Friday, April 28, 2006

Switching Cultures

I work with almost all Puerto Rican women. The other day one of my sweetest kindest co-workers said, "Oh, Beth, you are getting too skinny." I was immediately thrilled, but then pretended to be embarrassed and told her it was only from the stress of the marathon training and not to worry the weight would be back on soon enough. In the next breath, she said, "Oh don't worry you still have your big butt." You see, a big butt in the Puerto Rican culture is a sight of beauty, therefore I am totally desirable to that culture.

Too bad I married a Pollock. (Is that how you spell a person of Polish decent?)

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Reason #328 to stick to 1/2 marathons :)

OUCH! My feet still hurt. I still can only wear flipflops on my feet because of the overzealous medic guy, Skip. The four minute bandaid not only did not help to cushion my foot, it caused the bruise you see here. My toenail is hanging by a thread too. Should I try to pull it off? I never have pulled them off before, I just let nature takes its course usually.

A must have for long distance runners is ARNICA. Arnica is a homeopathic remedy to allevieate muscle soreness and bruising. Hello, we should be buying stock in the stuff, right. Today is three days after the marathon and I feel back to normal with the exception of the damn bandaid fiasco area! I figure by Sat. or Sun. I should be able to do a slow jog.

The marathon photos are up at . My last name is Martin-Shashok and my bib number was 23159. You can check them out. I always am surprised at how chubby I look, but I have decided to embrace my large body like a beautiful Clydesdale horse. I think it will help me feel better about my self-image if I accept my big strong body as a strength not weakness. I love the picture of me pointing to my running angel, Deb. I don't know what I am pointing at though! Also, I love the pre-race photo of me with my stepdad, it's very sweet.

PS any of the readers that decide to stalk me now that you know my last name just know that I have a permanent case of PMS and a huntin' rifle I am just itchin' to use on ya'. I am not kidding, don't get any ideas, you'll be sorry. Did you see those muscles in my arms?!? Who needs a gun when you have those bad boys :D

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Running Goddess Rocks!

Well, let me try to find a way to sit down so I can type this race report, hold on it may take me a few minutes to get from standing to sitting, but once I get down to the chair, I'll be stuck for awhile. This race report may be quite long!

Pre-race Preparation
My family and I celebrated Easter with our egg hunt and church. Then we went out for brunch and after brunch we headed to the Expo to pick up my number. The expo was great, very organized, no lines. We arrived at about 3:00pm on Sunday and they were sold out of the awesome Boston Marathon jackets and only had large t-shirts left. The sold out jackets was a blessing in disguise, because I didn't have to come up with some deceiving plan to buy one without my husband knowing!

After the expo, we traveled to Braintree, where we spent the day visiting with my family. Ate my obiligatory plate of pasta, watched Desparate Housewives and then fell asleep on a half-blown up inflatable bed. One would think that half-blown up would be a bad thing, but it was sorta like sleeping on a hammock, so I slept pretty well.

Race Day
One race day, my stepdad and I woke up at about 5:30am, ate some fruit and an english muffin. We headed into Boston with my cousin that had to go to work. We arrived at the shuttle service at 7:00am, we were on the first wave out of Boston. We arrived in Hopkinton at about 8:00am and had full access to portopotties and food. Then we sat around for the next FOUR AND HALF HOURS! The waiting pretty much sucked. We were corraled in two different athlete's villages, one for the under 3 1/2 hours runners and one for the rest of us! The slower runner village definitely felt second class. There was a stage but in name only, they just piped in what was happening in the fast village stage. I suppose if I was watching the performers rather than just listening to them I would have been more entertained. But the fact that we were separated kept the potty lines managable, always a good thing.
At about 11:30am, we started to make our way to the baggage buses and the start line about a mile a way. Therefore I ran 27.2 miles really ;). The start was a mob scene, but I was very excited to finally be starting. Not only did the slower runners have a second rate holding area, we started a half hour later. I finally crossed the start line at 12:45am. WooHoo, this is it!
I felt great, the weather was perfect (50' with partly sunny skies). I tore off my throw away shirt at about mile two and continued to feel awesome. At somewhere before mile 6, I was experiencing some pain on the top of my left foot. My shoe was tied to tightly maybe. At this point, I was running my desired pace 9:45/mile very comfortably. I stopped to retie my shoe with no avail. So at mile six, I stopped at a medic tent for a band-aid. Well, a very nice but overzealous med tent guy decided to perform minor surgery on my foot bone. He was trying to create like a corn bandaid for my bone. Good in theory, bad in practice. The fancy bandaid took FOUR MINUTES to make and then didn't really help! I suffered with the pain for about ten more miles and then met up with my angel, Deb.

Oh wait, I ate some gu at mile ten and passed the half-marathon mark at about 2:10, I think. More memorable would be the Wellesley College women, they were CRAZY! I definitely need to book some parties for my Athena's business up there! They were begging for kisses, I mean begging. I happened to be running right behind a man in a chicken suit at this point and the girls were going nuts over him, so this really helped me take my mind off the foot pain.

At mile 16, mile sweet angel friend, Deb was waiting with my supplies and support. I immediately took the two ibuprofen she had and we continued on to mile 17 at which point I ate some vanilla gel. I was feeling great at this point running strong, the foot was pretty much numb and my legs were still pretty fresh.

Then came Heartbreak Hill.

Heartbreak Hill is a series of four hills from mile 17-21, great time for hills, right? Don't get me wrong, the Boston Marathon is chuck full of hills from start to finish, but the Heartbreak series are a continuous grind uphill and then some pretty taxing downhills as well. Going downhill bothered my foot thing. I definitely slowed up at this point, probably to about a sub-11 min/mile. I would try to keep my ten min. pace and would feel my quads shout "oh no you don't you still have five more miles after we get up these freakin' hills" so I listened and took it down a notch.

After Heartbreak Hill, I grew very excited. I was watching for my pastor and his wife at mile 22. They had kept in touch with my running-angel and we knew right where they were. We got two big hugs and some blessings and pushed on!

My mother and Uncle Johnny were going to be at mile 24, but I wasn't sure where, but as luck would have we saw them too. Two more hugs and some Irish luck rubbed on us and further the push.

This is where I hit the wall. My legs were spent and my spirit was wavering. My running-angel was cracking me up because she was having a BLAST! She was slapping every cute little kids hand, high-fiving the drunk BC students, yelling to the spectators on the rooftops. Thank god I had her with me. While she was whooping it up, I was crucifying myself inside. All those thoughts about what the hell was I thinking running another marathon, I had to be an idiot, never again, I HATE THIS, these last fucking miles are going on forever, when is the next water stop, and on and on. My saving grace was watching Deb have so much fun. At this point, she said, "This is the way to run a marathon, just run the last ten miles!" I told her I'm with her!

With the grace of God and Deb, I made it to the end. My entourage was at exactly at mile 26, right behind a garbage can! As a matter of fact, when I hugged them, we knocked some of the garbage out of the can! Yuck! And then it was over.

It was very surreal to finish, you go from 26.2 miles (really 27.2) of absolutely the most encouraging fans in the world to tired but polite volunteers. Everything is kinda quiet, all the screaming fans behind you. This was the only marathon that I was just a wee bit sad to be finished. Usually I am crying tears of joy to be done the god-awful thing, but Boston is an incredible experience and I would encourage all of you wild runners to try to get in, either train your little butts off or be obnoxiously persistent like me!

Today I am having a massage at 11:30am, I can not wait. Every muscle in my body is sore. I have a gigantic bruise on my foot from the stupid bandaid, I will lose only one toenail it looks like. Oh I forgot the trek back to Braintree was AWFUL! We had to walk about a mile to the T station and then the train was jammed pack and I had to stand. After about two stops, I think I might either pass out or throw up. A sweet woman gave me her seat, I stripped off my sweatshirt only to reveal my sweaty body making me feel like I was really going to hurl. I held together for everyone's sake for about four more stops when I had to get off the train. My sweet cousin stayed on the train to get the car and backtracked to pick me up. I still felt awful. We arrived at her house about 30 minutes later, still feeling like crap. Then I had to push my little one aside to pee outside and ran to the bathroom, throwing up and pooping at the same time! Still feeling crappy. The shower felt great, but still not all that great. At this point, I was thinking I might need medical attention. Luckily, I got dressed after the shower and my cousin had a toasted bagel waiting for me. The bagel hit the spot, I was like new as soon as ate that thing! Lesson to self- eat bagel after marathon! They gave crappy food at the end- potato chips, bananas, yogurt smoothies and a power bar. I guess that's not too crappy, I just don't like the smoothies or power bars! Today I plan to make up for the lack of food yesterday!

BTW, I set a personal best 4:40, imagine if I hadn't had minor surgery that took four minutes!

Saturday, April 15, 2006

The Running Goddess Countdown to BOSTON!

Today my family and I volunteered at our local Easter Road Race. It was so fun. I recommend volunteering at a race to everyone that runs. It is a wonderful experience to support the race directors and runners. Runners always amaze me. They come in all different shapes and sizes. There is no better way to observe this variety than to volunteer. My step-dad (who is running Boston on Monday and he qualified the old-fashioned way:)) , my youngest and oldest sons and I manned the water stop. This is no easy task, there was a lot of water spillage! I got so intimated about handing out water, I decided to stick to collecting the garbage!

Two more days till Boston! As I was lamenting aloud today, my oldest and wise-beyond-his-years son told me to stop worrying about my performance and time. He shouted that I am about to participate in one the world's most prestigous sporting events and that I should shut up and ENJOY it! I was stunned to silence and humbled to say something like, "Holy shit, you're right, I have to get out there run and have fun." Then I thanked him and have tried to remember that every time I am computing my mile splits in my head!

Friday, April 14, 2006

Feeling Groovy

I am feeling better. I think maybe I was having allergies or stress-related symptoms. Last night I worked an awesome Athena's party for a bunch of adorable college girls. They were so cute, they hung on my every word about all the different ways to feel groovy ;)!! The party was not a huge money maker, but $175 dollars in my pocket for three hours of talking about sex with very curious young women is nothing to shake a stick at! I was very nervous about this party because at 37 years old, I felt ancient and wasn't sure I would be able to talk their "language". It was awesome, they were so into learning about new things and treated me like a big sister rather than their possible mother. I have another huge party scheduled for next Friday, hopefully I'll be able to walk by then, only four days after the marathon and all!

Oh yeah the marathon! That's right, I almost forgot about the marathon, yeah right?! I am TOTALLY PSYCHED!!!! I will post as soon as possible. I am no perfect poster like The Running Chicks, but I will give you an overview. I am so amazed how they can break down a race mile for mile. I guess I am more of the big picture type of gal! I do like things big, you know :)!

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Five more sleeps until Boston:(

I can't believe it, but I started to cough and sneeze this afternoon. Now I am pumping vitamin C and hot tea into my viens. Now I am going to finish watching the Amazing Race and get into bed early. As of 5:00pm, reported the temperature for Marathon Monday as 51', up one degree from yesterday!

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Obsessive Countdown to Boston

I have checked everyday twice to see what weather conditions await for me on Patriots Day in Boston! I am very nervous about what to wear. Of course, I bought a new pair of compression shorts just for the occasion (can't have any chubby rub). I am wearing them right now as amatter of fact! Now I have to decide what top to wear. I am not sure if I should go with a tank top or t-shirt. So far the forecast is calling for partly sunny and 50', really ideal racing weather. I just hate being cold and I plan on being out there for at least four and half-ish hours, so I could get cold with only a tank-top on. But I really like how tank-tops look and feel, less restrictive. I definitely have sensory issues, anyone out there reading this with a child with autism knows what I mean. I hate feeling uncomfortable at all. I would run in my pajamas if I could, and let's not even mention tags on the clothing or I might flip out right now!
Well, gotta go check before bed just one last time!

Friday, April 07, 2006

Time change adjustment overload!

I have not been able to adjust to the dark mornings yet, which really sucks when you are a morning runner. I did become a psuedo-afternoon runner this winter because I felt like I needed to be in the sunlight to overcome the winter blues and it did work as a matter of fact. This winter flew by for me. All that being said, I do prefer running in the morning. I feel like I am beating everyone to the punch, I come home and I am one up on my kids ready to handle whatever fashion disasters or breakfast catastrophes. I also feel relieved to have the obligatory exercise out of the way and can relax for the rest of the day.

But I can not freakin' wake up now that it is dark again at 5:00am!!! It sucks! This week I only ran Wed. and Thurs., that's it. I feel so guilty and flabby. I don't get that, how can I feel flabby when I know my body hasn't changed. It is amazing what the brain can do to our emotional state. So tomorrow is another day, I am getting up to run with my running buddies at 6:30. The only thing is I think it going to rain. Oh well, some days you can't win.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Tired, but happy:)

On Friday night after chasing three and four-year olds all day, I ran a very long fifteen miler. I was beat, it was hotter than last week and I really sucked. I did realize I do like gu though and that was a learning experience for me. I am glad I tried it. Today I ran a very easy three miler and think I am going to sleep tomorrow morning, sorry no church for me.
I started my new business tonight and felt great. I still have a lot to learn about sales, but I enjoyed myself and think other people had fun at the Athena party as well. My next party isn't until after the Boston Marathon so now I can focus all my neurotic energy on that!