Thursday, September 29, 2011

Weird things I see while running

I think in the past I have talked about some weird stuff I see while running. Last weekend at the race I saw something I never thought I would see. I didn't add it to my race report as I knew it was possible that it would be linked on the race website (it was btw).

Ok, so I'm running along and I saw two people stopped on the trail. A man and woman. Not really unusual since a lot of people stopped to take breaks. They were on each side of the trail so I had to run between them. What were they doing just stopped there, you ask? Smoking. That's right. They were taking a break from the race to smoke. So not only was this weird and confusing, I had to run through their smoke. I could barely breathe anyway at that point and then I'm stuck inhaling smoke. Who does that? Who smokes during a race?

I'm not sure what else this couple did along the trail, but suffice it to say it couldn't have been all running or walking. I passed them with 3 miles to go. I finished about an hour later. They finished 2.5 hours later. That's right. 2.5 hours to run/walk/crawl 3 miles. Hmmmm.

On to other weird stuff. Lately I have been seeing lots of dead armadillos. Maybe not so much weird as gross. One run I saw three, all dead. Reminds me of the time I kept seeing dead frogs on my run. The most entertaining thing? People at houses that they do not live at early in the morning. Too early to have just stopped by for coffee. More like they spent the night. Living in a small town, I know everyone, so this amuses me.

Trash. I see lots of trash on the road. I don't know if I've talked about this before or just imagined that I did. Regardless, I'm going to. My favorite piece of trash is some Alli diet information. The box that it came in along with an information booklet. I ran by it for months out on a country road. It alwasy amused me to be out there kicking my own butt and trying to get healthy and someone else was sitting in their recliner watching soap operas taking diet pills. I wonder how that worked out for them?  In the same area as the Alli trash, there was a tylenol bottle. I have no idea if it had any in it or not. I will say there were times I was in enough pain and almost desparate enough to find out. I never did though.

Right now I can't really think of any other interesting things I see. I'm sure I will see more and think of more though. Perhaps I should start a list. When I get a certain number of items on the list I can share with all of you. What do you think?

Happy Running!


Sunday, September 25, 2011

Flatrock 25 Report

The last time I posted about this race I was trying to decide whether or not to do it. I had decided I definitely was not going to. I hadn't trained and the furthest I had run since my half marathon in May was 10 miles. I was in no way prepared for the race. Then I got an email from the race director informing me there were still slots open. I must have been on drugs that I wasn't aware of because I signed up. I decided I would do it just to do it and who cares what the results were. I could do 20 minute miles and still finish in a little over 5 hours, so why not?

Why not indeed. This was hands down the most difficult thing I have ever done in my life. And I've given birth to two children. And for some reason I'm already thinking about next year. While it was difficult, nothing can compare to the feeling of crossing the finish line. I'm not sure if I've told you how hard this trail is, but it is ridiculous. Here are some good pictures from another year.

Friday night is packet pickup and a pasta dinner. When I got there to pick up my packet and said my name race director Eric Steele said, "oh, you're from Elk City!" This race has been going on outside of town for 17 years and no one from Elk City has participated. Until now that is. Anyway, it was cool that he knew who I was. Also, the spaghetti was the best spaghetti I have ever tasted. Ryan was with me and he loved it as much as I did. Here is a picture of us filling our plates:

Saturday morning I woke up way too early and couldn't wait to get out there. I sort of compare this race to childbirth. You know it's going to be hard and hurt like hell, but you can't wait to do it anyway. And while  you know it is going to hurt and take a long time and you will be exhausted, you don't really know. You just think you do. Anyway, I got there, got everthing ready and listened to the RD brief us. Then it was time to line up at the starting line. I had my usual pre-race nerves, but nothing too bad. The gun went off and we started running. I had forgotten to turn on my ipod, so that took a little bit. Right away my calves and shins were hurting and I have no idea why. Since they hurt and I was still on the road I was kind of freaking out.

After a little bit of running on the road we hit the trail. Right away you start going up. And over, around and through rocks. Big rocks, little rocks, sharp rocks, round rocks, moving rocks, etc. Rocks are the theme of this race. Note the name. Except I'm not sure where the "Flat" part comes in. Anyway, I was prepared for this as I had hiked this trail before. I'm tough! No big deal. Yeah right. I could not catch my breath. It took me a good mile to level out and breathe normally. By that time my legs were already protesting a little. The first 4 miles of the trail are the hardest in my opinion. This also means the last 4 are really hard as it is an out and back. Right before mile 4 is the first aid station. The aid stations were awesome and the volunteers are really great. I cannot say enough good things about them.

The next part of the race had a lot of flat areas that were pretty runable. I say that because this course is really not runable for the whole distance. I suppose some people can run most of it, but I am definitely not one of them. I read a quote last week and Rick repeated it to me before I left for the race. I said it to myself over and over. "Run when you can, walk if you have to, crawl if must, just never give up."-Dean Karnazes. My entire goal for this race was just to not give up. I only wanted to finish and prove to myself that I could do this.

I got to the second aid station where I had the best pb&j ever made. Or I was just really hungry. I spent a few minutes shoving food in my face and drinking and headed back. I ran pretty well for about a half mile. At this point I knew I needed to walk more or I wasn't going to finish. Everything was starting to hurt. Hips, ankles, feet, blah blah blah. Everything! I ran probably half the distance to the next aid station and walked half. This was alternating walking/running. It was sometime around here that my garmin became stupid. Right before the aid station it said I had 8 miles to go. It's a good thing I knew better or I might have cried at that point.

At the last aid station I had some more food and drink. Then I was off to complete the last 4 miles! Relief is in sight! While everything was aching I was still doing pretty well. For another half to 3/4 of a mile anyway. Then I just hit a wall. I had no energy left and I was in pretty bad pain. When I got to the point where I had to climb back up through a crevice that I had went down I really didn't know if I could do it. I somehow drug my butt up there and started going again. By now the bottoms of my toes were raw and I thought I would probably have blisters and bleeding toes. About 3 miles from the end I started to hear celebrations from the finish line. It was so neat to be able to hear it. Finally I was coming down a hill that I thought was close to the end. I saw a photographer and knew he hadn't hiked too far, so I must be close. He took this picture:
When I hit the end of the trail and saw the road I cried. Seriously. I was so happy and relieved. I had planned to run the length of the road to the finish line but I just didn't have it in me. I maybe ran half. Rick and the boys had planned to arrive at 1:30 because I thought it would take me at least 5 hours to finish. At one point I knew I was doing better than that, so I texted him to be there at 1:00. I kept looking at my watch at the end and it looked like I would be really close to 1:00. As I was running down the last stretch of road I heard a vehicle behind me and hear a camera. Rick took pics as he was driving by. Unfortunately, none of them turned out as the camera was set to manual from the last time I used it. I yelled "Hurry!!" because I wanted them to see me cross the finish line. Shortly after I turned onto the gravel road and there was the finish. They were making all kinds of noise and I assume my name was called along with where I'm from. I don't think I could hear anything at that point. I was just focused on the finish. I crossed the finish line right at 1:00, so 4 hours, 30 minutes after I started. Unfortunately, Rick and the boys didn't make it to see me finish. I got my finishers prize and met up with my family who were there just a few seconds too late.

I sat down to take my shoes off. To my surprise, my toes weren't bleeding. I did have some blisters though. Ryan went to the car to get my flip flops because there was no way I was putting those shoes back on. I may never wear them again.

Here I am with my finishers award. That's right. I finished. Faster than my goal. I ran/walked/whatever 25 kilometers.  I expect applause.
My legs were so dirty. It was disgusting. Here is a picture of the dirt. For anyone who knows me at all, you know I was not very happy about this. Do take note of my pretty toenails though. I'm not going to let a little race prevent me from having pretty toes :)

As I crossed the finish line Eric asked if I had fun. I told him to ask me later. I'm still deciding. I am very proud of myself for accomplishing this. I imagine I will do it again next year. I also had fun at times on the trail. Overall I can't say if I had fun or not. It was a fantastic experience and one I hope to repeat. It was inspiring to me to be able to push myself beyond what I thought I was capable of doing.

I'm still waiting on official results and finish line photos. I will add them to a future post. In the meantime, I will still be running and training for my next race, which is the Route 66 Quarter marathon. Can't wait!


Monday, September 12, 2011

My Support Team

Ok, first things first. I said I would update you all when I got back from vacation. All I can say is it was great! I didn't run as much as I should have for various reasons, but I did run! I had a birthday while I was there and ran that day. I thought I should start off a new year of my life with a run and was very glad I did it.

Now, moving on to the actual topic of this blog. My support team. I have so many people that support me in so many ways. I'm constantly amazed at how great people are. When I started running I really didn't think I would keep doing it or would ever want people to know I did it. At some point I wanted people to know what I was doing. I wanted to have people at the finish line of races cheering for me and I wanted people to ask how I was doing. I also realized I needed people. I need people to watch my kids while I run if  my husband can't be there. I need people to bring me water or kleenex or come pick me up out in the middle of nowhere when I have to go to the bathroom RIGHT NOW!!

I'm amazed at the people that I know or talk to that don't have anyone encouraging them or supporting them in any way. They go to a race alone, run, and go home. I like to make it a celebration. Perhaps I'm vain. That is all part of the experience for me.

I would like to introduce you all to my team:

My husband: Rick is awesome. I don't know what else to say. He gets up early and brings me stuff, he comes and gets me when I need to go to the bathroom. He drives me to races and sometimes sits in the car when it is cold and raining and waits for me. I could go on for hours about how wonderful he is, but I do it in a lot of posts, so I don't need to say it all again. I can't say enough about how great he has been and continues to be.

My kids: They both ride their bikes or run with me on occasion. Ryan always has positive things to say and is encouraging. He also enjoys coming to the races to cheer for me. At least most of the time. I can always count on Adam to be honest with me. Really Mom? Didn't you say you were running 10 miles? Why did you only run 5? Or I say I was proud of a time and he says, "that doesn't seem that fast." He isn't being mean. He's just brutally honest. At my toughest race Adam was at the end running beside me to the finish line. Nothing is better than seeing his little smiling face waiting for me at the end.

My Mom: My mom has this thing where she doesn't like to say "I'm proud of you." Don't freak out. It makes sense. She says she is always proud of us. She would be proud of me if I never ran again. She's not more proud because I ran a half marathon. She always tells me how excited she is or how great she thinks I'm doing. I love that. She has also come and stood outside for hours waiting for me to cross the finish line. She came to Tulsa when I did my half marathon. She had to drive 2 hours the night before, rent a hotel room and get up before dawn to go watch. I can't tell you all how happy that made me.

My aunt Tammy. Before I did my first 5k race I found out I wasn't going to have anyone there to watch me. I really wanted someone that was at the finish line waiting for me. I asked her if she would do it and she did. She got there an hour before the race and stood out in the cold and mist waiting for me to start. She was there when I came around the corner with 1k or so left to go. Then she was at the finish line. It meant so much to me to have her there. She has come to other races since. Last weekend she was there to see me repeat the first race I ever did. When I crossed the finish line 2 minutes faster than last year I think she was just as excited as I was. It was so special to me that I got to share that with her.

I have many other people who support me. The ladies on are always fabulous and continue to encourage me. Also, everyone on the C25k forum. I'm constantly being asked by people in town how my running is going and people seem genuinely happy for me when I tell them. My cousins Tricia and Jennifer are always complimenting me on my running and encouraging me to keep going. They can't come to my races, but they are always cheering for me in spirit. Jennifer even ran with me while in Connecticut and Tricia got up early and drove us to a park to run.

Edit to add: I can't believe I forgot this. My friend Coleen got me a reflective vest so I don't get run over and die while running! I love that she likes me enough to not want me to die :)

Also, the ladies on bought me body glide and mailed it to me when I lost mine. That proves what true friends they are.

I'm sure a lot of other people have helped me at some point or will be there for me in the future. I am so thankful for every single person who encourages me or supports me. And thank you to everyone who reads this blog and listens to me complain or brag about myself.

This week is race registration week for me. I will be registering for the Neewollah 10k, the Route 66 Quarter Marathon, and the Route 66 Half Marathon!!