what summer?

Hashtag best summer ever.

Remember all the videos I used to post on here, and then did that Ironman thingy, and then got burned out on exercising so I sort of just practiced floating every time I went to the pool, fast walking every time I went for a run, and cool tricks on my tri bike anytime I tried to ride?  Ha.  That was awesome.  This summer was so awesome I didn’t even bother to train for the half-marathon we did on Saturday, and consequently my legs are paying the price today.  My walking (if you can call it that) around today resembles old-school Charlie Chaplin style shuffling… only I’m not even trying to be funny.  Ugh.  Whatever.  Rachel took this picture of me and I look buff, hashtag worth it.

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bloomsday 2013

Let’s talk about Bloomsday while I still remember it.  Two and a half weeks is a long time so events are hazy at best in my mind.

Just kidding.  It was pretty much the best Bloomsday ever (sort of like every Bloomsday before it) so nobody panic.  I remember the whole thing.

If you’ll recall, after a second urgent care visit I was informed by the doctor that I had a case of “the shingles” and even though it’s a strain of the herpes virus it is not in fact an STD like I’d originally thought.  I might not be super educated in the medical disciplines, mostly because I avoid all things hospital and doctor related like I avoid the steam room at the YMCA.  Apparently, if you’ve ever had chicken pox, even after it’s gone the virus lays dormant in your spine until something (usually stress) brings it back in the form of shingles that attack a specific nerve.  I hear for most people that shingles is incredibly painful but thankfully my experience was limited to one day out of work laying on the couch feeling like death and a lot of itching.  Friday before Bloomsday I slept for 18 hours, occasionally waking to think about how much I hate shingles, then would fall back asleep.

Saturday morning I woke up with a sore back and a general feeling of weakness.  My home-nurse Julia came over to pick me up and we drove downtown to the convention center for race packet pick-up.  At the second seed table the volunteer who handed me my packet asked if I remembered when he asked me to marry him.  It was at Titanium Man last year and I’d had to decline on account of he’s 50 and I’m more of a cougar-type lady anyway.  I said, “I do!” and immediately regretted my poor choice of words.  He wished me luck and with my caretaker’s assistance (thanks, Julia) we briefly browsed the trade show and left to go find lunch.

The rest of the day I spent being lazy and trying not to think too hard about how lazy I was being.  The thing about training for a triathlon, or any large-scale athletic event I’d imagine, is that when you take breaks from training it’s hard to not worry that you’re somehow cheating yourself or missing out on opportunities to be better.  There is a sense of urgency that comes with training.  I don’t think it’s the same thing as being addicted (which quite a few people seem willing to label us Ironman-wannabes with!).  If you have a goal, then there are necessary steps to take to achieve that goal, and if you miss the steps then it seems at the time that the goal won’t be reached and that is disappointing.  BUT, it’s also important to know when your body is telling you “enough is enough!” and I think shingles might be my body’s way of saying, “f#$& you, Rochelle!”

Sunday, the morning of the race, I got up at 5:30 to make coffee and walk around enough to get the intestines moving.  I don’t think I’ll ever be able to accurately (or appropriately) describe the immense satisfaction and assurance it affords my brain when I successfully expel all matter of waste from my body before a race.  There is peace in knowing you won’t explode on a critical uphill or final stretch in front of hoards of people.  More importantly, you won’t lose any time off the clock due to a last minute crap attack.

At 8:15 I headed out the door for the starting line, making the run there (and then some) my warm up.  Running to the start line hurt my back.  Not enough to make me walk, but enough to be of concern.  “Is it worth running Bloomsday, potentially injuring myself forever and not being about to do Ironman?!?”  The answer to that is obviously “no” but I mean I had a pretty cool outfit on so, come on!  In Brown group waiting for the race to start I found lots of Team Blaze friends to visit and estimate finish times with.  It was such a beautiful day out and standing there at Riverside and Wall and I absolutely love that half hour of anticipation before Bloomsday starts.

The race started at 9:00 and that first mile was too fast as always.  I don’t even care.  It’s BLOOMSDAY, bitches!!!  All the friendlies were standing at mile one to cheer (which actually felt earned since my time was 6:15).  Maybe I’ve lived a sheltered life (well, there’s no “maybe” about it) but I don’t think there is anything better than people you know cheering for you during a race.  It’s the best.  The rest of the race I averaged a 7:01/mile pace except up Doomsday, that cost me an extra 24 seconds, but was able to bring it back down to a 7 again at the top of the hill.

There were lots of cheers from spectators along the course due to my new race outfit, and I even found another runner dressed similarly (turns out she was the same pace, too!).  We crossed the finish line together and were immediately approached by the Spokesman review for permission to have our picture printed in the paper.  Final race time was 52:32, just over two minutes faster than 2011’s race and a new course PR.

The rest of the day I just laid around getting a sun burn and eating tacos so it was pretty excellent.  Bloomsday is always the best.

photo3

photo2photophoto4tumblr_mmjzxqAwUs1qzxrbao1_500{this is my favorite. megan is working on it.  THANK YOU MEGGIE!}

mt spokane is a jerk

It’s been one week, and I think I’m finally ready to talk about it.  Last weekend, in what was possibly one of the dumber things I’ve done in life (and if you’ll recall, I’m the one who has lit my shirt on fire with a hair dryer trying to warm myself up in the winter time), I ran up a couple mountains with some friends and suffered the consequences for several days after the fact.

The running uphill part isn’t so bad, in fact I sort of love it.  Your butt will hurt and burn the next day, but in a good way like when you eat too much wasabi with your norimaki.  Worth it.  The downhills, however, are the worst thing ever invented and will make your quads burn and ache with pain for hours and days on end, exponentially disproportionate to the amount of time you spent running down the hill (or mountain) in the first place.  It’s the kind of pain that doesn’t let you sleep at night but you have no one to blame but yourself for the problem, and can only really complain to the people who joined you on the run, except they’re too busy dealing with their own pain to listen to you anyway.  Vicious.

All of this aching and crying could’ve been avoided of course, simply by not signing up (unacceptable) or maybe putting in some time to actually train on trails instead of pretending the perfectly smooth asphalt is good enough.  It’s not.  The thing with trails is that there are rocks and tree roots, sometimes muddy sinkholes or five inches of powdery dust-dirt to trap and trip you up.

Thankfully, I only half-fell down twice.  Apparently the trails aren’t quite as dangerous as Summit Blvd at the top of Doomsday Hill (remember the time I tripped on the road, rolled, got back up and kept going, then hyperventilated a minute later?  Tuck and roll!).  There were no blisters to speak of, and only one small cut on the back of my heel from a bad sock/shoe combination.  It’s a small win, but I’ll take it!

The race started off with nearly two miles of downhill.  The entire way down, Staci and I kept muttering “uh oh’s” to each other.  This makes me laugh.  We knew right away this was going to be a serious problem, but kept going anyway on account of we’re stupid.  The first uphill was incredibly steep and single track.  Hard to pass someone or be passed on that kind of terrain.  After the first aid station, things got awesome and I’m pretty sure it was really beautiful outside but was too busy watching my footsteps and trying not to fall that I probably missed a lot of it.

After that I don’t remember what happened because I was too distraught from internal wailing and gnashing of teeth.  Here are some pictures instead:

recently, in downtown spokane

This morning, at the end of a painful six-mile run (painful for me because my feet are still bleeding, and painful for Staci because she actually worked out hard yesterday), we paused to discuss our weekend plans before parting ways. While complaining about my impending wisdom-tooth removal situation, a dark green Explorer pulled up next to us and the driver leaned over his co-pilot to ask us where the strip club was.

Here’s the thing: It was approximately 7:00am, this SUV had Oklahoma license plates, and we were standing at the corner of Riverside and… Maple? In other words, no where near East Sprague where they “needed” to be.

“Excuse us, but could you tell us where the strip club is?” -Driver
“Uhhh…” -Staci & Me
“Sprague? Sprague. You need to turn all the way around and head back that way!” -Staci *points opposite direction*
“Yeah, sure, something like that.” -Me
“Other direction? Ok, great thanks!” -Driver and Co-Pilot
“YOU GUYS!!” -Staci *slightly exasperated, also laughing*
“Well, it’s early still!” -Co-Pilot
*laughing* -Staci & Me
*driving away laughing* -Guys in Car

I’m not exactly sure why it being early in the morning is relevant, maybe I’m naive and someone needs to explain it to me. Aunt Keen?

p is for plod

Winning a race is pretty epic, right?  Especially when it’s a world-renowned event like the Davenport Pioneer Plod.  Yes, THAT Davenport.  Population 1800, county seat of Lincoln County, home of the Gorillas… I know you know that I know you know what I’m talking about.

Every year, on the third weekend in July, Davenport hosts its Pioneer Days.  I think events kick off on Friday evening, but Saturday morning they put on the Pioneer Plod fun run with either a 5k or 10k option.  Now, there are disputes (mostly amongst my own family members) over who came up with the name for this run.  Some say it was an Uncle, others say a Grandpa… either way it was an Uncle to someone and a Grandpa to someone else.  I’m all for alliteration, but for some reason the word “plod” reminds me of the #2.  They should call it the Pioneer Prance!  Although, actual pioneers probably plodded more than they pranced across the prairie.  WHATever.  The point is that a race happens, and it’s fun!

This year I got Staci to go with me and we totally dominated the 10k, taking 1st and 2nd.  Mostly I just wanted to post about this so I could include pictures to prove that Staci is my friend because it makes me feel awesome and fast.

This guy asked us what “Brown Club” is and I told him, “You know at about mile four when you get that gross feeling right about here?” *points at midriff*  JUST KIDDING.  It’s just cause we were jealous of the Spokane Swifts having their own club so we made up our own based on the fact that we used to meet at Spokane Club for our runs every day, and that I finally stopped being slow and made it into the Brown group for Bloomsday.  Brown Club!

Here’s a slightly blurry one, but it’s only because… we were running so fast… I think-

YAY PIONEER DAYS!

Then later that day I sat outside for awhile and got this awesome burn on one leg, jealous?

 

brown club

So, I ran a marathon yesterday.  My legs are killing me today.

This was made possible thanks to Staci Bewick and her running expertise and unending (sometimes SERIOUSLY MISLEADING) optimism and enthusiasm for the sport.

I don’t remember exactly how it happened, but for some unknown reason I decided this was the year to run a marathon.  Then Staci was all, “let’s run the Windermere marathon!” and I was all, “ok!” not realizing that I’d just picked a running buddy who is exceptionally faster and so much more tenacious than me.  This is why you should never choose your running buddies based on age.  Or, you know, I could’ve done a better job facebook-stalking and realized beforehand she’d already done a million marathons and a freaking IRONMAN.  Yeah, Ironman.  You know, the one where you swim 2.4 miles, ride a bike 112 miles, and then run a marathon?  Good grief.

I’m so glad I didn’t do any research beforehand, and blindly walked (ran?) into this training because these last four months have been incredibly entertaining (and somewhat painful, but totally worth it!).  Here are some moments that make my short-list of most entertaining memories from this whole marathon training process:

1.  Going to a crab feed the night before running 15 miles in the morning (my longest run at that point).  I spent the rest of that Friday after the run on the toilet or if I wasn’t then I was telling everyone how much I wished I was on the toilet.

2.  Tripping at mile 15 of an 18 mile run on some uneven asphalt, tucking, rolling, and bounding back up.  Staci:  “Did you just fall??” Me:  “YES!  Keep going!”  Staci:  “No wait, stop!  Brush yourself off!”  Me:  “NO!  Keep going!”  Staci:  “Are you sure??  No seriously, stop, brush that dirt off and compose yourself!”  Me:  “No, I’m fine!”  Staci:  “Ok then.”  Five seconds later… Me:  “Ok stop, I can’t breathe.”  Then I hyperventilated and we had to walk a little.  But I never dropped my pepper spray!

3.  Standing at a curb at the bottom of a hill, ready to sprint up it, trying to kick a stick out of my way and missing it completely… Staci:  “Don’t trip on that.”

4.  Getting out of my car and walking up to Staci’s front steps just before starting a hill workout… Staci:  “I was really hoping you weren’t going to show up today.”  Then, about a half hour later into the workout where each successive hill set got faster… Staci:  “Okay, lets do a couple extra!!!”  I was busy trying not to faint.

5.  At the start line of Race for the Cure… Staci:  “Okay, who let these little girls in here?  Lets get around them so we don’t have to see them get trampled.”  Staci beat me by three seconds, those little girls (one of whom FELL during the race) beat me by two seconds.

6.  Approaching mile 17 and Doomsday hill during a 20 mile run… Staci:  “Ok, I’m just gonna go and I’ll meet you at the top.”  Me:  “Bleughhhhahhh.”  At the top of Doomsday, into West Central where I had tripped a few weeks previously… Staci:  “Pick up your feet!”  Five seconds later after NOT falling… Staci: “Good girl.”

7.  Somewhere near Canada on the Centennial Trail… Staci:  “LOOK OUT FOR THE POOP!”

I think the point of running a marathon, like anything else worth doing, is in the getting there.  Like, you don’t just decide one day, “Hey, I think I’ll run a marathon!” then go out and do it.  Well, maybe you do if you’re clinically insane, but I’m talking about mostly normal people like me.  If left to my own devices, I’d probably have given up around February 1st and settled for 20 minute treadmill sessions four times a week followed by three hours of 30 Rock every night.

Instead, I got to wake up at the butt crack of dawn three times a week for strength workouts, sets of hills, and long runs taking up two or more hours.  The other nights of the week I’d go to the gym and sprint on a treadmill for seven to ten miles just so I’d get used to running so damn fast all the time and not embarrass myself whenever I’d meet Staci to go running.  Actually, I was just practicing so that when we’d do long runs on the Centennial Trail I wouldn’t fall behind and get attacked by creepers.

What I’m saying is, there was a lot of work that went into yesterday’s race.  Not by me, obviously.  I mostly just sat around and waited for Staci to email me and tell me what to do.  And I have to say, the end result was pretty fantastic.  This is what yesterday looked like:

Wake up too early (as most of you don’t care to know, I have an issue doing the number two without the aid of coffee in the mornings) and spent two hours panicking about what to wear (even though I’d laid it all out the night before).  Staci and Chris picked me up just before 6:00 and we headed out to Post Falls.  That’s in Idaho.  So, we literally ran from one state to another.

After a brief encounter with the Porta-Potty, Staci’s all, “want to jog around for a bit?”  Why, YES!  There is nothing I love more than running before a marathon!  Running down a side street between some warehouse building and an open field, Staci decides she needs to go again.  “Do you think anyone can see me?” “Uhhh…” “Oh man, I really had to go!”  “…” “Seriously, look at how much I just went!” “You know I’m putting this on my blog later, right?”

Back at the starting line we wait for those weird bike thingies where they pedal with their arms to go by, then gather at the start line and wait for the gun.  Except, I don’t remember there being a gun.  Maybe it was some guy yelling “GO!”  All I know is that I was freaking out and there was no time to pay attention to the start.

Not to worry though, at mile two I settled into my pace and spent the next 18 miles smiling for the camera.  They better post those pics on the Windermere website.  At mile six’s water station I heard someone ask out loud, “what’s the Brown Club??” At mile ten I passed an old man who said, “well you’re just nice and steady aren’t ya?!”  At mile 13 I thought I heard a gun shot, but didn’t look around.  There was nothing in the news today so I’m sure everyone’s fine.  At mile 20 I was dead on pace and felt great.  At mile 21 I about died and started wondering on a scale of one to ten how embarrassing it’d be to crawl across the finish line.  I decided it would be an eleven and kept running.  Approaching the finish line I could hear people yelling my name and there was my whole small group PLUS Keri Barker!  I finished smiling and with a time of 3:49:35.

Even better than finishing under four hours?  Staci won the whole thing.  So, that’s basically awesome.  Next time I’ll try harder to keep up.

So what I’m saying is, it’s been a great four months.  Even the dehydration and hours spent on the toilet.  It was totally worth it.  I ran a marathon!

 

Thank you Staci, for everything.

bloomsday 2011

Best year ever?  Yes.

I’m pretty sure that anyone who reads this blog knows exactly how important Bloomsday is to me.  I ran my first Bloomsday seven years ago, unofficially racing my Dad and assuming I’d beat him due to my cross-country background.  NOPE.  For a really flattering picture from that day, click here.

As it turns out, all I needed to do was prepare as if I was running a marathon instead of all this 12k nonsense.  WHO WOULD HAVE THOUGHT??  Three and a half months, 550 miles, and 47 blisters (yes, of course I kept count) later… I finally have a Bloomsday time to be proud of.  AND a Brown number.

…it also helps to run/train with someone who is decidedly faster than you are.  More on that later.  I’m talking about Bloomsday right now, thank you very much.

Actually, I’m pretty much done.  Mom and Dad were here, so were Meridith and Michael, and Megan even ran her first Bloomsday!  Oh, and Meridith helped me self-diagnose a current digestive problem I may or may not have, which was disgustingly hilarious.  The best kind of hilariousness.

It just occurred to me that I’ve been uploading Bloomsday pictures and talking about it like it’s the end of the running road.  Then I remembered:  We have a marathon to run 10 days from now.  WHUCK!