Race Schedule

2018 Races…TBD!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

One Foot In Front of the Other

“We should come home from adventures, and perils, and discoveries every day with new experience and character.” ~Henry David Thoreau

This is a...

Running is a somewhat selfish sport. A great indulgence, if you will. Something we do to either make ourselves healthy, blow off some steam, hit a PR, and in turn inflate the running ego a bit :) Placing in your age group (or, for the lucky few, overall) is a major ego boost! Running can be a personal struggle for some, a personal achievement for others, a way to prove that you can surmount the insurmountable. Point being, it's not very often that we do it for someone else.

That being said, when I heard about Tommy Neeson and his 4 Millions Steps I had to be a part of it. Basically, Tommy has embarked on a 2300 mile journey from Maine to Florida in order to help raise money for the Ronald McDonald House Charities. Check out his website to read up on his story, it's an amazing one. So here's this guy who's giving up months of his life, to run, raise money, and spread the word. He's barely getting anything out of it. His own running sponsor didn't even give him anything for this journey! Talk about selfless.
When Mike mentioned that he would be running with Tommy when he came through D.C., and asked me to join them, I was thrilled. Of course! How often do you meet, and run with someone who's doing something like this? Well, pretty much never. So, plane ticket in hand, Atayne shirt and running shoes packed, and I was off to D.C.

I hadn't been to D.C. since I was a congressional intern waaaaaaay back in 2003, and I fell in love with the place so I was pretty darn excited to go back. A nice, half-full flight, and 2 hours later on a Friday night I was sitting on a bench in the Baltimore-Washington Airport awaiting Mike's flight. We managed to work it out so that we were both flying in ridiculously late...I totally beat him in though (LAX is a soul-sucking airport, and he had to deal with it and all it's mood swings that night, so his flight was delayed). No worries, I was busy finishing up The Last American Man (which I highly recommend everybody who loves the outdoors even just a little bit reads it). A few hours later, we reached Mike and Jeremy's house...aptly nicknamed Camp Atayne. Yes, BWI airport is technically only 40 minutes away, but we took the scenic (some might say "long") route all the way around 495 (seriously, why does that highway go in one ginormous circle...didn't the engineers know that the shortest distance between two points is a straight line?). Our little 495 adventure granted us a whole 4 hours of sleep!

I think it was around 8:30 when we finally got headed out the door to go meet Atayne friend, Andrew, and then head to the Falls Church, VA Ronald McDonald House to meet up with Tommy, and members of the George Mason track team.

Tommy's been averaging something like 30-35 miles per day since he started his trek down the eastern seaboard, but this day was going to be a "low mileage" day of just 21 miles. We signed on to run about 16 each and to make sure that Tommy didn't have to push his "house on wheels" (a stroller that was retro-fitted to carry everything Tommy would need for the next 75 or so days, that thing was packed!). I had no idea what I was getting into...
Jeremy and Mike testing out the house on wheels...

After some fuel and chit chat at the RM house, we headed out for some group pictures, and then hit the road!
Tommy, house on wheels, and Ron...

Team Atayne: Me, Andrew, Mike, Tommy, Jeremy


Let me start off by saying the hills of northern Virginia are nothing to scoff at. I thought my lungs were going to burst out of my chest. Thank goodness we were maintaining a "slow" pace (8:30's). Don't get me wrong, I was having a blast. The scenery was amazing, the company was top notch, and the experience was one of a kind. But I thought I was going to die. At least if I did, it would have been while running! So, I started to slow a bit around mile 6ish, or 7. Depends on which GPS you happened to glance at. Jeremy was pushing the stroller, Tommy was cranking it out and the lot of the GM track team had already filtered out for the most part. Mike was doing really well, and totally stoked because he'd finally gotten back his running mojo :) A big move, and constant travelling can take a serious toll on one's desire to run, so I was thrilled to see him so happy to be running again. I still felt like I was going to die.

I was wearing my Camelbak and it was rubbing my neck again, and since I was already a little uncomfortable from all the hills, that was starting to really freakin' irritate me. It was getting hot out, we were running along major highways, and the hills were laughing at me. Needless to say, when we reached 7.45 miles and Jeremy pointed me in the direction of coffee and food, I wanted to cry tears of joy. Note: Mike, being the stellar guy he is, kept with me the whole time even though he totally could have been trucking along with the other guys up ahead, and he stopped along with me at that oasis known as Einstein Bagels. I think the biggest issue, aside from the hills, was I hit a wall. I needed food. I scarffed half an egg and turkey sausage sandwich, and a chocolate milk, then we needed to figure out how we were going to get back to Woodridge, VA to meet up with the crew at mile 16. We had no cell phones on us, and pretty much no idea where we were. And then, we found a pay phone. A PAY PHONE! I haven't even seen one of those since I was a small child! Mike was brave enough to touch it and make the call to a cab company, bless his heart.

That was one of the longest, most out of the way cab rides in my experience. Somehow it took the cabbie 20 minutes and 12 miles to go 7 miles...not sure how that worked out, but okay. We make it to the parking lot of mile 16 and waited for Tommy, Jeremy and Andrew to show up. Somehow we managed to pull all this off without a hitch, we couldn't believe it. So when the guys finally got there, I was feeling like a million bucks, and Mike wanted to finish out the remaining 5 miles with Tommy so he wouldn't have to push the stroller at all. I left my pak with Jeremy, we all downed some Gatorade, and then Tommy, Mike and I were off to finish his mileage for the day, and Jeremy would meet us at our finishing point.

It was awesome!!! I just needed some fueling (and a break from the rolling hills). I got to chat some with Tommy, and he gave some good pointers for ultra running, told some wild stories, and I learned a lot about his experiences on his trek thus far. This man has been through a lot, and met a lot of really amazing people along the way, I was honored to be there and be a small part of it. The hills on this last portion were mere ant hills compared to the ones earlier, and I felt so much better. Mike pushed the stroller the entire time and we managed to make it to the Dale City McDonald's unscathed, but completely exhausted. Tommy said he'd never been so happy to see those golden arches! Ditto.

I learned where the hot spots are on my feet, and could feel the blisters, but other than that I felt really good. I'm so glad I decided to jump back in and finish out the day with these guys. In all, Mike and I did about 12.5 miles. The toughest 12.5 I've done thus far, mind you. But it was so worth it. For the first time in awhile running was for someone other than myself, and that felt great. I went into it not looking to gain anything from it, but came out of it having gained a great deal...met a really amazing person, gained a great deal of respect for the hills, and further reinforcement of why it is I love running so much. It will take you to places you wouldn't normally go, introduce you to people you wouldn't normally meet, and have you doing things you wouldn't normally do. What's not to love about that?

Mike and Jeremy fueling up after a tough run...

Tommy and I

So what do you do after a day of running, hardly any sleep and an upcoming birthday to celebrate...?Karaoke!!! My first time, and I think Jeremy and I really brought down the house when we belted out our best "I've Got You Babe" a la Sonny and Cher. Wow, thank goodness I'm really comfortable in my skin, and practically immune to embarassment. I say, whatev :)
Of course, since D.C. is so fabulous, we had to do some sightseeing. Mike and I hopped on some bikes and rode the Custis Trail into Georgetown, hit up the local running store to check out the goods, roamed the streets, ducked inside Patagonia to glance at the wares, and then had some really good mexican along the Potomac River. Then we found this cool trail along a waterway...

Checked out a small house...

And a really tall stick in the ground...
Then Jeremy picked us up and we headed into Adams Morgan for the guys to get the Atayne logo forever emblazoned on their bodies. The tattoos turned out so good! I took pictures, but they're on Mike's camera so I have no proof, but trust me they look awesome.

I thought this was funny, so I snapped a quick pic...nice legs...

Ahhh, so it was a great trip. Tommy's a great guy, and I'm looking forward to see how things go for him on his journey. It's encouraging to see people doing great things, and thinking of someone other than themselves. It is a great reminder that we aren't the only ones on this earth, that there are things bigger than ourselves.

“I see my path, but I don't know where it leads. Not knowing where I'm going is what inspires me to travel it.” ~Rosalia de Castro

Paige, out.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Gait a Minute, That Was Fun!

So I've got a TON to update on (namely, running with Tommy Neeson in Virginia this past weekend), but I just wanted to hop on and share something real quick...

Yesterday, I got my very first f'real gait analysis! Yes, this is a very exciting thing, and more so than I can explain here, but I'll try.

I've always thought about getting one, but the expense kept me away from it. Then my PT, Laura, informed me that my insurance will cover most of it, SOLD! Basically it was an hour long test that ended with watching the video data gathered and scrutinizing it in painful detail. We began with a bunch of diagnostic tests to see what my range of motion was in various joints, flexibility, balance, checking how certain things moved during single-leg squats, toe touches and back bends. Kinda cool. Then I hopped on the treadmill and got videotaped from all angles while I walked barefoot at a comfortable pace. Laura drew all over my legs with a thick black marker so that movement in certain places would be more visible on camera. I looked like a crash test dummy, haha.

After this, I put my shoes back on and ran for 10 minutes at a comfortable pace so that I could fatigue my legs a bit. (FYI, don't drink a bunch of coffee or water prior to one of these things because you can't hop off to use the bathroom!) Then the videotaping began.

(By the way, I hate treadmill running. I think it is the running equivalent to watching the hour long circa 1982 sexual harassment video on your first day of a new job. Boring.)

Afterwards, the fun began. I tell ya, I never thought I'd love to watch myself run in slow-mo! Turns out my gait is a lot better than we expected and apparently I hold myself back. Laura said we need to work on widening my stride and 'unleashing the sprinter in you'! What? Sprinter? I don't know about that. My stride angle is at 38 degrees, and most runners fall between 40-60 degrees (elite athletes being at a 60). She said I should be pushing at least a 50 degree stride because of my height/leg length and how slim I am. Bring it on! I also have to work on my hip strength, get a shoe with a teensy bit of stability, and lengthen my soleus and gastroc. No problemo.

Best thing to come out of the session was that I was told I have the most ideal body type and form for ultra running. Laura said if I don't take advantage of this she'll beat me down with a high-density foam roller :)


Paige, out.

Friday, September 19, 2008


I heart run.

Last night, I took another crack at a run commute and came out victorious. Well almost. Save for a little chaffing on my neck of course. Who gets 'neck chaffing'?! I do.

I wore my Camelbak ("engineered specifically for the shape of a woman") for the first time since purchasing it over Labor Day weekend. I was able to stuff my book, wallet, work clothes, change of shirt for PT, cell phone and my pepper spray (of course!) in it comfortably. I tightened the straps and suited up. Apparently, the "shape of a woman," according to Camelbak, is quite a bit larger than me. I had the shoulder straps and the waist strap as tight as they would go, but I neglected to tighten the straps criss-crossing the actual pak that keep the contents in their place. I'll have to try that this weekend.

The pak ended up being just loose enough to rub the left side of neck and leave a nice bright red line across it. Halfway into my 6-miler to PT, I stopped and rigged my spare shirt to act as a buffer around the back and sides of my neck. Much better! I looked ridiculous, but at least I wasn't burning the side of my neck anymore.

Other than a knot in my left calf, it was a great run along the lakefront. I had a rabbit for the first few miles. Those are always fun to have, and great for getting some "interval" running in. He had a very similar pace, and I could tell he was getting frustrated because I kept passing him, and I had a full pack on! Ha! I enjoy a little competition, and those first 3 miles I was averaging a nice 7:05 pace because I didn't want my rabbit to pass me again. He finally stopped around North Avenue, bent over, (couldn't hack it I guess) and I carried on.

Perfect weather last night, and I was running a lot faster than I usually do when I have a pack on. I kept glancing at my GPS to see what I was hitting, and finally pulled back some to an 8:05 pace so I wouldn't be completely wiped for my PT session.

I got to my session a tad early and immediately began to foam roll my calves, and practically inhaled my Clif bar simultaneously. I was so hungry suddenly! Part of my PT includes massage therapy (poor me, I know!) and while Laura was working out the knot in my left calf, we talked ultra running. She's worked with a lot of ultra runners over the years in Montana, Wyoming and Virginia and had lots of theories on training to share with me. We decided a three day/week schedule would be best for me (good, because thats what I was planning on doing!), and to cram my most miles into my weekend long run. She also suggested I incorporate interval training to work on my time and endurance, and to make sure I taper every 4-5 weeks to let my legs recover. Good plan.

After my hour was up, I got geared up once more and hit the road for the last 1.75 miles home, for a total 7.75 miles for the day. Not bad. Best of all, no shin pain whatsoever! I don't know why I waited so long to see a PT. Well, I do know why...I'm a stubborn runner...imagine that. I'm glad I've come to my senses.

It's so much more fun to run home than to sit on a bus for the same amount of time. It's nice to have the Camelbak so I don't have to worry too much about what I bring to work, or what I leave at my desk. I can just stuff it all in the pak and go!


This weekend, I'm heading to Arlington, VA to see Mike! We'll be pounding the pavement Saturday morning with Tommy Neeson to help him raise money for the Ronald McDonald House. I'll probably max out at 10-12 miles, but Mike's planning on cranking out 20 miles with him, and Jeremy's aiming for 16 I think. Should be fun...as long as I can keep up with them! Otherwise, you can find me at a local cafe along the way, nursing a cup of joe and waiting for the guys to run out of gas. I'll have plenty of commentary and pic's to share with you when I get back!

Also of note, the Maine Marathon is quickly approaching! I've been coaxed out of my initial intention of running the 1/2 marathon variety, to run the full marathon with Team Atayne and help clean up the course. Hey, as they say, Anything for Atayne! I've never pounded that kind of distance, especially not on paved road. It shouldn't be too bad though since it'll be mostly run-walking as we pick up trash along the route. In any event, I'm very excited for it, and I look forward to my very first trip to Maine...and the northeast for that matter. I'll need to map out some good trails while I'm out there. Back Cove is already on my list :)

Have a great run.

Paige, out.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Half the Madness

"We run, not because we think it is doing us good, but because we enjoy it and cannot help ourselves...The more restricted our society and work become, the more necessary it will be to find some outlet for this craving for freedom...The human spirit is indomitable."
- Sir Roger Bannister

I did it! I finished my first half marathon. It certainly didn't come without it's trials and tribulations, though...

I remember sitting in the cushy blue lazyboy in my old apartment and announcing to my roommate that I was going to sign up for winter half marathon training, back in December. She laughed at me. The next day I signed up, and then the reality set in. Wait, I'm actually going to have to train for this!

The second weekend of February was my first training run with my group. I had just returned from a week of skiing in Colorado, and was about to close on my condo. Needless to say I was a tad stressed and a little intimidated by the training plan I had been given.

I made it through my first run, 5 miles, in the freezing cold on the lakefront path that was still covered in a thin layer of ice. It had snowed all week leading up to our first run, lucky us. It wasn't so bad though. I kind of enjoyed running with a group of people all working towards the same goal. The following week I stuck to my training plan, went for another group run, and got started renovating my condo. Such as it was for the next 4 weeks.

Around mid-March I was suddenly side-lined by an intense pain in my right shin and calf. I can't even begin to explain how much that sucked. I was so into my training and really started to rely on it as a means of stress relief from everything else that was going on around me. The pain was so bad that walking became taxing. I was crushed, and in a way I could have never imagined. I think it took me about a week to finally pull myself out of my slump and get proactive. Of course, the idea of going to see a doctor completely eluded me. Stationary bike, elliptical, cross-trainer, you name it I used it. I needed to keep my fitness up, but was taking time off from running. That turned into the longest 5 weeks of my life.

I changed my diet to include more fruits and vegetables, and began lifting 5 days/week. I actually felt great, and I wasn't even running! Finally, in the first week of June, I went to see a sports med doc because I was still getting pain in my shin. He told me I was wearing the wrong shoes, and that my hips are the weakest he's seen on someone with my level of fitness, and that my balance was almost non-existent. I was given a prescription for physical therapy, and told I could ease back into running. Woohoo!!!

Of course, me being the person I am, I didn't warm to the idea of PT at all. I researched hip-strenghtening exercises and balance training, and got to work on it myself. I joined Chicago Beer Runners and emersed myself in running once again. Easy does it? Not exactly.

I had sort of forgotten about my goal of finishing a half marathon before my birthday in September. But at least I was running again. Looking back (and glancing at my racing log) I've run more races this year than in any previous year, and the majority have been within the last 3 months! I've PR'd 4 times, placed in my age group, and improved my times by leaps and bounds. All this and I still was having issues with my shin.

I started getting a little worried (read: paranoid) about this come August and Mike was like the angel on my shoulder trying to get me to take it easy and get it checked out again. Of course, racing is the devil on the other shoulder saying, "Go longer! Do another one!" But, I finally decided to see Dr. N once more...just to make sure I didn't have a stress fracture. Long story short, I still have shin splints (now on the left side as well), and much to the surprise of my doc, no signs of fracturing or secondary injury. He couldn't believe I've put up with the pain for so long. I guess it just sort of becomes normal after awhile, crazy as it sounds.

Another prescription for PT and I'm actually going this time. I love it! My PT is a saint. I took two weeks off running before seeing her, and I was worried she was going to tell me to skip running the Chicago Half Marathon that weekend. But, much to my surprise, she told me to
go for it, take it easy, but to absolutely go for it...music to my ears.

Rushing to the starting line of the Banco Popular Chicago Half Marathon, I had my good friend and fellow Chicago Beer Runner, Brad, at my side. He was complaining about the massive downpour, and I was absolutely elated! He's a long distance race veteran though and this race was no biggie for him, but for me it was monumental. Nothing was going to dampen my spirit, not even the monsoon!

The first 4 miles were a pain in the rear since the field barely spread out, and people were dodging left and right to avoid massive puddles forming along the boulevards. Seriously, folks? It's raining like crazy and we're already soaked to the bone, what's a little puddle going to do? After 4 miles, Brad took off and I hit play on my iPod.

So happy :) I love running in the rain, always have. It makes me feel more accomplished when I'm done. On top of that it keeps me from taking a race too seriously, which was perfect because I needed to 'take it easy' this race. I felt great the entire time, even though my shoes were completely water-logged (imagine running on fully saturated sponges for 13 miles), my iPod only worked in one ear the majority of the time because water kept pooling in my ears, and my ponytail turned into a weapon of mass destruction once it became completely soaked, swaying back and forth and hitting me in the face. So much fun!! Honestly, I wouldn't change a thing about this race. It can only get better from here.

The miles flew by with the distraction of the rain and the cheering crowds along the entire course, and before I knew it I was at mile 10 and suddenly spurred on by an intense second wind. Not once did my shins bother me! I stopped at every water stop, after the first 4 miles, for gatorade, and every 2 miles I stopped to stretch my hip flexors and calves. I never once felt winded or tired. My lungs felt fresh, my legs felt light and agile. My hips flexors were very sore by the end of it though. I think this was due to the fact that I was actually concentrating on my gait and making sure I didn't let my knees collapse inwards on impact once I got further into the race and began to fatigue.

Woohoo!! Finish line!!! Warm, dry clothes, cookies, finisher medals!! Coming down the straightaway, with the "FINISH" sign in sight, I kicked it up a notch and with the energy of the cheering crowds and people screaming your name as you passed (our names were in large print on our bibs), and hardly being able to contain my own excitement of having achieved my goal, finally!

I felt like I could go another 13 miles.

But first, I wanted my dang swag!

Check out that bling bling, and the Atayne Performance Shirt. Ahh, finally, my very first finisher medal. I plan to add many, MANY more to that collection. A fellow Beer Runner that was there to support Brad and I called it our "special necklace". Indeed.

Standing in a ginormous puddle for what felt like eons, we finally spotted Brad, and we made our way to brunch at Eleven, on Wabash in the south loop. Delicious! We refueled on egg skillets and potatoes, and of course, we needed to rehydrate...

As soon as I got home I made myself a nice little ice bath and hopped in! I could have used a great deal more ice (Jeremy says 2 bags...I only had 6 trays), but it did the job. It was only my first ice bath, so next time it'll be better. Lots more coffee, some congratulations from my number one fan, Mike :) and one movie later, I was completely exhausted.

Great day, great race. Can't wait for the next one!
Paige, out.

"Running is a big question mark that's there each and every day. It asks you, 'Are you going to be a wimp or are you going to be strong today?'"
- Peter Maher, Olympian/sub-2:12 marathoner

Saturday, September 13, 2008

One Hell-acious Adventure

When you imagine hell, what comes to mind? I'm sure most of us can come up with a pretty imaginative response for that. Well, Mike and I made our first trek into Hell last weekend, and ya know what, it wasn't all it's cracked up to be.

The weather was absolutely perfect, sunny, mid-60's temp's, nary a cloud in the sky! When we woke up around 4:45 a.m., it was certainly cold as hell, and by the time we started heading out of town, it was hotter than hell! Okay, I had to, couldn't resist...

So anyhow, we began our journey to Hell, Michigan on Friday afternoon so that we could get there in time for Mike to pick up his packet and bib number for the Dances with Dirt 50k ultra marathon. Nice drive over yonder, except that we soon discovered that when we decided to grab coffee once we got on the road and out of the city we made a grave mistake. It appeared as though Indiana and Michigan don't believe in serving tasty coffee! What?! Since when can someone drive down the highway for more than a few miles without seeing a Starbuck's logo plastered on the "Food this Exit" signs? We're no coffee snobs, but sometimes you need something a little stronger than the usual watered down variety found at a gas station...especially when you have four more hours ahead of you on the road, in pouring rain.

Needless to say, when we got to Jackson, Michigan we were delirious with excitement over seeing that iconic logo on the exit sign. It's a good thing because it was my turn to drive. I believe what Mike said was, "you already drive like an old lady, I can't imagine what you're going to drive like when you're 80!"

Anyhow, we made it to Hell, convinced the Dirt Diva to sell us a parking pass and to retrieve all the items that were in Mike's packet...in Virginia (he forgot to set it aside before moving across the country)...and found our campground on the nifty map. We picked our site, got some firewood and I got to work on the tent...please note this was my first camping trip.

Then we decided to Trash our tent...

We carbo-loaded on pasta of sorts, and beer. Mike made a fire, I watched. We met a really cool couple who were using the 50k race as a training run for a 50-miler coming up...they looked like a couple of pro's. Super-nice people.

Over the course of the next 36 or so hours, we met some really great people. The running community, particularly ultra runners, is a really friendly and incredibly open and welcome community. It's very inspiring to be around people like that and to be surrounded by others who are as passionate about running as you are. While I was not all that thrilled about not being able to run that weekend due to my shin splints, I was really happy to be there supporting Mike in his first ultra, and loved the sense of community and absolute excitement that was in the air. Pretty darn cool. Makes you want to drop everything and run with them!

From our campground at Bruin Lake, it was about a 10 minute drive to the starting line at Half Moon Lake Beach. We made it literally 2 minutes before the gun went off, and it was pitch black out still...

Ah well, at least we made it! All ultra runners had to begin the race with a headlamp. Mike wore his the first 45 minutes of the race, it was that dark still. That's hardcore. I hopped in my car and started heading to Hell Creek Ranch for the first aid station where I could get Mike a change of clothes/shoes if needed, refill water bottles, and feed him!

There he is! I think this was just around mile 4, so nothing really needed at his point. One more out and back would bring the runners back to the Ranch, and then they'd be heading off for the 4th leg, aptly named "Styx, River of Death", which would involve four river crossings and the final 1/4 mile or so running up stream in knee-deep water...action shot! We were now officially in Hell, city proper.

At the top of the hill just beyond the river, a man dressed as the devil waited for the runners, soaked and panting, thankful for the aid station at mile 18.7, and greeted each one with, "Welcome to Hell, I've been waiting for you!" Hilarious! So we had to get a picture...

After re-applying the Ivy Block (he was heading into a leg marked "extreme poison ivy"), and changing his shoes and socks, it was time for me to head to Silver Lake...

It was gorgeous, but starting to get a little hot. As I sat along the water waiting for Mike to show up, I got a text from the captain of the relay team I was supposed to run the 100k with...their car broke down after the first leg, and they were hitchhiking! Yikes, kinda glad to be sitting this one out :) I met a really nice woman who was standing nearby. Her husband completed something like 100 marathons, good gracious! I told her I'd see her next year, only next time I'll be one of the runners, and she said she was planning to do the same thing. This section would have two stops with the second one being a loop and return to the same aid station before heading off for the final 10k of the race...home stretch!!! So I hung out at the Lake for a while...

The dude in front of Mike is the guy who's done the 100 marathons. Alrighty, time to head on over to Half Moon Lake Beach for the finish line! It was like a mass exodus, all the crew people getting in their cars. I really didn't need a map, I was able to follow others to all the different crew stops.

Mike was hanging in there, just some pain behind the right knee that was starting to nag a little after 21 miles. After finishing, he said his left leg had started to cramp up really bad and wasn't able to push it too hard in those last 6 miles. Cramped up leg=DNF. So, he took it easy, but still managed to crank out a really good finishing time for a first-time ultra runner!

All told, I think the official finishing time was 6:07:00, or right around that.

I was so proud of him :) What a trooper! We got Trashed after the race...

And after a full pizza, a dip in the Half Moon Lake to 'ice' his legs, and listening to three old guys talk about post-run sex cramps (I'm not even kidding...I almost lost my breakfast listening to that conversation), I trashed Mike...

Wow, what a morning, and it wasn't even noon yet! Since it was so early still, and the car was all packed up, we decided to hit the road and head home to Chicago. Not before first stopping in Kalamazoo to grab a bite to eat. Okay, now I realize Kazoo is no foodie mecca, but c'mon there's gotta be more than fast food here! We wound up in what we think was the 'downtown' area, and when we couldn't find a single place to eat we pulled up to a guy standing at a crosswalk to ask if he could recommend somewhere to grab a bite to eat, to which he replied, "well, did you see the Burger King right up the road?" We had to quickly roll up the windows so he wouldn't hear us dying laughing. Seriously, Burger King? So we parked and decided to walk around and find something. We stopped a young couple walking past us and asked them if they knew of anywhere good to eat, and all they could offer us was, "there's a Subway up the block I think."

In the end, we found a cafe/Italian restaurant that only served black coffee, and didn't have any bread. Our waiter was a saint for putting up with our antics...clearly we were both deliriously tired and slap-happy as all hell!

Awesome trip! Incredibly motivating, inspiring and exciting. The people were amazing. The race was so well organized and ran really smoothly, especially considering the number of people and amount of space it required. We had a great time, and I can't wait to go back next year...this time I'll be running!

Paige, out.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Decent Expo-sure

It's Friday!!

And, not only is it Friday, it's an Expo Friday! If you're one of those runners who routinely hands off your race info postcard to a friend to pick up your packet at the expo, then you're seriously missing out. Don't get me wrong, I used to be one of those runners too. Then one day I decided to make a go of it and hit up the expo myself to see what all the rage was about.

It's a runners' heaven. Sensory overload. Everything you could possibly imagine to help make your run the best ever is readily available to you in the same place. Socks, hydration systems, shoes, insoles, apparel, motivational speakers, GU and electrolyte tablets in all sorts of flavors, personal safety merchandise, mp3 holders, oh, yea, and your packet :)

There's so much going on, and so many people jammed in one place, that it can be a tad overwhelming at first. But I guarantee you'll love it. Just ease your way in, and check it all out!

Today, I'll be heading over to Navy Pier to pick up my packet for the Chicago 1/2 Marathon, and Mike will be hanging out at the The UnitedHealthcare Sports and Fitness Expo (at the Renaissance Washington, DC Hotel), representing Atayne. Yes, that means there's Atayne apparel for sale. You, too, can get trashed with Atayne.

I got the go-ahead from my PT to run the 1/2 marathon this weekend...well, I first had to promise to dunk my gams in ice immediately after, and that I would walk/run it. A promise is a promise. As long as it means I can continue to run throughout my recovery, that's just dandy. These legs have a lot o' runnin' to do over the next few months, and if Mike continues to be the influence that he is (good? bad?) then I'll be conquering an ultra by late spring, oy!

Speaking of, we've got some updating to do on the Dances with Dirt 50k from last weekend. It was a blast! More on that later, picture-fest and all...I get a little camera-happy when it comes to races. Bear with me.

Here's a preview:

Anywho, hit up an expo near you, you'll see what I'm talkin' about.

Paige, out.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

It Starts With One...

Brilliant. It was revolutionary, daring, a dash down the path less taken! I risked my non-conformist rear for the sake of making a statement. As Mike says, "Anything for Atayne." Indeed.

The Nike Human Race was held in Chicago over the Labor Day weekend, and when Mike heard the shirt to be worn by all participants was going to be red...the wheels started spinning.

If you've checked out Atayne's blog (http://thestoryofaredshirt.wordpress.com/) then you're privy to the story. If not, then check it out. But basically, the story began with a disagreement between DC Jeremy and a red performance shirt. Hence, the birth of Atayne...Performance with a Point of View.

What better opportunity to get some good marketing pic's and express a point of view than this?! Slap a brand-spanking new green Atayne shirt on Paige and put her in the middle of 15,000 red performance shirts! The symbolism! Oh, the irony! It was just too good to pass up!

So, while Mike puttered away across the country in his jam packed moving truck, I was trucking it to Soldier Field.

The crowd around me was buzzing. I felt a little weird at first, mostly because I'm not much of a spotlight type (what, does that surprise you?), but also because I was getting a lot of strange looks and whispers as I stood in the crowd. Jason (http://www.jasongeil.com/) was our awesome photog, and did a stellar job. He managed to wrangle a 12 ft. ladder from the cable company that was there filming the event, so that he could get some 'aerial' shots.

Once people started realizing I was being photographed, they were at first a little weirded out, but then the questions starting flowing. "What are you doing?" "Why are you doing this?" "Where's your red shirt?" "Aren't you going to get kicked out for wearing green?" "Can I get one of those shirts?" Ha! It was great! A friend of mine who saw the pic's after the fact stated, "this is fantastic! This is how revolutions get started!"

After some good front-of-the-pack shots were taken (and being featured on the jumbo-tron!), Jason had me move into the crowd with the 9-minute-mile corral so I could run with them for a couple hundred yards and get some action shots. I stood smack in the middle of the corral area and immediately noticed I was being eyed by someone to my left. He was a much older gent, all decked out and ready to go. After a few minutes of him leering at me, he finally asked me where my red shirt was. I said, "what red shirt? Was I supposed to wear red today?" He thought that was funny. So, I explained what was going on. I thought he was going to blow a gasket he was laughing so hard at the irony. He wanted his own Atayne shirt right then. It was his first 10k race, and the longest distance he'll have run to date. I wished him luck as he raced off the line.

All it takes is one. It felt good to stand there in that crowd, the sole green shirt, without the weight of the world on my shoulders :) I had fun, and enjoyed seeing the reactions of those around me.

The first thing Mike says when I called him afterwards, "you didn't wear your pearls, did you?" The Atayne shirt was fabulous enough.

Paige, out.

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