Posts Tagged With: don’t give up

Houston Marathon Race Recap

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The Houston Marathon is a great race. It’s well planned and executed, and I was able to plan my race knowing what was going to be on the course. Plenty of water and Gatorade was offered every 1.5 miles after mile 2, mile markers and clocks every mile, an energy zone at mile 21ish, port-a-jons, a pretty course with lots of spectators that took us all over the city and back downtown to a fun finish line and a good post-race set up.

With the rampant cheating going on, I was happy to see timing mats every 5k and one at an out-and-back section where the half marathon was. This would help catch any cheaters but also provide fairly quick updates to those tracking me.

When I crossed the start line mat, I wondered if my family (ok, just my husband as I knew my two kids would still be sleeping) would get a notification that I started the race. It was game time.

I deliberately ran the first mile slow, and my Garmin beeped right on the mile marker at 8:25. I kept slowing myself down, because one of my main goals was to run a negative split. It always feels good the first mile, right? “Don’t screw it up” and “be smart” rang through my head, as I settled in and concentrated on “just” running. My breath was easy, my legs felt good, and I was basically the perfect temperature. I only had a throw-away shirt over my tank and arm sleeves. It was a perfect decision on what to wear.

My music played loudly in my ears, and because the roads are sloped, I tried to stay in the middle where the surface was more even. The sky was clear, the sun was creating a beautiful sun rise, and I was chugging away at my miles, staying just over 8-minutes per mile. I felt good. I kept taking small sips of my Base Rocket Fuel (Hydro plus Amino but I forgot to add the salt – oops!) from my collapsible hand-held bottle.

8:06, 8:00, 8:04, 7:59, 8:05

I kept finding myself going sub 8, so I was sure to slow a little each time. Marathons can chew you up and spit you out, that’s for sure. “Don’t ruin it, don’t blow your engine early.” I had my first nutrition at mile 5, and I felt like I dug around in my Coeur bra storage compartment like someone looking for their registration after getting pulled over. Where was the damn thing? I had four of them in there, and I was finally able to fish one of the non-caffeine variety out. I had also unsuccessfully tried the “tequila shot” method on my hand to take my Base salt, which resulted in me losing over half of it on my glove and somewhere on the streets of Houston. Damn damn.

I started to get a little warm, so I decided to throw my shirt off at the 10k point, where one of my friends from the old hood would be spectating from. Brrrr. My arm sleeves were wet with sweat, and met with the 30-something degree air, and cooled me right off. I can’t believe I saw her in the crowd, but I was happy to see one familiar face out there. “HI KRISTA!!!!”

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Twenty miles to go. Just a long run. I saw a woman who was going pretty much my exact pace, so I stayed on her tail, which gave me something to pay attention to, because I was so lost and couldn’t figure out where we were in the city. I had my next nutrition just under ten miles, and by that time, I had refilled my hand-held bottle, spilling the cold Gatorade all over my glove in the process. Because it was cold, I didn’t take in as much hydration as I had originally planned. Not a very good idea. The half marathon split between miles 7 and 8, then we ran through Rice University and toward the only boring part of the course.

8:06, 8:05, 8:02, 8:04, 7:59. I felt better than I had at this point in Boston, but I didn’t feel as good as I did the marathon before that. Granted, I was running a bit faster, but I wondered if I could hold my pace. My favorite running songs played in my ear, and I stuck with the one girl at my pace. It’s funny, because I don’t really remember a lot of details when and where they occurred, but I was aware of a lot going on around me, if that makes any sense. The potholes, the turning (RUN THE TANGENTS!), the water stations and volunteers, Superman, the police officers standing in the intersections, the people in cars who obviously didn’t know they were going to be stuck a while because there were TONS of people behind me, the spectators standing out in their hats and gloves and blankets, and COW BELL. I love this race. This flat race. Haha.

**Please don’t go Captain Watermark on me because I’m posting these pictures. I bought these, old school style, but they’re not here yet.  **

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Between miles 12 and 13, during the boring part filled with lots and lots of power lines, there was the first real hill. A bridge. I tried to maintain my pace as I charged up, and sped up as I came back down. The “girl with the same pace” and I went back and forth.

8:10, 7:53

We hit the half mark, and at that point, I was pacing to get my PR. With wiggle room.

13.1 – 1:46:18, an 8:07 overall pace

Because Garmins can be Garmins (UNRELIABLE), I was wearing a pace bracelet with the goal time of 3:35. This made it easy to see where I was, to be sure I was pacing myself correctly. At almost every mile marker, I looked at my overall time and compared it to what the pace bracelet said I should be at. As long as I stayed under the time on my bracelet, I was fine. But the more under I was, the better.

I got really confused, as I knew we were going by the Galleria area, but it sort of looked like downtown where the start and finish were, and I knew we were only around mile 14. What the what? And I lost track of my hydration somewhere along here. I knew I was re-filling my 6 oz hand-held with Gatorade and sipped from it a lot, plus I was taking water from the aid stations, perfecting the “spill all over one’s face, hands, and legs” in the process. But I wasn’t paying attention to the totals as I had planned.

The miles ticked by, and I was maintaining my pace, slowly increasing the time between my 3:35 pace bracelet and my actual time. At mile 16, I thought “just a ten mile run to go”, anything to keep me going. The playlist I created for The Boston Marathon was playing the “hill” music, and I loved it. My legs were doing ok, my breathing was still fairly even, and I knew I could finish my race and get a big BQ..IF I didn’t mess it up.

8:02, 8:02, 8:00, 7:58, 7:57

I needed salt. I grabbed my tube of Base salt, and it was empty. Oh crap. I spilled most of it on my hand, and I REALLY needed it now. Well, what’s done was done, carry on. Still behind “girl with the same pace”.

Near the 18 mile mark, we turned, and you could see the tall buildings, where the finish was, eight miles away. One of the spectators said, “You’re headed home”, and I choked up. Eight miles to go, just a run I can do with my eyes closed, but it was still a long way. I replayed Tom Petty’s “I Won’t Back Down” and Eminem’s “Til I Collapse” somewhere in here, luckily able to take my thumb out of my glove and hit the back button on my old iPod.

It was a pretty part of the course, but we had a head wind and it felt like it was all sloping up. Ugh. Then more bridges to go under. You go down first, then you go up. They’re not long, but they’re steep. More and more stupid friggin’ bridges (to go under). I thought this course was FLAT. This sure isn’t the mountains, but it sure wasn’t as flat as I remembered. I started taking my nutrition more often, and I know I was hydrating, slowing a little along the hydration stations so I wouldn’t spill all over the place.

We passed through Memorial Park as the buildings began to get larger. “Oh my, just hang on. Don’t back down, don’t back down, don’t back down, don’t give up, you gotta fight for it, don’t eff up what you worked so hard for, for God’s sake just finish what you started and DO NOT GIVE UP.”

8:00, 8:12, 7:57, 8:09,

At mile 21, I grabbed my 5th nutrition at the aid station, and nursed it for probably a mile. It was good. My initial plan was to start a small acceleration at mile 20. When I reached mile 20, I knew that wasn’t going to happen, so I rearranged it to mile 23. But I started to struggle. “The girl with the same pace” took off. I felt like I was going faster than I actually was, and I was afraid to look at my per mile split. I FELT like I was going at the speed of light, and I remember thinking to keep lifting my knees up, just keep going, don’t slouch, don’t lean back, keep moving, keep breathing. Just. Friggin. Go.

Between mile 23 and 24, I felt like my wheels fell off. We had to go under another steep bridge, and I felt like I was in quick sand. I knew I was going to get my BQ by a large margin, but I wanted that PR, I wanted it more than anything. And I knew I had missed some hydration, as my breathing and heart rate increased a lot, which is something I’ve experienced many times before. But I just pushed as much as I could at that time. I grunted. I moaned. I said some eff words and some words that started with “bull”.

Mile 23: 8:07

Mile 24: 8:13

Mile 25: 8:26

Oh Lord, please give me wings and let me fly.

The road finally flattened out (yes, I am still aware this race is not technically hilly, but it certainly is not pancake flat as I incorrectly remembered), and I was headed home. We were downtown again.

My legs churned, and I sped back up. Puke or pass out, just GO! I saw the “1/2 mile to go” banner, which really made me very angry at the time because I was ready for the damn finish line.

Then “1/4 mile to go”.

Mile 26: 8:02

The crowds increased, the sound of cheering increased, the voice in my head wondering where the HELL the finish line increased, and my speed increased. I heard it, finally. I was home. I ran over the mat that registered my name to the announcer, and I heard my name as I crossed the finish line. I was done. I pumped my arm, Shalane-style, and I said “Fuck yeah”.

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I finished my 12th marathon, and at the age of 44, I ran the fastest marathon to date, with a 3:33:00.

Fuck. Yeah.

I wobbled my way to get some water, and I was overwhelmed with emotion. I leaned on the fence, and I cried. I did it. I fought, and I won. I told the volunteers trying to help me, “It’s ok, it’s a happy cry.” Everything, all the million little pieces came together on this day, all the hard work and “learning experiences”, the frustration, the pain, it all paid off.

3:33:00 ; 8:08 overall pace

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And FYI, my husband’s cousin got his BQ with a time of 3:06. Congratulations, Craig! “The girl with the same pace” ended up with a 3:31 I found out as I talked to her walking towards our medals. And I missed my negative split by 24 seconds. Ha, I’ll get over it. Oh wait, I already did.

Next Up: Post Race and my “extra time” in Houston…..

Categories: anything is possible, being epic, Boston Marathon, follow your dreams, fueled by base, go for your dreams, learning from failure, marathon, marathon training, qualifying for boston marathon, race with base, running, training for marathon, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Charleston Marathon Recap – No BQ For Me :(

There’s a theme going on here with my last several marathons. Bonk. It’s a weird sort of bonk and I can’t quite figure it out, but I have my suspicions, now that I’ve had a day to think about it. Yeah, I figured it out. So here’s my race report…

My husband and I drove to Charleston the morning before the race. It’s about a 3 1/2 hour drive from our house, and I have had a really sick cat who needed to go to the vet for fluids, so we got a late start. We headed down and chatted, ate, and had a nice, relaxing trip. We went to packet pickup, which was busy and really easy to access. I think the expo would have been significantly better had a band not been performing in the school gym where expo was located. It was so loud. And loud music when you’re trying to wander around booths and get your race stuff and chat with people is just stressful. Basically, all people were doing was signaling, “WHAT?!??”.

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I hope they nix the band in the future – no one liked it, and this doesn’t mean we wouldn’t have enjoyed the band at the finish line, OUTSIDE.

I got my stuff, saw some fellow Wilmington peeps, and we headed to the hotel to hang out. My sister kept the kids, so it was nice to watch tv, and go to dinner when we felt like it. I had my traditional burger, and honestly I had no nerves. I was determined, I was scared (to face the pain), but I was more determined than scared. I was worried about how warm and humid it might be, but I figured I would take my Base Rocket Fuel and salt, and I would be fine.  It’s all about dealing with the obstacles, not letting them deal with you. That was my attitude going into the race. I was ready to tear it up.

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My goal times and some other “inspiring” words of encouragement.

On race morning, I did my traditional thing, ate peanut butter on bread, a banana, drank some OJ, and we headed to the race start about 90 minutes prior. I had some nerves, but it was more determination than fear. No traffic, plenty of parking, we were there. A friend of mine needed a Garmin charge cord, so I took that to her, tried to exchange my medium shirt for a large, which is highly annoying since I’m not a large person, so I didn’t think I needed to order a large shirt. I found a few friends from Wilmington at the start, got a kiss from my hubby who was running the half, and soon, we were on our way. They got the race started right at 8. Awesome.

I was warm. It was over 50 degrees when we started, which means tank and shorts for me. I had gloves because of the waiting, plus I tucked one of my gu’s in one. I was trying something completely different for this race, and I knew it was going to be warmer and more humid than I feel I race well in, so I carried Base Rocket Fuel with me. This stuff boosted me big time during Ironman, and I’ve been using it, the salts, and the Base Energy for almost a month while training. I had two small containers, one in my hand, one in a “holster” hooked on my shorts. I was leery of carrying, but I was willing to throw the containers when empty or if they got annoying.

The first mile was pretty crowded, but it thinned out enough where I didn’t have to weave in and out around the 9+ minute mile people. By mile three, I was pretty sweaty. The temps were fairly cool and we had a breeze/wind, so that was good, but the sun was out in full force, and I was warming up quickly. “Adjust to it, Kelli. You just need to adjust.” I was keeping at a fairly even pace at 8:15’s, and I slowly built up some time over the miles. I enjoyed the course as we weaved through the battery and beautiful historic homes on the water front, then along the southern part of the Charleston peninsula. And then the course dried up. It went from a pretty downtown area with spectators to industrial with no one. I knew there were a lot of turns, and that was ok, I just needed to watch my tangents so I didn’t end up running 27 miles!

The full and half split the first time at mile 9, and we fullers headed into the abyss of the naval yard and Cooper River Marina. There was a push on the way out, and looking back, this was where I realized the day was unwinding. I was optimistic though – just push, keep going, don’t give up, don’t be a p****, how bad do you want it, you’re doing it, you’re on pace, don’t fuck it up, so many people believe in you, you believe in you – these were the thoughts in my head. I was keeping pace, but it seemed harder, and I didn’t know why. At mile 12, we went onto a concrete dock and turned around and headed back into the most boring course ever. Ugh. The good thing is that I saw two people I knew along the way, so just seeing them made me happy.

At that point, I was racing. I thought I was hydrating. By then, I had drank my 7ish oz of Rocket Fuel, a few licks of Base salt, and had two of my gu’s. I was super sweaty, or rather, I was salty. I felt like I was doing the right thing. At mile 14, I was only maybe 20 seconds off my goal pace, but I felt like I was losing time. I felt like it was getting harder and harder to just keep at an 8:30 pace.

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Mile 16

I wasn’t going to give up. But soon, I knew I lost my goal. I knew it was not going to work. I didn’t understand what happened though. No, I don’t like warm weather, and it doesn’t like me, but I was FIGHTING! Isn’t that supposed to work? Isn’t that enough? Willing yourself to fight, to push, to work harder than you feel you can, isn’t that what you’re supposed to do to race your best? Well, it simply wasn’t enough for me that day.

I cried. I hyperventilated. I felt like I let everyone down, my coach, my family, my teammates. I let the haters win – yes, I know there’s people out there happy I didn’t meet my goal. I’m a laughing stock. Kelli failed yet again. Can’t she get it right? Was my one BQ a fluke? All that time. All that money. All the hopes and dreams and faith it would work this time. Gone. I failed before I crossed the finish line, and I was angry. Frustrated. Tired of failing. Did I not want it badly enough? So many other people can do this, what the hell am I doing wrong? Did I already reach my peak? Am I just not a BQ marathon runner anymore?

But around mile 18, I still had some fight. I knew I could still run a good time, so go for it. I wouldn’t let myself quit, as I desperately wanted to walk off the course, make up some story about a sprained ankle, but I was there to fight. So I fought. It was a battle where I was prepared to duke it out to the end, but I had no ammunition. That’s the best way I can describe it. It was like so many other marathons – I could no make my body do what I knew it could do. It wasn’t muscular. THAT is something I can push through. This was something else, something else that bogged me down. I allowed myself one tantrum. 20 seconds. That was it. Carry on.

As I went through cycles of good running, some walking, and some shuffling, I dreaded the finish line. And then I didn’t. And as I turned about a hundred thousand times on the course to that line, I knew I had to keep going, keep fighting, and finish with a smile. It was a marathon for goodness sake, and I was going to finish in under four hours. Time goals aside, finishing a marathon is something to be proud of, no matter how long it takes. So I had a feeling of pride as I ran the last few miles. I guess I let go of what other people thought about me, and let myself feel the true feelings that I had – disappointment mixed with pride. One of my favorite songs came on, and I turned up the volume, then hit rewind and listened to it again. I should have been finishing at that point. Damn.

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A race picture with BOTH feet off the ground. Keeper!!

I enjoyed the last .2 miles of this marathon. The crowd was good, you could hear the finish line announcer, and then I saw my husband and friend, Wendy, cheering me on. I choked up, as I knew he knew how much I wanted this race. And he’s always there for me, always cheering me on, supporting me through my races, my crazy ideas, and he always calls me amazing. He is my rock.  And I finished my race in 3:54:06. No, I did not meet my goal, but I ran a marathon. And for that, I am super proud.

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Marathon 9 in the books!

The after party was pretty awesome. They had shrimp and grits (I just had the grits but they hit the spot), beer, mimosas, an amazing band, and just a fun atmosphere in the North Charleston downtown area. I found my fellow blogger, Running Wild and his other pacer, and we chatted a bit and hung out as we rested up. Cool peeps.

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Paul, another cool pacer guy, and me

Because we needed to head home, I went to the school just next to the finish, showered, and we took a shuttle back to the start to get our car and head home.

So now that I’ve had a few days to digest the race, what went wrong? Again. Well, after I thought about it, boggled over it for hours, I realized I wasn’t doing the one thing that I knew I needed to do. Drink. I had the perfect drink. I had it with me. I was literally holding the key in my hand. And as I tell you how much I had to drink the first half, I’m going to hear tons of you face-palm yourselves because how can a person, a smart person, a COACH herself, be so clueless? Each race is a lesson learned, whether it be of what to do or what NOT to do. So I learned that drinking 7 oz in the first 13-14 miles of a marathon isn’t enough. Here, I’ll do it for you.

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I heard my coach do this over the phone.

So now what? What am I going to do? Well, I’m going to read a lot about hydration and recover. I’m not sure if I’m going to go ahead with my other race plans or adjust based on the fact that I was really dumb about hydration when I knew I needed to drink more. Why didn’t I drink more? Well, honestly, I thought I was. I had Rocket Fuel. I had salt. I was going to ADJUST. I’ve never drank much during races before and that worked for me, right? Hah, no, that’s why I’ve bonked the last three. I never did before and it worked when it was cold out. It wasn’t cold the last three marathons, and I didn’t adjust. You always learn something when you race. Yeah, I learned how not to be a dumbass.

Categories: go for your dreams, marathon, marathon training, qualifying for boston marathon, running, running with friends, temper tantrum, training for marathon, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 22 Comments

17 Miles of Self Doubt

“Doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will” ~Karim Seddiki

Thanks to everyone who commented on my “The Day My 8-Year-Old Went Psycho” post from last week. The saga isn’t over quite yet, and there’s enough for a Part II, so stay tuned. Is it horrible that those of you who shared stories of your kids freaking out for no apparent reason made me feel better? Well, they did, so THANKS!

On Saturday, I had an 8 mile run. Because it was nice and cool outside, I felt good and ended up going 8:30ish overall pace. I was pretty happy with that, but was anxious about Sunday’s 17 miler on the schedule. I did find it interesting that my body is definitely adapting to the endurance. Just a month ago, 8 miles would make me tired – doable for sure – but wouldn’t be on the fun side of running. Now, 8 miles is almost a walk in the park, a part of the routine, and actually FUN. I ran around my neighborhood, which can get really boring, but it was enjoyable and I felt good when I was done. Hallelujah on that one!

On Sunday, I got up early, ate a peanut butter sandwich, drank some orange juice, and stretched.  I was nervous since I knew that running with one of my friends would end up pushing me a little faster than what I planned on going. I figured I would just do my best to keep up, but wasn’t going to push the long run just to keep up. I was going to run 4 miles on my own and meet up with the girls at 8. It was cold (for us in coastal NC), so I brought everything I owned for cold weather, and some.

I ran my four solo miles as planned, and they felt pretty good.  I ran 11 more with (and some slightly behind because I just couldn’t keep up) two awesome ladies. Then I ran two more solo.  And this is the workout where the self doubt crept in.  I worried about the marathon in March, I worried about my shin splints coming back after resuming speed work, I worried that I wouldn’t be able to do my Yasso repeats on Tuesday (SIX at 7:20’s???? Uh…muh…gawd (double parentheses required – you’d think I was supposed to do them at 6:30’s or something)), I worried I’d embarrass myself at the marathon, I worried I wouldn’t be able to finish the thing at all.  How can I do this? Why am I doing this? Don’t I know that I’m not good at running marathons the way I want to run them? Look how many times I’ve failed? What “lesson” am I going to learn at this one? I’m going to look like a huge fool at this race. Who do I think I am wanting to qualify for Boston again? And that’s the gist of the conversation I had with myself for almost 17 miles.  Almost 17.

Do you want to punch me in the throat as much as I do? Yeah. Because fear and loathing and doubting works really well for people, doesn’t it?

As it is for many, running is therapy for me. I come up with some of my best ideas, I work out anger, I think about a lot of things when I run, especially on long runs. I frequently “Dr. Phil” myself or other people (“How’s that workin’ for ya?”). Sunday’s 17 mile run was my therapy session, and I came away feeling…wha… wha…more ma-TURE maybe? I don’t know. But I talked a lot about the fear and loathing. I let it come into my head, but I talked it back out. By the end of the 17 miles, I had gone full circle from a terrified runner who was fearing the concept of FAILURE yet again to a runner who has failed before but will never, EVER give up. It’s just not in my DNA to give up. I have dreams, I have goals, and I won’t give up seeking them as long as I’m physically able. And why should I? Because I might fail?  I’ve failed multiple times, I’ve even failed with flair, and I’ve always come away humble, thankful, and thirsty for more. I thought it’s a definite possibility that I won’t BQ in my marathon. And what would I do if that happened? What’s the WORST that would happen? Not making my time goal? Been there, done that. I have successes and I have failures. All I need to do at this point is to trust my training, do my best, get out of my own head, and remember why I’m doing this – because I love to run.

The doubt and uncertainty will undoubtedly linger just below the surface as I continue to train, but I’ll keep them at bay and not let them into my head as they have been. This marathon training is a mental game, as many of you know, and the race, even more mental. I cannot allow negativity in. There is simply no room for it.

So how did my 17 miles end up? Besides being pretty cold and sweaty at the same time, they turned out well. Using my Garmin, the average pace was 8:46 – right where it needed to be. Sure, it was hard at times, but 17 miles is hard! I went home, poured a cuppa coffee (actually, I think my husband did) and put my legs into our 42 degree pool. It was horrible. I could only stand 5 minutes of that torture. My feet hurt so bad, I decided to just get out and take a very long, hot shower. That was awesome. I wasn’t too sore the rest of the day, but I was tired.

Cold. Very very cold.

Cold. Very very cold.

On Monday, the weather was very different from Sunday – warm. Strange. I had a 4 mile recovery run in a gentle rain, and I was pleasantly surprised to find that I wasn’t sore. It felt good. I decided to go ahead and soak in the cold pool again, just to prevent inflammation. I’ve increased my mileage pretty quickly, and I do not want to get “regular” shin splints because of it, so I’ll do anything to not get an injury. It was a very different experience from soaking just one day prior, and a more pleasant one for sure.

Cold but not nearly as painfully cold as the day before.

Cold but not nearly as painfully cold as the day before.

So where does this leave me now? I’m not feeling the “I am woman, hear me roar” ringing in my ears. But I’m not listening to the crap that my mind can spew out faster than my 8-year-old can find reasons to wear his old, dirty, stinky coat that needs to be washed. I have a lot of work to do, and that’s ok. Time to power up and remember why I’m doing this.

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How about you? Do you get in a funk when you know you’re behind in training? How do you get out of it?

Categories: Boston Marathon, go for your dreams, marathon, no fear, quintiles wrightsville beach marathon, running with friends | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

2014: Looking Back Before Looking To 2015

2014 was pretty epic. I accomplished and experienced things that I never thought I would or could. I also failed. More than once. I surprised myself with both the successes and the failures. I had a LOT of fun. I met a LOT of people.  Since this is the time of year that we make our goals for the upcoming year, I felt it was important to FIRST look at what the past year held and remember what I learned from those experiences.

EPIC:

Um, heller….did anyone say, “BOSTON MARATHON”??? The mostest epic-est, awesomer-than-anything and favorite part of my year and running life altogether was being a part of the athlete field in the 2014 Boston Marathon. It took me many years to get there, and to realize that dream was the ultimate epic experience. This got the diamond crown.

I got the medal.

I got the medal.

EPIC BUT NOT AS EPIC AS BOSTON BECAUSE BOSTON IS PRETTY DAMN EPIC ON ITS OWN:

I was able to PR in both the 5k in January (21:13) and the half marathon in February (1:40:15) as a part of marathon training. I was pretty damn happy about those times, too.

I learned how to train my ass off.  During Boston training, I never missed a workout. Ok, I never missed a running workout. Zero. I missed one swimming workout the entire training cycle. ONE. I learned how to be devoted. I learned to not make excuses. I learned that in order to become the runner you want and know you can be, you have to work and work hard. I learned how to go the extra mile. I did that, and I’m really proud of the work I did. I know I was capable of running an amazing race in April, which is almost as good as actually running that amazing race.

Beach 2 Battleship 70.3 – 6:03      I learned about being a triathlete. I looked fear in the face, cuddled with it for a while, let it whisper sweet nothings into my ear, then kicked it’s ass out. I learned how to swim better than I did before, I learned how to open water swim, I learned how to ride my bike in between swimming and running, and I learned how to run after swimming and biking. It was epic. And I’m going to do it again.

Almost to the finish of my first tri, B2B 70.3.

Almost to the finish of my first tri, B2B 70.3. It looks like my knees are stuck together.

I had fun.  Running is really awesome. But it can become competitive for me, and the ability to “just run” a race diminished. So that’s why I decided to do an endurance triathlon. Well, I had one on my radar for a number of years, but I needed to do something different and NOT be competitive. It worked, and I had a total blast training for and competing in the 70.3.

Mott’s Channel Swim – I entered and completed an open water swim race. Pretty proud of that, mostly because I would have laughed until I peed myself had you told me two years ago I would do something like that.

After the Mott's Channel Swim, a 1.3 mile open water race.

After the Mott’s Channel Swim, a 1.3 mile open water race.

The 10×10 Challenge. Ten continuous miles for ten days in a row.  I learned that it’s definitely doable to complete this challenge in July, but not advisable. I can’t wait to do this challenge again. It was an epic feeling and quite the journey in itself. Try it, you just might learn something about yourself.

Post-Challenge

Post-Challenge

Coaching. I found that I really love coaching. I’m learning a lot about it, and I know that I want to keep doing it. Being at the 5k with those boys made me feel like a momma hen watching her chicks fly for the first time. It’s a really cool mix of pride, excitement, and nerves.

Here’s the video I made for my Stride boys.

FAILURES:

I hate to admit this, but there’s usually something good that comes from failure. I think we all know this, especially as athletes. I’ve had a lot of good things come from the hard work and dedication that I’ve put into my running and triathlon training and races. I’ve also had some pretty big fails. But with a little distance, I can see how the failures have done me good. Dammit.

I’ll start with the little one. I got a pretty big PR (4 minutes) in my half marathon in February. So you’d think it’s all good, right? No, I was pissed. I got a 1:40:15, but I could never see the success in THAT because I was too busy being pissed that I was only 15 seconds from getting a sub-1:40.  I wished I had pushed just a second or two faster, that I had put my head down and gunned it into the harsh wind that met us a mile or two from the finish that totally wiped me out. I wish this and I wish that. What I REALLY wish is that I could’ve forgotten about all that garbage and celebrated the huge success that I DID have. I ran a really good race, and I’m now really happy about it. But my finishing moment was ruined by me wishing I had something better. When you start getting that attitude, that nothing is good enough, it’s time to think about things. And that is what led me to decide for sure to do the triathlon. I KNEW that I wouldn’t be competitive with it. I KNEW I would have fun, that I COULD NOT get all ants-in-my-pants about times and stuff. I knew I needed to step out of the bubble, the one that says you’re never good or fast enough. That was stupid, and that race taught me to not be stupid.

So the next one… it was the epitome of good and bad. The Boston Marathon. Yes, I’ve talked a lot about this, but I think, after this, I’m done talking about part of it. I’ll wipe the bad part out of my memory like wiping the marker board clean.

Running Boston was so awesome, so overwhelming, but I had a big fail. I trained and trained and spent hundreds of dollars on a coach and getting there and all the hubbub that comes with seeing your dream marathon come to fruition. My parents came to see me, my sister and her husband came to see me, my husband and my two kids came to see me. I was ready for the race of my life. Oh, I got the race of my life all right. The race recap I wrote that day describes the race perfectly – It was the Best of Times, It was the Worse of Times. You can read it HERE. It really was the strangest combination of good and bad. The bad was something I didn’t see coming. I thought that it was possible for me to run out of strength because I pushed the race. I was worried about how warm it was too, but when racing, I never felt hot. I wasn’t sweaty. I went for my goal, and I was doing it. I was heading for a sub 3:40 and I only had a 10k to go. Part of my race mantra was “I can do anything for X amount of time”. I was counting down. I was doing it. In freakin’ Boston. That was the best of times.

I can’t remember the exact feelings, but around mile 20-21, I knew something was wrong. I knew I had to stop, regroup, and slow down. I knew my PR was shot, but I was having fun.

Heartbreak Hill area, having a brew with one of the college kids. Most of it spilled out the sides of my mouth, but still, this was fun.

Heartbreak Hill area, having a brew with one of the college kids. Most of it spilled out the sides of my mouth, but still, this was fun.

Then the bobble head feeling started. And the nausea. It all went downhill from there. I barely remember the last part of the race. I knew I had to stop several times so I wouldn’t throw up. And I didn’t truly understand what happened until I became the internet doctor later that night.

761540_1257_0011

Can you see the sarcasm on my face?

Where’s the lesson in this? How can my slowest marathon of seven teach me something? First of all, I’ve never tried harder to finish a race. I could NOT DNF. No. Hell no. So I put on my big girl tights and pulled out every bit of anything I had to finish that race. And it took me almost 5 hours to do it, 75 minutes extra minutes in just the last 5 miles. I had to put one foot in front of the other carefully and consciously. To sum it all up, I had salt depletion dehydration. How did I turn that frown upside down? I acquainted myself with Endurolytes. I thought that taking in salt was just an endurance triathlon thing. Honestly. But I talked to a lot of people, tried them myself, and learned that Endurolytes are pretty damn awesome. I used them throughout the summer, especially during the 10×10 Challenge. I used them during my triathlon. I used them with long runs. And if I learned one thing from the Boston Marathon, it was what salt depletion was and how serious it can be. Oh, and how to help prevent it. Sometimes I wish I didn’t have to learn so many lessons, especially the hard way.

WRAPPING IT UP

You can always learn something when you look back at your experiences. Whether you learn them right then or have some “delayed learning” like I did, chances are, some piece of information can be available to you at almost any given moment. It’s just up to you to grab it.  Where does this leave me as I look back over 2014?

I’m very proud of the work I did. I’m proud of the chances I took. I’m proud of the fact that I let myself learn things along the way. Sure, I have a tiny baby scar from feeling so horrible during one of the best races of my life, but I’ll go back. I’ll do it again, and I’ll get my moment of glory. Some day. I’ll be patient. I know I have things to work on too. Facing fears and not letting them take over. NOT taking the easy road (swimming only on calm days). Balancing life and athletics.

As I took towards 2015, I know that I’ve got a beast mode full of grit and determination that I have not fully used before. I also have a lot more patience than I used to. What EXACTLY does that mean for me in 2015? You’ll just have to wait and see! Plans post to be coming soon. 😉

Do you look back before you look forward?

Categories: 10x10 challenge, beach 2 battleship triathlon, Boston Marathon, coaching, half iron distance, learning from failure, marathon, open water swimming, running, running buddies, running challenge, running streak, running with friends, swimming, training for half iron distance, training for marathon, training for triathlon, triathlon | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Redemption In Two Ways

Guess what I’m doing tomorrow morning? Yes, I’m going for a run, but I’m also going to register for the Houston Marathon that will take place on January 18th, 2015.  Is 2015 less than a year away??? Cripes. It’s my redemption race and my plan is to crush it.

houston marathon

Why am I signing up for THIS race when there’s a bajillion other marathons right around the corner from me? Well, I’m running THIS one for a few particular reasons

1) It’s large (13,000 for the marathon and 12,000 for the half marathon). The more people around me while running, the faster I seem to run with less effort. I like the hoopla, the crowds, the other runners going along with me. It distracts me from what I’m actually doing to myself 🙂

2) It’s flat.  People talk about the “hills” somewhere in there, but it’s flat, plain and simple.

3) The race is in January so it shouldn’t be hot.  It’s Texas so anything goes in January, but typically, it’s nice and cold and the start and cool at the finish.

4) I have a lot of friends in the Houston area and will get to visit them.

5) I got my BQ there in January of 2013. Bad weather that day, but good memories.  I want another one.

The timing of this race was interesting, because it’s 11 weeks after the Beach 2 Battleship 1/2 Iron Distance Triathlon I’m doing at the end of October. I wasn’t sure if it would work to do both, but after looking back at Training Peaks, the timing for the 1/2 marathon run and training for the full  marathon look pretty close. I thought the biking for the tri will only strengthen my legs and hopefully help keep me injury free – cross training is awesome. For a while, I was ready to ding dong ditch the triathlon and just do the relay again, but I really want to do it all. I don’t see why I can’t.  So I am.

The quote that I have on my fridge so I can always remember it when I get hesitant to do something is this:

“What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?” 

I'm looking forward to doing this for "fun", not for time.

As for running recently, I started feeling better last week. I took Thursday off so I could go to my son’s Battle of the Books competition, so I felt I needed some miles on Friday. I am SICK of running in my hood so I headed to the track at UNCW to park and ended up going 7 miles on the cross city trail. It felt awesome and I finished in 58 minutes.

I had a wonderful and fulfilling 3.4 mile run with my son on Saturday. We just chat and gab the entire time, so we plan to run more often. What a wonderful way to bond with your kid! Then over Saturday and Sunday, I hauled almost 8 TONS of mulch into my yard while my husband was doing all the other things that needed to be done in the yard. Needless to say, my back and arms are a “little” tired, and I refused to do any more yard work today. Mulch makes me cringe.

Mulch, anyone?

Mulch, anyone?

I was so shocked and pleasantly surprised at what having energy was like on Sunday evening, even with all the yard work. It’s been weeks since I haven’t been either traveling or doing long runs, so it was refreshing to feel really good. My husband ran his 3rd 1/2 marathon after only running 5 miles to train (sorry for hogging every weekend morning for MY training, honey!), and I was so proud of him to finish in 2:05.  I looked up a few full marathons for him to do, and it’s only a matter of time before he hits that “REGISTER” button. (As I rub my hands together and give him a maniacal laugh..). HE was the one who was knocked out last night, poor guy.

Hubby after his 1/2.

Hubby after his 1/2.

And redemption was mine.

Today was my redemption run. It didn’t start out to be one, but as I was running from the UNCW track again, I felt some fatigue from the weekend and probably from a few glasses of wine I had last night. Hey, they were in a pink flamingo glass so I blame that for going through them so quickly 🙂

I’m still relatively upset about what happened in Boston. I know, it’s just a race, it happens all the time. But still. I’m competitive so it’s really difficult not to separate the marathon from Boston.  I pulled through my fatigue this morning like I was finishing the last 7 miles of the Boston Marathon. I kept going. I went faster. I imagined the cheering crowds, being able to cross that finish line with gusto, not with guts-o ( I was extremely nauseated when I crossed the finish line in Boston). I wanted to beat my “fresh” time from Friday.  So I pushed it. I didn’t go all out as I am still in recovery mode, but I wanted a pace like I was imagining I would have run in Boston. I finished that 7 miles in 56:48, a minute and 12 seconds faster than Friday.  And an 8:07 pace. I’m good with that. I got my redemption. There weren’t any crowds, there wasn’t a finish line, but I got to push through fatigue and the desire to cut the run short so I could finish. Now it’s time to put the bad feelings away and only remember the best part of Boston.  I got redemption.

This is all I need to remember from the Boston Marathon.

This is all I need to remember from the Boston Marathon.

Categories: Boston Marathon, half iron distance, marathon, running, swimming, training for marathon, triathlon, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

My Road to Boston – Part III

My road to Boston has been paved with blood, sweat, tears, blisters, lost toenails, surprises, physical therapy, wine, frustration, pain, happiness, sadness, fear, excitement, euphoria, but most importantly, FUN.  It has been a total blast. For the first time EVER, I really truly understand it’s more about the journey than the destination. Sure, the destination is friggin’ awesome, but the journey has made my life more interesting with more depth, and the trip next week more meaningful. From that moment I decided I wanted to try and qualify for the Boston Marathon, it’s been the center of my running. Arrows pointed toward that city constantly, and I’ve made more decisions based on that than I could have ever imagined. It took a long time, but I’m almost there.

boston-marathon-logo

It’s the end of the journey…. or is it just the beginning?

So back to my story…. Part 1 is HERE and Part 2 is HERE.  My plans were to run the Houston Marathon again in January since I enjoyed it and was already registered. I didn’t know when I signed up that I would be living 1000 miles away, but I figured I would go back and run it. I started training in August.  My plan was to try and re-qualify for Boston again by at least five minutes so I could “just” run Boston and really soak it in… oh, what’s the significance of the five minutes? Well, let’s just say that just because you qualify for Boston doesn’t mean you get to actually run it. And I was thisclose to not being able to run it.  Five minutes would give me a comfortable cushion so I wouldn’t have to worry (as much) at registration time next year.

Because of the increased interest in people qualifying for and running this year’s Boston Marathon and the fact that I had “only” qualified by 1:42, I knew it would be a close call if I actually got to be one of those lucky runners whose registrations was accepted.  I was able to submit my time (basically, apply for a position) on Monday, September 16th.  I had to wait until Wednesday, September 25th to find out if I actually got in. That was the LONGEST and most stressful few days ever. I even made list of things to do while waiting.  Read that hilarious post HERE. I don’t think I would’ve been so stressed had I not gotten a case of terrible shin splints.  I ignored the shin splints until it was excruciating to run, even a mile, and then went to physical therapy to try and fix. I was in such turmoil because I wanted to be in the position to re-qualify in Houston, especially if I wasn’t able to run in Boston.

Ten drama filled days later, I got “THE EMAIL” that told me I was accepted. I found out later that day I had only made the cut by four seconds. (Read the hot mess full story HERE – can you say DRAMA?)  I think about four seconds over a marathon and that’s a sip of water, a slurp of gu, and at the end of that particular marathon, I started channeling my grandmother .1 miles early and started to kick it like she always told me to (I was delirious and thought that marathons were 26.1 miles that day). Served me well, and had I not done that, this blog would be talking about something completely different today.

I ended up deferring the Houston marathon and just had to let it go so I could heal my shin splints. It was difficult and I still wonder what would have happened had I been able to run that race, but I know that it will be ok. I know that running Boston this year is an honor, it’s a dream come true. Will I re-qualify? Well, I won’t know til it’s over, but at this point, I’m just happy with the fact that I’ll be there. Of course I want a PR run that day, one week from today, and I’m trained and physically able to do so, but that’s not what this race is about. The Boston Marathon is about following your dreams, it’s about keeping with something, not giving up. It’s about running, the stories behind the runners, the crowds, everything that marathons stand for: endurance, perseverance, and for me, doing something that I truly love to do.

Looking back at all it’s taken for me to get there has made my trip to Boston more meaningful. I had forgotten some of the details, the pain, the drama, that it took to get to right where I am. It really has been about the journey before the journey. So what if the weather is hot? Rainy? So what if I run two minutes too slow? Really? I’ve already decided to let all that stuff go. I can’t let any negativity in, I won’t let anything ruin what I’ve spent almost five years trying to get to. I hope other Boston Marathon runners do the same. We are type A runners, we live on times and goals and breaking our goals and split seconds. But really, this experience is beyond anything I could have ever dreamed, and I’m not even there yet!!  A week from today, I’m running the Boston Marathon, and I’m going to have the time of my life.

 finish line

Categories: Boston Marathon, marathon, running, swimming, training for marathon, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Going Back To Where It All Began

Wow! Last long run was Sunday!  6 miles Saturday and 20 on Sunday.  We are soooo close to the big day… less than two weeks! The closer I get to be able to run in the Boston Marathon, the more I’ve thought about the journey. It’s been a long one.  An amazing one. How it started, all the trials and tribulations since I decided I wanted to try this thing. The sweat.  The tears. The injuries. Everything.  It’s been a long process that didn’t just start 18 weeks ago with this training cycle.  The journey to Boston started on October 17, 2009, the day I ran the Lewis & Clark Marathon (my 3rd full and first after having two kids) in Sioux City, Iowa.

I didn’t qualify for Boston on a lark.  I have failed more than once. It’s been a deliberate thing. I’ve made two 1,000 mile moves with my family since then.  I’ve learned more than I could have ever hoped.  So this marathon has been a long journey for me that culminates in less than two weeks. Here’s how it started.

To train for the Sioux City Marathon, I ran here and there, and honestly, I don’t remember ever really following a plan. I knew I needed long runs and I didn’t know anything about speed work or tempo running at the time. Cross training? Meh. My goal was to finish.  I was thrilled when I crossed the finish line in 4:12.  After I celebrated and got cleaned up, I headed to my mom and dad’s house.  As I sat in their back yard drinking a celebratory Miller Lite, I remember wondering what it would take to qualify for the Boston Marathon.  I didn’t really know much about that race and what it takes to get in.  I found that it would take me running a 3:45 to qualify (the times have since been reduced by five minutes for that age group). Hmmmm….I was still in post-race euphoria, so I figured I could do about anything. Within a few hours, I set my sights on The Lincoln Marathon. May 2010. I was convinced I would qualify for the Boston Marathon.

That December, I started my 18 week Advanced plan from Hal Higdon. I read his books and I was hooked.  I joined the gym that had a 1/10th of a mile indoor track so I could safely train indoors in that cold Iowa winter. I trained five days a week. I ran at the track at 5:00 am. I ran 200 laps at the gym. I ran in the ice, snow, rain, sleet, in 12 degrees, and the 70 degree “heat”. I did what I needed to do to get ready for my race.  I got nasty shin splints a month before the race. I looked up what to do, I took time off, I iced, and I wore my compression sleeve. I was ready.

Before the first Lincoln race.

Before the first Lincoln race.

On that clear marathon day in May, I bonked at mile 6.  What went wrong? Well, nothing except nutrition. I ate carbs and carbs. I was hungry the night before and I just wanted a burger. No, that’s not what the books tell you to eat. So I ate my simple carbs. I ate my complex carbs. I ran my hardest… until mile 6 when I got “the feeling”. You know, the one where you just don’t have the energy to continue at the pace you’re going. I was devastated. It was a torturous decision to end at 13.1 when I was planning all along to come home celebrating my BQ, but I knew to continue would just add more punishment I didn’t need. I already had in my mind that I would try again as soon as possible, and I didn’t want to tire my body out more than it already was.  When I finished the 1/2 in the Cornhusker stadium, I cried. I thought about all that time spent training, the trip to Lincoln, the money, and then to have it end with a huge fail. I threw my medal down and left it. (Husband picked it up and it is now on my medal hanger, a constant reminder that you just have to learn from your mistakes.)

There was a camera at mile 26 so the spectators could see you approaching the stadium.

There was a camera at mile 13 & 26 so the spectators could see you approaching the stadium.

The finish line at the Lincoln Full and Half Marathon

The finish line at the Lincoln Full and Half Marathon

 

BQ Attempt 1: FAIL/EPIC FAIL

I learned a lot from that fail though. Listen to your body. If you are hungry, you’re hungry. What works for one person may not work for the next. I learned that I need a lot more protein than other runners do. I need a lot more food that I thought I would, in general when fueling for a race. I was determined to learn and try again.

That afternoon, with my tail tucked between my legs, I went home and told everyone what happened. I failed. I fu*&ed up. But I learned from it and moved on.  My next quest would be four short weeks later at the Stillwater Marathon (Minnesota) at the very end of May.

I continued my long runs, we made plans to go north to Stillwater, and there I was at my 2nd attempt at a BQ.

The Stillwater Marathon touted itself to be scenic. Well, there’s ONE scenic spot at the end, so I was disappointed in the course. The race itself, well, I started out great and got to the ten mile mark when I knew it was going to be another fail.  This time, however, it was one of those things that was out of my control: The Weather. Yes, it was a beautiful day…. for boating.  Or swimming. It. Was. Hot. I believe the temp got up to the 80’s so I have to say that this was one of the toughest marathons I’ve ever done. I hadn’t trained in heat, I do not like to run in heat, and it got me. Even the pacers were slowing down and the race crew was handing out bags of ice (they feel really good tucked in your bra). I finished in what is still my slowest time ever and over an hour past the time I would need for a Boston Qualification. 4:47:57.  Whew.

THIS was the scenic part but put a fork in me, I was DONE.

THIS was the scenic part but put a fork in me, I was DONE.

BQ Attempt 2: FAIL

I’m not sure if I really learned anything from that besides knowing I can push through some really difficult miles on black pavement in the middle of the Minnesota countryside.

I had to stop a take stock at that point.  Was I being stupid? Was I living a pipe dream? What this realistic for me? Was I wasting my time and the time I could be spending with my kids? I didn’t want to give up, so I set my sights on a “time trial” per se, the Des Moines 1/2 Marathon in October. If I could run that race at an 8 minute mile, I was going to keep trying to achieve that elusive Boston Marathon Qualification.

 

NEXT POST: Des Moines, Lincoln, and a move to Texas

 

 

Categories: Boston Marathon, marathon, running, training for marathon, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 20 Comments

Myrtle Beach 1/2 Race Recap

Race weekend started just after noon on Friday.  My sister picked me up and we headed 90 minutes south to Myrtle Beach.  The first thing we did when we got there was go to the convention center to pick up our race packets.  The expo was set up nicely and pickup was easy.  Sis was racing the 5k that evening and I was racing the 1/2 on Saturday morning.

The 5k was pretty awesome. They had glo sticks and glasses, plus glowy alien antennas for the participants to wear. The music was great, the finish line was lit up with neon lights, and my sister rocked her race.  We were off to a good start!  We went to Liberty Steakhouse & Brewery so I could get my pre-race burger and her a post-race meal. Yum.

Having a little fun before the 5k.

Having a little fun before the 5k.

I was watching the weather forecast closely the entire week and just Thursday, all of a sudden, there was a chance of rain. I had been running in the freezing cold rain for the past week, so it’s ok, but I was just tired of it and didn’t want to have to deal with rain for a race.  When I got out of bed at 4:45 am on race morning, I immediately checked the forecast and thought this: “FUUUUUUDDDGGGGGEEEEEE”  when I saw this:

Um, yeah, we were going to get wet.

Um, yeah, we were going to get wet.

I was pissed. Really? Of all the $hitty weather we’ve had the past few weeks and then we get THIS to race in?  I can run and race in the rain. I’ve PR’d in the rain before. But it sucks, makes it less likely/more difficult, and I wasn’t prepared as I totally forgot my poncho. My main concern was to keep my shoes dry and I had no way to do that, PLUS we were running from the hotel to the start. Oy. My head was spinning with swear words but I maintained my calm.  There’s nothing you can do about the weather, so there’s no reason to let it ruin your race.  It is what it is, right?

There were three of us who were going to run from the hotel to the start line together, so we gathered our flimsy little garbage bags and posed for a picture while we all had feelings of dread as we watched the cold rain fall.

Me, Kristen, and Wendy

Me, Kristen, and Wendy

We ran to the shelter of a gas station that was conveniently located right by the start line.  We waited there until just a few minutes before the race started and then headed to get our place at the start. My PLAN was to get to the start line 30 minutes before race time so I could use the bathroom.  You runners know what I mean when nerves get to you and many times, you just have to go. And to those of you (not me) who drink coffee, wow, you go A LOT 🙂  I really don’t know how you do that.  Anyway, I didn’t get a chance to hit the can before the race would start so as I was standing there, all of a sudden, I needed to go. I decided that I would just go with my pre-race mantra, “Never trust a fart”, and suck it up, so to say. Thankfully that didn’t backfire on me, no pun intended.

Evidently there was an elephant at the start, but I couldn’t hear nor see anything that was going on and all of a sudden, they were counting down from 10 for the race to start. I started my music and got ready to go. The 1/2 and full marathons started at the same time but at different lanes of the road, so that decreased the crowding.  I thought it would be a slow start, but I found that I was at the pace I wanted right from the beginning and didn’t have to dodge a lot of traffic.

Thankfully, the rain stopped right before the race started, and I was very careful to avoid stepping in any puddles. My shoes were slightly wet, but I didn’t feel it was going to be an issue.  At about 1.5 miles, we turned into the wind.  And this was no breeze either. I’m guessing at the time, it was a good 15 mph sustained and gusts up to about 30.  After about three miles, I had kept my pace of about 7:45, which was :10 faster than my race plan. I was good with that.  My breathing felt good, legs were strong, and at that point, I knew I was going to PR, it was just a matter of how much.  My mind wouldn’t focus on my music like it normally does, and I found myself distracted.  By what, I don’t really know, but I was irritated. The wind was annoying, the guy who’s spit blew onto my leg was annoying, the ocean wasn’t pretty, the girl who passed me and then went right in front of me to just slow down annoyed me, but the girl who had spare change jingling in her pocket made me the maddest.  Why on EARTH do you need spare change in your pocket while running at least 13.1 miles? I don’t get it. I almost pushed her.

Around mile 6.5, we turned and were gifted with wind at our backs.  It was great. My pace decreased slightly and when a gust of wind blew, I let it take me.  At some points, I was at a 7:10 pace, which made me feel very happy.  As happy as I could be for being unnecessarily grumpy anyway. I was trying to do the math to see about where I would finish, but I didn’t know what a 1:44 half pace was, so I didn’t know how much leeway I had.  I used how many minutes/seconds I was under an 8:00 pace.  That used up some time since still, I just can’t do math well when I run.  It only took me about five minutes to figure out what 8 x 8 was and be comfortable with my answer.  (It’s 64.)  I knew my pace was decreasing since the “leeway” I had for under an 8 minute mile was increasing.  I wondered if I was close to a sub-1:40.  I gave it as much as I felt comfortable giving that race.  My knee was bugging me, my calf was a little tight, and I felt a different kind of hot sensation on the ball of my right foot.  Was that a blister forming?  I’d never had one but I hoped it wouldn’t cause any pain before the race was over.

At mile 9, I was spent.  I was going under my planned race pace, but I knew I needed to keep going or I’d have regrets. I got my Gu with caffeine out and ate most of it.  THAT had to be fun to watch.  I bet I looked like I was either going to gag or barf, or gag THEN barf.  But it got most of it down, just so I could have a little sugar for the remaining four miles.

“Come on, Kelli, you’re doing it, you’re pushing yourself harder than you’ve ever done before, you knew it wouldn’t be easy, you’re strong, you CAN do this, make yourself proud, make all your training worth it.  Right Now.  This is your moment, this is your race, don’t regret your decisions now.”

Somewhere between mile 11 and 12, we had to turn into back into what had to be a 30 mph wind and head to the finish.  I felt the energy just being blown away by the wind.  My pace slowed and I was royally pissed that I saw an 8:15 for my current pace.  I tried, I pushed, I said “shit” about a hundred times as I fought into it.  “Do NOT let this MFing wind beat you now.”

Almost at the finish.

Almost at the finish.

I turned the corner to the finish line and saw the official race clock turning over to 1:40.  I knew I wasn’t going to be making that ultimate goal of a sub 1:40, and it pissed me off. The MFing wind. BUT, I was thrilled though, to accomplish a big PR (about a 4 1/2 minute PR) and race the half in 1:40:15.  I finish 6th of 284 in my age group, 41st of 1623 females, and 180th overall of 2893 runners. The training was working, was worth it, and then I cried, partly in happiness, partly because I missed 1:40 by a sliver.  Competitive, aren’t I?

PR 1:40:15

PR 1:40:15

So a few days post-race, I feel that I would totally do Myrtle Beach again. The route wasn’t really too boring and the weather, well, the weather is just the weather. The race was what I consider to be expensive for a 1/2 marathon, but the swag was good and it appeared the post-race setup was really nice (We left before we could really enjoy it).  They had warm chicken noodle soup for us cold runners, lots of food offerings, sports drink, water, chocolate milk, and some other things that I didn’t pay attention to. I think there was a band and they gave us tickets to the post-race party at the House of Blues for that evening. We were cold and wanted to head back to the hotel, so we finally made it back, and it was just after 9:00 am. Wow, what a day already!

I look back at the race and feel that I did what I came to do. I probably could have pushed a little harder, but I didn’t want to hurt myself.  This is not my “A” race, it’s a prep race for Boston.  I learned to not eat late and not give myself enough time to truly wake up before having to head to the race start.  I also learned that we can give our runner power to the weather if we choose.  It was truly terribly windy (so thankful I didn’t run the full marathon), but I came out and conquered my goal.  I didn’t let it mess with my head.  The owner of my training group, Without Limits, actually won the full marathon with a PR in 2:30:05.  That just goes to show that you can accomplish amazing things when you may not expect it; however, you must still believe in yourself and just go do it.

Today is Monday, and I had an 1850 swim on schedule. I did NOT want to do it.  I woke up with a sore throat, was physically tired, and well, didn’t want to deal with the water aerobics people (sometimes the perfume is gaggingly overwhelming). But I also realized that had I skipped workouts prior to Myrtle Beach, I wouldn’t have been as successful.  So I got my gear and headed to the pool. Performances like Saturday’s don’t happen when you skip your training.  No excuses, no fear.

My Medal

My Medal

View before my 5 mile recovery run on Sunday.

View before my 5 mile recovery run on Sunday.

Categories: Boston Marathon, marathon, running, training for marathon, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

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