Hoka 10k 2018

Hoka 10k 2018

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

June Mileage

I've been slacking in the blog department this week. I just haven't felt inspired...

I was flipped by Marion.

Ok, that was super random and I have no appropriate transition to my point.
It's official...June has been my lowest monthly mileage this year. I suppose I have a valid excuse...or three:
  1. I took a running break this month. I just needed it...5 days of NO RUNNING.
  2. I wasn't training for a big race. I guess that term is relative. For me, Flying Pig, DC, and J to G were "big races." My next race (THIS SATURDAY!!) is a 10k. Definitely a goal race, but not as many miles are required.
  3. I just wanted to take it easy for a change! As I mentioned before, I trained intensely for 4 1/2 months leading up to Pig. I was ready to take it easy on the miles.

Post tempo run in my hood.
Even though my mileage was significantly lower, I challenged myself during my speed workouts. I also added an 8 mile hilly route on Sundays. Here's a recap of my mileage this year:
January-199.85 running, 61.5 cycling
February-160.26 running, 26.3 cycling
March-181.26 running, 25.2 cycling
April- 174.66 running
May-155.37 running, 18.5 cycling
and June...
123.5 running, 4 hours of Hip Hop Fitness

Hip Hop Fitness at Phlex Fitness.
After adding up my miles for the first half of the year, I was ONLY 5 MILES SHORT OF 1,000! UGH!! You don't know how bad I want to run a double today to get those miles!! If I wasn't racing Saturday, I'd be all over that. I still have a few hours to talk myself into it, though!


What's next for Lisa? After my 10k on Saturday, I'll officially start marathon training! My program will start me at 40 miles for the first week and ramp up to the high 50s. That seems to be my limit. I have a few races between now and then but they will all be training runs incorporated into my long runs.
My first trail run at Highbanks.

Cheers to the second half of the year!

Sunday, June 21, 2015

I've Had Coffee and Still Can't Think of a Good Title...

It's that time again. I have my fall races mostly planned, and I'm spending hours of my copious amounts of spare time to plan my training. Although my most recent training cycle seemed to be successful, I don't like to do the exact same thing the next training cycle. I'm making a couple of general changes this time around:
  • Sundays will be devoted to an easy run on a hilly route. Hills are limited during the week because I can't drive to the places in Columbus that have enough of them. I've recently  become obsessed with Highbanks (after only one run there!), so I'm hoping to make an appearance there once or twice a month.
  • Never do the same workout twice. I read an awesome article in the July issue of Runner's World that mentioned this. It's possible that I've already incorporated this strategy but not intentionally. I'll be doing speed work every Tuesday and faster runs on Thursdays (unless I have to be flexible for whatever reason), so I'm sure I'll have a good time finding different workouts to do each week!
  • Long runs will not always be SLOOOOOWWW. I incorporated this for Flying Pig but I'll do it in a more organized way this time around. The same article mentioned this point, as well. It makes complete sense. If you are going for time, this is an appropriate training strategy. I won't get crazy every weekend but will plan to incorporate long runs with faster intervals at least every other week.
I highly encourage you guys to pick up the July issue of Runner's World and read this article (if you haven't already)! The story is about a women's journey in hiring a coach but it has a lot of valid advice regarding training.

As for me, I have 2 more weeks of a more relaxed, I don't really care what happens, training schedule before crap gets real again. I hope my body's ready for this!!!

Friday, June 19, 2015

Be Flexible

NO! Not that kind of flexible! I mean being flexible with your training.
I think that part of being a great runner is being flexible with your training. We all have this image of what we want our training program to look like, how we want our race to go, which route we will take for a particular run, etc. It all sounds peachy in our heads until we get injured, the weather gets crazy, there are more hills than expected, we run way too fast and feel dead the next day. I guarantee that I'm more anal than any of you about sticking to my program. I also realize that, sometimes, it's not worth it. I think that's what makes a smart runner.
This week, the first week of 10k training post running break, my willingness to be flexible has been tested:
  • Running in groups: If you run with other people, you automatically have to be flexible. You can state a goal pace but you never know until you get out there if that can actually happen. If you or your friend(s) is feeling like poo, the other has to be willing to slow down, encourage you through it...or you have to be willing to suck it up and make it happen. Flexibility.
  • Crappy weather: I'll run in mostly anything from sub zero wind chills to moderate rain to 90+% humidity to snowstorms. Sometimes, though, that just gets old! As an outdoor runner, you have to be flexible regarding the weather. You may have to adjust your pace, distance, the time of day you run, and even the route you run. Become friends with the treadmill! This week, I've had to rearrange which days I do which workouts, and also the time of day I do them, due to the weather.
    LIES! I've run in some pretty crappy stuff and will still complain about the weather depending on my mood. Also, I don't feel like getting hit by lightning or being sucked up by a tornado.
  • Soreness/Fatigue: I'm a follower of the "Listen-to-Your-Body" method of training. If you're new to running and don't completely get this method, IT'S OK! It really takes running experience to figure it out. It probably helps a little that I'm a PT and have the anatomical background but there's something to be said about that "gut feeling" we get when something isn't right. For example, I did a speed workout on Tuesday evening then an easy 5 miles the following morning. I was SO SORE later that evening! Even though I had a tempo run planned for the following morning, I decided not to do it because it wouldn't be a productive run. I would have felt like total crap and not accomplish the purpose of the run. I'm not saying you should rest every time you are sore and tired. There is something to be said about running on tired legs (my training method for Flying Pig). The goal of that run, for me, was to get a feel of what my legs should feel when I do my 10k. When I run my 10k, my legs would not have been as sore and tired as they were...so I just took a rest day instead!
  • Running with the directionally challenged (or routes that just don't go as planned): I think the Fab Five (my running BFFs), wouldn't mind me saying that they are directionally challenged (Kim probably gets a pass on this one...the rest of you, not so much). I still remember the time I trusted Amanda to take me on a 14 mile run. It ended up being 15 miles. Granted, it was 15 miles of pure fun, but when I have a number in my head for long runs, I tend to check out when it goes longer than expected. This is an area where I need to improve my flexibility.
What are some areas of flexibility you need to improve on? Can you think of any that I didn't list?

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

10 Things You Might Not Know About Honest Mother Runner

Fellow runner, Marcie, challenged others to come up with a "10 Things..." list about running...so here is my attempt!
Honest Mother Runner's 10 Things You Might Not Know:
  1. I started running in the summer of 1996. Next year will be my 20 year RUNiversary! That sounds like a reason to celebrate!
    High School Cross Country Team

  2. I ran cross country my sophomore year for Arkansas State University. I was not awesome. They were desperate for an extra team member and I was desperate to compete. It was fun and, despite me not shattering any records, I would do it all over again.
  3. I raced a full marathon before I ever raced a half marathon. I broke up with a d-bag the summer after my first senior year of college (could y'all follow that one?!). I had to do something with my extra time! So, with the guidance of one of my professors who is a triathlete, I trained for my first full....The Little Rock Marathon, 2005.
    Just before my first marathon.

  4. I didn't get a GPS watch until this past January. You would think that someone with this many years of running under her belt would have a dang Garmin. Not this girl! I always ran by time and feel unless I was familiar with the path and knew the approximate distance. I wore a simple Timex stopwatch and just ran!
  5. I was able to run through my entire pregnancy. Praise The Lord. He blessed me with the ability to continue to workout and inspire others through my pregnancy. I will say, at the beginning of my pregnancy, I was only up to 6 miles on my training program. I never ran more than that amount, BUT I was able to tolerate run/walk intervals with my last run being a couple of days before James arrived. If I hadn't been in labor that Saturday morning, I would have gone out for my regular Saturday run!
    I think I was 36 weeks here. Getting ready to workout!!

  6. I trained for my first post-baby half marathon solely with a stroller (except 4-5 workouts). I had no choice. It was run with stroller or don't run. I LOVED every minute of it...minus the time James threw his bottle in the middle of a busy intersection in Nashville when I was doing a 12 miler!
    One of many joyful runs with my boy!

  7. I was a solo runner until last year. How did I run by myself for all of those years?! Don't get me wrong, I still love my solo runs nowadays, but I definitely see the value in running with others. My best friends are my fellow runners. They make me see my potential and push me in ways I could never push myself.
  8. I've only had two major injuries. The first was my knee. It never bothered me until I ran my first marathon. I was out 6 weeks post-race before it healed. The second was my hip almost three years ago. I was training for the Columbus Full in 2012 and was injured pretty much the entire training season but I was too stupid to do anything about it (hence, the 5:02 finishing time).
  9. Peer pressure and insecurity made me a runner. I had a friend named Amanda S. (she was an amazing runner) who peer pressured me into running cross country in high school. My insecurities led me to believe that running would get me a boyfriend because I'd be an "athlete." Oh, to be young and dumb. Well, I did find love in high school...but it wasn't with a boy. It was with running.
  10. Donuts are the reason I run. SIKE! You guys already know my obsession with donuts. Seriously, though, I run because I like it. Do I need any other reason?! In many ways, it makes me a better person because it decreases my amount of crazy.

O.k. That's my list. Questions and comments accepted ;)

Friday, June 12, 2015

Running Break

Enjoying coffee from my race mug on my running break while thinking about running. ;)

My mind is slightly blown right now. I haven't taken a running break in over a year...14-15 months, maybe?! It was last March/April when I started training regularly after having James. Sure, October and the beginning of November were a little thin because I ran Run Like a Girl Half, Columbus Half, and Hot Chocolate 15k. I was also battling an injury. Other than that, I've put in a lot of miles!

One of the most memorable moments of this training season...an 18 miler that didn't finish until after midnight!

In my previous running life, I would hibernate in the winter. I might run 2-3 times per week on the treadmill and never more than an hour (3 times would be generous and so would an hour). I'd pick back up in March and go semi-strong until the next winter. I don't know what came over me this year. Maybe it was my stress reliever from being a new mom, my way of getting back into shape, my amazing new friendships...whatever the motivator, IT MADE ME THE RUNNER I WAS ALWAYS MEANT TO BE.
This is the first official running break I've taken in a LONG TIME. I must say, I've enjoyed it! Some people freak out at the thought of a running break. I welcome it with open arms! As an experienced runner (don't get experienced confused with elite...I am quite mediocre in my performance level), I understand the importance of taking a break. On the other hand, I don't necessarily agree that breaks need to be scheduled at specific times. If you feel led to take a running break, DO IT!

True words.

With motivation and encouragement from my closest running friends, I made lofty goals for myself this year. I had my goal races planned, my training program written...but what about a break? That wasn't even on my mind. I knew it would happen at some point, but when?
You might think that taking a running break after a goal full marathon might be the natural thing to do...but it just didn't feel like the right time. I took two full days off and just felt the urge to keep going. Even with the fatigue I felt those first 2-3 weeks after Flying Pig, I never felt the urge to have an extended break. Then the humidity hit.
The two weeks leading up to my most recent half were ROUGH, to say the least. I felt like the humidity was just wearing me down. It was then that I said to myself "It's time." I was finally ready for the well deserved break!
So, what did I do this week? Mostly, nothing! I ran my race on Saturday, completely rested Sunday and Monday, did Hip Hop Fitness on Tuesday, and completely rested on Wednesday and Thursday ("completely rested" = I still did family walks; I also have a job in which I'm active throughout the day...I just avoided running).
I wanted to allow myself an easy, short run this morning to make sure my legs remembered how to run ;)

This morning's "Tin Man Run." I felt a little rusty at first but never lost sight of chasing after the heart of running.
I'm looking forward to my next training session which includes a 3 week program prepping me for a 10k on July 4th! Cheers to continued training runs with my friends and to staying healthy and smart!

Monday, June 8, 2015

The Archenemy of Johnstown

Is that title dramatic or what?!
In my race recap for The Great Johnstown to Granville Half, I mentioned my archenemy. I'm a very social runner. I say "HI" to everyone on my training runs. During races, I'll wave to kind spectators, talk to and encourage people when the going gets tough. Heck, I'll even request high fives if I feel like I need it! In my experience, on training runs, people don't always respond...but I can understand if you are running alone and some weird peppy girl is saying "HI" to you. During races, my fellow runners have ALWAYS  responded in a positive manner.
I try to see the good in all people so I was crossing my fingers that this girl was just having a bad day.
Sometime in the first mile, when people seemed to hit their initial stride, this girl...I really need a name for her...let's call her Regina (the meanest girl on Mean Girls and the evil queen on Once Upon a Time)...

Anyway, Regina passed me in the first mile and seemed to be running away with it. Not knowing the girl, I had no idea of her capabilities. So, I assumed she was the better runner and went about my business of staying relaxed and hydrated. Regina was always in my visual field, except around turns. She was wearing a bright orange shirt. I tell you this because, according to http://www.empower-yourself-with-color-psychology.com/color-orange.html , orange is the "color of social communication" amongst other things...this girl was the opposite of orange.
As we approached the halfway point, Regina was getting closer and closer. Somewhere between 7 & 8 miles, I saw a car stop and the driver run onto the course. It must have been this chick's hubby. He said something to her, she looked back at me, and sped up a bit. At this point, she might have been 100 meters ahead. It was at that point that I realized, this girl came here to win. This feeling came over me...I couldn't explain it. I just remember I had to stop myself from going too fast. I was getting out of control and knew I couldn't finish the race at that pace. I calmed myself down and returned to my relaxed race pace.
Seconds later, I realized I was approaching Regina. My first thought was "Don't pass her yet. Just feel it out." I could tell she was tired. I looked at my Garmin and the pace was 8:10. I was feeling better than an 8:10 so I said "What the hell?!" and just passed her. As I passed, I gave her the thumbs up and said to her "Great job! You're doing awesome! We are more than halfway there!" The girl didn't say a word. No acknowledgement at all. For some reason, that really bothered me. It lit enough of a fire that helped me through the next three miles. I'm sure she was pissed that I was passing her but that was her problem, not mine!
Even though I had the motivation to keep my pace, I was bothered mentally by her unspoken dis (do people still say that word? Please tell me they do.). I just remember thinking mean thoughts...so I decided to pray. I prayed for my attitude, my mean thoughts against her, and that she was feeling ok. 
It wasn't until the drink station at mile 11 that we met again. I decided I would try again to encourage her. I pretty much said the same things I said at mile 8. No joke, the girl looked me dead in the eye, with the most malicious face I've ever seen, and DIDN'T SAY ONE WORD!

I was obviously failing at a relationship with her.
At this point, Regina took off. I was so pissed about her bad attitude and poor sportsmanship that I kept up with her. I decided it was worth the risk of hurting my knee (I'm not saying it was the right decision). Beating her wasn't necessarily the goal, I just wanted this girl to talk to me! At least say "Screw you, skinny blonde." Say something...ANYTHING!
I stayed on her tail until the final water station around 12 miles. At that point, she stopped for water but I kept going because I filled up my bottle at the last station. Honestly, I didn't want the lead because I knew she'd pass me. She was obviously more competitive about having the title of "1st Overall Female" of this tiny race. Me? I wanted that PR on this gorgeously hot day in Ohio.
And the moment I had been waiting for happened. Regina said something to me!! Again, as she passed me, I told her she was doing a great job and gave her a thumbs up. She looked at me and said...
"Do you know how much further we have to go?"

Replace "Snow" with "Lisa."
Ugh. She was as annoying as I had imagined. I told her what my Garmin said, although, my distance wasn't correct because I goofed it up. She never said thanks but turbo boosted her way ahead of me. Just a couple of seconds after that, we were rounding the corner to the finish. If I had cared as much as her about winning, I could have beat her...but then I saw the loves of my life waiting for me...cheering me on. Praise Jesus I forgot about this girl for a brief moment and waved and smiled at my hubby and James. It was the most precious moment amongst minutes of frustration at this mean girl. They haven't posted results so I don't know Regina's official time. I would be surprised if she was more than 10 seconds ahead of me. I never saw the girl after we finished. She never came to me to shake my hand, say good race, or anything.
It makes me sick that there are recreational runners out there with such poor sportsmanship. Unless you're making some cheese at these races, why do you have to be a turd? You shouldn't be a turd anyway but especially if it's a rinky dinky race that your momma could have won.
What did I learn from this?
1) I'm gonna keep being the social runner that I am. I won't let one bad apple ruin it for me.
2) Praying helps calm the nerves when you think you're out of control.
3) I'm going to start bringing Amanda to my races because she promised to trip anyone who does that to me again.
Credits: Jackie helped me with the naming of my archenemy. Thanks, girl. ;)

Sunday, June 7, 2015

The Great Johnstown to Granville Half Marathon

Pre-race selfie at home. That brown, hairy blob in the bottom right is my beagle :)

Ambitious Lisa got a little crazy with scheduling races after the DC Half. I was certain it was an intelligent idea to schedule something 5 weeks after my full. That sounded like enough time to recover to me! In some ways it was...in other ways (i.e. my knee thing), I probably could have used more time to get used to the longer distances. As I mentioned in my "marathon to half training" posts, my knee would get pain after double digit miles but, fortunately, it (the knee) allowed me to run a little further each week.  

Pre-race, make sure you go to the bathroom, coffee. James was very interested in this stuff that keeps his mom sane.
The last time I was nervous about a race was in February for the Winter Run. The fact that I was nervous about this Johnstown race was throwing me off a bit! It didn't help that the start time was 5 p.m. I'm pretty sure I paced around my house for two hours before leaving to meet Marion! Because the nerves didn't come until early afternoon, I was able to eat throughout the day. I've never run an evening race so I just decided to eat smaller meals every couple of hours. When race time approached, I felt fueled and ready to go (minus the fact that my knee had been bugging me all day...I even had to ice it...I get race syndrome).
Race Syndrome= phantom pains and illnesses the week leading up to a race...it's a thing, I promise.
For those of you my age that raced when you were a teenager, think back to those ancient times when race chip timing didn't exist. When you had a white piece of paper with nothing but a black number. When there were actually people with timers at the finish line to get your official race time. When there was no dramatic start with a countdown...some one just randomly yelled "GO!" when you least expected it. THAT WAS THIS RACE! It was quite hilarious, in fact. The director gathered us in a semi circle in a school parking lot, gave final instructions, and, out of nowhere, yelled "GO!" Everyone busted out laughing!! I didn't have my music ready so I somehow managed to get that turned on without tripping on the uneven street!

The ancient bib.
Most of the first mile was on the streets of Johnstown. This was  the only hilly section of the race (minus a hill in the last mile or two). It was a little tough only because of the uneven roads. I'm glad my ankles held up in that section. I started off faster than my planned pace. Based on the weather and my marathon recovery training, I went into this race wanting to average 8:00 miles (this would have been a PR by 2 minutes). I wasn't totally confident because of the status of my knee during long runs so I made a secondary goal of 1:50 and a tertiary goal of finishing under 2 hours without pain.
After the first mile, we hit up the paved trail for the rest of the race (I think only the last quarter mile was off trail). I suspected this might be completely boring but it wasn't at all. There weren't a lot of spectators but there were small groups of people occasionally as we passed over roadways and entrances to the trail. There was an awesome group after the halfway point with signs, bells, and high fives! The trail was gorgeous!! Mostly shade but had some areas of full sunshine that made it a little challenging. I would recommend at least going for a training run on this trail.
 I sucked down so much water during this race! I carried a 10 oz. bottle and drank at every station except the last (I think there were 5). I even refilled my water bottle at mile 11. I also followed my gel strategy of taking one 20 minutes before the start, around mile 4 and just before mile 9.

My cute 10 ouncer that I bought especially for this hot race! I do not regret this purchase.
I never go into a race expecting to win anything because, let's face it, I'm not even close to elite and I'm just not competitive enough with others to even care. I will admit, in this race, I developed an archenemy. I NEVER think of other runners as enemies but this girl was just rude. Because this is a story on its own, I'll save it for my next blog post. I'll just say, she was a  meanie!
As I rounded the corner between the trail and the finish area, the course turned into a cross country race! You remember in high school when you ran races in grass?! I was not expecting this and I'm so glad my knee held up the entire race (minus a few sharp twinges every once in a while). That grass running was crazy! I ended up finishing as the second overall female (next to my archenemy) with a time of:
I knew based on my mile splits the first half of the race that I would PR (unless my knee gave out) but I did NOT expect a 1:40 anything. This was my half goal for DC and that obviously did not happen. My friends knew I had it in me which made me believe I could do it. After DC, I thought this goal would have to wait until after baby #2 so I as THRILLED with this race!!!
On a special side note, I would like to say that I feel like a true distance runner after this race. I am officially a member of the "Wet your britches" club. As I was approaching the finish line, I just had to let some go...just a little squirt. When I crossed the line, it happened again! I'm pretty sure I announced what happened because the guys who finished before me busted out laughing!

This has been a game changer in my efforts this race season.
Next up for Lisa:
-A well deserved running break. I'm taking off for at least 5-6 days...NO RUNNING AT ALL! If you see me running, stop me! I do plan to do some Hip Hop Fitness in there somewhere.

This one's for the haters! LOL.
-Hilliard Rotary 10k on July 4th. No goal yet. I've met all of my running goals for 2015 (except for running a long race while pregnant) so I'll be happy with whatever happens the rest of the year.

My sweet, funny friend, Marion. I learned about some ex-boyfriends on the trip home ;) HILARIOUS!
Thanks again to all of my friends and family members who support my obsession. And thank you, Marion, who allowed me to peer pressure her into running this with me. The girl rocked out a great time only 3 weeks after her first full marathon!!!
LAST BUT NOT LEAST: Shout out to my hubby. I didn't ask him to come to this because it was so small and late in the day. He surprised me by showing up at the start with James!! They were there cheering us on at the finish. I felt so loved ;)

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Marion's "Spectacular Disaster" a.k.a. Her First Marathon

My dear friend, Marion. This girl cracks me up. While many only share the good stuff, she is bold enough to tell you the bad and the ugly. She ran her first full marathon last month and lived to tell the story. Here it is in her words:

You’ll Always Remember your First….
That’s what everyone says about your first marathon.  It’s special.  No matter what happens, it will always hold a place in your heart.  Well, friends…I’m here to tell you that NO.  There is no way that the 2015 Cleveland Marathon will ever hold a special place in this girls’ heart.  The words I used to describe this marathon are “Spectacular Disaster”.  That sums it up for me in a nutshell.
I went into the marathon feeling very prepared.  I didn’t put in nearly as many miles as my training partners, but I did my due diligence.  I started training in mid January for the marathon on May 17th.  Most of my training weeks ranged between 35 & 40 miles and I peaked at almost 50.  I loosely followed the Hal Higdon Novice 2 plan, and added more miles and a few speed workouts.  I ran two half marathons while in training.  One was my PR (1:46:32…in wind and 17 degrees!), and the other I ran with my friend Laura. (not a PR, but lots of fun!)  I did two 20 milers during my training, one with my favorite running friends, and the other solo.  Both went very well, 8:40 average pace at conversational effort.
When I arrived in Cleveland on May 16th I was ready.  

My husband and I dropped the girls and dogs off at my parents and made our way downtown.  We were staying literally a block from the start line.  We hit the expo to pick up my race packet, had a bland (for me) dinner, and just watched TV.  I ended up turning the TV off around 10:15 or so.  I had a definite “night before a race” sleep, but when I got out of bed at 4:30 I felt pretty good.  I had time to drink a little coffee, eat a piece of bread with PB and a banana, and let my system “clear out”.  I was excited.  I was ready.  I was not nervous, but was a little worried about the humidity.  My shakeout run the previous morning felt harder than I would have preferred.   I shrugged off those feelings and kept myself feeling positive.  I was about to complete my first marathon.  Let’s do this!

Kevin and I headed over to the start area at 6:30 (7 AM race start).  We waited around for a little bit, I took a gel, and then decided I HAD to pee one last time (of course!).  The porta-potty lines were epic, so Kevin suggested I just run back to the room and use the toilet there, so I did (and got a bonus warm-up!)   As we were walking back to the corrals at 6:50, it started downpouring.  Luckily, it only lasted a couple minutes, but it made me happy I decided to wear a visor.  I never wear them, but figured it would probably be useful since both rain and sun were predicted that day.  At race start it was about 70 degrees and between 85-90% humidity.
I weaved my way through the crowds and found the 3:55 pace group.  My plan was just to stick with them as long as I could, and possibly pull forward the last couple miles if I felt good.  After consulting with everyone that knows me and my abilities, we all trusted that 3:55 was an achievable, conservative goal.  I backed off of my original plan of joining either the 3:40 or 3:45 group because of the predicted weather.
I popped my headphones in, my Garmin finally found satellite, the gun sounded, and we were off.  Yay!  I was pumped.  The first couple miles I felt pretty good.  Even the bridge wasn’t terrible.  I was hitting each water stop and drank at least half the cup full, if not more.  Since it was so warm and humid, I knew I had to keep myself hydrated.  If I got separated from the group at the water stop, I would slowly catch back up.  I wanted to conserve all the energy possible, so no sprinting was allowed.  The group wasn’t a chatty group.  We were just all kind of running together and following the bobbing 3:55 sign.  I was hoping for a little camaraderie, but no biggie.  I was glad I at least brought my headphones.  We were running along clicking off miles.  Our pace group leader was keeping us a little ahead of the 8:58/mile pace, which was fine with me.  I felt good.  The first 6 were 8:40, 8:40, 8:48, 8:49, 8:47, 8:41.
I started feeling twinges of upper stomach cramping around mile 7.  Anyone who knows me knows my constant battle with lower GI issues.  For now this was still all good.  I crossed my fingers the bowels would stay in check.  Mile 7  - 8:59.  
During mile 8 we passed the first aid station with gels.  I did training with the gels they used on the course (Carb BOOM!), so I grabbed one.  I pulled off to the side so I could take my gel and chase it with water.  I started going again.  The 3:55 group was still in my sights, but it was getting harder to slowly reconnect with them.  Mile 8 – 8:52.
At the start of mile 9, my stomach cramping started getting more persistent.  Along with that, I had the addition of side stitches.  What in the ****?  I rarely get side stitches any more.  I grabbed onto my side while running to try and make it stop.  I was also losing the pace group.  Mile 9 – 9:27.  Uh oh….
Miles 10-13.1 were rough.  I had to stop and walk for short spurts several times because of the cramping.  I could not completely straighten up, which is a problem when you’re running.  I could feel my goals just slipping away.  I believe it was during this time I got passed by the 4:00 pace group.  Ego BLOWN.  Somehow I managed to keep going and just tried to keep my focus on finishing.  There were a lot of people walking throughout the course, so at least I knew I was not alone.  Miles 10-12: 10:11, 9:53, 10:56.  
I crossed the half mat at 2:04 and some change.  I was devastated.  My first half marathon was 10 minutes faster than that, and I know (knew?) that I was a better runner than this.  Just as I was about to get really down on myself, I saw my friends Lisa and Jackie yelling for me.  I looked up and smiled and then gave them the big thumbs down sign.  Seeing them rejuvenated me for about half a mile.
I saw my husband, parents, girls, and cousins at the 14 mile marker.  Kevin had my bottle of water/Gatorade mix ready for me and handed it off.  I just gave him a fake smile and kept trucking along.  Mile 13: 10:43.
Miles 14 and 15 were even worse.  11:20 and 12:37, respectively.  During mile 15 I tried to employ an interval method.  Run 4 minutes, walk 2.  I did one cycle of this, and realized I could not get running again.  When I hit the 16 mile marker I was in pain.  My stomach hurt so bad.  I was nauseous, cramping and was not sweating.  I pulled out my phone and sent Kevin a text that just said “I hurt”.  He wrote back and said “Don’t give up!  Walk if you need to!  You’ve got this!”.  So, on I trudged.  Although, I will admit, if I had passed a medical tent then, I would have dropped.  I was done.
We went down to Rocky River and hit the turnaround point between 17 & 18 miles.  I was still trying to jog once in a while around then, but wouldn’t last long.  I also kept pulling off to the side to bend over and relieve the cramping.  I just wanted to lay down in the grass and sleep.  But somehow I kept going.  I crossed the 30K (18.6 mile) mat at 3:25.  This was a DISASTER.  
When I was between mile 19 and 20 I looked up to see Kevin walking down the sidewalk towards me.  
Stopping to chat with the fam.  Yes. DURING a race!

I was in major pain, but so happy to see him.  He asked me if I wanted to finish.  I said “yes”.   Then he replied, “let’s go”.  Yes, my husband wearing his khaki shorts, crappy running shoes and C-Bus shirt finished the marathon with me.  I stopped several times to sit down and try to relieve the cramping in my stomach.  I was still drinking water, but had not had another gel since mile 8. I knew if I tried it would automatically make a return appearance.  I did give Kevin one of my gels because he was starving.  Having never had one before, he was like “this tastes like an orange loogie!”  Gross, Kevin.  Gross.  
(I made him run for the camera!)

The 5:25 pacers passed us and were nice enough to stop and check on me.  One of them gave me a few salt packets.  I took one and it really did seem to help.  I was able to make it from about 24 miles to the end without stopping due to stomach cramps.
When I saw the mile 26 flag waving in the distance I just looked at Kevin and said “I’m gonna go”.  He waved me on, and I took off.  I started sprinting coming down a hill, under an overpass, and there it was.  The elusive finish line.  It seemed like it was light years away, but I was determined to finish strong.  I heard my name being yelled, and looked over to see Lisa and Jackie running down the sideline with me.  I saw my parents and the girls yelling as well.  The announcer was saying my name and saying I looked strong (HA!)   I crossed that line at 5:48:32.  
I was elated and crushed at the same time.  I thought I would finish 2 hours before this.  TWO HOURS.  How does this even happen?

Things I took away from this experience:
  1. I do have the best husband ever.  The poor guy ended up walking 15 miles that day!  His knee was hating on him. My parents were fantastic as always.  They took care of the girls and the dogs and stuck out a LONG marathon with two 4 year olds.  They’re awesome and brave!
  2. I also have the best running friends.  Lisa and Jackie were calling, texting, and even checking in with medical on me.  (I didn’t look at my phone until after I finished, sorry girls!).  I thought for sure they would have left, and I would not have blamed them at all!  But they didn’t.  So, thank you so much for sticking it out until the bitter BITTER end with me!
  3. I was not the only one having issues this race.  There were a ton of people who dropped.  The medical tents were packed every time I would pass one.  I saw several ambulances, and people were puking everywhere.  I wish I was exaggerating.  The conditions were brutal.  
  4. I am pretty sure I will never do another spring marathon (except if by some miracle at some point I end up qualifying for Boston).  Training in a brutal winter, and then trying to run in heat and 90%+ humidity did not work for this girl.  Which brings me to my next point….
  5. Yes.  I will do another marathon.  I put in too many hours, 4AM wake ups, miles, and time away from family to have this end up as my sole marathon experience.  I need to know what I am really capable of, and this sure wasn’t it.
I took 4 days off of running after that and have been easing back in.  I don’t know what the future holds, but I’m determined to keep trucking and one day reach those goals that I know I’m capable of.  


Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Corporate Challenge 5k and May Mileage

May = my lowest mileage all year. Because I feel the need to come up with excuses, I will say this:
1) I ran a full marathon May 3rd so I needed some recovery, right?
2) Wait...I think that might be my only excuse. I sat here for 5 minutes looking at my training calendar and couldn't come up with anything else.
Running miles: 155.37
Cycling miles: 18.5
I guess that number is decent considering my circumstance.
This past Saturday, I was invited by my BFF, Jackie, to join her company's team for a 5k. I knew I would have to push James in the stroller so I told myself I was going to have fun with it. It's amazing what one can accomplish when they do something for fun!

Under the alias "Stacey Longshore," I represented the momma community well (FYI: I'm not weird and making up names for myself. It's a Scott's Miracle-Gro employee). The announcer said that stroller runners needed to make their way to the back. Stacey (me) thought to herself, "Oh, heck no. I am not trying to maneuver my way around all of these peeps like at the Mommy Mile." I told the lady in charge, in a kind way of course, that I could run a 5k in the mid 20s with a stroller and asked if I could move closer to the front. She was like, "WHAAAT?! With a stroller?!!" What do I look like, chopped liver? She was kind enough to let me start towards the front as long as I stayed to the side of the pack.

And, off we went, on a familiar route starting at Genoa Park. I still felt the need to get past some peeps the first mile before getting deep onto the trail. I set myself up pretty well and had no trouble once we hit the trail. I remember thinking in the first mile, "For someone who is hear to have fun, you sure do feel tired," but then I remembered I didn't warm up so it's my own fault I felt that way.
The route's familiarity allowed me to know when the hills were coming. James and I took them like champs and recovered as needed at the top. There was this one girl that kept going back and forth with us. Surprisingly, I killed her on the hills but, because I was pushing James, I needed a longer recovery afterwards. She seemed to always catch up to me shortly after the hill. This back and forth went on the last two miles of the race. I kind of had the feeling she was annoyed with me.

I was feeling pretty good the whole race except for the insane humidity and few hills. Then came the home stretch. For those of you who did the Scioto Series in March and April, it was a different finish. We ran further down and went under Broad Street rather than up and over it. You've probably done it in one of the other 5 bazillion 5ks they have over there. When you go that route, you have to make a sharp 180 degree turn and go up a decently long incline then another 180 degree turn for the finish straightaway.
As we approached the first sharp turn to go up the hill, I was cheering on my fellow runners saying, "We can do this! This is the last hill!" And then I kicked butt pushing my boy up that thing. I wanted to barf so bad. LOL. As I approached the straightaway,  I saw Jackie. I was just trotting along, waving at Jackie and the camera, when I heard Jackie yell, "TEN MORE SECONDS!!!" I looked up at the clock and it read "23:53." That was enough motivation to try and break 24 minutes with my stroller! It's crazy how that "fun run" turns into your own little competition! I thought I crossed as soon as it hit 24 minutes but I had forgotten I started a few seconds back. My official time:
I couldn't believe I beat my Mommy Mile stroller time! I was the first stroller to cross, 9th woman, and 37th overall. I guess you can't beat that! On top of all of that, I found out the most interesting fact. That lady a few paragraphs up that kept going back and forth with me on the course...it was Jackie's son's babysitter!! I had no clue at the time!

Finally, I would like to make a shout out to Jackie and her 3rd place female finish! Her company also won most creative shirt design which Jackie and her friend Kristen can take credit!!!