Friday, November 28, 2008

Back on the Road....sort of

Went on my first run since San Antonio and my illness. Went with hubby and saw Dave and Shirley biking by!

3.09 miles in 37:45. It was a tough run. My heart rate started at 80 bpm (usually not a good sign) and quickly rose. And on the way home, the call of nature hit! I hate that feeling on a run. Now that I am back I don't feel that great.

I will take tomorrow off and see how I feel on Sunday. My heart and mind want to run again but my body is not quite ready! I am suffering from that feeling of my training getting far behind and fear of not being ready for Disney....but I think I still have time to be ready.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

A Lagging Race Video

I shot just one short video during the marathon last week...at mile 21. I wish I had done more...but you know how it is when you are focused on just finishing! :-)

video

San Antonio Part 3 - The Aftermath

It is now one week since I ran the marathon. My legs feel normal again (aches finally subsided Saturday). My ankle size is normal and feels ok - only a little pain if I push on it.

The chest cold....well, that has taken a path all it's own.

I ended up spending all week sick to some degree....with a doctor visit on Tuesday. Once armed with antibiotics, the healing began. Even this weekend I have been feeling kind of crappy with headaches and swollen glands. Now, on Sunday night, I am just starting to feel pretty decent.

I think the reduced immunity with the marathon made this chest cold / sinus infection harder to fight - making me sicker than usual.

Lessons learned from this marathon:

1) Watch where walking in the dark (ankle injury alert).
2) With a cold, lots of rest and hydration important. As recommended by a few folks I think I will try Afrin nosespray next time.
3) Eating the elephant one 2 minute bite at a time worked well....don't think about how much further there is to go...just the next couple of minutes.
4) Use sunscreen (I looked like a raccoon for a couple of days).


I am not sure there was anything else I could have done differently that would have made this a better race (outside of kissing my sick family before leaving town). You just never know what you are going to have on race day. All you can do is adjust and go with it! I know many of you have had similar types of situations!

THANK YOU EVERYONE!!! For your supportive comments on Blogger, Twitter, email and otherwise - and for those who donated to Parkinson's.

Now to get ready for Goofy...just 49 days left. I will probably make my first post race run either tomorrow or Tuesday - a nice easy 3 miler.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

San Antonio Part 2 - The Race


Finishing my 4th Marathon - Priceless!

On race morning, Amy and I both woke up ahead of the alarm and made ready for the race. I managed to get some decent sleep, and although my voice was still pretty hoarse, I was feeling pretty good. As we got ready to load the bus, the temperature didn't seem as bad as we thought (forecast in upper 30's) so I changed out of my 3/4 length pants into shorts.



We boarded the TNT bus at 5:30 am for our 7:30 am race start. I had managed to pick up an Amphipod belt at the expo with a pocket big enough to carry my digital camera - so I had high fidelity picture taking capability for this race! I wouldn't be able to use my iRiver with my vocal limitations, but at least I could get some decent pictures.

As we made our way down the street toward the starting area, my right foot turned sideways on the side of a manhole cover and I felt a sharp pain radiate around the outside of my ankle. Darn it! I didn't need a twisted ankle now! We continued to walk while I tested it out to see how bad it was. I could walk, but it was pretty sore. This put a new wrinkle in the race. How well would this ankle hold out?

We arrived at the race start area and made our first porta potty stop. After that, we headed toward a small crowd that was gathering around some outdoor heaters. I have seen these at some outdoor restaurants for use when the temperatures were a little cool - but never for something like this. There was a fence around the heaters - perhaps this was part of the "premium package". Still, we strap hangers could gather around the outside and get a bit of the heat.

We checked our bags, made a second porta potty stop and headed for the starting area. Amy was in corral 29, I was in corral 20. The corrals would start 1 at a time at about 1:30 min apart. Doing the numbers, I figured it would be 30 - 40 min after the gun before I would cross the starting line.



I found the 5 hour pace group in my corral. I asked if they were going to walk the water stops and the pace leader said they would slow a bit but not walk - her plan was to run steady the entire way....wow. I figured I would see how long I could keep them in sight...but I had to account for the chest cold and now the ankle to determine what kind of time to really expect.

Finally, the starting gun sounded and the corrals started to be released. About 40 minutes into the race, Corral 20 started its journey. The sun was out, and although the temperatures were still cool, I shed the sweater I had - keeping the gloves on for extra warmth.

I ran with the 5 hour pace group for a little while. They were running about an 11:30 min/mi pace, which felt nice and slow for me. My heart rate was at a good level as well - upper 140's. I also tried to keep my water stop walks very short to stay with the group. Ahead of mile 5, the course started to go up hill. It was in this stretch that I finally let the 5 hour pace group go. My heart rate was rising too high to keep up with them - I knew I needed to conserve for later. Unlike MCM, I didn't think I was up to pushing myself with the cold and ankle issues.

Our uphill segment then turned to a nice downhill segment for a mile or so. I relaxed, opened my stride, and let gravity pull me down the hill. This worked well early in the race. Later, downhill segments began to hurt my ankle. In the days that followed, I also learned that up and down hill segments means sore quads...

As usual, I had the urge to use the bathroom shortly after the start. Since the porta potty lines were so long at the various water stops, I decided to try to wait it out and see if the urge went away (which it did in MCM).


We ran through downtown, by the Alamo, and near some other San Antonio landmarks. Running through downtown the crowd support was awesome - making it easy to run strong. There were plenty of bands along the race course as well - a trademark of the Rock n Roll marathon series - although as the race wore on, more of the bands seemed to be on break when we ran by. Still, there was enough going on where I did not feel like I missed my iPod at all. The bands were great entertainment where crowd support was low.

As we approached the 12 mile mark - we started passing by the lead runners who were coming from the other direction. They were already just 3-4 miles from finishing the race - about 10 miles ahead of us. It was hard to believe it would be another 2 - 2.5 hours before I would be coming back the other way.

It was around mile 13 or so when my body started to ache. My hips hurt, my neck hurt, my ankle was starting to ache - I generally just ached all over. And what made it even harder was the fact that there was so much of the race left to go!


Mother nature's call did not let up as I had hoped, and so after the half marathoners split off, I made my pit stop at the mile 15 water stop - there, the lines were nice and short. As I began to struggle with my running, I continued to walked the water stops but kept running the rest of the time. Later, I resorted to my method of running 5 minutes and walking 1 minute.

I remember seeing mile 18 and all I could think about was just walking. And it was only mile 18! I figured I would make it to mile 20 before I felt that bad. Still, I trudged on. By the time I actually reached mile 20, I was walking alot, and not sure how I was going to finish the remaining miles. It wasn't that I felt like quitting - I was just ready for it to be done. It was around then that I got the idea to eat this "elephant" one bite at a time. Perhaps I couldn't run 5 min without stopping, but I could probably run 2 min. I used this approach through the really hard miles in my long runs. I would run 2 min and then walk 1 min. As I ran the 2 min, I would start to feel like stopping about 1 min in. At that point I would tell myself "you can run just 1 more minute" and keep going. I would look at my watch again and see 30 sec left. "You can run another 30 sec, no problem." I would then reward the 2 min completion with a 1 minute walk.



This approach worked really well. I ran the 2 minutes pretty strongly and ended up passing people...passing lots of people, who had resorted to walking. I caught up to and passed folks I had seen on and off throughout the day.

Then, as a very cruel thing at the end - there was an uphill run until just before the finish. The course went up hill for about a half mile, then made a right turn with .1 miles to go. I walked part of the hill but as I approach the turn, I could see the 13 mile sign for the half marathoners, signalling just .1 miles left - I started to run. Upon making the turn I could see the finish line. My chest was heaving as I started sobbing upon seeing the finish line. I was there!!!

I made a strong sprint for the finish line, passing a few more folks before crossing - with a chip time of 5:37:49. My splits:

5 Km 36:07
6.1 Mi 1:11:48
10 Mile 1:58:33
Half 2:39:13
17 Mile 3:28:28
20 Mile 4:12:39
24 Mile 5:09:09





My friend Amy, who came into this race with a sore knee and fully expecting to walk the course, crossed the finish line 2 hours later - completing her first marathon and raising money for TNT! Way to go, Amy!

The Inaugural Rock n Roll San Antonio Marathon - Part 1 - Pre-Race



This was going to be my marathon. My training had stayed closer to schedule than for my previous races. In the 2 months leading up to the race I had averaged 44 miles / week. Everything was going according to plan!

But part of the adventure of running are the little things you don't plan for. And who a person is deep down inside is revealed by how they handle those things. Or, in my case, it is probably just stubborness.

I met up with my good friend Amy at the hotel on Friday evening. We used to work together about 20 years ago. She now lives near Houston. We ran a Disney Half Marathon together (her first, my second). This was her first marathon and she was running it for Team in Training. Staying with her meant I got to tag along with the "team" by just paying for dinner, some of the hotel room, and the bus transportation.

Friday night, we did a lot of catching up and probably went to bed a little later than we should - but it was great fun.

That is when it struck! Post nasal drip. My sinuses were pretty clear but that annoying drip was there. By Saturday morning, I was hoarse.

I was a bit concerned but I felt pretty good, so in the morning I headed down to the workout room and did 2.5 easy miles on the treadmill to "prime the pump" for the race. My heartrate was slightly high, but remained in the aerobic zone for the run, so I was optimistic. We headed to the expo after that to pick up our packets and stroll around.


Me with the Star Wars Runner

While at the expo I hooked up with the Star Wars Runner! He was running his first marathon! I didn't have much of a voice so we didn't talk for a long time, but it was fun to meet yet another running blogger!

After walking around the expo for a long time, we decided to head back to the room. The TNT folks were meeting for the bus to the pasta dinner at 4:30 pm. I was still feeling kind of puny so I decided to forego the dinner and rest up with some good cold medications. I also prepped all my stuff for the race the next day and got my bags ready for checkout in the morning since we couldn't get a late checkout for the afternoon. I was determined to get a better night's sleep and be ready for the race the next day.

Part 2 - The Race

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Another Marathon Bites the Dust! (Preliminary race report)

Not my best work, but a good race in spite of circumstances.

Details to come this week but the result:

Time: 5:37:49 (of my 4 marathons this is 3rd in time)
Pace 12:54
Place 6108/7526
Women 2581/3511
Div 303/427

Just to make it interesting, in addition to fighting a chest cold and lack of voice, I twisted my ankle while walking to the race start area. It did get sore but was ok for the race. It is pretty bruised and swollen right now.

Thanks for your thoughts and encouraging words today! A typically long race report to come later this week!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Not the Way I was Planning it

Short update on my San Antonio experience.

Late Thursday / Early Friday a little post nasal drip started to bother me.

Friday night - bigger post nasal drip kept waking me up.

Saturday - cold in chest, lost my voice completely, feeling crappy.

Race is tomorrow!

I can't believe I get sick the day before the race!!! Geez....

I was going to do live updates on Twitterfone, but I have no voice. Which also prevents me from recording on my iRiver for a podcast. I guess live audio was not meant to be.

I hit the drug store and I am attacking this thing. I skipped the pasta party with the TNT folks (my friend is TNT) and stayed at the hotel for a fish and rice dinner (my usual pre race meal). I wasn't really hungry but I knew I needed to eat.

We went to the expo today and walked around for quite a while. I ended up buying an Amphipod with and extra pocket that fits my digital camera. Well, if I can't talk, I can at least take good pictures! I also got a running hat and t-shirt.

I even got a chance to meet the Star Wars Runner at the race expo. I didn't call Marathon Girl because, well, I couldn't really talk. Any talking I did was strained. Sorry MarathonGirl! Perhaps we can meet up at OUC.

I will post pictures later this week - I am feeling a bit puny and need to get ready for tomorrow. I am modifying my goals. Without knowing how ill I may be in the morning, my goal is to go easy and enjoy the race.

If you want to track me, you can check out live race results at http://www.liveraceresults.com/liveelite/ My bib number is 20097.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Less Than a Week Away

One week from now I should be reporting the results of the San Antonio Rock n Roll Marathon! I can't believe it is that close. I ran my final long run - 8 miles - in 1:33 today. I focused on a slower, marathon type pace. I also took the iRiver along. Although my podcasting has been non-existent, I am thinking of doing an episode, even if it is a short one, on San Antonio.

I thought about my marathon goals today. Based on how my training has gone and the weather (which is now showing race start at around 45 - 50 deg F and high temp of around 70 deg F):

Dream goal - under 5:00 hours
Highly desired goal - PR (under 5:06)
Realistic "would be happy" goal - 5:10 - 5:15

I am also happy to report that I am just $10 away from my goal to raise $500 for Team Parkinson. I have several names to pin to my shirt and run a mile for. There is still time to have me run for someone you know with PD. Just email me at marathonchris@gmail.com. A donation is not required for me to run a mile for someone with PD (or in memory of someone lost to PD).

I have been experiencing a little taper madness....that feeling that I am not running enough and that I may have lost some of the momentum I had while training 40+ mile weeks, that I am slacking! But I recognize the symptoms and will address it this week with plenty of rest, hydration, healthy eating and easy short runs.

It is also time to drag out my checklist and make sure I have everything I need before, during and after the race. The early morning temps look cold enough that I will need a toss away jacket and maybe even leggings - but I should be able to finish in a t-shirt and shorts. If the temperature starts in the 40's I may need gloves. I will have to continue to monitor the weather this week.

I normally carry a fuel belt, but I am thinking of using the water on the course. I still need to carry my Clif Shots so I may use my Camelbak fanny pak without the water to carry stuff. I am open to ideas. I want to run light.

More as the week goes on! :-)

Friday, November 07, 2008

SARnR Marathon Forecast - Sunny or Rainy?

The marathon is 10 days away, which means I can start monitoring the extended forecast for weather on race day in San Antonio.

On Weather.com the forecast is for 60% chance of showers the night before with temps down to 49 deg F. On the day of the race, 30% chance of showers with high of 73 deg F.

On Accuweather.com the forecast is for clear skies the night before with a low of 51 deg F. On the day of the race, sunny with a high of 70 deg F that will feel like 68 deg.

I think I will take Accuweather's version.

It is still early to know for sure - but in general, the temps will be nice in the morning but will warm up later. With a 7:30 am start time, I won't finish until 12:30 pm at the earliest....it will probably feel pretty warm. Rain might help....

I will know later this week what to pack, but it looks like warm weather gear is going to be the choice. With 50's in the morning, I will still need a toss off jacket or garbage bag (those $1 rain ponchos work great) to stay warm before the race begins.

More marathon planning to come this week!

Running has been good this week. After Sunday's "lesson" I took it easy on Tuesday and still managed a 10:39 min/mi pace for a 4.5 miler. Wed I ran 6 miles with hubby, running 5 min and walking 1 - average pace was around 11:30 min/mi. We finished a 10K distance in about 1 hour 11 min. On Thursday I did 4.6 miles, relaxed but strong pace, in 47:50...a 10:30 min/mi pace. I ran 12 minutes and walked 30 seconds - somewhat simulating running the marathon and walking through the water stops.

Saturday I run 4 and on Sunday I run 8 miles. For my Sunday run I will shoot for marathon pace and approach - marathon pace being 11:15 min/mi. I will try the run 12 min walk 30 sec approach again - at a slower pace :-)

I am experiencing the typical taper induced "I feel like a slacker" feeling about my running and miles - but it is all good. My mid week runs are comfortable and pretty easy. I am beginning to get really excited!!

Sunday, November 02, 2008

2 Weeks to San Antonio - a Mixed Bag for Training


"The Gang" on Halloween Night in the Halloween Knight's Graveyard

During my first taper week I had a mixed bag of training experiences. I had planned on running 31 miles but only finished the week with 25. We have several days of very cool weather - fantastic for running.

After my 23 mile run last Sunday, I took Mon and Tues off before running on Wed. So I missed my planned 4 miler on Tuesday. Wednesday morning, the forecast was for 43 deg F - with a breeze that made it feel like 38 deg. As I tend to do in cooler weather, I over dressed for that run (long tights, MCM cotton mock turtleneck, MCM running jacket, winter hat and gloves). About 1 mile into the run I had to shed the jacket - tying it around my waist. I used the hat and gloves to regulate my warmth after that. The big lessons for that day was learning (again) about how to dress properly for those temperatures....which I could encounter in San Antonio or even at Disney in January. Unlike CA, my speed was not too dramatic - but I felt good enough to run 6.7 miles at an 11:33 min/mi pace.

On Thursday morning, I would have another try - temps were going to be just a tad warmer - 47 deg F. But this time I was ready. I wore my 3/4 length running pants, and a long sleeve wicking t-shirt with the hat and gloves again. I did, at the last minute, throw my Team Parkinson singlet UNDER the long sleeve shirt - keeping the wind from making my body cold. This was better than Wed and the hat and gloves worked well to regulate my temperature. Still, the singlet made me feel a bit warm. I felt great running in the cool weather and ran the 5.1 miles at a 10:30 min/mi pace using a 179 bpm Podrunner mix to keep my pace going for the last 2 miles.

I did have a close call with my "equipment." At one point in the run, while stripping off my gloves, I dropped one of the two yellow bracelets I wear (Pray for Elijah and a Livestrong). I stopped and picked it up, but didn't realize I had dropped them both until I got home. I had lost my Pray for Elijah band. A few thoughts went through my brain - one was that someone else may find it and they might pray for Elijah. The other was that my running friend Joan might spot it, see it was mine and pick it up. As I drove along the same route to drop my daughter off at school, I was trying to remember where I had dropped it during my run - it was dark when I lost it. As we drove past the front of the school I spied it on the sidewalk where I dropped it. So I recovered my Elijah band.

Friday was Halloween night - and we had a great time! I took the girls trick or treating while my hubby, the Halloween Knight, guarded the castle and gave away candy. Since it was a Friday night, we went out afterward for a late dinner. After getting home late, I wasn't up for running early on Saturday morning so I decided to run Saturday evening.

Around 6 pm, I took off for a 5 mile run. I felt really good so I pushed up the pace a bit and finished the first mile in 9:44 min - a 5K pace. The other miles went quickly by as well - staying very close to a 10 min/mi pace. After 2 miles, I cranked up the 179 bpm Podrunner mix again to see if I could keep it up for a 50 min 5 miler. I came pretty close. I finished 5 miles in 50:15 min - a 10:03 pace - the fastest I had run for all of 2008!! My hamstring was feeling a bit strained, but felt better today. Overall my speed was picking up leading up to my marathon. The prospect for a sub-5 hour marathon was starting to sink in a bit.

But then came today....

I had good success this year running on Sat and Sunday. Even if Sat was a tough run, Sunday was always a good one. However, today was VERY different. I went out with my husband to run an easy 12 miles - 8 with him then another 4 or 5 on my own - but by mile 2 I realized that there was no gas in the tank. My heart rate climbed rapidly to 160 bpm - even though we were going easy (which would normally have me at around 145 bpm). By mile 5, I couldn't even run the 5 min between walking breaks. I toughed it out for the last bit and ending the run at 8.1 miles at a 12:33 min/mi pace (total 1:41:58). Not my worst run, but I have felt tired and dragging ever since.

Lesson learned: No hard workouts the night before a morning long run. If I don't get the Sat run in during the morning - probably best to skip it. And if I do get it in, marathon pace is fine - none of this 10K pace stuff!

I don't feel bad - I learned a lot of important lessons to carry forward.

2 weeks and counting!