mickey mouse

mickey mouse

Monday, 15 October 2012

The Big Show

Well, the day dawned (actually at 4AM there is NO DAWN) wet and warm. It reminded me of the way the dishwasher feels when you open the door when it is just finished running.

I made my lists, checked them more than twice. Slathered Body Glide and vaseline all over myself and tried NOT to break my ankle slipping across the bathroom floor. Slithered into my sports bra, topped it with the pre-planned outfit. Pinned on bib, put up hair, stuck on hat.

Realized my Garmin was NOT charging all night like I thought it was. Figured I'd charge it in the car on the drive to Toronto. Packed 'after' clothes and shoes, and my new, shiny, never-worn 42.2 pendant for my necklace. Poured Gatorade (yeah, that's what I was drinking, sure) into the Camelback, stuffed important things like garbage bags (AKA raincoats) into the pack.

Slugged down my first of at least 2 coffees and snuck out of the house to pick up Angel.

Off we went, into the wild blue yonder (okay, warm dark yonder). Got to the city before the sun did, found parking in a lot where I knew I'd remember we'd parked (for old Chapers people, it's the lot at Peter and Queen by the Gap).

Made our way in the pouring rain to the meeting place of the So You Want to Run a Marathon, Eh group an hour before the meet up time (nerves and OCD make me early for everything). Killed time in Tim Hortons as the crowds built.

Off into the rain, met up with the group, did the 'pregame' photo. Realized that to get to the start corral we'd have to swim like salmon to get back DOWN University Ave. Swam and swam and made it just as the corral started to move. Hurry up and wait....walk and wait....finally cross the start line....

Realize that I'm now running up University, along the same spot where, during my first half marathon, I was mere yards from the fininsh line and feeling like having a seat on the side of the road. It was the first of what would be a bunch of 'Bite Me My Gatekeeper' moments along the next 42.2km.

Full of vim and energy I start leading a spirited tour of Toronto, pointing out things like the Death Star (Robart Library) and the places I've worked and played while I lived there.

As the first few KM pass, I realize that Amy, who we are also running with, is WAY faster and is pretty much just hanging out for moral support. She finally comes to her senses and sprints away along the Lakeshore. As I write this it's coming to me that it was a LONGGGGGG way....we passed so many things in so many neighbourhoods, from the drag queens at Church and Welsley (and Amy and Scott's old appartment) to the kids with the pails and drumsticks playing One Direction. We ran North, then East then West then South then West then East, and we were at the halfway point. As we neared the 21.1 cut off I thought about just throwing it in and going for a half marathon.

I could hear a lot of voices in my head, from Lori being Miss Cheery Pants to Trishia and Shannon and Jen yelling words of encouragement. The 'throw it in' voice tried to drown them out, but then Angel started doing the math 'only 1k 'till we've run a half' 'only 3k 'till we've run 25, etc). I figured it was better to keep running and argue with it as I went.

We headed East toward the Beaches.....running along the portlands, to Pier 4 and the entrance to the Leslie Street Spit, and then into the actual Beaches (past Annie's old appartment at Woodbine and Queen). As we ran into the Beaches they started taking the course apart and told us we'd have to hit the sidewalks.

Into the crowds of babies, dogs and yuppies we went, dodging clouds of cigarette smoke (ewww, at 30k that's a horrid smell).

We ran and ran into the Beaches, and I realized that we we going to turn around soon.....and that 'soon' was actually at the corner of Beach Blvd and Queen Street, home of the Goof! I started screaming at the sign, which cleared the path for us. Seeing the home of so many fun times gave me the energy to turn around and head back Downtown. (nobody offered me the 'thing' from the Hot and Sour Soup). Around this point my Garmin died. No idea how far we'd come, how fast we were running or how much was left to do. AND they'd taken down the KM markers as the course reopened to traffic.

As we ran we met up with other runners from the back of the pack. Felt rather like the Pied Piper as we collected them and dragged them along with us. Almost got turned around but were saved by the coach from my first ever Running Room Half Marathon Clinic, Dick, who appeared out of nowhere like an Oracle on a bike.

We ran past the street I used to live on (Booth Avenue) headed toward  the end of the line. Laughed as I ran past Jilly's at Queen and Broadview.

The downside to living in Toronto was that I knew how much further we had 'till the end at City Hall....ran across the DVP, down onto Eastern Ave, up onto Adelaide, right onto Bay. Through the financial district wind tunnel. Nearing the finish line I heard my name being screamed. Looked up and saw Trishia...almost burst into tears. Stopped for a hug and realized I hadn't crossed yet! Linked hands in the air with Angel and sprinted across the line. Considered passing out from the shock, figured it would freak out the medical people, so I just stayed upright and looked around me like I'd just landed on Earth.

Gun Time 7:18:41.0
Chip Time 6:56:33.1

Got the bling, and waited for some of the people we'd run with to cross the line so we could cheer for them.

Took some photos, and then walked (right, plodded) back to the car for the drive home.

All the way home we kept looking at each other, and at our medals, and grinning like goofballs.

There are no words for how thankful I am that Angel stuck with me and ran the whole thing by my side. I would have given up, slowed to a walk, and just skipped it long before if she hadn't been there, making me run each interval, counting the KMs, and being her wonderful self.

It amazed me that the iRun Team had the faith to pick me to run my first Marathon with their help. The support, the cool new Brooks shoes, the fashion show, the cheering and the new friends were so much a part of this experience for me.

I was trying to find that stat about how many people in the world have ever completed a marathon, but all I could come up with was the USA (which IS the world sometimes). It's 0.5%. Is that a little number? I'm not sure.....

this was SO funny, I was laughing my face off at work (thank goodness my face isn't as sore as my quads)
I guess the bigger question is how long do I get to rest before I have to start training for the Goofy in January?

That's NOT a meatball!

Time keeps on ticking, one more sleep 'till the big day!

On Saturday, the day of packet pick up, Angel and I volunteered to be models for the Brooks Fashion Show. I have to say there's something about wearing over $400 worth of clothes that don't belong to you that makes you want to just make a run for it.

Our motley crue took to the stage at the expo and were interviewed by Lisa (at iRun magazine) about our goals, our iRun statement and then we had our outfits described while we strutted our stuff.

I got the coolest shirt from the team at iRun (you can see it in my finish line shot tomorrow). Then we hit the expo hard. First stop, the Brooks shopping area. My inner voice was yelling pessimistic stuff about buying shirts for a marathon I hadn't run yet. My outer voice was yelling right back about how we were generously given an awesome discount (thanks Janine) for doing the fashion show and no way in heck was I missing out on the chance to add to my running wardrobe.

I got two shirts for me, one for Kevin and a pair of shorts (showing remarkable restraint). Angel on the other hand went bonkers ;-)

Then we wandered, avoiding ALL chances to sign up for another race of any type, any where, ever.

In the  middle of the expo there was a giant bowl of pasta with a giant fork sticking out of it. Brooks was doing gait analysis and letting you take your photo running from a giant meatball. The Carb Happy booth. Who can resist running from food? (Me, I run TOWARD food)

We hopped up on the treadmills and had our gaits filmed, with the end result being a shoe recomendation.

They also sent a video of me running....thank goodness from the calves down, from the back ;-)

I was amused and happy to hear that the shoes I planned to run 42.2 in were the same ones they chose for me (thank god) the Ravenna 3. Then we got to scratch a card and win a prize. I got a CD of accordion music (SCORE) and Angel won new shoes from Brooks!

We got our photos taken with the giant meatball, and then I took it home and scanned it into the computer. As the image appeared on the screen I started thinking 'that looks NOTHING like a meatball'.

oh my.....

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Maranoia sets in

Maranoia (n.): Fear of something going wrong (illness, injury, etc.) in the weeks before a marathon.

How about Super Maranoia, where you have 4 sleeps before the big 42.2 and you've taken to staying away from stairs, you won't climb a ladder, shoes have to be flat, surfaces have to be clear, and woe betide your six year old son if he leaves those infernal Lego bits in your flight path?

Yep, that's me. Commander Maranoia

We had one final 'long' run this past Monday. The funny thing is, it was 'only' 15k, which when I started running wasn't 'only' anything...unless it was 'only' something total freaking crazy people did. Now it's just a short hop en route to a much longer destination.

In (an)other moment of weakness I volunteered to be part of the Brooks Fashion Show at the Expo for the STWM. It takes place Saturday morning, and seems to involve showing up in Toronto early, getting outfitted in the latest and greatest running gear, and strutting my stuff down the runway. Should hopefully take my mind off the fact that it's supposed to be 18 degrees and RAINING on Sunday.....ewwwww.

So all that's left is to get a lot of rest, stay safe and healthy, pick up my run packet, carb load, buy some GU, pack my bags and head to Cowtown for the first of my two lifetime marathons.

Yes, I've said it, I mean it, I never really was going to ever run a single marathon, let alone two, but two is my limit. I won't run AtB again, not the full at least, I have no desire to run another full after the Goofy. I will have my friends put my credit card somewhere I can't access it, I refuse to attend another run expo, and I won't open e-mails titled 'your next race'. Straight to the spam filter.

Anyone want to go for pasta dinner Saturday around 4? I have to be in bed early....

Thursday, 4 October 2012

To Hell and Back

So it's almost the end of the road, the big show, balls to the wall, all that stuff. My first full marathon will take place in 10 days.  Anything I haven't already done to prepare isn't going to help now, and everything I've accomplished training will carry me forward on race day.

My last 'big' run was last Sunday. It was also my first run over 30K. The magic schedule said to run 35k, and I was dreading the idea of running around in my home town, since another glimpse of the same old streets was likely going to send me to the fun house.

Ah, thank goodness for Google, which pointed my running crew to the former T H and B trail (was a rail line, is now a rail trail and goes by the nickname To Hell and Back). The trail is just over 32k, and runs from Brantford ON to Hamilton ON. (Don't look on a map, it's REALLYYYYYYY far)

Crack of dawn, meet up, drop car 1 at end point, drive car 2 to start point. Note to self, if it looks like a bad area of town, listen to the inner voice (and the sirens).

Off we go, into the beautiful Fall morning, leaves changing colour before our eyes. We saw lots of neat nature, from deer to sheep grazing in the pastoral fields. It's a good thing there was stuff to look at 'cause it took SIX FREAKING HOURS to 'run' the trail, complete with injures, bathroom breaks, sign reading and photo ops.

All I could think about for the last 5k was breakfast...or lunch...or roasted squirrell if I could catch one.  That, and how freaking cool it was that I'd surpassed my previous 'longest' run!

Got done, dragged back to car 1, drove back to Bford for car 2. Discovered some jackmunch tried to break into car 2 while we were running. Seriously? Didn't succeed (apparently if they DID the car would have been gone). Call the local law enforcement, nice officer comes. Mentions we're kind of parked in a bad area (who knew, there wasn't a sign that said Ghetto, park at your own risk). Luckily no permanent damage to car 2.

Toast that and our successful run over a huge dinner. Drive home almost asleep, realizing again how FAR Brantford is from Hamilton.

Now we taper, or as I like to call it 'recover from my horrible cold while working 3 jobs, single parenting while hubby is away for 4 days, and hope my dorsalflexor thingy stays dormant'.

I have to say that there's no way in heck I'd have made it this far without my running buddies. If I didn't have them calling, texting, e-mailing and showing up on my doorstep I'd never have continued the training. Lori, Angel, Emily and Kaylee have brought me further than I ever thought I'd go (literally).  Rain, dark, snow, cold, hot, sick, injured, happy, stressed, we've run through it all. When I cross the line at Scotiabank I'll do it with them beside me...if only in spirit.

I feel bad for my non-running friends, whom I'm neglected for so long I think some have stopped talking to me (but I've yet to notice). All I've done lately is sleep, work, run, do laundry and see my family in passing. I'd promise it will get better soon, but next up is the Goofy Challenge, and that's WAY more tranining. How about this, let's hook up in February when things quiet down? I don't like to run in the Winter.