31 December 2012

2012: Making a silk purse out of a sow's ear


The year started out on a low. 

First of all, we were burgled in early January. It sucked. 

Then there was my health. Perpetually struggling, hurting, and exhausted...I knew something was wrong. While my erratic hip remains somewhat mysterious, medical testing revealed ridiculously low serotonin levels, which explained a large part of the struggle. This information facilitated my climb out of the abyss. 

Along my journey to clarity and health, I had some 'bomb' races...Kaiser 5KOakland Marathon Relay and Bay to Breakers. The difficult place with regard to my health and these less-than wonderful "race" experiences led me to pull out of two races I had excitedly entered...the Eugene marathon and the San Francisco 1st half-marathon.

I managed to run a lot of hills and frequently on trails, but I wasn't able run very many miles. I did, however, run one mile in less than seven minutes and blew my own mind.

I discovered the Don't Run, Run Faster Training Plan which led to my triple gold medal performance at The Ellimpics and a set of wonderful legs at Hood to Coast as a part of Nuun's Afternuun Delight Team Morning as well as my first female finish on Thanksgiving at the Sonoma 5K Turkey Trot.

The late spring brought some fun recognition. I was chosen again as a BlogHer Voices of the Year honoree (see button in sidebar) and I won a spot on Nuun's Hood to Coast teams...with my "creepy" and "just wrong" video...

video


The spring also brought my first blog-related paycheck! Building my financial empire one dollar at a time ;-) Other notable firsts this year included: rock climbinghamsterballing, and sparkle skirts...all of which threw me well out of my comfort zone.




2012 also involved loads of family fun. In addition to trips to the beach and the Space and Science Center and numerous walks by the Bay, we went to the zoo about 142 times...and even saw an elephant penis. Big and exciting stuff, people.

The year has really run the gamut on all levels...physical (as outlined above), emotional, relational, spiritual... It has been a year of great change and opened eyes. I've learned how to better care for myself, the true value of rest and meditation, the importance of compassion and an open heart. My sense of perspective has broadened tenfold or more. So much growth...and so many growing pains. What a year. 

I finished my running for the year with donuts and friends.

And I finished my momming for the year at...where else?... the zoo :)

Following these two trajectories, may the coming year be filled with sweetness, love, joy and adventure for us all!

29 December 2012

The Week in Pictures


The blog world is full of "Year in Review" posts this time of year, but since the jury is still out on how recap-able my year was, I have yet to craft one of those. An "End of the Year Reflections" post is probably more appropriate in my case, but given that my kids have been out of school for two weeks now and are still home for another whole week (!), contemplative, meditative, reflective time has been super hard to come by.

I  know, I know...you're thinking...

Jeeeeez, XL...you only have 4 kids and it's vacation! Whaddya mean you don't have time? Whine, whine, whine...you have time to screw around on Twitter and Facebook. Do yourself a friggin' favor...get off the computer and REFLECT! 

Whatever.

In addition to Christmas (which was probably the best Christmas I've ever had), we've had a very full week...and here's the #PROOF...
MONDAY
Grocery shopping with a three-year old sucks. I have no idea why she has decided to try to fit her whole entire body inside her shirt while in the produce section...in the middle of the aisle. And she was growling and meowing in there. Some of my fellow shoppers were mildly amused. Others were visibly irritated beyond belief. They all knew she was mine due to our matching Einstein hair. I would have loved to have used the time to relax and reflect, but it was not to be.

TUESDAY
It was Christmas and it rocked. Santa brought us a modern-day television...our first one that was built in the 21st century. Pretty rad...even if we still don't have cable or any reception. It's nice to watch DVDs and VHS tapes without having to whack the television on the side to get the image to stabilize. Other really awesome stuff happened...like, it was totally chill and lovey and cozy and happy. We all really needed that this year :)

WEDNESDAY
We had to feed the moon. Three-year olds are very compassionate creatures. The moon was not full, so we needed to feed it. She collected all sorts of plant materials in a little clam shell. It was quite cold by our standards...low 50s or maybe high 40s...and she refused to wear a jacket. Fine. I'm picking my battles. It was a beautiful winter sunset and she is awfully cute, so I let it go and prayed no one would report me to CPS. 

THURSDAY

I was hungry. We had a whole bunch of really old apples sitting on the counter. I've been way too lazy for a couple of months (no lie) to peel and slice them to make any sort of something with them. They were quite shrivelly. It was time. I made a bottomless apple pie using leftover piecrust from Thanksgiving...in a 13"x 9" baking dish. The picture on the right was taken today. Single-handed. Me. Again, no lie. That's gross, isn't it?

 FRIDAY
THE ZOO!!!!! I know you all have been wondering when we would go to the zoo next, especially since it is vacation. Yesterday was the day. It was so exciting. The top left picture could have been taken not only upon arrival but during our departure as well. I DON'T WANNA GO TO THE ZOO!!!!!! followed by I DON'T WANNA LEAVE THE ZOO!!!!! But she was pretty cute chasing her pet unicorn around in that tunnel (lower left) for about an hour. *audible eye-roll* The older kids and I got pretty bored of it. But then she let me ride the unicorn...everyone else was sooooo jealous. And in case you can't tell, that is a wild, snarling tiger climbing down that fallen tree. So get back.

SATURDAY

I haven't done jack for weeks in terms of exercise. Somehow I wound up on my bike while my husband ran a mile and a half. Look what we found... fascist Santa had fallen over. Either he was deposed or drunk. Watching my husband try to straighten Santa out was pretty hilarious. I almost fell off the bike laughing so hard.

So see? Not a whole lot of time to reflect and contemplate.

I am planning on running again someday. I think Monday. Yeah, Monday sounds good. I might be done with the pie by then.

How has your year shaped up? Did you reflect or recap? Give me a link in the comments so I can get some ideas ;-) 

What's the most pie you've ever eaten? Single sitting or over the course of a few days...doesn't matter.




27 December 2012

Virtual Jingle Bell Hell Final Results Finally



If you missed the write-up on the real deal, it's here. The real-life participants didn't really write up interesting recaps...in fact, they pretty much left it all up to me. Thanks, guys ;-) SF Road Warrior gloated about how she was able to beat RoseRunner without even trying. But she did look super cute wielding the trophy and didn't pig out on the donuts, so she's invited back for next year's race. RoseRunner complained bitterly about lack of ethical race practices but did express great appreciation for the donuts, so even though she did pig out, she can come back and try again to win that trophy...or rather, have her name inscribed in ballpoint pen on masking tape on the bottom for time immemorial!  Jen had an excuse, and I really hope she's able to come again next year and run in addition to snagging some 'nuts.

If you're in the SF Bay Area next year in mid-December and you like free donuts and smart, funny people, you will want to join us. I am not kidding.

Now for the virtual participants....

...if you did Jingle Bell Hell this year and don't see your name and link below, please let me know! Not everyone emailed me a link...some of these I had to dig for...there may be others! Feel free to link yourselves in the comments :) And all participants who email me a mailing address will receive prizes...there are fueling products, Nuun, winter accessories, compression socks...lots of fun stuff :)

SuperKate, a two-time participant, repeats her placing from last year as first runner up. Kate drove really far and actually ran this year. She got super lost and was really hurting. She definitely earned some donuts...or a stiff drink. And some Calgon to take her away from that hell.

Run With Jess once again gathered together a whole lot of Peoria's finest Sole Sisters and ran through the graveyard! I am forever impressed by her ability to organized and mobilize :) Jess' enthusiasm gets her second runner up AND the first-ever ambassadorship for Jingle Bell Hell!!! Yay, Jess! and thanks so much :)

Suzanne also participated for the second year in a row!!!  She ran in sadness and on a treadmill while her dog with craaaayyyyyzeeeeee eyes looked on. I know loss is hard, Suzanne. Kudos to you for 'showing up' for Jingle Bell H-E-double hockey-sticks :) I am so appreciative that you came back!

Chelsea had a 36 second PR in hell and hit 22:01! Chelsea, I want to share your special kind of hell...it sounds so much faster than mine!

The following was sent to me by The FitFork:

I'm putting my recap here: Toys for Tots Reindeer Run 5k (Austin) Showed up to find a smaller that usual crowd (apparently a huge 5k the night before, whoo hoo this will give me the advantage I greedily think. Then NAtasha my friend is a kicka$$ pro triathalete shows up , dang. She claims she's out of shape, HA, this is hard to believe. Race starts, we take off together chatting . . . . about 1/2 through I decide I'm throwing it all down and take off. Ugh, tough to make my move so early, worried that she is catching up in last half mile (sneaking backward glances), give it my final I-might-puke effort and take the Overall Female Win by 7 seconds -- take that you 30 year old professional athlete. Plus, I ran is a Mrs. Claus costume, she showed up in her pro gear -- who's cooler? ME I think. GIVE ME MY POWDERED SUGAR DONUTS!

My response to her..."B*tch, please...you didn't even break 19 minutes...tell it to the hand." And then I said, "fine...you can have some donuts" and I totally rolled my eyes at her.

Mishka did it 'cold'...not only the weather, but without ANY training whatsoever! Girlfriend got hail in her hair (photo evidence)...and has a surprising stash of awesome cold weather gear for a non-runner (more photo evidence). She faced iPod malfunction and suspicious neighbors. I am so glad you got out there, Mishka!!!!

Kasey suffered through raging inclines on the treadmill...wisely bailing on the pseudo-hilly "fun run" at the halfway in exchange for a flat program to finish things out. Half hell is better than no hell ;-)

Kasey making a 'hell face' at the halfway.

Alisyn had a blast running up a looooooong hill with friends...good thing it was a looooooong hill otherwise we might not get to consider this enjoyable-laughter-producing run "hell" ;-)

Beth at I Run Like A Girl dressed like a Grinch and even got spat on for her troubles. Luckily, she has a great sense of humor and it made her laugh :)


Jill wrote perhaps the goriest Jingle Bell Hell recap the world will ever read...complete with gory pictures. Fortunately, there was no pain...just gore. Donut-earning gore.

Elizabeth ran back and forth and back and forth and back and forth on part of her trail in her multi-hell run. The real hell came after the actual run...tears were shed and f-bombs were dropped. Click her name to find out why.

TriMOEngr met up with our first runner up during that ill-fated trail run and hurt herself, too. She considers her JBH attempt a weak one...I say "no". Sustaining bruises and twisting ankles definitely qualifies.

And believe it or not, there are people out there who don't have blogs! *gasp* But who still participate in our inane activities! Penny from Minnesota reported "9 miles on the somewhat plowed snowed over trail ( evil laugh included)." She gets an extra-special shout-out here because this is the only place it's going to happen. Thanks so much, Penny, for playing along!


****drumroll****
Now...Kristine. She ran 42 laps in her YMCA for a total of 3.5 miles. FORTY TWO. Seriously, can anyone top that hell? ANYONE???? Didn't think so. Grand prize winner. *BOOM*

And then there's Patrick...this year's token guy. Last year it was Mike. Patrick set aside our differences over the Dudeband™ and ran a duck-shaped route...unfortunately, not in a serape as promised...but he did listen to an awful song on repeat for the entire run and had a pebble in his shoe. Hell. And worthy of top prize winning male participant. By default. Well, and because his recap made me laugh the hardest. I tried to read it out loud to my husband and kept doubling over, gasping for air. Go read it, seriously.

So peeved and so pained...guy hates virtual races.
Thanks for sucking it up, sport. I owe you one.


Congratulations to all...and many, many thanks for participating!

And anyone who wants to be considered for a JBH Ambassadorship, just let me know. You will have to respond to a brief questionnaire and submit a video in addition to having completed a Jingle Bell Hell run either this year or last. Or I will just have to like you. It's a totally subjective application process. Let that be stated from the onset ;-) 

*UPDATE 12/28* apparently Mike did participate this year but was too lazy to write anything up...he submits this photo as evidence. Fine, Mike. You've been clamoring for donuts to go with last year's Yanks...as recipient of this year's Weasel-Your-Way-Into-The-Donuts prize, they'll be in the mail shortly ;-)

21 December 2012

What to do the morning the world didn't end...

Last week, we received an invitation to a gathering in honor of the sun's return following the longest night of the year... a Solstice Sunrise Celebration.

It sounded pretty amazing...except for the "get up before dawn" part. We made the unilateral parental decision that it would be a whole family outing...and in the interest of it being extra awesome, we would ignore all complaining and whining and be super upbeat the whole time. I know, I know... drugs ... what drugs would we be using? Surprisingly, none. Not even caffeine.

However, we did give ourselves two possible 'outs'... 1) in the event the world ended (as per the Mayan prediction) before dawn, we would not be attending and 2) we would stay home if it were raining.

So...as most of you know, the world did not end. We had a hard time sleeping in anticipation, though. Kind of like wanting to see Santa, you stay awake all night hoping to catch him, thereby insuring that he doesn't come. So you can thank us for laying awake all night in the hopes of witnessing the apocalypse which never showed up most likely because we were awake waiting for it.

We did hear some wicked storming though. This led us to not be too concerned about not getting much sleep, thinking that it would be raining during the event, bringing into effect Out #2. But, as luck would have it, it was not raining when the alarm went off. It was also not raining as we loaded into the car.

It started to rain when we were about 5 minutes into the drive.

As it was a sporadic rain, we braved the elements and journey on.

Upon parking, we looked up the back of the specified grassy knoll and saw our people.
We climbed to the top...

To see this...

It was cold. 
So we were dressed like this...

As it got closer to sunrise, we collected up our instruments and donned our sunny apparel...

And, for some reason, headed down the backside of the hill away from the sunrise...

We congregated, for some reason, under these trees and awaited the signal...

As soon as we received the signal, we then began our mad scramble back up the hill, 
toward the rising sun...


Once atop the hill, we joined hands and hummed in a circle as the sun came up.
Some people read poems.
There was even an opera singer.
It was pretty cool.

San Francisco gleamed as the new light after the longest night struck the glass buildings...

And we were treated to a glorious rainbow arching toward the Golden Gate...

I, for one, am really thankful the world is still here...
...I am looking forward to so much :)



Did you really think the world was coming to an end? Or did you have some reservations?
–I didn't know for sure...and wasn't too concerned. I am working on taking things one day at a time ... living in the moment :)

20 December 2012

Things Thursday...

Where do I put these things? Oh, right...that's why I have a blog!



1
The cake eats the fruit. I eat the cake. 
By extension, I have also eaten the fruit.
Right?

2
I got some new shoes.
I've worn them once...at Jingle Bell Hell.
They were comfortable even if all that soup was not.
And no, the soup did NOT work.
For Christmas, I really want my body to work well.
I want to run freely in these (and other) shoes.
I have learned so many lessons over these past dozen years.
I really have. So many lessons.
I'm good with lessons now.
We can now resume our regular program of...
body working well.
Thank you.

3
I started getting stressed that I hadn't really done any Christmas shopping.
All I've done is what you see in those two white plastic bags.
Then I remembered the world might end on Friday.
I've decided to wait until Saturday to continue shopping...
if the whole Christmas thing is still on.

4
This is the house in our neighborhood that decorates.
There are some others that put a string or two of lights out.
A few others have those white lighted reindeer statues.
But these guys always have a huge hideous inflatable something.
Last year, it was a carousel.
This year, a waving Santa...
or maybe he's a fascist Santa.
I've bagged the idea of decorating outside our house until Saturday...
for the same reason I'm waiting on the Christmas shopping (see above).

5
I found this more disturbing than my husband waving at an inflated Santa Claus.
This is why some kids scream and cry when forced to visit Santa at the mall.
This is Scary Santa.
Don't pout.
Don't cry.
Here's why...

Dude is watching you.


Now back to important things...like what should I feed the cake next so that I can eat more cake?

What do you think of my new version of the food chain? How is the holiday season treating you? Do you also find that garage-trapped Santa creepy? Have you ever seen other creepy Christmas decorations?
–holiday season...holiday season...hmmmmm... O, right! That's why we have that pretty tree in the living room ;-) This was the first truly creepy Christmas decoration I've ever seen. It's not a picture...it's actually a stuffed, life-size Santa in there...I snuck up and peeked in. Sooooo creepy.




17 December 2012

Jingle Bell Hell ... official recap of the 5th running!




The official, in-person running of Jingle Bell Hell 2012 happened on Saturday, December 15 starting at approximately 8:30 a.m. 


It was not raining. But it was cold...


Knowing that I was not likely to endure the same solo-running hell as last year (because this year I had confirmed entrants!), I had prepped for my own personal hell with soup...3 quarts of vegetable soup. You see, I've been dealing with regularity issues. My doctor assured me that this mass ingestion of soup would remedy my sluggishness. By this point, I welcomed any movement. If it needed to happen 3 miles out on the trail, so be it. Since nothing happened before I left the house, I brought tissues.


I picked up donuts on the way to the race. I was very optimistic regarding the potential turnout and got a dozen. They looked and smelled really good. I was wishing gluten was part of my diet...but it's not. So I just looked and smelled.

Halfway to the start, I was texted... "On my way!" by one person. Followed by "We're here!" from another. Yay! At least three people were going to join me! Three OFFICIAL people...and who knew how many innocent bystanders I could coerce into joining us?

I was greeted in the parking lot by...

RUNNERS!!!!
me (craayyyzeeee excited), SF Road Warrior, Jen, and Gypsy Runner

Runners wearing holiday sox!

Jen let me know that she was unable to run. She was feeling sick. I mentioned my personal situation and how awesomely hellish our togetherness could be, that I had a whole packet of tissues we could share, and told her we could go slow. She still didn't like the sound of this special brand of hell.  She and her man drove away :(

...but not too sick for donuts ;-)

The Road Warrior and I stood around for a few minutes. I knew we had another runner on the way. And I knew that getting her lazy ass out of bed before 10 on a weekend was her idea of hell...so we cut her some punctuality slack.

Finally, RoseRunner showed up, ate a donut and we were ready to get the show on the road...

Less than a tenth of a mile into it, I had to pee. And that is where my laughing started. I had a ginormous soup baby sitting on my bladder. I pretty much peed the whole time we were running. Don't be grossed out...have pity. It was funny not gross.

SERPENTINE!!!!

We ran slowly. RoseRunner's hell...slow and early. But slow was necessary because of my hell. Do you know what it's like to run with 3 quarts of f*cking vegetable soup in your gut? It is hell. The Road Warrior's hell had something to do with an injured foot and a strict directive from God her doctor to not run for several weeks to allow it to heal. She and I turned around at the 2.5 mark to stave off the hell of a painful foot while RoseRunner continued on. 

This was our secret ploy.

We assured RR that we would run slowly...that she would FOR SURE finish first. She had her eye on the awesome perpetual trophy and all the accompanying glory...and she wanted first pick of the Little Debbies.

Not only were we able to beat her back to the parking lot, but we even had the time to have an awards ceremony...Road Warrior won, and she chose the Little Debbie powdered donuts.


And got her name inscribed in ballpoint pen on masking tape on the bottom of the trophy
...for time immemorial!!!!!

Realizing that we had excess donuts, we walked around the parking lot offering them to strangers. Some people were kind of skeeved by this. Random sweaty women offering you donuts in a parking lot? Why is that weird?

After finding homes for three donuts, we headed back to the finish area, handed out some more donuts to fancy dog-walking ladies, and then...

Heeeeere she comes!!!!

Sorry, RR...you are the big loser today...
no trophy for you...
not this time.
And...

you get the reject waxy chocolate-y coating donuts.

Ha ha.

...and there she goes!!!!

I don't think she liked being taunted :(

Just kidding. She was a really good sport about it.

Right about this time, we saw two muddy guys emerge from a muddy trail. They looked hungry.

Hey! Donuts? I hollered.

They laughed. Then one of them saw the pretty pink box and stopped.

For real? he asked.

I ran over with the opened box. Take my donuts, pleeeeeeease.

He joyously selected the chocolate cake with chocolate frosting and chocolate sprinkles while smilingly announcing, We still have another 5 miles to go!

His buddy looked kind of incredulous, declined a donut of his own, probably thinking, Yeah, dude... how do you think that choco-grease-bomb is going to be feeling in a few minutes?

When us three JBH2012 participants reconvened in the parking lot, it was decided that this is THE event to choose as your mid-December race.

Yes, this photo was staged.

Here's what makes this event a winner:

  • You can't beat the company ;-) 
  • It's FREE. 
  • It comes with FREE DONUTS. 
  • And cute little coca-cola bottles with festive pictures of Santa on them. 
  • Or kombucha, if you're so inclined.
  • As well as Mother's Circus Animals. If the Race Director keeps those cookies in the fueling mix, I'll bet we see Janae next year. 
  • the trophy...name inscribed forEVER. Lasting fame. Part of a legend. Can't beat that ;-)

Maybe next year I'll make some shirts.

Who is this crazy woman? 



14 December 2012

I'm polishing the trophy...


Winner's name to be inscribed in ballpoint pen 
on masking tape on the bottom...
for time immemorial!

The prizes are ready...

Winner gets to choose first.
Loser gets the reject.
That, of course, presumes there are multiple runners.

On-course hydration sponsorship has been secured...

The small bottles...
they're easier to hold while running and even fit into a hydration belt.

As has on-course fueling...

So much better than GU.

There will be pre- and post-race refreshments...while supplies last...


I'm even working on race shirt possibilities...

So...

ARE YOU COMING?


It's tomorrow.

Not local?

Enter virtually and run through Sunday. Send me a race report to link and be eligible for prizes! Oooooo...prizes!!!!!

Reports have already started coming in!

09 December 2012

Getting properly decked out...

This weekend kicked off by kicking me squarely in the head about as hard as a mule who's been doing his plyometrics consistently. That means I had the mother of all headaches...or one of the mothers of all headaches because I seem to get this same b*tch with some regularity. I decided today, as it was finally lifting (after having me literally at its mercy for 50 hours), that I am good with that experience and really do not ever need to have it again. *Sigh* I wish it were that simple.

After spending all of Saturday in bed with the covers over my head because the ambient light in my dark bedroom was more than I could handle...and missing my daughter's favorite concert of the year at the Dickens Christmas Fairby lunchtime today I was finally feeling 'normal' enough to stand upright without holding onto anything, take a shower and put on real clothes. And I was itching to get outside.

Conveniently, the kids were climbing the walls. It is so awesome when their "needs"...even if they don't realize it  ;-)... and my itch dovetail so nicely!

Time for a family bike ride!

Sounds fun, doesn't it?

Hahahhahaahaha!

Well, it was...after the major attitude adjustment session that occurred less than a quarter of a mile into the experience. What could anyone possibly complain about? Seriously? It is almost mid-December and it is warm enough to ride a bike along the SF Bay in short-sleeves and shorts! There was almost no wind. It's flat. We were only going slowly for 30 minutes. Seriously...what is there to complain about?

I still haven't figured out what exactly the major hissy fit was about. But it was major. The fact that I didn't blow a gasket over the pettiness is a sure sign that my headache was gone. So I was focusing on being thankful for that :)

Post-attitude adjustment...
almost having fun at this point :)

Fortunately, we were properly decked out for the activity...

Crocs with Buzz Lightyear jibbit.

Cut-off jeans shorts...
comfy...or not so much :P

We made it to the turn-around and back home without incident...miraculously. And once home, we proceeded to engage in some truly seasonal decking... this somehow involved NO fighting and NO broken ornaments...a familial first, if I'm not mistaken.


Overhead view of our Christmas tree...
Miss C is in pink at the 12 o'clock position.

Things are kind of thick on the bottom...but that's understandable when the decorators are all under 4 and a half feet tall and the tree is over 10! 

We hope to get the star on top working 
but have yet to find the end of that last string of lights
into which we must plug it!

Next up...slathering the outside of the house with as many strings of lights as we can scrape together!

How's your weather lately?
–We had some heavy rain (remember CIM?), but lately it's been glorious.

Do you like Christmas decorations? On your own house? Or on the homes of others?
–I like decorating but don't do it so heavily that our energy bill skyrockets. I like seeing other outrageous light displays...but am glad none of them are across the street from us!

04 December 2012

Because what could be more fun than standing around in a downpour while wearing a Hefty bag?


It would probably be more fun if it were really windy, too. Like a monsoon or some such thing.

And I'm sure it would be even more fun if you were wearing your Hefty bag in that windy-ass downpour and running.

Okay...so they're wearing ponchos not Hefty bags...
but they are definitely having FUN...am I right?

Giraffy from 365 Days of Awesome took this iconic picture...it's gone viral. I am sure because it so perfectly shows what CIM 2012 was like. For the first few hours anyway.

This past Sunday was the 30th running of the California International Marathon in Sacramento. Also this past Sunday was some of the worst weather northern California has seen in a long time. So inconvenient. As I mentioned the other day, I was so glad I wasn't running.

That phrase was repeated over and over and over on the drive up. I had dragged my non-running, non-morning person butt out of bed at 4:30, left the house by 5 to meet up with friends by 6 so we could get to Sacramento by 8...in the worst weather I've driven in in ages. Visibility was crap. I think we hydroplaned more than we didn't. It was pretty exciting. And the whole time, all 4 of us kept repeating ... I'm so glad I'm not running today.

I need to mention that we aren't all a bunch of wusses. Aron (far left in pic below) and Jessica (black jacket) had run in similar conditions the day before...in the North Face Endurance Challenge. The only real difference is that those two ran farther (41 and 31 miles respectively) and in the mud. And Page (glasses) had served as their support person...standing out cheering and handing them food and dry clothing in the muddy pouring rain and on a sprained ankle. Looks like I was the only wuss. Owning it.


We got to Sacramento and decided to aim for the 10-mile mark as our first cheering platform, thinking that we'd be there in time to see RoseRunner (who was gunning for a sub-3) fly by. We ended up parking farther away than we had hoped and walked up a big hill to the course. Woe is us...we had to walk for a couple of minutes in the rain :( Actually we were all laughing and joking around and having a great time...even Aron and Jessica who had really stiff, sore legs...and Page who was wearing a massive ankle brace...oh, and me who was wearing f*cking flipflops (at the time I thought that was a genius move so I wouldn't get my shoes all wet...not so genius...very slippery and cold).

Here is what we saw near the 10-mile mark as we waved and clapped and screamed things like...

GO, RUNNNNERRRRRRRRZZZZZZ!!!!!
Looking strong, runners!!!!!
Way to go, people!
blah, blah, blah...

And yes, I did wear the Hefty bag.

These runners were ahead of the 3:05 pacer and ran past shortly after we got there.
Note orange cone in the background and puddle size adjacent to the curb... 
this comes into play just a few photos down.

RoseRunner (bright pink shirt) ran past right after the 3:05 pacer...
and was so fast (3:11 finish time) that we never saw her again.
Ignore the excited white oblong thing protruding from the right side of the picture.


The Faster Bunny (with wet bunny ears and red shorts) dashed by near the 3:35 pacer.
Around this time we saw a whole bunch of people we knew...
Kristin
I can't remember everyone...I'm sorry...
blogfriend fail :(

Page was then attacked by a banana!

The rain was off and on crazy heavy and REALLY F*CKING CRAZY heavy. And the wind gusted a lot. Any of the race recaps you might read that say...Oh, conditions weren't all that bad...well, those people were in la-la land or so in their Zone they didn't know reality. More power to them for hanging on to that delusion, but seriously, it was BAD out there.

Note orange cone on curb (left side of photo between first 2 runners). 
Same orange cone seen in a previous photo.
Note how much deeper and more expansive the puddle had gotten.
20 minutes of torrential rain will do that.
And it got worse by the time we left the area 10 minutes later.

Trying to get back to the car was pretty hilarious. So much rain had fallen in the 30 minutes we had spent cheering that the gutters had turned from little trickling rivulets to deep and wide raging rivers! I could easily wade through in flipflops (maybe kind of genius after all?) but my companions were in no shape to ford these massive waterways. It took a little walking around to find the path of least resistance back to the car...but we made it. Now pressed for time, we raced as best we could on side streets filled with puddles lakes to our next staging area...near Mile 19.

Sadly, we missed speedy RoseRunner :(  But we did see some other friends!

The Faster Bunny (still in red shorts and still with soggy ears)
bounds along in close proximity to the 3:35 pace group.

SF Road Warrior (red tank and black knee socks) waved, smiled 
and proclaimed CIM 2012 the 'hardest run of my life!' 

And Kristin!
aka Miss Smiley :)

We hung out at this spot for about 30 minutes and then headed toward the finish. We scored great parking right next to The Cathedral Building (if you're ever going to spectate CIM, remember this) in a cheap lot and high-tailed it to the Capitol Building. We arrived around the same time as the 3:15 pace group and missed RoseRunner again. Girl is just too dang fast.

At around 10:30 the rain stopped and by 11 it was starting to be sunny. Sort of adding insult to injury in a way. Hey, run a marathon in a freaking monsoon and when you're almost done it will suddenly become a beautiful day! Enjoy :)

We saw friends again :) I would have more pictures if the little reset button on my phone actually functioned like the camera shutter button I kept mistaking it for :P 

Sesa!

Courtney (waving) and Average Runner (staying focused).
You can see blue sky in the top right of the photo!

As soon as the 4:35 pace group went past, we collectively felt done and ready to head home. The drive home was way less exciting than the drive up...which was good because by that time the downside of my 4:30 wake-up call was beginning to take effect.

Interestingly, while I was so glad I wasn't running in that mess, I did experience what my friend and I are calling Situational Stockholm Syndrome wherein, despite the adversity...or maybe because of it...I now find myself really wanting to run a marathon.

Kudos to all who even toed the line on Sunday...you are so brave. I wish I'd been able to see all the people I know and know of! I am so proud of you for getting out there. I was pulling for you and cheering for you even if I didn't see your actual body run past me!

Maybe we should all run CIM next year. The weather will probably be perfect.

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