Lake Wobegon Marathon Training {Week 14}

I had a scare this week.

No, not a pregnancy scare, a dreaded injury scare. Mid-workout at Orangetheory, just after a one minute all-out sprint, my IT band started burning. It didn’t hurt but burned like someone squirted a line of gasoline inside my leg and lit it. I stopped immediately, stretched and then tried to slowly run again. It kept burning so I got off the treadmill and moved over to the elliptical. The oh-shit, it’s close too the race looks on my friends Morgan and Ashley’s faces expressed just what I was feeling. This is not happening right? Just to be cautious, I skipped my interval run on Thursday, opting instead for a good 45 minutes of very painful foam rolling.

Confession, while I always stretch after runs, I have been severally neglecting foam rolling. Honestly, I really dislike foam rolling.  I hadn’t realized just how damn tight my IT bands had gotten. I was on the brink of tears when I finished.

I woke up very early Friday morning, with pain-free legs and decided to head to the gym for my intervals. With every interval distance I have a range of target paces. A little nervous about too much speed, I stayed at the slowest end of my range for my 800m intervals. I’m happy to report, no further burning sensation. In fact, I felt good. Little sore from Orangetheory and foam rolling, but not injury sore.

I felt good again for my run on Sunday morning, at least my legs did. I’m getting a cold again. My throat hurts, I have a headache and I’m tired. Really tired. If my sore throat doesn’t get better by Monday, I’m going to pop into Urgent Care for a strep test. Fingers crossed it’s just a silly little cold that I can kick ASAP.

13 days and counting.

Monday – 4 mile tempo (7:55 min/mile avg.)
Tuesday – 1800 yd swim
Wednesday – Orangetheory
Thursday – Rest
Friday – 7×800 @ 7:13 min/mile (7 miles @ 7:48 min/mile avg.)
Saturday – 15 mile run
Sunday – 1.5 mile walk

And since I forgot to include it in my previous training post, here’s what week 13 looked like:

Monday – Rest
Tuesday – 6×1200 @ 7:08 min/mile (7.75 miles @ 7:47 min/mile avg.)
Wednesday – Orangetheory
Thursday – 7 mile tempo (7:57 min/mile avg.)
Friday – Rest
Saturday – 22 miles
Sunday – 3.05 mile cycle + 2.25 mile walk

Lake Wobegon Marathon Training {Week 13}

It was like the stars were aligning for a great run. The forecast was to be colder when we planned to start at 6 am, but in the 50s when I estimated we’d be done. I slept well, waking up right on time and easily getting out of bed for my toast. When I left the house I was feeling good. Really good. This was my last long run before taper and I was going to make it count. Lucky for me, my BRF was on the same page.

As we started running and chatting about the weeks life events and the death of Prince, we found ourselves running fast. Like 8-8:10 min/miles fast. While we tried to slow a bit because we had a lot of miles full of rolling hills ahead, our bodies just weren’t having it. We were cruising and feeling good.

I shared my first race nightmare I had with them the night before and we talked a bit about our race strategies. When we reached the bathroom and first gel point, I looked down to find our average pace was about 8:08 min/mile. What? That is crazy. Vowing again to slow down, we started off for a short 2.7 miles out before we’d turn back to run towards the chalet. We slowed momentarily but it didn’t seem to stick well.

I took a second gel around mile 15 when our friend Beth reminded me that I said I wanted to take one about then. I was feeling so good and enjoying the weather so much that I’d failed to realize it was gel time. I’m glad she reminded me. Worn out from a rough week and not feeling our pace, Beth split with us with about four miles to go. Amy and I decided to tackle our least favorite hill just one last time in this cycle.

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At the bottom we met a few really nice guys who took a picture for us. We pushed our way up that hill and back to the chalet where we dropped our extra layers and grabbed some more water. Amy was a good sport and decided to run an extra two miles to match my 22. I was totally impressed on the way she pushed through getting tired and not wanting to do them to finish strong! Feeling really good, I tried to push that last mile, finish in 7:50. The best part, I felt like I could have kept going!

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We totally killed our final run. My average pace ended up being 8:12 for the entire run. Holy crap, that is so fast for me, especially on hills and at conversation pace. Of course, this does not count bathroom or gel breaks which I never time during training.

I think I’m ready. I feel stronger and faster than I ever have. Honestly, I’ve never run this fast. Now I just need to rest, get rid of this damn cold I’m getting, eat well and hydrate.

Ella Does a Show

“Just picture the audience in their underpants,” I said to Ella as we drove to the ice arena after she confided in me that she was nervous because there would be a lot of people she didn’t know watching her skate.  Hysterical laughter erupted from the backseat.

By the time we made our way downstairs to check her in, she was ready. She seemed so grown up all of the sudden. She confidently gave me a hug goodbye and walked back with one of the volunteers to the locker room where the kids in her group would spend most of Saturday. Hair curled, flower clipped in, one frilly costume and a pair of white ice skates – she was ready for the big show.

As I walked away, I felt nervous for her. Would she feel scared being in a room with a bunch of strangers all day, would she freeze when she got onto the ice, would she forget the routine and get upset? A half hour later, we took our seats in the front row where she’d be able to see us. She had a whole section cheering for her as she took the ice.

She is second from the right, next to the little boy. She was cautious, which she said she was going to be since she didn’t get to wear her helmet and didn’t want to fall, but she worked her way through the routine.

She had done it. I was proud of her for being brave enough to participate in the show. When we picked her up after the first show, she was beaming with pride and loved getting flowers.

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She could not wait to do the second show later that evening. It was her best performance of the day. I wish I would have been able to get video of it rather than just catching it from the far end with the other volunteers. When I told her that she’d be able to watch it on TV later this week, she was super excited.

After a very long day, I took her our for frozen yogurt, just the two of us. She just could not stop smiling and saying how much she loved being in the ice show. It looks like we found an activity that may stick, at least for now.

This morning she passed her current level and is going to be starting in the lessons for older kids. She’s so happy and I’m happy for her.

Lake Wobegon Marathon Training {Week 12}

Spring is in full bloom here. This weekend I had the pleasure of running in sunny, 60+ degree weather. While I immediately regretted opting for capris rather than shorts, it was such a beautiful morning that I could deal with being a bit on the hot side. It was the complete opposite of the freezing cold weather we had the prior weekend.

Once again, I was able to finish faster than I started and negative split the second half of my run. Being able to achieve that makes me feel good about how training has gone. With only one more long run to go before taper, I’m hopeful the momentum I’ve built carries me right through to the end and into race day.

Being that it’s Marathon Monday, I can’t help but dream that I will be crossing the finish line at the Boston Marathon next year. A girl can dream…and work really hard to become a faster, stronger runner.

Monday – 3.75 mile indoor cycle + 2 mile walk + strength
Tuesday – 6 mile tempo @7:53 min/mile avg.
Wednesday – Orangetheory
Thursday – Rest
Friday – 6×800 @ 6:58 min/mile (6.25 miles @ 7:44 min/mile avg.)
Saturday – 18.03 miles
Sunday – Rest

My First Marathon Recap #tbt

Written two weeks after my first marathon (Seattle Rock N’ Roll) in June of 2009 in the form of an email to all of those who supported my fundraising for Team in Training. Re-reading it brought me right back to that day. As I upload it here, I’m looking at the shadow box hanging on the wall in our office with my medal, bib and picture of Meghan and I crossing the finish line, hands in the air, smiling. 

I did it, I ran a marathon!  It was by far the most physically challenging thing I’ve ever done.  The weekend was a whirlwind of hilarity with my teammates, inspirational speakers including the head of The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and Runner‘s World’s The Penguin, and tears.  Tears of pain (mine), tears of remembrance, tears of happiness, and relief.

So here’s a little recap of my race, to give you an idea of what it’s like for a novice to run a marathon.  Sorry…it’s a bit long.

2:45 am

Time to get up and start getting ready.  It’s not like I had really been sleeping, but this time I was up for good.  I made my peanut butter and jelly toast (untoasted…boo) that I always have before a run and nervously paced the hotel room.  Once I had gotten dressed and put on plenty of sunscreen and Body Glide to prevent the dreaded chaffing, it was time to meet my team to go to the starting line.

4:30-7:25 am

We arrived in Tukwila.  We waited to check out bag and I hung out in a plastic trash bag to keep me warm.  After about a dozen trips to the porta-potties (just in case) it was time to get into our heats.  It didn’t really hit me until Meghan (the best mentor ever!!!) and I were standing at the start line waiting to hear our start that I was actually going to do this.

7:30 am

Here we go!  The Penguin sends us on our way.

Miles 1-5

I was feeling great!  Cheering and yelling out to fellow Team in Training teammates. I even sang a little Michael Jackson on the way. The sun was shining and I believe that Meghan put it just right when she said that it felt glorious.

Miles 7-14

Still feeling good, we broke from the half marathoners for an out and back over the water. We had a beautiful view of Mt. Rainier.  At this point I knew that there was no wimping out.  I couldn’t just do the half marathon anymore because when we met back up with them I’d already have run 14 miles.  After a quick porta-potty stop, we were on our way.  I was still feeling good but my tendons were starting to flare up a bit.  We saw Meghan’s boyfriend Adam who was cheering and capturing our excited smiles.

Miles 15-19

Now I was always told I’d hit the wall sometime around this point. Being positive, I though, eh, I’ve run 17 miles before, I won’t hit the wall this early.  Hit the wall I did not, but I sure did hit something.  This was a vicious out and back.  I was still smiling and feeling good when I saw Josh at mile 15.  I was shocked that I heard him yell out my name.  It pumped me up…until a two mile long hill hit.  That was the worst out and back of the entire race. I could see the Space Needle and Mt. Rainier but what I couldn’t see was the end of the hill.  It was shortly after we hit the turnaround point and headed towards the last 7 miles, that I shed my first tear. I tried to be tough and Meghan was cheering me on and staying by my side, but man exhaustion and pain were starting to set in and my GU was not helping.

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Mile 20-24

At this point I was in full blown tear mode.  Being tough went right out the window.  At this point it took everything I had to not to jump off the viaduct into the bay.  I was hot, tired and in excruciating pain.  So what do you do when you’re feeling like crap?  Stop? No way, Cry? yes. Yell and scream? Absolutely!   It’s amazing what some good yelling can do for you.

The Home Stretch (Miles 24-26.2)

This was my low point.  It took me an entire 31 minutes to get through these last 2.2 miles.  When I saw that I was so upset, 2 miles in 31 minutes?  Seriously, that is how long it usually takes for a 3.5 miles.  I walked up the last hill…who puts a hill in the last 1.5 miles?  That’s just mean.  It wasn’t a big hill, but you may as well had me running up Pikes Peak.  Meghan and Coach Jen were running and walking right besides me.  Cheering me on and telling me how tough I was to keep going even though my knees were barely bending. We all let out yells together.  Meghan and I crossed the finish line together, hand in hand.  I could not have done it without her.  If anyone wants yet another reason why TNT is such an amazing program, there is it.  Team Mentors really are there for you.

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Five hours later, I was at the finish line.  It was about a half hour slower than I wanted to run the race, but I finished which is what really matters.  It was exhilarating and sad at the same time.  I had worked so hard to get to the start line, ever harder to make it to the finish line and it was over. Once I got my medal, I went straight to the medical tent where they promptly plastic wrapped ice to both knees.  I grabbed my dry, plain bagel and devoured it.  Josh greeted me at the TNT tent with beautiful flowers from Pike’s Market and a big smile. We met up with the rest of my teammates who did the half and took lots of pictures before Josh had to lower me to the ground.

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Here I am almost two weeks later.  I’m walking normally again, with some nagging aches and pain. I’m taking the entire month off of running (killing me) as per my great physical therapist and really taking in what was just accomplished.  Yes, the marathon is my personal accomplishment but I could not have done it without all of your love and support. It got me through the injuries, pain and exhaustion.  More importantly, we raised $5000 to help find a cure for cancer.  As I ran beside people who had names and pictures of ppl that they lost to cancer it really hit me how important Team in Training is.

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25 runners came from the Rocky Mountain Chapter to run the Inaugural race with $109,000 raised to support important research and patient programs and we all came back with so much more than medals to show for it.

Thank you, thank you, thank you.  You are all amazing.