The LOOOONG Way Home

The Running Mamas plan our destination races to escape the frigid Northeast winters. This is a fabulous idea in theory. In practice, it is constant worry about road conditions to get to and from our respective airports and whether or not our flights will be delayed or cancelled. The worry was amplified exponentially when the entire northeast was forecasted to be slammed with a major nor’easter/blizzard on the day that we were all scheduled to fly home from our New Orleans Rock n Roll Half.

From Hudson Valley Weather – my most trusted weather people.

By race day morning, all of our flights had been cancelled.  Just what you want on your mind during a half marathon.

Our original itinerary had Christina and I flying from New Orleans to DC, then DC to NY. I received an automated message from US Airways that those flights were cancelled. I had booked through Expedia, but they still had our flights listed as those cancelled flights, so as far as I knew, Christina and I were stranded in the Big Easy.

While I tried to figure out if we could transfer to other US Airways flights, Christina found one on Delta with a layover in Atlanta.  I couldn’t find any flights that weren’t prohibitively expensive, so she went ahead and booked on Delta. We were good to go. The Boston Mamas had found flights, too. Time to relax and enjoy New Orleans!

During our celebratory dinner at the dee-lish Kingfish Cocktail Bar, I got another automated message from US Airways. Our flight from New Orleans to Philadelphia had been cancelled. I had a flight to Philadelphia? Really? No one told me.

We hit the sack early in anticipation of the early wake up call that the Boston set were going to have to make their flight. At 2am we were all awake and found out that their flight had been cancelled. I checked my email and found a message from Expedia saying that our flight had been changed to that Philadelphia one. Thanks, Expedia, for such prompt notification. (Dammit where is that sarcasm font?) Then at some point I found out that the flight was changed to go through DC. So now we had two flights. I was doubtful that anything was going to be flying from snow coated DC to snow coated NY so we stuck with the Delta flight through Atlanta.

Later that morning, Christina and I left for the airport. Before we could take a sip of airport coffee we found out that the flight from Atlanta to NY was cancelled. DC was cancelled, too. We caught an earlier flight to Atlanta in hopes that we could either A) find a place to stay until the ice age ended or B) find a non-cancelled flight back to somewhere near home. With a lot of running and begging, we made it back home. Atlanta to Laguardia (shudder) and then my dad was nice enough to drive us from Queens to White Plains to get back to my car. Really can’t complain much on that since the other Mamas were trapped until Thursday.

The next day, I called US Airways to get a refund started on our flights that never happened. After a million years of automated bullshit, a human being finally told me that I had to contact Expedia because I booked everything through them. After being put on hold at least 4 times and transferred from person to person, Expedia told me that the cancelled tickets were transferred back to US Airways, so I had to talk to them about getting my money back. Back to the US Airways automated call nonsense. It took most of the morning, but I finally got a nice woman named Michelle to admit that they did in fact have my account and that I would get refunded. Yay! It would probably take 8-10 days for it to go through. There were a lot of cancelled flights due to this storm, so I gave them some wiggle room and waited 2 weeks. Then I got too busy and never got a chance to check into it. I finally checked in on the US Airways refund page and MY REFUND DIDN’T EXIST. This week I went through US Airways automated phone system hell again and the phone system couldn’t find my refund. I tried to talk to a human and, after going around in automation circles, was told that I couldn’t talk to a human because of increase call volume and to call back.

I still have to call these schmucks again. I haven’t had a chance to. Honestly, It’s taken me, like, 12 writing sessions just to get this post done because I only have free time in 10 minute intervals- not enough time to make it through the first 6 circles of automation with US Airways.

So to round up my pissed-offness:

  • Expedia didn’t notify me that they re-booked flights for us, so we ended up having to spend more money to get a new flight because we didn’t know we had a flight.
  • Also, Expedia changed my order info on their website, so it looks like I spent $800+ on 2 one-way tickets to New Orleans instead of 2 round trips. Good thing I saved my email confirmations.
  • US Airways really should just automatically refund your money. Why should I have to file a request (by snail mail or fax, no less) to get money back for a service that was not provided.
  • US Airways lost my refund.  It went through an actual person sitting in front of her computer entering this data in and reading it back to me. Refund request in process. It’s not like I screwed something up using an automated system or forgot to hit ‘send’ or something.
  • US Airways didn’t even let me wait for the next available human being to speak to. They just cut me off. Worst customer service ever.

Rant complete.

My Chef Girl-Crush

It’s not much of a stretch to realize that Alton Brown is my celebrity chef crush.

From the Good Eats Fan Page

He’s a nerd – glasses, bow-tie, occasional labcoat, and he uses science to explain food. What’s not to love? To paraphrase a great pilot: Were I unwed, I would take him in a womanly fashion.

But this isn’t about AB.

This is about <swoon> Her

Nigella Lawson. I’ve been girl-crushing* hard on her since I first saw her peek into her fridge to pick at the leftovers on one of her show on Food Network many moons ago. I know it’s staged and I didn’t care. I loved the that touch of reality on a cooking show. When I make too much frosting, you bet your ass I’m sneaking in the fridge to scoop out a little bit for a nosh later on.

To be honest, I don’t go gaga over all of her recipes. I have cookbooks from her that I’ve used maybe 2 recipes from, if any. (I use her sour cream chocolate cake recipe from How to be a Domestic Goddess so often that the pages are stuck together with butter and cocoa and have to be torn apart each and every time.) But I will buy the cookbooks and watch her shows none-the-less because I love HER.

I love that she enjoys the cooking process. She finds beauty in drizzling a marinade over her steak or the browning of a pile of cherry tomatoes.
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She just enjoys what she’s doing. She’s not actually a chef but can cook any CIA-trained chef under the table because she knows what things tastes good in what combination and she just makes it happen.

I love that she is completely unapologetic. For example, the thing that prompted me to write this post was that I was watching Nigellissima and she said, “It does occur to me that this entire cheesecake is made out of ingredients that comes out of packets or jars. Should I be embarrassed, I’m not,” I used to be really anti-packaged foods in my baking, but then I thought that if it makes my final product abso-fucking-lutely delicious, then why should it matter than Duncan Heinz helped out? It shouldn’t. And hearing Nigella say it just cements it.

I love that she is not a super-skinny celeb but doesn’t hide it, either. She just dresses to her body and looks a-mazing. I wish I could do that. Nigella (and my sister) have this insane ability to just throw on a bright red dress and look absolutely fabulous.
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I feel like I throw on a bright red dress and I look like someone tried to put Barbie’s evening gown on a cabbage patch kid. But maybe that’s the thing. They feel fabulous, so they look fabulous. I feel like I look like a hot mess, so I look like a hot mess.

“The joys of food are so great that I really do believe that those who cannot allow themselves to wallow in them have lesser lives. Of course, they have lesser dress sizes, too, and I can see that the trade-off works for many. It just doesn’t for me – or not that way around.” I’ve heard her say many things like this. I love it. I could totally drop those last 10lbs and run a little faster if I cleaned up my diet, but it’s just not worth it for me.

The accent doesn’t hurt, either.

*She is brutally attractive but I don’t swing that way (but maybe…) Really more like I want to be her or be like her or just be besties and sit in a cafe in Florence sipping on latte and eating cannoli with her.

Getting to New Orleans

For random blog fodder, I took notes during my adventure to get to New Orleans. This is what the notes combined to form. Enjoy the ramblings.

The Wednesday before heading to New Orleans I got everything packed and ready. Early, I know, but I also know that I forget things. The extra day should have given me plenty of time to remember the stuff I forgot to pack. At least that’s my logic.

That worked pretty well as I was able to remember at least a dozen things before Thursday night. I had a 3:40AM alarm with all my stuff by the door, including clothes and toothbrush, so I could literally roll out of bed and out the door to go pick up Christina and get to Westchester County Airport for our 6AM flight to New Orleans via Charlotte. Here is how all that panned out.

9:30PM: I crawled into bed to try to sleep. By some miracle, I did.

10:30PM: I was awoken by the end of Mind of a Chef. Mr. Frosting had fallen asleep while watching it. I scrounged for the remote and turned off the TV to try to fall asleep again.

11:30PM: I was awoken by the sound of Xs door opening. Then a splashing followed by a gaggy sound. He was puking. Went into the bathroom to see that he had not puked in the toilet.

Me- Where did you throw up?

X- I don’t know.

Me- Did you throw up?

X- I don’t know.

Me- Well this has been a productive discussion. Go stand next to the potty.

I started to head back toward his room to find the puke trail. And then I stepped in it. He had thrown up in the doorway- thankfully on the tile.  I woke up Mr. Frosting up so he could help me out. X was kind of in a stupor and upset and I didn’t want to wrangle him and try to clean up the vom. So while I cleaned him up,  the hubby cleaned the floor. I tucked X back in and then tucked me back in.

12:30AM: I had almost fallen asleep when I was snapped back out of it by X’s door opening again. “I threw up in my bed.” Great. Mr. Frosting was kind enough to go handle it so I could sleep and maybe not further expose myself to whatever pathogen was wreaking havoc on my kid.

2:30AM: I woke up again. Because why not? It’s not like I had to drive an hour to somewhere I’m not familiar with in a few short hours.

3:18AM: I woke up 22 minutes ahead of alarm. Oh well. Let’s get this show on the road.

On the 6AM flight to Charlotte, there was a priest sitting behind me. Actually, I found out that he was a bishop. He wouldn’t shut up talking to an elderly black woman. She was apparently heading to Charlotte for her dear cousin’s funeral. I had to hear all about the churches that she goes to and where he preaches and how god told him to buy gifts for all the mothers in his congregation on Mother’s Day. I was trying my damnedest to just read my book (I was finishing up Terry Pratchett’s The Color of Magic for the umpteenth time) but dude just had one of those voices that you can’t help but hearing. Side effect of being a preacher man? I dunno. He drove me more than a little batty, especially when he began asking the holy spirit to raise the wings when we started hitting some turbulence. (For the record: it didn’t work.)

To make matters more annoying, the dude sitting next to me was blaring Nickelback from his iPhone loud enough for me to hear. Note to self: Ear plugs.

After what felt like the longest flight in history, we landed in Charlotte and I was able to get some food and coffee in my system. Huzzah for the Starbucks barista!

Charlotte to New Orleans was pretty much standard. I had finished the Pratchett novel and picked up Jonathan Maberry’s Fall of Night- a zombie novel in which a pathogen was engineered to torture murderers and rapists but accidentally made zombies instead. My brain took that and ran with it to drive me to think about Guillermo Del Toro’s The Strain in which there is an infestation of parasite-spread vampirism. The outbreak comes to New York via an airplane.  I hadn’t been on a plane since reading this book. I was very tempted to double check with the flight crew as to whether or not there were any large, unexplained boxes of dirt that may or may not contain the slumbering body of the vampire Master.

Pardon me, but are you sure there isn’t one of these under the plane?

 

Given the heightened flight security in this post-9/11 world, I thought that might cause a bit of a panic. Or cause me to be duct taped to a seat in the back of the plane. I kept my paranoia to myself.

We landed safely in New Orleans and, as far as I know, vampire-free.

End of ramble.

Oh, and for the record, I wrote this while home sick with whatever stomach flu thing that X had. Whoopee!

 

Rock ‘n’ Roll New Orleans Half Marathon Recap

There will be so much more to recapping the adventure that was the Running Mamas annual getaway than just the race, but first things first. The Race. This year’s destination race selection was the Rock ‘n’ Roll New Orleans Half Marathon. It would be hard to beat the epic-ness of the first getaway to the Walt Disney World Half Marathon, but what better place to try than in the Big Easy?

Tiffany and Hannah arrived in New Orleans on Thursday and Christina and I joined the party Friday morning. Pretty much as soon as we got down there and got food in our stomachs, we all headed to the expo. Packet pick-up went very smoothly, probably because it was day 1 of the two-day expo and not as many people were there as would be on Saturday. We got our bibs, timing tags, safety pins, drawstring bags, and tech tees in no time. The only part that caused a little bit of confusion was my corral change.

We registered for this race in April, I think. That was a long time ago in training years. My last half marathon time at that point was 2:42, so accounting for increased temperature and humidity and crowdedness of a really large event like a Rock ‘n’ Roll race, I approximated a 2:45 finish time. That put me in corral 16. By the time this race rolled around, my previous two halves had been 2:30 and 2:36 (approximate. I don’t feel like looking that up.) Those times should put me in corral 13. With an alleged 5 minutes between corrals start times, I would have ended up way way way behind the rest of the Mamas that were in 13 and earlier. So I asked to change my corral and the packet lady told me to go to registration services. I waited on line there only to be told that I needed to go the Corral Change table. Duh. But once I was at the correct table, it was a matter of the nice woman slapping a ’13’ sticker on my bib. Done.

Supercool overly dark hotel room packet pick-up pic

Supercool overly dark hotel room packet pick-up pic

The expo had a little bit of everything. Bondi Bands, Gu, Brooks, Altra, even the New York Times. (I don’t know why the NYT was there, either.) I picked up a new race belt from Fitletic to carry my stupid inhaler. I also got 2 new Sweaty Bands: American flag patterned and purple ribbons for pancreatic cancer awareness. IMG_1657

 

Saturday night, we all went to the neighborhood Walgreens to buy some throwaway sweatshirts to wear at the freezing cold starting line. Along with every other racer in the French Quarter. Oh, did I not mention that it was friggin’ freezing in Lousiana? Rain, wind, and 40 degree weather. Yeah. So much for a nice escape from winter.

Sunday morning, we were all very grateful for the $5.88 cotton hoodies that we dug up. It was quite windy and Christina and I had to wait 20-30 minutes before our corral would start. But then it did and the hoodies got ditched on the side of course and the cold all of sudden was nowhere near being an issue.


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Christina got ahead of me pretty early on since she runs straight and I was doing a 90:30 run-walk. (You can find her take on the race here) I was really proud of myself for not going out too fast. My first mile split was 10:26. Maybe this time I wouldn’t burn out halfway through.

The course was super flat and so well-supported. There were water/Gatorade stations and Gu stations and so many spectators with some hilarious signs. One that cracked me up said, “Hey, you seem to have stamina. Call me.”  Extra bonus: I did not hear one single misplaced “You’re almost there.”

We ran up from the CBD to Tulane University, then back down into the French Quarter (right passed Cafe Du Monde, which was a horrible tease) and then up into New Orleans City Park. I may be partial since I LOVE New Orleans, but was it all so beautiful with bands and music all along the route. Ok, except one little area when we got near the highway overpass. That was a not-so-pretty area and the fumes from the traffic almost made my lungs want to give out. Stupid inhaler helped me out with that one.

I was feeling awesome. I wasn’t hitting that “Can this be over” moment. Until the last 0.1 miles It totally looked like were going to finish at the art museum and then the course kept going. It was like Epcot all over again where you knew the end had to be somewhere but you just couldn’t see where that end might be. At that point I was just frustrated. But then I heard Tiffany and Hannah yelling to me from the sidelines and I was so happy that they hung around even though they finished a million years earlier.

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Hannah even got this shot of me at the end. Thanks, Hannah!

 

I FINALLY crossed the finish line at 2:28:21 (unofficial.) No stops.  No potty breaks. So guess what that meant. I met my goal! I finally got in under 2:30!!! Yahoo!IMG_1697

The finish line had bananas and water, of course, but PowerBar was there giving out bars and I think Gatorade or PowerAde or someone was handing out sport drinks. My personal favorite was the chocolate milk! Fat-free, no less, so I was able to drink it without worries that my stomach would rebel against the milk fat.IMG_1694And then, of course, there was the medal.IMG_1692It is sparkly and heavy and spiffy. :) Full marathoners got a jacket, too. I’m a little jealous of that. One day, maybe.

All 4 Running Mamas were reunited and heading back to the hotel in no time. There were shuttle buses to take everyone back to the French Quarter, too. The shuttles were nicely organized and we didn’t have to wait very long at all. I heard people complain that the bus smelled, but being an OCR junkie, I’m quite used to shuttle buses that smell much, much worse.

All in all, I thought it was a fabulous race. And then there was the timing issue.

My chip never registered that I crossed the starting line. My time was now at the mercy of the the first gun time. My official time is around 2:58. They say they are fixing it, but it hasn’t been updated on the results page yet so I’m a bit pissypants on that count. And it wasn’t just my chip that didn’t read. Of the 4 of us, 1 chip missed a couple of the split reads, mine missed the 5K and 10-mile split in addition to the start, and another just failed to read anything! Awesome. Grrr.

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Beignets at Cafe Du Monde made it all better, though.

 

***UPDATE 04Feb2015***

Rock ‘n’ Roll fixed my time! Yay! New Picture

My Year in Running – 2014

Last year, I linked up with Shoelaces and Bibs for a My Year In Running 2013 post. Being the last day of 2014 and seeing as I should probably try to concentrate on my accomplishments this year rather than wallowing in my failures, I’ll do a re-write for this year.

2014 was a doozy of race year for sure.

1. My main goal for this 2014 was:

To complete a half marathon. Finished that one up within the first 2 weeks of 2014 with the Walt Disney World Half Marathon.

2. My Running Shoes:

  • Road runs – Still in Altra Intuition 1.5. I’m scared to death of the Intuition 2.0s that came out this year because they felt extra cushion-y when I tried them on. Mr. Frosting just bought me a pair of Altra’s The One 2. They have less cushioning than Intuition, so they may be my short run shoe now.
  • OCRs/trail – I’m still wearing Inov-8 X-Talon 190 for the really muddy and/or harsh terrain. Altra Lone Peaks work well for drier terrain and get ate by the really deep mud, as I learned at the Dirty Girl Mud Run.

3. Favorite running gear item of 2014:

I don’t think I have any favorite gear for this year. This year brought Yurbuds into my life and those have been great. My regular iPod earbuds stopped cutting the mustard during Lap4Life when they fell out of my years and sweat kept them from going back in.

4. Playlist screenshot:

umm… still a dork listening to books. I also listened to podcasts. Serial was a serious addiction, but mostly my runs were being voiced over by Neil DeGrasse Tyson on StarTalk Radio.

5. Number of races: Break it down:
5k – 6 (including 5Kish Vintage Runs)

4Mile – 1

8K – 1

10k – 1

Marathon Relay – 1

Half Marathon – 4

OCR/mud runs – 6

Virtual Runs – 15

6. Most difficult race & why:

I think it was actually that damned 8K. I don’t think I have ever wanted to stop so badly in my entire running career. The course itself wasn’t particularly difficult- hilly, for sure- but it was the heat that was beyond brutal.

7. Favorite fun run:

This is a tough one. Tough Mudder was a blast. Savage Race was a near-perfect example of what a fun mud run should be. The final verdict: The Dirty Girl Mud Run. I don’t think I ever laughed so much in my entire life.

8. Favorite course:

I should probably say the Walt Disney World Half. I mean, it was in the Most Magical Place on Earth, for Flying Spaghetti Monster’s sake. We ran through the Magic Kingdom and Epcot. Does it get much better than running through Epcot?  Although running through theme parks was fun, we ran- in Florida humidity- through a lot of highway and parking lot, too. Those parts were bo-ring.

The Frozen Bonsai was in Central Park- the architecture, the horse-drawn carriages, the wackadoodle people that inhabit the island of Manhattan… Even though we did 2 loops of the same route, it never felt like I was passing the same scenery. Plus, there was only 1 real hill and the weather was beautiful.

9. Race I want to do again next year:

Frozen Bonsai. I know I can do that one much faster than I did. There are actually a lot that I want to repeat, but after 20 races this year, I seriously need to cut back. My budget demands it.

10. Best bling/shirt from a race:

Disney had Donald Duck on it! It wins! But check out all this bling!

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Donald! Surftown was pretty spiffy, too!

obstacle, mud, and zombies

obstacle, mud, and zombies

Virtual run medals (minus 2 that haven't come in yet)

Virtual run medals (minus 2 that haven’t come in yet)

11. PR/PB:

5K in 29:46 at the Maybrook Autumn Classic.

Half in 2:30:45 at Surftown

Spartan Sprint in 2:17:38. The fastest time and pace of any of the Spartan Sprints.

12. Longest run:

According to iSmoothRun, 13.6 Miles, but that was during half marathons.

13. Out of state runs:

4 in Pennsylvania, 1 in Connecticut, 1 in Rhode Island, and 1 in Florida.

14. Total miles ran:

422 according to my Excel spreadsheet of training runs and races, 433 according to MapMyRun. I may need to do an audit, there.

15. Favorite motivational/inspirational quote of 2014:

Not so much running motivation or inspiration.Thigh gaps are for flamingos. Eat a cupcake. You'll survive. (Promise) It might actually be counter-motivational, but you know what? There’s more to life than running, Crossfit, Insanity, P90X, whatever. Live. Have fun.

16. Lessons I’ve learned:

I don’t have speed, but I do have endurance. I can finish. It may not be fast. I may be one of the last people to cross the finish, but I will finish.

17. Injuries I battled and overcame:

I’ve been serious injury-free. Random pains during and after runs or races and gnarly blisters on the tips of my toes were pretty much my only problems. I did get my very first black toenail.

 

18. 3-5 Most inspiring people: List their blog, twitter or instagram-wherever you follow them:

My 3 most inspiring people are the 3 other Running Mamas. Christina at The Table Still Has Shoes, Tiffany at Mama on the Run, and Hannah (the only one of us not crazy enough to try to add blogging onto training, working, and mom-ing.)

Even when I go into a complete shame spiral, they drag me out. I’m pretty sure there is no way in hell they’d let me NOT do that 2016 marathon.

19. Favorite place on social media to connect with runners:

Facebook. I’m a loser and it’s the only way I manage to connect with anything lately.

20. 2 goals for next year:

  1. Get my shit in gear and start training for a full marathon.
  2. Spartan Trifecta within the Tri-State area.

The Failure

Be warned: there will be a lot of fowl language involved in this post, along with a lot of self-pity and defeatism.

Today, I had a 14 mile run planned. I hydrated well yesterday. I laid out my cold weather running gear. It was only supposed to be around 30 degrees during my run time. I ate some yogurt and granola for breakfast and grabbed a chocolate Honey Stinger Waffle to eat right before starting the run. I filled my handheld water bottle with strawberry lemonade Nuun and tucked some Supercandy Gummies and my inhaler in the pouch. I dropped the kiddo off with the sitter and started heading to the Orange Heritage Trail in nearby Goshen. I timed everything so that I could drive the 15-20 minutes to the trail, run 14 miles at a slow pace, then get back to the sitter in time for her to go somewhere she needed to be.

A fucking hour later I was still driving around Goshen unable to find the goddamned trailhead. I’d fucking been there before- Kathryn’s part of the Hambletonian relay was on that trail. I’d seen the trailhead when I went to packet pick-up. I could not for the life of me find it again. I had the gps on my phone giving me directions that I gave up on. I used a bunch of different direction options. I parked at least 5 times to look at the map. I could see the trail on the map but could see it anywhere in the real world.

I said, “Fuck this shit,” out loud, way more times in that timespan than in my entire life, but I kept looking because I needed this run. I finally gave up for real and started to head back to the much shorter Walden-Wallkill Rail Trail. I wouldn’t have time for the long run I’d wanted but I’d get at least 5.5 in. But goddamn it, I just got so damned pissed at myself for not being able to find the trail that I was doing that Brad Pitt in Seven type angry cry. I got to the intersection where Left meant I was going to the Trail and Right meant I was going home. I was in the left turn lane behind a tractor-trailer. The light was red. 15 Seconds into the stop, I spun the wheel and headed home. I was way too riled up. I could feel my airway getting all mucus-filled. This would have been the shittiest ever. Home. Cry. Shower. Cry. Blog. Oh, and then I found that my Nuun had leaked all over the front seat of my car and on my bag. Fucking amazing.

I feel like a giant failure. At this point in the year, I was supposed to be doing 13.1+ mile runs at least every other weekend and 2-3 30-45 minute runs during the week. Do you know how much I’ve run since the Frozen Bonsai? 6.2 Miles. That’s it.  I’ve got the New Orleans Rock and Roll Half in less than a month. Have I stuck with any kind of training plan whatsoever? Nope. It’s been months since I’ve had even a week of proper training. My gym membership is currently a waste of $29.99 per month.

I’m pathetic. And I thought that I could actually train for a marathon? Really? I can’t even find a trail! What am I thinking?! I can’t do the Disney Marathon in 2016. At the rate I’m going, I’d be on that course for 7+ hours and hobble, feebly over the finish line, if I even make it that far. I told myself that I needed to have 13.1 miles be my ‘easy long run’ by this time in order to even think about registering for Disney 2016. That’s shot to shit.

I don’t think that I have the drive and stick-to-it-ness to do this training. I can’t get my shit in gear to actually get runs in when I need to. I give up when I can’t find the damned trailhead. I could have easily headed to the other trail. I could be out getting in a short run, at least, in my neighborhood. Nope. I’m not. I’m crying over a poor sense of direction, instead. Good job, Nicole. Good job.

Rant post done.

Sorry.

Frozen Bonsai Half Marathon

I’m sorry I’m so bad at this keeping-up-to-date-on-my-blog thing. Just your typical end-of-year holidays nonsense, plus the craziness that ensues at work come December with the additional fabulousness that comes with moving a friggin’ lab- all the fun of moving to a new house, but with the added benefit of super-sensitive, obscenely expensive robots and DNA sequencers!

Race recap time.

I skipped the Santa Sprint 5K fun run that I was supposed to do. (This is a bad trend, I know.) It was cold and rainy and X was going to be in the jogging stroller for this one. Nope. Used the time to go Christmas shopping instead. That was an easy recap.

I DID NOT SKIP the Frozen Bonsai Half Marathon, even though Jay and I wanted nothing more than to stay at home, drink a bottle (or 2) of wine, and watch a Firefly marathon instead. Hmm.. Now that I think about it, that would be a half marathon because there were only 14 episodes of that show. See? It would have been fine.

We got there with what we thought was plenty of time to spare before the 9am start since Jay was able to pick up our packets at Jack Rabbit Friday night on his way back from dropping off X at my in-laws’ in Brooklyn for the weekend. Buuut then we both had to pee. The line for the portapotties was a bazillion people long. It wrapped around the entire registration area. NYC Runs is pretty good at this whole race organization thing, though, so they had volunteers guiding people to the open potties and hustling everyone along. The line actually moved fairly quickly while the emcee was announcing that the race would start in just minutes.

We ran to the start line just in time for the gun to off.

Since my training had fallen to the wayside for a while, I had no idea what run/walk ratio to use for this run. Being kind of rushed, I ended up using the same ratio I had been using for my previous short run- 90 second run and 30 second walk. Unlike other some previous races, I started the intervals right away. I had gotten into the not-so-good habit of skipping the early walks and going out too fast, leaving me to start bonking by mile 6.
So run, walk, run, walk, run walk, holy crap I started sweating balls in the layers of clothes I was wearing.

Note to self: 39 degrees isn’t actually cold when you are running.

So run, walk, run, strip off jacket, run while holding jacket, tie jacket, run, walk, run….

Central Park is a gorgeous place to run. I’m always jealous of my city friends who can run there all the time. Horse-drawn carriages, interesting characters to people-watch, crazy-awesome architecture… It’s just so.. so… nice. (Except the horse poop. Mind the horse poop if you ever run this.) Being up in the rural end of the ‘burbs sucks for running. No sidewalks, no populated trails, just you, the bears, and the no one to hear you scream when the bear is eating you. But I digress.

I felt great for a very nice chunk of this run. I wasn’t tiring. I wasn’t hitting that point of “what the fuck am I doing here? Why did I decide to do this? Can this be over now.” I was sure that I could beat my Surftown time. That was all ruined about 1 mile after passing the 6.5 mile portapotty. Then the 12hr stomach bug that my son had on Thursday found a nice little spot in my intestines to set up camp. It is quite difficult to run when you are doing all you can to make sure that your pre-race fuel and in-race snacks don’t try to make an encore appearance in any way, shape, or form. <For the record: I am not a vomiter. I have vomited maybe 3 times in the last 8 years. You can probably now figure out which way my peanut butter and jelly on wheat was trying to escape.>

One would think that if I was willing to give up some time and run a little off course to find a potty, I could find one in the middle of one of the biggest tourist destinations in the world. One would be wrong. I couldn’t find a potty until after the 10 mile mark.  All the while I was losing steam and starting to feel the weakness and exhaustion that X had all day Thursday. Oh, and in the middle of this was the hill that my husband lovingly refers to as “Asshole Hill.” It isn’t all that steep, but it’s just a whole lot of up, flatten for a second, up some more, oh and then up again. I may or may not have walked for 2 or 3 run/walk cycles.

But even through this, my pace stayed below 11min/mile so I thought that, once I was relieved, I would pick the pace up and still maybe be able to muster the 2:30 time that I was looking for. Nope. After using a less than solidly positioned potty, the exhaustion stuck around for the whole rest of the day. I came in at 2:36:46.

Not my best time, but definitely not my worst. I actually see it as a pretty good time seeing as I was feeling like someone had replaced my innards with packing peanuts soaked in sriracha.

Extra good stuff: No knee, shin, or calf pain afterwards! I was even able to run a little extra with my son after the race. I may be getting better at this running thing.

Have you had a ‘code brown’ experience while running?

What do you think of those people who can pee/poop/whatever on the move? (If you are one of those people, I both admire and am disgusted by you. Sorry?)