Pine Mountain 40 (12-8-13) … A First Time for Everything…

Pine Mountain 40 Mile

 So I came back from the TransRockies super geared up about running crazy races.  I was totally obsessed and wanted to find a 50 miler to do STAT.  However, I really couldn’t find one that was convenient (i.e., driving distance) and right away (because I must do everything immediately!).  Mostly because most people don’t want to run 50 miles in the August heat in the South.  There were plenty to be had in the fall and winter, but I was impatient and didn’t want to wait. (cue Paula Cole in the background…”I don’t wanna wait…” – on a side note, I went to see Paula Cole once in high school.  She played at the local water park.  She was a lovely singer, but didn’t shave her pits which kind of sullied the show.  Totally random… OK back to running…)

Screenshot 2014-01-19 18.37.30 And then I just didn’t end up signing up for anything at all.  But then my friend Alex talked me into signing up for the Pine Mountain 40.  I had always thought I would do it one day because 1) It’s put on by GUTS and GUTS is awesome!; 2) It’s close to home; and 3) 40 miles seems like a logical step before 50 miles, right???

OK so running 40 miles or 50 miles is not logical at all. I know. I know.

OK so running 40 miles or 50 miles is not logical at all. I know. I know.

However, I never signed up because I knew it was at FDR State Park and I knew that trail was pretty technical.  And in December, a rainy December, it was totally covered in wet leaves.  So rocks and roots hidden by slippery leaves.  That just seemed like it would be miserable to traipse about for 40 miles of slippery leaves which lay upon rocks and roots galore….particularly with clumsiness…

So anyways…yeah, when Alex said he was doing it, for some reason I decided I would do it too.  I never did find that suitable 50 miler and was itching to do something crazy – so this should be plenty crazy, right?

We haven't even reached my underground garage of crazy yet...trust me!

We haven’t even reached my underground garage of crazy yet…trust me!

Leading up to the race, I didn’t quite get to train as I had planned… or much at all.  I ran the Darkside 50k in Peachtree City on November 10, 2013 – I was supposed to run Rock ‘n Roll Savannah, but we had so much going on at work…it was just bad timing to trek down there.  Darkside was run on pavement, and I ran it pretty quickly.  Afterwards work continued to be crazy.  We had so many mediations and depositions and other madness.  There was just no time.  So I did no running the next week.  Then in the next couple weeks I ran maybe three times.  I lifted here and there.  But surely no sort of 40 mile training.

Darkside was fun and had cookies!  Yay!

Darkside was fun and had cookies! Yay!

I checked in with Alex the week before the race.  Turns out post NYC Marathon he had taken on a similar training – or should I say non-training – schedule as me post Darkside.  He bailed.

Some other friends – Deborah and Brennan decided to sign up last minute, so I was still assured of some company.  I’m typically a loner when it comes to running, but 40 miles with no headphones is  a long way alone!  And you know what they say – misery loves company!

Screenshot 2014-01-19 21.11.23

The race was on Sunday.  The whole week I wrestled with whether to run or not.  I had to cancel the hotel by Friday so the decision had to be made by then.  The weather report looked crappy – rain…but 40s/50s.  So doable.  Debate some more, debate some more.

Friday came and I sat on the bed expressing my internal torment to my husband.  I told him, I didn’t train properly, it was going to rain, the whole thing was a bad idea and I thought I would just back out.  And, in true Pooky fashion, he looked at me and said, “Why wouldn’t you run it?  It’s only 40 miles.  You’ll do just fine.  You should definitely do it.”  So I decided I’d suck it up and do it.

Screenshot 2014-01-19 21.13.41

Later, when I said, “But what if I hurt myself and then I can’t run for a while…” And his face went white and panic set about. I could see him remembering a time when I hurt my back and didn’t run for months.  A time when I was a cranky, horrible monster.  Then he panicked.  And you could tell he regretted giving me his usual motivational speech…but it was too late.

Nuff said.

Nuff said.

Saturday came and I packed up my crap.  We headed down to Pine Mountain in the afternoon.  Stopped in the cute little downtown and discovered a cupcake shop that was simply amazing.  Best cupcakes I’ve bought from a bakery in a very long time.  Soft and wonderfully delicious.  If you’re down there, get you some.  You’ll thank me.  So we bought what she had left in cupcakes and cookies (it was closing time) and meandered on.  We went to Lodge and checked in.  They had a big Christmas lights display at Calloway Gardens (and I LOVE Christmas lights) but the only time left to see it was at 9-10pm.  I hemmed and hawed whether we should go or I should rest.  Finally I pissed around so much that it was sold out.  Problem solved.

Pooky got me some great pre-race goodies too!  My phone died so I didn't get any pics of the awesome sweet treats though.

Pooky got me some great pre-race goodies too! My phone died so I didn’t get any pics of the awesome sweet treats though.

We indulged in lots of free apple cider and cookies at the hotel.  The hotel was super nice, and I wish we had time to explore and hang out.  Dinner time came and we both decided we were exhausted and didn’t want to go out…I did my usual thorough googling of the area’s offered cuisine.  We found a pizza shop that got good enough reviews and ordered a feast of pizza and potato wedges.  Then I gorged on pizza, potatoes, cupcakes and cookies.  Suffice it to say that I was OVER carb loaded.

I tried to sleep but I was SO restless (…could it be the carbs…).  I thought about bringing some Benadryl, but  didn’t.  I had a headache and just didn’t feel good.  And the front desk had no sort of Tylenol, Advil or anything else.  Sigh.  And I basically didn’t sleep the whole night.  Come about 4AM I finally fell asleep for about an hour.  After that, I just gave up and got up.  I looked out the window.  Looked cold and rainy.  I decided to bail.  But I couldn’t.  It was too late. I could see everyone else Facebooking about getting ready.  It was go time.

I layered up, lubed up, and choked down some Purely Elizabeth granola with almond milk  and a banana.  I woke up the husband to give me a ride, and we were off into the misty, rainy darkness.  He dropped me off near the front since of course I was late…A quick trip to the bathroom was of course the priority.  And there was no line!  Woo hoo!

Obligatory pre-race hotel picture.

Obligatory pre-race hotel picture.

It was actually not that bad when I got out there.  Much warmer than expected and only lightly misting.  I saw Brennan and Deborah and Matthew and started to get excited.

We climbed the steps up to the road and I looked around for friends. I found Deborah and yelled and yelled for Brennan, but couldn’t find him…but low and behold Pooky suddenly popped up out of nowhere, and that was a very welcome site before take off!

It was pretty dark!

It was pretty dark!

start4

Off into the darkness we want, headlamps a bobbing.  Into the woods and winding around the trail in the darkness was pretty awesome.  I tried to stay with Deborah and company but ended up alone for a bit.  I just super duper focused and tried not to trip in the dark.  However the sun came up quickly, and I got warmed up fast.  Shed some layers and just kept on keeping on.  I was really tired due to lack of sleep, but overall felt pretty good.

Deborah on the move!

Deborah on the move!

Not too far in, Brennan caught up to us, and we kept trucking on together.  We chit chatted about everything and the time passed pretty quick.  We kept a pretty leisurely pace (which would bite us in the ass later) and enjoyed the trail.

The aid stations were well stocked and full of awesome volunteers who were always a welcome site.  Early on I got an extreme craving for nachos.  When I expressed this at an aid station, one volunteer reached into her purse and pulled out some gluten free tortilla chips and gave them to me!  So sweet!

Nom nom nom

Nom nom nom

Brennan and I had a great “coach” and cheering squad….an older gentleman that Brennan knew.  He was at each aid station and would tell us how on or off pace we were and offer encouragement.  Not to mention Snickers.  Yes he gave me a Snickers mid race 😉

Aid station still smiling ;)

Aid station still smiling 😉

I texted Pooky every now and again with my whereabouts.  He told me he would see me at Mile 22, at the TV Tower.  I texted him that I had a couple more hours – meaning a couple more hours to Mile 22.  However, next time I had a text from Pooky it read “until you finish?  Awesome, you’re doing great” lol.  Talk about an overconfident husband.  If only…

At some point it started raining pretty hard.  It was super slippery with all the leaves and there were lots of rocks and roots to keep us on our toes.  Somehow I did manage not to fall.  Amazing!

However, in our chit chat, Brennan noticed I had decided to wear my wedding band.  He was like, um, you better watch because your fingers will swell. I said, “nah, its fine.  I wear it all the time on long runs.”  Then I went to wiggle it to show him.  At this point I noticed my fingers were WAY swelled and the ring was VERY stuck.  We  tugged and tugged and I freaked out.  Eventually we got it off.  Aaaah that felt so much better.  Thanks for the wisdom running buddy.

Brennan - all smiles!

Brennan – all smiles!

Brennan and I pushed on.  When we got to Rocky Point which was like 17 miles in we realized we were meandering pretty slow and may not make the 6 hour cut off at Mile 22.  Eeeeeek!  I’ve never run this race before; I’ve never run 40 miles before; and I’ve never been so close to a cut off before.  Never!  So naturally, I started to freak out.  And then I told myself, there’s only one way to fix this….so I put my head down and pushed on.

Me and Brennan chugging it into Mile 22 cutoff!

Me and Brennan chugging it into Mile 22 cutoff!

I got to TV Tower, Mile 22, with minutes to spare.  They tried to feed me, and I wasn’t  feeling anything.  But then someone offered me a grilled cheese sandwich. I haven’t eaten a grilled cheese in eons.  Eons.  And this was on regular old white bread with regular old fake orange cheese.  For some reason it sounded good.  It was promised to be hot and salty.  And omg it was.  This grilled cheese sandwich was the most amazing thing I had ever eaten.  It was magical.  It was spiritual.  This grilled cheese sandwich was a religious experience.  And it was all I could think about for the next 10 or more miles.

Yay for the awesome aid stations!

Yay for the awesome aid stations! I guess this is the only pose I have.

At this point my only goal was to make it to mile 28.5.  That was when the sweepers were unleashed.  I knew Jason Rogers was sweeping, and I felt comfort in knowing that I could run with someone I knew.  I figured I could just keep telling myself that I just had to stay one foot in front of him, and I’d be ok.

Beautiful day to be in the woods!

Beautiful day to be in the woods!

I got to 28.5 aid station and Pooky was there!  Yay!  I was so happy to see a familiar face.  By this time I had lost Brennan (he had to drop out) and Deborah (little did I know she was right behind me).  However, Pooky was in full blown “Dance Mom” mode.  He was dead set on helping me finish.  When I got to the aid station my pack was finally empty and I needed to refill with water…which is an ordeal – getting it off, getting it open, filling it, etc… And Pooky was admonishing me, to hurry, that I didn’t have time…he kept me moving and he meant business!

Jason was there, preparing to sweep with a few others.  He told me that I had some time… so off I went!  I just kept thinking they were one step behind me and so I high tailed it best I could…

Trying to get my supplies as fast as fast can be!

Trying to get my supplies as fast as fast can be!

The aid stations were every three miles after this.  I was a little woozy and mostly just pissed at myself that I was going so slow and barely staying ahead of the cut off.  The race cut off was 10.5 hours.  And it looked like I wasn’t going to make it.  I have to admit, I thought I’d run the race in 8.5 or 9 or maybe even 9.5 hrs.  But 10.5, or not finishing, that never even crossed my mind…until now.  I spent a good 10 miles or so of the race, at various points, yelling at myself and scolding myself.  I don’t know why I trucked it so slow.  I was super tired, but my body felt fine.  I think I was just being overly cautious on the rocks and leaves and roots and such.  I guess.  Who knows.  I guess there is a first time for everything and this was my first time to be barely barely making it…and I sure didn’t like it.

Pooky met me at every aid station until the end.  Poor thing.  It was cold and rainy.  And it had to be so boring.  But he met me with great “Dance Mom” zeal at each spot.  Yelling at me and not letting me slack.  If this were a pageant of some sort, he would’ve been ready with the vaseline for my teeth, hairspray for my undo and lipstick for the touch up at each stop.

When I saw him at the Buzzard’s Roost road crossing (about 2 miles from the finish) …at this point I knew I was going to make it.  I passed two guys taking a picture with one of their wives (or sisters?) and kids.  It was so cute.  I started to get emotional thinking about the long day and the fact that I had done something that seemed kind of impossible earlier.

Almost there!

Almost there!

I rounded the corner and could hear the camp.  I knew I was getting close.  I looked at my watch.  It looked like I wasn’t going to make it under 10.5 hrs.  They were still letting people finish for some time afterwards, but I made a promise to myself that I would not accept one of the coveted fleeces unless I crossed the line in 10.5 hrs or under (not to say there is anything wrong with doing so – a finish is a finish – but I had already worked this out with myself and a promise is a promise).

photo 1

I could hear the camp for sometime.  Eventually I could faintly see it.  It was almost dark by now.  I sped up and ran in as fast as I could.  I spotted the clock in the distance.  10:27 !!!!  I made it in under the wire.  Pooky was there cheering me through.  Lots of people were there cheering me through.  I really have to hand it to all the volunteers and fast runners who stuck around for us slow pokes (to put it in perspective, the winning woman ran it in 6.5 hrs… FOUR hours faster than me!!!!).  I loved it!!!  And totally totally appreciated it! I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again.  Trail runners rock.  Supporters of trail runners rock.  They are just good people.

photo 3

Victory is mine!

It was SUCH a good feeling when I crossed that line.  Indescribable.

meandp40

I headed inside and went to get my fleece.  Molly was handing them out, and I had met her at the Six Hours of Dauset Trail race.  She came in second behind me (not even sweating or tired) and then went out for an “extra” cool down loop of six miles afterwards.  But then again, she runs 100 milers.  What can I say, she’s a beast.

They were out of size small, but were sweet enough to order more and have it shipped right to me!  More awesomeness!

I changed my clothes and got my chocolate almond milk.  I went outside and saw that Deborah had finished too.  Yay!!!!  Was so glad to see her smiling face come through.

Deborah and MDD

Deborah and MDD.  MDD is a beast.  She finished, had time to take a nap, then see me and Deborah finish lol.

We chit chatted with a few people, I changed (OMG it felt good to get out of those cold wet clothes) and then we were on our way.

It was an epic, awesome day.  First, it was a humbling experience.  This was my first time at this race and at this distance, and I almost didn’t make it to either the starting line or the finish line.  However, I’m so lucky to have such an awesome supportive husband…and friends and family…who encourage me to do these crazy things I love to do.  Every time I want to give up on myself before I’ve even started, Pooky won’t let me.  And each time I run one of these crazy races, it reminds me how awesome and amazing my husband, friends and family are….and how ridiculously lucky I am to have them in this unreal life of mine.  What I learned is, that while it was disappointing at the time to be barely making the cut-offs, what would have been most disappointing was if I hadn’t even gone out there and tried today.  If I had quit before I even toed the line.  Luckily, my friends and hubby won’t let me get away with that 😉 You never know if you don’t try…so if I have anything to tell you from this – it’s go out and try!!!  A slow finish or a DNF (*did not finish) is way better than a DNS (*did not start) in my book!

We headed home and I racked my brain for what I wanted as a celebratory meal. Exhausted and worn out, we decided to eat in the house.  No sleep, 40 miles, 10.5 hrs by foot and 1.5 hrs by car later, I cooked us dinner.  Mac n cheese from a box and crossiants from a tube… with a can of green beans for good, healthy measure 😉

It was an amazing fake food meal, and I loved every artificial morsel.  Promptly thereafter, I fell dead asleep.  And what a glorious sleep it was.  Time to dream about the next crazy adventure to conquer….

Happy Trails until next time guys 😉

Six Hours of Dauset Trails (9-14-13)

6 Hours of Dauset Trails

So in the mountain bike world, timed races are popular.  Six hours, eight hours, twelve hours, whatever.  Same goes in the ultra running world.  There have been plenty this summer in Georgia – Hot to Trot, Merrils Mile etc. I missed both due to TransRockies trainging and them just not fitting in the plan.  The deal with these are that you run a loop – usually about a mile – as many times as you can in the prescribed period of time.  So really more of a mental challenge than anything else as you’ll be going round and round and round the same piece of dirt for hours.

True.

True.

Anyways, Mountain Goat Adventures decided to put on 6 Hours of Dauset Trails this year as an inaugural event.  In talking with my friend Elizabeth (she has a blog too – go read it!) this summer, who was training for the event as her first foray into the ultra or endurance running world, I was intrigued.  It was set up a bit differently.  It was almost a 6 mile loop that was run as many times as possible in 6 hours.  What sold me on the whole thing is that you could set up your own little “pit” stop at the start/finish area complete with your own supplies and snacks.  I don’t know why but I loved that idea…that and they were offering a free Mountain Goat Adventures mesh tote bag for the first so many to sign up… so a few weeks before the TransRockies, I decided to sign up.

When I got done with the TransRockies, immediately upon getting back, I was already spazzing about what was next.  Honestly I really really wanted to tackle a 50 miler, feeling that I had the mileage I needed in after training for and running the TransRockies and thinking that any course I picked out here would pale in comparison to what I had run in the Rockies.

Luckily I had this race on the schedule already to kind of quell my looming insanity and give me something to focus on. I trained a little with a really chill week following the TransRockies, and a twenty miler the next weekend, and then a down week, then it was race time again already!  Yay!

Figuring after this race I had some time off again, I signed up for a ten day yoga detox at the Kashi Ashram.  It was a cool thing they did seasonally where you do a lot of yoga and eat super duper clean for ten days – to kind of reset. And after the eating debacle that was the TransRockies and beyond…um, I needed it.  However, Day 1 fell on race day.  Hmmmm…this was going to be interesting. I decided I’d follow as closely as I could and actually did great considering.

Yeah this is definitely how it went down at the TransRockies.  Six days of running and eating to excess.

Yeah this is definitely how it went down at the TransRockies. Six days of running and eating to excess.

The night before I finished my pre-detox meeting at about 8.  Pooky & I proceeded to our favorite pizza dive Camelis and feasted like it was going out of style. Monster slices and French fries all around.  We went home, and I packed up for the race brining coconut water, some plan potatoes, and bananas. I brought some Huma gels and nuun too but didn’t really use too much.  Oh and salt pills.  Thank god for salt pills.

I was tasked with bringing a card table and chairs for Elizabeth and I to set our stuff up on.  However, I didn’t go to the storage unit to get said table and chairs until the night before the race at about 9:30pm.  I come to find its missing.  Hmmm.  Where did it possibly go?  The mystery remains unsolved so if you find my black card table, please let me know.  I felt so bad and quickly sent Elizabeth a message and luckily she had one to bring.  Sigh. Crisis averted.

The next day I made myself some oatmeal and fruit and decided to wear this super cute pink tie dye tank top that my cousin had just happened to mail me the day before.  Awesomeness.  Also despite the fact that we had a “pit stop” set up at the start/finish, I still wore my hydration vest.  It had still been pretty hot out, and I wanted to consistently hydrate.

I got to the race and set up with Elizabeth.  She really had nice dedicated friends and family, which was good, because it also made me appear to have friends and family since I was a squatter at their table.  Her friend Kimberly as well as her parents and little niece joined us.  Everyone sat up and we waited.

Look at our aid station!!!

Look at our aid station!!!

Kimberly was a great crew chief and the signs were awesome!

Kimberly was a great crew chief and the signs were awesome!

I ended up seeing trail running buddy Alex as well who also had a large entourage and really fancy set up.  I had no idea what I planned on doing with this race – it was either going to be a “just finish” day or a balls to the wall type day, but I hadn’t decided yet.  I started off with Alex and his friend who was a 100 miler and we chatted about her races and about the Rock Creek 50 miler and such.  I thought I would hang with them for a while, but I was feeling good and although this was a timed race and I should probably pace myself, I decided that I’d go with the usual Liz plan – use it or lose it.  So I said my goodbyes and told them I’d see them when they passed me later.  And I took off.  Well what qualifies as “taking off” for me.

2013-09-14 16.17.55

The race was at Dauset Trails in Jackson.  I run there every June for Xterra’s finale and always enjoy it.  However, this race was on a different set of trails there down by the lake.  It was really pretty – a little rocky and rooty but nothing major and nice rolling hills.  Or at least this is the way I remember it over a month later 😉

Pre-race jazz hands!

Pre-race jazz hands!

There was also a relay going on and there was really no way to tell who was doing what, so I wasn’t sure how well I was or wasn’t doing.  After a the first lap someone told me I was the first girl.  Hmmm…. Did I want to really try to race this?  I stopped at my table briefly and ate some banana and said hello to Elizabeth’s family and set back off.

Here I come!

Here I come!

Still felt good.  It was getting pretty hot though, and I kept trying to eat and drink as much as I could and take in salt pills.   At some point in the second lap I was joined by another girl who I decided was the one beating me and so I raced her.  Or at least in my head.  I don’t know if she knew I was racing her.  We stopped at the one aid station and I heard her tell them she was a broke college student.  I decided that it was ok if she beat me because I had to have about 12-15 years on her.  Oh that just sounds awful out loud.  But on I marched.

Lap three I was still feeling pretty good and making good time.  I’d managed to run each lap around an hour or slightly less or slightly more.  Another girl caught up to us and now I was racing both of them.  I didn’t really stop at my aid table except to gulp down bananas since I was still racing the girls in my mind.  Potatoes tasted awful for some reason so I stuck with bananas.

Screenshot 2013-10-27 16.14.17

I tripped on a root at the beginning of lap three and luckily that was my only fall.  It was hot and I could feel the salt on my skin.  I knew I was dehydrated and just kept chugging and tried to get in what I could.

Somewhere on loop 3 or 4 I was really truly racing these other two girls.  Like neck and neck.  I finally made my move and never saw them again.  I would come to find out later that one was running the relay.  Grumble.  She did thank me for pushing her and I thanked her back because honestly I probably would’ve slacked otherwise.

About a halfway in lap 4 I got a horrible horrible leg cramp. I haven’t had a leg cramp like that since my first marathon where I did not fuel properly at all.  It hurt like the bejesus.  It was insane. I thought, well this is it, I fought a good fight, but I’m going to have to phone it in at this point.  And I really thought I had a shot at winning.  Blasted.  I ate and chugged some extra salt pills and rubbed at it and walked as quick as I could.  Some ladies passed and asked if I was ok.  I told them I was fine just walking off a cramp and gimped on.  Sigh.

This was a ridiculously humid summer.  Ridiculously.

This was a ridiculously humid summer. Ridiculously.

After a few minutes, I told myself, well this is either going to be an uber painful and long walk in or an equally painful but shorter run in.  So I started gimping.  And I gimped a little faster.  And a little faster.  Until finally I was running again and at an ok speed.  It still hurt like heck, but I got back into stride.  By the end of the lap I had run it out or the salt pills had kicked in.  Thank goodness.

I went out for my fifth lap just feeling the toll of the day.  It was super hot and humid by then. I had run fairly fast for me for over four hours.  I was crampy.  But I was getting this thing done.  Yes I was.

So I went as fast as I could at this point, mostly to just get it over with.  When I got to the top of the hill towards the end, I looked at the little boy who sat there each lap and told him, “I have never been so happy to see you.”  He seemed to like that.  I barreled down the hill and into the finish area.

5 laps at 5:06.  They taunted me over the loud speaker – aren’t you going to go out for a sixth lap???  No way.  Not at this point.  I’m done.

Yay! I'm done!

Yay! I’m done!

A few minutes after I came in a girl wearing rec specs (yes rec specs like we wore in gym class in the 90s) finished and went out for another lap. I was kind of nervous she would beat me…but we saw her turn around and come back after like 20 minutes on the course.

Screenshot 2013-10-27 16.10.22

Alex’s 100 miler friend finished a few minutes after me and asked me if I wanted to do an extra lap as a cool down.  I told her thanks but no thanks.  Crazy ultra runners 😉

I went to our table and found that Elizabeth had decided she’d just do four laps as the heat and humidity had also gotten to her.  Me and Kimberly walked to the finish area and waited for her.  She put in an awesome race on a tough day in tough conditions.  Her first day out as an ultra runner or endurance runner or whatever you want to call it was a smashing success.  This was only her second trail race!  Madness.  She would go on to finish her first 50k just a few weeks later and rocked it.  Yay!

Elizabeth Triumphant!

Elizabeth Triumphant!

After more milling about I changed and looked at these iPads they had with the results (how neat!).  It appeared that I had won the women’s and came in 2nd over all with only one dude beating me!  I didn’t want to get too excited until it was official.

As I was milling about I met some nice ladies who were Swim Bike Mom fans and knew I was the Goat. That was fun and exciting.  Although I’m not a good blogger so I forgot to get a picture.

The awards came and I did win overall female.  Yay!  I was pretty pumped.  They give you this cool podium shirt showing a little Goat in 1st place to wear!  They gave me a small and then I debated about size eventually trading it in for a bigger one which worked out much better.

Second place is missing because she is off running more laps ;)

Second place is missing because she is off running more laps 😉

I headed home starving and at according to my detox rules despite just having run nearly 30 miles.  Beans, rice and sweet potatoes and greens plain.  Sigh. I did eat a ton of it though.

When the results were finally posted I did confirm that I was first female and second overall – only one dude beat me!  How sad for the dudes out there that day. But how cool for me!  Official time was 5:06 for 5 laps.  The laps were supposedly about 5.82 miles long, but there really was no consensus on it.  So not sure on distance, but I like to think close to 30 miles.  So that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

LOVE the shirt!

LOVE the shirt!

Hopefully I survive the detox!

Happy Trails!

A Crappy Run

OK so I don’t have much to say or post tonight, but this one warrants a post.

I joined Urban Active in Buckhead when it first opened.  It was close to my new office, and I thought it’d be convenient.  Plus one of my old spin teachers from concourse was teaching there, so off I went.  Oh yeah, and I signed a two year contract.

 Fast forward to June, 2012 when I quit my job.  Now I have no need to fight traffic to Buckhead to workout. Sigh.  But I’ve already paid for it, so might as well use it.

Well, I realized that in traffic, it takes me nearly 35-40 minutes to get to Buckhead.  However, on foot, running the six miles, it only takes me 45 minutes to an hour.  So I figured I’d get a few extra miles in on my way to the gym, and take the Marta home when I was done.  I got myself a little daypack, and there was no stopping me.  But that’s a whole other story for another day.

So I often run the six miles straight down Peachtree Street from my house to the gym.  Today, I did just that on my way to spin and Triple Fit.

Triple Fit with Alana! Hopefully not the last class! LA Fitness bought out Urban Active, and I’m hoping my favorite classes don’t go out the window!

I get to the corner where there is a Walgreens on one side and a big strip mall on the other.  On the side I’m on, with the Walgreens, I see a fellow runner girl running towards me mouthing something frantically.  I have my earphones on and am in the zone, so I don’t notice.  Finally I do, I take down the headphones and see that she is motioning towards the corner.  And there is an old woman on the corner.

Here’s the intersection!

Upon closer look, the old woman has her dress hiked up all the way.  And she is wearing absolutely nothing underneath.  Nothing.

To top it all off, she is clearly taking a dump, right there on the street corner in fancy old Buckhead.

The fellow runner girl just keeps freaking out telling me she can’t believe we’re seeing this.  I motion to her to come on, and we run past.  As I look down at the sidewalk, there is – no lie – a gallon zip lock of human feces right there as well!!!!

Fellow runner girl continues to follow me down the road shaking her head in disbelief and telling me how she can’t believe it.

It was totally crazy!  I guess I wasn’t so phased because I used to work downtown and have seen similar if not worse.  But in Buckhead, really?

I was kind of sad I didn’t take a picture for the blog, but I just couldn’t bring myself too.  The woman was clearly homeless, and I felt bad.

But…what a crazy run today, right?

Here’s to hoping you don’t have a crappy run today!

Mountain Goat ESQ.

I had never planned on going to law school. I graduated college and set about getting a job. Despite my stellar credentials and grade point average, I could find nothing. I ended up back in my parents house and took a job waitressing at a small Italian restaurant, deli and specialty store in my hometown – Angelina’s. As with everything in life, I gave 110% to that job. In no time, I was practically running the place when the owners weren’t around and was cooking after the cook left. I loved everyone I worked with and we had a great time. I learned to cook too. Life was good.

I always had fun at that job. See my puppet/oven mitt?

About a year and a half after graduation, I was still at Angelina’s and still in my parents’ house. My little cousin was graduating college and said she was going to law school. She told me to come. My parents were antsy for me to do something with my life, and I didn’t have much else going on – so I went for it.

Not only did I join my little cousin for law school, but I also got to crash her Jamaican spring break trip. Hey, I was too broke to go during my own college spring break and how else was she going to convince me to go to something as horrid as law school?!

The decision to go to law school was a last minute one, and I just went wherever would take me and wherever would throw me some scholarship money. Enter Ohio Northern University.

So I went to law school in an extremely small town in rural Ohio. We had to drive 20 minutes just to get to the WalMart or McDonalds. There were a lot of corn and soy bean crops and not much else. I didn’t know anyone and couldn’t afford to get my own place, buy all the furniture, etc as I was already student loaned up to the hilt and mooching off my parents as much as possible. So I opted for some new student furnished apartment housing on campus. I’ve always had good luck with roommates, so I let them pair me up.

Enter: Ms. Feliz – the Mexican Texan. I don’t know how or why the admissions counselor paired us up – but they did. As we entered law school, the Mex Tex was extremely enthusiastic. Me, well, I tended to be a Debbie Downer. She called me before school started, so we could coordinate on who was brining what. We both remember that first phone call. She remembers being full of excitement and having the most uninterested voice ever respond on the other end (hey, I hate the phone. Always have!). I remember an overly happy and overly excited person on the other end. We both thought – oh god.

Who knew we’d become BFFs. And who knew I would think that haircut and cleavage was a good look?

But as fate would have it, we would get along swimmingly. We both had been cooped up at our parents post graduation and both had a couple years out of college before law school. We were ready for a new college experience and proceeded straight to the drive through beer store.

The two best friends that anyone could have! OK so this was years after law school, but I love the picture.

One of the first night’s we went to the gym to play two on two basketball. We needed one more, and there he was, 130 pounds of hotness, little Pooky ESQ running shirtless around the gym. He played on my team, and we had a great time. We invited him to our house to enjoy your new purchases from the drive through beer store, but he scurried off. The next day he would see me out of my gym clothes and into a skirt, and thought that he had two girls after him. Sorry kid, all you had was me.

He was so tiny and cute. Who could resist.

I was suspicious of his small size, but he could put down an XL pizza from Padrones like no one else, so it was love at first bite.

He still loves his pizza.

Mex Tex and I also assembled an all star crew of friends, gathering together the four or five minorities on campus. The Jamaican Sensation was part of the original crew as well as Pooky ESQ. So we had Mexico, Jamaica, and India covered. Add in Red Joe (he had red hair) and Black Joe (you can figure this one out) and we were complete!

The rainbow connection including the Mex Tex, Pookie ESQ, the Jamaican Sensation and Red Joe!

Me and Mex Tex had so many great adventures together. Many involved fighting with boys in bars, mostly at the Reagle Beagle (that was really its name!), singing LaBamba at Karaoke every Tuesday, studying at sports bars for Saturday and Sunday Football fundays, and lots of late night pizza (what up Columbine!).

I’d like to say we brought the house down, but really we got booed each week by a douche in penny loafers.

In those days we could, and did, go out for late nights and I could even be known to enjoy some of Winemaker Jon’s homemade wine, then go out and run my usual route around the Green Monster. We interned for legal aid and the public defender and I figured I’d graduate and save the world. It was good to be young.

This was a fun night where Feliz and I gave Steven Jenkins a good talking to and lesson on the Mexican Revolution.

Fast forward nine years, and well, the legal profession has not turned out to be all I thought. I am yet to save the world, and I can barely keep down a glass of wine let alone go for a run after several.

So now I’m running from the traditional practice of law, and hopefully y’all will chase after me on my blog-venture from ESQ. to running blogger extraordinaire!

Look out for the wedding episode tomorrow!

Meet the Goat!

Apparently I eat, train and run like a mountain goat, earning myself the moniker “the Mountain Goat” on Swim Bike Mom’s famed blog.  However, as a resident of Midtown Atlanta I am often restricted to a more urban environment.  But whether the mountains are pavement or dirt, I keep on trucking.

This goat was an awkward youth, sporting big glasses, a crazy wardrobe, and a full blown mustache and unibrow, enduring taunts due to my “uniqueness.”  I misguidedly tried to fit in by trying out for cheerleader and other conventional things that “cool kids” did.  After much failure and disappointment, a girl who lived nearby encouraged me to join the cross country team and introduced me to an activity that would make high school bearable; teach me to be comfortable in my own skin; and would come to help me stay true to myself and strive through other tough times in life.

The Goat (Right) Circa 1998

 I’ve been running for over 17 years.  I was never a very good runner.  I was a little chubby and didn’t take it much seriously. I liked running, but not running very hard.  It was more about the fun people I met and all the guys on the high school team I could date.  Our girls cross country team hadn’t lost a meet in years, and everyone was very serious.  There was a lot of pressure, and that sort of atmosphere just didn’t work for me. I think it might have actually made me work less hard.  If I wasn’t very good, then I didn’t have to worry about anyone’s expectations.  They’d be kept low, and I’d fly under the radar.  Regardless, I made great friends running, and those friends taught me a lot about being different and being ok with that.  I didn’t have to be a cheerleader or rich kid to be cool. I could just be me.  Despite being a bit pudgy and a just plain awful runner, I found solace on the trails and was embraced by my teammates learning just how awesome runners are and just how life changing a great run can be.

I’ve kept running throughout my life. I ran on my college’s small D3 cross country team.  But it got in the way of beer drinking, and was time consuming, so I quit after a couple years.  I ran on and off through college, law school, and after, but didn’t race.

About five years ago, I really started to get back into not just running, but racing. My brother-in-law had started med school and was dating a girl who also liked to run.  We committed to run a half marathon together.  They broke up, and I panicked that I had lost my race partner.  But she ran it with me anyways.  We got the bug after that, and still race together to this day.

Me and JT survive Battle the 10 miler. JT skinned her knees, and I peed my pants. All and all, a good time had by all.
Ga Xterra Battle at Big creek, 11/2009

In that first half marathon, I was ill prepared, out of shape and carrying ten extra pounds.  Thus, the goal was simple – just finish.  As I crossed the finish line at that race, although I hadn’t won, or placed, or even run a respectable time, I was elated.  I had an indescribable feeling.  I felt proud and accomplished and like – hey, if I can do this, then what can’t I do?

Slow and Steady does not win the race, but it will finish it! Shout out to JT for getting me out there and across the line! Zooma 2008

 As I signed up for additional races, the goal was always the same – just finish.  A funny thing stated happening after I started racing again in adulthood.  Every now and then, I would place or win my age group, or run a time that totally surprised me!  Once I got the bug, I just couldn’t stop!  And so on I will keep going!

Pooky has even joined me for a few races! The bug has spread!
Peachtree Road Race 2010

What’s up next?  Lots of little races, then the big one – the TransRockies in August 2013!  And lots of crazy adventures on the way!

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