Thursday, December 13, 2012

Marathon Weekend Recap: Day 2

First, sorry its taken me a few days to get this up.  My daughter came home from school sick with double ear-infections yesterday and taking care of her has kept me pretty busy.   And again, I apologize in advance for rambling, this is very detailed because I want to remember the details of the weekend!

Day two, or Friday for future reference, was set to be a pretty laid back day.  My mom and sister were set to arrive from Alabama that morning.  My sister was going to stay with Tommy and the kids in the hotel and mom and I were going to go for a tour of St Jude.  After parking at the convention center, Mom and I walked across the street to the Marriott to wait for the tour bus to take us over.    

Mom and I with the box of cards - showing a sample 
Of course, we weren't empty handed, we were toting nearly 300 card for the kids of St Jude!  A month or so before I left for the marathon I decided I wanted to do something a bit more personal for the kids of St Jude.  After discussing it with my mom, the crazy idea was born.  She read somewhere that there were around 80-90 inpatient children and they see nearly 200 patients a day.  Our goal was to make cards for one day.  I managed to make 87 cards with the help of my daughter (she did 15 or so with my help).  Thanks to my mom's help (she made nearly 100), the help of several friends, and my daughter's girl scout troop we were able to surpass that goal.   

The tour of the hospital was emotional for my mom and I.  Having lost Tammie to a brain tumor we both found ourselves thinking "if only this had been around when Tammie was sick."  They have gone to great extremes to make the hospital a non-sterile looking environment.  From beautiful murals on the walls and fun decorative floors to patient artwork and photos around the hospital.  We heard all about the things they do at the hospital to make the kids feel more comfortable and at home.  I think we could have had a better tour guide but overall a very meaningful thing to get to be within the walls of a hospital that is making such great advances in the fight against childhood cancer.   I am going to share a few photos now, I may do another post I finish the race recap with some more of the photos.  

Santa house display - so neat!murals on walls (showed all seasons) and  floor decor
After the hospital tour, Mom and I walked around the St. Jude campus looking at the statues and other "landmarks."  We also visited the gift shop to pick up a few items for my mom and I got another ornament!  (Will try to share a photo of the ornaments in my next post... too late tonight to go dig them out)

Instead of waiting for the bus we decided to walk back to the convention center (it was a short walk).  On the walk I showed my mom where her hotel was located and we decided to keep walking to my hotel.  Along the way we were on the search for a place to eat lunch.  We found a local place called Sam's Burgers and More that had baked potatoes so after much discussion we decided we would walk back down there to eat.  Unfortunately, by the time we got to my hotel and back down to the restaurant they only had one baked potato left and I ordered it for my sister not realizing it was the last one.  Whoops - so I ended up walking over to subway and getting a sub to eat instead (big no, no and NOT on my pre-race diet).  I did keep it pretty minimal but there was cheese on it which I typically avoid, but I couldn't just do the chicken and bread.

After lunch, we checked my Mom and sister into their hotel and left everyone there while she and I ran to Kroger to get munchies and drinks for the kids.   By the time we got back it was time for Tommy and I to get ready for the pasta party.  While getting ready I realized I had misplaced the pasta party tickets.  Luckily - after talking to some people we were able to get in without the tickets.

the only picture I took at the pasta party - whoops
The Heroes pasta party was a nice way to get ready for the race the next day.  I wish I was more outgoing as I felt sort of out of place sitting at a table with people I didn't know.  I didn't talk to anyone really because I lack that confidence, but the best part was hearing the speech given by Ingram's dad.  During my fundraising, I remember seeing Ingram's sister Madison at the top of the fundraising board nearly every time I logged in.  I was amazed that a little girl could raise so much money.  Come to find out, her sister was also fundraising.  These two girls, both still KIDS managed to raise over $200,000 - I am in awe of them!  I had read the family's story and such, but hearing Ingram's dad speak touched my heart.  After the pasta party, I had to stop back by my mom's hotel room to give my kids a huge hug.  I needed them to know that I loved them.  I needed to wrap my arms around them and thank God for the gift he has given me.

The only downside to the pasta party is that I had a very hard time eating.  I typically eat pasta with marinara sauce the night before a race, nothing else.  Unfortunately, the pasta options all had dairy or cream or some other ingredient I shouldn't have.  So, I had to "wing it" with a half a chicken breast, a bread stick, and a bag of pretzels.  While eating my food, I was praying it wouldn't negatively affect me the next day.  It was a bit defeating to see how many runners could eat whatever they wanted without concern for how it would affect their running - I hate my sensitive tummy!   They did have a nice plate of cookies on every table too, but again... I was good and avoided them!

All in all, Friday was a good day.  I might have done a bit more walking around than I normally would before a race, and perhaps not taken in enough water.  I did do my best to stick to my dietary restrictions but I knew I hadn't done a perfect job.  After giving my kids goodnight kisses (they stayed with my mom and sister to give me the best rest possible before the race), Tommy and I headed back to our hotel.  I took time to lay out everything I needed for the race, but was in bed pretty early.

Up next... race day.

In case you missed it, you can check out day one here... 

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Marathon Weekend Trip Recap: Day 1 of 4

I figure its about time I try to start putting my thoughts on the marathon down on paper before they all disappear and I am left with nothing to document.  I still haven't totally processed the whole experience, but I am going to start with my pre-race experiences and hope everything catches up with me as I go!

Warning, I ramble... A LOT.  Sorry.

We left Indiana EARLY Thursday morning, about 4 am and hit the road for Memphis.  Our travels took us through Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Arkansas, and finally Tennessee.  The last few hours of our trip were through a pretty deserted area (at least for us, we are used to driving down highways and having gas/food options at nearly every exit).  The trip was rather uneventful and we made great time.

We stopped in Blythesville, Arkansas for lunch.   I had decided we would get cold cuts and make sandwiches hoping to stick as close as possible to my dietary plan to ensure my stomach cooperated for the marathon.  Fast food is NOT part of that plan, though it would have been easier.  We stopped at Wal-Mart where I was rewarded with the slowest, crappiest customer service ever - and the lunch meat was terrible.  I ate what I could, but because of this I ended up eating more tortilla chips than I intended. (side note: I like the Tostitos Artisan Recipe fire roasted chipotle chips, but Meijer's black bean and salsa ones are SO much better!)

I hate bridges, but was relieved to see this one - less than 10 minutes left!
We knew we were ahead of schedule so we called our hotel to ask if we could check in early - luckily they said they had rooms available so we were able to save money by not paying for parking at the convention center - SCORE!  After checking into our room we got things organized and headed to the expo - as we left though we realized our door wasn't locking correctly!  After playing with it for about 5 minutes Tommy was able to get our room secured.  Downstairs we asked to be pointed in the direction of the expo - they said we should take the trolley because it wasn't walkable.

After over 10 hours in the car, the last thing I wanted to do was sit on my butt in a trolley!  I decided to risk it and we headed out on foot.  After getting turned around and walking an extra half mile or so, we finally made it to the expo.  I am still trying to figure out why the route wasn't walkable - we walked it at least 6-8 times that weekend and saw many people doing the same!  Anyway, inside I found my bib number and picked up my bib and race shirt then we hit up the St Jude merchandise area.  I ended up buying myself an ornament, Daniel an ornament, a 26.2 bumper sticker, and a teddy bear for Natalie.  I was super bummed that they didn't have a marathon weekend logo sweatshirt.  They had St Jude ones but I wanted one with mention of the marathon too.
Ignore the goofy pose and slippers! 

The expo itself wasn't all that great. There were a couple booths I stopped to look at, but nothing I couldn't say no to.  Many of the exhibitors weren't set up yet.  I did get my fist peek at the medal and talked with the pace team.  The best part of course was the heroes area.  You walked down the red carpet and could get photos taken in a photo booth.  They were also passing out pasta samples (I skipped them) and you could pick up your pasta party tickets, vip lounge stuff, exchange singlet sizes, pick up items to cheer on heroes/runners as well as an area to drop off last minute donations.

We did donate $5 to a charity group and two puzzles to the kids at St Jude.  (They had dollar store type items set up and you could buy them for your kids and the money goes to charity, or you could donate the toys to the hospital)  Since my kids have so many toys already, we had Natalie pick out two puzzles - she loved knowing she was giving a gift to someone else!

After that, we headed back to our hotel where we ordered dinner from the TGIF that was just downstairs.  We knew the kids weren't up to eating out after the long day in the car.  Hubby had Korean tacos of some sort and I had Kung Pao Chicken - again, not the greatest choice, but the best given my options!  After filling our bellies, we fell asleep pretty early.  Me and two kids in a double bed - I knew it would be a long night!

Enough rambling for now.. up next in tomorrow's post - Friday excitement and race prep!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Never Satisfied.

I think I am broken... I am never satisfied, never fully able to be proud of something that I accomplished.  I am always comparing myself to others and wondering why I am not good enough to do what they do.

I just raised over $3,000 for St Jude Children's Research Hospital... my response?
     "But I want to raise more... so-and-so raised $$, what do they do better than me?"

I just finished a full marathon... my response?
     "But I didn't really run it, anyone can walk 26.2 miles (yes, I know this is flawed logic).   So-and-so ran it in x:xx and I know I should be able to do the about the same.  What do they do that I don't?  Why are they successful and I wasn't?"

Granted, I know finishing this marathon was a HUGE accomplishment.  I know raising money for St Jude makes a big difference.  At the end of the day I felt no pride when I crossed that finish line, I was numb from the disappointment of the last 3 hours.

I have to pull myself out of this stupor because its not good for my mental well being or my physical well being (I eat when I am depressed and have gained 5-10 pounds)....

A race recap is coming, I just want to take a few days to process it so its hopefully not such a downer!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Marathon Monday: The Countdown!

My marathon is this Saturday, how did we get here so quickly?!?  I feel like I have followed the training plan pretty much to a "tee" so I am hoping that means that I am ready for this challenge!   I gained a few pounds over Thanksgiving so I am slightly worried about that.

I have had one pretty bad nightmare about the marathon - started out too fast, bonked by mile 4, ran a loop twice when I should have run it once (and it was a BIG loop), then the course (which was marked by chalk) wasn't marked at a corner so I had no clue which way to go and had to wait for a course marshall to direct me, and last but not least I got lost in the hills/woods and was unable to finish the race.  So far I have only had the one nightmare so I guess I got all my fears out in one terrifying night!

This last week was a pretty easy one as far as the miles go

Tuesday: 4 miles (on the treadmill)
Wednesday: 6 miles
Thursday: 3.45 miles (with my little girl)
Saturday: 8.15 miles
  Total for the week: 21.6 miles

I leave on Thursday to head to Memphis.  I am mostly packed and ready, just playing the waiting game.  Oh, and nervously watching the weather.  Right now, things aren't looking how I would like them to.  There is a chance of rain and the temps are going to top out at nearly 70 degrees!  Some people may love the warm weather - but I am a cold weather runner and have been training in the 30s and 40s.  Hoping I will be able to adjust to the heat (and potentially humidity).

And, for those of you who haven't yet... please consider making a donation to my fundraising here. They have a "contest" going on today and if I can get 5 donations I will earn a commemorative poster for marathon weekend!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Marathon Monday and Race Recap

Like any other Saturday, I got up early and laced up my tennis shoes headed out the door.  The difference was that I wasn't headed out for a long run, I was headed out to run the Turkey Trot 5k at Fox Island.  My goal was simple, to have a good time and not injure myself - I am far too close to my marathon to do something stupid now!

I let the "top runner" in our age group go and settled into a comfortable pace.  I started out easy, trying not to swear at all the little ones who don't quite understand race etiquette and kept running in the middle of the trail so you couldn't pass, or even running and cutting in front of me.  That first mile was a test of my patience for sure.  After the first mile, the crowd finally started to thin out some and  I ended up running side by side with another top runner of similar age for a while.  After I bit I decided I had just a bit more to give so I slowly pushed the pace up a bit.  I ran behind two people for a bit letting them control the pace and even out my breathing and the like.

As I approached about 2.25 2.5 miles I saw the "top runner" up ahead - I figured she was probably too far ahead to catch but I wanted to push myself just a bit, so I politely asked to pass and upped my speed a bit.  I somehow managed to get within sprinting distance of the "competition" and decided to just hang there for a  bit.  As I saw the finish line in view I tried to push ahead of her and she took off, my kick wasn't going to be enough so I told her "great job, you got it... finish strong, I don't have it today."  Yet somehow, as we hit the pavement my legs decided they have more to give and I pushed hard (my garmin shows 6:00 something min/mile at the end).

I was able to cross the finish mat just a hair ahead of her, and chip time showed I had won my age group by .2 seconds!  I have never been more proud of winning my age group.  I have done it before, but I felt like I ran this race smart and to me, that means more than the pie I won.  I have been struggling with the "mental" side of running and I feel like I am finally making some progress there!

As far as my "Marathon Monday" summary - here's how it went.  It's not nearly as exciting now a days, the miles aren't as long and quite frankly I am ENJOYING IT!  Maybe "taper madness" will settle in sometime in the next two weeks?  (I highly doubt it!)

Tuesday: 5 miles
Wednesday: 8 miles
Friday: 12 miles
Saturday: 3.1 miles
   Total for the week: 28.1 miles (ahh, loving the taper!)

Friday's long run was one of my fastest during my marathon training (9 minute miles).  I meant to take it easy, but I am blaming the speed on the mileage cutback as well as having a time limit for the run. (Nothing interesting to note here, it was loops around the Y, no bathroom breaks or walk breaks, WOOHOO)

In the category of "bad news" I think I am getting a touch of a cold... anyone have any tips to clear this mess up quickly?  I am trying to remember the vitamins every day as well as stay  hydrated - anything else I am missing?  

Monday, November 12, 2012

Marathon Monday: Readiness?

Well, another week of training completed.  I am now supposedly pretty much "ready" for my first marathon in 3 weeks.. just a few weeks of easy running and I will be ready to go.  I honestly am having feelings of doubt about that... Does running 20 miles once really mean I can run 26.2 on race day?  I want to finish in a good time on race day but most importantly I want to finish feeling like I ran strong and enjoyed the race...

This last weeks training in review:
Tuesday: 5.2
Wednesday: 10.5
Thursday: 5
Saturday: 20 miles (personal record)
  Total for the week: 40.7 (new personal high)

The 20 mile run was intimidating to say the least, but it went much better than I was expecting honestly.  I decided to try out my new fuel (keeping it under wraps til after the marathon, hoping not to jinx myself) and my new hand-held because I think its what I want to use for the marathon (worked well).  Once I actually got out there and got started I felt strong... for the first time ever I ran 13.1 miles, every step without needing a bathroom or walk break!  That was an amazing feeling.  (I have run every step once, and not used the restroom once, but this was the first time not needing either.)

I am allowed to look bad, I just ran 20 miles!
After my bathroom break at 13.1 miles it was really hard to get back into the rhythm, but I struggled and did the best I could - I told myself to run to "point x" when I would get there, then I would pick a point further ahead.  This worked til just after mile 15 when I had to walk some - mile 16 was my worst split of the day.  After my bathroom stop at 18.3 miles, I found it even harder to get the legs back into rhythm, but thats when I got tough with myself.  After a few walk breaks and a few struggles to get my legs moving I told myself "run to x" and then you can walk.... of course by the time I got there, I was less than a mile from done and I had gotten back into the flow of running so I just kept running!  I had to laugh, as I was running that last mile I passed a couple ladies and they joked "we will just drift in behind you" and I sort of huffed and puffed "I may not make it much further, I am at about 19.4 miles"  they asked how far are you running.  Can you guess what my answer was?  "ONLY 20 miles."  WHO AM I?   Although, I am sure it was because that meant ONLY another half mile or so, still... who says "only 20 miles.. "

I am pretty proud of my splits except for a few, but overall.. not bad:

I am trying to decide whether to run with a pace team or on my own...

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

W.O.O.F. 16 mile trail race recap

I have to be honest, I was dreading this race with pretty much every bone in my body.  We all know how predictable my GI system can be and there aren't really any great bathroom stops along the way that I know of (they could have been there, but I didn't notice them).  On top of that, the weather was back and forth all week - it was originally forecast to be a high of 55 and beautiful, then they changed it to a high of 42 with rain/snow.

Luckily - it ended up being a high of the mid-40s, but DRY!  The sky was clear and beautiful, a nice crisp fall morning.  I woke up on time, but it NEVER fails - trying to get a whole family of people up and out the door always takes longer than it should.  Neither my husband nor my kid are morning people - its a battle every time.  Because of this, we were running 15 minutes late and I was frantically gathering coats and gloves for the kids.

Unfortunately in my madness I forgot my fuel belt - this meant I had no fuel and no water.  After having a mini-melt down I called my mom and she was able to "talk me off the edge."  We decided I would stop at the convenience store and get a bag of mints and use the water on the course and pray I would be okay.  By time I made it to Ouabache State Park I had mostly gathered myself.  While I still wasn't looking forward to 16 miles of trail running, I knew that no matter how ugly it would be that I could finish.

The time came and we lined up.  Both the 5.3 milers and the 16 milers all line up and start together so I lined up about 3/4 of the way back despite the "gun time" because I didn't want to get caught up in running too fast.  Much of the first lap was a blur.

For most of the first lap I was running in a pack of about 6-8 people and I felt like I was running strong.  I spent much of the time staring at the ground watching for roots, mud, and other hazards - luckily runners are pretty friendly people so they would shout out a warning and we would pass it back the line.   A little over 4 miles in I came upon the hay bales for the first time - up and over I went and then I kept on trucking.  One fun part of this race is that you get to run by the buffalo enclosure during the race - I was happy to see that they were close enough to see this year.  (Though, I still don't know how people can see the cute buffalo and then eat a bison burger after the race?!?) Around mile 5, I popped a mint into my mouth and put it in my cheek - hoping it would keep my body energized. The last little bit of trail before the end of the loop was a muddy/rutted mess and I nearly fell on my butt so I decided I would walk that short section each time.  By the end of the first loop I was tired and feeling like I might not make it. But, I finished that first loop in around 51 minutes (I forget the exact clock time) and I headed back into the woods for the second.

Less than a mile into the second loop I had a moment of panic when I realized I no longer had my (brand new) cell phone - I had lost in somewhere on the course.  I stopped dead in my tracks looking in a circle around my feet hoping that it was there - it wasn't.  A couple of nice ladies came upon me and asked if I was okay - I assured them I was but that I had lost my phone.  They told me to keep running my race, there was nothing I could do about it now.  Probably the best advice of the day - they assured me that someone would find it and all would be okay.   I was no longer in a pack,  but there were some people "near" me so I never felt alone.  I ran most of that second loop in a panic that I had lost my phone. I kept hoping that I would find it at the hay bales. Luckily, as I scaled the hay bales for the second time and shouted to my husband that my phone was lost a family standing near him told me they had found it and it was at the start/finish line.  WHEW - what a relief!

You can see how much time I lost being cautious with the hay bales
I had been such a tense mess that second lap, that once I got the news that my phone had been found I sort of crashed.  I took a walk break at mile 10 and gathered my thoughts.  After running for nearly two hours I was exhausted and wanted to quit.  Tommy and the kids weren't at the end of loop two because they hadn't returned back from the hay bales yet.  Luckily a really nice lady cheered for me as I headed back out for lap three, its what kept my legs moving - she told me "this is your victory lap."

Unfortunately, by now I had lost all company at this point, I was running completely by myself.  I was afraid I might run off course because it wasn't really marked per say other than following the areas that were walked down.  Luckily, I was able to keep focused and stay on course.  Things got rough though, after several close calls in lap two where I rolled my ankles I was starting to feel tired and my joints were "loose" and feeling weak.

Between the loneliness of the course and my fear of injuring tired muscles I started walking more.  I did happen across a couple other racers who were walking so I knew that at very least I wasn't going to be last.  I think I passed 2 people that last lap.  That last climb over the hay bales was a bit of a tease - I knew I was close, but it still felt like I had so far to go!  And quite possibly even harder was having to run past my car with less than half a mile to go - I wanted nothing more than to go climb in my van and warm up.   Instead, I pushed on knowing I was so close to being done.  As I was finishing up I had to dodge people walking back to their cars who had already finished.  Luckily, they were all very encouraging so that helped.

As I exited the trail I saw my hubby and kids - and the clock.  I wanted to finish in 1:45 and I saw it was still a possibility.  So, I put forth every ounce of energy I had left - and honestly at that point it wasn't a whole lot.   It wasn't pretty but I had just run 16.35 miles on trails - and I wasn't last (my only real goal).  I had hoped to come in at 10 minute miles or faster and I just missed that (10:02 pace) - without the cell phone snafu I am sure I would have made it.  Or, you know... without all the darn walking that last lap. :-/

Despite my poor performance the last lap I did manage to score second in my age group (we will ignore the fact that there were only two people in my age group).  Overall I was 40 out of 57 with a finishing time of 2:43:56.9.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Marathon Monday: Less than a Month to go!

Holy cow - how did I get here?  I just finished week 14 of my 18 week training plan!  With just a month to go the nerves, jitters, and self doubts are starting to take hold.  I am pretty sure I can complete the mileage but I want to have a GOOD race - I want to feel strong and confident.  That will be the hard  part.  More on that later, but for now lets summarize my mileage for week 14.

Tuesday: 5.2 miles ("tempo" run on the treadmill, UGH)
Wednesday: 9 miles
Thursday: 5 miles (with the BOB)
Saturday: 16.35 miles (trail race, recap tomorrow)
Total for the week: 35.55 miles

This next week will be the toughest of my training schedule - I am ready to face it head on!  I have my one and only 20 miler this week and then its all down hill until the marathon!  Right now I am looking forward to the taper, but I have heard that it starts to really get to most people - we will see.

For now, I am trying to decide how to run my race.  My original goal was not to have a time goal and to just run/walk it however I had to.  Now though, I am thinking that it might be helpful for me to run with a pace group.  But, I am not sure if I can run every step of the marathon (even at a slower pace).

What would you do if you were me?  Pick a pace group or go it alone?  

P.S.  If you haven't yet donated to my fundraising, please consider it.  I met my original goal, but I have another goal that I would love to reach, and I am just under $150 away from that.  It would mean the world to me to get to $3,620 raised for St Jude.  St Jude does wonderful things every day and every dollar helps them come closer to a cure!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Marathon Monday: Week 13

I am getting really worn out, I am starting to feel the effects of marathon training.  I feel like I am always running, planning a run, or recovering from a run.  It is purely mental, because I truly do have more free time than it seems, but overall I am just TIRED of the training schedule, but I am so close I am going to keep pushing through - 5 more weeks!

Tuesday: 4 miles
Wednesday: 9 miles
Thursday: 5 miles (with stroller)
Friday: 1 mile (Fun Run - Color Run)
Saturday: 18 miles (personal distance record)
   Total for the Week: 37 miles (new weekly high mileage, woohoo)

Saturday's long run wasn't great, but it was better than I expected.  I went to the local running store and got a new fuel to try - honey stinger fruit chews.  I had heard many people with sensitive GI tracts had luck with them, so I decided to try them out. The taste wasn't too bad - not sure they are the answer for me, but they weren't too bad.   I had some stomach cramping around mile 4 but kept running, I wanted to get to 6 miles before taking the fruit chews.  Instead, I felt strong enough to run until mile 9.  At that time I had to stop and use the restroom so I decided to fuel then (I took 4 fruit chews with about 3-4 ounces of water).

I had planned on taking Imodium simultaneously with my fuel and see if that helps, but the packet I had was empty (whoops).  So, I went with it.... I managed to go 5 miles after fueling without needing the restroom (pretty good for me).   And, the miles were the fastest of the day! After the bathroom break at mile 14, I took 3 more chews and headed back out - it was hard to get back into it, I struggled getting back into stride.  I had a familiar twinge in my back around mile 15 and feared a repeat lat strain issue, so I walked a few steps (less than a tenth of a mile) but I struggled to get back into the groove when I started running again so I did walk a bit of mile 16 (probably less than a quarter mile).  After that walk break, I decided to suck it up mentally and push it. I only managed to make it 3.5 miles before needing a bathroom break, but again... given my previous experience, not bad.

After that bathroom break, I headed out for the last half mile and decided to sprint the last quarter mile to come in just under 3 hours. I didn't ever feel like I was hitting a wall, the miles were relatively pain free, and if not for my stomach I feel like I could have gone a few more miles.  And, in honestly my stomach wasn't nearly as big of a deal as it was two weeks ago so I am counting this as a success.

Still smiling after 18 miles - cheesy thumbs up and all.
Proof I did it!

One thing I am not happy about - my splits were all over the darn place!  For my own reference I will list them here, feel free to skip over this part! :)

Next week is a cut-back week - my Saturday run will only be 16 miles, but its a 16 mile trail run, so its probably going to be harder than my 18 this weekend.  Crazy me - I signed up for this race purely because its a points race for the local track club.  I did the single loop last year, and have heard the 3 loop is really not that enjoyable, but here I am planning to run it next weekend!

My plan for this week is to focus on my nutrition - I haven't been eating the right things, and I am sure thats part of why my body is dragging.  Because I am so tired, its been easy to fall back on easy, quick foods and those typically aren't the healthiest foods.  This week, I am planning to have more homemade meals and hope that makes a difference for me.  Oh, and the diet pop - gotta cut down on that too (again, consumption has increased because I am just so exhausted).

Anyone have any miraculous solutions to combat the cravings for incredibly unhealthy food?  It's ridiculous!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Detroit International Half Race Recap

It all worked out quite conveniently - my daughter was out of school on Friday and Monday for fall break so we decided to make a long weekend out of this race trip.  We headed to Michigan Friday morning, after dropping the hubby and kids off at my in-laws house I headed down to the race expo to pick up my bib.

I honestly wasn't super impressed with the expo, there wasn't anything WRONG with it, just nothing that overly stuck out as worth my time.  It was a 30 minute drive and I hate Detroit traffic.  The exit my gps told me to get of at was closed so I had to back track and it was sort of a pain.  Add to that, waiting nearly 20 minutes to get into the parking structure and having to pay $8 to park for the less than hour I was there.  Not the best experience for me.  I did hate that you had to wind/snake your way through the expo to get to bib pick up.  That was probably the one thing I would change.  They had several booths giving away freebies: granola bars, sweet potato chips, lara bars, and my personal favorite -  coupons for free chocolate milk!

Before leaving I found a photo of the international crossing in the tunnel.  I had to take a photo because  I knew that I had no plans to stop and take a photo during the race.  I knew this would be my biggest challenge on race day.

There was one major hiccup - when we registered we gave our passport info to be "pre-cleared" to cross the border and also had to show our passports to pick up the bibs.  No where did they mention that we needed to carry our passport during the race.  Apparently this year there was a change in policy and it was highly recommended runners carry their passport in case they were stopped by customs crossing the border.

Many runners, myself included, were upset because they didn't want to carry and risk losing/ruining such an important document.  Luckily, I realized that my passport fit in the zipper pocket on the front of my running skirt - problem solved!  To keep it safe, I put it in a baggie and also pinned the bag inside the pocket, just for double security.  Honestly though, the biggest mistake is that it took them nearly 24 hours to send out an official email to runners to make them aware of the issue.

Race morning came and I still wasn't sure what to wear, it was predicted to be in the 40s at the start and get to 60s.  I had a new long sleeve shirt that I was dying to wear so I went with it - though by mile 2 I regretted that decision.   I headed to the start line about an hour before the race was to start, we were running late so I didn't have time to put on the KT tape to stabilize my ankle that I had rolled a few days prior.  After saying goodbye I squeezed my way into corral D and waited for my go-time.  Turns out that I somehow ended up going off with corral E - but it doesn't really matter either way.

Me and my Girl
It was dark at the start - the first few miles went by rather smoothly though it was very crowded - shoulder to shoulder.  I felt like my legs were running into other runners, because if was so packed it was a battle to make sure that I wasn't tripping over people's throw away clothes.  I knew the bridge was the first real landmark in the race, and it felt like it took FOREVER to get to the bridge, though honestly once we arrived I was wishing it was would be over.  The ramps/inclines to get on the bridge seemed to go on FOREVER, and once we were on the bridge, the incline still continued until about half way across.  I did manage to pull out the camera and snap a picture as I was running.  It was beautiful, the sun was just starting to come up as I crossed the bridge.  Somewhere before the bridge ended, we hit the 5k mark.

Mile 1: 9:24
Mile 2: 9:04
Mile 3: 9:21
Ambassador Bridge

Let's get this thing started!

I have to say, once we reached the top of the bridge, the climbing was all worth it - the view was beautiful and running in Canada was probably the best part of the race.  The spectators were out in full force and they were very supportive of the runners. The miles in Canada were my fastest of the race.  I felt strong and felt like I was running consistent and looking at my splits I was doing fantastic.
Mile 4: 8:48
Mile 5: 8:48
Mile 6: 8:49
Mile 7: 8:50

Then, it all changed... the tunnel... the darn tunnel, the underwater mile.  I knew it would be difficult for me, mostly because of my fear of being underwater.  What I didn't realize is that it would be physically difficult too - the first part of the tunnel was a nice decline (at its lowest point the tunnel is 75 feet below the surface of the water) however, even with the decline the crowding started to take its toll (and what goes down, must come back up).  It was hot and humid, the air was stale and I was struggling to get any air into my lungs.  It felt like I had a buffalo sitting on my chest - I couldn't get a good breath and I was getting light headed.  The worst part is that I had no clue what my pace was because the garmin drops out when you enter the tunnel.  I slowed down and tried to focus on breathing, the incline kept coming, I was so relieved to finally see the light at the end of the tunnel.  The cold air slapped me in the face as I exited the tunnel and I was never so glad to feel cold air in my life.
Just after the tunnel - I was suffering here

Not long after I re-entered the US I saw Tommy and the kids - it was SO nice to see them mid race, its not something I normally get to do.  I waved hello and kept putting one foot in front of the other.  It was getting hard and I knew I had to keep my head in the game.  I started to feel rumbling in my tummy so I decided to hit the next porta-potty for a bathroom break.  Miles 8 and 9 splits are off due to the tunnel - these also included my bathroom stop.
Mile 8: 10:12
Mile 9: 10:37

Somewhere around mile 9 I popped a jolly rancher to try to keep my sugar levels up - I was really starting to struggle but I refused to give up.  I don't honestly remember much of the last 4 miles - I was miserable and there was nothing left to look forward to except the finish line.  I had no clue where I was - I sluggishly followed the crowd, I could feel myself slowing down but I kept pushing on. There were several more short inclines - at this point every incline felt like a mountain.
Mile 10: 9:17
Mile 11: 9:15
Mile 12: 9:23

Mile 12 was where I felt the desire to give up and stop to walk.  I actually moved to the side several times with the intent of stopping.  I slowed down and every time I got to the sidelines I reminded myself how far I had come - I was so close to the end of the course.  I was so close to my goal of running the entire 13.1 miles - I would kick myself later if I stopped to walk.  I kept plugging - I kept closing my eyes imagining the finish line in front of me.  With my eyes closed, I couldn't see how far I still had to go.  Finally, the balloon arch was within reach - I had done it.  I pulled out as much of a "kick" as I could manage and pushed hard to get across the finish line.  I had secretly hoped for a sub-2:00 half, but knowing I had run the whole course made it easier to except when I missed that goal.
Mile 13: 9:20
Last .20: 1:19
     Official time: 2:02:37 (9:21 pace)
     Overall place: 2262 / 9557
     Gender place: 878 / 5983
     Age Group place: 154 / 843

This race wasn't a PR for me, not even close.  It was actually a minute slower than my first ever half marathon last year.  However, as I said, its the first time I have ever run every step of the race.  It was also my fastest half of the year (my others were 15+ minutes slower).  I went into this race knowing I wanted to push but not overdue it - I think I managed a good balance.  I think if it weren't for the tunnel and the crazy incline to get over the bridge I could have managed to break 2 hours. 

I had a good enough time running Detroit, but it honestly won't be on my "to-do" list again for a long time, if ever again.  The tunnel just about killed me and I really didn't enjoy the last 4-5 miles.  In addition, it was a royal pain in the butt to get out of down town after I was done running.  I guess its inevitable but the police out weren't helpful and I hated driving around in circles for 30-45 minutes! Although, the medal is pretty nice so it might lure me back again sometime....

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Marathon Monday - A Day Late

To state the obvious, this post is a day late and I don't honestly have much to say about my training this last week, but to keep myself accountable I am going to post this anyway.

Tuesday: 4 miles
Wednesday: 5 miles
Friday: 3.25 miles (cupcake classic virtual run with Natalie)
Sunday: 13.19 miles (Detroit Half - race recap to come)
    Total for the week: 25.44 miles

Some weeks there just isn't much joy in the run for me.  This was one of those weeks, but I got out there and got the miles in even when I really didn't want to.  Week 12 complete - starting week 13 today on tired legs!  It's getting so close - I am really scared I won't be able to finish this!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Race Recap: Run for Riley 5 mile

Sunday I ran the 6th annual Run for Riley.  This race was founded by a local runner and benefits Riley Children's Hospital.  Riley is the only comprehensive children's hospital in the state of Indiana, they treat childhood cancer, heart disease, diabetes and also  houses the worlds largest autism center.  I forget the exact dollar amount, but I think they have raised over $70,000 for the children's hospital - which is fantastic!

To say I was dreading this race might be an understatement.  I signed up because it was for a good cause and it was a points race for our local track club.  But the way my training fell, this race came the day after a 16 mile run.  For some more experienced runners that might not be a big deal, but I really wanted my rest day.  Somehow though, despite the rain forecast and the terrible wind I managed to get myself to the start line.  What got me to the start line?  Well, the promise of free frozen yogurt of course!  

I was expecting the worst of the course based what I had heard from other runners about the past years.  Honestly, it wasn't the most exciting run, but it was pretty close to home which is neat, and I got to run on roads that I have always wanted to but been too afraid to run on due to traffic, so that was a win.  

I didn't have any real goals for this race, I knew I would like to finish in less than 50 minutes.  Outside of that I knew I didn't want to push too hard since the goal right now is to get to Memphis injury free.   I started out semi-close to the front since it there were no mats to start our chips, but tried to make sure my pace was maintainable.  Since I have done so many races, I know my competition.. it took all the mental toughness I had to let them go - there will be more races in the future.  

Instead, after about a quarter to half mile I fell in beside a friendly face.  I ran with Gail during my Fort4Fitness recovery run a couple weeks ago, she is a wealth of running (and life) knowledge.  I asked her what her planned pace was and when she responded I was relieved to hear her answer.  I forget the exact numbers now, but she wanted to average under 8:30 min per mile.  I knew this would be a challenging pace, but not crazy hard.  I asked her if it was okay to fall in beside her and run with her as long as possible - thankfully she obliged!  

Honestly, that made the race a thousand times better for me.  I had someone there to keep pushing me when I wanted to give up, someone to reign me in when I was pushing too hard, and someone to carry on a conversation with when I could breathe.  Towards the end I told her I was having "catch syndrome" - I saw someone ahead that I wanted to beat and they were pulling me to run too fast.  She told me to slow down, wait til the end, and then push it....   She was completely right, and I HAD it... I just let my mental toughness crumple for a minute.  Next time, my legs will keep moving no matter what.  Tommy missed my finish for the first time ever - cursed bathroom breaks!   I guess it was for the better, they missed my "near-tossing" episode that cost me at least 10-15 seconds and my sub 42. 

Borrowed from the FWTC facebook page

Not that it matters, because like I said, this race wasn't about winning but I managed to take 3rd in my age group, here are the "official stats."
    Official time: 42:10.6  (official pace: 8:26, garmin pace: 8:22)
    age group place: 3 / 13
    Overall place:  88 / 271
    Splits:  mile 1 - 8:17
               mile 2 - 8:22
               mile 3 - 8:26
               mile 4 - 8:26
               mile 5 - 8:26

Not all races are going to be like this one, typically I push for a PR or to finish on top.  But Sunday I was so thankful for the opportunity to run with and learn from Gail.  She is a fountain of knowledge, seriously.  She saw me struggling after the race with my quad/hip and she asked if I knew what stretch to do to help.  When I said no, she pulled me to the side and gave me some pointers and they really helped.  Runners can be such amazing, generous and giving people and it still amazes me sometimes.  

And, the perfect end to a great day... free celebratory frozen yogurt.  Our local fro-yo joint offered free frozen yogurt to anyone who ran/walked the race on Sunday! 


Marathon Monday: Back on Track

If you will remember from my last marathon Monday post, I struggled with some hip/upper leg pain during my last long run.  I was sure it was bursitis based on everything I had read, but now I am not so sure.  I am thinking it may just be something with the IT band and the quads - I have been using the stick and stretching and it seems to be helping - hooray!  Week 11 of my 18 week training plan is complete.

Tuesday: 4 miles
Wednesday: 2 miles
Thursday: 2.25 miles (plus I swam for 25 minutes)
Saturday: 16 miles
Sunday: 5 mile race (recap tomorrow!)
      Total for the week: 29.25 miles

I deviated from the schedule some this week, I should have had two 4 mile runs and my long run was supposed to be on Thursday.  I decided to switch my long run back to Saturday after the hip issue last weekend - I wanted to give myself a bit more time to heal, plus I can only get two hours of childcare during the week so I wasn't sure what to do with Daniel.  And then a stomach cramp mid run Wednesday kept me from completing 4 miles.  But, overall I got the miles in.  So, its a success!

Besides the hip pain last week, the 16 mile run was glorious.  This weeks long run was miserable to say the least.  I had to stop at the bathroom only 4.5 miles in, by 6-7 miles in I was dragging, I had nothing left in the tank to keep my body moving.  So, I tried to take fuel and that caused more stomach issues.  By mile 9.5 I was struggling with being light headed.  I pushed on though, trying to balance getting enough fuel to keep conscious  while minimizing the stomach issues. Then, the actual stomach cramps started at around mile 13.  By mile 14 I was walking, I ended up walking most of those last 2 miles.  But I finished and on a day where my body was so adamant it didn't want to do the miles, that is a big fat WIN.  Just for fun, lets check out the splits shall we?

Mile 1:       10:01
Mile 2:       9:49
Mile 3:       9:44
Mile 4:       9:51
Mile 5:       9:52
Mile 6:       9:53
Mile 7:       9:42
Mile 8:       10:11
Mile 9:       9:52
Mile 10:     9:42
Mile 11:     9:48
Mile 12:     10:56 (this is where the struggling really started)
Mile 13:     11:42
Mile 14:     11:32
Mile 15:     14:47
Mile 16:     13:14

Anyone else have as many stomach problems as I do?  It seems like even WATER causes problems anymore.  I have NO CLUE how I am going to run a marathon in 6-7 weeks if I can't get this figured out! :( Any suggestions?  I have tried sports drinks, gummys, jelly beans, gu, chomps, and powerbar energy blasts. I used chocolate #9 with some success, but I can't buy that locally and honestly it still caused problems.  HELP! 

Friday, October 12, 2012

Fundraising Friday!

I reached my "minimum fundraising goal" yesterday thanks to the generosity of my family and friends, and even some complete strangers.  A huge THANK YOU.

However, because cancer doesn't give up - I won't either.  I am on a mission to raise even more!  

St Jude Heroes is holding a fundraising contest that ends today - the 3 heroes with the most donations will win a giftcard to Dick's Sporting Goods.  Any of you who run know how expensive running shoes can be, and I will need one more pair before the marathon - that gift card would really help me out!

Not to mention, any donations you make go to help the kids of St Jude!  All it takes is a $1 donation (its not the dollar amount of donations, but the NUMBER of donations).  If I am a top fundraiser, I will be doing a giftcard giveaway and anyone who donates today will be eligible to win!

St Jude is such an amazing charity and I every dollar really can help change their lives.  Can you spare $1 or $2?  It's less than a cup of your favorite coffee, and it really can save these kids' lives.

To donate, please visit my heroes page.

If you share this post via facebook or twitter it will earn you an extra entry for the giveaway if I win!  So please comment so I know you have shared!

And, last but not least - I am trying to clear out my inventory of bondi-bands.  If I don't sell these I have to mail them back out of my pocket.  I would much rather sell and make money for St Jude... so please, take a look and let me know if you see anything you like.  I am holding a "Friday Flash Sale" - all bands are $5 a piece and only $1 to ship up to 5 bands!

Please check my inventory here and let me know which ones you would like!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Marathon Monday

Again, not much on my mind - what can I say, I am a terrible blogger.

Tuesday:  3.5 miles
Wednesday: 7 miles
Thursday:  4.01 miles
Saturday:  16.02 miles (PDR)
    Total for the week: 30.53 miles

I was terribly nervous for my long run this week. I have never gone over the half marathon distance and for some reason anything beyond that is all "too far" - be it 14, 16, 20, or 26.2 miles.  Crazy enough, in my mind I felt like "if I can do 16 - I can do a marathon."  Now that I have done 16 I realize that was a stupid way of thinking and I am still super nervous.  I am also having some hip/leg issues... I think its either bursitis or a tight IT band.

As far as my long run, it was my first attempt in a while to figure out fueling of some sort.  I ate 4 jelly beans at mile 6 and by mile 8 I had to make a pit stop at the bathroom.  I ate them two other times just to test it out  and it didn't go well - seemed to give me stomach cramps.   I am starting to think I may have to just going into the marathon knowing my stomach will be an issue and eating just enough to get through - timing my fuel around the potties on the course.  So frustrating, but I won't let it stop me.

My running felt good until mile 12 when my hip started bothering me.  I stopped to stretch it out some and attempted to run again, and it was still bothering me.  I stupidly kept running because darn it this 16 was hugely mental for me and if I had failed it would have been a huge hit to my training. I did try to keep it to an annoyance more than a pain.  However, still today its bothering me.  Its weird I notice it more sitting then standing - its like a tightness/numbness in the quad and down the leg to the knee which leads me to the whole IT band thing.  Either way I am taking it easy and stretching lots - hoping its better by tomorrow, if not it may be time to go see a doc!

Anyone else experience any hip issues?  What were they and how did they resolve? :)

P.S.  St. Jude is holding a fundraising contest this week, I would LOVE to be one of the top 3 this week - the prize is a gift certificate to Dick's and I could really use another pair of shoes!  How can you help?  I need as many donations as possible.  Amount doesn't matter, its based on the NUMBER of donations, so even $1 donations help greatly!  If you can help, please donate here.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Race Recap, Double-Header Style

Maybe the title isn't 100% accurate, but I was struggling to come up with a clever title so you are stuck with my corny attempt.  Last year, the Fort4Fitness half was my first half marathon and I ran a very solid time of 2:01 and change.  As weird as it sounds, I knew running that same course slower than last year would be a huge mental/emotional roadblock for me in my marathon training so I decided to forgo the half and sign up for two of the other events instead.

We were downtown about 6:30 for the 7:30 am start of the 4 mile race.  I lined up in corral C and waited for the start - it was very chilly (40s) but perfect running weather if you ask me!  They start the race with a canon and we were off.  My only real complaint was trying to squeeze through the "start arch" they had set up - it was significantly narrower than the road we were lined up on.  I didn't have any goals for this race, I was running it in conjunction with the later race more as a way to get my training miles in than anything.

That being said, I started out a bit faster than I intended, not a "fast" pace but faster than the 9-10 minute miles I had figured I would run. Being that I was in a front corral, there wasn't a whole lot of weaving after the first few minutes.  I was passing people pretty much constantly - as mile two clicked off  I decided I was going to hold onto the speed as long as I could.

By mile 3 I was tired but I told myself I was half done to suck it up and keep running.  So, I pushed harder.  As I neared the end of the race, I recognized the course from my half last year.  I remembered falling apart that last half mile and how it cost me my sub 2:00 half marathon.  I put that frustration and anger into my running and picked up the pace even more.

As I entered the stadium and saw the finish line I decided to put it all out there, which is very difficult given the surface - I find it very difficult to get traction and felt my feet slip with nearly every step.  I crossed the finish line proud of myself for leaving it all on the course the last two miles.

Mile 1: 8:15
Mile 2: 7:59
Mile 3: 7:55
Mile 4: 7:27
Last .1:   27 seconds if my math is correct*
      Official Time: 32:03
      Age Group Finish: 4 out of 244
      Gender Finish: 21 out of 2158
      Overall Finish: 96 out of 3196

      *I forgot to stop my garmin, so I subtracted miles 1-4 from official time

The downside to all of this is I came in 4th in my age group.  Now, don't get me wrong, fourth is FANTASTIC, but I was so close to 3rd and if I had any clue I had a chance at placing I know I could have run the first two miles faster and probably taken 2nd or 3rd place. There were only 14 seconds between myself and 2nd place!  Ah well, next time!  I also won't look up race results online between races if I do this again - sort of psyched me out for the next one.

I ran to my van and switched shirts and bibs to get ready for the 10k that was to take place at 9 am.  One last visit to the port-a-potty and I got into corral D to prepare myself mentally for the next "race."  Again, this wasn't meant to be a race, more so just miles.  I actually lined up at the back of corral D hoping to run this a bit more conservatively.

Again, we started with a canon and we were off through the crowded "arch" - I said good luck to a friend and started on my way.  I am terrible with remembering specifics from the course, but somewhere in the first mile there was a large, very encouraging group of individuals from a charity raising money for Congo.  They played music and cheered on the runners.  I believe also in the first mile or so was a clown juggling plungers - yes, toilet plungers.  

Other than that I don't remember much, the 1.25 or so miles and the last 2 miles were the same course I had run earlier for the 4 mile.  This was both a blessing and a curse.  On one hand, it was hard to not having something new to look at to keep my mind off the miles but on the other it was nice to know exactly how far I had left to go!

One other "highlight" of this race (as well as the 4 mile) - towards the end, about 1.5 to 1 mile before the end there was a great neighborhood that decorated the streets with paint, had tons of people out cheering, people dressed up, and even beer shots (not that I took any).  It was nice to have that encouragement towards the end.   That's about it... for my reference, splits are as follows:

Mile 1: 9:06
Mile 2: 8:54
Mile 3: 8:49
Mile 4: 8:46
Mile 5: 8:52 (curse you, I was so close to having negative splits for both races)
Mile 6: 8:33
Last .32: 2:10 (again, assuming my math is correct)  *course measured a bit long again
   Official Time: 55:12
   Age Group: 14 out of 183
   Gender: 81 out of 1216
   Overall: 269 out of 1801

Up next, a 16 miler on the schedule for this weekend.. I am TERRIFIED!  Any pointers on how to make it a successful run?

Monday, October 1, 2012

Marathon Monday:

I am excited to say that I have officially finished half of my marathon training - week 9 went much smoother than I anticipated.  I am still nursing some soreness in the lat area of my back but nothing that I can't deal with.  But, I got all the scheduled runs in plus some so I am happy about that!

Monday: 0.4 mile with Natalie
Tuesday: 3 miles + 1 mile with Natalie
Wednesday: 7 miles + 1 mile with Natalie
Thursday: 4 miles
Friday: 1.27 miles (with Natalie, final leg of her kids marathon)
Saturday: 4.1 miles (race) + 6.32 miles (race)
Sunday: 4.14 miles
  Total for the Week: 32.23 miles (new high)
  Total for the Month: 120 miles!  (new high)

I don't have much time to go into detail right now so this is all for now, will try to post about the races (which I used as my long run for the week) tomorrow.

How was your weekend?  Any new milestones in your training?

Monday, September 24, 2012

Marathon Monday

This week started out according to plan, I was logging my necessary miles plus a few extra with my daughter as she runs to complete her kids marathon.  (Mommy note:  I can't wait until Friday to run the final 1.2 miles with her and watch her receive the medal!)  Then Thursday I had a case of "don't wannas" and I guess I should have listened to them because I ended up injured as a result of my run that day.  I managed to strain my latissimus dorsi  - LOVELY.  I couldn't stand up straight for nearly two days! I was determined to not let it derail my training too far though.

Tuesday: 3 miles with the BOB plus 1 with Natalie
Wednesday: 6 miles plus 1.72 with Natalie
Thursday: 4 miles with the BOB (should have been 35 tempo but I wasn't feeling it so I ran 4 miles "easy")
Sunday: 10.03  miles in 3 separate runs (13 scheduled)
   Total for the week: 25.75

The "long run" Sunday was split into shorter distances.  The first run was 1.5 miles and I stopped due to pain my back.  Later in the day I decided to give it another shot and run with my daughter as long as my back and her legs would allow - we made it 3.5 miles before she pooped out (a distance record for her). Then after dinner I decided I wanted to try a few more miles so I set out to run what I could - ended up with a 5 miler.  Not the 13 I had scheduled but I will take it given the injury.

This injury has really affected me mentally.  I am trying to push past it, but its a struggle.  All I have wanted to do since it happened is eat.  I know its the past "fat girl" pushing her way back in.  In the past I have always used food as a coping mechanism.  I am trying hard to push her out of my head, but I have to admit I haven't done well so far.  So in addition to coping with the injury I may gain 10-15 pounds! :(  

I try to keep reminding myself that my time doesn't really matter in December, but the truth is I do have a time goal in mind and I really hope to hit it.  I worry if my training is derailed too far I won't be able to meet my time goal.  On the other hand, I do have faith that I could finish the 26.2 miles.  It may be me being cocky, but I would like to think that I could complete 26.2 miles tomorrow if I had to - it would just involve more walking than I desire. So, I just keep saying, "You are completing 26.2 miles for those who can't...." and your time doesn't matter. 

As far as how I am dealing physically, I have muscle relaxers and vicodin but I haven't been taking them much.  I can mostly stand up straight.  When I am fatigued, though, I still lean a bit to one side.  I am wearing an ace bandage around my rib cage supporting the lat muscle as best as possible.  It seems to help so I will keep doing that until I feel better.  I am also using the heating pad quite frequently.  

I am still debating my plans for this week, per the schedule I should have 3 runs during the week: 3, 7, and 4 milers.  Then I have two races on the schedule Saturday for a total of 10 miles.  I am debating not running the scheduled runs this week to rest up for the races on Saturday (which I don't plan to race, I just want to complete without pain).  However, there is a part of me that is tied to the schedule - I HATE not doing what I am supposed to.  Only time will tell I suppose... 

Any exciting racing going on this weekend?  Any tips on getting this muscle healed quicker?? 

Friday, September 21, 2012


My marathon training must have been going too well, I was getting the miles and and not feeling too worn out or any real pains beyond a few aches.  Then yesterday happened.

I was dreading going out for a run, no real aches or pains just wasn't feeling it.  I quieted the voice in my head telling myself not to be lazy and just get out there and run.  It was supposed to be a 35 minute tempo run but since I wasn't feeling well I decided to just go out with the jogging stroller and see where I ended up. About 3 miles in I decided I wanted to run another mile and call it quits.

Then it happened, at around 3.5 miles I noticed a pain in my upper back just below my shoulder blades.  I assumed it was just fatigue from pushing the stroller since it had been a few days.  I pushed on, the pain got worse but I just kept running.  Stupid decision maybe, but I figured it was minor and that it would teach me to push through the pain come race day.

I got home and took tylenol, then a few hours later some ibuprofen, all the while sitting on my heating pad.  It got so bad that I couldn't move at all without excruciating pain.  I knew I needed to go to the doctor and get something for the pain but I had pictures to do first.

Yes, in excruciating pain I showered, got dressed, put on makeup, bathed two kids and got them dressed.  I put them and the two dogs in the car and headed for pictures knowing full well I couldn't stand up straight and wanted to just burst into tears.  You see, these photos were supposed to be done in JULY and we have had to reschedule just shy of a million times so I wasn't about to cancel.

My hair wasn't done and neither was Natalie's (I did manage to run a brush through both and throw a few clips in hers) but I am hoping that we got at least something decent to use in Christmas cards this year.  The poses had to be worked around my limited range of movement and I pray that my smile masks how much pain I was in.

Anyway, back on topic... my back was on fire so we headed to the local urgent care clinic.  I checked in and when they told me it was an hour wait I lost it, tears streamed down my face.  An hour or so later came the diagnosis of a strained lat.  I got a steroid shot, muscle relaxers, and vicodin and they sent me on my way.  I am hoping the pain passes quickly so I can get back to running but for now my training is derailed!  The crappy thing is I can't even really cross train because it hurts to breathe or move at all.

Hope that everyone else is having a better Friday!  Any exciting plans?  Fill me in so I can live vicariously through you from the comfort of my recliner!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Marathon Monday

I just completed week number 7 of my marathon training... in 11 "short" weeks I will be running a marathon - WHAT HAVE I GOTTEN MYSELF INTO?!?  There are times when incredible self doubt creeps in and this weekend was one of those times.  My long run was not an easy one and it left me wondering how I could possibly double that distance in 11 weeks!

Tuesday:  6.01 miles with the BOB plus 1 with Natalie
Wednesday: 3 miles with the BOB plus 1.72 with Natalie
Thursday: 3 miles (hills)
Saturday: 12 miles
   Total for the week: 26.73 - a new personal record for weekly distance!

A couple notes about my training this week:
  1.  Tuesday was my longest run to date with the BOB and I would be lying if I said it wasn't really hard.
  2.  I ran negative splits with the BOB: 8:48, 8:30, and 8:00.  That third mile split marks what I believe is my fastest mile to date with the BOB.
  3.  Hill workout details: 5 min @ 1%, 1 min each @ 4, 5, and 6%, 2 min @ 1%, 1 min each @ 6, 7, and 8%,  2 min @ 1%, 1 min each @ 6, 7, and 8%, 2 min @ 1%, 1 min each @ 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8%, 5 min @ 1%
  4. My long run was a disaster, not that my pace shows it - 1:49:38 or an average pace of 9:08.  However, I stopped my watch several times due to problems.  Once at the end of mile 6 due to a bathroom break, at the end of mile 9 due to needing to fuel (was woozy and seeing double), and then again once more for sharp pain in my shoulder around mile 10.5.    Its frustrating that it was such a struggle but I have to remember that every run that I complete is a success.  The hard runs really do make me a stronger runner.

Tell me, how is your training going?  What are you training for?

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Race Recap: Defenders Dash 11k

Saturday was a day of firsts for me: I ran a mile warm up before my 11k this morning.  I have never run a warm up of any significant distance before a race.   And then I followed the race up with a mile cool-down.  If only I had stretched, I could call myself a serious athlete.

When I was planning out my marathon training, this week called for a 5k or 10k.   Last year, I ran the Defender Dash 5k, this year they offered an 11k.  I decided it would fit perfectly into my training schedule.   I love this race because its a "race to honor" those who defend and protect (be it military, police, etc).  Being that my dad served in the ARMY, I find it really important to show those who serve and protect how much we appreciate what they do.

The line up was kind of tricky, the 5k and 11k went off at the same time but we were lined up behind the 5kers.  They told us that we would get a seperate horn for our start but that it would be at the same time as the 5k.  Unfortunately, the horn didn't go off as it should have for us so I stort of "stuttered" my start... this will be important later.

Waving to Natalie as she cheers me on!
I started off strong, but tried to remind myself this wasn't a 5k.  It is always easy to get caught up in the excitement of the race and go out too strong.  I felt confident though, and I didn't feel like I was going too fast.  Then I saw my mile 1 split and I knew I had to slow down.  Miles 2 and 3 rolled on by, I was loving my position in the race and I just couldn't seem to bring the pace down.  I was running with/slightly behind a group of 4-5 guys, and there were 3-4 people in front of them and then there was me - so I was holding about 10th place and I was the second female.

Mile 1: 8:02
Mile 2: 7:54
Mile 3: 8:04

Then it hit me, my stomach was revolting against me.  I kind of predicted this before the race, I just knew when I woke up my stomach wasn't going to be kind.  Despite the Immodium my stomach was cramping and I wasn't sure I was going to make it.  Miles 4 and 5 were a combination of me pushing myself as hard as I could for as long as I could and then walking to cope with cramps.  I knew I was falling behind the leaders, but at this point I was still in about 10th place and the second place female.... I was confident that I could hold onto that.

Mile 4: 8:52
Mile 5: 8:51

Then mile 6 hit and I truly for the first time ever in my running career was searching for grass tall enough that I could duck off the course.   I suppose I should be embarassed to admit that, but I think it speaks volumes for how badly I was suffering.  And, it makes me proud to know that I pushed through it and finished the race, even if the last 1.85 miles required much more walking than I was okay with.  Even if I watched not one or two, but four women plus one guy pass me in the last mile or so.  I crossed the finish line and that was a huge victory given the circumstances!

Mile 6: 9:54
Mile 6.85: 8:21 (9:50 pace)

Garmin Time: 59:59 - thats my story and I am sticking to it!
Official time: 1:00.01.9 - this was gun time (remember that "stutter start"... it cost me)

"Finishers Medal"

My age group "coin" for 1st place
Overall: 16/ 42
**First in age group**

The truth is I wasn't sure what to expect.  I ran 13.1 miles the weekend before and I just wasn't feeling in the groove of the race.  I allowed myself to set an "easy goal" of wanting to finish in 1:10 or less, but I knew I really wanted to finish in under an hour.    I missed that goal unfortunately, but I know on that day I gave it everything I had and I couldn't have done much better.   When you nearly "toss your cookies" on the person cutting the timing chip off your shoe you know finished with everything you had...

I wish I could have done better, and in hindsight I do wonder if I had gone out slightly slower those first miles if I couldn't have done a bit better over all.  However, you can't redo a race.. just hope to learn something from this one and move forward!

Would I recommend this race?  ABSOLUTELY!  And here's why.. 
  - awesome race swag: NICE reusable back sack, Ellison cookies (a full pack, from a local bakery and they are YUMMY), "finishers medal" for 11k, nice tech tee (though I doubt that is a womens cut, which they advertised!), age group awards 3 deep in both races
  - well organized, all the volunteers were nice and very encouraging
  - love finishing under the American flag
  - money goes to a great cause
  - its a "challenging" course for the area, you don't get many chances to run hills around here (215 ft gained over 7 miles... pathetic to most of you, but for us Hoosier... challenging!)
  - great post race spread: TONS of water, gatorade, oranges, apples, bananas and granola bars