One Sleep

freakout

This time tomorrow I’ll be running my face off. I’ll admit. I’ve been freaking out. Big time. But now, with one sleep until the Vermont 50?

It’s on like Donkey Kong!

Tapered. Rested. Dried out. Massaged. I am goddamn ready.

I just got back from an easy 3 mile shake out run and I’m feeling good. Really good. I love running in the morning. Even though I rarely drag my ass out of bed during the week to do so. Today was beautiful. Quiet. Crisp. Calm.

zen

Just Me and My Legs. We had a zen moment. I visualized the race. The climbs. The finish. And the feeling of accomplishment that will come with pushing myself well beyond my comfort zone. I will finish. We had a nice chat, My Legs and I. I told them how proud I was of them. How strong they’ve become. How sorry I am for beating the snot out of them. I promised them it would be worth it. And that I’d pamper them afterwards. We just need to finish. They’ve come a long way, these Little Legs.

And they’d better get ready…

‘Cuz they’re gonna go longer. :-)

Ultra Freak Out.

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There it is.

That’s the countdown until the VT50. At least it was when I started writing this blogpost. By now it’s whittled away further.

Otherwise known as the Vermont 50.
Otherwise known as Colby’s First 50k.
Otherwise known as What the fuck was I thinking when I signed up for an Ultra Marathon in the Green Mountain State?!?!

I think I just blacked out.

This taper has been faaaar more emotional than any other taper for me. And I’ve done 7 of them. I’m not quite sure why I’ve been on the verge of mental collapse the past week and a half, but there it is. I have been.

I’m a goddamn mess.

Perhaps it’s tapering + life stress? Perhaps it’s because I made the critical mistake of reading some bullshit “You don’t have to be crazy to run an ultra marathon, just prepared!” article which listed Tips To A Successful Ultra when I should have read it 4 months ago? The first tip was: Stay flat. Yeah. I pretty much blew that one right out of the box. Perhaps it’s because I’m a “Roadie” who segued into a “Trail Runner” which is totally unchartered territory for me? Or perhaps it was the teeny tiny voice of a Little One the other day?

Yeah maybe that was it.

So on Sunday, My Other Half, His Two Quarters and I went for a walk with The Beagle. Just the 5 of us. We always take the kids to the beautiful trails near our house, where I have learned to love trail running. There is an estuary there and there are always all sorts of amazing birds fishing for supper. I was feeling blue on Sunday. Life stress. Work stress. 50K Stress. Taper stress. Running stress. Achy body stress. All at once I felt overwhelmed. Really overwhelmed. So there we all are watching this beautiful bird, a green heron, fish away. She was teetering on the edge of a thin branch, patiently waiting, dangling 2 inches from the surface. Still. Calm. So focused. So controlled. So determined. So confident in herself. She was on the precipice of disaster on a very weak branch. But she kept at it. I envied her. And her wings.

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Little One: She must really be hungry. She really wants that fish.
She sure does.
Little One: Have you seen her here?
No Sweetheart. Never.
Little One: {Surprised.} You explore a lot.
I do Sweetheart. A whole bunch.

She pauses. I can see her thinking. Really thinking. A slow smile creeps across her face.

Little One: You are a Runner.

I feel myself well up. And actually choke back tears. Out of the blue. There it was out of the mouths of babes. It was just what I needed to hear myself say. Out loud. Clearly. With conviction.

I am sweetheart. I am a Runner.

Let the countdown roll on.

Warriors Dashing. The Connecticut Warrior Dash Recap!

Well smack my ass and call me a Viking! Guess who held The Key to the Battleground, muddied up and ran like a Crazy Person during her 50k taper? (So. Bad. Not recommended.)

Colby, the crowned Mayor of Warrior Dash.

20140922-204048-74448888.jpgWhaa- Whaat?!?
True story.

Mr. Merriment, a Customer Service Sensei at Red Frog Events, tracked me down last year after reading our recap. (Here.) And just like that, I became the Mayor of Warrior Dash. How about that silliness??? :-)

Warrior Dash made it’s way to the Connecticut shoreline this weekend. Truth be told, Tina and I questioned last year’s Warrior Dash in Thompson “Where the hell are we?” Connecticut from the get go. But after 2 years in Thompson, Red Frog switched the venue to Madison, Connecticut WHICH IS IN MY BACKYARD!  I’ll cut to the chase here:  The change did Warrior Dash Connecticut GOOD!!  Sadly, Tina couldn’t Dash with our crew this year, but we kept her spirit alive with Diva Cindi, Fast Kid 1, Fast Kid 2 and Dare Devil Shawna, who we think has wings.

Here we are Pre-Dash. Clean and happy.

20140922-205830-75510232.jpgWe were fortunate to have a friend who lives directly across the street from Camp Laurelwood, Warrior Dash’s new venue. We were able to park at her house and walk on in. (WINNER!) The rest of the Warriors parked at a location several miles away and were bussed in. This was probably the biggest change. And from the people we chit chatted with, was met with mixed reviews.

Here’s what wasn’t met with mixed reviews. The Damn Dash!

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This year’s Connecticut installment was FANTASTIC! It kicked off with a refreshing “swim” in a lake to a teetering platform then a cannonball back in and a “swim” to shore. The tall folks had no problem wading in. Us People McNuggets, were in over our heads which is why I am convinced I am going to wind up with Giardia. Gulp lake water much? Eek. Once you made it out of the Lake of Parasites, you were off and running. Real trail running! Tons of mud! Walls! Ropes on top of ropes! Mud mounds! Barbed Wire! Trenches! A (small) wall of fire! A mud slide! Did I mention there was mud?? There were 12 obstacles over 3-plus miles. It was a BLAST.

The obstacles themselves were not horrifying. They were just plain fun. However the massive amount of mud covering every square inch of you made them super fly slippery. I was more concerned with pulling a hammie, rolling an ankle or contracting a water borne illness during my 50K taper than anything. I know. Not recommended. But I am sure glad I did it, bruises and all. After our hose-down-baby-wipe clean up, we made our way to the Shock Top after party which was a blast. And yes, there were turkey legs galore! They also had these cool post-directly-to-Facebook photo stations. Well played, Warrior Dash. Well played.

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If you haven’t done a Warrior Dash, you should. Like for real. They’re just plain FUN.
No burpie penalties.
No barking drill sargents.
No electric shocks.
No fuss.
Just muss.

And sometimes that’s exactly what you need.

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Have you ever run a Warrior Dash? Would you ever run one while tapering for a 50k? What’s worse: mud in ears or mud under finger nails?

So this happened. Instead of something else.

This week the internet Lost It’s Mind when this photo made it’s way around News Feeds across the Whole Wide World.

In case you missed it, this is a photo of a women’s cycling team from Bogotá, Colombia in the Tour of Tuscany wearing a rather unfortunate kit that features a wide band of fleshy-colored fabric across the crotch and hips. Clearly, it doesn’t photograph well. It’s actually gold, not nude. And those aren’t exposed vaginas. Well they’re vaginas, but they’re covered.

The Colombians didn’t “go all Brazilian” as proclaimed in the Mirror’s “Camel Toe” Headlined piece. Oh, the puns flew over their lady bits. Twitter even slapped a “sensitive material” warning on some of the pictures. The BBC ran a black bar across their bits. And then this from International Cycling Union President, Brian Cookson:

Quite frankly, I think he has more important matters to investigate in cycling than these not-so-cute kits. Just sayin’.

Those kits were designed by team member Angie Tatiana Rojas. Just to make things clear, Angie is a professional athlete. She’s a female professional cyclist. So since we were going to be chit chatting about women’s cycling, maybe we should have discussed more important issues and not 6 labia majoras.

Aoife Glass wrote a great piece over at Total Women’s Cycling about what the conversation should have been about. She touches on inequalities which professional female cyclists have been dealing with for years. Lately, they’ve been reaching a boiling point. While women in cycling have certainly come a long way this year with La Course by Le Tour de France, which brought the top women in cycling to ride the legendary route, and win a respectable purse, there are still miles to go. And they’re all uphill.

According to her piece, here are the 5 Issues in Women’s Professional Cycling that Are More Important Than That Kit:

  1. Equal Pay
  2. Equal Prize Money
  3. Equal Racing
  4. Equal Coverage
  5. Equal Funding and Opportunities

It’s a shame that the dialogue couldn’t be about what’s REALLY going on in women’s cycling and not about which team is going to wind up on the “What Not To Wear” list. When will this end? The theme there is Equality, not Camel Toes. It’s the same goddamn story and it’s unacceptable. Not for nothing, they’re not the first team to sport a gold kit. A Spanish Men’s pro team wore the same unfortunate color. Back in 2010. And the Twitterverse didn’t make a peep. Somehow sadly, I’m not surprised.

Boston Bound

BAASymbol

This post will be short and sweet.

Very sweet.

Got confirmation from the Boston Athletic Association on Sunday that I have a spot in the 2015 Boston Marathon!

I might come down off of Cloud 9 sometime, but I don’t think it will be anytime soon.

Boston is #1 on my Bucket List of marathons. And I’m running it.

You can read about my love for my hometown here.

You can read about my love for this marathon (and devastation at the 2013 tragedy) here and here.

You can read Colby’s recap of our epic experience watching the 2014 Boston Marathon at the crest of Heartbreak Hill here.

The Boston Marathon and I go waaaaay back.

I’ve been cheering this race from the sidelines since the mid-70’s.

I’ve been running up Heartbreak Hill on regular training runs since high school.

And now I’ll be running it wearing a Boston Marathon bib.

Sweet, indeed.

Anyone else planning on running Boston 2015? Which marathons are on your bucket list?

Tapering Out Loud

I’m officially Tapering.

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How in the name of The Tarahumara did THAT happen?

Good grief. Did I even train for a 50k? I can’t remember. It’s all a goddamn blur. My legs are exhausted, so something happened. I feel stronger, so I’m guessing the hill repeats worked. I have a case of The Nerves already, so the VT50 has got to be close. It’s kinda like being in college. You know when you wake up hung over, in last night’s clothes, on your buddy’s futon with a mustache drawn on your face in Sharpie?

Kind of like this…

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Me, muttering: I guess I had a good time?

{Staggers to mirror.}

Me, bellowing: Oh yeah I did!

It’s kind of just like that actually. A big old: WHAT. THE. HELL. Why didn’t someone stop me before it was too late?? So over the next two weeks I solemnly swear I will make a valiant attempt to keep my shit together. Here is the plan: The way I see it, it’s going to go one of two ways.

1. Lighter, quality runs. Some hill repeats. Core work. Paws up. Lotsa sleep. And an increase in carbs.

Or.

2. Several anxiety attacks. Self doubt. Phantom aches. A hysterical breakdown. Insomnia. And an increase in carbs.

Either way, I’m ready. :-)

How do you combat The Taper Crazies? What is the one Taper Ritual you do every time? Have you ever woken up with a mustache drawn on your face? {Fact: I have not. And here you thought I had. Silly Rabbit.}

NEWSFLASH! Tina and I are on Twitter!!! I know. Welcome to 2014 Girls. Follow us on Twitter! Here we are!

Cheaper Than Therapy

I have had a week. I. Have. Had. A. Freaking. Week. Is that clear enough?

End of my rope, hanging by a thread, on the brink…name your cliché, and I was there yesterday morning.

Everything with me actually is fine. But so, so many people that are around me are hurting – physically, emotionally, mentally. Sometimes it just feels like too much. I love so many people who are going through hard times right now. It hurts. It seems the whole world is hurting (the whole world is really f*cked up, too, but that is another post altogether).

I hesitate to pick up the phone in case it is more bad news.

I am terrified to click on a newslink for fear that I will view something so horrific that it is burned into my retina for the rest of my days.

I cannot stand the days leading up to September 11. I was in NYC that day. That beautiful blue-skied day in my beloved city that erupted into terror and black smoke. I was safe, thank God, but forever changed. I was 7 months pregnant, stuck in a city that was both locked down and under attack with no way to get home. I get anxious every year during this week- reliving the fear, remembering the stories and mourning those who were not safe. I was so, so lucky. And yet; changed. Forever. As we all were.

My text to Colby yesterday morning summed up my mental state: “The World Has Got To Get Its Shit Together. Period.”

(I also followed up with a warning that I was on an epic rant in case she planned on calling. Friends don’t let friends call crazy people without a warning).

By the time I got the kids on the bus – that would be 8:02 AM – I felt like I was going to jump out of my skin. Literally.

So I did what I have been doing since I was 16 years old. I laced up, and headed out.

No heartrate monitor, because I wanted to run hard and didn’t want the criticism.

No Garmin, because I really didn’t give a crap how far or how fast I ran.

This wasn’t a training run.

This was a survival run.

I ran up to our middle school track and ran as hard as I could for as long as I could. I wanted a track because I wanted to be able to run without having to think about traffic, pedestrians or cyclists – just look ahead and run. I ran like a feral animal. I ran until I felt like I might puke, then noticed that the middle school gym classes were coming out for sports. My son goes to the middle school and I’m pretty sure that having your mom puke in front of the whole 7th grade will kill your rap for well, probably, forever. So I stopped, got a hold of myself, caught my breath and ran home. All so he can have his choice of prom dates someday. I hadn’t completely lost it, after all.

I arrived home a new person. A person who was ready and equipped to deal with the realities of life. Whatever crappy things it might bring.

Since the day I started running for the sake of running, it has empowered me. I can start a run with the weight of the world on my shoulders, but by the end, I know I can handle whatever is thrown my way. Yesterday was no different. I’m mostly all good now.

Running. It’s powerful. It’s inspiring. It boosts me in a way that nothing else can.

And it’s a hell of a lot cheaper than therapy.

Anyone else run for therapy? Having a crappy week? How do you deal with the insanity that is life?

Super Saturated

enough

I have hit my Pumpkin Spice Saturation Point. And it’s not even goddamn fall yet. In fact, this post is 3 weeks late because I actually hit my PSSP in August. AUGUST. That’s summer. I believe the day I hit it, it was 90 degrees with 90% humidity and I had just cut a long run short because I was a dehydrated, delirious mess. That day did not scream “BRING ON THE NUTMEG PUMPKIN-Y HEAVINESS!! HOORAY!”  Maybe I could have choked down an ICED pumpkin spice coffee (on the beach, in a bikini) but certainly not a hot one. The Facts:

  • Halloween Costumes were gone by the end of July.
  • I saw a turkey, a Pilgrim and a cornucopia in August.
  • And Santa better thrown on his board shorts because I spied his jolly old ass a week ago.

What is the goddamn rush?

Slow down.

For the love of Autumn, slow down. Please. We’re all rushed enough. Can we not ENJOY the Seasons? Can’t we happily anticipate the Holidays, without having them jammed down our throats, months in advance? Can’t we enjoy seasonal shit in the the season they are supposed to actually occur? They’re killing me. And I love pumpkin spice. I do. Let that be known. But honest to gourds, shit is getting crazy. In case you haven’t noticed, here’s what’s new on the Pumpkin Spice Horizon. It’s kind of a natural progression here- breakfast, snacks, happy hour and (cough) desert.

1. Bigelow, Pumpkin Spice Tea. Not too crazy. Nice. Yummy. Hot tea.

pumpkin spice tea

2. Eggo, Limited Edition, Pumpkin Spice Waffles. Betcha they’re not all that bad, in a sugary card board kinda way.

pumpkin spice waffles

3. Limited Batch Chobani Pumpkin Spice Greek Yogurt. This might not be all that bad. They might be on to something with this one. Is ‘pumpkin spice’ the new ‘honey’ in Greece? I’m going out on a limb and saying, No.

pumpkin spice chobani

4.Thomas’ Limited Edition Pumpkin Spice Bagels. I’ve had these. They ain’t bad. Like at all.

pumpkin spice bagels

5. Limited Edition Kraft Philadelphia Pumpkin Spice Flavored Cream Cheese. Spread this on your Pumpkin Spice Bagel and you might OD. That might be a bit much.

pumpkin spice cream cheese

6. So Delicious Dairy Free Pumpkin Spice Coconut Milk. Come on. This is getting to be a bit much.

pumpkin spice coconut

7. Planter Pumpkin Spice Almonds. WHAT? Hey. Wait a minute. Now those I really might try….

pumpkin spice almonds8. Pumpkin Pie Spice Pringles. By the way, they’re artificially flavored in case you thought Pumpkin Pie Spice was a naturally occurring substance.

pumpkin spice pringles 9. Pumpkin Spice Hershey’s Kisses. Oh come on. You’re killing me.

pumpkin spice kisses

10. Pumpkin Spice M&Ms. Even the M&M looks goddamn horrified. He is so over this.

pumpkin spice mm 11.  Pumpkin Spice Oreo’s. Why do I get the sneaking suspicion that these bad boys taste like an Autumn Yankee Candle?

pumpkin spice oreos

12. HIT Supplements Pumpkin Spice Premium Whey Blend. Become a Giant Pumpkin. NOW. Seasonal Supplements. Yup. Seasonal Supplements, guaranteed to PUMP you up. See what I just did right there? pumpkin spice whey protein

13. Starbuck’s Pumpkin Spice Latte Ice Cream. I’m sorry. I think I just fainted. NOW THIS ONE I AM BUYING. Perhaps in bulk. I vote this the Number One addition to the Pumpkin Spice Line Up. And when is it supposedly going to hit the shelves? IN NOVEMBER. When it should, dammit. Who knows. This post is light on research. It’s probably already out. And was in April. Let’s not fact check among friends, shall we?

pumpkin spice ice cream

14. Pinnacle Pumpkin Pie Vodka. Now we’re talking! And check out that martini. Shit’s got a crust. Impressive. I think I just got Type II Diabetes at the mere sight of that cocktail. Holy Sweetness.

pinnacle pumpkin pie vodka

15. Durex Pumpkin Spice Condom. Wait. What the?!?!?  COME ON. :-)

pumpkin spice condom

Because THAT’S how ridiculous it is out there. This concludes my rant. Thank you for reading. Now back to running….

Have you OD’d on Pumpkin Spice? Have you tried any of these? (Not the condom., Silly. That was an internet myth.) Am I missing any REALLY ridiculous ones?

 

Gonna Fly Now

Cue the Rocky Theme – I’m officially registered for Philly!

I have been saying that I’m running it for around month now, so figured I might as well register.

And so it begins.

Not so much the running. I do that anyway. Now begins the mental torture.

How am I supposed to be training? What am I doing wrong? What am I doing that I shouldn’t be doing? What should I be doing that I’m not doing? Am I getting worse instead of better? What’s my plan?

For Marathon #1, it was simple. I downloaded a “First Marathon Training Guide” and followed it. And just as people say, if you follow the plan, you’ll do fine. I followed the plan and did fine. I really, really like it when the world works that way.

But what do I do now? I haven’t found a “Second Marathon Training Guide,” and I’m afraid that if I do find one now, I’ll learn that I’m way behind and will have a panic attack. I don’t think I’m ready for the “Intermediate Marathoner’s Training Guide.” I won’t even glance at “Marathon Training for a PR!” since I am doing a Spartan the week before and a PR goal seems kind of completely delusional.

For the past few weeks, I’ve just been doing my regular thing and increasing my long run by a mile each week, keeping the rest of my runs the same. Yesterday’s long run was 15, and I’ll probably clock around 35 total miles for this week. I’m running slower than last year on slow run and recovery days, now that I have my handy-dandy heartrate monitor. I’m running fine (although very slo-o-o-wly, so my heartrate monitor doesn’t yell at me), especially given the ridiculous heat and humidity we have had lately. But still – who the heck am I to be running without a proper plan??? Number One on my to-do list this week is to check out training plans and choose one.

The running of course, is never the hardest part of training for a marathon. It’s the mental gymnastics.

The teeny tiny Sane part of my brain says I’ll be fine. I will not win and I will not die during the Philly marathon whether I follow the perfect plan or not, so there is really nothing extreme to be stressed about. It is pretty unlikely that I won’t finish, and if I don’t, it will probably be for a very good reason beyond my control. Sane Brain asks what I am worried about. That I’ll slip on a philly cheesesteak and hurt myself? (unlikely). Tire out and have to walk? (So what?) Run slower than I’d like? (So what?) Stop to take a picture with a man in a gorilla suit, have my calf seize and have to limp the last few miles? (already happened to Diva Cindi when we ran the Heartbreak Half. Not gonna happen again so soon). Sane Brain is telling me to chill out. But Sane Brain is small and quiet.

Lisa keeps telling me I'll do fine. But she's practically whispering.

Lisa keeps telling me I’ll do fine. But she’s practically whispering.

The major part of my brain – Insane Brain – is killing me. Insane Brain is not impressed and not optimistic. Unfortunately, insane Brain is bigger and louder than Sane Brain. And every distance runner out there knows what Insane Brain keeps telling me.

Bart keeps saying "Dude, you're screwed!" And he's really, really loud. And drunk. AND HE WON'T SHUT UP!!

Bart keeps saying “Dude, you’re screwed!” And he’s really, really loud. And drunk. AND HE WON’T SHUT UP!!

And so it begins.

What Marathon Training Plans do you recommend? Any good ones for crazy people? Maybe combo Marathon Training/ Intensive Therapy Plans???

 

See a penny pick it up…

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…all long run you’ll have good luck.

Hey. It’s my penny and I can wish if I want to.

I found this little banged up, broken down penny on my run today. I saw it glinting in the dirt under a bright September sun. It was 88 with 92% humidity, so you can believe me when I tell you that I thought it was a goddamn mirage. I snatched that little sucker up.

And made a wish.

Tomorrow morning I’m running long. Long long. It will be my last long run before My First Ultra, a 50k at the VT50. If you’ve been keeping tabs on Our Little Blog, you know the following about me:

1. The last long run before the Vermont City Marathon resulted in a trip to the emergency room, 3 stitches, Dermabond, abrasions and one Badass Shiner that lasted for weeks. It also resulted in permanent facial scarring. I see a plastic surgeon soon for a scar revision. And quite possibly a brow lift. Either that or I’m laying off of the salt. I’m beginning to look like a Shar-Pei. You can recount the horror here.

2. I ran the Vermont City Marathon, my lucky number 7th marathon, complete with shiner and shit eating grin. It was not my fastest, but it was one I was most proud of. You can re-live the glory here.

3. I developed PMWS, Post-Marathon Withdrawal Syndrome and being a blogger, documented the whole damn thing. Do you think you have it? You can check here.

4. In a moment of pure insanity, I pulled the trigger and registered for my first Ultra. You can read that death wish here.

It’s been quite the Running Trip. So here I am, Last Pre-Ultra Long Run Eve, rolling that gritty little penny between my fingers, and thinking about my journey.

We’ve come a long way, that little penny and I.

And she’s gonna go longer in the morn’.