Saturday, December 17, 2011

Honolulu Marathon Race Report

Let me just start out by saying Hawaii is awesome!  I had such an amazing time on this vacation.  I hadn't seen my friend Deanna in about 8 years and we picked up like we hadn't lost a day with each other!   I could write a whole, very long, post about the vacation itself.  But I am just going to move on to the race.

Saturday night before the race one of Deanna's friends was having a party.  Even though we had the race the next day, we did stop by and stay for about an hour.  It was hard to leave, as in college both Deanna, Ann (my other friend from college, and who also lives near me in TX who came on the trip as well) and I were always the last ones to leave the party.  But we headed home and went to bed to get a good nights sleep before our 3am wake up call.  Yeah, did I mention that the race started at 5am!!  Here in TX our races start at 7-7:30 so I was a little worried about this early start.  However, it ended up being awesome and I am going to petition all of the races here to do that from now on!

Sunday morning my alarm went off at 3am exactly.  I could not believe the race day was actually here.  It really seemed like just yesterday Deanna and I were planning this whole thing.  Anyway, I got dressed, put my race bib on, ate whole wheat English Muffin with peanut butter and we were ready to go.  One quick picture and we were out the door.

Deanna is lucky enough to live about a half a mile from the start of the race, so we were able to walk over so we could loosen up a bit.  We also did a little big of a jog just to make sure everything was feeling good.  We got to the start line and headed, no not to our pace group, but to the VERY front with the Kenyans.  This was hard for me to do, as A. I am a rule follower, and B. I knew Jeff would not approve.  I didn't want to be the jerk who people had to run over to get going.  But Deanna assured me for this race this would be our best option so I listened.  Our Sherpa Ann and personal paparazzi snapped a couple more pics and then we were going to be running a marathon!!

Deanna and I planned to run the race together, and to try to negative split.  We started out, planning a warm up for the first two miles and were pretty successful at this.  I am not the best at pacing so it was nice to have Deanna to do that for me.  There were a couple of times we were going to fast for the first few miles of a marathon, and had she not been there to pace us I probably would have killed myself in the beginning, as I was feeling pretty awesome.  The first 5 miles were pretty dark, and uneventful.  I was not looking forward to mile 6 as I knew this was going to be the first hill I would have to conquer that day.  I typically do not do the whole, drive the course thing before a race.  However the day prior I decided it would be a good idea to see the hills at mile 6 and mile 25.  Yes, mile 25.  I am very glad that we did this.  I was able to mentally prepare ahead of time for both of them.

Since Deanna runs these hills all the times I was pretty sure that she was going to drop me at mile 6.  However, I hung with her and survived the first hill!  Don't get me wrong, it kicked my ass, but not as bad as I thought it was going to.

Miles 6-15 were pretty uneventful.  I was enjoying the beautiful scenery on the run, and we were trucking along.  One thing I did differently during this race was run through the water stations.  Typically I walk them, but Deanna doesn't, and since my training was much more this year I decided last minute to hang with her and run through them.  Overall I think this was one of the reasons why I had the great time I did.  However around mile 15 I was feeling the effects of it, I think more mentally than physically.  I told Deanna that I didn't think I had much more and she might have to go on without me.  She wasn't ready to do that, and told me to walk this water station to see how I felt.  I did, had some water and was feeling much better.  But the real life saver at mile 15 was Deanna's friend Angie, her boyfriend and cousin.  Angie is from Pittsburgh and had an awesome sign that said "Yinz better run faster than dat"  but more importantly they had peeled and cut up oranges for us and real Gatorade.  Not the watered down crap the water stations had.  Angie and her oranges were life savers and gave me the boost I needed to keep up at the pace I was going for the next few miles.

I knew I was well hydrated during this race, because around mile 18 I really had to pee.  I asked Deanna how she felt about stopping.  She didn't have to go and really didn't want to stop, so I decided to try to make it the last 8 miles.  However at mile 19 I just knew I couldn't, and I think she did too.  I had just asked her what we were on pace for, which at that time was about a 4:05.  She must have seen a look on my face because she asked me if I had anymore and I told her no.  I told her to go and she took off.  I ran a bit longer, and then just couldn't wait anymore.  I had to pee, so I stopped at the potties and went.  What a relief.  It was hard to get going right away again, but it was so much easier to run!

I would say around mile 20 I hit a small wall.  Not quite as big as I have in the past two marathons, but still a small one.  I really need to figure out what causes this.  Is it all mental?  Nutrition based?  I really want to figure it out.  My hips were really hurting at this point, but I looked at my watch and knew I had to keep running if I was going to hit my goal of 4:15.

I don't know how I did it, because to be honest I was hurting, but I kept on moving.  I did walk a couple of the last water stations too.  I took a Popsicle from someone on the side of the road because I felt like I needed sugar.  And I kept on moving.

And then the HILL.  Mile 25.  I was determined not to walk this hill.  And I didn't.  A lot of people were, but I knew the end was near.  And why give up when the end is near.  Plus I knew I had this waiting for me at the top of the hill.

After that gorgeous  scene I got a little  bit of a downhill to gain some momentum before the final stretch.  And what a long freaking stretch is was.  You hit the end of the hill, turn a corner and then feel like you are still running forever.  You can't even see the finish line when you make the turn.  I looked at my watch and knew I had to pick it up if I was going to hit my goal.  So I did.  And I crossed at 4:14:53.  A 25 minute PR!!

I have to give a shout out to Deanna, who pulled me for the first 19 miles.  And for also having a 1:20 minute PR.  She is a freaking rock star!!!  Also to Ann, who was an awesome Sherpa, and photographer!

A few other notes about the day.  We had perfect weather.  It was in the 70's, overcast, and most importantly there was NO HUMIDITY!!!!!  I could not have asked for better weather.  Also, most of the other participants were Japanese, so most of the supporters were, and most of the signs I could not read.  I only saw two barefoot runners that day, expected more than that in Hawaii.  Due to the overcast conditions I actually had goosebumps during some of the race.  The medal is a key chain, which is so awesome.  We also got shell lies after the race.

Yay we did it!!

Getting in the ocean after the race.  Best.Thing.Ever!

Holy Crap, I can't believe I have another one of these in 4 weeks.  What the hell was I thinking???

Monday, November 14, 2011

San Antonio Rock-N-Roll Half Marathon Report

This is the second year that I have done this race.  And after looking back apparently I did not do a race report last year.  This is shocking considering how consistent I am with blogging.......  Well a quick recap of last year is in order to set this year up correctly.

In 2010 The weather was perfect in my eyes.  I do not remember the exact temperature, but I do remember it was cold enough to warrant me wearing a sweatshirt before the race, and to start the race with my arm warmers.    Jeff was not running, and along with him my mom, dad and some other friends and family were tracking me online.  The race started, I was off to a good start, and then not even into mile 2 a train crossed over the race course.  Yes, you read that correctly, a train crossed the race course.  Now, it really only held us up for about 30-45 seconds.  A minute at the longest.  But in my head it was 5 minutes.  All I kept thinking about was how slow Jeff would be thinking I was running.  I had to make up time!!  Which is exactly what I did and I finished in 1:55:32, according to my Garmin.  Because of the train we all submitted a time correction form.  I did't think they gave me a correction, but I just checked and the time said 1:53:52??  My first half before that was done in 2:01:56  Not too shabby either way.

Now to 2011.  The weather was not perfect.  It was about 70 degrees and humid (yes this race was just yesterday in November)  I did not have on my arm warmers!!  We headed over to the corrals around 6:30 with the plan to meet up with some of our running friends, including my friend Beth who is an awesome runner and was going to pace me for the race.  However there was only one other person there, our friend Garrett.  But no Beth!  We waited and waited but no other running buddies and no Beth.  I had kind of had counted on her pacing me so I quickly had to change my mindset. This race had a late start, 7:30, so it was a long hour before the race started, but it was time to get going.  Jeff was in coral 1 and I was in coral 4, so it was time for us to part ways.  A quick kiss good luck and  I headed into my coral. I circled around once in the hopes that I would run into Beth, no such luck.  But then at the last second I felt a hand on my shoulder and it was her!!  We talked about our plan, which was going to be to try to hit between a 1:45 and 1:50, and then were off.  We were off to a good start and were making our way through the crowds.  Mile one I was breathing pretty heavy.  I looked down at my watch and we were running a 7:50 pace.  A little fast for my pace, but I held on.  We ended up averaging about a 8:00 pace for the first 4 miles.  Unfortunately this was a little too fast for me, especially with the humidity.  I waved Beth on and slowed to about a 8:30 pace.

Also, I forgot to mention that we ran through the first 3 water stations, which I never do.  I just can't drink and run very well, and end up not getting much hydration.  Though I did dump a lot of water over my head!  Anyway, after I waved Beth on I made the decision to walk the rest of the water stations.  I think this decision helped me to keep pushing through because it ensured that I was getting enough water to stay hydrated.  However about mile 6.5 I was feeling rough.  My legs were tired, I was breathing heavy, I just didn't think I had enough left.  I started looking around and saw two pugs on the side of the road with some spectators and  seriously thought about stopping and petting them.  But right behind them a spectator was holding a sign that said "Can't stop, won't stop"  At that point I knew I could keep going, that I had to keep going.  I picked my pace back up and kept on running.  Once I hit mile 9 I was feeling halfway decent again, and was trucking along a little behind the 3:40 pace group for the full marathon.  We split off right before mile 11.  I skipped the next water station to make up a little time, but did hit the last one so I could grab some Cytomax for a final boost.

I hit mile 12, put my head down and ran as hard as I could.  I don't know what I was running, but just kept pushing as hard as I could.  I knew there was a hill coming at the finish and then it would be over.  I ran up the hill, saw the finish and gave it a final kick.  When I crossed the finish the clock said 1:56 and some change.  And my watch said....................1:53!!!  I was so psyched.  I beat my time from last year, with no train for motivation, in weather that was at least 20 degrees warmer!  My official chip time was 1:53:01.

I am hoping the motivation I had to dig in this race and push pass the same is an indication of how I am going to do in Hawaii.  I am pretty sure the weather will be the same!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Marathon Training Recap: Lots of weeks

Training is going great.  Knock on wood over and over and over again.  I actually knocked on a tree during one of my training runs this weekend.  I was running with a friend and we were talking about my training and my goals for Hawaii and Houston.  I was talking about how good my training is going and then freaked out.  99% of my runs have been strong.  I had one off day where I was suppose to do 14 miles but could only squeak out 5.  But other than that they have been good.  I feel great during them and after.  My pace is at least a minute faster, if not more, than it was at this point last year.  Yesterday I did 17 and threw in a little tempo in the middle.  Again, my legs felt great afterwards.  I even went and walked around for a few hours that afternoon.  Have I mentioned that this is FREAKING me out?  This did not happen last year, or the year before.  There were issues, knee issues, hip issues, sickness issues.  This year no issues.  I have even jolted awake during the middle of the night with a panicked feeling, or the feeling that I forgot to turn the oven off.  Only I don’t ever turn it on, so I know it isn’t that!  I am guessing the jolting awake has to do with how well my training is going.  Not that I am complaining.  It is awesome, and I love running more than ever this year.  I am just the kind of person that is waiting for the rug to be pulled out from underneath me.  Hopefully it will stay in place until January.

So what are my goals?  Well, I haven’t’ figured that out yet.  Honolulu is only 54 days away.  Everyday I waiver back and forth.  Should I try to race HI?  Should I just take my camera along the course and enjoy the scenery?  I just don’t know.  I would love to get my goal time at this race, but I don’t know how my body is going to react to the jam-packed winter schedule I have this year.  I don’t want to risk not being able to run in Houston in January.  And my run I mean at all.  Especially since I have a bone to pick with that marathon from my race last year.
Should I just go by how I feel on race day?  Plus let's not forget about this little gem I found to describe the Honolulu marathon:

 "Who wouldn't want to take a 26.2 mile trek through Hawaii? Hot, humid weather and MASSIVE HILLS are a small price to pay for the draw dropping views, firework displays and shell leis"

Sounds.............challenging to say the least.  So I am still not sure of what I am going to do.  I am hoping the answer will magically come to me.  Maybe in my sleep instead of the feeling of panic I have been having!

So I don't really have my official number recaps for the past few weeks, but I have been doing 30-40 mile weeks.  This week is the start of some high number long runs over the next few weeks.  That is about it for now.

Oh, and as far as music goes  I haven't really been using my ipod too much.  I went without for most of my 17 miles.  Mainly because I really don't feel like I need it anymore, and also because my playlist is three years old and I need some new music!  

Happy Training

Monday, September 19, 2011

Travel and Training

 Well I have two more weeks of training under my belt.  It is weird, this time around it really doesn't feel like training, rather than just something I am doing?  I wonder, does that mean I am not working hard enough?  I don't think so.  I am following a more intense training program than the past two years, and am pushing myself pace wise.  I could probably   need to improve on my diet a bit.  Still eating healthy but am having a lot more slip ups than I am happy with.  Still haven't figured it out, but I guess it is working so far.

For weeks 5 and 6 of training were good.  During week 6 we were in PA and OH to visit family, meet internet stalkers, ride some rides, oh yeah and Jeff did a 70.3.  I was able to get in both of my weekend runs while we were there.  The grounds of Cedar Point were huge, but I only had about a 2.5 to 3 mile (If I ran the parking lot) loop to get my 6 and 12 miles in.  I could have gone out farther, but the road that I would have had to follow had  no shoulder, and was curvy.  Plus there was a sign posted that clearly stated no pedestrians.  I am a rule follower.  Saturday I got up and got the 6 in while Jeff did his practice swim and Sunday I got up early and got the 12 in before his wave of the race started.  I was really dreading the loop for the 12 miles, but overall it wasn't as horrible as I thought it was going to be.  First off, the weather was awesome, second I was running in a new place, and thirdly I told myself to suck it up because it was the anniversary of 9/11 and worse things could be happening to me.  Plus there was a whole group of people who were going to be racing 140.6 miles that day.  It actually turned out to be an awesome run.  Here are the numbers for the two weeks.

Week 5:
Total Distance: 29.17
Total Time: 5:40
Total workouts:7 (including one cross training day of spinning)
Treadmill runs: 1 (6 miles which had two be broken into two b/c the power kept going out at the gym)

Week 6:
Total Distance: 30.33
Total Time: 4.52
Total workouts: 5 (Including 1 bike ride in PA on the trails)
Treadmill runs: 0

There were a few songs that got me through when I ran this week, but the Foo Fighters stand out again:

Our trip "out of the country" was awesome.  We met some fellow creepy internet stalkers, and everyone was so nice.  I have decided that all of you need to apply for passports and move to the great country of Texas.  I had a blast spectating with Colleen.  It was so awesome and inspiring to watch MattyO and Heather cross the finish line together.  We for sure need to have a few more of these meet ups a year, and I can't wait till IMMT!!  Here are some pictures from the trip:

View from behind our hotel to Lake Erie

Jeff rode this.  I wimped out.

Of course I had to represent

With Tom and Colleen

The family came up to watch the race

Amazing tribute to the anniversary of 9/11/01

Jeff bringing it home

Bike ride

Happy Training!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Just a quickie

Jeff and I have been in in PA and OH for the past five days, and we have had a blast.  We have had the chance to see family as well as meet some great new friends.  Cedar Point was awesome, well watching Jeff and Tom ride the roller coasters was fun.  I am way to much of a wimp for that.  It was so awesome to meet fellow bloggers and cheer everyone on during the half and full triathlon.  But I am ready to get home and I think this song says it all :)

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Some training and a rant

Wow, I am already in week 4 of training.  Honestly, there really isn't a lot to report on weeks 2 and 3.  Except that I am training for a marathon in Hawaii!! And yes, I will mention this every chance I get.  This is a big deal, not only because I am going to Hawaii, and I get to see a great friend who I haven’t seen for years, read her blog here, but I get to do all of this in December!!  And why is going in December a big deal? Well my friends, because for the last 6 years I worked in retail.  Talking about, no, even thinking about leaving to go anywhere away from my store (even the bathroom) in August-January was unthinkable. 
Why August you ask?  Well, that is the start of the Holiday season in retail.  First, there is tax free weekend, which is almost worse than Christmas. 
This isn't even really that bad.

Plus, we were already loading up on fall and holiday shipments. Hiring for the holidays, running get rid of summer crap sales, planning holiday floor sets, having lots of meetings, stressing about numbers, and so much more.  It.was.miserable.
Then before you know it Black Friday arrives.  Oh, do I have some stories about black Friday…………Last year I got to my store at 4am and there was already a line of about 50 people outside of my door, and we didn’t even open until 6:00am.  Or the year I got yelled at because of where a customer had to park in the parking lot.  Believe me lady, I parked a lot further away then you did.  Oh yeah, let’s not forget that during this time period there were plenty of days with extended hours, so we could open early and stay open late for people who treated us oh so nice.  It was the season of joy after all.  My favorite thing about this time of year was people who did last minute shopping, and then yelled at us for being out of sizes.  Yeah, it’s my fault you waited till the 23rd of December to shop.  I’m telling you, I could go on forever about this topic.  I truly believe that everyone should work retail for a short time period of their life, just to see what is like.  But if you aren’t going to do that, then please read this book.

And then, 12/26 arrives.  Worst.Day.Ever.  Returns, returns, and more returns.  All those amazing sales you had the months and week  before Christmas go right down the drain.  And the holiday spirit is long gone by now.  And just when you think it is over along comes inventory.  This is where you get to count every piece of everything that is left in your store.  It is also where you get to see just how ripped off you got by the people you have to give customer service with a smile too.  These events usually take about 3 weeks of prep work, then an overnight shift to complete.  Awesome times I tell you.

Just a portion of what we had to count.

So anyway, yes, I am super excited that I get to go somewhere in December!!!!  And I might even decorate for Christmas this year.  (That stopped about 3-4 years ago at my house).  I can’t freakin wait!!!
So my numbers for weeks 2 and 3 are:
Week 2:
Total Distance: 27.17 Miles
Total Time: 4:34
Total workouts: 5 (Zero treadmill runs!)
Week 3:
Total Distance: 22.17
Total Time: 4:23
Total workouts: 6 (Zero treadmill runs, 1 cross day of spin)

  I didn't have any treadmill runs, but did wear my IPOD a couple of times to get me through the heat.  And weird enough, both weeks the same song pepped me up:

Week 4 is off to a good start so far.  However I am dreading my 11 mile run planned for Sunday.  Not because of the distance, but because of the temps.  But that is another post…..
Happy Training!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Training time

It's official, no more practice weeks.  I am training for my third AND fourth marathons.  As some of you may know, This year, I am attempting two marathons 4 weeks apart from each other.  I am super nervous about this, as after each of my other two marathons my recovery has been painful and long.  I usually wait a few weeks before I start running 3 miles again, much less 26.2.  But I am also super excited about it.  One reason being that the third marathon is the Honolulu marathon in HAWAII!!!  Not only do I get to run a marathon there, but I get to see my long time friend Deanna-you can check out her blog here  I am so excited!

Week one was pretty uneventful overall.  I was able to wake up and get all my runs done in the morning.  Even the dreaded treadmill run.  There was even one day when it was only 80 degrees at 5:00am.  Maybe we are going to get a cold front.  

Saturday was my treadmill run of the week.  This was my tempo run, which I have to do on the treadmill because I just can't get the pace I need in the heat and humidity outside right now.  It wasn't a bad run, and I felt pretty good at my race pace.  

On Sunday I did my long run, which was only 8 miles this week.  It was hot and humid for this one.  Wow, what a shocker.  Luckily two of my running friends joined me for the run, which is always a nice distraction.  We took it slow, but got it done.  And I got to get my first have to pee in the woods out of the way, which was nice.  I really need to stop drinking coffee before I head out.

Here are the totals for the week

Total Distance: 24:05 Miles
Total Time: 5:03 Hours
Total Workouts: 6 (Only 1 strength training session this week)
Total Treadmill runs: 1

And the song that got me through on the treadmill this week is  Tik Tok by Ke$sha.  Just because it is fun.

Happy Training :)