Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Run All the Miles - Marine Corps Marathon 2012

Four weeks ago, I did something I thought I would never do in a million years.  No, I did not eat liver mush with pimento cheese (ick. No offense my southern friends, but I can safely say this will never happen in a gazillion batrillion quadrillion millenion years).

I ran a marathon.  The Marine Corps Marathon to be exact.

I really don't know what to say about it.  Obviously, right?  It's taken me 4 weeks to write about it!  It still feels a bit surreal to me.  I mean, I know I did it, right?  I have the pictures and the magnet to prove it.  But really?  Did I really do that?

Jyl and I set out on a 6 hour car ride to our nation's capital early on Friday morning, right after we completed our first fuel stop at Summit Coffee....a girl needs her coffee and bagel.   With our eyes to the sky and ear to the radio for any Hurricane Sandy updates, we made it to DC by mid afternoon.

Jyl is really happy she got
a BRIGHT orange shirt :)
This certifies that you,
Hope Childress,
are hereby able to
Potty Like a Rock Star
After checking in and unpacking, we decided to head over to the expo.  (In hindsight, I'm SO glad we did this on Friday. I mean, it was busy on Friday, but it was much worse the following day!)  This is where you pick up your number and then shop the vendor booths and the Brooks store, and buy enough stuff so you can "earn" a VIP porta potty pass, so you can "potty like a rock star" at the start line on race day.

From the expo, we took the shuttle bus to the First Timer's Pep Rally, which was good in concept, but I don't think feeding a bunch of first-time marathoners nachos with spicy chicken and beef were the way to go.  So, we ducked out to find our way back to the hotel and grab some real food there.

Trying to figure out the camera phone
outside the hotel...
That's the White House!
Saturday morning found us up and ready to go.  I had to do a little 10 minute jog just to shake out the cobwebs the day before race day, so Jyl and I threw on our shorts and sneakers and headed out the door.  What an amazing run!  We just went without knowing really where we were heading, only knowing we were heading toward that big white obelisk in the sky (aka, the Washington Monument).  You are not going to believe this...I didn't!  One or two blocks away, and BOOM.  There was the White House.  You can see my surprise!  And then we stopped for....wait for and a bagel before getting ready to see some sights!

My Diamond.
We did some re-con at the Pentagon to try to find the start line and then took in a museum or two where we saw the First Lady Dresses, visited the Hope My Diamond and I became President.  Lunch time found us out on the mall with our peanut butter and jelly sandwiches taking in a kickball tourney.
Lori, can you carry me
to the finish line??

Saving energy for the big day to follow, Jyl thought it best we take in some R&R before we met our friends Lori and Ashley, and Lori's parents for our pasta dinner.  Lori would be running in her first marathon as well, so we were both a bundle of nerves.  See?  I'm holding on for dear life....

"....and let there be cute
puppies for all!"
Then it was time.  It was time to say our goodbyes and prepare ourselves for the next day where we would face over 20,000 other runners, dodging, weaving and fighting our way to the finish line.  What more can I say about the race.  It was 26.2 miles!  A lot of it was spent trying to NOT trip over people, run over people and looking at the sky to see if Sandy would make an appearance (thankfully for us, she did not; but my heart still goes out to all who were not so lucky).

There were happy times and times I wanted to quit.  Times I felt like I could go forever and times I thought I would break.  But, after all the motivational sayings I had written on my body, one stupid sign someone had was like a slideshow in my brain....

So I did.

And then I cried.  I cried for people who ran next to me. I cried for the service men and women who told me "thank you" as they shook my hand and for all those that weren't there.  I cried for my dad whom I hoped was watching me from on high and was proud.  And I then I cried for myself.  And then I got my picture made!

And then?

Then we celebrated!!  I try to keep this blog pretty PG-13, but I'm going to be honest with you.  I had not had a beer in a month by this point.  I was ready to taste some of that hoppy goodness with a delicious no-so-healthy pasta dish with some kind of cream sauce!  So we did!

Lori, how in the hell can you look this good after running
26.2 miles?  Gah.

NOT tipsy.  Just very happy with my partner in crime!
And then?

Since we were heading back south early in the morning hoping to beat most of what Sandy was preparing to throw at the northeast, we called it an early night.  We walked (Jyl walked, I hobbled) back to the hotel, absolutely exhausted!  I was still reveling a little, so I brought a glass of wine back to the room and had the best recovery night cap ever.

Ice, wine and a Twilight marathon
for the marathoner?
Yes, please.

Yes, this lasted for like only 20 minutes before I passed out.

Looking back, I started this without really knowing what I was getting into.  I don't know what I was thinking, trying to do this all on my own.  If it wasn't for Jyl, Lori and Ashley, I would NOT have made it through that day.

And I've made some pretty fantastic friends throughout this journey.

So many things to say, to so many people, so I will just say this:

I am so very lucky.

Words for Wednesday

Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will.

                                                                                                                                - Mahatma Gandhi

author's note:
I wonder if Mahatma ever did any tempo runs.....

Friday, November 16, 2012

Free Time....

I keep a pretty tight schedule usually blocked in a 3 or 4 month time period, whether it be a school semester, training cycle....or as it was the case this fall, both.  During these blocks I ALWAYS look forward to those precious weeks between the ending of one block and the beginning of the other.  So many things I want to do and so many opportunities to get those chores done that I had not quite been able to get to.  And then I start making my two lists (you know me, I need my lists):  "Fun Things I've Been Wanting To Do" and "Chores I've Been Neglecting."  The possibilities are endless!  Kinda like that Swiffer commercial where the woman discovers she has time to read a book.  (And no, this is not an endorsement for the Swiffer Duster since its use would fall under the "chores I've been neglecting" list....)

So many things I've been wanting to do!  What to do first...  Out of all those things....

My gosh, I only have 3 do ALL those things.  Oh no, what if I can't get it all done?  How do I choose?  What if I choose wrong...time wasted that may have been better spent doing something else.  So much to choose from....what is it that I REALLY want to do?  Omigosh, I don't know what to do....

Free time, folks, stresses me out.

It stresses me out SO MUCH.  I get so overwhelmed that I can't seem to do anything.  So I don't.

Last night, I had time.  No paper do, no homework to read and the house to myself.  I got excited at the prospect of reading a know, for fun!  But I sat there, looking through my Kindle shelves, my much I haven't read yet, so much I want to read!  And then it happened.  I got so beside myself I couldn't make a decision.  Instead, I went and watched my DVR recording of Grey's Anatomy and fell asleep on the couch during an episode of Elementary (must watch this show.  Holmes is hysterical!).

The sheer stress of it all prompted this post and plea...

I want to read and I don't want to stress over the decision.  So friends, let's make this fun.

What's been on your nightstand that you might recommend?

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

A Brief Interruption

This brief interruption of regular programming has been brought to you by The-World-Must Stop-Because You-Have-A-Paper-Due Enterprises.  All systems were taken offline so that every available resource could be directed to the project's completion.

We are happy to report that this project is in its final stages and regular posts of thought provoking randomness and wit as well as coverage on most worldly topics, such as the Twilight marathon that will soon commence in my living room as we debate the acting prowess of Kristin Stewart, will soon resume.

C'mon know you missed me...

Monday, November 5, 2012

It's kinda like Christmas...

Hi folks.  Lots have happened since my last post.  Well, lots of miles anyway; 26.2 to be exact.  And there are lots of words to say and pictures to show, but we'll get to all that in time.

Right now, I thought we'd talk about a little thing called "recovery."

I was prepared for a lot of things; pain, celebration beer, mile 20, fatigue, porta potties....
And I was not prepared for a lot of things; the number of men seen peeing on the side of the road (really, no shame), the mob of people, the actual amount of shot blocks and hammer gels I would actually consume....
And I was not prepared for the days following. Physically, I was fine by Wednesday.  Stairs and toilets were no longer my enemy.  But mentally? Well folks, I'll be honest with you.  It wasn't pretty.  

Do you remember, when you were a kid, watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade on tv?  Seeing all the floats and marching bands go by, picking out the big balloons and dancing like a Rockette in your living room?  Okay, I may have been the only one practicing her kick line...but nonetheless, we all got excited when that last float came into view.  You know, the one with the jolly old man himself!  It marked the beginning of the holiday season.  You got your Sears Wish Book or the Toys R Us catalog in the made your "What I Want for Christmas" list, you waited, counted down the days, anticipating, dreaming.  And then Christmas Eve came and you could hardly sleep.  You just knew that jolly man was downstairs filling up the stockings, piling up the presents under the tree....You've been waiting for this day for WEEKS, and then, just like that

it was over.

No more cookies.  No more candy.  No more special hot cocoa with the peppermint stick.  No more parties. All the branches of your family tree returned to their own forests.  You're left.  All alone. Among the ripped wrappings and the once shiny bows that now have lost their luster.

Yea.  That's what my recovery was like.
Folks...I didn't even want peanut butter.  Now you know it had to be bad!

I've heard recovery is different for everybody.  People closest to me kept saying..."don't worry, it's normal."  No way in HELL was this normal!  All I wanted to do was lay in a fetal position and watch NCIS re-runs.  And I did.  And I felt horrible about it, but I still couldn't seem to pick myself up.  And then the flashbacks started.  Back to the times when I was happy laying on the couch feeding my face with Hershey Nuggets with Toffee, watching movies or the entire collection of X-Files, and I got scared.  So scared.  I began to wonder if I'd be able to get out of the spiral before I ended up like that again.  What's next?  What will I do now?  I don't have a plan.  I always have a plan.

I wanted to cry, but I didn't have tears.  I wanted to get up, but I didn't have the desire.  I wanted to sleep, but I couldn't close my eyes.  Before I knew it, my "vacation" was over.  Friday came and I had to get back to work.  I had to get back to something.  And then hour by hour, the haze began to clear.  I started feeling okay again.  I started to feel back to normal.  I could smile.  I saw a picture of myself crossing the finish and then it all rushed back to me.  That feeling of accomplishment, of pride, my sense of self.  And without even realizing it, my fingers typed that email...

Hi Coach Sarah -
So.  What's next :)

Bottom line.  Training is different for everyone.  And now I understand that recovery is different for everyone.  I wasn't expecting this depression, this grief.  I'm writing this today to tell you, Fellow Newbie That Might Be Reading, that no, not everyone experiences this; but if you do, it's okay.  Don't panic.  And a small're going to want to punch people when they tell you "allow yourself a few days,"  but before you throw down you need to remember these three words....they are right.

Allow yourself a few days, and before you know it, you'll be making that "What I Want List...."  Mine may or may not include a road bike ;)