Two Are Better Than One

Tags

, , , ,

Last weekend I ate my words and finished a race I had said repeatedly I would never run (and I still haven’t run it-ha!). Though our family in Corning, NY had asked us to combine a visit and a race, we had told them no several times. First, I hate the name. I could spend hours telling you about how much I hate alcohol for all it has done to people I love(d), but I won’t. So running the Wineglass Half, even though there was no real connection between the name and the race, wasn’t high on my list– even though I had heard such amazing things about the course (fast and net downhill), the setting (hi Upstate New York in peak leaf season) and the medal (pretty pretty Corning glass). Secondly, as a Sunday race it was off the boards for us because we have been pretty staunch about not doing races that interfere with worship. But way back in February, when my friend Miriam in nearby Elmira had mentioned that the congregation with which she worships doesn’t meet on Sundays until 3:30, it suddenly made the half—even the full– completely doable.

IMG_6678

The leaves didn’t get the memo that we came to see them, but it’s still a beautiful course.

So we signed up and planned a family vacation around the race. We got excited. We trained. And then some pesky vertebrae in my back decided to clamp down on a nerve in my neck and lay me out for the 8 weeks prior to the race. There’s no problem with my legs, but the tightening muscles in my back and the tingling in my arm are being “stubborn,” as one provider has put it. More on that in a different post, but after weeks of resting, intensive chiropractic care, Graston and Active Release therapies, it was clear I could not run, I could not run-walk,  I could not power walk this race. I left for the trip with a somewhat heavy heart, not knowing if I’d end up with a medal or not, or if I should even try.

 

But I did know this: it was a great race for a slow finish. The marathon starts 13.1 miles west of the half-marathon course, and a half-hour later, meaning that if I could just stay ahead of the slowest marathoners, I wouldn’t get swept off the course or DNF’d. I knew from an experimental walk that power walking would make the muscles in my upper back angry, and I didn’t want to walk 13.1 at the cost of not being able to run for an even longer period of time. However, I knew from just living life, that I could be mobile and not disturb things. I have strolled with my kids, I have done what needs doing around my house and community without making things worse.  So, I wondered, what could be the harm in trying to stroll this race? My husband’s brother and sister-in-law both assured me that they would come get me if I couldn’t make it. So if I could knuckle down mentally and prepare my mind to walk for 4.5 hours (I was toying with 20-minute miles), could I see the course, experience the race, and finish? Could there be any harm in trying? I mean, there are worse ways to spend a morning than walking for multiple hours. At the very least, my husband would have company on the bus to Campbell-Savona High (pro tip: It’s pronounced Camp-Bell and they are very serious about that) and at the start.

IMG_8028

Bundled up by the side of a cornfield. He went on to PR, even though he was sorta sick with a cold.

And so I bundled up for the 37-degree start in literally every piece of warm workout-ish clothing I’d brought. Four shirts, two pairs of pants, a beanie, and some borrowed gloves. We got to the high school where they allowed us in to stay warm before the start. This was not communicated well, but it’s important to know: due to the location of the school to the start line, in order to get everyone behind the timing mats, you need to be out there 15 minutes before the start. We didn’t understand that until we were out there, but if you ever do Wineglass, don’t try to stay inside until 5 minutes before the race, or you’ll be hosed.

 

I hovered on the side of the cornfield near the start and waited to begin with the last runners. The race started and I watched the fasties go by. Then the not-as-fasties. Then the run-walkers. Then the walkers and I crossed the mats. I was a little concerned over the fact that we were in the middle of nowhere and my phone was losing battery fast. No podcasts for me, as I had planned. This could be a long few hours. And that’s when I spotted a woman whose hat had caught my eye earlier. Way up here, in the Finger Lakes region of New York, she was wearing an Atlanta Track Club member cap. I commented on it, and we got to talking.

 

And that was the game changer for this experience for me. Her name is Camille, and as we got passed by every other half-marathoner and all but the slowest marathoners behind them, we both found support for the nearly five hours we were together. She has an incredible story—she and her cousin are pursuing half-marathon finishes in all 50 states (this was state 11). Michelle runs, Camille walks. But just eight weeks prior to Wineglass, Camille was in the hospital with massive blood clots in both lungs. Though she had her doctors’ clearance to walk the race, she was rightfully nervous and taking it way slower than usual. Just like me. She is from Kentucky but has lived in Atlanta. Just like me. And she had made a goal and wanted to try and see it through, even though it was going to be such a different and potentially defeating experience. Just like me.

 

So for four hours and 52 minutes (I think? I heard Bart Yasso announce my name at the finish so my chip fired, but my official results aren’t on the website, and I haven’t emailed the race yet because really, what does it matter?), we became just who the other one needed us to be. I was there in case she had any medical issues. She was there to help keep me from pushing and trying to prove something that didn’t need proven that day. We talked about Kentucky, Atlanta, being at the back of the pack, the cows by the side of the road, the horses by the side of the road, the sweepers coming through to pick up the discarded clothes, and the marathoners as they came up by us (so many of them were so encouraging, and as Camille sweetly pointed out, it takes a lot of character to encourage a walker when you yourself are at mile 20 of a marathon). The weather warmed, the landscape changed, and we slowly, slowly got closer to Corning. Her cousin Michelle, long finished, showered, and chipper, came to meet Camille at mile 11.5 and gave us a full finish line report. We rounded the corner on to Market Street and I had to put down the shame that comes so naturally when I am slower than I want to be—the people there don’t know my story, or Camille’s. They don’t know and they frankly don’t care, so why should I? As StoryBrand’s J.J. Peterson says, “WWNSTPA:” We will never see these people again.

IMG_6695

Strollin’ to the Finish.

IMG_8036

Check out the hat! Thanks for helping me find my pal, Atlanta Track Club!

Speaking of possibly never seeing someone again, Camille and I finished together and quickly got separated as my family hovered happily nearby and as Michelle waited to wisk her away to a much deserved day of belated-birthday celebrating. But though our paths may never cross again, she leaned thoughtfully over to me before that and said, “I believe God puts in your path the people that you need. Thank you.” And she is exactly right. The support that we need, the people that we need are there, if we only seek them out and accept what they have to offer us. I know with certainty that I could have finished that race on my own, but at what price? I would have spent nearly five hours entirely in my head, going to the dark places: convincing myself that every twinge was another setback, that I would never run again, and that this was my sad last hurrah, somewhere by a cow field in New York. Instead I got to enjoy lovely company and a five-hour stroll through one of the most scenic areas I’ve run in.

 

“Two are better than one, for they have a greater reward for their labor.” (Ecc. 4:9)

 

Take your support, friends. Even when it comes in the most unlikely of places, be open to it. You are not alone, and when you have a companion, it makes an arduous journey so much less frightening, and even enjoyable. God designed us for the ultimate relationship with Him, but give us supportive relationships and friendships along the way, and we need to embrace how much more we can do when we don’t go this life alone. Thank you, Camille, for keeping me from the dark places of my head during this race. May God bless your health and may you make your 50-state goal!

IMG_8057

DLF > DNF > DNS. So glad I gave this one a go.

(Side note on the race itself: though I hate the name and wish it was run on a Saturday, every reason that it makes a list of great races is true. It was gorgeous even without any noticeable leaf change yet this year. It’s well-organized and has great support. You’ll read race recaps that disdainfully mention that it runs next to an interstate in some parts. That’s true, but the cars honk cheerfully at the runners, and you know what’s surrounding the interstate? Some really, really gorgeous scenery. Be aware of the fact that you need to get out to the start line early, even if you are a back-of-the-packer, and you’ll be just fine.)

Advertisements

15 Reasons I’m Excited to be on Team Nuun in 2015

Tags

, , , , , ,

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/3be/30897521/files/2014/12/img_9847.jpg1. I’m obsessed with being well-hydrated, when I’m running or not. Nuun helps me achieve that goal.
2. My favorite flavors: Tropical, Strawberry Lemonade, Fruit Punch.
3. They have the cutest packaging ever.
4. Licking a Nuun tablet before I put it in my water is kind of like the grown up version of Pop Rocks.
5. It is the only way Kara Goucher and I will ever be on the same team.
6. On days I’m not feeling the workout, I remind myself that if I do, I get to drink Nuun.
7. Nuun Energy—they added Caffeine and Vitamins, people! I can’t wait to race using that!
8. I am excited to wear this snazzy singlet in my post-baby races./home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/3be/30897521/files/2014/12/img_9074.jpg
9. Running Hood to Coast on the Nuun team was one of the greatest experiences of my running life, and I’m proud to be associated with a brand that treats its biggest fans the way they treated us.
10. It works, people. It works. Trust the force, Luke.
11. No gummy, gunky, sugary energy drink mouth—even after 26.2 miles.
12. The athletes I’ve met both in real life and online who also love Nuun inspire and encourage me every day.
13. They got my sense of humor when I sent them this video:


14. They’ve made me a hydration authority among my network of people. Now I get to help people reach their goals—that’s an awesome thing.
15. I get to rebuild a lot of things in 2015 after injury and baby. Knowing that both Nuun the company and Nuun the product has my back motivates me to do my best.

Here’s to 2015, Nuun!

The State of My Running

Tags

, ,

The State of My Running

Hello, blog. It’s been awhile. So here’s the deal, I’m not going to try to recap everything that’s happened with me in great detail or I will never start blogging again. The important stuff, I figure, will come out in posts. Here are the highlights, in no particular order:

–Grew a baby, lifted and ran very short distances up until Baby H was born in June.
–Moved to a different area of Atlanta—it’s a great area to run in and I saw more runners in my first two runs here than I saw in 4 years of running in my old ‘hood.
–Started back ‘running’ at 6 weeks postpartum. Used Couch to 5k and was really happy to have a plan to both motivate me and keep my goals from getting overblown.
–But it was really hard. The injury from June 2013 is still not fully healed and coupled with stress and occasional co-sleeping with baby, my right IT Band and hip flexors are still very tight. BOO. Currently I’m running about 3-4 times a week, usually for no longer than 35 minutes.
–Started back lifting weights at 16 weeks postpartum. Lifting about 3 times a week right now because, with my husband gone from 8 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.,  the play center at the gym is my only real break from caregiving. Despite the baby’s fussiness, they always give me at least 45 minutes to workout. I’ve been a fervent BodyPumper since 2010, but can’t make a class right now. I’ve also been doing the exact opposite of BodyPump— lifting heavy weights with fewer reps, which—did you know—triggers the greatest endorphin release after running? It’s working for me right now.
–Core work is my friend. All that co-sleeping and baby holding was really taking a toll on my back until I started back doing core work. Strengthening my front really helps my back to not take over and hurt.

All in all, things are not bad. To be honest, I had entertained dreams of being back to half-marathon shape by now. And I’m sad that I’m not even in 10k or solid 5k shape, really. But I’ve been a parent long enough to know that you have to roll with things, and that time really does fly. I know that if I stay dedicated to it, the stronger runs and longer distance will come. In a few months I’ll likely look back and see this as a time that served to get me to whatever stronger shape I’ll be in then. And since I was pretty tardy to the fitness party to begin with, I remind myself that high school Lindsay, college Lindsay, and even first-time parent Lindsay would be in awe of Current Lindsay’s fitness levels. And that ain’t bad for six months after baby.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/3be/30897521/files/2014/12/img_9226.jpg

Anxiously awaiting my return from a morning run

 

 

My Dangerous Flirtation with Being Sedentary

Tags

, , ,

Today marks week 20 of my pregnancy. Halfway there. The time has both flown and dragged by so slowly, and it has not at all been what I imagined it would be. This was to be my first truly active pregnancy. With my first two, I walked a lot, but that was about it. This was my first pregnancy as a runner, and I confess I harbored some dreams about documenting all the fabulous running I’d be doing while growing this child.

But my body, and my life, had other plans. I got pregnant pretty fresh off Hood to Coast, when I was badly injured and did little more than hobble from exchange to exchange. I then decided to rest the injury as much as possible before Ragnar Tennessee, and even then ran the fewest number of miles possible. I made it through, and just under the wire of first trimester feel-good time. I was juuuuuust starting to get tired but hadn’t started feeling nauseous yet–which was awesome given my usual relay insomnia, and the fact that my stomach was not yet turning when I was stuck in a van with a large number of sweaty people.

The next six weeks brought some pretty major upheaval in my home life as a series of events prompted us to, quite suddenly, decide to put our house on the market. I consciously forewent school, friends, and exercise to pack up a good deal of the house and move it into storage. Then came the deep cleaning and then, Thanksgiving and eight days of family in from out of town. Even if I had not been in the first trimester of pregnancy, I think I’d have still been exhausted. I tried to run a time or two, but my IT band was still horribly cranky, and I could not work up the energy to get myself out of the house and to BodyPump. I told myself this was a time to rest, to give up the old routines, and that if I needed to start back at zero after the baby, it would be fine–especially if my IT band would heal.

Then, mid-December, the perfect storm of stressful events hit. We got a contract on the house. I spent several days house-shopping so we’d be prepared to make an offer on a new place. Found one house, one beautiful, perfect house, where I could practically see my children growing up and coming back to visit, where envisioned high schoolers packed in for Bible studies, where I imagined my parents and in-laws coming for joyous holidays. With all the house-shopping and preparing for the holidays, I again made the choice to let the exercise, for the most part, go. I knew I was feeling a little more blue than normal, and a little heavier, but I told myself it was nothing I couldn’t deal with.

Three days before Christmas, the couple buying our house pulled out of the deal. We mourned the loss, celebrated the holiday with family in from out-of-town, and then a week after the house deal fell through, my brother-in-law, who is like a brother to me, ended up in the ER and then the ICU 350 miles away from where I live. I went up the day after New Year’s to help him and my sister.

That’s when my body piped up with a very serious message for me: NOT KEEPING MY BODY STRONG IS NOT OKAY. The day after I arrived I developed a near-constant, and nearly debilitating, ache in the right side of my upper back. It hurt to sit. It hurt to stand. The only relief came when I was lying down, and even then only truly felt better if I could sleep and fully relax. I haven’t had back pain like that since I was working full-time in TV, producing hour-long shows in an extremely stressful shop–when I was also heavier and not putting in any time to speak of on working and strengthening my back and my core.

YET STILL. My first instinct was not to go back to working out. I was out of the habit by this time, and frankly, I had already forgotten the good emotional feelings you get when your physical body is working. I was intimidated, ashamed, and worried that I couldn’t handle how much my fitness had surely declined. So I went and got a massage instead. And in the discussion during that session, my personal-trainer-turned-massage-therapist and I decided that the main culprit was my neglect of my core, and the only way to rid myself of this knot (which was, the massage therapist said, bigger than Stone Mountain) was to get rid of my new gym-fear and get back to working out.

Monday, January 13, I took a deep breath and opened the door to the gym. I went four times in the next five days. I couldn’t lift as much, I couldn’t run as far, and all of it was painful. But by the weekend, my back only spoke out at the end of the day, when I was tired anyway. I kept going, focusing on my abs and my back for strength, and running to give me the endorphins and motivation to want to keep going back. Within two weeks, the pain was virtually gone, and now, at almost three weeks back, I am once again in the habit.

So, lesson learned: I am a person who, probably due to the scoliosis, would be a chronic pain case within weeks of not staying in shape. And with that pain would come irritability, impatience, and a loss of many of the good qualities I work hard to cultivate. And yet within just days of making the very conscious decision to take charge again, experienced a complete turn around in my wellness, both physically and mentally. Health and fitness maintenance is not a luxury. It is essential to maintain any sort of quality of life. The fact that I let myself get into such a fog, denying that reality, is shocking to me. I’m grateful that I got in and out of it relatively quickly. I’m writing all of this down because I don’t ever want to go to that place again. I may look bizarre when I’m even further along in this pregnancy and lifting weights or working my core, but whoever wants to judge can go right ahead. I’ll be too happy at being pain-free to notice.

20140204-065031.jpg

Unexcused Absence

“Where have you been?” Came the message from a Twitter follower, with a little sad face after it. This, after I actually posted something from Instagram this week. The answer is longer than 140 characters, so here’s a bit about where I’ve been:

 

  1. In grief. I had a dear friend die in September and between the news that she was ill, her death, and the sadness following, I just haven’t felt compelled to write about running.
  2. Not running (as much). Another reason I didn’t write much is because I just wasn’t running as much. I took another big chunk of time off after Hood to Coast because everything—EVERYTHING—that had hurt before, hurt again. I’m just not going to bore everyone with that. You’re welcome. 😉
  3. Tending to family and friend needs. There have been a lot, not the least of which was starting our homeschool year, celebrating the birthdays of the kids and myself (ours all fall within 13 days of each other) and an unplanned trip to Chicago after my father had emergency surgery.
  4. Starting another blog. I have always found running to be deeply spiritual, and have learned so much about the Biblical analogies to running in my own time on the roads. But I had not yet been moved to write online about spiritual matters (I have been working on a book based on such for quite some time, privately). Well, I finally bit the bullet and started a site that I feel more adequately fills in the picture or the entirety of my thoughts. It’s called Lindsay’s Lens, and you can find it here.

 

I am thankful to report that today I will go running for the 5th time in 6 days. I have lost a lot of speed and fitness since June 7, but I’m no longer in pain. I am trying to responsibly build back up to some semblance of the runner I was pre-injury, but the reality is that it will take a while. I have no plans to do any races (other than Ragnar Tennessee next week, in which I running what my teammates call ‘the pansy leg’ that completes just 10 miles total) until I feel confident I can train without reinjuring my IT Band, Piriformis, hamstring, or hip. Whew! That’s a lot of places to take care of. I have my eye on the Berry Half Marathon in the spring, but we will see. Right now, I’m just running to enjoy the run.

I’m All Shook Up: Hood to Coast Leg 2

Read about the pre-race fun here, Leg 1 here, and my love letter to Nuun here.

After we grabbed Devon from Exchange 12, we headed out for food. It was late at night but we found ample nourishment at some Portland place. We did not order this as there would be no DNF in the cards for us. Heh.

No Did Not Finish meals for us.

No Did Not Finish meals for us.

Team Lemonade Van 2 joined us for the latter part of the meal so it was great to see them. My foam roller had it’s own seat at the table and why yes, I did get down on teh floor and foam roll (and I wasn’t the only one who did!). We also did that food-gamble thing you do after Leg 1: How much is enough to power your next run, but not enough so that you see it on the side of the road or suffer a Code Brown on Leg 2? Always a fun risk to take.  I got chicken & fries. And pickles.

Obligatory pickles-in-the-middle-of-the-night relay pic.

Obligatory pickles-in-the-middle-of-the-night relay pic.

Still messing with Holly.

Still messing with Holly in the kids’ section of the restaurant. Because I am 10 years old.

"You are Beautiful" painted backwards on wall so the mirror reflection tells you how it is.

What a women’s team does a lot of during a relay: wait in line in the bathroom. I love this, though: “You are Beautiful” painted backwards on wall so the mirror reflection tells you how it is.

After dinner we headed to Exchange 18 for sleep. Hands down this was the most sleep I’ve ever gotten in a relay, but it was also the most uncomfortable. In every other relay I’ve been with guys who are totally up for either sleeping in a field or whatever area has been made available for sleeping. But no one wanted to get out of the van and sleep outside this time–least of all me! So instead of having my usual choice of benches, I was looking at sleeping sitting up or hunched over against a window. No dice. I crawled in the back of the van, pushed all the luggage out of the way, and cuddled up with the Nuun cooler made myself a nest on the floor. Then, since I didn’t have to run for a long time even after we started again, I claimed a bench when our first runners went back out. I managed two hours of sleep, which is LUXURY during a relay.

My nest in the back of the van.

My nest in the back of the van.

Foam Roller: doing double duty as a pillow

You can see my feet for scale on the size of the space. And my foam roller: doing double duty as a pillow. I love you, foam roller.

Oh, those night runs were surely lonely. This area was extremely rural, so no illumination of any kind beyond headlamps and headlights. There were hills on hills, and it was dusty. But the other gals powered through like champs, and posted some pretty awesome times despite the weirdness that always comes with a night run. (also, no cell service for 8-10 hours. Can I tell you what that does to a group of bloggers? It is a wonder we are still alive, people. TORTURE.)

I have no idea which exchange or runner this is.

I have no idea which exchange or runner this is. Possibly Megan handing to Laura. DARK.

Soon enough, Lisa was out and I was up. It was first light, and I was excited to have the sunrise leg, though with the Oregon clouds there would be no real sunrise. They must sell loads of Vitamin D supplements there.

Speaking of pills, guess who forgot to take any Advil during the night? THIS GIRL. So when it came time to run, Laura graciously went back to the van to get me some, but it didn’t really kick in until it was too late.

This one hurt from the first step. The van passed me shortly after I began and I faked a big smile and a peace sign as they went by. Then I settled in to just get the miles under my feet. I honestly haven’t had the heart to even look at my Garmin from this trip, and I doubt I ever will. The runner I was on this trip is not the runner I have worked to become, and not the runner I will be once I am healed, so why torture myself?

I got passed. Passed by a man from Atlanta, passed by spry woman after spry woman, passed by ELVIS. Yes, passed even by a man dressed like The King. For future reference, please know that the coverage offered by an ill-fitting Elvis suit is minimal. Oh, if my eyes could un-see…

Then finally I got straight in my head. It was sunrise. We’d made it through the night. I was on the course of the Mother of All Relays, an experience that in all probability I will never have again. I needed to enjoy this. I turned off my pump-up music, which at this point was only weighing on me. I could be mentally pumped up as any person out there, but my body was not going to respond. So I put on music that I really like (Coldplay), and decided to just enjoy this once-in-a-lifetime experience.

I was on the side of a mountain. Huge conifers towered overhead. There was a swift-moving creek beside me. The lush, Oregon summer spoke of the beauty of God in ways that I’d never had the privilege to see before in person. The road was a small two-lane, but pretty much empty due to the hour and how very isolated this place is. I passed what I think must have been an athletic training lodge, and thought how perfect this place is for that. I enjoyed the weather, which is so nice for August as compared to Atlanta’s blanked of heat that lingers in to September. IT WAS SO BEAUTIFUL.

Yes, part of me wished I’d blazed through this run without noticing all that. But the larger part of me is glad for the pain, because in it, I saw glorious things, and I’m so thankful that I was there.

IMG_4506

“The sky above proclaims His handiwork,” perhaps nowhere more so than in Oregon.

Up next: I stalk an HTC celeb, and the Lewis and Clark Trail of Tears.

Food Truckin’: Hood to Coast Leg 1

Tags

, , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Need to catch up? Find the Hood to Coast Pre-Party Here. And my giant kissfest with Nuun & Co. here.

We Watermelons piled into Van 2 and headed out of Seattle around noon. We didn’t anticipate starting running until about 6 p.m., and as Runner 11, I likely wouldn’t be on the course until 9. Cue a very leisurely ride to Sandy, OR. Let’s use this time to introduce you to my van-mates.

View from the van on the drive to Oregon.

View from the van on the drive to Oregon.

Runner 7 was the little powerhouse Meghan B. She is from Jersey, she is young (23!), she is confident. Speed honed in youth aside, If her constant smile and can-do attitude is what running competitively in high school and college does for you, then I really hope my daughters continue to run.

Runner 8 was Megan H., also a young’un, also a speedy East-coaster, she writes for Runner’s World and loves the sport. She puts together a lot of the motivational quotes for the RW site, and for good reason–she was very encouraging along the way.

Playing the unfortunate role of Runner 9 was Laura T., a Nuun employee from here in the Atlanta area. She is a rock–a solid runner who attacked all three of her difficult legs and never uttered a word of complaint. She is also so kind and thoughtful–great qualities in a van-mate.

Handing off to me was Runner 10, Lisa M. She is very transparent online so I knew from our Twitter conversations and her blog that she is a genuine, caring person. She also has some knowledge of chronic pain and of injury so for me, she was particularly good to have around as I struggled through the mental and physical strain of doing this race injured.

Runner 11: Yours truly

Our anchor was Devon M., who is just an all-around awesome lady. She is collected and even, and has her head on straight. She is a solid runner, and completely drama-free. Not to mention adorable. I’d like to have a Devon dolly to keep in my pocket just to cheer me up sometimes. 🙂

And let us not forget the fearless Warrior Behind the Wheel: Casey. Nuun CFO and devoted Huskies fan. He drove that 15-passenger van like it was a Miata, and only took out two curbs that we know of.

All the sparkle, none of the drama!

All the sparkle, none of the drama!

 

Can I just say how nice it is to have a drama-free van? I’ve been fortunate to have very little van-drama in most of the relays I’ve done, and frankly, I don’t know why anyone would want to create drama. The race hands you enough true, drama–save your energy for that.

About the worst thing that happened along the way was our first trip to Safeway, in which we were denied on our quest to invite Stacy into our van. It’s a relay essential, y’all, and we very nearly did not get them. Luckily all was righted at our next stop and we were pretty much Powered by Stacy for the rest of the relay.

All the Stacy's

All the Stacy’s

The Nuun bar. All the electrolytes you could desire.

The Nuun bar. All the electrolytes you could desire.

 

So, here’s the part that tells you how yes, I have a little bit of the sad over being in Van 2. See, Van 2 does not get to go up Mt. Hood. Hence, like half of all Hood-to-Coast-ers, I have no awesome jumping-with-the-mountain-behind-me pics. I get why that is, with traffic going up and down a big ole mountain but if you’ll allow me a moment… *Whine.*

Okay, all done.

We made it to Exchange 6, which was in the parking lot of a Safeway in Sandy. We all got waaaaaay too excited about seeing the Dead Jocks van as we were pulling in. Also, we were cutting it pretty close so we got Meghan all safety-geared up and sent her out on the course to take the slap bracelet baton from Catey.

Look closely and you can see the Dead Jocks van!

Look closely and you can see the Dead Jocks van!

Afterward, we gathered everyone who was still there from the Nuun teams together for a picture. Team Lemonade had arrived, all of Watermelon, minus Meghan, was there, and even parts of Nuun’s competitive Team Cherry Limeade were still on site. What I did not realize was that the person who was gathering us for the picture had nothing to do with the teams… except that he is a race director wants a certain member of Team Lemonade to help him promote his race in Oregon. And so, after he’d taken the picture he loudly exulted “Yeah! It’s HOLLY ROBERTS TEAM!!!” and got on the phone to… tell someone he’d been successful in finding her? Who knows, but it was funny. Holly told us what was going on and we giggled and giggled. Since she was so mortified, and since I am just that mean, I pretty much took immediately decided that the #teamhollyroberts needed to became a thing. And so a joke was born. Holly, it was an honor to be on Team Holly Roberts. May it happen again. 🙂

Team Holly Roberts.

Team Holly Roberts.

Soon after we needed to get on the road to make the next exchange. The two Meg(h)ans are speedy and were on fresh legs. The slap bracelet went from Meghan to Megan to Laura to Lisa and soon I was up. We were pushing it coming into Exchange 10. Dark was coming on, and we stumbled to the exchange not long before Lisa came in.

Lit up for my night run. How cute is the pink Amphipod flower and vest?!?

Lit up for my night run. How cute is the pink Amphipod flower and vest?!?

I was nervous going into this run. Like, nervous to the point that I’d had to really work hard to enjoy the trip up to this point. I will tell you that getting on the plane to Seattle was pretty much one of the most selfish things I’ve ever done. I flat didn’t know if I’d be able to run. I said that know matter what I’d finish the legs–I was not going to let anyone run for me as I’d had to do during Ragnar Chicago. But I didn’t know what price that would come at: Either what I might injure or re-injure, or how much time I’d cost the team. I’d been in a lot of pain during and after Thursday’s Green Lake run. My IT Band is pretty much well, but other parts of my body have been doing a lot of compensating. But my left glute and hamstring were so tight and they were hurting a lot. The top of my right hip has also been acting up, in the form of sharp pain. This is an injury that I’d struggled with in 2012, but which had disappeared after I switched shoes last fall, had suddenly returned about a week before. That said, I do not advocate using a ton of NSAID’s, especially during running. But for this, I took Advil prior to the run, and it got me through. Kisses for you, Advil.

Leg 11 takes you on a paved trail through parts of Portland;  mostly industrial. I’m not a huge fan of paved walking trails, as they tend to attract backpack-carrying Hoodie wearers, which is all well and good but who tend to look creepy after dark. Sorry, backpack-carrying hoodie wearers of the world. But there also were several cyclists out there and a lot of runners so it wasn’t too creepy, even though the area was so very industrial. Looking at the satellite of it now, I’m a) glad I didn’t look at the satellite imagery of the area earlier and b) glad I was running it at night or else I’d have been bored looking at the warehouses. The path was traffic-free except where it crossed streets (and the volunteers were pushing the light-change buttons for us) and great to run on, save one thing: The path went by some sort of Food Truck Extravaganza. And yes, it was 9 p.m. and we hadn’t yet eaten dinner. No, I did not stop. Yes, I wanted to.

 

This run was the best of the three for me, and that ain’t saying much. Everything hurt but I was so, so happy to be out there, and running, and numbed enough by Advil that I could ignore the pain. I came into the exchange happy to be there, happy to be done, and happy to be sending Devon off to finish up our first legs.

Up next in my Leg Two Recap: Don’t Be Cruel, and A Seat at the Table for my Foam Roller.

Uff Da: The Hood to Coast Pre-Party

Tags

, , , , , , , , , , ,

Before we can get to the actual Running of the Nuunies, we must get to the getting there–that is half the fun, right? My parents in Illinois were to act as child care while I was in the PNW, so the kids and I went to the Midwest a week beforehand to make a vacay of it. On Wednesday before the race, my ever-loving father took me to O’Hare to catch my flight to Seattle.

I had packed…and repacked… and re-repacked, and even re-re-re-packed before I left. I wanted to carry on my bags, and they were stuffed, but I got everything on. Then the flight was delayed, but the folks next to me were already conked out. These people took their sleep VERY seriously. I finally nudged them and went to the bathroom to… stretch? Sure, why not. You can get a really good glute stretch going on in the plane. Just FYI.

IMG_4333

Ready to fly: Team Watermelon nails, coffee, wings. Let’s do this.

IMG_4340

See? Glute stretch in the bathroom.

IMG_4381

I don’t think we’re in Georgia anymore, Toto.

Flight was uneventful, except for… MOUNTAINS!!! I haven’t been to the Northwest ever, so it was incredible to see the mountains from the air. Almost worth having to poke The Sleepers every time I needed to stretch my glutes go to the bathroom.

Upon arrival, Sarah, Meghan, Mallory, Kristen, Karen had all arrived and were nestled near baggage claim, and the awesome Megan was arriving in the Big White Van to take us to Nuun HQ. We got in and were whisked to the Mother Ship, where we met Jolene, Catey and Leslie. Megan told us we had 3 hours to explore Seattle and I immediately rattled off my list of Things I Had to Do. Luckily no one ran screaming from the Highstrung Type A girl, and we headed to Pike Place. Once there, Jolene and I split off from the group to head toward Seattle Center. First we had to stop at the original Starbucks.

IMG_4353 IMG_4354 IMG_4355

Oh wait, that’s not the first Starbucks you say? That’s the Starbucks at First and Pike, you say? Yeah, yeah, yeah, we figured that out later. I’m sure they had a full-on “Code Tourist” snicker about it. Sigh. Visiting Seattle Tip #1: If you ever want to go, I recommend you Google “Original Starbucks Seattle” NOT “First Starbucks Seattle.” Ahem. That problem will be resolved later in our story.

Here’s Westlake Center, where my fictional boyfriend Lloyd Dobler had his ‘controversial first date’ with Diane Court (at least, this was the mall pictured in the movie when Lloyd drove by in the rain).IMG_4358 It’s also where we caught the monorail to Seattle Center, home of the Space Needle, the Experience Music Project (EMP), and the Chihuly Garden. Jolene was on a mission to see Buffy’s Mr. Pointy Stake, and I can’t resist a Nirvana exhibit, so EMP won our time first. We made a beeline for Mr. Pointy, then broke the Scream Booth (sorry EMP), then weaved through the Nirvana exhibit. In and out in far too little time; if you are a pop culture fan, it’s definitely worth a lot more than what we gave it.IMG_4361IMG_4363We souvenir shopped at the Space Needle but were running short on time so decided to see the Chihuly Garden instead. I’ve been a fan since he did an installation at the Atlanta Botanical Gardens years ago, and I’ve seen another piece of his in Milwaukee, but this place has just so many pieces of his incredible glass. It was amazing. I find his work to be both breathtaking and accessible, and am awed by the skill it takes to produce it. So pretty.IMG_4364IMG_4366

Jolene and I were having a ball, but running late-ish so we cabbed it back to Nuun and then got to partake in an apparent HQ ritual: A bell is run and it is declared Plank Time! Forearm plank, side plank, other side plank, big plank. Boom and done. If I could just point out that they do this several times a day, and that they don’t make it a competition. It’s just Team Building through Fitness. I really, really, like this company, y’all.

IMG_4370

Plank it out.

We were quickly spirited away to The Garage, for some Bowling and food. I was getting pretty tired at this point, and meeting lots and lots of people. I settled in to prove that I am the Master of Being Last at Bowling, and bowled an impressively low 38. No, you may not have my autograph.

IMG_4373

Bowling. Talking.

IMG_4374

More bowling. More talking. Probably some social media stuff happening there, too.

IMG_4375

The next morning I was up for coffee and stretching before we invaded Oiselle headquarters. I was beyond stoked to go to The Nest and see where they all their birdie magic happens. But there was to be a run, and this little bird had butterflies in her tummy. I had said several times I wouldn’t take part in the Green Lake run, but c’mon, it’s GREEN LAKE. They name hoodies after this place! So off we went. My hurts started hurting immediately and I was slow and achy. Seriously, running like an un-spry 80 year old. I want to give slurpy kisses to Zoe, who was in the unenviable position of keeping this from being a no-drop run. Thanks for not dropping me, Zoe. Your gentleness kept me from despair!

IMG_4377

Atlantans ready to go to Oiselle. @runladylike and me, smiley.

IMG_4390

Sally. Passionate about women in running.

IMG_4389

My happy place!

IMG_4391

Hands up, wings out?!?

We re-caffeinated with Starbucks and then went back to Oiselle to hear from Sally, the founder of Oiselle, who seems pretty intent on changing the game in women’s running. She’s brilliant. I also got to meet the object of my biggest blog crush, Sarah “Mac” Robinson, who is unlike me in that she is very, very, very fast, but like me in that she writes candidly about injury–a runner after my own heart. Also got to chat some with Dr. Lesko and Kristen Metcalf, so this little runner was a happy girl.

After we basked in the running-fashion goodness, we were on our own for lunch. I’ll let Jolene tell you about what happened there, but it was sobering, and I’m so glad that she was there.

After that: time to Ride the Ducks. This was just… fun. A tour of Seattle and Lake Union aboard an amphibious WWII era vehicle. With a witty driver and tons to see. FUN. As our guide had us say at each and every Starbucks we passed… “Uff da!”

IMG_4394

You have to do this when you ride the ducks. It’s like, a law.

IMG_4400

Fishermen on a roof.

IMG_4402

Pioneer Square.

IMG_4403

Need a kilt? I’ve got a lead on some good ones…

IMG_4405

Elephant=Car Wash

 

IMG_4408

…and we’re in the water…

IMG_4414

Little brown house: the one from Sleepless in Seattle

IMG_4410

The other part of #nuunhtc trying to out-dance us. As if.

IMG_4416

Holly goofin’ with the Cap’n

IMG_4431

The good stuff: Gifties!

Post-duck, we went to Nuun HQ and ate dinner and were presented with a massive amount of fun swag to wear, try, and love. It was like a visit from Nuunta Claus. Nuun bottles, hats, visors. Shirts and jackets from Oiselle. Sunscreen from Naawk, socks from Swiftwick, skirts from Sparkle Athletic, and a Tiger Tail. President and CEO Mason innovative approach to marketing and their commitment to bring athletes together. Yay Nuun! *cheerleader jump*

IMG_4419

The Even Better Stuff: Mason Reay addresses the happy runners.

Outside, six shiny white vans awaited us. We markered those suckers up into lean, mean, Team Watermelon, Lemonade, and Cherry Limeade machines. Uff da!

All that fun-having wore me out, so it was off to bed pretty early.

IMG_4423

@endurotwerd AKA Meghan M. made all the teams flavor-specific cupcakes and dropped them off for us. Thanks Meghan!

IMG_4420

Meghan shows off her seed-drawing skillz.

IMG_4427

Team Watermelon, Van 2: Meghan B., Nuun CFO/Driver Extraordinaire Casey, Devon, Megan H., Moi, Lisa M., Laura T. Van Decorated, Legs Ready!

The next morning, I got up to tell the other Watermelons goodbye. Only Van 1s go to the top of Mount Hood, which grieves me greatly. I get it, that would be literally twice the amount of traffic up the mountain, but this little Runner #11 surely did miss the team time at the start line. But, I waved goodbye as they loaded up and started on their adventure.

IMG_4438

Bye… Sniff….

Then I had three hours to kill, so I got a shuttle from the hotel and went back to Pike Place to make things right with the original Starbucks. This time, success! Coffee there, then I explored the market as it woke up to a beautiful summer morning. After gawking at the flowers and fish, I got an espresso and a fancy-pants croissant from a French bakery across the street.

IMG_4442

Ah. Yes. That’s more like it. The other one did seem anti-climatic.

IMG_4446

Uff da!

IMG_4456

So unassuming…

IMG_4450

Feeeeeesh.

IMG_4451

Les fleurs.

IMG_4452

More les fleurs.

IMG_4458

Les carbs.

IMG_4459

Jitters, coming right up.

I was nearly done with the caffeine-shakes by the time the shuttle dropped me back to the hotel. I rushed around and got myself ready just in time to get in the van and hit the road.

Next stop: Beautiful Sandy, Oregon!