Tuesday, May 31, 2011

i need to find a race

i would like to find a marathon in September or October that is drivable and not in Ohio, Michigan, new york, or Pennsylvania.  I like small low key off the wall races... but so far i'm not having any luck in finding a good match!  I would appreciate any suggestions!

Monday, May 30, 2011

The Summer of Whatever

Steve and I decided to run the eagle 5 mile run on Saturday.  The original plan was for me to pace steve to a p.r. - problem was we worked out with the trainer on Friday - so our legs were pretty sore and steve hadn't been running much in the past few weeks so he didn't think a p.r. was in the cards for this race.  So I decided to just run it and see what happened.  The plan was that if we hit a mile and Steve was right with me - we would run together.  So I ran with out a care - kept it comfortable - hit mile one at 7:15 - thought to myself - well i guess i'll just try to keep the others under 8 minute pace - got to mile two around a 7:30 - mile 3 around 7:30 again - mile 4 7:26 or something like that.   I thought to myself - 5 miles is a lot shorter than a marathon - this is fun - and went into the 5th mile.  The race finished in the minor league baseball stadium in Avon. As I rounded the warning track and crossed the finish line on the first base side - I ended up finishing in 37:01 - which was my 2nd best time ever and I got 3rd in my age group ...AND... I had fun. .. AND i wasn't running all out  - I definately had a lot left in the tank... AND Afterwards my legs felt better than they had all week.  So a week after I ran a marathon and a week before i'm doing a half ironman that i'm not properly trained for I ran and race and I did pretty ok.   This made me think - I'm not a professional athlete - and it's ok if i do things that don't quite make sense.  (no serious or professional athlete would run a marthon, race a 5 mile run and follow it up with a half ironman)  This summer my goal is to run races and have fun and collect some age group hardware in the process.  I think I'll find a fall marathon to do - just to keep me honest - but it might be a trail run and I might not tell anyone i'm doing it - i'll do it just to do it - and enjoy the run and lay off the time goals for awhile.  After all this is suppose to be fun - and I think that I will in fact have fun during my "Summer of Whatever"  ... stay tuned.. oh and keep your fingers crossed on this half ironman-  i think if I can complete the swim I'll able to finish... but we shall see!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

post marathon - pre half ironman limbo

There comes a time in a lot of races when you’ve reached to low point – when you question why you do this and tell yourself that you are not going to do this anymore. It takes a few days, the pain fades and the accomplishment – even if it wasn’t quite what you wanted remains – and you go for that first recovery run and you remember why you do this.

I am currently caught in a recovery/taper sandwich right now that I have no plan for. So how have I dealt with it? I swam yesterday and had some potato chips and beer almost every other night this week. Result: I’m crabby and I feel like a million pound slug! The truth is I think I’m addicted to a running schedule. I’m not right without it. I don’t know how to just get some miles in anymore. I need a plan to tell me what to do! How nuts is that? I like to have a goal and to check off the things that get me to that next goal. I don’t know how to go with the flow. Maybe if I did – I wouldn’t get so worked up about things and would actually become a better runner.

So what should I shoot for? A fall marathon? A trail marathon in the fall – that would take the pressure off – no p.r. goals there… or maybe I should train to run a really great half marathon. Maybe I won’t drown at this triathlon on the 5th and I’ll decide to do more… decisions, decisions I need a plan. I’m lost without a plan. I’ve asked some of you – but what are your goal races coming up?

Sunday, May 22, 2011

What went wrong?

I promised myself I wouldn’t over analyze this race. I would take it for what it was and move on. But I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t analyze it just a bit. So here I go – I’ll say my peace and hopefully move on. I must warn you it will be long as I am on a 2.5 hour flight from Denver to Cleveland – so I’ll probably type until my battery on my laptop dies!

Phoenix –January 2011 – the worst marathon experience I have ever had. Was it my worst time ever? Hardly – I have walked / run several marathons that were at the 5 hour mark – because I ran them for fun – I ran them for the experience, companionship and to reach one of my goals of crossing off the 50 states. So the fact that Phoenix was a 4:19 – wasn’t the issue. It was how I felt during the race. I felt like I hadn’t trained at all. I knew I was in trouble as early as mile 8 – and I didn’t go out all that fast. I crashed and burned and didn’t deal with it well. I cried when I finished. I decided then and there I was either never going to run another marathon – or I was going to step it up. I knew I was capable of more and I was pretty sure most of my issues were in my head.

So I found a new training program recommend by someone who had great success with it – I found a marathon that was 16 weeks out and in other state (hence Fargo) and I went to work. It was a more aggressive training program than I had done in the past – but I quickly found that I could do it – that I could hit the paces and I could do the mileage. I started getting p.r.’s every time I ran a different distance race from 5ks to 30ks to marathons. Amie and I would do our long runs and I would have to slow us down when we crept too close to an 8 minute pace. I know it’s not smart to do your long runs too fast – but the pace felt comfortable – we talked the whole way and I was recovering well after each run. At the same time I was and am training for my first half ironman – swimming two mornings a week and spinning once a week. I was seeing great improvement in the water as well. In March we started working out with a personal trainer one day a week – and I was hoping this would be the missing piece that I needed. Strengthen my core etc – and making me stronger over all.

March 20th – I went to visit my friend cris in Atlanta , which coincided with the Atlanta marathon which coincided with a 20 miler on my training plan. The week before my knee went wonky – so I took a week off – and almost didn’t run the race. It was hot which I knew I wasn’t ready for and it was a hilly course – which I definitely was not ready for. I decided I may as well give a go – take it easy enjoy myself and check off another state. I have never enjoyed a race like I enjoyed that one. I went out at an easy pace – talked with people along the way – and told myself I could walk it in after mile 20. Funny thing is - when I got to mile 20 I felt awesome – so I said I’ll just hold this pace til I see cris at mile 23. At that point I realized that unless I fell down and didn’t get back up I was going to have a huge p.r. – so I kept running. At the end of the race I could have kept going – I felt that good. Final time 3:48 – an 11.5 minute p.r. from Wineglass in October (which incidentally was 6 months after I had addy and the first time I had broken four hours)

Coming off of a high like that in Atlanta I knew I was on my way to big things. If I could run a 3:48 taking it easy – what could I do if I pushed it? Maybe I really could get closer to 3:30. After Atlanta I got sick a couple of times which veered my training off track a bit – but I still had 2 twenty milers to do – and because of my schedule – they both ended up being solo 20 milers. 1st one – 8:40 pace – mostly in the pouring rain. I couldn’t go any faster. I chalked it up to running in terrible conditions – doubled up with the huge mental obstacle of covering 20 miles on the towpath with nothing but my crazy thoughts to entertain me. Then I got sick again - ran a couple of 5ks and found I couldn’t get back to the p.r. I had hit in February. I thought maybe it was because I was working out with the trainer on Fridays – how can you expect great performances on sore ,sore legs and muscles. So here we go to the last 20 miler 2 weeks out from the race. By mile 8 – I was toast. I was so tired and my back and shoulders hurt so bad from the trainer –that I didn’t think I was going to finish. Actually it was supposed to be 23 miles – I cut it short. Somewhere during that run I was able to snap out of it for a bit and pick up my pace- but by the end of things I was lucky if I could keep it at a 9:30-10:00 pace. Overall pace was still under 9 – but it wasn’t good. I got in the car and almost cried because my arms were so sore from the trainer I could hardly turn the steering wheel.

So I took two weeks off from the trainer – and took 2 really easy taper weeks. Fast forward to Fargo marathon. The morning of the race I told Amie – I am so tired- the thought of running 26 miles today is killing me – it’s not that I’m nervous about the pace so much as that’s a really long way to go and I really would rather go back to bed. I tried to shake off negative thoughts – I freaked out a bit – but not as bad as normal. As Amie had said to me - I had already had a great year – and a huge p.r. who cared if this didn’t go as well as I hoped? She was pretty confident that it would go well. (Can I just take a minute to say Amie rocks – who runs a 2:02 ½ marathon pregnant?)

I started off at an 8:15 pace because it felt good and it felt easy and I thought to myself ”maybe today IS my day.” I Stayed at 8:15 – 8:25 pace pretty easily for the first 8 miles – and then it hit me like a ton of bricks. I was exhausted. My back and hamstrings were extremely tight and aching. It wasn’t a feeling of “oh I went out to fast – I can’t keep up this pace” – it was more like I don’t know how I can keep moving and not lay down on the ground… i.e. had I not flown half way across the country to do this race – I would have quit. I tried to keep my head in check – I said get to mile 13 strong – drop the pace down – do some damage control but stay strong – don’t get all crazy and doomsdayish and start walking. Well I stopped to walk for the first time at mile 10. The 3:50 pace team got me at the half – and I told myself that I could still salvage this race- it wasn’t going to be a 3:38 – it wasn’t going to be p.r. – but stick it out and maybe break 4 for the third time. Well my back had other ideas. Oh I kept moving – I stopped a lot to stretch my back to try to alleviate some of the pain – but I kept moving – I didn’t get all crazy and keep walking like I did at phoenix – but I was lucky if I could get my pace per mile down to a 9:30 – it was like I hadn’t trained at all. At one point I was running so slowly my Garmin shut off. I didn’t cry I just kept going.

I was hoping that if I could keep it together and get in around a 4:10 that I would be really proud of myself – and I am. But this was marathon #10 – this was going to be my best one yet. What happened? Did I subconsciously psych myself out when the 3:40 pace group passed me? I really feel like I mentally kept myself in check. Did I just do too much? Are flat and fast marathons just not for me? Do I need to separate my two goals – if I’m running in another state – just do it for fun – not time – and if I want to go for a time goal pick a hometown race? Am I burned out? Do I have unrealistic expectations? Did I just go crazy and try to cram in too much too soon after having Addy? Knowing that I am going to have a second child sooner than later – did I put too much pressure on myself to try to reach all sorts of crazy goals in between babies? And what do I do next? Do I take a break from marathons? Do I work towards a fall marathon and cut out all the other crazy tri stuff? Do I follow a 5k training program and spend the summer working on my speed? Do I only do marathons as training runs and don’t actually do the race I’m training for? Do I stay the heck away from flat courses?

So I’ve analyzed and basically written a book here and I still don’t know:

What went wrong?

Where do I go from here?

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Blogging Again

I stopped blogging after I realized that i was talking more about being pregnant than i was about my running/swimming/biking.  I probably should have kept blogging - even if know one else wanted to read it - because I think getting your thoughts out there sometimes helps keep things sane.

So what's new?  Well since i've had Addy - i have completed 3 marathons and my first sprint triathlon.  2 marathons were p.r.s and one was -well we won't go there.  I am a few days away from completing my 10th marathon - my 9th state - i really wish i hadn't done two in ohio - so i could be on my 10th state right now!  and two weeks after that i'll be attempting my first 1/2 ironman distance.

i've been debating in my head what my plan will be for Fargo.  For awhile there I was easily running long runs at an 8:15 pace.  I plug my recent 5k and 10 mile runs in to various extrapalators and they tell me i can do a 3:35.... but my training towards to end went a little off - my last two longs runs were solo runs were rather than distracting myself with chit chat I worried myself into rough runs that were more of an 8:40 to 8:50 pace.  And i know myself - had I taken off the garmin and thought postively those runs would have been better.  You would think that by the time a person was about to line up on a marathon start line for the 10th time they would have a plan in place.  I ran Atlanta marathon as a training run on March 20th.   The weather was hot - and I came to the conclusion that if i am going to run all 50 states sometimes I'm going to have to just run and enjoy the people and the sceneray - i'm not going to be able to race all 50 states at top performance (i'm not sure why this was such a big revelation -b/c i've completed several states where i ran really slowly just to check off the state)  Well for whatever reason that was a huge revelation and it took the pressure off.  I ran one of the most even paced races ever - and when I got to mile 25 i picked it up - i felt great the whole race - i didn't really look at my watch - because it didn't matter - i was running to finish.  I ended up running over an  11 minute p.r.  finishing in 3:48.  it was hot and it was one of the hilliest courses i've ever run - and i've been training for a flat marathon - yet it was almost effortless (as effortless as running 26.2 miles can be)
This brings me back to Fargo - I hesitate to put a goal out there - qualifying for boston.. getting a p.r. etc because when i put expectations on myself I crack under pressure.  If i put it out there that i want to run a 3:40 - the minute the 3:40 pace group paces me i will be defeated.  I will think of all my friends and family who will be tracking me and watching me slip off pace and how they'll be disappointed for me - proud of me still - but disappointed.  And that's when i lose it - that's when a 3:40 days that should have turned into a 3:43 day turns into a 4:19 day.  So my plan was to try and approach fargo like atlanta - pushing the pace a little more - but backing off if it's not my day.  I've blown up by mile 10 in a race and i don't ever want to do that again.  But then i read trisaratops blog today - and I think maybe i need to put it out there - maybe i need to stop playing it safe.  maybe i need to trust that my training - although it wasn't 100% exactly what the training program said - trust that it is sufficient - that i can run between an 8:10 and an 8:20 pace... and trust that i will be strong enough mentally to not crack when things get tough. 
As sara was saying in her blog - i often have to remind myself that i choose to do this.  Not only do i choose to do this - but i GET to do this.  I have a body that may not be that of an elite athlete - but it does allow me to do some pretty tough things.  I have a wonderfully supportive husband that not only helps make sure i get my runs in - but sometimes forces me to get them in.  I think that whatever pace i decide - i need to remember that Fargo is going to be a celebration - my 10th marathon.  I never thought I would run one - let alone 10.  I also need to celebrate the fact that I have a daughter that is 1 year and 1 month old - and this is my 4th marathon since she was born - that is an amazing feat that I sometimes lose perspective of when I look at what all of my speedy companions keep accomplishing.
We'll get to that half ironman later - let's just say that lake looks mighty cold out my window!