Monday, November 7, 2011

"There Is A Light That Never Goes Out"

I wanted you all to know that for some reason, blogger isn't allowing me to post comments to my own blog (??) Not sure what's going on here, but I appreciate all the comments that you have made, I just can't respond to them (trying to figure this out...)

It's been a while since I've been able to update my blog. So much has happened! For those that haven't read my previous post, my mother has been very sick with terminal cancer, & we actually lost her on October 10th. Taking care of her in those final months, & her eventual death, have been the hardest things I've ever had to go through in my life so far, & I'm still dealing with it every single day in my own quiet way. It's very hard for me to talk about, but I seem to be working through everything on my own & talking to my husband a little bit as I need to. For some reason I've been quite content to just sit & quietly mull it over. So unlike me to be quiet!!! ;-)

Life will never be the same...

As far as my training goes, you can imagine that it was quite hard to be consistent. Last year, I ran the St. Louis Track Club half marathon in 1:42, so this year I wanted to try for 1:40 (which is a 7:38 average pace). I didn't realize that grief would have such a profound physical impact on my body. I was crying all the time & had a constant lump in my throat, & my blood pressure was sky high, even before she died. Running, or exercise was very difficult to nearly impossible for me. I was the only family member living here in town, so was doing all that I could for my mom, & was still maintaining the fact that I need to also take care of myself in all of this or I wouldn't survive it. I did the best I could, being that taking care of my mom & my kids were my top priority. I was still following my training plan, & things were really looking good, but there wasn't enough time for me to get to the gym to do my strength circuits (& let's face it: I really didn't want to fool with it). I wound up going 1:45:40 yesterday, & that's all there is to it.

I went ahead & ran the Rock n Roll St. Louis half, with the 1st 3 miles being warm up & the final 10.1 at tempo pace, two weeks ago & wound up at 1:47:54. It felt great & was pretty easy. The following weekend I raced the Gumbo Flats 5K, & was determined to come in first! I could not, for the life of me, catch up to the 14 year old girl who came in first, & I wound up second, the same as last year, but came out with a one second PR of 21:51. I'll take it ;-)

There I am in the middle (new hair!) with Jamie (The Original Running Buddy), & Chris, my official pacer (he is running a marathon next month & needed to go slower than his normal half marathon race pace, so figured why not!). He did a great job setting the pace, but unfortunately my legs didn't rise to the occasion.

We had a whole team running with us at the beginning, but somewhere around mile 6 the wheels just fell off completely. Katie, who we started with & who I ran with last year, did wind up making it in 1:40ish!! I couldn't hang, that was for sure. The whole thing was so weird, because usually I'm a total head case, & it winds up being my brain that hinders me from doing my best, so I really thought if I had Chris & Katie I couldn't go wrong. Not the case here. I couldn't make my quads go until adrenaline (& a nice downhill finish) set in at the end, along with Chris shouting encouragement. The course was the same as last year. It starts pretty much downhill for about 3 miles, then does 2 hilly loops through Forest Park, & the final 3 miles back to Shaw Park are practically uphill, with a nice downhill finish. Here are my splits:

Mile 1 - 7:34
Mile 2 - 7:33
Mile 3 - 7:25
Mile 4 - 7:31
Mile 5 - 7:41
Mile 6 - 8:08
Mile 7 - 7:37
Mile 8 - 8:12
Mile 9 - 8:23
Mile 10 - 8:25
Mile 11 - 8:50
Mile 12 - 8:50
Mile 13 - 8:24
.18 - 1:11

That's an average of 8 minute miles (ouch!), & was officially very hilly, windy, & difficult for me this year.

That photo pretty much sums it up :-) Me chasing Chris with my eyes shut. lol

The difference? Last year I had just done a century ride the month before, so my legs were plenty strong. This year I had a lot going on, & maybe should have gone a more conservative route, but there is no failure in trying :-) I had a ton of heart rate to play around with, & I took 2 HammerGel's, so the only explanation I have is that my legs just weren't strong enough for these hills. I plan to get myself back to the gym, effective immediately, so I can get myself ready for the Frostbite Series, which starts December 10th with a 12K, & features a half marathon in January. Last year, I didn't run the whole series but did the 10 miler, & my husband did the 4 miler. I love the course & am really looking forward to it!

I've already starting knitting a very festive hat for the Frostbite Series to be revealed at a later date ;-)

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