Friday, May 31, 2013

Hollie's fast and I'm a Celebrity on a roll....

I can't believe it's Friday already, I know it was a 4 day work week, but still!

I was originally going to post my Wineglass Sub-3:20 goal post today but 1. it's still 20 miles long of a post and 2. I have some fun things to catch up on here instead....

First and foremost, I need to send a SUPERSIZED shout out to my best friend Hollie. It's no secret how having this girl in my life has made me better. She inspires me and supports me and we have so much fun together. While on a run one time, Jen and I were trying to tell Hollie how awesome she would do in a marathon (she's going to demolish any of my times, and I am A-OK with that!). Hollie applied for the 2013 NYC Marathon with her super-speedy half marathon time. SHE GOT IN.I can't tell you how excited I am for her, NYC Marathon being her first...EPIC. Heather and I are going to road trip down and make sure she hears our cheers over the thousands of people around us. I can't wait to watch her kill it and show NYC what she is made of!

 Let me tell you, some people describe celebrity status as movie stars, musicians, Pro-athletes....not in my book (okay yes, but not today)....because this week I became a celebrity (in my own book) with Saucony (and we all know how much I love them...) and with a Runner's World writer.

Remember when I bought my new Kinvara 4's a week early, and had to joke around with "getting them home safely?", Saucony decided they liked that photo much that they shared it and posted it themselves.
The FB post: almost 3k likes, and 243 shares....and that isn't including the twitter post  with retweets and favorites.
This gets celebrity status in my eyes. Thanks for showing the world I am a Saucony Fanatic, something I am definitely okay with everyone knowing.

 And my second celebrity status came from Runner's world writer Meg. I seriously wish I had her job; but that would imply that I could write properly, and that people want to read what I write. But anyways, fact is...she liked my "Flashback Friday" Post I did which talks about my journey as a marathoner (Marathons 1-5). She liked it and shared a link to it on her blog (her blog that probably gets 20k hits a day...). Today she posted "Friday Faves", which shows the cover image of the Boston Edition of Runners World (sweet!!), she shares the "prancercise" video which has been going viral, and a small link to my blog post (yay!!). Thanks Meg!
Love this cover shot!
My workouts this week have been really good, and to be honest I couldn't be happier about my motivation level. I had said many times the last few months that I just was unmotivated and really struggling with training, good news is....I'm on a roll right now and motivation is definitely not lacking!

I'm really working on mixing things up right now, as the next 6.5 weeks are heavy duty tri-training time, and after that its 12 weeks of marathon training for Wineglass!

Wednesday night I did a tri (kind of), that was a longer distance than the actual tri I will be doing Sunday. (Sunday being my first official tri!).
1000m swim, 65 minute bike ride, and a easy 4 mile run...
Last night I swam at the pool, and then headed to Conesus Lake to visit 2 friends of mine so I can borrow her wet suit for Sunday. Her hubby talked me into getting in the water with him to swim, so 2nd swim of the night and in open water!
1st Swim in the lake of the year! We didn't really need the suits, water wasn't that cold but it helped to practice with the suit for Sunday.
Then last night when I got home I continued my #RWrunstreak by running 8 miles in the heat and humid night time. Sweaty is the only way to describe it.

I'm really happy with how I recovered from the marathon and how I have been getting back into the swing of things. It makes me excited for the races I am doing this summer and fall, bring it on!

I hope everyone has a fabulous weekend!

Who is racing this weekend?

Any tips for a first-timer at a tri?

Have you ever had a huge motivation boost happen all at once?

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Tri-ing & Mixing Things Up

My week of Marathon recovery is over, and it feels good to be getting back into the swing of things this week. By the swing of things I mean preparing for my first triathlon which is, oh lets just say 4 days away. But I guess that is besides the point since I have so many things coming up to prepare for. 

 Last week I shared that I might change up my triathlon schedule. Well, I made the decision to keep this weekend's Triathlon at Keuka Lake on the schedule, BUT I did drop down to the sprint distance from the Olympic. I think it was a really smart move on my part. It's not that I am not recovered (In fact I think I recovered from this marathon better than any of the others I have done), it's not that I don't think I am physically capable of the Olympic distance, it's simply that mentally I needed to step back a little. This will be my first triathlon, and I want to go into it comfortable and confident and the sprint gives me the best chance of that right now. Well, and having a confident sprint tri might help me not freak out as much that my first 70.3 tri is in less than 7 weeks. (ha.)

I should probably work on this, someone told me they won't let me wear arm floaties in the water, or ride a bike with training wheels, what do they want from me!!! Okay, maybe that's overkill but still.
It's nice that now the marathon is over I can focus more on getting more swim/bike workouts in than I was before being running specific for the marathon. Although, my running will still be pretty dominant as I am working on a secret plan which I will be sharing later this week or early next. Less than 7 weeks to finalize prep for Musselman 70.3, and if I stick to the plan I can make it happen. I made up a plan for the next few weeks to make sure I get to the pool more and get some longer bike rides in. Do I think I am going into 70.3 as best prepared possible, NO but I also don't think I am going in completely unprepared.

Anyways, like I said I have been getting back into things now that recovery week is over :) It feels really good to be sweating again. 

Last few day's workouts:
Sunday: 25 miles riding around on bike as support on marathon course (as much as this wasn't for speed, actually it was a LOT of stop and go it was a good workout. I got more confident stopping and starting quicker and making sharper turns on a whim [being on the marathon course with tons of people and many other cyclists all who were stopping and starting constantly just like me], it was time on my bike and I love that.)

Monday: Went out for a "naked run" [no ipod and no Garmin], wore a regular sport watch for timing and made sure to stay on main roads I knew so I could map distance when I got home. I had no clue how far I was going to go, considered just doing my 4 mile loop, instead played it by year and ended up running 6.22 at a hair over 8' pace. I was content with that, it felt smooth and steady.

Tuesday: Last night I really wanted to mix things up, a little run/bike/weights. 

I really like coming up with workouts and mixing things up. This wasn't anything crazy hard but it was definitely a workout that got me sweaty! I didn't feel like going to the gym so I went in the basement at home where we have a treadmill, a recumbent bike and a plethora of random workout stuff.

"Mini-workouts" (10 minutes total: NO EXCUSES!)
4 minute Kettle bell workout: 1 minute of each- Swings, Russian Twists, Side bends, & Tricep Extensions.
3 minute combo moves workout: 1 minute squats with lateral arm raises, 30 seconds left side lunge with bicep curl, 30 seconds right side lunge with bicep curl, 30 seconds left forward lunge with overhead press, 30 seconds right forward lunge with overhead press
2 minute bum workout: 30 seconds right leg donkey kick backs, 30 seconds left leg donkey kickbacks, 1 minute pelvic bridges
1 minute plank (anyway you want)

 In all  it was 76 minutes worth of a workout and I was sweaty and felt really good at the end. 

Another way I am mixing things up right now: 
I am going streaking!
I'm going to make my minimum mileage 2 miles/day instead of 1. BRING IT ON :) 
Nothing huge, but a nice little streak to start off the summer!

And on another note, my sister sent me this photo last night, Alden looked like he was doing the "Party Rock Anthem" dance after his bath. He's just too darn cute, I can't believe he will be 2 months old soon!

I love circuit workouts, what are your thoughts?

Wanna go 'streaking' with me?

Any tips for a first time triathlete?

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Fun & Necessary Weekend

I hope everyone had a fabulous Memorial Day long weekend!

Let's see here, quick recap
Friday: 16 hour day between both jobs
Saturday: 5 AM wake-up, played support crew/cheerleader at Sehgahunda Trail Marathon at Letchworth State Park.
Sunday: 3:45 AM wake-up to go to Buffalo to volunteer/play bike support & cheerleader for the marathon
Sunday night: Dinner & movie date with John
Monday: Brunch on Seneca Lake with my soon-to-be in-laws.
Monday afternoon/evening: Cleaning and catching up around the house

It was a fun but busy weekend, 
which required a few naps to get me through :)
Here's some snapshots from the weekend.

Most relaxed race start I have EVER seen. Maybe there is something to this trail running/ultra thing.
John rode his mountain bike along for a while, but I was able to get to all the checkpoints in my car, so he ended up just riding with me most of the time. We had so much fun being there, his best friend Mark was running and I ended up seeing at least 10 other people I knew!

Here's the thing about trail races/ultras that has me intrigued and wanting to jump on the bandwagon (we all know it wont happen soon though), they have cookies and chips and fruit at water stops. And people just stop and chill out and stuff before hitting the trail again. Beyond awesome, so much less stressful I'd imagine (but so much more work, I know!) It was fun and inspiring watching all of the runners, knowing they were putting themselves through a hard course and were having so much fun doing it.
I was having bike issues Sunday morning riding from the marina to my volunteer spot. My rear derailleur was all messed up and my chain kept flipping in between gears. Luckily, the water stop that was about 50 yards from my volunteer point was manned by the Buffalo Triathlon Club. 2 gentlemen were kind enough to help me get the derailleur straightened out before the runners came through. And they also came and helped me man my station when traffic got bad and runners were on course. The corner that I was on, was the only road in/out of a big condo complex....they weren't able to leave because 7,000 runners were coming through. Most people were just frustrated and mad but let it go, one woman tried to ram through us, she literally got inches from us and was hanging out her window threatening us and revving her engine at us because she didn't care if there were runners she was leaving. That was fun
Left my car at the Marina, and rode from there to my volunteer point...I refused to get rid of my coffee so it made the short trek over...I only lost a little bit!

I was pleased that my volunteer shirt matched my bike. This matters.

After the last runners went through my spot (I was roughly 3 miles in) I got on my bike and headed over to mile 12.5 to cheer on the runners coming through again. Since I cut the course, I got over there quick and was able to get there before the lead runners came through, so I got to see everyone all over again which was cool. At this point I did also have a cop ask to search my backpack (there was a big crowd there, I wasn't going to argue, even though he legally can't unless they have reasonable suspicion). Apparently I look like a terrorist on wheels with a volunteer shirt on, but hey they were just doing their job. I saw it happen to a few other people too, I know the cops are just trying to keep everyone safe.
One of my favorite parts of the day was cheering on Heather, saw her at 3 and 12.5 and she looked awesome both times. I knew when she passed me the second time that she was most likely going to make her goal of sub-1:40 half! We caught up after her finish as well which was awesome. She is also doing Wineglass in the fall so we definitely will get some training runs in together this summer!
 After catching up with Heather I found my Aunt and Uncle and told them I was going to head on back half of marathon course to cheer on my cousin Krysten. I followed the course and finally caught up to her around 17 and she was looking awesome. I kept riding forward a bit, stopping and cheering and seeing if she needed anything. I saw her at least 10 times in the last 9 miles of her races and it was awesome. I knew how bad she wanted a PR and I was glad I could cheer her on, I know how much it can help. She got her PR, and man did she earn it, she ran an awesome race and smiled the entire time I saw her. 

 I watched her finish and then rode back to the marina to get to my car. Riding along the water was so pretty, I have run this half a few times, and this part was always my favorite being by the water.
Apparently taking a photo while riding will make it curvey.
So I decided to stop and get a real one. Gorgeous day, a little windy/chilly but the sun made it better.

I know I know, this photo tells you how much I HATED riding around on my bike :) Seriously though, I had such a fun morning cheering everyone on and riding my bike around. In all I got about 25 miles in (stop and go) which made it a good workout :)

Dinner and a movie with my man Sunday night was a nice way to end the day. We went and got food, and some ice cream and got to movie early. Sitting there watching the pre-movie trivia things was impossible, have I ever told you I am marrying Tony Dinozzo?
Okay, not really. BUT my fiance is just as much a movie trivia nerd as Tony is on NCIS.
Moving on. We saw Fast & Furious 6, it was typical action packed movie. Lots of fast cars, big fight scenes and a whole lotta things that just couldn't happen....but it was entertaining all the same.

Brunch with John's family was really good yesterday. His parents just came back from Florida for the summer so it was cool to have the whole family back together. We ate a ton of food and caught up with each others lives. I'm really a lucky girl marrying into such a welcoming family.

Cleaning and getting things done around the house was not as fun, but necessary yesterday. BUT I did do something last night that was FUN AND NECESSARY, I went for a run. This was only my second run since the marathon (I really took recovery seriously, I needed the week break more than anything). I went out with no ipod, no garmin and no distance goal. I ended up running 6.22 miles at a hair over 8 minute pace, I was super pleased because it felt smooth and steady. I can't describe how good it felt to have my Kinvaras back on and hitting the road with me. Volunteering/watching 3 races last week did wonders for my motivation, 7 weeks until Musselman 70.3 and 19 weeks until Wineglass Marathon. I'm working on my sub-3:20 plan for Wineglass, can't wait to share my thoughts with you and hear what you think :) That's for another day though friends.

For the record, this weekend included a nap each day, those early wake-ups caught up to me!

How was your Memorial Day Weekend?

What did you do that was fun, 
and what did you do that was necessary?

Friday, May 24, 2013

Flashback Friday: Marathons 1-5

I've wanted to do this post for a while, but figured I would wait until Marathon #5 was over. Kristy over at PGHrunner also did something like this, but hers is celebrating 5 YEARS of marathons (16 in total!), she is extremely accomplished and it's definitely worth a read! Jamie also did a post a while back of race superlatives, which was cool to see how she broke things down as well. We all have different stories to tell, different journey's as athletes, but we all have things in common too, we love this running thing. :)

I knew going into Cleveland 26.2 it was going to be special as #5, who am I kidding, they have all been special. But the morning of the race, my mom sent me some messages, and called me about 45 minutes before the start. The one thing she kept telling me is "I can't believe it's number 5, I am so proud of you and I hope you are proud of yourself". I feel like over time we forget to take the time to stop and see how far we have come. So here's a brief insight into my journey as a marathoner.

Sun Trust National Marathon (Washington, DC) 3/26/2011
Age: 23
Time: 3:46:25 (8:38/pace)
Fastest mile: 7:45 (mile 8) Slowest Mile: 9:15 (mile 24)
Favorite moment: Getting a grilled cheese at the finish (priorities people.)
Worst moment: Falling over at mile 24 while trying to tie my shoe.
Thoughts: It was my first, and a big learning experience. Found out a few days following the race that I had severe ITBS and spent 8 weeks in PT (this explain the pain I felt during the race)
This was me pretty much the whole time, going with the flow.
Best grilled cheese at Finish...ever.
1st Marathon done!
( At that point I didn't know if I wanted to do more)
Rochester Marathon (Rochester, NY) 9/18/2011
Age: 24
Time: 3:41:40 (8:28/pace) [1:40 away from BQ time]
Fastest mile: 7:43 (mile 1..ha!) Slowest mile: 11:28 (mile 26)
Favorite moment: Seeing my friends at mile 17 waiting to jump in and run last 9 miles with me, I am forever grateful for them.
Worst moment: I feel like most of this race was a worst moment. Between crying at the start line, having to walk/run the last few miles from quad pain and mental breakdown....hard to say which gets the worst title.
Thoughts: I wasn't prepared for this race, it was miserable and looking back this really affected me mentally. First mile fastest and last mile slowest is clear proof that I ran this all wrong and I made a lot of mistakes. I was so mad about the race (even though it was a PR), that I went home that night and registered for another marathon 8 weeks away for redemption (see number 3)
My parents came to cheer, so I had to greet them properly.
This is now my signature marathon pose
This is when I was really struggling toward the end, one of the few times I wasn't walking in last few miles.
 That is my friend Thomas and his son Zak who ran the last 9 with me.

Harrisburg Marathon (Harrisburg, PA) 11/13/2011
Age: 24
Time: 3:37:01 (8:17/pace) [BQ by old standards, not the new though]
Fastest mile: 7:58 (mile 13) Slowest Mile: 8:48 (mile 26)
Favorite moment: Sitting on the curb after finishing and feeling like I got my redemption. Although I missed BQ (because of new standards that took effect a few weeks before this), it was another PR and a much stronger run race than Rochester. 
Worst moment: Throwing up at mile 26 mile marker (no joke), the GU had finally done me in. 
Thoughts: I was going through a lot at this time, and the race was about much more than another marathon. It was about getting away for a few days, and doing something for myself and figuring out what I wanted to do to make MYSELF happy. Another PR, but more than that it was redemption and a sweet victory.
Slow and steady lead me to a nice shiny PR and consistent pace race.
Redemption never tasted so sweet.

Marshall University Marathon (Huntington, WV) 11/11/2012
Age: 25
Time: 3:21:27 (7:41/pace) [BQ & 16 minute PR)
Fastest Mile: 7:07 (mile 25!!) Slowest Mile: 8:11 (mile 4)
Favorite moment: oh there are a few...Watching a cop react to me putting glide on my inner thighs at mile 5, seeing my fiance every few miles (he was on his bike), the signs and chalk he put on the course as little reminders. I think by far my favorite moment though was mile 20-21...I was on a path that ran parallel to the road and John was able to ride the entire mile next to me. We didn't talk, but knowing he was there was amazing. It was really symbolic of our relationship. We had just gotten engaged a week prior, and him being next to me at mile 20 when things get rough was just perfect. Being by each others side no matter what. Oh and crossing the finish with a football in hand (they give you one shortly before) and chucking it on the ground knowing what a strong race I just had. Okay, basically I loved everything about this race.
Worst moment: Almost getting hit by a car because cop wasn't doing his job (he was literally standing their talking and drinking coffee and not stopping traffic). I swore very loud at him (I didn't care) and told him to do his "effing" job among some other expletives I threw at the driver.
Thoughts: I trained so hard and SMART for this race. Months prior when I had my broken foot I was told this wouldn't be possible anytime soon. I did everything to prove them wrong. I trained so well, and it paid off. I'd also like to think that this was just proof that I made the best decision by choosing to accept John's proposal a week prior, he brings out the best in me in so many ways.
I was stopping my watch, and also squinting to read it not sure if I was reading it right.
Stunned, happy, emotional, and just overwhelmed.
Cleveland Marathon (Cleveland, OH) 5/19/2013
Age: 25
Time 3:25:50 (7:51/pace) [another BQ]
Fastest mile: 7:16 (mile 13) Slowest Mile: 8:46 (mile 25)
Favorite Moment: Every time I got to stand in front of someone and let them spray me with a hose to cool off. 
Worst Moment: The last few miles weren't great, no shade direct hot sun, and I walked a few times...I HATE walking in races, it takes a LOT for me to do that.
Thoughts: In all honesty, I wasn't trained to run the time that I's proof that I have just gotten stronger though. What that tells me is, that with another strong/smart training cycle like I had last fall I could easily get my time under 3:20 where I want it to be. I am proud of my time, and feel like despite the heat and not feeling 100% physically, I did what I went there to do. 
My signature marathon pose again (I saw the photographer and made sure he got this that way I could show it to Mom and Dad since that's the look they got in Rochester)
Definitely can see in my form I was struggling, that heat took a big toll on me.

3 Highest placing races (female): 
5th female out of 225 in Marshall Marathon (Top 2%)
23rd female out of 845 Cleveland Marathon (Top 2%)
24th female out of 216 Harrisburg Marathon (Top 11%)

3 Highest placing races (AG): 
1st AG Marshall Marathon
4th AG Cleveland Marathon
4th AG Harrisburg Marathon

Favorite Course: Marshall Marathon (loved the double loop)
Least Favorite Course: Rochester ( I hate the canal path)
Hottest: Cleveland
Coldest: Sun Trust National DC
Best Expo: Sun Trust National DC, it was huge!
Best swag: For DC we got 'training' shirts AND 'finisher' shirts. Marshall was awesome in that if you registered early enough, you got a BROOKS jacket AND a tech shirt!
Which would I want to do again: The DC one (it's since changed names into RNR race) as it was my first I think it would be cool to go back and redo the course and see how far I have come. Rochester, for a long time I said I wouldn't do the full here again (even though I live on Rochester) because I had such a bad experience, now I want to do it again for redemption!
Highest Entry Fee Paid: DC ($120 I think?)
Lowest Entry Fee Paid: Marshall ($60 I think?)
Most expensive trip: DC
Least Expensive trip: Rochester (home, duh)

5 things I learned in 5 marathons
1. Anything can happen on race day.
2. Your support system is just as important as how well you train.
3. Training for the course you will be running is important
4. Marathons hurt, but you'll get through it.
5. They're addicting. You usually say at one point or another, "why do I do this" or "I never want to do this again" but the fact is, you will go back for more. Runners are sadistic, we like the pain we like the challenge and no matter what we always go back for more.

If there is something I have learned over the years, it's that beating yourself up doesn't do anything. I am my own worst critic, I take things personally and I invest a lot into the things that I do. I have gotten better over the years about learning to not accept disappointment or failure, but not to let it eat away at me either. I'm a much happier person the more I embrace that. I try not to let 'bad' races get to me, it's not fair to me or the people around me to deal with.

One of my all time favorite quotes:
Handsome and Smart, Will smith...marry me?
Looking back at these races, I feel successful in what I have done, but I also feel the desire to do better. Do I think I am a strong runner, yes...Do I think I have accomplished  a lot, yes...but I know that I can do more, and I know that I am not the best or anything close. I could spend my time comparing myself to all the people out there who demolish my times, or I can take pride in the fact that I have improved over the years and I am working on being the best I can be and not the best for anyone else. When things get hard, I think about all good things I have done and that helps push me through. I used to get down when things were hard, and beat myself up for my failures and mistakes. There's no point in that, thinking backward and negatively isn't going to help move you forward. At the end of the day we all go the same distance in a race and all cross the same finish line, regardless of the journey or time it takes to get there. I am proud to be a runner, and to know so many amazing people in this community.

What is something that you have accomplished that you are proud of and use as motivation?

Do you tend to beat yourself up when things don't go as planned?

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Just a few things: Recovery, Scheduling, Volunteering & Throwback

Just a few quick things today :) 
Hope everyone is having a fabulous Thursday!

1. Marathon recovery is going well, my legs are feeling really good and I am excited to run later today for the first time. I was going to run yesterday...but I tried being a smart ass and going without caffeine did that end up? Post-Marathon-Fatigue + NO Caffeine + Stupid Hot weather = Laura taking a 2 hour nap at 4 pm  Then when I did wake up, ice cream won the battle over going out and getting even sweatier. I'll blame that on the cravings and the heat. Am I upset about this? Not one bit...I ran a 3:25 marathon 3 days prior, I'm pretty sure that gives me room to be lazy for a few days.
Good news is, a running hangover isn't much different from an alcohol hangover (well the running thing is clearly more healthy than consuming a bottle of wine and 6 jack and cokes like some people do every night), but that's besides the point.
Cure to a hangover: refuel, rehydrate, and rest. 

2. I'm taking this time right now to really get organized and get back on track with everything that I have going on. I'm still working on getting my home office set-up and organized, which will be a big help. Studying for 2 huge exams (Series 7--for my job, and my ACE Certified Personal Trainer Exam), and planning a wedding while maintaining 2 jobs requires a schedule. Since I opted not to run last night, I spent my time from 6 pm until about midnight studying and also making a study schedule. This thing is crazy detailed and it's exactly what I need.
Yep, this is what my summer study schedule looks like!
This is the 'master schedule', I also have it broken down and printed out for each week to keep track.
Hopefully I can stick to this better than I stick to training plans. 
3. I think my race schedule is going to be changing a little. As of right now I am supposed to be doing the Keuka Lake Intermediate Triathlon in a little over a week. This would be my first triathlon and a real training test for me for my upcoming Half-Ironman in July. I think I am going to forego this race. My tri-training really has taken a back seat the last few weeks and I want to go into my first tri as prepared as I can be. I found another tri of the same distance that is 2 weeks after Keuka, which would give me 2 extra weeks to prepare. I know that I could complete Keuka next weekend, but I want to feel comfortable and confident going into it. Another option I am considering is doing the sprint distance at Keuka which would be much more manageable for me, and then the Intermediate Distance 2 weeks later. The plus of that option is that it gives me 2 triathlons under my belt before heading into Musselman 70.3 in July. I will decide by the end of this weekend for sure on what I would like to do, I need to make the right decision for me.

4. After Volunteering Tuesday night at Corporate Challenge, I am really excited for this weekend. I had planned to volunteer for the Buffalo Marathon so I can watch people like Heather, and my cousin Krysten kick butt in their races. I finally got my "volunteer assignment" I will be road marshaling shortly before mile 3. That makes me really happy to be early on because I can see everyone early and then be done soon enough to jump on my bike and ride the course cheering and providing support for people I know. Please let me know if you are running so I can watch for you!!

5. Until last night I had totally forgotten that the Sehgahunda  trail marathon/relay was this weekend. John and I know quite a few people doing this race, including one of his best friends Mark. So we will be going down to Letchworth for the day to cheer and support everyone we know. It's going to be a really fun weekend. Watching 3 races this week is seriously just what I needed to recover mentally and emotionally from the marathon. Let me know if you are running this wicked hard trail marathon/relay and I'll make sure to watch/cheer for you!
This is how I feel about me & trail running.... hence the reason I will be cheering and not running.
If there is a rock or a branch hidden 6 feet underground, my feet and face will find it.  
You can see SOME of the dirt I got myself into in tonights race..
Throwback Thursday: This was me in 2010 finishing my first trail race...oh wait first trail run too. You can kind of see the mud. I was covered in dirt and blood (I fell like 5 times...good times.), ended up with a sprained ankle and some good bruises! For the record, just about EVERY.SINGLE.ONE. of my race finish line photos are of me stopping my watch. I should work on that. Oh, and I never did a trail race again after this, maybe one day...not anytime soon.
What is the weirdest craving you have had after a big race?
Any thoughts on my triathlon dilemma?
Who is racing this weekend?

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Volunteering is the Best Way to Recovery

As the time passes since Sunday's marathon, my legs are reminding me less and less what I put them through. That's not to say I am recovered fully, but I can actually go up and down stairs now without it taking 20 minutes.

Now, this wasn't my first marathon so I knew what to expect. I knew what I needed to do after the race: REST, REFUEL & REPAIR. Basically take it easy, increase intake of high protein foods, re-hydrate, stretch and foam roll a TON, all those typical things. This is a littler different than the other marathons I have done, mainly because I don't have the time to recover as properly as I should. I have more races on the schedule and triathlon training really needs to become a priority at this point. So you bet I have been making a huge effort to recover as safely, but quickly as possible.

A few weeks ago, Fleet Feet sent out an email saying they were in desperate need for volunteers for the Corporate Challenge. I knew it was a few days after the marathon, and I wouldn't be running so I figured "why not?", little did I know it was one of the BEST choices I made.

I checked in and got my shirt and flag and made my way to my post about 45 minutes before I knew the race would be starting. I chatted up some of the cops driving around, and some of the other volunteers making their way to their posts. Finally around 7 I heard the first bang go off for the start (there were 2 starts, this was the championship for the Corporate Challenge so the first wave was all of the international participants). I watched them come through I cheered and waved my flag. Then I heard the second bang, and knew that within a few minutes I would have 11,000 people running at me.
My volunteer post before the crowds.
Hey humidity, thanks for the Afrobun.

My official flag that matched my Nickelodeon Orange colored shirt
 (y'all know exactly what I am talking about)

Sure enough, after a few minutes I had the leaders flying through. I was screaming and cheering and having a great time. I saw so many people I knew, I put aside any feelings for anyone or anything and if I knew your name it was getting yelled. I was so pumped, I got a million high-fives, a ton of thank-you's and even a few hugs (love love love seeing one of my favorite women running right at me to stop in the middle of a race to hug me, thank you Mary W. that made my night!).
The participants of the J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge Championship take off.
Start of the race: Photo from Democrat &Chronicle

I cheered and yelled and smiled and waved and did everything I could to be a good volunteer. I was dancing and making jokes and yelling out the company names as I saw them on peoples shirts. You couldn't wipe the smile off my face, I loved every second. Although I did fail miserably at one aspect of my job. I didn't know how far into the course I was. Yep, I have run a million races and didn't think to find out exactly how far I was. I figured I was roughly a mile and a half in but wasn't sure. Epic failure, I know.

After about an hour of cheering and yelling, the last few walkers came through. I made my way slowly back to the volunteer tent and handed in my flag. Within seconds of getting in my car the rain came down. Phew. I sat in my car for a few minutes just thinking. That was so much fun and something that I really needed.

Seeing all the runners/walkers out there doing something I love to do, feeling the energy of 11,000 people...was amazing. I seriously think this is something I want to do after all my big races, find one to volunteer a few days later. I know how much those volunteers helped me on Sunday, and I loved knowing I could cheer and help others even at a 3.5 mile race. I am even more excited to volunteer at the Buffalo Marathon this coming weekend. I signed up a few months ago because I knew my cousin and lots of others were running. (Don't worry I will find out how far into the course I am before Sunday!).

I went home last night with a renewed motivation for this thing I love. I can't wait to get back out there, feel that energy and excitement and be around the amazing people of the running community.  Volunteering again later this week is only going to strengthen that motivation, and I am really looking forward to it.

So when you're recovering from a marathon, or any race....
rest, refuel, repair and VOLUNTEER! 

Have you ever volunteered before?

What are your go to recovery tips?

Monday, May 20, 2013

Cleveland Marathon Recap

Marathon #5 has come and gone, where is time going these days?
After a fun weekend in Cleveland (Weekend in Pictures--here),
it was finally time...Marathon morning.

I've said before, I am really bad about getting up in the morning and usually require multiple alarms.  I believe I had 10 set for yesterday morning, and also had John set a few on his phone. But of course, my nerves got me up around 3 and I laid there freaking out staring at the ceiling until my first set alarm went off. Shower, food, and trying to relax in compression gear while I chugged my cold coffee.  Stared at the city lights, fine tuned my playlist, and got myself ready slowly but surely.

Boston Tribute Ribbon #BostonStrong

The outfit (All Saucony)
Ignite Singlet (Not shown here) 
Speed-Run Visor (Thanks @SauconyRacing!)

Gear (Not shown)
Road ID
Garmin 405
Black/Hot Pink Spibelt

Around 5:15 we made our way to Cleveland Browns Stadium where the start/finish was.
A million few bathroom stops, bag check, gearing up and it was finally time to get to the start.

My man and I before the race :)

At 6:15 I made my way to the start and found a place to stand for 45 minutes. Actually there was no standing, there was pacing back and forth, random stretching, and bobbing my head to tunes trying to zone out. Ate a handful of Bits, drank some water and continued pacing.

A race photographer asked if he could take my picture, I said sure knowing this was probably the only race photo I would be smiling in. 

As the start got closer I watched the crowds of people filter in...all 22,000 people...there were no starting corrals, just flags for paces (because people are so good at following those...). A man lined up next to me, who was about 400 pounds and sounded like he was a pack-a-day guy for 30 years. Now I am happy this man chose to take up something like running to get into a healthy lifestyle, but he damn well knows he wouldn't be running anything close to the paces he was standing at. The paces are there for a reason, to allow everyone to get into a groove quicker and run a smoother race. 

Finally it was time to go, and I stood facing a wall. It was the worst bottleneck start (combined with no seeded corrals), I literally walked across the start line because I couldn't go anywhere (I'm sure my rage was apparent). I didn't take a running step until at least 50 feet after the start line, and it was a ways after that before I was able to get into a groove.
Cleveland Source
The First 13
It was about 65 at the start, but cloudy with a breeze so it was pretty comfortable. I knew even before the race I was going to ditch my tank top early on, luckily I saw John around mile 2 and was able to pass it off. I wasn't sure of my plan for the race so I decided to just kind of go with the flow pace wise. I found a comfortable pace and kind of stuck in that range. The miles rolled on, and I even took time to look around and enjoy some great views of the city going over the bridges. I high-fived every kid I could on the side, this made me really happy. The roads were packed, because we had the half marathoners with us at the time. Around mile 12, a girl in the half started chatting with me, telling me it was her first half. I encouraged her and told her she was doing awesome, she worried she was fading though. I told her I would push her for a bit (until the course splits), she gave me a big smile and we pushed forward...hence the faster mile for 13. At this point my watch was consistently off on the mile markers. So I was either running really bad about tangents or course was off...I'm assuming shitty tangents on my part.
notable thoughts during this time: your welcome dude (as the man next to me stared awkwardly as I stripped my tank top off while running), pshh I wasn't even getting paid for the semi-adult entertainment I was providing. Cheap bastard.

Somewhere around mile 10, I realized I had to pee, it wasn't too bad so I figured it would just go away. Around 14 it got worse but at this point I was still thinking "If I can pick up a little bit and hold it, I can PR", so I decided to press on. Finally around 15.5 I knew I couldn't hold it. I saw a port-o-potty coming up at a water stop in the distance, so I started loosening up my spi-belt, moved my Ipod clip, and got myself as ready as possible while still running. I saw someone come out of it right as I was coming up so I knew it was empty. I lost about a minute so I could pee (this affected mile 15 &16 times), came out and re-situated my gear while running. I tried to settle back into my pace, but was discouraged when I saw that the 3:25 pace group had caught up to me. Mentally this was hard, I pushed forward trying not to let them get ahead of me. 7:29,7:41,8:17
notable thoughts during this time: I legitimately considered peeing my pants so I wouldn't have to stop. Thank goodness for common sense kicking in. 

Mentally and physically these miles were hard. I was still trying to hold off the 3:25 pace group, and I hit the point I knew I wasn't going to PR. It felt like Tonya Harding took out my knees and I had to ignore the pain as best I could. The heat cranked up during this time, and I spent a few seconds at each water stop drinking, dumping water on me, and dancing in the hoses that kids were spraying at runners. I am really not sure who enjoyed it more, the kids who got to spray people or the runners who basked in the cold water. Some of these miles were down hill and through a wooded area so there was shade which was a huge help. I started doing math in my head, knowing I couldn't PR but also knowing it would be my second fastest hands down.
notable thoughts during this time: WTF I am 25 my knees aren't supposed to hurt like this, marathons suck, I wonder if they'd mind if I just sit on the ground and let them keep the hose spraying at me for the next 15 minutes. oh and I wonder if the owner of that road-killed cat knows it's missing?
Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon
Cleveland Source
Physically I was feeling okay, but mentally I was struggling. I hadn't seen John since mile 5 (Which was expected...he was following his brother around on the bike as his brother was trying to BQ, so I wasn't planning on seeing him a ton), but I knew that since it had been so long that something was up. I didn't need to see him at this point, but I wanted to...just give me a little boost to get through last few miles. Around 21.5 there he was, my knight in red&black on his bike. I yelled his name and he stopped and waved and as I passed he said "They aren't far ahead of you". I knew what this meant, as much as I didn't want it to be the case. Around 22 I caught up to John's brother David and his GF Katie (she ran the last 10 miles with him). I contemplated staying with them, I have my BQ & I knew I wasn't going to PR. But then I knew that he wouldn't want me to do that, so I said "hi" and carried on. The sun was brutal at this point, no clouds, no shade, no wind...just a hot road (my feet were on fire through my shoes) and the sun blazing down. I stood for a good 30 seconds under a hose at a water stop around 23, I didn't care...I needed it.
7:25, 7:38, 8:04
notable thoughts during this time: damn my man has a nice rear on that bike, am I an asshole for passing my soon to be brother in law?, I wonder if there will be ice cream at the finish?

I did something I hate having to do, but I knew was smart. I walked. Not a lot, but I walked a few times, and stopped at hoses/water stops a few times. My mind was getting "foggy", and I knew I needed to try and cool down, I couldn't replace the fluids/salt as fast as I was losing them. Around mile 25 the 3:25 pace group finally caught me and I didn't care. I watched them get further away and thought, it's another marathon, I'm still going to finish with a solid time, but I want to finish on my feet, not on a stretcher. I'm not saying I would have passed out had I not walked, but I knew those walk breaks/water stops were the smart thing to do, I had nothing to gain by not doing it.
notable thoughts during this time: I'm really bad at doing math while running, why is that girl running with a sucker in her mouth, did her mother teach her nothing! Sucker will not beat me.

Final Push
Instead of finishing 0.2 miles, I finished 0.5 miles after mile 26. Like I said, I just assume it was my shitty tangent running. At about 25.5 I said to myself "no more breaks" and just started running. Picked off a few girls, cranked up the tunes and pushed forward. The last 2 turns were nice, there was a lot of people, and very loud drums with a beat that forced you to finish strong. 
The last 0.5 was at 7:10 pace.
notable thoughts during this time: finish strong, don't get passed, ohhhh I see chocolate milk must run faster!

The clock said 3:26:10 as I crossed. 
I did it, marathon #5 and my second fastest.

My watch said 26.5 miles in 3:25:38 which would be 7:46 average.
According to my Garmin data, my "moving time" was 3:23 so that's almost 3 minutes of peeing, and standing under hoses...oh well. 

Chip time gave me 7:51 average, solid.
Happy with my placing...especially for such a big race.


Am I happy with my time?
You bet, its my second fastest marathon and considering this wasn't my be-all-end-all goal race this year, I can't complain. Another BQ under my belt, Boston 2014 you will be mine.

Am I disappointed I didn't go sub-3:20?
Yep, there were a few points I thought I could do it yesterday, but I'm not going to beat myself up. I didn't train to run sub 3:20 this time. Hell, I personally don't even think I trained to run what I did. Not every race is going to be a PR, and that's okay it gives me something to work for. I ran smart and strong and I can't diminish that success with "what if's". This makes me excited for Wineglass Marathon in the fall, I have good goals to work for. 

I was overwhelmed with support leading up to the race and even more so after. Between texts, twitter, and Facebook it was huge to see so many kind words. I love this community of runners, I love my family & friends and I love my fiance who is always there to support me. 

Big congrats to Jamie and her husband Mike. Jamie ran this as her 2nd marathon and beat her goal by over 10 minutes, and this was her hubby's 1st time finishing a full and on a brutally hot day! The 2 of them also used the marathon to raise money for Project R12, you can still donate to their efforts here.

Thoughts on the race itself:
Very well run, and they were well prepared for the heat
(good amount of water stops, hoses frequently, lots of cold stuff at finish)

PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE start doing seeded corrals. Way too many people not to.

Crappy road conditions, lots of post holes and many sections of running through roads under construction (exposed pipes in the road...come on people)

Great volunteers/spectators, amazing signs and cheering crowds. A little scarce in second half (as expected) but the ones that were there, were great.

A special thanks to all the kids/adults that were in charge of spraying hoses.
 I can't tell you how much that helped. 

Loved having pre/post race at the stadium, no shortage of space or bathrooms. 
(Only thing I would say about this is don't put bag check on top floor on far side of stadium...getting up there after finishing was rough (even with escalators))

Love the medal

 Oh, and for your viewing pleasure....

No officer, I didn't drink a very large blue slushie on the way back to the hotel from the race.
What are you talking about, what blue tongue?

Thanks for all of the well wishes and support :)
I'm excited to be volunteering for 2 races this week, 
I know how much volunteers and spectators made a difference yesterday and I am happy to be giving some love back!

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