Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The ABC's of Outer Banks Bootcamp

Army Crawls
Crab Pinches (that was only me .. Thanks Coach)
Eight Points
F Bombs (yea yea yea only me.. AGAIN)
Jumping Jacks
Kick Backs
Mind over Matter
Never Give Up!!!!
Ocean Dips (and Trips.. yea that was only me too)
Push Ups
Quick Walking
Videos (thanks Christine)
X#$%#$@# Blisters (just mine)
YES you can.. I KNOW you can!
Zippers full of Sand

All before 7 am. 

It was kinda of a rough morning for me today, my foot is still extremely sore from the Half Marathon, but I did show up and I put as much as I could out there, and probably a few bad words too. Ok no probably, I did leave some really bad words out there, especially when the crab pinched me. Nothing like having your Coach drop a crab in your hand when you are doing squats and say  "DON'T drop it!" The darn thing pinched me immediately, but I didn't drop it, until Adam kindly said I could take him back to his home. The funny part about the whole thing was the guy standing beside me saying.. "BUT IT IS PINCHING HER" 

Guess that was Coach's way of taking my mind off my foot???

Anyway,  I am taking a few more days completely off and going to actually try to grow some skin on my foot before I perish from the horrible hidden silent bacterial infection that my mother seems to think is coursing its way from my foot to my brain as I type this. Hopefully my foot will be healed enough to run in a 5K on Sunday, but if it is not or if it is raining at all, I have already made the decision to not injury myself any further. I will stand down and not wear my Bootcamp shirt and walk the race if need be. 

Plan is to be back out there Monday, I will take it as it comes, but I want to get back with my group, because in all honesty I am feeling a little defeated. @$#%#@$# Blister. 

Much Love,


Tuesday, April 24, 2012

So you want to know what is?

 Photo by Automatic Timer giggle (Jay Bowman)

Over the past few weeks I have had more and more people ask me what the numbers "" are. What do they stand for? What do they mean?

Photo by Courtney Hathaway
I can tell you right now what they stand for, but I would be doing you and the numbers a great injustice.

 Photo by Courtney Hathaway

Imagine this if you will, imagine that you are asked to describe the way the sunrise looks and feels to someone who has never seen it. Imagine telling someone the way the first rain of spring smells and feels on your cheeks to someone who has only known the desert. Imagine explaining the feeling of holding the hand of someone you love as you watch the sunset on a wonderful day to someone who has never loved.

  Photo by Courtney Hathaway

While you can say the words of what all those things are, and you can use descriptions of what it is, there is no way they can truly feel it and you could never give it the justice it deserves. That does not mean I won't tell you what means to me, it just means you won't feel it.

Below is a short video of what we do, how we do it, and who we are... Wouldn't you like to be a Bootcamper too? Visit Outer Banks Bootcamps for more information.

 Video by Jay Bowman

Monday, April 23, 2012

Gone 13.1 .. One mile at a time

I thought you all would enjoy a play by play of my journey of the half marathon yesterday, it was actually quite a bit more entertaining than just running.

I set my clock Saturday night for 4:30 am, and went to bed completely afraid I would not sleep. Little did I know I went right out and sleep really good all night with the exception of some strange dream I could not recall the details of.  4:30 am is a time I know well now, as that is my normal Bootcamp time and I felt that I may need a few extra moments to calm my nerves or reflect on my journey.

When I woke up I actually wasn't too nervous, I had the quick thought of "It's raining, oh how fitting" then I felt a pang of sympathy for those that have only trained in excellent conditions. I knew I was ready for the elements of yesterday, it was rain, it wasn't cold rain it was just rain, it was wind, it wasn't close to hurricane winds, it was just a shirt tail breeze, it was a tiny bit of mud, it wasn't to your shins deep sand, it was a tiny bit of mud, it was a mulch hill, it wasn't Holy Hill, it was just a tiny mulch hill. Fix myself my normal running breakfast and took my time getting ready making sure that each thread of my attire was right in place. Out the door I ran to pick up my side kick, partner, friend, and sooooo much more, Amanda, she was just as ready as I was to get to this event.

We made our way to the Wal-Mart parking lot and met with the rest of our bootcamp family and laughed a few minutes and just shared time with each other before it was time to stretch and make our way to our corrals. It made the morning so much better to meet there and be with each other before the event. Matt and Jay spoke for a few minutes and we fell into formation and made our way to the start in a slow jog with Jay leading the way carrying our Bootcamp flag. Seventy - four of us. SEVENTY FOUR!! I am not sure what people thought when they saw us making our way in a pack like that, frankly I don't care what they thought, because I know how it felt in my heart and that was just a feeling of love and support and belonging.

When we got to the start arch, we were placed in our corrals, yes I felt a bit like cattle must feel, and I had the urge to moo but I didn't. There was a few minutes before it was time for my wave to go, as we slowly made our way to the start line, I was right where The General Matt Costa himself told me to be, in the front of my corral.  I glanced over and there he was, he said something, I don't really know what it was because there was so much going on and it was kinda loud, I figured it was something like "You are ready" or "You got this" or at least close.

Amanda was right beside me the entire time while we waited, I had made her PROMISE me that when it was our time to go that is exactly what she would do.. GO! I wanted Amanda to run her own race and me to run my own. It would not be fair to her for her to have held back and waited on me and it would not have been fair to me to have attempted to keep up with her at any given part. I have learned that while we train and are part of a team, we have to be able to hold our own and not have someone always dragging us along. While it is comfortable to have someone holding your hand each moment, you never know what YOU can do on your own.

Ok.. I know I said this was as play by play of the race itself but all those pre moments ARE part of the race.  The next thing I know I heard POP! The gun trigger was pulled and we were off.

The first mile was not so bad, it seemed like longer than a mile but it was ok, with in that first mile I did fall in with people and some of those people were still with me at the end, others BLEW by me and I passed some of them about half way (which I might add was really weird), I also realized that my pace put me firmly in with a group of interval runners. One of my new goals is NEVER to be hooked up with a group of interval runners again. While I would like to say I am strong enough to not allow others runs to effect mine that is just not the case yet.

I am going to be brutally honest here.. the second mile SUCKED!! During one of my training runs I took a short cut accidentally not knowing we were supposed to make a turn, I was now running on a road I had never run on. Running in new places throw me off. I think it is watching the surroundings or something I don't know. The good part is the second mile seemed to FLY BY and right after the end I saw Lindsey and Mr Meekins cheering and holding signs in the rain! That was my first bit of love on the journey and it was a real pick me up! As tribute I threw my socks at them. Ok not my REAL socks the socks I used as arm warmers, I was plenty warm by the time I got there.

I was really shocked at how fast Mile 3 was there.. There was water and gatorade, there I grabbed some water but it was just a swish of water didn't drink any I knew I was not ready or in the need of water yet. What was shocking to me was the lines to the porta pottys. Not that I needed one, I was just shocked that so many other people did.  I was incredibly thankful that I was NOT one of those people and I quickly then thought to myself DON'T THINK THAT or you will end up being one of THOSE people. Right after mile 3 I saw a girl on the side stretching what appeared to be her calves and she appeared in pain. It was just 7 shorts weeks ago that girl was me again I thought to myself don't think about it that was you, but I could empathize with her and the feeling she had of defeat at that moment when she had to stop running.

Next up I saw Kitty Hawk United Methodist church coming up , I looked and saw the Reverend Alan Swartz was standing there cheering us on, shouting words of encouragement and pirate Arrrgghhhs. I couldn't resist asking him why exactly he was out there and not in the church PRAYING! lol.

Before I could even think I was on Bay Drive and my friend Steve was passing me, yes he passed me which is ok cause I will just have to pass him on the next run. I was a bit confused as I wasn't sure how he ended up behind me but I found out after the race that is where he started. All of a sudden I am at mile 5 and the guy is shouting out our times it wasn't very good at all so I tried to pick up my pace a bit but my foot was having NONE of that. (those of you that don't know I ran this thing with a rather large nasty blister on the bottom of my foot, combined with the wet feet yesterday it just did not do very well.. as Daddy says I certainly have a time with my feet.) Mile 6 we had another water station I did drink some water at this point, I knew even though I didn't feel thirsty my body probably needed it.

Some how or another I totally missed the mile 7 sign, but between 6 and 8 on a strange leg of the race (only because we were running on the road and not on the running/ bike path) I saw the yellow signs coming up.. I thought to myself COULD IT BE??? and it was! How much a pick up seeing those numbers were right then I just can not explain with words.

Shortly after seeing the numbers I was running around the monument, not sure what one lady meant by "that was the hardest because of the up hill" I am still confused by that, but to me the monument was a welcome site, to me it meant the end of another leg of my run. I had broken the run down in my head, and I was already through part 1 and 2 now just 3 and 4! Part 3 was kinda short,  it was just from the monument to the woods but again I felt like I was running somewhere I was unsure and I have no idea why, but it felt like the longest mile so far.. but then I hit the woods!!!! YIPPIE HOME FREE!!!!

I love the woods run, rocks, hills, skeeters, noises and all, very shortly into the woods I saw a group of people cheering saying 3 MORE MILES.. ONLY 3 MORE MILES. WOOHOO! Because of the rain the woods road was a mess of mud and muck and I was slightly in heaven. I knew I had this, it was ok. The shear number of people who hit that woods and just plain gave up and stopped running was shocking to me. The number of athletic people that I passed walking up hills just had me in awe. There was a piece of me that felt badly for them, I can't imagine what it felt like having the "fat girl" pass them. As one little girl told her friend (a lady about my age) as the lady was saying "well I am happy to have the chance to finish this up with you", the young girl says "WELL I AM NOT.. I am not happy at all." The lady a bit thrown by the girls outburst says "but why.. i like you" the young girl responds "BECAUSE YOU ARE SLOW AND YOU CAUGHT ME" I couldn't help but giggle a bit to myself because I was thinking "Well I may be slow too but I am passing you."

Mile 11 was another treat, my friend Theresa was there shouting and cheering only two more miles! It was a welcome surprise to see her there, and I took the next mile in stride and just kept running. My body was rather tired at the point but I just kept telling myself Matt would be at the end and all I wanted to say to him was "I ran! I RAN THE WHOLE THING. I did not walk". I used that and the encouraging words of others to get me through those last couple of miles. I ran into a tiny bit of trouble at mile 12, I don't know what happened at all, maybe it was mental but I hit a wall. It was almost like I ran right into the sign, my whole body was just screaming stop! "NO NO NO.. you are a MILE AWAY FROM THE FINISH DO NOT STOP". So I didn't stop and I just kept running and shortly after rounding the corner from seeing that sign I was ok and knew I was going to finish this thing. (I am sure you are all hoping so too as this blog post is LONG!!!) 

It seemed like in only a few minutes I saw the yellow house, it was strange because last week I NEVER thought we would get to that house and this time all of a sudden it was right there in front of me. I never thought that little yellow house could looks so awesome, but I knew I was REALLY CLOSE to the finish then, just a few yards away we took a hard left turn and what felt like was STRAIGHT UP, but if it was straight up that is exactly what I was going to have to run and so I did.  This was another part of the run I was unfamiliar with but by this point the only thing I could concentrate on was getting past the people in front of me and running. What I knew was while I had not run this particular piece of the course, my legs were in fact strong enough to run it, even after just finishing 12 plus miles.

Right in front of me I see the 13 mile sign... I only have .1 of a mile left to run!!! The last portion of the race was a mulch hill straight up.. and straight down, I just let the momentum from that down hill take me straight in to the finish! I could hear people yelling and hollering and I probably heard Re a couple of times but honestly I am not sure. Apparently I tunnel vision when I see the finish, I ran in and was met with a SUDDEN stop by one of the metal holders (not anyone I knew), note to anyone who runs, do NOT suddenly stop, your head will start spinning, thankfully Nancy and Lori, who were there at the end as well, knew this and knew me well enough to keep asking if I was ok, even after I kept shaking my head yes cause I should have been shaking it no. Then I was suddenly surrounded by my friends and family so it made the whole 13.1 miles worth while.

A few things I learned along my 13.1 mile journey:
  • People running intervals are annoying to those of us trying to keep a pace who have not learned to tone you out yet. Nothing like having someone beside you say It's time to walk, when the only thing you are playing in your head is just keep running just keep running.
  • People wearing trash bags while running after 12 miles should be shot on site (ok kidding but it is a very annoying sound and really are you dry under there??)
  • People who scuff their feet from mile 1 to mile 3 may get me to scream at this PICK UP YOUR @#$##$#@ FEET. I didn't but I certainly wanted to. After mile 3 I don't know what happened to them I never heard the feet again. 
  •  Seeing and feeling love along the way of such a run is a HUGE pick me up. 
  • I can and did run 13.1 miles 
  • Mud is fun to run in
  • Having a family of runners, running an event with you can make you feel incredibly proud. 
  • do NOT suddenly stop at the end of running you will get light headed and will need someone to hand you a blue solo cup to make it better. 
  • About 15 minutes after you stop running you will feel like you can not take another step your body hurts that bad.. keep moving, I am positive if I had laid down then I would still be laying there stiff. 
  • I would not have been able to do this without the love and support from my friends, my family, and my bootcamp family!!! 
I apologize for the length of this post and I am sure I should have made it in three or four chunks but I wanted to get this down for you while it was fresh and for me so I can look back in 6 months and know I can add 13.1 more miles to this and will survive.

You read that right, next up Full Marathon on November 11th. 

Friday, April 20, 2012 Journey Part 1

Photo by Christine

While I have been so incredibly missing in the blogsphere, I have been really incredibly busy changing my life and embarking on a journey like no other.

I know most of you realize and understand that I moved to the Outer Banks to start over, to start fresh, to close one chapter and begin a new, and every other metaphor for just that in between. The thing is I didn't know what that meant or how to do it, even after 40 years of trying to every 4 years or so. Part of me said "Re, you are just running again", because that is what I do I run from things, people, or from place to place. I don't know why it is that way but once I stay in one spot too long I get antsy and itchy. (that is not what this post is about, please strike that stuff from the record)

So here I am sitting in the Outer Banks... starting, what am I starting, how am I starting WHY AM I STARTING.

It's all so very funny now looking back, because I started running. Literally.

Seven weeks ago this Sunday I joined a group of amazing (even if a little bit crazy) people for a Sunday "Fun Run". When I showed up that morning in the dark at 6:30 am, in the rain, IN THE COLD RAIN, something in me said "You have finally lost your mind completely, you HATE the rain and you can't run but a minute straight.. LOOK AT THESE PEOPLE in front of you, they are athletes.. quick run... errrhmmm DRIVE AWAY before they see you." The other part of me that has determination of steel and doesn't know how to give up, (at the time it was a very small part of me) pried each finger off the steering wheel one by one, and heaved my butt out of the seat (the seat with the warmer in it I might add) and out into the cold rain.

As I stood there, I was trembling, from the cold, from the rain, from FEAR, but I calmed myself quickly remembering that Matt "The General" Costa had said "Don't worry we will tailor this to suit your ability" because I had told him that I was ready for some running and a lot of walking. Matt gave the group simple instruction of run to the woods (I had no idea if the woods were 1/2 a mile or 10 miles away), the group just took off, so I did too... for about 100 yards. I started walking, and soon had Courtney beside me giving me encouragement telling me to just breathe, and run when I could. I did just that I would run, I would walk, I would run, I would walk, I did this for a mile and a half, at the turn around spot I told the girls that I had to stop and stretch a minute and we started back. I ran a bit and then walked... up ahead I saw Red, fear struck me as I heard "LESS TALKING MORE RUNNING" oh my... this couldn't be good.

I told myself just make it to him (it was the Rev. Jay Bowman standing at the corner) and I would take a break and walk. I did, I made it to the corner only to hear "SPRINT to the next corner!!!" WHAT WAIT!!! SPRINT WHAT DO YOU MEAN SPRINT??? What exactly is a sprint... then I heard GO GO GO .. sigh ok.. I will sprint to there THEN walk. SHEW made it there time to wal... Wait what is Jay Bowman doing beside me... why is he saying run... I need to walk.. oh heavens ok I will go a bit farther. Little did I know we were running all the way back, but the feeling that I had in me when I made it back that mile and a half and only walking one time was AMAZING!!!! I was so excited so ready to get in my car and call my Daddy (and maybe one other person) and tell him that I just almost ran a mile and a half with walking once but had definitely run a mile straight. Heck remember I got there and had only run a minute straight prior so this was a HUGE accomplishment in my head.
Photo after running the first day

Huddled back in the road near the park we stood and everyone clapped and cheered and as slowly ran my last few steps there. Matt stood there and spoke for a few minutes and introduced me to the group (it was light at this point) I remember him saying "This is Ann Marie, I have invited her to join in our Friday and Sunday runs a bit early, as she is signed up for two boot camps and is training to walk and run the half marathon, she doesn't know it yet but she is running it." WHAT?????? Oh my word.. I think I almost passed out right then and there. My brain was screaming at me... "the half is only 7 weeks away.. you can only run a minute straight... oh wait apparently a mile straight.. but that is THIRTEEN MILES and it is less than 2 months away! He has lost his mind." (I would never ever look at Mr Matt Costa and tell him that he had lost his mind to his face, I have too much respect for him and his training to do so, but at that moment that is EXACTLY what my brain was saying) Ok Re... slowly walk to your car... get in and think all this over.

I remember taking a step back from the crowd to turn to leave when I heard Matt say.. "Hey you, you ready for the next 3 miles??" Oh Heck... why not... I am this wet, and shocked, and scared, it won't do anything but kill me. Off we went again, it wasn't long until my legs just were not having it and they said walk again so I did... around the corner... OH NO there is Red standing there. Matt. My brain talked to me again... it said "Run you moron don't let him regret inviting you to join these runs, this is an amazing gift you have been given don't waste it." I did, I ran (or what I would probably call a ridiculous looking slow jog now ... not that it is much better now but it is better!) I ran to the turn around... I turned around and I ran to the end. When I made that phone call ... ok it was calls.. when I got back to my car it wasn't a mile I had run straight, it was I ran 2.5 with walking just once.

This was the first day of my journey, 7 weeks later on this Sunday I am running the Flying Pirate Half Marathon which is 13.1 miles. Did you see what I said? Running.

During the last seven weeks I have been given training and support from the most amazing group of people I have ever encountered in my life. The trainers, Matt Costa, Jay Bowman, Christine McMaster Da Mosta, and Adam Swansen are each truly wonderful, there are no words to thank them enough for the effort they have put into ME not to mention the other 70 plus people that have trained together for this event. The fact they believed in me when I didn't even believe in myself pulled me through more than one morning.

Yesterday was our last training prior to the event on Sunday, I had to miss due to a blister I am babying until Sunday. I was asked to be there at the end, figuring I would hear the last speech of tips prior to the event I would not have missed it. In the rain yesterday I stood in the exact place I started 7 weeks ago, waiting on my team mates to return from their run, I wasn't scared standing there yesterday, I was sad I wasn't running with them, and excited to see them come around the corner. As we gathered together once again in a huddle, Matt stated that we were ready for the event on Sunday and that he wasn't going to keep us long, but he had some people he wanted to acknowledge. Black wristbands were given to those that had completed their first bootcamp, and Matt held in his hand 4 Outer Banks Bootcamps dog tags, in my mind they are tags of honor, that should only be worn with pride, they have our numbers imprinted on them

Matt started explaining the meaning of giving the tags and handed one to Bryce our amazing 13 year old who has been such an inspiration to us all, Joy who is just an amazing amazing lady who is incredibly supportive of all who have the pleasure to encounter her, Amy who has pushed through an injury and runs each time in pain but never fails to finish, and one to me, for coming so far so fast. Not once did I think I deserved such an honor, but I have learned not to question those in charge when they say things like... "She doesn't know it but she is going to run it."

I keep laughing at myself... from 1 minute to 13 miles in 7 short weeks!!!


There are 70 plus people I owe thanks but special love and thanks needs to go to all the trainers (Matt, Jay, Adam, Christine, Chris), Amanda, Lyndsey, Brandi, Amy, Daddy, Ed, Missy, Steve, Mike, Mark, Julie ... ok I am going to end up listing 70 people here anyway! You all know who you are and I love each and every one of you for believing in me!