Monday, April 28, 2014

I'm going down in a blaze of glory

It's funny. Nita just posted today about post-marathon life, how the pain doesn't end at mile 26.3, but stays with you for days, makes it near impossible to walk downstairs, makes sleep difficult due to aching legs. The first few mornings, I inevitably wake up in bed, needing to use the bathroom, but dreading it because I know my legs will ache and walking will be so painful. A shuffle is the most I can manage first thing in the morning.

After a half, however, with a shower and cup of coffee, I'm good to go. I'm completely functional and none the worse for the wear. A full though, has me out of commission for the better part of a week, and I'm just done with it.

Next stop: marathon retirement!!!! I'm going out in a blaze of glory in Chicago amidst nearly 2 million spectators. Nothing can top that! The next week I'll have fun with Detroit because it's already paid for, then I'm making the switch to halfs.* It's a long enough distance to be challenging, but not so difficult as to interfere with things most of us take for granted, like walking, or sleeping right. I've figured out how to run a half at a sub-10 pace, so my next goal will be a 9:45 average pace, and keep whittling down the time until I'm consistently well under 2 hours.

Yet how can I feel a little sad about abandoning something that has destroyed my body so consistently and so often...? It's torture at the time and I can't wait for it to end, then I look at my medals and get a little mushy inside. Kelly figures I'll reconsider by next week. idk she may be right. Or maybe I take off a full season (spring or fall). I've been training for spring and fall marathons in 2012, 2013 and 2014. Maybe a hiatus instead?

*Caveat: Obviously I'll keep entering the New York and Chicago lotteries, and run a full if either race accepts me, but otherwise, been there, done that. Next!

Monday, April 21, 2014


I've been thinking about how I'm going to approach the Toledo marathon. Gone are the days that I show up and run however fast feels good, walking when needed. I've learned I'm completely dependent on my watch, so I'm going to use that for my strategy.

Here is the listing of water tables:

That's total craziness how many there are - the furthest distance between is 2.1 miles. I'll walk the duration of every water stop, but whether or not I drink largely depends on the weather. If it's warmer, obviously I'll drink more, but if it's cool, I can't overdrink, lest I need a bathroom stop.

My goal for the first half is to average 11:00 per mile, in the hope of not crashing and burning during the second half. If I can maintain a flat 11 average, I'll hit the half at 2:24, then have 2:34 to finish the second half and still PR, which would require an 11:45 average for the second half. It sounds so easy when I'm home at my computer playing with the numbers. We'll see how it plays out when I'm running.

Friday, April 18, 2014

30-day Core Challenge

Every Wednesday I get an email from Active .com. I generally glance through it, and something this week piqued my interest: the 30-day core challenge.

I like challenges, so why not? There doesn't seem to be anything that really works the lower abs, but we'll see. It can't hurt to try. The most interesting thing in the article was that most people think core = abs, but it's better to think of the core as analogous to the trunk of a tree.

Two days completed and all is well :)

Monday, April 14, 2014

I'm IN!!!!!!!!!

Need I say any more? Happy happy happy!!!!! When I got to work this morning, I heard the song "Today is gonna be the best day of my life," and it set the good vibes in motion. Status changed from "pending" to "approved" at 12:20. Sooooooo happy!!!!!! I just won a lottery that enables me to pay a huge sum of money to abuse myself. Makes sense to me and I couldn't be happier!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Martian half - It didn't snow!!!

The Martian marathon is less than seven miles from my house, so obviously I was late for the start. Oops :P I left plenty early, but the 5k and 10k ended just before the start of the half, so all the recommended parking was already taken and I had to park a lot further than I had anticipated. I got out of the car at 8:35 for an 8:45 start and started booking it. A few blocks away and I heard the national anthem. It was no time to be patriotic - I had to get there! The race starts with an uphill climb, and I was at the top of the hill when the "gun" went off. I couldn't just jump in the race though because I had to cross the timing mat to activate my chip timer. So as the super fast runners were going uphill, I was running downhill on the sidewalk, just far enough to reach the timing mat. I hopped over the barricade, looked around at the runners crossing the start and decided "this is a good pace / place to start," and I was off.

The weather was absolutely beautiful. The past two years I've done the Martian it's been horrible, but this year was gorgeous!!!! Sunny and mid-50s at the start. The half started last of all the races - at 8:45, so it was definitely warming up as we went, enough that dehydration started to affect me. I cramped a few times, but was able to keep running through it and it passed.

The nice thing about the half is that tons more people do the half than the full, so there were oodles of people around me the whole way. I saw Kelly's friend Nancy and we ran together for almost a mile. For the first year, I didn't see "Mad Dog," but he was probably doing the full and I didn't stick around to see the end of that.

Something else really nice about the good weather was that people were out along Hines Drive watching and cheering. Not a ton, but there were several families out there and it was great to see every one of them.

Kelly snapped this at finish -
catching flies!
After my PR at the Rock CF half, I know I can run a sub 2:10 half, but this one was a lot harder than CF had been. Perhaps because it was a lot hotter, perhaps because 9:50s the whole way were my expectation, not a surprise. It was a labored run! The further I ran, the slower my mile splits became. Did I go out too fast with an 8:53 first mile? Yep. Was it due to the rising temperature? Likely.

Every time I looked at my borrowed watch, it was SO close and it was possible I would PR, but not guaranteed. Within the last mile, I knew I needed ONE MORE MINUTE! but I couldn't pause time to catch up. The last mile was pretty uncomfortable. My legs felt rubbery and my hands were tingling, but I couldn't let that stop me. I tried to not think and just kept going. I crossed the finish line and immediately stepped to the side. The medal could wait, the water could wait, I just needed a few minutes for my legs to feel solid again.

By my watch I finished in 2:09:39, which is not a PR, but close - 50 seconds slower than CF. By the official time, I didn't finish! They had me as started, but no finishing time. Evidently I wasn't the only one because they posted this on the results page:

By Sunday morning, I had an official time of 2:09:41, so still a solid sub-2:10 half. I had wanted to PR, but at the same time, it validated that my time at CF wasn't a fluke. I had this crazy consistency last year as well, running three marathons within a 2-minute time frame. This time, though, my finishing times are right where I want them.

After, I sat in the parking lot, took off my shoes and relaxed for a while. The kids race was starting soon and I saw a kid - maybe 10 years old - sitting in a wheel chair, and I had to ask myself why I was bummed with my time and so obsessed about those 53 seconds. I completely take it for granted that I can run a half at will, and this poor kid can't. It was a solid training run and I'm happy with that.

Best sign: "Quitting would be EW!" with a picture of Jimmy Fallon in character (Watch the sketch for reference) I didn't have my camera to take a picture of it though. Hal says you're not going to PR if you're busy taking pictures and slapping 5 with kids. Solid advice and it worked for the CF, so it was my approach again for the Martian. No camera - ew! Finishing within a minute of a PR? Not ew!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

I pretty much guaranteed the weather will suck

After the last two years of pure misery at the Martian marathon (due almost entirely to gross awful nasty weather), I swore I wouldn't enter again unless it was the day before and the weather looked GREAT.

The final price increase is Thursday at noon, but obviously the spring fever was messing with my brain because I entered the half on Tuesday. I had a $30 voucher from volunteering at the Shamrocks and Shenanigans, and yeah, the sunshine and fresh air were affecting my logical thought processes. Almost immediately thereafter it got cloudy and a few sprinkles fell tonight.

Yep, the Martian and I are a bad combination and almost a complete guarantee it'll be cold, 100% cloud cover and probably snowing.

At least my blue martian head medal will look cute playing in the snow. He'll match my skin while I run :(

Aside from the weather, I turn 35 in a few days and this is my last chance to run in the 30-34 age group. All my marathons and halfs have been in that group and I'm not ready to go up to the 35-39 group :(

Monday, April 7, 2014

Saying no to Bayshore

Everyone I know who has run the Bayshore marathon in Traverse City has raved about it. It's an out and back right along the coast of Lake Michigan. Hal says it's one of his favorites in the Midwest. I missed the sell out point for regular registration, but just for kicks, put myself on the waiting list. I was #83 and figured I'd never hear from them.

I had the idea on Saturday that I want to do one more between the Flying Pig and Chicago/Detroit so I end the year with an even 20.

It was serendipity then that on Sunday an email dropped in - spots are available, and am I still interested? My first reaction was YES! Then I started to think about it. It's Memorial Day weekend, so traffic will be crazy trying to get up north on Friday afternoon, hotel rooms either won't be available, or will be super expensive, and Bill doesn't think he can make it. Do I really want to drive myself 5 hours each way for a mini beach vacation and marathon? We're already planning a beach vacay on the summer solstice.

Then I thought about the cost. It would be $95 for the race, plus hotel, plus gas, and this just doesn't seem the year for it. Maybe next year. Enjoy running it person #84 on the waiting list :D

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Twinkies and PRs, oh my!

Tuesday, April 1st was the Twinkie 5k in Ann Arbor. Yes, Tuesday. It's always held on April Fool's Day, regardless of the day of the week. It just sounded fun - run a 5k while eating Twinkies? Heck yeah! Oh by the way, I don't even like Twinkies, but a minute was deducted from one's time for eating a Twinkie at the start, and a second minute was deducted for eating a second Twinkie mid-way. Of course I was going to eat them! Otherwise it was just another 5k in cold wind.

Courtesy of the Ann Arbor News

We lined up at the start, Twinkies in hand. It wasn't even chip timed, but the organizer said "go" and we devoured the Twinkies. I finished mine quickly and set off! I wasn't interested in going conservatively on the time. I planned to go all out for the entire way and if I fell or crawled to the end, so be it.

A problem was that my gps watch wouldn't shut off at the end of the Rock CF race on Sunday and everything still works now except the start/stop button, the most important one. Bill lent me his watch for Tuesday, but it wasn't charged, and I only got 1 mile pace out of it. That first mile was done in 8:46 hu-ah! A good part of it was across moist woodchips, so I didn't have the ground pushing back and propelling me up and forward. I likely would have been a few seconds faster if on concrete the whole way.

The last 2.1 I had to just go, don't be focused on the watch, just go as hard and as fast as I could.

Mile 1.6 (ish) was the second Twinkie stop. I grabbed one and started choking it down. People describe them as sponge cakes - yes, it tasted like a sponge. Some volunteers were holding Twinkies, others were marking bibs to show runners who ate a second one. I saw someone with a marker and mouth full of Twinkie, I said "Mark me!" He replied "mmgjammfb, got it!" haha The second Twinkie was nasty! Gross! Blech!

Kept going hard and fast and finished strong with a "gun" time of 28:23, also known as my second PR in three days :D Final average pace: 9:09 baby. It was old school timed, so the finishing chute was one person wide and volunteers put the tear-off part of our bibs on a hook in order. The finishing results were posted today and I finished 9th out of 39 in my age group. I was really pleased with that - a PR and a top 10 finish :)

Then I looked at the 35-39 age group. I WOULD HAVE WON that age group!!!! My birthday is April 19th and I'll move up to that age group. Darn race was 18 days too soon!!!!! Guess I have to do it again next year so I can win a race (even if it is a funny, silly one that involves Twinkies lol)