Tag Archives: Family

 HAWAII, KITTENS, AND AGE GROUP AWARDS, OH MY! (or, what I’ve been up to since my 50 mile race)

Widget Medal

Our newest medal model, Widget

After my 50 mile race on April 29th, May arrived and flew by in a flash. Though I only logged about 80 miles of running that month (my lowest monthly mileage since 2012), I guess I had a few good excuses.

First was my trip to Hawaii. OH MY GOODNESS WHERE ARE ALL THE PICTURES?!?!?! Well, though I was in paradise, it was nonetheless a business trip in paradise. I took some pictures but the business at hand left little time for exploring outside of the Honolulu city limits. That’s not to say I didn’t have a blast. Waikiki is full of great shopping, bars, restaurants, and beautiful ocean views. Though the weather was perfect for outdoor running, the amount of tourists and some scary, sun-fried locals made me cautious about running outside by myself. Alas, all the miles I logged while in Hawaii were on the hotel treadmill. Shout-out to Maui Brewing Company for having some delicious beers, and to the person who invented the Mai Tai.

The morning after I landed in Michigan, after sleeping in until 11am because I had just flown through a billion different time zones, Shawn whisked me away to a belated birthday brunch (oh yeah, I had a birthday while in Hawaii). Suspiciously, he grabbed our cat carrier before we departed. We had been casually looking at kittens available for adoption but suddenly I realized Shawn’s longing for a kitten was serious. He had something up his sleeve. After having lunch at the New Hudson Inn (they stopped serving breakfast at 11am, jerks), Shawn drove us to a local Pet Supplies Plus that was having an adoption event. Long story short- Laura spots black kitten, Laura holds black kitten, Shawn and Laura walk out with black kitten. Black kitten is now Widget.

During the joy that comes with raising a kitten, the first week Widget was in our home, I unfortunately missed some issues going on with our existing kitty, Beans. Shawn mentioned he didn’t eat much while I was in Hawaii but I selfishly attributed it to him being anxious that I was away. After Widget’s arrival Beans began to eat less, rarely use the litter box, and hid away from us. After the first couple days I blamed it on stress from the new kitten. But by mid-week I was concerned. He began vomiting regularly and showing absolutely no interest in food. He stopped purring, meowing, and acting like his normal cheerful self. By Thursday night I decided he needed immediate help and took him to the emergency vet in town. After examining him until 1:30am, it was found Beans had Pancreatitis, a UTI, and a possible mass showed up on an X-ray. My poor baby kitty had to spend all of Memorial Day weekend in the hospital recovering while Shawn, Widget, and I went up North to my parent’s home in Charlevoix for the first time in a year. It’s been over a week since Beans has been home, and I wish I could say he’s made a 100% recovery. However, he has a follow-up appointment tomorrow to find out for sure about that possible mass. In short, I’ve been an absolute mess. I blame myself for him getting sick and I just want my normal chatty, affectionate, goofy, kitty back.

In the midst of Beans’ illness, I ran my first race since my 50 miler, the Miles For Mankind Half Marathon in Westland, MI this past Saturday. I finished in a time of about 2:13ish, which while slow, was still my fastest half marathon time in over three years. To quote our current president: Sad! But it also gave me hope that faster times are ahead. Since this was a small race, my completely non-impressive time was somehow enough for me to win 3rd in my age group. I got a lovely green ribbon that you can see modeled by my Widget.

Before I knew it, May was completely over and June was upon me, leaving 13 weeks until my next 50 miler. I’m happy to report that in addition to the 13.1 miles I ran in Westland, I was able to log 48 total miles this past week. My butt is officially in gear. I have a lot more “life” being thrown at me lately- a sick kitty, a busy job, a house, a husband who sometimes appreciates having me around, but I’m determined to rock North Country in August.

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Unlucky #13: The Ann Arbor Marathon

Way back in 2014, I was in great shape and setting PR’s like a champ. It’s been nothing but a sharp nosedive from greatness since, but I do marvel at my accomplishments three years ago. In March of 2014 I set my half marathon PR of 1:50:10 at the Ann Arbor Half Marathon, a very hilly course that in no way should have inspired record-setting speed from me. To this day I have no idea how I pulled that off; to put things in perspective, I returned to run the Ann Arbor Half in 2015 and finished more than 35 minutes slower. Hoping to redeem myself, I did register again in 2016, but after a fun night out with Shawn I woke up race day morning with a hangover, looked at the freezing temperature, said “fuck that”, and got back into my warm bed.

I had never skipped out on a race due to laziness, and guilt inspired me to do something pretty stupid at the end of last year- I registered for the FULL marathon in Ann Arbor as my penance. Never mind that the full was a double loop (ew!) and in March (when Michigan’s weather goes on the rag). Not only would it make up for my misdeeds, but training for a March marathon would inspire me to get my butt out the door during the most miserable months of the year.

As you’ve read in previous posts, I joined up with friends who were training for a 50 miler on their weekend long runs to train for Ann Arbor. A gentle twist of the arm saw me signing up for the 50 miler as well, and now Ann Arbor went from “Early Spring Marathon to Keep me Motivated” to “A Mere Training Run”.

The weather leading up to Ann Arbor wasn’t terrible- pretty mild and no snow or ice. In fact, the Friday prior to the marathon was set to hit 75 degrees! Oh but in typical schizophrenic Michigan fashion the temperature would drop to 40 the next day. The forecast for race morning called for just shy of 40 degrees with a 90% chance of rain. Lovely. I kept checking my weather app hoping that through sheer positivity I could change the weather, but alas, I don’t have X-Men capabilities after all.

The night before the marathon my parents came over to see the new house and of course no visit from mom and dad would be complete without a visit to a local dive bar. Long story short, I ate a lot of bad food and drank a lot of rum. I could barely sleep thinking of everything that would surely go wrong the next day- I wouldn’t make the cutoff. I’d get drenched. I’d have to poop 50 times. When my alarm went off after a solid two hours of actual sleep I almost began crying, that’s how little I wanted to run. Thankfully a friend from the ultra training group was using the marathon as a training run as well, and accountability saw me make my way to the starting line.

Conditions the first half of the race weren’t bad- I even took off my gloves and rolled up my sleeves. As horrible as weather conditions are for Ann Arbor, you can’t deny that it’s a lovely and scenic course. It takes you through the University of Michigan’s campus, through riverfront parks, and through the Arboretum. Thankfully my tummy was on it’s best behavior and the Tailwind Nutrition was keeping my energy steady. Dare I say it, I was enjoying myself! Then, magically on cue, as soon I started my second loop of the course, the rain began to fall.

The rain started as a mist and I thought, no big deal. Then Mother Nature laughed at my arrogance and it began to pour. Areas of the course became nothing but puddles which aren’t as easy to hop around after 17 miles of running. The Arb was nothing but mud. And remember how I said it was not even a high of 40 degrees? I was absolutely miserable. At one point the Five Hour pace group leader ran up to me and asked, “You’re running slow, are you okay? Taking in enough calories?” First of all, fuck you for asking such a condescending question. Second of all, I answered a bit more diplomatically, “I’m running a marathon in the rain, I’m as good as I can be.” Mr. Happy Asshole replied, “Well I’m running a marathon in the rain too! Stick with me and we’ll finish together!” UGH. I had really wanted to finish in less than five hours but the prospect of having to listen to him for the next seven miles was enough to make me walk and accept defeat.

When I finally finished I was a soaking and shivering mess. The Mylar blanket handed to me was soaked as well but I took it anyway. In all, I finished marathon #13 in just over 5:11, which given the weather and course conditions and the fact I had run 31 miles in the week leading up to this marathon (and it was just a training run after all), I was pretty satisfied. Thankfully I was smart enough to pack a change of dry clothes and my training buddy had an office in town where we could get changed.

To put it in perspective how cold I was driving home, it took me 20 minutes to work up the courage to leave my heated truck and walk into my house. When I finally did, I spent most of the rest of the day on the couch watching comedy specials on Netflix. I treated myself to a victory Bloody Mary and lots of peanut M&M’s.

A2Marathon

My penance having been satisfied, that night I swore off running Ann Arbor ever again. However, an urge to return and break five hours has been nagging me since. I never claimed to be a quick learner.

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Making New Goals and Fighting Old Demons

A peculiar and unexpected thing happened to me as I ran the Fifth Third Riverbank 25K in Grand Rapids on May 10th. No, I didn’t shit my pants again. That’s almost expected these days. What happened was I cried for the first time during a race. These weren’t tears of pain, but rather boredom. I was literally bored to tears. After mile 8 something broke down inside of me and I began to hate every minute of that run. Physically, I was fine! I was averaging sub-nine minute miles up to that point. My mind, however, was done. It was my third long-distance event in three weeks and I was finally experiencing what all the wise people around me told me I would: Burnout.

Obviously I had some plans to adjust. Now that my house was sold and I could finally close the chapter in my life titled “Divorce Drama”,  I no longer had the need to run away. The first decision I made was to drop down to the Half Marathon in Charlevoix. I felt like a loser, but my running soul needed a break from training plans and long runs. I needed to ENJOY running again. I also decided to stick to my planned 50K in September. Trail running will be fairly new to me and I’m looking forward to the challenge (and not having to worry about speed). I can’t wait for long, leisurely, runs with friends out on the trails all summer long, with my nifty new pink Camelback that some really awesome guy bought me for my birthday.

So far I’m two weeks in to my “Don’t Follow a Plan!” plan, and I’m happy to report my love of running has returned. I’ve been doing a lot of morning runs before work and I love how a good pre-dawn jaunt sets the rest of your day up for success. Well, for the most part anyway. Another peculiar thing has been occurring as of late that has me concerned. Maybe it’s the less miles run per week paired with my ravenous appetite, but my once dormant bulimia has tried nudging its way back in to my life. The voices telling me that I’m fat and worthless and need to fill the void with food to be immediately expelled are back inside my head. I’m ashamed to admit I’ve had a relapse in the past week.

Eating disorders, like alcoholism, are never “cured”, you just learn to better control them. You may be wondering why I’m sharing this information  (hey, I am the girl who’ll talk to any willing party about poop after all). The main reason is to hold myself accountable. I need to regain that control I had over bulimia for years after letting it take my life and happiness hostage for so long. I don’t want to go through that again, or put my loved ones through that again. I may also need to seek professional help to correct my disordered eating patterns lately. I think a visit to a dietician would be beneficial, perhaps I can find one with experience working with eating disorders.

All is not lost, oh dear strangers of the Internet. Despite my recent troubles I am experiencing levels of happiness in my life I never thought possible. In fact, I think it speaks to my newly developed confidence and strength that I’m able to recognize an emerging problem and fix it right away instead of letting myself drown like I would in years past. I have a lot to be excited about in the coming months (TRAILS! SUNSHINE! MEDALS! KITTIES! MY MANLY MAN-MAN*!) and I can’t let that bitch bulimia ruin the fun.

*The word “boyfriend” sounded silly when describing a 30-year-old man, so this is the best descriptor I could produce

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Obligatory Post About 2014 Goals

Hello Dear Readers (Wow I have Readers!):

I’m about four weeks into 2014 and already I can tell it’s going to be challenging, Polar Vortex aside. Between life, work, and run-ventures I’m going to have a full year. I have a lot to look forward to and much to stress over as well, which makes every day an odd mix of excitement and anxiety. Below I’ll try to make sense of the days that lie ahead in 2014 by outlining my two major goals for the year:

1) Live on my own and enjoy it: In a month or so I’ll be moving in to my own place, all by myself, for the first time, EVER. I’ll only have myself to depend on financially and all the bills I’ll be paying out of my less-than-stellar income sure have been a wake-up call. I’m not afraid to work two jobs if need be but I’d also like to be able to enjoy time out with my friends and my hobbies. Finances aside, the freedom involved in living alone will be fun. I can run when I want, watch what I want, cook what I want, or just walk around in my underwear with the radio on full blast like I usually do when I have to house to myself.

Speaking of my less-than-stellar income, part of this goal is to make myself more marketable, whether by new certifications or by working towards a new degree. First I need to figure out what I’m good at and what I’d enjoy doing for the next 30+ years. I’m getting by, but I’d love to get ahead, and I doubt “Really good at music trivia” is a plus on a resume.

2) Finish four marathons and a 50K: Holy shit what have I done?! Marathon #1 for the year is on Sunday, the Ohio Northern University Polar Bear Indoor Marathon. You read that correctly, 211 laps around an indoor track (I can’t wait to write a race recap!). Marathon #2 will be the Salt Lake City Marathon on April 19th. I’ve pegged this one as my PR Race, and I really hope to finish in 4:15 or less if the elevation doesn’t kill me. Marathon #3 will be the Charlevoix Marathon, which is tradition. If anything I’ll look at it as a training run for my 50K. Speaking of that, I’ll be running the Woodstock 50K on September 6th. Why? I figured if I’m going to run 31+ miles, I might as well do it the year I turn 31. And last but not least, I’ll be running marathon #4 in November, the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon. If I don’t meet my time goal in the mountains of SLC, there’s always flat Indiana.

Thanks goodness I’ll have my favorite training partner Mary Beth to join in on the pain in Salt Lake City and Indianpolis. Why have I signed myself up for such madness? Well, I like the discipline of training for one. Secondly, it gets my mind off of my implosion of a personal life. Thirdly, I love running adventures with friends. The memories and laughs they create are priceless.

I’m thinking these two main goals will be enough to keep me occupied through the rest of the year. There are other smaller goals I’d like to accomplish if I have the time, such as volunteering at some races, swimming and biking more, maybe even completing another sprint triathlon. I’d also like to read more and am toying with the idea of not having a television in my new place (I doubt I’ll be able to afford cable anyway). Despite my whining about money, I am truely rich in love and support from my family and friends. No goal would be possible without them.

What are your 2014 goals? Anyone out there as crazy (or crazier) with their race schedule than I am?

 

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Charlevoix Marathon: A Weekend of Running, Family, and Road Bananas

Beans offers a congratulatory handshake.

Beans offers a congratulatory handshake.

You all know I hate writing race recaps/reviews/whatever you call them, simply because I’m not good at it. Someone who is good at it is Jeff over at Detroit Runner. You can read his recap of running Charlevoix here. Now, on to my nonsense-

Long story short: I did it! I finished marathon #2, the Run Charlevoix Marathon, in 4:42:42. Now, the official results page shows a different number about a minute slower. But the number I’m posting is the one the race announcer quoted as I crossed the finish line. Race Announcer Man would never lie! The “gun time” can suck it.

Short story long: I will now break down my marathon experience highlighting the most important aspects, like…

The Weather! Around 55-60, extremely humid, with a light mist. The mist felt great and helped cool me off. It also lead to some epic chafing.

The Swag! Wow, Charlevoix really outdid themselves this year! Instead of a long-sleeved tech shirt, we got a really high-quality cotton T-Shirt (gender specific!), a performance hat, and running socks with “CVX 26.2” printed on them. Nice!

The Medal! Oh, only the most beautiful medal in all marathons, in my limited opinion. You can kind of sort of see it modeled by my cat above. It’s a heavy one, with a cool stained glass effect. It really captures the beauty of Downtown Charlevoix.

Aid Stations! They were plentiful and stocked with water, Gatorade, GU, and Twizzlers (??). The volunteers were friendly. Lots of port-a-potties as well, and yes I had to use one at mile 3.

Crowd Support! Almost non-existent. This is a small race, if you thrive on cheering strangers and bands at every mile, this race is NOT for you. I, for one, zone out so much while running that the apocalypse could be occurring around me and I wouldn’t notice, so it didn’t bother me.

Scenery! The full marathon course had several beautiful views of Lake Michigan. The overcast weather added to the mystique of the water. I’m not a very religious person, but there were points where I couldn’t help but thank God for the ability to run and for the gorgeous land around me.

Best Marathon Moment! Seeing my mom, dad, and Randy (and my parent’s dog Barley) cheering me on at mile 24. I wasn’t expecting them to be on the course at all! Their support helped me push through those final miles with a smile on my face.

Worst Marathon Moment! Stepping out of the port-a-potty at mile 3, I stepped directly into a massive puddle in the grass. My entire right foot was soaked for the remainder of the race, though with the 100% humidity I hardly noticed.

Funniest Marathon Moment! Seeing my brother Jeff wandering along the side of the road at mile 25. Apparently he grew impatient waiting for me to finish so he started walking until he saw me. “What are you doing here?” I asked. “I found you a banana if you want it. It was on the side of the road,” he replied. No, I did not eat the road banana.

All in all, it was another amazing weekend spent in Charlevoix with my family and running a PR. I would’ve liked my time to be more around the 4:30 range, but shaving 37 minutes off of my first marathon time is nothing to sneeze at. Plus I can honestly say I never hit the dreaded wall. I was sore, of course, but my energy was consistent throughout. Now, I have my sights set on the Wineglass Marathon in New York in October. Marathons are beasts, but for the first time I feel like a worthy foe.

 

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Random Thoughts: Pre-Marathon Edition

This Saturday I’ll be running my second marathon in beautiful Charlevoix, Michigan. There are lots of thoughts flowing through my little pea-brain as I lead up to this occasion. Here are a few:

1) The general non-running population has no clue what marathons are like, nor do they care. The number one question I get asked when I tell people at work I’m running a marathon this weekend is, “Oh! How many miles is that?”, which is often followed by, “Why would you do that?!”

2) I’ve been having many pre-marathon nightmares lately. My favorite so far was that I finished the marathon, but the race director refused to give me a medal unless I ran the half-marathon as well. Other dreams include forgetting my headphones, socks, or showing up to the race in high heels.

3) I don’t remember feeling as stressed and nervous leading up to my first marathon as I have for my second. Maybe it’s because I know what I’m in for- all the pain, fatigue, boredom…why am I doing this again?

4) I’ve been battling a sore throat since Monday. It hasn’t gotten worse but it hasn’t gone away either. I’m sure it’s just a bad combination of stress and acid reflux. My friend Swiss informed me that St. Blaze is the patron saint of throat ailments, which is appropriate since my throat is on FIRE! (lol Catholic humor).

5) I’m very fortunate that my parents have a home in the Charlevoix area, which allows me to turn the marathon into a “race-cation”. My parents, brother, and Randy will be Up North this weekend and I’m looking forward to unwinding after running 26.2 by floating around Lake Charlevoix with a drink in my hand. I’m also happy to be visiting Short’s Brewery for the first time! They have a peanut butter and banana beer!!!!!!!

That’s it for now! My next post will obviously be my marathon race report, which will hopefully be all about how I PR’d the shit out of Charlevoix. Have a great weekend all you runnerds out there!

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Winter is Coming

I’ve had a lot on my mind lately (what else is new? It’s how I entertain myself), so today’s post is just a collection of my thoughts and impulses.

1) Despite all the anxiety, crying, and threats of divorce, I pulled off my first Thanksgiving Dinner as a hostess with ease. It was a lot of work, but it was definitely worth it to stay in my own house and not have to drive anywhere. I got to make the schedule and the menu. Plus my sister-in-law came equipped with six bottles of wine, which was a welcomed new tradition.

2) The colder weather looks like it’s here to stay, which lead me to realize I had zero pairs of running pants. I have yoga pants and sweat pants, but no real running tights like a serious runner would posses. So yesterday I ventured to Great Lakes Crossing and found a new pair of North Face moisture wicking pants for $35, and a pair of bright-blue Nike running tights for $29!!! I bet there is no better high than bringing a pair of $70 pants to the register and having them ring up half price unexpectedly. Take that, heroin!

3) I’m really beginning to enjoy night running. I enjoy the solitude and the heightened senses. I always run with my Knuckle Lights and reflective vest like a good girl so Randy doesn’t get nervous.

4) I recently had a scare on Daily Mile which lead me to become more cautious about the details I post, i.e. where I run, what time, who with, etc. It was nothing too serious, but enough to remind me that posting my whereabouts to complete strangers may not be the best idea.

5) I have tiny, dime-sized bald spot on the top of my head. My other hair covers it but I’m still obsessing over it. How did that happen? What horrible disease do I have? Why does Web MD link every symptom to HIV/AIDS?!

6) Speaking of health, I’m starting a personal challenge from now until Christmas to stick to a gluten-free diet. Why the hell would anyone want to subject themselves to such torture? Well, simply because it is such a big challenge. If you had stomach issues like I had you’d be willing to try anything. My gastroenterologist once suggested I was gluten-intollerant but I scoffed at the idea, and gluten-free diets in general, as being a passing fad. I’ve recently met other runners who swear that a gluten-free diet has meant less unpleasant stomach disturbances during their runs, so I’m finally ready to give it a try. Oh, and did I mention I’m already vegetarian? We’ll see how it goes.

I can’t believe it’s nearly Christmas. Call me old-fashioned but I love Christmas music, Christmas movies, Christmas parties, and best of all: Christmas themed-races.

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The Big Come Down

This weekend was my first attempt at a run longer than the half marathon distance. My previous long run of 13.2 was technically longer, but it was supposed to be a 14-miler, and I crashed and burned so badly it was a run hardly worth celebrating. I assessed the damage when I got home: I had waited too long in the day, and ran in the sun in an exposed course. Coupled with bar hijinks from the night before, it was no wonder I failed.

This time I did everything right. I was talked into joining a group run with some Your Pace or Mine runners on the Paint Creek Trail at 6am. The leader, Sue, assured me that I wouldn’t slow anyone up. She was running double sixteen mile days all weekend in preparation for an ultra and told me if anything, I’d be pacing her. I ate a big carby meal the night before and went to bed early. I was going to KILL this run! I kept up with the group for the first six miles until disaster struck.

Since I wasn’t able to, ahem, “relieve” myself before the run, my stomach started acting up at mile seven. When that finally calmed down my shin started screaming. Soon I didn’t even notice my shin because my hips were screaming louder. The other runners were so far ahead at this point they were out of sight. The only runner trailing me was Sue, who had already run 48 miles in the previous two days. This was a huge blow to my confidence. Toward the end of the run a spontaneous whimper came out of my throat, as if my body had run out of healing options and crying was the only thing left.

When I finally got back to my car, some of the other runners were still hanging around the parking lot. “How was your run? Are you okay? What happened out there?” They all asked. I hate pity. I’ll tell you what happened: you’re all experienced marathoners/triathletes and I’m not as strong as you! I told you all I was slow! And to the girl who is also training for her first marathon and claimed to be slow, but kept up with the group the whole time, fuck you! Fuck you lots!!!

Okay, I didn’t say that. I just blamed my stomach and shrugged my shoulders and got in my car so I could get as far away from these people as possible before the tears came. They didn’t come, at least not until that night.

I kept my hurt feelings from Randy when I got home. After walking around the Renaissance Festival in the hot sun for four hours (my bright idea!), and drinking plenty of mead, I was spent. As we sat watching TV that night, I just started bawling. I told Randy about my disastrous run and how I doubted I could complete a marathon after all. Why was I forcing something that wasn’t meant to happen? I’m not a good runner, and today’s run permanently sealed my fate. All my life I had just wanted one thing to be really good at, and running sure as hell wasn’t it. After my bulimia running had made me feel heatlhy and stong, now I was feeling weak again. Maybe my family was right, running was a waste of my time which would be better spent making grandchildren.

After trying to console me repeatedly with all of my accomplishments thus far, Randy finally said, “Don’t worry about everyone else. Just run your own race. I’m proud of you. Now be proud of yourself.” For a man who can barely spell, Randy sure can be smart sometimes.

Run my own race. Don’t run for the approval of others. That’s exactly what I needed to hear. Overcoming this doubt has made me more determined than ever. Every run is a learning experience and I already know what I need to do differently next time. Number one change: run by myself.

I’ll leave you all with a quote from one of my favorite movies. If you know it, you win my undying respect and admiration:

‘It’s supposed to be hard. If it wasn’t hard, everyone would do it. The hard… is what makes it great.”

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Charlevoix 2012: How to do Everything Wrong and PR Anyway

Friday, June 22nd: Sitting on the patio of my parents’ home in East Jordan (about 20 minutes outside Charlevoix), I can barely conceal my overwhelming sense of dread. My husband and I arrived Up North around 12:45 and my dad broke the Bacardi out of the cupboard shortly after. A spread of summer-themed junk food covered the patio table. “I should not be eating all this rich food,” I think to myself, as I raise my second Bacardi and Diet to my lips which I DEFINITELY should not be drinking. While everyone was in party mode, I was trying my best to act like someone who had to wake up at 5:00 a.m. the next day to run a half marathon.

“Why are you sulking?” my mom asks.

“I am so not prepared for tomorrow.”

“Why not?” my dad asks.

“I haven’t had a long run all month. My ankle has been hurting me. My colon goes into spasms every time I run. I don’t think I’ll survive.” I raise my glass in the air, which is my husband’s cue to make me another drink.

My dad, ever the eternal optimist, chimes in with this advice: “Failure is not an option. Just keep telling yourself that.”

I roll my eyes. “People fail all the time dad.”

“It’s only a failure if you don’t learn anything.” My dad, the living fortune cookie.

So, what exactly did I learn running a half marathon ill-prepared? Mainly, I learned that all of my worries were for naught, because I PR’d anyway. THAT’S RIGHT! Fueled by my immense negativity (and two GUs), I ran more than 10 minutes faster than last year with a chip time of 2:09:10. Had I actually prepared, would I have run faster? Perhaps. While my run was far from a failure, there are many things I took away from it that will hopefully make my next half marathon even faster and stronger.

1) Don’t be a Slave to Your Pace  I accidentally started my Nike+ four mintues before the race started. I kept looking at it every five seconds to make sure I wasn’t starting too fast. When I finally glanced at my average pace at mile four, it read 11:35. “WHAT?!?! THIS IS UNACCEPTABLE!!!”, I screamed aloud in my head. Because of my falsely perceived lagging speed, I picked up the pace a little too fast. Next time I may just leave my watch at home (or not start it early like an idiot).

2) Fine-Tune Your Playlist Learn what music best motivates you at those critical times when your legs are on fire and you feel like strangling the volunteer well-wisher on the sidelines for being so damn happy. I thought I was motivated by heavy, aggressive rock music. As it turns out, those upbeat pop songs I added as filler where what really got my feet moving in times of need. That, and GU, which leads me to number 3:

3) Never put a Gu Packet, No Matter How “Empty”, in Your Pocket

4) Don’t Run in New Clothes  This is pretty much the golden rule of racing, but I stupidly wore new socks that my feet didn’t agree with, and I have the massive blood blister to prove it. I also witnessed a poor girl on the course who was obviously wearing a new pair of shorts that she didn’t realize would hike up so high she would half-moon everyone behind her. She looked miserable, but at least she had a nice butt.

5) Don’t be Annoying  This is advice for everyone else. Please don’t hold up a race so your boyfriend can take shitty smart phone pictures of you. Don’t tell a person to “PASS ME! PLEASE PASS ME!” when that person is struggling to run at all. If you are a volunteer, don’t yell “You’re almost there!” at mile 9. And for the love of God, do not tailgate. Run beside me if we are on the same party line, but not directly on my ass. That’s just creepy.

Phew, that was a lot of writing. I am happy to say that running Charlevoix has reignited my passion for running, so much so that I plan to do another half on the Fourth of July. This may be a dumb decision, and I’m sure my husband will LOVE spending his birthday carting me around to another race. What can I say, I’m addicted! I am not planning to PR; I just want to have fun and enjoy a new race.

With that attitude, failure will not be an option.

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