A Slow Fat Bat Out of Hell

Tis I, your friendly neighborhood fat chick runner if by neighborhood you mean on the web.  None the less, here I am.  I bet you thought I forgot you.  Again.

I didn’t.  I was enjoying a nice taper and plenty of rest days leading up to Run Week 2012.  It’s been rather boring:  I’ve been eating healthy meals and doing lots of stretching and resting and stuff.  It’s really quite dull and uninspiring.

Oh, and I ran a race for fun.  You know, as part of my taper?

My long run for last week was a whopping 5 miles so what better way to get in that “long” run than by joining my amazing running group for the Journal Jog 8K (that is actually 5 miles)?  I couldn’t miss out on that, even if I was miserably hung over from a fabulous afternoon at the Wine Walk the night before.

Wine is good! Don’t we look happy?  I will be hung over in exactly 10 hours.

All the more reason to put in a few good miles in the company of Dianne who somehow always keeps me motivated!

So I pulled up to the race, a little bleary eyed but surprisingly pretty excited about the whole thing.  It was a delightfully crisp fall morning, my favorite kind.  Weather motivates me in a big way.  I’m special like that.  More importantly, the race was very well organized and Dianne and I were set up on the start line behind the 9-10 minute pacers and still debating our target pace when the countdown began.  See what we get for assuming they would be running late like just about every other race we have run?

Who needs to discuss our target pace when I could be taking amazing photos like this?

We set out at a comfortable pace and about a half mile in decided that averaging 12:30 sounded about right, with the intention of starting out slow and gradually increasing our pace.  She was coming off a 14 mile training run the day before and I have grown somewhat accustomed to my 13:30-14:00 endurance pace of late.   The pace felt comfortable and the perfectly portioned mimosas at the first aid station bolstered my spirit (or provided a little hair of the dog, I’m still not entirely sure).

The Reno High School drum line was out to cheer us one. FYI, kids: your cadence was perfect for getting my ass in gear. Gracias.

As is our normal routine, Dianne and I chatted away while trying to avoid checking our watches but doing so all the same.  We steadily passed people and were passed by a few people who apparently didn’t like being passed (we passed them again.  And again.  And then again.).  I was feeling good.  So good in fact that I found myself randomly saying out loud, “Wow!  I feel really good!”  Annoying, I’m sure but in all honestly I really felt great.

The pace felt easy, my stride was comfortable and about 2.85 miles in it happened:  I was warmed up and ready to run.  Dianne noticed it before I did:  the longer stride, the deep controlled breathing, the focused stare off into the distance, the change in posture from “Hunched Over Why The Hell Do I Do This” to “Confident Comfortable Runner Chick Ready to MOVE.”  She told me to go on and run.  I protested saying we were in this together.  And she insisted that she would be right behind me and not to worry about it.

Begrudgingly, I took a few tentative strides a head, glanced back and she waved me on.  And that is about the time I took off like a bat out of hell.  A slow fat bat.  But a confident and feeling amazing slow fat bat.

Such a pretty map of the race course. Thanks, Garmin!

I settled in and just went.  I didn’t watch the clock.  I didn’t worry about passing people or personal bests.  I just ran because it felt good.  And by the time I handed my tag over in the chute, I was relaxed, breathing comfortably and much to my total amazement, not sweating.  Weird.  I was also amazed by my time:  60:11, which is 12:02 pace.  That’s a good 28 seconds off the target and it felt EASY.  Trust me, that pace hasn’t felt easy in months.  I was also stunned with my pace the last two miles.  Um, yeah…if those 11 minute anything miles have been a endangered species as of late, the 10:26 mile is like seeing a purple unicorn on a cloud of rainbow sparkles.

I had just enough time to turn around and cheer Dianne on into the chute.  She came in at 60:58.  We were both VERY happy and thus a celebration with chocolate milk, lattes and bagel sandwiches was in order.  We compared notes on just how good that run had felt because apparently, she caught her groove a minute or two after I did.  Sure, this was just a fun little training race but if felt freaking AMAZING!

That leads me into this week.  Three days left until Run Week starts:  55 miles of awesomeness.

I am so ready.  Mentally, I have my head in the game.  Physically, I feel rested and strong.  Sure, I have wound here and there and I have a totally legit black toenail, but they aren’t bothering me.  Plus, they are sort of like a badge of honor, right?  The hip?  All healed.  The ankle tendon?  Holding strong.

On Saturday  9/22 I meet up with Dianne, Michelle and the gang for the Color Me Rad 5K.  It’s should be a fun race, a nice and easy pace and amusing to say the least.  Afterwards, I am hopping in the car and jamming down to Half Moon Bay for packet pick up followed by dinner on the beach.

Sunday 9/23 I have a nice early start for the Half Moon Bay Half.  It is 13.1 miles of beautiful low elevation terrain and gorgeous sub 60 degree weather (my favorite).

I will spend a leisurely Monday on the coast before heading home to put in a couple days rest work.  Thursday, I head up to Tahoe for what will be the most frightening packet pick up of my life.  I go in with the Triple and Super Triple folks.  Just a little intimidating.  My running coach fortunately is just crazy enough to be running the Triple so at least I’ll have him to hang out with.  Him and our Western States 100 bad ass boys.  Seriously.  I am so freaking intimidated.  But once I survive the sheer terror that is packet pick up, it will be time for a really good night’s sleep before the Trifecta begins at last.

Friday 9/28 I start the first leg of the Trifecta with the Emerald Bay Half.

Saturday 9/29 will find me tackling the second leg:  the Tahoe Nevada Half Marathon.  Saturday afternoon, I expect to see everyone at the expo.  You know who you are.  Carrie.  Dianne.  Tiffany?

I know you’re coming, Carrie because when we had dinner Sunday night I filled you in on all the wonderful secrets of the 10K at Tahoe-and the need for you to party with me Saturday night.

And after partying it up a bit with my fellow runners Saturday night, I will embark on the final leg of the Trifecta on Sunday 9/30 with the Lake Tahoe Half Marathon.

When it is all over, you will find me in the lake eating something sinfully delicious like cheesecake or a wildebeest.  I haven’t figured that out yet.

If you bring me one of these while I am soaking in the lake I will love you for life.

I can’t believe it is finally almost here!

Oh, did I mention I picked a spring marathon?  More on that later.