Getting Ready for Fargo

Am I crazy? I was asking myself this for days as I considered registering for the Fargo Marathon. I looked at my training plan from Twin Cities, my plan from Nike. I looked my weekly mileage for the past few months. I thought about how I felt after the 20 miler. All of these made me feel like instead of crazy, I’d actually been training for it all along.

It may sound strange, but I must have been subconsciously been wanting to do a spring race. As I reviewed my previous training plans, I was just a few miles off. I ran my 20 the week I would have normally done it. I followed it with a taper week of 17 miles. Last weekend I ran 22 miles. I felt good the entire time though my stomach wasn’t too happy with the second gel.

Other than my long runs, I’ve picked up on my speed work. I’ve been doing intervals and a tempo run each week. After my run last Saturday I am officially tapering. This weekend I have an indoor triathlon which was on the schedule long before I considered Fargo. I’m doing my long run tomorrow and taking a rest day on Saturday to have fresher legs come Sunday morning.

Maybe the months of not anticipating marathon day is good for me. I have low expectations for this race and am not stressed about it at all. I know I can get through the race and should have fun doing so. I’m not setting any goals for myself other than to finish strong. It would be nice to finish around the 3:50 mark but considering my lack of real speed work and extensive long runs, I’m not expecting it.

I’m surprising myself once again. Apparently I’m becoming one of those “I run marathons for fun, not just time” people. I am getting excited for the race.

Goldy’s Run – Race Recap

A few weeks ago my running friend Andrea asked me if I wanted to do a 10 mile race. Never having done one, I was in. I will always take an automatic PR and it would be a good test for the half marathon I have in May. What I failed to notice is that it was the morning after a long planned girl’s movie night with some of our other friends. Ooops.

So naturally Friday night I did everything I know not to do before a race. I ate way too much queso, salsa, guacamole and chips. Plus a homemade margarita cupcake (A+ for Morgan!), a brownie and drank a few margaritas. Just to make sure I was tried I also didn’t leave Morgan’s house until oh, about 12:45 am. I knew full well that this would not lead to positive things come the race, but I was having fun.

I’m pretty sure my alarm went off as soon as I actually fell asleep. I got myself out of bed about 4:45 to start my pre-race routine as I was meeting Andrea at her house to carpool at 6:15. Everything was going smoothly and as planned which had my thinking my stomach would not revolt during the race. I was even in my car a few minutes early just in case I got lost on my way to Andrea’s.

was about oh, seven minutes from her house when I started thinking my feet were incredibly hot. I looked down to realize I was still wearing my slippers! Not only that, but my running shoes were sitting on the kitchen floor where I’d left them. I called her immediately and told her what an idiot I was and turned around. Luckily at that time of morning on a Saturday there is no traffic so I was only 15 minutes late. Good thing we’d planned extra travel time.

I felt better when it took us no time at all to get down to the race. We got a great parking spot and got right in line at the porta potties. By this time my stomach was grumbling with anger. Once that was taken care of, we lined up behind a pacer and waited a few minutes for the race to start.

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Right on time, off we went. It was really crowded in the beginning but that was ok. I wasn’t expecting much of a performance and after the race I had seven more miles to run. Slowly we picked up speed, especially on our first downhill. Of course after a downhill, always comes an up. We kept trucking, passing people and chatting a little bit. The first three miles flew by: 8:39, 8:16, 8:22. Around mile four (8:24) Andrea told me that she was going to slow down for the second half of the race and I should keep cruising if I was feeling it. I debated and decided to just let my body carry me at whatever pace I needed to go.  Apparently it needed to go faster.

The fifth mile came and went at 8:12. I was steadily passing people and trying not to look at my watch. After all, this wasn’t a race I was planning to go all out during. My stomach was still grumbling a bit and I thought about stopping every time I passed a porta potty. I decided I was running too well to stop. This would either be ok or end very badly. Luckily it was the former.

I was cruising those last five miles even up a big ass hill just during the eight mile. When I hit mile nine I figured I may as well see how fast I can run the final mile. I pushed a little harder but got annoyed when it felt like we were going to run around the entire stadium before we actually got to go into the finish line. We finished on the 50 yard line of TCF Bank Stadium which was fun. I guess those negative split runs I’ve been doing have really paid off. My last five miles: 8:19, 8:05, 8:01, 7:59 and 7:32.

Unofficial results:

Distance: 10.05 miles        Time: 1:22:12         Average Pace: 8:10 min/mile

Official results:

Distance: 10 miles             Time: 1:22:13        Average Pace: 8:14 min/mile

Andrea and I met in the end zone where I’d stretched and watched people come through the finish line on the big screen.

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We hung out in the end zone for a little while before heading back to the car. It was a fun race that I’d do again. Check out the HUGE medal.

Goldy's Run 2015 Medal

After I got home, Josh went for his run and I took a little nap with the kids. After naptime I went to the gym to finish up my last seven miles. My stomach was mad at me so I figured inside was probably a good plan. Unfortunately I did not note that I had less than an hour to get my run done because the childcare closed at 5. So much for a super easy run.

This race made me feel so much more confident that I’m not going to totally bomb the Fargo Marathon next month. Yep, I’m doing it!

Run Fargo?

Remember when I said I wasn’t training for anything? Well, I may have changed my mind. This weekend I planned a long run with Nancy and her running group. They were going to run 20, but I told her I could only commit to 18 miles. After all, who runs 20 miles for no good reason? Apparently me.

We left the house at 5:12 am, yes  hours before the sun would be up. So early. Anyway, we met the rest of the runners and set off in the dark with the lunar eclipse overhead. Benefit of getting up early, witnessing an eclipse that I would have normally slept right through. Back to the run.

When we left the hotel where we all met, I was still set on only doing 18 miles. We were going a really long out and back route which would allow us to turn around a bit earlier than the rest of the group. When we hit our first stopping point around four miles I was feeling good. Obviously, four miles in it’s hard to feel bad. We ran on and reached the top of the dam at a lake near the house just before 7 am. We were seven miles in and I was feeling great. I ate a few fruit snacks and off we went. When we got to about 9.5 miles, I told Nancy that I was up for all 20.

I took my first gel at just over 10 miles. We turned around and headed back downtown. I was trying to run with the group and with Nancy, but I found myself slowly speeding up. I took a second gel at 16 miles. I didn’t really feel like I needed it but figured I would not be a happy camper by 18 if I didn’t. Again I was feeling awesome and able to pick up the pace. Those last four miles were my fastest of the entire run. All of them were in the low 8:00s. Shocking to me.

When we finished I felt like I could have kept going and the people that are running the Fargo Marathon in a month all told me that I had no reason not to run the race. In fact they said they’d see me at the starting line and if I wanted for them, at the finish line. It got me thinking more seriously about doing a last minute marathon.

I’ve been making a pro’s and con’s list in my head. Maybe me sharing it will help me off the fence one way or the other:

Pros:

  • Flat course, I mean flat.
  • Snap68
  • Nancy is running it! Though we wouldn’t run together per se, we’d run the same marathon for the first time.
  • It’s almost taper time already – shortest training cycle ever.
  • Little performance pressure – a marathon for fun if you will. (Yes I realize that sounds crazy)
  • Nearby. it’s about three hours from our house.

Cons:

  • Shortest training cycle ever – So I’ve run one 20. Prior to this weekend my previous month of running has been two 16 milers and a few 14+ milers. I could run one more 20 and see how it feels. I’m just worried I’d be undertrained.
  • Josh and I are running a half marathon the following weekend.
  • If I get into Chicago, training for that would begin about six weeks later.
  • I’d break my PR streak – I’ve set new personal records at every single race I’ve done since the kids were born. Considering the tiny bit of training I’ve done, I’d be shocked if I was able to run faster than I did in October.
  • Hotels are really hard to come by this close to race day.

I need to decide soon. Regardless I think we’re going to Fargo to cheer on Nancy and Jim who will be running the 10k.

I suppose I could run the half or the 10k instead. Ugh. Help.

All About Anderson – 18 months

We are on the downhill slope to two years. I can hardly believe that my baby is getting so big! He’s now 32 inches tall and just over 25 lbs. He’s around average size except for his head. He must have a very big brain. Luckily it is fairly proportional to the rest of his body. He finally has teeth! His first two came in around 16 months, the second two about 17 months and the last two came just days before 18 months. Which was about the time I actually started working on this post. oops.

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Anderson has a big few months. In early December we went to Disney World and the beach which were probably the highlight of his life thus far. It’s a Small World was his favorite ride. He pointed and squealed with delight at all of the colorful little people. At the beach he ran right to the water, enjoying it splashing over his feet. Getting all the way in was hit or miss.

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Not long after we returned home it was Christmas. The candy, the presents, the ornaments – toddler’s favorite things. His favorite pastime was taking off all the ornaments he could reach and throwing them saying ball. It must be quite confusing why you can throw toy balls and not similar looking ones from the tree. He liked opening gifts more than he liked what was in the packages.

Anderson is developing quite the personality. He loves to laugh. In fact, I think it’s his favorite thing. He laughs all the time, mainly at Ella. It cracks me up hearing them giggle in the backseat of the car as we drive around between various activities. We’ve started an art class which he’s really enjoying. Last week we painted with his feet and he thought it was the best. No longer does he resist getting his hands and feet dirty, though when he is done, he holds them out for me to wash as he says ‘all done.’

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He is also really into music. He will request Raffi just as Ella did. He dances around and has even started trying to sing some. He asks for spider (itsy bitsy) as he does the motions, says ei-ei-oh for Old McDonald, and pulls my hands saying row, row for Row Row Row Your Boat. I’ve even gotten him to do the motions for Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes. I’m glad that he has a love for music.

He is starting to speak more and more every day. He’s not as verbal as Ella was, but that’s no surprise as she often speaks for him. I’m also not nearly as consistent with noting new words. I think we’re up to about 35 or so, but only 20ish are used regularly. In the past few weeks he’s also begun putting words together, night night, hi dad, bye bye, all done/gone, etc. I feel bad because we don’t read to him nearly as much as we did to Ella partially because he rarely sits still and partially because its hard to get him to focus with Ella around. He is finally interested in books so I try to find time for just the two of us, free from distraction, to read.

When he cannot say what he wants he just grabs our hands to take us to what he wants or shows us what he’s trying to do. He loves wearing hat, gloves and his coat, though once we’re home he wants everyone’s coat off immediately. He picks out the shoes he wants to wear and will bring me socks and shoes to put on every morning.

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What he lacks in speech, he makes up for in physicality. This kid never wants to sit still. Climbing is by far his favorite activity. Couches, tables, chairs, stairs. Anything and everything. We have to be very careful in watching where he is. he has a pretty good arm when he throws and even catches his ball now.

Just as much as he loves to show his pleasure, with lots of hugs and kisses, he is quick to throw a fit. He scrunches his face and wails a bit, sometimes throwing himself on the ground. Luckily we can redirect him and the tantrum rarely lasts long.

He just cracks us up. He is so different from Ella and very much his own person. Every day he seems to learn something new – a new word, expression, phrase, emotion. It’s so amazing to watch.

Training but not

After the marathon I had a goal to keep up some sort of endurance. I didn’t want to overdo it but wanted to continue to do long runs. I’ve been holding steady doing long runs of up to 12 miles with step back weeks every few weeks.

In the last few weeks my mileage has crept up. I knew when my mother-in-law came to visit a little over a week we would have a good long run. She’s training for the Fargo Marathon in May so I figured I better try to get my mileage up. I had done a 14.3 mile run a few weeks prior so I told her I could likely go about 16 miles with her.

We lucked out and had good enough weather to hit my favorite local trail at Elm Creek. My running BFF Amy met with us and off we went. Amy did the first 14 with us which was awesome. We saw deer, turkeys, pheasants and a beautiful sunrise. Nancy and I continued running for a few more miles for a total of 16.33 miles. It was the longest run I’ve done since the marathon.

Amy and I ran about 14 miles again this weekend and I think maybe next weekend I’ll do 15. The thing is, the only races I have on my calendar right now are a 10 miler and a half marathon in May. I could probably be ready for an early summer marathon but then that would mean no fall marathon which is what I really want to do. There is no reason I need to run this far, but it just feels so good to get out there and get them done.

I registered for the Chicago lottery. Mid-April seems so far away to hear back. If I don’t get in I’m considering the Omaha Marathon in September or Des Moines in October. Both are just a short drive away and within weeks of Twin Cities which is what a lot of my running friends will be training for.

At some point I’m going to need to start tapering back so that I’m not at nearly 20 miles at the beginning of a marathon training cycle. I think I’ll continue to keep up the mileage for a few more weeks until after Easter when I’m sure there will be another long run with Nancy in Lincoln. Then time to taper down a bit.