Saturday, August 29, 2009

Another personal best - 19 miles!

"Look to the heavens, you can look to the skies.
You will find redemption staring back into your eyes.
There is protection and there's peace the same,
burnin' your ticket for that long black train."

Today's 19 miles was uneventful - just how you want it to be. I do feel better after getting this run in the books, and I feel like I'm gonna be ok. I'm still surprised at how one can run even when things start to hurt as bad as they do.

We started out at a great pace and walked about every 10 minutes, which really helped later on in the run. I think I should of had 4 gels instead of 3 and I am going to need to eat real food on race day during the run. I think maybe a rice crispie bar. I just need something sitting in my stomach.

I tested out my race day outfit and it worked pretty well. Found out all the body glide spots that will need it. There aren't too many. In general, I'm not prone to a lot of chaffing. I'm more The Princess and The Pea type. I bruise like a peach. I wore my hydration belt and I feel like I got punched in both sides of my waist where the water bottles kept banging on my hips. I'm sure I'll have two lovely bruises there tomorrow.

Sleep is the only thing on my mind right now. But while everything else about me is worn out, I have a renewed outlook on running that everything is gonna be ok.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Shaken Faith

"There's an engineer on that long black train,
Makin' you wonder if the ride is worth the pain,
He's just waiting on your heart to say,
Let me ride on that long black train."

"If your going through hell, keep on movin',
Don't slow down,
If your scared run through it,
You might get out, 'for the devil even knows your there."

Where have I been? Busy I guess. These two songs have been going through my mind a lot lately. I guess they just have meaning as to what I've been feeling. How much longer is training? How much further do I have to go next week? Why did I sign up for this? Cuz I'm kind of over it. Just a little bit. I still am very excited for the race and feel good about the progress I've making and what I've done, but mine eyes have been awakened to the pain that is The Marathon. It's similar to when I was awakened to the pain that was the 10 mile, but it goes much deeper. Much deeper. It's just something that your body has to adjust to and it's always harder the first time around.

I had a good 17.5 mile run. It ended in pain and a lot of rest but generally a good feeling.

Tomorrow I'm doing 19. Close to 20 but not quite. I'll save 20 for a few more weeks.

While the long runs have been good, I've had a few rocky weeks. Last week I was on vacation in New Mexico, land of 5500 feet altitude. And I freak myself out, probably more than necessary, about how I will be affected. We were busy hiking and cooking and spending time with family, and a planned total of 19 miles, turned out to be a measly 3. The long run (which was a cutback week) of 10 miles never happened and I only did 3.2 on the Sunday we left.

This week was more of the same. Tuesday night left me devastated, running 10 miles after work with the group. Because I wasn't ready for 4 miles the next morning, it didn't get done because my evening was full, so I missed my window. No biggie, but then I didn't run yesterday either; busy evening but I could have made a choice to run instead of what I did choose. Chalk up another missing 6 miles. I'm at a 10 mile deficit for this week then too. Grrrr. I feel like crap about it and I don't want to feel like crap. I want to feel like I did when I was writing about how prepared I was going to be and how I would laugh in the face of "The Wall" come race day.

I would like September to be a solid month. No - be firm. September WILL BE a solid month. I'll be out of town again for the week of Labor Day so that week will be a challenge. I want to run a solid 5 days a week. Even if I can't get the exact mileage in (although that will be a secondary goal) the main goal to hit is 5 days a week for all of September.

Doing the math, it looks like I hit 77% of my running schedule in August (based on # of days ran over scheduled). I think I can do better. Can somebody who has ran a marathon, tell me that I'm still doing ok? I wish I could say that I was self-assured and guilt free. That I always do my best and never look back, but right now I just want to be assured that, while there is room for improvement, I'm not totally lost. I can still have a solid performance and get back to 100% in the game.

I have a hunch this will all be behind me after my run tomorrow and I'll feel back on the wagon. New shoes are in my future as well so there's always that to look forward to. I'm debating going back to Pearl Izumi's which I LOVE, or sticking with another like of Mizuno's. Tough call.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Gopher to Badger 1/2 Marathon

I'll get to the good stuff right away and then explain in detail how it all went down.
  • Personal Best time for a 1/2 marathon!
  • Rainy and overcast > sunny and humid
  • Cool t-shirt and medal
  • Nice route
  • Overall feeling of confidence and still has some gas to burn at the end

Here's how it all went down. Conversations about this race I found typically go like this:

ME: I'm running the Gopher to Badger Half"

OTHER PERSON: "Have you ever run that one before?"

ME: "No. But it's on my birthday so I signed up"

OTHER PERSON: "Ooooh. It's a hot one. Good luck. Be prepared for the heat. It's just cornfields and a highway and you. But have fun!"

Even the weather man predicted 94 degrees and 99.9999999% humidity. So I was prepared. I wore a hat and my lightest colored outfit which happened to be my MDRA race singlet to represent. I had elecrolyte tablets and I kept telling myself that it would be hot but I would be ready.

Race day: Overcast. Lightning. Cool. I mean how can you be so WRONG? It wasn't even CLOSE to hot and humid. But that was all good because everyone knows that rainy and cool > hot and humid any day. It ended up raining the first 2 miles and then just being a regular overcast cool day. Besides from running with wet shoes it was great! It was a route with a lot of highway running, but I liked it. I ran with some girls from my group. We stuck together up to about mile 8 and then we started to fan out.I ran this race just right. It was exactly what I needed. When you do the right thing in training and then can run a race like this where it just feels so good your confidence skyrockets and you just want to keep working at it the way you have been. Maybe even a little more. I'm going to be so well prepared for this marathon it's not even going to be funny. So if you thought you were going to laugh at my preparations - sorry folks - it just won't be funny :)

We ran up the hills because we've been training for hills. I kept on passing people miles 9-12. Just look at my splits between those miles. Crazy how good I felt.

Mile 1: 10:49

Mile 2: 11:16

Mile 3: 10:51

Mile 4: 11:24

Mile 5: 11:20

Mile 6: 11:11

Mile 7: 11:18

Mile 8: 11:52 (stopped for a bite to eat and water)

Mile 9: 10:52

Mile 10: 10:19 (WOAH NELLY! Rock star mentality! I was jumpin into crowds just to see if they would carry me!)

Mile 11: 10:48

Mile 12: 10:21

Mile 13: 11:27 (includes the .1)

Mile 12-13 I had to talk myself into keeping it up. I did slow down but for the most part I had a great 2nd half. I ended up doing a gel at mile11 which I think helped for the last push. And I also took an Aleve before the run to help with the knee pain.

One of the girls I was running with left us about mile 8 and just kept on truckin! She finished about 5-6 minutes before us. I tried catching the second girl I was with; got close, but then she must have dropped the hammer because she sped up and I never caught her. She finished about 30 seconds before me. My official time was 2:24:14, but given that we were behind the start line and it wasn't chip timed, my watch time put me at 2:23:57. Not a big difference, but at a quick glance you only notice the 24 and the 23. Either way, it was an awesome PR - from 2:29 in the Vegas 1/2 and I feel well on my way to breaking the 2:20 marker.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Takin' er easy

On Monday night I ran with my girls who are working on their first 5k. I set them up with the Couch to 5k plan and said I would run 1 night a week with them and they do the other 2 on their own. It's been so much fun! I'm so excited to see the running excitement on their faces. My cousin is especially gung ho. Like I said - awesome to see. Running makes me feel so good, I think everyone should be able to experience that some way or another. Anyway, we go at a pretty easy pace for me, but man, my knee was giving me troubles. I kind of hobbled along the whole time thinking that this can't be good. I spent a good deal of time afterwards foam rollering, stretching and doing strength exercises.

Today then for our group run, we did hill repeats. It was about a 1/2 mile long incline that we just looped 6 times (ahem - or some of us did 4). We warmed up for 2 miles and my knee felt ok, didn't hurt as often or as much. Then I chose to run only the uphill and walk down. It ended up to be about 4.5 miles. I think that the downhills that I have been running each Tuesday night are what's contributing to my knee trouble. At any rate, it feels good now. I'm going to finish tonight with the same foam rollering/stretching/strengthening routine and take the rest of the week easy. I want to keep it around 25 miles and make sure I'm rested for the half on Saturday.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Sunday Long Run Report

I made it. Longest run ever! And 14 felt so good, I did 15.5! That's a complete lie. 14 was rough, but I was half way around Harriet and the other 3 girls and I decided to just finish it out. We had run the whole way together, we should finish together. Is was a really good run. Difficult, but fun. I haven't broken out like that in a long time. It's been over a year since my last longest run ever and I forgot how much it hurts. But it seems like the higher the mileage, the more it hurts to add. Or maybe that's just where I am at right now. I felt really good about that run.

Around mile 11 my lower back on the left side starting hurting so bad. I've never experienced that before. The pain was shooting down and around through my hip. I was stretching every which way I could every chance I got, but it didn't help much. Even walking later that day and the next I would get the pain. Seems like certain movements would make it flare up. Good thing I'm going to the Dr for a tune up soon!

This Saturday is the Gopher to Badger 1/2 and I'm looking forward it. Two of the girls I run with signed up also so that will be really nice to see friendly faces. I've heard it's hot as you run on a highway lined with corn fields, but I'm going to take my electrolyte tablets that I just got and see how that works for me. After hearing reports about the heat this may not be a PR kind of day, but we'll see how it goes. I'm out for fun on this one for sure. It's my birthday for crying out loud - I refuse to be disappointed.

Sunday was 3-5 miles of recovery, which turned out to be 2.5 miles for me. Eh - close enough. Because it was ROUGH. Oh was I exhausted. But today? Waalaa!(that's the American spelling) ack to 100% again. Can you believe it? I can't. I was so stiff and sore and tired Saturday and most of Sunday, I didn't know if I could make it on Tuesday. But the recovery walk on Saturday and the run on Sunday WORK WONDERS. Veteran runners are probably thinking "Well, duh" but this is new to me, so I am still in shock that running when you are tired actually helps.

I still have that right quad that feels strained. The massage therapist said it was noticeably tighter then lefty. And my left knee still makes itself know that it is not happy, I'm assuming because it is picking up the slack of Right Quad. I have a Birthday Physical scheduled for Wednesday and I'm going to ask the Dr. about all this. I don't know what to try to nip it in the bud....PT, chiropractor, stretching? I'm still on the fence about chiropractors helping much, but some people swear by them. And I hate to spend a lot of money on PT if there are some exercises I can do at home. Especially since I am in the Annoyance Phase of aches and pains. I just don't want to enter the Debilitating Phase at any point.