Worlds collided!

Remember when I went to Iceland to do that multi stage race? That was a tough mofo, right?

Could there be anything tougher?

The core team that prepared me to run that race consisted of my nutrition consultant, personal trainers, nurse practitioner, rolfer, massage therapist and yoga instructor. I managed get all of them to come to my place for a thank you party.

Yes, that was definitely tougher.

My boys ushered everybody in : “Welcome contestants. Let the hunger games begin.” img_5931

We gathered at my rooftop just as the wind picked up momentum. A few minutes later, while most of us were still eating and drinking, “just a lil bit of wind” gained hurricane force, started blowing food off of our plates and the tables and we had to abandon ship. Meaning all 11 of us (hmm… actually 13, sorry tango and Fox) had to get into my teeny tiny apartment where we pretty much had to take turns to sit.

Mostly because Tango (the axe cat) decided to keep a whole seat for himself. img_5932

We played Rockband 4 on my PS4. Fascinating, how, not more than one of us could play at the same time. Epic fail on the host. But one at a time, we played.

Oh, here is my awesome team14963191_2903562399422_7934598157229271738_n

From left : Amy from OK, Lisa, Michael, George, Nate, Alex, Saiju, Amy, Ellen and Chelsey.

And a million thanks to Cat for taking this picture.

Because between George “the lightweight” getting drunk and being hilarious after ONE drink AND Alex super patiently explaining “I’m whiskey”* to Cat AND me successfully escaping an attempt to make me retell my “undie story” AND all the “thats what she said” situations where I could not even make eye contact with Alex without bursting into a laughter AND Ellen’s funny and interesting stories (as usual) AND Cat and Nate and George playing RB guitar one small note at a time and their honest attempt at a high solo score…. HilaArious!

My point is, I was so into what was going on, it did not even occur to me to take pictures! The social media ho / diva / teenage girl / hairy Irish man in me is completely devastated! teen-girl-face-crying-facial-expression-cartoon-vector-illustrations-yellow-background-red-haired-emoji-79901552

And amazingly, they all liked the vegan food I got from my favorite South Indian restaurant, Woodlands!

Well, there were more than just Samosas and deep fried snacks but no pics <sadface>

I could write a post about each member of my team! May be after the next party… 😀

WORLDS COLLIDED! 

 

*  I introduced my kitties Tango and Foxtrot and said “that makes me Whiskey”. Cat had NO CLUE what that meant and Alex had to explain  the WTF *facts* 15037340_2903563079439_1666844468912705311_nAlex (L) and Cat

The tasting room

A.k.a my living room.

I have been tasting the alcohol I brought from Iceland. With some excellent company I might add, Ellen, Kelsey and Sumit.

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One phrase reviews:

Birkir Snaps (Birch schnapps) – unique but inviting flavor

Reyka (vodka) – vodka-ish

Lava Icelandic Bitter – awesome smooth pleasant surprise

Brennivin Sidan (schnapps – considered Iceland’s signature drink) – no

Por Viking schnapps – close your eyes, bottoms up

Isafold gin – gin

Freyja Viking schnapps – once is enough for a lifetime

Brennivin Aquavit – nice

Brennivin Blueberry Liqueur – the champion taste

Floki whiskey young single malt – with great difficulty comes great taste

A stress reaction

On day 4 of Fire & Ice, after running about 80 miles altogether, I had severe pain on the lower part of my left shin. I ignored it and continued for at least another 30 miles in the next couple of days. I will step forward with my right but I had to drag my left to keep moving. When the race director said he’s not gonna let me go on the last day, it was heartbreaking. He said if I went, I will be by myself, without any support if I needed it. So I pooled in my resources to discuss my options. I talked to Shan, Ellen, Cat, and Matthew (I just met him at this race) and they helped me make the decision to not race the last day (I still went, without my pack for a few miles). Amy (from OK) also chimed in on fb asking me not to do anything stupid and to stop, citing her own bad experience. I came back home and decided to wait for a few days to see if the swelling and the pain will go away. After all it is just a muscle strain, right?

Wrong.

An MRI showed I have severe stress reaction on my left tibia. A stress reaction one teeny tiny step before a stress fracture. Had I raced the last day, I would have come home with a full on tibia fracture. My initial reaction is how thankful I am to those who walked me through the decision making process that night. Special mention to Amy (from OK) for posting the right words, in the right order on that comment on fb and Cat (my dietitian) for calling me back, realizing that I am in crisis mode.

What now?

I have 2 races, a full and a half, on the last 2 Sundays of October. I have been ordered by my doctor and my podiatrist friend to not run at all and go through this rehab routine for the next few weeks. I told them I’d rather kill myself.

Never too early to say thanks….

Remember, it takes a whole city(apparently) for me to get ready for this race. I’ve mentioned a few people before, who have been part of this journey from the beginning. I wanna make sure that I give them proper credit!

Ellen – my race partner, who is to blame for this mess. 12-face-with-stuck-out-tongue-and-winking-eye.png She has been inspiring me from the beginning with her performance. And how humble she is about it! And front-ending all the logistics associated with this race. And for all the whiskey and beer and deelish food during our planning sessions! And driving me to race after race after…

Cat – my fabulous dietitian. She gets to be on top of this list because she has made the biggest positive change in my lifestyle. For starters(SWIDT?) I eat vegetables now, not just potatoes. She made me check the nutrition levels in my body and I find out that I have severe D deficiency (that will explain a lot of my physical problems including my eye issues – more on the eye later). Even crazier that she is not vegan herself but now knows everything about vegan diet and a (vegan)diabetic athlete!

George – he makes me smile, throughout every (tough)core training session at VIDA. And remembers every race I do (there was a fucking lot of them – even I couldn’t keep up) and checks with me at the end of every race.

Deepa – you spend a LOT of time with your coworkers. When you have someone you can call a BFF at work, it’s precious. I have no idea how she still manages to keep a smiling face and offers worthwhile responses everytime I am down. And whining.

Shantanu – my bro from anotha mutha. Puts up with all my bullshit (it’s a lot) still welcomes me with open arms everytime I visit LA(which is alot) and picks up my call everytime(again, a LOT), regardless of what time it is. Being a neuroscientist, he dukes out some seriously solid advises that you should never question, but I always do.

Dr. Salcedo – I haven’t said a word about Dr. Salcedo until now, though we have been working together since March (and her lovely assistant Virginia). She is my physical therapist and a tremendous resource for an athlete with her wealth of knowledge. She fixed my tendinitis and my injured back, quickly, like a boss. I learned a LOT about performing like an athlete from her! You can go see her at Chirocentric. Tell her Saiju sent ya!

Lisa – I have not mentioned Lisa either! She is a Rolfer extraordinaire, who keeps my body parts from separating out (or something like that). Cat connected us and it’s been awesome! I cry everytime during the session but feel AMAZING after!

Amy – my RNP who has been on *it* to keep me running and do other crazy things in spite of my diabetes and a slew of related and unrelated shitty issues!

Michelle – I have known Michelle for over 15 years now. I have been talking to her about racing recently and we are going to run a marathon together in October. Talking to her made me pay attention to a lot of minor details that will make a major difference. There are a bunch of them, which I might write about later.

Sumit – my bro I’ve known since 1990 (that’s a whopping 26+ years)! When I was not sure of running this race in the beginning, he talked to me in such a way that made sense to me to push my limits and pursue my goals! Bonus points to him for not using the term YOLO.

Amy (from OK) – my partner in crime, lately. Huge emotional support provider (because I am emotionally weak and a big time whiner), who told me “you are not shallow, you are discerning” which was a revolting concept for me! Bonus points for being an excellent yoga instructor.

Sonali, Rajesh and Sona, Rajesh and Sreeja, Rajesh and Kavitha (haha, they make it easy for me to remember their names), Santhosh and Lekshmi, JK, Tripti, Komal, Thenna…. some way or the other were there for me.

And then there is lovely Stephanie. My kitties love her and so do I. I can go away for races peacefully without worrying about Tango and Foxtrot thanks to Steph being there for us. And she is ALWAYS smiling.

Here is to hoping I won’t let my team down.

Another (incomplete) race

Registered for 50K, ran a (almost)marathon.

Does it matter that I was carrying 20 lbs on my back? Well, my back and shoulders thought so! And that the terrain was kinda run-unfriendly? super-sad-emoticon

Dahlgren Heritage Rail (in King George, VA) was a pretty decent race. There were ZERO hills! What!? And they had PBJ on the race course (may be that will explain why I couldn’t go all the way, too full to run – yes that’s a real condition)! There options at the end of the race, a medal or a koozy or a drinking glass. Guess what I took?

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Oh, and no points for guessing how far Ellen went. But the best part of her race (I’m guessing) was the fact that she finished just 15 minutes after I did, after running 6 additional miles!

20 days to go! Fuuuuuuucckk….

PS: Watch this space for a lot of whining on what I could not accomplish during this training season.

To run or not run, that’s the question!

How many miles will you run before you quit in 100 degree heat?

For me it was 11 miles.

For Ellen, it was a fucking 50K!

We both were registered to run a 50K trail race at Upper Marlboro MD. After carefully evaluating (bahaha) the conditions, I decided to do just 25K. In the first 10 miles though, after wiping out FOUR times and losing my sun glasses and getting pissed at the sun etc. I decided call it quits at 11 miles. 5 miles short what I wanted to and 21 miles short of what I planned to do.

Shame.

It was a tough trail, an impossible amount of roots sticking out, some steep hills, mostly single track. If you took your eyes off the ground for a second, the roots will trip you up. What was inspiring tho, was to watch super runners finishing 50K in less than 5 hours in probably some of the worst conditions you can imagine!

Ellen is a beast. IMG_3602.JPG

And I got this! 13692519_10154145120246886_398989494296921252_n

Destination Racing

July 1st. First day of the second half of the year.

I have run 6 marathons since February. More than that, I could not run 5 marathons and 5 half marathons that I registered.

In the beginning of the year, when I was freaking out about how to plan my training, my cool coworker (much appreciated, Deepa!) friend stepped in and created a spreadsheet for me that became an excellent tool to plan my training and keep my sanity in check. xlI carefully picked my races around the country, destination racing at its best.

Feb 15, Austin Marathon stated it all. When I told my friend Brittny H prior to the race, she goes “wow, that’s a hilly course”. I was like, meh,. But meh it was not. Plus I ran with a 12 lbs pack, for the first time. Long story short, I managed to survive that near death experience. Kudos to my poor (bro from anotha motha)friend RK, who took me straight to a vegan joint after the race where I failed to stuff my face with food, being too close to the end of a big race. But dinner was a completely different, feeding frenzy, story.

Next was my hometown race, DC Rock n Roll. My second fastest marathon to date, no pack was involved in this race and it was (mostly) a pleasant experience.

On to the next one which has a tagline “America’s Toughest Road Marathon” – Blue Ridge Marathon in Roanoke VA. And it was everything the tagline said it was. I had a tough time even walking up some of those hillsmountains. On the race shirt it says “You run hills I run mountains”. Hells yeah! BTW, my race partner *tricked* me into racing this. Sometimes I wonder if she has a death wish (growing-heart.png you Ellen download).

Ellen – this was her first marathon in ages (though she has done 2 multi stage ultras in recent years) and the first one this season. It was my third. Guess what, she had to wait for over an hour after she finished for me to catch up!!!

I am pretty sad about the ones I could not run – Golden Gate Headlands in north of SFO (course map below), Timberline (see the lake below) outside Portland, and Seattle Rock n Roll etc….

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