Monday, May 30, 2011

stillwater runs slow but strong

I ran 20 miles yesterday.
Dorks 'R Us.  I lost one of my gels in the mile 6 porta-potty.
I have to say, I looked like an absolute tool with this belt on.
And having my number on the belt was not going to happen.
It would have driven me crazy.  I pinned it to my shirt instead.

I repeat, I RAN 20 miles yesterday.  

I did the Stillwater Marathon 20 miler and it was an amazing day for me.  I was actually quite anxious before the race and wasn't sure I was going to be able to do it.  Remember, I'm the spazz with all the injuries and pains that slow me down.  I'm also not mentally tough when it comes to running. I'm really kind of a wuss.  Plus, 20 miles is a long way to run.

Ladies and Gentlemen - start your Garmins!
My trainer, TenacityChris, had given me strict instructions that I was not, NOT, under any circumstances to run faster than 11:30 minute miles.  Here is the excerpt from my training plan: 

Sunday: 5/29
Stillwater 20 miler:  Nothing faster than 11:30 pace –This is time on your feet running NOT RACING.  You WILL sacrifice Grandma’s if you race this as you’ll need so much recovery time from racing that you’ll not be ready to run Grandma’s!!! Listen to Coach!!!!  Any time you think about speeding up I want Tenacity Chris in your ear saying, NO NO NO !!!  ICE BATH AND CARB REPLACEMENT POST RUN!

Ah yes, she knows me well, Grasshopper.

I tried, I REALLY tried to stay slow.  I would feel myself speeding up and look at Garmin Electra and tell myself to back off, slow down, be smart.....  But I'm pleased to say that it was damn hard to consistently go that slow!!  I'm hoping that is a positive sign for Grandma's and that I'll be able to finish the race strong.

About mile 4. The belt is NOT
flattering. A spray tan before
Grandma's might be a good idea too.
Highlights of my run: 
1. Meeting a fellow runner named Misty who has only been running for 7-8 months.  She was wearing a shirt that said, "100 pounds lost and still losing!" We ran together for a couple of miles - she providing inspiration to me due to her accomplishments, and I'm happy to say that I was able to lift her spirits as we climbed the second largest of one of the MANY hills.  She saw the hill and said, "We have to go up that thing?"  I told her, "You've lost 100 pounds!  Think of that!! That hill is NOTHING compared to that!"  She thanked me for helping me over that hurdle before I moved on.  It felt great to be able to do that!  Like me, she's training for Grandma's so this was also her longest run to date.  It was so awesome to see her head toward the finish line!

2. Seeing many members of my family around mile eleven.  I almost started to cry when I saw them.  I had planned to stop for a photo op but was afraid I'd melt into a weepy puddle so I just kept going.   How wonderful to hear them cheering for me!

3. Right after mile 16 I heard people screaming my name - it was DD and her boyfriend.  "You're the strongest mama, EVER!"  "I love you, Mom!"  More music to my ears!

4. The husband.  Went with me to the start.  Calmed my nerves. Drove to a bunch of different points on the race to take pictures and cheer me on.  Met me at the finish.  He's amazing.  
Finishing strong!  Yay for me!

5.  Wonder of wonders, this was a remarkably easy run.  Keeping the pace slow helped tremendously, and the weather was absolutely PERFECT.  I'm amazed that I was totally comfortable the whole way.  Never felt tired or out of breath.  It was a little Memorial Day Weekend miracle, folks.

I'm happy to say that my right ankle was not a HUGE issue, however, it was definitely an issue so it will need some sorting out before Grandma's.  It got pretty painful and then the left ankle started bitching too, so I'm guessing it's my faulty anatomy.  Shoe inserts, maybe?  

Here are my splits.  (My official time was 3:45:24.  Garmin Electra time is faster because apparently, unlike Garmin Electra, the "official" clock doesn't get paused when you use the porta-potty.)  Had to stop and stretch the old hip a couple of times during mile 18.  Please note that my last mile (which I have obnoxiously highlighted) was my fastest.  Yeah, baby!!!

Avg Pace

Thursday, May 26, 2011

no time to freak

Long time, no write.

I've been busy working, working, working, and frankly, feeling a little sorry for myself as I dealt with yet another stupid injury.  Right ankle this time.

Is it my shoe?

My defective anatomy?

I don't know.

What I do know is that my ankle is annoying me and I had to stop running TWICE because of the incredibly sharp pain.  I was getting worried I had somehow given myself a stress fracture.  The pain is worst when I'm wearing my new didn't start until a couple of days after I ran the 30k.  I don't THINK the shoe is the problem, but I really don't know. It doesn't seem to be rubbing strangely, doesn't seem to have any sort of abrasive edges.....It doesn't hurt much at all when I'm NOT wearing my running shoes.

Anywhoo, hysteroid that I am, I had a bit of a freak out.  I was convinced my body is doing it's best to avoid running 26.2 miles in TWENTY-THREE (OhEmmJee 23!!!) SHORT DAYS.

I'm doing better now.

I've continued training and although the ankle hurts a bit, it seems to feel better after I've gone a couple of miles.  So I'm keeping my fingers crossed, applying ice liberally and assuming things are A-Ok.  I've set a challenge for myself to do this thing, and I want to finish it.  I also feel that I owe it to the wonderful folks who have donated money to the American Cancer Society in my name.  Many of them donated because cancer has affected or taken from them someone they love.  Lots bigger issues than my various piddly injuries.  So one way or another, I'll finish my 26.2!

I'm running 20 miles on Sunday.  That will be my final long run before Grandma's!  Once I reach that milestone and start my taper, I can commence obsessing about other things, such as:

How am I going to get my oatmeal breakfast if I'm staying in a hotel with no microwave or refrigerator?
WHAT am I going to wear? (The weather has been so crappy that I haven't been able to test potential outfits on my long runs.)
Hat or no hat? Sunglasses or no sunglasses?
Should I wear make-up in a vain attempt to look young and vibrant in my finish line photo? (Or will I just end up looking old and haggard per usual, but with pathetic remains of color running down my face??)

You know, the really important stuff.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

the king and I

So, remember my Get in Gear race where it poured rain and I decided I needed a new jacket?  Well, last night I bought one for today's race out of desperation because I KNEW it was going to rain.  Or at least, that's what the Weather Channel told me and I always believe the Weather Channel.  

Anywhoo, I found a red jacket at the running store when I went in to get my race packet.  The jacket looked just fine in the store, the price was right (sale!) and the sleeves were long enough for my orangutan arms.  So I bought it.  

I tried it on again at home and thought, "Holy crap, I'm channeling Michael Jackson."  

I wore it anyway.  

We already share a birthday, so why not ride his coat tails (so to speak) to snazzy fashion history?

The King 'o Pop (LA Times)
My new jacket is a Thriller!

I should totally get some matching red pants too.  That would soooo complete the ensemble!!

Here's something that's funny: when I was driving to the race this morning, "Thriller" came on SiriusXM.  I can't even remember the last time I heard that song but there it was.  I took it as some sort of sign but still haven't figured out what the heck said sign was supposed to indicate.

So.  The race.
Northern Lakes 30k.  That's 18.64 miles, people.  

It went well!  I ran with the 11:00 mile pace group and ended with an "official" pace of 11:10 over all.  My first time running with a pacer and it was great.  Super nice guy, he even took pictures of us!  (When I get my photo, I'll add it to the blog.  Unless it's hideous, of course.) Official time was 3:27:57, but I was a little faster than that - there was no starting mat so that's gun time and of course, we slowpokes started at the very end of the line.  My not-so-trusty Garmin Electra let me down today.  It quit - shut off COMPLETELY - right after mile 16.  I had 'er plugged in overnight and this morning before we left the house, that lying tart told me she was 100% charged up and ready to go.  My pace up through the end of mile 16 was 10:59 min/miles, with a time of 2:55:33.  My pace remained pretty consistent so I think I ended up with about 11:03 min/miles. 

So why do you think she just shut down completely at the end of 16 miles?  I have to figure that out before my next long run (20 miles!!!!) in two weeks. 

Anywhoo, I had looked at the finish times for the last couple of years and was pretty concerned I would be dead last.  The field is small (about 120) and based on past race history, pretty much everyone is way faster than me.  My hip has been bugging me, my knees seem to both have Baker's cysts now,  I've had to NOT do kettlebell while my muscle tear heals, and I am getting concerned that maybe my body just doesn't have the cojones to run 26.2 miles.  

But, I decided that finishing last was something with which I could deal.  Better to finish last than not at all.

As promised - photo from pacer Matt.  I think
it was somewhere around mile 15.
Thanks Matt!
The good news is that the hip pain wasn't nearly as awful as last weekend.  I didn't have to walk (other than the water stops) and I just really concentrated on my form and not getting sloppy when I get tired.  It wasn't a walk in the park, but it also wasn't as hard as last weekend's 18 miler.  Yay for that!!

It was a crappy, crappy day, weather-wise.  Cold. Rain. Wind. My hat almost blew off a couple of times.  So my Thriller jacket was a good call.  And I totally rocked it!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

it's a good day to be a mother

I ran 18 miles today.

Ok, so I walked/ran 18 miles today - my longest run to date!!  I decided to do a run 10 minutes/walk 1 minute plan to try to keep my hip happy and, frankly, I thought it would increase my chances of finishing this run.

The Husband.  Cute, ain't he?
The husband, aka my roadie, went along for the ride.  Literally.  He biked alongside me for the entire 18 miles, refilled my water bottles that fit on my STUPID fuel belt (which really must be replaced - I hate it. But I digress), and he kept my supplies of GU and honey(badger) stingers at the ready.  Having him with me, encouraging me, supporting me and making me laugh got me through a rather tough run.  I can't even imagine how incredibly boring it must have been for him to pedal s-l-o-w-l-y along the trail for 3.5 hours while I shuffled to my 18 mile goal.  He's amazing.  Damn, I'm lucky!

So.  The run.
I felt great for the first 10 miles and my pacing was right around 10:40 minute miles.  Then the hip started to complain and really became a major pain in the ass after about 13 miles.  I ended up walking more than running for the last 5 miles due to the pain, but finished relatively strong by running the last mile in about 11 minutes.  My overall pace when all was said and done was 12:00 miles.  I'll take it!

Once home, I got some pretty great gifts from the kids and then took an 18 minute ice bath (one minute for every mile!) and I'm feeling pretty good tonight for the most part, although tired.

The husband continued to go above and beyond - he made yet another fabulous dinner (cooked while I took a little nap) and then he did the dishes.  How did I ever land this guy??

Happy Day to all the Mothers out there!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

down & dirty in the sun

Fun day today!  I ran my first ever trail race - the Down & Dirty 8k Trail Run.  Very small race, limited to 150 women.  It was so much fun!  The weather was gorgeous, the race was well run and my body didn't hurt at all!  I can see how people get hooked on trail running....the terrain changes constantly, it's SO much easier on your joints, and things seem a little more laid back than in road races.  I'm going to have to find some more trail races to try.  The husband went along and was my support team and paparazzi.  Thanks love!!

Here's the dirt (so to speak) on my race:

Mile 1 - 11:42
Mile 2 - 11:43 (big ass hill but we didn't walk it!)
Mile 3 - 11:13
Mile 4 - 10:40
Mile 5 - 10:04 (0.89 mile, actually - should have been 0.97, so I must have either killed the tangents or started the Garmin late)
Pace - 11:06
Garmin time - 54:21  I'll have to wait and see what my official time was.  UPDATE: 54:26 official time for the full 8k, which means my pace was 10:57.  Su-WEET!!

Hanging with TenacityChris before the race.  Someday my bod will look as smokin' as hers.  She came in 7th in the race.

Damn, she's fast.

Right after the start of the race.  It was WARM out today!  Thought I'd try coconut water  (I had Naked brand) during the run so that's what I carried in my water bottle.  I THINK I liked it but I'll have to try it on a longer run.

Nope, I'm not wearing a white long-sleeved shirt, that's my alabaster skin glowing in the sunlight.  Don't hate me because I look like I could be in the Twilight movies.

And here I am cruising to the finish line!  I felt great all through the race and was just so damn happy that NOTHING hurt!!!

The only thing that kind of sucked during the race was when the super fast chicks who won the race did their cool-down by running back onto the trail while the rest of us poor slobs were still working on finishing.  There were lots of other trails on which they could have done their cool-down.  As they ran towards me like a bunch of gazelles, I just thought to myself, "Thanks for trying to break my spirit, ladies."  But I didn't let them.

Oh, one other thing sucked.  They gave away LOTS of prizes after the race and I didn't win anything.  You know how much I LOVE free stuff.  Totally bit it to be shut out like that!  But, I did get a free water bottle when I bought a pair of socks from the FinnSisu folks.  That helped ease the pain somewhat.<sniff, wiping tear from eye>

Here's me post-race showing off my awesome wingspan and unshaven pits.  The husband just shook his head.  But I think he still digs me.

I kept it pretty slow today because I have 18 miles on the plan for tomorrow.  A new challenge to conquer - it will be my longest run to date!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

gonna have to get in gear, for real

Last weeks mileage goal: 34 miles
Actual mileage: 27 miles

So, I fell a few miles short of the goal.  That's ok, I was on the mend!  Plus, work was absolutely insane last week with some super long hours.  This week will be a crazy busy one too, but hopefully work will settle down again after that.

Husband's photo #1 - Action shot!  That's me in the green.
I ran the Get in Gear Half Marathon yesterday and other than it being a dreary, rainy, blustery day, it went pretty well.  I PR'd by 7:19!  Race time was 2:23:26.  So, I'm happy about that.  Highlight of the race was when the husband showed up unexpectedly (he had to take DSD to lacrosse practice so I didn't expect to see him at all.)  What a treat to hear someone yell my name just after mile one and look over to see him standing on the sidelines under a big old umbrella!  Getting there meant he had to drop DSD off at practice, high-tail it over to the race site, find a place to park (no easy feat) and then hope to see me among the 6000+ runners.) Seeing him got me a little teary-eyed.... he's the best!  He even tried to take a couple of pictures with his phone.  Side note: This was the day of bad photos. Not a decent one in the bunch! But I won't let a little thing like quality keep me from using them in my blog. 

Husband photo #2 - What's with the puppy-dog paws????
For the first several miles I had to keep telling myself to slow down since I had to do another 4 miles when I was done with my 13.1.  I'd be going along feeling good then glance at Garmin Electra and realize I was running 9 minute miles. I think I played it a little too safe and could have been faster.  Maybe.

Another highlight was when a friend from work ran up along side me at about mile 4.5.  She's training for Grandma's half (this was her first half) and we chatted and ran the entire way.  I forgot how nice it is to run with someone!  She made the day much more pleasant.  My left hip was really sore at the end and I had to push to finish strong.  So I pushed!

The first attempt post-race.  Kind of blurry so I figured I'd
give it one more try. (See how water-soaked my jacket is?
Definitely NOT water-repellent.  Oooooo, looks like
gear whore needs a new jacket!!)
I truly planned to do my remaining 4 miles right away after finishing the race and getting a snack, but by the time I got something to eat and got back to my car, grabbed the camera to snap some pictures (gotta have documentation for the blog!) drop my bib and medal off (love the bling!!) I was soooooo cold and my clothes were completely soaked through..... I decided to head home, get into some dry clothes and hit the treadmill for my final four.  Which I did!  Even though I SO didn't want to.  It was like death by treadmill.  Absolutely awful.  I was tired and crabby as hell and my hip hurt.

But I did it.  I am a bad-ass honey badger.

So while I don't think the two together qualify as a 17 mile run, they sure as hell qualify as 17 miles.  And that's something.

2nd attempt.  Must have hit zoom at some point....
I completely lost interest in capturing the event after this one.
I wore my compression socks for both runs and had no calf pain.  And the chest wall muscle tear was a complete non-issue!!  No pain there, either.  Yay!!

Race day notes: Oatmeal for breakfast.  Cliff shot bloks and GU chomps for sustenance during the race.  No GI issues!  Wore the old blue Sauconys; the pink ones need a little more break-in time. 

I ended the day going out for a fabulous dinner with my folks and brother & sister-in-law to celebrate my parents 53rd wedding anniversary.  I replenished every calorie I burned and then some.  It was a delicious meal! Got home and was in bed with lights out by 9:30.

It was a good day.

Here's TenacityChris's training plan for me this week:
5/1 Sunday
Off Day
5/2 Monday
5 miles EASY running (11:00 pace or greater)
5/3 Tuesday
7 miles running as follows (intervals)
Miles 1-2:  11:00 pace
Miles 3-7: 4 x  ½ mile repeats at 9:45 pace, ¼ mile recoveries at 11:00
5/3 Wednesday
Rest Day
5/5 Thursday
5 miles easy running (11:00 pace)
5/6 Friday
5/7 Saturday Down and Dirty 8k race … If you are doing the race at anything faster than slow training run, make Thursday’s run only 2 miles.
5/8 Sunday: 18 Miles Long Run
Miles 1-5:  11:30 pace
Mile 6:  10:45 pace
Miles 7-12: 11:30 pace
Mile 13:  10:30 pace
Miles 14-17: 11:30 pace
Mile 18:  10:30 pace  Finish strong - you CAN do this!  Ice Bath!!!

Looks like it really is time to get my ass in gear.  Grandma's is only 48 days away!  I can do this, right?  I'll be able to finish 26.2 miles.  I will.  Right??