Wednesday, May 26, 2010

I did it!

 In the grand scheme of things, this is not a big deal.  But to me and my current running status, it is.  Saturday morning I got up and ran with the local running store's running group.  Every Saturday morning for the past year I have thought about joining them, but fears of inadequacy, slowness and general awkardness prevented me from actually going.  To be honest, it wasn't the best run ever....but at least I had company and 8.5 miles ticked away like nothing.  I'm also pretty sure the only reason I could find someone who was running at my pace was because they had both just done a full marathon 6 days earlier!  We'll see how it goes this Saturday.  So yes, I'm going to go back.  I'd really like to find a partner/group to train with for my next marathon.

In Boot Camp news.....Holy Cow!  For someone who has been doing cardio and weight training 6-7 days a week for over a year, I sure am out of shape!  Now granted, I am one of the "more conditioned" (the trainer's words, not mine) ladies out there so I do heavier weights and more repetitions, but geez am I sore!  This is exactly what I wanted.  I only wish I could work out with this trainer always!  Unfortunately, she's pricey and I took 3 of my hubby's work out days to do this class.  Being a considerate wife, I feel like I should give him his days back.  He knows marathon training will be starting in the end of June.  Who am I kidding...there is nothing considerate about training for a marathon.  I promise to try my best, though!  4 more sessions of the Boot Camp before we hit the beaches of Hilton Head Island.  I've failed in my main goal of donning a bikini this summer, but I sure am looking forward to some nice runs while on vacay.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Cleveland Half Marathon Race Recap!

So I'm a little late getting to this.  Life has been busy this week! I didn't expect to have such a good time in Cleveland.  I've lived in Ohio my whole life and had never visited there.  I'd never heard good things about the city and when my running partner didn't register in time for the race (which sold out for the first time in history) I was pretty sure the whole thing was going to be bad.  Thankfully, I was wrong!

The goodness, if you will, started at the expo.  Lots of good vendors, not too crowded, and easily-accessible bibs/packets/t-shirt pick up.  I finally got my Rider post-run recovery shoes (to go along with my post-run recovery calf compression sleeves) and since I had left my Sweaty Band at home, I picked up a new one of those too!  Definitely a good day for me!

My sister had made reservations for us at a little place in Cleveland's Little Italy district for dinner.  The food was great, but the entertainment took the cake.  We were seated in the back portion of the restaurant where there were 2 singers and a dance floor.  Not too many people were dancing (besides some HS kids there before prom), but everyone was enjoying these singers.  They covered Sinatra, Neil Diamond, Elvis, Michael Buble, etc.  It was great, but made conversation a little hard.  After dinner we walked over to a little Italian bakery, where hubby got a chocolate chip cannoli  and I got a big peanut butter cookie. Perfect way to end the night.

The race started at 7:00 am and our hotel was conveniently located about 3 blocks away from the starting line. It was in the upper 40's/low 50's and sunny.  Perfect running weather!  I offered my sister good luck wishes and off she went to find the 3:40 pace group for the marathon.  I found my spot with the 4:15/9:43 pace group, said good bye to my hubby and then the race began.  I didn't really know what to expect.  I didn't even look at the course map until the night before.  I hadn't trained for a hilly course, and thankfully it wasn't!  That's not to say it was completely flat, but more on that later.  I had no expectations for this race.  I had really hoped to do well at my first race in Louisville and when that didn't pan out, I honestly didn't expect much.  I was pleasantly surprised.

The first few miles took you through downtown Cleveland and across a bridge.  There's always something so empowering about running down the middle of an otherwise busy city street.  I took in the sights as we passed the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame, Cleveland Browns' stadium, and the Cleveland Indians' stadium.  The view from the bridge was pretty cool, as well (for Cleveland).  I kept thinking of my sister and hoped and prayed that she was on track to her BQ.

Next you ran through a pretty industrial area.  Nothing too exciting to see, but honestly, I wasn't looking.  I had my iPod on and I was just concentrating on running.  I didn't feel great, but I didn't feel bad either.  My goal was to stay ahead of the 4:15 pace group for as long as possible.  Around mile 6 they caught up with me.  I heard them come upon me like a heard of elephants.  I stayed with them for about a mile, and eventually I could just barely make out the pace leader sign. It was around this point of the race that I ran into another runner, who became known as "king kong" in my mind.  He was really tall and thin and kind of pounded his feet into the ground with each stride.  What really gave him his nickname was the loud grunting/snorting/loogy-making sounds he was making.  He had his headphones in both ears, so I wonder if he knew how loud he was?  I also wondered if he knew that he was "that guy"? That entertained me for awhile, as I tried to avoid his loogies!

Around mile 9 we made our turn back to the city and ran along Lake Erie.  There was a really nice neighborhood at the turn and there was great crowd support here.  The course overall, was pretty well supported by fans.  That's always a good thing for me!  Along with the great view of the lake came the lakefront winds and a slow, gradual incline. This part was mentally tough.  I just kept moving though and turned on my mental marathon mantra.  I picked out a girl in front of me to stay with and eventually I made my up the incline.  We crossed another bridge back into the city, and I knew the end was near.  As we came down the bridge there was great crowd support.  I found my  hubby cheering for me here!  It was great (and unexpected) to see him.  We hit mile 12 and I knew I was going to finish with a PR.  I was feeling good and strong and the crowds were just getting thicker and thicker as we made our way to the finish line.  I crossed the line at 2:09...a 9 minute PR! 

I made my way through the recovery area and picked up some chips, chocolate milk and a bottle of water.  I sipped water throughout the race, but hadn't had anything else since the GU I took before the race started.  My stomach felt good and I was pretty hungry!  I found my hubby and asked him how my sister was doing.  At the half-way mark she was ahead of the 3:40 pace group and was feeling good.  I was so excited for her!  We quickly went back to the hotel so I could shower and made our way back down to the finish line to watch my sister come in. 

I've never really been a spectator at a race.  Usually I finish running and have to leave quickly to check out of the hotel/take care of my kids/etc.  Watching these fast marathoners was inspiring! They made it look so easy. I teared up watching a little girl bounce around on her Daddy's shoulders as he crossed the finish line in 3:20.  Amazing!  We knew my sister would be coming soon so we took our spots about 100 yards away from the finish line and waited.  I was in charge of the sign, and my husband in charge of taking pictures and the cowbell.  Neither worked out so well, we were so excited when we saw her.  We raced down the street, dodging people, trees and buildings to try and catch her finishing time.  She ended up crossing the finish line at 3:39.  She got her BQ!!  I was so proud of her.  She set her goal and achieved it.  Simply amazing and inspiring!  It was the perfect ending to my spring racing.

Looking forward, I have some new adventures lined up.  I started taking a boot camp class with a personal trainer this week. It meets from 5:30-6:15 am at a local park with about 12 other women.  It meets 3 days a week, rain or shine. Perfect.  What wasn't so perfect was a 1/3 mile sprint/cardiovascular endurance test first thing on Monday morning.  My quads and hip flexors were pretty tight after Sunday's race, and the sprint test only made it worse.  At least I'll be sure to show some improvement from beginning to end!  I've also decided to bite the bullet and try out my local running store's running group.  Now that I am almost completely partner-less (I think the dingo is even over running long-distance with me....he just can't keep up most days), I need to find a nice group to run with.  I've realized that there's worse things than being slow, and if I end up running by myself, well then I'm not any worse off than if I hadn't tried the group out.  My first run with them will be Saturday morning, unless it's raining.  One thing is for sure though.  I am ready to start training for my next marathon.  I want to feel that pride of completing 26.2 miles.  I want to get up at 4am and go out for a 20 mile run.  I want to feel alive again.  Someone please remind me of this when I start complaining about my aching x,y, or z! Sunday, October 17th, 2010 ~ Columbus, OH ~ Nationwide Better Health Marathon ~ Be there or be square!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Indianapolis 500 Festival Mini Marathon Race Recap

Who knew that when I wrote THIS post it would be all too telling.  Half Marathon #2 for the season went off again...with just a minor hitch.  40-some degree starting line temps and 20-30mph winds. was chilly and I was not too prepared for it.  My knee-high socks were a God send ....not just a funky fashion statement!  Despite the cold temperatures (which really would have been great, if I had been better prepared), I give this race an A+.  Superb organization, fun atmosphere, lots of course support and a great host-city. 

So the details...we arrived in Indianapolis a little after 5:00pm.  We checked into the hotel (who wouldn't guarantee us a late check out....grrrr) and headed over to the expo.  It was easy to find and was in a nice, open exhibit hall in the convention center.  There were no bottlenecks anywhere and you didn't have to follow a specific path to get to the packet pick up area!  What a genius idea! We picked up our packets and then did some shopping.  There were too many good vendors to choose from!  I had been wanting to get a pair of recovery socks, so when I found a pair of Zensah calf/shin compression sleeves, I went ahead and got those.  I typically don't like anything touching my toes after long runs, so the sleeves are perfect.  I used them post-race and my legs feel great today!  After the expo we had dinner at the Spaghetti Factory and called it a night.  I had a whole king-sized bed to myself.  I was in heaven....but just a tad bit lonely.  I had to leave my hubby and kids at home for this race due to my son's T-ball pictures and game coinciding with the race.  Bummer!  Despite having a bed to myself and no kids to wake me up, I still didn't sleep well.  Figures.

My alarm didn't even have to go off.  I had been up well before the 6:05 alarm.  I got myself ready, watched some TV and met my friends in the lobby around 6:30 am.  We were instructed to be in our corrals by 6:45 am.  35,000 runners were expected to run the race!  We found our way easily to our corral (we were in corral "O", out of corrals A-Z) and thus began the long freeze.  Thank goodness for good tunes blaring over the loud speakers and beach balls bouncing around to keep me moving. It was a great atmosphere!  The race started and 17 minutes later we crossed the starting line. 

Miles 1-5 you are essentially heading out of the downtown area (passing by the zoo - they had an elephant at the fence to see us on our way) and out to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.  There were so many people around you at all times (but not packed) that you didn't really even notice the surroundings.  They had bands and DJs at least every mile.  Sometimes 2 or 3 in a mile!  Water/gatorade/porta-potties were offered at 17 different spots throughout the 13.1 mile course.  These stations were called "Pit Areas" and had long, vertical flags announcing their location.  The first one we came too I read the banner as a "pitarea" so from then on they became known as "those fancy Italian water stops".  Hey - it doesn't take much to entertain me! I shed my throw-away shirt around mile 2.   I would come to regret that!  Around mile 5 you reach a street/area called Main St.  There was lots of crowd support here, as you made your way into the race track.

Miles 6-9 were almost entirely in the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.  I had no idea Indy was so big (not a NASCAR fan...)!  There were cheerleaders and different groups located there to cheer you on.  This was also the first photographer spot.  We took our first potty break here.  I had drank NO water (except for a little bit to wash down my breakfast GU) all day and yet my bladder still felt like it could burst.  Luckily my preggo friend also had to stop!  Around mile 8 my friend really started to slow down.  I would run just a bit in front of her and her husband and after a few minutes I would lose them.  Made for a lot of starting and stopping, but I didn't mind.  I usually take my 2nd GU around mile 8, but after the last race I was a bit hesitant.  We were running so slowly, I didn't really feel like I needed to take anything, so I just took a few sips of Gatorade at one of the "Pitareas".

Miles 10-13 led you back into the downtown area.  The scenery wasn't the best,  but the bands/spirit squads/volunteers made up for it.  We stopped again around mile 10 for my friend to use the porta-potty. Unfortunately those sips of Gatorade would come back to haunt me.  My belly starting hurting around mile 11.  I contemplated stopping to use the porta-potty, but I felt bad making them stop again.  The cramps would come in waves, so I could handle it.  Around mile 12 though, we were just moving too slowly so I told them that I was going to run ahead and find a porta-potty at the finish line.  They were cool with that, so I went ahead.  I sped up and it felt good!  I felt as though I hadn't used my "running legs" all day.  I probably could have run a full that day!  I made my way to the finish line where there was fantastic crowd support.  Once I stopped running, the pain went away.  The porta-potties were too far away from the finish line, so I just waited for my friends to finish.  At this point we had to check out of our hotel in about 20 minutes, so we hurriedly made our way through the recovery area and headed back to the hotel.  The wind had really picked up by this point and I was FREEZING.  I ended up running home, just to stay warm.  I took the fastest shower ever, packed up and checked out.  They had a lady going from room to room to make sure you had checked out on time.  Otherwise, they were charging you $50.  Everyone was pretty annoyed!  The good news is that because we had to be out of the hotel so early, we made it home just in time to watch our kids' T-Ball games.  All in all, it was a great race and a great time.  I can't wait to do this race next year!  It sold out in December last I may sign up now!

Pictures from the Race: the hotel room

Beach balls were flying everywhere!  So fun!

My friends - with her "Baby's First 1/2 Marathon" shirt

Entering Indy - You then went down a tunnel and up onto the track

Goofing off on the track

The control tower

Unfortunately, we didn't get any post-race medal pictures, except the professional one they took.  Hopefully that one will turn out good!

So next week is my last 1/2 in Cleveland.  I haven't even looked at the course. I'm more excited to go cheer my sister on to her BQ!  I'm hoping and praying to the good Lord above for "Ideal Conditions".  I can't take much more rain/cold/wind!  I'll take 1 out of 3 at this point!  I don't have a special outfit planned for this one.  I just want to get it done!  The kids will be staying with my Mom and Dad, so hubby and I will have a night alone.  Looking forward to it.  Hope everyone had a great weekend and Happy Mother's Day to all those hard working, running Mamas! 

Sunday, May 2, 2010


It seems as though spring racing is upon us!  Everywhere I turn someone is training for or running a race.  My next race is in 6 days.  Indianapolis here I come!  15,000 half marathoners (and none of those elitist full marathoners to make you feel guilty ;-)).  What could be more fun?!  As mentioned before, this race will be at a significantly more "comfortable" pace.  I'm not going to kill myself weaving around people (I didn't submit a qualifying time for a preferred corral....kicking myself now) and I'm not going to kill my pregnant friend!  This race is about fun.  Taking the lead from fellow running Mommy, Tonia,  at Racing With Babes....I bought some fun socks to rock out on the 13.1 mile course.  Polka dots and stripes anyone?  I've been consistent with my training and now it's time to reap it's rewards.  After last week's race (and puking) I decided it's not fair for me to say that I was "disappointed".  It would be one thing if I had trained hard.  I did no hill repeats, no speedwork, heck...I only run 3 days a week, racking up only 108 miles during my heaviest month of training.  I suppose really, I'm lucky to finish!  That's not to say I'm a slacker, though.  I've only taken 7 days off from exercising since January 1st.  All of those days were either before a race or the day after a long run.  My goal is to be fit and running is just a part of that.  Looking ahead, I need to revisit my nutrition strategy.  I don't know if I can stomach another GU....I was gagging taking them even before I threw one up last week!  I'm thinking about reading Nancy Clark's Food Guide for Marathoners.  As a dietitian myself, I prefer to stick with a book written by a professional.    Hopefully this will be insightful.  Nutrition strategy for this weekend's race is TBD!  Not a lot of time to experiment, with only 2 runs before Saturday's race.  Hey....wasn't I just tapering a few weeks ago?  Gotta love back to back racing!  On that note, have a good week and I'll catch you on the flipside of another 13.1.