Saturday, May 23, 2009

A nice time for a break

This morning was the 5-mile race. Sort of the end of my "race month" of the 5K, half marathon and now this race. Last year my time was 47:21, the thing I remember most about that race was that I felt awful by then end. This morning we woke up to a beautiful overcast day with temperatures in the low 60s. Most of the course is along the water and the only downside to the day was a wind. Not a breeze, a wind. It was behind us on the way out, but for the last 2.5 miles it was a headwind. I brought my iPod this time after the lo-o-o-ng experience at the half marathon and I lined up towards the back of the pack of 170 racers. We took off and I was keeping a relatively comfortable pace. Mile 1- 9:44; good pace but maybe a little slow given that it's a race. Mile 2- 19:40; okay I'm definitely taking it too easy at this point but I just don't feel like I can speed up for some reason. There was a water stop at about 2.5 miles and for some reason right after the water stop and the turn around I felt an increase in energy. Mile 3- 29:03; things are improving, and I'm starting to pass people despite running into a pretty strong headwind. Mile 4- 38:01; now I feel like I'm moving along and it's still nice and overcast, the wind is keeping me cool- this is nice. Mile 5- 46:44- fastest mile of the race came last. Overall a 9:21 pace and almost 40 seconds faster than last year. The best part was at the end, unlike last year, I felt great. Maybe a little too good, should I have gone out faster? It was a race after all. No matter, I finished, I felt good and I finished pretty well for me. I think I was 130/170 and 14th in my age group, not last but not near the top either. I'll find out the real numbers tomorrow when they're posted.

I've mentioned that I found a great running partner at work, we run almost exactly the same pace, we work in the same building and we both like running in the mornings. This past week we did a hill repeats workout and an easy 4.5 miler. We were pretty proud ourselves pulling off the hill workout on our own at 6am. It felt good. She's very nice and we chat during the easy runs as well. She's thinking of starting a family which makes me sort of sad because I finally find someone to run with and she'll likely be pregnant in the next few months. But I'll take it while it works for both of us.

When I logged in to write this I saw that I have 299 posts, so this is post #300. It's been fun writing here and I'll still check in from time to time but I feel like I'm not really putting much out there that's worth reading. Lisa, I love reading your blog, I really appreciate all your comments, and I find you quite an inspiration. But there aren't many other people "around", and while I do write this in part for myself, I've got a paper journal for the same reason. I'm about to start a night class and work's getting quite a bit busier, so I think this is a good time for me to step back and bit and maybe take a break from blogging. I'll stop in from time to time, especially to show off picture of the kids, and I'll update when I've got a race report or something that I think/hope might be of interest. To those that have stopped by over the past couple years, thanks. I've always appreciated all the comments and support here. I hope that in the future I'll have more to share. Until next time, enjoy these photos of the kids from the day today. Hot Wheels and Spiderman both completed the 1/2 mile kids race and did a wonderful job! Princess enjoyed spectating and I think she'll be happy to be included in the racing next year.

Monday, May 11, 2009

What it's really about

A completely non-training related post since I've done not a single step of running since last Sunday. Yes, it's been over a week. But, I'll get back at it tomorrow morning and I've got a five mile race coming up a week from Saturday and then it's back to half training full swing.

I've just got to share my mother's day experience because this year was so special for me, it was the first year the boys really understood and got into it. It started Friday when Hot Wheels came home from school and said he wanted to look through his paperwork in his backpack (he's never done that). I pretended not to notice that he grabbed an envelope and headed upstairs claiming "I've just got to check on something in my room, mom". Spiderman had been asking me since Thursday if I'd like to open the present he made for me in preschool. Yesterday morning I heard whisper-yelling at 5:40am coming from the boys room. Here was a little of the conversation:

H: "S, it's Mother's Day!"
S: "Yes, Mother's Day!" sound of jumping as Spiderman jumps out of bed and then up and down. "I'll get dressed in my clothes so mom doesn't have to."
H: "Okay, I'll go see if mom's up." (I pretend to be asleep) Then, while he's still in my room "No, she's still asleep, I'll go downstairs".
S: "Okay, I'll get mom and wake her up." He does.
I come downstairs and am greeted by both boys with their wrapped presents for me and the home made card that dad helped them to spell. I got a wonderful bookmark with a picture of Hot Wheels and Spiderman made a great votive candle holder, so we had mood lighting for the morning with his beautiful candle. It was really so sweet to see how excited they were to give me their gifts. Then we went to my parents' house in the afternoon to celebrate my dad's birthday and Mother's Day. Overall, just a wonderful day with family.
Here's a picture of the kids with my parents:

And here's a new favorite "race photo" of me and Spiderman at the kids run after the 5k a few weeks ago:

Saturday, May 09, 2009

It IS a real race

This week a few people asked me how the half went. For the most part people were very complimentary of the accomplishment and I appreciated that. For me, I've mentioned was a little disappointed with how it ended, so I was losing sight of the fact that the end was a 13.1 mile finish line. Once I decide to do something, I generally consider it done so sometimes the actual finish is very anticlimactic. Now that I've had more time to reflect, I'm happy with the experience and I'm looking forward to improving next time.

But, a few times people followed up quickly with the question- do I want to do a "real" one? I know they mean full marathon and they didn't mean it as an insult, but what's not real about a 13.1 mile race? For right now I don't have the time to devote to training for a full marathon and I know that. I'm very happy with the idea of improving my half marathon for the next few years (or as my schedule allows). If I can maintain a lifestyle where going for a 5 mile run is a regular, non-heroic effort, I will be happy with that. I've got three relatively young kids, I work full time and I'm about to add school to the mix shortly. I'm doing what "real" I can handle. Okay, rant over.

Monday starts training again, I've taken this week off entirely. The next half is 19 weeks from tomorrow, this time I'm quite sure I'll be plenty prepared barring injury or life event obstacle. I'll be using a different training schedule, one that has 4-5 days of running per week as opposed to the three days on the past schedule. I think that Friday nights will be long run night, on the treadmill, because I can't fit in the long runs in before work anymore. Sunday night will be short run night, also on the treadmill, so that I won't have to give up weekend family time for training, that's one trade-off I'm not yet ready to make. We'll see how that goes for a while and whether I want to maintain it for the full training program. I'm also going to get back to the hundred push-ups challenge. I won't likely be going to the gym regularly, so I need to find effective training options that don't require the equipment. I'm looking forward to the "next phase".

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

The nitty gritty race report

Before the details get too fuzzy in my mind I want to get down what the race was like on Sunday. More for me to look back on in the future, but feel free to come along on the ramble....

I woke up before the 5am alarm and got in the shower about 4:45am. Yes, it may seem ridiculous to some people to shower before a race, but it helps me wake up and I just feel icky until I've showered. I was on the road at 5:20 to meet up with my coworker, Kelley, since we had decided together to train (on our own) for the race we wanted to travel up together. Otherwise we never would have found each other in the 2500+ runners. I had a piece of toast with peanut butter and a small glass of water with imodium before leaving the house. We arrived at the registration hotel a little before 7am and I ate my banana as we headed for the registration area. We got our bags, went back to the car where I took my inhaler and proceeded to forget the vaseline I brought for my toes. BIG MISTAKE. But I wouldn't realize that for a couple hours yet.

We headed to the start and we were not too far from the front, but it didn't seem as though there was any time seeding, so we stayed where we were. We heard the gun and a few seconds later the crowd near us started moving. About 14 feet later we stopped again. We finally got underway for real, crossing the line about a minute after the gun. Kelley and I have never run together but we were thinking we might be similar pace runners so we stuck together. First mile: 10:14, felt pretty good and we were intermittently chatting. Past the first water stop just after the 1 mile mark but we decided to skip that one. In hindsight that might have been a bad idea because the next one was not until about mile 4.5. We ran through the city and there were some small hills but we were holding under 10 minute mile pace pretty easily for the first three miles. Miles three through six still seemed pretty comfortable for me, but Kelley wasn't feeling so great so at six miles she stopped to walk a bit and I went ahead. To that point I'd thoroughly enjoyed myself running with her. No pressure to talk, but no resistance to conversation, either. Mile seven is basically a long shallow hill. I passed a local guy with cerebral palsy that is working towards completing 51 marathons by pushing himself backwards in his wheelchair with the one leg that he has control over. I think his average marathon time is somewhere around 9 hours and I heard this one took him about 11. As I passed him I wished him luck. Miles 8-10 were on a nice paved trail, I ran most of that on the grass next to the trail and that's where I realized that I had not used the vaseline and I was developing blisters on my big toes.

Mile 10 was probably about the highlight of the day where after a short steep hill I hit a water stop for water and some gatorade as well. When I passed the 10 mile marker my watch time was somewhere around 1:42. I don't think it was entirely psychological because I was really excited when I hit 10 miles and I felt so good. But, things went bad amazingly fast and by about 10.5 miles I was hurting and barely moving forward. I'm not sure whether it was just too little water and no real calories to that point. Maybe it was partly psychological since my longest run ever to that point had been 10 miles. For whatever reason I switched to a run/walk/shuffle that was just slow. Everything from the hips down felt like it was cramped up. My ankles were really hurting for some reason and I've never had that problem before. I also think that if I had an iPod that it would have helped at that point. Kelley and I both read they're not allowed so we didn't bring them, but just about everyone else did. So there was no one to talk with or to work through it with. Kelley passed me a little after 11 miles and she wasn't feeling great, either, but she was moving faster than me. I could see her most of the way. I'm thinking that mile 13 must have been about 20 minutes. I could not imagine that I was going to get through it. It basically sucked. Then, all of a sudden, there was the mile marker and only 0.1 miles left. I was able to get myself running again and I finished running, but I did not feel wonderful. I have no pictures of the race, maybe next time.

I am happy with the overall result, I think that my time was pretty decent for a first-timer and I learned some things to remember for next time. I have to invest in a running water bottle/gel belt and get myself used to taking in nutrition during a long run. That's the key, I think. We'll find out in September.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

It's done anyway

So this morning was the half marathon and I have to admit that if I look at the big picture, I'm very happy with the result. If you told me before the race started that I would run 11:04 pace and finish in 2:25, I would have been pleased. However, at the ten mile mark I was on track for about 2:11- 10 minute mile pace! Or I thought at least a sub 2:20 was likely. However, the last 3.1 miles were awful. Awwww.Fullllll. But, there are lessons to be learned here, I'm going to try to learn.

1) I was clearly dehydrated. Throughout the race I stopped at 5 water stops. Each water stop had a dixie cup of water with somewhere around 3-4 ounces of water. That's only 15-20 ounces total. At mile 10 I also had 3-4 ounces of Gatorade. That's 18-24 ounces of liquid in 2 hours and 25 minutes. I had taken some hard candies with me because I was battling a bad sore throat this morning and hoped that would help. I used two, they're about 15 calories each. So, in total I took in probably 100 calories of liquid (if Gatorade's 200 cal/8 oz, I'm not sure) and 30 calories in candy. Clearly not enough. I AM going to invest in a belt with water/gel flasks for long distances and figure out how to fit that in.

2) I forgot the vaseline on my toes. By eight miles in I had blisters. By 11 miles in, those blisters had babies. They're only on my big and small toes, so it doesn't appear to be my old problem of the toes rubbing against each other as much as my toes rubbing the shoes.

3) Longest training run was 10 miles. I think that in the future I will pick a training plan that includes a run at least up to race distance, if not one with a longer run. Something happened at mile 10 and everything from the waist down cramped up, and my hips, ankles and feet were in serious pain.

Overall though, I made it. Some mile times were: Mile 1- 10:14, Mile 2- 20:03, Mile 4- 38:59, Mile 6: 58:58, Mile 9 1:31:47, Mile 10 1:42: 07, then I didn't look at my watch again for splits until the finish because I just didn't care at that point. Then I came home and had a big slice of pie. Yum. Pie.

I have to say that right now I have NO interest in a full marathon, but I'll try the half again in September and I'm definitely planning to hit this course again next year.