Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Blah blah blah

Not too much going on in my world. Still recovering from the marathon. Every time I run, I feel great, but then I hurt the next day. Hmmmm... I ran a few miles on Sunday with my friend Connie while she rocked the Columbus Half Marathon, and then I ran 6.2 miles with my friend Joanne while she ran her first ever full marathon. Big CONGRATS to both of them!! (Although I don't think either of them read my blog! LOL.)

I met with a potential bride and groom tonight, to coordinate their wedding in May. They were tons of fun, so I hope they hire me! :)

We've been cooking a lot, so I'll try to post some recipes over on the food blog soon. I bought some cool produce at the farmer's market (dragon carrots and orange beets!) and we got lots in the CSA too. We've used eggplant, leeks, potatoes, celery, broccoli and green peppers, all from the CSA, in the last few days. I also made some hummus from scratch - easy and delish!

Ok, I'm off to iron and watch Biggest Loser.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Race Report!

I just realized if I didn't post this tonight, I wouldn't get to it until tomorrow night again.

So, I survived the Chicago Marathon! I certainly didn't think I'd be saying it like that, but I am. And I'm actually happy with the results, a 13 minute PR! Official time: 4 hours, 5 minutes and 43 seconds. Secretly though, or not so secretly, I really wanted to break 4 hours.

Here is the LONG race report.

The weather was pretty cold. I think it was about 28 when we left the hotel for the short walk to the start area. I was very very glad I had purchased throw away warm up clothes at the thrift store to wear over. I lost one of my 2 baggies of Sharkies and Shot Blox before we even started but luckily Tara gave me some extra Shot Blox to hold on to and I never eat that much while running anyway. I wore the throwaways until just before the official start. We managed to get very close to the start of the open corral, which was great. I was really worried about getting stuck in the throngs of people, but actually we had no problems at all. It only took about 5 minutes to cross the start line, nowhere near the 20 I was expecting. I warmed up in about a mile but my feet were numb for a while. My Garmin was off right away because of some tunnels and just being downtown, but I was expecting that. I think the first mile was about 9:20. I thought we'd be close to a 10 minute pace, so we were already faster than I thought we'd be. I was in a group of 7 and we got split up at the first water stop and I was in the front group of 4. I started to realize we were going a bit fast by mile 3, but I thought we were doing ok. I needed a 9:09 average pace to break 4 hours, so I was hoping to start off slowly and then average about 9:00-9:05 for most of the race. By mile 6, I realized we were over a minute and a half ahead, so I knew we needed to slow down. But I felt good! Annoyingly though, my feet were sliding with every single step I took. Someone later suggested that perhaps my feet shrunk a bit in the cold. I don't know what it was, but my socks and shoes were not working together. I felt every single step for the entire race.

Around mile 9, the 2 girls (Kate and Catherine) I was with just kept speeding up so I decided to "run my run" and slow down. I knew it was too fast. I probably should have done that an hour earlier. I had already lost Keith (another MIT runner) around mile 3 when his calf started to seize up. (poor guy, I feel awful for him!) So I was by myself. But the crowds were great and I felt good. I put the iPod in one ear and just tried to soak it in.

I saw Todd around mile 12 and gave him the thumbs up and flashed 4 fingers, thinking that I had 4 hours in the bag. I was about 2 minutes fast, so I could slow down to a 9:20 average and still break 4. I started telling myself that it was all mental from there on out.

Not too long after the halfway point, the crowds thinned considerably. By mile 15 or 16, I started to realize I might be in trouble. My calves were starting to burn. Then my quads and hamstrings joined in the fun. I felt a blister (turned out to be a blood blister) forming on my right big toe. By mile 18, my lower back was on fire too. I started slowing down. Although I kept telling myself that I could run through the pain, I had acknowledged that 4 hours might actually not be in my reach. I started telling myself just to keep running, one foot in front of the other. By mile 20, I was actually considering dropping out. I started drooling when I saw the volunteers wearing the "runner dropout" shirts. I did the math to figure out how bad my time would be if I walked the whole rest of the way. I knew that walking would be the end of me. From previous experience, I knew that walking leads to a lot more walking - I can't really get going again. So I slowed down to practically a shuffle. By now I also thought I might vomit. I kept making myself take sips of water at the aid stations and eat the occasional Sharkie or Shot Block, but I still felt like crap. Around mile 20, 2 of the original girls from my group (that had started slower) passed me, looking great. (One ended up finishing a full 10 minutes faster than I.) I, on the other hand, felt like dying or quitting. I just kept moving forward. Kate actually passed me somewhere around mile 21. I had no idea she was behind me since the last I knew, she was speeding up ahead of me. She had cramped up and was struggling, walking and running off and on. We stayed together for a bit and I eventually went ahead.

Todd was cheering for me at mile 23. I handed off my gloves and told him I wanted to die. Poor guy didn't even know what to say. But sometime shortly thereafter I actually started to get some energy back. The pain started to go away a bit (see, I knew I could eventually run through it!). I saw another MITer cheering me on and high fived him. The crowds started to pick up. By mile 25, I was officially jogging instead of shuffling. I was afraid to push it too much for fear of crashing. Once I saw the 25.2 (one mile left!) sign, I did start to pick it back up. I actually ran up the last hill (which seemed freaking endless) and crossed the 26 mile mark. I tried to sprint the last .2 miles to the finish, although I'm sure it looked more like a large sloth mushing down the street. I finally crossed the finish line and was filled with emotion. I've never cried at a race before but I nearly did at this one. I was so incredibly proud of myself for pushing through the end. Not only did I not give up and quit, I didn't even give in to the overwhelming desire to stop running and walk. I was also filled with some disappointment that I had not made my 4 hour time goal. But I had realized miles earlier that it was no longer realistic and spent the remaining time formulating new goals for myself and coming to terms with it. Truthfully, I was thrilled just to have crossed the finish line.

I thought I might die there in the finish chute, but I didn't. It was so incredibly painful just to walk. I couldn't sit down because I knew that they would make me see a medic. I tried to stretch a bit and picked up some food and water. I was at this point really sad I'd given Todd my warm clothes instead of bag checking because there was no line whatsoever. I ran into Kate again and realized I'd actually finished before her and we talked a bit about how happy we were. Once I got out, I wanted to lay on the ground and wait for someone I knew to find me, but I was so cold that I managed to keep walking until I found Todd and my friends and got my warm clothes. Annoyingly, we met farther away from our hotel so then we had to walk all the way back. But it was probably for the best to keep moving.

This is definitely the most sore I've ever been after a race. My quads are just beat up. Stairs and moving in or out of a seated position are the worst. Every day is better though.

I am very happy with the race, although I must confess that I am still a bit obsessed about my 4 hour time goal. I know I went out too fast and wonder if I could have broken it if I had started slow like I'd planned. Looking at the splits on my Garmin is ridiculous - we went WAY too fast for miles. My pace at the half (when I'd already started to slow down) was 9:01 and it should have been 9:10 or 9:15. It may not sound like much, but it's a lot for me. So I'm actually considering trying to run another one while I'm still trained up. We'll see if that actually happens or not though. It's just frustrating because I really felt like I had it and then I completely lost it. But all in all, I think I did a great job for me and I'm really happy with my progress.

As for the race, I definitely give it a thumbs up. It's incredibly well-organized. There are tons of huge aid stations and the fans are amazing, especially in the first half. They do thin out considerably in the second half. (Is there a marathon that doesn't do this?? All three I've done have this issue.) It was incredible to see all the people lining the course and running. Every small hill we ran just showed off the wall to wall runners. The course is pretty flat but there are some minor elevation changes. The worst part was the bridges, with their open grates. I always felt like I was going to get my shoe caught in them and they often only had a covering in a small area.

Ok, that's probably enough rambling about the race! :) Thanks for bearing with me while I trained for that.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Marathon Week!

Holy crap, less than a week till the big race. I can't believe it's actually here! Only three more days of work since we're taking off Friday morning. The weather is looking like it's going to be chilly. This is good, since the last two years have been unseasonably hot. However, it looks like it might be pretty chilly and also rainy. We have zilch experience running in the cold since it has just now gotten nippy here. The biggest problem this will cause is what in the world to wear. I can't remember which warm things I like and I don't have much to wear in this weird in-between weather. Hands down though, it is MUCH better to have weather be a little too cold than a little too hot.

I really don't have much else new to report. Maybe I'll be more interesting when I'm not just running. :) I have been trying some new recipes lately, trying to use up some of the produce we're getting from our CSA. So I'll post those over on the food blog (colYUMbus.blogspot.com) tonight.

I'm not sure if I'll post again before the race, actually. Tomorrow night is the MIT (Marathoner-in-Training, my running group) banquet, Wednesday night is my last speed workout, and Thursday night is packing. Busy week! So hopefully my next update will be a great race result. I've had some minor nagging pains so cross your fingers they go away!

Happy week!