Weight I have lost

Monday, December 21, 2015

Monday Night Brewing Westside 10

So awhile back, D and I realized we wouldn't be able to go to Baltimore for the Celtic Solstice due to his work making his work mandatory the day before the Celtic Solstice (vacation would not be approved).  So I looked around and decided I would run the Monday Night Brewing Westside 10.  The choices were for 10K and 10 Miler.  The website said it was very hilly.  So I signed up for the 10K.  D didn't because he was going to be traveling.

For 3 weeks I trained.  I did tempo runs, long runs, increasing speed runs, and hills.  And then it rained.  Since my injury,  I'm  super paranoid about my pelvis in the rain.  The last long run I did was 6 miles, and my pelvis felt off around mile 4. I knew I should just call D to come get me, but I just went on with it.  No biggie.  Except Sunday, I was hobbling.  The temperature was also climbing around and the rain was coming in, and I got scared I was going to end 2015 the way 2014 ended, barely being able to walk.  So I decided to take a week off.

Around that time, D told me he wasn't going to have to go out of town, so to sign him up. For some reason, he thought 10 Miles was good for him.

The next week I went to the gym and started running. It still felt off.  So I walked 2 miles.  Then traffic at work, work, excuses, excuses.  D, too, had excuses.  Work, dogs, traveling.

So basically from Mid November until 12/12 neither of us ran.  I did look at the elevation of the race.  It wasn't that bad.  We run hills all the time.  HAHA!

So the day of the race, we arrived at Lulelemon on Howell Mill.  We got there early and checked a bag in, since it was a point-to-point race.  We hung out, and tried to remain calm. D still wasn't sure if he was going to run 10K or 10 Miles.  He said he'd figure it out.

Pre-Race Selfie

The race started. As usual for Atlanta, no start mat (what is up with that)?

Everyone seemed to pass me, so nothing out of the ordinary.  Since I look down while running, I didn't really notice the incline going South on Howell Mill toward West Marietta Street.  It was fine.  I didn't feel fast, but everything felt fine.  My heart rate was up, but nothing too exciting.  I turned onto West Marietta and passed Five Seasons, Octane and Hop City.  Slight uphill and then a big downhill.
Mile 1: 13:28

So down past some Student Apartments, and then up past King Plow Center.  I really never pay attention to that since I always notice MeadWestVaCo on the other side.  I walked part of that hill.  We turned off of West Marietta into a little neighborhood.  It was mostly downhill, so that was nice.  Came out of it back onto West Marietta (from an uphill) and a water stop.
Mile 2: 14:31

So then things began to get easier.  Lots of downhill. (961 ft to 830 over a 1 mile stretch).  The turn onto Johnson Road was welcome quiet.  West Marietta is an industrial road,  and while the APD did a great job of keeping trucks from hitting the runners, the fumes of the trucks and the drivers who were "hugely inconvenienced" of driving on a road with runners so they could only go the speed limit instead of 70 mph were getting on my nerves.  Right before turning into a neighborhood was Mile 3.
Mile 3: 13:58.

So there was the 10 Mile/10K split.  I was glad I was only running 10K.  I ran into the neighborhood.  Lot of little kids were out cheering everyone on.  There was a hill in the hood, but it came at a water stop. So I walked up part of it, where the 10K and 10M re-joined. Back to running.  I passed the Perry MARTA Service Station, and then turned onto Perry BLVD.  I got a little confused here because I didn't know Perry and Marietta were the same street, so I kept expecting to turn. Since I had seen the runners on Marietta heading in the opposite direction when I was going the other way, I knew that hill was going to be a bitch.   Perry was incredibly hilly, but I was really focused on West Marietta Street.  Suddenly there was the turn.  But wait.  That is Marietta BLVD. I've been on West Marietta the whole time?  Like, I said, I got confused.
Mile 4: 15:47.

So D used to work off of Marietta BLVD, so I knew this area, or so I thought.  MB was pretty flat, and I still felt good.  I knew my times were slow, but I had handled those "hills."  Laughing that everyone thought this was so so hilly. It seemed average for Atlanta.  There was a turn for the 10K again onto Huff Road.  The volunteers told me to keep it up. Slight uphill and then a steep downhill.  The 10M joined back up.  The side of the road where we were to run was really narrow (2 lane road) and the road was open to traffic.  Going down hill shouldn't be that hard, but it made my breasts hurt...damn gravity.
Mile 5: 15:29.

Aw, shit.  I can't even see the top of the hill I have to go up.  WTF?  Just do the best you can. I started to run it, but it was steep and long. My legs hurt.  People were passing me.  People seemed irritated they were passing me.  Stop thinking about it, Al.  None of these people are winning the race so your entry into the race is as good as theirs.  Think of the beer at the end.  When the hell is this hill going to end?  Yes, there's the sign to tell you there is a stop. It's the stop sign to Howell Mill.  Noooo, Howell Mill doesn't have a stop sign; it has a light.  Jesus, more hill. Photographer lady, do NOT take a picture of me.  I feel like I'm on a death march.  Heart rate is reading 186.  Maybe I am on a death march.  Jesus. Finally see the actual stop sign.  More hill.  &#*$^!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  I see the light! I see the light!  I get to the light and the cop almost stops me to let trucks go through.  I think he sees I'm on a death march and I have accepted my doom, and will not stop.  I turn.  No hill.  Running past the Water Reservoir, and the road is now pretty flat.  I'm back to running.  I'm going to run to the 17th Street Light and walk up the next hill. I know it ends on a downhill, so I'll run that.  This guy in a green shirt tells me that this really is the last hill (and it isn't that bad after the Huff Death March Hill), so I walk "fast" up it.  Then finally I see Trabert Street.
Mile 6: 16:25

I see D waiting for me. I'm almost done. It really is just a downhill.  Go, Al, Go!  And finally I cross. Until the "injury" I had been aiming for 81 minutes.  I got my 2nd personal worst at 93:27.

D finishing

Me Finishing

 I'm probably supposed to feel bad about that, but did I mention this 10K ended at a brewery?  So besides my medal, I got 2 free beers.  And water.  And food.  We talked for a minute, and D tried to get me my beer glass, but I wanted water.  They were out. So I got my beer glass, and we went into the brewery, where I knew there were water fountains.  I pounded some water and then we got in line for beer.  D said he ran the 10K, as well. And he laughed at my description of the Huff Hill.

Beers and Medals

Since the after-party was only for runners, and not for friends, family, or spectators, it was really fun, and pretty small (800 people).  D and I aren't really after-party people, but we stayed around and drank our allotted beers and had some food.

Post-Race Selfie


Then we got a ride to our car and went home.

Overall, this race made me aware of what I need to do, in terms of training.  But I had a great time being out in the sun, running, and having beer, in the meantime.


Monday, November 16, 2015

Celebrating Life, 2 Ways

The past 2 weeks D and I have celebrated life.  First we held the 7th Annual Celebration of Porter's Life.  True to form, we did the Romp and Stomp 5K to start the festivities off.  It was unusually humid and hot out, so neither of us pulled in great times, but we both were happy to get out there and run.   I do love the 5K distance.
Pre-Race Selfie

A little slower than I'd like...Damn Heart Rate

Most of the week leading up to the 7ACoPL was filled with rain.  We talked about taking Scuttlebutt to Decatur, where we always go, but we decided to change it up.  McMenamin is not the best dog around people, since he is scared of them; however since it was raining, who would be foolish enough to sit outside?  So we took both boys to Red Brick Brewing.

When the vet notified me in 2009 that Porter wasn't going to make it, the first song I heard was Green Day's The Time of Your Life.  I have heard it every year on November 5 or 6.  This year I didn't hear it.  When I went into Red Brick to get D's and my beer, guess what was playing?  I know the staff thought I was weird, but I stopped mid-sentence to listen.  Silly, I guess, but I always feel like it is her way of saying hi to me.

So Red Brick had done their Vanilla Gorilla Release the night before, and still had plenty left, so that was what D and I had. (Strange Georgia laws prevent a brewery from pouring a full pint, among other things).

Vanilla Gorilla
The pups got water and hot dogs (provided by us). We had a great time.

Scuttlebutt had been sick in September and part of October, due to the rain causing an infection on his feet, but since he has gotten better, he is lively and full of energy.  Despite hanging in the rain (it only rained for the first 30 minutes we were there), he chased bugs, and watched cars go through a gate of a business.  McMenamin ate hot dogs and made sure to watch everyone who came and went from the brewery.  (He's like me...he's social in that he likes to people watch.  He just doesn't want to interact).

Anyway, I'd like to think Porter would have appreciated a new patio to drink on.


McMenamin and Scuttlebutt watching cars

I'm having lots of fun!

A Capitals Fan in Atlanta

Thanks Red Brick for having us!

This weekend was more Celebration of Life.  It was Lompoc's 3rd Birthday.  It was also Scuttlebutt's 6th Gotcha Day Anniversary.  Since he went out last weekend, we decided to only take Lompoc out this one.

After a 6 mile run through Candler Park, Lake Claire, Kirkwood and Oakhurst (and I only missed 2 turns), D and I came home and had lunch then got Lompoc ready (meaning I was going to dress her up in an infinity scarf).

We ended up walking to Midway Pub in East Atlanta.  Lompoc had a great time.  She is an inquisitive dog and likes to know what's going on around her.  She stared at a lot of people, but overall she loved being outside in the sunshine (finally), and in 55 degrees.  It was a gorgeous day for her day.

New Belgium Salted Caramel Brownie Brown Ale

Lompoc trying to look over the bushes to see what's out on the street
Lompoc loves to greet me with hugs whether it's been 2 minutes or 2 days

Afterward we walked to Argosy for some more beer, and then headed home. She was one exhausted pup.

Eventide Nitro Dry Stout
Lompoc at Argosy, starting to get tired

It's been a great 2 weeks of celebrating our loves.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015


Recently, one of my friends was talking about a FOMO moment.  Having no idea what she was talking about, I went and looked up FOMO.  Fear of Missing Out.

Since D and I have gone all "healthy lifestyling,"  I've had a lot of it in the past 3 weeks.  To the point it is causing me anxiety.  This week it has occurred for a beer bottle share, a beer release, and a beer dinner.  I'm not sure what I'm going to miss out on.  How do I balance beer and exercise?

Exercise and Earn a Beer
First the bottle share.  A couple of friends sent me an invitation to go to a bottle share on Tuesday.  I'm not a big week-day socializer.  I never have been.   In school, homework was to be had.  Nowadays, I get up at 530am, out the door by 615 for work, and usually back home after work and the gym around 6pm to walk the dogs, do some laundry.  If I'm lucky and feeling social, D usually gets to have a 10 minute conversation with me.  But usually, we just are ships passing through the night watching Futurama doing errands or chores, unless we have planned something at least 2 months in advance.  And I'm usually asleep by 930.  The weekends are the times where we actually talk to each other.  So, this beer share came up, and we mentioned it to each other, but "too much to do," was the answer from both of us.  This morning when I saw the pictures, I was bummed I had missed out on seeing friends, meeting some new people, but I know I will see/meet them.  I still think I did miss out. (Side note:  Keep inviting me, you never know when I'll show up).

Next up, a beer release:  The State of Georgia doesn't like craft beer, so after SB63 was passed and was in effect for a few months, the DOR felt it necessary to reinterpret what the law actually said.  I have my opinions about why this happened (suckass distributors in the LT. Governor's pocket), but in response, a lot of the Georgia Breweries are doing beer releases and special days where part of the money goes back to the the GA Craft Brewers Guild to help them replenish their reserves to fight this stupid misinterpretation of the law.  D and  I planned on going to one beer release, near us.  We were going to walk and bring our backpacks so we could carry the 128oz of beer they were giving us (at a cost) back home.  But the more I thought about it, the cheaper I got.  I didn't want to spend $70 (the price for 2 of us) for a beer I've never had.  So we decided we would go to a local bar (and not support the GCBG, but we would get our healthy walking in).  Then a brewery in Athens posted something, and that seemed like a good idea, but a 70 mile 1-way trip?  Plus it is Lompie's birthday.  I thoroughly confused D about it yesterday, but the long and the short of it is we are back to walking to a bar...I think.  Again FOMO.

Then we looked at a beer dinner at a restaurant we like, with beers we like.  It is on Monday. I work out on Monday.  It's a lot of money, although a good price.  I've had 3 of the 5 beers, but they are good beers. And it should be fun because the restaurant is closed except for this event.  It is a total FOMO.

The issue is that it isn't like I'm sitting at home drinking 20 glasses of water and a salad all the time (oh wait, that was last night).  And we do have plans for Saturday, we just have no idea what they are, only they involve taking Lompoc with us.

And then the next Saturdays:
Bottle Share
Strong Beer Fest
10K at Brewery
5K that will involve beer
Christmas for 2 days

So I'm trying to remember the FOMO needs to be balanced with the exercise and diet, so that my pants do fit when I do go out and be social.

But damn, this getting/staying healthy commitment is hard!

Monday, November 2, 2015

Welcoming Back Healthy Lifestyling

Last week, I signed up for a 10K.  It isn't a terribly popular distance in the city, with annual races often being changed to 5Ks or 10 Milers.  I can't remember the last time I ran one.  So I'm focused on training for that over the next few weeks.

I know the ultimate way to get faster besides practicing is to lose weight.  Which led me to think about my 20s and early 30s.  Yes, I drank beer. Yes, I worked out. Yes, I ate good food.  Besides getting married/eating dinner (yes, they came hand in hand), what exactly had changed?  I'm tired of hearing all about how my metabolism is causing me to keep on so many pounds. No, there is something else, because I know plenty of people older than me that are fit.  So what was the "secret?"  I don't really want to change the way I eat or drink (well, at least not revamp my life).  I'm not adding any MLM/Pryramid Scheme to my diet.  How are so many of my friends able to do this?  I've seen some of their relatives.  It's not all genetic.

I'm completely anal and track everything.  So it took awhile to think about this.  And then suddenly it hit me...my friends with a ton of energy, and their weight issue is that the Medium at J.Crew is too small, where as my issue is all clothes at J. Crew are too small...they are active people.  I am not active. I don't like "the great outdoors," hiking and camping are methods of torture, rollerblading is a slow method to cut of your ankles, etc.  These aren't my ideas of fun. My idea of fun is hanging out on a patio, drinking a nice beer, talking to D, and playing with the dogs.  And I have gotten really good at this level of fun.

When I mentioned this to my friends, Dl and S, they agreed.  And it's true.  Dl walks to work.  S will walk to Starbucks for a morning coffee.  They both work out, but they don't count things outside of the gym as "working out;" it is just something to get them to where they are going.  My friends DLS love to hike, when they aren't running.  My beer buds M and JF walk and bike, respectively.  M uses his feet as his mode of transportation to a lot of places. Even as much as I think Crossfit is a cult, it is a lifestyle that many of my friends embrace, and it isn't going to the gym. It's a social thing for them.

When I said this to Dl and S, Dl said to pick a sport that wouldn't count as a sport but as fun.  I picked walking.  Mostly because it is easy, and doesn't require a lot of prep time.

I have used the excuse that Atlanta isn't a walkable city for far too long.  I used to walk Guinness (RIP) an hour every day, and 3 on Saturday (hmmm, I think we got part of the answer to what changed).  So I mentioned to D (not Dl or DLS) we should walk to Krog Street Market to get a beer.  Or walk the Atlanta Beltline Eastside Trail.  He agreed.  Because we wanted to take Lompoc, we decided to walk the Eastside Trail.  Of course, we did drive to it (We didn't think she had 6 miles in her).  But it was something new to do.  I didn't take my Garmin, I didn't wear my heart rate monitor.  Hell, I didn't even see what time it was when we left. And all of that caused my heart rate to rise, but I resisted the urge to plug in.

It's a pretty nice trail.  It is concrete, so I'll never be able to run on it.  Judging from listening to how hard some people "pound the pavement," I'm willing to bet that thing has caused many shin splints. It was crowded for a Saturday after 10am (I do know it was after 10 and before 12 that we went).  Lompoc enjoyed herself.  We saw how quickly you can get from Old 4th Ward to Midtown...  We were both pretty shocked how fast it was to get to the Murder Kroger.  To get to Woody's Cheesesteaks seemed a little longer (that was where we turned around).

On the way back we stopped at the dog store to let Lompoc have some water. Of course she pulled us into the store and 10 minutes later and $10 poorer, we left.  By then I was having some technical difficulties.  I was wearing jeans and sneakers.  My jeans had begun to sag, so my thighs were rubbing on the crotch seam.  My thighs are now jean-chub-rubbed pretty raw.  But even still we kept going.  We stopped at Ponce City Market and looked at the directory.  Maybe another day, since Lompoc was with us.  We did get back to Krog Street Market (we parked near there), and grabbed Lompoc some water and us 2 beers.  According to Map My Run we walked 3.85 miles, which I did log for my shoes...but no calories or anything.

Lompoc at KSM, relaxing

It was nice to get out and answer some questions I had about the Beltline.

Sunday, we decided we would take McMenamin to the petstore to buy food.  We remembered, however, before leaving that walking to the store to buy a 25 pound bag that we would have to carry home might not be the best idea.  So we drove there, walked 1.6 miles around Grant Park, and then bought the food.  McMenamin enjoyed his walk.

So November is my favorite month. The weather is finally cooling down, there isn't 90% humidity, and a lot of the allergies have died down.  So here is to trying to get a more active lifestyle. I don't really have an excuse not to walk to some places.  I run all over the place, so even saying "that area is sketchy," when I ran by it 2 hours prior doesn't really stick.

I have mapped out walks to all of our favorite local watering holes.
Eventide Brewery is 1.7 miles.
East Atlanta is 2.8.
Krog Street is 3.5.
L5P is 4.5. We might Uber that one.

Oh yeah...and before we did all the healthy lifestyling, I did run  5 hilly miles. .  And I ran up NEMESIS HILL.  I hate that freaking hill.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

The Baltimore Half Marathon 2015

So awhile back D and I were looking to add a half marathon.  This was last December.  We knew that my pelvis was cracked, and there was a possibility that I wouldn't be able to run any spring ones, so we thought about fall.  We picked the Virginia Beach Crawlin' Crab Half Marathon and Beer Festival.  Running and beer, 2 of our favorite things.  I talked it over with running buddy, V, and she didn't really seem interested, but wanted to do the Baltimore Half.  So it was settled: the Baltimore Half.  I booked D and myself a room last December, and then was told I had to stop running.

I finally got cleared to run in March (Xrays and MRI), and Baltimore was on my mind, although D and I still hadn't signed up (yes, I typically book hotel rooms before signing up for any race).  My doctor said Baltimore was hilly, but if I only ran 3 days a week and didn't go crazy, he was sure I could do it, just not to expect a PR. And I had to start from scratch (Couch to 5K).  I could live with that.

So 2015 became the Year of Baltimore for me.  There is no other Half Marathon this year.  This is it.  This was the race that would decide if I could continue running.  This was the race to determine if my pelvis could hold up. It became THE RACE.

Then the "Baltimore" riots broke out.  I put Baltimore in quotes, because it was not city-wide as CNN and Fox would have left you to have believed. Baltimore is the closest city to where I grew up, and I will always consider it my hometown (except for the Ravens, they're not my team, since they weren't there when I left).  But despite not really wanting to run in Baltimore (since we always do a 5 miler here), D and I  finally signed up.  V had signed up previously.

I posted about it once in April on Facebook, but didn't really talk about it.  It's kind of like where I live now.  I get frustrated at ignorant statements and questions.  No, I don't run with a gun.  No, I'm not afraid of getting shot.  Yes, I see black people (you'd be amazed how many times this stupid (it passes ignorance) question comes up.  Basically, the every day questions of running (or actually living) in my neighborhood all transferred into running the HM, and I was no longer willing to joke the answers to ignorant or stupid statements off.

So...3 weeks before the race, V decided not to run it, and go on vacation.  To say I was vastly disappointed would be an understatement.  I had really wanted her to be there.  Still,  I focused on the final few weeks of training.  I saw that it was Baltimore Beer Week, while D and I were there.  There was a possibility of going to a beer festival.

D wanted to see his parents, so after figuring out meeting up with them, work stressing me out, and Scuttlebutt being sick (could he go to daycare...let's find a back up plan, if not), I was spent.  I have friends in Baltimore, but frankly, I was not worrying about anyone's schedule.  If you saw where I was on Facebook, that was good enough for me.  I was running or going to be at a bar, except when I was at a beer store or getting pizza.  No more planning.  We were leaving on Friday, and on Thursday, I just said, "Fuck it, I'm taking the day off."  D and I went and had a few beers, some dinner, and packed.

And Friday, after dropping off the dogs, losing and finding my wallet, and finally getting on the plane, our journey began.

We landed, got a car, and went to MandT Stadium for the running expo (Blogger doesn't like ampersands).  Now, Atlanta no longer does a running expo, which I think is stupid.  So I took my time looking at schwag, other races (with coupons), more schwag, and then we got our numbers and shirts. There was so much stuff there.  We finished and went and looked at the start line of the marathon (not the HM) and the finish line for both.  (Another thing different...number pickup in Atlanta is 30-60 miles away RT in another city, depending on the day and store...it's why I will never run Atlanta again).

Schwag I bought for the car

So parking was free, and although I'm sure the race organizers weren't pleased, D and I walked to Pratt Street Ale House to get some beers and crab soup.  This is my favorite crab soup (I think the recipe is from the side of the Old Bay Can because it tastes just like that one, which is the best).

In Baltimore for 2 hours, and already found crab soup
Pratt Street Ales was where the beer festival on Saturday was going to be, but when we realized the race was at ~10am and the festival was at 12, we realized logistically, it wasn't going to happen for us.  After lunch, we walked back to the car through Camden Yards.

Walking through Camden Yards
Next up we drove to the Hampden Area of Baltimore to go to The Wine Source and to Royal Farms.  RF had Gatorade, water and Coke Zero.  The Wine Source had a lot of beer.  We got all of our provisions, wondered how we were going to get the beer home to Atlanta, and went and checked into our hotel.

Beer we don't have in Atlanta, or that I'm too lazy to go find

We dropped everything off, and then went to Fell's Point.  We had a few more beers at Max's, and then went to Brick Oven Pizza for our Cheese steak Pizza dinner.  Finally we got home.  AWAKE!

We charged all the Garmins and iPods and watched TV until we fell asleep.  Of course I woke up at 4AM.  I pretty much didn't fall back asleep. Around 8 we started getting ready.  It seemed really odd to be getting ready so late.  It was 50 degrees, so I decided on shorts and my Atlanta Half Marathon Shirt.  It was the last shirt I could remember wearing in 50 degrees and being comfortable.  Got the Camelbak ready, saw I forgot my Clif Blocks (which I found in my suitcase this morning).  Finally we were ready to walk .8 miles to the start.  We weren't completely sure how the start was going to work, considering we had to cross the marathon course.  But it did.

It didn't seem too crowded.  D and I hung out for 20 minutes.

Finally everyone started getting corralled, and we were off.

We started running up Light Street, crossing Pratt.  We ran to the Battle Monument and turned, running toward the War Memorial, then turning onto President.  Around here was Mile 1.  It was really tiny hills and I felt good.

Mile 2 and 3 were around Patterson Park.  At times the shadows of the buildings made it cold, and other times, the lack of buildings made it hot.  I began wondering if I had worn the wrong shirt.  I couldn't get comfortable.  Still my legs felt good.  My pace was a little fast, which I knew I couldn't keep up, but as long as I got to Mile 6, I'd be golden.  After all, that's where the hills stopped.

Miles 3-6...the hill.  I had looked on the elevation map and knew there was a hill that lasted for about 3 miles.  I had practiced on hills during training, but not enough.  Still I knew to just keep my feet moving.  I was doing the 9 minute run/1 minute walk trough Mile 5.  That was my plan.  Just keep focusing.  Oh screw that!  Focus on not falling in a grate, or over pavement or over a dead rat. Now I'm used to running over dead opossums (hence the Possum Trot), but I didn't really expect to see so many dead rats.  I stopped counting at 4 but still, it seemed odd. The shadows of the buildings were  still keeping me cool. There were a lot of people out spectating.  They were loud.  They had cowbells, and yes, there is too much of a thing called cowbell.  But still everyone was dancing and having a good time.  Cops were out cheering everyone on as well.  The sense of community almost drew you up the hills (Almost...).  So anyway, we ran around Patterson Park and then North.  Running on Washington (not sure how I got there), we turned off and did this crazy U-turn, like 100 feet after turning...like so crazy, couldn't you just move the start line and finish a few feet further back.  But then back on Washington and into Clifton Park.  Finally hit 6 miles.  My legs needed a break.

I told myself that sometimes you just need to walk, and recoup rather than push it when your legs are that tired.  I did run the flat out of Clifton, but then walked up Hartford to Hillen.  Finally a down hill, and I ran all the way around Lake Montebello.  I was doing the 4 minute run/1 walk, but the Lake messed that up.  The first half I had energy, so I kept moving. I couldn't talk myself to be rational.  The second half of the lake, there were photographers everywhere, so I didn't want a picture walking.  That would come back to bite me.

Finished up Mile 8.  Then somehow a hill I missed on the elevation map.  This hill probably wasn't that bad but it seemed to go straight up.  I couldn't get on a 4/1 or 2/1 plan.  I was struggling.  Finally, I seemed to catch the 4/1 and picked it up.  There was a lot of people out still which was great.  Banjo players, 2 guys dressed as giant cats, speakers on cars, etc.  The community once again was wonderful.  And finally I was over the damn hill (mile 9).  The wind picked up some and I had to run for awhile without my hat.  But I just stuck to the 4/1.  I tried to remember not to run with anyone.  That was the hardest part...if I liked someone's pace.  But I had a few miles left, and I wasn't sure what my legs had left.

Around Mile 10, there was a bridge to cross. I sort of knew where I was, because we drove over the bridge to get to the beer store the day before.  And it wasn't that much farther.  I could run 3 miles. I could walk 3 miles.   Then we got to another damn hill.  By now I was completely turned around.  The cops were telling me I was on Eutaw, and only had to go down hill.  We were running past Lexington Market and everyone was screaming/cheering. I decided to go 2/1, because I was getting overwhelmed.  I was going to do it. I had no idea in what time, but I was going to do it.  My watch dinged 12 miles.  1 more mile.  People were beginning to pass me.  I started wondering how soon would I get to the #33 statue (Eddie Murray).  I was getting nervous.  I started to cry.  I hoped D would be at the end.  Then I passed person with a full length mirror.  He (she...I wasn't paying attention to the person) had a sign for your lipstick.  It just made me laugh.  I pulled myself together (not using the mirror).  I was going to do this.  I got to the Hall of Fame Statues, and knew I had .2 miles to go.  I wanted to walk.  I did a little.  Then I decided to run, and deal with the pain and tiredness in .2 miles.  I was going to do this.  I ran through Camden Yards.

I wondered if D was there.  Then I saw him break through the gates.  He said a cop looked at him, as I was looking at him, and pointed to me.  Don't cry, Al. Don't cry.  The cop let him go through.  He ran with me and pushed me to the end. I finally crossed the line.

D finishing the first time
 And finished.  And didn't cry.  We went and got some water, and then I found the medal people.  D hugged me.  I was very proud of myself.

I beat my 2 goals.
A) To finish
B) To get a better time than my first half, which I did.

D beat his goal by 2 minutes.

After finishing, D and I got our pictures taken.

Then he wanted to know if I needed anything. I needed a good beer. As we were leaving, we saw the SWAT Team with a German Shepherd.  They let us pet her.  We talked to one of the guys, and told him how awesome the community and the police had been.  Seriously, in a city that was supposed to be so divided, watching cops dance to neighbors' music, all while everyone was cheering on the runners was just fantastic.  It's what you want to see in any community and especially in one that has been hurting.

We left to get that beer.  We walked up the course (on the sidewalk) to Alewife.  It was crazy crowded around the Harbor area because there was also an 11K people convention that seemingly let out all 11K people at once for lunch.  But we found 2 seats at the bar at Alewife.  We overheard the bartender say that food was taking an hour, so we just stuck to beer.  At about 3 we got up and continued walking to the hotel.  There were still runners on the course, so we cheered them on.  Finally we got back to the room, and ate the rest of the pizza.

Post run beers

My new medal

Shirt I can wear with pride for finishing
My times
D's Time
Then we went to Of Love and Regret in Canton, Baltimore.  It was a cool little place that has mostly Stillwater's beers.

Across from Of Love and Regret
D's friend from the late 90s met up with us.  When he left, so did we. He told us 2 places to go. Of course we didn't listen.  We went to Jester and Thieves.  I was not enamored with the place.  They had 16 taps and the bartender gave us a list with 9.  We asked about the other 7, and he walked away.  We had to press another bartender, but by then we had already ordered a style we didn't like.  It kind of killed the mood.  Still we ate dinner.  Then we decided to get an Uber closer to our hotel, like across the street.  We ended up at an Irish Bar, and got Old Reliable Guinness.  D also got the hiccups.  He ended up leaving the bar to go find peanut butter at the 7-11.  He came back with Gummy Bears.  After finishing the bag for him, I ended up on a sugar high.  So we went home, and went to bed.

Sunday we got up. The hotel had free breakfast, but it was really just food for the sake of eating. Neither D nor I were interested.  We went walking to 7-11 because we decided roller food would be awesome, but they had none, at 2 7-11s.  So I bought a sub and he bought a chicken sandwich. And we split a bag of Utz Salt and Vinegar Potato Chips. We sat around the room for awhile.  At 11:30 we Uber'd over to Federal Hill to go to lunch with D's parents, one of his sisters and our BIL.  Good food, and it was good to see them.  We had just seen his sis and BIL (and his parents) in September for their daughter's wedding, but frankly, I think they were so rushed then, they barely remember who they saw. So it was nice to see them more relaxed. Abbey Burger Bistro had some good burgers and pickles.  And beer.

Beer at Abbey Burger Bistro
His family left and so we went to the Pub Dog and had some more beer.  The manager, Jake was a really nice guy.  He is from Catonsville.  I wasn't a huge fan of the PD Raspberry Dog, but their Stout (Black Dog) was very easy to drink.  Before we left, Jake had the whole bar to a shot of Grand Marnier, which led us to Metropolitan.  There we had a few beers and watched more football.

Beer at Metropolitan.  I come to Baltimore to get beer poured in an Atlanta Beer glass.
 The bartender, Alice was from Cincinnati.  She was winning her fantasy league.  She put on Cake (the band, not food), and I was easily entertained.  My friend G asked if we were still there, and if they had the Ravens game on, (Y and Y), so we met up with him. I haven't seen him since 1988, when I was in 8th grade!  It was good to see him.  We talked a lot (we talk on FB, so it wasn't like we had to catch up).  Finally, he had to go help put his kids to bed (he lived in the neighborhood).  So D and I decided to Uber back to Fells Point to eat dinner (more Cheese steak Pizza) and then to get a few beers.  I got through most of 1 slice of pizza before I had to say I was done for the night, and then he got a box, and we took the pizza home.

Monday, on the way to the airport, I realized I never had any crab dip.  After dropping the car off, checking in the 43 pound bag of beer, and getting through security at BWI, we remedied this situation at The Green Turtle in the airport.  I think we inhaled it, seeing as we sat down with 20 minutes before boarding and made it to the gate in time.

Overall, I'm glad we did Baltimore.  And it was rather relaxing.  Who knew becoming stressed to the point of not planning anything would lead to a go-with-the flow vacation?  And a confirmation that I can still run 13.1 miles.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Tap, Tap...Is this thing on?

I haven't written in forever.
I have been running though.  Not completely diligently, but enough... I think.

So about 4 weeks ago, was my 10 mile run.  D and I had been testing out Candler Park and Druid Hills, because well, hills.  The streets were ok, the course was hard, it was hot and humid, my legs always hurt afterwards.  So obviously I was doing something right.  This particular run was different.  There was a huge neighborhood garage sale in Druid Hills.  Although the streets are wide, trying to avoid multiple females in oversized Lexus SUVs who are texting or facebooking or what not was not for me. I only wanted to concentrate on running hills.  Death by text was not on my agenda.  What should have been an out and back became an out, crossover a park, run around a street, get sort of lost, and using too much mental energy, and finally sit down at a MARTA station to regain my focus.  I was hot, tired, and frustrated.  I googled where the bar was. I googled where the car was.  I texted D and told him I was going to walk to the car (the bar would have required more dodging cars).  So instead of 10, I ran/walked 8.5.  My legs were sore, but I was pretty sure the mental exhaustion was overtaking everything.  I'd just gut it out on the 12 miler 2 weeks later.  I did happen to also notice miles 3-8 was a gradual uphill, but eh...that's the purpose of training runs.

The following week it started raining.  Like on Monday.  And all week. On Saturday D had a mandatory company picnic to go to, so I was left to run 7 on my own.  I finally got my act together and started driving to the hills.  The sky opened up.  I can still run.  Except my car steered itself to the gym.  I would run 7 miles there.  No problem.  I got out of the car, and walking into the gym...my ankles got splashed on.  Yes, good decision.  Inside the gym, I nearly passed out, it was so humid in there.  I was completely drenched in sweat before I even got on the treadmill.  OK, 3 miles.  Still, no biggie.  12 miles the next week, although it was still raining.

Friday night, we got carbed up, and ready.

Sausage, Extra Cheese, and Mushroom
 We were now on week 2 of straight rain.  I won't complain too much, as South Carolina was basically flooded out.  Saturday, pelting rain.  D and I tried to convince ourselves to run in it.  Instead we went to the gym.  I ran at a very uncomfortable pace for me for 5 miles.  So I finished in less than 65 minutes.  I was a little worried about the lack of long running now.

Proof of under 65 minutes!

So now was taper mode.  Except I still was nervous.  We talked about doing a 10 miler on Saturday.  OK.  On the hills.  No problem.  It finally stopped raining.  On Wednesday, the forecasters were calling for a gorgeous weekend.  On Thursday, gorgeous. On Friday, "Move your Saturday indoors."  We carbed up.  We thought about postponing the run to Sunday when we knew it would be good.  No, we just have to gut this out.  If it was wet on Saturday we'd go to the Silver Comet, to avoid getting splashed on by cars.

Saturday at 2:30 am the dogs got up to bark at the thunder and lightning, for 3 hours.  Shiiiiiit.   I finally stirred around 7:30 and D and I talked each other into staying focused.  The rain was going to be in East Georgia (despite the downpour outside our window).  We checked another forecast and clear as day on the Silver Comet.  We got dressed and went over there.

I had been wearing a tank top all summer, so this was my first long run in sleeves.  Right as we were about to start, a man said to us, "Why do we torture ourselves?"  I was thinking, "So we can all look as nice as you," but instead we just laughed.  D took off.  I started.  The man did who knows what.

I ran/walked my 9/1 stuff.  I had 2 Clif Blocks (2 not 2 packages). I did some math to figure out when I would eat them...I'm not sure what kind of math I used, since I came up with 4 miles and 7.5, but eh.  I decided I would do 9/1 for 5 miles and then got to 4/1 for the next 5.   And I noticed my distance on my watch was far off from the mile markers. (at .9, I had that I had run for .6).  My first mile was 16+.  Second mile was uneventful.  I didn't really think about anything.  The mile was closer to 17.  3 was back at 16.  I was tired.  I couldn't really figure out why I was going so slow. Maybe I'll just stop at Mile 4.  Where was Mile 4?  Why am I going to stop?  I passed D who was on the return (out and back).  I was jealous.  Finally got up to the Depot and Mile 4.  Getting to Mile 5 and the turn around seemed to take forever.  And it did.  17:50 minutes.  WTF?  But I finally got to turn around.  I started the 4/1 stuff.  I seemed to be going faster.  And I was 17:20.  OMG!  I got back to the Depot and sat down to text D where I was and estimated time to the car (he usually goes and runs errands).  I really wanted to say to come get me.  But instead I remembered my friend M, and the mantra Si Se Puede!
I got up and decided to continue on.

3.85 to go, but not counting at all

It started to rain.  So much for being on the West Side of Atlanta, much less not anywhere near East Georgia.  It felt good.  I was moving slow but I was moving.  Si se puede, girl.  God, I wish I could remember what that means.  Anyway, I had a few negative thoughts come in my head.  I was still upset by the time.  Except Mile 7 came in as my fastest.  15:55.  Still upset, I rationalized.  I already knew I was not getting a PR on my half-marathon. That wasn't the purpose of this HM.  I could barely walk starting last November.  And now I was going to FINISH a Half Marathon, provided I could finish this 10 miles.  Si se puede.   My times started back at around 16 minutes.  That was ok.  I'm running to finish, to prove to myself I can still do this.  I started counting down the distance.  I got to the bridge (2 miles to go).  I was going to finish this even if I walked it.  But why walk it?  Push those legs, they still have stuff left in them.  Sing your song.  Remember to ask Yas for some playlist music.  Just keep moving.  The 4 minutes seemed to click off fast. I finally got to the .9 mile marker with .3 miles left.  I was going to do this.  2 runners passed me.  They told me I had it and to keep up.  I remember them passing me at Mile 4.  That was ok.  I was going to finish.  I could do this.   And finally, for the first time this year...I ran 10 miles.