Monday, July 30, 2012

Death would come off the line...

I am now deep within training. It's the point where it is tough, both physically and mentally. I said to Jenika the other morning that it's kind of crazy because before I used to prep for 10K distances. You know, make sure I was hydrated, that my legs were rested, that my nutrition was spot on. Now, every Saturday I'm running at least a 10K. Yes, I said at least. Most of the time it is more. This weekend it is 7 miles, which will take me about/almost 2 hours to complete. It is the point at which my legs deadened at the Boilermaker. It is the mileage that I need to have a game plan for.

I have reached a point where I have to get serious.

Now, most of my friends would say "Hollie, you are serious and have been serious." To that notion, I say thanks. But in reality I have not been serious because all of it has been manageable so far. Running the distances I need to run the rest of my training requires a lot of work and sacrifice. What do I mean by that?

The individuals in my training group know that Friday nights are a no go out night for most of us, or it's a need to be in bed by 10pm type of evening. However, most of my friends don't get it or don't understand. Statements like, "oh you can run later in the afternoon" or "you've been running enough" or "you're always running" haunt me and my connections with my friends.

I can't do all the things I used to do and expect performance. I have to eat cleaner and stay hydrated from now until October. That is a challenge. Today is even tough because I'm meeting a friend for happy hour. I want to be able to have two beers or two bourbons but I know that I can. I'm not saying I can't have them. It's just hard to think two bourbons is 200 empty calories or two Guinness's is 260 empty calories. I could have two skinless grilled chicken breasts, or a giant (16oz) mean green juice.

When I lived with my parents, we had a bargain. I'd live rent free if I would plan and cook the weeks meals. I spent some time looking at clean eating. There were a bunch of things I loved making. My parent's kitchen is huge and had enough room for me to do everything. My apartment is small, and I have little counter space. I know I need to do something soon. I need to have a lot of things prepped and ready.

Sunday, I got to go out and run with some friends. I needed to make up my 6 miles I missed with my group this week. I had to walk the last two miles because my knee was acting up. I'm pretty sure it's my IT band because my right hip is super tight and it's the outer side of my knee. I ended up looking at movies to watch on my Amazon Prime account and I saw I could rent Hood to Coast and then I saw Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead. I clicked on Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead and sat down to watch it.

It is something that I can't explain when a doctor tells you that you are going to die if you don't change. The words Morbidly Obese. While I've been loosing weight, I'm still classified as Morbidly Obese. Morbid as in death. Watching the gentleman in the movie who is over 400lbs be told his BMI and classification was difficult. I remember being in the same place. I could do pills, shakes, supplements, surgery. I have read all the items about surgery and there was a time when I contemplated it. However, it is not an option for me. It is something I don't want.

In the movie they talk about juice fasts and while that is not something I want to do, I did like the fact that all your fruits and vegetables could be juiced and drank. That IS something I am interested in. In the movie you see the gentleman's progression over 10 months. It is a nice reminder of will power, dedication, and the decision to change. It makes me think about getting a juicer, again not for a fast but as an addition to my current plan. My lose it! app tells me with just caloric shift alone that by March 2013 I would get to my goal weight of around 180lbs. That would have me at just overweight. Death would come off the line and I would continue to work at it.

That IS what I want. So I've got to make peace with my decisions, my shifts and changes in my life, my friendships, my time because my life is worth it.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

My running family

Purdue BGR takes on Ragnar
I have been lucky to be introduced to several amazing people and to have had many amazing students who inspired me. In 2009, some of my former students from when I worked at Purdue University tagged me in a photo at the Seattle Fish Market. They were running a Ragnar relay race. Their team was pirate themed and all the photos in the album on Facebook reminded me why I missed those guys. I looked into the Ragnar, to see what it was and day dreamed of having the ability to run a relay with them.

Mary Beth being all hardcore
I had been working out with a personal trainer and getting stronger and healthier. I had found the Warrior Dash at Windham because it was the closest thing to the Ragnar I could find locally and I was ready to sign up for it. Then,  I was side tracked when I broke my collar bone. I couldn't weight lift and I needed to do something, so I started walking. I watched my brother go run and complete the race that I so badly wanted to run. While talking to Mary Beth, another former student (this time from University of South Florida) she said to me, that if I could walk 3.2 miles in an hour, I could definitely run 3.2 miles. She convinced me to sign up for a race and let people know about it.

Rule#1 - Cardio

So, I signed up for the Troy Turkey Trot 5K and I told lots of people. It was during my training for this that I talked to Joel about running for the first time. I got some pointers & encouragement. He told me his brother Ed was running the race and eventually we had our own little team, based on my philosophy that my training was purely for the fact that if chased by zombies, I wanted a fighting chance. I had caught the racing bug after that and ran in several more races, including my first Boilermaker.

Kerry being all hardcore!
Ed convinced me to check out group running and to look at this group called BeRunning. I was skeptic of running in a group, because I'm hella slow. But I was teamed up with a mentor - Kerry, who still this day amazes me with the things she has planned. Seeing her sign up for next years IronMan Lake Placid is like the coolest thing ever and knowing she'll rock the NYC marathon is just as cool to me too!

Joel & Ed at the Boilermaker post party
I also met Jenika during my time with BeRunning and Jenika introduced me to USAFit and with both Ed & Jenkia assuring I could complete a half marathon, I jumped in. I thought it was crazy, and it is crazy but that's how I got into my first Boilermaker and this year, I completed my second Boilermaker. I desperately wanted to get a picture of all my running mentors together at the Boilermaker, because they were all there! But I did manage to get a photo with Joel & Ed at the end of the Boilermaker this year.

I love that orange hat & the lady underneath.

It's been a few weeks since the Boilermaker, I was side tracked with a sinus infection, very sore knees, and the opening of my summer production. I've taken some time away from running and noticed it was affecting my mood and I wanted to run but I knew that my body was saying rest. A few text messages checking in on me from Jenika, along with several really great new running friends from USAFit,  kept me positive and have meant the world. I asked for buddies this week to run with to make sure I got out for my miles, and had people immediately respond.

Jenika and I met up last night at SUNY Albany. Albany Running Exchange was on the track doing their speed work and she and I went out for a run. She asked how much I wanted to do and told me to set the pace. I said I wanted to at least get 40 minutes in and try for 3 miles. Not only was it good to go out and do something physically, it was really good talking with Jenika. See, the thing that they don't tell you when you start group running, is that the people you run with week in and week out become your confidants. When you are running (without headphones) you start to get to know those people, they understand when you have good or bad runs. They understand when life gets too rough and allow you space but will check in to get you back on track. They remind you that you can when everything else is telling you that you can't.

While we ran last night, Jenika told me about Trail Running Camp and how she got some coaching on running hills from some other seasoned runners. It's really neat to see your mentors talk about when they need advice or help on running, and how grateful they are when they get that feedback. It's funny because I am sure that my students from Purdue, Mary Beth, Joel, Ed, Kerry, and Jenika do not realize how much "this littler runner who could" looks up to them and takes to heart the advice & inspiration that they give me. 

So thanks guys. I've got big dreams and big shoes to fill.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012


Yesterday, after my day of pampering, my throat felt scratchy. This morning, when I awoke, I felt sick. Like I had the flu. My massage therapist suggested emergen-c multivitamin for some inflammation I had going on and to aid the recovery process. I took some yesterday and today. I'm just tired. My body is sore. I am in desperate need of a nap.

I've been reading up on recovery today. That you should rest one day for every mile you raced. Not that you have to be at a dead stop rest but you shouldn't strain yourself in your workouts. Which for me means doing the bike, or swimming, or running only 30 minutes. So I am supposed to rest for nine days. Right now i'm ok with that because the idea of running six miles this saturday is really not appealing to me.

When I got home from the Boilermaker I iced my knees and elevated my legs. Yesterday, I had a pedicure to take care of my feet and a lower body massage with a focus on my shin and hips. I brought the epsom salts home and will take a bath tonight before meeting up with a friend.

I don't like feeling like I am run down. From my reading I found out that exercise over ninety minutes can cause your immune system to weaken. So, I've got the beginnings of a cold. Which means try and eat healthy, stay hydrated, take emergen-c, and sleep well.

Who would of thought that being healthy would make me sick :P

Monday, July 9, 2012

There goes a fighter

I tracked my split times on my watch during the race. I wanted to see if it was possible for me to come in at 2:28 - like the pace calculator said I could. 

lap 1 - (taken at mile 2) = 29:03:00
Mile 3=46:01:00
Mile 4 =1:17:00
Mile 5=1.33:00
10K 6.2=1:36:56
Mile 7=1:51:21
Mile 8=2:07:50
Mile 9=2:24:50
15K 9.3=2:29:42
Boilermaker Race Elevation Chart

best pace 10.33, average 16.02

Elevation Stats
total decent 857ft, total ascent 838ft
max altitude 822ft, min altitude 447ft

The Boilermaker is an amazing race. It's terribly hard but amazing. We went up on Saturday to pick up bibs & goody bags. We stay in Ilion, NY at a very shady motel that regularly is $25 a night but during the Boilermaker weekend, it's $94 a night. Things I learned from last year was to bring flip flops. Things I will remember for next year are, sleeping bag, ear plugs, and pillow I don't mind throwing away. My "husband" snored a little, much quieter than my family, and so much quieter than others who say they don't snore.

We go to the same restaurant for dinner and try to find ways to entertain ourselves in the evening. Normally, we get pizza and wings but none of us really felt like that. All three of us were drained for various reasons. I was drained because I got up early, met my running group and walked two miles. By the time i got home from breakfast and showered, it was time to head down to Ed's. So no nap, car ride, heat, & hunger made me a hungry tired bear.

We tried searching for a karaoke bar, as Ed's heard my smack talk but never heard me really sing. Our search failed [however, he asked the McDonald's people in the morning and we found out at the bowling alley they do it - so next year we've got somewhere to go if we want]

Steve & I shared a room and we both went back to it after dinner, around 8:45pm. I read a few chapters in Catching Fire and he read about the race I think. By 10pm we both were ready to sleep, Ed stopped by - said that one part of our crew would be in at 10:30, the other part around midnight.

5:30am is the wake up time. This lets us leave by 6, drive to McDonalds, then drive to the finish to get the shuttles to the start. This is when we met "team hardcore" [Brian, Roshan and Rachel]. I'm partially joking. They were all super nice and very supportive. However, they all came out in their Team in Training jersey's with the football player lines under the eyes, and all the stuff to make a hotel room comfortable. a.k.a. they've done things like this before. "Team Hardcore" is lead by Joel and as always it is nice to see his smiling face and I love hearing his laugh when I tell good jokes at 6am.

Kate's parents were running the race for the first time, the nervous but excited energy was there in her dad. We parked the cars, Steve dropped a pin on his phone, and we headed to the shuttles. I hung out in the front of our group and talked to Rachel as the line moved quickly. I told them about the zebra ladies at mile 6, and the stilts guy at mile 7 that I always want to push over.  The buses come up quickly and you get on the ones they tell you. I started to get on the first bus, the same as "team hardcore", Ed and Kate were told to go to the next bus, but her parents saw me go on and said, "we're with that group" and got on the bus with us, while Ed, Kate and Steve got on the next bus.

Kate's mom introduced herself to me and apologized for splitting me and my husband up. I was quick to let her know Steve wasn't my husband [not that he wouldn't be a good one, just more shocked that someone thought I was straight] We got to the port-a-potty area and I snuck in line with Kerry as we gave Kerry, Nathan & Jeff their bibs. People freak out easily when they hear the gun for the wheelchair race go off, and from there they announced the race was to start but we all knew there would be a good 15 minute difference from the start to when we got there.

We start at the back of all the people in the race. It's chip timed so it just makes it easier. I spotted some USAFit marathoner's and got their attention and said hello. It was kind of neat to be in this group of 15 in the back that I knew all of them. We spotted Marey & Joe and they came over and started with us too.

The first mile of the Boilermaker sucks for me. It makes me think "why in the hell did i sign up for this" but I know mile two is my jam. It's shaded, the people are great. I told "team hardcore" about the popsicle's, how I know they are given out but by the time I get to the area, all i see are wrappers. I was running and spotted a lime green popsicle and I ran right to it. I got the last one. In my mind this meant I was much speedier than I imagined. [both Ed & Steve told me later that when they passed the popsicle's, Steve didn't take one and said "I'm leaving that one for Hollie"] 

The end of mile two into mile three just sucks. It's a gradual steady incline. It takes you to the monster mile long hill. When I passed the mile three marker the woman in front of me stopped to take a picture of the long trail of runners on the hill. I had forgotten other people were racing until she took that picture. This caused her to pause, which caused me to pass her! I was counting "kills" during the race, this was my second kill.

I will always walk the long hill in the golf course [until i'm a stronger runner]. I kept moving my little arms faster and knew that i'd make up some time on the downhill. I picked off and old man and the power walker who beat me last year. I kept doing my intervals nice and strong through 5.5 miles but by mile six the heat was finally beating down on me. My long sleeve white shirt helped so much, reflected sun and when it was wet it helped me cool down with the breeze. I hit the 10K mark and was just two minutes over my best 10K time. It is at that point where you just have to tell yourself it's one more 5K.

However, it's probably my least favorite part of the race. From mile six to seven there is no shade and a hill incline. I constantly swear "fucking utica college" while walking it, because it's the only frame of reference I have. Also, all the Uticans that say it's all downhill from here - I know you are lying. Mile seven also houses the man on stilts on the decline. Because I am in pain & struggling with deadened legs at this point, I always want to push over the guy on stilts. However, I always give him a high five and continue to run. This is where I picked up two more kills.

On this decline there are a lot of water sprayers. One's set up on the course and ones set up by Utican's with their hoses. I got sprayed down as many times as I could, without a care of my wet tshirt contest I had going on. [i was wearing an orange sports bra, so i didn't care] I got to mile eight. This is where last year Joel found me and got me a sno-cone. This year, there were no sno-cones and no Joel. It was better that way. I had to do it myself. I had to make it to the finish myself.

Joel's words of pump your arms poured into my head and I did. I tried to get back into my intervals but they mostly came when I found people I wanted to try and pass. I was inching closer and closer to the beef team woman and three of her pink shirt friends. They were walking/running for fun at this point. I stated to myself - a kill is a kill. At mile nine I was right behind them. I walked as fast as I could, knowing I could pull it out in the last .3 of the race. That last .3 is downhill. I ran the first .15 to get past the women. That made 10 kills! I walked the next .10 so I had enough to run the last .5

I finished it. Created a new personal record. No one was at the finish line for me. That was sad and hard for like 30 seconds. I caught my breath and knew I had to meet up with everyone at the post race party. I was excited to tell everyone how I did. I walked through the crowds, gave miniature dirty looks at people without race tags eating the oranges out for the racers [as there were people out there still] and turned on my cell reception to get a text from Joel having us all meet up. I drank my first beer. Ed found us and handed me a second beer & a yogurt. I ate an apple & grapes given to me by "team hardcore" and smiled a lot. Joel placed my finisher's medal around my neck and I went to grab two more beers. I had beaten my second race - to drink more than .5 of a beer at the end.

I tried my damnest to find the sno-cone area and to meet up with USAFit people but I couldn't find them and figured they had already hopped back on the bus to Albany. I was hoping to get a picture with all four of my running mentors [Ed, Joel, Kerry and Jenika] but that's like a big dream to wrangle in a crowd of 20,000 people. Jeff texted Ed saying Kerry finished the race and was in need of my inhaler, so we found them and hung out in the shade for a little while.

We rolled out, making a stop at the brewery to use our half off with race bib discount making sure to keep our eye on Steve as last year we lost him. Last year it was hell for me going to the brewery because I was so sore. I just sat there. This year, a case of Utica Club was purchased and carried back to the car.

I changed into my I RUN UTICA shirt and wore my medal with pride. I asked if we could stop at the first rest stop so I could get milkshakes for everyone. Ed obliged and once again, it was the greatest tasting thing in the world.

Upon my arrival home, I showered and changed and waited for my friend John to come over. It was a night of wine, great food, Game of Thrones, and ice packs. I fell asleep around 9:30. I am off from work today and have a very nice day planed. Oil change, pedicure & manicure, massage, dinner, and a movie. I earned it. I am proud of myself for so many reasons.

I know I have literal & figurative miles to go in my half marathon training. I know that it's OK to not have anyone at the finish line, because there are so many waiting other places to hear the results. I know that I can push myself. I know that comfort is a dirty drug. I know it's OK to remember but so much better to push forward. I know that when I set goals, I work hard to achieve them. I know that I am "selfish" and that I want this, this ability to take the time to prove something to myself. That I can be the version of the person I see on the inside and that pictures do not reflect who I am.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

For no one else

This morning I met the usual group of Saturday morning runners at the Crossings. A large amount of full marathoner's are running the Boilermaker. I am able to jump into the conversation because I survived the race once and I fully intend to mentally race it this year.

The anticipation is the worst. You plan for the race, you don't plan for anything else. So when you start thinking about not finishing, what time you have to get up, what you'll wear, what you'll eat....well it tends to become overwhelming.

After getting home and taking a shower, the question crept in. What will others think, if I fail? Secondly, what will I think if I fail? I posted an entire post about it last year and while I type, it is on my mind now.

There have been people I've wanted to talk to this week (while I was avoiding the world and focused on this weekend) However, I don't know what to say. I just wanted to scare away that feeling of being alone. I haven't had any of those conversations and I still struggle with the idea of making some phone calls this afternoon. I am just going to give in to the experience. This weekend is one for stories to be made.

I am running this race for no one else. I will finish this race for no one else. I will accept the joy & congratulation when I finish, no one else can take that away.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Lead Off Song: Kanye West's - Power

Every run that I use music on, I start with the same song. Kanye West's Power. Even if I am not using music, I am often singing the song in my head. It keeps me from running as fast as those around me, as I tend to start off way too fast.

This run gets lonely because I am by myself for most of it. Yes, there are bands and people and tons of things to see & hear at The Boilermaker. However, this is my fighting playlist.

I've scheduled 2.5 hours worth of music. I won't start it until after the first mile. I've managed the music in the same way I plan on taking on the race. In the three 5K style. So I've got a song every 45 minutes or so that signals that it's the start of another leg.

My tracking number is  U70577LAB just encase I can't sign up for the split times to be posted to my twitter or facebook.  I'm still scared but I know I'm going to do it. So listen along and cheer me on from your bed or couch. It starts at 8am and I'll be finished by 10:30. This year, I'm finishing a beer at the end. Last year, I didn't even want to see one.

Boilermaker Play List