Melissa Runs

Sometimes, Melissa runs her legs. Sometimes, she runs her mouth.

Month: February 2011

Little Rock Half Marathon: what to expect

For some reason, I seem to know a lot of people who are running the Little Rock half marathon for the first time. This will be my third race. I do it for fun and I’m one of the slower in the back people. In fact, last year I got some weird back spasm around mile 3 and walked the rest of it slowly and ended up being the last person to finish. I still had so much fun that my cheeks hurt from smiling.

So for all my friends and whomever reads this. Here’s what to expect, the Penguin edition.

EXPO

packet pick up

You have to print out your registration confirmation ticket from the website or your email box to bring to the expo to pick up your packet. They have it divided up between type of race and your race number so that part goes rather quickly. There’s a list at the front of the expo in alphabetical order that will tell you your race number. So you’ll get a manilla sized envelope with your goodies and then you’ll go and pick up your t-shirt. Then you go to another guy to get your chip swiped. This confirms that your chip will show up as you in the results. This is how the event tracks your time and confirms you finished. MAKE SURE YOU SWIPE THAT CHIP! All they do is swipe the entire envelope like they do at the grocery store. It’s fairly easy.

Goodies

In the packet, you’ll find (1) your chip (2) your race number (3) the tag that says half that you put on your back (4) your entry bracelet for the post race party (5) your entry to the Hatcher Perks Pavillion if you paid for that. Then there is some reading material.

Since the packet pickup is in the back, you’ll pass the vendors who are there. This expo is pretty small and won’t wear you out like some of the larger race expos (for example: The Marine Corps Marathon in Washington DC). The local running stores have spots and that is where I got the running gloves, headband to keep my ears warm in winter, and running socks. They’re usually on sale. They have shoes but I have never found my type. Also, there is a guy selling THE STICK. If you have never heard of this thing, it is a plastic stick that is slightly flexible with hands on both ends. You roll it over your sore muscles like a rolling pin over dough. It is amazing. Seriously, it will get those kinks out. Now, depending on how tied up those knots are, it will hurt a little but it is definitely worth the cost. Also, there are places selling refridgerator magnets, bumper stickers, Christmas ornaments and all sorts of other running paraphenalia.

Pasta party

Confession time. I have never gone to the pasta party. I usually have bready deep dish pizza but that’s just me. Do what you usually do and don’t be a hero or listen to me for pre-race eats. I do not want to have you vomiting on race day on my head. But I am familiar with the hotel and they usually have good food.

Hatcher Perks Pavillion

I have done this both years. They have porta potties really close to the starting line. They also have a space to leave post race change gear. They also have MASSAGE THERAPISTS!! oh sweet baby Jesus this makes the thirty something fee worth it.

The Race itself

If you’ve never run a longer race, you’ll notice there’s a lot more people than you’re used to seeing it a race.

IF I recall, one year the start was ON TIME!! and the other year was a little late.

Due to the chip, you don’t have to actually start “racing” until you cross the official starting line. So walk that sucker. Don’t worry everybody else will be walking and people are friendly so if you forget, someone will tell you to slow down until the line. It can be up to five minutes for you to even reach the starting line depending on how far back you are.

A. The First Five miles

Mile two and Mile five are on the Broadway bridge. The cool thing about this is that the elite athletes will becoming back on the bridge by the time you make it there. Remember, they actually started five minutes before you even crossed the starting line and they go a lot faster than you. The amazing thing is that they’re going really fast and yet they make it look so easy.

North Little Rock is really proud of their participation in the Little Rock Marathon. Usually, the mayor is at the end of the bridge to welcome you to North Little Rock. There’s a lot of entertainment on this side of the river: marching bands, country music, cheerleaders, people just cheering to be cheering. You’ll also pass your first water stations.

The downer to this part of the race is that there is a lot of passing of people. It’s still crowded and you will encounter the bane of my existence. The more than two group of people, usually women, who decide to just walk in a horizontal line. Now when it’s four people, it’s beginning for an impromptu game of Red Rover. Also, when it is that large of a group, they are just chatting and having a grand ole time and are OBLIVIOUS!!! to the people around them. Seriously, I’m glad that three or more of your besties are running and walking with you at the half but seriously, you make it impossible to pass and you take a significant chunk of road when you do this. For some reason, I think these groups split up because I don’t notice this phenomena near the end of the race as much as I do in the beginning. It harshes my running happy and turns me into an F-Bomb machine!!!!

Okay… now that rant is over. Seriously I hate those fuckers.

Okay now it is over.

The Second Five Miles

Once you get across the bridge, it’s pretty urban with office buildings until you get to the 10K marker. Then you’ll be approaching McArthur Park. You’ll run around half of the park on 9th and then Commerce. It’s fairly quiet around here. Then you will cross the overpass that cuts you across I-630. Just on the other side of I-630, you’ll get to the ENTHUSIASTIC water station. They are happy to see you and you are happy to see them. Then you’ll get back on Scott Street and pass Villa Marre aka the Designing Woman House

Mile 8 is up Capitol street to the Arkansas State Capitol. It’s pretty much one big upwards climb. It’s tiring.

Then you turn around and at mile 9, there is a Methodist Church that really does it out for the runners. They got balloons, music, and a big crowd of people cheering you on.

Then you’ll go down Center over another overpass over I-630 to the Governor’s mansion. That road is a steady incline too. By this point, I am tired. You’ll be tired too.

The last 3.1 miles

For some reason, these last 3.1 miles is sparse. There are three water stations and they are screaming and enthusiastic. There are people playing music from their porches but other than that it is pretty bare. Also, due to the fact that it is the end, you’ll be tired and your knee or back will act up if it is going to act up by this point. It’s the part of the race where you face the mental test of whether or not to stop or keep going. It’s the time where you are making deals with God and giving yourself the “okay three steps and then I’m walking and then two more steps” Once you get past the overpass on Chester, it’s all downhill and/or straight until you get to the turn at La Harpe. It’s pure adrenaline because you know you’re ALMOST DONE! There are people all lined up by this point. You get one last water break. If you’re a woman, you can stop for free lipstick.

Then you’ll see the crowds of people hanging out and then you’ll cross the line. There are bleachers at this point. Someone will come and take off your timing chip. Another people will wrap you up in mylar. Yet another volunteer will put the finisher’s medal around your neck. Another person will be handing out bananas. THen you’ll be in the Athlete’s village. Usually, there is someone handing out bananas, milk and chocolate milk, and hot dogs. ‘

And you’re done. yee haww.

MAN DOWN!

1. First, my father broke his leg. He fell down at work about two weeks ago. (He works in construction and this was on site) He slipped on some mud. Well, I have heard the story so many times, I can recite it as he would tell it.

“Well I was going down basement and I could have went all the way around and took the steps but this way was closer. Then I was slipping and a sliding and my toe hit something and down I went. I knew that [name redacted] and [name redacted] were on the other side. SO I started shouting but it seemed the harder I shouted, the quieter I was. So I picked up my phone and called them. They came running to where I was and they started slipping and a sliding. But they got down there and tried to pick me up but they couldn’t. SO they got a board and the other one got a track hoe. They loaded me on that board and picked me up and put me on the track hoe. Then [someone else whose name is redacted] saw me and yelled, “Hey what are you doing with [Melissa’s dad]!?” and they got me out of there.”

Well that’s the short part of the story. Then he tried to call my mother on her cell and couldn’t get her because then he called me on my cell. He thought he was okay to drive and drove about 80 miles back to his house. He then went to the doctor and got an x-ray. They didn’t find a broken bone and sent him home with a muscle relaxer and two kinds of pain pills. They also scheduled an appointment to get an MRI to see the tendons and ligaments.

Well, those muscle relaxers and pain pills were the GOOD STUFF. He was convinced he heard people trying to steal his truck outside. He was having conversations with people who weren’t there. They would disappear when Mom would ask, “who are you talking to?” He was seeing bugs and at one point, he saw a dog walk through the house and tried to get up to protect the cat. Another time, he was sleep but he was moving his hands. He appeared to be fishing with one hand throwing out the line and the other hand reeling it in. It was quite amusing. Okay, I’ll fess up. It was more than amusing. Some of it was downright hilarious. Oh poor Daddy.

My Mom celebrated Valentine’s Day by taking my Dad back to the doctor to get him some drugs that didn’t make my Dad so freaking loopy.

Then he had an MRI and it turned out that he did break his leg. It was the top of his tibia near his knee cap. The kneecap obscured the view in the x ray. So now he has an appointment with an orthopedic specialist.

It’s been an interesting experience around here with my Dad on the recliner and Mom waiting after him. Occasionally, due to being self employed, I get called to take up the slack and make sure my Dad doesn’t slip and fall when he tries to get up and go to the bathroom.

It’s sweet to watch how my parents love each other. How my Mom buys my brother, my Dad, and myself these goofy stuffed animals. My Dad then takes the stuffed animal and uses it as a “neck warmer.” She gets his water. He winks at her.

Let’s do this

Okay I started weight watchers two weeks ago. I am currently on week three. I managed to lose a bunch of pounds and then gain some of it back. I’m using the new points plus system that they have and it’s this weird formula using protein, carbs, fiber, and fat. Also, fruit and veggies are mostly free. Of course, there is the caveat to not go crazy. I forget the actual terms. I have discovered a love of smoothies. Smoothies are the closest thing to chemistry I have experienced in a long time. I like it. There is the suspense of wondering “what color will this be once I press blend?” Usually, it’s a shade of purple since I have been using pomegranate juice as a base. Sometimes it’s more red. One day, it looked like bona fide mud from the back yard. I might have to start photoblogging these things.

I have also been getting back to a jogging routine. I can’t even call it running with a straight face. But I am out there and I am doing it. I am loosely following a half marathon training program schedule and did 9 1/2 miles this Sunday. The Little Rock half marathon is the first weekend in March so it is coming up SOON!. My pace is slow and I might have to do the get up super early start. blargh. Yeah, I am not looking forward to that. I am not a morning person by any stretch of the imagination. But I will finish. It will be my third year.

I also got a subscription to Runner’s World and am contemplating the Women can run clinic. I will be attempting to do longer running stretches and increasing my speed. I think I am going to keep on doing a long run of at least 6 miles from now on during the weekends. I like the way my mind wanders while I’m going a longer distance. Somehow my mind manages to clean a lot of gunk out when I’m exhausted. I believe it would be what yogis call “moving meditation.”

No Strings Attached

Yes I admit I paid money to watch this movie in a theater. I could watch Natalie Portman read a phone book but seriously, it was all about movie screen sized naked Ashton Kutcher. Yeah I could have waited for video but MOVIE SCREEN SIZED NAKED ASHTON KUTCHER. Yes. Yesh indeed.

err. okay. Back to the movie.

Natalie Portman plays Emma who is a doctor going through her residency. Ashton Kutcher plays Adam, the son of a famous comedian who is a writer. They meet at summer camp when they are in their teens. Then they meet again at a college party in Michigan. Then they meet again at a farmer’s market and discover they live in the same town.

They have sex. They decide to have sex in a fuck buddy arrangement. Can they stay fuck buddies or will they fall in love? Duh, we all know the answer to this question and the movie doesn’t try to play a “will they or won’t they” scenario. The movie just tells the story of how these two characters became a couple.

This movie reverses the cliche with Emma having the commitment issues.

The assortment of friends and relatives are quite entertaining and charming. The women are portrayed as smart and sex isn’t seen as something completely dirty. For a movie about fuck buddies, there’s hardly any raunch at all. Okay there’s little to no raunch. This movie isn’t in the vein of American Pie. It’s more in the vein of when Harry Met Sally. The entire time I was wondering where I had seen Emma’s sister. You’ve seen her in Juno.

It’s entertaining. IT’s not epic and probably won’t be a classic. It does give you the chance to see Wesley from THe Princess Bride. He plays a doctor at the hospital.

Oh and the commitment issues presented in the movie opened up the Pandora’s box of my own commitment issues. I’m a closed off woman, folks. My heart has been embedded in ice for years. This movie made me cry about it for a second. DAMN YOU NAKED ASHTON!

ahem.. but that’s not so much the movie as me being a crazy person. 3 stars.

checking in

It’s February. Wow. It’s been 3 weeks since I’ve written on here. I can’t believe that. Amazing, I tell you.

The weather has been positively schizophrenic around here. Usually, in Arkansas, the winter means that the temperature hovers around freezing with highs in the 40s during the days and closer to freezing (32) in the evening. Sometimes it dips below and you have to make sure to drip your faucet or the pipes will freeze. Also, once a winter, we will get some snow. The snow itself is usually about 1 or 2 inches and it lasts only one day (just long enough for the kids to make a snowman) and then it melts.

NOT THIS YEAR! We’ve had three different “winter storms” with snow. The snow itself has been snow and not the ice storm buillshit we usually get. Also, it has been lasting longer. The last storm was about 4 inches. This time it was maybe 2. The snow has pretty much melted from the roads but then the water refreezes at night. This means the kids have been out of school for a couple of days. And they were out of school a couple of days a couple of weeks ago.

SO yeah, we’re a little tired of the snow. This is too much family togetherness.

I joined Weight Watchers. I joined the online version. I have been on it a week and a couple of days. Sunday is weigh in day. So far I have lost 3.2 pounds. So far. So good. I am slightly disappointed because I weigh so much but then again my points are calculated according to my weight. But yeah, 3.2 seemed anticlimactic. I’m such an overachiever.

I have signed up for the Little Rock half marathon again. I am crazy slow this year. I will be walking it. I might even need to get up early. dang. And all this snow/ice mess on the road is messing with my training!!! (yes let’s make this all about me)

Speaking of things not about me. I am fascinated with the situation i Egypt. I hope it doesn’t end in a violent bloody mess.

Okay going to sleep.

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