Aw, Internets, I can't believe how forgiving you are. I mean when I was typing that last post, I had no idea where it was going to go and when I spent the good first half only talking about my digestive issues I really did think, "oh dear lord, they aren't gonna like this." But when I gushed about Mr. McMichael, you turned into a pile of lovestruck goo and forgot all about my previous references--there's a joke in there somewhere about piles of goo, but this is NOT going to be another post about poop! However, I can make it a post extolling the greatness that is Mr. McMichael. Sort of.
Ah, Mr. McMichael: an excellent cartographer, puddle jumper, corn maze solver, and boy howdy can the man scream. He sure is great, except when he leaves me behind to fend for myself against the psycho butcher with a bloody meat cleaver.
I love fall. Love the crisp weather, love the vibrant Pacific Northwest colors, love the cozy sweaters, the warm drinks, and comfort food galore. And I love that it's haunted house season, and I really love that Mr. McMichael is totally game for a good, cheesy, manufactured scare.
Last night he and I trekked outside the city to a local corn farm turned massive corn maze and haunted field.
Note to self: Even though you know the man with the chainsaw is going to chase you out of your haunted experience, and even though you're expecting it and you know it's not scary, it will still always scare the pants right off of you and cause you to trample a group of high school kids to get the hell out of that demon's way.
I will pay good money for people to scare the crap out of me. And sure, I know all the gimmicks, but there's something about getting myself lost in that environment that causes my adrenaline to go into hyper-flight, thus making all the pedestrian things that a logical person would expect (oh, of course someone is hiding behind that wall and is going to jump out at me) to cause me to let go of the hand I'm holding and run straight into a wall, oh and pee a little.
It's not Mr. McMichael's fault that I narrowly escaped peril at the hands of a demented butcher, he was just trying to run us to safety, but somehow I became disconnected from him (which is hard to imagine as we had been clinging to each other the entire time through that fright fest). Somehow he made it through a wall of curtains, and I was just a few inches too far to the right. So he's gone, and I've literally hit the wall and am screaughing (simultaneously screaming and laughing) as a man--who I know is a hired actor making minimum wage for his effort, but is nonetheless FREAKING ME OUT--is bearing down on me. All I could think was, "you can't touch me, you can't touch me, you can't touch me," and may have even blurted that out at him in the event he forgot the number one rule in his employee handbook. I manage to stumble through the curtains and proceed to scale Mr. McMichael's back as we high-tail it out of there. Through my laughter, I manage to let him, and everyone else around us, know that indeed I did just pee a little bit, and oh yeah, that butcher dude is STILL FOLLOWING US!
We got to the final segment and the man with the chainsaw, who we knew was there, popped out and chased us. And yes, we both screamed like little girls, and I think Mr. McMichael even pranced a little bit as we ran as fast as we could. Chainsaw dude was relentless, he kept following us and was chasing us toward the parking lot until I pulled Mr. McMichael to a grinding halt and buried my head in his back, because if I can't see the chainsaw dude, then he certainly can't see me, right? You'll all be happy to know that my tactic worked and we were spared chainsaw massacre, or maybe he had to go back for the little 12-year-old girls (actual little girls that have every right to scream in the pitch and tone Mr. M and I eked out) we passed in one of the early scenes of monster gore and zombie carnage.
Oh, Internets, it's been a week, and I've not meant to be away this long. I have a lot of posts brewing in my head, but ever since I got back from the race last weekend, I've been hard at work. I think I may be allergic to it as evidenced by the oh-so-nice pubescent breakout I have invading my highly sensitive T-zone.
But let's talk about the fun stuff.
Okay, first things first: the pooping. Let's say all my obsessing over if I'd be able to have a pre-race victory paid off. And when I say obsessing, I think that may be an understatement of the fact. Poor Mr. McMichael. All day Saturday was spent with me either a) talking about how I needed to poop first thing in the morning, b) eating anything I could that would increase my odds of pooping first thing in the morning, or c) me talking about the things I could eat that would lead to said pooping. So it could have been the giant Chipotle burrito bowl,the extra helpings of vegetables and salad, the beer (yes, I did allow myself one beer just because I was so paranoid of constipation), or the basket of tater tots (oops), or it could of been the visualizations, or the dozens of blog readers who were sending me their best thoughts for a smooth morning, but something got me started off on the right foot.
Then it was off to the races. I could not have asked for a better day or better race. It was all-in-all fantastic. From the friends I was surprised to see out on the course--some running and some cheering on the sidelines--to the fact that I have never felt so good during and after a marathon ever. My second favorite part of the race came at mile 17.5, after the longest hill climb to the highest point on the course--the St. John's Bridge. Running across the apex of the bridge overlooking the Columbia River, with downtown Portland a few miles in the distance, "Don't Stop Believin" came on the ipod.
I felt a surge of energy that was indescribable. First of all, that song is one of my favorites. Love me some Journey--I even have an unbreakable jukebox rule about Journey. If I'm putting money into a jukebox to play music, Journey MUST be played. On top of that, the song became even more important to me this summer--it was the song AP and I belted out with the band at her wedding when I assumed the role of obnoxious wedding singer, and was also the theme to 1980s Prom. So, I'm running across the bridge thinking of all of the memories and friends I have wrapped up in that song, and I realized then and there, I was going to qualify--something I had been fighting really hard to believe all summer.
Definitely an awesome moment.
But my favorite part of the race was Mr. McMichael. He was the one-man Little Ms. Notetaker chase team. We had determined the best places for him to meet me out on the course to give me gus and any other little pick-me-ups I needed to get through that beast. When I neared the mile markers where I knew he'd be, I would perk up and start scanning the crowd for that comforting face that I know and love--and the whole world would melt away when I laid my eyes on him.
During my training, I was talking with the Commish and Monster about how I was excited that Mr. McMichael was going to be going to the race with me. One of my tests for guys I've dated in the past has been envisioning myself in this exact scenario, running a grueling race, trying to qualify for Boston, and if I could picture them there with me at the finish line, then I knew they were a good match. Mr. McMichael is the only person that has ever fit into those pictures in my mind.
And as that imaginary scenario played itself out in real life, the face I scanned the crowd for after crossing the finish line was his and as soon as I saw it, I experienced a tremendous emotional release. With a great sob, I was in his arms--crying because of what I had just put my body through, because I had finally accomplished the goal I set out to reach 2.5 years ago, and because he was there and it felt even better than how I had been picturing it all that time.
Mr. McMichael, thank you. You are awesome.
In three short weeks I will be on my way to the Emerald Isle for a much needed vacation--oh, and to run another marathon. Yes, yes, I know. I'm crazy.
Well, while I'm away consuming mass quantities of Guinness, I don't believe you should have to be without your Notes to Self (and I know at least one of you is thinking that sometimes I'm not even away vacationing and you have to go without your Notes, but I'm trying to think proactively here, a more conscientious LMNT). I was also having an exchange with a friend about a story she has to share that is hilarious and certainly ranks as a very important Note to Self, and it got me thinking. Whilst I'm away, maybe the mice can play.
So here it is, my call for notes!
Have you been taking your own Notes to Self? Have you ever wanted to share that note with one or two or a kajillion readers (really, I have no idea how many people read this)? Have you ever wanted to have your own blog, but just don't think you have the time to post consistently (oh, wait, that's me)? Well, if you've answered yes to any of those questions, then have I got a deal for you.
Calling all lurkers and regular commenters alike, here is the opportunity of a lifetime: a guest blog spot on my little bloggy blog blog. I know, I know, but please, try to contain yourself. If indeed you are interested in your own post, shoot me an e-mail and let me know.
Here's the deal, my editorial disclaimer if you will:
- I reserve the right to deny posting for any reason whatsoever. Whatsoever are those reasons? I've got 'em and if you want to push that envelope, I'll definitely let you know when you've crossed that line.
- I will edit out people's full names--part of the joy of Notes to Self is the anonymity... the people herein could be anyone you know, average things happening to average people.
- I also may do minimal editing for formatting, so the post is compatible with the blogger software.
- You can make your post as long or as short as you like, though if you do have a short post, beware the wrath of FCA. She don't take too kindly to short posts.
- All potential posts need to be sent to me by October 19. I will then format them and provide a small intro, and schedule it to be posted whilst I'm binging on all things Irish (I will let you know when you can expect your post to go live, so you can tell everyone you know to come and check out your brilliance).
- Anything else I think of, I'll tell guest bloggers directly.
So, that's that. What fun.
Little Ms. Notetaker
I can tell when things are weighing heavy on my mind because I start to have absurdly stressful dreams. My generic stress dream is that it's present day, but I somehow still have some eligibility left on my college volleyball scholarship and I need to play in a volleyball match. In today's volleyball match. Today's volleyball match that is starting in ten minutes. Today's volleyball match that is starting in ten minutes and for which I haven't warmed up. Heck, I don't even have shoes or a uniform. And I forgot the team ribbons for my hair. OH NO! NOT THE RIBBONS! And then my coach yells at me in that voice that will forever echo in my head "Little Ms. Notetaker!" Only she doesn't say that because, guess what? That's not my real name. But she yells my name with a severe disappointment that resonates with the undertones of "how could you, the team captain, show up so late for the match and forget to practice, for, oh you know, TEN YEARS?!"
I usually wake up sweating and panicked. And then rejoice at the fact that I don't have to worry about those damn ribbons ever again.
Well, this week, I had a new stress dream. This Sunday is the Portland Marathon. The marathon where I'm hoping to finally qualify for the Boston Marathon. And let's just say, I've been thinking about this for a long time. On Tuesday night I dreamed that I showed up two hours late for the race. But the officials told me it was okay, I could still run the course. So I took off running and forgot to start my watch so I had no idea if I was sticking to my qualifying pace, and then halfway through the course they diverted me to a different route where I had to run on the sidewalk and I kept getting stopped at traffic lights. And I kept pleading, but I have to run fast and I can't keep stopping. And the officials just replied, well, guess you gotta run faster.
It took me nearly half the day to fully shake that dream and realize, that didn't happen. I get a do over. Hallelujah!
But that right there? That's not even my second greatest fear. That's just to show you how crazy I am and how much little things can eat away at my mind, like my second greatest fear is doing right now.
My second greatest fear (turn away right now if you are feint of heart, or don't like to talk about things of a biological nature), is pooping in a bathroom that is not my own. And in terms of marathons, the fear that paralyzes me all training season is, "what if I can't poop prerace?"
Those of you that are runners totally get this (well, you get the need to poop prerace, you may not get my unnatural fear of all other bathrooms. And now that I mention it, it's not really a fear at all, but my body's absolute inability to perform it's normal duty--oh there's an obvious pun ripe for the taking there. I need home court advantage. They say everybody poops, well I don't, at least not all that much, and certainly not under pressure). Running tends to jostle your innards around, often gets things moving, and if you haven't moved them out before you start, it can spell trouble. Every race I run, I worry about this prerace ritual more than anything else. More than the distance, more than the weather, more than if I can actually run that long, more than A-N-Y-T-H-I-N-G.
Every week as I train, I use different techniques to make sure I have victory before I leave my house. Here are a couple of my tricks:
- The night before a big run I drink either two beers, or a glass or two of wine. This always guarantees success in the morning, although it can also lead to dehydration. I've never tried this tactic the night before a race, but it may be one I need to employ.
- Visualize success. As the inspirational quote on my JV basketball sweatshirt read: "The body achieves what the mind believes." So I wake up 15 to 30 minutes early and lay in bed visualizing my guts doing what they need to do to achieve the results I so badly want.
- When all else fails, pop an Imodium right before the race and plug your body up for a few days. Not recommended for overall body health, but will work in a pinch (insert another obvious pun here).
Worst-case scenario, LMNT gets to the start line of the race nursing a hangover, mentally exhausted and constipated. It also bears noting that against my better judgment, I am contemplating chugging a giant glass of milk as my "pseudo lactose intolerance" will create an immediate reaction that will likely produce the results I desire. But I fear the long-term side effects may be as dire as all those that are listed on drug commercials (yes, leaky discharge, I'm talking about you). Oh, I'm sorry if that offended anyone, but they do say that on TV.
So here I sit, 60 hours before race day and instead of thinking about being number one, I am singularly focused on doing number two (quit your groaning, you totally had to see that one coming).