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