Thursday, October 31, 2013

Running affects us...

I have mentioned a few times that I haven't really felt myself since Wineglass. I couldn't pin point what it was- but whatever it was, affected me physically and mentally. My long run this past weekend really helped, and I feel like a whole new version of myself.

This is a really good thing, because when running isn't going well- typically it affects other things.

Last Thursday John and I went to one of the local college libraries (open later than public libraries) to study for the night. We fully planned on staying late and getting a ton done. That worked...for him.

I think I read the same sentence a million times in a row. So I switched and started studying for the other exam (yep, 2 big exams to study for) thinking a change of pace would help me focus. No dice. I got so frustrated (and awkwardly emotional) and finally told John I had to go home and just lay down.

This is just one of the many times I noticed that I was lacking focus and ability to really concentrate lately. I haven't been as productive at work or home and that only frustrates me more.

My post-Wineglass rut has definitely been something I have been trying to work through. I had yet to have a good run, struggled with sore body, slow mental recovery and potential ankle issues. Do I think this was a big reason I have struggled in other areas of my life lately? Absolutely.

This is something I don't think non-runners understand (well, one of the many things). Running affects us, and when things are good in running it usually shows in other aspects of our lives and vice versa. So lets add this to --> This List.

I ended up having a great weekend, and a fabulous long run. This week I have been a new person. My runs feel better and stronger, my mood is much happier, my productivity is up and in general my focus is sharper than it has been in weeks. Can I say a good run caused all of this? Maybe, maybe not- but it sure as heck didn't make things worse!

All I know is, it feels REALLY good to not be in a rut anymore. I know it happens- it's part of training and life. But I am ready to ride out the next 38 days until CIM on the happy-go-lucky-push-myself-315orbust-train.

Have you noticed you running changing your work habits or home life?

How has becoming a runner affected you?

And lastly- because it's Halloween and I have a super cute nephew.....

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Pumpkins in the Park 5k

This is one of those races that I just can't miss. This was my 5th year running it- and the 5th year of the race itself. The first year I ran it, was one of my first few 5k's and ran it with my sister and we said we would always come back because we loved the costumes! I have ran it every year since, but she has missed 3/5 due to A. Trying to get pregnant B. Being pregnant and C. Moving/Baby stuff(this year). So that epic costume I mentioned we were going to run in together this year, obviously didn't happen as she couldn't be there.

But lets back up for a second....
take a trip down pumpkins in the park lane....
Yep,  wigs are really itchy to run in, and running in long johns a million sizes to big is challenging.

This remains one of my favorites, I had fun with it... Daily Mile Ballerina...
Why? Because I wanted to. 

Synchronized swimmers was fun.....

I got the most stares from last years 'risky business'. Yes I wore actual tighty whities, but yes I wore black booty shorts underneath. The shirt flew all over the place while running, basically I felt like I was only running in underwear, kind like the Kona underwear run....only a hell of a lot colder. 

Okay, back to this year...

I found out Thursday night that Meg wasn't going to be running with me-- so I was immediately on the thinking train trying to figure out what to be. Somehow I got little red riding hood in my head stuck. I really liked a peacock costume but...I prefer not to spend a million dollars on a costume and didn't have time to make one. 

I was not extremely excited going into the race, since my ankle had been acting up during the week and in general it was an off week for me. The good news is... I don't run this race for a PR. Yes I have some decent times on the course but I have never full out raced it, it's a fun costume race....and the first 2 miles are uphill- not exactly race time material. 

By not excited I mean... I laid in bed until 8ish (race at 9), mosied around the house got ready and made the quarter mile walk to the race (yep, basically in my backyard). 

The cape was almost immediately tripping me and I knew I wasn't going to be able to hold it the whole time, so....I did what any good runner would do. I tucked the ends of that thing into my leggings. YUP, that must have been a sight to see (I did so while running).  But hey whatever at least I had pants on this year.  I don't have any photos of me running the actual race, thank goodness- y'all don't need to see me running with a cape tucked into my tights swinging a basket around. 

Mile 1 was 7:09, not too shabby I thought. Mile 2 (which has a steep hill in it) was 7:18 and then I cruised the last 1.1 miles in 6:51 (6:14 pace). 

Crossed finish in 21:19, over 2 minutes slower than my 5k PR, but actually the fastest I have ran this race. So course PR, and 1st place AG...sure sweet...great way to start the weekend. 

This is my "non-race" race each year, maybe one day I'll actually try to see what I can bust out on this course...but for now I'm going to enjoy my string of silly costumes and some quality semi-fast hilly miles. 

I love this race, it's for a great cause (Breast Cancer Coalition of Rochester and the Rochester Youth Sports Foundation) and I will continue to come back each year. Over the last 5 years I have watched this race grow from a 300 runners to almost 1000. I love the costumes, the fun atmosphere and the Rochester running community in general.

Fleet Feet does a wonderful job with it, and they also announced they will be moving their local store into the Armory...which is conveniently located in my back yard pretty much. Running store/running community center less than 1/4 mile from my house. This spells awesome amounts of trouble to me!

Have you ever done a costume race?
Any must-do races that you have?

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Stepping back & bouncing forward all in one week.

Well this week didn't go quite as planned but I would like to think that I made the best of it that I could. I was very worried this week was going to break me, I was in need of a serious pick-me-up with my training and after an 'off' week during the week- though a strong weekend brought me back to myself again.

The Run-down
Monday: 45 minutes Elliptical
Tuesday: 5 mile morning run
Wednesday: 60 minutes Elliptical
Thursday: 60 Minutes Elliptical
Friday: 4 mile run
Saturday: Pumpkins in the Park 5k
Sunday: 15.4 mile progression run

Total Running Miles: 28.9 miles
Total Cross training time: 165 minutes

I was so proud of getting my bum out of bed early Tuesday morning to run, especially considering it was cold dark and raining! I got myself ready and was out the door before 6, felt really good for first half mile and then I started feeling my right foot. By feeling, I mean it hurt...pretty bad. I forced myself through the miles and got back to the house teary eyed and very frustrated.

I took action as quick as possible. I took Ibuprofen, iced it while I was getting ready for work and put my ankle brace on even while wearing a dress to work (good thing I work with some runners). I iced on and off all day (again, grateful for working with some runners who keep ice packs in office), and stretched every once in a while. I decided very quickly that my Wednesday/Thursday 8 mile runs were going to be turned into Elliptical workouts. As much as I want to run, I knew that a break from the pounding would do my joints some good. It's not worth making an 'issue' and 'injury'...I'm trying to be smart about this.

I did deal with a little ankle pain (in my left ankle) while training for Wineglass and the whole elevation, ice, stretching, etc did help it and I was able to move past it quickly. Fingers crossed that gets me through it this time as well. I did also get my new shoes in this week (yes, another pair of Kinvara's!) so I know my feet are grateful and this will helped.

As the week progressed I could tell my actions were helping and I was slowly feeling better with my ankle. Which is good because I was in such an 'off' mood all week that I really wouldn't have handled it well if it has gotten worse.

Weekend Silliness
This weekend was pretty much everything that I needed. Friday after work I did a test run on my ankle in my new shoes and it was definitely improving. Friday night was some girl time with a friend for dinner and last minute costume shopping. Saturday's 5k was fun and definitely felt good to get some speed in my legs, the rest of Saturday was some family time and going out with friends at night for some fun. Definitely helped to let loose a little and just destress.

This mornings run was amazing. I knew I was going to get the miles in whether it was the last thing I did....but I had no pace expectations. My ankle felt good, and my head was just where it needed to be. It was one of those runs where everything clicked and I just could have kept going. This is where the light in my head went on- I finally feel like me again. It's been weeks since I had a run where I just really felt good physically and mentally and man did I need it! I have an incredible renewed sense of motivation, drive and general well-being. Funny how running can do that to you.

My mini goals for this week were:
1. At least 2 morning workouts
2. Real breakfast every day
3. Run 35-40 miles with 3 non-running workouts

I hit all of these except #3, obviously my running miles were down during the week from my ankle- but I am not going to punish myself for making smart decisions. Running those miles would have made things worse and I at least did the elliptical for the miles that I missed.

This coming weeks goals:
1. Meal prep for the week: I have a VERY busy week and this will be a huge help (this goal is already done, because I did the prep tonight!)
2. Sugar-free week, no sweets (splenda in coffee is acceptable)
3. At least 3 double digit runs and 2 non-running workouts

How was your week?

Do you cross train while injured or facing possibility of injury?

When was the last time you had a serious runners high?

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Empire State Half Marathon Recap

This past weekend I had the pleasure of running the Empire State Half Marathon with my sister.  I had promised her back when she was still pregnant that I would run her first post-baby race with her, and stay by her side.

We tossed around a few ideas but settled for Empire because Syracuse isn't that far away which made it cheaper and easier to get to. I ran this race in its inaugural year 2011 so I knew it was an easier course and that  it would be a good "back in the swing of things" race for Meg.

John was also running the race with his friend/coworker so it made it easier in the morning since we both had to get up (also made it easier for me to sleep while he drove...). It was a very early and very cold morning, we got to the race around 7 and just tried to stay as warm as possible.

I ran without a watch, I didn't want to or need to know pace or time or distance- this wasn't my race. I was going to go whatever pace Meg was going, and maybe push her a little in the end if I could. Her previous half marathon PR was 1:43ish so we guessed she would be around 1:46-1:55ish based on not running as much since having Alden and just generally not running much for a long time(she had to take a lot of time off while trying to get pregnant).

We took the first few miles easy, I have no idea how easy but it was comfortable and I was like "hey this non-racing-race thing isn't so bad". We chatted every few minutes just keeping company and laughing along the way. I ditched my gloves around mile 3, it warmed up a little once we were running and the sun was on us. I was still glad I had some good layers on though.

Encouraging her through the finish! I got yelled at for my bib
being under my Saucony Palladium Jacket--Whoops!
The half is an out and back course, so at one point we started seeing the leaders coming back at us. This was mentally tough, and I even told her to yell at me if I started speeding up. My legs saw the lead runners, and they wanted to race. But this wasn't about me, this was my sister's day and I promised I would stay with her- I reminded myself that this was NOT a race for me.

Once we got to the turn around I saw a light go on in Meg's head. She looked at me and said she wanted to start picking some girls off (*Inner happy really are my sister! Let's go get em!*). We started picking up the pace a little (again, I have no idea how much) and slowly picked people off on the way back.  I even got to high-five John when we passed him coming towards us on the way back, this made me smile.

Once we got to 10, I started picking it up and pointing out people for her to work on passing (this is something I do later on in races to motivate me and keep me moving). She started getting tired (and telling me so), so I just tried to keep reminding her that Alden was waiting at the finish, and that she has done this before and can do it again.

Within the last mile she kept looking at her watch...a LOT. I kept telling her to stop, that it didn't matter and to just keep running. We kept picking people off, and finally with about quarter mile to go...she says "I think I can PR". I was so shocked because I had no idea what pace we had been going, but I didn't question it and said "LETS GO". I really pushed her the last little bit, and grabbed her arm and got her to the finish. She missed her PR by like 20 seconds, 6 months after having a baby, and not running over 10 miles in probably 2 years. Very proud sister moment, very proud.

After we finished, we had the BEST volunteer ever give us our medals and hugs with a smile....Heather was being an awesome person and volunteered at the race, knowing I was going to see her at finish definitely made my day :)

And the other amazing thing at the finish line.....

I have to give props to myself for dressing myself in the dark at 4:45 AM...I actually matched. [All Saucony gear: Scoot Capris, Kinvara 3, Kinvara socks, Spark tank, Drylete performance top, Pallidium jacket and Velocity run hat]

and my all time favorite...
I'm a very proud sister and auntie!
My sister and I have not always had the best of relationships but it is something I am glad we are working on. I was really happy to spend the morning with her, and doing something we both love.

We finished in 1:43:49 (sub-8 pace), and I can't tell you how proud of my big sister I am. Pacing with her was easy- I didn't have to convince her to run, she wanted to. I didn't have to put up with tantrums, or whining even when she got tired. I didn't have to tell her not to stop when I know she wanted to, because that isn't something she would do. She was grateful for the support and showed it, and I was grateful to have the chance to give it.

Do you have a sibling/relative you have run with before?

Have you ever paced someone for a race before?

Monday, October 21, 2013

Recovering back into training mode

Last week was a blend of 'marathon recovery' and 'get your ass back in gear Anderson'...

As I said on Friday, I will be doing one more marathon this year in attempt to meet my goal of 3:15. I'm filing this under "you only live once"--so why not fly to California with a friend and run a marathon (and then take a red eye home)...if I don't hit 3:15 I can at least say I had a kick ass trip and took a chance.

So last week was really all about just getting back into 'training mode', getting nutrition back under control and working on that base. Not that I lost a ton of fitness since Wineglass, but from taper and recovery I know I've got some work to do!
Monday: 45 minutes elliptical
Tuesday: 6.2 mile run
Wednesday: 6.2 mile run, 30 minutes bike
Thursday: 8.1 mile run, 30 minutes bike
Friday: Rest
Saturday: 45 minutes elliptical
Sunday: Ran Empire State Half Marathon with my sister [13.1]

Total miles run: 33.6
Total Cross training time: 150 minutes

Early on in the week I could tell I was really still in recovery mode, I was sluggish and just not feeling motivated. I questioned whether I was making the right choice. As the week went on my workouts begin to get a little better, and I was feeling a little more like myself. I'm not there yet but I am closer than I was a week ago, that much I know for sure. I did manage to meet my goals for the week, and my new Kinvara's are on the way- as I said though these were a want AND need kind of reward since all my other pairs have so many miles on them.

This week my mini goals are...
1) At least 2 morning workouts during the week
2) Eat breakfast every day (sometimes I am bad about this)
3) Run 35-40 miles with 3 non-running workouts as well.
Reward if I meet my goals is a massage, something I know my body needs right now so you bet I'm going to make a damn good effort at all of my goals.

I'm excited for this week because I know that the more I put into this the more I will feel like myself, and I'm ready to feel like myself again :) Okay, so I am addicted to exercise endorphins, sue me :)

From the weekend: Friday we went to a haunted hayride with 2 friends which was fun, although I am pretty sure I left some bruises on the people because when they grabbed my feet I kicked like crazy. Saturday was time for a new 'do' and at night we had a date at Espada Brazilian Steak house, a place we have wanted to try for a while and finally gave in- I have not eaten that much amazing food in a very long time. We decided to follow it up with some 'Get Caked' cupcakes for the house since we were already right there. Sunday was the Empire State Half marathon that I was running with my sister, cold but great way to start the day....which ended with football and relaxing afterwards.

P.S. I know cupcakes don't fall under getting nutrition under control- I'm well aware, but you gotta live a little and enjoy some treats :) Pretty sure that's a fact.

What did you do this weekend?

Ever feel like you just need 'one of those runs'
 to feel like yourself again?

Friday, October 18, 2013

Something I am really bad at...

We all have things we are good at, but also things we clearly need to improve on. There is something I am REALLY bad at that I want to talk about.

I don't do well (at all) without goals.

I am a very goal-oriented person. Without goals I get lost, lose motivation, and struggle with even minor things. I get moody, depressed, and just not the person I want to be. Over the years I have recognized this more and more and have found ways to help myself- sometimes it means always having a long term goal but I'm also working on short term ones as well.
Currently you could call it post-marathon blues, or whatever you want- but setting some new goals really needs to happen, like NOW. Not just new goals, but different goals.

I had some big goals this year, two in particular were Musselman and Wineglass. MM was more of a "train and finish" kind of goal (I did have a time goal but wasn't tied to it), and as you know I had more time specific goals for Wineglass. What I was missing this year was some more of those smaller goals, to get me from one big one to the next.

I'm in a little bit of a different spot right now, because I have some time goals but I also need some smaller different goals to keep my motivated and focused along the way. Time to get creative! :)

I mentioned the other day that I'm getting back on track with some things: logging my foods (not to the T, but still holding myself accountable), incorporating more variety in my workouts, and in general taking better care of myself. The other thing I need to work on--sleep. Maybe someday.

One thing I am going back to is my old workout log

I have used this many times its a great way to see everything in writing (which I really like)- I even got my mom to start using one a few years ago, I think she still does. It's good for 13 weeks which is actually perfect for me right now.

I started this past Monday(10/14) and it will take me through middle of January which is about when i'll start training for Boston. So when I say perfect-- I mean really perfect to keep me motivated and focused from now until it's time to train for the trek from Hopkinton to Boylston Street.

So right now I am working on setting a goal for each week; some fun goals, some fitness goals, some nutrition goals, some personal ones as well. Not all of them will be big or seem important to you- but they are some things I feel will help me in some way or another. You can't have goals without rewards, so that will also be part of this.

 Let's focus on the goals first though... I already have some set up for the next few weeks, and I am really excited to get working!

Week 1:
1) Log all food and exercise
2) Eliminate some 'unnecessary' things (i.E. frequent Starbucks latte's or cinnamon rolls, instead some regular Starbucks or other coffee and some oatmeal--yes I will still get the others sometimes but not as much as I was, my weight & my wallet will thank me for this).
3) Work on getting my base back: run ~30 aerobic miles, as well as 3 non-running workouts
Reward: New pair of Kinvara's, I'm way overdue. This is a want and need kind of reward- I can't do the miles without the tires.

Week 2:
1) At least 2 Morning workouts (During the week!)
2) Eat a REAL breakfast EVERY day (not just a coffee and a bar).
3) ~ 35-40 miles running + 3 non running workouts
Reward: Massage

Week 3:
1) Meal Plan and prep all of my food (this is a busy week for me so it will be important!)
2) Sugar Free Week (Splenda in coffee is allowed, but no candy or desserts etc.)
3) 3 Double digit runs + 2 non-running workouts
Reward: Night to myself (No work, no studying, no cleaning) with a book and glass of wine.

I know that there are certain things I can do that will help my nutrition and fitness level as well as my happiness and general well being, so that is what I want to work on. In order to become the runner and person that I know I can be, I've gotta find more of what works for me and what doesn't.

I have some of my goals set for future weeks but I am also trying not to get too far ahead of myself- I want to take this as it comes and that will mean adjusting goals along the way. 13 weeks is really going to be broken up into 2 sections....first 8 weeks being more running dominant, and 5 weeks of finding a good balance between running and the other 2 tri-disciplines (swim/bike) with an emphasis on strength training.

As you can tell, I decided NOT to do Niagara Falls marathon (3 weeks post Wineglass). As bad as I wanted the 'instant' second chance at 3:15, I knew that I wouldn't be recovered properly and that it wasn't the best option for me right now. This isn't a decision that left me with a "what if", I know that saying 'no' was the best option. My time goal of 3:15 is not off the table, but trying another PR effort so quick didn't seem feasible, smart or fun.

Something I am also really bad at (besides not having goals) is using that sneaky little "but" word.

As I said, I didn't end up signing up for Niagara Falls International Marathon, BUT....

Obviously another thing I'm really bad at....
being stubborn and not giving up on certain goals;)
C.I.M. 8 weeks instead of 3 ;)
This was the feasible, smarter and much more fun option ;)

What little goals do you set for yourself each week?
(if you want some awesome ideas, every Monday Mindy does a 'weekly goal chase'!)

Do you reward yourself from time to time? How?

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Moving Forward: Staying Positive

I'm having difficulty stringing together thoughts for a blog post right now, so it's going to be a little random (not that it's much different than the norm around here for me).

This past weekend was obviously hard, no one wants to go to calling hours or a funeral for someone they love and care about. I do want to thank everyone for the comments (as well as emails and texts) after Friday's post, I know you didn't know Ron but thank you for reaching out during a hard time. One good thing that came of Friday & Saturday was seeing some people I haven't seen in a long time, and we all agreed we need to make it a more frequent thing...and for happier reasons. Need to make time for the things that matter, and family/close friends matter way more than anything else.

Time to focus on some happier things... it's a new week and I'm determined to make it a good one.

Some good things going on right now...

Sunday was a really good day, it felt normal and relaxed and just what this girl needed (especially after Friday & Saturday's not so fun events). Slept in, relaxed around the house with John, some shopping & errands, dinner/football, and date night to a musical- not a bad way to end the weekend.

I was really excited for Chicago Marathon Sunday, I knew quite a few people running that I was rooting for. I get just as excited to cheer for marathons (even from afar) as I do to run them. I was so happy to track people and watch as the race progressed- some solid times, and awesome PR's happened. My cousin ran a 4 minute PR (and came SO close to breaking 40 seconds close), I was so proud! This is the same happy cousin I cheered for at Buffalo 26.2 this year, she's dropped a significant amount off her marathon time this year and I couldn't be happier for her.

After running a whopping 8 miles last week, my body is ready to get back into a groove this week. My legs feel pretty good, and I think I've caught up on my rest for the most part. My Kinvaras are sitting by the door begging me to take them outside and enjoy this fall weather, so today I will kindly oblige.

This coming weekend I am running the Empire State Half Marathon in Syracuse with my sister. We are running the whole race together, it will be her first post-baby race too! I did this race a few years ago and it's a decent out and back, can be really pretty with the fall foliage on a nice day. So fingers crossed we have some good weather to enjoy while getting some miles in together!

I am also running a 5k the following weekend with my sister. It's one of my favorite runs (I've never raced it), and always do it is costume. Pumpkins in the Park, it benefits the youth sports foundation in Rochester (definitely a great cause).  My sister and I have done it together a few times, and I think our costume this year will be the best yet!

The countdown is on till NYCM, I'm incredibly excited for a weekend with Heather while we lose our voices cheering for Hollie. It will be a great weekend, I know it's still a few weeks away but doesn't mean I can't get excited. So many awesome people will be the running, going to be nice change of pace getting to play cheerleader and support crew!

I'm going on a little 'health' kick persay, going to go back to logging my food and doing the things that I know I should be doing. I'm excited to make some changes and see where it takes me- both with nutrition and physical training.

What are some good things in your life right now?

Upcoming excitements?

Who will be doing a costume race for Halloween?

Friday, October 11, 2013

The "buts" and the "what ifs"

I had a much different post planned, but I just couldn't find the words I wanted to say. After Sunday's race I knew I was going to break up my recap into pre-race/photos, race recap, and post-race thoughts. I'm struggling with the post race thoughts, more than I thought that I would.

This week has been a roller coaster. The highs from the race (and yes there were a lot of them), to the lows of waking up Tuesday morning to find that someone incredibly special to me had passed away.

The world lost an incredible person this week. He was a great friend to the family (neighbor of my parents) who I have known the better part of my life (over 20 years). Our 'road' was like a second family growing up, I had little siblings that weren't blood related, second sets of parents that treated me as if I was there own. I am incredibly blessed to have the circle of friends/family that I do, there was never a lack of love and support. My heart breaks for my 'Marrowback family' and for the family Ron left behind.

I think of the last few years, how I moved away (only 35 minutes) and really 'neglected' my second family. Missing parties that I used to count down the days to growing up, not being there for life moments for people who never missed a life moment for me. But I also remember I was there for a party a few months ago, which little did I know was the last time I would see Ron. I joked with John that him meeting the 'Marrowback family' was just as important as my bloodlines, Ron and the others watched out for me as if it was their own daughter.

All of the things going on this week have had me very emotional, and questioning so many things. Not that this surprises me, but Tuesday night I was already on the computer looking at what marathons I could do between now and the end of the year to get my 3:15. Just one more shot.  I put my emotions into my running, so when I lose someone close to me like that- naturally the first thing I look at is the marathon.

As some of you already know, I am considering another marathon before the year is out. I feel like I want to take one more shot this year at 3:15. This was on my mind before getting the bad news Tuesday, but the emotions definitely strengthened my determination. Ron was taken from this world without notice, and way before his time. Life is tricky like that, we never know what's going to happen. 

So that means tell people you love them, take chances, dream big, and don't always live the "next time" kind of life....because you never know if that "next time" will come.

Karen did this post: Be Kind to Yourself, which really got me thinking. I'm not being nice to myself right now. I'm adding that sneaky little word "but" after things instead of celebrating the things that I should. 

I ran a 4 minute Marathon PR but I missed my 'A' goal by 2 minutes
I ran really smart negative splits but I wonder if I started 'too' slow
I earned another BQ for 2015 but I didn't get the time I need for a sponsorship I am vying for
My fastest miles were my last few but could I have gone even faster?
You get the point.
This is not how to show being grateful, this is proof that I have been taking so many things, running and non running related for granted.

Losing Ron is something that has saddened me beyond words- but has also reminded me that I need to be grateful. Why am I upset about running a 3:17 instead of a 3:15 marathon, when there are people who will never be able to run a marathon at all? Why am I worrying about picking a race or making a training plan when there are people who are struggling with more life-altering things like the Government Shutdown? Why was I worked up over not seeing John until 90 minutes after finishing the marathon, when Ron's wife and children will never get to see him again?

I have a ton to be grateful for, and I hate that it takes losing a loved one for that reminder. I've done a ton of thinking this week and know that this weekend is going to be very reflective. Memories, questions, thoughts, fears, wants, needs, all of it.

As you can tell my thoughts are all over the place right now. All I know I going to look back and wonder 
"What if?"

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Wineglass Marathon Recap

You can see the photos of the weekend leading up to the race here.

Heads up, this could get long...hope you are comfortable.

After a 4 AM wake up, long shower and a love affair with cold coffee and chocolate chip muffin- I made myself get ready. We got to the finish line around 6:15, chatted and said our goodbye's and then met up with Lora so we could be the cool kids and ride the bus together. I was worried that the shuttle would stress me out, but I was actually really calm and relaxed. The bus left (and it wasn't jam packed thank goodness) and Lora and I were able to chat and enjoy the 30 minute ride to the start line. I can't say enough good things about this girl, we were talking about running and Boston and wedding stuff... I'm pretty sure if I lived closer, we would hang out a lot!

Once we got to the start we made our way through portopotty lines, and then went inside the barn they had set up for runners. Chatted some more, and got ready to make our way to the line. Also got to meet up with Heather before the race, gave her a huge ass hug and was really happy to see her. I'm a really crappy person because I forgot to get a picture of Lora, Heather and I before the race. These girls made the morning really awesome, that's a fact.

Once I got to the start line I saw a bunch of people I knew, chatted with 2 in particular who had similar goals. All the sudden I heard my name, I left the crowd and ran to the side to hug my friend Debbie quick (Saw her multiple times on course too which was a huge boost). Shortly after that I saw that John made it to the start on his bike, gave him one last hug and kiss and he grabbed me arm and said "3:15" I smiled and put my headphones in and got ready to go.

Gear: Saucony Curve Crusader Sports Bra, MC Shorts, Saucony Arm warmers, Spibelt, Garmin 405, I-pod, Saucony Kinvara Socks, Saucony A5 Racing Flats, Off brand Sunglasses, Clif Shot Blocks (strawberry), Clif Shot Gel (Strawberry+ Caffiene)

Miles 1-6
7:48, 7:43, 7:45, 7:41, 7:41, 7:45
[1 shot block and water at mile 4 and 6]

I clotheslined myself from the start, holding myself back from taking off like a bat out of hell. It was hard (especially with downhill start), but I knew that it was my best bet for getting the time I wanted. Around mile 3 I saw a big group of friends of mine, the sound of their screaming was pretty impressive, and definitely put a smile on my face(right photo). I finally passed my arm warmers off to John (and stole a kiss) around mile 5, and then went on my merry way knowing I could slowly start speeding up.

10k split (48:16, 7:46 average)- I crossed the mat and smiled, knowing this would be the first split to appear for those who were tracking me. I also knew that I was where I wanted to be, and that I could slowly start picking off those people who flew past me at the start.

Miles 7-12
7:36, 7:38, 7:42, 7:28, 7:39, 7:36
[1 shot block and water at mile 8, 10, 12]
I gave myself a little leeway here and picked up the pace. I was going back and forth with a few other runners which turned into a little game. This was also where I found the man who decided to run with a water bottle with beads or something in it....basically he sounded like he was playing maracas, I kind of imagined grabbing it and throwing it but decided to play nice. But really I wanted to throw it. Lets file that under self control success.

Miles 13-16
7:24, 7:09, 7:36, 7:36, 7:21
[`1 shot block and water at 14, 15, & 16]
This section was just odd for me, my paces were all over the place and I couldn't seem to find a comfortable groove. I crossed the half split at 1:40:45 (7:41 average) and smiled again knowing that it would show negative splits from 10k split. I was doing what I planned to do but also wondered if I was going to pick it up as much as I needed it. Here enters self doubt.

This is also the section where a Rochester man (he was wearing a local running club singlet) decided to bob and weave excessively across the road and cut me off and stepped on my foot at a water station. No apology or even acknowledgment - My friend Mark who was running saw it happen, and told me to use it as fuel, I dropped a very loud F-bomb and pushed on. I think the mile 14 fast split was because  there was a "viewing" area for spectators, so there was lots of cheering going on. I remember looking at my watch and seeing 7:09 and knowing I had to pull it back a bit. It was too soon to let loose, there was still plenty of race to go.

Miles 18-23
 7:23, 7:26, 7:37, 7:19, 7:21, 7:13
[water and half gel at 20 and 22]
I got a huge smile on my face at this point, looked over to side of road to see Joe standing waiting for me (I wasn't expecting him till mile 20). He hopped right in, asked how I was feeling and we set a good pace. He chatted keeping my mind distracted as the miles rolled on, he also played a good wall for me when the wind picked up in a few spots. He kept me on pace, encouraged me, grabbed water cups for me and motivated me to push. It was a big comfort having a good friend there when things start getting tough.  Right before he left me at 23, he told me to go for it...and I didn't want to let him down so I picked up the pace and pushed forward.

We were on a narrow path from 21-24(ish) which proved to be a little frustrating for me. It was nice being off the road and away from cars and such, but at this point I started catching a lot of people. Not only was I catching marathoners, I was catching those who walked the half marathon. Let me paint a picture for you, 4 foot wide path and half of it was covered with people walking(side by side)(and not moving over) and the other part was water stops. It got congested in a few places which frustrated me because I had to focus on bobbing and weaving and not running anyone over (Or getting stepped on) instead of focusing on moving forward and picking up the pace. I'm sure I only lost a few seconds because of it, but like I said it made it hard to focus.

Mile 23
[sip of water, rest on my head]
I started really pushing myself here. The hot spot on the bottom of my foot (which I started feeling around 19) was really starting to bug me, but there wasn't anything I could do. I told myself I could do this (over and over) and just kept trucking along. I was still annoyed with the narrow path and weaving around half- marathon walkers but eventually we got back out on a road so it was a little easier to avoid them. I told myself I had a little over 21 minutes and also told myself I have done this 5 times before, 21 more minutes is nothing.

Miles 24-26
 7:08, 7:10
[dumped 2 cups on my head]
Just around mile 24 I saw my friends Katie and Ben running at me, I figured they would cheer me on, maybe run for a minute or so and then stop.....Nope. They ran the last 2 miles one on each side of me. I pulled out one of my headphones so I could hear them, they literally encouraged me every step. "Almost there", "this is what you trained for", "just a little bit further"...every word went right to my heart. I have incredible friends.
The pain on my face screams mile 25+
Finally on Market street, Katie behind me yelling and Ben pulling ahead trying to push me. You can also see the temperature in the background, 70+ by finish time.
 Finally I made the turn onto Market Street for the home stretch. It felt like it took forever, kind of like the long home stretch at RNR VB. I could see the finish but it wasn't getting closer. They were telling me to push and I didn't think I had anything left. I took out my other ear bud and just soaked in the cheers of the crowds, and gave it what I had left.

Ben and I tackling the beginning of Market Street, the finish is wayyy down there. P.S. I love the back of my Saucony Curve Crusader Sports bra, in case you were wondering.

After crossing the finish line (with a time of 3:17:29)I promptly sat down for a few minutes, Mylar blanket wrapped around me just trying to wrap my head around everything. I was tired, I kind of wanted to throw up, and I kind of wanted to cry. I was overwhelmed, a few volunteers asked me if I was okay and I just kind of looked at them with what I assumed to have been a sad puppy face because next thing I know they brought me over chocolate milk and cookies and a plate of pizza.

After a bit I made my way out of finish area and down the street to the group of women I knew, sat down and cracked open a Guinness. I also looked up quickly at this point and saw Lora cruising into the finish, running a great race and finding out she set a new PR- I cheered as loud as I could, girl rocked it.

 I grabbed my phone from my drop bag and instantly saw that John had texted me, which is what I needed. No he was not at the finish- even though I knew he wouldn't be there to see me finish it was still hard.  He was being bike support for our 2 friends who were doing their first marathon. But he had tracked me with the texts and knew when I finished to be able to send me a message. Yes it was emotional  finishing without him right there, but knowing he was supporting our friends during their first marathon was incredibly touching and important.

I took my shoes off and found my hot spot that had been bothering me. By hot spot I mean gigantic-disgusting-painful-blister (I'll spare the photo for you). It hurt to put any weight on my foot and I knew I needed to get it bandaged in case it busted. I hobbled towards med tent knowing they might not let me in since I already left finish area (security reasons), but some firefighters blocking a side street saw me hobbling and asked if they could help. I got to sit in the fire truck while they put gauze and tape on my foot and commented on my good taste in beer (which was still in my hand).

I spent the rest of the time back by the finish chute cheering runners on, and chatting away with people I knew. Finally about 90 minutes after finishing, I got to see John. He was dressed as Luigi to make our friends laugh on the course (the ones he was playing bike support for), so in case you were I am not marrying a nintendo character. I got my big hug and then a few minutes later we were able to cheer Amy and Donna in as they finished their first marathon- I'm pretty sure I cried.

It was also during this time that I realized that my 4 minute PR, also earned me a second place age group award. It's a cool tile, only like 80 more Wineglass races and I can redo my bathroom shower.
I must say, the braids looked much cuter before the rain, heat and humidity turned them into birds nests.

I had scheduled a post for Sunday, letting you know that my goal was 3:15. But my B goal was a PR (under 3:21) so I at least made that goal. I give myself an A- for the race, as my time was closer to A goal than B. I am incredibly happy with my time, 3:17 is something I never even thought possible a year or 2 ago, but I also know that I can do more. A 4 minute PR in a marathon is big, and I know that, I am proud of the work that I put in to this race.

I ran very smart, with a 4 minute faster second half than the first- being able to say my last 2 miles were 2 of my fastest reminds me that all this work, all this training- it matters. So what does that tell me, the work is far from done. This may be a new personal best, and a damn good one at that....but I will not let this current time, limit me from going for even better times. I've got more work in me, more speed and determination in me- my marathon journey is far from over.

Marathon #6 is in the books, one I will certainly never forget.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Wineglass Weekend in Photos

I've got too many photos and too many thoughts regarding this past weekend for one post. So today you get photos from the weekend, as well as some pre-race deets. 
Recap later this week, pinky promise.

I ate amazing Carbs. Like really amazing. 

Slept in a little as planned, read in bed and was lazy- John even made me pancakes and brought them to me. After that we got up and went for a 4 mile shake out run together, I did 3 miles super easy and then picked it up to marathon pace for the last mile. 

After packing up and getting ready we hit Panera for a carb-a-licious lunch, and of course grabbed Starbucks for the road. It's only a 90-ish minute drive for us, but just long enough for me to spend some time sipping iced coffee and finalizing my playlist.

We hit the expo at the Corning YMCA, and I was really excited to meet up with Lora (Crazy Running Girl). It was great to meet her and her hubby in person, she's just as real and smiley as she is on her blog which was refreshing :) I was also glad we got along well (not that I doubted we would) because it made Sunday morning nice to have someone to hang out with on the bus ride to start line!

After the expo and packet pickup, John and I headed to Market street to grab some food and check out finish line area.

We ended up going to dinner at DeClemente's Deli & Restaurant right on Market Street. It was small but the food portions were huge and the prices were incredibly reasonable. One of the best parts- the food was amazing. Probably the best lasagna I have ever had, and yes I had a satisfying glass of red wine with it!

After dinner we hit Wegmans for race morning food, and then checked into our hotel.
There was a little snaffoo checking in- went up to our room and there were peoples belongings already in there. Management had no idea what happened (because John's name was still listed on the room), but they quickly gave us another room and even gave us a restaurant gift card because they felt so bad. They also let us know that they were going to have bags of goodies and water bottles in the lobby for runners early in the morning- 4 stars for the Hampton Inn. 

 We also goofed off a little in the hotel, now you see me--now you dont! 


Early morning love affair with a chocolate chip muffin.

A bet is a bet---here's your proof Brian!

And my hug goodbye in the morning!
 I took a shuttle to the start since John was going to be on his bike. 

And a post race shot for you...
3 of my favorite things... Saucony, Guinness, and Fall.

Check back tomorrow or Thursday for race recap :)

Favorite race-eve meal?
Do you have a race morning routine?

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Bottom of the Wine bottle: it's race day!

Good morning! By the time you are reading this I will be running (or done) with the Wineglass marathon. It's insane to think that this is marathon #6 for me, feels like yesterday I was deciding to train for my first- definitely cool to think about how far I have come (with fabulous support from amazing people).

It's incredibly hard to believe that I started officially training for this race 11 weeks ago (granted I have been registered for almost 9 months). I know I say it all the time, but this year really is flying by.

Final Run-Down
Monday: Rest
Tuesday: Rest
Wednesday: 8.11 mile run (6 easy + 2 @ MP)
Thursday: Rest
Friday: Rest
Saturday: 4 easy miles with John

This week I honestly just did what worked with my schedule, and went based on how I was feeling. I had a run planned for Tuesday but a taperific nap ended up happening after work. Oh well. Basically I knew that an extra run here or there wouldn't do me any good but could potentially take something out of me.

Seeing as I teased everyone about not telling you my goal time, there really is no point in hiding it anymore because by the time you read this I'll be running or done running and won't really matter.

So the big reveal: 3:15....yep lofty goal, but it's possible! I do have my other know a PR (sub 3:21) and well..finishing is always a goal too.

I know that some of you thought my goal was 3:05ish because of my last set of yasso's, but quite frankly I am not at that level now but one day- yes I hope to be. That day won't be for a while but yes, someday. Let's take this thing a few minutes (or seconds) at a time please :)

As I mentioned Friday, my splits are all set to post to my twitter and Facebook page- so if you are so inclined you can follow along with me there. I do want to take a second to thank everyone for the amazing support throughout training, and during taper. I greatly appreciated every comment, tweet, email, text and call that I got-- you seriously make me feel like a super lucky girl.

See you at the finish line!

Friday, October 4, 2013

Hold on to your hats...and other complete randomness

Hold on to your hats's marathon weekend!

I am legitimately bouncing off the walls today because 
1) it's Friday 
2) It's Marathon Weekend 
3) I'm pretty sure I put my sassy pants on this morning [Thanks Beth for the idea...]
4) I have already had a TON of coffee today

So here's some complete randomness for you... in numbered format, because I flipping feel like it.

1. Thank you for putting up with me during taper- I have worked very hard for this race, and have big goals....when something is important to you, you make it a priority and no one or nothing should make you feel bad about it. Read: I don't feel bad for the taper crazies I have had- it's part of the process.

2. The Bills couldn't get keep their mojo flowing from Sunday's win...and we lost to the Browns last night- What does this mean for me? I lost a friggin bet with Brian and now have to write "GO BROWNS" on my calf on Sunday. Public humiliation at it's finest, might as well put me in the stocks for the whole world to see.

3. As for this weekend, I will be doing packet pickup tomorrow afternoon after checking into my hotel. Shoot me an email if you are going to be around and going tomorrow afternoon. Already planning on trying to meet up with a few people! Sunday I will be taking shuttle around 6/6:15 from finish to start line, so if you wanna be rebels and sit in the back of the bus with me...I'm game.

4. For those of you who want to stalk me support me from afar by tracking me, I have my splits set to post automatically to my twitter feed, and on my personal Facebook page. I assume there will be start split, half split, and finish- beyond that I am not sure. If all the sudden you see my splits go wayyyy slower, please stop paying attention and bring a bus and run me over. THANKS!

5. My playlist is overflowing, but please still send me any ideas for awesome songs to jam to- I'm always accepting new tunes to get busted singing and dancing to.

6. I'm excited for the marathon to be over (kind of) because I plan on having Fiona (my bike) on the rollers a few nights a week while watching Breaking Bad on Netflix so I can see what all the Hooplah is all about. Yes I have never seen the show, not even once. 

7. My nephew turned 6 months old the other day, where the hell has time gone. I feel like just yesterday he was in my arms at the hospital, making me instantly fall in love with him. 

8. Random Fact: Every Friday when I grab the Wall Street Journal at my office, it still amazes me that there is a "Mansion" Section. Are you effing kidding me? Our Government is shut down, yet we still have a section of a huge paper about big expensive houses and things to make them bigger and better? Even before the shut down this baffled me. 

9. I'd really like to discuss where this year went. Any ideas?

10. It's Fridayyyyyyyyy, enjoy your weekend! What fun things do you have planned? Anyone else racing?

11. I had to edit and add this...I have to say I am incredibly proud of my Alma Mater--I'm not surprised in the least about how much they care....please take a second to read this

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