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?

Southernmost Half Marathon Recap

 

This was one of those moments.

Huh?

Let me set the scene for you.

Sometime early 2017:  looking for a fall half to run.  Because I live in the tropics and what better idea than to train through all levels of summer hell for a fall race.  IN KEY WEST.  Yes.  THAT Key West.

Then.  Hurricane Irma.

Not cool Irma. Not cool.

Fast forward to early 2018.  Sign up for said race in Hades.  Again.  Because one does get used to the sensation of boiling blood coursing through your veins during training runs.  Can be quite pleasant at times. 

But I digress.

Wanting to really PR for once since my very first half in 2007 – yes, it has been that long – I set my sights on lots of speed work and consistent mile times.  Twice a week I would be up and out the door before 5am, all in an effort to beat the heat.  Of course, Mr. Humidity likes to make an appearance daily and at times could make breathing a bit of a challenge.  I simply plowed forward with the mindset of, “Well, if I can train in this mess, at least I have the advantage.  Right?”

Yeah.  Not so much.

Every week, up at 4:30 every Monday for easy runs, and Thursday for speed workouts.  Saturdays I’d sleep in until 5:30 and then hit the road for LSD days.  Of course, those were much better as I had my very own Grouper Road Crew along for the ride.  Cold drinks and cloths in a bike cooler, tunes from the wireless speaker, and of course, the Grouper himself.

He doesn’t really look like this.

After a momentary panic attack about two-thirds of the way through my training plan when I discover I had counted my weeks wrong, (probably due to all those 4:30am mornings),  I realize I had less weeks to train than originally thought.  No worries, I’ll simply skip one of my cutback weeks and increase the weekend mileage a little quicker.  I got this.

If you previously happened to have followed my little corner of the internet, then you are well-acquainted with my long-running #brokeknees drama.  I am happy to report that I have officially moved on from that drama!  But now?  #brokebutt drama.

Gee, thanks.

Yup.  Once again we delve into the dark runner world of injury, this time centered around that bitchy little piriformis.  Ooooh boy, can that little flat muscle cause some BIG runner issues.  Now, being an expert at making myself crazy over training time injury maintenance, I do what every obedient runner does.  No rest, overwork the butt, and bitch the entire time.  I also did throw in weekly chiro adjustments, the hated foam roller, and standing at my desk with my leg up trying to stretch out my butt at work several times a day.

That made for some interesting looks from the coworkers.

And wept as I saw that PR slowly slipping away.

As always happens when time is running out, I had a few good long runs, mixed up with anxiety and tear-filled long runs.  Trying not to subject Grouper to more #brokebutt drama than he needed to witness, I sucked it up and limped home on more than one long run, bitching the entire time.  Sadly, prior to race day, my longest good run was only 10 miles.  No biggie, what’s another 3 miles, right?

After spending my last six weeks of training in a total crap shoot, on a beautiful Friday morning, we drop off the Wonder Mutt at the sitter’s, pack up the Mutt Mobile, and down the Overseas Highway we go.  Packet pickup took 5 minutes – all packet pickups should be at a bar on the sand if you ask me – and back to the hotel to chill before hitting the hay early.  Thank you 5:45am start time.  All those gawd-awful early morning workouts were paying off.

Saturday morning.  The humidity is pretty high, Hurricane Michael is making his way just south of the States – really Mother Nature? – and Grouper and I jump on a rent-a-scooter to make getting to the start line easier.  (Great idea if I do say so myself).  I hit up a surprisingly clean portapottie, then hang out in the start area stretching and warming up, passing the time among all the marathoners, halfers and 5kers.  And of course, petting ALL THE DOGS, which did wonders to calm the pre-race nerves.  The full marathoners get called to the start line and promptly at 5:30am, the festivities begin.  The half was supposed to start at 5:45, but kudos to the race director for delaying 15 minutes as the lines for the portapotties had gotten quite long.  An announcement was made for the 5k peeps to jump out of line, and let the half peeps do their business so we can get the show on the road.  At 6am, we were on our way!

Two things to keep in mind should you wish to indulge in such madness:

  1.  It’s still dark out at 6am in October and course lighting is definitely NOT in abundance.
  2.  Duval Street is more like a study in not face planting thanks to the road conditions.

And the biggest lesson of all – HEAD WINDS SUCK.

Me. FOR 4 STINKING MILES.

Nothing like feeling you’ve won the Powerball when your first two miles are run at goal pace, you’re on track to #PRCity, you manage to not go over the railing into the Atlantic Ocean because you’re running a pier in pitch blackness, and you have to deal with crap like Mother Nature with a bug up her dupa.  She couldn’t even make it a decent headwind, but an angled side wind.  The kind that no matter which muscley cute dudes you’re running behind, (I’m married for gawd’s sake, not dead :)), you just can’t seem to find that sweet spot that said muscley cute dudes can run blocker for you.  You know that goal pace I mentioned?

Yeah.  NO.

Miles 3-6 were spent battling a bitchy Mother Nature to the point that all I could do was try to keep putting one foot in front of the other.  Nothing more, nothing less.  Pace?  Out the window.  Conserving energy?  #jokeoftheyear.  Ignore what is now your screaming glutes?  Got that down.  Grit your teeth and hope the normally beautiful oceanside view comes to an end as quickly as possible.  Or more like just come to an end at all.  I’ve never been so happy to see a Mile 6 marker in my life.  Especially because Grouper was plunked right there, cold Angry Orchard in hand, tunes playing on the speaker, and dancing like a fool.

Best road crew ever.

Miles 6-9?  Another round of runner hell, this time due to a lovely out and back along U.S. 1, most of which was on an angle of much like the side of Mt. Everest.  There was no where you could run to find a bit of even ground unless you went up onto U.S. 1 itself; which wouldn’t have been bad, but after the slowed pace during the #headwindsfromhell portion of the program, traffic had started to pick up and becoming roadkill wasn’t really part of the next act.  Continued teeth gritting and carrying on was the only option.  Plus I knew Grouper was waiting back around Mile 9 with more Angry Orchard on hand.  Apple juice makes the world go round.

Once I was properly refueled, hugs and kisses from #bestroadcrewever, I knew I only had about a 5k to go.  Team #Brokebutt was making sure there would be no chance to revoke my membership, and a shot at #PRCity had long ago evaporated, so it was time to just finish the damn thing.  At least I had great scenery along the way as I hobbled down U.S. 1 with the Gulf to my right and a busy U.S. 1 to my left (no sarcasm here).  And of course, #bestroadcrewever buzzed up alongside me on his scooter, backing up traffic, music blaring, and shouting inspirational messages for all us runners in the vicinity.  Oh wait.  That would have been me.  Only me.  I had lost sight of just about every other runner both ahead and behind me, we had become that spread out.  Onward and upward!

Something like that.

A right turn over the bridge – thank you tailwind for once – and down into the neighborhoods adjacent to Old Town we go.  Remember I mentioned I had lost just about every other runner out there?  Not good when you come up to an intersection AND YOU DON’T KNOW WHICH WAY TO GO.  Granted I had looked over the course a few times, but when you’re dupa is broken, your previously busted up knee is starting to complain, and you’re starting to feel a bit goofy in the head – more so than usual – it gets a little nerve- wracking until you notice some nice race person had placed some cones basically MAKING you turn where you need to go.  Score one for the non-goofyheaded race peeps!

Now.  Repeat after me.  LONGEST TWO MILES EVER.

Good job.  Great audience participation on that one.

After what I swore was previously mentioned LONGEST TWO MILES EVER, the finish line was in sight.  Actually it was around a couple more corners, but I could see it in my mind.  A right turn here, a left turn there, (oh look, Schooner Wharf Bar!  I’ll be right back guys!!), and THERE YOU ARE YOU GREAT BIG BEAUTIFUL FINISH LINE!!

Let me just interject said beautiful finish was momentarily marred by large muscley sweaty dude FLYING by me with about 50 yards to go.  Why marred you say?

He was the winner of the marathon.  Yeah.  The FULL marathon.  Turns out Mr. Speedy had finished 15th OVERALL at the Ironman World Championships in Kona.

STAY IN YOUR OWN PROFESSIONAL PLAYPEN SPEEDY MCQUEENEY.  Leave the Keys to us pathetic amateurs.

A sweet little old lady handing out medals, a big hug from Grouper, and an ice cold Gatorade later, we were back on the scooter and heading back to the hotel.  I would have liked to hang out for the post race festivities, but girlfriend just wanted to get off her feet and into a nice refreshing shower.  Because.  KEY WEST.  Time to get this party started!

For all the bitching about the race conditions, it was still a well-managed race.  MultiRace puts on a good show and I would absolutely recommend any of their events.  If you’re intrigued enough to give this one a shot just remember to bring a light.  And extra apple juice.

SOMO Half

Nothing but smiles…

 

Enjoy the ride.

What is your favorite running destination?  Have you ever run a race in the tropics?

 

 

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?

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?

Friday Funny

FF weekend cats

Enjoy the ride.

Happy long weekend to those of you pulling the Monday through Friday thing!  What do you have on tap for this long weekend?  Perhaps racing in the Happiest Place on Earth?  Fighting gators during your weekend triathlon?  Whatever you have planned, may you enjoy every second of the next few days celebrating in a completely pointless life.  See ya summer!

These Wings Were Made to Fly

As I sit here crashed on my couch at Island Time Tiki Bar, Calypso taking up most of all the available cushion space,  it’s challenging to figure out where to start my recap of the Wings for Life World Run.  It wasn’t a typical “race” in any normal race terms.  Oh contraire, not in the least.  There was the usual mix of participants – serious runners (not me), weekend warriors (also not me), people just out to see what they could do (getting warmer), and just plain shenanigators (BINGO!).

shenanigator

Then there were the athletes being pushed in their wheelchairs, athletes pushing themselves in wheelchairs, and even an athlete making his way along with his cane.  The energy and anticipation at the start was palpable, due in no small part to the big screen broadcasting video of hundreds of thousands runners at their own start lines, 34 in all.  It was….well……pretty damn amazing awesomeness.

Participants - Action

This was the first race in a really, really long time that I had planned on going balls to the wall as much as I could.  The hubs was also running with me for the first time in a couple of years, and as he was nursing a hammy injury and a lingering case of the plague, we had to take that into account for our race strategy.

Excuse me, but did you say race strategy?  Who are you and what have you done with our Black Dog?

Well.  If we DID have a race strategy, it probably would have looked something like this:

  • run like a bat out of hell for the first 30 minutes when we knew the chase car would be starting
  • incorporate as many shenanigan making opportunities as possible
  • make up for the time spent causing shenanigating by running like hell again, at least until the next water stop along the route

I am happy to report this plan worked out pretty damn well for us!

After what seemed like an interminable length of time just trying to get out of the BB&T Center parking lot, (seriously, how big IS this damn lot?!), we finally made it out onto the scenic streets of Sunrise, FLA.  With NO sunglasses.

Lesson #1:  just because it looks like you won’t be running directly east, don’t ever trust your sense of direction that early in the morning.  Ever.

my eyes

Returning to the scene of the crime, we continued on our merry jaunt – happily knee pain free – for what seemed like an interminable length of time until we finally arrived at the first water stop.  Now, let me tell ya, these people know what they’re doing.  Mile 2, complete with Clif bars, Red Bull, H2O, Gatorade and portapotties.  With a line.  The dreaded portapotty line. Duhn, duhn, duuuuuhhhhnnnnnn…..

Portapotty_line

After making a valiant effort at patience – 30 seconds give or take – it was time to create a little suburban drama.  After quickly surveying the scene and knowing the chase car would be hot on our collective tails any moment, the command decision was made to…..well….blaze a new trail.  Right to the nearest bunch of bushes.  Completely runDisney style.  Hey, ya gotta go, ya gotta go.

peeing in the bushes

No elephants were violated in the taking of this picture.

As I not so discreetly did what I had to do and high-tailed it back to the road,  what do I see but the guy who had been standing in line in front of me headed for the same bushes.  With a big thank you and a thumbs up we passed like ships in the night and the hubs and I were back on our way.

No idea how the bush is currently doing….

I’d give you more specifics about the course, but since this area of Broward County is like another country to me, I can’t tell you where we were at just about any given moment.  What I can tell you is this:  the volunteers at the water  stops were amazing.  The cheering groups with their witty race signs were amazing.  The cops and PSA’s of the Sunrise Police Department were the best.  Not so awesomesauce?  That damn helicopter.

WFLWR chopper1

When that bad boy was flying overhead, you knew the chase car was stalking in the near vicinity.  Soon after stopping at the third water stop – complete with music blasting and a cheer squad – the hubby turns around and starts yelling at everyone to run for their lives.  At this point it seemed everyone around us had entered spaced-out zombie zone and had forgotten the little fact that we were being CHASED.  That is, until they saw the chase car slowly gaining ground.  What quickly ensued would have made Usain Bolt jealous.

cheetah-run_494_990x742.jpg

Aw crap.

And  just like that, our race was done.

WFLWR1

Actually, after walking another almost two miles to the next water stop it was done.  By then, the partymobiles shuttle buses had shown up to take everyone back to Party Central at the start.  But not before we took full advantage of the fact that our bus was one normally used for the students on the campus at the University of Miami.  And if you follow college sports at all, then you know there is no love lost between Miami Hurricane fans and that other school up in Gainesville.  Needless to say, we took full advantage of the situation this poor guy found himself in the middle of.  Poor guy.  Knew he was outnumbered from the start.  Didn’t even bother putting up a fight.

gatorboy

Oh Robert.  Poor, poor Robert.

Once we got back to the BB&T Center and got off our rather odoriferous mode of transportation, we were given some rather impressive bling, and were free to avail ourselves of all the bananas, oranges, water, and of course Red Bull, we could carry.  Meandering over to the runner’s village, we were free to stand in more crazy lines for tacos, beer, and even champagne.  The big screen was showing where the leading male and female Sunrise runners were out on the course, at that point currently battling baseball sized skeeters and some not so friendly Florida natives.  (Not really but it does add a little element of danger doesn’t it?)

gator

We didn’t stick around too long as it was getting quite toasty and the call of a nice long shower was singing its siren song.  Off to the homestead we went, but we were able to follow the rest of the race on the live-stream via the Wings for Life website.  Five and a half hours after the worldwide start, Giorgio Calcaterra was finally caught by the chase car outside Milan, Italy.  He ran an AMAZING 88.44 km (or 54.95 miles for those of metrically challenged).  The last female runner to be caught was Kaori Yoshida from Japan who was caught at the 65.71 km/40.83 mile mark, outside Takashima, Japan.

Sunrise was lucky enough to have the 10th female overall with Nathalie Vasseur from France.  She managed to hold off melting in the heat long enough to hold off the chase car until she hit 54.53km/33.88 miles.  Damn alligators never stood a chance against Miss Speedy Pants.

WFLWR winners

Sunrise winners Nathalie Vasseur and Simon Munyutu. (Photo courtesy of Wings for Life World Run Sunrise Facebook page.)

Looking back at the event now, it’s easy to see why so many people have returned each year.  In the three years since it’s inception, the Wings for Life World Run has seen an increase in participation each year.  The best part of all?  This year set a new record in the amount of money raised for spinal cord injury research – a whopping $7.4 million (yes MILLION!)  And when you see someone who has never taken a step, walk for the very first time due in part to the funds raised from this event, well, let’s just say it makes all the sweat, aches, pains, #brokeknees, and miles all worth it.

walking again

(Photo courtesy of Wings for Life World Run Facebook page.)

You can bet the hubby and I will be returning to this race next year, and we hope you’ll join us.  We’ll be causing as many shenanigans as possible on Sunday, May 7, 2017 once again on the edge of the Everglades.  The natives have promised to be on their best behavior.  Just don’t make the mistake of showing up in Florida Gator crap.  This time, we just may not let you on the bus. 🙂

WFLWR medal

Enjoy the ride.

Have you ever done a race with no actual finish line?  Raised money for charity?  Did it make the race feel more special?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wonder Mutt Wednesday

WMW Star Wars

 

Enjoy the ride.

Will you be running the Star Wars half marathon this weekend?  Think you may be sensing a disturbance in the force? Do you have any idea where your cat may be?

Please don’t forget as you’re running this weekend, those who can’t run themselves.  Help me help them by donating to Team Wonder Mutt as we run the Wings for Life World Run and let’s stomp help put an end to spinal cord injuries together!

When Running Is About More Than Yourself

Hey!  Look what I found!  My blog! Yayyyyyyy!!!!!

yay turtle

Yipppeeeee!!!!!

I know it’s been a crazy long time since I’ve regaled you all with tales of my shenanigans, but fear thee not!  I’m back. Pretty much.  Still trying to coordinate all the nonsense that makes life….well…LIFE.  Hang in there my faithful peeps.  I have all kinds of glorious tales lined up for you.  Stress, school, shenanigans, surgeries, spinning, puppies, paddleboarding, trips, and general madness and mayhem, just to name a few.  I’ll be catching you up on all the latest and greatest in the chaos that is the Black Dog world.  But that is for another day.

Right now though, it’s time for what shall be a glorious Black Dog return to racing! (Please keep in mind I consider complete and utter gloriousness simply putting one foot in front of the other for more than 8 feet without falling flat on my face).  After three months of pavement-less days, I have returned to my first love.  And I’m not talking just Moose Tracks, mutts, and margaritas here people.  Nope, uh huh, no way.  We’re talking honest to goodness RACING.  Like with a bunch of other peeps racing.  People ALL AROUND THE WORLD RACING.  AT THE SAME TIME!

“What are these shenanigans you speak of Black Dog?” you may ask.  Well, let me tell ya.  One thing that has always meant so much to me and a lot of other runners  too, is running for those who can’t.  Believe you me kiddos, knowing there are so many people out there who are unable to take even one step has helped me get through many a mile when all I wanted to do was call it quits.  That’s why my first race after Knee Gate Part II means so much.  Thanks to fellow Browardite and shenanigator Hokeyboy, I found out about this uber cool race that has NO FINISH LINE.  Crazeeee, right?!?  How can a race have no finish line, Black Dog?” you may ask.  Well, LET ME TELL YA.

Wings for Life World Run is just that – a world run.  On May 8th, runners from all over this hunk of rock we call home will be taking to the streets to run while raising funds for spinal cord injury research.  The coolest part?  100% of all registration fees and funds raised go to research.  How awesomesauce is THAT kidaroonies?!?  And that no finish line thingamahoozie?  Well, you just keep running until the official Chase Car catches up to you!  Yeppers kiddies, a chase car!  Thirty minutes after the runners cross the start line, the car is hot on the trail.  Okay, maybe “hot” isn’t exactly accurate.  More like turtle pace speeds to start.  Then each hour, it speeds up just a little more until the fastest runner is caught.

No, no, not THAT kind of caught sillykins.  Getting caught is actually a good thing!  “Why is that Black Dog?” you may ask.  Well, LET ME TELL YA.  Once you get passed, you the get to hop on a party barge!  Said party barge then takes you back to the start to engage in further post-race party shenanigans!  Party shenanigans that include shenanigating with the very peeps your donation money is helping out!

Now, from what I understand from Hokeyboy’s review of this most amazing day, meeting those whom your generosity is helping can be quite an emotional experience.  (Cue the sappy tears just thinking about it here.  It’s okay,  No judging from this Mistress of Sappiness.)  It can definitely help keep things in perspective when you’re having one of those runs and just want to throw in the shoelaces.  At least it does for this Queen of Busted Knees and Ibuprofen. As crappy a run as you may be having, at least you’re running.  Which is a whole lot more than those suffering from spinal cord injuries can do.

wheelchairs

You know what’s coming now my faithful followers.  Time for me to appeal to the generous hearts I know so many of you have.  Since I needed to make my return to racing about something so much bigger than just a pair of somewhat recovered #brokeknees, it seemed only appropriate to help those who can’t race today, maybe race some day.  And I need your help to do just that.

I’ve set up the Team Wonder Mutt page here.  As I’ve never been very good at this whole asking people for money thing, I set a very modest goal amount of $200 to start,  Imagine my surprise when, after only a week, I had already met that goal! (Thank you so so much to my friends and family who already donated!  You guys ROCK!)  Never being one to settle for mediocrity, what I’d like to do now is see just how much you guys can help me DOUBLE my goal amount!  Yes, my faithful Black Dog Bubbykins!  You go right ahead, pull out those credit cards that have just recovered from Christmas, and DONATE AWAY!  I promise it will result in nothing more than a warm, fuzzy feeling inside from helping those who want nothing more than simply to put one foot in front of the other.  And in the immortal words of Larry the Cable Guy, let’s…..”GIT ER DONE!”

wings for life

Let me take a moment and extend a very, very warm thank you to those who have already donated and to those of you who are already pulling out the plastic.  You guys are a big part of why I love this sport so much, and put up with all the aches, pains, and surgeries that I do.  If it wasn’t for you, a lot more people would never be able to put one foot in front of the other ever again.

For more information on this amazing event, please visit the Wings for Life World Run page here.  I promise, you’ll be glad you did.

 

Enjoy the ride.

Have you ever participated in a race like this?  Do you try to make your running about something bigger than yourself?  How did it make you feel?

 

Friday Funny

March Madness is in full swing here at Black Dog Productions.  Last year’s champion is slightly behind after the fist round, but there’s still plenty of time to make up for some boneheaded losses.  (Yale?  REALLY???)

March Madness 2016

 

Enjoy the ride.

Has March Madness taken over your home/office?  Is it always the one person who knows absolutely nothing about college hoops who always ends up winning the jackpot?

 

 

Setbacks: A Study in Patience

Of which I have none.

impatient

So here’s the dealio.  Just as I’m about to break up with PT Pam, #brokeknee decides to act up.  BIG time.  I’d been pushing my speed for short bursts during my last few runs.  If for no other reason than I haven’t been able to do any speed work for years.  Yes, you read that right.  YEARS.  Soooo, last Monday at my PT session, PT Pam puts me on the treadmill.  Where, once again, I say to myself, “Self?  Let’s see what you can do on this horrible thing, shall we?”  Now, knowing the speed on the dreadmill is WAY off in comparison to the pretty little numbers I’ve been seeing on my trusty GPS, I kept hitting the speed plus button.  And hitting it.  And hitting it again.  All the way to that lovely point I lovingly call the death pace.  You know the one.  The speed where lead legs kick in, stitches stick in your side, and breathing is a long-lost, fond memory.

C'mon Bridge, we got this.

C’mon Bridge, we got this.”

I had that blasted machine going faster than what it was telling me, and I started to suspect I hadn’t moved my dupa that fast since I was about 12.  But, I managed to keep it going at breakneck speed for a couple of minutes.  As I kicked it back for a cooldown, I started feeling a bit of discomfort in the spot.  You know. The SPOT.  The one started all this aggravation many, many, many moons ago.

Later that night and into the next day, that old familiar ache was back.  And I was PISSED.  When I went back to PT Pam a couple of days later – for what was SUPPOSED to be our big breakup – I was still pissed.  She figured I’d aggravated my….wait for it…..IT BAND.  (Cue dramatic music here).  You know what I’m talking about.  The same no-good IT band I thought was the source of all this crap for the past few years.  Yeah….THAT one.  I swear sometimes I’m cursed.

Angry bird's got nothing on me.

Angry bird’s got nothing on me.

All that bitchin’ aside, I’m happy to report the ache has subsided quite a bit, but my first run back beachside wasn’t nearly as pleasant as I would have liked.  Thank goodness the hubby ran with me.  (I don’t think he realizes how much he pushes me just by being next to me.  And that is a very good thing.  Just don’t tell him, I wouldn’t want it to go to his head.:)

I’m trying to take all of this in stride – no pun intended – and stop all the crazy thoughts of here we go friggin’ again – from racing around in my already overloaded, game-show-dollar-machine brain.  I’m yelling “plot twist!” and changing up the game for a couple of weeks.  I’m headed to the Keys in a few weeks and there’s no way I’m NOT running in that tropical paradise.  In order to get me there, the game plan will be all about biking, swimming, and walking.  I’m still going to breakup with PT Pam tomorrow, but I feel good about it.  Especially since I can do all the exercises on my own, and have pulled out and dusted off my trusty little muscle stim machine and foam roller.  Oh, and did I mention hitting the leg weights?  HARD?  If there’s one thing this runner chick has learned, it’s to embrace the sweat, pain, and tears of the cross-train.

leg day toilet

Any words of encouragement would come in pretty handy right now, so feel free to share any interesting, inspiring, little ditties of wisdom.  Or you can just yell at me to quit my whining and get my ass back in gear.  You wouldn’t be the first.  If you happened to be peeking in my bedroom window yesterday you would’ve seen me doing the same thing in the mirror.  BEFORE I called the cops about some creep peeking in my window.  But thanks for the good intentions.  Creep.

Enjoy the ride.

What inspiring words of wisdom do you have for a friend in need?  Are you the arm-around-the-shoulders type of or more the Jillian-Michaels-scream-your-head-off type?  What do you respond to more?  Are you a fountain of patience or ready to ram your head through the door after a minor setback in training?

#KneeGate 2015: The Adventure Continues

It’s been a while since we checked in on the progress of #KneeGate2015, so let me regale you with an update.  Because I KNOW you’ve just been loving the cliffhanger that has become the Tale of the Broke Knee.  Haven’t you?  Come on, you know you have….

Tellmemoretellmemoretellmemore!!!!!!

Tellmemoretellmemoretellmemore!!!!!!

So here we are, just shy of six weeks post op.  And let me tell ya.  This girl, THIS girl, is my new hero.

PT Pam, meet Black Dog world.  World, meet PT Pam.

PT Pam, meet Black Dog world. World, meet PT Pam.

In the past three weeks, with her expertise, patience, and the uncanny ability to not go off the deep end when I ask her every five minutes, (literally, EVERY five minutes), “sooooooo, can I run yet?”, PT Pam has gotten this stubbornass, stiff, achy #brokeknee to start acting like a knee should.  Bend more?  Sure.  Straighten all the way?  No problem.  Lift some weight again?  I gotcha.  It’s like she’s some kind of friggin’ miracle worker.

No, not that one.  BETTER.

No, not that one. BETTER.

If it sounds like I’ve got some kind of hero worship going on, I DO.  Three weeks ago, after a very, let’s say, disillusioning, visit with the surgeon, my attitude wasn’t the best.  After a few visits to PT Pam the Miracle Worker, this Black Dog brain is in a much better place.  MUCH better.  Like rolling in vats of Moose Tracks and margaritas kind of better place.

That's the one.

That’s the one.

This mutt has her dupa back in the gym, back on the bike, banging out baby squats, (who knew there was such a thing?), and fighting the urge to take the mph on the treadmill just a little bit higher.  I’m not quite THAT stupid.  Well, then again….

Okay, so I'm an idiot.

Okay, so I’m an idiot.

If it were not for the fear of screwing things up for this year’s Splash and Dash Wine and Dine, I might have just pushed it a little too far, too fast.  Then again, there’s always the very possible, very REAL fear of a Kellie beatdown.  Or getting beat over the head with one of Nicole’s oars.  Yeah, I’m not THAT stupid.  Usually.

Hmmmmmm.....

Hmmmmmm…..

In the meantime, my constant harassment of PT Pam shall continue, I’ll keep pushing the limits of my pain level, and I’ll keep looking at that date on the calendar.  You know the one I’m talking about.  Come on now kids. Say it with me.

Ommmmmmm........

Ommmmmmm……..

 

Enjoy the ride.

Ever found yourself chomping at the bit to get back to the road before being cleared for it?  Did the fear of re-injuring yourself keep you in line?  Have you ever dreamt about taking a running leap into a pool full of margaritas?