Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Yep, That's Me

Klutz (kluhts) - noun Slang.
1. a clumsy, awkward person.
2. a stupid or foolish person; blockhead.
3. Jenn.

Let me set the scene for you. (This is slightly running related, I promise.)

Work meeting in NY this morning with people I am meeting for first time, so good impression is important. Because I want to be punctual and not risk any delays I take an earlier flight (even if it means getting up at 3:30 a.m.).

No flight issues and I have some time to kill after I arrive in NY so I park myself at a Starbucks across the street from the building and take time to go over my meeting materials. Starbucks' bathroom is out of order so I leave a few minutes early to use the restroom in the building where my meeting is taking place. I'm feeling pretty good at this point. I'm punctual, I'm prepared, I'm dressed nicely, I'm confident.

(The following passage is likely to contain some cursing, so if you think you might be offended, you may want to visit another blog.)

I open the door to exit Starbucks, my leg moves forward and SPLAT!

Being the klutz that I am, I do not notice the huge stoop down to the sidewalk and completely miss it and am now sprawled on the ground in front of Starbucks on Broadway.

My first thought is Oh. Shit.

I slammed down on my knees and did a weird twisty motion with my feet so in the first two seconds I am worried about any potential knee, feet, ankle injuries that could potentially impact my marathon training.

In the next two seconds I become incredibly embarrassed because here I am, sprawled out in front of a busy Starbucks on Broadway and something, not sure, but suffice to say it is a busy corner in Manhatten.

And the next two seconds I realize the truly dreadful consequence of my klutziness. Here I am about 22 minutes before my important work meeting and I've ripped my pants in the knee (pretty bad, no way to hide it) and I'm sitting in some Godknowswhatisonthecement puddle. Is it spilled coffee, is it pee, what the hell is this sticky gross goop that is now on my butt and suit jacket?!

Oh. F.U.C.K.

I am very panicked and flustered and trying to hold back tears at this point because even though my meeting is now in about 19 minutes and I cannot possibly show up like this I'm supposed to be a calm, cool, collected, professionial media relations executive.

I run/limp the next block hoping to find something, a mall, a Macys, a vendor selling an "I heart NY" shirt, SOMETHING!!

And then my faith in all that is good was restored. All at once the clouds parted, the sun shone down, the angels sang and there it was. Ann Taylor Loft. And it was open.

I was so happy if I was pregnant I would be naming my child "Ann Taylor."

I've also never shopped so fast in my life. I grabbed some pants and a suit jacket off the rack, tried them on, ripped off the tags and told the salesperson, I'll be wearing these out.

I paid, threw out the clothes I left Chicago in and was twirling around in a circle asking the salesperson, "Did I miss any tags? Did I?" (I think she was frightened by me, she probably thought I was a fugitive.)

I am shocked that I made the meeting on time, with a couple minutes to spare, and that was even after I stopped in a restroom to make sure I didn't have bloody scrapes visible anywhere. Meeting went well too, although throughout the meeting I kept wondering if a clothing tag was going to pop out of somewhere.

My foot and knee is pretty sore, I think I'm going to have some nasty bruises.

So am I a runner now if my first thought was about my feet/knees/ankles and not about my ripped pants?

Sunday, August 17, 2008

&*$# Blogger

Blogger and I are not cooperating with each other, so if you're interested in reading my Chicago Distance Classic Race Report please scroll down to the post under "Half Highlights and Lowlights" (both say posted on Sunday Aug 10).

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Half Highlights and Lowlights

Thanks to Lisa, Karin, Tamara and Terri for the good wishes for my Half Marathon. Will post a full race report, likely tomorrow, but really tired, so for now I leave you with:

- I finished.
- I did not come in last.
- The weather was beautiful.
- The Race was extremely well-organized.
- The volunteers were fantastic.
- No new injuries.
- My kids greeted me at home with two homemade medals, which I treasure more than any P.R.

- While I didn't think it was remotely possible to achieve a worse time than 2007's Half Marathon, I came pretty damn close.
- Tummy issues turned my Half into Porta Potty Tour 2008.
- While the plan was to be fully rested, I started the Half with about 4 hours of sleep.

More to come. . .

Race Report: Chicago Distance Classic

Get comfy, because this may turn out to be a long one . . .or maybe not, I'm pretty tired.

Night Before Race

Mike went to a concert downtown but because I lost my house key at some point during the day, I had his key, meaning he would have to call me so I could let him in the house. By the time I got the kids to bed, got all my stuff together and watched Michael Phelps' race, it was 10:30, meaning at best I had 5 hours of sleep. I kept waking up knowing Mike would call, and then would have a hard time falling asleep, so only slept continuously from about 1:15 - 3:30 a.m.

Lesson Learned #1: Get more sleep.


Alarm goes off at 3:30 a.m. and I curse myself for signing myself for this effin' running nonsense. (I don't know about you, but I am generally cranky when I have to get up at 3:30 a.m., so yes, it was in my state of mind, effin' nonense.)

Shower, get dressed, double check that I have the disposable timing chip and go. In the car, I drink sugar-free Red Bull, G2 and eat peanut butter on 2 slices of toast and a Special K protein bar. Leave around 4:20 a.m.

Traffic is a breeze and driving into the city, I see the Chicago skyline at night for the first time in a long while. Ah, pretty.

Park and head over to the Race site to meet my cousin Kim, or as she is now known, Chipper Kim. At 5:15 a.m., my sister Jeanine, who is training for the Marathon with us but not signed up for the Half, calls. Amazed when I see the caller ID, I ask why she is up already. "Already? I haven't gone to sleep yet." (She's not a party girl, worked all night on a presentation she will be giving at a conference next week.) She wishes me good luck. Overall, I am feeling pretty good physically and mentally, despite the lack of sleep.

Visit the Porta Potty; tummy a little upset, I think it is just a bit of nerves. Meet up with Chipper Kim, despite it still being dark out and leaving my glasses in the car. Check in at American Cancer Society tent, and Kim and I get organized with headphones, headband, water bottles, Shot Bloks, etc. and head toward the Start. It's really starting to fill up with people (I think I heard there were 14,000 runners) by now, and before I realized it, the sun is up.

Start of Race

The Chicago Distance Classic employs a wave start, which the novice runner in me wasn't quite sure what that meant. It worked out well though and what I liked about it was that there were several "starts" . . . a start for each wave. So even though I was with the last wave (I started between the 11.5 minute/mile and the 12.5 minute/mile pacers) we still were up front for the "Runners Take Your Marks" and the horn. Kinda cool because as a back-of-the-pack runner I don't usually hear the start.

Miles 1 - 3

I'm feeling pretty good as we start but know that I'm going too fast (for me) and try to slow it down. As much as I hate to admit enjoying another one of my husband's bands, I start out with Spock's Beard's "Devil's Got My Throat" on the iPod. (For the life of me I cannot find a video or audio clip to link to, so if you want to hear it, it's on my playlist down on the left. It is a good song for running.)

The first bit of incline is near McCormick Place and I remember Terri's post about imagining a balloon tied to my wrist and saying "floating, floating, floating" over and over. It helps.

As we come up to the first aid station, I kindasortamaybe feel like I might have to go to the bathroom but feel like it's just nerves and I'll be ok so I run past it. A mile later I'm wishing I didn't pass it up because I really need a porta potty.

Miles 4 - 7

Basically, I run these miles (and walk some too because my tummy hurts) as simply miles between porta potties. The lines are long but the volunteers are so nice because they are bringing water and Gatorade to us as we wait in line. I realize I am eating up A LOT of time waiting in lines for the porta potties and using the porta potties. Great, I think, my entire race report is going to be about porta potties.

While we're talking about porta potties, can I just say how very odd and strange it is to be um, sitting in a porta potty on Lake Shore Drive? You see, Lake Shore Drive (LSD) is a very, very, very busy street/expressway in Chicago. Karin and Kai know what I mean. Runners had the two right lanes of Lake Shore Drive but the left lane was open to traffic. So I'm in a porta potty basically two lanes away from traffic. Hearing the close roar of traffic and feeling the porta potty shake slightly was a little disconcerting.

Lesson Learned #2 - Figure out what upsets tummy and avoid it before race.

Miles 7 - 9

I am so glad to be at the halfway point (which we find out later was slightly more than halfway due to a course certification error) and calculating the time, I realize I am moving a lot slower than planned. I'm running/walking a lot because of my tummy issues (and of course, visiting the porta potties) I'm also repeating the Spock's Beard song and Carolina Liar's "I'm Not Over" (a recommendation from Flo) a lot because I'm finding it hard to focus. Is it because of tummy issues or is it because I'm getting flustered because even the really slow runners are passing me up? Not sure.

Lesson Learned #3 - Learn to forget about the other runners. I'm not trying to beat them, just trying to finish.

Miles 9 - 13.1

My feet hurt. Really hurt. I find myself looking on the ground hoping to come across a machete on the ground so I can chop my feet off at my ankles. While I know this violent image wasn't the time of visualization technique Terri had in mind, it (in a creepy way) still works.

Still running/walking. Still visiting porta potties.

On my way to the finish with (imagined) painless stumps instead OMGithurts feet, I do take time to admire the Chicago skyline and the lakefront because it is a beautiful day for a run.

So I finish (an embarrassingly slow time but I take solace that there were still 400 or so people behind me) and meet up with Chipper Kim, who was waiting around for 45 minutes, maybe longer.

Lesson Learned #4 - Having family and friends on the course really helps me mentally and breaks up the miles. (Family, friends, don't worry about getting me a birthday gift in October, just come down to the Marathon. It will help me A LOT!)

Speaking of embarrassed, I haven't run since the Half. A whole week. Not sure what my problem is really. It started off with a couple days rest and turned into a whole week. I just haven't looked forward to running (not good with the Marathon is less than two months away.) I was more "in the grove" and motivated last year . . .you'd think I'd be more motivated now after getting a taste of the Marathon last year. Not sure if this will make any sense but I think that because I do have a better sense of what's in front of me with the Marathon, I'm more terrified than last year and in a way, overwhelmed I guess. So instead of training like a madwoman I'm avoiding it? Not sure if that's what Freud would say. In any case, I'm going to try to change that tonight and get back on the treadmill.

I also signed up for the other Chicago Half Marathon (in September.) I really need to practice focusing while there are other runners around.

55 days and counting . . .

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Thank You Tommy Skilling

I think the weather gods are trying to make up for the inferno that was Chicago Marathon '07. Here's the forecast for tomorrow's Half Marathon from Chicago weather god Tom Skilling:

76 57
Mainly sunny, breezy and cooler. High temperatures range from the lower-70s along the lakeshore to the upper-70s well inland. Light north-to-northeast winds.

Alarm is going off at 3:30 a.m to get ready and get downtown in corral in plenty of time for 6:30 a.m. start.

Wish me luck!

Monday, August 4, 2008


Walked around the office today like Frankenstein as a result of Sunday's 10 miler. Everyone in my department knows that 1) I ran 10 miles on Sunday 2) I got up earlier than dawn to do it and 3) I hurt. They know this because I talked/complained about it all day.

If I'm like this at 10 miles, wonder what I'm going to feel like after the Half on Sunday. Or the Marathon in October.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

10 Miles - Check!

Got up as planned and finished 10 miles before 6:30 a.m. this morning. Okay, more like 6:40 a.m. . . .Mike was pacing in the driveway waiting for me to get home so he could get to work on time. (A little tummy issue with the Cliff Bar made me a little late.)

Will post more later, but gotta clean up the house because my mother-in-law will be coming back here with Mike after he gets off of work. She already knows I'm domestically-challenged (She is already well aware that I don't/can't cook and my son asking her what her ironing board was just sealed my fate.) so I don't want to look like I can't keep the house clean either (I can't, but we're just talking about impressions here. If she ever needs a press release though, I can write that like nobody's business. :)

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Pepper Spray, Check!

Preparing for my long run of 10 miles on Sunday morning. Will be my earliest run ever (and my longest run this training season) as I have to get the miles in before Mike leaves for work at 6:30. In the morning.

Really need to do it outside so I'm better prepared for next week's half marathon, plus this way I beat some of the humidity. Have things going on in afternoon, so running at dusk isn't an option for me.

So . . .
- New songs on iPod - Check!
- Balega socks - Check!
- CARA reflective running tank - Check!
- Favorite sports bra washed - Check!
- Shoes - Check!
- Pepper spray - Check!
(It will be dark out when I start out, no one tell my parents. Yes, I know I'm 37 years old. Really, no one tell my parents.)
- Sports beans/Clif bar - Check!
(This will be a test to see how my tummy gets along)
- Headphones - Check!
- Amphipod armband for iPod - Check!
- Cell phone - Check!
- Runners' ID - Check!
- Amphipod belt - Check!
- Gatorade - Check!
- Protein Water - Check!

I hope I don't attack myself in the face with the pepper spray.