Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Maude VS the Half Marathon

It's been awhile since I posted....I've been busy I guess.  I keep expecting for a lull in the excitement of life, but it's not happening so I decided I'd better brain dump my 13.1 experience before I kill a few more brain cells on wine and forget the whole thing ever happened.

I've had an on-again off-again relationship with running, for most of my life.  Kind of like Katy Perry and (fill in the blank with any male celebrity she's dated).  I start running and I'm in love.  Then reality sets in and we break up, only to find that we can't live without one another and we're back on again.  Granted my most recently revived relationship with running has lasted longer than Katy's first marriage, so that's a good thing.

I've had "Run 13.1" on my bucket list for at least five years.  Every damn time I'm supposed to run I'm injured, I have surgery, I get cancer, the usual excuses, you know?  So I figured that since three-for-three my efforts were foiled, that I wasn't ever gonna run that race.  I could feed a small village in Africa with the amount of money I've lost to bibs I bought and races I never ran.  So I figured that this time would be no different.

But it was.

I really think it's because someone else bought it for me....but I'm gonna pay her back.  I really never thought I would end up running it, so I fully intended on selling the bib & giving her the money anyway.  Ha!  That's my new M.O. for races....someone else can lay out the cash for me so I don't feel the pressure as much as I do when I know I'll feel the guilt when I'm injured and can't run.  Seems like more often than not anyway....

I trained as much as I could (lost a couple weeks to being sick and some tendonitis) but all in all I knew I could do it, I clocked two 10 mile + runs before the big day.  I set a pretty lofty goal of 1:58, which was my A goal, my B goal was finishing under my own power (ie: not on a stretcher).

I had such grand visions of how the race would go down.  Imagined it so many times.  Always it would be sunny (it was) and my favorite song would be blaring in my ear (it wasn't, my iPhone decided to switch to the "random" mode on my mix, and did NOT play my tunes IN THE ORDER I set them), and I'd come in through the finish line, watching the clock tick up to 1:58, victorious, hands in the air, tears streaming down my face.......Yeah, not so much.

Here's what DID happen:

Mile 1: Feeling good, running with my BRF!  She's gonna pace me to a sub 2 hour for my first half.  I know it's my first, but I can do this.  Oh shit, second song is NOT the second song I programmed....uh oh.

Mile 2:  Wishing these walkers would stay left for the love of God, I'm running extra just to get around them. (jussayin' but my watch had 13.24 on it at the end so I was right)

Mile 3:  Feeling good, chatting up my BRF, hoping the sun doesn't come out.

Mile 4:  Sun's coming out....I can feel the heat.  Oh God, here's a hot flash too.  Extra calories burned...speaking of I had better fuel.

Mile 5: Where the hell is the aid station?  I need some water to wash this chocolate GU off my hands.  They're as sticky as a toddler eating a Hershey bar in the hot sun.  Gross.

Mile 6:  Just a normal Saturday long run, but BRF I don't think I can do much more than this.  BRF says: suck it up, yes you can.  And I did.

Mile 7: When will I see my family?  I need to see them, it's hot, I'm tired and my quads are on fricken fire.  What the hell was I thinking?  Oh crap, we're going straight up hill to mile 8?  Damn.  I have no business running this distance.

Mile 8:  Passed the family on the way to the turnaround and again on the way back.  Thank GOD they were there, sweaty high fives with the kids who were holding signs they borrowed from the neighbor kids who made them for their mom, who is actually a runner and well suited to this event.  Me, not so much. (Note: my own children forgot to make any sort of sign but I didn't care I was thankful they were there) Fueled again, even more sticky and gross since I also dumped HEED on my head thinking it was water.  Happened more than once, sadly.  Yes I know he said "HEED" as he handed it to me but I was confused on what he meant until I tasted the second cup.  Gross.

Mile 9:  I tell my BRF I'm toast, too hot, quads on fire, I've got no business running 13.1.  Save yourself, I'm not gonna make it.  BRF: Suck it up, we'll slow down.  You can do this.  Maude said she didn't care if she missed her A goal, I just don't want to die. 

Mile 10: Fell apart.  Physically and mentally, mostly mental because I'm mental Maude anyway. But it was hot.  I didn't want to walk, but picked some shady spots to recover.  I probably didn't even walk a total of 100 yards but I still felt like a failure.  Knew I missed the A goal, B goal was in reach as long as I didn't pass out.

Mile 11: Walked another little bit.  Only 2 miles and some change. Four songs left, none of which were PLAYING IN THE ORDER I PROGRAMMED THEM!  I could see the stadium, it lifted my spirits even if my legs felt like giant water-soaked logs.  Picked up another friend to run with, three of us clomping together.  They asked how they could help me, I said kill me.  Then I said distract me.  They started talking and I couldn't focus so listened to my music, still in the wrong damn order. "A" goal was TOAST, B goal was in reach.

Mile 12: Found a sidewalk with shade.  Ran on that.  Could really sense that missing the last 4 weeks of training and consequently cross training was playing a factor.  But whatever, I'm here, I'm almost there, I've almost done it.  My pace picked up.  How about that?  I DO have some left in the tank.

Mile 13.1:  No idea how it was possible after the first twelve, as I was fairly certain I would die, or my legs would fall off, or worse case scenario I'd end up crawling the last 30 yards, but my pace picked up a little bit more.  As I ran into the stadium I saw my husband waving his arms, saw the kids, saw the big finish and put on the gas.  And dammit if the song I wanted to play when I finished the race STILL WASN'T PLAYING.  I thought I'd be crying, I thought I'd finish in a sub-2 hour time.

Instead, I completed my first half marathon in 2:04:44 (official), no tears, just triumph.  I went through a lot last year, and I barely even thought about any of it while I ran.  That, and the fact that I didn't finish on my hands and knees or in an ambulance made me feel like I'd really accomplished something monumental.  Me and Bonnie & Clyde had a great run and finished strong (photo below, snapped by the hubs)

I'll never look back and wish I'd run in under two.  Nope, I'm so thankful for my time, for my BRF for running and pacing me, and for the sweet taste of victory I felt in knowing I accomplished something I'd long wanted to do, and that Maude didn't decide to bawl her eyes out at the finish line.  I'm an ugly crier...all red and blotchy.  Not pretty.  So thankful for that.

I immediately said I wouldn't run another one, as my BRF giggled without even bothering to hide it.  She knew.....

As soon as we pulled out of the parking lot I said to my husband.....I think I can do better next time.  Actually I know I can.  And I will.  Someday.  And dammit all to hell my music better play in the proper order next time....

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Maude goes to the water park

Recently we took a quick trip to a regional water park/hotel/money sucking industry to celebrate the birth anniversary of the eldest child in our family unit.  We have heard many rave reviews of said water park and our kids (who have no concept of the actual cost of things) have been begging us to go.

Rather than plan a big party where the kid would get a bunch of gifts we'd have to find places for in her already tiny and Lindsay Lohan-esque messy room, we gave her the option of the family getaway or said party.  Of course she chose the water park.  OF COURSE.

First I sold my grandmother's antique china set to pay for the adventure.  Next, we booked, well in advance, so we wouldn't be cursed with our usual hotel room luck:  first floor by the door.  Seriously, I've never trashed a hotel room in my life, how I have been cursed with bad hotel room location Karma escapes me. Oh wait....there was that one time in college....but I don't remember for sure.  Must of been the booze.  Oh well.

After a rainy, white knuckled two hour drive where I was forced to listen to the movie "Santa Buddies" (seriously kids?  in APRIL?!) we arrived at our destination.  I knew in my gut that things would likely go a little south when we passed the LIQUOR STORE, which, aside from the gas station, was the only standing building other than the "resort".  Cleverly, they have a sign that says "open late" and are planted solidly within stumbling distance from the hotel.

Check in was fairly smooth, I'll admit, with those clever Disneyland lines that wind and wind and you think "yay! I'm almost there" only to turn another bend until you finally get there.  Fortunately for my entertainment people actually (and willingly) wear their swimming attire in the lobby.

No, folks, sorry to report, there wasn't much in the way of eye candy for the ladies.  Not even one hot lifeguard.  There were a few nice racks on display,on which I placed a keen and nonchalant eye exam to determine if they were fake like Bonnie and Clyde, or were they the real deal.  It's a fun game I like to play, and now the hubs and I play it together!  Lucky guy.

As soon as we checked in we headed straight for the water park, which was a mistake for a number of reasons.  First, when we got to the water park after another Disneyland-like trek UP the stairs, around the bend, through the doors, to grandmother's house, then back down the stairs, past all the lockers and to the teeny tiny itty bitty little locker room to change.  

One bench, three showers, two sinks and four crappers.  Really.  Given the size and availability of restroom facilities there's no wonder that there were a few ARPs in the wave pool (Accidental Rectal Projectile).  But what I really want to know is why were the ARPs ONLY in the wave pool and nowhere else?  Guess it's that much fun.

I'm not a germaphobe, specifically because I have two children.  Nothing teaches you to relax your standards like a seven and nine year old kids that refuse to wash their hands, and constantly puts them in their pants (and nose, and several other available orifices).

That said, the bodily fluid factor tested even my iron will against germ fears.  ARPs aside, there was the pile of vomit sitting at the top of the walk-in to the wave pool (seriously, it's ALWAYS the wave pool), which sadly wasn't enough for the lifeguards to empty the pool.  So POOP: clear the pool, we've got a floater! VOMIT: Eh, no worries, we'll just clean it up.  EW.

The one that I didn't see, but heard ALL ABOUT was the poor woman whose monthly bill arrived, and she had no idea, but yeah, everyone else did.  I like to think if I had seen it I would have said something, but likely I would have turned away to hide my inevitable dry heave.

One of the few saving graces of this festering germ pool was the bar.  Oh the wonderful adult beverage dispensary, how I love you so.  Two margaritas in and I was feeling no pain.  I was barely feeling the concrete beneath my feet to be honest.  At least a little hooch reduced my inhibitions enough to feel confident in my bathing suit. 

That's another fun part of the public water park, clearly the scent of chlorine coupled with the eleventy thousand screaming kids, reduces and eliminates any concern over what parts of your body might be hanging out.  Thankfully I never saw anyone's Snuffleupagus, but I saw several near misses that can only be described as wardrobe malfunctions.  How you don't realize the cups in your 'kini are two sizes too small is beyond me.  And please, the only cheeks I need to see are the ones on your face.

Our second mistake was not checking out our hotel room location BEFORE we hit the water park.  By the time we got back there, all rooms were full and I discovered that we were, of course, on the first floor, by the door.  Also near all the noise that went on ALL FREAKING NIGHT LONG as children participated in the resort wide scavenger hunt that borders on extorsion, for the cost to participate and even purchase the little magic wand thingy required a second mortgage on our home.

So of course I was awake all night long.  I woke up tired & hungry and discovered my third mistake: not bringing my own food.  If you don't know me, I'm a little OCD about what I put in my food hole, and there was nothing even close to what I would consider acceptable fare for even my children to eat.  And what food there was would require me to sell one of my kidneys in order to afford it.

All that aside, the experience was certainly "an experience" and the water park really took the cake.  I'm not sure that Maude will ever willingly go back, even after the enticing 50% off your next stay coupon the general manager sent me upon reading my feedback survey.  You didn't think I wouldn't say anything did you?  I'm here to help, that's what I keep telling myself.