Photo Frenzy

Not sure when I will catch up on posts about my life outside of running so here are a ton of photos taken over the past several weeks.

Highlights from most recent to oldest

Halloween Bash at T's
BYOP Party (Bring your own pumpkin)
Chicago Marathon
Birthday Corn Maze Celebration
West Woods 6 Hour Run
Miller Family Golf Outing
Disc Golf Outing
Spring Roll night at T's
Furniture Purchase Labor Day Weekend (Which supposedly will show up Saturday)

If you scroll way down there's a Chicago Marathon Recap hiding somewhere
I've got him under my spell ;)
Oh no a Samurai!
Vampire Kitty
Not amused by the camera
Bobbing for Apples
Hawtness at the Halloween Party
No one told me it was cheating to retrieve it by the stem
Going for it sans stem. I achieved the goal but it took several tries.
Post Bobbing for Apples
Thirsty Pumkin
David's Pumpkin
My pumpkin
I'm Ragged, I'm Raw, I'm a Rock Star
Lora, Me, and Haight at the Chicago Expo
Fun with Shoe
Khalid signing my bib for good luck!
Signing "J you looked great passing me at mile 20" What a great sport!
Pic with Khalid
Khalid Khannouchi
I feel dizzy, I feel Faint, I've never felt better
Fun fountain at the Chicago Expo
Spooky Bat Cupcakes. I had a blast baking for my birthday outing to the corn maze!
Mmm Red Licorice!
Homemade Spider Cupcakes! And they tasted good too!
Milford Belly
Ready to tackle the corn maze. Have I mentioned I have the best friends ever?
Corn Maze!
Tired Birthday Girl
Oh so yummy ice cream cake
Early Birthday Beer
West Woods Trails where I ran for 3 hours relatively pain free and enjoyed some of the beautiful fall scenery to be had in Ohio.
Miller Family Golf Outing. My drive.
Milford doing what he does best
That's Hawt
Disc Golfing. AKA what I believe to have been the cause of the right hamstring issues at River Run.
Sleepy Fluff Ball
Furian and Monte
Too Cute
Monte, tired of photos
A making spring rolls
Beginning of Sept. Fun night at T's place chowing down on many homemade goodies as well as the best Tortilla chips ever.
New chairs that we ordered Labor Day weekend. They should be here Saturday (Yes it has been that long since I have posted many fun pics too!)

Post Chicago

We eventually managed to get around and went out for the RBF meetup. It was very cool finally meeting everyone and I had a good time chatting with Lora, Haight, and Dice. After dinner some of us headed out to a bar and I got to hang out with Mouse, Walchka, and Running Rabbit. Huge thanks to Dice for walking me to the bar. What a gentleman! Having just seen two men beating the crap out of each other in the alley I decided I wanted an escort :)

We threw back some drinks and watched the only Tigers win (Boo! I can't believe they lost the WS). I had a great time and eventually made my way back to Running Jayhawk's place. We chatted a bit before heading to bed. I had to be up early to catch the Megabus back to Cleveland. $15 for my ticket. Not too shabby!

Well I guess you get what you pay for.

After a minor freakout about where the hell the bus was I found DL waiting for the bus too. The crowd was small so we got a table area on the bus to ourselves. We talked shop for awhile waiting for our trip to Cleveland to start. And waited...and angry....and waited....

We had a special bus because the normal Mega Busses do not have wheelchair accessibility. Well apparently even though this one had it, the people in charge did not have much experience using it. It took them about 40 minutes to get the poor lady onto the bus. During which time I decided I was starving and had to get a sandwich. We timed it just right and got back onto the bus just as they were finally gettind her on board. Well then the bus wouldn't start. After about 7 attempts to start the bus, each attempt taking about 2 minutes. The bus driver got off and opened and shut the wheelchair door. Except for now the door wouldn't shut and it set off an alarm.

I swear to you that that door got slammed about 30 times before they finally decided to try something different (despite passengers suggesting to them to try something new several times) Finally they realized that the door was locked and wouldn't shut until unlocked by turning the bus off. And thankfully after all of that the bus decided to start.

Run Chi

The whole weekend in Chicago was an absolute blast. After all the paranoia about logistics, hotel, transportation, ITB issues, almost bailing etc. everything worked out just fine. In fact everything was better than fine.

For now I am just going to try to sum up the race. Hopefully I will find some time to cover everything else leading up to it because a lot of really great people made this weekend so much more relaxing for me than it could have been. And of course there was some fun drama to be had (post race thank goodness).

Sunday morning I woke up around 4:45. I had a bagel and cream cheese and a bottle of gatorade with carbo pro, also some green tea and a small cup of coffee. My stomach was not happy with me at all. Luckily for me my "donut" and I have a pact. It can be as distressed as it wants pre and post race as long as it shuts up and deals during. So far it has stuck to it's side of the deal and this race was no different. After about the 5th bathroom stop (only once in the portalet thank goodness) my stomach was calm and I was ready to drop off my gear bag.

I had come to the race with two running club friends and one of their brothers. We all walked to the gear check and then I went on my own way, paranoid that I would get to the start late if I didn't head out. Visions of Su's torn shorts from last year floating in my head.

Someone had the bright idea to put the gear check numbers in reverse order from right to left (45,000-1) of course my starting corral was now all the way back and to the far left. I think it was about a half mile walk, maybe more. I finally found the corral but could not figure out where the heck to get in. Minor freak out but I kept my cool after a volunteer exclaimed she had no idea either. I wound my way back out around a fenced in street and found the correct path to my Preferred 1 start.

My plan ever since Youngstown has been to aim for 3:40. Play it safe with the ITB, don't go out too fast, but try to negative split and BQ if I felt good. Hmmm. Anyone who knows me and my race strategies knows that went out the window as soon as I stepped into the corral. The 3:40 pacer was behind us in the Preferred II start so I lined up with the 3:30 group and decided to go out with them and see how I fared. I chatted with three other girls who were aiming for 3:30 and planned to run together, I told them I would try to hang but not to worry if I dropped back, filled them in on the ITB and found out one of them was having the same issues. I wish I would have got her number to see how she did.

I ditched my carbo pro gatorade mix with a few minutes to spare as the clothes started flying. The national anthem started and I started to get excited. I was stretching and everything felt loose. I had taken two tylenol 8 hours an hour before the race to protect against inflammation, but the ITB had been friendly with me the night before and I had high hopes that it wouldn't be a problem with or without the tylenol. I was honestly more worried about my shins. My two mile easy run the night before both shins were on fire the entire 19 minutes. I think that run was worse for me than anything else because I just kept thinking how the heck am I going to run 26.2 miles at 8:30 pace while my shins are about to burst.

All the ART therapy, stretching, strength training, and rest paid off though. We started and I felt no pain. As we made our way to the mats we were on the right. There were spectators on the left right and in the middle of the road, as well as above us on a bridge that we ran under. Pretty unreal. I kept the 3:30 gals in my sights but reeled it in a bit. I didn't want to blow the race in the first few miles. Miles 1-6 blew by. I felt fantastic. It was cold but I figured it was an advantage because it kept my legs cold helping to prevent inflammation perhaps? All I know is nothing hurt and 8 minute miles were feeling groovy.

Around mile 4 I heard Mouse screaming and I turned to wave as I moved forward. I was smiling. I feel bad I didn't see Trisaratops but I was so grateful to know there were people out there looking for me and cheering for me. Those girls have lungs! I think the three of us would be a serious spectator force to be reckoned with. But I wasn't in Chicago to spectate so I moved along.

I think Mile 5 was the first time I took aid. I grabbed a gatorade. I overheard two girls mention that they thought mile 6 had just blown by and that they had picked it up as we passed the marker, I glanced at my split and was surprised it was a bit slow. I definitely didn't feel like I had slowed down so I guess it must have been the gatorade stop. I wasn't too worried though because I had a few sub 8s to balance the 8:15 out.

Since my first marathon I don't use a pace band. I just know the average pace I should run and I try to keep it close to that. If I am within 5 to 10 seconds either way throughout the race I figure I will make my goal. This does get tricky towards the end when you start to try to calculate time left to the finish though :)

From 5 to about 11 I just tried to keep myself reeled in, I knew Mouse would be between 11 and 12 and I just tried to enjoy myself until I saw her again. There were spectators most of the way and despite the wind being a little strong the conditions felt good. Around 7 miles I realized that my choice in wearing my "fashionable" red Boston shorts was a bad one as I was chafing. Luckily I found a vaseline stop shortly after. I find it amusing that someone could get so excited about a cardboard square covered in vaseline :)

Around 12 I heard Mouse and Trisaratops screaming again and I smiled and waved. I was feeling really good at this point running just behind the 3:30 pacers. I was relatively confident I could hold pace and was even holding out for a negative split, possibly even a PR. I went through the half right on 3:30 pace at 1:45 and thought to myself that I felt just as good if not better than I did at the start of River Run and that negative splitting might be in the cards if I could gut it out.

I made a quick pit stop before mile 14. I struggled to get my shorts back on because my thighs were so cold they were swelling (if that makes any sense) and my fingers were a bit too cold to untie the darn things. I finally got them on though and headed back out onto the course.

So far I had had two gels, one at 5 and one around 12. I had two more in reserve and planned on taking those around 18 and 22. I think I ended up taking the third around 16 instead. After I hit mile 14 everything started going downhill. My left calf started its usual protest and then my right chimed in. By 15 my quads were threatening me with severe cramping. I was paying the price for not training enough on pavement. Every step hurt pretty bad but I just sucked it up. I figured slowing down wasn't an option because it would just mean more time on the pavement and possibly more damage.

About that time a pair of guys ran by me and one said to the other the good old mantra that pain is fear leaving the body. I repeated this to myself over the next mile or so to try and shut down the pain. After that I kept reminding myself that I would much rather be out running than doing much else and tried to enjoy every moment despite the pain. At one point we ran through a spectator area that had ACDC playing on speakers on both sides of the road. Right as I hit the speakers the words "THUNDERSTRUCK" belted out. I am not even a big ACDC fan but I swear I got chills. The crowd support was just amazing.

At 18 or 19 they had a gel stop. I never take the races gels, ever since I took a chocolate Gu at the Chicago Tri and almost vomited I avoid new stuff, but I figured a caffeine boost definitely wouldn't hurt and maybe some extra carbs would help out my protesting legs. So I eyed the signs for something fruity with caffeine. Strawberry with caffeine stood out and I made eye contact with the volunteer handing those out. I sucked that down and trucked forward. I had started doing math at 16 trying to figure out what mile pace I had to hold in order to hit 3:35 and 3:40. The miles were slowing down now despite my efforts to keep it closer to 8 minute miles.

About a mile after the gel station there were volunteers handing out bananas. I am normally totally grossed out by bananas but I was willing to try anything to keep my threatening legs from completely cramping. So I grabbed the banana piece and shoved the whole thing in my mouth at once. Disgusting but I think it probably aided against the cramping post race.

At this point I was looking for JG's family but I never did see them. I was a bit bummed but was enjoying China Town and all the fun music. A man came up behind me and asked if I was running for breast cancer. I replied that no I just liked wearing pink, but told him I had run for TNT before. He was running for his wife who was a breast cancer survivor and had raised about $6,000. I tried to keep up with him but the legs were having none of it so I wished him luck as he passed me for good.

Around mile 23 we passed a band singing Ride Sally Ride and they called out for everyone to sing along. I am sure they were talking to the volunteers but I didn't care I just needed anything to get my mind off the pain so I sang along too until I couldn't hear them any longer. For about a mile after that I kept singing it in my head willing my legs to pick it up.

Around 24 a man came running past and was encouraging all around him to pick up those knees. It was all mind over matter now. I changed my stride a bit and lifted my knees. But couldn't do it for long. It felt great changing my form though. 24 miles of the same motion on pavement was seriously taking its toll.

I tried really hard to pick up the pace after 24. I knew 3:40 was going to be tough to make if I didn't pull something out starting then. At 25 we turned straight into the wind. I was not prepared for that at all. It was ugly and unlike the rest of the race I wasn't close enough to anyone to draft and my legs were not willing to pick it up enough to draft off those just ahead of me. I put my head down and willed my legs to the finish. We finally turned out of the wind and up the only real hill on the course. Crowds were on the left over this bridge and I trucked up the hill as best as I could manage. Just before the corner we saw the 800 m to go sign and I glanced at my watch. I knew I needed to hammer to come in at 3:40 and hauled. I loved the signs as you turned onto Columbus and could finally see the finish line. 400 m, 200m, 100m, mats. 3:40:30

It felt great to stop running. My quads and calves were a wreck but I was able to walk through the chute and the crowds were not as dense as Boston so I didn't get claustrophobic or dizzy. I made my way to the Mylar blankets, then to get my medal. I took a banana and an apple which I never ate and grabbed a water bottle. This was the first marathon I wasn't starving at the end so I guess that 5th gel and banana on the course were a good idea. I made my way to get some ice on my left calf which had protested the longest and then headed to the gear check tents. On my way I found JG and his brother. They were headed to get beer which I had somehow missed so I went back with them to grab a few brews before finally putting back on my warm fleece pants that I had been upset about giving up that morning.

We shuffled over to the family meeting area and made our way to the Grant Park parking lot to get my stuff. They headed back out to Wheaton and I hauled my suitcase and backpack back towards the finish line. I wasn't really sure what time Running Jayhawk and her hubby had started so I called their cells and left them a message as to where I thought I could meet them. Eventually I figured out that I could get to the TNT tent and I headed that way. After some chatting and some free smoothies and gatorade recovery drinks I found Running Jayhawk's parents and we went into the TNT tent to stay warm until RJ and OOSG were finished. Eventually we got in touch with them and were able to retrieve their TNT pins and go find them at the massage tent. We made our way to the subway and back to their place for some well deserved beers and showers!

Splits for those that love em'
8:54.52 (bathroom)
9:28.50 (wind,hill)

Post Race Activities To Be Continued
Post Race Analysis Coming Soon

Chicago Marathon Prep

So I know posting has been sketchy heres a quick run down of the injury progression.

September 3rd 20 mile run ending in pretty bad ITB pain. Took a few days off and felt fine.
September 10th- River Run Half Marathon screwed up right hamstring, took whole week off
September 16th- Trail marathon resulting in really bad ITB pain, moved to hip and knee now
September 22nd- 18 minute run resulting in so much ITB pain I could not run and had to walk back, schedule ART therapy for the next Monday
September 23rd- Youngstown 50K relatively pain free (This is why we love trails kids)
September 24th-October 3rd horrible chest cold starts
Sept 25th first of 6 appointments with the ART doctor
September 30th- Akron Marathon Relay 5K pretty bad pain and still sick as a dog
October 7th- 18 mile trail run, ITB a little tight I think I had a 3 mile run one of the nights that week
October 17th-October 19th 3 runs ranging from 30-40 minutes. ITB sore during the day afterwards
October 21st- 2 mile run no ITB pain, shins on fire the entire run

I basically had a bunch of long easy trail runs and had not run fast for more than 5k since River Run and was not feeling too confident.

Which brings us to marathon day :)

Coming into this marathon I felt completely unprepared. I had not seen the track or slogged through a tempo run in what felt like an age (what was actually about 5 weeks). I also had not run during the week at all during those 5 weeks except for last week and all three of those runs ended in IT pain, not bad pain, but not non-existant like I was hoping for. I continued to do my strength work and stretching though and hoped for the best on Sunday.


and some change, it hurt, but I'll take it ;)

I am back to the land of Cleve after a long day on the bus. Incredibly sore. The ice bath was....pleasant? Not walking too well so I am off to recover with some chocolate milk and snuggling with my awesome husband.

Really everyone thank you so much for all your support in comments, text messages, phone calls, and well wishes. I continue to be amazed by all the wonderful friends I am surrounded by.

A couple pics till I have time to recap...

SERC Rules! From left to right 3:40, 3:09, 3:17, 3:08

And a little Phog for Mouse (who totally rocks and is super awesome).