Wednesday, February 4, 2015

It has been awhile

Well, many things have happened, and I became a little overwhelmed.  But, I am back and can tell you the following:

1.  My 91 y/o house probably won't fall down in the next year or so. But, my fingers are crossed.
2.  Stabbing myself every week in the thigh is really awful - but the ER has magnetic tweezers to recover broken needles under the skin.  That was kind of cool and terrifying at the same time. And, overall, my back pain is semi-manageable.
3.  And many other things that I don't need to write.  Mostly, my running has gone to heck, but I've run 3 half marathons in the past 60 days.  Because, sometime in the past 2 years, I decided that was a good plan to run 13.1 miles repeatedly without training.  And, believe me, I have produced MANY ugly race pics.  And, I'm back to make more.

So, maybe it is a good plan to just run a bunch of half marathons.  I'm joining the board of an organization that I love and have fundraised for in the past -Girls on the Run of San Antonio.  Do you think you could help me fundraise for them this year to the tune of about $3,000 if I run 12 half marathons in 12 months?  I promise that if I do, I will post every ugly race pic along the way.

Here's an introductory ugly race pic from last weekend's Superbowl 7k (credit: Andrew Patterson). 

After overtime and a 10k I somehow signed up for this weekend, I'll try to set up the GOTR fundraising site (tax deductible for any contributor) and start finding my ugly race pics from the first HM of the year - RNR New Orleans.  Trust me, it was untrained and ugly.  Next up, Alamo City Run Fest half marathon, February 22.  Just drop me a comment or message if you think you could donate a few bucks toward this fundraising before I run a bunch of untrained half marathons willy nilly.  Oh, wait, I'm likely going to do that anyway, but I'd love the support.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Don't believe anything I say

I've often pledged - right here - not to EVER run another untrained half marathon, trail race, nighttime trail race, 200ish mile relay run, etc.  I won't even bore you with all of those links, because - well, I lie, apparently - a LOT.

Several months ago, a (really friggin' fast) buddy running and graphic artists/printing couple announced their debut of a half marathon race - in a newly-opened and never-used section of park on the Southwest side of San Antonio.  Nevermind that I had no time to train in July at all and never on trails, I registered.  So, I prepared my un-trained self for the race by retrieving my spider-webbed, muddy trail shoes from the porch on Friday, where they have remained muddy and unused since the IAAP trail run in April, and washed them.  Yes, April.  Do not try this at home - this is VERY poor preparation for a trail half marathon.

When I tried to describe the location to non-runners I know - "near Lackland AFB," they replied "oh, the landfill?"  Hmmm.  In Wisconsin, we cover landfills with snow or fake snow and ski on them.  With rope tows and chairlifts.  Thoughts of impending doom set in.  In between not running much and not running trails, I also did not run hills.

So, raceday, I put on my brave-ist face and thought "I've gutted out trail runs and half marathons before, I can do this" and posed like a goofball.

Deep down, I was thinking that it was a double-loop, and I could just quit after the first loop (several runners did).  So, here's the start

Up the first (of many) hills.  I later looked at this elevation chart - eek

yeah, that 'up/down' at mile 5 and 10-11ish looked like this - at the initial descent, before you hit the gravel/rocks and 100-foot drop, then climb, when I started getting vertigo and sliding sideways.

(notice how it just drops off to China).

So, at least it was overcast and only hot, humid, hilly, and trail for the first lap.  I was leap-frogging with another running gal, Lyza, and we kind of chatted intermittently through miles 3-5 about quitting after the first loop (mind you, she ran ~18 miles the day before).  And, I really thought about it from miles 5-6.5.  But, then, there was not a "half half marathon/10k" category, so dropping out was a DNF (did not finish).  I have never DNF'd a race.  So, I waited to see what Lyza would do (hoping she'd quit - maybe we could be a virtual relay team that ran at the same time?? Weird things go through your head at this point)...

(I'm watching her drive on through the finish for lap 2) and dammit if she didn't keep going - so I followed.  And that's where it got really ugly.

Yes, that is 1:31, 6.5 miles in - it only got worse.  The sun came out.  Around mile 10, after arguing with the voices in my head, I decided it was better to hike it in than risk falling with my clumsy trail running - in week 1 of marathon training.  Don't forget - I had to face this again (I even thought about cheating and running through the field, instead of down/up the hill - I wasn't going to place anyway)

It was even worse the second time, because I knew it was coming.  And since I was invested, I slid back down this hill.  I was actually GLAD to be climbing back uphill.
And I made it in - as a crazy running chicken DFL (Dead F***ing Last - for the individual HM - there was one relay team after me).

But, DFL beats DNF (did not finish), beats DNS (did not start).  I did not die, and it was a cool (NOT temperature-wise, Fonzie-wise), different race.  And it is in my top 3 toughest races (both self-imposed obstacles and the conditions/terrain - somewhere around mile 11ish along the run, I was rating them, trying to distract myself:  Tapatio Springs 5k after dislocating my patella
and the icy Spicewood HM last December  Even after the race, I'm making it a 3-way tie for the toughest races I've run, including 6 marathons and 20ish? HMs and 3 200+ mile relays.

And Edragon did a really great job on this inaugural race - there were plenty of water stops, staffed by cute boys, medical support, and post race chow/beer, as well as cool shirts and finisher tiles.  Now, they just need to add a chair lift on that HELL hill and a rope tow on a few others...

Actually, a day later, my toes/toenails hurt from the downhills, but I'm okay.  I hope this doesn't imprint in my mind that I should still run untrained races, because I have to be smarter in the future...oooo shiny things/race medals and new crazy races that I have not trained for...

Thank you to Robert Parker, Karen Rahlf - spelled right!, Scottydog, MicheleD, and LauraC for the pics and the support!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Somos soldados

So, since my last post, I did not say no again to a new opportunity with Girls on the Run, but, in balance, I tried to say not so much yes to things I've been doing for years. 

I am trying to transfer the BrakPak blog to the Brak Pak as a whole (right now, blogspot can bite me, but I'm taking a deep breath and re-confronting that issue in the next few days), backing off on being the team captain of just about every Brak Pak Chiks team in the past 6-7-8 years, and restricting my SARR involvement to race director of the Women's 5k, scholarship committee member, Wednesday zoo run volunteer, and general volunteer.  Now, if only I could get my neighbors to spay/neuter all of the stray animals in the neighborhood and fold/distribute the newsletter every month, I would actually also have time for my full time job that pays the bills.  Oh, and I need to start training for a December marathon - TODAY.  dangit. 

So, here's what last weekend looked like - among folding/distributing neighborhood newsletters, working overtime, and too much else.  The Loteria 5k - or 'Mexican bingo.'  Somos soldados for this one - mostly since we were all busy and cobbled together costumes by Thursday before the run.  I actually found an old BDU blouse from my Army days - strangely, 1 rank and 2 units older than when I was discharged (honorably, after I'd served my time, and at my request!), so I'm not sure why I did not give that one away and still had it floating around my closet.

This was so not (and is not) intended to be sexy solider - just Brak Pak solidarity (same word root, I love that).  If it, in some way seemed to try to be sexy - I started cutting the camo shirt without a bra...much lower, if you know what I mean.  I'm sure someone will find it to be a sexy outfit at Goodwill. And my cheesy half-awake grin is pretty much the antithesis of any sort of sexy soldier ever.

Speaking of un-sexy - and ugly race pics - then I turned in a run that represented a month of piss-poor training (other things got in my way). 

But it made for some ugly race pics..

Once again, I was passed by my new nemesis - this hairless dog named Mojo - this time at about mile 1 - I shot him with my squirt gun.  It's not animal abuse when it's almost 100 degrees and you are a bald dog.
In the end, we just hammed it up for the camera

Next up - I try to make it through an un-trained half marathon (13.1 miles) on trails on Sunday.  This might hurt, but at least I just stabbed myself with some Humira, so I hope the back will work.  The mind, well...

In other thoughts, I'm not a huge celebrity follower or recent movie watcher, but the death of Robin Williams strikes a personal chord with me.  Some of his wonderful portrayals in movies were poignant at certain points in my life - particularly: Dead Poets Society, Good Morning Vietnam, and The Birdcage.  I loved how he was maniacally brilliant and unpredictable without (or ignoring) a script - and to the surprise sometimes of his co-actors.  He was also a big supporter of troops, performing many times overseas.  Humor comforts all of us - and distracts many of us from those things we just cannot overcome.  I just wish he would have made it through, like the rest of us try to do, and will continue to try to do.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Not even trying to catch up

Normally, this is where I would apologize for taking on too much and post a ton of pictures from this past month and promise myself I could keep up next week or month.  Not this time.  Here's my ugly race picture and it is all - race director of the 35th Annual SARR Women's 5k.  I ran more than a 5k back and forth to the start/finish.

Well, all of the ugly race pics anyway.  It kind of shows what the last few months have been like - minus the running, because I did not have time with the quality review work detail and race directing and the other things I keep agreeing to do.  It feels like I've been going 100 mph and going nowhere.

So, the Women's 5k is basically done, with some wrap up tasks to complete and initial planning for next year (permit application, gripe absorption, and shirt ordering).  But I only have two weeks to get back to base level running (25 mpw) to start marathon training for the Bryan-College Station marathon in December.  Without getting injured, Sally, without getting injured.

But in 'good' news:  1)  I now have time to get the ~$10k estimates on my foundation repair before my 90 y/o house caves in (yay!).  2)  It's pretty clear I have psoriatic arthritis [dang blogspot - that is absolutely a real word].  Whenever I have been under stress since my 20s (deployment, trials, bar exam...), my palms turn into a flaky, itchy, terrible mess.  Such as now.  I always blamed it on environment, but I guess now I know the fun truth.  Not so much fun to type decisions with itchy, painful hands.  But 3)  I'm about to hit 3,000 decisions that I've written since 2007.  I know it's geeky and not relatable, but that's close to how many decisions some folks who are retiring have written.  And last, and best 4) I now get to work from home 3 days per week. 

Unusually (but I have unusual pets), this has somehow caused Pepper the cat to develop separation anxiety - he must be near me at all times.  It's creepy when I'm showering.  Here is what he looked like under my chair the other night.

I guess we all need a break.  And maybe some counseling.  Or maybe I'll just go back to running and let my pets be freaks - that probably works best for us, I think.

Next up - getting back on track, Lotteria 5k, and increased Humira.

Thanks to Randy Beamer, WOAI for the pic.  And Pepper, for being a creeper.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Catching up again

It seems like most of my posts this year involve catching up and falling behind.  Every year, I tell myself that I am going to say "no" more often, yet, somehow, I take on more duties.  Maybe, next year, I'll say "no" more often, now that I'm yet another year wiser.

So, here it goes.  On June 21, 2014, I ran the Carrabbas Half Marathon Relay.  As always, it was hot and humid.  Guess who didn't say no to filling in for the announcer/MC, who canceled? 

I took a break from announcing to run the 3rd leg and take some ugly race pics.


Afterward, I switched to ugly race announcer pics.  Don't worry, I won't change the blog name (since I will be saying "no," right?).

Yep, not a good look.

The following weekend, I ran the Midsummer Night's Dream Women's 5k.  It was a night run on the Brackenridge Golf Course.  

Luckily, it was dark, so there were no ugly running pics.  But I made up for that the next day at the SARR Annual picnic and fun run.

and pimping marketing the Women's 5k - without putting down my dos equis.

And the SARR Scholarship committee (again, not saying "no") - we awarded 8 x $1,000 scholarships at the picnic.

So, that brings us to today - my favorite day of the year - my birthday!  Luckily, SARR produced a race in my honor - but they called it the Freedom 4 miler a/k/a Sally's birthday run.  I may have added that last part.
I was in fine crazy running chicken form.

Birthday Bok Bok.

And re-hydrating after the race (yep, it was hot and humid - it IS San Antonio).

And I'm all caught up - for now.  Next up, SARR Monthly Fun Run tomorrow, Free-da's 5k on Sunday, and the final day of my 120-work detail on Monday (which I have been looking forward to for about 119 days).  And the Women's 5k is only two weeks away - eek!

Thanks to Ceci, Victor, Gerry, Celia, LauraC, Tom Lake, SARR, ScottyDog, Lana, and Tony for the pics.