Akron Marathon Relay experience…take two

I call this take two because I ran the Akron Marathon Relay several years ago. At the time I didn’t know anyone, I wasn’t a “real” runner (in my own mind) and I signed up with a random group. See, the Akron Marathon has this awesome system where if you’re interested in joining a team, they have an online message board system. You can search by gender, age, pace, if you want to train together or not. All types of variables. That year I ran with a family, and at the end of the race learned the woman I mostly communicated with all summer was a drug and alcohol counselor. (This is cool because it’s what I am now). She even graduated from the same program. Small world.

This year I responded to a tweet put out by a fellow blogger. I figured running with people my age and who also put it out there on the web every day would not only be motivational, but would help me meet more people. Turns out that wasn’t the case, but I still had a great time with my team.

Friday night I went to the EXPO. The first thing I did was breathe a sigh of relief when they let me pick up the whole team’s packets. The next thing I did was hit the fun and excitement. I know from attending the EXPO year after year this is a small set up and there really aren’t any interactive stations. My first station was SUMMA (local health and fitness place). The woman told me how she really likes Marathon Bars (referring to my jacket) so we talked about them for a moment. I then waited in line to have my nutrition assessment conducted and a modified gait analysis.

Nutrition-wise I am nowhere near getting enough carbs and protein, I should probably work on that. Also they told me calories to maintain…I’m trying to lose, so perhaps I’m not that bad off? Gait analysis? Well first, holy wow slow motion camera. I saw up close and personal why I need to wear a supportive bra. Ouch. Secondly, why is my ass the size of Texas and consistency of Jell-o? All jokes aside, I was complimented on the way I hold my arms and my foot strike. I land mid-foot and with my balance/weight directly below me. Score one for the minimal running/barefoot training. Next I was told I drop my hips too much and have a weak middle. I know about my troublesome core. She said those were really the main points and it’s better I know my pluses and minuses and to keep working on them.

The only other exciting part of the EXPO was getting a plate from NOVA NORDISK the diabetes company and major race sponsor. I’ve seen these plates before and am THRILLED to have my own! I wish I could find more I would do a giveaway in heartbeat, but only one per greedy customer. Ha.


The other booths were your typical running gear and foods mixed in with local companies. Nothing to write home about. The last stop was getting the shirts. This should be the highlight of the experience, right? Ugg. I picked them up and wanted to cry. They are so ugly. Plain grey, with white letting only of the event. No other colors, no pretty pictures. I won’t be wearing mine at all. The half runners were given a long sleeve shirt in a caution green. The marathon runners were given a jacket. Now don’t get me wrong, everyone else likes or loves the shirts, so it’s just me.

This is the back, design on the shoulder and shows the color
The front. Oddly it looks blue in this picture

Race morning I woke up a little after 5:00, slowly got ready and headed out the door. I knew I would have time to finish getting ready at the car since I was leg 3 of the relay. I gave everyone their stuff and a friend of theirs took a picture of us and threw it up on Twitter. For some reason I blinked when everyone else didn’t. Nice.

Me, Becca, Julie and Kali

No one seemed too social and this made me sad, but we were in a hurry to get ready. Runner one took his place and we all decided on paces. Turns out my greatest fear was true…I was by far the “slow runner”. Even the guy who was injured was planning to run a “slow” 9:00/mi. Ugg. So I told them the truth, I’m coming off oral surgery and was going to plan a 10:00/mi pace. They seemed OK with this, but insisted I would easily run the 6.3 in an hour (if slow). Right.

I sat in my car getting ready and realizing how hungry I was. Not eating all week sucks. Before I knew it an hour had passed and it was time to walk to my exchange point. Along the way I ran into a former classmate so we talked shop.

At the exchange point I waited not very long before hearing our team number. The guy missed me though, since I had changed out of my warm morning clothes, and I had trouble remembering a person I had only met an hour earlier in the dark. The snafu didn’t last long though and away I went with the slap bracelet and high hopes.

I planned to take the arm warmers down at mile 1. The more I ran though, the longer this first mile seemed. I was comfortable though, so no troubles, but it seemed long. Finally we passed a clock and a mile marker and I noticed it was higher than I anticipated. I looked down at my Garmin and noticed I was 1.7 miles into this thing. Nice. I never heard the “beep” but I cleared mile one of my leg in 9:08 I cleared mile two in 9:18. I was flying and feeling wonderful! Then I made it to a water stop and the cold water hurt SO MUCH on my extraction sites. I don’t know if the running made things swell or what, but it was unbelievable. I spit it out and decided this would be a dehydration type of run.

After the first 2-ish miles we hit the Towpath. Many people love running on it, it’s mostly crushed limestone, but I don’t. I feel like I can’t get traction and it’s boring. I need hills or pavement, thank you. Slowly I started to feel like my body wasn’t listening to me anymore. I’m sure being on a diet of mashed potatoes and Mac&Cheese all week + pain meds and antibiotics does wonders for the system. I finished mile 3 in 10:10, but knew something was wrong. Luckily I was half way into it now and on the home stretch. I started coughing and my lungs burned. They felt like I had inhaled some type of spice. Crap I didn’t use my inhaler.

The next mile I fought the blood taste in my mouth, the tired feeling, the burning in my lungs and neck cramps. I made it through in 11:30 followed by a similar mile in 11:22. I was so upset about my slow moving pace, I felt like my legs were shutting down on me and I couldn’t move no matter how hard I pushed myself. It was terrible. At one point my body hurt so bad, my neck pinched and I couldn’t move my head at all! I stopped to rub it out and some guy was like “C’Mon girl, you’re almost done, don’t quit now”. And I know he was trying to be helpful, but stop. I’m doing so much right now! I should be home eating soup, cracked on on pain meds, wrapped in a blanket. Why am I running? Why?

In the last section we hit road and a big hill. My teeth hurt like I couldn’t believe and I thought some pressure would feel good. When my braces hurt it helped. So I tried to bite down my rolled up arm warmers (pushed down around my wrists), but I forgot something. I forgot my arch wire is out and the braces/brackets are all exposed. They got stuck on the arm warmers! I finally yanked free, quite embarrassed. OY!

Up the hill a local girl cheered for me and later told me I looked so strong! The last mile I did just under a 12 min pace and I saw my exchange girl (Becca, from Peace, Love & Bagels) and was thrilled to hand over the bracelet. Final Garmin time read 1:05:xx, a pace of around 10:39 so I was shocked and pleased with just over an hour for just over a 10K. My time was MUCH better than I expected, but the pain was MUCH MUCH greater. It would have been even nicer to clear a 10:00/mi or better overall pace, but I thought I was looking at 11-12 min miles and walking sooooo let’s take what we get, because even with the pain I had fun. If that makes ANY sense.

After the run I hung out with the girls on the hill and cheered and talked. I saw Niall and Elizabeth, which was cool. Then I road a shuttle bus for 12,789 hours back to the finish. By luck I found a few members of the team and we met up with the final runner (Kali, from Finishing Firsts) to gather medals.

While taking this in the car, the ppl next to me were cracking up

Back home I slept for a few hours, then joined Mom with Emme to meet up with my sis in her neck of the woods. We hiked with the pups (3 different parks) for a total of just over 5 miles. Me and Emme crashed out back home where Mom and I rented Bridesmaids and made Strawberry Daiquiris. Fun fun fun Saturday!

Race Report: Shatter the Silence 10K

I had been looking forward to this race since I decided to sign up for it. After the practice run last weekend I was looking forward to it even more than I expected. Despite Gale’s warnings on how the 10K was quite a bit more technical than what I practiced. All week I’ve felt incredibly “off” I do not know a better way of putting it. After the 10 miler I just have not found my footing during the day. I try to drink tons of water, but I remain slightly dehydrated no matter what I do. Perhaps I’m just not drinking as I should? I know I’ m not eating well, but that’s a side effect of the braces and the simple fact 50% of my mouth is not working right now. However, I seriously still felt I was ready for the race.

I left work a little late. Even leaving late I still had a few moments to kill, so I went to the store and then home. Once home I was running late (haha imagine that!) so I hurried to get my uniform together and out the door I went. The race was very near my house so I am not sure why I thought I was late. Gale was asking where I was so I went to find her even before putting on my shoes. Talented me forgot my camera at home (grrr) and I needed pics for Team Marathon. Gale had a camera, but the batteries died before Ray could get a nice “finish” shot of me. This just wasn’t my year for this team!

Prior to the race I talked with Gale, Ray and Ron and ran into Niall. It cracked me up that he said he read my blog and was asking me about Sunday and also mentioned hearing Mallory talk about my 50K coming up. I once again felt like a local celebrity….gotta admit it was super cool. Starting the race Gale and I were near each other. We chatted for a minute and I was probably being way too loud of things no one wanted to know about my health and personal life. The first mile flew by rather easily and I was enjoying the course. It’s nice to be familiar with that is going on and coming up. Their first mile marker was at 1.3 according to Garmin. Then the course was mismarked and I ran past a confused Gale. I was about to chirp for mile 2 when we hit the water stop. I mentally made note how I felt and how I was not sweating through any clothing so I knew so far things were going better than Sunday. I hesitantly picked up a dixie cup and lifted it to my lips as I pseudo jogged in place. The water touched my lips and….nothing. It was cold and it was nice, and it was normal water stop fluid. Nothing to write home about. There was the faint taste of plastic from the cup and the only way this water could have been more ordinary is if it tasted like the inside of a garden hose. Nothing could have made me more happy in that moment then the waxy cold nothingness of the water.

I hurried up the incline of rocks and dirt into the next mile. Another mental note about my new shoes….don’t wear thin socks. Happily my toes were not crunched in the tow box and I was able to wiggle here and there. My feet did start going numb though…hmm was it my back? No it wasn’t tight and it wasn’t getting worse. What could it have been? I tried walking, didn’t help, I tried moving my ankles, didn’t help. Oddly only one thing helped. I stopped, leaned against a tree, lifted my leg and shook the whole thing, like I was trying to dislodge a humping dog. Magically everything instantly felt like blood flowing and was fine. Now I have no idea what was doing this. I don’t think it was the sleeves, I’ve worn those before…might have been the stretching? Or lack thereof. According to my friend Krystal…my personal nurse (he-he) I need more potasium and should eat a banana, also my legs probably swell in the heat and I’ve gained muscles thereby making the sleeves too tight and should try a size up for better circulation.

My miles were a mix of steady until numb and then shaking my leg. I enjoyed being out there at night, with the birds and the crickets. It’s good to be alone with myself and feed on my own passion and interests. Music is great for speed, but I was going for comfort. As I said at the start “I’m not racing tonight…I just happen to be running in a race”. Besides, if I can’t be alone with my thoughts, why should anyone else read them? I made marker 3 around 40 minutes and decided if I could finish in 80 total I’d be OK. Approaching mile 4 I entered onto a path, the same one I cut short a week before and went to my car. I tried to pick it up along this path, but my legs were talking back to me after the last hill. A woman took my pic coming up it…I hope it turns out AWESOME. A small boy offered me a cup of water and I drank it and thanked him and he smiled and clumsily ran off to his parents the way I’d expect a child no more than 3 to do. Right behind him was a girl, probably a sister. Also around 4. She offered me a second glass of water, and I took it, so as to not hurt her feelings. I jogged along the path and sipped water or dumped it on my salty skin. She giggled as she ran next to me, slightly ahead and said “Look at me! I’m faster than YOU!” And apparently she seemed to think this was some sort of amazing feat. We ran together, the whole time her glancing over her shoulder and cheering about how great it was to be a faster runner. I kept laughing with her, it was cute. She clapped for me at the end and wished me luck as I entered back into the woods.

Her happiness was contagious and I seemed to run a little faster after this encounter. Back down and around to winding paths and through various seas of rocks. I like climbing and jumping off rocks, I feel like an adventurer. Last night, I did not care for it. Every time I went up or down I would get UNBEARABLE charlie horses in my calves. OUCH. OUCH. EFFIN OUCH. I tried to stick to it though, striking the ground at weird angles to soften the blow. Can’t say I hated mile 4 to 5. It was a challenge, and I took them up on it. Not every run can be a walk in the park. Because then it’d be a walk in the park, not a 10K forest trail run…right? Shortly after 5 I saw some people racing back to wrap up the end. They asked if I was the last one…I probably was. (Note, I wasn’t!) Mile 5 was very dark and I was slightly worried I would miss a hazard. I noticed according to Garmin I hit mile 5 at my goal for the whole night. GRRR. I didn’t give up though, because I gave myself a 15 min cushion so I could still be happy. As I ran in the dark I must have chanted 100 times “the woods are lovely dark and deep” occasionally tossing in a “let’s go” or “pick it up, pick it up”. The ending was a nice winding track around the open field. The same small children offered me water, and I pushed it in over the grass. Slightly short of a true 10K and slightly more than my goal. However, I finished and in MUCH better shape than Sunday.

People who read my blog came up to me to ask if I was OK…it was flattering. I looked behind me and saw others coming up the end so I was happy to not be last. I know they said this was for the “experienced” trail runner. But hey I’m experienced! I’m just not very “good” or “fast”. No age awards so I didn’t stay too long….went home and showered and slept. Not before eating chicken and rice. Mom made it for the cats but I stole the leftovers.

Next race is Buckeye 1/2 marathon on Aug 29th.

Pics from the 10-miler. Yes, totally copyrighted. Shhh

Why God doesn’t agree 9.3 is “close enough” to 10 miles

So I needed to do a 10 mile run this weekend as part of my marathon training. I wasn’t excited about this from the get-go and as you may have seen on Facebook, training this week was not good. Tuesday I was just plain lazy and didn’t want to go outside so I swapped out my 3 miles run for an hour on the treadmill (ok so it was a lil more than 3 which I felt ok about). Wed is long run night but it’s also yoga night and I feel yoga make a WORLD of difference with my running and stress and everything so I go. After yoga I was SO tired I didn’t know why I was actually exhausted the WHOLE day, probably the 2 summer courses and working and running and everything else I’ve been doing for 2 weeks now? Anyway. I got home from yoga and seriously did a few things about getting ready for the next days classes and went to bed early. I set the alarm for a few hours before getting ready time and was all set to do my 5-miler before the day started. I was up and dressed and stretched buuuuuut so was the rain!! So I sadly took myself back downstairs for another hours long treadmill session…boooooo. Thursday night I went to the hospital to see my girlfriends just born baby (cutie pie!) so no running that night and I have learned from the past few weeks I am not at a point in my fitness to run Friday night and then do A+ work on Sat. I can do it, but I’m tired and for a 15K I didn’t want to push it. So off to bed at a good time and set the alarm for 6:30 AM.

Well that seems all well and good until you find out you set the alarm for 6:30 PM. I roll over and look at my clock and see 7:10…and FREAK OUT, Luckily I have 15 mins fast forward on my clock…I think everyone does this? Why? Anyway….I run out of bed down the steps and in record time I have my bag ready and clothes on my body. I yell a few things at my Mom about being late and to get up if she’s coming…she doesn’t move (I find out later she doesn’t even hear me). So I’m doing about 80 on my road knowing how DUMB that is for the holiday. I don’t get caught. I make it in record time to what I THOUGHT was the building…it wasn’t. OH HOLY CRAP some more! So I call my friend Gale who I think is going to have a computer implanted into herself to make things easier for her. She started looking for this address for me (It’s like 7:19 and the race is 7:30) my friend Tom calls while I’m on with her, I flip over to him and he’s like “Where are you???” I’m LOST. So he’s giving me street names and I’m yelling at him that I don’t know what he’s talking about. I went to school here for 5 years, I like 10 minutes away and I drove the city buses for 5 years but I don’t know streets…go figure. I park the car and start running full speed through parking lots and this street fair. I am running the wrong way! I turn around and run the right way, he tells me I’m on the wrong street, I fly UP this one way road and get to a highway…umm not right?…I run UP that block and down the next one way road…and there they are the runners! I’m SO tired and sore from running who know how far? Around 10 minutes and so about .7 miles I’d say making an even 10 for the whole day….and I thought 15K was going to be “good enough” for my training run!

I get to the table (oh and as I learned on my way there from my friends…they lost my name and registration) they write my name and age very quickly on some bib #s I shove said bib down my sports bra as I’m running across the yard and onto the street where about 100 yards? If that? The race has just begun. I keep running and am finally a part of the 5k…just a few seconds behind. It takes a minute to find my grove and I manage to pull the first mile in around 9:30 and I’m pleased. Second mile a little more hilly and I get done around 20:ish…I’m trying to pace slower knowing I have the 10K to follow up with. I finish just over 32 mins…a little disappointing but with my AWESOME warm up and whatnot I am okay with this time. I walk back to my car and get myself better put together with body glide, salt tablets and my ipod for the 10K also for the first time all morning I get to a bathroom. Side note…I have a slight lactose intolerance and I thought ice cream last night sounded good. Um yeah that wasn’t a fun sensation and fear for 3 miles!

The 10K starts off MUCH better I am collected and I feel prepped. I make the first mile easily, a little slower than pace (11:ish?) but still strong. I make Mile 2 closer to 20 or 21 so I’m more happy about this. I’m listening to my FAV podcast (the only own I listen to by the fabulous Steve Runner…see the link on the side of the page) and he makes the miles melt by. Finishing the second loop I hear them say 35 and I’m not happy at ALL about this…I get to the 4th miles and I can feel it’s time for more salt tablets (I have REALLY low blood pressure, like when I’m in the DRs they can’t always use the machines it’s so low) and I have a high salt sweat (like I turn WHITE-er than I already am) so that combo puts me at risk for mucho sickness in the heat. I reach into my pocket and the pill has popped open and I have pants full of salt but no way of getting it into my mouth GREAT. So slowly for the last 2 miles I am sinking. I start to shiver I start to shake I start to feel horrible. I make it up to mile 5 but I’m not proud or pretty anymore. I make it to the end (running the last mile I’m proud to say) and didn’t notice my time. My friends say it was around 1:14…grr I wanted at least 1:10. It’s hot out people are like “eww the sun” and I’m freezing because I’m sick from the heat and salt loss. We walk a lil I eat about 3 pieces of water melon. Drink a million cups of water and pour an equal amount all over my body. I catch up with some old friends too.

I didn’t get a shirt because well I wasn’t pre-reg…I was! And I didn’t place in the 5K (grr I move up in AG this week!) I DO place in the 10K (whoa) 3rd place AG but it’s default and it’s still cool. I got this really nice like 16oz glass with the race logo and the word “WINNER” on the bottom. Ha. They decide to only do overall for combined..WHAT so I get a door prize while waiting (free personal pan at Pizza Hut) and the boys and I walk back to the car. So 30.00 and no shirt and no AG from the 15K buuuuut I have a interesting story and needed the 10 miles anyway. Next time I won’t try to cheat out on the .7 and maybe things will go smoother?

Friends and I ate our free pizza and talked and relaxed. So far it’s a nice 4th.