Weight I have lost

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Post Richmond Marathon

Well after the Marathon, you know D and I went to drink.  Richmond was special because we went out with V and E, and as a special bonus, D's best man B drove down to hang with us.  We drank a lot and had a lot of fun.

Unfortunately, my groin was hurting something fierce.  I ended the night early (like 11) and they all went out.  Sunday, E and B left, and V, D, and I all went to Perly's for brunch. If you are in downtown Richmond, you should go.  The food is delicious.  V went to drive home after that. 

Pierogies at Perly's

Reuben at Perly's

Which left D and me to go drink.  I hobbled to the first brewery.  We had beers.

We took a car to the 2nd brewery.  I hobbled to the bar.  This groin hurt.

We went to the 3rd brewery which was having a bottle release.


Finally we went to a bar.  When we got our fill there we walked to the hotel.  The next day we drove back to Atlanta.

I hobbled all week, but seemed to get a little better.  That may have also been to some strange virus both D and I got that resembled food poisoning but lasted 4 days.  So over the weekend the only thing we did was go to the Atlanta Half-Marathon Packet Pickup, not Expo that was not in Atlanta.  I won't go into it, but I did write the ATL HM people to let them know I was both disappointed having to drive 30 miles RT to another city where the race wasn't even going to be (thankfully, I read my emails or I would have had to drive 60 miles, RT), and the reason I find Expos beneficial.   Anyways...

Monday- Wednesday were just going to work.  Monday, I did call the doctor who said he could see me December 26th.  Wednesday night, I wasn't sure I was going to be able to run the half on Thanksgiving, so I made a Pecan Pie Cheesecake (I would have made it anyway).  We worked on cleaning the house since both of us had been sick the week before, and then went to bed.

Thanksgiving morning we drove to the race that is over by A's house.  She wasn't doing it, but if you have read the blog, you know she lives relatively close to Turner field, which we do too, but if you are running 13.1 miles, you don't really want to walk 4 miles home, so we drove.  Anyway we were really early, so we sat in the car.  I got out once to go to the bathroom. Up until then, my leg felt fine.  D didn't want to run.  I told him to shut it.  Finally it was 7:25 and it started at 7:30 (or maybe 7:55 with it starting at 8, I don't remember).  So we started to the start line.  For some reason, I decided to try out my leg.  It was nagging while walking just a little.  I went down the parking lot all of 5 feet, and knew I couldn't run on it.  I started to cry.  D said he would drive me home. I said I would wait in the car for him.  He was already in the driver's seat with the car on, when I got in.  We went home.

The Pecan Pie Cheesecake was really awesome.

So...I had called the doctor on Dec 1.  He had an opening for Dec 8.Great, since I have a race on Dec 13.  Dec.2, stepping out of the shower, I slipped on the tile and fell. I hit my head.  I'm not really sure if I knocked myself out, because I don't know what time I took a shower.  I do know it took me forever to get upright.  But after that, my leg felt a lot better. Not really. But I keep telling myself that. Mostly, Dec 1-8 involved a lot of Advil...although on the 7th it might have been because of the Strong Beer Fest and the headache that was involved after.  Dec.8 finally rolled around, and I went to see the Sports Doctor.  We talked, and I showed him where my groin hurt. He was pretty sure it was an adductor strain and was thankful that I hadn't started my lifting regimen, yet.  For shits and giggles, and because I was there, he took an X-ray of my pelvis.  We looked at it.  He goes, "You started hurting on Nov. 5?  And then you ran a marathon?"  I was like, "Yes. Why?"  He pointed to the X-ray.  He goes, "See this black line?  That's a crack. Your pelvis is cracked. That's why your leg hurts." He called it an Inferior Pubic Ramus Stress Fracture (I think, since all I heard was Pubic Ramming).  He looked at the rest of the Pelvis.  The good news is that my hips look great, and the ball/socket joints look great.

So, "Doc, what does this mean? I have a race on Saturday."  He said I could run the 5 miles, but after that no running for 4 weeks.  And if it still hurt, to call him and I then would have to get a MRI.  So he gave me a prescription for Celebrex and sent me on my way.

But seriously, a cracked pelvis????

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Richmond Marathon 2014

So Saturday morning came.  I was nervous.  My leg hurt.  I woke up and immediately took some Advil.  It was early, like 5:30.  My nerves were just "ahh."  I slowly figured out that my compression pants and 1 shirt was going to be my outfit.  (The race started at 30 degrees and was going to end at 45).  I decided on a baseball cap.  And I had throwaway gloves.  I got down 3 bottles of water and 2 Clif Bars between 5:30 and 7:30 and used the bathroom plenty.  I had my 2 Gatorades in my Camelbak, some Margarita Shot Blocks, I thought Advil, and 5 Honey Stinger Waffles.  To be honest, D was doing his own thing, and I really wasn't paying attention. I took 11 Advil.

Selfie in the hotel room
At 7:30 we decided to go downstairs.  From everything I could've read, the race was basically open for 7hour and 10 minutes total.  So I wanted to start upfront.  So I started with D in the C corral.  I was supposed to be in G.  Had someone said something, I may have cried, but no one did.

Us in the hotel lobby right inside of the start line

So someone sang the National Anthem, we watched the Half Marathoners start (different course), and then the start of the marathon began.

I ran and my leg felt ok.  Sigh of relief.  I ran along Broad Street.  It was pretty crowded, but I seemed to be doing ok.  I got over to the side, so I could do my 9/1 run/1walk thing.  My music was going.  There were a ton of people out.  I guess it is the friendliest marathon.  I was really surprised considering it was 30 degrees out.  But maybe it was hotter. My hands were really hot.  I don't know. Miles 1 came and went.  Only 25 more to go.  "Al, if you think that way, this is going to be the longest race ever. God, my hands are hot."  At Mile 1.5, I got rid of my gloves.  Mile 2 was just running and moving out of town.  We turned somewhere and got on Monument.  There were a couple of monuments (duh), and a lot of row houses.  I miss that in Atlanta.  We don't have row houses.  At Mile 4 we turned.  There was a juggler.  He passed me.  I really hate running jugglers.  Yes, it does piss me off they run faster than me with those stupid balls, and yes, I really do hope they'll fall and trip.  This one dropped a ball and I did feel kind of a calm happiness (hey, I never claimed to be nice!).
Mile 1: 13:27
Mile 2: 13:49
Mile 3: 13:38
Mile 4: 14:10

I turned again, down another street.  There were a few hills.  Having looked at the course online, I knew there was a nice downhill at 7, so that's all I focused on getting too. Again a lot of housing (not row anymore) and it was kind of mundane, in terms of scenery.  However, there was a band, and lots of people out.  Still trying to get to Mile 7... Turned on this little road, and it was down hill.  I could see the 10K line.  I only had to do 4 of those.  Yay, 1/4 of the way there (yeah, I know my math was off).  Then there was a hill.  I walked up it, which was fine, and then resumed running.  It was really shady through mile 6 and downhill.  It was cold. I wished I still had my gloves.  Overall I felt good though.  I was keeping my eating to every 2 miles.  Drinking my Gatorade on my stops and water every 2 miles (at the provided stops).  We got to this little town (like a shopping center) with a "festival" for the runners.  It was a little odd, but all the people there were having a good time and they cheered on all the runners.  So it was nice.  Then we started across this bridge.  I had a lot of energy.  This woman in a blue shirt had her shirt riding way up with her belt rubbing.  At my walk break I sprinted up to her and told her to pull it down not to get a blister.  I think at this point I was at my 4/1, but I don't remember.  Anyway she said thanks.  She seemed to be an interval runner as well, although I couldn't figure out her intervals.  On the bridge we crossed over the James River.  I tried to enjoy it.  There were a lot of leaves.  Once over the bridge, I ran down an "on ramp" and got to Mile 8.  I beat the Mile 7 Cutoff.

D between Mile 4 and 6
V between Mile 4 and 6

Mile 5 14:12
Mile 6: 14:08
10K Time: 1:27:19
Mile 7: 14:17
Mile 8: 14:13

Mile 8 and 9 were alongside the river. It was pretty flat but cold.  The houses were HUGE, and I was really surprised the number of people out, considering how cold it was.

Me between Mile 8 and 9
At Mile 9.9 (not really but you know), you passed a band who was singing to all the women (there were a lot out there).  I passed blue shirt lady again.  We had to run up this hill.  It was a pain, but I got up it. I was starting to get tired.  Shit.  I switched to the Shot Blocks because I was getting tired of the Honey Waffles.  Still a lot of people out.  I wove myself through this neighborhood, and finally was out on a main road.  A couple of times I did see some women (never men) get into cars.  I wondered if they were cheating.  I don't know.  I kept going.  Blue lady and I were shuffling past each other.  Mile 11-13 seemed to be a lot of up hill.  We seemed to be heading back into town. At this point I don't know if it was Richmond, but it is a town.  Finally up all these hills, and the 13.1 mile mark. Oh, why didn't I sign up for the half? But I had beat the 12 Mile Cutoff.

Mile 9: 14:51
Mile 10: 15:07
Mile 11: 15:39
Mile 12: 15:31
Mile 13: 15:56
13.1 Time: 3:11:12

Mile 14 and 15 were all about getting to the Key Bridge.  14 brought me to a more industrial section.  A turn to Mile 15 and I was on the bridge.  It was windy. You needed to look down.  It seemed to be a major trip hazard.  A lot of people were stopping.  At one of my walk breaks, I dug around for my Advil. There was none.  FUUUUUUUCCCCCCKKKKK! This was concerning to me, because 11 miles there was going to be a problem.  I got over the bridge, and some band dude asked me if I wanted a drink. I was at a party stop.  I was so confused.  No, I didn't want a drink.  Someone handed me some water.  I took a sip. It was Coke. I may have spit it across the road. I don't know why I didn't look at it before drinking but water and Coke are vastly different when you expect one and get the other.  I switched to 2/1 intervals.  These 2 women, Sisters with Sole (I think) came up.  They could do I was limping. I was trying not to cry.  I told them I lost my Advil.  One brought out a baggie and said, she had extra.  To those 2 women, THANK YOU!!!  They went on, I regrouped and restarted.  I turned and went down this winding road.  I hit Mile 17.  They were handing out towels, but I was so far back the kids had started playing swords with them so they didn't really look like something I wanted to put on my face.  I skipped over.  All the water stops were still full.  I just kept moving, but I really wanted to be done.  It was a struggle.  "Just keep moving, AL.  Si se puede."  I kept going.  Finally on BLVD.  I know the Arthur Ashe Center is on this road and it is the last hill.  I was now on 1/1.  My hamstring was killing me.  I wondered if I had over compensated.  I got to the hill and almost cried. In my head, it meant I was going to do it.  I still had to get to Mile 20 which was the last cutoff. I past the lady in the blue shirt.   I saw the Mile 20 sign, and was so deliriously happy.  Only 6 more miles.  Oh Fuck!  6 more miles.  I knew I had to turn into some little neighborhood, so I kept running.  I knew I had slowed down, but I could do it.  Just stay "Si se puede, AL."

Mile 14: 16:11
 Mile 15: 16:05
Mile 16: 17:09
Mile 17: 17:16
Mile 18: 17:08
Mile 19: 17:43
Mile 20: 17:34
20 Mile Time: 5:09:16

The blue lady pulled up beside me, right as I started walking.  She was walking full time. I looked over and told her we had beat the cutoff. She started to cry.  I told her to stop.  We walked a little. She said this wasn't the race she wanted. There was no one out and she was injured. I asked if she wanted me to get a medic. She said no.  She stopped to stretch and take some aspirin.  Then she caught up (it wasn't hard).  At this point I realized I could walk to her pace or run to her pace.  So I walked.  She said she was sure the weather had kept the people out.  I told her I was shocked how many people were still cheering us.  I told her to keep walking and I would make sure we didn't slow that much down.  We walked in silence. I periodically told her how many "laps around the track we had."  When we got to 16 laps, I took a picture.

16 more "laps"
She liked the lap idea.   We walked down Brook Road.  Mile 23 passed us.  Some people offered us their last 2 Saltine Crackers. We took them.  Blue Lady was named Kathy and she was from Charlotte.  She had been running with her coach, but told her to go on and get a good time.  She would just go as far as she could.  We turned.  I looked behind us.  There weren't that many left.  I told her we had 9 laps.  Again more quietness.  We got to Mile 24 and I decided I wanted to be done, so I told her I was going to run.  I got to Mile 25 on my own.  I remembered my calf. I remembered my girl who I once said would cross every finish line with me.  Like hell she wasn't crossing today.

Guinness was getting that medal!
She pulled up beside me with another woman, who was also hurt.  They were both pissed. I was too.  Kathy wanted to cry again. I told her she wasn't allowed to. Because at this point we were so tired, there was comraderie, but man if I'm not eloquent.  I told them "This is character building.  This is when a recruiter asks you what your best accomplishment was, it was this, because there was a mental toughness that overrode the physical.  Stupid or not, we would finish.  This is where we grew a set. This was where we became men."  Then we all laughed.

The entire race there were these flourescent green people.  I assume they were coaches for a local running group.  They were pretty awesome because they had been cheering us on for the last several miles.  One of them let us know we had 11 minutes to get to the finish line.  We had less than .5 miles.  The other lady and I said good-bye to Kathy.  The last part of the race was downhill.  My legs hurt.  I wanted to be done.  I saw D among all the people and there were a lot.  I was going to finish.  I crossed.  It wasn't pretty but I did.  I just started to cry.  I got my medal and hugged the medal lady. I got my blanket and hat. I found D. I hugged him.

D finishing

V finishing.

D and V waiting for me
Me finishing

Mile 21: 17:52
Mile 22: 19:20
Mile 23: 18:54
Mile 24: 18:06
Mile 25: 17:23
Mile 26: 17:31
Mile .27: 4:03.7
Marathon (26.27 according to Garmin): 7:01:11
D Marathon (PR): 4:43:15
V Marathon (PR): 4:45:16

 And then I told him I had to find Kathy. I know he was like, "Who is Kathy?"  She crossed (she actually had a better net time than me, but eh), and we hugged.  Then she saw her friends, so I left her.

V and her friend E found us and we all hugged.  While E took our pictures, Kathy's running team came over, and thanked me.  Really?  She helped me.  We cried and got a picture as well.

Me and D
D, me and V
Me and Kathy
Post Marathon Beer
Finisher's Hat, Shirt and Medal

The Road to Richmond.

So the last time I wrote about running (and not leaves), was over a month ago. So this entry will be the road leading up to Richmond.

On Wednesday, 11/5 (or maybe it was Thursday), I went to the gym.  Nothing exciting...a 3 mile run. I may have been aiming for 4, but something about the run felt off.  My groin hurt.  Of course I finished the run, because it was "just" 3 miles.  The next few days I hobbled.

Saturday, D and I went to the Silver Comet for the last short-long run of 10 miles.  True to form, I had trouble in Mile 9-10.  And my groin hurt in Miles 1-3.  But it warmed up after the first 3 miles.  I finally didn't have to see any more leaves.  I felt comfortable with my time.  3 more small training runs and I'd be ready.  So later in the day, my groin really hurt.  We took Scuttlebutt out for some beers (us not him) to celebrate the Life of Porter, and I got some Honey Waffle things at the running store.  At one restaurant, I could barely get out of the chair, and when waiting for the bathroom, the manager told me about one upstairs, and I just laughed.

Scuttlebutt at The Square Pub

Me and SB at Twain's

D and SB at Twain's
None of those small runs happened.  Wearing compression pants, and going through a 200 count bottle of Advil did.

So Friday, 11/14 we drove up to Richmond. I had stopped talking about my leg, in hopes the pain would go away.  It was rather a boring 8 hour drive.  And I have to say that South Virginia is one of the worst offenders of leaves.  You are separated by a median of trees with huge trees on both side of you with cops every few hundred feet hiding.  Yeah, yeah.

Probably the most exciting thing on the drive to Richmond (this is Gaffney, SC)

D and I finally made it to Richmond.  We were meeting our friend V there.  She decided to take a bus tour of the route. When we got to our hotel (we stayed at 2 different ones), D and I couldn't park so we just went to the Expo.  It was packed.  The layout was odd.  You got your number up front. Then you had to go to the other end of the Arthur Ashe Center to get your shirt.  I only noticed this because of my leg.  We debated whether to get D a throwaway hat, but we couldn't find one that wasn't pink, or said, "I run like a girl," or one that didn't cost $30.  He said he would be fine, so we wandered a little more.  We found the Kentucky Derby Marathon Table and got a code to sign up for that with a discount.  Then we left, because it was so crowded.

V was now at her hotel, so we offered to pick her up and go get dinner.  All together now, we went to dinner.  Now D and I had eaten pizza for 30 weeks every Friday, so we were in a ritual.  V eats Eggplant Parm with spaghetti prior to a race. She's in a ritual.  We had found a restaurant prior to leaving our respective homes/states, and that's where we went.  D dropped us off and went to park.  On the way into the restaurant, I told V that she was not to comment on the way I was walking. I was in a lot of pain.  I told V not to order anything, because this didn't seem to be the place (I didn't see her Eggplant Parm).  The place told us the sit-down restaurant was next door.  We go over.  The guy was nice enough, and we were at the right place.  V orders a wine and D and I order beer.  The guy hands us a menu. There is no pizza or Eggplant Parm on the menu.  Again, I look at the website.  Really?  We ask the man, and they had changed to another type of restaurant (not Italian).  But you have PIZZA in your name.  Where is it?  We paid for our drinks and left (after D found another place).  We got there and it was packed but they had pizza and eggplant parm.  It was across the street from Mellow Mushroom.  The pizza was delicious.  The beer was delicious. (The delicious beer, pizza, and eggplant parm place was Mary Angela's.)

Pre-Race Ritual of Guinness and Pizza (and Eggplant Parm)

We finished eating, packed up a to-go box, dropped V off (with some beer we brought her) and checked into our hotel.  We got ready for the race (with me not knowing what to wear (and not knowing if I could run)), and went to bed at about 830.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Leaves Are Not My Thing

I'm eventually going to write my marathon race report, but there is a greater issue going on.  My hatred of leaves.  

I've known since I was very young I hated them.  We lived on one side of Patapsco State Park and the grocery store was on the other side.  Even at age 4, I could figure out we went from this bright "happening" place to this dark, dreary environment.  The surprise was the other side and the MEMCO, which was like a Sam's Club with lights before Sam's Club was ever around.  (Rte 40, in MD driving from Howard County to Baltimore County).  Even if we did go to the state park, to see the colors of the leaves, I was bored.  Leaves are gross.

My dad used to ride his motorcycle to go see the leaves change colors.  When I was 13 or 14 I would go with him.  I would have one side of my head pressed into his back, and look at the colors.  I would hope he would ride to DC or Baltimore so we could look at the different stonework in the buildings.  It never happened.

Ironically, I ended up moving to the City of Trees, Atlanta.  I actually had no idea this was Atlanta's moniker until recently.  I don't know why people say Atlanta has no seasons.  There are at least 4, just usually no snow.   You certainly get to see the leaves.  Having a 30 mile one way commute that takes 60-75 minutes one way and 90-120 minutes the other way, I get to see the leaves.  And every day I think how ugly they are.  It doesn't matter what color they are.  Someone said the colors are beautiful. And I think, once you've seen 1 red leaf, 1 yellow leaf, 1 green leaf, and 1 orange, haven't you seen them all? And if they are changing colors, they are just all going to turn brown and fall on the ground, and you are either going to have to rake them or hire someone to rake them.

I traveled to Vermont with friends once on a road trip.  I don't know how many times we had to freakin' stop to look at the leaves.  It was painful.  I would much rather wait for the phone to ring or watch paint dry.

So I usually think about my hatred of leaves about once a year.  And this year, I commented on it to my friend V.  Since D and I have been running the Silver Comet Trail, I said how boring it was, plus once you saw the 4 leaves, eh.  V laughed and said she guessed I didn't want the WaPo article about places to getaway to see the leaves.  Really?  People do this?  The conversation further ensued about how wet leaves really suck and if you're a child and your father makes you rake them, touching the wet ones is disgusting.  Not to mention if you put your hands in a pile of them, there might be snakes underneath. And the smell?  Moldy dying tree smell.  Blech. The wet leaves are bad for runners too.  So slick. Can you tell nature and I are one with each other?

When I bought my first house, I was so happy as there were only 2 trees in the yard and one never took off.  In our current house, 2 of the trees that were supposed to be in our yard "magically" moved in the middle of the night to our neighbors' yards.  We still have 2.  They weren't buried deep enough because I trip over the roots all the time.  All I think about is that the roots of the trees are going to demolish the pipes in the house.  My neighbors cut the limbs of one of the trees so it is no longer resting on my roof (I had asked him if I could do it) for critters to come live in our attic.  Why did he cut them? Oh, because the limbs of another tree fell on his car.  So I'm not really sure if it is leaves or trees, but either way, I'm not fond.

So this post is going somewhere.
This is what I got last month.  All that hard work for LEAVES!!!!

Yes, it's for real, and it's mine
But secretly, I'm damn proud of these leaves.  Just don't tell anyone.

Now the leaves below...just cut them down so I can look at people.
Sitting in traffic with nothing to look at but leaves...I actually have pictures from 2012 bitching about this

Another day sitting in traffic with nothing to look at but leaves...I actually have pictures from 2012 bitching about this