Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Ragnar Brigade

I loved the Ragnar race more than I have loved any race I've ever done.

Truly and honestly, I wish I could do that the rest of my life more than anything else.  And while there's no chance I'd ever get in on staff (and I love my current job anyway), there is apparently something new being formed called the Ragnar Brigade.  This group of 50 people will basically be running advertisements for Ragnar--you have to go to expos, rep the Ragnar, run a few races, and encourage people to captain teams.

Hello, I do this anyway!

Right now I'm filling out my application and decided to work through it with you, my wider reading audience.

1) I have participated in the following Ragnars:
- Washington, DC.
- Signed up for Florida Keys 2011 (!!!!)
- I have a five year plan to do all the Ragnars

2) I am passionate about running because:
I am passionate about running because it's what makes me feel alive.  I can run by myself, with friends, with total strangers and feel exhilarated in a way that some people feel on roller coasters.  I love the exhausted and accomplished feeling that comes after a long run and the geeky running conversations I can have with fellow runners.  Running is an adventure, a challenge, and a comfort to me.

3) What are your personal running goals?
1. I want to do a race in every state (5 down...)
2. I want to every Ragnar race
3. I want to encourage my friends and family to discover a love of running
4. Run at least 1 race every year of my life--well into my 80's at least!
5. Run a sub 4 marathon (so close last time! 4:08!)

4) What makes you a good candidate for the Brigade?
I jump into things with both feet. I captained a team for my first Ragnar, gathering friends and strangers. I loved every moment of Ragnar DC 2010.  I signed up almost immediately afterwards for Florida Keys without a full team because I KNEW we could get a full team just sharing our experience from the last race (and we did!)

I am dedicated to health and wellness--I teach aerobics twice a week and have started a small running group without compensation at the YMCA because I want to share running with people.  I'm involved with the fitness community in the area through the three gyms in the DC area where I teach and sub.  I love the culture of running.  I try to run a race every month, and my enthusiasm for Ragnar know no bounds (my friends are really tired of hearing about how much they missed out).  I'm outgoing and able to talk to anyone.  I often attended job fairs for a previous employer because of my ability to connect with almost anyone who approached us.

I'm also a public relations and media specialist in the DC area--I know how to market and message everything from products to people to events.

5) Is there anything else you would like to share with us?
I would love nothing more than to be a greater part of Ragnar.  I feel so connected to the spirit of the race and would dedicate myself whole heartedly to the Ragnar Brigade.

Cross your fingers for me!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Social Salads

This week was supposed to start epic salad eating time--you know, the period where I was going to have a salad for at least one meal a day.


I do have all the stuff to make said salads...but then life kinda got in the way.

Sunday night I made a beautiful dinner of a roasted pork tenderloin, broccoli from the market, and Chadd's favorite--my scalloped potatoes.  That turned into lunch on Monday and dinner last night was all sorts of great Mexican food with a touch of tequila with Blair for a much needed girl talk.

Chadd's working nights as well as days right now--his old company needs someone to train his replacement and has offered him a pretty sweet hourly rate to come in as a contractor.  With the pay cut that he took and the holidays coming up--there wasn't a question in either of our minds.  I'm currently trying to figure out how to make up the income I'm losing while I have minor surgery and won't be teaching for a couple weeks (adds up to a couple hundred bucks) if you know of something let me know!

So my vision of us being home together and cozy by 7pm is pretty much not happening for a bit, which is fine.  As usual, I have an overblown social calendar for this week:

Tonight: Teaching, Sweetgreen with Aria
Wednesday: teaching running group, drinks with high school friends at Buffalo to watch the magic game
Thursday: volunteering at Miriam's kitchen in the morning, book club that night
Friday: marathon party!

Anyway, since I am having Sweetgreen tonight, I'm definitely having a salad for one meal today, and I did avoid what we here call the "fuck it" lunch (whatever is fast and fatty even if we brought lunch).  So, I'll say today starts the salad kick and in the back of my mind, I need to remember to make a salad for lunch tomorrow.

I'm thinking fresh green mix from the market, cucumbers, blue cheese, carrots, hearts of palm, pecans, sliced apples, and if I have time, steamed artichokes on the side.

Throw me a salad idea for the week!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

From Runner's World

I'm not sure that I can describe what has been called the "runner's high," but like poetry and beauty, I know it when I experience it.

Matthew Shafner, runner 

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

A follow up on the bucket list (and PIE!)

Sandeep, one of my Ragnar teammates, sent me this great link:


It's a great way to get started thinking about your bucket list!  I need to add to mine after looking over that.

In other news, it's Chadd's first night not working (so he's playing video games) and it's sadly the first night that I've been at work til almost 7.  Go figure.  I'm home now...working.

At least I love the work I do.

If you want to see photos of me at the race, here's your link:

My favorite?  The one of me holding my medal with the marines behind me.  That expression is one of the most genuine I can make: bliss.  Running gives me euphoria, which I imagine to be something like a high trip on drugs.  My senses get totally over loaded after a long run--if it's long enough, I usually wind up crying because I am just so happy that my body can't take it.  Except it's not "happy" as we know it, it's something else.  I can't describe it, but when you feel it, you know it.

Yaay!  See, the bliss look lasts for a couple hours.

By the way--DC locals, one of my dearest friends is the founder of currently-named Crazy Bitch Pies (soon to have a home in Old Town)...she made me a chocolate creme pie for congrats on the marathon and it's basically the most amazing thing I've ever had.  If you're interested in procuring amazing pies, let me know and I'll link you up!

Still too sore to work out today, may have to resign myself to taking the week off.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The Bucket List

Well, aside from the fact that I'm still in excruciating pain, things are great.

Marathon training really does take your life away from you, so now that I have all of this time on my hands (and omg my boy is going to be home with me after tonight!) I'm amazed with all the prospects!

Surgery is just around the corner (damn, I need to find all that paperwork and do that before it gets to be too late...) so I'm starting to get a bit anxious.  I'm sure it won't be a big deal, but the downtime is going to kill me.

I'm ridiculously sore and I still want to go for a run tonight, what does that tell you?

I'm starting to think about my bucket list--things I want to do before I die.  It's pretty short right now--but it's also pretty extreme:

1) Do a race (any distance) on every continent (except Antarctica...doesn't count, it's an ice flow).  I came up with this one since Brannon's moving to Africa for 2 years for the Peace Corps--why not?
2) Do a race (any distance, though I'm considering saying only 10+ mile races count) in every state
3) Do all Ragnar relays (1 down, 14 to go!)
4) Do the Ragbrai (bike across Iowa)
5) Take a hang gliding lesson (don't worry Mom, I'll stay close to the ground)
6) Go Ice Climbing (again, Mom, I'll take a lesson and call it a day) http://www.utahmountainadventures.com/ice.shtml
7) Climb Mt. Fuji
8) Do at least once triathlon--any distance
9) Do the tough mudder
10) Become a marathoner

I'm looking to add to it.  What's on your bucket list?

Monday, November 1, 2010

The Second Marathon

You know what never gets old?  Crossing a finish line.

Yesterday was a wonderful day to race.  I may fall asleep writing this.

Katie came down from Boston to be my support crew with Chadd--we all got up and met up with FJ and Eric at the Metro and headed down to Pentagon.

The lines for the portapotties were unreal.  I mean, un real.  I was terrified I'd miss my start, and just like last time, I didn't even get synched up with my correct corral, I think I managed to get myself into the gates somewhere around the 4:30 mark.

I had originally signed up for a Clif Bar pace group, but I knew I wouldn't join up with them.  I walk my water breaks, I didn't want the pressure of a group.  I lost FJ and Eric in the crowd, but as much as I wanted to run with them, I'm also one of those people who really just prefers to run on their own.

The gun sounded, but it took about 15-20 minutes for me to even cross the start line.  Once I got going, we went up through Rosslyn where I could see the bleachers set up for the spectators at the finish line.  Though I felt great, I also felt like that was forever away.  Something about this marathon had me in knots--later, talking to some Marines in line for the massage, we agreed that you only become a marathoner after you run your second one because then you know what you are subjecting your body to while the first one, you may be granted temporary insanity.

I was great running through Rosslyn, across the bridge to Georgetown, up into the Palisades (ugh, hills), then down M street, to K, up behind the Kennedy Center where I saw Sarah, K-Lo, Pete, and Jana with a "Go Captain Nigeria" sign, which was totally awesome.  I can't remember how much I talked about Ragnar here, but that was my team name from my team (background: I sent out an email about paypal where I said that after people paid me on paypal for the race, I'd reveal myself to be a nigerian warlord scamming people off through the Ragnar scheme--maybe you had to be there.)

I missed Katie and Chadd at the 10-11 mark we'd planned because they wound up dividing the road, but that was okay.  I really wanted to get rid of my jacket and gloves, but I waited until after I'd went around the island--is that Haines Point?  I never know...when I saw them at 16.  I had a 1:58 at the half, which was impressive considering how fast I'd had to run to make up time I lost in the beginning from being with a slower start group (probably a 10 minute mile pace, maybe 10:30).  By the time I got to that area, I was in a solid group of runners that I was more or less leap frogging with the rest of the time.

The race had a very different feel this time--Chadd noticed it too.  The tone was a lot more serious--there were still people in costumes, but even though it was halloween, not nearly as many people as I thought I'd see.  There were a lot more serious runners.  People were hyped and anxious.  Maybe it was me projecting how I felt onto other people, but it had a whole different feel this year.  I can't quite put my finger on what was different, but it just was.

I came back up and went around the mall where I saw my cheer group again (twice! love you guys!) and  saw Chadd and Katie again (they had a sign that said "FREE BEER in 16, 10, 6.5 MILES" that they crossed off as they went--people loved it).  At mile 20, Maureen joined me and thank God.  I was in so much pain at that point, everything else had gone out the window.  I was enjoying the first 20 or so miles, but by mile 23, I'd hit the wall.  My body just couldn't do it anymore.  That's the worst part is that once you beat the bridge, you might not be on the bridge...but it's still desolate highway wasteland.

Maureen was my hero and stayed with me through mile 26 where she peeled off.  .2 Miles to go.  I passed a guy walking and while I knew how badly he hurt, I grabbed his arm and said "you can't stop, it's only .2 away, come on."  Then that hill.  Oh that hill.  It's just unkind.  It would put you out of breath walking up the hill, but running after 26 miles, and you can see the end.  You can hear people screaming, you can see the arches, the photographers, the runners stopping and resting.  There are marines lining the hill, crouching down so you're at eye level with them while you're forcing your body up that hill and they're clapping and waving you onward.  Every step there was a stab of pain going through my body, my legs were on fire, and then that miraculous point where you step across the first timing mat and you are finally, finally done.

4:08:48.  It's not below 4, but honestly, I'm okay with that.  It just wasn't in the cards for yesterday, and I'm just proud of myself for doing it (again).

I got a foil blanket from a Marine, tucked myself into it, being cold already, then got a medal from another Marine after going through the gates, stopped for a picture in front of the Iwo Jima statue, then let myself get herded off to the water and food.  Powerade, water, and this year (great idea!) a bag from sodexho already full of food--somewhere to put everything!

Mom and Dad called me while I was milling around in the crowd then I found Katie and Chadd and with a sweaty hug leaned on them while we got to the finisher area, where I got a mich ultra (mmm favorite "bad" beer) and a much needed massage.

During the massage, FJ came and found me then we all headed to the metro....

Unfortunately, the lines for the metro and shuttles were so long that we decided just to walk back to Georgetown.  And let me tell you.  I was surprised I could walk so far, but we wound up getting a cab around Wisconsin and M back to the house.  We grabbed pizza at Flippin Pizza then drove Katie to BWI.

I felt great last night (for having run a marathon) but today, I feel horrible, kind of like I've been beaten with a baseball bat.  Chadd got me into bed last night, turned on the ballgame, and after I took two tylenol pm, I passed out, but around 7 am, the cat started.  Chadd got up, took care of him, then came back and helped me roll over.  This morning, I was in excruciating pain.  Hell, I still am.

I got a late start on work, but spent the day at my laptop, occasionally trying to get up...now, just to wait until the soreness wears off!

Thank you again everyone for your support!  I'm pretty sure that was my last marathon, but it was a good one to go out on.

And like Katie said--now that I've done more than one, I can say that I'm a marathoner.