Hoka 10k 2018

Hoka 10k 2018

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Marathon to Half Training Week #4

Well this week was interesting. If I had to describe it in one word I would say "HUMIDITY!" Holy crapoly. I'm an Arkansan, so I'm no stranger to humidity but this week has been insane. In all my springs and summers of running, I don't remember it feeling this poopy. The mornings this week have all been 80-95% humidity. The one day I ran in the afternoon, it was 86 degrees! YUCK. It's May, right?! I promise I'm not whining...just calling it how it is. I actually LOVE summer running. I think I just need another week to get used to it.
Training this week was switched up a little bit since we were out of town last week/weekend. I took Monday as my rest day for our trip back home. Then I had a 6 day running streak! I'm finally back to my normal, not training for a full, mileage range. Here are my workouts from this week:
Monday- Rest
Tuesday- 5.01 miles, 9:49 average pace
Wednesday-7 mile Fartlek, 8:49 average pace
Thursday- 5.04 miles, 8:39 average pace
Friday- 14 miles, 9:27 average pace
Saturday- Corporate Challenge 5k, stroller run with James, 23:52
Sunday- 10.36 miles, 8:46 pace
The good and the bad:
  • Donut Run=GOOD. I love donuts. You know that already. If you tell me to meet at one of my favorite donut shops for the start of a run, I'm not going to argue with you. So, Thursday, I did not argue with my friends.
  • Fartlek Run=GOOD and BAD. It was bad because it wasn't my plan. I was supposed to do 3x 1 mile repeats at 5k pace with half mile recovery. I wanted a total of 7 miles with my warm up and cool down.  This was the day I just didn't want to get out of bed so I opted for an afternoon run. NOT SMART. It was 86 degrees when I ran but the humidity was much lower than the morning. I was so freaking hot. I did my warm up and was on pace for the first half mile of my first repeat. A tenth of a mile later, I reached the biggest hill Upper Arlington had to offer. I was like "Heck no I'm not running 5k pace up this thing in this heat!" It was good because it was my first Fartlek run ever and I still had the chance to go faster when I felt like it.
  • Long Run=25% GOOD/75%BAD. Felicia gets all of my 25% good because she is great company :) The weather and my body get the bad. To make a long story short, I felt like crap...tired, my knee hurt after 12 miles which forced me to stop and stretch for a minute after 13 miles...Ugh.
  • Sunday=GOOD. A semi-longish run at a much faster pace, no pain, less tired, great company, and the Fab Five together on the same run again!!
  • 5k=GOOD. Outside of today, it was the highlight of my running week. I was able to run a familiar 5k route in downtown Cbus, mostly on the trail, and do it while pushing James in the stroller! I'll post more about it later this week!
Overall, I'm glad the week is over! It had its ups and downs but the ups definitely outweighed the downs. This coming week will be a taper, of sorts, for my half on Saturday. It will be my first big evening race!

Monday, May 25, 2015

Marcie: Coping With Injury Via the Five Stages of Grief

I decided to start featuring guest bloggers and Marcie is my first! You guys, this is a great story of Marcie's innermost feelings about her recent injury. Please keep in mind how brave it is of her to share her story and to be vulnerable about something that feels so personal.
Most of us are familiar with the stages of grief. Marcie chose to tell us about her recent injury through these different stages. Even if you aren't an athlete, you can relate to this in some form.
In the words of Marcie:
Most of us have heard of the stages of grief, which many go through when they experience the loss of a loved on.  I recently read an article which highlighted the five stages of grief that a runner goes through when injured.  http://www.active.com/running/articles/how-to-cope-with-the-5-stages-of-injury-grief The article resonated greatly with me, as I am just coming off of a seven-week hiatus from running due to a stress fracture. 
Stage 1: Denial
Many runners can feel an injury coming on.  We all have tweaks and little things that bother us, but typically we just run through them, icing and foam rolling as needed.  I’m very in tune with my body, and I can honestly say I did not feel a thing prior to that fateful morning when I literally had to stop dead in the middle of a 7-mile tempo run.  I knew it definitely wasn’t a good thing that I’d had to stop, but after a few minutes of sitting on the sidewalk with my friend Allison massaging my calf and my other friends looking on worriedly, I figured I’d be fine to finish up the run.  After all, we only had about 1.5 more miles, and the last mile of that was going to be a cool down.
Not so much… after a step or two, I realized that there was no way I was going to run back to our cars.  In fact, I couldn’t even walk.  Thankfully, my friends went to get a car to pick me up, and Dani stayed with me as I unsuccessfully attempted to limp back.  All the while, a little clock started to tick in my head.  Tick-tock, tick-tock, your marathon is in 27 days, Marcie… I refused to let the clock bother me, though.  I just knew I’d be able to run. I mean, I’d trained all winter for this race; there was no way that I’d have to sit it out.
I saw a doctor (not my normal sports med doc, but another in the same practice) that day, and was told all was good—just a little tendonitis.  Rest a couple of days, you’ll be back on the road by the weekend.  I allowed his words to push me deeper into denial.  I was going to run the Glass City Marathon on April 26.  I was going to BQ.  It’s all good, I convinced myself, even as that little voice in the back of my head started to argue with me that maybe it WASN’T all good. I plugged my ears to the voice and the clock ticking away, and stayed focused on forgetting about the fact that I couldn’t even put weight on my leg over 36 hours after the injury occurred.
Stage 2: Anger
From the article: “’I was like, Why is this happening to me before the biggest race of my life?’ Frey says. It's this sense of injustice that triggers anger. ‘You feel betrayed by your body, your training, the universe,’ Taylor says.”   
THIS. I felt sooooo mad at the world!  Like, why ME?!!  I did everything right this time!  I only did speed work once a week. I did all of my long runs at a 9:00+/mile.  I ran easy when I was supposed to.  I did cross training (BodyPump) and core work weekly.  And I only ran four days a week.  So, again, why ME?!!  This was going to be my race… my BQ.  I’d proven at my half marathon just a couple of weeks earlier (I’d ran a 1:40, which was a 9 minute PR) that I had it in me to go at least a sub 3:40, if not faster.   I could taste that BQ.  This was NOT how it was supposed to happen! 
Anger was the strongest emotion that I felt over the past two months, and my mind returned to this feeling many, many times over the course of my forced rest period.  I would see others running and get so very annoyed with them… and annoyed is putting it lightly.  I actually had to unfollow the local Moms Run This Town Facebook page that I am a member of, because I just couldn’t stand seeing all of those running posts every single day.  My friends would try to mention running as little as possible in our group messages, knowing how much it was hurting me to hear about what I was missing.  I knew they were running, though.  That upset me so much… I’d wake up at 4:30 AM, and my first thought would be of those who were meeting to run, without me. Of course, I knew their lives were not going to stop just because I was injured, but that didn’t make it any easier. 

Stage 3: Bargaining
After my initial (incorrect) diagnosis of tendonitis, I got a second opinion a few days later.   This new doctor said it was likely a calf strain and had me start physical therapy immediately.  I threw myself into the exercises that my PT gave me.  Whatever he said, I figured if I could do it and do it well, then I’d get better. Strengthen my glutes?  Sure!  Try dry needling?  Why not?!   I was told that I very likely could still race my marathon, and I clung to those words with all of my might.  Even when I was experiencing pain while running on the Alter-G (anti-gravity treadmill), I pretended it wasn’t there… until my obvious limp was pointed out by two different therapists. 

I finally had to admit that no amount of trying to “fix” this injury was going to make things better.  If I couldn’t even run a 10 minute mile with only 50% of my body weight, then how in the world would I be able to run an 8:20 pace for 26.2 miles in just over 3 weeks?  Answer: I couldn’t.  Which quickly catapulted me to the next stage...
Stage 4: Depression
I fell into a deep, dark funk after admitting that my marathon wasn’t going to happen.  I was able to appear as my usual chipper, happy self to the rest of the world.   Fake it till you make it, right?  People remarked how well I was taking everything.  I only revealed how very sad I was to those who I was closest to, and was met with varying responses, all supportive in their own ways.  Amanda checked in with me almost every day, and allowed me to vent to my heart’s content.  She told me that I was allowed to be mad, sad, etc.  I needed this permission as I dealt with all of the emotions that the injury brought on in me.  Erin gave me time to mourn the loss of this race, but also was the one who forced me to remember that I would run again, and I needed to be grateful for this fact.  This “tough love” approach had a role in my recovery as well.  Jen’s words made me laugh when I was at my saddest; she wouldn’t let me stay down for very long.  She too made me realize that I was lucky that this was merely a small blip on the radar of my running career, and that I would reach my goal eventually, just not as quickly as I’d planned.  Andrea was there for me as a best friend should be; she seemed to know exactly what to say for whatever mood I was in.  It was our long runs together that I missed more than any other!
There were days that were better, and days that were worse.  I made the choice to travel to Toledo with a few friends who were racing.  I was questioned for this choice… why would I want to go to the very race that I was now unable to run in?  I knew it wouldn’t be easy, but the thought of all of my closest friends being there without me hurt more than not getting to race.  I decided to try to embrace my role as cheerleader, making posters and riding my friend Elisa’s mom’s bike all over the race course to offer support to those who were running.  The tears flowed freely several times that day… when I watched all of the participants start the race… when I saw the 3:35 pace group run by me at mile 20… when I rode solo down the street and realized today was THE day.  Even now, almost a month after the race has already taken place, I am crying as I type these words.  This was a loss in every sense of the word, and it is still very raw to me.  I’m not sure when I will be able to think about the “marathon that wasn’t” and not get choked up.
Stage 5: Acceptance
I made the choice to accept the fact that I wouldn’t be racing on April 9, which was ten days after I suffered my calf injury.  However, like those who are going through the stages of grief for the passing of a loved one, I vacillated between the stages.  I didn’t remain in any stage for an extended period of time.  I finally had an MRI about 4.5 weeks after my injury occurred, and was told that I likely had experienced a stress fracture in addition to a calf injury on March 31; the calf injury was more acute, and that pain masked the stress fracture that had happened.  I felt like I was back at square one again when my doctor told me that I needed to rest an additional couple of weeks.  More time off?? Was he kidding me?!!

I felt great by that point, and wanted so badly to lace up my shoes… but I listened and continued to swim and bike and go on the elliptical at the gym, biding my time for a bit longer.  Patience is a virtue, and it’s definitely not a strength of mine, but my goal was to be smart so that I wouldn’t have to take more time off in the future.

My total amount of time without running ending up being 48 days, just one day short of seven weeks.  This sounds like a much shorter time than it actually felt like to me.  I’m one week into my recovery right now.  I am following a return-to-running plan given to me by my doctor, running for short distances at a very relaxed pace.  Every time I get to run, I am extremely grateful… yet also very, very scared.  It doesn’t help that I get these “phantom pains” every now and then, almost like mental flashbacks to when the injury first occurred. I was warned that I likely would experience these pains, but it still scary every time I feel a little twinge.  I know that as my pace gets faster again, the fear will continue.  I am terrified of adding speed back into my training plan, although that is a couple of months away.  I’m trying to take things one run at a time, staying in the moment and enjoying the mere act of putting one foot in front the other again.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Marathon to Half Training Week #3

Post long run iced tea from a café in Winchester, VA.
Third week of training post marathon and I still feel like I'm recovering. It's definitely better than last week but I don't have quite the oomph with my long run. Not gonna lie...that makes me a little nervous about my half in two weeks (just a little). Here are my workouts from this week:
Monday-5.1 miles, tempo run, 8:26 average pace (faster miles 8:14, 7:55, 7:36)
Tuesday- 4 miles, easy stroller run, 9:41 average pace
Wednesday- 6.14 miles, 8:04 average pace (8:46, 8:06, 7:50, 7:52, 8:05, 7:45)
Thursday- Rest, began plank challenge
Friday-12 miles, 9:34 average pace
Saturday- 4 miles, hills, 8:50 average pace; plank challenge
Sunday- 7 miles, tempo run on treadmill, 8:31 average pace (2 mi WU @9:22, 1 mi @8:20, 0.75 mi @8:06, 0.75 mi @7:54, 0.75 mi @7:42, 0.5 mi @7:30, 0.25 mi @7:19, 1 mile CD @9:05); plank challenge

The good and the bad:
  • Three faster speed workouts in one week=GOOD OR BAD? I'll let you decide. Normally, I wouldn't do three in one week but I had to postpone last week's tempo run and put it on Monday because of travelling to Cleveland last Sunday. Both Monday and Wednesday felt amazing. Sunday's run wasn't as awesome. I survived and felt good in the end but there were 1-2 minutes in the fourth mile that I considered cutting it short or slowing down the planned pace.
    Post Wednesday run. How am I that happy after a 5 a.m. run?!

  • Stroller run=GOOD. It's always a beautiful thing when I can take Baby Boo for a run. He LOVES it. It was particularly windy this day and James loved the wind blowing at his face...it makes him giggle :)
    My little booger fell asleep while we were running.
  • Began plank challenge=GOOD. It can only help me.
    Let the plank challenge begin!
  • Long Run=MEDIOCRE. I did two more miles than last week and had absolutely no pain BUT I still felt tired toward the end even at 9:34 average. It was a little hillier than Columbus (I'm visiting my parents this week) but I would still like to average closer to 9 pace at this point. I just don't know when I should expect myself to be able to get back to my previous long run average.
    My new VA running buddy, Karen!
  • Hill workout=GOOD. I'm not normal...I kinda like hills. If a dog "attack" wasn't involved, I might have enjoyed it even more.
    The hills of WV and my wonderful view on Saturday.
I had some great workouts this week and was able to increase my mileage which is awesome! I'm looking forward to another good week of workouts with a goal of 14 miles for my long run. I feel like, mentally, I need a 14 miler before my half!

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Marathon to Half Training Week #2

I told you guys in my LAST POST that I had 5 weeks between finishing Flying Pig and running my next half. Since I'm only two weeks post marathon, I'm still not sure which goal I should set for this race. I know what my heart wants but I'm not sure what my body will be able to do. I'd like to think I still have plenty of time to recover and feel well for my race.
Like week one, this week had its ups and downs but was better than expected. My goal for the week was to run pain free. I wanted to take it easy for most of my runs except for my one planned speed workout (speed this week was supposed to be marathon pace so not horribly fast). Here's my training recap:
Monday- Cycle (30 minutes, 11 miles) and Stretch
Tuesday- 4 miles, 9:09 average pace
Wednesday- 3x 1 mile repeats (8:09, ?, 7:38), 5 miles total
Thursday- 4 miles, 9:38 average pace
Friday- Stretch
Saturday- 11.27 miles, 9:33 average pace
Sunday- Lots of walking in Cleveland
The good and the bad:
  • Cycling Monday= GOOD. It was a great warm up for a good stretch session. I was so tight at the beginning of the week and was getting referred pain down my leg from my tight piriformis.
  • Tuesday and Thursday easy runs=GOOD. I focused on feeling very comfortable and enjoying time with my running buddies. Despite the ease of the runs, I was still feeling very tight. I stretched so much this week.
  • Wednesday, my first speed workout post-marathon= GOOD. I was nervous about this workout because I didn't know how my knee would react to the speedier miles. I typically like to warm up and cool down more but time was not on my side that day. I did a 1 mile warm up, 1 mile 8:09 with half mile recovery, 1 mile at unknown pace since it was from mile 2.5 to 3.5, another half mile recovery, final mile at 7:38. NO KNEE PAIN!
  • Long Run= BAD. If it weren't for the good company, I would have hated that run! The goal was 10-12 miles depending on how I felt. Based on how I felt the first 6 miles, I thought 12 would be doable. I should have stopped at 10. I started getting tired between 8-8.5 miles. Just after 10, my knee started bothering me. By 10.5, I had to stop and walk. As soon as I stopped, I felt nothing. I stretched my quad, walked a little more, then tried running again. I would get a quarter to a half mile into running and the knee would start hurting again. I did a walk jog until 12 miles (stopped my watch when I walked so I would know how much of it I ran). I felt totally fine upon finishing and haven't had any problems since. On a positive note, 10 is two more than I did last week and I'm listening to my body so I don't injure myself!
  • Sunday: I had a tempo run planned but I went to Cleveland to cheer on two of my friends who were running the marathon. I decided that I walked enough to count it as my cross training day. I'll do my tempo tomorrow!
This week, I learned that I'm still trying to figure out my post marathon training limits. I have two shorter, speedier runs this week and the rest will be easy pace. I'll be visiting my parents in WV so I'm mentally preparing for the crazy hills!!

Monday, May 11, 2015

From Marathon Finish to My Next Half Marathon

As I was thinking of ideas for my next few blog posts, I thought I might document my post marathon training journey. I have 5 weeks (minus one day) between stepping across the finish line at Flying Pig and stepping behind that starting line at my next half. My next half has been a secret, except to my closest running friends, because I didn't want the pressure to perform (especially since I was running the full). Some people care way too much about other people's times and that can sometimes create an unnecessary pressure to prove one's self.
Well, someone outside of my friend circle found me out last weekend. No matter how it happened, there was some creeping involved. I don't know this person, have never met them, and received a PM congratulating me on my marathon time (before I even posted anything about my time) and asking if I was running this specific race in a few weeks. She may be a super nice person but it's slightly creepy nonetheless. Time and effort was put into finding out this information about me. (Sorry if you are reading this, mystery person. We can still be friends.) So, I will continue my plan of remaining quiet about which race I'm running but, if you do enough research, you'll figure it out! :)
Past running Lisa would take an entire season off after running a full. I was very much a casual runner that wasn't consistent in training and didn't care if I had to start all over every few weeks. After marathon #1 (Little Rock 2005, 4:35:57), I did suffer a knee injury that hurt for approximately 6 weeks post race. I didn't run until after that subsided. Before, during, and after marathon #2 (Columbus 2012, 5:02:??), I suffered a hip injury. I think I took off almost the entire winter. I did other forms of working out but did not run for a couple of months. I was pissed about my race! LOL.
This time, with a good race under my belt, I'm not going to screw things up. That might be hard, however, because I have no idea how to recover from a successful full! I knew the first week would be mostly rest and doing what the heck I wanted. Here's a recap of my training this week:
Monday- Stretched, walked like quasimodo
Tuesday- stretched
Wednesday- 5.17 miles, 9:33 average pace
Thursday- 30 minutes of cycling (7.5 miles) at moderate to high moderate intensity, stretch
Friday- 5k, 9:22 average pace
Saturday- 8 miles, 9:18 average
Sunday- Something between 3.5 and 4 miles, low 9s for pace (I haven't uploaded this one yet!)

Based on how I feel, I did some good things and some bad things:
  • Resting from running and just stretching those first two days = GOOD. I had trouble with stairs on Monday because of soreness and minor knee pain. Tuesday, the soreness was 60% gone and I could do stairs.
  • Running 5 on Wednesday = BAD. Although my soreness had completely subsided and I felt no knee pain, 5 miles was not the right choice for me. I should have stuck with 3 and at a slower pace. I think I was just excited to get out there. My first three miles ranged 8:52 to 9:01...oops. The other two were in the 10s because my knee started hurting to the point that I was limping! SO STUPID! I learned my lesson but that put a little fear in me.
  • Cycling on Thursday = GOOD. Best thing I could have done for myself. No pain, good workout.
  • Limiting myself to a slow 5k on Friday = GOOD. I had no pain, some fatigue, and enjoyed a hot, humid day.
  • Long Run on Saturday = Mostly GOOD. In hindsight, I should have run 6 miles. I did 8 and it was fine, but I was a little more tired than I wanted to feel that day. I wanted to leave feeling pretty good but I left feeling pretty tired. I was very happy that I felt NO PAIN, though!!
  • Sunday short run = GOOD. I told myself I wasn't going to feel too tired and that's what I did.
So, what's next? I did some research over the weekend and found a Hal Higdon post marathon recovery program that I'm going to follow. It actually includes a race at the end of the 5 weeks. I'll keep you all posted on how things go with the program!

Friday, May 8, 2015

Flying Pig Marathon: My "Perfect" 26.2

This part of my running journey was perfectly written by the Lord for I don't know what reason. I'm hoping that reason is revealed to me. To inspire someone, maybe?  To show that hard work and dedication can equal success? My last hurrah before getting pregnant? I've never had what I would consider a perfect training season or a perfect race. The past 4 1/2 months, on the other hand, have been as close to perfect as possible.
Now that we're all sick of reading the word "perfect," we can move on...
The week leading up to a race, I tend to do my carbs the first half of the week then focus on protein the last part of the week. Carbs like pasta and bread tend to upset my belly if I eat too much so I try to avoid it starting 3 days before a race. The day before the race, I had a big fat burger for lunch knowing I could get it out of my body before the next morning. That evening, I opted for grilled chicken and half of a "Big @ss Mug" of beer...seriously, that's what the menu called it ;)
I didn't sleep well the night before the race. Not because of nerves, but because I started my freaking period that afternoon. SURPRISE! Fortunately, they were giving away feminine products at the expo. I was having major crampage all night long and into the morning. Have I mentioned that I make up words?

Jackie and I planned to wake up at 4 a.m. (start time was 6:30), so that we could drink coffee to help us poop! LOL. I would highly suggest this method. With the coffee brewing, I ate my first egg (I brought hard boiled eggs to get some good protein in my system). I have a hard time eating in the morning on normal day. On a race day, even harder to make myself eat. This was the first race I tried the egg method and it worked out well. I ended up eating one more egg and some strawberries. I felt so much better than past races when I would force a Kind bar down my throat.
We left just before 6 a.m. to head to the starting line. I ate my first gel as we were walking to our corral. This was my first race in which I followed a fuel plan (I did a lot of research to determine what I wanted to do).
We found our corral and pace group, stripped our clothes, and waited...5, 4, 3, 2, 1, BOOM!
My plan going into the race was to stick with the 3:40 pace group for the first few miles to see how I felt...especially through the hilly section. Every time I mentioned that I was running Flying Pig, people made it a point to tell me how hilly it is. I will admit, I was a little nervous during training about the hills. I'm not sure if it's because I expected the worst but I didn't think it was bad at all! Some people may want to throat punch me for saying that but I felt very relaxed on the hills. Because of my comfort level with the hills, I'm not an accurate resource for a recap on which miles have hills. I can tell you that the biggest incline is around miles 6-9 as you can see on the websites elevation map.
I took my first gel at 4 miles hoping it would help me through the big incline. Kudos to the race director for putting 25 drink stations on the course!! I knew that, whenever I decided to eat a gel, I could count on a water station to help get it down and get the taste out of my mouth. I took water from every station and never had to stop and walk (except on mile 24 when my pacer made me drink two cups! A girl can't run and drink two cups at the same time.). I made it to the top of the incline and my reward was a view of the city. It was glorious. I took my next gel at 9 then again at 14.
At that point, I was still feeling relaxed with the 3:40 group. It wasn't until 15-16 miles that I started "feeling it." I will say that I had some weird knee thing around mile 10 that stuck around for a few but it wasn't painful...more like pressure that just needed to pop (kind of like when you pop your fingers...I have that bad habit).

I only brought three gels with me knowing they were giving them to us at 18 and 22 miles. I took the one at 18. I was still feeling relaxed but I was getting tight. One of my pacers, Dave, gave me one of his electrolyte pills. He told me that, if I began to cramp, he'd give me another one. Things remained all good until my mental started getting me around 21-22. I didn't want to give up yet but I was ready for it to be over with! My right hammy started cramping at this point, too. It wasn't severe cramping but it was certainly there. I took another electrolyte pill and kept drinking water at every station. I chose, unintentionally, not to take a gel at mile 22. I remember passing the station but also remember not wanting to deal with opening it...because it's so difficult, right?! And then there was mile 23...
This was where it started...my mental breakdown. I was still with the pace group. I was told I still looked relaxed (although I didn't feel that way). I was one of only two other people that was left in the pace group and I felt like I was slipping. Fortunately, the group stayed 20-50 seconds ahead the entire time so I had some cushion. As we approached 24, that's when Dave made me drink two waters. I was so thirsty. That was the one and only time I stopped to walk for about 5-10 seconds to drink my water. I almost wish I hadn't stopped because I was cramping more after that (I took my third electrolyte pill at this time).
I slipped away from pacer, Kyle, but Dave stayed with me. I told him in the middle of the race that I needed a drill sergeant, not a motivator, when the going got tough. He lived up to it:
Dave: "Lisa, how many people know you are running right now?"
Me: "Like, my entire family and everyone on Facebook."
Dave: "Did you tell them you wanted a 3:40?"
Me: "Some of them. But I know a lot of them have a certain expectation for me."
Dave: "Do you want them to see a 4 in your final time?"
Me: "No."
Dave: "Then get your ass up there!" (and then he left me and caught up to Kyle)
Thank you, Dave! Although the next to last mile was my slowest, I managed to kick out a faster final mile. I was cramping like crazy the last mile...my calves, my hamstrings. EVERY step I took, I felt my legs cramp. Then there was the finish line.

I never looked at my watch throughout the race. I just trusted my pacers. When I saw the finish line, I thought for sure I had dropped to a 3:41 or 3:42. I was happy with that...but it wasn't gonna stop me from that classic finishing "sprint!" I stopped my watch just after crossing the finish line. I was SO scared to look. I wasn't sure if I'd feel excitement, disappointment. I was just glad to be finished! Dave found me and asked me how I did. We looked at my watch:

(official time 3:39:55)
I freakin' cried like a baby. I couldn't believe it!!! I did it. I had no words.
Of course, Garmin said I ran 0.25 miles more putting me at an 8:19 pace (Amanda's predicted pace for me was 8:20! She's so smart.).
I HIGHLY suggest running this race. Amazing crowd support, awesome post race swag/food. The people were amazing. I heard friends and family throughout the race (Jackie's mom, Suzy, Tamara). I REALLY appreciate all of the support from friends and family who weren't there. I thought about y'all every time I passed one of the time update areas. I knew that when I crossed the line, you guys would be getting an update. I did not want to disappoint you!

This race meant more to me than I could have ever imagined. I didn't realize going into it that I was capable of accomplishing what felt to be a lofty goal. Many of you heard me say that this race would determine if I ever want to run a full again. My answer: I guess I'm gonna have to! Ha! I really did enjoy it a lot more than my previous marathons. It showed me I could be mentally and physically stronger than I thought possible. I can honestly say it was fun!
Thanks, again, for everyone's support and wonderful messages (shout out to the sweet, Felicia, for giving me a call).

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Flying Pig Marathon: My Journey to the Start Line

When I registered for this race at the end of December, I had two thoughts:
1) I am completely insane. Why on earth would I do this to myself again?! Answer: Peer pressure.
2) I guess there's no turning back. This will have to be my redemption marathon. (see THIS post for a small paragraph telling you about my previous race times)
January through the end of April has, hands down, been the best training season I can remember. I know people had their opinions about my methods but it obviously did me some good. I was nervous after the Columbus Half and the Hot Chocolate 15k last year because I felt awful during those races. I had to take it easier the rest of the year due to hamstring and piriformis issues. After Christmas, it was on!
I wasn't healed, per se, but the pain/tightness was something I could deal with for the time being. I dealt with and am still dealing with tight hamstrings and piriformis muscles but I've committed myself to daily stretching which helps to control it enough for proper training and racing.
Before making it to the full marathon, I had to conquer a 15 mile race in sub zero wind chills and a half marathon in chilly rainy weather. I came out of those races injury free and was able to return to full training the day or two after. Two weeks after the DC half, I ran my second 20 miler (SIDE NOTE: I HIGHLY suggest incorporating three 20 milers into full training. I didn't do it for my first two marathons but did for this one. I went into the race more confident and I feel it helped me to tolerate the agony better than with my others). After that 20 miler, I started getting Achilles pain. It made me nervous because I know Achilles tendonitis recovery can be tough if it progresses too far. I immediately started rehabbing myself (Yay for a degree in PT) and that helped to control it. I haven't had any issues with it the past 3 weeks or so.

A month later and one more 20 miler under my belt, I knew I was ready. I never felt nervous about racing. It's so weird because I ALWAYS get nervous when races are approaching. I think I wasn't nervous because I knew I would PR. How could I not when 4:35:57 was my best? I think that took a lot of pressure off.
Here's my keepin' it real moment: If you don't admit the following, you are lying your face off. We all make "secret" race goals that we only say to ourselves and maybe our closest friends. Am I right?! Yes, I am. Then we have our "public" goals that we tell other people. Right again?! Yes. My public goal was telling y'all that "my training says I should run in the 3:40s but I'd be over the moon with sub 4." I know you heard me say it. And that statement was 100% true. I honestly was not totally confident in my secret goal of 3:40. BUT Amanda said I could do it and she is the most honest person I know!

For those wanting info about lodging/expo/parking/eating, you can read the following. If not, don't waste your time reading:
  • Hotel: Jackie and I shared a room an Millenium. It had what we needed but nothing special. If you have trouble finding the bathroom light, don't worry...it took us 5 minutes. The hotel was almost $200 with fees/tax. Staff was pretty nice. They do late check out on race day (2pm) which was nice.
  • Parking: Valet at hotel was $27/night and they add that to your hotel bill. We noticed afterwards that there was cheaper parking next door.
  • Food: Plenty of restaurants within walking distance. We ate at Rock Bottom. There were no available reservations but the wait was only 30 minutes during busy dinner time.
  • Expo: One of the biggest and best I've seen. Lots of free stuff. Be prepared to walk a lot. Bib pick up is on the opposite side of the t-shirt pick up area. Hell, you are about to run a long distance so the walk can't hurt you.

Because I don't want to bore you anymore, I will post about race day later this week!!