Madison Half Marathon Recap

Is there a name or acronym for the worst time for a run? WR (worst record)?

I approached this morning’s race with no expectations. With the full canceled and the expected high temps, I went into it as if it were just another training run.

My normal pre-run breakfast: toast with sunflower seed butter, a banana, and iced coffee.

Ellie and I rode in together, and it was convenient to park in Brody’s lot right off the square. We had plans to meet Mel and Tim outside of the Walgreen’s pretty close to the start.

Ellie guarded my bag while I stood in line for the porta-potties. It took longer than I had expected but I made it back about fifteen minutes before the start. I dropped off my bag and we took a photo. We look happy, probably because it wasn’t hot yet and we weren’t running yet.

After this, I have no photos, only words.

The first eight miles went well; although Mel and I left Ellie behind around mile six (with her permission), we held a decent pace considering the temps. We walked through every water/Gatorade station. I stuck with water because I had GU Brew in my water bottle. My knee felt great and the band didn’t bother me at all. I made the decision to take three GUs, so by this point I had had two.

Mile nine is when I started to fall apart, mainly mentally but probably also physically. My body felt fine, no pain, but the heat made it difficult to breath. Right after running by Monona Terrace, I felt panicky, but luckily I had Mel to talk me through it – she’s a doll and knows what I was feeling. I took LOTS of walk breaks for the rest of the race; once I needed one, I just kept “needing” them.

Around mile eleven, I gave Mel the thumbs up to take off without me; she was feeling good and had actually been singing “Dog Days Are Over” to me to keep my mind off of everything. I kept my head down, ran and walked for the rest of it, and finished in 2:19.

Worst half marathon time. Yes, I told myself this race didn’t matter, but it’s hard to see those extra ten minutes on my time.

Alone, I wandered around, chugged a chocolate milk, and went to pick up my bag from the gear area. I got there, told them my number, and they couldn’t find it. Searching the bags, double-checking the numbers on the blue tags, the workers were confused. That is when I broke down – sobbed like baby. As I have explained before, I often feel super crabby at the end of a long run. Add that to the thought of losing a wallet, cell phone, camera, clothes, etc. and I hope you can understand my reaction.

I sat down, calmed my self down, and waited. Ten minutes later, they found it…with a different bib number tag on it. Back when Ellie and I got ready to put my bag in the gear area, I accidentally grabbed her tag with her number. I cried for the second time that morning when they handed me my bag, but these were tears of joy and relief.

Brody and I met for breakfast at Daisy’s Cupcakery, but I wasn’t especially hungry. Despite my lack of appetite, I ate most of the strata I ordered and the fruit but left the potatoes.

Now I am home, showered, dressed, and ready to go to a housewarming party and a graduation party this afternoon.

There is a part of me that just wants to throw in the towel and not do the full. After today’s race, my confidence to run the full distance is waning. I will fight through those negative feelings and continue to prepare for the full of June 10th. I will keep telling myself, “I can do this” even if I don’t totally believe it right now.

Preparing for the Madison Half Marathon

In a perfect world, I’d be preparing for a full marathon by carbo-loading and hydrating today.  The expected temperature for tomorrow would be around 60 degrees with mostly cloudy skies.  I would have been experiencing no odd loosey-goosey feeling in my knee for he last week.

In the real world, my (because obviously it is MY marathon) is canceled, I am carbo-loading and hydrating for a half, and I don’t even want to look at the forecast again.  At Dick’s (sporting goods store), I purchased a knee band to help my patella because I’m nervous it’s on the verge of injury.

It’s okay, though.  I’ll run the half and just treat it like another training run.  As I mentioned yesterday, I’m going to run those 26.2 miles somehow, somewhere.

I got a kick out the sad face because that’s totally something I would’ve done if I had been in charge of making that sign.

Today, Brody and I drove to the Monona Terrace (where we got married almost four years ago!) to pick up my race stuff.  I didn’t spend a lot of time wandering around because we needed to get to urgent care to get Brody’s blood taken (his CPK numbers are down to below 10,000 – yeah!).

I did manage to find myself at the SpiBelt kiosk because they had a basket of SpiBelts for $12!  I’ve been wanting one for a while, and the rep said the only difference was that these were made in China and the quality isn’t as great as the ones made in the US.  She said they still hold up just fine, so I forked over my Visa.  When running alone, I really should have a phone on me; safety first!



I did a little happy dance when I found this mini-Larabar in my race bag.  It was my dessert after lunch.

When I picked up my shirt, I immediately said to Brody, “Black, huh.  Not the best color for a race that is canceled due to heat.”  Later in the day when I was on Facebook, Mel posted a comment saying the exact same thing.  I know most people running the full weren’t going to wear their race shirt for the race, but still – irony at its finest.

In the Shape magazine I was reading at urgent care, one of their tips for working out in heat is to wear light colored clothes.  While I realize this is a major DUH, I would’ve been the girl to show up in black shorts and a black tank tomorrow.  I like black – it’s slimming – but I’d rather not keel over from heat exhaustion.

I think I have all my ducks in a row.  I know what I am wearing: black Nike spandex shorts, light colored Old Navy running tank, Target sports bra, and Prana headband. I know what I’m eating and drinking: two to three GUs, GU Brew in my hand-held water bottle, and water if needed at aid stations.  I will have my electronics charged: iPod (just in case I get separated from friends) and Garmin.

Even though I’m not feeling the same excitement and butterflies I’ve felt for past races, I’m still ready to go.  See you at the finish line (metaphorically speaking)!

It’s an Ellen Kind of Day

What an amazing day! On my friend Bridget’s blog, her tagline is “I’m having an incredible year.” Well, I feel like I’m having an incredible day…and it’s not even over yet!!!

But first: April Photo a Day
Yesterday, I honestly completely forgot about taking my picture, so it’s here today. Better late than never.

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The next text I will be teaching is Death of a Salesman, which I haven’t read since high school. Guess what I’ll be doing tomorrow? I had to hunt down the copies, so this is my something you found.

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Ellen is always so happy, and while I flipping through the March edition of Real Simple, I came across this ad. Because Chantelle’s theme was how you feel today, I snapped a photo of Ellen’s smiling face.

Reason Number One I am Happy Like Ellen:
I had a fantastic run this morning with Mel and her husband Tim. We covered twelve miles and ran along Lakeshore Path, past Hoyt Park, down Monroe, past the zoo, and back to Brittingham Park. The temperature was perfect, I wore my new running clothes (Old Navy tank and Nike spandex shorts from Marshall’s), the GUs I brought were yummy (Roctane chocolate raspberry and blackberry), and we finished with an average pace of 9:41. Could it get much better than that?

Reason Number Two I am Happy Like Ellen:
One of the Wine and Recipe ladies, Mel, is pregnant with her first child and is due at the end of May. Two of the other Wine and Recipe ladies, Jena and Emily, threw Mel a baby shower today. Because Mel and her hubby are not finding out the sex of the baby, everything needed to be gender neutral. I went over to Jena’s house last night to help set up the adorable bee themed decorations and food.

This was the sweetest theme ever!

We had yummy food: chicken salad in pita, veggie wraps, pasta salad, spinach salad, cowboy caviar, fruit pops, cupcakes (which I helped frost), and Oreo truffles.
It was fun to watch Mel open all of her gifts. Many of the other women there have kids, and so many times they said things like, “I wish we had had that!” Mel was especially excited for all of the bath time presents.

*The woman to the right of Mel looks like she’s picking her nose, but she’s not.  I doubt she’ll ever read my blog, so I am posting this picture.  Casey, if you find this, I am sorry.

I cleaned off a few items off her registry that no one apparently wanted to buy, including a bottle scrubber, a medical dispensing kit, and bibs. As an English teacher, I feel it is my duty (and joy) to give books to expecting moms. My always book is Goodnight Moon; I LOVED this book as a little girl and would apparently make my dad read it to me every night. Besides that, I also found Ten Little Monkeys: Jumping On the Bed.

We played some fun, non-cheesy games too. Jena printed off pictures of celebrities’ kids; she gave us the names of the moms but we had to put the mom and child together. We got an extra point for knowing the name of the kid. I don’t follow celebrity “news” much but knew a few.

Another cute idea, because it wasn’t exactly a game, was for everyone to fill out a sheet of paper with sentence starters such as “I hope you learn…” and “I hope you laugh…” for Baby Baker. Emily compiled everyone’s sheet and made a cute scrapbook that said “We’re Excited to See Who You Will Bee.”

While I had a great time at Mel’s baby shower, I am sad to be missing my college friend’s bachelorette party in Chicago tonight. With Brody being in Vegas and not being able to fond anyone to watch the dogs, it just wasn’t in the cards. I hope all of my Pi Phi girls have lots of fun!

Cheers to an Ellen-happy-face day!

Questions:
What was the best thing so far about your Saturday?
What is your favorite baby shower game? Least favorite?
Did you run today? Share the deets!

Pint Likes, Pint Unlikes

During the two hours and forty minutes I spent with myself and my music this morning (running sixteen…okay, technically 15.6 miles), I let my crazy mind wander. I thought about running (Will I really be able to run 26.2 miles?), food (What should I eat after this?), the future (summer plans), and this little blog thing I’ve got going on (What could I write about?). Insert: Pint Likes, Pint Unlikes.

Pint Likes

1. Yellow desk

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Brody and I are thinking about moving the office (which is currently in a guest room upstairs) into the living room. The room has a beautiful cabinet built by Brody’s grandpa, a nice big window, and a fresh coat of paint, but the only “people” who use it daily are Moose and Frankie. If we did turn it into an office, we would need a new desk because the desk would float in the middle of the room. While this yellow desk is not our style, I still like it. This one is more of our style.

2. Brody’s burgers
My mom and sister are visiting for this Easter weekend, and because we didn’t want leftovers, we made burgers. Brody doctors the ground beef with a “proprietary mix of spices” (quote from Brody himself because he doesn’t want to share his recipe). We got to talking about the best burgers in Madison, and since I rarely eat burgers when out, I didn’t have much to contribute; however, my bison burger from Bison Jack’s was pretty fantastic last weekend. Brody’s favorite is the Melting Pot from Dotty Dumpling Dowry’s.

3. Buying running clothes
I go shopping (Old Navy and Marshall’s) and what do I buy? Running compression pants, tank with built-in bra, running spandex shorts, and a whisk. Having new running clothes makes me even more excited for my runs. Plus, my sister gave me an early birthday present: Nike running shorts with a sweet pattern. My awesome new running gear will hopefully distract people from my red, salt-crusted face and awkward gait.

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4. Having a mom who works for a bakery
When my mom and sister arrived at 2pm today, they brought lots of food, including a doughnut, an egg-shaped chocolate Easter cake, bakery buns, dark chocolate M&Ms, ingredients for a strawberry pretzel dessert thing, and wine. Sixteen miles < calorie intake for the day.

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Pint Unlikes

1. Peanut butter flavored GU

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I was so excited for this flavor that I even saved it for my second gel of the long run to have something to look forward to. Unfortunately, the thicker consistency left the back of my throat coated, as if I had a frog in my throat. I actually liked the first GU, Sublime Lemon flavor, much more.

2. Running alone for more than an hour
Running alone today kind of sucked. I like the social aspect of running, so when I woke up this morning knowing I would be alone for a long time, I felt a little worried. While other people can work through “issues” during their runs, my mind wanders from one topic to the next. Definitely looking forward to running with friends again next weekend.

3. The end of spring break
After a glorious week, my spring break ends Monday night. Unlike most working adults, I am lucky enough to get this time away from work, so I will not complain that it is over…I will just put it in the unlike section of my mind and this post.

4. Needing to be even
I can’t think of another unlike from today, but I don’t like the idea of four likes and only three unlikes. The balance feels nice now.

Question:
What did you like or unlike about your day?

A Long Run and a Paint Color Conundrum

Before yesterday, the farthest I had ever run was the half marathon distance. The last two long runs had me doubting my ability to make it the full 26.2, but yesterday, my confidence soared.

Mel and her husband Tim met me at 9:00am by the Brittingham Boathouse in Madison, and we ran to pick up our friend Nicole about half a mile away. The four of us did four miles together around campus and chatted the whole time.

We said goodbye to Nicole and continued on for the eleven mile loop I mapped out on Map My Run. We headed east towards Maple Bluff and ran part of the race route. There were some decent hills and my upper hamstrings, lower butt got super tight (as did Mel’s) but loosened up on the downhills. My first Gu, vanilla, at mile six was delicious, but as Tim predicted, the pineapple Gu was not. Now I know. I did buy the Peanut Butter Gu at REI today; Monica mentioned it and said it was really good, so I am sure it will be ah-mah-zing (channeling Penny from Happy Endings).

Overall, I felt strong the whole time, felt only a little discomfort, and kept my breathing under control. Unfortunately, Mel and Tim both had less than great runs. I hope we can all be in sync next weekend for the sixteen mile run.

*****

My big Spring Break 2012 (meant to be said really loudly and quickly) include painting the front hallway and living room. Brody and I visited Sherwin Williams to look at colors and get a few samples. Our family room and kitchen are in Comfort Gray and our dining room is a light mocha color (not a Sherwin Williams paint), and we want something neural that flows well with these two colors. We picked out Grassland and Versatile Gray.

For about five dollars each, we brought home about a quart of paint to put up on the walls. I wanted to see how each looked in different lighting, next to the Comfort Gray, and next our trim.

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The one on the left is the Versatile Gray and the right is Grassland.

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Next to the trim and the Comfort Gray, what do you think? No seriously. This is not a rhetorical question; what color do you like better? I know it is hard to tell because most of you don’t know the space, but humor me.

Question:
What color do you like better?