Onward and Upward: Details of a DNF

May 31, 2011

Before this weekend, I always wondered what race officials do when a runner decides they can't finish the race. Welp, I now consider myself an insider on the whole process, which involves a lot of walkie-talkieing...and a bus.

It's true. It happened. I DNF'd the Vermont City Marathon this year. Fifth marathon, first DNF, but honestly, I've accepted it and I'm completely fine.

If you're one of my Daily Mile* friends, you know that I whined, complained, and wretched about my stomach for the entire week before the race. Basically, I came down with a stomach bug last Sunday and it held strong through the whole week--I even had to leave work early on Thursday because after my nineteenth trip to the bathroom, I started to feel a little embarrassed.

On Friday morning, when we were getting ready to leave for Vermont, I knew I wouldn't be able to brave the car ride in my natural state, so I swallowed a cocktail of stomach meds and it seemed to do the trick. I had no appetite, but I had no accidents either, so I considered it a win.

When I woke up on Saturday, I still felt 'off.' My stomach was churning, and I just didn't want to eat. When I got to the expo to pick up my number, a happy Ben & Jerry's employee tried to hand me a free sample of their newest flavor. Usually, I'd put on a variety of disguises--you know, whatever trash bags, scarves, and childrens' hats I could find on the floor of my car--and hit up the sample guy as many times as I possibly could. But this time, when I wanted to tell the Ben & Jerry's guy to _____ off, I knew I had a problem.

When I stepped up to the line on Sunday morning, I knew in my heart that the race would be a crap shoot. I could have the race of my life, or I could make it three miles, but either way, I wanted to try.

It poured at the starting line, so before the gun even went off, I was soaked and feeling a lot like Maggie:

My pacer went out a little bit fast , so I hung with him until mile five, and then decided to back off and stay closer to my pace. I ran happy until mile ten, and then, all of the sudden, I just kind of started to wilt. By the time I got to the half-marathon mark, I was slogging along. At that point, I decided I'd give myself three more miles to try and bounce back. If I couldn't, I'd run to the medical tent and call it a day.

Well, I never bounced back.

I got slower, and slower, and slower until finally, I was being passed by people dressed up like Christmas trees and tubs of Stoneyfield Yogurt--and to be perfectly honest, it felt like they were zooming right by.

I spotted the medical tent just after mile twenty, and felt a huge sense of relief as I veered in.

I borrowed the medic's cell phone and called my Dad. I said something like, "Hey Dad. I'm at mile twenty. I need the world's best pep talk, or else I'm getting a ride back to the start." He opted to forgo the pep talk and wait for me near the aquarium downtown.

After I hung up the phone, I told the medic that I was done for the day. Then I asked, "So...what happens now?" Since I wasn't any kind of emergency case, I didn't know what they'd do.

He walkie-talkied to someone, told me to wait across the street, and that a bus would come and pick me up.
I sat down on the curb, and one by one, people started lining up next to me. There was the guy from Maine who just felt like crap, there was the guy from Massachusetts with the bum knee, and there was some lady from somewhere who kept screaming, "I'M NOT A QUITTER! I'M NOT A QUITTER!"

I turned to the two guys and said, "Um, if she's not a quitter, then she should probably get off of this quitter bus." They whole heartedly agreed.

The quitter bus pulled up to the curb, and much to our surprise, this wasn't a van, or an SUV, or even a short bus--this was a full sized school bus. And let me just say that I've never been so happy to see a full sized school bus in my entire life.

We rode around Burlington, picking up relay runners here and there. One relay runner hopped on, sat down behind me and was beaming with pride. He'd run a five mile leg, and never in his life had he run farther than four. He told me that he could have kept on going and going and going. He had white hair, glasses, and must have been close to Medicare age. This guy completely made my day. Those are the kind of races that all runners live for.

The bus dropped us near the start, and I walked with the guy from Massachusetts until we found our families. I walked up to mine, we hugged and laughed. Then I looked at James, shrugged and said, "Well, I made it twenty miles!"

"Yeah, but you didn't make it the whole way. Here's your sign, Mom."

Okay, that stung. And that six year old comment was probably 89% of the reason I cried for a minute in the car. But James doesn't know any better--he still doesn't understand why I'm not winning these things.

So there, that's my DNF story. It wasn't nearly as bad as I imagined. I'm proud of myself for making it twenty miles with a stomach bug, and I'm proud of myself for knowing my limits. One of these days I know my stars will line right up on race morning.

But in the mean time, I made myself this sticker:

Onward and upward!

*If you're not, you should be! Just tell me that you're a blog friend so I don't delete you in one of my semi-annual deleting sprees.

A Spicy Mix of People

May 24, 2011

What do you get when you take a Mormon, a Jehovah's Witness, a psychic, and mix 'em all together?

A whole lot of blog material--that's what you get. Please, allow me to explain....

Last week, I walked into my office, and much to my surprise, there was a woman sitting in the office next to mine. I hadn't heard that anyone was renting the space, so I went right over to introduce myself.

"Hi," I said. "I'm Amy. I work next door doing very important things for very important people making very large amounts of money."

Okay, fine. Maybe I've switched the details around a little bit, to protect the innocent...and make it more exciting, but that doesn't matter. The woman was friendly and warm and very pretty. Her office was completely bare, except for one upholstered chair and two lawn chairs.

"Hi," she shyly responded. "I'm Stacy. They haven't painted the walls yet, and I'm waiting until they do to  move my things in."

"What do you do, Stacy?"

"I do spiritual readings," she replied, just as un-self-consciously as some other person might say, "I'm going grocery shopping."

In my head I was thinking, NO SHIZ! YOU'RE A PSYCHIC! I'm scared of you! I think you're cool! I should probably stop going on facebook at work, because you'll totally know! THIS IS INSANE!

But with my voice I heard myself calmly saying, "Spiritual Readings. Fantastic. Very wonderful."

And then we parted ways.

And then I immediately moved my work station to the other side of my office, up against the shared wall.

And then I strained to listen to every word of every spiritual reading she gave--but not too hard, because that would be disrespectful. (p.s. some people really need attorneys, not psychics)

And then I moved it back, because she'd totally know I was snooping.

Then I tossed up a quick blog post about the psychic over my lunchtime.

Then I took it down, because she'd totally know what I wrote.

And then, I finally settled for doing my own damn work, with the door open, watching the spiritual readees come and go and come and go. Occasionally I got to play along, letting them know that no, they didn't need to check in with me before they met with Stacy.

In my mind, my office life was about explode with a healthy dose of f to the u to the n. Or, at the very least, it would be at a smidge more spicy than it had been when I'd break up my days by farting in various vacant cubicles.

The next morning, I came in to work, and I was so early that I was only person in the building. A few minutes later, I heard footsteps coming down the hall, and before I knew it, someone cracked my door about four inches, slinked through the opening, and was standing in my office with a frowny-nostril-flarey kind of thing happening.

It was my friend from down the hall, and her eyes were the size and the shape of quarters.

She pulled up a chair, sat down, took a quick breath and said, "I don't know if you know this already, but I'm one of Jehovah's Witnesses..."

"No way," I interrupted! "I'm Mormon! You can knock on my door, then I can knock on your door, then you can knock on my door, then I can knock on your door, then you can knock on my door, then I can knock on your door! Why didn't I know this sooner???"

She scrunched down in her chair and whispered, "Have you met our new neighbor?"

I nodded.

"Well," she went on, making her eyes even bigger, "as far as I'm concerned, that woman is possessed by demons."

I had no idea how to comfort my friend, and all I could think to say was, "Her sneakers were very white."

Well I don't know?! What was I supposed to say?! As far as I'm concerned, I think peanut butter is possessed by demons since I a) can't stop eating it, and b) almost accidentally put it in James's snack bag every day, even though c) it's just about as dangerous as a loaded gun to some of his classmates. Evil, evil stuff I say.

Any way you slice this thing, I'm not about to get in the middle of it.

Does the psychic creep me out? Absolutely. She induces heebie jeebies every time we cross paths. Not because of the devil stuff, more because I'm worried that she knows I think she's chunky, even though she's not chunky, but I'm worried she can detect that I'm thinking it, so I think it just to test her out and then I regret it in case she's really magical and ends up thinking that I think she's flabby even though she's not. See? Creepy.

And the Jehovah's Witness? No creeps there, none whatsoever. She can hand me her pamphlet, and I can hand her my pamphlet, and she can hand me her pamphlet, and I can hand her my pamphlet, and she can hand me her pamphlet, and I can hand her my pamphlet and, so on and so forth.

So. Tell me. Who works next door to you?

I've Changed.

May 18, 2011

I've changed.

Last night, I was standing in the bathroom, mulling over a question that all American women occasionally (or obsessively) ponder throughout their lives...

If I could magically change one part of my body what would it be?

Fifteen years ago, or maybe even five years ago, I would have had a list a mile long: thinner thighs, a firmer butt, silkier hair, a clearer complexion, a super flat stomach, and so on and so forth. But not last night.

Last night, the answer came to me like a flash of lightening. If I could magically change one thing about my body, I would...beyond the shadow of a doubt...heal this damn freaking hemorrhoid that's been plaguing my existence for the entire last decade.

That's it. That's all.

That hemorrhoid is quite literally the only think I'd change about my body. Hitting thirty has either provided me with exceptionally solid self esteem, launched me into an unfixable slump, or both.

My hair's frizzy? So what! My stretch marks make my stomach look like a road map of Boston? Who cares?! It feels like I'm pooping out shards of glass every time I hit the pot? OH PLEASE MAKE IT STOP!

Now Jared on the other hand, has had the same, unwavering answer for the entirety of his adult life. If he could change one thing about his body, he'd give himself a super penis. Fair enough.
James, hearing this conversation through the vent hole in his bedroom floor piped in and told us that if he could change one thing about his body, he'd have, "six heads on the top, four legs on the bottom, and six eyes tossed all over the place." Not surprising in the least.
What would you change?

I Will Bow Down to Bud White

May 10, 2011

Did I tell you guys that I'm running the Vermont City Marathon at the end of the month? Because I am, and I have three twenty-milers down, and one long run to go. I'm officially at the point where I have a continuousI cycle of thoughts running through my head like, I hate running, and I hate running, and I really think I hate running.

I don't actually hate running.

My main goal is to not have to take any walk breaks, like I've done during my last two marathons. My second goal this time around is to run a personal best, which would put me under 3:48. And my third goal is to run a 3:40.  Since Boston's qualification process is all changed up, I'm not even thinking about it right now. 3:40 would give me the right to try to register, and I'd be okay with that. So let's say that it's number four on my list.

My plan this time--which is my plan every time, which I end up thinking I'm way too cool for and blowing it--is to stick with a pace group like glue. I don't care if the pace feels like a bunch of nursing-home turtles at the beginning, I'm sticking with Bud White like we're duct taped together. Bud White is my Buddha. Jared told me, that if the pace still feels too slow at mile twnety-two, then I can run ahead. I don't think any pace could ever feel too slow at mile twenty-two, so I agreed to the plan.

Jared is my rock, Twizzlers are my motivation, and Bud White is the guru unto whom I'm a faithful follower.

I even made this Bud White prayer card:

Bud White has no idea what he volunteered for.

If you're a runner, and you ever think about running a marathon, you should definitely consider Vermont City. The streets are lined with fans the entire way, the scenery is awesome, the hippies are so encouraging, there's a little church service before the race (which I'm totally into as it's 99% effective in elimating Sabbath Day guilt), and there's bread and butter at the finish line. It was my first marathon in 2004, and it's my favorite by a long shot.

I ran 18 miles this past weekend, and took an enormous digger right on the side of the biggest road that runs through my neck of this state. If I had to guess, twenty cars saw it. Thankfully, no one beeped and no one stopped to ask if I was okay--because clearly, I would have had no choice but to cuss them out.

In my world, there's A) Nothing funnier and more satisfying to the soul than watching someone fall, and B) Nothing more embarrassing and soul crushing that being the one who falls.

Isn't it funny how that works?

So that's what I've been up to lately. I've been running, I've been grocery shopping, and I've been working. It's a damn shame I don't write about work on this blog, because work has been Дали всушност само пребарување на интернет за македонски преведувач? Се колнам дека ќе те вработи на генијалност, ако имав секаков вид на авторитет as of late.

(I wrote that part in Macedonian, just to protect my professional integrity.)

Is anybody else out there training for any races right now?

Listen Up!

May 9, 2011

There's a small possibility that this blog could suddenly switch to private access for a little while. If it does, and you're not expecting it, just send a request to LawsonAmyB @ yahoo.com. I'll let you in, I swear I will. So write that email address down somewhere. If I'm able to give you a heads up, I will.

I'm not planning to mention why it might go private, but it might. And if it does, you should all be excited for me. If it doesn't go private, that means I'm crying myself to sleep. Kidding. Kind of. But for now, no more details. And believe me, you wouldn't be able to guess this if I gave you thirty-two thousand tries.

In other exciting news....

I passed a Hunter's Safety class, and now I'm licensed to shoot anything from a crow to a bear. So watch the hell out. In reality, I probably won't shoot anything at all. Jared has trained Coach to be a really excellent bird dog, so I want to be able to tromp around the woods with those two. Plus, I love to fire off a round every now and again. Okay fine, maybe I'll shoot something...but probably just a bird. Or a moose.

I'm coaching a Couch to 5k kind of class in Maine this summer. My runners will get to learn everything they'll ever need to know about my sport of choice. From choosing the right shoes, to properly taking a whiz in the woods, it'll be covered. Send me an email if you're local and interested in hanging out with me on Saturday mornings.

On Friday, James, my six year old worked up the courage to tell me that I'm not giving him the life he wants for himself. Well kid, it's either this or farm labor....take a pick.

I have a book review and giveaway coming on Friday.

And finally, I need parenting advice. Should I let James practice his beat boxing while he's in time out or should he have to sit quietly? I'm really conflicted over this...

A Touch of Clarification

May 3, 2011

Since a few of you asked...

The missionaries come to seminary on Mondays--I forgot to tell them that it was cancelled. And anyone who comes to seminary is instructed to walk right in the door and down the basement stairs. If they ring the doorbell and wake up my family, I punch them in the teeth, really, I do.

As far as locking the door at night goes, I swear I'll start doing that.

Early Morning Wake Up Call

May 2, 2011

I've said it before, and I'll say it again: My husband's sky-high level of oblivion will never cease to amaze me. Never.

Last night, I decided to cancel my early-morning religion class. For those of you who don't remember, every morning, from 6:05 until 6:55, ten teenagers come to my house to fart, complain, and learn about the Gospel. Most Mormons call it 'Seminary.' I call it, 'Holy hell, you're asking me to volunteer to do what?!?!'

Anyhoo, I drove to Connecticut for my cousin's baby shower this past weekend, and I got back into town a whole lot later than I though I would. Always being one to look for a good (or bad) reason to cancel seminary, I called it off. I texted the kids who text, I called the kids who've lost their texting privileges, and I snuggled in for a sweet night of sleep.

As a side note, but a side note that's completely relevant to this little story, springtime in Maine arrived about a week ago--and even now, it still gets pretty cold at night. Being me--a girl who's never on top of anything--our bed is still sporting its winter layers.

Sometime during the night, the combination of extra blankets, pajamas, and spring air made me hot--like sweating out of every pore hot. As such, sometime around 3am, I stripped down to nothingness and got back into bed, happy to enjoy a perfect combination of nudity and wool blankets.

It was flawless. I slept like a baby/log/my father.

Around 6 o'clock in the morning, I heard a very disheartening noise--my front door opening, and the terrible sound of laughing young-adult voices. I shook Jared awake...."Jared, Jared. One of the seminary kids showed up and they just let themselves in!! I'm totally naked!!!! You need to get up and tell them it's cancelled!"

"Oh, you get up," he huffed.

"Jared," I said in no uncertain terms, "I'm NAKED!!!!" And just to drive the point home, I threw all the covers down to my feet, and puffed out my belly so I'd look six-months pregnant and wicked hot. Sometimes I just like to do that. It's fun.

Finally, Jared pieced it all together and realized that he needed to get up and tell the teenagers to GO HOME! Because they're NOT WELCOME HERE! So he jumped out of bed, walked out of our room and left the door hanging 100%, completely, all the way open. And I was 100%, completely, all the way naked. With the covers 100%, completely, all the way at my feet.

And here, just to give you some perspective, is the view when you step in to my house through the mudroom door:

That thing, all the way at the end of the hall is a bed. I don't know, maybe you can't really tell it's a bed? Could you tell it was a bed if someone was sprawled out in the nude?

No seriously, I really need to know.

Jared walked down the hall, in what actually proved to be slow motion, allowing me the time to think thoughts including, but not limited to, the following:

What kid could that be?...Who didn't I get it touch with?...Did I remember to do my crunches last night?

As Jared got closer, a few things became glaringly apparent. This was a boy...no, wait...two boys. The two boys had let themselves in and were already standing in the dining room. And according to their accents, these weren't local boys, these boys were from the West.

In other words, these were Mormon missionaries. And they were standing right about where that picture was taken from.

The last thing I wanted to do was call attention to myself, so I wasn't sure what to do next. Grabbing for the covers, rolling off the bed and hitting the floor, or screaming something like WHY ME?????, were all solid attention grabbers in my estimation.

What could I do? What could I do? What could I do?

All I could do was call upon my inner-Animal Planet senses, and play dead. I froze like nobody's ever froze before. No breathing, no blinking, no wiggling, no nothing. I pretended to be a body pillow--a deceased body pillow.

Finally, the missionaries wrapped up their conversation with my #1 husband, and vacated the mudroom.

Jared tromped back into the bedroom and said, "It was the missionaries."

And I said, "I know. You left the door wide open."

And he said, "Lucky guys.....you're way hotter than any of the naked girls I stumbled upon when I was a missionary."

How was your morning?