Monday, May 12, 2014

on a mission in a tutu

Fifty-one weeks ago, I ran my first half marathon. It was May 18, 2013. Yesterday, May 11, 2014, I ran number 6. Six.

Sunday’s half was really a way to deal with Mother’s Day and get in the 12 mile long run my training schedule dictated. But then OKC happened and I had a bone to pick. My heart got beat up that weekend, and so did my body. The last thing I wanted was that race hanging out in my head. It needed to move to the middle, so I today was redemption day. It worked.

I knew the weather would be warm and extremely humid. The bottom line is the colder it is, the better I run. But I figured nothing could be worse than running in pain (physical and mental) for 13 miles of hills on a humid day with nothing in me for nutrition due to the delay. So I set out to beat that time, and wanted to come in under 2:30.

I had decided to wear my tutu. I remembered all the happy smiles at the Fairview Half. I felt like seeing happy smiles again. Tutus are a fun thing. As I gave mentioned before, I had resisted them, trying to keep my running “serious, until SELF magazine taunted a cancer victim by calling her tutu "lame"—and a bunch of runners wore tutus in solidarity. That’s what drove me to it. But I have decided to stay. It’s not unusual, but today it was. I was the only runner in a tutu! I could not believe it. As one of my friends said when I told he, "that's weird." It's funny that it's weird, but it really is. I sure enjoyed it, though. People would burst into real smiles and suddenly give me thumbs ups and say awesome things—even the winners as they passed me from the other side. For just a moment runners struggling or even flying would break into smile. It just felt so good.

And then I remembered how the woman wore it because she had fought cancer. I don’t have cancer, but I am fighting something. I decided I am going to wear my tutu and fight too. That was somewhere between mile 3-5. Jolie and I started together, and that was probably the best part—chatting with someone the first mile. We had a good split. There was a photographer there and I called “Did you get the tutu?” as my arms were in the air. Most of my race pictures have my hands in the air.

Random notes from today:

Fort Worth races are friendly. I have run several there and the “race culture,” my latest term, is good.

This race was small and on a park trail, like Wichita, so it was harder by lack of crowd support. It was virtually flat, but hard to get momentum. My best mile was around 7 when we did the turnaround. There were people everywhere because we were turning and then the ones behind us were approaching. I had a great split there—further proving I am a social runner. Who would have known? I would love to have a friend who runs my pace that I could run with. I would have never guessed this until April. My best long runs ever were Fairview when we had that very friendly half where there was always someone to talk to, and last week with Cindy—16 miles was one of my happiest runs. Really Yep. Social runner. Never in a million years would have thought such a thing. No wonder I can’t bring myself to do more than 10 miles on my own. The introvert needs running friends. Of all things!

It was hot, mostly because it was humid. My lungs did well, though. No asthma attacks. But it felt like waves of hot flashes washing over me at times. I had to throw water on myself. However I felt terrific at the end. The owner of Fort Wroth Running Company, a seasoned runner, and I were chatting after the race and he was saying something about the humidity and the winds (OK style winds too). I said, yeah, I had run OKC a couple weeks ago and this was better but it was also hot. He looked surprised:

“You didn’t do better today than OKC did you?” he asked incredulously. “The dew point is 68!”

Yes, I did, sir. Oh yes, I did. You see, I was on a mission and I met it.

I was struggling. My back hurt. My rib is apparently back in place but now the pain was at the top. Hard as I tried I could not get in a great pace because I was shifting and moving all over trying to ease my pain. But I fought. And when I saw it was mathematically possible to come in under 2:30, I pushed through the pain. I had to try. If I failed, it was okay as long as I tried. So I pushed. I knew there was a last hill. Same as Christmas Day. It’s pretty steep—only real hill in the race, a sharp turn from the concrete on to the dirt trail, up a hill. It's right at the end, where they get the .1. As we turned up the hill, the south wind assailed us with the gusts of 26 mph, and that made me fight back. Run, I told myself, run hard. You can throw up if you need to but run! When I arrived at the clock I saw the 2:29 and the smile on my face is ridiculous. In hot, humid, windy weather with so much moisture in the air I never got dry, and I beat OKC.
Coming to the finish and realizing my time goal was possible

I waited for Jolie, and then when I saw her coming had a blast creaming for her the running onto the course again, medal on me, and crossing the finish line with her. I have always wanted to do that.
Finding Jolie to cross with her, too.

I got a new bottle of water for her but she just wanted to finish. I've never crossed a finish line with someone; it was a blast

It wasn’t my best race or easiest race, but it was a good one. With some crowd support and cooler weather I probably would have called it even better. I will be glad to have this back issue done with. Good flipping grief, it’s amazing what one out of place rib can do, but it’s getting better. My long runs are getting so long that my midweek runs are getting shorter so I don’t beat up my body. Nonetheless, I emerged with a blister—my first in a year—from my 16-miler last week and then a new one on the back of my ankle this time. That is something I have never had. It certainly makes me feel like a marathoner-in-training. And that I am.

I try to not think about that during other races. I realized that’s the worst time to think of your next race. I have a 5K this weekend and even tat was an overwhelming through in the middle of a half. Lesson learned: Do not ponder future races will on mile 8 of a race! Duh.

Next up: 5K Saturday
18 mile run the day after I get back from my trip, May 21.
20 mile run, May 28
12-14 mile run, June 6 or 7

Then I am back on my own to taper—which I am looking forward to as well simply because the marathon training limits me some on just running for fun.

June 21-Run a marathon or bust.
June 22. I can’t even imagine. It's a bit scary, actually.

But for now, I have run 6 half marathons, all successfully. Some great, some sucky, some in between.

You know, like life.

The picture I get in every race somehow; it always looks like I'm dancing while I run. At least I was dressed for it.

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