Friday, October 26, 2007

Have my Cake and Eat it too

Finally after 2 weeks of being sick I'm getting better. I had to take almost a week off of running which was rough. It was great to start again, but it's always that terrible feeling like you've never run in your life. I can understand why people new to running think we are crazy. After a couple runs it got better....which is what I try and tell new runners after their first laboring experience.
It was kind of disappointing because out girls were down to just varsity and I was looking forward to running with the smaller group. This week I got back on my feet and ran with them and it was a lot of fun. We made it to Regionals which is this weekend so it should be exciting to see how we do. Too bad it's all the way in Tiffin though.
The past couple days I ran with the head coach and it was great because we talked all about next year, running, and the impending Men's Olympic Trials. I'm rooting for Brian Sell to make the team by the way!! I'm pretty excited about it. It would be really cool to watch it in person.
I'm in the process of trying to figure out what I'm going to do with my running. I have this desire to get back out on the track and see if I can hammer a sub 5:00 mile but I'm petrified of the track. It's been 6 years since I've raced short distance and I have this vision of my first track race...it goes a little like this....
....gun goes off
....I start running what I think is really fast
....I go through the 400 in about 10 seconds slower then I though I was running
....I fade miserably from the lactic acid build up and stumble in with a time I ran in 9th grade. .....That or I pull a muscle
These legs have been marathon legs for 5 years. I know I'm being a little negative about the whole track thing, but that is my fear for now. I'm also thinking of maybe running a spring marathon. Hmmm...I don't know how those 2 would go together. We'll see what happens. I'm just really enjoying getting in miles during this lovely fall season.

So I had to make a chocolate cake for 100 people. The biggest cake I made was for 30 people previously. This was a whole adventure in itself. After 7 hours of baking and tasting I was going into a sugar shock. Then, my hubby brought home a milk shake for me. I just couldn't. I woke up this morning feeling like I ate a sheet cake for dinner. I probably did....but it was o so good...and o so fun.

Yesterday (Oct. 25th) was our 4 year Anniversary. I can't believe it's been 4 years already....4 wonderful years. I have the best husband in the world. I can honestly say that.

Oh, by the way, Congrats to my running friend LG for a great marathon in Columbus. She fought through a terrible stitch to run an 8 minute PR. Even though it wasn't the time was hoped for....it was still very, very awesome.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Knocked Down But Not Out

Just when I thought I was getting in the groove of running again I got knocked down hard. It started with a achy throat...which in turn turned into an achy body.....watery eyes, running nose, fever...etc...etc...etc. The marathon (along with other stresses in life) left my immune system open for business and it took its biggest customer. Missed 2 days of work and just layed around. Boxes of tissues, NyQuil, sweats....it's a very sad site. I just hate missing work, practice (it's the week of districts for the girls), and not being able to be a busy bee like I usually am. Yes, I am a Type A personality.
Anyway, I look at this as perhaps God's way of telling me to take a break silly girl. Okay...I listened.....can I PLEASE start to feel better now??
On the plus side, I got to watch TONS of Food TV and talk shows I never even knew existed. I finally learned why exactly we use Baking Powder and Baking Soda in baking and when to use what.
FYI....Baking powder is made up of usually 3 items....an acid, base, & filler (usually Baking Soda (Base), Cream of Tarter (Acid), and Cornstarch (Filler)). It is used to help baked goods rise. It's like yeast but much quicker. Whenever Baking Soda is called for in a recipe, there is usually an acid (ie buttermilk, yogurt...) in the recipe to allow it to react. Careful, if you add too much it will rise and fall because there will be too many bubble going on...plus it will taste like dirt.
I working on some new recipes so it's helpful to know what the stuff you add into your concoctions do. We'll see if anything good comes out of anything I throw together. Maybe this down time will result in something good.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Significance

Yesterday was a great day at practice with the girls team. The head coach decided to split the JV and Varsity girls since we have sooooo many girls. This is the last week for the JV girls so they were doing different workouts. I was lucky enough to work with the JV girls while he took over Varsity. I sincerely mean I was lucky to work with these girls. For the first time all season, I got to work directly with the group and be the one who they had to solely listen to. I usually come to practice and run off to do whatever head coach needs me to do....this doesn't allow me to have much interaction with them during down time at practice.
Anyway, I started at the back of the pack and worked my way up and tried to talk to everyone. One of the girls started telling me about her college choices, another girls was telling me about some muscle issues, another one about her family....then I had a girl tell me about her last race and how I missed her being in the lead for the team during the open race. She said the heat on Saturday killed her which in turn had her walking at the half way. She was concerned she "peaked" last year (she is a junior). She was telling me how hard she trains for this and how this is basically her life during the season and she cried after the race because of what happened. (I couldn't make our meet this past Saturday because of a class I had to take for CPR).
I proceeded to tell her that sometimes things just don't work out, but you have to move on and keep on working. I also had to laugh when she told me she though she hit her peak. I said "Come on...you only 16 years old!" Just keep at it....your time will come.
So the main point of this, is I really felt significant that day to these girls. For the first time I REALLY felt like I had a real purpose as a coach. During the last part of our practice I had them asking me if I would coach track (which is impossible for me)....or if I could at least come and run with them sometime during the season. I was flattered that they asked. Of Course!!!
This was one of those days that nothing really special happened, but it was a special day for me. I truly love working with the girls that run because they just really like to. Most of these girls will never win a huge championship or get a headline in the newspaper...but they come everyday and work hard to find that personal glory I talk about. The day they get a medal at a race will be an Olympic type moment for them...which is so very awesome.....and I would be so lucky to witness that.
As I stated, I ran with these girls which means I'm running again!!! Yippie!!! Ran a mile on Friday which was terrible...felt like poo. Then I ran on Sunday which was better, but my body was creeky. Yesterday's run was much better so I feel like I'm getting my routine back although it will be much much less volume for a little while. That mixed in with some cross training will be a good balance I think. Oh, and I think this pulled muscle in my upper hammy will take a long while to heal although it doesn't bother me when I run. I'm just happy to be out and running...even if it is a million degrees (what's up with this weather?!?)
Anyway, kudos to those who ran crazy hot marathons this past weekend. Hope everyone survived and felt okay. If not....just keep at it and your time will come.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Ducky....Lucky

My husband has been calling my Ducky because of the way I walk. The other Coaches I coach with tease me....plus all the guys at work are giving me a hard time (in a nice way). The marathon just demolished my Quads....especially the left one. I'm starting to feel better, but I'm still toasted. My left side always is more sore then my right which if kind of an odd thing. This was all to be expected and not a surprise at all to me. After running the Boston Marathon I was in need of a walker for a few days too. I had sooooo many people ask me Why I Do This To Myself. Really......being sore for a week is annoying and uncomfortable, but if that is the only real "horrible" thing I have to deal with, I'll take it. I have two healthy legs, a strong ticker, and a life that allows me a little time to run. I'll take having some sore legs in the name of my own personal glory I get to experience. The thing I don't think people understand is in the sport of running, especially the Marathon, you get to toe the line with Olympians, the CEO next door, and the Woman who is running in the name of a passed loved one all at one time....and all with the same level of respect. You get to experience the thrill of accomplishment and self journey. You form relationships with complete strangers because of this common bond. It really is a beautiful thing.

The girls I coach got a kick out of my marathon. I wasn't ready for the millions of questions they were shooting at me. Some of the questions really made me have to think. The common question was "What the heck do you think about for 26.2 Miles?" (Followed by "How did you NOT have to go to the bathroom that whole time?!?") It's hard to put into words what you think about when you actually have to. After the fact, a lot of its a blur. Try explaining to someone who doesn't really run what you think about while racing 26.2 Miles. My answer was really...."I think about right now and my next step." There's more to it then that...and it's more exciting then it sounds, but that is the only way I could describe it without going into Mile by Mile detail. Actually, it kind of sounds like life...huh. I hope I may have inspired at least 1 of those girls to keep running after high school and perhaps venture into the waters of a marathon one day. It would be nice to know I made a small impact in some way.

As I waddled into the kitchen the past few days I have discovered all the wonderful things you can do with apples. My schedule (or legs) didn't allow for me to go Apple Picking so my family was kind enough to bring back a bushel.
For a quick little snack/dessert/recovery treat:
Take apple slices
Smear with Crunchy Peanut Butter (I like to leave a nice bump full)
Carefully Dip into Melted Milk Chocolate.
Allow to Dry and Enjoy!!! Double Dipping or a Sprinkle of Cinnamon is Always a Good Thing Too.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Akron Marathon

This past Saturday I ran the Akron Marathon. My Marathon #5. It was just a beautiful day. The only thing I would have wanted different was some clouds...but I'll take it. There is something so special about marathon morning. I love waking up and saying "I'm running a marathon today"....it's like "I'm getting married today"....or "I'm having a baby today" (that is yet to come).

So the night of the race I had sketchy sleep. My glutes were tight and were uncomfortable to lay on...plus once I woke up I had a hard time sleeping. I kept thinking of the race and my stupid hamstring. The last long run before my Taper I kind of had this pulling sensation in my lower hammy and calves around mile 18 (it was a 23 mile long run). From then on it was tight and sore, but manageable. The week before my race, I pulled something right under my glutes while running up onto a curb to avoid a car. It never really put me out of anything, but it was a MAJOR cause of stress before my marathon because I was worried it would bother me late in the race.

Anyway, on to race morning. I woke up around 4:45 and had a half of a banana and a couple bites of toast. I wanted to get more down...but that is really all I could handle at that time. Got dressed and was headed out the door. I really have to say my husband, JM, is so awesome. He is not a runner by any means, but is so supportive of what I do. He's not a morning person either which makes him even more of a trooper with how early these races are. Plus he has to listen to my pre race minute by minute schedule and commentary. I LOVE YOU JM!!!

Okay, fast forward to the start. Found the Invited Runners tent which was a nice little perk. Did some light jogging, used the Port O Potty and before I knew it there I was standing on the start with 10 seconds to the start. The race started and off everyone went.
The First Mile was comfortable but a little too fast. It was 6:43. I told myself to keep a 7:00 for the first half. I decided this because of the difficulty of the course....especially later in the race. I really wanted to have a consistent, strong race. My last marathon in Chicago was a very, very rough finish. I told myself not to worry about the Sub 3:00 hour marathon today. If it happened....great....if not, I would be happy with a strong finish and PR.

The Second Mile I slowed down a bit to make sure my pace was correct. My calves and shins were tight which was weird. I was hoping they would loosen up really quick. Oh, the second mile was really cool because we ran back over the other side of the bride we crossed on the first mile and the sun was rising while the moon was setting. The 2 mile time was almost 14:00 so I was on pace. Mile 3 was good because I got to see my family cheering for me. It was nice to see. Then we ventured out for a while. I got in a zone and kept on running around 7:00 pace and after about 4 miles it settled in and felt like a cake walk. "Stay Controlled" was my motto the whole way. 10K was around 43:00. I think I heard some of the girls I coach cheering.....cool. The next few miles were on cruise control and I noticed a woman in pink that looked familiar from the reception we had the night before. I kept my eye on her as a target. We were running on my old college stomping ground. Memories.... Made myself take a GU before mile 9...yuck. Before I knew it, we were running down the middle of the University and arriving to mile 10. I head my family cheering for me which was just great. It's nice to hear familiar voices. 10 mile was around 1:09:40. Mile 11 the good old hamstring got a twinge...o no!!! I caught the woman in pink just before the Towpath and another woman too. I got worried and took the big down hill into the valley slower.....which made me fall behind the 2 women. O well. Plenty of time in the race yet.

Got to the towpath. I knew it would be a nice and flat 4 miles. It was really beautiful. A little foggy and lush woods. I loved it. I kept my eye on the two women about 10-15 second ahead of me. About mile 12 I caught the woman in pink and she pulled over to the side and stopped briefly. Now I had a woman in purple to keep me rolling. Half marathon came quickly....1:31:17. So I figured....not bad....3:02-3:03 pace. Felt pretty awesome. I knew some hills were coming...big time hills. So the end of the Towpath quickly came and the hills started. Made myself take another GU at mile 16 or so since I knew my body would need it. My friend LG was there which I knew she would be for her relay. It was nice to have a cheering friend at that point. Kept consistent on the hills and caught a few people. I made sure the steeper parts were a little slower. I made that conscious effort. I was fearing the last 10K. 16-20 was a long incline pretty much but I felt just fine. I lost some time though but that was okay.

Mile 20....2:21. Did a reality check. On a scale of bad to terrible...how did I feel? I felt on the better side of bad...which is great at 20 miles into a marathon. I was pretty pumped. Kept around the 7:00 pace....even below for a few. I think I picked off a 6:49 on one mile. Heard some people cheering and even saw some people I knew. Someone told me I was in 6th place. About mile 21 I caught the woman in purple. Had glasses on my head in anticipation of the sun, but they were foggy, plus I got used to not having the glasses on this whole time so I kept them put on my head. This part on was quite sunny....but the temps were still nice. Mile 22 we were at Stan Hewitt Gardens. Around 2:35. I was thinking about 4 miles in 30 minutes would set me around 3:05...not bad. This came after a steep hill. Uhhh....this was hard. My calves were cramping...O NO!!! I got worried but shook it off and took another Half of a GU at 23. That is all I could handle. I felt like barfing. I started to get antsy about the finish.

Turned a corner and my friend LG was there!!! I was so happy to see someone I knew out there. Then....bless her little heart....she ran the rest of the way with me. She stayed on the side walk and kept me going. So awesome!! I needed it. Mile 23 was good....Mile 24 had a stupid hill that made my calves cramp up like crazy. I yelped pretty loud a couple times. It's a crazy feeling really. Okay, so I was really waiting for mile 25. It came (2:57 something)...and it came with one last hill going onto the main street. Ughhhh!!! I passed another woman and a few people even though I felt like I was running slower. I felt bad for a guy I saw on the side cramped up (only a half mile more!!!). I got up the last hill but my legs were just really pissed at this point. LG kept me going, but I had one speed for a while and it wasn't very quick. Where the HELL is the stadium was pretty much the only though at this point. Finally there is was...the heavens shone their light down...the stadium was there. LG stopped just before the entrance and I ran in and saw the finish. I saw 3:05 something and got my legs back under me and kicked it in. This is an awesome feeling. 3:06:17....new PR.....3rd place....I'll take it.

Overall, I was very pleased with this race and experience. I was so thrilled to have so much of my family & friends there with me. I ran smart, strong, felt good almost the whole way, came in 3rd (with a money prize...yippie!!!), and got a new PR. My muscles all behaved too. No, it wasn't the Sub 3:00 I REALLY want...but that will have to be done on another day. I changed my training so much and have learned a lot about what works for me. I'm so excited to take this into my next training phase.

So today, I'm super sore from the hills. It's funny to watch me walk I guess. Ha ha. But that is all okay. It's all worth it. It's these thing that make me really realize how good life is to me.
Now it's time for a little rest and relaxation....for a little while at least.