You can’t outrun pancakes and bacon

It’s been a long time, I shouldn’t have left you. Without a dope post to read through.

Sorry, I couldn’t help myself.

You remember my last attempt at running the Healdsburg Half last year and how I spent the majority of the race alternating between being pumped and being miserable while pretending to run and then ultimately walking? To make up for that laughable experience, I was determined to turn in a better race this year (that competitive nature of mine strikes again) and spent the summer training. I was serious about it: I signed up for 2 races (a 5k and a 10k) and set up personal mileage goals to keep me motivated, bought a new pair of running shoes to reduce blisters (my other shoes were too tight) and even accidentally picked up fancy custom insoles (yes, accidentally). See, serious. I hit a good stride with my training and was well on the way of meeting my goal of 13 miles by the end of September, leaving me with enough time to hit 14 miles before the race. Needless to say that didn’t happen.

Even though my last month of training stalled due to weird weather systems, weddings, birthday parties, visitors, and general oversleeping, I still felt pretty good that I would be able to deliver a decent performance this time around. The morning of the race soon came and I dragged the mister out of his warm bed so he could stand around in a random vineyard too early in the cold, dark morning with a bunch of strangers. That’s love.

Trentadue Winery - Healdsburg Half

The calm before the storm.

I was very awake very early in the morning.

Soon we were off and I was feeling really good. The race directors created a new route so I couldn’t really gauge where I was in reference to the end of the race, but we did run through parts of last year’s course so that was fun. Aside from seeing what other people dressed up as, one of my favorite things about this race are the girls from Girls on the Run at the aid stations throughout the course. They were always ready with cheers, smiles, and encouragement. I looked forward to seeing them while passing an aid station and was a bit bummed when I passed a station and they weren’t there. Those cheers does wonders to a runner’s soul. At the last one, some of the girls gave out stickers to runners so I stopped to get some (also, it gave me a great excuse to walk).

hbh 2013 - stickersEnjoying my new stickers
[Source: Finishers Pix]

Overall, while my time was longer than last year (my official time was 3:16:03), this was a much better experience. I was in such a good mood and feeling my music so much that I wanted to stop for a dance break in the middle of the race. Instead, I ended up singing along to a few of the songs, but not too loudly since  I can’t carry a tune in a bucket. Anywho, since I wasn’t busy bemoaning how miserable I felt, I spent my time thinking about food. Around mile four, I started thinking about how amazing bacon would be. Then somewhere around mile six I started obsessing over pancakes. Bacon. Pancakes. Pancakes. Bacon. OMGIWANTBACONPANCAKES!

Then I started singing the Bacon Pancakes song:

Do you know how distracting it is trying to run while thinking about pancakes and bacon? I was so hungry that the race felt like it was never going to end. Each step brought me closer to pancakes and bacon. I started counting down the miles separating me from pancakes and bacon around mile nine. Four miles until pancakes and bacon. Three miles until bacon and pancakes. Two miles until pancakes and bacon. I nearly lost my mind when I passed the 13 mile marker.

hbh 2013 - finishI’m excited for two reasons: 1: I’m done and 2: PANCAKES AND BACON!
[Source: Finisher Pix]

My phone promptly died shortly after crossing the finish line so I don’t have my customary post-race photo, or one of my stickers, or of my plate of pancakes and bacon from IHop. Yes, we stopped at IHop on the way home because when you’ve been thinking about pancakes and bacon for almost 10 miles, you get pancakes and bacon.

And they were the best pancakes and bacon ever.

Why I love running

I just completed a 10K race this weekend and I’m still riding off the high of setting a new personal record; I shaved off 5:16 from my previous 10K time. This race was with the Brazen Racing group, which have become my favorite group to run and not just because they give out It’s-Its after every race.

Summer Breeze finish

 I promise I was not excited because I was seconds away from getting an It’s-It.

While I was running, I couldn’t help but reflect on why I love running so much. This is such an interesting sport with people on every level competing together (and not against each other). There were people of every shape, size, and ability level but there we were, all huffing and puffing towards the same goal of finishing. Finishing was the only thing that mattered.

It didn’t matter if we ran the whole time or crawled over the finish line; we all worked hard and finished. I liked seeing the camaraderie on the course; strangers cheering each other on, high fiving each other and passing on words of encouragement. Anything and everything to keep our spirits up and focused.

Yes, it’s hard to see people heading back to the finish before I even make it to the halfway point and I’m in awe of people who finish half marathons in the time it takes me to finish a 10K but instead of being discouraged by these people, I’m encouraged because they were once where I am. No one is born running; even the most decorated runners had people outrunning them at some point. But they kept at it and, if I’m being honest, while I’m busy admiring them, someone down the line is admiring me. That is quite a humbling idea.

While I love running for a myriad of reasons like: having time to think or not think, competing against myself, having some me time, staying healthy and fit, what I really love about competitive running is the communal spirit. While we’re doing this individually, we’re still doing this together. That strangers encourage and congratulate others because we all know and understand the struggle that is running and the joy of triumphing over it.

The Brazen Racing website has this quote on their homepage:

 We run, not because we think it is doing us good. But because we enjoy it and cannot help ourselves – Sir. Roger Bannister

Yes, indeed.

I ran a Half Marathon; I do what I want.

You guys: I did it. I survived the Healdsburg Wine Country Half Marathon. And when I say ‘survived,’ I really, really mean SURVIVED because it was a battle of wills.

As I said before, I didn’t really train as much as I should have. This wasn’t the distance where I could mess around and expect to do well like I did for my last 5k, but yet I allowed myself to be talked out of running at every turn. That was a huge mistake. I was arrogant and stupid and grossly overestimated my ability to run 13.1 miles for the first time ever.

I was a bundle of nerves but ready or not, I was going to run. The race started fairly well. My whole plan was to alternate between running and walking (this helped to inflate my ego and confidence in my ability to finish this race without much issue. I’m trying not to smirk as I write this.) and because I’m a genius, I didn’t have anything to actually time myself to make sure I stayed on a 2 min run/1 min walk pace. I ended up running until I needed to walk, which worked for a while but I ended up running out of steam a lot sooner than I probably would have had I regulated myself.

I started touching the mile markers at 7 miles because I had never ran that far before and it seemed appropriate. Things were going well until around the 9 mile mark and then I hit the wall at mile 10. I could barely convince myself to move and ended up walking most of the last 3 miles, which was kind of disappointing. I thought about quitting several times during the race but when I touched that 13 mile marker I was proud that I kept going through the sore muscles, blistered toes, and a slightly wounded ego.

I did end up running across the finish line (even though the pictures make it look like I just walked) and my final time was 3:10:31. While I hoped to finish under 3 hours, I’m happy to have finished at all. Sure I could barely move and had to shuffle but I conquered 13.1 miles and had the medal to prove it.

I wore that medal all day. Looked great while shopping for snacks at the gas station on my drive home.

I wore that medal all day. Looked great while shopping for snacks at the gas station on my drive home.

Would I do this again? Abso-freaking-lutely! I’m already looking for my next half and I’m sure I’ll sign up for the Healdsburg race again next year. Would I do a full marathon? Right now I say no knowing full well that I could change my mind later on (remember when I said I wasn’t going back to school?). Let’s just say I’m keeping my options open.

I can do that. I ran a half marathon.

Going Half Crazy

So sometime after I conquered my first 10k run, my ego and competitive spirit got the best of me and decided I was going to run a half marathon. This year.

Yes, it decided for me. Still trying to figure that one out myself.

The original plan was to run The Giant Race as had been my habit the past couple of years; it was my first 5k and 10k race and I thought it would be awesome for it to be my first half marathon as well. Except this year it was scheduled on a Sunday. Whomp.

I flirted with the idea of tabling the half marathon until next year. Like, I was flirting so hard with it that I gave the idea my number. I was convinced that I was going to wait until next year. Then I stumbled upon a half marathon that was on a Saturday. Score!

The race is next month and of course I haven’t ran in about a month. I’ve had a myriad of excuses why: I was hungry. I had to yell at the student loan people to change my due date for the millionth time. I dinner plans. It’s too hot. While this approach may work for a 5k, it definitely isn’t something I want to do with this half. I’m hoping to get more consistent in this final month.

I’m really excited for this race (it’s also a Halloween themed race so I’ll be dressing up! Costume to be revealed soon) and I can’t wait to cross that finish line. Even if I end up crawling across. I’m going to finish.

Where we say goodbye to Schmidty, part 2

Not to worry, I totally did not forget that I left you hanging about my surgery to forcibly evict Schmidity from his resting place in my breast. In case you don’t feel like clicking that link, in our last episode, I prepped for surgery by worrying about what I was supposed to wear and bring the day of and trying to eat as much as I possibly could the night before so I wouldn’t wake up hungry. Key takeaways: comfy clothes and Gremlins.

Anywho, the day of the operation went on without a hitch. Basically it’s a lot of “hurry up and wait.” I showed up with my mom to the surgery clinic in the morning, signed in, and waited to be called to register and get my ID bracelet. Then I waited some more before being escorted to the pre-op staging area by the nicest hospital volunteer ever. He was a Korean War vet and noticed that my listed ethnicity was ‘Korean’ (I totally saw him reading my form) and when he called me up, he started practicing the Korean phrases he learned on my mom. And he was pretty good! Great, another non-Korean person who speaks Korean better than me. We both had a good laugh and he shared a few more stories while we made our way to the holding area. He showed me to my bed and left me to myself business as I completely undressed (so much for wearing my good pair of panties, right? I know I’m not the only one who makes sure to wear her good panties at doctor’s appointments) and put on the hospital gown where your naked butt hangs out if you don’t hold it correctly. I had to take another pregnancy test, which was interesting because, remember, I wasn’t allowed to eat or drink after midnight because of the gremlin thing. Okay, it’s because of the anesthesia thing but whatever. Gremlin sounds more fun.

So I waited some more. While I waited, the nurses began to prep me for surgery, attaching several monitoring things on my body and finger, wrapped my legs with some weird pressure cuff, and inserted the IV needle in preparation for the anesthesia. For a moment my mind drifted to my Dad and how he was always hooked up to machines and wondered what he felt as they prepped him for his transplant when I was distracted by Santa Claus. I kid you not. I heard the Korean Vet say something about Santa and another hospital volunteer walked by and I thought, how cute, they nicknamed him Santa because he as a beard. That’s when I saw Santa round the corner. In full gear. I nearly died from the absurdity.

There’s really nothing to do but sit and listen to what’s going on, so I eavesdropped on the conversations happening around my bed. A few beds down, I heard a surgeon talking to a patient about his surgery and I thought he sounded an awful lot like Greg Proops. It wasn’t until my surgeon popped into my area to check up on me that I realized Greg Proops WAS my surgeon! I had been trying to place his voice since we met and I’m glad I didn’t figure it out until then and this made me glad I would be out for the surgery because otherwise I might have trouble taking him seriously.

I got word that the previous surgery was being cancelled and mine would be moved up and there was suddenly a flurry of activity at my bed. I was introduced to my “surgical team:” the RNs and my anesthesiologist (who I made jokes with about wanting to simply wake up at the end), and was prepped for the IV and then waited with my mom, who was called back by then, to get marked up by my surgeon. Then before I knew it, the anesthesiologist injected the sedative into my IV and I was pushed down the hall.

Then this happened:

There may or may not have been dancing fairies and a maypole.

The sedative worked quickly. I’m not sure how far I made it, I know I looked back at my mom as I was wheeled down the hall and I think I remember seeing some kind of operating room but I honestly can’t tell if I actually made it there or if I was remembering the clip from Brenda’s surgery on 90210. Either way, I woke up in recovery with an ice pack on my chest and a nurse checking my vitals, mumbling instructions. Then my surgeon came in and said something about something (I don’t know why they are so intent on talking to you while you’re waking up from the anesthesia).  Then I was wheeled in the last waiting room to make sure everything was kosher before getting the all clear to change and head home.

Thankfully I wasn’t in too much pain following the surgery, nothing a little ice and Vicodin couldn’t fix and I was more excited that I was able to start weening myself off the pain meds the following Wednesday. I was determined to be better since I had a date that Friday with one of my college roommates to tour Alcatraz.

Yeah, I scheduled an outing the week of surgery. I’m that girl.

But in all, I’m glad I did finally opt for surgical removal. It feels good that I don’t have to worry about Schmidty (and the scar I have isn’t so bad!) anymore and I’m believing in God that there won’t be any juniors running around either.