Sunday, November 27, 2011

bad turned great

I didn't sleep well last night, waking up several times and then couldn't fall back asleep when I woke at 4:30 a.m. So I got up, did laundry and dishes, made breakfast, got dressed, had an upset tummy and took an imodium because I HAVE to get my long run in.. no excuses.

As soon as I began seeing light in the sky, I packed my gear into my car and got ready to go to Stone Mountain for my planned 11 mile run. I opened the garage door to this amazing sky and my perspective totally changed from feeling ill to in awe. With a sky like this.. my run is going to be fabulous!

I was surprised that there were so few people at Stone Mountain. Usually there are a lot of walkers, runners and cyclists. Is it because of the holiday? The temperature was 60-65 degrees. I carried a water bottle with two gels in the carrier pouch. My original plan (according to Hal Higdon Advanced plan 2) was to run an easy pace (45-90 seconds slower (or more) than marathon goal pace). I planned to walk for 30 seconds either every 2 miles or when I consumed the gels at 45 minutes apart. My goal marathon pace is 10:45 so I intended to run at an average pace of 11:30 - 12:15 minutes/mile or slower. I ran at an easy exertion pace. I felt strong and didn't feel the need to walk. I consumed the first gel at 45 minutes as I ran. I consumed the second gel at 90 minutes while still running. I never felt the need to walk. I got bored, but never tired or depleted or overexerted. I didn't listen to music, I just focused on the environment and the random thoughts that flowed through my head. I pushed a little harder the last few miles, remembering Higdon's 3/1 option. I finished the 11 miles, no walking, in 2:10:59, an 11:54 average pace with mile 10 my fastest! I think this may be the first time post-childbirth, that I've run this far with no walk breaks.. and it felt easy! Progress is sweet!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

love trail hurdles..

I love how the trail is different every time I run it. The roads probably are too, but I just don't notice those changes like I do the ones on the trails. Last night there were severe storms. I had planned to do a track workout last night, but the downpour of rain was just too strong. I was thrilled to find a new hurdle to jump over (not trip over) on my favorite trail today! It instantly brought back feelings I once had about another fallen tree across another section of the trail that I loved to climb over until someone cut out a segment of it to make the path accessible to mountain bikers again. I'm sure someone will eventually cut or move this one too.. but until that happens I'll be in bliss. I LOVE trail hurdles!

On today's run, the day before Thanksgiving, I thought of things that I'm grateful for that occurred this year. Number one on my list is the meeting the guy that led me to this trail again. He made the biggest impact on my life this year and for that.. I will be eternally grateful!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

I finally settled on a marathon training plan for marathon #5 that I will be doing with my relative, Ande. My aunt mailed me old photos that my uncle recently found. The couple on the left in this photo are my maternal grandparents. My grandfather's sister is Ande's grandmother. Our mom's were cousins and I remember my mom saying that she was her favorite cousin. So what does that make us? Cousins twice removed? Not sure what the correct term is.. Anyway.. He's leaning towards either the FIRST marathon training plan or a Runners World rookie marathon training plan. It will be his first marathon.

I'm feeling the need for something a little more advanced since I'm in the best shape I've been in in years, I just completed a marathon two weeks ago, and this will be my fifth marathon. So I picked the Hal Higdon Advanced 2 training plan. I'd love to PR again, but realistically am not sure if that's possible for a much hillier marathon. But I have 18 weeks to train hard and lose weight, so anything is possible. I didn't follow the plan perfectly this week, but I got most of the miles in, ran them all without walking, ran much faster than I thought I was capable of on the speed days, and enjoyed a much needed lazy day with the-main-man-in-my-life on a rainy Sunday.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

no walking.. no pain (except..)

I took four days off from running after my marathon. I didn't have a set time frame in mind, I just played it by how I felt. I was sore the first three days, felt better on the fourth, and decided to go on an easy trail run on the fifth day after my PR marathon. My left hamstring was extremely tight that morning and I hoped a run would loosen it up. 2.7 easy miles on the trail made me feel much better. The next day I tried 5 easy miles on the trail; my left IT band started hurting a little at 3.5 miles so I took the next day as a rest day.

Today I ran another easy 5 miles on a different trail. No walking and no pain.. except.. Yes, 3rd time is a charm.. I tripped and got back up immediately without looking at my knees until afterwards. Oh well.. a scraped knee is totally worth a heavenly trail run :)

Sunday, November 6, 2011

motivation threesome

I met a guy this summer who instantly became my motivation to lose weight and train hard. We encouraged each other to perform our best in our respective sports. He pulled out two wins and now it was my turn to shine with a PR in yesterday's marathon by 41 minutes! We don't talk as often as we used to, but he's forever ingrained in my soul. He once admired my shell collection, so I spent my day-after-PR-marathon walk on the beach collecting new shells and reflecting on how he brought me to where I am today.

The second amazing guy that I met this summer is also partly responsible for my PR. He didn't necessarily encourage me to achieve my best, but he made sure I got out of bed many Sunday mornings and go for a run rather than lounge around until it would be too hot. He is committed to cycling with his friends on Sunday mornings, which is a quality I really admire about him.

Now I have a new man in my life.. Well, since we're relatives I guess I can't call him "new". We were never close, but his mom was my mom's favorite cousin. We reconnected this year through Facebook since I haven't made it to family reunions in years. He and his brother ran the half marathon yesterday and I really enjoyed having dinner with them the night before the race. He said I was his hero for finishing the full marathon. Now he's motivated to run his first marathon, but doesn't want to train alone. He's thinking about the Publix Georgia marathon in March and asked if I would run it too and train with him. I rolled my eyes and said I swore (pre-race) that Savannah would be my last marathon. But since I improved my marathon PR by such a huge amount, I can't help but wonder how fast I can go if I train even harder and lose another 10-20 pounds. He's much faster than me, but if he's willing to run slower I'll gladly make an effort to run faster and help him train for his first marathon. I'll help him with endurance and he'll help me run faster. Looks like marathon #5 is in the planning stages..

Saturday, November 5, 2011

marathon PR!

It was a perfect day for a marathon personal record (PR)! I registered for the inaugural Savannah Rock n Roll marathon over a year ago with a promotion code that saved me $30. Then shortly afterwards, there was talk amongst my twitter friends of renting a house on the beach; count me in!
I finally got to meet Tara yesterday after interacting with her for years on twitter. She ran the half marathon with two of her other wonder women friends. Loved their costume! Here we are waiting in the long line for the shuttle buses to the start. If this were my first race I would have been panicking because time was ticking and we were still in a long line. The race actually started before our bus dropped us off. But thank goodness there was a wave start and chip timing! I wasn't able to get to my starting corral, which was disappointing because I really wanted to start with Tonya. But I didn't let it get me down because this was going to be the day that all my hard training would pay off.

The temperature ranged from mid-40s to mid-50s with sunny skies and little humidity. I wore a skirt, tall socks, a singlet and my Chicago marathon arm warmers. I had applied body glide liberally to every part that I thought might chafe, but since this was only my second time wearing arm warmers I found out the hard way that I forgot to apply body glide to the parts that would rub against the arm warmers. I started with what felt like a slow pace, although the splits on my Garmin Forerunner 310XT seemed to indicate otherwise. It was an easy, comfortable pace but faster than what would normally be easy which I chalked up to being on a flat course rather than my usual hilly training routes. I decided to go by perceived effort rather than the watch. At 10K, I picked up the pace a little more. It still wasn't a hard pace, but a little more than easy. Miles 4-17 were at roughly a 10 minute/mile pace. Then the wheels started to fall off.. Not from pushing too hard of a pace, but because my left IT band started sending shooting pain into my knee. I took more frequent walk/stretch breaks to try to work through this, which resulted in paces in the 11 minutes/mile range for miles 18-22 and then 12 minutes/mile for the last 4.2 miles.

The shooting pain hurt, chafing from my arm warmers screamed, but I was determined to finish this race running rather than walking. I worked hard to get this far and am leaving it all out on the course. My fastest marathon finish time before this was 5:27 in my first marathon in 2008. My second marathon finish time was 5:45 in Chicago thanks to IT band problems. My third marathon finish time was 6:16 over a mountainous course. I've lost 20 pounds, trained harder and had my goal set for 4:59 on this flat course today. I totally ROCKED it with a 4:46 finish! 41 minutes faster than my fastest marathon. I'm a happy girl!

I cried tears of pride and amazement as I crossed the finish line. I shared my success with friends and family via phone calls and text messages and to my virtual friends via twitter. The congratulations were almost overwhelming. I am so thankful to be part of this great running community! I eventually made it back to the beach house and rewarded myself with an ice bath in the Atlantic Ocean. Life is great!