Sunday, April 27, 2014

Training 4.21.14

Monday 4/21 - Walk || 2.5 miles || 50:00
Walking my daughter to and from preschool!

Elliptical || 1.74 miles || 20 minutes, 11:29p || Circuit 1 level 3
Feeling tired and the pace shows it. Can't decide if I should have skipped this or not but feel better for having done it..

Tuesday 4/22 - Run || 3 miles || 36:00, 12:00p || Treadmill || Hill workout, 1:1 intervals
I won't say these feel easy now but I can tell how much stronger I am now - these don't make me feel like I'm about to die anymore.

Wednesday 4/23 - Run || 4 miles || 41:30 minutes, 10:21p || 52*, felt like 49*
Stroller run. Miles was cranky but settled immediately into the stroller! Win/win, and it was nice out too. Splits 10:41, 10:26, 10:21, 9:58.

Thursday 4/24 - Walk || 2.5 miles || 45:00
Walking my daughter to and from preschool!

Run || 3 miles || 36:00, 12:00p || Treadmill || Hill workout, 1:1 intervals 
Was planning on a stroller run but fell asleep when I was putting the baby down for a nap, so treadmill in the evening it was!

Friday 4/25 - Walk || 2.5 miles || 45:00
Walking my daughter to and from preschool!

 The look on my face is not a comment on how gorgeous it was outside.

Run || 4 miles || 48:00, 12:00p || Treadmill || Hill workout, 1:1 intervals 
Another stroller run that didn't happen...Miles had a rough day while his sister was at school, so homebound it was.

Saturday 4/26 - Run || 6 miles || 1:01:57, 10:19p || 51*, felt like 48*
Despite the pace this felt like a lousy run - my legs felt tired and heavy, and I had to walk a minute in the 5th and 6th mile. I'm not sure if I was just tired or if I was just pushing the pace too much - I wasn't intentionally pushing it, was aiming for comfortable actually. I think since I felt so off I wrote off discomfort to that instead of realizing it was pace, because I wasn't looking at my watch. Splits 10:37, 10:19, 10:01, 9:46, 10:41, 10:28. And now that I look at those I think I was pushing pace too much. Oops!

Sunday 4/27 - Run || 4.15 miles || 46:22, 11:09p || 50*, felt like 45*
Got to run with my husband, plus baby in the stroller! My head refuses to accept that I'm faster than him right now since he used to be so much faster than me...very strange to need to force myself to slow to down to stay next to him when I used to have to chase him! He paced this run. Splits 11:07/11:08/11:25/11:09/1:28.

Total:24.15 miles run, 1.74 miles ellipticalled, 7.5 miles walked. Tired on the weekend but that had less to do with running and more to do with my husband being out most of the week so I was on my own with the kids. Onwards and upwards!

Friday, April 25, 2014

Do you wanna run outside now (Frozen parody)

(Clearly, I have children, and they are my primary source of interaction.)

So this meme went around some of the running FB pages yesterday:

I'd love to credit this but it has no credit and I'm not sure who made it! :( Suffice it to say, not me...

And it just took off in my head, my imagination re-writing the song. I woke up singing my own version. So here's my own parody of Do you wanna build a snowman!

Do you wanna run outside now?

Do you wanna run outside now?
Come on, let’s go and run!
We never take pics anymore
Come out the door
It’s like your running’s done

We used to run together
And now we don’t
I wish you would tell me why

Do you wanna run outside now
(It doesn’t have to be a fast run)

Okay bye….

Do you wanna run outside now
Or take a jog down to the park
I think some company is over due
I’ve started talking to the seconds on my watch
(Hang in there legs)

It gets a little lonely
All these treadmill runs
Just watching the time tick by
(tick tock tick tock tick tock)

Please, I know you’re in there
I’ve been wondering where you’ve been
They say “Try biking,” and I might like to,
But I don’t have a bike
I’d rather run

You were my running buddy
It was you and me
What am I gonna do?

Do you wanna run outside now…

Kim's recent training log mentioned she hasn't had to run solo in over a month and boy was I jealous. All of my runs lately are solo, with the stroller, or on the treadmill...I used to run regularly with my husband but two kids put a damper on that, obviously, especially while one is teeny. Apparently...I miss it! Running is always great - but it does get a bit lonely!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Training 4.14.14

Monday 4/14 - Rest
Feeling off...didn't run, felt like I might be getting sick.

Tuesday 4/15 - Rest
Still feeling off =/

Wednesday 4/16 - Run || 3 miles || 31:51 minutes, 10:37p || 45*, felt like 40*
Stroller run. Still felt off but didn't feel like resting was helping, so off I went. First mile felt terrrible but I got better as I went. Splits 11:24, 10:30, 9:55.

Thursday 4/17 - Walk || 2.5 miles || 50:00
Walking my daughter to and from preschool!

 Run || 3.1 miles || 31:22, 10:07p || 57*, felt like *53
First run ever in tank top and shorts...harder to get out like that than I thought, but hey, fastest 5K yet. Splits 10:02, 9:49, 10:36, :55. Got a side cramp in the third mile so had to walk for a minute...otherwise this would have been a sub-31!

Friday 4/18- Rest
Rest before the race!

Saturday 4/19- Run || 3.14 miles || 29:56, 9:39p || 45*, felt like 40*
Egg shell shuffle!

Sunday 4/20 - Run || 5 miles || 54:27, 10:52p || 61*, felt like 60*
I really wanted 8 for my long run this week, but my husband has a half in two weeks so he had dibs on running time...with it being Easter we were out of the house most of the day, so I had to squeeze in what I could. It's a shame, it was a gorgeous twilight run! Splits 11:12/10:57/10:54/10:47/10:35.

Total: 14.24 miles run, 2.5 miles walked. Not quite the mileage I wanted but I have no imminent races so meh. I hope to be back to 20-25 next week!

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Egg Shell Shuffle 5K recap

So the Egg Shell Shuffle was this morning and I won't lie - I was so nervous I slept terribly last night! What a great start, right? My PR going into this race was 35:17, from the Warm Your Heart indoor 5K at McCormick place in January 2013 (before this blog was born! but not much before!) and I knew I was going to break that unless something really weird happened. My pipedream goal was sub-30, my realistic goal was sub-31, and my back up goal was just have fun and PR. This is a cute race with an egg hunt afterwards, one for adults with real prizes amongst the candy and a free one for the kiddos with just candy.

(Usually I talk about packet pick up in my recaps, but this time, my husband picked up for me since the pickup was right near his office. Score! The race premium is a pair of bright blue Asics shorts although I could have opted for a tech top.)

The race started in Grove 5 of Busse Woods, same place as last year. I had forgotten how much GPS doesn't like finding places in there, but luckily my husband knew exactly where to go and dropped me off near the start line around 9 so I could hop in line for a bathroom. (There were both portopotties and a building with 2 retrospect they were probably about the same since they were forest preserve toilets that aren't like normal indoor toilets, but oh well - still nice enough and there were plenty to go round so at least for the 5K people the lines moved along fine. The half started 45 minutes earlier so if they had issues I wasn't there for them!)

After finishing in the bathroom line, I met my uncle, aunt, and two cousins, all of whom were running the 5K too (my aunt signed them up again). My husband showed up just in time to send us off to the start, although my garmin nearly didn't catch on in time! It seemed like it just wouldn't catch the satellite, and I started nearly 2 minutes after my family and the gun went off. It did start though and we were off; I knew from the previous year that the first 2 miles were a good out-and-back, fairly flat with a slight downhill the first mile about halfway through and a slight uphill on the way back.

Hi Aunt Jody!!

I didn't check my garmin at all the first mile, just tried to keep it easy and dodge and wave into an empty space. The first half mile or so felt pretty crowded but it smoothed out. When the first mile beeped I was both thrilled and irritated - my fastest mile EVER, a 9:10! That was exciting, but I knew my goal of negative splitting the race was not happening...I'd gone out way too fast. I knew better but I guess I just wasn't quite paying enough attention as I tried to get my footing. I consciously slowed myself down for mile 2 knowing I could never maintain 9:10s for the rest of the race.

Mile 2 was just the way back in, so it wasn't really anything new and about 2/3 through I was really feeling how fast I'd went out. But last year my husband had showed up around mile 2 to cheer me on so I figured I'd see him this year and I kept plugging along, the last stretch of it being on the grass. My second mile came in at 9:30, which was more reasonable - but a terrible stitch had me feeling like if I didn't walk I was not going to finish. And! My husband didn't show up :( Boo! I walked for about 40 seconds and was off again.

Mile 3 was a smaller out and back onto a bike path - last year it irritated me because I got stuck behind people who blocked the path walking. (I have nothing against walking in a race - obviously. But if you're going to do it, please don't block the people behind you - especially if the path is narrow, like this trail was!)  I was definitely feeling how fast I'd gone out even with the walk break and had to argue against stopping again. I knew I had a chance to grab the sub-30 at this point if I could just hold on, so I fought to distract myself. I found myself singing (in my head! not outloud! I don't believe in torture, and I know I'm tonedeaf!) bits of, of all things, the Psych musical episode. Hey, whatever works, right?

I kept watching my garmin as the distance ticked 28:00 my garmin read 2.92 and I know that it would be close but I should get it...just dig down deep. Mile 3 clocked in at 10:11, which considering I walked for 40 seconds felt pretty good to me. The finish line was in sight so I did my best - it was going to be agonizingly close, my garmin read 29:52 as I ran into the finisher chute, going as fast as my poor little legs could go.

My final garmin time?

29:59.8. .8! Talk about cutting it close!

I can't describe the feeling. I BROKE 30! Holy hell, I broke 30! That was a goal I set back during the Couch to 5K - some day, I wanted to run a 5K under 30. At the time it seemed impossibly fast, my first 5K was 40:18. I don't think I would even recognize myself any more. The best part is - I feel like the sky is the limit now; I always felt like I was making such little progress but things are definitely clicking this year. I was 14th in my age group, which is the highest I've ever placed (other than in really small races, haha)., would the chip time match my garmin??

My final chip time? 29:56. That's a 5:21 PR. It's official - I've run a sub-30 5K. I need some new running goals - I broke all of my HM and all of my 5K goals in the space of 2 weeks!

Of course, the egg hunt after was fun too. For one, I got to meet Lindy!

 Hi Lindy! Meeting you and V was fun!

My daughter got a bunch of eggs in her egg hunt!

That would be 18 eggs in that bucket!

And I got a good bunch of eggs in mine - plus, one of my eggs had more than candy!

And that would be $10 wrapped around that jolly rancher!

Plus, a sweet new piece of bling for my medal rack, commemorating an awesome PR!

Yep, it all comes down to bling. Even at 5Ks.

The one thing I am disappointed today is that I positive split the race. I have negative split almost all my training runs so I am disappointed that when it came down to race day I got so excited I made a mistake I haven't in a long time. But I'm not overly mad or anything - it just shows that as awesome I did, I have room to grow still! Onwards and upwards!

Friday, April 18, 2014

Welll....I did it.

Deadline to register was 4/18 at 9pm CST.

I registered at 8:30CST.

Cut it close.

Spent the whole week debating.

But I am going for it.

I am so not nervous or intimidated. /sarcasm

In other news that I am not nervous or intimidated about, my goal 5K and PR-attempt race is tomorrow. I'll be at the running the 5K. Going for a sub-31, and maybe, if the cards align right, a sub-30.

I am so not nervous about that either. /more sarcasm

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Marathon fretting

So, I've shared that I decided to run a marathon this year. I put that down in words and keep linking back to remind myself of the confidence I had going into that post.

Behind the scenes I've been having a crisis of seems like so many miles, and it's so much time away from my kids. I love to run and I love the me time. But I also post my runs to my personal facebook page (yeah...I'm one of those. People can scroll past if they don't like them, it helps me though!) and mostly get props but sometimes from other moms it's, "How do you find the time?!" And while it's okay right now...marathon runs...we're getting into lots of hours. Especially because I'm slower. (I am happy with my pace, but it does mean ... it's a bigger time commitment for me than someone who is faster.)

But somehow in the midst of that my husband convinced me to throw my name in for the Chicago lottery. He wants to run it with me. I think a less crowded marathon is more my style - I hate crowds! - but I love running with him. Most of my runs are solo and having company makes it so much more fun. And it's succccch a long run that having company for it sounds even nicer.

So, I threw my name in. And not only did he get in, but somehow this happened too:

I have to be honest, I am very very rarely lucky and totally did not expect to get selected. I got the email and was -stunned-.

And now I have to decide /now/. And deal with the guilt of taking a slot from someone who wanted it if I don't register.


Sunday, April 13, 2014

Double Down Recap

Spoiler alert: Do y'all think I can count this as my 5 mile PR? If that sounds like a weird question for a 10K recap....well, read on!

Definitely living up to "Muddy" promise - this is after scraping a bunch off! 

On Saturday 4/12 I ran the Muddy Monk Double Down 10K/20K. The theme of the race is - you run the first 10K loop and then decide on course if you're going to go for 20K. I really wanted to run the 20K going into it, but given how hilly Lincoln was last week I had a sneaking hunch that might be ambitious. Especially considering it was going to be a whole lot hotter than it's been, and my body was definitely not adapted to running in weather that much warmer yet. (I've been running in 30s and down...race day was supposed to be 60+ and sunny!)

Getting to the race was exciting; it was in Mokena which not only had I never been to, I'd never even heard of. I looked up directions the night before and it said 1:15 - when I pulled them up on our GPS that morning it said an 1:30. Whoops! Technically packet pick up ended at 9:45 and the race started at 10 - I got there at 9:50. They still gave me my bib but had run out of shirts my size. Apparently my 2014 race theme is going to be shirt stories, but considering they could have told me I was out of luck to get my bib, I wasn't bothered in the least!

The RD started the race off pretty promptly after explaining we'd see the aid station on course about 3 miles in, or halfway through the loop. And there was "some mud" at first or something to that effect, along with the usual instruction to stay on the path marked by the orange flags. We were off, starting off down the sidewalk to the woods.

The first mile was through the forest, going over grass/dirt paths - some of it was wet and splashed little bits of muddy water, but there were pretty regular tracks of mud puddles and deeper mud, as well as one stretch with pretty significant shoe-stealing mud. It came in at 11:01 but felt laboured, whether it was the mud or the heat and I decided if I still felt off for mile 2 I was going to slow down.

The next mile and a half were on a paved bike/walking trail which you would think, for a trail run, would be easy, but it was all rolling hills and to be honest, I immediately knew how not-recovered my legs were from my half the previous week. When you add in the sun shining brightly down and it being a wholllle lot warmer than it had been even very recently, and any thoughts of opting for the 20K disappeared. Instead I walked at each .5m mark to rest my whiny legs, and drank some water, which was just fine by me. It gave me a chance to appreciate how beautiful Mokena was. And it really was gorgeous. While I wasn't up to gunning it today, it was a gorgeous day to be out and a scenic area.

At mile 2.5 I was surprised to see the aid station and the turnabout point. I took some water, smiled for the photographer, and turned back towards the start line.

Nope, I'm not the pretty blond in the foreground - I'm the blue headband right behind her. No, to her left. Yeah, there I am! 
(Photo courtesy of Muddy Monk FB page)

I hit the 5K point at 35:04, which I actually was pretty pleased by. I felt overheated and wished I had more water on me, but I was at the halfway point at 35:04 despite feeling like crap. Hey, if I kept this pace, I'd PR at the 10K! 

Mile 1: 11:01
Mile 2: 11:37
Mile 3: 11:32
5K: 35:04

Mile 4 was pretty uneventful, just back the way I came on the rolling hills that my quads and hamstrings hated me for. (Side note, I was really hoping all the hill training would have saved me here - I don't know if it was just me really going all out last week, or the heat, or that if it was just an off day, but these felt rough.) Mile 5, the last mile (yes, the last mile!) got confusing though. It took 12:29, but there was a lot of stop and confer with other runners - it took us close to the finish line and out, and there was some debate about which way to turn which resulted in a few stops. This then took us back over the initial grassy/muddy stretch, where I overheard someone saying, "No it ends up as more than a 15K!" That statement confused me, because 15K wasn't on the list of options for the Double Down! And as we were bearing towards the finish line I was really starting to wonder if I'd managed to cut the course somehow...because unless there was another out and back, the finish line was right in front of me.

 "Wait, where'd my last mile go?" 
(Photo courtesy of Muddy Monk FB page)

The woman noting finish times told me - when I asked - that the course had had to be cut around a mile short due to a feral dog in the area. Someone handed me my finisher glass and off I went, joining the line with a bunch of very confused people.

Mile 4: 11:04
Mile 5: 12:29
Last .02: 0:13

Since I was definitely feeling off, I was totally fine cutting it short; the race was awesome but my body wasn't there.

And then there were FOUR! One of these things, is not like the other...yeah, this month's finisher glass is practically a goblet!

All I want to know is - obviously, I can't count this as a 10K PR even though I was on track for one. But can I count it for my 8K/5M PR?! My official gun time came in as 58:08, and since I haven't run a 5 mile race since I was 5 months pregnant - when 13 minute miles in a road race were ambitious - this would be about a 5 minute PR. What do you think?!

Next month in the MM series is the Mother's Day 5K, also in Mokena. Should be fun!

Training 4.7.14

Monday 4/7 - Run || 2.15 miles || 21:53 minutes, 10:10p || 55*, felt like 52*
Easy post Lincoln run..never looked at my watch so didn't feel fast at all. First comfortable run in just a shirt and capris!

Tuesday 4/8 - Walk || 5 miles || 1:36
Wasn't quite feeling up to running, so I walked my daughter to preschool and then I walked back to get her home - each round trip is 2.5 miles.

Wednesday 4/9 - Run || 2 miles || 22:26 minutes, 11:13p || 61*, felt like 60*
Got a BOB jogging stroller, this was the inaugural run. I picked a hilly (for my area, haha) area and that was probably a mistake, hah. I also found out that the park district bathrooms are not open yet...I had planned 4 miles but um, I had to pee.

Thursday 4/10   Run || 3 miles || 30:37, 10:12p || 64*, felt like *64
Stroller run! Oh my gosh, this stroller is so much easier. Splits 10:38, 10:05, 9:49...a sub-10 with the stroller!!

Friday 4/11- Rest
Rest before the double down.

Saturday 4/12- Run || 5.02 miles || 58:08, 11:34p || 65*, felt like more*
Double Down!

Sunday 4/13 - Rest
Traveling home = no time to run :(

Total: 12.15 miles run, 5 miles walked. Recovery week after Lincoln and my legs really needed it - I was so not up to Saturday's "10k"!

Friday, April 11, 2014

Sometimes, things are more expensive for a reason.

I am almost sad to write this post. I am, in general, paranoid about spending money - that is getting better, but my husband just came off a two year stint of being unemployed and it was a stressful couple years. Getting pregnant - while wonderful - only added to that stress. So I spend as little as I can.  I use budget equipment when I can. Even my expensive purchases - like my elliptical - are far from top of the line.

And I am okay with that. It's who I am! So when a jogging stroller, a huge-wheeled Schwinn jogger, came up on Craigslist for $25, I jumped. And Miles was happy in it!

Happy Schwinn grin!

But the Schwinn was limited. It was definitely hard to push, and more limiting on where I could run, and didn't have all the features I really wanted. For one, it didn't fit in my car - so I was limited to taking it around the block. But it did let me get out for weekday runs. I had tried a few other jogging strollers and the Schwinn really didn't seem any different than them, although missing a couple features - it handled as well as the $100-$150 joggers I'd tried.

Out of habit..and perhaps latent desire for an easier way to do this...I kept stalking Craigslist. And a BOB Revolution popped up. For $150. Used only a handful of times, although a few years old.

Now, for those who don't know...those are kind of the "IT" strollers. When you ask the running groups what stroller to get, it's the BOB. It's the one best rated for running. For casual runners it's ratd the best because it can go to a regular stroller too as the front wheel can swivel. For serious runners, the wheel locks - and it's the only one that swivels and rates well for running. (In general the other strollers that swivel aren't rated well for running - the fixed wheels are recommended, with the BOB Revolution being the only one that seems to tread both lines.)

"I need a jogging stroller and I'm on a budget, what can I get if I plan to do some serious running?" "Wait for BOBs to go on sale." I hated that answer while pregnant. I was half sure it was a cult answer, brand loyalty. No way could the market really be that dominated. And they retail for around $300-$400 depending on where you go and what you get with it.

Well - feeling guilty for spending more money on myself when I had a perfectly fine jogger that let me go around the block - I answered the ad. And well...

...I hate to say this...

...but I freaking love this thing.

Mama why are you IN the stroller with me?!

I won't bore y'all with the details because really, a simple google search can give you a better list than me. I wish I had just taken one of these for a ride earlier, they really are so much easier to handle. And it folds compact enough to fit in my trunk, so Miles and I actually got to hit the trails in one of our parks this week - it was AWESOME! (Well, the run was not awesome. The bathrooms are still locked for the winter...and I really had to pee. But that is not the stroller's fault!)

I mean...guys...I ran a 9:49 mile PUSHING THIS STROLLER. My fastest mile ever is a 9:42 and that's solo.

So I hate to say it because I hate spending money on myself...but in this case, the money is so worth it and the thing justifies its price tag. Apparently, BOBs are worth it..

Have you ever found a piece of equipment or gear to be (unfortunately) worth its heft price tag? Tell me about it and make me feel better!

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Training 3.31.14

Monday 3/31 - Elliptical || 2.02 miles || 20 minutes, 9:54p || Circuit 1 level 3
Not much to report!

Tuesday 4/1 - Run || 3.1 miles || 33:39, 10:52p || 40*, felt like *28
Second run with baby boy in the jogging stroller! Getting easier! Splits 11:23, 10:36, 10:36, 1:01. He again fell asleep half way into the first mile.

Wednesday 4/2 - Rest
Rest day, dang taper.

Thursday 4/3-  Run || 4 miles || 41:12, 10:18p || 37*, felt like *33
Last run before Lincoln this weekend! Misty and chillier than I thought. Splits 10:45, 10:02, 9:59, 10:23. Good solid run!

Friday 4/4- Rest
Rest before the big race! Swam in the hotel pool for half an hour and then a hot tub soak :)

Saturday 4/5- Run || 13.24 miles || 2:24:57, 11:03p || 35*, felt like 35*

Sunday 4/6 - Rest
Well earned rest day!

Total: 20 miles run, 2 ellipitcal miles. Whee!

Lincoln HM Recap

Where do I even start? Last year I let a bad attitude swindle me out of a wonderful race with my husband, and I have been planning since I hit the finish line for a re-do this year. This year going into the race, my primary goal was to finish happy, for the sheer joy of being able to be out there.

Well let me just say - I crushed my goals. Far beyond anything I imagined was possible and I am still elated. Let's start with this:

Yes, it's as enormous as it looks.

Okay, now let's go back to the beginning. We hit the expo on Friday after driving down. I have to say, I was excited! I expected it to be a thing! They made a big deal that they needed to rent a bigger room 'cuz it was so big! And .. there was really only one vendor. I did buy a bondiband (which btw, I am loving - I ran with it during the race and it was perfect, my head didn't feel sweaty, my hair wasn't doing its best imitation of an afro, and it wasn't at all uncomfortable). But it really was a bit disappointing.

That's okay though, because the next morning, the race started at 7:30. My husband and daughter and the baby dropped me off at about 7:15 and I hopped into the portapotty line...which was generally agreed to be the longest portapotty line, EVER! Or at least the slowest moving. It actually sparked conversations in line (including the woman in front of me wanting assurance the course was flat. I tried to break it to her gently that It's not.) The race ended up a lot bigger than they anticipated (they weren't even able to guarantee medals or shirts to people who registered after a certain point, wow! they did say they have temp. medals for people who registered later and that a second batch would be ordered. I registered eons ago so this wasn't an issue for me, but wow! Little race got bigger!) so the portapotty situation was unfortunately inadequate, so let's just say when the 21 gun salute I was indisposed! I had actually intended to line up with the 2:30 pacer and figured I could drop back if I needed to, but I got out of the portapotty after it started, so was still waiting for my garmin to get going as people were starting to cross the start. This ended up being a good thing though.

I went running and got to slap Abe Lincoln a high-five...well, I had to jump for it, but I did it. For most of the first mile I was chasing the 2:20 pacer, of all things! Surprised me but I wasn't looking at my garmin, I was just running easy. I quickly realized what a mistake it was to have my running jacket on though, I was used to wind and there wasn't any! I couldn't bear to discard it so I tied it around my waist under my water bottle belt. The second mile had us running up a gentle incline, towards the capital building, which I knew was nothing compared to what was coming so I was just trying to keep it easy. The third mile was more of the same, after the capital building we were going through some residential areas. My 5K time came in at 31:33, which surprised the heck out of me! "Slow down, self! I don't want to burn out!" I was feeling good though so I just kept trying to keep it easy.

 The real surprise is how well I can take pictures while running!

Mile 4 was mostly flat and uneventful. I was feeling tired though and scolding myself for going out too fast, but I had promised myself I'd run until we got to the first real hill and walk the hill and re-evaluate there, so I kept going. It may have crossed my mind that wanting to run 13.1 miles was stupid though.

Mile 1: 10:45 (Hey, that's not the 11:30 mile I planned. Slow down!)
Mile 2: 10:29 (Umm, that's not slowing down, self.)                           
 Mile 3: 10:27 (Well...that's...steady..)                                                    
 Mile 4: 10:15 (All right, I'm just going with this.                                  

Mile 5 surprised me; I caught up with the 2:20 pace group and ran with them for a while! Mile 5 felt super easy because most of it was a good downhill so I passed the 2:20 group, laughing as I did so because I knew they'd beat me. I was expecting to finish mid 2:30s at this point.

Pics or it didn't happen, right? That's the 2:20 pacer!

Coming up on mile 6 and the 10K point we ran beside this beautiful lake with beautiful bells tolling. Maybe they were church bells? I have no idea, but I forgot how beautiful they were and how lovely the lake and bridge we were running beside. I hit the 10K point about 1:04 which surprised the heck out of me, as my 10K PR is 1:13! Here I stopped and walked though, the big hill was coming but I needed to refuel. For some reason my brain had expected the big hill to hit at mile 6 so when it didn't I knew I needed to refuel then and that refueling later hadn't boded well for me in training runs.

I then planned to run until mile 8, but found the big hill - 7.75 miles in. And walked it, taking more of my sports beans and drinking as I walked up it. I saw people running up the hill, and I'll say this - I passed a lot of them later, for good. I think a lot of people burned themselves out here. This may not have been Heartbreak Hill but it was big and it was only the first, there was more to come.

Mile 5: 10:09 (Hey, that mile felt really good!)        
Mile 6: 9:54 (Did I just run a sub-10mm in a half?!)
Mile 7: 11:13 (Hi, big hill.)                                       
Mile 8:  11:32 (Still on the big hill. Yay.)                 

Unfortunately at that point when I started running again after the hill my calf soreness that had vaguely come and gone during my training cycle said OHAI, DON'T PLAN ON RUNNING ALL THE REST, KAY? It wasn't debilitating, but it hurt enough that I was worried about pushing on it, so I switched to a walk/run cycle, generally running 7 and walking 2, plus walking the steeper inclines. I felt a twinge of disappointment that I couldn't run everything, but I never forgot to smile, because I was still out there - and that in and of itself was amazing. I was 1:24 into the race with 5 miles to go - I knew unless something went horribly wrong my 2:30ish goal was totally attainable, and that even if I really slowed down and ran 13 minute miles, I was still in to meet many of my goals!

Mile 9 took us into the cemetery where Lincoln's tomb is. I forgot to get a picture while running, but I took one when we went to visit it the next day. The first half going into the cemetery is a really nice smooth downhill, the second half is the last big incline. It was really lovely to run through despite it being, you know, a grave site.

Oak Ridge Cemetery. Running through a place with dead bodies - not as creepy as it sounds!

Mile 10 was big for me; it was where last year I realized my body could not support any more running that day - so being able to run past that mark, even if I'd had to drop to a walk run, was a huge mental lift. Mile 11 I took the last of my sports beans and gulped down some water; I ran behind a cute couple where the guy was clearly pacing her through her first half because he told her, "You've run 11 miles girl, that's an accomplishment!" It was cute! We were running a smooth paved trail that I remembered having to walk last year and crying, so it was a timely reminder for me too. The tail end of mile 11 took us on the last uphill too - there would be more gentle inclines before it was over but no more steep inclines. WHEE! That incline made the 12 mile mark the only one to hit over a 12mm, and I was just fine with that.

And then I was on the last mile. The last mile! The last mile?? The 12 mile mark dinged at 2:12 and I suddenly knew. I KNEW. My goal of 2:30 was blown out of the water and I could walk the last mile and still hit the low 2:30s! But I was NOT walking. Oh no - I was going in running! The last mile I ran 3 and walked 1 - my calf was bugging although still not severe, but I was in the last mile and wasn't going full out until mile 13 hit. I knew this course had measured long for me so I was ready; here an awesome volunteer told us to focus on the traffic lights - 2 more and we'd be in the finish chute! My husband and kids were waiting at mile 13 to cheer me on, which was incredible because I didn't know they were there. I was so confused because my watch read 13.1 at the 13 mile marker so they caught me pausing, but they got a vid of me running, too! (My garmin called the race 13.24. Not horrible, but I know I'm not the only one who had it measure long, either.)

Mile 9: 11:16
Mile 10: 11:26
Mile 11: 11:43
Mile 12: 12:19
Mile 13: 11:28
Mile 13.22: 2:02

And then the finish line was in sight. I ran faster than I ever have in my life, sprinting the last .1. My watch read 2:24:30 when I started in on the finish line so I knew a sub 2:25 was possible, which was absurd and crazy. I have never sprinted so fast and my garmin said I ran that last 30 seconds at a 9:00mm pace. That, for me, is crazy!

And then it was over. My garmin said 2:25:01. I burst into tears of disbelief and almost fell over. A few people reached out for me thinking I was passing out - I wasn't, I was just SO happy. Absurdly happy.

Stretching it after the race.

I met my husband and kids and cried as he took pictures. The mixture of elation and disbelief was so strong, I kept expecting to see I'd misread the clock. But final chip time? 2:24:57. I hadn't just broken 2:30...I'd broken 2:25.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Goals for this weekend

It's hard to believe but the Lincoln Half is the day after tomorrow!

Some of you may recall, but I have a bone to pick with this race. I ran it last year while pregnant and over estimated the capabilities of my pregnant body, and let a bad attitude get the best of me. And I regret that!

This year, I have some goals.

A) Sub 2:30 - this would be really, really nice. With the hills, it's probably not realistic.

B) Sub 2:35 - this is a more realistic goal assuming all goes well.

C) Sub 2:39 - this is the base goal and accounts for ZOMGtheHILLS.

D) PR - my current PR is 2:45 and change. I should be able to PR this course unless something really bad or weird happens.

E) FINISH WITH A SMILE! This is my PRIMARY goal. I will not compromise this. Because in the end - I am JOYFUL to be out there, to have the oppurtunity and ability to run. If I have to walk some? If I have to walk a lot? If I am slow? OH WELL!

Yes, the caps are ALL necessary. Because in the end - running is supposed to be fun, and I forgot that last year. This year I will smile with every single Mile and remember that at this time last year I had Miles on board.