Wednesday, February 26, 2014

3-Day Cheering Section

About five years ago I did the Susan G. Komen 3-Day, 60 mile walk. (This was before all the press came out about the questionable spending of the money raised during these kinds of events. Not sure I would do this event again based on some of those reports.)

The walk was physically exhausting and quite painful by Day 3, mainly because two days before the walk I had dropped an 8' piece of drywall on my foot while organizing a client's garage. I knew something wasn't right with my foot, but I had trained for months and was not about to back out. After the race, when my foot was blue and I had to be carried to the car, I got an x-ray which confirmed I had walked 60 miles with a broken foot. Not much compared to the cancer survivors who were walking, I realize, but I felt accomplished and proud of myself for pushing through the pain.

Anyway, the only things that got me through that pain was the support of my good friend Jen (who walked with me in honor of her mother who is a 25-year breast cancer survivor) and sweet little faces like the ones you see above that cheered us on every single step of the way. 

I sometimes wonder if the fans realize how much the impact the runners. Well, some of us. Here's to all the friends, parents, kids and dogs who stand along every race route in every city in every kind of weather to support those who run, walk and push hard. Your smiles, encouraging shouts and posters mean the world to us. THANK YOU.

Monday, February 17, 2014

10 Miles of "Whose idea was this?"

Last weekend I ran the Caladesi Island Trail and Beach Race. I've raced on the beach before (last summer at a duathlon in Sarasota), so I was ready for the uneven surface of the sugar sand, as well as the hip/calf strain involved in running on the angled part of the packed sand.

This race was 10 miles total:  7 miles of beach with 3 miles of trail in the middle. Since Florida is currently the only state without snow (that's right, even Hawaii has snow!), I was excited to run on the beach in February. My excitement dwindled, however, after running the first 3.5 miles into cold, rainy, 40 mph winds during high tide so that--on certain parts of the course where the dunes jutted out to touch the sea--we were forced to run in the ocean which resulted in 6.5 miles of running in cold, wet shoes.
At only 10 miles, it was the hardest race I've ever run because of all the obstacles and elements. Granted, it was no Spartan Race, but I never claimed to be a Spartan, just a mom who runs, preferably around obstacles, not through them. I finished with my slowest time ever, my shame alleviated only mildly by the fact that even with that time, in my age group I still finished 13th place--that's how much EVERYONE was struggling.

I spent the last 3.5 miles doing my best to ignore my exhaustion and frustration. Instead I focused on the golf ball-sized frothy bubbles of foam that washed ashore with each wave and then blew across the sand in front of me like tumbleweeds through a deserted western town.  I mourned all the dead, cracked horseshoe crab shells, and even rescued a starfish that had washed up too far from the tide, throwing it back into the fray of the foam.

Though my pride was broken by my RunKeeper, who sarcastically reported every five minutes, "You are 1 minute and 30 seconds BEHIND your target pace," I have to say I really lived up to the title of this blog on this race. When I released any hopes of a decent time, I took in all the beauty of a stormy sky and all the nature Seen On My Run.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Zero Visibility

#seenonmyrun this AM? Nothing more than 10' ahead of me. Ran through the clouds--nature's filter--for 3 miles. Couldn't see what was ahead too clearly, just had to keep running through it to get where I needed to be. Beautiful metaphor for my life right now.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

13.1 Things I Learned at the Key West Half Marathon

On January 19 I ran the Key West Half Marathon, my 8th half. I had trained and was ready for it, and a few weeks before the race my husband (who was not trained or ready) decided to run it with me, god bless him. My 40th birthday was in December, so a trip to the Keys was the perfect bday getaway. Nothing makes me feel young and happy like tooling around Key West with no agenda (other than the race), good friends (who joined us for the trip), full belly laughs, and a cocktail-filled Tervis.
Along the way, I noticed 13.1 things that seemed share-worthy, so here goes . . .
  1. Distance runners are a work hard/play hard group. In 96 hours I saw 2,000 people take over this tiny island and drink, run, puke, hydrate, and repeat. I like this crowd.
  2. There should be a Race Course Cheering Code. If you're going to stand outside your home on race morning in comfy slippers, pajama pants and a streaming cup of coffee and just stare blankly as us as we run by--no clapping or words of encouragement--just go back inside. My pain is not for your enjoyment.
  3. Some women need the support of more than 2 jog bras at once. You know who you are. That’s all I’m going to say about that.
  4. Just as there is a Grumpy Cat, there are Grumpy Runners.
  5. You cannot go to Key West and not have a slice (or 3) of pie at the Key West Key Lime Pie Co.
  6. To the ladies who run half marathons in Kardashian-esque makeup--at 7:00 a.m.--I ask you:  Why? Good god, WHY? Who needs a smoky bedroom eye at Mile 13? Or Mile 1 for that matter? Just stop it!
  7. When at all possible, it's a brilliant idea to combine your race weekend with a food festival. Our race happened to be the same weekend as the Key West Seafood Festival. Pre-race meal of conch fritters, lobster bisque and frozen margaritas--SCORE!
  8. When I'm exhausted and dehydrated, I make bad choices. I might even growl at an elderly volunteer at the Mile 8 water station when he doesn’t pour water into the cup fast enough (because the course is too narrow to set up water tables). And in my frustration and thirsty state, I might slap the half-filled cup out of his hand but then pretend it was an accident... and feel very guilty about it later.
  9. Lycra athletic capri pants work well in races and in general when on vacation. Wearing them around town post-race can make you appear very sporty and athletic, even when engaging in gluttonous food/alcohol intake. BONUS: The stretchy material works with your gut, not against it, as you expand.
  10. Key West has some of the best restaurants in Florida. DO NOT MISS: Maple bourbon candied bacon donuts and an apple almond fritter at Glazed;

    Then get a $14.95 lobster roll at Eaton Street Seafood Market; the yellowtail snapper and “life chaning fois grois” at Pisces; lobster appetizer at Louie’s Backyard; ridiculous mahi mahi jalepeno soup and the BEST fresh squeezed lime margarita in town at Pepe’s; ANY breakfast with a bloody mary at Blue Heaven (the Loveless Cafe of Key West).

  11. I obviously don't do makeup on race days, but I desperately need to figure out a better running hairstyle. This look, while functional, just never looks flattering in race photos or otherwise. Suggestions welcome in the comments!
  12. You CAN gain 5 lbs in one weekend, even if you run a half marathon. (See #s 5, 7, 9 and 10)
  13. Chafing happens. Be proactive with your Glide. (No picture for this one. You’re welcome).
    13.1. It’s OK to break a few laws in Key West. In fact, it’s encouraged.