Time to cheer at MCM!

Cops bring us beer cups at MCM

If you follow me on Facebook, you may have already seen this, but it remains one of my favorite race cheering moments.

This weekend, the Marine Corps Marathon is here again.  While I have never run the marathon and probably never will (I am a retired marathoner), this race is always on my calendar for one very important reason – Race Cheering.

I love cheering at this race.  No matter the weather.  It’s always a ton of fun.  MCM is a bucket list race for a lot of people.  It’s a race that immediately fills up and that people sometimes try for years to get into.  And it’s not an easy course.  It’s got a required minimum 14 minute per mile pace, and there are various cutoffs you have to make on the course.

My preferred cheer spot is just after one of those cutoffs – right after the 14th Street Bridge.  This is late in the race.  This year,  due to the route change, the end of the bridge is around mile 20, usually it’s closer to mile 22.   Having run the bridge in other races, it’s a tough part of any course.  It’s over a mile long, there are no spectators allowed on the bridge (though often one or two manage to sneak on), and because the bridge ends with a downhill, you can’t see the end.  It just seems to stretch on forever.

From our cheer spot, we can see the faces of people as they realize they’ve made it over the bridge.  They’re into the last miles of the race and they’re past the cutoffs.

The big thing that we all insist on doing when we cheer is that we wait for the very last runner to come through.  I’ve been at races where I’m late in the race and it’s a tough experience.  You can tell there were spectators there cheering, but they’ve mostly cleared out by then.  Just when you need that emotional push from a stranger, there’s no one there.  So we make a point to be there for all of those people coming through at the end.  It’s fun to see their faces when they realize that we’ve saved them snacks (because of course we hand out snacks).

It does sort of make the day anticlimactic.  “Was that the last person?  Yep, that was the last person.  Okay, let’s go home.”  But it’s a lot of fun, and I’ll have my cowbell out to cheer for each and every runner racing this weekend.


Wednesday Workout Recap

I’ve noticed a lot of people track their annual mileage.  I used to track my run mileage, but I’ve definitely fallen off the wagon on that one.  I think for 2017, I’m going to use these recaps to add up my swim/bike/run mileage and see what I’m actually doing throughout the year.

Last week was definitely not a perfect week.  The downside to not pushing towards a big race is that I’m less motivated to get in my workouts.  But I did pretty well, I guess.

I also got some work done on my blog over the weekend.  Finally got my Race Reports page updated as well as my sidebar.  It made me realize that I’ve done a LOT of races.  And I think this is the first time that I’ve gotten this late in the year without a real plan for the next year.  Best work on that soon.

Monday – Rest Day.  I’m also back to choir rehearsals.  These are a little weird, since our director passed away unexpectedly this summer, so we’re working with guest conductors.  I definitely enjoy being there, but Monday rehearsals from 7:30-10 are tough.

Tuesday – Scheduled swim, but since I knew Wednesday’s workout was going to be a miss, I opted to get in a trainer ride and some lifting.  It also meant I got to bed early.

Wednesday – A good friend was in town, so we met for dinner.  No workout.

Thursday – Lifting. Lots of lifting.  I’m so glad to be back to regular strength work.  I never want to do it, but then I realize just how incredible it makes me feel.

Friday – Trainer ride and strength work.

Saturday – Oh, the joys of flexibility in my schedule.  I flipflopped the weekend’s workouts due to the weather.  So this became a 1:45 trainer ride.

Sunday – Gorgeous 8 mile run.  We’re having perfect running weather right now.  I know it’s not going to last, but I’m going to enjoy every single minute of it.


My home repairs are done!

finished-officeAlmost four months after I discovered a water leak in my office, the project is done!

(Okay, there’s some organization I still have to do and boxes I have to deal with, but it’s 95% done and that feels darn good.)

Let’s go back.  So back in July, I discovered a soft spot in my wall and some evidence of water leakage.  After ripping out some carpet, things did not seem good, so I called some repair companies.  Everyone figured the leak was due to some improperly placed nails outside.  No big deal.  Just some simple repairs.

Then the mold abatement company (because you always call a mold abatement company when you have water in your walls for a long time) came in and started the work.  And it turned out to be way worse than expected.

hole-in-wallThis photo is from after the mold abatement.  The white paint is all part of the abatement process.  But see that weird shape behind the third beam from the left?  That’s rotted away wood.  The white behind it isn’t paint.  It’s the wrap on the outside of the house.  Yes, at this point, all that is keeping the outside out is a piece of plastic and some improperly installed siding.  This was not awesome.

Oh yes, and to do this, I had to take everything out of my office.  You know what an English major with a law degree owns?  Books.  Lots of books.  So many books.

This is only half of the boxes.

This is only half of the boxes.

So many repairs.  So much time.  Such poor time management from one of the contractors.  And, of course, this was all going on as I was training for Augusta.  There’s nothing less relaxing than coming home after a hard workout and being faced with all of those boxes.

But finally, the exterior work got done, and the week after Augusta, the interior work was done.


And then my office looked like this for a few weeks because I was busy.  I’m a social gal, after all.  I just had to sand and paint, but getting two coats of paint onto the walls took two weekends.  I also had to buy and assemble a new desk (the old one got damaged by the water leak and was no longer stable).  While I was at it, I picked up the filing cabinet that I’ve been thinking about getting for a few years.  I’m a grownup.  File boxes aren’t cutting it anymore.

But this weekend.  This weekend I finally finished it up.  The room isn’t perfect.  I wanted to put in better flooring.  I just have an indoor/outdoor rug that I bought a few years ago placed directly on the concrete floor.  It’s not quite the right size, but it works and I already owned it.

I’ve got to deal with a few things, hang up a few more items on the wall, and deal with the stack of filing that I’ve been ignoring.  I also need to go through all my files before I put them into the filing cabinet.  I’m a bit of a paper packrat and I think there’s some shredding to be done.

But the boxes are out of my living room and dining room.  My house looks so big now!  It’s a much nicer place to hang out in now!

Which is good because thanks to all of this work, I’m broke.

The One You Feed

There is a popular Cherokee parable that I’m sure you’ve heard.

An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life.  “A fight is going on inside me,” he said to the boy.  “It is a terrible fight between two wolves.  One is evil – he is anger, envy, sorry, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.”  He continued, “The other is good – he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith.  The same fight is going on inside you – and inside every other person too.”


The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, “Which wolf will win?”


The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”


There is a lot of negativity in the world right now.  The U.S. elections definitely aren’t helping anything, but this isn’t just about elections.  It’s also about people who think body shaming or race finish time shaming is okay.  After all, if you’re doing it from behind a computer screen, who cares?  It’s not as if you’ll ever meet that person.  Heck, you can even do it with your real name on Facebook and get away with it.

But even if you can get away with negativity – why?  People often say “If you put negativity into the world, you will get negativity back.”  Now, I’m not saying that you should look at life with rose colored glasses.  There is a lot of stuff out there to get angry about.  And I’m certainly no blissed out hippie walking around emanating peace, but it’s not a bad idea to take a look at your reactions to what’s going on around you.  You should also look at where you’re spending your time online.  Do you frequent sites that mock other people?  Maybe that’s not the best place to be spending your time.  You only serve to feed the angry wolf inside you.

I agree that there are some people out there who I think are ridiculous, who perhaps I would mock if given the opportunity – but I try to rise above those urges.  Humor at another person’s expense really isn’t funny, and even if the other person doesn’t know, by giving into that sort of humor, I’m really only hurting myself by letting that sort of negativity in.

I’m not recommending some drastic life change.  Just maybe consider this parable.  After all, it’s popular for a reason.  And consider which wolf you are feeding in yourself.  Maybe that evil wolf is getting a little too chubby for his own good.

The Internet Bullies are At It Again

So it’s Wednesday, which is usually a workout recap day for me, but something happened on the internet yesterday that I wanted to talk about.  The internet bullies came out in full force.  I wasn’t their target, but that doesn’t make me any less angry and disappointed about what happened.

To briefly summarize:

A woman who ran Augusta 70.3 (who I had “met” in a Facebook group and who seems pretty darn nice) posted in a Facebook group about an experience she had.  She was wearing her Augusta finisher’s gear and a stranger came up to her and told her that it was inappropriate for people who didn’t do a race to wear finisher’s gear.  She considers herself a “bigger triathlete” so I guess this person didn’t think she had the right look to have finished a 70.3.

Does this look like a triathlete? Yes, because I'm finishing a triathlon.

Does this look like a triathlete? Yes, because I’m finishing a triathlon.

That’s a feeling a lot of triathletes have.  “I’m too big to do this.”  Sure, it’s easier to bike up hills if you’re carrying less weight.  It’s part of the reason I’m working to drop some pounds – I want to get faster.  Does it mean that I can’t do it at my current weight?  Nope.  Does it mean that I couldn’t do it 20 pounds heavier?  Nope.  So this woman wanted to share her story, share her frustration, and also her pride at having finished the race.

For the most part, people were friendly, congratulating her for having a good comeback to the guy, applauding her pushing through and finishing.

Then someone decided to go look up her finishing time.  (This is an a**hole move to begin with, let’s be honest.)  Turns out, she was an official DNF at Augusta.  Different race companies have different rules, but for IRONMAN races, if you finish over 8:30, you are officially a DNF.  They still let you finish, they still give you your finisher’s hat and your medal, but you just don’t have an official time.  Did you then finish the race?  I think so.  Maybe you’re not official, but you covered the distance.  It’s a very different situation from races where they give you a medal even if you get swept.  I suppose technically, you’re not a finisher, but you pushed through, got to the finish line, and now you have a goal to beat.

(As an aside, my personal opinion on this has more to do with what you put into the race.  Did you follow your training plan?  If you got sick or injured and had to miss some training, that happens, of course.  But if you put in the work, and on race day, things just didn’t go your way, you deserve that finish.  If you didn’t train, thought you could just rest on your laurels, and showed up and got an official DNF, well maybe you shouldn’t be getting all the accolades.  Heck, if you didn’t train and finished within the time limits, you probably shouldn’t be getting all the accolades.)

This guy calling her out on the official DNF didn’t stop there.  While plenty of people were still saying she had every right to wear the gear, others started to pile on the negativity.  And then it got worse.  Someone created a Facebook group to make fun of her as well as others, using her finisher picture as the header picture.  But this wasn’t just a private group.  No, they actually invited people they wanted to bully to the group.

People.  How old are we?  This is incredibly childish (actually, I think it’s an insult to children to refer to these idiots as such).  What is the point?  How awful must you feel about yourself to bully someone from behind a keyboard?

The fact that this was happening got shared in a few different Facebook groups I’m in.  And people were supportive and angry at the bullies.  But what makes me sad is that even though there were all these amazing voices out there, those mean voices are still going to cut through for a lot of people.  And some people who are new to triathlon, who are just considering their first race are going to end up stepping away because they don’t look like a “typical” triathlete and don’t want people making fun of them.

The thing is, 99% of the triathletes I have met are AMAZING people.  They don’t care how fast or how slow you are.  At Kona, it’s pretty much tradition that the winners come back out late in the evening to give the last finishers their medals.  You see it happen at other races as well, and it’s not unusual at any distance to see finishers cheering on the people still racing.  Because we all run the same race.

Don’t let the mean people scare you off.  And don’t let the mean people suck you in either.  Making fun of another person is not the way to feel better about yourself.  We’re all better than this.