Marathon #2 – COMPLETE!

May 8, 2012

So yesterday I ran marathon #2 at the Jersey shore.  I really didn’t talk much about my training this time around because I didn’t want to set any expectations.  I knew I was getting better at distance running and this training cycle was far better than the one for NYC…but for some reason I felt like keeping quiet about my progress.

To say that yesterday was the perfect day for marathon running was be an understatement….it was freakin fabulous!  Mid 50s at the start with cloudy skies for most of the race; I think the sun came out around mile 20.  I was stressing about what to wear but ultimately decided on shorts and a tshirt which was totally fine.  But I’m getting ahead of myself…..let me start from the beginning.

Yesterday started with a 5am wake up call, had my coffee and forced down a banana and some water! Got in my car around 6 and headed to the start area.  The half marathon ( which has about 12k participants) was set to start at 6:50 and the full was set to start at 8.  I arrived to the start just as the half  marathoners were underway and there were so many runners that we’re stuck in traffic that were literally running to the start line (I was so glad I got there early). After meeting up with Amy and Sandra (who was our paparazzi) and getting organized for our race, it was time to head to the start.

Amy and I before heading over to gear check.

Apparently there was supposed to be a staggered corral start but no one notified the starter of this and we all set off together.  In my head I wanted to be somewhere around 4:15 to 4:25 so I decided to stick with the 4:25 pace group for the first two miles and reevaluate from there.  In hindsight I should’ve stuck with them but the pace felt so slow and I wasn’t jiving with anyone in the group so I started to pull ahead.

I was happily cruising along at a 9:45 pace, no music, just enjoying the scenery. The first 6 miles were pretty quiet; there were some people out but it wasn’t anything crazy.  I decided to wear one of my team DetermiNation shirts for two reasons, 1) I knew that there were 40 other teammates on the course and I wanted to be available to anyone that needed encouragement and 2) the  coaches and cheer teams go nuts for us so the extra boost is always welcome :).  Around mile 7 I saw Sandra for the first time as well as our head coach for DetermiNation (Ramon) who went NUTS yelling for me…..such an awesome feeling and just the lift I needed.  Not two seconds later do I hear my friend from the gym call my name as she’s running up behind me!  She started with the marathoners but because of a wonky ankle only decided to run the half.  We ran together and chatted for about three miles and then she pulled ahead.  I wound up running those miles at a 9:30 pace and needed to reel myself back under control to avoid early burn out!

Right before mile 7

Up next was the half way point and we ran through the center of Long Branch…..this was a busy section for the half marathoners but most of the crowds were cleared out because the half was over by the time we ran through it.  There was a band playing and it was more crowded than the prior miles and this was where for a quick minute I was like, “crap, I’m only half way done?!?!” but I quickly shook that thought from my head and kept on trucking.

Coming up to the halfway point and feeling good 🙂

After making it through the halfway point, I tried to put my headphones in and listen to some music but I just wasn’t feeling it.  In fact, it was actually giving me anxiety for some odd reason so I pulled the headphones off and just ran along in peace and quiet.  I dunno, but in NYC the crowds and noise were actually very overwhelming for me and it seemed like when I tried to listen to music this time it brought back all those feelings and I quickly needed to shake them off.  By mile 16 things started to feel tougher for me and my pace slowed to 10:00/10:15 (which I was still fine with) this is also where things went bad mentally for me in NYC so I was desperately trying to stay upbeat and positive.

Starting to get slower….

In order to stay positive, I started to break the race out into segments.  For instance, once I passed mile 16 I told myself to just get to 18 and re-evaluate how you are feeling.  At the 18 mile water stop I walked through (like at all stops) and said that the next goal would be mile 19.5 where I would hopefully see my mom and husband. My pace had slowed even more to the 10:45 range now and on the way to the turn around at 19.5 I saw Amy running and yelled to her then I made it to the turn and my mom was right there!  At first I didn’t see her and I started to get discouraged that maybe she didn’t make it over there — but then I yelled “MOM!” and she started waving.  At this point I needed a quick stretch so I pulled off to the side by my mom and talked for about 30 secs while I stretched. She said that my husband couldn’t get to the turn around and he would meet me closer to the finish. I needed that little mental and physical break and it renewed me to keep pressing onward to the finish.  I kissed my mom goodbye and she yelled, “you are doing so good and you have a great time” (I was probably at 3:15 at this point) and still ahead of the 4:25 pace group that I left at mile 1.

Around mile 21 things started getting REALLY tough and my pace had slowed significantly.  It’s also around this point that the 4:25ers caught up to me (DAMN!) and I tried hard to hang on but just couldn’t do it.  I let them go and once again re-evaluated my position.  I had to keep reminding myself that even though I was tired and hungry and getting stiff – I was still doing MUCH better than I had in NYC and I should be proud no matter what.  My goals no longer were broken out by miles but rather by landmarks — like, “okay run to that street sign and if you need to stop after that it’s okay”.  I also kept chanting “the more you run, the faster you’re done!” in my head.  I played these games with myself until mile 25 when I saw my husband. WHOO HOO what a great surprise.  He walked with me for about 2 min (course was on the boardwalk and not blocked off to pedestrians) he said, “you got this!” and I took off again and said I’d call him when I was done.

With less than a mile to go, I came up to a guy that was hurting and struggling to finish.  I introduced myself to him and we said we were going to get each other to the finish.  We did a quick walk break and said we were going to run together to the end…and that’s what we did!  With the finish line in site I looked at my watch and said to him that if we kicked it into high gear we could come in under 4:40 — so we sprinted to the end (cheering each other the whole time) and crossed the line at 4:39:36.  What a great way to end the race! We high-fived each other, grabbed our medals and went to find our friends.

So happy to be done!

After meeting up with Amy and Sandra we went to a sunny patch of grass and just hung out and enjoyed the post race glory.  After changing, we went back up to the boardwalk for a pic together.

I learned alot about myself and my training this time around.  Since this post has already gotten long enough, I’ll save those reflections for another day!  Marathon #2 is in the books and um…..marathon #3 is already registered for LOL!  NJ Marathon 2013 here I come (what can I say, it was a great race and the blitz price that was advertised today was a no-brainer!)

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Marathon Eve

May 5, 2012

I can’t believe that tomorrow I am running my second marathon…..it actually doesn’t seem real yet.  My bag is packed, outfit is laid out, coffee pot is set to brew at 4:45; all I need is a good night sleep!

I picked up my bib and shirt yesterday so today was spent relaxing.  The expo was small with no freebies….I was excited to compare this experience to that of NYC. That expo is ginormous with no giveaways so I was kind of hoping this one would be a bit better, but no such luck. At least the shirts and bibs are cute 🙂

So for now it’s back to chillin on the couch with my pups!  Bedtime in two hours 🙂

Here’s to hoping I report back with news of a fabulous PR tomorrow!


Two Weeks!!

April 22, 2012

I can’t believe that two weeks from right this second I’ll be in the midst of running my second marathon….probably about 6 miles in at this point.  I’m excited 🙂

This week was a pretty tough week between recovering from the 20 miler and trying to get the last week of higher mileage in under my belt.  Yesterday was a bit of a crash and burn during my last long run. I was supposed to get in around 13 miles but quit after 9.5.  It wasn’t that my legs couldn’t hang, it was that the blazing sun was killing me and I was cursing the fact that I just didn’t get out there earlier. I was running through sprinklers trying to cool myself down and figured it just wasn’t worth it to push myself further.  It actually knocked me out for the rest of the day and I wound up napping on the couch.  Oh well, you win some, you lose so

For the next two weeks I just have to focus on getting my workouts in, eating right and getting enough sleep.  I think I can mange that 🙂

Here is what my week looked like:

Sunday – 20 miles outside 3:19

Monday –  1100m swim, lb strength and lots of stretching 

Tuesday – 3 miles elliptical, stretching and foam rolling (I was quite sore this day)

Wednesday – 5 miles of speed work 

Thursday – off

Friday – 2 very slow miles with the dogs

Saturday – 9.5 miles outside 

I was thinking about heading out again this morning but it’s super nasty outside 😦 so its looking like a rest day for me!

Have a great day!


Just the Boost I Needed!

April 16, 2012

Yesterday’s wake up alarm was 4:50 (ooof – that should be illegal on a Sunday) and my nervous energy had me out of bed 10 minutes later; I was soooo ready to get this 20 miler done and was hoping for a total confidence boost.  After a little bit of coffee, I took care of business and headed out the door to make the 20ish minute drive to the training run location.  I was worried about parking as almost 500 people signed up for this run, but then quickly realized that most of those people were training for the half and they were starting an hour later than us.  Even though it was tough getting out of bed at that hour on a weekend – I was glad that our run started at 7 a.m. in an effort to beat the forecasted heat.

As I walked up to the meeting place I was greeted by a crowd of runners that were just a eager as me to get this run going!  I decided to tote along my Nathan fuelbelt as I wasn’t sure how far apart the water stops would be and due to the predicted high temps, I didn’t want to be left without water when I needed it.  At about 7 am we made our way up to the boardwalk where groups of about 10 runners were released every 3 minutes or so.  At this point the sun was just coming up and it was a bit chilly with the wind coming off the ocean – I was shivering in my shorts and t-shirt!  I chose to start out with the 10 min mile pace and off we went 🙂  About .75 miles into the run I had to pee (must have been all the shivering) and saw a porta potty that I quickly ducked into.  I paused my Garmin as I wanted to get an accurate moving time for my first mile….after I got running again the first mile marker beeped at 10:05 — “perfect”‘,  I thought 🙂  I was right on pace with how I wanted this run to go.

I am one of those people that firmly believes that fate has it’s way of working out for us.  Right after the first mile (I was running solo at this point since the group I started with pulled ahead with my quick pee stop) something made me look to my right at the exact moment that my dentist was running by me. As a quick aside, my dentist is a super amazing woman who has run over 50 marathons (including Boston 9 times!) .  “Dr. Liz!!!”, I exclaimed….she was like “HEY!!!!!” and from there we just started running together and chatting.  She was telling me that she decided to come out and run at the last minute as she was supposed to be on a train to Boston.  Apparently BAA made deferring your race until 2013 a bit tricky as you had to defer IN PERSON!  Luckily she managed to get everything squared away and will run next year instead.

Being able to run with her was such a super treat for me (because she is so amazing) and I kept telling her that if I was slowing her down to go on without me; however, running with her was just the push I needed to break out of my comfort zone.  We chatted away for the next 13 miles ticking them off at a 9:30ish pace and I was feeling GOOD…while it wasn’t easy, I also didn’t feel like death I know I’m capable of this pace for the longer hauls.  Amazing what your legs will do when your brain is distracted!  At mile 14 I needed to stop for a quick walk break/stretch so I told her to go on with out me and I would catch up.  Unfortunately, the stretch of miles from 14-19 were in the blazing sun and I was really starting to feel it by mile 16 where I needed to take walk breaks more often than I would’ve liked to.  My legs were feeling decent but my hands were getting tingly and I was getting goose bumps so I knew I was a dehydrated.  Instead of pushing myself to the brink of passing out I reminded myself that this was just a training run and I had to adjust to the heat (this was the first “hot” day I’ve run in since September!).  I still finished the 20 miles in 3:19 which I am super happy with!

I can’t say enough great things about this organized training run.  The course was clearly marked, there were self serve tables with water/gatorade and Gu every 2.5ish miles and light refreshments at the end.  In addition, they had bins of tech shirts, hats and socks from last years full/half that were free.  I would’ve taken a shirt but they didn’t have any in my size (plus I think I would’ve felt weird wearing it knowing that I didn’t do it)…I was able to snag a free running hat though 🙂

Even though I’m feeling a bit stiff today, it’s nothing unbearable.  I was still able to get to the gym this morning for a 1000m swim, light LB lifting and stretching.  I may try to walk tonight too just to keep everything feeling loose.

This run was exactly what I needed to prove to myself that I am ready to tackle 26.2 on May 6th.  Now I just have to taper smart and take care of myself for the next 3 weeks 🙂

 


’twas the day before my 20 miler

April 14, 2012

And I kind of want to just get out there and get it done! By this time tomorrow I’ll probably be about halfway done and I’m praying that I’ll be feeling good. On tap for today:

  • Drink plenty of water and eat sensibly
  • Get all the housework done
  • Charge the Garmin and iPod
  • Get a new running playlist together
  • Lay out all my gear and go to bed early ( need to leave my house by 6:00 am)

I don’t think that’s too tall of an order and then after tomorrow starts taper time!

Have a great Saturday everyone and I’ll be sure to post my thoughts of the scary 20 tomorrow!


Is it enough?

April 11, 2012

Hello Blog World!  It’s been awhile….I needed a break and I’m glad I built two “break weeks” into my training schedule to accommodate just that.  I used one a while back when I had achy knees and threw in an easy week last week because I was starting to get really burned out.  I was waking up in the morning dreading my decision to do another marathon and wanted nothing more that a couple days to just veg out and do nothing.  So from Wednesday – Sunday I did just that (aside from a couple walks with the dogs — but that doesn’t count as “working out”).  Monday morning I woke up with a desire to put my shoes on and get out there again — too bad it was 40 mph winds outside.  I had all intentions of doing 10 miles but after 7.5 I gave up and let the wind beat me.  Yesterday was a 4 mile recovery run and today was speedwork that totaled 5.5 miles.  I think tomorrow I’ll swim and lift to give my legs a bit of a break and then do another 4 as a shake out on Friday.

On tap for this weekend:  the SCARY 20 miler!!!

Fortunately enough, the NJ Marathon offers a free 20 mile tune up run where water and gu are available on the course and you run a good portion of the marathon course.  I decided to partake in this fun adventure since I’d much rather run with other people than by myself for 20 freakin long miles.  I’m really hoping for a confidence booster because I’m starting to feel like I haven’t done enough to feel fully prepared.  As I look back at my training since January, I definitely put in the time and effort and hit nearly all of my training runs as prescribed.  Sure I made some modifications to some speedwork days – still did the speed, just maybe not exactly as it was written and perhaps I may have broken up two of my long runs by running 10 in the morning and the remainder after work. But I’ve definitely done MORE than my last training cycle — so there’s bound to be improvement, right?

 

 

 


Freehold Area Running Club St. Paddy’s Day 10-Miler: Recap

March 26, 2012

Yesterday my BFF Amy and I met up to run the St. Paddy’s Day 10 Mile race that was hosted by a local running club.  We had run the race last year and I had a not so great performance due to going out way too fast.  I made sure to keep my pace in check and also started out in the back of the pack so that I wouldn’t get swept up in all the excitement.  This race is known for being pretty competitive and I didn’t want a repeat the same mistake twice by thinking I could run 9 min. miles for the whole sha-bang.

It was a gray, damp, drizzly day (another one of those race mornings where I would’ve rather stayed cuddled in my bed) and while I was excited to run during my drive there – once I got there I kind of lost my race mojo.  By the time I parked, walked 1/2 mile to get our race numbers, walked back to the car to get my stuff ready, walked back to the start area and used the potty — it was about 30 seconds til start time.  Amy and I said our goodbyes and we were off!

The first 3 miles were decent for me (all around a 9:44 pace) and my plan was to continually pick up the pace every 3 miles and blast it out right at the end during the last (almost all downhill) mile.  It was a good plan in theory but I just couldn’t get my legs to agree to it.  No matter how much I wanted to kick up the pace — my legs just didn’t want to put up with the effort and I hovered around that 9:44 pace the.entire.time.  bleck!

It was one of those races where by mile 6 I was wishing it was mile 9.  I actually got bored…there was a strict no headphone rule, there was NO crowd support unless you count the race officials directing traffic, and the course was “blah”….just a bunch of rolling hills through the back roads of Freehold.  Now  I shouldn’t be too disappointed with my performance as I did manage to shave a little over 6 minutes off of last year’s time — but I still feel a bit defeated from the whole thing.  It just wasn’t my day.  I also chose to run in my Pure Cadence instead of my Newtons.  I think this was a bit of a mistake as my feet were much more achy towards the end of the race.

Super props to Amy though for setting a new PR and finally breaking the 1:30 mark with a 1:27 and change 🙂

She came out to find me right at the end and we ran in together so we could get a repeat picture of us running together like last year.

Source

Official Time: 1:38:57

I can’t say enough great things about FARC’s coordination and execution of this race.  The packet pickup was super organized, the SWAG was good and the race shirt was cute too!  My only issue was last year they gave out long sleeved cotton t-shirts and this year they gave out short sleeved tech shirts (which I much rather prefer!) and the sizing was way off.  I love the shirt but it’s too big (men’s cut) to wear while running 😦   and I kind of wished the indicated what type of race shirt you were going to get so you could pick the appropriate size.  The post race party consisted of beer, hotdogs, soup, bagels and other snacks….we kind of wished it wasn’t so cold and rainy because we would’ve hung around a bit more after finishing.

Another race on the books and time to really start focusing on the marathon which is a mere 6 weeks away……AAAAGGGGHHHHHH!!!!!