Sunday, July 29, 2012

My Surprise Second Half

I didn't plan on running a second half marathon a month after my first.

At least, not legally.

See, my running buddy Libby had signed up for the half and she was running it somewhat alone. I told her I would bandit the race (I KNOW I KNOW THAT'S BAD) to keep her company. I'm trying to save for a month of travel! I was maxed out on race fees for the year.

Just 2 weeks before the half, I got an email.

At first, I thought it was a mistake. And then I tried to remember if I'd signed up for the half when I was asleep. And then I realized I have some the best people for friends, ever. EVER.

They signed me up, a $70+ registration fee. They want me to be included, even if it doesn't always mean I can't afford it. I just love them and their big hearts, so so much.

I would like to say that their kindness and overwhelming generosity forced me to train like a bandit. I ran twice before the half: one 10 miler and one little group run. In 4 weeks. I was worn out and feeling like I could rock whatever came at me, including a HALF MARATHON.

Did it work?
The race started off beautifully. The race started a little late (9, I think?) so it was a little warmer than I hoped, but I felt like I was rocking it. I knew the course elevations beforehand and wasn't a bit worried about the hill in the middle.

Until, that is, I hit the hill in the middle.

Looking back, I went too fast in the first half of the race and tired myself out. When I hit the hill, I ended up walking almost all of it. Some guy passed me, muttering "it's all for the beer, right?!" to which I nodded.
After the steep hill, we finally hit the downhill. I was spent. The humidity was really affecting me and no matter how much Gatorade I sucked at the water stops and how much Clif Gel I shoved down my throat, I felt awful. At one point, I accidentally spritzed the air mister Libby gave me into my mouth, causing my throat to swell up and freak me out (the first ingredient is nitrogen). I started having to walk more and more and the last three miles were a constant battle with my legs to get them to run for more than 30 seconds at a time and a battle with my throat to keep open. I kept looking for Libby, expecting her to catch up at any moment.

I kicked myself in the ass and ran for the last quarter of a mile. I was disappointed in myself when I saw my time was 11 minutes slower than the first half.
Turns out Libby was having issues of her own. Her IT band started bothering her after the Rock n Roll Half (thanks to the uneven streets of the PDX Eastside) and it was killing her halfway through and forcing her to walk the remainder of the race.

In the end, we got to cross together. There were tears.
And beers.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

How I Survived My First Half Marathon

I know this is a little late, but hey, life gets in the way. You know?

I ran my very first half marathon on May 20th. The experience was terrifying, emotional, draining, hard, and fantastic all at once.
I did not run it alone. You see, I have crazy fantastic friends that run/walk too. One crazy fantastic friend grabbed an entry just a week or two before the race!
I'm on the far right and the lady next to me is my running-buddy-4-life Libby. Without her to push and support me, I never would have continued on this path to running a half marathon (or 2!).
 The required pre-race shoe shot

Libby is a ten (eleven?) year cancer survivor and always includes others hit with cancer in her races. The list is, sadly, pretty large, but it's such a beautiful tribute. Unfortunately, she had to include a good friend of mine who passed away just 10 days before the half. I would be lying if I didn't admit that seeing her name was a wrench in my side.
The race itself went (mostly) beautifully. It rained almost the entire time, like a Portland race should. Within the first 3 miles, I saw these things:
 Beautiful downtown Portland.
Carpet on the Hawthorne Bridge (my favorite bridge!)
Honey Badger!

There was a steady incline from mile 3-6 and then the course promised to go downhill. YEAH RIGHT. There were block long steep climbs. Because the route took us through SE Portland (a first for any Portland race) the streets were older and unkempt, slanting and riddled with potholes. The slanted road didn't bother me too much, but it irritated Libby's IT band to the point where it still hurts her. There was a surprising amount of people out cheering us on, given the weather!
I didn't have a goal set other than to finish around 3:00 hours. Yes, I am a slow runner. But I am still out there doing it. 13.1 miles is no joke! I finished at 2:52 (Garmin time, chip time didn't include 2 stoplights I had to wait for) which I was more than happy with.

Space blankets rock!!
We followed the race with pedicures (the best thing EVER after a hard run) and a towed car.  I did not know I would be running my second half just a month later.

To be continued....

New Blog Name!

Hello there!

I'm messing around with my blog and making it a bit more enticing for me to actually want to post to it. First thing I changed? The URL and blog name. I'm HOPING that this little space on the internet now shows up as The Roaming Vegan Gnome!

When I first started this blog, I was just writing to write. I don't feel the name fits me as much anymore. Don't get me wrong, I still love dark chocolate. But, I love veganism and travelling and my little gnome companion even more. And I feel the new title fits me much more than the previous one.

Here is the URL, if you need to update your Google reader:

I hope this works! I have no idea what I'm doing!