Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Next on deck

I now I have one entire day between me and the marathon. I have had an entire day to digest what happened on Sunday, question every single decision that I made on race day and question whether or not any of those decisions would have changed the end of the day. Would I have been faster? Maybe. Would I have qualified? Maybe. But that has passed. That ship has sailed for this particular marathon and now it is the time to reflect on the things that went well, and maybe make some edits to the things that went wrong.

I don't have all of the answers from this cycle or all of the plans for the next cycle yet, but suffice to say, I want to try again. I ran very hard. I can run harder, I think. I can plan better, fuel better, take advantage of small downhills and tackle uphills more effectively. I can stick with my speedwork and tempo runs more than I have in the past (yeah, they completely fell off the horizon in the last few weeks of prep) and use that to help maintain my strength. I can crosstrain more frequently or take less rest days. I can do the strength training that I am supposed to do. There are always things to improve.

So I have been chatting with Krista. She is a Toledo friend that is also trying to qualify. We were originally internet friends who have now met in person and run together. She is planning on making her next attempt in Toledo on April 26, 2015. The Medical Mutual Glass City Marathon.
I am definitely thinking that I am leaning this way as well. I like the idea of having a friend there with me to run. Even though, like I did in Columbus this weekend, we will need to plan to stick together for as long as we can, but run our own races overall. That is the way that it has to be, because we do not want the other person to be dragged down in any way. Now, I am feeling sad that Karen's race did not go according to plan, but I am glad that mine was as close to plan as it could have been.

I need to figure out what my training plan will be, and how I am going to go about getting there, but it looks like BQ attempt 2 will be in April.

Monday, October 20, 2014

The Columbus Marathon: Race Recap

Well, I was not sure how I was going to feel prior to the race, writing this recap, but I guess all things considered, I have to feel pretty good. I don't want to discount ANYTHING that happened on race day, or anything that happened leading up to it. It was the hardest, longest run of my life, and it was worth every second of it.

So, I am going to skip the expo. That was pretty standard. We got all of our stuff, etc. Karen bought two pair of shoes - which was SMART of her. She is always running out of a shoe and getting sore, etc, so having a few backlogged pair is a good plan. It just makes it easier to roll between shoes when you always have them. I didn't buy anything, but I got my stuff for the next morning.

After we left the expo we headed to Grove City (where our hotel is, about 6 miles from downtown Columbus), dropped our race stuff at the hotel and immediately heading to dinner at Long Horn. There were lots of choices to eat there, so everyone was happy. Chelsa and I both enjoyed a beer, everyone got delicious food (especially Chelsa and I who enjoyed the same pasta dish), and it was just the 4 of us, without the pressure from everyone else. There were tons of runners from our group there with us, but we made the decision to just go eat and not worry about what everyone else was doing, which I am grateful for.

Karen and I shared a room, and we were lucky enough to get a room with a little kitchenette (no idea how we lucked into that) so we got the coffee pot ready for morning, and turned on the football game. Karen took a bath to try and relax and I just laid in bed watching TV in my pajamas. When Karen came to bed about 20 minutes later, we turned out the lights, turned down the volume and slept fitfully all night. We both were tossing and turning, but at the same time, we expected it. We were up before our alarm, which was set for 4:45 am, and started the coffee pot and started getting ready. We both had a goal to poop before we left the hotel. I know that might sound strange if you are NOT a runner, but trust me. Go before.

We left to go downtown at 5:45 am and found the parking garage. We got a pass and having that made all the difference. If you run the Columbus Marathon, I recommend purchasing the reserved parking, that was fantastic. We headed over to the starting area, making a stop in the porta potties and then finding another one from our group in line for gear check. I was checking gear, which I have never done before, to make sure I had my keys and wallet since I was planning on leaving Columbus before Chelsa was done running.
After a few minutes, we decided to head over to the corrals to hang out there and use the bathrooms a few more times. Apparently one of the issues that has happened in the past in Columbus was the lack of toilets, and they more than made up for that. Karen and I were in the A corral, in order to try and hang with the 3:35 pacer, and there was probably 20 toilets that you could ONLY reach in the A corral! So we went right away, then hung out at a heater, went again, and then found Dave and Scott, the guys who were taking us through the streets.
(Don't I look nervous? I SO WAS!)

And soon, we were off! They always play Born to Run when the race starts, and even though I was prepared for it from running the half two years ago, I cried. Music gets me like that. The start and finish were in a different location than they were in previous years, which allowed them to be in the same spot, so I was not familiar with exactly where we were going when we started.

Our first mile was a little bit slow, as expected. There were 18,000 runners, so that could not be helped. We picked things up for the next few miles, banking a bit of time, sometimes I wonder (ok, for the last 10K I wondered) if that was a good or bad thing. We settled into a solid pace around mile 6, and I was feeling great. I started chatting with Dave & Scott, I wanted to know how fast they really ran marathons when they weren't pacing us (super fast), I found out about some of the other runners that were hanging in our group. I was in a fantastic mood, and I bet it showed. I was trying not to do anything stupid like jump or dance though, even though I was tempted, afraid I would pay for that later (yup.)

We crossed the 10K mat at 50:20, pretty much dead on where we wanted to be. We looped back into downtown and then headed out into the German Village and past the Children's Hospital (one of the new parts of the course, since they are the chief beneficiary of the marathon). As we circled past a park, Karen stopped to use the bathroom, and I kept plugging away with the group. She caught up with us quickly, and we headed toward downtown to drop off the half marathon participants right before the 13 mile mark. We past where they turned off to head toward their finish, and I realized I was in this for the whole race.

13.1 time: 1:46:14 - required time per pace band: 1:46:36 at mile 13. So we were a bit ahead at this point. Feeling fantastic, I ventured ahead of the pace group for a bit. I was not super far ahead of them, but when feeling good, I felt like I needed to go for it. Right around mile 14, my left knee started to creak a little bit, and I was tempted to quit. Just for a second though, because by the time I thought about it my knees started to feel better and we plugged onward toward the Ohio State University campus.

We actually ran INTO the Shoe, which was awesome. It gave me the push to keep on running and keep my pace up. There was another mat here, Karen explained that it was to ensure that people didn't cheat and skip that section.
16.3 miles: 2:13:25 - pace bracelet pace at 16: 2:11:12 and 17: 2:19:24, so I would say that I was right in there at this point. After coming out of the stadium my energy was waning and I was starting to feel the pressure of what I was hoping to accomplish. We went up the ramp through the tunnel that the visiting teams go through, and that little uphill took a bit out of me, and around mile 18 the 3:35 pace group passed me. I could see them though, so I knew that I had a chance.

By mile 20, I was 24 seconds off pace and the pace group turned a corner and I lost them. But it was only 24 seconds! And I only had a 10K left! If I could run the 10K in the same pace I ran by first 10K, I had a chance!

Yeah, a few steps further, I realized that was not going to happen. Here came the wall. I took in my final gel (Gu, salted caramel, try it!) and made every single effort to get my legs to turn over. They were going, but they were definitely slowing down, and with each mile that passed I was getting further off goal pace. At mile 23-ish, I saw Andrew, one of the guys in my run group. He cheered for me, and I exhaustedly (I can only assume) waved to him. Then around mile 24 there was a cobblestone section. Seriously, this is my ONLY complaint about the course. I am just trying to stay upright at this point, and trying to watch my feet to make sure I did not trip was tough. I REALLY wanted to start some kind of walk/run at this point. But I was also afraid that I would not start running again if I stopped, so I just kept going even though it was slow.

Mile 25 was my SLOWEST mile of the entire day, clocking at 8:59. Under circumstances of earlier in the summer, I would not have flinched at such a time. After all, my original long run goal pace was 9:14 to hit my sub-4 or bust goal. But at this point I was cursing in my head and at my legs why they would not just GO! (Obviously they had run 25 miles. No wonder they did not want to go!) Karen's mom got this shot of me coming into the finish.
Just trying not to fall down.

And finally, it was over.
Whoa. It may not be that fantastic BQ I had hoped for (semi-secretly until recently), but that is more than 47 minutes off my previous (and only!) marathon time. I cannot help but wonder what could have been, if we had run even splits early instead of a few sub-8 miles, or if somehow my fueling had gone just enough better that I didn't hit the wall. Maybe gels at 4-8-12, etc rather than 5-10-16-21? I don't know, but I will experiment some more for the next race. I will say that at 5 miles was better than at 6 like I did for the Pig 2.5 years ago...

I am proud of this race. I can't NOT be, but it makes me even hungrier.

We are absolutely at BQ-or-BUST So MMGCM? I think?

Friday, October 17, 2014

The runch crew

So my work running group is now up to three. There were three of us that headed out to the park yesterday to cover the 4 miles of trails that Greg and I have recently made our Monday and Wednesday lunchtime ritual. We have been having a fantastic time out there, and clearly now, people are seeing that and wanting to come with us. I am glad. Our Flying Pig team next spring is going to be fantastic. We might even need a second team. I think it will be a pretty quick team if it shakes out like I expect it to right now.

When I got into the office yesterday, Charlie found me within 15 minutes of me settling in for the morning. Charlie has only been with the company for two-ish weeks, but he has already made it known that he likes to run and he is pretty quick (8:00-ish pace). He told me about how he was running the Bourbon Chase and a half marathon soon. Obviously, I have some experience with both of those things, so I was interested to hear his thoughts on that.

It is nice to have a larger group to run with for sure. They keep me rolling when I don't feel like doing anything. And recently, that has been a little bit frequently. Nearing the end of training has left me feeling a little bit drained on running, which I assume is pretty normal for marathon training. I have been running hard and a lot of miles for a pretty long time. So burn out has been rather inevitable. But running with Greg and Charlie has re-inspired me for sure, and I am ready to keep it up with them.

Greg and I are relaying a half marathon on 11/15. Because we are awesome.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Marathon Training: Week 19 of 20

Well, well, 6 days to go. I am now only 6 days away from marathon number 2 - the one that has been filling a large majority of my thoughts for the last 19 weeks. Yes, there are other parts of my life that exist, my job and family and friends - both new running friends (Greg & Charlie) and old running friends - best friends - Karen, but everything has come down to one day that is 6 days away.

Last week was a very light one. I ran only three times. I did nothing else - other than walk around Frankenmuth with Rachel, Megan, Aunt Laurie and my mom. But that is a workout for sure. It was a lot of time on my feet, so I am counting that as my 4th run. HA!

Monday: 4.6 miles with Greg. pouring rain + hills
Tuesday: off
Wednesday: 4 miles with Greg
Thursday: off
Friday: off
Saturday: walking in Frankenmuth
Sunday: 8 miles (2 of trails) at Wildwood - 8:30 pace

Yeah, a very light week. Whoops. Oh well.

6 days to go.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Runching with Greg

On Wednesday, Greg and I headed out for a run. Greg is my coworker that I recently started hanging out with. I found out a few weeks back that he runs. He approached me in the lunch room to bring up the fact that he had heard that we had a work Flying Pig Relay team. We did! And we had fun. In addition, one of the members that was on our team this past year is no longer with the company, so we have an opening.

After that, we talked about running a few more times before I finally IMd him and asked him if he wanted to join me for a run at lunchtime.

Since that day, we have run together about 6 times, averaging twice per week. It is nice to have someone to get me out the door. Some days my motivation is definitely waning, and having him gets me running.

Wednesday we decided just to do 4 miles. We went back and did the first route that we did together that day. It was a good one because about a mile of it is on trails, which is a nice change of pace from running on sidewalks all the time. This route is also not so hilly as what we ran on Monday. It takes us through a new park in Blue Ash that is different every time we are there. They are working on the park, updating it, developing it, and there is some construction going on there now.

At least on Wednesday it was not raining like it was on Monday. On Monday we did a little over 4.5 miles and we came back to the office completely soaked to the bone. Water was dripping off of our clothes and hair, I hoped that this run would feel as good as that rainy one did. Because despite the cold and rain, it was a lovely run.

Here are how things turned out for us on Wednesday:
Mile 1 - 8:33 (this one hurt)
Mile 2 - 8:16
Mile 3 - 8:03
Mile 4 - 7:51 BOOM!

Greg said he was hurting a bit by the end. It was the opposite for me. I was feeling wonderful by the end and hurting the first mile. There is something to be said for warming up I guess.

Do you have a running buddy at work?

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

A Family/Addie Update

So a life update. Obviously a lot of this blog has been focused around running and the Columbus Marathon lately. I suppose in some ways that is understandable. Some things about marathon training are completely all encompassing, and I have definitely been feeling that way.
But there is a lot more going on in my life than just running and preparing for the marathon! Heck, I have a 14 month old and a husband who also has his own life.

Addie is pretty much walking now. She LOVES it. It makes her so excited to move like that, even if she is holding one of your hands.

She is a cheeser when she knows that you are taking her picture.
She also has a baby, She loves her baby.
That is a baby Cinderella, She loves her. I think she is giving her a kiss.

She also loves her puppy. This is Addie and Teek, They are secret besties.
We had family pictures taken. This is what happens when you have a one year old who has very little patience for photos. This is an unedited outtake from the photography session.
Yep, she was done with pictures and just hightailed it out.

Jason and I are planning a trip. We will be headed someone fun in November. We are pretty sure where we are going, I will write more about that at a later date. Suffice to say, I am very excited for the trip though, even though it will be without Addie, and I will miss her like crazy-mad. :)

What is going on in your life?

Monday, October 6, 2014

Marathon Training: Week 18

I am now less than 2 weeks away from the Columbus Marathon. Wow. Part of me feels like I have been training forever. The other part of me feels like this 20 week plan just started.
But I am feeling pretty good now. I got in my 4 runs that I planned last week, which was a win. Some days I struggle with logging everything that I need to or want to, but last week was an exception. I nailed it. And I am pleased with that.

So here is the week in the review. There will only be two more of these with hopefully a follow up race recap. Fingers crossed.

Monday: 5 miles at an 8:34 pace
Tuesday: 15 minutes of strength training using a 22 lb baby weight
Wednesday: 5 miles at an 8:12 pace
Thursday: rest
Friday: 5 miles at an 8:16 pace
Saturday: 12 solo miles (I point out solo because I sometimes struggle when I am running solo) at an 8:25 pace.
Sunday: 2 mile walk with Addie and the stroller.

29 miles total, One strength workout. One walk. One full rest day.

Overall, I  had a good week, that I am happy with. I know that it was difficult one, and I might not have done the overall mileage that I wanted to do, but I did pretty well. I am pleased with that.

How was your week in training?