Race Decisions – When Are You Being Too Picky?

Decisions, decisions.

UGH.

Lawd help me…

I’ve been running races on and off since high school.  Which, considering that took place in another millennium, that adds up to a lot of racing.  ALOT.  Some were awesome (all the Disney races), some stunk, (I Care I Cure 5k), and some were someplace in between, (Race for Women’s Wellness Half Marathon).  Each one a learning experience in it’s own right.

As I start looking at the calendar to pick my races for this year – and I’d like there to be more than the 1 or 2 I did last year, because, ya know……..LIFE – I get this feeling I may have set my requirements for races just a tad high.  By all means, please weigh in here.

Now, I’m not talking I need to have Disney-level race insanity for every race – nice as that may be – but my wallet certainly couldn’t afford said insanity.  But a few racer-friendly perks are always a good thing in my opinion.  Here are my top requests in case any race directors happen to be paying attention:

Manned water stations and/or appropriately supplied:  I did a 10k on New Year’s Eve 2017 along the beach in Boca Raton.  The two minutes you could actually watch the sun rise over the ocean was lovely, but once you turned off into one of the local neighborhoods, the scene wasn’t so pretty.  The one water station around Mile 4ish had one poor guy and his young son ferverishly trying to get water poured and out to the few hundred saps slogging by.  A couple of miles through the neighborhood brought us back to the same water station, only to find it both unmanned and out of water.  I was pretty much running in the middle of the pack, so I can only imagine how much worse it got for the runners behind me in the typical south Florida humidity that never seems to go away.  Now I know how difficult it can be to find enough volunteers for events like this.  However, this race has been taking place every year for the past 39 years.  Yes, 39 YEARS.  You think just maybe they might have stuff like this figured out by now, especially in the tropics?

Kids get their own race:   Make no mistake, I am ALL about kids putting down their phones and getting outside to move.  But if you’re doing everything you can to keep from running them over because they’re fully engaged in the “let’s sprint for 50 yards then come to a dead stop in front of some poor, unsuspecting sap whose brakes don’t work as well” mode, then the kiddies need to have their own kid moment of glory, if for no other reason than this poor unsuspecting sap’s knees can’t take emergency braking every 50 yards.

If you’re doing swag, do it right:  One word. DriFit.  I’ll pay an extra few bucks on the reg fees.

Use your outside voice:  Let it rip at the start people.  Especially for those saps like me who prefer to start at the back of the pack and haven’t had any mochaccinos before the start.  We can’t hear you chatting it up with the serious speed queens in the front row when you suddenly drop a “oh, let’s get this race started shall we?”  And pack up those obnoxious bullhorns.  They don’t work either.  Good option – put that local cheerleading squad to work.  Megaphones aren’t just for football anymore.

Take that constructive criticism seriously:   I can only imagine some of the ridiculous requests race directors see when they get their post-race surveys back.  However, there may be one or two that are actually good ideas that don’t cost anything extra to incorporate into the race day planning.  Like perhaps noting on the race website that drivers in the area ARE CRAZY AND DON’T PAY ATTENTION TO WHERE THEY’RE GOING SO FOR GAWD’S SAKE, KEEP YOUR HEAD ON A SWIVEL.

No lady, I’m not sorry for scaring the crap out of you when I slammed a paw on the hood of your car as you looked right at me and hit the gas anyway.

All of the above noted requests, along with a few others (location, cost, registration fees, charity, etc) help me determine which races will hit my calendar in any given year.  My question for you is this.

Am I being too picky in what I want/need/expect from a race?

In my immediate area, 5k’s are rampant, 10k’s practically non-existent, half marathons are not too bad, and full marathons seem to be everywhere.  As I have yet to PR my half, I always have a few to choose from to maybe someday actually get it done.  My hesitation mainly stems from most of them, while geographically desirable, are not always the most convenient to actually get to, requiring one of those classic Disney 3am wake up alarms in order to have enough time to get ready, travel, park, get to the start, and warm up.  Plus, I know for logistical reasons, many in this area are held on Sundays.  Having a Monday-Friday desk job, a Sunday half doesn’t always equate to feeling so well the next day when you’re stuck in a chair and can’t really keep loose to fight off the DOMS.

It’s a conundrum.

Not this kind. Sadly.

As 2019 brings me to yet another year of debating which races will hit my schedule, I can only say this.  Every year I am eternally grateful that I have the ability and the resources to keep up with this crazy little hobby of mine.  Like anyone, I like to get the most bang for my buck and that is true for each race I consider.  Sometimes I wonder though.

Maybe I’d be better off just closing my eyes and pointing a finger?  Seems to always work well in my wine cooler.

Who’s a happy girl?

 

Enjoy the ride.

 

What helps you determine what races you will participate in? What are your race pet peeves?  Have you ever responded to a race survey?

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Come Sit By Me

As things were pretty non-existent for a while around these parts, I figured it would be a good time to catch up on life.  So pull up a pool chair, order a margarita, and let’s chat a bit.

Salut!

I WANNA DO-OVER

Let’s just say 2018 has been a total poop show.  It’s always tricky deciding how much we want to reveal of our personal details in the blogosphere, and it’s no exception here.  Let’s just say, the Black Dog staff had some MAJOR medical issues come up, but thankfully, all pulled through and the recovery process is moving along nicely.  Word to the wise: when you have a bellyache for a week, don’t give your significant other grief when the doc says to get your dupa to the hospital.  And once you’re there, thank your lucky stars said significant other is too stubborn to let you leave.  2018 could have ended a whole lot worse than it started, so we are happy to leave it in the dust.

THE WONDER MUTT STILL REIGNS SUPREME

This girl.

Beware the snoot……

Still just as silly, still a splash queen, still the BESTEST WONDER MUTT EVER, even if she has gotten a little more “sun exposure”.  She is the love of my life, my confidant, my fashion consultant, my workout buddy, bestie and running partner.  And yes, her Daddy gets it and makes sure to occasionally give me grief about it.  Maybe if he met me at the door at night wiggling his butt with a hedgehog in his muzzle, he’d rate right up there beside her too. 🙂

Do you like my hedgehog?

AGING SHOULD ONLY APPLY TO FINE WINE 

Have I ever told you I’m the youngest of five kids?  Yup, FIVE.  How the heck my parents did it is completely beyond my comprehension, especially since I have enough trouble with a husband a dog.  I hit another decade last year and fighting Mother Nature with everything I’ve got.  As much as I despise admitting it, all those articles about your metabolism slowing down each decade are absolutely true.  Mine however, has decided to just plain check out.  I swear I just LOOK at a mini peanut butter cup – LOOK – and POOF!  That’ll cost you another five pounds lady.  I know I did not do well when I was recovering from my two knee surgeries, but dammit Mother Nature, can you cut me a bit of a break here??  I turned half my garage into a gym, tuned up the bike, and kick my own dupa six days a week.  And still.

Nothing.

Nada.

I’m coming for your hips lady….

Hello Jabba the Black Dog.

There is nothing more frustrating than forcing your muscles to lift more, run faster (well try to anyway), pedal away the miles, eat enough veggies that you swear you’re turning green, and still nothing.  The hubs tells me I look great and there’s only so much I can do.  But this is ME.  Stubborn, concrete-headed, determined, refusing to give up, and just plain pissed off.

Ladies?  Ya see what I’m sayin’??

I understand everything is a balancing act.  I cannot obsess about calories in/out, but I do pay some attention to what I shove in my yap.  If only there weren’t so many amazing tastes out there!  Drink half my weight in water most days, but then…..WINE.  Sweat my dupa off in the Island Time Sweat Box then find that creating cocktails is kind of fun.  What’s a girl to do?  If any ladies out there suffering from a slowing metabolism and uncooperative genetics have any ideas, by all means – feel free to share.

Then we can down those margaritas. 😉

PRIORITIES MOVE LIKE THE TIDES

There’s nothing like a good old life scare to make you step back and re-evaluate what’s important.  For all my metabolism bitching, in the big picture it means nothing.  The love and health of family and friends, the health and happiness of your critters, slowing down life for a minute and enjoying a sunset with a special someone and a good glass of cabernet, traveling outside your comfort zone and embracing adventure, that’s what life should be all about.  Not making enough money?  Live within your means and be happy you have a job when so many others don’t.  Angry the man of the house keeps forgetting to put the toilet seat down?  At least he’s there to forget to do it.  Living with what seems to be a case of a permanent bad attitude?  Make the effort to do something nice for someone else and then try to fight that smile that’s tugging at the corners of your mouth.  Without question what was important to me 20 years ago is nowhere near what it is now.  We all have personal trials we go through and times in our lives when it seems like everything is a big pile of dog poop.  Then something happens to make you realize your poop amounts to nothing.  NOTHING.

LIFE IS WHAT YOU MAKE OF IT

Races. Travel. Laughter.  Great friends and great times.  Funny how the simplest things have the biggest impact on your life.  Some of the best times I’ve ever had included a glass of wine, music, friends, dogs, and a simple backyard fire at this great little tiki bar I know.  It’s easy to find things to be grateful for each and every day, if you just take the time to stop and notice.  A helpful coworker, a smile from a stranger, a funny joke made by a passing runner at a race – all good things.  So my advice to you as I bring this recap of sorts to a close, is to appreciate the life you’ve been given and everything that makes it awesome.  You only get out of life what you put into it, so make that little extra effort, especially this time of year, when so many feel so lonely.  It costs nothing to thank a veteran or first responder for their service (dispatchers too!), or to help a senior citizen load groceries in their car.  Little things go a long way and people always remember the little things.

My challenge to you this day is to do some little thing for someone else.  Pay for their coffee, hold a door open, give their dog a biscuit (after making sure it’s ok of course!), then come back here and share what you did.  I guarantee you will feel a bit better about yourself and life in general.  Perhaps if we all do a little something for someone else, this tide of animosity that seems to be overtaking our lives will turn back just a little bit.

And little bits can change the world.

 

Enjoy the ride.

What little thing makes you smile?

Full Circle. Almost. Again.

In the last installment of Black Dog shenanigans here, we left you on the edge of your seats, (just work with me here people), waiting to see how the latest attempt at post-surgical recovery/rehab shenanigans was moving along.  My angel-winged running neighbor had recommended this GUY, who, as it turns out, has proven to be the man.  As in THE Man.  As in, after more than two years since all of this #brokeknee crap started, has actually been able to, ya know – FIX MY SHIT – and get me running kind of like a normal running person does.

elmo dance.gif

I’ll make this short as I know your attention span isn’t any better than mine.

Wait.

What?

Was I saying you something?

Oh yeah.  Running rehab shenanigans.

Anywho, this GUY, not only shoved a finger in that lovely area known as the piriformis, which was immediately followed by a string of cursing the like has never emitted from my goody two shoes yap –

incredulous-owls

Lady, you’re not fooling anyone.  Stop embarrassing yourself.

– but within about 10 seconds had figured out what was actually broken THIS TIME.  Say it along with me kids…

“Since you’ve got a completely shut down broke ass on your right side, your left side has stepped up to the plate, tried to do the work for both sides, and has now decided it’s had enough of this malarky.  It’s sending you the message, with all due respect, to go eff yourself, it’s tapping out.”

Well now.  That’s pretty…..specific.

What’s a frustrated runner idiot girl to do?  Get to work of course.  On BOTH sides of dear ol’ broke ass.

get back to work.jpg

The next few weeks consisted of such insanity as hip and glute strength building, cursing at my new BFF Torture Tony, Elastigirl-like stretching sessions, more cursing, zapping, icing, resistance band exercises I have to determine the validity of or if Torture Tony was just effing with me, more cursing, and oh yes….running.  Remember running?  That bastard of a sport that started all this nonsense in the first place?  That activity over which us runner idiots types have no power to ignore, like a mythological siren’s song?   Yeah, that one.

Jackass.

crying runner.png

After sweating and swearing through four weeks of visits to the GUY and Torture Tony, I was as ready as I could be.  I tried to ignore the knots in my gut that kept telling me…

Too bad you didn’t find these guys a year ago.”

You haven’t run further than 9.5 miles before your leg implodes, you know.”

“You’re an idiot.”

“There’s a big, fat Ghiradelli sea salt dark chocolate bar in the freezer.”

“Could you possibly be any more undertrained for this if you tried?”

“You’re an idiot.”

“You’re going to have so much kinesio tape on your leg you may get mistaken for a mummy.”

“Have I mentioned you’re an idiot?”

Next up, the final chapter.  Thrilled this painful journey is almost over aren’t ya?  It’s okay.  I understand.

resting-bitch-face-dog-3

Seriously. Killing me.

Enjoy the ride.

How long have you given a new type of therapy before giving up on it?  Have you ever had to apologize for swearing at your doctor?  Did you find the therapy got a bit more “intense” after unleashing on him/her?  Do you have cute pet names for him/her?

Full Circle…Almost

We came, we saw, we conquered.  Sort of.

wine and dine

So.  We meet again.

If your attention span is in any way even minutely better than mine, then you would know what a big deal this year’s adventure to the Wine and Dine was going to be.  This is going to take a while – and a few episodes – so sit back, grab yourself a nice fat ‘rita, a couple of ice packs, and maybe hook up that TENS unit for a bit.  Because gawd knows my attention-deficient brain won’t be able to hang in there long enough to get through the entire adventure in one shot.  Besides, cliffhangers are more fun anyway.

After #brokeknees Part 1 and 2 finally came to an end – almost – it was time to get on that training train again and start pulling on the whistle.  ‘Cause DAMN, those miles weren’t going to run themselves.  It was time to grab those pretty new pink ASICS and get to work.

After having my “less damaged” knee parts fixed a year ago, (for those of you new to the nonsense, that’s #brokeknee Part 1 in last April AND #brokeknee Part 2 last November.  Because just one knee surgery is never enough), I was over the whole –

a.   You’re not getting any younger so it may take longer to heal

b.   Can’t you just do something else?

c.   You really shouldn’t run, it’s bad for your knees

d.  You need to stop running immediately  kind of moose poop.

(Thank you runner friends for completely GETTING me on this crap).

hug10

Every time I’d think I was FINALLY getting somewhere, something else would go to total crap.  Lessons learned?  Hoka One One’s are NOT knee friendly for this girl.  Next one?  Never settle for just one opinion.  Lesson three:  sometimes being a concrete head (as the hubs often calls me:), can come in damn handy when you have no intention of throwing in the towel.  The biggest lessons I learned?  Husbands and Wonder Mutts can be your biggest supporters, and chiropractors fluent in the language of Active Release Therapy are worth their weight in GOLD.

After what was yet even MOREIAMSOSICKOFTHISDAMNFRIGGINPAININMYKNEES setbacks with my training, I was at my wit’s end.  I had gone back to embracing the Galloway run-walk-run method, was only training two days a week, and fully acknowledged the fact this race would have to be all about finishing the distance and not about the time.  (Or so I at least tried to convince myself. #concretehead).

Then an angel happened to flap her wings in my general direction.

I have a neighbor friend who is as obsessed about running as I am.  The difference is she is actually really good at it.  REALLY good.  She’s a few years older, (falls into that dreaded Masters category), and has consistently finished in the top three at every event she’s competed in.  She’s fast, strong, and could pull off the cover of any fitness magazine WITHOUT any photoshopping needed.

And suddenly found herself riding the injury train right alongside me.

Did I mention we’re good friends and like to share?chagrined_chimp

As my neighbor buddy didn’t really blame me for my need to overshare on the injury front, she did the kind neighborly thing and told me about THIS GUY she had been going to who was doing some really cool stuff to fix her very own case of #brokeknee, including such neat stuff as TENS acupuncture, gua sha, and compression icing.  Photo updates from her visits quickly became a source of “holy crap, that looks….interesting”, “he’s doing WHAT?!”, and a few “what the hell is THAT?!” comments.

Now, being a complete victim of FOMO, I had to get in on this out-of-the-norm rehab action.  The bad thing?  The doc’s office was entirely too geographically undesirable.  As in an entire county and way too much traffic insanity away.  However, said doc worked with another awesome GUY who did the same kind of stuff and had an office in a much more geographically desirable location.  (Insert happy Black Dog dance here.)

seinfeld happy dance

Stay tuned for the next chapter of “WTF is Really Wrong With the Parts and How We’re Finally Going to Fix Them”.  It’s a nail biter.

Seriously.

My literary non-talent has Wonder Mutt gnawing hers off as we speak…..

resting-bitch-face-dog-3

You’re killing me lady.

Enjoy the ride.

 

Have you ever refused to give up when injured?  Have you ever explored “alternative” forms of injury rehab/recovery?  What were they and did they work for you?

Friday Funny

We’re officially in final countdown mode for the Wine and Dine Half Marathon, so what better way to honor this longstanding tradition than by paying homage to that wonderful little creation…..the grape.

ff-wine

Enjoy the ride.

Show of paws – who’s going to be part of the upcoming madness in November?  How many of you have your last long run/taper run this weekend?  Who’s completely befuddled about what time to actually get up that morning with the time change taking place the same day?

Wonder Mutt Wednesday

As many of us are in the middle of fall half/full marathon training,  Calypso the Wonder Mutt thought this was only too appropriate for the occasion.  Happy Hump Day hoomans!

wmw-running-shoes

 

Enjoy the ride.

How many of you run with your mutts?  Have you ever been embarrassed to be seen in public wearing the same thing?  Do you tend to ignore the runner hooman and lavish attention on the pooch instead during your runs?