I came. I ran. I fell down.

If you want to get a workout, go for a run.
If you want to feel accomplished, run a marathon.
If you want to question your existence, run an ultra marathon.

Technically a 30K isn’t really an ultra marathon. An ultra marathon is anything over marathon distance (26.2 miles or 42.2k). So my race on Saturday wasn’t an ultra marathon, even though they had ultra distances. You could have fooled me. It was, hands down, the hardest race I ever ran. With more than 80 races under my belt including obstacle runs and actual ultra marathons, that is quite a statement.

Let’s start at the beginning. Wednesday of last week I boarded the plane and jetted off to Poland. 8.5 hours later we landed in Warsaw hopped into a cab and drove around seeing the city. Then back on a plane for a short ride to Krakow. We spent the night and explored a bit of the city the next day. Nothing crazy, just about 5 miles of exploring.

Friday we took off on a train to Rzeszów to meet with our contact and get all set for the race. He was an awesome guy, named Wojtekand explained to us that we were meeting with 4 Ukrainians who were also participating in the race. Apparently there is another sister city in the Ukraine. Together we walked about 2 miles to the sports complex for our numbers and final instructions. After listening to the race coordinator speak in Polish for half an hour I still had no idea what to expect from this race. Wojtek assured me that no matter what, I wouldn’t get lost and it would be fine. It would be roads and hilly meadows and I would be fine. Just in case, I stuck an extra map in my bag. It would be fine. FINE! My mother in law promised to get a car or taxi and meet me at some places on the course to check in. I should have guessed from how hard they tried to assure me that it would be fine, that it definitely wouldn’t.

Fast forward to race morning.

We walked the two miles back to the sports complex to get the bus to the start line. I am now alone with a bus full of strangers who don’t speak English. No problem. I’ll just run through my game plan. Start slow, walk hills, conserve water, pay close attention to trail markers. Pretty solid plan. We got off the bus, took care of the essentials (ahem porta potty), and toed the start line….at the back of the pack. I’m no dummy. Speed is not my thing. That is why I run long distances.

My watch decided as the gun went off that it was not going to track today. It just didn’t feel like it. Off to great start!

We started off going up and down 3 pretty severe hills through a little city. Then we took a turn to some cute little farm lands. Just like I expected the climb was up, Up, UP. It wasn’t so bad. Just some back fields and deep ruts from 4-wheelers. It was tough to get footing so I ended up walking quite a bit. Nothing worse then hurting yourself early in a race. All the other racers disappeared. I was sure I could catch up on the downhill later. It was quite pretty. Breathtaking even – but that could have been the hills.

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Beautiful view from the top (not my pic, my attempt at this photo sucked)
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Go into the creepy tunnel. Perfectly safe I swear.

I ran/walked along the rough trail and noticed we were skirting around some woods. Until the trail abruptly turned into something that looked like the beginning of every “Into the Woods” horror movie. Pay no attention to instinct and follow these little yellow banners into the deep dark woods.

Well it didn’t take long for me to get lost. The markers on the trees were pretty spread out and when the path forked into two directions with a marked tree in the middle I picked the wrong way. I made it about 2K before I realized I had to be on the wrong path. I got myself straightened out and spent the next 10K struggling up and down mud slicked, steep ledges covered in black beetles that made me think of the Mummy movies.

After stumbling through some weird chapel gathering in the woods (no blood stains anywhere, so I don’t think it was a horror movie set) I began a pretty steep climb to the top of a ledge. Reminded me of hiking trails, expect without ropes to help you up. And then a very dramatic fall down to the bottom. I can still feel these awesome bruises on my legs. I fell once more in the woods but less dramatically. There were only a few curse words uttered.

Eventually I left the woods to see a taxi hanging out on the side of the road. An angel in the form of my mother-in-law refilled my water bottle and told me I wasn’t far from the first checkpoint. Of course I had spilled most of my water during one of my falls. I checked in some time later and luckily one of the volunteers spoke English. I refueled and headed back out. It was downhill from here right? RIGHT?!

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Moo to you too.

Not so much. I ran down into a nice little valley and into some cool farm lands. I even saw this cute cow chillin’ on the side of the pasture near the road. I snapped a quick picture and yelled out “Hey cow!” as I trotted past. Because I talk to animals. Because I love animals. Because I am an idiot. Big mistake.

The cow got up and started walking over to me. I slowed down because I noticed it had horns. I REALLY didn’t want to be charged by a steer. Not on my to-do list. So I panicked and started walking super slow. This fella followed me for about half a kilometer, giving me mini heart attacks the whole way. Then it turned into a pasture on the right and left me be. It was nice to breathe again.

There was not much happening after that until I reached the river. Just more terrible terrain. For some reason every time we got on road and I felt comfortable picking up the pace, we managed to veer off into the woods again. At this point I started using swear words to make entire sentences. I could have given the Wolf of Wall Street a run for its money on swear words per minute. Especially as I scrambled through an ACTIVE QUARRY with construction workers and over these “bridges”. Needless to say my shoes got soaked and I didn’t have extra socks.

After crossing the last huge bridge that looked like the rope bridge in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, I was checked in by medical staff that said something like 5KM. I was so excited! 5km and I was done!!! AWESOME!

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You did this on purpose. Jerks.

Just kidding. It was 5km to the real aid station. I still had 12km to go. So back onto my single track trail behind farms and around the river. I swore to myself that next time I would bring a horse. Then I ran smack into this 6 ft bull dozed wall. I was extremely unhappy to have to climb this monster because there was no way around it. The little yellow marker waved over it, mocking me.

Once I was over it, I ran into a few more interesting bits of wildlife. A black dog that scared the crap out of me and some really annoyed birds. Nothing too serious. I exited the woods and must have looked like hell. A little old lady blew me kisses from a bus stop and made me smile again as I headed back towards the city. I ran into the check in spot and only stopped for water. I was running close to the wire on time now and didn’t want to miss the cut off. Luckily the trail emptied me on to the river path which was paved and blissfully flat. Too bad I was so shot at that point I could barely appreciate it. I had felt the pull in my leg on the last fall I took and knew there was something not good going on in there (later discovered the groin pull, nothing serious, just enough to slow you down). I struggled to hit my stride for the last 5k, but a nice medic on a bike kept me company. He was enjoying practicing his English on me and asking me tons of questions about the states. Medical staff and volunteers are truly amazing under-appreciated gifts to runners.

Triumphantly I ran up the hill by my hotel and headed into the city’s square. I hit the mats at 1 minutes and 29 seconds over the cut off time. Not that anyone cared. There were still other runners on the course from the other distances. Luckily it wasn’t a strict cut off race.

For the first time in a long time I cried. Yup. At a race finish. I was so glad to be done. I took off my favorite Tifosi sunglasses (which I left on a bench and cried about losing later) and used baby wipes to try and make myself look human. Luckily they let me shower before the award ceremony. They brought the Sister Cities participants on stage to present them with trophies.

Funny enough, I do appreciate the local Sister Cities rep inviting me back for the “normal marathon” in three weeks. I wish I had ran that one to begin with! In parting, I would love to visit Poland again, and possibly run another race. But I will be finding someone who ran it first and find out what kind of race it REALLY is before I sign up.

What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger right?

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Thanks for reading this small novel! 

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Riding the Rollercoaster (without a seatbelt)

This is going to sound like a bad country song. “I been away for far too long, I just can’t seem to give you what you want….” yadda yadda. I have been away, and yes friends, I am sorry.

Truth be told, I have been riding the roller coaster of life. With my running, my health, my career, and my personal life.

The short run down goes a little something like this:

  • I completed the Goofy Challenge, and two weeks later completed the hardest race of my life. The Beast of Burden 50 Miler.
  • My combined injuries and laziness have put me about 30 pounds over my first marathon weight, which I consider to be my “happy” weight.
  • My asthma is back with a vengeance that probably has something to do with the above mentioned fact.
  • Dealt with a personal crisis that made me not want to leave the house for a solid week and had me bursting into tears at a moments notice.
  • My fiance is moving in with me and we have decided to wait a few more months before trying to buy a house.
  • We are however adopting a puppy who will be arriving this weekend or next.
  • I have been half-heartedly searching for a new full time job that will give me regular hours. Half hearted is true because by and large I do love my job. At the same time I have been taking on more freelance clients that I adore and push me to levels of stress I haven’t experienced since college.

So that is the short of it. I will be putting up recounts of what really happened during those hellish 16 hours in the snow and my encounter with the melting streets of Disney. After all I will have a bunch of time on my hands. For the first time in a long time I won’t be racing for a full two months. I have cancelled all my races for March and April in an effort to really focus on getting my goals laid out. I need to decide what I really want out of life, out of running, and out of my future.

Just two weeks after completing my 50 mile ultra, I started training again towards the Shamrock Marathon in Virginia Beach in March. Wanting to do this race for almost 3 years now, I decided this was the year to do it. Geoff and I were going to travel and run it together (well, at the same time at least). Seeing as we only had a month to train and I was coming off a 50 miler I decided that my first long run was going to be an easy 10-12. I had starting running earlier that week and was eager to get back up to the higher miles I was more comfortable with. When you don’t warm up for 5 miles, anything below that feels like torture. I headed up to the hills with 90 of my closest friend from my running group. Heading down the first hill during the second mile I felt something snap in my knee. A pulling sensation finally turned into a sharp pain. I walked down the rest of the hill to the water stop. After chatting a bit and taking some water I tried to start running again. I nearly crumpled under the pain and immediately starting walking again.

I knew. Something was seriously wrong. But I wanted to keep going. I wanted to push through the pain. My former running partner’s words floated back to me on the wind “live to run another day……” Deb was suddenly in my head and practically screaming at me to go back. I turned off my music and silently walked up the frozen hill. Going back into the lodge I was frozen and sad. I faced the facts the whole way up that I had done something wrong. My body had finally let me know that I have limits and I needed to listen. Waiting for Geoff to finish his run I talked to some of the other runners as they came back. Most offered comic relief or condolences, along with wishes for a quick recovery. Some of them shared injury stories and of course urged me to a doctor. Taking it all in, I realized that I had done this to myself. Blame the hill, blame the shoes, blame the wind…..but I knew it was me. I had convinced myself that I could run anything at anytime as long as I could walk part of it. My head kept telling me over and over that I was a fool.

I left the lodge at Chestnut Ridge and had Geoff take me to immediate care. Two hours and one set of X-Rays later they confirmed nothing was broken except my spirit. Strapping me into a horrible knee immobilizing brace the nurse told me to make an appointment with UB Sports Medicine so they can find out how bad the damage is. MRIs would probably have to be done. She then provided me with a set of crutches and sent me on my way.

So here I sit, the same seat I have been sitting in all week. Butt in a chair, fingers on a laptop, trying to fill my time and catch up on all the back projects in my “when I have time for it” folder. Wednesday I visit the doctor. Hopefully, I find out if my Patella Tendon is ripped a little, or torn so much that I need surgery. More importantly I get to find out what my life will look like for the next few months.

Will it be a woman on her expanding bottom playing computer games? Will it be a woman blazing a new trail in a new environment? Will it be some crazy injured lady on a stationary bike?

I have so many races this year beyond April that are milestones for both myself and people I care about. My mother will be doing her first 10K and hopefully her first half marathon. Geoff and I will travel to the only other place I have called home for a brand new race. I will be with my aunt in her first half maraton. I have a new puppy that I want to train into a running dog.

I tend to measure my years since I have become a runner in the number of races completed and the new challenges I take on. 2013 has already been a year of amazing highs. Completing my first Ultra and the Goofy Challenge in the same month was incredible. But obviously it has been followed by a series of incredible lows. My only hope is for a quick recovery and some type of motivational epiphany that will set me on the right path. I have come to count on intuition and a type of “divine intervention” to get me through tough times like this. I can only hope that answers are coming…..either from a doctor or otherwise.

Run on my friends! I hope to be running again with you soon.

The Beauty of the 13 Minute Mile

runnerOOBThere is something interesting about conversations with newer runners…..and even slower runners….ask them how they feel about walking.

I have had the conversation with many runners over the past few years. There seems to be a very stark line between people. Of course you have the people who honor walking as a legitimate activity. Those people who walk marathons and half marathon. But lately there seems to be a growing number of people who seem to equate walking with failure. I have heard things like, “My goal is to do this whole race without walking” or “I would have done so much better if I hadn’t stopped to walk.” or even “I was doing great until I had to walk”……Since when does walking equal failure? Even my beginner people that I mentor in the No Boundaries program set goals that involve never having to stop and walk again. People seem to get genuinely upset when they have to stop and walk during a race. I’m all for setting goals to push yourself further, but why the stigma about walking? Even with the increasing information suggesting that walking while running is better for you then straight running. Then of course there is Jeff Galloway’s programs that promote walk/running.  So why the snickering when people admit to walk/running? Why is this looked down upon and suggested that it is not “real running”. Tell me, is not the 10 mile distance the same?

Truth is, walking does make running easier at time. For example, this summer I completed a 5 mile run around a standard loop that I use regularly. I ran the entire time and ended up with a time of about 56 minutes. I completed the same run the following week at run 10 and walk 1 minute intervals. I ended up with a time of about 53 minutes. It turns out that I actually run faster when I know I get a rest break at regular intervals. What a concept!

I’ve been faced with a new set of questions lately. Upon challenging myself to complete the winter Beast of Burden 50 Miler I knew that I would have to embrace walking even more then I already do. Coming off a new half marathon PR I had to face the music that I could not maintain that pace for 50 miles. I had to slow down. I had to start walking more. Now, as I have been slowing my pace to actually hope of completing the distance it seems to bother me more and more that people are so biased towards walking. In Vegas last weekend I passed spectators who shouted at me to “get moving because you are almost there”. Several encouraged me that I could do it if I just started running again. A little girl even ran up along side me and told me to run like her. She was adorable so of course I did, even though I was on a scheduled walk interval. I had never realized before that even spectators (who may or may not be runners) equate a walk break as something negative.

I did a long run yesterday from my house to my fiance’s house and passed many things I probably wouldn’t have seen if I had been running my normal pace. I didn’t freak out when I had to stop to use the bathroom in Tim Horton’s (or again at Walgreens, still working out fueling issues!). I embraced the journey and the slowness of it all. Yes, it took me much longer then normal to complete 31.5 miles this weekend. Yes, I walked A LOT (I’ve been working with 5:2 run/walk intervals). But it didn’t bother me as much as it would some people. I get frustrated that I may be loosing speed, sure….. what if I finish my ultra and it takes me forever to build back up my speed? I’ve always focused on distance because I’m not a particularly fast runner. 11 minute miles are a thrill to me. Anything below that is a miracle. Running a 2:19 in Philadelphia sent me through the roof. Now, just as I was getting faster I take on a new challenge that slows me down. I found it to be beautiful that I still had something around 13 minute miles yesterday when I spent so much time walking. It may be strange, but I was damn proud of an average of 13 minute miles.

Now I ask you…..what is your opinion on walking? Do you hear negativity about it? Do you think it is more about the journey or the speed? What do you think of people who walk entire marathons and half marathons (not necessarily for charity, just for “fun”)? I’m really curious to know people’s thoughts.

 

 

My First Triathlon – The Recap

What does it mean to be a Triathlete?
-It means you completed the distance. You did not give up. You did not drown, crash, or stumble…..and if you did, you got back up. No matter how long it took or how difficult it was, you finished.

A Tri in the Buff has defined me as a Triathlete. I completed the Sprint distance and it was the hardest thing I have ever completed. I feel like I have said that frequently as of late. A few weeks ago I completed in an obstacle distance race that made 5.5 miles feel like an 8 hour mountain climb.

The triathlon took the cake over the obstacle race. You hold nothing back and at the end you have nothing left.

Here is how it went down:

I packed and repacked my bag 8,000 times the night before. Pins and bibs in place, glide at the ready, and KT Tape in place. I woke up freaking out, shoved down some breakfast and spent the hour it took to drive out there frantically repacking my bag in my head. I was sure I had forgotten something. I arrived at the race site and immediately calmed down.  I had made it. That meant my friends were there (Fran and Sam especially) and I couldn’t go home without finishing. I wouldn’t live it down. As I have told myself over and over…I am way too stubborn to fail at what I put my mind to.

I got my bike into prime position. The only good thing about having a 10 year old’s Huffy mountain bike is that you get to be in the Fat Tire Rack. Meaning you are super close to the Bike In/Out transition area, a fact I was infinitely grateful for. Everything was all laid out and my mom had braided my hair to fit under my swim cap. I fantasized briefly about chopping all my waist-length hair off so that it would fit under a cap. I spent the remaining time before the races started distributing Marathon Bars to various triathlon clubs. I honestly felt more comfortable with the Trivault athletes then my own Tri group Ionraic. Mostly because I knew all the Trivault people from work. I hadn’t had the opportunity to workout with Ionraic since I joined so close to the race. As the waves were set to go off I headed down the beach. I watched everyone getting ready in their wetsuits and freaked out about why I hadn’t rented one. I felt so out of place, but had never swam in one before and felt strange about it.

When it came time to enter the corral to get ready to swim I freaked out a little. Then I saw Fran. She assured me I wouldn’t drown and for some reason I believed her. I had become so worried about the swim. Those floating markers were SO FAR away. Suddenly I got really calm and then started making jokes. We were all nervous in the gates. Little did I know my boyfriend took a shot of my nervous face….. (yeah that’s me in the green top)

 

When we finally got in the water and walked out to the marker I felt a sharp pain in my foot. I pulled it up and noticed two deep cuts on my left foot. I had stepped on zebra mussels and sliced my foot open. I felt panicked again…..how could I possible run?? Next thing I know the 30 second warning was given and the woman next to me started freaking out a bit. I decided to comfort her instead of worrying about my foot. I was there and there was no turning back.

BOOOM!!!! GO!!!!!

Off we went into the waters. The goal was to swim out to the marker, turn right and swim to the next marker, then swim back to shore. Essentially a giant rectangle. About 100 meters out, the other women started to pull ahead. I was left with about five people around me and two behind. Suddenly the woman I started with started screaming. “I’m freaking out! I’M FREAKING OUT!!! IT’S TOO FAR!!!” I tried to talk her down and keep swimming. I told her to flip over and float, but without a wet suit she was too panicked to float successfully. She frantically started waving her arms around her head and the lifeboat started to descend on us. Quickly I swam faster, afraid they would pick me up and not let me finish. Alternating freestyle and breaststroke I turned the first marker. Suddenly it was just me and the lake. It was really peaceful. I just drifted and swam towards my next marker. I was suspended and completely comfortable. I kept telling myself I had been swimming in this lake since I was a child and this was no different. It was very meditative….approaching the last marker I ran out onto the beach. There was an incline up to the bike zone, so I walked and took my time. I could feel sand in my cut but tried to ignore it.

Quickly I transitioned and choked down a gel. I slipped on my racing jersey with my number and I felt good. Leaving the bike area I thought the hardest part was over……HA!

I knew my bike was a poor choice, but there was no help for it. It was all I had. Much to my surprise however, it wouldn’t change gears. Whatever tune-ups my father had made to it the day before made the gears stick. I was being passed by leisurely paced riders…..
Then the worst of it. Coming down off a big hill two women were riding side-by-side (illegal). They came up next to me unannounced (also illegal) and were slow in passing me. Zooming down on us was one of the serious Olympic distance racers calling out “On your left!” The women drifted closer to me and I drifted closer to the side of the road……WHAM!

Suddenly my right shoulder was on fire and I couldn’t figure out why. I veered onto the gravel and struggled to maintain control on my bike. Luckily I didn’t crash, and my frustrated yell gave the two women a sudden urge to get away from me. Glancing back, I could see a mailbox quivering on the side of the road. I had smashed into it because I had no room. I hadn’t even seen it coming. The rest of the ride was somewhat of a blur. I entered the final turn and was glad to just get off the bike. My back and shoulder were hurting and I just wanted to be done. I was already so tired. Nap time never sounded so good.

In went the bike and I was out of the second transition in under a minute. I finally experienced that rubber leg feeling I was lucky to never experience in my brick workouts. I was not a happy camper. I alternated run/walking for the first 2 miles. Then I couldn’t feel my legs anymore and just went for it. I was ready for the finish. Finding some kind of motivation I rounded the final corner and made it under the archway.

 

I HAD FINISHED!

I enjoyed some well deserved Timbits and had a little post race chat sessions with my friends. Then in the awards ceremony I got a bit of a surprise. I had won second place in my division! My prize? Armwarmers and a jar of almond butter….and I couldn’t have been more pleased 🙂 The first place winner (Lindsay, who I use to work with) took a picture with me on the podium. I was seriously happy to be finished….but you know what? I did it!!!!

I’m a Triathlete!!!

 

Don’t Run….Tri!

I am heading into my final week of triathlon training.

Surprised? Turns out my “stress fractures” were misdiagnosed. I apparently have extra bones in my feet that appear as small cracks on the xrays. The whole situation was very strange and surreal. After many more tests it was discovered that I have nerve problems in the top of my foot and the pain in my ankle was caused by a fraying tendon. It has since healed and I am continuing on with my original plan to compete in my first Triathlon. Said Triathlon is next Saturday.

Scared? You have no idea.

In an effort to better prepare myself for the journey, I attended a free clinic at TriSpot geared towards preparing people for this specific race. The race director from Score-This was giving the clinic and had a complete breakdown of what to expect from the course, the officials, and the transitions. The information helped me feel better prepared, but unsure about how good my training really has been. How do you know when you are ready for a new adventure? When does it stop being nerves and is just legitimate fear? How do you walk the line between stubborn determination and stupidity? How do you not end up like this:

So on that note, I just wanted to check in with everyone. Has your training been going well? Do you have any big races looming on the horizon? After I try this Tri I will be back into training for the Rock and Roll Providence Half Marathon, then it is full swing into one half a month mayhem.

Race Recap Hamilton Marathon – My first attempt at 26.2 Glory

I came, I ran, I walked, and I finished. I am officially a marathoner. I even have the medal to prove it:

Needless to say if you have been following my blog at all, I did not qualify for Boston. And no. It wasn’t even close. I’ve said it before, I am slow. Getting faster, but still slow. Last year I was super excited to maintain a 13 minute mile pace. This year I’ve improved but my average is still above 10mm. No Boston in my future. Just a fact. 🙂

I did however managed to stick with my race plan almost the entire way. Impressive since I have a tendency to abandon ship and go free for all about half way through. The race was in Hamilton Ontario so I made sure to get up at 5AM so I could get there in time. Hamilton is a bit over an hour from my house. I triple checked everything, said goodbye to my puppy and was on my way. I was there with time to spare and there were no lines for the portos (unheard of!) and plenty of parking (hello, isnt there a marathon today?). I found Deb soon after an she was a bit worse for wear. She knew Jerry Friesen from all the time she spent running in Canada and only found out the night before that he had passed. It was only then that I put together in my mind who he was. We spent quite a bit of time with him and his wife after the Twenty Valley Challenge talking about races and organizations. So on that sad note we loaded into the bus to the start.

At the school where the start line was, we found Mike our fellow Team Bacon buddy. I was shocked since I figured he’d only come up for the finish. 5 hours is a long time to wait for your friends to finish a marathon. Well he snapped a quick picture of us so we’d have a start picture. Then I ditched my toss off pants because I didn’t want to have to stop and get them off.

 

I also had him take a picture of this crazy dude in full hockey gear. I was beyond impressed because that stuff is heavy. Pads, helmet, the whole thing. If only it had been a Sabres jersey instead he would have been completely awesome. But thats okay….we beat the leafs the night before 🙂

So after waiting for ages at the start (not really) we were on our way. I set my virtual buddy for 12mm and set my ipod for go. I was as ready as I could possibly be. But anything can happen in 26 miles…..

What goes through your mind while running a Marathon:

Mile 1 – I’m running a marathon! Woohoo! Hey we found Mo & Jo how are you guys? Awesome! This is awesome! Man, I wish I had gloves….. (split: 11:14)

Mile 2 – Holy cow, I really am running a marathon. Why is Deb going so fast? She is up there running with Jo and I’m here. *checks watch, hmm, I’m still fine, in fact I’m a little too fast* (split: 11:53)

Mile 3 – Tossed off my hoodie to a volunteer. My hands are freezing! This wind is wicked. What is that in the road? Gloves? Hm, they look new…. *grabs them* Thank god for dollar store cheapies you can throw away. These are awesome. Jo then turned around and scooped up the headband that was lying next to them. Very nice. Toss offs on a race course are fair game after all. (split: 11:58)

Mile 4 – I’ll walk through this water stop and dream about hitting that kid. “You’re almost there” HAHA too funny….not. Where did Deb go? I think that is her up there running alone, funny since I have Jo with me now (split: 12:04) <right on pace 🙂

Mile 5 – Fuel is yummy, but I should have tried a new flavor while training. I’m really kinda sick of strawberry. However, eloads are still the most delicious thing ever. I could live off these things. And I love this song. Where is Jo? (split: 11:58)

Mile 6 – Where did everyone go? I’m suddenly all alone. Oh well. This is kinda funny but those cows smell like crap. Mooooo Mooooo Moooooo (yes, I literally started mooing at the cows). (split: 11:53)

Mile 7 – Why are their people driving on the course….. HOLY SHIT! That guy almost hit me! || this close! Haha he’s getting a ticket for blowing by the cop. *honk honk* WTF? Why is this guy driving behind me on the wrong side of the road inside the cones…..and honking at me to move? I’m running here idiot! Damn….I hope I survive this race. This is kinda scary. Maybe marathons aren’t my thing (split: 12:05)

Mile 8 – Okay, I’m going to slow down and walk a bit (then I hear super loud COCK-A-DOODLE-DOOOOO right by my right leg) Holy shit Turkey! Wait… I’m a moron, that’s definitely a rooster. Why is it walking next to me? And why the hell did I think Turkey? Wow, marathons really mess with your head. I don’t think I can take anymore scares today. (split: 12:03)

Mile 9 – It’s really starting to get warm out here, I’m so glad I dressed in short sleeves. I was cold before but now its hot. Better ditch these gloves on that mailbox. Won’t they be surprised when they get their mail. I bet all those other people are wishing they had less clothes. I wonder if people in Alaska wish they had less clothes when they run….wait what? Where did that come from? I think I need more eload tabs. (split: 11:39)

Mile 10 – The world is a beautiful place. Thanks to everyone up there watching over me. I am truly and completely blessed. My life is wonderful. I have a great job, great house, great dog, and wonderful passion that fills me with joy and the recent addition of a wonderful boyfriend. Honestly, how did I get so lucky. Everytime I think my life is perfect, something else pops up and makes it even better. I am overwhelmingly grateful. (yes I spent most of mile 10 praying as I was alone on an open country road and it seemed perfectly appropriate) (split: 12:08)

Mile 11 – Hey, people! What is that awesome smell? It smells like bread baking….like tim hortons! Man I could go for a Tim’s bagel right about now…eh…on second thought, that smells disgusting. Yuck. But hey, more than 1/3 done. Wish I had packed a Honey Stinger waffle….damn. I really want some real food. (split: 12:03)

Mile 12 – This really is a nice day. I think I’ll sing a little tune. *starts singing along with ipod out loud* I’m almost half done and I still feel great. (split: 11:52)

Mile 13 – Funny I thought there was aid at the 13 mile mark….oh never mind, there it is. My those people look so cheerful. What did that cop say to me? Oh, my socks match my shoes….funny I never noticed that but they do today. Hey! MY SHOES GLITTER! That’s awesome! Wait….I hope I’m not imaging that…that could be a bad sign. Better take an extra cup of water and some more eloads. (split 12:21)

Mile 14 – Everyone keeps telling me the downhill is ahead. Where is it? I swear I’ve been going uphill forever. I better fix my sock….it feels like I getting a blister. And it’s after the half mark, that means I can speed up if I want to. I really want to but I don’t think I should. (split: 12:41)

Mile 15 – When they say downhill they aren’t kidding. I think we are flying down a mountain. Bye bye nice lady, this is the fun part! Weeeeeeeee! (split: 10:31)

Mile 16 – Omg I feel AMAZING! Where is this supposed wall everyone keeps talking about? I really don’t want to hit it, but this relaxed pace feels great. If I keep this up I’ll finish with a huge negative split. I wonder if I’ll ever see Deb again before the finish. She is probably having a great race. (split: 10:49)

Mile 17 – I really should slow down again. I’m over 3 minutes ahead of my pacer and I really do have 9 miles left to go. Plus this hill can’t go on forever. Better pull back. Ew a dead rabbit. 😦 Better start singing again. Opps, didn’t realize that guy is behind me. Hope he likes Basshunter, but I guess it doesn’t matter….he probably doesn’t understand Swedish anyhow…. (split: 11:24)

Mile 18 – Hey all those cars are honking at us in support! Cool! Usually it’s just anger lol. Wait a minute…..THAT’S DEB AHEAD! I found her! She’s at that water stop! HEY DEB! I still feel great! (split 12:09)

Mile 19 – Well maybe not so great. I really should get back to 0 ahead on my pacer. They say the last 10K is the hardest. I’ve done so good this far I don’t want to blow it. Urgh. Who invited my cranky calf muscle to the party? I wonder if Jo is okay…. (split: 13:06)

Mile 20 – These Kilometer markers are getting me all confused. I think the yellow ones are marathon and the white are half but I’m not sure. My watch says 10K to go. I hope that’s true. I’m running out of juice but probably have just enough in me for 6 more. Plus got to save a little for a finish kick. It’s only a 10K…… (split: 13:34)

Mile 21 – Hey buddy this is a marathon. I bet he asked all the runners what they were running. I love his Canadian flag though….would it be weird to start singing “O’Canada” especially since Party in the USA just came on my ipod…..how funny. At least I am right on pace with my buddy now, I wonder what my actual pace is. I really have to run 5 more miles? I’m tired. (split: 13:01)

Mile 22 – No. No. NO!!! I hate you! I hate you! How DARE YOU! I still have miles left and you give out on me! YOU STUPID KNEE! I thought we were over this! I thought you were healed! NO!!!! (Needless to say, my left knee turned to jelly and was EXTREMELY painful). This is so unfair. I am right on pace for my 5:15 finish. I followed my race plan, I didn’t go out too fast. I stuck to my pace! I did everything right! WHY??!!? (split: 15:00)

Mile 23 – I still have 3 more miles. It’s so far. That’s like another half hour. So far….so far…. Deb I’m glad I caught you, but it is sooo farr…..I can try but shuffling is all I can managed. Running hurts. Walking hurts. My options are walk fast or shuffle slow…and both still hurt. (split: 14:00)

Mile 24 – Omg it hurts so bad. I can feel it swelling. It looks like an orange. And now my ankles are hurting too. Probably from the weird shuffle/non running motion. Are we there yet? Seriously? Please just let me get there. Let it be over. (split: 13:57)

Mile 25 – My lower body just went numb. That is a really bad sign. And those bastard children have ice cream. I want ice cream so bad. I’m getting a freakin’ ice cream. Why am I even bothering to do this? There is no one at the finish line for me. My family is home watching football. My friends think I’m insane. No one even gives a shit if I finish. The only person waiting is Mike. I guess my running friends are more family than my family. No damn it. I won’t cry about this. This is my freakin’ day. I will make it there and it will be mine and mine alone. No one can take this from me. God my knee hurts. I won’t make 5:15 but I will still finish damn it. It’s my first so I get a PR anyway right? (split: 15:53)

Mile 26 – Deb please don’t leave me. I think I really need us to run this in together. You adopted me back in January and you’re my marathon momma. Remember the kids on the bike back in spring? “Are you guys mother/daughter marathoners?” I remember. Besides my own stubbornness you are the only reason I am here. I really should tell you this but I can’t talk….the pain…. soon….soon… we can run it in. You tell me not to kick to hard at the finish because you won’t be able to keep up. I don’t think I will be kicking at all…..just screaming. (split: 15:07)

Mile .2 – (split 11:40) We have a little left. Who the hell put this hill right before the finish….the horror….the evil….and that kid with the bell better get out of my way because I am pissed there is a hill. OMG! There is the finish. Hold my hand we are coming in for a landing……AHHHHHH MY KNEE!!!!

We made it in with a time of 5:30:52. Together. Mike and Bryan were waiting for us with wonderful water and bagels….Team Bacon made it. The four of us all completed our marathons. And at the finish line we all bemoaned the fact that we signed up for Flying Pig in May. Like it or not, we will be suffering the 26.2 all over again in 6 months. For all the pain, sweat, and struggle it was worth every minute and every mile. We train together, we race together, and we succeed together. I’m sore as hell today but I own it. I earned it. I will recover and live to run another day. I am unable to express how grateful I am to my team mates, because the words don’t exist.

Wherever our roads will take us it is a comfort to know that we will always have Bacon….. 🙂

Team Bacon