Sunday, November 29, 2009

Three weeks and I have only ran once!

I can't take it anymore. I have to return to running. It's weird, I am finally at a point that nothing hurts and I am just about ready to jump out of my skin. My next run is a Shorty (5K) on New Years Eve in downtown Portland to be followed by the Race for the Roses Half Marathon in April. I need to run. I need to drop the few extra pounds that creped up on me during my marathon training. Running can equal pain. But it also equals sanity to me. Bring me my running shoes! (Oh, that's right. I guess I will have to get off my ass and get them myself.)

Monday, November 9, 2009

R-Day Part II


My little French marathoner. He was awesome. He was in the second wave. I was in the third. I was certain he would finish in record time. After all, he must be an amazing marathoner if he is running with a metal structure hoisted on his shoulders. Those who knew me back in my sculpture day, could easily love this guy. He has to have balls of steel.

The start was invigorating. Of course they had you start running to Frank Sinatra’s "New York - New York". Your first mile and a half is over the Staten Island Bridge. Knowing that inclines are my downfall (I just recovered from a knee injury), I decided to walk briskly up the bridge till it leveled out. It was windy on that bridge, but the view was amazing! I was in a freaking marathon people! Many, many people passed me. All were incredibly excited. I wanted to run with them, but I knew that if I pushed too hard now, I would suffer that much more later. Once I crested the bridge I started my run. Soon I had left Staten Island behind me and I was in Brooklyn.

I would like to take a moment to say that I love Brooklyn. LOVE IT. The people were so excited that greeted the runners on the sides of the streets and the energy was just amazing. I have never seen so many strangers that looked so excited for me. Brooklyn has a culture and dynamic that I just love. If I were to choose to move to a city I have never lived in before, it would have to be Brooklyn.

Now I spent allot of time in Brooklyn. Approximately 11 miles of the 26.2 miles of the marathon are all in Brooklyn. It was a relatively flat course and I enjoyed my journey through the borough. The only portion of Brooklyn that was fairly quite was the neighborhood which has a large population of hasidic Jews. The runners received more bewildered looks than cheers. However, there was one lovely family handing out popsicles to the runners. I know that there is a place in heaven for them!

Speaking of Jews, I saw Jesus. Okay, not the really Jesus, but a guy who I assume decided to re-use last night's costume for little marathon cheer. Jesus held a sign that said, "In ten miles, water will turn into wine." Jesus was a lucky man that I was currently indisposed at the moment. Because (1) he was at mile 12 - not mile 16.2 and at that moment I was highly aware of how much more I had to run and didn't appreciate any false hope and (2) promising wine to me and not delivering said wine to me could result in bodily harm. Especially, since I expected that I would need as much "pain killer" as possible after this Sunday run.

My second bridge crossing was the Pulaski Bridge. This was the halfway point of the race and the first indication that perhaps my knee had not completely forgiven me. I didn't feel pain in as much, but a familiar "wobbliness" or looseness. I took is easy and tried to maintain a normal gait. From this point I left my beloved Brooklyn behind for Queens.

Subtle shift in the force in Queens. There were some marathon watchers that did do their best to cheer us on, but where there were once thousands - stood only a couple dozens of people. More industrial, Queens didn't offer the same thrill as Brooklyn and now the miles were starting to pile on.

Queens was soon behind me and as I crossed the Queensboro Bridge. That looseness in my knee had become a steady, but doable ache. At this point in the race I saw a man who was participating in the marathon who was using a prosthetic limb (singular) in lieu of his missing legs to take small leaps towards completing his journey. He had the assistance of a friend who pushed a wheel chair behind him, incase he needed it. But this guy was freaking awesome. Seriously, he put any professional athlete I have ever seen to shame. Someone endorse this guy, because I would buy whatever the hell he would sell! My knee after seeing this guy was a non-issue.

As I entered Manhattan, I was so excited that I really couldn't take it all in. I was in the NYC Marathon! I just kept hitting me like a shockwave. I was like a kid on a sugar rush at Chucky Cheese. I was on overload. I will say that the upper eastside of New York is snooty-tooty. There is nothing like having people cheer you on from their penthouse apartments or trendy bar scene. Either way both groups appeared to be deep into their cups by the time I passed them by. As I approached mile 18 near 96th Avenue, my knee finally started to scream stop! I slowed, but refused to stop. Knee be damned, I had a marathon to run! My running took on the gait of an elderly lady running in slow motion against a river of Jell-O. Slow, smooth and awkward. But I continued to move forward.

I soon entered the Bronx. Okay, so anything I had to say about Queens being more industrial in appearance, can be magnified 10 fold for the Bronx. There were maybe 20 people scattered along the streets in the Bronx, when I arrived to cheer us on and I loved each and every one of them. When we reached the Mission Avenue Bridge which would take me from the Bronx back to Manhattan, any semblance to running was given up. I had almost 6 miles ahead of me and I was going to walk them.
I was angry. I wanted to run. But at this moment, my body had taken charge. My knee had the stability of play dough and my shins had those wonderful sharp pains I remembered from my first days of training - shin-splits. I would finish this god damned race. After all, my boss was tracking my progress online!
As I neared Central Park and saw its great trees I felt this mixture of joy, grief and relief. Joy over almost being finished. Grief, which I think was more of an emotional response to the pain I was in and relief that in a few hours this would all be behind me.

A lovely woman cheered to me, "You're almost finished! Keep going!” I love her. She saw my face and she looked like she wanted to give me a hug. It's like when your little kid and you fall and an adult asks you, "Are you okay?", and you start crying. You were fine before they asked you if you were okay. It’s was trigger.
Another young lady handed me a filled cup of which I was about to thankfully drink, when she announced, "Its beer!” You, bitch. I thought and I handed the cup back to her. There hasn't been an aid station for over three miles and I needed either water or more god forsaken Gatorade. Not fucking beer! I don’t like beer when I not running a marathon! I couldn't walk straight or think straight. Where was that fucking wine Jesus promised earlier?! Now wine I could do.

As I was running on the outskirts of Central Park, I saw what I thought was the finish line. I knew that the race ended in central park and that I had to be mistaken. But somehow, my legs overheard my thoughts and started their countdown to non-movement. I started to chant to myself, "One more mile. One more mile." I wanted to cry so badly, but I refused. My breath came out in ragged little sobs. But still I didn't cry. I sounded like I was, but I swear at that moment, I sucked it up! Then the unimaginable happened. I crossed a mile marker that said, "1.5 miles left to go!" I almost went postal. In my head I thought I only had less than a mile left. I continued. What felt like an eternity later I approached the finish line. They began to call out the names of the runners who had written their names on their shirts for the supporters to shout out. I, never running a marathon before was not in the loop on this name tag stuff. Still I showed my bib number and shuffled over the finish line. From there I walked another 100 feet to get my metal and then another 50 feet to get my picture taken wearing said metal. At this point I started to cry. Mom, I never wanted you more before in my adult life! I needed my mommy, a bath, a valium and my bed - in that order.

My friends sent me a text message letting me know that they were waiting for me and that they were 10 blocks away. They had to be fucking joking. Must be. First I had to use the port-a-potty. As I started to approach a line of them in the park and race volunteer blocked me. He said, "Sorry mam, those are out of service. You'll need to exit the park about 9 blocks up to use the port-a-potties there." I started to cry again. This somehow cracked his tough New York exterior, and he apologized to me and told me (lied) that really the port-a-potties are just a little ways up the way. I started to walk to meet my friends. They weren't lying. Because they didn't have the $75-$150 tickets to be at the race finish, they were blocked access to the park. Within 20 minutes of finishing the race I was reunited with my friends.

I love my friends. They made sure to document the completion of my first marathon. And the fact that I couldn't walk downstairs to get to the subway after the race. That’s right. The only way I could get down the stairs was to walk backwards. I'll post those pics, if I get them. The pictures of me after the race are not pretty. I have the wild hair of a crazed homeless person with the smell to match. So here's to my first marathon. Hopefully not my last, but hopefully my slowest! Here's to more miles to come!

Oh by the way. My little French hero with the sculpture of the Eiffel Tower on his shoulder finished 3 minutes after me. He is also 63 years old. THAT IS A FUCKING ROCK STAR - PEOPLE!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

R-Day, part I



The night before the race we rented a hotel room. My gym buddy had joined me on my journey from Oregon to New York to witness my historic run. The hotel was a genius idea. However, I was unable to sleep more that a few restless hours at best. I had ill-rational thoughts that I would oversleep, twist an ankle, take the wrong train to get to the race start, and the small fact that I was going to run a marathon kept bouncing around my head. I decided to go to bed early and take a couple of Tylenol PMs to try to get to sleep. If not for those little blue pills, I don’t believe I would have slept at all.

I feel sorry for my friend who joined me on my trip to NYC. She had never been to the big city before and I was unable to really show her the town. You’re not supposed to walk overly much before the race. Fatiguing your muscles before a marathon is a sure way to doom your run. The night before the run was Halloween. And the mischief available for two single ladies in NYC was huge – if one of ladies was not doing an endurance run the morning following. She was very understanding, which is why I am nominating her for sainthood. Do you have to be a catholic to become a saint? I digress.
Before I went to bed, I laid out all my clothing for the race. I made sure that I had my train fare, directions to the train & Staten Island Ferry, and money for any last minute necessities. I made sure that my racing bib was attached to my shirt and my shoe tracker was attached correctly to my shoe.

I woke at 5:45AM and left at 6:30PM. We were staying in Brooklyn near some friends of mine. The race starts on Staten Island. My transportation to the start was scheduled at 8 AM from Battery Park. I walked from the hotel in the direction I was sure I was supposed to be heading. And I walked. Then I walked some more. I realized that I was nowhere near where I was supposed to be. I regrouped and finally found the subway station I was supposed to go to. I estimate that I walked at least two miles out of my way; only twenty six point two left to go.

When I arrived at my stop, it was in the financial district. I was to take the Staten Island Ferry, where the official race bus shuttles would shuttle me to the race start. I was in the third wave (blue wave) of the race. My wave of the race wasn’t scheduled to start until 10:20 AM. By the time I arrived at the race start I still had over two hours until I started running. Saying that I was antsy or worried; would be an understatement.


The start was pandemonium. Or perhaps that is what every marathon start looks like. Thousands of people milling around, looking for places to sit and stretch and trying to figure out what the PA announcers are saying in the five different languages they keep using. Speaking of foreigners, I had no idea that there were so many French marathon runners! My favorite was a french runner
running with a metal model of the Effiel tower on his sholders. 

To be continued....

Thursday, October 29, 2009

I am SPAZZZING OUT!!!!!!!!

In less the a few hours I leave for NYC! I am going to run a freaking marathon, people!. Holly crap! I am so excited, but I wish I had more time to prepare. I feel terribly bloated and I am fighting a very slight cold, but I am sure that neither is nothing that a little running wont take care of. I am off to bed. I have to get up at 3:15AM for my flight. Wish me luck! I take prayers too.

Thank you all for your support!

Much Luvin,

Chris

Sunday, October 25, 2009

1 Week to the Day to Go.

My last long run before the Marathon is now behind me. I only have cross-training, 2 three mile runs and 1 two mile run, before resting for the big day. A weird kind of sadness has descended upon me. I hear that when people put forth so much effort and time into a project, such as planning their wedding, marathon training, graduating from college; once the deed has been completed some descend into a depression over the loss of what for that time had defined them for so long.

I would prefer not to fall into that category. My plan is to try to accomplish those items, which seem to sit around on my “to do" list and never seem to be completed. Learn conversational Spanish. Go skydiving. Complete a new series of artwork and look into having a show. Take a trip to Europe (hello, second job). Get a professional designation to help with my career. Will I do all these things? Maybe. But it’s the journey I enjoy more than the destination.

I am currently worried about whether or not I am adequately prepared for this marathon. My injury appears to be recovered. But on my last run (7.25 miles), honestly, I felt like crap. It's not a confidence booster. I have run 20 miles - twice. Logic tells me that if nothing else I can run/walk 20 freaking miles. So then I should be able to do the same on race day. Right? It's most likely that a massive case of PMS has hit me; which has the same affect on most women of making me a tad moody.

I just spent an amazing weekend at the beach with some of the most beautiful women of Oregon. They are all very inspiring to me. Mothers, sisters and friends all empowered in their own unique way. I'll be thinking of you all while I am in NYC!

Friday, October 23, 2009

1 Week till NYC!

With only one week left till race day, my excitement is almost uncontainable.  My long run this weekend is only 8 miles.  For those of you that would like to join me at the Oregon coast, here is my route for Saturday Morning - about 10am-ish.


Email me if your planning on joining me.  Hope to see you then! - Chris

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Two weeks till race day...

I am still in my tapper period (LOVE IT) and now I am planning my trip to NYC. I am so excited! I have realized that I won’t be able to complete my race in less than 5 hours, but I will complete it (in NYC and how freaking cool is that going to be?)! My last long run was good (13 miles) and my knee has recovered. That injury was the result of inadequate stretching. Damn the IT band! Who knew?! So now I am stretching every day and I hope that it will prepare me for race day. My next run is 8 miles - it feels like a gift, really. Who would have thought that I would have looked at an 8 mile run two years ago and thought, "Yeah, that's just a short run!” I laugh, but part of me can’t stop thinking, "hell, if I can do this, is childbirth really such an insurmountable ordeal?", for the moment - yes.

Music to Run to/or From

Marathon running time predictor

Mark Twain Quotes