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On Friday, August 5th, 2011, I signed a paper saying I would voluntarily run for 13."some odd" miles. What the heck was I thinking?

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Five miles is a lot...for me

Saturday, September 17th was my husband's birthday. He turned 33.  I figured that was a GREAT reason to skip the Saturday morning run so I could sleep in late, drink coffee and eat a big breakfast.  It was a good reason, right?  Sure, except that I still had to do my five mile run.  I've never run five miles before, so I think I was in some sort of denial about doing this run.  I just kept thinking of it as my now "normal" three mile run....I just have to run three miles, but really I have to run five.  It's cool if I have bacon, toast and eggs for breakfast, washed down with two cups of coffee.  Man, that bacon was gooooood.

So after the hubby left for work, I started to pidaddle around the kitchen, thinking to myself, "I really should put my stuff on and go run my three miles".  And in the back of my head I knew it was really five.  Fear of the unknown, even when it's just exercise, is still scary.  My typical Chubby Chick mantra kicks in and says, "What is this five miles going to feel like? Will I get injured? Where am I going to run?".  Luckily my new runner instinct kicked in and said, "Screw it, go put your clothes on and quit whining. Just do it already". 

So I worked on getting myself all pumped up, I grabbed my donated iPod with my three artists on it (Keb Mo, Big N Rich, and Enya...yeah...I know) and I laced up my now dirty and old looking shoes and headed for the park in my oh-so-sexy black and neon pink spandex pants and moisture wicking shirt.  I felt pretty hot heading out the door...well, not hot but I felt pumped...and the result is I felt like what I knew my hot self would look like in another 2.5 months after I've run a half marathon!!! WOOHOO...I'm getting there right?  Whatever.

So, all pumped and ready to go, I pull in to the park and it is PACKED with parents watching their little kids play soccer.  It was really a cool scene, all these old folk just sitting there all lazy, and I was going to show them who was boss. I was going to run five miles in front of their KIDS...oh yeah baby.  I turned on the iPod...nothing.  I hit the button again, still nothing.  I even tried the southern approach and mashed the button, STILL nothing.  Dang it.  No music for the run. No little British chick telling me I had run half a mile, then a mile...and then the anticipated five miles.  I would have to say it to myself....NOOOOOO.....dang it. Dang it.  ......  Dang it.

Okay, I can still do this.  I have my expensive shoes, I have my good attitude, I have purpose, I have an audience, and I can cheer myself on and sing to myself if I have to.  Right? Sure thing.  I start walking to warm myself up a little, and after I made it across the parking lot I looked at the sign with the trail on it.  One-point-one miles.  I can do this.  Just run around it four and a half times.  I'm good.  I start walking again down the trail. 

Now if you're my dad and you're reading this I'd like you to remember a day back in 1994 after we first moved to Fort Mill, SC.   Remember getting a call from your daughter who was at a gas station somewhere between Pineville and Rock Hill?  Remember me saying, "can you please have this nice gas station attendant explain where I am so you can tell me how to get home"?  I literally couldn't figure out which way to turn to get to Pineville versus getting to Rock Hill.  I was supposed to be in Pineville for my job, I ended up in Rock Hill.  Rock Hill is NOT Pineville.  Apparently that little episode has stuck with me through the years because after I stood starting at the sign showing the trail for running one....point...one miles, I realized I had not one clue what I was looking at. 

I ran to the right of the soccer field where all the cute little kids were punting the soccer ball around, and came upon a fork in the trail.  I could NOT remember which way to go.  Fortunately I picked randomly...and picked correctly.  And then after a few more minutes there was another fork.  Okay this is silly, how many forks does a "loop" need?  I turned right.  I look up - you have GOT to be kidding me. Another freakin' fork?  I turned right.  Um yeah, it was actually really easy.  it looks like this...  0-0-0  get it?  it's three circles connected by a small dash....and all I had to do was keep turning right.  I'm an idiot.

About half a mile into the trail, I noticed a young couple sitting on a bench enjoying the scenery.  There are lots of trees. And lots of people running. Lot's to laugh at. And that's exactly what they did. People, I'm not kidding, the kids laughed at me.  I ran by, and the girl snorted and cracked up.  The dude shook his head as I ran by.  I was mortified.  What a sight I must've been. I was red faced, bouncing around, dressed in spandex, and I was running.  Okay, get yourself together kid, they probably weren't laughing at you, seriously.  Now, this trail loops around a couple of different ways, and if you can believe this, on my way back around I had to get CLOSER to said couple.  I figured I'd see what happened.  Sure enough, the guy whispered something in the girls ear, she said, "oh my God" and then cracked up after I ran by again.  You know what I did in self defense?  I clenched my butt cheeks in an effort make them look smaller so I would feel better about myself, and maybe, just maybe they would say, "Oh wait, I thought that was the fat chick, guess I was wrong."  Yeah, you're getting a glimpse into my defective, downright crazy little mind.  Pathetic isn't it?

Now, this is just my first pass.  In one loop, I have to pass this couple twice.  So I figure this is going to be a LONG five miles.  And all the way down and all the way back up the loop all I could think about was what I was going to do if this couple laughed at me again.  I pictured stopping, walking up to them, and introducing myself.  I thought about cussing them out. (Sorry Pastor Brian, but I am just a mudball after all!)  I imagined giving them the blog website so they could read about how stupid they were.  I was so furious.  And beaten down.  But don't worry, the story gets better.

As I came back up the loop, they were leaving, and I had a new friend.  There was a 50 something year old Illinois guy walking up and down the loop in the opposite direction, and he said, "Funny seeing you again!" as I passed.  He laughed WITH me every time we passed each other.  Thank God for small things....a friendly stranger's face and funny words. 

So all that anger got built up into energy and a determination to show that lousy couple what I could do. I could run five miles, and all they could do was make googly eyes at each other while plopping their skinny butts on a bench and laughing at people who were actually trying to DO something about their situation. I can fix fat, they can't fix stupid.  So THERE....Yes, I was aware at that point they had left, but I had to prove them wrong anyhow....I'm telling you, I'm demented.  You'll believe me eventually.

Running has so many layers.  The mental aspect, the physical, the emotional.  When I got to mile three, I literally felt like I ran into a brick wall.  My brain just shut down and said, "okay, you're done now".  My emotional side was asking how soon I'd be able to gorge on ice cream and pizza.  Physically, however, I was fine.  My legs were feeling great, I had a good pace going, and I was actually passing the walkers for once.  So I had to keep going, and I did.  I kept GOING people....do you realize that I, Lori Maurer, ran FIVE MILES????? I did!!!!  I can...and I DID!  I don't know if I'm the only one that gets the gravity of this, but I totally ran five miles.  I even have a blister in a weird place on my foot to prove it. 

The funniest thing to me about this whole trip was my attitude in the last two miles.  I was grinning from ear to ear.  Every step I took was one step further than I had ever run before.  On the last leg of the loop, there is a little place with a picnic table.  There was a group of people - probably a few families with their kids.  They probably think I'm the strangest lady living in Concord, NC.  On my last loop, in the last 10th of a mile, they got to watch me run like Rocky with my hands above my head rocking it out, laughing hysterically shouting incoherent words that were meant to be, "yeah, I did it!!! I ran five miles, I'm awesome!!!".  I think it sounded more like, "Wheaaa, I schmidid.....Ewan fwive meeles.......hewehehehehehe...." I was completely incoherent.  And probably a bit dehydrated.  I'm pretty sure I heard one of them laugh, but honestly I don't blame them. I'm not kidding, I really must've looked weird. 

I ran all the way to the parking lot where I grabbed my water bottle for the 10th time (I took some breaks okay?) and I walked to the grass, collapsed and drenched my face and head with the water....and then drank some. 

As a victory celebration for RUNNING FIVE MILES, I ate um...a lot of food on Saturday.  I iced my knees, and I stretched a lot. But you know what? It still hurt.  A lot.  So much on Sunday that I limped down the stairs.  I limped up the stairs. I groaned, I moaned, and I comlained.  And to prove I'm demented, I did this in front of two ladies in their fifties who are still healing from getting both of their knees ripped out and replaced with fake ones.  I COMPLAINED ABOUT KNEE PAIN...in front of them.  Demented.

I was supposed to run a recovery run of three miles today.....I couldn't do it.  I'll do it tomorrow.  I promise. 

Friday, September 16, 2011

Little Victories

Last Saturday when we ran our three miles, I discovered that I have two options.  Option number one is to be irritated and frustrated with myself during the first mile because it hurts, it burns, and my legs feel like two big lead tree trunks I'm trying to haul up and down a hill.  The result of that first option is that I don't get enjoyment or satisfaction out of the next two miles which are not quite enjoyable but definitely satisfying.  For some reason after the first mile of excruciating shin splints, I get this lovely cool feeling down my legs, my joints limber up and I can feel my legs lighten up quite a bit. I feel like I can move along at a steady pace and not fall on my face or look like a complete idiot limping up the road.  I find myself saying, "Lori, you suck.  You can't even run one mile without gasping for air, whining about your legs, and talking about how miserable you are.  If you can't run one mile how are you going to run a half marathon?"  The result? I get ZERO enjoyment out of the next two miles.

So on Tuesday night I chose the 2nd option.  I chose to listen to my body and run/walk the first mile, and I didn't beat myself up. I chose positive self talk, and positive reinforcement. I chose to remember that the first mile is the hardest, and that doesn't make the next two useless; It makes them worth it.  So when I got the rushing cool feeling in my legs and I could run without pain I went after it. I chugged up the annoyingly long and steep "Gathering Oaks" hill and made it to the top with no pain and a sense of victory!  By the time I finished my three miles, I had a different attitude, a sweaty back, swollen hands, a very red face, and I felt like a RUNNER.  I haven't felt like a runner so far.  Doing three miles every time I run now, I'm totally a runner.  Yup, "Lori, the runner".  Soon it'll be "Lori, the half marathoner".  And as dorky as I used to think those 13.1 stickers were, I think I'm going to get one. And I might even clean a spot on my car for it.  Hey, at least it's not those little stick people. 

On a side note, anyone else ever wanted to go out and buy those stick people but do it wrong. Like buy two women, three men and a dozen kids?  Doesn't that just scream, "I belong to a freaky religious cult!"? 

Okay, back to my running questions. I'm dying to know why my face turns sooooo red when I run and then stays that way for up to an hour.  I seriously look like I got fried in the sun on a beach in Florida, it's so red.  Is that a bad thing?  The coach didn't say anything, but it's pretty obvious.

Another funny thing happened at my Tuesday night run.  I got there all jacked up because I had run up the hill the Saturday before, and I was all pumped about running again. I was feeling pretty stoked, and I walked up to the other TNT folks that were waiting for the coaches.  (Someday I'll tell you about the coaches, but I have a feeling the story will be even better as I get to know THEM better. They are characters!)  One guy started talking about how at the last tri he did there was a guy that died of a massive heart attack right in the middle of the race.  Well, one story led to another, and soon enough other people started showing up sharing their stories.  So here I am, out of shape, almost 35 years old listening to stories about people only a little older than me dying during a race.  Talk about getting you pumped up to do something physical!  All I could think of was, "If I die on the course, who will go tell Aaron?  And then all Aaron will say is, 'I refuse to ever do anything physical again, it killed my wife'".  I kept thinking all these terrible things about people just falling over on the course and what do you do? Well, according the guy with the first story, you give them a wide berth and keep on going.  How the HECK do you run around a dead guy and just keep going?  Not sure I could handle that.  Yeah, I guess that wasn't all that funny, but apparently people die all the time during these bigger races.  That's comforting.

Not to switch subjects again, but I'm going to. Why in the world does a pair of running pants that constricts your legs cost 65$?  Black shiny lycra, size large, hugging the dimples in my BUTT, and I wanna pay 65 DOLLARS to do that?  No thanks.  Oh, and the shirts are around 40-50 bucks.  And they are tight.  And the people who SHOULD be running are us chubby folk.  I'm going to open a chubby chick running store. I will sell running clothes for chubby people that are comfy and don't show off the 2nd dimple from the top on your right cheek like a flashing red light bulb on a dark and stormy night.  Good grief!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Step, Toot, Step, Toot, Step, Toot

Tonight's run was hilarious on so many levels.  First of all, it should have happened at 7am this morning.  This would have been my second group run, but I bailed.  I'm cutting myself a little break because my mother in law has been in the ICU with severe bilateral pneumonia for the last three days. She got to a regular room today and is doing really well, thank GOD!  Thank you friends for all your prayers and thoughts for the last couple days, I can't tell you how much they were appreciated. Aaron and I have been spending quite a lot of time at the hospital as you can guess.

Anyway, I digress.  I was SUPPOSED to go at 7am, but I bailed after my alarm went off at 6 and I couldn't get my crusty eyes open.  I spent the rest of the day shopping for work clothes, visiting the MIL at the hospital, and then buying a new television.  Probably the last thing we need.  Well, I got all agitated when we got home past dark and said I HAVE to run my three miles tonight. I can't go without it.  I bailed this morning, but I have to get it done.  So I put my clothes on, marched outside and began a 3.1 mile run in...my....driveway.  I measured it.  My driveway is .06KM long from garage to street.  Think about how many times I had to run back and forth from the garage to the street, street to the garage...over and over and over.  In the dark.

I had my Nike + iPod thingy in my ear cheering me on at every 1K, and that was really helpful. Here is a little trip down Lori's driveway run.

.5K - Large bug flies in my mouth. I have to stop for a second to spit it out and keep from gagging and puking in the driveway.  Wash my mouth out with water and keep going
1K - Dang, our garage needs a new coat of paint.  I sure can see where I backed into the garage door with the light reflecting that way
1.5K - Do you know what happens when you eat a burger with cheese and onions on it one and a half hours before you run? It sounds a little something like, "toot, step, toot, step, toot, step".  Come ON, I'm not the only one this has happened to.  Don't groan.  Admit it...at least to yourself, you don't have to comment or anything.  At least I'm honest.
2K - I begin talking to myself.  "C'mon Lori, don't bail. If you can't make it 5k tonight, you won't be able to make a half marathon in December. You CAN do this, keep going."  Yes, it was out loud.
2.5 K - I'm halfway there.  My legs are finally starting to numb up and lose that dead weight feeling and my shins are loosening up and starting to feel a little better.  This strange ice cold feeling starts needling it's way down my legs and making me  feel really tired.  I've never had this feeling before, but it doesn't hurt, it just feels weird. So I fight through it. And walk quite a bit at this point.
3K - My neighbor across the street comes home, backs his F250 into his driveway and as he sat with his headlights shining across to my driveway blinding me I imagined him wondering, "What in the blazes is that crazy lady doing?".  At this point my lungs feel about three sizes bigger than normal and yet completely useless.
3.5K - I realize that my ipod must not have synced correctly.  So far I've listened to three artists.  Enya, Big & Rich, and Keb Mo.  Interestingly enough, I enjoyed running to Enya much more than Big and Rich.  Keb Mo was just okay.  But it's weird listening to Orinoco Flow and feeling motivated to keep going.  Sure...whatever.
4K - I'm getting pumped about being almost done, and I run to the road yet again...this time, I hear a rustling in the leaves in the ditch at the end of my driveway.  I almost jump out of my spandex.  This shortens the distance of my driveway run from .06 to about .04. I will not be running NEAR the leaves.  God help me.
4.5K - I'm pretty sure I'm losing my mind.  I hear things everywhere. I'm starting to think that white van that just drove down my road is a kidnapper waiting for me to run to the road for the 250th time.  I'm almost certain there is a stalker in the bushes next to the garage.  What if there is a skunk out here? What if there is a pack of coyotes in my yard waiting for lap 1000 to attack me and rip my blubbery body to shreds?  Okay, time to focus on something else.
5k - Crazy neighbor lady is jumping around with her arms in the air shouting, "I made it....I made it....I made it...I made it!"

Can you believe I made it????????