Flying Pig 2015

Flying Pig 2015

Monday, March 27, 2017

HWGA: When will I feel normal again?!

Here We Go Again
 
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These two make me melt.
Despite a decent long run at the end of last week, I was in a bit of a running funk. I mean, shouldn't I feel recovered after two weeks? I woke up Monday morning and felt SO SORE! Between that not-so-amazing 5k and my 14 miler over the weekend, my legs were toast. I took a complete rest day thinking that would be all that I needed. Not so much.
 
I met with some gals the next morning and felt like crud the entire run. I was so discouraged later that day and didn't want to think about attempting race pace miles the next day. I knew for sure that I'd fail. Fortunately, things seemed to turn around for me the rest of the week.
 
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  • 3/20: REST. My body made it clear that it wasn't going to do anything productive today.
    Celebrated the first day of spring by resting and paperwork-ing.
  • 3/21: 6 miles, 9:48/mile; shoulder workout. I met my friends Meg and Lynn for an easy 6 that didn't feel so easy. I felt like a slug. My body was still sore from the weekend, and it didn't want to move. If it weren't for the good company, I would have wanted to erase it from my memory. Later that day, I was able to hit up the gym for a shoulder workout.
  • 3/22:8.04 miles, 8:41/mile; 2.1 cycling miles; Leg and restorative yoga workout. Meg and Tamara were gracious enough to meet up with me for some race pace miles. As mentioned above, I just knew I wasn't going to be able to meet my goal today. Based on how I'd been feeling, I decided to turn 4 consecutive race pace miles into intervals during an 8 miler. We went into the run planning to alternate an easy mile with an 8:15 mile. The run didn't feel great the first three miles. Our first race pace mile was 8:12, but it felt slightly challenging the first half. After another recovery mile, I was scared to go into my next faster one. For whatever reason, I started feeling good. The next mile was 8:02! Faster than it should have but felt great. During the next recovery mile, Tamara suggested making the next interval 2 miles at race pace. They clocked in at 7:59 and 8:05. I left that run feeling so much better about my recovery. After work, I hit up the Y for my leg workout and a little yoga.
    Thanks for the boost of confidence, ladies! [Meg, Tamara, ME]
  • 3/23: 6 miles, 9:09/mile. Met up with Meg and Katie for easy miles and donuts. LOVE Schneider's!!!
    Hopefully our last cold morning for a long time! [Katie, ME, Meg]
  • 3/24: REST. I could have lifted, but I felt the need to take it easy. Work has been insane this week, and I had mucho paperwork to finish.
  • 3/25: 16 miles, 8:24/mile. I needed to give myself some sort of challenge or test between marathons without actually registering for a half marathon. I saved this workout from one of my old Runner's World mags. One of the elites said she does this workout 3-4 weeks before a marathon to test her fitness. I took my marathon goal time to BQ and turned it into my own personal workout. I altered the end a bit to give myself a cool down, but I accomplished enough to give me a boost of confidence. Workout:3 miles marathon pace (MP=8:15), 5 min. recovery, 1 mile 8:10, 1 min. recovery, 1 mile 7:55, 2 min. recovery, 1 mile 8:10, 1 minute recovery, 1 mile 7:50, 2 min. recovery, 1 mile 8:10, 1 min. recovery, 1 mile 7:45, 5 min. recovery, 3 miles MP. I wanted 16 miles total, so I added a 2 mile warm up and changed the final 3 MP to comfortable miles (ended up being 8:45, 8:44, 8:18). My watch isn't fancy so I don't know my exact splits for all of the intervals because of the odd recovery times. Overall splits [9:09, 9:00, 8:07, 8:15, 8:02, 8:39, 8:10, 8:08, 8:17, 7:50, 8:25, 7:57, 8:43, 8:44, 8:45, 8:18]. Per my running partners, Our splits were a tad fast which I suppose can be a good thing...bad thing if I'm trying to learn to keep pace, though. Either way, I left this workout feeling proud of my work.
    Shorts!!! Hallelujah! I even stripped to my sports bra after 11 miles!!
  • 3/26: 4.02 miles, 10:21/ mile; 2 miles, 9:09/mile, Hatha Yoga Class, 1 hour. A few of us reconnected with an injured friend to show her some love. We did 2 miles of walk/run intervals until we got to Starbucks, then a couple of us ran back to my vehicle to drive back to Starbucks to get the rest of the crew. A Starbucks date with friends is always memorable. I did my usual yoga that afternoon and decided to get my last two miles before it started.
    LOVE my baby girl. We had some family time at the North Market for lunch.
 
**********
 
I think I'm officially recovered. Once again, it took 2 1/2 weeks! Ugh. Why so long?! As I think about my next one, I just don't feel like my body is ready to BQ. I know it will be a different course, different weather, etc., but I just don't feel confident about getting the time I need. No matter what my head is saying, my body is going to do all that it can to try!

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Stay Active 5k

 
I ran this little 5k last year (when I was 18 weeks pregnant) and WON! Bahahaha!!! I've never laughed so hard in my life. I decided to run it again this year in hopes that I could defend my title and smash my time from last year (23:39). I figured if I ran that pregnant, surely I could run at least a minute faster this year.
 
LIES!! I WAS TELLING MYSELF A BUNCH OF LIES!
 
Sure, I recognize that I ran a marathon almost two weeks ago, but that didn't feel like a good enough excuse for my performance today. When I ran that 5k two weeks ago, I ran 24:03 and it felt EASY...like, really easy. So what was my problem today?! I wish I knew.
 
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I started with my typical 2 mile warm up (9:33/mile) and decided to run the first section of the race course so that I could be reminded of how bad the incline was going to be. It isn't that horrible so I can't really use it as an excuse! It isn't ideal if you are already feeling like crap, but it isn't an excuse for a poor performance. They seemed to do a good job of clearing the path of the snow which was nice...especially on the bridge.
 
Since I suspected I might be one of the faster ladies, I lined up towards the front. I decided to wear music and amused myself until the start by noticing that a guy was doing dynamic stretching to beat of my current song (Ms. New Booty in case you are dying to know). Ha!
 
We set off into the depths of the Marysville trail system. Immediately you have to claim your position for a turn and short hill. That was followed by another sharp turn and longer incline. My goal was to keep the first mile a little slower so that I didn't wear myself out. I was hoping for 7:20-ish. After conquering the inlcine, we crossed the bridge and had a slight decline. I immediately made friends with Mr. New Booty and we tried to keep each other going. Mile 1 was [7:32]. WTF. I was so annoyed, but I certainly felt like it was only 7:32. I had a lot of catching up to do!
 
I knew I would be seeing my family during the second mile. I also knew I would see how far the leading lady was in front of me to gauge if I had a shot. I was hoping these two things might give me a burst of energy. At this point, I still felt like I hadn't hit my stride. My legs felt fine, but my breathing was off. My throat and chest were hurting a bit. I'm not sure if it was the chill in the air or just the fact that I was still in marathon recovery phase. Whatever it was, I didn't feel great. I did pass James, Ruthie, and my mother-in-law, Joan, on the course. James kept yelling "Go, mommy, go!!!" It was so heart warming! He was so excited to see me run. Just after that, I saw Beth, the leading lady. I told her "Good job!" and knew I couldn't catch her. I just needed to get around the turning point and see how far behind the next girl was from me.
 
I had a significant lead for second place and knew I just needed to at least keep this pace. After passing my family the second time, we hit 2 miles [7:39]. OMG, I was so pissed. I did not think I was going that slow. I knew I wouldn't be able to make up for the crappy time. I didn't have a whole lot in me to finish strong. I just wanted to finish. Mr. New Booty left me at this point (one of the many ball busters from today), and I was all alone.
 
I just needed to get through ONE MORE MILE. The only highlight (if you want to call it that) of the last mile was the fact that I passed one person...but it was a kid so it doesn't really count. I tried to cheer him on to keep with me, but the poor kid crashed. About a quarter mile from the finish, we ran into freaking ice and slush on the course! UGH. So annoying. The trail was fine up to that point so it was annoying to deal with this at the end of the race. Mile 3 was [7:37] with the last 0.15 at [6:39].
 
My official time was:
 
23:45.
 
Ugh. SLOWER than last year. SLOWER!!! So stupid. If I'm looking at it in a positive way, I'll take my placement stats:
-12th overall
-2nd female overall
-1st in the 30-39 age group
 
**********
I needed some afternoon coffee after this race!
 
This was a super crappy race for me, and I'm ok with that. I love racing, and I learn something from every race...good or bad. Today, I learned that I might still be recovering from this marathon and that I shouldn't have high expectations 2 weeks after running one. Maybe I just need to do a lot more marathons before my body can recover more quickly. I typically take 2 1/2 to 3 weeks to recover completely, but have felt so good this week that I thought I'd be fine.
 
Thanks to everyone for the kinds words. Hopefully you all understand when I corrected you guys after telling me that I did a good job and was fast. I do appreciate it, but I DID NOT DO WELL! LOL. I just didn't...and I'm ok with that. I still loved being there and I'm so thankful that I can run. Now I just need to focus on allowing my body to get back to normal so I can smash my Little Rock marathon time in a few weeks!
 


Wednesday, March 15, 2017

HWGA: Recovery Week 2

Here We Go Again
 
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Morning fun with my loves.
I'm typing this mid-week and I still don't know if I'm recovered from the marathon. I mean, I'm tolerating runs that have been anywhere from high 8s to low 9s. I haven't intentionally tried to go faster because I wanted to play it smart. Since that long run last week, I haven't had any significant tightness so I guess that's a good sign!
 
This week, I started to reintroduce my strength workouts. I didn't do a lot of strengthening race week to prevent fatigue. I also avoided it last week just to be nice to my body (aside from doing yoga).
 
After talking it out with friends and looking up articles, I decided that my race cramping likely has nothing to do with fluids but more to do with the need to continue to strengthen the appropriate areas (thanks Amanda and Jackie for helping to confirm my theory!). I know I am a lot stronger because my hip did not give out during this race. I just think that I need specific focus on particular muscles. I'm planning to start incorporating those this week in hopes that it will help for my next marathon.
 
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  • 3/13: 6.1 miles, 9:16/mile; 2.3 cycling miles, 10:04; gluteus medius workout, 20 minutes. I met up with Tamara in Westerville for an easy run. Busted out 5 with her before her training session, and finished the last mile solo. I wasn't motivated at all today. I was just so sleepy!! I had a little extra time after work to get in a leg workout. I didn't want to start with cold legs so rode 10 minutes on the bike to warm up. As approached the end of my workout, I knew my legs were feeling it because my quads started cramping! I just knew I would be sore the next day.
  • 3/14: REST. I did absolutely nothing physical except work and lift my kids.
  • 3/15: 6.01 miles, 9:12/mile; Chest/Back workout, 35 minutes. I planned to run with my friend, Tracey, and we ended up connecting with another group in Westerville. It was nice catching up with her and venting about our latest shenanigans. After work, I hit up the gym for an upper body workout.
    So freaking cold!!! Real feel was in the single digits!

  • 3/16: 6.01 miles, 8:35/mile. I planned on running in the morning but Ruthie had a rough night (messed up bowels from eating new foods). I'm actually glad it happened that way because I was able to enjoy a solo run after work. It was a gorgeous day! Although it was a little chilly and pretty darn windy, the sun was out and it was amazing!!! Since I was solo, I could really focus on how my body was feeling. I didn't look at my pace and ran what felt to be an easy effort. Half of my miles were into the wind, but I didn't even care. I was just happy that it wasn't raining, snowing, or single digits.
    The sun was so amazing!
  • 3/17: REST. I wanted to allow myself to rest in case I needed it for my 5k. I think I'm mostly recovered from my marathon, but a little nervous about running fast.
  • 3/18: 6.16 total miles (warm up 2 miles, 9:33/mile; race 3.15 miles, 7:34/mile; 1.01 miles, 9:37/mile). I have a separate post with my race report so you can hear all about how I crapped the bed!
    I won a gift card to Meijer! 1st place in my age group!!
  • 3/19: 14 miles, 8:56/mile; Hatha Yoga Class, 1 hour. Life and yesterday's race forced me to do my long run on Sunday afternoon. I was initially excited because the temps were going to be in the 40s, but it was overcast and windy. UGH. I was so sluggish until 7.5 miles or so. I finally hit my stride and had a great rest of the run. I still don't feel back to my normal running self, but I feel better as the days go on.
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I'm not totally sure where to go from here with my training. I'm going to try a short run with some race pace miles mid week to see how it feels. If that goes well, I'm hoping to mix some speed in with my long run this week. Other miles will be very easy!

Sunday, March 12, 2017

HWGA: Recovery Week 1

Here We Go Again
 
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I have a few friends that run back to back to back to back marathons. Me? This is new territory. Does 7 weeks count as back to back?! It does for me and my current status. I'll grow some marathon balls one of these days. LOL.
 
Those who know me know that I like to do my research to make up my training program. I try to take my weaknesses and base my training off of that. My practice race at Little Rock confirmed that I really need to focus on my race pace and speed. I've been really good this time around about running easy for my easy runs and incorporating strength workouts. Now I need to continue to progress my body towards the pace it needs to tolerate to qualify for Boston. After my birthday last year, I moved up to a new age group which should make qualifying very doable for me (3:40, which we all know means a 3:37 at the very least). I know I can do that, I just need to get back to that point post baby and accident.
 
I don't have any clue how to train in the next few weeks, but I have some ideas. I don't know if my body is ready for a 3:37 yet, but I'm certainly going to try my best to get there. I think I am close, but it might have to wait until the fall.
 
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Recovery week #1:
 
  • 3/6: REST. We were still in Arkansas for most of the day and had a LONG night of travel. We didn't get home until 12:30 a.m. or so!
    I couldn't stop staring at this precious sight.

    James loved the planes.
  • 3/7: 2 miles, 9:40/mile. My work day allowed for just enough time to squeeze in a couple of test miles to make sure my legs still worked. No pain!
    I've spent a lot of time thinking about all of the hard work ahead of me and how much fun it's going to be.
  • 3/8: 4.06 miles, 9:07/mile. Since the 2 miler went well, I decided 4 would be appropriate. It was just enough...no more necessary!
  • 3/9: YMCA Deep Stretch and Relax Yoga, 1 hour. I rested from running and took advantage of the opportunity to go to a yoga class. It's exactly what I needed as I neared the end of a busy work week.
  • 3/10: 10.08 miles, 9:10/mile. Sooo...where to start...my plan was to run 6 easy miles to continue my slow ramp up in mileage. A friend texted me that evening to tell me a group was meeting stupid early for their respective long runs. I met these crazy chicks at 4 a.m. and got er done. I started feeling tight around 7 miles. I knew I'd be ready to stop at 10. I didn't have time to stretch between getting home and leaving for work so I was SO tight all day. UGH. Fortunately, I was able to do lots of stretching, rolling, and yoga-ing that evening. I felt SO MUCH BETTER in the morning!
    So, so early. [Karen, Tamara, Meg, Katie, Jessie, ME, Megan]
  • 3/11: REST. I didn't do squat. I was hoping I'd actually be able to sleep in on Saturday morning which happens NEVER...but Roop got up at 4 a.m. to eat and James woke at 6:45. Blah.
  • 3/12: 6 miles, 8:57/mile; 1 hour Hatha yoga class. I met up with some of my favs for an easy run plus coffee. Sundays are usually a perfect day for me to go for a short run and spend a little time with friends over coffee. Per my new routine, I went to The Y for some good for your body yoga.
    Random person taking a pic of us thanks to Jessie. [Katie, Meg, ME, Karen, Jessie]

    Coffee time! [Karen, Katie, Jessie, Meg, ME]

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Little Rock Marathon/5k Combo Part 2: The Marathon

Those crazy medals. The big one was approx. 8-9 inches each way and 3 lbs.!

Twelve long years ago, I ran my first marathon...The Little Rock Marathon! I had no idea what I was doing. I had never even run a half. The longest distance I raced was a 5k and the longest distance I ran in training around that time was probably 6-ish miles. I had a college professor that somehow convinced me I could run one and agreed to loosely guide me through it (he was a triathlete). All I really did was run three easy runs during the week (45-60 minutes) and a long run on Saturdays (progressed from 1 1/2 hours to 2 1/2 hours...maybe close to 3 hours for one of them). No speedwork, no idea what mileage or pace I was running; I didn't know what a Garmin was or if it even existed 12 years ago. I just ran loops around campus, showed up to the start line on race day, and ran 4:35 and some change. It's quite comical thinking about it.
Pre race in 2005...when wearing a cotton tee was appropriate. LOL.

Finish line with my cheerleaders.
 
When I became obsessed with the marathon in 2015, I knew I would one day return to this course to conquer the hills and get that course PR. Knowing that 2015 was all about getting pregnant, I planned to return to my awesome state in 2017. I thought I'd get pregnant right away like I did with James, have a baby by the end of winter, and have plenty of time to train. Hmm...things happened a little differently! I got pregnant in November 2015, my foot was run over by a car in March of 2016, I couldn't run for three months to allow my fractures to heal, I birthed Ruthie in August of 2016, and started my  return to running 2 weeks after she was born. Ha!!! The short version: I had 6 months to basically start over and train for a marathon.
Not so distant memories of my accident.

Almost baby time when I could run again.

As for my goal, I didn't just want to finish. I wanted to finish with the number "3" in front of my time! Of my four marathons up to this point, only one was sub 4 hours (3:39:55 at Flying Pig in 2015...the others 4:35, 5:02, 4:07). Based on the half I did 3 months ago, I thought I had enough time to train my body for a 3:45 marathon. I decided to make that my goal (of course, qualifying for Boston is always in the back of my mind, but there was no way it was going to happen for this race). This race was going to provide me with the info I needed to figure out my training for the next race. Amanda told me to think of it as another long run.
Marathon #5, here we come!

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THE RACE.

Of course, I slept horribly. I woke up to my legs feeling a little tired from the 5k. I bought some coffee, ate some oatmeal and granola bars, and pooped about 4 or 5 times! The temps were in the mid to high 40s with a steady drizzle and light wind. Basically, not ideal! I decided on shorts, a tank, arm warmers, gloves, and my visor. I was pissed that I didn't get to wear my race top! LOL. The original temps were supposed to be in the 60s and low 70s.
I'm always so cheery in the morning.

I felt so nervous at the start line. I couldn't believe I was about to run a marathon. For the only time in my life, I was in the same corral as Amanda. I told her I was freaking out as I was holding back the tears. Marathon start lines are so emotional for me! As they started counting down from 10, I shed my last tear and told myself to suck it up. What was I so afraid of?! Could my body handle it? What was everyone going to think if I failed? How many people are really stalking me right now? Was I going to give up when I reached my first mental block? So many thoughts running through my mind.

As we set off, I was reviewing my race plan in my head. I wanted a slow first mile (goal between 8:35 & 8:45). In order to do that, I had to let everyone pass me. Mile one included a slight decline so I had to control myself on that part. [8:24]. Not in my goal range but not horrible.

The next part of my race plan takes me through the halfway point. I wanted to keep my miles in the 8:15-8:35 range. My goal was to feel relaxed. We went across a bridge into North Little Rock, made a couple of loops, and crossed another bridge back into downtown. Miles 2-7 were uneventful with only one little hill approaching mile 4. The rest of it was mostly flat until we approached the end of mile 7. [8:19, 8:24, 8:34...the hill, 8:08, 8:22, 8:25]. It looks like I got a little excited after that hill...must've been the crowd! I was still feeling good at this point, but could feel that my quads might be an issue.

Mile 8 was the beginning of a very gradual incline that went through 11 1/2-ish miles. Only parts of the incline were noticeable. We traveled away from downtown slightly and then back in. At this point, there was still a lot of crowd support because of us circling back towards the half marathon finish. It was in this section that I first thought I might struggle in the second half. Around mile 8, my legs were starting to feel like toast. I was trying my best to ignore this fact, but the thought remained in the back of my mind. I was just hoping the feeling would go away in a couple of miles. As I got closer and closer to the half, my legs kept getting more tired. It was at this point that I felt I would not get my 3:45 time goal...but I wasn't going to stop trying! I still had to at least get a sub 4. [8:39, 8:20, 8:35, 8:36, 8:31]. The rest of mile 12 through the half were on a slight decline which showed in my split [8:17]. According to my results, my half split was 1:51:10.

It was when I crossed the timing mat at 13.1 that crap got real. This was the beginning of the dreaded climb. The climb in it's entirety was almost three miles. The first section was around a mile and a half, some parts steeper than others, but it never ended! There was then about a half mile of mostly flat followed by the rest of the incline. It finally ended when we reached 16 miles. [8:50, 8:54, 8:46]. My race plan had me slowing down in these miles so I was thrilled with my splits considering how I felt. I actually enjoyed this section the most. It was definitely the most scenic of the entire race. If I had only raced the half, I probably would have been disappointed in the experience. We were surrounded by gorgeous trees. We passed all of these amazing homes and cute little shops. I would do this race again just for this section!

The next mile began our descent. We descended the same number of feet but in half the distance. Mile 17 was [8:19] because of that. Just after I passed the mile marker for 17, I felt something I've never felt before while running. My hamstring was seizing! UGH, at mile 17?! Say it ain't so! I was so pissed. At this point, my nutrition was as follows: gels at 4, 9, and 13.5 (also pre-race); I took a salt tab about 2 miles after each gel. I also drank water at every aid station. When my hamstring started seizing, the first thing I thought to do was take another salt tab. I had just taken one at 15.5 miles, but what the hell...another wasn't going to hurt. Shortly after taking it, it seemed like it might have helped. I was just trying to make it to 18.5 so that I could take my next gel. The muscle seizing mile was [9:09]. My first mile in the 9s. UGH!!!

Even though the course was mostly flat as a pancake at this point, my pace did not seem to improve. As my pace slowed down into the 9s, my cramps began to get worse. Not only was it in my left hamstring, but it was now affecting the right side as well as both calves and feet. My gait was starting to change completely to accommodate for the cramping. STOPPING WAS NOT AN OPTION.

This section was an out and back (miles 17.5 to 23.5)...three miles out, three miles back. It was pretty, but very mentally draining. Miles 19-24 were [9:03, 9:01, 9:24, 9:41, 9:54, 9:59]. I haven't talked about this too much, but it was raining the entire time. I was soaking wet within the first 5k and it never got better. The steady drizzle stopped at some point during the out and back section, but the wind picked up at that point. I continued to take gels as planned and started taking salt tabs when the cramps seemed to worsen. I also started drinking a full cup of Gatorade and water at each aid station. I was willing to try anything to stop cramping.

Per usual, I also did some math to pass the time. I took things one mile at a time. After so many miles in the 9s, I knew my initial goal was out of reach. Now I just needed to focus on that sub 4. Instead of looking at my Garmin mileage, I used the mile markers set by the race team. I had no idea what my body was going to do, but I assumed it wouldn't be slower than a 10 minute mile. I decided to multiply each remaining mile by 10 to give myself the confidence to know that I WAS going to break 4 hours. This was the only thought helping me to survive the last 10k.

As we headed out of the flat section, we were met by another hill. On a good day, not at the end of a marathon, it was likely insignificant. In the moment, it wasn't what I wanted to see. I heard a rumor that there was a hill at mile 25 that people hated, but I knew this couldn't have been the hill. It seemed so tiny compared to what I had imagined in my head. This hill, along with my cramping, did affect my pace which is why I barely cleared the 10 minute mark (this hill was in the last split mentioned above).

As I approached the top of this hill, I could see downtown. I took my focus off of my physical status, and focused on the road. It was this moment that I saw it...the mile 25 hill. Again, on a normal day, it might have been ok. It just looked so intimidating when all you can think about is finishing. Mile 25 clocked in at [9:58].

This was it, you guys...only 1.2 (or 1.36!) miles to go! It was balls to the wall so that I could get this shit over with! I was never so happy in my life. After I conquered that final hill, I was all smiles. The cramps were ever present, but I didn't care. I was going to abnormally run all the way to the finish line of my 5th marathon! I couldn't help but smile. I was so focused. I soaked it all in and just had the time of my freaking life. Mile 26 was [8:51]! With about a tenth of a mile remaining, we rounded that final turn, and I could see the finish line. My last 0.36 miles was at a [7:51] pace.

Official time:

3:52:24!!!
(47th/1178 Females, 14th/123 age group)

Crossing a finish line had never felt more glorious. For the first time in my marathon life, I was not crying. I could only smile. I did it!! I FINALLY got another 3-something marathon! Although it was not the time I initially wanted, I am so proud of it. This marathon proved that I have the mental toughness to conquer this distance. Although I will likely get nervous before every marathon that I run, I will no longer fear the distance.

Despite how my body felt during the race...tired legs, cramping...I was happy the entire time. I was running a marathon in my beautiful home state. All the good feels are rushing through me just thinking about it.
Amanda checked off another state! I'm glad she came to my home state with me!!

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In case you are considering this race, the support from volunteers is top notch. I would also suggest doing the full over the half. All the beautiful and challenging parts are in the second half. I also like that the out and back section allowed you to see the other runners. I was able to see the leading runners as they were conquering their final miles. I also got to see Amanda which was a breath of fresh air at that point in the race.

I'm not a bling person, but, if you are, this is also the race for you. The medals are known for their uniqueness and size. The race directors are very energetic and make you want to love this race. Also, Arkansans tend to keep it real. Rather than a bunch of people at the bottom of the hill telling you that you're "almost to the top," you will have someone say "you have a long way to go...two more miles of hill." LOL...yes, really. A guy said this to us!! I love it.

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I just want to thank all of you for your support through this process. The past year has been difficult for my family and me, but I refused to use it as an excuse. I couldn't be happier with what I have accomplished the past few months after my injury and the birthing of a baby! Ha!! I have all of you to thank for being there for me through the process. Love you guys.

For those of you who have doubt or lack the confidence, just know that if you put in the hard work and run smart, you can and you will accomplish your goals. It may not be in your timing or in the way you envision, but it will happen if you are willing to work for it.

I feel like I still have a long way to go to accomplish my next goal, but you will never see me stop trying and you will never see me make excuses.






Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Little Rock Marathon/5k Combo Part 1: Returning Home and the 5k

The moment finally arrived!!! What a weekend. All the good feels happened as we flew into the city. When I saw downtown LR, I just broke into tears. It just felt good to be home. After leaving the airport, we met my college BFF, Leslie, at Iriana's Pizza downtown. She got to meet my kiddos and vice versa. After more happy tears, we got to reminisce about fun times together.
Lunch at Iriana's. I knew the toddlers wouldn't look at the camera!

Afterwards, the fam and I took a quick trip across the street and met Amanda at the expo to get our race packet. We then headed to my Uncle's house (whose family graciously hosted us) for some down time. James instantly bonded with his cousins, and everyone loved Roop.
Down time with the kiddos. That's a fart machine in James' hand!

That evening, we loaded up and headed to North Little Rock for my high school cross country team reunion. It was so awesome seeing everyone and catching up with my coach.
Part of the team. Go Psychos! [Coach Williams, ME, Sarah, Matt, Josh, Mary, Amanda]

The fam dropped Amanda and me off at the hotel after dinner and we spent the night talking about why the heck we registered for the combo event! LOL. We were not motivated to get up and run the next morning.

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Before I tell you about my 5k, side story: Bart Yasso was one of the announcers for the races. Amanda saw him in the hotel and accidentally called him Hal (as in Hal Higdon in case you aren't knowledgeable about the running world and need to google!)! I about died when she told me the story!! Anyway, I felt like too much of a nerd to ask for a pic with him, but it was neat to be 5 feet away from him at the start of the 5k.


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The start line! All of the fast people getting ready.

Despite the lack of motivation to wake up and run the 5k, I got more excited once I was out there. It's been 3 MONTHS since my last race. That's the longest I have ever gone without racing. I had to tell myself to tone things down and not race this because I had the marathon the next day. After talking to various running friends, I decided I would try to stay close to 8 minutes/mile, but would allow myself to run as fast as 7:45/mile.


The weather was perfect. It seemed like it would be chilly, high 30s. I wore my capris, a short sleeve top, and arm warmers thinking I might be cold. Since the sun was beaming, it was so comfortable. I wish we could have traded this weather with Sunday's marathon weather.
Look at all of that beautiful sunshine!


When the race started, I had to let everyone pass me. I couldn't let that tempt me to go fast. I decided to just go by feel and make sure the legs felt like they were running easy. When I hit mile 1, my watch read [7:34]. UGH! TOO FAST. I was pissed at myself. I just kept thinking about how my legs would be toast if I kept that up. I tried to slow down tremendously the second mile and ended up running [7:46]. Better, but still at the fast end of my range.


It was around this time that we split from the 10k'ers. It thinned things out a bit, but there were a lot of spectators which made it fun. I knew that the top 10 received an award, but I had no idea what place I was in. I kept going back and forth with one girl the whole race, and I felt the need to tell her I wasn't trying to race! I didn't, but I just kept feeling like she was trying to race me. I was getting annoyed by it so I slowed down a bit more to let her get ahead of me. I just didn't want the temptation to race!


When I finished, my final Garmin stats were 3.13 miles in


24:03.

One race down, one to go!

My final mile was [7:55]. I still had no idea how I placed so I went to the results tent to print off my results. I BARELY made the final cut!! I was the 10th overall female (of 845) and 4th (of 96) in my age group. The lady I let ahead of me in the third mile finished 14 seconds ahead of me and the 11th place person was only 4 seconds behind me! I never looked back so it was pure luck that she didn't pass me to get the 10th spot.


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I will have a separate race report for my marathon, but, looking back, I will likely never do a combo race again. It just doesn't make sense for me. I just can't think of any situation in which I would want to do that the day before a full or half. Especially if I had any sort of goal in mind. It's just not for me! Even though the race felt easy in the moment, my legs told me otherwise the next morning. I think it did make me a little tired. I should have treated it as a shake out run, but who pays for a shake out run?! I had to run it faster than shake out pace! Lesson learned...one and done on the combos!


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Two more things:
Amanda and I met up with Leeann, Felicia, and other Columbus runners for a delicious brunch after the 5k/10k!
The Root Café. Such a yummy place!


We also went back to the expo later that day for a little shopping. I bought some throwaway gloves for future races (only $3 for two pairs!), a new pair of running sunglasses, and this amazing shirt: