Tuesday, November 3, 2009
Friday, October 23, 2009
Ironically, she sent it to me about an hour after Dan sent me this article about the woman who was proud to be DFL at last week's KC Marathon:
Both ends of the spectrum there! First off, I am a slow runner. I think we have established that by now. When I first started running, I was sort of embarassed about it. And it was for exactly the elitist attitude that is displayed in the first article. But I quickly got over it. Because I enjoy doing it, and it makes me feel good, and I'm proud of myself for getting out there and doing it instead of sitting at home on my ass watching 90210 reruns every Saturday morning. Not that I havent thought many a time that I would rather do that!
Yes, I would like to get faster. But "faster" for me is not the same as "faster" for you, or for anybody else. For me, it means being able to run a sub-30 5K and a sub-5 hour marathon. Those are MY goals. There are always going to be people, like those quoted in the NYT article, who will think that those time goals are totally lame and that I'm not a REAL runner. Well, pardon my French, but they can fuck off. The thing is, no matter how good you are at something, somebody will always be better. And VERY few people are born with such natural talent that they just start off being an amazing athlete. Everybody has to work at it. And just because some of us have to work really hard to get under 5 hours in a marathon doesne make our efforts any less valid than people who have to work really hard to get under 3 hours in a marathon. So, whatever.
Thankfull, I have encountered very few people who are so enamored with themselves that they look down on anybody else's pace or ability. And really, if you have to look down your nose at what other people are doing, doesnt that sort of take the joy out of what YOU are doing? I think it must. So tomorrow morning I'll go out and run 6 or 8 miles at a nice 11:40 pace and go home feeling good about what I just did, and then sit on my ass and watch football. Sounds like a perfect Saturday to me!
Speaking of which, I have to be pace group leader tomorrow morning because Kristi is out of town....and we're going to Ponaks tonight. I learned early on that mexican food on Friday night + Saturday morning run = bad idea, but here I go. We were invited out, and I cant turn down Ponaks! That's sacrelig. Or maybe I just like to punish myself.
I'm actually looking forward to running, I havent run since Chicago and I'm ready to get back out. Well, I did go to the gym a couple of times this week (which felt great) and one of those times I got on the treadmill after I lifted with the intention of jogging for 20 minutes. That turned into a 10 minute jog because my legs were toast. Woooo boy, were my legs tired. I dont know if it was still from the marathon, or from lifting again for the first time in a couple of months. Probably a combo of both. But, it was a good week, and I'm excited to get back to running and get back in the gym.
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
- I am not going to do a spring or summer marathon next year. I wont have the time to work on speed if I have to start ramping up my mileage right away after the first of the year.
- I will do a fall marathon, and really, I'd love to do Chicago again.
- I will do a spring half marathon, maybe Olathe again, and PR there.
- I will also do at least 2 5ks and 2 10ks by the end of the spring session of RE. Right now I couldnt even tell you what my PRs for those distances are, as I cant remember the last time I've run one.
- I will sign up for the spring RE speed sessions.
- And by God, I will lose 10 lbs!
It's fun to just have to worry about going far. But, I think it will be even more fun to go far, faster!
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
After I got going, it was just one huge mass of humanity. I normally really hate crowds, and it was definitely crowded, but not so bad that you had no room to move or people were constantly bumping into you. So it was actually really enjoyable. Almost right away we went through an underpass that was over a block long, so my Garmin lost reception for a couple minutes and threw off my readings for the rest of the race. Oh well.
I was still chugging along, feeling great. Hit 15K at 1:47 and 20K at 2:22. Right around that 20K mark Dan spotted me and yelled my name, and I managed to see him for a second as I ran by. I think I was in the middle of eating a pouch of sport beans at the moment. We turned west right before we hit the halfway point, and I about died when I heard what song was playing as I came up on it. They had some huge speakers set up right by the 13.1 mile clock, and they were playing….the Nebraska tunnel walk song! I know Nebraska isn’t the only team that uses it, but talk about motivational!
Thursday, October 8, 2009
Time Temperature Wind Precipitation
7:30am 30 degrees, mostly clear West 10-15 mph None
10:00am 36 degrees, sunny West 10-15 mph None
Noon 41 degress, sunny West 13-18 mph None
1:30pm 43 degrees, sunny West 13-18 mph None
I'm shooting for 5 hours, so factor in a good 30 minutes for me to actually make it to the starting line once the gun goes off, I should finish around 1. Lets split the difference and say it will be 42 degrees. Awesome. Dan had better bundle up. Or find a bar that's open early. I have a feeling he'll be doing the latter.
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
A couple of weekends ago I had a 20-miler that turned into a 19-miler and left me with some sore hips and blistered feet. But, that was because I had accidentally worn my old, worn out shoes. The right shoes truly make that big of a difference! As luck would have it, we were running from the Garry Gribbles store in Lawrence, and there was a NewBalance rep there that day letting people "test drive" their shoes. We started off with an 8 mile loop through the KU campus, then stopped back at the store before heading out for the rest of the run, so I was able to switch into a new pair of NB at that time. They were better than my old shoes, but definitely not for me. I'm an Adidas girl, and even when my shoes are new, they feel good to me. These did not. Of course, my feet were already blistered, so that probably had something to do with it. But really, that's my only "bad" run of late.
I've got my pace band for Chicago and am feeling good about being able to hit my time goal. Last weekend I did 14, and ended up with a negative split for the last half. I hooked up with some people in a little faster pace group, and pushed myself to stay with them. I ended up doing that last 7 at what will be my race pace, and I still felt great at the end. So, that really boosted my confidence. And all of my weeknight runs I've been doing faster than race pace, so that is feeling good too. Just under a month to go, I'm starting to get excited! And I'm still hoping to do KC that following weekend assuming that I feel good. October should be a fun month!
Now, I know that a lot of "pure" runners do not run with headphones. They say you should be listening to your body and concentrating on your stride and breathing and all of that, not zoning out listening to music. Well, I like to listen to music while I run, and I think it helps me. I dont wear headphones on my long Saturday runs since I'm with the group, but I do during the week. Nothing makes me pick up the pace like a little Nelly or Luda coming on!
I always like hearing what other people have on their running playlists, and people sometimes ask me what's on mine. Some of my favorites are:
Best of Both Worlds- Van Halen
Cold Hard Bitch- JET
Get Back- Ludacris
Heart of a Champion- Nelly
I Don't Care- Fall Out Boy
Ladies and Gentlemen- Saliva
Let it Rock- Kevin Rudolf & Lil Wayne
Lose Yourself- Eminem
Move Along- The All-American Rejects
Rollin- Limp Bizkit
Runnin' Down a Dream- Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers
Stronger- Kanye West
Whiskey in the Jar- Metallica
Friday, August 28, 2009
Last weekend I ran 12 and I just felt really rough. It sort of made me question the reality of running marathons on 2 weekends in a row, but I am just chalking it up to a bad run. Sometimes you just have a bad run no matter what you do! Running this week hasnt been a toon better though, I've been sucking wind like a freaking 2-pack a day smoker. I dont know what the deal is.
Last weekend, one of the ladies in RE who lives close to the start of our run invited everyone over to her house for brunch afterards. It was on my way home, so I decided to stop by. Her husband was there, and I heard him talking to a couple of girls from the group about triathlons, so I moseyed over and jumped into the conversation. Lets just say this guy turned out to be a complete dick. The conversation went a little something like this:
(after him making several mentions about IM Wisconsin)
Me: Oh, have you done Wisconsin?
Him: YEAH! Twice!
Me: oh ok
One of the girls asks a question about how it must be difficult not to draft on the bike with everyone coming out of the water and getting on the bike course so close together. Dickhead starts going on and on about how it's SOOOOO difficult and requries a great deal of skill not to draft.
Me: Or, if you're a slow swimmer like me and come out of the water behind most of the people, you dont have to worry about it. Haha!
Him: Well I'm MIDDLE OF THE PACK, so, that doesnt apply to me!
More conversation about triathons, one of the girls asks if Ironman races are the largest events.
Him: Yes, there are 2200 people in each Ironman, they have the most participants of any triathlon.
Me: Well actually, there are others that are larger. For instance, there are well over 4,000 people that do Wildflower every year....
Him: rolls his eyes at me like I dont know what the F I am talking about
More convo, in which I make several references to doing an IM
Him: Have you DONE an Ironman??
Me: Yes, I did Florida in 2007.
Him: Oh, that's the easiest Ironman course.
Me: Fuck you, douche nozzle!
What I really said: Well, I dont think I'd consider any Ironman EASY.....
And then I had to walk away before I throat punched him, and go home and call Courtney.
So, congrats to him on being a 60+ year old, middle of the pack, asshole who has done a grand total of 2 Ironman races in his whole life. I bow down to thee.
Monday, August 17, 2009
I always see people with Marathon Maniacs shirts on, and so I was checking out the website this week and found myself being able to answer "yes" to over half of the "are you a maniac?" questions. I'm also keenly aware of the fact that I'm running Chicago on Sunday, October 11th, and that the KC marathon is on Saturday, October 17. Hmmmmmm.....the wheels are turning.
So! Last week after ET I felt great, I could have run another marathon over the weekend. But since Chicago is my "A" race, I did the right thing and took a whole week off. Even though I felt great and was ready to run again. Now, I know I'll be pushing it harder at Chicago, looking to meet my time goal, but I think I will still be able to run KC. And really, even if I end up feeling too trashed that week following Chicago, no skin off my back to not do KC. This just happens to be a good opportunity to get in 2 marathons in a week, being that I'm already planning on one, and the other one is local.
So that's the current plan!
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
At 8:00 that night it was time to load up the busses for our 2 hour drive north to the middle of the desert for the start of the marathon. I think there were about 800-some people doing all the races (there was also a 10K, half mary, and a 51K), but everything was so well organized that it never felt like there were that many people around needing to get on a bus. Of course, a lot of people did drive themselves, which I cant imagine doing. Why drive yourself 2 hours out to the middle of nowhere to run a race in the middle of the night, only to have to drive yourself back when you finished? No thanks.
Monday, July 27, 2009
Friday, July 24, 2009
Monday, July 20, 2009
So anyway, I had a chiro appointment on Wednesday and I mentioned to her my problems with my shins. She said that sometimes what causes that pain is that the smaller bone in your lower leg, not the tibia but the other one, gets a little rotated which puts stress on the muscles and ligaments. The little knob on the outside corner of your knee is where that bone attaches. So she felt my knees, and said that it seemed to be a little "out" on my left leg. She adjusted it, and, VOILA! Shin splints gone!
My right leg is pretty much 100% better, I must have been compensating in some weird way for the pain in my left leg. My left leg is still a little tender, but it is WAY better than it was. I did 12 on Saturday, and it felt completely fine after the first couple of blocks. I am so glad I decided to mention it to her. So I think I should be good to go for the rest of my training for ET, and for the race itself. And oh yeah, for Chicago!
Wednesday, July 8, 2009
I dont know what I did to cause this, I haven't really been doing anything that different. Unless the bit of lifting I've been doing has been enough to jack me up. It shouldnt be an overuse injury, because I haven't gotten my mileage back up very high yet. But it's not like I took a major break from running either. So who knows.
I guess the best treatment for it is rest. Well, I have a marathon coming up in a month, so I dont really have time for much rest. So I guess I will just have to ice after I run. Does anybody have any other tricks to help this feel better?
While reading fellow running blogger Oz Runner's latest post, I was reminded that I need to get a light for ET next month. They say you are required to run with a flash light or head lamp, and I know I'm not going to want to carry a flashlight in my hand for 26 miles. So I need to look into getting a head lamp. I am really looking forward to this race, it should be a total blast. I mean, when else do you get to run through the high desert in the middle of the night and watch the sun come up? Probably never! So it should be a good experience. One month from today!
Speaking of which, I asked Eladio what I should do about my long runs, since I'm following a training plan for Chicago which only gets me up to 18 miles before ET. He said I should be fine with that being my longest run. I dont know if I believe him. Seems like I should get up to at least 20! But he's the expert, so I'll trust him on this one. And I'm not planning to run it for time, so I should be fine.
Tuesday, June 30, 2009
Happy to be on the bike
Happy to be running
Happy to be done!
And thanks to Bryce for figuring out some sort of magic internet voo doo and saving my pics off without the watermark.
Monday, June 29, 2009
Bryce and I rolled into Des Moines around 3 on Saturday and headed straight to this sports bar, Legends, to meet up with his friends Dutch and Tony (who also goes by Skinny or Big Gay Toni, depending on who you ask) who were also racing. Tony's girlfriend Katie was there too, as well as his parents. We hung out there for a bit, and then went over to the MANDATORY race briefing that was being held at a school not far from the race site. Usually the "mandatory" race briefings aren't ACTUALLY mandatory, but this one was. You had to attend before they would let you pick up your packet. Lame.
Anyway, lets get on to the first cool thing about this race. They give you the greatest schwag bag ever. You get a bike jersey (and not a crappy one, a really nice one that is actually in your size), a good Headsweats hat, and a nice back pack that is absolutely stuffed with goodies. I havent even gone through it yet to see what all is in there. IMNA needs to take a lesson from the HyVee folks, because you really should get a goodie bag of this caliber for doing an IM. I mean, this wasnt even a half, and it totally trumped anything else I've ever gotten.
So after that, we headed back over to Legends for some dinner. Tim had joined us by this point, and some of his buddies from Columbia came and met up with us for a bit. The Columbia guys are FAST, and rolled up in a truck with about 20K worth of bikes on the back of it. Jealous! I think they all ended up placing in their AG, or something crazy like that.
After dinner we headed down to the race site to drop off our bikes and check things out. This was my first chance to see how amazing the venue was. I think the thing that impressed me the most was the finish area. It was HUGE!! They had these huge grandstands set up on 3 sides of it, two separate enormous video screens set up so that everyone on the whole site could watch the finish line, and even just the lead up to the finish was so cool. Really made me look forward to finishing!
The way the site was laid out, the road that the runners came in on to finish created sort of an "island" in the middle of the site. It was cut off from the other side of the site with the TA and lake and all, but in that middle "island" is where they had all the tents with vendors and food and entertainment and such. So to get to it, they had 3 or 4 huge pedestrian bridges set up that crossed the run course at various points, connecting the two sides of the site. It was really neat. And I would have pictures of it, but I got there and realized my camera was dead. Damn!
Got our bikes checked in, checked out the site, checked out the swim start, and then headed back to where we were staying since it was about bed time. We were staying with Bryce's friend Stu's dad. He and his wife were nice enough to let us crash at their house even though Stu wasnt up there to race. Was in bed by shortly after 10 with my alarm set for bright and early at 3:45.
My one complaint about this race is the parking situation. There was minimal parking on the race site, so they had other various locations set up with shuttles to take people in. The weird thing was, they had the volunteer and spectator parking areas WAY closer to the race site than the athlete parking areas. The athletes were supposed to park about 5 miles away at some mall! Which would have been OK for getting TO the race, but afterwards you'd have your bike, and you couldnt take a bike on the shuttle. Which meant that you'd have to ride back to the mall. Which again, isnt that big of a deal, but sort of annoying. Lucky for us, Stu's dad offered to drop us off in the morning. His house was actually a lot closesr to the race site than the mall, so we'd have a shorter ride back. Plus we wouldnt have to wait around for a shuttle to get us down there.
We arrived before 5:00, got our chips, got body marked, and TA areas set up. As I was setting mine up, I realized that I had forgotten my swim cap. Damn! I knew they would have extras somewhere, so I set about trying to find them. It seriously took me about 45 minutes to track them down, because every volunteer I asked told me something different, so I spent a good deal of time walking around trying to find a damn swim cap. Finally I found them in a crate RIGHT next to the swim start. By that time, I had just enough time to jump in the water and test the temp before the first wave went off. They had told us that the water temp was 86, which is HOT! It appeared to have cooled off a bit though, and was actually pretty comfortable. Still not wetsuit legal, but not boiling either.
The first swim wave went off at 6, and then another one went off every 4 minutes. Mine went off at 6:24, and the time seemed to pass pretty quickly while I was waiting for it. There were a lot of people in each wave, and I had a hard time finding some open water to work with. It was very crowded the first 300m or so, and I was getting kind of frustrated. Also, my goggles fogged up pretty quick, and they had the buoys spaced really far apart, so I was having a hard time sighting. I kept having to sight about every other stroke, and that was really slowing me down too. Finally I was able to get some open water, but I was still going pretty slow because of my sighting issue. I should have just taken the time to stop and take my goggles off and rinse them out. Oh well.
It was a clock-wise loop, and after we turned to head back to shore, we were pretty much straight into the rising sun. Which was making it even HARDER for me to sight. Fantastic. Also, somewhere in here, I was just swimming along, minding my own business, when my hand came down right onto some dude's package. I dont know if he was backstroking or what, but it was definitely package! Ha! So I finally made it back to shore, not really sure what my time was since I wasnt wearing a watch, but just happy to be out of the water.
When I got to the TA, I was happy to see that there were still quite a few bikes left. Even though I was in one of the middle waves, I was sort of worried that I would be at the very tail end of people heading out on the bike since my swim was so slow. But I wasnt, so that was good. I feel like I had a pretty quick transition, just pulled on my helmet and socks and shoes and was off. We had a short ride through the park, before pulling out onto the main road for the course, which was a simple out and back.
This course was completely flat, with just a couple of small hills before the turn around. On the way out, we had a slight headwind, which I only really noticed because I felt like I was working really hard and not going very fast for my effort. I got to the turn around, which kind of scared me a little bit after falling over and landing on my face at the one during IMFL, but this one was a little wider and I maneuvered it just fine.
The ride back in was FUN! I did drop my chain one one of the hills here, which usually freaks me out, but I just stayed calm and clicked back up a gear, and caught it right back. Now we had a tailwind, and I was able to keep my speed at over 20mph the entire way back. I was passing quite a few people, which felt great. There was one chick who was going just a TINY bit slower than me, but every time I would try to pass her, she moved over and blocked me. Granted, there were a few people right in front of her, so I couldnt tell if she was doing it on purpose or doing it because she was thinking about trying to pass them. But it was pissing me off, and I knew I needed to get around her. So finally I just punched it up a notch and got by.
Coming back into TA I was just having a great time and feeling realy good about my bike. Since I decided so late in the game to actually do this race, I'd only gotten in 3 rides, none of which were 25 miles long. My goal had been to average 16mph, and I ended up averaging 17.3. So I was very happy with that! When I got back to my rack, the two people on either side of me had racked really wonky, so it took me a minute to get my bike on. Then I just switched out my shoes, grabbed my race belt and the Garmin, and headed off.
The run was the part I was least worried about, since a 10K is cake, but this is where my lack of training really hit me. It was pretty apparent that I hadn't done any bricks, and my legs felt like lead. About the first mile of the run course was inside the park, which was nice because there were so many spectators. Once we got out of the park, there was a pretty decent hill, which I decided to walk up instead of expending too much energy running it with my heavy legs. Of course, this is where I saw Tim, as he was flying down the hill going the other direction. At the top of the hill was an aid station, and then a nice downhill, before we turned and had to make our way up another gradual incline. About half a mile after I turned around, I saw Bryce going the other wasy, and of course I was walking, AGAIN. Seems like I only see people I know when I'm walking.
After I got up the last hill and hit the aid station, I FINALLY started feeling really good, and was able to run the last mile or so at a pretty good pace. Coming into the finish was as cool as I had imagined, they just really made a big production out of it. I got my medal and a water, and then headed off to find a place to rest in the shade for a few minutes before looking for everyone. Really, the only part of the race that I'm disappointed with is my run, I know it could have been a lot faster. But I'm happy with the rest of it, my main goal was to have fun, and I did. My splits ended up being:
Swim (1500m): 43:42
Bike (40k): 1:26:26
Run (10k): 1:13:17
After I cooled off a bit, I crossed one of the pedestrian bridges into the middle of the action, and went straight to the beer tent. I knew that's where they would all be hanging out! I found Tim and his Columbia friends there, so I grabbed a beer and joined them. Bryce joined us shortly thereafter, and we just stayed there for a while in the shade enjoying some beverages. We knew Dutch would be finishing sometime soon, so we went to watch for him, and then straight back to the shade and beers after he came through. I can't remember exactly how long we stayed there, but I think it was about noon when we left.
Tim had been lucky enough to grab a close parking spot, so he offered to drive Bryce and I back so we didnt have to ride. Definitely nice to have a ride. We got showered up and headed back to KC, and I was home by about 5:30.
So I would absolutely recommend this race to anyone, I really dont think I've ever had a better experience. IM was close, but I think this was actually better, in terms of just the overall event, and I didn't think I would ever be able to say that. I will definitely be back next year. If all races were this cool, I'd race every weekend! :)
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
It has really been too hot to do much of anything outside the past few days. I had actually planned on going out to SMP last night and getting in one last swim in the lake, but I ended up needing to drive out to Harrisonville to pick up a couple of bostons that MABTR was taking into rescue. A "breeder" down in Joplin had them living in crates outside. The small, short muzzled breeds are especially susceptible to heat, so they should not have been out there. Poor guys panted the whole 45 minute drive back to my house. They sure were friendly little suckers for having been cooped up in crates their whole life! They were stinky as heck, so they both got a bath, and then got to spend the night down in the nice cool basement. If we didnt already have 3 dogs, I would have just kept them both!
On Sunday I got out for a semi-long ride, but still cut it a bit short because it was just so hot. I went out south to my favorite stretch of straight, rolling pavement, and got in about 18 miles. I was planning on 25, but dang! Being out there in the blazing sun really takes it out of you when you arent acclimated to the heat yet. We've had a fair number of days in the 80's so far, but lately it's been in the mid-90's with a heat index of over 100. Hopefully it cools down a LITTLE bit for this Sunday.
This Saturday I'm getting up to run 12 with RE and then heading up to Des Moines for the main event. Should be a good time. Dan's got the Lenexa BBQ this weekend so can't come. The couple of time's he's missed a race it is a bit weird without my cheering section!
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
So here's the plan. They have open swim in the lake at SMP on Tuesdays and Thursdays, so I am going to go out there this week and next week to swim, and then ride. I'm not a HUGE fan of the monotony of riding in SMP, but I can always just leave the park and ride out west if I feel like it. I dont want to just give up on lifting the next 2 weeks since I was kind of getting into my groove, so I'll still do that on Monday and Wednesday. And I WILL get up and run in the mornings. At least I know I can run a 10k with no problem.
Sunday is Fathers Day, but I am going to plan to get a semi-long ride in. Ideally, I really need to get at least 25 miles. So all that should leave me sitting in an OK position. It will just be fun to go race again!
Monday, June 15, 2009
Friday, June 12, 2009
My overall plan is to be running in the morning then lifting after work, but so far I've only managed one morning run. I've found that I have just been so TIRED, not to mention sore, with this new routine. I'm starting to get more adapted to it though, and am not feeling quite as worn down as I was at first. So that's good.
Saturday is the last day of RE for the spring session, then we have a week off before the fall sesion starts. I know, I know, the "fall" session starts in June. But it ends in the fall, so I guess thats why it's called the fall session! My friend Stacey is going to come run with us on Saturday, and is thinking about signing up at mid-session in August to train for the KC half marathon. I hope she does! I have been trying for ever to get someone to sign up, and I may have finall found a victim, er, taker. Anyone else in KC should really consider it as well, I just cant imagine a better way to get your long runs in. So, go sign up. Do it now! www.kcrunnersedge.com
This weekend is the IMKS 70.3 race over in Lawrence. I was all gung ho about signing up for it back in the fall, and was going to sign up for the Steelhead 70.3 as well. But I just sort of petered out on the whole tri thing this year and decided to just run. I dont know what it is, but for some reason having done a full IM now just makes anything shorter seem kind of blah. I know I shouldnt think that way, doing a sprint or oly or half is still a blast. And lord knows I need to work on my speed. But there's still that part of me that thinks "Ironman is just so COOL, anything else is pointless!". Kind of like how anything less than a full marathon now is boring. Geez, I really need a better mindset :)
But anyway, I'll be heading over to Lawrence to watch Court and a few others race it, and maybe that will snap me out of it when I see all the fun I'm missing out on. Because a half really is a fun distance, it's totally doable training-wise, and you're still done before dinner.
Monday, June 1, 2009
This past Saturday I had a 12 miler and thought I might just have heat stroke. Even though we started at 6:30, so I was done around 9, it was still about 80 by the time I finished. Usually I have a few people to run with, but Saturday everyone in my group was only doing 8. So they turned around at 4 miles, while I still had another 2 to go before I got to head back. I dont mind running by myself, and it was kind of nice to be out on the trail without anyone else around. The first 4 miles were pretty flat, then the last 2 before the turn were HILLY. Long, steep hills. The kind where you're pretty much forced to run on your toes to get up them. Fun times. But at least that part was in the trees and shaded.
On my way back, when I was at about mile 10.5, I passed two older guys going the other direction, not in our group. As they passed me, one of them looks right at me and says "better pace yourself!". WTF?! Pace your damn self, dude. Did I really look that bad? Probably so. I am not one of those girls who looks cute when they are running, I always end up looking like a hot mess. Oh well.
On Memorial Day Dan and I went to the Royals game, and as I was sitting there in my shorts, I looked down and was MORTIFIED by how my legs looked. No wonder my thighs got chafed at OKC, they are a big blubbery mess! Well, relatively speaking, anyway. I need to get those puppies toned up again.
Now, I knew I needed to start doing something else besides running. So in a half-hearted attempt to do something, I (dont laugh) had bought the Jillian Michaels 30-Day Shred DVD and was going to do that in the mornings before work. Which I did, for a few days. But dang, it is boring! It's a decent workout, I can definitely give myself a better one on my own. It would definitely be good for beginners though. So anyway, I'm going to start getting up and running in the mornings, and then lifting after work. Works out well, since it's starting to be hot in the afternoons when i get home anyway, and I'm not a big fan of running in the late afternoon heat. So we'll see how this goes!
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Windy and humid. Two words that you do not want describing the day of your marathon. But the two words that most accurately described Sunday.
This was my first Runners Edge bus trip, and I really loved it. We left Saturday morning around 8, and rolled into OKC sometime after 1. We headed straight to the expo to pick up our packets and do some shopping. Marcela, Pritha and I were starving though, so we skipped the shopping and walked over to Bricktown to grab a sandwich as soon as we got our packets.
Once everyone got loaded back on the bus, we drove part of the course to see what we would be in for on Sunday. The parts we saw all looked relatively flat, with just a couple of short hills. Nothing to worry about. We got checked into the hotel and everyone had a chance to relax before dinner. I was so glad I had gotten my own room, a king size bed all to myself! Quite the luxury when I’m used to sharing a queen with Dan and the two bostons. I read some more of my book, took a quick power nap, and woke up ready to eat again.
Now, at this point, I should mention that since Friday I had felt like I was starting to get sick. Not really bad, but just that feeling that I WOULD be feeling bad soon. My eyes were hot, I was a little achy, and felt like I had a slight fever. I had been downing Gatorade all day, partly to make sure I was plenty hydrated for the next day, and partly to try to flush out whatever was in my system. I hoped that all the fluids and a good night’s sleep would have me feeling better in the morning.
About half of the people in our group had decided to go elsewhere for dinner, but the rest of us headed down to the pasta dinner. The OKC marathon is a memorial marathon, run in honor of the 1995 Federal Building bombing victims, and the pasta dinner was actually held on the memorial grounds. I had been to the memorial before, and it’s of course very touching. But being there to run a marathon, which is an emotional experience in itself, just made it even more so.
The dinner was really good, as far as pre-race pasta dinners go, and they had live music and several speakers. The first speaker was Amy Palmiero-Winters, a runner who had lost her leg to being hit by a car while out on a training run. Despite that, she’s an elite athlete and holds several world records. She would be running the marathon on Sunday while pushing a 9 year old girl in a wheel chair. Those are the people that really inspire me, and the ones I think about when I’m out there hurting. I remind myself of all the people who do races with a prosthetic leg, (or TWO prosthetic legs, as is sometimes the case) and that if they can do it, then I sure as hell don’t have anything to be complaining about with two functioning legs.
We also got to hear running legends Dick Beardsley, Joan Benoit Samuelson and Bill Rodgers speak. Joan won the first Olympic women’s marathon event in 1984, and is still a world class runner today. Up until that point, women’s distance events were not allowed in the Olympics because of a (very wrong) notion that women were not capable, or would severely injure themselves. Now it’s widely accepted that women are actually physiologically built BETTER for endurance events than men. So, there!
Once we got back to the hotel I headed up to my room to relax, read some more of my book, and catch the news. We had known that thunderstorms were likely that weekend, and were all a little worried they’d be hitting OKC in the morning. We lucked out and they didn’t hit OKC at all, but stayed to the north and west.
I woke up on Sunday morning just praying that I would feel better, and I didn’t. I still felt like I was getting sick. But at least I didn’t feel any worse! So before I even got out of bed I knew that the day would be a struggle. We all met down in the lobby for some quick words from Eladio and a prayer, then headed off to downtown. It was very crowded, this was by far the largest race I’ve done. I believe there were around 20,000 participants between the marathon, half marathon, relay, 5k, and kid’s marathon. It was so nice riding the bus, since we were able to get dropped off fairly close to the start, and not have to worry about parking or anything. I dropped off my gear check bag, after a bit of trouble finding where I was supposed to do that, and got in the start corral behind the 12 min pace group. Surprisingly, I was having no nervous tummy issues, which is a first for me. No last minute trips to the port-a-john!
The start was right next to the memorial, and before we started they reminded us that we were running a memorial marathon with 168 seconds of silence. One second for each person killed in the bombing. I don’t think there was a dry eye down there after that. Once the gun went off, it took me about 10 minutes to get to the actual start mats since I was so far back, and then I was off!
I was wearing a pace band for a 5:15 finish time, so I knew how fast each mile needed to be. Runners Edge uses a “smart pacing “ strategy that has you warm up the first couple of miles at a much slower pace, pick it up in the middle to build a cushion, and then accounts for fatigue at the end. So my pace band employed this method instead of an even pace for each mile.
Before I even got half a mile in, the humidity hit me hard. I hadn’t noticed it much before I started running, but as soon as I did, the air felt as thick as pea soup and I was sweating like a pig. Great! Perfect way to start the race! We haven’t had much, well, ANY, humidity up here yet this year, so I definitely was not acclimated to it. At least it wasn’t too hot, and there was a nice breeze at our backs. There were lots of spectators at this point, and I was running with Marcela, so the mile and a half before the first aid station passed relatively quickly. Somewhere around that point Marcela stopped to use a port-a-john, so then I put my headphones on and tried to focus.
The humidity was really bothering me those first few miles, and just making me feel so sluggish. I felt like if I’d had any fever when I started, I was sweating it out now. My whole body just felt like it was burning up, and it was only in the low 70’s. That really worried me, and I was afraid I would have trouble in the later miles. But I just kept going, and tried to focus on where I was at.
Every mile I checked my pace band, and I was right on where I needed to be. So helpful, and very reassuring. I highly recommend using a pace band for anybody doing a half or full marathon (you can order one here). The miles seemed to be ticking by pretty fast, and I was in good spirits. Pretty soon it was time for the half marathoners to split off from those of us doing the full. I was actually really worried at this point, because when the half marathoners split off at Lincoln, I was totally alone. There was NOBODY around by the time I got to that point, and I HATED doing the last half of that race all by my lonesome. So you can imagine my relief to see that there were tons of people heading on to the full marathon course. Yeah! That meant I wasn’t totally at the back of the pack!
My feet were feeling good, my legs were feeling good, I was a bit stuffy, but other than that I was OK. Around the aid station at mile 8, I ran into Steve from RE. He was doing his first marathon, and starting to struggle a little bit. I talked to him for a minute, and then went on. It’s nice to have people to run with and talk to, but in a race, everyone needs to do their own thing and listen to their own body.
We were winding through some nice residential neighborhoods now, but by about mile 10 I was starting to feel pretty tired. 10 miles is a long way to run anyway, and then getting to that point and thinking about having to run another 16, well, it can be a little depressing. Just before the half way point my ipod died. Which was OK, because my sinuses were so congested that they were making my ears hurt, which made it kind of annoying to have earphones on. So it was nice to take those off. I stopped for a quick potty break at mile 13, and was back on my way.
Now, by this point, I was having an issue I’ve never had before. My damn thighs were getting chafed! Hello, thunder thighs! Gah! I think the main problem really was that my shorts were wet both from me sweating so much and from pouring water down myself at every aid station, and everyone knows that wet material chafes you way worse than dry. So they were wet and the seams were just rubbing my poor legs raw. At least, that’s what I’m telling myself the problem was. Although it probably wouldn’t hurt to lose a couple of pounds. But, whatever. It was the damn wet shorts, I tell you! Regardless of the cause, it was still painful. Luckily, right about then I saw the pink ladies sitting on the curb with a stick of sport slick getting their feet all re-greased, so I stopped and asked to use some. The pink ladies were these 3 gals in matching pink shorts and shirts that I saw a lot throughout the race, and they happily let me borrow their sport slick. Much better!
I knew we were getting close to the lake, and now I could see it. About that time I really felt the wind pick up, mainly because we were out of the protection of the neighborhoods. I saw DaShaun from RE in front of me a little ways, and made it my goal to catch up with him before the 14 mile mark. Just before you hit 14 miles, we turned south onto the trail that ran by the lake. And straight into the worst headwind I have ever dealt with. It was a sustained wind of about 25-30 mph, and I don’t even want to wager a guess as to what it was gusting up to. Up until then I had been pretty much right on my goal pace, and I just knew this was going to kill me.
The wind. I felt like I had run into a brick wall. All I could do was put my head down and try to make as much forward progress as possible. About then I caught DaShaun and we walked for a couple of minutes commiserating about this blasted wind. We decided we’d run to mile 15 and set out. Before we got quite to the mile, he decided to take a walk break and I trudged on. I felt like I was getting nowhere, and that if I stopped moving I would get blown backwards. It was that bad. I walked a lot more than I wanted to, because running really wasn’t getting me anywhere any faster than walking, but it was using twice as much energy. And to top it off, right about then the sun came out and heated things up. Fantastic! I had finally gotten over the humidity factor, and now I was dealing with wind AND the beating down sun. Thankfully, the sun went back behind the clouds after just a few minutes.
Finally, the road led us away from the lake. And straight up a bridge, which was one of the biggest hills of the course. I kept thinking that the wind would stop or that we’d turn out of it, but no such luck. We were pretty much straight into that dam headwind the entire rest of the race.
By this point, I had reached the point where I felt totally spent. I was tired, hot, sore, sweaty, I could feel the blisters on my feet, and I just wanted to be done. I wouldn’t really say I hit the wall, but my mood was pretty sour. Around mile 18 there was an aid station that had some “showers” set up for us to run under. Boy, did that ever feel good! We were still straight into the wind, but I had found MY second wind, and picked the pace back up a bit.
All along the course, they had banners up remembering the bombing victims. Each banner had one of their names on it, and reading the banners on this stretch of the course was getting me all choked up. I don’t know why NOW it was affecting me. I guess you just get to the point in any marathon where your body and your mind are so beaten, and all of your emotions are just right there on the surface. So it’s all just part of the experience, but I had to make myself stop reading them because getting choked up was making it hard to breathe.
The miles seemed to be going so slow by this point. Or maybe it was just that *I* was going so slow. Either way, I kept watching myself fall farther and farther away from my goal time and it was really bumming me out. I knew I would still PR though, but it was disappointing to not reach the goal I had set. I can’t remember where I was on the course when it happened, probably somewhere between mile 23 and 24, but when I looked down at my Garmin and it read the time that I had wanted to finish in, I just about started crying. But again, that made it hard to breathe, so I pulled myself together.
I was still having to do a lot of walking due to the frickin’ wind, but when I hit mile 25 I knew I could run the rest of the way in. There was an aid station about a half mile later, and I did walk through that so I could get a good drink. We turned a corner about a quarter of a mile before the finish, and it was a straight shot in so you could see the finish line. It was nice to be able to see it, and nice that I wasn’t still so far out that it would take me forever to get there.
A little before the finish, Eladio was standing on the side of the road watching for all of the RE people and gave me a high-five as I went by. I was so happy to cross that finish line, but it really wasn’t overly emotional or anything. I ended up finishing in 5:44, about 30 minutes slower than my goal time. So, that was disappointing, but I finished, and I PR’d (by about 25 minutes!), and I felt good. Really, that’s all I could ask for on a day that had less than ideal weather conditions and when I wasn’t feeling 100%.
The finish area was pretty large, and I had to look around for the place to get my chip cut off. I finally found it, and all the people sitting there were chatting amongst themselves and didn’t even see me. I had to ask about 5 times “are you taking chips?” before they finally saw me. Then, they tell me that they ran out of medals and shirts! Fuck! It’s pretty shitty to finish any race, let alone a marathon, and be told that you don’t get a shirt or a medal basically because you were too slow. I did manage to find a table that had finishers shirts left, but of course, they were out of smalls. I have NEVER gotten a size small finishers shirt. And the mediums are way too big, so I never get to wear any of my finishers shirts in public. Lame. I wish races would order more smalls, since they ALWAYS run out. Not all of use slow pokes are a size large!
At the OKC marathon, one of the cool things they offer are cheeseburgers at the finish. But, if you’ve ever finished a marathon, the last thing you want is a cheeseburger 60 seconds after you finish. A lady was walking around with a tray of them and pretty much shoved one in my face. I had to just walk away. And I still hadn’t found anything to drink! I REALLY wish they’d have some water available right at the finish, but you had to walk quite a ways to find any. So, didn’t meet my goal time, no medal, a too-big finishers shirt, cheeseburger in my face, and no water. But I was done.
I walked through the memorial on the way to where our bus was picking people up, and noticed that a lot of people put their bib numbers and medals on the chairs (each victim is represented by an empty chair). Very neat.
I got over to where our bus was, but our bus driver was missing, and the door was locked. Ugh! At least there were some benches right there, so I took a seat and waited for the driver and other RE people. Turns out, our bus was broken down, so a few of us had to catch a shuttle back to the hotel. No biggie. I got all showered up and packed and went down to the lobby. Our bus had been fixed by then, and everyone from the group was back to the hotel. I still had an hour to kill, so I walked over to Chipotle to grab a burrito. I must say though, I was very disappointed in my burrito. It was seriously about half the size that they make them here in KC. I don’t know if that is normal down there or if they were just being stingy because they were getting hit with all of us marathon people at 2 in the afternoon, or what. But I was not pleased! Think I’ll get a free burrito if I send in a letter of complaint? It still tasted good though.
We loaded up the bus and set out for home. One of the nice parts of the bus trip was having so many people to talk to and relive the experience with. Eladio let anyone who wanted to share get on the microphone and tell a little about their day. Most people did, and it was really neat to hear everyone’s stories. Only a couple of people hit their goal time, and many were quite a ways off, like me. So that definitely made me feel better. We stopped in Wichita for McDonalds (hey, Chipotle and McD’s within 4 hours of each other is perfectly normal) and then watched “Run Fat Boy Run” on the way home.
So all in all, it was a good trip. I feel pretty confident that if it hadn’t been for the wind and me not feeling 100% that I would have been able to hit 5:15. I know that no race is ever going to have ideal conditions, but hopefully I can hit one this year that has better than we did on Sunday. Next marathon is the ET Full Moon Midnight marathon in Nevada in August, and I’ll try for 5:15 again there.