Tuesday, May 27, 2008

If you don’t like the weather in Cleveland, wait 5 minutes.

That is a saying in Cleveland and on May 18th – it was so true. When Micah and I started out in the morning at 7 am, it was pouring down rain. But, I was optimistic that the Cleveland saying, “If you don’t like the weather in Cleveland, wait 5 minutes,” would ring true and I wore my sunglasses in spite of the rain.

Even with the miserable weather, friends and family came out to cheer on Micah and me. It was fantastic! But, the sad news of the day was that my parents and sister only made it to one mile marker before getting caught up in a fender bender! Thankfully, everyone is okay.

The Cleveland Marathon takes you from downtown Cleveland across the shoreway to Lakewood. It is pretty amazing running across the bridges in Cleveland. Too bad it was raining in the morning and the view across the lake wasn’t that clear. Nonetheless, the beginning of the race is very exciting! You feel great and there is an amazing energy throughout the participants and the crowd. Plus, you have the bonus of having the half marathoners with you – so there are a lot more people.

By time we got into Lakewood, Micah and I had our eyes open for our friends and family. As we rounded the bend onto W. 117th, we saw them jumping and shouting in the rain. It was fabulous. Shortly there after, Micah and I saw this family that seemed to follow our pace throughout the race. There were 3 kids, a mom and a grandpa – and they were awesome. I saw them about every five miles and they had such great energy and were always giving people high fives as they ran by. I’ll tell you at mile 21 – their high fives helped me get up a wicked hill while I was running into the wind off of Lake Erie.

I must admit, that some of the euphoria of the race can wear off by time you reach mile 13. The half marathoners are heading towards the finish line and you are wondering to yourself...“um…why didn’t I just do the half? I still have 13.2 more miles to go!” The other issue at mile 13 is that the crowd REALLY starts to thin out. There are a ton of people cheering for the first half and it dwindles at the second half. So for those marathon spectators reading out there – trust me – your marathoners will love to see you later in the race. It is when they’ll need you most.

The second half of the marathon goes through midtown and then over to MLK Blvd, which takes you through one of my favorite parts of Cleveland – the ethnic gardens. We were lucky and the sun came out, but it didn’t get too hot in the second half. Heck, it was even starting to rain again as I finished mile 26.

At mile 15, it was great to see some friendly faces from back in Youngstown…the Haus family came out in full force and was cheering me on – and it was so great to see them there. At mile 16, there was this guy who was struggling…and I gave him an extra Gu that I had…I hope that it gave him the energy needed to keep moving on.

At Mile 18, I saw Rachel and Marilyn again. Plus, I got to see my friend Susan, who came with her baby Cole. It was fantastic that they were able to make it out.

My pace was great…until mile 20. Damn, the wind off the lake hit me and I went from running perfectly on pace to having my time go up by 1 to 2 minutes per mile. What a bummer…and it was so rough to have the view of downtown Cleveland in front of you, but feel so far away. During this time, I really concentrated on the Joliba Trust. I thought about their work and what hopefully they’d be able to do with the donations we’ve all raised. This helped to push me through to the end.

Then, while nearing the home stretch, I saw my friends Jed and Sarah – cheering me on. How Sarah had the energy…I don’t know considering she had already finished the race!

Crossing the finish line was great. I was happy at taking nearly 20 minutes off my old time. Even if I didn’t reach my goal of a 4 hr and 30 minute marathon – I guess that gives me a goal for next time!

I am also happy to say that we came close to reaching the goal for the Joliba Trust – we raised nearly $2,000. We feel short of the $2,000 goal by just $83. So, if you haven’t given yet – please do so – you can make the difference!

I also want to give a special Congrats to Micah and Rachel – not only did Micah have a great first marathon – he also got married a week later!

So, that is it for now…just resting, walking and hitting the elliptical at the gym. I plan on running two half marathons this summer. I’ll keep you all posted!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

WHOA! 5 Days to go!

At 4:30 pm today….

I don’t know where to start…so I’ll give you my final fundraising pitch. We’ve raised $1,100 so far – which is awesome! But, we are still $900 short of the $2,000 goal. I know you all should have received your tax refunds AND now you should be getting your nice stimulus check. Instead of spending that money on that flatscreen TV you’ve been wanting – how about giving it to a good cause – AND a cause that won’t help stimulate the George Bush Economy!? And for those of you who haven’t given yet – and you know who you are – I will do call time. Oh yeah, you’ll be getting a call and I’ll be hitting you up for a donation.

As for the running update…I did my long run on Saturday evening this past week, which wasn’t that long – only 8 miles. It was great to get outside, since I was inside all day at a staff training for work that went pretty well. The weather was beautiful. I could not have asked for a more perfect night – other than the gnats. Lots of gnats – I am pretty sure I got some extra protein while running;). The allergies were still bothering me – but I just concentrated at running at my marathon pace, so I wouldn’t be pushing it too hard. I was still running about 30 seconds a mile too fast – but significantly slower from my past 8 milers.

I am actually excited that it is supposed to rain like all week in Cleveland. I am hoping it will wash more of the pollen away and my allergies will be less severe. I am feeling pretty good right now and I’m looking forward to my short 3 mile run tonight – AND seeing Ariel…

At 9 pm today….

I am back! Anyways sorry for the switch on my train of thought…I was at the DC airport when I was writing the three paragraphs above and had to board my flight.

It was great to get into Columbus, get to the office, pick up Ariel and go home and run. It was a really weird feeling being super elated to be back. I can truthfully say that is the first time that has ever happened. Usually, I am pretty melancholy when I get back from DC. Most of you know that the transition from DC to Columbus has been difficult for me. It has been harder to make friends – and ironically enough – more of them are involved in politics than my friends in DC.

I am not putting all the burden on Columbus – because that would be the easy thing to do – a lot of it is because of how much I chose/choose to work and the odd fact that I’ve become more of an introvert as I’ve become older . (or I could just be reverting back to my true self…I was very much an introvert as a child) I lost touch with many people in 06, since I was working like an insane woman. Case and point … after the 06 election, I finally called my friend, Susan to find out that she was 6 months pregnant! Yes, I was an asshole. I should have made time to call.

I also think the visit to DC jogged my thought process on what am I going to do after this election. Stay in Ohio, move back to DC, move somewhere else – like out West? I’ve given myself an August deadline to figure out what I want to do. Why August? I don’t know…maybe because that is the last month before election stuff becomes really crazy, maybe because I’m turning 30, or it is just completely arbitrary. August could come and go without me making a decision.

I know that if I move back to DC, my life would not go back to how it was before I left. People are in different points in their lives now. I would no longer have the party pad where everyone would hang out before heading out in Adams Morgan or U Street. Nor do I have a strong desire to go out and party it up in AdMo. My alcohol tolerance is pathetically low and I tend to be in bed by 10 pm. I never quite regained my party-all-night stamina after my lung surgery. If I stayed here…would I still work for America Votes? Would I do something else? What about Chicago? Montana? Northern California?

Is this one of those decisions when I have to make a list?

When I moved back to Ohio in 04 – it was a gut decision. I had to move back – it was for my country, my state, my family. I had to work for change. The consequences of that decision didn’t matter to me – a significant paycut, leaving my friends and network in DC, moving to a city where I knew practically no one. And, those consequences have been frequent reminders of the fact that my personal – NOT professional – transition to Ohio has been very difficult.

My current decision is different, less idealistic and a little selfish.

My whole thought process on this blog is weird…too much thinking about too much stuff. I should be writing about the marathon this weekend, which I am really excited about – but scared at the same time. I have been pretty consumed with it this week. I freak out about the taper – since I worry about my stamina, etc. I am more worried about it this time since I had to cut my last long run in half because of my allergies.

Well, I should cut this off. I’ve been writing this at Northstar – the cafĂ© across from my house where I eat WAY TOO OFTEN! I need to get home and unpack and mentally prepare myself for tomorrow – and yes, that usually entails making a list.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

That Just Blows

This past Sunday I was planning to run half of the Flying Pig Marathon with my friend, Lauren. It was a perfect day for a race. It was cool in the early morning -- it was just in the 40s and the sun was shining. I drove to downtown Cincinnati right at 6:30 am to meet my friend’s parents and her girlfriend at mile 5. We all kept looking for Lauren but didn’t see her. We then all piled in the car to drive to mile 12 where I was planning on jumping in the race with Lauren. While we were driving to mile 12, we received a call from Lauren. She fell at mile 4 and that is why we didn’t see her. We spent the next hour and a half trying to get to first aid to collect Lauren.

I felt so bad for her – to train for that long and to have something like that happen just sucks. And, of course you tell a lot of people that you are running the marathon, and when you head back into work the next day – people are going to ask you how it went – so you have to relive it.

There are no marathons or even half-marathons in the tristate area this weekend – which is just kind of crazy. Lauren cannot run Cleveland, since she is going to France for a wedding. But, she’s already come up with a new goal – running a half marathon while running 9 minute miles, which is fantastic and ironic.

While running 12 miles on Sunday night, I had a great run – I ran 12 miles in 1 hour and 54 minutes. I was pumped by that time! So, I came up with my own goal to run a half marathon in less than two hours!

Lauren and my goal are very similar – so we are considering running the half together. I’ll keep you posted on when this may happen!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

On the Juice

Just five miles tonight, the first time I’ve run since Sunday. I took it easy and had my favorite running partner with me – sorry Micah. We had plenty of stops to pee, to sniff things out and to of course – chase squirrels.

And I have good news – I’m not sick – I just have CRAZY allergies.

And pardon me while I rant about my health insurance company. So, I’ve had allergies since I was a kid – like 9 years old, which really sucked while growing up on a farm – but it did get me out of picking tomatoes. Yes, I am allergic to tomato plants – my hands break out in blisters – the same thing with cats if I pet them and don’t wash my hands right afterwards.

I used to get allergy shots as a kid and they really helped. But, as an adult, I really don’t have the time to take 3 hours out of my day once a week to go get a shot. I’ve relied on medication to help control my allergies – which mostly works well. BUT, now that my work has switched health care companies – to United Health Care – they won’t cover my allergy medicine – Allegra D. They say, take something over the counter, like Claritin D, but that doesn’t work for me.

I had United Health Care when I worked in DC for Democracy Data & Communications. I went through the same thing, but they finally did relent and cover my Allegra D. About 6 weeks ago, I finally went back into my doctor to deal with my chronic cough and runny nose and she sad it was allergies and tried to prescribe me the Allegra D – but my insurance company again refused to cover it. So, without a choice I tried a different over-the-counter medication, which has yet to work any wonders.

Last week, when I was at my parents I started sneezing, nasal drip and a cough. I thought for sure I was getting sick again. I mean – I was taking two different allergy medications – couldn’t be allergies.

Finally, yesterday I relented and went to the doctors because how I’ve been feeling has made it impossible to run and barely possible for me to even go to work. My co-workers thought I had the “plague” again. My doctor said I was not sick – it was allergies. I explained to him that I was running in the Cincinnati Marathon this weekend and needed to feel better. (For those of you who don’t know, I’m running half of the Flying Pig Marathon with my friend, Lauren). And he was great about it and gave me a steroid shot (aka the juice as I’m calling it) and I feel like a new woman today. Plus, he gave me some more Allegra D samples…which should last me 5 days.

This whole process if very frustrating…I’m wondering how much it cost my insurance company for me to go to the doctor, get the shot, etc. They could have avoided this – and the initial doctor’s appointment if they just would cover my damn Allegra D.

Now, I know I’m lucky that I even have insurance. But, the last time I checked – insurance companies aren’t doctors and they shouldn’t be making decisions that have an ill affect on my health – but they are. All for some crazy bottom line that someone believes is there by telling people to buy their allergy medication over-the-counter. Medications react differently with different people. Anyone with a little common sense can tell you that. Okay – enough of my rant. I’ll be back on the phone tomorrow with United Health Care trying to get coverage for my Allegra D.

And if not, I'll be asking folks for a Canadian hook up.