Wednesday, March 21, 2012

In which we ran for their lives: a race recap almost as long as the actual race

When I made non-refundable arrangements for Larry and I to run the half marathon in DC, I worried. I worried that one of us would get sick, that the kids would get sick, that I'd get injured. I held my breath and doubled up on vitamin C until the very last day before we were supposed to leave.

"What are the odds of it happening twice?" I'd joke whenever I talked to my friends about my plans and my less than stellar track record.

The odds were apparently pretty good. Because as soon as I began packing Thursday evening, Dani spiked a fever. A fever that needed to be gone by Friday morning in order to leave her with my sister as planned. Being the laid back and easy going gal that I am, I promptly commenced freaking the freak out. I'll skip the part about how I couldn't sleep AT ALL Thursday night, how I tried to get myself to calm down and breathe deep and pray and count backwards from a thousand, but how my brain and stomach conspired against me with a hells no and a when life hands you lemons, we make an ulcer.

I checked her temperature every hour, all night. The poor girl probably had nightmares about bugs crawling in her ears or being probed by aliens. Don't worry, little one, it's just your mother being neurotic again. Go back to sleep, darling.

The amazing thing was, her fever was gone by midnight and she woke up feeling great. Which is more than you can say for me. (See above re: neurotic lady sabotages pre-race sleep with pointless anxiety).

So, as it turns out, I made it to the starting line on Saturday. (Adjust the headphones and cue the angels.)

It was crazy crowded, but we miraculously managed to meet up pre-race with a few of our wonderful friends and Run for their Lives team members -- Dale, Sue, and James. My brother Aaron ran the half marathon too, but I didn't find him until after the race. (And after he'd beaten me by two minutes. Stink!)

The course was amazing, the crowds were great, and the music was rockin'. But did I appreciate any of it? Nope. No. Non. Nein. Why, you might ask? Because I was too busy looking at my watch, feeling fatigued, wondering why it felt SO. MUCH. HARDER. than the last time I ran a half marathon.

Runner's high? Yeah, notsomuch. Muscle cramping? Oh yes, indeed, with a side of stitches. I skipped my Shuffle back to Eminem's "Not Afraid" on at least four occasions--apparently because I wanted to completely and forever ruin my favorite inspirational running song. I also overdid Kelly Clarkson's "Stronger (What Doesn't Kill You)". Footsteps even lighter? This is clearly not a song about running. Because what doesn't kill you doesn't make you step lighter or stand taller. It makes you pass out, double over, hobble, limp, or curse yourself in languages you didn't know you knew for voluntarily agreeing to this torture.

What I didn't realize was how much the warmer temperature would impact me. You see, I've been training in 30 degree weather, which makes me pretty badass in an Eskimo sort of way, but is no help whatsoever when it comes to running nearly two hours while the sun beats the heck out of you. It was (to use the very precise temperature) too damn hot.

Anyway, I've concluded that the only reason I felt great during my first half marathon last year in Cleveland was because (a) it was a perfect cloudy 58 degrees and (b) I wasn't trying hard enough.

Speaking of trying hard enough, I can safely say I gave it everything I had, as evidenced by bonking in the last tenth of a mile and having to slow to a crawl/jog to make it to the finish. And as evidenced by a new PR of 1:47:10. Now, about that cheeseburger and chocolate shake? Because what doesn't kill you makes you hungry.

But let's jump back to around mile 10, where my husband was on his way to completing his first half marathon right on goal pace when a runner passed out in front of him. So off came his runner hat and on went his emergency physician hat. Nothing like a bit of emergent care practice in the middle of a race to make things exciting. He stayed through the hand-off to the EMTs, and resumed his race about 15 minutes later. So what did you do this weekend? Oh nothing much, just ran a half marathon, saved a guy's life, and advocated for victims of human trafficking. Stinkin' overachiever.

But seriously, and I know I sound like Corny McCheeserton right now, but that guy is my hero. I'm so, so proud of him for all that he did--finding time to train in the midst of his rigorous work schedule, encouraging me to get the Run for their Lives initiative off the ground, running the race, and responding with a quick mind and caring heart to the needs right in front of him.

Speaking of the Run for their Lives initiative, I am thrilled to announce that as of race day, we've collectively raised $1000 in direct support of Love146 and the fight against child exploitation! And we're not done yet. I'm not sure what shape our awareness and fund raising efforts will take next, but we're going to keep running with it, hopefully for the long haul.

And now, a few race photos (a.k.a. the anti-glamor shot) of our DC Run for their Lives team. Thanks to Danielle and Laura for the pictures and course support, and to Aaron, James, Sue, Dale and Larry for tackling this event with me. You're the best!

My brother (who I vow to beat next time) and me post-race

Top Left Photo, L to R: James, Sue & Dale; Bottom Right Photo: L to R: Larry, Me, James

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Catching Up

Well, we've entered that exciting and slightly terrifying zone when the 10-day weather forecast includes a high and low for our much anticipated race day. That zone where even the smallest things remind me just how close we are to the starting line--like that gallon of milk in the fridge that doesn't expire until two days after the race. Or the library due date that crops up the day before.

I put off my last long run until today so I could run outside without requiring a parka and snow shoes. It has barely snowed this year compared to most northeast Ohio seasons, but when it does snow? It's always, always on the one day I planned a long outdoor run. And it's usually accompanied by gale force winds. This is of course all part of the joy of training for a spring half marathon while living in Ohio. Today there are gale force winds; but the temps are above freezing and the skies are clear, so it's now or never.

The good news is that I've generally kept up with the half marathon training plan. The bad news is I have completely dropped the ball on posting over here at Run for their Lives. I've written at least a half dozen posts in my head while enduring the dreadmill, but the telepathic app on my iPhone still isn't working properly, so these posts (which are absolutely brilliant, by the way) never see the light of day.

In lieu of any legitimate writing here, please allow me to share a few links and updates with you:

  • This week Jade Keller is writing an eye-opening series on modern slavery. Please follow along with her this week as she shares what she's learned while working in Thailand.
  • Over on Dailymile, several of us have completed our 146 mile challenge, and dozens more are well on their way.  I know I keep saying this, but it's not too late to get started. So go! Get started! 
  • I'm very excited to report that through our efforts at Run for their Lives we've raised a total of $755 for Love146 and the fight against child exploitation! But we don't have to stop there. There's still plenty of time to donate or to use the site to garner donations in support of your race. Please feel free to share the link with friends and family who might be interested in supporting our cause as well. Thank you all SO MUCH for your efforts both in spreading the word about this issue as well as your generous donations. 
Well, I've gotta run. Twelve miles to be exact. Here's hoping those gale force winds are at my back. (Also, can someone please remind me again why I do this? Oh yes, because I supposedly love it. As in really, no one is making me run 12 miles in cold, Mary Poppins-ish winds. I'm pretty sure people have been institutionalized for a smaller dose of crazy than this.)