Twenty Six Point Two

run, rest, eat, bitch, buy things, cross-train, blog, repeat.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Movie Review: The Barkley Marathons

The Barkley Marathons: The Race That Eats Its Young

As a runner in Tennessee, I can't exactly pinpoint when I first heard about Barkley. It's just one of those things that YOU know about. Or, you at least pretend that you know about it. You'll hear it brought up in conversation and nod along and because... it's Barkley, dude and you're a runner. DUH. So, throughout the years, I've learned bits and pieces here and there. Then I started dating The KoB who is (among many other things) my ultra running Sensai and I have asked him a zillion questions about it and hopefully I am not divulging a ginormous secret, but The KoB's awesome Brother (KoBB perhaps?) hopes to attempt Barkley one of these days and might have even figured out the application process and might have even applied. MAYBE.

He will also hop out of your boat and grab your lure that you
got stuck on a log in the river.
While holding a beer.
I suspect that will not come in handy at Barkley,
but, helpful nonetheless. 

In my mind, Barkley is like this mythical race. The unicorn of races, if you will. The application process is a huge fucking secret, so the chances of you even being able to APPLY is probably less than your chances of seeing a unicorn and then, if you do find out how to apply, the chances of you actually getting in are like being able to actually ride that unicorn and then if you are lucky to even finish 3 laps of the 5 lap course (finishing 3 laps of the course is considered a "fun run" and respectable), well... that's like being in a meadow filled with unicorns with rainbows coming out of their asses.
Or cats with horns. Whatever.

But, as with anything mythical, there is that element of allure. Everyone wants to know about it and talk about it. So, when my friend Carolyn texted me Wednesday morning asking if I could skip work that afternoon and get to the Nashville Film Festival to catch the last showing of this documentary. I was like HELL YES.

I actually kind of almost wished I didn't know ANYTHING about The Barkley Marathons or Gary Cantrell aka Lazarus Lake (the Race Director), because I think it would have made the documentary even more entertaining. 

But, in case you aren't hip to the Barkley, let me give you a brief Amypedia of it:

It's a race that is referred to as a 100 mile race. 
In actuality, it's about 130 miles.
It's ridiculously rough terrain.
The course is not marked, so you are just given a map (THAT YOU HAVE TO MARK YOUR DAMN SELF FROM A MASTER MAP) and a compass.
Only 15 people have finished the race since it started in 1986.
No woman has ever gone further than 66 miles.

So. Yeah.

This is part of the "course."
That is also JARED CAMPBELL.
Ultrarunner Royalty.

The documentary is great!
Okay, you want more than that... well, it displays the quirky, but lovable side of Laz. It starts out with a lot of interviews with him and his past. It's interesting to hear his perspective on those that attempt the race. He talks about how a lot of people who are supremely successful in their careers and life are drawn to this race, because there is a HUGE chance of failure. Which must be why I have zero interest in attempting the race.


And then the movie follows the race and certain runners in particular. You get to hear their stories of why they are there, what they are hoping for. And the year that the documentary focuses on, happens to be like the BEST year ever of the Barkley. There is more than one finisher and an amazing course record gets set (that still stands today). I knew about the course record that year and I remembered that Jared Campbell finished it the first year he ran it, so, I knew there were two finishers and I just assumed that was it. So, when they kept interviewing this guy John (a Barkley Virgin) throughout the documentary... I was like... "bless his little heart. he thinks he can finish."

And he kept completing loop after loop and then it became clear that he was going to finish the race, but then... I was like... OH SHIT, HE'S NOT GOING TO MAKE THE TIME CUT-OFF. HE'S GOING TO FINISH THIS DAMN THING AND BE TOO LATE AND NOT GET AN OFFICIAL TIME. I could feel the tears welling up as he ran down to the finish...

And... well... you're going to have to watch the documentary to find out what happened. Or, I guess look it up online to see if he finished in time.

The documentary was fun, and interesting, and well shot. I can't recommend it enough. And since it was apart of the Nashville Film Festival, most of the people in the audience, weren't runners. Most of them looked to be retirees, honestly. And they were still cracking up and enjoying it. 

After the movie, Laz popped out of the audience and he and one of the filmmakers did a Q&A. In which, Laz, seriously made a comment about how he didn't think a woman would ever finish the race.

But, instead of getting mad, the only thing to do is to prove him wrong. So, all you BADASS ULTRARUNNING WOMEN none of whom read this blog, but whatev PROVE HIM WRONG!!!!! We are built to host another human being inside us and bring them into the world... we can finish the Barkley Marathons. Right? 

There is always that fear when watching a documentary that I will want to do whatever it is that's in the documentary. I am happy to report that after watching this documentary, my desire to attempt to try to apply for this race is even LESS than it was before. There is no fucking way.  I hope to go and camp and spectate one day... hopefully, I'll be able to spectate for someone near and dear to my heart. HINT HINT NUDGE NUDGE UNIVERSE.

I do however, hope to run one of Laz's other races one of these days... The Last Annual Vol State 500k

Anyway, if this doc comes to your town or once it's released to the public, you have GOT to see it. They did right by the race, for sure.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Back to basics.

So, my work travel is done till July. Tax Season is officially over. It's time to finally start thinking about running/training again. For the past few months, it's all I could think about. Running fell by the wayside for these last few weeks, and I am really anxious to get back into it.

 My speed and agility at this point.
Excited to get back to regimented training and weekly speed workouts? Not yet, I don't think. But, ready to just get back to a place where a 12 mile long run doesn't feel like death.
All of my runs these days.

First and foremost, I want to get my endurance back. I've got a plan that includes running the 11.2 every weekend (that I'm in town, at least) starting in May. And not just to lollygag, but to try to continually improve on it, week-to-week. It's hilly, and I just feel like I could gain a lot of fitness from tackling that beast every week.

Here is what my Future Long Term Race Plans look like:

Sept 20: Fox Valley Marathon in Illinois. This is not a PR attempt race. This is a "Keep me honest through the summer" race.

Late November: Monkey Marathon. At this point in the game, I'm saying that I'd like to break 4 hours there. But, this could turn into just wanting to course PR there. (which shouldn't be too hard, my PR there is like a 4:39).

December: Bellringer 50K. I ran the 25K last year and feel like it would be a good course for a 50K.

January 2016: Bandera 50K. I hear it's a great course and a chance to cross Texas off my list.

March 2016: Land Between the Lakes 50 mile. FINALLY want to get around to trying the 50 mile distance.

And of course, there will be other smaller races sprinkled in. And any opportunity that I get to cross off a state, I will take.

So, there it is. The schedule I've been daydreaming about for 3 months. It's a lot and I think we all know at this point to take it with a grain of salt. I'm the Queen of Planning as well as the Queen of Bailing. Soooooo... We will see what happens. But, I really, really, really hope I can get my shit together long enough to follow through on all these races.

Monday, April 20, 2015

The Good Things in Life

The only good thing about sadness and stress is that it really makes you appreciate the good things in life.

My Brother got married in Gulf Shores, Alabama on Saturday. 

It was small, intimate, rainy, and just perfect.

My dad accidentally hit the shower faucet instead of the foot faucet after the ceremony.

Every photo of me I'm either like: WTF or flipping the picture taker a bird.

The KoB was rocking some kind of beach gang sign with his pants.

And also double fisting the booze. Classy.

And at the end of the night there was a group "family shot" of the family booze (Famous Grouse, if you're wondering). Which, I sneakily was able to get out of as the Designated Driver. That stuff is... STRONG.

During the day of the wedding, The KoB and I enjoyed an hour or so riding go-karts and spending $30 at the arcade playing skeeball and basketball.

Even the 8 hour ride down and back was enjoyable. All-in-all it was a great trip and a great celebration. I've never seen my brother so happy, which was the best part of all.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Regularly scheduled posting will resume shortly...

April 15th has come and gone.

I spent Saturday-Wednesday morning in Arizona for work.

My set up while I was there.
Yup, that's a folding chair.
When I was working my laptop was actually higher than normal,
so my shoulders were killing me after about 10 minutes of typing.
I spent one 15 hour and two 13 hour days right there.

 The drive into the "office."

The view out the window of the office.

The last day I was there, one of the 
office workers brought in her puppy.
So, that was a definite morale booster.

The trip was fine and while it included very long hours in a folding chair, the work was easy. It was really hard being away from my office the week of April 15th. I had to catch a 6:15am flight out of Phoenix on Wednesday morning just to be able to get back here in time to wrap up extensions and last minute filings.

I'm pretty exhausted. And normally, April 16th, our office is closed, but I have to work to catch up from being gone. Blarg.

In other happenings... My knee was feeling much, much better until I drove for an hour on Tuesday night. Something about the position of sitting while driving really jacks it up. So, I don't know. I did manage to jog a few miles on the treadmill one morning while I was away and it felt OK. Not great, but OK.  

Aside from work, I've had kind of a rough go of things lately. I mean, in the grand scheme of things, I can't really complain too much... but emotionally I am a mess. In the past couple of weeks, I've had a tragic experience with a stray dog on the side of the road (I didn't think quick enough to stop immediately, so, I had to go to the next exit to turn around and loop back, and I didn't make it time. Heartbreaking. I still can't even really think about it).

And late last Thursday, my phone started blowing up with texts/calls from my best friends from college. One of our friends and brothers (we were all in an honor fraternity and guys and girls referred to each other as brothers. weird, I know) committed suicide. And while, I haven't seen him since I graduated college almost 13 years ago, it still hurts and breaks my heart. Taking your own life because you feel like that's the only chance you have to be at peace, is the most tragic thing I can think of. I'm so sad that he was in that place.

I'm sad and tired and stressed and I just really need something happy and good right now.

And lucky for me, there is something on the agenda.......My brother is getting married this weekend!!! So, that is exciting. It's the first wedding in my immediate family, so, it's a pretty big deal. And weddings are always such a happy occasion, I'm excited to get to celebrate it. And even though they've been together something like 10-12 years, this whole thing does make me feel like I'm officially gaining a sister, which is nice. I always wanted a sister. 

I'm ready for this dark cloud of sadness to get booted away and I am sure that a weekend surrounded by love and family is just the ticket.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Happy Friday!


Some Updates:

My knee is still fucked up (from falling last week). Not like, I need a wheelchair fucked up... but, fucked up enough that stairs and hills and running fast (relatively speaking) still hurts like a bitch. 

I ran a race last Saturday, which was DUMB DUMB DUMB. My knee killed me and I should have turned around at the one mile mark. But, instead, I pushed through the pain (sodumb, so very very dumb) and finished. I can't say that my knee really slowed me down all that much, honestly, I probably ran faster, cause I was trying to get done with the damn thing so that the pain would stop.

If I could avoid stairs for like 2 days, I swear, it would better. Hopefully I can make that happen soon.

Still plugging along at work. The next week is going to be pretty hellacious for me. But... the good news is that time goes by fast when you are busy, right? RIGHT.

Have a great weekend guys and I am looking forward to Tax Season being over and having more time to dick around on the internet and blog!!!!

Monday, April 6, 2015

March- Vain Amy Report

So, March.

Yeah, well, let's start with the good news. The good news is I didn't GAIN any weight. Which, seems like a victory, since it was my lowest running month in... probably years? (I'm too lazy to look this up) and I wasn't diligently counting calories like I should have been.

When I stepped on the scale at the end of the month, I was actually pretty thrilled that it was unchanged. So... Victory!?

As far as my reading goes, I didn't finish a book in March (womp, womp), BUT, I am in the middle of like 4, so, I'm hoping for a big April book/page total.

And videos... apparently, I made a video in South Carolina when I was drunk that night, but I don't remember doing that and I am also too afraid to watch it (is there anything worse than hearing/seeing your drunk self on video???), so... I'm counting that as a fail, as well.

I have been doing well with my skincare regime, though, and I feel like my skin is looking better all the time! So... Yay?

March is always one of those months where I find myself saying... Ohh... I'll start doing that after April 15th. And it sucks, because I'm one of those people that is always trying to start a new something... habit, hobby, training schedule, etc. So, I feel like my life is on hold for Feb-April. And, I kind of feel guilty even blaming tax season this year, because, if I'm being honest (I'm about to jinx the shit out of myself right now). Tax Season for me this year has been.... pretty mild. I mean, I've been SUPER productive when I'm at work, and most days, I'm working at least 10 hours a day. BUT, I haven't had many late nights or worked much at all on the weekends. I think I've finally learned how to juggle multiple projects and how/when to do my work the most efficiently.

That being said, I have high expectations for April (even though it does involve 2 weeks of tax season and some travel). I bought a new yoga dvd and a dvd that involves using a treadmill and weights. I plan on doing the yoga 5 times a week (it has a 15 minute option) and the other dvd hopefully at least once a week (its only 30 minutes) and I'm hoping to be able to up my running a bit. And I am going to crack down on my eating and start counting calories again. (There are a lot of "ands" in that paragraph).

The ship hasn't gone completely off course, but it's time to route it back to center.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Limping Trainwreck


You ever have one of those days/weeks/months where it seems like the universe is just dumping its shit all over you?

That's me this week. It started Saturday evening when while cutting grape tomatoes with a new (read: SHARP AS FUCK) knife and I almost cut the tip of my finger off. 

Public Service Announcement: When your girlfriend has almost cut the tip of her finger off, the most appropriate response is probably not: "Fuck! that's a lot of blood!!"

Then last night, I was steaming some cauliflower, and so, even though I'm 35 and have the money to buy a pot with a matching lid, I'm still rocking a hand me down pot that lost it's lid about 25 years ago. Because, I'm classy, I usually just put a plate over it when I'm steaming something.. Well, I started to pick the plate up, (with a potholder, I'm not an idiot) and the steam burnt the shit out of my thumb. (ok, so, maybe I'm a little bit of an idiot).

ok, so, of course the picture doesn't look all that bad.
But, it's red, swollen, and there's a little white blister
forming to the left of the knuckle.
Also. ew. Hands/fingers gross me out.

And that little fucker hurt like a bitch all night. Still hurts a little, but unfortunately, that pain has been replaced by the fuck-up I had this morning.
So, this morning, I'm walking my dog and there is an empty lot next to my building with some rough and janky concrete. Well, somehow I tripped over a piece of janky concrete and fell really hard straight down on both of my kneecaps. Now, as you know, I fall a lot. This is not a big deal. But, I could barely get up. My left knee was extremely fucked. Finally, fueled by ego and the fear that someone would see me face down on the concrete, I managed to pop back up and try to limp/scurry away. I managed to limp-walk my dog for about a half hour, before the god awful pain just got the best of me. 

 Again, the picture doesn't really do it justice.
Asshole cameraphone.
And never mind the blood, the flesh wounds are no big deal.
What is a big deal is the the right side of my left kneecap is swollen.

And the pain. OMG the pain! I am usually pretty good with dealing with pain. But this is pretty fucking terrible. It hurts when I walk, it hurts when try to bend it, it hurts when I try to straighten it. THE BONE HURTS. When I got to work, I have to go down a flight of stairs to get out of the garage, up a mini flight to get in the building, and then up another flight of stairs to get to my office. I had tears in my eyes from the pain. 

Hopefully, the "bad things happen in 3s" thing is true and I'm now done with all my physical accidents. I feel like I should just stay in bed with pillows all around me. I cannot be trusted with my own safety.

I hope your week is going better...