Monday, April 30, 2012

The 16 Miles That Tried to Kill Me and A Funny Story

Sometimes I call my mom when I'm running. (I have a hands free ear piece). Since my mom lives back East, it's hard to call her before she goes to bed because of the time difference and the fact I get home so late after my runs. So when I'm running it’s my best opportunity to keep in touch.  
She asked me if Kris knew what my running route was that night. (Moms always worry you know. At least the good ones anyway. :) ) I told her I usually give Kris my route each day but if I ever forget we have apps on our phone that let's either one of us see where the other one is at any given time. I told her that Kris jokes that not only does it show where I am, but if he sees my little dot stop moving on the map and is in the same place for more than a few minutes, he knows to come get me! Ha ha.

Keep that in mind when I tell you about my 16 miler this Saturday. I don't know what it is with the 16 mile run. But I remember in my first marathon season, the 16 miler gave me a lot of trouble! I was in so much pain I just struggled and limped in. I finished but it was so hard I was afraid I wouldn't be able to handle the other long runs I still had to go over the next few weeks. But funny thing is, the longer runs were just fine. Running is funny that way.

Well, this Saturday I had my 16 miler to do (this time without the team) and I did not have a great run. I think I went out too fast or something. But by just mile 10 I was tired and getting sore already! By mile 12 I was in full-on pain and really wanted to stop. I shot Kris off a text to let him know I was slowing down and would likely walk the rest of it in. (Which is RARE for me. I hate walking more than my minute intervals).  
Like any great runner he immediately texted me back some encouragement. I especially appreciated: "Run what you can. It's only discomfort. It's only temporary. Think of the people you are running for. They don't have a choice. You do." He knows just what I need to hear. And that got me back to 'shuffling' best I could. 
I told myself this is like being at mile 22 in the marathon and I need to practice my mental toughness. So there is no whining. I need to figure out how to get my head on board and get through this. It's only pain. Deal.

My feet were screaming, "Get off us already!!!!" My hamstrings said, "Yeah. Can we please just sit down now? This really hurts." My heart reply, "What's wrong with you guys? I'm doing fine you wimps!" (I think my hamstrings flipped my heart off then. But since they are behind me and under my (ahem) generous backside, I couldn't see them to be sure). 

So I just kept going and tried to talk my brain into shutting off its pain receptors.

I got another encouraging text from Kris which included the phrase, "The faster you run the faster you're done." Ha ha! I was going at my top speed and the ducks in the park were still waddling faster than I was. I didn't text him back because I was at that point where I just had to get in. I had no energy to spend on anything else. 
I think I passed out because all of a sudden I was turning the last corner back into my neighborhood and I couldn't remember the last two miles. Good old muscle memory knew the way home! Thank goodness!
So I ‘run’ up to our porch and let out a big “Whoop!” I was so relieved to be in!
I wanted to stretch really well before I went in the house. So I hung out on the porch stretching and cooling down. My phone rang and I saw it was Kris. I grinned because he must have seen me on the porch and was wondering why I wasn’t coming in yet. 

“Where are you?” Kris sounded concerned.

“I’m on the porch! Where are you?”

“I’m on McCoy.”

“McCoy?! That’s like a mile away from here.”


“What are you doing on McCoy?”

“You didn’t answer my last text and I saw that your dot on the map hadn’t moved for like five minutes. I thought I better go check on you.”

My God my husband loves me. When he saw my dot wasn’t moving, he grabbed the dog and went to get me on foot. 

Why didn’t he take the car?  When he thought I had reached the end of my rope and sat down in defeat, he knew I didn’t need a ride home. He has so much faith in me that he knew I could come in on my own two feet. All I needed was for him and Heather to come by and remind me that I could. 

He’s amazing! Let me tell you, when I do my first ultra, I want him as my late-race pacer! 

I love you Kris! You are the best!

When Kris hung up the phone from me, he checked the app again, and my little purple dot had moved and was now right in front of our house! D'uoh!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Long Training Run Dedication

This is dedicated to my long training run that I completed today....ok, barely completed. But I did complete it! Only four more to go until Taper Town! :)

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

A Guest Post From My Dog Heather

The following is a guest post from my dog Heather about running with her pack. 

So as I posted on my Facebook page awhile back, Dad and I were out for a run when these two poorly trained dogs came after us. 

There we were minding our own business running back home from the airport with a scant two miles left to go. We turned a corner and saw a guy with two loose dogs up on the corner. 
At first, they didn’t look like trouble but Dad crossed us to the other side of the street anyway. (I have learned that Dad does not trust loose dogs). I kept an eye on them as we jogged up the street. I saw exactly when the big German Shepard saw us. She instantly went into confrontation mode. I saw her lock her focus and she started barreling across the street. Her sister followed her (like any good pack member should). I felt Dad drop my leash which is the signal to prepare for action.  

You should have seen Dad! He fought pretty good for a human. He ran toward the head dog. He kicked and punched at the German Shepard and barked his head off! It seemed he was barking more at the owner than the dog. But you could tell he was barking him some hell!

Dad never used his teeth to send warning bites to the Shepard. But I noticed humans rarely do. I wonder why they never use that effective tool. Maybe it’s because they have such small mouths. Humans’ teeth don’t stick out. So it’s harder to get a good hold with them.  

Anyway, I was fighting right along side Dad. We were really going at it. The Shepard was the main fighter of the pack. Her sister didn’t do much more than show fight. So she wasn’t too much of an issue. 
Their owner ambled his way over to us. I noticed he didn’t bark at all or take charge of his pack either. I’m glad he’s not my pack leader. He got around to pulling the German Shepard away and when he did, her sister instantly backed off. 

Since they weren’t fighting us anymore, I just stepped back and chilled. But I kept an eye on that Shepard. I kept my ears pointed forward and positioned my tail so she’d know I was ready to jump in again if she started anything. 

Dad was still barking his head off at the owner. The owner was pretty quiet. Didn’t bark at all. He put his dogs in his car and came back to talk to Dad. Dad was barking less now. Really he was just huffing a bit. Still angry. 

Dad checked me out all over. But I was fine. I just had a bunch of dog spit all over my fur but no bites. I move pretty quick and the dogs weren’t actively biting they were just vying for dominance. But Dad must have got too close to a mouth because his hand was bleeding. I could see a surface bite. He’d be ok but he was pissed!

I NEVER start fights because dogs of good breeding just don’t do that. But I never let any dog bully me either. A girl’s always got to stand up for herself and her pack. Always. Besides, it keeps your fighting skills sharp. Which was a good thing too as barely a week later we had another run in. 
This time I was with Mom. We were running one of our regular routes at night. We came around a corner and saw some guys leaving a building across the street. A big doberman followed one of the guys out of the building and ran right to the curb to smell a tree. 

Mom saw him before he saw us. She stopped immediately and he looked up and spotted us. He instantly started growling. He was so dark he looked like a shadow. And he was growling LOUD. 

I looked at Mom to see if we were going to throw down or what. Mom had the leash pulled straight up which means “Freeze until I tell you different.”

The doberman’s owner called to him twice but he didn’t listen. He was still growling and when he lowered his head I felt Mom loosen the grip on the leash. I knew she was about to drop it and you already know what that means. 

I got ready to rumble!

(Now I’ve never seen Mom fight, but I bet you anything she’s a biter!)

The doberman’s owner called him again, real sharp. And finally, he ran to his owner and left. Smart move. 

Mom and I continued our run like nothing happened. I know she was ready to fight for me and I’m sure she knows I was going to fight for her. Our pack’s tight like that. 

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Sunday, April 8, 2012

My Ass Is A Smart Ass!

 Toward the end of my run I was running into a headwind and feeling slow and heavy. At the point I was able to turn to where I had the wind to my back I was facing a slight hill. I thought, "Thank goodness I have a tailwind to push my fat ass up this hill!" My ass promptly responded, "Hey! If I was one of those little skinny asses, I wouldn't have enough muscle to push you even a mile let alone up this hill. So shut up." I responded, "Touche.....Tushie." :)

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Incredible Run And The Incredible-ness Had Nothing To Do With Running!

So I was up at 5am (ok I hit snooze until 5:20....ish) to get to SLO by 6:45 for the team run this Saturday.  We had to start 30 minutes earlier today because the SLO Full Marathon team was running their 20 miler today.  I was also running 14 miles when the highest mileage I have done so far this season was a 10 miler. That’s a big jump to go from 10 to 14. So we had added challenges to this weekend’s run. 

But it turned out to be the best run yet. And not even because I ran my best time or with the least amount of pain. Nope. It was because of the people I met out on the course. And it actually started before we got on the course!

We were standing in the park getting our last minute briefing from the team manager when a car drove by and stopped. The window rolled down and this guy started yelling at us. I turned to look and the guy had his arm out the window and was shaking it so we could see the sleeve of his sweatshirt. It said, “GO TEAM!”

He was yelling, “Go Team!!! Thank you! I’m a survivor! Thank you!” 

By this time he had gotten the attention of most of the athletes. So he kept going, “Thank you Team! I’m a survivor because of you! Thank you! Go Team!” Then he waved and drove on. 
Our team manager told us he was a survivor and had recently moved to the neighborhood. What a coincidence that he moved into the neighbor where we stage most of our training runs! I hope to see him again. What a great start to our long run! 

So we take off and one of my mentees (Katie) decides to run with me. I love running with Katie because she talks....constantly!!! Not only does she talk non-stop but she has a cute tamber to her speech that is naturally upbeat and that is great on a long run. Also, I don’t have to work to hard to keep the conversation going with her. Which is great because I’m trying hard just to keep breathing let alone talk! :) 

I knew running with Katie would cause me to go out at a pace too fast for me and I would be struggling toward the end. But I didn’t care. Not only is it nice to run with a partner, but as long as you’re not racing, it’s not the worse thing to struggle a bit at the end. Anything that adds difficultly to your training improves your training, (unless it causes injury of course. That doesn’t help anything!) 
So we headed toward AviIa Beach. We chatted about how crazy it seems to run from one town to another. But that’s how it is when you get to big miles in your training. You may be somewhere shopping or whatever and you suddenly realize that even though you are miles from home, you could run home if you had to. It’s pretty cool to know you can do that...on foot!

So we are still in SLO and I see this couple on their bikes. As they go by we wave and exchange “Good Morning”s. I tell Katie how I love the friendliness of the weekend morning athletes. People who get up at 0:dark:30 on a Saturday morning to workout instantly understand they share a rare commonality and an there is an automatic affinity there. 

Then at a couple spots on the course, I cross paths with Kris. That’s really fun to see each other as we run down a course. He always stops to give me a kiss which of course makes my day! 
Katie was running an 11 mile course. So she peeled off from me at mile eight to run the rest in on her own pace. Good thing too as I was really slowing down and the pain was starting to creep in. I had six more miles to go. Just a 10k. I could do this. But it was going to hurt a bit and take some mental grit. 
About a mile after running by myself, I was on the Bob Jones’ Trail just outside Avila Beach when I saw the biking couple again heading from Avila back toward SLO. I wondered if they would recognize me this far from where we first met and without Katie with me. Well I knew the lady did at least because as she passed me on her bike she yelled, “Hang in there! You can do it!” 

“Thank you so much!” I answered. 

I wish she could know how much she helped me by just that short comment. 

I made it to the end of the Bob Jone’s trail and started up the mild hill toward the resort. I saw a couple of women jogging down the hill toward me. So I veered to the right to get out of their way and one of the women changed her direction and started running right toward me. Weird. But OK. 

I turned my face toward her and started to say “Good Morning” when she raised her hand and asked, “Can I get a ‘high five’?” I thought why does she need a high five from me? She’s the one who looks like she’s marathon ready 365 days of the year, not me. But I responded, “Hell yes!” 
She high fived me and said, “Thank you! I’m a survivor.” 
OMG! She was already passed me but I shouted, “Thank you so much! That is AWESOME!” over my shoulder. 

Again, I was disappointed to know that person who cared enough to give me a little encouragement will never know how much that helped me!

Fast forward to mile 13 of my 14 mile run. I was coming back from the pier with only one mile to go. I saw a group of five people walking toward me walking a super cute little fluffy dog. I NEEDED a hug from that little dog to make it in the last mile. I was tired, sore and ready to stop! 

As they approached, I asked in my nicest possible voice, “May I please say ‘hello’ to your dog?”

“Of course!” the kind lady said.

Luckily, when I squatted down to pet the dog, I managed to hold back a groan. I was sore! :) 

“How far are you going today?”

“14 miles.”

Gasps from everyone in the group.

“But I’m almost in. Just about one mile to go.”

“Good job!”


“That’s great!”

“I’m impressed!” 

They were all so nice and shared kind words. I told them thank you for the encouragement and the doggy hugs. I was sure I could make it in the last mile now. they sent me on my way with more words of encouragement and I did indeed make it in the last mile! 

By the time the route was done, I had used up the last morsel of my physical and mental endurance, which means I pushed myself just the right amount! Outside of a TNT Event, I have never had a run where I had had so much encouragement, especially from the exact people I am running for! That made all the difference! 

It was an incredible run!