Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Rock Star

At the risk of wearing you all out on my running posts, I'm going to apologize in advance. If you don't like or want to read about running or races, you can leave now, and beware of the next months of posts.

Somehow my friend Anne has become a running fiend. We walked a 5K together last March, and then she ran her first 5K in May. Since then, she's become a running machine. And, she convinced me to sign up and run the Heartland 39.3 Series. A series of three half marathons in the span of six weeks. Then, because that just isn't crazy enough, she also convinced me to run another half marathon in Oklahoma in the middle of all those other ones. Then, because I'm not sure that was enough, I signed up for another half at the beginning of June. See, for the three years leading up to Hospital Hill's anniversary running, they are doing a 3-part medal. I already had the first part, so now I need to run the next two years to complete my medal. Yes, you can tell me I'm crazy. I'm already telling myself that.

So, here's the schedule:

  • Rock the Parkway - April 14
  • Kansas Half - April 22
  • Oklahoma City Half - April 29
  • Running with the Cows - May 12
  • Hospital Hill - June 2
Clearly, we're past the first date. I ran Rock the Parkway this past weekend. I had a plan for all these races. My goal was to run as hard and as fast as I could on the first one, then, I could take it easy for the rest. And, just have a good time with my girlfriends. Afterall, that's really what I love about running. Well, that and medals. But, the awesome part about half marathons? Every single finisher gets a medal. Score.

Anyway, back to my plan. I started to get nervous about the race because every weatherman this side of the Mississippi was forecasting thunderstorms and hail for Saturday. And, it was supposed to arrive smack during the race time. Now, rain, I'm ok with. Hail and thunderstorms? Not so cool.

I wake up (after a horrible night's sleep thanks to my precious 2-year-old) around 5:15 and get ready to head down to the race. I head out to my pre-kid-running-partner Sarah's car and can already feel the humidity in the air.

(I worry "pre-kid" gives the impression that Sarah ditched me as a running partner after I had kids. That's not true. She just happened to move out of the neighborhood around the same time I had Molly. It's not like she decided I was a drag once I had kids and thought it would just be easier to move than to explain why she didn't want to run with me anymore. At least, I hope that's not what happened. I mean, it was probably just a coincidence, right? Right? I say pre-kid really to differentiate between her and my current running partner. Because after Sarah moved, I discovered another Sarah, who lives on my street and is now my post-kid running partner. Confused? Yeah, I probably should just think of new classifications all around.)

Anyway, as we're driving down the highway, we see lightning in the distance. Uh oh. But, we score great parking and get in and out of the porta-potties in record time, so maybe the good omens are overpowering the bad ones. Short porta-potty lines have to overpower lightning, right?

Sarah and I are hanging out, waiting for the start and I run into several friendly faces. That has to be a good omen, too. I see Alex, who I used to work with, and Katie, my friend and fellow blogger.
Finding Katie before the race. Turns out, she was the long-term sub for Sarah's class when Sarah was on maternity leave. Gotta love the small world we live in!
Kelli, Sarah and I are all planning to run with the 1:55 pace group. So, we grab some pacing wristbands and join up in the corral. The gun goes off and we take off. It really helped to stay with the pace group, because I'm always tempted to start out too fast. It helped to take the adrenaline out of the start and chill back. By mile 3, I'm already soaked with sweat. I honestly can't remember when I've been that sweaty after only 3 miles. I was gross.
Despite being blurry, it is in fact Sarah and me. 

Smiling at my beautiful Molly, decked in princess tiara and shouting "Go Mommy!"

We keep trudging along, up one hill after another. It is so nice to have someone to talk to. I brought my iPod, but I do truly love talking to people more. At one point, Sarah told me that I was welcome to tell her any stories. If I had possessed that ability at that point, I would've. But, the humidity was absolutely killing me. I ate a couple gummies (running energy food - essentially fruit snacks) to try to perk me up around mile 7. By mile 9, I had a killer side stitch. I had to walk for a little to try to stretch out the sharp pain, but tried to continue on. I really wanted to make my goal.

Now, here's where you'll probably really think I'm crazy. While doing some online reading the past week, I ran across the fact that Joey McIntyre (yes, from New Kids on the Block) had run in the Hollywood Half a couple weeks ago. His time? 1:55:27. That became my new goal. My previous goal was to PR. My previous PR was from Hospital Hill 2006. Before kids. I am in better shape and faster than I ever have been, so I was really wanting to PR. But, then, I really wanted to beat Joey McIntyre. I had to get under 1:55:27. Please don't ask my why I had a desire to beat a completely arbitrary time set by a boy band singer I'd crushed on in the 6th grade. I don't know. I'm weird like that.

So, I sucked it up and kept running. After the stitch passed, and I convinced myself that I really could hold out to pee for 3 more miles, I buckled down and went for it. The last two miles I ran by myself. I alternated visions of myself crossing the finish line and visions of myself stopping and collapsing on the side of the road. Luckily, the finish line crossing vision won out. I swear, the last .8 miles was the longest ever. I could somewhat see the finish line, but it was still far enough away that I couldn't really reach it.

So close to the finish line, yet not quite there.

When I finally got close enough to be in the cheering of the finish line crowd, I forced myself to paste on a happy smile. Even while I was dying inside. I wanted a good finish line picture. I crossed the line, smiling like a fool. I looked at my watch. 1:53: 38. I had done it. I PR'd and I'd beat Joey McIntyre. Then, the smile became real!

New PR and new medal. I was happy.

Molly hanging with Papa while waiting for me to finish.

Charlotte admiring my medal.

Posing with Kelli at the finish line.

Me, Kelli and John with all our colors of Saucony Kinvaras. We could be an advertisement.

I ran into Danie as we were leaving. We're starting to make a habit out of  running into each other at races.

Katie scored a PR, too!

I guilted my dad into coming out to see me at the finish line. He finally made it!

So, I finished the race without throwing up. I PR'd and beat Joey McIntyre's time. It was a winning day all around. Now, for the next four halfs, I can just take it easy. That is, unless anyone comes up with another completely arbitrary celebrity half marathon time that I need to beat ...

See you in Lawrence on Sunday for #2!


  1. Take a look at the third person listed here :)

  2. I think I got the main points of this post
    1) Short porta-potty lines trump thunderstorms
    2) You have a scam working this summer where you manage to take one day out of the weekend to spend 3 hours with your girlfriends chatting while leaving your husbands to get the kids up and ready for the day. Not only that but you expect medals for perpetrating the scam and you expect your family, to include your old infirm father, to come "support" you while participating in aforementioned scam.
    3) You separate your friends into those who willingly go along with your scam and those who move away from this assault on decency.

    Are those pretty much the main points?

    1. John - shhhhhh! You are not supposed to expose my secret plans to everyone!

  3. John, I've never read truer words than those of your second point!

  4. I love my Kinvaras, too! You guys should send that photo to Saucony.

    BTW, Cory, when I heard about Amy's spring running schedule, I officially dubbed you a saint.

    Melanie T