Saturday, December 27, 2008

finishing white rock

I'm back, now, to finally finish the White Rock post.....only 9 days later, I know! As you last read, I was able to sign up for the half, and like a kid whose parent just gave into a candy request, I immediately perked up and bounced around the expo with a ridiculous grin on my face. How easy this run was going to be now! I thought nothing of my skimpy salad dinner (can't have pasta) and glass of wine at this great little Italian joint that our group went to that evening. So unconcerned was I, that I even used the complimentary card that came with the room for a second glass of wine that evening at the hotel bar. Without boring you with the details, the complimentary wine turned into a complimentary Widmer Heffeweizen (can't turn down a beer from such a fantastic Oregon brewery!), which turned into a second one of those (impossible to argue with a New York transplant Croatian soccer player!). So two glasses of wine and two beers later brings me to 11:45 p.m. and mildly concerned about the dehydration and sleep deprivation that is ensuing. Notice I said "mildly." After all, I'm only running the half. So I say goodbye to the generous bartender and new hotel friends to take care of all the pre-race preparations before getting into bed.

I beat my alarm clock up the next morning, wide awake and starving. I quickly packed my car, while getting dressed, fighting with the chip, and running water through the coffee pot to heat up and put in my thermos for a start-line breakfast. Twenty minutes later, I was across the street picking up a friend to head over to the start line. This was his first marathon, so he was nervous and excited and dutifully soaking in all the tips and tricks of veteran marathoners. For example, I showed him how to make oatmeal without a microwave or stove. For anyone wondering, you just pour hot water (hence the thermos of hot water) over oats in a styrofoam cup, stir some peanutbutter in, and put the lid on for a few minutes. I then use the end of a plastic spoon (borrowed from the continental breakfast layout) to slice a banana into it. A bit unconventional, but you must admit, resourceful, and we have the perfect pre-race breakfast right there in my car!

We then find the rest of our crew and head over to the start line. We're fairly close to the front because one of the group members is trying to BQ and the others are naturally fast enough to be up there. There we stood, freezing and closely huddled trying to block the wind while our friend announced all the things one announces at the start of the race and waited for the gun to go off. Once it did, we shouted out final "good lucks" and were off.

Unfortunately, I don't remember as much from the race as usual. I was concentrating so hard on running lightly to avoid IT band issues and trying to catch up on my water intake. As you can imagine, I started in a deficit due to the previous night's festivities. I was also trying not to be angry with myself, as I'm usually much more responsible than that. In any case, I do remember loving the course - the scenery, at least....not the surface. And the crowd support was really quite good. There were cheer squads, groups with motivating "Rocky" songs, and excited little high-fiving kids along the way. That, and my physical misery, pushed my legs to run an 11 minute PR. How's that for a shamelessly, boastful way to announce that on my blog?! Truthfully, though, the only explanation I have for shaving that many minutes off my time is that I was so uncomfortable that I just wanted to be done!

After crossing the finish line, I made my way through the food and water tent and then headed over to the beer arena, where I ran into a friend who had come down to run the relay. We cheered on the finishers for a while before heading out. I celebrated the end of the race with a trip to Whole Foods, where I sampled cheese, found some exotic spices, and made friends with the wine guy while waiting to meet some of our group members for a late lunch before heading north. There, we ordered one of everything on the menu (almost kidding) and compared notes on the previous few hours.

As it turns out, the only one of us who had a good run was the first timer. It was cold and windy, and we were all dehydrated (although not all self-induced) and crampy. I'm glad that if any of us had a better time, it was the newbie, because it left him wanting more. He's already looking forward to the next one! Me? I'll just toast to finishing this one upright.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

making deals

I'm going to attempt to make a post (finally!) in between telephone rings to catch you up on what has happened in the last week and a half. The irony is that I've told exactly two people about this blog, one of whom was with me and the other who follows us online anyway. He's good like that.

First thing's first.... The latter friend mentioned above qualified for Boston at Tuscon recently! I tracked him online and knew that day, but I thought that I'd wait until he was able to tell people before posting a GIANT CONGRATULATIONS to M!

Secondly, I went down to Dallas for White Rock with a group of Landrunners last weekend. Side note...for anyone who stumbles upon this blog, OKC Landrunners is the name of our running club. Anyway, I struggled about this because by the time I made the decision to go, the half was closed and I really had no desire to run the full...mostly because I recently learned that so much of the course is concrete, but partly because I didn't care to run around the lake. I really wanted to be there, though, because Bill Rodgers, Dick Beardsley, and a lot of club members were going and I knew we'd have a great time. So I began making deals with the running gods.

Deal number one: I'd need new shoes since mine were shot after the Rock-n-Roll San Antonio Marathon last month, so I'd go to The Runner and if they had them in, then I'd have to run White Rock. Well, I get there and they were out of my I start conjuring up my next deal.

Deal number two: I'd head straight to the expo (after all, Dallas is only three hours away) and if they had my shoes, then I'd have to sign up. I checked the Run On booth, but they were out so I popped over to the Luke's Locker (think that's the apologies if not) booth. I scoured the shelves for my Nike Pegasus size 8. Yes, my feet are, in fact, that big. My grandpa used to say to me that something that big ought to be able to breathe on its own! Anyway, these are one of the few shoes, relatively speaking, that are made for true supinators so they generally aren't stocked very well. One of the workers came over to help me look and we found the one remaining pair. Well, I still wasn't ready. I needed something else to seal the deal, so to speak.

Deal number three (aka shut the hell up and just register, Adi): I needed to find Bravo. He was there to do the announcing at the expo, as well as the start and finish of the races, which is a perfect role for him. He is hands-down one of the most motivating running mentors out there and I knew that it would be a go if he gave any implication that I should bite the bullet. Well, what do you think he said? "Go on athlete. You feel good, don't race it (like I ever race these things!), and just enjoy it." He's so much more tactful about these things, I'm thinking, as my mind is just screaming to "shut the hell up and just register, Adi!" So over to the registration booth I go.

Can you believe that at this point I'm still fighting with myself?! I think I've exhausted myself worrying about running on all that concrete and I'm starting to act like a toddler who needs a nap....pouting and pissy. I'm hiding it well, though, as I do have some sense of self-awareness. Besides, it's nobody else's fault that my legs are choosy about their running surface. In any case, the volunteers directed me to a computer to submit my information and then I'd pay them to complete the registration. I jiggle the mouse so the screen would appear, and there's the box telling me to choose my event. The only choice available is the marathon, so I click it really fast as if taking .5 seconds to click as opposed to 1 full second is going make a difference. I felt sort of like I was standing in the doorway of a plane with a parachute strapped to my back trying to decide if sky-diving is really the right thing for me...a bit dramatic, I know. After telling the computer my name, age, and who to contact in case my legs crumble into little bits on the course I take two steps to the left to pay the guy. That's when he asks me, "Now which event are you registering for?" In this befuddled, yet zombie like state I said "I clicked full because that was my only choice. Is the half an option?" "Well, today it is for you," he says. If it wouldn't have been totally inappropriate, not to mention weird, I would've leapt across the counter (undoubtedly there to protect the volunteers from crazy, self-argumentative runners like myself) and hugged him!

Okay, my phone will not stop ringing so I'm going to have to put this on hold for now. Stay tuned...

Sunday, December 7, 2008

bracing for the cold

I just spent the last hour and a half looking for gloves, and for someone who hates any shopping that isn't for books, wine, or groceries, that's a huge accomplishment! Well, it would be had I actually made a purchase. I'm looking for a pair that one would wear were they planning a week-long trek through Antarctica. No, I'm not going to Antarctica....that's just how cold my hands feel in these somewhat less treacherous Oklahoma winters! In the past, I've just worn three (okay, sometimes four) pair of gloves with those little warmer things that hunters used tucked inside, but peeling off all those layers while trying to order a coffee after the run takes up valuable time. Not to mention the number of stares it garners.... I know people are wondering why I'm out there running in such conditions that require all this bundling up! Truthfully, I wonder that myself sometimes. Anyway, in my internet search (oh yeah, I was shopping from home, as I couldn't be bothered to layer on the gloves and venture out into the cold), I found what may be the winter glove of all winter gloves - battery powered heated mittens! It's like the running gods are smiling down on me. Now if only I can find someone who has seen these to verify that they actually work. So if anyone out there stumbles upon this post, take a look at these and let me know what you think. Thanks in advance for saving me precious minutes in the Starbucks line.

On another note, yesterday was the Downtown in December course, lots of good costumes, coffee at the end, and I took third in my age group.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

step one

The title of this blog is lifted from a phrase that one of my running heroes once said. Actually, he said this me during the final stretch of a half-marathon course several years ago before we had even officially met. A friend of mine and I were running this race together, obviously more for the experience than time, and she was having some IT band issues that caused us to run, stop, stretch, and walk, then run, stop, stretch, and walk. As we're nearing the final mile, said hero is jauntily running upon us as we're in a 'walking' phase, and he looks at me with that big smile and says "come run a few steps with me." And we did....

Sadly, I won't be able to run anymore steps with him as we've just had his memorial service. So begins the run without Jack.