Wednesday, October 24, 2012

FWP - i whine a lot.

First and foremost, an update:

I'm alive.  I am slowly starting to feel like a living person again, and lucky for me, plain rice, noodles, and broth are basically my favorite foods anyway.  And, as an extra bonus, by Monday morning, my stomach was as flat as it has ever been!  It was fleeting however, as i am the only person alive that can pack in like 4,000 calories worth of soup.  Take that, third world!

1.  I am boarding a plane to Dublin Friday night, and i have not packed one. single. item.  I haven't even dug out my suitcase from the closet.  Not that its a big deal, because there is not a single article of clean clothing in the house.  We have a pile of dirty clothes towering over 3ft. in the closet that has lovingly been nick-named "laundry mountain."  The dog actually burrowed into it yesterday like a gopher and I LOST TRACK OF HER.  She eventually came out having eaten most of a dirty sock.  I am officially in crisis mode.


2.  Waffles and i have spent much time on the couch together recovering.  She seems to be back to her old self, which is good, because she leaves tomorrow to spend two weeks in Cincinnati with Matt's parents!  As i was writing out the novella that is her feeding directions, comprised of two types of food, microwaving, supplements, and not making eye contact with her when she is supposed to eat, i realized my dog is a total diva, and i have spoiled her rotten.
Microwave food.  Don't make eye contact.  Step away.

3.  I was super excited to start obsessive-compulsively checking the weather for the Dublin marathon on Monday, but it remains the same.  Every time i check.  No wild swings in temperature.  It has remained steady at 47 degrees, and hasn't moved.  I just don't know how to deal with this!
Obviously, it's some kind of trap.


4.  As excited as i am for this trip, I am really terrified about two things.  

a. - currency.  I don't understand american money, let alone money in any other country.  I have actually had to stop and try to remember if a dime was 5 cents or 10 cents.  Thats how hard it is for me. Now, i will be in another country (two actually) where i have to deal with not one, but two different currencies!  This will be a disaster!  And, I'm the responsible one!  My mom and I got in a fight and she demanded to know when the republic of Ireland switched to the Euro.  (Seriously Mom??  1998!!!!!) we're in trouble.

and b. - driving.  actually, Matt is the only one qualified to drive, as i do not know how to drive a stick. So we are all relying on Matt.  The entire time.  And i hear the roads are scary.


5.  Actually, make that three things.  I forgot about that whole Dublin marathon thing.  I don't wanna, I don't wanna!  Its not even the rolling hills, or the heartbreaker at mile 20 - it's the fact that it is a bunch of speedy men i am running with!  I am going to look like the slow, fat american girl in this race.  I am sorry if i embarrass you, America.  And, i don't even know where all the good bars are, so i can't just stop for drink when the going gets tough.  


6.  I seriously have so much to do right now, but i keep finding myself obsessing over this morbidly obese doxie named Obie.
Unfortunately his elderly owners suffered from dementia, and as a result he was extremely overfed and ended up clocking in at close to 80lbs.  (doxies should be around 25!)  He is with a foster now, and is already down to 63 lbs!!  This dog is seriously my bff, and i love him so much.  Look at those eyes.  Follow Obie's weight loss struggle here:

FWP (for both me AND Obie!)

7.  My coworker is seriously kicking my ass at halloween right now.  How did i NOT think of this????

8.  I had to vote by absentee ballot because I fly back the day of the election.  I sent in my vote yesterday, but when you vote as an absentee, you do NOT get the little "i voted sticker" that allows to to walk around judging anyone who didn't vote.  I want my sticker dammit!  And since i don't get one, i am posting it here.  I voted!  Yay for me!

9.  I won a bottle of "Transylvanian" (read=Hungarian) wine in a silent auction at work yesterday, and I don't get to drink it until after i get back  :(  :(  :(  :(  :(  :(

Look at how spooky the bottle is!!  And, none of it is in english, I don't even know what kind of wine it is!


10.  You are all going to have to go a week and a half without hearing from me, because i wont be blogging during my trip, and i am too lazy to arrange guest bloggers.  And after that, there will be at least a weeks worth of blog posts talking about my trip.  Haha, sucks to be you.


(Don't worry, i am sure i will have a few things more to bitch about before i cross the pond on Friday!)  :)

Monday, October 22, 2012

That weekend i was sicker than waffles.

With less than 5 days before I board a plane to Emerald Isle, it would appear that i have some sort of stomach flu disaster going on.  It started Friday, when my breakfast sat in my stomach like a rock, causing me to pick at all my other meals, and feel very "off".  Then I woke up Saturday morning around 5:30 to head up to Lake Geneva, and it hit me - I was about to be very sick.  I spent all morning throwing up until i eventually fell asleep, and have felt like a hot mess ever sense.  This must be how poor wafflito felt, only i don't see HER feeding ME organic boiled chicken.  (Although i am getting nauseous at just the thought.)  Needless to say, I missed cheering at great lakes, I missed the chance to order a pizza with all the toppings only I like because Matt was out of town, I missed all social invites for the weekend, and I missed some of my last training runs before Dublin.  I am not a happy camper right now, and i am dreading the thought of going abroad while sick.  I was hoping it was a weekend deal, but i am still not feeling much better this morning. 

If you need me, I'll be in frowntown.  

Also congrats to all the ladies who ran Zooma this weekend - I was really bummed to have missed it (I even made a sign at work!)- I made it all the way to my car and promptly threw up next to it.  I'm so cool.

Friday, October 19, 2012


No, not me, i am what seems like the only Chicago running blogger NOT running Zooma this weekend!  They have no desire to have a scrapper like me as an ambassador, and scrappers like me have already spent WAY too much money on races this year.  

I had an epiphany that maybe i should makeover my blog to present a more healthy living and motivational approach, in hopes of becoming an ambassador to something, but to be honest, i don't have the patience for that level of commitment, or that level of sobriety.  I will for ever be the ambassador of martinis and trouble.

I digress.  I actually considered running the Zooma 5k for a hot minute, but i ultimately decided it was a bad call with the Dublin marathon next weekend.  And you don't get a necklace for the 5k, i want a freaking necklace!

I digress again.  I am going to Zooma and setting up the Gingerfoxxx cheer zone!  Don't expect too much, because it will probably just be me, dancing like an idiot.  But - I will have snacks!  I loaded my car up with Red vines, swedish fish, and pretzels - it's gonna be a party!  I just have to figure out the best location now - I am thinking around mile 10-ish.  

Where would YOU prefer to see my smiling face? Are you running? - I will try to spot you...and probably fail.  Do you have any snack requests?  Is anyone else spectating??  Good luck this weekend ladies!!  Lake Geneva is one of my favoritest places to run - it's BEAUTIFUL!

Thursday, October 18, 2012


Oops, i did it again.
This marathon is for YOU, Las Rocas Garnacha!

Ok, you really shouldn't be that shocked.  I intended to run a spring marathon, I just hadn't chosen one yet.  So here is a glimpse at my (wine-fueled) decision making progress.

I thought the Chicago Marathon was an amazing experience, but ultimately, it is not for me.  In fact, it really stressed me out.  I was agitated the entire time, and i felt like everyone was staring at me and i couldn't breathe.  Some people are really motivated by huge crowds of spectators.  I am not.  In fact, huge crowds make me want to curl up and hide.  I might as well have run the whole damn thing naked, because thats what i felt like.  

It's not to say i didn't have a good time - i did.  It's just not an ideal situation for me, and i don't think i will run my best race at a huge event like that.  I run the best when no one cares, knows, or is looking.  I know it sounds stupid, but its true.  It's like that frog that did nothing when you were staring at it, but then danced every time you look away.  I'm that frog, only for distance running.

I actually think i would do best running the 26.2 completely by myself in a post-apocalyptic world that somehow still managed to provided me with water stations.  A marathon of one, just for me: The Sarathon.  I could even have Matt and Waffles waiting at the end with a medal made from a soup can lid and a t-shirt hand decorated with puffy paint.  That would be sweet.  Sadly, i don't see that happening anytime soon.

So i was mulling over a few options.  I thought Salt Lake City would be fun for a get away, but we are already planning a marathon weekend get away in August, and Matt said I am limited to one a year, until we become millionaires.  

Some of local options:

The Illinois Marathon - What sounds like a great mid-sized marathon.  I have friends in Champaign, as well as friends running the race!

The Flying Pig Marathon - Fairly large, but really amazing.  I did the half last year - but i wouldn't have a chance in hell at a PR with that whole three mile mountain incline in the middle.

The Rockford Marathon - Too soon?  I think it might be for me.  I ultimately decided that until i know they have their act together, i would rather participate from the sidelines.  Which i WILL!  If anyone plans on running this next year, keep your eyes peeled for the Gingerfoxxx Party Zone somewhere on the course!

The Sunburst Marathon - I had a great race there!  The cobblestone was a little rough on my feet though, and do i want to wait until June??

Misc Small Great Lakes Region Marathons - There are actually a bunch!  All very tiny. 500 marathoners or less. 

So, what marathon did i choose????

The Waushara County Jailbreak Marathon in Central Wisconsin!  Maybe i am becoming an old grouchy lady, but i like the idea of driving to the start line, using a restroom without waiting, and approaching an aid station with no one to crash into.  

The Jailbreak Marathon makes it very clear: There will be no one cheering.  If you need spectators, go away.  I like that.  It's the anti-Chicago Marathon.  It's an extremely rural marathon through the amish countryside.  Basically, there is no one around, and the only people watching you are a few cows and maybe some Amish folk.  That sounds amazing to me right now as i am still recovering from the corrals, gear check, and finisher's chute of the Chicago Marathon.  Its also not too far from where my Dad is buried, and to be honest, it's a good excuse to go visit and leave some flowers.  It's such a remote area, that i feel serene just thinking about it.  I don't know what stood out about this marathon, but something in their atrocious website spoke to me.  I was meant to run this marathon.  And who knows, maybe this is the first step in trying to go after the 50 states club?  So, There is my plan for spring!  Hopefully it will not be 92 degrees that day, but i suppose even if it is, i have plenty of back-ups!

(For the record, I am doing the half at Flying Pig again, and dragging Matt with me.  I fully expect him to push me down that hill at some point -It's going to be so fun!)

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

There ain't no rest....for the First World.

1.  Last night was officially the worst night we had with waffles since the very first night we spent with her.  Not only is she still shooting projectiles from both ends, but then she broke out in hives last night.  The minute the vet's office closed for the night.  So, not only did she spend the whole night in our bed scratching (And wiggling around to scratch areas she couldn't reach) But then she woke us up at 4am.  And 6am.  Because she had to go outside.  
It may seem that i am constantly blogging about waffles being sick, and it's because she CONSTANTLY IS!

First World Problems.

2. Obviously, Matt took her to the vet first thing this AM.  It turns out she has doggie IBS.  We have to supplement her diet with probiotics, but its just gonna flare up from time to time, and we just have to deal with it.  For the record, I have been cooking her (and hand feeding her!) Shrimp and chicken (vet recommended) just to get her to eat something.  And now we are getting her these probiotic supplements and vitamins.  So the dog was hand fed organic chicken for dinner last night.  Guess who had wine and tortilla chips?
First World Problems.

3.  Unless you are living under a rock, you have heard about the Lance Armstrong debacle.  I don't know why, but i am super pissed off.  I'm not a cyclist.  I don't even own a bicycle!  Actually, it's questionable whether or not i can even ride a bike.  But i am seriously angry at Lance Armstrong.  I really wanted to believe that he beat cancer and won a bunch of tour de frances.  Using only what your maker gave ya.  It gave me hope that maybe one day i could suck significantly less without doing horrible illegal things to get there.  You are a dream crusher!!!!!!!  I never owned a livestrong bracelet on account of my dainty wrists, and man, am i glad now.

For you rock dwellers: SHAME-CENTRAL
First World Problems.

4. I was on a mission to cross county lines for cheaper gas because i am such a cheap skate.  (It's only a half-mile drive)  But in doing so, i had to take a different exit to get on the highway to go home.  I don't know what's wrong with my brain, but i turned onto the exit ramp, and then spotted a Don not enter sign and freaked the heck out.  I stopped my car and tried to figure out how to turn around, only someone had followed me, and then someone had followed him.  Then everyone started honking at me.

Then i realized i was going the right way the whole time, and had been sitting there for 5 minutes like an asshole because i was looking at the sign for the other exit ramp.  And everyone thought i was a moron.  
I'm sorry, but that sign is WAY too close to the correct exit.  Who does that??  This is not my fault.  Not even a little.  Also this is why i need a chauffer. 

First World Problems.

5.  I went to Jimmy Johns for lunch, and accused the guy of giving me the wrong sandwich because it was seriously done before i even walked down to the pick up counter from the register.  I'm sorry, but how does a sandwich make itself and then beat me in a footrace?  No. Way.  

Turns out it was my sandwich, and i walk really slow, and am kind of a jerk to people sometimes without even realizing it.  

I got the last laugh though, because i ate that unrealistically speedy sandwich!!

First World Problems.  

Unfortunately, if i let myself do problems 6-10, they will all be used as part of a political rant.  And i promised myself i wouldn't go there on the blog.  Because it's not that kind of blog.  And what do i know anyway?  I grew up in a single parent home - which apparently means I am one step away from lashing out with a semi-automatic.  I had some real political zingers, i swear.  I'm a riot.

Also, WTF - I have another marathon in 11 days??  Who the hell keeps letting me sign up for marathons???

(In other news, i may have decided on what my spring marathon will be...stay tuned!)


Tuesday, October 16, 2012

A dangerous weekend!

As Halloween fast approaches, I am finding myself staring down danger on a daily basis!

To begin, Matt and I went on a 10 mile run together on Sunday.  No big deal right?  Except for the sideways rain and 40mph winds.  I ran with sunglasses the whole time despite the freaky level of darkness at 11am.  The second i took them off to try to wipe some of the water off, i was instantly blinded by the sideways rain.  I staggered around yelling "I'm blind! I'm blind!" But no one was really out to help me on account of the weather.  If you need a visual:
Shortly after, a falling leaf was transformed into a projectile ninja death star thanks to the wind and sliced my arm.  Et tu, Fall??

That night, Matt and i met up with Kelly, Kim, and Erin for a Zombie shooting hayride.  The only reason i ever do anything is so that i am ready for the Zombie Apocalypse, running included.  I mean, are there people out there who run and aren't thinking about zombies chasing them? If so, I'd like to meet them.  Paintballing some zombies was an excellent way to relieve stress, and polish up my aim.  I might not be a great marathoner, but i am a damn good shot.  

We spent some time checking out the corn maze as well, but it soon became apparent that some of us may have been infected.
Sorry Matt.  If there is anything to be learned from the Odyssey Fun Farms Zombie Safari Hayride it is this:

1. Don't trust anyone - you never know who accidentally got paintball in their mouth and is now infected (hint- it was me. And it will always be me.)

2. How ever much ammo you think you need - it's not enough.  Spring for the extra round of paintballs  ammunition.

3.  When you run out of ammo, and it's looking pretty bleak, just dance to thriller.

A scary weekend indeed!

The fear factor unfortunately spread into Monday, as Wafflito has some kind of stomach bug.  I stayed home with her Monday because she couldn't go an hour without a potty break, and i didn't want to come home to a scene from Hostel.  Needless to say, you haven't experienced true fear until you have seen a basenji with tummy troubles.  Bonus: The vet prescribed pepto bismol, that horrifying pink liquid.  We have to syringe it into her mouth, and she hates it.  Needless to say, it's everywhere, like a hot pink slaughterhouse.

Friday, October 12, 2012

My weekend goal -

Is to watch the movie Hocus Pocus.  So awesome.  I haven't seen it in probably 15 years, so i hope my memory of its awesomeness isn't distorted.  But that is my goal for the weekend.

I have gone on two runs since Chicago, and both were amazing.  I remember in the weeks leading up to the marathon, running a few miles seemed like such a chore.  I felt tired, and heavy, and like 4 miles was impossible.  After the horror that is 26 miles, a four mile run is basically like a 40 minute party of super awesome happy fun time.

I love not running 26 miles.  
I'm really good at NOT running marathons!
Probably not the best mindset with another marathon around the corner, haha.  Although i feel lighter now, like all the pressure has been removed, and i can go run Dublin and have a great time.  As usual, i keep flipping back and forth between serenity and bat-shit insanity.

Speaking of marathons, our blogger brethren of north will be running their first marathon this weekend!  Go wish Sarah and Alicia good luck on their first marathon this weekend!!  I know the weather has been questionable this week, so keep your fingers crossed that the rain stays far, far away!  You're going to do great ladies!!

And it looks like Bill is finally getting some nice weather for what is sure to be a PR marathon on the east coast.  Having also survived a super hot marathon this year, it's long overdue!

Is anyone else racing this weekend?  Or would you rather watch Hocus Pocus with Waffles and I?  I make great stovetop popcorn!  

Thursday, October 11, 2012

FWP - terror week.

Sorry i haven't been blogging, i have been too busy being a crazy bitch to everyone.  

The one downfall of marathoning is that it makes me insanely tired and cranky.  I would have liked to take a day off to power-sleep, but with the upcoming trip, i really didn't have the PTO to spare...

1.  So instead of power-sleeping, i have been power COUCHing!  Thats right - there is now a butt print from me spending so much time there.  The problem with this whole marathon is, you spend 15 weeks running too much to watch tv, and then three weeks tapering.  During my taper, i found all these amazing tv shows.....

I am so stressed out about making time to watch all these shows!  It's too much!  And to make matters worse, American Horror Story and The Walking Dead are starting next week!  WHAT AM I GOING TO DO?????  WAAAAHHHHHHHHH

First World Problems.

2.  Have you seen this commercial?

It's witty and i love it.

First World Problems.

3.  Marathonfoto and i have a long standing love/hate relationship because they suck at making me look presentable during a marathon.  The only picture they got of me at the Chicago Marathon where i don't look like a dying T-rex is this:
Its where i illegally broke through the red rover chain to enter another corral.  I was just trying to make it back to where i belonged...they were the assholes who sent me to the back of the line in the first place!  I love the look on my face in this.  I'm sorry i'm not sorry.

First world problems.

4.  Matt and i have been trying to watch a scary movie every night in honor of shock-tober.  We watched the omen on Monday, and have not had a peaceful nights sleep since, because Matt is a giant scared baby.  
Look at the cover - we were CLEARLY warned!  

First World Problems.

5.  During one of his wake up in the middle of the night and make sure the house is safe moments, he went into the fridge, and somehow managed to knock all my honey crisp apples off the top shelf.  Honey crisp apples are NOT cheap!  And now my beautiful apples are all dented and massacred.  I'm sorry, but this girl?  Eating dented fruit?  I don't think so.

J/k.  I still ate it.  I am just so hungry all the time.

First World Problems.

6.  Speaking of my horror movies disturbing my sleep, guess who decided to go all exorcist and start puking in the bed last night?
And people wonder why i am so grouchy all the time.

First World Problems.

7.  And in other spooky news, i some how got suckered into throwing the annual halloween party at work.  For everyone's kids.  You know, because i am so experienced with children.  They told me it was NBD, and that there was a box with everything i needed.  I looked for the box for an entire day, only to find it.  Not containing anything that would help me plan a party.
Binders and CD's. awesome.  And a freaking floppy disk?  How am i supposed to plan a party with this??  Looks like the main event will be the extra spooky "clean out Sara's carrrrr.  ooOOOOoooHHHHHHH"

Ugh.  Kids.  Halloween.  Why me.

First World Problems.

8.  If you are friends with me on facebook, you may have seen that i had a total meltdown last week.  I was crazy stressed out at work, and had intense deadlines, my coworker was in NY, and then my computer freaked out on me.  I went for a run on the North branch trail to basically just cry.  I got back to my car, and continued to cry as i changed my shoes to drive home.  Then a cop came and gave me a ticket for being in my car crying when i clearly should have moved my car 4 minutes ago.  Because you can't park there after sunset.  I told him it was still dusk out.  And he said "Official sunset was four minutes ago"  I was baffled.  Just baffled.  So watch out for that "official sunset" kids. It will bite you in ass.

Official sunset.  What a jerk.

First world problems.

9.  I broke three pairs of brighly colored two dollar sunglasses last week.  Why is my life so hard?  Why is the world picking on me?  And seriously, where do you buy sunglasses in October??

First World Problems.  

10.  And now that i can knock back a few, I can't find the Pumking beer anywhere!  WHAT IS WRONG WITH THIS WORLD??????
First World Problems.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Recovering - LIKE A BOSS!

The one thing that kind of sucks with most training programs is that they prepare you for (almost) every scenario that occurs on race day, but they don't prepare you for the horrors that occur the week after.

I'm just kidding, there really aren't any horrors.  It's normal to feel run down and need more sleep (your body has to fix all that damage that YOU did to it!) but to be honest, everyone reacts differently.  In fact the same person might react differently to different races!  I know Hal Higdon calls this week "Zero week" and stresses rest-rest-rest!  And who am i to disagree with Hal??  Some people like to go for a shake out run the very next day.  Thats cool and all, but no one is expecting you to do that.  I take a minimum of two days off from running and strength-training (haha, we all know i never do strength-training...).  And thats if i am feeling perfect.  I do like to walk around though especially with waffles, who pulls me along and does most of the work.  

So what does my zero week look like you ask?  (ok, no one asked.)

PROTEIN! Normally, because i don't eat a lot of animal by-products, i tend to have a low protein/high carb diet.  It's what comes naturally to me.  I know its not the natural thing to do, but i rely heavily on on protein rich nutrition drinks/supplements after a marathon.  

SALT!  You would think by now i have the hydration thing mastered.  I don't.  I ended up with a terrible side stitch, and was so loopy after the race that i realized i was extremely dehydrated.  I think i did ok drinking on race day, but i did a terrible job drinking water all last week.  I am snacking on olives, which are salty and high in unsaturated fat.  And so delicious.

SNACKS!  Sadly, marathons mess with my tummy a bit.  I usually can't eat a large feast of a meal for a couple days.  Which sucks, because after running 26 miles, i want to be able to conquer an entire pizza.  I can't though (without getting sick at least) So i have literally been eating small and bland things every 2 hours.  Luckily, at my job i can sit at my desk eating all day with minimal judgement.

EPSOM SALT! I really wish i would have bought a massage like three months ago.  I didn't though.  grrrr.  Instead i have been soaking in epsom salt and foam rolling.  It's actually quite nice!  (although i totally smell like epsom salt now.  And that smell just will not wash off!

SLEEP!  Actually, i am still not getting quite as much sleep as i want.  I want a lot though.  And i have not alot going on this weekend, so i am SO sleeping in.  It shall be glorious.

VITAMIN C!  I get the sniffles after every marathon, and even after some of my harder half marathons.  It's basically a karate chop to the immune system.  I like the emergen-C mixes.  I don't know if they really help though, i just sneezed like four times in a row.

RELAX!  Seriously.  I just ran a marathon. If you need me, i will be on the couch in sweat pants after work everyday, with a fleece blanket and a dog in my lap.  And i will be watching brainless trashy reality tv.  My mind needs a little break too!  Aside from walking to keep everything from stiffening up, don't expect much from me this week!

I hope everyone is taking it easy this week.  I am already getting the "itch" to get back to training to try and sneak some in before Dublin.  Truth is, nothing i do between now and then will help me.  But a lot could definitely hurt me.  My main goal is to get there as rested as possible so i can bring my A game.  It's in here somewhere....

Monday, October 8, 2012

Go with the flow: My Chicago Marathon recap

She is so tiny! And seriously the nicest person ever.  She even laughed at my jokes!  (Obviously out of pity)  I am so excited for her to kick butt at Boston 2013.  Talk about someone who works hard to be the best.  If i could muster 10% of her motivation, i would be a much better runner.  Special thanks to the Brooks team and Maggie who was able to make this happen via her amazing PR skills.  
This entire weekend was really rough for me.  As someone who actually has an anxiety disorder, things like crowds of people are a huge trigger to me.  The stress of getting to the expo, fear of missing Desi, and ending up lost in McCormick place had me practically in tears by the time i met up with these awesome ladies.  

We went on a shake out fun run with the brooks team, and it was just what i needed to help balance myself again.  I left the expo feeling much calmer and happier.  And i had a bag full of snacks - always a win.

Race weekend:  I had already mentioned Matt had invited his friends to stay with us that weekend, which was not really the best situation for zen-like marathon prep.  I got very little sleep, and spent too  much time on my feet.  They brought their Husky "Stark" to play with waffles, and as stressful and anxiety-filled as my weekend was, i think Waffles had it worse...
The Race: Did not go as planned.  I ended up going with plan C and i cried twice on the course, but also, it sort of became my party.  The first half of the race went pretty smoothly, and i felt good, although the weekend dog party left me with a runny nose and allergies.  The weather was perfect - cool, cloudy, with just enough sun to warm you up every once in a while.  I struggled alot with the sheer amount of people, and got very panicky at water stations, where people tended to "swarm".  Everytime i felt like the race was just too much for me, someone would yell my name, tell me i was doing great, and cheer for me.  
It also helped seeing Amanda, Emily, Cary, David, Keren, and Kelly at various points throughout the day.
The support for this race is indescribable.  I won't even try to put it into words.

Around mile 15-16, i got a terrible cramp/side-stitch on my left side.  It hurt so bad.  I am not prone to them, so i have no idea what caused it, or what to do to make it go away.  So naturally i limp along the side and cry.  A stranger actually put his arm around me and said "we're all stupid.  Lets try to run a little."  People can be so amazing.  I was able to run half mile increments, and then would stop to try and massage the cramp, which was spasming at this point.  In hindsight, i am 90% sure i made the cramp worse, as it still hurts today, and is all bruised from my inability to massage anything.  Aaron was with me at this point, and i felt bad because i was supposed to set an example, and motivate him, but holy crap, this hurt so bad.  I can honestly say this race hurt more than rockford and sunburst combined.  I started crying again at mile 19, because i just felt so hopeless.  Matt and a few friends were at the bar Simones waiting to cheer us on, and i promised myself i would take a break there.  My time was already out the window, so i was going to try and at least salvage this to be an enjoyable experience.  
I was so happy to spot Matt! I took a break at Simone's, enjoyed a bloody mary, and got a pep talk from my friends.  
When life hands you lemons, all you can do is just say screw this, I'm gonna have a good time no matter how painful it is.  The cramp stuck with me until mile 23.  That, or maybe the bloody mary kicked in and i was too drunk to feel it anymore.  I found that taking a minute break every half mile and trying to stretch out the cramp was all i could do, and i managed.  It's still disappointing though, because otherwise this would have been a great race for me.  I ended up finishing with a 4:46, which is 16 minutes off what i should have done.  But i also stopped for a bloody mary and about 30 walk breaks.  This was really a hard race for me, physically and mentally.  If it had been a solo training run, i would have quit when the cramp hit.  I was overwhelmed by the crowds, in both a good and a bad way.  And i heard gangnam style no less than 4 times, which was awesome. The last six miles, i just kept thinking of hot dog cat.  Aaron was able to finish 20 minutes later, despite severely under training for this race.  He is suffering for it now though.
Post race: as usual, i am pretty lucky when it comes to post race aches and pains.  I am a little sore, but nothing major. As i said though, my side is killing me, mostly from my mangling it trying to fix the cramp.  Aaron and i had an ice bath post race, which can be summed up in these photos:
I think aaron cried.
Chicago is really an amazing race!  I am torn between whether or not to do it next year.  Its an unbelievable experience, but also very hard for anyone with anxiety.  So many people.  It was a struggle to stay calm.

Looking forward: I was hoping this race would be a confidence boost for Dublin.  It was not.  I am now more terrified than ever.  My focus the next couple weeks is recovery - I think my body is feeling a little burned out right now, and is ready for a break.  I am going to try and heal it as much as i can in the next 20 days, and have promised it a nice winter break before i start training again in January.  

I am bummed that my race didn't go as planned, but i don't even have time to be sad, because i am way too busy overflowing with joy and pride for all my friends who ran Chicago yesterday, especially the first timers.  If someone was gonna have a bad race, i am glad it was me, because you all worked so hard, and deserved the best race possible.  Reading your stories inspires me, and encourages me to leave it all out there in Dublin.  Let taper number 2 begin!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Shit happens.

No, seriously.

A bird pooped on me last night.  I was just going for a nice and relaxing run on the trail by my office, and all of sudden, i feel something on my arm.  Low and behold, its POOP.  The poopatrater didn't stick around either, denying me any retaliation. 

Naturally i did what any reasonable headed person would do, and i moved to the side of the trail to calmly clean up the mess and deal with the situation.  
I'm just kidding, i started screaming and maniacally ran around looking for something to get the poop off with.  I grabbed some leaves to try and wipe it off, but not only were the leaves i grabbed wet, moldy, and bug infested, but they also just smeared the poop around rather than remove it.  They also contaminated my skin with about 10 million germs, and possibly leprosy.  All this is in addition to the fact that i am covered in poop.  And i am in the middle of a trail, at least a mile from my car, but i have no choice but to persevere and run back to my car, covered in poop and leprosy.  And maybe the bubonic plague.

By the time i got back to my car, the poop remnants had been permeating my skin for about 15 minutes, and had stained my arm!  WHAT THE HELL are these birds eating???  Not keeping a soap ration in my car (a FWP that has now been remedied) I was left with no choice but to get in my car and drive home with poop on my arm.  I got home and retold the heartbreaking tale to Matt, who laughed in my face.

He also snapped this picture of the poop stain:
It doesn't look like much (actually, it looks like a bruise) But this is also after being wiped off!  It's like that birds poop tattooed my arm.

The moral of the story is that I hate everything.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Packaging design? FWP.

Sorry I've been MIA- The head honcho at my company was supposed to attend a snazzy packaging design conference, but had to back out last minute, and i got to go in his place!  It's really awesome because as these are giant networking events for the CEO's and Design Directors of design firms all over the country (and world!), people like me are generally not invited.  It's also $1,000's of dollars to attend, so yeah- I basically never get to go.  So now, I'm kind of a big deal.

1.  I was going to do a blog post on one of the conference breaks yesterday, but when i went into the lobby, they had a hot pretzel bar.
You read that right.  Apparently, fancy conferences just give out hot pretzels like they are pens or lanyards or something.  If you were ever curious as to what the 1% is doing, they are making life altering decisions like "cheesy sauce" or "cinnamon butter."  It's not that i chose a hot pretzel over you guys, it's that i chose two hot pretzels over you.  And I'm sorry.  I'm not sorry.


2. I was supposed to take pictures at the conference so that i could present a topline summary to my entire office.  Sadly, the only picture i managed to take was this:
They had miniature soda's in GLASS BOTTLES!  Dying.  Also, i am pretty sure my boss is going to be pissed.  This will probably be the last conference i get to go to for a while...


3.  I got a ton of free samples of new and strange foods and beverages that have yet to be released, and I can't eat any of them until after the marathon for fear of a tummy ache!


4.  I had to cram my feet into heels for this event.  It. was. brutal.  My feet are covered in blisters and sore spots.  Totes ready for that marathon this weekend...
Being fancy and successful is really hard and exhausting.


5.  I was BY FAR the youngest person there. This became abundantly clear while sitting in on a presentation on marketing to millennials.  I was the only millennial in the room other than the AV kid running the sound for the conference, and i'll be damned if they think they can market anything towards me.  Then the brand director in charge of that MiO water flavor stuff showed us this viral adspot they did during the MiO launch:
I kid you not, i almost peed my pants.  I was laughing so hard i was crying, as was the AV guy.  And i could stop either, even after the video ended and the speaker was talking about profits and ROI's.  I just kept giggling, and was crying all over the fancy silk tablecloth.  No one else was laughing.  So, so embarrassing.


6.  Open bar.  Top shelf.  Not drinking the week of the marathon.

I cried a little.


7.  Thats all i got.  I am slammed at work because I've been at this conference.  I don't even have time to compulsively check the weather, stress about what color compression socks to wear this weekend, or be snarky to everyone around me doing anything that might in anyway cause me stress or anxiety during my pre-marathon week of laziness meditation.


If you need more problems, go check out Kelly's blog, she kept the problem train rolling!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Lets light the fires and kick the tires!

It's that week.  Whatever my performance will be, it's locked in.  This week i will not get stronger.  Or weaker.  I won't gain any (actual) weight, or lose any.  I won't get faster.  (but I may get slower.)  The weather is not likely going to radically change. All i can do is wait.  And NAP.  

All i want to do is sleep.  I know that scientifically, you can't "bank sleep", but i'll be damned if i'm not going to try my hardest.  

I still haven't finalized my outfit yet.  The hang up is what shirt to wear.  I am not used to planning for 50 degree weather...should i wear long sleeves?  Arm warmers?  Ugh, first world problems.  I am both nervous, and serenely calm at the same time.  My current emotions can best be interpreted by this picture:
The best way to eat 200 hot dogs is also the best way to run a marathon: One at a time.
I don't know why, but this picture sums up taper week for me.  I am that fat cat, looking at an enormous challenge ahead of him (his is what must be at least 200 hot dogs, mine is a mere 26 miles)  But we both want it really, really bad.  This cat is my mantra for the race, and i will think of him when things get hard.  I even printed this photo and hung it by my desk.  I freaking love you, cat staring at 200 hot dogs.  I love you.  

What are you wearing on race day?  Does this cat make you as happy as it makes me? Did you get a chance to nap this weekend?