Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Far Reaching Implications of 13.1 Miles....

Today Erica and I ran together without Angie, who is our other c25k running partner.  Because Angie couldn't run, Erica and I didn't follow the program and just kinda ran how we felt.

It felt awesome!  Just to do whatever, whenever, not stick to a schedule, not push myself...just run and have a good time.  I haven't done that since this spring...just ran without thinking about a future race or time goal or some other less tangible goal.

The other thing I've noticed is that I'm not used to running for such a short amount of time.  I mean, 12 minutes into the run, and I'm halfway done!  That's where the title for this post comes in.  I'm so used to running for AT LEAST 45 minutes at a time that 25 minutes basically feels like a sprint.  It's refreshing and nice.

My dogs know what it means when I strap on my chest strap for my heart rate monitor now, and start dancing by the door.  Hilarious.  I only started running with them consistently really recently- I had taken them a few times here and there before this, but now I really enjoy running with them.  They pace pretty well, and keep up with me just fine for these shorter runs I've been doing lately.  In the past Teddy (the 16lb Pomeranian) had a problem doing over 4 miles at a time.  I don't know what Nipper's limit is since she is new to running (and to life...an 8 lb rat terrier who is 9 months old)...but I feel like she can run forever!  After our 2-2.5 mile runs she still wants to play catch...

Posed after last weeks Agility class

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Recap of the Half Marathon, Part 4, the Finale

Chapter 4: Aftermath & How I Feel About It

The small view of the race course, courtesy of CardioTrainer

A larger view of the race course that I pasted together...
After stretching I went to go get my fleece that I had checked in before the race...and promptly got lost!  I don't know how I missed it- I was coming from the other direction, but somehow I kept entering Mission Point Resort in the wrong places.  Walking up and down the steps to get to the right entrance was tortuous. I had to stop halfway up one flight.  I saw other people going up on all fours.  Finally I found the right place and got my fleece, and went back to the lobby to pick up Nate, Gina, Tyler, and Nate's mom.  

We walked back to the port where the ferry would pick us up in about an hour and a half.  Gina and her mom went into the shops again while Nate, Tyler, and myself went to Starbucks to get some coffee and relax.  The line was out onto the sidewalk!!  We got our coffee and went to our ferry's inside waiting area and sat and relaxed and drank coffee.  It was fantastic to sit and relax- truly heavenly!

After about 40 minutes of waiting we got on the ferry and crossed back to the mainland.  By the time we got off the ferry it was raining!  Not hard, but hard enough to make it a quite cold walk back to the hotel- about three blocks away.  Nate was walking fast enough that I had to jog to keep up with him.  It was terrible to jog...but it felt worse to be in the cold wet rain for longer than I had to be, so I hoofed it as best as I could.  I was pretty proud that I could still jog at this point!

Took a shower and went to dinner.  I didn't wear my medal to dinner even though I wanted to...next race I will wear my medal all day.  I got all you can eat crab legs and shrimp for dinner, and the best/most alcoholic grasshopper drink for after dinner that I've ever had.  Simply awesome.  Went back to the hotel and pretty much immediately went to bed after some more stretching and massaging.

My medal- hanging in my office currently!

Up close

So overall, how did it fair up?  Well, I loved doing it, I’ll tell you that.  I’ve already signed up for my next, a half in Green Bay in May.  I know I’m going to do a full marathon, hopefully next fall.  But, as I said, I’m torn with this race.  I know I should just be happy that I finished, but I’m really disappointed with my time.  Not even that I guess- I would be fine with that time if that was truly my best effort, but it’s not.  I didn’t train for months.  I lost sight of this goal because of having so many other (admittedly more important) things going on in my life that the same time.  I know I can do better, so I’m not satisfied with this race at all.  It’s especially disinheartening to look at my race log and see that when I was training really consistently I ran a 5K with a 10:48 average mile split.  When you plug that into a race calculator, that means I should have been able to run a half marathon in 2:33:45.

I guess overall I’m still just really impressed that I did this.  I mean for god sakes, last year I was 25lbs heavier and couldn’t run for more than 60 seconds without wanting to die.  I’m also the only person I know besides Stacey and her mom who have done a half marathon.  People do them all the time, but not in my social or family circle, so I’m pretty proud that I get to be the exception to that.

I also feel proud that I could take 2 months (essentially) off of running and still finish 13.1 miles.  Plus Gina and I walked for 2-3 miles that morning looking at stuff on the island.  That alone would make an unfit person sore.

I can’t wait for my next race!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Recap of the Half Marathon, Part 3

Chapter 3: 13.1 Miles Between Me and My First Medal

Gina and I right before the race
The course was a lollipop type, so that you ran 2.5 miles out on the road that circles the island along the lake, then turn left and run through the inner trails and roads, then come back out onto the road for the last 2.5 miles.  The 5.7 mile run wound through the inner trails for 3.2 miles and then finished on that same 2.5 miles of road.  This was a really neat feature because at the 24 minute mark (about 2 miles into the race for me) I got to see the first finishers of the other race go running by.  They were FLYING!  It was really neat to see, and we were all cheering for each other and smiling and having a great time watching the people in the other races.  I even got to see Gina go by after I made my turn up into the trail section!

At the three mile marker there was the first water station.  I didn’t need any water since I was using my Camelback fanny pack, but I took the opportunity to drop a cup on my head and take an energy gel since I was at about 35 minutes into the course at this point.  This was the first time I walked at all on the course that day, and really that was pretty good for not training well at all.  Oh I forgot to mention- luckily my Pandora app started working at about the 1.5 mile mark.  Whew.

The trail part lasted for about two miles I would say, then every once in a while we would be on a road.  We passed the airport around mile 5.5 and there was another water station- but no water!  Come on now I’m not that slow!!  What really happened is this- the volunteers at this station decided it would be easier to distribute the water in the full Dasani water bottles they had instead of pouring those into the little cups and handing them out like they were supposed to.  Luckily, my Camelback saved the day.  Took another energy gel here.  Also took a picture of the airport as I ran by!  I should also mention that mile 5-6 was my fastest split time of 12:39.  I passed Stacey’s mom around this time (I can’t remember exactly but I think it was shortly after the airport) and she told me Stacey was just up ahead.  Maybe I could catch her and we could finish the race together!

The course went through some more trails here, then came out on a road that wound through the inner island with some really nice houses on it!  I was amazed.  When Gina and I had been walking through town earlier, we saw a reality place that had houses advertised- from $400,000 to $650,000, and none of those were even as CLOSE to as nice as these were.  These were pretty much mansions.  At one of the houses the lady who lived there was standing out front her house with a hose offering the runners drinks.  I thought that was pretty neat.

Awesome House

The next part of the course took us behind the backside of the Fort, I got a picture of the fort itself and of me running by it.  I'm kind of a ham :)

Backside of Fort with Cannon

Me running by

Between miles 7-8 I came up over a hill and saw the prettiest view of the harbor and lake ever!  It was inspiring, and actually made me stop in my tracks.  I took a few pictures, and then some people that were also in the race and taking pictures offered to take a picture of me with that background!

Although this is pretty...it was prettier in person :)
Hamming it up again

This is also the point in the race that I got a little sad that this was only a half marathon and not a full one.  I wished it could go on forever and that the pretty views would never end.  I was on top of the world!

Then mile 9 came.  Oh dear god, mile 9.  There was nothing particular about this mile that made it tough- no terrible hills, (no worse than the rest of the course so far) no bad winds, nothing.  We were back in the trail system now, and I don’t know if not having much to look at was psyching me out or what, but this mile was terrible.  I walked a ton of it.  I came in at 15:00 even for a split time even though the mile before that I did 15:11 after stopping for about two minutes to take pictures.  

Mile 10- So happy to be in the double digits finally! There were a lot of downhill portions to this part of the race so I was really happy to be able to let my body coast a little.  Unfortunately, I wasn’t paying attention to my form on the downhills anymore, so I was pounding down them too hard, and I ended up stressing my left knee and left foot arch.  These wouldn’t bother me during the race, but afterward they were quite painful.  I had to go upstairs “on all fours” for a while to not put as much weight on my knee.  In fact, the knee and foot arch both still twinge a little, two weeks after the race.  Oh I should mention that coming into this mile was my worst split of the race- 15:21.  I came through at roughly 2:20:00.  However, I realized that I only had 3.1 miles to go, and if I could run them decently, I may still be able to finish in less than 3 hours, which was my goal at the start of the race.  Of course I wasn’t really planning to take so many pictures, but hey.

I made it to mile 11 in 13:46, which was a significant improvement over mile 10’s split.  I thought it may still be possible to finish under 3 hours at this time…but I couldn’t keep it up.  I just hadn’t trained enough, and I came through mile 12 in 14:36.  I did get a really good picture of Arch rock on the way back since by that point I knew I wasn’t coming through in under 3 hours anymore.

Arch Rock

Arch Rock a Little Closer
At 12.9 miles, my phone died.  It had told me it had a low battery around mile 8, so I got a good run out of it.  Running a GPS for CardioTrainer and running Pandora is pretty taxing on a battery.  So, all I had to listen to for my last 0.2 miles was myself.  It actually worked out well because there were still spectators out (and other runners cooling down by running back out on the course), so I got to hear them cheering.  It made me happy to hear them, but at the same time, I felt a little like …well, not like I didn’t deserve it, because for God’s sakes I just ran 13 miles…but maybe like…it was a mercy congrats?  Kind of like when you tell the slow kid in class his drawing of a donkey is really good but in reality it looks like a cloud?  It’s hard to explain.  I was still appreciative of the support and felt like I deserved it...idk.

At 0.1 left, I saw the finish line and audibly said “Oh thank fucking Jesus.” Some people heard me and laughed.

So, I never caught up with Stacey, but I did see her at the finish line waiting for me!  She was cheering my name and I tried to “sprint” though the finish line like I do at shorter races, but I’m sure I looked like I was waddling more than sprinting.  Nate got a picture of me coming through the finish line and I look like I’m going to puke-

Yay I'm finished!

I got my medal, and my banana, and some water…and walked for another few steps before taking the time to stretch out while scarfing down said banana.  There was goose poop everywhere- something that earlier in the day when Gina and I were stretching before the race I took the time to avoid- but at this point I just said “Fuck it, it will wash off” and stretched.  I had bought Stacey and I matching necklaces that were a circle with 13.1 around the edges and a runner girl in the center, and I gave her hers and put on my own.  Then we posed for a pic together with our medals on.

I found her!
I should mention that I’ve already lost the runner girl in the center of my necklace.  Piss.  (A girl found it while sweeping at work!  Score!)

Final time: 3 hours, 7 minutes, 51 seconds (chip time).

Tune in tomorrow for the last part of my half marathon run down, the aftermath and how I feel about my experience!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Recap of the Half Marathon, Part 2

First a quick update on today- I ran the second day of c25k with my friends tonight.  Tonight we went 2.1 miles in 25 minutes (last night it was 1.6, so we went even FASTER tonight!).  It feels really different to push myself to go the fastest I can- it's pretty neat!  Ok, on to part two of the half marathon recap...

Chapter Two: The Morning of the Race and the Moments Leading Up to It

Woke up the next morning without the assistance of an alarm clock (I was too excited!).  It was 5:45am when I woke up.  I hadn’t planned on showering before the run since I was going to get all gross anyway, but since I was up an hour before I needed to be I decided that I would just hop in there.  It felt good to get out of bed and be doing something instead of just sitting there and twiddling my thumbs.

On the way to breakfast I went to the Coke machine by my room to get my morning wake me up- a diet coke.  Well, they were out of diet cokes.  So I went to the next one.  Out.  Went to the next one.   Out.  Went to the next one- that one was a Pepsi machine!  Ahhh diet Pepsi is liquid ass.  So, I went back up a level and got a Coke Zero.  Sigh.  It would have to do.  Went  to breakfast and ate a waffle, some eggs, and some fruit.  Decided that an hour is far too long of time to eat by yourself.  I was done in 20 minutes and started to get bored fast.

Finally it was time to meet Gina and head down to the 8am ferry.   The race was to start at 11am, but I wanted to take the first ferry out there to get set.  I hate rushing at the last minute to do things.
The weather could NOT HAVE BEEN BETTER!  In the morning it was chilly- low 40’s- but by race time it would be in the low 50’s with a slight wind and really sunny.  That was crazy because in all of the rest of Michigan (I mean everything- upper and lower peninsula) it was rainy, windy, and cold.  The weather would hold out just long enough for us to finish the race and catch the ferry before it started raining- it was raining by the time we got to the mainland!  But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Sunrise on the Morning of the Half, Waiting for the Ferry
Another of the Sunrise
Ships Seen from the Ferry as we were leaving Port
The Bridge as seen from the Ferry!

The ferry ride over was very quick, and soon we were on the island!  We walked over to the Mission Point Resort where the race was to start later that day and picked up our bib and fleeces.  The bib had our timing chips in it, which is pretty neat, but also meant we couldn’t bend the bibs, so I carefully pinned mine to my shorts since I would be taking on and off my outer shirt all day.  The fleeces are really nice- they are this pumpkin color and have zippered pockets and everything.  I have worn mine almost everyday since I’ve had it- and it will be GREAT for winter running!

We had a lot of time after this to walk around and check out the island, so we walked back into town and checked out the shops and other sites around the area.  We walked over to the fort, but it was closed to tours by this point in the year.

Just past Misson Point Resort- This is what we would run by in our first steps of the race

A house across the street from the fort- it looks crazy!
The fort- I have another picture of the fort as I ran behind it!
The church that was used by the fort members in the 19th century

After this we started to make our way back because we didn’t know what else to do.  It was about 10am at this point.  On the way back we spotted a church that had a museum in it’s basement so we checked it out.

Map from the 1800's
Pretty Loopy Writing
Bell from the Original church- 1600's I think
Something they Store Holy Water In
Something Pretty- I don't know what it is though...

Then we went upstairs and took some pictures of the church itself.

Windows on the right side of the church

The door into the Church
The Steeple
Sunlight coming in through the door- entryway window
Roof of the Church
The front of the church
Close up of the front

Now it was about 10:30 so we decided to hoof it back to the hotel.  When we got to the hotel, Nate, his mom, and his brother were there waiting for us.  Gina and I decided to go to the bathroom one last time, but when we saw the line she decided to just go up to her start line.  I had no choice in the matter, it was go now or pee my pants about 4 miles in.  Luckily I happened to find a bathroom in the hotel where the line was really short!  …turned out it was a guys bathroom.  A couple of girls besides me were in line too, and we just closed our eyes as we walked in.  The guys were really good about it too.   

By the time I was done with that, it was about 10 minutes to the start, and I still hadn’t found Stacey!  We were texting back and forth but couldn’t find each other’s location.  I decided just to get in line and maybe we would see each other on the course.  I dropped in on the conversation behind me- the ladies were talking about running the Disney marathon- and I made some new friends.   

I started up Pandora on my phone and CardioTrainer to record my workout…nothing started playing!  Oh god!  I was going to have the whole race without music!!  I couldn’t see the time clock or any officials from where I was- all of a sudden though, everyone started moving!  It took me about four minutes to make it up to the timing mat, and by that time, I was jogging, so it worked out well.

Next post-- the actual race!

Monday, November 8, 2010

13.1 Miles, the Farthest My Feet Have Ever Carried Me

So, here it is, my experience of my first half marathon!  These will be longer posts (especially Chapter 3...) so be prepared.  I've broken them into chapters and will post one a day for the next four posts.

Chapter 1: My Last Night as a Middle Distance Runner

Nate (hubby) and I arrived into Mackinac City at about 8:30 Friday night.  We were supposed to get in at about 7:30 but we got a late start.  We met up with Nate’s mom, sister and brother and went out to a nice Italian place for dinner.  Nate’s mom thought it would be good for Gina and I to "carbo load" the night before (Gina was running the 5.7 mile race the next day), and I didn’t have any reason to argue with her.  I took some pictures of the restaurant because it was really neat- it had a log cabin type feel to it and had handmade tables and chairs. 
Walking into the restaurant 

Cool Fireplace, and in the bottom of the pic you can see one the tables a little bit

                                          Ahh!  They're going to jump on my head!! (Deer in the rafters of the ceiling....pretty cool, hey?)
Another one of the neat fireplace

The fam! From left: Nate, Tyler, Me, and Gina.  This would make a great Christmas card!

Got back to the hotel and laid out my clothes for the next day.  I not only laid out the clothes I knew I was going to wear, but I also laid out the rest of my “back up” running apparel just in case the next morning I panicked and wanted something else.  I had brought every piece of running gear I owned, so this was quite a feat.  Also, I forgot to mention that when I was packing to go to Mackinac City, I ALMOST FORGOT MY RUNNING SHOES.  Seriously, I had to go back into the house for them.  How dumb.  Oh well, at least I remembered them! 

If I would have had my number/bib I would have pinned it on, but alas, I couldn’t pick up my stuff the night before since I was staying on the mainland (since hotels on the island are ridiculously expensive).  I never got to meet up with my friend Stacey the night before, and I knew she was taking the later ferry since her mom was driving up to walk the race the morning of, so I knew I wouldn’t see her until we were at the start line.  Went to bed at around 11pm or so, planning to get up at 6:45am to eat breakfast at 7am (with no shower since I was going to be stinky after the race anyway) so I could catch the 8am ferry.

Restarting C25K

Tonight me and two girls from work restarted couch to 5K.  They had kind of stopped running since last year when we did it (one stopped completely, the other was just not running consistently) and wanted to get back into it.  I thought it would be a great opportunity for me to work on building up my speed.

I had CardioTrainer running the whole time and it tracked our running sections at an average of 6.5 mph! (approximently 9 minute miles).  At our fastest, our run time was a 7:08 minute/mile!  Holy crap, I was running quick tonight!

I'm pretty stoked about redoing this program quickly.  I think it will train me to be a little quicker, which will really help with my next race.  I should note however that during my running sections my heart rate was at 190-191 beats per minute.  Using that old 220-your age formula (that isn't very accurate at all), my max heart rate should be 194.  Holy wah!

Also, today is going to be a double post, because I want to start to get my half marathon experience on here.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Seriously Considering an Ultra...

I can't stop thinking about someday doing an Ultra marathon.


I just finished my first half marathon.  I'm going to do another in May (although I seriously want it to be a full...more on that in a minute).  But I find myself thinking more and more about ultras and how great it would be to do one.  And a 12 or 24 hour race?  Sounds pretty neat.  What the hell is wrong with me??

About my half marathon/full marathon dilemma- I really want to do a full marathon instead of another half.  Besides just being able to say "I'm a marathoner", the race I've chosen (Green Bay) has a much cooler full marathon course vs. the half.  They also have a 7 hour limit, so I'm sure I could finish in time (barring some type of catastrophe).  However, I also very much want to be able to finish a half marathon strongly and with my best effort, which I don't feel I did on this last one (more to come on that in the next few days).

The smart thing to do would be this- half in May, Full in fall, Ultra in 2012.
What I want to do more and more is- half in April, Full in May, Ultra in July.

I know that would probably kill me.  But...if the Ultra was a 50K...that's really only 5 more miles than a marathon...I mean I'm not going to do a 50 mile or anything!


Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Still Kickin'

Whew! What a fall!  My vet clinic moved to a new location, I got married, and I ran a half marathon! (In that order chronologically, not by importance... ;) ).

The clinic move went great, the wedding was the best day of my life (!), but since this is my running blog, I'm mostly going to focus on the half marathon.  I ran it 10/23/10, and it was on Mackinac Island.  I'll do the full run down on my next post (I want to upload my pics and what not from it), but I'll give you the lead in to it.

So, it's probably pretty easy to tell that I've been ridiculously busy this fall- no updates on blogger, no posts on the WW website...yeah.  Between the wedding and the clinic move, I've had zero time for extra things...which unfortunately included running for the most part.  Since my last post, I've ran about 8 times- and that's including the half marathon.  Yep, you read that right...from August to October, I ran about 8 times.  Only three of those runs were over 4 miles long- one of which included the half marathon.  The other two that were over 4 miles?  Oh, those were done in the two weeks before the half.  Yep.

Lemme break it down for you a little more- I ran an average of lets say 2 miles a week for the two months leading up to the half.  Then, after the wedding, I freaked out and tried to "cram it in" in the end.  Sadly, running is not as forgiving as your average math test.  Instead of tapering, I ran a 8 mile run two weeks before the half, and an 11 (!) mile run the week before.  Picture of brilliance?  No.  Would I do a large run the week before again if I didn't adequately prepare?  Yes.  Why?  I proved to myself mentally that I would be able to get through a half marathon.  That was important to me, and I honestly think I would have been a large bundle of nerves if I hadn't have done that.

So how did it go?  Again, I'll post a blow by blow analysis next post, but for now lets just say I have mixed feelings about it.  I have decided that I'm going to sign up for the Green Bay Half Marathon in May though, and I even have a time goal in mind and everything.  I also am probably going to do a full marathon (thinking Chicago) next fall.  Oh, the Green Bay one- you get to run through Lambeau Field!  Woo!!

Related to my mixed feelings about the half- I was looking over my race results today (as I was jotting them into my nifty new 2011 running log), and it's obvious how much training makes a difference.  In June, when I was really running and cross training religiously (and running up and down stairs like a maniac)- I ran a 5K with a 10:48 min/mile split- easily the fastest I've ever been as an adult.  Keep that number in mind when I tell you the results of the half.  Ugh- I have to stop thinking about the differences there- it's depressing.

Watch for my run down in the next few days!