Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Marathon Dreams

So the marathon dreams began last night. I am usually the person who has nightmares before my marathons. The running dreams where your feet aren't even touching the ground. The ones where you show up to the starting line an hour after the race started. I have a vivid imagination.

Last night I had my first marathon dream for my race next week. When I say it was a dream, it really was a DREAM and not a NIGHTMARE. I completed the Goofy Challenge and was waiting for my sister to cross the finish line...(she is only doing the half, so again another dream)...and when she crossed she asked how I did and I said without any excitement, 3:28.....A few moments later I said "I guess I must have qualified for Boston, huh?"

AHHH! Can you imagine? If I got a 3:28, I would be in shock and celebration. There is no way I would be so indifferent about a 3:28.

But, yes, a dream as there will be no PR's set at Disney. My "training" has been going great since I started running again just over 2 weeks ago, but I am being as conservative as I possibly can. My shorter runs are being run between 8:30-9:15 pace and my "long" runs are being run at 10:00 pace. I am pretty sure I could handle faster, but I don't want to push myself and set myself back. I completed an 11 mile run in the rain on Sunday and felt great. I hadn't ran over 8 miles since October, so this was quite a milestone in my recovery. I really want to get a 13 mile run in before I leave for Florida so tomorrow or Thursday may be the big day. I may also do a 12 mile run this weekend to round out my marathon training for this training cycle. I can't say I ever pictured my Goofy training to include such low mileage. My endurance seems to be fine on my runs....My leg muscles do get a little bit tired during my run, but I feel no soreness the next day so I have no fears of my legs being sore on Sunday of marathon weekend.

But the excitement has set in and I can't wait to leave for Florida. I am on a first-class flight to Orlando next Friday and we will immediately hit the expo and get some shopping done before relaxing without kids at the hotel for the races. So, yayyyy, taper is here minus actually tapering since my legs are not tired but anxious. :)

Here are my girls dancing last night at Jordan's Furniture.....They have a Mardi Gras show all day to entertain the kids when shopping. It was cheap entertainment for us as we were out spending gift cards and figured we would give them something extra to do.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to everyone!!! I have been pretty absent lately getting ready for Christmas and healing. I am running again but am doing it slowly, so have been twice as busy x-training at the same time. I have also begun a job-search which will obviously take up a lot of time.

Here is a picture of my husband and myself at my birthday race.


I am still on track for the Goofy Challenge in a few weeks. I have been slowly building up my mileage and stretching and strengthening my calves. I am currently up to 8 miles (plus hours of swimming) and hoping to get an 11 miler in this weekend. My marathon won't be fast in a few weeks, but I think it will be a success.

I will post more later but wanted to wish you all Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Great Week at Physical Therapy

First of all, I am NOT running my 5k on Sunday. :o) I am sure you probably guessed this.

I started my physical therapy on Tuesday this week and went again today. I love going to physical therapy. How can you not enjoy someone who massages your legs and helps you exercise?

Tuesday's appointment was basically a consultation of my injury. FINALLY, someone was going to listen to me and evaluate my situation. The physical therapist determined that I was in between the acute tendonitis stage and the chronic tendinosis stage. Tendinosis is bad and takes longer to heal, so I was very thankful for that. Because I am in the inbetween stage, it is harder to treat. First he told me to stop taking NSAIDs. I read the same thing online. Your achilles has a low blood supply, therefore it takes longer to heal. If you are taking an anti-imflammatory (I have no idea how to spell and am too lazy to look up!), you are decreasing your limited blood to the ankle, so I stopped them. (The podiatrist prescribed me a strong NSAID without when she rushed me out of her office.) He also put me on an arc trainer to see if I can handle the easy work out and I was also given some stretches. The first physical therapist I saw said I would be running within 10 or so days, but I hadn't told him my plan for the marathon.

Today was appointment #2 with a new physical therapist who was a marathoner/triathlete and therefore was even more knowledgeable of my goals of getting back on the road. Immediately he asked when I planned on racing again and I finally mentioned the marathon. He was a little hesitant to say I would be OK to run it because of my limited training that I would get once I finally started running. I informed him of my current training in the water and he was really impressed. He said that it is great for my cardiovascular, but that nothing can replace the pounding of road running. This is something I am well aware of and worries me, but he didn't say he was doubtful I could handle the race. After 11 minutes on the arc trainer, which has no strain on my achilles I did some new stretches that really stretched out my calves and achilles. Next, was my favorite part, the ultrasound/massage. He took a ultrasound machine to my achilles, sending ultrasound waves at the tendon. He said because of the vibrating, he could tell I did have some tears in there but that this would increase the blood supply and hopefully aid in the healing process. After that he massaged my calf again directing the blood towards my achilles. I got off the table and my leg felt GREAT! Next I did some more stretches and he told me that he felt that next week we would have one more session and I would start running after that. AHHHH!!! That was the best news I had heard in a long time. I am going to begin treadmill running, then go to the track, and finally return to the road. I will be one happy girl when I get back out on the road.

The physical therapist also talked to me a lot about orthotics. He doesn't believe in orthotics at all and thinks that all foot problems are a result of trying to correct things. I obviously have done recent research and have similar feelings. (When I was wearing my Newton's without orthotics, the pain was not as bad, but I thought that was a coincidence.) I have a few pairs of shoes I will test out the next few weeks to see if I can handle running without those expensive inserts. He did say to bring them along on runs just in case, so we will soon see.

So, yes, it was a good week with my injury situation. I have continued my pool training. Last week I spent 9 1/2 hours at the pool, and this week will be just a little less because I took a day off during our snowstorm and I may take my birthday off. :o) I wouldn't not run on my birthday, but can't say I will rush to the pool on my birthday. I will be going to the Jingle Bell 5k on Sunday, but am NOT running the race. I have emailed the race director and may volunteer if I can find the place they told me to go, or I may just take pictures OR I may walk the race. After the race, they are having a post-race celebration in MANY bars in the area so hopefully I can have a few 30th birthday drinks. (Jen, I don't know if I could ever manage 30 drinks, I was dizzy after only 2 glasses of wine at my husband's holiday party last night.)

Finally, I will leave you with pictures of more food. I made some holiday cookies for the kids at my husband's holiday party and my final cake for my class. My class if over until January so no cakes for a few weeks to post pictures of, but I am excited to try some more cookies.

My first shot at royal icing and sugar cookies. This was a great recipe!



My birthday cake....Look at my roses! Those things were not easy and I am tempted to not let anyone eat them.



And finally, my little munchkins getting ready to play in the snow on Wednesday. They loved it! I didn't enjoy snow blowing as much....Husband chose the perfect day to be out of town!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Not Exactly the Information I Was Looking For

First of all, thanks to everyone's concern and encouragement this week. It is so nice to have a community of people that are pulling for you when going to the doctor.

So yesterday's podiatry appointment was quick and to the point. Having an appointment at the end of the day is not the smartest thing to do, but I was just trying to get an appointment.

First, I found out why I am injured. Apparently the custom orthotics I have been wearing collapsed and were no longer correctly supporting my feet. This is a BAD thing. It makes sense though, because I wasn't wearing the orthotics in my Newton shoes, and never had pain unless I was wearing my other shoes in which I wore the orthotics. Unfortunately, I ran all my longer runs, including the marathon with the orthotics and pretty much screwed up my achilles. My doctor was cringing in pain when she looked at them. She pinched my achilles and diagnosed achilles tendonitis and prescribed physical therapy. She also put a rush on getting my orthotics refurbished. $200 to fix them!

The problem with the appointment is, she was in such a hurry, I didn't really get to ask any questions about when I will be able to run again, though I know the physical therapist will address it when I go there. So 12 sessions of physical therapy are on the schedule, and I am going to continue doing what I have been doing as the doctor seemed to think I was doing something correct.

I have pretty much made up my mind that I am going to be running Goofy unless I am in pain in the few runs that I will run the week before, even if it is not recommended. My legs feel great after 4 weeks of rest, so 5 more weeks can only help me even more. I realize I should follow doctor's orders, but I am stubborn, determined, and know my body. As you can tell, I keep going back and forth on what the physical therapist will say to me, but he hasn't met me yet...he doesn't know who he is dealing with, crazy marathoners. :)

Workouts this week were pretty much boring, boring, boring. I did about an hour in the pool every day since Monday and then weight training 4 of the 5 days. This weekend I plan on 90 minutes and 2-1/2 hours at the pool with some more weight training. Even if I don't get to run, I have to say that my cross-training is going way better than it ever has.

Finally, today was week 3 of my cake decorating class. I know you are all going to be disappointed when my class is over and I can't share my cakes with you. Today I made a clown cake, which the kids loved. (I am afraid of clowns and kind of find the heads on this cake disturbing.) It was very yummy. It is funny that the more I work on these cakes, the less I want to eat of the cake. I only needed a few bites of the cake and I was satisfied. Everyone else loves to eat it though and are enjoying my class. Here is a picture:



Tomorrow, I am hoping we get to see Santa, so I may have some more pictures after the weekend. Have a great weekend!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Podiatrist Appointment

I finally made my podiatrist appointment. I am extremely scared to go to this doctor appointment as I don't want a doctor to tell me I shouldn't be running, but I don't want to make the situation worse.....So I am going to the doctor on Thursday.

I went to this doctor two years ago after my first marathon when I had a bad case of plantar faciitis. She was awesome in getting me back to running pretty quickly, but was also honest with me in my capabilities. I am proud of myself that I can go into her office on Thursday and tell her that I haven't ran in almost 4 weeks. The pain is basically gone in my tendon. I feel GREAT! The problem is, I am very scared to start running too soon and to be back where I started and the past 3 weeks of no running will have been for nothing. I want her to tell me that I shouldn't run the 5k on my birthday but that I should be fine for the marathon in January as long as I take it easy like I have. My biggest fear right now is that I have been putting hours into the pool like I have and I won't be able to run another marathon until May. I literally will be heart broken, but I need to do what is best for my legs if I ever want to run that stupid race that our city hosts every April.

Yesterday I did complete my 3 hour pool run. That was torture. The run itself was hard but not terrible. It was the monotony that killed me. I ended up doing 3 pool workouts. I did a ladder up and down from 1 minute to 5 minutes of hard running with 1 minute rest in between. Then I did 5 minutes of hard 8 times with 1 minute rest in between followed by 10x45 seconds hard with 15 seconds in between. And FINALLY I finished with 65 minutes of steady running. I did some warm up and cool downs for all my workouts for a total of 3 hours exactly. Once I got out of the pool I was a wobbly mess. :) The rest of the day was a blur as I had a huge headache from I am guessing dehydration and exhaustion. Luckily, after dinner my husband took the kids and I went to bed and I woke up this morning much more refreshed.

So yes, 3 weeks of no running is now complete. I am hoping on Friday I can report to you all that there is an end in sight for this hiatus, but we will soon see. Have a good week!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving! Happy Birthday!

Not much update here for me. I am still not running. I have been hitting the pool as often as I can, but haven't been in a few days because I have been so busy with Thanksgiving and Gabbie's 3rd birthday. The training has been going pretty good. My arms are toning up and my cardio has been so hard that I nearly throw up in the pool as I am pushing so hard. As to whether this is going to help, I still don't know, but I do know that the pain is going away. I am still hoping to run in my birthday 5k that is in 2 weeks, but we will see. Today I am headed to the pool for a triple workout/long run since I haven't been to the gym in 3 days. My plan is to simulate a 20 mile run so I am hoping to last 3 hours in there. Weekends at the gym pool are not the most fun as there are tons of people so we will see how long it lasts.

Here are some picture from my baby's birthday last night. She wanted a Christmas tree cake, so I made one with my new found cake decorating skills. (I am taking a cake decorating class right now.)

My girls in front of the Christmas tree.


My girls and nephews. My baby nephew, Kenny had just gotten out of the hospital. Poor thing, but he is doing much better!


With the cake.


Blowing out the candles.


Gabbie's Christmas tree cake.


The cake I made at my class last week.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

More Aqua-Jogging and Vermont City Marathon 2010

So since I last posted I have put in probably 4 more hours in the pool, including 2 today. I am water-logged and sore but hoping that I am maintaining some sort of fitness.

Today I did a 2 hour run in the pool. I started off with a 5 minute warm-up. After that I moved onto intervals. Intervals are important in the water in order to keep your heart rate up so I did about 11-5 minute intervals of hard jogging with 1 minute rests in between. Then it was bathroom break time in which I had to pretty much block my lane so people wouldn't hop in. I came back and did 52 minutes of steady running for a total of right around 2 hours. I was shooting for 2-1/2 hours, but my arms were starting to get sore so I called it quits at 2 hours. I really wouldn't mind nice arms so even if I don't maintain fitness as well as I am hoping, at least my arms will benefit.

After my workout and after Friday's workout, I noticed my achillles was sore on my left foot. It wasn't a terrible pain, but I could feel a nagging pain. I am not taking an Ibuprofen and am not feeling pain while in the pool so I can't imagine I am aggravating my injury while I am running. The only thing I can think of is when I get out, my calves are tight, so maybe that is why my achilles is sore. I took a warm bath tonight and the pain was gone almost instantly, so I felt some relief and was able to cook dinner.

I was talking to my husband about my upcoming marathon/half marathon. I know, based on the pain I was feeling today, that I am going to be at a minimum of 3 weeks off total now instead of the 2 I was hoping for. And that 3 may turn into 4 if I am not feeling relief next week. I keep wondering, how long can I go without killing my chances of finishing the marathon? I am absolutely physically fit right now and feel I can run a marathon at any given time as long as I am not injured, but who knows if I can maintain my shape while not running. I don't want to rush back into running because I do want to try and qualify for Boston next year, but I really don't want to walk the Goofy Challenge. Being injured is so frustrating and so mentally challenging. Thank goodness for no time goals I guess. :)

On Tuesday, I found out that my daughters' dance recital is now a week later than they had originally stated it would be. I was so excited to hear this as my husband and I really want to do the Vermont City Marathon again next year and couldn't because of the recital. So I called my husband on the way home full of excitement and he of course was extremely happy. Not even 2 hours later and I got the email that registration was open for the Vermont City Marathon, I was literally dancing. I love love love Burlington, Vermont and can't wait to run that marathon again. So yes, I did get some good news this week.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

My Non-Running Training Plan

So I am on Day 4 of no running. Until this morning, I was convinced this was going to be a very long month. I woke up this morning and I was EXHAUSTED. I have been going to bed early the past 2 nights (I worked out both of those days) so I must be doing something correct with my cross-training.

Tuesday was Day 1 and I headed to the pool. I did 60 laps in just over an hour. I was on the swim team in high school, so swimming isn't hard for me, but my body felt it. The rest of the day I could barely keep my eyes open. Workout #1 was a success.

Day 2 I did 90 minutes on the elliptical machine that I have at home. I watched a movie which kept me on the machine longer than normal. It was a good workout, but I did feel a strain in my achilles within the last 30 minutes and throughout the rest of the day. Workout #2 was a success in terms of cardio, but I do know I can't repeat that workout until I am slightly more healed. Last night I was a little discouraged as I wasn't in the mood to head to the pool every morning but I also want to maintain my fitness.

Day 3, this morning I woke up exhausted and not in the mood to go swimming. I was planning on lifting weights after my swim but I didn't make it to the gym in time to get both in before my husband had to go to work so I knew it was just going to be my swim today. I warmed up with 10 laps which went pretty good. After that I put on my swim shoes and a swim belt and began aqua-running. I read a few threads on the Runner's World message boards this week about aqua-running. I questioned how much of a workout it could be but figured I would give it a try. Surprisingly, my heart rate did go up when aqua running and I enjoyed myself much more than swimming. I didn't have a workout planned so I did a steady 45 minutes of running and then cooled down with 5 more laps of swimming. Now that I am done, I know I didn't work out as hard as I did during my swim but my legs were definitely worked during this workout. Workout #3, success.

I came home and immediately looked up the training program I had been reading about. Pete Pfitzinger has a water running program, perfect since I really love his programs. His plan is labeled a 9 week running program to stay in shape while injured. Now I really hope I will not have to do this program for 9 weeks as I really feel my injury was not as severe as it could have been had I continued running on it, but I will do the program for at least 3-4 weeks and may only introduce short runs and continue aqua-running until I know I can add in road running again. I have read good reviews from other runners who feel they have maintained their fitness using this program and some who have even noted they were faster when they got out of the water. I do have my birthday 5k next month and would love a PR but we will see how it goes.

If you read this post and wonder how to get started with aqua-running when you are injured, I will list a few of the things I have seen recommended. It is recommended that you have water shoes and a flotation belt. These are not necessary but they make it easier. Luckily, my mom had both of these things so that saved me some money. I am currently waiting for my iPod waterproof case and waterproof headphones from H2O Audio. I will write a review on these once I get them, but I do miss my music when I am in the pool.

So there you have my current training program. I am thinking about editing the training program so that I can still get my long runs done on the weekends. I am going to be quite pruny when I spend 3 hours in the pool in order to simulate my 20 mile runs that I had on my training program. This may not sound too fun, but I can honestly say I am excited and happy that I finally can run again.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

DNF on my Half Marathon Today

Today was another humbling experience in my racing career.

I took the past 5 days off for at first what I thought was calf pain. The more research I did, I realized I was having problems with my Achilles tendon. As soon as I knew I had the beginning stages of Achilles tendonitis, I knew that rest was the only option. I spent 5 days cross training and not running. The 5 days helped immensely and I was feeling great yesterday and did a practice 1.5 mile run to see how I felt. I had no pain and thought I would be great for my half marathon today so headed up to Maine this morning.

I decided to race the all women's Maine Coast Half Marathon in hopes to redeem my training after Twin Cities. I knew that because of my injury that my chances of a PR were small, but I wanted to try and see what would happen.

Kathrine Switzer showed up for the race, how cool is that? The race advertises this marathon as an all women's half marathon and "one lucky guy". Kathrine made the comment that when she ran Boston, there were 778 men (not exactly sure of the number) and she was the one lucky girl, so here he was the one lucky man among just under 1200 women. This was probably one of my favorite parts of the day. :)

So we took off and the first 5k was AWESOME. I felt great and I was cruising. Mile 1 was under 7:40 and I settled into an 8 minute pace for mile 2 and 3. There were a lot of rolling hills and I was still able to maintain my pace going up the hills. Now one problem is, my achilles, does not like going downhill. So the initial rolling hills, while I was able to run them fine, my tendon was not happy with me. I saw my husband at around the 5k point and I looked and felt great....Looking back I should have stopped then before the pain started.

Coming down the hill the road along the ocean, so pretty.


Looking very strong and very happy and it was a perfect day for racing.


This was our view for a multiple miles, so pretty! The lighthouse in the distance is the neighborhood we got to run in.




Just over a mile later and the pain began. I gradually slowed down as the pain increased thinking it was just little pain and that I could push through it. I wasn't worried about time, I just wanted to get my 13 miles in. Well going into mile 5 there was a lot of rolling hills. I am not complaining about hills, because I love a good rolling course because I pass people going up, but going down hills was killing me. My mile 4 was around 8:20 and 5 was about 8:40. I was slowing down and the pain was getting worse. I figured, I would just make it back to my husband which was around mile 9 and be done. The decision was pretty much made, but I needed to get to him. I started to get past, over and over again. It really was hard on the ego and I knew I would never get passed by these people if I wasn't injured.

At this point, my first complaint of the half marathon began. The mile 5 or so water stop was totally unmanned. They had a table set up with jugs of water behind it and cups. Women were just drinking out of the jugs. (Ever heard of flu people?) I was annoyed but poured myself a cup and kept going. My next complaint was, where was the course support? I wanted to quit and couldn't find anyone to ask how to get back to the finish line. There were not even police officers around and the traffic was totally blocked so even if I could borrow a cell phone from a spectator there was no way my husband was coming to me other than by foot.

So miles 6-9 went by pretty slowly as I knew the pain was getting worse and I was very afraid of injuring myself worse than I already was, so I took it slow, very slowly. I was trying to enjoy the beautiful day, but who likes to get passed by people and being in pain. We were running back down the pretty stretch along the ocean and I was looking desperately for my husband. I couldn't find him and passed the turn to the finish line. I thought, maybe I could do this and kept going. I made it about 1/4 of a mile before I decided I was done. I quit. This was the hardest decision I have made while running before. I immediately took off my number and crossed the street and walked back to the high school with my head hung low. Walking was painful at all, so I knew that I could finish the half marathon walking, but I don't walk half marathons, I run them. I was not going to wear a medal that I didn't totally earn. (Please note, I find NOTHING wrong with walking in races, if that is how you finish them. I will walk when needed, but 4 miles of walking would not do me any good other than irritate my injury more than it needed to be.)

So I made it to the finish line at around 1:35 on the clock and got to finish all the top finishers of the race. I had extreme envy of their speed and injury-free legs. I waited around for my husband who finally realized after a while that I must have quit and went to the finish line to find me. Stupid, me, was so upset with quitting that I refused to grab water or food after the race. My head was telling me I didn't deserve the food even though I had just ran 9 miles. I paid for that about an hour later when I had the worst headache and chills from not eating or drinking.

We went home and my tendons began swelling up. I was limping around so I let my husband talked me into icing and heating my ankles. Here are pictures of me with my feet in a bucket of ice water and then the hot bath.




I am now planning on 2-4 weeks of rest, more if I need it. This is not a fun situation for me because I run for more reasons than just racing. I need to run for my peace of mind, so I will be a crabby person for the next few weeks. I do plan on cross-training as I was fine with it last week. When I do plan on easing back into training, it will be a GRADUAL easing. I have adjusted my goals for Disney to just finish the races and to have fun. I know as long as I keep my cardio up that I will be able to finish the races, it just won't be as easy if I could complete my training.

The quickly filling up Boston Marathon has made my decision to take it easy over the next few months so much easier. I have read that the race may be filled by Thanksgiving so any chance of qualifying in the winter is now not an option, so I will just enjoy my winter marathon without having any what if's, no need to skip my 1/2 marathon if I am feeling good.

So there is my not-so-fun update. Oh injuries, they are so much fun.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Sore Calves & Halloween Pictures

I have sore calves. No other way to describe the pain I am in right now. According to the Newton website, you need to break your legs into the Newton's. Well, my first run in my Newton's was an 8 mile easy run and I felt great so after Baystate I resumed training as normal rotating the Newton's with my Brook's. Well after a few speed workouts in my Newton's and my calves are killing me. I would think I am injured but for the fact that the pain moves. At the beginning of the run the bottoms of my calves ache and by the end of my 16 mile run yesterday the tops of my calves were dying. And yes, I said dying. My muscles have never felt this sore before. I am also ok during the day, reinforcing the fact that this is just sore muscles.

When I started running 2 1/2 years ago, I had problems with my calves/shins. Maybe I am sensitive to pain, but my nerves tell my brain that I am in a lot of pain. It is really annoying because I know I am fine, but it is no fun running when your eyes are tearing from pain. But I must point out that I am not always in pain while I am running....Once I stop and stretch, the pain goes away. The problem is my calves cramp back up within another mile or so, so I stop way too many times to alleviate the cramps. I did make it for 10 miles yesterday with minimal stretching and at a good pace, the last 6 miles were a different story, but I did finish my run.

I am hoping my lack of miles this week and 2 days of rest on Friday and Saturday will leave me with fresh calves for my half marathon on Sunday. I am not in the mood to blow another race, so we will see how my legs handle 13.1 fast miles.

I would love any suggestions on how to stretch the poor things out. Normal calf stretches help while I am running along with stretching my hamstrings. At home I do more hamstring stretches and roll out the muscles, oh that feels really wonderful. (SARCASTIC, I hate the foam roller, but it does work.) I also don't plan on wearing my Newton's at all this week and I took the orthotics out of my shoes just in case they are worn out. Desperate measures.

Update to when I originally wrote this post....I am going to take the whole week off from running, rest is good. I am not sure this is just my calves or if a combination of new shoes and lack of recovery time has hurt me. I am going to give my legs a break this week and see how I do.

Hopefully you all had a great Halloween. Congrats to all the awesome racers out there. I spent my Halloween celebrating my daughter's 3rd birthday. Her birthday is Thanksgiving weekend, so I had the party early, so that I didn't have to cook for two celebrations so close together. Here are some pictures from the weekend.

My cake I made...


Our trick-or-treaters...


Dora & Diego (I look terrible, I was working on this party for 2 days straight and ran 8 miles that morning.)


Gabbie's new stroller...


The birthday girl...

Sunday, October 25, 2009

How I Will Get to the Goofy Challenge

Well recovery from the Baystate Marathon has been going fine, but my ankle from the Twin Cities Marathon still has a nagging pain. I have been running, but it takes a mile to even warm up and the next day my foot hurts worse. My foot pain has caused me to rethink my training for the next few months.

I obviously wanted to maintain my BQ fitness that I got over the summer. I worked my butt off and know that given the right opportunity that I will qualify for Boston if all things go well. The Goofy Challenge does not make for a perfect marathon as I will be tired from the 1/2 marathon the day before. Because of this, I decided to take it easy this training cycle and let my legs and mind have some time off.

Originally, I thought I would try the Pfitzinger 70 mile plan again, but with some thought and a sore foot screaming at me, I have changed my mind. I have decided on Hal Higdon's Advanced 2 program. The program incorporates much more speed work than I am used to but the mileage is down a lot from what I am used to. I have added miles to the program so that I peak at around 63, but for the time being I will run the program as it stands until my foot starts feeling better.

I also decided I am really going to focus on paces that resemble my current fitness rather than BQ paces. I am very close to the fitness I need, but I have yet to prove it in my shorter races. For example, I need to drop 12 seconds in my 5k and about 30 seconds in my 15k. My half marathon time should be about 2 1/2 minutes faster than it currently is. I do think I am there but I am not going to train as if I am there until I prove it. I will be running my half marathon in 2 weeks, so hopefully I can see improvement, but that is all dependent on how my foot behaves. At the moment, I honestly don't even think I will PR in my half based on the pain my foot is giving to me.

As for goals for the Goofy Challenge, my main goal is to complete both races and to have fun. Running Baystate really reinforced to me that running marathons is fun and shouldn't be stressful. I have no time goal other than to hopefully go sub-4 in the marathon, but I would rather finish smiling than to think about a time goal.

My upcoming week appears to be pretty easy. I have 2 recovery runs of 3 and 4 miles. I have a tempo run of 40 minutes and a marathon pace run of 3 miles and then 8 and 17 miles scheduled for next weekend. The weekday runs should be easy enough and should hopefully give my foot some time to rest. I also plan on really upping my cross-training this training cycle. I started the 30 Day Shred again, but who knows how long it will last as my body hurts from doing it. :)

As for when I will try to qualify for Boston again, I am thinking about trying sometime this spring. My husband and I need to discuss where we want to go for a spring marathon and then I will set that as my goal. So Boston 2011, hopefully, here I come!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

2009 Baystate Marathon Race Report

I chose to run Baystate Marathon this year for 2 reasons. I knew I was running Twin Cities Marathon October 4th and with Baystate being 2 weeks later, I thought it was the perfect opportunity to finally join the Marathon Maniacs. My second reason for running was I convinced my sister to run Baystate as her first marathon.

I knew my sister could run a marathon after she completed her first marathon back in March. Since I convinced her to run the marathon, I promised I would run with her. Yes, I would have loved to try for Boston again, but I knew with the nagging foot pain I had from Twin Cities, that Boston wouldn't happen anyways.

We didn't go to the Expo for Baystate, instead we just picked up our packet from the running store that was a sponsor of the race, Marx Running & Fitness. Marx is where I buy my shoes, I highly recommend that store to anyone who lives west of Boston. My sister loaded up on Baystate gear so I joked that she was committed, she had to cross that finish line.

I was really relaxed leading up to the marathon. I got some shorter recovery training runs in during the week. My feet were a little sore, but nothing I couldn't tolerate.

Race morning was a typical race morning. I had to force my bagel down as I wasn't hungry at all. I chose to drink a soda instead of just water before the race because that is what I did for every marathon except this past Twin Cities. I am sure that is not what caused my side cramp, but you can bet I will go back to what has worked. My sister picked me up at 6:15 and we drove to Lowell, Massachusetts, which is about 20 minutes from my house. We were able to sit in the Tsongas Arena before the race, so we were able to have normal toilets and sit on a warm dry floor. My sister was really nervous to the point where she almost started crying when it was time to go outside. I was pretty relaxed and ready to have fun.

The starting line was pretty chaotic. This is historically a very fast race so the front of the pack was full of people. We just walked to the back of the starting coral and stood next to a building so that we could avoid the wind. The temperature was around 40 and the wind was just starting to pick up. The forecast said that the Nor'easter was to come in at around 10am. With a start time of 8am, I figured we could get halfway through the marathon before we froze. It started to drizzle about 5 minutes before the start, fun. The start was just a countdown of 3,2,1....and we were off.

The race was easily divided into a few parts so that is how I will divide the race report. Miles 1-3 went by pretty quickly but they were packed. There was a half marathon that started alongside the full marathon and we were all on one road. I told my sister no weaving so we just took it easy those first 3 miles. Mile one was 10:15 and 2 and 3 were around 10:00 pace. Her goal was to finish....I knew we would slow down at the end of the race and she was comfortable with that pace so we were going to see how long we could go that pace. I warmed up a little at this point so I took my jacket off and tied it around my waist. We saw our husbands and my brother at mile 3 which is where the half marathon turned and we were headed straight for our first loop.

Mile 3...Looking good and way too happy.


Miles 3-13 were very fun. It started raining harder so the rain jacket went back on. For the most part the whole race was pretty flat with a few rolling hills, it was a very easy course. The water stops were all put on by local high schools and they were awesome. Some stops the kids were in costumes and they were all so enthusiastic. For sitting outside in 40 degree weather in the rain, they were amazing. We walked through all the water stops so that I could make sure Kelli was getting all her necessary fluids. She was also taking gels at every 5 miles, I was taking gels at the first stop after each 5th mile. Mile 8 went over a footbridge of a huge bridge. This was not my favorite part of the race at all. First of all, I am so afraid of bridges, so running over a big one by foot is not fun. This bridge was fairly slippery, narrow, and moving. I ran pretty quickly over the thing as I was quite scared. It was even worse knowing that I would be going over that bridge again in another 10 miles, yuck. Miles 8-13 were very boring and easy. We kept knocking off the miles and passing a few people here and there. We were still maintaining a 10:00 pace and having a good time. Approaching mile 13 we ran over another bridge. This time we didn't have to go over the footbridge, so I wasn't quite as scared. On the other side of the bridge we saw our cheering section which now included one of my sisters.

Mile 13...Still having fun.


Miles 13-23 is when the real fun began. I swear as soon as we saw our husbands the weather took a big turn for the worst. The temperature dropped into the 30s and the rain started coming down hard. We were soaked. You could wring out my mittens they were so full of water. We made it to about mile 16.5 before we actually started slowing down. At about mile 16.5 there is a small hill that leads up to the first bridge. My sister's thighs started to get tight so we slowed down to the pace she needed. This is when she started questioning why people do this. You know the same thing we all have thought about at one point in our marathons. I was trying to maintain a positive attitude so I continued to tell her how I loved running and that this was fun to me and that it is supposed to hurt. We made it to the bridge at mile 18 and we were continuing to slow down. At this point we were pulling at 10:30 pace but decided to walk after we got over the bridge to try and give her legs a break. My feet were hurting the whole time, but I refused to stop because of me, this wasn't my marathon, I was going to get her to that finish line. We walked for about .5 miles and that seemed to help her legs a bit. Legs felt better. Our bodies were now in trouble because we were COLD! I don't think I have ever been so cold in my life. Keep in mind, I was prepared for this marathon in terms of what I wore. I wore pants, 2 shirts, a rain jacket, ear cover, and mittens. A large number of people running Baystate were not prepared for the weather. People started to drop because they were so cold. People were uncontrollably shivering and were walking off the course to quit. I was still cold and shivering with all my clothes on, but we weren't quitting. We ran/walked the next 4 miles. We ran much more than we probably would have, had the weather been warmer. I don't think we walked more than 1.25 miles of the entire marathon, something my sister should be so proud of. Surprisingly, those 4 miles went by fairly quickly even though we were freezing and our feet felt like blocks of ice. At mile 23, we saw our husbands again. THANK GOODNESS! Eric had his running gloves on and he switched out with me. Oh what a saint! I have no pictures from this point on as it was raining too hard for my husband to have the camera out. People's umbrellas were breaking because of the wind and Eric didn't want to risk ruining our new camera. I will post the official race pictures once they become available. When we came up to our husbands and stopped to get gloves, there was a bus there that opened its doors to let us in. Eric said there were bus fulls of people that had quit and were hopping on the bus. We were not quitting. We only had 3 miles left. Our average pace up to mile 20 was around 10:30 pace, so we definitely slowed down.

Miles 23-26 were a blast for me, not so much for Kelli. We left the boys and trudged on. I knew how hard those last 3 miles were for me when I ran my first marathon so I started talking. I was trying to make Kelli and the people around me laugh to lighten the situation as people were running and walking with their heads down with defeat written all over them. Kelli kind of just half laughed at me and kept up with me. My fingers felt like they were going to fall off and my feet felt like I was running with blocks of ice in my shoes, I was sooooooo cold! I am so proud of her at this point as I didn't let her slow down as much as she wanted to. I kept up an even pace even up the small hill that was right at the end. At 1 mile to go, I made her pick it up a little bit more. Her legs were dying and I was excited. I knew I would be warm in just a short time, I was squealing, literally. We ran across a bridge and I was screaming. Yes, I was a fool, but I was trying to express to my sister how exciting this moment was. The finish line was in a stadium and you kind of looped around the stadium to get in, it was very cool. You entered the stadium and did a lap around the ballpark to the finish line. The ballpark was full of huge puddles so we did some weaving around so as to not soak ourselves anymore. The whole time I kept telling Kelli that I knew she could run faster. We made it around and crossed that finish line in an official time of 4:49:14. We were done, finally!

The finish line food was pretty good and we took it downstairs to eat on some picnic tables. We were so cold that we had everyone block us off with our heat blankets so that we could change into dry clothes. I apologize to anyone who may have had to see me, but I was too cold to go and find a bathroom.

Overall, I loved this marathon! It was a boring marathon in terms of spectators but the course was so easy and the finish line was great. I really think that this is a great course to qualify for Boston on, so I may be back next year with that in mind. No matter what I will run this race again as it is practically in my back yard, and it was a blast!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Marathon #7 is in the Books, Here I Come Maniacs!

Quick update until I get pictures uploaded tomorrow. Today I finished the Baystate Marathon with my sister. We finished in 4:49. I am very proud of my sister. She really pushed through pain in the end and ran a good race. We had a blast but the weather was ridiculous. Marathon #7 is complete, my second marathon in 2 weeks. My application for the Marathon Maniacs will be sent in soon.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Twin Cities Marathon 2009 Race Report

So I am finally sitting down to write my race report. The past week has been crazy as you will soon read and I contemplated even reminding myself of the not so fun events, but I do want a log of the marathon so here goes.

Pre-Marathon

Getting to Minnesota was in itself a marathon. I will preface this by saying that I went to college to be a pilot. I have my pilot's license and love flying. My trip to Minnesota reminded me why I got out of the industry. We left for Minnesota on Thursday morning. We got out of our house on time, the kids were in a good mood, we got through security, everything was going very smoothly. I made a comment to Eric that this seems like it is too easy and that maybe we will have a good weekend after all. HAHAHA! That was the last time I felt no stress for an entire week.

We landed in St. Louis and were ahead of schedule so I mentioned we should try getting on the earlier flight to Minnesota. We went and put in our names on the standby list and were basically told we would get on the flight because of Eric's frequent flier status. That is when we noticed the delays. Every flight going into Minnesota that day were delayed....by hours! We sat and waited as our flight continued to get delayed. At one point they boarded us on our flight, about 2 hours late and then took us off the plane. They told us in another 45 minutes we would board again. Instead of boarding, about an hour later they canceled our flight. They also canceled the flight we were supposed to be on. We were stuck in St. Louis. Not cool! The airline supplemented our hotel, but we still had to pay out of pocket to stay at a hotel and then walk to a restaurant for dinner. I was still thinking positive and staying fairly calm. We checked the internet and all the delays were being caused by runway construction. I figured, why would they rebook us for the next morning if they expected this to continue so I was relaxed.

I got up the next morning and ran 3 miles on the treadmill. The run was very easy and I was getting excited about the marathon. We left for the airport early, we didn't want to miss our flight. HAHAHA. We ate a gross breakfast at the airport and then continued to wait for another few hours. Our flight was delayed, again. The construction was still going on. I sat at the gate waiting for the announcement that our flight would be canceled when finally they boarded us, about 90 minutes late. We were going to make it. At this point, I had already told myself that I didn't think running on Sunday would be a good idea as I knew that I needed the day to be perfect in order for my time to happen, but on we went.

We arrived to the Minneapolis Airport to utter chaos. There were people everywhere! The rental car counters were packed and it took an hour to even get out of the airport from the parking lot. I knew immediately that I wouldn't make my niece's baptism, so the frustration continued. We rushed to my mom's hotel to change clothes and rushed downtown Minneapolis to the Baptism Dinner. I say rush, but I really mean sat in traffic for a few hours as Minneapolis traffic is terrible. The baptism was nice and we went back to the hotel and went to bed.

We woke up early the next morning for my sister's 10k. She rocked it with a time of 53 something. It was very fun and then we headed to have breakfast at a coffee shop and wait for the Expo to open. The Expo was great. There were so many vendors and lots of free stuff. I didn't buy a thing. I didn't want to jinx myself by buying clothing not to mention I have a ton of things from last year's marathon. We only hung out there for about 90 minutes so I wasn't on my feet for too terribly long. After that we got some groceries and ate lunch. For dinner that night I ate waffles with peanut butter. I was very scared of messing up my stomach so wanted to take it easy.

Going to bed that night was easy sleeping wasn't as easy. For the past few days I had woken up at 4am and this was no different day. So I was up early for the marathon and got myself ready. Breakfast was not settling into my stomach at all. I ate a waffle with some peanut butter as my oatmeal tasted gross to me. My breakfast was probably only half the calories as I am used to before a long run, so my worries began.

The Marathon

We arrived at the Metrodome and found out we had to pay $20 for parking! Last year we didn't pay for parking but of course the Minnesota Twins were playing in town and we wouldn't be out of the parking lot in time for the game so we got charged for event parking. We headed over to the Dome and hung out inside until about 7:30. I figured we better head outside, and I wish we would have left earlier. There were so many people outside and already lined up. I was in wave 2 and it was nearly impossible to move my way up to the pace group. I pushed my way up, but only ended up next to the 3:50 group. I figured I would start there and see if I could catch up to the 3:40 group once the race started.

Standing at the starting line, my nerves really kicked in, and I started noticing how thirsty I was. I thought about taking a gel, but didn't do it. Looking back, I wish I had taken a gel. I obviously didn't eat enough for breakfast and really could have used a drink, but of course I will always have regrets.

Wave 1 took off and 3 minutes later we were off with wave 2. There were so many people at the start. I seriously don't remember this many people at the start last year. I was easily able to get into my slightly slower than marathon pace right away. Mile 1 was going great and then the cramp started. Who in the world gets a cramp at .5 miles when you are only going 8:30 pace?! I was baffled. I started relaxing my arms, blowing out, stamping my foot.....Nothing was working. Mile one, I hit at around 8:33, so fine, but the cramp was still there. Going into mile 2 was a hill. I read an article before the race about how you relax up this hill and let people pass you and I did. I hit mile 2 at 8:30, right where I wanted to be, but I still had the darn cramp. My plan was to speed up to 8:20 at this point and I did and also took a gel. A gel at mile 2 was not in the plan, but I needed to get rid of this cramp.

Mile 3-13 was about the same. I wavered around 8:12-8:30 pace and the cramp would NOT go away. I began slowing down around mile 13 as I was getting frustrated and I had to pee and thought a trip to the bathroom would help. My first half was in 1:51, so about a minute slower than my goal pace, but I figured if my body would cooperate, I would be ok. I stopped to go to the bathroom and I heard the clock ticking and my heart breaking. My stomach hurt and I couldn't do anything to make the pain go away. I knew I had 13 more miles to go and there was no way I was going to Boston with this race.

After leaving the porta potty, I obviously slowed down, but I at first thought I could at least get a PR. My first mile out of the bathroom was a 9:24 and I was hurting. My confidence began to sink and I knew this was going to be a mentally tough marathon. At this point my feet started to hurt. It was radiating pain. (At mile 6, I stepped in a pot hole and rolled over on my ankle.) I thought the pain was from the pot hole or from being tired so kept pushing through the pain. I knew I would see my family around 18-19 miles so promised myself if I could get to them, I would let myself stop to talk to them and get some spirit back in me. It was a tough 4 miles to find them. I started having an asthma attack (panic driven I am sure) so pulled out the inhaler. When I finally found them I stopped and told them I was done. I wasn't quitting the race, but I was done trying for Boston today. I figured I was only a few minutes ahead of the 3:50 pace group. I was not mentally in the mood to run a PR of only a few minutes, I wanted the big PR, so I decided I need to switch gears. I saw the 3:50 group run by and then...

I asked my sister to run with me. (Yes, I realize having someone run with you is not the most honest thing to do, but I needed the moral support, it was not planned, but a desperate thing.) So she ran with me for the next 7 or so miles. She made me laugh, she listened to me whine, she recorded me on her flip, she talked to me. She went whatever pace I wanted to go and let me walk when I needed it. My feet were in so much pain and my knees started hurting. I wasn't finishing this race to get a new PR, but I was finishing what I started. This was also when I realized that my husband was nowhere to be found. I knew based on his goal time that he should have been passing me and I never saw him. So I spent those 7 miles looking back wondering where he was. Those last 7.5 miles were pretty much a blur of pain and frustration but we knocked them off between 9:40-11:00 pace depending on if we walked or ran the whole thing.

At mile 25, I told my sister to meet me at the finish line and that I could do this myself. I told her to beat me there so she could watch. She got on the sidewalk and I kept running with her and then took off. She couldn't keep up with me anymore. I picked up my pace to 9:00 and the last .75 miles were at about 7:30 pace. It was downhill and I was so excited to be done. I jumped up and hit mile 26 (dumb mistake, didn't help my poor feet and I almost fell out of my shoes) and sprinted in. I would say I probably passed 100+ people in the last .5 miles.

The finish line clock wasn't working, not cool, so I had no idea what my time would be. I crossed in 4:09. Last year, I would have died for that time and here I was slightly disappointed in myself. I was so happy to be done and to have shared that marathon with my sister. I put on my smile and enjoyed my small victory.

I waited for Eric and he crossed 20 minutes later. Poor guy threw up 3 times at mile 16 and the course officials made him stop to drink and ask questions to make sure he was ok. Then he walked for a few miles because his legs were cramping up. He finished strong though with 3 miles of sub-7 minutes. My husband has never ran a 5k that fast since he was in high school and here he finished a marathon that fast. Amazing!

Post-Marathon

As I have posted recently, the only thing that was sore after the race was my feet and my side. My stomach/side was sore for 3 days. Talk about a wonderful cramp. My feet were sore for 2 days and then I ran in the same shoes on Thursday. Big mistake! The shoes were shot and my feet are now injured. I am now recovering from Plantar Faciitis.

Mentally, I am upset, but getting over it. Post-marathon blues are no fun. I just registered for a 1/2 marathon that is in a few weeks so that maybe my training can shine, but we will see. 2 marathons in 2 weeks is a new thing for my legs.

Will I do Twin Cities again? I have no idea! I can't seem to mentally break that course, but I could change my mind.

New Shoes and Fighting Kids

I have a new pair of shoes! Brooks Glycerin 7 will be the new set of kickers that I will be wearing to the marathon on Sunday.

My running store was hesitant to sell me those shoes as he believes I should be in a more stable pair of shoes. The Glycerin is a neutral cushioned shoe. I have been really frustrated with my shoe shopping as according to my supination and high arches, I should be in Neutral shoes but the running store disagreed. I hate going against someone who really knows what he is talking about, but I also have to trust what I read. I have very high arches that I correct with custom orthotics. All my shoes show serious wear on the outsides of the soles, so I am also going to work on landing on the center of my foot. Who knew that running shoes could be such a complicated thing? I went for a test run last night and I think they will work, but we will see. I know the Newton's were not going to work as after only 3 miles yesterday, my legs were aching. I really need to break my legs into the shoes and I don't want to ruin the shoes by running a marathon in them immediately. Moral of the story is, get fitted for your shoes and have the running store watch you run in your shoes. My running store never watched me run, he just put me in a pair of shoes he thought were good. They worked, but were not the shoes that were for me.

So I have two little girls at home who keep me on my feet at all times. Gabbie will be 3 next month and Bridget will be 5 in March. The past week or so, they have taken to arguing over everything. Bridget likes to be in control so her voice keeps raising when they disagree over a toy or how a game should be played. Gabbie on the other hand has a hard time sticking up for herself so she just whines when she is frustrated. Yesterday was the longest day as I was constantly talking to the kids into calming down.

This week I decided I would cook homemade soups as the chilly weather called for soup. Well needless to say, soup can be messy and time consuming. I think the girls love when I cook because I am preoccupied and they know they can get into more trouble. So every 5 minutes, I would hear screaming. They were having fun, and I was getting frustrated, because for the second day in a row soup was spilling out of my blender. Eric walked in the door early last night, and I let out the biggest sigh of relief. He was going to the running store for me and I said loudly, "Please take one with you!" The soup was delicious though!

While they can be frustrating they also amaze me. Bridget has taught herself three phone numbers this week from a silly little play phone and Gabbie is a little mocking bird so she is on her way to learning them. Oh the challenges in our life can still be rewarding!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

I am not done blogging, just slowing down.

This is an update to my post this morning. I am not done blogging, I am just taking a mental break. I will probably still post and will comment on other blogs, but I am just slowing down the reading of blogs. If you are on my blog roll, I will still be visiting. I follow way too many blogs and need to narrow that down. Blogging is a very addicting thing and I feel like sometimes I run more so that I can post about my runs and that we are always trying to compete with other's times and workouts. This is obviously not a safe thing to do as we obviously need a break at times and we all have different lives to plan our runs around. Post-marathon blues is so not fun and leaves you with too much time to over-think things. I am really looking forward to my next marathon and look forward to sharing with you all how I plan to get there, once I figure out how that is.

I have a new opportunity that came to me today that I am looking forward to sharing with you in the future. I think the opportunity came at the right time as good news is always a good thing when you are feeling down. Now my feet just need to cooperate with me and I can get back to what I enjoy most and that is training. Whoever said training for marathons is the hard part wasn't speaking the truth. Tapering and recovering is by far the hardest thing to do in my opinion. I will take 70 mile weeks any day over a 10 mile week.

Not sure what's next

So it has been over a week since my last post. I ended up getting plantar faciitis either during or after the marathon because of my dead shoes so I have not been in the greatest mood for reading or writing about running. I literally could not even walk for a few days because my feet were in so much pain. It looks like I was in the wrong shoe for my gait. I am a supinator, meaning, my feet roll outwards when I run. After inspecting my shoes you could see the wear on the outside of my shoes was terribly worn down. I remember complaining about my feet during the marathon, but I thought it was normal foot pain. When the pain wouldn't go away after the marathon I realized I had PF.

So I am running Marathon #2 on Sunday and I have no shoes to run the race in. My local running store is being nice and exchanging my shoes out for another pair, but they are trying to get another pair in for me in time for the marathon. A pair that he thinks will work with my gait. So I only have one more scheduled run and currently running in my new Newton's. I LOVE my Newton's but am not sure I am ready to run a marathon in them. I ran 8 miles in them on Sunday and my calves have been screaming at me all week. I ran a very fast, fun 3 miles today in my new, beautiful shoes. These shoes are SOOO light!

I am not done with my race report yet. Reliving all the events leading up to the race and then the actual race isn't so fun. Yes, I finished with a positive attitude, but I am still mad that my training cycle was wasted. Nothing was working with me that day, and I knew that I needed PERFECT conditions in order to run a BQ as I was only trained for a perfect race, not much negotiation.

Baystate Marathon is on Sunday and I am running it with my sister. She just wants to finish, but it will take a lot of discipline not to start out too fast as I know she can do really well, but am afraid she will blow up at the end if we don't run smart. She wants to finish under 5 hours so we are thinking 4:45, I think we can do a 4:30, so I may push for that. I am not nervous about this race at all as I see it as a fun one. She on the other hand is full of nerves. :)

I am still contemplating training plans for Goofy. My painful feet really made me question my recovery from this next marathon, but I am feeling so much better today. I think I may make it through the next few months. I have decided to focus more on speed work and may also run my long runs faster. The program I am looking at doesn't include as many long runs, but more fast runs. Fun stuff! I have a 5k schedule for my 30th birthday, and I would love a very good PR. My current PR is 22:52, I think I can get a 22:15, what do you think?

I apologize for the lack of posts. I am not sure what I plan to do with the blog from here on out. It is hard to blog when you aren't running and when you are feeling negative thoughts towards running. I still love training for marathons, but I am frustrated that we put so much into that one day where you can simply not eat a full breakfast and be nervous and everything goes down to the tubes. So please bear with me through the next few weeks as I recover from another marathon and get back into normal training....I am not the same person when I can't run.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Marathon Results and Giveaway Results

So another marathon is in the books and no PR and no BQ for me. I will post a race report after I get home this week, but I just wanted to give a quick update. I finished in 4:09. I knew within minutes of beginning the race that I wasn't going to have a good race. Somehow, I had a side cramp within a mile that lasted until mile 11. The cramp drained all my energy and I managed to hold onto my pace until mile 13 and then I gave up because my stomach wasn't cooperating. I knew after my 3 minute bathroom stop that I would never be able to make up the time to BQ and my heart wasn't set on a small PR so I basically turned the rest of the race into a long run. I was very disappointed in missing my goal, but not disappointed in myself. That cramp was not because I ran too hard as I ran my first 2 miles slower than goal pace. My last mile of the marathon was at a 7:30 pace so I obviously had a lot left in the tank.

While my goal was not met, this was probably one of my most favorite marathons ever. My sister came to town with me to watch and was a great supporter. When I started to get tired and frustrated I made myself continue until I saw her and then I talked her into running with me. Yes, my sister was a bandit, but I needed someone with me at that point. She ran with me from mile 18.5 until 25 where she ran to the finish line on the sidelines. Sharing the experience with her was very fun and really helped me to push through my mental thoughts of quitting. I crossed that finish line smiling just as much as I did when I PR'd in May. I know I could have had at least a 3:50 yesterday but I didn't care as I wanted to just enjoy the experience. I know there will be more marathons to reach my goals and I am so proud that I can say I finished my 6th marathon with my 2nd best time.

So this was not a PR and it wasn't a PB, but it was the one my favorites. Thank you Kelli for being my big sister. I couldn't have finished without you and would not be smiling today without your support and for making that race so fun. Kelli took a lot of video of the race including while we were running so I will have her do a guest blog post within the next week after we get the video uploaded.

What's next for me.......For sure I am doing the Goofy Challenge in January. I would like to try for my BQ again as I feel like my chances went out the window before my body could perform. I was able to maintain BQ pace for 13 miles without a problem even though my stomach was in a lot of pain. I would like to see if I can actually get my BQ under better circumstances. I think I put so much thought into this race, that I may have psyched myself out before I even got there. (I couldn't even eat breakfast as I was so nervous, no breakfast does not equal a good thing before running 26 miles.) So right now I am thinking I may register for CIM as I have a friend to stay with, I just need to talk my husband into it. I need to decide quickly or I will miss the registration. If I don't do that, then I may push my BQ dreams back a year, so we will see.

Now onto the giveaway....The winner of the Mile 22 Bags giveaway was #3, Aron from Runners Rambles:

Blogger aron said...
those are awesome bags!! what a fun idea :) i think i would want to put all my marathons on it.

GOOD LUCK this weekend!! i am SO pulling for you!!!!


Aron, I am a big fan of yours and I know you will get your BQ in December at CIM. I hope I get a chance to run and get my BQ there as well and would love to meet up with you! Aron, please email me your full name and address and I will get you in contact with Mile 22 Bags.

So that's all for now. We are in Minnesota for another 2 days visiting family. Traveling here was a nightmare, and I will cover that in my race recap. This race was just not meant to be. I wanted to wish a congratulations to a new friend from my hometown who ran a 3:25 yesterday at Twin Cities Marathon. Her goal was a 3:40 and she ran a 3:25, WOW! Congratulations Jen, I can't wait to see you at Boston!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Minnesota Bound

Don't forget to sign up for my Mile 22 Bags Giveaway. The contest ends on Sunday.

I have been sitting in bed for the past hour thinking about what is in my suitcase. I have 3 outfits planned for the marathon. I have capri tights, long sleeve, short sleeve, running skirt, tank top, arm warmers, normal socks, wool socks.....I think I have it all covered.

Sunday's forecast has a high of 58 and low of 46. If you ask me that is perfect marathon running weather. I probably won't know what I am wearing until I walk out that door. I even have 2 different throw away shirts that I am bringing. The start of the Twin Cities Marathon is at the Metrodome in downtown Minneapolis, so luckily we get to hang out indoors for the hour leading up to the start. This also means normal toilets. :) Yay for no porta-potties!

Tomorrow we have a very busy day, not an ideal day for 2 days before the marathon. In the morning, my mom scheduled family pictures for 20 people including 8 kids under the age of 6. That is going to be a stressful situation. After pictures we are going to the expo. I love expo's. I would be in heaven working in a running store, so walking around in what I would consider a VERY large running store is my dream come true. I don't plan on buying anything, but I do love free samples. I do plan on speaking with the Clif Pace team pacer for the 3:40 pace group. I want to see what their game plan is as I would love to run with their group. I haven't had the best luck following a pace group in the past, but I want to make sure I pace this marathon correctly. I would love to find a pair of sweatpants for the winter as well, but otherwise I am not buying any marathon merchandise. I bought 2 shirts at last year's Twin Cities Marathon and they don't have the year on it, so I figured I am covered in their gear.

After the expo is my niece's baptism. Dressing up 2 days before a marathon, another thing I don't think is a good idea. I picked out comfortable shoes to go with my dress. I may not look right, but I am going for comfort over style. The celebration dinner is at a great Italian restaurant, finally a bonus. This is my big carb loading night, so I will definitely enjoy my dinner.

Saturday, I am getting up early to watch my sister run the TCM 10k. My sister has been really training hard the past few months and I think she is going to get a major PR. Her last 10k was like 1:06 and I am predicting 54:00 for her. The 10k is on the marathon course, so I am excited to see her cross my finish line. Last year's finish line was a very bittersweet moment for me. I literally couldn't move my legs anymore. I was so happy to finish as I was in so much pain, but I was so sad as I crashed so hard. After the 10k we are going to my brother's football game. He is a college football coach and my family goes to at least one of his games every year, so my girls actually look forward to going. If it was up to me, I would be heading back to my brother's house to take a nap, but we will see. After the game, it is early dinner and getting ready for my race.

My running this week was pretty boring. One recovery run and my dress rehearsal run yesterday. They were very uneventful. My marathon pace miles were very easy, but that is expected as my legs feel pretty good. I am getting nervous for Sunday so my legs have some phantom pains, but overall they feel great. I am thinking I am going to wear my Recovery Socks on the airplane, just in case. I plan on getting one more easy run in before Sunday. Most likely, I will only do 2 miles with some strides to get my blood flowing. Like I said, very boring. This is why I run 60+ miles a week, I am just too bored and so restless without my 15 mile days.

I better get moving so we don't miss our plane. I will probably pop in one more time, but please keep the comments coming on the contest. All the well wishes really do help!

Monday, September 28, 2009

My Mile 22 Bags Marathon Giveaway!

I am under one week until the big day. Hopefully this time next week I will be celebrating. At the very least, a PR, but maybe even a BQ.

My taper is going really well. I ran 13 yesterday and my legs felt very strong and rested. And I get one more week to improve all that. All I have left are a couple of recovery runs and a 7 miler with 2 miles at marathon pace. I love the 7 w/ 2 at GMP, because you feel so confident after that run.

At this point, I now have to trust my training as I can not change anything. I have put in my time watching my marathon movies and will continue reading to keep my mind distracted. I have even cleaned my entire house, so I can come home to a hopefully clean home, as long as the girls can keep it clean this week. I am a weather stalker and will probably pack about 4 different outfits for Sunday. I don't want to freeze, but I may need some warm weather running clothes, because you never know.

Obviously, I am driving myself crazy, so I decided to distract myself by hosting my first giveaway....I am so excited for you all!

I first heard of Mile 22 Bags last year when I was training for the Princess 1/2 Marathon. On a message board, someone mentioned Mile 22 Bags and I immediately checked it out because who doesn't love bags. What you do is send in your race memorabilia and they make a bag with your memorabilia in it. You can send in t-shirts, space blankets, race numbers, goodie bags, whatever you saved from your race. Mile 22 Bags is owned by Stefanie Fisher who is a runner and triathlete. I love supporting women business owners, which makes this company even more appealing.

Here is information about the company from their website:

Mile 22 Bags started when Stef made a bag for herself out of her Boston Marathon memorabilia. After making her own bag she started getting a lot of interest in her bag and other people wanting one out of their own stuff. At that point Stef realized that there might be lots of people out there that would want one of her bags so she went to the Las Vegas Marathon in December of 2008 to test the idea. The idea tested great and Mile 22 Bags has started its journey.

After visiting the Mile 22 Bags website, I knew I had to have a bag. My mom's birthday was coming up, so I ordered one for her. My mom is a big supporter of my running and has been at most of my marathons. I ordered her a bag, sent my memorabilia in, and had my bag, all within 2 weeks! Now whenever I go to the gym with my mom, I get to see my race bibs and space blanket for one of my marathons. The bag has held up well for the past 6 months and she gets so many compliments on it. And now they have so many more bags to choose from than they initially had.

Here are pictures of my mom's bag:







So now onto my giveaway...Mile 22 Bags has agreed to give a Finish Line bag in size small to one of my readers!



I promise you, the winner of this bag will be so excited to work with Stefanie in making a bag that will be a reminder of something you worked so hard to accomplish. I am going to give you many ways to enter my contest...Leave a comment for each entry please!
1) Visit Mile 22 Bags and tell me what you would order if you could order anything and what memorabilia you would put into your bag.
2) Become a follower of Westford Mommy and let me know that you a are a follower. If you are already a follower, please let me know.
3) Add my blog to your blogroll or let me know if I am already on your blogroll.
4) Link back to my contest on your blog and leave a link to your blog.
5) Since this is my marathon giveaway, please give me good luck for the marathon on Sunday.

The contest ends on Sunday, October 4th, the day of my marathon. I need the good luck wishes to roll in up until the moment I leave for the race, trust me, I will read my email just before I leave. I will randomly select a winner and will post the winner on Monday, October 5th, along with my results from the race.

Have a good week everyone!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Birthday Dinner

So yesterday was my husband's 30th birthday. This is the year of big events for us. It was our 5 year anniversary and we both turn 30 within a few months of each other. As you noticed from my prior post, I love birthdays and think of them as huge celebrations, so yesterday was no exception.

I bought Eric the new Dan Brown book for his birthday. His real 30th birthday present is his car he is going to buy within the next few months. He currently drives a little Jetta and he wants a bigger car. He was planning on a buying a car soon, so that was the perfect gift to himself. I am sure I will have pictures once the purchase is made, but if you know Eric, this may take a while. He will look until he finds the perfect deal. I told him, I am open to flying anywhere to pick it up for him if it means I get a few days of peace and quiet while I drive home.

Since I couldn't really get a fun gift, I really put some thought into his birthday dinner. Now, I would love to show you some pictures of my feast that I made for my hubby, but for some reason the camera is not letting me put the pictures on my computer. So the one day I felt like a food blogger, I can not show you my food. On a side note, I must say that I am terrible at taking pictures of my food....I don't know how all of you take such great pictures of your food, good thing this is a running blog.

So for dinner we had black bean burgers, a recipe I found on Johnstone's Vin Blanc's blog. Her blog is great as she puts out a weekly menu plan which really helped me when I first started menu planning. I have been making this recipe for a few months and even when I see new recipes pop up, I am hesitant to switch as we are so happy with this one.

As a side dish we had Garlic Rice Pilaf from Annie's Eats blog. That rice was SOOOO good. I seriously can not describe how good it was. Bridget started eating it and immediately said that this was her "Most favorite meal ever." and that "Mommy you are the best cooker ever." I love getting positive feedback from my kids so that really made my day. We also had steamed peas which was Gabbie's favorite part of the meal.

For dessert we had Zucchini Whoopie Pies another recipe from Johnstone's Vin Blanc. Now this recipe wasn't as healthy, it was replacing our cake, but they were yummy. I only used 1/4 cup of sugar and substituted Splenda until it tasted good. I know not everyone likes using Splenda, but I am not good at substituting more natural ingredients yet, and I didn't want to ruin my husband's "cake", so Splenda it was. These turned out perfect and my husband loved them more than he loved his cake that we had with my family last weekend. So, two thumbs up for these whoopie pies.

Overall, my hours in the kitchen paid off and we had a delicious fun evening of eating. I woke up this morning to run and I couldn't even eat half of a bowl of oatmeal because I was still full. I did run 8 miles with 3x1600 at 5k race pace. Oh, intervals, you kick my butt every time. The actual distance of the interval wasn't nearly as bad as I expected, so that was good. The worst part was probably my shoes. I am trying to save my newer shoes for the race so I am wearing old shoes right now. They stink and they hurt, but I would rather these ones get more worn out than buying a new pair before next week.

Taper time, taper time. I have too much energy.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

One last 20 MIler

So on Sunday, I set out for 17 miles and ended up doing 20. Yes, I know I was supposed to be tapering, but my husband was running 20 and I figured I would just finish out his run with him. I am so happy I did run with him as my confidence was brought back up from that run. We didn't run as fast as I normally do, but it was a very enjoyable and strong run. I have read a lot of people who argue for 3 week tapers vs. 2 week tapers, and so I figured it couldn't hurt to run one last 20 miler. My legs are still a little sore 2 days later, but I did run a 5k the day before the run.

Since we are now under 2 weeks until my goal marathon of the season, I have begun thinking about what is next. I am perfectly aware that I may not meet my goal of making it to Boston this year, so I wanted to find something that I could look forward to, so that my heart isn't broken too badly on October 4th if the stars don't align correctly. In December I turn 30, so I wanted to do something big. I looked around at a bunch of December marathons, especially California International Marathon as I know that is a great BQ race, but I still have hopes that I won't need to BQ at this race. I already did Honolulu and I can't talk my husband into returning to Hawaii this year, so that was out. I have done Disney the past 2 years and while I love the Disney Marathon, again, I wasn't sure if that was a big enough celebration for turning 30.

So the verdict is in, I am going to Go Goofy! I am so excited. The Goofy Challenge is the half marathon on Saturday and the full marathon on Sunday at Walt Disney World. The Disney Marathon will always hold a special place in my heart as it was my first marathon and I feel this will be a good way to celebrate such a huge milestone in my life. Of course I decided about 2 weeks too late to do the Goofy Challenge as it filled at the end of August, so I had to sign up through a tour company. They say they still have spots available but they make you send in a check instead of paying online. So now I wait for my confirmation that I am actually in the race. Luckily the tour company is based out of Boston, so they will receive my check tomorrow and I was in contact with the company as of yesterday and let them know my check is in the mail.

I have no idea how I plan to train for this race or how I will run it. I am hoping that the Twin Cities Marathon goes well, so I won't be tempted to try and BQ at Disney the day after a half marathon. I will probably have a plan figured out to start November 1st, so look for that in the future.

So anyways, that is my future plans after October. Now I just have to sit and rest. So far my legs are really enjoying the break, but my mind isn't enjoying it as much. I did 7 this morning and only 4 tomorrow. 4 miles! I haven't had a 4 mile day in my training plan in so long. All I do is look up race weather, read the race packet, read race reports, and stare at the Twin Cities Marathon specific recommended pace chart for a 3:40 marathon. I really don't like the idea of starting out that much slower than my goal marathon pace and then have so many miles below it. I realize it is specific to the hills on the course, but this chart has been making me go back and forth as to my plan. I will probably just stick to my gut and run however my body takes me that day like I did in Vermont.

Have a great week and please check out Tall Mom on the Run for a giveaway.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

PR but not a PB

I recently listened to a podcast from Running with the Pack and it really is a good reflection of my thoughts for today's 5k.

The podcast focused on your personal record versus your personal best. The reason they talked about this was for people who may never reach a personal record ever again as they set a PR when they were younger and much faster. You may never get that PR but you may get a Personal Best (PB). Your personal best is your best performance you could have performed on that day alone. Obviously, you may describe these words differently, but I really thought it was a great description.

So anyways, onto my 5k. The good news is, I got a PR. The bad news is, this was definitely not a PB.

This was a race put on by a local family who's son had a wish granted by Make a Wish Foundation so now they give back to the foundation. I must say, this is one of my favorite charities that I have ran a race for, so I will be back next year. The race was described as being pretty much flat. Like I mentioned in a previous post, I knew the competition from last year wasn't the greatest, so I felt I had a good chance in winning an award.

So everything I just told you, really didn't work out quite as my pre-game planning had thought. First of all, the race was SO not flat. I would call this course a rolling hills course. I saw the elevation profile, but based on the description I didn't think it would be so bad. I didn't pace myself for rolling hills at all.

Second of all, everyone else must have came out today thinking they were going to get a medal as well, because the time that took first place for women would have only gotten you 6th today. This race had the fastest kids you ever did see. Today I got beat by two thirteen year old girls, one sixteen year old, one seventeen year old, and one ELEVEN year old! I was 8th overall for women but only 2 adult women beat me. Talk about a humbling experience.

But anyways, back to the race. I started off pretty strong and finished the first mile in just under a 7 minute mile pace. I have a hard time slowing down in that first mile and that is a bad downfall of mine. I burn out on that first mile and lose steam there after. Problem #2 of the day came at the turn around at about mile 1.5, but I didn't know it was a problem until the end of the race. My Garmin decided to drop signal for a bit and I was on the wrong screen and didn't see this. Because of this my distance was off by .2 making my average pace off by a lot. Stupid Robin, was on the wrong screen....I was only looking at my current lap and lap pace, not my total time. Because of the problems, mile 2 kept reading slow. I thought I was pushing the same pace but my pace was not showing that on my Garmin. Because of my pace reading slower, I let my mind take over. I kept telling myself that maybe I can't do 5k's, maybe I am not in the correct shape that I thought I was, and there is no way that I am going to get a PR so why push harder. So I kept running but not as hard as I could have gone as I thought my PR was out the window. So the last 2 miles I just pushed and pushed, very confused by the pace on my Garmin and very frustrated with myself. I came up the last hill and headed for the finish line, not in a sprint like I normally would for the last quarter of a mile. I rounded the corner and saw the clock a very short distance away. The clock was under 23 minutes, I was going to PR but it was too late to make it a good PR. I sprinted the last 7 seconds and finished in 22:52, a PR of 7 seconds.

So I should be happy I PR'd right? Well I am not. This was far from a Personal Best. I did not work as hard as I knew I could. I let my silly mind talk me into slowing down and not finishing out the race. Had I gone faster in the final stretch, who knows how much more time I could have taken off, but I won't know until after I attempt another 5k, and who knows when that will be, because I now know, I hate 5k's.

But I did get 1st in my Age Group. :) So I did take home a medal which my girls were pretty excited about. Bridget kept telling me that I didn't win, so she didn't understand why I got called up for a medal. I came back, proud of myself and she said "Mommy, you won?" with the most puzzled look on her face. Thank goodness I wasn't in that under 18 age group. :)

The lesson I will take from today is that I can't let my mind get me down. I keep telling my husband that, that is what the key to finishing the marathon is, don't listen to your mind. Here I listened to my mind and messed up my day. Overall, I am happy I had this experience, so that I can remind myself what I will go through at TCM.

The beginning of the race...Look at all the young speed demons.


This is moments before I realized that I was going to PR, look how lazy I was running.


Crossing the finish line.


My girls and I waiting for the award ceremony. Bridget probably ran a 5k running in the field.