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Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Proof that I Have Run


I wish I had posted more pictures of the non-running me before I posted these of me in action, but you know what they say: "Wish in one hand, poop in the other, see which fills up faster." (This is a family-friendly blog so the quote was edited for language.) Anyhow, apparently the photographers at the Hobble Creek Half Marathon only wanted pictures of us looking our sweaty best so they waited until the last five miles to take these. The smiling one was taken as I started down a hill, right after an uphill and an aid station. Of course I would be smiling then. I am pretty sure the other was taken during the last mile. I can imagine that was the look on my face when I saw the "1/2 mile to go" sign.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Race Report: My First Half Marathon

Half Marathon = 13.1 miles. Just wanted to put that in words at some point in this post.

I don't know why I have such a hard time when it comes to my race reports, but I do. Anyhow, here is the story of my first half marathon, the Hobble Creek Half.

Thanks to my AWESOME cousin Stacey, who got out of bed at 4:30 in the morning to come watch my girls, I arrived promptly at 5:30 am to get on the bus. Because I didn't know anyone else running, I sat alone until the bus was almost full. Then Miss Runner herself sat down next to me. After pleasantries ("Have you run this before?" "No, it is my first half. You?" "No, it is my first half too."), I asked if she runs a lot of races because she looked familiar. She confirmed that she does. But she doesn't just run; she wins. She ran in high school and through college. She took a year off during college to have a baby (and now has three kids), but came back and continued to win and win and win. While waiting in the potty line, I asked what her goal time was. I already knew by this point that she wanted to place in the top three. Her goal time was 1 hour 15 minutes, but she was a little nervous because her longest run ever was 10 miles. HELLO! Her goal was almost an hour less than my 2 hour 5 minute goal (9:30/M). Long story short, she came in first OVERALL for the women. She finished in 1:12:13 (5:31/M).

So my race report so far is actually more a report of Miss Runner's (aka Lindsey's) race, but I seriously am still in awe. My time isn't nearly as awe inspiring, but I did beat my goal. My stats:
Chip Time: 2:00:42
Gun Time: 2:02:22
Pace: 9:12
Since the difference in time was clearly the amount of time it took to finally cross the start, I am going with my chip time. The first five miles were seriously downhill. It was great! The only bad thing was how seriously crowded it was; there were so many times I had to run on the gravel along the side of the road to pass a line of four or five people running shoulder to shoulder so they could chat.

On the steeper downhills, I told myself over and over: "Let the road do the work." It might be total nonsense, but it worked. On my 10 mile race a few months ago, I had a hard time taking advantage of the downhills because I was too afraid of feeling out of control or of falling. This time I trusted my legs to know what they were doing (since they've had some practice at this running thing).

Around mile seven there was an uphill that slowed my pace a little, but it was bearable. The last few miles were a little more difficult simply because it was starting to get hot. The race started almost 45 minutes late (putting the start at 8 am) and it got to 100 degrees that day so it was pretty warm by 9 am. There was a little bit of a breeze around miles 11-12, which helped. But I actually started to feel chilled as I neared the last mile and got a little worried because I remembered reading that it is a sign of dehydration. The last mile was TOUGH! I forced myself to not let my pace drop below 10:00/M, but I seriously wanted to cry when I saw the 1/2 mile to go sign. Around mile 11, I thought I might make it in less than 2 hours. And I was close. Next time!

Here is some other misc. info from my first half marathon:
  • I have spent some time since I crossed the finish line wondering if I can really run a marathon in four weeks. I am doing a 20 mile this weekend, and I think it is going to help me answer that question.
  • I think the half is going to be my favorite racing distance.
  • I am a mom first and a runner second. This was confirmed a few miles in when some kids (not my kids) were holding a "We Love You Mom" poster out the sunroof of their SUV. At the same time, one of my 3-year-old's favorite songs was playing on my iPod. I nearly started crying. In spite of almost crying twice during this race, I HARDLY EVER cry. I am not that kind of girl (not saying there is anything wrong with it, I'm just not).
  • I drank some water before the race, GU and water at mile 3, water at mile 6, water, GU and sports drink at mile 9, and water and sports drink at mile 11. I slowed at the aid stations to make sure I really drank something, so carrying my own water might be the only dehydration solution for me.
  • They should really have water for the finishers. It is ALL I wanted, and they were out by the time I finished. I couldn't gag down any of the food or the sports drink they had (it was all too sweet!!!) and just wanted water and something salty.
  • I lost my jacket. I spent almost 30 minutes digging through the piles of clothes. Hoping it turns up at the store where we picked up our packets; they said to check in a few days.

I will probably think of more things I wanted to include, so there might be a post race report report later this week. I will also let you know about my surprisingly motivational running music at some later date. And I will try to post a photo. Since I was a lone runner, I don't have any photo proof of my run; I'm waiting for the professional photogs to post the pics from the run. Hopefully I won't look too dorktastic (thanks Heather for introducing me to that word)!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Think, Think, Think

There are a few things I have been wanting to get written and could make pretty lengthy posts about each, but I am tired of thinking about them. So here are the things I have been thinking about lately:
  • My first half marathon. It is this Saturday. The Hobble Creek Half Marathon. I have already lost sleep over it (thinking things like don't forget to Glide your toes, update iPod tomorrow, etc.). Instead of running my planned 20 miler this past week, which is what my marathon training had scheduled, I decided I would rather have fresh, strong legs for my first half. That means my longest run will be 20 miles, the week after my half. But several beginner training plans I have looked at peaked at a 20 mile long run, so I am hoping that will be enough.
  • There is a reason the GU instructions say to eat one 15 minutes before. I have been using energy gels about 6 miles or more into my long runs and not noticing any spectacular difference in my energy. I was tired and hungry at the start of my last 10 mile, so I downed a GU two miles in. After than, I wasn't hungry and felt strong the rest of my run. I ended feeling like I could have kept going. Then last night, I downed a GU about 15 minutes before my run. I was so tired (not sleepy, just exhausted) and hoped it would give me the energy to at least get started. Again, there was a noticeable difference by the time I changed my clothes and jumped on the treadmill. And I stayed strong through my speedwork. I'm going to be GUing before or at least early in my runs from now on!
  • KT Tape works. I have struggled with pain in my left hip since starting my marathon training several months ago. I think it is because of loose joints from being pregnant and then (still) nursing combined with the fact that I have a baby sitting on that hip off and on all day. Add running and you get hip pain. I got a sample of KT Tape, and very skeptically applied it. I couldn't figure out how something on the outside of my hip that I could hardly tell was there could help deep inside my joint. Well somehow it does. I noticed a difference within a few hours. And since there are no instructions on the web site or on the insert that came with the sample, Jim at KT Tape emailed me personalized instructions based on my description of the pain.

So that's it. Now I'm off to take a nap in an attempt to "sleep load" (or in my case get caught up a little) before the big day.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Showing My Heart

I was planning to write about my running last week and my plans for this week (first half marathon Saturday!!), but I was tagged by Mel (Tall Mom on the Run) to "Show My Heart." Since this is more fun than recapping my runs, I will have to get around to that later.

Here is my assignment: "With as much creativity as you can muster, show your heart in: a picture, poem, a song (or piece of music), a phrase (or quote), an item of clothing, a place, and (just for fun) a Disney princess."
A Picture


"Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body." (Elizabeth Stone)

After I had my first baby, I found this quote. It is exactly how I feel about my girls.

A Poem

In spite of my degree in English, I am not a big poetry fan. I never really enjoyed reading or writing it, so this one is really tough. I am going with a book that is essentially a really long poem, because it is one of my favorites:

A Song

This one was hard because so many U2 songs have meant something significant in my life with my hubby, but I have to go with "I Love You Always Forever" by Donna Lewis because it is "our song."

A Phrase/Quote

"If you want to know what a man's like, take a good look at how he treats his inferiors, not his equals." (Spoken by Sirius Black in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire)

This is just one of the great quotes from the series, which I love!

An Item of Clothing

My first official running shoes, Saucony ProGrid Rides. Saucony changed their styles and now have the Ride 2s, which are sadly not the same.

A Place


New York City will always have my heart. My husband and I lived just outside the city for almost a year, and that time and the city will always be special to me.

A Disney Princess


No question on this one. Belle is my favorite, and not just because she loves to read. She is compassionate, smart, honest and loyal. I promise I haven't totally brainwashed my 3-year-old to claim Belle is her favorite.

Holy cow, that took longer than I expected!! Now I tag:
Heather at Run Faster Mommy
Stacey at Runner Girl's Blog Spot

Saturday, August 15, 2009

I Want to Be Spanked

Those words ran through my head the last four miles of my six miler this week. But the words actually look more like this:

"I want to be spanked."

That is how they look in the book I tried to read on the treadmill. Magazine type is too small, but I thought I might be able to follow the print in a hardback book. I made it about two pages. After that, I spent the rest of my run reading the top line of the open page over and over and over . The rest of the page was bouncing too much to read, but for some reason that sentence, all alone at the top of the page, came through as clear as can be. I know I should have just shut the book, but I was afraid of becoming one of those "I flew off the back of my treadmill" stories. So I just want to thank Christopher Moore for spicing up my run a little.

By the way, I love Christopher Moore's books. Lamb is one of my favorite books ever. I have read all Moore's books and highly recommend them, but let me follow that by quoting from the "Warning" at the beginning of Fool (the source of the spanking episode):

"This is a bawdy tale. Herein you will find gratuitous shagging, murder, spanking, maiming, treason, and heretofore unexplored heights of vulgarity and profanity, as well as non-traditional grammar, split infinitives, and the odd wank. If that sort of thing bothers you, then gentle reader pass by, for we endeavor only to entertain, not to offend. That said, if that's the sort of thing you think you might enjoy, then you have happened upon the perfect story."

Much of that warning goes for his other books as well. I have been very careful in my personal life when recommending Moore's books because they aren't for everyone, so please don't blame me if you give them a try and they aren't for you.

I'm off to read; I already ran.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Mental


In my last post, I mentioned Nike's "Just Do It" slogan. I find myself repeating that and other sports slogans to myself during my runs. On some of my more difficult runs, I often ask myself: "Is it in you?" (Gatorade) Apparently those marketing people know what they are doing. At least when it comes to motivation. I don't buy Gatorade because it will magically make the answer "yes, yes, yes" when I ask myself that question (although I do buy Gatorade, or G, or whatever they want us to call it). However, I'm sorry Nike, but I don't have any of your shoes. I think I might have a long sleeved shirt that is yours, but it is buried until blissfully cooler days are upon us.

The fact that telling myself these things actually motivates me means so much of succeeding at it really is mental.

So what words motivate you?

Monday, August 10, 2009

Tread 17

Yep, I ran 17 miles on the treadmill. It wasn't easy. It wasn't fun. But it's done.

Why, you might ask, would I choose to run 17 miles on a treadmill? Sometimes you do crazy things, like sign up for a marathon which puts the longest runs of your training schedule during your husband's busiest time of the year at work. When the signing up took place, your brain tricked you into thinking you could make it all work so smoothly and conveniently. Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha!

In spite of reality hitting me in the face lately, I did what I had to do. In fact, somewhere around mile nine, I asked myself how I was going to make it the rest of the way. I told myself, "You just do it." (Thanks Nike!) After my pathetic previous week, I had to get my training back on track and just get 'er done.

Pathetic would be one tempo run and one speedwork run, followed by a weekend of scheduling and rescheduling my long run, 12 miles that never happened. So last Monday, I reminded myself that my half marathon was three weeks away, my marathon seven.

My total going into the weekend was 14 miles (all but two on the treadmill). I didn't schedule my long run, because rescheduling it over and over just causes frustration and makes me want to bag the whole thing, so I just told myself to make it happen. And I did. I stepped off the treadmill at 11 pm Sunday night. I don't like running on Sundays; it is the one day we have to spend as a family. But with the hubby working until 5 pm Saturday and a prior commitment from 5:30-8:00 that night, it wasn't going to happen on Saturday. (I forgot to mention the hubby sets the alarm for 1:05 am most mornings, so a morning run is out of the question.) So Sunday night it was, after everyone was in bed. Like I said, it wasn't easy or fun. Yet it wasn't totally worthless either (besides the obvious fact that I was running). My tread 17 taught me:
  • There isn't much on TV on summer Sunday nights. I learned more than I want to know about former playmate Kendra and her new football hubby.
  • The treadmill automatically pauses when it hits 100 minutes. Not great for your momentum.
  • I really like Vanilla Bean Gu.
  • The treadmill starts smelling funny after about 10 miles. I think it gets tired too.
  • There's something to be said for having quick, easy access to the bathroom.
  • Next time I do a long run, I am taking a picture of the treadmill before I turn it off since Garmin doesn't accompany me on my treadmill runs. There's something about having proof of running that far.

When my husband woke me just before 2 am to say goodbye, he asked if I finished my 17. I said yes, but I didn't know if I would ever make it 26.2. "You will," he said. Today, in spite of my sore legs (behind my knees, what's up with that??), tender hip and sleepy eyes, I think he might be right. I can do it. It won't be easy, but it won't be on the treadmill either. My 20 this weekend might though...

Friday, August 7, 2009

Giveaway Winner

To select the winner of my giveaway, I put the number of entries into the Random Sequence Generator on random.org. I matched the number that came out on top to the comment bearing the same number. And the winner is comment #32: Mel @ Achilles Me. Congratulations! And thanks to everyone who entered. It was great to "get to know" more of you and find some great new running blogs. I look forward to getting to know you all better!!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Lessons from My Munchkins

For lunch today, my 11-month-old ate avocado, cheese, apples and whole wheat bread, with a banana yogurt drink on the side. My somewhat pickier 3-year-old ate cheese and a BIG carrot. I think I should start eating more like my girls. The funny thing is I am the one who feeds them, so why is it so hard to feed myself equally nutritious food? Just a thought...

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