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

 

13091940_10107425730174125_4071966495476178955_n

Glass City Training- Week 1 and 2

So this is where I get to geek out over all the details of each week. I failed to mention during my Marathon Decision post that I am so unbelievably stoked to have 2 or possibly 3 (ahem Allison) badass mamas as training partners for this Glass City adventure. My good friends Amy and Marcie are also running the Glass City full. While Amy is also a marathon rookie with numerous halfs under her belt, Marcie (who will officially be known as “Marathon Sensei” from here on out) is hoping for a BQ. We plan on doing many of our runs together and are all following Marathon Sensei’s custom 19 week plan (the first few weeks are without any sort of speedwork and are essentially just base building). So here it is, Week 1 and Week 2 #GlassCity26.2…

Week 1

Monday: 5 miles easy (8:38 )
Conditions: Outside AM, chilly
Fuel: None Thoughts: Thankful that Marcie has committed to joining me in my hood on Monday mornings. We both felt good and super excited to dive back into training.

Wednesday: 4 miles easy (8:20)
Conditions: Evening, cold
Fuel: None
Thoughts: Given my work schedule, I will likely have one evening solo run a week. I’ve gotta have at least one where it’s just me, my tunes and the pavement. I did take the puppy for a mile and a half. He’s so speedy! No headlamp needed as our route was completely led by Christmas lights.

Thursday: 5 miles easy (9:02)
Conditions: Outside AM, windy
Fuel: None
Thoughts: Amy and I kept it nice and easy as eventually Thursday morning will be our recovery run. I was a-OK with it as my legs were a little heavy.

Saturday: Long run 10 miles (8:40)
Conditions: Outside AM, nice and warm (shorts in Dec!)
Fuel: Cinnamon Raisin Bread with Sunbutter 2 hours before, 1 Honey Stinger Gel midway
Thoughts: We all felt great and explored a part of the O Trail we had never seen before. We only got lost a handful of times

Weekly Mileage: 24

Week 2

Monday: 5 miles easy (9:09)
Conditions: Outside AM, chilly
Fuel: None
Thoughts: Kept things super easy as Marcie had raced the day before. No complaints here as my ass was not stoked to get out of bed at 4:45!

Wednesday: 3 miles whatever (7:55)
Conditions: Outside PM, warm
Fuel: None
Thoughts: Love my runs with the puppy. Legs felt good and wanted to pick up the pace a bit so I let them. Used the Spotify feature to match the music to your cadence….loved it!

Thursday: Run fail, migraine kept me in bed. Zero miles for the day.

Saturday: Long run 12 miles (8:50)
Conditions: Outside AM, super cold
Fuel: Cinnamon Raisin Bread Sunbutter sandwich (my go to as of late), Honey Stinger gel at mile 7, NUUN in handheld (ugh I hate toting fluid but I need to get used to it for my longer runs).
Thoughts: I am so blessed to have so many amazing women who love to run as much as I do. The G Trail has easily become my favorite spot…pancake flat, straight and super scenic. We all had a great run and felt fabulous.

Sunday: Fastish 5 (7:47)
Conditions: Evening PM, warm
Fuel: None
Thoughts: Wanted to bank some miles after missing my Thursday run. Felt like speeding it up a bit and wanted to see what Rory could do. Needless to say mile one was a 7:18 and he wasn’t even winded. He’s already getting attached to running with me and will sit and whine at the door when I drop him off and head back out. I can’t wait until he can go the full distance. Gotta wait until those little puppy bones are all done growing!

Weekly Mileage: 25

All in all I’m pleased with how things have started out. I am definitely finding solace in the fact that I am not venturing on this journey alone and am surrounded by ladies with a wealth of knowledge and experience.

xo

The Marathon Decision

I’ve been notorious for shooting down the “So, when you gonna run a marathon?” question routinely since I tied on my first pair of trusty Kinvaras. I’ve been vehemently anti-marathon since the get go and if you and I were to travel back in time to 2012 and ask my newbie runner self (who am I kidding, I’ve been running for barely 3 years, I’m still a newbie) if I would ever take the plunge and sign up for the enigmatic 26.2, I’d quickly change the subject or vehemently reply, “Nah, not my bag. I’ll stick with halfs.” To be honest, the thought of running for 4 hours made me want to vomit. There are plenty of things I could see myself doing for 4 hours (like HBO bingeing and finally finishing Season 2 of The Leftovers), running was not one of them.

Alas my friends, peer pressure is a bitch. This competitive spirit of mine? Turns out is also, a raging bitch. I mean, who are we kidding here, a hefty glass of Malbec may have also been involved in this decision.

Rewind to the start of the 2015 Fall training cycle. I was tossing around goals for the Columbus Half and settled on a 1:40. Mid way thru the training cycle I decided that if I met my goal in the Fall, I would entertain the idea of a full in the Spring. The fact that I was surrounded by Garmin wheeling marathon fanatics may have also played a slight role. Truth was, I wanted to see what all the fuss was about. I wanted a new challenge. I wasn’t and still am not quite sure my body has it in me. I mean, sure I can suffer thru a 26.2 and shuffle my way thru those last 6.2 miles like an eighty year old mall walker, but who wants that? I don’t. At the end of the day, for me, it all boils down to an innate desire and drive to push my body to a limit that every time I flirt with, seems to edge further and further away.

So here it goes. Lord help me. There is no turning back now #glasscity26.2

 

logo-v1116

Glass City Training- Week 9

Another week of Glass City training in the books. I’m happy to report that the past week has left me feeling pretty strong and motivated to dominate the last month and a half of training. The absolute best thing about this past week was the number of outdoor miles that I was able to log #suckitwinter . Gosh it makes such a big difference for me.

Oh oh and the most important part…..Whole30 is over!!! Post to come on my overall experience with the Whole30 at some point. At the end of the day I am super happy and proud that the hubby and I tackled and dominated it. We both will be incorporating some elements of the program ongoing but have no intention of keeping the whole thing going….um hello I need wine and cheese in my life. As a runner I found it very difficult to keep my carb ratio up where it needed to be and I felt that in a lot of my workouts #teamcarbs .

Week 9 Glass City Training

Monday: Rest

Tuesday: Speedwork – 10:00 warm, 6 x (2:00 @ 7:00 pace/2:30 active recovery), cool. Total distance ended up being 6 miles with an overall pace of 8:31.
Conditions: Outside AM, chilly
Fuel: Gu before, water
Thoughts: Loved this workout, felt super strong and felt pretty easy, looking forward to upping the distance on my repeats next week. Loved running solo and having my music to help push me.

Wednesday: Recovery- 40 min (9:31 pace)
Conditions: Treadmill PM
Fuel: None
Thoughts: Get me off this damn treadmill.

Thursday: Foundation- 4.75 miles (9:28 pace)
Conditions: Treadmill PM
Fuel: None
Thoughts: Wow, I actually don’t hate the TM today.

Friday: Whatever the hell I felt like running run- 4.50 miles (8:27 pace)
Conditions: Outside PM, cold
Fuel: Banana, water
Thoughts: Legs felt great despite running 4 days in a row, can’t remember the last time I did that. Loved being outside even though there were still some scattered icy patches.

Saturday: Rest, wine and the new Will Smith movie. My kind of rest day.

Sunday: Fast Finish Long run- 10 miles (overall 8:48 pace w/ last 4 at 8:15ish pace)
Conditions: Outside AM, gorgeous weather, sunny low 30s
Fuel: Bagel w/PB before, GU during, no water (forgot my bottle)
Thoughts: Had my favorite girls Marcie and Amy with me along with Andrea and Marion for a bit. Still lots of ice on the OT that we had to shimmy across at times. Miles flew by per usual with these girls. Great way to end a pretty solid week of miles.

Total mileage: 29.45 miles

xo

Glass City Training-Week 8

Remember all that talk about being fearless and taking chances? It has officially become my motto for Glass City. Be bold, be fearless. I’m posting my Week 8 training midway thru Week 9 and so far, things have been going great. I even got to run outside a few times….words cannot even begin to express the joy. Spring is no longer a fickle mirage miles in the distance. She’s right around the corner, I know it. Kids seriously, I spied 50s next week #suckitwinter.

And now for a little Type A fodder….Glass City Week 8 Training:

Sunday: 5.7 miles @ 8:56/ spectating my amazing friends at Last Chance for Boston
Conditions: Outside, frigid AM
Fuel: Banana before, water
Thoughts: Can’t remember the last time I was just a spectator. Marcie and I had so
much fun making signs and cheering everyone to the finish. Lots of our girls were
running the 5K and hoping for a PR, conditions (snow covered portions of the
course) did not allow #suckitwinter. Our girls Meggie and Allison won the Half
Marathon relay. How anyone can run a one mile loop course for 26.2 miles is
just beyond me.

Monday: Rest

Tuesday: Speedwork- 10:00 warm 6 x [2:00 @ 7:15 pace/ 2:30 recover] 5:00 cool
Conditions: Treadmill AM
Fuel: Banana before, water
Thoughts: Felt good and strong despite being on the treadmill. It is REALLY hard for me to run fast on the treadmill. Maddening actually. Not
to mention supposed pace is completely not accurate, effort/pace is
completely misaligned on my TM. Even more maddening.

Wednesday: Easy/Foundation Run- 6 miles @ 9:04
Conditions: Outside, cold and windy, super AM
Fuel: Banana before, water
Thoughts: One of those BLAH runs, never really felt warmed up. Did get to meet up with
my 430 AM Wednesday crew, had been weeks since we had been together
(#suckitwinter). Love my girls but did not love this run.

Thursday: Easy/Foundation Run- 4.25 miles @ 9:24
Conditions: Treadmill PM w/ the added atmospheric challenge of small rowdy rugrats
circling me like a kettle of vultures
Thoughts: No thoughts, just the following outbursts…”Get off the treadmill!”
“No, no, no, no backflips on the couch.” “No, I can’t Facetime your friend’s
mother to relay specific Minecraft instructions to your friend so you can
hook up right now.” Wait, no I lied….one thought, damn I need a drink.

Friday: Rest

Saturday: Long Run- 9 miles @ 8:46
Conditions: Outside PM, gorgeous and sunny, chilly
Fuel: Banana before, water & Honey Stinger waffle during
Thoughts: Love my solo miles esp on the OT. Ran into Marcie who was nbd crushing 18 miles. Actually felt crappy and did not feel like I had enough in the tank.
Legs felt really heavy. Ready for Whole30 to be over….I’m having a lot of
difficulty with keeping my carbs up with such a restricted diet.

Total Mileage: 29.15

Did I say I’m over this Whole30 biz? 5 more days until I eat all the bread.

xo

Cooler than a polar bear’s toenails…

Winter is a bitch. A fat, snow swirling, bone chilling, motivation sucking bully that clearly has not taken notice of my little white flag that I’ve been waving frantically since November. Branches heavy with layers of pristine glittering snow do nothing for me, the stark antithesis of my ideal climate. Needless to say I am the first to admit that the past few weeks, I’ve struggled with keeping my motivation where it needs to be to hit my goal for Glass City. Sub 1:45.

In all honesty it is kind of scary putting it out there like that. OK so let’s get real here. Is a sub 1:45 feasible for me? Absolutely, no doubt in my mind. Is it feasible for me, this training cycle?? Crickets.

Aside from a few strong progression runs, I have hardly dabbled in speed this cycle. I could go round with excuses (see said bitch winter or starting Whole30 mid cycle), but at the end of the day I’ve recognized this lingering fear that I can’t seem to push thru. A fear of pushing myself, a fear of embracing the uncomfortable, a fear of injury, a fear of burning out. Damn, when did I turn into such a wuss?

My 6 year old daughter has a ridiculous fear of being alone. She needs to know exactly where everyone is at home at all times. An even slight uncertainty of the location of mommy and daddy will bring on immediate and utter panic. Yesterday, something changed. She refused to allow her fear to stand in the way of what she wanted. She told me proudly, boldly…”Mommy, I’m going to be brave.” Off she went into the shadowy depths of the ominous basement to retrieve her beloved monkey stuffed animal. This new found courage has trickled over into so many other areas in her little kindergarten sized life that we’ve failed to tackle in the past.

It was this small insignifcant moment that just rocked me. I needed a little nudge, a tap on the shoulder kind of reminder that fear is no more powerful than the power you give it. It’s a silly comparison, I know….but no less silly than the bulk of our fears which more often than not are completely unfounded. I have absolutely no reason to think I am incapable of achieving (a realistic) x, y or z. I am extremely competitive and have continued to surprise myself with what I have been able to accomplish on training that isn’t always the strictest or most structured. I’m very comfortable and aware of the fact that eventually, I’m going to hit a plateau. Until then, I’m going to ride this thing. I’m going after that little stuffed monkey. I refuse to let my fear shape my future. I will be bold, I will be brave. I will take chances. Write that down.

xo

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.
1907429_10104923260633145_6531607510419981141_n

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.

10175957_10105059370592695_1962122893140351446_n