Week of the marathon = 58 miles
no cross training
1 Week Post Marathon = 0 miles
Nada. Nothing. Zilch.
I did get in for a massage and for an ART session. And I cheered at the Detroit Turkey Trot.
Can't say I remember the last time I didn't at least cross train in a 7 day period. Somehow, amazingly, despite the rest and the Thanksgiving meal I haven't put on any weight post marathon, yet.
I promised my ART guy that I would do nothing for a week (possibly two) after the marathon in the hopes that I would finally kick my PF problems in my foot. He's pretty confident if I just let it be it will heal fully and I can get back to training.
Turns out I wouldn't have been running anyways as I had some nice bruising on my left calf and some minor tearing that pretty much kept me down all week. It's hard to say but I think it is improving, I've moved from full on gimp mode to I have a "hitch" mode now. But it isn't 100% by any means so I'm looking at probably a few more days of no running at a minimum. I can't tell if there is still some internal damage in there or if there is a just a knot that won't let go. I'm thinking another ART session is in order before it clears up fully. Anyone want to sponsor this broken runners massage/ART fund? ;)
On the foot front I am trying hard to determine if it feels better or if I just fervently wish it to be so enough that I have convinced myself it is :). My ART session after the marathon went well and the foot actually felt better than anticipated despite the mess I made of my calf. Having not run, it is hard to say, but I stopped wearing my night boot thing and it hasn't been bad in the mornings like before. Though with the calf pain it is hard to say if it just feels "relatively" good in comparison to that :)
We did a lot of driving for the holiday and I think between that and not running I've aggravated my left hammy/wonky hip situation. I'm hoping once I am back up and running that will all get back in alignment but I might have to focus on that in ART and my next massage too.
I'm grateful that I can at least swim, but my body is yearning to run. I'm having trouble sleeping, it is like all this energy is coursing through me with no outlet and I can't shut off my mind or body. My heart is literally pounding so hard I can't fall asleep. Anyone that knows me knows this is highly unusual as I can fall asleep in a snap usually. So with any luck this calf and foot will be on their best behavior the next fews days and I can add some easy runs back into the mix here soon, because this runner girls needs her "fix"!
In the meantime this running blog may temporarily become a swimming blog. Haven't gotten cleared for yoga or cycling yet with the calf problems so the pool will be my home for a few more days at least. It's not running but it'll do!
This marathon was, as expected, like no other I have run before. I guess I have gotten to the point where I expect a new experience each time (and admittedly I was very nervous this would be the one I experienced the last minute bonk or cramp that had me hobbling to the line). This was the first marathon for me in the past few years at a new locale and I can honestly say I was more excited to race this marathon than I have been to race anything this year. I knew looking at the profile that this may not be "my" sort of course but I was hopeful my hodge podge hill workouts the past few weeks combined with some decent mileage would allow me to punish my body in new ways and get to that finish line as close to as fast as I ever have as possible!
I was extremely inspired by Camille Herron's recent New York Marathon run and I really took to heart that she goes into each marathon only with the goal of racing her best. No time goals at all, doesn't even know her splits. I'm a bit too OCD for that I think, but it really was my goal to race myself into the ground on Sunday regardless of the clock. I wanted to leave nothing out there and wanted to run the best possible race my legs would give me. And I hoped the field would be such that I could be actively racing to the finish.
I'll save all the pre race crazy for another post (One exception, I forgot my Garmin at home and had no watch, but decided to buy a Timex Saturday night to make sure I got to the start on time), but it is safe to say the weekend was not one of those ones where you arrived to the line thinking, yes, I am stress free and ready. It was one of those ones where you say, thank goodness I made it to the line, fingers crossed this goes better than the last 48 hours!
Thanks to my awesome roomies I was in bed and relaxed the evening before despite dinner insanity. I was super grateful to AH and BH for running a hot bath for me while I scammed some peanut butter from the hotel and after an epsom salt bath and some chatting we were fast asleep. I was up at 4:00am and the usual coffee, bagel, and shower ensued. I had to alter my outfit choice last minute thanks to fun female stuff. I decided on wearing my new butterfly buns from Salty to keep it fun. We checked the weather and it was going to be warm. I decided to wait for BH before heading over to the start. In the meantime I borrowed one of her markers and wrote on my hand this races motto "Fast and Fun" which had been suggested to me by one of my SERC buddies. I also wrote down 5 mile and 10 mile splits for reference.
Around 6:20, we headed out and started jogging over. BH had put on her headphones and was jogging a little fast. So AH and I had to scream at her to slow down. They decided to let me go ahead and despite one angry cop directing me around a block, I made it to the start relatively issue free (I turned my ankle a half-mile from the start, but thankfully it never bothered me after that).
I managed to find the elite tent and my friends, SF and MR, with about 10 minutes to spare. I stripped down to my buns and singlet and headed to the elite POP’s for one last pit-stop. I made it into the starting corrals and wished my buddy, RK, good luck in his OTQ half attempt. SF and I did a few strides before I reluctantly headed to the left side of the street, where the marathoners were supposed to line up.
About 5 minutes to the start, an announcer said something about the race probably being delayed. I chatted with a few marathon girls who were shivering (I noted that I was not). About 2 minutes before the gun, a gentleman came over and announced that there was a 2:19 rabbit and two 2:46 rabbits. I listened to the 2:46 rabbit, who planned to run even to negative splits. He mentioned that there would a be a few slow miles in the first half, near the zoo. I made the executive decision to try to go out with the group and see how I felt. I realized this was likely not the pace I would hold but reasoned it was not nearly as stupid fast as I went out at Boston and Indy so it wouldn't be a race ruin-er unless I tried to hold it for too long if it wasn't in the cards.
With the delayed start, the race officials were clearly worried about the excited elites accidentally taking off with the wheelchair start. Several runners repeatedly got ready to go, only to realize that we still had a minute to go before the start. I was excited to see one of my friends from Boston, who also planned to run with the 2:46 group.
Finally, we were off and I did my best to settle in behind the pack. The half-marathoners had started on the right side of the road and in about a quarter mile, we would veer in opposite directions around a circle before merging back onto the same course. I sat back behind the 2:46 group and did my best to relax. Somehow I missed my parents at the mile marker, but I was encouraged that I did not go out too fast by the first mile split: around 6:26.For the next few miles I followed the large pack of girls with the 2:46 rabbit and assessed whether the pace was too fast. I laughed with a couple of guys who had made questionable dinner choices the night before and chatted briefly with a few fast ladies about goal times. My friend BS caught me around 5k and asked what my goal was. I got the hint that I was perhaps going out a bit aggressively and joked that at this point 2:46 looked like the goal. I wished him well and at the next water stop backed the effort off slightly and watched the 2:46 group slowly pull away.
I just ran by feel after 5k. It was fun to start with the 2:46 group and see a whole pack of women working together for the goal! But it was clear 2:46 was not within my power on the day. The next 3 or 4 miles I did my best to settle in and try to enjoy the early miles. It was all city miles and other then some sketchy footing which aggravated my foot a bit it was nice, there were plenty of spectators and other than a few small inquiries to my goal time I ran solo trying to tuck in behind guys when it was windy.
I missed a few mile markers and hit a 3 mile split in 19:50. I was through the 10km in under 40 and knew I was ahead of PR pace by a bit. I planned to take a gel at 6, 12, and 18. I should have looked closer at the course map ahead of time as there was no water at these miles and I made do taking my first gel closer to mile 7. I was certainly not cold and had been sweating since at least the 5k. Each aid station was a welcome chance to cool down a bit.
The next 6 miles had some rolling uphills, a few serious uphills, and two steep downhills. Despite backing off the pace around 5k I had yet to have any girls catch me though plenty of guys did. I had noticed a girl in blue early in the race and coming up a hill around 7 or 8 miles she caught me. We ran together for about a mile and I encouraged her to go ahead as I could tell she wanted to run the hills a bit faster than I did. I was thankful the 2:46 rabbit had let us know that the zoo mile would be really slow as I saw a few high 6:40 splits through the 10th mile. I looked at my 10 mile split and my splits on my hand and couldn't remember if I had written down splits for 2:50 or 2:52. I was behind whatever I had written and was hopeful the uphills were mostly done. It was good to hear others around me noting how slow the past few miles were. And I remembered to be grateful as just a few years ago this was my 10 mile PR.
After mile 10 there was a steep downhill section before a short out and back. I was excited to see some of my friends in the half here and cheered for them. There was a DJ here in some jazzy clothes that made me smile. While I noted a few girls ahead on my way out I noted many more right behind on the way towards mile 11. The next two miles I struggled a bit, the pace came down a bit but I was working a little harder than I would have liked for it. I caught a few females who had gone out too fast here, but shortly after 12 two females caught and passed me. I reminded myself it was early, but I couldn't help but be a little stressed that I was working so hard before I had even hit the half.
I knew my parents would be around mile 12 and looked forward to seeing them and to getting in another gel hoping I would rally a bit. I saw them and heard my friend AH cheering just before 13. I knew the back half of the course would be more to my liking and was grateful to find I was right as we crossed 13 in 1:25:04 and I realized the last few miles must have been a false flat up. Again there was no aid at 12 and I waited until 13 to take my second gel.
I recognized this part of the course from watching video of the Philadelphia half last year, it was winding and mostly flat along the river. There was little crowd support and I reminded myself that just two weeks ago I had run an entire half with next to no spectators with no issues. I focused in and started to work on reeling in the two women who had passed me at 12. I encouraged both as I passed and slowly caught up to K who I had run with earlier. I was grateful that as I passed she decided to work with me and we kept the effort honest slowly reeling in guys one by one.
Around 14 or 15 miles a few runners going the other way cheered for us "Go Ladies" surprising two gentleman just in front of us that we had been closing on. K and I shared a smile and though I was tempted to get around the two guys we kept the effort as they picked up the pace to stay in front of us. We were steadily clicking off around 6:30s and though I was working hard it felt doable. K asked where I was from and I learned she was from DC. She was also targeting around 2:50. We kept conversation to a minimum as I told her I was pretty much red lining it.
Before 17 we made a left across a bridge for the second out and back hairpin turn section. This afforded us a chance to see the 2:46 girls ahead of us and as we made the hairpin turn a spectator announced we were in 24th and 25th. I joked that we were sadly out of the money. And both of us commented on how deep the field was for us to be so far back and on sub 2:52 pace. I had noted from about mile 13 that I was starting to struggle a bit more between the aid stations, and that each time I got water I felt worlds better. The wind was at a crosswind to our backs and I was sweating and salty. (I remember wiping my face early in the race and wondering if I had just smeared my 5 and 10 mile splits to my face) Again at 18 there was no water and I kept my eyes peeled for the next station and an opportunity to take another gel.
Bridge around mile 17 or 18.
A bit after 19 I pulled away from K and nearing 20 and the last hairpin out and back I high fived my buddy BS who was looking strong in his first marathon. I gave any ladies ahead a thumbs up or a cheer. There was still a pack of 3 or 4 women together that had been going for 2:46 but the field was starting to spread out and nearing 20 I passed one or two girls as I heard the Rocky theme for the first time in Manayuk. Manayuk was a welcome distraction having not had many spectators for a bit.
At 20 I caught one of the guys we had gone back and forth with since 14 and did some mental math. I knew I'd have to hold 6:30 pace the last 10k to come in under 2:52. He said something to me about being "done" and I replied that we could nail sub 2:52 if we stayed at 6:30s, more for myself than him. This rallied him and I did my best to keep pace and told myself it was time to go to work. As one of my SS racing buddies likes to say, it was "Eatin' season". Time to start taking runners down one at a time. Time to race to the finish.
Pretty sure this guy beat me to the line :)
Somewhere after 19 my left calf started to protest in a serious way. It felt like someone was shocking it and the muscle was contracting and wouldn't release. I wondered to myself if this was one of those cramps that stretching would benefit, but decided to live with the pain and hope that it wouldn't seize so bad I'd have to hobble to the finish. Given the way the calf and foot have been behaving I figured it was just overworked and no stretching was going to bring it back. At 21 I considered taking a beer wondering idly if it would help the cramping but decided I better not.
I was looking more and more forward to aid stations at this point. So much so that at at least one of them I completely missed passing a female I had my eye on. I hadn't been passed by any females since mile 12 and I was determined to pass as many as I could in the final 10km. It was my intention to race myself into the ground regardless of my finish time or place and I reminded myself of such often.
That of course is easier said then done, each mile was becoming more painful for my calf, and I was starting to lose track of the miles. I was only focused on one mile at a time, focused on the next female, focused on keeping the effort up. I had to remind myself repeatedly that I really wanted to run under 2:52 for a reason and not to let up. Thankfully on the way back there were several friendly reminders to help keep me focused. I saw BH somewhere around mile 22 and several of my pacing friends and another local friend WB reminded me to stay focused. At 24 my friend MR who had run the half let me know I only had 2 to go.
Between 22 and 24 I somehow completely lost track of the miles as the first female passed me in 10 miles. I was ecstatic when I hit the mile marker and it was one mile further than I expected. I went back and forth with the girl in green from around mile 22 to the finish. I took a fourth gel somewhere between 21 and 22 as we passed each other at an aid station and both seemed desperate for water. Bulletproof was being played on speakers around 23 and I thought to myself it was ironic as it felt like someone had shot me in the calf, but I used the adrenaline to pass the girl in green again. Despite the effort the pace was starting to falter around 23 into the wind and I assumed that 2:52 was slipping away. From early in the race when I realized this wouldn't be a smooth one I had been telling myself that I was ready to work for every inch. It was timely that when I saw SB she reminded me to focus and to not give up an inch.
I dug in and continued to run as hard as I could. I remember consciously trying to drive the pace with my upper body/arms to try and alleviate the calf pain the last 5k. I had passed several more women but continued to go back and forth with the girl in green and a spectator at the second to last aid station informed me I had two women close behind. An older gentleman with a heavy accent had been running with her and his vocal encouragement of her was helpful to keep my head in the game. When I pulled ahead of her for the final time he ran with me for a bit and encouraged me saying something along the lines of "Save you, you understand?" (When I saw the girl at the finish she said the guy had really helped her stay focused the last 10km, he was definitely a bit of an angel out there keeping us going)
With a mile to go the spectators helped me rally and I did the math thinking I would finish around 2:53. There was one more female in my sights and I dug in and worked my way past her hauling my ass to the finish. I remember thinking that I finally understood what my friend NC had said about her final miles at Columbus last year. If you asked me to tell you what the last 10km of Philly looked like I could not tell you. It was like I had tunnel vision and it just allowed me to keep my eyes on the next runner in front of me. There were photographers around 25 and it took everything I had to smile for the second set of them. Finally over 25 miles in I heard my first cheer of "We like your shorts." I had to laugh that I was just now hearing encouragement for the shorts.
I remembered what BH had told me about the finish and that you would see the clock at the last second. She was right, though the course finish had changed from when she ran it, and I was charging to the finish and didn't see the clock until it said 2:51:51ish and I knew it was going to be really close to break 2:52. I stumbled over the line as the clock went over and wished fervently that I started more than a second behind the line and that the chip time would be kind to me.
Ouch that hurt!
I hobbled around chatting with K and some of my friends before seeing BH come cruising in and making our way to the hotel with my parents.
I have no idea how I managed to stay focused and get to the line under 2:52 (2:51:59 chip time) but I am ecstatic. This was Nothing like Columbus for me last year. At Columbus everything just fell into place, this one was rough and somehow I managed to fight through and still run my best despite not being dealt a perfect hand. Though I was nervous I did some serious damage to my calf I was over the moon happy about my race. It just felt so epic, and it was such a relief to run a low 2:50 and know that my 2:49 from last year was no fluke. I know now that I am capable of more than I ever thought possible and that my body is tougher than I gave it credit for. And that is a wonderful, albeit scary, thing to know.
I'm so glad I made the choice to run Philly as my 23rd marathon and I am glad I raced as hard as I could despite knowing I wasn't in OTQ shape and knowing I likely wasn't in PR shape either. This was such a valuable experience and I know for certain this is the hardest I have ever raced in my life.
Quick splits recap below. I actually think going out with the 2:46 pack worked to my advantage rather than digging a hole. I think given how much I slowed from 6 to 13 with the hills it was actually a good pacing strategy for me to be a little fast through the 10km. I think had it been a bit cooler and had there been a few more aid stations (and had the calf played a bit nicer) a PR might have been feasible, but I am ecstatic with what I was able to do on the day.
6:26.58, 6:21.73, 6:20.71, 6:27.42, 6:25.58, 19:50.20 (6:37 pace), 6:46.92, 6:47.62, 6:26.06, 6:31.82, 6:39.95, 6:27.17, 6:25.54, 6:26.60, 6:30.62, 6:33.38, 6:33.66, 6:37.86, 6:27.92, 6:37.57, 6:44.01, 6:51.60, 6:39.51, 8:00 (6:40 pace)
finish 2:51:59 (1:26:15)
So close to an even split! (Not going to lie I was hoping to negative split this one, but I am calling this close enough!)
On a lighter note I really do like this song and my mad Rock Band Skills demonstrate that as I scored 100% on expert vocal on it (there's your geek alert for the day)
1) I realize how absolutely grateful I am for my wonderful support team I have and I wonder at the fortune I have had to be able to get to the start line in the best shape possible unhindered.
2) I randomly want to start doing pushups and core work race week. The extra down time has me realizing running has made me soft. And I must seriously resist the temptation to remedy this with a killer workout!
3) Time slows down to a crawl. If I am not race ready I find myself wishing for a few more weeks, but when I am feeling fit and mentally sharp it takes everything I have to make it through the work week pre race!
4) I start planning the next big race adventure with my extra free time. When I'm nervous and not ready all I can do is hash out and rehash out my race plan. When I find myself ready to roll I start using that extra mental time to dream up my next goal. (Note this usually has the added plus of helping to avoid post race blues)
So I guess this is my little post to say, for the first time in a long time I find myself in taper crazy mode :) It's good to be back!
This week could not get over with fast enough! It is dragging by, so I am taking that as a good sign that I am mentally ready to get this show on the road!
I have actually felt really good energy wise on almost every run since a week after the Akron relay so I wasn't ecstatic that I felt pretty run down Saturday and Sunday despite taking Monday and Friday off running this week. I think I can safely blame it on a socially packed Friday which ended with a few hours of dancing and a restless night's sleep, but trust me I am sucking down airborne, OJ, and chicken noodle soup just in case as I know too many people with colds right now! I took a nap Saturday and Sunday and went to bed early Sunday to get in an extra dose of sleep. Feeling human again today! Taking today off and keeping with my typical pre marathon week to try and be at the start line 100% Sunday morning! I had ART twice last week and one last time this morning and the foot is as good as it is going to be without some time off (which I have promised I will take post Philly, and the doc is hopeful once I give it a week or two off it will actually fully heal!) I've got clearance from the doc to run the life out of myself at Philly as he doesn't think I am doing any damage to the foot, just preventing it from healing completely until I rest it.
So I ended up with 2 days off running and 6 runs (one double) totaling 53 miles. One swim and one yoga class. No bike.
In addition to my training I have started doing 3 small 30 minute workouts with David each week in the hopes of getting him onto the fitness bandwagon, starting small with the couch to 5k plan and we'll see from there! 2 weeks down and so far so good! (Meaning he hasn't fired his coach/spouse from the job yet! And he isn't injured or overly run down.)
Still tossing around time goals for Sunday. If I was a betting woman and I took a look at my past 8 weeks training I think I'd bet on 2:52-2:53. But you know me, I'm most likely going for better! I'd be happy if I could get under 2:52, but I am hopeful some race day magic will have me closer to sub 2:50 and possibly a PR. I've looked at the races profile and talked to a few of my friends who have run it and I am heavily leaning towards ignoring the watch through the half (other than to ensure I am not going out too fast the first 5k), going by effort, and then seeing where I am at at 13.1 and deciding on how ballsy I want to be the back half. The profile looks rolling through about 13.5 then it seems to flatten out, so I am hopeful if I run smart I could try for a negative or even split. Simple math tells you 2:46 is likely off the plate. A 1:23:29 half last weekend doesn't bode well for going sub 1:23 for two halfs in a row. I'm bummed I can't make a serious go at the B standard, but I'm excited that in 5 short weeks I have gone from someone who was pretty confident she couldn't go under 3:03 with a serious effort to someone who is looking to try and legitimately snag a sub 2:52!
Despite the race last week and technically being in taper mode over here I decided to try and get in two more quality workouts if my legs (and foot) were on board.
Tuesday I leaned heavily towards bailing on my planned 12* 90 second hill repeats but in the end decided to go forward with the workout after having warmed up for 5 miles with my lunch group and feeling a boost of energy. I managed to get in all 12 repeats with 90 second rests and wasn't overly worried by the extremely tight state of my calf and foot as I had an ART session following the workout. I had the garmin on but opted not to watch the pace too closely and didn't hit the laps until the end of each 3 minute hard/easy cycle to keep from getting down on myself. Clearly my legs were tired from Sunday still, but I wanted to try and get a little bit of turnover going on the downhills and hoping for one last fitness boost from the hills without doing any damage. Mission achieved.
Yesterday was my last official tempo before the race and I was hoping to do 5 miles at 6:16ish. Went out with the goal of running a steady 5 between 6:15 and 6:25 and hoping for a fast finish if the weather and my legs played nice. I settled for a steady 6:15 and had to work for every ounce of the last mile in 6:19 heading into a 16 mph head/cross wind. I am thinking it was okay to go a little wild, it probably won't build any fitness for the race, but hoping it will help keep me sharp and was another good mental workout running the 5 solo and steady at a decent clip.
Keeping with the low key vibe I have been trying to maintain since Indy's disaster of a half, I wasn't too worried about eating bar food the night before and having a beer. Thankfully my stomach played nice and I didn't pay for my casual approach, though my singlet did smell an awful lot like malt vinegar when I threw it in the wash post race...
The day before my left shin was acting pretty angry on my easy shake out run, but thankfully race morning it did not make a peep.
My original plan was to target 16 miles total at 6:16 pace, I figured if I could run 16 at 6:16 Garmin pace I'd have a reasonable chance of going for 2:46 at Philly given a taper etc. I figured this was probably not going to be reality, but wanted to give it a go. I initially was going to do a 2-3 mile easy warm up and target a slow start in the half with a fast finish followed by 3 more hard miles post race. I decided to bag that plan last minute and get in the 3 hard before to make sure I got all 16 hard done. I had my doubts I would want to head back out for 3 more after racing the half.
Pre race I had done the math on what I would need to run garmin pace wise to get in 16 averaging 6:16 with 13.1 of it at slightly faster than my PR (1:21:52). I really want to make sure I don't go out too fast at Philly like I did at Boston and Indy so I wanted to go out the first three miles slow at around 6:26, follow that up with 7 miles at target pace of 6:16, and finish it out fast at 6:00 for the last 5k. I knew this would be tough, but it was the goal I set. Given that goal, to get in the 16 on pace I needed another 3 miles at 6:31.
We got to the race with just enough time for me to run to the bathroom quick, strip to my race clothes and get in an easy mile followed by the 3 mile tempo. Weather was absolutely my ideal conditions. Around 36 and sunny. I forgot my shades, but never was too bothered by it. I warmed up one mile easy and then found myself having to hold back on the warm up tempo. Grateful my body felt so good I was excited to see what I could do in the race. Hit the tempo miles in 6:29.67, 6:23.29, 6:30.86 then ran over to the start to find David and hand him my gloves and arm warmers.
Got to the start line with about a minute to spare and was happy to see one of my old SERC buddies who had moved away. Some quick pre race chat and got caught off guard by the starters commands for us to go and we were off!
The first mile was significantly down hill and despite my best efforts to remain calm and keep it relaxed the mile was fast around 6:08. 15 or so guys in the 5k were ahead of me, 4 in the half, and two guys were right with me as I tried to settle into 6:26 for the next uphill mile. I nailed this one while chatting with the guy next to me about the best Ohio marathons. I pulled slightly ahead at 2 to make sure I got water since I had already run 5 hard miles and I didn't want to dehydrate. I assumed both guys would go with me but they did not and I found myself by myself for the 3rd mile until catching 5k runners who had a slightly different course. As they headed towards their finish to the right I made a left hand turn and noted 4 guys in the distance as speakers played "It's raining men" and I hit the third mile in 6:20.
Time to go to work. I wanted to try and nail 6:16s at a minimum from here on out if possible. The next guy up was about 100 meters in front of me and pretty much running exactly the same pace as I was. This mile was rolling up hill and I could tell though I was pushing, my body was going closer to 6:20s. I stopped looking at the watch and decided to just go by feel and run what I had for the day. I wanted to be mentally focused on working hard the whole way. I took a gel here and my left calf was starting to get pretty tight which in turn had my foot talking a bit. Hit this mile in 6:18 and the next four miles were actually pretty close to the desired 6:16 coming in at 6:11.10, 6:15.29, 6:17.60, and 6:20.45.
This was a small race so there weren't many spectators, but once or twice a mile there were a few people out to cheer for their runners and I was appreciative of their enthusiasm and returned the support with a wave and a smile! A bit after mile 5 we made a left turn up a short but steep hill off the bike path we had been on and onto a road. I was still holding the gap steady behind the 4th guy. I knew the course took us out to mile 7 before making a hair pin turn and backtracking. Energy wise I was feeling really good, though I had an inkling the pace wasn't quite what I wanted and my left calf was a bit troublesome, I was excited to be covering ground relatively fast and feeling like a racer again.
There was an aid station around mile 6 and I accidentally dropped the cup and let an f bomb slip out, which I promptly apologized to the volunteers for. I noted to myself that I would need to make sure I didn't miss the water on the way back as I needed to take a gel there. Charging ahead the guy in front of me was thrown off by the first confusing turn on the course and I hollered ahead that I thought we needed to go left. Earlier in the race I had thought that some spectators had said "There she is" and "Go Terri" so I wasn't confident there wasn't a girl close on my heels and I was anticipating the turn around where I could gauge my race position better.
For a small race they really did a nice job of trying to provide some energy and had music in a couple of places along the course. As we made our way towards the turn around there was an OK Go song playing. Nearing the turn around I confirmed there were another three guys ahead of the one I had been tailing. They all looked strong and I didn't think I would be reeling any of them in. Thanking the volunteers I made the turn without slowing too much or falling which is always an achievement, I hate hair pin turns!
Now the fun began. There were a few guys not too far behind me that I cheered for as I headed towards mile 8. And eventually the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th women appeared who I cheered on enthusiastically as well as my old SERC friend. It was such a beautiful morning for a race and you just couldn't help but smile watching everyone work their way to the finish! After 7 miles of pretty much silence the next 3 were filled with cheers for "the first lady" and my intermittent responses of "good job" to those runners behind me. Slowed a bit to grab my water at 8 and chug another gel and headed back towards the finish now a bit into the wind. I was keeping an eye out for my buddies CG and Steph to give them some in race high fives which kept me occupied until about mile 9 when I caught the 4th guy and passed him.
I could not see any of the top three guys in the horizon so I knew I was pretty much on my own from here on out as the trickle of runners still heading to mile 7 diminished. I worried a bit that if the course got confusing I would have no clue what I was doing in the park having no one up ahead, but decided if that happened I would roll with it and just remember I was here to get in a good hard last long run. Turns out I had nothing to worry about as the course was marked perfectly.
The inevitable slow of someone on their own who had run a 3 mile tempo pre race commenced and miles 9 and 10 were a bit off pace 6:26.42 and 6:25.51. An awesome spectator reminded me to relax my shoulders and jaw and I shook out my upper body and tried to determine how one goes about relaxing their jaw while smiling gratefully at spectators. I was caught off guard before 10 as I saw a fit looking guy running out of one of the parking lots, I assumed a coach looking for one of his runners, when he cheered "Go Tinkerbell" and I realized it was our buddy Greg who had done the 5k. This made me laugh. I had missed the 10 mile marker and was grateful for a spectator who let me know as I passed over an intersection heading back towards the starting park area that I had 3 to go.
Again time to go to work. 6:00 might not be possible, but it was time to see what I had left in the tank. The next mile, aided by that wonderful downhill section was close at 6:05.58 and then I trudged my way up that hill from the second mile that hadn't seemed quite so steep the first time around. Hmm, so much for that badass 6 minute pace finish I was hoping for. The past few volunteers at the mile markers had been caught off guard by me and hadn't read the race time so I literally had no clue where I was at time wise having left my watch running from the warm up and tempo. I was fine with it, no matter what the watch said I was running with everything I had on the day and it would be good enough at the finish!
As I climbed that crazy hill before mile 12 two young guys cheered that I was "Representing all the ladies out there" and something along the lines of give it everything you have got. I felt pretty humbled as I shuffled up that hill at what felt like some pace slower than a walk! I did the best I could to use the brief downhill to uphill roller in that mile and managed to hold a 6:24.75. As I neared the 12 mile mark I again missed the water and once out of ear reach instructed myself out loud to "Rally." Easier said then done. That last mile was pretty much my worst case scenario terrain: a slight uphill grade into the wind the entire mile until making the turn a bit before 13. This one was the slowest of the day at 6:32.93. (And thanks to my less than optimal navigational skills I always know that garmin pace is to be buffered with about an extra .15 miles to a half, so my garmin average of around 6:19 for the half would end up to be around 6:23 real pace.) Despite being entirely juiced the crowds at the turn to and along the finishing winding stretch helped me to rally indeed and finish it out strong, finally at my desired sub 6 pace, coming across the line in 1:23:25, 4th overall and first female.
Am I done yet?
I gratefully got a water from the volunteers, sat down to return my chip and was pleasantly surprised by a cute medal for finishing. I found my husband and friends and changed into dry less stinky clothes before cheering for the next few runners and the top females and bouncing around to the music and testing the calf/foot to get in 3 more miles and close out my last 20 for the day while running my buddy CG in to his finish. The calf and foot were tight and I thought for the first 50 or so meters that I may not be able to cool down but it loosened up enough to head backwards through the course about a mile and a half, stopping to thank the aid station volunteers and to remind the boys on that dreaded hill that they were sworn to secrecy about how awful I looked coming up the hill the second time around. And at the bottom of said hill I caught my buddy CG and happily encouraged him to the finish while rounding out 20 miles for the day all at an average of around 6:50.
CG in the final Kick!
Once CG finished we grabbed some grub and I continued my danceathon cheering for runners waiting for our buddy Steph to finish. A nice lady came out and told me though she didn't know me I was being called up for an award inside. Oops. I headed inside still carrying my plate and was pleasantly surprised to find out I had won a gift certificate to Fleet Feet and a free nights stay at a hotel. Score! I wasn't expecting anything with it being a small charity race so that was a nice surprise! Took an awkward photo with the race director then it was back outside to cheer for Steph! Though hungry my energy was great and I felt like I could have run all day had my foot and calf felt better and we hooted and hollered like crazy people as Steph finished out her half!
Steph Rocking it Out!
It was a beautiful morning with our friends followed up by a relaxed fun afternoon. Though I obviously would have liked to have been faster I was really happy with my effort and glad that it was in the realm of what I thought was realistically possible given my less than optimal training. I will say though that if you want to PR in a half and you aren't quite as speedy as you currently hope, don't bank on doing it following a 3 mile tempo pre race :) I had absolutely no "get up and go" speed those last three miles and would have had no response if someone had forced me to kick.
Post race refreshments never tasted better!
But put me in a yoga class, and whoa! Bring on the sweat fest, and a good dose of humility! Mine is a body that likes to be in motion, though reasonably flexible and reasonably strong I am no master of Chaturangas, balance, or inversion.
I eased into yoga with Buck Harris and his low key Thursday night classes a few years ago with my buddy Jen. These classes were just the right dose of flexibility, camaraderie, and focus that this runner needed with a healthy dose of light hearted humor at ones own expense.
Along the way running became the sole focus and I drifted from this class as my buddy had more family duties and I had tempos to do on Thursday nights. But given my recent foot issues which I am 95% confident stem from my damn left calf being like a rock half the time I knew it was time to get back to yoga! The flexibility is much needed in order to hammer away on the pavement, and mentally I definitely could use 60-75 minutes a week where my mind is quiet.
As finances are tight it made sense to try and go to the free classes offered at my local gym. They offer 4 or 5 different types of classes at various difficulties and I have tried a few over the past 6 months or so that I have been at the gym. The class is typically packed in like sardines, which isn't great, but I always leave feeling better. And on occasion the classes are pretty humorous, though I try to keep my amusement and laughter on the inside.
A few class occurrences so far are blog worthy. My first or second class at the gym I struggled to hold in my chuckles as the background music changed to a cover of Marvin Gayes "Lets Get it On" and I looked around to see the instructor with an extremely serene smile on her face adjusting someone in down dog position. Later in the same class the hip opener discussion was one that talked about loving all those around us, how we needed to send more love into the universe, and be less afraid of loving each other, our neighbors in class, etc. If we were less afraid of loving each other our practice could be improved, we wouldn't be scared of really going for it, scared of accidentally spilling over to our classmates mats. I about died right there I cannot lie.
A few weeks ago I arrived late for a Vinyasa 3 class which is the most difficult they offer. I somehow got the time mixed up and felt awful about it post class. I had run a hard long run that morning and this class kicked my ass despite missing the first 15 minutes! The guy next to me was sweating Everywhere! We are talking a pool of sweat creeping ever so slowly over to my mat. I am no prude, I was unabashedly sweating too, but was keeping it to my own mat through use of my technical top when the guy went to the front of the room and retrieved a towel for me. Again I about died. And after the class he asked me about my shirt which was some sort of race shirt and he said he could tell I was obviously not a regular yoga person as my muscles looked like a tight runners muscles. Oh Boy :)
A particularly comical Vinyasa 2 class had two gentleman who were very clearly putting a lot of effort into their practice that night. I could tell because each held plank pose or particularly difficult maneuver resulted in what basically amounted to the loudest grunting contest. It is already a bit awkward getting all sweaty and bending all around in a class packed literally to the max, but add in two men grunting like they are in a porno and I have a very hard time keeping my laughter inside. But I must have been feeling particularly zen that night as despite the very obvious distraction I really was pretty focused on myself and not bothered by the obnoxiousness of it, and felt only slightly amused. But during a particularly difficult set of bridges/wheels the girl next to me completely lost her cool falling to the ground in exasperation and proclaiming "This is ridiculous, it is like the class is all about them or something." Which I found ironic since the instructor had previously made some statement about how our practice that evening should be all about what we individually needed. Again I did my best to keep from rolling on the ground in hysterics.
Last night I again had serene smiley instructor and wondered what sexually charged innuendos might be included in the class for my amusement. Surprise surprise to find myself the one being adjusted early in the class after being instructed to determine one thing that had made me happy during the day! We were saved from any Marvin Gaye last night and I actually liked the song we ended on during shavasana (below), but still was pretty amused by the class.
Throughout yoga one serious flaw in my body has become even more pronounced. My left hip is just not normal. I've always known something wasn't quite right with it, and have even lovingly nicknamed it my "wonky" left hip and describe it that way to all chiropractors, massage therapists, and ART gurus I have seen. For some reason there is a tendon in there that is tight like a steel pipe. Whenever doing anything lying on my back that involves leg lift type motion that tendon literally snaps loudly over my hip bone. It isn't particularly comfortable and sometimes feels like it is locking up, but as it never bothers me while running I kind of just deal with it. But last night I found myself increasingly irritated at my inability to do some simple moves because of this crazy hip. For some reason any time we try to "stack" our right hip over the left (as in from down dog position lifting your right leg in the air, bending the knee, and then tilting the hip backwards over your hip) my hip literally goes into severe cramp mode threatening to charlie horse. As someone who is accustomed to making her body do whatever she wants it to I can't lie, this drove me nutty! So mission figure out a solution begins after Philly!
Despite the trials with my left hip and my abundant sweating I felt fantastic after the class last night as I usually do. This morning my sides, arms, and glutes are sore, but man does everything else feel loose and ready to move! Yoga and all it's amusements is still getting two thumbs up from this girl who would usually prefer to be in motion!
Ended up being a solid week though I once again came up short on the cross training not getting in a bike or yoga. But I did get in one swim, an ART session, and a massage.
75 miles on 8 runs (one double)
5 mile tempo
20 mile day with 16 hard including a half marathon race
My foot and calf were really tight for most of the half but still worlds better than they felt after Indy so I am hopeful with a bit of taper here and some ART sessions and pampering that I will be good to go in 2 weeks at Philly! Hoping to log at least 2-3 more quality days while backing off the mileage a hair and would love it if this great weather continued!
I will say I think I prefer the progression tempo to the even effort tempo these days. It's sooo much more fun to hammer the last few miles. But I am sure it is good for me to mix in both types of efforts!
It was a fantastic day out and the foot was a little angry but the pace seemed to be right at the line I can get away with without having to limp back to the office.