Monday, December 27, 2010

Back in the Saddle

Marathon recovery went super-well last week. I only took one day to rest from the marathon, & went out Tuesday for an easy recovery run. My legs felt great & it wound up being a super speedy 3 miles when I was expecting a death march. I felt great all week so i started thinking... I needed to shake the bad marathon heebie jeebies off of me, so I decided to race the Frostbite Series 10 miler this past weekend after some friends suggested it. It went great! Snow was on the ground, but the roads were nice & dry, & it was 22 degrees with a nice wind. My dad was in town for Christmas so he went out with me to be my cheering section. He & my friend Brent, plus Amanda from the racing team took some shots out there & I think they look cool with all the snow :)

The course was rolling hills, so that's why my splits are kinda crazy. Here they are:

Mile 1 - 7:35
Mile 2 - 7:29
Mile 3 - 7:55
Mile 4 - 7:33
Mile 5 - 7:55
Mile 6 - 7:44
Mile 7 - 7:39
Mile 8 - 7:55
Mile 9 - 7:18
Mile 10 - 7:44
.13 mile - 59.97 secs (7:39 avg pace)

Total time was 1:17:46 (per Garmin - with 7:40 avg pace) & official time was 1:17:41. Course measured slightly over (I wasn't the only one who had more than a 10th over) & so, by my watch, 10 miles was 1:16:46 & is just a few seconds slower than what the race predictor said I was in shape for. I am very happy with how this race went, especially given the weather & hills. The last bit up to the finish line was pretty icy so I should have probably run in the grass (snow) instead to bring it up to the line a little quicker, but all in all it was a good race & I feel much better ending my year with this than that terrible marathon! :)


I also went ahead & (tentatively) planned my racing schedule for 2011, which can be found ----->
Not only are we planning on a 70.3 in September, but I'm also very excited about my first timed bike ride in May, the Vino Fondo. It looks like an awesome, challenging event & I'm going to do the Midi Fondo which is 84 miles through Missouri's wine country & features plenty of climbing. From now until May I will be looking for the perfect cycling cap that I can wear at the main rest stop & at the finish. I'm not sure what I'm looking for, but I'll know it when I see it. I hope I look better in it than this kid.

Looking forward to just chilling through January now & just running when I want to, working on the pool, & doing some quality spins. Hopefully I can get out on the road if a nice Saturday or Sunday presents itself, but I won't hold my breath :)

Monday, December 20, 2010

This Ain't My First Rodeo

They say the third time is the charm. Good things come to those who wait. A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush, whatever that means, (not sure if that's relevant here). Once again, I have been defeated by the marathon. This time when it hit, it hit hard. Below the belt, even.

I will cut to the chase, since we all know that running is about numbers: 4:14. Those are my numbers. Not anywhere near my A, B, or C goals. Based on my recent half marathon finish, I was in shape to run a 3:34:21 marathon. Awesome. I knew it would be a lot of hard work in those final miles, but I felt like an 8:10 pace would not be difficult for me at all. Even running the half, finishing in 1:42 with an average pace of 7:49, was not difficult & I felt like I could have run it faster when all was said and done. I decided to pace 8:10's from the start with my A goal being sub-3:35. I was in excellent shape, training went well, my 20 miler was the kind of run they write songs about, & I honestly felt like this was a reasonable goal. Here are my splits up to 10 miles:

1 - 8:10
2 - 8:09
3 - 8:10
4 - 8:08
5 - 8:10
6 - 8:07
7 - 8:10
8 - 8:09
9 - 8:10
10: 12:27

Oh, I'm sorry, does something look out of place? yeah... it happens. What? Sh*t. It's humiliating, disgusting & it will happen to all of us one day. This particular day, I didn't think this was going to happen. In fact, NEVER in training have I had any kind of bathroom issues. Now, I've thrown up during training lots of times. Mostly that was due to those disgusting gels we have to choke down. I found one that works for me, & have never had an issue with them before. I use the apple-cinnamon Hammer Gel, & love it. I don't think this was the issue. I still don't know for sure, but for whatever reason, I started getting BAD stomach cramps & knew that if I didn't duck out quick I was gonna have an accident. This was a small marathon, & the course was a 3.275 mile loop. There were no porto johns along the loop, & the only bathroom was inside the student center at the beginning of the loop. Of course when this happened I was not near the student center. What did I do, you ask? Get me really drunk & I might tell you sometime ;)

I managed to make it to the half in 1:50, so I thought I could perhaps meet my B goal of 3:40. I was thinking that if I quit focusing on the stomach pains they would go away. Mind over matter. I tried my ipod for a while to keep my mind off of it, I prayed, I tried thinking of a song in my head & running to the beat of it to numb my mind... The above scenario happened a total of  FIVE times during this race. It's something I didn't expect, have never experienced, & wasn't prepared for. I'm not posting the rest of my splits, because it's embarrassing & what's the point? I will tell you that the one time I did go in to use the facility at the student center, my mile split was almost 17 minutes due to waiting in line. What a train wreck. I didn't cry, & still haven't, but it's hard to watch your dream just be taken away from you due to something that is out of your control. 

As athletes, we have all heard stories of this happening to others. Heroic stories like Julie Moss (above) dragging herself across the finish line at Kona after the same disgusting scenario. Mine is not heroic. I gave up. I'm not getting down on myself, I'm simply stating that once I saw that even my C goal of sub 4:00 wasn't going to happen, I said screw it. I walked a lot. At this point, I was severely dehydrated. Though I was going through all of this, I thought I should still take my gels & drink water, so I did. Not sure if that was the right thing to do or not, as I wasn't prepared. I started feeling nauseous at around mile 18, & after mile 20 I started throwing up. This happened three times, & then during the last loop I had no stomach issues whatsoever. All I remember from the last loop was a guy telling me to open my eyes, that I might run off the road. I was a full-on marathon zombie by that time.


I was extremely glad to have Jenn & Ashley there to help me through all of this, even though I was probably being mean to them. If so, girls, I'm sorry. I get like that when I lose control of my bodily functions. ;) Anyway, Ashley caught me as I was collapsing at the finish line, & she got me over to a chair inside the student center where I refused to drink my water like a child. She's a nurse & was very good at just telling me I had to do it. She was right, because really within a few minutes I was perking up & didn't feel like I might die any minute, nor did I feel like puking any more. In talking to her, I may have had too many electrolytes in my system & not enough water in the end. I don't know, but it was nice to have people there to take care of me & bring me things: like my medal. Thanks Jenn! We drove home from Springfield after going to get something to eat, & had to stop at Kum & Go for a big cup of water that I was instructed to drink all of, and I did. Like a good girl :)

All that being said, I don't think I'll ever run another loop course. This one was kind of crazy, with a lot of sharp turns & winding in & out of things. It actually crossed paths at one point so you had to be careful not to run in to others, or be run in to. The whole loop was on campus, so we got to run around the track inside the football stadium (once per loop, so a total of 8 times) which I really liked. It signified that the loop was almost over as we headed back into the quad & over to the student center again. They had Christmas music playing over the poor-quality PA in the stadium (also in a loop! - SAME songs over & over). Toward the end, when I was all but delirious, it started to remind me of Groundhog Day. I half expected to hear Sonny & Cher's "I Got You Babe" over the PA. What a wild ride.


Well friends, I know some of you will say that my time is great, & I should be thrilled that I finished a marathon, & all those nice things... Well, I'm really not. I feel like I wasted 16 weeks of my life, & I get to be sore for no particular reason. I will probably not be able to walk well tomorrow, as the muscle soreness sets in, & it will be hard for me to do my job. I guess I can take pride in the fact that I saw the thing through. I mean, I did pass the finish line a total of 8 times during this crazy thing, & it would have been easy to just duck out. To say I've had enough. That's just not my style. The fact that I couldn't just poop my pants & roll with it like you see some other people do during races will weigh heavy on me too. Maybe I just don't have what it takes to race this distance. The marathon is the only distance that I've had trouble with... three times. I won't figure it all out now, but I am going to put this notion of running a marathon to rest for a while. After all, running is supposed to be fun right? I'm going to work on strengthening my body, getting leaner, running some, & giving myself a bit of a break through January I think. We will see what lies ahead for me in the spring...

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Strut That A**

The video below is hilarious, if you haven't seen it, but be forewarned that there are curse words in it so probably NSFW. Anyway, after watching this video "strut that a**" became what Jamie & I would say when we had to push through & finish a run. It made us laugh so hard that it cut through the seriousness of what we were feeling when we were lost in the ghetto or dieing from heat exhaustion.

I plan on using this motto on race day for sure. I have decided, after talking to my husband, that I will run the full marathon this Sunday (it is very awesome to have a husband who is a coach). My concerns, as it turns out, were not for myself but for my family, should I get seriously injured. He reminded me that he would be home on winter break & that he would help pick up the slack around the house. All I need to focus on is my job, & I can handle that. This led to my decision, & I feel like a big weight has been lifted. 16 weeks is a long time to train. I had a stellar 20 miler, & there is no reason for me to think that this race won't go well. The main concern I have is that the course is long. We will be running 8 loops of their "5K" course, which is actually 3.33 miles or something, making it 26.74 miles in total. It is quite possible that I won't meet my goal & that will make me very sad since I've had such an awesome 16 weeks of training (up until the end) but I will go out there & give it my best shot. All I really want is one good, clean marathon, if that exists. I feel like the first one was a bust (I followed a pace team that basically sealed my doom - even the pace team didn't meet their goal at the end), & I was badly injured on the second one, unable to run at all for 3 months with a muscle tear in my hip. I trained, I did everything right, I got a little injured at the end & have had a bad 3 weeks leading up to the race. I have kept running to a minimum to try to keep the injury to a minimum. This is concerning to me, but hopefully I haven't lost too much fitness. Anyway, I've made my decision & I am all in. I will totally strut that a** on Sunday :)

Saturday, December 4, 2010


Countdown to marathon!!! We are looking at 15 days until the big day, & with a lot of good training as my base & ALL the major long runs behind me wouldn't you know... I'm injured :( Just when everything was going great & I thought I had it all figured out... Last weekend was my longest run of 22 miles, & I had a bit of a shin/calf thing going on, but I thought I'd be OK. & I was. Actually, I was heading out the door to do my loops at the park & my car wouldn't start. I was out of Hammer Gel too, so was gonna stop at a local running store on my way to the park. Not happening when my car wouldn't start... Instead of boo-hooing & deciding not to run, I used my sooooper fantastic brain & decided to RUN up to the running store, buy my gels, & then run over to a different park (which has trails) to do some loops there, & then run home. It actually went really well, considering the hills on the trails, & I wound up with exactly 22 miles for the run. Not bad. I did an easy 3 mile shake out run on Sunday, & decided Monday would be my day for a track workout since we had a lot going on last week. Everything felt good, though I did notice the shin was a little funny, & the track workout went off without a hitch. I wound up with 8 miles that night, including my 10 x 800 meter workout which went perfectly. The next day my leg was killing me, & I headed out for a 5 mile run only to decide that 2 miles was all I could handle. Ouch! (I have been icing, stretching, foam rolling, etc. this whole time, mind you.) So Wednesday rolls around & I'm actually feeling pretty good. I thought I would give it one more run before I decide that I'm actually injured & it's time to take a week (or so) off running. aaaaaaand we have a winner. ouch. So, while "all the hay is in the barn" I still am trying not to freak out that I will have to take some time off here. I really want to run a great race & don't want to lose any fitness, but I can't risk a serious injury. I said it at the start of marathon training, & I'll say it again: there is NOTHING wrong with the half marathon distance. If this leg continues to be a problem, I will bump it down to the half, no question. I have an awesome base right now, so I should come out of there with a stellar PR if I have to go that route (and still be able to walk the next day). In the meantime, I decided to replace this weekend's long run with a 50 mile hilly ride (which would act as an interval workout with all the hills & would be great for leg strength - see? soooper fantastic brain), since there's no way I'm running right now. The weather had other plans...

It's probably safe to say that if you see more Christmas trees on top of cars than bikes, it is probably too cold to ride. This morning's weather tricked me into thinking this crazy idea was actually a good one. The sun was trying to peek out from behind the clouds, the trees were standing straight & tall (leading me to think there was absolutely no wind) & I was full of hope that we could get in all 50 of the scheduled miles.

No dice. We were wearing 2 pairs of gloves & our fingers were frozen stiff. The wind gusts were too much. We had crosswinds, headwinds, tailwinds... it was really whipping around out there & that is no bueno when you are cruising hills. Really, if we could have gotten the fingers & toes situation under control we could have gone on. Not happening, however.

See? I'm not the only crazy one. I had my partner in crime, Lisa, that I met on the century ride in October. Turns out she lives just down the street from me (small world!) & is just as crazy as I am ;) We did wind up with 25 good miles with plenty of climbs, but after some mechanical problems & the fact that we were the only signs of life for miles (apart from a group of  3 other cyclists who appeared to be just bat-sh#t crazy, & one runner) we decided that a cup of coffee & a nice warm hoodie sounded just about right. 

As soon as I got home I put my awesome hand-knitted socks that my mother-in-law gave me into the microwave (try it!) & put them on over another pair of socks. Nice & toasty :) Then I plopped onto the couch with a hot cup of coffee & decided to share this with all of you.


I mean, it seems pretty standard to me. not much happening or worth reading, but I hate to think that what we wonder about later in life is the stuff we didn't do. The risks we didn't take. I really don't like the question "what if?" A better question is "why not?" You have one life. LIVE it :)


Perseverance: diligence, hard work. 

Synonyms: constancy, continuance, cool, dedication, determination, doggedness, drive, endurance, grit, guts*, immovability, indefatigability, moxie*, persistence, pertinacity, pluck, prolonging, purposefulness, pursuance, resolution, sedulity, spunk, stamina, steadfastness, stick-to-itiveness, tenacity