Extreme athlete? Who me?

Last weekend someone called me an extreme athlete.

I looked to the left of me. I looked to the right. I even did the Hokey Pokey and turned myself around. There was no one else there.

Extreme athlete?? Who me?? I never really thought of myself that way before.

I do eat, sleep, and breathe running.

Even the name of my blog has the word running in it.

Last night I had dreams of running and biking. I dreamed that I didn’t stretch, that I forgot to put on my running shoes, and my legs felt like lead. Then I got to my bike. It was a tiny little one with training wheels.

I also have dreams of racing. Usually in those dreams something goes wrong. Not unlike the unexpected things during race day.

I rolled my ankle three weeks before my first marathon. Despite that, I ended up running the first 18 miles in 3 hours. I had big dreams until I hurt my knee. It took many months for the pain to go away. I said I would never do another marathon again, then went back on my word.

Kind of like the time I said I would never have another child during childbirth.

Every single time I tried something new, I was terrified. I was afraid the first time that I ever ran. I thought I was going to die I was so out of breath. I was afraid during my first 10k, my first half marathon, my first marathon, and my first sprint triathlon. Now I am utterly terrified after signing up for my first half Iron and a very grueling racing season.

But I still did it.

Training for my first marathon was really tough. It was at this time that I realized that I suffered from GERD. The harder I trained, the less I wanted to eat because my stomach was so upset. I had to learn to run with stomach pain. I had to learn the very fine line between eating too much and not eating enough to prevent pain.

At times I thought I was going to be the runner puking on the side of the road. I worry about that while I am at the gym.

I get up on the only day I am able to sleep in to spend the morning at the gym.

(I did a long run this past Saturday and there was a woman next to me on her phone. With all of my heavy breathing I had to laugh because I wondered if the person on the other end thought she was on a porno set.) The things I think of to make running more exciting.

I have learned to run through exhaustion and boredom.

I pretend to race other people at the gym.

I choose what high risk behaviors to engage in. I WILL not do anything risky before a race that could produce an injury, such as down hill skiing. But I WILL do things for a race that others consider crazy.

I will train in the cold, in the rain, in the wind, and when there is a heat advisory.

I have misjudged how fast a storm would arrive and needed to find shelter.

I have been chased by dogs.

I have tripped over a dog and cut up my knee and hands. I had to run home with blood running down my legs and cleaned my wounds with rubbing alcohol to get out the gravel.

I ran with a really high fever. It was one of the toughest 6 miles I ever ran.

I ran through colds.

I ran when I felt zero motivation to do so.

I came very close to being hit by cars on bike and on foot.

I have a very hard time not running.

If this makes me an extreme athlete, so be it.

Why don’t you sign me up for the next race?

Less than an hour

It sure was a hot run yesterday. With the heat I wasn’t able to achieve a PR for yesterday’s 10k. I still finished under an hour which was my updated goal for this race. Even Lisa, the fastest runner in our group, wasn’t able to beat my previous times. She still finished ahead of me though. At mile 4, I started feeling a little light headed and my knee started to ache. But I kept pushing on. It is easier to talk your mind into running hard for a 10k after having a hard run a few weeks back at the marathon. 

With the heat, everyone in my group added on about 7 minutes to their PR for this race. Angel’s boyfriend Mitch completed his first 10k. I beat his time by a couple of minutes. I think that he would have been faster if he didn’t take a bathroom break at mile 2. Oh, and if he didn’t have to stop to throw up when the finish line was in sight. Maybe if he actually trained, he could be a really good runner. I spent the ride home giving him unsolicited advice on how to be a better runner. How annoying, right?? Since Mitch and Angel have been a serious couple for over 2 1/2 years, there is a possibility of me being a potential mother-in-law which severely limited his ability to tell me to shut up. 

I was satisfied with the results of the race. I finished in the top 10% of my age group and overall female participants. So, for today, I will not talk about how much I suck even though I would’ve liked a PR. Sometimes I feel so competitive that I think something is wrong with me. My husband and I listed each other as emergency contacts. Then I thought with the heat that perhaps this was a bad idea. If my husband collapsed at mile 2 and I was at mile 4 I would probably finish and go back for him later. Talk about being a kind and compassionate wife.   I just want to kick some butt!

After the race, we decided to go for a sail to swim in the ice cold water to cool off. The temps went from 80 to 90 degrees in the matter of a few hours with high humidity and winds that whipped enough for a good sail. We also went from having 5 teenagers in the house before the race up to having 8 in a matter of a few hours too. But we couldn’t take everyone sailing. 

Paul and I asked Alex the night before if he wanted to sail and he said “no”. So we stuck with our plan to take Angel and Mitch. We also took Arabella and her best friend. Arabella’s BFF has red hair and the whitest skin I have ever seen. Her skin burns when she looks outside at the sun through a window. She spent a lot of time hiding in the cabin of the boat. The winds were strong enough to heel pretty good, so strong that Angel went running towards the side of the boat in the middle of a jibe because she thought she would be sick. Thankfully, however, that has never happened yet even with rum dumb Randy last week. We had a great time at the beach and even found some friends to tie up next to. Let the summer fun begin!

All in all, it was a great day. I won’t complain about the hot days because we have been waiting a long time for this. Although, my friend did ask me to tell her when I sign up for another race so she doesn’t. Seems like it is always hot. I have never had to race in stormy weather though. 

Racing sure was a great way to spend (less than) an hour of my time!  

Hot cross runs

This weekend marks the second anniversary of my first race, a 1ok. I started running races 0ne month before I turned 40. Since then I have run two 5k’s, three 10k’s, one half, and two fulls. I remember that first race very well. I was terrified, not just by all of the people in the race, but by all of the spectators as well. My knees felt wobbly. I was running on rubber chicken legs which wasn’t exactly the kind of rubber I wanted to burn! I felt like running away from the race course, but there were too many people to make my escape. So I concentrated on running as fast as I could and finished in a little over 50 minutes.

The following year, I tried to beat my time from the first 10k. I missed that goal by 45 seconds. My acid reflux was acting up last year to the point where I was quite uncomfortable. I thought that maybe this will be the year for a PR. Tomorrow when I run my 10k, we are expecting temps in the 80’s with high humidity and full sun. This will be the hottest running conditions that I have had to race in. But I am still going to try my hardest even though I think I am being a bit foolish to do so. I foresee this being a big PRoblem with a capital PR.

When I ran the marathon in May, it was the hottest day of the year so far. I don’t do very well under those conditions. We have had only one hot day since the marathon, otherwise it has been cool. Tomorrow it is supposed to be in the 90’s. We typically only reach that temperature a couple of times in the summer. No one will be ready for that kind of heat. I received an email yesterday warning of the heat urging people along the race route to put out sprinklers and to be on the look out for collapsing runners. Plus they are going to set up extra water stations and provide ice.

I will not be running this race alone. Lisa, Paul, and Angel’s boyfriend will be running it too. Lisa got a highly coveted position in corral 1. She finished her first 10k in under 50 minutes. She also completed her first marathon last year in a little over 4 hours which may have been a reason why my expectations were so high. We used to be running partners. She was always better though. Then she moved to Florida. She started working full-time, didn’t run as much, and spent the weekends at the beach. She gained 15 lbs and hasn’t been able to run over 2 miles without stopping. She doesn’t have the confidence that she can be where she once was.

Then there is my husband Paul. He has been running before I even started but never went beyond a 10k. He runs for fun not competitively like Lisa and I. Don’t get me wrong though, he is very tough. He created quite a stir in the neighborhood because for the first couple of years he was a barefoot runner. Yes, it’s true, he ran on the country roads with rocks and glass without anything on his feet at all. Crazy!

He would come home from a run with feet that looked like ground hamburger. He developed rough callouses that scratched holes into the sheets at night. After every run, he had to bandage his bloody feet. Then something happened, the bottom of his feet became tough as leather. I could never do that. I can’t stand being barefoot.

Everywhere we went, people would come up and ask him why he ran barefoot. Some even offered to buy him shoes. Eventually, he ended up buying a pair of minimalist shoes. He has had them for years and they never seem to wear out. It became harder to recondition his feet after every winter.

Angel’s boyfriend signed up for the run last night minutes before the race registration closed. Someone told him that they didn’t think he would be able to do it. So he signed up. He hasn’t trained at all but spends many hours in the gym working out. One time he ran over 30 miles in a day for fun without spending tons of money and getting a “free” banana. Over the summer he is a 2nd shift worker, so I told him he could come after work and sleep on the couch since he lives a lot further away from the race than the rest of us. (I was also worried that he might oversleep the carpool.)

Then this afternoon my son called me to tell me that there was a slight problem with his plans tonight. We had this whole carpooling thing worked out with a group of moms. Alex and some of his buddies got a ride to stay over at a friends house to do some gaming. Then another friend’s mom was going to hand the baton over to me. I was going to take the boys and drop them off at a birthday party tonight at 8. Then another mom was going to pick them up at 11:30 PM to have them home by midnight. Guess what? The last mom in the relay backed out last minute. Thanks a lot! The responsible parents always get stuck with all of the work!!

My son wanted me to pick the boys up at 11:30 and have all 3 of his friends spend the night. That would add the grand total of teenagers in my house to 7 spending the night tonight. Fat chance!

I told him that I would pick him up no later than 10:30 to be home by 11 PM and only one friend could stay overnight as earlier agreed upon. So I guess I won’t be getting my 8 hours of beauty sleep tonight. I will somehow have to manage to wake up at 5:30 AM after having 5 teens in the house. I am really feeling angry at the mom for backing out last minute!

Who has a party for their 15 year old until 11:30 PM anyway?? Crazy!!

We’ll see what tomorrow brings for us. Against my better judgment, I am going to try for a PR. I will not beat myself up if I don’t get it. It will be really hot out, I won’t get any sleep, and all this stress is giving me a stomach ache. Thankfully, it is only a 10k.