On I went, out of the wood, passing the man leading without knowing I was going to do so. Flip-flap, flip-flap, jog-trot, jog-trot, curnchslap-crunchslap, across the middle of a broad field again, rhythmically running in my greyhound effortless fashion, knowing I had won the race though it wasn't half over, won it if I wanted it, could go on for ten or fifteen or twenty miles if I had to and drop dead at the finish of it, which would be the same, in the end, as living an honest life like the governor wanted me to. -Alan Sillitoe, "Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner"

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

To Garmin, or not to Garmin

I have loads of interesting things to blog about but not a spare minute in which to record these gems of thoughts. (That's not sarcasm. I actually do have some interesting things to blog about. I'll spare you any sort of tease, but you'll see. Just wait.) Also, I'm exhausted. Completely and totally exhausted. Still.

In the meantime, I'm sure you all heard about this little "event" yesterday called Cyber Monday. (Is it really an "event" if it's just basically a bunch of stuff on sale online? Huh.)

Amongst other things, the Garmin 405 was on sale.

And, funny that, this sale comes up just as my Garmin 305 has decided that it no longer supports my marathon habit - the battery most recently died at around 4 hours. I could get faster... or I could buy a new watch.

I didn't buy it. I think I'm going to try this radical thing where I "don't wear a watch" this winter. You know, sort of like I did for the first 7 or 8 years that I ran? It's retro. But I think it will be okay: I know how far my routes are. I know how to look them up later to map them if I'm not sure. I know how to enjoy a run without feeling saddled by my wrist-computer. And I know how to use a normal Timex for those days when I am curious about time.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Flying Monkey Marathon Race Report

A day late and a dollar short.

Truth be told, I really was not looking forward to this marathon. Sure, it would be a chance to catch up with some friends. But physically? No way, no how. My body was burnt out from my little two weekends, two marathons MCM/NYCM stunt. My legs felt fine, but I haven't felt refreshed since NYCM. I go to bed early and wake up early, exhausted. I'm just TIRED.

The closer it got to the actual marathon date of last Sunday, my excitement seemed to decrease rather than increase. I was especially bummed because I had a bet riding on this race. Last year, my friend Ian had bet me that I would not be the last finisher of the race (because he would be behind me). When he bailed at the last minute, I ran instead with his brother and we renewed our bet for this year. This year, though, the bet was legit: first one to the finish wins. Loser buys the winner dinner after the race.

Just when I thought it couldn't get any worse, the weather forecast for the weekend stabilized. Low 60s, wind, and rain. I've never run a marathon in the rain.

Thing is, I entered this race much stronger this year than last. I had every intention of running with Ian (not actually racing it against him), and secretly I hoped that I could coerce him into beating his PR of 5:28. By mile 1 of the race, my goals had changed from "lead Ian to a PR" to "finish this damn thing to get to the post-race party."

"I'm cold and wet and want this bitch over NOW!"
This race has a cult following for a reason. It's hard - 7200 feet of elevation change is not for the weak. It's beautiful - fall in Percy Warner Park? Yes, please! And it's friendly - the small size and the devoted fans gives a camaraderie I haven't seen at any other race.

None of that was enough to salvage the race for me. I suffered through nearly 6 hours of cold and rain. I was miserable for almost all of it. By the end I had to cajole myself into continuing using the excuse of beer at the finish. And that was for naught: I had half a beer, realized I was freezing cold, and went back to the hotel to shower. 15 minutes under hot water and three hours under a blanket later, I was barely able to leave the hotel for dinner.

In case you're wondering, I won the race, but by a cheat. The race isn't chip-timed, and although we crossed the start and finish together, I finished three seconds faster. OFFICIAL RESULTS ARE OFFICIAL RESULTS!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Running, and more Lulu-gate

Here's another Lulu-ism for you.

Click this product link. Begin with the "tempest blue herringbone" color (all the way to the right). One by one, click on all of the colors, moving left through dark slate heathered, plum heathered, and black herringbone, ogling the attractive male model.

Now click on "black" on the far left. Notice any thing different about that model?

(To be fair to Lululemon, I'm sure this was an unfortunate coincidence, and I applaud their use of non-white models. But dude would have rocked the plum heathered and looked way hotter, in my opinion.)

I may be quiet for the next few days. Emilie and I are trying to make a go of meeting to run at 6:15am, and this has so far left me excited to run and completely drained of energy to do other stuff like work (my sleep schedule hasn't yet caught up with the new plan).

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

UPDATE: Lululemon's founder is still kind of a douche

One of my most frequently googled posts is something I wrote ages ago about Lululemon. The clothing store has a huge cult following amongst affluent yogis and runners, and for mostly good reasons. They do a lot of community-centered programming out of their stores, and their clothes seem to strike a chord with many by being durable, flattering, and fashionable (albeit expensive).

The store ethics center tightly around their founder, Chip Wilson. Chip Wilson is an advocate of Landmark Education (participating and sponsoring employees' participation), and some have accused Landmark of cult-like tendencies (it may have connections with Scientology).

But then, there's this:

Yes, John Galt. On the side of Lululemon's bags. You know John Galt - the famous character from Ayn "Rhymes with Mine" Rand's novel Atlas Shrugged? The conservative manifesto embraced by Objectivists and Tea Partiers everywhere?

True fact: I loved Ayn Rand in college. I missed two meals in order to finish The Fountainhead, and after I finished it I immediately bought a copy for my brother to read and enjoy. (He hasn't read it yet. It's only been, what, 10 years? I'm sure he'll get around to it soon.) Even though my own personal politics no longer preach rational self-interest as the ideal by any means and I find Ayn Rand's writing to be simplistic to the point of being juvenile, I don't have a problem with the politics of the book per se.

But I do have a problem with stores that try to slip political messages past their customers, especially when Lululemon has tried to play it like this is a motto that empowers women to live life to their fullest rather than a political credo. If "The Virtue of Selfishness" is also your motto, as it was Ayn Rand's, then Lululemon is your store!

Personally, albeit seemingly unconnected to John Galt, I think my friend Sarah summed it up best when she said that Lululemon was now in the Brown's Chicken category (along with Lane Bryant, I'd add). Love the store or hate it, the horrifying murder that happened there overshadows all else.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Post-Marathon Enjoyment

The weekend in photos:
Running tour leaving from Brooklyn Brewery

It was pretty

Then I had maybe a lot to drink


It was awesome.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Multiple marathons and me

I lied when I said there would be no marathon for me this weekend. I will be participating in a marathon, but I've kept it secret from you. That's because it's a TWILIGHT MARATHON! I'll be watching all the DVDs in preparation for the new movie coming out next weekend.

But now, for reals, regarding multiple marathons - in short: I'm not doing that again. Not because it was hard (it actually wasn't that bad), but more because I don't want my identity to become "stunt marathoner." I want it to become "girl who sets goals, trains for goals, and achieves her goals." The glory of just finishing has faded for me by now.

But, just in case you were wondering how it is that I ran two marathons in 8 days, here are some more details. And then I will not talk about MCM or NYCM 2011 again except in passing.

Why: I don't know? I can tell you some reasons that were not why I did it. I did not do it to join Marathon Maniacs (for those of you keeping score, I became eligible last year and have thus far chosen not to join). I did not do it as some sort of vengeance race - as in, I didn't want to give myself a second chance at a possible PR.

So why did I buy the MCM bib (during the transfer period, totally legit)? A few reasons, I think. One, to see if I could, plain and simple. I seem to recover fairly easily (ahem, largely because I do not put enough effort in).

Also, not to get too personal, but I'm going through something in my life that one might euphemistically call a "rough patch." I wanted to get out of NYC for a weekend, and the thought of seeing friends and running a marathon all by my lonesome seemed cathartic (it was).

And finally, I think that subconsciously I was trying to sabotage myself. Yes, that's right. My training through this whole cycle was actually kind of okay, and I was terrified of not living up to my potential. So how better to counter that than to set up an impossible obstacle that will guarantee that I don't do well?

How: All of my training was geared to NYCM, and MCM was an add-on. I did my last 20m run three weeks out from NYCM. In the week between NYCM and MCM I ran a miserable half and then rested most of that week.

The day after MCM, I ran a very very slow 4m. I had a massage on Wednesday. I then took the rest of the week off from running. In the three weeks prior to NYCM, my mileage was 30m, 16, and 30m (the last figure including MCM). As you can see, I took it easy-peasy leading up to the race(s).

Not really winning any mileage awards here.
And then? Honestly, I feel almost completely fine now. I had a very, very painful massage on Monday night (the only time the therapist I like could see me) and I really am not very sore.

Thursday, November 10, 2011


I swear that next week I'll move on to talking about something else. But not just yet. There will be two more days of recap.

A few days after MCM, I eagerly opened my Marathonfoto email and looked at my race pictures. To my surprise, they were actually quite good. I'm not smiling in many of them, but I'm running in all of them and I even have both my feet off the ground in one.

Every time - every time! - I saw a photographer at NYCM, I was walking. For the record, I took probably 4 short non-water stop walk breaks. I walked up part of the Pulaski, Queensborough, Willis Ave. bridges and I walked up some of a hill in Central Park. And Marathonfoto had photogs at the top of every hill. They even had a photographer set up right after a water station at one point! Are they trying to catch us at our worst?

What's the opposite of flying?
It's not just the photos; it's also the money. I know it's trite to complain about the cost of NYCM (it's significantly more expensive than MCM - $185  + $11 lottery fee for NYCM versus $90 for MCM). NYC is a difficult and expensive city to shut down for a day. And I know that there are logistical difficulties in NYC that aren't there in DC (getting 45,000 people to Staten Island, for instance), and NYCM has appearance fees and awards to factor in to the cost.

But the finish area - the finish area! What a nightmare the NYCM finish area is (still!) A claustrophobic, disastrous, terrible half mile of death-shuffle. I had to push through crowds of people wanting their picture taken in order to have my medal handed to me, and then I had to push again to get a bag with Gatorade and water in it. It took me nearly 30 minutes to get 10 blocks out of the park, while crammed between barricades and UPS trucks with NYRR volunteers with bullhorns watching me from lifeguard chairs.

At MCM, a smiling Marine put my medal around my neck and shook my hand before pointing me to an efficient assembly line of treats (including a boxed lunch!). The photo area was clearly indicated and off to one side, so you could have your photo taken (or not) as you liked. I met my friend less than 10 minutes after I'd finished the race.

Finally, the medals. My cold, cold heart is not warmed by a medal, as you know. I stick them in a box on the floor of the closet when I'm done with the race. But even despite that, NYCM's medal was weak this year. Compare the two (apologies for the green background):

MCM is shiny with a nice, thick ribbon and a part in the middle that spins. NYCM is dull, flat, and colorless.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The (immediate) future of my racing

As you know, nearly two weeks ago I ran the Marine Corps Marathon.

Then, last Sunday, I ran the New York City Marathon.

And then, my taper for the Flying Monkey Marathon on 20 November officially began.

So what's next?

1. Lose weight. Now that I'm nearly back to where I was speed-wise before I had the blood clots, I need to get back to the weight I was at before them. That's about (gulp) 25lbs that need to go. I'm active enough; I just need to work on improving my eating habits. I'm ready to do this.

2. Develop core strength. My back and shoulders were killing me during the NYCM. This has happened before, and I recognize it as a sign that I have weak core muscles. Luckily this is easy to fix. (If you have any suggestions of core exercises, please let me know.)

3. Run more. I know many of you might disagree with me on this, but in order to do well at the marathon, I need consistent and (relatively) high mileage training. Sure, I can run a marathon with training of 35mpw. But it won't be pretty. I won't finish as fast as I want or as fast as I am capable of. I won't feel good after, physically or psychologically.

I've done marathons that were brutal because I was unprepared. I've done a bunch of those. And I've only done one where I felt confident in my training. Lo and behold, the brutal marathons were all done on 30-40mpw (but I got all of my long runs in!) and the one where I felt confident (and set my PR) was done on 40-60mpw. If I can't get my mileage up higher than it's been lately, I can't ever expect marathons to go smoothly. I'll never fulfill my dream of "racing" a marathon when I'm beginning to struggle by mile 10 or when I'm surprised that I didn't crash. Could "negative splits" ever become a phrase that has meaning to me?

The end goal: Ideally, I'd love to shift my focus to racing a half marathon in the spring. However, taking advantage of Competitor's rare generosity, I signed up for the New Orleans Marathon in March (for $40), and then I have guaranteed entry to NYCM 2012. New Orleans is supposed to be a flat course, so I'm tempted to say that I'd like to go sub-5 hours there (that is definitely my goal at NYCM next year).

I'm not really sure how to focus myself, so if anyone has any suggestions, I'd love to hear them.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

NYCM 2011 race report

Subtitled: Evidently a taper marathon is the way to go for me
Also subtitled: I'm still faster than a Chilean miner (poor Edison Peña dropped out at mile 11 this year)

First, the good:
It was a gorgeous day, and I finished in 5:08:18 (20 minutes faster than last week; 32 minutes faster than last year).

AND I HAD SO MANY SPECTATORS! Yes, after saying that I'd only ever had one spectator, I managed to see Lauren, my brother, TK, and several friends on the course. That rocked. Better yet, my brother saw several other friends of mine. He now thinks that I'm basically the most popular person in NYC, which made me laugh. Outloud. Several times.

Check out the sign on that guy!
My plan for the day was simple: I was going to go out on pace for a 5-hour marathon and just run that pace until I fell off of it. I fully expected to crash, and crash hard, and I fully expected it to happen within the first 10 miles of the race. I was running with Tara and her dad - well, sort of. I was actually kind of a jackass and spent most of the race running about 5 feet ahead of Tara and her dad. (Subconsciously, because I was anticipating a crash, my mind was telling me to stay ahead of them to give me a buffer. Of 5 feet. It was not logical.)

The only photo of me taken during the race. HAHA just kidding.
I would never run topless.

But I never crashed. I just kept running. And it felt good. Even better, I was actually running, not lolligagging. Not quite racing per se, but fast enough that I couldn't really talk. (At one point, true story, Tara and I were going up a hill and I turned to her and made a series of guttural noises. She said, "I know exactly what that means. Yes, we can walk now.")

Sleeping at Fort Wadsworth
Then, the bad:
In some ways, this race was awesome. Aside from water stops (and then, only about half of them) I barely walked. I felt strong all the way through the very end, and my last two miles were faster than my goal pace. I saw almost all of my spectators and felt buoyant.

So why am I not happy about it?


My second marathon ever, way back in 2002? 2003? (a long time ago) was 5:08:08. That is my third fastest marathon to date (my first race was 4:55 and my third race was 4:43). If I had been 10 seconds faster on Sunday... if I had only tied or beaten my third marathon ever... then I'd feel like I was back to being the runner I was before I got sick, before I had two pulmonary emboli and couldn't run for almost two years.* I want to be that girl again! Never mind that the 5:08:08 was in Chicago and NYCM is a harder course... my mean, critical self-conscience doesn't listen to logic or reason.

I was kind of sad to give this sweat shirt up at the start.
It says: "Born to Hunt, Forced to Work."
So overall, I'm pleased. It was a good day. I felt like I ran solidly and also, I had fun.

What would a race report be without a
half-drunk after photo?
And now... the taper can really begin.

*It's not worth getting into here, but in case you didn't know: I had two pulmonary emboli, about a year apart, and my number one symptom was intense, stabbing chest pain. It took me over a year after the second clot to feel like I was "back to normal" in my lungs.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Remember last Monday when I was too tired post-race to write up a race report right away, so instead I offered a poll? And remember how one of the choices for "annoying spectators" was Team in Training, and I expected people to go off on me for hating on the charity but instead a few people actually agreed with me in the (totally awesome) comments?

Well, this week, I'm too tired post-race to write up a race report right away, but I do have an observation:

You know that annoying thing that spectators sometimes inadvertently do where they push onto the course, not realizing through their enthusiasm that they're actually creating a bottleneck for the runners? Team in Training was spectating from 1st Avenue somewhere uptown, right around the top of the park. They had a crowd there - it was probably half a block "reserved" for them. They had pushed SO FAR into the course that the blue line (painted on the course to mark the tangents) was at least 5 feet behind them. On a straightaway. The spectators before and after them were all on/near the sidewalk - their group alone was sticking out into the road.

They should have known better.

Also: no marathons next weekend for me.

Friday, November 4, 2011

And the race is Sunday!

Things I wanted to buy at the NYCM expo, but couldn't find:
-Injinji socks

Things I didn't intend to buy at the NYCM expo, but did anyway:
-Asics arm warmers that I tentatively think I love but that are much too big for me so I have to get a new pair
-a super cute purple short-sleeved Brooks t-shirt (NYCM branded)

Not bad. I was in and out of the expo in an hour. Having women's t-shirts as an option for the race shirt was a nice touch this year.

Now, if you don't mind, my brother is in town and we're off to experience all that New York City has to offer.

(See what I did there? That's me and my brother on the right. I added our faces to the audience of the Today Show! I know it's basically seamless and you'd never have guessed this, but the photo is faked!)

NYCM will be my 10th marathon on Sunday. Wish me luck!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Fall Foliage Half Marathon race report

This story is not pretty. Not at all. It also involves woman-bits, so be warned.

The plan for last Sunday, the 23rd of October, two weeks before NYCM: a tune-up half marathon a couple of hours outside of the city so that we could practice marathon morning stress (getting up at 5 but not running until after 10) and so Tara could "peep some leaves." (Seriously - she must have used that exact phrase at least 1,000 times leading up to the race. Turns out we can add "peep" to the list, along with "moist" and "panties," of words that make me cringe.)

Pretty leaves, no?
The leaves were gorgeous. At several points during the race, I contemplated taking photos of said leaves for the blog. Then I realized: I was running a race, not walking around in the park.

And I was running a good race, at first! Our goal was to stick to marathon pace, or around 11:30s. The first two miles clicked by in 10:0x - and felt easy. The course was hilly - much more so than I expected - but we were going solidly, using the downhills to refresh for the uphills.

Oh, but the hills weren't the only problem with the race.

Here's the thing (and I have to apologize to my brother and any other males who might be reading): I'm one of those lucky women who get cramps each month. Bad bad cramps. The morning of the race, I woke up at 4am (an hour before my alarm) with a very familiar "uh-oh" feeling going on in my torso. I slapped on a sticky heating pad for the drive to the race and tried to ignore it.

By mile 5 of the race, the discomfort of my Woman Times had shifted into pain. Intense pain. Each-step-of-running-stabbing-me pain. I knew, without a doubt, that I needed a bathroom and I needed it fast. Thank goodness this race was stocked with port-a-potties. I saw one in the distance and I jetted toward it.

MY UTERUS IS THE SIZE OF A PEAR. HOW COULD IT DO THIS TO ME? (I didn't wear the heating pad for the race, although I wished I had.)

That bathroom break bought me some time. For a couple of miles, anyway.

Here's the weird thing about this otherwise well-organized race: the mile markers were off. I mean, legitimately off, not just "Waaaah, my Garmin says something different!" off. I know that Garmins aren't as accurate as certified courses. I am never one of those Garmin whiners. The official race time is your time, even if your watch said that you ran 15.2 for a half. It is what it is.

But I didn't know the mile markers were misplaced at first. So when the mile markers were progressively farther than we expected each time, Tara and I trusted the race course; we talked about Garmin inaccuracies and marveled at how badly our Garmins were doing, given the crowdless, open course. Knowing that I was so close to a PR, though, I'll admit that I gave the mile markers a dirty look as I passed by them and secretly wished that my Garmin was right, instead of the course markers.

The course was lovely, but the hills were no joke. Still, they rolled along mile after mile, and so did we. We made some friends with other runners on the course, we looked at the pretty houses, we talked about the marathon, I complained about my cramps as they got worse and worse.

Mile 12, after my second bathroom break, I gave up mentally. (For comparison, in the sum total of my nine marathons, I have used a port-a-potty two times.) There was nothing left. I could not physically run anymore without pain shooting through my abdomen. If you have a uterus, you know the pain I mean. It's a gut-wrenching, terrible pain that made me want to vomit. Either that or curl up on the side of the road in a cow field and just cry myself into painful sleep in the fetal position. Walking relieved it - in fact, walking was pain free.

Have you ever been excited to see one of these?

I told myself not to walk. I told myself I only had 11 minutes left in the race and I needed to just suck it up. I tried to channel every heroic athletic endeavor I could to just HTFU and get through it. I thought of Chrissie Wellington. I thought of Angry Runner. I thought of how good it would feel to know I pushed through. But I couldn't. It hurt too badly. I alternated running and walking and just kind of kept moving.

But what did it matter? I left the port-a-potty at the 12 mile marker, 12.4 by my watch. I had 1.1m left and my PR was now officially out of range. If I could have stopped right there, I probably would have. If this had been the day of the marathon, I wouldn't have finished. I would have DNF'd and walked off the course at mile 12. I was in that much pain.

But here's where the mile markers became an issue. Right about mile 12.5 by their markers, at 13m by my Garmin, a volunteer was standing there yelling, "The finish is right there! Less than .2m to go!" What? The course was an accurate distance. My Garmin had been right all along. If I had known that, maybe... Well, there is no maybe. I didn't push myself harder. I don't know if I could have or not, because I didn't. I finished the race 2 minutes off my PR.

At the finish line, I took my medal and asked if there was a medical area. I was in pain, bad pain, and I needed a heating pad and some painkillers. The man at the finish line freaked out, even as I tried to explain to him through tears that I was fine but having cramps. (Why are we women so often afraid to just say, "I'M BLEEDING FROM MY LADY PARTS AND IT REALLY FREAKING HURTS?" I had menstrual cramps. Dirtier phrases have been said.)

Once the paramedics realized what was going on with me (and that it meant they didn't have to get out of the warm front seat of their ambulance), they told me they had no heating pad and tried to give me directions to a drugstore. In the local vernacular, these directions of "down past the light and a little over the tracks" were too much for me and I collapsed in a chair, crying.

A few minutes, one Aleve*, and one heating pad later, I was fine. Tara and I had lunch and explored scenic Rhinebeck.

I'm being a doofus

Tara enjoys a beer

For what it's worth, my final time was 2:23 - the goal, running this at marathon pace, was 2:30. So I guess it's a victory?

*I'm actually not allowed to take Aleve or any other NSAID, being as I take blood thinners. The pain was so bad that I took my first NSAID in 3.5 years. I was willing to chance internal bleeding to make this pain go away. Don't tell my doctors.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

My love of Frank Shorter has been well documented on this blog.

I love him.

Finally, I've read the Runner's World article about his childhood.

Also, there's a video.

Now, I love him more.

In short, if you don't want to click on it: Frank Shorter's father was a doctor and a beloved community member by day and a sadistic child abuser by night. His abuse of his children was emotional, physical, and sexual (not all of the children would speak to the RW reporter, but all of those who did confirmed the emotional and physical abuse and two of the daughters also shared that they were raped at ages 6 and 13). Frank found a release in distance running. Once his father died and he began to realize how his story could impact - and possibly help - others, he's begun sharing it.

The video is particularly rough to watch. The juxtaposition of the terrible story against the eye and ear candy that is Frank Shorter made my brain spin. So here are some pictures for us to all enjoy.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

MCM review

Marine Corps Marathon. Or, as I like to call it, the People's (Republic of) Marathon.

Point in case. Marine Corps:

People's Republic of China:

Maybe the Marine Corps Marathon is called the People's Marathon because it doesn't offer prize money to elites. Or maybe it's a subtle comparison with China, huh? All I know is that when I pulled out the t-shirt, my friend's husband immediately drew the comparison and started laughing.

If our new communist race directors keep the price as low as it is (registration is less than $100), I'm good with it. I'm not really good with the cotton mock turtleneck, but with my registration savings I bought myself a swank t-shirt of my own choosing.

But don't worry about a risk of any actual communists. This guy at the start line was on the case:

"Only the tea party can save us now."
The short story: I finished the race in 5:28. I was hoping for something much closer to 5 hours, but it didn't happen. I never crashed, I was just slow throughout the whole race.

The long story: I went out too fast, the first third was hillier than I expected, the spectators were fewer and the course was more desolate than I expected, the cold was more miserable than I expected, but overall it was okay.

The good: 

  • I had a spectator! At mile 23! A friend from grad school made a sign and brought me nuun! It was awesome!
  • The course is shaped like a penis! You see it, too, right?

  • Marines are awesome. I did not mind having uniformed Marines hand me water, or donuts, or a lunch box at the end of the race.  

Do know, though, that the marines do everything at this race, including yelling out the time (in lieu of a clock) at the mile markers. Trying to figure out what "One hundred and thirty two minutes and forty-seven seconds!" meant pace-wise bought me an extra few minutes of distraction.

The bad:

  • I was lonely. I'd planned to meet up with some of Carla's running group at the start, and I did meet up with Ilana - but then I lost her at a porta-potty at the start (although she was faster than me, anyway!). I can run by myself. But I was expecting either crowd support or company and I had neither.
  • I was cold. On paper, the weather was perfect. 35 at the start heading up to a high in the mid-40s. Thing is, I haven't run in anything that cold since last winter. I freaked out and bought a long-sleeved shirt during the snowstorm on Saturday, and I planned to wear it along with a skirt. I ditched my throwaway clothes at the start, and my legs were cold for the first 8 miles. And then, they turned immediately from frozen to jello.
  • I didn't expect the hills. My own stupidity for not researching the course map. I kept to my 5 hour pace through about mile 10 or 11, when I saw the pace group pace me. I tried to keep up, but I couldn't.
  • The bathroom situation was bleak. (This didn't affect me, fortunately.) Lines for porta-potties were long. Around mile 7, the porta-potties were inexplicably placed essentially on the course (they were on the edge, but the lines extended into and completely blocked the entire course for 50 feet, forcing runners to hop a curb and run through a yard). Lines never got shorter, and during the more accessible parts of the course, lines were 20 deep with spectators waiting.
  • People are annoying. You probably suspected I was kind of irritated with my fellow runners/spectators from yesterday's post. The spectators were mostly amazing, as always, except I think the cold made them more subdued (compared to my expectations, that is). And the other runners? UGH. I know I was toward the back-of-the-pack, but please. I might be running a 5.5 hour race, but I'm running. Please: don't block the course.
All in all, I would give the race itself an enthusiastic thumbs up. My race, I still need to think about that for a while. On one hand, it's the fastest marathon I've run since my blood clot a few years ago. On the other hand, I felt like I was capable of a 5 hour marathon and I was confident I would be sub-5:15. I need to give some thought to figuring out what happened and why I didn't get there.

And don't bother telling me I was close. Close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades.

Still, it's a cool medal. The middle part (with the globe) spins around.

Hopefully I'll think about this quickly and come to some resolution, since my next marathon is in - gulp - five days?