Thursday, December 31, 2015

2015 in Review

2015 was only the best year of my running life yet! 14 races, 8 PRs baby!, and a new PR at every distance I race.

I had a few goals I planned to accomplish:

...and miles to go before I sleep

1. Run a 1-miler under 7:00
Check - Ran a 6:58 on the TM in late April.

2. Run a half under 2:00
Check - Martian half 1:58:39

3. Run a full under 4:50
Check - Cincinnati 4:43:33

4. Save $... to my IRA
Check - although it was changed to save it to my stock account

5. Hit my goal weight!!!
Check! Working on getting back there. My body's natural weight is about 7 pounds higher than I want it to be.

Here's the monthly breakdown (2014 mileage in parenthesis for sake of comparison):

January - 96.76 miles (46.4)
no races

February - 105.05 miles (77.32)
Myrtle Beach half marathon - PR

March - 115.3 miles (95.13)
Shamrocks and Shenanigans 5k - PR
Pi run 5k ish - PR
Rock CF half marathon - PR

April - 138.36 miles (85.51)
Twinkie Run 5k
Martian half marathon - PR

May - 59.6 miles (63.57)
Little Kings 1 mile - PR
Flying Pig 10k - PR
Flying Pig 5k
Flying Pig marathon - PR

June - 61.85 miles (89.72)
no races

July - 113.08 miles (99.86)
Ann Arbor 1 mile
Electric Bolt 5k - 2nd place

August - 145.67 miles (146.47)
Run for the Hills 10k

September - 144.62 miles (119.49)
no races

October - 105.12 miles (103.68)
Chicago marathon

November - 89.7 miles (72.04)
Veterans half marathon

December - 70.6 miles (40.38)

Year-end total: 1245.71 (962.25)

I had arbitrarily set a last-minute goal of 1250 miles, and I could totally accomplish it today, but my left heel has been sore for the past several days and it's improving with rest. Why would I set back the healing to check off a completely arbitrary number? My total mileage is already a big PR and 283.46 better than last year! I had the same nagging annoyance in my right heel for the last 7 weeks of training for Chicago. It only flared up with speed work and long runs (over 3 hours). I could run through it, but it never really got any better until a head cold forced me to not run for 5 days. I'm using the same approach with my left foot, but without the snot-nosed sickness, thankfully!

Monday, December 28, 2015

5k PR*

This is actually a story from last week, but I've been remiss with posting...


Monday was a typical El Nino winter day - moderate temperature, but rain rain rain all day long. Nothing about that gets me excited to run. Yet what else was I going to do? I sure wasn't running outside though, wet shoes and wet feet aren't my cup of tea. (It's fine if I'm already running and it starts raining, but starting in the rain is brutal.)

The most recently added item to the bucket list is to run a sub-24 5K (treadmill counts). After work I started thinking "Why not?" More importantly, "Why not today?" Ummmm because I haven't done any speed work in months and my body wouldn't be happy going from zero speed work to 7:40s.

I could compromise though. Maybe not sub-24, but certainly something in the 26s, maybe even a PR.

I did a half mile warm-up, stopped the machine, stretched a little, and spun through the iPod for the song I wanted to start with.

It was time. Do it, girl!!!

I started the TM at an 8:30 pace, planning to increase it every half mile. The first mile felt downright easy. The second mile was a struggle. The third mile was agony. At about 20 minutes, my legs were screaming, my lungs were dying and every part of me wanted to quit, especially knowing I still had 0.6 miles to go.

Don't think, just run.

I hit 3.1 and thought "huh, I could have kept going," :D (if I didn't mind the puddles of sweat on the TM and the loogie I needed to hock - the joys of running right after being sick...)

25:31. Yep, that's a big PR, but it remains with an asterisk because I had a lot of help from the TM. My non-TM PR is a 26:08 and I had a pacer for more than half of that. Not bad for December.

The 5k playlist:
Bodies - Drowning Pool [1. Nothin' Wrong with me!]
Whatever - Godsmack [I Don't need your Sh** Today...I'm doin' the best I ever did, now get up and F***ing Go away!]
I Miss the Misery - Halestorm
Down With the Sickness - Disturbed
Lose Yourself - Eminem

Dang, that's a seriously angry playlist! lol Had to get amped for the run!!!

At the end of the day, I told my Bestie the PR wasn't even the best part of my day. The very best thing was the 15-minute nap with kitty sleeping on my chest :D

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Full Circle

In 2011 I took myself out to breakfast on Christmas. It doesn't faze me one bit to dine alone in a restaurant and enjoy a book with my meal. Why should I hide home alone because no one wants to enjoy a diner breakfast with me??? I befriended the waitress Pam, then before I left, I told her to give me a man's check. He was sitting alone and reminded me of my grandpa, and I wanted to buy his meal.
Jump ahead to 2015. I volunteered to work Christmas morning (double time), then I didn't have a ton of food, so I tried to go back to the diner, but they were closed. Ram's Horn is always open, so I went there instead. I enjoyed my meal, 3 cups of coffee, and my book, then when I went to pay, the guy running the register said "You're all set." The girl behind him elaborated "Someone took care of your check for you." !!!!

I figure it was one of three options:
1. Someone I know. I work at every public school and two Catholic schools in the same city, so I  know a ton of people.
2. Some guy thought I was cute (I wasn't - hadn't showered yet and was in jeans and a Star Wars sweatshirt).
3. Someone felt sorry for me eating alone on Christmas (most likely).

Whatever the reason - THANK YOU!!!

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Being sick like a woman

Ok, this is gross. I woke up before my 2:45 alarm today because I couldn't breathe through my nose, seeing as it was clogged full of solid snot pieces ewwwwww yep, I'm sick again. Maybe it's still the same as before, I don't know. The good thing about my new job is that I can always work, we don't close for long vacations or snow days, etc, The bad thing about my new is that I can always work. Being sick is no excuse, especially when I have "permission" to work from home. So work was non-negotiable.

After the 2nd job, I was Miss Cranky Pants. I didn't feel well, I was woozy, full of snot, exhausted, and it was CLOUDY!

Siiiiiiiigh

Then I thought I saw the sun peek out for a minute. 15 minutes later I was sure - sun!!!!! God wanted me to run today!

I had two choices. The first was to be sick like a man ie put on my pajamas, call Mom and beg for some food or attention or whatever babying men seek when they're sick.

Or I could be sick like a woman.

All I did was run my 3rd fastest 5k EVER! Yeah buddy!!!!

A quick and dirty 5k has become my go-to distance when I want no part of running whatsoever. My deal with myself is that I have to finish it under 30 minutes, otherwise I keep going. That requires a 9:40 pace, so I shoot for that the first mile, then see what happens.

9:10
8:49
8:43
8:30

Whee!!!! Total time: 27:20, the only 5ks I've done faster were both in the 26s at races. Not too shabby for a "last-minute, mid-December, not-training, get it done" run.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Meal 2 - Pork and Veggie Pita Wrap

It's meal 2 and I'm ready to abandon this cook ahead meal plan. My thought had been to cook a meal for dinner, then have the second portion of it for lunch the following day, yet I wanted no part of the "taco bowl" for lunch today, so I skipped right to meal 2, a pork and veggie pita wrap. It sounded good enough, and I like all the ingredients (except avocado, I substituted a pat of real butter).

It was adequate. It was 475 calories, and I couldn't finish all of it.

Less than an hour later, though, I don't like how I feel. I don't eat simple carbs very often. I figure I get enough carbs from fruits and vegetables, and a little from the hormone-free milk I use in my coffee, so unless it's pre-race or a special occasion, I'm not a big carb eater. The pita had 200 empty calories. My stomach feels all puffy and bloated. I want to do some serious core work, and drink a ton of water to flush it out. I'm trying to LOSE weight here, not get soft and squishy!!!

The thought of eating rice again tomorrow? Yech!

Since I already bought and cooked the meat and veggies, I'll eat meat and veggies for dinner the rest of the week and use the eggs for breakfast on days that I work from home. I don't need their recipes because it's way too many simple carbs for my diet.

The meal plan was a great idea, and I loved the idea. Today's meal took 4 minutes to prepare, but it's too carb-heavy. Not for me!!!!

Monday, December 14, 2015

Meal 1 - "A Fun, Colorful Taco Bowl"

Monday's dinner was advertised as a "fun, colorful taco bowl." Doesn't taco generally imply chips???

It was alright. Here's their picture of it:
And here's my picture. Granted I didn't wait for it to cool, nor did I have a food photographer to make it look great. Also, I eliminated the avocados and tomatoes because I don't like either, and why would I buy food knowing I'm not going to eat it?
It was alright, not fabulous, but good enough. It was 475 calories, and a little more food than I wanted. I tossed a little of the rice. Chipotle would have been tons better, but also probably double the calories and triple the sodium.

Total prep time: 6 minutes.

Would I make it again? Sure, with a few modifications:
1. Swap out the rice for black beans
1a. Or eliminate the rice altogether and have more veggies
2. Don't pre-cook the peppers, they got mushy. Dice and heat / serve as needed.
3. More salsa
4. Use colby jack cheese instead of cheddar (personal preference)

Here's the recipe

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Taking back control

Soup in a jar was prettier than it was tasty :(
I stop weighing myself a week before a marathon, and for a few weeks after because I eat a little more both before and after a big race, then this year I just never got around to weighing myself after Chicago. I finally did last week after I noticed my favorite dress pants aren't fitting the same as they usually do. As of Monday, I was 10.4 pounds over my ideal weight, so I sprung into immediate action and hit The Daily Plate with a vengeance. By Friday I was allegedly down 3.4 pounds, mostly water weight I'm sure. We'll see how well I sustained that over the weekend.

I know what you're thinking - who gets serious about eating healthy and limited quantities right before Christmas? This girl!!!! That's who! :) Let's think logically - Christmas is 3 or 4 meals out of the entire month!!!! 3 meals is no excuse to eat whatever I want for 3 weeks. Besides, I give myself one free meal a week, one time that I can have however much I want of whatever food I want, so long as it's limited to ONE sitting. I'll have my "free" meals when the family has Christmas. Knowing I have the break helps me stay focused when looking at the bland and limited. This week I had 2 diet Cokes, 2 candy bars, chips and salsa, and 2 1/2 tacos. I couldn't finish the 3rd one.... haha It was delish!!!!! And it made me totally ok today eating veggie stir fry for the 6th consecutive day.

I don't like cooking during the week. After an 11 or 12 hour work day, and a run, I want to put forth zero time or effort. It works a whole lot better for me to pre-cook as much as possible on Sunday.

The first week I pre-made 14 meals - 6 stir fry, 4 soup in a jar, and 4 chicken-sweet potato-cous cous. The stir fry was great. The others, not so much.
Fridge week 1 (oatmeal in front)
Here's a pretty sunrise from my kitchen window :)
Fridge week 2 - veggies, pulled pork, rice


Week 2 I'm trying something different. I saw a link on Buzzfeed to a "Make ahead meal plan that anyone can cook." The idea is to prepare as much as possible on Sunday, then use the ingredients to make 5 different meals throughout the week, each taking 15 minutes to prepare with the pre-made ingredients. Each recipe is for 4 servings, I made half of each and can eat one for dinner and the other for lunch the next day. Eating the same thing multiple times a week doesn't faze me one bit.

The Sunday prep was easy. I already had a pork roast that I threw in the slow cooker while I worked. The veggies and perishable ingredients cost $16 and took 40 minutes to prepare and clean up. So far, so good!

Come back tomorrow for my review of meal 1 :)



Friday, December 11, 2015

A New PR and a Final Goal

When we think about PRs, time is what typically comes to mind, at least in my world. The training is all done to shave off minutes or even seconds from previous times. This week, however, I realized I had hit a different kind of PR - distance!

I started tracking my miles on The Daily Mile in 2011. One year I realized on New Years Eve that I had to go run 3 miles THAT DAY in the snow!!!! to break 1000 for the year. This year, I crossed 1000 before Chicago. On Wednesday I hit 1200, or an average of 100 per month. Nice :) The months weren't all 100-mile months, but the average is good.

Then I realized if I run 2-3 miles every day for the rest of the year, my distance PR will be 1250. What makes more sense for me is 5 miles every other day to round out the year at 1255. Although today was a bonus run just because the weather was nice. When it's mid-50s and SUNNY, and I can wear shorts in mid-December, I have no excuse or reason whatsoever to not be out there running!!!! I didn't feel up to 5, and I've been getting a little slower, so I mixed it up and shot for 4 miles sub-10. Final average: 9:29. It's ironic - I couldn't find 9:30s to save my life in Chicago, and now I'm popping them right and left. Stupid hot weather!

Forecast looks to be close to 60 this weekend - who wants to join me for a long run???? Or 2.... :D

Sunday, December 6, 2015

The redeeming runs

After my cranky weather-induced rant on Tuesday, I bounced back with three killer runs.

Wednesday - it was glorious full sun driving between jobs. I had a few minutes to spare, so I sat in the car, closed my eyes and did my best cat-snoozing-in-the-sunlight impression. I texted my bestie that I couldn't bear to go inside and work in the gloomy lighting, and could I just see the kids in my car? Hah I had the purest intentions, but there is no way to say "come on little child, I'll read you a story in my car" that doesn't sound completely creepy!

By the time I was done working, it had predictably gotten overcast. Yuck!!!! I had already skipped two days though, and I won't skip a third, so I dragged myself outside. It wasn't that cold - low 40s, and the humidity kept it from feeling colder. I always tell myself to do 3 miles and if I hate every second of it, I can stop. I never do though. 6.25 miles at a 9:33 average.

Thursday - scheduled day off to have coffee with the pastor's wife.

Friday - mostly sunny all day! Yay!!!!! A little cold, but the sun helped immensely! I had plans later on, so I had to go immediately after school. I was going to stop at 5.25, but a nice driver backed up from the intersection so I could cross, and I did one more block. 9:44 average.

Saturday - the forecast had been for almost 50 and sunny. Yeah, not so much. It was super foggy and 29. The fog eventually burned off, but it remained cloudy and cold. Did a few dippy errands, then it was getting too dark. Oops :)

Sunday - foggy and cold to start. During church, however, the sun came out! I always want to sing the song from Hair "Let the sun shine, let the sun shine, leeeeeeet the sun shiiiiiiiiine in, the suuuuuun shiiiiiiiine in." Lunch, RUN!!!!!! I haven't done 7 miles in almost a month, so that was my goal. Once I got out there, it was so amazing, and I don't really have a 7 mile route, so I changed it to 8. The weather was amazing and I had nothing but time. After 8, I wasn't quite to my car, so it became 8.25. All the better. 10:00 average. Awesome :D

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

God didn't want me to run today

FML
I hate winter in Michigan. The snow and cold are bad enough, but I truly despise the flat gray skies for DAYS ON END, days and weeks that make me want to stick my head in the sand, retire to my cave, hibernate until it goes away. Or hop on the next plane to San Diego and figure it out when I get there. I need to live somewhere with 300+ days of sunlight a year!!!!

Such was Tuesday. Nasty gross weather. Not that cold, but disgusting depressing gloom. The kind of day that makes me want to excuse myself from the living world, not the day that I want to wake up at 2:45 and work work work for peanuts. I'm cranky!

After an 11-hour workday, I drove home in the rain and told my bestie that God will give me sunlight if He wants me to run today.

Wouldn't you know, at 4:50 it cleared up a little. That's even worse than not at all! I live in the ghetto, so I don't run around home, but by the time I got dressed and drove to a safer location, it would be dark, and running in the dark when it's in the low 40s with huge puddles everywhere just doesn't sound fun. I'm not desperate enough yet to even consider the hamster wheel.

Revised plan: a date with Charles Shaw and some Trans-Siberian Orchestra.

Here's how I feel.


and

Friday, November 27, 2015

Runnersgiving

In my running life, I'm thankful for...

Completing 21 marathons without injury
Setting a new PR in the 1 mile, 5k, 10k, half and full in 2014, then doing it again in 2015
Getting selected 3 times for the Chicago marathon
7 PRs in 2015
Finding a perfectly good UA Endure bra in the back of the closet
Two 2nd place finishes at the Electric Bolt 5k

I know there's more - what else am I missing?

Monday, November 16, 2015

Veterans (half) Marathon race review

I have no problem believing two seemingly opposite concepts. For example, I can understand how and why baseball players hate signing stuff for fans before the game, yet believe they owe it to us to do so. Likewise, I can accept the fossil record and what little I understand about string theory, but still believe in God. So it goes with running. At noon on Saturday, I had already finished the Veterans half marathon in Columbia City, had my soup and showered at the hotel. I was so thankful to not still be running the full! Yet, part of me wished I was. I know I can't have it both ways, but I can still want it :) It didn't help when I realized I could run a THREE HOUR second half and still finish faster than Chicago. Sigh, Chicago...

The Veterans Marathon... where to start. I don't know why I keep doing it every year. The course is terrible and I typically have a horrible time, yet I like the town and the people who run the race, it's close enough to home, and it's where I broke 5 hours for the first time ever, so it'll always have a special place in my heart. I still regard the old course in 2012 as the most difficult course I've ever run.

Packet pickup at the courthouse
Like last year, I signed up for the half this time, although a tiny part of me thought if it went well, I  might spin out again and do the second loop. Yeah, no. I hate 2-loop courses. If they ever went back to the original course, though, I'd do the full again in a heartbeat.

The weather was really good - cold as anything!!!! but for once, there was very little wind, and it was SUNNY!!!!! At the start, it was in upper 20s, but sunny sunny sunny and almost no wind, so it felt great. I bundled up and was loving the weather. I despise being cold so much that I'll run faster, if only to be done and out of it sooner.

At the starting lineup, three teams passed me, each with a disabled child in a wheelchair, and three sets of legs to push him or her. Way to make me cry before the race even started! Seeing the kids, long before the race started, I knew a PR didn't matter. I was so blessed to be standing there, just to be standing!!!! Add in that I was able to run 13.1 miles, and it didn't matter if I went fast or slow. I was so incredibly blessed to have a healthy body. Later on, two of the teams would pass me on the course. "Captain Anjeli" and "Captain David" both beat me :)

The first couple miles were pretty fast and on pace for a sub-2:00 race, then it slowed down a little and a PR disappeared and I was ok with it. I did about what I expected and I enjoyed it. A PR was a super long shot without a pacer, not to mention I haven't done any hill work or speed work since September. It was the fastest I've ever run that particular course. My pen pal asked if I track all-time PR, or each race PR, or how I measure. Honey, I track and count and measure everything haha I need something to think about and to distract me through all the miles! I finished 17th out of 41 in my age group. I had been hoping for top 20, so I accomplished what I set out to do, and it was a pleasant, gentle way to end the season.

In past years we've gotten jackets. This year was a shirt. It's actually pretty nice, Brooks brand tech shirt. They did unisex sizes, so it doesn't have a super flattering cut, but the sleeves actually cover my wrists, and the waist covers my hips. I can see it becoming one of my favorites. Also, better than just another shirt - gloves!!!! Really nice Brooks running gloves. It's perfect, because I can't find the ones I normally wear. I didn't lose them per se because I know they're in the house, I just don't know where! I wore the new ones at the race.

I'll surely do the race again next year, then ask myself for 13.1 miles why I thought running through the farm area was a good idea :)

Thursday, November 5, 2015

A mental health break

A story my runner friends will immediately understand, and my non-runner friends never will....
I've been working insane hours since Labor Day. I'm on the clock six days a week, totaling 60+ hours, plus driving from Ann Arbor to Allen Park in the middle of the days between jobs. I've broken down the calendar into approximate 3-week increments between days school is closed and I "only" have to work 8 hours.

Election Day was set to be one such day, and I've been looking forward to it ever since the Chicago Marathon. Then my colleague texted me that we needed to lead a training session that day. I tried to talk us out of it, but we're the only people in the entire company who can lead this training. There went my half day off!!! Gah!!

When I left my morning job on Wednesday, it was 70 degrees, low humidity, and full sun!!!! I texted my bestie that I was going to blow off the afternoon job and go for a long@ss run.

She thought I was kidding.

Not wanting to act too hastily, I went to the middle school and worked with my student there. My main thought - still - was GO RUN!!!!!! NOW!!!!!

I told my boss I was taking 3.25 hours of (well deserved) personal time - absolutely anything I decided was a good choice. I stopped at Kroger for coffee and cat food, took a little nap with Butterfly (cat) then headed out for my run. I'm so sick of having to squeeze in a short run before sunset at 5:20. I wanted to run and run and run.

The weather was PERFECT. My health is great, my legs felt strong, my joints pliant, and I just kept going.

4 miles wasn't enough, 6 wasn't enough, I knew I could do more than 8. 10 sounded like a good even number, although with a later sunset, an impromptu half marathon was totally feasible. I finally stopped at 10.15, only because it was getting dark. With a glass of water and more sunlight, my body would have easily gone 3-5+ miles more.

Very early on it had stopped hurting and I felt like I could run forever. What an amazing afternoon!!!!!!

"You used personal time to... run...????" Hell yes!!!!!!! and I LOVED it!!!!!!
Pace was kinda all over, but my fastest miles were at the end :D

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Looking forward - First world problems

"You know you're a runner, if you have no idea what you're doing this weekend, but you know your race schedule 6 months ahead of time."

Yeah, that's me! I'm not retiring, but keeping with the theme I had this year - one spring full, one fall full if Chicago will have me again. Some shorter races here and there, depending on location and cost.

Thinking about the spring, however, I immediately ran into a first world problem. When I went to Gettysburg in 2014, I discovered they have a marathon. Researching it online, it looks fun. Runners decide if they are running for the Union or the Confederacy, then all the runners on the winning side get an extra goodie. The course goes through the battlefield - what's better than that???

Problem 1 - it's the week before Cincinnati, which has become my go-to spring race.
Problem 2 - it's the same day as Toledo. I was completely fine with skipping Toledo this year, but 2016 is the 40th anniversary and races often make a big to-do on anniversary years.

I'm not necessarily done for this year either. The Indianapolis Monumental full has sold out, and I don't feel up for the Veterans Marathon. I'll probably do the half, but I can't handle the thought of a 2-loop course on dirt roads through hurricane-force winds with very very little crowd support. It doesn't matter than it's five weeks after Chicago. My body could handle it, but my mind balks at the idea.

I also plan to break 1200 miles for the year. I have 130 to go, so that should be no problem. Maybe 1500 for next year? Is that too big of a jump? Everything is good. I'm healthy, I'm enjoying running again. Just open your eyes and see that life is beautiful :)

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Race recap - Chicago 2015

Just after 7 am, I stepped in Corral G. I was one of the first 50 in the gate, which would later hold probably 5,000. The empty corral and the skyline loomed before me and I started crying already. I was full aware of how blessed I was to have the chance to run my third consecutive Chicago marathon. I had asked God, St. Sebastian, and the lottery fairy to get me there and they all helped me. I was healthy (the cold symptoms had thankfully disappeared), my body was ready to run 26.2 miles, and I had been given the opportunity to do it on my favorite course. I was truly blessed, and I knew it.

10 hours earlier, however, it wasn't nearly as good. I sleep horribly if I'm not home in my own bed. Every person we ran into at the hotel was there for the race, so you'd think it would be quiet. I was in bed at 9 pm, with a dose of Nyquil, and 2 minutes away from deep sleep, I heard a radio screaming "I don't give a f**k about you." Well, that was obvious. It ruined my sleep trajectory, and I spent the rest of the night in a half-asleep state, never going into deep sleep.

I was dragging when I got out of bed, but like any other race morning, I went through my getting ready routine, because what else would I do? We were able to find a cab quickly, arriving at Grant Park way earlier than any other year. It was cold - low 40s, and we were there before 6:15. I wouldn't start running until after 8. Before practically every race, I go to the Salvation Army and get a throw-away shirt, but for whatever reason (exhaustion, fighting against a cold), I didn't make it this time.

It was cold. I was dressed for the heat, so I spent over an hour shivering in the cold.

I started abreast of the pacing team, but not necessarily with them, because I like to run Chicago on the side, to see and interact with the spectators. They're the primary reason to run Chicago, at least for me. For the first several miles, I was right with the group. My first 5k time split was spot on, 10 seconds under pace.

My watch, however, was a mess. Almost immediately we run under a skyscraper, and she lost satellites and was screwed up for the rest of the race. When I hit the mile 1 marker, she thought I was at 0.6 miles. Then she had me at a 5:13 mile, then the next was 13+. Ah well, that's part of why I write my target time splits on my arms (same idea as a pace band, but big enough to read).

After an hour, the sun rose and it got HOT!!! The forecast had been for low 70s. Liars! It topped 80 in the first half and I found myself slowing down. As proof of the crazy heat, the city opened all the fire hydrants on the back half to provide a constant stream of cold water. We were later offered blue sponges that had been soaking in a kiddie pool of ice water. I used mine to wipe off the sweat, and squeezed the cold water on my hair - anything to cool off!

Once I stopped being so obsessed with 9:30s, it became really FUN!!!! The seniors' residents were watching again, but they added signs this year: We would join you, but we're busy eating donuts and drinking coffee.

Another group - one that I don't remember from past years - was the congregation of Moody Church. The street was closed in front of the church, but that didn't stop them. Before their service, hundreds of parishioners were out front in dresses and suits cheering for us.

Time-wise the miles were slow, but in terms of a fun experience, they went so fast! At one point I was talking with a runner from Grand Rapids, when a man on the side pointed to me with both hands and said "Go Michelle!! You got this!! Finish strong!!!!!!" I raised both arms and waved to him, then admitted to the runner, "I have no idea who that is." lol
Love the shirt. Brought home the size I ordered :)

Shortly thereafter, a group had Dixie cups of beer. Yes, please :) If I wasn't going to hit my goal time, I was going to enjoy every second of the race. A woman had a "free hugs" sign. I took one, even though I don't normally like being touched. She wrapped her arms around my sweaty back, squeezed me tight and said something encouraging. I don't remember exactly what she said. Something nice.

Something funny - I always say I don't notice what we run past, but I can tell you which spectators I saw more than once on a course - I saw a woman I had seen in Cincinnati. I recognized her by the same sign - Free hugs, especially to hot guys named Chris. Must be her husband or bf, or whatever. Another funny one - The Chicago Marathon, only a few more runners than the GOP presidential race.

We ran through Mexican Town, through Chinatown, and onto Michigan Ave, where my body always takes a huge sigh of relief. It's still 3 miles away, but we're sooooooo close!!!! Run straight towards the Sears Tower, turn, and finish!

With 10 minutes to go, there as a DJ. "Who are my first time marathoners?" he asked. "Who's running your second?" Then "Who is never ever running again after today? Ever?" he asked. I raised my arms and cheered lol I didn't mean it. Of course not, I was having too much fun.

Bill watches for me on the shady (left) side of Michigan Ave right by mile 26, so I was staying on the left side of the road, even though the shortest distance blue line was on the right. I was nothing but smiles at this point. The goal time wasn't happening, but I was finishing my 21st marathon, I was healthy, I wasn't injured, I've been blessed with the ability to consistently finish marathons. I was tougher than Jay Cutler, according to several signs lol :D

I finished. My pace runs were always extremes. When they were good, they were very very good, and when they were bad (when it was hot), they were horrid. Weather in the midwest is a total crap-shoot, and it worked against me this time. Ah well, there's always next year. 2015 was time-wise my worst Chicago marathon, but I've never had more fun during a race.

One of the secretaries I work with asked if I had a good time. No! Well, yes!!!!! But no! It all depends how I define a good time :) It wasn't my best time, but it was the best time I've ever had!
Why is there a whale on the medal? I know it's supposed to be "The Bean" sculpture, but it looks awful haha
Sometimes I wonder if they're in a race to the bottom with medals. They get worse every year lol :P
#21!!! You can't see my knee socks - I looked so cute!!! hah

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

3 days later

The Chicago marathon was 3 days ago. My legs are still a little sore, my joints are still a little unsteady. I have done ZERO exercise since then. I haven't even written my race recap, but I'm already thinking about what's next! :D I trained so long and so hard, and for that? For an unexpected weather fluke that killed my time? Yes, I enjoyed the race, but my time is in no way reflective of what I CAN do, especially after my 9:30s all summer.

The problem, though, is that there are NO good options until the spring. Grand Rapids and Columbus are this weekend, but I'm not ready for another full. The only others within driving distance are the Indianapolis Monumental, which I've done twice and not loved either time. Besides, it's far. Or the Veterans Marathon in Columbia City. I like the small town feel, I like the people who run the race, but the course and the weather aren't conducive for a PR. There are way too few people, it's a 2-loop course, and the weather tends to be WINDY, like hurricane gale-force winds. Given those prospects, it looks like I won't have another full until April. Going to be a long winter!!!

I have a few thoughts though - probably do the Veterans half, perhaps in my Storm Trooper pajamas :) More seriously, I've considered many times running it without a watch. The conditions aren't right to PR, so why set up expectations to fail? Why not just run it because I like to run it? Whatever time I get, I get, and I enjoy the experience.

Another thought is to do more maintenance and less formal training. The Hansons program is 18 weeks, and I'm usually burnt out by week 10-12. The first 6-8 weeks are all base building, which I don't need every time. What if I skip those and do my own maintenance? I can run 4-6x a week, 20-25 miles, without being so beholden to a piece of paper telling me what to do. I want to enjoy my next training cycle, but I also want to be ready for my spring races (which is another story altogether :) If I follow the Hansons to the letter, that doesn't start until late December anyway.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Chicago

Theme song for 2015: "If you need to crash, then crash and burn, you're not alone." Haha at least it was fun. Full recap later! Back to sleepy sleepy! Zzzzz :)

Friday, October 9, 2015

Goals

A+ goal, when the stars are aligned, the weather is perfect, I'm healthy, and nothing hurts:
4:10

Realistic goal:
4:29:59

Lousy goal, when the weather is too hot, my body hurts, or I don't feel well:
4:43:32

Worse case goal, where I'm a total mess, hating every step of the race:
finish

I feel ok, not great. I'm so thankful school is closed today. I could have probably worked in a different district, but resting and not getting sick is the most important thing. I went to bed at 5:30 pm on Thursday, woke up a few times, and got up for good at 6:30 am. Since then, I've had an Emergen-C packet, a vitamin D pill, a shot of preventative DayQuil, a super healthy lunch, and tons of water. I've avoided sugar, and had only minimal dairy (milk in coffee).

I'm about to lay down and hopefully nap with kitty. I'm still not sick per se, but as close as I can get. I can deal with a sore throat, I can deal with a minor ear ache, but I have to do everything in my power to not reach the point where I get the mushy brain, light headed, woozy feeling. I've worked way too hard to get sick now!

There are tv shows I really like that air from 8-10pm, but I can watch them online sometime later. I'll probably go to bed at 7, if not earlier. There is nowhere I absolutely have to be today, it's all about staying healthy!!!!

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Livin' on the edge

I'm not sick. But, I'm about as close as I can get to being sick, without actually being sick. Does that make any sense? I have a slight runny nose at times (clear, so no infection (Insert mean joke here about me always being a little snotty)), I blow my nose a few times a day, and I have a slight nagging sore throat. I'm constantly tired, but that's a side effect of the jobs. It's getting me run down, though, so I need to be vigilant about not succumbing to the sickness.

When people sneeze at work, I sanitize my hands, then hold up my sleeve and breathe through that. When the smoker across from me comes back from a break, stinking, I breathe through my sleeve. (I mentioned it to my manager and thought he and HR addressed it, need to bring it up again.) If I walk past someone who sneezed, I hold my breath until I pass.
I have at least one Emergen-C every day to get 500% of my recommended amount of vitamin C. Does it help? The jury is still out. I'm probably just producing expensive urine, but it's worth it, if even a little gets absorbed.

The biggest thing is sleep! If I have a spare hour during the day, I don't try to clean the house or do anything. Nope, I lay down on the couch with kitty, who's an excellent napper! Even if I don't fall into deep sleep, I'm still resting and giving my body down time, and giving my brain time to shut down.

Thursday is the last day I have morning work, it's also the last day I see the students. I'm working from home, so I'll be spared the office germs, and I have a surgical mask in my purse if the kids are sick. School is closed on Friday, and I'll be sleeping, resting, and eventually making it to yoga.

I'm pretty much guaranteed to get sick after the race, when I'm inundated with germs, but my white blood cells are busy trying to repair my legs. That's fine. Just get through Sunday heathy!!!!

The forecast still looks amazing, if a little hot. I'll need to deliberately add more salt to my diet on Friday and Saturday. Otherwise, don't overthink it. It's not supposed to hit 70 until 1pm, when I should be done. More incentive to finish fast!!!!

Monday, October 5, 2015

It's the final countdown

The race is in less than a week!!!! It feels like I've been waiting forever, but at the same time, I can't believe it's already here!

I don't feel great. I went to bed at 8, which would be great, but I had to wake up at 3:50, so I didn't really get any extra sleep. I felt tons more exhausted than normal, had a slight sore throat, and couldn't keep my eyes open. As soon as the morning job ended, I went back to bed!!!! (My students were all doing standardized testing, so I wouldn't have been able to see them anyway). I slept on and off until 11:30 and feel marginally better. Slight headache, very slight sore throat. About to go run my "easy" 5 and go to bed!

I'm wearing my last new pair of turquoise shoes today. The old ones are still perfectly fine, but the new ones feel like clouds under my feet, and I'm all about comfortable feet during a race!!!! I'll wear them for my 16 total miles this week, and be good to go on race day.

This week is all about sleeping!!!! My goal is to be in bed, with my phone call to Bill over, and my lights out before 8pm. School is closed on Friday, and I could work in a different district, but I'd much rather have that extra day to sleep in and relax and not be exposed to germs!!!

My house is a mess - that can wait. I need to put away clean laundry - that can wait. Everything that isn't work or running can wait. I have priorities here!!!! I already picked up my pre-race food. I need to schedule a massage, and make sure I go to yoga on Friday. Then on Saturday, time to go!!!!! Yes, we're stopping at The Chocolate Garden - is that not one of the main reasons to drive ourselves???

The early forecast looks GREAT!!! Mid-50s at the start, low to mid-60s at the end, and SUNNY!!!!! Mid-60s is a little warm, but the summer has been warm and I trained through it. Now that I know the weather, I know what I'm going to wear (pink tank, purple and green skirt, green knee socks). I had 3 shirts and 2 bottoms picked out, all weather dependent. I'll probably pack everything, just in case :)

I'm sooooooooooo excited!!!!

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

An important run

The theory behind the Hansons training program is "cumulative fatigue." There isn't a big 20-mile run, because no single run makes or breaks the program. Some runs are more purposeful than others, but the idea is to gradually and consistently exhaust the legs, then keep going, and learn to run through the pain and the boredom and the exhaustion. Marathon training is about training the mind as much as it is about training the body.

We're ten days out and I STILL don't know my race pace. (Yes, I'm fully aware of the absurdity of how much time and consideration I've put into this. Esoteric problems of the very fortunate...) I skipped Monday's tempo run when I felt mildly flu-like, so today's tempo run was my very last "something of substance" run, and it was an important run, because today's outcome would go a long way toward determining my race pace.

Tuesday had been crazy humid and close to 80 degrees. Then it rained and became fall. Today was mid-60s, low humidity, full sun, and just enough breeze to challenge me. It was PERFECT running weather!!!!

The Hansons wanted 10 miles at race pace, and I was exhausted, so exhausted after working 4 am-3:30 pm, but I knew the sooner I ran, the sooner I could go to bed! lol The first few miles were easy. They always are. Around mile 4, I started pacing off the boys' cross-country team, which did great things for my confidence. Aside from the fact that I'm old enough to be their mother, they're teenagers and boys, two factors that should make them faster than me, but I kept up pretty handily, and when they stopped, I kept going :D

At the 6-mile mark, I did a body check. Was there any way in the world I could last another 20 miles at this pace?
Heart? Yes!!!!
Lungs? Stay away from student germs and third-hand smoke, and we got this!
Legs? All day long!!!!
Brain? ummm It's soooooooo far, and fast. I'm tired. I'm bored. I'm cold. Where's the water? Let's walk.

My only problem is the gray matter in my skull. I know this!!! I got myself through 10 miles alone without any sustained agony, but can the pace team and the crowd carry me through the next 16?!???!??

Then I thought, this might be a moot point. When I registered, I predicted a 4:30 finish, which put me squarely in the G corral (got my race number today - 36243). If I run 9:30s though, that's a 4:10 finish, which is the F corral. If I'm in a different corral from the pace team, that's just not going to work. I checked, and there are TWO 4:10 groups, in corrals E and G. I have to try!!!! I have to! Magic happens in Chicago! And maybe I crash and burn and fall all the way back to the 4:25 group. Finishing with them would still get me sub-4:30.

Stay healthy, stay focused, stay determined. You got this, girl!!!! (Yes, I'm feeling a little grandiose. I might have had a drink while I typed this haha First one all month, last one til my big 312 draft in the finishing chute :D

Monday, September 28, 2015

A little over-reaction

I'm at the point in my training where I start to get cranky and irritable because my run schedule changes to an easier plan. I can't build any more strength or endurance at this point. Now I focus on doing "easier" runs so I can recover from hard training, without losing any ability, and be healthy and ready to race. I'm not worried about a running injury, but more so about doing something stupid like falling down the stairs or tripping over the cat. It's too late now for anything to happen, and be able to recover in time. Staying healthy is even harder, when I'm inundated by student germs for 27 hours a week.

Imagine my sense of horror when I woke up on Monday, pouring sweat and feeling slightly flu-like. It's 11 hours later now, and I still don't feel great. I haven't vomited, I ate like I normally do, and I don't feel any better or worse than I did this morning.

Mentally though, I'm a mess. Today is supposed to be my last "strength" workout and I was debating two different options - 2 mile repeats at 9:05, or go to the track and do ten 0.5 mile repeats at Yasso pace.

What makes more sense - logically - is to put on my pajamas, lay down with kitty and try and sleep off whatever has me feeling less than 100%. When has marathoning ever been logical though??? I'm chronically exhausted from starting work at 4am and I didn't have enough water yesterday, so either of those could be affecting me. I need to get adequate sleep so I can fight off the student germs. It seems every child is sneezing or coughing and I don't have time to get bronchitis right now.

The idea of skipping a run though, especially a "something of substance" run sends me into a tizzy, where I immediately jump to the conclusion that I'm going to crash and burn in Chicago, that all my hard work over the summer will be eradicated in one day, and I'll struggle to another 5:20 finish.

Deep breath, girl. If I don't take care of myself, if I don't do everything I can to stay healthy, a PR won't happen. Look at the long picture. Do whatever it takes to stay healthy for 13 days, even if it means sacrificing one run.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Life happened

The Hansons wanted me to run 5 miles on Thursday and 8 on Friday this week. I did zero. I'm not sick, not injured, not on vacation. Life happened.

On Thursday I worked 4am-3:30 pm, then had a hair appointment. The only convenient day for me to do dippy time-consuming errands is Tuesday, but my hair stylist doesn't work Tuesdays, and after seeing her for 15+ years, I'm not letting anyone else touch my hair! Then I had to pick up a sympathy card and I didn't get home until almost 7, which was pretty much my bedtime. Besides, it was getting dark, so the gym would have been my only option, which would have added probably 35 minutes of driving time, not to mention running that late would interfere with falling asleep at a decent hour.

Friday I got to "sleep in" and worked 7:45-2:45. I rushed home to change into my funeral dress and drove up to Troy to see my bestie for an hour at her father's viewing. Then Bill and I had dinner with my dad, and I got home close to 8. Again, gym would be the only option and I just didn't care enough to invest the drive time. Besides, I'm exhausted.

I'll get back with the program tomorrow, maybe extend Saturday and Sunday a few miles further than they recommend. The break might be for the best, my body has felt exhausted and generally beat-up. I have to toe the line between training really hard, and training too hard and getting run down, which makes me susceptible to student germs. We're too close to the race now for me to have time to be sick, get well, and recover my lung capability. At this point, I have to stay healthy until it's over!!!! 15 days to go!!!!! I want it to be over, and as soon as it is, I'll miss it lol

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

9:30? sub-10? No idea!!!

Or is it...???
The first two go-rounds with the Hansons training program, I had a definite goal pace in mind (10:30), I was able to maintain it pretty easily throughout my Wednesday tempo runs, and everything was fine and good.

This time, I decided to kick it up a notch and shoot for something faster. Using my time from the Martian half marathon, the McMillan pace calculator predicted that I can run a full marathon at a 9:32 pace. So that's what I've been training all summer, to varying degrees of success.

Let's look back at my tempo runs all summer:

July 1
3.01 miles
9:34 average pace

July 8
dreaded summer cold or allergies, no miles, just a long nap

July 15
5.25 miles
9:24

July 22
5.0 miles
9:30

July 29
+/- 5 miles
no pace written down

August 5
8.1 miles
9:28

August 12
8.0 miles
9:28

August 19
8.1 miles
9:37

August 26
9.5 miles
9:25

September 2
6.3 miles
9:31 treadmill

September 9
8.0 miles
9:59
First half were at pace, second half was a struggle to not walk

September 16
10 miles
9:30
Killed it, one second faster than total goal time

September 23
7.75 miles
9:47
First half were at pace, second half was a struggle to not walk

I don't put much stock in the shorter runs because they're short! I can run fast for a short distance! The two September runs concern me. Yes, they've both been hot. Yes, I've been bored, cranky, tired, you name it. I feel like I should be able to maintain my race pace for 10 miles by this point without falling apart or wanting to quit.

So now, with less than 3 weeks to go, I don't know how to approach my race day pace. Do I shoot for the moon and start with 9:30s, knowing I'll probably flame out early and crash and burn? Do I play it safe and re-adjust my pace to something more manageable, knowing that I would be leaving valuable time on the course? To break 4:30, my absolute slowest pace can be a 10:17, which feels really easy right now, so do I switch to that? I have no idea. 

So much of it is weather-dependent, which isn't good. When it's cool and low humidity, like September 16, I get in a groove and feel like I can run 9:30s forever, but if it's hot or humid, I may as well try and run on the moon, it feels so impossible. 

At this point, I have no idea how in tarnation I managed to finish the Martian with a 9:02 average pace. A big part of that was sticking with pacer Ron the whole way, but I'm not sure I can find the pace group in the massive Chicago crowds, or if I even want to. I most definitely do not enjoy group running whatsoever. Aside from that, though, I don't know about anything.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

50! 50! 50!

40 miles always feels like a threshold week. When I was using Hal's program, there was exactly one 40-mile week, and it was the biggest week, which included the biggie 20-miler. With Hansons, there is a huge block of 40+ weeks, like six or eight weeks in a row. It's hard to pre-calculate the total mileage because Mondays are "speed" or "strength" workouts, and I'm pretty liberal with the total distance I do those days - anywhere from 3.1 to 7ish, depending on time and how I feel.

My previous high-water mark was 45 miles.

I looked at the schedule and figured two different occasions where it would be totally do-able to hit a 50-mile week. The first chance I messed up somehow. It was too hot, or we were on vacation, or whatever, I don't remember.

I looked at the schedule again. Last week was my last realistic chance to break 50. The weather has been good, I've felt great, so stick with the program, add a nibble here and there, and cross the 50-mile marker.

Here's how it happened:

Wednesday
scheduled - 10 miles at race pace
actual - 10.0 miles at race pace, finished ONE SECOND faster than total target time. Felt exhausted, but after about 4 miles I typically hit a groove and it stops hurting so much.

Thursday
scheduled - 6 miles
actual - 6.05 miles
Thursdays can be any pace, I averaged a 10:07. I don't remember how I felt, tired probably.

Friday
scheduled - 6 miles
actual - 6.41 miles
Any pace, averaged a 10:21. Kept stopping to pick up candy that wasn't collected during the homecoming parade lol

Saturday
scheduled - 16 miles
actual - 15.04 miles
Got a late start and horsed around a few times filling water, then needed a bathroom break. Cut it short so I wouldn't be out after the street lights came on. Target pace was 10:30-11:00. Actual average pace was 11:03. Considering I was bored silly and responsible for my own water - I'll take it.

Sunday
scheduled - 5 miles
actual - 6.01 miles
First few miles felt horrible, last few felt amazing, could have kept going.

Monday
scheduled - strength workout
actual - 6.51 miles strength
I didn't trust my ability to hit 9:20s on my own, so I used the TM as a tool. Did 1.5 mile repeats at 9:06 with 0.5 mile slow jogs in between.

I had done the math before Monday's run, and knew exactly what distance I needed to hit 50 miles. Then I went a tiny bit beyond that, so for the rest of my life I can talk about "when I ran OVER 50 miles a week..." lol lol

At the end, I feel great! Exhausted, but that's my schedule talking, not the miles.

Now I'm "tapering," but still doing 45 miles this week. The Hansons have a drastically different idea of a taper than does Hal!!!!

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Aaah Tuesday!!!

Tuesdays are my favorite day of the week! I work both jobs, then have absolutely, wonderfully NOTHING I need to do. A nap often seems to happen, a little tidying up around the house, but a great big zero in the exercise column :D

As soon as Wednesday dawns and I see what the Hansons want (10 miles at pace, and it's supposed to be in the mid-80s - yikes!!!!!), I immediately starting longing for the next Tuesday!

The countdown continues:

144 training miles to go (I'll be happy if I finish 130+ of them, knowing that life can get in the way)
Not me - I wish!!!!
25 days!!!

At work this morning I made myself officially unavailable to work any hours whatsoever the day of the race and the day after. I said I'm pretty much comatose, and completely worthless the next morning, especially facing a 4am start time.

Yesterday my bestie asked me about my plans for after the race, if I'll be able to relax. "For the rest of my life!!!!" I replied :)

I can't see beyond Chicago. I'll almost certainly run Cincinnati next year (heck, of course I will, just not ready to pay for it), most likely do another shorter race this fall, whether the Veterans half in Columbia City, or some 5k wherever, but I absolutely can't see past the Chicago finish line. Not to mention that my body needs time to forget the pain and misery before I can commit to anything else. Yesterday's speed work out was brutal mentally to get started, but I can deal with being miserable for 25 days if it takes me under 4:30.

If not, I'm going to be a sad, crying girl in the finishing area (when I do hit my goal, I'll still be crying, but bc of exhaustion and happiness lol)

Thursday, September 10, 2015

31 Days

Bill and I went on vacation to Tennessee, where I ran us ragged for 4 days visiting Civil War sites. I did a little running, but not what the Hansons wanted.

The next weekend we went to a beach-front bed and breakfast. I ran before we left, but not at all once we were there - the b&b was right on a 55mph road with no sidewalk - where would I run?

I'm working 12-hour days between 2 jobs, starting at 4am.

My running is sucking. Big shock there. My nutrition isn't as careful or diligent as normal. Many days I skip dinner because I don't have any food and no energy to procure any, or I'll have eggs and toast, with virtually no protein, even though I KNOW I need it. Runs keep getting cut or reduced. The miles are going down, while the pace keeps going up, and I just don't have the energy to care.

Then I have to keep reminding myself I'm not training for any old race, it's THE CHICAGO MARATHON!!!!! Best day of my life, PR city Chicago marathon!!! I asked the lottery fairy, St. Sebastian, and Jesus to get me a spot in the lottery. They all came through for me, so I need to do my part. Finishing isn't enough, I HAVE to break 4:30, because with the work situation, it's possible that I might actually mean it when I say I'm retiring this year. (I immediately feel sad thinking about that possibility, even if I'm a little relieved)

Yesterday I watched this video, it made me cry, like it always does. That inspired a little.

I tell myself it's 31 days and yes, I'm counting. 31 DAYS!!!!! Suck it up, and stay focused and committed for 31 DAYS. They're not even all running days. Get it done, girl!!!! Chicago is going to be the hardest, fastest, best, most fulfilling marathon ever!!!! Make it happen!

Friday, September 4, 2015

August numbers

Total miles: 145.67
Number of runs: 21
Average distance per run: 6.93
Shortest run: 3.01 miles
Longest run: 15 miles
TM runs: 4 (3 speed runs, 1 during lightning storm)
Runs skipped: 6 :(
Fastest average pace: 9:09
Slowest average pace: 11:12 (hot and exhausted)
Races: "Run for the Hills" 10k, no PR
Money found: $3.29

I added up the total mileage, and my first thought was "that's it????" haha Not feeling super motivated, the heat and humidity are beating me down, working at 4am interferes with very early or very late runs. Missed a few when Bill and I went on vacation. My August 2014 mileage was 146.47. I couldn't have gotten much closer if I tried! Average pace is faster. I guess I'm justifying the month with an ad hoc "run less, run faster" approach, even thought my usual attitude is "more miles, more better." We'll see. I have 3 black toenails. I seem to be more tolerant of heat and humidity this year - side effect from Vietnam?

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

It's too late to turn back now

Registration closed last week for the Detroit marathon. I was vaguely aware of the deadline, but registering last minute never crossed my mind.

If I miss early registration (January 1 or 2), it increases $50 to $130 and becomes too rich for me. I'll pay more than that for other races, but I don't think Detroit justifies such a price.

More importantly, it's the week after Chicago, and while I've done both races in 2013 and 2014, not this year! All my hopes and plans are squarely in Chicago, to the point that there's no next day. I need to go all out for exactly 26.5 miles (factoring in a little extra mileage due to bad turns and tangents), then I can crash and burn in the finishing chute. It doesn't matter if I can walk the next day. Chicago is the be-all and end-all for my fall. When I have another race scheduled, I hold back a little on the first race so I can recover quicker and do it again, but when doing that, I'm sabotaging the first race, and Chicago is PR city. I will be DEVASTATED if I'm not sub-4:30 this year.

Besides, Detroit has a new medal style this year and I don't like it. I have priorities lol

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Disappointed :(

The Hansons wanted me to run 5 miles today. Life had other plans. Granted, I could have made time to run, but I wanted to have a fun adventure, and I want to get more than 4 hours of sleep.

I didn't sleep great last night. I woke up at midnight with a few crazy minutes of sleep paralysis, then never really went back into deep sleep. Work started at 4am....

By the time I finished working, I hadn't gotten around to eating anything yet. Bill had mentioned going out for breakfast, so I waited and had a big breakfast with him. Then we had plans to go to the Civil War Muster (re-enactment) in Jackson. It was done at 3pm, so we didn't have a lot of time to dilly dally beforehand.

By the time we got back to his place at 4pm, I was so zonked that I crashed and napped for a few minutes. 30 minutes later I still had illusions of running my 5 miles, but I had to drive home, and I had to eat something! By this point, I hadn't eaten in over 6 hours.

Dinner was done at 6:30, work starts at 4am again tomorrow and there's a tornado warning. Yeah, I could force a run to happen, but the weather sounds questionable, driving to the gym would add 40 minutes, and it takes me a couple hours to wind down and sleep after a run. Besides, when I'm really really sleep deprived and run-down, I'm more likely to get sick, which would harm my running a whole lot more than 1 missed run. And I have 2 vacays coming up! I don't have time to be sick!!!!

I know skipping ONE run isn't the end of the world, and it won't kill my training. Tomorrow is another day and all that, but I'm still bummed. Grumble grumble complain.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

The comedy of errors 10k

I have amazing run routes mapped out - low traffic, shady, paved the entire way, sufficient places to stop for water, as needed, but after running the same routes for years, I get bored!!!! I've reached the point in my training that every Saturday is 10 or 16 miles, so it's the same route every weekend and it's sooooooo boring!!!!

On Friday I thought I should look for a race to do this weekend to break up the monotony! There was a 10k in Farmington Hills on Saturday that was still cheap the day before. Good enough for me!

I hate cutting it close at the starting time. I'd rather be there 30 minutes early and hang around waiting for the start. It started at 8:30, and was about a 30-minute drive, so I left home at 7:25. Plenty of time, yes?

I had forgotten my gps in Bill's car a few weeks ago, so I looked at Google maps ahead of time and wrote down the instructions. I'm pretty spatial, so I knew I'd find it. It began and ended at Shiawassee Park, which is off Shiawassee Road, easy enough. Unfortunately, there must be two Shiawassee Roads, or the two parts don't connect, but wherever Google maps sent me, it sure wasn't the race location.

After driving up and down Shiawassee, back and forth, I remembered a woman at registration had said I could take Grand River, so when I saw that, I turned down it, in the direction of Farmington Hills. Less than a mile later, the road was closed for an accident. Based on the number of police and fire and ambulance, it was a fatality. I had no idea how to detour around it, so I followed the car in front of me and we got back on Grand River.

Eventually I got somewhere near the park - the roads and parking had all been closed by that point. I parked on a side street, not even positive it was a legal spot, and started jogging toward where I thought the park was.

I knew ahead of time there was no starting time pad, that it was a small race, so everyone had the same "gun" time.

Unfortunately, I had to ask at the finish line "Where's the start????"

A nice man offered to help me. "Go up the hill, turn left, then turn right and you'll see the signs."

"Which hill?" There were two.

"It doesn't matter," he said.

"Up the hill, then left?" I clarified.

"Right," he replied.

"Right, as in turn right, or right as in I'm correct?" Who's on first...?

"I'll show you," he said. He got me to the approximate starting line, and sure enough, there were plenty of signs once I made the first two turns. By this point, however, I had given the other runners a 14-minute head start. Arggggghh!!!!! Based on the finishing times from last year, I thought I might be able to squeak into 3rd place, but instead, it became what it really was - a training run with a change of scenery.

Amazingly, even with a 14-minute head start, I was able to catch up to and pass some runners!!!! Out of maybe 100 total, I passed 12, and yes, I was counting :D It's the only race I've done - of ANY distance - that NO ONE passed me. I also managed to hit every corner and tangent exactly right lol

According to the finishing clock, I ran a 1:11:something 10k lol By my watch, it was 56:38. My PR is a 55:23. The course was gravel at parts, very hilly, and hot, so I'm really happy with my time, especially because I had only decided the night before to run it and still finished well under 1 hour. Heck yeah!!!!!

The winners in my age group finished in 53, 54 and 54, so even a PR wouldn't have gotten me in the top 3. Ah well, not this time.

I stopped on the drive home to ask a super important question: "McDonalds, are you still serving breakfast?" They were!!!! Whee!!!

As soon as I got home, I changed into a long sleeve shirt (for the sun), put on a hat, and with my belly full of McDonalds breakfast and coffee, set out to finish my 10 miles. I know that in running 6+4 does not = 10, but it's ok to split it up, as long as it's not an every time thing.

Plus, I got a shirt with a running goat on it - who doesn't love that??? Maybe it's a ram? Distinguishing similar animals isn't one of my strengths lol

Friday, August 14, 2015

Photos

Mom called earlier this week.

"You're in a marathon ad in the Detroit News," she said. I was?????

"What am I wearing?" I asked, trying to figure out which year it was taken.

"Pink, I think. And a hat. You're near a fence." hmmm the only year I wore pink was in 2010 when I wore my Chauncey Billups jersey, and I had a bandana, not a hat. Not to mention I've worn a white visor a few times, but never a hat. Still, I had to see this picture!

I can see the resemblance, but it's definitely not me.

I heard or read somewhere that we all have a "twin" somewhere in the world. I've met several of them, and it's uncanny, especially when they have the same voice or same mannerisms. Here is my "twin." I saw this picture in the Detroit News when the old Tiger Stadium was being torn down. I looked at it and looked at it and looked at it, and finally thought "I don't remember standing on that bridge." Then I realized "I don't have that hat." Bizarre! She looks like me, she's standing like me, she's sad that the park is being torn down, but trying to hide it from the guys she's with. I could see myself doing that :) Not me though!

And here are two pictures from the Electric Bolt 5k. Another bonus of really small races - free photos!!! This photo is really of the guy in yellow (who was unofficially pacing me for the first half, whether he realized it or not :) I suppose I'm "photo-bombing" him, but I like it. I like how big and strong my arms and shoulders look. I like that my back foot is raised, so I actually look like I'm running, not shuffling :) I like the curve in my waist - I can be a crazy runner, but still feminine! I like that I closed my mouth - I'm definitely a mouth breather when I run, which leads to not flattering photos haha Power up that hill, girl!!!

Then just a few steps off the finish line - aah I'm so calm and serene!!! I like how the sun is hitting me and casting a shadow on the left half of my face, the slightly open mouth works here, I like how relaxed I look. The photo doesn't even show the sweat, and I was drenched! I sure don't look like i just scored a 2nd place finish :D

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

2 months

Two months from today is the Chicago marathon. I feel surprisingly prepared for this point in my training. The awesome 15-miler on Saturday helped a ton. I wasn't sure what to expect last year, considering I switched to Hansons in August, but I've been with them this whole go-round and I'm ready to score a huge PR! I'm seeing sub-4:30 Bam! I threw down the challenge!!!! :D

Update: two months from yesterday. I don't know what happened to August 11th :) Two months from today it'll all be over. That's sad, and always a let-down. I train so hard and for so long, then in one morning, it's over?