Thursday, October 29, 2009

Pre-Flight Run

During marathon training I had no other choice but to fit mid-range runs in before flights. Eventually it became a weekly occurrence I looked forward to on the schedule. At times it was stressful trying to squeeze in the mileage with all I needed to do before leaving for the night or the week; mostly it became my "me time." A way to handle annoying delays and airports in general. I missed it my first week back to work post-marathon. Getting ready to leave for that first trip something felt 'off'. Luckily I made time for my pre-flight run this week. I didn't go as long as I did a month ago but those 5 miles made a difference and changed my outlook for the rest of the travel day. So marathon training may no longer be happening but I'm glad I found a piece to incorporate in my traveling weeks while I figure out 'what's next'.

Have any of you found a piece of your training, may it be marathon or 5K that you love to incorporate even when not training?

This week may have been all gloom and doom outside but I managed back to back running days; my first since marathon training! And I even woke early (!) for a quick and dirty elliptical session in the creepy-not-in-the-fun-Halloween-kind-of-way hotel. Now to keep it going through the weekend...

Speaking of the weekend - Happy Halloween weekend! May you have your fill of scary movies, mini chocolate goodies, and candy corn! Me? I've go a scary movie date and a bag of candy corn pumpkins sitting on the kitchen counter :)

And a big GOOD LUCK and kick some butt to all the runners this weekend! Those taking on NY, Mark in the Bass Pro, and everyone else I can't think of right now. I can't wait to read all your reports!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


Clambake success! Running at home, not so much... 1 out 2 is not too bad

We arrived home late Thursday night so we could run errands and help around the house Friday. After a Friday lunch that include some tasty margaritas (don't judge it was our vacation day) then ran errands. I don't think I sat down until dinner!

Saturday I woke up to my dad yelling at me to get up and get ready for breakfast on the Square; I felt like I was back in high school ;) Afterwards, the massive cleaning and setting up took place. Thanks to help from the entire family this year it came together quickly and there was time to relax before the party-goers arrived.

The boys made sure every single beer made its way into this cooler

all the clams ready to make their way to the steamer

the outside tables under the tent

Snacks Table! homemade caramel corn = YUM

I spent most of my time outside in the cold. It wasn't too bad with the fire and outside heater going. Plus, the tent helped block a lot of the wind. By the end of the night the last of the group (mostly family) had circled the fire pit to hang out, talk, and of course drink. Because that's what my family does best - eat and drink!

sister love
me and dad
The Sunday began the hungover clean-up which finished up with more food.

Now it's time to get back on a "normal" schedule of eating, running, and catching up on blogs ;) Well as normal as it can be since I will be traveling every week for the remainder of the year with the exception of Thanksgiving and Christmas/NY.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

short work week!

Wednesday night I had made the decision to come home to register for the Hot Chocolate 15K happening next weekend. I delayed in signing up because I wasn't sure I wanted to race so soon after the marathon. Plus I tend to drag my feet when signing up for races. Anyways, I arrived home earlier than anticipated thanks to catching the delayed flight before mine. Good thing because my original flight was canceled! I guess that's where my luck ran out because I came home to an e-mail stating the race was SOLD OUT! boo... good for them, bad for me. Instead I'll go cheer on my friend and enjoy the down time. Now I need to think of a creative sign...

In other news it's another short week for me! Yeah for copious amounts of vacation days remaining at the end of the year! The shortened week is for dad's clambake this weekend. We came home early to help out around the house and run errands. It should be a fun but chilly weekend! I'm looking forward to eating my weight in clams, clam chowder, and caramel popcorn! I figured since it's a clambake/fall/halloween party caramel popcorn is totally appropriate :)

Finally in running news I'm still taking it easy. My cross-training session kicked my butt on Tuesday night; seriously I'm still sore. It hurt to walk the next day, but a good hurt. Today, I made myself get out there for a 7 mile easy run in the light rain before hitting the road. It started off ugly due in part to my poor mood. By mile 2 I found my stride and was feeling happy once again. I love how running even in nasty weather can do that for you!

Monday, October 19, 2009

minor happenings

Now that I don't have a marathon to train for I don't have much to blog about ;) My first run back was last Friday. It should have been sooner per an arbitrary recovery schedule but seriously I couldn't even walk to the bathroom how was I to run?!? The hubby joined me on my 4 mile jaunt. He kicked my butt and that's the farthest he has gone in almost a year! My quads were on fire but it felt great to be outside shuffling err running again. I kicked it up to 5 miles Sunday afternoon and Monday afternoon before my flight. Both were very pleasant thanks to the slight warm-up outside. If only it could stay in the 50's and 60's the rest of winter ;)

Over the weekend I had big plans to get a lot of projects done around the house. Instead I slept in late (hello noon o'clock!) and wasted a lot of time either running errands or laying around the house. It was wonderful because I can't tell you the last time I was able to sleep like that on a weekend! Although honestly I didn't know what to do with myself not having a long run. I missed it!

I'm in Texas this week for work and that means 3 things. 1) little running because cross-training is just easier when on the road and there is no schedule to follow 2) I'm going to need a good run when I get home b/c I already know Tuesday's visit is going to be long and frustrating, no getting around it and 3) Outlet shopping! Nike here I come!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Post-Marathon Recovery

Recovery after the marathon... In my case it's a time to eat all the junk you desire, sleep as much as you can, swear at stairs or any sudden movements, and generally walk around like a weeble wobble. Oh then you also constantly think "what now?"

Well I can tell you immediately following the marathon I consumed most of this...
Yes, that is a 60 ounce margarita in all it's glory. It's a Sunday fav (only $18!?!) and even more-so after running a marathon! Picture was taken by a very crappy cell phone because I forgot my camera :( After that, table-side guacamole, and a big fat chimichanga (all split with the hubs) I was feeling much better!

I also had a lot of time to analyze the race pictures. There is seriously 1 decent picture. And I learned I run with my head cocked to the side. It also appears I twist my torso abnormally far. Odd...

mile 22 and still smiling...

I have no recollection of where this is on the course. On the back half for sure because I'm no longer wearing gloves.

probably one of the "better" finish pictures... I'm in awe of how many are finishing at the same time. I knew it was crowded but wow!

Thursday was my first day back to work and working out. I was really wishing I had called the entire week off just because starting your week on a Thursday kind of stinks. It was a long day at work and I was going to skip the light cross-training I had scheduled but I was good and went. It wasn't much and it made me realize how much I wish I was running instead. Not a huge fan of the gym. Time on the machines seems to go so slowly.

And now that I can walk nearly normal again it's time to figure out what's next! I always go through a post-marathon depression; it's tough to not have the big day to look forward to any longer. Plus, I don't do well without a running schedule or a goal race. Unfortunately I'm very limited now that race season in the midwest is winding down. There is a Hot Chocolate 15K that start's less than a mile from my house in 3 weeks. I ran it last year and although the hot chocolate was gross and it was freaking cold (always the chance of snow in November!) the rest of the chocolate and the swag bag were awesome. Plus I actually have a friend running this year! Races are always better when you know someone! I'm also looking into 1/2 marathons in slightly warmer climates as the cold descends. So we shall see...

Monday, October 12, 2009

Chicago Marathon : The Long Story of Redemption

Be prepared this is one long report...

Race morning came early as they all do. I slept better than before other races but still woke up a few times throughout the night and decided to finally get up before the alarm. I went through the morning ritual, Jacob ordered a cab, and we were off to stand around in temps in the 30's but real feel of mid 20's.

I had found a cheap sweatsuit as throwaway gear. When Jacob first saw me in the kitchen he commented I looked like Clarice Starling running around the FBI course. He's a funny one that husband of mine but also right in this case.
Here's the corrals before the chaos of 45,000 runners
Before 7 am I decided to make my way into the corrals since they were closing at 7:15. I knew it would be a mad dash and difficult to find a way through the barricades. Smart thinking on my part for once. The corrals became so full the entry way wasn't move so as of 7:15 tons of runners started jumping the temporary fences. We were packed sardines at the start line. Several of us had to yell at the runners trying to jump the fence because there was absolutely no more room. Ridiculous! The only positive with being so close to perfect strangers is the temperature warmed about 20 degrees.

At the start before all the fence jumpers Jacob and I were talking as couples were all around us. Right behind me a girl who I am guessing was running her first started crying/getting choked up and her boyfriend/husband/significant other started comforting her by saying "you've got this, you can do this, there is nothing to worry about, I'm here for you" It got me all choked up because I felt the same nerves. I wonder how she did as I lost her immediately after the exchange.

Finally, the gun went off and... we stood there. It took 10 minutes for me to get to the start line and finally we were off. I lost the 4 hour pace group immediately but instead of freaking out I told myself I was running my own race, no pressure. The first mile took us under wacker drive for about a 1/4 - 1/2 mile. My garmin lost the signal and got all wacky. When I came out the buildings were interfering with it finding the correct pace (a 6:14 pace, dang I'm fast and didn't know it! What, now a second later I'm running a 12:40?) That kind of threw me so I made the executive decision to go by feel and not by time. I made sure I had people with 4:00 bibs around me so I wasn't falling too far off pace. I nearly forgot to take fluids those early miles because I was so dang excited! Not too much else happened the first 10 miles. They went by quickly, I was feeling amazing, taking in the race and the sights, smiling nearly the whole way. The worst part was just before mile 8 the intense smell of B.O that had me dry heaving, literally. I had to move to the opposite side of the street! Luckily I recovered quickly to enjoy the Boystown Cheerleaders - they rock! The best part of those early miles was seeing the streets I have traveled around in a car over the last 11 years full of runners and I was one of them!

Around mile 11 I started to keep an eye out for the hubs and my friend B. I had plans to meet them around 12 so I could switch out water bottles and shed the long sleeve shirt if needed. What I realized around this time is that we failed in the communication department. With so many people on both sides watching and in the middle of the pack running I had no idea what side they would be standing and exactly what intersection -gah! At 12.5 I had resigned to the fact I had missed them and was trying to figure what to do (take gatorade which upsets the stomach or stick with water the rest of the race) when I felt a tug on my back. Jacob saw me and ran me down while carrying my backpack to pass off the water bottles! What a guy!!! I was all "Where the f*&$ where you" b/c I was mad I had missed them and I know it came out super bitchy when I so didn't mean it to. I feel really bad with how it came out of my mouth but extremely grateful he found me. So for anyone deciding to run this race in the future, clearly map out where your spectators will be and on what side of the street. Or as my friend Jami says "Dress like a banana, you can see a banana"

Crossing the halfway point I was still feeling good but when I glanced at garmy (which had now straightened itself out pace wise but was logging my distance as an extra mile) and saw 1:59 something for the first half I knew I would not be able to do that the second half to make it under 4. Though I was still hopeful and pushing strong knowing that it would be very close. I knew I had my friend Jami to look for around mile 16 and I had finally caught up to the 4 hr pace group (they started and had been ahead of me the whole race). Around 14 I had an "uh oh" moment. My stomach got wonky and I started to feel the GI issues I had in Cleveland. I kept pushing to see if it would pass and thankfully it did! Big sigh of relief on that one. Then around 15 one of my earbuds went dead and I thought "well that's annoying" by 16 the headphones had died. And "well that's annoying" became "ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME?!?! How am I going to get through the next 10.2 miles with no music!?!?" Luckily if your music is gone Chicago is the race for it to happen. There are so many other sights and sounds to keep you moving. After all that, I missed my friend :( she even told me what intersection she would be standing and I missed her...

By 18 my quads were burning, I was super annoyed I was missing some of the best music I had planned on the playlist, and I started to feel nauseous again. I really thought I was going to lose my stomach contents. Gross I know. So I tried to send my focus elsewhere which is tough with no music! Over and over I focused on the following: stick with the pacer as best you can, one foot in front of the other, one mile at a time, keep up the great work! When I wanted to walk I made myself make it to a point up ahead and I just kept going. I thought of how I would explain myself in my race report. I also told myself I would not be running another marathon unless I had a friend or a friendly blogger to run with me. It's hard being surrounded by strangers every race! Finally, the nausea passed and before I knew it I was turning the corner pushing myself into Chinatown (mile 20ish).

Hands down, the loudest most encouraging spot on the course was between mile 20 and 21 heading into Chinatown. This was my first time reaching this point of the race and I was soaking it up despite any pain I was feeling. You could see people all around hitting their wall and the spectators were just incredible and kept us all moving. Then someone said you have a 10K left and something clicked. "Hell I've just run 20 miles I can freaking do a 10K! I ran 13.1 a day after 20 I've got this!" I kept up the one mile at a time mantra as I walked through the mile 21 water station, my first water station stop. I started back up just to see how I felt and kept on keeping on. Some awesome spectators around 22 made me laugh and kept me moving along to 23. I looked at garmy and tried my best at running math to subtract 4 hours from the 3:31 showing. I debated long and hard if I could still make my 4 hour goal. I figured there was a chance, a very extreme chance, I could make the last 3.2 miles in 29 minutes. I just kept trucking along and pushed as much as my body would allow. Then I saw freaking Fred Flinstone at 24. No, way in hell I was letting a guy dressed like Mr. Flinstone beat me. Luckily he was slowing because my speed wasn't really increasing.

With 1 mile left to go coming up Michigan Avenue I passed Freddy, looked at garmy, and realized there was no way I would be able to make it to the finish in 7+ minutes. Way to go running math... I knew I would PR and just kept pushing for the best time possible. I started to choke up, realized it wasn't helping my breathing, and pulled myself together. As I turned off of Michigan to the last 1/2 mile I waved at the big screen then saw Jacob and B (finally!) on my left. Apparently they were waiting at mile 20, missed me, and were having a repeat of 2007 where they lost me the first time. So they were kind of freaking out that I was hurt again. They told me later they had just jumped in to the mass of finish area spectators when I saw them. I gave them a big wave and took off to the finish line.

I threw my arms in the air and crossed the line with a fist pump and a gigantic smile. I may have teared up too because I'm kind of an emotional freak. This race was just as sweet, if not more-so, than my first finish. I'm so happy I finished what I started out to do in 2007. I finished strong and with a smile.

I made it through the long chute, grabbed my blanket, medal, called my dad, grabbed water and pretzels, took some finisher pictures, then waited for my two supporters to find me.

my husband is thinking "I've been standing in the cold for over 4 hours, can we go home now"

my ever supportive friend B who walked over the dang city while 8 months pregnant to cheer for me!!!

Some of the other miscellaneous observations over the 4+ hours
  • best shirt saying: I can only run so fast with this ass (BTW I am stealing this for my next shirt)
  • worst shirt saying: If you don't come in first you lose. Worn by a big dude with a faux mohawk. I passed him at mile 7.5.
  • funny sign: Runners have balls, other athletes only play with them
  • saw 2 women running on their birthdays. And 1 had a friend running with her the whole race (so nice!) I was able to say happy b-day to one of the women.
  • I saw a blind runner and his guide(s) being closely followed by a tv crew on a bike rickshaw
  • A seeing impaired runner keeping up just over a 4 hour marathon
  • A runner using arm crutches. Holy inspiration! and I can only imagine the wrist/forearm chafing.
  • With 45,000 runners this course was packed from start to finish. It thinned in sections but the water stops were slow going (even when running down the middle!) and I was still getting jostled all the way to the finish line. It's tough to run 26.2 miles like that.
  • Despite the running crowds, pain, and lack of ipod music I had a lot of fun for the majority of the race. Racing is so much better when you can make it fun!
  • I finally beat Hi Guy! For this marathon Hi Guy ran in pink crocs cut into a sandal. For all other races he wears cheapo flip flops, sometimes bare feet, a beanie with a propeller, and always passes me at the end. If you've run a race in Chicago, run the lakefront, or walked around, you most likely have seen Hi Guy or his smiley face chalk drawings.
  • All the volunteers once again rocked!
  • There is no other race or city like Chicago! It is truly an unbelievable experience from start to finish.
And finally the numbers...
START TIME07:39:58
Place (total)11727
Place (Gender)3125
Place (Div)638
Total (Net)04:02:13
Total (Gun)04:12:18

Thank you all for your support and congrats!!! It's amazing to have so many people I've never met follow my journey, root for me, and hold me accountable even if you didn't realize it. It's amazing having such a supportive community and it kept me moving. Thank you so very much!!!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Chicago Marathon Short Story

I set a new PR at 4:02:13!!!! a 4 minute PR from Dallas and 20 minute bettering of Cleveland this last May! Revenge and redemption o' so sweet!!!

Just missed breaking 4 hours but I'm happy with how it all went down today, despite my earphone busting out at 17 miles. Long race report to come later when I have time and am not so hungry.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Thoughts before M-Day

The Chicago marathon holds a little more significance to me. Some of you may or may not know but Chicago was my first attempt at the marathon 2 years ago. I posted a DNF due to reasons beyond my control. If you don't want to click the link the short story is it was a humid 90 degree day andI didn't know what to expect (I thought that's how you were supposed to feel!). I passed out due to severe dehydration around mile 19 but don't remember. I woke in an ER as a Jane Doe and no one could find me for nearly 4 hours. I was admitted overnight and finally discharged after I made a huge stink with severe dehydration and rhabdomylosis. My memory slowly returned thankfully. And now I have some things to finish. I was able to complete my first marathon in Dallas less than 2 months after Chicago and while that was sweet I have been waiting for the day I could run Chicago again. Last year was the year of the wedding so it was a no go. My time has finally come to settle the score :)

What I went through that day rises back up and shakes me every so often. For the most part I am able to laugh about what a great story it makes but at the time it was extremely serious. The whole not knowing what your name is and if anyone is looking for you can be quite scary. What I went through emotionally and physically 2 years ago is on my mind, gnawing away at me every race I start. I take inventory in the middle of races to compare how I'm feeling to that race.

I know I can finish; I have proven that 2 other times now. This time around it's for a little revenge and a lot of redemption. I'm freaking out but cannot wait! I'm a hot mess of emotions and have been throughout this training. I also recognize I've also had some seriously kick ass training happening over the last 12 weeks and can't wait to see how it unfolds M-Day. I honestly can say I have never been more excited to see the last 7-8 miles of a course and finish line in my racing history.

I'm know it's 2 years later, a lot changes over 2 years. But some experiences are meant to be remembered (even if I don't remember the entire experience) and taken with you. That experience helped shape me into the runner and person I am now. Besides some lingering chest pains when I cough/sneeze where they did the compressions too hard, I'm glad the whole mess turned out for the best and I have the opportunity to try this out again! So here's to marathon #4 (and hopefully finish #3!) It's going to be a much colder and hopefully sweeter experience!

I'm headed to the expo today... by myself... The hubs is saying no to another expo for a race he isn't running. Not sure if I'll post again before Sunday. Maybe if something really cool happens today. If you care to track me my bib number this time around is 18194. Otherwise I'll have facebook and a short blog update post-marathon! See you all on the other side :) And good luck to everyone racing Chicago and all the other races happening this weekend!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

taper crazy's continue

Here I was rushing around this morning to get everything done before my flight and now I find myself delayed at least an hour. I love text updates from United when they come before I even leave for the airport! Not such a fan of the actual delays but it worked in my favor today. Now I have time to write a blog post before leaving :)

First we'll start with the hair. I can't say I'm in love but it's much easier and lighter on the run. Now I don't have 2 lbs of hair smacking around on my head and falling out of the hair ties. Added bonus, I now use half the shampoo and no more neck pain/headaches!

So before in all its hot mess glory. Please ignore my messy bedroom in the background ;)

And after nearly 6 inches shorter and a 1 lb lighter!

I'm feeling the taper this week. Very, very antsy. I waiver from excitement to nervousness, to being scared, to anxiety, back to pure excitement. Monday was a rest day and I didn't know what to do with myself all day. Luckily we were meeting the hubs friends in the burbs for dinner so that killed a few hours. Tuesday was a recovery sixer. Not sure what I was recovering from but that's what we'll call it. I kept having to pull myself back as the cool weather and well rested legs were making it feel too easy to go, go, go. Today (Weds) I had my "Dress Rehearsal" per Pfitz. 7 miles with 2 at race pace. Nervous? Yes! I'm still doubting myself and my "A+" goal race pace. However by mile 6 I was feeling my runners high and had some super positive thoughts happening. And proof I was one happy runner who's ready for anything Sunday....
I returned home from the run to find these waiting for me at my door...
The in-laws sent good luck flowers! How sweet! I love gifts and don't get them nearly enough ;) It's nice to be remembered just because I'm the crazy girl in the family who is running another marathon. No one may understand but at least they are supportive!

Alright off to Birmingham for one last trip this week (if it ever takes off!) I have another rest day tomorrow and it feels weird not packing running shoes/clothes. Now I have that much more room in the bag to go shopping at the mall across the street ;) Let's hope there is not a repeat of the last time I was trying to get home from Birmingham (stuck in the airport for 7 hours) and I make it back Thursday night, get enough sleep, then hit the expo Friday!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

7 days

By this time in 7 days I hope to be celebrating a stellar marathon finish with a margarita as big as my head and delicious El Mariachi food. :)

Sunday brought the last "long" run before race day. 12 miles used to hurt but now I find it very enjoyable. The plan was to wake early and head out the time I will be starting Chicago. You may know I'm all for plans but usually ignore them. Sleep, wonderful sleep, was calling my name as it tends to do. By the time I forced myself out of bed and out the door it was after 9 a.m. oh well. It was still nice and cool and the late start worked to my advantage as I missed two races happening along the path. Yea! My procrastination payed off :) Not much else to report on this mornings happenings. I'm a ball of emotions heading into the last few days before M-Day but I'm finding ways to distract myself which is good.

Now I'm off for a haircut. It's a big day for me since I haven't had one since about March. It's tough to find the time when your never home! I'm trying a new place so hopefully they can make this thick, unruly hair into something manageable. Most people tend to do hack jobs (seriously it's been bad more than good) so I hope that's not the case today! Plus I always lose about 1-2 lbs after they cut and thin this hot mess on my head :)