It’s here! Medical Mutual Glass City half marathon week!

The last three weeks of training have flown by! I can’t believe I’m tapering this week! After an awesome 10 mile run, and then all the excitement and inspiration the Boston Marathon provided me with today, I am PUMPED for my 7th half marathon this weekend.

Image 

(Source) Seriously, how can this not inspire and make you proud to be an American and a runner?

 

Last week’s training was awesome! I felt like everything was clicking and I was peaking at just the right time. I had a KILLER run Tuesday which accidentally turned into an unintended speed workout. It being the one year anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombings, I decided to dedicate my run to those who did not survive, those who did and all those who would be running the race on April 21 (today). Even though I completely fell apart on mile 3, I did not quit and cranked out my fastest mile in almost two years!

Image

After such an epic run on Tuesday, I was hoping Thursday’s 5 mile run would be just as great. It wasn’t by any means, but I still logged 5 miles, about 1 min/mile slower than Tuesday. I wasn’t going to let that discourage me and affect my final long run on Saturday.

I went to Indiana over Easter weekend to visit family, so my final long run would be done in my hometown. Fort Wayne did not have much in the way of bike paths/towpath/multipurpose trails while growing up there. But in the past 7 years since I’ve lived here, they’ve really stepped up their game and built an amazing series of multi-purpose trails that connect all over the city. After asking a girl I met in college who I knew was a runner for advice on the best place to run 5 miles out and back, she immediately recommended the towpath trail. Luckily it was within 10 minute drive from my dad’s house. I scoped out the trail online prior to leaving for Indiana and mapped out in my head where I would have to park and how far out on the trail I’d have to run out before turning around. The only thing that made me nervous was that there was not a bathroom or water fountain between the two points I was running. The lack of bathroom didn’t concern me as much as not having a water stop on the path. I only carry one hand held bottle with me that carries about 12 oz. of water. I would just have to conserve my water to stretch out over the entire 10 miles.  

I got up Saturday morning at 6am, before the sun was up. I left my dads house and it was slowly starting to get light. As I took off at a few minutes before 7 am, it was COLD! I anticipated that 40 degrees to start so I just packed a tshirt and capris. Although it was 40 degrees at 7am, the real feel temperature was 30. Yeah, a light long-sleeve tee would have been nice, especially since I had a chilly headwind out the first 5 miles. I started on the trail that winds through the hospital campus and then crosses over a busy road (well actually highway) and then goes down behind medical buildings and assisted living homes and on the other side is a nature preserve. I was able to watch the sun rise after my watch beeped for mile 1–10:42. Eeep! Way too fast for this long run. I had to tell myself to slow down. 

After I crossed another busy road (thankful for stop lights and pedestrian crossing), I ran along a short boardwalk over the North Eagle Marsh and saw this beautiful sight! I had to stop and take a picture (sometimes in life things are so amazing you have to capture it so you can remember it later :)).

Image

The trail was so nice! I everything was marked well, especially every time I had to cross a road! There wasn’t a ton to look at since it went through marsh land, but it was peacefully and I felt AWESOME! I passed a group of ladies running a little past mile 4. I was quite surprised I didn’t come across more runners that early since I’m so used to it here in NEO, but my guess was that part of the towpath wasn’t as busy with runners early like other trails may be. After I hit the 5 mile turnaround point (which is about where I thought it would be), I stopped to stretch briefly and took a small suck on my Gu pouch. Even though it was my preferred flavor (peanut butter) I had a hard time choking it down. Luckily I had put a few Starburst jelly beans in my Spi Belt to use as fuel so I could use those a few miles later. Around mile 7, my knees were starting to ache but I was focused to keep going and keep my walk breaks to a minimum. I’ve learned the more I walk, the more my knees hurt when I go to run again. My pace was about where I wanted it to be between 11-11:30. I had one really slow mile, but I couldn’t get mad at myself because I felt AMAZING while running. The last two miles were the toughest, but I kept the positive thoughts going in my head and out loud to push me through. After completing 10 miles 5 minutes before 9:00 a.m., I was on cloud nine! The runner’s high I got from my final long run was unlike any I’ve gotten before while training for a big race. 

The past three weeks, I have made some changes to my lifestyle that have made some significant difference to my training. (Keep a look out for a separate blog post about that ;-))

I have such a good feeling about Sunday and can’t wait to run in the Glass City!

Week 11 by the numbers:

Monday: 60 minute bootcamp

Tuesday: 5 mile run (inside–stupid snow and cold)

Wednesday: 60 minute bootcamp

Thursday: 5 mile run (outside)

Friday: rest/neighborhood walk

Saturday: 10 mile long run/2 dog walks

Sunday: rest

 

The week leading up to the race is always challenging for me. I want to remain active and stick to routine, but I know my body needs to rest, recover and prepare for Sunday. Its also the time where you’re short taper runs begin to mess with your head and crazy weird pains spring up everywhere. I just need to remind myself I’ve done everything I can to prepare myself for this race, trust my training and don’t freak out.

 

Do you get anxious during the week leading up to a big race during taper time? How do you deal with it?

Today, I made it official….

I signed up for the 36th annual Marine Corps Marathon in Washington D.C. on Oct. 30th.

I’m now all in it after dropping some serious coin to register ($90 to be exact). But I know the money will be a small price and well worth it when I run past a line of active duty US Marines and cross the finish line and have the finisher’s medal placed around my neck. I will be apart of the club- the 26.2 mile club. I will be able to sport the 26.2 oval magnet on the back of my car proudly.

The one thing that I was nervous about registering for the race was having to put down an estimated finish time. Um, yeah. How about I have no idea? I know they probably do this to judge how many runners will be in each pace group. But really, eight months prior to my first marathon, you want me to estimate how long it will take me to run 26.2 miles?! My goal is just to finish the race and finish it running. But, having to include a time, I, eight months out, set a preliminary goal of finishing 26.2 miles in under 5 hours. 4:50 to be exact. Do I think I’m crazy for shooting kind of low? Um, DUH! I finished my first half in 2:28. If I double that, it comes in right around 5 hours . 6 hours (I suck at math, thus why I’m a journalist.) But, by the time I run this race, I will have 3 halfs under my belts and hundreds of miles in training. But that doesn’t mean a lick when it comes to race day. It will depend on the weather, the course, how my body is feeling race day, mental game, and hoping I don’t encounter any injuries along with way. So much plays into how you perform in a race. Yes, I have slowly been getting faster by running with others whose pace is faster than mine, but that is still seems like a far-fetch time to aim for. Oh well, this is all about the journey and what I learn about along the way. So go big or go home!

I can’t wait to run with more than 40,000 people through the historic streets of DC in the 5th largest marathon in the country, 9th in the world-dubbed “The People’s Marathon.”

OOORAH!

Nothing like a little friendly smack talk to fuel your fire

So yesterday afternoon as I walked into the newsroom and began putting things at my desk and getting ready to start editing my photos from my day, the managing editor comes over and starts telling me how the sports editor was talking about how he is going to beat me in the Cleveland (half) marathon in May.
I must say I was slightly shocked by this, even though I know he was kidding. Several of us had run our paper’s inaugural 5k race last summer, and at that point I was training for my first half, I never boasted how I would be able to beat anyone, mainly because I knew my 5k time was still pretty slow (I PRed then in the Journal Jog at 32 minutes. I have since then shaved off two minutes from my 5k time). But, back to the newsroom chatter. I played it off like I don’t care if he beats me, I’m not running it to beat anyone except my own PR for a half. Then my ME proceeded to tell me that he said he could beat me just because he was a guy. Really? Just because you have an appendage between your legs doesn’t automatically constitute you a winner in anything. But whatever. I simply told him that the one thing I have over him going into this race is another half marathon race under my belt already. Which, yes, means that I capable of running 13.1 miles, but doesn’t mean that he won’t beat me.
Now, I’m not a super competitive person by nature. But I took his smack talk and used it in my favor last night at the gym. Got in a 50 min spin class followed by a 4-mile run on the treadmill (aka the dreadmill). I was tired after pushing myself through an almost 2-hour workout, but felt great and knew it was only going to help me reach my goals.

So thank you, Colin, for adding fuel to my fire of motivation.

I’ll be waiting for you at the finish line May 15th. 😉

New Year, new goals

Well, 2010 is now in the history books and 2011 lies before me.

Looking back at 2010, I had a lot of (personal) hardships that challenged me emotionally, mentally and made me take a step back and evaluate what is important in my life. While I had to let a person go from my life permanently, I know it will be the best for me because I deserve the best. But it also made me realize that there are so many amazing people that I already have in my life that losing this one person isn’t the end of the world-though it felt like it at the time.

But the best thing to happen to me in 2010 was getting my running stride back and falling in love with running races. I never though I, a former fat girl, would be able to complete a 13.1 mile race.

But I did.

Nothing felt better than crossing that finish line knowing that my 12 weeks of hard work, dedication, early morning runs and sacrifices was all worth it.

That’s why I am back at it again in 2011.

Today was day one of my half marathon training part II. While it was only strength and stretch, it’s still the one day closer to completing another half marathon.

My goal for this training session will be to focus more on my food intake. I know I can make it through the training because I did it once before, but I want to get my eating habits in check. I know it will be challenging following the holidays and all the yummy, not-so-good for you foods around. I just want to be able to get my eating habits in check once and for all so I can finally shed the last 20-30 lbs off my body this year. I’m hoping if I can shed  10-15 pounds during this half training, it will help me lose more when I start training for my full marathon for the fall.

 

2011 goals:

-Cleveland 10-miler 4/23/11  (108 days and counting…)

-Rite-Aid Cleveland half Marathon 5/15/11

-Fort4Fitness half marathon (Fort Wayne, Ind.) 9/24/2011

Possible marathon destinations:

Outer Banks, November 12-13, 2011; Outer Banks, NC

Marine Corps, Washington, D.C., Oct. 30

Chicago Marathon: 10/2011

(I just want to run in a city that I can also make a mini vacation out of my marathon as well. )

-I want to run double the miles I ran in 2010.

Here is to a new year and more miles ahead!

 

Cheers!

 

So close i can taste it!

Last Saturday morning I ran 8.47 miles with my friend Lori. It was a glorious fall-like morning and perfect fir a long run! Without Lori running by my side and providing me with someone to talk to, our hour and a half run would have seemed twice as long and probably more challenging. But, after our run I realized that I just ran more than half of my big race distance. After feeling like I could have run longer, I became confident that I will be able to finish my half marathon race with no problem.

The following day after my long run, I went home to Indiana to visit some family. And boy, all I felt like I did was eat. Out for breakfast with my mom, then to my cousin’s going away party where there was more food and then had an early dinner with my dad and step mom. So more food. By six pm I felt like I was gonna pop! And thus why I could never move back home! Lol. I would gain ten pounds in two weeks! (okay, maybe I’m exaggerating a wee bit, but still would pack on the lbs)

I felt much better yesterday when I got back to Ohio and went on a two-hour walk with a friend through the beautiful Rocky River Reservation!

I’m going to be busy from now until my race with my friend’s wedding activities, work and finishing editing party photos, I need to make sure I keep on track with my training and not slack off by sleeping late during the week and skipping out on weekday training. It will just make the long runs that much harder. Plus, I feel when I do my work out, my food choices are poor and I tend to eat more.

I’ve worked my behind off for the past eight weeks and don’t need to blow it now in the last four weeks of training. I want to cross that finish line with my hands held high like Rocky and not barely moving.

I’m so close to crossing that finish line I can taste it!

8 weeks complete. 4 more to go!

Runner v Food

There is the hit show on Travel Channel Man v Food. While it’s my favorite show to watch, I don’t know how the host consumes so much food in one sitting. Now, I’m not out to conquer any extreme food challenges that will put me at risk for a heart attack. I’m just out to conquer my personal battle with food.

I’ve had to modify my training schedule this week because I will be going out of town on Sunday. Sundays are reserved fort weekly long run. But this week my long run will be Saturday- 8 miles. So today instead of resting I hit the gym doing a little bit of cardio and some strength training. I felt good after getting in my workout today, but not so good after I had lunch. Since today is pay day and I got to go into work an hour later, I decided to treat myself to a soup and salad lunch at Olive Garden. Soup and salad, doesn’t sound all that unhealthy, right? Well after looking up all the calories for my one bowl of minestrone soup, salad, and two breadsticks on my Lose it! app, my “healthy” lunch came in at almost 1000 calories! The soup was only 100 calories, but the salad an breadsticks were the killers. Now, I know runners are suppose to “carb up” the day before a big run, but I couldn’t help but feel guilty for my lunch indulgence. Then to make matters worse, between football games this evening my tummy was rumbling and I needed a quick fix before shooting my second game. Wendy’s chicken sandwich and small fries. Boom! Okay, just really carbing up for tomorrow’s run.

I just feel so bad because I’ve been doing so well the past two weeks and have dropped some more Lbs, putting me in a new weight range. Plus, I bought a new pair of size 12 jeans from American Eagle with a new, smaller belt.

I know this one day won’t totally bring me down. Just have to make sure this runner continues to win the war over food, keeping the good stuff at bay and the bad stuff away.

Food may have won the battle today, but in the end Runner will win the war!

Bring on the rain!

And as the race director counted down from five, a little rain started to fall. Nothing like a blustery day for a race!
It wasn’t so bad running in the rain because it never rained more than a steady drizzle- so it was tolerable.

The five-mile course for the North Coast Challenge is the best I’ve run thus far. A smooth, flat course with a nice two miles through the metropark. The run through the park was so pleasant and is where I really picked up my pace. Definitely where I was able to focus and just run out hard. I felt good as I passed runners who looked as if they have run a lot longer and more races than me. I crossed the finish line at 53:10. I felt so amazing crossing that line.
As I was walking back to my car to fetch my things, an older gentleman who I passed on the trail through the park congratulated me and told me good pace and that he knew I had it. That made me feel good because he seemed to be a seasoned runner and most people here didn’t come across too friendly (but it’s Westlake and I wouldn’t expect anything less).

Before this race I was really worried because I knew this was a fast race (course record for men is 22 minutes) and the top prize for first male and female finisher is $1000. So I knew this was a serious race. Plus the man who was trying to give me my race shirt before the race kept saying the shirts run real small, not made in this country, basically wanting to give me an XL shirt. I thought to myself ” mister I’m wearing and oversized jacket, I’m not that big.”. I took a large just to be on the safe side, but registered for a medium. Definitely not the best thing for me to get in my head before a race, but I knew I couldn’t let it affect my game.

As I am sitting in my car munching in grapes and listening to the pitter-patter of the rain fall on my car, I’m debating in whether or not to stick around for the awards or just head home to eat breakfast, shower and relax before work this afternoon.

Yes, after all this excitement this morning, I still have to work.

So bring on the rain!