Danger: Bowling may cause tight ham strings. Wait. What?

No. Seriously.

Yesterday we went bowling. (My team from my office. Yes, my job is that cool.) We bowled two games, some people just bowled one. My wrist is mildly stiff. My ham strings though. Wow. Super tight. They've been tight ever since I took this really long run.... But one of my colleagues, who did not just run a marathon, had similar symptoms so we decided to blame bowling.

I got a 98 in my second game, which was the high score of the day. I got 3 strikes that game. I'm considering the first game I bowled to be a warm up. Although both times my score was higher than my age.

I'm starting to miss running, feeling like it's time to get back out there. I ran once this week, worked out once and took an hour walk. And now it's raining. So I'm thinking about waking up early and working out at the Y again. I haven't been able to get to the Y much this week because I've been taking my mentee to the bus stop. That situation just highlights the ridiculousness of several systems she has to deal with, not the least of which is that no one except the principal can change her school bus stop and the principal is apparently never there.

I also made my Thanksgiving (my favorite holiday) plans. Next step: getting the days off work. Ever since I got done with the marathon, I've been getting super excited for Thanksgiving.


I think I have a sinus infection

I think I have a sinus infection. Although it's not totally clear. Last night a sinus headache gave me the worst migraine I've had in a long time. The migraine is mostly gone (oh crap, I just realized I forgot to feed my fish), now I just don't want to eat.

(My first thought when I started typing was "I wonder if this will show up on Facebook now, damn news feed")

Life after the marathon is going ok so far. My first instinct was to pick a new marathon to train for. Although my brain tells me I should take a lot of time off. A lot of you will be screaming "Liz, you're young, train, have fun". I think you're partly right. But I'm young, my knees have to last a lot longer than you old geezers you more experienced runners. Really I watched someone my parents age run her whole life and then not be able to run anymore because of arthritis. And if I had to pick between running a marathon every year for the next ten years or never running a marathon again but still running 5ks when I'm 80, I'll take the running with the senior citizens option.

I'm starting to get excited for Thanksgiving too. (Speaking of running) because I always take an awesome long run to justify the insane helping of sweet potatoes that follow. Mmm, sweet potatoes.

BTW, at work, I sent someone home sick last Wednesday (the day I flew to Amsterdam) 'cause I was afraid she was going to give her crap to me before I ran. Good thing I did because she was H1N1 positive. I just saw her today. She looks much better, glad to see it.


One more post from Amsterdam

I got an hilarious email from my parents the other day. Basically the son of a family friend is also (somewhat accidentally) living in Amsterdam and I should email him.

Sometimes (rarely) I just do what I'm told. I haven't seen this person, we figured, since I was five years old. But I emailed him anyway. We actually just went out tonight. I had a really nice time. The two of us went to a really chill restaurant near the hotel (which it turns out is about a five minute walk from his house) and hung out. I had a really good time.

I think the rest of the crew is out at a steak house (which makes sense with three vegetarians in the group). Although by now they're probably out at a bar or, um, coffee shop enjoying themselves. I've learned that I can't consume too much alcohol after a race either, so I'm fine hanging out with a few stragglers in the hotel.

I had this dream a few nights before the marathon that I ran the marathon and finished and then couldn't remember the run. That's not totally how I feel now, although it does feel like it was a lot shorter than five and a half hours. As a whole. Some parts of the race feel like they took a lot longer than that.

And I still can't think about running. I'm taking a break. Maybe I'll start swimming again or something. Just kidding. But taking a week off does still feel like the right thing to do.


More on the marathon

I have no idea what I've said already.  Here's kind of a breakdown of the race:

0-7.5K: The "first loop" was a nice little jog through the city center and through one of the parks.  It was around 3 or 4k that a power walker passed me.  No joke.  My roommate told me powerwalkers can walk 8 minute miles so I didn't feel so bad.

7.5k - 16k: Took me down to the shores of the Amstel River.  I could see everyone running on the other bank for a looooong time.  It also had some bizarre loop in it, probably only to add distance.  It just made the water stop farther away.

16k-21k:  Probably the prettiest part of the course, which is really saying something.  The Windmill was right before the water stop.  There were sheep and cows and geese.  I couldn't believe there was so much pasture land so close to the city.  And, I took 10:00 off my former half marathon time.  WIN.

21k-25k: I just tried to keep it together for this part.  I thought I was going through a park but it was more like an industrial park.  I was getting lonely and tired.  

25K-30K: It was around 27 or 28k that I started throwing in short walks.  It was much later in the race than I thought I'd walk.  This was also the point where my back started to really hurt.  It was a little bit of stretching and a little bit of some other issues.  I took my second dose of ibuprofen somewhere around 25k though, so I knew I'd be better.

30k-35k:  I saw the happiest clock I've ever seen in my life.  Becuase it was around this point that I figured out I could almost walk the rest of the way and still finish.  I started walking a little more, but I was still running a lot.  It was somewhere in here that Eminem's "Loose Yourself" because a big part of my strategy.  Also it was about here that the half-marathoners tried their darndest to run me over.  The half marathon started about 3 hours after the full started.  I was happy for the company at the end of the race, despite the risk to my physical safety.

35k-40k: Where is the freaking water?  Nope, the water stops are still every 5k, even though it's the end of the race.  Mercifully the rain started about here so I could cool off a little.  I was walking more frequently by this part of the race, but received much more encouragement from the half marathoners than the fasties who tried to harm me earlier.  

40k-42k: Lots and lots of walking.  By this point, I knew I was going to finish.  I must have awesome shoes because despite the blister the size of a strawberry my feet did not hurt.  Lots and lots of encouragement from other runners.  And then, I saw the stadium, took one last walk and absolutely goosed it to the finish line.

Other thoughts:
Last night at our pasta dinner, Ryan told us some story about being a Bolder Options mentor and remembering the kids when we ran.  So it was awesome when "Man in the Mirror" came on near the end of the race and I totally did think about the kids.  I was a mentor for those of you who didn't know.

I sort of knew ahead of time that this was going to be a really fun day and that I was going to finish.  It's the closest to absolute faith I've ever been.  Nice.

I just got distracted by people asking me to go drink and dance so I'll have to finish this later...

Liz trains for a marathon: Liz Runs a marathon

Today was the day.  My arms are so sore I'm not sure for how much longer I'll be able to type.  The marathon was an absolute blast.  I thought if there was a 5:15:00 pace group, that's who I would have run with.  Turns out, in Europe, no one runs that slow.  So I was pretty lonely in the back of the marathon.  
Luckily, about the time I was really starting to get bored/anxious/tired the half marathoners started running by so I had some company again.  
I'd love to tell you more, but I've run for five hours and only eaten a bannana, two small (read halloween size) sour patch kids and a granolla bar, plus a roll, cheese and some granolla and yogurt for breakfast.  I've been notified that food is now ready, so I'm going to chown down.
More later.


Look before you sit: A follow up

Ok, after this morning's run and the accompanying discussion, I wanted to give an update. Plus, I'm sitting here having my heart broken by the Minnesota Twins (I knew they were going to loose the series, but I was hoping for a win at home first) and I have the biggest blister ever in life on my foot (It's ok, I think I just need to re-lace my shoes, plus I have Heather's awesome body glide plan.) so I needed something to cheer me up.

I got curious about this whole "rat swimming up into the toilet" thing because I'd never heard anything like it. A quick google search took me straightdope.com. That article really posed more questions than it answered. Most importantly: What do you do when you find a rat in your toilet?

So I headed over to asktheexterminator.com, a site which should only be referenced for horror movies. Why? Who wants to know this:

[FTA:]Rats are good underwater swimmers. (They can swim one-half mile in open water and can tread water for up to three days.) It's totally possible for a rat to walk up a horizontal soil pipe from the sewer, swim through the water-filled piping inside the toilet, and surface in the toilet bowl.

Three days?

I also learned this has been a phenomena in places outside Minnesota like Arizona and my home state of Ohio (poopreport.com, hee hee). So apparently I was wrong about thinking this rat issue was regional. (Black widows are still scarier.)

The Twins still haven't finished breaking my heart yet (bottom of the 9th, now 4-1 Yankees, 1 out), oooh hey, why is that person running across the field? And why are they showing replays instead of showing me what's happening? It's not like he's naked.

To stave off the heart break, if only for a moment, I'll just add:
Bonus WIN to straightdope.com for taking a dipsh!t caver spelunker (no way was that guy a caver) to task on accurately portraying the likelihood of getting rabies from bats and for telling me about Merlin Tuttle's new job. I thought he was still in Texas. FTA:
As for bats--well, let me tell you, buddy, they don't take kindly to being libeled by disreputable rat lovers such as yourself. Bat biologist Edward Stashko of Oakton College, Des Plaines, Illinois, estimates that less than one-half of 1 percent of bats are rabid. He says many common misconceptions about bats, such as that they can carry rabies and infect humans without themselves being affected by the disease, grew out of faulty scientific research from the 30s, no doubt conducted at the behest of the rat lobby.

According to a 1982 report in National Wildlife, only ten people in the U.S. and Canada have contracted rabies from bats in more than 30 years. Exclaims Dr. Stashko: "More people have died from lawn mowers than from bats. Statistically you have a better chance of being hit by lightning than being bitten by a rabid bat."

Liz Trains for a Marathon: Liz learns about regional differences...

The runners of St. Paul took me out for a short (ha) little run this morning, only 7.5 miles or so. We did my new favorite route around Ft. Snelling. (I am so sick of looking at those lakes...)

On the way back, after the big run up the hill where Beth smoked everyone, we were talking about something that is apparently an issue in Minnesota. I didn't hear the whole conversation because I was gasping for air by that point. But the salient point seemed to be that several of their friends (or perhaps you yourselves) have had an issue with sewer rats crawling backwards up into toilets. One of the runners admitted that her fear was *ahem* being surprised by a rat in the toilet. (How can you not know there's a rat in your toilet before sitting down?)

It just goes to show, where I grew up, everyone's biggest fear is being similarly surprised. By a Black Widow. Or a Brown Recluse. In the outhouse. It's apparently quite easy to miss these little guys in the outhouse and we've all got our own little routines for checking. So, while I live in Minnesota and it's going to snow for the second time in October tonight, at least the creatures that could surprise me will be easier to spot.

The St. Paul runners may never tell a funny story in front of me again....


Liz Trains for a Marathon: Liz finds the prettiest spot in the city

I have started the glorious taper of marathon training. But that means running like 10 or 12 miles instead of 18 or 20. Due to a change in my schedule at work, this is one of the last Wednesday mornings I'll have free for a long run so the taper couldn't come at a better time.

Being finished with that 20-mile run, the taper, and the construction on Minnehaha Parkway at 35W (I've only mentioned it a few times...) is also awesome because it means I don't have to look at the lakes anymore. Don't get me wrong, I think they're gorgeous. We all know how I feel about Lake Calhoun and Lake Harriet at sunrise. But I'm sick of seeing them.

This morning I took the Minnehaha Falls, Fort Snelling-ish path that Beth taught me a while ago. There were very few runners out this morning. I assume all the runners are still too tired from the marathon to move. There were some deer and I did hear woodpeckers as well. I looked for Eagles but the path was too well covered for me to see any. The path down to Ft Snelling is a gorgeous, 1.5 mile delicate slope leading down to the river until about fifty feet before the fort. At that point, there is a truly nasty hill. I've never successfully run up the thing, but today I came as close as anyone I know. I only walked about 30 feet of it.

Usually by the fort we cross into St Paul and run up the river parkway but I didn't want to go that far today so I stayed on the Minneapolis side and ran by the Fort. Where I found an amazing view of the river, the bridges and downtown Minneapolis. Ft Snelling is actually at a decent elevation (just based on my view) so the vista is quite impressive. It's even prettier with the leaves starting to turn.

A few other things I noticed on my run:
1. Some of the individual packages of sour patch kids have fewer kids than the others. Bummer when you're running hungry.
2. It's amazing how a surface that should be flat always appears to look like I'm running up a hill. Is there some sort of scientific optical-illusion explanation for this phenomenon?
3. When did 11.5 miles get so short?
4. When did 11.5 miles get so fun?
5. When did I learn to run up hills?
6. In the summer, the only thing that would make me happy at the end of a run is an ice bath. At any other time, I'm usually freezing the second I stop running and the only thing that will make me happy is a hot shower. It's the only thing that restores my body temperature to normal.

I don't think I'm really a hill climber yet. I made the mistake of voicing the opinion that it would be fun to run the Flying Pig, Cincinnati's marathon. I grew up there and a couple people I run with have family living there or from there. It's not such a bad idea but it does mean
-I will need to learn to run UP really big hills
-I'll finish one marathon and immediately start training for another
-I'll be training in the winter which means either cold or running around the track at the Y. Although running with friends in the cold, maybe that wouldn't be so bad...

I was a little bummed when I got home and found out the route was 11.5 miles, not the 13 I thought it was for some reason. I was also a little frustrated with the time my iPod told me it took because I felt like I went much faster than what the time would indicate.

Maybe I'll take this same route Sunday, my last long-ish run before the big day.


Liz Trains for a Marathon: Liz cannot freakin' wait!

I am so excited to go run a marathon now! Why you ask? (Good question!).

First off, I figured out leaving the course open for 6 hours is a 13:44 pace, not a 13:30 like I originally thought.

But seriously, today was the Twin Cities Marathon. If you're from out of town, it's a gorgeous run along the lakes and river in Minneapolis and St Paul and finishes at our state capitol building. I knew several people running. Congratulations to Heather who qualified for Boston (looking forward to some good winter training I hope), Beth who has a big birthday tomorrow and Robin who ran with Beth, and to Yvonne who was a last minute entry.

For entertainment Beth (different from the Beth who ran, I know, try to keep up), Jenna and I met in St Paul, biked over to Lake Calhoun (mile 6), cheered for everyone, then hauled tail over to Lake Nokomis (just past half-way), and cheered for everyone again. At that point, Jenna left us to cheer on Heather (who runs at an obscenely fast pace and had stretched her lead over our other friends), and Beth and I went to the River Parkway (mile 17) and then met everyone one last time at the top of the hill where they all pour on to Summit Ave. Here's the route we took. It wasn't exactly the same as the marathon course, so we were able to get ahead of the runners in several places.

It was standing at Cretin and Summit that made me most excited to run in two weeks. It just looked like a lot of fun to be out running and having everyone cheering the runners on. I hope the marathon is a big deal in Amsterdam because now I'm looking forward to 26.2 miles of people cheering for me.

The bike ride was very fun cold and fun. I had lots of layers for my morning.

Once we got done riding and cheering, I sped off to Chipotle (between not eating breakfast and biking 20 miles, it's ok) and then to Kelly's house to meet the apple picking crew.

Apple Picking was quite fun. I got to do lots of tree climbing. Amanda made a bunch of apples fall on her head. (That's because she was saying "I know, we've read this before" over my voice as I was reading how not to make apples fall out of the tree.) I didn't buy apples but I did eat lots of them. Ironically, even with me not buying any apples, I believe we left with more apples than in any previous year. (Four pecks this year to three pecks in all previous years.) I did enjoy hot apple cider and an apple doughnut.

Now I'm at home, too tired to move. I need to think about dinner and also call my parents. What am I thinking about dinner? Where can I buy it from? But I need to be back to call Mom and Dad. Oh, the conundrum.

I'm looking forward to training the next couple of weeks also, just running 4 days a week, and the longest run is like 10-12 miles. I'm so excited about the marathon, I feel the urge to go for a really long run. I understand that's bad so I'll try and contain myself.


Going Pink

Every year at this time, I turn my blog PINK for October, Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Why? I have no idea. One year, it just seemed like the thing to do, so I tried it. And I've just done it every year since then.

I think we need to have a marathon-awareness color. A few friends are running the Twin Cities Marathon tomorrow. I'm going to go out and cheer them on give them food and cheer them on in the morning. I'm sure this will get me even more excited to actually run the marathon. Probably by the end I'll be saying "I don't want to wait two more weeks..."

Last Sunday was the 20-mile run. It could have gone better but I think it could have gone much worse. After that run, I'm mostly working on staying calm and relaxing during the run, a strategy I employed with great success during my first half-marathon.

Tomorrow is also our annual apple-picking weekend, another one of my favorite traditions. I fear that tomorrow will involve lots of mud as it's been raining for about nineteen straight days. Maybe this year we'll be mud zombies instead of hanging from the trees like monkeys. Actually, my favorite part of apple picking is climbing the trees. Amanda and Kelly seem to make all this awesome food after apple picking, which I've never been inspired to do. (I think it's because of all the apple pie Dad made when I was growing up.) I mostly just pack them for lunch. Although this doesn't look so hard.