Saturday, October 30, 2010

Loving the fall

We had a beautiful Saturday. After running this morning, we spent most of the day working on house projects and playing with the kiddo. But this is a running blog, so let's talk some running.

My RW taper schedule told me to run 11 miles this morning. But for reasons I outline below, that wasn't going to happen. I cut it to a little over 7 (which is what I've always done during the taper anyway). It was a great morning for a run. Check out the view from my house to the park. Love this!

Yesterday I decided to do a short jog at the end of the day in hopes of loosening up my legs before today's last long run. I was trying to explain to Mr. Joanna that something the only solution for sore legs is more running. Like that makes any sense. It didn't help much, though I was still glad I went, just because it was an unbelievably gorgeous day.

I hate to say it, but my body is ready for the end of race season. My hams are tight ALL the time, and my on-going problem at my left butt-bone only gets worse with time. My right IT Band has to be stretched before and after every single run. I think a little help from a sports medicine person will go a long way (and maybe a massage). That's the hope anyway, since I have no intention of giving up running over the winter. A decrease in miles? Sure. Stopping all together? No way. So here's hoping a little rest and some highly trained input will help.

Ok everyone, ONE WEEK until the US Half, my last race of the year. I'm SO looking forward to seeing some college friends and exploring a new city. The countdown is ON. And GOOD LUCK to everyone racing this weekend--MCM and all those Halloween-themed races. Rock those races!

616.8 + 2.2 + 7.1 = 626.2

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Come on, up high, a little love

I had absolutely no idea that it had been a week and a half since I blogged. Really. I'm not going to give you an excuse. I'm going to tell you the truth: I love my job. I absolutely love it. I love that it exhausts me mentally. And when that happens, I come home and I play with my kiddo, and then he goes to bed, and I get totally sucked into either running or scrapbooking. And then it's a week and a half later and I'm all, "what the crap happened? My blog claims it's been 10 days since I last posted." Here we are.

So lots has happened. Let's go numbered list.

1. I decided to use the RW 2-hour-half taper schedule. It's a 5-day-a-week plan, and unlike any taper plan I've ever used, it has me running 11 miles the weekend before the race. Does anyone do that? It also still has me doing speed work, which I'm pleased with. Luckily there's a 3 lap/mile outdoor track about 150 yards from my office. So yesterday I headed there over the lunch hour to do mile repeats. The track is owned by a university. In the middle of the second interval I saw the university's mascot walking toward me in full costume. As I approached it I said, "Come up, up high, show me some love." I totally high-fived a mascot in the middle of my interval workout. That's one way to make a track workout memorable!

2. I don't know her, but I read B.o.B.'s blog and enjoy it. She posted this video today. I definitely teared up when I watched it and decided it was worth re-posting. This is how I feel about marathons. The camaraderie shown, the excitement of it, the personal goals of runners.

3. Remember back in January when I joined the 1000 mile challenge group with some of the Team? Well, I said up front that 1000 miles was probably too much for me, so I was going to call it my 720 mile challenge. Well, I'm really happy to say that it looks like I'm on track to reach that goal!
592 + 4.7 + 9.2 + 3.2 + 3.2 + 4.5 = 616.8

Wait. Is it Thursday? Did I just post 3 things? Even if it was inadvertent, I guess it's still a Three Things Thursday. Go me!

Monday, October 18, 2010

You know you're a runner when...

As you leave for work on Monday morning and realize your house key isn't on your keychain, the first and second places you check are the washer and dryer.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Lesson learned

Last week I mentioned that Mr. Joanna and I were working on a new display area for my race medals. Well, I am very pleased to say that it's finished and I love it! It's in what I would describe as a hallway off of our bedroom. The framed medal up top is my very first medal, from the Chicago Distance Classic in 2007. It's nothing fancy, but I love that I finally have a real place to display my hard-earned hardware!

On the training front, today I learned a lesson the hard way. It sounds so ridiculous in hindsight.

I've always wondered why we do long runs slower than race pace. It seems logical that you should train to run the distance you want to run at the pace you want to run it. And I've been feeling really good recently about my tempo work, and maybe got a little over-confident after my 27-minute PR in marathon #2. So, you guessed it, I decided to do my 10-miler today at race pace.
Mile 1: 9:15
Mile 2: 8:59
Mile 3: 9:07
Mile 4: 8:54
Mile 5: 9:13
Mile 6: 9:16

And now I know why it's a bad idea.

I haven't been tapering. I'm not that rested. It's my first attempt at 10 miles at anything faster than about a 10 minute pace. It was too much. Now I get it. This is why I shouldn't be left to my own devices, people.

All this brings me something kind of exciting.

I'm slowly converting to someone who swears by running by the numbers.

A while ago I posted about wanting to follow the Runners World 2:00 half-marathon training guide in the spring. Then last week Morgan over at Caution: Redhead Running posted a link to the McMillan calculator, which I'd never seen. I know my tempo work and longer mid-week runs were a big part of my success this training cycle, but I have a lot of room still to improve. Historically, I haven't paid as much attention to the type of mid-week run I've been doing or the pace I did it at; I just went for a run. I think I'm ready to change that. And in a hugely running geek way, I am so excited about it!

577.8 + 4.0 + 10.2 = 592
set to break 600 next week!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

A Wednesday Where

First things first--I want to say a huge THANK YOU for all your comments here and (for those of you who know me outside the bloggy world) on Facebook after the marathon. Every single one of them made me smile.

I had planned to do my first post-marathon run on Monday, but this was my morning instead:

Dear Student,
I skipped my morning run today so I could be here for our meeting. You know, to help you complete the final project that I wasn't even here to get you started on last year, but that I inherited responsibility for anyway. Your strategy of not showing up was fascinating. Let's see how that works out for you.
All my best through gritted teeth,

After crazy long work days Monday and yesterday, I decided I could leave work a little early this afternoon to come home and run. I expected my legs to be fully rested and ready to run. I was surprised to find them stiff and reluctant, but the reluctance didn't last long. Two and a half miles in I hit my stride, loosened up, and felt great. Oh, and loved all the gorgeous leaves falling onto the path through the park.

573.8 + 4.1 = 577.8 miles

One run on board for tomorrow or Friday, then 10 miles on Saturday. 25 days until the US Half!

And a Wednesday Where for you: where do you keep/display your race medals? I used to keep mine on my dresser, but the pile was getting beautifully large and they got packed when we moved. I devised a new way to display them and I *think* it's going to be assembled tonight or tomorrow. Picture coming soon!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Happy 200th!

I can't believe this is my 200th post! Admittedly, this blog existed for a while before most of you started reading it. Don't feel bad, my parents just started reading it last week. I know. But still. 200! That makes me smile.

So what do I have planned for such a momentous occasion? Some race strategizing and some travel recap...including a picture I took just for you.

Race Strategizing
The US Half is in 27 days. I need to quickly get shorter, faster, then taper. I don't have much time. My project after writing this post is to put together my training schedule for the next 3 weeks. I think it's going to include a 10 mile race. I've never raced at that distance before, so in addition to being great race prep, it's just plain exciting in its own right.

Goals: I want to PR, which means beating a 2:06:09. I didn't write down my goals before L&C. It makes me too nervous. I'm going to do it anyway (that's courage, right?) and set 4 for this race:
The PR: sub-2:06:09
The hopefully safe goal: 2:04:00
The real goal: 2:02:00
The I-can't-believe-I-just-ran-that goal: 1:59:59

Travel Recap
I spent the latter part of last week in Minneapolis. It is a lovely city.

That's right. I said it. It's lovely. I, the girl who once proclaimed that the entire Midwest should be converted to a penal colony. I, the girl who semi-seriously refers to the Upper Midwest (I'm looking at you, Dakotas and MN) as Canada. I, who once said that the three meanest people I'd ever met had all either come from or moved to Minnesota (ok, that one is still true). And here I was, wholeheartedly enjoying Minneapolis. There. I said it.

Yesterday when I boarded the plane to come home, I started flipping through the in-plane magazine. And then I saw this. And took this picture for you.

This thing belongs in a category with the downhill treadmill ShutUpAndRun found a while ago. Or in a category with cigarettes, because you'd might as well burn your money (pun only sort of intended, reveled in regardless). This ad has prompted me to add a "bullshit" label for this post. What's the craziest piece of exercise equipment or workout plan you ever saw? 'Cause this thing is up there with the Mountain Dew and watermelon diet. Seriously.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Race Report: Lewis & Clark Marathon

The last 24 hours have been such an incredible experience. Marathon #2 is in the books and I cannot wait to tell you all about it!

RunningFirst came into town yesterday afternoon. We picked up our race packets, spent some QT with my boys, and had the traditional pasta dinner. I turned in pretty early in anticipation of the 4:50am alarm.

At 0-dark-fifty I dragged myself out of bed. Attempted to eat some oatmeal. Nervously checked and re-checked my do-not-forget-these-things-under-any-circumstance list. Worried about my back, which was giving me some shooting, pinching pains 'cause I slept on it funny. Took the obligatory pre-race picture. Packed up. Headed out.

At 5:25 we left my sleeping boys behind and left to head to the race.

It was probably 40 degrees at the start line, but warmed up quickly once the sun came up. We pre-Gu'ed (ate runner food), put our bags in the bag drop, and lined up right about 7am.

Miles 1-5
After just a mile I'd warmed up and was just enjoying the sunshine. My strategy was to run the whole race and walk the water stops. So, dutifully, I walked through the first water stop. And then my right shoe was off. You read right. The guy behind me stepped on the back of my shoe. RunningFirst helped shield me from the stream of runners (I was *right* in the middle of the road) while I put it back on. Shoe back on, and we were off again.
10:31 (shoe incident)

Miles 6-10
Were pretty easy. I Gu'ed at mile 6, as planned. Around mile 7 we hit the bridge over the Missouri River, which was lovely. Shortly thereafter we turned and started running along the river. We talked our own ears off all the way through mile 10 (read: I talked non-stop and RunningFirst responded every now and then), which helped to make the miles pass a little faster.

Miles 11-15
Gu'ed again at mile 12. As we approached the half-marathon finish I started scanning the crowd for my boys, since the plan was to see them at the half and at the finish. I looked and looked and looked and didn't see them. I started to fear that I'd missed them. Then we were past the halfers' finish and getting toward the start of the Katy Trail and I still hadn't seen them. I was holding back the tears with everything I had. I hated thinking that they might be out all morning and we missed each other. I worried that they'd gotten lost or run into trouble along the way. Seeing them in a race is always incredibly emotional for me, and the idea of missing them tore me up. And then, just as I was giving up hope, I saw them! My boys! They both yelled "Momma!" and I just beamed. And maybe cried just a little. You would too. Don't lie.
9:32 (this was through the half-marathon finish, and it just pulled me along)

Miles 16-20
One word: hilly.

And in case you were wondering what my boys were doing to pass the time, I give you this:

Miles 21-25
I still hadn't hit the wall. In fact, I kept waiting for it and it kept not coming. Score! At mile 23 I took about half a Gu. I was starting to tire out, but I kept going. Between 23 and 24 I really wanted to walk, but there was no way I was going to run that far and walk when I had less than 3 miles to go. Plus, I knew my time was way under my target and was starting to believe I might hit a 4:30. At mile 22 I told myself to get to 23 so I could Gu. At 23 I told myself to get to 24 and see how I felt. At 24 I told myself I had to wait until 25 to pick up the pace. At 25 I was not fast, but I was determined.

The Finish
I saw the finish line from about half a mile out. I just went for it. My Garmin was showing lap time, lap pace and total distance, not total time. I knew from what people around me were saying and a quick mental math estimate of time, that I was close to a 4:30. I didn't know if I was going to do it or not. As I passed my boys, Mr. Joanna yelled "Great time!! It's a great time!" I knew he also thought I might be under 4:30 but also wasn't 100% positive. Neither of us could see the clock on the finish line yet AND I didn't know what it had said when I started. I smiled at him (or tried) and went for it.

When I went over the line, the clock read 4:33:28. I didn't know what the start clock had said, but I knew it was going to be close. Two things that didn't occur to me at this point: 1) to stop The Vengeance (my Garmin), and 2) to check my history for the total time. It turns out that I remembered to stop it 65 seconds later, and didn't think to check the history for about another 5-10 minutes after that. Do you know what it said?


Somehow, beyond my wildest dreams, I'd come in under 4:30. Chip time puts me at 4:27:23. 27:31 faster than my PR. I prayed in thanksgiving. I made a few calls. I gave Mr. Joanna the whole run-down of the race. I beamed.

RunningFirst came in a little over 5 hours. I am super proud of him for toughing it out to finish. And still thankful for his company over the first 13.1. I don't know if he'll blog this or not, but if he does, be sure to stop over and tell him congrats.

What Lies Ahead
The US Half, November 7. Time to get faster and shorter. But for now, a week off!! Thank you all SO much for your encouragement, advice, and friendly support that got me to the finish line!

543.5 + 3.8 + 26.5 = 573.8 miles