Monthly Archive: April 2015

Know Your Scottish Round 2

bagpiper

I’ve compiled a list of the most recent “Scottish” words I’ve heard and had to have defined. Some of these words are a little strange, but you won’t believe how often I hear each of these words. It might have something to do with the fact my running group is 100% pure Aberdonians.

And I will also note, I know some of these words aren’t exclusively Scottish or Doric…some are but some are just UK terms I guess. But since I’m hearing ‘em here first, I’m considering them Scottish.

Plaster – Band Aid

Jabby – Prickly

Nae – Not

Bairn – Child

Bonnie – Beautiful

Fizzy – Carbonated or Sour(ish) (I think on the latter since I got fizzy gummies)

Minky – Trashy/Ghetto (not sure on spelling)

Dobs – Mud/Muddy (strange as it is, “We came home and my dog was all dobs.”)

Stroppy – Fussy/Cranky

Broody – Yearning for motherhood/to be with child

Chuffed – Happy/Pleased

Inch – Island

Loch – Lake

Burn – River/Creek

Squint – This means either a lazy eye OR crooked

Brothy House – From wiki: “basic shelter, usually left unlocked and available for anyone to use free of charge.” I encountered this on a hike…neat idea. No plumbing or heat.

Rowie or Buttery – an insanely addictive roll, filled with fat and grease and salt. From wiki: “The buttery was originally made for the fishermen sailing from Aberdeen’s harbour. They needed a roll that would not become stale during the two weeks or more that they were at sea. The high fat content meant the rolls also provided an immediate energy source.”

I forgot to grab a picture, but a couple weeks ago (to kick off my carb-loading pre marathon) I went to Aitkins Bakery (where the locals told me were the best rowie) and E & I each had a fresh, warm rowie. Holy god. The first few bites I couldn’t understand why anyone liked them…but by the last bite I was salivating and craving more…I think they might have heroin in them. Thankfully, we were already driving home. I am sure these have at least 2,000 calories in them so I’ll reserve heading to Aitkins for only when we have visitors and that want the full cultural Aberdeen experience.

Start of a busy summer

Tomorrow my mother arrives! And if I wasn’t busy enough before (trust me, I keep myself plenty busy as a lady who lunches) things are going to get real crazy. My mother marks the beginning of holidays and house guests. I’m actually shocked it seems like it’s pretty packed since we actually aren’t having that many guests. Memo to all those who said they’d be visiting us: um, what are you waiting for?!

Airplane-in-the-sky

So here’s our summer schedule:

  • The mothership for a week and a half
  • A few days to recover
  • E’s cousin and friend for a long weekend
  • A week to recover, pack, run the Baker Hughes 10K
  • Off to Turkey for a week and a half
  • Get home and MOVE HOUSE the next day
  • Color Run
  • MEGAN comes (one of my best gals from IU/Chicago)
  • Possible trip to Portugal with Megan
  • Elton John
  • Megan leaves and 2 weeks to recover, golf, hike and enjoy Scotland
  • My Aunt and cousins come
  • 3 days to change the sheets
  • In-laws come for a week and a half (E’s birthday)
  • 2 ½ weeks off to recover, golf, hike and enjoy Scotland
  • Croatia for a week and a half (my birthday)
  • Get home, unpack
  • The mothership comes back from some time in Edinburgh
  • Mid-September: collapse.

So back to all you jerks, I mean people, who promised you’d be coming to visit….better look into booking your time slot next year asap. As of June, St. Bcock’s (formerly known as Casa de Bcock) is expanding to an additional 4th bedroom and 3rd full size bath (along with really quiet (dead) neighbors, cows in the back yard, and a grill and garden for your enjoyment!).  Time to introduce the Scots to s’mores.  There are a couple periods with a week or two off though, so i think we should make it.  And I like having lots to look forward to.  Once we’re in September I’ll only have Christmas and coming back stateside to look forward to- boohoo.

Dooms Day Prepper or Expat?

You know those crazies that buy loads and loads of thing in case the zombie apocalypse (or something?) comes and they want to make sure they’re prepared? When we were getting ready to move to Scotland, I might seem I became one. E (and my friend Sarah) would say I 100% became one.

Our expat package had an air shipment for things to arrive a couple weeks post our own move (500 lbs worth), and then it had a sea shipment with everything else going 4-6 weeks later. I think it actually came like 10 weeks later so don’t count on it people. There was some sort of pound limitation to the sea shipment, but in our 2 bedroom condo there was no way we’d hit it even if we brought EVERYTHING. And we didn’t bring everything. We left behind all things with plugs, 2 desks, a kitchen table, TV stand, coffee tables, a massive sofa, a portable kitchen island-type thing, and even though my Sarah doesn’t believe it- I did leave behind clothes and shoes!

Anyway….so as everyone knows, everything is cheaper in the United States. Plus, you know what you like in the states. I couldn’t remember all the things that were available/unavailable/was missed from my time studying in London…and I’m sure it’s changed anyway. So I had already planned on stocking up on quite a few things before we moved. And then when we had our go-see we met up with an AWA 4th of July party….where we were pretty much told to bring and hoard and stock up on everything you could! No offense ladies, but you really played it out like you could get no basic necessities in Scotland….that we were dealing with near third world country conditions.

So as we are looking to move in the summer (not out of Aberdeen, but into a new house) and I’m dealt with all the things we still have 7 months later (because mind you, we didn’t get all of our things until the end of September).

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So what did we bring? And what do I think about what we brought?

Here we go, keep in mind almost all these things are from Costco (so a big pack of them)…And there’s a Costco in Aberdeen….

  • Foil – Um foil is always good right. We bought 2 extra large rolls from Costco. I guess they saved us money and they fit under the sink, so no harm no foul.
  • Ziplock bags – Before our sea shipment got here we spent over an hour trying to find
    “ziplocks” and even asked 2 different people who could not seem to comprehend the idea of sammich baggies. Eventually we did find them and they suck. So glad I brought real ziplocks, although it’s possible that real ziplocks are at the Costco here.
  • Diced tomatoes – Like 3 cases. Unnecessary. There are diced tomatoes all over every single grocery store here.
  • Black beans – Okay so these are harder to find in Scotland (and when you do they are in boxes, no cans) and I use black beans so much…I don’t regret it.
  • Mac n cheese – We would have mac n cheese maybe once every other month in the states, so it’s not like I have an obsession. But it’s kind of nice to have some processed American food every now and then. But either due to the Costco case of mac n cheese or the fact that food here goes bad so quickly right under our noses, we’ve definitely eaten more of it.
  • Laundry detergent – We brought one giant thing of it. We still have some. Don’t bring it. Here they always use these little detergent pods. They’re great.
  • Deodorant – Bring it! E is loyal to like 2 things, and one is Cool Rush Degree deodorant. And I can’t remember the other. If you are like solid, white deodorant you need to bring it. They use spray deodorant here and while you might be able to find one solid somewhere, it’s not worth it. And it’s less expensive.
  • Shampoo – I brought some (2 sets) of Sheer Blonde shampoo & conditioner, about 3 big Head & Shoulders, and 3 massive salon-size sets of Biolage. The only thing that was necessary was the Biolage. They don’t have it here. But I probably will never need to buy shampoo & conditioner here.
  • Razor Blades – of course you can get em here, but they were hella cheaper in America.
  • Toothpaste –I brought insane amounts of toothpaste. Like 20 tubes. Unnecessary and insane.
  • Ibuprofen – brought 2 500 tablet things and my mother is bringing me another in a week. The quantity of which you can buy ibuprofen here is ridiculous. This was definitely worth it since I am quite the pill popper.
  • Nyquil – brought 2 or 3 LARGE bottles. They are all gone. Again, the mother is bringing another bottle. You can’t get anything with a sleep aide here- so if you rely on Nyquil- bring mass quantities.
  • Gummy Vitamins – These are yummy and nutritious. We haven’t used all of our yet, but we always had a hard enough time find them consistently at our Costco, so I don’t really regret it.
  • Dishwasher detergent – see laundry detergent? Same thing.
  • Garbage bags – I mean, I guess it saved a couple bucks. But I know for a fact the Costco here sells the exact same box we brought from ‘Murica. Oye.
  • Dog food – I guess it was a constantly for Stella, but stupid. Dog food is cheaper here anyway.
  • Quinoa – I am quinoa obsessed so it’s never a bad thing to bring about 10 lbs of quinoa….but you can get it here.
  • Marshmallows – although insanely overpriced, you can get it here.
  • Graham crackers – SCORE! You can’t get these here. And how else you gonna make s’mores this summer? With digestive biscuits? Yeah right.
  • Oats – At said 4th of July party, I was convinced porridge is not the same as oatmeal. These people are insane. Porridge oats work for any of your recipe that calls of oatmeal oats.
  • Dog treats – I stand by the 10-15 bags of Charlie Bear’s we brought for Stella. They are super cheap, tiny, only 3 calories, and they’re already hard so they don’t go stale. I haven’t been able to find anything comparable yet.
  • Pumpkin hand soaps, candles, puree, and pudding mix – You can get pumpkin! But not soaps, candles, and pudding mix. That being said, I have all the pumpkin candles I can handle at the moment.
  • Tea – This is a country of tea! But I brought my favorite flavored teas from Trader Joes and other places- I love spicy, “fall” teas.
  • Gum – I’m sure you can get gum at Costco, but it’s not like it takes up a lot of space.
  • 100-calorie popcorn bags – Wish I had more! Especially kettle corn! They haven’t got on the 100-calorie microwave popcorn train and it kills me.
  • Peanut butter – You can get big Skippy’s in Costco and small ones in the normal grocer, but they are way expensive. And at Costco it’s just one jar, not the double pack like America.
  • Equal – You can’t get equal here. Of course there are other 0 calories sweeteners, but if you’re keen on equal, bring it. Also heads up, I found cases of equal cheapest at Wal-Mart.
  • Tomato Paste – Not necessary. And it’s most easy to get it in a tube here….brilliant.
  • Lotion – I guess it saves some money….but no, not worth it.
  • Body Wash – See above.
  • Contact Solution – You can get it here, but my contact solution is special (because I have special eyes) and costs a ridiculous amount, it’s something I have to use EVERY day, so I’m happy with stocking up and saving loads of $.
  • Britta Filters – Well this would save a load of money, IF OUR BRITTA FIT IN OUR TEENY TINY SCOTTISH FRIDGE.
  • Poo bags – We had to buy UK poo bags once, and they sucked. Poo bags are something we’ll run out of sooner than later so we’ll have to make the switch.
  • Garlic – I like the big plastic jars (okay, pretty much jugs) of crushed garlic. So I brought one. And it’s fine….but they do have it here at Costco.
  • Chicken broth – I brought one big thing of chicken broth…I should have brought a case! You can’t buy canned or boxed or tinned chicken broth here. You have to make it by adding hot water to a little gelatin thing. And for whatever reason is annoys the sh*t out of me.
  • Cliff Bars – Can’t get em here. Bring em by the case.
  • Kind Bars – Same as above. If you have a specific ‘bar’ you love (I miss Quinoa bars too!), bring em. Although, some gyms are selling Quest bars I’ve found….
  • Flavored Coffee – You can get some flavored coffee grounds. They are a little hard to find and not all the exotic flavors that you can get in the states. But for your pod coffee machines- Tassimo or Nescafe…you’re super limited, as in pretty non-existent. Even though we have great flavors for Tassimo in the states- doesn’t happen here. I just got one SPECIAL EDITION Vanilla Latte. UGH. Same with coffee syrups, you’re not getting pumpkin or coconut here- so bring it with.

There were other things we brought that I’m sure I forgot about, but I feel this is a pretty good list.  Are you an expat that stocked up pre-move?  What did you bring?  What do you wish you brought?  Or are you moving and wondering if something specific can be found in Scotland- let me know!

Race Recap: Paris Marathon

I AM A MARATHONER!!!!

I did it!

I did it!

So most Paris Marathon recaps that I’ve read include all kinds of selfies and photos. This is not one of those recaps because I couldn’t be bothered to fish my phone out of my spibelt for pictures. So you want to see pictures of the Paris Marathon course or LB running selfies- you’ll have look elsewhere.

Here is my marathon recap and experience. I’ll try and include the points I normally cover in race recaps.

Cost

€99 which is almost exactly $99 right now. I paid an additional €12 for cancellation insurance (that as I said I did not do for flights and accommodation). Really not a bad price since I got charged $347 for the NYC Marathon, Chicago is going at $185.

Registration

I woke up early on registration day and kept trying to register and kept getting booted out of the page and it wouldn’t load until finally my husband got through and registered me- this was unnecessary. It was quite a few weeks before they closed off registration at capacity. Not sure if it will the same case in 5 year, but next year, no need to set the alarm early.

The expo was open on Thursday from 3-8pm and pretty much all day Saturday and Sunday.  We headed there on Thursday and it was a real easy train ride and the expo was steps away from a stop.  You MUST have your medical certificate and convocation (has your name, bib number, and corral on it).  Right away they look at your medical certificate and then stamp your convocation (no wait at all) and then you head on over with the paper to get your actual race bib (short wait).  Then you got your bag (see Goodie bag) and the rest was just expo. Asics was the apparel sponsor so they had a huge section of Paris Marathon branded stuff. I would have gotten a few things actually but limited myself to this long sleeve than I’m obsessed with.IMG_1886

The rest of the expo had about 200 vendors. Everything from Brooks, Puma, Mizuno, Gore, Skins, Hoka, Sketchers, and New Balance- to UK brands I was unfamiliar with: Odio, Kalenjii, Zsport, Dix40 and Anita Active. Loads of different races were there from around the world. Tons of nutritional stuff, most I have never heard of but there was Cliff Bar, Gu (WHERE THEY HAD MY PRECIOUS SUPER HIGH CAFFEINE RASPBERRY CHOMPS!), Power Bar, and Vita Coco. The odd thing was that there were barely any free samples or coupons being handed out. Every expo in America seems to have free swag everywhere and people lined up around the block for it. Unfortunately, I’ve had the joy of working expos with free samples…

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Wall with all the runners names.

it's me!

it’s me!

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The downside was a lot of people didn’t speak English. And ya know, no free stuff.

Overall though, I thought the expo was good- although huge!   But it was really easy to get there and get my bib etc….and there were bathrooms!

Goodie Bag

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Pretty good bag. Only one or two coupons/slips of paper. Some gummies (Haribo was a sponsor – see these people love their gummies), Pistachio, your sleeveless plastic bag for waiting in corrals, a Tag Heuer water bottle, a Dr. Scholl’s sample, Tiger Balm sample, luggage tag, and little running waist pack. I wasn’t about to change up my routine and stuck with my spibelt but I did see quite a few runners running with it. I already have one walking pack, but otherwise this would be great to use while walking the dog, etc.

We didn’t do a whole lot in the days leading up to the marathon, other than eating carbs. I’ve been to Paris 3x prior (lucky girl) so we didn’t need to run around looking at things- just enjoy the season.  Even still, I was getting about 17K steps in on Thursday and Friday, but managed to stay off my legs more on Saturday with only about 12K steps. On Saturday we had a great carb-o-licious brunch at Laduree. Touristy? Yes. But amazing brunch. We of course opted for the full €60 package that included champs, French toast, fruit, juice, 2 sandwiches, croissants, macaroons, pain au chocolat. The works. Worth every penny. I’d do it again. Make sure you make a reservation. Every other night we ate at Italian joints to carb it up.

carb loading at laduree

carb loading at laduree

Carb loading Laduree

Carb loading Laduree

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Despite not sleeping fantastic for months leading up to this marathon, the night before I slept better than I have EVER slept before a race. Had some Pukka nighttime tea and a xanex and didn’t stir until the alarm went off at 7am. That’s the thing about euro-races- they start late. I mean, I was in the last corral and my start time was 10:05! How fantastic. I ate my porridge, stretched for 30 mins, watched my motivational movies, applied run guard and sun screen. Sat around anxiously… By the time we left the flat it almost felt as though I slept through the race, as the streets were eerily quiet. We stayed down Kleber Ave, about 1K from the Arch de Triomphe. The start line is down the Champs my corral entrance was pretty far back by the arch.

The day was warm. No clouds and almost 70 degrees. The warmest it had been for training was about 50- so a huge difference. And I hate the heat! The sole reason I never signed up for the Chicago Marathon was summer training!  The £5 ASDA (UK Wal-Mart) sweats I bought to wear before the start were completely unnecessary. Luckily, I had always planned on wearing a tank and crops for the race and I remembered my Oakleys.   I did wear my little plastic bag for the initial walk, but took it off when I entered the corral- too many bodies.

Resistance band around my knees

Resistance band around my knees

Walking up to the Arc and in the circle around it- that’s where you’ll find the most port-o-loos. I brought toilet paper because I don’t like to drip dry (and heaven forbid I poo) and was glad I did because they of course had none. I even shared with the next 2 gals in line but kept the roll and put in back in E’s “Lauren Emergency Supplies” backpack (extra socks, a shirt, sunscreen, gum, gu chomps). This is critical.

I then walked down to the corrals. I waited until 9:35 and entered the corral. The whole time I wore my resistance band around my knees and did my physio exercises to hopefully keep my glutes engaged. Then we started moving forward. I drank my Gatorade Prime I had brought with me. We passed a port-o-loo every 500 feet or so as we walked towards the start and there were ladies lined up about 5-10 deep. There were quite a bit of men peeing everywhere- but to be honest, E & I have peed on the street in Paris before and not before a race….I mean, Paris always kinda smells like pee, that’s part of the charm(ha!). I’ve read so many other American recaps that really play up this peeing everywhere….I don’t think it was that dramatic. Men in corrals also had these little 4-man stand up port-o-loos where they are totally outside and if all 4 cells were full would be touching noses (practically) peeing. It’s a damn good invention America should get on at sporting events, festivals, etc.

E walked along with me on the other side of the fence. And then we stopped for another little bit. And that’s when I realized, “Oh no….I think I maybe, kinda have to wee.” That was followed up by 5 minutes or so hemming and hawing over if I should get in a loo line. I told E my dilemma. He ran ahead to see if there were any loos with no line but told me to get in the line closest to me. I stood there waiting for what felt like an eternity. E had given me some more TP (ALWAYS BRING TP TO A RACE) and I was half about to pull my pants down right next to the loo. But I held my dignity, while barely managing my anxiety, as it seemed like every single person walked past and went to start the race. Finally got to go- made it to the start and weaseled my way up. I was still pretty much the back of all 50 thousand people, but not dead last. But really, looking back…that pee was 100% necessary and I am so glad not only for my own TP, but for stopping and going one last time before the start. I didn’t have to go again until about 3 hours post marathon. Thanks dehydration!

Okay and we’re off. About 1K in I see a little old man running and it just say “RAY” in huge letters on his back and I thought, well I’m going to make it. I felt I was going a bit fast initially so then I picked one guy and paced with him for a while. When all of a sudden the 5:30 pace group was right behind me?!?! I totally freaked out. I wasn’t supposed to make a goal time (being as it was my first marathon) but I had made a sub 5 hour goal that seemed to me, totally, 100% doable. But when I got injured, I really started to doubt the goal and worry that I would even finish. And I tried to say I would be happy regardless of my time, but in my heart of hearts, I wanted sub 5. So somehow I was by 5:30 pace and that wasn’t going to cut it…so I picked it up.  I kept thinking I was on pace throughout the race but at random points I would be by the 5:30 or the 5 hour pace group and they’d pass me and I was just so confused.  It took a lot but I had to just let it go and trust my own math (and pace)…as it turns out E later told me that the 5:30 pace somehow finished before the 5 and they must have just started way earlier than I had….whatever, the pee was worth it.  So lesson learned- unless you start with a pacer, don’t let them freak you out.

I had trained with my hydration backpack, but knew I wouldn’t run with it. I didn’t want to really carry anything. But I started with a small, plastic, water bottle so that I didn’t have to stop at the first water stop. Water stops were every 5K I think without fail. And you needed the hydration since the entire run was pretty much in the sun. At every water stop they were giving small Vittel bottles. Sometimes the caps were off, but they couldn’t really keep up with that so most times the caps were on. I didn’t think this was a problem and I actually carried the small water bottles most of the time running, I liked having water but I liked knowing I could throw it away at any time. Overall, I really liked the small Vittel water bottles- way better than cups!  Bravo Paris!

Also at every water stop was sugar cubes (no way), raisins (and maybe other dried fruit but I never looked), orange quarters, and half bananas. The banana peels and orange peels…it was pretty damn slippery. Again, not as traumatic as every 2013 & 2014 review would lead me to believe…but it was a little dangerous. Only at about 25K did I have half a banana. Otherwise I just stuck to water. There was supposed to be a couple stops with some sort of goo (a brand I didn’t know) but I never saw it…only at 30K was there a sports drink (same brand I didn’t know) and I didn’t take that either.

My plan was fuel every 5 miles or so. And I actually ate too much on the run. I mean, your brain kinda doesn’t work to its full capability. And I can’t even really remember what I had and when, but here’s my best guess.

  • 5 miles: Gu chomps
  • 12K: E handed me a very small container of Gatorade and I had that – had carbs as well as electrolytes since it was hot.
  • 10 miles: SIS gel
  • 25K: Half a banana
  • 28K – Gatorade from E
  • 20 miles: Gu chomps
  • 23 miles – 2 paracetemol (pain pills) with caffeine , half an SIS power snack bar

At one point, after 28k (when E joined me), I pulled out my iPod to skip a song and realized it was all sticky and covered in goo. I handed it to E who proceeded to lick my iPod clean. Turns out the iPod corner had punctured the extra gel in my pocket. Whoops. Thanks E for licking all the sticky goo off my iPod- best spectator award!

I saw E at 5K, 12K, 17K, and 28K. He wore his massive Beaker head to make sure I could find him- which worked brilliantly. He also knew at 28K he was to hop in and run with me. At 28K I was feeling great. I hadn’t stopped but once to tie my shoe and I really was feeling great. But I told him he might as well run with me.   He held the Beaker head as we ran and chatted, and people kept coming up to him to high five him and say “hi!” because they had seen him at all the other places as well- he had his own fan club! I told him to hang on until 20 miles where I was anticipating “the wall”…but I hit no wall at 20 miles and kept on moving. At mile 21 I was getting a little tired, so I told E to hang out until 23 miles. At 22 miles I really tuned into my iPod and had stopped chatting. E also took over carrying my water. At mile 23 I thought I would dismiss him, but were in the middle of some park and he really couldn’t go anywhere but down the course so he stayed with until almost the very end. I really felt like crap starting at mile 23. It wasn’t a “wall” as I had originally imagined it. But I was over the running thing. The last 3 miles were awful, the last 2K a death march. I went to stop and walk twice but each time I took one slowed down step and my legs nearly collapsed. I knew if I stopped running I would never start. So I just kept (slowly) trucking on. But it was hard. This is where the audio files I had made of my motivational movies really came in handy. “Stop running from your pain. Embrace your pain. Your pain is going to be a part of your pride. A part of your product. I challenge you to push yourself!” I think it was extra hard because you could NEVER see the finish line until you were pretty much crossing it. I needed to see it in the distance, but there were twists and turns…and the French are quiet cheerers…it felt as if I would never see the end.

But I did. And it wasn’t as emotional as I thought but I was oh so happy to be done running. Joyous people were all around me. It was a bit sad because I was quarantined with other runners and I didn’t know any other runners…so it was a bit lonely I had no one to celebrate. I got my t-shirt and bling and got out of there ASAP to rejoice with E.

So some other notes:

Bathrooms

I saw 3-4 banks of port-o-loos throughout the course. When you run past the zoo at the first big park, there are zoo bathrooms on your right hand side (you don’t need to go in the zoo) but if the line is long, there are port-o-loos at about 15k.

Course/Crowd Support

It’s almost entirely in the sun. But very flat. I mean, I guess not Chicago flat, but I thought it was pretty much that flat although many people talk about how its not pancake flat LIKE chicago.  Maybe it’s just the training on bloody hilly Scotland trails? The Bois de Vincennes (first large park) doesn’t have many people cheering at all. Same with the park at the end. When there are people, they don’t really say much. No cowbells, not many signs, a lot of standing in silence. Also, a lot of dodging people clutching baguettes under their arms crossing the road. The firemen did pull out their trucks and sit on the extensions over the course cheering- that was nice. They also brought out firehouses to create a mister in about 4 different places on the course. I tried to look around and take it all in, but most often when I did that I would drift in to someone. Whoops. The course does go all around Paris, but I didn’t think you could really see a whole lot of Paris. There was the big tunnel (that so many people complain about) that I thought was well lit with 2 video spots set up showing some of the marathon and some of Paris. It was perfectly fine.  When I ran through the first set up, there were just the Mona Lisa’s eyes starring down at me which is kind of neat.

Medals

The bling is fantastic.IMG_1887

Time

4:54:38 – Really slipped the last 3 miles. The last 2k took me 16 minutes! And right around the half-marathon point I know I stopped to look at the time and that it was a lot more congested- hence my slow pace for that 1 KM.  But hey, it was my first marathon, it was hot, and I hadn’t run more than 16 miles due to the fact I took a complete 2 weeks off being super injured and barely walking.  I think it’s pretty damn good.Screen Shot 2015-04-16 at 8.19.07 PM

Overall

It was fine for me because I know and have seen Paris before and will do so again. But if you’re coming to the Paris Marathon and you’ve never been and might never go again- I think it would kind of suck unless you get there way in advance or stay much later. The course was fine, but I don’t necessarily think it was the best course ever (at least for me) or the most beautiful. But not a ton of spectator support and lots of miles on end with pretty much no one.  And you didn’t get to see all of the landmarks or get a huge taste of what Paris has to offer. Would I do it again? Definitely would do another marathon, but not Paris. Although I think it worked out well for my first marathon.  I prefer my Paris to have a lot more wine and lounging on the various lawns and parks across the city, getting tipsy sitting along the Seine, and maybe peeing under a bridge.  Until next time Paris…au revoir!

Paris Marathon 2015 Finisher and Beaker

Paris Marathon 2015 Finisher and Beaker

The Marathon That Almost Wasn’t

Before my full Paris Marathon Recap (spoiler alert: I ran it, I accomplished my goal, and I lived to tell about it) I thought I should look back to last Wednesday when I was up against yet another obstacle to running this marathon. Thinking, “What the hell am I even doing?! What does all this mean?!”

Don't look too shabby considering this is minutes after running 26.2

Don’t look too shabby considering this is minutes after running 26.2

So when I was injured and barely walking and thinking there was no way in hell I could finish a marathon (See my despair here) I actually had half decided that I was going to cancel the marathon. When I first signed up I bought the race insurance so if I was injured I could get my money back. But when I looked into cancelling, I realized I didn’t get trip insurance. I couldn’t get my money back from the flights (or even credit to be used later) and I would only get 50% back of my accommodation I had already paid for (with AirBNB). And I hate wasting money.

Other people suggested, well just go and enjoy a weekend in Paris? Um no. There was no way in hell I was going to Paris on marathon weekend and not run the marathon. That would be rubbing my nose in it. I would go insane and be angry and bitter and probably trip every runner I saw. Because I’m a hater like that…

So it wasn’t an option to cancel. And that’s when I decided come hell or high water (that’s the saying right?) I was at the very least starting the marathon. I would give it my best and hope I didn’t need a new hip at the end. Pain be damned. And I resumed with my very jacked up, re-vamped training schedule.

Well, on Sunday at 11pm, 4 days before I was to arrive in Paris, my AirBnB got cancelled. It was really strange because I had paid for it months prior and was texting the owner of the house over the weekend about picking up the keys, and then at 11pm on Sunday she just cancelled on me?! I texted her immediately but she didn’t reply. I called Air BnB furious that someone could cancel on me, but I couldn’t cancel without them taking half my money. They sent me new places to stay but I didn’t really like any. We stayed up until about 1am looking for a new place and I had emailed a couple of Air BnB people to see if they were available. E started looking up hotels and microwave shops in Paris. I had wanted to stay in a flat for more space (since we wouldn’t be doing much sightseeing) and for a full kitchen so I could have carbs on hand and be able to make my porridge breakfast on race day.

Finally on Monday I was able to book an a new Air BnB place. Not as good of a location or place, and somehow more money, but it was booked. Sadly, it ended up that the original owner’s account was hacked and they were trying to get me to re-book and steal my money. What a mess and I feel awful for her and me.

Then comes Wednesday at 3pm. I’m on the phone with my client and I get an email letting me know my 11:40am flight on Thursday (less than 24 hours away) is cancelled. There’s a strike in France of course. I get on the phone right away and manage to get the only other flight I can on Thursday: 6 am. So we have to take the dog to her ‘boarder’ that night and run around like crazies to get everything settled.

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So, I get injured (1) and want to cancel. I can’t cancel because I’ll lose all my money from accommodation and flights. So I don’t. But then my accommodation (2) gets cancelled and then my flights (3) get cancelled. So I had to deal with 3 things trying to stop me from running this marathon. So the rule that bad things come in threes was out of the way….But I just kept thinking, what does it mean? The 2 things that stopped me from cancelling now came true?! What the hell!

Another hiccup was the fact that I realized in my last week of training that I really prefer Raspberry Gu Chomps instead of Clif Bloks, mainly because one serving has 40mg of caffeine.  And ya know, the more caffeine the better when it comes to doing anything.  Unfortunately, it seems they are illegal in the UK due to that amount of caffeine.  So I ordered some from Spain and of course on Tuesday found out they won’t arrive in time.  Luckily, I had a contact in Chicago that knew someone that was running Paris and I was able to hunt them down and have them pick up my precious Gu Chomps for me.  Then of course, at the race expo….Gu was there with them.  So on every level crisis averted, but it was just one more frustration.

Anyway, obviously I overcame it all…probably got some grey hairs (good thing no one has seen my real hair color in well over a decade) but I made it. Maybe I shouldn’t look too deep into things…. 30fd68cbe6a9927deead6aac838203f1

Running thoughts

My last post before the marathon!

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My brain is pretty spaztastic when I run. I spend a lot of time “writing” multiple full blog posts in my head that will never see the light of day. Play out a lot of different conversations. And do math.  Any kind of math that crosses my mind. I will try and figure out something, be it pace, distance, or other random crap that requires me to do math. Because I’m really bad at math. Thus, it occupies a lot of time in my brain.  And this is considering I have run all my long runs with people!  Now I’ll be running 26.2 miles solo (well, with 49,999 other runners, most of whom do not speak english) without chatter and idle talk…I can only imagine what’s going to go through my brain.  I’m assuming a ton of curse words…

But on my shorter solo runs, I’m all over the place.  Two weeks ago I tried to grab and remember the most prevalent thoughts that came across my head:

Alright, here we go. Get out the kinks.

Why do I always start uphill? Scotland is uphill both ways, I swear to God.

I have to drop my arms and shoulders.

I should bring a garbage bag and collect rubbish on my runs ala David Sedaris.

Why do I need such bad music to motivate my run?

Ow, that hurt.

I’m kinda hungry.

Crap, that actually hurt bad. Am I injured? Does it still hurt? It hurt when it happened but I don’t think it hurts anymore.

How am I going to carry all this food with me during the marathon?

E better figure out where he’s going to be standing with Gatorade for me.

Drop my arms and shoulders.

Glide, glide, this is easy.

There must be something I can take to make this easier?

If I cant just do this and get through Paris… and then I can figure out NYC marathon after.

This sucks.

Oh this is my Jam.

I mean really, there’s got to be some drug. Maybe cocaine? Maybe I should try cocaine before the marathon?

I really should have lost weight before I pursued this. Next time. Next time I’ll lose weight first.

There is SO much horse shit on these trails.

I’m so hungry.

God, I hope I don’t have to pee.

I wonder if I will ever be able to run again without pain?

Maybe coke’s a bad idea. Speed might be better. It is called speed afterall. Why didn’t everyone think of this? I’ll just take a bunch of speed before the marathon. That should be easy.

I look like such a douche with all this Lululemon on.

Good thing only 5% of the population has ever heard of Lululemon here.

Why won’t this mile enddddddd.

Marathon training would be better if Scotland had Dairy Queen.

Crap, I need to order more mole skin for these blisters.

Seriously, Paris can NOT be as hilly as Scotland.

UGGGGH, I HATE GETTING PASSED.

Real impressive passing me dude.  Oh you’re running 5 miles.  I ran 15 yesterday asshole!

Why did I sign up for this torture?

I’m totally going to wear my medal the whole day and the flight home the next day. I don’t care if that’s uber American.

I effin’ hate this hill.

I eat hills for lunch.  Go big booty, go!

Man, finishing a marathon is going to be freaking awesome.

I’m going to cry embarrassing amounts.

I should rent Chariots of Fire to get me motivated.

I should figure out some damn good mantras to get me through this shit.

Why do I do this to myself?

Why does every run feel equally hard?  When does this get easy?

I need a nap.

I can’t effin move over any more jackass!

Children can run so fast and care free…what happens to adults?

If I was badass I’d totally wear tiny shorts and compression socks.

And write mantras…mantras all over my body.

Seriously, I just need to finish this marathon.  It will all be worth it.

But maybe I should look into the speed thing….

It’s Marathon Week!

I’m writing this on Sunday….at this exact time next week I’ll be cruising through the Paris Marathon, feeling great, on my way to my medal. I am not a medal person typically…. But this is one medal I will cherish. Not only does it look cool (the marathon provided some teaser photos) if you deserve a medal for anything, it’s a damn marathon.image1 (1)

My biggest concern is that every time I look at the extended forecast for Paris the temperature goes up and the chance of rain goes down. There’s a reason I picked a marathon where I trained in the winter…I HATE the heat. Any here. It’s looking to be about 70 F now and no rain or clouds. Meanwhile, my training has been in at minimum long sleeves and tights every single run… Grrrrr. Even Scotland is jumping on the warm train because I’m typing this while I’m sitting outside. I really need to figure out how to get some sports drinks up in my body during the race since they don’t offer any.

Besides the aforementioned which I can not control….I’ve done all I could with the cards I’d been dealt. I was using Hal Higdon’s Novice 1 Plan which is supposed to be the most widely used plan EVER (for beginners and more experienced). I ran my 4 days, I cross trained, I strength trained. And yet I got injured.   And early on I had been sick. Admittedly, some times I moved runs around during the week to fit my schedule. And Here WAS the plan:Screen Shot 2015-03-10 at 1.45.28 PM

I know I missed most of week 6 into week 7. My first run back was the 12 miler at the end of week 7. And that was brutal but I gutted through it. Then I carried on until week 13. I started off week 13 with a 9 miler on Tuesday that was so painful. And was immediately followed up by 2 solid weeks off. Buh-bye weeks 13 & 14. When I can back on week 15 my plan had to be adjusted. As much as I wanted to I couldn’t jump back in for an 18 or 20 miler that week after taking so much time off and nursing my hip.   My phsio made me an updated plan:

WEEK
MON TUE WED THUR FRI SAT SUN
15 3 REST 5 REST 8
16 REST 5 REST 10 6 REST 16
17 REST 10 10 REST 4 6 REST
18 3 4 2 4

I’m not sure if I’ll run 4 on Thursday. With the flight over and going to the expo, etc…I think I’ll have enough time on my feet.

On my 16 mile, right after I finished I went and walked 3 miles on trails to give me a total of 19 miles on my legs. In fact, for all 4 runs of week 16 I would walk 3-5 miles after my run, as well as a few miles on rest days.

On week 17, I nearly didn’t make my first 10 miler. My legs were so dead from the 19 miles on Sunday. I wanted to quit. I stopped a million times. I walked. I even cried. But I was determined to get 10 even if I crawled em. In the end I did. This run and it’s next day 10 miler are supposed to replicate a 20 miler and hitting the wall. And I got through them. In fact, the next day on my 10 miler- I ran an EXCEPTIONAL 10.   Then the next day I accidentally hiked 8 miles and was REALLY dead, so bagged the 4 mile run on Friday. Did my 6 and am enjoying my rest day.

It’s a short taper. And I didn’t do a standard 18 or 20 mile run. But I adapted. And I didn’t quit. And I did everything I could in the situation. I have to believe I have trained enough. That I’m ready to take on 26.2

 

 

 

NYC Marathon: I’m in!

Do I want to be in? To be determined…

I wasn’t going to publicly share this information because I don’t know what I’m going to do. But I’m not good with secrets. And I like to complain. As my father always said, “You’d complain if they hung you a new rope.” Don’t think too hard about that one.

After a couple great weeks of marathon training, my Chicago-runner friend and I decided to enter the NYC Marathon lotto. I was worried that I’d have an upper hand coming from Scotland- but it asks nationality {American} and billing address {Indiana}. So I didn’t think it would really make a difference. They only thing Scottish about my entry was my MAILING address. Well, that makes all the difference because I’m the only person I know who got in. And the NYC marathon charged me the international rate (a VERY steep $347) so clearly they did pay attention to that mailing address. But if my billing address is American, shouldn’t my bill be the American rate? Something for me to debate with them about….

I woke up the morning after their announcement day (since they announced later in the day and with the time change I was in bed) and the first thing I saw was a text from Megan, “I didn’t get in.” The second thing I did was open my email and see this:

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And then I immediately started crying. Not tears of joy, but of fear. My anxiety was already through the roof within 30 seconds of processing that I’d gotten in.

Understand that I am dealing with being injured and worrying enough about the Paris Marathon. And then the fact that I wouldn’t be doing this with my friend. Then the fact it’s another big expense that I wasn’t exactly expecting. Then the fact that I’d have basically a month off before I’d have to start marathon training again. And what if I hate the Paris marathon? It’s all just too much!

I have always wanted to do a marathon and I’m thrilled to be doing my first one before I’m 30. And I have always said that I think I’d like to do maybe 4 or 5 marathons. Paris (obviously), Chicago (obviously), NYC, maybe London and maybe some other awesome one that I haven’t been inspired to do yet.   I have no chance of qualifying for Boston and I only would want to do Boston as a qualifier- not charity (no offense). Paris actually wasn’t on a must-run list but the timing of my life worked out and frankly, if you’re gonna run 26.2 miles- doing it in the most beautiful city in the world should make it a little easier. Why NYC? Because it’s the biggest in the world, it’s one of the hardest to get into, and it’s supposed to be unlike any other. How do I know this? Because every runner who has run loads of marathons says this.

How does NYC Marathon entry work? Everyone pays $11 to enter the lotto. There are some spots to time qualify, and some specific ones if you’re a member of the New York Road Runners club. But mostly- it’s a lotto. When you enter you give them you CC number and if you get it- you automatically are charged for entry. Your decision is made. And being in a foreign land betters your odds. They can say we had X amount of runners from over X countries, you registration costs more for some reason, and they assume you’ll be bringing more money into NYC as a foreign tourist.

After my tears subsided, I explored a little more and found out this. There is no deferring policy. But there is a cancelation policy. I can cancel my spot up until the night before the marathon. I do NOT get refunded my $347 but I do get a guaranteed spot next year (that I will have to pay $347 for…again). Okay- so not the best news- but it’s something. Yes, I’m out $347 no matter what (and if you know me, you know this KILLS me. I lost a CTA card with like $10 on it and tore my house apart for weeks. I hate wasting money) but if I’m burnt out after Paris or start preparing for NYC and trainings not going well and I’m unable to do 2 marathons in one year (the year of my FIRST EVER marathon) I can definitely have a spot it in next year. That put my mind at ease. I don’t have to decide anything now.   I’m just going to stick the NYC Marathon in a little mental box and tuck it under the bed and put a calendar reminder to pull it out at the end of June.

For now, I’m just focusing on Paris. Crushing the Paris Marathon.  You only get the t-shirt at the finish line.  Not at packet pickup the day before.  Oh-no.  You must finish.

You will be mine, oh yes, you will be mine.

You will be mine, oh yes, you will be mine.