Monday, October 8, 2012

I woke up the other day to FREEZING Colorado temperatures, looked down at the empty bowl which once held my sticky toffee pudding cake, and thought to myself, "Sweet fancy Moses, this is the off-season!" You know the feeling: You just want to go into hibernation after logging into Training Peaks and seeing the stats from the last month or two...and then, all of a sudden, that one hour recovery spin at an easy heart rate feels like a two and a half hour threshold sufferfest.  This is the time of year when, historically, I loosen up on my training and my diet...and my belt. Sometime around early March, I fly into a panic, start hitting the bike with some serious intention and drop a good seven or eight pounds.
Well, not this year.

I'm firmly committed to keeping myself in good order through the winter months. No more sticky toffee pudding. No more excuses.

So, I hearken back to distance running as a winter staple. Running is awesome because it is 1) cheap, 2) efficient & 3) does not require me to be confined indoors, to the gym. I don't actually like to run. I do it because I really believe it is the best all-over conditioning and because it nicely elevates my heart rate and burns a crap load (actual measurement) of calories very quickly. In a typical week, I get in about 25-30 miles on foot. For my runner friends, that's mere change. For my cyclist buddies, that's a lot of time spent pounding the pavement.

Anyway, I run a least by any matrix that counts. So, I was a little shady on registering for a 5k. On a typical morning, I run at least six or seven miles. The thought of PAYING to run a race a mere three miles in length seemed, well, silly. My friend and sometimes running partner Allison talked me into it: "Short distances rock because all the sudden you realize how FAST you are relative to everyone else." I was dubious, mostly because I am NOT fast. (It's actually the earth's fault that I'm slow. Don't believe me?

But, well, ok.

I registered for the Race for the Cure in Denver, despite having some real issues with Komen. (That's a topic for another day.) Mostly, I chose it for the 1-mile kids race, which meant the tots could come along and I wouldn't have to hear about my dereliction of motherly duties at the finish line.

The plan: I get up Sunday morning early enough to eat my oatmeal and bolus my insulin so that I have little on board when I run, pick up my packet at 6:15, make it to the start line before 7:00 so I don't get screwed with a lousy start position, and prove Allison right. Then, I wander through the expo for an hour before heading to the one-mile start line with Dennis and the kids.

Ever read this?

Sometimes you just have one of those days where you set out to do something and the forces combine to eff up your ess so that you have the worst day imaginable as one thing after another goes wrong. Yesterday was one of those days for me.

For starters, I started feeling sick on Saturday night thanks to my two kids and their snotty little noses. So sick, that I finally hit the Nyquil. Like, a lot of it. So much, that I dozed off without setting my alarm. In my drug-induced Nyquil stupor, I awoke at 6:18. I threw back the covers and did the reasonable thing - I started screaming at Dennis: "Jesus effing Christ, why didn't you set a freaking alarm?! What the f%$ am I supposed to do now?? Get the fricking kids and get in the damn car!!"

Dennis, still half asleep (thank God, because he might not really remember this tirade), suggested that I just go without him and the kids, and they would meet me for the start of the one mile race hours later. So, I grabbed a Warrior Bar that tasted like a vitamin and smelled like cat pee (seriously, those things are God-awful), and ran to the car. Of course, my windows were freaking FROZEN because it was 20 degrees outside and dark as night, so I wasted another ten minutes scraping those.

I was pulling into the parking lot and checking my blood sugar at the same time, all the while focused on the line at packet pick up. I glanced down at my meter, and saw the following string of digits: 379. Fricking cold. Anytime I get even the slightest bit sick, my blood sugar goes through the roof. So, I give myself a couple units to come back down to earth...but, of course, I don't generally like to shoot up before I run. On the one hand, it's only a 5k. On the other hand, I don't really want to go low doing a 5k. So, I made the decision to take a late start time.

Late starts suck because it means running through a sea of slower people and throwing elbows all the way to the front so that I can get a good pace, taking out a couple moms with strollers so that I don't get stuck behind the race walkers. Still, I felt like this was the best that the universe had conspired to offer.

The bright note? I ran into my buddy, Danny, who just got a slot on the United Health Care Pro Cycling Team. He was leading out the races, and he positioned me nicely toward the front. (Thanks, Dan.) I still had a bunch of chicks in pink standing before me, but at least I wasn't behind the stroller women.

I stood there freezing for the next half an hour, until the start. I know, I know. I don't like people who bitch about the weather, either. Generally, I feel like worrying about Mother Nature making things difficult means you need to harden up. It’s not your tempo runs or your weekly mileage or your chia seeds or your stupid toe shoes (I was wearing mine, and yes, Miranda Fort, I love them) that will get you across the finish line. It’s your willingness to do whatever you gotta do. And, you know, it's three miles. Everyone has to deal with the weather on race day...but 20 degrees is frickin' cold.

Once I was running, I did warm up and I ended up having a great race despite all the ridiculousness of the morning. I managed a 8:12 pace, which was surprising because my first split was terrible - approaching nine minutes. (Probably because I wasn't willing to stab the pack of women jogging in one long, solid, horizontal line directly in front of me, making it impossible for me to pass.)

I crossed the finish line, hugged my kids, told my husband I was sorry for the string of bad names I called him earlier in the day. I then called him a whole other string of bad names as I was dashing frantically with he and the kids to the start line of the one mile race. My late start left only minutes between the two races, and we had to make it a good half mile from where we were standing. Dennis was taking his time.  Henry was screaming and crying about the cold the entire way. "Go INSIDE. Inside. It's so cold. I hate this. I hate you. I HATE YOU." Midori was busy watching Andy the Armadillo.

Running with kids is both a chore and an adventure. My son is like some kind of kamikaze ninja on a race course, so trying to keep up with him means yelling a lot of "I'm sorry's" to the unsuspecting people mowed down by my boy, and getting a lot of evil glances in return. My daughter really just wants to run a bit and look around at scenery and chat with other people...many of whom don't want to know about the time her brother decapitated her dolly and filled her belly with water and threw it at the neighbor boy riding his bike. Given that, running with the kids requires a "man-to-man defense" in our family. Even though Dennis has not been medically cleared to run, I told him he had no choice.

I ran with Henry who, true to form, was the third kid across the line. Once he was actually running, he forgot about the cold and was pleased to be faster than everyone else. Midori and Dennis finished a few minutes behind us. My daughter was all smiles as she crossed the line.

In all, it wasn't a bad day. Not the race I had planned, but good enough to earn a nice finish and, as promised, remind me that I am fast. Faster than I remember.

1 comment:

  1. I am in love with your daughter's outfit. :)
    she sure is styling and sporting my favourite running item - the running skirt!
    NyQuil will do that to you. and for f'sakes, bolus for the NyQuil! stuff is loaded with sugar.

    Hope you're feeling better