Saturday, November 24, 2012

A stomach bug, 5K, & another stomach bug

At some point after my last post, little miss Kaylee and Nick came down with a nasty stomach bug. Once we survived the stomach bug, it seemed Kaylee and Emily then had a nasty head/chest cold. Lots of coughing at night and such. Anyway, to make a long story short, we got through the week mostly recovered and just in time for the 5K I had been planning to run.

It's sort of great 5K, in an old school, no timing chips, no frills, small, and fast accurate course kind of way. Though they did manage to lose my friend, AM's, results. Hopefully they fixed that issue (because that's not cool). My high goal for the day was to break my old college PR of 18:24. Looking through my workouts, it seemed like a reasonably good stretch goal. The plan was to go out at 5:50-5:55 pace and then hang on. I crossed mile 1 at 5:58, and just couldn't seem to get my legs moving any faster. I was a little disappointed when I saw my time, because I knew I wasn't going to be able to better that first mile time in the second or third mile. I just wasn't feeling it. So I changed gears. I figured I could still break 19 if I could hang tough. Mile 2 was 6:02. And so there was just that measly 1.1 miles to go. It's funny how the last mile in just about any race can feel so long. By this point, I was uncomfortable, but starting to feel more relaxed and in a zone. My last mile was 5:59, and the last 0.1 was 5:35 pace.

Race Breakdown:
Mile 1: 5:58 (Ave HR = 168)
Mile 2: 6:02 (Ave HR = 175)
Mile 3: 5:59 (Ave HR = 170)
Last .1: 5:35 (Ave HR = 170)
Official 5K time = 18:34

Though I feel like I just wasn't quite right for the race, I'm very pleased with my time, and had a great time with AM. We got to warm up and cool down together, and hopefully we'll get do to some winter half training together too!

My general plan was to run this 5K, then a 10K on Thanksgiving. I've only ever run one 10K and it was some time ago. I was hoping for a solid PR, but alas it was not meant to be. Several hours after the 5K, I started vomiting. I'd say I caught Kaylee's stomach bug, but it seems odd that I would have caught it a whole week was definitely some kind of stomach bug though. It was a good 30 hours or so before I could eat anything solid. And even now that it's been an additional couple of days, I still can't seem to choke down coffee, which is so sad because I love coffee. Anyway, I think I'm taking the rest of week off from running, and then hopefully beginning half marathon training. :)

Besides all the vomiting and running there was Thanksgiving! We had family over our place and it was a great day. Very relaxed. And then Friday we decorated our Christmas tree! Decorating the tree became a tradition of ours before the kids were born. We don't like to shop, and it seems there's nothing to do the Friday after Thanksgiving that isn't completely mobbed, so we thought staying home and decorating the tree would be nice. It is really nice. We decorated the tree, made cookies, and the kids just played.

Here I am being a goofball. ;)

And here's our tree.

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

How much is mental (and some other stuff)

How much is Mental?

Recently I read this interesting marathon RP by an ultra marathoner named Alicia. She ran a 3:16:19 marathon PR after reading her friend's race report, where her friend, Tracy, ran 3:16:20. This was a significant PR for her. Alicia questions how much of running must be mental. I mean why 3:16:19? Her previous PR was 3:28. I find it interesting because I've been thinking about how people women in my own age group seem to be getting faster and faster. I feel like I find a new blog everyday where someone near my age is running what I consider really freaking fast for "normal" people. I've been thinking about how much I've improved over the last couple years. Why have I improved? Yes, of course, we're all running harder and further and as result we tend to get faster, but how did I get the idea that I could? A few years ago, I was absolutely convinced that my "fast" days were over. There was no way I could ever, ever, come close to my college 5K PR (18:24). At the time, I couldn't break 20:00, which I was okay with. I mean 20:xx is still fast at the local races, and so I had come to terms with the fact that I was getting slower.

Then I met AM. She was getting faster. And faster. We ran together a few times, and I mentioned that I'd never be as fast as I once was. She said, "Why not?" And I listed several very logical reasons. As time has past, I've watched her get faster and faster, but not just her. I've followed a number of other blogs, where ladies are just getting faster. If not in the marathon distance, then the half, or the 5K. And though I didn't consciously think about it, I think I must have started to believe that if these other people could do it (get faster), then so could I. I mean really, where did I get a 7:20 marathon goal pace from? Looking back on it, I think it must have been from AM. Her goal pace in 2011 was 7:20. Don't get me wrong, I trained hard, but I don't think the idea of running a faster marathon would have occurred to me if I hadn't been reading so many other marathon stories.

So what the heck is my point? Do I think running is completely mental? No, not by any means. Running is hard, and besides having to work hard at it, there is a certain amount of potential that goes along with it. What I'm writing (I think) is that with all the fellow runner bloggers out there writing about their experiences, we see more and more "normal" people pushing the envelope of their running potential. Think about it, how many regular people ran marathons 20 years ago? I have no idea where to find those statistics, but when I was growing up I never heard of anyone running marathons. The thought didn't occur to me until a college friend decided to run one. Now my kids think it's typical to go for a 20 miler.

It doesn't matter how fast you're running compared to other people, but think about how far you've come since you started. Who gave you that idea? I am fairly certain that I've gotten those ideas from a number of you. At times, I find blogging cumbersome. There's life to be lived. Splits to run. Chores to do. Kids to play with. But at the same time being able to reach out into the virtual world and see so many others' running stories makes me a better runner. So, thank you for sharing your stories...

On Recovering:

It's been about 2.5 weeks since the marathon. It seems like a lot longer than that. Anyway, the week directly following the marathon I only ran 16 miles. While I noticed the intensity of my soreness was less than in past marathons, the duration seemed to last a bit longer. For example, I generally get so sore that walking down the stairs backwards really helps. Once I actually had to scoot down the stairs on my butt for a couple days. You could say that the days following the race tell me I ran as fast as I could have. This time I didn't get that sore but I was still a bit sore by the next weekend, which hasn't happened before either.

Last week, I was back to speed training. There's a 5K I want to race in a 1.5 weeks, so while I'm "recovering", I'm also running really really hard. I ran 45 miles last week, and felt good about that. I'm not sure what will happen this week. I just went to a podiatrist today to get an ingrown toenail cut out. Right now I'm having trouble walking because I can't feel my stupid toe. I asked him for some advice regarding the general state of my traumatized toes. He said "yeah, stop running." I think he was being funny. At least that's what I'm telling myself. Anyway, my toenail issues had nothing to do with the marathon, but I guess it's probably caused by my running in general. As the doctor said "running can cause trauma." You said it doc! I'm totally traumatized when I can't run! Oh wait, you meant actual running...

So, I'm sort of recovered. Recovered from the race, but now recovering from having my toe sliced open.

Lingering Training Thoughts:

Some of the comments to my last post, as well as finding more running blogs (of typical runners, not elite) had me thinking a bit more about training. Michelle asked about long run pace, which is something I struggle with. I usually want to run faster. It's a mental thing. If I did 20 miles at 7:30 pace, then it stands to reason I can do 26.2 at 7:30 pace (or really close to it). Except that didn't happen for me at Providence in May. In 2011, the average pace of my long runs were 7:47 pace (two 20 milers and one 22 miler), and I still ran slower than 7:47 pace on race day. Arguably, maybe I just had a bad day. For both races. Or maybe race pace long runs aren't a method in which I can expect to achieve optimal performance. What has been striking a chord with me recently is how different we all are when it comes to what works for training. I've run into a few blogs of people that run 35-40 miles a week and are in the 3:20 range for a marathon time! I've already written about how that didn't work very well for me.

Raina mentioned that Pfizinger (super famous runner/coach) suggests 10%-20% below your goal pace for long runs. I did out my averages and I was about 6%-10% below my goal pace for my long runs during this last training cycle. I feel fairly comfortable with that. My long runs were always on the last day of a build week, so my legs were never fresh, and my long run course is hilly. But I am not sure that anything much slower than 10% would work for me. I can't say for certain, because I haven't tried it, but I have a feeling 20% is way too slow for me. As it is, the average heart rate for my long runs was about 136. If I were running 20% slower, I imagine my HR might barely be in the 130 range. Raina also mentioned running the second half of the long run faster than the first half. I didn't mention that previously, but that's how I run my long runs. I run the first half very easy, and the second half harder. The last couple miles were usually slightly faster than MP.

Then AM mentioned running 16 miles really hard versus 24 miles really slow. And I've seen this in other places too. There are some training plans that don't go over 16 miles. Here's the deal though, that might be an awesome training technique for some runners, but I know that I can run 16-18 miles really hard, and I'm pretty sure if I trained like that and didn't run 20 milers I would surely hit a brick wall during my marathon. In fact, I think I need longer than 20 milers in my training plan.

The point is there are so many different training possibilities, and what works for one runner doesn't necessarily work for another. And the implication of one training plan over another becomes more important as we get faster and closer to our potential.

One last training thought. Pam asked about my treadmill running. I really haven't mentioned this, but almost all my hard running is done on the treadmill. I wouldn't say that TM running is ideal, but I do believe it has helped me stay injury free. I did all my MP runs on the TM with no incline. I haven't been using an incline because I was having issues with Achilles Tendinitis, and the incline seemed to exacerbate my issues.

Feel free to share your long run thoughts. I love to hear what works for other people, and I'm still all over the map with how I feel about my long runs and how I should be running them.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Marathon Training

This post is more for me than anything. Hopefully you don't find it incredibly boring. I use daily mile to track my miles and workouts, but I don't keep a running journal. I don't have a method of easily reviewing my past marathon training cycles, so I'm trying to do that here. That way, I can refer back to this post when I plan out my training for Boston, which has to get done soon...

Past Marathon Training Summaries:

Marathon 1:
Peaked at 40 running miles a week. All my running was easy (10:00 - 11:00 pace) with the running stroller. I only did 3 "long" runs: a 14 miler, 16 miler, and 18.5 miler. I did do a lot of intense cross training with the bike and row machine. For the time each week I spent running, I spent more time cross training, but I was nervous about injuries. I was hoping that the cross training would help my time. I had no illusions of grandeur here though. At that time, my current 5K yielded a predicted time of 3:35 for the marathon, but I knew that I had not trained properly. I was also lucky to even get to the start line, as I had pneumonia a few weeks prior. Marathon time = 3:51.

Marathon 2:
Peaked at 35 running miles a week. All running was hard. I did four 20 milers (8:45 pace, 8:15 pace, 8:00 pace and 7:47 pace). I also did a lot of intense cross training. Again, for the each week I spent running, I spent more time cross training. I did have illusions of grandeur for this race. My recent half marathon had predicted a 3:18 marathon, and having run some really good long runs, I thought a 3:20 was doable. I feel silly now for thinking that. 35 miles a week just isn't enough (for me) even with cross training, but again I was nervous about becoming injured. By race day, I was both sick and injured. Marathon time = 4:15. Side note: I don't think all hard running works for me. This was similar to the FIRST program, where you run three days a week and cross train other days. I felt awful all the time.

Marathon 3:
Peaked at 55 running miles a week. By this time, I figured I needed to run more. Almost all running was easy besides MP runs. I did a 20 miler, 22 miler, 24 miler, and another 20 miler. Most of my long runs were around 8:25 pace, while my MP runs were around 8:00 pace. By the end of this cycle, my IT band was bothering me. I had to take a week off. By race day, I was really sick. Sick enough that I almost didn't run the race. This was just a tough training cycle because Emily was only 8 months old and a terrible sleeper. Marathon time = 3:40.

Marathon 4:
Peaked at 57 running miles a week. All running was easy besides MP runs and long runs. At this point, I was getting tired of marathon training, but I was irritated that I hadn't even come close to a 3:20 yet. I did two 20 milers and a 22 miler (all around 7:47 pace). I was injury free and healthy at the start line. Marathon time = 3:26.

Marathon 5:
Peaked at 49 running miles a week. I mixed hard and easy running. Now I was thinking that I needed to mix in some hard runs with my easy running, but I was nervous that hard running would get me injured, so I backed off the miles a bit. I did at least two hard runs a week (tempo and interval). I only did three 20 milers though. The fastest 20 miler was 7:30 pace and the other two were around 7:38 pace. It's around this time that I started getting faster all around. I ran a couple sub 19:00 5Ks and a 1:29 half. And with the 7:30 pace 20 miler I did, I thought I had a 3:15 marathon in me for sure. I was injury free and healthy at the start line. Marathon time = 3:22. This race made me realize I needed to run more miles, while still doing tempos and intervals. I know I did all the right workouts for this training cycle. I just didn't have the miles, and I think I need long runs that are longer than 20 miles too.

Marathon 6: My Most Recent Marathon Training Cycle

Here's where I decided to change my training strategy. I can't complain about my previous marathon times, but according to every race predictor I've found I should be able to run faster than I ever do. I use my most current race times, but I can't even come close to the predicted marathon time (and I don't have a lot of confidence that I can). I'm sure one reason is that I didn't train properly, but I also think I might have a "high rate of fatigue." I have read in "Lore of Running," that the race predictors use some form of equation that estimates your race time based on fatigue rate. If you have a higher rate of fatigue than the average runner, then the estimators aren't as accurate. What determines your fatigue rate? Well, according to "Lore of Running," it has something to do with brain chemistry and max VO2 scores. He goes into detail about it all, but honestly I didn't read it carefully. I was more interested in getting around the issue.

I assumed that I needed to run more miles. Hudson's "Run Faster," has a table that gives you a general feel for how many miles a week the average person needs to run to be a certain competitiveness level. My miles a week for my 5K and HM training matched up with his suggestion for a "competitive" runner. To be in that same category for the marathon, I'd have to run 60-70 miles a week, so that's what I aimed for. I also assumed that I needed to do two hard workouts a week (interval, tempo, or MP). And I'd need to actually run my long runs easy to reduce the risk of injury, but that was going to be difficult (for me). I usually wind up running my 20 milers at or faster than my race pace. To motivate myself to run easy long runs, I switched from running for distance to running for time. I also decided that I would attempt to do some form of MP run the day after my long runs. So when I was out there for a 3 hour run, and I had thoughts of running faster, I would first think, "it doesn't matter how fast I run, I still have to be out here for 3 hours" and then "I need to be able to run a MP run tomorrow."

This training cycle was a lot longer than my past cycles too. Usually, I consider my "marathon training" to be around 12 weeks. Any longer than 12 weeks requires patience (on my part), and I find that irritating. Too much training, not enough racing. This was also the most miles I've run during any training. In college, I often ran 55-65 miles a week, but I had never made it to 70 plus miles in a week before. It's funny though, then I was training for the 5K, and I thought marathoners were completely off their rockers. I assumed that if I was running 65 miles a week during 5K training, then I'd have to run something like 140 miles a week to train for a marathon. And that was crazy talk...well 140 miles a week is still crazy talk, but here I am a decade later thinking that 65 miles a week is a lot for marathon training. It's funny how time changes our outlook...

I've included a summary of my weekly training below. You'll probably notice that the first 4 weeks built up miles, then I backed off for a week. The rest of the training cycle alternated between a build week and back off week. This isn't typical, but I had hoped it would help me stay injury free. I think I might try something similar to this for Boston, but make my MP runs faster and include some TM incline for the last few miles of my MP runs. I don't think I want to increase my mileage. From what I've read, once you get to about 70 miles a week you should really start doing doubles. I hate doubles. Running twice a day just makes me miserable. Maybe at some point I'll try it again, but it's not going to work for me right now.

Week 1: 44 miles - Base building.
Week 2: 52 miles - Base building.
Week 3: 60 miles - Base building with both a tempo and interval workout.
Week 4: 66 miles - Long run on Sunday, 17.25 miles @ 8:34 pace (average HR 134).
Week 5: 60 miles - Monday was 10 miles @ 7:27 pace
Week 7: 71 miles - Sunday long run of 20 miles @ 8:18 pace (average HR 136)
Week 8: 64 miles - Monday was 10 miles @ 7:22 pace.
Week 9: 74 miles- Sunday long run of 22.15 miles @ 8:07 (average HR 136).
Week 10: 60 miles- Monday was 10 miles @ 7:22 pace.
Week 11: 76 miles- Sunday long run of 23 miles @ 7:56 pace.
Week 12: 60 miles - Monday was 10 miles @ 7:32 pace. Mile repeats @ MP pace
Week 13: 47 miles - Sunday long run of 20 miles @ 8:00 (next day stroller 10 miler @ 8:11) -SICK
Week 14: 60 miles - Monday was a 10 mile stroller run @ 8:11 pace.
Week 15: 76 miles - Sunday long run of 23 miles @ 7:47
Week 16: 54 miles - Monday was 10 miles @ 7:05 pace. This was week 1 of tapering.
Week 17: 35 miles - I had planned to run 45 miles, but I was tired and took the "long run" day off.
Week 18:  42 miles (including the Marathon) Marathon time = 3:11 (Though I'm super happy with this race outcome, the race predictors were still quite a bit off. Those calculators have me running a 3:03 - 3:07. I'm not sure I have that in me, but now I'm thinking I might just have a sub 3:10 in these legs.)

That's it! I'd be willing to bet that this particular training isn't good for a lot of runners. For one thing, I've noticed a number of people out there actually run what the predictors say they can run. In that case, I'd think this type of training would be a bad idea. I mean, running 10 mile MP runs the day after a long run seems a little silly, but I think it really helped me. It definitely helped me mentally during the race. I'm guessing that it helped me physically too, though it's hard to know for certain. This was my most consistent marathon. My first half was 1:35:30, and my second half was 1:36:30, so my second half was only a minute slower than the first half. That's really good for me.

On another note, I hope everyone has remained safe through Sandy. I'm in Mass. We've been lucky so far. My house didn't even lose power. During last October's freak snow storm we lost power for 3 days, which was actually way better than most of the people around us. We've being seeing updates from NYC, and it looks really awful there. Thoughts and prayers for all those stuck in a bad situation.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Running is like Math

Being a female engineer, I often wind up reading articles about women and math or science. Things like why aren't girls attracted to math. I also find the topic interesting because I have two daughters. I started thinking about it more recently because a little boy in Kaylee's class keeps asking her why she has a Star Wars lunch box? He keeps telling her "girls don't like Star Wars." She said to me, "Isn't that crazy, mommy? Why wouldn't girls like Star Wars?" Why indeed...Naturally my mind started to wander to the whole girls and math thing.

I started to think about my own experiences in math. I came to the conclusion that I have no idea why girls (in general) tend not to be interested in math, but that as a whole our society has this weird attitude towards it. We have a tendency to think math is hard. We also tend to believe that either we're good at it or we're not. If you're not endowed with math skills, forget it, you won't ever be good at it. I don't think that's true. And here's why...

Upon entering high school, I was placed into intermediate Algebra. Everyone takes a placement test, and that's where the test said I should be. I did extremely well. Really the class was too easy, but when my teacher suggested to the vice principal (VP) that I move to the honors class, she said no. It would be difficult for me to catch up, and so I stayed where I was. At the end of year, we had to select classes for sophomore year. I wanted to take both honors Geometry and Honors Algebra II/Trig. I had goals. I needed those classes to accomplish them. The VP said no. It would be too hard for me. I complained to my mother, who called said VP. After their conversation, my mother told me if I really wanted to take those classes, then I would need to fight for it. So I went into the office and declared that the school was basically telling me I could flush my dreams and goals down the toilet at the age of 15 (yes it was very dramatic). At which point, they agreed to allow me to take the classes if my parents signed a waiver stating that the school wasn't to blame if I failed. Awesome.

Well, about halfway through the first quarter I was failing.  Both classes. It was awful. I went to extra help everyday after school, and obviously it wasn't enough. To make a difficult situation worse, the extra help made me late to cross country practice. My coach was irritated with me. Why did I need so much extra help? Didn't I do my homework? Couldn't I schedule it some other time? I had to push back hard and told him as much as I loved running, my priority was school, and if that was an issue then I couldn't run. He backed off. Then my mom saw my progress report, and that I was failing. She gently suggested that I move down to lower classes, and I threw a complete teenage drama tantrum. I told her that I felt like I was drowning and everyone could see me sinking, but no one would even take the time to throw me a life vest. She felt bad and a bit helpless too, I think.

I did manage to pull off a C+ in each class by the end of the first quarter. By the end of the year I had a C+ in one class and a B- in the other. In my math classes,  I struggled to earn a B- the next two years. So math in high school was really hard for me, but all the hard work eventually paid off. When I entered college it was like a veil had been pulled away, and what was once so very hard, become easy and clear. I received A's in all my college math classes: Calc I, II, III, Differential Equations, Complex Analysis...and I became a math tutor.

The point is, I'm nothing special. I don't have a natural knack for math, but I did have the drive to want to be good at it. Looking back though, I realize there wasn't  a heck of a lot of support for me wanting to be good at math (at my school). And maybe that's an issue. Math is hard for many people (boys and girls). Most people can be good at it though, even if it doesn't come naturally, with hard work. Math is a lot like running. Sure everyone has different capabilities, but even those of us who are not naturally blessed with talent can become reasonably good at it. It takes a lot of hard work though. Practice, determination, drive.

I know this is a running blog, so maybe my math is a lot like running analogy isn't all that interesting, but I wanted to share it with you anyway. It's sort of a big part of who I am, and something that I often think about.I promise more running posts to come! I do want to share a bit of my training for my last marathon, how recovery is going, and what I'm planning next. Oh, and good luck to all those running MCM today!

Monday, October 22, 2012

BayState Marathon = 3:11:53 :)

My attempt at getting excited for the race...painted nails

Pre-race taping and stuff

There were 3 weeks of tapering. And I actually ran less miles than planned all 3 weeks. I wanted to make sure I was well rested and when (in those weeks) I felt tired, I ran less. I figured by the time tapering comes being tough isn't all that beneficial.

The week before the race was difficult. Besides being nervous, my right knee randomly started bothering me, my right IT band randomly started to feel tight, I got my period, my asthma was acting up, and I seemed to be fighting off a cold. I iced, stretched, rolled, rested, took my vitamins, took my inhalers, and did my best not to waste my energy worrying about things out my immediate control.

I tried to get excited for the race by watching "The Spirit of the Marathon", but other than the parts about Deena Kastor, I didn't find it particularly inspiring. I was actually a bit nervous that I didn't feel more emotion regarding the upcoming race. I was stuck in my engineer mindset (completely logical, practical, and emotionless).

Race morning

I did all the normal stuff. My parents picked me up. (Thank you mom and dad!) The last hour was really annoying. I just wanted to start...

The race

My goal for the first mile was to make sure that I didn't run too hard. I kept checking my Garmin because people were flying by me. My first mile was 7:11. Hmmm, could that be too fast? Well, given that the Garmin is always a little off and that my breathing was excellent, I thought I was probably okay. I wanted to be cautious though, so I made an effort to ever so slightly let up on the pace. And I did that. My mile 5 was a 7:20, but then I decided I didn't want to get complaisant either, so I made an effort to ever so slightly increase my effort. And I did.

I felt in control the whole race. My asthma turned out to be fine (though I made an effort not to talk knowing that exacerbates it), my knee and IT band were fine. The one issue I did have was a cramp in my side. The kind you get when you drink too much water, but I hadn't drank too much. That cramp traveled with me starting at mile 5 through the rest of race right to the finish, but as far as things go that's no so bad. Just uncomfortable.

I didn't feel great, but I didn't feel bad either. I don't find running marathon pace easy. I also (in a way) find the first half of race to be more difficult than the second half. I think a lot about how the second half will be harder and the fact that first half isn't easy...well this mentally takes a toll on me. Anyway, I crossed the first half at 1:35:30 (according to the race clock, so it was actually 1:35:23 for me). I was quite pleased. All my training had been geared towards a 7:20 marathon pace which is a 3:12 finishing time, so it was a great half point time. I spent the next mile or so thinking about seeing Nick. He was waiting around the 14 mile marker to switch my bottles. Poor guy, he was stressed about getting the bottle swap right, which went just fine. (Thank you Nick for everything you did to make my race go smooth! I love you soooo much!) Then I was on my own until the finish. Once I hit mile 14, my mental game got better. I thought "12 miles. I've done a ton of 12 miler MP runs. I can do this."

Once I hit 16 miles, my confidence grew (though my legs started to feel tired). I had run so many 10 milers, and I ran 10 miler MP runs the day after almost all my long runs (on tired legs). So I thought, "Yes, my legs are getting tired, but I can do this. I did this all the time in training." When I hit 18 miles, I thought, "At most, I have a little over an hour to go. I can do that." I was slowly passing people. People were starting to fade, but I just kept pushing. It felt controlled and consistent. 

I hit 20 miles, and then there was just a 10K left. Less than 50 minutes for legs were starting to feel tired, my hips were a bit tight, but overall I was just fine. 21, 22, 23 miles past. It was at 24 miles that I really started to feel tired. I was getting warm, but I kept dumping water on myself which helped. I just told myself that I had less than 20 minutes left, and obviously I can handle anything for 20 minutes. It wasn't until the last half mile that I really felt like I was fading. People were yelling only half a mile to go, and I was thinking "sigh, I don't really feel like running anymore." Then I started thinking, "just 4 minutes, just 4 minutes, just 4 minutes." Then with about 100 meters to go, I saw the clock...and started hauling. That clock read 3:11:xx, and I thought "I want to break 3:12." The clock read 3:12:00 when I finished, and I forgot to stop my watch so I wasn't sure until later day if I had actually broken 3:12. My official time was 3:11:53! 

Final thoughts

My parents and Nick and Kaylee were all at the finish. Nick gave me a hug, and I started to tear up a little. This was the first marathon I've run that I felt like I was actually able to meet my goal. I had trained for a 3:12, actually hoping to run 3:15 (because to run a good marathon I have to train harder than the calculators seem to think I should.) I trained so hard for this marathon, got lucky enough to also have a good day, and am so happy with my time. Now I'm looking forward to not training for a marathon, running a 5K in few weeks, and a 10K on Thanksgiving.

Splits for anyone interested 

So there are the Garmin splits, which reported me running 26.52 miles at 7:14 pace, which would be super cool, but I know the Garmin was off a bit. I'm assuming the course is not long. I've assumed that Garmin error is about the same for each mile (which may or may not be the case), and normalized my reported Garmin results to reflect what my splits probably were based on my finishing pace of 7:20 per mile. Mostly it just gives an idea of where in the race I might have been struggling or not struggling...

Mile Recorded Garmin splits Normalized based on official time
1  7:11 7:17
2  7:12 7:18
3 7:15 7:21
4 7:17 7:23
5 7:20 7:26
6 7:16 7:21
7 7:14 7:20
8 7:17 7:23
9 7:14 7:20
10 7:10 7:16
11 7:05 7:11
12 7:07 7:13
13 7:11 7:17
14 7:10 7:16
15 7:15 7:21
16 7:15 7:21
17 7:13 7:19
18 7:13 7:19
19 7:13 7:19
20 7:11 7:17
21 7:12 7:18
22 7:16 7:21
23 7:13 7:19
24 7:24 7:30
25 7:19 7:25
26 7:16 7:21
26.2 7:22 7:28

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Tricky Taper...

The whole tapering thing is a mixed bag. Some runners love it. More runners hate it. And I'm indifferent (or maybe I want to love it, but actually hate it). I mean it's necessary, right? You spend 15-20 weeks beating up your legs, then aim to rest them up for 2-3 weeks in order to be in peak condition for some huge race. It's all very logical, which suits me just fine. Except there's more to it than that.

This training cycle I could not wait to taper. It was hard building up to 76 miles! I was tired, and so happy to have made it to the tapering part of the training cycle with no injuries! That was huge for me. But tapering is a big change too. I've been thinking about it, and most of us like routine. I think my body likes the routine. A huge cut back in running is difficult, and not just because of the reduction in endorphins  (which is what I see most complaining about when it comes to less running). For instance, I started having trouble sleeping. I realized that my habit of drinking a cup of coffee around lunch time wasn't working now that I'm not running as much. It was keeping me up a night. So I stopped the afternoon cup of coffee. Then, of course, by 2:00 I want to take a nap, but can't.

I've been finding that my runs are a bit sluggish, then realized that I'm not running far enough to feel good. Generally, the first few miles of all my runs feel sluggish. Often I don't start feeling good until after 5 miles or so...It is so annoying to never get to a point where you feel good in a run.

The real annoyance was last week when I ran a 5 mile run and my IT band started to hurt. Seriously? I have had no IT band issues in over a year. One would think IT band pain would be far more likely to pop up around a peak week, not a taper week. I immediately started to think about anything that I had recently changed, and realized I was suddenly using the foam roller more (because I had more time and it seemed like a good idea). I wouldn't think that the foam roller would cause an issue, but other than reducing my mileage, it is the only change to my routine. So I stopped using it, took a day off, and the next time I ran it seemed fine. I can only guess that I irritated something...

The last few days I've felt particularly tired. Is this from tapering? I don't think so. Everyone in the house is sick, so I'm sure my body is tired trying to fight something off. Oh yeah, everyone is sick. Is this totally freaking me out? Not really. I'm doing all the right things, so if I get sick, I get sick. There's not much I can do to control it...

On a more fun note. I did this ghost craft thing with Kaylee that turned out really cool. Here are a couple pics. It so looks like it's just floating there. It looks better in person than it does in the pictures too. If you're interested here's the link to the craft.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Trying to rock my taper

Okay, so I have exactly 10 minutes to give you an update...and I'm not a fast writer but I'll try...

  • Last week was my first taper week, and ended up with 54 miles.
  • I had 3 workouts: 2 x 10 mile MP, and 3x1 mile faster than 5K interval. All 3 workouts went well, but I was sore after the interval workout, which may (or may not) be because I ran it the day after one of my MP workouts. Stupid. Oh well.
  • According to what I've read (like yesterday) right now I should be aiming for 2 easy days to each workout day (not 2 workout days to an easy day). Okay, lesson learned. I'll be sure to do that that this week.
  • This week I'll be running 45 miles: 1 "long" run (10 miles) and 1 interval and everything else super easy (and shorter). The interval is suppose to be 6 x 800's at 5K pace. I will probably run the 800 workout slower and make it closer to a Yasso 800 workout, which shouldn't leave me sore.
  • It's sort of sad, but my 10 minutes is almost up.  
  • Life is generally good. We carved a jack-o-lantern this weekend, which was fun. According to Kaylee the best part is "scooping the guts." I use "we" loosely. The kids scooped guts for about half an hour. There was more playing in the slimy pumpkin guts than actual scooping. Eventually they got bored. Eventually. At which point, I scooped the remaining innards and carved away. The whole time Kaylee was asking "when will you be finished mommy?" (No pressure.)
  • I'm not super nervous about the marathon. Yet. I do have lingering doubts some days. What if my legs aren't rested enough? What if I get sick? What if I die at mile 16 again? What if my legs fall off? (Because that could totally happen.) All pretty typical. It's generally not within my personality to be a head case though, so my doubts are more like passing thoughts than really lingering. Overall, I think I'm in good shape...
  • Hope everyone else is doing well! I read a few people had marathon PR's this past weekend! Congrats!

Here's our super scary jack-o-lantern!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Shhhh...lean closer, I want to tell you a secret

No, not really, but there's something interesting I heard about a year ago but forgot (of course) to blog about it. For awhile, I was running with someone from work who runs a ton of marathons and also happens to do the Iron Man too. She volunteers at the Boston Marathon, and somehow she scored the mega awesome volunteer status of working in the elite tent. She gets the elite runners whatever they want after they finish the race.

Any guesses as to what all the elite runners want after they finish a marathon? Water? Soda? A nap? Apparently, it's hot coffee, which sounded absolutely awful to me when she said it. Seriously? It's not like Boston is a winter marathon. Also, I generally feel nauseous after finishing a marathon, and coffee sounds really icky to me when my stomach is churning.

During my last marathon training cycle (Providence this past May), I decided to give coffee after long runs a try. It was sort of hard because my stomach is generally unhappy after a 20 miler, but I figured these elite runners must know something that I don't. Well, it turns out I really liked it, and I don't know if coffee has anything to do with it, but I have a lot less nausea now too. Could just be a coincidence too, I do run more long runs now.

Now I'm wondering if everyone out there knew about coffee after long runs? What do you drink or eat after a marathon of long run?

In other news, I'm now officially entering the three weeks of taper before the big race day! Though I don't think the first week will feel much like a taper, but still, I'm almost there! Last week I finished my peak week with 76 miles and my last long run was 23 miles at 7:47 pace. I did two marathon pace runs last week that were both 11 miles. Overall, it was a solid week of running, and I'm still in one piece too! Yay! Now I just need to hold it together for three weeks. ;)

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Some updates and thoughts bullet style!

Warning this is totally random...

  • Here I am with my two little ladies after my 20 miler last week. We were at our favorite art museum that includes a cool sculpture park.
  • Two weeks ago was tough. After being inhaler free for several months, my asthma came back with a vengeance. I took off three days from running, did eventually start feeling better, and wound up being able to run a 20 miler that Sunday at 8:02 pace. The week ended with 47 miles, which isn't so bad. 
  • Last week was much better. I ended up with 60 miles. This week will be my last build week and my last loooong run. Next week I start tapering! Woo hoo!
  • I hate the Kinvara 3s. I found a pair of Kinvara 2s online, and have had no issues with them. Stupid shoes. Why do they always feel the need to change a good thing?
  • Kaylee loves school so much she cried last weekend when she couldn't go on Saturday and Sunday. She is definitely an intense child. I have no idea where she gets that from...  ;)
  • This has been my best marathon training cycle. I have no idea what that will mean on race day, but it should be interesting at the very least.
  • I've been experimenting with a few new workouts. Well, new to me anyway. Every couple weeks I try to do some variation of 6 x 1 mile repeats at 10K pace. Last week I did 6 x 7 minutes at slightly faster than 10K pace with 2 minute jogs in between intervals. (7 minutes is more than a mile for me.) I did it, but it really was hard. And why is this workout worth my time? I don't know. A few years ago I read something about Dean Karnazes (I think) saying that was an awesome marathon training workout. So I'm trying to figure out just how awesome it is for me.
  • I've also been experimenting with another workout. It's mile repeats at marathon pace. Boring I know, but a fast friend suggested 8-10 1 mile repeats at marathon pace. I completely ignored the suggestion at first, but I've found that it's a very interesting workout to run the day after a super long run. Interesting in that it's really really hard, but doable (most of the time). I take 2 minute rest jogs at (or slightly faster than 8:00 min pace) in between intervals. Mentally it's easier than a regular marathon pace run, but in the end it's really not much slower than a MP run.
  • During this training cycle I've lost a little weight. I wasn't trying, but increasing from 40 miles to 70 miles must have led to a calorie deficit. Don't worry. I'm still not skinny. I just went from a 22.5 BMI to a 21.5. Just something to note. With society being so weight crazy, I hate to even mention it, but I suppose it could make a difference on race day.
  • I haven't been posting much. There are a ton of things floating around my brain, but at night when I would have time to post something, I wind up spending my time with Nick. And that's a good thing. It just means I'm left with little posting time.
  • I got into Boston. I hope everyone else did too!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Registered for Boston

I am in a total blogging funk. I go back and forth. Keep the blog alive or just ditch it? I love that blogging has given me the opportunity to meet other lady runners that may also have kids and are near me in age, but...I don't know...I'd rather have all you ladies live nearby and run with me (or guys, that would be fine too). Then we could train together and chat in the real world. Obviously, that's not happening anytime soon, so I'm stuck with a blog. C'est la vie, right?

Miss Kaylee had a successful first week of Kindergarten. She successfully got everyone in the family sick. In less than a week. She's also quite happy with school and has adjusted just fine. I just wish she wasn't so ambitious with her germ spreading. You can probably tell from her first day of school photo (over on the left) that she was ready to go. She did admit to being a tiny bit nervous, but I told her that would probably happen at the beginning of every year, and as far as I know, is pretty typical. She seemed okay with that explanation.

Let's see, from a training perspective things have been okay. I had some schedule issues last week, missed one day of running and as a result wound up with a 60 mile week (with a good amount of MP running). That's the problem with trying to maintain 60-75 miles a week. One missed day (without a super long run planned) and you can barely make it to 60 (or at least I can barely make it to 60). And, because I am being beat down by this illness I've already missed one day this week. Ugh. Also, I have a three hour and ten minute long run planned for this Sunday, which may or may not happen depending on how the week unfolds. I already had to refill all my asthma medications after being free of them for almost eight months. Kids. And their germs. It's a good thing they're so cute and lovable.

In other news, I registered for Boston today. I don't have an official you got in letter yet, but I'm pretty sure I'll get in. I almost convinced myself not to register. Almost. I had declared to Nick over the weekend that I wouldn't be registering. He just sort of raised his eyebrows. You know, like a "really, who do you think you're fooling look?" Then I went running with my co-worker today, and it was, of course, the first question she asked me. "Did you register?" Then I had to explain that I wasn't going to run it. I was tired of training, and running lots of miles, and being sick, and blah blah blah. But after running with her I decided that I might regret not registering later (this will be my first Boston), and so I spoke with Nick (who gave me an "I knew it!"), and then I registered for Boston. So there you have it. I've registered for my next marathon before I've run the marathon that I'm currently training for. And that my friends, sounds crazy. But in a good way, right?

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Life with some running

Kaylee survived her food challenge! Yay! Also, in a brief moment of bravery, I introduced the same soy product to Emily. Emily has FPIES to egg yolk, but until a few months ago the allergist told us to steer clear of soy too (because of Kaylee). When he told us we could give soy a try, we were too scared. Anyway, it seems both kids can handle soy flour in bread, which means that eating in restaurants might become an option! Or maybe even a vacation! You wouldn't believe how many foods have soy in them.

Besides the stressful food challenge, little miss Emily also had a birthday last week! She got a trike for her birthday, which she loves, and we took the family apple picking on her special day. She's as serious as her sister (as can be seen in her picture), but we're pretty sure she had a good day. She keeps singing happy birthday to Kaylee, so I keep singing happy birthday to her, in response she places those pudgy little hands on my face and with a huge smile says "Mama stop it!"

Another exciting piece of news...Kaylee starts Kindergarten next week! It won't actually be much different than pre-school, except that it will be everyday instead of 3 days. But it's new and different, and marks the real beginning of her schooling journey. Sniff sniff. I think, I'm more excited than sad. I think. And I think she's more excited than anxious. At least for this week...

As far as marathon training goes, there's not too much to report. Last week I ran 60 miles (65 was the plan), so not too far off the mark. My ankle was fine all week, then I ran a super hard workout yesterday, and today it's a bit stiff. This week I have 74-75 miles planned, and another 3 hour long run on Sunday. I'll let you know how it goes.

Here's a random running shoe question. Anyone out there run in the new Kinvara 3's? I am having the darnedest time breaking them in. They cut up my heels something wicked. My mother and Nick seem to be having the same issue with them. I'm wondering if this a common problem? Any thoughts?

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Besides Running...

My mind is so preoccupied today! Kaylee has a food challenge tomorrow at her allergist's office, and it is making me feel cranky and stressed. I keep telling her (and others) that it's no big deal. She's well over the age that she should be to have grown out of her FPIES issue with soy, but deep, deep inside, it's stressing me out. Yesterday she asked me what happens if she hasn't grown out it. I just told her that's why we'll be in the doctor's office, so they can help. But seriously, if she gets sick, it is going to be awful. And really messy. And awful. Oh wait, I already wrote that. Oh yes, and Kaylee is smart enough to know that in general avoiding soy is way better than the risk of getting sick, so she's not exactly thrilled about the idea of eating something that might make her yak all over the place. The reaction can take up to three to occur too, which means we'll be spending a good portion of the day at the doctor's office waiting to see what happens. Ugh.

In other news, last week was a reasonably good week from a running perspective. I ran 74 miles, which is another distance PR for me. I was tired and fighting off a cold, but managed run my workouts, and now I'm over whatever I was fighting. I had a three hour long run planned for Sunday. Because I was tired (and maybe slightly sick), I wasn't really looking forward to running for three hours at the crack of dawn, but you know, it has to be done sometimes. Anyway, I went out there and ran. On the plus side, the weather was just awesome. Nice and cool, but bright and sunny too. I also found the run less boring because my mind seemed occupied with thinking about the Hunger Games books I've been reading.

The first mile was all about me waking up (around 9:00 pace). Eventually I settled into an 8:30 pace. Around 11 miles, I picked it up a bit. The first 11 miles were 8:30ish pace, and the last 11 were 7:50ish pace, for a total of 22 miles at 8:08 pace. Oh I almost forgot, around 19 miles into the run I twisted my ankle. It was a good one too. At first, I thought I might have sprained it, but I hopped on it for a few seconds and kept running. My ankle seemed fine at first, but by the end of the day it was stiff. So, I took Monday off, which wasn't planned, but I hadn't planned on twisting my ankle either...I'll run today and see how it does. Am I stressed about my ankle now? I don't know. It will either turn out to be nothing, or it will get worse. If it gets worse, then I guess I'll have readjust my plans. Right now though, I'm more focused on this whole food challenge thing that's about to go down tomorrow. Wish us luck!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Where did my baby go!

One of my little ladies just had another birthday. And, wow, it is shocking how big she is now. She is this whole little package of a big person. Sure, sure, you're thinking I make absolutely no sense, but it's perfectly clear in my mind how she's a big little person, or wait, maybe she's a little big person...okay, maybe it's not so clear in my mind. I do know, however, that she was once a baby (not so very long ago), but in a few short weeks she'll be going to Kindergarten. And that, my friends, is just crazy! If I blink my eyes, I might just find that I have a teenager on my hands. Though, it seems to me, that Kaylee already has some teenager traits, but that's a story for another day.

Anyway, It's approximately 9.5 weeks until the big marathon, which is sort of cool because now I'm in the single digits of how many weeks of training are left. And when one really thinks about it, it's actually only 6.5 weeks because there's that whole tapering thing that happens. So yeah, things are looking promising. Last week I ran 64 miles, which was the plan. This week I'll be aiming for 71-73 miles depending on how the three hour long run goes on Sunday. Having to run the long runs slow drives me crazy in a way, but it's also nice (sort of). With warm humid weather, hilly loops, and my massive increase in mileage having permission to run slower for the long run is nice. It would be nicer, however, if there was someone else to run with (which I'm sure is a hope/dream/desire most runners have). I find the long run to be especially boring when run slow and with no company.

Overall, though, training is coming along. I might be adjusting to the mileage increase. (Key word, might.) Some days are definitely better than others. My 5K speed has definitely left me for the time being. Intervals that I could run a few months ago, I can't run now. (Like I would fly off the treadmill and into the wall if I tried.) But, and this is crucial, the tempo paces that I've been maintaining I couldn't do a few months ago. So, something is definitely changing, and change can be good...

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Manic Marathon Training

My marathon training is making me manic. With about 10.5 weeks to BayState, I've been going through a whole spectrum of emotion (actually I'm not sure emotion is the right word). There have been a number of days where I'm convinced I must be a lunatic. I'm just guessing, but my 5-6 weeks of building up to 70 miles of running a week might have made me question my sanity. Just a thought though. (I did wind up running 71 miles last week, which is a distance PR for me.)

I'm the type of runner that is quite happy to run 40-50 miles a week, so this push to increase mileage has been difficult. Some days I question that I'll be able to make it to the start line without an injury (which, let's face it, remains to be seen). Some days I question why I feel the need to train for marathons at all. I clearly do not have a marathoner body, and I've been running quite well at shorter distances, so why am I set on marathon training? I don't know. In the marathon, I have a lot of self doubt. Is the risk of injury worth the effort? I guess it is, because here I am, in the thick of marathon training.

Those questions have been plaguing me as I have slowly built up mileage. I'm sure part of it is being tired. Obviously, increasing mileage for a number of weeks in a row is going to be an adjustment. Then yesterday, something new happened, I was dragging the trash and recycle down the street (long story), when I suddenly had the urge to run. I was in flip flops though, so I didn't, but I wanted to. Then this morning I couldn't wait to run! I really really wanted get out there and run! Of course, by the time I had the opportunity to actually go (7:45 pm), I didn't want to. Now you see, my desire to run is completely manic lately. One minute I can't wait to get out there, and the next I want to take a nap instead. And while I'm running (in between the moments of wanting or not wanting to) I get these brief glimpses of me getting stronger. They usually only last a couple miles, but I'm suddenly running taller and realizing that a difficult pace doesn't feel so difficult. I like those moments. They feel more promising.

This past weekend I ran a 20 miler at 8:18 pace. It was warm and ridiculously humid, but for the most part I felt okay. I did have a headache and a bit of nausea afterward. The next day I did a 10 miler with 40 minutes at 6:35 pace. My experiment for this training cycle is running some type of workout the day after my long run. So far, it seems to be working out. My legs haven't fallen yet anyway. I guess that's where I am right now: training hard, grateful my legs are still moving, and hoping to get stronger.

Anyone else out there go through manic running times?

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Still Running

The summer has been going well. Since the big move, things have settled a bit and I've been able to get back into a running routine. Thus far my training weeks have gone: 44 miles, 52 miles, 60 miles, 66 miles, 60 miles. I've done a number of 14 mile runs, and my longest run thus far has been 17.25. This weekend I have another long run scheduled. It will be a 2:45 run and may or may not get me to 20 miles. I'll let you know how it goes. The 17 miler was slower than my typical long runs (8:37 pace), but it was a challenging course and I'm running more miles than I normally do. The day after I ran a killer 10 mile workout. Still, slow long runs don't exactly yield confidence for me, but that's where I am right now.

As far as marathon training goes, it's probably too early to tell how things are going. More miles is tiring. Well, it's either the miles or an almost 5 year old and 2 year old running around...I'll let you decide. I don't have a definitive training plan, which is typical for me, but I am more committed this time around. Looking through the Run Faster book, I found a table that loosely identifies miles per week with competitiveness and race distance. Sort of in the middle is just competitive. For the 5K, that's 40-50 miles, which is what I was running when I ran 18:48. For the half marathon, that's 50-60 miles, which is what I was running when I ran 1:29:11. For the marathon, that's 60-70 miles, which has never been what I've run (except in college when I only ran the 5K). I've also never been able to run the marathon times that the calculators say I should be able to run based on my other race distance times. So, it's probably not so surprising that this time around I'm making an effort to stay between 60-70 miles. I'm also making more of an effort to let go of some of my ridiculous interval workouts and replace them with slower tempo and MP runs. It's hard though. I like the feeling of short and fast, but I don't think it's really helping my marathon time. It's hard to say how things will go. There are still almost 12 weeks to go, and that's a long time. Right now, other than being tired, I seem to be holding up okay.

And just for fun I'll leave you with a couple pics.  :)

 The ladies found my iPod.

I have no idea what Em is doing, but she's cute.

I hope everyone else's training is going well!

Monday, July 16, 2012

BayState 2012

I’m taking the plunge, and declaring that I’m training for the BayState marathon! Now I just need to register...

Of the five marathons I’ve run in my long lifetime, I’ve run BayState three times, so I guess it’s not all that surprising that I would declare that I’m running it for a fourth time. It’s just so darn convenient. And fast. I do like fast. With about 14 weeks to go, training has become more notable. Yesterday I jumped on the treadmill for my last run of the week, and Nick was all “You’re going to run again? Don’t you want to take a day off?” My miles have picked up a bit over the last few weeks. This past week I ran 60 miles, and wouldn’t mind peaking somewhere around 70, but that will depend on how my body is dealing with the extra miles. I also ran a 6 x 1 mile workout last week with the repeats slightly slower than 5K pace, but faster than 10K pace.

For this training cycle, I’m concentrating on running more miles. In my last marathon cycle, I ran a lot of hard workouts, but only peaked at 49 miles. The first 16 miles of that race were awesome, but the last 10 were ugly. The marathon prior to that, I tried to run more miles, without much hard running (and peaked at 57 miles). That entire race felt like a struggle (probably just a bad day), but the second half didn’t feel worse than the first half, which was nice. This time around, I’m going to increase the miles again and see where that takes me.

My parents will be running the half at BayState this year too, which is super cool. I love sharing the race day excitement with others (though Nick might argue that I’m really just sharing the pain). He loves to give me a hard time about running and how I’m complete lunatic for running as much as I do. Secretly though, I know he thinks it’s cool. ;)

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

MIA for a whole month!

Things have been crazy! Not really planning to, we wound up moving! We were sort of thinking about the possibility, but not sure how serious we were. Then we found a place we liked...and moved! Overall, everything went smoothly, but packing up your entire home (at least for me) was extremely stressful. Now we're mostly settled though, and that's nice.

Running hasn't been high on my priority list, so for most of June I was only running 30-35 miles a week. Last week I ran 44 miles, and hopefully this week I'll get to 50. I'm starting to get into training mode for the BayState marathon in the fall. With the move over, I'd love to get back into my normal running routine.

Anyone else running a fall marathon? Have you already started training? I feel a bit behind in my training, but I'm probably okay...

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

A 5K 17 days post marathon...that's silly

I ran a 5K 17 days after running a marathon. I really didn't want to. I knew there was no way I'd be breaking 19 minutes, but it's a "fun run" that my workplace plans every year, and I can't just skip it. About 50 people participate, and it is fun to get out there and run with fellow co-workers. I was the first female finisher, and 4th overall. One interesting side note: the top three ladies all ran the Providence Marathon, so we three were all hurting equally. The course is reasonably accurate. It's just over a 5K, and measured out with a wheel, so I can't really complain about it being long. It is sort of a ridiculous course though. It's a loop done three times, and the loop has 4 really sharp turns in it, which end up being 12 really sharp turns. There's a lot of energy spent slowing down for the turn and speeding up after the turn.

My time was 20:35. I would love to complain about how hot it was and how the course is long, but to be fair it was only high 70's and the course is within 0.1 accuracy, so I can't really complain. (Though the turns really do make it a slow course.) Truth is, I just wasn't fully recovered from the marathon. It hurts a bit to see a 20, when a few short months ago I was seeing 18, but I'll get back there. (I hope!)

On the plus side, they took some pictures, and I look like the happiest runner on the planet. I also look much more like a sprinter than a long distance runner...

I have no idea what I'm smiling about

Really? Still smiling?

Oh, yes, I forgot. We also had to run around a tiny circle for each loop.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Random Recovery

New Sneaks...
 I'm looking for some new sneaks. I'll be buying another pair of Kinvaras for sure, but I'd like to buy a second pair of something else too. I'm thinking something with slightly more support for recovery runs, but nothing with a huge heel. (I'd like to try to keep my mid to front foot strike. Any ideas? I've run in Mizuno Waveriders in the past, but the last few times I've tried them on in the store they felt like bricks. Of course, after running in Frees and Kinvaras, maybe most sneakers will feel like bricks..

My Coach
Here's my coach. She's young, but tough. She's trained me through sleep deprivation and forcing me to push her up really big hills in a running stroller. Her training is unconventional, but always interesting. She brought me down to Earth last week when she told me that it didn't matter how good I felt on marathon day. I should not have started at 7:20 pace. Also, clearly, my interval workout the week prior to the marathon should not have wound up being 8 miles at 6:42 pace. It should have been a marathon pace run (7:30 pace). Obviously 7:20 pace is going to feel good after a run at 6:42 pace. Okay, she's not that verbal yet, but I could see it in her eyes. Hindsight being 20/20, I probably went out too fast on race day, but that's okay, I wouldn't have known that if I hadn't done it. And there's always BayState...

Recovery so far has been typical. I was sore most of last week, and only ran 10 miles. Yesterday, I did my first interval workout. It was only 2.5 miles total of hard running, but my legs felt like jelly afterward and the sweat, there was so much of it! Ahhh, It was nice. I would love to run some 5Ks soon! Actually, I would love to run a track meet, but there don't seem to be adult track meets. I would love to run an all out mile and two mile on the track, but with other people around (not just by myself), but alas I have found nothing of the sort! Don't other people out there want to rip up some rubber on the track? Please tell me I'm not the only one!

Happy Anniversary!
Nick and I celebrated our 9th wedding anniversary last week! We've been together for over a decade! Crazy, crazy, crazy! Honestly, I don't know where the time has gone. It seems like time speeds up the older I get. I wish I could slow it down a bit. I mean not only have we been married for 9 years, but we have 2 kids! When did all that happen! Seriously though, life is good. I'm married to my best friend and have two happy kids. Couldn't ask for much more. (Other than to run faster, maybe...just joking)  ;)

Monday, May 7, 2012

Providence Marathon Race Report

The short report: The official time was 3:22:38. On the up side, that's a 4 minute PR. On the downside, I think I'm in better shape.

Now, the slightly longer version...

Pre-race week:
My right arch was killing me. From the symptoms, it seemed like plantar fasciitis, but I'm positive running isn't what started the issue. It must have been a bad pair of shoes I wore to work. While running didn't cause the issue, it definitely exacerbated it. I ran an 8 mile tempo at half marathon pace about a week out. Before the tempo there was a twinge, but it wasn't much worse when I finished. The next day I ran easy, and after that it was full blown pain. It hurt to walk even. I took the four days leading up to the race off and actively did the whole RICE thing. Friday before the race my arch finally stopped hurting while walking. I stepped up to the line pain free and well rested...though I was wondering at what point (during the race) my arch would start to hurt.

The race start:
My race plan was loose. Based on my training, I figured somewhere  between 7:20 and 7:40 pace was reasonable, but I didn't want to force any particular pace, so the plan was to go out and see how I felt. My first mile was 7:20, and it felt right, so I went with that. The first 16 miles were 7:21 pace, but...then things got complicated.

The first 16 miles were good to me. There were more hills than I remember, but I was handling them. I was drinking and taking gels at my normal rate, but at around 15 miles I stopped sweating, and though I was still drinking I just stopped sweating. It's probably worth mentioning that the temperature was comfortable in the fifties, but it was 90% humidity. Maybe that's why I had an issue? I don't know, but by 16 miles my legs really started burning. It was strange because it felt like the last mile of a 5k when I'm having asthma issues, BUT my breathing was great. My breathing and heart rate were both great. But my legs were burning. At that point, I just had to hang on. Over the next four miles, my pace slowed, but I was still hanging on.

The race finish:
The last 10k was a struggle, which is pretty typical for a marathon. My breathing and heart rate were still great, but the burning in my legs was bad enough that running down hills hurt (like walking down the stairs the day after a marathon hurt).  I just kept moving forward, and slowing down. The last 10k was over 8:00 pace per mile. My official time was 3:22:38, which is 7:44 pace.

I guess maybe I went out too fast, but the pace felt right at the time, and I don't regret my calculated risk. Would I have run faster overall if I had gone out at 7:30 pace? Maybe. Maybe not. I do know I'm much faster over shorter distances right now. Perhaps I simply didn't have the endurance necessary to cover the distance at my initial pace. That happens to runners all the time...

The awesomeness of the race:
I felt great! (Well minus that whole leg rebellion thing during the last 10 miles.) No nausea! I wasn't crazy tired after either, but my legs hurt enough that I knew I gave all I had for the day. (I actually had trouble sleeping last night my legs are so sore.) No arch pain at all! No other pains! I remain injury free, and ready for a speedy recovery! And it was just a great day. The kids had a great morning with Nick, my parents were biking all over the course offering me water and Gatorade, and we all had an awesome lunch together afterwards! Just an overall great day for me.  (Huge thanks to Nick and my parents!)

One last item:
I ran this one for you, Connor! You are one tough little man fighting DMD!

My mom insisted we get my number in the pic...

My littlest lady has the bluest eyes ever! (Actually so does my other little lady...)

Me at the end of the day. My t-shirt says Sunnydale High School. Anyone know what that's from?

Saturday, May 5, 2012

With less than 24 hours to go...

I'm pondering this...

And this...

Catch you on the other side. ;)

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Countdown: Day 6, My Inner Amazon

 Being a part of the runners blogging club, I often read posts entitled "why I run" (or something like that). A few of the posts are quite elegant, and do make me feel something. I don't know what exactly, but something. Some of the posts read more like a list of pros. Yes, it's true that there are a number of pros that come along with running. My favorites are being fit and being able to eat dessert, but that's not why I run. When I read the really great posts about running and why people do, it makes think about why I run. Then, of course, it makes me wonder if I could write a post about "why I run," that doesn't end up sounding flat or over the top...Usually I'm faced with the reality that although technically I can write, conveying strong emotions through writing is not a strong point I possess. (Actually, talking about strong feelings isn't exactly a strong point of mine either.) Generally, I'm blunt. I state, whatever it is I have to state, short and to the point. I do think about it though, why I run...

Have you ever heard of Amazons? According to Greek mythology they're a warrior tribe of women. They're fierce, strong, and beautiful. Of course, they're also vicious. You might want to run the other way if you saw one (just some friendly advice). There aren't very many opportunities in a civilized society to let out some fierceness, and most of the time that's fine. But sometimes I just want to let the fierce out, you know?

Running gives me the opportunity to let out my inner Amazon. And that, my friends, is why I run.