Glass City 26.2

It has been many weeks since I ran my very first 26.2 in Toledo, Ohio. I knew going into the last weeks of the training cycle that after it was done, I was going to take some much deserved time off and put all things running off my many pedestals of priorities for a bit. My intention was not to stop running all together but to completely rid myself of any pressure or guilt in not being able to work it in to our already busy summer schedule. Being the loudest cheerleader at my son’s baseball games, throwing the ball with Rory, drinks on the patio with my husband and dance parties with my daughter all come before scrambling to squeeze miles in to any ounce of free time available. I have indulged in yummy summer libations without regret and have practically lived off chips and salsa the past month and a half. This week marks the last week of my quasi time off and I am feeling eager and excited to jump headfirst into training next week.

Before I dive into another round of lofty goals, I need to get my thoughts down on what transpired in Toledo, the highs and lows and how I will use the experience in April (and really all 18 weeks of training) to propel myself forward and show up in October stronger than ever. So without further ado, here’s the rundown…

Toledo Takeaways

  • Stay away from sick people leading up to your race!!! Arm yourself with Purel, masks, multiple hazmat suits, whatever it takes to keep the germies away so you can be 100% come race day. My daughter unfortunately had caught the flu the week leading up to my marathon. Needless to say, when I woke up Saturday morning (the marathon was Sunday) with a scratchy throat and cough I prayed vehemently for mercy and that said symptoms were a mere result of nerves.

 

  • Don’t run a marathon with a fever! Spoiler alert, the symptoms were not a result of nerves and I quickly came to that realization Saturday night when I quivered with chills and failed to get any semblance of rest. When I woke up Sunday morning, I quickly realized I was in a whole heap of trouble. My head was throbbing and I knew that I most likely had a low grade fever. I waffled back and forth on what exactly to do. I had dedicated 4 long, tough months to this day. The thought of throwing in the towel before I even toed the start line quickly amplified the nausea I was already enduring. In game time decision fashion, I made an agreement with my husband who was visibly concerned. We would run to Kroger and pick up a thermometer. If my temperature was over 100, I was not running. If it was under, I was in this thing. It read 99.7. Alright then, game on. I did not take any medicine as I wanted to be sure that if things got bad, there was no disguising it. Yes, I woke up marathon morning with the flu. Yes, I made an extremely unsafe decision by moving forward with running. Yes, I probably made myself and my recoveries significantly more difficult by this err in judgement. Yes, I saw a Dr. shortly after to check and make sure all was ok. Yes, I have learned my lesson.

 

  • Pee before the race!! Rookie mistake but in all the disarray with my uncertainty of running, I forgot to pee one last time before we headed to the start. The port a potty lines were ridiculously long so I decided to chance it. I totally peed myself the last 5 miles and have no shame in admitting it.

 

  • Stay in each mile, don’t get ahead of yourself. The first half was fine. I definitely felt sick and not myself but it was nothing compared to the amount of hate I had for life at mile 16. Thankfully my stomach was solid and I was able to stay on track with my fueling (gel every 40 min) and consciously upped the water intake. I have never had thoughts of quitting during a race. I rarely have thoughts of quitting during training runs. At mile 16, I was scouring the ground for an errant tree root to take me out. Mile 16 me had absolutely no clue how she would get to Mile 24. Mile 16 me focused on Mile 16 and nothing more. Just get done with this mile, don’t worry about what comes next, just keep moving. This saved me.

 

  • Save your music! When I run alone or when I race, I listen to music. I’m a huge music freak and there is nothing like a pounding beat and super fast tempo to really get the legs moving. I didn’t listen to any music the first half of the race. I ran with my 2 best running buddies and tried my hardest to soak up as much as I could. The treat of listening to my favorite running jams on the last half of the course was a great thing to look forward to.

 

  • Respect the distance! While I certainly am a firm believer that I can do “hard things”. This experience completely redefined the definition of “hard thing”. Those 26.2 miles tear you down and build you back up piece by piece. We know going into a marathon, especially our first marathon that it’s going to be tough. Tears were shed the moment I laid eyes on that glorious finish line. I was completely humbled by the experience and in complete awe of these amazing men and women who pound the pavement again and again. I can’t tell you how many seasoned marathoners gave the very well intentioned adage of “not having a time goal” and of “only wanting to finish”. This goes against every ounce of my goal chasing, stubborn, ruthlessly competitive, type A little brain. While I nodded knowingly and appreciatively with a smile, I secretly scoffed at such a ridiculous foreign concept. Guess what? They were right. The journey and crusade, the battle you exhaustingly endure…it changes you. The glory is in the transformation.

 

  • Negative self talk is toxic! Mile 16 was when things got ugly for me. My head was admittedly not in a great place and once the thoughts of quitting and pulling out were allowed in, the flood gates opened. Next time, I will be sure to have a positive mantra I can focus on when things get real.

 

  • #Blessed The amount of love and support I felt that weekend was just beyond. Our husbands and dear friends drove, walked, and rode around like mad so they could scream and shout, throw water at us, take 5,423 pictures, take our gloves, or receive quick little sweaty hugs. I came home to a gigantic homemade banner from the kids proudly on display in my parent’s front yard. They all had a blast getting the live updates on grandma’s phone and cheering me on virtually. Pizza and beer was aflowing and my amazing mother let me shower and nap while she entertained my daughter for a few hours (my son had baseball practice as soon as we returned from Toledo so husband couldn’t help). I am so grateful for my tribe and everything they do for me.

 

  • One team! I don’t care what anyone says, running IS a team sport. One of the very reasons I became interested in pursuing running was being witness to the unbelievable amount of camaraderie while spectating at my little sister’s high school cross country meets. These girls were the ultimate #squadgoals and the intensity of which they came together and lifted each other up was beyond moving. I am blessed upon blessed upon blessed to have an amazing team of fierce mamas who continue to teach and inspire me every day. Runners lift each other up, they motivate, they push, they encourage, they dare, they fail, they unite, they ENDURE.

Glass City Marathon, 4/26/16 Toledo, OH

Official Time: 4:01:10

 

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Reflections

Yea, it’s been a while.

But I’ve been working hard kids. This Sunday I will be running the Nationwide Children’s Columbus Half Marathon. This will be my second time running this race and I am beyond super stoked to get after it this weekend. I have a goal of hitting sub 1:50 and have already committed and convinced myself that this goal is absolutely 100% obtainable.

I haven’t really stuck to a training plan this go around…..crazy I know. I did stick to the long run schedule (Hal Higdon’s Intermediate 1) with the exception of swapping this past week’s 12 miler for an 8 miler for more of a taper. I’ve never run more than a 10 mile long run during my past cycles so I was totally fine with this. The furthest run this go around was 11.3 (yes random, we were supposed to stop at 11 but overshot our turnaround point and just kept running). I’ve learned that I do better with a proper taper and really like to give my legs a lot of time to rest.

This week I plan on doing an easy 3 this evening and my last run will be Wednesday for 4 easy miles with my Wednesday group.

Speaking of my Wednesday group, I’ve come to the realization that this past training cycle has been a culmination of a bunch of firsts for me…

1. First time running with a proper group– I was lucky enough to have found a group (Mom’s Run This Town- Columbus, OH chapter) that I absolutely adore. I started running with the group about half way thru my training cycle and have already made some amazing friendships. The amount of support that emanates from these fabulous ladies is just unbelievable. I now know first hand how amazing this running community is and am so grateful to be a part of it.
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2. Super early AM runs– No I’m not talking 7am kids. I’m talking drag your ass out of bed at 3:45, slap on your Garmin and Sauconys and meet the ladies at 4:20 type of early AM run. Revolutionary. Yes, I want to keel over by 7:30 PM but it’s a fair trade for ridding the mommy guilt of going out for a run after dinner after you’ve been away from the kiddos all day. I was able to squeeze in a lot more miles on weekdays that I previously was not able to do d/t restricting myself to evening runs.

3. Running without music– We all know music is a HUGE part of my running. I had it in my head that I physically cannot run fast (or slow) without a little push from Glassjaw or Lil Jon (yes hello I have schizophrenic taste in running music). For the first time this training cycle I learned that that is simply not true. Most of the miles were accompanied by chatter instead of pounding bass and I actually enjoyed it (who am I?). Disclaimer: I do still love to have music when I’m running solo or if I’m racing. That’ll never change!

4. I listened to my body– Really, I did. I did not stick to a regimented plan and really let my body dictate the pace of the workout. If I felt like running faster that day, I would. If my legs weren’t having it and I wanted to ratchet it back, I would. I felt like it alleviated a lot of stress from fretting over whether or not I could hit a particular workout. If I didn’t want to run a weekday run, I skipped it. If I wanted to run 8 instead of 6, I did. We’ll see how this shakes out race day but it really lessened the load mentally throughout these past 12 weeks.

All in all I am super excited to leave it all out on the course this Sunday. Looking forward to crushing my sub 1:50 goal and everything beyond.

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A secret …and a confession

 I have a secret to tell you. A secret that you may judge and ridicule me for. A secret that for some is an absolute monstrosity. A secret that you may or may not “get”.

You ready?

I cannot stand “fun runs”. I would go as far as saying I loathe these gimmicky, for profit exhibitions. I want no part of mud, foam, color, zombie or electric themed anything. I’m quite certain I would rather run 10 miles in 905 degrees clothed from head to toe in cotton than allow some undead joker chase me and rip flags off my body.

Yea, not fun. And don’t even get me started on the fact that you have to pay for such madness!

So needless to say when three of my very best non runner friends started talking about doing a color run I secretly cringed inside. Despite my personal convictions on the fun run subject, I had no intention of being the Debbie Downer of the group and smash their little color running dreams. So, I took one for the team, bought the damn Groupon, registered and virtually pencilled in my little fun run on to my Google calendar for June 8th. My expectations for this event were minimal at best….wait, not timed? What the hell does that mean? The fierce clock crushing competitor robot in me does not compute such data!

Ok, so ready for the confession?

We had an absolute BLAST!!!!!

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We did the Color Mania 5K this weekend in Columbus and it really was the happiest 5K on the planet. I ran with three other girls who are not runners (yet!) but were totally gung ho on embracing the challenge of a 5K while having a blast doing it. I’m pretty sure the furthest J and M had gone prior to race morning was maybe 2 miles?? None of them were confident they could run the whole way. Secretly I made one and one goal only for that race…..keep these girls motivated, stick with them the whole way and don’t let them stop running!

Although they are not runners I knew that they all had been working out pretty regularly and had a solid enough base cardio wise (hello Jillian Michaels’s 30 Day Shred) to handle the 30+ minutes. I am so proud to report that they ALL ran the whole way, finished strong AND (tear!) are excited to sign up and run their next one!

Sigh, Mama is oh so proud!!

My first 13.1

Spoiler alert….I ran 13.1 miles last Sunday. I ran them fastish (for me). I ran them smart and I probably ran every single one of them with a ridiculous grin on my face. I can honestly say that I loved every minute of that race. Everything went on plan, to schedule and my body responded the way I hoped and prayed it would.

It was no secret that Carly and I’s goal was to finish in sub 2. A goal that seemed trivial and irrelevant in light of the horror that unfolded the Monday before. Although we both were pumped x 1000 and so amped for this race, a part of us almost felt guilty for the giddiness and excitement.  We both strived to lay everything out on that course and run strong for Boston. Still shaken and saddened by the attacks come race day morning, we pinned our blue and yellow ribbons on and took our first strides in memory of all affected.

The weather was beautiful….sunny, high 40s and zero wind. The course was absolutely gorgeous and predominately flat. It was an out and back course with the start and finish on the track at Kenyon College. The only hill was just shy of the first mile marker with the first 3 miles running thru campus and some residential areas. Once we split from the 4 milers we hit the bike trail for the remaining 9+ miles. We were running thru dense woods, over bridges spanning sparkling rivers and streams with nothing but rolling green hills all around. Once we hit the bike trail we really got in our groove and were nailing our pace mile after mile. I had some Chomps at mile 5, passed on the Hammer Gel that was handed out at mile 8, more Chomps at mile 10 and threw some Gatorade up my nose somewhere along the way. The first 5 miles I was obsessing over my watch, glancing every 5 seconds paranoid we were running way too fast and couldn’t hang on. Our initial plan was to run the first 6 relatively conservatively, ramp up a bit mile 6-10 and then kick it into gear once we hit 10. Did we do that? Uh, not really. Did we crash and burn and go out way too fast? Nope, didn’t do that either. Did we hang on and surprise the shit out of ourselves. Hell to the yes.

Carly and I stayed together the entire time and finished within one second of each other. 1:57:03 (moi) and 1:57:04 (Carly).

1 1.00  9:19

2 1.00 8:57

3 1.00 8:33

4 1.00 8:40

5 1.00 8:58

6 1.00 9:16

7 1.00 8:51

8 1.00 8:40

9 1.00 9:01

10 1.00 8:53

11 1.00 9:04

12  1.00 8:50

13  1.00 8:42

14  0.18 7:44

1:57:04 13.18 8:53 (Garmin)

1:57:03 official chip time

10th AG (30-39), 111 overall

Proud doesn’t even begin to sum it up. Carly ended up shaving 19 minutes off of her old PR. Still so excited for her. Running with the little sis is such a blessing. I couldn’t have done it without her.

More pictures to come…..

Happy Boston!!!!

Shhhhh….I’m secretly blogging at work to make sure everyone is aware of how excited I am for the Boston Marathon this morning.

It won’t be televised outside of the local Boston area but if you are a huge runnerd like me you will certainly be streaming it here…http://watchlive.baa.org/

Rooting for Shalane all the way!!

In more important news…my 6 year old is not only the next Ryan Hall but quite possibly the next Michael Jordan as well.  #24 dribbling competition champion!

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Hope everyone has a wonderful Monday and even more fabulous week!

Don’t call it a comeback…

So remember all these silly “D” words running thru my head a couple weeks ago….doubt, despair, dread, death march?? I take it all back.

Given the fact that my 9 mile jaunt two weeks ago was absolutely tortuous….I was petrified going into my first (ever!) 10 miler yesterday. My confidence was shot and I was also coming back from an unexpected 5 mile week due to some wretched illness. Needless to say, “pumped” was the furthest thing from my current vocabulary.

Then something magical happened.

I ran 10 miles.

I ran 10 miles and I felt amazing. I felt strong, I felt confident and I felt like I was holding back vs. secretly wanting to trade places with the 3 year old in front of me comfortably riding in his little bike trailer. “Dude, there’s totally enough room for me in your sweet ride…wait up!”

Although I originally had an 11 mile run in my training sched, the 5 mile week sort of derailed that plan. So, 10 miles it is. The farthest I have ever run and the furthest I will have ever run come race day morning.

Funny thing is I’ve never been so ready to tackle 13.1 and make it my bitch.

14 days and counting….let’s do it.

Week 9 mileage: 5 miles

Week 10 mileage: 23 miles