Vroom vroom. How fast can I go from zero to fifty? Hopefully six months is enough time.
Over the weekend I was chatting with a friend about the fifty mile race he recently signed up for. JFK 50 Mile, the big one. He was surprised he was able to register – that it wasn’t full yet – and I decided to pull up the website then and there. It still didn’t say it was full yet. Hmmm. Now, three days later, I’ve decided to try for it.
I printed out the registration form, filled it out, printed out proof of time from my best marathon (Ridge to Bridge 2012), made up a self addressed stamped envelope and wrote a whopping $200 check. Slapped all that into another envelope and walked it out to the office park’s mailbox before today’s final pick-up. Pretty sure this is the first paper entry form I’ve ever filled out for a run, unless it was race-day registration.
Anyway, now I wait to find out if I’m in.
This big thing will be (needs to be) the kick in the shorts-liner I need to get back into the running routine. 4 miles a week obviously isn’t going to cut it. First up is Ultimate Runner at the end of June, so I’ll start with shorter distances and speed, then after Ultimate I can start gearing up the time and distance, if I get into JFK.
People sometimes ask me why I run. My half-joke response was often “because I have nothing else to do,” and it seems that has really become true over the past couple months. Sure, I haven’t made it a priority, and I certainly did have time, but running just wasn’t appealing. Friends suggested either enjoying the time away, or signing up for a race to kick myself back into gear. I was like “well I am signed up for a race” but Ultimate Runner doesn’t force me into the training commitment this ultra would provide. Fingers crossed.
The idea of this 50 mile race is exciting in a wide-eyed, slightly crazy sort of way; the way I think I’d feel if I was about to eat a massive ice cream sundae (or gelato – see below). Too much of a good thing? It seems impossible for there to be too much, then there totally is, and it hurts.
Here’s hoping it hurts so good. I didn’t finish that gelato, by the way.
Oh hey there readers, it has been a while. A while for posting, and a while for running seriously much at all.
Last weekend I drove the 90 minutes or so down to Chapel Hill for the Tar Heel 10 Miler. I signed up for this race a few months ago at a discount due to the Uwharrie registration snafu (remember that?), thinking that it would be a very slow race since I should have just done a 44 mile ultra 2 weeks prior. Well, as you know, the 44 miler did not happen due to travel costs, but the slow race wasn’t far from the truth.
The phrase of the day will be “ill-prepared.” N0t the race, mind you, that was pulled off just fine. My own illness and preparation were certainly suspect.
Due to marathon recovery, lack of desire, other obligations and responsibilities, and finally sickness, I really had not prepared well for this race. But I mean, it’s just 10 miles, right? Should be a piece of cake for a distance runner like me… nah. Please note that not running distance of significance for a month, with just one run of 14 miles and another of 8, with distances otherwise around 5 miles, in the 6 weeks leading to the race (7 weeks before was the Umstead Marathon), kind of removes any former fitness from this distance girl.
No matter, I was going to take it easy. Which is, of course, easy to say until I have a bib number pinned on and I’m on a race course.
So, back to the lack of preparation. So the day before the race I signed all the paperwork and closed on my new house. Hooray homeownership! My mind was certainly on the house rather than the run. I failed to consider that the race started at 7:30 am, so I didn’t get a ton of sleep when my goal was to leave the house by 5:30 am at the latest. Of course I pushed it on how late I could leave, and when I got into Chapel Hill, there was quite a bit of race traffic. The parking lots were full so I joined a train of cars slowly circling up a parking garage, which thankfully had plenty of spaces on the 4th level and above. While I was waiting in traffic (stopped! safely!) I was texting with my friend Brooks who was also running the race. We both thought for sure we wouldn’t make it in time. But we did!
I booked it through packet pickup, which was faster since I knew my bib number already. Got my race shirt (more on that later) and started moving toward the bag check area, with a quick pit stop along the way. The race began and ended in UNC’s football stadium, and all the bathrooms were open, which made for no lines if you didn’t stop at the very first ones near the entrance gate. Got way up into the stands for bag check (could have been in a better spot) and then realized I didn’t have much time before the race began.
You can see the runners snaked around the field, with the start/finish line around the 50 yard line on the far side. It was rather odd to see the football field without any markings on it! Instead of pushing through to get into the 9:00 or 9:30 pace areas, I went where the crowd was thinner and started back in the 10:30 pace section. There were pace signs throughout the starting area, which was very helpful.
Due to starting in a slower pace group than I’d be running with, even if it was an easy day, I spent the first part of the race picking off runners ahead of me. After circling the field, we ran out the tunnels, onto a loop out on some nearby streets, then back through the tunnel into the concourses and back out into Chapel Hill. With all the opportunities for passing in the start, it was hard not to get into a race mindset for this event. So there was lots of bobbing and weaving as I found my comfortable pace. I still wasn’t pushing it at full race speed, but it wasn’t slow either. More in the marathon-pace mindset, I’d say, though still faster than my marathons.
It was a great day to run, moderate temperatures and overcast skies. The course was quite pretty. Lots of rolling hills, and I knew the doozy would be coming near the end. The Laurel Hill section of the race has its own split times, and they have separate prizes to see who can get up that hill fastest. I don’t have a lot of memory of course details, but we ran through a lot of nice neighborhoods with lovely azaleas and beautiful homes both existing and under renovation. Fair spectator support throughout. Also ran down Franklin Street, which is the bar/party street for UNC students as far as I understand. In college I always heard about the massive Halloween parties on Franklin Street, though I never made the drive for those festivities.
Laurel Hill was really not as bad as I expected. If I had been going for time, it might have been different, as I did let myself walk for about 40 meters or so, but it was not a straight-up hill, rather a longer winding hill with some flat (flatter) bits between the hills. Once up that hill, it was pretty close to the finish, within a mile I believe. The route circled back to the stadium, and we finished where we started, from the opposite direction. Nice to have a stadium finish, even if it is in a hated rival’s stadium. Gotta say the chants of “TAR” “HEELS” on the course were cringe-worthy but to be expected in a race on their campus and in their town. I wore a Wake Forest shirt and (surprisingly, considering the state of Wake Forest athletics) didn’t get mocked, and even got a couple Wake cheers near the end.
Speaking of rivalries and shirts, I really liked the Party Crasher option that the race had. At registration, I had the option to select which Atlantic Coast Conference school I was a fan of, and the top three non-UNC schools received custom bibs and shirts in their school colors. I was expecting the custom bib, but didn’t know about the shirts. Awesome.
I really liked that, as I was not left with too much UNC Tar Heel junk. Great idea, race director! As expected, the top two schools were NC State and Duke, with Wake Forest in a distant but solid third. For those not from the area, UNC, NC State and Duke are all located within about 25 miles of each other. Wake Forest used to be located right in that area as well, but moved west to Winston-Salem in 1956. I could see this race as something I’d repeat, and having this Party Crasher option is a significant part of that.
After the race, I found and briefly chatted with my friend Darrel (who I ran with during part of Umstead) who had a great performance. Always nice to see a friendly face! I made my way back to the bag check and got my things. I headed into the concourse and was about to text Brooks to try and locate him, when he happened to wander by. Serendipity. We headed out of the stadium to find the food and drink.
Wow that bin of gummy bears was a sight for sore eyes! I grabbed a pack of those, a banana and some water. We hung out for a while, enjoying the sunshine and chatting about the race course, and mostly killing time until we thought the parking garage traffic might have thinned out.
All in all, it was a good race. Well organized and planned out. This was less than a week after the chaos in Boston (I’ve declined to post my reactions to this as many others have more eloquent things to say than I), and I felt very safe. I haven’t done a lot of 10 mile races, so the thought of a PR is a bit lacking in significance, but I really wasn’t too far off. Maybe I’ll come back next year for a repeat and hope to be better prepared!
The medal was pretty nice, though the darn Tar Heel logo is a bit of a negative for this Deacon fan.
I like how the foot is translucent. I don’t have many other medals I can think of with that feature, aside from one all-glass medal.
My final finish time was 1:31:07, panning out to a 9:07/mile pace. I can certainly do better, but I’m pretty satisfied with it, all things considered.
I haven’t run in two and a half weeks. This is likely my longest hiatus since I started this whole hobby. I’m not hurt, but I just don’t care. I am not motivated. Usually after a few days of not running my resulting bad attitude gets so extreme that I just have to get back out there. I won’t say that I’m not moody, but I think I broke through that must-do plateau… for better or worse. I figured that I would give myself a mental and physical break after making the decision to back out of my big ultra that was supposed to happen this weekend. That I would wait until I wanted to run before starting back up. Surely it wouldn’t be long. Well… still on the break.
Not like I’m doing exercise besides running either. I have done crunches a couple times, helped a friend move, and played one kickball game. No walking, biking, yoga. Just pure sloth. Pure, refreshing sloth with a heaping side of HGTV. Don’t worry, I feel plenty guilty about it though.
Somehow, I am not really gaining weight. In the first week or so I actually lost weight, which is kind of awesome. Especially considering I’ve eaten homemade nachos for dinner probably half of the dinners in this time span. But I am noticing that I am getting flabbier.
It is really time to just force myself back out there, like it or not. Maybe I can start in the morning.
How do you get back into your routines, whether your hiatus was by choice or by necessity? What motivates you?
I have been slacking lately. Big time. Well except for the whole buying-a-house thing I’m currently in the middle of. That’s consuming time and so much mental energy. I haven’t run in a week. I’m keeping the purse strings tight as I try to maximize my down-payment and that means it is finally happening… my first DNS. That’s “did not start” in race lingo. And I am so ashamed.
It was a month and only two (slacking!) blog posts ago when I wished my blog a happy birthday and was excited to announce my next ultra. Well, I only just now replied to the comments (slacking!) congratulating me on the race. I guess it was all just some big talk. I registered for the race back on February 6, but still had not gotten around to buying my plane tickets or getting a hotel (slacking!). I won’t say that I’m completely confident that I could run 44.4 miles all in one fell swoop, but that isn’t the intimidating part of the trip for me. It is the at least $700 that it would cost for transportation and lodging, then of course I’d spend more on food and entertainment. I’m a month away from closing on a house (knock on wood the inspection goes well!) and that money has better purposes right now. Like buying a sparkly new washer and dryer.
Once I realized the trip was looking unlikely, I let my training just collapse (slacking!). I was going to run a 50k last weekend as a training run, but it would have been close to $100 in entry fees and gasoline, so I thought I’d just do it by myself. Ha! I guess I don’t have the mental fortitude to run for like 6 hours by myself. Saturday, I went out and between starting late and needing to sign contracts in midday, I only managed 14 miles (slacking!). Sunday I convinced myself there was a little pain in my leg and it would be better to just rest (slacking!). Now I haven’t exercised in a week (!) and I’m surprisingly okay with it (!). I know I need to get back at it soon because any little bit of fitness I have is just draining away. I still have the Tar Heel 10 Miler on the horizon next month (already paid for, and at a discount!).
But really… the money is contributing equally to my DNS with the solo nature of the whole trip. Maybe it is just mental but the mind is a powerful weapon. I haven’t done much travel alone. Last real solo trip I can think of is a week in New Zealand and a few days in Fiji on the way home from my study abroad semester in Australia in 2004. Shouldn’t a long weekend in Kansas City be easy compared to that? I actually think being in a different country where my accent immediately points out my outsider status would help me as the solo traveler. If I’m sitting alone in a bar in Kansas City, people would probably just look at me and be like “poor girl has no friends, how sad.”
Yes, I worry entirely too much about what people think of me. And I’m letting this DNS say way more than it should. I’m about to buy a house by myself to start my real official
Single Old Maid Independent Woman life, and I should be able to take a Single Old Maid Independent Woman vacation. But I can’t, and I’m not, and I’m using money as a totally reasonable excuse.
Maybe (probably not… slacking!) I’ll try to go out and run a zillion miles to prove that it really is just the money. Not the fear.
In the meantime, I’ll wear my DNS as a scarlet letter.
More than a week has passed, and I am finally making the time to write up my recap of the 2013 Umstead Trail Marathon. I’ve spent the last week majorly slacking, in terms of both exercise and blogging. I’ll try to rectify one part of that now.
This race was my rematch with Umstead. Last year it really beat me down, but charmed me enough to bring me back for Round Two. If you’d like to read about my 2012 version of the race, check it out here.
The date is Saturday morning, March 2, 2013.
Time is approximately 5:30am.
Scene: my itty-bitty yellow kitchen. Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
Water is on to boil so I can have some oatmeal and tea. Typically before a marathon or other long run, breakfast is two packets of instant oatmeal with some dried cranberries and peanut butter. Woe is me when I open the box and find only one oatmeal packet remaining! I hoped this was not an omen. I had my little bowl of oatmeal, and put a banana in my bag as I expected to become hungry again in the time before the race began at 9:00am (ate it in the car). I also decided to take a little peanut butter sandwich on a Sandwich Thin, so I got that ready. In some random decision, I thought it would be a great plan to cut the sandwich into six wedges and put into a small baggie, for mid-race fueling. Peanut butter on bagels was perfect during the Frosty 50k, so who knows, perhaps it would be a good idea here too.
Scene: Umstead State Park. Raleigh, North Carolina.
90 minutes later, I’m arriving in Lot C at Umstead State Park. As with last year, parking was carefully coordinated and each runner had an assigned parking lot. I was in the same lot as before and parked in nearly the same spot. There was a short walk to the race headquarters with portapotties, packet pickup and a fireplace. The line was long for the toilets, so I stood in that first to ensure I had a chance. The wait was only like 5 minutes, so not bad at all. Then I headed into the packet pickup and received my bib, race shirt and some goodies.
The 2013 mascot was the Ring-Necked Duck. Shirts were neon pink for women, and neon orange for men. While I already have a few lovely pink running shirts, this duck will definitely be worn and shown off… I mean, like it or not, I’ll be noticed!
Then I put my packet away, pinned on my bib, and stuffed three strawberry Clif Shots and a baggie with three wedges of peanut butter sandwich into the pockets of my RaceReady capris. This year I decided to carry my handheld water bottle, so I was able to stash my car key in the pouch of the bottle.
Weather was a great improvement over last year, which had a round of rain during the first part of the race, and while it was pleasant in the later parts of the 2012 race, temps were probably into the 50s which was a bit muggy with the damp air. Not that I can really complain about marathon temps in the 50s, but 2013′s weather was dry and mid-30s to start, mid-40s by the finish. Just wonderful for running. Wore my capris and a long sleeve tech shirt over a singlet.
I found a few folks I knew from the running cyberspace community and chatted until it was time to start the race. In the days leading up to the race, I was primarily concerned with the race mascot and shirt color. Did not really have nerves about the race itself. Oh, just another marathon. When did that attitude show up? Wow. But surrounded by a bunch of other runners bouncing around with nervous energy, I caught a little of that. Had I taken this too lightly?
Decided to start out slow and see how everything worked out. Ran the first mile or so with friends Darrel and Iris (of Manic Runday) until we let our own paces spread us out a bit.
The course takes a little out and back on the bridle trails before starting into the single track portion of the race. That’s all the wiggly bit in the middle of the map. One detour back onto the bridle trails to visit an aid station, then it was back into the woods. I think it was about mile 8 when we emerged back onto the always-rolling bridle trails for the remainder of the race. I’ll be honest, looking at the map is utterly confusing. I couldn’t begin to recreate this course if I visited the park by myself. I don’t know where we went. Besides apparently along that red line.
Thinking back to last year, I was feeling a lot better comparatively at this point in the race. It certainly helps that I didn’t fall down on the trails. That saved me a bit of time for sure, as I didn’t need that moment of sitting and seeing if I was still properly assembled, no time taken to wash mud out of my skinned knee/shin, and fully functional opposable thumbs. Plus, carrying the water bottle cut down on my aid station visits, especially in the early parts of the race.
The main things bothering me during this portion of the race was the guy in front of me in a little caravan on the single track who was just launching snot rockets with no concern for any runners a few feet behind him (close calls, no hits!), and the lady who seemed to be carrying Tic-Tacs in her pocket, and who I was leap frogging with for a couple miles. Single track was not her strongest portion, so ultimately she pulled ahead and I didn’t have to listen to her rattle for the rest of the race.
Approaching mile 11, I was waiting to see the leaders come back at me, as this is an out and back section. I re-read my 2012 report a few times in the lead up to the race and recalled that is where I saw them last year, at their mile 19. But it was about a mile further into my race before I saw the leaders approaching, where we were each about 100m to our mile markers 12/18. They looked a bit fresher than I remember the lead runners looking last year. Was everyone having a better race this year?
The miles were clicking off comfortably at this point, as we got into some of the hilliest hills. Or at least it seems that way. They don’t stop, these hills. Not much flat here. I was allowing myself the luxury of walking up many of the steepest bits. There was a great sign at an aid station at mile 13: “Hills are an Investment in Gravity.” So true! I scrapped my way up and enjoyed the dividends as I just let it fly going back down. A few times I would have been better holding back a little, but I was just feeling unstoppable and pushed past the uncomfortably-steep-hopefully-I-don’t-start-a-rock-slide-as-I-tumble sort of feeling. Exhilarating! One of the roaming bike volunteers rounded a corner as I was catching air (well maybe) down one hill and he gave me the biggest cheer. It felt so good to feel so good.
I tried to remind myself that the marathon doesn’t even start until mile 20, but it was just seeming like a great day. I tried not to think about it too much. My goal going into the race was to beat last year’s 4:56. I thought it just might be possible to aim for 4:45, if I stayed upright and ran smarter. The little abacus in my head was rattling around and started thinking about much larger improvements, but I tried not to get too ambitious.
Wait, is this the turn around already? Did I take a wrong turn and cut off a few miles? It’s like I blinked and skipped a few miles. But this is such a great race, I don’t want to miss it! I keep thinking about the Wheels Fell Off hill that was still many miles ahead, but my brain kept singing “the wheels on the bus go round and round, round and round, round and round…” Maybe I could keep my wheels on after all. I’d been enjoying the out and back and greeting the folks I knew who were ahead of me on the course. Once it was my turn to “back” the out and back, I got to see some others still moving ahead. Always like to cheer for other runners!
I’d eaten a Clif Shot at about hour 1 and hour 2, and it was coming up on 3 hours now. I decided to give my peanut butter sandwich wedges a try. Thank Umstead I was carrying water, because that was about the driest thing I’ve ever eaten, or so it seemed. Thank goodness the runners were pretty spread out and nobody was coming toward me, because my chewing was Valley Girl Gum Smacking sort of unattractive. I had two wedges over perhaps 30 minutes and it was like chewing a tough well-done steak wrapped with paper. Just keep working at it, and eventually it’ll break down, but woof. That is not going to make my standard rotation. Maybe a lot more peanut butter would have helped? The Fritos I grabbed at an aid station somewhere in the middle were much more satisfying. Two in-race food gambles. Both fine on the tummy, thankfully.
Kept hauling through the hills and watching the miles tick by. Splits were edging up toward 11 minute miles as the hills rolled on, and I started to wonder how the last cruel out and back hill (aforementioned Wheels Fell Off hill) would knock me down. The 4:30 finish time I’d been trying not to let myself think about at the midpoint, seemed still possible, but I was still waiting for it all to catch up with me.
As I did last year, I stopped for a handful of gummy bears at one of the later aid stations and walked a way with my snack so I didn’t choke. Much easier to tolerate than my peanut butter bits. I continue to be impressed with the volunteer support at this race. Great aid stations, and solo volunteers on foot and on bikes all over the place with water, gels and encouragement. You won’t go wanting at Umstead. Speaking of not going wanting… I was just running along when I noticed I was seeing the same guy in orange knee socks stop to “water a tree” for the third time. He certainly hadn’t been wanting for liquid intake. Seems like a bit much to me, but I definitely try to avoid needing to make pitstops during races if possible, and my noticeable dehydration after marathons is evident. Maybe I’ll seek a happy medium.
Up ahead, I saw my friend Darrel who had pushed off ahead in the early part of the race. I very, very slowly reeled him over the next half mile or more, and we ran together for a little while until a downhill that was friendlier to my knees than his, and I went on ahead. Nice for a few minutes of company and solidarity. With a 200 runner cap, the race thins out early, leaving the out and backs one of the few opportunities to see many other runners. I mean, you’re never really alone, but it is sparse. Part of the charm, of course!
So that 4:30 I was mentioning… I started allowing myself to think that the other most ambitious midrace goal was still in play… 4:26. My brain-abacus determined that would be a solid thirty minute improvement. It would be close. I still had some oomph left in my legs and I started pushing up the hills in the final 1.5 miles or so. Cemetery Hill was the last beast to conquer. I saw a couple other runners forging up at a walk, and I wanted to keep running, so I just looked at my feet and the ground right in front of me. Doesn’t look like a hill that way, or at least that was the idea as I tried to trick my brain. I did feel guilty about the two or three runners I passed in that last stretch.
Finally, the last turn toward the finish appeared. Surely the finish line would be just right there. Or right there. Come on, now where is it? Gosh that road seemed a lot longer than it did to start the race. Wait! Mile 26! SO CLOSE. Then through the trees, the finish banner appears, and there is a crowd at the finish line, cheering. They called out that I was the 100th finisher, and I won a car!
Well… they did say that. But I didn’t win a car. Who needs a car when I can dominate Round Two with Umstead?
I made it. Finished in an official time of 4:26:36. 100/179 finishers.
And yes… thirty minutes faster than last year. More than a minute per mile. Well deserving of a fist pump and my best-ever finish line photo. I cannot help but love being captured hovering with both feet off the ground.
The volunteers came over immediately to see if I needed anything, and to hand me my finisher pint glass. So kind of them to ask if I was ready to hold it yet. How tragic it would be to watch that shatter. I clutched it to the point that being crushed was the only way it would break. Took some time to stretch out and rehydrate some more. Picked up my door prize of a selection of Honey Stinger products, then grabbed a cup of Coca Cola and a Moe’s burrito.
It was great to see some friends finish, and to have some friendly faces to chat with after the event. I have been calling them friends happily, though I suppose they’d be like “oh right, Emily is that girl I met at a race once, and now she likes every Umstead comment I make on facebook,” but that counts as friendship… right?
Friends like blog traffic! Like they don’t have enough already…
Anyway, before long, I was home and giving the pint glass a test run.
but the best part is the floating duck on the other side, when your drink is at just the right level:
This marked my 13th marathon, and it felt like a lucky one indeed. My 2013 Umstead Trail Marathon absolutely left me with a glass half full. I will certainly make an effort to come back for Round Three.
Today my blog turns one year old. Happy birthday, run. eat. nap. drink.!
Thank you to my readers for proving that I’m not just talking to myself out here in cyberspace. I still would write, of course: my college radio show was online radio so I could see how many listeners I had. Sometimes it was zero, or one… and the one was the feed I’d left going in my dorm room.
At the time I’m writing this, I’ve had 8,348 views spanning my 96 posts (this is #97) and 375 comments. Not counting the 2,820 spam comments that is! So, thanks again readers, and no thanks to all you spam bots.
I decided to celebrate with a nice frosty beverage. Specifically, a Boulevard Brewing Single-Wide IPA.
Why Emily, you might ask, is this beer choice significant?!
Thanks for asking – it sure is. Time to take a deep breath and put it in writing…
I have officially registered for the 44.4 mile Brew to Brew solo run on April 6. The race runs from Boulevard Brewing in Kansas City, Missouri to Free State Brewing in Lawrence, Kansas. If I could buy any Free State beers here in NC, I would have one of those as well, but I suppose I don’t get to try those until 44.4 miles have elapsed.
Brew to Brew will be my longest run to date. I’m thinking of it as a 50k plus a half marathon, which sounds alternately totally doable and totally insane.
Brew to Brew, from what I can tell, was originally set up as a team relay event. 2013 will be the first year they have a separate day for solo runners. Individuals will run on Saturday and the teams will run Sunday. They offered the option for solo runners to participate on Sunday, but without being eligible for awards. I was tempted to choose the potential of more company on Sunday since I don’t expect to be in contention for awards, but Saturday works better for my “explore Kansas City over a long weekend” plans.
So my marathon next weekend is now just sort of a training run on the way toward the bigger goal of 44.4 miles. I need to plan out the 5 weeks between the events. I plan to look for a 50k in mid-to-late March as a supported training run. Or I guess a timed race, maybe 6 hours, would be a good option as well. I’ll see what I can find. I doubt I’ll get much past 50k distance before tackling the 44.4 miles, but more likely a weekend with 50k and 10-15 miles on back to back days. I’m happy to hear any thoughts or suggestions regarding that plan.
Aside from the obvious challenge of a new long distance, I waffled for months on this decision, mostly because it is likely to be a solo vacation. I want to explore Kansas City, but am not always the best at going out and about by myself. It will be a challenge for me in more ways than one. There are a couple museums I hope to visit, a Royals baseball game to attend, and some of their famous barbecue to sample… that should keep me busy for a few days after the run.
I chose the race for the opportunity to try this new longer distance on a terrain that should be easier than many races of this distance, since they are usually on challenging trails. Much of this course is on the shoulder of highways. So it may not be terribly scenic, but I will deal with that. Also, there is the obvious appeal of two craft breweries marking the start and finish lines. Beer – enough said, right?
Finally, the event is a fundraiser for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. My father lost siblings to Cystic Fibrosis, so fighting this disease has special meaning to me. It kept me from meeting my aunt and uncle.
Combining beer, running and fighting CF… it seemed like a no-brainer. Well… as much as running 44.4 miles would ever seem like a no-brainer!
Time to really get my ultra on.
Here’s to more miles for all of us over the next year at run. eat. nap. drink. Sláinte!
It is Valentine’s Day, so I bought myself some jewelry. A custom bracelet! A Road ID.
BIR #2: Running alone without identification or accountability.
Welcome back to Bad Idea Runner, my blog feature where I try to help you learn from my mistakes.
I live alone and often run alone. My cat is the only living thing that would miss me if I didn’t come home, sometimes for days if it was a weekend run (and let’s be honest, he wouldn’t miss me until his food bowl was empty). Lately I’ve been coping with a case of paranoia; imagining getting kidnapped, mugged, or hit by a car when I’m out running in the dark. Frankly, there is a part of me that feels the only thing a Road ID would do is give my abductor a list of people to demand ransom from, but I’ll try to be more realistic and positive… if thinking of getting hurt to a point where I couldn’t identify myself is positive. There is always the chance of getting injured, whether hit by a car or falling on ice, mud, roots, or bumpy sidewalks. Run about in the dark for hours and I’m bound to take a spill one day.
I’m very hopeful that I’ll never need to use the Road ID at all, but it is something I have been meaning to get for years. Finally decided today was the day. A couple weeks ago, I got an email for 10% off, and the Road ID coupon code expires on 02/18/13. If you’d like to use it before then, it is pcVDay13. I saved $2.15, so not a huge savings but I’ll take it!
Months ago, a local sporting goods shop, Omega Sports, had assorted Road IDs on display for sizing purposes. I tried on the various styles and sizes and decided to get the Wrist ID Sport, a bracelet of nylon webbing with velcro closure. They also make the Wrist ID Elite, with silicone band and metal closure; the Wrist ID Slim which is a LiveStrong-type silicone band that just slips over the hand; and assorted other options such as ankle ID, dog tags and more.
While the webbing might take on more sweat than the silicone types, I didn’t want the metal closure of the Elite, nor the potential bouncing around of the non-fitted Slim. I’ll probably wear it on my right wrist, whereas I wear my watch or Garmin on my left wrist.
I thought I remembered trying on a size small version at the store, but I checked their online suggestion of wrapping a dollar bill around your wrist to indicate size. Since mine is less than a quarter inch gap, I am indeed a small wrist. I chose the color black since green wasn’t an option, and red, yellow, purple, pink, and blue were not calling to me.
As for the remainder of the order, the actual ID part, I’ll share an (edited) photo when it arrives. You have up to six lines of text with up to 24 characters per line. They suggest name on the top line, location on the second, 2-3 lines of emergency contacts and 1-2 lines of medical information and/or motivational phrases.
I put:Full Name
Just Keep Running
One thing that bothered me was the character limit per line. I wanted to put my sister’s name and “sister,” as well as my friend’s name and “friend” or “local,” but there was not enough space. I decided to write their given names and leave the descriptor off, though I did literally write “Parents” for that line.
I thought about putting this blog name instead of “Just Keep Running” but then I realized that hopefully nobody will ever look at this bracelet. If someone besides me is reading it, I don’t need to be sending them to my blog, more likely they need to be sending me to the hospital. A little motivational mantra seemed the right ticket as I’ll surely catch glimpses of this bracelet whilst wearing it.
Anyway, so in a week or so I’ll have my new Road ID. This certainly doesn’t mean I’m going to start running in dangerous places or anything, but I hope it will give me some peace of mind once I start wearing it.
As for the Bad Idea Runner lesson part of this, I just suggest that you consider carrying some form of identification with you while you run (or walk, bike, hike, etc). Maybe a cell phone, your license, implanted microchip (hey, my cat has one), or something. And/or tell someone when you are going out and when you expect to return. I thankfully haven’t had any bad runs without this, but I should have been safer all along.
And a heads up that this is not a sponsored post; I am not getting any compensation. I’ve heard good things about this product and wanted to try it. Just wanting to share my findings with you all! I will follow up with a review once I’ve had it for some time.