Wednesday, November 21, 2012

So I ran this little race a few weeks ago...

I'm not sure why it has been so hard for me to take make the time to sit down and write a race recap! I guess it takes me awhile to process things. Or maybe it's because now that I'm not running eleventy thousand hours a week, I have had time! and energy! to work madly on my many overflowing to do lists! Today, I finally worked my way down to "write race recap."

The entire experience, without a doubt, was one of the best of my life. After a rocky start to the week, the weekend ended up being perfect in every way. From start to finish, it was "best case scenario" all the way (with just one hiccup on race day). People, this does not happen to me!!! EVER!!!

Friday I rode up to DC with some friends, which for a single mom with no driver-age one driver-age teen but no willing drivers in the household, this alone was a perfect start to the weekend. Whether it's to the grocery store for milk or visiting family or going on vacation, short trips and long, I. Drive. Everywhere. And I hate it. So this was a special treat for me!

We stopped at the expo to get our race packets and I was glad I didn't have to Metro it back later. I was also on the hunt for a hat - apparently I have a small or shallow head, and every hat I try on comes down too low on my forehead. I have two Brooks hats from the 2011 and 2012 Fleet Feet spring training groups, both the same: black with a green four-leaf clover. I didn't want to wear one of these for the race, but packed one just in case I couldn't find something else.

No worries! Brooks was sponsoring the official MCM gear and had a HUGE booth at the expo. I ended up getting a white MCM 2012 hat, which of course is my new favorite! I also got a blaze orange tech shirt that says Oorah! on the front - I'm not a blaze orange kind of girl but I really liked the shirt.

After we were shopped out, my friends dropped me off at my hotel and I met my super-cute roommate. She was also from the Triangle TNT group but is a nurse and works nights so she was never able to attend any of the Saturday training runs. We chatted away until it was time to meet the others in the lobby for dinner. I ended up splitting an entree with another friend, which worked out perfectly! 


Saturday morning I met some team members for a short shake-out run down to the Washington Monument. We only ended up running about a mile, but then walked over to the Lincoln Memorial for awhile and then headed back. It's so hard to believe I haven't been to DC since my 14-year old was a baby - when I was growing up I always sort of considered it my "backyard." We were always hopping on the Metro to hit a museum or two. I feel bad that I have really given my kids that experience, other than a quick trip here or there when visiting family. 

You can see that I brought my spare tire with me for this race!
Anyway, after our run my roommate and I hit up the hotel restaurant for their AWESOME buffet brunch, where I had a little bit of everything! Afterwards I took my full tummy up to the room for a short nap before meeting up with a friend I hadn't seen in over 16 years! We didn't have nearly enough time to catch up, so it was hard to say goodbye, but I had an Inspiration Dinner to get to. John "The Penguin" Bingham was speaking, which I didn't even know about until brunch (duh!).

The Inspiration Dinner was amazing. Great food, great company, and absolutely inspirational speakers. John Bingham was hysterical and shared his connection to TNT, and then we got to hear from the most amazing young man who shared his story of survival. I went into this with no personal connection - I don't personally know anyone who has struggle with cancer. I just wanted to make a difference. Josh's story really brought home the difference we were making. I know for a fact my life changed that night!

After dinner, we went over some team logistics for the following morning and then we all headed back to our rooms to watch Sandy's progress and say some prayers that she would not rain on our parade! I actually fell asleep with no trouble and only woke once or twice during the night (no more than usual these days). 

I bounced out of bed when my alarm went off, took a quick shower and ran downstairs to get in line at the Starbucks in the lobby to get my Pumpkin Spice Latte. The line was not long at all, so I had plenty of time to get back to the room and get ready...the TNT singlet I got did not fit me (I didn't think of putting a shirt under it like many did, duh!), so I was racing in my training shirt, and I had brought two pairs of shorts and decided at the last minute which to wear and definitely made the right choice.

I had brought my own food so I knew I would have something that agreed with me, so I had a PB&J and banana with my coffee. I packed my 4-bottle fuel belt with an assortment of gels, salt sticks, and a Clif Kids Bar to munch on when the hungries hit around mile 15. I decided against arm warmers because it was not too chilly when we left. I packed up my bag to check, including a bag of my favorite Twizzlers! I pinned my number on, made sure I had my Metro ticket, and we were off!!!

Sorry to leave you hanging...race recap coming henceforth!

Friday, November 2, 2012

I Am a Marathoner!

I could not have done it without THESE PEOPLE.
What a crazy week. I am still processing everything! I have a great admiration for runners who can sit down right after a race and spit out a fantastic and detailed race recap, but my weary, old brain does not retain those details, so I am still waiting for a quiet hour or two to sit down with my camera, my Garmin, my course map and my memories and put it all together. 

In the meantime, my thoughts...

I will definitely do it again! I knew it immediately. Probably not next year, because I have other big plans for 2013, but now I have a time to beat.

I will definitely participate in another TNT event! The entire experience, from training through race day, was amazing, inspiring, and unmatched. I would encourage anyone and everyone to do at least one event with TNT, and defy anyone to say afterwards it didn't change your life! GO TEAM!!!

Endurance events require support. Not having support makes it much harder to train for and complete the event without losing sleep, sanity, and quite possibly half your hair. As a single mom, I totally underestimated this and in the future I will definitely make sure that I have solid strategies in place so that life runs more smoothly throughout the process.

I am stronger than the fat bitch in my head. That said, I will not do another endurance event at this weight.

Seeing my teenagers sob like babies at the finish line and hearing them tell me how proud they are of me was worth every. single. moment of pain, frustration, doubt, fear, and insecurity. I am incredibly proud of myself for showing them what I am capable of and in turn, hopefully, that they, too, are capable of accomplishing anything they set their minds to.

I may have a stress fracture. This makes me cry. By Tuesday, I was feeling really great except for lingering pain at the base of my right shin which started Sunday night after the race. Today, it is still painful and swollen, so I will probably end up going to the orthopedist on my day off next week. I didn't have any problems whatsoever with my shins during training, so this was very unexpected! Fingers crossed!!!

Finally (for now), a big, huge, ginormous THANK YOU to everyone who supported me, encouraged me, believed in me, babysat for me, coached me, ran with me, motivated me, inspired me, and pushed me. I could not have done this without you.