Time to Get Back in to the Groove!

30 08 2016

Well, now, it has been a while since I was writing this blog.  Interestingly enough, there have been people who have quoted the older posts.

I took some time off because I graduated from college, dealt with a lot of injuries and made a few discoveries about myself and my racing.  When I was first putting together this blog, I was chronicling, for the most part, a “middle aged” beginning race walker who chose to walk in running races. This was all fine and good, but then I realized something.

I wasn’t living my dream.

I was skirting around the edges, but not really doing anything real about it.  I was working on motivating others to find their dreams and live them, but I wasn’t doing it.

So, I decided to do it.

Actually, it was after a particularly irritating half marathon where everything started out OK, but I was just getting frustrated. Why can’t people accept that I’m walking faster than they can run and that I am genuinely polite about it? I found myself getting more sour through the event because I realized it really didn’t mean anything to me.

I wanted to focus on race walk events.  Judged Race Walk Events.

Then, as life does, things just kept cropping up, however I decided I would chip away and start making those dreams happen. No amount of wishing  was going to do anything, it is action.

So, I decided to start the blog. Register for events and learn as much as I could while trying to keep four jobs going and a remote sense of sanity.

This is a musing file. Will have race walking, but if I learned anything along the way, those speed bumps and pot holes of life make observing the wonderful world around us easier to do. As I type this, the world feels like it wants to rip itself apart. There is a lot of anger and frustration; dissatisfaction and separation. I can only hope that this blog about race walk, change, growth, the dog, and the fact it isn’t currently snowing in Denver helps folks.

Here goes. Change happens and I’ll be changing over time.

Cheers – Lizzy

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Creating a Team

9 09 2011

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I am getting my cholesterol blood test results back today, so I took a look at some of my records on weight, blood pressure, and cholesterol I had recently filed.

I know meds help a lot of folks, but I was able to see that when I was properly training, my cholesterol levels were nicely balanced. When I was dealing with injury, insane & unresolved stress, and then over a year of stress-related health complications, my training was spotty, I felt crummy, and second guessed everything.

It has been a road back littered with the need to look at how to lower the background stresses and deciding what lifestyle changes need to be made in order to be healthy.

A lot of folks can be motivated by family & kids, but I am like thousands of folks who are single. I don’t have that “my kids-spouse-family need me to be alive” motivation. I do have friends, however.

I have always been behind my friends’ fitness activities. I know they are behind me, but I have actually had people say “you should stop racewalking because it is making you sick.” Not really. My life was making me sick.

Coming back, I have stared down what I can and cleared it. That is half the problem, the other half is getting my training on track.

It is hard by yourself. It is also hard when you question if you are a viable athlete. The mental issue I started to attack with a required Stress Management class. Coach Christopher Tetro was my weights 1 coach over the summer, and has been terrific. He reminded me to learn the lessons of being under oxygen in Sacramento. Maybe he knew part of me was really close to quitting.

Coach was also surprised when I decided to drop weights 2 with Coach Brian Cooper. I was going to use the time to muddle through the weights program I had scribbled. First day of class, Alena-Kidlet said I would love working with Coach Coop.

Coach Cooper is a hoot! I realized having him on one side and Coach Tetro on the other, I was surrounded by a couple cool coaches, but I didn’t realize how much until I got a post Virginia Beach email.

Before Labor Day weekend, I talked with Coop (sorry Dude, I type on the phone!) who said he had some direct ideas for me, he just had to talk to the swimming coach. Hu? In class, I ask questions and more often than not he said “for them yes. Not for you. For you …” I am learning for not only myself (endurance athletes) but for as many flavors of fitness seekers.

The email didn’t make me nervous. I have had kind of lip service help given, but realized there was a whole different animal when I got to Tetro’s class who said “welcome back. Oh we were talking about you and have ideas. “

I can see these two laughing and cackling over notebooks, rolling their hands “ah-ha … can we get her to do this?  BWAHAHHAHAAAA!!” Both know if they explain it, I can be directed into great times and finishes.  Neither knew me when I was healthy. They just know me now. And that rocks because they are working with what I am knowing some of my past potential.

Coach Cooper + Coach Tetro + Coach Lippek + Good Friends + My Attitude = AWESOME TEAM!!

I write alphabetical order, not importance.

Coop reminded me, as he gave me my assignment which is different from my class, every athlete needs a team.  The strength of my team depends not only on the quality of the advice I seek & questions I ask, but on the dedication and determination I bring to the table.

Look – there are reasons why programs like Team in Training, Team Challenge, Avon Walk for Breast Cancer, DetermiNation, and other endurance programs work is that you get a team. You get out of it what you put in to it.

I always put a lot into things for others, and now fully ready to turn that dedication internally – with the help & faith in me of my awesome team – and their resources.





Realizing My Crew

27 06 2011

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So – where was I?

When I have done races where I bring non-racing yet friends, I usually worry about them. Just don’t like to feel abandonned. I didn’t mean to lose Trapper at the event, but I did – kinda. If you knew how impressive losing Trapper is, you would wonder how I did it. Trap is about 6’2″, dressed mostly in black, doesn’t handle heat well, and weighs someplace in the mid-300’s. I lost track of him anyway. I knew my adoptive kid brother would be fine.

He planted himself right at the finish line and watched “the crazy fast” runners finish 15 minutes after the start of the race. “WOW! There is nothing to them. Just skin! ” He had met Michael Blanchard earlier in the morning, and saw Mike blow on up to the finish. “He couldn’t be second! Even the guy next to me showing his kid said he was the first racewalker.” Well – that’s what happens with a monitored race where the monitors aren’t deep into the course or at the end.

When I was finishing, I knew the weakest links in my chain were my lungs, shins, and the heat. I didn’t feel dizzy, so I know the Hammer Endrolytes will be a permanent part of my routine.

I had finishing problems and kept it together thinking of friends.  Awesome Runner & Friend Heather Urata was using this race as her comeback after an injury pulled her out of her last Marathon. I looked up and there was heather and some of her friends doing a cool down lap. Hand slap and a little positive energy transmitted. I was almost done.  I also looked for who I thought was Elna Caine monitoring – I thought I saw her as I was going out, but maybe it was a hallucination.

I came up the exit hill and there was Trapper! He met me at the finish line. I checked in with the timer like we racewalkers were told to do during starting instructions. I wasn’t confident she cared at all, especially since she made a disparaging comment.

I do love my sport, but didn’t realize I was willing to fight a bit until I felt like we were being more discounted than usual.

I made my inquiries and it wasn’t like I was pushing for first place finishing, I didn’t put in a race performance I was really proud of, but I just don’t like the continued second class treatment of the sport.

Runners who have any understanding of the sport know it is truly a sport but general public and some sportscasters don’t think it is any harder than their mother’s power walking. Yeah I do get passed by power walkers, but that will change.

Trapper had my bag. I was not used to having a friend there, especially one who had an ice chest in his trunk and who remembered my water bottle filled with chocolate almond milk
for post-race. I enjoyed slurping this between hacks,  so it is another “permanent” part of racing for me.

I really give the announcer serious kudos for his explaining competitive racewalking as being different from regular walking and that we were going for awards. When things got clustered up and bad information was becoming rampant, this same announcer explained to me how our times were in with runners, but racewalk was teased out for awards. When I had a pissed off walker tell me that there were no walk awards, I felt confident this race representative would give me the straight dope. He did. I give him even more serious kudos for playfully & respectfully explaining racewalking before awards.

The Awards were a little confusing with the money race and probably me asking questions. They start with walk awards then move to running age groups.

When I won the race my first year (yeah again no fast women with Bob Carlson monitoring), Michael was the one to tell me I won for women, I was proud of my performance and won a nice leather notebook and a certificate to a local steak house. I still use the notebook. They had the Broncos mascot Miles there and I danced with the horse! People were just so calm and not having enough fun.

The next year, I cheered fast racewalk friends, and the walk awards were presented quietly and “dignified.”

I already knew I had won with a lousy time, so time to shake things up and have fun! Women’s awards first. If the gal who picked up the second place award wasn’t picking up the award for a friend like I would be for for Michael Blanchard …. well all I will say is she took advantage of no deep course monitoring as she ran around me with her stroller until I wanted just wanted no strollers in front of me.

First Place Women’s Walk – Elisabeth Shepard! Time for an energy blast on a sunny day. I didn’t tell folks I’d won, so they had fun too. The $25 gift certificate to Bolder Running Company is nice & finding out I won pre-season Broncos tickets on stage was super cool since I love football but can never afford tickets. However, truth be told, these were just flowers on the cake. The best thing for me was the loud cheers from running friends on the green, Heather & Crew from the beer garden, & the Huff & Puffers when I racewalked up to play with the folks on stage. I got Broncos pre-season tickets and the announcer and Anne Trajillo (Channel 7 Denver) laughed that the team better do a practice or something so I could watch. I laughed at the announcer because I was a bit a pest trying to make sure racewalk got in there. Friends around know my energy and enjoyed the show.

When I picked up Michael’s 2nd place award Ms. Trajillo laughed “Here she comes again! She has so much energy!”

Part of why I have so much energy is the good will from friends but also my having enough faith in myself two years ago not to give up and give chiropractic a second go.

I collected things and walked to the covered expo area to the Pyramid Chiropractic booth. Doc and I have probably a truly special relationship. He is chronologically another kid brother but professionally Doc (and his partner Jared Ottenger ) is a cornerstone to Team Shep.

Two years ago this very race, I met Doc. I was faster that year, but in pain – mental and physical – as well as unable to breathe. He has tried to learn the sport, given me the Evil Eye when I do stupid things, and been behind me in both the good & not-so-good races. He has listened and both partners have been hugely supportive of my changing to become a personal trainer.

Everything started with getting me out of the daily pain that wasn’t resolved with my last chiropractor.  He got me to one point, but the Boys took me further.

We are a team. They know I am going to do whatever they suggest and admit to when I get lazy. They know that when I have a nasty problem, it takes a lot for me to admit it.

Although I didn’t finish this race in easy style and was hacking up science experiments, I have an amazing crew of friends and professionals who love (or at least are entertained) by my energy.

Somehow after a lot of setbacks, I am realizing I have a great energy and attracting an awesome crew I can learn from. We aren’t threatened by each other, but learning from one another and being supportive.

So, to all those who think winning incorporates cheating or ignoring the rules of the game – have fun with your delusion.  Hard work, having fun, and a really good team who knows you might be slow, but would never resort to cutting a course or running while in a walk category is worth more than gold. It is the clear peace of mind knowing that everything is built strong!





Back on the Horse

25 06 2011

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You know that old saying about getting back on the horse after being bucked off? That is what I am doing, ‘cept it is taking two years!

Two years ago is the last time I raced the Stadium Stampede 5K. It is one of a handful of racewalk monitored races that are close enough for my aging car to get to. What happened at that race was a product of my being stressed out, uncentered, and unfocused.

I started on the line with the racewalkers. I knew most of them and also knew they would easily leave me in the dust. The problem I was having was that I couldn’t seem to get up for the race, and, worse yet, what we thought at the time to be asthma was making breathing …. uh …. special to say the very least.

It was nice to see my lung challenged friends, but the event was a series of warning flags for me. First,  I had to pick up my number and they couldn’t find it. When I finally got my chip, the fastening zip ties repeatedly broke. I had a decent zip tie in the car,  but I had to find Bob Carlson to have my bib marked as Racewalk.  Fortunately for me, I ran into Bob in the parking lot and he gave me my sticker.

I remember starting out too fast and hacking even before the first kilometer. Passing the back end of the runners found me going really wide and not being focused. Then the cottonwood trees seemed to be shedding all over me. I usually breathe through my mouth, so not only did I get mouthfuls of cottonwood fuzz but gulps of pot smoke from, I guess, the homeless people under the turn around bridge.

Coming back, I felt like I had swallowed cement. Form was a mess. My knee hurt like crazy and, worse probably, my head was in a really sucking place.

What the hell was I doing? I have no business even thinking I can race because I can’t wrap my head around anything. I might as well have laid landmines. A friend of mine kept badgering me to quit racewalking and give up any thought of being remotely competitive because of my injuries.

As her voice flooded my ears, I truly stopped paying attention and caught my foot on breaks in the sidewalk where roots had pushed through.  I caught myself the first time, the second I landed on my bad knee and rear end.

What the hell are you doing Lizzy??

I could have just sat on my pity pot and watched the race go by, but I am too hard headded for that. I got up, disgusted, and plodded on.

Of course, since I was beating myself up and tripling my stress load instead of getting off my own back, my body reacted by stiffling my breathing further.

You see, it took until a year later for my misdiagnosis of asthma switched to vocal cord dysfunction (VCD) which is exacerbated by stress. By the time I got to the warning track around Bronco Stadium all I could think of was finishing and getting oxygen in me. Of course, I was told by the doc to take a hit off my inhaler – precisely the wrong thing for VCD.

I got through to see the finish line but I was truly on my last breath. I ended up crossing the line and folding over the railing trying to breathe. The kids clipping off the timing chip had no clue where any medical was, but I was rescued by Lynn Cole’s husband Lou.

Lou saw I was a mess. I also had pulled off a shoe – but that is a different story. He brought me over to the Huff & Puff area – where lung challenged friends filled their oxygen tanks.

I got the other shoe off and racewalker & friend Michael Blanchard showed me where there was a gal doing free chair massages. “Liz – everyone has an off race. ” I had already had an off 6 months of races and I was completely reconsidering continuing the sport in any competitive way.

The truly positive was that with the chair massage gal were a couple of chiropractors. When I walked over, the taller of the two was watching me waddle over in stocking feet in the mud. One of the rare times that I have to look up to anyone, but I reached this guy’s shoulder.

Yep – that was when I met Dr. Josh Doktor & Dr. Jared Ottenger of Pyramid Chiropractic. Most people would be offended when one of the first questions asked is “So when was your car accident?” ( Answer: 20 years before) After a quick consult, I asked when they wanted to see me and Doc said “Tomorrow morning. Bring all your shoes and insoles.” I brought in a huge box.

Doc, Doc Jared, & I started that day on a long journey to put me back together. It has been a long road, but I have had a lot to learn about myself. I can honestly say that if it wasn’t for “the Boys” I probably would have given up racewalking and my medical adventures of the past couple of years would have felt worse.

Flash Forward: I went to get my number today. Thursday, I looked at the entrance form with Coach Tetro because they changed the run into a money race. I signed up for the walk instead of the run.

First issue was that the walk bibs didn’t have the timing device (protected by a wad of Styrofoam ) attached. “Don’t worry about it. I am sure you can get one on race day.” Hu? Ok – I can pitch a fit like the best of them when necessary. Personally, when you read “race goals” you will realize that isn’t really necessary.

Second: She couldn’t find my number in the walk. Two separate colors, but no number? Sigh. The numbers are filed by last name. Nope not there. Then she looked in the run – again not by last name and couldn’t find it.  Ok – first I find out that my favorite race shoes (Brooks T6) are going to have to be found on line until Brooks realizes that the off center phase is irritating. Then I find out that I am on the list but no number.  I took matters in my own hands and flipped through the “S” section in the run. There I was.

Third: The number is not going to lie flat with 1/4 inch of Styrofoam “protecting” the chip.

I have no clue why they give away white tech shirts. They are unisex and completely see through!  The logo is pretty. This may go to my Aussie teammate David W. Smyth!

Most folks wouldn’t put a race on top of leaving for a goal event,  but since my training schedule was completely trashed by my back and illness, I just have to get back on the horse.

Race Goals: I think any fast folks who aren’t going to Sacramento are going to be at this race. Since I skipped the Bolder Boulder, this is going to be my first Colorado race in at least 10 months! I can’t expect to win the walk portion, but I am going for completely personal reasons. It also needs to be mentioned that I truly suck at 5K’s. I like my distance. The thing is, I have to get better at all distances if I am going to feel viable in this sport.

My 6 Things:

1. To be around people and still hold a pace I am comfortable with. I tend to go out too fast. I have to waddle my own race.

2. To push myself to see how my VCD is going to react in the heat.  Last year was a wash because I couldn’t breathe.

3. To focus on the task at hand and not be distracted. I have spent the year and a half helping others. Time to coach myself.

4. To finish reasonably happy.

5. To get my friend and client Trapper Shaw to a race.

6. And most importantly – have fun & not hurt myself.

And – give Doc a big sweatty post race hug!





100 Miles in Months not Weeks

22 06 2011

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“Ok – get off your own back, Shep! You have been injured and dealing with the general nonsense of cleaning up your life, so 100 miles on a pair of kicks over several months is ok, but not a permanent situation.  Just keep going!”

Sigh. Sometimes my “Inner Coach” has to remind me of things, and the fact that I am putting myself back together slowly is important to remind me of.

Yesterday, my goal was to walk 2x around Bible Park. When I measured it for Susan, it came out to 2.65 km by my Garmin. She was doing 4x around. We did upper body in Coach Tetro’s class, so at least my shoulder girdle was warmed up.

I probably didn’t eat enough because I felt kind of off. Having Susan out there got me out of my complacancy. I stuffed my waterbottle in the hole Susan found in the tree and took off.

I didn’t feel clunky, but just low energy. I still don’t have pacing in my muscle memory, so when I feel slow, I probably am a bit faster.

I noticed my focus was a bit off. A handful of things I need to get done. No. The thing I need to get done is the task at hand – my training! I just gave myself short goals and knew I would stop for about a minute for water at the tree.

I got back to the tree, gulped water with Hammer Grapefruit Fizz in it, and wondered about the second lap. I was tired but not dead.

Ok I was depressed or frustrated and not dead. If I stopped, it would be like doing an easy 20 repetitions and not pushing myself.

I tossed my 2010 Virginia Beach R&R tech shirt into the tree and with excess weight squished between Addidas brand jog bra and short bike shorts started out.

It was OK. I saw my downstairs neighbor walking his dog. Coming up a hill, I saw my friend and client Trapper Shaw leaning against a tree.  “YOU CAN DO IT!!! All night looonnngg!! Yeaahh!” I smiled and said “Meet me at the tree!!”

About 200 meters later, I saw Susan zipping around for her last lap. I could do this. Friends on the course. Tree (like finish line) straight ahead. What is different for me is friend waiting at the end. 

Walking back, Susan did notice that I was walking uneven – like my left knee hurt. Maybe I am compensating for the still present pain in my right posterior hip. Something to think about.

I did a lot of my racing flying solo until my Virginia Beach crew. Before that, friendly runners waiting were people I had ridden with. I mean no disrespect, just that is the way it has been.

Susan flies out tomorrow and I will have to kick my own butte to get out and train.  I also have to get up to the High Altitude Racewalk Team trainings. Maybe ask some runners to just use the same area for their training as I get used to 2+ km loops.

So, I will Shoe Goo my right shoe and maybe 100 miles will only take weeks again soon.





Raaacccceeeeeee Daaaaaayyyyyy!!!!! Boston Merrython 2010

21 06 2010

(Journal 10 … yes 10 … 9 was lunch with my cousin Robin, but she didn’t forward along the photos, so I’m skipping.  I have a lot of catching up to do on this blog, so I’ll try to do a photo album later)

I know I promised I would type in directly what is in these journals, but I’m freaking tired and my brain is pretty fuzzy. It was a LONG day!  Never know what is going to happen, hu?

Race Day is always early.  You get up. Body Glide all over. Have breakfast. Get dressed, and then get to the start line.  We had a little extra complication – Mike’s huge air cart that had to get down the stairs with associated air tanks, refiller thingie, and in the van.  When Mike is out the door, he’s out the door.  I may seem laid back, but I’m a bit more uptight until I get to the staging area.  I have nearly missed a couple of races because of rides, and I just don’t need the stress. In this case, we were the first lot picked up, then we grabbed more of the team, and then we had to drive WAY out of town for the start.  I really had no clue where we were going or how it worked.  The “control freak” in me just rolled with it. 

I was supposed to meet the Pit Crew team at dinner, but I already wrote about what happened.  It was good that I spent time with James and by myself to get my thoughts together. I started to realize the enormity of the thing as I was on the train back “home” because I was in Boston. I was wearing a jacket that Mike had given me and my black Boston cap from Steve.  I was really there and when we got going in the morning, it was happening.  I just knew that Mike was going to need maneuvering room in the morning, so I figured I’d have things where I wanted them to be and kind of operate on auto pilot.  I was wearing the Fast-Twitches that I was considering as training replacements for my race shoes because I can’t afford to rip through Brooks T-6’s through training.  Mike was in his Mizuno Musha 2’s and I picked up a pair at the expo, but unlike the Brooks T-6, I didn’t feel comfortable trying a completely new shoe and manufacturer when I would be out there for over 7 hours.  I did forget to Body Glide the bottom of my feet.

We got picked up and then taken to the start line! Wait! The start line???  Ok – this makes sense now, of course, but I thought we would be someplace close to where my running buddies were going to to be.  Boy was I ever wrong!  We were literally at the start line because we had to be cued up and started so early.  There were folks with booths and balloons.  Port-a-potties were nice and clean. It was peaceful. I was starting to feel like I was ready for a race but it was bloody cold!  I was wearing several layers and concerned that I’d be too warm, but whatever. I could always peel off. Steve was concerned he’d freeze and Mike is usually pretty good temperature wise. Since Steve is a bit smaller than I am, I figured I could toss Steve anything I had if he needed it.

The boys were interviewed by the Boston Globe guy.  Steve has stuff on his website about this.  I know they go back and forth about the public recognition, but I think it is insanely important.  They are two guys with really crappy illnesses, but they are also athletes who are going to keep trying.  If it wasn’t for these two, I  would probably keep ignoring my asthma.  I mentioned it once to Mike and said “Well, I don’t have insurance right now, so I can’t afford inhalers.” I just glared at me and tossed me one of his.  Since that day, he reminds me to not be a dork, but he also knows that it is my decision.

Strangely, I was interviewed also.  I laughed at it because I have so much family living in Boston.  If it was printed it would be one of those things for my “nieces” and “nephews” there.  Mike is right, I talk too fast.  I did, however, explain what racewalking was, and what was so special about my guys.  Never give up … unless it is medically necessary!  Of course, I didn’t mention I’d probably spent too much time in the med tents after the majority of my races over the past year.  This wasn’t my race, the Boston Marathon belongs to my boys!

We toodled into the gym and I met some of the most amazing athletes I’d only heard of through Steve. The gym was our primary staging area.  It was great when there was no-one in there because I could start getting Mike to warm up his legs.  He knows his limitations, but he woke up tighter than usual.  Well, not a whole lot you can do but give it a shot.  Mike is a wonderful guy but extremely driven.  He is not going to quit if he doesn’t have to.  He’s finished races with empty air tanks, on his last legs, and even with his tank disconnected (I was there for that one!).  He doesn’t want to stop, but I could only hope that although he’s driven to finish, he’ll be smart. I can only push so hard.  It has to be his decision.  I know how hard that decision is to make, and I lucked out at Disney to have met Melissa and played through the rest of the race with her.  I was smart enough to get a DNF in Huntington Beach, but it’s played with my head ever since. 

While we were there, we met the folks from Team Hoyt, and  folks who were needing a little time to get staged.  We also were able to get the “back bibs” for all Team Wheezy guides.  I was concerned about being whacked from behind because I’d already decided I was going to camp out behind Mike on the edges of his cart.  Those tires are bike sized and the cart is pretty fragile. 

Kevin is a lot like Steve – you can’t “tell” what is “wrong” with him.  Kelly is my favorite kangaroo and an amazing runner. These guys have huge hearts and nothing is going to get in their way.  The pink tab on their bibs put them into the VIP section, but I didn’t know that until the end.

I got to meet a hand-crank wheelie who was going through her first merrython.  She was a real dear and afraid/excited like everyone on their first.  I sat there and told her that everyone is like that, and if they say they’re not afraid/excited … they’re fibbing!  I found out she finished and dang that made me feel fantastic.

I have always been curious about how wheelchair athletes push the wheels around.  Like everyone, I thought they grabbed the edge rim.  I ended up getting a lesson on how they propel themselves by a gent who came in second to his South African countryman. I will write more about this when I can find pictures of the gloves because it is fascinating.  He let me try on his glove and they “box” around the platter of the rim with a solid hocky puck like thing.  This isn’t making a lick of sense, but I now understand the thud sound I would hear when they went by.

Soon, it was time to go.  We were going to the start line.  It is quite a procedure.  The Guys had chips on but, of course, I didn’t. They all had to walk across the mats to make sure their chips were working. We didn’t get the National Anthem and I had no clue where the “crowd” was.  I just knew that I was standing among some amazing athletes.  I was most fascinated by a gentleman who was racing by propelling himself in his wheelchair backward.  When we finished, we didn’t know if he had finished.  I know I’ll find this guy somehow and I’m thinking I might have some pages just on these amazing athletes.

I don’t know if I ever explained what a guide does, but here goes:

As a guide, I couldn’t be further than 2 feet from my guys. There’s some latitude for potty breaks or when stuff happens, but it is so that I truly am “guiding” them.  I’m not allowed to lead them or in any way assist them other than letting them know I had a whip in my backpack and I wasn’t afraid of using it! I don’t get a medal. I don’t have a number. The race doesn’t “count officially” toward my race total, but I get to help two amazing buds.  What I did kind of “forget” was that I was going to be out there for 7 freaking hours … maybe not at my regular rate of speed – whatever that is – but on my feet for that whole time.  Also, I would be being me. What that means, being “on duty” worrying about my boys because I know BOTH my guys are stoic first ask questions later.  Try again boys! Bossy Ms. Lizzy is on the course!  On top of this, Steve had asked me to Twitter and Facebook through the race. I could only go for 1/2 the race before my phone died because I didn’t turn off all my pushes.  Oopse.  But I’m getting ahead of myself!

There was magic in the gym then we went outside and freaking froze. After Disney, I knew that I wasn’t going to freeze in a race.  Standing at the start line, I looked around and saw some amazing athletes while fully getting part of what Steve has to deal with when he races: he doesn’t look sick.  A couple of the athletes (I’ll probably end up friends with them by the time I finally type this into the computer … but I promised to type my journal and then go back and deal with pulling this together properly), were like Steve – they weren’t in a wheel chair, severely limping, bouncing like a kangaroo on metal “legs” like Kelly, or toting an air cart attached by a harness like Mike does.  Steve looks perfect! He bops along and looks perfect, unless you have written notes via the Patient System at UCSF hoping to God that he makes it through another visit to “prison”.

I wondered if the “impaired” start was being televised.  I knew that Chris was taking my “nephews” to his Mom’s in Connecticut, and it would be cool if they could see their “Auntie Dizzy” in the big race with her friends.  Ok – they’re my second cousins, but whatever!

When we started, we got hit by a gust of wind.  It’s a downhill to start and that’s always nice to get a head start.  We had two bike guys who were a part of the race and turned out to be grand fun.  Bossy miss me had my boys and I was bound and determined to have them not be stupid, but have a good time.  Steve’s priority was to get some film.  I think he’d already decided this was going to be his last Marathon.  It takes a lot out of him.  26.2 miles is hard on anyone, but when you can probably fit his whole lung capacity in the palm of one – maybe two on a good day – hand, I would love to see him out there in 1/2s … and maybe cheering me on! I can honestly say that I feel blessed having these two very different guys as angels in my world.

Like in a 5k where there is a small group, we spread out on the road.  Mike said he wanted to use the “alone time” on the course to get as much done as fast as possible.  The problem was, Mike wasn’t feeling right.  He knew he hadn’t trained well and he also simply, well, didn’t feel right.  On race day, there are butterflies, but this was something different.  I know Mike pretty well, and I could see it.  I know that I’d not trained well. Ok, get real, at all! I was depending on the fact that I know the distance and I would be walking a great deal slower than usual.  It still is time in sneakers.

I love this photo of Steve just taking off down the road.  Last year, Steve ended up in the hospital at the end of the race.  He said he’d make a decision at mile 21 if he could finish.  Mike knew how important my doing the Boston was, and I think he was pushing to get my ass over the line because he is that kind of a friend.  From my standpoint, 2010 is my year to learn to take care of myself and give back.  Melissa and I had an awesome time at the Disney Marathon because we took the pressure off.  Steve is an amazingly driven competitor and *POUF* off he went down the road!!

Mike and I had a nice start. He was not loosening up and bothered by it.  I was having a little tightness in my chest.  I’d taken the inhaler hit, but I think it was more nerves.  I have always been bothered by not feeling exactly “safe” on a lot of race courses with respect to medical.  When I’m by myself, I am pretty easy to deal with but the boys … We got to know Chris and Steve – our bike guys and settled in for a long walk.  I was pacing us off my Garmin.

We got passed by everyone and it was great to cheer the folks I’d met earlier in the morning on.  There’s a kinship that I just find hard to explain.  I am an “able bodied” person by look, but it has been a very long road back from the car accident.  I wondered if I’d been exposed to folks like this 20 years ago if I’d gone through that long, depressing, self-destructive time.  I don’t know and I won’t go back. Moving to Colorado changed me in a really fantastic way.  I was irritated when I got hit by an elite male who flew around the bike guys and slammed me in the shoulder pushing me into Mike’s hub.  Look a*# – we were over as far as we could go and still be on the road.  I’d never hoped someone had a lousy race, but I knew I was getting a terrific bruise and I hoped race karma would get him.  According to running friends and the news media, he got seriously dropped. PSYCH!

What was kind of cool was seeing the Elite water stops.  I have only seen them on televised coverage.  We went through and it was really cool.  This is a good time to say how amazing the water stops were. After 114 years, you would expect this race to have things right, but they really do! It isn’t lip service.  Sure it’s a running race, but they do have a lot of slow folks.  The towns all come out and cheer folks.  I bopped around and played with the crowd, got hugs, and had snacks.  I’m not kidding: Newman’s O’s, Fig Newmans, Fresh Brownies from “little old ladies”, lemonade, pretzels, red liquorice and then there are the Guys of Boston College … 🙂  Since I wasn’t “racing” hard, I was bound and determined to enjoy myself.  It appears I ended up doing nearly 30 miles going back and forth!

Speaking of my speed demon friends, we got hello’s from members of the Rocky Mountain Road Runners who were in the race.  From what they told me, I was easy to spot as was Mike’s cart. Mike really perked up, especially when The Eagle passed because they knew one another.  Scott K. not only said “HI LIZZY” but turned around and said “Hi Mike! Way to go!!!!” That meant a lot, especially because Scott flew along and ended up qualifying for next years’ Boston!

Back to the race:

Our first Air Stop was at mile 7.5. The power of Cell-Phones had us in contact until mine went dead. Mike had to swap out 2 air tanks. I know a little about his air doing some training with him over time, but I just stayed out of the way.  Steve took a hit off his nebulizer.  I stretched.  What was really  interesting was seeing just what it takes to keep these guys out there. We didn’t get a pit-test for Mike, but they really did well. Wheelman Tom (black shirt) really stepped up.  Brett was awesome also, but Tom knew my coffee addiction and fortunately we like coffee the same way because while he worked on the cart, I babysat his now cold coffee:

Not more than five minutes after we did a “GO TEEEAAAMMM WHEEEZZZYYYYY!!!” Mike was having a real problem.  “Girlfriend – is there something on my cart? It’s pulling.” Not good! Not more than a few miles in, when we were passed by the elite men, I was pushed by one of them into the left wheel hub of the cart.  I’d prefer the guy hit me rather than hit Mike.  It was when I was still trying to pull the guys over to the side listening to the “course martial” who wanted us on the edge of the road as the Hand-Crank Wheelchairs, Elite Wheelchairs, and Ellite “able bodied” runners came through.  The boys got irritated with me as they had paid good money for their entry, but I figured I would give no reason for anyone to complain about my guys.  I could feel the growing bruise on the outside of my right knee from hitting the hub — yes my right knee – the one I’d been spending time in med tents because of! Oh well. BUT Mike wasn’t concerned about that.  His cart was pulling so he pulled over.

Runners everywhere and I noticed that there was what looked like a Power-Gel wrapper attached to the tire.  It would have been fine if it was attached by the gooey race fuel inside, but it was attached by an open safety pin.  Many folks pin their gu’s to their shorts or singlets so they can pull them off easily.  Many don’t think about the pin if it falls off. Mike didn’t think he had to patch the tire and I had the bike guys help me with his tire as it is their neck of the universe. I didn’t like this omen.  Mike wasn’t feeling right and now this.  Steve was pushing to go faster. I really wanted another cup of coffee! As we edged back into traffic, I noticed all the barefoot runners out there and thought about how I’ve dropped gu wrappers and made a mental note to be more careful.

This, however, didn’t bode well. I was watching Mike fade and become frustrated with himself. He would perk up every time someone went by and said “Way to go, Sir!” When we were around mile 10, he said “Girlfriend, I don’t think I can make it.” I know Mike pretty well and it killed him to say this. The problem is once that thought gets in your brain in a race, it is hell to get out.  I’ve done enough races in this state to know that unless you can really pull everything together, you’re not going to get out of that negative headspace easily.  At least when it happens to me, it is because of something that is easily correctable. For Mike, it is a lot more serous as there are many more things to go seriously wrong.  I had it in my head that I wanted to get him to the 14.2 air stop. I wanted him to get at least half way. Nothing I could do would keep him from beating himself up and getting frustrated, but he also knew I would not be happy if he continued and hurt himself. 

I also got the distinct impression he was feeling bad if I didn’t get to finish my “dream” race because both boys couldn’t finish.  Seriously! The only way I could get across the Boston Marathon finish line was with one or both of my boys. If they have to pull out, so do I.

The more I watched Mike, the more concerned I became.  His shoulders were slumping, he was heavy on his feet. I kept just plugging him on a little here and there.  He’s such a good pal.  I didn’t want him to know that I could feel that I’d ripped a blister under my left toe line. Unpleasant, but I’d dealt with worse!

I couldn’t be more proud of Mike when he passed over the timing pads. Ker-thud. Ker-thud. A half marathon is a huge thing when you are having problems. Mike’s done fulls and he’d done the full Boston in 2009. I just wanted him to be able to race another day.  The mantra for the day was NO MED TENTS for the THREE of us!! No dying either – had to add that since they both are “chronically ill.”

Around the corner and to the library and there was Tall Pete! Wheee!! Our pit crew!  Mike was checking his tires. Steve was being the caterpillar blowing nebulizer smoke.  Tom was out of coffee.  I was really concerned.  I didn’t think Mike had much more in him. It’s not worth it to keep going when you’re going to not be able to get on the plane and go home.  Mike had perked up, but he was still not right.  It is up to him to keep going or not. It is a decision we all have to make for ourselves, but if he started slowing down too much, I know his frustration was going to take over.  And that would be ugly.

The next hill was right past our pit-crew site, and Mike pulled over saying “I’m done, Girlfriend.” I know how hard it was for him to say this and I couldn’t be more proud! Steve and biker Chris were sent ahead and I stayed with Mike to make sure he was ok. I sent John to fly on his bike backward to the team so that the wouldn’t take off without Mike. It was good timing because they could take his cart et al. It was then that I realized my phone was dead.

I RAN – yes RAN – to catch up with Chris and Steve. They literally flew down the downhill! I nearly gave myself an asthma attack.  I laughed that I could truly check this off my “bucket list” because I did always want to run in the Boston Marathon, and I just did!  I thought it would be rather ironic if I had an asthma attack carrying stuff for and being the guide of the first two severely lung challenged to ever complete the Boston Marathon! 

Steve started telling me about how magical the last mile was. “Lizzy, there is nothing like that last bit. The crowd, you’re there, the finish line …” then, in the next breath, he would say “Now, I’m going to make a decision if I’m going to complete when we get to the mile 21 pit-stop.” TRY AGAIN GAUDET!!!!  I really did say that! I teased him that after all his filling my head with all the images of finishing, he was going to finish! Of course, he knew I would stop if he said “Lizzy – that’s it. I’m done.”

There are a lot of things that one has to take into consideration when your friends have conditions they don’t want to talk about.  As one who hides tons of stuff, I can appreciate this.  Steve doesn’t want to be treated differently, but he is also an activist.  He’s had his nasty brittle asthma since, I think, day one. He’s had to deal with this his whole life.  The funny thing is we’re both “retired” audio engineers.  Some of my favorite albums have his signature on them. He is still a licensed respiratory therapist. Ironic, hu? Not really. I think he understands better. He’s the only person I know understands when I said I was having chest pains and difficulty breathing due to a tightening that felt like I was being sat on by an elephant while being laced into a corset which would have been too small for Scarlett O’Hara!

My biggest concern was keeping him hydrated. He’d told me before that he can’t eat or drink a great deal because of pressure on what is left of his lungs. When Twin was getting “Gatorade cocktails” for me when I wasn’t doing well, it was great because I could take what I wanted and just keep moving.  I did the same thing for Steve. I guided him behind the folks who were at the water tables which gave me a little room to be able to make a cocktail for him and keep him safe. Yeah, he’s probably going to kill me for that, but it was really fun to play Mama Hen to him because he’s such a great competitor. Like Mike, I know they don’t need coddling but a friend they can truly trust.

For someone who has limited access to air, Steve is chatty. It’s a VERY good thing because he’s hilarious and interesting. He kept me going. I think we kept each other going by people watching, checking in on each others’ condition, and having fun. I remember when we got to some hills, Steve said “Ok, Lizzie, I can’t talk anymore. You can talk to me, but I can’t talk until we’re through this.” “No stress, Steve.” I had no clue where we were, but didn’t take any offence. I was looking around and then heard something. Chatty Gaudet was talking with John! “STEVE do I have to tape your mouth shut??!” We laughed. 

We kept motoring on and he said “One more.” Ok. He knows the route. We did the one and I said “Hey Steve – when is the famous Heartbreak Hill?” Um … we had just finished it.   OH! Oopse!  Missed it! 

We kept on motoring and I could see Steve starting to flag. I was concerned, but I knew Steve would let me know what was going on with him. John had ridden ahead for Newman’s Own Pretzel Chunks I had in my gig bag at stop 21 and we’d gotten other things that I’d forgotten to get along the way. Ok – I didnt’ have a coffee while racing, but I did get really yummy brownies from an adorable little old lady! Steve kept telling me about the end of the race and had stopped saying he was stopping at mile 21.

The photo of us with Chris on my left I remember the conversation. Remember that Steve has this nasty lung condition. I never did find out exactly what I should do if he starts having an attack. I have read his blog and he’s told me things about how he has to be revived, but I know Steve downplays a lot of things. The conversation went something like this:

Lizzy: “So, Steve, I forgot to ask. Um if you start having an attack, what am I supposed to do?”
Steve: “Get me to a hospital.”
Lizzy: “Um can I revive you?”
Steve: “Nope.”
Lizzy: “Okey. You know what then?”
Steve: “No what.”
Lizzy: “Keep breathing!”

Mile 21 came and went. Mike was there, scowling, upset with himself, crabby, but there and that meant the world to me. Steve was tired, but wanted to keep going. He took a nebulizer hit, we did a hand punch “GO TEAM WHEEZY” and we were off. Steve, John (bike), Chris (bike), and I had a great time really.  We were a little pack teasing one another and getting to know each other.  We cheered on the people around us and had a great time. I was tired. My foot hurt like nuts.  I think it was around mile 21 that I decided that the Fast-Twitches would ONLY be used in a situation where I needed a shoe with a tread. I wondered if my foot would ever be the same. I was tired and my legs heavy, but Steve kept me going. When we noticed Steve flagging and a nice size crowd, John would shout “HERE COMES STEVE! STEVE! STEVE! STEVE!!” We would start chanting, Steve would pick up the pace and I’d have to keep up! It was the shot in the arm that Mike would get from folks cheering him on.

The thing about Steve is that he doesn’t want fuss.  Mike is the same way. I love my guys because they have their own personalities and so much respect and appreciation for each other. For some silly reason, they let me play in their sandbox.

Next thing I knew, we were really motoring in that least 5k. Steve finally pulled his headphones out of his shirt.  I don’t think he ever put on his tunes. I’m glad he never asked me to sing, or he would have ended up in a hospital with bleeding ears! I was so proud of the fact that he was keeping me in his loop, we were finishing, and having fun.

Then there was a moment for Lizzy.  I am a Native San Franciscan. I love the S.F. Giants because that was my team. My New Hampshire based Grandfather told me his baseball team was the Boston Red Stockings. I loved my grandfather, so when he asked me to be a be a Red Stockings fan, what the heck. I made a side comment where I thought it would be cool if we could take a severe right hand turn and go to Fenway. All the boys said “Lizzy – Look over there …” and there it was! Fenway! Wow! Whoo Hoo!!!

Back to business. I’m ready to get Steve across the line and sit down! My foot was sticky. I knew there was going to be a mess. I was having an amazing time, but I was still on duty.  I was constantly thinking about Mike and hoping he wasn’t beating himself up too bad and I was really wanting a sandwich and maybe an entire carton of alfalfa sprouts.  I knew where the Elephant and Castle was, and fish and chips sounded pretty yum. I was done with Gatorade and Shock Blocks. My skirt kept slipping down the skinnies I had on. I usually wear a race belt and I was wearing a backpack.  On a positive note, the Nathan water backpack was perfect.

What had happened in 2009 was that Steve did finish, but was in a great deal of distress. He crossed the finish line, was picked up by the medical team and transported directly to the hospital (Prison) where he was “incarcerated” doing his level best not to end up pushing daisies. The things we do for medals! Speaking of that, Steve had to push to get his very hard earned medal. Since we’d passed mile 21, there was no stopping Team Wheezy! I looked at Steve and said “Steve, promise me something.” He was a little hoarse, which is a scary sign to me, and said “What?” “Um … don’t die. Ok?” Big, bright, trademark Gaudet smile “Sure, Lizzy!” and a little cough.  We had to finish and we had to finish … NOW!

There was a group of folks walking 6 abreast.  It was irritating because they were dressed in bright red and we were coming in to the home stretch.  All Steve wanted was video of the ending and I’d shot video with his camera, of course sideways because I’ve gotten so used to being able to just flip things around. Oopse! Steve really didn’t want his video being the backsides of this group, so I said “Hey – can you follow?” He nodded and we blew them away!

When you’re coming in to the end, the Guides are able to go across the line with their “charges,” but  our Bike Spotters – Chris and John would leave us there. I tossed John, or was it Chris, my bottle and we were almost done. Steve was not only going to finish, but finish bypassing the medical tent … I think. He’d better! I’d kill him! Hahahaahaa!!!

Steve has the video on his www.breathinstephen.com site and I blew out his microphone, but whatever! He told me I could put the video lower, but I thought it would be fun to have it roughly Steve’s height.  We saw a guy that we’d seen before. It was like finishing around friends. We did finish. Seven hours and change. Faster than Steve did last year. Healthier than Steve did last year. Even better was right after we crossed the line we weren’t greeted by the Medical Staff, but by Big Tall Pete and a healthy Mike McB with Steve’s Nebulizer! Yeah! Makes it all worthwhile. That and coming in before the line of red shorts!

 The truly funny thing was Steve asking “so where do we go from here?” I laughed. Of course he didn’t know because last year he’d turned left and was taken out horizontal. We were on our way to get Steve’s medal and a mylar blanket when we got told we were to turn right. Hu? I wasn’t paying close attention. My mind was starting to wander.  I was finally “off duty” and I realized I was done. PFEW! I noticed that we weren’t the last two across the line even though we started an hour earlier and there was an awful lot of “stuff” for the folks who were still out on the course. Steve and I wondered what had happened to some of the folks we’d started with. Fortunately for me, Mike and Pete kept an eye on me because I was a little lost.  We were off to the VIP tent.  Okey dokey!

Not all that and a bag of chips, but we did run in to Kevin and his crew.

I was beat. A friend of mine laughed that this was a lot of work for no medal.  But I got a medal … that isn’t medal.  My Guide bib means more to me than anything.  I called Mom who wanted to make sure everyone was safe and we got one last photo of Team Wheezy Competitors. 

Just as I was saying goodbye to our bikers, Pete said “Hey Dizzy Lizzy…” I wasn’t altogether there and he said “Lizzy you did it!” “I wha??” “You did it! You completed the Boston Marathon!!!” I looked at Chris who I was just about to give a hug to and said “Oh my gosh! Did I?” He just laughed and I cried on his shoulder! 

Wow – I did it too! Between Mike and Steve, I did something I wanted to do since I was 13 years old. I was told girls like me didn’t do the Boston Marathon. Well, I’m here to say that girls like me do  do the Boston Marathon and I did it My Way!





EOW 5K 00:36:43

16 08 2009

coin2201.jpg image by erpedenPotts, of the wonderful Pott’s Trotters, has a race series called the End Of Watch Memorial Series. It is a fundraiser for those memorial benches of fallen Aurora, Colorado police officers. It’s a good hearted effort. Sometimes the families of the officers are doing the event listed under run, racewalk, or fitness walk and the whole thing is very low keyed. It is timed, but not chipped, and the route is a smidge hilly through the local neighborhood – but begins and ends at the Aurora Police Department.

There were changes this year, and fortunately Marianne M. (fresh off her 5, 10, 20 K wins in Finland) was doing some warming up to tell me what happened. Usually, the event takes place in the munipal building right at the front of the police department. This year, they’ve moved Potts to a courtyard on the side and I think it works out a lot better. The start now has a downhill slope and out of the parking lot … of course that means when you’re trying to finish, you’re going back up-hill at the end. Ok – Bolder Boulder!

It was nice to see folks. Turned out I was missed at the Georgetown race and that made me smile. This was my first race using the FastTwitch shoes, ortotics, and nearly 2 months of chiropractic on my knee. Seeing first Mariann then Michael Blanchard, I knew that the highest finish I could make would be 3rd overall … and when I saw the wonderful gentleman Darryl, I knew if I could hold 4th, I’d be happy! Bob Carlson was bopping around – kicking it at 80+. I figured he’d spot us at the beginning and end but not out on the course … and it appears I was right.

The beginning of the EOW series has a memorial to the fallen officer our fees are going to. Doves are let fly and it’s a very pretty rememberance. Runners start 2 minutes ahead of the walkers. Racewalkers start toward the front and fitness walkers just float along in the rear. Ok, so how are we told apart? It’s on the application and Bob pretty much knows the handful of us who were competing racewalking. I’ve only done a couple of her races where there were obviously jog/walkers who signed up for the “soft option” of “walker”, but they were carefully moved.

It was nice to talk with Darryl, Michael and Marianne. I’m still on the shoe hunt, so I’m asking a lot of questions.  I warmed up the legs a little and definitely did warm up exercises. Since I’m not really one to warm up the legs for anything under a 10K, I have to remind myself that I race better when I do! I train better also!

When we took off, I deliberately put myself behind Michael … I didn’t want to be on that toe line – to give them their flying start – but didn’t want to be behind others. I started off with a jump and by the time we turned the first corner, I knew I was solidly in 4th. I had kept up with the three front folks just long enough to put some room between me and the rest of the walkers. As I watched the speedy three take off, I let them. I didn’t feel like I even wanted to try to keep up. Good first step for me — actually walking my own race! Yippeeee!!!

The first kilometer to mile was clunky. There’s no other way to put it. I am not very smooth right now. I feel like I’ve got tired with a flat spot on them. I think if I got in the habit of warming up more, I’d have the clunks worked out before the race starts. I already knew the first mile was geting the kinks out, so no problem here.

I mentioned that the course goes up through a neighborhood … it does. It’s kind of a rolling hill course. You start off going down the street to the neighborhood and then roll up through that neighborhood with associated flats here and there, but for the most part you’re going up. I’m not sure exactly where I was, but I kind of wanted to stop for a sec. It made no sense as I wasn’t tired etc. My legs felt fine but I felt low energy. Ok – need to eat good food and more of it. Simple as that. Also, I need to make my training more fun so that when my head says “aww hell, Shep, this doesn’t matter …” I am able to put that aside and keep plugging onward and upward (in this case).  The bummer is after the water stop (roughly mile 1 and change), you turn a corner and go directly up to where the turn around is. The kids at the water stop were standing right in the course line which would have pushed me out into the street to go around them. I was, as I say, by myself, so I let them know I was going directly through. Not many people had passed me at this point, but I was really warm. I got about 1/2  a cup of water down my back with the majority splashing the back of my calves. I couldn’t quite see where the turn around cone was, but I was being passed by runners coming down. I didn’t really recognize many. As I got closer to the turn around, I saw the three racewalkers ahead of me. Michael came down first, followed by a very intent Mariann. Darryl looking like a dapper man in his Bing Crosby-esque blue fishing cap, came down – smiled at me, slapped hands and said “There she is! Looking great!” Was nice.

I probably mentioned in a long ago post that Darryl was one of the first people I met at a competition. It was a Pott’s Trotters race, and it was cold. My very first one for her – so I have to say it was maybe December. I’d gotten very used to starting at the back of the runners as a too-fast-for-normal-walk-groups-but-too-slow-to-be-mixed-in-with-runners person. I didn’t fully get that the Racewalkers are actually started 2 minutes off of the runners. As I took off, I heard Potts SCREAMING “LIZZY!!! LIZZY!!!” and I had no clue what it was all about. I heard go and I went. It turned out she was trying to get me to come back. Darryl was wearing a long pair of pants and that blue hat … and just glided on past the struggling-at-mile-1 me saying “You’re doing fine Racewalker!” First person to ever call me one. Of course, he effortlessly glided right on past like smoke. After the race was over, he met up with me at the finish. It appeared his beloved wife hadn’t come to the race. He talked with me about post race stretching, catching my breath, recovery, water and cheering other people on. Just an amazing guy. I never forgot him. Then I didn’t see him and, I’ll be honest, I thought he’d died. Nope – I even got to meet his wife at this race. Having Darryl there made me feel like I truly was “coming back”.

I was searching for the turn around … I saw a bunch of cones by a police car and aimed for them until the copper pointed out the YELLOW cone to go around. Oy! I watched my knees as I tightly turned around it and headded back down the hill. I saw Darryl’s wife and said “go to the yellow cone!” After the race was through, she said she didn’t get what I was saying until she saw it and it helped! One would think I would have jammed the downhill. Strangely, I didn’t. Not sure why … I just thought it was more important to try to keep some sort of even pace. I probably made up some time, but my legs were feeling a little heavy. Gulp of water because I realized my mouth was dry and headding off into the last bit of the race.

The bummer on this race is the knowledge that probably much every mile is uphill. I came off the long hill and turned right onto the roadway leading back up to the police station. I just told my legs to “spin your wheels” and I motored up the hill. I was really warm. I guess I don’t handle warm all that well. I was also sweating a lot. Going up the hill. Roll the tootsies. My “big” and “second” toe on my right foot have been giving me trouble and they were acting up. I’m wondering if it’s got to do with the orthotics or what. I was paying attention to how my feet were feeling in the FastTwitch shoes. They’re pretty yum.

I was, as I say, all alone. There wasn’t a huge turn out, which is really sad for Potts, so I just had to keep myself motivated. I laughed knowing that the rest of the course was going to be up-hill and said “Well, Lizzy, you’re at the Bolder Boulder with fewer people around!” As anticipated, Bob was under a tree just before the end. He called out my time, which was nice and said “Second Female, Fourth Overall” I barely heard him, but it was appreciated. I knew exactly where I was. I just have to get used to calling numbers etc at me. I only passed one gal, who was a jog/walker, from the running group, so I knew everyone was done. I came around the corner and saw the START sign … a friend of mine from the Rocky Mountain Road Runners was there yelling “COME ON LIZZY!!! You’re almost done.” I have no clue how good/bad/indifferent I looked, but I knew I wanted to be done because I really was hot. My buddy doing the music knew that I’ve been off for the majority of the year with injuries and this was my first race back for me. He put on Heart of Rock and Roll the minute I came around the corner … past the Chick-fil-let cow (kind of surreal by the way) and I laughed. (If you don’t know, Huey Lewis and the News were from Marin County – Mill Valley, the town next to where I grew up.) Arms do your pull, legs roll it up the hill … keep it legal please … because just off to the left of the clock was a tall gentleman in a blue fisherman’s cap … Darryl. 

I’m not going to lie – I fixated on that damn clock out of the corner of my left eye all the way up the hill from the moment I could read the numbers. I was bound and determined to be back under 40 minutes. That really hurt in June! Ok – so I wasn’t feeling well, screw it! It hurt because I’d not been that slow in a while … at least in a race! 😉 I crossed knowing there wasn’t a 4 within the first 3 digits of the clock: 00:00:00 … so in the hours or first spot on minutes … So – seeing my friend there and getting in under 40 minutes. Very happy indeed!

I did come in a “distant” fourth, but I’m just fine with that. I kept motoring on. It did remind me a lot of earlier 5k’s. I know I can do the distance, but it was hard for me to smooth out.

So, next race: Virginia Beach Rock and Roll 1/2. Going out to have fun and see where I am racing 13.1 miles in these new FastTwitch shoes.