Thursday, October 28, 2010

So, What's Next?

In case you missed my last post, check it out! It's probably not quite what you expected! If you haven't read, please do so and feel free to leave lots of love!! :)

So, what's next? There are several, or should I say lots, of different things going on in my mind! I don't really want to share too many of them with anyone since my biggest struggle is with the mental battle and the pressure I put on myself! So, while I still have big goals (and want to acheive them now), I don't want to lay them out there yet! Just know that I'm running and I'm smiling! :) You may not get goal posts or even know when a race is coming up . . . but you better believe that I'm still running and working hard! This girl doesn't give up that easily!

The best part about only running half of my race this past weekend ... I'm recovered! :)

Saturday - race

Sunday - 30 minutes of easy biking

Monday -5 mile easy run - 8:55 average pace

Tuesday - OFF

Wednesday - Track 400 400 400 1200 400 400 400 1200
98 96 99 4:55 98 97 95 4:45

Thursday - 7 mile easy run - 8:32 average pace

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Apalachicola - Race Recap!

The weekend started off on the right foot! Penny and I both took off Thursday even though we didn't leave until Friday morning! It was nice to spend a relaxed day with a great friend!!

When it comes to the rest of the trip ... I don't even know where to begin! Penny and I had a great time driving up to Apalachicola. It was five hours worth of driving in the middle of no where, but somehow there wasn't a silent second in the car.

We arrived on Friday around 1PM and headed straight to the Expo. I should have realized that all of my fears and nightmares were about to come true, but I still had high hopes. The expo was in a small little room that basically just gave us our bibs. We quicky learned that there wasn't chip timing and that we'd be going off of gun timing. I was so confused as to why this would be the case, especially on a Boston certified course. The chips on our bibs were for the finish line only. At the Expo, there was a small table with about 5 different clif bar samples. There was a sign that read "take one of each." At least I didn't go broke at the Expo .... no running temptations at all!

Penny and I headed out to the neighborhood (beside the expo) for our little 2 mile shake out run. I was supposed to run one easy, on at pace. I was aiming for 8:50 and 8:20. I ran an 8:10 followed by a 7:58. I was pleasantly suprised with the effort, especially since it was 85 degrees outside.

During my run, a million thoughts went through my head. Luckily, the race director was easily accessible at the expo and we were able to question him to death. I was terrified of getting lost on the course (there were only 200-ish marathon runners). We were terrified of having to stop to cross the road because of traffic. I was terrified of there being no water on the bridges (more than 20 miles of the race was on these bridges ...I'm not exaggerating ... probably closer to 23 miles). I had concerns of there not being mile markers or clocks on the course. What about traffic on the bridges? We were to run in the emergency lane facing traffic??!

This should have been a major concern of mine, but the race director (depsite being extremely laid back) eased my fears. Everything would be taken care of.

Then, I did something I've never done before .... I drove the course. All I can say is "Thank God!" We started the start/finish line. I got a crack out of this. This should have been enough foreshadowing in itself for what the rest of the weekend would entail!


The rest of the evening was normal. I hung out with Stephanie and Penny, ate pasta, tried on a million race outfits and then went to bed.

rftb3

The race started at 7AM, so we arrived around 6AM. I parked about fifteen feet away from the start line (NICE)! It was a little chilly but not freezing. We waited in the car until about 6:40, went to the bathroom and then made our way to the mat. We decided that we were going to start at the very front (sorry faster runners) .... but there isn't chip timing, so what else am I supposed to do ... not add 15 seconds to my finish time.

Running for the Bay 029


Running for the Bay 031

The gun goes off and we start running. Several runners pass me immediately and I notice that they keep going straight. I drove this yesterday and we were supposed to turn. There weren't signs, it was dark, there weren't cops or anything showing the way .... Another girl and I turn and soon everyone follows. I think several people probably added on a good .2 miles before figuring it out. Like I said, thank God I drove the course.

We climb a mountain of a hill (picture - Stephanie is approaching the finish line. The top of that bridge ramp is mile .5 and mile 25.5) and start across the water. I hit the first mile in 7:58 and freak out a little. I vow to slow it down and hit miles 2 and 3 in 8:20 and 8:29. I realize at mile 3 that I already have a mile over pace. I try to not let myself get discouraged.

Running for the Bay 117

My legs felt great! The wind was insane ... 25 mph gail force winds. Great! Two girls pass me and I swear I hear them say they're going for 8 minute miles and I think they're running the half. I decide to pick up the pace and stay with them. Drafting is much better than running in this wind. My next 3-4 miles are between 8:04-8:12 I hit mile 5 and I'm 1:30 ahead of pace. I feel good, so I don't worry about it. We are running in the emergency lane the same direction the traffic is going. The trucks are zooming by at 70 mph ... or so it seems!

When we approached the point for the half marathoners to turn around, the girls don't leave. Hmmm. I talk to them for a second and realize they're trying to run a 3:40. We're a little too ahead of pace, so I let them continue on. I get stuck on this long, hilly bridge with all of the wind by myself. I hit the next mile in 8:17 and am happy.

Around mile 8-9, I start worrying a little. I realize that I haven't smiled once and I'm already wishing that the race would be over. I'm starting to worry about the lack of water and the sun is coming out. The wind is brutal. I'm fighting it so badly and it's worse than the actual hills (which are the devil). I keep telling myself to be strong and to believe. I say a million prayers and simply just ask God for the strength to do my very best and for strength to not give up.

The hill at mile 10 was the worst. As I climb the half mile + incline, I see my pace dip down. I tell myself that it's okay and that I can make it up on the downhill. Once I get to the down hill, I realize my pace isn't picking up ... the wind is pushing against me. My ipod falls out of my ears three times on this stretch and the dust from the cars is blowing in my eyes. Mile 10 - 8:45 I'm at 1:22:40, though ... which is still ahead of schedule.

I keep pushing but it gets harder. I'm so mad because my legs felt great that day!! The feel incredible, but everything seems to be going against me. I think of Penny and Stephanie and how this is their first marathon. I ache for them ... this is not something they should be experiencing! :(

I hit mile 11 in 8:41. I'm upset. I'm already off pace. I'm even more upset. I feel good but I know the wind is wasting my energy. The only thing that is keeping me going is that I'm almost off of the bridge. There is a two mile loop once I get off and then I get to head back.

I get off of the bridge and Penny's brother hands me water! He was an angel! The neighborhood has no shade, either. At this point, I just keep telling myself to get to the half way point. It's the only mat on the course and I just want to be there. I hit mile 12 in 8:41 again and realize that my cushion is going away and that I'm not hitting 3:40 today - not under these circumstances.

Around mile 12.6, I make a decision to stop at the half way point. I know this is quitting ... but I didn't want to waste my legs. I don't want the recovery that comes with the marathon. I don't want a 3:45. Everything was going against me and I gave in. Right or wrong, I stop right after I hit 13.1. There was no clock, but my garmin read 1:49:34.

There were not any medical/aid stations on this course. After I walk .4 tenths back, I realize this is an out and back course and pray that John (Penny's brother) is still at the base of the bridge. I walk .4 tenths before any runners pass me. I was out there alone. It felt worse than a solo training run. My training runs have been crowd support and water stops. :/ I jog about a mile back to John, in tears, as I'm just ready to be done. I'm upset with myself for quitting but nothing in me wants to do this. Running isn't fun. I'm sad ...I keep crying.

I have a minor meltdown once I reach John. I borrow his phone and call David. Saying the words "I quit" isn't easy! I ask John to take to the finish line so I can see Penny and Stephanie finish.

I tell him to not let them know I stopped if for some reason they ask when they see him. I don't want it to mess with them mentally. This is my fifth marathon and their first. I can't let them know yet.

As we drive to the finish line, we see Penny. She's on pace and looking strong. She's second overall female. I hope that she holds onto it.

I get to the finish line and find myself excited. I tell the timing people that I stopped (just in case my chip picks up near the finish line).

I get so excited as Penny nears. Sure enough, she comes in looking strong. She finishes 2nd female in 3:20:14 - what a debut marathon! I get lots of pictures and get to witness her first finish. This in itself makes my decision worthwhile!! :) This girl has amazing potential. She definitely has a sub 3:10 in her .. especially after finishing in these conditions. We talk about the race and how horrible it was. She said she thought about me a lot and was so upset that I had such bad conditions to run in, too. Penny was walking fine and felt great ... simply amazing!

As the clock crosses 3:40, I have another breakdown. This one lasts about ten minutes. I kept seeing runners finish and was so upset. I was mostly upset because I kenw I was as good of a runner as them and that I just haven't proven it in a race yet! (I mean that with all the respect in the world).

I collect myself for Penny and Stephanie. Now is a time to celebrate and I don't want to interfere with their finishes!!

Stephanie finishes in 4:38. What a crazy first race. That girl definitely has a sub 4:15 in her!! :)

We all laugh and talk and take pictures. What a day! We definitely won't ever forget this. There isn't any ice at the finish line, or cold water. They have soft drinks and chips - but that's it.


Since the race is super small, I talked to the race director. He gave me a half marathon medal and said that he would use my half split as a half marathon finisher time.

I looked online Sunday and much to my surprise, I finished 5th in the half marathon. I was 5th female out of 126. Not so bad since I was pacing for the full.

I'm at peace with my decision now. I have my eyes set for a redemption race very soon and already have a new schedule from my coach. The best part about running a half on Saturday is that I was able to run on Monday and I don't have to recover. Still, though, I'm sad. I wanted to run Apalachicola .... but, I learned my lesson: no more inaugural marathons for me!!

Check out mine and Penny's medal ... they had already broken.


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Let's Talk Goals

It finally hit me. All week, I've been feeling semi-normal. My legs still feel heavy. I'm over analyzing every minor ache and pain. I'm getting nervous, I'm excited ... but all on a semi-normal level. I'm not over-the-top. I guess that's good in a way, but I don't want to ever become immune to the normal race week emotions.

As I left work this afternoon, I gave one of my friends (Emily) a card. I wanted to tell her thank you for all of her support over the past months. She always has a smile on her face and cheerfully asks how my running is going ... on a daily basis! Since I'm taking a personal day tomorrow, I wanted to give her the card as I left. I walked into her office and handed it to her. When she asked me what it was, I noticed that I started to tear up. I tried to walk away but she caught me. She asked how I was and I just started crying.

It finally hit me. I'm running a marathon in less than 72 hours. I won't be back at work until it's finished. I've been spending the last 4 months working so hard for this ... and really the past three cycles have almost overlapped. Essentially, I've been training for this race since the end of Summer '09. She asked me how I was and I just stood there with tears in my eyes. I felt so goofy, but I looked at her and told her I was ready. I'm not over-the-top excited, though I am at the same time. I'm just ready. I'm not over confident by any means ... if anything, this is the one thing I need to work on in the next 2 days. But, I know that I've done all that I can do and I've trained as hard as possible for the past 4 months. So, because of this, I'm at peace. I'm hoping that all of the stars align in my favor on Saturday morning because if they do I could have a really good race. But, if they don't .... well, that's out of my control. All I can do is fight the fight and that I can assure you I will do! I plan to finish the race completely mentally and physically exhausted. I will give Apalachicola everything I've got - and I can only hope that on Saturday that's my absolute best!

So, I'm sure you're dying for goals:
  • A) To finish under 3:39:59 ...
  • B) To PR. I'll need to finish under 3:51:50 to PR
  • C) To give it everything I have, not give up and finish with a smile on my face!
A lot of runners wouldn't even admit to goal C but I know that 26.2 miles is a looooong way and that you've always got to respect the distance. Anything can happen out there and while I hope that I reach A, I can honestly say that I'll be ecstatic with a nice PR.

I'll be heading up to Apalachicola early Friday morning with Penny. I can only imagine how we'll entertain ourselves for the 5 hours there. Sadly, David probably will not be going. Boo, last minute work! On a positive note, I cannot wait to finally meet Stephanie! This is both of their first marathons and they are going to do GREAT! I can't wait to share this experience with them! Please stop by their pages and wish them luck!!

Until then, wish me luck! Next time you hear from me, I hope to have great news!! :)

* For some reason, I can't get Stephanie's link to work. Go to: http://stephilynne@blogspot.com **

Monday, October 18, 2010

It's Marathon Week!

So, it's marathon week! I can't believe it's finally here. It's the week that I've been anticipating for so long ... but, I'm so nervous it's not even funny!

It's time to start believing in myself and reflecting positively on everything that has gone better this training cycle - not everything that didn't go as planned! It's so funny. I've been through this marathon taper 5 times now and it doesn't get better. I still have the same fears and thoughts and doubts!!

  • Don't start off too fast! Banking time does not work!
  • Don't come across the half way point right on time (you should bank a little time). Running exact splits is too hard!
  • You're not ready for a sub 3:40
  • You ran a freakin' 20 miler at 8:24 average pace ... you are so ready for a sub 3:40
  • Miles 20-26.2 hurt so bad no matter how well you're trained .... Be tough! Don't give up!

AAHHHH! Okay! I'm excited ... I am, but I'm so ready for it to be here! I had the best week of training last week and then the worst last long run on Saturay (8 miles). I decided it would be best to start at 9AM b/c next week I'll be running at that time. I stopped like 5 times . . . on an 8 miler. My average pace was exactly 8:24 ... but it was a tough and very broken run. UGH! I was hoping for one more confidence booster.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Keeping myself in check . . .

I have a confession! As my legs start recovering during the taper, I have this desire to run fast! I love the feeling of fresh legs .... but it is so hard to hold back.

My mileage has been low this week (and even last) but every mile that I've run has been goal marathon pace or faster! I don't know that that's a good thing! I guess it's good to learn what the pace feels like but I'm supposed to be running easy!!

This morning, I met up with some friends to run 6 easy miles. I finished in 49:58. My miles were something like: 8:35 8:30 8:25 8:19 8:14 7:44

Oops!

I'm going to take tomorrow off and run 10 paced miles on Saturday! If this fast-er running continues into next week, I may have to cap myself at 3 and 4 milers!!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Tapering

I may be the only person in the world that you'll ever hear this from, but I love the taper. I look forward to the taper. I believe in the taper! It feels so good to have fresh, rested legs! I know that is what it takes to have a successful marathon and honestly, I like the down time. Of course, even though I know what's best for me, I still get worried that I'm not doing enough! But, overall, I think the taper is a great time for celebration and reflection. It's nice to have some time to sit back and think about all of the hard work that you've done over the past few months. It's also nice to celebrate all of that hard work (not too much though, we'll save the real celebration for after the race).

Okay, enough taper talk! I ran my last track workout this morning!

400 800 1200 1600 800

Not so bad! The real kick was only getting 2 minutes rest between every interval. Now, that's a lot of time after a 400, but not a lot of time after the 1200 and 1600.

My times:

96 3:13 4:57 6:33 3:14

I felt good. I wanted to kick it up a notch on the 1200 (especially since I ran that 4:39 last week) but I decided to play it smart, beat my goal time (5:06) and save my energy for the mile! I was supposed to run the mile in 6:48 - so, I'll consider 6:33 a huge success! :)

With less than 10 days to marathon, I'm feeling good. Monday and Tuesday of this week, I had the worst headache ever. When I didn't have enough energy to blow dry my hair yesterday before work I was worried - especially since I had taken a 3 hr. nap on Sunday, slept 7 hours Sunday night, taken half a day from work on Monday (along with a 4 hour nap) and slept 8 1/2 hours Monday night. Anyway ... I went to the doctor and I have a sinus infection. Luckily, they have shots for these things and I'm tapering. So, I took yesterday off and rested up! I woke up this morning feeling 1000 times better.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

4:39

Sorry I haven't written in a week! It's been a crazy week! Matt and Finleigh were in town from Thursday - Wednesday and now David and I are leaving today for Indiana. It's the second weekend in October = Pig Roast!! :)

I skipped my long run on Saturday. I did something I NEVER do and I went out on Friday night. Though I had a GREAT time, I now remember why I don't go out on Friday's (or really at all) anymore. Not only do I love running, but I love waking up early and running while the sun rises. I love the way the morning air feels (even when it's hot air). I love beginning my day with an endorphin rush!

On Sunday, I thought about making up the run, but I only ran a few miles instead. My legs were tight and I just wasn't feeling it. I've been trying to convince myself since then that I've still put in all of the miles (enough) and run harder and faster than I ever have before to prepare for this race. I've run more 20 milers in a training cycle and they've been 20-40 seconds faster than my 20 milers for San Diego.

My calf was still sore on Monday. I ran 5 miles in 44:31. I ran at lunch and it was a little hot. Otherwise, I tried to go super slow. So, for that, I was happy! If 8:5x is my super slow pace, I'll take it.

I took Tuesday off. My legs were still sore and I'm tapering. It's time to listen to the body, right?

I headed to the track Wednesday morning. My calf was still a little sore and my coach rubbed icy hot all over it. I warmed up and then started the track workout. It was 66 degrees with 60% humidity (AMAZING)!

1200 400 1200 400 1200 4o0

We rested for 3 minutes after the 1200's and for 1 minute after the 400's

Expected Times: 5:03, 5:00, 4:57 (for the 400's, we were just supposed to match whatever the first one was in).

My times: 4:59 96 4:48 96 4:39 85

I ran a 4:39! Holy Cow! It was my last rep, too! My legs felt great. My breathing was actually holding me back. Do you realize if I would have run one more lap that would have been a 6:12 mile. I've never run a 6:12 mile (especially at the end of a workout!!) Maybe training in the Florida heat and humidity this summer is finally paying off!!

Running 5 in Indiana this afternoon and then going for 13-15 "faster" miles this weekend. Will keep you posted!!