Thursday, October 23, 2008

Columbus Half

The Columbus Half Marathon was this past Sunday. Overall, it was what I would have expected...but nothing I would have hoped for. It was the type of race that would describe my year.....just okay. Kind of Blah. I'm not upset or overly disappointed, but I hoped maybe I could pull off something I wasn't expecting. Overall results were 1:27:57....16th overall Female.

Jason and I left for Columbus Saturday afternoon. We stopped by his sisters home to drop off the sugar cookies for a party they were having....then we dropped off our dog at my In-Laws. All this took a while as we can never just seem to stop somewhere quickly. I figured we were fine. I kept saying, "As long as I get to the expo by 6:50pm" (it closed at 7:00pm with no race day pick up).
So we make the hike down to Columbus. We stopped for a late lunch and found our hotel. We stayed at a Hyatt about 20 minutes north of Downtown since everything was booked. I must say, it was a very nice hotel, with a kick butt TV. My parents met us down there....but had to stay at the Motel 6 across the street since my dad never believes in planning ahead. Our hotel was booked up. My mom had some choice words in describing their room. It was hilarious!
I looked at my watch and it was 6:00pm. Uh-oh. We better get to the expo. Jason and I made our way down. I had direction on how to get to the start line. If I recall from 2005, the start line was near the expo. I was so wrong. I don't know if they changed it, or I was mistaken. We found the start....no expo. We drove around, got turned around, went down one way street. Not good. My watch read 6:30. I wasn't saying much....Jason wasn't waying much. The second I opened my mouth....we got in an instant argument. It was my fault I didn't get directions and made a stupid assumption.....but I guess I was making him nervous by not yelling about it...so I think we wanted me to yell or something. Just as we were yelling...we came across runner people with bags. Whohoo. Everything was okay. 6:40pm. We found parking. 6:45pm. We got inside the expo 6:50. I grabbed my stuff.....6:55pm. I can't believe we cut it that close. I'm a crazy planner in travel race circumstances...but perhaps since I've been to Columbus a million times, I was too laxed about it.
So in a nut shell, I got my stuff. #3013.

That night we ate dinner, watched knocked up, and went to bed. I made a wake up call, set the alarm, and set my phone alarm. I have a triple alarm system going when I travel too.

Race morning, I was up 1 minute before any of the alarms went off. Felt pretty decent. We drove up, found parking, and I warmed up. All was good.

Got to the start line 2 minutes before the race (geeze...what was my problem with cutting everything so close!!). It was cold...but perfect for a longer race. I had gloves and shorts on with a long sleeve under my race shirt. The gun went off and off we went.

The first mile was a 6:44. I had a feeling I would pretty much keep up this pace. No faster. I just had a feeling with how I felt. It wasn't hard...but it wasn't effortless (if that makes any sense). The first 2 miles I couldn't feel my legs from the cold...but they warmed up after that. I hummed along with a group of people and kept my eye on certain women to keep me motivated. I came through 5 miles around 33:25. Again, it was fine...but I felt kind of worn out. I actually picked it up for mile 6 and ran a 6:30.....and maintained upper 6:30's for a while. Mile 10 was 1:06:55 or so.....which put me pretty darn even from 5. I kind of really wanted to be done then. The last 3 miles actually seemed to come quickly though. My hands were getting pretty cold from the couple liquids I took. They spilled on my gloves and got them freezing cold. Mile 12 had a hill going toward the finish...which was a downhill finish. I picked up the last mile...but missed the split since my hands were too frozen and must not have hit down on my watch hard enough to get the split. I saw mile 13 was 1:27:02. I was like "lets move it and get under 1:28 at least." I did both. 1:27:57. I felt fine when I finished. I was happy to be done. Ran a 2 mile cooldown immediately and called it a day....and a "racing season."

Overall, I felt pretty complacent about the race. This year was just off. It wasn't terrible...just not great. There isn't any one thing I can pinpoint. I was injured in the spring and sick a couple times...but that shouldn't have killed my whole year. I noticed many of the paces seemed a bit harder that I thought for workouts....and I was much more worn out then normal. I had too many days I was just totally beat up and needed to chill out. I changed up my training a bit, and tried not to take much time off in the winter, keep up my mileage, and start off with some interval training and work into the longer stuff. Something just didn't jive. I had a good 5 miler with a 30:54 PR.....and a bunch of 18:40/18:50's 5k's....but that was about it for me. Crim sucked....and the Columbus Half was okay. I thought my training was going pretty well and I could turn it around leading up to the Akron Half....but I got sick....and the rest was history I guess. I didn't get my mojo back after that. I didn't really look forward to my runs leading to Columbus...and didn't get all that excited about the Half either. I know when it's time for a break...and I needed to pull the plug now. If I'm not excited to race....it's time.

I also realize that I wasn't quite ready to get back into all the training as soon as I did. I forced it a little too much. Just because I thought I should be ready to race and train, didn't mean I really was. I probably took on a little too much at one time. With work, my baking venture, and other business stuff I work on...it probably took a little too much of a toll. I notice I get canker sores after the longer races too. I'm wondering if it may be a vitamin thing as well. I'm not making excuses....just thinking about things on paper so I can try and fix whatever was off kelter.

So, I'm taking this week off and already looking forward to some nice runs. I'm going to try and get my system back to normal...and work from there. Perhaps this winter, really work on strength, tempos, and making sure I stay healthy (rest and nutrition).

It's interesting how we as runners know our bodies better then anyone, but always seem to ignore signs. We know they are there...but we find various excuses to ignore them. In the end, the body wins out....every freakin time.

Time for some good old, freezing cold winter running. Some of the nicest, peaceful, prettiest runs take place in the winter....even through the darkness, snow, & sludge. I'm really looking forward to that....along with the post run pancakes. Yum.

Until then, see everyone at the start line next year. I'll be writing about anything interesting that comes up in my runs....there's always something.
Up next is the Akron Thanksgiving Day Race with my brother....who runs once a year on Thanksgiving....with me....or rather, I run with him. It's my favorite "race" of the year.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Weekly Recap

The Columbus Half is on Sunday. It seemed to come rather quickly from the time I decided to do it. Time just flies!

So the question is, am I ready? I guess so. I feel like this year has been a bit off overall, but I feel like I can go out there and do something decent. It would be nice to PR. My PR is 1:25:07...but I'd be happy with a good, strong race. I haven't raced in a while, so we'll see.
I'm kind of stressed out about what to do with my dog since everyone is going to be out of town this weekend. It's always something...isn't it?

This past week has been decent. I can't say wonderful or great, but decent. Ran a mile repeat workout on Friday at the Towpath.
2m w/u
6:22, 6:19, 6:18, 6:19, 6:17, 6:07 (I might be a second off or so from what I put in my log...can't remember exactly)
2m c/d
I ran to each mile marker and jogged around for what I called 400m. I adjusted the longer and shorter mile times. The times were a bit faster then I planned on, but it was a good workout. My legs want to run fast....it has it in them...but I have to watch my HR . It's not like I'm running a mile race or something. I really am curious at what I can run in a longer distance.

Anyway, Saturday was an early slog run. I was tired, but had to get it in early. Sunday was a crappy long run of 16 miles. I felt like I wanted to shoot myself in the foot the entire time so I had a reason to stop. Ha ha. I was just tired and crappy feeling, but I pushed through.
Monday was an easy run...still felt tired and heavy.
Tuesday (yesterday) workout was:
2m w/u
4x1600 (1600 easy)......6:24, 6:25, 6:26, 6:33
1m c/d
I ran on the Pen Glen trails with the 400 meter hill at the end. I intended to run this workout to get me going, without running me into the ground. This is what I came up with. Last mile was a slightly different route...and I got held up for a tiny bit by some people. Felt really good and smooth until the last 400 meters which was to be expected. I felt better then I have, but, I could still feel a little heaviness in the legs going up the hill.
This is a good endurance, strength workout. When I run this particular workout on this course, I can really run it well if I'm fresh. I tend to compare myself to that...but I'm not so chipper right now. I've been eaten up and thrown out on this workout when I've been tired. I was happy with the overall result.
Oh...and a little tidbit on annoying people. I ran past this guy, who I passed like 4 times (since I was running the same loop over and over), insisted on saying something "funny" every time I ran by. "Smile", "You should be more happy", "You'd live longer if you smiled."
I was getting really annoyed. REALLY annoyed. What wrong with "Hello" or"Nice Job?"

So, that was the week. I ran 2 straight weeks of 66 miles. Not bad. The workouts are getting a bit mundane. I'm getting a strong urge to go trail exploring around town. Nice long runs to get lost in. It's that time of the year. I was looking back and realized I have been running since April...workouts and racing...without any real downtime. I need some of that now. I probably won't jump into a marathon this fall. I just want to chill and not worry about splits and mileage. I just love to put on my fall running clothes and get lost int he fall foliage. The smells and chill in the air.....oh I just LOVE it.

I'll have to do my yearly analysis and plan for this winter and next racing year. I do that every year so I can carry it over and keep on learning from myself.

So, in other news, Jason really moving on with his Ph.D. On Monday (the day after the half) he is giving his big presentation to his committee. They will give him some critiques and allow him to keep working on this Thesis...which is coming along nicely. I'm a proud wife :) There are a few good job leads, so we'll see what end up workout out. I don't want to jinx anything.

Until next time....everyone enjoy their fall running...no matter what comes your way!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Bottomless Pit

There is a very interesting phenomena going on with me these days. I get so hungry on my runs. This has happened to me every once in a while during my hormonal time of the month, but for the past week, I've been starving on my runs. I happens about half way through. It doesn't help that I run past a Your's Truly, Perkins, McDonald's, & Italian Restaurant. I could just feel all the energy drain. I could seriously sit on the side of the road and chow down with a box of cereal, throw in some raisins, and cold soymilk. These thoughts to me are odd as I'm used to never even thinking about food until an hour after my runs. Who knows what's going on. I'm just trying to shovel in the food so I keep on truckin along. Maybe I have a hole in my stomach.

In my weekly update....I had a great long run this weekend. I ran 18 miles. At mile 9 I busted out a 6:21, then I stopped at home for a half a banana and Gatorade. I then ran another 9 with mile 18 at 6:22. Everything felt really nice and smooth. The faster miles felt really good too.

Yesterday planned on a Tempo workout, but decided to perhaps do some faster miles. The plan was to run:
2m w/u
8m run (7,7,6:35, 6:30, 6:30, sub 6:30, 7,7)
2m c/d

What actually happened was:
6:54, 6:47. 6:21, 6:22, 6:40, 6:42, 6:46

The first 2 miles were pretty good, but the 2nd was a little too fast. I felt good so it was fine. Then I went into mile 3 where was waaaayyyy too fast. Thought I slowed down mile 4 but it was still too fast. I was going through 800m in 3:07. I stopped after 4 to drop the HR and catch my breath, for about a minute or so, then I thought I would run the 7:00 miles. Those ended up being too fast as well. Stopped after 6 for a minute then ran one more mile at long tempo pace. I don't know what the hell my body was doing. I was so off pace and I tried so hard to keep it right. I guess the good thing was I was running faster then I thought, but I was running too fast to do this workout correctly. I hate when that happens. My body is whacked out with pacing I guess. It's kind of funny to be to be complaining about running too fast, but that is the death of a lot of runners in training and racing. O well, I was pleased overall with the effort. I tried to make up for the fast paces but taking the couple breathers and cutting off the last mile. I just added a mile onto my cooldown.

Hope the Half Marathon pacing goes better. I'm anxious to see how that race pans out. It's been a long while since I've raced. I haven't raced a half in over a year, so I'm exited about it.

The rest of the week I'm planning on some easy runs, a long run with a few harder miles thrown in, and another workout type run.

As far as how I'm feeling these days. Better, but not perfect. I have a very lingering light cough that seems rather random and fake sounding, but it's there. Like a tickle in the back of my throat. My ears have unclogged, my nose has opened up, and my equilibrium is better in tune. I get tired very easily, but that is something I can control with resting well. The only odd thing I still have is if I get really tired, I get nauseous as well. That's getting better to each day. Maybe I should have went to the doctor last week, but since I'm stubborn and a doctor hater, I figured since I'm getting much better, I'm okay. This was a nasty, stubborn bug. That, or my immune system sucks to no end. I know tons of people who are pretty sick, so something is going around. Rest, rest, rest.

Last week, after my death of a Tempo run, I got a massage the next day which was glorious, but I had to skip my run as I thought I was getting sick again....and had a terrible cough. The next day I had a vitamin enriched, immune system boosting smoothie which made me feel much better. I think having some extra calories in my system, with the vitamins, along with the 10 hours of sleep I got Friday night, helped a lot. So anyway, I think I kicked this thing for the most part.

Speaking of vitamins, I used to take them religiously. Regular vitamins made me REALLY sick, so I had to take the old people vitamins. I know it sound odd, but my mom has the same problem. Last year, I took some Woman's One a Day, thinking maybe I was over the whole getting sick from vitamin thing. That proved to be a bad idea. I almost passed out and was sick for 2 days after 2 weeks of taking that stuff. From then on, I haven't taken anything. It's been a whole year. I wonder if I should be taking something. I try and eat well, and eat lots of fortified foods, fruits, veggies, & enhanced drinks, but I'm not sure if I'm getting everything that I need. I just wonder what other long distance runners do. I've been sick 4 times in the past year, and go through periods of getting really exhausted, but I attribute that to having much more going on and not enough sleep. So, I don't know. Just a thought I have from time to time.

Anyway, anyone running the Towpath Marathon Chicago Marathon, or any other race, good luck, have fun, & stay healthy!!!

Friday, October 3, 2008

It's Falltime

This is my FAVORITE time of year!!! I don't know any runners who don't just love fall. Too bad it doesn't last long. Take what you can get.

This past week started out good, but got a little hairy. I was feeling good Monday, then Tuesday I just felt okay, then Wednesday, I proceeded to try and do my normal 8 mile tempo run at the park. I told myself if I didn't feel okay, then I'd cut it short at 6 or something. Well, the warm up went really good...I kind of wanted to keep on running on the trails and explore. I should have went on my instinct.

I started my tempo pace and ran a 6:47 feeling pretty decent considering everything the past week. The 2nd mile was a 6:44 and was okay too. I noticed the 3rd mile my legs were starting to feel heavy and my HR was starting to shoot up pretty good. I told myself I would run 4 miles at this pace then do an easy 1 mile, then run the other 3 at tempo pace. 3rd mile was 6:44 which surprised me a bit. The 4th mile is when it all came apart. I felt like death, my ears were getting clogged, my head hurt, & I got dizzy. I can get past a lot of things, but getting dizzy always freaks me out. That is not a good thing. I decided to finished that mile and call it a day. By the way, that mile was 6:49. When I finished, I was going to run my cool down right away, but I felt like I was going to pass out. Seriously. I got scared and sat down on the side of the trail. Maybe I was stupid for trying to do this workout. I figured I'd be okay. It's always easier to see how things should be in hind site. I've been sick before, but this thing I have just doesn't seem to want to leave my system.

Anyway, I got my act together and ran 2 easy miles and plopped down on a bench and watch and whole slew of deer eating from a large field. It was rather nice. They looked at me and didn't seem to mind. It was kind of a neat moment.

So Thursday I felt just awful. I was worried I did something to myself from the run the day before. My cough started up again and I felt pukey all day. I was starving too. After lunch, I just kept on eating throughout the afternoon...and I felt much better. I made my way home and on the way stopped at Vertical Runner and picked up my running shoes that were on order....along with a b-day gift for mom. I love that store.
I got home and decided to take the day off and go for my scheduled massage...which was wonderful. I felt much better.

This morning I went for a 6 mile run in the dark & rain and enjoyed every bit of it even though I was still a little tired. My cough just refuses to completely leave.

I feel like I'm seriously falling apart. I'm keeping everything in context and know that thing like this happen, but it's a bit annoying. Oh...and I was thinking about all those people that run through being sick. Seriously? How do you all do that? I don't consider myself overly weak when it comes to things like that, but I can't function much as a runner when I'm sick. The few times I tried to run when sick or injured just never, EVER, worked out. I guess we are all programmed different. Maybe my immune system sucks too. Who knows. I'm not trying to fight it though. I'm trying to work with it.

Anyway, yes, it is fall....and I am intending to enjoy every bit of it. I'm running the Columbus Half...but I'm not as worried about my mileage and paces and workouts as obsessively as I did....thought I am still working hard and what a really good race! I really need to not getting so worked up about everything and just enjoy my running. I was starting to cross that line of not enjoying it as much as I should lately...which happened once in College for a while which threw me into a 2 year hiatus. I never intend to allow that to happen to me again, no matter what the circumstances. I could start to feel that coming on all year and had a feeling that would happen if I tried to push another competitive marathon out of me this year. Call it instinct. I think I run better when I'm chilled out anyway. My PR's in the longer distances always came off a long winter of "fun" running and mileage of between 40-50 miles. Funny huh? I'm trying to listen to my need a little better then what my brain tells me to do. Like I always say though, we'll see what happens.

About 1 month until the Presidential Election. That God all this stuff will be over. We need to move on and fix this darn country so we and our kids aren't paying for it in every which way.
Go Obama!!!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

A Brighter Week

This week has started off much better then last. After a terrible Thursday-Saturday, everything started to feel better. I still have a little cough, but I'm up and running...and super happy about it. Sometimes, when you get forced to be down for a little bit, it makes you appreciate running more.

So I went to the Akron races on Saturday. It was kind of weird since I felt like I was dreaming the whole time. I was in a fuzzy state. Jason and I got there around 7:25am and watched the start of the Women's 8K. I was so excited to be able to watch this race. It made me not feel so bad about running. I'll tell you, the end of that race was so exciting.....watching Katie McGregor come up so close to Sara Slattery at the end of the race. I was cheering for Katie (not to take anything away from the winner though) as she was the hometown girl, which I remember running against in High School. It was a good time.

I stayed and watched the 1/2 Marathon finishers and ran into a few people I knew. I really wanted to drive over to the 22-24 mile mark and watch the marathoners and relay people, but we couldn't figure out how to get there...plus I was feeling really sick at that point. I was kind of bummed, but we headed home and I crashed for pretty much the rest of the day.

So Sunday morning I woke up and felt better and went for a 6 miler. Not too bad. Monday I had a fantastic 8 mile run. I felt like I was floating. It was a truly great run. Tuesday was a 9 miler which was okay...I'm just glad to be out. I'm planning on a 70 mile or so week with at least 1 workout and 1 long run. I just registered for the Columbus 1/2 Marathon on Oct. 19th. It should be fun. Too bad there are no hotels left open in downtown Columbus though. I'll keep up the training until then for certain.

I'm not really sure about a marathon this year. There is so much going on with Jason's thesis in the next 2 months, that for us to leave for a few days would be a pain in the butt. Plus, I'm not sure if I'm in the right mental frame to run a marathon. I've kind of felt this way all year. I've run 5 marathons in a row (1 per year) and perhaps need a little break from one. I'm really not sure though. I'm putting in good mileage and workouts so I feel like I should just find one not too far and just run it for the heck of it.....then do a more serious on in the spring? We'll see. Too bad the Towpath Marathon wasn't a few weeks later. If anyone knows of some driving distance marathons around...let me know. Hmmm.....now that I actually thought about it, that doesn't sounds half bad. No pressure....just fun...plus, I may surprise myself.

Anyway, congrats to all those who raced this weekend. It was really awesome to watch it all go down! Hope everyone enjoys their downtime!!