quintiles wrightsville beach marathon

This Time I’ll Be Bullet Proof

I’ve had so many thoughts running through my head lately, about marathons, about me running marathons, about running Boston, about running goals, and everything in between. I’ve struggled, for years, with putting the right words down to express how I feel, and I think I’ve finally come up with the right words in the right order. Here goes.

Back in 2009, I decided that I was going to run another marathon to try and qualify for Boston. Several years, mistakes, and marathons later, I was able to do that. When I went to Boston in 2014 to run the greatest marathon in the world, I was humbled, scared, yet confident in my training.

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I also felt (and still do) unworthy, that my time was not considered “fast” by so many fast people (I really shouldn’t read comments on Facebook, some people are just vile), that I didn’t really deserve to be considered one of the “elite” runners. Hey, some people call my fastest race pace “hobby jogging”, so you can’t blame me when I say that, plus, I’ve never quite felt I fit in to any group, let alone “fast runners” or especially “elite”. That’s just how I feel.

When the Boston 2014 race blew up from dehydration and BAD effects from salt depletion, and I finished in just under 5 hours, over an hour slower than I was trained for and expecting, I was absolutely devastated. DEVASTATED.

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Trying not to throw up.

I put hundreds of hours, thousands of dollars, and poured my heart and soul into that race. As my race report was appropriately named, that day was the best of times, the worst of times. I had the worst race of my life at the best race in the world. It hurt. It stung. And yet, the criticism went on. “Be happy you finished.” “It was a marathon, so be happy.” “You ran Boston. Feel lucky.” “Stop complaining, you got a medal.” “You’re just inexperienced.” Sigh.

I guess you could say it was backlash for feeling bad that my race went awry. It was painful to hear, but it was impossible to just “let it go”. Endurance runners have to be somewhat OCD about their lives, or they would never be endurance runners. You have to have order, planning, and a lot of discipline to do what we do, right? So how can I, someone who put years of blood, sweat, and tears into ONE race, just let it go and be happy? It doesn’t work that way. But on the other side of it, of course I was happy, of course I felt lucky, of course I was completely thrilled to wear my Boston jacket and medal.

But it was a failure for me. (Wait, don’t stop reading. I can see you roll your eyes.) And on my quest for redemption, I’ve failed many more times. And I’m scared of that failure again, when I run Boston in just a few more weeks. I’m scared of not meeting my goals, of having a bad race, of having to walk, of not remembering the last miles, of feeling like complete garbage when I’m done, of crying on the ground next to the port-a-jons because I felt so horrible. THAT is what I’m afraid of. It’s not failure, per se, as running a marathon can never be construed as a failure, in any way, shape, or form. No, no matter what, if you complete 26.2 miles, you, my friend, are never a failure.

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This training cycle leading up to Boston has not been met with as much gusto as it did in 2014. I had plantar all winter and wasn’t running at all, I didn’t start any tempo or speed work until February, and now I’m managing shin splints from starting speed work suddenly, not gradually. So here comes the voices in my head, no matter how strong my long runs and tempo work has been, no matter what I know, deep down, about my abilities, no matter what anyone tells me, I’m scared. I’m scared of failure, I’m scared of not having a strong race, I’m scared of working so DAMN hard and having a race result that doesn’t show ME. I’m scared of other people thinking I’m not worthy of Wayne and Garth’s praise, I’m scared of letting other people down. I’m scared of letting myself down. Again.

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Feeling defeated after Redemption Attempt #1

But listen, I’m also arming myself with a pretty thick vest. Because I know I can push myself to success, my version of success. I know deep down as far into my heart and soul I can get, that I’m a badass. I’m strong. And I know I’m going to be a lot smarter, those “failure” races taught me that. Listening to people tell me how to feel has given me some pretty thick armor as well.

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So don’t tell me to “just have fun” in Boston. Don’t tell me that “being there is enough”. Don’t tell me that.  That’s not my goal of The 2017 Boston Marathon. I already know I’m going to have fun and I’m lucky and honored and beyond excited to be there with the best of the best. I know it.  Don’t tell me the hard work is already done so the result doesn’t matter. Remember? I’m an endurance athlete. I worked my ass off for years to get there. I sacrificed a LOT to get back to Boston. Of COURSE it matters! This race is my redemption. My goal is to run strong. My goal is to run the entire race.  Do I have a time goal? Sure I do. (It’s 3:44:59, by the way and notice, it’s not a PR time.) But I’m not naive enough to think I shouldn’t be flexible when it comes to that piece. Lord knows what can happen during an endurance race. Eye roll. So instead of telling me anything else, just tell me “good luck”, “kick some ass”, “redemption is yours”, “kill it” or “get your race”. Or give me a fist bump.

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My goal is to be free of the monkey on my back that has been sitting there since 2014, to be free of doubts, to get my best race at the best race in the world. THAT is my goal. Freedom. Redemption. It’s so much more than time. It’s a feeling. So no, I’m not caught up in a time, I’m not worried about another BQ (that would be the icing), I’m not worried about having fun (because hell yeah, I sure am!!!) what I am worried about is repeating the epic blow up in 2014. That’s it.

BUT. This time, I’m armed with three years of experience, not just running, but Ironman experience too. This time, I have a detailed plan. This time, I KNOW, beyond a shadow of a doubt, I’m very capable of meeting my goal. This time, I don’t give a crap what anyone thinks of me (Ok, I’m working on this). This time, I’m ready to attack. And this time, I’ll be bulletproof.

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Categories: anything is possible, being epic, Boston Marathon, follow your dreams, learning from failure, marathon, marathon training, qualifying for boston marathon, quintiles wrightsville beach marathon, running, training for marathon, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Part Deux: Wrightsville Beach Marathon

I have to admit, this race recap has been difficult to start. How do I put this experience into words? This race meant so much to me. This was the culmination of 8 marathon training cycles, 1 DNF, 2 deferrals, 1 stomach flu, 3 walk of shames, 1 woulda coulda shoulda, 1 shattered dream, 1 80+ degree day, and 6 years of perseverance, during which time my family moved 1000+ miles, TWICE. I learned a lot about people, about myself, and looking back, it was all worth it. It all led to this. one. day.

On race morning, I woke up calm, but as the time neared for us to leave the house, nerves hit. I started shaking a little bit and I wanted to cry really bad, but I held it back. I think. My husband and kids work a race aid station, so we left the house at 5 am. I drove myself to the race finish, crying all the way. Wailing. It was U.G.L.Y. Andy picked me up, and we went to the aid station, which lucky for me, is at the race start. It was cold and windy. Hmmm, I was hoping it wasn’t TOO cold, which is something I didn’t think I’d have to think about. I sat in the truck a bit as they unloaded the aid station stuff, and I decided to go for a very short jog to see how the old legs were feeling. I probably went just short of a quarter mile, and I felt good. So I jumped back in the truck where it was warm, and had my snack. I told a lot of people my husband was at the aid station at mile 2.5 (that part of the course is one big circle so you start and loop around to where we were in the truck) and 14.5, so some brought their bottles and extra supplies to leave there, and a few jumped in the truck with me. That was nice to have company as the minutes flew by. I’m bummed we didn’t get a picture! I realized I needed to head to the bathroom again, which was basically next to the truck, so I tensely waited in line, again as the minutes flew. I did NOT want to be in the jon when the national anthem was playing. NOT THIS TIME. Thankfully, our line moved fairly fast, and it was time to head to the start to fine the 3:40 pace group.

My nerves quelled by this time, and my focus started to shift to the task at hand. I had also realized that I had my directions messed up. The wind was from the north at probably a good 10 mph, so I thought we would have a head wind for a few miles at the beginning and in the middle. I was wrong – we would only have it a few miles at the beginning, and several of the other miles would be protected. I was very happy to realize it and my race could go even better than I planned! Yay for getting it wrong!!!

I found the pace group, made a little small talk, and got my music ready. I don’t know what kind of time warp we were in, but I swear, it was the fastest ten minutes EVER. Thankfully, the race started on time, and we were ready to go. I crossed the start about a minute after the gun went off.

Here we go. It was crowded, I couldn’t hear my music (I even checked to be sure it was on), and I ran on the sidewalk instead of the street. I passed many people who shouldn’t have been in front of me, and soon, my Garmin beeped one mile. Fifteen seconds later, I came upon Mile 1 at 9:00. Wow. Ok, that was a tad slow and my Garmin was reading fast. Hey, no big, this is a marathon, not a sprint, and I knew my coach would be happy I didn’t blow the first mile at an 8:00 pace. Save the legs, save the legs.

We ran the next mile with the wind, and I picked up a little from that first slow mile. I warmed up, so I took off the Sheddable Shell and carried it with me. I dodged the drainage grates in the street, something I was used to because I run that loop all year long, and I wondered what the out-of-towners thought. Mile 2 approached, and my Garmin was consistent with the early beep like at mile 1. Ok, 8:09. That’s a tad fast, but we were with the wind and my breathing didn’t increase, so good sign. Half a mile later, I passed my kids and Andy working to hand out water and Gatorade, and I threw my balled-up Sheddable Shell coat, hoping someone would grab it before it blew away. Thankfully, my son saw it and picked it up.

We ran off the island and the sun was coming up, but thankfully, it was cloudy. The weather was shaping up to be perfect for me. I saw the pacer fly by and say something about making up time. I knew I did not want to increase my pace to a sub 8:00 mile, so I stayed back, trying to keep them in sight. This was also where my pace bracelet came in perfectly. At each mile marker, starting at 3, I looked at my time and where I should be on the bracelet – I knew I was behind from that first slow mile, but I knew I had time to make it up, if things went my way. Mile 3 was at 8:02, faster than it should have been, but I felt like it was effortless.

Mile 1: 9:00, Mile 2: 8:09, Mile 3: 8:02, Mile 4: 8:00, Mile 5: 8:19

Ah, nutrition and hydration, those other controllable variables. I carried my first Gu (orange Rocktane) with me and had an 8 oz bottle of Rocket Fuel nicely clipped to my shorts. I actually remembered to drink, and my goal was to have this 8 oz done within 1 hour. I was a little behind, so I made sure to drink big sips each time. The miles were going by at a great pace, and I was following my plan. I realized at mile 5.5 that I needed to eat. I wasn’t hungry, but I knew I needed the fuel, so I tore into my Gu and got it down, finishing it with the last of my Rocket Fuel. Done. I was going to supplement with water at the aid stations in the next section of the race. But I didn’t expect to have to pee. Oh man, I have to pee, and it’s mile 8. I had just caught up with the pace group at this time, happily following them and letting their pace dictate my pace. I saw a few people I knew with the pacer, which was really cool and I saw TONS of people along the course I knew. That’s the beauty of a home town race! Built in support. When I found myself going at a pace under my goal pace, I tried to pull back. It was way to early to bank time.

Instead of saying “Hello” or “Hey all” or just “How are you feeling?”, the first thing I said to the pacer was, “I have to pee.”. How friendly of me.  I knew I needed to take the chance and go, and at that point, I was close to my 3:39 goal pace, making up for that slower first mile. The next two aid stations had port-a-jons, but they were full, so I kept going. Finally a few miles later at mile 10-11, I found an empty stall, fumbled around, almost losing my iPod, and quickly peed. I came out and immediately looked for the pace group, happy to see they were still in sight. At this point, my Garmin was .12 miles off the mile markers, part of which was due to tangents, part of which was my Garmin.

Mile 6: 8:13, Mile 7: 8:06, Mile 8: 8:13, Mile 9: 8:18, Mile 10: 8:15, Mile 11 (the bathroom mile): 8:56

At this point in the race, we run through a private neighborhood full of curving roads that seem to go. on. for. ever. I knew the half marathoners split off close to the exit, and it seemed like 17 miles instead of maybe 5. FINALLY, I saw the split, and we were herded through some gates and out of the neighborhood, where we headed back to the beach loop. I was feeling good, keeping in mind that the race hadn’t even really begun, remembering how many times I had done well up to mile 18-20. But something in me know I had fight, I had something different this time. I wasn’t tired, I wasn’t sore, I wasn’t breathing heavily. I saw a bunch of people I knew at the aid station, whether they were helping, waiting for their relay team members, or spectating. Lori, I won’t ever forget you saying, “Well, there she is.” when you saw me. You made me feel so important at that point. Lynda, I remember seeing you and how happy you were to see me too. Those are the little bits I remember, the faces, the smiles, the people yelling my name, not knowing if they knew me or called it from my bib. Whatever it was, it was magical, as I was in a groove and feeling invincible. Maybe it was the Rocket Fuel.

Mile 12: 8:05, Mile 13: 8:10, Mile 14: 8:02, Mile 15: 8:21, Mile 16: 8:19

Mile 12ish

During the beach loop, I would pass Andy and the kids at mile 14.5 or so. I had a little bag of goodies to take and a new bottle of Rocket Fuel. When I approached, I thought of all the things I wanted to tell him. I was on pace, I was kicking it, I felt great, I was gonna kick this thing’s ass, I was gonna do it, this was my race. I saw my son standing guard looking for me, so I waved my arms out so he knew I saw him and that it was me. He took off towards Andy, who was standing there ready to give me my goodies. So instead of saying all these cool, awesome things, I garbled out something like “I fight, me fight” but it probably sounded more like, “ughing fite ughime”. I have no idea why my voice was messed up, but it was messed up. After I got my supplies from Andy, I picked up some Gatorade from one of my Epic runners volunteering that morning, and I was on my way.

Togas and Tigers Aid Station, Mile 14.5

Yes, the guy in the picture is wearing a sheet. He’s from the Latin Club at a local high school. They were awesome.

Ah, right then, the song my coach picked out for me came on. “Bulletproof”. I teared up at little, then got my crap together again. I certainly felt bulletproof at that point. It was perfect.

As I was leaving the loop, I saw my friend, Gary, coming onto the loop. The conversation went the same as with Andy, “ughemefightumrtph”. No idea what that was. Anyway, we waved, which was communicated in a much more eloquent way by a simple “wave”, and I was headed off the beach. Gu #3 was consumed, and I passed the busy aid station again and headed to the new part of the course, instead of the neighborhood abyss it was before this year. Right in here, I caught up with the pace group again and hung behind for a bit. I was feeling GOOD, and barring any sudden injury, I knew I had a BQ coming. I wanted to start kicking it, but held off. I had 10 miles to go. Anything can happen, so I played it safe.

That “waiting” lasted one mile. When we headed to the cross city trail, I passed the pacer, and I started running, paying little attention to pace, just feel. I was in a groove, and I felt amazing. Rocket Fuel. I saw some of the first place men (HOLY CRAP) only a few miles from the finish.  I kept drinking my Rocket Fuel and hydration along the course, but I wasn’t concerned with dehydrating at this point, so I know I didn’t drink as much as my plan stated. As we approached UNCW, a part of the course I’d run a hundred bazillion times before, I was on autopilot. I wasn’t paying attention to my watch, only the times at the mile markers. When I saw the markers come into view, I looked at my bracelet and said the corresponding time out loud, or rather something like “pshimph”. Sometimes I wouldn’t remember it by the time I actually got to the marker, so I’d just repeat it. I was gaining time. I think I was nearly 90 seconds to 2 minutes ahead of 3:39 at this point. The mile distance, according to my watch and the mile markers was getting longer – my watch was reading slow this time, probably due to the trees.

A light rain started about this time (I think). It was really light, so it was ok. Ha, little did I know.  We made our way to the center of campus to the circle and headed back. The circle was small on the map, so when we ran around it for real, I remember thinking it was ridiculously large and I hated every second of it. In prep for the race, I knew I would KNOW when I left campus, if this race was going to be a good ending, or another chapter in the BQ attempt saga. As I left campus, I knew I had it. I kept gaining more time. I was getting it done.

Mile 17: 8:10, Mile 18: 8:20, Mile 19: 8:12, Mile 20: 8:04, Mile 21: 8:28 (I think this is where Garmin made up some distance because at each mile BEEP, the distance to the mile marker kept getting shorter.)

Since the course was an out and back, I saw many of my runner friends out there. I hope I at least said “hello” or waved to them, but by this time, I was getting tired, even though I felt amazing. I know that when I had to turn or go up a “hill”, I grunted and moaned with the effort. It was embarrassing, but hey, gotta do what you gotta do, right?

Mile 22: 8:14, Mile 23: 8:18

As I headed off the cross city trail and across Eastwood Road, it was time to try and go faster. It was time to go, it was time to kick it. We headed into a neighborhood. Then. Then it happened. And I’m SO thankful for ME, it happened here and not even one half mile before. The bottom dropped out and it started to POUR. Oh. My. Goodness. This wasn’t your typical rain. This was rain where I could feel a drop hit my toe through my shoe and sock. This was a drenching downpour. And it was cold. Holy crap, was my race doomed? I didn’t even know where I was with pace, I didn’t know how many miles I had left.

It was relentless. I was soaked, my shoes were full, my earphones weren’t working well since they had gotten wet. My glasses, tucked nicely below my cap, were spotted with tiny drops of rain and they started fogging up. I tried to clean them off on my soaked shirt. Yeah, that didn’t work.

Mile 24: 8:29, Mile 25: 8:32

I knew some friends were going to be around half a mile out. WHERE WERE THEY? Corner after corner and turn after turn, we kept going. A mile left, half a mile, no friends, but plenty of puddles. I didn’t look at my time, I was just getting to the finish. Splashing through the puddles, finally, I saw I was getting close. I saw my sister, YAY, my sister came out and was cheering for me. I threw my glasses at her, saw Captain America, and made eye contact with Wendy, missing a bunch of other friends out there with her.

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Almost at the finish!

Mile 26: 8:21

FINISH FAST. FINISH WITH GLORY. FINISH WITH A SMILE.

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I got it!

I got my marathon. The time on the finish line clock said 3:37 and something. Holy crap. 3:37. I did it. I ran my best race. I collapsed with tears at the finish, making some wonder if I was injured or sick, to which I replied, “WHFFPHDMFBSOTNIAUAULIFIED FIPFHSH”. Translated: “It’s a happy cry! I qualified for Boston! I did it!”

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Crossing the finish line. So many emotions. This picture tells my six-year story.

I hugged my sister, babbled out some more stuff, and didn’t even know what to do with myself. I was cold and tired. But I was electric. I was so happy. It was pouring. I needed to get warm. I needed two more hands. What was I going to do, food tent, husband, kids, rain, cold, dry clothes, where was I, coach, need to see coach. I ran into the food tent to find Coach Kristen. No, she just left. I wandered around, chatted with people (I sounded like a heavy smoker), then headed back out to talk to my sister and find my husband. When I saw him, we hugged and I was finally able to tell him that I did it, we did it. He took the kids into another tent, and after saying bye and thanks to my sister, I went to find my car. I was so turned around and didn’t know where I was. I actually asked someone to tell me where my car was. I got my dry clothes bag and headed to the tent where my family was. I started SHAKING and hyperventilating for some reason, so I just leaned over and remembered to breathe. I could breathe. Finally. I could breathe again.

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My boys and best supporters

I did it. I didn’t even know the time I had, but I did it. Need to find coach. Ah, coach found me. We jumped (I think that’s what that was), hugged, and we celebrated. I texted my parents, “I don’t think we can afford to come visit next summer because WE GOIN’ TO BOSTON!!!” Nice, aren’t I?

I saw a few more friends (Melissa) and fellow finishers, and although I was warm, I didn’t know what to do besides wander around the food tent. I wish I had a rain jacket so I could watch the other finishers. Damn. It was time to go home, and I was super bummed it was raining, because this post-marathon party is fun. After I got home, took a twelve hour shower, and ate a little, my husband looked up the results and found that I had crushed my goal and finished my marathon in 3:36:38. I even got 2nd in my age group. Oh, the tears flowed again. I did it. Finally. And I get to go back to Boston.

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Post-Race Happy

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Post-Race Nappy

So if my experience can teach anyone anything, LEARN from your mistakes. Be ok with making mistakes. That’s how you learn. That’s how you grow. But learn from them. And don’t give up on your dream. Go for it. Don’t give up. If you KNOW you have something within you, do it. Go for it. As for me, I’m running Boston…and beyond.

Categories: anything is possible, being epic, Boston Marathon, follow your dreams, go for your dreams, learning from failure, marathon, marathon training, qualifying for boston marathon, quintiles wrightsville beach marathon, race with base, running, training for marathon, Uncategorized, wrightsville beach marathon | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Wrightsville Beach Marathon Race Recap

PART I. Evidently, I’m so wordy, I had to cut this off before it turned novelish. Part 2 coming soon!

As I was running on Sunday, I actually thought about this blog. What will I write about? How will it end? Will there be tears of happiness or sadness, because you KNOW there’s always tears at the end of marathons. I’m just thrilled about the race, and it will go down in history as on of my favorite days, just like Ironman Florida was. Who knew I could have two of my favorite races within just a few months of each other?

Over the past few days, I’ve had a feeling of calmness come over me. I finally did it. I finally did what I knew I could do all along. I raced my heart out, ran to the absolute best of my ability, and I achieved my time goal along the way. THIS is why I kept at it. THIS is why I didn’t quit. I can breathe now. I have nothing more to prove. It’ll be about redemption in Boston. So here’s the story of my race, well, it’s the story of the weekend.

As I wrote in my last blog, I had a very specific race plan. I was careful about my carbs the three days before, and I knew I was going to eat my big meal earlier than I had before. What I didn’t plan on were the nerves I had when I woke up on Saturday. Evidently, they had all saved up in my system and came out to play that day. Yay, a nerve party! After having a really good night of sleep, I woke up at 8 am, then headed to the Fleet Feet shakeout run at 9. I ended up running with a friend of mine, and I’m irritated I didn’t get a picture of us! Here’s a group photo though. I enjoyed talking with Jim the entire 3.3 mile run, and was a good, strong run. I felt good! I chatted with some of the other runners after we were done, then headed home to get ready for our busy day.

Fleet Feet shakeout run!

My son and I worked the half marathon packet pickup on Saturday, which was three hours of intense packeting, whew, and when we came out of that tent, we were dizzy and sweaty and glad to be done with our volunteer work. I’m just thankful I could stay seated. Just after we were released, both of my boys ran the 1 mile fun run. My youngest has a natural athletic ability to him, and last year, he blazed to a 6:21 finish without any real preparation. This year, he wanted to get a 6:15. Quite admirable for a 10 year old. My 13 year old, who is athletic (more athletic than what he thinks he is) but not as competitive about it,  didn’t feel like running, had been on his feet helping me for three hours, so said he was just going to run. Cool.

They took off, and less than six minutes later, my youngest came around the corner, finishing his race in 5:43. Um, ok. That’s fast. Then my oldest came into view, hauling his butt to the finish in 7:08. Yeah, “I’m just going to run it, Mom”. Sure, son. I was so proud of their efforts, and that they put everything they could into their one mile. I’ve told them a hundred times before, it’s not the time that shows on the clock that matters, it’s the effort you put into it. Proud momma.

My little speedsters

After the race, I ended up seeing a friend of mine, who was pacing for the half marathon. Evidently, she met the 3:40 pacer, which was my goal pace, so I was lucky enough to meet and talk to her.  I have no idea how I missed the fact there was a pacer meeting, but thankfully, I found that she had an “even pace” theory. I felt comfortable with that, so I decided to try and run with the group, something I’ve never done before. I would find her blonde hair at the start line.

After chatting with a few more people, I was ready to head to dinner. I have been eating a big burger the night before big races, but this time, I changed it to a grilled chicken sandwich with bacon, cheese, and a fried egg on top. And fries with Base salt and some ketchup. It was delicious and just enough to really fill me up but not make me feel like throwing up. One thing about this meal that was different was that I ate earlier in the evening. I wanted to be sure it had enough time to move through, if you know what I mean.

I didn’t get all my gear ready until after dinner and I had checked all my weather apps at least one more time. It was going to be 48 as a low, a high of 57, windy, and showers during the race. Hmmm, well, let’s plan for that rain, but I was REALLY thrilled about the cool temps. I didn’t know how windy it would end up being, so I was in a quandary about what exactly I would need, because if there’s one thing about me, I do NOT like being warm when I run. I decided on my shorts, tank, arm warmers, billed hat for rain, light shade sunglasses since there wasn’t supposed to be any sun, and a light, waterproof, disposable coat by Sheddable Shell with tear-away arms that would keep my core warm and dry. I would HIGHLY recommend getting a few of these coats for cooler weather running. They’re cheap, and then if you have one, you won’t have to pay more for shipping than the minimum $30 order because you waited until the last minute to order them. You’re welcome. I was going to carry an 8 oz bottle of Base Rocket Fuel and along with that, supplement with water along the course. I had trained with this and found it to provide the extra push I needed to get through those long runs, plus it helped me recover faster than I had in any prior training. I made my 3:39 pace bracelet, mostly since I thought my arms might be covered and I needed to be sure I could check my paces without depending on my Garmin. That little piece turned out to be one of the best decisions I could have made.

3:39 pace bracelet. Essential on race day to keep me aware.

For the first time ever, I studied the race course, especially the placement of the aid stations and what they offered. I wanted to be sure I could get Gu when I needed it at every five miles, and carry it if the course didn’t offer what I needed when I needed it. My husband and kids were working the aid station at mile 14.5, and I had made a little goodie bag with chapstick, gu, new gum, Base salt, and a fresh bottle of Rocket Fuel. I also packed a new hat, gloves, and an extra pair of shoes in a waterproof backpack to leave at that aid station in the event of a deluge of rain and a change of shoes would be necessary.

Fueled by Base and ready to go!!

I charged my iPod, checked to be sure it worked correctly, and charged my Garmin. I was ready to go. This was the most prepared I went into any marathon. I was determined to make it my best effort, and no matter the outcome, I was going to do whatever I could to remove the variables that brought me down in the past. Hydration, nutrition, training, and weather. Those are the big ones. All seemed to be lining up to lead me to my goal. Surprisingly, it didn’t take me long to get to sleep. I had felt so tired that entire week, my legs felt like lead up until that day, so I knew I was physically ready to run the next morning. I had finally calmed back down, but the nerves were still there. What would tomorrow bring?

All I know is that I kept thinking, “Prior planning prevents piss poor performance” and “Failing to plan is like planning to fail”. I had planned, mapped it out, and knew what I needed to do when I needed to do it. I was ready. For the first time ever, I had a real, complete marathon plan.

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Categories: Boston Marathon, follow your dreams, fueled by base, go for your dreams, learning from failure, marathon, marathon training, qualifying for boston marathon, quintiles wrightsville beach marathon, race with base, running, running with friends, training for marathon, Uncategorized, wrightsville beach marathon | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

10 Things I’m Doing To Prepare For My 10th Marathon

I’m running the Quintiles Wrightsville Beach marathon here in Wilmington, NC, on Sunday and going for a Boston Qualifying time. I calculated how many times I’ve tried and not met my goal, and it was quite depressing, but I’ve finally decided that a marathon is a marathon, and I’m gonna have fun with this one, especially since it’s in my home town and I will know about a zillion of the other runners and spectators. Yes, that was a very long sentence, but this is my blog and I can write incorrectly if I want to.

So in honor of my 10th marathon and my love for lists, I’ve compiled a list of ten things I’m doing (and in some cases, NOT doing) to prepare for this race in no particular order. Except 10. 10 is the most important of them all. No kiddin’.

  1. Weather stalking. It wouldn’t be a big race if I wasn’t looking at my six  weather apps. ONE!!!! IT’S ONLY ONE!!! I SWEAR, I’M NOT LYING. Ok, it’s six. I have six weather apps.  Come on!!! Everyone tells me that I can’t control the weather, so stop worrying. Quite the opposite for me. It’s the one thing I cannot control, so that’s the thing I worry about the most. The way I operate, I have to process something other than ideal. The forecast for race day doesn’t look ideal, but it doesn’t appear it will be over 60 that day, and that’s really good news. Wind and rain is in the forecast. Lucky me, I’ve PR’d twice in the wind and rain. It doesn’t intimidate me. I’m planning for heavy rain, just in case, but it’s doable. Obsessing about weather gives me something to think about and I can plan my clothes, shoes, and nutrition/hydration appropriately. So stop telling me to not worry because duh, I will anyway.

    Not too shabby!! But I’m still checking every ten seconds.

  2. Follow politics very closely. Hahahahahahaha! NO!!!!!!!!!!! Do you want to know what I posted on my Facebook page on Tuesday, our state’s election day? (Yes, I voted.) A picture of the beach, which is where my butt was sitting. No one needed to hear anything about politics because politics was taken that day. And every other day.
  3. Oh baby, it’s carb-loading time!!! I get to eat. It’s not whole wheat, it’s not brown rice, no, it’s white bread, it’s white enriched noodles, it’s good! I carb-load for three days before race day. No, I don’t gorge myself with food and I don’t eat much fiber, because that would make my race one long sprint between each port-a-jon or well-placed bush. I’ve shifted what I eat, not how much I eat (which is quite a lot because I’m always hungry around this time). Pasta for breakfast? Don’t mind if I do.
  4.  Hydrate. It’s humid here along the coast about 95% of the time, so chances are, I’m going to sweat a lot on race day, even if the temps stay cool. I’m closely watching how much I drink and, dammit, that pee had better run clear/light yellow by tonight!  I even bought some “Hint” water to make water actually taste better. No added sweetener crap, no carbonation, just water infused with fruit. Why don’t I just make it at home? Because I’m too tired from marathon training.

    Hint, I love this stuff!

  5. Watching basketball and cluelessly  very carefully filling out my award-winning brackets. March Madness has to be one of the most unproductive times of the year. Lucky for me, I’m self-employed, so I let my employee (me) watch the games as long as said employee (me) works at the same time. I’m a good boss. I mean really, my home town team UNCW, ALMOST beat Duke yesterday, my alma mater, UNI, is playing, as well as the other two Iowa teams, and we have UNC and Duke to continue to watch.  So go ahead and yell when you see that good shot on your phone from under your desk. Everyone knows what you’re doing anyway.
  6. Spent time with my family. My parents came to visit on March 3rd and left March 16th. I only get to see them a few times a year, so during that time, I put almost everything I possibly could on hold to spend time with them. We ate out, we cooked (I did once or twice but hey, who’s counting?), I took the kids out of school one day so we could shoot gunz, we went to the beach, we talked, we shopped, we even bar hopped. It was the best.
  7. Catching my ass up after taking two weeks off doing almost everything I normally do. The house didn’t learn to clean up after itself and my work didn’t get done, so, instead of thinking much about running, I’ve been doing all the things I didn’t do the few weeks my parents were here. It was certainly worth it, but when I had to figure out what to make for dinner for an entire week, it became clear that life was back to normal.

    What I find in every corner of every stair. I am baffled how this cat has any hair left on his body.

  8. Perfect my Marathon Playlist on my iPod. Do I want “Livin’ on a Prayer” at the beginning or the end? What was I thinking when I actually added an old boy band song?? It won’t make me laugh, it will make me angry. Uh, delete. Time to get those decisions made.
  9. Not running. Not much, anyway. It IS taper time. It’s a good thing because when I do, I feel like crap. Funny thing, this taper. One mile makes me out of breath, just as it should. The last time I felt this crappy during taper was right before Boston. This makes me feel very hopeful, because to me, crappy feeling means strong legs ready to race.

    taper

    Can’t touch this. Especially if you grew up in the 80’s.

  10. Making the perfect marathon plan. Failing to plan is like planning to fail. This became so very evident to me after the Charleston Marathon when, once again, I dehydrated and locked up and did the walk of anger and shame on and off the last several miles of the race. Nope, not gonna do it this time. Hey, I may fail at my goal, but it sure isn’t going to be because I failed to plan. Thanks to Coach Kristen’s request, I have crafted a very detailed race plan, from what I eat the day before, what I eat and what times the morning of, to how fast I’m going to start, what my pace plan is, and my VERY DETAILED fuel/hydration plan. This includes my Base Performance Salts, Amino, and Hydro. They come together to make Rocket Fuel, which is given out on the marathon portion of Ironman races. I have trained with this, and I believe in it. All I can say is that I’m FUELED BY BASE. I cannot afford to mess this one up. I am fully aware the race may not go my way, but it certainly will not be because I didn’t follow my plan. Maybe I got cocky after running a lot of marathons. I don’t know, but I didn’t think a lot of things through. Sure, I carried hydration with me in Charleston, but I didn’t actually drink it. Had I put that part in a conscious PLAN, the race may have gone differently for me. Now I don’t have anything to fret about because it’s all written down. I know what to do, just do it. RWB_IamaAwesome
  11. This is a bonus number. This one is what I’m going to do on Sunday. Well, for starters, I’m going to run my 10th full marathon, and I’m going to enjoy it. I’m going to remember all the time and effort and exhaustion I’ve put into training, and I’m going to remember this, clearly, as I think about slowing down. I will push, I will shove, I will remember how bad I want it. As the miles click by, I know I’ll feel thankful, tired, mad, happy, mad, thrilled, and joyful as I run. But mostly, see the pictures at the top of this blog. THAT’S what I’m going to do. I can’t say it better than that. Stay tuned. I’ll let you know how it goes.
Categories: follow your dreams, fueled by base, go for your dreams, marathon, marathon training, no fear, qualifying for boston marathon, quintiles wrightsville beach marathon, race with base, running, training for marathon hal higdon training plan, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

If I Had Some Liquid Paper…or something like that

Does Liquid Paper even exist anymore? After my last blog and mostly due to the last sentence of it, I caught some heat over being too hard on myself. I was actually told to CHANGE THAT LAST SENTENCE. You know who you are. So here goes:

liquid paper

I’m removing the last sentence of my last blog.

“You always learn something when you race. Yeah, I learned how not to be a dumbass.” This is now stricken from the last blog, and by stricken, I mean I’m striking it here in this one. The thing is, I don’t think I’m a dumbass. I actually consider myself to be quite intelligent. Intelligent people can do dumbass things. Teenage years and early twenties are a prime example of smart people doing dumb things. I didn’t dwell on it (for once) like I normally do. I made a critical error, and by realizing the error, it made me feel better. While part of me wanted to do this:

crying

I knew I had to do this:

IMG_9880

The way I see it is that it had to happen. I had to learn my lesson from this huge mistake. The lesson was learned, however dumbass it was, and I moved on. I have regrouped. So here’s the deal, I’m fixing my ponytail, and I’m trying again. As much as I wanted to quit for that five minutes, I don’t want to give up. Ever.

By the way, congrats to everyone who made it through the great “snowmageddon” out there. It was a doozy, even here in coastal North Carolina. Everyone rushed outside at the same time to take a picture or video of the two snowflakes that fell, so it created a rush of warm air that in fact, melted the snowflakes they were trying to photograph.

IMG_9879

This is what happens in the south, but for reals, the roads are scary as SH%$ when it snows here.

We survived. 🙂

Anyway, because I shifted my goals, I had to shift my races. I was supposed to do a fun 50k on Saturday, but it is now a 5 miler. Instead of doing whatever I wanted the next few months, I will be running, doing speed work, tempo, strength, PRACTICING HYDRATING, all in prep for my 10th marathon in March. Yes, I am trying this BQ thing again on March 20th. Who knows what will happen, but the thing is, I won’t know if I don’t try. And I feel good, have had a strong training cycle, and I got coach’s permission to keep going. So I’m regrouping, recovering the last few weeks, and next week, I’m back at it. Wrightsville Beach Marathon, you totaled me last year (probably because I didn’t drink enough), but I’m coming for you!

In the meantime, my Epic Running Company youth running groups have opened registration and I’m studying for the AFAA Personal Trainer Certification. And for someone who has a Business Finance degree and not a Biology degree? Yeah.

shocked

The tensor fasciae latae what?

So anyway, I’ve been keeping busy, having a good few weeks break, but I’m ready to get back at it. All with a good attitude and understanding that I am not a dumbass. 😉

Let’s hear it – have you made any HUGE multiple mistakes in your races? Did you finally learn from them?

Categories: Boston Marathon, coaching, follow your dreams, marathon, marathon training, qualifying for boston marathon, quintiles wrightsville beach marathon, running, training for marathon, Uncategorized, wrightsville beach marathon | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

It’s The Food Network’s Fault

It’s that time of year. You know, when you have the heater on in the morning and the air conditioner on in the afternoon. It’s spring!!! It finally sprung here in coastal North Carolina, and you can simply tell by all the pollen all over the place. It’s kind of gross.

The kids are out of school this week, and although I desperately miss having a career of my own, I really enjoy this time with them.  We stay up later than normal, we sleep in, we watch TV in the morning, we go to the beach, we cook, we clean, we eat ice cream, we play games. Last night, my boys had two friends over and tonight, they’re going to stay at my sister’s house. All of us are off on Friday, so who the heck knows what we will do.

I still consider myself in post-marathon recovery mode, but I’ve only taken two full days off where I didn’t do any workout at all. It would have been three days, but yesterday, I convinced my kids to go run a few miles with me. I’m just about going a little nutty. I think part of it is not meeting my goal in the marathon, part of it is just to move on from that to the triathlon. Part of it is just being used to having workouts almost every day. Since I’m not running 50 miles per week, I have a ton more energy.

Saturday, I ran 5 with my husband at an 8:30 pace. I  felt great and had to hold back, and he went faster than his normal pace – so it was good for both of us.

Sunday morning was cold (29),  so when the hubster went for his 10 miler, I got my new (to me) bike out and rode 90 easy minutes on the trainer, or just over to make 30 miles. This was my first ride on a tri bike. Felt about the same, but then again, it’s been a few months since I’ve been on a bike. My legs were slightly tired, but I figured it was from the marathon just a week before. Ironic the movie “Without Limits” was on. I’d never seen a movie about Pre, and honestly, I don’t know much about him. Unfortunately, I wouldn’t learn too much more because I found myself really bored and turned the channel. Later that day, we took the kids to see the Harlem Globetrotters. I think they’ve been doing the same thing for generations, but the really enjoyed it and it was cool to see them play ball.

Dunk!

Dunk!

On Monday, I took my kids to the YWCA pool and swam an 800, stopping after each 100 to catch my breath. Crazy, I can run a marathon, but swimming just sucks the energy right from me. Then we played in the deep end for half an hour until I was too raisiny to stay in any longer. I’m really working on form, and I have to say, my right side is catching on, my left, not so much.  I know it will just take persistence and work and patience, but as much as I dislike swimming as compared to how much I love running, I do look forward to more workouts and especially some open water swimming. I can’t believe I actually just typed that.

Playing around in the pool.

Playing around in the pool.

On Tuesday, I rode for an easy hour, 20 miles, on the trainer and then went for a 3 mile run. I LOVE the post-bike run feeling and I ended up doing my 3 miles in a 7:47 pace. I was BEAT when I finished, but I had a pretty big smile on my face. I met a friend of mine at the beach and we walked the 2.5 mile loop with our dogs while the kids trotted behind, beside, and in front of us. We then took our lunch to eat on the beach and had ice cream when we were ready to head home. It was a fabulous afternoon with almost perfect weather. Ok, for March, it WAS perfect weather!

The beach.

The beach.

Wednesday was the few miles with my kids, and then this morning, I rode my bike easy for an hour. The boys slept in later than they probably have, almost EVER, so I didn’t have to share the TV as I rode. Bonus. I usually check their breath with a mirror when they sleep past 8:00, but I checked in on them and did NOT want to disturb the bears, so left it alone.

My "new" tri bike, now called "KitKat"

My tri bike, “KitKat”

Tonight, my husband and I are going to a social run for 4 miles, something we haven’t done in a really long time. Part of me is looking forward to it (Running AND social? HELLO!) but part of me wants to just go to dinner or something since we don’t get out very often just the two of us.

The Cooking Part

The cooking frenzy started last week. I’ve always liked cooking, but this is probably the most I’ve spontaneously cooked, like real food with recipes, since, EVER. It was the new show’s (I CANNOT, for the life of me, remember, what the name of it is!) fault, totally. Well, Chopped too. A lady had made gnocchi, which I’ve never made but have eaten before only from the pre-made packages, so I decided on a whim on Saturday afternoon that I was going to make gnocchi. Plain gnocchi was a no-no, so I decided to make some garlic butter cream sauce to go with it. Once I had that going, I realized that I needed to make some pesto with my huge basil plant that I’ve been loving on ever since I got it. Did you know that two cups of basil is pretty much every leaf from a medium sized basil plant? Poor bald thing.  Ok, I LOVE pesto. I REALLY LOVE pesto, like eat it out of a jar with a spoon, and I love garlic, but I learned a very important lesson when I made my homemade pesto with home grown basil. You CAN have too much garlic, or shall I say, gahhhhhhlic, in your pesto. I may have “accidentally” put in twice as much as what the recipe called for, but I’ve never been a real stickler for following recipes, except in baking. It almost garlic-burned my mouth. It was pretty bad. There’s no way in h-e-double-hockey sticks I was going to waste my lovely basil plant I’ve been lovingly caring for, so I just stuck it in the fridge.  And that was just Saturday afternoon.

Gnocchi with garlic butter cream sauce and pesto

Gnocchi with garlic butter cream sauce and pesto

Sunday was Lemon and tarragon-poached chicken with mashed potatoes.  The terragon recipe required white wine, and when I have leftover white wine, I immediately think of risotto. So the next day, I made some delicious risotto with our leftover grilled chicken. The risotto was perfect for toning down my fire hot garlic pesto sauce, so I mixed some of the rice into the pesto and BAM, you have a four-star meal.

Risotto with gahhhlic pesto

Risotto with gahhhlic pesto

THEN I decided to make some cheese filled shells with turkey spaghetti sauce. I made a batch with shredded spinach in the shells and one without. It was good.

Cheese shells. Mmmm. Good.

Cheese shells. Mmmm. Good.

The kids have been asking me to make jambalaya for about a month, so yesterday, I made that for the crew since I can just add more rice to make it go further. Thankfully, I didn’t get crazy with the cayenne pepper as I’ve been known to do, so it was the perfect spice heat for us. Because the kids had friends over, I decided to make some knockoff Cinnabon cinnamon rolls. My house actually smelled like the mall when you walk by the Cinnabon store. Fabulous. I’ll have to make a double batch next time as one regular batch only makes SIX!

Check out that bun!

Check out that bun!

So with my girth a little thicker than a week ago, thanks to my current cooking phase, I’m looking forward to some warmer weather, getting my bike out on the road, and running for speed, maybe even looking for a 5k PR (21:13).

Do you like to cook? Do you go crazy right after a marathon?

Categories: ironman, ironman florida, marathon, open water swimming, quintiles wrightsville beach marathon, running, swimming, training for marathon, training for triathlon, triathlon, Uncategorized, wrightsville beach marathon | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

Post-Race Euphoria Has Risen Again

This has been an interesting week. I mourned the loss of my PR successfully. Thanks for your kind comments. I took time off. I went to the pool. I ran slow. I ran fast. I took videos of squirrels sliding down the bird feeder pole (they went down super fast when I used cooking spray-it was freaking HILARIOUS). I did what I wanted to do. I drank beer and didn’t care. I got post-race euphoria. Again.

Post-marathon run pre-post-race euphoria.

Post-marathon run pre-post-race euphoria. Wouldn’t be classy without the smoothie seeds.

I’ve never done a shakeout run AFTER a marathon before, so on Monday, when my brain wires were all crossed, I decided to get out there and do it. I was slightly sore (definitive proof that I could have done better on Sunday), but I went two miles easily in the light rain. It was just enough to clear my head, work out residual soreness, and bring a smile to my face. It was perfect.

brain before after run

Then I noticed a blood blister on my thumb. Strange. I had done it while running the race on Sunday – I pinched the pad of my thumb with my index finger when I got upset in the last few miles enough to cause a blood blister. Strange…very strange.

Weird. Just weird.

Weird. Just weird.

I was sad until Wednesday. My soreness was gone, the sun was out, and I was ready to get back to it….slowly. I headed to the pool to re-acquaint myself with the water. It was, um, ok. I got out of breath VERY fast, but I practiced form for about 30 minutes, taking a breather after every 50 meters. I remembered what I learned at the swim clinic. Not sure if I could really execute it, but I tried. I was almost excited about getting back in the water.

Back at it!

Back at it!

On Thursday, post-race euphoria hit. And I was happy. I was happy that I was happy and not the anvil-on-head feeling of devastation after Boston last year. I could feel the euphoria coming, like a train whistle in the distance, on Wednesday, but didn’t know how nutty it was going to make me feel. I dropped my son off from school, decided to go pick him up at noon and play hooky since he was just having a hard day and felt “invisible” and walked into the school looking pathetic like Eeyore or Winnie the Pooh, which was enough to make me cry while grocery shopping in Walmart. I assume the dumb U2 song, “Stuck in a Moment (and can’t get out of it)” coming on did not help matters. But first, I got the groceries put away, and again, went for a run in the rain. I ended up going about 3 miles at 8:15 pace.

I didn't have my hat so this is what I looked like most of the time. Dazed and confused.

I didn’t have my hat so this is what I looked like most of the time. Dazed and confused.

My legs were tired when I was done, but they weren’t tired enough to deter me from looking into running a marathon this weekend. And by the way, when I say, “post race euphoria”, it can also be called “making bad decisions within a week of running a marathon”. I’ve had this before, I’m experienced. I’d been watching the weather, and THIS weekend’s weather was going to be cold, which is PERFECT for me. Give me 30-something degrees and I’ll run all day long. Perfect for running another marathon, right?

So I Googled all the marathons for the rest of the spring, including Grandma’s Marathon in Duluth, MN. I even got so far as looking into plane tickets. I think the $750+ air fare and the relative warm race conditions were the final slap to sensibility. Plus, duh, there’s Ironman training that is WAY more important than marathon racing right now. BUT there was a marathon this weekend, just up the coast. It was still open. Hmmm, I clicked the “REGISTRATION” button. (By they way, THAT is how the whole Ironman thing started…it was open, I clicked, I clicked again, and BAM, I’m in an Ironman). I checked the weather again. Hmmmm, rain and possible snow. The next screen after hitting the “click this if you’re a complete idiot” button, I found the registration was, in fact, closed. Ahhh, saved!!! I’m no marathon pro, but I DO know that running a marathon two weekends in a row for time is not a good idea. For anyone. I just had a brief moment of invincibility and that those particular rules to not pertain to me. Because I didn’t run all out on Sunday. Yeah, so let’s run again a week later. Seems smart to me! That’s how tricky this euphoria thing is. I mean people, who actually clicks the button to sign up for a marathon that’s ONE WEEK from the marathon they just ran? INSANITY AT ITS BEST. That certainly wouldn’t have been a huge disaster, would it?

I Googled more, looked at dates, weather, experiences of other people who ran marathons not long after Ironman races, and I think I’ve decided on when I will race a marathon again, but it will be after Ironman Florida. One thing at a time, Kelli, one thing at a time! Post-race euphoria, the best way to run up your credit card and do stupid things!

Later on Thursday, I stole my son away from school at 12:30. There’s nothing like the ocean and ice cream custard, the most delicious invention EVER, and an afternoon out of school to elevate a pre-teen’s mood. We chatted, we collected shells, we laughed, we put our feet in the ocean, we took goofy pictures. It was wonderful, and it worked.

My boy and me

My boy and me, at Wrightsville Beach, wearing Wrightsville Beach shirts, just in case we got lost, because, you know, there’s a map on the shirt.

So anyway, today is Friday. I decided to take the day off any exercise. The kids got out of school early for spring break, which is all next week, so we went to Lowe’s and got some supplies to build a flower bed around a tree in the front yard. Our neighbors and we were planning to have a nice big bed combined in our front yards, but they are moving and decided instead to put one bush up surrounded by a few handfuls of mulch. It’s gorgeous and could be a contender for Better Homes & Gardens “Front Yard Award”. Yeah, I’m totally exaggerating, it looks like crap. I’ll post a picture when we get it done.

I’m fighting the urge to buy a bunch of books on endurance nutrition and the best method, as I know it’s part of the euphoria effect. I want to know all the things about all the diets, but I am especially curious about Nutritional Ketosis. Not sure if it is even a good idea with my history and a very long endurance event planned, but I’m going to be looking more into my options.

For workouts this weekend, I’ll be on my trainer for “all the miles” (euphoria) and then I’ll be doing some running as well. I’m also planning to be at the pool 2-3 times a week, so we may all head there on Sunday for more practice. Then we’re heading to the Harlem Globetrotters game. My kids are going to have a blast!

What is everyone up to? Do you ever go nuts after a marathon?

 

 

 

 

Categories: ironman, ironman florida, marathon, marathon training, open water swimming, quintiles wrightsville beach marathon, running, swimming, training for marathon, training for triathlon, triathlon, Uncategorized, wrightsville beach marathon | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Wrightsville Beach Marathon – Race Recap

PRE-RACE

It’s the day before the big race, the marathon, the day I’ve been waiting for for months. I was looking forward to it and dreading it at the same time. I got up, ran my shake out run, the weather was good. It was cold and cloudy. Could tomrrow be a PR-making day?

My son came home from a sleepover Saturday, and ironic enough, he didn’t sleep much. We went to his soccer game, came home, and got ready to go out to the race festivities, all while I’m stuffing my face with carbs.

Food. I ate A LOT. It's like, the more I ate, the hungrier I got.

Food. I ate A LOT. It’s like, the more I ate, the hungrier I got.

Friday evening and Saturday were packet pickup, and on Saturday, there’s a 1-mile fun run and a 5k race. The full and half marathons were on Sunday morning.  I have to say, the Wrightsville Beach Marathon is relatively small, but it’s getting bigger and better.  I easily got my race packet and then my son’s packet for the 1-mile run that was Saturday evening.  The expo was nothing new, and I didn’t see anything I wanted wanted it all, but didn’t buy anything.

A beautiful day for the expo, 1 mile and 5k races!

A beautiful day for the expo, 1 mile and 5k races!

My husband is the head of the Cape Fear Clemson Club’s aid station for the race, so he was in charge of meeting The Tiger, the only “real” mascot who came to the college team themed race. It was cool to meet a real mascot. He started with the 1-mile and 5k races and was at the Clemson aid station during the marathons.

My boys and The Tiger

My boys and The Tiger

Then it was time for my son’s 1-mile race. Evidently I signed him up early last year, and thankfully the race emails all participants, because I had no recollection that I had signed him up until I got the confirmation email. Oops. The race does keep you informed well in advance, so there should be no question as to when or where events were taking place. Pretty awesome. It was time for my little one to run. I was slightly nervous, but he’s been running A LOT lately, so I figured he’d be just fine.

It's not often you can say you ran with a leprechaun.

It’s not often you can say you ran with a leprechaun. My guy is in the orange shirt just right of Mr. Leprechaun.

Momma was right. That little bugger came in 2nd overall with a freaking 6:21 mile time. He’s NINE. Yeah.

Post race.

Post race. Complete with his hand in the bag of chips.

By the time The Tiger was done with his duties at the races, I was more than ready to go home. I was so happy to see tons of familiar faces. So many people I know where there, whether it was to volunteer or race in one of the four races. What a great family event!!

We headed home so I could eat more carbs and put my feet up, because, yes, it IS all about me. Bedtime was early.

My typical pre-race burger. It never fails. Kitty wanted one too.

My typical pre-race burger. It never fails. Kitty wanted one too.

RACE MORNING

I normally eat four hours before big races. I’ve been doing it since I started learning more about marathons, and it’s never failed me. I’ve bonked ONCE during a race, and I knew exactly what I had done to mess it up. It’s never happened to me since. I got up at 2:30 to stuff my face once more.

That was an early morning.

I don’t see that time very often.

I tried to get back to sleep, but my mind wouldn’t let me. At 4:something, I got back out of bed to get ready for the marathon. Would I be happy when I got home? Would I be sad? Angry, thrilled? You just never know with these things.

We dropped my car off at the finish line and headed to the aid station where my boys would be working, which is conveniently located right by the start line.  I got my Gu situated, used the port-a-jons about ten times, and I was ready to go.

Pre-race.

Pre-race. Looks like I have to pee.

I remember having some “oh shit” feelings because the weather forecast was off. It was already warm and the race hadn’t even started. It was 57 degrees and 90% humidity. Gulp. I do not run long distances well with temps above 50-55, especially with the humidity. Well, here goes!

THE FIRST HALF

The race started at 6:40. It was crowded, but it wasn’t where you’re stumbling and having to weave in and out of people. I think people actually seeded themselves according to the pacers, probably a first in any race I’ve done. At mile 2-3, I passed my boys’ aid station and called out to them. They had their music blaring, Clemson gear out in arms, and it was fun. There were a LOT of runners, which is something that I really like when racing. We headed off the island, and I noticed that I was soaked with sweat.  Grrrr. Of all the &(*%& days to be warm and humid. The course is a loop course, but it’s not even loops, so it’s hard to explain. We would be heading back to the island again, but first, a nice stretch of road with a lot of spectators and cool, funky aid stations, all college themed. You know, because it’s March Madness, the theme of the race. The NC State station had my friend, Alecia, dressed as Ms. Wolf, and the three times I passed her, she was dancing away. I hear her calves are strong as steel. I thought to myself, “I’m doing it”. (Thanks for the reminder, Judith!!!)

We went into the gated community of Landfall, a place I’ve only seen when visiting one friend and running through for this race. I had my times at certain intervals marked on my arm so I would know if I was on pace or not. Things were going according to plan, and at mile 10, I had 30 seconds on my goal time, 3:43. I met with a friend who would end up running almost the entire rest of the race with me, when I exited Landfall the first time. It was back to the beach.

I wasn’t feeling on my A game, and I wasn’t sure why. I knew it would be a test and that I was going to have to dig really deep to get my BQ that day. At the half point, I was one minute ahead of my goal time. Whew. I was sweaty. I was ready to do it.

Runnin' my race

Runnin’ my race. You just can’t keep those thumbs down.

As you’ve heard me complain before, my Garmin does not like the clouds, so the readings for mine and my friend’s were all over the place. I could only run based on feel. I picked up a little goody bag at my boys’ aid station at mile 14-15. It had ibuprofen, salt pills, gu, a mini water bottle, and a new gum in it. I really struggled with getting my stuff out, so I asked my friend to get them out for me. There was a lot of swearing.  As I passed mile 16, I used some more colorful words and basically said that I was going to make this marathon my bitch. I had ten miles to go. Let’s do it.

A-Mazing

A-Mazing

I have to mention that along the way, I came upon this group. The woman in the chair was paralyzed 26 years ago. She was a very young and extremely active girl at the time and was hit by a car. She and a friend decided the best way to celebrate life was to participate in a marathon. I had heard the story, and when I passed them, I told them they were amazing and blew them a kiss. Some good perspective. Because of chair issues, they were only able to complete 13.1 miles, but anyway, 13.1 is a LONG way.

Feeling good. Still have hitchhiker thumbs.

Feeling good. Still have hitchhiker thumbs.

We were coming upon mile 18, which is close to where you go back into Landfall. I had my goal time written on my arm. When I saw my time, fully expecting to still be a minute or more ahead of goal time, I

Huh????

Huh????

Then I realized that I was one minute BEHIND my goal time. I lost TWO MINUTES in those five miles.

wtf

Yeah. Needless to say, I sort of freaked. I was definitely feeling the weather. I FELT like I had been running a really good pace. My legs felt strong, but my breathing, eh, it was just not regular. When I brought my pace down, my heart rate skyrocketed and my breathing went with it. WTF?

Herein lies the confusing part. Maybe I spent too much energy trying to figure out what happened. But I felt defeated. I tried to speed it up. It wasn’t working. My body was like all

Heeeellll NO.

Heeeellll NO.

I knew I would not be able to pick up and get a negative split marathon, the one thing I was really counting on  and planning for the entire training time. My legs felt good though. I wasn’t sore. They weren’t tired. WTF? Honestly, I knew my goal time was out. I felt like I was running in pudding, or soup, or water, or something other than air. I FELT like I was running at a good pace, but the fastest I was actually going was too slow.

I didn’t give up. I really thought about what was going on. And I didn’t understand what was going on. Is it the humidity? I kept going until I just felt like….

wtf6

And I walked some. I adjusted my goal to be a sub-4:00 marathon. Nope. Gotta beat stomach flu marathon of 3:56, so my new goal became a sub-3:56. And I was REALLY upset. How could this happen? How could I lose two minutes in 5 miles? How could our watches be off? How could I LET this happen? How could I waste this opportunity and sacrifice all the sacrifices that my family and I have made for this dream of mine. Then there’s the other side of me. I am freaking running a marathon. Ain’t no shame in that. So it’s the Libra side of me that pulls me on either side, the one that divides the happiness with “you didn’t try hard enough”. And I kinda wanted to punch it in the face that morning.

Almost to the finish.

Almost to the finish.

And I saw my family, my boys, the ones who are always there for me. I saw so many of my friends who yelled my name. And strangers were yelling my name too. It was confusing earlier since I was like, “how the heck do they know my name” and dur, it was on my bib.

And I finished.

Marathon #8. Done.

Marathon #8. Done.

Official time is 3:52:28.With all the walking I did, it ended up being an 8:53 pace. An 8:50-effing-3 pace. So with that, come mixed emotions. I really needed to sit and think for a day, let the weekend digest and see where it went. Yes, I’m REALLY disappointed. I’m confused.

IMG_7525 wb5

I’m also very proud, I’m happy. That’s a REAL smile. I ran a marathon. Sure, it wasn’t the pace I wanted, but I sure gave it a hell of a try. So I let my disappointment marinate for a day, and now I’ve moved on. I loved this marathon. I love having goals to shoot for. I loved that my friend ran with me. I love that I saw TONS of people I knew out on the course, that my boys were a part of it too. I loved that my friend made sure I had food, even though I didn’t want to eat. I LOVE the fact that my friend, Amanda, who I met because of this race,  KILLED her race and got her BQ by almost SEVEN minutes. It’s about family, friends, goals, energy, and living life. Next year, I’ll be back.

But first, I got me some Ironman to do.

Hugs, anyone?

Hugs, anyone?

What do you think about marathons? Love/hate? Time goal/no time goal? Do you like all my new animated gifs?

Categories: Boston Marathon, follow your dreams, go for your dreams, ironman, ironman florida, learning from failure, marathon, marathon training, no fear, qualifying for boston marathon, quintiles wrightsville beach marathon, running, running with friends, training for marathon, training for marathon hal higdon training plan, training for triathlon, triathlon, Uncategorized, wrightsville beach marathon | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 33 Comments

Feeling A Little Crabby, Oops, I Mean Carby

FIRST OF ALL, GO PANTHERS!!!! I don’t ever mention my alma mater, but well, I am now. Dancin’ with the big dogs.

University of Northern Iowa Panthers

University of Northern Iowa Panthers

 

Anyway, I am going insane. Crabby and carby. Carby and crabby. It’s annoying. I’m so ready to stop looking at the weather and get this damn race run! Tapering for a marathon where you don’t have to travel is torture. I’ve NEVER been this annoyed before. Irritable, fussy, grumpy, crabby. I need to run.

99% of my time has been spent checking the weather and playing Soda Crush

99% of my time has been spent checking the weather and playing Soda Crush

I started my carb load eating yesterday. I’ve had bagels, noodles, decaf coffee (DECAF FOR GOODNESS SAKES WHAT’S THE POINT?!) a smoothie, orange juice, breads, pesto chicken pasta, and I caved and had a Diet Coke. I just couldn’t take the plain water any more. I’m so bored. I’ve been working on a pretty cool project (ironic it’s about running), but I’m over it. I want to go run, I want to have a beer, I want to go out and stay up late and not be in this taper madness prison. Because one week IS prison. I THOUGHT I was over it. I THOUGHT I would be fine for one more freaking day. But yesterday happened.

If I get TEN post likes, I’ll post the actual video. But this is the gist of yesterday.

 

I went to Costco (mistake #1) and bought a Block Rocker (not a mistake). Give me a microphone and I might as well be Bob Barker. If Bob sang. Badly.

I went to Costco (mistake #1) and bought a Block Rocker (not a mistake). Give me a microphone and I might as well be Bob Barker. If Bob sang. Badly.

Look at me. I feel sorry for myself. My hair is all mussed on one side like I just woke up from a nap by the dumpster on 2nd Street. People, I sang to my animals. Badly. But it was fun. And I entertained myself for a few hours until the kids came home and then I played a really good song and pretended they were finishing a marathon in front of Meb as I commentated.

My excuse is that I was totally jacked up on caffeine. ONE cup. That plus not running. My total mileage this entire week has been less than my normal easy run on Saturday. Ok, I may be exaggerating, but you get the picture. I’M LITERALLY GOING CRAZY.  And then I signed up for THREE races. Yes, THREE. Taper + credit cards + internet access = a whole lotta race registrations. Oops.  Ok, maybe two of them don’t count because I was planning to sign up for them anyway. One is the Beach 2 Battleship FULL IRON relay – I’m doing the swim/bike as the long brick workout 3 weeks before IMFL, and my husband is running the marathon. I signed up for an interesting little race right here in town that’s a swim, run, bike, run, swim sprint. Can you say transition practice? Then I found a 5k in Branson, MO, on July 4th since we’re going to be in the area at that time. I’ve always wanted to run a race on the 4th, so there you go.

I think checking the weather isn’t helping either, but I can’t stop myself. It’s getting warmer and warmer and I’m having flashbacks of running out of salt like I did in Boston. Ugh. I’m really torturing myself. It is what it is, and I have salt sticks.

The day after tomorrow. Boom. Here we go. Let’s get goin’!

IMG_7497

 

 

Categories: iron distance, ironman florida, marathon, marathon training, qualifying for boston marathon, quintiles wrightsville beach marathon, Uncategorized, wrightsville beach marathon | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

Building a Marathon Playlist

I love listening to music when I run. I think it actually can enhance my performance. Sometimes, when I’m just listening to a certain song, my heart rate will go up and I will want to go run, or if I’m at home doing “my thing”, clean faster. In fact, this song is making my heart rate elevated right now:

Can anyone listen to this and NOT get pumped up? It’s now on my race playlist. Twice. Once in the beginning and once at the end.

Side note: It’s not a very good idea to listen to your fast playlist and drive. Just sayin’.

My playlist is vast and varied. I look for good race songs all year long and add them when I hear them a few times and pass the “I won’t get annoyed at this song after a week” test. I have country, rock, instrumental (example above), teeny bopper, and old school. It would be boring to give you my entire playlist – I mean really, who DOESN’T have “Roar”, “Eye of the Tiger”, “Lose Yourself” and “Runnin’ Down a Dream” on their playlist? How about “The Fighter” by Gym Class Heroes? So here’s a few highlights that may differ from your own.

“Come on, feet…got ta get me there!” This one makes me smile and think of making it to the finish line.

“Got ta walk on…. I’m so tired… but I just can’t lose my stride!”

Then there’s this one. It’s pretty obvious just by the title, “Ignition”.  If anything, listen to the chorus at :47. Again, how can you NOT run faster to this one?

I have two different “Animals” songs, one by Nickelback and the other by Martin Garrix. They are both heart thumpers.

Here’s a different sort, and I know it’s not everyone’s thing, but I use these two songs as a “triggers”. I used them in Boston when we were to start heading up, up, up around mile 15-16. I knew it was time to kick it in gear when I hear them. That’s when your body tires and your mind needs to stay sharp.  The hardest part is coming. Hard work it is.

 

The song below makes me want to run mountains. Big mountains with Vikings and lions and fight people wearing bear coats. I have the short, 2 minute version on my playlist.

Then I’ve got “My Songs Know What You Did In The Dark”, “Just Push Play”, various AC/DC songs (but not Highway to Hell, that would be way too obvious), “The Distance”, “Higher Ground”, “Kickstart My Heart”, songs like that. But near the “it’s mental more than physical” part (ok, that’s pretty much the entire thing), I have put a nice little reminder of what I’m trying to do and where I want to go and why I’m putting myself through this. After all, it’s all about Boston.

What are your go-to race songs? Have taper madness before?

 

 

 

 

Categories: Boston Marathon, boston red sox, hal higdon training plan, marathon, marathon training, no fear, qualifying for boston marathon, quintiles wrightsville beach marathon, running, training for marathon, Uncategorized, wrightsville beach marathon | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

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