Posted tagged ‘Brooks’

Croom Zoom 2012

January 17, 2012

Sunday morning, at 4:00 a.m., my alarm went off.  I groaned and hit snooze.  Then I startled awake.  The Croom Zoom, my first 25k, started in 3 hours, and I had only a vague idea of how to get to the race site in the Withlacoochee State Forest (yes, that is totally a real place).

I scrambled into the kitchen to slurp down some coffee and eat a piece of peanut butter toast while I checked the weather forecast.  In the low 30s for the first part of the race.  Oh. my. Lord.  I put on the warmest running gear I have (which isn’t really all that warm until about 5 miles in) and zipped out of the house for the hour ride up to Brooksville, Florida.

I have driven by Brooksville about a hundred times headed north on I-75.  But when Google Maps told me to take a small highway road up to Brooksville instead, I just assumed the good folks at Google knew better than I did.  So, at 5:00 a.m., I found myself driving in the pitch black through areas that looked like they might have been the inspiration for Deliverance.  I had pre-race jitters; I had lost-in-the-middle-of-nowhere jitters.  And I really had to pee.  But there was nowhere to stop.  And I do mean nowhere.  All the gas stations were closed.  Even the Wal-Mart had so few cars that I felt sketched out about swinging in for a potty break.  And, remember, I had slurped down that coffee and a healthy amount of water before I left the house.  So, I spent the last 20 minutes of the ride praying that I wouldn’t pee on myself before I got there.

I turned off of the little highway onto a littler county road that my map said would lead me straight into the park.  I kept peering to the right and the left, into the pitch black, looking for a park sign.  It was already 6:15.  My race started at 7, and I couldn’t find the damn…

And, suddenly, I was on a dirt road.

I just kept driving, hoping I was headed in the right direction.  My dot on Google Maps was still on course–but did I mention I was on a dirt road?!?

And then I saw him–the traffic directing guy.  He was shivering in the cold.  Uh… that didn’t seem like a good sign.  I parked, opened my door… and shut it again.  DANG.  I steeled myself, opened the door again and hopped out just in time to be greeted by a string of profanity from the guy parked next to me… something about Florida…damn cold…someone’s mother…something, something.  As interesting as his diatribe was, I needed to pick up my race packet, finally pee, and strip off my warm sweat pants and fleece and stand around in lycra running garb.  And freeze.

I did all of those things.  In that order.  I have never wanted a race to begin so badly.  I was so cold that I forgot to be nervous.  No joke.  And I am totally valedictorian of being nervous.

The airhorn went off, and all the 25k runners set off down a limestone road.  We did 3.5 miles on that road.  At mile 1.5, I realized that my hands were achingly cold.  At mile 1.8, I felt like nails were being driven through my thumbnails, and I noticed–with great alarm–that it took tremendous effort to move my fingers.  At mile 2.0, I began to seriously concern myself with frostbite.  I thought for a few minutes about quitting then and there.  No kidding.  I don’t remember ever being in that much pain from the cold.

By mile 3, I didn’t remember that my hands had ever hurt at all.  But I did realize that my Gu was too cold to be gooey.  Instead, eating it was like breaking off pieces of chewing gum and swallowing them whole.  Thank goodness I had plenty of water in my Camelback to negotiate that mess.

I finished my Gu just in time to turn onto the trail and realize that my shoes were tied too loosely for trail running.  Oh, and I was running in my old running shoes that have next to no tread left on them.  Awesome planning.  I ran for a bit and found myself at the start point again, right before the start of the 10 mile trail loop, where I stopped to tie my shoes.  I hate stopping while I am running, but the retying of the shoes seemed like a necessity, lest I fall and bust my booty on this run.

Which I did.  At mile 7.  I swear, I have no idea what happened.  I was running; I must have drifted off into thought. Then I felt it… My feet tangled, and I knew I was going down.  I had just enough time to think,  “this is going to hurt,” before I hit the ground with a thud.  The guy running behind me (he was a ways back when I fell) asked if I was okay.  I hopped up to show him I was alright–I didn’t want him to break his stride too much for me–and took off running.  Both my knees were super sore.  I was dirty.  But I knew I could keep going.  Hey, it was either that or walk the last 8 miles.  No one was going to carry me out of that forest.

I hadn’t set a goal time for the run. But I did promise myself I would run all 15 miles.  And I did.  I finished the race in 2:47:21 with a Gu wrapper stuck to my hand (since mile 10) feeling like a badass.

BAD.ASS.

I am more in love with running than ever before.  Crazy, right?  And I am totally hoping to fit in another trail run during this running season… but maybe in April when it is just a smidge warmer.  I am totally a Florida girl, no matter how badass I am.

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Ilene (get it?)

January 10, 2012

I am lopsided.  Right now, my pelvis tilts slightly down to the right, making my left leg longer than my right.  This causes some serious issues when I run.  Simply put:  my knee hurts and my lower back pulls constantly.  I skipped my run today, for fear that I would cause damage right before the 25k this weekend.  (I should totally get a gold star for being responsible enough to skip a run.  Who is in charge of the gold stars, anyway?)

And, before you get all up on your high horse, you foes of running:  running doesn’t throw my back out.  It has always been weak and prone to aches, pains and compression.  But, now I have an 11 month old monkey clinging to me a large majority of the time.  Kind of throws a kink in my posture, you know?

I am really looking forward to the visit to the chiropractor tomorrow to sort all this out.  And that will give me two more short runs before my rest day on Saturday.

I am really excited about this 25k.  Running in the woods–and trying not to fall flat on my face–has a zen kind of quality.  And, trail races make me feel pretty badass.  Oh, AND I get to wear my red & yellow trail shoes!

Yep, I am definitely ready to get rid of this nagging pain so I can focus on the awesomeness of this Sunday’s Croom Zoom.

Zoom-zoom.

Simple Pleasures

December 14, 2011

Today… I ran.

Thank the Good Lord.

It had been 7 full days since my last run.  Most of those days, I was too overrun by the plague, and taking care of Jane (who has an ear infection), to really lament my missing runs.  But by Monday, I was Cranky McCrankerpants.  I wanted to run, but I just wasn’t sure my body could handle it without going into meltdown mode… and reinfecting itself with the plague.  Normally, I would be willing to take such a risk.  But we have a big trip planned to visit a certain mouse this week, and I couldn’t risk getting sick again.

But today… today I threw caution to the wind, tied on my running shoes, and Jane and I headed out.

It was a slow run.  I only did a 5K.  But it was the most relaxing run I have taken in a while.  It made me remember what is fun about running… how free I feel, how light.  I get to just be.  Not be someone’s mom.  Not be someone’s partner.  Just be.

Glorious.  Truly.

Universal rules are universal?

November 21, 2011

Universal rules apply to me.

I struggle with this lesson.  

For the first hour or so of labor, I wondered what women complained about so much.  4 more hours and an epidural later, I completely got it.  Turns out labor hurts.  For everyone.  Even me.

When my Iron-Man-completing-friend told me to watch my pace during my first half-marathon, to keep it steady because mile 8 would be the physical halfway mark, I truly did heed his wise counsel.  Until race day.  Then, as I began to run, I thought I would run at my 15k speed.  Surely, I could manage that speed the whole way.  Surely, I wouldn’t bonk.  Because I am different from other runners.

Universal rules apply to me. (See how I am repeating this mantra?)

The half-marathon truly was a phenomenal experience.  I covered the distance 3 minutes faster than I did during my training runs.  I pushed myself as hard as I could go.  And, let’s be honest, running 13.1 miles isn’t a small feat.  I am pleased with my performance.  And I feel accomplished.

But I did learn some things (see mantra above): 

1.  I should have run a bit slower at the outset; I could have maintained a slightly slower pace consistently throughout the race.  As it was, I had to walk in short intervals after mile 10.5.  I dislike walking during a race.  It feels like a letdown.

2.  I need to stay where my Brooks are.  I lost heart when I looked up and saw how much distance I had to cover to make it past the next landmark.  Every second counts, and every second can feel like a battle during a 13.1 mile run, so I need to stay in the present.

3.  The battle comment above denotes a problem in perspective.  Battling the pain is counterproductive.  I need to find a way to welcome it and push through it.

4.  I will train harder for my next race.  I felt confident until mile 10 because I had run that distance so often, and I knew exactly how hard I could push up to that point.  I overestimated how hard I could push for 13.1, because I wanted to be faster.  Oops.  Can’t decide I want to be faster on race day. The time for that kind of decision passed about 16 weeks before race day.

5.  I can’t sprint 1.1 miles.  Not after already running 12.  It doesn’t matter how bad I want it.  My only regret about this race is having to walk for a short stretch during the last 1.1 because I tried to sprint the whole way, and there was just not enough reserve energy to pull from.  

But the biggest lesson I learned is that I just love to run.  I know I will improve.  And I am really proud of my 2:16:37 for my first half.  And now I can try that barefoot running bit…

 

And I Ran, I Ran So Far Away…

November 9, 2011

Tapering for the half is going to be the death of me. Flea Apocalypse 2011 calls for some quality running time, and I am stuck trimming my mileage and gazing longingly at my Brooks. Plus, I am reading Born To Run, and it is working its magic… Igniting a passion for running, seeing the art in the sport.

And dang if I don’t want to try barefoot running now. Can I even do that with these crazy flat
feet of mine?

I know one thing for sure: I am hitting the trails after this half. And I am hyped.