Saturday, September 20, 2008

12 hours and counting!

That's the amount of time left between now and the start of the Maine Coast Half Marathon. By the time I finish this post, it will be much less.

Today was all about me. Okay, some may think (especially if they know me personally) that every day is all about me—no comment to that. I won't even try defend myself (by pointing out the dozens of juvenile offenders I devote myself to every day, in between blogging and reading other people's blogs).

So, to rephrase. Today was all about pre-race preparation (for me). Beginning with a lovely restorative hip-opener/quad/hamstring stretch yoga class at the Sacred Movement yoga studio. Since I do most of my yoga in a gym at the Y, I am always fascinated by the "real" yoga studios, with their props and incense (actually I am not too crazy about incense) and instructors who are all serene and mystical. (Not that the Y instructors aren't, it's just a different ambience.)

There were only six people in this class, including the instructor, so there was a lot of personal attention. In fact, several of the other students took part in selecting and setting up the poses. They would walk around and help push you (me) into position, propping me up on bolsters and blankets, draping a sand bag across my back to help push me into a deeper stretch.

After an enhanced pigeon pose (hips draped over a bolster instead of flat on the mat), the instructor stated that now we would do some partners yoga. She paired us up (so luckily we didn't have to go through an awkward "who wants to work with the new girl with the really tight hamstrings" situation), and demonstrated, with her partner, the first position. It was pretty simple, sitting back to back and alternating leaning forward and back, taking turns pushing your partner into a seated forward bend. Then we moved onto a double wide leg stretch (although we did not get anywhere as near the ground as this video), leaning not just back and forth but also rotating in a circular position. I must admit that working with another person did help intensify the stretches. The instructor, who apparently has far fewer boundaries than the rest of us (e.g. me), had us take turns massaging each other's quads and calves. As she said, "it's just your quads"! Still, my partner and I felt much more comfortable concentrating on the knee area and calves (after all, we just met!). That leg massage did feel good made me yearn to go get a real massage.* I can certainly understand why Deena Kastor married a physiotherapist!**

We finished with some legs up the wall poses; a tree pose, a twist, then traditional legs up the wall for shavasana. I told the instructor I might come back Monday morning for Vinyasa yoga, thanked my partner for stretching me, and left with wishes of good luck for the run tomorrow.

From there I headed on into Ogunquit to walk back to Perkins Cove to meet my parents for lunch. They were going to try to catch the local trolley so that we didn't have to try to park (which is difficult and expensive). It turned out that my walk was much quicker than their ride, but eventually we met up (after a nice long sit on a bench by me), and went into Oarweed for lunch.

Oarweed is one of those restaurants I've wanted to go to for a long time but never managed to get to. Two or three years ago it was one of the restaurants that Rachael Ray featured on an episode of Tasty Travels about Maine's Route 1. I liked the idea of walking from Ogunquit on Marginal Way then ending up at the restaurant. Which is what I did today, then afterwards my parents walked back with me. Keeping it simple, I had "Roby's Downeast'r"—a lobster roll with salad and a beverage. When they first brought my lobster roll, I kind of stared at it, thinking "I can't possibly be satisfied with just this"—but then I remembered the missing salad, and when that was located, all was well.

As we walked back toward Ogunquit on the Marginal Way shore path, I was amazed at the crowds of people on the path. At times they were lined up like traffic, marching along. While I normally dislike crowded places, this was kind of fascinating, with all these unrelated people out for a walk together.

It reminded me of the way the people in Victorian England used to promenade in spa towns like Bath and Cheltenham, strolling in unison along a popular walkway in order to see and be seen.

I left my parents on a bench in Ogunquit to wait while I walked back to the cottage to get the car and pick them up. This was both quicker and cheaper than taking the trolley back!

The next part was supposed to be quick and easy—a trip to York High School to pick up my race number and information. York is about seven miles from Ogunquit. No problem, right?

Well... wrong. Not so easy-peasy. The problem was a combination of confusing directions in the race materials and idiocy on my part. First we took the wrong turn off of Route 1, heading to York Beach instead of York. Mind you, it took a long time to figure out we had been wrong. We did have a very scenic drive along 1A on the water before we finally got to the vicinity of York.

Even then, it was a slapstick farce of wrong turns, repeats up and down the same road, misdirections (or misunderstood directions) from helpful locals, and probably an hour of extra driving that was not necessary, before we finally found the sign and road to York High School. This story could be much longer, but I need to get some sleep sometime!

Once in the high school gym I collected my race number (175) and chip. Then my dad called me over to Kathrine Switzer's table to "meet her." Of course, I had already met her (and bought her book and shirt) in Spokane. I told her about that, and she asked me how I did in Spokane. I told her I couldn't remember my time, but it was an 8:58 pace. She said, "You beat me!"

I also met her husband, Roger Robinson, and bought two of their books that I didn't have yet.

Then I picked up my race shirt and bought a hat to wear as well. I've decided to wear the race shirt tomorrow. That solves the "what to wear" dilemma, at least! I couldn't decide between sleeveless (may be a little chilly, and I'm not crazy about showing my arms) and long-sleeved (may be a little warm and sunny for that), so the short sleeved purple (yes, purple!) and white shirt should do. Also, the purple and white panels should be slimming, and that's always good for pictures!

Since we didn't get to the expo until 4:00 (an hour later than planned) and spent some time there chatting and shopping, no one had much energy for further outings afterward. We drove into Kittery, but instead of tackling the outlet shops, just went to Starbucks for some energizing beverages (and a latte to keep in the fridge to reheat tomorrow morning). Then we headed back to the cottage to drop off our stuff and head over to the Lobster Pound for dinner.

I had decided to skip the pasta dinner because, really, the idea of pasta in an elementary school did not thrill me (even with Kathrine Switzer giving the keynote speech). But I did need to have my pasta! After much deliberation, I decided it would be okay for me to have Lobster Alfredo, even though I would never, ever normally eat Alfredo.*** But I wanted to give myself permission in advance, because the last time I ordered a creamy pasta dish and it came swimming in sauce, I had a minor freakout. I could not do that with an outrageously expensive lobster dish.

So I ordered the Alfredo, and was able to ask for light sauce without sacrificing any lobster (they put the sauce and lobster on separately). Actually they still gave me far more sauce than I needed. However, it was deeee-licious.

(Unfortunately my dad, who ordered the lobster ravioli, probably because it was cheaper, was not so happy with his food. He ate it all, and then complained—to us—how terrible it was. Needless to say that led to some sharp words being exchanged—just between us, not the restaurant staff—and everyone stalking out in a huff. I did, however, stop to tell our server from last night that she was right about how good the Alfredo was!) (Table 13—an omen perhaps?)
I hate to end this day on a negative note, and actually soon the fight pretty much blew over (pie and ice cream helped) (although there was another little storm when my dad turned the TV on to some loud true crime show and my mother complained). Everything is all quiet now, and I am ready to get some sleep for tomorrrow's early morning. I still have almost seven hours before I have to get up—way more sleep than I usually get! (Addendum—make that six after getting my gear together,)

And tomorrow I run like the wind! Well, a breeze, anyway. (On a kind of balmy day.) (But not completely still.) (Enough to make the leaves rustle and your hair blow in your face.)

(By the way, the publication time is Pacific time.)

*By a professional massage therapist, who you pqy money to touch you and get to keep your eyes closed.

**Just to clarify, I don't know that Andrew Kastor was Deena's therapist, but she did say in Spirit of the Marathon that he stretches and gives her massages every day. Lucky girl!

**Yet I have no problem with popping into Ben & Jerry's or buying blueberry pie for dessert. Apparently my mental block does not extend to sweets. But we knew that already, didn't we?

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