Sunday, November 28, 2010

Turkey Coma

The hubs and I started a new tradition this Thanksgiving by running in a local Turkey Trot. I don't know if we'll do the same 5k next year, as neither one of us were fans of the course, but we're definitely up for running pre-turkey filled coma.

The course was on a high school cross country course and with the early morning rain it was quite slick in some parts. Yeah, clumsy me fell on a hill roughly 2.5 miles in. Thank goodness I was wearing tights!

I made the hubs stay after the race for the awards show because I wanted to see where I finished in my age group. Well, technically I finished 3rd in my AG, but the first two runners finished the race 1st and 2nd for women, so they automatically forfeited their AG finishes. I won $75 worth of gift cards to two restaurants.


The hubs was pretty ticked off with his time, so now he wants to run another 5k in December. Fine by me!

After the race we came home and started the turkey prep. Clearly, we needed a 20lb turkey to feed three people. No babies in my tummy! My brother-in-law joined us for dinner.

Yes, the hubs and his brother eat Thanksgiving dinner in their PJ's. It's weird and they made fun of my brother and me for dressing up last Thanksgiving.

Boys are so weird!

This isn't what we consider doing the dishes, I swear!

The rest of the weekend was spent in a flurry of shopping, decorating, playing video games, and napping. Oh, and there's still 5lbs of cranberry and apple dressing in my fridge... someone please come eat it!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Yuck! I joined a gym

I loathe the gym.

I hate the gym.

I despise the gym.

I, typically, would rather be tied to a chair and forced to watch re-runs of The View than go to the gym.

It's really weird, but for such an active person I really can't stand "the gym." I think it's because I'm spoiled. Ha! The hubs would have loved to been the one to say that line! I've never had to be a person who slaves away at the gym to stay in shape.

Anyway, I find most people at "the gym" to be completely pretentious buffoons. You have the women in their Juicy Couture-esque outfits, full makeup on, and more concerned with chit chat than working out. Then, there are the thugs... the huge guys who only seem concerned to either out grunt or out lift each other. There are a few others who don't fall into those two completely ridiculous groups, but in my mind they're lost to the crazies.

That sounds like just the place I'd like to pay to hang out! NOT!

But, a co-worker of mine finally convinced me to head to the office gym after work three weeks ago. It was a very small gym with just a few machines, a full mirrored wall, a water dispenser, and a really, really, really loud tv.

I kind of like it :)

Typically there's only a few people there and I can get in, do some cardio, do some arm workouts, and get out in just over an hour. It's really nice going with my co-worker because then she and I can walk back to the train station together. Since it's completely dark out at 6:15pm it's nice to have a partner in crime for the mile walk.

It looks like I'm forming a gym habit, which is a good thing. I have a bad tendency to forgo all forms of physical activity during the winter months and I hope to break that vicious cycle this year. Every year I say I'm going to take a yoga class, but that's yet to happen so I'm not going to hold my breath on that one.

Oh, the best part is the price. If I go with my co-worker it's absolutely FREE!!! If I want to go and she's not going I can do one of two things: borrow her card (free!) or finally get my own key which costs me a whopping $10.

That's it! The gym could cost only $10. That's barely more than two cups of joe at Starbucks and probably a lot better for my personal long-term well being.

Now I just need to figure out to use that dorky looking weight machine in the corner :)

Monday, November 15, 2010

And out of left field...

I know people think I'm slightly crazy for saying things like this, but I really think dogs are like children. You have no idea when they are going to batshitcrazy on a dime.

But, it makes for a highly entertaining few minutes when it happens.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Lazy weekends...

are by far the best.

Now only if there was room for a 125lb red head on that little twin bed.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Marine Corps Marathon (The Race)

One last wave to my dad and I'm off.

Let's do this thing!

The start line.

That is A LOT of RUNNERS.

I started the race with B and Kristen and figured the first three miles would be completely jam packed. It was definitely crowded, but the crowds weren't moving nearly as slow as I anticipated they would be.

Here are my splits from my Garmin. Now, please keep in mind I forgot to turn off my auto-pause so my Garmin did not take into consideration the time I lost when I stopped to stretch, re-tie my shoes, and stretch some more.

Mile 1: 8:45. A bit fast, but I'll slow down. I'm just hyper at this point.

Mile 2: 8:50. Okay good, slowing down. Ditched my hoodie, but kept on my gloves.

Mile 3: 8:30. Crap, got faster again. There was a big downhill during this mile, so maybe that's what happened. No worries.

Mile 4: 8:16. Heidi, what the hell are you doing?!?!?! Slow the hell down! There was another down hill, but this is ridiculous!

Mile 5: 8:40. Okay, this mile is only slower because I WALKED through the water and Powerade stop.

Mile 6: 8:17. I am the dumbest smart person in the world. I am going to crash and burn and I'll be telling myself, "I told you so" the entire time.

Mile 7: 8:50. Again, only slower because I walked through the aid stations and ate some jelly beans. Also stopped to tie my shoe and stretch my calves.

Mile 8 8:44. Settling in, went up a hill, but still going way to fast. Water stop right at the end of the mile.

Mile 9: 8:45. Well at least I'm consistently stupid. Gotta have some credit for that!

Mile 10: 8:25. Getting dumber. The course split into two sections here and I had no idea which way to go. My family was supposed to be looking for me around 10.5 and I got worried that if I ran on the "wrong" section I'd lose them. I saw my dad's head (thank goodness he's tall!) and heard him yell, "holy crap! There she goes already!" They weren't ready for me yet! Still walked through the aid stations.

Mile 11: 8:55. Thank goodness. Still too fast, but getting better.

Mile 12: 8:31. Damnit, getting faster.

Mile 13: 8:51. Saw a water stop coming up and figured I should eat more jelly beans and switch my piece of gum. Dropped a fresh piece of gum :( Realized I probably just PRed my Half-Marathon time and that wasn't a good thing.

Mile 13.5. The pain begins.

Mile 14: 9:37. Slowed down and stretched, again. Pain is picking up steam, but I'm trying to be positive. I keep telling myself that I'm going to see my family again soon.

Mile 15: 9:20. This is still faster than I wanted to be, but I'm getting better.

Mile 16: 9:40. Was able to slow down.
Saw my family and it was fantastic! I heard my dad yell for me around a slight turn. I saw my brother kind of point (honestly he could have just been moving his arm to wave) but that made me look across the street and I saw the hubs. Instant life high. Since my brother was close enough to the course he handed me a pack of jelly beans. I had given my brother, dad, and hubs each a pack the night before and told them to hand them to me if I look like I needed food. My brother just figured that was his best chance to fork 'em over.

Mile 17: 10:18. Houston, we have a problem. I'm in pain and it's not going away. I think this is where I started running on the grass for a bit just to have a softer running surface. I again walked through the aid stations. I swear as the race progressed there seemed to be more distance between the Powerade and water stations. I would just walk from as soon as I got my Powerade and continue walking until I finished my water. I just can't run and drink at the same time!

Mile 18: 10:50 Yucky!!! Slowed down too much, stopped to stretch again. Legs are definitely heavy. Foot is definitely not happy.

Mile 19: 9:41. Getting better. Saw my co-worker and about tackled him. He didn't see me at all and I popped out behind another runner and definitely scared the daylights out of him.

Mile 20: 11:11. Running over 395 was miserable. I've avoided running on concrete as much as possible because it's such a hard surface. That bridge hurt. I realized I had two options. 1 keep running and risk either getting injured and/or finish the race absolutely miserable. Or, option 2, slow down, walk a bit, stretch more often, and finish the race happy. Slap hands, "hoo-rah" and in general have a good time. I went with Option 2.

Mile 21: 10:47. This is now the farthest I've ever run! There was an aid station right before the mile 22 marker.

Mile 22: 13:44. I had to stop and use a port-a-potty. I didn't want to stop completely so I would just walk around in a big circle around the port-a-potties! I guess that never caused my watch to stop. There is a funny dark red dot on my GPS tracker during this mile! Oh, dear mean lady spectator! When a runner stops to use the bathroom, please be kind and don't skip the runners walking around and dive into the next available bathroom. The port-a-potties are there for us first and then you!!!

Mile 23: 11:09. The wind through Crystal City is ridiculous! There was a tiny water stop, but the street was looking gross because so many red Powerade cups had blown onto the street that the street looked bloody. Yucky!

Mile 24: 10:48. I am officially very tired and on the verge of getting cranky.

Mile 25: 12:22. Walked for what seemed forever between the two aid stations. Honestly, don't care because walking felt nice at this point.

Mile 26 and .2: 11:03. Started off slow, but got stronger as the race progressed. Saw a woman pass out, but a Marine caught her before her head hit the ground. I had no idea where the finish line was so I kept looking for it. Now, I'm running back where the course began, so at least I've been here before. Running by Arlington Cemetery calmed me down and made me focus on the hill that I knew was coming. When that road started to incline and I heard a Marine yell, "you're not done until you take that hill!" that's when I knew I was close and I just let loose.
I heard my family yell for me, but I didn't see them. I was just looking ahead and focused on a group of people a head of me. I said, "you are going to pass every single one of them."

I did. I tore ass up that hill. I honestly don't think a single person passed me on that hill. I just wanted to be done running and all those painful training runs popped up in my head and I figured I could tough it out for a few minutes longer.

The end.

Haha, just kidding. After finishing I fell in with a mob of people. I think the first thing that was handed to me was a blanket. 10 seconds later I got freezing cold and said, "wow, these Marines are brilliant! They must have known all these runners would get cold once they stopped running." Yeah, my mental capabilities at this moment were slightly lacking.

Next, I got herded into a line to receive my finisher's medal. A very nice and courteous Marine told me to stand up straight and then he put my medal over my head, said congratulations, and shook my hand. That was awesome! I think I stared at my medal for a minute straight before I tried to figure out where to go next.

My next stop was to weakly walk to my left where another Marine put a bottle of Powerade in my hand told me that in continuing with the course, water was at the next table :)

Now, at this point there were so many people I had to stop moving, which was not the best idea. Once I stopped moving I wanted to just lay down and not get back up. So I started taking mini air steps while waiting in the next line. In that line I received a food bag from a Marine. Bagel, fruit cup, banana, wheat thins, and pineapple chips.

Here the mass of people got really annoying. Apparently people were trying to go into the Finish Festival and a bunch of people coming out decided to exit via the entrance. That caused a massive pedestrian traffic jam!!! After navigating through that mess I found a Verizon stand that was letting people make free phone calls. Of course the only cell phone number I know is the hubs so I called him. Like any rational person, he was over at family link up!

I wondered over there and found the hubs and B. At that point everything became a blur! We got my bag, found the rest of my family, said goodbye to B and headed home. The metro on the way home was packed, but we got out safe and sound.

I'll have one more post of crazy costumes people wore during the race and a few other pictures my dad took during the day.

I just wanted to end with the most moving and emotional thing I witnessed that day. There were so many runners who were running in memory of someone else. Many of them had a picture of their fallen loved one pinned to their back. It was beautiful. However, around mile three I heard runners cheering. As I continued forward I found out why. There were four Marines running in full gear. I mean the 60lb backpacks and everything. They were surrounding a hand-cart participant. As soon as I got closer I could see what all the runners were cheering about. The two marines flanking the back of the cart were each carrying a prosthetic leg. One of the Marines running up at the front of the cart was carrying a prosthetic arm. When I started to pass the cart I was able to see that the hand-cart participant was a wounded Marine. He had no legs and only one arm. He was willing himself forward with his comrades, his own arm, and a prosthetic arm.

Every single runner who was near this group cheered in some way shape or form. Many cheered, "USA! USA! USA!" Others yelled "SEMPER FI!" I went with "HOO-RAH!" Runners were patting these Marines on the back and one runner offered to carry a backpack. I honestly started to tear up.

Anytime I started to feel weak and thought about giving up I thought back to that moment very early in the race. If you witness something like that and your heart doesn't swell up with emotion for your fellow man, then you need to get yourself to a hospital because you're dead inside.

Marine Corps Marathon (The Pre-Race)

At work on Friday morning one of my co-workers, who runs, gave me a gift bag and said, "two are for now and one is for later." I imagine that she meant the Gatorade and pasta were for now and the big bottle of Champagne was for later. That was officially the kickoff to my marathon weekend!

Friday afternoon I met up with my bestie, B, to head over to the Expo for the Marine Corps Marathon. On the metro ride over to the Convention Center B was telling me of a few other people she knew that were running the race. She didn't have her old skate coach's phone number, but she had heard from through the grapevine that her former coach was running on Sunday. Sure enough, out of 30,000 runners B ran into her former coach at bib pickup. It's a pretty funny and small world in Washington DC.

The Expo itself was pretty crowded, but that could be expected since we got there right around 4:30pm on a Friday workday. Of course, it is the Marine Corps Marathon, so there were Marines everywhere! It was very refreshing to all the mannerly Marines help anyone and everyone who needed assistance during the Expo. I honestly couldn't even guess how many times I heard the "Hoo-rah!" chant made during that afternoon and it carried over during the rest of the weekend.

There were so many things to look at and buy during the Expo. It was sensory overload for runners! The One Mile and Brooks shops were fantastic. Both B and I really wanted a few different shirts from the Brooks shop, but we didn't want to wait in the long check-out line. Only later did we hear from Kristen, B's old skate coach, that the line moved insanely fast :( Oh well, I think we'll both take a look online and see if we can order something.

B and I did stop at this one booth and pick up these amazing t-shirts. B's boyfriend found her t-shirt to be hilarious, whereas the hubs didn't roll over with laughter when he saw my t-shirt. Oh well.

I almost bought this t-shirt just on principle!

Saturday the hubs and I had a fairly low-key day. My initial plan was to go to the Expo on Saturday and then swing by the Jon Stewart/Stephen Colbert rally on Saturday afternoon. My plans changed when my parents confirmed that they were coming down Saturday afternoon.

Later on Saturday night I welcomed my parents and grandma to Baltimore for their first official visit. Coming down the weekend I got married doesn't count as a visit! Hopefully, they liked my dinner consisting of shrimp scampi, grilled asparagus, green peppers, and whole wheat pasta. Maybe that will entice them to visit more often. Plus, I had leftover pineapple upside down cake, which is my dad's favorite, to encourage them to come for more food.

Sunday morning my family left in two waves.

When I came downstairs in my racing outfit my dad said to me, "you're so skinny. I'm worried you're not going to have enough in you to finish."

My response, "dad just wait until you see the skinny chicks running today."

My dad and I left my house at 4:30am sharp. From there we drove down to the Greenbelt Metro Station and made the trip over to the Pentagon Metro Station. My dad had never been on the Metro before, so he kept saying, "I'm following you!" There was a 15 minute delay when we went to switch from the Green to Yellow lines and for a brief moment I panicked, but we made it to the Pentagon just after 6am.

Then, we joined a mass of people and made our way over to the starting area. I think the walk was something close to a mile. It was dark and kind of calming to be walking with so many other people. To put it into perspective it took us close to 15 minutes just to get out of the metro station because the line was so long to swipe your cards to get out.

I had a minor freak out moment when we started to get closer to the bag drop-off point because police officers were stopping everyone to make sure they either were a runner or they were with a runner. My hubs, mom, brother, and grandma left my house at 5:30am and were on the metro. I was worried they wouldn't be able to get in without me! Thankfully, they got to the start line just fine and dandy.

I've waited in some pretty long port-a-potty lines in the past at races, so the first thing I did was seek out the lines and decided to go then. The lines were only two people deep at that point, which made me very happy.

My dad and I then met B and Kristen over at bag drop off. We all checked our bags at one of our assigned UPS trucks (there were 30 trucks!). Then, B gave my dad her phone because she was hoping her phone would circulate from my dad to my hubs who then in turn would give it to her boyfriend. That didn't happen, but it worked out just fine.

Now, it was after 7am so we figured we'd make our way over to the starting area. B, Kristen, and me heading off to the start line.

I swear my dad isn't an alien and he wasn't wearing a costume. Just some strategically placed street lights happen to behind him.

Hilarious story, but you can see that my dad is on the taller side. I was telling him on the metro that B can't reach the tall "Oh-crap" bars. Well, at this point in the morning my dad shared with B that he had to duck under those bars or else he would have banged his forehead.

On the way over to the start we passed a ton of port-a-potties. We saw the Brooks VIP ones which were heated, had flushing toilets, and running water. Pretty spiffy!!!
In continuing with my game plan to have as much fun as possible I was a complete and total ham as much as I possibly could be.

I threw out all conventional wisdom and decided to start the race with B and Kristen. You know, in the 3:40 pace area. Not that I expected to finish ANYWHERE near that time, but I just wanted to start with people I knew.

B and me rocking our Goodwill gear. I didn't go to Frostburg State, but $5 for a comfy and warm hoodie was good enough for me! I also had on magenta fleece pants. In line with other large races any clothes that are "ditched" along the course would be donated to local homeless shelters. The hubs and I had just cleaned our closets out when we moved over the summer, which meant I didn't have anything I wanted to get rid of. A trip to Goodwill was in order!

I don't know what the actual temperature was at this point, all I know was it was cold! I think the temperature at the end of the race was 61 degrees, so that tells you it was probably a bit cooler at 7:30am.

At this point I saw that the port-a-potty lines were nearly non-existent, so I jumped in line for one last stop. I was really hoping not to have to stop during the race!

Finally, we took our places in the mass of people. My dad was able to retreat back up a tiny hill and follow as us three ladies as we weeded through a mass of runners. I'm going to have to remember to wear a bright colored shirt before every race start from here on out. The red hoodie definitely came in handy.

I didn't get to see the hubs before the start of the race :( I told my family that my realistic finishing time would be between 4:30 and 4:45 hours. So when the rest of my family got to the starting area they stayed at that spot. Oh well, next time I would have had my dad called them and told them where I was.

Next, it was off to the races!!!