Tuesday, April 19, 2011

100 Miles to Nowhere

May 22, 2011 is the much-anticipated Roswell, Georgia 100 Miles to Nowhere Ride through the cities of Roswell and Mountain Park, Georgia. The Fat Cyclist started this event as a trainer ride to raise money for cancer research and the idea is to suffer for 100 miles. Every year I read about this ride and think "I should do that." Well, 2011 is my year.

My dad is a prostate cancer survivor. My uncle Joe is too, and so is my friend Allison's dad. Prostate cancer is very common, but you don't hear as much about prostate cancer as you do about some of the other cancers, so that is why I am raising money for both Livestrong and the Prostate Cancer Foundation. If you read this blog and feel motiviated to ride with us or donate, please follow the links shown below and give a few bucks to these good causes. Every little bit helps, even $5. The Prostate Cancer Foundation is a support/research organization designed to help men and their families/loved ones learn more about, avoid and/or cope with prostate cancer. Livestrong is a simlar organization, but they also promote healthier lifestyles for everyone. You can log your food, log your workouts and get information about getting active on their website - all for free!

The "official" 100 Miles to Nowhere event is on June 4, 2011 and you can still sign up by following this link.

Here is the thing, though. This is a virtual event. So, since we are busy on June 4, I've scheduled my 100 Miles to Nowhere for May 22. After I decided that I would do the 100 miles, I thought it might be more fun if some friends did it too. Hmmm. Who could I talk into doing a ridiculous athletic endurance event with me?


NATALIE!

So, Natalie and I (and hopefully Coldfire, Team Awesome, some work and NAMC buddies and others) are riding 100 Miles to Nowhere on May 22. And, because Natalie nixed my idea of riding thirty times around my neighborhood, and because we are fun like that, it is a really hilly 100 Miles to Nowhere. Our 10 mile loop includes the climb from mile 80 of the Hospitality Highway Century. Now, don't you want to ride with us?

If so, here is the route. There is no cost to ride with us and I will give you some of the schwag I will be getting because I paid to sign up with The Fat Cyclist and provide you with GU Electrolyte Brew, GU Energy Gel, GU Chomps and other aid-station fare, regardless of how or when you choose to sign-up.

HOWEVER, if you join us, you must sign a waiver and please donate to either the Prostate Cancer Foundation or Livestrong to join the fight against cancer. You can click on the links in this paragraph to donate online, you can mail donations to either group or you can give me a check or cash and I will donate for you. Failure to donate will result in merciless teasing, name-calling and insulting of your manhood, even if you are not a man.


Doug will be cheering us on with the kids (more cowbell!), so if you poop out before the full ten laps, you can always hang with them.


Please note the following Pros and Cons to the route we have chosen:


Pros:



  1. Beautiful sun and dappled shade on a lovely 10 mile loop in Roswell.



  2. Fun riding buddies.




  3. Horsies.


  4. There might be singing.

  5. Definitely some trash-talking.

  6. GU Electrolyte Brew, GU Energy Gels, GU Chomps and PB&J for your dining pleasure.


Cons:



  1. The route is very hilly.

  2. It might be really hot.

  3. Have I mentioned the hills?

  4. We will pass your car every 10 miles. That could be a good thing, though.


  5. That thing about the hills, I'm not kidding.



If you choose to accept this mission, please come prepared to identify your division of the 100 Miles to Nowhere race. I, for example, will likely (depending on the heat) be the "38 year-old women with hives division." Creativity is encouraged so that you automatically win your division



We roll at dawn, which is forecasted to be 6:32AM on the day. If you arrive late, you will receive a map in exchange for your waiver and you can follow the turn markers (already approved by both cities! Yes!). And, what good would a ride with me be without rules?



  1. Go at your own pace. Since everyone wins their division, you don't need to blow it out.

  2. There are speed humps, road bumps, gravel, cars and other road hazards so you must be responsible for your own bike maintenance and safety.

  3. I respectfully request that you please wear a helmet and follow all traffic laws. Yes, even the stop signs.

  4. Gu Electrolyte Brew, water and an assortment of snacks will be stationed in the shade of my garage with good-natured taunting from Doug and encouragement from the kids. Bring your own water bottles and refill as necessary. You don't think 10 miles is a long way, but it is.

  5. I will repeat: YOU are responsible for your own bike maintenance and safety.

  6. Mountain Park Road will cause you to curse and beg for your mommy. If you could, please try to limit the cursing if there are children around. If no children around, colorful cursing is encouraged. The hilly part is only 0.5 miles, though, so try to suck it up.

Oh yeah, one last thing. In Ironman training, Doug always says that a ride doesn't count unless you cap it with a run. So, consider that too.

Monday, April 11, 2011

100 Miles to Nowhere - May 22

REGISTRATION FOR 100 MILES TO NOWHERE IS OPEN! If you want to register with the Fat Cyclist and get the tons of schwag, go here now. It will sell out today so get busy if you want to sign up that way. I will be riding 100 miles to nowhere on May 22. This is in advance of the official race day. If you want to ride with me on May 22, registration with Fat Cyclist (or at all) is not required but a donation for Livestrong is strongly encouraged. In other words, I will rib you mercilessly if you do not donate. The route is still under discussion but the two top contenders are the loop in my not-so-gently rolling neighborhood (2.85 miles) or the Mountain Park loop (10 miles), including the hill of doom. Ride as many or as few laps as you feel like. I will have plenty of GU Electrolyte Brew and GU Energy gels to share and other schwag and everyone gets an award. I'll post an official route once I decide which one we are doing and make up some rules. So, mark your calendar now!

Sunday, April 03, 2011

You Have to Believe in the Publix GA Marathon

Who didn't go see Xanadu for their 9th birthday?

Go ahead and click the link. You know you want to.

So, I've only ever done one marathon and I was not running it to beat any time goal - I just wanted to finish. I have trained for the Georgia Marathon four times now and finally (FINALLY!) with mucho help from Doug, I did not injure myself and got to the start line this year.

On race morning, we drove Jamie downtown and met up with Natalie, who had graciously volunteered to run with me.

Because Natalie is crazy.

She and Doug had the ridiculous idea that I could break 4 hours in this race. Keeping in mind that my one and only marathon time to date was over 4 hours and 40 minutes. They based this theory on the fact that McMillan's magic running pace calculator says I can run 3:26 if I were fully trained.

Which I am not.

So, anyway, they decided I could do it and I secretly wanted to be able to do it so I went along with the joke. But inside, I harbored both a tiny flickering flame of hope and the nearly empty glass of pessimism (realism?) water ready to dash upon it.

I wigged out about the race and made my tummy sick worrying about it. Then, one day while I was driving home from work, I had an "aha!" moment. Sure, Doug had been telling me this for weeks, but sometimes (all the time), I am hard-headed and have to work it out myself. I asked myself what would be the worst thing that could happen in the race. Performing a walking tour of the porto-potties and taking 7 hours to finish? Well, I've done that and it's really not so bad. And if I only walk the last three miles, that is really not bad at all. It's still a PR.
And that little tiny flame just might light the way to a breakthrough performance.

Maybe.

It is interesting that what makes some people seem great or attractive or talented is that they commit to the performance or finish the drill or give it their all. Lady Gaga isn't worried about looking stupid. Singers aren't worried about someone hearing them sing. So, going all-in was the plan. No reservations. No holding back to make sure I didn't blow up.

So anyway, back to the story. On race morning Doug drove Jamie and me to the race site. I realized in the car that I had forgotten my hand-bottle of water. The one I always run with and had carefully filled and put in the fridge the night before. The one with four GUs in the front pocket for my nutrition.

@#$%*

I texted this (in letters instead of symbols) to Natalie. She was unfazed, so I made up my mind to be unfazed too. No taking it as an omen. I had packed more than enough extra GU, even after sharing with everyone. I could carry my plastic water bottle. No problem. Deep breath.
We met up with Natalie and Brent and all of our other buddies. I distributed GUs to all requestors (plain and blueberry-pomegranate Roctane for Natalie, strawberry-banana for Brent and chocolate and pineapple Roctane for Jamie).



We performed the obligatory line-standing and potty-visiting. Natalie was the fastest and had to wait for the rest of us pokey puppies.

Then, we skipped to our corral and danced to the fun tunes with the folks standing near us.


I tried to turn on my very-carefully-crafted-just-longer-than-4-hour running mix, but alas, the i-pod was dead. Almost bad omen #2. Very disappointed that I would not get to hear "Superfreak" or "Sickbed of Cuchulainn" or Prince on my run, I tucked the headphones in the back of my shirt and put it out of my mind. I have run plenty of long runs without music and if all else failed I could always hum "Tom's Diner" which always works to calm me down. No problem. Deep breath.

Here is the start! Whee!


Just after the start, my Garmin said it was full and I had to quickly delete all of the bike history as I was running, which is not as easy as you'd think. Whew! Crisis #3 averted! Lisa zipped up to us and posed for a quick Brooks Babes photo before she was gone in a flash.

The start was chaos and I kept trying to speed up because I knew we had to bank time in the beginning. Natalie had to tell me to slow down, that we were going too fast. That was not a good sign. I was scattered because of the Garmin and the headphones and the crowds.

We made it to North Avenue and met up with a nice guy named Kevin, who decided he would run with us. We had lots of fun discussing the relative merits of padding in jogbras and other similarly inappropriate topics.

Kevin is in the Army and was running his second marathon in a very short time. Here, we are flexing for Natalie, because we are buff like that. OK, I'm really just sucking my tummy in because my shirt kept showing it, but I told Kevin to flex and he obliged.



We met up with the 4:00 pace group at some point and ran with them for most of the race. They were a nice bunch and Matthew, the guy who ran 20 miles in the mud and rain to pace a total stranger at the GUTS Reactor Run was one of the group leaders. It gave me some comfort to run with them, even if I forgot that they had started behind us. As you can see, the rollers had begun already.




What you don't know is that running with Natalie is always fun. She is the life of the party. Even if you are feeling like crap or having a bad day or your GI is acting up, she sings, makes up distracting games or generally acts silly. And, she takes photos and meets everyone. Just before this photo, she tried to explain a very complicated punch-buggy game to us to distract us from the fact that the hills had begun. Like a couple of drunks, Kevin and I could not follow the logic of the game other than that it did not involve actual punching. Then, Natalie zipped ahead for a potty stop and (apparently) photos with Santa.

I got some water and continued forward progress. Except that this was the aid station dedicated to the Amanda Riley Foundation. Amanda died of cancer at age 17 and her foundation works for children's cancer research. At the end of the aid station there was a poster with photos of her running a race a year before her death. It made me cry. When Natalie came back, she thought something terrible had happened. No, just too sad. And mile 18-ness.



Just after this, I think - it could have been before this, we turned into the hills of Druid Hills. The plan was to continue progress on the uphills and recover/pick up time on the downhills. Natalie reminded me of this, but my legs were already on fire and every downhill step hurt. I told her to go ahead. I did not feel like this until mile 22 of the Kiawah marathon, so it was very upsetting for it to happen so early in this race. So, Natalie went ahead to challenge the hills and I plugged along with (behind) the 4:00 group. Kevin had dropped off before Decatur so I was on my own. This required a small pity party but I gave myself a stern lecture and worked it out.


In Piedmont Park, John, Desiree and Kim were a happy oasis. I knew they had ibuprophen and had planned to stop, but just didn't do it. Stupid, I could have gotten some water here and may have not needed to walk up North Avenue later. Dumb mistake #3? #4? Who is counting?


I was worried about the GI and walked just in that last bit. Once I hit Marietta Street, I knew I was home free so I turned up the pace. It hurt less! I realized I had less than 2 miles to go. No need to conserve anything for any additional hills because Marietta Street is more of a grinder than a hill. Why not see if I could turn it up more? I could! My cardio was still OK. It was just my legs that hurt so I turned it up even more and sprinted to the finish. YAY!


I just missed 4 hours. My chip time was 4:00:55.




It is OK, though, that I missed the "magic number" because I had a fabulous race. It was a complete breakthrough for me. I think I am prouder of this finish than of the first marathon because I didn't play it safe (and I'm a safety girl). I committed to the race and now we know I can run a marathon for time and not be dead at the end and not tour the porto-potties. Yes!

What else could I do if I really tried? If I really gave it my all?

Here we are after some water and food.

So, at several points during the race, I thought to myself "this sucks - I'm never running this fast again" and "Kirk was right - getting fitter doesn't make it hurt less, you just get faster."

But you know what? Those thoughts passed (usually after I had some GU - low fuel makes me very negative) and after the race was over, I found myself making plans for next year and hoping that we would get the great 2-for-1 deal so that we would HAVE to sign up again. And 'lo, Doug has already signed us up for 2012 so there you go. Publix Georgia Marathon, I'll be back to run with Doug and Natalie and all of my other friends next year. : )

If you want the gory race details, here is my BT race report.