Wednesday, October 22, 2014
That's right! I still cannot even believe it! Just goes to show you if you put in the work and believe in yourself you can make it happen! Long story to follow but I have said it before and I will say it again...a marathon is a helluh long time to run therefore the race report will be long too!
On Sunday I finished my third marathon in MA called the BayState Marathon. It is known for being a super fast course with most of the runners actually BQing for Boston. I needed a fast course in my life as my last marathon in Vermont had too many hills and made me overall discouraged when my overall time was slower than my first marathon. This course is fast because the hills are short and it is a double loop. I am a fan of the short hills versus mountain climbs but the double loops are mind numbing.
Race day weather was picture perfect! The stars were simply aligned for my triumph marathon victory! All week was hot, like mid 60s to even mid 70s but come Sunday, the sun stayed away and the weather was a brisk 40-50 degrees which I dig - only when running though!
Traveling along for race day was my always helpful companion and partner in crime - My MOM aka the Evil Coach Villainess! However, although I refer to her always as the Evil Coach in my blogs, during the lead up to this particular race she was uncharacteristically calm and not at all like a pageant mom. Honestly, this was because during my last race she was there to witness my disappointment when I did not perform as I thought I would so this time she was conscious of adding any unnecessary pressure - can I just say that I love her! Anyhow, her demeanor this time around was very much all business. Therefore, I gave her a new title on this race - Logistics Director. The reason for the fancy title was due to her strategic planning that began on the day of the expo. When we arrived at the expo, my mom immediately requested a paper map of the race course although everyone insisted on telling her that she could just download it on her cell phone. Then she proceeded to ask 3 different volunteers about spectator vantage points and if certain areas were open to spectators. She mapped out a whole route with the goal of seeing me 3 different times during the course. Oh - but she did have a whole game plan in mind. The master plan was that she was going to carry additional water bottles that fit into my fuel belt in a backpack and run beside me to hand them off when I passed by. She also was going to carry her hand crafted painted race signs - which she made for my last marathon and now are her *official* race signs in the backpack to cheer on the runners. This was a very good plan and gave me piece of mind that I would have all of the hydration in the world during this race.
Race morning was cold at the start but I knew that I would not be hot for too long. We arrived to the race pretty early but there was a ton of traffic. As soon as we made it to the start, my mom took off to get to her first post on the course - mile 3. It was freezing and everyone was shivering. I was eerily calm and just stuck with my stretching. I lined up near the 4 hour pace person but a bit in the back. I introduced myself to the pacer and told the woman that I was trying for a sub 4 but thus far I always missed my goal. She told me that she did too - as a joke of course! She was super friendly and so many people were coming up to ask her about her race strategy. Now, I had made a decision before race day and because my Logistics Director insisted as such that I would NOT follow along with a pacer. I was going to run my own race, not hold back and go with how I felt...
The race began and I was ready!
For the first 2 miles it was hard to get into a groove because it was so congested! And people were crowding the 4 hour pacers (there were 2) like they were their executive protection team! It was crazy and I just wanted to get out of the crowd and get into my own pace.
Finally after mile 3 and NOT seeing my Logistics Director I was able to break free and just run a good solid pace. It was faster than the 4 hour pace group but I felt good and although I knew that I would pay for it later I just went with it. I was loving life really, I had my Pandora, my fuel belt and I was eating my Gu all along the way. I had also decided early on that my goal would be to run through until I couldn't as I knew that this would make my overall time faster. So I blew through the water stops and kept on hustling!
The sun came out past mile 10 and I knew that I would soon see the LD on mile 12 along the race course. By this point I wanted more water as again there are not enough water stops in the world for me even with a fuel belt. I finally saw her at mile 12 and she was sitting down with her sign just smiling - not at all in the position to do the water hand off per our previous discussion!! I yelled to her "MOM, water!" and threw my two empty water bottles at her while she was sitting on the ground. Honestly, it looked like quite the scene as I was probably a bit more aggressive than I needed to be in order to get her attention. I then ran past her but eagerly waited for her to run after me to do the hand off - she didn't make it! And I was disappointed!
However, my disappointment was short lived! About a mile later at the half marathon point there was a man - not part of the volunteer group - handing out full brand new bottles of Poland Spring water to the runners! I thought that I was seeing a mirage! Funny thing was that the runners were ignoring this guy and bypassing him because he was not a part of the official volunteer water group. I get it I guess but I definitely felt at the time particularly due to my desparation that the guy was not trying to slip the runners a mickey and was doing a good deed. I gratefully grabbed the water bottle and drank it for many miles and it was probably the most refreshing bottle of water that I have had in a very long time!
After mile 14 I believe we had to do the double loop of the course, this is where the race started to get really hard. I had a blister on my right foot that was killing me and my ankle didn't feel great either. But I kept on pushing. I never even saw the 4 hour pace group - I was killing it!
At mile 16 I met a friend. He was running the same pace as I was and I decided to strike up a conversation. As it turned out my friend was running his first marathon and was looking to sub 4 as well. He and I immediately agreed that we would encourage and motivate each other. And we DID! For miles I would slow down my pace to wait for him and he would run along side me. We were BFF's for MILES! However, we were both starting to really hurt especially when mile 20 descended upon us. I kept telling my BFF that he could slow down but he could not walk. But I was getting the walking urge BIG time! Just when I was really struggling past mile 21 magically my Logistics Director appeared out of NOWHERE, simply amazing! She yelled my name and handed to me two COLD water bottles filled with Nuun and water! OMG - I was thrilled! However, I was running with my BFF who commented that that was a brilliant idea and I could tell that he was crazy jealous. Honestly, I wanted to hand him one of my water bottles but I thought that that would be rather gross as they were my fuel belt bottles that I use all of the time. Perhaps he would have taken it though? Not sure but man they hit the spot!
I ran along with my cold water bottles until mile 23. At mile 23 I let my mental negative talk get to me. I slowed down significantly and then I walked. Yup - but I do not feel so bad about it. I think that it had far less to do with physical fatigue and more to do with a mental block because I had run continuously during a training run of 22 miles and now I was in the land of the unknown. As soon as my BFF saw me walking he encouraged me and said c'mon, no walking keep moving. And I did for a while but then I began walking and running.
Pretty soon the 4 hour p;ace group caught up to me, now I was scared! I really pushed myself to run as much as possible and I am proud to say that I did. But my BFF's pace - as he did NOT walk at all - was getting slower and slower. And the 4 hour pace group was gaining on us quickly. I made a tough decision at that point. I could continue to follow my BFF who I felt was teetering on the line of making of sub 4 or do me. Well...I decided to do me. I ran as fast as I felt I could and followed the 4 hour pacers for the rest of the race. I kinda feel bad about this decision...
Although the last 3 miles were a complete sh!t show in which good running form was out the window I pushed it. And then miraculously I came around the corner to screaming fans cheering for the finish line. I looked down at my watch and saw the 4 hour pacer. I then told her that I was still trying to sub 4 and you know what she said "you are going to definitely sub 4" This was all of the encouragement that I needed. I mean, someone saying something positive at a race is a good but in my opinion this was a trained professional telling me the truth! I immediately got some pep in my step!
As I victoriously crossed the finish line in the finsher chute was the other 4 hour pacer dancing and high fiving every person that made it in. I was thrilled about this, she made me smile wide and I high fived. This woman took her job seriously and seemed geniunely pleased to be there! I crossed the finish line with my hands held high up in the air! The clock said 3:54, I would find out later that my official time was: 3:53:26!!!! This was a PR in a big way!
I smiled all the way into the finshing area and I immediately was overwhelmed with a feeling of pain, I felt as though I had given birth! It was bad! I took my space blanket - it was now all of a sudden so freakin' cold and waited and waited and waited...
Where oh where was my Logistics Director?? Well I called her from my cell and found out that she was still walking back to the race start from mile 21!! You see, after our dramatic scene at mile 12 in which I threw my water bottles at her, she decided to take herself and her heavy backpack along the race course until she found me, which she did at mile 21. She had vowed that she would fulfill her logistic duties. Slight problem with that, that meant that she had to walk ALL the way back! Yup - my mom ended up walking 10.44 miles on race day. When she finally made it back to the start she looking like she had been hiking in the Himalaya Mountains for hours. She is a trooper I must say!
I am SO HAPPY still about this race! I can't even believe that I did it and slaughtered my goal in the process! Until next time because of course there will be a next time!
Saturday, October 18, 2014
YUP, tomorrow is the DAY! The stars are aligning perfectly for it to be a good race too! Every day this week as been unseasonably warm but tomorrow will be a brisk 50 degrees which is perfect running weather! I went yesterday to get my massage and my massage therapist Luann who is always such a burst of positive energy gave me a great pep talk about how spectacular I am going to be tomorrow...I actually believed it too! I finished my last 2M run today and felt nice and strong! OH, and talking about positive, on Thursday while driving home from work I saw a rainbow and I cannot even tell you the last time I saw one of those. All signs pointing to the positive!
I do of course still have some fears about race day which is natural but instead of blogging out those out in hysteria like I trypically do the day before a big race, I have decided to banish those thoughts all together and concentrate my energies on having a positive experience. Hopefully this attitude will pay off in the end...
Oh, and today I am going to the expo to pick up my number and surround myself with more of the positive...
Monday - 4M run, 33:58
Tuesday - 3M run, 26:40
Wedneday - cross training, gym day
Thursday - off
Friday - off
Saturday - 2M, 16:38
Sunday - RACE DAY
1. Smile often
2. Run every step, I can run slower but walking takes too long
3. Cheer at the volunteers
4. Remember my form
5. Worry about my own pace onl
6. Go for the sub 4
7. If not at least PR
Friday, October 10, 2014
LOVING right now my recent relocation to TAPER TOWN!!! Feeling so fresh, the sun is shining and I feel SO GOOD in my new neighborhood!
(Yes - I am aware how corny this sounds...bear with me people, THIS is absolute crazy talk that comes out the minds of running when you are training for weeks and weeks for a marathon)
Anyhow, I am loving taper town! It's a nice place to be, super relaxing I must say feels like I am on vacation! Last week I got a nice sports massage which really makes everything better. It has been so nice not to have 2 hour plus runs crammed into my week.
Of course not all of this is nice...I am starting to get the jitters that comes with this time. I am starting to wonder about my performance come marathon day and if I have it in me especially since I am doing such small mileage. I am wondering if 26.2 miles is in me. I have done 2 other marathons before so I am not scared of the unknown but this time I am looking to PR for real! I probably think about PR'ing every race that I do really but this time is different. I have trained long and hard, I have run this distance before and the race course is supposed to be PERFECT to achieve my goal...
We shall see...
Speaking of goals, here are what mine are for MARATHON #3
A - Goal: Finish in 4:00:00 or less
B - Goal: Finish less than 4:06:00
Now for the stats...
Marathon Week 17
Monday - 4M pace run, 6.6mph
Tuesday - 5M, 7mph
Wednesday - 1:13:14 outside, 8M
Thursday - 12M, 1:51:01 outside
Friday - 7mph, 5M treadmill
Saturday - gym day
Sunday - off
Marathon Week 18
Monday - 4M, 7mph treadmill
Tuesday - 4M, 7mph treadmill
Wednesday - 8M, 1:11:36 outside
Thursday - 6M, 54:13 outside
Friday - 4M, 36:05 outside
Saturday - tomorrow...gym day!
Sunday - OFF
Next week is THE week!!!
Thursday, October 02, 2014
YUP - that's right, last Saturday on a beautiful morning that began at 0500, I set out for what was going to be my longest training run EVER...can I get a WOOHOO! It was not exactly part of the plan the plan was for 20 miles but I have been following this running blogger who is doing the same marathon that I am doing and she always does at least one 22 miler during her training. It is such a mental hurdle once you get beyond 20 miles for sure so I thought, why not try it. Well, let me tell ya, I am glad I did! I ran the ENTIRE way! Yup, no walk breaks whatsoever - not that there is anything wrong with with walking but I find that it really breaks my spirit and slows me down BIG time. I was super impressed with my time too...3 hours 17 minutes! This time in and of itself is so impressive namely because it is below my marathon goal of 9:09 mins per mile which will hopefully get me below the 4 hour mark (cross fingers) BUT what I learned here from examining my previous training runs is running is so much...FASTER than walking! I know this for a fact, 5 weeks ago I ran a dismal 20 miler in which I walked and ran and hacked it in and my finish was 3 hours and 33 minutes...SEE the difference??!!
So...my strategy question. Based on my training, is it possible run the whole 26.2 without walking? Is that a good goal? Is that realistic? In the past I have planned walks through predetermined walk stops at varying distances. The tough part with that is I will conserve energy for the later miles when really needed. However, typically after mile 15 and no doubt after mile 20, it all becomes a sh!t show and I start walking/running/slowing down tremendously. Once I find it acceptable to walk one time I do it repeatedly over and over for some reason.
So, my game plan is to run the whole way, if I need to walk near the end that is fine and I will not beat myself up over it but I did just run 22 miles without stopping and I think that with proper rest I can manage the remaining mileage, even if I slow down that will be okay but the walking thing really messes things up.
What do you think???
Week 16 - Training Stats
Monday - 5M treadmill, 7mph
Tuesday - 10M 1:26:05
Wednesday - 45:27 outside, 5M
Thursday - 10M pace run, treadmill 6.6mph
Friday - cross training, gym
Saturday - 22 SPECTACULAR MILES...3:17:13!!!!!!
As of this week I am officially a resident of TAPER TOWN!
Saturday, September 20, 2014
Ah...like PRing a race that you've worked so very hard for weeks
Or buying new running sneaks
Or better yet, like EARNING a NEW super fancy medal bling
It's a WONDERFUL thing...
RUNNING in cooler weather is AMAZING!!!
(Super cheesy I am aware- but I seriously thought of this Ode to Fall Weather while pounding out my awesome 20M run last Saturday that made me remember that I can actually run and it can be rather pleasant when there is a nice breeze and the sun doesn't want to kill ya!)
SO...where was I...
My last 3 weeks of training have really been wonderful couple of reasons...
#1. I finally joined the year of 2014 and downloaded PANDORA on my iPHONE...*GASP* The thing about me is that I am always like 5 years behind on technology. I have been hacking it out for YEARS with my iPOD shuffles which do not last for long so I am always replacing them. Then to download the songs is a process and I get used to the same old music over and over and over again while running so many miles. My iPOD shuffles never last longer than about an hour and a half which is frustrating, BUT now my runs have been SO pleasant! I have stations downloaded with all upbeat music for running! I am LOVING the cheesy new pop songs out there right now, I think I may be regressing back to being a 10 year old girl...that Jessie J bang bang song is seriously my jam as well as the Megan Trainor All about that bass diddy...don't judge!
#2. I am *this* close to full on taper land. LOVING it! Next week is my last 20 mile training run...then it's smooth sailing for here on out...okay at least until the actual marathon but tapering is a wonderful thing!
#3. Which should really be number one, although it makes it really hard to drag my sorry behind out of bed in the morning, it has been like 50 degrees during my runs! WOOHOO! I was always a hot weather gal but ever since I began running I have a true appreciation for cooler weather, it just makes EVERYTHING better!
So here are the stats...
Monday - 6M pace run, TM, 6.6mph
Tuesday - 6M run outside, 53:57
Wednesday - 5M run TM, 7mph
Thursday - 12M run outside, 1:47:59
Friday - 5M run outside, 45:44
Saturday - gym time with mom
Sunday - OFF
Monday - 5M TM, 7mph
Tuesday - 5M outside, 44:03
Wednesday - 10M pace run, TM , 6.6mph
Thursday - 10M run outside, 1:29:11
Friday - gym day
Saturday - 20M run, 3:00:46 - NOT bad!
Sunday - OFF
Monday - 5M treadmill, 7mph
Tuesday - 12M run outside, 1:47:56
Wednesday - 6M treadmill, 6.8mph
Thursday - 6M run outside, 56:11
Friday - 5M run outside, 47:11
Saturday - OFF
Sunday - tomorrow, cross training will be a 3M walk a thon
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