Sunday, November 2, 2014

Take Two: City of Oaks 10K

Let me start by saying how stupid biased I am towards the City of Oaks race.

For starters, it's in Raleigh, less than 10 minutes from my house. And Raleigh is super. In fact, the start line is at NC State's belltower, which gives me a weird school-pridey feeling that I typically reserve for graduations and Final Four appearances. So, basically, not that often/never.

I mean, if you can think about Jimmy V's ESPY speech and not cry, you're an asshole, and have no heart. We really shouldn't talk anymore. But I digress. I love this place, and this race reminds me of that collegiate bond you can only have with your alma mater.

Picture courtesy of City of Oaks Marathon
Last year, this was my race that made me believe, yes, I could do distance. I could do hills. This year, my running BFF Leanna found out the same thing here. It's a magical place. Lined with supporters, flat enough with turns to keep you occupied through downtown.

2013 time: 1:07:48
2014 time: 59:43

Eight minutes and five seconds faster than last year. As always, PRs are really gratifying, but surpassing a goal is even cooler. I wanted to beat an hour on this one. As we came towards the finishing chute (10K on left, half/full continued on right), I could see the clock at 59:30 and was really bummed because my side was cramping pretty badly, and I didn't think I'd be able to make it. Later, when I stopped my watch after crossing the finish, I realized the clock was on gun time and I was on chip, so technically, mission accomplished.

Picture courtesy of Runner's World

Then, of course, we celebrated with bagels and coffee, and selfies. #talkingboutmygeneration

Leanna, me, and BF - memories fade, but fuzzy selfies live forever.

Bling never gets old.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

How to Wear Your Pride

During my more formative years, I often wore a cross. As a teen, a WWJD bracelet (it was rainbow, and I l-o-v-e-d it). I now sport race shirts. Others wear rings to show commitments, or tattoos to symbolize what is most important to them. When we care about something, we show it, we make signs for it, wear it, or tell people about it.

Sure, I hate on some things. Baby On Board signs make me give a little side eye because frankly, I think everyone should drive safely, regardless of the status of little ones in the car. BUT, I don't hate them. 

I used to see 13.1 stickers on people's cars and sort of feel the same way. A little incredulous - oh, good for you, you ran 13 miles, that's not that far. And why the last .1, is that what'll do you in, ha ha ha. Right.

And then I began running. My first "real run," or what I consider to be the start of this journey, was 2.18 miles, and it was hard for me.When I started seeing those stickers, well, I began to understand: that means someone ran what I did, times 6! No matter your pace, it's real work.

So, this Bryan guy who's letting someone else's sticker create such vitriol in his heart? I'm sorry, dude. That's really unfortunate. The person with that sticker on that van/car/truck/hybrid put blood, sweat, and tears into it. They know what it takes to commit to something, and love it even when times get tough. These lessons will take them farther in life than bashing people for celebrating a very real accomplishment by getting a damn sticker.

And no, "13.1" by no means sums up all they've given or gotten out of running. It doesn't imply that they think it's better than football, lacrosse, or swimming. It means this is a representation of me, as much as cross earrings, monograms, or tattoos.

Unfortunately, it sounds like we'll have to agree to disagree. But that's okay. I guarantee I won't be thinking of you when I line up at the start of the City of Oaks Marathon/Half on Sunday morning, the temperatures finally showing the first hint of winter. I'll let the cold invigorate me, I'll rely on the training, and I'll be wearing my pride all over my face in the form of a wide smile as I cross the finish. 

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

A Dead-Heat (to Change the Channel)

At what point did the leaves change?

Seriously, I feel as though I've blinked and October skipped right by. November is about to usher in straight-up crazy times, so I've got to soak up the next few weeks before the trimester ends, all grades are due, and I'm off on not one but two business trips in the week prior to Thanksgiving. All while squeezing in an 8K on Thanksgiving morning - whoop!

Yes, just about everything is ramping up right now, from mileage to leaves on the sidewalks. And political ads. North Carolina is geared up for midterm elections, particularly the exhausting race between incumbent Kay Hagan and NC House Speaker Thom Tillis (also known as, THE WORST). Practically every commercial break is a tit-for-tat between these two. I can't begin to think how much money is spent/wasted on ads. On the plus side, I've become quite good at fast-forwarding commercials, down to the second.

Okay, I know. All politicians are really gifted at talking out of both sides of their mouths, skillfully spouting words while managing to say nothing at all. It's a lesson we try to convey to our students. Managing to sort through the hubbub and be informed. Analyzing information in hopes of deciding what is of value, and what's fact.

But it's nearly done. And as aggravating as the bickering gets, at least I can put it on mute, or get outside, and enjoy the things about fall that are quickly slipping by.

Today's run was not quite 2.8 miles, 27:05. This month's mileage has rebounded thanks to the cooler weather and a renewed focus.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Fall Four

After a long break, it can be difficult to get out on the road again. After all this time, though, I am heartened by the fact that my time off from running grows shorter and shorter each break. This past month, after only about a week and half, I felt itchy and sad and not like myself. I've happily embraced the eating habits of a runner (that is, eating ALL THE THINGS), but if I'm sedentary, it's not weight necessarily, but just a feeling. Matthew Inman, an ultramarathoner and creator of the comic/satire site The Oatmeal describes this as The Blerch. It's the sound food makes when it comes out of a tube. It's the sound I make when I sit down on the couch to binge on Scandal. It's the sound of, "Oh, just sleep in, it's chilly outside these covers." 

I could feel the Blerch catching up with me, and at least I know myself well enough to know that I hate it. So when the time came at the beach to hit the pavement, I didn't fight it. I wasn't embracing it either, but afterwards, I was awfully glad that I did. Only problem was, all I packed were running capris, and it was nearly 80 that day. Persevere, we must.

Yesterday, after work, it got cloudy and perfect. I dashed home after the tennis party and a technology team meeting, changed, and did a four-mile run with BF. He commented on mile three that my pace seemed stronger. I was able to keep conversation going, even through the toughest hill at about 3.6 miles in. And I'm convinced that with if traffic hadn't interfered - safety first - we would have cut an even better kick and come in under 41. As it stood, at 4.1 miles, we did 41:23.

City of Oaks in a little less than two weeks!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Honorary Maid

This was a GREAT weekend.

We've been building towards my sister's wedding since last September when she and Rich got engaged in the mountains of upstate New York. Since then, it's been a whirlwind time of DIY creations, lots of lace and love, plus a healthy dose of bourbon (this is still the South, y'all).

Today was a for-sure rest day. Last night was a reminder of priorities, and that mileage isn't always one of them. Seeing my sweet sister dance with my dad, giving my maid of honor speech (which KILLED, bee-tee-dubs), and hugging the necks of those who traveled so far to join us made the stupor in which I'm living all worth it.

So for today, this maid is parked in front of The Walking Dead marathon, waiting for the season five premiere. There's lemon-cayenne pecans roasting in the oven, and we're both still in our pajamas.


Sunday, October 5, 2014

Le Tour de Carrboro: Stop Deux

I'm the foolish kind of person who claims that every season is the best once it arrives. Don't worry; I'm aware that is patently false. Summer and winter in North Carolina bring a great deal of sucky weather and their own lists of annoyances, even if one brings eight weeks off work and the other a whole month full of twinkly-lit holidays.
But when fall comes, I REALLY mean it. It is the best season around here. Spring's all right, because we're looking for a good thaw, but after a living in the hot, sweaty armpit known as the month of August, September and October are a respite unlike any other.
This weekend, in particular, brought that kind of feeling. During that cesspool known as July in the South, we signed up for a series of three races, Le Tour de Carrboro. Yesterday was stop #2 on that tour, the Carrboro 10K.
While the first and third races take place on holidays, this one was just your run of the mill Saturday morning. It would have been run of the mill except it was finally fall-like. BF offered to run with me instead of competitively, and I opted not to feel slighted by the fact that my runs are not competitive to him :)
With a goal time of 59 minutes, we set off. We felt strong, and I could tell it bothered him to have so many runners pass us. But I've learned at this point that I can't let that affect me.
What did get in my head was the mile-marking. My brain is trained to pacing when I run, and I can tell you about when it's been one mile. At ten minutes, we still hadn't seen a sign. At twelve minutes, no sign. Finally a little over thirteen minutes, a sign on the right side of the road exulted, "ONE MILE!" *Side eye.* That couldn't be right. We were moving much too well for that.
Mile four was a doozy for me, winding through a hilly and unfamiliar neighborhood. BF turned around to push me through it, and I snapped, "Shut up, I've got it." I felt a little bad, but it was nicer than what I really wanted to say...which would not quite be fit to print here... there are times when I just don't want to talk, and I don't want to be pushed, because whether or not it appears that way, I'm already maxing out at the moment.
By the end, we finished in 1:01:48, which I'll take! It's six minutes faster than my time for the City of Oaks Old Reliable 10K last year, and not quite two minutes slower than I did a five-miler in last October. So, it's for sure progress, and really markable progress at that. I went home and mapped it out, and the course registered at 6.4 miles, too, so my pace was about 9:38/mile, my fastest to date for a race of this length.
adl carrboro 10k
My handsome BF at mile 4, looking back to make sure I'm there. Ugh, stop being so sweet :)
mmd carrboro 10k
Yes, I was there. This was not my hill upon which to die.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Joint Addiction

Last night was a highly anticipated event for me. Typically, Thursday nights bring Big Bang Theory, but that (along with Kaley Cuoco's amazing hair, haters) has moved to Monday nights.

No: Friday eve is now all about Scandal, y'all.

And in true gladiator form, thanks to Buzzfeed, there is a Scandal-based workout which I tried last night during the season premiere. So now, I can combine my addictions of red wine, Scandal, and working out. While I didn't think it would be that intensive, I found myself feeling sufficiently sweaty, no thanks to Jake with his sassy lines last night.

thanks to
for this little butt-kicker!