Posts Tagged With: racing

Post-Race Depression and What NOT To Do When You Get It

After big races, the crazies come out. I was riding a high and we got a week in Boston, spent a lot of time in Fenway and all the cool little neighborhoods we could and some. It was glorious to eat out every day and not worry about real life and not have to drive to the huge glorious Target or grocery store right across the street from our hotel that served hot breakfast every single day. It’s taken me a week to sort of half ass acclimate back to real life, and I’m not doing well. I’m on shaky ground, like a tremor before the big on in California. I thought I was a little better, until I started crying for no apparent reason and then I realized what it was. Shit. Here it is.

I have post-race depression. Oh man, it’s real. I mean, I just had the race of my life, we vacationed as a family, we didn’t get stuck in the airport nor told to get off the plane (I’m talking to you, United), we came home to that nice pre-summer, before the melt-the-bottom-of-your-shoes-off, I-can’t-go-outside-without-breaking-into-a-sweat, kind of heat. Although it was close, I didn’t spend every last cent in Boston either. Life is good. But I’m sad, confused, aimless, and lost.

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THIS…is post race depression

So in my sadness, I have had some crazy shit cross my mind. I decided to let all my ideas go right on through and out the other side, because I know I have post-race depression and I don’t want to end up with a house full of baby animals, a yard full of chickens and ducks, and no money left in my savings account, a house under renovation or a “For Sale” sign in my yard.

Here’s a list of things I will NOT be doing while I get over my post-race depression.

1 ) Adopt a puppy or a horse or dolphin or shark or get an aquarium full of tropical fish. It has crossed my mind. Seriously, it’s crossed my mind. We were thinking of adopting a dog during the summer. I’m using all my super powers to NOT look at the county shelter websites or look at THAT magazine at the grocery store or “accidentally” let the group of ducks in the pond down the street or the neighbors back yard chickens follow me home. Or go to Petsmart, especially on Saturdays.

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This is me NOT luring cute lil baby ducks to my house where I am NOT making a hundred cute lil videos of baby ducks.

2) Look up races of any kind. Ok, well, considering I literally JUST did this, I can only say to NOT do it or that I SHOULDN’T have done it, not that I DIDN’T do it. BACK AWAY FROM THE COMPUTER.  Someone needs to come up with a blocking feature you can get that is the same as the one for nudie internet sites but make them for race sites.  “Type type ty– BLOCKED!!!”.  Crisis averted.

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3)Speed work – Recovering from a marathon is tricky. Considering we’re used to piling on endurance workouts and speed day after day, week after week, you’d THINK doing a little speed work would be fine. If you want to break yourself, sure, do this. But don’t do this. Not yet. Be patient and wait.

4) Make really big decisions on something you just thought of. Renovate your house? Redo the bathroom? New cabinets in the kitchen? Don’t do it. Let your credit card cool off a bit and see how much energy you have in a week. Let’s say I’ve had no less than eight trillion thoughts on what I need to do in my house RIGHT NOW. Considering I don’t want to sell my platelets to do it, just give yourself a two week waiting period on ALL big decisions. You don’t want to end up with a flight to Paris next week that you really don’t want to be on or cabinets with no doors because you decided to take them all off so you could order new ones that costs as much as a new car and/or will take five months to deliver.

5) Eat your way to happiness. Self explanatory. As great as it sounds, you will never find happiness at the bottom of a Cape Cod Aged White Cheddar and Sour Cream Kettle Cooked Potato Chips. I’ve looked. It’s not there.

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7) Sign up for a race. If you did this, then obviously you didn’t listen to #2, and shame on you. If you signed up for an endurance race, double shame on you, and if you signed up for an endurance race in the next, oh say, six weeks, then you need to have your internet taken away. Chances are, you’ll FEEL great, and you’ll think it’s a swell idea, until you start doing long runs and your legs feel like bags of Quikrete. You’ll nudge those toenails right off, and then you’ll have nail-less nubby toes for the summer. Who wants to see that? All because you had post-race depression.  Shame on you.

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Do not do it. 

6) Give yourself access to the internet and a credit card. The internet is vast and wide. You can buy anything and everything through it, and some companies just know how to feed in to our depression. Oh, look at these wonderful new shoes! Race pictures? How about a plaque and a new medal holder? You know why Ironman has registration the day after the race, right? It wants to lock you in and steal your money in that tricky space while your brain isn’t working right and your logic button has been dismantled. Everything looks shiny and new and like a great idea during post-race depression. Have the decency to back off for three weeks (or more), and if it STILL looks like a great idea, then wait another week and decide then. You don’t want to be rocking back and forth in the fetal position under your bed because you “thought it sounded like a great idea”.

7) Be frustrated. There’s no reason to Mohammad Ali yourself over something that is relatively normal and explainable. I had been working to this point in my running life for almost 8 years. EIGHT YEARS (to run the Boston Marathon). I reached the highest peak and a specific goal I’d been working towards for three years (to qualify for and then run the Boston Marathon well and finish strong). It was one of the best experiences of my life, so of course, what goes up, must come down. I don’t have an event in the near future, so I feel lost, aimless, and sad. And that’s ok, as long as I don’t go crazy and sign up for all the races. Trust me, I am using all my pent up energy to NOT do this….. and the more I think about it, the more I want to “just look around” at some races, so I need to change the subject before I get more real-life experience on what NOT to do.

8) Think it will last forever. It’s not a life sentence. It will get better. Or that’s what I keep telling myself. Feathers are ruffled, your pants are on backwards, and your bra is on the outside of your shirt. It’s ok. You’re recovering, you’re digesting a great thing. Go take your dog for a walk, go volunteer for a shelter of an animal you can’t adopt, go to a movie with your friends you didn’t have time for because you were training or too tired to keep your eyes open during a movie because of training.  But channel Meghan Trainor’s song when you get the urge to do something rash.

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But if you happen to be suffering from post-race depression, as I am, do this.

Open your eyes and realize that, this too, shall pass. And it will be ok.

 

Categories: Boston Marathon, follow your dreams, marathon, marathon training, qualifying for boston marathon, running, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Boston Marathon Race Recap

“Reluctantly crouched, at the starting line, engines pumping, and thumping in time. The green light flashes, the flags go up, churning, and burning, they yearn for the cup…..”

The race began. I started my music, my garmin, and we plunged down the first hill. I remember thinking how lucky I was to be in this crowd, how amazing it was, the spectators cheering, the residents along the course with their tents set up, serving oranges and coffee and water and handing out paper towels and holding jars of Vaseline out, holding signs, yelling and cheering, getting us runners whatever we needed. It was that way for miles and miles. These people are AMAZING.

It didn’t seem nearly as crowded and full of spectators as the race was in 2014. But the road was full. I had to concentrate on the people running slower than I was, the red rover lines of friends chatting it up (it’s cool, if you were behind me and in the corral that corresponded to your pace, but that’s another subject), the crevices in the road, and honestly, I wanted to take it all in. I wanted to race the race and absorb the energy and the beauty of the course.

I don’t think I looked at the distance reading on my garmin more than about three times the entire race, but I did look at pace, especially in the first several miles. “Don’t be American Pharoah” was what I was thinking. Don’t mess this up. You know not to take off too fast. My breathing was even and came easy. My legs felt good. I didn’t feel hungry nor over full. Things were in equilibrium, at least that’s what I thought at the time.

By mile two, I got worried. Sweat was dripping off my elbows, and it didn’t feel as if the humidity lifted, like it was supposed to. It wasn’t HOT hot, but it was WARM, probably mid to upper 60’s (perfect for spectators, too warm for runners). That worried me, and I made sure I started drinking. The small bottle I had in my hand held 5 ounces and you drank from it by biting down on the mouth. Wow, that was convenient. I liked that one.

The song “Blow Your Mind (Mwah)” came on my iPod, I sang along…. “…we fight and we argue, you’ll still love me blind. If we DON’T FUCK THIS WHOLE THING UP, guaranteed, I can blow your mind…”

I would listen to this song while running long and at home, and I just didn’t want to fuck this race up. I knew I had to be smart.  My husband said “FOLLOW YOUR PLAN” about a hundred zillion times before I left on the bus, and his words rang through my mind. I couldn’t fuck it up, I couldn’t embarrass myself again, I couldn’t come home as upset and sad and angry as I did the last time. I was there for redemption, and it would be mine.

The miles ticked by, and at mile 5, I still felt good. I wasn’t sweating as heavily as I was before (evidently, the humidity did lift right about that time), and it was time to take my first Gu. Instead of throwing the hand held bottle out, I decided to fill it up with Gatorade and drink some water from the aid stations. It was easy, convenient, and I could easily measure how much I was drinking. The only issue was that, since I was holding it, it was really warm. Yuck. But whatever, it’s a race, so I just went on.

In 2014, I remembered a row of people bouncing on trampolines. I had told several people about it, and was hoping it wasn’t some crazy mirage or I was just crazy. I can’t remember what mile it was, but I again, saw a row of mini trampolines along the road with little kids just bouncing away. YES. I remembered correctly. I had to laugh when I saw it, the oddity of a row of trampolines along a race course. Only in Boston.

We passed through the small towns, one by one, and I was having a good time. I sang along to Sweet Caroline, I high-fived so many kids, and I remembered to absorb all I could. But I didn’t feel good. My breathing felt fine, thankfully, but my legs didn’t feel fresh, or at least as fresh as I thought they should be. In my course studying, it says that if I’m still not fresh at this point, I need to regroup and consider slowing down, since the hardest part was still ahead. Because I’m stubborn and didn’t want to, I didn’t slow down. I was scared that my race was going to be derailed already, but I knew I was willing to fight for it and that slowing down wasn’t going to fit into my agenda. The words “The hard is what makes it great” rang through my head. Yes, the hard IS what makes this great.  I could see the wind was blowing by the flags and the water cups zipping across the road, but I definitely didn’t feel any breeze on my face, so I figured we had a nice tail wind. Thankfully.

I made sure to keep drinking. I slowed down at aid stations to refill my hand held bottle, and I never used the one clipped to my shorts. It could be hard to clip back on, and I didn’t want to distract myself enough to mess with it. I did end up throwing it to the side eventually. At one point between miles 5 and 10, I got nauseated and felt full. I thought that maybe I’d had too much fluid, so I backed off a little for a few miles.

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I don’t know where this was taken, but I was on a mission. “Ain’t got time for pictures.” Lol. 

A good sign was that I needed to pee. I stopped in my qualifying marathon, so I wasn’t afraid of taking the time, as long as I found one that didn’t have a line. In about another mile, I found an open one and quickly did my thing.

Soon after, it was time for the Wellesley Scream Tunnel. This is all it’s cracked up to be. I had requested a Team BlueLine sign and I knew it was made, so I aimed to the right side of the road so I could hopefully find it. It felt like a mile of girls screaming to me, many holding signs to “Kiss me” for various reasons. I sort of wanted to take part in the tradition, but I wanted to run more, so I didn’t kiss anyone. I saw one sign that said, “Fuck Me”, which surprised me and made me laugh. Alrighty then. Way to put it out there.

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The TBL Sign, thanks to the Wellesley Girls

We had another few miles of rolling hills, and I knew the course would turn, then go down hill, then the real test would begin. There is a hill at mile 16, but this one doesn’t seem like much to me. Not sure why, maybe it’s because you’ve just gone down a hill. Then there’s a set of three of hills, starting around mile 17.5, the first being the longest (almost half a mile) and most gradual. The cue this is going to happen is that you make a turn on the course. I was desperately trying to remember the course from the last time I was there, but it seemed different this time.  I wasn’t 100% sure where I was, even though I had studied. I think I over-thought the entire thing, haha, no surprise to those who know me. My legs were not feeling worse than they were before, and I was definitely on pace for my goal, with almost a minute to spare. I was feeling good, followed my nutrition and hydration plan, and was ready to face Newton.

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They take your picture BEFORE the hills. It’s like they want to catch you before you start walking or something… 

When we started up the first long hill, I shortened my stride and concentrated on the road in front of me. The song “Til I Collapse” came on, and I tried to absorb that feeling. I passed a lot of people, which made me smile, and when I reached the top, I was damn proud of myself. One down, three and change to go. I’d lost some time, but I wasn’t worried and I was still on pace. I knew that last time at this point in the race, I felt good too, but I knew I had armored myself to prevent anything bad from happening. It’s a marathon though, and you just never know what can happen. Don’t get cocky. THAT is something I truly believe. But at that point in time, I was racing well, and I felt good.

Just after mile 19, there was a steeper, yet shorter hill. Again, I wasn’t 100% sure this was actually “the second” in the set of three, but I powered through with little change in pace. We were rewarded by a nice long stretch of downhill running.

Then, this is funny, I started going up and up. I took my iPod off and backed it up to “Til I Collapse”. I thought it looked like Boston College, and I thought it was Heartbreak Hill, but I wasn’t sure if this was it or the hill BEFORE the hill. Last time, it was SWARMED with people yelling and screaming, sidewalk chalk messaging us to “Break This Hill”, and when we curved around a little, I was expecting to see a big blow up thing saying we had beat the hill or some message that this was actually Heartbreak. I almost asked someone if it was, but honestly, I didn’t want to spend the energy, and I didn’t want to sound stupid. When we came to the top, I saw a sign that indicated that yes, you were done with Heartbreak Hill. I almost started crying from joy. I made it. And I didn’t even know for sure THAT was the hill. Ignorance is bliss, I guess! I saw a girl holding a sign that said, “You made this hill your bitch!”. I fiercely pointed at her and said, “YES!!! YES!!!!” She smiled and well, so did I. I made it. I freaking made it up the hardest section of this race, and I was getting redemption. It was happening. I was doing it. I was about 90 seconds off my goal pace of 3:45.

After Heartbreak ends at mile 21, you descend. Five “measly” little miles left (we all know these miles feel more like ten), and a lot of it was down hill. I let the wind and gravity take me. I felt amazing. What happened? Why did I feel so good?

 

The last time, I was suffering tremendously at this point, so I don’t remember any of the course. I don’t remember the crowds, thick against the barriers, yelling at us, cheering us, the people on the T, looking and cheering. I don’t remember any of it. At some point, you see the Citgo sign, then it disappears behind the trees. I knew Citgo was a LONG ways away, and I giggled, as I had felt the four days we were there, the sign was stalking me. From our hotel, from our seats in Fenway, from everywhere, staring at me to come get it.

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Citgo is following me. 

My pace quickened to about 8:10’s or so, and I felt amazing. I mean, I felt like I was on the last miles of a difficult marathon, but I was running the fastest miles of the race. I couldn’t believe it. I grabbed my necklace, which is my late grandmother’s, the grandma who started me running in the first place, and I held it, looking up and telling her and my other grandma in heaven, “Look, I’m doing it! Thank you!”. I thought about all the people who had wished me well, and I felt them lift me up. I felt my family there, knowing they were tracking me, knowing I was having a good race. I couldn’t believe I missed so much experience last time. It was so amazing, the crowds, the city, the support.

Yes, I’d picked up the pace, but I wasn’t making up the few minutes I lost in Newton as I was hoping.  I struggled with wanting to get a BQ and also knowing I had gotten what I came for: A successful finish to a hard race on a hot day. I knew I had that, so I decided with three or four miles to go, to stop looking at the time, pay no attention to my pace bracelet, and run the thing. Just finish. Finish strong. I didn’t want the lack of a BQ to be disappointing, but I didn’t want to ruin the experience of joy in “just” running it. I didn’t look at my watch again until I crossed the finish line.

But there was race to run, and I couldn’t blow up. I wasn’t going to hold back, but I wasn’t going to be stupid either.  I was covered in salt, so I kept taking my Base salt at this point, and I was thirsty. I threw my hand held away, and relied on the aid stations, taking a Gatorade and water each mile, sometimes stopping to avoid extra air. I had NEVER drank so much in a race before.

When the Citgo sign reappeared and the mile markers ticked up, I was trying to find where I was in the city. I was lost. I had no idea where my husband and kids would be, so I remembered thinking it was kind of dumb that we didn’t even plan at all where I could look for them. I wondered who won the races, did Galen or Jared, did Des finally get her victory? I felt sorry for myself that I had missed so much three years prior. NOW I get it. NOW I get why this race is the best in the world. This. It was right in front of me, and I was doing it.

Then with just over a mile to go, you go up a bridge overpass, which wasn’t pleasant, but I expected it, and I knew it was the last hill, besides the slight incline of Hereford. I ended up looking towards the right, and freakin’-A, there was my family. I cannot ever explain how I felt when I saw them, except for pure joy. I jumped when I saw them, galloping towards them with my arms swinging out, yelling at them in excitement, never had felt that feeling of pure exhaustion and pure energy and pure joy at the same time.

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I am literally jumping for joy to see my family. 

After I passed them, our road went under another road, and I felt like I had wings. Then I saw the turn. I had missed it last time. There was the right turn on Hereford. I choked up. I was almost done. Good God, I was almost done. The crowds were so loud, so I took my ear buds out and shoved them down my shirt. I wanted to HEAR and experience everything. It was like nothing else. Then left on Boylston. The finish line was within sight, but it was not as close as what you’d want, haha.

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I looked around, I thought about 2013 and what that must have been like, and I felt protected and thankful. I crossed over the first mat and heard my name being called, and then I crossed the finish line of the 2017 Boston Marathon. A few seconds later, I looked down at my watch and saw “3:44:??”. Oh my gawd, holy shit, I did it. I freaking pulled out a BQ. I qualified for Boston at Boston.

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I don’t know why people bite their medals but I didn’t care, I was just happy. 

I did it.  I got my redemption.

Boston Marathon 2017: 3:44:32

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Categories: anything is possible, Boston Marathon, follow your dreams, marathon training, qualifying for boston marathon, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

I’m Shipping Up To Boston

So I sit here, wondering what to say. I’m channeling Santa Claus, making my list, checking it twice. I’m checking the weather every day, knowing it’s futile since we all know the weather will do what it wants, when it wants, no matter what. I’m packing everything I can think of, and more, for my epic trip up north. Y’all, I’m shipping up to Boston. F*** yeah, I’m SHIPPING UP TO BOSTON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

We are getting the house cleaned, playlists finalized, last minute stuff before we head out at the butt crack of dawn Thursday. I randomly burst into tears, thinking about qualifying day, thinking about the last time I was in Boston, how good it was, how bad it was, how badly I want this race to just go well.  I’m making my race plan, checking it twice, but of all the feelings I have, I’m grateful. I GET to run Boston!

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This race is something I’ve worked very hard for.  Of the nine marathons I ran with the goal of getting a BQ, I achieved that goal twice. There were a lot of failures along the way, but I learned something from them all.  Good Lord, do I have to learn so much?? And Pah-LEEEZZZEEE, don’t make me learn anything on Monday!!!!!

The quest began in 2009, and here we are, 8 years later, and I’ll be running the race of my dreams for the second time. Well, if things go my way, it will be for the first time, if you take the “running” part literally. For those who don’t know, the 2014 Boston Marathon did not end well for me. Yes, I finished, but I spent about two hours on the last 5 miles, desperately trying to put one foot in front of the other just to cross the finish line. I don’t remember much about the end, but I do remember lying on the ground next to the port-a-jon, crying because I felt so bad. I also remember lying on the cot at the med tent listening to the man next to me hurl his guts up while I was handed a Muscle Milk. Gag.

I’ve learned a lot since then. I’ve become and Ironman since then. And I’m not going into this race with a rigid plan, either. You can’t control the weather, you can’t control the crowds of runners around you, but you can adjust to it. I think that’s the best thing that’s happened since I started the quest for Boston – I’ve learned how to hold on, but I’ve learned how to let go. I’m taking the ashes of my last Boston Marathon, dropping them on the finish line, and I’m letting the bad stuff go, no matter how my race turns out on Monday. It’s done, I healed the wounds, I’ve let all the mean stuff people said to me go, I’ve let all the mean stuff I’ve said to myself go.

I’m going in with a goal to get my third BQ, but the main goal, the number one (ok, three things) thing I want out of Monday, is to 1) remember the entire race, 2) finish with a smile on my face, and the most important thing, 3) RACE SMART. Any race you run smart is a good race. And oh, yeah, don’t forget to be a bad ass.  And BQ. Haha. Yeah, I want it.

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Stay the course, KICK SOME ASS!

So excuse me as I finish packing, listen to some Dropkick Murphy’s, do a little dance in the kitchen, attend a few Red Sox games, drink a beer (or two), and eat a hot dog, but I’m shipping up to Boston, and I’m gonna have an awesome effing time!

 

Categories: Boston Marathon, follow your dreams, go for your dreams, learning from failure, marathon, marathon training, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Beach 2 Battleship 140.6 on the Horizon

I’m sitting here writing and looking at my Training Peaks with a pseudo-taper workout schedule for the week. Wow. Ironman Florida is less than four weeks away. I have a hard time deciding if I’m totally freaked out or just ready for this thing. Going in to big events like these brings out my inner beast “I CAN DO ANYTHING” and my “I WANT MY MOMMY” sides. From my marathon experience, it’s normal to feel like you aren’t ready but really are, and that there’s no way you can complete the distance at the pace you want but you really can. I’m glad this feeling is normal, and part of me remains extremely calm as the calendar marches on. Part of me is hanging off the roof with a whiskey and cigarette.

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Let’s rewind to this past weekend first. I know there are so many who ran the Chicago Marathon. Chicago is on my bucket list, I think (training through North Carolina summers is NOT fun), so I’m so thrilled to live vicariously through so many who got to be there and experience this epic race. My coach, Sami, completed the Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawai’i. She worked so hard over so many years to qualify, and it was quite the experience to watch her as she completed her goal and fulfilled a dream.  Another training buddy, Angela, and her husband completed Ironman Louisville yesterday, and I was so proud of her as I watched her tracker tick along. She has the best positive attitude and was a great influence during some of my “bad patches”, specifically with my 7th flat tire. Way to go, Angela!!!!

After having a light training schedule last week and sort of half way wondering why, the weekend was full. Friday was supposed to be my day off, but since we couldn’t open water swim last week, I decided I needed to get one in.  Long story short, the 1.7 mile swim was good, AND I learned how to jump my truck. Yay for batteries that die randomly! I’m glad Melissa was there and was able to help me figure it all out, especially since my phone battery was on its last bar and I didn’t want to use it to call my husband or Google “how to jump a car”. The rest of the day was spent eating, dealing with the truck, and taking my cat to the vet. Eh, who needed any money for the weekend, right?! 🙂

Melissa and me after successfully jumping my truck.

Melissa and me after successfully jumping my truck.

I started my Saturday by running 4 miles, then raced a 5k that was postponed from last weekend because of the rain, then finished running in bits and pieces to make 2.5 hours or almost 17 miles. I was sort of disappointed in my 5k time, but I’m disappointed that I’m disappointed. I mean really, I’m not training for short, fast races by any means, so what the heck do I expect on a very warm, humid morning with a long run???? Really. My time was 22:34, which isn’t slow AT ALL, but I really wanted to be close to the same time as my last 5k, and preferably not ending with another master female fly past me at the end.

I've used this before, but it suits.

I’ve used this before, but it suits.

I stopped looking at my watch a little less than half way through, because it served no purposed and I need to run on feel, not time. See, I KNOW it’s ridiculous to be anything but happy about the race. I ended up with 3rd masters and won some money and A PIE. I WON A PIE. Hello, PIE. And MONEY. Whohoo!!! The rest of the day was filled with my kids’ ball games and then we headed to a Clemson viewing get together. That was a long day, and we got home just in time for me to prepare for Sunday’s brick workout.

A medal, a prize, and PIE!

A medal, a prize, and PIE!

On Sunday, I started off with a 1.2 mile swim in a very choppy waterway. I felt discouraged and had a lot of negative self-talk during the swim, since I was the slowest one there. I questioned my ability to complete the Florida swim course again and again, and I have to admit, it’s the one thing that scares me if the weather is bad and the waves are big. My friend, Erin, told me I’ll be FINE, and I know I should be fine, but it’s still something that scares the bajiminy out of me. After the swim, we headed out for a 3 hour bike ride in some gusty wind coming from every direction. It was weird, as we were biking into a head wind that suddenly turned into a cross wind that turned into a head wind then a tail wind, all in a few miles. We drafted from each other as much as we could, but some were faster than others, and I found myself alone some of the time. Let’s say my legs were tired, but I did my best to keep up, and we ended up going over 18 mph average, even with the squirrely winds. I even pulled for several miles 🙂

On the way home, I was jazzed up, but tired in a good way. Twenty minutes later, I felt wrecked, so I took a shower and went to bed as soon as I got home. Oh, after eating of course. After an in-and-out nap for about 90 minutes, I finally joined my family and placed myself on the couch, which is were I was found for the remainder of the day until I could get up at 9:30 and go back to sleep for the night. I was just beat. My muscles felt great, no soreness, but tired in a good way, but I was tired in general and just wanted to sleep.

Today was a well-needed rest day, and my body feels strong despite the overall fatigue.

I know what’s going to happen this weekend though, and I’m very nervous and excited about it. This will be my last big push to prepare me for Ironman Florida on November 7th. My husband and I are Team “This was her idea” for Beach 2 Battleship Iron Distance Triathlon. I am completing the 2.4 mile swim and 112 mile bike ride, while he completes the 26.2 miles of marathon madness. We planned this so long ago, and I can’t believe it’s here.

My goal for this race is to nail nutrition.  I have to practice fueling so I know what works, and almost more importantly, what doesn’t work. Hopefully the lessons I have learned through training will serve me well and I will devise a plan that works well. The weather looks perfect so far, so I’m hoping for a fun experience! Beach 2 Battleship is a great race, and I look forward to being a participant as well as a spectator!

Here we go!

After B2B, I will be in real “taper” mode, although I know there will still be some big workouts to complete in those three weeks. I’m anticipating a lot of time being spent in prep and list-making mode for the BIG race.

Hope all is well in your neck of the woods! What have you been up to this fall? Is it actually fall where you are, because it sure doesn’t feel like it much here!

 

Categories: beach 2 battleship triathlon, iron distance, ironman, ironman florida, marathon, open water swimming, swimming, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Medication: Friend or Foe?

Another week slipped by since I’ve written and it seems like just a few days. I’ve been pretty busy (I hate using that because really, who isn’t busy?) trying to get a bunch of stuff done before the kids are out of school (and dealing with the events of last week- details below), and getting my workouts in of course.

Ahh, the events of last week. Last week was “interesting”. Due to a mysterious allergic reaction to something the week before, I had to go on Prednisone, and then the dose started decreasing last week. I thought all was good and that I was lucky enough to not have the side effects of the medication, since I heard they could be…um, well, not so fun. THEN last week happened. And I got all the side effects. No sleeping. Hunger. Moodiness. Aggression. All of them. And I was training hard and trying to start a business. It was hard. It was weird. I didn’t like it. It made me feel crazy. I didn’t understand why I was feeling that way after the dosage went down, but after talking to other people who have been on it, it’s pretty normal to feel “slightly off”. Yeah, I’ll just say I felt slightly off. If off feels like this:

 

Thursday.

Thursday.

And then I was hungry. All. The. Freaking. Time.

Everything I could pile into my mouth, I pretty much did.

Everything I could pile into my mouth, I pretty much did.

The good thing that came from this was a 5k race on Thursday night.  I didn’t want to run it, had had a VERY disturbing day (as for how I felt, otherwise it was normal), but if you combine eating and aggression, running a race really isn’t a bad thing. I had a crappy attitude coming into it, fueled on Diet Coke and chips only 3 hours before it started (because eff it, WHO CAAARRREEESSSS??!!! See above picture.) It was hot. I swam that morning and it felt like my arms were filled with concrete. Blech. So when the horn went off in the Wilma Dash, a unique women’s only race, I went. I ran. I ran hard. I ran until my lungs hurt. My legs were tired. My mouth was dry. I was sweaty. I just wanted a sub-24:00. Ok, a sub-23:00. And I came in at 22:21, enough to win 15th overall and 3rd masters. I felt a little bit released. Well, let’s just say I felt better.

Look at me on the left all scared like. Maybe it's because he took a hundred pictures and I was just tired of standing and wanted to get my beer back in my hand.

Look at me on the left there all like, “Let me go so I can get my damn beer back before she drinks it.”

Bonus on the night is that the team I’m on, Without Limits Sole Sistas, won largest team and a party at the famous Front Street Brewery. It’ll be like one free beer per teammate, but hey, better than nothing!!!

On Friday, we headed to my husband’s alma mater, Clemson, for my youngest son’s football camp.

Takin' it down.

Takin’ it down.

The Dabo Swinney Football Camp was top notch. My youngest was among the best players and coaches in the nation, filling them with life lessons and football skills.  I’ve never really felt a lot of love for any team on my own, and I was very happy to adopt Clemson as “my” team back when I met my husband. Same for the Red Sox. I’m not a die hard, but I’m right there, wearing my orange and purple and white, cheering them on in good seasons and bad.  My sons have a sparkle in their eyes when they talk about it, which to me, means a TON of money will eventually be heading the tiger way (which brings on the same kind of hulk feeling when thinking about how much money college costs), but for now, we really enjoy our time there. It hasn’t been often we have time to wander campus and check out the sites in his old stomping ground and spend way too much at the apparel store. While there, I got in eleven miles of hills and even more exploration.  Good times, minus the six hour drive and getting home at 11 pm the night before the kids start their end-of-year testing. Hopefully we can get back this fall for the game against Notre Dame, which just so happens to be on my birthday and one month before Ironman Florida. Yes, we really are trying to do it ALL this year!

Death Valley

Death Valley

As for training, I’ve been doing what I can when I can, pushing myself to be ready to start training. Yesterday marked the first day with my coach, Sami, from Without Limits. She’s a 12-time IM finisher and Kona qualifier, and she recently qualified for worlds in the 70.3. I know I’m in good and experienced hands! I’m not a very OCD person (if you saw my house right now, you’d get it – it’s just a mess but I’m sitting here blogging), but I have to admit that all was right and good in the world when I got my Training Peaks email and next two weeks training uploaded. Ahhhh, structure!

I learned a few lessons listening to the coaches at the football clinic and will find so many ways to use them in my training and for coaching. I’m motivated (even without the prednisone), am happy about my choice to push the register button that day in November, and am so looking forward to the journey. It’s certainly not going to be easy, but what journey worth taking IS?

Oh, oh, oh!!!!!!!!!!!!! The word is out, the number is in, and I wanted to let you all know that the UNCW running teams have MET THEIR FUNDRAISING GOAL and can continue on for another year!!!! They were able to raise $255,781.59 IN THREE MONTHS! Thank you for listening to me talk about my local issue and a very special thanks to those who contributed to the teams. They are so appreciative of our support and are already working hard to secure large donations to be able to update/renovate/rebuild the old track and field facility that so many in our community use and probably take for granted. I love running!!!

So all in all, it’s been a good week, I’m “officially” IM training now, and I have a love/hate relationship with prednisone. I’m glad it quickly helped my allergy, but man, it certainly made me feel funky.

Have you ever had “interesting” side effects of a medication? Do you have a love affair with any particular school?

 

 

Categories: coaching, ironman, ironman florida, marathon, open water swimming, running, swimming, training for triathlon, triathlon, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Marathon Prep 101 – How I Do It

March 22, 2015

March 22, 2015

As you know, I’m in taper mode over here at Running Boston and Beyond, and I have to say this is one of the first times I can remember having a hard time with it. The race is next Sunday, March 22nd, and I’m way more agitated, annoyed, grumpy, and moody than my normal sun shiny self. The only real reason I can come up with the difference in this taper is that my actual training cycle has been much shorter, thanks to my 70.3 paired with shin splint denial. I didn’t even start speed work until the first of the year. From everything I can gather, I’m ready, and that particular detail will not matter in my race results. I believe the other variables will have the final say.

Anyway, I’m coming down the last stretch, and there’s a lot to do. Lists, grocery shopping, more lists, playlists, and race planning. I think we runners can all learn from each other, so I thought I’d share what I do to get ready for a marathon, besides getting on everyone’s nerves and randomly breaking out in tears.

Everyone has their own thing, but this is mine. I tweak it here and there for all my races depending on the location and all that, but the basics remain the same. Maybe it can help you prepare for your race as well.

This probably deserves it's own category, but taking weather into account is a must-do, but you cannot mentally take yourself out of the game if it's not looking perfect. My last BQ was with heavy rain and wind the first 10 miles.

This probably deserves it’s own category, but taking weather into account is a must-do, but you cannot mentally take yourself out of the game if it’s not looking perfect. My last BQ was with heavy rain and wind the first 10 miles.

  • Playlist preparation – this one is a doozy for me. It takes a LOT of time, because I don’t just compile my music, oh no, I have a specific order of songs and I time them based on where I SHOULD be during my race. I have an excel spreadsheet where I can enter the song title and length so I can put my really good “pump-it-up” songs when I know I’ll need them the most.  Music actually helps me focus and keep my mind off the discomfort I will be feeling during that 26.2+.

 

  • Long-term pre-race nutrition plan (the three days before race until evening meal on race eve) – this is one of the most important parts of the overall nutrition plan. I’ve bonked during a marathon before (made it to mile 6 and quit at the half) and vowed to never do it again, so I take nutrition extremely seriously. I write down the different foods that I will consume during these three days. I am very carb-heavy, but I also throw in a LOT of protein in the form of meat. That’s just one of my things – I eat a lot of meat pre-marathon. I do not have specific meals planned to a T, I just write what I will eat on each day. Some of the items included are oatmeal, grits, white noodles, white rice, quinoa, grilled chicken, and casseroles with noodes/rice and chicken. I go light on the milk and cheese during these days. Or at least I try.

 

  • Make a race plan – These are the specific activities I will do and the time I plan to do them from race eve until the gun starts, and I go backwards from the gun. Here’s mine so far, and I know I will be tweaking it until the night before the race. Why do I do this? So I don’t even have to think about when I do anything before the race. It’s already planned and is a no-brainer. And then I won’t forget things either.
    • 6:35 am – race starts
    • 6:15-6:30 – eat chomps/stingers
    • 6:00-6:15 – use bathroom, take ibuprofen
    • 5:30-6:00 Drop supplies at water station, use bathroom, focus, find friends, laugh, check weather, try not to throw up.
    • 5:00 – Arrive at race start after dropping vehicle at finish line with my post-race clothes and recovery drinks in it (Husband is heading up a water station and he has to be there early so I’m going with him so I can have a dry/warm car to sit in).
    • 5:00 – Eat banana or PB bread, probably both
    • 4:00 – Get up, stretch, write goal pace times on arm, check Garmin
    • 2:30 (am) – Eat big pre-race meal and hydrate, try to get back to sleep
    • 8:00 pm night before – Check weather and verify clothes needed – be sure they’re bagged and labeled
    • 7:30ish – Eat big meal (hamburger on a bun) and hydrate; check Garmins to be sure they’re charged.
    • See what I mean? There’s a lot of detail in these, but if you think everything through and plan, you should find yourself not frantic or realizing you forgot something the morning of your race.

 

  • Make supply lists – I start from the bottom and work my way up. Shoes, socks, tights, shorts, undies, bra, tank, short sleeve, long sleeve, throw away shirt and gloves, BIB, gum, iPod, earphones, arm warmers (cheap socks with the feet cut out), hair ties, nutrition, EVERYTHING I may possibly need for race day, before and after the race. It’s a long list, but again, it takes away the possibility of forgetting something.

 

I'm sure I'll add a few more items....

I’m sure I’ll add a few more items….

  • Plan race nutrition – This one takes practice.  I can take my gum out of my mouth, open the gu, eat it, put gum back in, all while having it timed so after I’m done, I will run upon an aid station and wash it down with water.  One thing I know from other people’s mistakes though, is FOLLOW through with your race nutrition plan. I’m going to take a Gu every 6 miles, even if I feel like Meb, unless I feel I need one sooner, then I’ll adjust on the fly. NEVER wait too long to fuel or it could very well be too late. Make a plan and follow it, but also allow yourself a little bit of flexibility if you’re not feeling right.

 

I'll probably have one more Gu just to be sure.

I’ll probably have one more Gu just to be sure.

  • Plan race strategy – I’m hoping to run a negative split race, so I need to start more conservatively. I don’t know what the weather will be, so I may have to make adjustments, but I have a nice range of per mile times I need to 1) get me to Boston and 2) get me a dream PR. I know where I need to be to BQ, which is the goal, so these are the times I will write on my arm with a Sharpie, so I won’t have to do any math while racing. In Boston, it was great to know that at the 10k mark, I saw my goal time on my arm, was one minute ahead of that, so knew I had a 1 minute cushion. I think one of the keys here is to make your plan and stick with it. At the end, if you have gas, push the pedal to the metal, but don’t do it too early or you may just run out.

 

  • Visualize your run – This one came about the first time I ran a marathon for time. It evolved naturally for me, but I had read about visualization in Hal Higdon’s book. It used to start a few days before the race, but now this process starts several weeks before the marathon and sometimes, my husband will find me staring at the wall, only to distract me out of my first place finish fantasy. Haha, really, I imagine this: a good, strong run (one of those awesome days), hearing steady, strong footsteps on the pavement, even, strong breathing, taking my water at the aid stations, passing the mile markers, crossing the finish line with my arms up and a smile on my face. I do this when I am training, when I write blogs, when I am doing house work. It’s a great tool to build confidence and to visualize yourself going through with the race and meeting your goals.

 

Always have to keep this in mind.

Always have to keep this in mind.

  • Think positive, be realistic, have no fear – Running marathons is such a mental game. I’m one week away as I write this and I’m not in a good place mentally. The difference is that I know this is the typical up and down I have before a big race where I’ve set major goals. I’ll be ok. I’ve also decided that I will not allow myself to give up at the end, when I’m most tired and probably struggling. I’ve planned how to attack, how to talk to myself, how to keep my knees up and get the miles done successfully, how to focus on the end, not the process. This is something different that I’ve never done. I KNOW it will be hard, but I KNOW it will be worth it in the end.

 

I know it's going to hurt, I know it's going to be hard, but I know it will be worth it.

I know it’s going to hurt, I know it’s going to be hard, but I know it will be worth it.

 

Categories: Boston Marathon, follow your dreams, hal higdon training plan, interval training, marathon, marathon training, no fear, qualifying for boston marathon, quintiles wrightsville beach marathon, running, training for marathon, training for marathon hal higdon training plan, Uncategorized, wrightsville beach marathon | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

The WILMA Dash 5k

It’s starting to get a little swampy here in the hood. Humidity levels are rising, as to be expected, and from how I’ve been running lately, I’ve acclimated to the increase in temps and swamp levels pretty well. Surprise for me since I loathe running in warm, sweaty weather. Give me some 40-degree running and I feel like I can go all day. Not the situation anymore, unfortunately. Case in point was last night’s WILMA Sweatfest Dash 5k.

I had a busy afternoon yesterday. I had to pick the kids up from school early so my oldest could get his eyes check and we could find out how much more blind he was getting. It’s still not terrible, but I hate seeing him have to wear glasses to see. I’m extremely lucky and have 20/20 at 40 years old. My husband is virtually blind as a bat.  I didn’t appreciate my good vision as much until he told me that he would just love to open his eyes and be able to see. That would totally suck. Boy, I’m rambling a lot today already.  ANYWAY, the appointment took forever and then my son had to pick out new frames for his new, more powerful glasses, so we didn’t get home until 4:00.  I wanted to leave the house at 4:30 to get to the 5k early, which was to start at 6.  I didn’t leave the house until 4:50, but it turned out fine. I got there in plenty of time, and I was happy that my sister was able to join in and go with me.

Oh, now I remember why I brought up that I got home late…. I wanted to eat something close to 4:00 so I didn’t run with a bowling ball in my stomach, but I didn’t eat until 4:30, and I chose a banana with peanut butter. Come to find out, it was way too much peanut butter as it felt like a bowling ball anyway, which is what I really wanted to avoid. It wasn’t too hot, I think upper 70’s, very humid, but cloudy.  I was at the start about 15 minutes early and the race started on time.

The WILMA Dash 5k is an all female race that is all about getting active and healthy. It is for runners and walkers of all ages, sizes, and fitness levels. Almost 800 women and girls finished the race this year, it’s 6th year. I’ve never done an all female race before, so it was really cool to see people decked out in cool costumes and just banding together to have fun.

wilma dash2

I wasn’t feeling the best before the start and I wasn’t sure if it was the peanut butter or nerves. There’s something about races that always makes me a little nervous. I knew a PR wasn’t going to happen, and I was ok with that, but I did want to run a good race. I told my sister that I was expecting between a 22 and 23 minute finish. The air horn sounded right on time and I took off. The course took you right up a short steep hill and the rest of it was more of slight inclines and declines. My pace stayed fast and steady between 6:30 and 7:00 pace, and it crossed my mind a few times that “hey, I could possibly get a PR in this thing after all”. That quickly subsided at mile 1, when I knew I wouldn’t be able to hold the 6:50 pace for two more miles.  Thankfully the bowling ball feeling went away, but then I got the sweats.  The course had a lot of turns in it too, which I don’t particularly enjoy, but really, it was a nice course as long as you really paid attention to your steps due to sections of cobblestone streets and the boardwalk at the end.

I felt myself breathing really hard somewhere in mile two, but really, it was probably 90% humidity and upper 70’s, so what would I expect, especially at that pace. For a bit in there somewhere, I thought I might hyperventilate, but thankfully, that feeling stopped. I knew I was running well, and was happy that the three miles ticked by relatively quickly. Don’t you hate it when a 5k feels like a half marathon?

I tried to go a little faster the last quarter mile, but there were several more tiny turns, so I wasn’t able to gun it or anything. I saw my personal cheerleader, who happens to also be my sister, at the corner right before the last turn, right before the finish, so it was nice to see her there cheering for me. I turned and crossed the finish in 22:09.  I was really happy with that!

Then the sweat deluge started. Holy cow it probably took me 20-30 minutes of walking around to stop pouring sweat! Yuck. I haven’t race in conditions like that in a long time, and thankfully it was only a 5k.

We meandered to the Wilma Nights Health Fest where we got a drink and some food. I wasn’t a big fan of the food, but it sure looked good! The Front Street Brewery Kolsch was worth the sweating though. My son’s baseball game was to start soon, but I saw I was going to win an award, so I wasn’t sure whether to stay for my award or leave and get to his game…. My husband and sister said I needed to get my award since I hadn’t missed any of my son’s games all season, so we hung out what seemed like forever for the awards to start. During that time, I met a girl who complimented me on my Boston tattoo and said her dogs’ names are Fenway and Tessie. I liked her immediately.

Finally, the awards started and I got to collect my medal and prize for 2nd place Masters and even 10th overall. I wasn’t too far behind 1st place and it was within my PR time, so of course I had to think the “what ifs” but slapped myself and was happy to finish where I did. And I’m not on a scheduled plan either, just doing my own training. Not too shabby if I do say so myself, especially on tired legs.

2nd Place Masters

2nd Place Masters

My sister and I quickly left as I was delusional enough to think we could make the tail end of my son’s game. On our way, my husband texted that the game was over, so I dropped my sis off and headed home to get some warm water for my shower before the boys stole all of it.

So after doing this “girl race”, I think it would be a lot of fun to run one with a group of friends, complete with tiaras and boas (although those might get a little annoying), and possibly even wine glasses on our hats like the “Run Now, Wine Later” team had.

I’m not sure what I’m doing today, if anything, with regards to running, but I know I’m off tomorrow and doing lots of yard work. On Sunday, I’m planning to run with my friend who’s near the end of her marathon training, and has a “vomit” long run. You know those, right? Run some easy miles, run more really super fast miles, run easy, fast, vomit, that sort of thing. It has been a lot of fun to run with other people, just going with the flow, and getting in some good tempo workouts along the way.

Monday is my .9 mile open water swim, the last with a wetsuit, so I’m actually looking forward to that, assuming the conditions are good.

Have a great weekend!

My newest medal and gift certificate

My newest medal and gift certificate

 

 

Categories: beach 2 battleship triathlon, boston red sox, half iron distance, marathon, open water swimming, running, swimming, training for half iron distance, training for marathon, training for triathlon, triathlon, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , | 5 Comments

A Long Trip and the Mothership of all Expos

It took us about 2 extra hours to get to our destination of Braintree, MA, because of stupid traffic near DC and Baltimore. We drove a total of 15 hours. Unfortunately, I will never look at an Oriole the same way. Besides two hours in standstill traffic because of no reason, the trip to Boston went really well.

How much shit do you need for a weeklong trip? Well, ALL of it.

How much shit do you need for a weeklong trip? Well, ALL of it.

I did learn a few things on our way.

1) We travel really well together. We have a lot of experience with long trips and we can pull them off without tears, fighting, tantrums, and silent treatments in the car (mostly anyway). My oldest son would probably be happy tucked in the corner so he could read the entire Harry Potter series AGAIN, but my youngest doesn’t care much for reading. He draws, plays with transformer type toys, and he even made one of them into a gold winning gymnast. They are quite flexible and a lot easier to fix than a real gymnast when their hip pops out. Their movie player stopped working on Day 2, so that was a bummer for them, but they just went on and did other things.  We have a Battleship tournament going. I read a little of last month’s Runner’s World, but for the most part, my husband and I just chatted along the way. Oh, I did take a huge honkin nap within the first few hours of our trip on Thursday, but that was to be expected after all the stress to get my shit together and house cleaned up for this trip. I have NEVER regretted stressing to have the house clean when we leave because I totally appreciate it more when I get home and I don’t have a disaster to deal with.

2) We hate traffic. As soon as we knew we were stuck miles before we even hit DC, we went into PTSD mode. Living and driving through Houston twice a day for two years has traumatized my husband.  We did end up finding a little bit longer route around Baltimore but we were going somewhere instead of sitting there being angry.  Thankfully we didn’t have traffic issues on Day 2.

3) The route from Wilmington to Boston is filled with really cool sites.  We saw the heart of DC, although we didn’t get to drive closer as planned because of #2. We saw downtown New York City. We crossed over many really cool, huge bridges.

trip3

We were in the Bronx. We saw come pretty cool little towns on our epic fail “detour” towards Plymouth. We saw Plymouth Rock and the Mayflower II.  It’s just a rock but it’s a pretty neat place where a lot of history happened.

THE rock

THE rock

 

We ate dinner while watching people race go karts. Pretty cool. I would have included a picture of NYC but it just looks like the sky and road.

Go Kart racing and restaurant, all in one.

Go Kart racing and restaurant, all in one.

4) Don’t believe that all yellow line roads on a map are 4 lane like they advertise themselves to be. I decided to take a “detour” towards Plymouth that would cut some time and miles off our already long trip. Well, that was stupid because it turned out to be a really busy 2 lane road through all the little twists and turns and towns you could imagine. And we couldn’t find a gas station with bathrooms on the INSIDE for miles. Insane. Insane first world problem, I know.

Maps Lie

Maps Lie

5) We get the giggles when we are tired. Or bored. Or both. Our conversation turned a little “5th Grade” when we were driving through the various towns. For instance, we laughed about the exit sign confidently blaring “Mianus”. We were disappointed we never got to see “Youranus”.  Not really. I enjoy looking at the map to find all the little tiny town names that are more interesting than others. One of my favorites is “Gnaw Bone” in Indiana.  For the love of God, why would you actually incorporate a town called “Gnaw Bone”??  We found an interesting brochure at the first hotel we stayed at and giggled a while about that too.

I would visit but I couldn't help but snicker when the tour guide says "Intercourse".

I would visit but I couldn’t help but snicker when the tour guide says “Intercourse”. The guide is snickering too.

We saw the name “Powhite” on a sign and I couldn’t help but wonder if the name originated because that’s where all the “po’ white” people lived. Then my favorite is “Wequetequock”. Say that when you’ve had a few glasses of wine. Or just say that anyway. Then it reminded me of this:

funny2So then we had to entertain ourselves by reading all the names of the towns along the way for quite a while as Sylvester the Cat or Daffy Duck.  Mature, I know. But it was funny.

THE EXPO.  I get to go to the Boston Marathon Expo today. I’m literally jumping up and down clapping my hands like a 5-year-old. Besides running the race and probably the Red Sox game on Wednesday, I’ve been more excited about THIS part than almost any other part.  The Mecca for runners. The Mothership of all Expos. I can’t wait. I’m afraid of buying all the things…. I mean, how would I get them home? 🙂 I am also excited to meet a bunch of other bloggers who are running. We’ve been chatting and trying to help each other for a few months, and to actually meet them is super exciting. So I’m counting down until we leave and head to Boston for a full day of fun.

trip10

How am I feeling? I had a great little jog yesterday where I looped the parking lots of a few businesses about a hundred times because the roads were scary.  My parents arrived here last night and asked me how I was feeling. Well, I’m feeling good but I’m at the point where I’m wide eyed thinking WHAT THE HELL DID I DO???? I have to run 26+ miles in just a few days! It’s gonna hurt!!! But I know deep down that this is an amazing adventure, a journey, and an experience that I will treasure for the rest of my life. So I’m feeling happy, lucky, pretty damn good!

 

Categories: Boston Marathon, boston red sox, marathon, running, training for marathon, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Wrightsville Beach Marathon Relay Recap

The recap… finally…. after four days. Sheesh.  The weekend was a good kind of nuts. It started with working the Quintiles Wrightsville Beach Marathon (otherwise known as “Marathon Madness” since it’s a marathon, half marathon, marathon relay, 5k and 1 mile run AND it’s in March) expo on Friday evening for a few hours. I was giving the full marathon runners their bibs, and since we were the first table, many of the half marathon runners came to our table first. I really tried to get them to switch from the half to the full, but I was met with several comments like “NO ONE DOES IT THAT WAY”, “Hell NO”, “HAHAHAHAHA!”, and “Yeah right!”.  It was fun to give some first time marathoners their bibs and wish everyone a good race.

I had a short shake out run on Saturday. My leg was feeling better and I was hopeful I wouldn’t have any issues with it on race day. When I got all cleaned up, my family and I headed back to the expo so my 11 year old son, Tyler, could get his 5k race packet. He was pretty cool and calm about his FIRST 5k, which made me very happy. The expo was amazing! They even had free beer and huge TVs set up so the men could watch the basketball tourney.  Cool points for sure. It was nice to see so many people from my running group, Without Limits. I talked and talked and talked and the kids played with the equipment Play It Again Sports had there. The weather was windy but warm, and we were all concerned about when the rain would come on Sunday.

We headed back home for a bit and then got back for the 5k that started at 5 pm. My husband decided to run it too and sort of “shadow” Tyler, so he was ready to run. They were off! I knew Tyler wanted to run the 5k in about 30 minutes, so at about 25, I started watching for him. I saw so many people I knew, including Gary, my running friend who was running in a boot because he broke his metatarsal during a trail race. Gary, you are a hard core runner!!!

I got all choked up when I saw my son zooming towards the finish line.  He crossed right at 29 minutes and my husband soon followed. They did run together for most of it until Tyler started to “kick it” the last quarter mile. Good boy, just like your momma taught ya! He learned that he needs to practice more for it to feel better and that he wants to continue running… music to my ears! It was great to include him in “my” race weekend.

Gunnin' to the finish!

Gunnin’ to the finish!

Now to race day.  In order to eat, get stretched, then get to the start line by 5:45, I got up at 3:30 am Sunday morning. It looked like the rain was going to hold off, thankfully, but sometimes you just can never trust that weather! My husband is a Clemson alum so he and the kids were part of the team that would man the first water station at mile 2.  I was worried the kids would complain they were tired or just get bored, but they wanted to help the minute he asked them, and they were still excited at 5 am.

I didn’t do a pre-race jog but walked quite a bit, saw lots of familiar faces, and then happened upon a fellow blogger Paul from Running Wild, only recognized because of his bib number. He was running his 3rd marathon this year and we were hoping to be able to catch up and meet. We chatted a bit and then I hit the port-a-cans one last time.  My goal was to run the full 16 miles (my part of the marathon relay) at 8:05-8:15 pace, which is the pace I’m hoping for in Boston to re-qualify by at least 5 minutes, and I was nervous.  The weather was around 50 degrees and mostly cloudy – perfect.  The wait for the bathrooms was taking FOREVER so I got more and more irritated the longer I had to wait. I missed seeing the anthem and the rest of my friends before the start, but at least I made it in time and wasn’t stuck IN the jon when the gun went off (to hear THAT story, click HERE).  When the race started, it took a while for Corral 2 to get going, and I was in the back of the pack. I had to run on the side of the road, which was fine, since I was able to easily pass people. The miles quickly went by and when I passed my husband and kids at the first water station, they were too busy doing their jobs to see me.  Oh well, next loop! We crossed over the Wrightsville Beach drawbridge where I was able to get on the sidewalk.  There were many volunteers warning the runners of the medal grade on the floor of the bridge, but I saw one who had been injured as she ran. That’s always horrible to see.

It started getting light out and we were able to see the scenery a little better. Landfall is a private community that I never get to see because there’s guarded gates and I’d get in trouble, so it was nice to be able to run there.  There were many people watching and cheering, and the college team aid station themes were a lot of fun. We looped through there and then headed back towards the beach for loop two. I was getting that feeling that I needed some fuel and had already taken my Gu at mile 8, so I took one at mile 11.  I knew my pre-race meal experiment was a big fat failure and I will now count on a ginormous burger the night before the Boston Marathon. It was so pretty out! The sun was peeking behind the thin clouds and I could see the birds just swimming along in the waterway. It was nice and calm.

I was getting tired and I got mad that I was getting tired at the half marathon mark. I knew I only had three miles to go, so I channeled the saying on a guy’s shirt I saw that morning, “SUCK IT UP”.  I worried that I would never be able to hold that pace in a hilly marathon, I worried that I would crash and burn, I worried about everything. But I kept going and knew that I could make myself keep going if I had to.  The thing is, I’ve never made myself do that.  It’s a totally new territory for me.  It’s scary, but I’m ready.

I saw mile 16 go by and then saw the exchange tent where I was to give my race bib to my relay partner, Sherman, who stepped in when my sister injured herself and couldn’t run, even when the team name was Twisted Sisters. Heh heh. Anyway, I got the bib unpinned before I got to him so he could put it on his race belt. I detested the thought of a belt, plus it didn’t fit the race number, so I just pinned mine on. No big.

Me and Sherman at the exchange. I do not know why I was laughing but it makes me laugh to see the picture of me laughing when I did not have funny thoughts in my head at the time. It was more like "*^%@#$".

Me and Sherman at the exchange. I do not know why I was laughing but it makes me laugh to see the picture of me laughing when I did not have funny thoughts in my head at the time. It was more like “*^%@#$”.

I stopped my watch at 16.1 miles with 2:09.  I figured that to be around an 8:04 mile, so I was pretty happy with that since it more than met my pace goal. And like I mentioned above, it gave me so many doubts, scary thoughts, and misgivings about being able to run the hilly Boston course at an 8:15 pace, which is what I really want to do. THEN I had to channel my coach who would probably tell me that 1) I didn’t taper and 2) I didn’t carb load and 3) no Negative Nellies. So I stopped whining to myself, turned up my good playlist, and jogged the mile or so back to my car and my warm clothes so I could wait for Sherman at the finish. I thought that I had done good. I learned a little about my pre-marathon meal and what I must do. I learned that I could take a Gu and drink water at an 8:10 pace (even though I did get some up my nose but I just came right back out). I learned that I can push myself and am able to meet my goals.

It started to lightly rain as I headed to the finish line. I felt bad for the full marathoners because no one likes to run a race in the rain. Thankfully, it wasn’t too heavy and ended up stopping.  Thankfully! I met up with my sister and then my boys to watch people finish.  It was great to see fellow team members pace each other, support each other, to see people lining up and cheering finishers. I love running and what it can do for people.

Just past the finish line - full marathon in 3:31:34, 3rd Place Relay Team.

Just past the finish line – full marathon in 3:31:34, 3rd Place Relay Team.

The Twisted Sisters Marathon Relay Team finished in 3rd place in the full marathon with 3:31:34. I would highly suggest this race to anyone who is looking for a PR. It’s flat, fast, and the course is a good one. I’ll be back next year.  I’m not sure in what capacity, but I WILL be back!

Any other Boston runners out there who are just OBSESSED with the race? Yeah, I totally am. It’s almost consuming.  Just over 4 weeks until the Boston Marathon. And I’ll be ready.

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