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Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Spectating Houston, part 2

We last left off with me drifting off to sleep in my hotel. One thing about Club Quarters, should you plan to stay before a race in the future: it is LOUD. Totally uninsulated, and street noises are blaring in your ear the whole day. I'd recommend ear plugs if you are racing! So after a rather disrupted night, I got up at six, and by 6:30 the gals and I were walking to a coffee shop near mile 1. We grabbed coffee, and were just in time to catch every single member of our team go by! It was a rush to see the elites pass, including Molly Huddle loping toward the American record, and also a thrill to watch our fastest guy, Rich, up in the thick of things. Next came Casey, running his first marathon and hoping for a sub-2:40, and then the guys were coming up fast - Paul; Tom, Wayne, and Paige, all working together; Jimi with Mike and Jeff (this would have been my pace group, and I wondered if I'd feel a little sad seeing them go by, but I didn't; I was too excited and caught up in the moment!).
6:57 pace group: Jimi, Mike, Jeff. Not pictured: ME.

After Daniella passed, we regrouped, and headed back out toward the finish area, planning to catch the women's half marathon finish. To our surprise, the wall next to our coffee shop had this amazing mural of a gorilla - the Power Miler's mascot!
Being apes! 

We trotted briskly over toward the finish, and honestly, we had just enough time to get situation and cheer for some favorites (like Bernard Lagat and Kevin Castille) before Molly Huddle ran to the finish, breaking the women's record. Apparently there was some hype about competition between Huddle and Hasay, but to me Hasay never looked into a race - I mean, she was fast, but it didn't look like she planned to fight for a record. After that exciting finish, we grabbed breakfast, before realizing that, if we wanted to get a good spot to watch Rich come in, we needed to get moving. We were tracking everyone, and so far everyone was right on planned pace. We realized once we left the breakfast place that we were on the wrong side of the road for marathoners, and to get to the other side, we had to make a huge loop behind the finish and past two security checkpoints. As we headed that way, rushing a little by now, we caught up to Doug - his half marathon was done, and that party boy ran a 1:27! Off no training and several vodkas! Crazy. We'd also picked up Preston (like me, spectating only) along the way, and all of us RAN to reach the marathon side of the chute before Rich did. We finally secured a spot right before mile 26. And yeah, I ran for the first time in five clogs. Twenty steps. Felt great.
All champs! 

And just like that, there was Rich! Looking super strong and on pace for a PR! He was obviously pumped about it - I would be, too, running a 2:28! From then on, it was a big coordination of tracking apps and photographs. Our team did great: Casey ran a 2:39; Paul ran his first marathon in 2:49 and WON HIS AGE GROUP at the competitive Houston marathon; Daniella ran 3:10, which was a 23 minute PR! Almost everyone else was at or near their goals; everyone ran a BQ! Our only panic moment was when Dave clearly stopped moving. Never fear: wife to the rescue. His wife actually ran back to find him, and shouted encouragement until he got enough energy to pull it together and cross the line (it was his first marathon - and the marathon is a brutal thing!). It was such an inspiration to see everyone finish - all the hard work all year paid off. We wrapped up the party with drinks in a team member's room and...yeah, the Saints lost. Never mind all that. I'd rather not think about it. Next year, playoffs! Next year, Houston!

Monday, January 15, 2018

Spectating Houston: part 1

I had a truly wonderful time in Houston this weekend, enjoying the race atmosphere and celebrating my running friends' successes. The short trip started out right, when I got to my gate and found my two teammates Doug and Van. We sat together for the flight, sharing race plans (ok, I just ducked under their conversation), and took advantage of Van's free Uber ride to the convention center when we landed.

I picked up my packet in case I needed the number for access to anything, and the guys bought some throw-away gloves, before heading to the hotel. As soon as I got to my room, I got a text from Paige, and headed to her room down the hall to makes plans for the Eagles game. A group of us headed out to a sports bar, but ended up back in the hotel lobby since most places in downtown Houston were closed on the weekend. That was fine, though, because as soon as the game wrapped up, we had to join everyone else for a team meeting - last minute instructions for the runners (I sat in anyway to glean some wisdom!). Then we were off to a team dinner. We had reservations at an Italian restaurant for most of the group (some chose to do their own thing, which I get, race prep being so individual, but we still had 20+ people at dinner. Fourteen members were running the race). Doug, sitting next to me, was...making merry? Let's just say he was having more drinks than I would have pre-race, but he kept cheerily reminding us that he was only doing the half...and that he was undertrained, so it was going to suck no matter what. I firmed up spectating plans with a bunch of Power Miler spouses, and we all made an early bedtime.

And the actual race will go in its own post. But this is a good spot to put my philosophical thoughts: that is, it is very gratifying to see or help others succeed and enjoy the same activities you enjoy. And in that respect, the Houston marathon spectating experience was as fun as running it myself. Yes, I wish I could have run; yes, I'm annoyed that my typical marathon is 70+ degrees and a billion percent humidity, while Sunday was cold and dry. But overall, I thought spectating really enhanced my enjoyment of running, sort of made it complete. It's a thrill to do well racing; it's also a thrill to watch friends do the same. Nonetheless, next year, Houston...I'm coming for you!

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Heading to Houston

I decided to go ahead and join the crew in Houston for the marathon weekend. I'd like to see how the rest of my team's races go, and I already booked a non-refundable hotel room (that was some daring do, eh?). Flights to Houston are cheap and plentiful, so I'm going to head up on Saturday afternoon and enjoy some marathon spectating!
It looks like the weather for the race will be perfect, so nearly all the Powermilers are expecting to PR. That will be exciting to watch! And fun to celebrate afterward, too! I won't be alone spectating, because nearly everyone who has one is bringing a spouse.

A lot of people have asked me if it will be painful to watch this race, or if I'll be jealous or sad. No, I won't. I'm not a very jealous person anyway, and I love to see my friends succeed, so I am really excited, actually! If the weather was crummy (hot or rainy) I probably wouldn't attend, because I'd be cringing to see everyone suffer. But I think the weekend will be ideal, and I expect to see a good number of my team crush their goal times. As far as missing running or just feeling like I am missing out, I'm not there yet. My foot is still painful, and just the thought of running makes me wince. So the timing is good: watching the race won't tempt me to cut recovery short.

It's been a long time since I spectated a race, especially a marathon, so this will be a fun outing watching a sport I love. I'm looking forward to it!

Monday, January 8, 2018

Out of the boot

After wearing a walking boot for about three weeks, I ditched it this week for my clogs. I think I needed the boot to enforce total immobility for awhile, but actually, the clogs are a firmer surface (they have wooded soles with no padding) and are more comfortable right now.
The clogs I wear every single day.

I am not sure the status of the bone at this point. The inflammation has receded to the point that I can now press directly on the bone, and it HURTS to do so. It hurts to walk barefoot, or in any shoe besides a firm-soled one, and I can't rise up on my toes or toe off without pain. And most concerning, the area above the break is still red and a little swollen. Obviously, I still have a lot of healing to do. But I am feeling pretty positive, because I've made big strides this week. I don't have pain at rest, and protected impact doesn't hurt. I can wiggle my toes again. And the overall scale of the pain is a lot less than before. I'm healing, and I can tell, and that's good news.

When will I be ready to run again? I don't know yet, but the timeline is measured in "weeks to months" right now. I'm nowhere near that point as of today! I'll keep taking it very easy, keep taking my calcium and vitamin D, and keep praying for fast recovery.

Sunday, December 31, 2017

2017 races

I put up a page of my 2017 races, and, fittingly, there are 17 of them. It's the most I've raced in years, and one of my fastest years, too.

I started running with the Power Miler Track Club this year, which made a huge difference. Initially, I may have slowed down, as the new, heavy workout load exhausted me. But by the summer, I was seeing results, and they continued through most of the race-heavy fall.

By the numbers:

17 - races I ran; 18 if you count the Greek Fest as two events (I ran the mile race as a warm up)
9 - placement in top three women
7 - bib number at Bar-a-thon, which basically qualifies me as an elite beer drinker
6 - place at RnR New Orleans marathon, my highest placement in this race ever, although not my fastest time
5 - years since I'd PR'd when I PR'd at Blue Doo in October
4 - PRs: the two mile, the half marathon, the ten mile, and the five mile
4 - 5ks, mostly disappointing
4 - Number of times I've been second in my age group at RnR New Orleans, including this year once again!
3 - 10ks, all of which were not very fast
2 - marathons, neither a PR
2 - overall female wins (10k and 2 mile races)
2 - months with zero races (August and September)
2 - months with three races (April and November, my two busiest race months)
1 - race after July of this year that was not a PR

How was your running year?

Friday, December 29, 2017

Breaking with tradition

Hope you are all enjoying this holiday week! I'm loving the the short weeks, and our volume has been a little lower, too, which has been a welcome break.

I thought I'd recap our Christmas celebration a little. We usually have three celebrations: Christmas Eve with David's parents, Christmas morning for us, and Christmas night with David's extended family. In years past, I've dreaded Christmas Eve a little, because our nephews kind of kill it for all the adults. Their behavior has been less than adorable, and a four-hour extended multi-child tantrum isn't my idea of holly and jolly. But as the kids have grown older, the tantrums have lessened, and this year wasn't half-bad. Only two huge meltdowns and zero shouting matches! The toy of the night was this little cheap helicopter office toy - that thing captivated the kids (and grownups!) zooming all over the living room. Meanwhile, the adults did a secret Santa. My wish list included a lidded salt cellar, and my Santa gave me one, along with a nice set of Himalayan sea salts.

For some reason, on Christmas morning, I felt like changing things up. Maybe it is because we already couldn't do our Christmas morning run, thanks to my foot, but I didn't think a brunch for just the two of us sounded fun. We walked to church that morning, and ran into good friends. We started chatting about Christmas day as an adult, and long story short, ended up inviting them over. A few quick texts yielded four guests for a casual brunch! I'd already planned on bagels and cream cheese with lox and capers for our breakfast; I added ruby red grapefruit, scrambled eggs, bacon, and a loaf of stollen I'd made weeks earlier. David made mimosas, we played Christmas music, and had a truly lovely morning with good friends! I've never had a get-together on Christmas day, but we had such an enjoyable time. Everyone was happy to have something to do, and we shared stories from childhood Christmases. Brunch was delicious - the homemade bagels were especially good - and the company a joy. It was one of the most fun Christmas celebrations we've had in years.

Usually I'm a stickler for tradition, but we had so much fun on Christmas morning that I let it slide this time!

Wednesday, December 27, 2017


I was so happy to have a three-day weekend this Christmas. Nothing is worse than a Christmas on a weekend, when you don't get any extra days off; three-day weekends are the best-case scenario. I'd finished all my Christmas preparations early, so I was able to just enjoy the holiday for the most part.
Unfortunately, on Christmas Eve, we got "birded".
This awful thing

"Birding" is an extremely annoying tradition in my church. Someone gave this terrifying, molting stuffed pheasant to my pastor one year, and he left it on another parishioner's porch as a re-gift. And since then, it's made the rounds. A set of rigid rules developed, including that you can't regift the bird to the same family more than once a year, and that whoever is stuck with the bird at midnight on Christmas Eve has to keep it until next year, when it "takes flight" again on Christmas Eve. Passing the bird must be done secretly, as you must keep the bird if you are caught.

I remember that the first time we got birded, we were attempting to binge watch Making a Murderer, but were interrupted by this dumb bird, requiring us to gallivant all over the city to find another recipient. This year, we got the bird right before church on Sunday morning, and we tag-teamed it. I went to church, and surreptitiously texted him names of people safely ensconced in their pews. Meanwhile, he crept to their homes and eventually left it on the porch of a house without a locked gate!
David leaving the bird to another lucky recipient

Phew. Safe until next year. Although I really am a little over this tradition. Nothing says "holiday season" like creeping around like a burglar...