Sunday, September 25, 2011

PDR-NWB! (Personal Distance Record - No Walk Breaks)

So yes I have run half-marathons before, but I usually walk 1-2 minutes every 3-4 miles. Before this morning the longest I had run without walking was 9.1 miles, and that was last October. Last weekend I ran my 8 miles straight so today I set out to see if I could do my whole run without walking. I had 10 miles on the schedule. Want to know how far I ran before I stopped to walk?

11 miles! I couldn't believe it! I ran the first 10 which put me at 1 hour, 55 minutes. You just can't stop running when you are only 5 minutes away from hitting 2 hours. Then when I hit 2 hours, I was at 10.4 miles. Who stops at .4 miles? So I made it a nice even 11. Yes I was tempted to run 13.1 right then and there just to prove I could. But, I will have that chance in 2 weeks at the Portland Half-Marathon.

Now I am debating...should I go slow (11-11:30/mile) during the race so I can run the whole thing? Or do I go at the pace I have been training for (9:50/mile) and risk getting tired and having to take walk breaks? Both of these things (running a half without walking, and running a sub-2:10 half) are big goals of mine.

Decisions, decisions!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

18 days and counting

I can't believe the Portland Half-Marathon is in 18 days! Where did the time go?

I finally am back on track with training, after taking an easy week following my double halfs. Luckily I did not lose any speed despite not doing speed work for about 6 weeks. According to McMillan I should be doing my 400 repeats in 2:01-2:10 in order to hit 2:09:59, and I have been doing them in 2:00 (1:58 if I'm feelin fiesty!). So, in theory, I should be set to break 2:10 come October 9th!

In my non-running life, I am starting school on Monday. I'm working towards an MS in Organizational Leadership. I think I should still have enough time to do all my training, I will only be taking 1 class at a time. I am excited but anxious! I haven't been in school for a long time.

I also started biking again. I was burnt out from before but now that I am just doing it for fun, it is a lot more enjoyable. I am hoping to combine school reading with sessions on the bike trainer during the winter and kill two birds with one stone!

I have a feeling I will be pretty busy for the next few months...

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Best Anniversary Present Ever

I mentioned in my last post that my husband had to leave my first race to pick-up his anniversary gift for me. When I got home I walked into the kitchen and was totally blown away to find this...

It's us after we finish the Rock n Roll USA Marathon in DC! It is our first marathon and we will be training for it and running it together. The cake has the Lincoln Memorial and Washington Memorial on the front, and the Potomac River going all around it. The flag is because its the USA Marathon, of course. I was so excited and surprised, we used to watch Ace of Cakes and I would always say how I really wanted a custom cake some day. I never really thought I would get one though!

It was almost too cute to eat. Almost. It was carrot cake, after all. And it was delicious! We saved the little fondant people for now. I couldn't bare to eat them.

Getting a custom cake has ruined me for all other cakes. I expect a custom cake on all occasions from now on, ok hubby? Thanks!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Double Race Report

Warning - it's long!

Sunday – Oregon Wine Country Half-Marathon

I got to the race start around 6 and sat in my car emailing Chris on my phone and eating a PowerBar. Around 6:20 I walked over to gear check and got in the porta-potty line. The sun was starting to rise and it was beautiful! We were at a vineyard on a hill looking over the valley. Gorgeous! They had us walk over to the start line around 6:50. They played the national anthem and then we were off!

Often I get caught up in the crowd at the beginning of races but I made sure to stay in my goal range (11:30-12 minutes per mile). There were a lot of people going this pace so I wasn’t at the back of the pack like I thought I might be. I was feeling good and like I was just out for a morning jog, but I made a rule that I would not run more than 2 miles without taking a walk break. My goal was to finish the race without feeing sore and I had to remind myself of that several times.

The course was pretty nice, very scenic with some hills. Around mile 7 I realized I wasn’t really sweating anymore and my fingers were puffy. I guessed I was dehydrated so I started drinking water and HEED at all of the aid stations. It was getting pretty hot but I was having a good time, I just kind of zoned out and ran. I kept forgetting to take walk breaks and eat my Power Bar blasts. I was checking my pace to stay slow enough, but a few times I looked it was around a 10:30 pace (and twice it was a 9:xx pace). Whoops!

I kept chugging along and before I knew it we were in the final mile. Chris had worked graveyard the night before and I knew he might be stopping by the finish line on his way home from work but I wasn’t sure. We had about ¼ mile to go when I spotted him on the side of the road! I stopped to say hi before running around the corner and through the finish chute. The race announcer made a big deal of my finish and kept yelling my name, I was laughing as I crossed the finish line so I am interested to see that photo! I got my medal, which is also a wine stopper, and a bag of snacks. We could grab what we wanted from the tables so I got a box of Wheaties Fuel, a banana, and a bottle of Skinny Water. I walked around for a few minutes until I found Chris. We chatted for a few minutes and then he had to go pick up my anniversary gift (more to come on that!) and I had to catch a bus back to the start.

Overall this was a very good race. It was well coordinated and had a cute race shirt (women’s sizes) and nice medal. I would do it again. And it’s only 30 minutes from our house which is very convenient!

I was feeling a little sore afterward but nothing bad. Just like I had done speed work or something, it was mainly my quads. And my soleus, lately that has been hurting after long runs but feeling fine the next day. I took a cold bath for 30 minutes (we didn’t have any ice) and basically spent the rest of the day around the house.

Mile 1 – 11:48
Mile 2 – 11:38
Mile 3 – 12:08
Mile 4 – 12:00
Mile 5 – 11:48
Mile 6 – 11:23
Mile 7 – 11:49
Mile 8 – 11:21
Mile 9 – 12:37
Mile 10 – 12:31
Mile 11 – 11:29
Mile 12 – 11:41
Mile 13 – 11:21

Total time: 2:35.45

Monday – Labor Day Half-Marathon

I woke up and was sore. Not the best thing to feel on a race morning. I guessed it was due to all the downhills (700+ feet of elevation loss) since it was only my quads. It wasn’t too bad, so I wasn’t that worried. The race didn’t start until 10:30 but it was 2 ½ hours away so I had to leave the house at 7. Traffic was very light, but the race was literally in the middle of nowhere, about 30 miles off the highway.

The race was VERY small and not super organized. There was no clear start line, and all of the runners (duathlon, 5k, 10k, 10 mile, half-marathon) were starting together. I just went to where everyone else was standing, behind an invisible starting line. The race announcer said “on your mark, get set, go!” and everyone took off. The race mainly took place on this rural highway and we were running on the side of the road. There were aid stations every 1.5-2 miles but other than that no course support. Absolutely no spectators and no course marshals. Just people with their car pulled over on the shoulder and a table of water cups setup.

It was cold and very cloudy at the start, so I did not put on sunscreen. I know, stupid mistake. The sun came out about 20-30 minutes after the start and I immediately regretted my decision. I now have a lovely shade of red covering my back, shoulders, chest, and arms. Except for where my ipod and body bugg armbands were, those areas are nice and white.

When the race first started I almost forgot I had just run a half-marathon the day before, I felt pretty good. My pace was around 10:40/mile on average which is the same pace as my half-marathon PR. I didn’t want to overdo it, so I still forced myself to walk every 1-2 miles. My bodyglide wore off during mile 3. This never happens, it usually lasts around 7 miles. I think because my legs were already chafed from the first race, the bodyglide rubbed off more quickly. I was chafing on top of chafing, and it hurt so bad. For a while I thought I would have to walk the rest of the race, it hurt so bad to run. I figured I would run as long as I could, and then walk the rest.

I took it one mile at a time, and was able to keep up a pretty good pace to my surprise. I hit the half-way mark at 1:10, which would have put me at a 2:20 half had I maintained that pace (my PR is 2:19), but I knew I would have to walk soon. My quads were getting more sore with each mile, and my soleus had started hurting/cramping. I could feel my pace slowing at mile 7. I kept up my ratio of walking .1 mile after every mile, just going 1 mile at a time. I was feeling more soreness and more pain every time I started running again. By mile 9 I did not think I would be able to run another mile. My legs were aching with every step. Around this time, I saw Chris come driving down the road! He had worked graveyard again, and drove straight from work to the race. He pulled up next to me and I told him I was hurting pretty bad and I thought I would have to walk the rest of the way. He said he was going to park and finish the race with me.

I kept running, and he turned around and found a parking spot after checking with a volunteer at the next aid station. He was in his work pants and boots (basically combat boots) and came running up next to me! I honestly do not know how the rest of the race would have gone if he had not been there. I tried to keep up with running .9, walking .1 for the next mile. The 10th mile was the hardest. I was happy if I could run ¼ mile each time. I was going so slow, I think like a 13-14 minute pace. But I was running! I did not want to have to walk the rest of the race. After a very tough 1-1.5 miles, I was able to run a little faster and longer again. The course was out-and-back so I knew we were getting close to the finish. I was running 1/2-3/4 mile between walk breaks. Chris was by my side running and walking, not complaining at all even though he had no water and was wearing work clothes and it was getting pretty hot out.

We turned the last corner and had about ½ mile to go. Earlier finishers were leaving the race site and honking/waving/cheering as they passed us. It was so nice to have that support, I love the running community! I didn’t know where the finish line was (again, no real organization or marking) so I just kept running until a woman said “over here” and I ran to where she was. She pulled off the info tab from my bib and that was it. They didn’t give us water or tell us where to go or anything. Chris found a cooler with some bottles of water and grabbed me one. Finishers were supposed to get medals but they weren’t handing them out, so we asked the person writing down the race times (no chips), and he said they ran out and to email him. And he didn’t even give his email, he said it would be on the race website (which it wasn’t). Seriously?

We left after that. I was happy I had finished the race, but very disappointed in the race itself. Poor coordination, poor support, poor everything. Most of the aid stations had been abandoned when we went back to get Chris’ car, and tables were just sitting out unattended. I hope everyone finished the race ok, no one was on the course to make sure, so the race “officials” would have no idea if someone got hurt or needed help. I would not do this race again, and I would not recommend it to anyone.

Anyway back to the story…after the race we had to drive another 1.5 hours to our hotel in Seattle. When we got there, I could barely get out of the car I was so sore. I was walking like Frankenstein. But as I moved around more I loosened up. It was difficult to sit-down/stand-up, and to go up and down stairs. Other than that I was basically ok moving around. I was surprised, I was actually not as sore as I was after the Fueled By Fine Wine half. That was awful, I actually cried on the third day after the race because I was still so sore and couldn’t run.

Mile 1 – 10:46
Mile 2 – 10:10
Mile 3 – 10:36
Mile 4 – 10:49
Mile 5 – 10:44
Mile 6 – 10:50
Mile 7 – 11:05
Mile 8 – 11:51
Mile 9 – 12:12
Mile 10 – 13:58
Mile 11 – 14:54
Mile 12 – 13:38
Mile 13 – 10:12

Total time: 2:31:51

I am so happy that I was able to finish both races without injury. I am also happy that I kept running during the second race when I didn’t think I could. And I am happy that I accomplished one of my running goals! I do not think I will try this again though, once was enough!

Monday, September 5, 2011

13.1 x 2

I am happy to report, I finished both half-marathons upright and smiling!

9/4 - Oregon Wine Country Half-Marathon - 2:35.45

9/5 - Labor Day Half-Marathon - 2:31.51

I don't have any injuries (at least none that I can tell), but I am VERY sore. I am a little afraid of what it will be like when I get up tomorrow. Hubby and I are in Seattle celebrating our anniversary so hopefully I will be able to walk around downtown at least. I will work on my double race report later this week.

Hope everyone had a great holiday weekend!

PS - Yes I wore the same race outfit twice, I washed it in between! It is already stained from the red dirt at my last half, so now I wear it when I think I will get dirty at a race.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Here Goes Nothing!

Running clothes laid out next to the bed, PB sandwich and glass of water on the nightstand, gym bag packed, and water bottle chilling in the fridge. Guess I'm ready!

I have made a few goals around my double halfs, and I am going to post them so I stay accountable. I know race Megan too well, and she will be tempted to do a little improvising on the race course :)

Goal #1: Don't get injured. I have a goal half-marathon in October, and marathon training starts in November. So ultimately I need to come out of this weekend healthy.

Goal #2: Finish both races upright and smiling. As long as I finish within the time limit (3:30), it doesn't matter how long it takes me. In this case, the longer the better.

Goal #3: Go slow enough during race #1 that I don't feel any soreness or pain the next day. This is the one I will have the most trouble with, it is hard to force myself to run slow or walk when I know I can go faster.

We'll see how well I can stick to these goals...

Here goes nothing!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Taper Week and Three Days To Go!

Tonight I did my last training run before my races this weekend. I used to love tapering because I got to sleep in and didn't have to exercise as much. Now it drives me crazy, I want to be up and moving! It feels weird not to run/zumba/dance it up as much as usual. Tomorrow is a rest day, then Saturday I have Abs and Zumba classes, then my races start on Sunday!

I am anxious and excited for my races. I can't believe they are already here. I really hope I am able to finish both races feeling good, but more than that I hope I can be smart enough to not get injured, even if it means having to DNF the second race. I don't want to sacrifice my long-term running goals for one race weekend. If I am pretty sore on Monday, my back-up plan is to walk the second race. But hopefully I don't have to do that.

After my race on Monday, hubby and I are going away for a few days. It is our 3 year/6 year anniversary on Tuesday!(3 years of marriage, 6 years total). We are still deciding between going to Seattle (my second race is in WA), or Eugene (where we had our first date - sweet, but would be 4.5 hours of driving for me). Unfortunately he has to work both Sunday and Monday so he won't be able to come to my races :(

I am a little embarassed to admit this - I am excited to go to sleep because when I wake up I get Cinnabon for breakfast! I know Cinnabon is horrible for you, but I only eat it when I am carbo loading for a race. They are like 60% carbs! And we got the minibons, so at least it's not as bad as the full size ones....right?