Wednesday, April 27, 2011

False Flats

We are super horrible at keeping up with the posts on this site! With one sister training for a full-marathon while trying to balance the demands of kids and life, another in the final death rattle of dissertating, and a third in the last months of her daytime gig as a school teacher, while she's also attending grad school and teaching college courses it's easy to see why this gets put on the back burner. However, I'm taking a couple minutes before I jet out the door on a run with Crazy Carlos to do a quick post about my last couple long runs.

In a word; Formidable. Training all by my lonesome has been the hardest thing I've ever done. I am a social girl's social girl. My life revolves around being swept up in the enthusiasm of others to get me through. Luckily I have Lesley striving for the same goal, but it's just not the same as meeting up on Saturday morning and then grabbing a smoothie afterward. It takes me a good three miles to get my little inner voice to quiet the chatter then I feel pretty awesome until around mile eight when I realize 'Holy s*%#! I still have to run for two more hours!' That's when the self-deprecating talk kicks in and I can't remember why my plus-sized booty ever thought this sounded like a good idea.

Finally, I hit the last mile or so and I remember it's all for this. That feeling when you're hitting the home stretch and every fiber of your being reignites out of sheer relief that you're almost done. You know that for the rest of the day, you're going to have that warm buzz in your body because it took you further than you imagined it could. Your legs look sleeker as they're stretched out in front of you, your gut feels a little flatter (probably because it's empty and ready to receive food) and even your skin has the rosy glow of physical accomplishment.

I hit the door and strip off my iPod, garmin and visor then shuck my socks, shoes and tights so I can finally, finally plunge my hot and sweaty feet and legs into an ice bath and lay back in contented silence for about twenty minutes. Then it's time to shake off the cold and hope I can transfer from tub to shower without accidentally whacking my frozen feet on the bath's tiled edge. Because breaking myfoot in that manner would not lend to a glorious sports injury story.

The warm water of the shower sluices over my body and by the time I've toweled off, moisturized and slipped into my new uniform of leggings and a dress, I'm new again. Ready to start imagining how I'll feel after I cross the finish line of what is sure to be 26.2 miles of the hardest work I've made my body do, both mentally and physically. I fully believe and acknowledge that it will be harder than pushing my nine pound, three ounce cherub out of a hole that's just not that big. And, I'm getting excited. I have the words of Dimity, SBS and all my supportive friends running through my head and pushing me forward.

Last weekend, I spent some time with the fam and my mom generously offered to watch all four of our crazy chitlins so Mrs V and I could hit the dusty trail together. Literally. As my run was destined to be much longer than hers she served as water station wench for me until we tackled Ramo Flats together. If ever a road has been misnamed, it's that one. Ramo is not flat at all. It's the hill we used for our long hills workouts in high school cross country, and I think I'd blacked out just how steep it gets past a certain point. Our last full uphill mile took us 22 minutes. The next mile (a quarter of which was still uphill) was over 7 minutes faster. As we chugged back down to the car and took in the glorious view of our cozy little valley, I thought of the summit at Fueled By Fine Wine where the water station attendees asked me if I thought the view was 'worth the price of admission'. Yes, it certainly was.

And yes, my butt was very sore the next morning. And the next.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Where in the World is Sally HP?

Where, oh where have I been?! Running! That's where! I knew that marathon training would be a huge drain on the precious resource of my time, but I was completely unprepared for the mental and emotional toll it would take. I've said to anyone and everyone who will list that I'll never again train for a full while I have kids that are not school-aged.

Yes, I am aware that when you say never, it usually means that you will end up doing it. That said, I really hope that if I do, I've had the foresight to wait until I'm off the waiting list for the cleaning service because pretty soon Children's Services is going to have to wade in and extract my children from the nuclear fall-out that is my home these days.  Maybe that's a slight exaggeration, but for the first time, I'm unable to keep up on the laundry. Add in that my beloved has decided this is the perfect time to train for his first Olympic distance tri, a blessed event which is scheduled for the weekend before my marathon, and I've got not only our usual barrage of scrubs, footie pj's and grass-stained pants, but enough sweaty, stinky workout gear to choke a horse. Or a laundry basket.

In spite of that, I'm learning so much. I have embraced the joyous hurt so good of the ice bath and the foam roller, while at the same time re-inforced (through an unfortunate mile 10 experience at last week's half) that I really cannot stomach, or swallow, electrolyte replacers in gel form. Seriously, am I the only one that thinks the consistency and salt content are reminiscent of, well, use your imagination.

Lastly, I've now run further than I ever have before, with a successful 16.5 mile run two weekends ago that was broken into a 10 and 6.5 so that I'd have time to shower and go to my best friend's bridal shower in the middle. Last weekend I finally broke the three hour barrier for a half-marathon! I headed up to Portland with the fam where we played in the pool at the hotel and carbo-loaded at Old Spaghetti Factory with my bff and her family. The next morning we headed off to run in the Vernonia Half Marathon/Marathon.

It was a gorgeous trail course and, because I took the early start, I got to finish with people who are significantly faster than me. It was such a great momentum-builder to see those people rushing by and I was able to, at least in my head, follow their cadence and kick it in in the end. Speaking of kicking it in the end, I was almost late for he early start, as I rolled up to the starting line with only 20 seconds to spare. But, believe me, no porta-potty could have come soon enough for what I needed to do prior to heading out on that run. One more medal added to the rack!

Every week, I'm reaffirming my belief in myself as I head out thinking 'What in the world have I signed up for?!' and return home thanking whatever force that my body has held together and done what it's designed to do for yet another long run before sinking into the icy clutches of recovery.

Oh, did I forget to add that I'm also continuing in my endeavor to have Operation: Decorated House completed by the end of summer, complete with DIY tiled backsplash in the tub and a huge backyard renovation? Unfortunately, Old Man Weather waits for no man, or woman, so marathon training or not, the yard has to be planted before d-day so I'll be squeezing it all in somehow.

Thank god running is a therapy replacer, or I'd be headed for the loony bin! How have you been fitting it all in these days?