Tuesday, October 30, 2012

MCM Race Report

The wake call up came early, 4:30am is early not matter how you look at it.  I got up first, got my shower (to some that sounds silly I know, but I like to know I'm all clean, I normally don't shower before training runs).  I basically rubbed BodyGlide all over my body, especially what I like to call the 'chub rubs' between my legs.  No matter how much weight I lose, I still have those damn chub rubs that constantly rub together and chafe like you'd not believe!!!!

My race crew got up, and out the door we went!!  We headed to the metro at around 5:15ish, and boarded the yellow line to the Pentagon.  It was easy to find where to go, we've done this race before, and with all the people, it wasn't too hard to find your way around.  We went to the Runners Village and hung out there until it was time to line up for the race.  The hubby's friend was also running the race, so we met up with him at the village.  I decided not to drink any water that morning because I didn't want to be peeing the entire race.  I knew that I drank enough all week long, and that I was hydrated enough, so I just took a couple of sips of some Powerade before we left the hotel.  I did pee once in the village, mostly because I like toilet paper, and I knew if I waited, I wouldn't be any left to wipe my lady parts, and let's face it y'all, that's just nasty.  

Around 7:30 or so we made way to the corrals.  I rubbed more BodyGlide on the chub rubs:
This is my reality.  Disgusting I know, but funny in a way.
I wanted to kill the hubby for taking this pic, but it's quite funny really.  It is what is is.  Anyway, I checked my phone one last time for the weather and it changed!!  The percentage went down to 20% of rain for the morning and afternoon!!  I was so happy!!  Before we lined up, I asked the hubby if he had any words of wisdom.  You know what he said? "Don't walk."  Those were his words of wisdom.  Don't walk.  Little did I know those words would get me through some tough times during the race.  He also told me he loved me, I got a hug and kiss from him and the kiddo, and I was on my way.  They did things a little different than last time, they had us line up inside of a gate on the interstate instead of just lining up on the road, I guess to keep us separated from the spectators, I don't know.  It does make sense, but it was super crowded in those corrals.  I stood next to the hubby's friend, with full intentions of staying with him for several miles.  I knew at one point we would go our separate ways, but I thought we'd run maybe the first half together.  

It was cold and cloudy, it was actually perfect running weather.  Perfect.  Every runner knows that the sun can be your worst enemy, especially if you're out there for hours.  It took us 17 minutes to cross the start line.  At 8:12am, my journey began.  I ran with my hubby's friend for 2 miles.  It is a bit hilly the first couple of miles (actually the first 7).  The hubby's friend is obviously not good with hills.  He kept saying that I could leave him at any time.  So after the second hill on the second mile I did just that.  I went on and I never looked back.  I was there to run my race, I was there to PR.  That is what I went there to do.

I passed the 5 hour pace group at mile 4, and I kept that man in my rear view the entire time.  I talked to some people along the way, never more than a couple of minutes though.  I walked through every single aid station.  I drank two cups of gatorade, and sometimes I had a cup of water.  I ate my chomps every four miles or so.  I saw my hubby and son right after Georgetown around mile 10, and got a couple of swipes of BodyGlide.  The hubby told me I was well on my way to a sub 5 marathon, but I knew I had a lot more to go.  At mile 18-19 I saw the hubby and kiddo again, and I got a couple more swipes of BodyGlide.  The hubby asked me how I felt, and to be honest, I felt fine.  My feet hurt, but other than that, I felt great.  I met a princess around mile 20 or so, and I told her that her hair looked perfect.  I mean it really did.  I knew mine was a hot mess, but she looked great!  She even had a dress on for goodness sakes!!  After I made it past "Beat the Bridge" around mile 20, I knew I was gonna make a sub 5.  I just knew it.  On the bridge, I kept saying to myself, "don't you walk, remember what the hubby said, once you start walking, it'll all go to shit if you walk".  I didn't walk.  I kept running, albeit slow, but I kept running.  Let me tell you that bridge is tricky, you are there all alone, not a spectator in site.  When I finally arrived in Crystal City the crowds took over, I felt like I was flying although my pace had slowed down.  Those crowds gave me what I needed to finish strong.  They were amazing, every mile, they were there to cheer all of us on.  At mile 24-25 you leave Crystal City, but before you do, there is one more fuel station, not just ANY fuel station, a Dunkin Donut Munchkin station.

I would do just about anything for these babies...

Anyone who knows me knows I LOVE chocolate DD Munchkins!!!!!  I thought about stopping, and I almost did.  But I looked at my garmin and I knew if I stopped I wouldn't make a sub 5.  So I told myself to keep running (again, hubby's voice in my head), and I thought if I finish under 5, I can have all the munchkins I want!!!!!  So I passed it, I never looked back.  I saw lots of people eating the chocolate ones I love so much, but I kept running.  I even saw some on the ground, I felt sorry for those little munchkins.  I really did.  Poor munchkin never made it to someones tummy.  How sad.  After I passed that difficult fuel station, I was running the part I remember from MCM 2009.  The part where I told the hubby that I didn't care if I walked the rest of the way, along with lots of curse words.  This year though, I ran that bitch.  I ran it all the way in.  I passed people saying the same things I said just three years ago.  There was a cluster of people at the end going up the big hill at the finish (the marines don't make it easy to get that medal), and they were walking, I was so mad, I wanted to run!!  I wanted to finish strong!  After I made my way through, I ran the rest of the way, as fast as my legs would let me.  I finished in 4:56:33!!!

As soon as I finished, I got my medal from a marine, he saluted me, and I called my hubby to ask where he was.  Spectators are not allowed in the finishers area, for obvious reasons.  There are so many people there, it was already chaotic, I can't imagine it being any worse.  I made my way out after lots of food and drinks the marines were handing out, and they actually gave you a bag to put it in!  How smart is that?  It took me 30 minutes to get out of the finishers area.  I finally met up with my husband and son and got a big hug from both of them.  They have no idea how much they mean to me.  They were there the entire time cheering me on all day.  My friends texted me all day too telling me how awesome I am, and how proud they are of me.   That's enough to make a girl all teary eyed!!

The MCM is an amazing marathon.  It really is.  The marines do a great job hosting this event, and they do not hold back.  The crowds are great.  The signs are hilarious.  It is a large marathon, it caps at 30K runners, but other than the beginning, it doesn't feel too crowded.  It's a great way to see your nations capital.  That being said, I want to say thanks for my family and friends for their support and motivation this training cycle.  I did it.  Even when I doubted myself, they were there to pick me up and make me believe in myself.  A huge thanks to my spectacular husband for talking me into running my first marathon three years ago.  Without his support three years ago, I would have given up.  Look at me now babe, I did it!!  Twice!!!

MCM Pre-Race

I'll start off with saying that I did PR!!  I beat my old MCM race by 42 minutes!!  How awesome is that?  Well pretty damn awesome if you ask me.  Now my new marathon PR is 4:56:33!!!!  I wanted a sub 5 hour marathon so bad, and I earned it on Sunday!  I am so proud of ME!!

The days leading up to this marathon were a bit stressful, not because I was nervous really about the race, I was more nervous about Sandy.  The weather peeps kept saying that it was going to make landfall sometime on Sunday, and as of Saturday night, the rain chance was 90% at 8am.  Like I've said before, I don't mind a good rain, but for the full 26.2 was not going to be fun.  Neither would it have been fun for my race crew to stand around in the rain for almost 5 hours.

We arrived in Old Town Alexandria on Saturday afternoon around lunch time.  If you've never been to Old Town, I highly suggest it.  I absolutely love that part of D.C.

The expo was first on the list.  As soon as we found out we couldn't check into our room yet, we headed down to the metro station to ride to the D.C. Armory to get our packets.  (Remember, the hubby couldn't run, but he had to get his free shirt!!)  After packet pickup, we headed across the street to the expo.  They had them in separate places, which made perfect sense, but they didn't really make that known until you got up close to the armory, they directed us in the right direction, but if they would've had signs, people wouldn't have been as confused.  Anyway, packet pick up was a breeze, and the expo was huge.  It was great, and I love a good expo.  There were lots of people there, which made it difficult at times (we even lost the kid once), but we looked around and didn't buy a thing.  The hubby made the comment that he couldn't believe I didn't buy anything, but honestly, I didn't see anything that I needed.

After the expo we headed back to Old Town to eat some lunch, well more like a late lunch, early dinner.  I was a little concerned with that, but we went to a place called Red Rocks Pizza and it was DE-Licious!!!!  I mean seriously, it was awesome.  I'm not a HUGE pizza fan, I like some weird stuff on my pizza, and I can't even remember what I ordered, but I got my own personal pizza and ate every last bite.  I also drank the entire pint of water they put on the table.  We walked around a bit, but I didn't want to wear out my legs, so we headed back to the hotel to relax.

Saturday evening, I basically stalked the weather, and put my race gear together.  That is really it.  I was having some issues with my Spi-Belt for my Chomps.  I didn't know what to do, I had a picture in my mind, but it wasn't a very good one once I got it together.  The hubby offered a little pouch to put on the belt that had a zipper, and it worked perfect, I just pinned it to the front of my belt, put all my Chomps in there, and I was good to go.  I think he intended to wear it in D.C. the next day so he wouldn't have to carry his wallet, but he gave it to me, and said that it was ok if I wore it.  How awesome is he?  Pretty dang awesome if you ask me.  The hubby and I also got together and he went over the mile markers he thought he'd try and see me at.  At the expo we both picked up the 5 hour pace group bracelets.  When I picked up the 5 hour bracelet, and saw a picture of the guy that was the pacer.  I told the lady that I was going to make sure he was in my rear view for the race. (She didn't think that was funny at all, I'm not sure why).  The hubby circled the miles that I needed to start looking for him.  At first I kinda thought it was silly, I thought I could remember what miles, but when I was running the thing, I was so happy he did circle them!!  I sent my pic of my race gear to Pam, and I told her it was official, I was running 26.2 in the morning.  Her response?  "You sure as hell are!!!"  She's super awesome, I mean seriously awesome.  Between her and the hubby, I really have the best support crew anyone could ask for.  Seriously.

This is my race outfit!  

After I got my race gear together, I ate my pizza that I bought from a local pizza place from home.  I ate it the night before my second 20 miler and I did well that day.  When I told the hubby what I had, he told me then that maybe that should be my pre-race meal.  So on Friday afternoon I bought two slices to go of their spinach, artichoke, feta, and pesto pizza to go.  I ate just one of them that night since I was still pretty full from the pizza I had earlier.  So I ate, then soon after I called it a night.  We had an early wake up call 4:30 am, so it was lights out.

Race report to come shortly...

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Taper Tricks, Road Rage, & Sandy

As you know, I'm doing the taper for MCM this weekend.  I have ran 5 miles this week.  5 MILES!!!  I ran 2 yesterday, 2!!  I had to look up the last time I ran just 2 miles, it was in January, and I was fighting with a bum knee.  It was weird running just 2 miles, it was almost not worth getting up early and running on the treadmill.  I usually put off my Wednesday runs until the afternoon after school, but to be quite honest I needed to wash my hair, and I didn't want to wash it twice in one day.  So I ran my 2 miles, slow and easy on the treadmill and watched the news.  I hate the treadmill, but I'm glad I have it,  for reasons that usually don't have to do with my hair.

I'm also exhausted.  Mentally and physically.  I slept 10.5 hours last night, and I think I need a nap today.  I texted the blogging besty, and she told me my body was playing taper tricks on me.  Mean, mean body!!

I have road rage.  Bad.  When we moved to Virginia, we realized these people really don't know how to drive.  I mean really.  It is horrible.  I've grown accustomed to this crazy driving.  The city we live in is not huge, but it has lots of work opportunities, so the city swells quite large during the week, and on weekends, we are also a college town, so if it's a home game, we avoid downtown at all costs.  With my taper, I'm a little on edge (rightfully so, right?) and I've been saying the most profane ways to express myself when I come in contact with crazy drivers.  Today for instance I was at a green light wanting to turn left.  Well there was an idiot in front of me that was less aggressive and decided to wait until the light was RED to turn left.  I was in the middle of the intersection at this point, thinking the idiot was going to turn before then, I counted 2 opportunities to do so, and she didn't.  I called her horrible, horrible things.  We turned left, and that woman drove 10 miles BELOW the speed limit for the road.  Seriously?  I mean come on!!  It is a two lane hilly road, with no where to pass.  I think she did it on purpose.  If she only knew I was on a taper, and I would use all my pent up energy to tell her exactly what I thought (well I guess I did, but she didn't hear me...)

Maybe if I drove with one of these people would get out of the way.

Sandy is a little hurricane that may or may not make her way up the east coast.  Al Roker has said that there are two different models for the path of the storm, he thinks it's not gonna hit the east coast, but the Europeans believe it will.  And if you've forgotten, I'm running a little marathon on Sunday in our nations capital (when I typed that I thought of Forest Gump!) anyway, when I look ahead at the weather for Sunday, it says  the temp will be 58 and a 90% chance of rain.  Now I'm all about running in the rain, don't get me wrong.  I love a good rainy run every now and then.  I really don't want to run the entire marathon in the rain, but I will if I have to, I'm gonna finish.  

So the taper is making me insane, road rage is making me a mean person, and Sandy is just the icing on the cake.  

Monday, October 22, 2012

Taper Madness!!!

I am running in the Marine Corps Marathon in six days.  This is the second time I'm doing this race (last time was in 2009), and this time I'm going to PR.  My current PR is 5:38:14, so I'm pretty confident I can do it.

I understand the logic of a taper, lower your weekly mileage to prepare you legs for the race.  I get it.  I know it works.  I will only run 7 miles this week, and then the 26.2 on Sunday.  I've done everything Hal Higdon has told me, and I'm ready...physically.  It is that mental thing that drives me nuts.  We've all heard the expression from Tom Fleming, "Success is 90% physical and 10% mental.  But never underestimate the power of that 10%." I use running to release the stress in my life, and when I decrease my mileage, I can't release the stress, and I go nuts!!  I'm losing sleep, I think I'm going to take an Ambien every single night until race day (yes, I actually have a prescription, I didn't buy them off the street, I swear!!) just so my mind will rest!!  My legs are resting, why can't my mind?!?!  I've been giving this some thought as to why we go crazy during the taper.  Maybe in a way the taper IS preparing me mentally for the race.  In the end it is a mental game (I prefer it call it a compromise) with your body.

Not only am I on the taper, I am also on fall break from school.  It's only today and tomorrow, so I decided to work half days both days so I can get out of the house.  It was nice seeing my work buddies today, I haven't seen them in about 6 weeks. School has taken over my life, and work has been put on the back burner.

So what I am going to do with my afternoon today?  I'm going to make a kick ass playlist for the marathon.  I have all my songs downloaded, I just need to get them on the iPod.  The hubby was supposed to run the marathon with me, and if he was still going to, I wouldn't need this playlist.  But since he is injured, he and our son will be cheering me on from different mile markers in the race.  Doing the marathon alone makes me super nervous since I've never done this distance by myself.  So even though I'm scared to death, and the taper is making me insane, I am also excited and giddy knowing by this time next week I'll be a two time marathon runner!!!!!

What do you guys do to make the taper tolerable?

Friday, October 19, 2012

Hello blogging world!!

Hello blogging world!  Not sure where to start, but I guess I'll just go with it.

Why did I start to blog?  Well one of my besties blogs here, at Life Began at Thirty.  She's met some really cool people over the years, meets them at races, and I think that's cool!  She tells me all the time that she's met some really cool peeps and lets face it, I'm jealous!!!

So lets get on with it!!!  My name is Michele, I'm a mom/wife/runner/student/nurse from central Virginia.  I am married to my high school sweetheart (and yes, we are happily married, amazing, right?) and we have a son that is in middle school this year, YIKES!!  We also have two four legged kiddos, Lola the pug and Oscar the boxer.  I've been a nurse for nearly 11 years and I'm currently working on my BSN in nursing and hopefully after I get that, I'll either go to medical school OR possibly a nurse practitioner that specializes in something sports related.  I've always wanted to be a doctor, but wasn't able to get on that track until this past summer.  Since unfortunately I'm not getting any younger, we'll see how I feel after I get my BSN.  

So what else do I do?  Well I run, and I love it.  I've been running for four years now, on a regular basis.  (I've ran in the past, but the last four years I've been consistent.)  I first started running because I needed to lose weight (isn't that usually the reason?) and my husband was coming home soon from Iraq, and lets be honest here, who doesn't want to look hot when the hubby comes home?  Anyway, so I ran, and I hated it.  I mean actually hated it, it was hard, it wasn't fun, I felt horrible, I could hardly breathe, and did I mention it was hard?  But I did it anyway, because I was losing weight.  So I kept it up, not seeing the other things that were changing in me.  Then the hubby comes home and tells me we should run a marathon together.  I thought he had lost his mind somewhere over in the middle east, seriously.  So a couple of months later, and much convincing from my hubby, we both signed up for the Marine Corps Marathon in 2009.  I honestly didn't think I had it in me.  I would often ask myself during training runs, "what the hell am I doing?"  We had a lot going on during that time frame as well.  We moved from Germany to Virginia, and soon after we moved, we got word he was deploying again, literally right after the marathon.  So not only were we dealing with moving, getting the kiddo settled into a new school (his fourth by they way, and he was only in 2nd grade), we were training, AND preparing for a deployment.  About 3 weeks before the race I was doubting myself and my training, and I'll never forget what the hubby told me.  He said I needed this.  I need to do this marathon, that I needed this in my life.  At the time I thought he was insane.  But after I finished my first marathon, I realized what he meant.  I did need that.  I needed to know that I could do it.  I needed to know that MY training got me to the start line AND the finish line.  It changed me, inside and out.  It changed the way I look at life.  I know that sounds silly to some, but I felt like I could do anything if I wanted to, that anything was possible.  

So that is it for now, I'm sure we'll get to know each other a little better over time!