Saturday, September 29, 2012

Inspirational runners are everywhere

While I'm driving to work I pass a bunch of runners and walkers on the way to school. Two of the runners make me want to roll down my window and cheer them on. One woman is in her fifties and she runs no matter what the weather. The past two years I feel like I've seen her drop a bunch of weight. She is out there plugging along in the heat,rain and snow. She is really an inspiration to watch run. There are times when i pass her and think "No way would i be out running in this". Way to keep running no matter what!

The other runner is a new runner. I've only recently seen him running. He is an older gentleman with a large belly. He is out there running slowly and according to his face painfully. I don't know how long he has been running before I pass him in my car and truthfully it doesn't matter. He is out there running. Some may see him and think they could walk faster than his run. But I just want to stop and tell him great job and keep up the great work. I love seeing runners that others may look at and think no way are they a runner. There are lots of people that do not realize that runners come in all different shapes, sizes, ages and speed. You do not have to run like an Olympian to be called a runner. All you have to do is run.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Ragnar Volunteer this year..Ragnar Runner next year!

Last Saturday I volunteered for Ragnar.  If you do not know about Ragnar it is a 200 mile relay race.  You have a team of 12 people squeezing into two vans and you run from Friday to Saturday.  I have been really interested in it, but I really am not where I feel like I need to be to run three legs of a race adding up to over 18 I decided to volunteer for some friends that were running it.  Megan, Matt and Sandy were all signed up and they needed 3 volunteers from their team to help out.  Both Becky and myself signed up.  We were hoping to get the same volunteer spot, but it didn't turn out that way.  I ended up signing up for sidewalk duty in Old Town Alexandria.  I showed up at 6:45 am to report for duty.  We had to make sure that all of the runners stayed on the sidewalk.  We also had to "train" our relief at 12:45.  We were shown where we were needed and told no need to set up until around 8:30 because the first group of runners were scheduled to arrive around 9.

I'm all set up for a day of sidewalk duty.  I have a drink, some food, my kindle and a chair.  Both the Kindle and the Chair really came in handy.

Waiting for the first runner in my lovely orange vest.  I really need to start wearing more orange stylish. 
While I was waiting I decided to deface some sidewalks with sidewalk chalk.  One lady did not like my handy-work.  As the lovely older woman was walking by she asked/told me "I'm sure you will be washing that off before you leave?!"  Why yes I will..I think it is going to rain later.  Umm...I think I wrote it in sidewalk chalk and not spray paint. 

I knew Megan was going to run the leg that had my sidewalk in it.  So I gave her a shout out to give her a little boost in her running shoes.  We knew I would not see her because they were thinking that they were on pace to hit Old Town later in the afternoon. 

Well I settled in to my chair and started to read my book Divergent while I wait for my first runner.  I got to talk to a fair amount of nice Old Town Alexandrians while waiting.  I explained Ragnar to them.  I also enjoyed the fact that many people would read my sidewalk chalk signs and then walk around them as they read them.  I thought that was really nice.  I think I would have just walked over them since they are written in chalk in the middle of the sidewalk, but many people chose to walk around the writing.  Thank you nice people!

I ended up finishing my book while waiting for the first runner to arrive.  It was already getting close to 11:00.  I had to walk to the portapotty.  Since there was no runner in sight, I didn't get someone to hold my spot.  Turned out I missed my first runner at 11.  Yes 11, is when the first runner came by..I woke up at 5am to see a runner at 11!  Come one people, please let me sleep some! 

I didn't miss my second runner though!  This turned out to be the most boring volunteering ever..I saw a total of ten runners during my shift.  I did get a lot of reading and facebooking in though. 

I headed home to let the dog out and eat some lunch and then out to National Harbor to see Megan run in to the finish and cheer on the team!  Every team had different themes.  I loved seeing all of the different outfits!  My favorite had to be The People of Walmart! 

How great is this?  I love it.  I will share some pictures of the team..and some random pictures of the different teams.  I did get to see Becky volunteering.  She was working the Merch tent until 11pm. 

look how happy they look!

 The stories sound like everyone had so much fun.  I will up my mileage this year and run Ragnar next year.  Great job guys!!

Monday, September 17, 2012

My what strong toes you must have..Navy Air Force Half in review

This past weekend I ran the Navy-Air Force Half Marathon.  It was a great day for a run.  Perfect weather..just beautiful.  But before I run the race, I must pick up the packet.  On Saturday Megan and I decided to head to packet pickup early so we could have lunch at the Metro 29 Diner

I was watching Diners, Drive Ins and Dives the other week and saw an episode on Metro 29 with some yummy looking french toast.  Well turns out it is located in Arlington and since we have a race to run and we always have french toast after running this seemed perfect!  Since I couldn't go out for brunch after the race (I had to high tail it to Baltimore to pick up the parents from their cruise) we decided we couldn't let the weekend happen without french toast, so we ate it on Saturday.  This french toast was everything that Guy Fieri told me it would be and more..

First check out all of the bacon that they give you.  Normally it is 2 maybe 3 strips..nope they layer it on.  And the french toast is as big as your head and at least an inch or more in thickness.  It is pure heaven.  Thank you Guy for letting me in on this little secret.  Oh did I mention that the challah bread is homemade..oh yeah good.  Needless to say this is not our last visit to Metro 29. 
Now that we had our french toast fix for the weekend we were ready to run on Sunday.  We woke up and met at the metro.  While on the metro Megan figured out that she dropped her keys and turns out she was right, they were right outside of her car door.  She ended up getting off the metro heading back to her car and then back on the metro to the race.  We ran into each other as she was running past me a few miles into the race.  I continued on to the race and found Gary from run club. 
I had just enough time to check my bag after this and then head to the start.  As it turned out I was running without my handheld water bottle and gu.  I accidentally checked them with my bag.  Luckily it was a nice cool overcast sort of day, so I wasn't too worried.  I was a bit worried about no gu, but I figured I will just stop at the Gatorade stops along the course.  I had a great run.  I liked the fact that it was a small inaugural race.  I also enjoyed running through a different part of DC.  I also noticed that when the fast runners who were running the 5 miler past me, the top guys didin't run on their forefoot..they ran on their toes!  My what strong toes those guys must have.  Wonder if they do toe push ups or maybe have little weights for their toes to lift.  I now know why I am so slow, I am not a toe runner!

Turned out to be my second fastest time.  If I would have ran the last mile instead of hating life and walk/running I could have PR'd..oh well maybe next time.  Amazing how much the weather plays a part of how you run on race day. 

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Air Force/ Navy Half Marathon coming up

This weekend I will be running the Air Force/Navy Half Marathon in DC.  It is an inaugural run, which I am always a fan.  No real running goals but to run and have fun.  It should be a nice morning for a run.  I would love to run a 2:45 but really I am just going to be happy to finish.  I really haven't ran much this week, so we will see how Sunday goes. 

Its funny, the Army 10 miler is a month away and I think I have gotten at least 3 or 4 emails this month and the Air Force/Navy Half is this weekend and I have gotten zero emails.  I hope it is still on.  I was supposed to show my confirmation email at the gate to enter the base to pick up my bib, but I do not have any email from them.  So I hope my name listed in the Washington Running Report will work. 

After the race I have to head to my car and go pick up the parents from Baltimore.  They are getting in from a cruise in the morning and will be waiting for me to run as quick as a bunny and then pick them up.  So no french toast brunch for this girl after the race. 

How has your running week been?

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

getting hit by a car..15 years later

15 years ago today I was hit by a car while walking across the street.  I know, do I know how to cross the road??  Yes I think I do. :)  There were two cars one in front of the cross walk waiting to make a left hand turn and one behind the cross walk waving me and two other people to cross.  Then out of the blue (it always is out of the blue right?) a car come up behind both of them and boom!  My left leg was then squished between the two cars.  It all seemed to happen in slow motion (just like in the movies).  The only thing was it wasn't the movies. Luckily I was the only one that got caught between the two cars.  A nice stranger came over and talked to me and held my hand until the ambulance came.  I had some super great doctors at the University of Maryland Medical Center. I split my femur like a banana peel (I guess that is not common b/c all the med students knew me because of the break) and broke my tib/fib plataeu.  I have a knee that looks battered but basically works.  I have had two skin grafts and a muscle from my calf twisted into the side of my knee so the skin graft had something to adhere to.

Pretty right?  I had a lovely external fixator (which I dubbed the erector set) before this picture.  Six pins sticking out of my leg.  I now have a lovely titanium rod in my femur after breaking the same bad leg in a fall at school.  Just call me superman! 

It took a year to get back to work after learning to walk and learning what I could do with a knee that doesn't bend the way it should. 

I truely believe that everything happens for a reason.  I learned a lot from that accident.  I didn't know how strong and tough I could be.  I quickly learned I'm one tough girl.  I changed my profession and went back to school to become an elementary teacher.  Out of bad things, good things can come.  If it wasn't for the accident I would never have gone back to school to become a teacher.  Over the years I've had good days and bad days with my leg.  There have been times when I've felt depressed over the entire thing, but in the end I've had more good days than bad.  I have always thought I'm not going to let this accident get me down.  I think I've made that happen.

How did I start running with a bad leg and knee?  Well one day at school, some teachers started a walk/run club for some students.  I thought I could walk, but I wonder if I could run without looking strange.  I ran a bit and asked my friend Rachel to let me know if I looked weird with my gait.  She said I looked fine and so I ran with some 4th and 5th graders.  It was great because they would run the around the neighborhood near the school and they would stop by most of the crosswalks to wait for the other kids.  So I had some nice rest breaks.  After that I decided I would start to run and I signed up for my first 5K.  After that first race I was hooked. I loved races.  Soon my friend Kristen talked me into running The Cherry Blossom 10 miler. 

The race that I only ran 4 miles before race day..agh..the misery I felt on race day! I vowed never to run that race again and this year I think it was my third year running Cherry Blossom.  I guess never say never!

I may not be the fastest runner out there, but I'm putting one foot in front of the other.  Sometimes I am truely amazed that I have the abilty to run.  There are days that I back off from running because my knee is achy and there are days that I back off of running because I'm just being lazy..but I know that I will continue to run more races.  This year as I became a half fanatic with Megan, I realized that I am lucky to be a runner and 4 years ago I would not have been able to call myself a runner. Since that first run four years ago I have ran 7 half marathons, two 10K's, five 10 milers, one 20K, two 4 milers,  eleven 5k's and tw 8k's.  That's a lot of miles on my bionic leg.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

RnR VA Beach = a PW

The night before the half Megan, Becky and myself were being good little runners and headed to bed early.  No late nights enjoying the nightlife of VA Beach,  no stopping at the outdoor concert.  We were in bed at a normal time.  Unfortunately we were not at a hotel with a bunch of good little runners.  We were in a hotel that I think was home to a preschool.  There was lots of playing up and down outside the doors of our room.  No kid free hotel for us.  At 11:00pm I wanted to turn on my teacher and ask some parents if they could either put their kids to bed or let them run around at the beach...we have a race to run early in the morning people!

Megan and Becky ended up falling asleep pretty quickly.  I did not.  I never sleep well when I travel.  I ended up tossing and turning for most of the night.  At 2:30am I heard a visitor attempting to open our door with his card key.  Now the only people trying to open the wrong door at 2:30am are usually drunk.  Needless to say we had what I would assume was a very drunk person who I think should have been two doors down attempting to open our door unsuccessfully.  He didn't like the fact that his card key would not work and so started knocking, pounding, and throwing things and bodies at the door.  (well it may not have been bodies..but rather his body)  I ended up calling the front desk and they took care of our confused neighbor. Becky was not happy with our new friend at all and had a hard time falling back asleep.

The resin evidence left in front of our door in the morning...

The poor chair that may or may not have been thrown at our door and may or may not have had a small piece missing after the night before.
You can not even tell that Megan and Becky had their sleep interrupted before the 5am alarm went off.  We headed out of our door and caught the shuttle which was located directly in front of our hotel.  Sweet!  We were not really sure how the shuttle would work.  So we left extra time just in case we had to make a lot of stops before they dropped us off.  It took us directly to the start line without any other stops along the way. 
Megan and I got to be in our first Half Fanatic photo!  So great to meet other Half Fanatics.
When we headed out the door the humidity at 5:30 am was horrible.  Unfortunately it did not improve as the day went on.  When you feel like you have to cut the air with a knife just to breathe you know it is not going to be a fun run.  When we started running I thought I may die.  The heat and humidity was horrible!  I knew it was going to be a rough run.  I felt tired (probably from my neighbor wanting to meet us at 2:30am).  It was not going to be my greatest run.  I did stay ahead of my goal pacer until mile 6 or 7.  So that was making me feel good.  I also got to see my friend Kristi and my favorite nieces.  They made signs for me and gave me a hug to help my keep going.  It was great seeing them at mile 6. 
At a water stop (I'm going to guess 7 or 8) I ended up running into Sarah who I ended up running near when running the Leesburg 20K.  Luckily I wore the same pink tank so I guess I was pretty easy to spot. :)  It was great seeing a familiar face at a water stop.  Sarah unfortunately had some bad blisters forming on her feet so she had more than just the heat to deal with. 
I ended up walking from mile 7or 8.  It was just too miserable to run.  Every medic station had multiple people needing help.  I saw a bunch of people getting medical attention along the side of the road.  The heat was nothing you wanted to mess with.  I did go through every hose that the course offered to attempt to cool down.  I was also thinking of heading to someones front yard to use their slip n' slide, but I decided against that one.   Although I think the guys there would have let me. 
I ended up finishing with a new PW.  Yep my personal worst time is officially RnR Va Beach! 
Happy finishers!

Becky was taking care of us after she finished her 5K.

As always it is tradition to head out for some breakfast food.  This place had a great buffet with some yummy french toast.  I think french toast has some special recovery powers!
It was a great weekend for a run even though I ended up with a PW. 

Monday, September 3, 2012

Rock n Roll Virginia Beach expos, beach and food oh my!

Headed down to VA Beach to run the Rock N Roll Half Marathon with Megan and Becky.  We got up early to avoid traffic and ended up rolling into the expo around 10:30 with little traffic worries.  Score! As always I look forward to the expo.  I am not sure why I love expos because I normally don't even buy anything.  I just love looking at all of the vendors and their goodies. 

This may turn out to be a new favorite shirt.  Love the green!

Who doesn't love Elvis??
We wondered around and ran into Charlie the Tuna
As you can tell Megan was ready to eat Charlie right there at the Expo!  Thankfully Charlie swam away before Megan could find her knife and fork in her swag bag. :) 

Also saw the Orange team from the Biggest Loser from a few seasons ago.  Fun stuff!  We ended up walking off the beach with him after the race.  Seemed really nice.  We had a brief conversation.  He has completed twenty two half marathons since the Biggest Loser and is ready to attempt a full marathon.  Good Luck to him!
I did end up buying some new compression sleeves.  I now am the owner of new black compression sleeves to complement my pink ones that I left at home. I think I am in love with compression after races.  My legs legs feel so much better after a long run.
After the expo we headed for some lunch and checked into the hotel.  Then of course we were beach bound!  We ended up in the room beside our friend Gary from run club.  Always nice to see friends on a destination race weekend.  We all enjoyed some sun and sand.  Gary has developed some weird radar for us teachers.  Every time we turned around there he was.  You would think with so many people around we wouldn't keep running into each other.  I am convinced he has a tracking device on one of us :) I am not normally a huge beach fan, but it was a nice day to lay out and swim in the ocean.   I was a bit paranoid that I was going to burn and then have to run 13.1 miles burnt..but turned out I really didn't have much to worry about on that front.  I must have sprayed the SPF on without missing a bunch of spots which is good. 
After the beach we headed back to the hotel and got ready for dinner.  Gary had found a pizza/pasta place and a bunch of runners were going to meet up there for some food.  I had some very yummy manicotti.  I now think I am going to give up eating pasta the night before a race.  Seems like every time I eat pasta before a race I don't feel the best race morning. 
So far a great night before a race.  Next up the actual race day recap...