Sunday, August 31, 2008

Speed Bumps

(Sorry, Joe!) Thanks everyone for your great suggestions and enthusiastic support of the relay! I can't wait to share it all with you in a few weeks! Now I go to sleep though. Peanut and I are whooped after our first baby shower today. You'll hear all about it very soon!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

APB: Vote!

Speed Bumps
Caution: Speed Bumps
The Great Big New Ones
Bumps on the Road
Babies on Board
Baby Joggers
9 month countdown
Not Fat, just Preggo
Belly Brigade
Running to our due date
Trimester Milers
Marathon Mamas
Mighty Mommas
Pregnant Runners
9 Months and Counting
Fab Five
Babies' Mommas

Post your fave on the comments. The team is voting too, but your input is always valuable! I'll reveal the winner tomorrow night!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

APB: Name the Pregnant Relay Contest!

So, we have 4 confirmed pregnant runners for the relay! We just need one more and we have two leads we're working on. Yeah!

But we need your help! What should our name be? I promise a special prize to anyone who suggests the winning name. Leave your suggestions in the comments. THANKS!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

APB: Calling Anyone!

So far I have three pregnant runners lined up for my relay. We even have all the long legs covered. We just need two more people to run or even walk 5ks. I have plastered my plea all over local running message boards and nothing.

So, if we can't have 5 pregnant women, the next best thing to me would be to have 3 pregnant women and 2 women who were pregnant in the last year or so and ran/exercised through their pregnancies.

If you're pregnant, have been recently pregnant, or know someone who is/was and can run/walk a 5k on September 27th, please please please let me know! Please help make my little dream come true!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Riding the Wave

So forget this Meghan chick! Let's talk about me! I think I have finally recovered from my own burning river adventure, so let's get back to business.

Things have been good over here. Now that I am about 10 days away from the third trimester I am finally feeling that second trimester bliss I read about. I had morning sickness well into the second trimester and really never believed any of it. But now, finally, I don't feel so puky and my energy levels have been much higher. Don't think for a second I haven't been taking advantage of this tide of good fortune!

Last week went to three races, but I only ran two. The first was a local cross country race that I really wanted to run last year but it was too muddy. This year, my pal E was running. Mrp wanted to do a track workout so I dropped him off at our local track and while he did 1000 meter repeats I went to cheer on my friend.

When I arrived, Miss E was talking about how bad she felt and how bad she was going to run and bla bla. Sure, she might be smiling in this picture, but she was pretty nervous about her race. I told her to pep up and be confident! At least I was confident in her! I ran up about 1/4 mile from the start to get a good cheering spot, or so I thought. Turns out high school runners are kind of stupid and all go out WAY too hard. E was totally boxed in a huge mob of kids and was probably 15th woman at that point.

While I was waiting at the mid-point of the race I helped out at a water station. It made me feel less weird standing around in my office clothes at a race of mostly high school kids, anyway. I filled up a bunch of cups and when the first runners started coming through I quit to make sure I got a good photo. And boy did I ever! Look at E working hard! Now she was in 2nd place! She had moved up quite a bit.

After E passed through the middle section of the race, I spent 5 more minutes filling water cups before bolting to the finish. I made it just in time as E came blasting through the chute in a sub-20 for a 5k cross-country. Very very nice! I was super happy for her (can't you tell!)! It was one of those monkeys on her back--you know the kind that stick with you all the way from high school. It was something she always wanted to do and for the longest time never thought she could. Well, now look at her! She did it! Hard work, determination, and good training pay off. Here's your proof!

Then on Thursday I joined a gaggle of friends to run a 5 mile trail race right around the corner from my house on the trails I run almost every day. It was so much fun! I ran with IronG the entire time and we chatted away the whole time. After a very slow first mile due to a very long and steep and absolutely horrid uphill, we managed to run under 9:00 pace on rolling trails. Lately I have trouble cracking 11:00 pace on these so I was quite surprised. We picked up each mile and then gave it a final push over the last half. We came to a field near the finish and we had to make a big loop out in the open. I could hear my friends cheering for me and peanut. It was so great! And then the announcer guy at the finish said, "Now ladies and gentlemen, here is a woman making us all look bad. She has a little one in there!" I was at once a little embarassed but also quite proud. It just added to the fun of the day.

Afterwards, I had to decline the after-race beer, but I did meet up with all my friends. We did not let the opportunity pass without a photo. Guess which one's me! I bet you can't! E and the woman making the crazy face on the right (solar squirrel) were the winning women's team followed in close second by Daisy (on the far left) and CJ (in the cap).

And then on Sunday, mrp ran a 10 mile race and I went along to cheer him on. I am working hard to support him in his quest to run a decent time in Chicago despite myriad of setbacks to his training (car accidents, sick dads, etc). So even though we had to leave our house around 6:00 AM I pried peanut and myself out of bed and made it out the door in time. Since it would be a while until he was in a good spot for me to cheer for him I decided to get my run in by running the 5k. A few minutes after I watched mrp off in his race, I lined up for mine. And right before the gun went off, who should say hi to me but Jack Staph of Cleveland Marathon fame. He was running it too!

The gun went off and I trotted along. I figured people would go out too fast because the start was 300 meters on a track. I just took my time and ran what felt comfortable. I saw Jack and his red shirt for a while and then it was gone from my view. After the first mile, I felt good so I pushed the pace a little. Even though it was just a little bit I was passing lots of people. I made it the second mile and still felt good so I started pushing a little more. I made a turn and I saw Jack and his red shirt up ahead. That's a good target! So, I used Jack as a target to help push it to the end. I didn't quite catch him, but I came in with a respectable 24:31. I came in 9th out of 48! I even got an age group award. Got to love small local races! But the best part was how wonderfully encouraging and supportive my fellow-runners and the course volunteers were! So many people said such nice things about me running with peanut. It was so flattering and just made me feel really nice in general.

After I was done, I jogged about a mile up the course to wait for mrp. I arrived just in time. He came around a corner in 5th place. Not bad! He looked relaxed and super strong. I always tell him he doesn't run hard enough in races. He had another guy right on his tail, but I didn't want to be rude and say something about it and plus he was so close I thought mrp knew. After I cheered for mrp, I jogged back to the finish hoping he held on to 5th. But when I found him, he told me he came in 6th (out of 405, so really really good!). At the time mrp didn't seem to care. He is not very competitive. But as the day wore on I could tell he was mad. He had not known the guy was there and said if he had he would have dropped him a long time before. That's the thing with mrp. I would have been running to my max regardless of who was where, but mrp is so casual about the whole thing he needs a lot of extra motivation to really push himself. And as a testimount to how little he pushed himself he ran a shake-out run at night in 7:30 pace and was easy. I used to feel completely broken and hobbled on mine, maybe just barely cracking 10:00 pace. Hopefully, all of this is getting mrp fired up for Chicago! (There was a real live photographer at this race so when the photos are online I'll post some. Well, unless they're really hideous!)

So, that's what I've been up to. How about you?

Friday, August 15, 2008

Meghan's Crooked Trip to the Butthole of the Midwest: Part III

Just blogging about this 100 mile race is an endurance event, I swear! But I will not be deterred! I will make it to the end come hell or high water, come writer's block or 500 other running events that have come since and that I have yet to blog about.

Last post, we saw our heroine Meghan and her trusty sidekick Chelle depart Boston Store. After I said goodbye it was time to eat! So, I found a job requiring a lot of sitting around, grabbed half a baguette and some hummus and made my way over to the 60 mile runner check in depot. I took a seat in one of my mom's trusty old school lawn chairs and ate trying not to get crumbs on the clip board. (There is a lovely photo of me sitting in this chair with loaf in hand floating around out there, but this post is not about my warped pregnant body image. I just might be getting over that, by the way!)

My job was to announce to the aid station around the corner that runners were coming (cue cowbell) and then document the time. After I had a few runners logged I made a call to the super secret BR100 voicemail and left a very cryptic message involving a lot of numbers and this was what ended up being loaded on the website. This was done the old fashioned way. Chip timing is for wusses! But if you go to the website, check out the times logged for the J2 checkpoint. That was all me!(Well, three hours worth of them anyway). Ok, well I phoned the runners in myself--that part was easy--but the aid station was run like an assembly line. I was fortunate to have Iron Woman Jen C as the next link of our chain over and she kept me company in between runners. I have read her blog occasionally for probably over a year now so it was nice to finally talk to the real live person and of course to make a new running buddy!

Somewhere in those three hours E came running up to me to let me know that Chelle had called her. Apparently Meghan and several other runners were lost around the 72 mile mark. I was very worried because I know Meghan was forced to drop out of her last 100 miler at 73 miles. I was so hoping there wasn't some 72-73 mile bermuda triangle to Meghan's 100 miler attempts. However, after a few frantic calls to people very familiar with the course Meghan and the other runners made it back on course and we all breathed a huge sigh of relief.

Around 8:45 or so I handed over the checker-inner duties to someone else and joined E for the more general aid station tasks. This was partially because I needed a change of scenery but more so because E and I had estimated that Meghan could call us any time after 9:00 PM. 9:00 PM came and no call. 9:30 PM came and no call. Around 10:00 we got our first call from Chelle. Chelle felt good and wanted to go one more aid station. This bought E at least another hour. So E and I helped the last runners into the aid station. I took care of a couple of them that had to quit. One was a German guy. I tried to reason with him not to quit because he seemed totally fine. But he put it to me this way, "I have run 100 miles several times before. I cannot run faster than 3 miles per hour right now. I know myself and I will not make it today. This is a hard course." Who am I to argue with that? So I sat and chatted with him for a while. Turns out he does marathons and ultras for kicks on the weekend. He was about 3 hours away in PA for a business meeting the week before and signed up for the race on the fly. Wow.

We only had one runner not make out 10:58 PM cut-off. We were pretty sad about it while we were waiting for him. He had rallied to make the cut-off for 56 miles so we had high hopes. He came through about 15 minutes too late and was limping. He quit without a fight to nurse a twisted ankle. Once he was in we started to pack up. It was 11:15 and still no call from Chelle. We were very quick, yet thorough cleaning up after ourselves (we love our National Parks!)

Right before we finished E finally got a call from Chelle. She was still ok and wanted one more aid station. However, E and I decided to go to the next one just to make sure. Plus I wanted to see Meghan one last time before I took my tired peanut home. We cracked open those little cans of coke and headed on up to O'Neill woods.

We arrived at the mile 89 aid station a little shy of midnight. We pulled into a pitch-black entrance way and meandered up until we saw a beacon of light. We parked and headed over to the disco-tent. Not sure how else to describe it. This was a very small aid station, seemingly run mostly by high school students. I passed out my cowbells to much fanfare and in exchange E and I were offered up some grilled cheese sandwiches. We waited in the dark and cheered when we saw the bobbing headlamps in the distance. About a half hour after we arrived, I recognized the bob. It was Meghan and Chelle!

We ran over to greet them. Instantly both E and I knew Meghan was hurting. She was still smiling though! We walked her into the aid station and got her some potato soup and sat down together. Meghan explained the state of her quads to me. Ouch. I asked her how she liked the course and she said it was beautiful. "I always heard Cleveland was the butthole of the midwest, so I was surprised," she said. (I have never quite heard it that way. I think people are just jealous of how awesome it is here personally. See Chelle's description of our stripmalls and grocery stores. You're totally jealous! All of you!!) It was one of those moments I will never forget. Girl with headlamp on her head, with feet stretched out reclining in the middle of the woods in the middle of the night after running 89 consecutive miles giving my fair city such a compliment. Glorious!

After another cup of soup Meghan decided she was ready to go. Chelle decided she was ready to hand over pacing duties. But then the real leader of the aid station emerged to kabosh that plan. Apparently under the official rules written by God, Himself, pacers could only switch at official crew/pacer aid stations. Now mind you that these rules are to prevent mobs of people from descending on poor little parking lots like this one and at 1/2 past midnight this really wasn't an issue. We looked at the two cars in the parking lot and each other and then at him and then Chelle said she could handle one more afterall and with that our heroine and her trusty side-kick trotted off into the woods as we watched the bobbing headlamps slowly disappear.

E and I were all too happy to hightail it out of there lest we say something and get ourselves, or worse Meghan in trouble so we left pronto. We headed for the next aid station which was in a much more urban part of town. We pulled into the parking lot and found the crew, or what was left of it. Poor Meghan's mom had conked out. But Meghan's aunt and uncle (who Meghan says looks just like her dad, but I have to say when I first saw him I thought Meghan looked just like him so I can only conclude that Meghan is the spitting image of her dad!) were out and about and ready to do crew duties. I left my favorite giant polyester warm-ups and my sister's high school xc long-sleeve with E to keep her warm while she waited and then I left them all in favor of beginning my long drive home. And the whole way, peanut kept me awake with his high-fructose corn syrup and caffeine fueled kicks.

I made it home by 2:30 AM. I crawled into bed next to comatose mrp and didn't wake up until about 11:00 AM the next day. As soon as I woke up I checked the results and was so happy to see she made it. I knew those miles after I last saw her had to be her worst as it took her about 4.5 hours to go 11 miles! Poor thing. But after all of that, she did it. She came in 26th out of 89 people overall. She traveled by foot along 101.2 miles of this butthole of the midwest and she even has a medal to prove it.

To read a first hand account and to see more pictures of Meghan's crazy Cleveland adventure go here, here, here, here, and here!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Meghan's Crooked Trip to Cleveland: Part II

As I said in my last post, the start of the Burning River 100 starts 1.5 miles up the road. In fact, it starts at the park where I used to run almost every day and now am lucky to get to a couple of times a week. I was there just yesterday and as I descended down the big hill to the locally famous castle that marked the start of the race, I couldn't help but think of sweet Meghan anxiously awaiting the start of her grand adventure just one week and one day prior.

I knew my duties required me to stay up late. By that, I mean to at least midnight. Under normal circumstances that is pretty late for me, but being with-peanut it is ungodly late for me! When I'm tired I can't just plow through. I crash. So, I knew better than to start my day at 4:30 AM to catch the 5:00 AM start. But my dreamland mind was there! I swear! I did actually wake up before the sun came up. I patted my hand on mrp's side of the bed and realized he was not there. I went out to the living room to see if he slept on the couch for fear of waking me, but he wasn't there. I called him and he was still at the hospital with his dad, waiting with him until he had a room of his own. Isn't he the best? After I hung up, I thought about heading out the the start, but I looked at the clock and it was already 5:45! I missed it anyway. So, back to bed I went!

I slept late. Woke up and made a sleepy mrp and myself some eggs and toast. The one thing I crave is a breakfast with sunny side up eggs, crispy bacon, and buttery wheat toast. I always have liked sunny side up eggs, but the bacon thing is new for this recently recovered vegetarian. I wouldn't dream of eating bacon before. Sorry pigs.

I packed all my stuff: bug spray, sun screen, cow bells, blanket, sweat shirt, etc. I headed out to my mom's to borrow some folding chairs (she gave the old school basket weave lawn chairs! Sweet!) and a cooler. I picked those up and as I was leaving I got a call. E-speed called and handed me off immediately to someone else who started to describe the camp stove fuel I had to buy for the antique camp stove the aid station had. I like camping, but can't say I'm experienced at it at all. The gear is beyond my low-maintenance understanding. I offered to pick up a new camp stove. I only had 90 minutes to finish my errands, pick up Chelle and drive the 45 minutes to the aid station. My camping-gear-ignorant self MIGHT be able to find a camp stove in that time, but not some obscure camp fuel! I managed just fine. I stopped at the big box sporting goods store, made a quick stop at the grocery store where I bought hummus and baguettes, carrots, grapes, cantaloupe, bottles of water and gatorade and the tiniest little coke cans I have ever seen. I then swung by Meghan's hotel hq and got Chelle and we were off!

While Chelle dealt with an interesting housemate potential debacle, I tried to remember how to get to the aid station. Although I've run by it many many times I almost never drive to this particular spot. I was so stoked when I got there in the first try! Chelle and I approached the station and when E-speed gave us the most wonderful greeting in between running around doing everything for everybody and then we found Meghan's mom and the rest of her crew and unloaded and got settled.

While Chelle got ready for her loooooooong trip ahead I think I more or less just ran around trying to look busy! I handed off the cowbells to the runner checker inners and then I helped with the camp stove (which turned out to be perfect for what we needed. Phew!) I "helped" my friend Monica fill one runner's water bottle but I ended up spilling some powder instead!

And within about an hour and a half of our arrival, we heard the cowbell indicating Meghan was on her way! I bolted down the road and saw her coming in to mile 56 with a smile beaming from her face! This was a great sight after hearing from her crew that she wasn't in the best spirits just one stop ago. I jogged with her to the food and drink tent. That's the picture. (I look like I could eat her! Sure, maybe it's just a slightly unflattering photo, but seriously, all my tiny running friends are not helping me feel less of a lard these days. Yes, it's for a good cause. Peanut is and will be eating very well!)

It felt so good to be able to run with her even for just a minute. I took some photos of her with her crew as she shoved some food in her mouth and replaced some fluids and went back out on her way. After she left I spent some more time with the crew and Chelle rehashing the scene, speculating how she was feeling and how we thought the rest of the day would go. She looked great. She was ahead of pace, but that seemed just fine because the weather was much nicer than she had planned. And then the head volunteer coordinator showed up and suddenly I was in the military! She barked commands as I moved coolers and boxes and garbage and grass skirts and chairs to streamline our aid station and make it more inviting for the runners. I actually enjoyed that part. It made me feel like I was contributing!

And soon it was getting close to the time Meghan should arrive back at the aid station at the 60 mile point of the course. I jogged up the road a ways with my camera to wait. Within just a few minutes I saw her way up on the ridge within the tall grass trotting along and getting closer and closer to another runner in front of her. I gave her a "Woohoo! Lookin' Great!" and she responded with a "Hey girl!" More smiling. Meghan's a freak!! She made her way meandering along the trail until she came out near the road where I was waiting. The first thing she said to me was, "Are you having fun?" I couldn't help but laugh. Here's this woman who has just run 60 miles in the heat of the day asking if I'm having fun! I jogged along side her again, but then told her I was going to run up ahead to let her crew know she was coming. She says makes it seem like I was out there racing her! She's just trying to make me feel better for being a big slow pregnant lady, I know. (I'm on to you, Meghan!!!)

Once Meghan made it to her crew, there was some interesting stuff that took place. The foot bag came out. And then the needles came out of that and Meghan proceeded to pop the blisters under her toenails. Now, I have found sweet relief from this age old trick myself, but never mid-run! Maybe the night after or something! Then the ice bags came out for her quads which were just starting to feel the miles of pavement interspersed with the mercifully soft trails.

Meghan stuffed more food in her mouth, changed shoes, and reloaded for her next few miles. Meanwhile, Chelle body-glided herself up and got herself ready for the miles ahead. And then the pair were off, not to be seen by me for 29 miles.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Meghan's Crooked Trip to Cleveland: Part I

Blog worlds collided in a little Italian restaurant in suburban Cleveland last Friday night. As I sat at a table with mrp in the crowded restaurant, I looked up and saw E-Speed, Meghan, and Chelle on their way over along with Meghan's mom. That's right, us Cleveland gals (E-speed and me) had the privilege of hosting our Wyoming and St. Louis by way of New York City blog buddies. Ok. How did this all come to pass?

If you're a fan of Meghan's blog you would know that she was training for a 100 miler. And not just any hundred miler, but the Burning River 100 miler that starts 1.5 miles from my doorstep! You better believe I wouldn't let my blog buddy come that close without some sort of fanfare!

Ok, but what about Chelle? What was she doing there? Didn't she just move to St. Louis like a few days ago? Sure. She moved, but why would that stop her from getting on a plane moments after dropping her stuff off in the middle of Missouri to fly back east to run 30 miles with a woman she never actually met in person? Wouldn't you?

Where were we? That's right. I stood up to greet my friends: one who I see several times a week, one who I've met once before, and one who I've never met in my life. And immediately mrp had to leave to tend to his father who was rushed back to the hospital moments beforehand. He's fine, thankfully! But, the four of us bloggers plus Meghan's mom soldiered on and we plotted and planned how we were going to ensure Meghan wound her way along the crooked formerly burning river to the finish line of the 101.2 mile race. We were like Meghan's 4, each with a specific job to do. Mom was the leader of Meghan's official crew. Chelle was the primary pacer. E-Speed was the secondary pacer.

My job was a bit less defined. Under normal circumstances you better believe I'd pace her for as many miles as I possibly could. I'd tell Meghan stories. I'd tell her bad jokes. I'd sing her songs. I'd do cartwheels on the trail in the dark. I'd do whatever it took to make her dream come true. I know how hard she has worked and how much it means to her. I know what that's like, even though my dreams don't consist of running all day and all night! I could only wish I were that bold! (was that grammatically correct?) So, sadly I could not pace her in the dark on single-track trails in the middle of the night while almost 6 months pregnant. But I do happen to be friends with the most enthusiastic runner in North America, E-speed, who despite already committing to run one of the biggest and most critical aid stations on the course agreed whole-heartedly to pace Meghan anytime, anywhere she needed her. This without meeting her, having ever read her blog, and just based on my one sentence fragment description of her: my blog friend from Wyoming. However, the only way she could ensure her availability was to have a back-up aid station captain in case she had to high tail it out of there before the aid station was shut down. That's where I come in. That I can do! Without hesitation I was in!