Monday, August 11, 2008

Race for the Cure-- to the toilet?

I woke up at 3am the morning at my friend Kelley's where I'd spent the night before Race for the Cure. Something wasn't right. Whether it was the veggie burger I ate the night before, or just general stress, I felt sick. When it was time to get up for the race at 5:30, I was so dizzy, I had to get out of the shower wet but not clean, and lie down.
"do you need anything Sophia?"
"I'm sick. My head is spinning."
"Go back to bed. Don't race if you feel sick."
I had to do this race. I'd spent most of the week setting up interviews with Travis Fox. He'd done my trail running group (trail nerds/muddbabes) and my friend Coleen and me personally a huge favor by designing a logo for Brew to Brew. Later it became the logo for the trail running ladies. His mom, Cindy died of breast cancer at only age 42.
I called my photographer Justin.
"I just about threw up. I'm dizzy and I've had other 'adventures with the bowl' all night."
"I thought you were going to puke during the race (from running fast)"
"Justin it's coming out both ends."
"Can't you put a cork in it?"
I laughed weakly. But he gave me what I needed. A little push. Had he been lackluster about going to the story, I would have crawled back in bed. Well actually I did crawl back in bed, but not for long. I managed the shower and got to the race. I was greeted warmly by my best muddbabes Coleen and Debbie. We wore our pink shirts with the logo Travis designed in honor of his mom.
"How are you?"
I think Debbie was asking about my emotional state, but instead got a synopsis of the power sprayer out the end, I'd been dealing with all morning.
And the race was very inspiring.
24 thousand people running for a cure, in memory, for awareness-- or just simply for hope.
I brought a small video camera and did interviews which aired on my TV station that night at ten. My friends Debbie and James caught up with me (Coleen was running slow with her charity group) and I interviewed them and got some cute shots of Debbie's shoes. I was very touched by so many that I met. I'm glad I could do my part, and also share it on the news.

And I was able to give back in another way. A young girl had stopped with a super-sized ankle at the aid station (where they were destroying the planet passing out plastic bottles -sheesh people it's a 5k?!!) Anyway the workers seemed to understand about as much about a swollen ankle as they did about the planet. I grabbed some ice out of the bin and fashioned an ice pack with the remnants of a bag on the ground. I hope her ankle is ok. The volunteers did call for transportation for her.

I suppose you all didn't need so much information from me on my physical state-- but hey it proves you can get through anything. Right?
Also in Coleen's interview she said she did her first self breast exam in the shower the night before. Her husband will not let her live down that she told the world she felt herself up the night before the race! Oh yeah that one was not going to die on the edit bay floor! So I'll tease myself about my rear end issues.
And anyway let's face it, the Trail Nerds' Muddbabes are after all -- a movement!! (please insert baby wipe joke here...)

Mudd and Kisses everyone!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Stephanie's First 8k

"Do you eat before you race?"
"Yup. Always something. At least a piece of fruit. Wheat tortilla if you can stomache it."
My friend Stephanie/newscast producer was running her first race since college and I could tell she was nervous. Earlier in the week we both gasped through a 5 miler.
"How long is 8k?"
4.97 miles. She was starting to worry she wouldn't be able to do it.
"You can always race twice as far as you can run on a training run." Don't ask me where that came from originally, but i think it's pretty true.
First little surprise-- and I should have known when I saw the distance. Grass! Lots of soft grass to run on.. but it can add a little to your time.
Turns out it was a sort of cross country team reunion for Topeka West and there was a decent turnout.
On your mark-- get set-- go!
"Don't go too fast Steph!"
"Oh I won't."
This was the main reason I was running with her. It's so easy to jump out of the gate too fast. Especially when it seems like people are flying in front of you. Add a little adrenaline and excitement and you've got the recipe for disaster. I don't know the exact chemistry, but starting out fast throws a bunch of nasty lactic acid in your legs that will burn like crazy on the last few miles-- which will end up much slower.
We did ok. 8:50 the first mile. But the course got harder. Up and down the grassy hills.
"Let's take this one."
I encouraged Stephanie to power up a little knoll-- and she's great because she's always up for a challenge and a little competition. After all she was an athlete growing up.
"When I ran the 400 in High School we used to say it was one minute of hell."
"Well today might be a little longer in hell."
And it was hot. Hot hot hot in Topeka.
The humidity was so high the sweat was just clinging to our skin and not evaporating.
"I wish this was a 5k."
"We'll be ok, just keep the breathing steady Stephanie."
"Do you want to just go ahead Sophia?"
We were at mile 4.
"Nope this day is about you. But I can if you want me to go to the car and take a picture of you at the finish line. It's up to you. Company or picture?"
"I don't know what I want." she kind of whined.. but just a little.
"I think you should stick with the company."
The last mile can be pretty rough. A mile doesn't seem long. Unless you're racing. We got to the last 200 yards and could see the finish.
"Kick it Steph."
She has an amazing sprint and I knew I couldn't catch her, but didn't care. I was so proud of her on her first race. She had prepared so well and ran a great time. 46 minutes and change. Much faster than the 50 minutes she'd hoped for.
Later for more fun-- I ran the kiddie race on the grass barefoot. Back to nature!

A couple days later we were chatting at work.
"Hey I forgot to tell you thanks so much for running with me. And I feel bad you ran all that way and then I finished ahead. When you could have creamed me if you'd just run your regular pace."
It was not a problem. I was glad to be a running mentor and good friend. And as fate would have it. The time I ran earned me a 2nd place medal in my age group. Go figure.

Muddy Hugs,
Mud Stud

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Lunar Trek--Friendship in lonliness

It was dark and I was running alone. Why? Although I looked like Goldilocks with my hair curling in the incredible humidity, in fact I was baby bear. 20 miles was too short-- 40 too long-- 31 was just right. Unfortunately my old friends were doing 20 and Danny Miller who jumped in with me at the start wanted to do 40. So I was alone-- trying to get back my mudstud stripes! Miles 1-15 were a blast. I overanalyzed everything from running to diet and relationships. Danny entertained me with some stories of Vegas-- which--well-- had best be left alone. The big highlight for me was when I realized we were actually running ahead of the famous "Kearney Boys." Straight from the Heartland.. these guys run fast.
"Woo hoo!" I did a little swirl and dance in my black running skirt and pink mud Babe's top. "We're ahead of the Kearney Boys."
"Not for long."
Thanks John. But we trotted into the 15 mile aid station a touch ahead of them-- Danny went on for greater longer distances-- and I turned around into the darkness of the night-- and my thoughts. Over the next few miles I'd see the 50k runners who were behind me since it was an out and back course.
Here comes someone-- wow-- smells good.
"Nick?!! Nick." I realized Nick the lady killer was running the 50k.
Things got very dark after that. By three in the morning, I was starting to feel a little worried about my safety-- but I kept on running. I cursed Caleb Chatfield for telling me to run 31. I wondered if my friends Debbie and James would be irritated they'd have to wait for me. Then there was the delirious moment wondering if I was even going the right way. Did I go over this rough road on the way out? Am I ever going to finish? Do I care? Can I finish in 5 hours. Well no on that one. At the marathon mark I'd run a 4:36 and I was starting to think a 5:30 was out of the question. But as in life-- the rough areas pass, and if you stay in the race, something amazing can happen. You fly. Well sort of. 9:45 a mile felt like flying at that point. As I rounded the corner to the school, I started yelling. "wake up everybody I'm here !! I'm here!!"
I finished in 5:24. Might be the "respectable but annoying" category (like a 4:07 marathon) still it was faster than all but lightning fast Bryan. Mr 4 hour. ugh. Still it's kind of disappointing when you don't make a goal-- but then it's great when what you did is enough. And sometimes that is your best. Sometimes it's sad to run alone and wish someone was beside you-- but then it's nice to finish and know you're not alone at all. Debbie, James and Laurie were cheering me in. With warm smiles, kind hugs and even a kodak moment! I knew I was loved. And just a little secret. Shhh. During those tough miles.. I got into my zone by chanting through all the people who love me.

We stuck around to cheer Gary in . I cheered in the Kearney boys who ran 40-- apologized to Danny for bailing on him-- I should have known my Nerds would wait for me no matter how far I wanted to run. And what a fun breakfast. The Kearney boys got up and left and I dived into the leftover biscuits and gravy. James ate some too.
"I don't even like biscuits and gravy."
You know when I was in High School, I didn't like running. My how times change.