Friday, May 22, 2015

Serendipity

Serendipity noun. the occurrence or development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way.

Call it what you will...
I was suppose to be in court the last two weeks; the culmination of a court case that had dragged on for 7 years. Twice already, in other years, I had been told to clear my calendar to go to court only to have the case continued (in legal speak I guess it's called a continuance). Each time I had to clear my calendar, move my work days to the rest of the month and cancel anything else on the schedule. Last year it happened in August... totally screwed with my State Fair plans, only to be told... psych, never mind, we're not going to court until next year. So this is next year and the case was finally to go this month. Two weeks cleared on my schedule (hello weekends at work!)

Then comes the email. The kind with lots of exclamation points and capital letters saying READ ME NOW!! After 7 years, all parties involved came to an eleventh hour settlement. After 7 years there would be no court case. I can go burn that huge box of countless depositions sitting in my office. It was over.

So now I had two whole weeks with nothing on my weekday schedule. The kids are still in school. I decided to learn to swim.



No one ever taught me how to swim. Growing up, my friends either went to the Riviera Club or the Knights of Columbus to swim in the summertime but my family didn't belong to either so we rarely went to a pool. I spent several years in my teens as a Girl Scout camp aide so I started splashing around in the pool there and accomplished something between a dog paddle and a crawl that kept me afloat and allowed me to go the width of the pool which was the requirement to go off the diving board.

Later, after I finished my Emergency Medicine residency, I decided I wanted to get my scuba certification. I had already dove many times with my husband but just hadn't had time to get the official certification. I could do everything on the check off list except swim 400 meters. I spent countless days by myself in the therapy pool at Kalamazoo Valley Orthopedics practicing my "swimming" before signing up for the certification class. Finally, when my class started - in January - I found that I was the only one in class. I guess not many people want to get scuba certified in January in Michigan. Anyway, it was a 6 week class. My instructor asked me the first night what I could do...ummm, about everything. He then threw me in the pool and went down the check off sheet. Finally it's time for the swim. I went maybe 100 meters then told him I couldn't do it. I was too out of breath. I didn't know how to breathe. He yelled back that it didn't matter how I covered 400 meters just as long as I did it. I backstroked it. He passed me. We were done in one night (except I had to go back and do my open water dives in March). I was done with swimming for awhile after that.

It's always been in the back of my head though... I want to know how to really swim. There was always some excuse. I used to be blind as a bat so I wore contacts. As a self taught swimmer I didn't put my head under water. Get goggles idiot. OK, now I have goggles but I had right shoulder issues. I dislocated it in 1998; after that it started getting so loose that it would dislocate about once a month. Any movement where I opened my chest or, sometimes, if I even reached for something, my shoulder would dislocate. Luckily, it was so loose that I could pop it back in but it really discouraged me from trying to swim.

2010. I got my shoulder surgically fixed. I was going to swim now... but first I had 6 months of physical therapy so the shoulder could move.Then, it was always next month, next summer, next year... until NOW.

I had two "free" weeks. I was going  to really swim. I got a YMCA membership and committed to private swim lessons. I got a really nice college student named Hannah to teach me.

Dying whale. That was what I felt like on day one. I imagine I looked and sounded like one too. I want to be like all the other lap swimmers - swimming effortless, quietly gliding through the water lap after lap. Instead, there I was, thrashing around loudly gasping for air with every breath and clinging to the edge of the pool hyperventilating after every 25 meter lap.

I got introduced to a kickboard. I was told to inhale with my mouth and blow out my nose. Day three, I got introduced to a pull buoy - a little foam block to stick between your legs so you can concentrate on your breathing and your arms. Pull buoys made a world of difference. For once I could concentrate on my breathing and not worry about kicking my legs wildly to stay afloat. I stopped hyperventilating.

There's so much I've learned in two weeks. So much to think about when you swim! Breathe to the side, look over behind your shoulder, keep your head and ear in the water, reach with your arms, keep your fingers together. Now head in the water, really put your head down. Two strokes with your arms, kick with your legs... little kicks, flap at the ankles and break the water, keep your knees together, butt up at the surface, little kicks, little kicks... remember to slowly exhale. Head down, head down. Brush your arm down through the water so your thumb touches your leg. Now turn your head to the other side to breathe... keep your ear in the water!

I think I've made progress. 30 minutes of swimming totally wipes me out though. Next week it's back to work, the kids have their last week of school, and I'm suppose to get some swims in on my own. After that, Hannah's going to have me for two more lessons and then it will be up to me to continue.

So what's the minimum swim distance for a sprint triathlon? Gotta have goals ya know!

Monday, May 11, 2015

Finding Joy... Clutter and Closure

It started the first day of first grade. I remember coming home and showing my parents the worksheets I had done at school. Then I threw them in the trash can. My dad immediately said, "No, no, you can't throw those away. You need to keep them for review." ...and so it started. I became an organized packrat, filing away everything for further review, keeping things in case I'd need or want them again...

I think lots of runners get the taper crazies. That restlessness you get when you're sitting around waiting for your big race and cutting down the mileage. I never really got restless until I cut the miles for Napa; then, I think I got more anxious then restless. In any case, I got a touch of the taper crazies...and then it kinda stuck because I didn't BQ and decided to train all over again.

In the weeks preceding Napa I found some "other interests" - I stumbled across Darla DeMorrow's website at HeartWork Organizing. I think I was looking for some kind of inner peace. One thing led to another and I was on this website and then I heard about this book "The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing" by Marie Kondo. I bought it on a whim, then read it cover to cover.



WHAT I GOT OUT OF IT...
It's all the clutter in our lives that hold us down. We hang onto our past so much it's hard to make room for the future. Sometimes we're drowning in so much stuff, physically and literally, that it feels like a daily struggle just to our heads above water. It's hard to find peace when we're surrounded by chaos.

Kondo's book pointed out that once you physically declutter, you can see what's really important and you have time to do the things you WANT to do because you're not constantly wasting your time picking up and maintaining what's not important. Her book is different that the traditional here's-how-to-keep-your-house-clean types of books because she wants you to do a drastic clean up ONCE and be done. Don't organize and store but get RID of all that doesn't matter. There's a lot of emotional baggage in a lot of physical things. When you declutter you clear your mind too and along with clearance comes peace.

The reality is, I don't have time to do a massive all at once house cleaning. However, I had another restless 8 weeks after Napa training for the Derby Marathon and I still felt crazy... and so I decluttered. I wanted the tidiness that Kondo talked about.

So here's my progress... I got rid of 10 years of dance competition costumes. Thousands of dollars of costumes (no joke). My older daughter stopped dancing two years ago and has no intention of doing it again. My younger daughter still dances but no longer competes. I still have the photos and the programs. Hanging, I had over a whole closet of costumes that my kids would never wear again. At this point in my life it's too much trouble to try and resell them (each costume was about $100). I donated them all back to my former studio. Hopefully someone can reuse a competition costume. Dance competition chapter closed.

 
 

I got rid of everything I had left over from my kids' Girl Scout days. I used to be a troop leader. My older daughter was in scouting from kindergarten to 6th grade. All the kids lost interest and didn't have time after 6th grade so we disbanded. Being the leader, I was left with all the troop supplies. You accumulate a lot of supplies in 7 years. Tons and tons of craft items. Handbooks. Extra insignia. I love crafts too so I had quite the extra stash of stuff myself. Everything that I had no current use for, I decided to donate. I posted a message on our Girl Scout Service Unit's group message board (since I never got taken off the leader list) and I had 4 responses in 10 minutes. The woman that answered first (in 2 minutes!) got it all. I ended up filling the entire back of my SUV with 3 large boxes and 4 grocery bags of stuff. It was good to see it go. Girl Scout chapter closed.


Kondo actually lists an order of how to get rid of things. Personal clothing is first. This I had no problem with. I've really never been a clothing person anyway. I did learn that if you folded and stacked your clothes vertically in your drawers stuff wouldn't get "lost" at the bottom of the clothing stack and you could see everything all at once. Lovely idea... and truth was, all the stuff that was lost at the bottom was stuff I never wore. Bye bye...

 
Last on Kondo's list is memorabilia. This is where I'm at now. The point to decluttering though is that you are left with what is really important. You discover what you really love to do. Me, I'm catching up on my scrapbooking these days. I actually got all my Spring Break photos scapbooked last week!



Next up will be working on some UFOs (Unfinished Objects) - to finish or trash will be the question. Kondo's advice is to ask yourself "Does this bring joy?"

Get rid of the things that don't bring joy. Off to find more joy!

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Living the Dream - Kentucky Derby Festival Marathon 2015



It was a long time coming... I'm overwhelmed by so many thoughts I'm not sure where to start..

BQ BABY!!
I FREAKIN' QUALIFIED FOR BOSTON!!
 
I started this blog in February 2013 hoping to run a half marathon in under 2:00 again. I reached that goal in May then decided to run a fall marathon and try to qualify for Boston 2015, announcing it to the world HERE on June 15, 2013.
 
I suppose if I had reached that goal in November 2013 I would not have had the journey... and what a journey it has been. Along the way I met all my Sole Sisters from Brook Kreder's Inner Circle, I had to get a Facebook account, I met all my Indiana Timing running friends, Facebook put me in touch with other friends I hadn't heard from in years, I learned about diet and nutrition, I lost weight and now weigh what I did before I had kids, and I learned to believe in myself and push harder and dig deeper for the things I really wanted. I believe the journey is a story in it of itself, so onto the race.
 
I drove to Lousiville Friday afternoon and met up with some of my Sole Sisters at the race Expo.
 
Araminta, Michelle, Jackie, me, and Magda
 
We then met up with Sole Sister Beth, her husband and sister for dinner.
 
After dinner at the Troll

 
Magda and I shared a room at the Galt House hotel. Badass Trena, who had run Boston on Monday then traveled to Florida for business and back, got into town late Friday night to run in the morning. Trena and I ran the marathon. Everyone else ran the half.
 
Magda, Michelle, and me at the start
 
Saturday morning... it was raining... of course!!! Thankfully it was not super windy and it was just misting rain at the start. The temperature was actually ideal, around 50 degrees.
 
I started slightly behind the 3:50:00 pace group but passed them before the first mile. The early miles ticked off just as planned...
 
Mile 1 - 8:36
Mile 2 - 8:40
Mile 3 - 8:26
Mile 4 - 8:32
Mile 5 - 8:32
Mile 6 - 8:26
Mile 7 - 8:21
 
I originally didn't want to run faster than 8:30 pace and just keep it in the 8:30's but I felt really good and it felt easy so I just went with it and found myself running slightly faster than I intended.
 
Just after Mile 7, I heard someone yell my name and turned around to see Jane. She was running the half. She either gave me a big boost, or maybe my subconscious thought we were racing, or maybe it was because we entered Churchill Downs right after that and the field compressed and I don't like running in crowds... but anyway my pace picked up...
 
Mile 8 - 8:19
Mile 9 - 8:18
 
The field split after Churchill Downs, with the half runners going back downtown and the full runners going out to Iroquois Park. I told myself to SLOW THE FREAK DOWN!!!
 
Mile 10 - 8:26
Mile 11 - 8:23
 
The hills in Iroquois Park started at mile 11.5. I told myself to maintain the same effort as I climbed the hills.
 
 
 

                                                                                     the dreaded hills
 
 
Mile 12 - 8:36
Mile 13 - 8:34
Mile 14 - 8:46
 
I passed Trena going up the hill between mile 12 and 13. I knew she was tired from Boston but I had thought I might catch her in the last couple miles of the race, not here. Either she was running really slow or I was running too fast. Turns out it was probably both.
 
At 13.1 I peeked at my watch and it read 1:50 and change, an unofficial half PR. The skies also opened up at this point and the misty rain turned to hard rain. Please no lightening. Please don't stop this race!
 
Then it happened... just before mile 14...  my calves started cramping. NO! It was the same lightening flashes of pain that had made me gasp and stumble at Napa and it was just mile 14. NO!!! I tried my best to calm the rising panic. Relax, relax... think calm muscle relaxing thoughts... I was 3:30 under 3:50:00 pace at this point. Calm down, calm down... you have time.
 
Mile 15 - 8:38
Mile 16 - 9:03
 
Just after mile 15 as we were exiting Iroquois Park I had a full on Charley horse in my left calf. I had to stop and let it relax. This CANNOT be happening again!
 
I felt a rising despair. This is where I had lost contact with the pace group last year. Did I run the first half too fast? Did I totally screw myself? Is this where my lack of mileage is going to come bite me? I CANNOT fail again! This is my last BQ attempt this year. I don't have time to do this again. Get your head together! Get your head together!
 
I was still close to 3:30 under goal time, way ahead of the 3:50:00 pace group. All I need to do is run 9:00 pace... maintain 9:00 pace... I've run 9:00 pace hundreds of times... just run 9:00. I can run 9:00...
 
RUN THE MILE YOU'RE IN... the next light pole... the next sign... the next tree... just keep moving forward!
 
Mile 17 - 9:06
Mile 18 - 8:47
Mile 19 - 9:07
Mile 20 - 8:51
 
I still had twinges of calf and foot cramping but no full on Charley horses. It was still raining but the downpour went back to a drizzle. I was losing time with every mile but every mile was bringing me closer to the finish and I was still ahead of the pace group. I thought about all my Sole Sisters pulling for me today, either here in person or following me online. I thought about all my Indiana Timing friends, my co-workers, and everyone else that had sent me well wishes and encouragement.
 
Give me strength! I HAVE to do this! Run the mile you're in. Run the mile you're in...
 
The last 10 miles of this race were the hardest 10 miles of my life... and 10 miles is a freakin' long time! I wanted to give up but I couldn't give up. I was too close. BELIEVE!
 
Mile 21 - 9:11
Mile 22 - 9:19
Mile 23 - 9:52
Mile 24 - 9:15
 
The 3:50:00 pace runners passed me just before mile 24. There were no runners left in their group, just the two pacers. My goal now was to keep their bright orange jerseys in sight.
 
Mile 25 - 9:37
Mile 26 - 9:41
 
The last mile went on FOREVER. All I could think about was this is your Boston... this is your Boston qualifying time!
 
I FINALLY turned that last corner and saw the finish line. I closed my eyes and ran as fast as I could... this is Boston...this is Boston...
 
last 0.2 - 2:27 (roughly 10:00 pace that felt like 6:00 pace!)
 
I started wobbling about three steps before the timing mat but got across the mat and immediately got grabbed by medical. All I wanted to do was stand for a minute and I'd be alright... but I guess I always look like hell at the end of a race... Anyway, there were four of them and only one of me and the two people holding my arms would not let go so I let them put me in a wheelchair and take me to medical. I drew the line when a photographer wanted to take a photo of all of us! We got to medical and they wanted me to lay down in a cot but I wanted to stand so I wouldn't tightened up. They finally left me standing next to the cot, handed me a bottle of water, then went to find someone else to grab. I gathered myself, wrapped myself up in a space blanket, and went back out to the finish chute.
 
 
I had done it! I qualified for Boston! I didn't run 5:00 under like I had hoped but 3:13 under should be good enough. I was IN.
 
It was still pouring rain. I had told everyone not to wait for me if it was raining; I'd meet them back at the hotel. The only one left on the course was Trena. The official clock read 4:02 when I left medical. Had she finished while I was in medical? I looked around and waited for a couple more minutes then decided to walk on out of the chute. Now that I had stopped running, I was cold. I couldn't feel my fingers and my teeth were chattering. I wrapped myself up tighter in the space blanket and decided to head back to the hotel.
 
As I started tottering back I had moments were I was overcome by emotion and let out a couple sobs of joy and relief. Tears mixed with rain. My journey was over. I had met my goal. I cannot remember anything in years that I had worked so hard for and wanted so much.
 
soaking wet but elated
 


Saturday, April 18, 2015

Believing. Carmel Half Marathon.

Today was all about believing in myself.

A week ago, I decided to run the Carmel Half Marathon as my last marathon pace run. My training schedule had a 10 mile pace run with a 3 mile warm up and cool down on it. So, 13 miles and the dates matched up. Initially my coach didn't want me to do it. I think he was afraid I'd blow my legs out a week before my marathon. No way. I just wanted to run a race simulation with other people and aid stations. Pleeease..... talked him into it. Then he asked if I planned to do a warm up before my marathon. Ummm.... no. OK, plan then would be to run the first 10 miles at marathon pace then jog it on in. Got it.

This was totally a training run. Last night I realized maybe I should see what the course looked like. Then I found out there were pace groups. There was a 1:55 pace group. I could just run with them.

I've been running faster than 8:45 pace on my pace runs though and I kept thinking about being told that I was wasting energy by trying to run slower than what felt comfortable. Maybe I should just go out and run what felt right. As long as I didn't go crazy, I'd be OK right? That's what a training run is for...

Carmel is a small race but the start was incredibly congested. The half and full marathon started together and we only had one side of the street to run on. Standing in my warm sardine pack of bodies I realized that I hadn't even checked the weather or bothered to worry about throw away clothes for the morning. Funny how different your mind set becomes when you're not running for time.

This was a race simulation though so I had eaten exactly what I was going to eat on marathon morning and eaten a GU before the start. I had two more GUs for mile 4 and mile 8.

3...2...1 and we're off. Took another 1:30 to get to the starting line. One of the reasons I wanted to run in a race is because the congested starts freak me out. I always feel like I'm going too slow plodding along behind everyone so I dart around and end up going too fast. I've found that starting with the pace group prevents that... if you can start with them. Today I couldn't even see them by the time I got to the starting line so I just ran what felt right. First mile was still a bit fast but I settled down after that.


I caught up with the 1:55 pace group around mile 4, then went around them. Part of the problem with running with a pace group is that everyone is bunched up together and you keep running into each other. The other thing that I found was that I'd often cut my natural stride short just to stay with them. Today I decided I was going to run on my own. I thought that as long as I didn't go crazy and run faster than 8:30 pace I'd be OK. I still had to restrain myself because I felt GREAT!

10 miles came and went in no time. I was 2 minutes under 3:50 marathon pace at the 10 mile mark. In comparison, at Napa when I really worked to try and run an 8:45 pace I was 2 minutes under at mile 19. Cool down time. I slowed down but kept wanting to speed up. I normally don't take anything during a 13 mile training run and during races I just drink water and Gatorade. Today I'd had 3 caffeinated GUs plus water. I was bouncing off the walls... but I thought it would be poor form to run a half-marathon PR (which I could have easily done!) a week before a BQ attempt. Back off... back off...

DONE!

I'm ditching the pace group next week and trusting myself to run what feels right. Today was wonderful. Now I just have to eat well, sleep well, and lay off the caffeine this week.

Beer has no caffeine

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Rain Rain Go Away! ... Derby Training Updates



Louisville, KY 4/3/15
 
 
As a self proclaimed fair weather runner, sometimes I feel like I'm cursed by bad weather.
 
Years ago, as a college student, I used to run a 5K that took place in February called the Polar Bear Run. The weather was always miserable. Then, it occurred to me that since I was the only person I was running for, I didn't HAVE to run in miserable weather anymore... so I quit running in the winter.
 
Flash forward to 2006. It had been over 10 years since I ran a winter race. I'd forgotten the misery. It was a mild winter. I got lulled into a sense of safety. I registered for the 500 Festival Mini-Marathon in May and decided to do the training series 5K in February. Yup, 20 degrees and sleeting on race day.
 
So, no more winter racing again for a couple years. Now it's 2012. Again, mild winter. Progresses into a nice spring. I finally decided to do an 8K on April 21st. It's APRIL for Pete's sake! You got it... 20 degrees with, like 50 mph wind gusts. I considered just waiting inside the port-a-potty til the race started. At least I was sheltered in there!
 
When I started this blog in 2013, I still wouldn't run in bad weather. Then I discovered the indoor track. Voila! All my problems solved. I LOVE my hamster track. It keeps me running all year long.
 
...but this training cycle I got a coach... and he wants me to do speedwork... and I can't do the workouts on my indoor track because my Garmin won't work indoors. Ugh. Outdoors again, rain or shine. Of course, in my case, it's been RAIN!
 
So here's the low down on my last couple weeks... I left off with the long run on Week 2...
 
Week 2
Monday - 4 easy (indoors)
 
Tuesday - 8 (read about it HERE) It rained on me.
 
Wednesday - Rest
 
Thursday - 15 miles. Long run day. I was suppose to run 20. Of course it's thunderstorming outside so I took to the hamster track. I felt good through mile 8 then I started feeling horrid. Hot, nauseous, light-headed. I may have been tired from working plus I had a million other things to do on my "to-do" list as we were leaving for Spring Break to Playa del Carmen, Mexico the next morning. Anyway, I bagged it at 15. Fact is, I barely made it to 15.
 
Friday - Traveled all day
 
Saturday - 4 miles. Woohoo! We're in Mexico. It's sunny and beautiful but it's like 80% humidity and 70 degrees by 7 am. I went to check out the fitness center at 7:30 am. There were exactly 3 treadmills and they were all occupied. I took to the streets outside our resort. The scenery was beautiful. The air was NOT! The pollution and the constant smell of raw sewage was a bit overpowering. Gag.
 
Sunday - Rest
 
Week 2 Total Miles: 31
 
Week 3
Monday - 6 miles. Horrid run. We stayed at an all-inclusive resort - also known as an all-you-can-eat 24/7 resort. Frankly, we ate like pigs. By Monday morning I had ingested so much food my body didn't know what to do with it. I felt like my stomach weighed 100 lbs and had to take a bathroom break midway through my run just so I could finish 6 freakin' miles. Not pretty.
 
Tuesday - 6 miles. By now I'd decided I HAD to run 6 miles just to burn the calories! I'm never eating this much again...
 
Wednesday - Traveled home all day
 
Thursday - 8 miles. Workout was a 2 mile warm up then 800m at 5K pace, jog 400m, 400 m at 5K pace, jog 400m, then repeat 2 more times, then cool down for 2.5 miles for a total of 8 miles. Well, guess what... it was RAINING. I knew I was going to get wet but I didn't have a choice. This was the only day I could do this workout and the only time I could do it was while my daughter was at dress rehearsal at the Tarkington for a show she was dancing in so I packed a change of clothes and sucked it up.
 
Pretty darn proud of how this went. Here are the speedwork splits:
800m - 3:38, 400m - 1:53
800m - 3:46, 400m - 1:46
800m - 3:49, 400m - 2:01
 
By the time I got to the last set of speed sets it was raining so hard I could barely see. My shoes were so soaked they felt like they were 10 lbs a piece. I'm suppose to run a 5K on Saturday. If it's raining like this, I'm running in aquasocks! There was thunder and lightening crashing everywhere. I was the only fool on the Monon. It got scary. Lightening scares the crap out of me. I finally made it back to the safety of the Tarkington and changed clothes in the bathroom. Nevermind taking a shower, I was soaked to my underwear. All I had to do was towel off and throw all my clothes in a plastic bag. The only thing I forgot was dry shoes.
 
It stormed like crazy. The photo above is Louisville after the same storm. Roads were flooding everywhere.
 
Friday - Rest. We went to the show my daughter was in, then out for dinner afterwards. I didn't get to bed until 1 am.
 
Saturday - 12 miles. First road 5K of the year, the Arc's iCAN 5K. Plan was to do a 3 mile warm up, then run the 5K and do a 6 mile cool down.
 
Weather report - no rain but 30 degrees in the morning. Ugh. The alarm went off at 6 am and I considered blowing off the race and just running by myself later in the day, then peeled myself out of bed. Things didn't go as planned. I got lost getting to the race so I got there later than planned and barely had time to get 2 miles in before the start.
 
All things considered - eating like a pig for 5 days, 5 hours of sleep, first 5K of the year - things went OK. I had no idea how fast to go out so I just went for it...
 
Mile 1 - 7:13
Mile 2 - 7:50
Mile 3 - 8:04
last 0.1 - 0:34
Official time - 23:41
 
Obviously I went out too fast and my splits were all over the place. I ended up 4th in the women's race and won my age group.
 
Magda, Nora Jo, me and Jane
 
 
 
Cool down didn't go exactly as planned either. I never did really figure out the 5K course; I just chased the people in front of me. I decided to run the course backwards as my cool down but then I got to the last person on the course and realized there was a chase vehicle after them taking down all the course markers. Ack!! By the time I'd gotten 1.5 miles through the course the vehicle had picked up most of the signage and I was sorta lost on the course. I ended up peeking down neighborhood streets looking for runners or leftover pilons to find the finish again... so I only got 3 miles in before the awards ceremony. Finally, I drove home and ran 4 more miles to finish my 12 for the day.
 
Sunday - Rest. Happy Easter! I got to work all day.
 
Week 3 Total Miles: 32
 
Week 4
Monday - Rest
 
Tuesday - 4 miles. Easy run indoors... because it was raining.
 
Wednesday - 8 miles. Workout was warm up 2 miles then do eight 800m repeats with a 200m jog in between, then cool down 3 miles. Originally I was going to do this at 9 am. Well, guess what... it was RAINING... then started HAILING. Complete and total downpour at 9 am. I decided to postpone my run until the evening. Then the sun comes out and shines all afternoon. 4 pm rolls around. I'm driving to Carmel to take my daughter to dance and run the Monon. Guess what... it starts to RAIN again. This time I didn't think to pack any extra clothes...
 
So it's raining but not too bad when I start out. I get four 800's done in 3:53, 3:54, 3:54, and 3:52. By the time I finish my third 800 I'm about 4 miles from the dance studio. The skies open up and it's a complete and total downpour again. Then it starts thunder and lightening... like really really scary lightening. I got done with my fourth 800 and got to the overpass that goes over 146th Street and was too chicken to run it in the lightening. No way was I going to be the highest point on the horizon! I stopped under the overpass with several other runners. Problem was, I couldn't huddle under there indefinitely. My daughter's class was only 90 minutes. I was covering 8 miles. I had to get back before she was done. As soon as the light changed on 146th Street I left the overpass and just booked it back to the studio... never mind trying to get the other four 800 repeats in, I just wanted to get back! I got back and figured out I'd covered 8 miles in 65 minutes.
 
Talk about being wet! I was so soaked I went into the bathroom, locked myself in a stall, and was able to take off all my clothes and wring them out into the toilet. Then I had to put all the wet clothes (which at least weren't DRIPPING wet anymore) on again and just stand inside until my daughter was done with class.
 
OK, it can stop RAINING any day now! I think I've paid my dues.
 
Thursday - Rest
 
Friday - 16 miles. I was suppose to run 20. It was a deceptively beautiful day. There was a thunderstorm all night. I remember thinking at 1 am that I really wanted to do my long run outdoors but didn't think I'd be able to do it if it was still storming. Well, it stopped raining in the middle of the night and the winds picked up so much that the pavement was dry in the morning.
 
 
 
Deceptively beautiful. It was so windy it took my breath away. Plus, I think I got a little spoiled running all month on the flat protected Monon. The county roads by my house are hilly and, this time of year, all the farm fields are completely bare and open so the winds are brutal. I was tired from working all day Thursday plus, well, I was just tired! My hamstrings started aching and by mile 16 I just couldn't take it anymore and threw in the towel. I actually had to walk another mile home but it was just too much pain and effort to keep running.
 
Ugh. This was suppose to be my last long run before Derby and I bagged it. Time to rethink the training plan. I was suppose to do another 8 mile "steady state" run next week, followed by another longer run of 10 miles at marathon pace with warm up and warm down. If I moved the 8 miler to this week, maybe I can try 20 again next week... I emailed my coach.
 
Saturday - Rest. Spent the day at work.
 
Sunday - 8 miles. No reply from my coach yet so I did the steady state workout. 2 mile warm up, 5 miles at marathon pace, 1 mile warm down.
 

 
Still running faster than goal marathon pace. Should I just let myself run in the 8:30's?
 
Week 4 Total Miles: 36
 
So now it's Week 5...
 
Today was a rest day. Coach emailed me back. The 20 miler is still in discussion. Do I really need it? I'm running the Carmel Half-Marathon as my 10 mile marathon pace run on Saturday. Plan is to warm up 2 miles, run 10 miles at 8:45 pace, then cool down for 1 mile. He said I could do this as long as I didn't "cook my legs racing." Ummm, no way am I "racing" 13.1 miles a week before my marathon. I just don't like doing long runs by myself. I'm planning 4 easy miles tomorrow, then maybe 20, then two rest days, then the half marathon. That's only 3 days of running this week but 37 miles which would make it the biggest week of this training cycle. Still doesn't feel like a lot of miles to me but no going back now!
 
Should I run a 20 miler this week? Should I let myself run in the 8:30's? There are days I feel like "I've got this!" but then there are days I'm full of doubt. There are days I really want more time to prepare but then there are days I just want April 25th to get here so I can go do this!



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 enough 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!