Days 138-139 – The Never-ending Celebration

19 05 2010

A birthday gift I will treasure!

Even though I created a blog and drew some crazy attention to myself with this exercise-every-day/half marathon training project of mine, I really didn’t want to make a huge deal of turning 40. I will admit that it’s been a great excuse to have a fantastic few days with dear friends who celebrated and showered me with indulgences — from a pink bedazzled wine glass, a pedicure, total surprise dinner out and, best of all, great catching up time together.

We all get so busy with everyday life, and we see one another several times a week — passing in parking lots and playgrounds and exchanging a few stories and updates. But nothing beats hanging out time when there is no place else to rush off to. Or long overdue phone conversations with favorite lifelong friends. I really appreciate all of you so much and if turning 40 encouraged fun times, I’m glad to have done it. Thanks again to everyone who made my birthday WEEK fantastic!

I feel like it’s been one long great party that started with Cinco de Mayo and kept going…Field day, kindergarten graduation and end of school this week — followed by an upcoming family wedding and vacation — (thankfully) takes me out of the spotlight, but keeps the celebration and fun times going as we kick off the summer.

I will go back to daily exercising — very anxious to take my new Garmin for a trail run — but thinking of a summer vacation from blogging as I maximize the precious days with my kids at home to play. I imagine I will find reasons to write here and there and find articles I simply must share with fellow runners, moms, diabetics and others in this wide world of readers who have found me (never imagined anyone would read my random posts…) and encouraged me.

I will be on a quest for a new goal to keep me going — another run? or something totally different? I’m not ready to decide, but I know I will enjoy the journey to wherever it leads me.
(A photo taken by Jo-Anna at the race of me and Kerrin by the coyote warning sign. No, we didn’t see any in the park!)


Day 137 – Post-race Bliss

17 05 2010

The view from City Park race site

The day after a long race is awesome. You can take a hard-earned rest day and (if Mother’s Day, your wedding anniversary and your 40th birthday all fall within the same week like mine) you just might get a gift certificate for a massage. Just what my calves and quads ordered.

I’m feeling pretty good and chalking that up to a Powerade recovery (chalk-like) powder my bike-racing neighbors shared for immediately after the race to recover quickly.

They posted the official results today, and I’m very proud to have an official time of 2 hours, 14 minutes and 40 seconds. That includes my 4 minutes worth of blood sugar testing/fueling breaks. My handicap. I was 181st place out of 410 runners in my female 40-49 age group. I did have the advantage of likely being the very youngest in the group, having only been 40 at the start of the race for about 45 minutes.

I was humbled this morning by this inspiring story in the Denver Post about Kerry Kuck, a Type 1 diabetic who is blind and ran the half with a guide. He finished more than 20 minutes ahead of me!

I did beat Todd, whose name I wore on my bib, by about 30 minutes! As much as I like to analyze race results/statistics, and as I explained to Zach when he asked me if I won, it’s only about reaching your personal goal. Another Denver Post article quoted Kuck saying it perfectly:

“You’ve got poor people who wear holey blue jeans, millionaires in three-piece suits, but we all look the same. We put on our shoes, pull on our shorts and we’re all the same out there. And you’re not running against the other runners, you’re all on the same team. It’s you against the course, and everybody who finishes is a winner.”

Day 136 — 13.1 Miles Behind Me

16 05 2010

A wonderful race day started with a huge surprise. Jo-Anna picked me up at sunrise (5:45 a.m.) — what an amazing friend to be up with me so early and smiling. When I got in her car and we started talking… Kerrin – hiding under a blanket – jumped out of the back seat! I screamed, nearly peed my pants, and still can’t believe she came all the way from Pittsburgh to surprise me. I am so lucky to have such incredible friends — Kerrin and Jo and those who have followed my blog in support, emailed, texted and called with encouraging words and birthday wishes. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

In short, I met my goal of running a 10-minute per mile pace the whole way and keeping my blood sugar from tanking! My time (by my watch) was 2:10:26. I stopped the clock during two pit stops for glucose checks and refueling and hydrating with Jo-Anna and Kerrin on designated corners.

It was a beautiful morning with chill and sunshine — perfect for running in shorts and long sleeves. It was the flattest course I’ve ever run. Sketchy-yet-entertaining areas of Colfax Avenue on the 7 miles east gave way to the beautiful gardens and the canopy of 100-year-old trees in my old Park Hill neighborhood that led to back to City Park and the finish line.

Such a huge help having my friends waiting at 5.5 and 9 miles with bananas, Gatorade and a backpack full of supplies…I couldn’t have done it without you cheering me on. And, of course, heading for brunch and window shopping in Cherry Creek after. Kerrin and Jo-Anna have been my race buddies and close friends for six years now. Ever since we decided (ironically, while sitting at McDonald’s with our kids after preschool) to do a sprint triathlon together. Five tris, several runs and countless memories later, they knew just how to keep me laughing and running today.

More birthday festivities followed, and I had such a good time — maybe in a post-race fog — that I forgot about it being my 40th. I feel just the same today…not older but maybe a little wiser after training for and running this race. Scott and the kids gave me a new Garmin 405 GPS running watch from my wish list… to track all those miles waiting for me on the road ahead!

Day 134 – Run Like Todd

14 05 2010

Today was packet pick-up at City Park. A reality check as they were setting up barriers for the course — causing some butterflies in my stomach as I stood in line with people who looked very fit and fast.

When I picked up my number I was pleased to see that I am #2300 — I love very round, even numbers! A huge relief, because a few years ago, Jo-Anna and I picked up our triathlon packets to find I was #666. Really – that’s what they gave me and wrote in huge black magic marker on my arms and legs on race day (it’s customary for a tri to i.d. the participants, and it usually doesn’t wash off for days). This is what you want to be wearing to brunch in Boulder to turn some heads.

Much happier with #2300, I looked closer at my bib number to see TODD in large letters on the bib. Turns out someone misprinted EVERY bib number, so I will be masquerading as Todd Blum, a 27-year-old man who wears an XXL shirt and presumably runs much faster than me. Maybe that will work out well… especially if he has my bib. Not if he gets my female M shirt though. Perhaps he’ll medal in my 40+ age group?

They said our timing chips were accurately assigned to our own names, and you had to check at a laptop manned by a 12-year-old boy who assured me my chip was tied to my identity. Why this little boy had this job is a mystery. His dad must have been the embarrassed printer.

I breezed through the Race Expo to pick-up a very unisex-looking white tech tee with the lime green race logo. White is not the best color for sweating in. I will probably never wear this shirt, but will keep it because I will have earned it (or Todd will have – I’m so confused now). And it says “Colfax Marathon,” so if I do wear it, I will seem more impressive than the half-marathoner I’m trying to be.

In my ongoing pursuit of race accoutrements, I bought a HydraPouch at the Boulder Running Company’s booth. I checked these out online a few weeks ago…a very soft, lightweight plastic that opens like a coin purse (the kind the bank used to give you for free and my grandma collected for us). You’re supposed to fill it at race water stations to carry with you for a bit, then clip to your belt. It’s a cool concept, but I wonder how long those lines will be for the refills?

With my SpiBelt (which they were also selling today) and my new, blue pouch, I will totally look like an amateur ready for action. Good thing, in that case, that my own name is NOT in large letters for all to see. I will be sufficiently hydrated, ready to run like an XXL 27-year-old man!

Days 132-133 — Bounce back

13 05 2010

I tried to bounce back today — like my poor daffodils and tulips drooping from yesterday’s heavy, wet snow and now trying to stand back up in the sun. I took three cold, ugly days off and went out today for a 4-mile run on the park trail that left me mentally recharged. I think for 130 days running I was more excited about the half marathon than I am now. I am glad I’m doing it, but will be so happy when all 13.1 miles are behind me. In, wow, like 50 some hours from now…

The great news is the weather looks perfect for Sunday — low 70s and sunshine — in stark contrast to the crazy cold we’ve had. As far back as I can remember, from West Virginia and Georgia to Texas and Colorado, the weather has been nice on my birthday, when Spring is in high gear and something fantastic is blooming.

So much on our family list these last few weeks, that it’s been nice to have bad weather cancel soccer and baseball and give us a few nights to chill out – literally as the temps fell below freezing at night and the snow accumulated early yesterday morning. I really should be solidifying my race plans and filling my iPod with new surprise songs. I did order a cool gadget called a SpiBelt. (The black one with the hot pink zipper if you’re curious.) Clips around your waist with a small, tight pocket that can hold a Blackberry, keys and/or a snack. I tried it today and it really didn’t bounce around or ride up just like they promised.

This will be good for extra glucose tablets on the run. And, after the race, I can be a private eye and keep my secret camera in there…or wear my insulin pump better with a dress. The SpiBelt, and my pit crew Jo-Anna (who graciously offered to come with me race day and meet me along the course for Gatorade refills and blood sugar checks) will ensure I cross the finish line upright. Looking like 007…

So does my commitment end soon? Not sure yet. When I was more energized about the half, I thought maybe that was my new thing. Perhaps I’d do another one in the fall to keep me running longer and doing Pilates on off days. But now, I think I just want to run because it feels good. And it sure feels better at 5-6 miles than double digits. I’m still committed to my “Run 750 miles in 2010” challenge through the Buckeye Outdoor Training Log. I’m at 294 miles now, so not out of the question to hit the goal if I average 15 miles per week (3 relatively short runs). Time will tell!

Days 125-126 – A free pass for my birthday

6 05 2010

I have to admit – I am sick of running right now. After logging over 280 miles this year, I have suddenly lost my desire to get out there, and I’m just ready for a break beyond the Classical Stretch I did yesterday.

Today — a windy, chilly, drizzly day — I forced myself into running tights and planned to do 6 miles. After 3 miles my blood sugar was dropping — near 60 — so I cut it short at 3 miles. Tired of pushing my blood sugar up quickly enough to run more miles in my short afternoon while the kids are at school. Is this burnout? Just 10 days before the race? I know I will get back into my groove…

But I’ve been thinking lately how nice it would be if — for just one day — I could give back my diabetes, take a vacation from it, leave it with grandparents and get a long overdue break. Would I remember how to eat willy-nilly, whenever and whatever I wanted without estimating the carbs or pushing buttons on my insulin pump? Could I really eat pizza or a slice of birthday cake without worrying about how tired it would make me later when my blood sugar rose? (Because I rarely estimate enough carbs for those treats).

Without my pump on, I could wear a very fitted dress — the one I always avoid in the dressing room…I could jump into the pool on a whim and not flinch when someone hugged me — in fear they might knock it off my waist. Would I feel like I was missing a part of me without it on?

I don’t feel sorry for myself very often. But Type 1 diabetes is with you 24/7. There’s never a snack or a walk in the park that doesn’t impact your body and require you to make adjustments. And I think I’m tired of how much work it is to run 13.1 miles with it. Almost always I don’t think about this…I let it inspire me to fight back and prove it can’t limit me. Deep down, I know I am blessed with many, many amazing people and good fortune in my life — including the technology and doctors that make managing Type 1 a realistic pursuit. And there are so many more tragic diseases I suspect are much harder to live with. Or that you don’t get to live with.

But I still crave just one free pass…and one chance to remember freedoms long forgotten over 28 years. Can I have that for my 40th birthday please? The day of the half marathon would be perfect — when running those miles would be so much easier without the extra weight.

Days 123-124 — Overthinking the long run

4 05 2010

Tired tired tired from Sunday’s 13-miler. Seemed like a great idea at the time I was doing it, but wow did it zap me ever since! I muddled through Monday and today — fighting to keep my eyes open while playing marbles with my son and watching my daughter’s soccer game. Forced myself to do a late night Classical Stretch Monday which did help my stiff leg muscles once the painful plies were finally over.

Maybe I shouldn’t have tried the full distance. Should have stuck with the SmartCoach, who told me to do 11. The debate goes on in my head…good to know I can do 13 without blood sugar crashing, but paying the price with a tired body now that just wants a rest day — from all things — work, shuttling kids, cooking, exercising. That would be a perfect reward after the race itself, but not in the cards when I have two weeks left to go ’til the half marathon.

The most famous race in our area is the Bolder Boulder 10K on Memorial Day. Equivalent to the Peachtree in Atlanta, most everyone who runs has either done it before or is training for it. You will always find a dozen people you know proudly wearing the t-shirt in June. I have never done this race and probably should someday when we’re not traveling for the holiday weekend or when I haven’t just run a half marathon…

This morning’s sports section in the Denver Post had its typical race-prep article: 10 ways to get ready for the Bolder Boulder 10K

I took number 3 to heart today — running my 2-mile recovery run loop in the park in blasting wind that sucked the Spring right out of the warm air.

“3. Train on fatigued legs. The key to running fast is to be able to train your body to run the second half of the race as hard or harder as the first half. To do that, you have to be able to train the body to run fatigued via a variety of specially designed workouts.”

And number 8 suggests you run the course to practice where to go fast, etc. This would take about six hours in traffic on busy Colfax Avenue in Denver, but I happened to drive part of it yesterday when we were near the route for a doctor’s appointment. It felt…long. And it was not even half of the course. Maybe it was all the stop lights? I seriously have been studying the map so I’m not totally surprised by how far it feels in real life. I’m adding what should be #11 on the race prep list: Don’t overthink it.

I find myself obsessing a bit over what I will wear in various weather conditions, what time I will get up that morning, how many glucose tablets can I fit in my pocket, whether I should try the Hydra Pouch water holder instead of the Amphipod, blue or purple Gatorade?….on and on. I need to have a solid plan, but I need to let go a bit too and remember this is for fun. There is no exactly right way to do the race. And I will very soon forget whether I chose the Pouch or the ‘Pod, wore the tank or the sleeves — tucking the race t-shirt into my bottom drawer with other milestone memories.