Sunday, October 21, 2012

Baystate Marathon Recap: Crash & Burn, Baby.

So I ran the Baystate Marathon today. This was my first marathon since the 2009 Chicago marathon.

I now remember why I swore off marathons. The PAIN. OMG, the pain! I have so much respect for those of you that can run them and not come away hobbled. I am not that person. I seriously just don't want to put my body through it again. Halfs for this girl from now on!

So, anyway, a proper recap. So I cooked us a feast of grilled chicken and sweet potatoes last night, and we went to bed early (about 9 pm). I slept well, only woke up to pee once, and got up when my alarm went off at 4:30. I drank my standard 2 cups of coffee, and ate two rice cakes with peanut butter & a banana. We got ready and left our house at around 6:00 AM.

We got to Lowell a little before 7, parked in a garage less than a 1/2 mile from the finish/start line, and lucky for us there were bathrooms in the parking garage. They were clean, had toilet paper, and there was no wait. Very nice.

We checked our bag, and stood inside the high school for bit until we went out to line up at 7:45 AM. This race only has 1500 full marathoners, so it wasn't a problem at all to line up in the corral. I realized when we got out there that I need to go to the bathroom again - but apparently they only had about 12 port-o-potties at the start line (for 3000 runners! WTF!) and I knew I'd never get in one, so I just sucked it up and ran. (It turned out to not be a problem., I never had to stop on the course)
Before the start, sporting throw away gloves. Jazz hands!

jazz hands again!

So we take off promptly at 8, and I crossed the start line only 10 seconds later. There was little to no crowding, and I was at racing speed in no time. The weather was perfect - about 50 at the start, and sunny.

I took off a little too fast - the first couple miles were around 7:45. I reeled it back in and found a 7:55-8:00 pace, which I carried for for the first 13 miles. I intended to run 8:10, but honestly, that's really not that much of a difference. I crossed the halfway point at 1:45:06 - which is a half marathon PR for me. (cue ominous warning signs here)

By mile 14.5, I was feeling the crash already. I walked a few times and even stopped to text my husband that I wasn't sure I'd finish (he was running too, but battling a sprained wrist, ankle, and badly bruised ribs from a soccer match last weekend, so had to slow down bigtime to compensate). I sucked it up at some point and mostly ran (albeit, much more slowly) until mile 20.

The majority of the race was limited to the shoulder of roads meant for vehicular traffic only. I guess I am spoiled, living in Boston - I always run on sidewalks or bike/run paths. By mile 20, by left hip was in excruciating pain from running on the uneven shoulder! I had to stop a few times to stretch out my hip flexors. From that point forward, I allowed myself to walk a few steps every mile. It was the only way I could see finishing.

In the last few miles, we were running on a divided highway, limited to the shoulder, with some STEEP banking. My hip was in agony! The worst of it was in the last half of mile 25, which hobbled me to walk again. We finally came back into downtown Lowell, and even then I had to walk a few steps right before we hit 26. I don't recall ever feeling that level of misery in my past two marathons. I knew I'd totally blown my chances at BQ'ing, but I was hoping to at least PR. That was dashed when I turned into the finish and saw the clock. I finished in 3:56:04 - 6 seconds slower than my 2009 Chicago performance. Honestly, I didn't even care, because I was so happy that I even finished. I was about 15 seconds away from dropping at mile 15.
We didn't die.

But I did get very upset at the finish - because the water/food/gatorade station was almost a half mile from the finish line!!! This was my biggest disappointment in this race. To me, it was just totally unacceptable. After running for almost 4 hours, as soon as I stopped running, I needed nourishment immediately. I could barely walk because my hip hurt so bad. I also was really weak. It took me almost 30 minutes to get to the food tent - I had to stop and sit/lie down at least 4 times because I was so weak. Race directors - DO NOT make marathoners travel so far to get nourishment at the end of the race!!!

And THEN, when I got there, I had to wait in line (again, WHY with only 3000 runners??)! I had tunnel vision by the time I got under the food tent and had to just grab the first thing I saw with calories - a can of Pepsi. I crawled down on the ground right by the tent and drank it (yes, I did look insane, and I didn't care). I finally started to feel a little better, and I got up and grabbed some orange slices. My husband finished in 4:27, and they were totally out of Pepsi by that point. Ridiculous. We got some soup and then headed home.

I have to say I have mixed feelings overall about this marathon. I love that it was so close to my residence, that I could sleep in my own bed the night before, and I love even more that the entrance fee was only $70. The on course support was very good, and I have no complaints. The course was a little... boring. But I knew that going into it. But the experience at the end was just not good.

Eh, but it's over now. And I guess at the end of the day I'm happy I finished and that it was at least under 4 hours. I am disappointed with myself that I wasn't mentally stronger and didn't try to tough it out, though. I wish I wouldn't have given up so easily! It makes me feel weak. But then I remember that I did traverse 26 miles today, which is no small feat.

I also realize that from now on, I'll stick with half marathons. Or 10 milers. Or maybe just 5K's and 10K's. :)

Reward time!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Time to Panic

So, I have done something mindblowingly dumb.

I have lost my #1 pair of running shoes. Well, it's not the shoes I'm so concerned with - I have about 4 pairs in my rotation - but I lost the shoes that have my beloved Footdisc (now called Currexsole) insoles in them. The insoles that I have used exclusively since March. So yeah, I'm panicking.

I have no idea how this happened. The only thing I can come up with is that I somehow left them at the gym. I teach a lot of fitness classes, and discovered in the first week that doing step aerobics, jumping, and lateral movements doesn't work well at all in my running shoes. I bought a pair of New Balance training shoes and they have been wonderful. So if I plan on running while I am at the gym, I take my running shoes with me and change into them. I tend to be very forgetful, so I guess it possible that I changed out of them and left them, even though I could swear I didn't. I checked with the lost & found, and they didn't have them  (insert super sad face).

I paid a zillion dollars and ordered another pair of insoles on Amazon with Saturday delivery, so I guess I'm breaking the cardinal rule of marathoning - never anything new on race day. I don't know what else to do. I do have a few pair of Superfeet insoles that I ran in quite a bit in years past, but after doing a short 4-miler today in them, they feel very stiff and bulky.

Bahhhhh I am so mad at myself. If I was one of those people who run multiple marathons a year, this wouldn't be such a big deal. But I guess I have so much riding on this one, something going wrong just sucks. Sucks a lot.

UPDATE: THE SHOES HAVE BEEN LOCATED!!! I somehow put them in a box that was headed for the recycling bin. Yeah, I have no idea either. I might need to have my head checked. 

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

0 Week - Marathon Time! (PANIC)

So the week has finally arrived - it's time to run 26.2.

I wish I could say that I felt super confident about it. Unfortunately life gets in the way sometimes and training doesn't go as planned. My mileage has taken a major nosedive in the recent weeks (even more than a standard taper should). I am left wondering if I ruined all the hard work I put in over those miserable, hot summer months. I am also left wondering if my body still knows how to run long. Is this what taper crazies are like? I was under the impression all you crazy people were referring to not being able to run a bazillion miles a week during taper. I definitely don't miss that. But if the taper crazies are about being worried over actually being able to run 26 miles, then yes, I have that.

I'm trying my best to demonstrate as little as possible in all my classes this week. I think for the rest of the week I will set up stations or something. Something to keep myself from doing leg work!

I only ran a few times last week. I had some extreme gluteus medius soreness in the latter part of the week, and thought at this point it was better to rest and let it subside as fast as possible. I didn't exercise at all on Friday or Saturday.

Monday - Taught 4 classes. Lots of lunges and squats. 2 miles on that weird elliptical/stair climbing machine, 2 miles on the treadmill.

Tuesday - Taught 2 classes

Wednesday - Taught 4 classes, ran 2 miles on the treadmill

Thursday - Taught 3 classes. OMG my glutes hurt the worst they have ever hurt in my life. I am not sure why, but running was out of the question.

Friday, Saturday - nada

Sunday - Oktoberfest 5K. We were running way behind and realized the only way we'd make it to the race was if we ran there. So, we ran 4.5 miles to the race, got there 5 minutes before the gun went off, and then ran the 5K.
4.5 mile warm-up - 8:51 pace
5K - 3.22 miles (I really need to stop weaving so much), 23:08, 7:11 pace. 

I didn't intend on running fast in the 5K, however, seeing people pass me in costumes was maddening. Also, we started way in the back (too packed to work our way up), and I always get crazy trying to get around people in the first mile. People, if you plan on walking the entire 5K, DO NOT start up at the front! /soapbox

Anyway, the race was a lot of fun and there was lots of free pumpkin beer and pretzels afterward. They also had a dance-off, which was pretty hilarious to watch people breakdance in German costumes in the rain, before noon on a Sunday. We then got brunch, froyo, and took a nap. It was a good Sunday indeed.

So now I'll just be spending the rest of this week silently panicking. And foam rolling. And trying to sleep!

Scenes from the week:

This is what I saw when I went to bed one night. Yes, the dog got under the covers by herself. Guess this is what I get for going to bed late... 

Bulldogs are 6-OHHHHH! We were so stoked we wore matching sweatshirts. I know, we are so THOSE people.

Made it to the race! Just barely. K had to run with a backpack because there was no time for bag check! He finished about 40 seconds after me. I WIN.

 And the fashion portion of the week:
I bought this dress for our upcoming ball. Sadly, it did not come with red hooker shoes. Also, I need to hem almost 6" off of the bottom. Oh, the perils of not being 6' tall, apparently. (I should probably expect this when I only spent $45 on the dress).
The best red shoes I could manage. I cannot do giant heels anymore. I'm hoping the red distracts from the fact they are sort of granny shoes. Don't hate, at least I won't be hobbled after 30 minutes in them.
And I ordered this necklace to wear with the dress. My only criteria was 1) bright, 2) not cost a bazillion dollars (who the hell spends so much on costume jewelry? I'm looking at you, JCrew). $12 on eBay, done!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Hi there! I'm still kickin' it.

I sort of stopped blogging for a bit. It's been a bit of an adjustment to continue running at the same frequency, and teach 10-12 group exercise classes a week. I'm a very involved instructor, so I find it hard not to do the workout along with my participants. I want to show them proper form and keep energy high, so many times I don't even notice that I've done 50-75% of the workout myself. Doing that 3-4 hours a day means I'm left really wiped out and many times sore, which isn't so conducive to running!

So I stopped writing because I was a bit embarrassed at how little I've run over the last couple weeks.  I also came down with a bad cold last week, and it was all I could do to even drag myself through teaching, so running was just out of the question!

So the Baystate Marathon is two weeks away. Yikes! We got the chance to go to NYC two weeks ago, and we ran 12 miles over the Queensboro Bridge and through Central Park. It was incredible. And I will admit I came home with a bit of a NYC hangover - that place is just magical. Not that Boston isn't amazing too, but it's so much different than NYC.

Empire. Not a view from running. If you know me, you know this was from a bar.

Last week I only ran once. I know. Not exactly sticking with the plan! I just felt awful. I finally ventured out for a 20 miler on Sunday, but ended up slipping on some wet pavement about halfway into my run. I didn't fall, but I definitely overcompensated and my hip flexors ached and got progressively tighter as I went along. I was in so much agony by mile 17 I had to stop and limp home. :( So it put a damper on this week's running as well.

I somehow signed myself up for a 5K and a half marathon this weekend. I know. I really need to keep an updated calendar! I just did a few casual treadmill runs throughout the week between teaching classes.

The 5K was yesterday. The weather was gorgeous - 65-70 degrees and sunny. I told myself I was not going to race it - I was just going to run for fun. Well, that went out the window as soon as the gun went off! My legs felt fresh for the first time in weeks. The pack cleared quickly and I got into a good stride. Mile 1 - 7:13.  I thought to myself, there's no way I can keep this up! But then Mile 2 ticked off on the Garmin - 7:01. At this point there was a girl who was seeming trying to 'race' me, and I fell for it. She kept surging ahead of me, and then falling back. I got tired of it and just took off, ha! Last mile - 6:56!

I'm not sure I've ever run a sub-7 mile. I finished in 21:48 (7:01 pace, PR by 61 seconds!!!), which was good enough for 2nd in my age group! Although for some reason, even though this race had timing chips, they gave awards by gun time (which I didn't know about before and think it's ridiculous). So I was awarded 3rd, even though I ran 10 seconds faster (chip time) than the woman who got 2nd because she took off 11 seconds before I did. I have never won awards for running, so it was really cool! There were 100 women in my age group, so I felt like all this hard work had paid off.

I considered wearing the medal while I taught class

Reward - a croissant the size of my face

I actually got called into work yesterday to teach Bootcamp, so I ended up doing a lot more physical activity than I'd bargained for that day. This definitely played into my half marathon today. I woke up somewhat sore and knew it wasn't going to be a PR effort day. I barely slept - I tossed and turned and finally fell asleep somewhere around midnight, and was wide awake at 3:45 AM (and starving). I gave in around 4:30 and got up to eat and start caffinating myself.

I signed up for the BAA Half over 6 months ago, and it had really fallen off my radar. I honestly basically forgot about it until a week ago. I went in with no plan whatsoever, and even considered it just a training run for my full in two weeks. I met a friend there, and he and I got into the 8:00 pace corral. Of course, LIKE I ALWAYS DO, I got wrapped up in the heat of the moment and took off WAY too fast. Especially for someone with sore legs.

The weather was amazing. 50-55 degrees and sunny. We took off, and I knew I'd effed up by Mile 1. Garmin beeps - 7:23. Um, no. I maintained sub 8 minute miles through mile 6, which was just dumb. By mile 7 I was miserable and I feel the lactic acid building in my quads. I had a few arguments with myself, but in the end decided to be a reasonable adult and pull it back big time. Miles 8-13 where somewhere between 8:20-8:50. The course was tougher than I anticipated for sure. But overall I thought it was an awesome race.

Final time: 1:48:55, 8:19 pace. I'm not upset about it. I do really want that sub 8 pace half, but I know that if I want it, I have to plan for it - and I didn't do that today at all. Half Marathon #10 on the books. It officially ranks as my 3rd best time. It was a drama free race, and overall I think it was best for me to pull back and save my effort for 26.2 in two weeks.

Speaking of that. EEEEK. Two weeks! I am very nervous. VERY nervous. I am publicly admitting (to the 3 of you that read this hot mess) that I think a BQ is out of reach for me. I'm trying to be okay with that. My goal for the next two weeks is to stop doing so many lunges, squats, and jumps with my classes and really take care of my body.

Yes, it did. 

And honestly, after this marathon is over, I need a break from running. I've been consistently training for something since February and I am burned out. I will run casually but I don't plan on anything longer than 10K for a while! We are talking about buying bikes, which could be fun.