Sunday, October 17, 2010

Still can't believe it...

I'd mentioned in my previous post that I was planning on starting out with the 2:15 pace group for my half this weekend. Having not done a race since 2004 (a very poorly trained race, too), which was my first race, I wasn't completely sure what to expect as far as pacing goes. I knew my 2-4 mile runs were finally reaching a sub-10 minute pace, for the most part, and I knew that my long runs were somewhere around a 10:30 - 10:48 pace. Both of those times had only been recently, over the last couple weeks. I also knew that adrenaline and the overall atmosphere of the race would carry me through, and would potentially give me a slightly quicker pace.

First off, let me say, the race course was great! Weather was completely ideal... Sunny, and I think the majority of the race was somewhere in the upper 50's to lower 60's. Being in the sun was so comfortable, being in the shade was slightly chilly. But I could handle the chill.

I started the race with the 2:15 pace group. In fact, I did my best to stay relatively close to the pace leader. Somewhere in the first few miles, I asked the guy what his strategy was for hills. Having never participated in a pace group, I was unsure of what to expect. He said he had planned to slow down to a fast walk for part of the uphill sections of the race, and then resume running on the downhills. I found this odd. I mean, I guess it makes sense, to conserve energy, especially since he was pacing all the way through for the full marathon... but it seemed odd to me that he, an experienced marathoner, would slow down to a walk. As for me, I know what my limits are, mentally. I was about 80% sure that if I slowed down to a walk with the pace group for the uphill, that resuming the run would be especially difficult for me, mentally. So, upon this first hill, I chose to continue running and just slowed my pace (maintain effort, not speed on an uphill, says Coach/Author Jenny Hadfield). I figured the pace group would soon catch up with me and I'd get back with them again. Well, they never really caught up. In fact, I would look back and notice more and more distance between myself and the pace leader. At one point, I didn't see them and actually thought maybe he had passed me and I didn't realize it. Evidently, that was NOT the case.

For one thing, let me just say a couple things I noticed... Early in the race, while I was with the pace group, we passed this woman who was speed walking. Let me tell you, this woman could have broken a tall man's nose with her elbows, with how high and hard she was swinging her arms. People were actually afraid to pass her. I just found that humorous. During one of the out-and-back segments, the faster runners were on the "back" part of the segment and I noticed one man running and talking on his cell phone. Really?!? I've seen people at the gym on the treadmills and such talking on their phones, but running in a race? Wow.

Anyway, I was running my race, and I noticed that I felt like I was going faster. I kept my outlook realistic and expected to possibly have to slow down at some point, or at least not be able to get negative splits. I used up my first GU at mile 6ish and felt re-energized. I probably could have finished the race without my 2nd GU, but knew if I wanted to finish strong, I'd be better off using it. So, it was shortly after passing the 10-mile marker that I used up my 2nd GU. I was feeling strong. I couldn't believe how good I was feeling as I was running. As I passed mile 11, I couldn't help but to think that I was about to go further than I had gone in any of my long runs (my longest was 11.25 miles). This part made me slightly nervous. But, I pushed ahead and bumped up my pace. During the very last mile, maybe more like the last 1/2 - 3/4 mile, I felt the slightest little twinge of a cramp trying to happen in my left calf muscle. I somehow managed to adjust my stride, drink water, or do something that kept it from turning into a full-fledged cramp. I saw the finish line and at that point, I booked it. I was pretty sure I was going to end up beating 2:15, and even thought I had a small chance at beating 2:10. The finish line clock said something like 2:14 when I crossed, and I knew it had taken my 2-3ish minutes to cross the start line at the beginning. When I finally finished, I started losing control of my breath. You know, that wheeze that you get where the only respite comes when you raise your arms up above your head. My calves felt like they were going to explode. But I did it!! I finished it, and I ran the whole thing!

Steve, Ryder and I walked over to the results tent, I gave them my bib number, and she printed off my preliminary results... 2:11:33!!! I couldn't believe it!! I still can't believe it! At the start of the race, I thought I'd be lucky just to keep up with the 2:15 pace group for the entire race, and here I was, blowing that 2:15 out of the water!

The highlight of the race for me was seeing Steve and Ryder right at the mile 5 marker. Steve was holding Ryder, and Ryder was wearing my black knit hat that I normally run in. The hat was so big on him, it practically covered his eyes. It was the most energizing moment in the entire race, to see them standing there, cheering me on. I loved knowing they were there for me.

Anyway, it was a wonderful race. I feel great right now, even if it is 5:20am. I managed to get the night shift tonight, so I've been here at work since 11pm, and I'll be here until close to 11am. I'm hoping to get out of here before then, though. Once race pictures are available, I post those, along with some of the pictures that Steve got.

Enjoy the rest of the weekend, all! Its now time for another cup of coffee for me.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Some pre-race inspiration...

In exactly 24 hours and 10 minutes, I will be hearing the gunshot to start off the 15th Annual Indianapolis Marathon & Half Marathon. Yipee! I've made it this far... no turning back now! I even managed to get my last 20-minute run in this morning at a sub-10 minute pace. Good feelings, good feelings.

My husband gets daily emails from the K-Love radio station, and they're basically the Encouraging Word of the Day. A daily scripture. And today's scripture was especially fitting for tomorrow. I hope to memorize it today and repeat it tomorrow through the race. Have a great weekend all!

"...let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us." ~Hebrews 12:1

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Three Things Thursday

1. To start off... My dear sis hasn't been feeling super great lately. She's been a little sickly over the last couple days. So, leave her some love in a comment? I know she would love, love, LOVE the encouragement!


2. In less than 48 hours, I will be toeing the line at the 15th Annual Indianapolis Marathon & Half Marathon. Its getting a little scary, folks!

I have decided to step out of my comfort zone and attempt to run with the 2:15 pace group. I am allowing myself to drop out later in the race, if I feel the absolute need. Otherwise, I'm banking on the adrenaline rush and excitement of the race to get me through those 13.1 miles at that pace. Based on a few online race pace predictors, one of such being from McMillan Running, I would be capable of running a 2:15 - 2:20 half marathon. One calculator I stumbled upon yesterday even gave me a prediction of 2:10! I'm not counting on that one though.

I have had awesome support from my hubs with this race. He has been telling me that he thinks I'll be able to run with the 2:15 pace group without a problem. Oh, the faith he has in me! I love him to death, I really do!


3. With Halloween coming up, and us now having a baby to dress up, we're in the full Halloween spirit this year. I'm really excited for this year (I've NEVER been a big fan of Halloween, except for the candy). Ryder will be dressing up as a monkey, and Steve will have a banana costume. It'll be super cute! Its still up in the air as to whether I will also be wearing a banana costume, or going with something non-banana/monkey-themed, ie cheaper, like an M&M's Dark Chocolate Tank Dress that I found. I do love M&M's and I do love dark chocolate. This costume would be quite fitting.


There's my Thursday Three! Now, I wonder if maybe the Sis will chime in with her Three Things? (hint, hint, wink, wink, Ann... love you!)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

T - 3 days and counting...

I've got just three days left until my race on Saturday. And I'm really starting to get kind of nervous. My pre-race jitters are literally giving me the jitters.

Today at work, I was getting my 2nd meal of the day ready. Scrambled egg whites with salsa and some raw red, orange and red pepper slices. I foolishly attempt to get out both containers of food, my spritzer dressing for the peppers, AND the *glass* jar of salsa out of the fridge at the same time. I stumble somewhere in this process and manage to get into this slow-motion dance with the salsa jar, trying desperately not to drop it (especially since it was a glass jar). In the end of this little 10-second dance, I drop it. IT. DOES. NOT. BREAK. Phew!! Catastrophe averted. So, I proceed to warm up my eggs, and while they are in the microwave, turn to put my tupperware container of peppers on the table. The container only makes it halfway onto the table and then proceeds to tip over onto the chair. CRAP. My co-worker: "well, the chair at least should be fairly clean, compared to the floor." My response: "Yeah, except for everyone's ASSES who have been sitting on it." So, the peppers are gone. No veggies (read: filling fiber) for me this afternoon, as I used the veggies that were for this afternoon's meal instead. I considered eating a cookie to make up for the veggies, but decided against it. I'll be good on my diet this week. Or today, at least.

This week, I suddenly realized that my last 10+ mile run was almost 3 weeks ago. And now I find myself wondering how I'll complete 13.1?? My brain knows the logic behind it and that I'll be fine for the race. But the rest of me is uneasy. Its the Taper Madness, I tell you. But that's just one extreme of what I'm thinking...

Here's the other extreme... (going totally in the opposite direction of uneasiness about completing 13.1 miles)

I've set a goal for myself of 2:20, give or take a few minutes. That gives me an average pace that I need to attain of just under 10:42 min/mile. Then, today as I was checking out the 15th Annual Indianapolis Marathon and Half Marathon's website for the third thousandth time, I saw that the half marathon will have a 2:15 pace group. That is just outside my goal. That margin of difference seems so small that I could potentially run with that group. That would put me at a pace of 10:20 min/mile instead of 10:42. Doable? I think so. Overly ambitious? Quite possibly.

Looking back at my longer runs on my RunKeeper App, I've noticed that my pace is very inconsistent at times. It'll jump between 9:00 and 12:00 min/mile from minute to minute (this app tracks your pace each minute, so you see how consistent your overall pace is). So, maybe a pace group would be good for me, and would help me with consistency. Logically thinking, it seems that a consistent pace would allow me to preserve the precious energy stores needed to complete this distance. But I have to look at it realistically also, knowing that I may not be able to maintain a 10:20 pace for 13.1 miles. Again, I wonder how much more possible it would be for me, should I run with a pace group, going at a consistent pace. Either way, I figure I could always start out with the pace group, and since my goal finish time is so close to the pace group time, I could always allow myself to fall away if I need to. The thing with the pace group is that they start out and stay at that pace time. They don't start slower, so they can finish stronger, so to speak. I would prefer the option to start out at a slower pace and then gradually increase my speed. So, in that scenario, I could start off near the pace group, know that I'll be going a bit slower, and then work my way to catching up to them. That seems like a very realistic possibility/option.

So, what are your thoughts on pace groups? Especially when one is just outside of your goal finish time? Give it a shot and give yourself permission to fall away if you need to? Start out slower with the intention of catching up with them? Or just go your own expected pace the whole way? Its especially tricky for me since I know, from looking at my long run stats, that I am capable of running a 9-10 minute pace for long stretches, but my overall pace jumps around from minute to minute. Tricky, tricky.

Anyone else racing this weekend? Good luck to all!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Three Things Thursday

Not much to say as an intro to this post, so I'll just dive right in...

1. Call it the Taper Madness. I've got just 9 days until my half marathon. I CANNOT WAIT!!! I am so excited for it! I'm sure that excitement will soon turn to dread as the day creeps closer. Just like what I read in Marathoning for Mortals (by Jenny Hadfield and John Bingham), I'm exhibiting all the classic signs... a need to shop, buy new running clothes, and I may be just a tid bit snippy. Yes, just a tid bit. Another thing that I'm sure will change as the day gets closer. I've been browsing online stores that offer running clothes... not the fitness, tech-tee type stuff, the "runner girl" and other cute, stylish running clothes. Okay, I lie. I've been checking it all out. I do know that I need to buy a better hat for those cool mornings, and possibly a new sports bra (same brand and style, just smaller size... darn you, nursing boobs!!).

2. Steve and I are taking Ryder to the apple orchard this weekend for its annual apple festival. I can't wait! We're going to pick out a few pumpkins (from all of which I'm going to collect and roast the seeds), take a hayride, possibly do the corn maze, and of course, get a pork burger and a carmel or candy apple, and any other fall yummies I can get my hands on. AND, my brother and soon-to-be sis-in-law moved up to us from Florida last weekend with my 3-year old nephew, so they will be joining us, along with our other brother and sis-in-law. Its going to be great fun!

3. Did I mention that I'm just slightly excited for my half marathon coming up? I went into my RunKeeper app on my iphone and wrote down all my long-run distances and average pace times, in hopes that I could figure out a goal race pace for each half of the race. Instead of coming up with a good formula to go by, I'm now just overwhelmed by numbers. Does anyone out there have any suggestions or advice as to how to plan for a goal race pace, based off of long run paces?


And a Freebie #4... I hope to get some pictures up here eventually! Its hard to find the time to blog at home, let alone add in pictures. I have this awesome one of me and my sister after our first run together, and her first run, that I'd like to use.

Oh, Freebie #5... I'm just full of them today, aren't I? Anyway, my sister mentioned in her last post something about possibly pushing her in a wheelchair during the Princess Half... Ann, I will do whatever I can to make sure you finish the race, not barring wheelchair-pushing! I know you'll be able to do this!!


Happy Thursday everyone... lets let the Friday Festivities commence already! This week has been long enough!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Seriously?!?

Anyone following our blog is certainly getting 2 completely different running experiences! I'm so proud of Bethany and the progress she is making. She told me that she will keep my pace at the Disney Marathon...I'm starting to wonder if she will be pushing me in a wheelchair!!! ;-) I will be very surprised if I'm able to do much more than a stroll at this point. I seem to be "running" into on roadblock after another.

So, on Bethany's advice I repeated week 8 last week and it went quite well. I felt like I was starting to get my groove back a little bit. I went out yesterday and did my run. It was the same as Saturday, 2 minutes run/2 minutes walk. It was about 54 degrees outside, so quite a bit cooler than I'm used to. My first run I felt like an elephant! Everything was stiff and heavy. As the run continued, I noticed that my shins were starting to hurt. Not good. By the time I was finished, they were so sore it was kind of hard to walk! I went to the chiropractor yesterday and they have this wonderful chair that has a calf massager...oh man that felt good. But, within an hour of leaving there, my shins were hurting again. (sigh) Fast forward to this morning...they were sore, but manageable. I went and did my crosstraining at 9 Round. They are hurting again. (big sigh) :-(

I was told at the gym I need to rest, but that once shin problems start, you can't really get rid of it. Seriously?!?

I'm wondering how much the hills I run up and down are affecting my shins. I think I might need to find a more level surface to run on. I have sent a message to Jenny for advice. I'm hoping that she will have some helpful words of wisdom for me. If she has some helpful hints for combating shin problems, I will post them.

When is this going to be a little easier???

Tapering down...

My half marathon is in exactly 11 days. I feel great and confident about running it. Sunday was my long run, in which I ran 8.28 miles, and I maintained a sub-10:30 pace. Yesterday was a little different. Technically, because I moved my long run to Sunday due to working a night shift, yesterday should have been a rest day. Or, if I went back to my normal training schedule, I would have been due for a 40-minute training run. I did neither of those.

Yesterday, my run was more for stress release than it was for training. Yesterday, I was dealing with the stress and fatigue associated with Ryder not sleeping so great the past few nights. Sunday night/Monday morning was the 2nd night in a row of him screaming any time we put him back in his crib and neither Steve nor myself sleeping well. At all. So, after going to the doctor with Ryder, and her telling me that he's fine (the nurse I spoke to on the phone suggested possibly the start of an ear infection), I was rather emotional. I decided to go for my run, and left not knowing how far I would go. When Steve asked how far/where I was running, I told him California.

I started with one route in mind, and ended up extending it by running to one county road farther and back, so an extra 2 miles. That was about as much as I knew about my run. When it was all said and done, I hit exactly 7 miles when I got home, and my pace was pleasantly surprising: 9:55! In spite of it being the day after a long run, I felt really good during the run. My legs felt great. It was one of those guarded feelings... I knew the run felt good, but it almost felt too good. You probably know what I'm talking about... It felt so good that I was questioning my pace, thinking that maybe I was going much slower than normal, and maybe that's why I was feeling so good. I restrained myself and managed to not look at the gps app until I got home.

So, the run kind of helped balance me out. Although I think I still would have enjoyed running to California. I needed that mental and emotional escape yesterday. In fact, due to unrelated circumstances, I could use that same escape today. And today, I probably would try for California. Or at least Illinois. Maybe Ohio. Just someplace away from here. The weekend was stressful and exhausting between working a night shift and then having a baby who refused to sleep at night. Now that its the week, I'm stressing for totally different reasons. If I weren't in taper mode, I'd totally go for a 7-10 mile run tonight.

Darn you, taper week!!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

A fun freebie!

As I sit here typing this, its currently 4:08am. I'm working the night shift, covering for the other x-ray technologist who just began her maternity leave this week.

While attempting to pass the time, I was perusing the blogs that I follow, since I haven't had a chance to do much of this over this past week. I came across Long Legs on the Loose, and she posted for a great freebie over at GuEnergy.com. So, I thought I'd share it with you all.

Gu Energy has just come out with a Limited Time flavor for their Roctane, called Island Nectars. The website describes the flavor as the following:


"Celebrate the spirit of the islands with the limited edition Island Nectars Roctane Ultra Endurance Energy Gel. A blend of different passion fruits and other tasty nectars, it evokes the island spirit - easy going, fun loving and prone to dreaming of palm trees and long stretches of open road, water, sand, trail or whatever else your playground includes."


Sounds interesting, right? So, since I'm in need of some Gu for my upcoming half marathons (Chocolate Outrage and Jet Blackberry), I figured I'd take advantage while the offer is still open. Simply add any Gu product to your cart, add the Island Nectars flavor to your cart, then enter the code, and voila! $15 off!


So there you have it. Go take advantage while the offer is up! And thanks to Long Legs on the Loose for sharing!

Friday, October 1, 2010

September re-cap, October preview, and a giveaway link

October (and Friday) is finally here. This week has seemed like the longest week ever... same goes for the month. Fall weather has finally hit, which has its good and bad points.

Good points:
  • We can finally justify big, fat pots of chili!
  • I love nothing more than wearing my favorite hooded sweatshirts and jeans in the cool, crisp weather.
  • The leaves are changing and its beautiful!
  • Halloween is this month... I've never been so excited as I am this year! Its mostly because we will get to dress Ryder up in a super-cute monkey outfit... and his Daddy wants to dress up as a giant banana too.
  • I've got a half marathon coming up on the 16th, and I think I have a good shot at getting under 2:30!
  • Pumpkins!! I've been on a major pumpkin kick lately. I've purchased many sugar pumpkins, roasted and pureed the pumpkin meat, and roasted the seeds. I've made most of the puree into baby food for Ryder, but last night, I also used it to make pumpkin bread (with chocolate chips!) as well as some pumpkin butter. The seeds are freaking delicious too... I roast them with a little bit of salt and a lot of pumpkin pie spice. Once they're out of the oven, I sprinkle them with splenda for a nice, sweet flavor.

Bad points:

  • The leaves are changing, which means they'll soon be falling off, giving that ugly sight of dead, naked trees everywhere.
  • The mornings will get super cold, making it difficult (or at least not as appealing) to get in a morning run.
  • Fall = Winter is next to come.

Here's a quick recap of the month...
Miles run: 80.0 miles

Average Pace: 10:54 min/mile

Fastest Pace: 10:01 min/mile on a 2-mile run

Farthest Run: 11.25 miles

Miles walked (at work): 13.04 miles

It was a pretty good month, I think. I've noticed considerable improvements in my pace overall, which I'm very happy with. My diet is coming to a close this weekend, which is awesome... I'll be able to relax some on food now. Now, I just have to adjust my eating to something similar to how I've been eating over the past 12 weeks, that will allow me to both maintain my current weight and still be able to enjoy the good stuff.

And a giveaway:

Running Diva Mom is hosting a giveaway of Yurbuds. Its something that I've been wanting to buy for awhile now. They're ear buds that claim to not fall out of your ears... something I've been battling over the past month or so since my last pair crapped out on me and I had to resort to my current not-very-secure pair. You can check out the giveaway and enter HERE.

Have a Happy Friday!