Saturday, May 22, 2010

and 6 days later...

Saturday morning, after 6 days of eating and drinking without regard and no exercise, I decided it was time to hit the running path. I like taking a week off after marathons to physically and mentally recoup. The week off gives me time to reflect on and appreciate all that I went through in training and race day. The week away from my shoes and the road also allows my body to heal. So after 6 days I laced up the shoes and hit the road naked (without my garmin). It felt strange to leave it at home, I had this feeling of forgetting something, but it is good to do every now and again. The plan as I walked out the door was for about 4 miles. I was feeling so good at the turnaround I decided to make it 5 instead. No idea and nor do I care what my time was - it was 5 wonderfully muggy miles!

It was good to get out there this morning especially since I have another race in a week! Yes, that's right, silly me signed up for a 10 miler 13 days post marathon. What was I thinking??? Well, the race was about to sell out and I got excited about the race knowing that a friend was already signed up to attempt this mileage for the first time. I figured I could take it easy race day; to just run to experience finishing on the 50 yard line and enjoy a day out there with friends. Although, I'm not sure that is what will end up happening on the 29th. I have a preferred corral because of my past participation so that may mean not as much bump and weave through the early miles which may make it difficult for me to take it easy :) We shall see!

Monday, May 17, 2010

2010 Cleveland Marathon Race Report

Settle in this is going to take awhile :)

I like running Cleveland not so much for the actual course but because it's the one race that I'm surrounded by family and friends. My family may not always understand why I run as much or as far as I do but at least they are there cheering me on along the course.

Race morning started early but not bright. The alarm was set for 4:45 am but the hubs woke at 4:30 to go to the bathroom and I'm a bit of a light sleeper. Unfortunately when I need to be up early I don't sleep well and marathon eve was no exception. I rolled out of bed and started my ritual. At 5:35 am my best friend, her husband, and her parents, picked me up and we were on our way to Cleveland. The p's dropped us off close to the start with nearly 45 minutes until the start and we started our hike to the port-a-potties.

For the first time in 33 years the Cleveland marathon and half marathon sold out. It is great news for the city and the race but some of the logistics haven't quite caught up with the race size. My biggest gripe were that the port-a-pots were on a street that was not closed to traffic and there were not nearly enough for the number of people running this year. I hope they learn because it was a hot mess.

After a not so quick trip it was nearly time to start. Mr. H and I lined up just behind the 4 hour pace group and Mrs. H headed to line up for her half marathon pace. The plan for this race was that Mr. H who is a bit of a speedster would pace me for a sub-4 hour marathon. Before my friend left to find her place we took a quick picture.
My garmin struggled to find a signal while waiting for the start and before it did we were off. Luckily I had my trusty pacer to worry about our time :) Although I still started my watch even if the mileage was off because I'm dependent and obsessive like that.

The morning started in the 50's and sunny and eventually warmed to the mid 60's. I was expecting overcast skies but no such luck. I warmed up fast! Mr. H and I took off slowly but had to dodge a lot through the first few miles. It took me awhile to settle into the race and on top of that I had to pee but had no desire to stop and wait at any of the sporadically placed port-a-pots.

Mr. H and I didn't run right next to each other the entire time, as I usually fell behind, but it was nice to have someone shoot the sh*t with and a pace bunny to chase. As we ran by the huge mural of LeBron around the 5K mark we took time to boo him for possibly leaving. We talked about past races and the course changes. Officials added Tremont, a cutesy neighborhood, to the schedule and it was a nice addition. We complained about the Shoreway. Sounds nice right? Not so much. It's Mr. H's most dreaded part of the course. I forgot about the nearly 2 mile gradual uphill on a concrete expressway from miles 8 - 10. There is absolutely no crowd support because there is no way to get there and you also get to pass a stinky water treatment plant. I nearly lost my breakfast and gu chomps. After some tearing and dry heaving I made it past that one.

The first 13 miles were the most fun I have had in any race yet because I was going through them with a friend!
Right around 13 miles Jacob and my sister were there to cheer us on. I traded out water bottles with my hubs and my sister jumped in to join the fun on through 16. We hit the half right around 1:59 and change. Right where we wanted to be.

Then I took a turn for a worse, just like last year.

At this point of the course the half marathoners have left to finish their race and taken nearly all the race supporters with them. Miles 13.2 - 16 are by the lakefront airport (boring and no spectators), 16-17 are on a bike path by the lake (more of us on our own), and nearly all these middle sucky miles were into the wind. No matter how much you run in wind you are never truly prepared for it. Then as you turn away from the wind into the metro parks you are greeted with a ton of long uphills with no downhills, only a flattening out.

somewhere around 16 I think, not so pretty

I won't go on about how crappy I felt between 14 - 20. I was presented with a mental challenge I was not able to breakthrough on Sunday. We reached mile 20 at 3:04 and I knew my goal wasn't going to happen. Plain and simple - I gave up on my goal and myself. I kept on pushing as much as I could because of Mr. H but my heart was no longer in it to win it if you know what I mean. He encouraged me when he could or just gave a look over his shoulder to make sure I was still with him. It was all I needed to keep on keeping on.
I walked for the first time around 20ish through the water station as I ran out of what I was carrying. After my walk break of a few seconds I told Mr. H I couldn't do it any longer. I don't remember what he said but it got me moving again and I was able to pick it up briefly. At this point I was tired of feeling bad and wanted to focus on something else. I started thanking every race volunteer and spectator I made eye contact with. It helped immensely!

From 20 on I walked through all the water stations and just told myself to get to the next one. My sister found us again around the 22/23 mark and snapped some shots of us on her iphone before jumping in on the fun.

look at all those supporters around us...

At the water station around 24 I told them to go on ahead without me. I was really struggling even though I knew it was almost over. If they left I was going to walk and not care. They wouldn't leave. I felt bad making Mr. H run so slow! I wanted him to at least have a decent ending to the race but he stuck with me and all my mood swings ;)

What seemed like an eternity but was really around 10 minutes we reached the point with 1 mile remaining. I so desperately wanted to pick it up but I just couldn't. I had nothing left in the tank to give. As we rounded the last corner to the finish we saw my friend and her parents. She jumped in with us for a couple hundred feet to cheer us on. Along the way to the finish all the spectators were kind of standing around so I yelled out a "let's hear it" Mr. H started clapping and we tried to get the crowd going.

Last year my family missed my finish. This year they were on the ball! Which was good because I had given my sister my fuel belt that also held my phone.


Mr. H and I very happy to be done

my other partner on the course - my sister turned out nearly 6 miles for the first time ever!

We crossed the line with a chip time of 4:07:55! I bettered my time from Cleveland last year by nearly 14 minutes thanks to Mr. H! It's not a personal best but at least it's not a worst either. And for all my difficulties I did have fun and at the end of the day that is what matters. Although the phrase "This is my last marathon" may have been spoken.

I quickly found my dad and stepmom who had walked the 10K! Their first race since beating their cancers. Then my hubs who had been kicking a few back in the beer garden with my brother-in-law. crazy kids...

While in the beer garden sipping my nasty plastic bottled miller lite (don't judge it was free and cold) I saw a guy wearing a 1st marathon sign on his shirt so I made a point to congratulate him. Usually I'm too scared to talk to strangers but I felt the need to acknowledge others throughout this entire race. Something in talking to others, saying "thank you" and "congratulations" made me feel so happy and allowed me a much better race experience. Anyway, he came over sat down next to me and started chatting me up for the next 15 minutes. I learned a lot about him but never caught his name - congrats to the man from Connecticut who drove 8 hours to Cleveland for a "flat" course and rocked his first marathon in a stellar 3:47!

Highlights from race day:
  • The signs! "Chuck Norris Never Ran a Marathon" (I love a good chuck norris reference!), "If it were easy, I would be running" and another one that said Let's Go Cavs, with Cavs crossed out, and runners added.
  • Passing batman around mile 23.
  • The spectators on the back half. They may have been few and far between but the ones that were there were fantastic! Especially the nice girl with oranges around 22. I may have called her my savior :)
  • the early on neighborhoods support. I hope this keeps growing every year and also to the back half the marathon.
  • The cute little family of four cheering hard at multiple spots along the back of the course
  • My sister who thinks running 26.2 miles is stupid still out on the course running nearly 6 miles with me. Thanks loo!
  • Mr. H for sticking with me through it all! Dude, you freaking rock and saying thank you is not enough I know!
cheers! #5 is in the books!
Thank you for all your support on this one!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

taper randomness

T -2 days and (approximately) 18 hours until marathon #5! Here's the taper randomness happening bullet style...
  • taper crazy didn't set in until Tuesday. I was talking to my friend who had no idea I was running a marathon on Sunday and something clicked along the lines of "crap, I didn't realize how close the 16th and running a marathon really is!"
  • I don't know what it is about the week before a marathon but it's the week I finally get around to getting a haircut. My last one was right before Chicago in October (yes, I tend to go 5 to 6 months between haircuts) and I had a PR. Maybe it's good luck or something! Or maybe I finally get so annoyed with the mess I realize I'm not going to be able to take 26 miles of heavy hair on the top of my head.
  • I'm crazy anxious about this race. Even though I know the course, am going home to be with family and friends, and have done this before I can't help but think my training wasn't enough, my times were a lot slower this time around, I could have been better with my food choices, so on and so forth. My anxiety symptoms are coming through full force - insomnia, night terrors when I do fall asleep, nausea, stomach pain, etc. I'm doing everything I can to calm down!
  • I really hope I can get some sleep in the next couple days I think that will make all the difference.
  • 2 runs done so far this week. An easy 6 and a what pfitz calls a "dress rehearsal". It was 7 miles with 2 at race pace. My legs struggle to find my desired pace. They kept moving 20 seconds too fast!
  • I have 2 short runs left to do. Since Friday is a travel to Ohio day, I may skip one.
  • Today is my Friday at work. The day can't end soon enough...
  • Saturday is a big pasta dinner at my dad's house with family and friends running the race. I am so excited! I love running races with and supported by people I know and it happens so rarely.
There are a lot of us running this weekend. Since my taper brain isn't focusing on anything I can't imagine trying to link everyone up. Good luck to everyone - you know who you are! I'll be thinking of you while I'm out there on the course in Cleveland and looking forward to reading your reports as I recover from the couch.

***I forgot to mention I have bib #2498 this time around. There is live marathon finish times up on on Sunday if you're feeling the need to check on me ;) I'll also update FB right after I finish I'm sure!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Giveaway Winners!

There were 26 entries in The Ultimate Runner book giveaway. I plugged this into and these 3 are the lucky winners!
Congrats ladies!

Contact me at jmbgr at hotmail dot com. I'll need your full name and shipping address.

Friday, May 7, 2010

HELP! running music needed

In about 8 days I'll be running my 5th marathon (and hopefully a 4th finish). So now becomes the time to make the marathon song list and it works out perfect because it gives me something to do at the in-laws this weekend. Lately I have been skipping over too many songs on my little shuffle because I am just so over the music. So I need your help! Leave me your top go to running songs. I am open to everything as my list is pretty eclectic as it is.

Remember if you want a chance at a copy of The Ultimate Runner be sure to leave a comment on the post below. Try and get as many entries as you can to better your chances!

Happy Mother's Day to all you Mom's!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

warm 1600's and GIVEAWAY!

I am not ready for this warmer weather. Lucky for me it should be cooling off around these parts starting Thursday. Fingers crossed it stays cooler on through May 16th. Unfortunately I had some much disliked 1600 intervals on the schedule tonight. Only 3 but it felt oh so much worse. After the 2nd interval I took a little longer recovery in between and almost didn't start the 3rd. I had a brief bargaining session and then proceeded to run like someone in quicksand. Even though it felt like I wasn't moving I squeezed out my desired time of a sub-8 for all 3 intervals. So even though I felt a bit like what I assume death to feel like I made it through!

Onto the GIVEAWAY!

3 lucky readers will have the chance to receive their own copy of this fantastic, motivating book!

How you ask? Leave me comment... For each one you'll be entered into the hat!
  1. Become a follower of my blog or let me know you already are a follower
  2. Like the Ultimate Runner on Facebook
  3. Like the Runners Lounge on Facebook or let me know you already do
  4. Post this giveaway on your blog, facebook, or twitter and let me know for each place you post.
Enter now through Sunday, May 9th. I will announce the winners on Monday, May 10th.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

The Ultimate Runner Book Review

You may have heard about Tom and Amy the fabulous runners from Des Moines who created Runners' Lounge recent book release - The Ultimate Runner. I was lucky enough to receive a copy early this past weekend to check out. I love a good book. I especially love a motivating and inspiring running book. And really who of us doesn't?

If you haven't heard about The Ultimate Runner is a collection of short stories celebrating runners and their achievements and experiences. This is not from only elites and coaches, no it's also by some "regular" runners too. And let me say how wonderfully refreshing! There are are over 40 contributors (you can find the list of these peeps here) that includes some bloggers showcased on Runners Lounge blog previously. Always exciting to read stories from people you may "know"!

The book is separated into 7 sections that include stories, tips from the experts, and pictures. The first 6 sections include short stories on transformations, insights, the social side of running, memorable races, off the beaten path, and charitable causes stories. The last section is saved for the experts. While more seasoned runners may find some of this information in this last section repetitive there are good tips and reminders for us all.

Really The Ultimate Runner something for everyone. If you can not find a story in here to relate to in some way I would be very surprised. I found myself being able to identify with (because I too had experienced that! crazy I thought I was the only one ;)) or be motivated and inspired by nearly every single person who contributed. From those who were the casual runner or just starting out to the seasoned endurance athletes and everyone in betweeen these runners had me laughing out loud, shaking my head in disbelief and awe, and choking up a little bit... okay a lot but I am kind of an emotional freak :) When I was done it had me not only itching to lace up the shoes but also reflecting on what my story would be.

Thank you to Tom and Amy for putting together such a wonderful collection of stories for us regular runners! And for the copy of the book sent ahead of schedule ;) I hope there are many more collections to come in the future.

I highly recommend this book and if you want to grab your copy you can go to Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Borders - it's available now! Added bonus... it's in paperback which means it's easy to travel with. Very important to this girl ;)

Saturday, May 1, 2010

oh the choices!

I absolutely love getting the mail. It's something about the unknown of what could be in that little silver box. Usually I'm disappointed with junk mail and bills or the mail person not delivering necessary items on time but not today. Today I arrived home from my morning long run (16 slow miles) ready to relax. The hubs is golfing all day and my condo is actually clean since we had friends staying the night last night so I actually have free time for me. I was thinking of taking the computer to my front porch to catch up on blogs but then I opened our mail slot to find this...

I hit the mail jackpot today! Now I need to figure out what to start out with on my lazy day of reading. I'm thinking Tom and Amy's advance copy of The Ultimate Runner may be a good one to enjoy on my front patio this afternoon.

It's a good Saturday I only wish could be longer! A long run in the morning, reading and relaxing all afternoon, and Craig Ferguson's stand-up show at the Chicago Theatre tonight!