Eye of the Tiger

Slowly but surely, I ran a marathon. 26.2 miles criss crossing Washington D.C. and Arlington, VA with 23,529 other crazy people. I finished in 5:05 which is good – hey I finished my first marathon! – but slower than I was secretly hoping. (The winner? Finished in 2:20. Whoa.)

The Marathon
I held a steady 10:30 pace until mile 18. I was stoked that I was going to finish around 4:30. But that joy wasn’t compensating for the increasing pain in my hip. By mile 20, I couldn’t even run a full mile without taking a walk/stretch break. Lifting my leg was excruciating. I did manage to run the final 1.2 miles non-stop, high fives from a group of Navy men helped, so did the long line of high fives from Marines right at the finish line. There were some military men and women running with their rucksacks – I can only imagine how difficult that must have been. I ran among people with amputated limbs, and again, I willed myself to keep going.

Thankfully, R was there on the sidelines cheering me on throughout the course – miles 2, 11, 16, 22, 24. By the end, getting to him was all that was keeping me moving.

So much else that I can hardly keep it all straight. Meeting another runner who had won 2 marathons and run 22 of them. People just going pee on the side of the road. All the cheering and funny signs (“If it were easy, it’d be the Army 10.” “Make this marathon your bitch” which I like to assume is a Breaking Bad reference.) Running past the Washington Monument and Arlington Cemetery. Knowing that I beat Katie Holmes’ marathon time but not Oprah’s. A giant tele-tubby on the sidelines. Drum lines and rock bands. Kids sticking out their hands for high-fives. The shirts that said “My Dad is a Marine” and “Once a Marine, Always a Marine.” All the incorrect Hoo-rah-ing by civs (it’s Oo-rah!)

Hurricane Sandy
Oh yeah, luckily the hurricane didn’t hit until Sunday evening. The race was cool and a little windy, but thankfully, there was no rain and no gusts. Worrying about the weather definitely toyed with me mentally. Riding on the bus on Saturday, our return bus was cancelled and so we had to scramble to find lodging and transit options. I considered whether we should just turn back to get home. Not exactly how I wanted to spend the night before a big race. But it all turned out fine. (Although we didn’t get back to Brooklyn until Wednesday afternoon.)

The Recovery
I was hurting later in the day, but was still mobile. I had been so excited to be done with it, that I forgot to stretch afterwards, that came back to bite me in the ass on Monday (the day after the race.) Turns out running uses a lot of back muscle, because whoa, my back was hurting. I also spent a half day thinking I had lost all the cartilage in my left knee (an exaggeration, but it did really hurt.) A few days later, I’m good as new – sort of, a few cracks and unexpected surprises, but more or less back to normal.

And a Mighty Hearty Thank You
Thanks to everyone who’s run with me over the past two years. I couldn’t have done it without you. Seriously. From my brother dragging me way too far all over Santa Barbara to running with D in San Francisco through the rain like bad asses. Running with J on the South Beach boardwalk and running Portland’s bridges with M. I’ve gotten to run in so many great places – Brooklyn, Central Park, Ithaca, Scituate, Santa Monica, Austin, Denver, the Bahamas, and more. I’m really lucky, and I love running. After the marathon, I said never again. But two days later and I’m ready for my next one.

The race finishes at the US Marine Corps War Memorial and runners can have their photos taken with the Iwo Jima memorial statue. Rather than trying to beat the crowds on race day, I opted to do my photo the day before.

At packet pick-up with the Marine Corps bus.

R’s super awesome sign for me!

4:45am wake-up call. I am ready!

R’s awesome photo of the Lincoln Memorial. I only got to see the back of the building.

The Washington Monument and reflecting pool.

With my marathon medal!

Eye of the Tiger

Baby, I’m a Warrior

Last weekend, myself and some friends ventured into the backwoods of Pennsylvania to run the Warrior Dash.

And it was awesome! And harder than I thought.

The gist is this: 3.5 miles of rugged terrain full of various obstacles like climbing a cargo net, trudging through waist deep water (it was part of a river or lake), and jumping over fire.

It had been a rainy weekend, so by the 3:30 heat on Sunday afternoon the entire course was nothing but 3-inch thick mud. And that’s only where it wasn’t 8-inch deep mud. I’m amazed no one broke their ankle — or rather, am amazed I didn’t hear that anyone broke their ankle, surely someone must have.

I hadn’t been running in the past few weeks, so I was nervous about the race. Thankfully, my buds – D and R – stuck with me for nearly all of it. (R was the surprise force who ran through that forest like a gazelle on steroids, who knew?!)

My favorite obstacle? The Barricade Breakdown – a series of 4-5 foot walls that you have to get over. I was so proud I could do it and felt like a bad ass, except by the last one, there’s maybe 6 of them, my arms were killing me! Good to know I could outrun the cops if I ever needed to.

I also liked the water obstacles. It was nice to let some of the water do the work, and for whatever reason I was pretty good at making up loss time in these parts.

The jumping over fire, the stampeding across junkyard cars (I totally ran across a BMW!) were also pretty fun.

Least favorite obstacle? Scaling the wall, which is also partially my favorite one because I conquered it. I literally turned a corner in the forest towards the end of the run and just went Ooooh fuck! It’s a 2-story wall with a rope that you have to scale, turn around at the top and climb back down ladder-style. As you may know, I have a fear of heights. So when I got to the top and was straddling the wall, all of a sudden it was like Oooh shit. Mainly, I was worried I would slip climbing back down because everything was so muddy. But I didn’t! I made it down safe and sound and went on with the race.

My official time: 48:38.70 (which isn’t bad considering there were times I was just standing around waiting for my chance to get at the obstacle.) And I did run the whole thing, no walking!

For my gender/age group I was 84 out of 816 = 10%, and overall 1607 out of 6499 = 25%. Not bad for the second foot race of my life. Super cool? The top female finisher came in 26th and was a 15 year old. Damn. Fearless no doubt.

The Warrior Dash is super amazing and everyone should do it at least once. Even though certain things about it are a total rip off — like SportPhoto trying to charge $20 for a ONE digital image or WarriorDash not having any medals to give out to the Sunday afternoon participants (really, I paid $60 to do this race and you can’t give me a cheesy piece of plastic?)

Baby, I’m a Warrior

Baby, I’m a Swinger

While in San Francisco, D and I and his two friends all took a trapeze class. I’ve been recounting this story every chance I can. It was amazing and I urge anyone to take a trapeze class if you ever the chance – mind you, I’m pretty terrified of heights!

Here’s where we took our classes: Trapeze Arts. The video on the main page – yeah, I did that. Yeah, that’s right – swinging around in the air. I’m part monkey. But one of those kinds of monkeys that likes to stay on the ground.

Yeah it was great. The photos don’t really show it, but the platform is 25 ft in the air, which is uh, high. The photos also don’t show that I was totally into the “catcher” guy who was helping us. He was being super nice since I was so scared and telling me I was doing great and that it was all about conquering fears etc etc. And I totally fell for it. Then I realized that this guy is the trapeze equivalent of a bartender – as in, has some pretty great banter and is flirtatious because it’s part of the job. Oh well. So, when we wrapped up and they closed down, I watched him ride off into the darkness on his motorcycle. Sigh, circus folk.

Photos of D and I rocking it on the trapeze bar.

Baby, I’m a Swinger

Daily Delight #68

I’ve been known to rock some video games, particularly the fighting games. See, unlike some people, when I’m rocking Panda into a Deadly Claw attack, it’s no button-mashing mistake.

When my brother-in-law told me that he had Xbox Kinect – which lets you fight using your body instead of a controller – I was all about it. He had this game Fighting Uncaged. It was a lot of punching and kicking and dodging. It was awesome and after about 30 minutes, I was seriously sweaty and tired.

Then my brother-in-law pulled out some boxing/weight/martial arts gear and he showed me a bunch of defensive moves. Now, I’m hoping I get attacked because I think I could mess someone up/defend myself as long as I keep a cool head. Hmm… it’s probably not a good idea to tell the Internet, “I hope I get attacked.” Ha.

Me in all my gladiator gear (and knee socks lol).

Daily Delight #68

Daily Delight #49

James Ransone is my new Adrien Brody. (I clearly have a type.) I’m absolutely ga-ga for him. He was Ziggy in The Wire, Season 2. And even better, he is the super quick witted, silver-tongued Cpl. Josh Person in Generation Kill (which has turned out to be an incredibly amazing mini-series depicting the complexities of war. You thought you hated 9-5 office bureaucracy? Imagine it meaning life or death.) I’m trying to figure if he’s the face on the DVD/posters? Ransone also played Steve-O in Inside Man.

Dear entertainment industry, we need more of Mr. Ransone. Stat. Photo from Life.

Daily Delight #49