Tuesday, February 19, 2013

February 16th, 2013 – 9.34 Mile Run

The continued prayer is, “Lord keep me focused. Keep my mind stayed on You. Help me to bring You praise. I know You believe in me. Please help me in my unbelief. Amen.”

This was a great run. It was one of those runs where you don’t want to do it and you know you don’t want to do it. Getting dressed for it and leaving the house doesn’t change your mind about it. Neither does being on the run or finishing half the run.

This is very unusual for me and probably most runners. I’m sure you’ve heard it many times: The hardest part is getting out the door.

Typically that’s true. But this one was going to be long and hilly and I knew it.

I met Lisa and Betty at Lisa’s house. We loaded up on snacks and hit the door.

The first mile and a half was great. It was either flat or down hill and it felt really good. My legs didn’t feel heavy, my breath wasn’t labored. It was a little warm but nothing I would call uncomfortable.

Then at mile 2, the climbing started…. And it was relentless. 2013 – The Year of the Hill, indeed!

I knew this hill was going to kick my ass, but it WORE. ME. OUT!!!

We knew when we started that this run was not going to be about speed. It was about the distance, the hills and just getting it done, so there was no real pressure.

At about the 3.5 Mile mark, I was at that perplexing point, where you’re not sure if you are exhausted or if you are just at the end of your fuel. We weren’t due to refuel until we got to the halfway point, which was about 4.66 miles in, at the Moorpark Country Club.

So I was trying to stay hydrated and hold off on refueling. But I also know that no matter when I fuel up or what I fuel up with, I always seem to need to replace my calories at around mile 4. Doesn’t matter if it’s a training run, a race, a 10k or a Half, I can never seem to fuel enough beforehand to carry myself more than about 4 miles. Especially on hills.

At about the 3.75 mile mark, I took a packet of Peanut Butter flavored Gu. It wasn’t bad. There was no caffeine and I still had my PB&J sandwich and my packet of Trail Mix for when we reached the halfway point.

After I had the Gu, it was apparent that I had indeed been at the end of my fuel. I felt better immediately and I could tell because I was able to keep my knees up as I was trekking up this hill.

At about mile 4, we hit a peak then started going downhill. This was great! We hadn’t made it to the Club yet but it felt soooo good to just not be climbing anymore!!! Sure, once we turned around, we’d have to climb back up, but that would be after we had rested, refueled and refilled our water bottles. We could do anything after that!!

So we made it to the Country Club and I could not be bothered by the wait staff, who were *clearly* miffed off that we were in their snooty “Members Only” atmosphere. I was tired and desperate.

Sweaty and clearly exhausted, I threw my shoulders back, held my head up and walked into the air-condition bliss that was the Moorpark Country Club. Obviously, I was noticed immediately and a staff member asked if I was looking for a restroom and directed me to one. Excellent!!!

After I rinsed my face, emptied my bladder and refilled my bottle (with unfiltered tap water. Ick!), I was ready to go. I found Lisa and Betty sitting on the ground out front. I’m sure the staff just loved that, but I sat down with them and we had our snacks and refreshed our weary bodies.

Soon we were ready to get back at it and head home. I stretched while Lisa and Betty went to the restroom to freshen up. The homeward trek was sure to be much better.

Only it wasn’t….

How can this be? How can this route be uphill BOTH WAYS?! I heard stories of old, told by earlier generations about how they walked to school in the snow and rain, uphill, both ways, but I always laughed. Silly Grown ups! But now, I swear, I was living the same nightmare!!!

Oh ,right!!! Toward the end, we had hit a downhill stretch, so it made sense that we would start the homeward trek climbing again. But surely it wouldn’t be long.

Only it was…. It seemed to go on forever!

At about the 5.25 mark, we hit another peak and started to go downhill. This did feel better than going up, only now the temperature had risen about 20 degrees since we’d started.

I was hot, I was hurting and we were only 6 miles in. If I was going to make it back, I had to change my focus, change my mantra and just sail in. It’s a mental game now.

At this point, we had just finished running a about a quarter of a mile stretch, with no sidewalk and very little shoulder and we were running on the wrong side of the street, which is dangerous when you’re near the point of collapse.

So we crossed the street onto the main drag that would take us home. Lisa and Betty stayed their course, but I ran on the other side of the street. We were back on wide, nicely paved sidewalks, but the only way I would feel safe is if I was facing traffic, so we separated but I kept a visual on them for most of the trek.

I believe every runner has at least one annoying habit. Whether it’s spitting on the course (which I think is ABSOLUTELY disgusting), stopping without pulling to the left, talking too much, being too fast, being too slow, being too funny (my BIG brother is *hilarious*. I have trouble running with him he is so fast and he cracks me up!), thinking their way is the best way, there are a myriad of annoying things another runner might do that will make you want to drown them in a port-a-potty.

I have several annoying habits: (1) Whenever I cross a busy street, I blow a coach's whistle. Two quick blasts. Sorry, but I have too much to live for to worry about pissing off a driver who may or may not see me. (2) Usually, I stick to my regular workout playlist, which features Michael Jackson very heavily but I also enjoy Eminem, Lady Gaga, The Beatles, Flo Rida and yes, I’ve been known to be bring sexy back on a run. Those can get me through about 7 miles. After that, I need a little bit o’ Jesus. I switch on my Gospel music. And I praise Him….. Loudly.

I’m sure it was annoying but I spent the final 3 miles blowing my whistle and singing my heart out. It was great!

Yes, it was hot. Yes, I was beyond tired. Yes, the voices in my head were telling me that I couldn’t finish and that I was stupid to try. And yes I was starting to believe the lie. But when I finally landed in Lisa’s yard, I felt like it wasn’t fast, it wasn’t pretty but I hadn’t let it beat me. Thank you, Jesus!

In Other News:

February 14th, 2013 – 4.28 Mile Run
I woke up early to get this one in. It had been far too long since my last run and I was so glad to get this one in. It was a beautiful, crispy morning.

Later that day
February 14th, 2013 – 1.53 Mile Run
Jordan had flag football practice and I heard Gracie, who hates running, wanted to run with me! So I changed my clothes before I left the office, headed out to the field and we ran laps around the park for a little while. She’s cool. I hope we get to do that again.

Monday, February 4, 2013

February 2nd, 2013 – The Los Angeles Color Run

The continued prayer is, “Lord keep me focused. Keep my mind stayed on You. Help me to bring You praise. I know You believe in me. Please help me in my unbelief. Amen.”

This was an AMAZINGLY good time!!!! I ran this one with the Muddy Dragons at Dodger’s Stadium in Los Angeles.

The Color Run is a 5k course where you are doused with “Color” at three stations. Then there is a massive “Color Pit” at the end where everyone goes nuts throwing color at each other. This "color" is a mixture of corn starch and food coloring and it is literally shot at you from Color Guns or what looked like GIANT ketchup squeeze bottles.

Obviously, this is an untimed Fun Run. Also, it is only 3.1 miles, so there was no real need for me to train for it. But I was still excited. Running with The Muddy Dragons is always a blast and they treat me like one of their own, so any time an invitation comes my way, I always pounce on it!!!

Unlike the Dirty Girl Mud Run we did last November, men and children were invited to participate in this run, so we had a really large group.

We met at my friend Shea’s house at about 10:30a for a 2 o’clock gun time, so we had plenty of time to hang out and tie & adjust our togas. Yes, the team wanted to run in white togas.

Now, I am all for being a team player but I was already running in a white cotton T-shirt, which was the first suggested team costume. Of course no serious runner runs in cotton, but this wasn’t a race, this was just a fun run for a good cause, so I went with the T-shirt. But I just couldn’t do the toga.

Aside from the disturbing visions of large groups of white people draped in white sheets, one simply cannot run effectively in a toga!!! But in the spirit of “Team Unity”, I fashioned a blue and gold sash for myself and ran with that.

After we got ourselves situated and fed a little bit, we started to head over to the Start to get corralled. Like I said, we were in a large group that included children. Just as we were being set to go, I heard Shea giving her kids some safely instructions: Stay with the group and meet at the Big green food truck if anyone gets lost.

I heard her 10-year-old son, Derrick say something like “I’ll stay with Sabrina because she’s a runner.” Awesome!!!

Derrick is a black belt, as are most of the Muddy Dragons. He will be testing for his second degree Black Belt this Spring and he is quite the little athlete. So I was thinking I may actually get in a pretty decent workout after all. Sweet!

So the countdown starts and Derrick takes off like a shot!!!! And I’m thinking “OK…. He wants to play!” Well, I’m game and I’m not too proud to take down a 10-year old. So I take off after him and he is SMOKIN’ fast!!! He starts out at an 9:15 pace and it’s slightly hilly.

At this point, I am praising God for Coach Dion and Race Pace!! Without them, these hills at this pace would have slain me right at the beginning! But I kept after him and I was thinking, “This little dude is no joke! Let’s do this!” and I stay at his left shoulder.

At about the half mile mark, we hit the first color station and it’s BLUE! We get doused with blue powder and I have to admit, it’s a little scary. It’s a huge cloud of dust, like walking in clouds and it is everywhere!!! I can't see 2 feet ahead of me, but I can still see Derrick, so I'm set.

Now, it seems like he is more interested in getting to some fresh air, which is ok with me, so we spot some daylight and run at in a full on sprint!

Ok! That wasn’t so bad, I’m still at his shoulder and at this point, he knows I’m with him and keeps up this punishing pace. Sweet! I’m still feeling good so as long as he wants to keep it up, I’m all for it. Let’s blaze little man!!!

At the mile mark, we hit the orange color station and it’s like the surface of the sun in there. Visibility is zero and everyone looks like Oompa Loompas. Derrick’s pace had slowed down a little bit so I slowed mine too. It’s not the first time a young person started off faster than he could keep up and just didn’t respect the distance.

He shouldn’t feel bad. Three miles is a long way for a little guy and he kept up a blistering pace for about a mile and a half. The water station was coming up and I thought I’d tell him what a good job he was doing.

So I grabbed a cup, thanked the volunteer and went to give one to Derrick and said, “Wait!!! Who the hell are you?!”

I’d been chasing the wrong kid!!!!!!

This kid wasn’t even in our group! After I looked at him more closely, this kid had to be 15 or 16 years old! I had no idea who he was and spent the last mile and a half chasing a strange kid through a parking lot!!! In any other situation I’d get arrested!!!
But in this situation, we just laughed it off.

His pace was slowing down and I still had some more gas in the tank so I just took off.

I was the first in the group to finish but I felt so stupid I couldn’t even enjoy it. Ah, well. It was my fastest 5k ever.

This is me after I crossed the Finish Line and found some of the group.

This is me with Master Julianne Ramadan. That is the most awesome last name ever!!! And I have a full on girl crush on her! She's awesome!!!

Me & Shea!! I love Shea. The Muddy Dragons are such a great group. Good friends are so hard find and she generously shared her tribe with me. I can't tell you how much I love and appreciate her. She's is one of the greatest. <3

Back at home with my girl. She thinks it's so cool that Mommy gets dirty! She wants to run when she gets bigger. Can't wait for that!