Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Las Vegas Ragnar, Leg 3, Where is my support (and my kids)?

In the meantime, Van 1 was rockin’ it AGAIN, and we started to get texts about when to meet them. We all got geared up and ready to go. Bub was officially sick now, so I needed to take the boys along with me. No problem. They promised to be good. They would get to see me running (which they rarely do since Bub hates to go to races). They could cheer for other people. It would be fun. The boys and I followed Roch’s van as we high-tailed it to meet up with Van 1. We made it to the exchange with just seconds to spare. TOO BAD WE WERE AT THE WRONG EXCHANGE (AGAIN)! Oh my hell. I don’t know what was wrong with us!

Realizing our mistake, we hauled ass to the right exchange where I threw the car into park, jumped out, threw the keys at Roch, and ran to the exchange chute where my runner was waiting for me. I didn’t even say anything, I just grabbed the slap wrist thing and ran. (No, we weren’t going to win this thing, but giving it our best was the least we could do for Van 1. They were actually a competitive team until we came along!)

Unbeknownst to me (because I hadn’t read the Rag Mag very well), almost my entire leg was unsupported. So for the short mile and a half that I could have had support, my van wasn’t there because, well, I don’t know. Potty breaks for the boys? Talking to Van 1? Lost again? Who knows? But, as I entered the un-supported portion of my run, I was sad that I hadn’t seen the boys yet. Of course, what they would have seen wouldn’t have been pretty because my bagel and turkey were fighting about who was going to come up first. Luckily, neither did, but it was a struggle to keep them in their rightful place.

THIS leg was what I wanted to see in Vegas. I love the desert. I really do. Almost this entire distance was run on a trail that skirted the foothills of Boulder. It was really quite lovely. There was a very well-stocked water station made possible by the Ragnar staff and lots of small rollers. There was also an extra mile that wasn’t part of the course. I joked with people who passed me and who I had a chance to pass, but I remained strong. I only took a few walk breaks on the ups towards the end of the course.

I was so happy to see the exchange because by this time, I was tired. It also meant that I would get to see the boys, and they could see me sprint into the chute. So, I picked up the pace and really gave it everything that I had only to be greeted by AN EMPTY CHUTE.

I’m sure that you’ve noticed a pattern…

I believe that the race staff had to move this exchange at the last minute because there were a lot of us waiting around to pass off the slap stick. Again, I borrowed a phone. This time, someone answered! They were at the wrong exchange again, but they promised to race over. After only 15 minutes, I saw Roch making her way through the crowd. I handed off to her, and she took off.

It was at this point that our cheerleaders presented me with my motivational poster. Since we were on the Super Powers team, we had to identify what our super power actually was. I told them (and maintain my position today) that my super power is the ability to piss Bub off – sometimes without even opening my mouth – hence the zippered lips.







Then, I found Carol and my car and my boys who were being incredibly patient considering everything. They had been in the car for two hours and not done ANYTHING fun. So, I promised to take them to lunch while everyone else was running. I drove into Vegas armed only with my cell phone’s GPS and took them to the Rainforest CafĂ©. They thought that it was amazing. I thought it was incredibly overpriced. (Seriously, $10 for a grilled cheese and half a bag of potato chips? The hell!)

Then, on our way back to the hotel, my cell phone battery died, and guess what? I got lost.

Lost, lost, lost! Mother…..

We drove through the airport and all through Henderson-frickin-Nevada. I stopped at three gas stations to get directions, and they all seemed to point me to opposite places. I was tired and frustrated and probably not a ton of fun, but the boys didn’t seem to care. (Until I got REALLY mad at them, then they were convinced that I was being a horrible mommy, which I probably was.)

Once I found the hotel, I was soooooooo done. But, guess what? I still had to go to the finish line! UG! Make it end! I want sleep! But, we needed to turn in our night-time flags, and one of them just happened to be at the hotel. Sonofa….

I stayed at the hotel long enough to charge my phone half way. While waiting, I got the boys in their jammies and got some snacks going while they jumped on the bed (why does that never get old?) and told Bub all about having lunch in the jungle. OK. It was fun, and their cute faces were enough of a trade for the overpriced food.

Once my phone was charged, I headed to the finish line. It was still windy and damn cold. I met up quickly with my van mates. We looked around while we waited for Van 1 to show. Our final runner came in while we waited for Van 1. Once they arrived, we all ran across the finish line as a group, had some team pictures taken, and collected our t-shirts and medals. (Note to Ragnar staff: this medal = boring!) Sadly, it was still too cold to hang out and have fun. We all just wanted to get in our cars and leave! Carol rode back to the hotel with me and filled me in on all of the running that I missed by taking the boys to lunch. Apparently, our team did a great job. Yay us!




The next morning, the wind had died down a bit, and our hotel’s pool was (supposedly) heated to 80*, so I took the boys swimming. We weren’t out there long, but we still managed to have fun. We all took a hot bath when we got back in the room.

I was hoping to meet up with my little brother and his wife for breakfast, but it just wasn’t happening especially with Bub feeling sick. We eventually gathered everything up and packed it into the car and headed out of town. From watching the news for the past two days, we knew what we were headed into: SNOW, and lots of it. It just kept getting colder and colder and the snow kept piling up more and more as we traveled. YUCK. We got home to a driveway covered with at least a foot of snow.

In all, it was a fun experience, but I did learn a few things:
1. Relay races are not a family friendly event. There’s nothing for kids to do while mommy is running all day or all night. There was, however, a family with three 10-12 year old boys running the race. I can’t wait until my boys are old enough to run with me. THAT will be a good time!
2. Don’t go if you don’t have the money. If you insist on going, expect to hear about it for at least a month afterwards. (I say “a month” because I just heard about it again today. I’m guessing that I’ll be hearing about it for several months to come.)
3. Review the Rag Mag thoroughly. For me/my van mates, this means writing very specific notes about who is running in and out of each exchange. We were SO confused (as evidenced by constantly being lost).
4. Always make sure that you have the phone charger in the phone when you’re in an unfamiliar town and need to use your GPS. That app saps the battery of your phone, and you don’t want to be lost with two five year olds.
5. Keep up with the walking lunges and leg work during weight class. This really did save me during my 2nd leg.
6. If your spouse is not a runner and doesn’t really like running events, don’t ask him/her to come along. It won’t be any fun. (So, why did I just ask Bub if she wanted to come along while I do Ruby Mountain next summer? I’ll never learn.)
7. Running a relay with friends and acquaintances is one of the best ways to become great friends. We talked about serious stuff, funny stuff, told stories about ourselves when we were younger, and generally commended each others’ bad-assed-ness. It’s great to have people around you who build you up instead of tear you down.
8. Make an effort to get to know the other participants. I do feel kind of “shorted” that I didn’t get to know the other teams since everyone was huddled around their car heaters.
9. Find a way to have fun, no matter what. If that means jumping on the hotel bed, then do it. If it means paying too much for a crappy veggie burger and grilled cheese, then so be it. If that means just snuggling up together to watch a movie, then great. Possibly commandeering half of the hotel lobby with trains and art paper, awesome.

Thanks to my running buds. I love you all.

Las Vegas Ragnar – Leg 2 – Walking Lunges, Baby. Walking Lunges.

We made it to the exchange in time. We kicked back and texted back and forth with Van 1. After a few minutes, I wanted to make sure that I didn’t leave anyone standing, so I decided to go to the exchange chute to wait. After waiting around for about 30 seconds, I realized that I had given my race number to Majlinda and that I wasn’t wearing one. CRAP! Roch raced back to the van to grab one for me. I got it on just in time. Van 1 arrived as I was pinning it on, and the runner arrived about a minute later. I took off knowing that I was actually looking forward to this leg.

This leg was to be run in the dark (which I love) and it was basically all up hill. It wasn’t straight up like Guardsman Pass or anything, but it was a steady gradual climb for a decent enough distance that it was classified as “very hard.” I volunteered to be the runner who did this leg because I know that other people hate stuff like this. I wanted to know that I could do it as a challenge to myself.

Overall, I took very few walk breaks on this leg and only towards the end of the mileage.

Having this be in the dark, I couldn’t see what was ahead that was supposed to scare or intimidate me. I just had to keep running in order to get done. No distractions. No problems. After a few twists and turns, we were directed on to a straight road that was closed off to all traffic except Ragnar vehicles. (Note to race organizers: Niiiiiice……. Loved it.) I must say that my quads and hammies were feeling great. Very strong. I managed to pass several people. Oh, sure. I was also passed, but I did have consistency and strength in my legs that other people just may not have had.

What better compliment for a weight instructor to hear than “the walking lunges that you make us do helped me kick ass on this section.” And, it’s true. I hate doing those walking lunges, but they worked. I felt like my legs were really powerful for the entire distance. And, I was running into the wind. Cold, biting, crappy wind. But all along, my legs felt good.

I’m guessing that those who were able to run this section during daylight hours saw what I would have loved to see for scenery. It was along I-15, but it was desert-y. There were also train tracks along the way. At one point, a train actually scared the heck out of me. I was so busy focusing on the shoulder in the dark and trying to mentally block out the wind that I didn’t even realize that the train was there until it was right alongside me. It made me think of my little Peanut, of course, who is obsessed with all things train.

This leg was basically uneventful. My van leap-frogged me and made sure that I was doing well. Our cheerleaders shouted words of encouragement from the warmth of their car. Other teams gave a few high fives and words of support when they were actually outside of their vehicles.

That’s one thing that I missed about this particular race. I’m not a super-outgoing person, and I don’t chit chat well with strangers, and I don’t punk other teams’ vans. But, I do exchange pleasantries with people that I see frequently along the course. It was so dang cold and windy that nobody was outside of their vans long enough to become familiar with them! I could have told you all about their vans, but nothing about the people. That was really too bad, but it was nothing that could be helped. After all, who can control the weather?

Towards the end of my uphill slog, I did start to tire a bit. I could have run the entire thing, but I chose to take some speed-walk breaks. We weren’t going to win this thing, so what was the point in killing myself over it? Besides, I wanted to have something left for leg 3.

If I remember correctly, this leg ended up being longer than expected, but I didn’t mind too much. I just kept running. My van mates kept giving me water and making sure that I was warm enough, and I just got it done. The rest of the night seemed to go according to this pattern.

I did make sure to FB the VP of my department and let him know what he was missing out on. He and his team WON the entire race in 2011, and he was a bit bummed to be missing it for 2012. However, I assured him that he made the right decision (to go on a Caribbean cruise to celebrate his 40th birthday).

Our handoffs were good, we had a good time, the wind never stopped blowing, and we froze our asses off. We all tried to get a bit of sleep, and I think that I succeeded for about 30 minutes, but that’s hard when the car keeps stopping and starting and stopping and people are getting in and out and in and out and the radio has to stay on so that at least two people stay awake and that radio keeps playing the same three songs over and over and over. (By the way, I will never, ever, ever buy Taylor Swift’s song “Never (ever, ever) getting back together.”)

But, hey – sleep. Who needs it?

Apparently not me.

At sun-up, we made it back to the hotel. Since I was freezing, I decided to take a bath. Of course, Peanut woke up as soon as we walked in the room, so I pulled the curtain closed and had him play his trains in the bathroom so that he wouldn’t wake Bub and so that Roch could get some sleep. It only worked a little bit. By the time I was done in the bath, Meatball was also awake. I grabbed some cereal, milk, and some sort of food for me and took them both to the lobby. They played while I looked on secretly wishing I was asleep. Then, I played, and they played and whatever. I don’t even know. It’s all a blur.

Las Vegas Ragnar – Leg 1 – Where Is She?

Van 1 finally arrived and found us which wasn’t very hard since we were holding orange pom-poms. We talked to them for a while and heard about how they had run through SNOW at the start line (in Las Vegas?), hail, and rain along the way. Oh boy.

We were all hanging around and talking when our cheerleaders ran over to let us know that our runner was in and waiting! Um, DUH! That’s me! I was the first runner in our van, and I had already failed! Damn! So, I ran over the exchange area and took the baton. Then, like an idiot who hadn’t checked out the course or watched any of the other runners, I shouted “Where do I go?” DOH! I was pointed in the right direction and took off.

Now, the idea, or the generally accepted custom, is that the van leap-frogs the runner to ensure their safety and hydration. So, as I started out, I was passed a few times – no surprise there. Then, as I ran through suburgatory, I managed to pass a couple of people. One was the cause of her own demise. She was way over dressed, and I think that it slowed her down. One was heavier than me, but she was giving it her all. It’s hard to be an overweight runner. You’re likely one of the slowest out there. You’re passed by other people more often than not, and that can be demoralizing. So, I felt bad passing her, but it had to be done. The third runner was passed simply due to my athletic prowess. (ha-ha-ha) She looked fitter than me, definitely thinner than me, wearing more pink than me… But, I managed to surpass her.

I continued to run and watched the other runner’s vans pass me. And, watched and watched and watched. I kept waiting for my van to arrive, and honestly, I was a smidge thirsty, but nothing that I couldn’t deal with. As I got further into the leg, the wind got stronger and stronger. We began the gradual uphill portion, and I managed to pass one of the MEN that passed me! It’s not often that I get to pass a guy, but this one – from team Asstastics – clearly had not trained for this uphill portion because he was definitely fitter than me. People – you’ve got to run hills! If this chubby old lady can pass you, you know that your training plan needs a kick in the pants.

I approached the park and the exchange place. I figured that my teammates had just got talking with Van 1 and headed straight to the exchange point. Great. I was feeling fine and picked up the pace a bit into the exchange.

And, there I was – all by myself.

Uhhhh…..

OK – so they got talking too long, and they were on their way!

I asked if I could just keep running and have the volunteers let my teammates know to meet me on the road for the exchange. Because of the need to keep track of everyone and ensure our safety, I was asked to stay at the exchange until my van arrived. I totally understand that.

I stretched a bit and then sat down on the curb and waited. And waited. And waited.

Since we’re a one-income family, we’re also a one-cell phone family, so I didn’t have my phone with me. Let it be known here and now that I despise asking other people for help. For any kind of help. Emergency babysitting? UG. Can I hitch a ride? Bleck. Can I use your phone? OMG! I don’t like asking people I know for these things, and I’m surrounded by strangers?!?! Kill me now. (By the way, if someone asked me any of those things and more, I would gladly do them. I love to help out when people need it. Asking? Umm… not so much.) But, I did it. I asked a guy if I could use his cell phone (right after he got done calling HIS van to find out where THEY were!). I didn’t have anybody’s numbers, so I called my cell phone and asked Bub if she would call Roch and find out where everyone was. I got off the phone quickly since it wasn’t mine (and I was probably getting sweat germs all over it).

Then, I waited some more.

Did I mention the wind? Yeah, well, it started to pick up a bit more, and here I was in sweaty shorts and a t-shirt. I was starting to get chilled. Enter: Race Official. Super nice bald dude. He asked me if I had gotten in touch with anyone and did I need anything. Of course, my answer was no, I didn’t need anything and yes, I had reached someone. What I did not know was that my someone couldn’t reach the other someones. So, I continued to wait. And shiver. And wait. Awesome Race Official Guy felt for me, I suppose, because he brought me a protein bar and gave me his jacket. What a sweetie!

I continued to wait.

And wait.

It seemed like forever, but I waited some more.

Ragnarly Nice Race Official Man finally texted the main officials because we were worried that my van mates had been in a crash or something. No news. I borrowed another phone and called Bub again. She had left a message for Roch. I asked her to call again. She promised that she would.

Nothing.


Truly, it seemed like a million years, but it was only about 45 minutes at this point. (Sigh. Yes. 45 minutes. During a race.)

I borrowed yet another phone and called Bub again. This time, I got Carol’s number and called her myself. Luckily, she answered.

Me: Hi! This is Kaye. Where are you? Are you all OK?
Carol: We’re waiting for you. Where are you? Are YOU OK?
Me: No, I’m waiting for you. I’m at Exchange 7.
Carol (to other van mates): It’s Kaye. She’s waiting for us at Exchange 7. What exchange are we at? [pause] Oh, shit!
Carol (to me): We’re at Exchange 8. We’ll be right there.

So, I waited some more. I did feel better knowing that they weren’t dead on the side of a cul-de-sac in this suburban hell. They arrived, and I finally handed off to Roch, returned Groovy Race Official’s jacket, and hopped into the van to about 100 I’m sorrys.

Turns out that as they left the parking lot, they followed the wrong vans. Then, as the road that they were traveling on crossed the path of those running leg 8, they turned and followed the runners. Oops! No real harm done. We alerted Van 1 (who were much more competitive than we were) and went on our way.

We leap frogged Roch (who was rockin’ it) followed by Majlinda. Majlinda’s leg was a steady incline, and the wind had become torturous at this point. There was one skinny little runner guy who was having a very difficult time just standing upright as he tried to run into the wind. Just awful! Majlinda ran and occasionally walked, never letting up. She did a great job considering that she had only been running for about two months after a year-long break. She handed off to Carolyn who took off like a shot and ran the entire distance that same way. Carol was next, and I met her at the one-mile to go mark so that I could run with her. It had been more than a month since she and I had run together, and I wanted to be sure that she wasn’t pushing it too hard on that knee that had sidelined her. She killed it, of course. She handed off to Irnela, and we were almost done! During this time, we only got lost once more.

We met Van 1 at the next major exchange. They assured us that they would only be five hours, max. Crap. We were actually looking forward to some sleep! Oh well. After Irnela came in, we all got into our respective cars (cheer squad, latecomers, and runner van) and drove three separate ways for the exact same hotel. We all took at least two wrong turns in getting back to the hotel where Bub and the boys waited for me.

I was three hours later than I had planned. Bub was not happy, and she was getting sick. And, the boys drove her nuts all day. Being cooped up in a hotel room all day is NOT fun. It was too cold and windy to swim or go for a walk, and the closest park was surrounded by a tall chain link fence! After I hopped out of the shower, Roch and I took the boys to get a snack and wear off some energy. We all froze our buns off as we walked half mile to a fast food place. Walking back was just as much fun.

As soon as we got back, I convinced the boys to lay down with me. I managed to get 30 minutes of sleep with them before my phone buzzed. It was Van 1 letting us know that they were running ahead of schedule. We scrambled to get everyone in the van and took off. In the wrong direction. But only once this time.

Las Vegas Ragnar – Pre Race

The road leading up to this Ragnar was not so smooth. In fact, it was ridiculously bumpy. As in, it fully sucked. There you have it.

I trained well. That wasn’t the issue. It was all about the money – of which we have none right now. If you really want to know more about that sob story, you can head on over the Giggs and Raz as I think that I’ll be posting a little bit of that story soon.

I paid for this race with my tax return back in February. I committed nine months before the race was scheduled. And, I was going, come hell or high water. (Where does that term even come from? Odd…) Carol and I looked forward to this event forEVER – so much that when she told me that she was injured and might not run it, she almost cried. We had SO been looking forward to it, and now she might not get to enjoy it.

Well, she wasn’t the only one. Despite my attempts to save money over the course of those nine months, crap just kept happening, and happening, and happening. Like that damn piece of shit Honda that we own. (If one more CRV owner tells me how wonderful THEIR car is, I’m going to punch them in the nose.) In three years, we have replaced the entire damn engine, and then some valves. We have had tune-up after tune-up. We have been crashed into twice, and we (ok, not actually ME, but someone else in our house that has a driver’s license) crashed it. We have replaced brakes and filters and belts and timing chains and blah-deety-blah-deety-blah. STILL, the frickin’ engine light is on.

Anyway, that was quite the side-track. My point: I couldn’t save the money.

And that, my friends, was a big source of contention. Big. HUGE. And awful.

How are we going to afford this trip? I don’t know. How are we going to be able to do anything fun? I don’t know. What is the point of even going? We already promised the boys.

So, I managed to get a voucher for $200 of our $300 hotel fee. I got some free dinner vouchers. We (over) packed a cooler with sandwich stuff, cereal, cheese, fruit, veggies, cereal, milk, and granola. But, in the end, we didn’t have the money to go.

It was finally decided that Carol would, in fact, run the race, but she rested her knee for more than a month prior. One of my besties from California was driving to Vegas for her first relay. My weight instructor from work was on the team. Another co-worker was running and was bringing her friend to run, too. Two co-workers were going to be our cheer squad. I felt like I couldn’t just leave the team in a lurch. After all, I HAD RECRUITED EVERY ONE OF THEM. I wasn’t about to let them down.

So, Bub and I fought about this. A lot. And, it sucked. I have denied our family doing just about anything all year long, but here I was taking us all on a trip to Vegas. I know. Not the best decision, and it showed in how much we argued and bickered about it. If I were to do it again, I would back out two months before the race when I realized that I wasn’t going to have the money saved up. But, I didn’t have that foresight. No, wait. I did. I was just being too selfish. There. I said it. If Bub read this blog, she would be screaming “I told you so” at the top of her lungs. No, wait. She’s too nice for that. That’s something reserved for petty people. Like me, sometimes.

Shit – when did this become a confessional? This is supposed to be a race report.

So, we packed our cooler and our travel bags into the car and drove off on a Thursday afternoon when the boys got out of school. (When I registered for this thing, I assumed that the boys would be in AM kindergarten. This PM crap has really messed with us. Just sayin’.) When you leave Tooele at 3:30pm and have a six-hour drive ahead of you, you are going to have to drive in the dark. Bub hates this. We fought about this, too, but I wouldn’t let the boys miss another day of school. Meatball had already missed six days for being sick!

So, we head south and into the wind. Did you know that Vegas in early November is just lovely? Well, it is – unless you’re traveling with us. Just like April in Vegas is supposed to be PERFECT – unless you’re traveling with us. I hate Vegas for SO many reasons – one of them being the fact that the weather SUCKS whenever I’m there. Stop going, I will!

The wind was absolutely awful. Did I mention that we drive a POS? Yeah. I don’t think that our gutless wonder ever got above 60mph – you know with the wind and the check engine indicator and the diminishing sun light and the stopping every 37 minutes to get a snack or pee on the side of the road or buy gas or blah, blah, blah. Anyway, miserable ride to Vegas.

We checked in at about 9:30pm. UG. Luckily, we were Van 2. Roch (my bestie from CA) arrived at exactly the same time that we did. That was the only time she has ever (or will ever) arrive anywhere on time – especially in the next two days. (Love ya, Cream Puff!)

We were all frazzled and ready for bed. Oh wait. Did I say “all?” Yeah, so not the case. The grown-ups were ready for bed. The little people were ready to jump on the bed. Big difference. Dang it! We did finally get to sleep.

Peanut was the first one up in our room. Shocking? No. Meatball immediately woke up, too, because we were, after all, in a hotel which means that FUN IS JUST WAITING TO BE HAD! When they are awake, I am too, so I ushered them out of the room as quickly as I could to let Roch and Bub sleep. That was my olive branch to Bub. Some extra sleep. She never gets any, and I was trying to suck up.

So, I took the boys to the lobby with their toys. No. I don’t really give two shakes if I bother other people with the crashing of the trains and the running around and the loud Leapster and, let’s be honest, my bed head and exercise shirts with smelly pits. I had planned to use their weight room for a weight workout, but couldn’t really do that with the boys in tow.

Arriving in the lobby, I find Carol, the weight instructor, and our two cheerleaders – all getting ready to eat and all sipping some coffee. They had even gone out of their way to buy me a hot chocolate from a place about a mile away. How sweet are they? I repaid them by letting the boys talk and talk and talk, oh and run around in their jammies in the lobby.

Bub finally joined us after taking a nice long bath. Just about then, we got a text from Van 1 saying that we needed to meet them pretty soon. We all kicked it into gear and headed to the first exchange. Once we got there, we started contacting our other teammates who left SLC at 3am in order to make it to the first exchange by 9-ish am. We checked in and got our van number, pottied in the Porta-a-Jane (their tag line is “Port-a-Jane – because John can’t aim” – ha-ha-ha-ha), checked out the freebies and the other stuff (that I couldn’t buy), and waited for the first set of runners.

During this time, we “enjoyed” a brisk breeze.




Friday, October 26, 2012

30*

Yup. 30*. I was not ready for this. It has been snowing for two days. There is something about snow in October that really rubs me the wrong way. My gym bag is now ten pounds heavier because I'm carrying boots and sweaters and cans of soup for lunch. I guess that is a good thing - like an extra workout? Today's run was just dang cold. I only did a short run, but it was hard to maintain my pace. I found myself taking smaller steps and slowing down as I scrunched up my whole body! This, too, shall pass. You know - like next March.
Stats: 3.1 miles in 31:14 for a 10:05mpm pace

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Tired

After TM, I took a day off, then I ran and worked out for two days, then I did NOTHING for five days. It was glorious. And, I think that I may have gained 20 pounds in five days! Carol is taking some time off to rehab her sore knee, so I'm running alone. Blah. I did NOT want to run this morning. It would have been much easier to get out the door if she wasn't injured. It snowed at my house last night and this morning. Luckily, it was only raining when I got to work and started my run. For the first cold run of the year, I overdressed, of course. After a mile, the jacket was tied around my waist, and I was regretting the shorts under my pants. I was only one of three runners and two walkers in the park on this dismal day. I was also exhausted. Nearing the top of the second hill, I remembered why I was so tired: I gave blood yesterday! Then, I got light-headed, and then I fell down. Just kidding. I didn't fall down, but I did give blood, and I did get light-headed. I took about a minute walk break to regain my bearings and then tried to pick up the pace for the 2-mile return to work. I don't know if it paid off or not. I couldn't tell a real difference in my pace. I just know that I was still tired and that I did get back to work.
Stats: 5.5 miles in 59:54 for a 10:54mpm pace

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Tough Mudder Utah, event report, part 4 – retrospective and lessons learned

**Unlike every marathon that I’ve ever done, I didn’t cross the finish line and immediately start thinking about the next race. Balls and Eel will make me really think long and hard about whether or not I will do this again.

**Obviously, if I had been 35 pounds lighter – as was my original plan back in January – this would have been easier on me and on my teammates. IF I ever do this again, I will only do it if I’m at my goal weight.

**Did you notice how there were 23 obstacles, and not 20 or 21? Originally, it was a 10 mile course with 20 obstacles. By the time we were done, it was 12 miles and 23 obstacles. So, if I ever do it again, I will train for what is listed on the internet and then some.
Most of the dirt came out of my shirt! Yay!

**I need to do more upper body work. I truly am proud of where I am based on where I came from. I am considerably stronger than I’ve ever been before. I only regret not starting this type of weight work when I was younger. More is necessary.

**Clothing: Tights – yes – a very good idea. My knees and legs are quite bruised. If I hadn’t been wearing tights, I would have also been scraped and cut. I am glad that I duck-taped them to be tight near my shoes. Shirt – a short-sleeved shirt was fine, but my elbows are a bit scuffed. A long-sleeved shirt would have been OK but only if the sleeves were tight fitting. Loose sleeves would have been a real pain in the butt. Gloves – yes – for sure. Although they were wet, they actually kept my hands warm. I took them off at the Funky Monkey and tucked them in the waist of my pants. Unfortunately, I lost them at Walk the Plank. I’m happy that I only spent $3 on them; I didn’t feel too bad about losing them. Glasses/Contacts – I went sightless. No way was I going to worry with my glasses, and I didn’t want to get dirt in my contacts. I chose to go without anything. I’m not so blind that I couldn’t do this. I can see far enough ahead of myself to know if I’m going to fall down or trip over something. I’m glad that I did it this way. Shoes – I used a pair that was ready for the trash. I didn’t want to ruin something new. This was probably a good idea, but some traction might have been a good idea for a couple of obstacles like Just the Tip. Socks – I chose an unmatched pair and trashed them at the end of the day. I didn’t feel badly about this at all.
My ears were so dirty! This is after two baths.

**Difficulty: This was one of the toughest races I’ve ever done. I still think that Mid-Mountain Marathon was harder, but not by much and only because the distance was double what I did for this event. Mentally, it was just as hard as anything I’ve ever done. The fear I felt on Balls to the Wall was like nothing I can remember. The intensity of the obstacles was incredible. The organizers really know what they are doing. Like I said before, I couldn’t have done this on my own.

**Bodily injury: While I’m only bruised and scratched (thanks to my teammates), there were others there with bloody lips and cut arms. In a 20-minute period where MW’s wife and kids were walking from the parking lot to the event, they saw two ambulances head to the hospital. We also saw several 4-wheeler EMS vehicles tearing around the grounds with their sirens on and their lights flashing. This is a hard event, and has the potential for serious injury. I honestly worried about my own safety on Balls.
Look at my poor left knee that I kept whacking against the Berlin Walls.
This is a side view of my knees. You can see how swollen the left knee is.
This is a picture of my left leg two days after the event. It's even blacker now. The other leg is not quite as bad. My triceps are both bruised, too.

**Having great teammates is essential. If you’re going to do this with a group, you’ve got to go into it knowing that you’ll all work together and not get upset with each other. If you’re going to run it with family or friends that you easily argue with then don’t do this event; choose something else. If you do it by yourself, expect to ask for help, expect to receive help, expect to make friends – even for just a few moments.

**I need to do some rock-climbing type of work so that I can learn how to re-leverage my body.

**I need to try every obstacle. Even if I fail, I need to try. Then, I won’t have regrets.

**It was crazy. Crazy fun. Crazy hard. Crazy awful. Crazy awesome. All at the same time.



Tough Mudder Utah, event report, part 3 – the part describing the next 12 obstacles

Obstacle #12: Balls to the Wall This is a new obstacle, debuted in Utah. Oh, how freakin’ lucky are we? This was a wooden wall AS TALL AS MY HOUSE with ropes for the hands and 2x4s for the feet. So, we had less than 2” for our toes to go on, and our hands were gripping the rope. Both things were getting muddy, but ok. I had a hard time even getting on the wall because the first board was so high and my upper body strength is so iffy. BO gave me a shove on the bum so that I could get started, and it was slow going. SLOW. It took so long that every time I managed to get on the next board (each 3’ apart), there was a cheer from the crowd below. This was really sweet, but I was terrified. All I could think was that if I fell, I would fall on my back on a meager foot of hay. I would be paralyzed which would be awful because we have steps going all over our house. I would be in a wheelchair and not be about to maneuver in my own home. This was the most terrifying thing I’ve done since, well, F – I’m not even sure. I was getting closer to the top and the guy next to me (who scaled the wall like Spiderman) turned and asked if I needed help. I almost started to cry. So, I said “Yes. I need help. Please help me. Please help me!” in a really scared, little girl, shaking voice. He anchored himself and reached his gloved hand down to me. I made it to the top, but I wouldn’t have. I honest-to-goodness would not have made it. I am 100% convinced that I would have fallen before I would have made it. Before he quickly scaled himself down, I said “I love you,” and I meant it. I really did. Of course, when I got to the top, the other side was exactly the same. I had to get down the same way I got up. I looked at my teammates and mouthed the F-word. They all knew exactly what I was saying. I made it down the other side, and got some congratulations from my teammates and other people, too. It was really sweet, but I couldn’t soak it all in because my adrenaline was amped over the top. I was wired. And scared even though I was no longer on the wall. In fact, I was scared until I reached the next obstacle. I was scared later when I just LOOKED at Balls to the Wall. I still can’t think of the last time I was this scared.

Obstacle #13: Mud Mile This was like the Dirty Ballerina, but three times more trenches, deeper trenches (chest/chin deep) and mini-hills between each trench (instead of the flat surface that the DB had). This was, by far, the most fun. Bless the course organizers for putting this after that last horrible obstacle to get my mind off of my terror. Oh my gawd. We were a disastrous mess. It was hysterical. Again, I did the slide-it-in entry approach and the knee-up exit, but this time I had to have help from anybody who was already out of the trench. At the last trench, BO shoved me in. I landed with a huge splash. I turned around and called him an ass just in time for RG to shove BO in! We had a blast on this obstacle. A blast!
Just getting started in the Mud Mile. By the end, we were covered head to toe with slippery, gray mud.

Obstacle #14: Boa Constrictor This obstacle consists of ribbed culverts with mud and water inside. The first slants down slightly and the second slants back up. You’ve got to gut crawl through both of them. I managed to do some of it on my knees, but not much. After what we had been through, this was another breather, relatively speaking.
RG halfway through the Boa Constrictor

Obstacle #15: Faux Cliffhanger We all thought that this was Cliffhanger, but honestly, I think that it was just an extra mud pit placed on the course. The mud was knee+ deep and had a serious sucking action. I had tied my shoes tightly, but actually worried a time or two about losing them. Climbing up the other side was awfully hard. Again, it was the super slippery gray mud, and impossible to get a foothold. We ended up having RG and JN lay down on their stomachs, and we used them as human ladders. BO and MW were at the bottom to get us started. Other guys were at the top to grab our hands and pull us up. Teamwork works. Even though we had been “rinsed off” during Boa Constrictor, we were now covered once again.
See that line of orange shirts? That's us.

Obstacle #16: Carry a Mudder This isn’t an official obstacle, but I think that it’s just part of the whole deal. It’s a 100 yard stretch where you have to carry another Mudder (teammate or not) on your back. At the halfway point, you have to switch. RG carried me at first. The whole team was together. At the halfway point, JN just kept carrying his wife, LN, because she is TINY and she was starting to have some hip problems. At the halfway point, everybody switched. RG was going to keep carrying me, but I wouldn’t let him. I wasn’t going to wuss out. He didn’t think that I could do it. I did. I totally did. We were slower than the rest of the team, but I carried his ass for the next 100 yards just like he had done for me. Yes. I rock.

Obstacle #17: Berlin Walls #2 This is a repeat of the first Berlin Walls, but 14-feet high instead of 12, and covered with slimy gray mud. Same approach as before. I was just as graceful as the first time. I smacked my left knee coming off of both walls again.

Obstacle #18: Cliffhanger Now, we got to the actual Cliffhanger. It starts by jumping into a deep pit of water (chest deep), and then climbing up a hill. At least this time we were given a big cargo net to help us get up to the top. I made it. Piece of cake. And, by “piece of cake,” I mean it was steep and slippery and gross!
The orange team just getting ready to enter the water pit before the big climb.

Obstacle #19: Funky Monkey I’ve never seen any woman make it across these. If there is a YouTube that proves me wrong, I would love to see it. Basically, this is the playground monkey bars, but longer, sloping, greased, muddy, and loose. Yup. There were probably 40 bars. The first 20 are at an incline with the remaining on a decline. They are loose, so they turn just a smidge each time you grab one. They are slippery from the mud but also from the grease that the organizers put on them. Thoughtful, no? Thankfully, there is a deep, watery mud pit below so that when you fall off the bars, you can get rinsed off. I could barely reach the bars, so I couldn’t get enough of a grip to even get started. I’m not ashamed to say that after realizing that I couldn’t get a grip, I just lowered myself into the water and walked across that way. MW rocked it in, like, ten seconds. He’s incredible. He’s also an experienced rock climber.

Obstacle #20: Just the Tip This is an 18-foot long wall with two 2x4s – one for your feet and one for your hands. I couldn’t get a foothold with the problems I have with the big toe on my right foot. I can’t grip with it, I can’t push with it, I can’t bend it. Again, I just had to lower myself into the water and walk across. The only person from our team to make it was MW. No surprise there.

Obstacle #21: Walk the Plank This is a 15-foot high platform that you have to jump off into a very deep pool of water. My Seattle friend said “do not hesitate,” but honestly, it was so hard to get to the top (BO helped me at the bottom and MW helped me at the top) that I needed a second to catch my breath. That second turned into a minute – maybe two. I don’t know. I made eye contact with two of the lifeguards and said “do NOT let me drown.” They promised to keep me alive. In fact, they promised to throw in their red flotation devices immediately after I jumped so that they could just pull me out. I finally got the nerve, plugged my nose, and plunged into a cold, DEEP, muddy nightmare. Holy crap. I went down for what seemed like 100 years even though I started kicking as soon as I hit the water. At least, I think I did. Who the hell knows? Anyway, I did finally come to the top, and true to what they promised, there was a red flotation device waiting for me. I didn’t grab it. Instead, I shouted “Shit! Piss!” and started back paddling. The lifeguard laughed and said something to me. I assume that he was talking about my foul mouth, but I’m not sure. I just kept paddling until I got to the other side with the cargo net and climbed out. Bummer about this obstacle: I lost my gloves out of the waist band of my running pants. I'm glad that I didn't spend more than $3 for them!

Obstacle #22: Everest This is a quarter-pipe similar to what skateboarders and snowboarders use. The idea is to sprint up as far as possible hopefully making it to the top. Few people actually make it to the top without help. There is almost always a groups of people laying on their bellies at the top trying to catch those trying to come up. MW and RG made it up with a little help, and then they were there to help BO and the rest of us. JN and LN didn’t attempt it because she could barely walk at this point, and he’s so dang cute and in looooove with her that he went off to find her a space blanket and help her get warm. At the beginning of the event, the announcer/emcee/motivational dude gives instructions like “if you’ve ever had a stroke, convulsion, seizure, or if you have a pacemaker, don’t do XXX obstacles.” He also says “if you decide to skip an obstacle or if you can’t do it, that’s ok. There is no shame in that.” Well, I disagree. Before we even got to Everest, I had decided that I was done. I don’t think that my legs had ANY sprint in them, and my arms/chest definitely had nothing. MW said “don’t worry about it; we’ll grab your hands and pull you up.” The problem was that they would have to do all of the work. I had nothing left, and I wouldn’t be helping. They would basically have to pull 170 pounds of dead weight up and over the top of the obstacle. That just didn’t seem fair to do to them. And, a little part of me didn’t want to make a fool of myself with my exhausted body. So, I sat it out. Now, there is shame in not even trying. I feel like a fraud, a wuss, a boob. UG! I hate that feeling!
This is BO trying to get up Everest with RG and MW grabbing his hands.

Obstacle #23: Electroshock Therapy This is like the Electric Eel, but upright and with bales of hay to jump over. Some of the participants were going through on their feet, and some were going through on their stomachs. Some were starting on foot and finishing on their tummies after getting knocked down by the shocks. After the Electric Eel, I had absolutely ZERO desire to do this obstacle. ZERO!! That shit hurts. I only felt a little bad that I wasn’t doing it. Until I found out that RG didn’t get shocked once because he did it on his belly and maneuvered it well. GREAT! Now I totally feel like a failure. Yes. I have unrealistically high expectations for myself. But, really. I didn’t even try. What a baby. I can’t stand it. The finish line where we were freezing half to death!
Left to right: RG, BO, JN, LN, MW, and yours truly

Tough Mudder Utah, event report, part 2 – the part describing the first 11 obstacles

Obstacle #1: Kiss of Mud #1 Mud pit with cold water – I don’t know how long it was – boards and barbed wire 18 inches above the muck. Get in it. Get messy. Get out. Based on the AWESOME advice from my friend, I didn’t do the gut crawl to begin with. I used my feet/knees/hands as much as possible because it would be easier. We were going to get enough difficulty as the day wore on. I snagged my shirt a couple of times, but for the most part, I made it through without too much difficulty. Muddy, for sure, but not too awful. If the whole day was like this, then the whole thing would be a piece of cake.

Obstacle #2: Arctic Enema Three long dumpsters. Filled with water and 50,000-80,000 pounds of ice (over the course of the weekend). In the center is a wooden barricade with barbed wire just in case you want to go over. Oh, no. You MUST go under if you want out. I don’t know how much ice was in it, but it was enough for it to be ridiculously code. This from the girls who can’t stand a cool bath after a 26.2 mile marathon. I would rather shove bamboo splinters under my fingernails than take even a lukewarm bath. I’m about to jump into a pit of ICY WATER – with actual ice cubes in it… and lots of mud. Um. F. Capital-freaking-F. Geezus. It was awful. Again, though, with the advice from my friend, I waited until the person in front of me was at least under the barricade so that I wouldn’t have to be waiting behind someone while just standing in the frigid hell. So, we could touch the bottom fine. The water was probably up to my armpits. But, I had to go under. This really freaked me out. The water was so muddy that I couldn’t see anything even if I wanted to. I could feel the bottom of the barricades; it was probably only four inches below the level of the water. I was pretty scared to do it, but I finally just grew a pair and did it. When I came out the other side, I was so freaked out (frozen brain?) that I started to dog paddle. I could touch the bottom, but I was dog paddling?!?!?! What the? At the other side, I stupidly expected a ladder or step or something so that I could get out. Uh, no. The first of the “thank gawd that my friends were there to help” statements. If they hadn’t been, someone else would have. I’m sure of it. We got out, and that cold wind just bit into us. Awful. Based on what we all read, this was to be the worst obstacle. Happy to have it out of the way, we ran on.
This is us after the Arctic Enema.

Obstacle #3: Berlin Walls #1 So, the pansy-assed 8-foot wall at the start line were nothing compared to these 12-footers. Bless my friends. MW got to the top of the wall (without much trouble at all, might I add) and sat there. RG and BO boosted me and the other girl, LN, up so that we could pull ourselves up. Yeah, right. What this really means is that they boosted me. Then they extended their arms until we were all in some cheerleading pose all while MW is pulling me up, and I’m squirming around trying to get one of my feet over the wall. Then, I had to get the other foot over and go carefully down the other side. Oh, ha-ha. I basically dropped quickly, whacking my left knee in the process. I landed and wrenched my back, but nothing I couldn’t handle. Then, we did it on wall number two in exactly the same way – including the left knee whack because I’m graceful like that.

Obstacle #4: Bale Bonds Meh. This was no struggle. It was just a bunch hay that was easily traversed. And, it was soft when tripping up and falling. A nice change.

Obstacle #5: Hold Your Wood There were short logs and long logs. I’m not going to say “small” or “big,” because they were all very thick. Although my Seattle friend said that carrying a single log was easier, and most of our team did that, BO wanted to carry a long log. So, I said that I would team up with him. It was all I could do to get the log to my shoulder. It’s not like it was pine or balsam. This was some heavy damn wood. I don’t know what kind, but heavy. Once I got it to my shoulder, we were good to go. BUT, another teammate, JN thought that it would be too much, so after he helped his wife get a short log up on her shoulder, he came over and took our back end. This left me in the center with almost nothing to do since both guys were taller than me. I still tried to help. I took a turn at the end while JN left for a bit to help LN re-position her log. We completed this obstacle (basically a walk around the block) without problem.

Obstacle #6: Kiss of Mud #2 Just like the first Kiss of Mud, but muddier and deeper and the barbed wire was a bit closer to our backs. I know this because my shirt was caught a few times. At the end, I absolutely had to gut crawl.

Obstacle #7: King of the Mountain BIG square hay bales (each coming up to boob level) stacked in a pyramid. These were easy to get up as long as I put my right knee up to the top of each and then pulled myself up. The guys were there to help, but I let them help others who were shorter than me because I was doing fine. Going down the other side, I simply sat down and easily lowered myself to the next level. This was a nice and easy obstacle.

Obstacle #8: Trench Warfare Crawling through an enclosed trench which turns almost 90* to the right and again almost 90* to the left before getting out. So, this was pretty fun. We had been smelling something dead, on and off, while we had been running. You know, dead cow or sheep. Before we got to this obstacle, we saw the source: a dead horse. Sad . The top of the trench was enclosed with particle board or plywood and then covered with several inches of dirt. On top of that dirt were animal carcasses and bones and hides and cow skulls. It was pretty awesome gross. It wasn’t too hard. Behind me, a girl said to her teammate “it’s getting too dark – I can’t see any light!” I shouted back “that’s because my big butt is blocking the light.” She and her friend laughed a lot about this.

Obstacle #9: Dirty Ballerina The website describes this as a series of trenches, 4-feet wide, that you can try to jump across. If these were 4-feet, then I’m at my ideal body weight. They were easily 6-feet across. There was no jumping. They were all knee to chest deep with muddy water. We just got in and trudged through. These were fun. The mud was slick and gray and gross. It was awesome. A lot of the “entry” points to the trenches were like mini-slides, so I just sat down and slid into the water. There was mud in places where mud should not be.
After exiting the Dirty Ballerina

Obstacle #10: Lumber Jacked More wood – but bigger in diameter. These were actual logs. You couldn’t put your arms around them. The idea is to go over the tall ones and under the short ones. The trouble? There were no short ones. We had to go over all of them. The trouble with that? They were all at my chest level. The girls had a hard time with this because we were generally too short to get any decent leverage, and even if we could, we generally lack the upper body strength to hoist ourselves up. Some girls were OK. I was not. There was a lot of helping. I managed to get my foot in an angle made by 2x4s, but my foot kept getting stuck. Eventually, the guys just let us step on their knees or cupped their hands so that we could push off of something. These were also pretty fun.

For the record, we had managed to run between all obstacles until mile 9. This is significant because one of our teammates is a self-proclaimed non-runner. He did awesome.

Obstacle #11: Electric Eel This obstacle is like the kiss of mud but instead of having barbed wire above your back, there are about 200 dangling live wires. You’re wet. You can’t hurry very much because you’re on your stomach. And, these live wires aren’t just itty bitty zings. These are seriously wretched shocks. All I remember was saying “I’m unhappy! I’m unhappy! I’m unhappy!” After that, I cannot be held responsible for whatever I said. I don’t even know if I said anything. I’m not kidding. With the exception of childbirth before the epidural, nothing in my life has ever hurt so badly – over and over – about 25 times. All I know is that my entire body convulsed each time I was zapped, I felt like my heart actually stopped every time, there was white in my vision with each shock, and I was certain that a hole had been burned through my pants at one point. My right buttock burned for at least an entire mile, if not more. I also know this: I will NEVER be a criminal. If a police officer even reaches for a tazsr, I will confess to anything. Yes. I murdered Jimmy Hoffa. Yes. I stole the queen’s jewels. Yes. I produced the movie Billy Madison. I will take responsibility for ANY crime – just don’t taze me – because they are even more voltage than what I crawled through.

Mommy is a BADASS (aka Tough Mudder Utah, event report, part 1)

Good gawd. Where to begin? At the beginning might be too boring, but I’ll do it anyway.

It all started out in January. I just happened to see something online somewhere. I don’t even remember where. It doesn’t matter. I sent the link in an e-mail AS A JOKE to one of my fellow weight class buddies saying that we should NOT show the link to our instructor because she would come up with some new tortures similar to what the video was showing. He responded back and basically said “let’s do it.” See how that happened? That’s why I blame him for all of this. I wasn’t actually suggesting anything. He did. (FYI – the rest of the team seems to remember this differently, and it’s somehow my fault. Can you believe it?) So, five of us plus one wife signed up, paid our $115, and goaded each other all year long about how we were going to completely rock it. In the end, it turns out that the one who started the whole thing (NOT ME) was injured and couldn’t participate. (I’m not sure if he was the lucky one or not.)

So, I was going to be 40 pounds lighter by now, and it was going to be easier to do. Well, I’m only 6 pounds lighter. I guess if you count the number of times that I lost the same five pounds, I would be 40 pounds lighter but only if I hadn’t gained it all back in between. And, I truly worked HARD to develop my upper body. I may have mentioned this before, but I HAVE BICEPS! And some other stuff, but yeah, again with the biceps….

As the time approached, I managed to watch enough footage to really freak myself out while trying to mentally prepare. I think that I did a good job on both fronts. The entire past week was spent in a constant state of nausea. I hadn’t been this nervous for any event since my first marathon. Thankfully, a friend of mine had recently completed the TM Seattle, so I got some great advice from her, too. The course was only six miles from my house, so I drove past a couple of times. Of course, I couldn’t see much, and all it did was make me more nervous because three of the hardest obstacles were right at the end which was right next to the road. I needed gloves, so I perused the store this morning at 6am. I finally decided on a $3 pair of fish grabbers. Awesome damn gloves. We’re getting more of these things.

We decided to carpool out, so the group gathered at our house at 8am. Our start time was 10:40, but we were recommended to arrive at least two hours ahead of time. That wouldn’t have been so bad, but it had rained the night before, and it was cold. Also, true to Tooele weather, the wind was blowing. Not a breeze, but a wind. Oh, thank goodness.

Oh, and to make it more exciting, the course was now 12 miles instead of the original 10 with 21 obstacles instead of the original 20. Oh, joy.

So, we arrived at the event site and got all checked in. The Tough Mudder people think that it’s funny to write your participant number on your forehead – you know – just in case you’re decapitated. Gosh, thanks. We were early enough that we could wander around and check a few things out. They were as nerve wracking as I expected them to be. And, we were already shivering WITH our sweatshirts on! But, it was exciting. It was exhilarating. It was crazy.

If ever I need a reminder about how stupid I can really be, I just need to sign up for an event that is out of my league. There were about a billion 20- and 30-somethings. All of them were in shape. Then, there’s me, having my early 40s mid-life crisis, overweight, and not quite as prepared as I wish I was.

Here’s a funny side-note: I was getting the last wristband out of my participant packet when I noticed the name on the packet. Kathryn. Yeah, that’s not my name. So, I said “I have never typed Kathryn before in my life. How could they make that mistake?” Then, I looked at the age: 45. Dude! I’m only 42, and I’m not in a hurry to add more years. What. The. Hell. I have someone else’s packet. SOMEONE ELSE HAS OUR LAST NAME!!! It’s not like it’s a common name, AT ALL. It’s not like Christensen (which there were probably 700 of them at this event alone). It’s just us. Or, so we thought. So, I had to stand in (the slowest) info line to fix the mix-up since I had Kathryn’s number on my forehead and my wrist and my shirt. While standing there, I saw her team! They had their team name printed on the back of their shirts. Dumb luck. So, I found her, and explained the situation. “Well, how did you get my packet?” she asked. “We have the same last name,” I replied. She and all of her friends just looked at me like I was crazy. “No, you don’t. Nobody has this last name.” “No shit,” I said. Suddenly, there are, like, eight more of us. CRAZY.

Hey. Guess what? It’s almost time to start the race. Oh. My. Gawd. In order to get to the start line, we had to scale an 8-foot wall. Just to get to the start line. I couldn’t do it without help. Read that sentence again. No, wait. Don’t. You’ll be reading it about 2749 more times before I’m done. Kneeling on the dirt and listening to the motivational emcee, I was shaking – and not because of the cold. (But, it was cold.) My hands were shaking. My insides were shaking. My mind was shaking. I was scared. I don’t do shouting with groups, but I couldn’t help but get caught up in the excitement. I shouted out some “ooo-rah”s, and I meant them. We sang the national anthem as a group. This was the best national anthem I’ve heard for years. It was awesome. Top of our lungs and with gusto. Fantastic. I wish we could have sang longer, but we did need to start the event. I wanted to barf. Motivating Guy blows his whistle, and we’re off.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Progress - pretty significant

I've been running, but I haven't been posting every boring-assed run. I think that the blog is a better thing because of it. BUT, today's run is significant. I ran a sub-9. Wait - I ran THREE sub-9s. Holy shit. I forgot my watch, so The Gazelle used her iPod. I totally think that it is broken, but I have to take what she says because I don't have anything to compare it with. That being said, it was a fast (for me) run, and I don't feel COMPLETELY beaten by it. Broken iPod or not, it felt like I was working very hard, so this is good! Oh, by the way, did I mention that I lost an inch from my waist and my hips and 1/2 inch from my upper arm? YAY! (My thighs are still the same size. Boo. Hiss.) Oh, and I'm terrified to run the Tough Mudder tomorrow. The course has increased to 11.5 miles (instead of 10) and there are now 21 obstacles (instead of 20). Good god. Stats: 3.1 miles in 27:40 for an 8:56mpm pace (Yes, seriously, EIGHT:56mpm pace. You read it right. I rock.)

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

whiner

I haven't run since last Friday. First, I'm lazy on the weekends. OK. There you go. I like to sleep once in a while, and I haven't had much of it lately. Second, I've had to sleep upright in the recliner so that Meatball could get some rest since he has had an upper respiratory cough that really kicks in when he is lying flat. That has happened every night except one since last Thursday. Third, oh - who really cares? Today was my first run in almost a week, and I felt it. I was stiff and uncomfortable to start. My shoes need to be replaced. I had a bout with a very elevated heart rate about 1/3 through the run where I had to stop for 3-4 minutes just to get it to calm down. (I hate that, by the way. You know, when your lungs feel constricted and your heart races and you just can't get your breath...) Oh. My. Gawd. Waaaaaaaaaaaa. Here's my actual run report: I ran to/through Sugarhouse Park and back to work. I had a long break because I couldn't catch my breath and my heart was pounding like crazy. Then, I finished. Stats: 5.5 miles in 56:38 for a 10:18mpm pace

Thursday, September 20, 2012

bitter - party of 1

Since I had to work late tonight, I stayed home longer than normal this morning. I got up, got my body moving, and then sat in the chair for an hour. I should have just ran. But, I finally got my fat butt out the door - mostly because I remembered the completely unnecessary bowl of Cap'n Crunch that I ate last night out of stress and depression. Yes. I should have gone for a run, instead. I know. I know. Anyway, I leashed up Sadie and took off, completely forgetting my watch. Oh well. Man, this dog is fat! Obviously, Bub has no intention of exercising her during the day, so it falls on me to do this in the evening or mornings. You know, those times when I am frantically trying to get everything else done. OK. Fine. Whatever. She was pretty well behaved (better than when we are walking). Apparently, training BUB'S dog is my responsibility, too. Let's face it. She's my dog. Bub can't stand her. Yes, I'm bitter. After Sadie and I did 3.3 miles, I stopped and picked up Liz to do 1.5 miles. She's getting so old! And, obviously, she doesn't get any exercise, either! Both dogs were pooped by the end of their distances. I, on the other hand, had energy to burn. Too bad I wasted that extra hour this morning! Oh well. Look out, Zumba, here I come this afternoon! Stats: 4.79 miles

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

very good pace after a very bad night's sleep

Hell yeah, baby! So, we slept over at Granny's and Grandpa's house last night. I must admit. I don't really enjoy these sleepovers. I never get any sleep. The boys get spoiled with new clothes and toys every damn time. They get wound up. Then, the old people and Bub watch TV while I try to get them to calm down by reading stories and saying Shhhhh! a hundred times. As a side note: it is almost impossible to get two boys to calm down and not laugh when you're reading a "Walter, the farting dog" book. Anyway, the boys never want to sleep, and the bed isn't comfy. I don't care what kind of expensive mattress you have on it, it's not comfy. Last night was extra fun. The new clothes that they got were footie pajamas that were too small, so halfway through the night, Meatball woke up crying because his toes hurt, so we had to change his jammies. Plus, he was ALL OVER THE PLACE, Peanut was glommed up against me like sap to a tree, everyone was kicking everyone else, and it was too hot. Imagine my delight when my alarm went off at 4:15am! I got out the door about an hour later after I had a piece of toast and pottied. The weather is PERFECTLY cool, and the run was awesome. I only walked once, and that was up the long hill at 3300 South. I made it to work at a sub-11 pace for more than 90 minutes! YAY for me! Stats: 8.41 miles in 1:31:15 for a 10:52mpm pace

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

running with the gazelle

Good Gawd! Yesterday, Carol and I ran the downtown loop at a slow pace because she's struggling with a cold. It was a nice run, we chatted, we ran, we walked. This morming, she decided to take the morning to try and recover since she has a race this weekend. So, I went to weight class (which was a killer), and I was drenched with sweat by the end of class. Then, as I was getting ready to run by myself, one of my coworkers asked how far I was going, and did I mind if she came along. Well, um, yes. I totally mind. Listen. I'm all about company, and friends, and exercise, but she is easily six inches taller than me (you should see her legs!), 40 pounds lighter than me, has about 2% body fat, and is GORGEOUS. (No. I don't have a complex. Why do you ask?) So, off we went. The super model and the ugly step-sister. The gazelle and the hippo. Yes. I know. I'm supposed to visualize myself and talk about myself in term that are glowing and positive, but YOU stand next to her and let's see how YOU feel! HER:
ME:
So, as she jogged along chit-chatting, I gasped and strained, grunting route instructions and pointing when I couldn't be understood. Between her and Lucifer, I feel like I got a decent butt-kickin' today! Stats: 3.1 miles in 29:56 for a 9:40mpm pace

Friday, September 14, 2012

numb

Lucifer was at her finest this morning, and she truly kicked our collective asses during weight class. Holy crap! When you're shouting "OK, Pushups! 1 - 2 - 3..." and everyone is still laying face-first on the floor, you know that you are a great fitness instructor. Then, I had to run three miles. I was numb. In body and in mind. Two hours later, and I still don't want to lift my arms. She is so harsh! Stats: 3.16 miles in 32:34 for a 10:19mpm pace

Thursday, September 13, 2012

this is confusing

This was a bit of a slower run, but I'm recovering from being sore (that happens when you've been lazy and decide to step it up a notch), and Carol was recovering from being sick. So, we just did what we did and didn't worry a bit. We ran before yoga on our normal (boring) 3-mile loop. We got a lot of talking in. OK. She talked. I complained. I love that she is such a good friend. I'm really frustrated right now, and she lets me just go off. She never says the wrong (meaning right) thing. She always says the right (meaning right) thing in a way that doesn't seem condescending or abusive towards anyone. That didn't make sense. That doesn't matter. She's just awesome. Stats: 3.1 miles in 35:56 for an 11:36mpm pace

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

wonderful temps

50*! Yes. Fifty glorius degrees! My hands were actually cold for the first mile of my run! I LOVE FALL! It was another solo run, and after lamenting about my pathetic miles of late, I decided that I should do something semi-long. I know for a fact that I wouldn't have been able to slog out a 10-miler, so 7 seemed the next logical thing. (OK - I could have done a 10, but I would have been miserable and it would have taken me too long to get back to work.) Anyway, I did the East High loop. I did not run up 8th; I chose to run down it instead. I definitely didn't have the gas in me to get UP it. I've been tired all week, and my knees kinda hurt. Nothing to be concerned about, but I just looked at the mileage on my shoes, and it's 567. Another 100 miles on these, maximum. I'm sure that's why I'm feeling some aches and pains. Anyway, the weather was beautiful; the run was decent; my shoes need to be replaced. Stats: 7.39 miles in 1:15:42 for a 10:15mpm pace

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

lazy

My running life has been a series of 3-ish mile runs punctuated by a 5-miler once in a while. That's not good. I was supposed to run a marathon this weekend. I'm not. Primarily because I can't afford to enter one. Otherwise, I would have been ready. I had an awesome training plan. Anyway, since deciding that I couldn't do a 'thon, I have lost all focus. I could crank out a 10-miler if I needed to (but it wouldn't be pretty). So, I've been lazy as all hell. After yesterday's 5.5 miler with hills and weight class today, my measley 3-miler today was tough... Pathetic. Stats: 3.26 miles in 33:26 for a 10:16mpm pace

Monday, September 10, 2012

stuffed

After Carol's 1/2 marathon on Saturday (3000' downhill - ouch on the quads - but she took 2nd in her division!), she was looking for another day of rest, so I ran Sugarhouse on my own. It was a decent run - partly because I carb loaded all weekend long! You see, we spent the weekend with friends who served vegetables once the entire weekend - and that was in a mayo soaked coleslaw. OK. Fine. There was mayo heavy potato salad and butter heavy mashed potatoes. Other than that, it was pasta, pasta, meat, meat, and some fruit. Bub and I were SO bloated by the time we got home. (No, the beers didn't help...) I had planned to get up and run in their neighborhood, but that didn't work out well as Peanut woke every time I so much as scratched my nose. Anyway, I'm looking forward to the carrot sticks and beans that I brought for lunch today, and I think that nice salad will hit the spot tonight! Oh, and about the run, it was humid (43%) and not particularly exciting, but I got the miles in and I'm ready for the rest of the day. Stats: 5.5 miles in 57:30 for a 10:28mpm pace

Friday, September 7, 2012

running with cars

I've missed a few weight workouts lately, so today's really kicked my ass. I don't think that I've done walking lunges for a week, and when I started running, my legs were very noodley. Another solo run today because Carol's race is tomorrow. It all went well, but I did get honked at while crossing State Street. Yes. I was jay-walking, and yes, there was traffinc coming. What of it? I sprinted! Stats: 3.1 miles in 32:37 for a 10:29mpm pace

Thursday, September 6, 2012

just off

This run was just off. Carol didn't go because she twisted her knee yesterday, and she needs it to recover before her 1/2 Mary on Saturday. (Mount Nebo! It's going to be beautiful. Jealous!) So, after yoga, I went out for a quickie. I had to run into the sun for part of it, and I almost fell on my face while crossing State Street due to an uneven road which I couldn't see because I was running into the sun. Then, I was watching a guy on a bike and wondering why he wasn't crossing the street. When the light finally changed for him to go, he started and so did I - in different directions. Needless to say, he was following traffic instructions, and I almost got ran over. I felt more tired than my time shows. It was just off. All of it. Stats: 3.1 miles in 31:51 for a 10:17mpm pace

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

struggling

This run wasn't stellar, but it wasn't horrific either. Carol and I are both struggling this fall. Struggling to get the miles in, struggling to find motivation, struggling to give two shakes about our running. I don't know about her, but I'm struggling with some depression and some stress and some weight concerns, and even though I know that running would make those things better, it's hard to find the umph to DO it. Don't mind me - just whining here. Stats: 5.46 miles in 1:02:28 for an 11:29mpm pace

Friday, August 31, 2012

64* - ahhhhh

Well, my legs felt like lead during this run. We had a substitute teacher for weight class, and she worked different muscles than we are used to. This is good, but it makes a run seem longer! I just did a quick trip of SoSaLa by myself because Carol is busy enjoying herself at Glacier National Park in Canada right now! (I'm just a bit jealous. We'll be lucky if we can squeeze out one night at Vernon reservoir this weekend. We haven't done SQUAT this summer!) Stats: 3.32 miles in 34:37 for a 10:26mpm pace

Thursday, August 30, 2012

nothing exciting

There was nothing exciting about this run at all. It was nice to get out when it was still dark and not more than 70*. I just wanted to be back to work before yoga class started, so I had to run a decent pace and run it consistently. I succeeded. That's all there is to say about it. Stats: 3.42 miles in 35:09 for a 10:17mpm pace

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

I've been in the middle of an "episode" since Saturday, so no running until today. I didn't even go to work! But, being home has been fun. I've got to spend time with the boys even if I haven't been able to do much. Just hanging out has been good. I dropped them off at school this afternoon and decided to run even though it was really hot out (91*). I figured that would help me sweat out some of this salt! I feel pretty good, but I'm glad that I didn't go any further than I did! Stats: 3.3 miles in 33:40 for a 10:13mpm pace

Friday, August 24, 2012

A new area to focus?

I was feeling really good after today's weight class - for about 1/2 block. Then, Lucifer's workout kicked in, and I had to push the entire time. I was able to find a groove, and I was able to find a pace, but I had to really work it to maintain it. Later, I was shooting hoops with the rest of the company as we christened the new outdoor exercise area (basketball, soccer, and volleyball). In ten minutes, I made ZERO baskets. Hmmmm..... Stats: 3.1 miles in 32:04 for a 10:21mpm pace

Thursday, August 23, 2012

I'm so attractive...

Ahhhh... a blissful 68*! It was wonderful. We slowed things down this morning because Carol is still struggling with feeling well. I was just happy to have her along for the run. I talked the entire time. She is always so sweet to just listen and listen and listen. We did a quick-ish run before yoga. Then, we immediately went to yoga and sweated all over the mats. Attractive, no? Stats: 3.1 miles in 37:02 for an 11:57 mpm pace

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

not really feeling it

I wasn't really feeling that my body loved me this morning. I've pinched or strained something in the middle of my back/shoulder blades, and I can't lay down for very long. This means that I only slept in the bed until midnight, then I had to sleep in the chair AGAIN. That means that I didn't sleep very well. Whaddya' gonna' do? Well, you're still going to run - even if your running partner has a headache and you now hate running by yourself. (Too much time to think...) I headed up to Sugarhouse Park because 5.5 miles wasn't unrealistic. It also wasn't that much fun. It was a nice morning and all, but I just felt tired from the first step. Stats: 5.5 miles in 58:11 for a 10:35mpm pace (oh, and I lost one of the 5 pounds that I had gained)

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

excuses

Well, I haven't run since Thursday. What I have done is eat and drink a LOT. I had an excuse: Bub's 50th birthday. (Hey, I didn't say it was a GOOD excuse...) Mostly, I've been lazy. This has done nothing for my waist line. I have gained FIVE pounds since the last time I weighed. I'm pissed. I hate it when I do this to myself..... Wait: Insert positive affirmation here [I am committed to learning from my mistakes instead of agonizing over them.]. OK. Enough. It is in the past, and I will get rid of it this week. I will. How? I love to count calories. Just love it. Yes. I'm being sarcastic. I also love to exercise. I'm NOT being sarcastic here. I truly love to exercise now. I never thought I would be able to say that, but there you go. Stats: 3.1 miles in 32:34 for a 10:31mpm pace

Thursday, August 16, 2012

alotta' walk breaks

This run was not pretty. Carol is struggling with her BP meds, and the doc has her on something that is just kicking her ass. It makes her tired and she feels wiped out all of the time. So, we took a lot of walk breaks. I don't mind at all. I'm there for the friendship, the conversation, and the miles. It's not always about the time. AND, we did get a lot of talking done today, so it was productive and fun, regardless of walk breaks. Stats: 3 miles in 36:03 for a 12:01mpm pace

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

uncomfortable

This was an interesting run. I missed weight class because I missed my connecting bus, so Carol and I headed out the door when she was done with class. We had only gone a block when she indicated that she wasn't feeling well. We did a lot of very short walk/run intervals for the first half mile. Then, she just peeled off, and I finished the run on my own. About a mile later, my body kicked in, and I had to go to the bathroom. The rest of the run was not that much fun since there weren't any places to stop. Just not the best run in the world. Stats: 3.1 miles in 32:53 for a 10:37mpm pace

Thursday, August 9, 2012

ahhhhh, yoga

Finally! For two days I've been sore and stiff. Thank goodness for Lena and her yoga class! This is the best I've felt since 7:15 on Tuesday morning. I did a short 3-mile run, but it felt really good even though it was 80*! Stats: 3.1 miles in 31:59 for a 10:20mpm pace

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

looking for bus fare

I so completely did not want to run this morning. At all. I was sore and tired from yesterday's weight class. Then, I started running. Then, I got more tired, more sore, and even more tired than I thought I already was! I was actually wishing that I had bus fare so that I could catch the State Street bus! (I wouldn't have, but my gawd!) It was another solo run because Carol is in blistering hot Las Vegas. I do not envy her. I also do not want to get up out of my chair at any time today because I know that it will hurt. I need yoga. Stats: 5.46 miles in 55:54 for a 10:15mpm pace

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Lucifer showed up today

Wow. I haven't worked out at all for four days, and then Lucifer showed up at weight class. Holy crap, she was difficult! A very heavy emphasis on legs and shoulders. My hair was soaked before I even went outside for my run. There were a couple of times when I couldn't even feel my legs during the run. They were so dang tired that I just had to disassociate myself from them! I was going to do the new short route (3.42 miles), but I just didn't have the strength to do an addtional .3 mile! Wiped out! Stats: 3.14 miles in 32.36 for a 10:23mpm pace

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

interesting plants in Sugarhouse

We tried to take it easy today since Carol is still recovering from being sick for several days. We decided to run a big loop around Sugarhouse (11th East) and SoSaLa (13th South and Main). It wasn't incredibly exciting, but there were some really interesting plants out like RED marigolds (never seen that before), some kind of vine plant with leaves that were about as big as a bicycle tire, some really big squash plants, and some cute little blue flower with nasty damn thorns that whacked me in the leg. We had shade for most of the run, so we were feeling quite happy. Stats: 5.24 miles in 59:41 for an 11:24mpm pace

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

utilizing the park strip

Although muggy, today's run was pretty good. I hit the new route, and it is so nice to see different things. I think that's why the run was good in spite of the heat/humidity. SoSaLa is not the most picturesque place on earth, but most of the neighborhoods are nice and clean, and the people that I pass are cordial. There are worse places to run, that's for sure. It's kind of interesting to run through a new neighborhood and see how many people are re-doing their park strips into little mini gardens! Tomatoes, corn, squash all right along the curb - even right on State Street! This is proof (to me) that people are getting tired of pesticides, genetically modified food, and soaring prices. Stats: 3.42 miles in 35:13 for a 10:18mpm pace

Monday, July 30, 2012

She's back!

After not feeling well, today was Carol's first run in 11 days. We just did a short run since I got in late and she wanted to take it easy. I love her "take it easy" pace! Nothing earth shattering, but it was nice to be out running with her again. Stats: 3.1 miles in 33:49 for a 10:55mpm pace

Saturday, July 28, 2012

SLCounty Corp Games 5K

This race was for the Salt Lake County Corporate Games. I ran the race last year, and the course was exactly the same. It was at Cottonwood Complex, and it was entirely cross country. There were two steep hills, and it was all on grass. It was also extremely HOT (at least, by my standards). The race was scheduled to start at 8am, but it didn't start until 8:20. Every minute that ticked by allowed the temperatures to rise more and more. UG. It was miserable. I ran on the OCTanner team. Sadly, I was the LAST person on our team to finish. At least I wasn't the last person in the entire race! The best part of the race was having the boys there giving everyone high 5s and cheering "Go, Mom! Go, Mom!" You can't help but smile at that stuff! They each gave me a kiss at the start of my last lap. I told them it would make me run faster. Secretly, it was a chance to take a 5-second breather! Stats: 3.1 miles in 34:40 for an 11:11mpm pace
Looking slouchy - aka my typical running form
My friend, Zeljka. She's beautiful, and well, she runs beautifully, too. No. I'm not jealous. Who wants to be svelt and cut and gorgeous? Definitely not me.