Wednesday, October 23, 2013

What Can You Expect Now?

Well now that I've finished 10 of these crazy ass 26.2 milers...
And sworn that I was done...
What's next?

Well hopefully a lot of half marathons and some 10 milers too.

The 10 mile races seem to becoming more and more popular which is kinda cool!

I've done 2, maybe 3?  I know my PR at that distance is 1:38ish which was done gosh, I cannot remember!  Maybe 2010?  Anyway...I know I can beat that time...

And well, I've decided to not yet give up on the sub 2 half marathon.  My PR at the half is 2:06:xx and that was in 2011 I think...maybe 2010.  I know it was up near Dallas and it was awesome.

I have a couple of half's coming up: one in early December (hopefully; weather permitting) and then Houston in mid-January.  Now neither of those are on my radar to even come close to the 2:06, but the Houston one I will definitely hope to be at least in a specific range, again, weather will be a big factor.  With the new course there, void of all 'hills' it should prove to give me a good indicator of where I am.  That's 3 months away...

Actually there are a couple of goals I have for Houston; more on that maybe in another post.

I am going to be a little less generous here on the blog about upcoming races (names, places, distances, etc), training and goals for personal and private reasons, but I will still blog about those things, only just in much less in depth as I have been with over the past few years.

I think amongst everything, my training is going to be the most changed drastically, along with my nutrition.  A lot more seriousness on speed training, hill and tempo.  And the biggest change is incorporating a lot of strength training back into my routine a la 2009/2010.

After Houston, I have a couple of more races planned up around this area.  After that, I am not sure simply because my hope is that I can return to Houston.  Or at the very least Texas.  So for a few months I probably won't plan anything unless its really close by and requires little to no effort other than just the running part.

Yeah, its time for me to go home  HOME SWEET HOME ...Just a little bit longer here and that can become a reality.

Fingers crossed.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Chicago Marathon 2013 - Event Report

Well seeing as how I got all of that out of system in the previous post...
A day later, and I still don't feel any better about my decision on that day.
I doubt I ever will to be honest.
And I was honest.  It is how I felt, and still feel.  I think I was open with the fact that at the end of the day, the blame for my feelings, lie squarely on my shoulders.
Not anyone elses.
But...this post is about the 'experience' of this event, not the downside of it.
And actually there was another negative.
The weather.
Yet again.  I am 3 for 3 in Chicago.
Although at least this time, the temps only got to 70 with full on sunshine (and a 3rd Chicago sunburn by the way) instead of the normal 80's and 90 in the previous 2 years I ran there.  Surprisingly enough, even in those temps I still managed to marathon PR at 4:42:xx (2011) and a 4:51ish in 2010.  Eh.  Apparently still not ready to let go of the fact that I pulled a 5 for the first time since my 1st in 2007...let alone a marathon PW. where were we?
Oh yeah the good parts...
I will say that the weather at the start was glorious.  Cool (53ish) with a slight wind to make you feel chilly.  In hindsight I SO should have worn a tank.
At least later in the race, there were 'cooling stations' that were opened up, mist'ers and some folks with sprinklers, it was nice to have a second to get cool.
And of course the first 13 miles of the course is pretty much completely void of sun, so that was awesome.
Oh and Chicago in October?  Beautiful foliage!!  So that was nice.  I actually got to pay attention to how pretty things were for a change.
Which really is the one big takeaway from the event:  That I actually saw things I had only ever heard about because I was always so focused on my time or the race itself, I never took the time to look around at my surroundings.
I read signs.  SO FUNNY!  There were so many good ones that were done relative to current situations (govt shutdown), television shows (Breaking Bad, Walking Dead), and just overall funny ...
There was the nursing home around mile 6ish where they wheel all the people over the glass windows, in their wheelchairs, they've made signs and just wave and wave and wave.
I cried a bit because it just reminded me of my momma.  Seeing those older people who were SO DARN EXCITED!  It was just so wonderful.  And sad in a way.  I wanted to just stop, go inside and hug them.  There was another place along the route where there was a rehab center or something like that where they were outside...just younger it seemed...Still it was cool.
It was cool to actually see the boy cheerleaders in BoysTown, the Elvis, and while I have always notice the dancing dragons in China Town as its a right turn I always wait for (4 miles to go!), it was cool to actually dance to the so so so loud tune of Gangnam as you were approaching and long after you turned. 
There really were just a lot of wonderful things to see.
I high fived a lot.
We stopped and took pictures a time or two in certain spots.
And unfortunately I encouraged others on a lot as I would get far ahead of my buddy at points and stop and wait for her.  Without a plan for the end, I didn't want to lose her.  No phone, no room key etc...
I had 2 bad miles...where my left quad was in excruciating pain, but then once I figured out running felt better than walking, well thats what I did.
The only other bad time I guess would be where I drank Gatorade.  That messed my stomach up but once I tried to stop, couldn't and then it passed.  Thankfully.  My stomach is not used to sugary drinks of any kind! ESPECIALLY when its hot.

Oh and one of the other things I did that I have NEVER EVER done in a race? Took an orange popsicle from someone oh, I dont know...around mile 20something? Can't remember, but damn it was hot and that popsicle was DELICIOUS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And for some reason, no GI problems from it!
Let's see...what else?
Oh yeah!  Seeing Char and L shortly after finishing!!!  That was great!  We all finished just about 4 min apart as she ran with L for his 2nd!

That was awesome!  Pics are on my Facebook; sorry lazy to go and get them :O)

Seemed easier to move about and exit the finish area too for some reason?  Maybe because I was distracted by talking to Char and L?  Also taking the subway back to the hotel?  AWESOME.   Have never done that, but it was definitely the right thing to do after!

Before we got on the subway, we both grabbed iced drinks, then once in our hotel, ordered room service.

You would think after a marathon I wouldnt be concerned with what I ate, but I still didnt eat the bun on the hamburger, and only allowed myself about half the fries!  Honestly it was more about how that stuff makes me feel than about the calories.  :O)

All in all, you know Chicago Marathon is and always will be my favorite favorite favorite marathon...I just absolutely LOVE that town and that race!

My choices just didn't coincide with the best experience and for that I will always have regret. 

Part of me thinks I need to do it again...

Monday, October 21, 2013

Checking Your Ego (aka Feeling Like Crap After Running a Marathon Because You Did the 'Right' Thing)

While it sounds good, and maybe even feels good (to some people), this is not the case with me.
I feel horrible for feeling this way, most of the time anyway...and even 8 days later after the marathon, I am still bitter.
I've at least realized that I cannot blame the other person on the finishing time, because at the end of the day, it was me who decided to do the event with her before it even started and continued to stay with her throughout.
There were a few times, OK more than a few times where I wanted to just leave her, but then something would make me just suck it up knowing full well that I was going to not be happy at all with my decision.
I think I was mostly OK with it up until late Monday afternoon.  Then I was just angry and bitter and I wanted nothing more than to just be alone, or at the very least, not with this person.
I was blaming her, and well, as I said, I now realize that was wrong.
I am so mad at myself for going into this and ending up with a time that most definitely does not match up to the effort I put in training.
While I did have some challenges, at the end of the day, I did every single long run and clocked the early morning before work miles, etc.
She did not.
Even though there were a couple of weeks where she couldn't run due to injury there were plenty of opportunities where she could have, but 'being an ultra-runner, my goals are different than yours'.
Oh how I should have listened more carefully to those words.

Its true you know.  Ultra runners could care less about time for the most part.  They are more about the experience regardless of how long it takes them to get there.

And thats fine.

If you are an ultra runner.

I am not an ultra runner.  Nor do I ever care to be.  I do not and will not ever understand that mindset.

Or that desire.

Or level of crazy :)

While I said it was my last marathon, I would be lying if I didn't tell you I searched for a marathon anywhere near me over the course of 3 weeks.  This would give me time to recover, use it as taper and go do a marathon and post a time that I know would be at least 30 min shorter, if not more.

But the only thing was Denver RnR and that was yesterday.  Which would have been one week post Chicago.

It would have been a disaster obviously, so that wasn't an option.  Even if it had been 2 weeks post Chicago, I would have gone and done it!  I knew several people from here either doing the half or the full.

Now there just arent any due to the weather being so unpredictable here as we never know when ice and snow will hit; even in October.

So here I sit, still upset by my decisions and nothing I can do about it.

I made a huge, huge mistake.  Now I wonder... WILL I try and recapture my deflated ego and go out with a # I am capable of?  I cannot rest easy with this.

Believe me I have tried...

I will write more about specifics in the 'event' report (I refuse to call this a race this time around...)  There were SO many times I started to just keep going and not stop...and you'll read about them all :O)

Yes, I had 2 rough miles there around 18, but then I was fine; what could have been is now just a what if.

I wouldn't recommend this to anyone.  Especially if you have one bone in your body that is competitive.  And especially if you put the work in, then you should reap what you sow.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Post Chicago Workouts (and I Know I Owe a Race Report)

Walked, and walked, and walked.  Magnificent Mile in Chicago for lots of shopping!  Oh Michael Kors how I love ya!
Lots more walking and making the day long trip home.
Worst part about living where I live.
Its a challenge to travel to and fro anywhere.  But I was happy to be home if in fact they were making me leave Chicago.
35 min on the treadmill; walking of course
Row - 1300m
Some walking of laps around the indoor track
100 Weighted ball sit ups
1 hour Step class
Oh how I have missed Step class!  They started the class back up early September but I didn't want to interupt my running schedule or risk soreness, so I didn't return until this week.
I just love Step class!
Just about 6 miles on the treadmill; still staying off the pavement this week
LOTS of weighted sit ups, push ups using stability ball and planks

Felt SO good to run again!  Legs feel great!
2 hours at the gym

1 mile warm up on the elliptical
2000m row
Weights: back, bi's and tri's
In between sets I either did 25 fast jj's, or sprinted around the track OR in some cases before doing the sprint or the jj's, I would do a 2nd set of some sort of alternating weight movement.
So many crunches
Cooled down with 2 miles on the elliptical


I have a couple of blog posts I have to write, obviously the race report and a couple of others with thoughts on a few things from Chicago and for going forward.

I learned a lot about myself in Chicago
1) I am still highly competitive
2) One should ALWAYS run their OWN race
3) I'm not quite done yet with achieving some goals I thought I couldn't achieve, but now know I am NOT ready to just lay down and let those go...

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Chicago Marathon 2013 .... Just Another Photo :)

Leaving Chicago today to head back to Nebraska...I will get a race report up sometime this week...

In the meantime, finish line photo of Jaime and I :)

Friday, October 11, 2013

Chicago Marathon Training Recap - Last Week of Taper AKA Race Week!!!

By the time you read this I will either be IN Chicago, or close to it  :)
Writing it as I have been, daily, but posting it end of week.
3 miles easy (on the roads) before work
No wind!  After a weekend of debilitating winds, it was so nice this morning.

After work I hit the gym for 1 hour of a bit of cardio (2500m on the rower) along with some walking on the track and some weights for biceps and back
3 miles
Waited until around 6pm to run my 3 mile loop
It was way too nice outside to go to the gym
Typical feeling of oh my gosh this sucks, how am I going to do 26.2?
It happens.  I remember.  So I am trying not to worry too much about how my head is telling me to think right now.
Took the day off!
4.5 miles
Working from home half a day and just stayed in early with my coffee; went to gym after my ONLY conf call scheduled :)
Rest/Travel to Chicago
I have been struggling with a decision about this race for a few weeks now.
I am not sure if I ever noted this, but signing up for this race and doing another marathon was never part of my current life plan.
I was peer pressured into doing this, and thankfully I LOOOOVE JMc to death or else I would be calling her out right now for all this mess!  LOL...
And to say that this has been the toughest marathon training ever for me would be an understatement.
From having to do the training mileage alone, self supported and in a town no more than 6miles wide, let alone that I hadn't seriously trained for much since leaving Houston in the summer of 2012..higher altitude...boredom from the same streets over and over and over...and pre-menopause?  Yeah, it hasn't been pleasant.
And certainly I am nowhere even close to the runner I had become, even early 2012 pre-injury.
However judging by where I think I might be...race readiness is what I mean here, it certainly wouldn't be my longest time out there (which was my first marathon Jan2007 where I was 5:33), but yeah I figure I might not (but could if I have the stars aligned!) be able to go sub5 this time (I havent gone over 5 hours since that first marathon by the way!), having to do run/walk's again after so many years of not doing that! (I'll never forget the first time I ran an entire marathon AND it consequently was my first sub 5 AND my 2nd marathon)...  Well its humbling.  Its hard to go back to that when your last marathons dating back to the beginning were all done running straight through (sans water stops).  But I have slowly come to grips with that.  For now. :)
At least my shorter runs (8 miles and under) are now doing with 7/1's so I'm getting some endurance back, so at least I have that W in my column.  I am also doing much, much better and accepting being uncomfortable when running instead of being a pussy and deciding its OK to walk now....

Hoping to capitalize on that for Houston in January (another post, another day)...
But here comes the bigger connundrum: My running partner for Chicago has not had an easy time of it since mid-August. She went to Iceland for a stage race, got injured, took a few weeks to recover...then did a 50K in horrible conditions and just hasn't had the opportunities to train for the sense that one trains for a marathon that is.

I would add that also JMc has become a bonafide ultra runner in every sense of the word.  She lives and breathes for not only hours on end of being either running, walking or a combination of both, but loves the thought of stage races.

The 'problem', if you can call it that, at least for the Chicago Marathon this year with that the mentality of ultra runners is WAAAAAAAAAAAY different from a marathoner.  Their motto seems to be: Slow is the new fast

A marathoner wants to get out there, get it done, and get it done in the shortest amount of time possible.  That is not to say that ultra marathoners don't think like that, but a LOT less so.   They go out to do the mileages of upwards of 30+ and don't really give a damn how long it takes them.  e.g. JMc's 50K a few weeks back?  Almost 10 hours.  Um.  No thank you.

And what happens is that ultra runners use marathons as training 'runs'.

Do you see where I am going with this?

Several weeks ago, JMc mentioned to me that while we had pinky-signed up to do this race TOGETHER NO MATTER WHAT...that if I felt like I needed to go ahead of her at any point in the race, it would be OK and she would understand.

And I've struggled with the fact that while I am not as trained as I once was...nor am I as fast as I once was...I did train to hopefully do my best.  And I know

Ultra runners don't care.  Very laid back approach.  Knowing that they'll finish when they finish and yes, make the cut off.

So I have struggled internally for weeks, even though during that conversation with JMc, I assured her, no, we will finish together just like we said.

So the struggle within has been do I stick to that, or do I go out there and do the best that I can?  Be selfish and make it all about me; afraid to have a finish time 'beneath' me?  And in doing so, in some way, feeling like I would be letting my friend down?  Gone back on our word we gave the day we signed up?

I am 95% sure I know what I am going to do on Sunday...and obviously 5% not sure.

At the end of all, though...I think if I say 'actions speak louder than words' that might give you some insight as to what I'm figuring will happen.  After all, her friendship and my integrity mean more to me than numbers on a clock.

And I've almost come to peace with that.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Chicago Marathon Training Recap - Taper Week 2 - Overall Week 18

Still ouchy right calf
Waited until after work (wore flats today!) to run 5 miles on the treadmill
Wore compression sock for a couple of hours after while keeping it elevated and resting
The calf felt fine while running; actually all of me felt pretty darn good!
Almost 100% certain I somehow just overworked it somehow on Saturdays run?
Only thing I did differently was run a bit faster and increased my run to walk ratio up to 7/1's
No run

Opted to get the front and back yards mowed etc. as there is a storm coming with rain, ice, wind and snow!  Already!  Although it was this weekend last year (OctoberFest) that we got quite a bit of snow and ice, enough to cancel the parade and that is a BIG deal here; they dont just cancel that for nothing!

4 miles before work
No wind

Wanted to test the calf out on the road.  Probably shouldn't have.  It seems to be 'OK' on a flat, but since I have to run uphill for about 1/2 mile to get back to my house, that wasn't so great.

I am sure it will be fine by race day (praying), and at least the weather is going to force me indoors on Saturday morning for my last 'long' run before the marathon (8 miles).  This is probably a blessing in disguise.

3 miles: Treadmill
Leg feeling good; hoping to keep it that way!
Stretched really well for about 10 min
100 weighted sit ups
40 min of weights focusing on back and triceps


8 miles
While my leg was feeling better, I had planned on doing this one on the treadmill, and even if at any point I thought otherwise, the weather here definitely solidified my decision.
Early winter storm, feels like in the single digits and 40mph winds?  Yeah.  No thank you!

After the run, I spent another 1.5 hours on stretching, A LOT of ab work and then free weights with sprints in between.

Almost 3 hours at the gym on a Saturday morning?
Yes please!!

35 min walk on the treadmill at home

We are in full on taper mode now....