Monday, July 27, 2015

Grabbing opportunity

So technically, the marathon I'm training for is still 10 weeks away - Milwaukee Lakefront is on 10/4/15.

But an opportunity I can't say no to has come up, I'm seizing it - I'm going to Alaska on 8/16 to run the Alaska marathon.

I know, I know. I'm not a spontaneous person and I will only be about 5/8 through my training by then - barely over half way. That weekend I'm due to run 18 miles according to Hal Higdon - not 26.2. But you know what? I may never have another chance to go to Alaska, or if I do it may be long past the time I'm still able to run marathons, or run at all.

Looking at the time limit, if I run my 18 and have to walk the remaining 8.2, I will still make the time cut off. So I'm going for it. (I'm adjust my training a bit, of course - this past weekend was supposed to be 15 and I ran 16; this weekend is supposed to be a cutback, but I'm going to do 18 - then cutback next week, and the week after that's Alaska! EEP!)


Sunday, July 26, 2015

Spectator Report - ACE Sunset Half

Last night I got to do something for the first time ever - I spectated a half marathon! I've spectated a 5k for my husband before but usually he goes to his races with his best friend or tells us to stay home. Last night though I told him no and we were going, he spectates for me all the time and I love it, so I wanted to do the same for him.

The race was in Hoffman Estates, and started at 5:30. Race day registration ran from 4:10 to 5:10 with a kids dash at 5:20. We got there, very easily found parking, and headed off to register him and then register my daughter for the kids dash. (It was free and each kid got a ribbon, which she liked.)

Registration was pretty easy although we got to hear some very angry complaints - the website had said there'd be gear check, but apparently, they didn't actually have gear check. If I needed gear check I'd definitely have been fuming, although parking was SO plentiful and close that it didn't seem necessary. At the same time, if they said it was going to be there and you planned a race assuming it'd be there, that's not cool!

My daughter did her kid's dash (after a false start because someone set off the horn at 5:15 and all the kids took off - derp - she actually made it to the finish line!) and did awesome. It was longer than the other ones she's done at ACE races, and she got to cross the actual finish line which was cool.


Ready to go - and them zoom! Blurry zoom, even.

And then it was time for the half! I was so excited, we were ringing our cow bell like crazy. I wanted to cheer, although it was super hot and sunny. I was really hoping there'd be shade the first few miles until the sun hit twilight zone and wasn't so hot - my husband was worried the first few miles would fry him and he wouldn't be able to recover once it cooled down. The 10k and half were supposed to start at 5:30 with the 5k at 6:00 but the announcer kept screwing up and saying 5/10k at 5:30. I got my husband into the start corral because I knew the 10k was mooching off the half pace groups, so if they were going the half was too, but the announcer was just a hot mess. Quite a few runners had no idea if they were supposed to start or not. 

Unsurprisingly, he found a girl to chat up in the start corral. I swear he'd
 hang exclusively with the ladies if he had a choice!

But he got off, and we got to spectate him about a mile or mile and a half in when the course looped back past the start line. He was already looking pretty red and he told me there was no shade at all yet. But he slapped our kiddo a high five and kept going. We had set up our picnic blanket in the shade near the misting station the kids were all playing in, so we were okay, but I knew from my run that morning that it was going to be a tough race for everyone. With no shade I couldn't imagine what ACE was thinking when they set up the course - with starting temps over 80 that seemed like really poor course planning with the options available in the area!

This is his "why did I decide to do this???" face.

The course looped past us again around mile 4 and I say this with all due love - he looked terrible. Everyone did. Apparently there was still no significant shade, and the misting station that was by us was so off the way most of the runners didn't even see it. If I had thought about it I would have had him pop in to cool down - he looked wiped! :( 

Not a good course to run in full sunlight and 80*. :(

And then we wouldn't get to see him again for a while. But he did text me periodically so I wouldn't worry - I'd already figured out his finishing in 2:50 wasn't going to happen, the heat and sun was just too intense and safety came first. He told me his worry had come true and the first few miles in the sun had just sapped him completely; he was doing a lot of power walking just to keep moving and had honestly considered stepping down to the 10k. I wouldn't have blamed him even slightly - full sun is just really, really hard. Apparently the second half of the course picked up a lot of shade, which was good, but he was already done and couldn't pick it back up. I felt so terrible for him but I kept cheering him on. He was going to finish it - he's badass! Around mile 8 he told me he was for sure going to finish and gave me a rough ETA; it jived with the pace I'd pegged him for, so I sent him encouragement every half an hour or so.

Finally he sent me a text he was a mile away - the kids and I packed up our junk (they'd been playing blanket games and running up and down the sidewalk...the two year barefoot, because I can't keep shoes on him to save my of the yea, and we'd finished up our picnic dinner hours earlier) and set up at the finish line. Our daughter was going to jump in and run him to the finish line, which was a surprise to him - he told me later that was the best memory of the race and he was honestly considering buying the finish line pic. 

Beelining for the finish, with little girl in the left hand corner ready to run him in!

And then he was done! He told me it was the hardest race he'd ever run, and it was poorly designed. In a sunset course it made no sense for them to have the first half of the course in full sun and the second half shaded, and the water stops were over 2 miles apart - which is okay for cooler days, but in 80+ temps he thought they should have been more frequent. A lot of people dropped out along the way. At the moment, he says he's never running an ACE race again - it would have been a lot safer if they'd reversed the course. 

For us, I felt bad it was so hard, but we did okay spectating for a few hours. We cheered runners, we ate pbj's, we drank lots of water and drank some juice pouches, we read, we played, the kids got wet and muddy in the misting station...I hope to spectate a race for him again some day when conditions are better and he gets to run a stronger race. 

Monday, July 20, 2015

Milwaukee Marathon Training Week 7 - Recap!

It's shocking to me that I am now 7 weeks into marathon training. Like, what?? The marathon is only a little over 2 months away??

Here's how my week went down -

Monday 7/13 - 4m @ 10:23p in 70*.I did the first mile in 11:28 on the treadmill because I had dairy the night before and my stomach was threatening to rebel - but then I realized it was pouring outside and just could not resist doing the other 3 miles outside at a 10:01p. The rain was so heavy it was like running in a shower - it was hot but the rain kept you from feeling it. Amazing.

Tuesday 7/14 - 7m @ 10:47p in 74*. 80% humidity or this could have been a lot worse but it felt pretty rough as it is. I survived only because it was 100% overcast and I was shaded by the trees too. Uck. 

Wednesday 7/15 - 4m @ 10:52p in 60*. Again with the lower humidity - this recovery run felt easy...which means when the humidity comes back I am doomed. 

Thursday 7/16 - rest! "rest"

Friday 7/17 - 4m @ 11:15p in 75*. 96% humidity. Yep, I knew I was doomed. At the end of this run, with conditions forecast to be identical the next day, I wondered how I could ever add 10 more miles on top of this.

Saturday 7/18 - 12.4m @ 11:09p in 71-76. Super humid, and the answer to yesterday's question was I could not safely add the last 1.6. I ran with a group and we were all just beat down by the high heat index and humidity plus intermediate strong sun. I walked another 2 miles to get past 14 but I didn't run them. It is what it is and I did the best I could for the conditions. 

Sunday 7/19 -  2 mile family walk and 5 hours walking around the carnival with kids. That counts as cross right?!

31.4 miles run, 2 miles walked, and still no planks. Derp. 

I'm disappointed I didn't get my full 14 long run in, but I know it doesn't change whether or not I will be successful in my 15 miler next week. It just is what it is and from here, upwards. 

Monday, July 13, 2015

Milwaukee Marathon Training Week 6 - Recap!

Wow, week 6 is over already - I'm 6 weeks into this training cycle and the marathon is less than 3 months away. SAY WHAT?! 

Here's how my week went down -

Monday 7/6 - 3m @ 10:17p in 66*. 92% humidity, yuck. As usual my first mile was slow (11:30ish range?) but my second two miles hovered in the low 9s. I dunno what is up with the slow first mile but that seems to be my thing lately. Whatever works. 

Tuesday 7/7 - 6m @ 9:46p in 55*. Rained for most of the first 4 miles. I love running in the rain, I swear I'm a totally different runner when it rains. This pace didn't even feel hard until the rain let up for the last two miles, but I didn't feel like slowing down. 

Wednesday 7/8 - 3m @ 9:54p in 55*. 75% humidity felt like no humidity at all with how high it's been lately - this run was a dream. My third mile was an 8:56, which marks the very first sub-9 mile I've run since I tore the cartilage in my knee last November. Can I get a whoo?!

Thursday 7/9 - rest! Ish. The one thing the fitbit has really shown me is that the baby keeps me on my feet all the dang time, since I logged over 20,000 steps today...with no run. Oy!

Friday 7/10 - 4m @ 10:14p in 62*. Beautiful and breezy. I actually wasn't sure how many miles to run...Hal Higdon's Novice 2 plan has the day before long run as a rest day, and Intermediate 1 has it as another "kinda-long" run...but I'd been matching this day to my short runs. Next week those jump to 4, so I just kind of went with that. Actually felt really good and this was in my Hokas, which I am sort of on the fence on and usually really slow in. 

Saturday 7/11 - 9m @ 10:28p in 60-67. Super humid, but actually a nice little run. Funny that 9 is already "little". It was gorgeous out...I really think the key to success for these long runs is just going to be getting up at stupid o'clock, because this one went fine and I felt pretty strong. Stronger and faster than the May half I did!

Sunday 7/12 -  2 mile family walk and 45 minutes gardening (think lots of squats...darn those weeds). I meant to elliptical too but did not count on the baby taking over an hour to get to bed. Sheesh! 

25 miles run, 2 miles walked, 45 minutes weeding, and oops, no planks...uh, need to get back onto the planks. Nice cutback week, but now the real stuff begins...long run of 14 next. Gulp! AND my midweek kinda-long goes to 7. That just feels like a lot for a weekday.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Milewaukee Marathon Training Week 5 - Recap!

And week 5 is OVER - already coming up on my second cutback week!

Here's how my week went down -

Monday 6/29 - 3m @ 10:30p. Treadmill...I overslept this morning, so treadmill it was! Went fine.

Tuesday 6/30 - 6m @ 10:35p in 65*. 95% humidity but I did okay - until I fell and skinned my knees at the turnaround point! Ouch! It was of course exactly around the halfway point so there was nothing to do but run back...

Day 14 of the plankstreak!

Wednesday 7/1 - 3m @ 10:27p in 55*. Super humid, 90%, but look at the temp for the first day of July! Wow!

Unfortunately I was so tired I fell asleep putting the baby to bed...and forgot to plank. Oops. :( #fail

Thursday 7/2 - rest! And I still logged almost 19,000 steps. No wonder I am tired!

Friday 7/3 - 3m @ 10:22p. Treadmill again but that's okay - my husband had a partial day home so we slept in together. When did 7:30a become sleeping in??

Saturday 7/4 - 12m @ 10:53p in 68. Another warm run. It started out in the high 50s but climbed pretty fast. I seem to be slower than I was last year, but other than the last two miles this run felt pretty good. I miss the cool weather but I guess I should be grateful these runs are going as well as they are, and hey - I got to see them set up for the 4th of July parade while I ran! 

Sunday 7/5 -  2 mile family walk and 20 minutes on the elliptical. It was really hot or I would have done more on the elliptical but 20 minutes had me drenched in sweat. Yuck, heat. 

27 miles run, 2 miles walked, 1.89 miles ellipticalled, and 2 more planks...uh, need to get back onto the planks. All in all though it was a pretty solid week.