NEXT EVENTS: IRONMAN BOULDER 2014, Run Rabbit Run 50-miler

It's never too late to be what you might have been. --George Eliot

This blog is about my journey as an asthmatic, hypothyroid, formerly plus-sized endurance athlete. It's occasionally interrupted with things that have nothing to do with that or whining about my weight and horrible eating habits. "You're never too old to be what you might have been" --George Eliot

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Sorry I'm late - Thursday 13.

Dear Diary,

13.  One of the benefits of working with kids is picking up all the clever vernacular.  This week I learned:
maddogging (v).  The act of posturing another individual, or staring at them in a threatening manner, thereby provoking a fight. 

12.  Wednesday morning I was awakened by coyotes doing what many locals euphemistically refer to as "singing".  I call it "a crap-load of a huge racket".  It's pretty distinctive. Sadie put out a couple of feeble "woofs" and then shut up.  I've noticed that is the norm around here.  When coyotes sound off, all the neighborhood dogs suddenly get a big case of STFU.  It's like their parents said when they were pups, don't you be maddogging those coyotes.  They may be small but they'll kick your ass.  So be quiet. 

In any case, I'm pretty sure this is when Sadie quietly snuck into the back of the house out of nervousness. 

11.  So, Wednesday morning after my run I sat down and took Sadie's furry face in my hands.

Sadie, look at me.  No, at me.  Loo-LOOK AT ME.  There.  Now, you need to know there is a clear division of labor in this house.  The cats live in the back; you live in the front.  The cats are responsible for making warm lumps on the bed at night that we have to bend our legs around to sleep, and eating cat food.  You are responsible for acting insanely happy when we show up and giving us soulful looks. 


Do you understand what I am saying?  You are not to eat the cat food or sneak into the back of the house at night.  


Are we clear on this?

*wag* *wag*

Good.

10.  I was so stressed out and angry at my university that I taught them a lesson: I got my hair done.  That'll show them.

9.  This is my new blog tool.
In case you're wondering, yes, you have probably gotten Mary Kay holiday makeup collections that were bigger.  But it's purple, and that's all that matters.

I took this picture in Oklahoma, where everything is Sienna.

8. This fall Mom in law is coming in November.
Dad in law is coming in December.  You know what that means, don't you?

It means...


wait for it....


wait for it...


I have to clean house. 


Crap.


7.  Next week I start tapering.  40 miles.  The following week, 30 miles.  Then 20 miles.  And so on.  The hardest part, I think, will be adjusting my eating so that I don't gain a million pounds during this time. 

6.  I'm blonde again.  Not blond.  Blonde.  With an e.  It's classier.

5.  I started taking my clothes to a local tailor to have them taken in.  The lady was pinning me, and didn't speak very good English, but she said, "How you get so small?"

I run, I said.  And I was eating less.

"how many runs you do?"

She might be asking, literally, how many, but I bet it's how much.

So I told her.

"I run. 80 to 100 kilometers in a week," I said.

blink.  Blink.

Then she patted her stomach.  "Maybe I just hang onto this."

It's all about choices.  You go, girl.

4.  Next week the Bitches of Fashion are taking me shopping.  In case you don't know who that is, their blog is here.  I saved up my coffee money, and they are taking me out and picking things out for me.

I'm a bit nervous.  I'm not really a fashionista.  I trend more towards classic stuff that doesn't really stand out much. I work with people who are mentally ill, after all.  They don't need too many distractions.  It's easier to get dressed in the morning when your stuff is not at all trendy, because it never looks out of date.

3. On our trip to Oklahoma I was privileged to be able to see the Leaning tower of Brittany, Texas



and the largest cross in the united states.  Maybe the world.  
I wanted to get a picture of myself standing in front of it, looking pious, but 
that involved getting out of the car, and we were pretty desperate to get
back to Albuquerque and 18% humidity.
For scale, that is a warehouse to the right, and it's several hundred yards in front of the cross.  

2. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday I was supposed to put in 22 miles.  By Wednesday night, I'd gotten in 11.  Then I got my hair done.  That left another 11 to get in today.  Not sure how I'm going to pull that off, but I'll try.

1. Last night, the wind howled all night, and kept me up.  I slept in.  Graduate school is so stressful that when I got home from work tonight I wanted to curl up in a ball under the blankets.  But I can't do that.  I'm going to at least get dressed to go out to run, and take a headlamp with me.  I'm crossing my fingers for a nice, long, worry run.
I terminated with my therapist last week.  Maybe I should have waited.

...

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Marathon or longer distance state #11: Oklahoma. The DoWackaDo 50K (race report)

Dear Diary,

The first thing that happened to me in Erick Oklahoma was that a giant grasshopper hopped through the open window of the car and landed on my shirt.  I was too surprised to be freaked out.  I opened the car door a little and encouraged him (her?) back out.

All Oklahoma photographs should be sepia-toned, in my opinion.

So the morning of the race.  I was already aware of the following:

1) I left my Garmin at home.
2) I left my hat at home
3) I left my cool-off bandana at home
4) It is effing hot in late September in Erick, Oklahoma. And HUMID.

Meanwhile, here's some mood music.




Sweet Baboo  and I had decided he would run his race, and I mine, to practice caring for myself.  When I do Javalena and--hey, did I mention that I want to get a red leather belt to match my new boots?  I've decided that my first 100 mile buckle should go on a wide, red leather belt.  And there you have it, my short attention span--SQUIRREL!!

so, back to the race--when I do Javalena I'll be doing the first three laps alone, and it will be hot.  Not as miserable hot as it was here. I always think of the inner craton--[nerdy geological term alert![--as being so hot that the clouds melt, which is why you can't see the edges of them like you can in the southwest.

I got up about 5:30, and had my power breakfast of poptarts and coffee mixed into cocoa.  I found out that if you over cook a pop tart, it becomes a candy tart.  But it was still good.

I lubed up my feet generously, including the toes, balls of my feet and sides

Put on my cheap-assed compression leg sleeves


WHen Baboo opened the hotel room door, he said, WHHHOOOOOEEEY, because we were in TexOma and that's what you do there, and then said, hey, you can see the air.

The morning of the race, the humidity was 100%.  I'm not kidding.  100% is when there are micron-sized water droplets suspended in the air.  Not quite fog.  You wave your hand through it and it gets wet.

All the locals were saying," gosh, it never gets this humid here!"  Yeah.  Right.  They said that to me in Kentucky, too. Liars.  You should know that any race during growing season in an area dedicated to agricultural is, essentially, going to be run in a giant hothouse.

Just for fun when I started writing this, at 9:15 am Erick time, I looked at their weather.  72% humidity. I hate humidity. I grew up in Alabama and Dallas, and then spent considerable time in the upper midwest, so I just do not get saunas.  Don't get them.  Why would you pay for that, when southwest will fly you to Phoenix for $50?

Anyway.  Before the race, we chatted with a couple of guys from eastern Oklahoma that were here to do this race. One was 35, and the other 25, and I never got their names. They will be mentioned later.


Anyway, on the morning of the race, there was a 5 mile and 25 k, in addition to the 50k, which was actually a 51k, but we'll get to that later. Alltold, 60-something were running, with 16 of those being in the 50K I asked how many of these were women, and was told about four or five.  So the questions for me became
  • Where are these women?  
  • Where are they from? 
  • Which ones can I trip to get third place?

I located one of the women right away, a tiny, long-legged bird person in a cropped singlet, and dismissed her.  She'll be too far ahead of me to trip. Or pass. Or see.

Five of these on the course.

The leader boards.

 
Baboo thinks I'm not competitive.  But I am.  It's just that my competitiveness is more of a Darwin thing; I identify weak members of the herd and shuffle right past them.  Except this one guy who does a lot of southwestern runs.  I think he's 70. He hobbles.  He hobbles quickly.  I cannot beat him. I've tried, too.  He kicks my ass every time.  So what does that say about me, that I pick out obvious sufferers to pass and then feel good about it?

Oh, never mind. 


Remember, Friday night I'd said that this race was*Adorable* ?

Well, the race was much harder than they advertised.  Very technical, with nearly vertical climbs and technical downhills, not just the rollers that you see on this profile, provided via the race web site, for one loop:
Nice, huh?  You're all, oh, rollers!  What a lovely run!







But this profile, taken from Baboo's Garmin, tells a different story:
 Slightly less pretty. 


Yes, I think it's safe to say that somewhere on the second lap, when the temps approached 90, with very high humidity, the race has stopped being
Adorable.

The first loop was misery.  Wet mud clung to our shoes adding weight to our footsteps.  My skirt was wet from the humidity. All my clothes were wet.  I was soaked.  But thankfully, the sun was behind the clouds, and there was a bit of breeze, so I got a lot of running in.

Then, I forgot to drink, and eat, and when I tried to play catch up, I got a bad side cramp and my stomach started rebelling. I didn't throw up - I haven't yet - but I sure wanted to.  The last 5 miles of the first loop I  considered dropping.  I came into the end of the first 15.8 mile loop at a walk, nearly crying with frustration because of that cramp because if I try to run, it gets worse.  I've tried everything.  At least now I realize, that it show up in two scenarios; first, if I suddenly eat a bunch and then try to run, and second, if I just go out and run like crazy without enough electrolytes in me.  I don't cramp anywhere else.

My trail shoes were doing their predictable painful shit because of the arch supports my flat feet don't need.  My time on the first loop (15.89 miles, I think) was about 3:45, and I spent 10 minutes at the turnaround, sitting in the shade, drinking ice cold water, deciding whether to drop.

Don't think that I'm brave.  The only thing that kept me going was the knowledge that if I didn't finish this, I wouldn't have my Oklahoma race, and I'd someday have to come back here.  GEH.  Have I talked about how much I hate humidity? Also, at the turn around, I was sitting because I was changing my shoes.  Ahhh.

And then, as always, my laziness paid off in an unexpected way: Without me knowing it, it gave my angry stomach a chance to process the huge load of  coke and sandwich and powerbar that had been sitting in it for the past 5 miles.  A guy handed me a handful of E-caps, which I swallowed about 3-4 at a time at each aid station on the second loop.

They say once you've lost it, you can't get back on top of your humidity and calories, but you can. It just involves sitting, apparently, which few are willing to do.
Except for me. 
Because, remember:
I. Am. Lazy. 

I stumbled back out onto the second loop, where the clouds had largely disappeared, but it was still humid, and the sun was unrelenting.  The wind disappeared, and the temperature rose to the upper 80s.  At the turnaround, I had loaded ice into a plain bandanna, folded it diagonally, then rolled it up and tied it around my neck.  I reloaded the ice at each aid station.  In between, when the ice melted, I wiped my arms and legs down with the wet bandana.  I also established a habit of taking four long drinks from my water bladder at the beginning of every song on my ipod.  I got back on top of my game, and unbelievably...

I was running.  

I ran continuously.  And it felt good.  I wasn't fast, it was a little hopping kind of shuffling ultra running run that I've learned by watching others.  It's faster than walking.I've never run that much that late in the race, and I can see now that I have not taken care of my hydration and calories in the past the way I should. 

At the mile 21 aid station I told them I was pretty sure I was last. They informed me that, no, there were 8 or 9 people were behind me.  Trust me, I was stunned.  They told me that a woman ahead of me had been considering dropping.  Really?  Not last? I was laughing with the aid station volunteers and telling about the statistical probabilities of me not beings last.

This being their first experience with trail running, and encountering a runner who wasn't in a particular hurry,  they had many questions. What are those things that cover the tops of your shoes?  They're not just for decoration?  What's with the salt tablets?  How come nobody wants any m&ms?  Why do so many of the trail runners look like they're about to throw up?

At each aid station I completed filled up my hydration bladder with gatorade, my bandana with ice, and drank at least one cup of iced coca-cola.  I power-hiked the ups and shuffle-hopped the downs and flats.

Then, here's what happened next:
  • I passed the guy in red who had ambled past me earlier while I was having my side cramp.
  • I passed the older of the two guys that we had talked to earlier.
  • I passed a woman who has previously been about 30 minutes ahead of me.  She had come out on this run, bless her heart, with a single hand-held bottle.  One.  Bottle.  Are you kidding me?  When I passed her, she was standing, motionless, hands resting on her knees, bent over, resting from one of those relentless vertical climbs. Another runner was with her. 

Eventually, I shuffle-hopped up to the 25-year-old of the pair we were talking to earlier.  I chatted with him a bit, and then ran past him, since he was walking - not a fast purposeful walk, but a Jebus, it's hot kind of walk.  Suddenly he ran past me, ran another 50 yards, and then walked.
Hmm.  Curious.  

This happened several times.  The third or fourth time I caught him looking back to see where I was, and that's when it hit me.  I thought, really?  You're that concerned that you might get 'chicked?'  by a woman who has a kid that's older than you are?  

Well, then. 

Chicked you shall be.


I shuffle-hopped up behind him and stayed there, shuffle-hopping faster than he could walk, forcing him to run DON'T LOOK AT ME IN THAT TONE OF VOICE IT WAS A TEACHABLE MOMENT and he started wearing down.  He occasionally looked down and back to see where my shadow was, and when he did, I rewarded him by waving and saying things like, "WHOO!  HOT, isn't it?  Aren't you hot?  It's so, so hot." and "Whoo, look at that hill up ahead.  That's a hell of a climb.  Aren't your legs just tired?"  

For some reason, he wanted to blast up the hill and then walk back down.  Whatevs.  He continued this strategy until, predictably and like any 25-year-old, he blew himself out.

This is why ultra-running favors the older, wiser, patient runner.

And chicked he was.  On one of the last long steep downhills I passed by him, shuffle-hopping up the other side out of the small canyon, and never saw him again.

When he finished the race, I yelled and clapped  from my chair in the shade, eating brisket and drinking sweet tea, where I'd been for about 15 minutes.

I found that oddly satisfying.

(Above: the feed.)

Me, actually smiling, at the finish.

My time: 7:53, for this 31.8 mile course (it was more like 51K, rather than 50K), a personal best.  When I came in, I was smiling big, feeling pretty good, because although I had no idea what my time was, I felt like I had taken good care of myself, and I'd learned some very important stuff on this race that would serve me well at Javalena.  I felt like I had done as well as I could.

The volunteers were so accommodating.  Everyone who finished got clapping and a finisher's hat, but then I got something else:

I kid you not, this is the trophy for first overall female. 
The smaller wood medallion for my age group.  

When they told me, I burst out laughing.  Really?  First overall female?  How is that even possible--did a bear eat the other females?  No, it turns out, at least one or two of the others dropped, and I was first of the ones that finished.  Also, first in my age group.  Proving, once again: Stubbornness can trump speed. 


Baboo had trouble with the heat, and finished in about 7 hours, and was first in his age group.  But I'll let him tell you about that.

I took a cold shower that was a deal mounted on the end of a garden hose inside an area of a cement porch that was walled off by blue tarp with a couple of spiders hanging around, and it was the Best. Shower. Ever

Then I had more brisket.  And orange juice.

On the way back to Albuquerque, I had a moo-latte and hell yes, I want whipped cream on that and then Pasta. In a bread bowl.  I woke up this morning with quads that would like a word with me.

IF YOU GO:
  1. Stay at the Days Inn. The RD does allow camping on the grounds, which is free, but you don't want to camp in 100% humidity.  Nobody needs that.  There is a Days Inn about 15 miles out or so, in town, go there instead.  They have air condioners, weak but working microwaves, and mini-fridges. 
  2. Take a bandana, trust me on this, and load it with ice the way I did.  The high humidity means that you're just constantly wet and sweating, but the temperature of the ice around your neck makes it all bearable.
  3. Be prepared for a possible negative split, due to the muddy roads in the early part of the race.  As you approach the muddy areas, look carefully for where others have run around, on the grass, and go there.  
  4. Take a hydration pack, and wear it at least on the second loop.  One of the aid stations is about 5 miles after the previous one, and even two hand-helds just won't cut it.  I estimate 40 ounces were drunk by me between those two stations on the 2nd loop.
  5. Take electrolyte tablets, and eat them often. Gatorade is not going to give those electrolytes back to you fast enough.

Suggestions for the RD:
  1. Start the 50K runners early, like at 6 am, instead of 8 am.  Yes, your volunteers will get up earlier, but they'll get home earlier, too, and everyone will finish faster, since the high heat and humidity slows everyone down.  
  2. There are rumors they've decided to make it harder next year. You really don't need to make this harder.  It's harder than Palo Duro, with the climbs being much steeper, and then there's that high humidity factor, too.  
  3. Is it possible to have this a couple weeks later during Roger Miller days?  Or is that moving into hunting season?
  4. You didn't run out of ice for me, but think you did for some later runners.  Buy too much and keep stocking the aid stations.  Ice is cheap.  It keeps runners and aid stations happy.
  5. That first fork wasn't marked.  It needs to be marked.  The front runner lost his place after running up the wrong side, led by the former first female (who for some reason, quit the race). I know, because I heard about it on the drive home, from the former front runner. 
  6. Everything else was awesome, especially the brisket and the shower.  Great race.  Fantastic volunteers.  Keep it up!

...

Friday, September 24, 2010

Dowackado 50K trail run, part 1

Dear Diary,

First off, can I just say how adorable this race was?  Can I?
Or is that condescending?
Because throughout most of the experience of packet picket, it was all Sweet Baboo and I could do not to look at each other and say Awwwww..... and pinch some volunteer's cheek for being just, adorable.

So adorable, in fact, that I've decided to divide this into to parts: Before, and During/After the race.


Well, first thing's first.  We headed out from Albuquerque about 9ish and blew into Amarillo about 2ish, Texas time.

Oddly enough, throughout our marriage both Sweet Baboo and I frequently have the same thought, and it will come up.  It turns out that we have each, seperately, been hankerin' (see, now, if the story takes place in Texas and Oklahoma, I have to say hankerin') for a pair of cowboy boots.

Specifically, I had always wanted red cowboy boots.

So, earlier this day Sweet Baboo had been devastated when I casually mentioned that his favorite old work pants were a bit short.  He'd noticed they were baggy, I casually mentioned they were a bit short.

So in a frantic effort to avoid an Erckle-like persona, we pulled into Westgate mall.  Across the highway, though, I noticed a great big sign that looked like this:
 

and being a city girl from Dallas, I said, "what's that?" and Baboo, who went to high school in Wichita Falls, said, "It's like a Western Warehouse" after which I casually mentioned I'd always wanted a pair of red cowboy boots and doggone it, turns out he'd  been wanting some cowboy boots, and we figured, hell, might as well get a pair of Wranglers over there, and some boots, to boot.

I walked inside and swooned, overwhelmed with the whole cowboy-ness of it.  The salesmen were dressed in black cowboy hats and, of course, Wranglers, and said m'am a lot. 
Baboo went looking at the mens's boots,


and I, well, I headed right on over to COWGIRLS CORNER.

and picked out these: 





 and these.

(I just HAPPENED to take this shot with the size tag prominently displayed.)



Sweet Baboo got a pair of ostrich boots and a pair new jeans too.

Mmmm.  Handsome-y.  They are a size he has not worn since his mid 20s. 

We headed to Subway and then finished our drive to Erick, population 2000-ish.

This is Sweet Baboo, on Main Street.  We're standing out in front of the Roger Miller museum, where packet pick-up was.  We didn't know that.  We drove into town, saw some people walking into a building, followed them, and there it was. 

While in the Roger Miller museum, we learned several things;

1) Roger Miller wrote several songs such as "King of the Road," "Me and Bobbie McGee," and "Dowackado" and "Dang Me".

2) Roger Miller is currently alive or he is not. I honestly didn't know, that I thought it would be rude to ask and show my ignorance on the matter there in the museum in his home town that was dedicated to him.

3) There were 19 people signed up for the 50K race. NINETEEN. 


The shwag bag contained the following:

  • a very nice tech T-shit with the race logo on it
  • a highlighter
  • a pen
  • a bottle of water
  • race number
  • beef jerkey
  • beef stick
  • chapstick
  • a rubber thing designed to make it easier to open lids. 
We then paid an extra $5 and got some pasta, a salad, and a small desert, and a drink.

Then we drove out to find the race start, which appears to be on someone's farm right outside a place they call "the breaks".

Tomorrow, or Sunday, I'll write the actual report.

Until then....

dowackado, y'all.


...

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Worrying, and waiting. Thursday 13.

Dear Diary,

13.  Sunday was the Chips 'n' Salsa half marathon.  I've always wanted to do this one but other things got in the way.  I ran the first 10K in record time, with about a 10:30 pace, but then blew out late in mile 7, and finished with a 10:59 pace.  Still, it was a personal best, and I'm pretty satisfied with it.  I liked the course much more than the Rio Grande marathon, which had a long, windless, hot out-and-back at the end.  This one had lots of turns and shade.  My previous PR, in August, was 11:13 pace.  I appear to have finished 9/13 in my age group of 45-49, and 173/231 overall.  I also beat Baboo (being as he stopped and let me cross first.  He doesn't think I know he did that, but I do.  Shhhhhh)

The finisher's prize was a little ceramic bowl that you loaded salsa into and ate with chips.  There were breakfast burritos, with egg, green chile, and potatoes.

12. Courtney talked me into doing the half marathon.  She agreed to do a 25K trail run if I did it.  So, we signed up.  Then she backed out of the 25K.  Then she didn't show up for the 1/2 marathon.
That's right. I'm calling her out.
She is So.  Busted.
She has reluctantly agreed to do at least a couple of 10ks as penance.

11.  My binges are less efficient than they used to be.  I can't hold as much in my stomach as I used to.  I used to be able to hit the Chinese super buffet and plow through 2-1/2 piled up plates before I felt full.  Now I barely make it past the first plate, which is usually steamed or baked seafood.  Stacey pointed out during our 50K that my "binges" are healthier than most people's every day eating.  I suppose that's a good thing.  It makes binge day less exciting, though.  I'm all, Meh.  What single serving of something can I binge on today?


10. More and more, my treat is one of the new single-servings sizes of Hagen-Daaz.  They're cute.  They come with a tiny plastic spoon in the lid.

9.  At city runs, I like looking around and wondering who was doing their very first half marathon.  There were some women standing in small groups looking nervous, excited, or both. Maybe they trained for months just for that very day.  It's a very cool thing to contemplate, that excitement.

8.  People who do city runs are very different from ultra-runners.  They're better groomed, with neatly combed hair, sometimes down and all curled up.  Or, it's tied up with cute hair ties and earrings.  There's no gaiters.  Their shoes are very clean and white.  Few of them are good at blowing snot rockets.  That was me, once, before running became epic battles that required gaiters, trail shoes, large bladders of fluid carried in a pack, and blister kits.

7. Last week I had a client in my office, and I was seriously on the line as to what type of treatment should I recommend.  So then he made it easy for me and accidentally left a pair of spiked brass knuckles behind. They must have slipped out of his pocket.  Thanks, kid. 
Oh, and no, you can't have them back. 

6. Dread Pirate is going to assist in crewing and pacing me at Javalena.  She's been asking me questions.  All kinds of questions.  This makes me very uncomfortable.  Because, well, it means it's coming. Fast. As long as I don't think about it, it doesn't exist, right?

Right?
 

5.  I've taken to buying compression dress socks (firm compression) at Wal-greens and cutting the feet off.  They're cheaper than the sleeves, I'm telling you.  Like, a pair is $14.

4. After much considering and seriously sick and tiredness of trying to do everything on a desktop, I'm buying a netbook.  My seriously geeky son has talked me into buy an Acer.

3. I saw the most magnificent shooting star.  At first I thought it was a crime copter.  Then I thought it was a bottle rocket, because I could see it breaking up. Then I realized what it was, and I made a wish.  No, you can't no what it was.  But it was important.  I don't squander wishes on things like curly bangs or clear skin.  I can get those things without wasting a wish.  No, this one was for reals.

2. So, despite the long, hot summer here in the desert, we harvested the following: One large pumpkin.  Several beets.  Several pounds of apples and grapes.  A dozen or so tomatoes.  One eggplant.  Note bad.  Farmer Baboo is already planning next year, now that he knows how crazy I am about eggplant and that he can grow it.

1.  I am in fear or winter.  Seriously in fear.  Last winter was so awful, so long, so dark, and I became so depressed, so heavy, and so anxious.  I have plans to put in a full spectrum light and we have a small space heater in the garage, which will go next to the treadmill.  Also, I'm hoping to get our favorite handiman to run cable in there.  Even though the thieves last winter stole one of flatscreen TVs, I have another, older TV I can use instead, that will probably work better in the cold garage anyway.  I'll get it set up.

I'm seriously not going to let this winter get the best of me!!!!

...

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Javalena Approaches: Thursday Thirteen

Dear Diary,

13)  Why weight-watchers works for me:  Because, I am, essentially, one of Skinner's pigeons. I will do anything for more points.  That way  I can eat the crappy food I love.  A 10-mile trail run is 15 points?
Peck, peck, peck. 
Now give me my damned kettle-fried potato chips.


12) It is now less than 6 weeks from Javalena.  I'm completely freaking out about this because my feet hurt so much last weekend.  How am I going to cover 100K, much less 100 miles, if 50K makes me whine and cry?
 


11) Now, having said that:. This stuff.  Hills Brothers sugar-free double mocha.  I've only been able to find it at WalMart.  Lately, it's getting harder to find.  I mean, it's essentially cocoa with a kick, but it's one point per serving.  They are going to seriously piss me off if they discontinue my warm chocolate morning fuzziness. 
10) Gordy Ansleigh, who essentially invented ultra-running, was at the event this past weekend.  I got to meet him (translation: I yelled "Good job, Gordy!" and he acknowledged that he heard me.)
It should be noted that on his person there was no shirt, no compression leg sleeves, no fancy hat, no hydration pack, no injinjis.  Nope, just a pair of 70s running shorts, running shoes, and a single hand-held bottle.

When he ran by Baboo in the middle of the night, Baboo looked at me, and said, "he started 45 minutes late, he's 63, and he's kicking my ass." This is what a big deal this guy is in the ultra-running community; there are are T-shirts with his face on them, looking godlike. 

9)  Here's Baboo at RDL.  When you are not at the back of the pack, you get your picture taken, did you know that?  I'd heard  about it.   

8) Also, apparently, some people smile while they run.

I'm envious of people who are photographed looking happy when they run.  I love running, but I'm always photographed on the downstroke, with a look of abject suffering on my face.  You have to get me standing still to get a smile.

7) It occurred to me that crewing is an all-night road party, without the vodka and "e".  It's 24 hours of sleep deprivation, trying to overcome disorientation with caffeine, slamming Red Bulls, driving while tired, holding your friend's hair while they puke on a trail, crappy food from the convenience store at 2 am, it's all a blast from the past,  but at least in the end, instead of just a hangover, there's a finisher's medal.

6)  While I was pacing Brian, he burping from all the ginger-ale. Apparently, this bothered him quite a bit. He would prefer not to make uncivilized noises around me. 

Thus, I make this promise: to anyone pacing me, you will hear and see some very ugly shit.  I won't feel bad about it.   Just look away, and plug your ears.  

5) This happened at work recently:
  • Me: Okay, let's see. Now are there any religious or cultural needs that we need to take into account with regard to your child's treatment?
  • Dad: Huh?  [confused]
  • Me: Do you have any religious needs that we need to know about, any traditions, special needs?
  • Dad: Well...I'm Muslim. (smiles).
  • Me: OK. (writing this down)
  • Dad; No! No!  I was just kidding.  That was a joke!  I'm not a Muslim!  I'm just a regular American!
  • Me:  'Regular'?
  • Dad:  You know, the usual.
  • Me:  Tell me what 'usual' means to you. 
  • Dad: Christian.  You know.  Regular.
  • Me: 'kay.  (writing this down)
  • Dad; (shifts uncomfortably in his chair)
  • Me: Anything else you'd like me to know about your son?
  • Dad: Just that...you know, we're just a regular family.  Regular. 
  • Me: 'Regular.'  Got it. 
  • Dad: We're not Muslim. 
  • Me:  Okay.
  • Dad:  I just--I didn't want you to think we were.  Because. We're not. 
  • Me:  Right-o.  (writing in my notes: Father reports "regular" with respect to spiritual beliefs)
4)  Last night, it was 89 degrees when it was time for me to run, and I refused.  I'm mean, c'mon.  We had a long, cold, dark winter, 5 minutes of spring, and then a long hot dry summer.  What the hell?  Can I at least get a decent fall?

3) I wanted to give a big how-dee-do to Drs Cynthia and David, who I met at Rio Del Lago.  She gut checked the hundred-miler DID YOU HEAR WHAT I READ?  SHE GUT CHECKED A HUNDRED-MILER.  I don't know how far she got into it BECAUSE SHE HASN'T POSTED AN ENTRY SINCE JUNE.  Anyway, as we say in New Mexico: Cajones.  She gots 'em.  

2) Baboo bought a movie, "100 miles to 40" about the Western States run. In the movie they talk about this woman who started her training at the Las Vegas marathon in 2007.  They showed the running Elvi taking off in 2007.  Guess who was framed in that shot?  Guess?  Go ahead, guess.  

THAT'S RIGHT.  I'M IN A RUNNING MOVIE.  

I'm walking, in a dress and a wig, but I'm in it.  

1) Here's a tip from your Aunt Misty: If you're standing around waiting for the race to start, and commenting on how beautiful the morning is right that moment, perfect for running, then you're overdressed, and your day is going to suck after the sun comes up.  

...

On choices, and judging.

I went to El Paso  a couple weeks ago with Sweet Baboo, where he was officiating at a local sprint.  When you officiate out of town, they put you up in a hotel.  I had tried to sign up for the sprint, but it was already closed, so I hung around the hotel while he was at the event.

The hotel, a decent one, had a hot breakfast.  Being as I ran 13 miles the day before, and was due to run 26 miles the day after, I helped myself.  You bet I did. 
It made me wonder what people thought.  I know that if I was still 194 pounds, there would be that judging.  No wonder she's so big.  Look at how she's eating.  What did they think now? 

There was this article, recently, about a woman who lost 100 pounds.  I already knew what the world thought, because I grew up with a mother who had been morbidly obese most of my life.  She didn't start losing it until after her heart failure was diagnosed. 
I heard the things people said, when they didn't realize I was her daughter.  I saw how they looked at her.  I heard the things they said - even when they knew I was.  Is your mom having a baby?

And, I saw how they looked at me, in my thirties, when I gained over 60 pounds.  It wasn't an overt thing, their attitude.  But coming from a background of being a so-called "normal" weight, I noticed the difference.  Store clerks ignored me. People stopped moving aside when I walked through a crowd. People didn't meet my eyes. 

I would lean over counters at places like the dry cleaners as counter people attended to others who had come in after me.  "Excuse--excuse me.  Excuse me?  Can someone help me, please?"

I know a couple of people who are less than kind when they talk about those who are overweight.  They say this to me, even knowing my history.  When I point this out, they're quick to say, oh, but you're different, Misty.  You had complications.  or, But you're different.  You finally did something about it.  I also hear the comment, and maybe I've made it, too: If you're not willing to do something about it, you don't get to bitch about it.  


Really? Because I bitch about traffic, and yet there I am, contributing to it.  I bitch about lots of things I don't do anything about.  

My story was somewhat complicated, but in the end, I figured out what worked and what I was, and was not, willing to do.  It wasn't easy; it was hard.  But it was my choice.  I would never impose it on someone else. 

Those who know me best know about the visits to the doctor, thyroid medication adjustments, the various diets tried, the sadness, the dispair, the self-loathing, the antidepressants, the tearful mornings and "secret" binges. Dread Pirate could tell you about the hundred times I emailed her during the day.  OMG, I'm so big.  I'm so slow.  I hate looking in the mirror. 

So, this is my life now: counting points, and earning points by running.  I guess I'm willing to do it, because I've slowly gotten used to it, and it's meaningful to me in order to have the self that I want.  There will be many more times in the future when I deny myself things, or have a bite only after considering the alternatives, and whether or not I can burn those calories.    

There are some out there who shrug and say, "I'm not giving up food I love."  or, "I'm not running that far - that's crazy."  That's fine; it's their right to think and do that. I just hope I'm not judged as some sort of zeolot because it's not my choice.  But the comments I've heard, and read, say they do. Everyone seems to have an opinion on what others should, or should not do, about their weight.


What am I trying to say here.  Hmm.  

Fat, and weight, and loss, are just a small sampling of the choices people have to make, and the difficulties they face.  There are others.  I guess what I'm trying to say is that you shouldn't judge.  They're people.  Don't be so quick to judge, to make assumptions, about the choices others make.  You don't know them. 

Regardless of whether they are among the people who have made one choice or another, those choices are never as easy; they will never be as easy as you think they are.  Their journey  is not a simple as you imagine it to be.   Their lives are never as straightforward as you suspect.

Everyone has a story.  It's sometimes useful to know the story.  But more often than not, it's more useful to just know that there is a story, and to forgive others for not making the same choices you made.  

So.  Slight change of topic: where do I go from here?  I stepped on the scale early last week and got a 149.6 pound result.  The I started carb loading, and it crept up over 150 again, for now.  But still: there it is.  It's coming.  What will I call the Athena Diaries then? 

I guess the answer to that is, Athena wasn't the goddess of weight.  She was the goddess of war, and wisdom.  She represents strength, and victory to me.  I'll always be an Athena one way or another. 

Meanwhile, the journey continues.
...

Monday, September 13, 2010

More fun in 2 days than most have in a lifetime.

Dear Diary,
WARNING: This entry involves people running long distances, heat, and missing course markings. 
There will be curse words. 
You have been warned.

========================================

I was at the Rio Del Lago 50k/100 mile race.  Baboo did the 100miler.  I did the 50k 'fun run'.   Stacey took pictures, which you can find here.  

Shit, I'm tired.  The car trip back to the back to the airport was about 10 miles of exhausted insanity such as I've never seen.  I drove, white-knuckled, back to the car rental place, only to find myself suddenly jerking awake as the car drifted toward the shoulder.  Crazy.  Next time I'm up all night: shuttle or taxi service.  SRSLY.

We rented this thing, the Ford Flex, which looks innocuous enough, but up close, it's totally Pimp.  They've added more idiot-proofing to cars than I could have ever dreamed.  I especially love the gentle beeping that warns, "There's someone behind you, stupid, so don't go backwards any more."

So, this was a fairly productive weekend.  Saturday morning, RBR and I headed out on a nice and easy 50K, which became less nice and decidedly less easy as the temperatures soared during the late morning.  At one point we headed back only to pass what were the last three people in the race.  We were so excited to find out that we weren't dead last that we did a little "We're not dead last" dance. 

It got hot.  Insanely hot.  Balls of sweltering heat followed me up every hill.  RBR was suffering, as she had blisters on top of blisters, but said very little about that.  She seemed to be right on my heels at all times, perky and happy, even when we nearly got lost.  Me, I bitched constantly about the heat. 

fuck, it's hot. 
i can't believe how hot it is. 
why is it so hot? 
this is messed up. 
I was told that it doesn't get hot until late afternoon here. 
California pisses me off. 
Paradise, shit. 
This place sucks.

"You know, don't forget, you did a marathon 5 days ago," RBR reminded me. 

Whatever. I'm supposed to be baddass, and I was being a total puss.  To add misery, the entire 50k was around a huge, beautiful Fulsom Lake.  As we slogged along up and down every dusty hill, I could see people standing up to their hips in the water, laughing and splashing each other.  Fuckers. 

Many course markings were gone because of either mountain bikers or horseback riders who took them down.  I estimate we did an extra mile or two trying to find our way, and that we spent 30 minutes walking around looking for which direction to go.  I would look down and think, there's footsteps going that way, so, what the hell.  We guessed right each time, eventually finding a course ribbon further on, but the last time it happened, we went off in several different directions before finally getting a course ribbon.  We were pissed, too.  It was about 3 miles from the finish. 

It took much longer than I expected, but we ran across the timing mat only to be told, uh, you two tied for 3rd place, women 40-49, so you each get a prize.  RBR was nice enough to have hers sent to her so that I could take mine home.  This after I provided her a 'meal' of half of a steamable bag of Birdeye rice and chicken and half of a Budget Gourmet macaroni and cheese, 'cause I'm all classy that way. 

==========================
So then, it was showers and eating and time to crew.  We headed out to Rattlesnake Bar (what IS the deal with all the 'bar's in Cali anyway?  I didn't see a single cocktail)  which is at mile 55ish. 

Then we waited....and waited....and waited.  It got dark.  Finally, someone came into the aid station calling my name. 

"I'm Misty!"  I waved my hand at her.

"Your runner wants you to go out on the trail and take him a headlamp,"  she told me.  I ran one out to Sweet Baboo, who told me calmly that he was done

"There's nothing left in my legs," he said.  I attempted to persuade him not to drop, and he waved at me dismissively.  Then, he put his hand on my shoulder and dropped his voice to its very serious, patient, let-me-explain-this-to-you Dr. Baboo tone: 
 "I know what you're trying to do, but I'm done," he said.  "Seriously, Misty.  There's nothing left.  Have you ever seen a 40-minute mile?  I have."

"Well, at least sit down for a while and eat your sandwitch," I said, reasonably. 

Part of me was all, Yay!  I get to sleep now! He's quitting!  Whoo hoo! 

But then the other, ethical part of me said, well, shit.  You know what you have to do, right?  You have to try to talk him out of this.  You're in charge of that.   

RBR ran to get a sleeping bag for his shoulders and a chair, and unbeknownst to me, she was running on ball-of-her-feet UGLAY blisters. Baboo ate his Subway.  He drank down 4 cups of gingerale.  I forced some SportLegs into him, and some Tylenol. 

At one point, with a volunteer standing near him, Baboo said to me, "Maybe this wasn't such a good idea, doing this so soon after Leadville," as I was rubbing his legs.  The volunteer looked startled.

 "You did Leadville? This year?  Wasn't that 2 weeks ago?"

"No, don't be silly," I said.  "It was three weeks ago."

"And the marathon on Monday," RBR offered. 

Baboo laughed.  "How long have you been at this aid station," the volunteer asked.

"About two months," he said seriously.  Not long after that, he headed out back out onto the trail, and I followed him.  RBR took the car around to the next aid station. 

I tried to find an illustration that invoked the concept of a pacer, but all I got was this -> 

I paced Baboo from about his mile 55 until 63, and then I had to stop for a while because that was miles 32 to 40 for me, and my feet hurt and I was tired.  (Wah, wah). 

It was surreal, running through the dark on rocky trails in the middle of the night. Over the next few miles, it was a constant up and down stepping that was beating up Baboo's legs, and he was starting to get grumpy.   The next aid station was closing in 15 minutes.  We were passed, and then passed, Gordy Ansleigh and several others.  We made it to Twin Rocks Aid Station, where RBR was waiting, and Brian said he was better, and he would go ahead without me.  I was reluctant, but holy hell, my feet hurt. 

I have trail shoes that, after about mile 15, star rubbing a red spot where the arch support is.  I don't need an arch support. Hence the red spot.  I had managed to stave it off all day by applying SportSlick to it, but was closing in on 40+ miles, so even that wasn't working. 

He ran alone for a while, and got later and later, and more behind.  Eventually, he was 2 hours behind his projected pace.  He ran through one station, and was told not to stop, not for one second, but just keep going because he'd missed their cutoff.  So, he did.  As he ran by me, he shouted that he needed caffeine. 

On the way to the next aid station, RBR suggested we get him something with caffeine.  We saw a gas station open, and that's where I found AMP for sale, 2/$3.  What the hell--he loves Mt. Dew, so, I bought them. 

He was dead last at the turnaround.  I was running the numbers in my head; they didn't look good.  They had extended the deadline due to a racer getting lost on the course when the markings were taken down.  I gave him the AMP , and he took off.  It was after after 6 in the morning.  He had nearly 20 miles to go, but he wasn't moving fast.  The quads had taken a beating.  The sun was up, though, so he could see again. 

We were a little delayed getting through town because they were having a road race, and there's nothing ever, ever, ever so more important than road bikes. Ever . EVAR.  No, just stop. They are way more important that you.  ALWAYS.  What race?  100 miles?  Of running?  Never heard of it.  You can't go this way.  Screw your runners who have been running all night.  A cyclist might come rolling down the hill.  Our race is more important.  yes, that was the attitude.  Roadies can be a fairly elitist bunch.  Not all of them. But enough to give me yet another reason to hate cycling: who wants to be associated with assholes like that?

RBR asked if I thought there was a Starbucks . Well, hell yes, there's always a Starbucks.  In fact, that's a good way to cheer your friends up when they've suffered a tragic loss.  You put a hand on their shoulder, drop your voice down to a warm, comforting tone, and you say, Well, there's always a Starbucks. 

Then, it was back to the next aid station, inbound.  I knew he had a huge hill to scale, but he showed up early.  I was pretty surprised.  He had made up 2 hours of being behind and was now back on track for an appropriate finish. 

Meanwhile, Johnny Tri (JT) had been pacing Catra Corbett, who dropped. I was also told Gordy Ansleigh had dropped earlier.  He asked if Baboo needed a pacer.  Yes!!  I could spend more time sitting on my tired ass rather than running on my dogs.  I gave Baboo the second AMP, and then he and Johnny headed out, with 10 miles to the finish.  We drove to the next one.  It was mile 90. 

We got to the next aid station, and as soon as we parked, my phone rang.  It was JT.  What the hell-?

"Hello?"

What did you give to him?!?!

What?

WHAT DID YOU GIVE HIM??!? 

"An AMP, why?"

HE DROPPED ME!  TWO MILES AGO!  I'VE BEEN TRYING TO CATCH HIM EVER SINCE!

Soon after, Baboo blew through the aid station at Negro Bar.  6 miles to go.  He was running an 8 or 9 minute mile, there at mile 90, hauling ass.  RBR was agog.  He had risen from the dead.  It was a strange sight, not unlike seeing some strange animal running through the city.  He sprinted past several people who were barely walking. 

I was pretty sure I knew why:  Not only did he have a burst of energy, but the sun was getting high. He wanted to take advantage of it being cool and visible out.  We drove to the next aid station at Auburn Dam and waited.  He eventually showed up, and had slowed considerably, but it was 10:00 ish and it was 2.75 miles to the finish, so there was no question now.  He was finishing. He asked if I'd come with him, and feeling pretty certain that he was walking, I did. 

I walked along while we talked, and picked up trash out of boredom.  Along came JT up behind us.  Predictably, 1/4 miles from the finish, Baboo took off, and I tried to keep up, but by now you know: he's a freak stud.  He crossed the finish line at under 29 hours, his second 100-miler in less than a month, with a full marathon done in between, and then went over to get his buckle. 

We arrived went out with JT to the Old Spaghetti Warehouse.  Then we headed to the airport, and arrived back at our house at just prior to 10:00 pm last night. I can't remember sleeping so hard.

I got, let's see, 15 + 32ish + 8 + 2.75 = 57.75 miles for last week, so I was short about 2.25 miles.  With all the running around we did for crewing, I'll call it good. 

Meanwhile, Baboo is thinking he'll crew me at Javalena, instead of doing the whole thing with me.  I think that's a good idea.  You go to some very dark, despairing, bitchy places during those races.  You don't need two people doing that.  You don't need two people saying, yeah, screw this.  I'll quit if you quit. 

Today I'm a little drowsy.  So, I'm headed downstairs to get some coffee.  See you Thursday.
...

Thursday, September 09, 2010

mostly about numbers. Thursday Thirteen, the afternoon edition.

13.  8, part 1.  I am sitting here writing this wearing size 8 pants.

12.  8, part 2.  Wait, did I say size 8? I am.  I ordered these and waited 2 terrifying weeks for them to arrive, convinced that this would be a humiliating trip back to the store, where I would have to trade them in for a larger size. It was not.  They fit.  Not just went on: fit.

11.  1 mile.  Wednesday I wanted to do an easy run so I chose to go down the street from work and park next to a Starbucks.  From there, this is a sidewalk that leads to a bike path.  The bike path leads to a new pedestrian bridge, installed just this year.  (The picture to the right is one taken during its construction).  It was dedicated last month and officially opened.




The bridge runs along I40, crosses the Rio Grande, and descends from the west mesa gently to the valley, where there's a main bike/pedestrian path.

This path runs through the bosque, about 15 miles along the river through the middle of town.  It runs north to south, from the Pueblo of Isleta bordering the city to the south, to the Pueblo of Sandia borderling it on the north end.

I can't tell you how awesome this thing is.  It's about a mile from Starbucks down to the river.

Before this, I would have had to drive to another location about 5 miles away, and then still had to cross the river to access the bike path, not nearly as cool a trip, either.  The pictures don't show it, but there are artsy arches over the bridge, with arty renderings of wildlife.  I'll take my own pictures soon.  


It is just absolutely the coolest thing.  There were families walking up and down it.  It's being used well already.  Once down on the bosque, I ran another 7 miles, and then went back up the bridge to my car.  This is about 5 minutes from work.  Of course, it goes without saying: post run nonfat mocha.  
*Sigh* I love living in Albuquerque.  I can't wait to do these runs after work when the leaves on the cottonwoods start turning.  

10.  70.4 September's run miles so far.  Ish.

9.  778.  Year total miles.  Ish.  

8.  18.  I guess I was hoping that when the kids were grown some guy would show up with some sort of finisher's prize and say, congratulations, they're done.  you don't have to worry about them any more.  
Nope, no such luck.  The worrying continues, without the daily aggravation of finding food in the couch.  

7.  2? I wore a mole clean off my back.  It's gone.  What's left is a little scab.  I think my hydration pack did it.  I hope this doesn't have some sort of serious repercussion, like two growing back in its place.  

6.  8, part 3.  Okay, back to the size 8 thing.  What's weird about it is that the last time I wore this size, I weighed much less.  Like, 15 pounds less.  I guess that's the whole muscle mass thing.  

5.  Anonymously, to my daughter:  My opinion of tongue piercings is that once you no longer have the suffix "-teen" on your age, you're too old to do it.  Exceptions might include people who pierce and tattoo for a living, musicians, and art majors  still in college. 
Meanwhile.  If you're related to me by having been born from me, that's my opinion, so deal with it.  

4.  My boss bribed me to do some extra work.  I let her. I let my boss bribe me to do my job.  Yes, I did.  I got a meal out of it.  Last week I got chocolate.    

3.  6:56.  That's what time my plane leaves tomorrow morning for Sacrimento.  

2.  31.0.  That's how many miles I'll be running/hiking/walking on Saturday.  Here's the course profile:

 
Now, see that really huge hill?  At mile 19ish?  That's called 'cardiac hill'.  I turn around BEFORE that, at mile 15.5, and go back. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!  
It's rolling, gorgeous, and scenic.  The entire course covers part of the Western States trail.  

1.  100.  Baboo does not, sorry to say, turn around.  He keeps going.  Because he's a freak.stud.  

...