Monday, April 30, 2007

Frustration, Temptation, and Tomorrow, Acceleration!

I couldn't run at lunch today because I had to push paper. Blah. I HAD to get something in today's mail for work and I was afraid that if I didn't babysit it, stuff wouldn't get done in time. I will still go after work and I'll be able to run at the park on the trails rather than the downtown streets so it's actually kind of a good thing. Although it's only 4 measly miles. Blah take 2.

I have to say I miss running. I hate this low mileage thing I'm doing right now. In my spare mind time I have been busy plotting some way to sneak in more miles or mile equivalents into my schedule. Do you think it's cheating the marathon recovery, prior training soaking in thing to jazzercise? Ok, you're right. I surely would hurt myself if there has even been a jazzercise class in town since 1983. How about elliptical for 1/2 an hour after my easy shorter runs? Probably cheating. How about a 2x weekly pilates class? That should be ok, right? But then I have to do things on someone else's time table. I hate working out in a gym, anyway. I like running. I like being almost 32 and running through mud puddles on a daily basis. I'm just not a stairmasterer. I suppose I should take comfort in knowing that my mileage will go back up again soon.

Anyway, I should know better. After Columbus I ramped back up to the mid-50's within just a couple of weeks and of course I struggled with some nagging minor injuries for months afterward. See, this is why I need a coach--insurance against me doing stupid things. It's not assurance, just insurance. I can still not heed his advice. I can rebel or cheat. I still have complete freedom, but having a coach is like giving the little angel on my shoulder a megaphone to drown out the little devil's voice.
At least tomorrow I get to mix in some speedy stuff. Hooray!

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Lost and Found

Well, I broke down and hired a coach. I figure if I'm going to do this running thing I might as well do it right. Plus, I tend to obsess and micromanage my training so having someone else do that for me should free my mind up enough to do other things like blog! or work at work, which is always a good thing--heh.

Anyway, what a difference a couple of days makes. My legs were feeling heavy, crusty, and down right slow for most of my short little 4 mile runs since the marathon. But today, my coach permitted me to do a "long" run of about 8 miles. I felt spectacular! I was zipping through the woods on the muddy trails just loving up every minute of that run! WOW! I even felt good enough to pick it up the last 10 minutes as was my option to do and just felt so wonderful. I haven't felt like that in a long long time. Woohoo!


Along these same lines, I felt so poopy after I got home from Chicago on Thursday night. I was just so wiped out from travelling and having to be "on" just about every hour that I was there. Normally, I just waste away by myself in my office reading, writing, and wasting time, but when I travel I have to actually interact with other people and not embarrass myself, which takes a surprisingly (or not surpringly) huge amount of energy. Getting back to Thursday, I was just so zonked. I stopped off and ran 4 measly miles around the park on my way home from the airport. I arrived here around 7 and hung with mrp for a while. Then right before bed I looked for something to wear on Friday. Knowing it was a jeans day and feeling like I might need extra casual I looked for my new jeans. These aren't just any jeans, they're way overpriced fancy designer jeans that I spent way too much on but was peer pressured into buying them by my sister. I even got these babies tailored to fit my exceedingly average 5'4" frame. I spent a sick amount of money on these jeans. I looked in my closet on the hangers. Nope. I looked in the other closet on the floor. Nope. I looked in my suitcase. Nope. Hmmm. When was the last time I had them? Boston. I wore them home, right? Yes...wait...no. SH*T! I just knew they were left hanging in the hotel closet and were now on the body of a housekeeper's teenage daughter or about to be shipped off after being purchased on e-bay for half of what I paid for them. ARGH!!!!!!! After years of coveting such articles of clothing I was finally in a position in life to purchase such a thing and actually did and then... in a blink of an eye...G-O-N-E. i called the hotel, just in case but they didn't have them. WAAAAAAAAAAAAA.

So on Friday I wore my well-worn shrunken and faded black pants and my favorite green cashmere turtleneck (that I bought on sale) which was as comfy but less stylish than what I had hoped to be wearing. I managed to leave my office key at home and spill coffee all over myself. Not a good start to the day. I was sitting in my office moping and my boss popped in and asked if I was ready for my year end review. "Um, isn't it early?" I asked. "Yes, but it's ready now." He answered. "Oh, great" I thought. At this point, the immediate history to this event would dictate I was about to be fired. I sucked it up and went over to his office. Well, I'll have you know I left with a promotion and a substantial raise! I was shocked! I had absolutely no idea that was coming, but since it's here I'll take it. Woohoo!

Mrp recently had a big promo + raise himself so we went out to dinner to celebrate on Friday night. We had a wonderful time. Truly wonderful. Mmmmm. Yesterday, was lovely too. We had a lazy morning and then went outlet shopping to finally get some pants for that fit mrp's lanky 6'2" frame. 32" inseam ain't going to cut it while I'm the boss in this town. Floods are not becoming. We found some nice things for him and then I stumbled on adidas adizero racing flats for $35! Can't beat that. Last night I did my usual cops and cookies thing.

Anyway, mrp just left for his parents and I'm here straightening up before running over to my parents' house for a few minutes. I was walking by a laundry basket with a wadded up blanket in it and on a whim I took it out and wouldn't you know it--my jeans tumbled out onto the floor.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

On the Road Again

Greetings from not-sunny Chicago! I am here for work. I've been swamped all week--hence, the failure to blog. On the running front there's not a whole lot to report. I started running again on Sunday and have run 4 miles easy everyday since. Last night I ran along Lake Michigan up along the Gold Coast in a misty cold rain and heavy wind--hmmm sounds familiar. I did convince the people I'm here with to go to the Frontera Grill for dinner. Yum! And kind of cool since Rick Bayless was hanging around our table. I even convinced one of the consultants to order the suckling pig taco special. I love real Mexican food and Mexican inspired food alike. Someday I'll make my margarita black beans for you--delicious if I do say so myself! Anyway, I had the pozole. It was great. Although, I have to admit it was not enough and I came back to my hotel room still hungry and I actually had a dream about brownies while I slept! Heh! Which reminds me, I need to go get an overpriced breakfast.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Beantown Bummer

It's been a few days now and I've had a lot of time to think about what happened in Boston. I am disappointed still. I am not disappointed with myslf really. I am disappointed in the weather and in my body--you know, that stuff I just had to roll with. I was looking forward to working hard and pushing myself the last few miles, running hard through fatigue and pain and all that but it came down to a stupid stitch that prevented that from happening. There is nothing I can do once a stitch takes over. If I fight it it just latches on tighter so I just have to let it do it's thing. I've come to accept stitches as just something that happens from time to time that I just have to deal with. They tend to happen the week before my period for whatever reason and are exacerbated by wind and downhills. So I knew of the real potential for that to happen in Boston, and I was prepared for it and I did deal with it the best I could. But that fact just doesn't make the end result any easier to stomach (sort of pun?) If I ran to the point of redlining and came in with a 3:18 that would leave me more satisfied that I feel now. My disappointment in Boston also builds on my disappointment in New Orleans, where I ran a half marathon shooting for a 1:29:59, but had a raging head and chest cold and ended up running a 1:31:57. Given my state at the time, I felt pretty good at my ability to keep fighting despite the conditions, but when it happens again it makes me wonder if maybe neither missed goal had anything to do with the conditions--even though I really deep down know that's not true. I suppose thems just the breaks, you know. I suppose it's better to get those not so good races in the past to open the door to good races in the future. There is definitely a lot of positive that comes out of this disappointing race, but I need a post to deal with the disappointment so I'm going to leave it at this.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Boston, Baby: Wind, Colon, Liver, and Quads be Damned!

I woke up at 4:45 and stumbled out to press the button on our coffee maker. Then mrp got up and we...what did we do...come on...No, nothing to do with food...we...checked the weather! It was warmer than we feared. Good. Shorts it is. We drowsily got dressed and then called a cab. We grabbed our bags and headed down the hotel stairs.

Mrp and I met our friend *F* in the lobby around 6AM on Monday. We looked outside and saw horizontal rain and an empty coffee cup doing its own surfing down the empty street. We got a ride to the T and headed up to Boston Commons. Once there we were able to board a bus within 5 minutes. As we pulled away we saw incredibly long lines for busses at the other end of the park. We didn't have to wait at all. Hmmm?

Anyway, the bus ride was uneventful. *F* talked to a local Bostonian about baseball, while mrp and I zoned out. Our bus driver Ms. Pam was cool and got us to Hopkinton High School with no problems despite the crappy weather. When we debussed we headed right for the gym. Someone warned us it might be full, but we didn't care. When we walked inside, at around 7:10 or so, there was plenty of room. We found a spot and laid around making jokes for a couple of hours.

Finally it was time for wave 1 to head on out. We quickly stripped off most of our warm-ups and then put our garbage bags on our bodies and our shopping bags on our feet. After much fretting all week I decided to wear shorts, a singlet, and a techy long sleeve on top, along with my rain hat and of course green gloves.

On our way to the start mrp decided to join some others to relieve himself behind the gas station. Just as he was finished the cops come in and threaten a bust. heh! He got out in the nick of time! Of course just a couple of blocks down the street were plenty of port-o-potties. They were absolutely disgusting but necessary to visit one last time.

We finally made it to the corrals. Mrp, the Mr. Fancypants that he is, was in 1 and I was way the hell back in 9. I walked with him to the top of the hill just to see what it looked like. By the time we got to the top we both realized our shoes were soaked through despite the bags. Oh well. We said goodbye and back I made my way to the 9th corral.

Once in I made friends with a nice guy with an umbrella. I removed all my plastic coatings and tossed my black gloves and put on the green ones. I relaced my shoes too since they had stretched out a bit.

Before I knew it I thought I heard the national anthem and then we started walking a bit. I figured we started but thought maybe they just moved the corrals up? Then I saw the starting line and figured it out! Off we went!

As you are all well too aware, I went into Boston feeling like I was in great shape. I was setting big PRs in all my shorter races and my long runs and workouts were going really well. I was running heavier mileage (for me, anyway) and recovering quickly. I was ready to run a 3:10, I truly believe. At the same time, I realize stuff happens that you can't control--you know, like Nor'easters. You just have to do your best with what you have. I knew a 3:10 was probably not in the cards, but damn if I wasn't going to try!

I was kind of amazed at how many people there were around me. Really, it was like nothing I had ever experienced. I was worried about going out too fast, but there was no way that was going to happen. There was nowhere to go! I just sucked it up and accepted the 7:55 first mile.

I wanted to pick it up the second mile and there was no way to do it without being one of those jerks zipping along the sides. I'm sorry, but I did it. I managed to get the second mile down to 7:33.

During the third mile a girl passed me, zipping her own way through the crowd. I saw the opportunity and took off after her letting her make our way. The third mile was 7:07. Better!

During my last marathon I remembered every mile. I can't say that's true this time. I know somewhere between miles 4-8 I threw away my long sleeve shirt and a little after that I started to feel stitchy. I am especially prone to them a certain times of the month and they are aggravated by down hills and wind. Great! During the beginning of these stitchy miles I tried to just breathe it out first. That wasn’t going well and I was starting to get worried when all of a sudden I tripped over another runner and almost planted my face in the pavement. WHOA! I felt my left glute stttrrreeeetchhh but I was fine. I started laughing and apologized and the other runner apologized and we laughed about it and on I went. I realized here that if I could ride that out I was fine and that stitch wasn’t going to take me down. I took my first gu at 6 and there were more spectators now. Some of them were the cutest kids and I couldn’t resist laying down some high fives. I think between the trip, the gu, and the little ones I took my mind off the stitch and it helped. Mile 4--7:06, Mile 5--7:19, Mile 6 --7:16, Mile 7—7:12, Mile 8—7:17.

I think the wind was really bad during mile 9 (with the openness near the lake). I just couldn’t completely kick the stitch. By mile 10 it hadn’t totally blown up but it was still there enough that I needed to do something to avoid it really getting bad later in the race. I realized survival was more important at this point than meeting my exact time goal, so I decided this is where I needed to make adjustments. At the same time I knew Wellesley and the half were coming so I decided to focus on just getting there. So, I slowed it down a little and tried to psych myself up for the screams to come! Mile 9—7:15, Mile 10—24, Mile 11—7:32.

By the end of mile 11 I could hear the screams! Woohoo! As I cruised through Wellesley, I think I slapped every girl’s hand there! I Woo’d right back at ‘em and had a great time!! By 15, the stitch was just a memory, but now my stomach decided to join in the fun! I couldn’t win! Mile 12—7:21, Mile 13—7:21, Mile 14—7:19, Mile 15—7:33.

Once we got to the overpass over the highway I think I believed I was more off pace than I was. I thought I was just sucking hard and between the stitch, my stomach, and the gusts, I was started to get down on myself. By the first hill in Newton I thought I was going to die. “I am NEVER running another marathon! WHY AM I DOING THIS?” I thought to myself. I seriously thought about quitting. Then I decided to start checking out the port-o-potties for an empty one. The hills weren’t that bad themselves but I was just feeling so bad. I’ve since heard the wind was tough on the hills. Honestly, I don’t remember. I just remember I was really beating myself up. The funny thing is, other than one tiny little girl who passed me, I was still passing people on the hills—including a guy dressed in a cow costume, thank goodness! And as I look back on my splits up until Newton, I really wasn’t that far off pace—I was doing much better than I thought at the time—oh well. As the top of Heartbreak loomed I started to mend my own heart—wind, colon, liver, and quads be dammed! I decided to keep fighting and I decided to figure out what kind of time I could still make. I figured I could still get a 3:18. Ok, then. GO! Mile 16—7:21, Mile 17—7:47, Mile 18—7:52, Mile 19—7:45, Mile 20—8:03, Mile 21—8:16

My mind wasn’t very sharp the last five miles but I remembered that 7:40 is 3:20 pace. If I aimed for that I’d come in under 3:20 and probably around 3:18. My quads were screaming and the wind was gusting and blowing me around, but I didn’t care. I just kept the legs going. Less surfing, more shuffling. I pushed the pace for mile 22 back down to 7:36. But my stomach was hurting and threatening to embarrass me and then the stitch started to come back. “ All you have to run is 7:40’s now! Just go!” I assured myself. I was able to maintain a 7:40ish pace to mile 25. I never even saw Fenway and I only saw the Citgo sign as I passed it. I was hurting—my legs, my stomach, the stitch. I just needed to be DONE! I got to 40k and I started to pick it—1.2 miles to go baby!! I almost was feeling good and ready to hammer home. But then the unthinkable—around the mile 25 the stitch BLEW UP! Oh my!! I could hardly breathe with just 1200 meters to go!! I stopped dead on Beacon Street. I kid you not. I took a deep breath and then I just started to run again. I could hardly breathe, the wind was blowing me around, I was weaving all over the bumpy road. I turned the corner right and then turned the corner left and the finish seemed so far. I couldn’t look at it or I wouldn’t make it. I just focused on each step. Just one more step and then another step and then another. Just get there. And I did—FINALLY. Mile 22—7:36, Mile 23—7:40, Mile 24—7:41, Mile 25—7:48, Mile 26.2—9:xx.

Official time: 3:18:09. I was at once ecstatic and disappointed. I had such mixed emotions. I was such a jumble of feelings—much of that pain! Heh. My feet hurt like a mother. I couldn’t believe they were making me walk. I found a lady on the side and I begged her to untie my shoes. She did and that helped (THANKS!) Unfortunately, I was now only in a singlet and shorts and the winds were really bad. I was SO COLD. The longer I walked the more I shook. I finally saw mylar and I just gravitated toward until a volunteer grabbed me and threw one over my shoulders. I found water. I kept shuffling and shivering forward. I saw food. I didn’t want any. Forward.

I finally made it to an open area. I needed to meet Mrp in the C’s and I needed my gear. I saw a family waiting area first. “Ok—I’ll find mrp first then,” I thought. But the letters were Z-R or something. UGH. I shuffled on. Finally I asked someone—“W-w-w-w-w-whe—e—e-eerr-rrrr—eeessss….” I could hardly speak I was shivering so much. The volunteer said, “you need your gear, what’s your number.” I told her and she said, “let’s get you a wheelchair.” “O-o-o-ohhh n-n-n-no! I w-w-w-will w-w-w-w-alk!,” I insisted. She laughed and agreed to walk with me. She hugged me the entire way and her warmth really helped. She was so wonderful. (THANKS!) We finally got my bag and I started to change. I was Curt Schilling! I had a nasty bloody blister on my achilles! I am so happy with myself for having the forethought to pack fleece and dry shoes! Warmed back up, enough at least, I made my way to the next block and there was Mrp in all his splendid adoreableness. He ran a 2:49! Woo! Just 1 minute off his goal! Yeah Mrp!

Anyway, I need to go now to start my application for New York!

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

The Last Supper(s)

We flew into Boston on Saturday afternoon. When we arrived the weather was a crisp, sunny 45 and no breeze in sight. No hint of Nor’easter. After cabbing it to the hotel and checking in and stuff we headed a few blocks to a T stop and headed for the North End to get some carbs. We decided to walk a few blocks in and then turn off of Hanover St to find something a little quieter and out of the way. We ended up walking the tiniest bit of the Freedom Train and next to the little cemetery and then down to Salem St where we decided on a little restaurant called L’Osteria. Not only was the gnocchi superb but we even spotted Madai Perez at the table next to us—she came in 3rd and ran an awesome race. That was pretty cool. After mrp and I finished order #3 of gnocchi (pigs, I know!) we headed over to Mike’s Pastries just to see what all the fuss was about. Unfortunately, we were too afraid to eat cannolies so we settled for chocolate chip cookies that were just ok. Although by now we were more than satisfied with our carb intake for the day, all I can say is next time I’m getting a cannoli!

We headed back on the T and then stopped at a grocery store on our way back to our hotel. Judging from this experience, I would HATE to live in Boston. Not only were the Wheaties 6 bucks! But the line to checkout was 6 miles long! Ok, I exaggerate, but seriously, we waited for ½ an hour (in the express lane no less) to check out! Although, I can’t say we weren’t entertained. The lady behind us was a bit cuckoo nutty (tm mrp). Not only did she have three bags of piping hot fried chicken in her cart but she also had a jumbo pack of tp. But that’s not all! First she’d stand on one side of the cart and say “who put this chicken in my cart?” Then she’d walk to the other side of the cart and say “It’s hard…” Then she’d walk back to the other side of the cart. “I know there’s something in here for $8.99.” And then she’d walk back to the other side of the cart. “It’s hard…” When we finally reached the cashier she closed her line. She said to the cuckoo lady, “excuse me ma’am, can you tell the man behind you that I’m closed?” Cuckoo lady responded, “why you closing after me? Why you closing after me? You can’t check this man out too?” The opportunity this created was not lost on the man behind cuckoo lady who proceeded to pretend he didn’t speak English and raised two cans of condensed milk as if that’s all he had, but behind him he had not one, but two full carts—in the express lane! Poor cashier. I wonder if she ever made it home!

Sunday morning we woke up early and headed out for our last pre-race easy run. The Nor’easter hadn’t really hit yet—there was just a light misty rain and was actually kind of warm still. We ran easy for 3 miles up Mass Ave just a little past Boyelston. I felt pretty good and was getting pretty excited. Afterwards, we headed to the expo. By now the rain had picked up, but we were not deterred! We picked up our numbers and then our packets (thanks to the volunteer who wrote “good luck :)” on mine!). We headed into the real expo and navigated through the crowds picking up samples of stuff here or there. I especially appreciated the chocolate soy milk—yum, hit the spot! Mrp and I even took a picture together. Normally we are so averse to that “cheesy crap” but I think we both realize how cool it is that we can do these things together now and want to savor it and to have something to remember these wonderful times when we’re old together. I can’t wait to dig through our boxes of running momentos when we’re 95 and telling our grandkids about the Nor’easter of 2007. Anyway, I’m back from the daydream and back on track. Yes, we’re was I? Ok. So after the expo we headed for food, naturally! We went to Legal Seafood and ordered French toast. Wrong, just wrong, I know, but we were desperate and afraid of shellfish, as we should be the day before a marathon. We gobbled it up and then headed back to Fort MrpLtg for our afternoon nap.

After napping and then checking the weather online 50 times we headed back out to…to…come on now, you know what we did. We went out to eat! It was about 4:00 so we totally beat the crowds to the North End for pasta. We each had a huge portion of carbs and then headed back to camp. We got back and checked the weather again, but only 20 times this time. Then we fretted about what to wear while we listened to the rain pelting the hotel and the wind whistling through our windows. We got all our gear organized and then laid around watching tv until we were finally wound down enough to sleep a bit. I dreamed of surfing down Comm Avenue….

Friday, April 13, 2007

See You Back Here Next Week!

Well, this is it. I've got a packing date tonight with mrp and we're taking off for Boston tomorrow morning. Thanks for all the well wishes. It means so much!

If you're bored at work on Monday you can track my progress in Boston. Just go to http://www.baa.org and plug in my bib number: 9666. The race starts at 10AM EST.

Good luck on Saturday Chelle and Jim! See you in Boston, Papa Louie and Ginger!

Bye!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Just Curious, No Other Reason

Anybody have any good strategies for running a marathon straight into the driving wind and cold rain of a Nor'easter?

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

The Long Way Through Central Park

Should I do 8 x 400's, 2 x 1 mile at 10k pace, or 2 miles @ goal pace? Should I run on the roads or at the park? Should I revise this letter or just send it out as is? Do I really want to train for another marathon? Why do I keep eating those pretzels? What's a form 8594? Why hasn't Tyra booted Whitney off yet? What should I make for dinner? Is that an E next to the windspeed on Monday's forecast? Where is our hotel again? Do you think I need ritalin?

The taper madness continues. I am having trouble concentrating on one task. When I get nervous I start planning and organizing (well, for me anyway) and trying to create structure in my life. If I were the owner of the terrarium in which I reside, I would laugh at my obvious and futile shenanigans. Today, this is all manifesting in me plotting and planning my life post-Boston. What's next?

I know I want to give the marathon one last go around. I do feel like there are other things I'd like to direct the attention I currently direct to running to, but as my dear friend *B* said, "You aren't getting any younger and if you want to do the running thing, and really do it, now is your time." She also said a bunch of stuff about how you can't really run fast when you're a baby-filled beach ball, but I'll spare you that. As a woman of a certain age in a wonderful relationship with the man who has to have the most potential to earn the world's biggest world's greatest dad trophy of anyone I have ever known, I don't see serious marathon training in my long-term forecast. That's not to say I wouldn't do it forever if I could, but that just isn't my reality. I am perfectly happy to some day hang up my racing flats, just as I was happy to walk away from academia after my time there. Someday maybe I'll go back, but if I never do, that's ok too. I had my time.

But getting back to the point, I'd like to give it one last shot. Mrp and I have been going back and forth between Chicago and New York, New York and Chicago. I was thinking Chicago might be nice because the course is so flat and fast. Plus, Chicago is a really great city within easy driving distance of Cleveland. But, besides giving me an extra month to train, I think New York is the one. You all probably know I lived in New York City for 9 months to go to school last year, but I also lived there in my very early 20's for a few years. I went there for college and ended up dropping out and just hanging out, getting by nannying and working other odd jobs. About 10 years ago I was walking to catch the N train to Astoria, Queens from one of my babysitting jobs on the Upper Westside. It was a beautiful late fall day so I decided to take the long way through Central Park. I stumbled right into the finish area of the New York marathon. Back then I was admittedly a bit of a party girl, so running really didn't fit the lifestyle. But someday it would, I just knew it. There is something full circle about me running the New York Marathon that I just can't pass up.

Monday, April 09, 2007

On Second Thought, I Don't Need a Fix

So, the taper continues. After 4 weeks in a row of 63-67 miles, I dropped down to 58 two weeks ago and *gulp* just 40 last week. This week I should be right around 34. I think to some extent I have become a running addict. In between quality days, I've been only running 4 miles which is like hair of the dog to get me through to the next day. You don't realize how dependent you become on the endorphins. It's weird. By the end of last week I was feeling antsy and lethargic. Another interesting thing is that I suddenly became conscious of how much I was eating at yesterday's family Easter parties. I haven't worried about it much in a long long time, but halfway to the counter with the goodies on it I pictured having to lug extra weight around in Boston. Oh, no. That cadbury egg is definitely not worth that! I turned around and walked well out of arm's reach of that stuff. But, in doing so I missed the days of 20 milers in the cold and snow. Those were the days to bake cookies, I'll tell you! I never gave one of those suckers a second thought then. Waaa. Accountability stinks.

But the taper is definitely good for something. My legs feel pretty good. They are still feeling like they are in the process of healing, but I am running about 30 seconds faster per mile at my easy effort. Always a good sign! I also was fine after the half-marathon--the 4 mile recovery run in yesterday's weather phenomenon that shall not be named was just insurance. Tomorrow I have one last track workout and after that it will be all easy stuff with maybe a few strides to stay fresh until Boston.


I have to say I feel like I'm a little in denial that one week from now I will be hobbling somewhere in Massachusetts (that doesn't look right--did I butcher the spelling?). I am excited, but I think running a race just for the fun of it last weekend really helped temper my anxiety. Even races that we really race don't have to be this serious teeth-clenching gut-wrenching experience (and why bother if that's what they are?!). That race made me remember I need to keep the joy I experience from running on the forefront of my mind, rather than letting it slip behind worry and doubts and fear. It's easy to loose sight of that joy with split watching and time goals and worrying about all the things that could impede the reaching of the goal time. Sure, to do well you have to be tough and gut through some pain along the way, but I really enjoy that part and know I'm tough enough to handle whatever it is. And on top of that I have really enjoyed this training cycle. I got through long runs in horrid conditions and made peace with the treadmill and overcame some nagging aches and pains and learned that running with others can be great and sometimes it can be annoying. I ran 60 mile weeks much more effortlessly than last training cycle and with one week to go I feel pretty darn good. And when you get right down to it, I'm about to participate in one of the greatest sporting events in the world! So, it's still pretty rad just being here.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

When Life Throws You Snowballs in April

Well, that was interesting. The Indians home opener was cancelled twice, or three times if you count today's double header and there was no 5k today. We had a blizzard over night and this morning and the footing was too bad to run hard. So mrp and I, being the resourceful little runners that we are, entered the half-marathon and ran it easy to get our last long run in before Boston. We ran a blistering 1:43, which was about 8:00 pace for the first 9 miles and then 7:35, 7:35, 7:15, 7:00 for the last 4. I needed to practice my water/gatorade drinking anyway, so it turned out to be a good thing. It sure was cold (20 degrees at the start!) but we had a really fun time. I was ready to rock out a 5k, but now I'll just have something to look forward to after the marathon. Hope everybody else is having better weather this weekend!

Friday, April 06, 2007

Metasalty

This is a bit of a metapost. As you can probably tell, I am slowly remodeling my blog. It started off as a private thing and most posts were not about running--in fact, they were either about my goo goo ga ga love for my boyfriend mrp, or how hard my transition from school in New York City back to life in Cleveland, Ohio was. However, over time the posts became more about running and much less about this other stuff. I am pretty much done adjusting and I still love mrp to pieces so no need to continue blubbering on about it now, is there?! In the meantime, I was training for my very first marathon and as I needed to vent that other stuff less and less I found myself writing more and more about my running. I also found myself reading a lot of running blogs and realized that I learned a lot from other people. It occurred to me that maybe some other people could learn a lot from me--or laugh at me and that's ok too.

Anyway, to that end I figured there's no need to hide who I am anymore so I'm coming out from my Aruban hiding spot and back to beautiful Cleveland, Ohio. I've updated my profile, added an e-mail address, and linked my running log. I've linked a bunch of great blogs that I enjoy reading and added a few links to some posts from the past you might enjoy.


Mrp and I are off of work today and I am busy cleaning--yes, this messiest of ladies does that sometimes. I even made a list of chores. I know! Who is this person?!

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Throw that Crystal Ball in the Trash

Let's talk about one symptom of taper madness. You know you have a problem when you see signs of how your future marathon is going to go in everything. To illustrate, let me tell you the story of last night.

Yesterday, after my pretzel binge, I felt kind of crappy all afternoon. I felt sluggish and stressed a bit. Mrp and I headed to the park by our house for our goal pace workout. I knew I felt crappy, but at the same time I recognized the opportunity that is running at goal pace (still 7:15)while feeling crappy 2 weeks before the marathon. Mrp and I decided to run a warm-up together since he was measuring our course with his GPS. We got to our starting line and noticed a poor squished frog on the road. No, this was not a sign, I assured myself. However, half-way through the warm-up I could tell I was already tuckered out by the 8:30 pace ! But I also knew better than to interpret this as anything other than a sign of the crappy training run to come.


Anyway, we came to our 2 mile point and I turned around and started running kind of hard, but not hard hard if you know what I mean. Marathon pace is weird like that. I hit the first half mile around 3:30 which was a bit fast, but figured it was the slight downhill and adjusting to pace. My first mile went by in 7:11. I got a bit discouraged because I seemed to slow down so much my second half mile, but there was an uphill and a bit of a headwind. Oh, and I might have overcorrected a bit from the too fast first half, so whatever--definitely, not a sign. On I went. I came to the 1.5 mile point and was slow again. Eek--maybe a sign? I finished the second mile in 7:17. Of course, by now I was mentally worn down by all those possible signs that this 2 seconds was now a sign of my impending doom.


I trotted around for 2 minutes, mentally regrouped and back I went, optimistic again, or at least I thought. I was going the opposite direction from my first 2 mile rep and this time I was going with the wind. I felt good and eased my way to a 7:02 first mile. "Whoa!" I thought. Maybe a positive sign? The second mile this way finishes on a slight uphill so I was very satisfied with a 7:11. Maybe? Again I trotted my 2 minute recovery, but then couldn't find the line that starts our 2 mile measured course. I kind of bugged about it a little. "Where's the line?!" I yelled to mrp as he passed me. A few seconds later he pointed to it about 50 feet in front of me. "Oh." I said and jogged on over to start my last rep. Of course, this teeny tiny minor thing was enough to put me into a tense knot. I thought, "great, now I can practice relaxing!" So, I tried. But can I tell you the more I tried to relax, the more I tensed up. As I was running, I thought "I haven't practiced drinking at this pace!! How will I do that?! I can't!!!!" For whatever reason I cannot command myself to relax. Once I focus on being tense, it's over. My splits were fine for this rep--7:12, 7:16--but I ended it with a side stitch and about zero confidence.


I felt so defeated. "Whatever," I hissed to myself. "Just stretch it out and get on with the cool down and be done with it." So after stretching my abdominals, I headed off for my 2 mile cool down. I was fine for all of 2 minutes until the stitch came back. "RELAX!" I commanded myself. It was no use. I stopped and stretched it out. I then started to run again, only to have it come back in a matter of minutes. "Dammit!!!!! You are so screwed if you get a stitch in the marathon. RELAXXXXX! or you are going to run the worst marathon ever!"


I then realized I had a knot in my throat and could hardly breathe. My god! I was such a tense wreck! It was ridiculous. I then became determined to finish the 2 miles and just let myself walk and stretch every time the stitch came back. That's what I did. I felt like a moron when people passed me walking (I especially hated being passed by Mr. Hot Dog roller blader guy!), but I just gave up caring. I made it back to the car and mrp was waiting. I just started to tear up, feeling so frustrated.


But I'll tell you as soon as I started talking about it I felt better and realized that I had so much nervous energy and anxiety built-up over so many months of training. Most days it's so diffused by optimism and confidence, but some days it leaks out. I realized how I got so wrapped up in these little things that I interpreted to be SO HORRIBLE, that were really just nothings--2 seconds, can't find the line, side stitch, etc (at least I let the squished frog go and never thought about it again--yeah for small victories, right? heh). I was so relieved that I had the opportunity to get it out of my system yesterday and not on race day!! I was also glad to figure out the whole making myself relax thing doesn't work. Looking back I haven't had much trouble relaxing this training cycle, so why try to fix something that doesn't need fixing. I do best when I'm not thinking too hard and when I am thinking I'm focused on the simple positives: I can do it! I can do it! I can do it!!


On a lark this morning, I logged into my old running journal and found this entry for October 4, 2006: 3 x 2 at mp. Felt HORRIBLE! Pushed through though!


So there you have it--pushing through and learning from a crappy 3 x 2 at MP means a great non-crappy marathon in the near future!!!

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

The Big Salty Picture

Ok. I can really stop eating these @*$%@#%&*@ pretzels any time now. Now you know why I'm the salty one. Heh. I really do more than snack, I swear (I mean, I don't swear. You know what I mean!). Sometimes it amazes me how much food I can put away while marathon training. I really hope that one day when I'm not training I'll be able to put a halt to the hoggitude.

Now that it's taper time there isn't much to discuss about my day to day running. Who wants to hear about my blistering 8:54 paced 4 miler yesterday or about my exciting 11 with 6 miles at goal pace planned tonight? Not me. Since I am not allowed to spend any WOOHOO for a couple weeks, there isn't much to discuss about my runs these days. Sure, I am planning to run a 5k on Saturday, but it will be a small race run solely to prepare for a big race, in that it won't be a WOOHOO race, but maybe just a woohoo race. Actually, it will be a good way to go through the race rituals and get the legs moving one last time too. I can practice racing in my racing shoes and my new more sophisticated watch while running hard and fast, yet relaxed. This last point is really the main reason for running the 5k--learn to race relaxed.


Speaking of relaxed, I'm starting to get that taper nervousness. I think that explains the pretzels. I just feel antsy and jittery and a little performance anxiety-y. I know that I have done everything I can do to run a great marathon. AllI need to do now is stick to the program, as mrp says. If the weather is bad or if the pasta I ate the night before is bad there's nothing I can do about it. I have to remember that I'm strong and tough so when I feel weak and wussy I can remind myself of the truth. I have to focus on all the stuff I love about running and racing. Even when I'm tired and don't want to run any more I love running. I love busting through that feeling and proving how tough and strong I really am. I like it when I surprise even myself! Even more importantly, I run for fun. I run marathons for no other purpose than to have fun really. Nothing other than my own pride is on the line, so what the heck--just get out there and put one foot in front of the other. Left foot right foot left foot right foot...


Oh, and lay off the pretzels and bad words too.