PJ Night Ride

Saturday June 25th 2011 I went out on a grand adventure. Well, really my morning started when I attempted to do hill repeats at 7 am. I met up with a group planning to do who knows what. All I knew is I was sick of long distances on the trails. The plan was 10 minutes out and back on the Towpath (easy) then over to Initiation hill (you might recall me talking about this from the Easter Egg Run) where we will run that hill (right) then enter the Buckeye trail. We take Buckeye to Pine Lane parking lot, enter the Valley Trail and loop back to the road with the hill. Run the hill two more times (right) and then back onto the trail. Repeat this process 4 loops. It should take about 2 hours.

Slow and steady I found myself on the Towpath. I cleared around 2 miles with those 20 minutes, then over to the hill. Grrr. someone in our group said where they grew up they had a hill called religion hill.

“Why did they call it that?”

“Because whenever someone saw it they would go, Oh God”.

Lovely. I didn’t make it all the way up the hill; I barely made it halfway before my asthma kicked in. Dang. I entered the trail feeling down on myself. I ad acquired a friend though, and he kept me motivated. The trails were muddy and messy though and by the time I reach Pine Lane I was D O N E. It was maybe a 3 mile loop all together, I fell twice on the Valley Trail and knew I wouldn’t be doing it again. I made up my own idea, where I would only do repeats on the killer hill. I told myself I had to run up it once without stopping. Amazingly I did this on the first try! I didn’t think I could do it at all. Yes, it was slow. Yes, it would have been embarrassing if anyone else had seen. Still, I accomplished my task…and in under 15 minutes! Woot! All in all I ran almost 6.5 miles and just decided enough was enough. I refuse to force myself to run anymore…I won’t stop loving my sport.

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Registration…and the Grunt Girls

Later that night, I went to the Century Cycles PJ Night Ride. It was a blast! Of course before I left the house I got distracted by Facebook and was running late. This wouldn’t be an issue, except I knew I had a headlight out. And I didn’t have time to go do the headlight, change and get to the ride. So, guess who showed up at Auto Zone in bright pink, giraffe print flannel PJs. I wish I were kidding. I may write them a letter, no one looked at me like I was crazy, no one made fun of me, and everyone acted like it was totally normal. It wasn’t normal. I got my light, and trying not to laugh myself, casually mentioned I was on my way to a costume party. The seniors seemed unimpressed with my conversation, and I drove away.

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Me and Tasha

At the Towpath I nervously dropped off my stuff for Project Night Night and tried to see a familiar face. The Grunt Girls asked who I would be riding with…and I asked why I should have someone. Probably more defensive then I needed to be, but I was a little on edge. See, I didn’t see too many other PJs yet. Luckily as the crowd filled in I wasn’t alone in my wardrobe choice. They introduced me to a team member named Tasha, who when she met me said “Nice to meet you Tasha” and everyone laughed. Stephe was there and Liz’s friend Jessica. It was weird/cool to see her and I ended up riding with the two of them.

Along the way Jess said how we should get together and ride. I agreed, but pointed out I am not a strong rider. I can do 12-14 MPH and I have never done more than 30 miles. She said she could adjust (and I would get better). Ha. We chatted about different things and we got on the topic of nutrition and they tried to rip apart Marathon Bars. I quickly came to their defense! Just because they use the Snickers name does NOT make them a candy bar! They have just as much (if not more) nutrition than other sports bars and IMHO taste amazingly better. I’m not sure if they ever read the label, but seriously people, with all things, read the label yourself, don’t just listen or make an opinion.

At the half way mark, we had snacks. I had Cherry Coke, pretzels and animal crackers. I also played “Spin-the-water-bottle” and ended up with the dare to lift my bike over my head. I was SO GLAD I went with the road bike.

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Then they said I had to do it with one hand.

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Jess took this cool, “techno” shot by accident.

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On the way back everything was pitch black. Lightning bugs filled the trees and canal animals sang. It was magical.

At the “after party” I was hit on by some guy who was well beyond drunk. He was really cute so at first I played along, but once I realized he was probably drugged out as well as drunk, I made my way away from him. Honestly, it was nice to get some attention, even if I felt ridiculous in my outfit. Maybe my winning personality was glowing?

I sat down with Stephe, Jess, Tasha and a few other Grunt Girls and had dinner. I also had an awesome cherry margarita. Yea, what’s with that? No wonder I never work out anymore. (sheepish eyes). We all had great conversations until nearly midnight when it was time to go home. It was a great time and I can’t wait until the next night ride…which is July 8th, and not gonna lie, looking forward to being normally clothed.

So blog friends….let’s do this question thing…are you more or less likely to do any event if it’s “themed”? Have you ever had to go somewhere “normal” while dressed up?

Race Report: Jackson Night Glow 5K 2011

Friday June 17, 2011 I attended the Jackson Night Glow 5K.

This has always been one of my top three 5K events, and I have never missed one in the 5 years now that I’ve been running. In case you’re wondering how many times I can say something was a top event…here are my top 3.

Morgana Run!
Jackson Nightglow
Jack-o-Lantern Jog

So now more “top” speech until the fall. I have to sadly admit though; this race is headed out of the standings. In the past it was full of life and energy.

1) The shirt was beautifully done
2) The course was lit with luminaries and bodies covered in glow sticks and blinky lights
3) The course wasn’t overly challenging
4) The ending wrapped through the local carnival
5) Everyone was given lots of wonderful recovery food.

Several of these are no longer true. When I first started running this event it was partnered with Wadsworth’s Matchstick 4 miler. Matchstick was in the earlier afternoon, and then everyone would rush to Jackson for the 9:30pm 5K. Since splitting with this event more and more people have signed up. I do not know the reasoning behind the shift, only that last year there were 1000+ runners and last night they announced a pool for 1200+ with at least 1111 showing up on the results sheets today. I point this out, because obviously people are attending this event.

Now, I walk into the high school to get my stuff. I have been pre-reg for over a month. I am handed my shirt and bib, the bib BTW was very very cool.
I start to walk away and hear someone complaining about not having their size shirt left. This is something I find totally unacceptable. Especially when “day of” and pre-reg” are two different tables. Pre-reg = you know how many people will be there, you know what size shirt they wrote down. If they want to switch they can come back later for a swap or deal with it. VERY unfair to people to punish them for not getting there at the open of distribution when they registered in advance! Not everyone can get to a race 3 hours early, which is why many of us sign up in advance because we know we’d be cutting it close with arriving on time. I will never think it’s fair not to have the shirt they asked for set aside.

Luckily, I did get a shirt. This luck was soon dismissed when I saw how horrible of a design it was. How a race in its 12th yr with 1200+ people signed up can’t come up with a decent design and color scheme I do not know. I was about to ask for my glow stick when I heard someone tell another girl they were out. WHAT? Again with the signed up in advance = you know how many people are coming. DO NOT say on the flyer “free glow stick” if it’s all first come first serve only 500. Not off to a good start race, not off to a good start.

Part of me wanted to forgive them when I looked around and saw very few people decked out in their own glows or blinks. What happened to the spirit of this event? You could tell me it’s the economy, heck I couldn’t afford extra stuff. Yet, again 1200 people, I think even if you raised the price 5 bucks you could afford better arrangements for the event, right? May you would lose 100 or 200 people. Not that I’m being mean, but the thing is OVER CROWDED now as it is! Seriously. With each step I was either almost being pushed or kicked or trying not to push or kick those near me. They need to cap the amount of people, truly they do.

Now the race itself….

It started to rain slightly as the fireworks went off inviting us to begin. Out of no where I took off and felt like if I didn’t run as fast and as hard as I could I was going to just sit down in the middle of the course and cry. Not sure why I’m so stressed lately, but I am. I didn’t recall so many downhill at the start and was convinced I was going to run a new PR first mile. Nope, 8:50. Still, nothing to worry about.

Up the one massive hill past mile one and I started to not feel well. Maybe I was pushing too hard? I couldn’t stop though and kept it as hard as I could. Through the neighborhoods, past the kids trying to high five us and collect unwanted glow sticks. People sitting in chairs were cheering for us and waving sparklers or playing music. The first water station was near mile one and down hill, I skipped it for safety reasons.

Gravity + sudden downhill stopping of running = ouchies.

I knew once we hit the street we would go into another complex and be at mile 2. Well the other complex was blocked off. WHAT? So I wasn’t sure what was going on. I tried not to slow too much, not sure of what lie ahead. I smiled at the police slights flickering on the dark streets and against the runners. Finally, mile 2. I can’t see Garmin in the dark, however I heard someone say 19-something and I was pleased. Later I found it was a 9:50-ish mile. Much slower then mile 1, but still under 10! I also heard Garmin go off long before mile 2 marker. Mile 1 was right on.

After a slight detour we were back where I knew the course. I noticed the bike path entrance into the fairground area and knew we were on the home stretch! I felt like puking.

I pushed and pushed and tried to sprint on that track course. It was humid and it was crowded. I looked at the mileage once and saw I had .2 remaining. I pushed more and a woman came up behind me and stopped right in front of me. I almost body checked her. Then people were flying up my sides toward to finish chute. NO NO NO that’s my kick, my sprint finish.

I started to cough as my stomach was trying to make me sick. SHUT UP YOU. I thought I saw 28 on the clock and my eyes teared up thinking it was a PR. I DID it! Then as I ran under the inflated arch the clock flipped to 30. It was 29 I saw ) ; I stopped my Garmin and saw 30:06, which I was displeased with slightly, but not as much as the 3.2 I saw. WHAT? I was convinced it the course wasn’t long and crowded I would have PR’ed. Then again, that’s part of racing right? Working with the conditions handed to you on the actual day?

Of course all the teens just stop dead at the finish line so you almost kill them with your weight trying to finish and then get out the way of the other 500+ runners behind you.

Another “issue”. 1200 runners and only ONE LINE for food. They need to at least allow people on both sides of a table. What is WRONG with these directors?

Over all I was pleased with myself yet DEEPLY DEEPLY disappointed in this event as a whole. There is a very good chance I might not attend again…that is how annoyed I am with them.

Saturday’s posts revealed I chip timed at 29:45, I was happy with that…and figured I hit my Garmin button at the wrong time and it wasn’t too long of a course. This also means it wasn’t and wouldn’t be a PR. I landed 29/69 in my age group. Top 50% was a nice boost. 642/1111 total. Almost top 50…I’m getting there.

Toledo: Part Two

The alarm went off at 7:45 as planned, and I hit snooze. I lay there trying to debate how quickly I could get ready. How long would it really take to put on some clothes and walk out the door? Of course there was the little issue of washing my hair. Ugg. I hoped the kids had not used all the hot water.

Out the door and down the elevator, my legs yelled at me as I started day two of heels. I probably have not worn heels since November 2010. Check out was painless and I started walking toward the parking garage to figure out if it would be cheaper to take my car or leave it…the attendant looked at me like I was on crack and going the wrong way. He assured me, while blocking the sign; my car was safe if I left it. I walked past him to see the sign and insisted that wasn’t even a concern for me, without looking at him directly. I noticed the price was the same for 12-24 hours, so I left it. I walked over, put my suitcase away and started my walk toward the other hotel. A half mile walk in heels tore up my poor feet.

I entered the lobby just as we were being told to get into the other room for the keynote…and breakfast was getting cleared. As quickly as I could I shoveled some granola into a yogurt cup, grabbed a muffin and downed a glass of orange juice. Ohhh smooth and burn-y.

The keynote today spoke about a campaign in Utah where they are encouraging and empowering parents to get involved with their kids’ lives and prevent underage drinking. Utah’s goal isn’t reducing underage consumption, it is to eliminate it. Here are two of my favorite ads.

http://schoolwaxtv.com/op_video/859/embed

http://schoolwaxtv.com/op_video/861/embed

Studies show parents respond better to humor than criticism and the above linked site also has tips on communication with your kids, such as how to send a text message.

The first session, was one of the most beneficial to me of the whole conference. It was based on marijuana as medicine. Great arguments were made on how counselors, social workers, other case workers or even law makers are NOT in the medical field, so how can they produce a valid medical argument? This lead to the basis of the lecture…how to reframe the argument. Instead of arguing the research on if pot is “bad” or “good” instead frame it as “No other medicine is legalized or distributed this way”. Think about it. When was the last time we all voted on the newest antibiotic? Current studies have shown even the benefits some people claim from use are not permanent or even long lasting for everyone. Some people have serious side effects from it, and those who do use it, the effects will diminish over time and they’re forced to find a new anti-nausea, pain reducer or whatever else medicine. My favorite was the story of the people who protest outside the courthouse to have it legalized. When someone approached them to ask why they chose that location, since the court upholds the laws, it doesn’t create, the people just “stare with a glossy look in their eyes”. Now I don’t think this is because they’re pot-heads, I think it’s because most kids don’t pay attention to how the government works, they just b*tch about it.

Lunch on the second day was more forms of salads and hamburger or chicken. I went with the beef, and skipped desert when I plugged the numbers into MyFitnessPal and knew I wasn’t going to be working out.

My next session was “Hidden in Plan Sight” it was a mock teen’s bedroom and we all discussed what everyday items could indicate an issue.

messy-room

Things I knew about were the clothes used for inhaling, signs of pot use, the choking game, and obviously anything sexual. Things I learned? Teens with disordered eating will use Cool Whip. Those who purge use it as a way to coat the stomach so the acid doesn’t hurt as much. Those who restrict will eat it to feel fuller while consuming few(er) calories. I also didn’t know to check things like ceramic home-made flower pots. They don’t hold much water when there is a tiny hole in the back (bong). Also, CD player on the bed? Not so much. Check the batteries, oh they’re missing, and there’s a joint in there? Other helpful tips included, asking your child if they want a bank account if they suddenly have a lot of cash. Or, asking your child to play his/her “favorite” board game they always carry around. If they don’t know the rules, they’re using it for a different purpose. Tips I didn’t like and I would never do (never say never) going through a photo album and asking about the people, places and things in the pictures. Doing my kids’ laundry to keep an eye on things. Seriously? I started doing my own laundry in 6th grade…don’t raise helpless kids people. They can clean their own room, make their own bed, do their own laundry, wipe their own….well you get my point. Empower, don’t enable.

The final session was the icing on the cake. It was “Life of an Athlete”. This is apparently a real workshop you can attend for 4 days (for 500 dollars). Our speaker gave us highlights from when she attended in NY at the Olympic Training Center. The aim was to help communicate with student athletes in a way they understand and connect. Most will not go on the play sports beyond high school. Those who take it seriously will not want to ruin their chances during their 4 year prime. However, using rates are pretty much the same for sports and no sports teens! WOW. Personally I would have thought they were higher. The sport with the players who have the highest rate of binge drinking? Lacrosse. Seriously.

This session pointed out things like, chocolate milk and fig newtons make a great recovery snack. Very easy to digest and have the carb:protein ration that’s so important. A chart also showed how you need to ingest these items immediately…and showing the difference in benefit based on immediate versus 2 hours later. I am guilty of the 2 hours later. When I finish a workout I am TIRED. I drive home, I relax and when I feel sick and hungry I eat. Many times over two hours later. Well, not anymore. Apparently the tissue repair actually gets WORSE if you skip recovery drink/eating. I don’t want to destroy my tissue!

Substance use can decrease your performance by at least 30 percent! And stays in your system up to 14 days. WHHHHAT? And while you’re not drunk, many side effects stay with you for 4-5 days after drinking. This is more intense in teens. So, while they may have been drinking at the Friday night party, Tuesday practice after school is going to SUFFER.

loa

 

At the closing of the conference I spoke to some people who encouraged me to apply for jobs, even when they do not list LPC. Many companies will take a similar background (Sociology, Psychology, Social Work, and Counseling) many feel they overlap enough. It really helped me to relax, but also get excited.

Walking to my car I walked past the water and looked at the boats and the storm clouds. I wished the science center had been opened later. I am such a nerd or something. I love learning, I love hands on. One of the best series of dates I ever went on was traveling to all the local science centers. It was amazing to me; I’m such a kid at heart and very curious. They’re also more fun with someone else….so I can run up to them and say “OMG come SEEEE this” or “LOOK at ME. LOOK what I can DO”. Class, all the way.

The drive home was easy and fast. Looking at the hotels outside of where I stayed (the cheap ones) I am glad I paid more. The places these buildings were located looked like “Welcome to Murder City! Population: YOU”. Once home I collapsed on the couch, ate some beans and rice and went to bed.

Don’t worry I know I owe a report from Jackson 5K, and I want to write about my trip to Little Italy. All in due time. I am happy to report I was able to get 10 miles in on the elliptical Friday night (it was icky outside all day) and another 6+ miles of hill work this morning. See, I’m working on it.