Posts Tagged With: running with friends

You Can’t Always Get What You Want

Every time something that I really, really want can’t or doesn’t happen, I hear the Rolling Stones song, “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” on the radio. In my car. It’s happened about five times in the last six years. I never hear that song otherwise. I always hear it when I’m cranked up about something or trying to make a big decision or wondering why I didn’t get the job I wanted or didn’t get to race a race I wanted to race. It’s like a message from God. He is telling me that I’m not supposed to do whatever it is that I really wanted. And that everything will be ok.

I recently went on a trip to Las Vegas with my husband for our 20th anniversary, and I took a picture of myself. I thought it was pretty cool, but I didn’t like the age that I saw – the wrinkles and lines in places I hadn’t really noticed before. I thought about NOT posting it on Facebook because of the lines and I didn’t want anyone to think I was ugly or looked older than I am (45) or that I think I’m all that when I am not. Then I thought about it and realized that I really stopped caring what everyone thought about me a while ago. I mean, of course, I CARE what people think, to an extent, but it’s my face and there’s really nothing I can do to change that. And I like it. During this process, I realized that I don’t like what aging does to my face, but I sincerely appreciate what it does for my soul. I’ve had some profound changes in my 40’s and feel like I’m the most “ME” that I’ve ever been. I heard it’s a fairly common thing. I’ve learned a lot from my mistakes, and I’m proud of the person I am today.

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At the Bellagio in Las Vegas

My last post was the positive side of having an injury. To recap, during a track workout that I did WAY TOO FAST (my fault that I did not follow the coach’s pacing), I strained my upper hamstring. I bagged my next long run after 8 miles because of the pain, but I proceeded to run 15 miles on it the following weekend. I was determined. And I didn’t care what happened. And honestly, I don’t regret that decision.

After a few weeks, it became pretty clear to me that recovering from the injury was not going to be a quick process. The weeks until the Boston Marathon, which I qualified for by over 20 minutes, were quickly flipping by like an old clock with the number flaps. I biked, I elliptical’d, I avoided swimming, I did strength, and I stayed positive. I kept hope that it would be ok. I did not allow anger to creep in.

The day after an optimistic physical therapy session, I was to run two miles. And my leg hurt within a quarter of a mile, if even that. I ran/walked the two miles, and I burst into tears when I entered my house.

I. Can’t. Do. This.

I can’t run a marathon in eight weeks when it hurts to run a quarter mile. It’s not worth the consequences. I cried loud. All my pets were all up in my face trying to comfort me. Then I texted my husband that I will not be running in the Boston Marathon because I can’t even run a mile without pain. I cannot do it. I WILL NOT do it.

The weight was lifted. But I was extremely sad. Not angry. Just deflated, and very, very sad. All the hope, all the money on races, all the training that I carefully crafted. All of it for nothing. To be back to square zero. Ugh. Tears. I felt guilty. I felt sad. After I stopped crying, I decided I would do some retail therapy and run errands. I was a little on edge, and normally, I listen to my playlist in my car. But that day, I just kept flipping through the radio stations. Flip, song, flip, song….. it would be ok. Stay positive.

I went to a spa to get some makeup for Vegas, Kohls for some shorts and anything with sparkles, Costco for food, and Harris Teeter for more food that I couldn’t get at Costco. When I got in the car to go home, I flipped the station yet again, and guess what song had just started.

I burst into tears on College Avenue, and I knew I made the right decision. More importantly, I knew everything was going to be ok.

Our family had a decision to make. Because Boston is an exceptionally expensive place to go, we decided to forego the entire trip to Boston. Instead of participating in the greatest marathon in the world on April 15th, I will watch it on TV, and track those friends I know running it. The next day, we are packing our truck, heading to a Charleston KOA cabin on a lake, visit as much as we can in the area, and spend a third of what we would have spent on just a hotel alone in Boston. I’m relieved. I’m still sad. But I’m relieved. I know it will be ok, and running Boston was not what I needed, for whatever reason.

The aging process isn’t always fun, until you delve into what the process teaches you.

“You can’t always get what you want.

But if you try sometimes, you might find

You get what you need”

Categories: being epic, Boston Marathon, coaching, follow your dreams, las vegas, marathon, marathon training, qualifying for boston marathon, running, running buddies, running with friends, Uncategorized, wrightsville beach marathon | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Wrightsville Beach Marathon Race Recap

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

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

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

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

Fleet Feet shakeout run!

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

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

My little speedsters

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

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

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

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

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

Fueled by Base and ready to go!!

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

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

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

I Love This Commercial and Update Before Things Get Cra Cra

Watch this and try not to get all verklempt.

Seriously, I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this commercial and what it stands for. Sometimes, aren’t we all the guy who comes in last but just never gives up? Does it matter what place we get? Isn’t the most important fact is that we are out there trying and busting our butts to get to where we truly want to go?

I love this commercial. This could be me in a few short weeks as I run my marathon. This could be me when Ironman Florida comes around. But you’ll never find me giving up. Hell no. I’ll never give up on my dreams. BELIEVE IN YOURSELF.

By the way, I had yet another interaction with Hal Higdon. I took a screen shot of it. Err merr gerrrd, HAL HIGDON AND I ARE ALMOST BFF’s!!!!! 😉 The subject was about fashion and races.

See, Hal is talking to ME!

See, Hal is talking to ME!

The weather has been quite difficult for those of us without gym memberships. Tuesday, school was cancelled because of the threat of ice. I didn’t even know we were supposed to get any bad weather at all until I got word on Monday afternoon that there was no school Tuesday. So much for those 800’s. It was 30 and raining and windy, so I decided to save myself from pneumonia and had a good, hard workout on my bike.

One hour with 4 x 7 min intervals at Z4

One hour with 4 x 7 min intervals at Z4

My friend, Amanda, and I decided to tackle her tempo workout together on Wednesday. Gulp. It was 5 miles at 7:30 pace. I figured that would be just as good or better as my two mile repeats I was planning for Thursday, so we got together Wednesday to get it done.

Man, isn’t running with someone else so much better than on your own? I mean, I love to run on my own, but for difficult speed workouts, it’s so much better to have someone to run with. We ran at Wrightsville Beach, since that’s where she lives and there’s a good straight road where we don’t really have to worry about traffic or making stops.  No one likes to be interrupted during a speed workout.  Right before we started, we both looked at each other with that “well, here we go” face. I have to admit, it didn’t feel terrible. It didn’t feel GREAT either, but it’s really not supposed to.

I forgot to mention that we had a lot of freezing rain on Tuesday and there was ice everywhere but the roads. The power lines and plants and trees were covered.

Ice at the beach.

Ice at the beach.

My kids had a lot of fun eating the icicles and I’m sure ingested tons of dirt along the way.  Nothing new. At least they were hydrating. So anyway, as we were running, a piece of ice fell from the power line and hit Amanda in the head. We didn’t find out til later that it actually cut her and made her bleed. I guess Ralphie’s mom WAS right, those icicles can be dangerous. Thankfully, she was ok and it was not a major cut, but it made us pay more attention to what was above us when we were running.

Two and a quarter miles into the tempo, I wanted to stop and breathe, which I slightly feel guilty about and am justifying with “it was a better tempo run than the two mile repeats” but I really wish I hadn’t stopped. It was maybe a minute or two and we headed back to finish our 5 miles with no more stopping. We ended up at 7:22 overall pace for the 5 miles. Whohoo!!!! And my legs felt it. When I got home, my dog was waiting for me, so I figured a good way to stretch out was to jog a little loop with her. She loved it.

Had to take a few minutes to enjoy the view and ocean sounds after our run.

Had to take a few minutes to enjoy the view and ocean sounds after our run.

There’s a reason why you don’t have two hard workouts in a row. My speed schedule is all off because of the dumb weather, but I knew I couldn’t do another speed workout today. I also didn’t really know what to consider the bike workout. I knew it wasn’t easy on my legs, but it wasn’t running. So, ????  I decided to just do the 5 miles on the schedule for yesterday. It didn’t feel bad, but I could tell my hammies and quads were tired. I could see how having back-to-back hard workouts can cause you to get injured or burn out. I did the smart thing and didn’t do it.

I’ve got 10 pace on Saturday and 20 on Sunday. THIS, my friends, will lead into my taper for the race. I think I almost threw up. It’s almost here. My son is turning 9 years old on Saturday and I have a lot to do to get ready for the family stuff we’re doing, the company we’re having, and the awesome Seattle Seahawks cake I’m going to make him.

Anyone else get hit with icicles? Running long this weekend? Want to come over for pizza on Saturday?

Categories: anything is possible, follow your dreams, go for your dreams, hal higdon training plan, interval training, ironman florida, marathon, marathon training, qualifying for boston marathon, quintiles wrightsville beach marathon, running, running buddies, running with friends, training for marathon, wrightsville beach marathon | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

There’s Something Satisfying About Being Completely Exhausted

It still sounds like I’m plugging my nose when I talk, but at least my ears have started to pop and I can hear again. It’s funny that you don’t realize how much you can’t hear until you can actually hear again. This weekend was a doozy, in a good way. I think I need a vacation from it. Nah, just kidding, it was a really good weekend.

My Friday night ended with my family watching Monty Python and the Holy Grail (“It’s merely a flesh wound”) and me dozing on the couch and finally calling it a day.  At a whopping 8:45, I headed to bed.  I felt like total crap. I had a big weekend planned so was hoping to get a good night sleep and wake up all bouncy and fresh.

I didn’t wake up bouncy and fresh, but I woke up feeling better on Saturday morning, thank goodness. I had to get up early to get a good 6 mile run in. I checked the temp and it was 20, a tad warmer than Friday but without any wind. I layered up and headed out, hoping to get a few tempo miles in since I missed them last week. Man, it was cold. Yes, I know, North Carolina’s version of cold is very different than many, but 20 is literally freezing, so I  stand correct when I say it was FREEZING. 🙂 The first mile felt good and I didn’t have a cough, so I picked up my pace and ended up with a mile at around 7:10. I rested about 30 seconds and started jogging again. I slowly picked it up and after a half mile, went for another fast mile, this one closer to 7:00. But I didn’t feel great after that. My LEGS felt fabulous, but the rest of me needed food. I hadn’t eaten much in over 12 hours, so I decided to just finish the rest of my run at a decent pace and not push it anymore. I was HUNGRY. 6.2 miles at an average 8:21 pace. Not too shabby.

I had enough time to get cleaned up, eat my smoothie, and get my stuff together for the swim clinic with Sheila Taormina. I was a little nervous, but this was just the classroom session, so at least I didn’t have to worry about snotting all over the pool. The first two hours was in a conference room where Sheila discussed the science behind the swim strokes and why we have the stroke we do. Or at least the one we should have. Basically, the entire time was discussing what to do with your hand/arm when your hand slides into the water until it comes out of the water. There wasn’t much talk about kick or anything else for that matter. I found it fascinating and I learned a TON. Now for translating that into being able to actually DO it. We then had a tubing session (I was disappointed there was no lake, boat, or tube) where we practiced our newly learned stroke with tubes that provide resistance. She looked at each one of us individually and told us anything we should be doing to correct it. Ok, I could do it right OUT of the water, so I was happy. I was SO GLAD I had the opportunity to attend this clinic.

Sheila showing us proper form while tubing.

Sheila showing us proper form while tubing.

I came home all excited to be able to swim better and MORE EFFICIENTLY. I yammered on and on to my husband as I showed him my new practice tubes and Sheila’s book. I’ve wanted to buy swim books before but didn’t because they didn’t make any sense to me. I didn’t even know what the swim term “catch” was before Saturday. Now that I understand what she’s talking about, I’m guessing the book will be helpful as I gain skill and check with the book THAT I NOW UNDERSTAND to be sure I’ve got it right. She even signed it for me. Ahhh, my brush with fame.

Finally, a swim book I can understand.

Finally, a swim book I can understand.

A few hours after I got home from the clinic, the entire family headed to meet a few other people at the theater to watch McFarland, USA, probably one of my new favorite movies. It’s a true story about a coach and his immigrant cross country team and what they go though.  It’s about hard work, it’s about perseverance, it’s about going for your dreams, it’s about family, it’s about trust, it’s about RUNNING.  My only advice is TO JUST GO SEE IT. It’s a Disney movie, so it’s kid safe. My personal favorite part is at the end when they show the real coach and team and where they are now.

After the movie, we went to dinner with a friend and his kids, and by the time we got home, it was pretty much time for bed. I had to get up early for my 12 mile run and then 2 hour swim clinic in the pool, so I appropriately fueled on popcorn, wings, and beer, then headed to bed.

Sea fog, or at least that's what the weather people were calling it.

Sea fog, or at least that’s what the weather people were calling it.

Sunday’s weather was weird. We went from cold and static-y to warm and damp. I even wore shorts and a t-shirt to run in, and it was soaked when I got done. I met with a group and ended up running with someone I didn’t know. Evidently, my pace pushed her, and it was great to get to know someone new. I would have like to maybe go a little faster, but when it was all said and done, I ran 12 at a sub-9:00 pace and it felt good. That was exactly what I was supposed to do, so I was satisfied AND got a friend out of it. A friend who has done TWELVE, yes TWELVE iron distance races.

Nice and calm for the run on Sunday.

Nice and calm for the run on Sunday.

I got home, ate a smoothie, and got ready to go to the pool.  What do I say about the pool session? Difficult? Yes. Annoying? Yes. Tiring? Yes. Amazing? Yes! This is where we put into practice what she was talking about the day before, PLUS the other parts of the stroke. We did drill after drill to drill the proper form into our muscle memory.  I mustered to the end and was literally shaking when I got out of the pool. Can you say, GOOD WORKOUT? Holy hell, I learned so much and was exhausted! But this is the first time I’ve EVER been exciting about swimming.

Learning at the pool.

Learning at the pool.

Not long after I got home from the session and ate my weight in lunch, the family took advantage of the warm weather and headed to Carolina Beach State Park. We walked the trails, explored, and had a nice time outside IN OUR SHORTS. The poor dog was so tired from smelling absolutely everything possible, she crashed as soon as we got home. I gave my kids hair cuts and then made Mexican pizza for the first time (I seriously was missing something because YUM), and we hung out, watching some TV.

I was tired. Damn dog tired. But doesn’t that feel good? Isn’t there something to be said for being busy, doing all sorts of new and fun and difficult things? I think so. And now it’s Monday, I have a HUGE list of things to do to make up for my time off last week and my youngest son’s birthday this weekend. Funny, 9 years ago today, I couldn’t bend down to tie my shoe because of my ginormous belly fully of baby (and about 45 lbs of “other”) and today, I’m a month out from running a marathon. Of course the weather is off her meds again and it was rainy for my run. It wasn’t one of those pelt you in the face, make you miserable, wish you were on a treadmill rains. Yet. Hello, cold front. This morning’s temp was the high for the next few days. Blech.

Monday's rainy run.

Monday’s rainy run.

What did you do this weekend? Even been to a swim clinic before? New song: The Creator by Pete Rock and CL Smooth – it’s in a pretty cool ad, which is how I found it thanks to Shazam.

Categories: follow your dreams, hal higdon training plan, iron distance, marathon, marathon training, qualifying for boston marathon, quintiles wrightsville beach marathon, running, running buddies, running with friends, swimming, training for marathon, training for triathlon, Uncategorized, wrightsville beach marathon | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Sometimes It’s Good To Not Have A Choice

I guess I had a choice, but I wasn’t giving myself a choice on whether or not I ran on Sunday. And after looking at so many other posts about the polar flavored air up north, I feel a little bit whiney. But Sunday was cold. And I had 20 miles to run.  And I didn’t have a choice to do it or not. I HAD to run.

So let’s back up to Saturday. I felt like I had been fighting off a cold since Thursday. Seems many people are getting something, a cold, the flu, something. I was extremely and unusually tired on Thursday evening, so I knew my body was trying to fight off some sort of bug and I had been exposed to about a zillion different viruses at the airports and planes full of sick people on Monday coming back from Vegas. I felt ok on Friday, but again, felt pretty tired for no apparent reason. I set my alarm for Saturday morning at 6:30 so I could get my 10 mile pace run in, and when the alarm went off, I threw my phone on the floor turned the alarm off and went back to sleep. For TWO MORE HOURS. Holy cow, when I woke up at 8:30, I was sort of pissed, sort of happy. Happy because I got the sleep I evidently needed. Pissed because I was just getting my lazy ass out of bed at 8:30 and had 90 minutes of running to do.

Saturday morning was cold, but the sun was out and it quickly warmed up. I started my run and immediately knew I was overdressed, so came by the house and changed. Another mile later, I swung by the house again and changed again, into shorts and t-shirt. It was almost hot. Several f-bombs later (I should have effing started effing earlier then I’d be effing done with this effing workout), I was ready to finish my effing 10 miler. I had a shitty attitude, and I didn’t want to run, I just wanted to make heart-shaped pancakes for my boys and drink coffee. I know myself and I’m not one to skip workouts, so I effing got out there and got it done. My stupid watch pace was all over the place, so I quit looking at it and tried to dial in race pace on my own. Two costume changes and 85 minutes later, I was done. Whew, race pace dialed in at 8:22. THAT is why I do my workouts, even when I don’t want to. They always feel good when they’re done.

The weather was pretty nice on Saturday, but the cold was coming. I had tried to change the long run to Saturday, but my friend couldn’t so I knew I had to get it done Sunday. It was going to be super windy and cold. Yes, all you northerners, cold is a relative term. Many of you would probably LOVE 20-something temps, so I apologize for my whining. Honestly, I don’t mind the cold. It’s the freaking wind that I hate. I HATE WIND.  I had my pre-long run and pre-race burger on Saturday night (delish) and got in bed all hydrated and ready to brace for what was coming the next day – 20 miles in the cold wind.

Wasn't too crazy about the cheese on the pasta, but the burger was goooood.

Wasn’t too crazy about the cheese on the pasta, but the burger was goooood. Goldie is in the background.

I woke up and it was just crap out. I felt fine, so I was happy about that, and I was meeting other people, so I knew I couldn’t get out of it, delay it, anything. I knew I had to just get out there and run. It was almost a relief to not give myself a choice. I had asked a friend/coach to run with us too, and she is the one who always seems to push my pace on long runs. She’s my dangling carrot, so to speak. I didn’t know if I could keep up or if she would care about pace on a crappy day, but I knew it would be good to have a group to run with. I brought all my clothes, got my fuel ready, and headed towards the beach. I don’t think I even pushed the gas pedal beyond a tap the entire way there. Wind. When the group of ladies was all there, we headed right into the 25 degree, 25 mph wind. We knew it was better to head into it first, but man, it was effing cold. My face, hands, and toes were cold. A few miles later, we headed into an area that’s more sheltered, so for the rest of the 12 mile loop, it really wasn’t bad. The last few miles getting pushed was pretty awesome. Some of the ladies were done, so three of us headed out for a 6 mile loop. It was so nice to talk and chat and keep our minds off tired legs and how many miles we had done/had left.  It wasn’t “conversation pace” but maybe “labored conversation pace”, but I never checked. Soon, 18 miles were done and the two ladies remaining were done. I had two to go solo. I ran towards the beach and felt pretty good. Wow, 8:05 minute miles at the end of a 20 mile run? Hmmmm, fishy. Yup, I was getting pushed by the wind, but I was also happy to be feeling good. Until I turned around. Yikes. “One more mile” and “I can do anything for just one mile” kept going through my head and some other thoughts like “this is bullshit” and “FUCK” were sprinkled in. Mom would be so proud (sorry mom, it’s dad’s fault). But I got my run done. When I met with Amanda, who waited for me to finish, she told me we were rocking our paces. Holy cow. I didn’t give one thought to pace because of the weather, and it turned out to be one of the fastest 20 milers….ever. And I was so worried.

20 miles, DONE. And you can see my cat's tail back there too.

20 miles, DONE. And you can see my cat’s tail back there too.

20 miles at 8:35 pace? Pretty damned awesome if I do say so myself. I was thrilled and it boosted my confidence for the race.

Me and Amanda - evidently my face froze into a strange look during my last mile.

Me and Amanda – evidently my face froze into a strange look during my last mile.

After hugging Amanda, I passed up stretching and immediately got in my car, turned up the heat, turned on the heated seats, and headed home. I did NOT want to get cold, as I knew it would take me several hours to warm back up if I did, and I was afraid I would be more susceptible to that little bug I’d been fighting. I have a few friends who swear by Ultragen recovery drink, so I drank a bottle on my way home.  I didn’t get sore the day of my last 20 miler and this time, I didn’t get sore either. I blame it on Ultragen, so that’s my plug – drink it and you won’t be sore when you run 20 miles. Really though, I like the way I feel after I drink it and it really does seem to curb the soreness that’s been normal for me.

I had five easy miles on Monday for a recovery run and decided to, again, ignore any pace on my watch and just run. It ended up being a sub-9:00 mile, so I guess that’s good.

Today, I was planning to do three 2 mile repeats but again, the weather was just not looking good. The cold that was trying to overtake me was not overtaking me, but was trying to settle in my chest/lungs. It was cold, windy, and wet out.

My back deck. Yuck.

My back deck. Yuck.

I asked some peeps on my Facebook page if it would be pansy or smart for me to stay in and have a tempo ride on my bike, and the response was overwhelming to ride my bike indoors.  So that is exactly what I did, and it was a good ride. I warmed up 10 minutes, then had four 7 minute repeats at Z4 with a 3 minute recovery (the 4th was a full 10 minutes at Z4), ending with a 10 minute easy recovery. I did run a little with the kids as they had their running practice after school since the rain ended and it dried up for the most part.

Tomorrow is an easy 5 miles and then Thursday, bum bum BUMMMMM, the 2 mile repeats. And the high is going to be 29 (really, super cold for us here). I’ve already planned to meet Amanda and get these cranked out, so there’s no excuses.

It’s been a good week of workouts, the marathon is in LESS THAN 5 weeks now, and I’m feeling good. Of course I’m nervous, but I’m ready to get my work in and see it pay off. I haven’t been able to get to the pool (that’s a story in itself so I won’t even start but I really wish it was warm enough to open water swim), and my swim clinic is this weekend. Exciting!

Anyway, if you haven’t already, check out my Running Boston and Beyond Facebook page (and hopefully LIKE it) HERE.

Categories: hal higdon training plan, marathon, running, running with friends, training for marathon | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Mile Repeats: Do I Love or Hate Them?

My legs are tired. I’m distracted (more on that in the next few days). I’ve been neglectful in reading y’alls posts and responding to your comments. It will make sense soon. Since my last post on Friday, I’ve run over 45 miles, all averaging less than a 9:00 mile. That’s pretty good considering I wasn’t doing any speed work just over a month ago. Speed work. Yeah. I’ll get to that in a sec.

OH!!!! Remember I told you that I got a Facebook message from Hal Higdon himself??? Well, I emailed him the information he requested. Then what do you suppose happened?? HE EMAILED ME BACK. EEEEK!!!! It’s like if when I was a teeny bopper and one of the band members from Poison would have LOOKED at me (or in my general direction). Uh. Muh. Gawd. If I could bronze an email, I would.

On Saturday, I had a 10 mile run at no specific pace. I decided to let my legs decide what to do and didn’t look at my Garmin pace at all. It felt really good, probably due to lower mileage the week before, and I ended up doing them at an average of 8:24 pace, which is right where I want to be for the marathon. Yeah!  Saturday evening, I had a swim lesson that went REALLY well. I’m actually looking forward to putting some of the learning into action in the pool.

To keep me entertained before the 10 miler, I had a Garmin race to see which one I would wear.

To keep me entertained before the 10 miler, I had a Garmin race to see which one I would wear.

Sunday was my 20 miler, and I was lucky to find some people to run with. Overall, it was a really good 20 miles filled with friends who made the time pass a lot easier than if I was running solo. Average pace was 8:54, which was faster than what I planned, but I was happy to go faster rather than slower.

I smile, but I'm not happy. My feet were frickin cold.

I smile, but I’m not happy. My feet were frickin cold.

I soaked in my 44 degree pool for 5 minutes, which is the most I could handle without my feet literally freezing and then they’d fall off and I’d have to go get one of those fake feet and it would probably look like one of those things you find in really nice men’s dress shoes.

Pre game cat nap. See what I did there? Cat. Nap.

Pre game cat nap. See what I did there? Cat. Nap.

I was happy that my long run fell on the Super Bowl Day, well, vice versa, so I was happy to eat a lot that night. I’m not a huge NFL team follower, more of a college fan myself, but we always eat, drink, and play silly games until the halftime show. I actually enjoyed the show this year, minus the Katy Perry beach ball outfit. I find it strange (at least for ME) that you are dressing your boobs up as beach balls. I guess she can, so more power to her.

My legs felt good on Sunday, even though I’d put 30 miles on them over the weekend. I ran an easy 4 on Monday morning and they still felt pretty good. Yeah for training!  I looked at my plan for Tuesday, which is tempo/speed day, and I had 7 x 800’s on it again. Hmmm. I really didn’t know if it was going to get me where I wanted to be for this marathon. I consulted a friend of mine who is VERY fast and has put together plans for herself and others. I asked her if I should do mile repeats, a tempo run, or more 800’s. She suggested I do mile repeats. Six of them. SIX. Oy. But after talking a little more, well, even before that, I knew it would be very beneficial to me if I did them. At a 6:55-7:15 pace. I think I threw up a little after reading that. But I want this marathon PR, right? Hell yeah! Well, you gotta do the work. It’s not going to be easy and it isn’t always going to be fun. So just do it.

Tuesday morning, I headed to the UNC-Wilmington track. There’s a one mile loop around campus that I wanted to run on so I wouldn’t have to look at my Garmin much and I could also grab water between each set. I was nervous. I always am, so there’s nothing new, but I got my game face on and prepped my mind to push hard. I’m glad my friend told me they were hard for her. I know they are, but hearing someone say it prepared me more. But running a marathon isn’t easy, so training for one shouldn’t be either.

I warmed up and started my first repeat. There’s some turns and a tiny bit of traffic to consider, plus a cold breeze, but I ended up finishing the first one in 6:52. Then the others followed. 6:55. 7:05. 7:05. 7:05. Then the last one. I have no idea what happened since I didn’t feel like I was struggling, but I ended up at 7:16 for that one, which pissed me off since I ALWAYS try to at least maintain if not pick it up for the last one, which is what I thought I was doing. Oh well. I did it. I freaking did it. And I wasn’t dead when I finished. I ran an easy 800 to cool down, and headed home to stretch, eat, and stretch more.

I love little teeny flowers.

I love little teeny flowers. I grabbed this pic after my mile repeats.

So anyway, do YOU like mile repeats? I don’t. But I do. But I don’t. But I do. I hate them AND I love them. You can learn a lot about your mental wherewithal during mile repeats. I went through all the stages of grief during those repeats. Denial. Anger. Bargaining. Depression. Acceptance. It’s kind of funny how it works. All I know is that I wouldn’t let myself give up. I REALLY wanted to slow down, to quit, to tell myself that I couldn’t do it that fast, that I could just do five instead of six. But I didn’t. I REALLY want someone else to run with me for next week’s set of 1.5 mile repeats. Seriously, that could make a big difference in the perception of how hard they are. Hopefully that will come together, as I’m already working on finding a  partner in misery.

What kind of speed work do you love to hate?

Categories: marathon, qualifying for boston marathon, running, training for marathon | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

The Epic-est Year

Did anyone else get the January blahs last week? Sheesh. The sun disappeared, which really has a tendency to make me feel like a zombie and it sucked the will to write out of me. And my computer and WordPress haven’t been getting along so when I type, it is literally as slow as a manual typewriter, minus the White Out. Last week was weird. I felt like the aforementioned zombie, but I also felt pretty good. I turned the corner on that pesky self doubt thing, my workouts have been spot on, I had an energizing meeting with my coach-to-be, and I realized that I’m going to have a freaking awesome year.

Maybe it was my post-800 run when I thought about the year as a whole and I actually said, “Wow, it’s going to be the epic-est year!”. While I know that’s not a real word and I can’t win Words With Friends by fitting it onto a triple letter, triple word space, it’s my word of the year. I’ll tell ya why it’s gonna be the Epic-est.

But first, here’s the rundown on my workouts.

Monday was a post-17 mile easy run of 4 miles. It was raining that day, but it was one of those great rain runs. I was surprised at how good I felt after rocking out 17 miles at 8:42 pace the day before (the self-doubt day).

I was nervous Tuesday. I had 6 x 800’s at 3:40 maximum and a 400 recovery between. I was anxious. It was cold and windy. I headed to the track and ran a nice mile warm up. I was alone and sporting my new pair of hot friggin’ pink Adidas Boosts (Salt, they really do have a boost!!). I turned on my good playlist and started my first 800. Bam. Second 800. Bam. Then third. I was half done and I was averaging 3:33. What the hell was I so worried about??? Another “aw shucks” moment for me when I worried so much for no reason. Then came the last 800 and I ALWAYS try to knock out the last 400. Bam. 3:28. And I felt good, not depleted, not out of breath entirely. Sure, my hands were going a little tingly, but that’s the fastest I’ve gone in a while. It felt delicious. I ran a mile warm down to make the total workout 6.5 miles. I felt exhilarated and confident.

6th 800 time. So happy 'bout that right there.

6th 800 time. So happy ’bout that right there.

Because I had to switch up my workouts and shift my Saturday/Sunday running to Friday/Saturday, I planned to do a tempo run on Wednesday instead of Thursday. I ended up running with a new and awesome friend, Melissa, and didn’t do a tempo run. I was hesitant about having two really long runs back to back (actually three counting the week before the 17 miles) and then having two speed workouts back to back in between those long runs. It pretty much goes against everything “they” tell you to do, so I didn’t freak out. It was a good 6 mile run, especially because of running with someone else.

Thursday was to be my day off, but because I hadn’t gone to the pool yet and I committed myself to go swim at least once a week, I headed to the pool. I think I’m making maybe a teeny bit of progress, but I know there’s a long road of improvement ahead of me. I swam 1750.

I like my hair.

I like my hair.

On Friday, I had a 9 mile marathon pace run. I wasn’t sure how this was going to go, but I was hoping to average 8:30 if I could. I was happy to finish feeling well and calculate that I ran the 9 miles in 8:13 or better average. I can literally feel my training and see the progress in the workout data.  I almost freaked out when someone kept following me, but <sigh in relief> it was just my shadow. It’d been so long since I’d seen her, I forgot what she looked like.

Saturday’s run was 19 miles. And this was Meg’s Miles day, in honor of a runner who was killed by a drunk driver while on her morning run.  I was nervous because I know that when you get into miles like that, there’s going to be some discomfort. Aren’t we runners goofy? I also knew that I was lucky to be able to run.  I ended up meeting with someone new from the Wilmington Road Runners since we were at the same goal pace (9:00) and both had long runs and I’ve decided that I need to branch out and meet other runners. Running alone when your other friends can’t run or have different paces can be so… lonely.  Let’s say that the run wasn’t easy, but it was so nice to run with my new friend, Amanda. We chatted the entire time, which is a long time to talk to someone you’ve never really talked to before, so it was awesome. We saw one of the most beautiful sunrises ever, and I know I was mindful of Meg and felt very happy, no matter the miles or time or anything. I was alive and I was running.  When I was done with my 19, Amanda had another mile to go, so I stretched and drank my chocolate coconut water. Mmmm, good, I love that stuff. When Amanda was done, a bunch of Road Runners came out to cheer her on (how freaking awesome is THAT??), and we ended up chatting with a bunch of them for a LONG time. My stomach told me when it was time to go, and I swung by a friend’s house on my way home to pick up her tri bike to test out. My plan was to soak in the pool when I got home, but I was cold, could not warm up, so I didn’t think it would be a good idea to get myself even colder. I did miss the soak, but my long hot shower was pretty awesome. The rest of the day was spent doing yard work and chasing the kids around the yard and jumping on the trampoline on the couch. It was a good, tired feeling, that unique “I did a long run and feel like crap but I did a long run and I am awesome hear me roar”. Because I technically had two long runs in one week, I logged in just over 61 miles for the week. Roar!

Me and my new running buddy, the cool Amanda

Me and my new running buddy, the cool Amanda

So what about this year makes it the epic-est? Well, maybe because I believe it will be epic, so it can’t NOT be epic. Mind over matter, we create our own happiness, right? The day I decided it was going to be the epic-est year, my husband and I agreed. Epic. That’s our theme. We’re going to go big, go crazy (as much as two responsible parents can anyway), do what we want to do, be what we want to be. So what does that entail for me?

First, my husband is turning 40 in a few weeks. It’s going to be an epic time. He has no idea what I’ve planned for him, and I really HOPE he likes what I’ve planned, but I’m intending for his birthday to be unforgettable.

Then in March, I’m running the Quintiles Wrightsville Beach Marathon to try and qualify for Boston. I’m not going to get all self-doubty on you here, but I’m nervous about it, but then again, that’s ok to be nervous about it. It’s a big thing to try and do. I KNOW I can do it, and I just hope all the pieces come together that one day to make it happen. I’m going to have a great race and do my best, and that’s all I can do.

In April, it will be a first for me to take a trip with a bunch of girls. Many of them are going to run the RNR Half in Nashville, but I’ll be sitting by the sidelines cheering on the runners. We’re going to go out and have a great time in a city I’ve only heard about. Epic.

We are going to our 24th Dave Matthews Band show in May. Epic. Will we ever tire of our love for Dave? Nope, doubt it!

This summer, we are going to visit my parents in Branson, Missouri, where we will play on the lake, go to Silver Dollar City, zip line, and have as much fun as our pocketbooks and ab muscles can take. From there, we will head up to see our old friends in Iowa, ones we haven’t seen but once since moving away in 2011. The kids are so excited to see their first best friends and I know it’s just going to be a blast. Allthewhile, I will be training for IMFL. And I’m EXCITED about it!

My kids are going to be in different sports, doing things they love, and they are going to be epic. We’re going to do all sorts of fun things on our adventures too.

Coaching. I’m going to coach this spring, the Kids Run the Nation and Stride, and this fall, I’ll be coaching middle school Stride (or I may end up trying to start a track club through the school – haven’t decided and don’t know what’s possible yet). It’s going to be awesome!

This fall is going to be the epitome of the epic-est for me personally, since I’ll be taking on Ironman Florida. In fact, I’ve already had a dream about it, visualizing the beginning and the fact of just being there. While the dream I had cannot be considered a realistic visual (I assume we wont be starting from a house boat – maybe that was from seeing someone mention the Alcatraz tri and they start from a house boaty thing) I thought it was so cool that  my thoughts of IMFL have already manifested themselves into a dream. I will be working with a very positive and experienced coach who I know will lead me to IM success. There is no room to question my success. It WILL be epic. I’ll be training all summer, all fall, and it’s going to get nutty in here. I’m going to be tired, grumpy, and working my butt off, but it’s going to be a journey with a destination I would have never imagined.

On my short recovery run with the pup, Scarlett

On my short recovery run with the pup, Scarlett

Along the way, I know I’m going to be running, biking, and swimming with some amazing people. I’ve already branched out and met more amazing people just this week. I think my husband (check out his blog HERE) and I are going to team up and do the Beach 2 Battleship 140.6 relay. I mean, how epic is THAT?? For him to just say, “Ok, I’ll run the marathon for you.” That’s damn cool. He’s the best. I’m also trying to decide what other events to do in prep for IMFL. The possibilities are endless, but unfortunately, my pocketbook is not, so will have to decide what is the best for training and what will maximize our training dollar.

So anyway, my year is already shaping up to be damn epic and it’s only January. And yes, I know I used my entire year’s worth allotment of the word “epic” in this one post.

Any EPIC name suggestions for our B2B 140.6 relay team???

Categories: beach 2 battleship triathlon, being epic, Boston Marathon, follow your dreams, ironman florida, marathon, running, triathlon | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Tempo Tuesday

After pretty much not getting anything productive done (except running of course) for almost three weeks, yesterday was the first day back, as it was for many people. My to-do list is longer than Lindsey Lohan’s rap sheet, but I got a good chunk out of it done yesterday. Well, now that I look at the list, it’s still really super long. I guess it probably doesn’t help that I keep adding things to it, huh?

The good thing is that I’m running again and I decided on what to do with training/coaching for my Ironman. I counted the weeks. It’s in 42 weeks from Saturday. I’m not sure if I’m happy about that or terrified….

Over the holiday, I asked a general question on the Facebook page Tri Talk regarding good books for IM training since I couldn’t afford a coach. I got several responses, but one happened to be from one of the coaches from the local group I belong to on and off, Without Limits. Sami is the Ironman Queen and happened to reply to talk to her about coaching and that we could work something out. I don’t know her well, but I do know she is the bees knees when it comes to Ironman. I didn’t want to pay for the coaching since I’ve spent so much on IM already plus all the coaching I’ve had for the running events, yadda yadda, money money, typical feeling guilty things for me spending money on my stuff. Sami and I chatted back and forth about trying to work something out, but one morning, I woke up at 5 am and all I could think about was the Ironman and coaching. I guess maybe it was a moment of clarity, because I suddenly realized that it would be absolutely stupid of me to pass up the opportunity to be coached by Sami, especially when she has so much experience and passion for the Ironman herself. And by the way, she has done TWELVE IM’s and qualified for Kona in November. So why in the world would I rely on books and the internet for information when I could have a personal coach for the biggest, most complex event in my life? I could have someone to work with, to ask questions to, to help me through something that is foreign to me.  So this late spring/early summer, I’ll be starting a plan with Sami to get me to the finish line at Ironman Florida in November. Clarity.

Gorgeous way to start 2015!

Gorgeous way to start 2015!

My marathon is March 22nd.  I haven’t been doing much, if any, speed or tempo or hill work, because I don’t want to aggravate the grumpy old man, otherwise known as my shin splints. I feel very behind, but I am healing. Slowly. Thank God!

New Year’s Day started with a good 6.5 mile run with friends at Wrightsville Beach, followed up with a soak in the freezing cold waterway. I certainly didn’t want to put my legs into 50 degree water, but I knew it was the right thing to do considering my mileage that I did during the week and what was coming for the weekend. Let’s say that I wasn’t as brave as some other runners who put their lady bits into that cold water. I think I would have died.

The little ripples are from my shivering.

The little ripples are from my shivering.

Saturday I was lucky enough to have company for my 8 mile pace run. It wasn’t easy, but it was definitely doable, and we got it done in average 8:20-something pace, honestly I don’t really know. My Garmin does not like trees or clouds, and since we ran in trees AND clouds, it said we were going 9:00 plus pace part of the time, which I know was not accurate. So I’m not EXACTLY sure what the pace was, and that irritates the crap out of me. I just estimate the best I can on Garmin’s fussy days. I think it’s related to my shin splints. Moody and grumpy.

I was a little nervous for Sunday’s 16 mile run because it was going to be warm and it was supposed to rain. Luckily, the rain held off, but it was just gross outside, like the air of a man’s dirty beard. Ugh. 72 with almost 100% humidity after not running in that for a few months was just difficult. I made it through, but I don’t have any idea of what pace I was going. Garmin had another funky day with the clouds, but mostly, it got turned back on somehow so was ticking away as I was driving home. I got home and the feast started. First, it was a berry smoothie. Then it was a 4-egg (1 1/2 yolks to 4 egg whites) scramble, plus about half a pound of spinach, ham, and cheddar. It was goooooood. I drank a Zip Fizz recovery drink, had an endurolyte pill, and several cups of water, some almond milk, and then some coffee. When the feast was over, I was happy to report that my legs felt just tired, I had no pain, and my belleh was full. Score.

Ohhhh, good.

Ohhhh, good.

On Monday, I had an easy 3 mile run, but because there’s an Ironman in the picture and I took on the slacker role over break, I knew I needed to get to the pool. I headed there first thing in the morning and was met with zero ability to swim. It was like I hadn’t been to the pool in months. Can you say “doggy paddle”? Oy. I made myself finish a mile and work on form – a.k.a. finding my form. After I got home, I headed out for a nice easy 3 mile run. My legs were slightly achy from the weekend running, but no pain. Could I be healed? Dare to dream! After my run, I got to working on my “Lindsey Lohan Rap Sheet” to-do list. I worked all day on the crap I should have done the last few weeks of December, and I felt good about what I got done.

As for today, ah today, today is one of those days that I will never quite forget, but I certainly do not want to repeat. I’ll call it the “Helga situation”, and was the final event wrapping up the accident that happened in August. I’m planning to write about that later this week assuming my to-do list becomes shorter as the days go by. Bonus was we walked by where they film “Sleepy Hollow” and I have proof.

When I got home from lunch with my sister to celebrate the ending of the “Helga Situation”, I decided to go ahead and knock out my run. I didn’t feel mentally ready for a tempo run because of everything and I was depressed from everything, so I thought I would figure it out as I went. Much to my surprise, I started out a race pace and quickly moved into my tempo pace, where I stayed for three miles, finishing 3.1 in 23 minutes. Not too shabby, especially with a belly full of Diet Coke and Bun Thit Nuong. I finished with 5 miles in 40 minutes, and I am so thrilled to 1) complete this tempo run in the first place and 2) report there’s no pain and 3) not throw up lunch. Faster-than-race-pace has been the big trigger with my grumpy old shins, so I was worried about this run, especially since I did bring it down to 7:00 pace and a little below for a while in the 3 faster miles. So far, so good!

Today was another reminder for me to always give it my best shot, even when I may not be feeling mentally or physically up to a certain challenge or workout. The rest of the week’s running is pretty easy, but this weekend will be an 8 miler on Saturday followed by 17 on Sunday. The weather looks cool and dry, so at least we won’t have “dirty beard” conditions to get through. I’m going to give this marathon my all, and next week starts more speed and hill training. I’m ready.

Have you ever been to court before? What do you do when you’re mentally DONE but have a pace workout?

Categories: coaching, go for your dreams, iron distance, ironman, marathon, open water swimming, quintiles wrightsville beach marathon, running, running buddies, running with friends, swimming, training for marathon, training for triathlon, triathlon, wrightsville beach marathon | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Hurts. So. Much.

Saturday morning, I ran the half marathon called The Scream. It’s mostly downhill – I think 2100 ft descent elevation, and boy, were my legs a screamin’ Sunday! They hurt a lot on Monday too. Thankfully, my friend Renee, learned you can go down the stairs backwards to minimize the pain. It’s literally more painful (not as tired of course, but it hurts a lot!!!) than after running Boston.  And that’s bad. Here’s the recap.

On Friday, my family and I took off towards the “mountains” of North Carolina. We were more in the foothills than the mountains, but anything over 50 ft elevation is pretty high compared to where we are here in Wilmington. I could barely breathe in that air up there. No, just kidding, my ears popped a few times, but other than that, I couldn’t tell. I was super excited since we were staying in a cabin with some VERY cool people, and my plans were that I was to become one with nature after the race. We were going to explore. We were going to walk in the woods, let the dog run around and sniff all she wanted to, and we would not shave.  We were to be rebels.

So as we rolled in on Friday, it started raining. We went to bed with the rain tapping on the metal roof. We woke in the night to the rain tapping on the metal roof. We woke up to (bet you can’t tell what’s coming here…..) the rain tapping on the metal roof. Hmmm, yet another race in the rain. We were staying in a cabin with my friend Renee and her family, and three other very cool girls were staying in a cabin on the same property. It was really nice that one of them, Paige, didn’t even swear around the kids. Bonus, I didn’t either. We drove to the location where we were to catch shuttles to the start and then where the after party would be. Rain, rain, and more rain. Yuck. Once we got on the shuttle (a big yellow school bus), we wound up the hills for about 30-40 minutes to the start. We quickly got our bibs and timing chips and headed to the can for one more pit stop.  I’m glad we had gotten to the shuttle early, as we barely had time to get our stuff and go to the bathroom before people were headed to the actual start line around the corner from where we were dropped off.  And it’s not like there were hundreds of runners either – the race was capped at 350 runners and I know there were some who stayed home due to the rain. But we didn’t.

Before the race start.

Before the start, and before Sharon’s dinosaur hands came through her plastic bag/poncho.

 

Looking right at the race start.

Looking right from the race start.

The race got started about seven minutes late, but with all that rain, it wasn’t terrible. I think I would have felt rushed had it not started a little late, and we were where we needed to be in plenty of time. I’m not really sure what would have happened had we not been so early. I guess we would have been late.  Anyway, when the gun went off (or it was just a guy saying, “GO” but I honestly don’t remember), I had in my head that I wanted to do about an 8:30-9:00 minute mile pace. Then something snapped. Yeah, that competitive thing came about. This race was just supposed to be for fun. Ok, so how many of you are nodding your head in understanding right here? Yeah, right. NOT be competitive in running? Fat chance. I didn’t even stop to take a picture of the course because that would have slowed my time by, like, maybe TEN seconds!  I started that way and really, running down a hill is pretty awesome. I knew I was going to be sore and all that and I didn’t care, but it was so fun!!! The first few miles were UP hill, and when we went from the road to the hard-packed gravel trail, it started going down. Don’t you just love that? You can go faster with the same effort!!! It was awesome. It was a SCREAM. Then I started to get passed. I don’t understand, as I was letting the gravity pull me, and I didn’t fight it. But I kept getting passed. It sort of irritated me, you know, because this race was supposed to be FUN. I actually thought I might be last, but I didn’t turn around and check.  So on the up hills, I did what I normally did, which is to keep pace. I didn’t slow down. And that’s where I got my sweet revenge in my FUN race, I passed tons of people on the little bit of up hills we had.

The miles pretty much flew by. When I was out of breath from running up hill, we went back down, and my breathing relaxed. It was fun. The terrain wasn’t bad, even with the very wet conditions.  I didn’t have music and I didn’t run with Renee as I planned to, so I kept myself busy by planning my path around the corners to cut all tangents, not falling, and enjoying myself. I did get pushed once at a water station because I slowed down. Then this RUDE guy just pushed me out of the way. I called him an asshole but evidently, he didn’t hear me or didn’t care. I ended up passing him so he can suck it.

My paces were staying pretty close to 8 minute miles, and I was thrilled. My Garmin was off quite a bit from their mile markers, which I expected, but whatever, it was fine. Then I got to mile 12, the longest mile on the face of the earth. This is what I think happened: The course is certified and they know the beginning and the end. They marked the middle miles using THEIR Garmins, and at the end, they were short, so they just made the last mile twice as long. Seriously, it was a mile and a half long. No joke. I was losing my patience, my shoes were sloppy wet, and I was tired and wanted to be done. That friggin mile just wouldn’t stop. Around the corner? Nothing. Around another corner? Nothing. No one. I almost stopped, but then realized that would be just stupid, so I kept going. Then there it was. Mile 13. Then .25 miles later came the finish line. I seriously don’t get why it was so messed up at the end, but I think the actual total mileage was right on. It just wasn’t nice to make the last mile so long.

I finished in 1:46 and was pretty happy, although I was close to a PR2 if the course would have been marked accurately. Well, in my mind I was headed to a sub 1:44, which wouldn’t make it a PR, just a 2nd place to a PR. (My actual PR is 1:40.)  When I crossed the finish line, I got some water, and stood in the rain. A few of us from the Without Limits group had a picture taken, and I thought it was really cool the faster cats waited for the rest of their friends to finish before they headed to the bus to get back to shelter. Unfortunately, I don’t know most of them yet.  I ended up getting really cold and wished I would have worn different things at the beginning and saved my water proof jacked for my bag at the end. Oh well.

At the finish- Renee, Me, Shelley, Sharon, and Paige

At the finish- Renee, Me, Shelley, Sharon, and Paige. All of them are really cool chicks.

Once everyone finished, we headed to the bus and they trucked us back to the place where my family would be. They had some REALLY good BBQ and other eats there, and once the awards were done (only 5th in my AG), we headed back to the cabin for a HOT SHOWER. It was still raining.

scream1

My hair was a rat’s nest. Big mistake in not packing my de-tangler. Ouch.

Left side was brushed out, the rest, was not.

Left side was brushed out, the rest, was not. Complete rat’s nest.

The rest of the afternoon was spent eating, drinking, resting, relaxing, and then finally, the skies parted and I took my one son and dog outside to explore. It was awesome.

The next day, we went exploring in the river on the property where we stayed, and it was more than awesome. I grew up doing that sort of thing, being one with nature and all, and my dog, kids, and husband were having a great time. We are going back to that place, that’s for sure.  Unfortunately, we had to leave pretty early to get back home in a decent time.

As for the race, I really enjoyed it!!!  I was a little sore while running, and I was concerned when my knee starting bugging me in the same place it started hurting the last few days of my 10×10 Challenge. But then that went away, and I felt good. It was something new, something different, and it was nice to get out and be somewhere hilly for a change.  There’s a full marathon on that same course, and it’s very tempting to try and BQ on that one. I’m not sure if I could run that fast down hill for a full, mostly because I have ZERO hills to train on, but it’s definitely worth considering. I’m hoping I won’t have to worry about that though.  We are planning to go back to The Scream next year!!

The river

The river

As for what I’m doing this week IF IT EVER STOPS RAINING, is to swim, bike, and run. I’ve GOT to get back to tri training since it’s coming down to only three months until the half iron. I was going to blame the rain and my hurtin’ legs on not swimming today, but honestly, I just didn’t want to!  As for me now, I’ll just keep stretching these legs and complaining as I descend down the stairs. Ouch, ouch, ouch, but it was totally worth it!

 

 

 

 

 

Categories: 10x10 challenge, beach 2 battleship triathlon, Boston Marathon, half iron distance, marathon, open water swimming, running, running buddies, running challenge, running with friends, swimming, training for half iron distance, training for triathlon, triathlon, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

10 Things I Learned From Running 10 Miles A Day For 10 Days

After I finished the Boston Marathon, I was looking for something to do. I knew another marathon would not be a smart idea, and I ended up finding the 10×10 challenge on Facebook. Hmmm, I can run ten miles a day for ten days, right? Sure! The timing was never right since we had some weekend plans, and I didn’t want to HAVE to run on the holidays, on vacation, blah blah. Fast forward to July and I had one week where I could get the challenge in. I decided to combine the challenge with my cousin’s fundraiser for Huntington’s Disease, and asked my friends and family to donate to the Huntington’s Disease Society if I completed the challenge. I got some pledges and donations  and on July 6th, I started running. I had a lot of time to think, to talk, and to learn a little about myself and running; 16 hours and 22 minutes over 10 days, to be exact. But I finished the challenge and raised about $500 for Huntington’s along the way. Thank you so much to those of you who pledged and donated! It means so much to me to have your support and you made my cousin cry with happiness! By the way, the initial numbers are in, and with her big event last weekend, she has raised upwards of $32,000 for Huntington’s Disease research AND she just announced she is also going to have a big fundraiser in the Phoenix area where she lives!!! Boom.

Since I like to make lists, here’s the newest list of the ten things I learned from running ten miles a day for ten days, in no particular order.

Oh yeah! Oh yeah!

Oh Ptheven.

To learn how I met Ptheven and the pthory behind it, or even if you just want to laugh, please read this post HERE when I was having one of those days when everything made me laugh.

I DID IT, oh yeah oh yeah!

My Pthelfie. I DID IT, oh yeah oh yeah!

1) Endurolytes are the magical pill that I’ve been waiting to discover, I just don’t know what took so long. It never crossed my mind to take them for marathons, summer training, or anything shorter than a half iron. Big mistake. Once I started taking them during this challenge, my recovery time dramatically decreased, and I felt so much better than I normally do when running in swampy conditions. Lesson learned, and they will be part of my regiment from now on. Run out of electrolytes during a marathon again? Not this girl.

2) Ten miles is the perfect distance.  It’s enough to force you to work hard, and to plan, but it doesn’t deplete your energy the way longer runs do. I had relatively no intensity in any of my ten milers either, but I didn’t feel like I HAD to walk.  I certainly wanted to in the last few days, but I didn’t. The day after the challenge was done, my legs feel pretty good. Do I want to go out and run? Hells no, but I could if I needed to. If I did, someone may want to put one of those white coats on me because that’s just KRA-ZY.

3) The 10×10 Challenge ain’t no joke! It becomes more of a mental challenge than a physical one. Ten miles is a great distance, but it becomes about something other than the actual running.  Getting up early day after day, planning the fueling, the hydrating, getting through those long workouts day after day after day. At least 2 hours a day is spent on this – preparing, running, then recovery.  It gets tiring. It was super hot and humid for me here, and if I wasn’t so freaking stubborn, I would not have completed this.  Seven days would have been too easy of a challenge, but eleven days, well, that would have sucked big time.

4) I’m stronger, both physically and mentally, than I gave myself credit for.  My legs are tough.  Running 100 miles in ten days isn’t anything to sneeze at. I’ve NEVER run 70 miles in one week, only 64 when in peak marathon training several years ago. It’s a ton of miles, and I really had to push myself, physically but mostly mentally. I continually second guess whether I can actually do things, to which my awesome husband tells me that I can pretty much do anything, and maybe, just maybe, I need to listen to him. Because it’s true.

5) Sunrises make me happy.  I normally see many sunrises as I train turning the summer, but seeing them day after day during this challenge was a reminder of how beautiful life is.  It made me feel even happier to be alive and have the ability to even think about doing this challenge.

Gorgeous view from the north tip of Wrightsville Beach at sunrise.

Gorgeous view from the north tip of Wrightsville Beach at sunrise.

6) Running buddies ROCK.  I have amazing friends. Out of the ten days of running, I had company for four of them. It really made a difference in getting through those days when I didn’t want to spend 100 minutes by myself doing the same thing I had been doing for several days before. It kept my mind off the actual act of running, and it was good to catch up with each one of them during our workouts.

7) I’m extremely fussy about accurate running times/distances.  When I started the MapMyRun workouts for those ten days, I had to put my phone in it’s little Roo pouch and then start running. I had to stop for water, to stretch, traffic, and walk with my buddies. I never paused my workout, even when I was stopped for several minutes. It bugged the shit out of me. The times recorded showed the time I spent standing, so they weren’t exactly accurate for per mile splits. Why do I care? I have no idea. When my workouts were done, it sometimes took me a while to get the thing to stop the workout because my phone was covered in sweat and my hands were dripping. Boy, that pissed me off. “I finished that damn workout TEN SECONDS AGO!!!”. I don’t get why it matters to me, but it does. It doesn’t to anyone else, but me. Hello, my name is Kelli, and I’m an accurate time addict.

8) Vaseline can fix wonky toes. That’s pretty much all you need to know – I’ll be using this more as I ramp up my miles again this fall.

9) Running challenges are good for you! Sometimes you need to do get out there and do something different. I wrote a little about this earlier in the challenge, but I got a sense of post-race euphoria somewhere half way through. It waned a little near the end when I JUST WANTED IT TO BE OVER and I was tired of sweating out half my body weight, but really, it sort of came back again today. I feel like I can do pretty much anything today.  It gave me a boost of confidence to NOT be afraid to try things and that if I set my mind to something, I can do it. So challenges are good. Very good, and I’m thankful that I took this one on.

10) I can and I will.

challenge19

Somewhere along this journey, I realized that I really did, truly want to complete an iron distance.  (I had LOTS of time to think as I ran!) I already figured out that going to an actual Ironman event would be too expensive for my family, so I am going to do the one here in town, the Beach 2 Battleship. I’m doing the half this October, but I’m going to plan to do the full in another year or two or three. It all depends on how my marathons go. I continuously questioned whether I had what it took to do the training involved, and probably mid-way through this challenge, I realized that if I set my mind to it, I can do anything I want to do. Sure, it takes physical ability and all that, but being mentally strong and having the ability to push yourself to not give up is almost more important than the physical part of it. As a marathoner, I know how to push, how to persevere, how to get up every day and train. And I know that I can do more. This challenge taught me to not be afraid, to have no fear in going for my goals. I know that I have what it takes to work towards and achieve my goals.

I can and I will.

scream

Now this weekend I’m off to the mountains for a new challenge, running a half marathon called The Scream, you know, because it’s a screamin’ good time down 2100 ft of elevation. I’m looking forward to getting out of town, spending time with my family in the woods, being unplugged (there’s NO cell service in our cabin – SCORE!), and seeing some of my friends.

Once I get back, it’s totally tri training time. This girl’s gotta get serious!

 

 

 

Categories: 10x10 challenge, beach 2 battleship triathlon, Boston Marathon, half iron distance, huntinton's disease, iron distance, marathon, open water swimming, running, running buddies, running challenge, running streak, running with friends, training for half iron distance, training for triathlon, triathlon, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , | 15 Comments

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