Last Saturday I attempted to meet up with a group at S. Chagrin but turns out there is no group at that time (or at least there wasn't last Saturday) so I was left to my own devices. I was looking for an easy run anyways so I grabbed the camera and hit the trails for a photo run by myself. Only saw 4 hikers out on the trails even though it was a pretty nice morning. The trails were icy but not too slick and I had a great time getting down by the water and fooling around with the camera. And as a bonus I got in some miles. Good thing I got out on the run because this morning I was lazy and overslept and missed out on the annual falls run sown in the valley.
Wednesday- 7.25 miles at lunch with Daisy, felt good, peppy
Thursday-7.5 miles at lunch with Daisy, another great run that felt peppy
Friday-8 miles at lunch solo, windy and cold but held sub 8s
Saturday-8 miles easy in the morning with the SERC group at South Chagrin, snowy trails
Sunday-12 miles with SERC, 7:40 pace
42 miles for the week
Saturday was candy making day (photos to come later). I was beat by the end of it but still managed to get to the Sunday run (albeit a few minutes late) and had a really great workout running around 7:40 pace comfortably. I'm aiming to hit 40+ miles for the next few weeks until starting an official training program for Boston.
As usual traffic was nuts, I guess that is what happens when around 10,000 runners plus their families and the parade traffic convene at one exit. Though we left with plenty of time we ended up having to bail on my dad in the car in search of a porta potty and the start. No real warmup and we made it to the new start line with a few minutes to spare. My goal considering that I hadn't done any sort of prep for this was to hopefully run sub 7s and come in the top 100 gals so I could get a prize to take home. My sister was convinced I had placed well here the last time we ran it but I had my doubts. It is a huge race and a lot of Hansons runners come out for it. This year they added a 5k to the 10k race which would follow the 10k course until a bit before mile 3 where it split off for the finish so we were sure to be running with some early speedsteers.
I lined up behind a girl with a 2008 Boston shirt towards the front of the pack and hoped for the best. A quick glance at the watch a few minutes in indicated a 7:20 something pace. That wasn't good, it felt like I was putting in a good effort. So I just did my best to tail the girl in the Boston shirt and ignore the watch. I counted girls in front of me at the only hair pin turn before mile 1. It looked like I was in top 20 which I figured was pretty good. As we made our way back somehow my sister spotted me in the crowd and said I was around 10th. Sweet. First mile check the watch, 6:03. Shit! Way too fast and I knew I would probably pay for that.
Just tried to settle in over the next mile, trailing a man in a cave man suit as the gal in the boston shirt pulled ahead. Mile 2 look down at my watch, still at 6:03, crap I had stopped my watch instead of hitting the split. Finally get it back to training mode and get it started again a bit after the 2 mile mark. I am now completely clueless to my pace. Hoping that I am still cranking out sub 7s.
As we neared the 5k turn off I got passed by a lady in an elf costume. Seriously, that's great for the morale, not! She looked fit though, so I won't begrudge her. I was secretly hoping that she and a girl in purple who passed by were in the 5k, but alas they made the turn onto the 10k route also. 3 mile split was around 6:35 so I figured that was closer to 7 and that I needed to step up the effort. (Photo of me making the turn) (sidenote: other photo places need to get on board with the prices this site is offering, I will totally pay $4 for a digital photo from a race, that is completely reasonable to me, but $100+ for less than 10 digital photos, give me a break!)
5k split according to the results was around 20:30 something. Not too shabby considering the rough start and no warm up. Too bad I was in a 10k! I tried to focus in my efforts on the back half. My left calf was acting up, likely residual from the marathon, and the back half of the course was barren. No spectators and pretty boring (the early half of the course runs along the parade route which was lined with people cheering who had set up early to get good spots for the parade later). I got passed by a few guys here but for the most part held my own. 4th mile split 6:51, could be worse. Took some water at the aid station and tried to focus on closing the gap on the girl in purple who had passed me. I wasn't going for a PR so I may as well try to "race" those around me.
I caught and passed her at mile 5 in a steady 6:42. I could see the stadium up ahead and could also see that we would have a bit of a hill to climb before the downhill ramp to the finish. Worked on catching the cave man in that final mile and successfully passed and held him off too. Tried my best to hammer the downhill and then through the tunnel to mile 6. 6:54, with the incline and the way my calf felt, not too shabby.
Hammered the home stretch glancing around for my dad, worried that he wouldn't realize that the course had changed and would still be on the 5k course. Saw the clock hovering over 41 and was pleased with the effort. Official time 41:31. My third fastest 10k this year and ever. Considering the effort put forth I can't complain. Scored a fun fleece scarf for my efforts. 4th in my age group and 18th female.
I walked inside to grab a water bottle and then headed back out to run in my sister. My calf was screaming at me even when I slowed it down to a walk. I stopped to stretch it a few times and then just suffered through it as I searched the course for KT. Found her a little before mile 5 and ran back in with her. We finally spotted my dad, he had indeed been on the 5k course. My sister finished up with no training and still did almost a pr for her, landing pretty much in between her two other turkey trot times.
Not a shabby way to start the morning of my favorite holiday! Lots of fun eating and catching up with the family in Michigan. The ladies once again lost trivia pursuit this year, but I managed to squeak out a ladies win for us taking on the boys in a round of lord of the rings trivia pursuit. Yes I am a geek. So we'll call it even this year ;)
Post Turkey Trot Photos
After pigging out at the family dinner. Love love love the tech shirts this year!
It's a bit cozy on the way to the family dinner!
Two Turkey Trottin Fools
Wednesday- EZ 4.5 miles with MJ and Daisy at Lunch, 1 mile jog in the evening to play postman after getting mail for someone a few blocks down from us
Friday-6.73 miles with Daisy, EZ 9:20 pace
Sunday- 9.89 slippery snowy miles with SERC in Solon, 8:25 pace
Hopefully this will be close to double that next week, but if not no worries for now. Just glad my legs seem to remember what running is still :)
It was an extremely cold day and while I didn't have a strong desire to be out in those cold temperatures (something like 19 at the start) I must admit I got pretty jealous as I drove to the first stop and took in the view of the Appalachian foothills. Having only done a short jog since the marathon I was having some serious trail envy!
I saw a ton of friends out on the course and tried my best to keep warm through the day by cheering and clapping on all the runners. My father in law unfortunately missed the cutoff at mile 27 so I had some company after that. I am guessing he was not happy about sitting in that cold but he took it all in stride and I have a feeling he will be back up and running and looking for an ultra to get revenge on soon. His buddy finished in 11:11 and it was off for dinner and bed.
I conned the guys into letting me hit the trails Sunday telling them I knew they really wanted to sleep in ;) And I headed out for a quick trip to the AT to remember my past two races there and soak up the outdoors. It was a great easy run. I headed to Weaverton Cliffs so I could reminisce about all the leaf covered rocks and small hills. It did not disappoint and was just as I recalled other than the hills seeming much less intimidating. Likely because I was only going to be on them for an hour rather than 3+ :) Took my camera along so I could goof off and get some photos of the rocks. This was a geologist and runners perfect morning if you ask me. Running and rocks, you just can't beat that!
Enjoy the slideshow below of some of the trail and me goofing off on a fun run on the AT. Those trails are seirously calling my name now, it is going to be hard to get back into road marathon mode for Boston. I think I am going to have to make an effort to try and get in more of my easy runs off road this time around!
I'll slowly be getting back into the swing of things this month. I apparently injured my calf at some point between the marathon and now because it was thrashed after the turkey trot and had felt a little off on the Appalachian trail. It is getting better, but not 100%, so I'll have to be a bit more cautious ramping things up again. Nothing big on the horizon other than Boston so if I have to take time to heal, this is as good of a time as any.
Tuesday- Short Crossfit workout- 55 pushups and 55 sit ups
Wednesday- ~2.5 mile run to and from hair appointment
Thursday-Saturday- Rest/Crewing for JFK
Sunday- 60 easy minutes on the Appalachian trail, took it slow and took some photos, great day to be out on the trail (unlike Saturday when I was freezing my butt off crewing for the race!)
Wednesday- Goofed around on my parents Wii Fit. Apparently I am unbalanced.
Thursday- Turkey Trot 10k, 41:29, 18th out of 2660 women, 4th in AG, calf seriously unhappy after this, ~2 mile cool down to run in my sister. More goofing around on the Wii Fit.
Friday- 30 minute walk at the park and about 45 minutes goofing around on the Wii Fit including yoga, pushups, lunges etc.
Saturday- A little less than an hour on the Wii Fit
My awesome parents after Friday night Dinner.
Group Photo after dinner. Pasta for many was lukewarm, not an ideal pre race dinner.
Mile 2. It's muggy out here!
Mile 18. Bring on the cola!
Mile 25. Is this thing over yet?
Not a great day.
Tough SERC Chicks
Not as fun with out my partner in crime Solar Squirrel. But still not too shabby, at least that hard training paid off in one way, no sore quads! Expect a repeat of this with Solar after Boston!
Two PRs despite the conditions. One small PR (me) and one Huge PR for MJ
Posing with 3 Monkeys (This restaurant was awesome!)
I joined the 3:10 pace group and noted that I was one of very few females up front. I felt a little out of place but was still confident this was where I was supposed to be. I had no doubt all my hard training was about to pay off. As is par for the course the first few miles went by quickly. Unlike normal there was no throw away gloves or jackets. It was warm and it was humid.
I had planned on an electrolyte pill starting at 30 minutes and every hour after. I altered the plan quickly and took a pill at the first chance which was mile 2 at the first water stop. By mile 3 I was already looking for the next water stop which would be mile 4. It was warm and I was already concerned about hydration. Water stops were every 2 miles until mile 20 when there was water every mile.
Our pacer eased into pace and it seemed we were doing relatively well. The pace didn’t feel bad, but it didn’t feel great. I chalked it up to the fact that it always takes me a few miles to get into the groove. We had a few fast miles, but there were a few slight declines so I assumed we would get back to even soon.
By mile 6 I was already taking water for drinking and cooling off. It was still muggy and overcast and the roads were slippery. At a few points I was concerned that my shoes were not cut out for the slippery surface but I managed to avoid any slipping.
After mile 6 there is a pretty sharp downhill. The pace group took advantage of the net decline and had a really fast mile. I held back from the group, I didn’t want to run that aggressively that early in the race. I missed the mile 7 marker but the guy next to me said we had run the last mile in 6:40. Not good. The bottom of the hill turned you into the first party spot and the pace group did not ease back into the pace instead holding the surge through the crowds. I decided not to go with them. It was too early to be surging. But I was ticked because now I was pretty much on my own with occasional guys to keep me company. The course starts to wind around by the river before mile 8. I did my best to hold my pace and told myself I would slowly work my way back up to the group over the next few miles.
Mile 8 came and I realized I had slowed a bit from 7:15 pace. My average pace was still 7:12 and I figured I would just try to hold around 7:15s and turned it up a notch. No response. The next mile had some inclines and was slow. I realized I was going to have to tap into my gels earlier than planned. I assumed my carb loading hadn’t been effective which was explaining the slow down, that and being on my own rather than with a group. Already counting the time to mile 10 wasn’t exactly how I pictured this day to go. I consoled myself that a few slow miles through 10 were okay, I would get a gel at the next water stop and it would get me back on pace and there was downhill at the finish I could take advantage of. My average pace was still under 7:20 and I was hoping I could get to the half by 1:36. The gel at 10 had some effect by 12, and then we were heading back uphill again and despite passing people miles 11-13 were closer to 8 than 7. I was getting a little worried at this point but chalked it up to the hills and did my best to keep running and hoping the pace would come back down. Oh and at this point the sun had come out to heat things right up.
I don’t know at what point I started to give up hopes on the 3:10, I am actually surprised in retrospect that I thought I could get back to pace for so long. I think at the half I realized it was unlikely, coming in over 1:37. But I was still determined and thought if I could run a 1:35-1:37 on the back half I could still get a 10 minute PR. Unfortunately the miles just kept getting slower. I didn’t know what was wrong with me. Nothing hurt (other than a few blisters that had popped and a few that were forming) but I just couldn’t get aggressive. Every time I felt like I stepped it up, it just resulted in the same pace or an even slower mile. I kept thinking that I did not remember the course having so many inclines. The whole run was starting to turn into a bit of a blur, I can’t remember half the details I normally would remember for a race.
Despite the pace slowing I still tried to enjoy myself. I smiled at spectators and thanked volunteers. I was holding out on a sub 3:20 and thought I could salvage the day once I got some more calories in me. Mile 14 I took a gel and kept waiting for the mile 16 junk stop where I could get cola. Taking it two miles at a time I stopped paying attention to the watch splits and just tried to run well. I was still passing people and wasn’t getting passed by too many. The bridge at mile 15 had a pleasant surprise in that it was a tailwind when I was expecting it to be a headwind…then the wind stopped. Seriously, how frustrating! This crazy wind all day and when it is actually at my back it dies. I was on a mission to get to 16 and that cola though so I pushed on. I knew my parents were going to be at 18 with more cola and I knew 22 or 23 was another junk food stop. With a gel at 20 I figured I could get in calories every two miles and perhaps put the pep back in my step.
I must have been one of the first to partake in the cola at 16 because the volunteers looked shocked when I asked for it. I probably sounded like a person who had been stuck in the desert for weeks without water with how desperate I was for that cola. I followed it with water and another dousing. Around mile 17 they had wet cloths and they were heavenly. I was so hot, sweaty and gross it was so nice to wipe some of that away with a cool cloth.
Pretty much in survival mode I knew my projected time was getting slower with every mile. I was so tempted to walk but soldiered on. I was passing lots of people walking up hills and kept telling myself to get to the cola at 18 and 22 and that from there it was downhill and I could salvage some of the dismal paces I was turning out. The cola from my parents at 18 was a much welcome distraction. I plastered a smile on my face and thanked them as best as I could. They informed me PR wasn’t far ahead which made me sad. He was going for sub 3, and I was already so far from my goal of 3:10 I knew he must be having a worse day than me. Up until this point I had just chalked this run up to my mental strength not being strong enough, that I just wasn’t holding up well on the hills, etc. It wasn’t until I realized someone else in our group was struggling that maybe it was the conditions on the course that was causing my suffering.
Drank the coke and laughed at the guy ahead of me as we passed a large group of college guys out drinking on a porch and he yelled at them all “I hate you guys” and they replied that “they hated their selves.” At least in our suffering we were able to revel in some laughter. I couldn’t believe I still had 7 miles to go and at one point confused the miles and thought I had only 10k before realizing my math error.
By mile 20 the wind had really kicked up. I was hot and struggling but just keeping focused on the next place I would get water or calories. Around 21 or 22 I ended up by a runner who had a crew of people on bikes helping him, not sure that is actually allowed, maybe it was a special charity or something. But I must have looked like I was suffering because one of the cyclists took an interest in me and assuring I was hydrated. Insisting I needed to dump water over my head because I was beat red and needed to get my core temp down. I welcomed the distraction listened to him chat about his running past and cycling endeavors as I slowly caught up to PR.
PR was looking beat. Turns out he had lost all of his dinner on the course and was completely depleted. We stayed together for awhile. I heard a spectator yell that I was the 19th female which surprised me. Going into the race I had assumed if I ran a 3:10 I would place around 20th female and about 5-6th in my age group. So it did make me feel slightly better that I was still meeting my place goals even if I was so far off my goal pace at this point. Then within the next mile I was passed by 4 or 5 girls.
I was rejoined by the cyclist as PR fell back to cramps. I could feel my calf threatening which I knew meant my electrolytes were low. I took another electrolyte pill and kept my thoughts on the cola I knew was waiting for me. The wind was in our faces for most of the last miles. And despite remembering the last 4 miles being downhill we were still going up inclines. Not to mention that nothing looked familiar to me. Turns out they have changed the course since I last ran it. So much for that strong downhill kick I was banking on. I gave up on sticking with the girls who had passed me at this point and for the first time allowed myself to get angry. I was pissed I had worked so hard for what was now looking like would be a day slower than my last marathon. “What was all that work for?” “All that effort only to result in a decent run.” I was expecting this huge breakthrough and here I was not even running my long run pace at this point. I was struggling to get from aid station to aid station… And then I sucked it up put that smile back on my face and continued pushing to the finish.
I made it my goal at this point to start picking off those girls who had passed me. If I couldn’t PR at least I would try to place as well as possible. My parents were at mile 25 cheering and my dad called out that I should at least try to PR. So with a smile/grimace I dug deep and turned it on as well as I could, and then headed into yet another ridiculous headwind. I just pushed as hard as I could, passing another girl rather than drafting her, I pushed to the next runner and another as I made my way to the finish. With 0.2 to go and finally a downhill I hammered as hard as I could passing one more female runner and eeking out a 4 second PR.
At the finish I had settled within myself that this was not my day and that to expect better in these conditions was putting too much pressure on myself. I had trained hard and instead of a breakthrough day I would have to be happy for a PR on a day when most were happy to finish. I had a strong placement in the field, 21st woman (that girl I passed going to the finish line nabbed me by a few seconds with chip time!), 4th in age group, and 153rd overall, which is what I was expecting to do if I ran 3:10.
I called my husband and let him know the results. It was an awful day to run the marathon and I had done the best I could. Because of the slower pace my body will recover quickly and I can enjoy a mental and physical break in the next couple of weeks. My right foot is injured. Coming into the race it had been sore in the mornings and during runs, but the pain was bearable, walking around in flip flops and barefoot after the race it is apparent that it is not okay so I will take some time off to heal that but thankfully my quads were not damaged at all and other than tight hip flexors and tight calves I feel exceptionally good.
I promised myself that no matter the result of this race I would not dwell on it. I set an aggressive goal for a good day, it is apparent Saturday was not the day for aggressive goals. I am happy to have finished my 14th marathon faster than I have ever run before, even if it was only 4 seconds. I realized during the race that I am not quite as attached to the fast marathon pursuit as I thought. It is so much work to leave up to one day’s conditions. I have some soul searching to do but I think I will be backing off the goals a bit the next few years on the marathon front. Get faster a little slower, try to enjoy the training more and focus a bit more on the ultra scene. I really do love the 50ks and even on a bad day on the trails I have so much fun. It’s such a different task. Yesterday was miserable. I did my best to enjoy myself despite the effort it took and I was successful, but it was work. (Although I do admit there is that small voice in my head screaming for a redo to prove all this work has resulted in much greater fitness)
I am happy with my effort on the day and although disappointed I know that I can only get better for the time being. I am so grateful for all of those that stood behind me and dreamed high with me. Given that I placed almost exactly how I thought I would if I had run a 3:10 I am confident on a better day I would have been a lot closer to the goal, and that is a comfort to me. And I know I could not have gotten this far without the support of my friends and family. Thank you!
Congrats to all of my friends who ran with me on this miserable day. You all continue to amaze me. We should all be so very proud of how well we held up on such a crappy day! Three top five age group finishes in our group of ladies! We all finished under 4 hours! It is important not to lose sight of the fact that what we are doing is not the norm, even by runners’ standards. It is easy to lose sight of it when we come up short, but I am so grateful for my abilities.
I am sure I will be reflecting on this experience a bit in the next few weeks. This is the raw report written on the long drive home yesterday while the whole thing was fresh in my mind.
Quadruple thanks to my parents who are the best athlete Sherpa’s around. I don’t know too many runners whose parents will drive their butts 8+ hours back and forth and walk all over a city to cheer and pass out cola to their crazy running daughter. I hope you guys had fun. Know that I am forever grateful for all of your support through all of the years I have been running.
Splits: (Garmin ended on 26.29. Mile markers seemed extremely accurate. From 26 to the finish my Garmin read 0.23 and under 6 pace, thank goodness for that downhill and the crowds. I definitely owe the small PR to the crowds rush and the huge finishing decline from 25.5 to the end.)
Mile 7-8-14:18 (6:40ish and 7:30ish) (Huge downhill just after 6 and huge crowds at the bottom of the hill, lost the pace group here, intentionally, but never caught back up to them)
"Have a nice run.
Remember go out hard. You can't make up time."
"Good luck and good weather!
Remember NO sub 7:00 miles! Don't feel your splits must be perfect....keep telling yourself to save a little something for the last 5K!"
"Are you nice and relaxed? Every time you think about it you should do some deep breathing exercises and focus on relaxing your entire body and clearing your mind. Anytime you think about strategizing and micromanaging, you should say I will run a good race and then do this deep breathing. I am telling you that relaxing at this point is the BEST thing you can do to run a great race. It is right up there with hydrating, eating well, and sleeping well. Let go and have faith in yourself!"
"Your focus and discipline to training are inspiring...I hope you reap the rewards of your hard work this weekend!
Run smart, run fast and good luck!"
"yo! you all set for this weekend? I think it's great you're going back to the place where it all started a short 4 years ago. You should be proud of all you've accomplished in that time. Enjoy these last few days the best you can!"
Pretty much packed and ready to roll out for marathon number 14. Weather isn't looking promising, rain and 60s but I'll roll with it. I set up the blog to receive tracking updates so hopefully those will work and you'll know how it went before I have started partying afterwards. ;) Plan is to run with the 3:10 group as long as that feels groovy and see how the day plays out. I've definitely trained harder for this race than ever before so hopefully it pays off. No doubt it will be hard, but that's what marathoning is all about!
Thanks for all the well wishes and advice, it means a lot to me!
Monday- 7 miles at lunch 8:13 pace, probably a little quick for a recovery run but was having fun and felt good
Tuesday- 8 miles with 8*25 second strides with Daisy at lunch
Wednesday- A little over 6 miles at lunch. Attempted a track effort in the flats but blew up a bit mentally a little over half way through it and called it a day. No need to pressure myself this late in the game.
Thursday- A little over 5 miles with the DOT group. Downtown was crazy with Browns fans everywhere.
Friday- A little over 5 miles with 10*25 second strides
Saturday- 13 miles 8:00 pace, last 3 at marathon pace, was a little quick 7:11, 7:06, 7:05 but in the ball park and it felt good. Just have to be careful at Richmond not to get complacent and not to push too hard early on
Sunday- Car died so I had to do a bit over 5 on my own
50 miles for the week
Monday- 6 mile recovery run
Tuesday- 9 mile run with track intervals (5*600). It was hailing and pitch black by the time I started my 600s. Had to go to the middle school track which sucks. Times weren't stellar but I got it done.
Wednesday- Rest. No motivation whatsoever, I don't like the dark or the cold!
Thursday-AM:12 miles at lunch 8:05 pace. 7 of it with Daisy. I felt great, glad I waited to do the run Thursday.
PM: 3.5 mile recovery run
Friday-6 mile recovery run
Saturday-17 mile run at NC, 8:16 pace. Beautiful morning for a run, ran with CV and Daisy. Legs felt toasted but paces weren't bad, last three miles all sub 8 despite tree trunk legs.
Sunday- A little over 11 miles. 5 at a hard tempo pace-6:42 "Raced" myself to the water stop, legs were toast, could have been the 17 miles, but more likely the three glasses of wine on Saturday
Week Total: 65 miles
Now it is taper time! I am feeling great. Did 7 miles yesterday at lunch and my recovery paces are finally under 9 :) The weather has been great ever since our little arctic storm so I am hoping it stays nice for Richmond. On the straight and narrow until the marathon, no alcohol, and no junk food. Now if the race could just get here already!
Look what I dug up from the old tblog! My first marathon report, which happened to be Richmond.
I have now officially been initiated into the marathon club. Yesterday I finished my first marathon. I knew it was not going to be easy, but man did I underestimate how hard it would actually be! You get to a point where the pain is so overwhelming you don't think you can take one more step, but you still have another 4-6 miles to go and you can't slow down if you want to qualify for Boston. My whole running career I have had the legs for running but never the brain. If I felt good I ran well and if I didn't feel good and my legs wouldn't just carry me through I never toughed it out. This went for anything including track workouts. And that was when I was only running 5k's! So yesterday will probably go down as my best race ever. I conquered my mental running demons and persevered.
In order to qualify for Boston I needed to run under 3 hours 40 minutes and 59 seconds. That averages out to 8:23 minute miles. My goal was to run a steady marathon. Try to stay away from running too fast or too slow. When you go out too fast in a marathon you will most likely pay for it later. As most marathoners will tell you, you hardly ever hear about someone going out too slow.
We got into Richmond Friday night and I got a watch with 30 splits on it so that I would be able to track my progress throughout the marathon. I have a good memory but I didn't trust myself to remember 26 splits :) I also picked up some running shorts and a cool max shirt to wear during the race.
We went out to dinner with one of the members of the club and his wife and sister-in-law. Very nice people. I had a beer and shrimp scampi pasta. The pasta was delicious. It had capers in it, which I have never eaten, they tasted very good but I was a little worried that my stomach might not handle them well.
Got back to the hotel and got everything ready for race morning. Pinned on my race number, set out my clothes. Checked out how to work my watch. I went to bed shivering like a maniac, hoping that it was just that it was cold in the room, and that I hadn't caught something by being out in the rain.
Heading to the Race
Woke up around 5:30 yesterday morning and decided I wasn't going to be able to sleep any longer so I hopped in the shower and got ready. At this point nerves were settling in and I really felt like I was going to vomit. My parents and I headed over to the race at 7am. I waited in the porta-potty lines twice and checked my bag to pick up after the race. I saw Coach K and M and they told me I shouldn't wear a jacket even though it was cold. So I waited till the last minute, handed my jacket off to my parents and went to the starting corrals.
Checking My Bag
Waiting In Line :)
Richmond had set up pace teams but they didn't have one for 3:40. So I was surprised as I headed to my corral to see a sign saying "3:40 Pace Group: Headed to Boston?" Bonus! I was very excited about that. All I had to do now was stick with this group and I was golden! Well as we started I hooked up with a few girls and we decided to run the race together. We saw our pace leader up ahead but he was going too fast, so we decided we would pace each other to get through the marathon and qualify. We were slightly ahead of pace most miles and the mile markers just kept continuing to go by. I was amazed at how fast the race was progressing, and I felt great! I was talking with my running partner, by now it was just two of us. Around mile 6 my friend from the running club was passing us, he was in the 3:45 pace group. I don't know what was up with these pace leaders but they were not pacing! We were right on pace, or slightly ahead and we were supposed to finish 5 minutes before these guys :) Well R stuck with his pace group even though he knew they were going too fast. So we had another running friend for 4 or 5 miles.
At mile 7 and 14 we passed a Party Stop with tons of spectators! Crowd support is wonderful and really helps spur the runners on! We had picked up another 3:40er who was also struggling through his first marathon. My race partner had done 5 other marathons and an Iron Man! But her best marathon time was 3:59:00. So we were both in for a ride!
Around mile 15 the wind picked up really strongly. We crossed a large bridge and it was incredibly windy. We were starting to head uphill and the wind wasn't going away. My parents were cheering between miles 16 and 17. Later I found out they made it just in time to see me! They asked how I was and I lied through my teeth "Great!" At this point my quads were starting to feel a little sore and 8:23 pace was not quite as easy. But I knew it would not be wise to say out loud how I actually felt because that could be the end of my Boston Qualifying goal.
Between Mile 16 and 17 (The girl in the red cap ran with me for 22 miles)
From there it started becoming a mind game. I knew my parents were going to be at mile 25, so I just kept counting down the miles till then. My running partner was starting to feel the pain too and we had a really slow mile from 20 to 21, just over 9 minutes. At 20 I decided to walk through the water stop and when I tried to start up again my legs were screaming at me. I knew I was in trouble. At 21 we both decided to go to the bathroom quickly and got back out there. I was worried about stopping again but knew I couldn't let my bladder go another 5 miles. We had another slow mile, over 9 minutes and I realized my chances of qualifying were now slowly drifting away. With more pain in my legs then I have ever felt I made the decision to go after my goal no matter how bad it hurt.
That got me going but what really helped was that R had caught up to me and since he knew his goal of qualifying was not in danger he sucked it up and started running 30 seconds faster than his goal in order to run me in. My legs were screaming, I kept telling myself how upset I would be if I gave in, and R kept telling me I was trained for this and I just had to hold on. At the time I was grateful and annoyed because he was driving home the same things I was saying to myself but I knew that he was putting himself in a lot of pain just to help me reach my goal. Just before mile 25 his wife jumped on the course to run him in and he told her he was fine and to bring me home :) She was so kind. At this point the sun had come out and I was hot, my headband was around my neck and I asked if she could take it from me. I also had her take my fuel belt so I would have less weight going into the final mile. I know that that stupid thing is heavy so it was really nice of her to take it. She stopped just before the 26-mile mark because that was a huge downhill. I could see the crowds ahead and could just make out the finish clock. I knew I just had to drive it home and I had it! With music from Rocky playing through the street I crossed the finish at 3:39:42! It was the most wonderful awful feeling in the world.
Coach K and M at mile 25
My legs were screaming at me. I could barely walk. I was slightly delusional at this point. But I had done it! I conquered my mental demons and had overcome pain to realize a very lofty goal.
R and his wife and sister-in-law were there at the finish line to celebrate with me. Then I had to make the lonely trek to retrieve my bag with my warm clothes in it. They gave us a Mylar "blanket" at the finish to keep warm until you could get warm clothes. The walk from the finish to get my clothes contained some of the most painful moments of my life. At points I felt like my legs were going to give underneath me. The path to the bag pick up was downhill on cobblestone streets. What kind of cruel trick were they playing? It was horrible, and it was almost a ¼ mile to the bag pick up. When I finally retrieved my clothes it took me about 10 minutes to actually change. Putting my shoes back on was absolutely horrible. I knew it was going to send both my calf and quads into cramps. I managed to get my clothes back on make a trip to the porta potty then I set out to find my parents.
I found Coach M and K and they had seen my dad so I headed back to our hotel since I couldn't find them at the finish. Luckily our hotel wasn't too far from the finish line. Eventually my dad made it back to the hotel and I showered and we went out to lunch with the group. We had a celebratory drink and some lunch then my parents and I hopped into the van for the 8-hour ride home.
My parents are absolutely the best! I can't thank them enough for coming to Richmond with me and helping drive me there and back. I probably would have just stayed in Richmond if it weren't for them!
I am not really sure how I feel about this experience. I know I should be absolutely thrilled but for some reason I am not. I think it may just be hard to digest everything. After my triathlon I was absolutely thrilled, I felt great, and I had a blast. I guess this victory is bittersweet because I really had to give everything to get to it. I can honestly say I left nothing on the course for the first time in my life. And I think by doing that I actually may have left a piece of myself out on the course, and that may be why I feel odd. (If that makes any sense) I have to leave behind the runner who gives in when it gets too tough and now I have much bigger shoes to fill. And maybe that is a bit frightening. I feel bad that I am not more thrilled because I know there are people that work their whole life to qualify for Boston, and I did it in my first marathon.
Going into the marathon I wasn't sure if I would go to Boston, even if I did manage to qualify. Now I really feel I have no choice. I have to go. Too many people gave a piece of their time to get me where I got, and they didn't do that so I could turn around and not go to Boston. I have my next triathlon to do and that is less than a week after Boston. I know that it will be tough but like I said I don't have a choice :) Maybe I can convince A and C to do the triathlon as a relay. Then I would just have to swim.
I am sitting here barely able to walk and registering for the Boston Marathon on April 18th. I have reached the peak of craziness!
My quads are really sore as well as my calves. One of my toes has turned purple and I am pretty sure that nail is going to fall out in the next few days. I have to go and run two miles today and I have no idea how to even attempt it. But I have been ensured that by running those two miles my legs will be better off over the next few days than they would be otherwise. Maybe I will go to the pool first and try running in the water. I cringe when I see a curb let alone stairs. I must look like I just got done riding a horse for days.
So this is what a marathon feels like.
For you statistics junkies out there like me check out my splits!
A quick comparison (this is why training logs are useful tools for OCD runners). This year at Boston I averaged 43 miles per week the 10 weeks leading up to Boston Taper (2 weeks). This year for Richmond I have averaged 59 miles per week leading up to taper. In the spring I ran a 41:16 10k 2 weeks before the marathon. And this fall I ran a 39:45 4 weeks before the marathon (No 10k races in town this morning). I used the equations listed by this site to predict my marathon time for Richmond: http://mysite.verizon.net/jim2wr/id70.html. Based on the formula for 60 mpw if you multiply my recent 10k time by 4.75-4.85 my time should be between 3:08:49 and 3:12:47. According to the site when I was averaging 43 miles per week my multiplier should have been 5.0 to 5.3 (3:26:24 to 3:38:47) but it actually was 4.91 (3:22:50). I am not sure if that is because of my base or because I just run better than the average on less training. Either way the numbers are looking pretty good to me. (I'll be checking out the numbers versus my other marathons to see if I can find a trend!)
What is hilarious to me is that for some people I will never run enough miles and for others they can't believe how many I am running. I honestly feel that I did not run to my potential in Boston this year, I didn't feel strong and my quads were shot very early in the race. I truly believe that I am capable of much better. I aimed high with the training mileage for this race and I fell a little short of my goal, but the past two weeks I have felt the speed and the strength that I have built up and I know I am ready for a huge PR. A 16 mpw swing in training is huge, even if it is less than I intended. And the quality of my key workouts this training period have been great. I have been so pleased at how well my body has adapted to the hard tempo days and the faster long runs.
My goal is to be strong and smiling as I finish Richmond with a huge marathon PR. I don't need the negativity from inside or out. I've put in the time and it will play out how it plays out. But if I were placing a bet on me for this marathon I'd recommend you bet high on me doing exceptionally well and save the doubting for another day.
I have run over 130 more miles in this training period so far than I did for Boston this year, 250 more miles than I ran all of last year, and 915 more miles than I ran in 2006 (and there are still 2 months left!). No wonder I am a little burnt out and a little crazy about whether or not the goal I have set for myself is achievable most days.
But my 12 mile run today felt fantastic. I was clipping off sub 8s with ease. I'm sure some of that is due to the fact that I took yesterday off and that the weather was so much nicer today than it was yesterday, but really I know it is because all this hard work is paying off and in just over 2 weeks I am hoping it will all pay off big time with a monster marathon PR. I have to trust in my training and know that I have the miles logged to back up my ambitious goal.
Now if I can just hold onto this perspective for two more weeks until I toe the line (taper madness anyone?)! And you can be sure there will be some serious partying and relaxation going on after this marathon. 2000+ miles deserves a little celebration and rejuvenation!
Monday-Unintended Rest. Watched Monday night football instead
Tuesday- Track, 9 miles with 6*500. Calves and hamstrings were thrashed after the intervals, not sure why but this workout was tough even though it shouldn't have been.
5*600 with 90 sec rest splits
2:18.14, 2:15.23, 2:16.49, 2:16.04, 2:15.50
Wednesday- Birthday Run 15 miles at lunch. 7 on my own and 8 with Daisy. Again a run that shouldn't have been hard but was. Probably went out a hair too fast and between that, the heat, and not eating properly was just hanging on by the end. 7:58 pace
Thursday- 60 minutes yoga
Friday-7 mile lunch run with Daisy easy
Saturday-2.5 mile warm up, 10k race, 1.3 mile cool down. Great race 39:45
PM: 60 minute hike with Hubby and Salty
Sunday- AM: Duathlon 2.9 mile run, 15.5 mile bike, 2.9 mile run
Got my ass handed to me on the bike by Daisy during my last Beast event, the headwaters trail duathlon. Only 5 athletes. Took out the run at what I thought was a respectable, but attainable pace, about 6:50 pace for the first run, then just did my best to survive the bike, 15.5 miles by myself with my quads wondering why the heck I was riding up and down these roadkill hills. Last run stepped it up a notch so as not to look so bad by Daisy crushing me by almost 10 minutes on the bike. About 6:40 pace for the second run. Opted to call it a day, it was freezing out and we had a lot to do before my b-day party (bonfire and charades, it was a fun night!).
PM: Hour Photo Hike with Daisy
Week: 47 Miles Running, about 6-7 hiking, 15.5 On the bike (Very evident I hadn't been on the bike since July!)
Monday- 6 mile "recovery" run with TB in the dark, pace probably a little quick
Tuesday- Track, 11 miles with 6*1000 with 2 minute rests
Incredibly windy night. Paces were slower than I would have liked but respectable considering the wind. Likely ran the first set a little too hard because I couldn't get back to that time on any of the others
5*1000 with 2 minute rests splits
3:47.50, 3:51.82, 3:51.12, 3:52.83, 3:52.59, 3:51.65
Wednesday- AM: 4 mile Recovery Run
Lunch: 6 mile recovery run with MJ
Thursday- AM: 15 mile run, 8:08 pace
PM: 4 miles easy on treadmill in hotel
Friday- 8 Miles Easy on Kal-Haven Trail in Kalamazoo with 6*25 second strides.
Saturday- 20 miles, 6 on Roads/Hills with FD, 14 on towpath solo, 7:54 pace
Sunday-Not enough time in the day. No run.
Week: 74 Miles
Pfitzinger had an 8-15k on tap for me today so I found a local 10k race (I know unheard of!) and signed up. The race was pretty small but I had hopes that there would at least be some fast gentleman to keep me company and help pull me to a sub 40 10k. I wanted the mental boost that I could indeed still race fast and that my Richmond goals are achievable.
Got to the race a little later than anticipated but since it was small it worked out. It was chilly so I did my warm up pretty bundled up. Got in about 22 minutes with three* 30 second strides trying to tap into 6:24 pace on those. Quick bathroom trip and it was out of my warm ups, into my VR tank, skirt, and racing flats. Got to the line with about 60 seconds to spare in time to hear that the 5k runners are with the 10k runners until mile 3 where they were to turn while we continued on Euclid until E 79th and then headed back.
The start was promising. I settled right into that 6:15-6:30 zone and had a couple of guys who appeared to be that pace. But less than a few minutes in they were already slowing and I was pretty much by myself. Had to push myself away from them and just focus on holding pace. There were about 6 guys in front of me, a few close enough that I thought I might be able to use them to block wind later on in the race.
Well as I closed in on the 3 mile mark I saw only one guy keep going straight and as the lead cop car pulled out in front of him I realized it was going to be a lonely last half of the race sitting in 2nd place overall. And not quite fast enough to run with the 1st guy. My garmin was hitting mile splits after the miles but I was still trying to aim for 6:24 according to the garmin. At this point it had my average pace between 6:30 and 6:32. If the distance stayed like it was I was pretty sure I could break 40. But then to my surprise mile 5 was right on with the garmin and I knew that if my pace was right I was likely going to be a few seconds over 40 minutes.
I tried to use the energy from the cheers from everybody we were passing on the way back. I got a few cat calls from cars even! "You go girl!" which was nice. Not much energy to respond but I gave my fair share of "good jobs" and "thank yous" to the runners behind me and the volunteers standing out in the cold for us. Slight decline on the last stretch and I just did my best to push. By mile 6 garmin was out of synch with the course again and I crossed at 39:45 and at what Garmin calls 6.1 miles. Hence the *. Not sure how accurate the garmin is but I am guessing pretty close so this PR comes with an *. I am guessing it was slightly short and my legitimate time would have been about 40:23. But since it was windy and I was by myself I am definitely still calling this a sub 40 effort regardless of the accuracy. Just goes to show if you want a true course anymore you have to hit the track.
Hung around afterwards and talked to the first place guy. He finished about 10 seconds ahead of me I think and just got into running this year. Not too shabby! The race had a breakfast with coffee and beer. I partook in a little of everything and while freezing my butt off and chatting with a local CTC friend who placed 2nd in the 5k. I was awarded a cool brick with a faceplate on it for my efforts. I love cool awards like this. Fun little race, fast course. Hopefully next year they can get a bigger turn out!
And added bonus the race was less than a mile from the county BOE so after I raced I jogged over and rocked the vote. A good way to start the morning and get back that positive mentality!
*Edited* So I just took a look at my Garmin map over a hybrid view of the streets. I am calling this race legit. My Garmin must of thought I could run through buildings, it has me way off course on the second half. So no * for me. I'm calling this a legit sub 40 effort.
Monday-6 miles easy. Missed evening 4 miler
Tuesday-9 miles with 10*25 second strides
Wednesday-AM: 12 mile LT run with 7 miles at 6:49 pace
PM: 5.2 easy at the track while Solar and Bridget did their 400s
Thursday-AM: 4 miles to library and back
Lunch: 6.72 mile run with Daisy, supposed to be recovery, ran a few miles a little fast!
Friday- 22 solo miles in Chagrin Falls. 8:20 pace. Really happy with this one. Out and back all by myself super early in the morning in order to be back for an 11 am pedicure. Other than a runny nose this run couldn't have been any better. The falls leaves are changing and it was just the right temperature for a long run with minimal water intake (Ran 11 out and 11 back with no place to refill the handheld)
Saturday-Hung Over from night before and doing wedding stuff all day. Danced my booty off but no run
Sunday- About 4 miles back and forth from the towpath marathon aid station. Worked the aid station most of the morning but got back in time to see Daisy and Solar BQ! Opted for time with my niece over my 15 miler. Totally Worth it.
About 70 miles for the week. But I am content because I nailed the LT workout and the 22 miler was great. Now if I could just get rid of this runny nose and cough!
I'll leave you with some fun wedding weekend photos.
SILs at the falls (still going strong after the 22 miler!)
Our niece playing corn hole.
Dinner Friday Night, before the 4 glasses of wine...
Friday Night at the Wine Bar with my SILs. That Martini in the front, we're blaming my missed 8 miler on that.
Mr. Hansen joining in the festivities. (No idea who's beer this is but my husband imitates a pretty good drunk)
Before the wedding
The Bride! I've never seen her more beautiful, she was absolutely stunning.
After the Wedding.
At the reception.
Started in on my LT effort after a 3.5 mile warm up. Targeted 6:49 at the outset and hopefully get close to 6:42 by the end of it. A little slow off the bat but settled into 6:49 within a half mile and was able to hold it the 3.5 miles out. Turn around and that crosswind was a little rough. I did my best not to look at the watch, especially once the rain kicked in, because I assumed my pace was going to slow despite my efforts. Somehow though I was able to hold onto the pace and even managed to get it down to a 6:48 average by the end. By this point I was pretty much a drowned rat and was pleasantly surprised when MJ hollered at me that I was crazy just as I was finishing up the LT effort. I may be crazy but I am sure pleased with this mornings effort and it was fun to see a friend as I finished it up. My cold is still clinging on so I have to imagine this will only get easier once I am 100% (but then I will just have to run faster, it's a never ending cycle). And there is some kind of sick pleasure to be had running around in the rain while every sane person that has to be out has an umbrella over their head.
Another big confidence booster going into Richmond. I've been stressing so this was a great workout for me, mentally and physically.
Yeah so I thought I had avoided my annual fall cold but apparently it was just delayed a week. I crashed hard this week having to spend an entire day in bed and two more days hacking away so running was sparse. Thanfully the workouts I did get in included two quality days so this week I guess I am settling for quality over quality and quantity. Still coughing slightly this afternoon but I think the cold is in remission.
Monday-6 mile easy lunch run with Daisy
PM 4 mile easy run
Tuesday- Track workout. Got to the track late so cut the total miles a bit short (aiming for 12 but got in 9) but got in the workout of 5*1200 at 5k pace with 2:30 rest. Was aiming for 6:07-6:14 pace and was right on
2.54 easy mile run to and from hair cut at lunch
Thursday-Friday- Sick as a dog no running
Saturday- 7 easy miles with 6*100 strides
Sunday- 15.5 miles with 12 miles at marathon pace average for whole run 7:26/mile. Warmed up about 1.5 miles, and the group took off fast, I actually probably ran a good quarter mile at or under pace before I started in on my 12 mile paced effort. Started off fast while the terrain was flat and with the hills on the back end ended up right at an average of 7:15 for the 12 miles. Was supposed to do 17 but was running late and decided that it was better to try and run with the group during my 12 (ended up by myself anyways) and was pretty toasted at the end of the run so called it a day after a short cool down with PR. Very happy with my effort. Those Solon hills are freaking tough!
Low week about half of what I was hoping for but hey still about 14 more than what I used to do 2 years ago! 44 miles.
Monday- Just over 6 miles easy with Daisy (a little sore from field day!)
AM: 5 miles easy on the treadmill 8:50 pace
Lunch: A little over 4 easy miles with Salty
Wednesday- A little over 8 miles with Daisy practicing pace, 8:49
Thursday- A little over 5 easy miles with Daisy and CV with 6*25 second strides
Friday- Just shy of 3.5 easy recovery miles
3:50 pacer Akron Marathon- 3:49:37
4.5 mile run to pick up cousin 8:53 pace
4.6 miles pacing cousin to finish 13:41 pace
Easy walk to warm up, then 3.6 miles on the trails with TB easy, and an easy walk to cool down
Total for the week 71 miles
Between this week and the previous one this has been my biggest month ever despite 4 days off early in the month (264 including yesterday and hopefully 276 after today). I am feeling surprisingly good. Stiff in the mornings, a bit of PF in my right foot and my left ankle is tight in the mornings, but it seems like once I've woken up and stumbled around I loosen up for my runs and feel good during them. Hoping to keep the momentum this week and next week with two more weeks over 80. We will see how I hold up!