Tuesday, April 23, 2013

whidbey half marathon win

The last time I won a race outright was high school, when girls raced separately. The last time I won a race with both men and women or, more accurately, boys and girls was when I outkicked everyone in the 3rd grade gym mile trial wearing a jean skirt and white keds. 80s style. So when they announced me as the outright winner of the Whidbey Half Marathon I was all...

After this winter of hard training alone and missing my San Diego half because of the flu I was so happy to cross a finish line in victory! I hadn't tucked under 1:20 in the half since last April. This course was brutal and for the first 6 miles it was raining so hard it felt like I was running under a waterfall... so to cross in 1:19:47 made me very happy. 

started raining just before the start and got worse before it cleared (erica and caryn to my right, your left)
unknowingly taking the lead at mile 8, motorcycle escort just in front of me. 
caryn and me, tired #oiselleteam
It was also great to hang out withOiselle Teammates, Erica Hill and Caryn Heffernan. They were both just doing a little tune up for Vancouver BC marathon! Two weeks out!

Of course the hills and chopped up gravel in my racing flats gave my calves something to think about all last week. My mechanic (PT) was on vacation. So I treated it with some icing, rolling, stretching and Merlot. Now just some residual achilles soreness remains, and I hope to get on the track tomorrow for some 800s. 

Last week was a hard week not to be able to run. No pavement therapy is tough on my runner spirit. It didn't help to be constantly aware that I was 6 weeks out from the marathon and should have been doing big work. Luckily we have two Elliptigos in the office. I got my crosstraining done outside. JJ and I rode them to West Seattle last Wednesday. 

ready to ride!
I'm looking forward to my training this week and continued recovery of my legs. Thank goodness I'm seeing my healer on Thursday. 5 weeks out! 

our hearts

I started this post on December 19th, in meditation on Sandy Hook. I never posted it but today when I came in to write, I found it... and it was a mirror image of the last week. 

I've found myself in a low place the last few weeks. I'm not sure how to put words to the feeling. It's a odd feeling to be low without anything directly touching you to cause it. My family is healthy, though they are far away. I have a home and someone who loves me. I can run. I find happy patches in every day. But a feeling of melancholy clings.

Today a song line stood out to me "my heart's made of parts of all that surround me". It seemed to give words to what I felt, my heart is open to carry its surroundings. The sadness of others crawls into my heart. The happiness too. The dark and light. I can be so skinless at times. That's the feeling, like there is no barrier to protect, to shell up against the world. I'm having a hard time building my wall up. 

And I know I'm not the only one who is walking around without a shell. Last Friday we all saw the same news. The words that added up to sentences that were all together incomprehensible. But like many things today we aren't allowed to just take it into our hearts to be still with it. We are asked to comment on it. And then judge one another's comments. And to sling words this way and that. All the while everyone's finely constructed walls were falling, giving no protection.

My mind has been stuck on that lyric all day and then I open my email to find my father-in-law sent me the essay Joyas Volardores written by David Boyle. If you haven't read it, I recommend reading it in its entirety. Below is the last paragraph...
You can brick up your heart as stout and tight and hard and cold and impregnable as you possibly can and down it comes in an instant, felled by a woman’s second glance, a child’s apple breath, the shatter of glass in the road, the words I have something to tell you, a cat with a broken spine dragging itself into the forest to die, the brush of your mother’s papery ancient hand in the thicket of your hair, the memory of your father’s voice early in the morning echoing from the kitchen where he is making pancakes for his children.
I wrote in more length about Boston on Oiselle's blog. After the bombs were reported, confused rushes of words in my twitter feed, I called my mom in Mass and we cried. I found all the runners I knew by name and face and laugh. When I knew they were safe, I tried to build a wall up. I know how thin my skin is. I didn't want to brush up against anything. It would hold for hours and then suddenly I'd fall apart on the phone, or the street corner waiting for a light to change or sitting at book club.  
There were moments I felt wrapped in love in our running community. There were moments that being a part of a brand left me dangling out to be attacked. Although I know it wasn't personal, it was another person's fear and sadness, and I tried to send love not anger. 
But to be completely honest, I just wanted to go home and sit in a dark room. I couldn't think about lives lost, or blood on sidewalks, families broken, sadness like a cold fever chill, or all the rallying required to be an adult. 
Day by day, I know we're building back to normal. To a smaller dull bruise. I don't want to crawl into a dark room anymore, or at least not as much. The choice to turn to positivity and restoration is easier. Last night running with over 200 people around Green Lake was healing. Seeing how generous people are as our community turns to build up the lives that were torn ragged is amazing. Over 1 million has been raised in the past week through online campaigns. 
Obama's powerful words last week also helped the healing,
“This doesn’t stop us. And that’s what you’ve taught us, Boston. That’s what you’ve reminded us — to push, to not grow weary, to not get faint, even when it hurts. We finish the race. And we do that because of who we are and we do that because we know that somewhere around the bend, a stranger has a cup of water. Around the bend, somebody’s there to boost our spirits. On that toughest mile, just when we think we’ve hit a wall, someone will be there to cheer us on and pick up.” 
Right now we are the ones ready to rally around and to pick up the weary...it's no time to stop.

Ways to Help Boston Victims and their Families
The One Fund Boston set up by Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick and Boston Mayor Tom Menino to help the most seriously affected by the Boston bombings.
Challenged Athletes Foundation to help raise funds needed to "support [victims] in their recovery through mentorship, clinics and assistance with equipment that will allow them to participate in sports – and in life – once again."
You can also give directly to victims like Patrick and Jess on GiveForward.com or #BelieveinBoston on GoFundMe.com

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Boston Marathon Obsessed...

This year my excitement over the Boston Marathon is out of control. I'm looking forward to my one-two Sunday-Monday punch of half marathon racing and Boston spectating like I haven't looked forward to anything in a long time. Neither one complete without the other. Because crying tears of excitement* into my coffee will be even better with race-sore muscles.

*long ass side note: public crying ranks on my top 2 most hated things to participate in. I don't care what's happening, I don't want to be caught crying in public. Ever. But in Houston, watching the Olympic Trials Marathon it was like a lifetime of pent up tears decided to flow. I couldn't open my mouth to cheer for ANYONE without having to control my sobbing. I mean that race was raw, and to embrace the hippy side of me, the vibe was so strong you couldn't help but be overtaken with emotion. I still hate public crying, but the marathon takes me down. Every. Single. Time. 

So if Shalane pulls into the lead and charges down Bolyston to victory. I will lose my sh*t. I'll lose it anyway. Let's be serious.

I'm dying to be in Boston, but thank gawd for the world wide web. I'm trying to tap into the energy via Twitter updates from Boston and reading every article, snippet I can get my eyeballs on.

Jump down the Boston Marathon internet rabbit hole with me!

  • Boston Globe online= best marathon round up of interviews, history, expo events + much more. 
  • #mustfollow: @thescreamtunnel! Wellesley College is infamous for the Marathon Monday SCREAM TUNNEL. Now in the modern day, you can follow them on Twitter, Like them on Facebook and best of all you can even ask them to make a sign for you.
  • Best fun fact round-ups: Boston Globe + Women's Running
  • Best plan to cheer? Wellesley! Right after the Scream Tunnel at GettiGear with the Oiselle flock (bagels, drinks, posterboard for all the signs you're dreaming up, giveaways + the #pickybird: LAUREN FLESHMAN). Get there

Speaking of meeting running celebs here's an incomplete list: 
  • Lauren Fleshman:  2-4pm 110% Play Harder booth, 4-5pm Runner's World booth. If you're wearing 110% or Oiselle snap your picture with her for her blog round up. 
  • Katherine  Switzer: Booth # 2335 on Fri, April 12 from 2-6; Sat, April 13 from 1-6; Sun, April 14 from 1:15-3. Also on Sunday is the Runners World Legends Panel free from noon-1.
  • Kim Jones: Running Times Booth, Saturday 4/13 1-2pm
  • Meb Keflezighi: Sketchers booth, Saturday 4/13 1 -3pm

Alright I'm in a panic, because I have a shakeout jog to do for my half marathon tomorrow. And as usual I'm about 2 hours behind. 

To those of your running Boston, GOOD LUCK! Enjoy! 

BOSTON FLASHBACK: my mama, running last 10 miles with my grandfather (tony) in 1979

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

when your office isn't the track

Sometimes I'm really jealous of professional athletes. Like...
  1. When I share the workout track with two high school lunch hours and two gym classes. And on my last mile of a grueling workout having a group of boys make loud fart noises at me every time I come down the last 100m. Actually that was a pretty solid burn. Solid.
  2. When I'm doing that workout all alone. 
  3. When I fill up my bathtub with three bags of ice and one block because the tap only runs lukewarm. 
  4. When I can't nap under my desk. 
  5. When massage isn't on my schedule. 
  6. When my work day totally eats my workout. 
  7. When I pay for shoes.
  8. When no one wants my autograph. 
  9. When Twitter won't give me my blue badge. 
  10. When I have to stretch my own damn hamstrings
But then I think about the pressure of running as your job. And how every ache and pain would bring flashes of HOLY SH*T if break, what will I do??!  

What brought this topic up was not just the fart calls during my track workout today but an article I read April issue of Running Times. Apparently it's not online, so get your paper copy to read "It's About Time" by Alex Kurt. He compares the schedules of an amateur runner with a 50/hour week job and a professional runner. How they used their time on and off the roads. Chris Erichsen, the runner with the 50 hour a week job competed in the 2012 Olympic Trials and has a marathon PR of 2:16:31. What's interesting to me is that when he was given three months to devote to training he overtrained. He realized the balance was good. 

they weren't joking about the loneliness of the long distance runner...
It can be exhausting to be both invested heavily in a career (in the traditional sense) and a running career at the same time. I never feel like there are enough hours. There is always something I'm neglecting. And in the darkest weeks I feel like I'm not good at both or either or anything. I imagine that would happen with or without running though. I have my cave days. 

I also see examples of pros that thrive with more on their plate than just running. See: Lauren Fleshman.  I friggin can't find the reference, but in an interview she said she's a better runner when her life is full. Not just full to be full, but full of other things she's passionate about. Like Picky Bars, freelance writing, Believe I Am...full plate. 

At the end of the day, the amateurs (hey that's us!) are pretty damn lucky. No one is watching but you. Which can be lonely, and defeating at times, but only if you ignore the best part. We get to run for ourselves. And we have this online community of runners to be a part of. A community created organically to bolster each other. To encourage and support. And inspire. To make the road less lonely. 

For instance, this week Emily Sweats gave us a glimpse into how she trains at the level she does, while maintaining a full time job and social life. Seeing someone else, even though they are a continent away, setting their alarm for before 5am made me feel less alone. And slightly less crazy. 

So here's to fart-serenaded track workouts, 4:45am wake-up calls and ice filled bathtubs. Amateur style.