Monday, October 6, 2014

Another one in the books

So I think this past weekend marked marathon somewhere between 19 and 22. And sadly, it was fairly warm, humid, and very, very, very sunny, so not only did I not PR, I missed my RE-Q by more than 4 minutes, and I didn’t even manage to finish in my own personal top 3 records. Ugh. 

The weekend itself was fabulous. I went with one of my bestest friends and it was so great to get to spend the time together.   Friday night we went to the expo and dinner.   Saturday had a couple big highlights – Amy’s recommendation for breakfast that featured biscuits and gravy with a "hearty vegetarian gravy" that was the stuff of dreams, and a mini-high-school reunion lunch with two of my classmates who now live there.   I also managed to put together photo-heavy posts of last year's vacation to post while we're on vacation this year.  In the afternoon, we opted to see Gone Girl to keep us off our feet and chill. Neither of us had read the book, we both liked the movie, my friend did not like the ending but I think I did. Then we had a pasta dinner at the hotel (not the pre-race buffet they had, but off the menu and just right).
An expo photo, my friend and the Nuun rep had a huge discussion about the Miami marathon, which my friend and her husband are doing this January, which the Nuun rep had done about 5 times. 
 For some reason at the expo I was enjoying weighing some California races.  Did I mention that I'm getting a new niece or nephew in San Fran in March?  Some of these might be good excuses to visit:

Some pictures from the lovely and amazing Gravy:


Long story, but she's been one of my best friends for a long time and during one bit of joint single despair more than a decade ago, we bought matching sparkly rings (the "diamonique" bands) and decided that even if never of us found Mr. Right, at least we'd always have each other when we grew old.  (For the record, I think my hands are the oldest-looking part of my body.)

A massive breakfast.  Biscuits with gravy, vegetarian sausage, and oatmeal brulee with berries:

The menu at Veggie Grill (maybe legible if you enlarge?):

Running statue made of a tree trunk that was in a running store we visited on Saturday:

Amazing little statues all over downtown:

But despite the relatively crappy weather and finish time for the marathon, oddly enough, I loved it. My favorite parts were the proximity of the hotel to the starting line (we left the hotel at 6:30 for a 7:00 race, and there was plenty of time), the starting line logistics (they announced 3 or 5 minutes until the race or something, I realized I needed to pee again, made a bee-line for the portapotty, waited for 2 people to go, then it was my turn, and was back at the start with time to spare), and the scenery for the most part (some industrial, warehouse stretches, some running along railroad tracks, but overall, pretty).   And perhaps the best race shirt ever, a long sleeved lovely blue technical finisher shirt, that fits so well and looks amazing on everyone I saw wearing it, including my friend (and me) and dozens of others at the airport.   

The weather meant I went out pretty much on track, but I knew that I’d only hold the pace as long as possible and then I’d dial it back. I actually started off too slow anyway. I had a few good miles in the first 10, but overall, I was averaging slower than I expected. By about mile 10, I started slowing down, and by mile 12, it was starting to show. There was a horrible hill in between 16 and 17, climbing up onto a bridge, and then crossing the bridge. That was rough. But then it really went downhill – literally and figuratively. I have no good explanation, but on the bridge, starting at about mile marker 17, I was dying to find a portapotty. My stomach was NOT cooperating! I ducked in one right after I got off the bridge (no wait, fortunately). But then within 1-2 more miles, I had to stop AGAIN. Ugh. I’ve definitely had to stop before in races, but it’s usually been on total fun runs where I really didn’t care about my time.   While I knew going in that the weather would be bad and I had no shot at my goal time or at a PR, I was hoping at least for a re-q.  So I tried to eat pretty good and ordinary stuff the week before the race in order to avoid any stomach issues.   

But those miles with the stops and general lollygagging did me in. There was no way to recover, even though the course was largely an amazing downhill run from about mile 21. There was one more notable uphill to go up another bridge, but it was nothing like the bridge between 16 and 17.

My biggest complaint was that somewhere around mile 25, we merged in with half marathoners. Sorry, let me clarify, we merged in with 3:30 half-marathoners, i.e., walkers. And the course was not divided. I attempted to run as straight a line as possible, but there was still tons of weaving around them, or calling ahead to try to run in between.

The good news about running more slowly is that I felt pretty solid afterward and I don’t think I’ll be walking funny at work. A bit stiff, but nothing like the usual Marathon Monday March.

I got some snacks at the finish line but pretty much kept a steady march back to the hotel. My friend and I had decided to leave the luggage in our room since checkout time was at noon, and I was hoping to be able to finish the race, get through the finish line and get back to the room for a quick shower and change before we had to check out. That worked out amazingly well. I got back to the hotel and had more than 45 minutes to shower, wash my hair, and get reorganized (and to text my running buddies, my blogging/boot camp buddy Megan, and my husband). Before I knew it, my friend was finished and she took some time to get cleaned up.

We stashed our bags and went out to lunch for a second stop at a West Coast chain restaurant that was like a dream to us – Veggie Grill. Sooooo many choices, all vegetarian or vegan. It was a bit overwhelming for our first meal there, but after the marathon, I was hungry enough that I pushed myself to decide.

Then, we made the trek to Voodoo Donuts. I decided I’d get one donut for every 5 minutes we waited, so that worked out to an even half-dozen. I hope they’ll be good for a couple mornings. Since this week is going to be complete and utter chaos at work and leaving for vacation (did I mention I haven’t packed A THING??? And we leave on WEDNESDAY?????!!!! AS IN THE DAY AFTER TOMORROW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!), I think donuts for breakfast are in order.

I ate the dirty donut right away – a raised donut with a creamy frosting topped with crumbled oreos (first photo below). And for the coming days (including later this morning), I have blueberry cake, vanilla cake with sprinkles, mango tango, lemon crème cruller, and raspberry romeo. Is 6 donuts too many after a marathon? I also indulged in some candy that was part of my good luck gift from my boot camp buddies. Oh well, I’m not thinking I’ll have the typical Italian vacation weight gain on this vacation, so 6 donuts it is…

The worst part of the trip: flying back the night of the race on the red eye. We actually just landed around 2 a.m., and I got to bed not long after 3, which is less than ideal considering the cluster that is going to be my life for the next couple days, but it was really the only option since I absolutely could not take a vacation day (they’re all being used on our real trip). I couldn’t tell you how many hours we were in the air, 4? 5?, but it was WAY too long to sit with even not-really-sore legs. My knees were aching and I was dying to stretch out. Finally got home, got to bed, and woke up way too soon. Oh well, I am about to have a 14 hour and 45 minute flight on which I can do all the sleeping I want!


  1. Congratulations! It still sounds like a big accomplishment to me even though you didn't meet your goals. It is amazing to me that you've done so many marathons, you can't remember which number this one was! I am sure you definitely deserved the delicious meals and all the donuts. Enjoy and good luck packing and getting ready for your trip!

  2. Being an endurance athlete is so difficult. You put all your eggs in one basket and hope everything falls into place, which is rarely the case. By reading this post, it sounds like you were satisfied with everything though and donuts make everything awesome. Great job on finishing another marathon - an accomplishment in and of itself.

  3. As you know, I'm so proud of you and I still think your time is incredible!! The first thing I thought when I saw your time was "OK, we are about the same fitness, at least bootcamp wise (well, you'll take me in frog leaps and push-ups, but everything else at least!), so I KNOW it's possible for me to do that if she considers it a 'bad' day" :) :). Congrats, and hope you guys are living it up over there!

  4. I love Voodoo! I went for the first time back in June when I was there. I got the maple bacon bar and then 5 glazed and ate those for the next couple mornings.