Posts Tagged With: training for marathon

Learnin’ To Fly

Well, hello there, strangers. It’s been several months since my fingertips have hit the ole keyboard. Excuse the coughing, it’s dusty in here. The last time I wrote, I was dealing with some pretty serious post-Boston depression and questioning the meaning of life what I was going to do next. A few weeks later, when the urge to sign up for all the races had passed, I settled down, and really thought about what I wanted to do with my running and/or triathlon’ing.

It came down to this: After my BQ/PR marathon in March of 2016, where I finished in 3:36, I felt like I could have done a little better. I trained for a 3:40, and achieved a faster time. I felt I have more to give, I felt like I had the urge and will to push harder. I also feel that dumb clock ticking away, and because I can’t bash it in with a sledgehammer, I figured, I have only so many years left where I can get faster in long races. This may not be true, but face it, the older you get, the harder things are, the more “fragile” (for full effect, pronounce this like the dad does in Christmas Story – FRA-GEEEELLLLAAAAYYYY) your body gets, and typically, you top out, or peak. I hope I’m the exception to this rule, but I also hope to win the lottery, too. You just never know.

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FRA-GEEEE-LAY

I settled on doing a marathon. No triathlons. I thought for a few weeks about what race I wanted to run, and when I wanted to run it. It didn’t take very long for me to decide that I wanted to go for a big PR and another BQ in Houston, in January. I’ve run this race before, where I got my first BQ, and it’s a big race, lots of support, on a flat course. Perfect. And by the way, I did qualify for Boston at Boston, but only by 28 seconds. This year, you had to qualify by 3 minutes, 23 seconds UNDER your qualifying time to get in. Needless to say, I didn’t get in, but that’s ok.

Then it was time to repair my body. Over the course of Boston training, I had foot issues (metatarsalgia), knee issues, and shin splints. My training wasn’t smooth, and I was still able to pull out a 3:44. Racing and training smart (HUGE thanks to my coach) was a big part of my success.

Over the summer, I ran, I lifted weights, I biked, I didn’t swim. I slept in once a weekend, and when it was 85 at 5 am with a dew point of 85, I stayed inside, on my bike, with my cold water, cold air, and remote. I got my personal trainer certification. In August, I started doing speed work again, so I could slowly build up to avoid shin splints. I started back on my Base Performance regiment. I did a 70.3 triathlon relay and ran a half marathon in September, in 1:51. I did a 5k time trial in early October in 22:53, and it was 9,000,000 degrees out that morning. I’m not exaggerating, it really was that warm. Seriously, it was. My body stayed healthy, and I was getting my speed back.

Fast forward. Tom Petty passed away on October 2nd, and I turned 44 on October 3rd. At track practice on my birthday, my coach, a HUGE Petty fan, played his music as we chased each other around the big oval. It was a gorgeous morning, and my workout was exhilarating. I heard “Learning to Fly”, and I teared up, because here I was, all fixed up, running with my friends, and learning how to fly again. I don’t think this is what Tom was singing about, but sometimes, you hear a lyric, and it coincides so much with something in your life, it attaches itself and has its own meaning. This is what that song did for me that day.

Because my goal is so big, at least for me, I had to trust myself to be vulnerable to failure again. It’s a scary thing, as I’ve failed at more marathon goals than I’ve succeeded. BUT, along the road to success, those failures provided the most opportunity for learning. The marathon is a beast, and it can tear you up. Respect the distance. I think that is why I wanted to go for this goal, because it’s so big, it’s so scary, I needed the challenge. I need the challenge. It feels like the one thing I can cling to right now, with the craziness of life, the career path that took a sharp turn down a road that I didn’t really want to take. But I have this, this big thing ahead of me. I need it. I want it. Dream big, work hard.

Today, at track practice, Coach went “old school”. His words, not mine. 20 minute tempo run followed by six 200’s at 95%. My tempo pace is 7:20, but today, I ran it a little faster. Each lap ticked by at 1:45-1:47, and I pushed for it, I fought to keep it, and I did it. Then I knocked out the 200’s. I love 200’s – they were my “thing” when I was in school 100 million years ago.

My husband loves Thursdays. 99.9% of the time, I come home from track practice with a huge smile on my face, a story to tell, and I say, “I LOVE RUNNING”. Track is my happy place – my friends, music, and an awesome, difficult workout. Today was no exception, but today was better. I feel it. I feel like I’m progressing towards my goal. I feel like I can actually do this thing. Something so big, so scary, intimidating…and yet, now it feels achievable. I believe in it. Granted, I have a TON of work to do, but I’m ready to dig in and do the work. I’ve been ready. As Tom Petty says, I’m learnin’ to fly. But maybe, just maybe, I do have wings.

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Learnin’ to Fly

Categories: anything is possible, being epic, Boston Marathon, follow your dreams, fueled by base, go for your dreams, learning from failure, marathon, marathon training, no fear, qualifying for boston marathon, running, training for marathon, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Part Deux: Wrightsville Beach Marathon

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mile 12ish

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

Togas and Tigers Aid Station, Mile 14.5

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Almost at the finish!

Mile 26: 8:21

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

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I got it!

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

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

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

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My boys and best supporters

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

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

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Post-Race Happy

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Post-Race Nappy

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

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

Charleston Marathon Recap – No BQ For Me :(

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Mile 16

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Marathon 9 in the books!

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

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Paul, another cool pacer guy, and me

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

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

facepalm

I heard my coach do this over the phone.

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

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

Wrightsville Beach Marathon – Race Recap

PRE-RACE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

My boys and The Tiger

My boys and The Tiger

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

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

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

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

Post race.

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

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

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

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

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

RACE MORNING

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

That was an early morning.

I don’t see that time very often.

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

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

Pre-race.

Pre-race. Looks like I have to pee.

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

THE FIRST HALF

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

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

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

Runnin' my race

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

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

A-Mazing

A-Mazing

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

Feeling good. Still have hitchhiker thumbs.

Feeling good. Still have hitchhiker thumbs.

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

Huh????

Huh????

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

wtf

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

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

Heeeellll NO.

Heeeellll NO.

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

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

wtf6

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

Almost to the finish.

Almost to the finish.

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

And I finished.

Marathon #8. Done.

Marathon #8. Done.

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

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

But first, I got me some Ironman to do.

Hugs, anyone?

Hugs, anyone?

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

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

Building a Marathon Playlist

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

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

A Letter To Shoe Companies and More

PART I: Shoes

My letter would read like this:

Dear Shoe Company,

I love innovation and cool new things. I really do. But there’s also something to be said for the phrase “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Changing shoe designs so much that the sizing is different is just friggin’ wrong. You’re messing your runners up, so STOP IT! People are becoming hoarders because of your shenanigans. Yes, they go buy all the old pairs of shoes that fit them because they know you are going to ruin it with your “innovation”. This could eventually lead them to financial ruin, too. See what one simple change can do? Please stop, unless you can just keep some of the old models around, oh, like FOREVER.

Thanks, love ya, mean it, and by the way, I’m switching to another company!

Love,

Kelli

I know the other company is just going to do the same damn thing, too. We’re screwed.

Anyway, I got my new Asics Nimbus this weekend, and I was excited since the new concept was super cool. I put it on my tired foot on Sunday when I got home from an equally awesome/horrible trip down to Myrtle Beach to take the RRCA Coaching Certification class. And within five minutes, my toe was going numb. Seriously, they were too short. I wear a 9W and have for several years, but my foot didn’t all of a sudden grow, heck no, the shoe is smaller. As I mourned the loss of my dream of having beautiful new Nimbus’s? Nimbuses? Nimbusses? Nimbus’? I ended up chatting with a rep from Roadrunner Sports and BAM, ordered a pair of the new Adidas Ultra Boost. Remember, I’m currently in a love affair with the regular Boosts. Anyway, I figured THEY would be too small because that’s what shoe companies do and I’d end up not having any new cool shoes to wear, BUT, two days after I ordered them, I opened the new box and channeled Carrie Bradshaw.

I’ve run in them already, and I can officially say that I’m infatuated.

Maybe the color will make me run faster?

Maybe the color will make me run faster?

PART II: Class

I was so thrilled and lucky to be a part of the RRCA Coaching Certification Course last weekend. What better environment than a room filled with runners talking about running? It’s like my kind of heaven! I was in an extremely diverse group, from new runners to very experienced runners with decades of coaching experience to one of the authors of “Run Less, Run Faster”. This class reinforced what I already thought I knew, and it taught me a few things that I certainly did not know (well, more than just a few).  Most importantly, it gave me the confidence to put my experience and knowledge together to successfully build a training program. My husband is my first guinea pig, my sister is second, then back to hubby for another go-round.  Do I want to do this for a living? Yes, I could see this for myself, mostly beginners or someone new to a structured training plan, but my goal and focus has been and will continue to be towards kids. Do what you love, love what you do, right?

rrca

The horrible part of the weekend started about 7:00 pm that Saturday of the training. We stayed on Ocean Blvd in Myrtle Beach, along the strip, so to speak, and it turned into a drag strip for all the teens on spring break who wanted to rev their souped up engines and annoy all the old fogeys trying to rest and sleep before 2:00 am.  Hour after hour passed with them making so much noise, the room literally shook. I didn’t get to sleep, well, ever, because I don’t remember actually waking up. I just remember being up all night. I got up to run at 5:30, which was actually 4:30 because of the time change, and at least I saw an amazing sunrise.  I made it fine through the day (probably because we talked about running all day), but let’s just say I passed out Sunday night around 8:00 pm. And I was happy.

Myrtle Beach sunrise

Myrtle Beach sunrise

I took and passed the test with a 94% (angry that I missed six questions and can’t find out which ones were wrong, but the thing had me tied up in knots because some of the answers weren’t clear to me because of my overthinking). I passed and so now just need to complete my First Aid course, and I’ll be good to go! Whohooo!

Part III: Training

I’m still hanging out in taper mode and haven’t gone nuts yet. YET. I’m doing what I normally do, planning, worrying, checking the weather, second guessing my training, but I’m also focusing on the whole “getting comfortable with being uncomfortable”. I didn’t get a good run in over the weekend, as explained above, but I got in a nice pace run on Monday.

It warmed up enough for tanks and SWEAT!

It warmed up enough for tanks and SWEAT!

Tuesday, I did four 1-mile repeats: 6:51, 6:52, 7:13, 7:01. I was tird. My legs were a little sore on Wednesday, so I had a nice and easy 4 miler, then a 4 mile pace run today. Well, it was faster than pace at 8:02, but wasn’t necessarily fast. I’m off Friday and I’m honestly not sure what I’m going to run this weekend. I want to get in 10-12 easy miles, but it depends on a few things.  No matter what, it’ll seem so short! Next week is going to be weird with only having a few miles a few times all week. But then then big race is almost HERE, so it’s time to rest up and prepare!

Part IIII: New Find

I went to Costco last week, and I don’t know if you’re like this, but I want to buy everything when I go in there. It happens at Whole Foods too. I browsed a lot and ended up finding this stuff.

 

I'm NuttZo for this stuff. Har har.

I’m NuttZo for this stuff. Har har.

I’m sort of happy and sort of in sticker shock that I didn’t check the price before I bought it and got it home, but I’ve been adding a spoon to my morning smoothie, and it is delish! It’s not great by itself, which is why I add it to smoothies or put on a wild rice cake. Just thought I’d share, but don’t let your eyes fall out of your head when you see the price. Just don’t look.

So how is everyone doing? I’ve been out of the loop a bit but since next week is taper and I’m not supposed to start projects (I was seriously considering painting a room), I’ll have lots of time to catch up! Have you ever bought something inadvertently expensive? Do you get annoyed with loud and annoying drivers?

Categories: Boston Marathon, coaching, follow your dreams, go for your dreams, hal higdon training plan, interval training, marathon, marathon training, qualifying for boston marathon, quintiles wrightsville beach marathon, rrca coaching certification, running, running buddies, running with friends, training for marathon, Uncategorized, wrightsville beach marathon | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

It’s THAT Time

taperYes, it’s taper time, bitches, and you know what that means?? It’s time to get my game face on and freak out prepare for this marathon! And I’m totally 100% exhausted. From checking race day weather. Oh, and running my 16 miler this morning since there’s no way in HELL I can get that done before my 8:00 am class plus time change on Sunday morning. There’s no rest for the weary as there’s kid stuff to do tonight. One has soccer and one has a party. Until 9:15. I’m like, WTF, I want to be getting ready for bed at 9:15!!! Hence the cuppa coffee next to me right now. I’ll taper next week.

imfl3

I’m off to RRCA Coach Certification class bright and early tomorrow morning for two full days of learning. I’m really excited about it. It will be a good distraction from my race and all that weather checking that does me absolutely no good besides freaking me out and giving me bouts of depression and anxiety. I never said it was a smart thing to do, I’m just being honest. It’s actually pretty dumb, but I’m still going to do it. Obsessively. Until the race.

Anyway, I did get a good 16 mile run in today, the last 6 being quite a bit faster than the first 10. I ran with a friend, which made it about a billion times better since we got a nice cold front and it wasn’t very pleasant out. I don’t think I fueled enough last night as I pretty much ran out of gas with half a mile left. I learned I liked Salted Caramel Gu, ran a new route that takes me through a gorgeous part of Wilmington where I’m CERTAIN Dawson’s Creek was filmed, and I had just enough time to hurry up and grab lunch to have with my newly minted 9-year-old. Then I fell asleep.  Oops.

I had an unintentional day off on Thursday since I woke up with a nasty case of “dead leg syndrome”. It was a pretty crappy feeling, and if I hadn’t planned to run 16 this morning, I would have SUCKED IT UP BUTTERCUP and ran anyway. I decided to take my dog for a walk on our last nice, pretty day for a while, listen to the birds, and get some other crap done. I rarely have dead legs, but 48 miles in 5 days, all but 5 at a sub-8:45 pace, well, I’m not too surprised. I didn’t want to ruin my long run or risk injury, so I actually listened to my body and rested. Lookee me, I’m growing up and being responsible!

I’m taking Saturday off running since there’s just not enough time if I want to actually sleep, but I’m planning on some sort of tempo or pace run on Sunday. I just haven’t figured it out.

imfl2

When Monday hits, I’ll be back home and it’ll feel like taper time. I can’t believe that the marathon is in two weeks, and I’m at the point of no return, or the “ready or not, here I come” feeling with this thing. I don’t feel like I’m prepared enough to do what I want or am capable of, but I know I’m prepared enough to run a really good race.  You bet your bottom dollar that I’m going to try like hell though, no matter what.

IMG_6809

I hope everyone has a great weekend, and if you haven’t already, check out my Facebook page (you can link to it on the right side of this page). I post almost every day and you can then see pictures of my cats. Have a good one, peeps, and keep on running!

 

Categories: Boston Marathon, coaching, follow your dreams, go for your dreams, hal higdon training plan, marathon, marathon training, qualifying for boston marathon, quintiles wrightsville beach marathon, rrca coaching certification, running, running with friends, training for marathon, Uncategorized, wrightsville beach marathon | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

I’d be in taper mode if I’d not gotten all fancy with the training plan

My marathon is three weeks from this past Sunday. By the looks of my Hal Higdon Advanced II training plan, I’d be in taper mode, but as my husband knows quite well, I don’t always follow the rules. I decided to kick the three week taper to the curb and go for more of a modified two week taper. Why? Because I’m a glutton for punishment, clearly.

No really, I have modified the training plan here and there, mostly making it more difficult in some aspects, and then changing some interval training to bike interval training due to crappy weather. It happens, you just have to be flexible and deal with it as best as you can, as long as it doesn’t involve long runs on a treadmill because HELL NO. I changed the 800’s to mile, mile point five, and then a longer 5 mile interval, which was less than an interval than 35 minutes of torture/hell combined, complete with dangerous falling icicles.  I think the changes have helped me more than 800’s would have, not that there’s anything wrong about 800’s. I’m a fan.

So last Sunday…..WAIT!!! I’m forgetting something!

Saturday was my youngest son’s 9th birthday. I got up early to run my 10 mile pace run (ended up knocking this one out at an 8:11 pace – HOLLAH!) so I could make him breakfast pizza.  We then headed to Defy Gravity, which if you don’t know, is the COOLEST place on Earth. It’s basically a building with a floor made of trampolines. The four of us bounced for 30 minutes and exited with huge smiles on our faces, sore calf muscles, and sweat. I love that place. Here’s my son’s cake and sheepish grin as we all sang to him. I felt like crap all day, which made me feel guilty because I wanted it to be THEBESTBIRTHDAYEVAH for him, and even though he had a blast, I struggled to stay awake most of the day.  My babeh is almost in double digits!

My behbeh with his Seattle Seahawks cake, complete with goal posts made by his big brother.

My behbeh with his Seattle Seahawks cake, complete with goal posts made by his big brother.

This cake took a long time to make and decorate so I'm posting a picture of the damn thing. DELISH.

This cake took a long time to make and decorate so I’m posting a picture of the damn thing. DELISH.

Anyhoo, last Sunday, the day after the par-tay, was supposed to be my last real long run of 20 miles, and a group of us knocked it out at an 8:38 pace.

We rocked it.

We rocked it.

I felt good about it, but I had been sore from the bike day followed by the 5 mile torture day, plus the 10 miler the day before, and it was harder than the last 20 miler we did. I had been strongly considering changing my plan again, and increasing my long run for this weekend, two weeks before the marathon, from 12 to 16 miles. The last two marathons I’ve run had a two week taper, and even though it scared the shit out of me, I felt like I was very well rested and prepared come race day. So over the weekend, I decided to add a few miles to my scheduled 12 miler to make it 16 for this weekend. I might even add a few pickups to spice it up even more. Yes, I’m getting fancy with my training plan.  I guess I’ll have to save my “It’s taper time, Bitches!!” title for next week.

So what have I been and what am I gonna do this week? Monday was a nice recovery run. I didn’t think I went under a 9 minute mile and was totally good with that, but I didn’t look at my watch and ended up with an 8:45 pace. It’s nice see hard training come through when easy runs are in the 8 minute something mile range with minimal effort. I looked at the week’s forecast and seriously. I mean SERIOUSLY, Mother Freaking Nature needs to get on some freaking meds. Cold, hot, rain, wind, freezing, followed by more of the same. Mix it up, and that’s our forecast here. So I was dreading running in the cold and rainy wind on Thursday for some repeats, so I decided to get them done today, Tuesday.  I headed to the beach for a different route than last time, and I was met with 40-freaking-TWO degrees and 15 mph winds. THIS was what I was trying to avoid, dammit!!! WEATHER APPS ARE LIARS!

I'm smiling but I wasn't too happy.

I’m smiling but I wasn’t too happy.

My legs are still pretty tired, but I figured that’s the point of training and to just do the best I could given that and the stupid conditions. My plan was to go out the 1.5 miles, recovery jog, then 1.5 miles back to my car for water, then do it all over again, making my first and third repeat against the wind. The repeat coming back, well, I was trying to prove a point. I was almost heaving when I was in the last half mile. I mean, I was the freakin’ Monica Seles of running. I probably scared the old guy when I passed him over a bridge. But alas! I did prove my point and the time difference between the first and second repeats of the same distance was 45 seconds. I PROVED IT! Running against the wind SUCKS. Then it started raining. Yippee. Anyway, the second two sets of repeats weren’t THAT stellar, in my opinion, but I do have to say that getting pelted with 42 degree rain in the face, having rain drops on sunglasses blocking a good view of the running surface, your face freezing into a very strange look, and being alone were significant enough factors to slow me down. When I finished my last repeat (going with the wind) I was pretty disappointed I didn’t “Monica Seles” my way through it again and push harder. Oh well, it’s done, I ran close to a mile recovery, and headed home with the heat blasting and seats heating my buns, dreaming of my coffee and peppermint mocha creamer.  1.5 mile repeat times: 11:04, 10:19, 11:15, 10:51.

I have a recovery run tomorrow, and honestly I’m just not too sure what I’m going to do yet, as I think I’m changing my long run to Friday. I’m so excited to be taking the RRCA Coaching Certification class this weekend!!!!! With that, the added mileage, and the time change, I don’t think 16 on Sunday before class is going to be a smart thing to do. I have to drive down to Myrtle Beach before class on Saturday, so I’m completely off that day, so looks like it’s Friday. I’ll figure something out though.

Anyway, I’m working on a “How I prepare for marathons” post and will be sharing that next week. The marathon day creeps closer and closer, so it’s time to start getting prepared for the big day.

Hope everyone stays warm!!!

 

 

 

Categories: Boston Marathon, coaching, follow your dreams, hal higdon training plan, interval training, marathon, marathon training, qualifying for boston marathon, quintiles wrightsville beach marathon, rrca coaching certification, running, running with friends, training for marathon, Uncategorized, wrightsville beach marathon | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

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

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