Wednesday, March 25, 2015

A New Perspective... Derby Training 2015

Yes, it's true. I'm running the Kentucky Derby Festival Marathon on April 25th.

Something happened to me between the ValenTimes 10K and mile 22 of the Napa Valley Marathon. I decided I was fast to run Boston. Fast enough to run sub 3:50 even. Never mind the shit storm that ensued at mile 22. That was a cruel twist of nature. I'm still capable.

So how do I prepare for a marathon in 8 weeks? I got a coach... and got some interesting feedback. After looking at my splits he thought I should have just run my race faster. I was really working hard to slow myself down... and when you work to slow down, you lose running economy because you bounce up and down instead of moving forward. It kinda makes total sense when you put it that way.

He also noted I already had enough endurance. I could run all day if I wanted to (agreed...) I just need to work on running longer at a faster speed... ugh, I was afraid he was going to say that! He then devised a schedule for me that started last week. Admittedly, it looked super light when I looked at it... but hey, this guy has two Olympic trials qualifiers... I should trust him. The key is that I have more quality (read FASTER) runs on the schedule.

Last year, or even earlier this year, I struggled with the idea of a marathon pace (8:45) tempo run. Then, something clicked inside me after running a 7:43 pace 10K on 2/14 and having a conversational run for 22 miles of a marathon on 3/1... 8:45 pace is not that big of a deal anymore. I can do this. Just let me try again.

I took 2 weeks off to recover from Napa. Just got on the elliptical to stretch out my calves and then did some easy runs. New plan started last week - so I guess I'll call it a 6 week plan. My days are going Monday to Sunday now just because that's what the training calendar I get looks like. For the most part it's 4 runs a week but I adjust it some according to my schedule. My work schedule was hell last week. I worked 6 of 7 days. So...

Week 1
Monday - 6 miles. Easy run after a hellish day at work.

Tuesday - Rest.

Wednesday - 6 miles. Easy run.

Thursday - Rest.

Friday - Rest

Saturday - 2 miles. This was supposed to be a "Progression Run", meaning 3 mile warm up, 3 miles at marathon pace, 2 miles at half-marathon pace, 1 mile at 10K pace, and a 3 mile warm down for a total of 12 miles. Well, I was totally exhausted and just felt like hell before I even started so I bailed at 2 miles and decided to try it again on Sunday.

Sunday - 12 miles. Success! My marathon pace was 8:45, half-marathon pace 8:20, and 10K pace 8:00. I told myself that I can run 6+ miles at 7:43 pace so I can run the 6 mile "meat and bones" of this workout at the prescribed paces.

First hard run of the training cycle in the bag!
Week 1 Total Miles: 26

Week 2 - so far...
Monday - 4 miles. Easy. My legs were super tight from Sunday so I hamster tracked it and it took all 4 miles before they were loose again.

Tuesday - 8 miles. This was called an "In and Out" workout. Not sure why it's called that but anyway, it's a 2 mile warm up, 1 mile at marathon pace, 1 mile at 10K pace, 1 mile at marathon pace, 1 mile at 10K pace, 1 mile at marathon pace, then a 1 mile warm down. It rained on me. It was not fun... but I got it done.

Again, my paces were faster than what I was trying to run. I have a hard time judging my pace and I think I'm simply too anal to run slower than a goal pace so my tendency is to speed up every time I see myself at goal pace.
Tomorrow will be a rest day and then I have a 20 miler planned after that. This week's total mileage still seems "low" at 36 but I'm definitely getting some quality miles in.
32 more days til Derby. I really do not have a Plan B this time. Onward!

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Life Since Napa

So here's the main reason why I've been so quiet lately...


Can you guess?

We had a water issue just before we left for Napa. In fact, my husband almost didn't go at all. We had known for some time that there was a slow leak in our outdoor water line that connects to the main line at the street. The problem was that outdoor line runs a good 160 yards through woods and under a creek. Last month we finally found someone that could come trouble shoot the leak for us. We found a company that could run pressurized gas through the line to find the leak. Everyone else (water company included!) had told us any significant leak would be obvious by a wet spot in the ground. Ummm... not at our house. Not when the line goes through woods and a creek!

So the leak people came and found the leak... it was in the pipe where it ran under the creek. All the leaking water was going in the creek. We would have NEVER found it by looking for a wet spot. They found it because when they put the pressurized gas in the line it started bubbling out into the water.

OK. Leak located. We were going to find someone to fix it when we got back from Napa. It had been leaking for months. What's a few more weeks?

Two days before leaving, we suddenly lost water pressure in our upstairs bathroom. The leak had gotten worse. We figured that the pressurized gas must have popped whatever seal the pipe had left in the leaky area. We shut the water off to our house and left for Napa. My husband considered staying behind to coordinate getting it fixed but then figured we could find someone by phone just as easily and nothing would change since we had shut the water off.

So... we found someone to look at the line while we were gone. We would need a whole new water line. The weather needed to be a bit better... Arrangements were made for the new line to go in on Friday (3/6).

We got home on Monday night. We decided to turn the water one once in the morning and once in the evening so everyone could shower, flush toilets and we fill up jugs for the rest of the day. Just like camping. We could do this for three days... or so we thought! By Friday things were pretty tense around the house. I had spent Tuesday at the Laundromat washing everything from our trip. We really couldn't cook because I couldn't wash any cookware or dishes so we had to pick up food everyday..

Thursday night we were told the weather would still be too bad and the job would be pushed to Monday. Friday morning I turned the water on at the road and found we still had no water at the house. Our line had completely ruptured.

Saturday I upgraded my membership at the fitness center from an individual to a family so my family would have someplace to go to shower! The kids decided we were teetering on child abuse. My older daughter found friends to stay with...

Monday the plumbing people came. It was suppose to be a one day job. I am sure they now think our property is cursed...

I spent the day at a Pediatric Advanced Life Support recertification class and then had to run my daughter to a choir concert. The plumbers were still working when I got back from the concert so I went to the fitness center to run and shower there. My husband met me there as I was just about to leave. He was dropping my older daughter off for a shower and was going to the store to buy more water. I thought his head was going to pop off...

We have a VERY rocky yard. I can't get anything to grow in it. The are rocks the size of basketballs when you try to dig in it. The plumbing peeps were using some kind of boring machine with a drill bit to lay the new water line. They kept hitting rocks which made for slow going. They broke their drill bit. They put the backup bit on. They broke the back up bit. Oh, wait, they also accidentally cut our cable line. So now we had no water, no internet, no TV, and no phone...

We picked up Chinese and played Euchre Monday night. Ahhh... family time... you should have been there.

The new drill bit was going to be overnighted but wouldn't come til Wednesday. Tuesday the cable people came out and ran a temporary line that looks like an extension cord across our property. When the cable line in our driveway got cut, it also knocked out service to the rest of our street. The plumbing people also came and ran a temporary pipe into our house so at least we would have water. We ran four loads of laundry, two loads of dishes, and flushed all the toilets.

Wednesday the plumbers returned with the promise of getting the new line completed... or at least that was the plan. They went to work with the new drill bit in place, only to find that when the other bits broke on Monday, somehow the engine block had cracked. The boring machine overheated and became nonfunctional. Another knock on the door. We'll be back tomorrow when we can get a new machine.

Today is tomorrow and I'm still waiting... they may have fled the country by now rather than come back to my yard. I'm stuck here waiting because someone needs to be home when they show up. Running has been on the back burner this week. I did meet with a coach yesterday and I'm going to have a new training plan starting next week. I hope to have water by then!

Pictures from top to bottom...
The now nonfunctional boring machine
Our temporary water line
The excavator that cut the cable line
Our temporary cable line

Appreciate your water!

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Napa Valley Marathon

Overall, Napa was a wonderful experience. I decided to do two separate posts - one about my race and one about the trip in general. Since the whole purpose of the trip was my race I'll give the race details first.

I suppose one of the draws (if you can call it that) of running a marathon (or any distance race) is that you never know what will happen over the course of the race...

Napa was the perfect marathon for so long... but then it felt like the forces of the Universe conspired against me and denied me again. What happened was a complete surprise. There was no rain, no wind. No Garmin problems. No hamstring or glute issues. No GI issues. No one ran into me. I didn't lose my footing or turn an ankle. The course was far less hilly than I expected. No fueling issues. No fatigue. I was just cruising along then BAM!! It was over.

So here's how race week running went...

Sunday - Rest.
Monday - Rest
Tuesday - 4 miles. Easy. I was really tempted to do a pace run but didn't.
Wednesday - 4 miles. Easy.

Thursday - Rest. We flew to California and it took the ENTIRE day. We got up at 5:30 am and I looked at my phone to find a text from John saying "You are famous in Napa" and a link to THIS ARTICLE. I had a moment of panic before I opened the link but thankfully it was more about him than me. Our plane got delayed out of Indianapolis right away so it was actually 11:30 am by the time we actually flew out. We missed our connection in Denver by over an hour but got on the next plane to San Francisco. We finally got into San Francisco at 5:30 pm their time (8:30 pm Indy time), just in time to hit rush hour traffic. It took another 3 hours to go the 60 miles to Napa. My left leg was killing me by that time with all the sitting I had done all day. We finally got to John's house after 11 pm Indy time. Scarfed down some food and collapsed into bed.

Friday - 2 miles. Easy shake out run in the morning than a nice massage in the afternoon. I was pleasantly surprised by the massage. I had asked John to book a sports massage for me as I figured I would be stiff from traveling all day on Thursday and was worried when I found out it was booked at the golf resort/club next to his house. I have never had a good massage at a resort. In fact, some of the crappiest massages I have ever had have been at hotels or resorts. This one actually turned out pretty good.

Saturday - Rest.
Sunday - RACE DAY!

Napa is a point to point race so John and I got up at 4 am so we could be at the finish area at Vintage High School to board the buses to the start in Calistoga by 5:15 am. Calistoga is a small town and they didn't want any more race day traffic than necessary so his wife and my husband just slept in while we left in the morning. We got to Calistoga shortly after 6 am for the 7 am start.

My plan was to take a GU and water at the start, then every 4 miles as I had done in Charleston, alternating with Gatorade. The aid stations at Napa though weren't as regular as they were in Charleston so it actually ended up being, one GU at the start, then GUs at mile 4, 6.5, 12, 16, 21 and 24 with Gatorade at the stations at mile 2, 9, 14, 18, and 22 - or so that was the plan.

The bathroom lines at the start were loooong. We went as soon as we got off the bus but then I wanted to go again. Then it became obvious I was not going to get into a Port-a potty before the race. I took my GU while waiting in line but ended up squatting behind a bush with about a hundred other people before making it to the starting line in the middle of the National Anthem. I didn't get a chance to drink any water and I was a bit more rushed than I wanted.. rushed enough I almost forgot to turn on my Garmin. I was VERY relieved it picked up a satellite almost instantly when I turned it on.

It was cold at the start - high 30's. Much colder than it had been in Charleston. John and I both took off our throw away jackets at the start but then spent the next two miles commenting on how our hands and feet were numb. By mile 4 though we had warmed up, the sun was up and it was perfect.

We cruised for 19 miles, chatting like magpies about everything under the sun. It was like old times, just out for a run together. It was almost too easy. We talked to a woman who had had a stem cell transplant last year for her cancer and got a deferral into this year's race. We talked to another woman about our watches. John was constantly slowing me down because for some reason my Garmin kept telling me I was going too slow (8:50 pace) and his Suunto was showing our pace to be about 20 seconds faster. He told me that when we got to the red barn around mile 23 that I could do what I wanted but until then he was going to keep the reins on me.

Mile 1 - 8:47
Mile 2 - 8:34
Mile 3 - 8:35
Mile 4 - 8:23
Mile 5 - 8:34
Mile 6 - 8:26
Mile 7 - 8:42
Mile 8 - 8:31
Mile 9 - 8:37
Mile 10 - 8:47
Mile 11 - 8:39
Mile 12 - 8:46
Mile 13 - 8:34
Mile 14 - 8:56
Mile 15 - 8:35
Mile 16 - 8:42
Mile 17 - 8:43
Mile 18 - 8:35
Mile 19 - 8:42

I missed my fluids at the mile 14 aid station. I wanted Gatorade and all the aid workers kept telling me it was on down at the end. The stations themselves are pretty small and I got all the way down to the end and there was nothing at all so I ended up just continuing on. I got my water and took a GU at mile 16 as planned and Gatorade at mile 18.

Sometime during mile 19 was the first inkling of trouble. John and I were still running and chatting when I suddenly had a Charley horse in my right calf. It only lasted a split second. It was so sudden it made me gasp mid-sentence and stumble a few steps and I thought, "What the hell was that?!!" I have never EVER had a Charley horse while running or, for that matter, any kind of hard sudden cramp while running. Sudden hot poker pains yes, but cramps no. My problems in the past have been things tightening up more gradually as I run to where they are so tight I'd have to stop... on my own terms. I've never had a sudden cramp before. I've had Charley horses in my calves in the past but I only get them at night when I'm sleeping. The pain wakes me up and then I get my legs to relax. I actually haven't had one in several years though.

Anyway, the first one lasted a split second and made me stumble. A short while later it happened again in my left calf, and I stumbled again. I commented to John that this was really weird and he pointed out we were running a slight uphill grade and maybe we should slow down a little.

I was wearing a pace band as well as my Garmin. I was looking at my Garmin for my pace and mile splits but the actual course mile markers were a little bit farther out than what my Garmin was reading so what I'd do is look at my actual time as I passed the mile markers and compare them to what was on my pace band. Since we had been running slightly faster than 8:46 pace for most of the race, by the time we got to mile 19 I was actually a little over 2 minutes under my 3:50:00 goal time... so we backed off the pace a bit.

Mile 20 - 9:04
Mile 21 - 9:02

I continued to get the split second hard cramps and continued to stumble. Otherwise though, I was still running fine. We even started to joke about what kind of pharmaceuticals I might need to make it though the rest of the race... Valium... Dilaudid... Ketamine...

I took a GU at the mile 21 aid station and took an extra cup of water even though I didn't feel thirsty. I remember thinking just a little over 5 miles. I've got this!

Just before mile 22 though, things changed and it was not a laughing matter anymore. I suddenly got a hard painful cramp in my entire left leg. My toes were stuck and trying to cross, the arch of my foot was curled up, my calf was hard as a rock, and, interestingly, so was my left inner thigh. This left my left leg frozen in a semi-flexed position where I couldn't straighten the leg nor could I push off with my foot or even bear weight. All this happened in a split second and when it hit I screamed and almost fell. I've seen people fall down screaming in other races but I've never understood what was going on until it happened to me. It hurt so bad all I could do was stand there and scream. It felt like all the air was getting squeezed out of my leg. I remember someone stopping and asking me if I'd like an S-tab but I shook my head. I've never had an S-tab and I didn't think it would help at this point. Once I got over the shock I just stood there as precious seconds ticked away trying to calm down and will my leg to relax so I could straighten and stretch it out.

As soon as I could straighten the leg we started running again. The problem was that I was now starting to get Charley horses in both calves and this time they were not fleeting. They hurt like hell and I was trying to run through them as long as I could push off with my foot. I remember running and screaming "No! No! No!" as they got tighter and tighter until finally I couldn't push off anymore and I'd have to stop. Once I got going I could run at a 9:00 pace but all the stopping and stretching was killing my time. We got to the mile 22 aid station. I drank two cups of Gatorade and took off running again.

Mile 22 - 9:44

After that things got WAY UGLY. My entire left leg was cramping again and all I could do was stand there and scream until it passed. I didn't even care what people were thinking. I think the only thing that could have hurt worse was if I had broken something. I was angry and frustrated and felt that my body was betraying me but, more than anything, I was panicked. Time was slipping away. As soon as I could start running I would start running as fast as I could because I wanted to go as far as I could before the next debilitating cramp hit. I remember standing and screaming with the red barn in sight thinking this can't be happening to me!

Mile 23 - 10:19
Mile 24 - 9:32

Things became a blur after that. I stopped looking at my watch. All I could focus on was staying upright. It was getting harder and harder to get the cramps to stop and even after my legs relaxed they were still painful. I remember John trying to coax me to go a little faster, telling me that we needed these seconds. He was doing the same thing I had done to him at Western States, running just a couple feet ahead of me, trying to pull me along with some invisible magic thread. I remember passing the 25 mile marker and telling myself that I was not going to stop until I got to the finish line no matter what.

Mile 25 - 10:54
Mile 26 - 9:28

The only thing I remember about the last half mile was putting one foot in front of the other as fast as I could and watching them go over the blue and red timing mat at the finish. I slammed my hand on my Garmin and saw that the first three numbers were 3:55 and knew I hadn't qualified. As soon as I stopped in the finish chute, I couldn't stand up anymore either. Both my legs completely locked and two volunteers grabbed me. Once they grabbed me and I got my head up, I realized I was having problems seeing too. I was seeing little black dots all over the place and felt light headed. It was then that I realized I might be having a heat problem too. But was I? Your blood pressure can drop suddenly if you stop running too fast too and you'll have the same symptoms.

The temperature was in the 60's when we finished and there had been no shade for the last third of the race. I felt it was warming up but I never felt like I was overheating while I was running. It was basically the same temperature it had been in Charleston six weeks ago; the only difference was that I was running faster. I must have looked really glassy-eyed because I got taken to medical where someone asked me the date and year. I felt much better in the shade but just really fuzzy headed. I just wanted to sit and try to stretch my legs. I finally gathered myself enough to stand and stretch, then found John and walked back to the car.

On the way to the car I checked the official results. 3:55:03. I already knew I hadn't qualified. I just wanted to know the time. I am disappointed but not devastated. I would have been devastated had running 3:55:00 guaranteed a Boston entry. However, it didn't matter whether I ran 3:54:57 or 3:55:03, neither would have gotten me into Boston. There are no more squeakers anymore. Realistically, I feel that I need to run 3:53 or faster to get in. It's almost better that I know I need another race than have run something like 3:53:30 and be in that gray zone where you've run the qualifying time but you're on the bubble and not sure if that time is fast enough to get into the race.

What next? I don't know. One of the best books I've read lately was Stan Beecham's sports psychology book Elite Minds. In his book he advised not having a Plan B. His premise was that if you had a Plan B then you may give up more easily on your goals if Plan A isn't working out. By not having a Plan B you can focus totally on your goal. So... I don't have a Plan B... quite...

I live in a world where work schedules get made two months in advance and if you have any inkling of getting a particular weekend off, you better get your days off requests in six months in advance. I have the weekend of the Derby Festival Marathon off. I even have plans to share a hotel room in Louisville with one of my on-line Sole Sisters. My plan was to be in Louisville that weekend to hang out with my running friends. In an ideal world, I would qualify for Boston in Napa then I would have fun in Louisville and run the half, maybe try to get a half PR. I certainly had no desire to run the full marathon again and tackle Iroquois Park in the middle of the race. However... that option is still out there and available for me right now.

I haven't registered for any more races yet. I need to figure out what is going on with my calves first. They are still incredibly sore. On Sunday night I was actually worried I was developing some sub acute compartment syndrome because they still had quite of bit of tone (hardness) and if I stopped moving for any amount of time I couldn't push off my foot for awhile. I iced them all night and wore compression socks on the plane ride home. They are loose now but still painful. I'm not sure how much damage I did by trying to run on them in a cramped state. I'm still having problems pushing off my feet. I'm going to give it a couple days and see what happens.

Plus... what the hell happened to me? I had plenty of long runs in. I felt like I did plenty of marathon pace and faster runs too. The outdoor runs I did here prior to the race were far hillier than the Napa course itself. I was fueled. I wasn't even breathing hard. I wasn't wearing a heart rate monitor but John and I were chit chatting along the whole race just like we were talking on the phone. I did go from 10-20 degree weather to 60 degree weather but I had also done most of my runs the last two weeks indoors due to bad weather and I figured it had to be at least 60 degrees indoors. I don't think I was dehydrated either. I generally run "dry" when I train, meaning I don't drink anything unless I'm running over 2 hours. I have a friend that calls me a camel. I just don't get thirsty. I'll purposely drink more often on some of my training runs just to make sure my stomach can handle the fluid. The first thing I had to do after I left the medical area after the race was go to the bathroom. If anyone has any ideas on what happened I'd like to know. Should I just carry a vial of pickle juice in my next race to ward off the evil spirits? Do tell!

I feel like I am more than capable of qualifying for Boston. In fact, I still believe I am more than capable of running a sub-3:50 marathon. So... for now... I guess the "BELIEVE 3:50" banner is going to stay up on my Facebook page for a while longer.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Napa Training Weeks 16 and 17... Taper Time

The infamous taper has started. It seems there's something about taper time that makes all runners restless. It's like you feel like you should cram a little more training in, yet you know that what's been done is done and all you can do is trust in your training and try to rest, eat right, and not do anything stupid.

So... trust in your training. I took everyone's advice and decided not to do any longer runs than the schedule dictated.

Rest. No problem there.

Eat right....well... that's tough. I'm finding myself falling off the good food wagon more and more lately. I've also come to the conclusion the scale at the fitness center MUST have broken over the weekend. Last week I was almost scared to get on the scale on Friday (the 13th) but did anyway and was relieved to see that it still read 124. On Wednesday, again, I was scared to get on after a weekend of bad eating... and it read 119. No way! I was alone in the locker room. I weighed myself three times. Then, I jumped up and down on the scale to see if I would weigh more. Nope, still 119. Does cold weather or the barometric pressure have an effect on how the scale weighs you? I haven't weighed this low since before I had kids. Plus, there is NO WAY I lost 5 lbs in less than a week. Today, I weighed myself again... and got 118. Ummm, I think the scale needs recalibrated or something because there is no way this is right. In any case, with one more week to go I just hope I'm not gaining weight!

So here's the summary...

Week 16
Sunday - Rest. Totally toast after my night shift.

Monday - 4 miles. Made friends with the dreadmill and did it at 8:41 pace.

Tuesday - Rest. I had to rearrange the run schedule to go to a funeral and didn't feel like running afterwards.

Wednesday - 8 miles. I wore my Garmin and hit the roads. Plan was to start easy then finish at marathon pace. I had the Garmin covered up under my jacket so all I could hear were the mile beeps. This is what happened...

I overshot the finish but filed away in my head that I was capable of a sub-8:00 mile after running 7 miles.

Thursday - 12 miles. Ran 9 easy on the hamster track then ran to the dreadmill and did my last 3 at 8:41 pace. My fitness center limits our treadmill time to 30 minutes so I really can't do any long runs on it. 4 miles is the longest I can go and I'm going over by almost 5 minutes when I do.

Friday - 1 mile. I was tired. I had a ton of stuff to do. I finally got to the fitness center but just didn't feel good when I started running and all I could think about was all the other stuff I had to do so I bagged it after a mile. I originally had 5 miles on the schedule.

Saturday - 7 miles. ValenTimes 10K plus a mile warm down. Maybe rest on Friday was good. I ran a 10K PR of 47:57.

Week 16 Total Miles: 32 miles

Week 17
Sunday - Rest.

Monday  - 4 miles. Easy run on the hamster track.

Tuesday - 6 miles. Again, an easy run... except my legs still felt way fatigued from the race on Saturday.

Wednesday - 4 miles. I'm still tired and having a wee bit of panic about it.

Thursday - 8 miles. Felt better but still ran all of it easy.

Friday - Rest. Got up at 4:30 am and spent the whole day at work then rushed home to get my daughter to cheer at the Center Grove vs. North Central basketball game - which turned out to be one of the best high school basketball games EVER. CG tossed in a 3-pointer at the buzzer to send the game into overtime after being 16 points down at the start of the 4th period and never leading the game, then won it in OT, beating the 3rd ranked 4A team in the state. It was crazy exciting. I also didn't get home until 10:30 pm. Talk about a long day!

Saturday - 4 miles. All done at 8:41 pace on the dreadmill.

Week 17 Total Miles: 26 miles

So this is it. One more week to go before my big race. Eat well, rest, and don't do anything stupid!

Saturday, February 14, 2015

ValenTimes 10K

Last year I ran a 5K PR (22:50) a week before the Derby Marathon. I plugged that number into the magical race predictor calculator and it gave me an average predicted marathon time of 3:39:21. Obviously I didn't run that time but it was eye opening to see the potential.

So here I am, two weeks from my goal marathon and the last road race before my marathon this year is a 10K. This year, I looked at the race predictor backwards. I put in a marathon time of 3:50:00 to see what kind of 10K time I needed to run to potentially run that time. It spit out a time of 49:39. My 10K PR was 49:19.

I still have this because I'm a sentimental packrat.

I ran this time 28 years ago. I thought then that it would be a beginning to competitive road racing but then life got in the way and I stopped racing. I went to college, med school, and finished a residency. I got married and had two kids. I've been a Girl Scout leader, dance instructor, and have carted my kids around to dance lessons, skating lessons, cross country meets, track meets, ice hockey games, dance competitions, soccer games, cheer practice, football games and basketball games. I used to glance at this plaque sitting in my basement and think that I would never run that fast again. 49:19 is 7:56 pace. No way I could hold that pace for 6.2 miles ever again...

Until today. I felt like I was capable of holding an 8:00 pace... and if I could do 8:00, why not push it a little and do 7:56? If I could PR I could prove to myself that I was capable of 3:50.

It was not the ideal morning for a race. It was cold - in the 20's - but what bothered me the most was how windy it was. That little voice inside my head was messing with me. It's windy today so it's OK if you don't PR...

I looked around at the start and started thinking though that there was a chance I could win the women's 10K race. Then we were off...

Mile 1 - 7:31. Too fast. Slow down! Why the heck do I always run my first mile too fast?

Mile 2 - 7:38. Better. We get to where the 5K and 10K runners split and I realize there's one woman ahead of me. I want to speed up to catch her but I won't be running my own race if I do. Pace yourself! She'll come back to you.

Mile 3 - 7:56. Just keep this pace. I peeked at my watch at 3.11 miles and saw 23:58. I remembered from the race predictor that the 5K time for a 3:50 marathon was 23:57. Just keep this pace!

Mile 4 - 8:03. Now we're running into the wind and I feel like I'm faltering... but I think I'm slowly gaining on the woman in front of me.

Mile 5 - 8:10. I almost gave up this mile. We were still running into the wind. The little voice was talking to me again. It's Ok. You ran some really good miles. You will finish in second place matter what your time is today. Second place is good enough. Then, three men caught up to me. I stayed with them for at least a quarter mile. It was much easier running in a pack and I saw that we were running an 8:00 pace. We ran through the 5 mile mark together before two of the guys pulled ahead of me and one fell back. Thanks guys. One more mile to go. I can still do this!

Mile 6 - 7:50. My Garmin was not exactly matching up with the mile markers on the course. Miles 1, 2, and 3 were all long on the course. 4 was pretty close, but then 5 and 6 were short compared to when my watch was beeping. In any case, I ran past mile 6 and the girl yelled out 46:00. I knew then that I was going to PR. I wasn't going to catch the woman in front of me (who turned out to be a 13 year old) but I ran my race and had my time.

Official time - 47:57 (7:43 pace)
PR by 1:22

I'll take it!

Monday, February 9, 2015

Napa Training Weeks 14 and 15... Hanging On

I think I have Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). It's cold outside. It's gray. I think it either rains or sleets every weekend. All I want to do is curl up in bed and stay there. I'm hungry. I'm tired of oatmeal. I'm tired of bananas. I'm tired of chicken. Did I mention it's cold outside? I just feel exhausted.

The last two weeks have been a struggle. I thought it was smooth sailing after Charleston. I felt good during my recovery week but then it turned into a grind...

Week 14
Sunday - Rest

Monday - 10 miles. Originally I thought I had a pace run on the schedule and was dreading it but then discovered it was just a regular run. Hallelujah! I got it done on the hamster track.

Tuesday - Rest. Original plan was to run 20 miles but I had too much stuff to do at home, I was tired, and I just wasn't in the mood to run so I rearranged the schedule and took a rest day. Then I totally fell off the good food wagon. I just wanted comfort food. Meatloaf and green bean casserole. Then ice cream with hot fudge sauce and salted caramel peanuts... all stuff from my grocery shopping that week.

Wednesday - 5 miles. Hamster track again.

Thursday - 10 miles. Not in the mood to run but ground it out on the track then went to work.

Friday - 20 miles. Again, not thrilled about it but I hit the track early so I could get all my miles in before going to work. I had thought about doing the 10 on Friday and the 20 on Saturday but Saturday was my day off and I didn't want my run to suck up my entire morning. This turned out to be a great decision, mainly because I didn't get home from work until 4 am Saturday.

Saturday - Rest. I was toast after my shift at work. I was suppose to run 5 more miles but just couldn't do it.

Week 14 Total Miles: 45

Week 15
Sunday - Rest. It was raining. Surprise (insert sarcasm)

Monday - 5 miles. Yup, hamster tracked it.

Tuesday - 10 miles. So this was my pace run. It was 20 degrees with 15 mph winds. I tried SO hard to not run the early miles fast but still blew through the first mile.
Mile 1 - 8:20. Ugh. I have GOT to slow down!
Mile 2 - 8:33. Slow down, slow down...
Mile 3 - 8:40. Better. I hit the turn around and the wind hit me full force.
Mile 4 - 8:42. 4 and 5 were the uphill into the wind miles. I swear if it's this windy in Napa I'm running behind somebody!
Mile 5 - 8:47
Mile 6 - 8:37. Made the turn around and flew downhill with the wind at my back again, then realized I was running 7:55 pace. SLOW DOWN!
Mile 7 - 8:40
Mile 8 - 8:46. I hit the turn around and the wind just took my breath away again.
Mile 9 - 9:04
Mile 10 - I was DONE with the wind after mile 9. Just totally done. Ended up walk/jogging home.
Average pace for 9 miles was 8:41.

Wednesday - 20 miles. Last 20 miler of this training cycle. I had kids to cart around in the evening and it was suppose to snow so I went out at 8 am to get the run in. Thankfully, it was sunny and not as windy as Tuesday. I kept my Garmin covered up and just listened for the beeps for my mile markers. I ran 10 miles out from my house and ended up somewhere in the northern part of the next county, running past some really nice countryside scenery and scared up two turkeys. It was a nice easy run. I picked up my pace the last mile to see what I could run it in... and ran mile 20 in 8:49.

Glad I got the run in early. It got nasty in the late afternoon then started snowing.

Thursday - Rest. Active recovery at work all day.

Friday - 10 miles. Easy run on the hamster track and... drumroll... I MADE MY GOAL RACE WEIGHT!! Woohoo. Now I just can't gain any weight for 3 more weeks.

Saturday - 5 miles. OMG! The sun came out! I worked the night shift Friday night so I slept in Saturday morning. When I woke up the sun was shining. I wasn't sure if I was going to run on Saturday as I was sure I'd be dead tired after my shift but the sun lured me outside and I got 5 easy miles in.

Week 15 Total Miles: 50

So now it's down to 3 more weeks. I'm not sure what I'm going to do mileage-wise this week. The training program calls for 34 miles, then down to 26 after that, then it's marathon week. I feel like I need to run more than 34 miles this week then do a two week taper. I'll have to see how I feel.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Making Weight

I weighed in at my goal race weight today!

It's the highlight of my week. It's been a tough 2 weeks. I plan to post the training updates after my run tomorrow but it's just been hard. My goal was to lose 10 pounds since, theoretically, that's suppose to take 15 minutes off your marathon time with no change in your level of fitness. Obviously I've been working on improving my level of fitness too but making goal marathon weight is huge for me.

Ten pounds. It doesn't sound that hard. But for someone like me, it's incredibly hard. I started out at 134 lbs. To lose 10 lbs, I had to lose 7.5% of my body weight. It took me two and a half months. You see shows like The Biggest Loser where people lose double digit pounds every week. Let's say someone starts out at 300 lbs. They just have to lose 3% of their weight to lose 10 lbs. Plus, besides running, my other hobbies include baking/cooking and grocery shopping... really not the past times you want when you are trying to lose weight. I can bake up a 1000 calorie dessert in no time flat... and oh the deals! Kroger had their Mega sale going on the last two weeks so I've been grocery shopping almost every day. I seriously would have gone every day if I had a bigger freezer. My hollow legged children have been loving it.

It's funny what will motivate people to lose weight. I didn't try to lose weight for my wedding. I don't go on diets for Spring Break. I have in my life watched what I ate when my clothes started fitting a bit snug since I hate shopping for new clothes but I'm not one to religiously step on a scale. I think that these last couple months have been the first time in a looooong time that I actually consciously made an effort to lose weight... all for a better marathon time.

I felt like a high school wrestler trying to make weight. Now that I have, I just have to keep it off for another 3 weeks. I have done a long run of 20 miles or more once a week for 5 of the last 6 weeks. This week was my last 20 miler. The mileage will go down after that so I'll really have to be careful... but for today, I'm HERE.