Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The New Haven Labor Day Race 2011

I did the New Haven Road Race again, nope, not the 20k just a measly little 5k.  I have a Half coming up in 2 weeks and I don’t want to be the mess that I usually am after a super long race.  Yes super long is a Half I cannot even imagine doing a Full.  I got to the New Haven Green way early, walked all over watched them set up astuff and saw some friends.  I got free bread did some running to warm up once they closed the streets.  It is so interesting to see people drive and then they cant go where they want so they just stop and ask the policemen for help.   I never knew cops were part GPS.  
Okay it’s getting close to gun time soon,  I’m at the start and I start chocking up cause that is what I do every race.  I have no idea when that started,  I think after returning from an over use injury when I could not run for months and was in rehab  at least 2 years ago.  Since then every race since my return I cry.  I am a sap.  The mayor talks, there is the national anthem and we are off.    Mile one was okay I did it and felt fine.   We pass the water stop there is no water just empty cups all over the ground.  I remember when I did the 20k last year they ran out of water at the end and I needed it some sooooo bad.  I could not believe there was no water again.  We run.  We come to a spot there was oil over the road.  It was insane.  Now everyone is complaining and slipping and I just try to run over dirt or leaves to get that junk off my shoes.  Water station  coming up!  Horary!  They have water after all!  I have no idea what that first water stop was I do know sometimes the locals hand it out so maybe that was not an official stop.   I guzzle and run some more.   Humidity kills me.  It’s humid, it’s killing me.  I am pushing it so hard.  I think I am doing 10 min miles if I am lucky.  At the start  40 seconds passed before I crossed the starting line so I really don’t know what I am officially doing,  later I learn the Garmin showed a  10:19 pace with 40 seconds of walking to cross the start so really I did a  9:40 mile and that is amazing for me.   I couldn’t hold that pace,  the next one was 10:46 which is much more my style.   Last mile was 10:29 not horrible.  So I didn’t beat my best  race time ever but I am only 10 seconds off from my best time there ever.  I kinda think if I only pushed it harder a little more I could have done better but all went well.   I didn’t puke so that is a bonus.  Great friends,  great weather, great day, great race.     Running is cool

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Stratford Summer Series 2011

At the height of the summer about 20 runners will meet every Wednesday at 6pm. The cost is stupid cheap, 20 bucks for 4 races or 7 bucks a piece. It “runs” 4 weeks in a row and on the last week we have a picnic. Over the three years I’ve been doing it I have established tighter relationships with other people who have the same addiction. Bad name girl that I am actually can remember certain names now. Funny thing I noticed and it’s the same everywhere, it’s kinda interesting when you see guys hitting on girls who fit their “I want you” format. I myself have a few guys in that criteria but sophisticated people such as myself never admit to liking anyone. Perhaps because once the prey catches on to those human motives you usually never see them again. Running scared? Perhaps. Where the heck is this going? I was talking about summer races wasn't I? Ok back to that. 3 years ago I won a trophy for 'back of the pack' and I was crazy happy. I WON A TROPHY! It didnt matter why, I think I blocked that part out. I called my runner boyfriend and rambled on and on about the awesomeness of the day. Mister Marathon didn’t get it at all. I did the series last year and nearly puked at least two weeks in a row in the same spot on the course; runners probably understand that. This year was pretty special for me. I won a first place female trophy..yes from last to first, and ten months ago the cops thought I was dead, the doctors told my family to make preparations, it was really bad. The fact that I am back doing anything is very cool. I love running. I love the Summer Series. I love the fellow runners there (not in that way, I am not a slut). Heck I love being alive. Next race is in 3 days, blog? Maybe. Crash on the couch afterwards? Definitely.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Running On Faith. The Fairfield Half Marathon 2011

I ran another one. This race was harder than the last one for several reasons. It was mostly hills; I hate hills, it was June 26th; much hotter than the October 9 race, and oh yeah I went through that pesky coma, brain trauma, broken jaw, broken wrist, titanium face implants, right homonymous hemianopsialegally, (which in English means blindness that is caused by brain damage) and optic nerve damage, the day after the last race. Okay sure maybe I am being a wimp but all those little things combined makes for one tougher Half Marathon. So how does a suppose-to-be-dead girl get conned into running the hardest Half in Connecticut you ask? I think that brain damage part had something to do with it. I was not making sense a lot of times, and many missing memories, when a friend suggested we do the race together AND she would drive me there, I was very agreeable, probably even enthusiastic. The missing memory part was the culprit, forgetting how hard the last one was, plus now I had something to prove.

The day after my first and only Half a reporter told me the accident I was involved in was heard over the police scanner as a fatality. Cops aren’t right all the time. I was taken to a hospital and the doctors told my family I was not likely to live. Doctors aren’t right all the time either. Plus I am not very fond of a big time specialty doc at Yale who said I would not get any better. I have. Hey I ain’t no slacker Buck-O but back to the race, this is not a blog on coming back from the dead, that will be another blog. I start training, my friend Kelly and I plan to run 8 miles of the hardest part of the course. We go to a place with a parking lot and crazy enough it’s where my pediatrician office was. He has long since relocated to doctor heaven. When I was a kid going there was a big deal. We get out of the car, Kelly pees in the parking lot so she won’t have to do that on someone lawn later. Over an hour and a Gu later we finish, it was tough. 5 weeks to go, no problem.

The next week it’s her, me and Elizabeth, a super fast runner friend of Kelly’s. Park in the same spot and their off, they run so far ahead of me I occasionally see them in the distance. Being slow and mostly blind stinks more than usual today. Midpoint Kelly pees at a secluded side of the road near a bridge, I caught up to her but she gone again, next I see super fast Elizabeth find a porta potty, I keep running as hard and as fast as I can and pass the WC. Run, run, run, it was probably only a minute but I was ahead of Elizabeth. Then I hear the tap tap of running shoes on the pavement, tap, tap, so much faster than my thud thuds. She passes me. I look at her she is focused, got her running face on and that is the last I will see of her until I make it back to the car to find them both stretching and waiting for me. 4 weeks to go.

The next week a benefit concert is thrown for me so I can pay some hospital bills. I can’t run with them. Elizabeth is now out of the race do to a running injury! What? She’s the best one. Then another one of Kelly’s friends is out due to injury. I was in a coma, in critical condition just several months prior and I am more healthier than them?? Impossible.

I check the race website, it’s sold out but I am not listed as a runner. Oh no this is not happening! I send an email; no reply. I contacted my bank, the check was cashed so I should be fine but I had major brain trauma and this is causing more trauma for me. It took some time and more e-mails but I got my conformation. I would be bib number 700, my friend Kelly who registered way before me was 2792. It makes no sense I know.

Kelly and I do another run of a different part of the course, this time she parked at the library because although we wanted to park at the beach where it would start the beach wanted 20 bucks. We said we were runners doing a practice run, hint hint, there were only two cars in a lot that would hold hundreds of others, but who’s counting, nudge nudge. Nothing. I woulda paid a couple bucks, no way would we will pay 20. Kelly peed at the library. I use to pee a lot more but I cut back on my water intake since I did some research and learned I was drinking too much. However I sometimes get the pre-run poo, that’s so lovely. I now down a half bottle of Kaopectate and so far it works. Our run was tough, I pushed it at the end since I knew where the end would be. We only did 8 miles instead of the 9 we set out to do, it should have been much easier than it was. 2 weeks til race day. That was our last run together. I did a few 5 milers and gym workouts but no more long runs. We both had a good attitude, we would finish even if we had to walk to the end.

Race Day:

Elizabeth drove, she couldn’t run but she wanted to support our efforts. We got off the exit an hour and a half before the race and traffic was at a stand still. Everyone was going. Slowly we made it to the lot. Now onto bib search and vender booths for free stuff. Alone Elizabeth and I talked about running the Chicago Marathon and we would convince Kelly to do it also. It's pre-race line up so Kelly returned and we made our way over. Girls start one place guys another, then we all join up after a mile or so. There’s the gun and we’re off.

Mile One. Too fast! We wanted to do a 12 min mile pace but did a 10:30 pace. It is too easy and awesome, plus live music from different bands played. It’s a great day.

Mile Two: Guys joined girls, still running awesome-ish

Miles Three: I slow down just a tad, still a nice pace.

Mile Four: First hill, it’s long but I can do it. I slow down even more

Mile Five: Oh crap, nothing but hills. Kelly and I hook up, she said she was with me the whole time I had no clue.

Miles Six and Seven: I think all I am doing is taking walk breaks up these stupid hills, aren’t they suppose to go down too? How come I don’t notice the down just the up? I must need a Gu to think clearer.

Mile Eight: People are packing up their lawn chairs and heading to their cars. The roads are half open and cars are driving too fast near us. Apparently all the fast runners have finished, most people do not like the slower ones

Mile Nine: Crappy guitar player doing an awful solo, I play guitar so I know he stinks. I run as fast as I can to get out of listening range…maybe that was his intent, or maybe he’s fine and I just need more Gu

Mile Ten: DJ and people hold up funny signs cheer us on, Kelly and I dance our way past the music. We have lost out minds and we swear we will never ever do this again. What were we thinking signing up?! This is so hard we vow only to do 5k's from now on.

Mile Eleven: Oh crap. I finally feel the hill going down, muscle spasm big time. How the heck am I going to finish in this much pain? My thigh totally spasms up but I still ran. That has never happened before and I have been through so many different aliments over the years.

Mile Twelve. Kelly says she has to slow down, I tell her no, run on your ego, she repeats she has to slow down, I tell her no, run on my ego. We pick it up our pace we must be lunatics.

Mile 13.1 I literally sprinted to the finish and pass two people. I cross the finish line and an EMT worker seeing me hang on to the edge of something, I have no clue what, asks if I need medical attention I say no, I move down and lean over something else. Another worker comes over and says they have oxygen and I can get looked at in the ambulance. No, I am fine just give me pizza.

Kelly and I grab some watermelon and lemonade, I down 3 slices of pizza way too fast. It was a very cool race once it was over. In the middle of the race I couldn’t believe how hard it was but it’s over so I am okay with it. As the days go by the race seems more fun. More days pass and I am signing up for another one Sept 17th. Yeah I do forget how hard they are and how much I don’t want to do them when I am in the middle of doing them. It wasn’t the brain damage, missing memories at all, it’s just my personal craziness.

Sunday, November 21, 2010


I am not sure when my sister died it might be October, I will find out, she was what my age is now, 45.  I was born 10 years earlier than her.  On October 9th I ran a half marathon, I had one of the best days of my life.   It was in Hartford right near the place I used to go see Elton John perform a lot of times and he is my main man.  It was very cool to do it and I got some free stuff when I picked up my bib number, a cool shirt I was going to wear after the race.  I went, I ran, I made friends, I wrote about it, I could not wait to do it again.  The next day I have no memory of or the following weeks.  From what I was told I was on an old road I used to go on all the time as a teenager near an old place I lived, I was on my motorcycle, I wore my race shirt, my running jacket, and a leather over it.  I do not know what happened but I almost died.  I was told a story how it was not my fault but I do not know.  They rate brain injuries something like 3 to 15.  15 is normal 3 is the worst they rated me a 5.  A 5.  They had a surgeon ready to operate when I came to on my own and they sent him home.  They put me back into a coma,  wired my jaw, operated on my face and arm, my vision is bad, not normal but I pray every day.  I could-should have died.  Just like my sister.  I am still here fighting my way back.  I have to make it.  I started running again but with the wired jaw and all the medicine that is in me it's harder....much harder.   I will be back.  I will honor my sister and everyone that has supported me during this.  And I will one day... run a marathon.    It will be long and hard.  Stay tuned. 

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Hartford Half Marathon 2010. My First Hardware

My first  hardware.
I must have done great because I got a silver medal after I finished.   That honor occurred after they rolled me in a sheet of tin foil like a skanky, sweaty, giant burrito (yum) but before a man with bananas looked at me a said “ooou you better take two.”   I am noticing a theme to these distance races, there’s usually someone concerned for my welfare at the end or sometimes even at the half way point, I’ve heard comments  such as: “Oh you’re never gonna finish, you don’t look good”   I can only guess what the world sees as I run by.  In my imagination I am running like an elite, all tucked in, arms high and tight, perfect stride but the reality must be something MUCH different.    Another example happened on the grassy knoll; historically those are always trouble.  I stared at the ground under my feet and wondered how I was going to get down there.   It was not the most eloquent maneuver in my life.  Once planted a fellow Halfer says “You look how I feel.”   That pretty much established he wasn’t hitting on me, we exchanged other pleasantries and as  I sat there trying to figure out how to get my tinfoil under my butt with the least amount of movement a man in a motorized wheelchair rolls up and asks if I am in need of medical assistance.  ??!!  What the hell must I look like!!  My Halfer friend says I’ll stay with her until she can stand up again.  WOW.  I really want to see any race photos of me if they are out there yikers!   BUT I am way ahead of myself here, I’m already at the finish line and I haven’t even picked up my bib number yet.    This story is lengthy and if you’re not a runner I recommend you stop here.  I will not be offended.
Saturday:  One week before the race
I have been having big time trouble getting anything more than 6 miles out of my legs.  I was determined to run 10 miles and run them I did but ended up with a muscle injury in my right calve or is it calf?  I’m still in post race delirium.   Anyway at the time I thought it was only sore and would go away.  No big deal.
Wednesday: T minus 3 days
 I tried to get 3 miles on the treadmill and crapped out by mile 1.5 what’s worse: I’m limping.   I suspect since it hasn’t healed maybe it is a different form of shin splints than the ones I have grown oh so well accustomed to.  I’m screwed.   

Thursday:  EXPO opened.   (my very first EXPO at that)
As I was driving to Hartford to get my race pack signs flashed on the highway about the road closures for the Hartford Marathon.  I started to cry.  I am not crying because I am afraid of my injury.  I cry because I am a sap and so happy I am running that day AND they are closing the streets for me!   Filled with emotion and loving everything, I have come to the decision that even if I have to walk the race route I’m going to do it.  If I’m last, I’m last but I am going to enjoy it no matter what happens.  
I haven’t been to Hartford in a while apparently the Hartford Civic Center is so long gone that pedestrians have never even heard of it at all.  I feel like I’ve time warped into the future.  The XL Center is the new Civic Center, er well not exactly, they moved the entrance to confuse the public.   I opt for street parking, they have a new system where you pay and get a ticket that says how long you are allowed to stay there and put it in your car window.  I figure 45 mins would be plenty of time.   The sign says save $2.00 off garage rates, who doesn’t love a bargain.   The whole peeling and propping the ticket confounded me, I’m old school ‘quarter in the meter’ type gal, but I finally got it.  Once inside, the EXPO was great.  I stopped at all the booths, spent a fortune on everything from running sleeves to a beer glass.   I always wanted running sleeves, they look cool, all my favorite women running heroes wear them, well except one racers who rip them off at the sprint to the end.   I don’t care for her too much, she cried when she came in 3rd and ever since then I thought she was spoiled.  Seriously, 3rd and you cry?  Give me a break, you give females a bad name and I cry at road signs.   Back at the EXPO  I got a free cowbell, orange sunglasses, a box of rice, band aids, deodorant, tasty samples of rice, humus, and chocolate, (not in one bowl).   But the best thing was finding the sports medicine booth.   Me and my gimpy leg hopped up on a table and rolled up my pants.  I thanked my lucky stars I had just shaved my legs.   My new best friend, the sports therapist, assessed my injury and immediately ruled out shin splints.  Oh happy day.   I was told I had an injured muscle and luckily avoided tendentious by not forcing out any more miles on it.  She gave me a chart of stretches, told me to ice 3 times a day, plus once on race day and I’d be fine.  I would have kissed her if she were a dude.   Well I better get going because it’s got to be 45 mins.  Just as I was leaving there was someone selling some sort of ionizer gizmo for 30 bucks.  It looked stupid but they made me take a balance test.  I have horrible balance, simple walking and I can get wobbly, oh sure that’s after a few cocktails but still.  In a weaken state, I bought it hoping it came in handy at the post race whiskey celebration party.   Ok now I know it is right around the 45 min mark I make a dash to the door and there is not a meter maid in sight.  Cool.   I get to my car and there is a freak’in ticket for 25 big ones.   Well saving $2.00 off the garage parking really wasn’t such a great deal now was it.  I look at the times on my ticket and what the recorded time I parked.  I had been gone for 2 hours?!   I must have been in a wormhole because it seemed like 47 mins tops.  There is some sort of time vortex in Hartford, I am convinced.   Totally bummed, this blew my whole happy running EXPO vibe.  If I knew parking would cost me $25.75 I would have never bought a $30.00 drunkenizer.   On the drive back home the sign announcing road closures stimulates no emotions from me.  I am disgusted with myself for blowing the meter so bad. 

Friday T minus 1 day
Pasta for dinner, no alcohol,(me no alcohol of a Friday??  Get out.)  I get to sleep really early, set the alarm for 5am.  Do my stretches and icing.  I experience wild vivid dreams of the race and trying to find parking.  I keep waking up and checking the time.  My alarm clock has a light on top you hit to see the display in the dark. 

Saturday Race Day
I wake up on my own and the clock says 5am. Why didn’t the alarm go off?  I get up, make the bed, brush my teeth look at the clock again and it says 3:45am.   Oh that dreaded wormhole time warp is following me.  When I hit the light to see the time I also hit the view alarm button.  I lay back down but I’m too wound up and my mouth is minty.   I finally  give in after almost an hour.   The Rocky Theme is playing in my head sans raw eggs for breakfast.    Driving to Hartford I hope I have given myself enough time to find parking.  In my dream I had to scale something like the Hoover Dam in order to find a spot.  I’m not sure how I was supposed to park on the Hoover Dam that’s why it was a dream.  I can be a nervous traveler if I’m not exactly sure where I’m going and it’s manifesting in my subconscious.  Off the exit I pull into a paved lot right across from the park, there’s a guy that is charging $10.00 but I have to leave my keys.  I pass.  Later on I found out that they closed all the streets around the lot, anyone parked there must wait until the streets are reopened at 2pm.  Thank you parking gods who guided me to the parking garage I used when I went to Elton John concerts numerous times, (in wormhole numbers that would be thousands).  Event parking 5 bucks sweeeee-eet.    It is attached to the Civic Center er XL Center so I can use a proper bathroom before I head to the park.   Once at the park I pass a row of porta potties and start dry heaving from the smell.   Oh great the race hasn’t even started and I’m already almost spewing fluids.   I’m nervous.   I sit on a bench and try to do a crossword puzzle but I can’t focus.  I give up and check my bag with UPS.   40 mins to gun time I wander around a little bit but decide to just get to the start.  There’s me and about 30 people milling around.  They have pace markers.  I lined up at the 10 min mile marker.  I can run a 10 min mile, I didn’t plan on doing that now though.   I wanted a 2:30 time and to do that I had to run a constant 11:30.   I was not making that same mistake I made in New Haven when I ran the first two miles at 10:30.  I’m at the starting line where  I always cry, I got choked up but  I didn’t cry. That was odd but I think it was because I seriously thought I would have to walk a good portion on the race because of my injury.  It didn’t feel like a race, I wasn’t in top form, I had eeked out a couple 10 mile runs just prior to race day. I had no expectations of grandeur.   Skip to the whole rigmarole with the mayor and the anthem and the wheelchairs start and we’re off.    Leg seems okay, I had not even tested it out with a jog today out of fear.  I am happy my body is functioning properly and I am holding back my pace for sure. 

Mile One
Mile one happened so fast I barely noticed it at all.  It was nothing.  My heart monitor said 150’s and I’m a 165 on average, my Garmin watch also records pace.   If I were to guess, since I was purposely holding back and not even trying I’d say I ran a 11:15.   I ran 10:35.  Wormhole.

Mile Two
Another nothing mile.   Mile two was over and we hardly got to know each other.   I was really holding back because I wanted to have gas in the tank at the end.   My heart rate finally got up to the mid 160’s alls normal.  I thought I ran 11:30.  I ran 10:29.  Wormhole.

Mile Three.
 I feel this mile a little.   My short runs are four miles so three I notice.   My head: 11:30 for sure.  In real life: 11:13.  The Wormhole is closing.

Mile Four.
Felt this one.  It wasn’t really hard but not invisible like one and two.  I must be 11:30.  In real life: 11:11 Wormhole paused.  

Mile Five.
Lot’s of cowbells on this road, it’s nice, the people support us.  Incline.  Water AND Gatorade.  Not a big fan of five.  Note to self get more 5 mile runs in so this is easier next time.  In my head:  11:35  In real life: 12:17  The wormhole is in retrograde.

Mile Six.
Wow it’s amazing how many people have cowbells.   They are everywhere.  Six sucks.  I hate six.  In my head:  11:50   In real life:  11:46.  One of the few times what’s in my head matches what in reality.

Mile Seven:
There was a booth and people were handing out cowbells and sunglasses.  Where would I put a cowbell?   I already had sunglasses on.  I pass on the swag.  I don’t care what my time is I just want this over with.   11:23

Mile Eight:
The person in back of me picked up a cowbell and it sounds like I am being chased by a pack animal.  I expect if I turn around to see Donkey ala Shrek or a random cow hot on my heels.  This continues the whole mile.  I am ready to rip it out of his hands and throw it in the bushes.  I hate cowbell.  I never have before but I really hate it now.  I must be rid of this annoyance it’s ruining all the pain I am feeling.  I take a walk break.  I don’t care if I ever finish just let Elise MOO’ve on.  Time 12:53

Mile Nine. 
I’m not sure where I am.   It’s at this distance my mind goes blank and it’s all autopilot.  I can’t think.   I’m sure this is very hard but I’m zoned out.  If there were a murder to happen in front of me I could not tell you what happened.   I call this my running coma.   We’re heading into the park.  I love parks.  I love flowers.  It’s beautiful, oh wait I almost forgot how hard this is.  There is a man handing out GU’s from his backpack.  It’s surreal, like hooking up with a drug dealer in a park, not that ‘d ever done such things, but instead of crank you mainline gel packs.    12:38

Mile Ten:
Cowbell - “Just three more to go” “You’re almost there” Cowbell.  There is a man standing with his own cowbell, not an ING orange one but a super duper extra loud one.  I run faster to get away from him.

Mile Eleven
It feels like the home stretch, I think it’s almost over but I’m in a coma what do I know.   Somewhere in my brain my hips are signaling they desperately want to stop.  I’m not speaking to my hips or anyone right now.   12:09

Mile Twelve
I have no memory of mile twelve I have entered the wormhole myself.

Mile Thirteen.
Okay now I am awake and I’m going to start running for the big kick at the end.   With one half a mile to go my front abdominal muscles “all” decide to cramp.   Now I was never known for my leg strength, I can not arm wrestle, or do more than two pathetic pushups and that’s after training my upper body for a year but my abs?  Please, in grammar school I’d challenge guys to punch me in the stomach until I realized you don’t get asked to dances that way.  I could do sit ups forever.  I still easily can do 300 crunches.  Why in the name of heaven are my abs cramping???  It’s horrible pain like a side stitch but all in the front.  My hips, those of whom I have ignored,  are joining in with my abs and I am in total misery.   I cannot sprint.  My legs and lungs, the problem children of the bunch are saying go.  This blows.  12:27

The last 10th
 I make the turn into the park and it’s like I’m a freakin rock star…oh wait  I am a rock star, hundreds of people are cheering me on,   I feel no pain I finish strong with a 10:15 pace .  I am wrapped in tin foil.   

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Urban Legend vs Running Legend.

The plan was to run The Lordship Runabout, a race I’ve run every year since I started this madness. That may sound like a lot of times but I’ve only been doing it three years. It’s a small local race that draws less than 100 people and most of them high school track and cross country kids. At the first 10th of a mile I am already out of the pack by the first quarter mile I can’t see them anymore. Freaking kids and their youth, blast them. I double check the website for the gun time and I notice it says SUN. Sept 11. Well it’s hard to screw up Sept 11th, I was darn sure it today, which means I missed the race. Sure I was bummed, but also rather relieved since my pre-race training consisted of getting polluted with the crazy girlfriends on Friday night and I was still severely hung-over. Now I could take it easy at the gym or do some maintenance miles. On a whim I scanned a running website for other events and the closest was Waterbury. It wouldn’t hurt to take a peek at the race flyer right? Wow, I couldn’t believe it! Bill Rogers was racing in Waterbury! Anyone alive in the 70’s whether you watched running or not you couldn’t get away for this guy. He is the one who single handily popularized running and got launched into the role of super human mega star after he won Boston and New York back to back. I was about 10. When you’re 10 and you live through events like this it becomes part of the mystique of childhood. It brought me back to laying on the floor in front of the tv rooting him on and my mother yelling at me, I was too close to the RCA I’d ruin my eyes. I inched myself back and when she left the room I inched myself forward again. I wanted to be a runner, I was going to run a marathon, I was completely mesmerized by Bill Rogers. Once the race was over that phase lasted about one hour and then I heard Elton John on radio, it was back to wanting to be a flamboyant piano player.

Thank heavens the race was at 1:30pm. I needed every minute to recover from the cheap low-shelf mix tini drinks the girls forced me to down on Friday night. My expectations for a decent time were low but who cares heck I was going to meet Bill Rogers. Registration was to open at noon I got there at 11:45 and Bill was already at a booth talking to fans. After I registered I made my way over and said hello, and he asked if I wanted an autograph picture and I said “Of course, how much are they?” “They are free.” In this day of celebrities selling their autographs and squeezing every nickel out of their fans, “free” was the nicest word one could ever hear. No one should ever make money off giving a fan an autograph, there is something sad and wrong with selling your autograph to someone in line to meet you. The fans made the effort, they waited, and they love you or at least like you, give them one lousy autograph. I was lucky to have a chat with him and just like all the articles say, Bill is the nicest guy in the world. While I was busy gushing over him, the living legend, he was more concerned on what distances I liked to run and if I was going to run Litchfield. He took a look at my shoes and said “oh you’re a neutral you don’t pronate that’s good.” I kept trying to tell him how in awe of him I was and he kept wanted to talk about what races I’d done and what a good cause this one was. I took my precious autograph photo and moved to the side where I recognized his brother. You can’t miss him, he’s got a crazy demented beard, all grey in two long braids. I began to chat with him about the Runners World article that came out about 6 months ago. He said it made him sound like a drunk, he wasn’t happy with that portrayal. We then discussed the importance of drinking fine scotch or whiskey for the next 20 minutes. I told him of my sad mistake on Friday drinking sub quality booze. He was disappointed in me, I should have known better. The conversation moved to alternative distilling processes. I  wanted to take these guys out to the bar after the race but I only had 20 bucks on me and I’m sure that wouldn’t even cover the first round for us. Plus I’m certain I would end up sleeping in my car or in jail afterwards.

I was nervous; I peed four times in one hour. I was afraid I’d line up with the walkers by accident. And then they made the announcement: “10 minutes to start runners take to the street.” This is one of the parts I love, the Rocky Theme plays in my ears when this happens. That slow walk to the starting line. I could not hear the race director at all, he was announcing something I probably needed to know like if the streets are open to traffic or if there is a big hill or landmines we need to dodge. I hoped there would always be someone in front of me I could see so I wouldn’t need to make any course decisions on my own. The starting corral is when I cry, sure nuff- I cried. It didn’t last, the second the gun went off I forgot all about crying and thought a lot more about breathing. 6 mins into the race I looked to my right and Bill Rogers is running next to me. I thought maybe my Gatorade had been spiked with LSD, it was an incredible dream. I’m 10 years old, I’m inside the RCA and I’m running next to that guy from the marathon. He paced with me for 2 minutes. You could tell he was leisurely jogging so that everyone got a chance to run with him, he would crisscross the streets for no reason just to kill time and then he was gone. If I had been doing the Lordship race I’d already be all alone on the road and looking down trying to follow the teenager’s sneaker prints. I ran the first mile 9:35 which for me is amazing then Friday caught me on Sunday. 10:30 and 10:40 for the next two miles. I finished with the same time as my last 5k so no complaints.

After the race, I wandered around and waited for the awards. Bill handed out the trophies and took pictures with everyone. I ate my token bagel with the free bottled water and I was really happy with everything. As I was leaving a man was sitting in a wheelchair had his family around him and they thanked me for coming. The race was to benefit Bob Veillette, a former runner and local hero who had a stroke and is now paralyzed below the eyes. The money goes to pay the expenses to keep him at home and not a nursing home. Bill Rogers picks a lot of his races for the cause. Seeing that man’s family around him today I think Bill picked a great cause.

Race time 32:11

Thursday, September 9, 2010

The Run After The Race

I highly recommend running a 20k because it makes running five miles a piece of cake. Speaking of cake, it makes cake and everything else not stick to your thighs, the calories just disappear. It’s the best magic trick ever. I’ve been eating like a pig and I haven’t gained an ounce. Ah the benefits of running, no fear of the scale.

Day three after my big race and the first time I’m using my legs for anything more then to hold a bowl of ice cream while achieving full recline position in the Lazyboy. I will admit I did go to the gym yesterday for some upperbody work. I have trouble with the rest and recover part of this game. Taking one day off feels like a year sometimes. I might in fact be addicted to the soreness of day after workouts.  A constant state of muscle recovery is paradise for me. I must be part masochist.

Anxious to get back out on the roads I want to make sure everything is firing properly. During my 20k I had some glute/hip issues and if I’m not careful it could end up bursitis. I had that plague two years ago and in physical therapy for months. I could have used some of the other kind of therapy to get me through. When I’m down with an injury my life is over; if there is a runner on the road I nearly cry or curse the running gods who have smote me. “Have pity on me Atalanta, let me run again and I shall build thee a beautiful temple.” Hey when I can’t run I’d do anything to get it back. But today is not about injuries or paying homage, no, no, no, today is a glorious day. One should note it must be physically impossible to still be high on endorphins from a race that was 3 days ago but damn I still feel awesome. I’ve been severely happy ever since my post race nap.

Today I suited up for my run, I-pod, heart monitor, GPS, runners tag to ID the body, compression shin sleeves, special synthetic runners socks, compression shorts that go under my running shorts, sports arm band for my car key, but the most important piece of equipment, something that I would give up all that other stuff for, the one thing if I ever forgot it could be devastating, a disaster, a real problem if I need it, no not pepper spray, the numero uno piece of running gear is… toilet paper. Luckily, I didn’t need it today but you just never know.

I decide to do 5 miles at the beach, not actually on the sand. A nice little course I made up, only one hairy area that crosses a big four way stop, I can only outrun cars in my dreams. I set off, the wind is against me but it’s not too bad. I have the biggest smile on my face, greeting walkers and bikers keeping a steady pace. Ah the joys of running again. After a few turns the wind still in my face but it will be at my back on the way to home plate. The route is on parts of 5k courses I did this summer, race markers are still on the road. Along the water are beautiful views. I sometimes spend too much time looking at the ground and not looking at the amazing world we live in. Lordship has some badass scenery. At the waters edge the wind is still against me. I thought by now it would have shifted. I feel like I am pushing myself but I also know I am not running as hard as I could and I don’t want to. I’m one minute under 5k pace I’d like to stay here forever. I’m headed towards the home stretch and the wind is still against me, I must be surrounded by some sort of wind vortex. It’s okay nothing is going to ruin it today. I see a female jogger running towards me, I wonder if she is experiencing the strange wind phenomenon too? I also wonder if she’s another race junkie. As we approach each other there’s an awkward moment, will she smile, ignore me, if I wave will I look like a dork if she is not looking at me?? We both do the limp hand raise and smile and it feels good. She shares the runners secret knowledge that running is always hard and it hurts and we’re both masochists because this pain makes us happy.

I’m at the last half mile where I like to kick, I kick. I glance at the GPS every few seconds and note that it must not be working because I’ve only gone a tenth of a tenth of a mile. I kick harder and I’m still against the wind. I don’t want to know what the heart monitor says , it reads 175, hey that’s not too bad for me, other people would be at the cardiologist but I’m fine with 175 I’m not even nauseous. I’m still kicking. How come the last half mile is two miles? The race announcer does a play by play, “She passes the finish line ladies and gentlemen an amazing record breaking time.” I am wrapped in the winners tape.

I will never win a race, it’s not a defeatist’s attitude, it’s like knowing you won’t fly if you jump off the roof. I have a slow pace, I work at it, I’ll get better and that’s all fine, it’s important to have goals but I would not trade a fast pace for the love I have of running. I used to get that same rush when I played guitar jamming with my LPs. Music could pull me out of the darkness and give a sense of salvation. Not to say that I don’t have my moments of bliss playing the guitar now but it’s become my job and when you do something because you need the money it’s not the same anymore. No one is ever going to pay me to run and that’s fine with me.

Think I’ll register for a Half Marathon now.