Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Adventures in Neighbors and Marathons.

A couple things I want to get out of the way before the main post that has absolutely nothing to do with running.  Or really anything.  So sorry if you're bored to tears. 

1) By a couple twists of fate (mainly being able to get a random bib and having easy access to Sacramento), I'm running CIM.  So is 50% of the rest of the running blogger community!  I don't know if I'm excited or not, but it's happening ready or not.  After CIM, I want to focus on either the 5k or the half.  Time to try to PR in shorter stuff.  If possible.  If you're up at CIM let me know so we can say hi or look for each other!


 2) Compex has a 20% off code for their machines.  I know these things aren't cheap, if I do think it's pretty sweet if you're in the market.
Code = TU20

3) It's past Thanksgiving, but I wanted to say thank you for reading my blog.  It's very fun to be able to have a voice and even better to be able to meet people through the blog.  I know there are a billion other blogs to read and you are busy.  So thank you.  

Main Post

I live in an apartment complex that is poorly constructed.  It's probably about the same quality as 90% of the thin-walled, made-for-10-years-of-use apartments throughout west LA.

Which means I can hear almost every move my neighbors make.   And they can probably hear me too.  This was fine until about a month ago.  A song here, an explosion from a movie there, what sounds like a giant dog running around the floor...sure, why not.    Comes with living in an apartment, right?

But about a month ago, something changed.  "Never-sleeping-dudebro" moved into the complex.   I don't really know about the comings and goings of my neighbors but this guy has made his presence known morning, noon, and night.  I feel like I know him better than I should based on his blasted musical selections of Sublime, Third Eye Blind, and The Foo Fighters.

AT 7 AM!!!

It's like he's partying like it's 1997 and there's no stopping him.

"Bump.  Bum. Bum."  is pretty much what I hear when getting ready for work, making dinner, and getting ready for bed.

 A few days ago, I decided I'd had it.  I asked Anthony about it and he gave the typical chill dude response of "Eh.  I usually don't say anything because then if I'm loud they won't say anything about me."


"If it really bothers you just go ask him to turn it down."

Too easy.  So I did nothing.  Then I fumed a few more days and got up the courage to knock on the wall we share.  No dice - same noise.

Yesterday night I finally got the courage to walk down the hall and ask dudebroneversleeps to turn down his speakers.   I knocked on the door next to me, and after a couple minutes a confused looking old guy answered the door and said "May I help you?".

There was no music.  Clearly this wasn't the right apartment.  I explained that I hear loud music 12 hours a day every day and that I had thought it was him.

"Yeah I hear that too!  I've filed a couple complaints and nothing!  I think it's the guy above us."

Now I was on a mission.  I thanked the old dude and ran up the stairs.  I could hear music blasting from this apartment.  I had found my culprit.

All of a sudden I got scared.  What if this guy is a serial killer and he plays loud music to lure people to his apartment to kill them?  After all, what kind of weirdo needs 120 decibels at all times and doesn't respond to complaints?  Visions of a Dexter-like episode went through my head and I stepped away from the door.

"Well at least that old guy from downstairs knows I'm here if I get killed.  They'll track this guy down in a minute if I go missing", I thought.  

I knocked on the door.  ....A dog growled and the music turned off.  My life flashed before my eyes.

"Shit he's got a giant monster dog too!",  I thought.  "Maybe first the dog attacks and then he does!". 

And then...a small, 23 year old, Mark Zuckerberg look-alike type dude holding a cute 10 pound dog opened the door.  There was a giant lit Christmas tree in the background.  Not what I was expecting at all!

"Hi?  Uh I'm Margot.   I live downstairs.  Uh...your music is a little loud.  Would you mind not playing it early in the morning or late at night?"

He looked embarrassed.  "Yeah definitely!  I had no idea people could hear it.   Sorry about that!".

Wow.  Too easy.  

I said thank you and goodnight and went back to my apartment.   It was blissfully quiet.  I sat back down on the couch and put up my feet.   And contemplated how I made that much harder than it needed to be.  Maybe it's just tough to talk to strangers, even if they are my neighbors.  But it worked out ok.  I guess I should meet the rest of my neighbors too.  You never know when you'll need a cup of sugar, right?

This place is gonna be all hella Mayberry.

Well maybe not, but at least it might be quieter.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Ragnar Las Vegas Recap

So....I ran the Ragnar Las Vegas Ultra last week with some friends.  And it's about time to recap it. 

I'm going to focus the most on my legs, because these girls (linked below) have already written awesome (or are in the process of writing) recaps of their own. 

Presenting Undecided 2: 
Emily - Sweat Once A Day
Sarah - Skinny Runner (Although sometimes I forget her name isn't just SR!)
Sarah - Once Upon A Lime
Kristina - The Blogless Wonder
Lauren - Health on the Run

The experience was awesome, beautiful and painful all at once.    And I cannot freaking wait to do another.   

I'm gonna have to face it I'm addicted to relays.

(Disclaimer.  All these photos are stolen from my much more diligent teammates photo dump.  You make me want to be a better blogger, y'all!  Thanks!)

The whole thing started with a long drive up to Vegas.  If you've seen my car, you know it's a small miracle it even made it.  By hour three into the drive, I was saved by caffeine in the form of a giant bottle of Mocha Frappuccino from the local truck stop.  I usually try to avoid those things because they are like 300 calories for three gulps, but I figured, F it, I'm running 31 miles tomorrow I think it'll be just fine.

I picked up Em at the airport and after making about 5 wrong turns, I finally got us to the hotel where the girls were staying and we fell asleep in 5 minutes flat.  The next day, we got the van, decorated it with some #undecided2 hashtags and went on our way.  

 Who knew the start was at a ski resort?  Also who knew there was actually snow in Las Vegas?

Not I, friends.

After a safety meeting and a massive amount of peanut butter consumption, we were off!  Emily was our number 1 leg and dude that girl killed her leg.

In fact, she went so fast (something like 12 minutes at a 6 flat pace?), I was totally counting on more time before my first leg (I was #2 runner).

 But before I knew it, Emily came charging down the hill and it was go time.  It is hard to imagine faster or better conditions than the ones I experienced in the first half of my leg.  It was ridiculously downhill (1800ft drop or so?), cool weather, and I am positive there was a tailwind as well.

Which is why I had a nice fake 10k PR during that time.  Looking down at my Garmin, mile after mile clicked off like it was an easy run in the 6:30 - 6:40 range.  I kept thinking "This is what Kara Goucher must feel like ALL the time!". 

The only problem was the peanut butter sloshing around in my stomach, so I also spent the first part of my leg deathly afraid I would get a terrible cramp.

"Breathe deep...stand up straight...arms over your head...".  Uh yeah.

I came to the first exchange and I felt amazing.  And then I was in for a rude awakening.  I turned onto a highway into a crazy headwind and saw my awesome Garmin stats go to nearly an 8 minute pace for the second half.  It was so barren, and there were no runners around.  I entertained myself by counting these white posts that lined the highway.  There are about 13.5 to each mile, if you were wondering.  Just when I was about to throw myself into the path of a charging buffalo, I saw the "one mile left" marker and handed off to the unstoppable SR.

She took off into the wind and went off to kill her miles as I jumped into the van and tried to get out of my sweaty cold clothes as quickly as possible.  

I think I finished this 11.2 mile leg in around a 7:20 average. 

Leg 2

After my first leg, I pretty much felt like crap.  The wind had taken a lot out of me, and I spent the next couple hours either huddled in the van, or about to pass out at a Subway from a lack of sugar  (or something?  I felt much better after drinking some Sierra Mist).   SR and SarahOual came in from their challenging but tough legs, and Emily was up again much sooner than I wanted her to be.

I was pretty worried about how the rest of the legs would go given how much the first leg had taken out of me.

Luckily I had these wonderful people to cheer me up and remind me that all I needed to do is just run my own race. 

So for the 11.6 or so miles coming up, I decided I would just try to relax.  It was around 11 PM or so when poor Emily came up to the handoff.  She'd climbed a billion feet up so that I could have a nice and flat leg.  Thanks for that, Emily!

As I ran off, it took me almost a mile to even get loose.  The stiffness from the last leg coupled with the cold made it hard to run at first.   The miles ticked by quickly, and I felt really peaceful.   There were a bunch of "wild donkey" crossing signs which were really awesome.    It even started to snow a little bit!  I thought "Man.  How lucky am I to be running in the middle of Nevada in the middle of the night with snow coming down?"   Soon enough, it was time to hand off, and I saw SR in the distance.  "You're gonna love this leg" I yelled and handed off to her as she took off into the night.

I think night legs are my favourite of relay legs.  I know this is not everyone's dream weekend night, but for me, it was.   Of course, I went super slow (for my expectations).   I think my average pace for this 11.5 or so leg was somewhere around 8:20 to 8:30. Don't call all at once, Olympics.

 Leg 3

The next hours after my leg are kind of a blur.  I Compexed twice, changed, and tried to get a few minutes of sleep.  Brian and Lee our saintly drivers listened to a lot of Barenaked Ladies and Tom Petty.

I was lucky in my legs in that the timing was great.  Leg three wasn't supposed to go until around 8 AM which gave me the luxury of not having to run in the middle of the night like this girl and this girl and this girl.

I was also oddly not hungry at all throughout so I was drinking a lot of sugary drinks just to get calories and liquid.  My dentist will thank me later, I'm sure.

Lauren finished up our second rotation as the sun came up, and it was time for all of us to start our third legs.  I was nervous, but relieved that I only had 8 miles to go.  Emily took off for her last leg, and I got ready like Desi.

By around 9 AM or so, it was my turn again.  I took off and couldn't get much faster than an 8:30 pace or so....DOWNHILL.  Crazy.    My legs were gone and it hurt to move them.

I told myself to focus and that the first exchange was only 3.5 miles in.  That's like nothing right?  I also was blasting Macklemore (one of his songs about battling drug addiction-I forget the title) and kept thinking "Dude however much you're hurting right now right now, it's nothing compared to what he had to go through."   I'm not an overly dramatic runner at all...

I got to the 3.5 mile mark and the exchange was nowhere in sight.  In my super tired state I started to semi-panic.  I finally saw the exchange point a mile further.  As I passed my cheering teammates I yelled something crazy like "THIS NEXT EXCHANGE BETTER NOT BE A MILE TOO LONG!"

(Turns out, I got the exchanges distances totally wrong.  Blame the lack of sleep please?)

 I felt demoralized and kept thinking things like "What if the next exchange is a mile long too?"  And then I'd think "Screw you, Margot, if it's a mile long you'll run that extra mile and you'll learn to like it".

I turned onto a bike path and tried to push through the final couple miles.  What felt like a 7 minute pace was more like a 9:30.  I saw the final exchange and my teammates and did one last handoff to SR.   And she took off and killed it like the iron-legged girl she is. 

Then I proceeded to not be able to walk normally for the rest of the day.    I have no idea what my pace was for this leg and that's probably a good thing. 

Afterward and Thoughts

SarahOual, Kristina, and Lauren finished up really well.  I want to give them an extra shoutout.  Sarah ran uphill for pretty much ALL of her legs, Kristina had a 17 mile third leg (good lord), and Lauren was the perfect anchor.  Going last is tough in any relay and in an ultra I think it's even harder.  And she still killed it.  Actually...she ran so well, we totally missed her finish.

Sorry Lauren.  Although...I'm kind of glad that if we were going to miss an exchange, at least you don't lose any time if you miss the last one!


25:58 (7:53 overall pace).  
1st Ultra.  1st Women's team.  10th Overall.

Final Thoughts:

A major thank you to ProCompression and Compex as well as our drivers Brian and Lee.

Also a thank you to the other girls who had way harder legs than I did.  There is a major difference between going uphill and going downhill, and I appreciate that.   This relay was tough for me, but I didn't find myself questioning my sanity or swearing to never do a relay again, so it's safe to say, I had things pretty easy.   

And a thank you to the Nevada landscape.  It is much more rugged and much more beautiful than I imagined. 

To all of you - In the wise words of Miley Cyrus:  "I can't wait to see you again." 

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Ragnar Vegas Baby (teaser style)

WE DID IT!!!! 

Sorry for the corny picture text ;-).  As you may know, our team is hilariously named Undecided2 since we forgot to pick a name in time.

Ragnar Las Vegas.  1st place women's division, 2nd place ultra (although we are thinking maybe were really first??), 11th place overall, and 1st place in having the most fun and awesome team ever.  D'awwww. 

Our time was 25:58.07.  Major props to our speedy anchor Lauren for getting us through under 26 hours! 

This last weekend, I have become even more convinced at how fun ultra relays are.   The race recap is coming soon, but here are a couple thoughts. 

1) It's crazy how much my body breaks down during an ultra relay.  By the end of my third leg, I was struggling to pull a 9:00 pace.  The pictures below are from exchange 1 of Sarah and me playing around practising handoffs (left) and exchange for leg 3 just trying to stand up and not die. 

(Do you like my Brooks-Hanson's jersey? I'm pretty sure it made me much faster)

2)  You can't do it alone.   Well maybe you can, but I can't.  We had the help of two absolutely SAINTLY drivers, Lee and Brian and of two sponsors, ProCompression and Compex.  

I probably electrostimed my legs about 5 times in the van over the course of the relay.   And Brian, Oual's husband has now driven our van TWICE (he was our driver for So. Cal Ultra as well!).  Wow.  If that isn't love, I don't know what is.

3)  Loving my team.

I am so lucky to have been able to run with such great girls.  I was especially happy to get to know Lauren better since I'd only met her briefly in the past.  And now that I'm in LA, I miss my OC and OC adoptee (ahem, Emily) friends more than ever. 

And I'm even more lucky that my teammates allowed me to steal their pictures for this post.  

More to come soon....

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Mizuno Contest Winners!

Hi all and happy Saturday night.  I am having a wild one sitting here blogging.

I have finally sorted through all the entries and can announce the winners of the Mizuno Mezamashii project.  The ten winners are listed below.   Sorry it took me so long.   Many of the comments never showed up in post, but they went through the blogger interface.

Please contact me within a week at (thefasterbunny@gmail.com) if you won!  Congrats and I wish there were even more contest winners :).

1) Lynn - "Must meet marvelous Mizunos!!!!" (http://www.blogger.com/profile/05666513572770081284)

2) Managing Meagan - "I tweeted you and @mizunorunning!" (of http://managing-meagan.blogspot.com/)

3) Jen - "Would love to win a pair of Mizunos!!!" (of http://hellofitnesswemeetagain.blogspot.com/)

4) The Skipping Pixie - "GAHHHHHH!  I must WIN! ;)" (http://theskippingpixie.blogspot.com/)

5) Leslie - "I'd love to win" - Posted October 22, 2012 9:34 AM 

6) Christina - "I'm loving fall running because it's not nearly as humid in Florida! Next week, I will be loving Tennessee fall running where I'll see the beautiful leaves! Oh happy fall! "  (of http://chrisylouwho.blogspot.com/)

7) Stephanie - "The best thing about running in the fall is the running capris!  I run so much faster in compression capris / tights than I do in shorts and running skirts.  Don't ask me to explain it."  (blogger profile http://www.blogger.com/profile/01004054447961768113)

8) themcdowells - "I figure the odds are that one of these days I will HAVE to win one of these things! " (http://mcdowellboys.blogspot.com/)

9) Hilary @ Peanut Butter Spoonfuls - "OMG me me me! I will promise to give them a wonderful home full of Mizuno big brothers! " (of http://www.peanutbutterspoonfuls.com/)

10) MargieD - "Dying to get my feet in some wave riders or precisions! "