Sunday, May 23, 2010

Waiting for Lost

It turns out that margaritas and a burrito are not, in fact, a good dinner the night before a run. Who knew, right? Oh wait, I DID know that. But they were both important in keeping me from exploding on Friday night.

Every afternoon when I leave work I call my mom and talk with her for the drive home (and for a long time after I reach home). It's quite easy to keep the majority of attention on the drive and still converse with her. Friday night I was almost off the freeway when the very loud noise started. I had been fighting the wheel the entire drive since it was windy as hell, but otherwise nothing different from normal. This noise was not normal. Nor was the bumping and pulling on the right side of the car. I realized I had a flat and hung up on my mom so that I could devote full attention to my car. I pulled into the first parking lot and went to look at the tire. It was not only flat on the bottom, it was square and flat all over. Whoopsie, that wasn't good.

I called CSAA and had a conversation with a woman who seemed to speak very little English. I gave her all my information and she told me it would be up to 45 minutes before someone got there. Y'know, Friday night commute. Within 10 minutes another woman called me and asked me why I didn't have lug nuts on my wheel and how the tire had stayed on the car. Huh? No, I thought the first woman had asked if I had locks on the wheels. Heh. I was told someone would be out within the half hour.

The truck arrived, the nice AAA man whipped off the dead tire and put on the mini spare and I was ready to go. To Costco, to see if they could sell me a new tire. That was a big nope; they had the right type of tire, but it was for a big truck. They sent me across the street to Big O tire.

I made it just in time. They had a nice set of cheap tires that met the specs and they could install them right then. The guy told me they were closing in 14 minutes. I asked how long it would take to install the new tires: 14 minutes. It actually took about twice that, but I handed over my overused credit card and was on my way.

Thus, the margaritas and burrito. Therapy!

The run did go well, even with our poor manner of fueling. Bree and I went 8 miles at Inspiration Point on a beautifully clear, windy morning. The damn cows stayed out of my way this week, leaving only their large runny piles in the middle of the trail (and may I say, if the ranchers can graze their beasts out in the public park, they should have to wash down the trail too). We were slow, taking our time. The wind was bad enough that I pulled my Buff over over my head (look, it's babushka woman!). That took care of the wind blowing in one ear and out the other.

I was working on slamming down the hills as hard as I could, something I wish I had done more than one steenkin' week before the marathon. I know I won't be able to run fast uphill, so I want to make up the time going downhill without blowing out my quads. I felt good afterward so the pounding didn't cause any problems.

I left Bree with one mile to go and ran in it as strongly as I could. It was my fastest mile of the morning and although I was glad I was done, I felt great. Cold, windblown and gritty but great. It was a good taper run.

So that marathon? Bring it on, I'm ready!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Top ten reasons I'm looking forward to the Vermont City Marathon

10. It's my vacation;
9. I have almost a full week off work;
8. Reviews say it's a well run race;
7. I love running marathons, even when I'm not in great condition;
6. I'll get a lot of knitting done during my 3 hour lay-overs at JFK;
5. I'm going to visit at least 2 local yarn shops;
4. It's been even warmer in Vermont than it has been here;
3. I get to see 26.2 miles of this beautiful area up close and personal;
2. I get to see Sandy;

and the number one reason I'm looking forward to the Vermont City Marathon:

1. I'm going to tour the Vermont Teddy Bear factory!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Slower than usual

It's currently my turn to have the office cold. I've had possession for the past week and I'm more than willing to pass it along to the next taker. Yes, it was only 3 months ago that I got the last cold that devolved into a sinus infection and bronchitis. Hopefully this one will depart my lungs and sinuses without having to resort to antibiotics. I've been making good use of OTC remedies though, popping pills and sipping syrups in hope of relief.

Despite not being able to breathe well, my longest training run for Vermont was scheduled for Saturday. Each night last week I went to bed hoping I'd be better the next day; week morning last week I wasn't. I was determined to do the best I could, knowing in my heart I couldn't run 22 miles but wanting to get 5 hours on my feet.

I planned the run for Alameda. Since Mary Ann had made a surprise visit to the area, she joined Anita and me bright and early for a couple of 6 mile loops. The first loop went very well, even though right now my "fast" pace is still about 13 minute miles. We chatted, admired the spring scenery, and ran along. Since Mare was getting over a cold and Anita will go along with whatever I decide, we slowed down even more on the second outing. I decided to just do an out-and-back that time and thus bypass the verdant weeds and grasses, hoping to skip a little pollen.

Bree joined us about a mile from our cars and ran back with us. We said goodbye to Anita and Mary Ann and headed out for the last 10 miles. By then I was completely pooped. Even walking briskly was hard for me, but I knew I needed the time on my feet. I was trying very hard not to move so fast that I'd wheeze since that would set off coughing.

By then it had warmed up a little, probably just about 60 degrees, but the cold cross winds were always in our faces. There were some clouds, and when the sun was covered and the wind blew it got very chilly. That was pretty good incentive to keep running instead of walking. The morning's intervals of 9:1 became 4:1, then 2:2, then finally 1:2. Sometimes we'd run to a light standard, or to a garbage can, or to a pole. But except for mile 17 where my exhaustion triumphed, we continued to run as much as I could.

It was great having Bree there encouraging me to run, cheering me on, keeping me moving. Seriously, I would have just collapsed on a park bench somewhere and snoozed for a couple of hours if I had been alone. I didn't get my 22 miles, or even 21, but I got 20.2 in the bag. And funny enough I finished at 4:59, just at the 5 hour mark that I had wanted (of course, I had wanted 22 miles at 5 hours, not 20 miles, but I'll take what I can get).

The one thing that kept me going was how glorious it was out there. Seriously, how damn lucky are we to have places like that in our neighborhood? ("Neighborhood" used very loosely here.) The Bay, the hills, bridges, wildflowers, gardens, egrets, ducks, geese, dogs, cats, millions of ground squirrels. All with a well tended multi-use asphalt path with fountains and bathrooms. Support your East Bay Regional Park District, because boy howdy, it would be much tougher getting out there while sick if all we had were busy urban streets for running.

I'm glad it's taper time now, time to start worrying about making the time cut-off at a race where the cut-off shouldn't be a problem. I'm appalled at how slowly I'm running and I hope that during taper time my cold, allergies, sinus woes, breathing issues and all that drippy stuffy wheezy crap is cleared up. My determination, stubbornness and will can only go so far, my body has to play along too. I've been looking forward to this race (and vacation!) for a long time. Three weeks from today I'll know my capabilities.