Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Things I learned today...

Highbrow, lowbrow -- I learned several things today.

1. St. Crispin is the patron saint of cobblers (and tanners and saddlers, etc.) Now, I'm not a cobbler, but I do work for a shoe manufacturer, so I have decided to feel a kinship. And it's a good excuse to watch Branagh's Henry V and the St. Crispin's Day speech (here mislabeled as "Eve of Saint Crispin's Day". We few, we happy few...

2. It is very, very difficult to run while wearing a bull costume. I'm going to have to do some major modifications of the headpiece. And I nearly suffocated from the nose.

3. It is amazing how quickly one can become ill while running 8-minute miles on a treadmill after two pints of beer, some tater tots, and some hummus. I might have been able to manage the bull costume had I not been fighting the urge to throw up.

Let's just leave it at that, shall we?

Oh, except for the fact that I am now feeling semi obsessed with running a race on St. Crispin's Day sometime... looks like I'll probably have to wait until 2014 for a Saturday, October 25. :)

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Wil's back on his feet!

With the Tinker Bell Half Marathon now just 14 weeks away, and with Wil's foot officially healed (yay!), we decided it was time to start running again. We were just going to run around the neighborhood, but as we walked down 67th I noticed that the gates were open to the school track. I've wanted to run on that track ever since they resurfaced it, but have never been able to. (It always seems to be either locked up or in use.) So Wil suggested we just plod around the track as our first run in months.

Well, you know how uneventful a track run is -- we went round and round and round. Like Nascar, only much slower. We kept to the outside of the track, swapping lanes halfway through.

Wil being Wil, he is of course in better shape than I am despite having not run since June. But it was good to be back out there with my running buddy!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Haller Lake Run

Had a nice run with Suz in her hood this morning. Of course, I had forgotten that it would be pitch black at 7 when we started... But we set off and ran a loop around the invisible lake. A nice three miles with Suz!!!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Denver Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon Race Report

After two days on my feet at the expo, I was pretty beat. So I was more than a little worried about the race. But al I could do was get to the start and try to get to the finish. My goal for this event? To finish. And as a stretch goal, to finish under 3 hours. Not normally much of a stretch, but since I was liming on my way to the start, I figured I would just see what happened.

My hotel was about a 5-minute walk from the starting area, but I decided to get over there a half hour early to say hi and goodbye to Tara and the Gurus. Tara was very sweet and thrilled to hear that I (and Wil) would love to go to another event some time, if possible. She also gave me a VIP area wristband – sweet.

The sun had just started to come up when the race got underway. Rather than fight my way back to the corral, I just stood out of the way toward the front and stepped in when my corral (lucky 13) came forward. Clever clever me.

It was really really cold – 40 degrees – but the sun was up and the sky was brilliant blue. I had layered – jog bra, tank top, arm warmers, a long-sleeve thermal top, and my running vest. I also had a “disposable” top and sweats, which I took off when I entered the corrals. I had fretted about the vest – but in the end I was cold throughout the race, so I’m glad that I had it for the windbreaking warmth.

Suddenly, we were off. Wil advised me to go out at 3:1s – because that had been so successful in Seattle. But it was really hard going from the very beginning. I found myself gasping for breath (I often have a hard time breathing in Seattle cold), and I started a dry, hacking cough. I also had a bunch of different pains – or perhaps just one pain moving up and down my left leg. First my hip, then my knee, then my foot, then a really sharp pain where my bone bruise is. But I plodded along.

The course was pretty – we passed the stadiums, ran through old neighborhoods, and then entered a park… where we spent mile after mile winding around. It was a little odd – at one point, I could see groups of people running to the left, to the right, and to the left. It’s somewhat dispiriting to realize that you’ll be running back and forth. But it was a very nice park.

At mile 7 I felt pretty awful, and sent Wil a text message from a porta potty. “Only at mile 7. Grim. :(“ But I just kept going… slowly…

Finally we left that park, and ran towards another park at mile 10. Just before the entrance, we arrived at the Dude, straddling the course. He always makes me happy – and I was happy to be only a 5K away from the finish.

Still, by this point I was essentially limping and shuffling along – but I knew that I would finish (unless something really awful happened) , and that, so long as I didn’t dawdle, I would finish under 3 hours. Trust me, this was an accomplishment today.

At the full / half split, I saw a couple of marathoners – and couldn’t help thinking how happy I was to only have 2 miles left – not 15. Wow.

The last mile or so we passed the original Wax Trax record store (lovely), somewhat near Molly Brown’s house (apparently), and – wait for it – the ORIGINAL Quizno’s. Who said the course wasn’t scenic?!?

Turned right and was running straight toward the golden dome of the Capitol building – hooray! A volunteer said “You’re point two of a mile from the finish, and it’s all downhill! Honest!!!”

Not that I believed her… until we made a left turn and I could see the finish. So even though I really didn’t have anything in the tank, I ran as fast and as hard as I could to the finish. Not pretty – just pretty grim. 2:56:11. And possibly the most difficult half I have ever completed.

I went through the finish area – nicely organized distribution (not that there were a lot of people there!!!!), a pretty medal, and then I was out. I headed over to the VIP area, where I had been promised a mimosa. The very nice lady behind the bar poured me a glass of champagne with a splash of orange juice (“You earned it!!!”), and I helped myself to a belated breakfast.

A little while later they announced the winners, and then announced the band. I wasn’t really listening, so I assumed it was just an opening band. But they sounded okay, so I wandered up to the terrace to watch. Imagine my surprise when they launched in to “I Can’t Get Enough of You Baby” – at which point, I turned to the guy next to me and said, “Umm, is that actually Smashmouth?” Apparently, yes.

Two mimosas and 30 minutes of Smashmouth later, I was ready to head back to the hotel. I stopped at the Give Your Soul tent and exchanged my slightly tired Trance 10s for a pair of Brooks Run Happy flip-flops – and the nice people in the tent were thrilled. I hobbled back to the hotel (not the most comfy or supportive of footwear…), where I got cleaned up, packed, and even had a short nap before checking out.

The race – and the trip in general – was really hard going… but it was a great first experience! And I am already scheming to see what race(s) I can go to next year.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Denver Rock 'n' Roll Expo

Oof. I'd like to go on record by saying that I have NEVER thought that working a race expo was easy. The set up was actually the easy part -- we were moving around, hustling. But while the race expo was open, we were just standing on concrete floors... and (this is the very hard part).... being NICE to people. My feet and lower back are killing me!

Expo was cool -- interesting to see the "backstage" areas and how things were organized. I chatted with some of the other vendors, especially with a very nice man from Run Disney. He was glad to hear that we had gotten in to the Tinker Bell Half before it sold out -- me too. It's amazing how quickly the Disneyland races sell out.

I never felt that the expo got super busy, or super crowded. We heard that this race had about 15,000 registrants, and 80% of them are local. Not sure how many people picked up their packets -- apparently the weather was really bad just 40 miles south of here, so some people may have just decided to def it rather than fight through snow.

I think I would have preferred it busier, so as to make time go by faster... but time passed just fine. I liked that the expo / event crew were all cool, nice people -- and it was fun to spend some time with the gurus. And most of the customers were nice. That said, I spent a lot of the day with a banging headache, feeling a little sad, and missing Wil and the kitties.

But it's 7:24 and I'm already back in the room, having some dinner (pesto noodles, a tomato and cucumber salad) and getting ready to have a bath. Just checked the weather report for tomorrow -- it's supposed to be "much warmer" than today -- which is good, because it was really, really cold today! Still, I'll be in capris and long sleeves... and perhaps even arm warmers.

Tomorrow is going to be tough... but I decided to pamper myself a bit and book "stretch" seating on the plane ride home. It also means I'll be off the plane quickly (not in the 3rd from last row...) and first on. Yay me!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Mile High

Headed for Denver for RnR -- with a mixture of nerves and excitement. Nervous because I'm travelling with people I don't know well, but work with. Nervous because I don't feel very speedy -- or even fit, for that matter -- and I'm running on Sunday. Excited because you know how I love a race expo -- and I'll be there for DAYS. Also because I'll be running in a new city, new state, which I love.

Today is set-up day, which I've done before. Basically we get there and start unpacking boxes -- separating clothes from shoes, MC product, and cavalcade prizes. Then we'll go through and put everything in size order and then merchandise them on the racks, adding signs and things to make them look pretty. This will take all day. I really enjoy this -- it gives me a chance to see all of the apparel in person... and to do a little browsing!

Friday and Saturday I'll be working the Cavalcade -- either handing out the cards, supervising a game, or doling out prizes. Friday night there's a "VIP Party" (ha ha) with Competitor -- we'll see how long I last. :)

Saturday the expo closes at 5, and then it's all hands on deck while we break down the booth. Apparently it's much faster to break down than set up. Very cool.

Then back to the hotel for an early night -- Sunday morning our call tie is 4:40 am. WOW. That will get us over to the start area in time to set up the VIP Porta Potty and start serving customers.

Then at 6:55 am, the race starts! I'm in corral #13 -- Lucky 13 -- out of 16. (17?) Puts me safely in the bottom third of the pack, where I expect (hope?) to finish.

Then what? Who knows. My flight isn't until 6:15, which means I might be able to catch part of the game on TV. :) Of course I also don't know if I"ll be needed after the race -- or if I'll be able to shower and change!