Thursday, October 31, 2013

sale on sale - insider picks

It's a sale on sale weekend on (use code: flyfall for extra 25% off sale). And your insider tip from me, it's a doozy. I got to add some of my favorite products to the sale section. It's all friggin great gear, but here are my top picks:

Two zip pockets, one key pocket so you can stash all the snacks you need...

Runfinity Scarf
I was born without style, so everything I know I learned from my little sister when she arrived 5 years later. Her #1 tip: accessorize. And an infinity scarf is a no-brainer way to look like you spent time on your outfit. Loop, loop, done. Runfinity has a secret message just for runners. FYI: This is the first and possibly only time this scarf will land in sale.

Graphic Tees
My love for graphic tees is uncontainable. And two of my favorite designs are in sale: Crane Scoop, and Typesetter. After meeting the Oiselle 50/50 my old tech tops found their way to the trash. Why should runners get the dumpiest gear?? I can sweat the shite out of these tees and they just wick like champ. Or just like a tech top without the shiny, cold, nasty tech top feel. 

Essential for running happiness. Don't fear the armwarmers, as I did for years. They are your best friend. 

Lesko and High 10! Because who isn't going to hit the dreadmill or yoga class this winter? 

These shorts are unlike any short I've worn. Long without being too long. But you could do a serious downward dog in these things, or a squat, without feeling exposed. Butterfly stretch in public? Yep. And if you sign up for a trail run, these are your uniform. Trail races aren't for buns, shorty shorts or fluff. You need a zip pocket and you'll feel more at home with an extra inch of fabric. Trust me. (Hello, diamond rogas also on sale! #rogarevolution) 

You will live in this pant. It comes in long and regular, has a zip pockets and I can promise you my booty doesn't always look that good. Booty magic, no lie. 

Who am I kidding? My picks are ... everything, but these are some of my favorites that were just added.  You can't go wrong. My last insider tip would be some of these styles will be gone after Sunday (like Stellar Stripe Tank) so get ya mits on 'em while you can. 

Monday, October 28, 2013

the main event...chicago marathon

Chicago, Chicago. What is there to say? I was fit, ready and … I didn’t accomplish my goal. Everyone knows what it feels like to walk away from the finish knowing you were in better shape than that, that you had a better race inside. In the case of the marathon, at first you’re just effing happy you finished. You’re elated. You’re proud because you can literally feel in your bones you gave what you had that day. But as the days go by and the pain subsides things change focus. 
Closing in on mile 20... ouch.
The memory of the moment I almost dropped out at mile 13 becomes blurry.  The pride I felt for marching onward as my body rebelled is blurry too. The bruises on both my knees from falling after the finish are fading. But my disappointment has come into sharp focus.  For weeks before Chicago I’d wake up with visions of the race in my head. Now I wake up and have to remind myself that I didn’t make it. During my training I didn’t allow myself to imagine that.
Melissa Gacek and I, around mile 8?
So what the hell did happen? The marathon happened, shit. But more specifically I’d say mechanics. Side stab twisting the knife under my rib by mile two. The right side is not a well oiled machine.  It felt a hell of a lot better than at Vermont City, when I had a calf cramp before mile 7. But eventually the right side of my body goes into lock down, everything pulling and straining.  It feels like a rope is getting shorter and shorter between my right rib and knee, cranking every step. Until by mile 24 when I literally thought I’d started walking or maybe my knee had actually moved into my stomach and needed to double check in store window reflections that, yes, I was still running! Sort of.

Am I still moving?

Mile 22?
 BUT enough about what went wrong, let’s come over to the sunny side of the street. Where I hope to residing full time soon. It’s another marathon down. I learned a lot and found more pieces to this puzzle. And I’m still moving! Not laying in an MRI looking at an injury sentence. Which for so many years, did not seem like a possible reality.  

I trained as hard as my body would allow all summer. I didn’t give up when things got derailed. I committed to one race in ways I’d never done before. I knew everything I gave up was worth what I was gaining.  

Times and OTQ aside, the journey is always a reward. One of my weaknesses is not appreciating the journey. Not celebrating the steps. I have to remind myself where I was three years ago. Two years ago. Last year.  1:21:48 was my half marathon PR two falls ago. And I laid it all out for that. At Chicago I ran that half and then added a 1:26 (hello, wall) right after. Yes, I wish it had been two 1:21s, but if you’d asked me if a 2:47 marathon was possible two years ago I’d have laughed! 

I had an amazing summer of adventures. Running the dirt roads through eastern Washington vineyards, ocean highways in Oregon, single track trails in Bend, the busy bike path along the Hudson River… miles are so much more than just numbers in a training journal.  These miles are my fondest memories and I’ll dream about them when I can’t do this anymore. 
My happy place: Maryhill WA
Getting myself to the starting line in Chicago, the very place I’d decided to stop racing four years ago, is a huge accomplishment to me. And blatantly chasing a goal without shame is something I’ve been afraid to do for years. Missing it, well, that’s just part of my story now. 

Being there with my husband and friends and team was night and day to what it was last time. I felt like I was part of a special tribe. And I felt the success of my tribe members as though it were my own. I’m so proud of my teammates. It reminded me that while I do train alone, and it gets lonely, I have this amazing team! This crazy support system, at home, at Oiselle.  
Melissa and I getting our numbers - loved rooming with MG. Great memories.
Ashley Evans had an amazing first marathon! 2:49!
Owen, constant support
Epic #birdsandbros after party thanks to Granato Racing. Team Oiselle: me, melissa, sarah, becky, laura

My Oiselle family showered me with love before I left, and when I came back despite it all. They believed in me and still do. My friend Dave surprised me by buying a ticket to come and cheer. (Check out his awesome video clips) After the Chicago finish line I couldn’t believe my Twitter feed. I cried so many happy tears reading those messages. I was overwhelmed. Who am I to have that cheer squad? There are no words!  


I wish I was writing my play by play to the 2:42 success, but I’m not. I chased it hard and a bit blindly through Chicago’s streets. I’d be lying if I said I’m not sad and going through mourning stages, but there is a bigger picture and it’s bright. Thanks for being part of it. 
Speaking of my tribe… this fall, TWO Oiselle teammates have snagged the OTQ marathon standard. Marci Gage and Heidi Greenwood! And this is only the beginning for these two women, get ready to watch some times drop. 

Saturday, October 12, 2013

the art of the water stop

I can put in the miles, nail the workouts, lose the toenails... but there is one crucial part of the sport of marathoning that I haven't mastered. The water stop. I am a complete flail.

Up until this race (hopefully) my game plan has been to stop, screeeeech, drink, and then try to get back into that hard-earned rhythm I just interrupted. This tactic is most embarrassing and surely puts a target on my back in any sort of race for place. Talk about showing your weakness! Not to mention leaving time all over the course.

I've heard people's advice, so much advice: pinch the cup, cover the cup, grab the cup dump 1/3 out THEN drink, crunch the cup in your fist and suck the water out the top (whaaa?) but nothing was making sense. And certainly none of this advice was keeping me from taking in most of my fluids through my nose. That was until I saw Melissa Gacek do a water stop yesterday on 9th ave.

Let me back up one step. First thing in the morning we headed over to the expo to pick up our bib numbers and tees. I wanted to track down cups for waterstop practice. So we hit up the Gatorade girls for a sleeve of cups. I explained my predicament to little miss make-up, not a hair unstraightened. She looked at me like I was legit insane, but whatever. We got the cups and back at the apartment we set up our waterstop practice area on 9th and Wabash. And Melissa schooled me.

Only for the pros: practicing the bait and switch... with added obstacle of child water assistant. 

Melissa does not timidly approach the cup, she blows that cup up! Kaboom! Then one swig and she's out. Everything made sense. Also I realized in all my practicing and listening I'd never seen a pro hit a water stop. Hello, visual learner! This shit should be on youtube. Or Instavideo....

Yes, we accosted two Chicago strangers for clip 2. And obviously Gacek is the one to watch for pro-style tips. Not me. I look like a timid deer approaching a river in that clip..

Things I learned:
1. Drinking the whole cup is not the point. You're just looking for a gulp.
2. Don't stress when you miss one.
3. Show the cup who's boss, just blast through, what's left is left. Gulp it and get on with it.
4. Breath out, in, grab cup, gulp, breath out.

I'm going to practice a few more times today to be sure it's out of my mind.

As a bonus Melissa also taught me what to do about gels. Just pin 'em to the bottoms, tuck 'em in the waist band.

Fortunate to have a pro, 2:44!, marathoner Melissa as my roomie. Who's nice enough to show me the ropes. Bring on the adventure!