-------------------------------------->
(well, over and up) you will notice a new entry, titled "Support Me."

In order to train with DCFIT, I agreed to raise $100 for autism research. I hate asking for money, so I won't. Just wanted to point it out, should you feel so inclined.

And tomorrow is all sorted out, thanks for the help. The winner is: 13 miles! And then the taper officially starts.


Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Inspiration, Perspiration, Desperation

Let's start with the good stuff: Inspiration!

Dori, of She Do Run Run reminds us of "ordinary people doing amazing things," as she documents the Twin Cities Marathon last week. Dori got some great photos of the front runners, including the 41-year-old guy who won the race, and also photos of friends, those "ordinary people" just like me, including a photo of a friend who finished the race in seven hours, and didn't get a medal because she didn't make the cut off—but kept on going. Just a little reminder to me to be proud that I am at least out there trying my best.

Next up is Anita, of Phat Girl Walking, who competed in the Portland Marathon a few weeks ago. She suffered an injury, and you might say, was a bit disappointed with her experience. And today? She posts this about two people who finished:
One crossed the finish line first. One crossed the finish line last. One ran. One walked. There's a big difference in the racing world between 2:21:54 and 10:41:22 but in my corner of world their achievements are equal because both gave it their all and did their best.
And then she added this:
I only know that whether in a marathon or in life, the thing that most matters is that we bring who we are to it and give our best. We step up to the starting line and we try.

And even if we fall short in what we hope to achieve in our lives, isn't it still better than laying in bed with a head full of dreams and a heart full of desires while we mutter from under the covers "I could never do that!"?
Damn straight!

Reading this makes all the arguing about walk/run and who gets to say they ran a marathon and who can call themselves an athlete ... well, it makes it all just so much noise.

Time for Perspiration

Saturday's run was 10 miles, my last "official" long run with my group. My usual partner, the Other Jen, ran the Army 10 Miler on Sunday, her first 10 mile race, in an impressive time of 1:59!! Go Jen! Sunday was a beautiful fall day. Saturday, on the other hand, was rainy, cold, wet, windy as hell, and generally, miserable. But! I decided I would really push myself on this run. I started with a nice young woman who was running slowly, but talking a mile a minute. She was new to the area and really needed a friend. I needed to not slow down. I told her so, and she was nice about it. So I sped (ha ha, these terms are relative) ahead and caught up with Seguna (sp?), who was by herself, wearing a GPS thing-y, and who said she was running 11:30 min miles. Perfect! We ran together the rest of the way up through Rock Creek Park and back again.

I felt good. I felt strong! As we neared the end, I checked my watch (mistake!) and saw we had already been running two hours. I asked her what the pace said on her GPS thing-y: 13:00-something! WTF??? So, with one mile to go I asked her to check again and again, until we hit 9:30 min. miles.

I hate GPS thing-y. I finished 10.35 miles in 2:08. Which made me made because I could have done better. Bah! Need to listen to body!

(Sidebar: I had to attend a conference in D.C. last week. Which meant, naturally, that I would not need a hotel room. The conference ran through Saturday, with an awards banquet on Saturday night. So Saturday morning I did my 10 miles-in-the-rain run, came home, got gussied up, went back to the hotel for an afternoon of conferencing, which ended at 5 p.m. The awards dinner started at 7 p.m. What to do for two hours with no hotel room?? Well, I found myself a cosy little corner and did what anyone in my exalted position as an awards finalist would do: I slept in the lobby. And no, I didn't win.)

Woke up Monday morning with raging sore throat. (Wait: maybe this part goes under "desperation?" hmm. not sure.) Dawdled around the house and eventually went to work. And then ran five miles Monday night (cuz my throat? has nothing to do with my feet) in 10:40 min miles. (See??) Which made me feel slightly better.


So while all the inspiration is good and all, and the perspiration, as little of it as there was, is fine, I am now completely convinced that the plan I've been following, well, sucks.

The long runs went like this (I won't start at the Very Beginning, because I realize we all have lives):

July 8: 10 miles
July 15: 10.5 miles
July 22: 10 miles
July 29: 15 miles
August 5: 10.5 miles
August 13: 20K race (substituted for 10 mile LSR)
August 19: 18 miles
August 26: 10.2 miles
Sept. 2: 10 miles
Sept. 9: 20 miles
Sept. 16: 11 miles substituted for 10 mile LSR)
Sept. 24: 13.1 (half marathon--substituted for 10 mile LSR)
Sept. 30: 22.29 miles
Oct. 7: 10.2 miles

Which brings us to today. My group is tapering. It's three weeks out, and we're in full-blown y'all done running, start tapering mode! Saturday's run is six miles. I'm freaking out. Look at that schedule! I haven't done enough long long runs! C'mon, tell me the truth. I can take it. Some people have already told me this! This schedule I'm on had, after every long long run, two step-down weeks of 10 milers. And just now, three weeks out, am I starting to think that was a really bad idea.

I've consulted people. I've looked at other training plans. I don't see ANYTHING that looks like this. I see plans that slowly build up, and then slowly build down.

I'm going to try to get in another 13 miler by myself this Saturday. Because, you know, that will really make the difference in my finish time.


Some of you, who are new to me and my tribulations, might be scratching your heads at this point, wondering why I chose this plan. Well, it's a long story. But the gist is: I was too slow for the groups that had the serious training plans. And I knew I needed a group.

And what is the moral of this story? I have no idea!

I 'spose it's something about feeling good about having done my best (but...I don't feel like I did my best. I just don't). And feeling proud that I'm even toeing the line with a goal time in mind, as opposed to last year when my goal was to just drag my carcass over the finish line. That I should be grateful that I have escaped injury so far. That I treasure my introduction to speedwork and hills and that I can now talk track. That I loved all those Saturday mornings waking at 4:30 a.m. and watching the sun rise over the Potomac. That I made a new friend, the Other Jen, who not only pushed me, but never failed to make me laugh, even in the midst of my endless bitching and moaning. That I made new friends. That, despite evidence to the contrary, I loved my wacky coaches and their nutty advice each week. That even if I feel like I haven't done my best in training, I am determined to do my best come race day.

No matter what.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006


Oh my, it's been a week, people!

That was some good run on Saturday. May the running gods be with me—with all of us—on the 29th, is all I have to say. Thanks for all your swell good wishes!

I went to a wedding Saturday night, did not need IV fluids after my 22 miles, but stayed up waaay past my bedtime (10 p.m.). Sunday was a bellringing performance (for the kiddie service: low pressure, high props, my kinda gig!); and Sunday nite a little dinner party at my humble cottage. That's a lot of interacting for this introvert.

Monday I ran five miles. I told myself I wouldn't look at the watch, and I didn't. Until the end. When I found out I was kind of slow. I mean really slow. I'm definitely getting slower on these mid-week short runs. Is this normal?

Tuesday: off. And tonight was track. My instructions from the little dictator:
4 x 1600 with 400 recovery. And the little vixen said I should try for a 10:05 pace. My butt! After I whined, she said, ok, try for 10:40, but added that "it's supposed to be hard!"

So tonight went like this:
1st 1600: 12:18 no, that was not a warm up. I was actually trying!
2nd 1600: 9:41
3rd 1600: 10:15
4th 1600: um, nope! it was DARK, for pete's sake. I was done.

In another highlight of the week, after seeing the wedding pictures, I decided I needed a grownup haircut. I'm not sure my beloved hairdresser actually got what I was after, since my hair is now very reminiscent of the young Shirley Temple. Sigh.

And in yet another highlight of the week, Miz Finally Running sent me a lovely—and totally unnecessary (but then, aren't those the best kind?)—thank-you gift: Nora Ephron's I Feel Bad About My Neck: And Other Thoughts on Being a Woman.

How does Nora always know exactly what I'm thinking? I can't wait to read this!

But, wait, there's more. Miz Susie had to go and ruin everything by including Dove chocolate-covered almonds with her gift.

Which of course I ate in one sitting at my desk this morning. Now, that was just an evil gift.

In sum, I'm now having to watch another episode of PR (the "reunion special") specifically designed to drag this thing out as long as humanly possible! That, my friends, is just despicable.