Thursday, April 29, 2010

Bahston: Fah from a P-ah

Boston Boston Boston.

On one hand I like running races because it's an automatic topic to blog about later. On the other hand... sometimes these things get built up and I get intimidated. Now that it's been almost two weeks, I would like to cop out and tell you to check out Jenn's awesome PR report, Ana-Maria's hardcore report, or one of the many other Boston recaps.

Have you left yet? No? Still expecting more? Ok fine.

We checked into our hotel Sunday night and I kinda threw my stuff together for the race. I struggled putting the timing chip (an actual "old-school" chip) on my laces for some reason, even though I'd used them many times before. The alarm went off entirely too early on Monday morning and I was slightly tempted to skip the race and sleep. I read a few "good luck" comments in my inbox and watched the "Under Pressure" video from Phong as I slowly got ready.

Terri picked Josh and I up and chauffeured me over to the bus pick-up... wherever that was. Boston common? I don't even remember, it was early (ok, at this point like 6:45, not that early). Thank goodness for Terri. I waited in line for a few minutes before boarding a school bus. If you ever want to feel inadequate as a runner, go to Boston. I listened to others chat about "taking it easy and 'just' aiming for a 3:10 or so". Can we trade legs please? Fabulous. The bus ride was long but it worked out well, I was dropped off at the athlete's village with only about an hour to kill before I needed to head to the start.

I moseyed around - utilizing the facilities, taking a few pictures, getting a temporary tattoo, finding coffee and then started feeling chilled. I dipped into the pre-race massage building even though I had no intention of getting a massage. I pretended like I was waiting in line so i could stay warm. After killing about 15 minutes in there, I needed another trip to the plastic hut and figured I ought to get moving towards bag check anyway.

On Sunday I realized I'd forgotten to bring throw-away clothes so I hit up TJ Maxx for some $12 sweats that make me look like a man. Well you really can't beat that soft-new-sweats-feeling and I couldn't bear to part with them. I peeled them off and stuffed them in my gear bag, choosing to shiver a little until the start. It ended up working out because I needed them after the race. It did not work out though when I went to pack my suitcase on Tuesday, but darn it I was taking those soft sweats with me and crammed them into my purse. Yes, all for $12 sweats that I probably will never wear again. Very logical.

[photo by Josh]

Anyway back to the race. I checked my bag and followed the crowds to the start. The flyover went by and an announcer pointed out that it would only take them 4-minutes or so to get to the finish line. Some people were running to the start, but I was all for conservation. These things are chip-timed anyway, what's the rush. Once the race started, I think it took about 15 minutes to actually get to the start line (uphill no less). The announcer there was so kind to call us "back of the packers". Gee thanks BAA, from what I heard Corral 13 runners qualified with a 3:35 or better. Not your typical back of the pack, unless in Boston apparently.

I trotted over the start line and was officially running my 8th marathon. I had no goals other than to finish. Well, obviously I was kinda going for a certain time but I had no qualms throwing that to the wind when I started falling apart. I knew my training hadn't gone well, I knew I hadn't felt 100% in the past month, and I've finally matured enough to take some pressure off myself. I wanted to take it easy and enjoy the race.

Yes I know I said I would not wear these shorts until I
did about 1,934,252 squats; I lied. I came up a little short.
[photo by Josh]

It was enjoyable, until about mile 8. My legs were tired and heavy and would not wake up for me. I knew I would be seeing my support crew around mile 10-ish, and I chugged along eager to see them. In recent races I have felt bad for cruising right on by my spectator(s) with only a quick smile and wave -- I want to stop and chat! So here in Boston, I did. I asked for a ride home, but was rejected. I had held a decent pace for the first 10-miles, averaging an 8:32 pace. The downhills helped, although I may have enjoyed the pull of gravity a little too much.

I took off running again, aiming to make it to the halfway point under/at 2-hrs. I was already beginning to slow and my legs were starting to ache. I started making mileage bargains with myself before I could walk, but don't remember when I started giving in. the Wellesley "scream tunnel" was not what I had imagined in my mind, though I had no idea what to expect. It was still a great boost of support on what would've otherwise been a lonely stretch of road. Around mile 15 I stopped for a bathroom break. Hey, I'm taking this thing easy remember.

Tired legs, slacking "stride", mile 17-ish
[photo by Josh]

I saw my peeps again around mile 17. I stopped to chat and tried asking for a ride home. Again, I was rejected. Josh pointed at my shoes and said "there's your ride, get going". I headed off, not-so excited for the upcoming famed hills.

Things hadn't been feeling good for awhile. I gu'd around mile 5 and again around mile 10, but after that I felt like throwing up so I stuck to water and Gatorade. Those weren't settling well either, but I knew I needed to take in something. My legs were tired and sore, which was frustrating because they shouldn't have been. I didn't feel great overall, and found myself walking more and more. My average pace for miles 11-20 was 9:37, a full minute slower than the first 10.

I slowly pressed onward, walking and running, waiting for that stupid Citgo sign to come into view. the Citgo signifies one mile to go, and it was also the final spectating spot for my friends. I knew I would not bother asking for a ride home at that point, with the finish line and medal so close. I felt nauseous, but I rounded Boylston and started picking up the pace. The joy of seeing the finish line helped me eek out a little extra energy, and I sprinted past a good number of people. When I crossed the finish line I felt dizzy, and couldn't decide if I should grab a medic or not. I got some water (didn't drink it) and my food bag (didn't eat anything) and decided I'd rather find Josh than get tied up in the med tent.

I staggered down the finishing chute to gear check where I put my beloved sweats back on. I found Josh, Terri and her husband much sooner than I expected to, which was nice. I sat on the curb for awhile to try and calm the nausea/dizziness. I know I was not a pleasant person for a while there but Terri put up with me anyway (huge thanks). Eventually I got up, shimmied under the fencing to get out of the finisher's area and we went off to get some food.

Terri & I post race, in my beloved "throw away" man sweats
[photo by Josh]

The only thing I'm remotely disappointed in over Boston is my mental-game. After running a sub-4 in the Derby Marathon a week later, I wonder if I mentally wimped out a little in Boston. I don't remember my exact thoughts and feelings from mid-race though, and I know that the slightest nausea/dizziness freaks me out now after those two bad episodes. So who knows.

I do know that I have no excuses now; I've run Boston under my maiden name. Dang it! I should've come up with more stipulations (jk Josh). I guess I ought to work on planning this shindig that is taking place in, oh, less than 3 months.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

marathon(s) week

week in review (4/19-4/25):
total miles: 52.81 (avg temp 63* f)
time spent running: ~ 8 hours 14 minutes
avg hr: 171
avg run pace: 9:21/mile
off days: 5!!! haha.

if only i could run like this all the time - 2-days/week for 50+ miles. after boston on monday, i did not run (or do any sort of exercise really) tuesday through friday. i am definitely resting again this week, though i may try to walk a little (to help loosen my legs) and i'd like to get in some non-running workouts (yoga, weights, abs). thankfully the only aches i have are sore muscles, and i have been spending lots of time on my new foam roller. why didn't i get one of these things sooner? i'm a freak and love that type of pain.

a fun comparison of my double-header: (click to enlarge)



the courses were pretty similar with multiple, challenging hills. that "downhill" in the first 4 miles of boston is a lie. there are some rollers in there, b.a.a. liars! :)

Monday, April 26, 2010

bahston: wicked fun weekend

the long weekend in boston was great overall (minus miles 9-26). josh and i flew in late friday night and hung out with my blog bff terri (middle of the pack girl) and her husband for the first couple of days. it was great to have our own local tour guide, especially when you (currently) live in podunk, ky where traffic = a 4-way stop. terri and family were excellent hosts!

saturday was chilly and rainy, and we had a slow start to the day. i contemplated running in the morning but it was 37* and i just didn't feel like being 'cold'. we hit up the expo to get our packets (josh and terri ran the 5k on sunday) and browsed around a little (impossible with the crowd, yuck) before we went to catch a duck tour. it was cool, other than the lady and her 10 kids who wanted to "drive" the duck.

josh is a yankees fan so i made him take a photo in front of the red sox 'duck'.

after the duck tour we tried going back to the expo so i could browse some more (i actually wanted to buy things for once) but it was still overly crowded and about to close for the day. i wanted to get one of the fun boston-accent shirts ("wicked fast runnah") for my time-guessing winner but obviously i didn't know who would win at the time.

sunday morning i again debated getting in a short, leg-loosening run in the morning but... yeah. i opted for a little extra laziness before heading into town to spectate josh and terri in the 5k (they both pr'd). it was my first time as a spectator and it is not easy! i have a newfound respect for friends/family who voluntarily spend a long morning to watch me run by for 5 seconds. after all that hard work spectating i went to an amazing brunch (sweet potato pancakes - yum) with even more friends (morgan, meg, jill, and marcia).

josh running his first 5k! :)

at brunch with meg & jill.

sunday afternoon i finally went out for a short, shakeout run and just hung out with josh, terri, her husband and ruthie the 75lb lap-dog :) we eventually had a huge, delicious spaghetti dinner. i'm pretty sure i ate more calories than i burned in the race monday.

[for those who asked - click for the definition of "htfu". i had to look it up myself the first time i heard it. i use "harden" and "hurry" interchangeably for the 'h'. there is a clothing line and facebook group for it.]

Saturday, April 24, 2010

oops, i did it again

a few months ago i ran the nyc marathon and followed it up with a 4-mile trail race. i then complained a lot about how hard it was, how i thought i was going to die, and how one should never do such a ridiculous thing. i have never once denied that i am hard-headed.

monday: boston marathon
wednesday: mri of my head (to diagnose my insanity)
saturday: erm, kentucky derby marathon

a while back i registered for the derby marathon knowing it was a mere 5 days after boston. somehow i still thought it'd be a brilliant idea to double up on marathons. it was mostly intriguing because i can go ahead and cross kentucky off my list and not have to return if/when work ever sends me home. my training, of course, fell by the wayside after i'd already registered for both races, but i was always going to "just-run" the kentucky derby marathon regardless.

in the end, i did better in the derby marathon than boston. go figure. i was a seeded runner and therefore could've started in front of the corrals (there are like 13,000 people in the half and both races start together). however, i was utilizing the portapotty as the race started and instead had to jump in with the run/walk corral. it wasn't bad though, i knew it would force me to take it easy for the first few miles and it's not like i really should've been up with the fast people anyway.

i met a few cool folks while running, got to run through churchill downs, and made some much-needed gains in mental toughness. i told myself to "htfu" like some of my california friends do and i kept digging deep for that extra 30% (thanks meg!). when i caught myself feeling tired, i focused on my arms, picking up my legs, and surging/increasing turnover. i know i'm not in great shape and i did just run a marathon a few days before, and it was a hard-fought battle for a sub-4. it felt awesome to make it to the finish line with a few seconds to spare knowing how hard i'd worked for it.

thanks to all the louisville spectators who came out to cheer us on in the morning rain! especially one couple in this year's boston jackets who called me "pink" (color of my shirt) and cheered for me. it meant a lot as i was there all alone, no friends or family.
normally i crinkle my bib up but this one had those stupid 'b-tag' chips :(

kentucky derby marathon - 3:59:14 / 9:03 avg pace

(i swear, i'll talk about boston soon)

Thursday, April 22, 2010

head case

i finally had an mri on my head wednesday, as if i needed proof to support the fact that i'm mental :) should get the results back soon... in the meantime i'm entertaining myself with the 900 pics they gave me on a cd.

check out my freaky eyeballs

my brain is making an angry face in this one

i wish i knew how to interpret these things!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

boston briefs

i'm still alive and walking! thanks again for all the good lucks and well wishes. i wish i could say i felt the support mid-race, but in reality i was hurting something awful (well, nothing was "hurting", more just feeling completely crappy).

anyway i survived with a glamorous time of 4:14*. not as good as i thought i could do, but i guess this vertigo-stuff/whatever has affected me more than i thought. i've been undertrained for a few marathons before and still ran right around 4-hrs so i thought i could do the same in boston. wrong. i guess the difference is from whatever health-junk has been going on, which i was hoping would not be the case.

{*this makes glenn, "the running fat guy" the winner with his guess of 4:04:28!}

while my time was slower than i expected, there were a few victories to be had:
  1. minimal chafage! both the post race ice bath and hot shower were pain free.
  2. i can use the bathroom!! i can lower myself onto the seat and lift myself back up with grace, instead of crashing down onto it and groping the walls to get back up.
apparently everyone at work was tracking me online - thankfully most of them don't know that some people can run these things 2-hrs faster than i did. one guy did ask what the winner's time was and thought it meant 2mins, 5secs. :)

my welcome-back-to-work sign wednesday morning by the guard shack.
slightly embarrassing, but sweet of them.
guess they had to give the carpenters some work to do tuesday.

(more later)

Sunday, April 18, 2010

the pressure is on

good lord you guys! talk about having some faith... i am definitely feeling pressured to push it tomorrow! ;-) i appreciate all the votes of confidence but i hope you won't be let down if i am a "little" shy on some of those guesses. i've been feeling fine for the most part, but have had a few "moments" of grossness (minor dizzy spells). today while spectating the b.a.a 5k, all the runners looked like they were stumbling and falling down to me. either something funky was going on in my head/eyes, or is this normal when watching tons of runners go by?

anyway i've got to get off to bed and get some rest for tomorrow. i'm finally starting to feel a little excited! (instead of scared, haha) thanks for all the well wishes!

summary of training - boston marathon: (shamefully calling myself out)

# of runs - 92 (nyc: 145)

miles - 636.75 (nyc: 1,114.29)

average mpw - 35.38 (nyc: 48.21)

highest weekly mileage - 54.29 (nyc: 68.16)

runs missed due to injuries/sickness - 21 (some laziness or travel days; bad allergies; vertigo); yet another injury-free round of "marathon training"!

# runs of 15 miles or more - a whopping 5 (nyc: 11)

hours of running - roughly 94 (nyc: 164)

average pace - 8:50 (nyc: 9:00)

races - 1 (green valley 10-miler)

pr's - 1 (by default, but it counts!)

quality workouts - hah. a handful, maybe.

[feel free to change your guesses based off this new data if you want! :o)]

Friday, April 16, 2010

place your bets!

i'm off to boston to hang out with friends and run a few miles (hopefully). let's play guess my time! winner may or may not receive a prize as it seems to take me about a month to finally put something in the mail (just ask aron or diana). but it'll be fun even if i don't ever get around to mailing something right?

a brief summary of my marathoning history, to assist you in making educated estimations:
  • myrtle beach 2006 - 4:03:26 (flat; key training runs: one 12-miler & one 14-miler; a spry 21-year old)
  • baltimore 2006 - 4:01:07 (not-as flat; longest training run: 12 miles; still agile at 22)
  • sunburst 2007 - 3:56:17 (a few 14-16 mile runs; hot temps day of race)
  • chicago 2007 - 4:46:31 (technically this race was cancelled so i was forced to walk like 10 miles to the finish; an aging 23-year old)
  • atlanta 2008 - 3:39:24 (not flat; the first marathon i actually trained for even though i was just using it as a training run for disney; a wise and mature 24-year old)
  • disney 2009 - 4:04:26 (flat; the day after i ran a 1:34 half so... yeah)
  • nyc 2009 - 3:33:02 (trained well for this one, although started having dizzy spells about 3-4 weeks before the race)
  • boston 2010 - ?:??:??
place your bets! get 'em in before monday at 10am est - no cheating allowed! :o)

Sunday, April 11, 2010

reverse taper

most people training for boston (or one of the other marathons going on in the next week or two) are deep in their tapers right now, but me not-so-much. i figure what's the point when the previous 8 weeks or so have been a taper? :o) slightly ironic that what should be my first week of taper was my highest mile week of the year thus far. yes, i am *that* genius, experienced marathoner. (7 counts as "experience" right?)

week in review (4/05 - 4/11):
total miles: 54.29 (avg temp 70.14* f)
time spent running: ~ 8 hours 07 minutes
avg hr: 165.14
avg run pace: 8:52/mile
off days: 0!!!

i feel like my "easy pace" hr has been a little too high (160's) when it used to be in the 150's. i'm sure some of this can be attributed to the unseasonably warm temps (80-85*), but even on slightly "cooler" days (60's-70's) it still seems higher than it ought to be. on the days i actively try to keep it in the 150's, my pace drops from standard 8:45-9:00/mile to 9:30-10:00 and i have to walk a little at times. what gives?

other than the slight concerns about my easy hr, this week was a success on two fronts - i tested out a little speed and got in a long run! so far, neither has caused any trouble.

friday - hard 30-minute run. the first mile wasn't that fast, but i chalk that up to not warming up and just hopping right to it. it's nice to know my legs haven't completely abandoned me. (the last time i ran with any speed was march 3rd.)
[pm run - 3.8 miles, 29:35 (avg pace 7:47), avg hr (178), 57*]

sunday - long run!! it felt ok overall, but my legs were tired at times. i expect it though since the last time i ran over 15 miles was february 13th. (i know! i am a marathon-training role model!) it was warm and i should've carried water or my credit card; i was yearning for some cold gatorade.
[afternoon run - 15 miles, 2:15:42 (avg pace 9:03), avg hr (168), 75*]

tomorrow is finally my appointment with the ENT, i've only been waiting close to a month!

Friday, April 9, 2010

psa: fresh air fund

the winter doldrums are rolling out, and a new, rejuvenating spring has arrived. pretty soon the kids will be out of school and enjoying the bright, sunny outdoors. consider opening your home to a child from new york city for a couple weeks the summer so they can experience life outside the city. the fresh air fund needs host families for this summer! (their service area -- ontario, maine, new hampshire, vermont, new york, massachusetts, connecticut, rhode island, pennsylvania, new jersey, delaware, maryland, west virginia and virginia.)

"host families range in size, ethnicity and background, but share the desire to open their hearts and homes to give city children an experience they will never forget. hosts say the fresh air experience is as enriching for their own families, as it is for the inner-city children. there are no financial requirements for hosting a child. volunteers may request the age-group and gender of the fresh air youngster they would like to host." (from the fresh air fund website)

i would so do this if i a) lived in the fresh air fund service-area and b) actually lived in my house myself. i think it would be fun to host a kid from the city and show them the wonders of a smaller city, town, suburbia or boondocks. i grew up in the "boonies" (or so it seemed) and often complained about it, but now that i'm older i appreciate a lot of the things i once took for granted.

the fresh air fund is also involved with the nyc half that took place a few weekends ago. go check 'em out if you are interested in hosting, helping out in any form, or being a part of next year's fresh air fund-racers!

happy weekend everyone - may it be full of miles and productivity (or laziness, if that's what you have scheduled) :)

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

"dust out" and help wanted!

you'd think weather would have an effect on the construction industry, but somehow i never got a day off/early out for the 19,000 times it snowed, the days it was 10 degrees below 0, or any of the monsoons. today though, 85*, windy and dusty - we got an early out! like i'm gonna complain about leaving work early :)

if it hadn't been so hot and muggy i would've taken advantage of the extra hour for a long run, but gah 85* i mean really. i'm so not ready for this april! i did get out for an hour-long run in the heat, nothing fancy.

some delayed stats, the norm around here:

week in review (3/22 - 3/28):
total miles: 24.92 (avg temp 49.75* f)
time spent running: ~ 3 hours 40 minutes
avg hr: 160.25
avg run pace: 8:49/mile
off days: 1 (from running: 3)

week in review (3/29 - 4/04):
total miles: 33.38 (avg temp 68.4* f)
time spent running: ~ 4 hours 59 minutes
avg hr: 165.25
avg run pace: 9:02/mile
off days: 2

shoutout for help!

a fellow runner and blogger olivia of "blissful runner" is running the maryland half marathon in may to promote and raise money for the university of maryland marlene and stewart greenebaum cancer center (long name, good cause). olivia's husband lost his mother to cancer a few years ago which has inspired her to make a difference.

go stop by olivia's page and wish her luck. many people complain about these "tough economic times" but i'm willing to bet battling cancer is tougher. i know we all have change we can spare - toss $1 (you don't need that side of fries anyway), $5 (what's one trip to starbucks?), $10 (who needs that gallon of gas?) -- whatever you can give for the cause.

remember: the more you give... the more you can write off next year on your taxes ;-)

seriously - my mood may be light and fun, but ultimately it is a good cause and the blogging community is always great at pulling together support for each other. so let's do this people!

links: olivia's blog, post about her cause, and fundraising website

Saturday, April 3, 2010

march 2010

march 2009
total mileage: 141.66
time spent running: 20:29:56
days off: 8 (2 scheduled, 6 lazy days)
abs/yoga: 9 ab workouts/0 yoga sessions
avg resting hr: unknown, somehow didn't measure it once all month
avg max hr: 184.50
pushups: 365

march 2010
total mileage: 121.20
time spent running: 18:31:44
days off: 8 (4 scheduled, 2 lazy, 2 vertigo)
abs/yoga: 7 ab workouts/1 yoga session
avg resting hr: unknown, at least this stat stayed consistent :)
avg max hr: 178.29
pushups: 341

i saw this format on another blog and thought i might enjoy the comparison, or at least that i'd make me feel better about not-quite running. not too successful, but overall i think they are fairly "comparable".

i've fallen into a habit of being lazy/full of blogger-block (and a little busy) to post lately. also, for some reason 90% of you people are now being blocked by the work internet (thanks, websense) which has led to a lot of reading-without-commenting or extremely-delayed-commenting. hey don't blame me, blame websense. trust me, i miss my periodic breaks from work to peruse the blogosphere!

last weekend i got in a "long" run of 9+ miles. i was aiming for 10 here in my "(half-assed) marathon training", but my skin had another allergic reaction to running (it was ~40*). i also started my taxes and spent 12 hours on i-75 once again. story of my life.

i was busy all week at work 'cause one guy was in the hospital (he's ok now) so i did his job plus mine all week long. at least it makes the day pass faster? i got in a couple hour-long runs (i might almost be back to "normal"!) and a short lunch time run on the hottest day of the week. josh and i met eddie montgomery (of montgomery gentry, brother to john michael montgomery) except we didn't realize who he was. he walked over in a t-shirt, shorts, cowboy hat and carrying a beer and said hi and we just blew him off like ok old man what do you want. oh well.

so march was ok... even though it was a solid 50 miles shorter than february. while i feel like i'm severely slacking off with these 20-30 mile weeks, i'm somehow still ahead of my mileage at this time last year.