TMI on Racing

As I contemplate entering a #race next weekend I find myself reviewing what makes a great race.  I’m not talking about the actual race, though things like a flat course, crowd support, accurate timing and convenient location is all important.  What I’m talking about is beyond the race.

I don’t know if any of this is useful to all of you out there reading this, so I will do my best to make it entertaining. My goal is for you to make it all the way to the end and ultimately share it.

The following is a list of things that can make the difference of a PR (personal record) or a SCR (super crappy run).

1. TOY: Time of year.  Everyone has their ideal running temperature.  For me it’s 50 degrees F.  Here in Kentucky that means my best race is going to be in early spring or late fall.  Some people (freaks) thrive in the heat.  Where running in 90 degrees will add an extra minute and a half to each of my miles, some runners only tack on an extra 30 seconds.  Those runners should race in the heat because they are at a serious advantage.

2. DOC: Degree of Comfort.  I’ll never forget my first (and only) marathon.  I showed up in my #Vibram Five Fingers, faded pick running shorts and home-made arm warmers.  I met this group of girls who had on make-up and brand new outfits. They looked at me like, ‘you’re wearing that?’.  Hell yes I’m wearing this little missy.  This isn’t my first rodeo girls, race day isn’t the time to test out new threads.  Mile ten isn’t a good time to discover that your new shorts’ built-in underwear are eroding the regions down south.  And make-up?  Well, that’s up to you.  I don’t wear make-up very often so I am not comfortable in it, but if you wear it every day and feel naked without it; you better wear it.  Besides, it gives me something to laugh at near the end of the race.


3. TOM: Time of Month. Running magazines don’t like to talk about this and you will have a hard time getting a coach to mention it (especially if he’s a dude), but TOM makes a huge difference in your race.  Every woman is different and it is your responsibility to figure out what week you run best in.  For instance, the week before The Beast arrives I am at my all time weakest, most pathetic and slow pace.  But once The Beast has arrived I am, well…a Beast!  I am in instant kick-ass mode and running seems effortless.  So when I schedule a race, I make sure The Beast is in town.

4.  FART: Fans at Race Time. I never would have imagined it would make a damn bit of difference if I knew anyone standing on the sidelines of a race until I actually had friends/fans cheering me on at a sprint #triathlon I did.  For years I would quietly exit my house or hotel room in the morning leaving my family behind then enter a race in a strange town where I knew no one.  The sprint triathlon I did was just down the road in a subdivision with locals that I trained with.  When I found a friend at every corner I was fueled by their words, and it carried me to second place female overall.  My best triathlon to date.

5. FUEL: Food U Eat Lately.  Okay, that was just ridiculous.  But seriously, what you eat leading up to your race can make a huge difference.  If you eat McD’s five times a week with a little Taco Bell on the side, you will NOT run your best.  I don’t care if you are a rock star and you eat that crap three times a day, you will be a bigger rock star if you don’t.  If you go the extra mile and carb load early in the week and get your lean proteins later you will rock the race to the moon.  My advice: google ‘fueling for race day’ and learn what the experts say.  I have yet to master fueling properly, I tend to eat crap the night before and wash it down with beer.  This is not recommended if you are shooting for a PR (personal record).

6. TURD: Thoughts Un Race Day.  Yes, it’s true, even if you haven’t really trained and just randomly show up for a race, your mindset could get you a medal.  Believing you will kick major short-shorts butt will get you farther than the guy who stuck to his 8 week training plan and shows up on race day convinced he is going to suck Under Amour ass.  Don’t let anything convince you differently.  Even if you only get three hours of sleep, are unable to have a good BM (bowel movement…come on!) or you arrive later than you had planned, believing you are a rock star the morning of the race will always give you a great outcome.

Now go out there and choose your TOY, but make sure your TOM is just right.  Plan your FUEL well in advance and make sure you have a good FART.  But remember, in the end, your TURD will ultimately determine your outcome.

Crooked Little House

Sixteen Months ago I sold my 200 year-old #historic home in Harrison County.  I loved that house.  Over the five years we owned it we managed to save a relic and create an amazing home.  It was time to move on, so we put it up for sale, then after two years and many many price reductions, we sold it.

My husband and I are unsure what to buy for our next home and frankly, we don’t have the means to buy anything just yet anyway.  Enter the Crooked little house.

With our measly #profit (yes, we made a little tiny profit on our #house but only because we originally got a great deal on it and put lots of money into it) we bought a little house in northern Scott County.

Let me begin with the ‘little’ part.  We are a family of four who moved from a 2500 square foot house.  I swore I would NEVER own such a big house again.  We only used about half of the house anyway and it was a non-stop cleaning nightmare.  The new house is less than 900 square feet.  As I write, the back of my kitchen table chair is bumped-up against the stove.  When I open my squat little fridge, I smack the other kitchen chair.

The house is old, but not historic.  It is nestled on a rectangular little lot that is situated so the front door opens just five feet from the road and the back of the house slopes sharply to a cute little dry stream bed.

Over the years, and there have been many of them, the house has ‘settled’.  At least that is what they say when a house has floors that are not level.  I am personally not convinced that this house is ‘settled’, I think ‘actively shifting’ is a better term for it.

When you enter the house you have 2 front rooms, the living room which slopes to your right and the master (only real) bedroom which slopes to your left.  Walk through the living room and you will enter the eat-in (because there is nowhere else eat) kitchen…which slopes toward the backyard (if you can call it a yard).   The kids’ room (slopes to the right and back), and bath (slopes to the left and back) are off the kitchen.  And there you have it, my new home in a nutshell.  I feel like a nut in a shell.

The first night we stayed in our crooked little house, I got up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom and hit two different walls on the way.  I was like a drunken solder on a ship at sea.

Do you have blinds?  Yes? Well you probably take for granted the fact that they hang flush with the window.  In my house there is a little screw at the bottom of the window, a string connects the blind to the screw to keep it back.  Yes I said back.

Do you ever find your freezer door open?  I do all the time.  I think if they opened the other way maybe…  The toilet seat won’t stay up, unless of course you are actively using the toilet, then it is resting quietly on your back.  I tried to put a magazine on top of the toilet tank once, it slid off onto the perpetually ‘down’ lid (thank god for unanswered prayers).  Maybe I shouldn’t have tossed the carpet tank cover that was covering it when we bought the place.

Tonight, when I baked fish in the oven, the olive oil pooled to the right deep-frying half the fish and scorching the other half.  This makes no sense.  When you look at the stove the kitchen slopes left, how does the oil pool to the right?  Is my stove crooked too?

But there is one good thing about this house.  Well, there are a few good things but my favorite thing is the covered porch…it’s level.  The house fell away from it decades ago but it held tight onto its concrete slab.  You have to pull against gravity to shut the storm door and push against gravity to open the screen door but once you escaped the confines of the crooked house, the porch is a welcoming respite from the angles.  On it I can sit and smile because despite this house being crooked, I own it free and clear so it’s not such a bad little house after all.

And with a couple thousand dollars, look what my hubby did:

Stay tuned next week for my #Tough #Mudder adventure.  I’m just waiting on pictures.

The Coolest Person He Knows

I moved to a minuscule town of 333 people about a year and a half ago.  When I moved here it had nothing except a post office, a bank, a hair salon and a paint shop.  Over the last year the bank closed, the salon shut down and I hear they are closing the post office.

The reason I moved here is a long story and I don’t have time to explain right now but in short: I own my house free and clear and I’m only 25 miles from the city.

As you may or may not know; I #run and ride bike.  When I moved here I instantly fell in love with the area.  Though it is 25 miles from the city, it is 25 mile deep in the woods and hills surrounded by twisty tree covered lanes, lush fields and endless streams.  You simply cannot find a more beautiful place to run or ride your bike in all of #Kentucky.

Me being ambitious as I am, I decided that everyone needed to ride their bikes here.  Sure #Lexington has their Thoroughbred farms and plank fencing but #Sadieville has more!  We have barbed wire and vines that suffocate trees.  We have goat farms (with goats that constantly need rescuing) and possum (some alive) and deer!  Once over a 6 mile stretch of road I spotted 18 white tailed deer.

So I decided to create my own #Bike Tour.  After a year in the making the Sadie’hill’ Bike tour is set to go off this coming Saturday.  Over the last couple of weeks my husband, Danny, and I have been out on our bikes marking the roads for the tour.

Last week we were marking the 37 mile route, me with a backpack on carrying 4 cans of spray paint and 5 different stencils.  As we started out up a particularly steep climb a Red Tailed Hawk took a couple leaps from the grass toward us.  His wing span was quite impressive, he captured our attention as we both came to a stop in awe of him.

“He’s hurt.”

“He’s amazing.”

We dismounted our bikes to get a better look.  One of his wings dangled useless from his side.  He stared at us, daring us to look away first.  Then he hopped into the brush and hid.

Luckily for us we had spray paint.  I took out my can of florescent orange paint and sprayed a big X on the grass where we saw him last with the intention to return with the car.

When we returned an hour later Danny set out into the woods to look for the hawk.  I unloaded the cage and a towel, grabbed my single leather glove (I couldn’t find the other one to save my life…or my hand).

“I can’t find him.”

We looked everywhere.  The amazing creature was young and his colors were designed to blend in with his surroundings, it would take some serious luck to find him at this point.  We were just ready to give up our search.

Then I heard my husband.

“Hey.  Babe.  He’s right here.”

I told my Danny to “keep an eye on him but don’t move in yet”, then I grabbed the cage and the towel to bring them closer.  When I returned we each went to opposite corners and slowly moved in on the confused, yet ever staring, creature.

“You are insane.  I would never get anywhere close to that thing.  Look at the way he’s staring at you.  He wants to kill you.”

I move in on the hawk, he steps onto his limp wing and rolls onto his back, never taking his eyes off of me.  I lay my towel over him, reach my hand under his back and use my gloved hand to pull his wings into his body.  I cradle him in my hands like a football; he can’t weigh more than a couple pounds.

As I pull him closer to my body and start heading over to the cage my husband says the most romantic words I’ve heard in a long time.

“You are the coolest person I know.”

I don’t know what it is about that statement, it kind of makes me worry that he doesn’t know anyone.  But that made my day.  Normally rescuing an #animal is reward enough for me, but having my husband think I’m cool, well that’s just the shit.


End Note:  Broadbent Wildlife Sanctuary came to my house the next day to pick up the Red Tailed Hawk.  I was happy that the little guy made it through the night, that’s the biggest hurdle when it comes to a wild animal surviving trauma.  The man got out of the vehicle and we instantly recognized each other.  He was the man that came to pick up the baby possums I rescued just a couple months ago.  I have since put Broadbent #Wildlife Sanctuary in my phone; it is really nice having a place that so readily responds to an animal in need.