Thursday, April 28, 2011

The Road to Boston: It was paved with cobblestones . . .

I know I have let this blog flounder. There was a time that I couldn't contain my enthusiasm to talk about my runs, crazy workouts and the silly minutea of my day to day. But then . . . I really don't know. Things just started sucking and I felt a loss of control over my life.

In general, I don't like to talk about the suckage or a lack of control. I don't even like to pretend it exists. It is one thing for things to be crappy and out of control in reality but then to talk about them too?  I guess for me to actually have to see the suckage in writing makes it real. Unwritten it feels like there is a chance it might just be bad mythology.

I did have a blog/log over at  I've had it since May of 2008 and for awhile I loved it. Loved it until I started to fall apart and I got tired of writing about how horrible my training was going all.the.time. Certainly, I understand that there are low points in training but I was going 2 years of it and I was just tired of talking about it--never mind I how I felt training with it, living it.

So I joined Fight Club and quit logging my workouts as of February.

I know maybe it was a little superstitious but I thought maybe if I really just shutted up (that's a word, right) and just ran then maybe I would actually make it to the finish line at Boston.

Habits, as I am sure most know, are hard to break. It was hard to NOT talk about running, at all. It was hard to pretend I wasn't training when I really was. It was hard to not want to keep track of it. And I did cheat a little here and there--with a text, or an off handed comment to a friend or the occasional  facebook status update. But mostly I cheated because I was sort of keeping track of it by doing essentially the same workouts every week.

But I never wore a watch in my faux training. And I think that saved me. I took the sucking out of the equation because I didn't know if I was sucking. I know that river in Africa is long and I know that there is a whole wall of books at Barnes and Noble about overcoming denial but I was personally embracing it. And it was great. Do not underestimate what a little denial can do for your self esteem.

It was great because after December and January being total training failures I was able to hit every single "workout" I attempted after February 6th. I still struggled with whatever hip/glute/piriformous issue I have been fighting since last fall but I hit the runs each week that I needed. I didn't have to quit running for a few days and ride the trainer or spin bike or God forbid, swim,  because my hip hurt too much to run.

That was a huge turning point mentally for me. I was excited again everyday to go out and run. I am not kidding. Every run I ran with a smile and sometimes there were tears of happiness. I was definitely the only person on the treadmill at the gym with a big fat smile on my face. I LOVED running again! It was awesomeness and deliciousness. Even sang as I ran at times.

Prior to February 6th I had so much anxiety about every run because it might hurt  and I might not be able to finish the run, or worse would have to walk.  I love running and love loving running but it is difficult to love something that continues to cause you  pain. It really wears you down and it had got exceedingly difficult to be enthusiastic about doing something that I knew might really cause me some serious pain. Worse though, I was committed to 3 races. The biggest and the most awesome and longest sought after was the Boston marathon. It just loomed like an anvil over my psyche. I felt like I was letting running down. That probably makes no sense but truly,  I felt guilty and sad about it. Honestly, I don't really know how to describe it right but just know this:  it was a really negative bad all consuming feeling and I couldn't rid myself of it-- no matter how much sense it didn't make to feel like that.

Maybe that is depression. I don't know. I just know I didn't like it at all. It hurt me and it was ruining my quality of life. I am not purposely being dramatic or trying to illicit sympathy. I don't care for either. I just don't want to feel like that again. It sucked. Okay?

So February 6th marks the beginning of my training for the 2011 Boston marathon. When I signed up for Boston in October I had optimistically planned Boston to be my A race. I wanted Boston to be my long waited for PR. I wanted 3:25. But by February I was just hoping that I was going to make it the start line and somehow, the finish line. 3:25-- any time goal-- was gone.

Originally, I had planned to start Boston training in December. December and January were going to be build months. February and March I was going to drop the hammer and pick up the pace. I had planned to have all weeks from mid December on to be over 50 miles with the occasional cut back to 40 and several peaks at 65 miles. A trail race on February 6th would be an A race and the Georgia marathon on March 20th I was planning to run as a 3:45 training run.

The reality was that in December and January I couldn't get my mileage over 40 miles without aggravating my hip. It would be okay and then out of no where the pain would flare and I would be limping. It didn't hurt when biked, swam, did yoga or weights. Only when I ran. And not every run. I still don't know what the problem is but switching to from neutral shoes to motion control shoes made a huge difference. But I didn't do that until the first week in February.

In January I couldn't run more than 40 miles a week without aggravating my hip. After my 11.5 trail race on Feb 6th--that ended up  only being a  training run--I logged my first 50+ mile week since October. I was able to run 54, 57, 60 the following 3 weeks too. I managed an 18 mile run and  3 21 mile runs during that time. I did a mid length run every week too that ranged 12 to 16 miles. I did 3-4 other runs every week too--1 treadmill of 4-7 miles, 1to2 6 mile easy hill runs and a 5 mile hilly trail run. I rode the bike/trainer twice a week. Yoga and strength training once a week too.  My hip would still ache every now and again but everyday I woke up able to go out and run and completed every single workout I started. It was awesome and made me so happy.

I really don't know why I was all the sudden able to run how I had been wanting to run for the two months prior. Only things that were different were my running shoes and that I got some ear plugs and was getting better sleep. Doesn't seem like those two things could be a miracle hip/pirformous cure. So yes. I am still nervous it will come back. And this time if it does I will go to the doctor. I didn't go before because the last thing I needed to hear was an official edict of "no running."

In March it was time to cut back for the Georgia marathon. I ran 45ish with a 12 mid length and an 18 mile long run, then 40 miles the next week with two 14 mile runs and then 30 the week before the Ga marathon. At least I think it was something like that. My hip never hurt during the marathon and that was a huge confidence builder. 5 days after the marathon (where I ran 3:55 having dialed back the original goal of 3:45 to just sub 4) I ran 18.5 miles and finished the week with a peak of 65 miles. Then I began my taper for Boston and just hoped for the best.

I tried in the taper pick up the paces. But whether or not I really did, I don't know. I still wasn't wearing a watch. When I ran on the treadmill I would practice running an 8 min mile so I know for sure at least once a week I was getting in a marathon pace run.  A short one but that was the only time I knew for certain what my pace was for any given run. And yes, 8 min mile is marathon pace simply because I've been using the 8 min mile for marathon pace for the last 3 years. I like 8 min miles. Sure they've only happened 3 times but it is my go to marathon pace. But to be clear. My race day goal for Boston was not a 3:30 marathon. My goal was the finish line with a smile and if it was a good day I thought sub 3:40 was likely. If it was a really good day I thought 3:35 might happen. Beyond that I didn't entertain any more optimism. I was just amazed that I was actually going to get to toe the line.

I know this was probably a little boring and certainly self indulgent but when I write my Boston marathon recap I don't want to have to go into a lengthy explanation of my training.

Just consider this the preface to the novel.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Chased the unicorn

But alas I didn't quite catch her at Boston. Still, had a fabulous race! Details to come. Blogging from my phone at Logan airport while I have a Sam Adams and wait for my cheese Burger. Chip time was 3:33:57. Half was 1:45:27. So a little fade. But most important I RAN over the finish and nailed it with an exclamation cartwheel!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Viva the Streak! The 2011 Ga Marathon Race Report

Cliff notes for the skimmers:
Natalie Fischer #146
Age: 39 Gender: F
Distance MAR
Clock Time 3:59:26
Chip Time 3:55:27
Overall Place 493 / 2235
Gender Place 113 / 799
Division Place 15 / 140
Age Grade 59.9%
10K 56:31
Half 1:56:45
22 1Mi 3:16:32
Pace 9:00

This marked Ga Marathon number 5 for me and it was marathon unlucky number "13" for me. I signed up last year for the race for $35 way before I knew for sure I would be doing Boston. And certainly before I had a new litany of injuries. But regardless, Ga marathon was never going to be a goal race for me. I honestly don't think I will ever again toe the Ga marathon line with the intention of trying to run a personal best. I am not saying it couldn't happen but it is, I think, what most people would consider a tough course. So I just think if I ever happened to run a personal best on this course it would surely be bettered on a more forgiving course.  But who am I kidding? Future personal bests. Snicker. I do think it is cute how optimism  always creeps in. Blah blah, Hope is the thing with feathers blah blah nestles in the deep dark crevices of the soul blah blah.

Once I signed up for Boston in the fall I knew Ga marathon would have to be a training run. But then in January I was side lined and barely running so I was worried that I might be lucky if I could just do the half. As it turned out February was a solid training month for me and the Ga marathon would work perfectly--tongue firmly in cheek--as a long training run. The trick would be for me to not run the marathon too hard.

I no longer wear a watch in training (or racing for that matter) but for the past 4 or so years my long run pace falls in the 8:30 to 9: 00 min range. Weather, injury, and hormones being the deciding factor of whether my pace is closer to 8:30 or closer to 9:00 min miles. Based on that I knew my finish time for this year's race could be no faster than 3:45  and ideally no slower than 4 hours. However slower than 4 hours would be okay provided it was due to lingering at aid stations and socializing with spectators.

My BFF workout partner Steph was very nice and said I could run with her. She was shooting for 4 hours so it would work out perfectly. Steph is good at maintaining her pace and everything is just better with a friend. I was a little worried that she was sandbagging and was going to end up running sub 3:45. I had to have a serious talk with myself that if that happened I was just gonna have to let her go because Ga marathon was my practice marathon. Not my real marathon.
Practice makes perfect practice makes perfect practice makes perfect . . .

Race day:
I decided to spend the night at my sister's. I've done this some years. Other years I've driven down to her house. Either way her husband drives and drops us at the start. It was a rather uneventful evening so I'll spare you the details.

However,  at 3 am I was awaken by a raging headache, cramps and back ache. If you're a dude you are probably thinking stomach flu; if you are girl, you know the issue at hand. Let's just say the white skirt I had wanted to wear for the marathon got replaced by the black skirt.  Let's also say that I have never had to make that choice on race morning ever.

Rather than be angry at the things I cannot control I took it as a sign that universe was keeping me in check. So with the universe's help and some Motrin--something else I have never taken race day or before a run-- I got dressed and ready for the race.

Wes dropped (left to right) Christina, Pookie (my sister), me and Shannon at Luckie St and we wandered down the race. The other girls were doing the half so we parted ways so I could go find Steph.

Steph had been texting me since 5 am so I knew to meet her at the bag drop though I had no bag.  The thing I hate about GA marathon is that it starts at 7 am and is therefore dark until 7:30. It annoys me not being able to see everything. It is like those dark TV show--x files, CSI--where I want them to turn on the lights already cause I can't freaking see anything.

So I find Steph. Run into my friend Brett. And Brent. And Jamie. And Doug.  Whew. Not bad for not being able to see shit.

I made some guy take (right to left) me, Steph, Jamie and Doug's picture while we waited in line for the porto potties. After this Steph and I parted ways with Jamie, doing the half, and Doug, is goal to beat me and Steph. He easily did.

Steph and I lined up in her corral. I was suppose to be in B because of "Streaker" status and possibly last year's time.  We seeded ourselves a little ahead of the 4 hour pace group and I asked another person to take our picture. Steph in her Team Gu and Team Brooks gear on left and me in my bloated shoot me now I am a fat cow self on the right. Fat, for the uninformed, is also a feeling.  It comes once a month for me. Smiling, but on the inside I felt like death. Tequila hangover? A more comfortable state.

So we wait around for the start and even though I just pee'd I am certain I must pee again but really I don't know. My body today feels like I have swapped bodies with somebody else and I am worried that that person's body may not be able to run 26.2 miles. I am glad I don't have that body all the time because whose ever it is, sucks.

Okay, so yeah. I felt like walking death. Moving on.

Apparently the race has started because we are moving. Steph and I see our friend Lisa (who is running the half). We ride bikes with Lisa so we are happy to see our bike friend. I take a picture of them as we are running towards the start line.

Right. Running and darkness does not make for good camera phone pictures. Whatever.

We are running and the wave of humanity begins to roll through downtown Atlanta in the predawn darkness. Rock and roll. 

I note as Steph and I cross under the start clock that we are at 4 minutes. I am not wearing a watch but I know that there are clocks on the course and I am relieved that 4 minutes is not too hard for me subtract. Sure 2 minutes would be easier but  8 or 9 minutes would be way harder on my brain.  

While I hate the darkness before the race I do like starting the race in the darkness. It is pretty cool. It is like I am in disguise and can hide a little while I ease into the race; try to negotiate the pace. It is crowded but Steph and I stay together fairly easily. I keep telling her to slow down. We are going too fast! But really we aren't. We are on pace for four hours according to her splits. That stinks because it felt like I was running a 7:30 mile. That's how crappy I felt.

I tell Steph whenever she needs to stop I am cool to pee but let me know so we can push it to stay on pace. We run into the daylight around 3 miles. We make friends with a guy named Kevin. He is a Ranger (Army?) and had just run Snicker's marathon a few weeks before. He was going for 4 hours too and decided to hang with us. The three of us have all sorts of inappropriate conversation regarding beer, drinking songs and padded sports bras. I try not to talk too much because I still feel like I might die at any second. Steph, God love her, must hear my inner self talk because I hear her tell Kevin as we run up a hill that I am the Queen of Suckitup. Really, more like court jester but it definitely inspires me to hear that even when that seems an impossible role for me today.

 Here is Kevin and Steph in the 5-6 mile range. Steph told him to flex because she was sucking in.

Finally around 7 miles we spy open portolets and Steph and I rush in. I don't win at much but I do win fastest pisser ever. Yes. My parents are proud. I have few talents but the ability to pee quickly (and sadly frequently) I got down pat.

I take pictures while I wait for Steph to exit.
Steph and I start running and easily catch up to the 4 hour pace group, pass them and fall in step with Kevin again. Shortly after this the half marathoners and full marathoners split. I always yell out a few good luck, great race to the halfer's. But really I am thinking "wusses."

I think we are on North Avenue. I really don't know the names of any the streets. Yes. I have lived in the Atlanta area my entire life. Even born at Northside Hospital but the specific names of streets and such, yeah, I don't know. I do know how to navigate and get where I need to go but what streets to take and shortcuts? Not so much. I just know that at this point in the race my sister's house is only a few miles away.  I also know that we are soon coming up on the Telltale Heart point of the course for me. The tenish mile hill. It is the longest elevation change in the race. And in past years how I feel at this point tells me how the rest of the race it going to go. It is also where you will ruin yourself if you go too hard. Of course you go too hard. It is mile 10. The year I ran 3:29 it felt easy but I paid for the easy at mile 24. Last year it didn't and that was when I knew I had to dial it back.

But Steph and I make it up and over fine and still ahead of the four hour pace group. According to Steph right on pace for four hours. Cool. We however lose Kevin in this point and don't see him again the rest of the race.  Steph and I  though soldier on;chatty with our banter.

The race has thinned out and most everyone around is quiet. And I would like to take this moment to say to every person that chides me for wearing headphones that I missing out on the race experience can suck it. I have run 3:30 paces and 4 hour paces and the only person doing all the chatting is me. There is no conversation. If you want to chat with me, let me know. I'll pull my headphones out but I don't want to hear your coughing, gagging, snot rockets, heavy breathing misery.

So now we are in that awful portion next to the railroad track heading towards Decatur. I HATE this part. There are just signs. No people cheering and it ugly and lonely. And since there is no good conversation going on I put my headphones on. And as luck would have it And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda is on! And so I sing along to it so everyone around me can enjoy that too. Steph chimes in too.
I am almost excited when we get close to Agnes Scott College because usually there are lots of friendly ladies cheering us on. But alas there are no ladies, just an unpopulated aid station since the ladies are on spring break. Bummer.

We soon hit the half mark. And I tell Steph I think I have to pee. I still feel crappy but definitely better than when we started. So I stop and Steph runs on. I don't know this so I exit the porto potty and wait a minute yelling at the door of the porto potty next the one I used. There is no answer. I look down the road and I think I see ahead on the course that Steph is right with the four hour group. So I start sprinting to catch her. I feel like I might throw up but I don't and I am at her side in no time and relieved that I don't have to keep sprinting.

I think that little sprinting actually made me feel a little better because I feel slightly energized and suddenly things are starting to feel easier. So I start running ahead a bit and take pictures cause I know Steph is going to run a huge pr and I know she will be glad for pictures even if I am annoying her and the four hour pace group that I keep running ahead of and falling back in pace with.
While I am taking this picture I get yelled at by a police officer over his loudspeaker. "Tighten up Ponytail! Get back inside the cones."

I smile and wave at him and step back in the cones and run on with group. I am excited about my new nickname. Ponytail. It's like a stripper's name.

I am definitely feeling better and starting to have a good time. Sure it only took like 14- 15 miles but some people just need that kind of warm up.

 Look how awesome Steph looks here:
Shortly after this point I realize we are about to enter Druid Hills. 16 ish miles. I am sort of chomping at the bit to run faster and this is the rolling hill portion of the race. I LOVE this portion. Up and down and up and down. It is pretty relentless. But every year I have done pretty well here and I decide this might good Boston practice to run a bit harder. I tell Steph we should try to run a bit faster here. I tell her we need to be AHEAD of the four hour pace group not with them or right behind them. But she tells me we are fine. They have banked time. I want her to run with me but she doesn't want to pick up the pace. So I tell her I am going to run hard up the hills and down and will wait at the aid stations for her. If nothing else, I figure, I'll at least be a carrot for her to chase.

So I charge ahead. As I am running up one hill  and I see who else but Santa at the top of it! I am SO excited to see Santa and I yell out, SANTA! I know him. And no one around me gets it.

Am I the only one who watched the movie Elf? Come on.

So I run even faster and run up to Santa and insist we have our picture taken together. I hand my phone to a lady spectating and she kindly takes my picture with Santa! No idea why he was there but it pretty much made my day.
After this I wait at the top of the hill and Steph catches up to me. And I am so excited and am telling her about my Santa encounter and then I notice she is crying.

Oh no! "Are you crying?!" I ask.

"Yes," she says, wiping tears and throwing a GU packet in the trash. (Steph does not litter and will yell at you if you do. She is rule girl. It is her super power. And she is a lawyer. I think it is all connected, somehow. . .)

"Why! What happened?" I demand, thinking if she had just seen Santa it would have made it better.

She tells me "because of the aid station, the cancer and it is mile 18."

"What??? You have cancer!" I ask.

"No the girl. "

Still not understanding why this means tears for Steph, look around me and ask "Who? Where?"

"No, at the aid station," she says, wiping at her tears and her mouth turning up in a smile trying to explain to me. "The aid station was for her. She died."

"Oh," I say, thinking I now completely understand," you knew her?  I'm sorry."

"No", Steph says.

Confused again. "So you are crying because you are worried you have cancer? I always think I have cancer. In fact right now my uterus is trying to separate itself from my body because I have cancer."

Laughing now she says, "never mind Natalie" and we run on. See! See how my self absorption can help people?

So we run a bit together and then I see Jerry! I ran the last eight miles of the Soldier Marathon with Jerry in the fall. So I pick up the pace and run up to Jerry and smack him on the ass. He looks at me wild eyed with a What the F?! look. I tell him he looked like he needed and ass smacking. He says I wondered when you were gonna catch me. We run together a bit and catch up. I keep looking over my shoulder and Steph is still there. Hanging around the four hour pace group.

After a bit I see up ahead Anthony! I ran with him for a bit as well at Soldier's marathon too. Wow. This is like a reunion! So I catch up to him and chat with him for awhile. Apparently he hurt his back and he was cleared to run 3 miles at a time. He just decided he was gonna 3 miles 9 times in one day. At the next aid station I let him go and wait again for Steph and the four hour pace group. I would pass him later in the last mile or 2 and he would ask me for an epidural. Man, have I been there.

I tell Steph my cramps are starting to come back and I am not feeling as good. I tell her I am going to run ahead and will wait for her in the park where I know my newly minted friend Kim is waiting with water and most importantly Advil.

So I leave Steph and run  a bit harder down to Piedmont Park and that stupid lollipop out and  back. I pass Steph on the out/back portion, swap high fives and tell her she is looking good. She has faded a bit and is now a few seconds behind the four hour pace group. She looks strong though so I assume she is fine. Figure she is having a valley of darkness moment. We all have it. She'll get out of it. She always does.

I am pretty excited to see John, Desiree and Kim. Kim gives me an Advil and a bottle of water which I down. I chat with them while I wait for Steph. While standing there a guy runs past me and calls out,  "Come on Ponytail! I need my pacer!"

New nickname  is sticking!!!

After taking the picture I see I have a text from Ryan. Our plan was for him to pick me up at the finish. But if the race is going slowly he was going to drop the kids at my sister's. His text says he is on 75. Hmm, that is pretty close.

I see the four hour pace group coming down the small hill and I can see Steph behind them. I thank Kim, Des and John and start running. I decide maybe I should have GU since I don't know how my stomach is going to feel taking an Advil.  All new for me and it has the potential to go bad but my thinking is food might be a good idea.

As I down the GU and run out of the park I roll my eyes so far in the back of my head at the umpteenth homemade sign that says "Winning... duh!" Charlie Sheen, please go away and heal yourself.

I check over my shoulder and Steph is still with the four hour pace group. I turn to go up that short, terrible steep hill. I pass a guy getting an I.V. from the bicycle medics on my right and I spy the 23 mile marker sign on my left. I whip out my phone and text Ryan back. Only it is really hard to text and run uphill and it comes out "ayytm23".  He figures it out and texts me back "Push it!!!"

And so I do. At least that it is how it feels. My mind though isn't sharp which I realize at mile 24 when  I see a friend and I call out "Hey Heather!!!" only to realize that it is Leslie!. I try to correct but it is too late. I am past her.

I am now on the Ga Tech campus. The scene of the worst calf cramp ever. Two years ago when I ran 3:29 I was on pace to PR until my calf muscle turned into a snake and I had to hobble and walk it in. But this year I am fine and so I just keep running. I pass everyone! It is fantastic even though I think this is the most torturous tour of finish line stretch of any race I have done (Twisted Ankle not counting). It is a stealth hill that turns and turns and you know you are close but God damn it you are still not done.

But this year?

Not so torturous for me.

I try not to be obnoxious about it but inwardly I want to be cheering everyone on and telling them!

But I know by the looks on their faces that I have been them and would not have appreciated a hyperactive cheerleader runner girl coaxing me on. So I say nothing and run on. I do pat one girl who is a half mile from the finish and starts to walk on her back and tell her, you have this. And I only say it to her because she looked so strong physically. Mentally though, I knew, she was getting the shit beat out of her.

As I near the finish line I start to run harder. I want to put distance between myself and the other runners. I am not trying to be a brat and beat everyone in the last 100 yards to the finish but rather I want some space so I can do a cartwheel across the finish line and not kick anyone in the face. Cause that would really suck for them.

I see on the clock 3:5x and think sweet! Sub 4. Perfect! I cast a glance over my shoulder and dash over the finish and throw my body into a round off and land fist punching the air. A lady at the finish line comes up and hugs me and says I have more energy than any person she has seen cross the finish line. I ask if I can stand there and wait for my friend and she lets me.

So I stand in the finish line chute and wait for Steph.

 I take few pictures.

And I catch Anthony coming in. I don't think he saw me though.

And then my girl Steph comes through. Missing sub 4 by 56 seconds but who is gonna complain about a 40 minute pr? She rocks!

We hug, get our medals and go find her husband and mine.

What a great race despite not feeling good. If I hadn't had Steph to run with I definitely would have quit. Her being there motivated me. And as a result I got my last solid long run for Boston in.

I met up with Ryan. Steph and I parted ways. I went to my sister's,  showered and then headed over to the Marlay House for lunch.

 Here is Pookie, Me and Shannon post race and happy with beer and to be done.

Now. On to Beantown. Fingers crossed for a good day.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Singing a Song

This morning my ADHD is raging. I am avoiding packing for Boston because it is so overwhelming. You wouldn't think putting clothes, shoes and toiletries and other crap in a suitcase would be so hard. But it is. It is hard because before I can do that I must do everything else: clean the house, wash all the linens, shop, do every dirty stitch of laundry, clean out a closet, buy new contact paper for the kitchen cabinets, make meals to freeze, make lists when I never make lists, wash the dog, try on all my clothes--even the cocktail dresses, blog . . .

And while I have been thinking and doing everything else  but what I need to be doing I have been singing a song. I've just been walking around my house, still in pj's, singing it. I've been humming the tune since I got up this morning at 6 am. Finally around 8am I realize I can't even remember how the original song goes because I've been singing my version. In fact I can't even remember who sings the song or the real title of the song I am singing. And I certainly can't call someone and say, Hey listen...and hum the tune for them. Then ask them the name of the song and who sings it because I am so tone deaf that I can't replicate the song I am hearing in my head. I know this because I've been in this situation before and no one ever knows and they just laugh at me. I am THAT tone deaf. Yes, it is embarrassing. But sing still I do!

So I waste 30 minutes with my best friend Google trying to find the correct version of the song I am singing.The only things I know about the song is that it is from the 70's,--I think. I am certain it is sung by a woman. I am almost positive that my mom owned a record (ha!) with this song on it and  use to sing it when she once upon a time played the guitar. I do contemplate calling my mom and I do know that she will probably be able to figure it out for me but that will be last resort. I am not ready to be made of yet this morning. I am on edge, Fragile, even. I am trapped under an imaginary giant and disorganized pile of clothes, shoes, toiletries and make up that I must squeeze and organize into a teeny tiny carry on suitcase.

But I found it! All on my own! Yay! Success! Accomplishment!

First though, this was the lyrics I was singing:

Procrastination, Procrastinaaaayaytion
It's making me late
Keepin' my crazzzzyyy
tomorrow. ....
lalalalalalallablahblahblah..... Procrastination!

Based on that can you guess the original?

I was so close with my first search of "Infatuation" and Joni Mitchell.

But then Carly Simon popped in my head and viola!

Anticipation. Procrastination. It really is just semantics.

Saturday, April 09, 2011

The Universe Humbles Me

Yesterday was my last double digit run before Boston. It seemed logical to wear my planned race day outfit for the run. An outfit that I had yet to wear. I do have the Northface tank in several colors and the epiphany skort in another color but the blue skort and the yellow tank I have not yet worn. I decided to not wear the arm sleeves since it was 70 and 88% humidity when I headed out for my 14 miles.

As I mentioned in a previous post the kids are on Spring Break so me getting to do this run outside and alone was unlikely this week. But as it turned out I was able to negotiate with Ryan that he watch the kids for a few hours before he and Beau left to go kill some turkeys this weekend.

I was so excited to do this run and have it behind me. I felt great when I headed out, light and happy. For 14 miles I usually turn out of my neighborhood to the right and run til the sidewalk ends and then turn around and head back and begin the 10 mile hilly loop. The out back portion is relatively flat and a good warm up. I do it again after the loop too.

I was happily running down the sidewalk, bemoaning a bit the humidity and warmness of the morning but feeling good. The sidewalk crosses over a few streets--dead end neighborhoods, not main thoroughfares. About a mile in I cross over a street that is had a new dead end one street neighborhood being constructed. As I am crossing over I am suddenly caught in a cloud of smoke. A construction truck with a bulldozer on the back of it is spewing smoke. Just as I had reached the road the man operating the truck started up the bulldozer and something malfunctioned and caused a huge cloud of smoke. I couldn't have avoided it.

I think I held my breath and turned my head away from the truck. I really didn't think too much about it other than annoyance of the construction interrupting my peaceful morning run and decided I would run on the road instead of the sidewalk after the turn around to give myself more distance from the construction.

As I am running I notice black dots on my arms. Unconcerned I try to wipe them away, thinking it is soot. I am still running but I notice that I am polka dotted all over in these black spots and they are not wiping off. As I reach the turn around I start to panic. What the hell is this stuff?!?!!??

Then I notice it is all over my race day outfit and REALLY start to freak out.

I am back at the neighborhood and I see the man at the truck sweeping stuff up or maybe he was shoveling. The man's name is Jerry. I don't know that yet but I later learn that is his name. I run up to him and say "Look at me! I got trapped in that cloud of smoke from your truck! What is this stuff all over me!"

Flatly, unimpressed, bored, he says" Oil. It's oil."

OHMYGOD, OIL!!!! I scream in my head but calmly, I think, ask, "Will it come out of my clothes?"

Jerry, even more bored by the conversation  and me shrugs and says, "It should."

Then he turns away from me, dismissing me and going back to his sweeping or shoveling. I immediately determine that he has no idea if oil comes out of clothes because I can tell by his clothes, his long scraggly grey hair and beard, he just wouldn't care or notice if oil came out of any of his clothes. I, however, am almost positive it doesn't come out of clothes since I have had no success in getting bike grease out of clothes. While I don't know the exact the chemical composition of oil or grease, logic tells me they are close cousins at best; twins at worst.


I head back down the side walk, sprinting, angry and freaking out that I have oil all over me! I run straight home and come screaming in the house.  Ryan! I have oil all over me! What am I going to do! RYAN!!!!And telling the cloud of smoke/creepy Jerry tale to him as I run through the house looking for him. I guess I am always running around freaking out because the kids don't even look up at me or act like they hear me. Typical.

Finally I find Ryan and confront him with my polka dotted self. Look at me! I implore. And he stands there, chuckling, as he looks and answers my question of is it going to come out of my Boston marathon outfit with a decisive no. But then says take it off; give it to me. I've got some simple green and I'll soak it.

I peel off my polka dotted clothes and hand them to him and he goes downstairs to soak my clothes. I start to put on clean running clothes but I realize I might get oil on them too so I retrieve my black tank I wore yesterday (ew, I know) from the hamper and find my old (clean) dark blue running skirt.

The kids come upstairs having heard from Ryan my dilemma to laugh and gawk at me. I love how stuff like this happens to me and they are rather unfazed. Like, huh, look at that. Mommy got polka dotted with oil. That's funny. Hey, wanna go jump on the trampoline Beau? Yeah. Cool. See ya polka dotted Mommy.

I go downstairs and Ryan informs me it isn't coming out of my clothes. Now I am raging pissed off. I insist that Ryan come down to the job site with me and make Jerry give me money for my outfit. He has, after all, ruined my Boston outfit, my run, and at the moment it seems, my life! I need compensation damn it and you are my husband and I am having an adult tantrum and YOU! MUST Do.What.I.SAY!

Ryan says no, smiling a little. He explains, Jerry can't do anything.  Go get the truck owner's name and get his number. Come with me! Pleasseeeeee I am little polka dotted runner girl and there are all dirty construction workers there.

No, he says. Firmly. Leaving me and my adult tantrum.

I am on a tear and slam the door as I run out of the house leaving my husband to wash my oily clothes and ready to rip Jerry a new you know what. Sure I am tiny polka dotted runner girl but I am really, really angry. My anger is a super power.

But when I get to the neighborhood Jerry, the truck and the bulldozer are gone! My super power rage grows! I search the street of half constructed houses and try to decide which construction worker is going to be my best bet at finding out who owns that damn truck and bulldozer.

I assume most everyone at the site is contracted labor and no one here is in charge. But surely, I think, they must know each other. I also know that there is a good likelihood they won't want to tell me who owns the truck. There is a man on a bobcat near where the truck was parked. I suspect maybe he is with the truck that sprayed me but he is Hispanic and I guess he probably doesn't speak English or will at least pretend he doesn't when I try to talk to him. He is also very busy moving dirt around with a bobcat. I run down the street and up drive way of a mostly built house. A carpenter with a longer and blonder ponytail than I have is standing in the garage.

I run up to him and ask him who owns the truck that was at the front of the neighborhood. At first he just stares at me so long that I wonder if he doesn't speak English. But then I realize it is because I am polka dotted. So I explain what happened and he just stands there wide eye in awe and trying not to smile (I see the corners of his wrinkly lips twitching to turn into a grin) at my story. After a moment he says, wow, that is crazy. I'm like, uhm, yeah I know. So, do you know how owns that truck?

He says no, of course but tells me the guy on the bobcat works for the company. I thank him and run up to the bobcat driver certain he isn't going to tell me anything. His English isn't great and he doesn't know the name of the company but he does know the owner's name is Mike and he has his phone number. Score! I whip out my phone and he tells me the number. I am totally shocked that he gave it to me.

So I move away from the bobcat and try to get out of the noise and give old Mike a call. I am surprised when he answers. I tell him my situation and he is very shocked and confused to hear from me. He says he is going to need to call Jerry and he will call me back. I give him my name, number and explain that I need to finish up my run because I am training for the Boston marathon (!) and for him to leave a message. We hang up.

With nothing left to do I run out of the neighborhood back to the sidewalk to finish up my run. I am almost shaking I am so angry and frustrated with the situation. I really don't feel like running anymore. But I force myself to continue because this is the only time I have to do this run so it needs to be done now. So I keep running.

And running works its usual magic on my attitude. I realize that if this is the worst thing that happens to me before Boston then I am getting a deal. I run down my list of worse things that could happen and by the time I stop for water at 7 miles I am okay. I am still bummed my outfit is ruined but I also know I can find another one.It really doesn't matter. And  I decide that I have to choose to not let this ruin my day. In the 9th mile my phone rings, I see it is Mike. I don't answer. He leaves a message. It makes me happy that he called me back. I really didn't think he would.

I finish my run and considering the heat, the humidity, the drama, it was a pretty good run. I listen to Mike's message and he says to bring the outfit to show him the damage and he will write me a check. Wanting to be fair I look up the prices on the Internet, print out the cost--I even found my tank cheaper--and bring those to him. I get out of the car and he starts laughing and apologizing when he sees polka dotted me. He doesn't even want to see the outfit. I show him my invoices and he writes me a check. We part ways and agree to not let the incident ruin our weekends.

And I go home and order my replacement outfit. I hope it gets here in time but if not I will just wear something else. I really will just be relieved when I find myself standing at the start line and-- hopefully-- sail with cartwheels across the finish line. It has been one long journey to get to Boston, that's for certain.

Okay, here are the pictures. They are taken with my phone and by me so they aren't that great and do not do the polka dotting justice.

Outfit post washing: Tiny black oil polka dots every where.

Skirt and my legs a minute after getting oiled:

After I ran home and changed. It occurred to me that I should take more pictures in case I needed proof. Please excuse how ugly I am.
My arms

I have run 14 miles, had two showers where I scrubbed and I still have some oil dots on me. I thought it wasn't that noticeable but my sister asked me what happened to me yesterday before I even had time to tell her.

Oh well, chalking it up to weird and funny shit that seems to always happen to me. The universe? It humbles me daily.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Potential Boston Outfit: The Nat-Ali-e

Float like a butterfly on the downhills and put the sting in the uphills!
Looking fly and feeling like butter!
At least that is the hope...

6 pockets! I'll be more marsupial than runner! Hopefully more bounding kangaroo than cuddly koala bear.

 Northface dyn o mite tank.
 Brooks Epiphany skirt.
Moeben arm sleeves.
 Zensah sleeves.
 Brooks Adrenalines.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011


What to do? Kids at a playdate.
Few free hours to myself.
Already did a 5 mile trail run this am....

70 degrees, breezy and bluest sky.
Catch up on laundry? 

Monday, April 04, 2011

They ride I chase...

It is spring break. This year the kids have had a week off in September --we went to the Gulf.  A week off at Thanksgiving-we went luxamping in north Georgia.  2 weeks at Christmas and a week off in February. So for spring break we aren't going anywhere.

 I am jealous of these people that can afford 6 vacations a year but we can't. So we are staying home. It stinks but at least we have awesome weather today-cloud of pollen notwithstanding. It is a little hot though. At 10 am it was 70 degrees. But I am getting use to the heat with all these warm days we've been having. I always feel cheated --like I didn't get enought 50 degree days. It seems it is either 30 degrees or 70+ degrees.

Problem of course with all these school breaks for me is I have no childcare as a stay at home mom. So it can make training for a marathon  (and doing everything else I need to do) a challenge when you have 2 school age kids home for a week every 6 weeks. It just disrupts everyone's schedule. And me? I like my schedule.

I am allowed 2 hours of gym nursery time a day but most days that really isn't enough. I mean yoga is 90 minutes and I need to run an hour. Never mind that my 10 year old daughter does not want to go to the gym nursery.

But I am lucky.

My kids have bikes and they can ride the heck out of them. Teaching them when Beau was 4 and Carmella 6 to ride them without training wheels was the best thing I ever did. Opened up whole new training possibilities. But there is a limit to how long a kid is willing to ride their bike. Most I have gotten out of them was 14 miles. Still dreaming of the day when they can ride along side me for 20 + miles and carry my gu and water.  . .

Today I needed to run 8-10 miles. I let them pick gym or bike. Tomorrow is yoga so they will have to go to the gym. And I would like to not have to run on the treadmill everyday this week but I will if I have to and  I was willing to suck it up for a medium run on the treadmill today if that was their preference.  I was glad when they picked riding their bikes instead of gym though. Even if it meant I was probably going to have to run a little faster than I wanted to keep up with them. I don't run with a watch anymore but in the past they always kept the pace sub 8 min miles.

I have a few choices where they can safely ride. We can do the sidewalk but there are too many street and driveway crossovers. I am in panic mode the whole run. And  running with a higher heart rate just cause you're worried your kid is going to get squashed isn't exactly ideal. I run to relax and that, that just is not relaxing. But I have done it.

I rarely drive anywhere to run. So it is treat for me when the kids and I go somewhere new to run. Today we picked the path at Azalea Rd and Riverside Dr in Roswell. There is an off road dirt path that they love. They also drop the hammer on the dirt path and I panic a little about losing them in the woods because they will get so far ahead I can't see them. They always wait on me though. It really is so fun winding around the trees that we did the wood loop twice.

Well,okay, Carmella really didn't want to it again. That's how it is with my kids. What ever one wants the other wants the opposite. We are in constant negotiation mode to try to apease everyone. But yeah, for the most part, we have to do what I want to do because I am the one with the checking account and driver's license. Carmella won't complain but she will ride faster and wear Beau and I out. She is so passive aggressive. It is cute, sometimes. 

Friday though, if I don't get childcare I will have to suck it up for 13 on the concrete Greenway path. Yucko.

Today  was great though! I don't have a GPS but we were gone an hour twenty. So even with our Gu stop I think we got in at least 9.


 Yes, nothing like the promise of Chocolate Outrage at the mid point to motivate the kids. Well, Beau didn't like it so I will have to figure something else out for him. He tried to muscle it down twice but both times gagged and spit it out. Then he wondered, out loud, "What animals are gonna eat Gu?"

So no excuses. Getting it done; any way I can.