Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Running/existing in a random stream of consciousness

I guess I first started this blog as a way to keep track of what my little family was doing ... but after starting it, I didn't have time to update it because I was too busy living/loving life with my little family.

Then when I started running, I figured I'd use it to keep track of my training, races, etc. and I've pretty much stuck with that, even though I don't update it as often as I should.

Also, I haven't really made my blog public knowledge yet. I mean, I'm okay if people find out about it but it's not something I publicize or promote. More like a "these are my thoughts - read them at your own risk" kind of thing.

side note: I do love to write. I just rarely have time to.

And I thought the title of this particular post is very apt with how I'm coping these days ... pretty much in a random stream of consciousness. Day by day, hour by hour, whatever it takes to get to the next thing.

And that's pretty much how I run too. Without music (unless I'm on the dreadmill) and just thinking my thoughts in a random state of mind. I think about life, I think about love, I think about my family, I think about the future, I think about how much pain I'm in (physical, emotional, etc.), and I think about pretty much everything in between. I pray. I solve whatever problems I think I have. I ask for help for whatever situations I may need help with. I thank God for every blessing I undeservedly have. Basically, I think about anything and everything. I mean, the actual act of running is pretty boring and my mind moves faster than my legs do anyway.

I'm taking some time off from running. It's not that I'm burned out - but I am. I'm burned out on a lot of things right now -- running, reading, walking during my lunch hour or even with the pugs around the neighborhood ... pretty much anything that I enjoyed is not high on my priority list right now. And that sucks. I've been doing some Pure Barre classes. Signed up for a free week and then got suckered into signing up for 30 days at a 'low' rate. They might think it's low but after the 30 days are up, I'm definitely done. I even went ahead and put my name on the schedule for as many days as possible -- but I've already missed one. Will likely miss more as the weeks go on. But training for marathon #2 will start on June 19. I'm not really looking forward to it as without my running partner, I've lost all motivation. I have to prove it to myself that I can do this without his support.

I was talking with someone recently about communication and how there are so many different aspects to successful communication. It's not just talking and listening. It's about being heard and making sure you're communicating in a way that the other person will hear and understand. I spent a summer in Germany during college. My German sucked (still does) and even though many of the students I became friends with had been studying English for many years, there were always communication difficulties. For example - this was the summer that Wayne's World came out and I went to see it in the theater over there. Some of the jokes were translated literally and made no sense in German so no one laughed throughout the movie and I found out that the movie basically bombed outside the U.S. Had the translators rewrote some of the jokes so that they'd appeal to German (or foreign) audiences, the movie would have been more successful. Likewise, if I'm trying to communicate with someone or they with me, we need to be able to read each other to know if the other person is actively listening and comprehending what is being said and not said. If it appears the other person just doesn't get it, then we need to change how we are expressing ourselves to that person. Sure makes a hell of a lot of sense to me ... just wish I had realized this a few years ago. But ... well ... it's too little, too late. Amiright?

Life sucks sometimes.

Thanks for reading though. If you're a praying person, please say a prayer for me. I'm in the most difficult season of my life right now ... but I know that if I can get through this, and if I can show my kids that I can survive this, then I'll come out stronger in the end. God help me.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Indy Mini - my 7th half-marathon and a PR!

I wasn't sure about this race. Matt had agreed last year to run this one with me ... and I knew it would be a week after the Kentucky Derby Festival half that we had already registered for as well. I guess we figured that we'd still be tired/sore after the KDF race that we'd be able to run/walk this one together and just enjoy the scenery and the chance to be on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway track. Well, life got in the way and Matt decided not to go. I didn't want to give up on $120 for the two registrations so I decided to press on and go anyway. No goal for the race other than to finish still standing. That's about my daily goal anyway these days ... 

Packet pickup was at the Indiana Convention Center and it was very nice ... considering this is the largest race in Indiana, there are tons of sponsors and there were more than 70 vendors with booths to tempt me. I was good though -- the only booth I knew I wanted to stop at and get something was the Indiana University Alumni Runners booth ... and no one was there! They have an annual membership that provides race discounts to a variety of races, but membership also gives a discount for IU running apparel. Alas ... no one was at the booth so I admired the candy-stripe tech shirts (homage to the striped warm-up pants of the basketball team) and the IU logo'd shirts/tech hats/etc. and kept on moving. 

Had also made plans to meet up with my oldest and dearest friend, Amy. I know I've said it before (at least on Facebook -- but I think on here too) that everyone needs an Amy in their life. She's seen me at my best and at my worst. She's talked me off ledges (figuratively) and knows just when to contact me when she hasn't heard from me in awhile. So since my traditional pre-race meal is pizza (something about needing that extra sodium before long races that helps keep my hands/fingers from swelling), we went to Jockamo's Upper Crust Pizza in Irvington. Split some breadsticks and a Pomodoro pizza with her (Grilled eggplant, tomato, fresh basil, garlic, extra sauce) ... Delicious! (no photo - so take my word for it) 

Since my mom has moved to a nursing home near me, my sister is still at the family house, cleaning up her accumulations over the years and also seeing if there's anything that belongs to me or my brother that we can take with us after a visit. The weather has been all over the place lately and not only have they had flooding, but also it's been chilly/cold ... and she didn't want to turn the furnace back on until absolutely necessary. I slept in my parents' old bedroom ... which has the entrance to the crawlspace in the closet ... which is where the sump pump is ... which was coming on every few minutes. I legit slept in my clothes - jacket, socks, a few extra blankets - and couldn't sleep anyway due to normal pre-race jitters, life being sucky lately, being cold, being in a strange bed, and then the sump pump singing its praises regularly. Possibly had 3 hours sleep total ... not sure.

Ended up leaving the house at 6 a.m. even though my wave didn't start until 7:40. I didn't know how bad parking would be so I decided to just go. Rather than park on the street and try to figure out the meters, I went to my go-to parking garage at Circle Centre mall. And from past experiences, I knew I needed to take a photo of what level I parked on and also the nearest sign post to locate my car. Post-race brain fog is a real thing.

After taking a photo of the level and location of where I parked, I thought about also taking a picture of the entrance to the parking garage and marking it on Google Maps. It may be my hometown but I'm no longer a local.

This was a big race. I was assigned to Wave 2 and Corral I. I've been in races with corrals before -- and those are a joke. When you're assigned to Corral B and people next to you are wearing bibs that clearly say they are in Corral E or F and they don't care that they are going to be slowing down everyone around them ... it's a pet peeve of mine. Start in the correct corrals, folks! They're there for a reason!

This happens to be the biggest race in the state though. And they do corrals right. The entire race start line is behind barricades and you can only enter the barricades through specific points ... and there are race volunteers there checking your bib to make sure you're allowed to be in that particular corral. I loved it!! What I didn't love is that apparently I thought Matt and I were going to be Speedy McSpeedsters when I sent in our registrations. Since they put me in 'I' and I knew that I'd be going slower than originally planned anyway, I was going to start at the end of the corral/beginning of the J corral. Well, that happened to be right where the 2:00 pace group was. There was no way they assigned us to the faster-than-2:00 corral ... but they had. Idiots. 

This was a giant mural on the side of the JW Marriott. Notice the bright orange O and N signs -- those are the corral identifiers. I think they had corrals down to the letter Z ... I know I saw an X corral. The corrals started in waves -- so about 4 or 5 corrals would start at a time. My start time was 7:40.

I didn't take any photos during the race. For one, it was raining a bit at the start. And cold (42 degrees). One of the freebies in the race packet was a tech hat (as seen in the above photo -- the white/blue one) so I made sure to wear that to keep the rain out of my eyes. It definitely helped. I also enjoyed running through parts of the city I had never been in before or the areas had been updated since I was last through there. Because of the large number of runners in the race, I was constantly being passed and also passing others the entire 13.1 miles. Being able to run by myself without knowing anyone else in the race was probably what I needed. I could focus on my thoughts, my breathing, meditate on what life is dishing out, and stop to walk whenever. The thing is ... even after the KDF half the week before, I felt fine. I really think running with intervals is my lifesaver. So I kept my interval timer set at run 5 min/walk 1 min and turned it on after about the 2nd mile. 

Because this is a large race, there were "pit stops" at every mile marker with water or Gatorade and a long line of portapotties. I waited until probably mile marker 4 or 5 till I found a line of portapotties without a line of people waiting -- dashed in there right quick, got back on the road, and didn't stop my RunKeeper timer since it was less than a minute.

There are also tons of support groups -- I think they said there were more than 50 bands, cheer groups, etc. along the way. That has to include the people who were helping hand out water but it was still pretty amazing to always see another group of cheering people or a band up ahead. There were cloggers and square-dancers ... there were school groups (from elementary to college) ... there were church groups. It was just an awesome experience all around. 

What I was really looking forward to was being on the track at around mile 6-9 -- and we ran the entire oval (2.5 miles). I kind of wish I did stop for a photo but Meb Keflezighi was at the track and I got a high-five from him. He's a little fellow -- a little taller than me (I'm 5'1") and just a toothpick. But I probably would be too if I were a professional marathon runner. It was pretty cool to see him though. And running over the finish line (made of bricks, hence the track's nickname of The Brickyard) was also neato. 

At one point while on the track, I realized that the sun had come out and I was getting warm in the rain jacket so I pulled over to the side to try to take it off. Of course I would safety-pin my bib all the way through the jacket to my shirt ... so I was wasting valuable minutes trying to undo the pins to get the jacket off, then re-pin the bib to my shirt and then figure out how to tie the rain jacket around me and be able to run without it falling down. My phone and gels were in the pocket though and I ended up having to stop a few more times until I could get everything situated.

I don't remember much about the last few miles other than the supporters were more supportive and seemed to be more running-group mentors than regular school groups. Not sure if it just seemed that way or if they were placed there because the organizers knew that people would be struggling at the end. I needed them though. And they put my name on my bib so it was incredibly helpful to have them run alongside me saying "you've got this, Elizabeth". Yep ... started getting teary-eyed each time too.

I had a good idea on what time I crossed the start line (about 8 minutes after the first people started) so I tried to do the calculations at each mile marker to see how I was doing. I'm pretty sure I messed up at some point though because when I saw the timer at the finish line, it showed I was going to have a PR ... say what?

Yep -- with all the crap going on right now and with having completed a half 7 days prior and with having only 3 hours of sleep the night before and with stopping for several minutes to fix my bib/rain jacket ... I finished in 2:26:00 for a PR
And got a nice medal too.  

Post race - unfortunately, I never saw the chocolate milk table. After a race is pretty much the only time I indulge in chocolate milk ... so I was bummed about that. I did get a chocolate chip cookie, banana, granola bar, fruit cups of pineapple and mandarin oranges, pretzels, and a bottle of water. Since no one was waiting for me at the finish line, I just meandered my way out of there and back to the car to get back to the house to clean up and head home. Since I had only had a PowerBar for breakfast, my sister and I went to Panera for lunch and I got my usual ... a Mediterranean Veggie 1/2 sandwich and bowl of the tomato soup -- can't wait until the squash soup is available again!

Not pictured, my chocolate chip cookie and a French Toast bagel.
Hey, when Panera tells me I can get a free bagel each day during the month of May, I don't want to disappoint them.

So I was thinking that this would be a one-and-done race and could just mark it off my bucket list and move on to something else. That may still be the case but I really enjoyed this race. They'll be opening up registration this week for $60 (I think) and then will close registration until later this summer and at a higher price.

Just curious -- do you have any running events that are on your bucket list? Or, if not running, then something you want to do/see/experience? (mine include hiking the Grand Canyon and also Machu Picchu)

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Kentucky Derby Festival Half-Marathon - 2017

This is a What's New With Me recap for April as well as a race recap. Linking up with Kristen and GretchRuns for this post. Honestly, if it weren't for the link-up reminders, I doubt I'd be posting anything ... so here goes ...

The race? I finished. That's really all that matters. My training was next to nothing since the Papa John's 10-miler on April 1st. My sleep was minimal, nutrition likewise, motivation was in the pits.

But I'm frugal - we've been trying to pay off our credit cards and get out of the debt cycle for so many years that when I spend money on something, I will follow through to the death. Of course, I discovered that my frugality has limited me on getting out of the house and doing things with friends and that appears to be a blackmark against me ... but I digress.

Literally. Four credit cards between us - all maxed out at one point to the tune of about $60k total. Bought a house way too big than we were ready for. And since I pay the bills, I'm the one who had to juggle what went where. Stressful? Heck, yeah. Dave Ramsey would have slapped us silly ... and we would have deserved it. Not to worry though - total debt is now down considerably and there's some wiggle room now on being able to tackle house projects for once.

Actually - no. I'll continue. When I was informed of this ... ever so kindly ... by someone, I took action to spend a little money on myself for a change. During the month of April, I might not have been training physically, but it's also good to build myself up emotionally as well. New hair-do, new shoes for Easter (no new dress, because ... frugal), signed up for a (free) week of Pure Barre classes - which was pretty much my only training for the half-marathon, meeting up with friends for dinner for the first time in a LONG time, meeting up with another friend for an artsy-crafty evening at The Glass Gypsy ... and it has felt good to reconnect with friends and with myself. Too little, too late probably/most definitely.

My tree. 
And the letters were a little messed up during the resin process so I get to return to make another one. 
Anyone want to join me?

My only running during this month included an almost-5k fundraiser for the Open Door Youth Shelter. I remember crossing the finish line and seeing the time clock almost stunned that I finished the 5k in less than 30 minutes -- even with a couple walk breaks! ... only to look at my RunKeeper and see that it wasn't even a full 3 miles. :(  But it was a fundraiser and I enjoyed myself, even if Matt did not.

One is trying to take a photo while looking at the camera rather than the phone screen. 
The other has the definite look of wanting to be anywhere but there. 

I think I ran on the treadmill once during the month too. But does that really count? I guess it does. I do know I was looking forward to finishing the second season of Twin Peaks. I had watched the first season when I was a senior in high school - so I missed the second season thanks to a crazy hectic first year away at IU. Unfortunately, I couldn't even watch the whole first episode of the second season. It was too weird/bizarre/dumb.

I still love the music though. But, wowee ... was that first episode of the second season bizarre ... 

So on to the race ... which always starts with packet pickup the day before.

My original plan was to take a shuttle from downtown to the fairgrounds so I wouldn't have to worry with traffic or parking ... but then discovered that I wouldn't be allowed to pick up Matt's bib for him, so he had to come with. While I wasn't a fan of the new location (fairgrounds as opposed to downtown), I definitely liked that the expo seemed larger - but maybe because it was spread out more and it didn't feel like we were cattle lined up to go through processing this time. We even saw a good friend that we see at either every expo or every race. On the way back to the car, we stopped at the Thornton's food truck and tried the bourbon vanilla latte ... definitely tasty but I had never had bourbon before and it really just tasted like a vanilla latte.

We had some torrential storms during the night and since I haven't been sleeping well, I didn't get much sleep that night either. And I need to back-up ... Friday morning, a cute little Jack Russell kept trying to get into the house. I didn't know what to do with her so was going to take her to the local shelter after taking the kids to school and on my way to a doctor's appointment. Lo and behold, Allie discovered that the little dog had a fairly deep gash on her back and I didn't want to just leave her at the shelter without it being looked at ... so off to our vet I went. NO MICROCHIP! People, if you have a pet ... please ... make sure it has a microchip in it for this exact reason. Anyway, they put staples in, pulled off several ticks, I took some photos to post on the lost pet Facebook pages, and 5 days later ... we still have her. The pugs aren't happy and it's a lot of work trying to keep them separated ... but I truly believe her arrival was a God-thing to take my mind off of the horrific doctor appointment I'd been dreading that was on Friday morning as well.

She was just the sweetest little girl. 
Unfortunately, our old pug wanted nothing to do with her other than try to rip her throat out ...

So now we're at race morning and I see an email that the race has been delayed till 8:00. I forced myself to drink water and eat 1/2 a peanut butter sandwich (couldn't finish it) and we left. Found a really good parking garage that was practically empty due to a concert the night before -- the sign outside said it was full but it was definitely not even close to being full. We started out to the start line and discovered that the race had been delayed again till 8:30 -- back to the car to wait. Left again around 8:20 because I really needed to use a portapottie. Sorry, not sorry. And then to find out it was delayed again?!?! The skies were scary looking so I understood but it just wasn't doing anything and I was worried about the coming heat of the day and my less-than-half of a peanut butter sandwich. Of course it did start raining around that time and pouring when the race finally started around 9:20 so now I just wanted to finish.

A bit of an exaggeration. But the clouds were moving quickly and the sky was dark.

I had my interval timer set for 5 minute run/1 minute walk but didn't need to turn it on until after running through the first 4 miles only walking the water stops. But by the time I started the intervals, I think it was too late. I'm pretty sure the lack of sleep/nutrition/motivation/etc. had had enough of me pushing my body for so long. I decided I needed to drink double at all the stops and take whatever food that spectators were offering, safety be damned. That helped. It also helped that I started dumping the last half of my water cups on my head and back of my neck. Just had to remember not to dump the PowerAde on my head by mistake ...

I stopped at another portapotty around mile 5. Emotions were wearing on me at that point and I legit started sobbing when one guy asked me how I was doing with my race. That'll teach him.

Look, pal ... don't ask if you don't want to know.

One nice thing that happened was I finally met and chatted with a lady I see at almost every race. We've seen each other so often that we say hi but have never introduced ourselves. She's from New Albany too and has been running about as long as I have. And then I also saw a lady who walks the bridge as much as I do - we high-fived as I passed her.

Not quite like this -- it was around mile 12 so not much effort went into it.

I really just wasn't feeling it this race. I'm glad I did it and I had paused my RunKeeper while in the portapotty line ... so when I did finally get to the finish, it was almost a PR, even with all my extra walking. I guess losing 20 pounds in a month has some benefit ... I don't recommend it though. RunKeeper time - 2:31 ... official KDF Mini time - 2:34. I'm OK with both times and I'll probably try to run this one each year ... or at least as long as I continue running.

The medal. The prize. The loot. And all I wanted at the end was to curl up in a ball and cry. 

Hoping I get my mojo back soon. I have another half coming up ... THIS WEEKEND. So I guess I'll do another recap for that and then ease up (more than usual) on the blog entries until I get back to my marathon training in June. Unless I need to vent about life ... then you'll be hearing from me again.

Please tell me your pet has a microchip. What do you do when you see a stray animal - try to keep it and find the owner on your own? take it to the local shelter?

What do you do when life smacks you upside the head and you lose all motivation for pretty much everything?