Sunday, February 6, 2011

What Is Set in Stone (Barring Some Sort of Hot Mess)

The credit card and checkbook have been working overtime the past few days – I’ve finally managed to register for a few races – enough to get me through the spring, at least.

Something painful is first on the list -- a 5k February 12. Nothing makes my lungs feel like bleeding more than a 5k. Knowing it will be balls to the wall from stride one, I am already dreading the pain, the copious amount of snot I know I will produce and whatever the crazy Philadelphia weather god/desses are likely to throw my way on race day. I haven’t done a 5k in over a year, mostly because I am terrible at the distance and hate the fact that, from the second I cross the start line, I feel like my lungs and legs are being stabbed.

But, it’s for a good cause and a co-worker who is just starting to get into running is doing it too, so I have no excuse. As an added bonus the race approximately three feet from my front door (give or take 3 or 4 miles), is cheap and gun time is 10 a.m. so I don’t have to wake up at the crack.

Second? A road duathlon (so much for 2011 being the year of off-road fun) in Maryland. I have been doing basically zero road running aside from treadmills and have also been scoring a fat zero for road biking aside from trainer rides, but this race looks challenging for me. Each leg ends on a hill and I’ve done a long run or two in the area -- rolling hills are an understatement and the weather does whatever the hell it feels like. Bill is doing it too and the final selling point is that we get to hang with my cousin, her husband and their two freakin’ adorable kids – 2-year-old Joe and his lil’ sis Katherine.

The parents are apparently going to bring the babies out to cheer, incentive enough to do this overpriced race (although I did email the race director to whine and we got a bit of a break on the entry fee). I’ve gotten angry in races, bored, tired, elated, but the only time I’ve ever welled up with tears was at about mile 10 of the Columbus Marathon. There stood a little kid, all bundled up with a cowbell she was ringing with her whole heart and soul, next to a giant, nearly illegible hand-made sign for her mom. “GO MOM! WIN YOUR RACE!” it said, hearts, smiley faces and stars surrounding the words. Cutest, sweetest thing ever. Now, kids I am related to will be cheering for me, and I didn’t even have to be pregnant or squeeze them out! Nice!

Third, but so not least, is the Rev3 Endurance Adventure Extreme Elimination Ultimate Epic Expedition Celebration Challenge Adventure Race in the Shenandoah River State Park in Virginia the third weekend of April.

The last time I was in this area was nearly three decades ago -- I was four years old. In 1982 my parents took me to Luray Caverns. For the first bit of the tour I was impressed, amazed and enthralled by the fact that Mother Nature could carve out such mysterious caves. I remember holding my breath while I tried to take it all in, imagining an underground world of magic.

Then, suddenly, my mom punched the back of my skull. Or so I thought – I’d been toddling backward and cracked my head on a stalactite directly behind me. My mom also happened to be standing right behind me too. I turned around, saw the mom, and my first thought, inexplicably, was that my mom punched my skull.

“My mom punched me in my head!,” I yelled. My words echoed throughout the cave, grabbing everyone’s attention. Including my dad, who began snapping pictures (probably on a Kodak Disk camera), capturing me yelling, my mom pointing at the stalactite, and everyone laughing as I rubbed my knotted head. Pigtails, jeans, hoodie and Chucks – I can perfectly envision my four-year-old self in the snapshots (probably because I am currently sitting here 29 years later in pigtails, jeans and a hoodie).
From left to right: My cousin with the adorable kids, my mom who didn't
actually punch my four-year-old self in the back of my head and my dad who
did actually take pictures of my mom not punching me in the head.
Hopefully, none of my teammates will punch me in the back of my head over the 26 hours and approximately 130 miles of the course. I am excited about the people I am racing with:
  • Bill -- If I wasn’t exited about racing with him I should probably be contacting a divorce attorney. 
  • B.J. – He has known Bill longer than I have and is one of the main reasons I am not a Cheeto-eating, couch-surfing slob. B.J. is Bill’s BFF from college and together the two plunged into the world of marathons and adventure racing about 10 years ago. He trains like a BAMF and knows his way around a map and compass. 
  •  Val – Thanks to adventure race yenta Abby who hooked up our sorry team of three with Val, I now get to race with a local, experienced, normal adventure racer willing to meet up in the sleet and rain for miles of running and hiking, all while saying, “Wow! It’s really not bad at all!” If that kind of slop isn’t bad to her, I am leaving it up to Val to drag me out of grumpiness at hour 22 of the race when I am basically pissing myself, mopping up blister pus with leaves, dehydrated and hallucinating.
This is the first time I will be racing with a team of four (I’ve only raced on teams of two or three) and the first time I will be racing with a girl (which is a good thing – I tend to whine less around women for some reason) and the first 24+ hour race I have done in a while. Training is well underway and so far so good.

Ironically, the race is the same weekend as the Boston Marathon which I didn’t register for this year because I didn’t want to spend my winter training again. Apparently, what I meant was that I didn’t feel like spending my winter training for a marathon again but that two-hour runs with an 18-pound pack in melting snow, sleet, rain, hills and mud would be perfectly acceptable.


Anonymous said...'re pretty hardcore. I was going to say that 5Ks also scare me to death, but a 5K sounds like sunshine and roses after listening to you describe that last race!

Mallory said...

Looks like great races! They sound like a lot of fun! 5ks are super hardcore and totally kick your butt. I know you'll do great. I also love seeing little kids cheering for their parents. It always makes me well up.

Anonymous said...

Why would you need to train for Rev3? It sounds like a walk in the park! Just a very hilly park with melting snow! :-)

Jogging with Fiction said...

my wallet's been feeling my race registrations too...why is it so expensive to run? I'm pretty sure runners are just a little bit cracked to be willing to pay someone else to torture themselves. I know I am!

kilax said...

Yay, races! "Rev3 Endurance Adventure Extreme Elimination Ultimate Epic Expedition Celebration Challenge Adventure Race"? Quite the title! Hopefully you won't get punched in the head, ha ha! ;)

5Ks are HARD. HARD HARD HARD. They are all out. I totally get what you are saying about that! I always sign up for a few for "fun" but have a hard time not "racing" them.

Natalia said...

Very nice list of the "balls to the wall" quote! I am sure I will think of that the next time I line up. The story about being punched in the head is very sweet. But you are going to rock that 5K - pedal to the metal, and go girl go!