26 November 2011

Things I May Have Lied to Myself About

Marathons in 2012.

I told myself.  I told my husband.  I was firm.  I was resolute.  No marathons in 2012.  I wanted a more relaxing year.

It is eight days before CIM.  I'm in the middle of a taper.  I only had to run three miles today.  It felt odd to only be out for three miles.  Why even bother getting laced up and stuff?

I'm planning on at least three half marathons in 2012:  Oakland, SF, and Big Sur.  That should be enough to keep me running and sane.

But it doesn't feel like enough.  After all these weeks of training (like 30!), I don't know how I can go back to NOT training.  But I suppose I can.

I'm flirting with a registering for a very pricey but very scenic 21 miler.  I ran it in 2010.  I could come back and try to beat my time.  And since 21 miles does not equal a marathon, I will be keeping my word.  What to do!  What to do?

20 November 2011

2011 Big Sur Half Marathon Race Report

A better title may be Big Sur IV since this is my fourth time on this course.  Plus it reminds me of Led Zeppelin.

I signed up for this one the day registration opened.  I've run it every year since 2008.  It is sort of like my tradition.  Big Sur Half 2008 was my first race ever; I'm sentimental in my own ways.

Then for some odd reason I registered for CIM back in August.  My easy fall training for a half marathon suddenly changed to marathon training.  The change to marathon training necessitated more weeks training.  So I finished the SF Half Marathon as the end of July and immediately went into marathon training mode.

Essentially, I've been in training since May.  I technically ran the Big Sur International Marathon in May.  I'm tired.  I have two more weeks until CIM.  Taper weeks.

Most of the week was spent not thinking about the race.  This race was NO WHERE on my radar.  I packed the morning I left.  I did not agonize.  I did not make plans.  I did not set goals.  I was mostly looking forward to the five days that I have off from work.  I think the prospect of vacation consumes my mental energy.

I worried continually about the threat/promise of rain on race day.

Consequently, I could have been a nicer person.

Woke up.  Got dressed.  Headed to the race.  Fretted about the rain and temp the entire time.

My husband insisted on taking a picture of me.  Look.

Sartorially, I'm proud of the arm warmer glove combo.  It was exactly what I would imagine it would be like to wear opera gloves to a race.  The large sweat pants were a last minute grab at the local Target.  I had forgotten the warm clothes to wear down to the race.

Here is the finished outfit look:

I look fantastic and ready for rain.  More on the rain later.

I said goodbye to my husband and my son who ran off to the tunnel to get the tunnel picture.  More on that in a bit.  I found my corral and slipped into the back near the last minute.  The more I do these races the less seriously I take them.  I've decided that the back of the corral is the place to be.  Moment of truth:  I hate the chit chat that some people engage in during the first mile or two of a race.  I'm misanthropic.  Or maybe I'm just bummed that I do this stuff by myself.  But honestly, I like running alone.

Announcer does his announce thing.  I'm was glad that there was no Bart Yasso today.  I had to endure the Yassoisms at Big Sur in April and at San Francisco in July.  Announcers do the whole throwing questions/commands out to each corral.  My favorite one:  "How many of you are here celebrating a new job?"  Little reaction.  Followed by:  "How many of you are here celebrating the fact that you still have a job?"  Huge reaction.

Finally, I was off.

I suffered through some inane chatter behind me.  I tried to run away, but they followed me.  It made the first mile irritating, but the first mile is always irritating, so it wasn't that big of a deal.

Quickly made it to the tunnel and spied my husband and son waiting for me.  They got a great picture of my last year.  Last year I was clad in a tank top and shorts.  This year--the runner opera gloves over a long sleeve over a tank with crops.  The threat/promise of rain had led me to over dress.

At least I look happy and relatively adorable.  I ditched the opera gloves and rolled up my sleeves after the tunnel.    And the rain soaked street made more a much more dramatic photo compared with last year's.

Seeing the two juxtaposed really highlights my need for routine and consistency.  Ha.

So I ran, and I ran, and I ran.  I enjoyed watching the faster people on their way back run past.  Many men with nice legs appeared to be running in my general direction.  That's good for a girl's self-esteem.

I ran up the hill in Pacific Grove and felt superior to those who walked it.  I've earned that right.

Once I was running out by the sea, I was thankful for the long sleeved shirt.  The wind was a bit chilly.

About halfway through my Garmin threatened to quit.  I cursed it silently and sent a mental note to Santa for a new one.  I turned on a Radiolab podcast and settled in for the second half.

One afro'd man in roller skates held a sign that said on one side "Work it Out!" and "You're the sh*t!" on the other.  I could help but think of Kurt Vonnegut (may he rest in peace!) and wondered if the roller skating man was a Vonnegut fan.

I felt strong throughout the run.  I ran a little faster than planned.  I thought that I would run at my marathon pace, but I ended up running about 30 seconds a mile too fast.  I tried to slow myself down at various times during the race.  This is what leads me to believe that if I had tried, I could have PR'd this time around.  But I am saving it all for CIM.

My favorite part was during the twelfth mile I was passed by not one but TWO Lieutenant Jim Dangles.

I chased them for a bit but they were too fast for me.  The outfit included batons and handcuffs.  I appreciated people who really commit to a joke.

I crossed the finish line.  It started to rain immediately.  Zeus must be a runner.

2:21:36.  Second faster time ever.  Not bad for a girl who wasn't trying.

REFLECTIVE END OF EPISODE VOICEOVER MOMENT:  I'm not a fast runner; I'm a typical mid pack runner.  While I appreciate (and ogle)  the physical beauty of the elite male field, I was most inspired by those who clearly were struggling but pressed on.  I'm often embarrassed by my times on these things because I feel like I could do better.  I am improving, but I really am embarrassed by how slow I run.  Yet I am in the middle.  I think of those who are starting to exercise and signed up for this as a first half marathon.  I am impressed by their courage.  I am impressed by the courage it takes to sign up and be at the end of the pack.  I wish more people understood that runners come in all shapes, sizes, and ages.  I wish more people could come out and see this courage.  This didn't seem to come out right at all.  My heart is in the right spot.

Two runners died at or near the finish of the Philadelphia marathon today.  If this makes news beyond running circles, I'm sure people will ask me why I run marathons and half marathons.  I fear the news cycle will blow it out of proportion.  My heart grieves for the families of the two runners.  One was reported to have been 21 years old!  I think, for me, running is about having the courage to try to push and shape myself.  It is also about witnessing others try to do the same.

AFTERWARD:  My husband likes watching the people at the races.  We talked about the tutu clad ones.  I may have taken his bait and said that I would run in a tutu at Oakland.

AFTERMATH:  None.  A half marathon after training for a marathon is not that hard--especially since I didn't really RRRRRRAAAAAAAAACCCCCCCEEEE it.


Jeez.  I just realized that I have to write another one of these in two weeks.

12 November 2011

Stuff That Used to Big Kind of a Big Deal

So I hit 1,000 miles last week.  I thought about blogging it.  Clearly, I didn't.  I mean, what is there to say?  I could have written that I finally hit my goal of running 1,000 miles in a calendar year.  But even I am no longer impressed by my hitting my goals.  This either speaks to the low bar I set for myself OR to the fact that I know it isn't a matter of if but when I meet my goals.

Or both.

I also have a 20 miler tomorrow.  Whoop.  De.  Doo.

Don't get me wrong.  I'm not exactly looking forward to it.  I mean, I sort of am looking forward to my playlist of podcasts and Huckleberry Finn chapters.  I sort of am looking forward to the taper that will immediately follow the 20 miler.  But yeah.  I've done these before.  They hurt.

Clearly, I'm a bit burned out on the running bit.  Looking forward to a more relaxing 2012.