Tuesday, April 25, 2017

The No Stress Marathon

Saturday was my 3rd full Martian. After the flooded course in 2013 forced a 2-loop alternate route, I swore I'd never do it again. But then Mandy offered free entry for sweeping, and it seemed like a good deal. The course was changed with more distance in the neighborhoods and less on Hines, but it was still beyond boring. It was a good experience though. It helped that the weather was perfect at low 50s and sun :D

Originally there were 4 of us selected - with a separate team for the half - but one of the girls had to pull out due to injury. That left me, Brenna who was doing her 3rd marathon and was around my age, and Connie a 60-year old barrel of fun.

I started with a big trash bag to collect clothing, in the hopes that a charity will get them trash free and be able to use for donation or resale. After that, we each had a grocery size plastic bag and collected errant race trash - stray cups, Gu wrappers, a CD, a Frisbee...

There wasn't much trash. The water tables were responsible for their own areas; we needed to get the in between space. Over the entire race, I went through 3-4 trash bags.

At the start, we were held back 15 minutes after the last starter, but at mile 16, our support team in the Jeep wanted us to catch up with the last finisher who was wearing a Veterans Marathon jacket! Then....why did you delay us at the start....? The Jeep guys even wanted to drive us to the last finisher, but that's cheating. Besides, if I got in the car, I would have had a near impossible time getting out.

We caught up, with some of our fastest miles between 16-20. Along the way we met Frank Bartocci. I'd never heard of him, but he's a pillar in the running community and we got to spend the last hour with him on a podunk little course. Small world! This guy is in his 70s, hasn't just done the 50-state challenge, he's done it 9 times, is a member of the 100-marathon club, the 300-marathon club, the 500-marathon club, co-founded the Savage Seven series in Florida of 7 marathons on 7 days. At one point I mentioned the Dean Karnazes book I read about running 50 marathons in as many days in as many states. Small world - Frank said he was consulted as to whether or not Dean qualified for the 50-state status. He ultimately said no because there are certain requirements for official races that Dean wasn't always meeting (ie so many runners need to start, there's a minimum number that needs to finish; start and finish lines can only be so many miles apart, etc). Frank was fascinating and I wish we could have spent the whole 26.2 miles with him. He was on his way to Toledo to do another marathon on Sunday. He did 100+ marathons last year, and is on pace to do it again this year.

We girls all finished, after assuring him that we'd been hired to finish last, and absolutely would so; he wouldn't have that designation. There's no shame in being the caboose anyway. Originally we were asked for a 6:30 finish, we all crossed the line in the 6:14 range. All we had to do was finish, so there was no stress, no defeat in averaging a 14:10 :) Great experience, I hope to do it again next year!!!!
Bling bling bling. The medal glows in the dark

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Why I love the Pig

The Flying Pig makes a big deal out of "streakers" or those runners who have completed multiple marathons. One of their distinctions is the Squadron, for runners who have completed 5 or more marathons. Getting to this level was the primary reason I dragged my injured untrained self through it last year. This will be my 5th finish, which I'm well aware of, but because they are so awesome, I got this email on my birthday, no less. A+ for communication Mr. Piggie :)

We have so many loyal Flying Pig Marathon participants that we want to reward your loyalty by expanding our Flying Pig Squadron.  Our records indicate that you have completed four Flying Pig marathons and are close to becoming a Squadron member! Squadron members will receive special recognition, plus a commemorative medal for each five-marathon milestone.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Shamrocking again

I haven't gotten fat - wearing multiple layers
of clothing bc it was 12 degrees
I've wanted to wear my StormTrooper pajamas in a race for a long time. I finally had the chance at Shamrocks and Shenanigans in March. The boyfriend was off work and I had my $30 RunningFit voucher that wasn't being used for the Martian, so with a dry, sunny forecast, it seemed like a good idea.

Here is his fb write-up of our time:

Yesterday morning it was cold. That's Michigan in March, right. 
We were dressed for it. I couldn't wait to run this race with Liz [me. He calls me Liz or Lizzie], but leading up to it, I got sick so my training was minimal. 
With the fact I had a busy week, I just never had any legs to stand on, much less to run on. 
As the race started, I felt fine. Kept a good comfortable pace but my energy was short lived. I worked to get up a hill and when I did I was sweating from being overly dressed. 
I took my gloves off, I unzipped my vest a bit, and removed my shades. They kept fogging up and my vision wasn't the greatest. 
I saw people around me starting to walk. Liz pulled away infront of me. 
I had no music to keep time with and worst of all I had no chewing gum to help my rhythm. 
Seeing more people start walking, I kept telling myself I can slow down but absolutely no stopping. 
I was hitting that mental wall but I kept moving. As the Big House came into view and more specifically that block M. 
I felt a bit of an energy surge reenter my body. 
How cool was this? The sun was shining ever so bright and now I was next to Liz, the only thing missing was theme music. 
As we made our turn to head back, Lizzie said it's downhill for a while. I found this harder to do than the hill, because I didn't want to end up on my face.  But as we got closer to the finish I made a point to look around downtown Main Street. About 1300 ran the race. As we approached our last hill for the second time. 
I mustered up my reserve tank and galloped like a thoroughbred. My strides were long and I knew it was either this or a struggle to get up. 
When I came around the corner with the finish in sight. I slowed down. My legs were taxed beyond anything. I raised my hands over my head. I had accomplished my goal of never stopping. 
I took my medal and found a curb to sit on. 
When Liz came over I handed it to her and she placed it around my neck. 
It may have only been 3.1 miles but the mental victory felt like a real marathon. 
Liz was a great running partner. She could have easily gone ahead but she stayed back to keep me company. 
Doing something that she enjoys doing with her made it all the better. 
Now to hit the bike and start preparing for the next one. 

It was by far my slowest 5k and that's totally ok. I could run ahead of him and have a mediocre 29-minute race, top 15 placement, but nowhere near top 3. Or I could stay with him and support him through his first race, through the longest distance he's ever run, and he was determined to run the entire way, no walking whatsoever. It was a no-brainer :)