Martini Fridays:

Smiley Cookie Blue GIF
Must be a Pittsburgh thing.

Do you believe, mother runners? Race day for Adrienne Martini at the Pittsburgh Half-Marathon is finally here! She's all smiles...kind of. (Catch up on her journey with past episodes of  Martini Fridays.)

By the time you read this, I will be in the middle of driving the seven hours to Pittsburgh in order to run the Half Marathon on Sunday. Unless, of course, you are reading this on any day that isn’t Friday, in which case I’m either currently running or am enjoying a cookie or driving back home.  Time is weird.

My last long run happened to coincide with one of our local races, the Fly Creek Cider Mill Cider Run. Last year, they only had a 5K course; this year had a 10K, which fit perfectly into the AMR Half Marathon: Finish It schedule. The prize at the end is a pint glass full of cider; you get to choose between sweet or hard. No matter which you pick, that cider will be the best cider you drink all year.

My prize. But is it hard or sweet?
My prize. But is it hard or sweet?

I went into the race cocky. I can do six miles easy, I thought, especially after all of the distance I’ve put in. I even went so far as to line up near the starting line. It wasn’t intentional, frankly. I was standing there chit-chatting with a stranger and not paying enough attention to the starting line forming around me, as can happen when there are fewer than 100 runners. Once I did realize  what had happened, I didn’t bother to move to the back because, like I said, I got cocky.

What I failed to account for was how much my brain wanted me to stay with the lead pack despite how freaking speedy they all were. I ran the first mile waaaaay too fast and paid for it when the course got hilly, which it did, because it is well-nigh impossible to plot a flat course in this part of the state. I slowed to something between “snail” and “glacial” between miles two and three and wasted more energy than I care to think about beating myself up for it.

What I really wanted to do was drop back to the rear of the 10K runners, only with such a small race, there were only three of us, which doesn’t make much of a pack. I couldn’t manage to find a comfortable rhythm despite the number of six mile runs I’ve made during the last 15 weeks. It was more than a little demoralizing.

By mile four, right around the time I passed the cows, who paid absolutely no attention any of us, I’d mostly unfunked myself. I was helped along by a woman who I only know as “Pumpkin,” which was the name on the back of her shirt, who kept trading places with me. I lost her after the race in the sea of people clamoring for cider, which was, indeed, the best I’ve had all year. I’m drinking Nuun out of the souvenir pint glass even as I’m typing this.

In the theater, the received wisdom is that a lousy final dress rehearsal predicts a glorious opening night. While the 10K wasn’t that bad -- physically, I felt like I could have kept going but I was morally trashed -- I’m hoping it’s predicting a decent run on Sunday.

In case you’re wondering, I’ve settled on an outfit -- and wore it at the Cider Run to see if there were any chafing issues. While I was walking to get my bib and swag bag, I overheard a woman talking about how someone had given her this “badass” t-shirt. I spun back around to check it out.

Two badass mother runners. I’m in the skirt; Lori Ryan is in the more weather-appropriate capris.
Two badass mother runners. I’m in the skirt; Lori Ryan is in the more weather-appropriate capris.

This is Lori Ryan, another badass mother runner. It was a complete coincidence that we bumped into each other. I’ve decided to take this as a sign.

If you should be in Da Burgh for the race, look for me in the above Sparkle Skirt and tee. I might also have that same blue fleece on, depending on what the weather decides to do. Please yell something encouraging. Or throw Salted Caramel Gu and Eat‘n Park Smiley cookies (pic above). Your choice.

I’ve taken a number of stabs at writing this last bit but can’t seem to make it not sound like I’m about to head off into battle. And a race really isn’t a battle; it’s the reward for all of those runs through, say, upstate New York in 33 degree freezing rain. It’s the reward for seven miles on the indoor track with whippet-thin college cross-country runners. And it’s the reward for six miles on a treadmill, where you thought about gnawing off your own arm just to keep it interesting.

That might be the biggest lesson I take from the last 15 weeks of training: I can run through everything. EVERYTHING. While there is definitely physiological strengthening during all of those miles, there is metric ton of mental strengthening, too. I’ve reached a point where 95 percent of the running conditions -- both those in the outside world and those in my skull -- don’t make me fail to run. Snow? Run anyway. Sleepy? Run anyway. Convinced you’re too old and fat and slow? Run anyway.

This of course doesn’t apply to issues of health and safety, like, you’re if in white-out conditions or about to leave a toddler at home alone. But, most of the time, I’ve discovered, you can also find a way around these obstacles so that you can (you guessed it) run anyway. And if you really, really can’t (and it isn’t just mental monkeys flinging poo on your self-esteem), then you know that you can make like Queen Elsa and let it go. Until tomorrow, at which point, you’ll run anyway.

Admittedly, right now I can feel the beginnings of anxiety and excitement starting to bubble up. I can only imagine what I’ll feel like on Sunday morning. I’m trying to focus on what Jill Farmer pointed out in this week’s AMR podcast: this race is something I GET to do. In fact, I might take a Sharpie to myself and write that on my body somewhere so that I don’t forget during one of the inevitable sloggy moments.

See you on the other side.

51 responses to “Martini Fridays:

  1. Mental monkeys flinging poo….what a great word picture!! I hope they left you alone today! And since I am reading this on Sunday afternoon, I hope you are enjoying that cookie!!! I loved following your training though I had to search spam to catch up on those first few weeks. I guess my filters are ultra conservative tee totalers because of all the AMR blog entries, yours were the only ones to go to Spam!!! Glad I found them and didn’t miss a word! Thanks for sharing!

  2. Must have missed you in the 30,000 people, hope you had a good race! I thought the race was extremely well run, great crowd support, would definitely run again!

  3. Good luck Adrienne! You’ve been such an inspiration to me as I’ve trained for my first half marathon, which I am tuning the same day as you. I’ll be thinking of you tomorrow!

  4. You’ve got this, Adrienne! You’ve come SO far, done all the physical and mental work to ready yourself for this race. ENJOY it! (but yeah, live and learn from that 10K. Don’t start out too fast. Run YOUR race pace and crush it and the finish 🙂

  5. Good luck on Sunday! I’ll be there running my first half in 10 years, and my kiddos will be out there cheering for all the Pittsburgh runners!

  6. So fun! Do we have to wait til Friday to read your race report?? 🙂
    Have an absolutely amazing time! I’ve loved reading your posts and following along. I’ll miss this Friday feature.

  7. Running my first half on Sunday too, have loved reading your columns and comparing my runs to yours. Such satisfaction in having the same unsatisfying runs as another. Empty the tank girl!

  8. Trust your training. And like we learned from Aesop, slow and steady wins ( finishing upright and smiling) the race!

  9. Thank you for sharing your story – will be wishing you fresh legs and a clear head for your big race!

  10. Hi Adrienne, I’m the “other” badass mother runner who was at the Cider Run! My daughter who runs “ultras”, gave me the title. Good Luck on your upcoming Half, that’s awesome. Not sure if I’ll ever have it in me, but I wish you the BEST! It was nice meeting you last weekend!

  11. I’ve enjoyed reading about your journey. I’ll look for you on Sunday. Corral “C” for me.

    Best of luck and enjoy the day!

    p.s. That quote may end up “sharpied” to my arm as well.

  12. BEAT THE COOKIE!!! Back when I lived in Pittsburgh and did the Great Race, my friends always joked about racing the runner who dressed as the Eat-n-Park cookie. I was so worried I would not beat the cookie. When one year I failed to run the race, I was berated for having let the cookie win. But you will be triumphant!!!

  13. Go awesome mother runner! You are ready. Remember to look at the camera and give them a big smile when you cross the finish. You’re going to want to frame that one.

  14. I have so enjoyed the Martini Fridays! Best of luck in the race!!

    Also, I think an AMR race or lifestyle t that says “Run Anyway” would be fabulous! I would buy it to add to my collection! 😉

  15. I love, love, love Martini’s writing and chuckle out loud every Friday. I highly recommend her book, Hillbilly Gothic.

  16. I have so enjoyed reading these- especially because I was doing the same. I rocked my half-marathon and so will you! Cheers!

  17. I have thoroughly enjoyed your pros as you trained for the half-marathon. You rock it girl! So proud of you!

  18. I love love love the smile on your face. That is a post-race smile. Have an awesome half on Sunday, I’ll be sending you good vibes. I’ve really loved your Friday columns.

  19. Can’t wait to read your race recap! I’m running Pgh half too, will look for you!
    Good luck, and enjoy every mile!!!

  20. So needed that last “let it go” bit. I missed my morning run because I got caught up playing with my toddler. I don’t regret it at all but the running guilt is gnawing at my belly. Letting it go.

    Good luck!

  21. I just ran my first half last weekend at 46…You GOT this. It was the most joyful experience I have had since having kids. Soak it in–say thank you to the volunteers, give the bands a thumbs up, clap when appropriate. Guessing it’s a big race so don’t get freaked out when you are going out slllooowww…I literally thought my Garmin had broken at some points. But, I ended up running a negative split the entire race, and finished with my fastest mile ever at mile 13…so don’t despair and enjoy every moment!!

  22. Wishing you the best! I look forward to your posts every Friday, thanks for sharing your journey. You’ll do great! Looking forward to the recap!

  23. GO ADRIENNE! I can’t wait to hear your race recap 🙂 I have really enjoyed Martini Fridays and I’m kinda sad they are over. It has been so refreshing to be reminded of the great realizations that come with pushing yourself farther than you think you can go for the first time.. I’ll be cheering for you from Illinois 🙂

  24. Go get ’em Adrienne! I think you’re going to soak up every moment of the race – you put in the work, now enjoy the spoils!

  25. Loved reading your weekly thoughts. Good luck this weekend; I running my first half in Cincinnati as well and feeling the excitement of it all. The goal is to finish and bask in the accomplishment.

  26. The best of luck! I have truly enjoyed your posts. It feels as if you are a kindred spirit. Have a great time and enjoy the journey! I will be thinking of you on Sunday!

  27. Good luck!! I am injured and can’t run this year but I will be looking for you at the mile 6 water stop and I’ll give you a badass mother runner shout out!

  28. Have a great run! Just remember you have all these BAMR’S cheering you on. I run each mile at a time, focus on the mile you are in not the ones left to go. Once you cross the starting line you are almost finished!

  29. You are going to kick ass!!! You’ve fought the fight, you finished the training, you’ve kept the faith! Now the race is yours! Go for it with everything you have and you will feel like a million bucks when you cross that finish line! Woo Hoo!! Woot, Woot!! :o)

  30. I’ve been following your journey and looking forward to your weekly updates. Congrats on completing your training, and good luck in your 13.1 miles of glory! 🙂 Have a great run!

  31. Words cannot express how very excited I am for you! This is YOUR race! That is YOUR Medal! Go out there and enjoy YOUR run, you BAMR! Tears are welling in my eyes in pride for you!

  32. Fantastic post! Best of luck and I wish you clear skies and a beautiful race for your first half MARATHON! You are badass!!

  33. Good luck! I’ve enjoyed every one of your posts and your “mental monkeys” comment made me laugh this morning! You’ve got this. We can’t wait to hear how it goes.

  34. I’m so happy and excited for you – and can’t wait to hear about it! Trust your training and enjoy!!!

  35. A friend of mine tells those running a big race like a half that the race is just your victory lap. You have done all the hard work. Having run Pittsburgh last year, I can tell you to enjoy the sights and the atmosphere. The city puts on a great race. The crowd is also super supportive. You’ve got this! Trust your training! Have a great race!

  36. You’ve got this Adrienne! Thanks for taking us along on the journey, I’ve really enjoyed it! I can’t wait to hear the race recap

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