Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Pre-Race Marathon Diva

Mood swings. Carb destruction. Sleeplessness. PR Obsession. Hyper spaz-outs. Listlessness. Freakouts. Ghost Injuries. Meltdowns. Elation. Sobriety. Excitement. Dread. Nerves. Appetite. OCD. Joy. Sadness. Entertainment needs. Pace calculations. Fuel nerves. Exhaustion. Energy. Extreme happiness. 
  No, these are not traits of someone with major PMS. Or Jekyll and Hyde.

These are traits of a runner, in the few weeks leading up to a marathon.

This time around I didn't think the tapering would be so bad. Newport is a really small race, not a big corporate machine with a lot of hype and weekly email blasts and twitter hashtags to keep your nerves on edge.

This is as fancy as the Newport Marathon gets:

 Only one email saying that I'm in and good luck to me? I love it.

I was right- tapering this time around wasn't bad. I was actually pretty proud of myself for holding it together.
After my last super long run, I was totally fine.
During my first week of full taper, I was still feeling pretty good.

For some reason, this week, I started to fall apart a little bit.

The advantage now is that I can recognize the symptoms and mostly deal with them and take a deep breath and let it go.


 It started with small things, like almost crying when I couldn't immediately find my ID (I found it about 15 seconds later), or feeling enraged at the airport security lady for having to re-scan my bag. 

Now that I'm about 24 hours away from flying to Oregon, the freak outs are really starting to progress.

OMG I haven't packed yet and I need to buy more Gu and I haven't arranged my playlist and I need to print out my pace charts and I don't know what shoes I'm wearing and I haven't been hydrating enough and I swear my knee is starting to hurt and....

Yeah. Welcome to my thought process today. 

Everyone keeps asking what my goal is. 
To be honest, I don't know. 
My goal is to run as fast as I can. Whatever time that turns out to be, that is my time goal.

Not to sound like a total blowhard, but I'm about 99% sure I will PR. I'm feeling stronger than I was in Chicago last year and am not injured this time, so I should be able to crush my previous PR of 3:53, barring any on-course injuries or cramps. So I guess my goal is something in the 3:40's. Or faster.  

I'm taking pace time charts with me for finish times of 3:45, 3:40, and 3:35. We'll see what happens and at what point I crash and burn.

The current forecast for race day is a perfect partly cloudy morning in the 50's, so that will help.

 I'll also have views like this all along the course to keep me motivated.


Lastly, for all the non runners out there, here are some fantastic tips from Oiselle on how to deal with a Marathon Diva.

Not that I am one or anything..... 

Sunday, May 19, 2013

The Manner of Giving is Worth More Than the Gift

29 Random Acts of Kindness for My 29th Birthday

Typically when my birthday comes around, I'm the first one to plan a huge bash for myself, buy myself a brand new outfit, and take advantage of the entire month of May by using my birthday as an excuse to do whatever I wanted...and more importantly, EAT whatever I wanted.
Raw cookie dough for breakfast? It's my birth month, you can't judge me.

For my birthday this year, I decided to do something a little different.

I love seeing people smile. Even more so, I love being the reason people are smiling. 
I've come to realize that making people happy is one of my core missions as a human being.
I couldn't think of a better way to celebrate my birthday this year than to act on that! 
So, I completed 29 Random Acts of Kindness for my 29th birthday!

Here's a list of everything I did: 

 1. I Volunteered at Habitat for Humanity
Not only did they trust me with a caulking gun, but they trusted me to climb a ladder and caulk the soffit on the roof. I was so excited for this job that I may or may not have mentioned to them that I am the biggest klutz in the world and tend to be accident-prone.

 Luckily I finished without any incidents. 
I am, however, still finding caulking underneath my fingernails. 

2. I Crashed a Baby Registry
I jumped on the Babies R Us website, searched the registry, picked one at random, and bought them something off of their wish list.

Congratulations to the Thompson family in York, PA! I hope your new baby enjoys the sound machine. 

 3. I Left Money in a Purse at the Thrift Store
I wrapped cash in a little note that said something along the lines of Today is my birthday and I'm paying it forward - enjoy this cash and have a great day!
I put the cash in a random purse that was for sale and walked away. Adrenaline rush!!
I really want to go back to the thrift store and see if someone bought that purse yet. 

4. I Bought Someone's Clothes at the Thrift Store 
I went up to the counter, handed them cash, and explained to them that I'd like to help pay for the next person's items. I also asked that if there was any cash left over afterwards to please use it for the next person, and so on and so forth. 
I jetted out of there, but looked back just in time to see the next person go to the counter. 
I think I pulled a muscle I smiled so hard. 

5. I Cleaned Up My Neighbor's Yard 
My neighbor is trying to sell his house and his landscaping is typically immaculate. Our properties are lined with jungle-like tropical foliage, and some large palm frawns had started to gather on his lawn. I picked them up and moved them to our brush pile for him. 

6. I Left Cash at the Gas Pump
Sometimes filling up can make you cringe. Hopefully this made someone cringe a little less. 

7. I Sent a Nice Greeting Card to a Random Address 
 I picked up the phone book (you know, those antique books you have stacked in your garage holding up a wobbly work bench), flipped to a random page, closed my eyes, and put my finger on an address. Hope it brightens your day, Ms. J. Moody! 

8. I Brought In My Neighbor's Trash Can
If you leave them out there for too long, the city will ticket you. Ain't nobody got time for that.

9. I Left Money at a Vending Machine
I taped a dollar bill to the machine - enjoy a cold one on me, random stranger! 

  10. I Left Quarters at the Laundromat 
Nobody likes doing laundry. Hopefully this made it a little less daunting.

 20. I Left Inspirational Notes on Car Doors 
Who doesn't love a little surprise inspiration?!

12. I Returned Grocery Carts at Target...and Publix..and CVS...and Home Depot
Some people are lazy, it's a fact of life. I took some of the carts people left out in the parking lot and put them back in the cart return. 

13. I Left a Publix Gift Card...In Publix
I stuck it in next to the baby formula with a note that it was a legitimate gift card and to please use it. I hope some new mommy out there got a little relief!

14. I Bought the Person's Order Behind Me at the Dunkin Donuts Drive Through 
Have a great day, Ms. Medium Iced Mocha with 2 Donuts!

15. I Was a Meter Fairy
Parking tickets downtown are the worst. Hopefully I saved this car from having a bad day. 

16. I Took Plastic Bags to the Dog Park
There's nothing worse than getting to the dog park and realizing they're out of poop bags. These spare bags should save some dog mom or dad out there from being "that owner". 

17. I Donated Designer Clothes To a Shelter
I have a closet full of clothes that I rarely wear, some of it brand new with tags still attached. 
I took a bag full of brand new items, some of them designer, and dropped them off at a shelter. 
I hope whoever ends up with that Burberry shirt wears it with pride! 

18. I Took Balloons to the Children's Hospital 
I wasn't certain what to expect, as I didn't have a particular patient to visit. They didn't let me in to see individual patients, but I was allowed to give them to the nursing supervisor to give out to kids who may need a little extra pick me up. 

She was so excited, and then told me about this great charity event of sorts called 10,000 Balloons, which is part of the Monday Morning series led by Yazmany Arboleda. They've taken to the streets of Nairobi, Bangalore, and Yamaguchi so far, giving away balloons to the citizens of those cities that need a little extra hope. Talk about being right up my alley!
  More photos:
Nairobi, Kenya
 Yamaguchi, Japan
 Bangalore, India

The next one will take place in Kabul, Afghanistan. 
I, of course, bought a balloon for the next release in Kabul.
Balloon number 3,821 to be exact.
 And now my photo is on their virtual mural, too! 

19. I Took More Balloons to a Local Rehab / Assisted Living Facility
 I had to leave them with an attending nurse in the activities area, but got lucky and was able to peek behind me as she passed them out. It was both heartwarming and heartbreaking. I wanted to hug all of them.

20. I Took Even More Balloons to Kids Playing in the Park
Balloons are so magical, especially when you're a child. I loved watching their eyes light up as I bent down next to them and asked if they wanted a balloon. It was like Christmas morning. I might turn this into a weekly ritual. It was so simple and easy and just plain wondeful.

21. I Handed Out Cold Bottled Waters
I took a cooler full of water and walked around downtown. There was a group of older women who were practicing what looked to be a "Gangnam Style" dance routine/flash mob. No lie. And they were awesome.
I left waters for all of them-it was so hot out, and they were breakin a sweat!

22. I Left a Very (Very) Generous Tip for my Server
I've been in their shoes, and I know what they go through every day. Hopefully that made their shift go by a little faster. 

23. I Bought a Stranger a Drink
I looked around the restaurant and spotted a woman with a very delicious looking Strawberry Daquiri. I told the server I wanted to pay for it, and to not tell her who bought it.
I just loved watching her look around to try and find out who ordered it. 
Another pull-a-muscle-smiling moment. 

24. I Left a Bus Pass at the Station 
I bought a bus pass, good for all day unlimited rides, and taped it to the side of the bus stop.

25. I Left Cookies, Cold Water and a Thank You Note for the Mailwoman
The houses in my neighborhood don't have mailboxes on the street- they're all attached to the sides of the houses. Which means the mail people have to walk from house to house, lugging the mail. I can't imagine how hot it must be for them in the Florida summers.

26. I Was a Human Pooper Scooper
There is a great grassy park area on my street where people tend to sometimes not pick up after their dogs. I cleaned up their messes.
I decided against a photo op here. You're welcome.

27. I Painted Over Graffiti Downtown
I actually had a hard time finding some to paint over, which is a good thing!

Before                                    After

28. I Left Coupons Behind 
I'm good at clipping them but not so good at using them. Hopefully someone will take advantage of these!

29. I Left a Few Dollars at a Redbox
Hopefully it made someone's night-in a little more exciting!

It was a fantastic day full of giving back and paying it forward and making people smile, and hands down the absolute best birthday I have ever had. 

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Uncertainty Is The Refuge Of Hope

Well, here we go.

Everyone knew it was coming. It was only a matter of time.

One of those awful words that we all hate has creeped into my vocabulary once more.


I chose Bachelor #2 from my Marathon Dating Game . The Newport Marathon is now only 30 days away. I committed to it, registered, bought my flight, and reserved a hotel. 
Every time I mention the Oregon Coast, people collectively oooh and aaah over how beautiful it is, so I feel confident in my decision. If nothing else, it sounds like will be a great weekend getaway from the Florida humidity.

There is one thing I don't feel confident in. 
My legs.

Some days I feel awesome. 
Like, I am going to eat 26 miles for breakfast and then go back for seconds awesome.
 Others I feel really slow and weak and pitiful and can barely muster up the energy to finish three miles.

On my 20-miler last weekend, I don't' know that I could have physically gone another 6.2. 
That scares me. 
Even on my 6 miler this morning, I was exhausted after I finished. 

I want to push myself hard. But am I pushing too hard? Am I expecting too much? 
Did I get too arrogant after my 1:37 half marathon PR in Sarasota this year and think this would be a piece of cake? 

My previously-stated goal from a few posts ago remains the same.

  The goal is to push myself hard and see where I stand in the 2013 quest for marathon speed.
 If I crash and burn, that's OK. I'll have all summer and the beginning of fall to get ready for an attempt at chasing the 3:35 pace group in Twin Cities come October. 

Now I just have to remind myself of that goal. 

And that sometimes you have to risk crashing and burning to know what you're capable of. 

And that there are always more chances.