Thursday, April 10, 2014

Her Name is Rio.... Before the Raleigh R&R Half

Me and Rio in Central Park
It's my last day at home before I fly down to Raleigh for three nights and one half marathon with one of my best friends from college, Rio.  Amidst the craziness of packing, finishing up work, and bracing for travel, I wanted to take some time to share and reflect on why this trip and this race is important.

I met Rio just before college.  I had just moved to Massachusetts literally the day after I graduate high school.  Rio had met my roommate-to-be at a college orientation that spring, heard I was relocating to somewhere I knew no one, and called me out of the clear blue sky, introducing herself and taking me out.  She was my only friend that summer.

Rio was on my dorm floor freshman year.  She earned her nickname here by opening the door to her room, yelling "STUDY BREAK!!!" and blasting whatever song she felt like - often Duran Duran.  Her name is Rio and she dances on the sand.....

My 21st birthday.  

Rio and I stayed very close over the years.  Through the tough years of graduate school.  Through a string of boyfriends.  She moved to Scotland for graduate school and I came over to see her, spending a week in a car where I made her pull over and take a picture of every sheep we saw.  It's Scotland.  That's a lot of sheep.....

Rainbow at a castle on Loch Ness in Scotland.
We didn't see the Nessy...

She got my my first job in my industry.  You know - that career that feeds my children?  She was one of only two bridesmaids in my wedding.  I had my baby girl.  Then, when I was pregnant with my second, she decided to relocate to San Francisco.

Rio took this photo of very pregnant me (hard to tell)
hugging my baby girl

It was the right move for her.  While she was out there, she started running.  As two girls who had eschewed fitness as only pretty girls in their twenties can (we even got kicked out of a campus yoga class for being rowdy), this was both amazing to me and felt a little bit like a betrayal.  Wait, that's too strong a word.  But there she was, sailing, skiing, meeting all sorts of athletic fit people in sunny California and knocking of half marathons while I was still 20 lbs overweight, covered in spit-up, and exhausted.  I was both proud of her and in awe of her.

Fast forward a few more years to last fall.  Rio met her dreamy husband in California, married him, and they moved to Raleigh.  Back on the correct coast, still far away.  In October of last year, their first child was born.  Before baby girl Rio even made her entrance, big Rio and I decided to do this race together:

It was to be my first half marathon, and her first half after becoming a mother.  Can we take a moment to give her some bad ass mother runner points for running a half six months after having a baby?  It would be perfect - I've finally joined the ranks of runners, and she's joined the ranks of parenthood.

Well as it turns out Rio and I are both impulsive, so we both ran a half last month.  Which kind of spoils the "first" part of that plan.  But it's still going to be awesome to run with her!!

Our original plan was to just enjoy the experience.  Run when we wanted, walk when we wanted, and dance to the bands at every mile mark when we wanted.  After a somewhat disappointing experience at the New Bedford HM, I had two choices.  I could double down on training, leave Rio behind for this race, and push to break the 2:15:00 goal I didn't achieve last month.  Or I could stick to the original plan.

A flurry of texts and phone calls to Rio and my coach over the last few weeks have 100% confirmed my race goal - the original plan.  I will not run this for speed.  I will run this for fun.  I will enjoy every sunshine-y, gorgeous second of this race.

The course itself is a little hillier than New Bedford, but not too bad.  In the center of Raleigh.  Rio even bought us VIP parking and portapotty access, so... clearly fun will be had.  Secretly, I'd love to finish in under 2:30:00, but I have to accept that that may not happen.

One big reason that this might not happen, aside from dancing in the streets, is my hips.  This morning while waiting for the bus, my little girl spread out her legs and bent down, resting her head on the ground.  She says, "Mommy this doesn't stretch me at all".  Oh, to have the flexibility of a six-year-old.  

Ever since New Bedford, I've have a deep, aching pain in my hip sockets.  Mostly when I walk or run - the impact jars stabbing pain into the joint.  I finally elucidated this enough to my coach that he has taken me off impact sports for my taper week, but the pain remains.  I've stretched endlessly.  I've tortured self with a tennis ball and foam roller.  I'm taking enough NSAIDs to dope a horse.  I'm only doing swimming, biking, and strength.  But it's still there.  I am hopeful that it's just bursitis or some kind of bruising that will heal with time, but in the meantime I'm not setting any PRs.

This trip down to NC will also be my PR for number of days I've been gone from my family.  I was feeling pretty apprehensive about this and guilty, until last night, when this conversation occurred:

Me:  I'll be gone for 3 nights and home by dinner on Monday.  I'll call every day and we can Facetime.  Dad is signed up to get emails the day of the race so you can track how I'm doing.
Kids:  Ok.  That's fine!  You'll have fun.  We'll just pretend it's like a work day that you were busy in the evenings for.  But longer.  [totally unphased]
Jedi [to me]: Honey did you want to bring the IPad with you for entertainment?
Kids:  Noo!!!! I don't want to not have the IPad for four days!!  You can't Mommy!!  wailing and tears......

Mommy leaving?  No problem.  IPad leaving?  Hysterical sobs.  The jig is up kids.  I'm going to enjoy my weekend away!!!!


Anonymous said...

What a wonderful post, it's so nice to have such long term friends like Rio!! Have a great trip and race!!

Courtney Fields said...

Have an awesome trip! Can't wait to hear about how much you crush this race =)

Sarah, How My World Runs said...

Gotta love the kids! Have fun!

Mary Sue said...

Longtime friends are the best kind! Enjoy your race and your time away. I hope your hips decide to get with the program for race day!

Molly Myers said...

And success! You made me cry. :) Love the ipad part - hysterical!!!

Miranda Greenhalgh said...

YES!! My work is done.... seriously. Little punks. I might take it for spite.... ;)

Sue @ This Mama Runs for Cupcakes said...

Have a great time and enjoy the girl time!!! Can't wait to hear all about it!

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