The adventures of an unlikely pair. Follow us if you dare....

Friday, April 26, 2013

The One About The Garmin Marathon {In The Land Of Oz}

Ok, so I have to preface this recap by saying that, Yes, I am quite disappointed that I didn’t come in sub-5 like I had wanted to. And, Yes, this was a hard race but in a very good way. However, I do fully believe that I can be disappointed in not meeting my overall goal but still be very pleased with the marathon as a whole and that is exactly how I feel. I’ve been training for sub-5 and running with that exact intent but the course was unexpectedly difficult, and so with that in mind I fully believe I ran an awesome race. This race proved to me just how much this distance intrigues me. This race gave me a sense of clarity as a runner and mostly this race just gave me PROOF that I am in fact getting stronger as a runner. I went into this race with having some of the best training I have ever had and I felt stronger than I ever have and that showed on race day. If you compare this marathon to Dallas you will see that I dropped 24 seconds per mile on this race which equates to an 11 minute PR, sub-5 or not that’s solid! In just 5 short months I have grown a lot and Saturday I was able to see that. But enough of all that, let’s talk race!

The race was held at the Garmin headquarters in Olathe, Kansas and this past Saturday could not have been a more perfect day to run a marathon. The weather was a chilly 38(ish) degrees, sunny and only a slight breeze, beyond perfect for me. I got up early did my normal thing, had a banana and tortilla (love my tortillas!) and mom, Rachel and I made the 4 mile drive to the hotel. Parking was not a problem and we got there right around 6 am for the 7 am start time. My stomach was a little on edge and I’m not sure if it was something I had eaten or nerves or just what, I didn’t really feel nervous but either way I visited the port-o-potties a couple of times and finally decided to just take an Imodium just in case. About 6:30 I made my way over towards the crowds to meet up with Elizabeth {Curly Pink Runner}, we had found out a while back that we were both running this marathon and this was her first! We emailed back and forth and agreed to meet up and run some of the race together. We easily found each other and took a few pictures and then made our way to the starting line. It was nice to have someone to talk to and not be alone at the start of the race.

After the national anthem there was a moment of silence in honor of the Boston Marathon and I used that time to just pray for a great day. I knew mom and Rachel were on the other side of the starting line waiting for me to pass by and then the gun went off and we were on our way. I easily spotted them and waved as, I was on my way to another marathon!! 

The first few miles were cold, it was shady and the sun wasn’t quite up yet and I had tossed my jacket to Rachel. I did have my gloves but I remember my hands being so cold they hurt for the first 2 miles. There was a sea of people but I honestly never felt crowded at all. The week before the marathon I had spent lots of time studying my two 20 miler runs because those went so well pace-wise and over all so I really wanted to try and mimic those as much as I could. I knew my first mile would probably be a little bit faster than I wanted it due to so many people and trying to settle in so I planned to make that up in the second mile. The first 2 miles we did really well keeping pace. Elizabeth and I just talked, got to know each other and talked about running and racing. She wanted to speed up and I kept telling her we needed to slow down, it made me laugh.

At mile 3 we actually split from the half marathoners and went on our way, it was weird that it was so early in the race because I really wasn’t ready to process the fact that I was running a full marathon. I remember being surprised at how many people actually took the marathon turn versus the half because usually the half marathoners are the bigger crowd. The third mile was a little faster than I had wanted but not by much. The fourth mile was back on track.

Usually about mile 4 is where I start settling in and by the time mile 5 hit I was feeling pretty good. About this time the 5 hour pace group came upon us and stuck with us for a bit. I knew several people that were in the 5 hour group so I said hi to them and chatted for a bit. Lisa was in the group as well as Lucy, she’s the one who actually told me about this race about a year ago and she’s the reason I signed up. There were also some people from where I live in that group that I had met the night before. I didn’t really want to join the pace group because I had looked at their pacing chart the night before and I really didn’t like the way they had it paced out, they had planned to have a really fast mile and then a really slow mile and back and forth like that for the whole marathon, that makes me tired just thinking about it! I work hard for consistency and didn’t really want to mess with what I had been working on. But when the group came to us I knew mentally that was going to mess with me. I wanted to keep them in my sight but not actually join them and I most certainly preferred to stay in front of them if I could help it. Elizabeth and I wound up playing leap frog with that group for pretty much the entire race. In some ways it was good because it kept me on track and kept me motivated but in other ways I think it wore me out more than I expected early on.

About mile 5.5 I saw my mom and Rachel and Rachel ran a couple of tenths with me asking how the course was and how I was feeling. So far the course had been pretty flat and through some older neighborhoods, little did I know I was in for a treat over the next 9 miles! I said bye to her and she told me she would see me at mile 15. And then, the course got crazy on us!

The course was advertised as a “flat and fast course” so obviously that’s what I expected. Lucy, who had run this race last year said it was pretty flat but apparently they changed the course this year and let me tell you it was not flat at all! From about mile 5 until mile 14 there were hills, lots of hill! It was a constant up and down, up and down along the major roads. I know that this is exactly where I ruined myself for that sub-5 hours. Hills don’t bother me and I’m actually a pretty decent hill runner but the part that got me was not knowing just how many hills there were. Every hill I would think, “this has got to be the last one” and so I would speed up just to get over it and then there would be another one, and I’d say the same thing, “this has got to be the last one” and speed up some more. If you look at my pace from miles 5-11 you will see I did indeed speed up quite a bit through here. Had I known the hills wouldn’t stop until mile 13.5 I probably would have slowed down just a bit. But it is what it is. Despite the hills these miles actually really flew by. I remember with each mile the beeped Elizabeth and I would be say, “seriously, we are already at mile 7!” “Are we really already at mile 8?” “How did we get to mile 10 already??” It was crazy how fast it flew by!

At mile 8 I took half a vanilla GU and then at mile 11 I took a few sips of Gatorade. At mile 12 I was really starting to feel the hills so I took the rest of the GU packet that I had. By the time we hit the half way point we were climbing another hill to go over a bridge, at mile 11 I had mentioned to Elizabeth that my right IT band was starting to hurt and I just really felt defeated at yet another hill by the time I got half way. I didn’t want to but I had to talk a small walk break. I took about 30 seconds and let Elizabeth go on and I gave myself a mental pep talk. Thankfully that was the last hill and I knew I would see mom and Rachel at mile 15 so I told myself to get over myself and get moving. One thing Rachel and I always do on our runs is sing Bon Jovi’s Half Way There song any time we reach the half way point in our runs so I sang my song and picked it back up again.  On the other side of the bridge there was a race volunteer with his car parked keeping traffic from coming through and he had a radio sitting on the hood of his car blaring songs and he was dancing. This guy was exactly what I needed at this point and it made me smile as he cheered me on and kept dancing.

Finally by the time I reached mile 14 I had calmed myself back down and refocused myself and I was feeling good again. We were running through neighborhoods now and we were off the hilly roads and I knew we were headed to the out and back portion of the race that was along a paved pathway. One of my main goals in this race was to run a solid race from miles 14-20, this was where I really struggled at the Dallas marathon and I knew I could do better on this portion. This is one of the reasons why I am so proud of this race; if you look at my splits throughout those 6 miles those are some of my best miles of the day. I was running alone now because Elizabeth had gone on at mile 13 and while I really did enjoy her company I am a solo runner so I think this time was good for me to allow myself to be in my mind and let myself be quite. I needed that at this portion of the race for sure.

I got to mile 15 and didn’t see my mom and sister anywhere, I was getting a little upset over this because I had really been looking forward to seeing them, mentally I needed to see them! I also thought Rachel was going to run a little bit with me on this portion. I was a bit nervous about the out and back portion because sometimes those can get monotonous. But I have always said I find it very motivating to see all the fast runners come by me on their way back so I was in some ways looking forward to this. Finally about mile 15.5 I finally saw them at a water stop and I was relieved to see them there. I didn’t think it would matter so much to me to have them out on the course but it really did and I am so incredibly thankful that they would come out there and cheer me on. I thought Rachel was going to jump on the trail but she didn’t and I was kind of disappointed but I know the trail was kind of narrow so she didn’t want to take up space that runners could be on.

At this point I was in front of the 5 hour pace group, which had kind of broke up to only about 4 runners and I made up some distance between us. As much as I was glad to be off the hills and as glad as I was for change of scenery this wasn’t my favorite portion of the race. Thankfully it flew by just about as quickly as the first several miles did. I took another half of a GU packet about mile 17 and kept plugging along. I was feeling really good through this portion but my Garmin would beep every now and then that my battery was low. I was hoping it would hang on!!

I reached the turnaround point at mile 19.5 and then made my way back out. At this point I thought I had a pretty sizeable lead on the 5 hour pacers but when I turned around I saw they were only about a quarter mile behind me, which is still good but I thought I had a lot more than that made up. My goal was to keep running until mile 22 when I could see mom and Rachel again, they would be at the spot where we entered the trail. I was starting to get tired and noticed a bruise on the top of my left foot, it wasn’t horrible, just a tad bothersome. I now had Elizabeth in my sights again and saw that she was slowing down a bit. I finally reached her again about mile 21 and we took a quick walk break. It actually hurt more to walk than to keep running so we didn’t stop for too long. She said her shins were bothering her but ultimately she felt ok. You can see mile 21 I slowed down a bit but then picked it back up because I knew I could see mom and Rachel.

I got up to mile 22 and took the second half of my second GU and grabbed a Gatorade, at this point I was taking water and Gatorade from every other station roughly and drinking a few drinks, I didn’t want any dehydration issues like on my last 22 mile training run. I told Rachel to run with me some because I really needed to talk to her and have her encouragement for a bit. Mentally I was hitting a wall but I knew I was so close to being done. My mom actually captured an awesome picture of me right in front of the 5 hour pace group, I only wish I had finished like that! 

I told Rachel how hard the first part of the course was and how that really took a lot out of me. I told her I was still holding a strong pace and still hopeful I could pull off a sub-5. I also told her that I had found out from the pacer that at noon there would be 3 people from Kansas City that had been at the Boston Marathon getting to finish the race and receive their medals so they needed to be there to take pictures just in case I wasn’t there. I saw the 5 hour pacer go ahead of me and so I told Rachel she could go back to mom and I needed to keep up with them.
From mile 22-23 I hung on to that 5 hour pacer like it was my lifeline. I was starting to tire out but needed that pull to get me through. At mile 23 I just had to walk and she went on. I tried to keep her in my sights but I just couldn’t. I started to feel really worn out and defeated. I was so close by my average pace was slipping closer and closer to being over the 5 hour time limit. I kept moving though. Then on another walk break a second 5 hour pacer came up on me. What?! There were 2? I had no idea so I hung onto her for a bit. She talked to me a lot and she was just awesome. I could not have made it to mile 24 without her. She kept a steady pace and was very friendly and encouraging but ultimately I had to walk and she went on.

Miles 24-26 were the roughest miles; at this point I saw my sub-5 slip away and I just didn’t care. I was mad at myself that I didn’t care more but I was just so tired from all those hills. I tried to run as much as I could but I walked a lot from mile 25-26. There was one last water stop through just past mile 25 and I walked through that. Then we made a right turn to head through a school parking lot and across that to the finish line. I could see the finish line and I really wanted to run the rest of the way but my body just wouldn’t let me. Right about the time I hit the 26 mile marker my Garmin said 5:02 and change and then I hear Lucy behind me telling me that she better not catch me walking anymore. I was so glad she came up then because she was just the push I needed to get me to the end. We chatted for a bit and then I took off, I wanted to finish strong. Apparently that was the motivation she needed too because we wound up racing it out to the finish line. It was fun and I was glad for the motivation to push at the end. We got some great pictures too!

Over all I was pleased with how well I ran this race. Aside from the last 3 miles I ran a really strong marathon especially given the unexpected hills on the course. I walked away disappointed at being so close but over all very satisfied. The course was tough, and it took a lot out of me. 

My legs were very tired and sore that day and I actually remember telling mom and Rachel that I wasn’t sure if I wanted to run a marathon again, and that’s not like me at all. Obviously after a few days to let that digest I feel totally differently, in fact my recovery time for this marathon was much quicker than the last. 

It feels good to walk away with an 11 minute PR and knowing that I ran a solid race. It feels good to know that out of 26 miles there are only 3 final miles that I really want to work on for the future, to me that’s the confidence I need looking forward to the next one (and there will be a next one!)

I’m not sure I would run this course again, it was tough, but Garmin did a FANTASTIC job with the marathon. I mean they really did a great job. The theme was awesome, the weather just absolutely perfect (although I know they can’t control that, but the timing seems right) the course support, the volunteers, water stops, all were amazing. The finish area was well done, the course marked well, they even had elite runners, and hands down Garmin put on a great race. I may not run the full again but I would definitely consider running the half for sure. Overall this was a pretty perfect marathon experience for me and it’s weird that it’s finally over.

It was an absolute pleasure to meet Elizabeth from Curly Pink Runner, she was just as sweet as could be and totally blew me out of the water with how well she did on her first marathon. I am so very glad we were able to run together for so much of it! You can read her recap here.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

The One About The Hollywood Heights 5K

I know that I owe you all a MARATHON recap, and I promise I’ll get to that (I hope to have it up tomorrow) but I do need to stop and take a moment and acknowledge the 2 new 5K PR’s that Alex and I got last week!!

I mentioned way back when that I wanted a PR in each race distance this year and I was really hoping that back in January at the Houston 5K I’d be able to achieve that, however, that day could not have been more horrible so well that was that. I really don’t run 5K’s, I don’t particularly like the distance and you rarely get a medal and the cost for a cotton t-shirt and a painful sprint just doesn’t ever seem worth it to me (can you tell I’ve become a long distance snob?) so I really wasn’t sure if and when I’d get that 5K PR. My unofficial (it’s unofficial because I opted to save $5 and not have a chip time) came at the 2011 Turkey Trot and was 32:30. I ran a fast for me race that day but let’s be honest, I’m much faster than I was in 2011, I knew I could probably easily PR at any 5K I gave even a little bit of effort in.

I found the Hollywood Heights 5K and liked the concept of an evening race (since that’s when I usually log my daily miles) and they also promised food trucks at the end. Alex, being the sweet guy that he is cashed in on my interests and signed us up as a surprise for my birthday! He’s been working on his 5K time lately and also wanted to see what he had in him.
completely random side note on my race number: I love the 880 because it makes the think of the movie White Christmas where they talk about it costing "$6.60 or even $8.80 to see Wallace and Davis". I know, I'm ridiculous!!

I knew this would be the perfect shake out run 36 hours before my marathon but I was a little bit nervous about being able to hold myself back and not overdo it. Alex really wanted to break 30 minutes and I’m not going to lie, I would like to as well but I wanted to be smart. I also knew that I really needed a warm up mile or else the race would really suck.

It was a chilly night and kind of windy but we made it there with plenty of time and after changing in the car (yes, yes we did and it was awkward) and getting our race bibs we hit up the port-o-potties and then I did a warm up jog of .80 of a mile. Then Alex and I waited for the 5K start. While we were waiting my Garmin died. I was initially irritated but honestly looking back it was probably a good thing. It would still show the time for me so I was roughly able to keep up with how fast each mile was but if I tried to find a satellite it would die, so I just left it alone.

Alex had his phone with the RunKeeper App on it so I told him I would stay with him until I felt like I was pushing too much so I could know my time. We started off and I immediately realized my shoe was untied, well crap! I pulled over and told Alex  to go ahead, I’d catch up. I tied my shoe and then took off again (in hindsight I should have double knotted it!). I don’t like to bust right out of the starting line so I tried to settle in while Alex kept on about 50-100 yards ahead of me. Within about .30 of a mile we were climbing a nice hill, thankfully hills don’t bother me and I was able to keep a steady pace. After that hill the course was really flat.
I think I ran the first mile somewhere around a 9:50ish pace. It actually felt good and nothing was bothering me at all. The course was kind of an out and back course and so once I got to the half way point and turned around Alex was about 10 yards in front of me. I started to pick a little bit of speed cause I wanted to catch up to him and see what our pace was at. I also didn’t really know exactly how far we were, I just knew we had passed the water stop and the 1 mile marker already. I caught up to Alex at about the 1.8 mile marker and could tell he was slowing down a bit. I told him he better not let me pass him! Alex and I are kind of competitive with one another especially when it comes to running. I currently have the half marathon, marathon and 10K PR’s and he’s currently smarter than me (and let’s be honest, always will be). Well since he’s smarter than I am I’m allowed to be faster, except when it comes to the 5K, I’ve informed him that he can be as fast as he wants here. All that being said I knew he wanted sub-30 minutes and I also knew he wanted those bragging rights for the 5K.

At mile 2 I was still feeling good and really wanted to go but I had told myself I wouldn’t push myself any more than Alex was pushing himself just to play it safe so I stayed with him at his pace. And then my shoe came untied again! I mean seriously? I darted ahead a little bit and pulled up again and tied my shoe quickly. I was actually afraid to stop and considered not for about .20 of a mile because I had such a nice rhythm going but I knew I really needed to tie my shoe.
Once that was taken care of I caught back up to Alex and the rest of the race was literally downhill from there. It was a gradual decline but a decline nonetheless. I REALLY wanted to push harder but made myself stay at Alex’s pace but encouraged him to pick it up a bit.

Once we got off the pathway and into the final 2 turns towards the finish I saw the 3 mile marker and really took off, so did Alex. The last .10 actually seemed much longer than that, more like .20 and the course did measure 3.23 but whatever. I did pick off 3 girls in those last turns and that felt awesome! Alex darted in front of me right at the finish. We both finished with new PR’s.

Alex in 30:40 and me in 30:41. We didn’t quite make our sub 30 minutes but I know that the next time we totally will!! I also know that I have a lot more in me for a 5K and this race made me realize that I don’t actually hate 5K’s. They aren’t particularly my favorite race distance and I don’t actually know the next one we will be running but we did have a lot of fun. I was really glad for the evening with Alex and that we were able to run the second half of this race together. I really appreciate that he takes interest in what I enjoy and it makes me happy that we can enjoy a night like that together.

Monday, April 22, 2013

The One With Another Marathon

Saturday I finished the Garmin Marathon in 5:03:44. It was a hard day (in a good way) and I only slightly missed my goal time of sub-5 hours but the course was much tougher than anticipated! Over all I was very happy with how well I ran this race and it feels good to be done! Race recap to come this week!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The One In Light Of Boston

Running is the most pure form of physical activity one can engage in; it’s a part of us as human beings. It’s primal to our existence. It’s simple.

A marathon is a sacred event for all runners alike. It’s a journey to prove strength and endurance. It’s an achievable yet lofty goal that many have as a standard of being a runner.

The Boston Marathon is the Holy Grail, the Mecca for those runners. It’s prestigious, it’s honorable and it’s a powerful experience.

Yesterday all of that was marred by the horrendous events that happened at the finish line.

I cried. As I’m sure many other runners did too.

Shock, confusion, horror, disbelief, those were only some of the emotions that I felt yesterday afternoon as I watched the scenes unfold before me. I know many of you felt them too. I felt numb and absolutely sick. Pictures and images seared into my mind that haunted me all afternoon.

This hits close to home, way too close to home. As many of you know I will be toeing the line on for my own marathon journey in just 4 short days and so to say that this event has not left me shaken just a bit would be a lie. I am an emotional runner and a very mental runner so this shakes me to the core.

I left work yesterday in a numb state of being, I knew I had plans to go to the gym but I really didn’t want to. Two images kept creeping into my thoughts and I couldn’t quite shake them. I know you have all seen the video feed of the man in the orange top that goes down at the starting line; that image just wouldn’t leave me. Thankfully I know now that he’s ok and that he was able to cross the finish line and even placed 2nd in his age group. This made my heart happy last night. The second image was floating around twitter and it showed a wall of runners stopped dead in their tracks about mile 21; the look of panic, confusion and horror on all their faces is evident. I cannot even begin to image what was going through their minds. I know if I had been running Boston I would have felt like I was living the most perfect dream so I can only begin to image the complete horror of the aftermath.

Racing is something I do, it’s something I know, it’s a very big part of my life and so see images of the events that happened at the beloved finish line makes it all too real. That could have been my family spectating, they always do and I’m thankful for that. But now, now it’s scary. I will still run and they will still spectate of course but not without caution.

I still plan to run my marathon on Saturday, how can I not run? Will I start and finish the race as carefree as I had originally thought? Absolutely not! On Saturday my heart will be heavy with sadness over such a tragic event but there is no way you can keep me from that starting line. The events at Boston may have marred the sport of running and racing and they will forever be changed but running is still running and to many it’s the only answer they have when tragedy hits. So for me Saturday is a race in honor of Boston. I may never get to run the Boston Marathon but on Saturday I will be running in its honor.

I know these are only my thoughts on this and even then these are only a small portion of what’s been on my mind over the last day. I started my day sitting at my computer and watching the race live, being so excited and thrilled; happy for the motivation I needed for my own marathon. Then just as quickly as those happy thoughts came they were sucked right out of me as I again sat at my computer watching live coverage of the horror unfolding that was definitely not what I needed before Saturday. I wasn’t there and so I cannot begin to speak on the tragedy, but as a runner those affected were my family and I can’t just sit back and be quiet. These events touched all of us, runner and non-runner alike and so all we can do is pray and let others know that as runners, we will still run. 

Friday, April 12, 2013

The One About Giving Back To Running

Lately it’s been on my mind that I take a lot from the running community. I have run so many races and even though I do pay for them I still am taking away from other people’s time by doing that. Each race has countless volunteers, many of which I will probably never even see. From the time I sign up for that race, to packet pick up, to pre-race activities to the water stops, finish line, post race festivities and clean up so many people take time from their lives to make a race happen. And this has been on my mind and I couldn’t seem to come to terms with taking so much and not giving anything in return. So I’ve decided to be more purposeful about offering to help and volunteer at more races.

This past weekend I had my first experience as a race day volunteer and I can honestly say that I had a blast! There is a race director that lives close to me that has started to host several races a year in the community close to where I live. I’ve actually run a couple of her races but due to paying for a wedding knew I wouldn’t be able to run this one, but I did have a free weekend so I wanted to help. I wasn’t sure what to expect at first; I had contacted the race director a month or so ago to let her know I would like to help wherever she needed me and so I wasn’t sure what I would be doing. I thought maybe I would be at a water stop or help with packet-up pick-up but when she emailed me the week before the race to tell me that Alex and I were going to be course directors I actually freaked out a little bit! Working a water stop or handing people t-shirts and race bibs is one thing but making sure that people don’t make a wrong turn and following the course is another thing. In hindsight I was worried for nothing, the course was well marked and we had no trouble whatsoever. But when I first got the course map and saw that we had double duty of making sure the half marathoners and the 5Ker’s made the correct turns and I also saw that we were at a place along the course that was right before mile 1 and also was mile 12.5 I thought surely I was in for a big mess.

I actually slept horribly on Friday night because I was so worried that I would sleep through my alarm and be late and totally ruin the entire race. I remember telling Alex on the way to the race site that I was even more nervous to work the course than I was to ever run any race. I’m laughing at myself now but I was definitely taking my job seriously!

In the end it all worked out perfectly, no one missed a turn and everyone stayed on the course exactly like they should. And best of all I had a blast! I wasn’t sure if I would get bored sitting around and waiting for 4+ hours but it wasn’t boring at all. In fact once the race started there was pretty much an entire stream of people coming through thanks to the fact that we were at a spot with both 5K and half marathoners. The only time there was a break was for about 15 minutes after all the 5Ker’s had passed and then we were still waiting for the half marathoners.
When I run races I never get to see the excitement of people running and I most certainly never get to see the fast runners and the lead runners so I was so excited to be able to see the leaders pass by me at mile 12.5. Alex was laughing at me because I was so excited about this but I found it super motivating. I also got to see several people I know from running so it was nice to cheer them on and give out high fives. All in all it was a really fun day and I’ve made sure the race director knows I am more than happy to help with any future races.

Two years ago this Sunday I ran my very first half marathon (read about that here) (also, I can’t believe this blog is more than 2 years old!!). I ran the Big D half marathon and while I would honestly probably like to forget that race it does hold a very special place in my heart. It’s the race that made me a half marathoner and helped me achieve one of my biggest life goals. It is the race that has fueled me to run the other 21 half marathons I have run and it’s what pushed me to eventually become a marathoner. I swore I would never run that race again but 2 years later I’m a much different runner so who knows what the future holds. Anyways, I say all of that because tomorrow I will be working packet pick-up for that race. I’ve committed 8 hours of my day to help with packet pick-up and while that makes for a very long day I’m very excited to do this. I think being able to talk to the runners and see them as they get their packets will be so fun. One of my favorite things is going to packet pick-up and getting my race bib and t-shirt and now I get to be there for everyone else to do that.

I know my 2 days of volunteer work don’t begin to equal out with all the time I’ve spent on the race course but I do know that from here on out I want to be more purposeful in giving back more often. It’s easy to train and sign up for races and then go out and run them and not even think a second thought about all the work and effort that goes into them but I don’t want to be that kind of runner. Running has truly changed my life and so I want to be the kind of runner that helps it change other people’s lives as well.

Have you ever volunteered for a race?

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The One About The Rest Of Marathon Training (only 10 more days!!)

Hi, there! Sorry I’ve been a bit MIA lately life is just a tad bit crazy. Between planning a wedding (46 days!! Ahh!!) and marathon training, my job, and our church responsibilities life is just busy. Also, let’s throw in there the fact that I had a bad week and some health stuff last week and well there just really wasn’t anything to write about.

I didn’t post a weekly recap because I only worked out 3 times last week and only logged 3 miles; yep, that’s it! On Monday of last week, Alex and I went for a bike ride which was nice. Wednesday I skipped running in favor of the elliptical. And then on Friday I did a 5K for my #5bythe5th challenge. And that was all she wrote for last week.

I’m not really sure what was up with me health-wise but I had a pretty bad week; I was lethargic all the time and it was bad. I managed through work each day but then by the time I got home all I could do was change clothes and just sit. In fact I even fell asleep 2 nights last week by 6:30!! That is definitely unusual for me seeing as most nights it’s 11:00 before I even think about bed and usually 11:30 when I actually make it there.

I am and I’m also not super concerned about what was going on with me last week. The overly lethargic part does bother me some but if you consider what all is going on in my life it’s not too alarming. However, I will be going to see my doctor soon and I’m curious to have her do some blood work to see how my iron levels are. There have been a few changes recently that make me curious if this could be the issue; I was recently put on birth control so my hormones are a bit crazy and I have also changed my diet to be strictly vegetarian. The diet part may have a lot to do with it, however, I do try really hard to incorporate iron rich foods, but there is always the learning curve and experimenting process of eating new diets.

I’m also not too concerned as to how it affected my marathon training. Do I wish I had logged more than 3 miles last week? Well of course! And I really wish I had gotten a long run in as well. I think it goes without saying that runner’s HATE missing runs but bottom line is I got all the super hard work in and I honestly feel well trained at this point. I’m not afraid that a week off to catch up on some clearly much needed rest is going to make or break this marathon for me. And I’m still confident in the time goal I have set for myself as well.

Thankfully I’m feeling about 90% better this week. I did struggle some on Monday but after FORCING myself into the gym last night I’m feeling better today and just ready to finish out these next few days strong.

Here’s what the rest of marathon training will look like for me:

Week 16 (Apr 8-14)
5 miles

4.3 mile walk

Done + 4 miles
5 miles
4 miles (speed work?)
8 miles
25+ miles
Week  17
(Apr 15-21)
4 miles
BodyPump + 3 miles
Hollywood Heights 5K
Race Day
36+ miles

So a few other little updates in life:

Alex and I have 2 more days on our No Eating Out Challenge and it’s been great!! After it’s all said and done we haven’t really SAVED too much money on food because I think we have overcompensated a little bit (or a lot) at the grocery store but I do FEEL so much better not having a bunch of unhealthy foods in my body. We actually have really liked this and want to incorporate the habits of eating at home and trying new recipes into our life more. We actually talked about even extending the challenge to 50 or 60 days but we will both be going out of town in the next couple of weeks (he will be gone a whole week for work stuff and I have my race) so chances are we won’t be able to totally refrain from eating out. But we may do a short 20 day challenge in May before the wedding. Overall it wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be. I think the hardest part was simply not being able to get my teas that I love so much. For the month of March I was able to get free tea at a local gas station but that ended April 1st so the past 2 weeks have been hard, but I’ve just been more purposeful about making tea at home. We tried several new recipes and if I can get my act together I would like to get a post up in the next few weeks documenting the challenge and how we made it work. I have several posts floating through my head right now so we will see how many make them out…

I mentioned a while back that Alex was searching for law schools and I’m happy to say that he has been accepted several places (I knew he would be) but we have decided that the best place for us is to be here in Dallas. So this fall Alex will be going to law school at SMU! I could not be more proud of him and I am so thankful for his hard work and dedication. I also have a few possibilities floating around myself for this fall but I’m not quite ready to talk about them yet.

Our wedding invitation went out yesterday and I’m so excited for people to get them! Here’s a sneak peak at them!

Most of our big things are done as far as the wedding is concerned; however, our list of things to do just keeps growing thanks to all the little stuff that just adds up. I don’t really feel too stressed out and I know in the end things will come together as they should. Alex has been unbelievably helpful and in fact he may have done more than I have at this point.

So that’s about it for now. I will try to be better about updating and I will definitely come back and fill you in with pre-marathon thoughts like always! 

Monday, April 1, 2013

The One With Land Of Oz Training {Week 15}

Seriously how is it less than 3 weeks until my next marathon? I cannot even believe how fast time has flown by and just how quickly this training cycle has gone by! Granted, this training cycle is a bit shorter than my last marathon training plan (I learned I don’t do well with long training plans) but still! And honestly, without wanting to jinx anything, this training has gone a million times better than I ever expected it to! Sure I have some experience now and I know better what I’m getting myself into. And sure I felt like the last marathon was a good experience and therefore was looking forward to this training but if you had told me 15 weeks ago that I would be on target for my goal time, that I would be hitting all my mileage and achieving personal bests for weekly and monthly mileage totals, all while doing it faster than I thought possible I’m not sure if I would have believed you!

This past week was really the ultimate runner’s high for me:

Week 14 (Mar 25-31)
7 miles *in honor of my 27th birthday



6 miles

5.5 miles with hills
Body Pump + 4 miles

5.5 miles speed work

22 miles


Bike 7 miles
39 miles

40 miles run (47 total)

Not only did I hit every run and achieve great paces but I also had my highest mileage week ever at 40 miles run and I also finished out March with 117 miles for the month, my highest ever by 14 miles!

This past week started with a not so welcome 27th birthday but I decided to do what I love best and go for a 7 mile run to celebrate the fact that I could run, and so I did. I finished in exactly 70 minutes exactly, how ironic!

Tuesday I skipped BodyPump to attend a family event and also to celebrate my birthday with some of my family.

Wednesday I was really not looking forward to running because lately my Wednesday night runs have been awful. But then Alex said he wanted to come run with me and I also remembered I had my new birthday shoes to break in so I headed out for some hill repeats. Alex and I did 5.5 miles with 6 x .10 hill repeats. I hadn’t done hill repeats in quite some time but I was very excited that my times have improved. I actually kept forgetting to look at my watch for each repeat so I’m not sure what each repeat was but I do know the last one took me 40 seconds. In the past those same hill repeats have taken me about 60 seconds. So I was very happy with the improvements there.

On Thursday I actually opted to skip BodyPump; I had enough energy to either do some speed work or BodyPump but not both. I really wanted to get some speed work in and I also wanted to tire out my legs so that Saturday’s long run would be run on some semi-tired legs; I know it sounds crazy but I had my reasons. I did a ladder workout and my only goal was to see 7:xx for my 200’s which I did!

I did 10 min/1 mile warm-up
1200 @ 9:31
1000 @ 9:13
800 @ 8:57
600 @ 8:34
400 @ 8:06
200 @ 7:47 x3
.75 mile cool down.
All for a total of 5.5 miles in 55 minutes.

This is one of my absolute favorite workouts; time just seems to fly by as does the mileage when I’m doing this one. I was one sweaty mess when I was done but it was good!

Friday was a rest day.

Saturday was another very successful long run; I still can’t believe I made it 22 miles! Rachel once again said that she would join me for the last half so I did 12.5 miles solo and then she joined me for the last 9.5. This run wasn’t quite as awesome as my 20 miler 2 weeks ago but all things considered this was a good run for me. My pace was consistent which I am happy with. I was also able to try out some different fueling and I found out that I didn’t really like it so I’ll be using my vanilla GU for the marathon. I have though figured out the perfect intervals in which to take my GU so that’s good. I dealt with a little dehydration around mile 19-20 and did stop at the local ball fields to get some water. I was so glad Rachel was there to push me those last 2.5 miles. And once again my last mile was my fastest mile of the day. I cannot express how thrilled I am with that, after 21 miles I can still run my fastest mile, I like to think I’m doing something right.

I would really like to hopefully get a post up this week about my two 20+ mile long runs and what made them successful, so hopefully I can get that up this week.

And lastly on Sunday, Rachel and I took the bikes out for a 7 mile/45 minute ride around Oak Point Park. Alex was going to come along but after attempting to patch his flat tire and then re-inflate it, it wound up popping as he was about to get on the bike. It was kind of scary and really loud but also hilariously funny! We laughed so hard. I think he’s going to get that fixed today.

Anyways, it was a wonderful week and now it’s time to start the dreaded taper!

Here’s what on the schedule for this week:

Week 15 (Apr 1-7)

Bike/Spin class
BodyPump + 5K (5 by the 5th)
6 miles (RP)
5 miles
12 miles (6 trails?)
26+ miles

I hope everyone had a wonderful Easter holiday!
Have a great week!!