Friday, May 27, 2011

long weekend make me happy!

I'm incredibly happy and excited for the long holiday weekend.  No work, no worrying about work, and no work travel for 3 1/2 glorious days.  Starting at 1pm Friday afternoon I am looking forward to:

  • Seeing the Cubs play and visiting Wrigley for the first time this season.  Nothing like a game at Wrigley and having a reason to sport my cute Cubs gear. 
  • Warm weather!  After 44 degree's on Thursday I'll take 70's and possible showers
  • Running with no specified distance in mind
  • Seeing the Hangover 2
  • Relaxing
  • Finally putting together a photobook for the in-laws I've been putting off due to lack of time
  • Grilling out with the hubs
  • Enjoying the empty city!  I love how Chicago clears out over a holiday weekends.  It makes it so much more enjoyable to get around and get hard to make last minute reservations!
Happy Memorial Day!  Enjoy your long weekend!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

oh happy (and a little sore) day!

Today is a good day!  A scheduled work trip had to be canceled thanks to the stormy weather.  AND it was canceled far in advance so I didn't have to do the whole, drive to the airport, find out I'm delayed when I get there, wait around for hours, then get canceled.  Even better, I don't have to make the trip up/try to smash it into my schedule because I was only helping out since the other team members couldn't cover it tomorrow.  This trip was hanging over my head this week so it's nice to have that cloud lifted.

Now that I'm no longer"in-training" and figuring out what's next I'm trying to incorporate more of a mixture in my workouts.  When I was hurt earlier this year I picked up a kettlebell at Target which included a 20 minute video with Bob from The BL.  Later I ended up purchasing his 50 minute DVD from Amazon.  These were dvds great while I was injured because I could still do most of the moves while in my boot and work up a serious sweat.  While training for the marathon I didn't make time for the kettlebell.  1) because I'm sort of lazy and 2) because I tried one week to incorporate the video after an easy run and then I was so sore I couldn't complete my remaining speed workout and had to push back my long run later in the week.  Kettlebells seriously kick my butt and last night was no exception.

My husband took my car to the airport and I no desire to go find his that was parked on the street somewhere and drive to the gym.  Instead I popped in the 50 min dvd.  Yeah... today I feel like I ran at least a half marathon.  Legs and back are so sore in such a good way.  If you want your butt kicked in the comfort of your living room pick up one of Bob's kettlebell workout dvd's.  I had the ceiling fan going and the windows open to let the cool 50 degree air in and I still was drenched (and swearing at the TV) within 10 minutes into the workout.

I get bored with workout dvds easily but this is one I will definitely be incorporating more often.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon race report

Spoiler alert - this post could also be titled "It just wasn't my day"
carrying on the saying/team name from the flying pig 2 weeks ago.  It brought me some motivation and a lot of comments during this race.

Alright settle in this takes awhile...

Sunday I lined up to run the 34th Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon for my 3rd year in a row.  For the 2nd year  Mr. H lined up to pace me and my friend Sarah ran her 3rd Cleveland half marathon.  They have both run one of the races (10K, half, marathon) for the last 5 years.

Mr. H was with me once again because during one night of drinking while home for the holiday in Dec 2009 I asked the speedster to get me to a sub-4 hour marathon.  I struggle with the Cleveland course each year but I keep signing up because I'm a masochist always one for a challenge.  At this point my friend is as determined as I am for me to break the 4 hour barrier.  Though after being injured and coming out of the boot only 13 weeks ago, having a lackluster training because I spent much of my time building my base back up again, not having the time to commit due to my crazy travel schedule, and general lack of motivation I wasn't feeling overly confident this year.  

I was up and at 'em at 4:30 am Sunday morning.  Sarah, Chris and her parents (my 2nd mom and dad) were picking me up from my dad's house around 5-5:15 a.m. to make the drive to Cleveland.  It was a foggy and cool though humid morning with on and off rain showers.  We arrived almost an hour before race start so we killed time making several bathroom trips.  Luckily we had access to the Brown's Stadium and every bathroom was open and there was cover! So many people didn't realize that if you walked 10 additional steps the opposite direction there was one with no bathroom line.  We made the extra effort and had no waiting each time.  

About 20 minutes before the start time we headed to the start line.  It was chaotic!  This was the first year for the race starting by the stadium and there was limited space.  Cleveland also doesn't use corrals or very many barricades so spectators were standing with the runners in the shoot.  We weaved our way through to the 4 hour marathon pacers and found a spot on the sidelines until the races started instead of smashing our way into the line.  We had just enough time for a quick pic before the start.

The half marathoners and marathoners started together.  Since Sarah was attempting to break the 2 hour half marathon bar she started with us!  Around the end of mile 1 I turned to her and asked "In high school did you ever see us running a marathon and half marathon together ever?"  We both had a good laugh.  While we both played sports in high school we were much larger and not runners at all.  In fact Sarah threw the shot put and discus!  How times have changed!

We started out slow and kept the 4 hour pacer group in sight.  The first few miles went by quickly and I mostly just buckled down to a pace that felt right and fell in behind Mr. H.  Around mile 6 Sarah decided to back off from us and finish on her own.  We wished her luck and kept on.  We saw Mr. and Mrs. Dobney in Tremont (one of the best areas of the course) around mile 8.  Always a boost seeing people you know.

At the point of the course where marathoners turned right and half marathoners went straight to finish I took a turn for the worse.  My stomach felt off and everything felt heavy.  I felt like my week of travel and being stressed was catching up to me in the worst way.  I asked Mr. H if we could just finish the half and call it a day.  He said he would do whatever I wanted but I was determined to at least finish another marathon so I turned.  I have never felt this bad this soon in a race and it really got to me mentally.  I was still only about 2 minutes off my pace and gaining time but it felt like such a struggle to maintain.  When we turned onto Euclid Avenue before mile 13 were were greeted with dropping temperatures and wind.  Oh and a open bus lane and cars trying to maneuver around the runners.  Yeah, that was a bit scary.  Around this point I lost the 4 hour pace group and honestly I couldn't have cared less.

By mile 15 I was trying not to get sick and started dry heaving.  Everything felt off and I couldn't recall any positive affirmations only a very negative "this is a little early for the death march to start".  I made mini goals of just get to the next mile marker or to the next water station.  I let myself walk through every water station.  My stomach was off and I was struggling to fuel properly.  Chris was being great and if he hadn't been there I probably would have walked off the course and called it a day.  Not one to let anyone down I kept on trucking slowly.

Around 19 I grabbed a jet blackberry GU and walked to take about 3/4 of it in.  We were leaving the University Village/Metropark area which was pretty but absolutely dead!  The water stations had wonderful volunteers but few spectators showed up on the back half of the marathon (like usual).  This year there were even less because of the weather.  I'm not sure more support would have mattered because I was not noticing or registering much at this point.  As we turned left onto the bike path we had the wind at our back and I had a short reprieve from my stomach pain.  I found some energy, started belting out some random rap song that had come on my ipod and nailed a sub-9 minute mile for mile 20.   I thought maybe I was finding some random 2nd (or 3rd, 4th) wind.  

Then I officially crashed hard.  By mile 23 I wanted nothing to do with this stupid course, I kept apologizing to Chris, and generally felt like s*%^.  My usual "you can do anything for a 5K!" was having no effect and I was walking every chance I could. By mile 24/25 I had an 10:50 minute mile.  I'm surprised I could even muster that!

I didn't talk much and Chris tried to push me (as I had instructed him to!) to pick it up and take it home.  I let out a small "it's not happening today Chris" and he understood.  I told him I knew I would make it even if I had to walk and I would get there eventually.  Just before mile 26 marker we saw Sarah and her parents and turned right onto a downhill which actually felt okay on my legs.  The rain started to pick up but I didn't care I just wanted to see the finish line banner.  Over the last mile we had to dodge and weave all the 10K and half marathon walkers who were walking 2-5 across as well as spectators who had edged onto the course because there were no barricades keeping them on the sidewalks.  Something I hope the race officials acknowledge and fix.

We crossed the finish line officially in 4:10:33 for a 9:33 pace.  Not my worst but not my best.  I wasn't all the happy with myself but I was happy I finished my 6th marathon.  

Sarah ended up with a 2:02 half marathon!  A new personal best for her!  Yea Sar!!!

Maggie asked to try on my medal ;)  

I swore I would never run another marathon after this death march.  Of course I'm checking out today while laying in bed still unable to walk.  I think my next step is to re-focus on half marathon and shorter distances.  I want to get some of my speed back.  I also like that there is a much shorter recovery time for the half.  I think my next challenge will be back to back half marathons and see how I handle that before jumping back into a full.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Cleveland marathon race weekend begins

Yea! Blogger is working again!

As I write this on riding shotgun in my jeep liberty as Jacob drives us and the cat to Ohio. I was a little stressed yesterday and today as I got stranded in Little Rock. Not a place you want to be stuck. After much running around last night I finally ended up purchasing an entirely new flight on a different airline to get back at a decent hour Friday so I could pack and hit the road again. I'm tired but hopefully I'll get to sleep in the car a bit.

So my weekend didn't start the way I had planned but it's back on track. I'm ready to see what my most likely rainy race day will bring! If you want to track and virtually cheer me on (I'll need all the support) my bib number is 1845. If you're Facebook friends with me I signed up for the automatic posts.

See you on the other side!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Taper and travel

Race day is coming up quick. I should be hydrating, getting enough sleep, taking it a bit easier at home instead I am a road warrior this week. When it comes to my work travel schedule I have some flexibility. However, because my current study is slow (I'm not maintaining the required number of monthly visits as set by my company) I'm having to cover other visits/help where needed. Unfortunately, I don't get to say "no" about these visits or plan them according to my schedule. Last week I was volunteered/told I needed to cover a 2 day visit in Little Rock. Yeah, I already had an overnight trip planned to Minneapolis Monday / Tuesday. So now I find myself traveling Monday through late Thursday then I plan on putting a half day of work in on Friday then hitting the road in my car to make the drive to Cleveland.

Definitely not what I had planned for this week and it's not ideal but I am trying to make it work. I'm hydrating even more than normal because of all the flights and trying to find healthy eats. My hunger is in full force so the one positive of all this travel is my work has to pay for my food ;) I'm not sleeping as much as I should or able to get all the miles I should but otherwise the taper monster is staying at bay. I guess I'm too busy to freak out! I hope this means only good things for race morning in Cleveland.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Thoughts on the Flying Pig

I was super impressed with the Cincinnati Flying Pig marathon last weekend.  It was my first running of the race (and a relay!) but my friends have been raving about it for years.  I have now run 3 out of the 4 major Ohio marathon/half marathon/relay courses (Cleveland full twice, Akron half once, and Cincinnati).  I still haven't made it to Columbus in October but now that my sister moved there I am sure that will change this year.

I was really impressed with the Flying Pig.

  • They were trying to be more green this year.  E-mails came to everyone ahead of time to print any flyers or coupons you were interested in.
  • The race swag was very nice.  All race participants received an Asics running shirt (separate men and female sizing! not one size fits all like rock n' roll races), a real back pack, a poster, and a double sided medal.  
  • I was impressed everyone from the relay to the marathoner were treated the same.  This isn't always the case and it was nice to not be shafted just because I opted out of running this marathon.
  • The expo was a good size but not ridiculous/crazy.  It is set up similar to Akron where after you pick up your bib you are funneled into buying the race supported gear then weave through all the booths.  
  • For a race that is 13 years old it is incredibly organized.  More so than some older races I've been too/ran.
  • It's a big race but not one where you feel too crowded at anytime.
  • The race support is fantastic.  Aid stations were organized and well stocked. The race allows runners to vote for their favorite water stop/aid station at the end so some of those groups go all out just for bragging rights! 
  • The race support is fantastic.  The community really gets involved at all stages of the race.  Unlike Cleveland which definitely has dead zones on the full course where you won't see anyone for a mile except the cops that is not the case in Cincinnati.  Even in the most sketch neighborhoods there were people out partying in the front yard, sitting on their porch cheering, handing out candy, jager shots (no I didn't have one), beer, funny signs, and their support.  
  • If you love cute little piggies then you need to run this race.  They are everywhere!
  • Relay exchanges while chaotic because of the number of people but were well organized from bathrooms, water, to volunteers.  I had no problem finding the 2nd or 4th runners.  Plus, at the 3rd leg there is a grocery store that opens their doors for cover and bathrooms.  At the 4th leg a local church provides breakfast and coffee to runners.  The 2nd leg there is only a pavilion to wait but at least there is cover.  
  • Finish line or I should say Finish Swine is organized and well stocked.  Even for those runners crossing in 7 hours.  Though like any race there are those that grab a box and try to take everything laid out thinking they are the only one that ran the race.

There were not very many negatives about running this race.  Hills and the weather two things you can't control but at least expect.  It usually storms or at least rains.  This year was no different but at least it wasn't very heavy for very long.    The hills are constant, even as my friend calls them "baby hills" will cause you issues after awhile.  It's a challenging course and if you want to test your stuff the Flying Pig is where you should.  If you're nervous about the hills the biggest, baddest ones are in the first half.  Or run the relay!  The hilliest leg (#2) is the shortest distance.  No leg is flat or downhill, the last 2 only have fewer or less steep hills.  

And a little reminder if you decide to run a marathon relay.  Be sure you communicate with your team members about 1) how fast they each expect to run their leg so you know when to go out to wait for your exchange 2) where to meet at the finish line.  The big busses you back but I didn't carry my cell phone because of the rain.  Yeah, it took awhile to find everyone!  

On a completely unrelated note... T-10 days until my 3rd Cleveland marathon!  Let the weather watch commence!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Flying Pig Relay Race Report

This weekend I made the drive to Cincinnati to visit with friends and run the Flying Pig.  I had planned on running the half marathon but my friend switched to a different relay team so I could run with Mr. H, her sister, and sister's boyfriend on the Four Loco relay team.  It was my first time running on a marathon relay team.

I arrived on Friday and was up early to see Mr. H run the 10K.   I was his personal photographer for the morning ;)  After we hit up the expo, lunch, and errands.

Sunday morning started entirely way too early.  We were all up before 5 am (which really felt like 3:45 am to me thanks to the time change) and out the door before 5:30am.  We had to drop off Mr. H at the start, and the others at the 2nd and 4th relay buses.  Then Sarah and I were off to sleep in the Kroger parking lot until our race started.  It was very strange being up so early and waiting, not heading to the start line.  After an hour and half of not much sleeping and a trip to the Kroger bathroom, the eventual shirtless winner ran by, then Mr. H called saying he had passed off to the 2nd leg after a stellar 51 minutes 6+ miles. I made my way to the exchange point a little after 8 to wait for H.

I was on the ball and heard our number as H entered the long shoot.  He quickly handed me the very sweaty leg chip and I was off in the mass of sub-4 hour marathoners.  Quite a different experience running with the serious folk ;).  The miles ticked off quickly but it felt weird to be running with the faster crowd and not be running the full.  When people cheered for me I didn't like it because I felt like it wasn't deserved!  I was only running 7.6 measly miles of this pig monster.  The third leg started around mile 12 and went until just after mile 19.  The hills of the pig had gotten to nearly everyone around me. To see firsthand everyone gutting it out and I was on fresh legs made me feel bad.  I knew what they were feeling but couldn't do anything but stick to my race plan and cheer on those marathoners who were struggling around me.  It's a difficult course and I give mad props to those who tackle and conquer the full.

1 hour and 8 minutes later I was at exchange point 4 to trade the sweaty chip with my "sister".  I felt good and would have liked to have continued on but I had to take her bag to the finish line.  Collectively we finished in 3:49!  My best marathon finish ever ;)

Team Four Loco - Hell Yeah!