Saturday, August 16, 2014
I am normally very excited to write a race report. Even the traumatic experiences of the China Town 5K – rain, cold, bronchitis, etc- did not make me passé about writing my report. This race, however, I am hard pressed to write about.
See, I have absolutely NOTHING good to say about this race. The organization was horrible. The staff was rude. The course was dangerous. I will try to give a truthful account and let you decided if I am being overly harsh.
The “before” party started at 6:30 pm, the race was scheduled to start at 9. I arrived at the park at about 7. It took over 45 minutes to park. They could not seem to decide how or where to park the cars. I had three people attempt to collect the parking fee from me, even though I already had a paid ticket on my dashboard.
I finally got parked and headed into the race. I met up with two friends at the “before” party just a few minutes before they called for us to line up. We were herded into cattle shoots with absolutely no organization. They did not attempt to have runner or walkers separate. There were no set waves. It took over 45 minutes to reach the start.
Once we did reach the start they were asking walkers to stay to the right and runners to the left. I moved to the left hand side and awaited the countdown. Within 20 feet of the start line it was too dark to see the ground. This was problematic in and of itself but to add to the fun, there were orange construction cones littering the ground. I saw at least 5 people go down tripping over them. I think they were supposed to be course markers but without a 5 cent glow stick they were invisible. Guess no one thought to go to the dollar store.
There were far more walkers than runners at this event. The walkers also just kind of wandered all over the path. At times they were walking 6 across the path, leaving no room to get around. It proved even more fun as these same people were stopping dead in the middle to the path to take pictures, send pictures, text, tweet , and whatever else could be done on a cell phone. The more “busy” these walkers were, the more indignant they were about being passed. Oh and did I mention they had been serving beer at the before party so not all of these lovelies were sober!
We did a lap around the park and then we were weaving back and forth through the back lot. The problem here was there were several transitions between gravel (black) and asphalt (black). The idea of a 99 cent roll of duct tape to mark the edges with something visible under black light and/or some kid with a small flashlight obviously did not occur to the planners of this race. Instead we were all left to be surprised by these frequent changes, resulting in twisted ankles (mine being a victim 3 times) and several more tumbles.
Now, just like at a color run there were “glow” stations throughout the run. Unlike the color run, these stations were places for people to collect and play. The volunteers were taking pictures under the lights and painting people with color which made getting through almost impossible. Even better, they would NOT let us run around the color station. Also, I’m not certain what they were using but it was not the nice corn starch of the color runs. This stuff left a nice dry burning sensation in your throat you breathed it in. Add to that – no water stations! Yes there was one at the midpoint of the race. There was no one handing out water, you couldn’t get up to the table, and the water was just over a Dixie cup.
Believe it or not there is tons of “ick” I left out. How about the volunteers that wouldn’t let you have any water at the start of the race and yelled at me for taking water from the “wrong end of the table” at the end of the race?!? These same people insisted that it was one cup per runner (remember Dixie cup) and that if you needed more you had to go buy a bottle for 4 bucks.
It took me 37 minutes to complete this run. I would lay money on 5 minutes of that was wasted getting through color stations and trying to weave around people who didn’t want to move but didn’t want to be passed. My ankle was sore, I was experiencing that “aggravated tired”. I really just wanted to get out of there. However, there was one more insult to suffer.
There were no lights in the parking lot. So you had people from stone sober to intoxicated trying to find where they had left their cars in the dark. Also, they had no parking attendants so cars were going every which way trying to find a way out. All I have to say is I only like Frogger as a video game!!
Fortunately I had a good friend close by with a hot tub and a beer. A light beer no less, so I didn’t even go over calorie!
Hey – found a good spot!!!
Friday, August 08, 2014
I don’t have very much blog time tonight so I’m just going to get right to it.
See, I’m really not happy about how things have been going. I went up 22 pounds the beginning of this year. Since April I have been playing with the same 3 pounds. Nice little roller coaster ride.
Well, all rides have to end. I’m either going up or down. I’m either going to gain back all the weight and live life as a blimp eating myself into an urn the size of Toledo. OR I’m going to get serious again, I’m going to track my food and movements, I’m going to make a serious commitment to myself and my health. And get back into my jeans.
As I am not an Ohio girl (no offence to anyone) I’m getting South Side serious! I have 145 days until the end of the year. I’m getting rid of the extra me by the end of the year. I have made up a spreadsheet (because that is what I do). I have a daily calorie (1500), step (10,000), st (30 min), stretching (5), and cardio (60 min) goals. I have done my spreadsheet so I have a constant average. I know I won’t be perfect every day but I know I can make things average out. Balance is the key.
I arrived at these numbers by looking at what worked for me originally. These were my numbers when I was losing consistently. I want to get back to that. I know I can.
I’m not going to promise to report every day – that would be setting myself up to fail but I will be sharing my progress. If I could figure out how to share the sheet I would. This is a major challenge for me as I rebel against any and all planning. However, the goals are loose and I have a multitude of choices on how to succeed, I just need to achieve numbers.
Sunday, August 03, 2014
I was determined to do the WHAM bike ride this year. WHAM is Whiting-Hammond After Midnight ride. I have not been riding this summer as planned but you all know me, when did lack of prep stop me from doing something.
So the details of the ride are this: It is a 30 mile ride through Whiting, Hammond, Highland, and Munster, Indiana. About 80% of the ride is on bike trails through the different cities. This means LOTS of 6 passes like the one I showed on my walk blog (steep ups/downs over major roads high enough for trains and semis carrying rolled steel).
So here was me, with no prep (like time I was on my bike was Bike the Drive in May). I ride a cruiser type bike. You know, no gears and you have to back petal to brake. My dad and hubby called me nuts but I was signed up so off I went.
The start is about 2.5 miles from my house. I left at 10 pm and enjoyed some music before the ride kicked off. I have to say they were extremely prompt. We lined up at 23:50, the ride started exactly at Midnight!
I was doing really well at first. The pack spread out quickly. Just a few miles into the ride I found myself basically alone. I could see the rear lights on the bikes out in front of me but no one really close by. It was cool but comfortable as we went out around Wolf Lake. The trail was twisty but flat (Indiana is flat). I got a good rhythm going by the time we were coming off the trails back into Whiting.
I skipped the first stop at the 6 mile mark. Would have been nice to have a drink with our mayor but my legs felt good. At that point I made a decision that would later help me out. I wasn't going to stop until the furthest point out which was at one of my favorite stores Cabala's (a bit over 16 miles and 4 overpasses/bridges into the ride).
The first bridge was there, and it was "my" bridge. The one I walk with the dogs all the time. I tend to try to "power" my way up the bridge when I ride. Having no gears on the bike I just get up all the speed I can, stand up, and push my thighs. Right or wrong it has always worked for me. So up and over, no problem.
After getting out of Whiting we had the majority of out "street time" getting to the Hammond trails. I have to say I was very grateful for the cops at every intersection. I was about a half mile behind the pack in front of me and I could see NO ONE over my shoulder behind me. I would have been so lost on the back streets of Hammond. Some of the cops were also very supportive. They were smiling and cheering me on. There were a few that you could tell would have rather been in bed but still were helpful and pleasant.
I was a bit concerned at this point. We only had an hour to reach the 10 mile mark or they were going to force us to take the short route back (total ride of 10 miles). Being that I was almost completely alone and very lost I was never certain when or where the 10 mile mark was. I just pushed myself as hard as my legs would go. The only time I seemed to see anyone was when they were passing me and disappearing into the night ahead.
The second stop was schedule for the Hammond Police Station, about 12 miles in. I had worked up a sweat by this point but the legs were still going strong. I had gone over one more bridge in the same manor as the first. My mood lifted considerable when I saw the police department, I had made it to the cut off and passed in time. 18 miles lay ahead of me.
I never even slowed at the second stop. I was Cabela's bound! There was one more bridge before Cabela's. It was a challenge but determination kept me going. I actually had a woman comment that she gave me credit for doing this on a bike without gears. I just smile and said that I had gears, there were just hidden in my thighs! That got a laugh out of the passing group.
We were back on bike trails and in complete darkness. I was very glad for the lights hubby had put on my bike that afternoon. I don't know how people stayed on the trail without them. As I rounded a bend I saw the lights of Cabela's. It kind of hides behind the I-80 entrance ramp so by the time I saw it I was less than a half mile away. I pushed my way in.
I was starving so I pulled into the parking lot. This was the plan. Stop at Cabela's. They had the front of the store open with water and bananas. I helped myself to both. And to a real bathroom. I had done the first 16 miles in 1.5 hours. I'm not certain if that is a good ride time or not but I felt good about it. My rest stop was 7 minutes total. I should have taken longer. I was much more fatigued then I thought at that point and you can't run on adrenalin at 1:30 in the morning. I'm counting it as learning point for next year.
I got back out on the trail, once again pretty alone. We had 3 more bridges and 14 miles to go. Longest 14 miles of my life were ahead of me.
I would guess that I made the next 2 or 3 miles without much trouble. Then it hit. My knees felt like they were exploding with every downward push. My lower back started to ache. It was hard to keep my feet on the petals. I was on trail so there was no one around. No other bikers and no emergency services. Just me and exhaustion. I only had water with me (mistake number 300 at this point - should have had something to eat). The fortunate (or unfortunate depending on your point of view) was that I had NO idea where I was. I was following reflective signs and glow sticks on the path. I had never been out on these trails so didn't even know where I could turn off. I had thought about calling hubby to come get me.
Then I remembered a blog by a Spark friend from last year about her getting a DNF for her triathlon. I remember how upset and angry she was. How she had to fight for a whole year to overcome those 3 little letters. This is someone I look up to and admire. I've been failing at so much this year. I couldn't have that too. I'm almost certain that those 3 letter would have spelled an end to my fitness journey. I wouldn't have had her strength. So after saying tons of things that would have made sailors and truckers offended, I just pushed forward.
I finally caught up to some people. Made me feel better not to be riding alone. I saw the last bridge. It is a monster going over 4 sets of railroad tracks. I tried to power up it, lord knows I really tried but about half way up I just couldn't . I mean I really couldn't . It was put my feet down or fall. No other option. I pulled to the side and started to walk my bike. There was another lady, a bit older than me, who was walking also. We walked up together. She said, she had walked up the last 3 bridges.
At that point, I had my first truly negative experience at an event. I hear a male voice behind us saying "look at these wuse a$$ cheaters walking". I turned and saw a guy, mid twenties on a tricked out racing bike. I can't even imagine how much this bike was worth. As he's passing us he is shifting gears to keep his petal speed the same. The lady next to me put her head down and kept walking. She looked a bit embarrassed.
Well, me having no filter on my mouth, being exhausted and hungry, and it being 2 am - I opened my mouth. "Maybe you should get your spoiled a$$ off your $1,000 toy and come show us how it done without gears and help. I'll even give you the 20+ years you have on us and you wouldn't have made it this far punk." The lady I was walking with started to giggle. A couple other people (who were coming up behind us) cheered us on and one guy offered to race the kid back to the pavilion. This man was in his mid forties, on a racing bike, and looked like he could really kick some butt. I noticed he was holding back to bike with his wife who was having trouble too. The "kid" tried to take off but really didn't get too far ahead before we crested the hill.
I admit to being angry. I know I shouldn't have let it get to me but it did. As I started to get sore/tired again I even started to feel a bit bad about having to walk. I know his words should have meant nothing but it did hurt that I had to give in to fatigue. I hate giving into weakness no matter how understandable. Just as I was feeling sorry for myself, the lady I was walking with caught up to me. "4 miles to go, meet you at breakfast!"
That made me feel a whole lot better. I pushed into the pavilion. It was 2:54.
I looked at the pancake breakfast and really didn't want it. I opted out. I just kind of strolled around and listened to the music. I stretched a bit but that was really just making me sleepy. I still had to bike home. I walked in at 3:45 and was in bed by 4. I slept until about 1 this afternoon.
Now I did notice that my fitbit did not record the majority of my biking as steps (which I liked). It seems to only think I'm walking when I stand up and petal. That was is cool but I only have 15 very active minutes on the day and 11 flights of stairs. LOL.
I was fun and I will certainly do it again next year - hopefully with a bit more training and maybe a better bike.
Monday, July 28, 2014
I had a great time at Pierogi Fest yesterday. One of my Spark buddies came over to my house (I had parking saved right in front of my house for her to use). She got to meet Buffy and say hi to my girls.
Then we headed off to the fest. I must admit we had WAY too much soda and sugar. However, we did have some awesome pierogies. Then fun at the craft fair. We both got our doggy pierogies to take home to our furbabies. We got to listen to one of the bands.
Then it was back to the house where I found out we have even more in common. She’s a Doctor Who fan too! So I had some fun stuff to show off.
I know the calories were really horrible but after the last 2 weeks I just needed a really nice day out. We certainly had it. It was awesome having someone to just share a day with.
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