Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Illinois Marathon Recap

Guess I better get working on this.  I know you all (ok, maybe only 1 or 2....haha) are anxious to hear all the details about my running the Illinois Marathon.  If you are not a details, let's hash it all out type of person then here is a very brief synopsis.

I started out feeling great.  At the 1/2 way point I was on track for a 3:20 and figured that would happen.  At mile 15 I started to slow, just a little, like 10-15 seconds.  At mile 20 I completely hit the wall & it took everything in me to not walk or reduce myself to a complete shuffle.  I finished a minute slower than last year, but felt 100 times worse.  Finish time: 3:30:50

Now if you want the details & specifics and are willing to read my complete breakdown of the race then read on.

Even though I was by myself and had no one to blame I was running a little late on getting to the race.  That left me with little down time before the race.  Once I was parked I headed straight to gear check & dropped off my bag.   I was in such a hurry and had complete tunnel vision I didn't even realize until after the fact that there was a long line and yet, I just walked up to the guy handed him my bag & then left.  Haha, ooops!  Anyway, I enjoyed a brief meetup with Amanda from Too Tall Fritz.  She was running her 4th marathon in 14 days.  Wowza!  And people think I'm crazy!!  She is always a delight to meet up with!!

After that I only had time for a last quick (ok, but there is nothing quick when thousands of people are waiting in line) trip to the porta potties and I slipped into my start corral.  Within 2-3 minutes the gun went off and I started off feeling great.  Temperature wise it was leaning toward the warm side.  It was 52 degrees, but the sun was coming up strong & clear over head of us.  I knew the forecast called for lower 70's by mid day and I could tell it would be on the toasty side.  Overall I do feel like the weather played a role in part of what happened.

I thought I took my first mile very easy & conservative, but according to my splits I ran a 7:03   I felt completely comfortable with this pace, but I did kick it down a notch.  My plan was to hold back a little for the first half, maybe 20 miles, if need be, to make sure I had something left at the end.  And, well, we know plans don't always go how we want.  But....the beginning miles went by pretty quick.  I remember seeing the first few mile markers, but before I knew it boom there was mile 7 and then another flash and there was 10.  I was running strong and feeling really good.....maybe too good to be true.  I mean, come on, let's be honest...I did not train for this marathon.  Oh, I've been running, but I did not train.  Can't take credit for that in any way shape or form!  Anyway, my first 15 miles looked like this:  7:03, 7:35, 7:34, 7:28, 7:29, 7:28, 7:39, 7:27, 7:46, 7:43, 7:24, 7:41, 7:26, 6:57, 7:48.  For the most part I was in the 7:30 range.  Not bad for a girl who is horrible at keeping pace & does not rely on anything to tell me what pace I am going.  (I turn on my device & stick it in my belt.  I leave it running and do not look at it until after I've finished.)

I knew early on in the race I was out in front of the 3:25 pace group.  I passed them very easily and put some distance between us.  I don't know how much distance because I never tuned around to look.  If you've ever run a big race you can just tell when you are near a pace group because there is a cluster of them who stick together.  I had none of that my first half of the race.  My goal was to keep in front of this pace and according to my 1/2 time I was on track to run a 3:20 finish.  Perfect, but ya, I did mention it was too good to be true.  Right around the 13 mile mark that 3:25 group came up behind me and they helped spur me on for a few miles.  I wanted to keep IN FRONT of them!  I was ok with slipping down to that finish time, but I could not let them get ahead of me.  I think that is where my 6:56 came from at mile 14. I pushed ahead to try and get some distance on them.  At mile 15 though I decided to not fight it anymore & let them pass me, but I was right behind them.  Slowly though they pulled away, but not by much, probably 15-20 seconds and I hung on for a few more miles.  I felt ok, but could feel myself slowing down.  My next few miles were 7:45, 7:48 & 7:43.

Remember I mentioned the temperatures.  I know 50's, 60's even low 70's doesn't sound that warm, but the sun was bright and strong.  Most importantly I haven't run in these temperatures very much.  We had a very cold, harsh winter with A LOT of below freezing and sub zero temperatures.  Our spring has been very limited as well.  I figured I haven't run in these temperatures since late October, maybe early Nov.  And then bam, here I am out running in it again.  I could certainly feel it affecting my body temperature.  I was slightly overheated.  I took in water & Gatorade at every single station.  It actually seemed like they added more stops than in the past (and maybe they did last minute with the increased temps).  I even began pouring glasses of water on top of my head for just a little relief.  I definitely began to feel fried or baked, which is not a good feeling when you're not used to it.  So I do believe that the temperatures played a large part in what happened next.

I've never had this happen in a marathon before (I did once in an ultra), but at mile 19 I slammed in to THE WALL!  I was miserable and all I wanted to do was walk or reduce myself to a complete shuffle.  Every single step was incredibly hard and I just wanted it to be over.  I could definitely feel the affects of the weather and the very obvious fact that I was not trained for this.  My base training & natural ability still kept me going at an ok pace, but it was tough.  At mile 20 the clock showed 2:35 so I figured I wasn't in too bad of trouble with a finish time if I could just keep going.  But, of course, I have that horrible perception of what pace I really am going.  I didn't think I had slowed down that much, but for all I knew I was clocking a 12 minute pace.  And I still refused to look at my timing device.  At this point my goal was only to finish.  I knew this could happen and here I was faced with it so I just kept putting one foot in front of another and didn't dare complain.  In hindsight I know that my gps and the race timing went wonky so I don't have definite paces for the last 6 miles.  I can only average that I ran a 9 minute pace.

I did perk up a little during mile 25 and right before I hit mile 26, as I turned a corner I saw the 3:30 pace group coming up behind me.  That lit a little fire underneath me for I was determined to finish ahead of them.  It was a little encouraging to know that I wasn't too far off my PR finish from last year.  I pushed to the end and was never so happy to be done.  My finish time was 3:30:50.  Exactly 1 minute slower than last year!  Except last year I felt awesome & great and was ready to do it all over again.  This year....the complete opposite, but I'm not complaining.  Considering how little to no training  I had for this race I did ok.  A finish is a finish.  And a BQ is a BQ.

I was staggering a little when I finished and must've had a look on my face because someone came rushing up to me and yelled (ok, it felt like they were yelling, maybe they weren't) "ARE YOU OK?!?!"  It took me a few seconds to mumble "yeah, I think so" and I kept on walking.  Someone put a medal around my neck and I posed for a picture.
This is NOT my usual big smile, oh look I just *easily* ran a marathon.

As quickly as I could I staggered over to the medical area & grabbed some ice bags.  
I found a tiny sliver of shade and painfully lowered myself on to the ground where I set about updating my family, friends & social media with how I finished.  After about 15 minutes, I even more painfully stood up and went up to gear check to get my bag.  Once I was up there I realized that I did not get my I-Challenge medal.  I tried to tell myself that I didn't care about the medal and it was not worth going through the agony of down and up those stadium stairs again.  But who was I kidding, I earned that medal & I wanted it.

Since I was there alone I had no reason to stick around so I left.  I stopped for one more picture and by then was actually feeling much better.  I really think the shade & ice did a ton of help.

There's my big smile!  And with BOTH medals!

How I placed:
Overall: 173rd out of 1,685
Female: 28th out of 693
Age Group (35-39):  3rd out of 122
Woo Hoo, first time I've ever placed in my age group in a marathon.  Super excited to see what my award is.  They mail those a few weeks after the race.

A few more specifics re:  my splits
10k:  46:37
1/2 way point:  1:40:17
20 mile mark:  2:35:36

Friday, April 25, 2014

Ready or Not....Here I Come

So it's here.  Marathon weekend.  I have a lot of mixed feeling on this whole subject.  And in theory by evidence of my severe lack of training and very persistent physical issues I should not expect a stellar race tomorrow.  I don't feel prepared to run 26.2, but I'M READY!

I feel more than ready, which again, is completely different than being trained.  However, I long ago (maybe 10ish years) had this thought....this theory, revelation about myself.  I truly believe that God perfectly and wonderfully created me to do this!  I may not be the fastest at it, but I have what it takes to do this and get it done!!  I have plenty of other times where I was lacking training and/or had not reached certain training specifics,  yet I went out and either raced just fine or far exceeded what was expected.  I certainly prefer to be well trained and confident in my training, but that doesn't mean one way or another that things will go good or bad.  Can I run 26.2?  Will I finish no matter what?  YES!  I have no doubt whatsoever!

Last Saturday my running partner & I were chatting at our sons' soccer game.  I was in deep analysis over, running, racing, etc.  She's always so great about listening and help me think things through.  At one point she chuckled and re-assured me that she had NO doubt that I will likely have a great run and probably match if not exceed my performance from last year.  Which, in case you forgot, or don't know is a PR and BQ.  See:
 (I  added my own edits to reflect official finish time)

Here are my goals for my marathon:  

My I FINISHED goal: 
To arrive on time. To start. To finish.  aka: finish feeling fine & having fun. Worse case scenario I just go out & have fun.  Not my plan, but I can always revert to this if I have to.

My I CAN goal:
Finish in 3:40
I picked this time because it is the Boston qualifying time for my gender and age group.  It is slower than I ran last year, but still a good pace.  I don't NEED to qualify for Boston, I already have and that time stands for 2 years in terms of having a time needed to register.  While I haven't done any other speed work since before my half marathon 3 weeks ago, I'm confident in my overall training that I can run this with little to no problem.  This is my base, I can do this ability.

My I LOVE IT goal:
To match my current PR time which is currently 3:29:50  that was set last year when I was better trained & in better physical health.  Or even better yet to beat that and set a new PR.  Anytime I can improve on a previous time makes me very happy!
My I DREAM IT goal:
To finish in 3:20 or faster  

Based on my most recent half marathon time I should be able to run 3:14.  Wow!  Really?!?!?  In the event that my body allows it, because one never knows how the body will react once the gun goes off, and I go out & finish with giving 100%  then this dream is very attainable.  

I am also racing the Illinois 5k which is tonight.  Yes, I have goals & plans for that race and I have no doubt I will go out and return a very decent finishing time.  But I also know that the marathon is the bigger picture here so I can not risk doing anything completely stupid.  If everything goes right and I PR tonight, then great.  But it's not worth if it jeopardizes tomorrow. So I won't post those goals.  We'll just see how it goes & I'll save it for a time when I race a 5k with nothing else going on.

For those closest to me I will text you as soon as I finish.  Within a very reasonable time I will post on Facebook and Instagram as well!  Alright.....time to finish packing my bags and head out the door.  Ready or I come!!!!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Marathon Mania

Phew!  It's been quite the week with the 118th Boston Marathon on Monday and my marathon that I will run on Saturday.  Which may explain why I have been in a FANTASTIC mood all week.  I'm just bursting with smiles & excitement everywhere I turn.

After watching like a crazed mad woman the Boston Marathon I was so pumped up!  I wanted to run out the door right then & there and run 26.2 myself.  I should note that not everything about Boston was all so perfect & peachy king.  It started out near perfect.  Shalane (we're so close we're on a first name basis, ya know) was blazing on the marathon course.  I really fully believe she was going to go all the way & win.  I was also super pumped about Desi who I hadn't paid that much attention to in years past.  I mean she was on my radar, but I just didn't give it much thought.  And after hearing & realizing her 2nd place finish at the 2011 Boston Marathon (start watching at about 2:30) I was definitely having high hopes for her to come out & crush it.  On the men's side there is my ever favorite Ryan Hall (it's not that we're not *tight*, but in my book he earns a first & last intro every. single. time.)  Anyway, Ryan....he's my boy.  Always #1 to me, no matter how he finishes.  And, of course, Meb & Abdi.  Obviously no matter how you break it down I was looking for an American on both sides to not only win, but maybe dominate this race.

I started out watching the race with a lot of jumping around, clapping and yelling even though I was the only one in the room.  I even had both tvs turned on so that I could hear & see no matter where I moved about on the main level of my home.  (I did have a sleeping teenager upstairs....she woke earlier than usual, I think because of the ruckus I was creating.)  I also jumped on facebook, gave a fair warning to my peeps and began a posting frenzy.  I was into this year's race 110%!!

Everything was going great & *perfect* until they were having technically difficulty and when they came back & Shalane was no where to be found.  And all they seemed to say was "What happened to Shalane...."  At first I thought....good one, she's surged ahead of the pack.  After a bunch more "technical difficulties" the finally reported that she had dropped back.  Siiiigh. On the guys side of the race, the Americans took the front from the get go, but soon my precious Ryan was nowhere to be seen.  Siiiiiiiigh.   Long story short (if you don't already know) despite setting an American record Shalane did not win.  Meb did win, the first American in 30 some years.  No matter how you look at it it was a great day in Boston marathon history!

All of this excitement has made me start declaring that I WILL RUN BOSTON next year.  I'm already qualified, but this year didn't seem to be a good year to do it.  Perhaps I'll requalify and could go at other years in the future, but there is no guarantee.  So I'm just getting in the mindset that I'll be there!   Gaaaaah!  In the meantime it made me nervous, anxious in a good way to go bursting out the door and run a marathon right then and there.  In fact, it's been building in me all week.  Normally being in taper mode leaves people like this:

But I've been like this:

It's taken a lot of restraint to not just go out and tear up the road on a good long run.  Hopefully so much contained energy will be very beneficial for Friday & Saturday's run.

Tomorrow I leave town for my marathon weekend.  I'm nervous, excited, anxious and so much more.  Not only am I ready to just get it over with, but with all the excitement and inspiration behind Boston, I'm ready to take it on!

Did you watch the Boston Marathon this year?

Thursday, April 17, 2014


Yesterday, I saved you a lot of drama and gloom & doom by not posting about what was going on 1st thing in the morning.  Trust're welcome!  Otherwise you would've heard an ear full of "That's streak is over.  I'm never running again" & "I'm screwed with my marathon in 10 days".  Now 24 hours later I have a completely different perspective on what's going to happen.  Interestingly enough there were a few light bulb moments thrown in there too that have me thinking more rationally.

I've been having some back problems for the last month or so.  I'm all in favor of chiropractic care, but over the years I've mostly only needed an adjustment every few months & I'm good to go.  My chiropractor, Michael Larsen, is WONDERFUL!!  More recently he's not only been giving good manipulations (aka adjustments or popping) on my back, but he's shown me several stretches & exercises I can be doing on my own to help keep my back muscles active, healthy & strong.  He takes his time to completely explain things and then also checks up to see if I'm actually doing them.  We had been focusing on my right shoulder that was locking up and not moving as it should when I run.  It worked perfectly for my recent races, I had no shoulder problems at all.  However that set off my rhomboid (mid back) muscles and those haven't been doing so well.

Long story short, when I woke up yesterday I could not move.  If I did I was moaning and groaning.  The pain took my breath away even doing simple things like rolling over in bed.  I've had my share of lower and upper back/shoulder problems, but never mid back.  Almost any movement set off short, deep painful jabs that caused my body to tense up and unable to move.  Fun stuff!  I had a class to teach at 6 a.m. and for the first time ever had to call and cancel.  Technically I could move, but it was so hard & painful.

I took some good drugs to help with the pain and rested some more.  Eventually I did have to get up & moving the best I could.  Drugs were kicking in a little, but I was still a mess and everything I did just made it hurt more.  Here is where I considered the fact that I may not run that day & my streak would end.  I could maybe get away with a slooooooow walk, but I was not having much hope.  I have NEVER had this kind of intense back pain before.

Once I got all the kids to school I headed to see my chiropractor.  He worked on me for about 45 minutes and made a lot of progress.  I felt better, but was still in a lot of pain.  This was brought on by an accumulation of many of things ie: my running, some heavy lifting I did the day before (it's big trash pick up and I hauled a lot of stuff out to the curb all by myself), my older age (ok, I'm not "that old", but I'm not exactly 20 any more either), teaching PT and my on going back issue to begin with.  I have a severe strain to my rhomboid muscles.  Good news, with some TLC and not doing anything completely stupid and doing my exercises as prescribed I will be ok.  I did go out and run a VERY slow and VERY easy mile later that afternoon.  By then I was hardly in any pain, I was just stiff and slow moving and running itself caused no aggravation.  Phew!

With my marathon in 9 days I do have to re-evaluate things.  Once the gun goes off I may feel fine & do better than I expected.  Right now though, my goal to go get it and PR is shifting to the back of my mind.  Great if it happens, but no sense getting upset if I have this mindset and it all falls apart WHILE racing.  Then we're looking at disaster.  I still have time to avoid that.

All of this lead to my light bulb moment:

I was reading a great post from Too Tall Fritz and somethings she posted hit that switch for me.  Like:

With all my recent running struggles and set backs I really, really, REALLY needed to hear these things!!  And I should take back the part where I said SET BACKS because hello, I PR'd a few weeks ago and it just wasn't enough.  Am I stupid or what?!?!?  (don't answer that!)   And boo hoo, I missed a PR by 3 seconds so my attitude toward the race was a waste.  You probably all want to slap some perspective in to me.  Luckily the above quotes did it for you!!

All this happening shortly before my marathon gives me time to step back, take a deep breath & work to keep that light bulb turned on.  I need to keep a proper perspective and do my personal best.  I need to be proud of who I am, shine and choose to do my personal best!

Have you ever struggled with back problems?

Have any light bulb moments that you want to share?

Monday, April 14, 2014

2 mile CSC Charger Challenge Recap

I didn't take the time to give you a race preview to talk about my goals & dreams.  Part of me really wanted to and part of me wants to throw my hands up in the air & yell "what's the point?!?!"  I ended up not doing so simply due to lack of time.  Long story short and to simply reflect back on the goals I set at the beginning of the year I wanted to lower my PR (13:40) and get on the lower end of 13 minutes.  Due to my on going frustration and funk I was highly skeptical I'd do either, I figured I'd be far from it.  And with a marathon 2 weeks away I wasn't wanting to push myself toward injury so I told myself that it would be ok if I would make this race a big ole flop.

I didn't register for the race until that morning.  Coming off my 13.1 the previous Saturday I was REALLY sore so earlier in the week I entertained the thought of not running at all.  But, I'd really pass up the chance to run this race.  It was going to take a lot to keep me from doing it.  I'm kind of stubborn determined like that.  When the temperatures and weather was absolutely wonderful that morning I knew I'd go no matter what.  So on the plus side, the sun was shining bright and temps were mid 60's by early in the morning.  On the down side it was very windy & this takes place on the edge of town out by Lake Storey.  Plenty of opportunity for wide open spaces & plenty of wind to be whipping around.

This is a great race that unfortunately shrinks in numbers every year.  Great if you are a casual runner wanting to easily place in your age group.  Personally I don't mind winning or placing in my age group, but I don't want it just handed to me either.  I want to run hard and earn it.  Which, I realize I can achieve that, it doesn't matter if there are 10 or 1,000 people racing.  However, for me.....being super competitive I want a crowd to go against.  On another note it's a shame to see a long standing race get smaller each year.  It's a gem of a race and people just don't pay attention to it.  There was a total of a little over 100 people who showed up to race the 2 or 4 miler.  About 50/50 in terms of who was completing what.

I made sure I gave myself a nice long warm up.  The flip side to a nice short 2 mile race is that is a faster speed right off the bat.  I DO NOT want an injury so I have to race smart.  Just as expected as soon as the gun went off I went out fast & strong.  There are hills in the middle of the course so I wanted to use to flat portion to my advantage.  By outside appearances I had some competition.  There was at least 1 jr. high and 1 high school girl there running.  So, I'm old enough to be their mother, but one thing I can't change is having a young youthful body.  I can do a lot to make myself fast & strong, but youth is not on my side.  Don't laugh, I'm older than you think!  I'm no spring chicken, that's for sure!!

I pulled out in front and wanted a strong lead so no one could get me in the last half.  I ran my first mile in 6:30.  Not too bad, especially since the last 200 of the first mile is a good long hill.  I mentioned it in my LPHM post that me & hills are not friends.  In fact, I'd rather not speak to them....EVER!  But I deal with them when I have to.  Anyway, at the 1 mile turn around I was feeling done and ready to die right then and there.  So, of course, I kept on running.  I had the nice downhill right after that, but another smaller uphill before facing the last 400 or so of the course.  That portion though faces a wide open spot and there was a wall of wind the entire time.  I'm not talking gusts of wind with some relief.  Non stop solid wind that my dying body was pushing in to.  I admit that I could tell that nobody was right behind me so I might have given up a little and not pushed quite so hard the last 100 or so.  I saw the clock as I approached, I should have pushed really hard because I was *so close* to getting a new PR.  Part of me just didn't' care.  I could see it wasn't going to be a substantial PR so I coasted into the finishers chute.  I might have even walked the last 2 steps.

Finish time:  13:42
1st female overall, not sure how many females ran
4th overall/58 runners

For as bad as I felt, especially that last mile, I guess it could have been worse.  I know everyone wants to be all high five, what an awesome time, etc., but it's just not enjoyable right now.  Of course I want to run so hard that it hurts, but not this sucky, nothing feels right kind of hurt.  And, I know so many who could only dream to run the times that I do, but FOR ME it's not enough, it sucks!!

 A pre-race selfie.  48 is my favorite number.  I didn't ask for that number, it was randomly assigned to me.

 With my friend Elizabeth. She was the overall female finisher in the 4 mile race.  Mommas be ruling this race!!  And here is a picture of us in 2011:

A closer look at my long sleeve race shirt & my award.  I was so excited to see it was a mug.  It won't just go sit in my basement, I'll use that as much as I can!!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Lincoln Presidential Half Marathon Race Recap

Last Saturday I ran the Lincoln Presidential Half Marathon.  This is the 4th time I have ran this race & ever since the finish of last year's I had planned to do so again this year.  It's a fun, smaller race that is nicely priced & not too far from home.  Why wouldn't I want to do this every year?  As noted in my pre-race post I had big goals that I had set in January, but was pretty worried about what was going to actually happen.

I headed down by myself on Friday night to Springfield and went straight to packet pick up.  While there was a big improvement from previous years "expo", it was still very much on the small side.  As in, not much there in terms of merchandise, etc.  Considering it's not a big dollar race I'd say it's about what to expect.  I was able to pick up some jelly beans, a new bondi band and some car stickers.  All in all it took me about 15 minutes from the time I walked in the door to leaving.

Race shirt:  (will picture below), in previous years they had always done a unisex tech shirt.  And I always ordered a medium then wishing I had gotten a small.  Somehow I missed that they were gender specific shirts and I finally remembered to order a small.  I was skeptical if it would fit properly.  Later in the hotel I tried it on.  Good fits!  Unless I'm looking to hit the bars with a bunch of young, single guys it's not the look I'm wanting though.  Lesson attention when ordering your shirt!!!!  (Someone did give me their size medium that they said they would never wear so I still have a shirt that is fit to wear in public.)

I headed to my hotel where I met up with my ever wonderful friends from the Muscatine Running Club and we chatted into the evening & was sound asleep by 10 p.m.

Saturday morning started pretty chilly.  We all checked our weather apps and pondered what to wear.  I feel I'm pretty scared from this cold, brutal winter and tend to overdress.  While I'd rather over than under dress I talked myself into a happy medium between the two.  Although I must admit I committed a big racing no-no and wore a pair of tights that were brand new!  I was afraid it was too cold for shorts and a pair of my fab socks, but didn't want to wear plain running tights so I went out looking for something fun & festive to wear on my legs.

(Here we are ready to leave the hotel)

I arrived at the race with plenty of time to spare.  I took my time going to the restroom and meeting up with Jess (Run With Jess) before picking a spot near the front of the pack to start.  The sun was coming up and the temperature felt very comfortable.  Abe & Mary Lincoln were on site and gave a few speeches.  It was such a fun, festive moment right before the start.  Someone sang the National Anthem and when they flubbed the words everyone started to sing along.  There was a slight breeze and I about broke down crying because despite our flawed nation we still live in a pretty great place full of freedoms.  You had to be there & in the moment to fully appreciate hearing all the voices singing and that small peaceful moment before the race started.

Once the gun went off I just ran.  I do run with my phone that has Nike+ on it tracking my pace, time, etc., but I always stick that in my belt & leave it be, not paying attention to what it says.  I started out at a good pace, but almost immediately my leg hurt.  Not bad, searing pain, but just enough undertone of my hamstring screaming "what are you doing?!?!?!" and fighting back.  So, of course, I do what almost any runner would...I kept on going.  After mile 2 the 1:30 pacer passed me and I knew right then that my hopes of a 1:30 were gone.  I was going at a good speed, but I knew there was no way I could make myself go any faster.  I settled into a grove and just kept running.  I had a few moments of really feeling good, but they tended not to last.  What I was putting out was taking all that I did have and even then I silently hoped that nothing was going to go wrong.

It would have been easy to slip back into an easier pace, but I did force myself to push.  I had to be very mindful of doing this.  Even if I wasn't getting a 1:30, I WANTED a faster time and that wasn't going to just happen unless I tried.

I crossed the 10k mark in 45 minutes flat.  Not bad considering how much I was struggling.  On this course though, almost all the hills are in the last half.  And those killed me.  I already knew I had little to no half marathon training, but hill training.....ZERO!  It was right at the bottom of a hill (right after the GU station) that the 1:35 pace group passed me.  I seriously wanted to give up right there and cry.  My leg had been screaming most of the race thus far, at the bottom of the hill I felt like I'd never get up it and then here comes another nail in my coffin of having a 1:30ish time.  Even though I struggled through the hills (there is like 4 within the last half of the course), once I got up them I felt ok and forced myself to pick my pace back up & push!

Once I hit the 10 mile mark I knew I was going to be ok and at least finish.  I hadn't seen the 1:40 pace group so I still had hope of getting a PR, but for all I knew they could have been right on my heels.  As much as I could I still kept pushing myself to set a good pace and not give in to a jog or any kind of  easy feeling tempo.  Over and over I kept telling myself I WANT THIS!

They had changed the course from previous years so I wasn't 100% sure where the finish line was.  I took off in a sprint when I saw the 13 mile sign, but still had to round a corner and run the block.  I saw my time and was ok with what I saw.  My official time was 1:37:34 which is 3:14 minutes off my time last year and a new PR!  For as bad as I felt (specifically my legs) I'll take it and not complain!  I'm still convinced I can run it faster, so I'll just have to try again next year!!

Of course, after I finished I went over to get my annual pic with Abe & Mary:

Then, much to my surprise, I had a second chance at a picture with them when I placed 3rd in my age group:
Mary is holding my award.  A closer picture of my award is below.

Here are my final stats:
Time:  1:37:34 (overall pace of 7:27)
Overall:  102/2000+ (they didn't say exactly how many finishers there were.  Typically this race has about 1,500 so they were blown over when they went over 2000 participants!!)
Gender: 11/1134
Division:  F 35-39:  3/209

I love running this race and I'm sure I'll go back & do it again next year.  One of these years I'd like to go and just have fun.  They have several people who run dressed as Lincoln.  I think it would be fun to run dressed as Mary.

On the right, my age group award.  In that picture Abe has 16 on his headband.  On the left is the shirt, his headband says LPHM on it.  They are certainly a different spin on President Lincoln.  I'm a little up in the air about if I like it or not or if it's disrespectful.  Although I doubt that is what they were intending.  I won't create a fuss, I just embrace it for what it is.  And, of course, my big ole finishers medal.  It's as big (I think bigger) than a dollar bill and it's a thick heavy metal.  Sometimes those things are cheap plastic, this one is the real deal!!

Friday, April 4, 2014

Mom's Night Out Movie & Contest

A few weeks ago I attended the 2014 Hearts at Home conference.  I've attended this conference 11 times over the last 13 years.  Fair to say it's a great conference that I look forward to going to every year.  This year they had a pre-screening event of the movie Moms' Night Out.

Truthfully, I was in denial about really being sick   so sick and battling horrible symptoms that I didn't get to really enjoy the movie to the fullest.  I did enjoy it and it was hilarious, but I did it in my zombie like, sick and should be in bed state.  While I didn't laugh as much as usual (it hurt to and it made me cough like crazy so I suppressed it) nor did I cry (I'm such a crier at movies) at all the touching parts that had a great message, the movie was filled with both (way more laughing than crying, although there was a touch of laughing so hard you do cry!) and I highly recommend that everyone go see it when it opens in theaters May 9.

If you are/were a big Grey's Anatomy fan you'd recognize Sarah Drew, the main star.  Although the stars were numerous in this film they included Patricia Heaton, Sean Astin (total 80's girl here was swooning over that!), Trace Adkins and the list goes on.  If you are a fan of films like Facing the Giants, Couragous, Fire Proof, etc. then you'll also recognize many other stars from those great movies as well.

Sarah Drew was on hand for pictures, autographs, etc.
 I felt like total crap so I just smiled & got through the moment.  Sarah herself was very sweet & nice!

While I should have posted this review when I first came home from conference (that deserves a  post too), I will admit that it's taken a give away to motivate me to get it posted.  In all likely-hood my chances of winning the giveaway is low, I'm sure, with 1000's of people vying for it.  Sure, I'd hop on an airplane in a heartbeat to go, but I won't pack my bags any time soon.  Anyway, it's a GREAT movie, I mean, really WONDERFUL that everyone should go see!  When it comes out nation wide in theaters GO SEE IT!

I can't get the info to embed onto my blog so click on the link HERE to see the contest rules and to earn entries into the giveaway!!

Do you have a picture with someone famous or well known?  I have a picture of me shaking the President's hand.  Also have a picture with Jody Davis, Cubs pitcher from the 80s.  And Jason Castro of American Idol fame.   Just to name a few.

Pre Reace Ramblings & Thoughts

Tomorrow I am running the 50th Lincoln Presidential Half Marathon for the 4th time.  I love this race!

I rarely buy race pictures, but this one from last year was too good to pass up!  I look so focused & in the zone.  It was taken early on so I wasn't a sweaty mess.  And if you look really close, both of my feet are off the ground.  Floating like a butterfly :)

Last year I set a new half marathon PR at this race.  I had a pretty good race (race recap HERE), but I will admit that deep down I knew/know I had more to give.  I realized last year after almost every race, that while I had good races, some with excellent results I had not given 100%.  Oh, I ran hard and fast, but I've been left wondering what would happen if I left it all out there?  I think that is the driving force of my goals this year.  And before I come off as too cocky and confident let me admit, it scares the crap out of me!!

So I have big dreams for this year.  BIG!  Based on my current running and not so great year I'm having, maybe too big, but I'm not going to let that keep me from finding out!  I may fall flat on face (figuratively, I hope not literally!!) with my goals, but no one can fault me for not trying.

Here are my race goals:

My I FINISHED goal: 
To arrive on time. To start. To finish.  aka: finish feeling fine & having fun.  Worse case scenario I just go out & have fun.  Not my plan, but I can always revert to this if I have to.

My I CAN goal: 
Finish in 1:45:00
I picked this time because it means I average an 8 minute pace.  Although I didn't blog about it (one of those that I meant to do) I did get some very solid speed workouts in lately.  What works best for me when I do this is 1 mile repeats.  From those workouts I found that an 8 minute pace is very manageable for me.  It's a nice tempo, but it's far from pushing it or going all out.  I ran this pace & time for my very first half marathon 5 years ago.  I can do this!

My I LOVE IT goal:
To beat my PR which is currently 1:40:38  that was set last year.  Anytime I can improve on a previous time makes me very happy!

My I DREAM IT goal:
To finish is 1:30:00.  

I set this goal back in January.  It's my big, be scared out of your mind, goal.  Coming off of 2013 this seemed very possible!!  Now, uh, yeah....pretty nervous about it.  In fact when I sat down to write this I looked up that pace & it's a 6:52 pace.  *gulp*  However, going back to my 1 mile repeats I know that a 7 minute pace is very do-able and not even my all out pace.  I just don't have a lot of experience - ok no experience- with racing this long of a distance at this pace, but I know I have it in me.  So I go out & finish with giving 100% and that's when my dreams become a reality!

Be watching my INSTRGRAM for updates on my race tomorrow.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

March Rewind

I can't believe that it's April already!  I will admit that I was fooled today.  In my defense it was just before 6 a.m. & I had only been awake & moving for less than 30 minutes.  As I hurried into work, the member service desk worker said to me "Did you hear Melissa (another coordinator & my buddy) was fired last night?!?!"  He said it so perfectly and I fell for it immediately by responding with "NO WAY!  WHAT HAPPENED?!?!?!"  Of course he egged me on a little more before grinning and saying "April Fools!!"  Phew, I was so glad that is what it was!'

Anyway, I want to get a quick recap of March before things get away from me.  April is my busiest race month so I want to get ahead of the game.

Miles Ran:  110  Yeah, kind of disappointed AGAIN for the 3rd month in a row.  Especially after vowing that I would no longer be slacking and I would really.....really kick up the mileage.  However, not to be too hard on myself I have been sick for the last 3 weeks.  That's most of the month!!  I kept trying to downplay and outright deny that I was sick, but honestly it was brutal at some points.  Anyway, (hopefully) I can expand on that in another post.  All in all, I guess I won't complain.  It is what it is and I'll take it & be proud!!

My streak.....yeaaaaaaaah......about that.....ummmmmmm......I sorta....kinda......broke that.

Ok....NOT REALLY!  (That was my lame attempt at an April Fools.)  But it is sort of true.  Note I wrote 'my streak' and not my RUNNING streak.  That is still going!  Of course!!  I am now 673 days strong on my running streak.  What I did break though was recording my run everyday on  In the past if I ran without my device I would then turn it on later and manually record (as in shake it to register the distance or drive the distance) just so that it would show that I had completed a run.  On you can log on and see this nice little chart of all your runs, etc. and I had always loved see every single day for over a year having a little marker to show that I ran.  At the beginning of the month I had ran with my PT class.  For the most part, when I'm on the clock & exercising I don't have my phone on me.  Even if I did I'm not going to ask them to stop & wait for me to mess with it for my own selfish reasons.  I'm there for them, not me.  Typically my PT workout is NOT my own workout, but lately I've had some push comes to shove day & it's all I get in.  So on this particular day I ran without my device & just so happened to forget to later on turn it on & log (even a fake one) my run.  Believe it or not my heart sank to the floor when I woke up the next morning and realized what I did.  I got over it though.  There are worse things I could do, like forget to actually run.  (haha, is that even possiible?) So I wasn't going stress too much over it.

Did anyone fool you today?  Did you fool anyone?