Not every workout is glamorous!

I tend to only write about the great workouts and the great weeks... today was not one of those!  Today was my first "progression run", planned to be about a 20-22 mile total run.

First, though, MERRY CHRISTMAS, everyone!!!  Hope you were able to celebrate it with family & friends & loved ones!!

Back to today's workout... oh, man.  I'm not sure what it was about today.  Perhaps it's because we slept in.  Perhaps it's because we lounged around for a couple of hours, eating the plate of cookies my mother in law so generously gifted us yesterday (seriously, Nate and I devoured the entire thing!!! Oh, my...), eating MORE food that was just lying around, and just all-around laziness that comes with a yeah!-no-work holiday! :).  It was probably also due to the fact that I had a long workout that I was a little scared to start.

Mid-afternoon Nate made me get my butt out the door.  As he continued to eat Mike & Ikes!  The nerve :)

Alright, I can do this.  Mesa was SO excited to go out for my easy miles with me.  And by that, I mean, she hid from us so we couldn't put on her coat & booties.  How did I end up with a dog that needs to wear layers and booties in the winter?  At least Stunt Puppy has outfitted her, otherwise she'd be totally miserable.  I still bust out a good from-the-gut laugh every time we put on her booties and she walks around like her feet are striking some hot plate & need to be brought up & flailed about to prevent further pain/damage.  I think she knows I'm laughing at her.

So - 9.1 miles outside in the single digits.  I think the "feels like" temp was -2 degrees.  My forehead skin hurt a little running into the wind.  Awesome.  No wonder Mesa hates running in the winter.

I dropped her off, changed in to dry clothing, and drove to Anytime Fitness.  My goal was was to do about 8-10 miles, becoming progressively faster.  Then I'd do a 2 mile CD for 22.

Except I wasn't mentally into this workout.  I can tell I've lost that "I want to hurt really, really badly" attitude.  I'm actually a little scared to hurt.  At 3.8 miles, I hit the stop button.  I told myself it was my hamstring.  I needed a drink of water and to stretch out the leg (it is having a harder time today, for whatever reason).  Although the leg isn't working 100%, though, I've worked through worse.  And I've definitely hurt worse.  Ug, Nichole! Buck up!

I started again.  My mother called at 1.5 miles.  I looked down at my phone (I'm running with it, streaming music) and almost deliberately missed the call.  I decided to take it on the last ring.  I breathed into my cell (against all gym policies, I'm sure!  Sorry, people...), Hi, Mom!  I'm on the treadmill so can't say much - but would love to hear about your Christmas!  She entertained me for a full 3/4 of a mile, which was great.  She then asked me about my Christmas, and I couldn't really respond.  I told her I'd call her back.  Except that about a quarter mile later, I hit the stop button... AGAIN.

ARGH.  Seriously?  Why did you stop?  I was down to about 6:50 mile pace, which is a little difficult for me (I am not as strong as I was last summer... hmmm), but still - this is no where near marathon pace or an all out effort.  Reach within yourself, Nichole.  You can DO this!  Zoom Yah Yah world record attempt!  OTQ attempt next fall!  You need to welcome pain!

I did another gym no-no, I'm sure.  I hid in a corner and called Nate and then my parents.  I called them to say that I needed to do the next 5 miles as a true progression run.  And that I didn't want to call them and tell them I stopped mid-way.  I would start at 7:30 mile pace and walk down from there.  My parents (non-runners, but understand how important the 2016 qualifier is for me), were quizzically supportive.  I've never counted on them to drive to finish a workout before.

So - start the treadmill again.  7:30 mile pace.  Then down from there... I don't know my exact progression.  I'd increase the pace by .2 (treadmill-speak), then decide that was too much and go up .1, only to go back down a quarter of a mile later.  It was great.  I gave myself the flexibility of pace, and my only goal was to make this 5 miles HARD.  At 2.5 miles, though, I had that voice pop back into my head - you're a little tired, your hamstring is tight, you can totally stop!  Then a second voice reminded me that I'd need to call Nate & my parents with that news.  I did NOT want to do that.  Plus, at 2.5 miles, I told myself, I just had 2.5 miles to do.  Just get to 2 miles to go... and that isn't so far, right?  It's all about segmenting your workout!

I FINISHED the five miles - actually made it 5.5 miles!  Woot, woot!!  5.5 miles in an average of 6:53.  I think my last mile was sub 6:20 (ended at 6:11 pace).  Although sort of a failed start to the workout, I'm proud of myself for finishing, and for making that last 5.5 miles strong.  Great workout.  I got home and added up all of the segments (there were a lot - ooops) to find that I had run 23.7 miles.  Hmm.  Guess that's good, considering I need to run 26.2 in a week and half?

As hard as this was mentally for me, I will definitely schedule one of these runs in weekly through the winter.  I think it's a great way to test your limits, to gain mental strength (or at least work on it!), and to make the miles go by fairly quickly (well - unless you're stopping and starting often).  The miles aren't so bad when ever .5 miles you're considering whether you can increase the pace or not :).

So - not the most glamorous or inspirational workout, I'm sure.  But I DID it, and for that I'm proud :)


Training since CIM

After CIM, I needed some down time.  The month leading up to that marathon was stress-filled and running, for the first time in a LONG time, wasn't fun.  Workouts were no longer a "let's see how fast I can do this, how much I can hurt", but "work".

So, the last 3 weeks have been without any sort of plan - just doing whatever the heck I felt like.  After Zoom Yah Yah, I'll jump into a defined Jerry plan.  I look forward to it, but know I don't need it now (and am better off without it).

Week 1: 18 miles!
I did my typical reverse-taper after CIM. My legs recover quicker in the long run if I do.  So, Monday after the race was a day off, Tuesday was something like 4.5 miles, Wednesday was off, and Thursday was another 4.5 miles, and Friday - probably not the best post-marathon easy run - was the VO2 max workout at the U of MN.  I think I capped off the week with a 6 mile run on Sunday.  Woot, woot - 18 total miles for the week!  Nate did a great job of holding me back.  If not for him, I'm sure my second run would have been 6-7, and the weekend runs would have crept closer to 10.  I'm so glad he reigned me in.  It's just so easy to think, "well, 6-7 or 10 isn't that far - and it's what I "should" do", when really it doesn't matter what I do at all this week.  It's all about re-setting myself mentally, enjoying down time, and just running for fun.

Week 2: 82 miles, all easy.
The next week I decided to just run easy miles.  My goal was to get out every day, start running a couple of doubles (I love doubling), and do my first long run since I know I have ZYY marathon at the beginning of January.  Basically, my goal was to run as long as I wanted to run and enjoy the miles I was putting in (instead of having a training plan that specified workouts each day).  Turns out, that meant 82 miles for the week (on 7 days).  It was surprisingly easy to log that many miles, and it didn't even feel like much.  Guess it really isn't that high, especially since there wasn't a day off, but I was still surprised at the number when I added up the week. 

I also started on a new strength program from Runner's Connect, which so far I've liked.  It's just nice to switch things up.  The program has 3-4 routines per week, and some you can easily do without weights and within 15 minutes or so.  I like that.  Toward the end of the last training cycle I'd often skip strength if I was running short on time or thought I couldn't find 30-45 minutes in my night.  I miss the more exhausted feeling of a good quality 30+ minute strength session, but think the shorter and more frequent sessions will be a good change.  Plus, I'd been doing the old sessions for about 2 years now... the routines were just getting a little dull. The new program has more leg and hamstring work than I've done before.  The hamstring work is much needed.  On my injured side, I can't do a reverse plank and hold weight on the injured leg.  Something I need to work on, definitely!

Week 3: 86 miles, one day off.
This week marks the end of my third week.  I did my first harder workouts this week, which went surprisingly well.  The first was a track workout (on an actual track - whoa!).  I wanted to get my lungs moving.  I proposed several different workouts to the guys I met (yeah, company!!), and we chose a 12x400m workout in the Hansons' Marathon Method book.  We did 12x400 in 1:23 (I came through consistently in 1:22.8 - yeah for pacing ability!).  We didn't allow ourselves any standing rest after each, just jogged the next 200m until we started another 400.  It was a perfect first workout back.  My lungs had to work a bit, but it wasn't anything they couldn't handle.  It's always nice to nail that first workout back, too - great confidence booster!

The second harder workout was a tempo workout (10-8-6) with a runner I used to coach (now runs D1 for Portland).  I was amazed at how strong my lungs felt.  I ran along fairly comfortably, which was great because then I could "coach" her to push as hard as she could.  The last 6 minute tempo segment we started slower & then picked it up throughout.  She passed me with a minute to go like I was standing still.  Oh, great!  I thought to myself.  But, I picked up my tempo, straightened up my posture, and went for her.  I passed her with about 40 seconds to go.  YES!  Granted, she was much more depleted from the earlier tempo segments than I was, but still.  I'm happy to take pride in anytime I can change tempos & find a little bit of speed!  [Note to self: very good idea to have defined pace changes/get faster in the tempo segment.  I'll try to do this for most of my tempo workouts from now on)]

Week 4: upcoming (and 2 weeks before ZYY).  Low 90s, one day off.

I'm thinking that early in the week I'll try a long progression run.  I've never done a workout like this, but think it could suit me well since you basically ratchet the pace down until you get to around MP or HMP.  Instead of thinking "Oh, gosh... still 20 more minutes at marathon pace!", you're thinking "Can I hold another mile at this pace"?, giving yourself the option of stopping at any point.  I'm excited to try.  Perhaps Jerry and I will add these into the next cycle.

I'll also do some longer VO2 max repeats on the indoor track at Olaf on Friday with Slaine (Portland runner) - excited about this!  Normally I'd probably do something MP or HMP 10 days out from the marathon, but since I have the ability to go hard with someone, I'll gladly take it!  Plus, ZYY isn't a focus race for me, and without it I would be starting to hit up the track for intervals.

So, there you have it.  A whole lot of blogging on my training of late that isn't exciting or noteworthy :).  I'll finish this by wishing everyone a very Merry Christmas!  Enjoy the time with family & all the wonderful food!!


Going for a world record!

What?  Indoor Marathon World Record Attempt :)

When?  January 6th, 2013. 6:30 am (ouch)

How? 150 laps on St. Olaf's indoor warm up track (USATF certified marathon).  Switch directions every 30 minutes.  Run under a 3:08 (which, knock on wood, *should* be doable... but I also now have serious doubts about my ability to stay mentally focused for so long and also to handle the heat and dry indoor air)

Who?  Me and 43 other crazy people!  I hope there's a faster guy that I can work off of.  That would at least make it somewhat interesting.  Last year Randy Peterson won it overall in 3:10.  Here's hoping there's a 2:50ish guy this year :). 

Say what?!?  Yep, I know you're thinking about this... 26.2 miles indoors?  What about aid stations?  Never fear, there are SIX HUNDRED of them.  Seriously.  One every corner of the track.  I'll have to think through this - probably just have a lot of cups at each that I can dump over my head (again, very worried about over heating).  Maybe I can lay out a few gels on the tables as well?  What about splits?  The St. Olaf women's team counts laps for you and records your splits. 

I'm a little uncertain on how my brain will handle the boredom.  I'll have to chat with Dr. Asp, I'm sure he'll have some good ideas on how to just zone out for the first two or so hours :).

What are previous marks in the indoor marathon?  

I still need to do some work to make sure the course is "legal" (although, I'm assuming it is if it's on the list above?).  It's longer than the 201 meters they reference here:  It's 282 meters, actually.  Hmmm... yeah, definitely need to get on that.  Anyone know Ken Young's contact information?  He's the head guy at the AARS that decides on things like this.  I'd hate for them to rule like they did here:!page=0&pageSize=10&sort=newestfirst.  I don't want to go through all of that pain and not get the record!

Star Trib article from last year:

(Note:  the information actually states that we'll run LONGER than a marathon. 
"Yes, you will run 62.805 meters further than a certified marathon course (42,195 x 1.001 = 42,237.195 meters)…actually further than that because you will not be able to run in lane one all the way….BUT, you will have a great adventure!"  Well, good to know ahead of time, I guess!)

Obviously, this is not an "all-in" focus race for me.  I'll taper a little bit for it (it'll be a great chance to see if I like a less severe taper), but my main focus is a spring marathon, logging good base mileage and speed work.  So this marathon will be about 3 weeks into solid training for me.  This will be one of those "I just have to - because it's crazy" type of events :).  Plus, you have to go for a world record when it's within your reach, right?  Even if it is in something like an indoor marathon? :)

So mark you calendars, ladies and gentlemen!  I'll see you there!  (bring a book to occupy yourself for the first 2 hours of the race! :))  If you want to stay at our place the night before to minimize the earliness of your waking hour, just let me know!  We'd be happy to house a crowd!!


Two great things!

So much to write about!  Two great things have happened to me in the last week:

First, Anytime Fitness in Northfield offered a gym membership to help me achieve the 2016 Olympic trials standard.  I am super excited about this, for several reasons.  First, I am a complete gym rat and love nothing more than to hang out in a gym, lifting, working out, stretching, etc.  I ALWAYS find I do more when I'm there.  Second, this cycle I'm going to be doing a lot more strength work and the later phases have me doing lifts that I've never really done before (i.e. squats! Yikes!), and really need help learning how to do these safely.  Plus, I don't exactly have the equipment to do squats in my basement :).  Third, I love that you can come in ANYTIME of the day, and that they have facilities all over.  No longer will I have to wonder where to workout when I go home to Marshall and they roads are too icy to be run-able.  Yipee!!!

Second, I received the most fun email on Friday afternoon - I was accepted as a Brooks athlete for 2013!!  I threw my hands in the air when I saw the email come through.  I had been waiting, nervously, all week (knowing they would send out the notices sometime) - and when Friday morning had passed and still no email, I had told myself, "Well, it's okay - you probably just missed their time cut-off (typically an Olympic Trials time will qualify you - and now that it is sub 2:43, they may have lowered their standards).  So, I told myself that I'd just snag my 2:42-something this year and re-apply next year.  Except - I don't have to!  I am so very excited to join their team (the most wonderful people - Kristen C, Ariana, the Brooks guy at CIM who helped me (sorry I didn't get your name!)), and to represent the brand.  Run Happy!

All for now - more about goals/the plan going forward sometime soon! :)


Soliciting advice!

If not for my U of MN test and Beth Zirbes' recommended link, I would have embarked in a "some-what" vegan looking diet for this next year.  I am in love with the recipes I've tried, and really enjoy trying to eat as much plant/bean/natural based food as possible. Truly. 

But, based on my test last week, I am a very, very predominate carb-burner.  Per Evan's link, I know I can work on this via my long runs - not eating before my long runs and teaching my body to burn fats. But would there be benefits to changing things every day? 

I know that my body fat percentage is higher than other endurance athletes (despite those 100 mile weeks!) and I have a MUCH harder time losing that weight.  I've blamed it on my genetics previosuly (there are more than a few 300+, maybe 400+ pound people on my dad's side...). Instead, should I look at my current daily diet and make changes?  Beth gave me a link that seemed to ring true:

Go to about me, my nutrition journey.

A lot of this resonates with me - the fact that he's working out 2-3 hours a day but still carrying excess fat,wondering why, etc.  This sounds so similar to what I have found to be true about myself, but when I look at his nutriton story, I wonder.  This would be a very, very abrupt change for me.  I know I don't want to make a huge change to my diet unless I'm sure that it'll really help me to lower body fat/increase fat-free mass.  I have a second Olympic Trials qualifier to pursue!!  Plus, this would be a change I know would be difficult for me mentally - I love nothing more than my 100% carb days, filled with oatmeal, bagels, plain pasta, etc. :)

I'm just too uneducated now to make a dramatic change (although am very open to the idea if it would work).  Please feel free to comment here/post links/etc!!


V02max and Body Fat test results!

I had my VO2 max and body fat tested today at the University of Minnesota's Human Performance Lab.  I am go glad I did this.  For anyone wondering where they are, or just looking to be smarter with their zones/body weight, I completely recommend this.  I was lucky enough to have the PhD administering the test "sneak" me in with their marathon class so I'll be tested now and in May, which will be right before Fargo Marathon for me - it'll be fun to see where my numbers are then!

For me, this was a really big confidence booster.  The tester I had was actually really giddy with my results - you could tell he thought I had potential.

I just need to shed a few pounds :).

I have to laugh, because I know it's true.

When you grow up eating Hostess cinnamon rolls with each bite slathered with butter... well, you better know that you're not going to be the leanest/lightest out there :).

At a weight of 109.6 (keep in mind that I'm 5'0" inches, people), my stats are:
Body fat percent: 15.3-15.8%
VO2 max: 64

First we discussed Vo2 max.  Apparently just seeing this number, he'd put me on the national team for the U of MN.  Really?  Top 10 on the D1 U of MN team?  Keep in mind that I was a high school all-state runner for Marshall (small town), 4 time NCAA qualifier for Gustavus (D3), but never All-American, never really that outstanding... never would have considered myself a national runner for a competitive D1 program.  [Although, I must note that the U of MN did take note of me and I think school would have been free between a hefty academic scholarship and a small running scholarship - so maybe they saw something there I didn't].

Then we moved to the last page (after a lot of VCO, RR, BTPS, BR, etc metrics).  My weight.  Here he was brutally honest: "um, well, you're much higher than I would have pegged you for someone with your marathon times".

"And I don't know how to say this, this isn't something you can control" -- but he nicely told me that my breasts were larger than other top marathoners/U of MN top athletes he's tested.  And they're all fat, so perhaps they're playing into my total percentage.  I'm pretty sure I blushed.  I have never been called "busty" before... although I have noticed I'm bigger this year than in previous years... guess I'm living up to the name, "Busty Gustie"???

I'm being 100%, brutally honest - no holds bar here, people :).

But this guy was obviously excited.  Not about my breasts.  Hahahaha.  About my results despite my weight and my chest.  I guess it's hard to tell a woman athlete that they need to lose weight in order to be faster... but that's the case with me.  To have a Vo2 max of 64 at a heavier weight than ideal is notable.  I'm still looking up information on it, but I guess if my body fat was more in the "normal" range for a competitive female marathoner (10-13%), my Vo2 max would be:

@102.5 lbs (10% fat) = 68.4
@103.5 lbs (11.5% fat) = 67.8
@104.5 lbs (13% fat)= 67.1
@105.5 (14% fat) =66.5
@106.5 (weight before NYC, approx)= 65.8
@109.6 (weight day of test) = 64

Those numbers aren't going to get me to the Olympics, obviously.  BUT, they do tell me that I have a strong set of lungs - and that my current PR of 2:44 probably isn't my maximum potential (Even at a Vo2 max of 64 Daniels would say something around 2:35 would be possible - really?!?! Maybe I'm reading this wrong.).  So, that gives me a lot of hope/optimisim that there's a lot of ground left to be covered and potential to be unleashed :).

Oh - one more interesting to note: I am a predominate carb-burner.  Even when I'm walking or running easy, I am burning almost all carbs.  The tester said this might be an opportunity for me - to try to teach my body to burn fat on my long runs (since there are only so many carbs you can store/take in during a marathon).  So, this will be something I research and try to play with in the coming months.  At a RER of .7, you're burning fat.  1.0 is where you're burning 100% carbs.  At my walking rate, I averaged .96.  When I switched to my easy running pace, I dipped to about .9, but then quickly moved to 1.0 when incline and pace increased.  Interesting!

Second interesting fact:  I use less energy running at 7:30s than I do walking!

After CIM, I continued to have questions about my talent and wondered if I hadn't reached my potential with my 2:44s.  I actually told Nate that my next blog post would be all about how I needed to overcome the fact I didn't have the pedigree (I am not a multiple time All American, my parents are as non-athletic as they come), etc.  But this shows me that I probably have more potential than I give myself credit for (after all, Nate reminds me, you did qualify for the 2012 Trials on your first try, after just 9 months of training with Jerry).  Obviously, it will still take a TON of work, a lot of mileage, a lot of hard track and tempo work, and ALL the little things, but these "numbers" (they are only numbers!) would say I have the talent and potential to be a 2 time qualifier. Weird, but awesome at the same time.

Edited to add: 

Does this mean I'm going to go on a strict diet and try to get down to 10% body fat?  No.  I don't think 10% would be a smart # for me to target.  Plus, given my history trying to shed a few pounds (very difficult for me), and how much I fight the process (unlike training where I want to work as hard as possible, do as much as I can!),  I know it's not smart mentally, either.  This is the part of competing at a high level that I don't enjoy.  And as much as I'd like to reach my absolute potential as a runner/marathoner, an even bigger goal for me is to enjoy every step of the journey.

So now there's no reason not to chase that 2:43 with everything I have :)  Let's get after it!


CIM Race Recap - 2:57:21, 25th place

I'll try to keep this short and sweet - mostly to capture some details on the race - and more so so I can move on & start thinking/planning for what's next (since I can't blog about what's next until I've recapped - seems like a good rule).

As you know, this was not a good race for me time-wise.  My worst since I started working with Jerry and taking my running seriously.  You'd think I'd be a little bummed, right?  I'm not.

In a nutshell, how did it go?  Great for the first 16.  I clipped along at 6:10s, not even breathing.  I went 100% on effort.  I should do this more often, both in races and practice.  Some were faster, some slower (esp. into the 35 mph wind - blocked by a pack of men who made sure to keep me sheltered - gotta love how  nice marathoners are).  I can tell my lungs are stronger than they ever have been before.  Nate even commented that when I went past he thought I wasn't going that fast - good to know, glad I can make 6:10s look slow!

Nate ready to cheer, despite a green/dark green/yellow/red looking radar!  What a trooper.  Also love the Team Nichole shirt! :)
But then mile 16 happened.  I was going up a little uphill when all of a sudden a warning light went off in my head.  My quads already felt shredded.  What?  How can this be happening, so soon?  I specifically train high mileage so the distance of the marathon doesn't get to me.  I'll feel it at mile 23 or so, but that's to be expected.  I have NOT felt it at mile 16 since I started marathoning.  I let myself slow to 6:30s, knowing I could still finish in sub 2:46 if I just held that pace for the next 10 miles.  By mile 18 or 19, though, my quads just weren't firing right, and I slowed to 7 minute miles or so.  I averaged 7:50s for the last 6 miles of the race.  Talk about a way to lose mountains of time!  I told myself this was just like the cool downs I did this fall where your quads were trashed and you shuffled along back home.  Just like that, Nichole.  Just a cool down, you can finish.  Just 6 to go.  Then 4.  Then 2.  Then the finish line :).

Once I finished, I found a spot inside the Sutter Club (elite hangout building post-race) and prayed for my legs to stop hurting.  I scooted up next to a wall to put the legs up.  That seemed to help.

Post finish in the Sutter Club.  Ow. BTW, first time racing in arm warmers.  I loved them! And nice that Brooks makes a XS/S size (still a little long for my short arms, but hey, I'm happy!).

I am so glad I took the opportunity to race.  Thank you to all of you who urged me to do it.  If I wouldn't have raced, I would have always wondered what I could have done.  I also feel like I would have felt unfulfilled (all that work this summer, and no race to cap it all off).

I also learned a very valuable lesson:  it is very, very difficult to re-train and re-peak for a race.  I'm glad I learned this now vs. a year from now when I'll likely be chasing down an Olympic Trials Qualifier.  I had always wondered if it would be best to drop out of a race if you were gunning for a time/pace and just weren't hitting it: save your legs for another marathon in the next couple of weeks when you might be feeling better.  Now, there's no way I'd consider doing that.  Instead, I think it's better to race, no matter the outcome, and then look at least 2 months down the road for another opportunity.

Perhaps if I would have raced closer to NYC things would have been different.  A month was simply too long, at least with how I  had tapered for NYC (pretty severe) and the fact that I couldn't get too high with mileage coming back up - which meant that it's been over two months since I've logged anything close to decent mileage. For me, that's a huge deal.  I rely on that mileage strength and I know that's why my quads weren't strong enough to handle the distance.  I also had cut out strength work 2 weeks before NYC and failed to pick it up with any regularity post-NYC.  Totally, totally my fault.  I came into CIM softer than I should have.  I noticed it in my quads and in my core.  I also rely very heavily on this overall strength.

Funny aside: a friend who has given me a lot of advice throughout this taper/re-taper thing (she went through it earlier this year) told me afterwards that she dropped out at mile 16 of her "re-taper" race... interesting to note.  Glad she hadn't told me that before the race...

I also reflected back on the past month, the stress of deciding whether to race, the mental energy it took to start back up again, the absolute craziness at work, getting sick twice because I was stretching myself way too thin... I need to look at what I'm doing outside of running- work load, personal commitments, whatever else is eating into my time.  I need to cut out what isn't important, schedule in time for more sleep, recovery, and the little things..  Because if there's one thing this last month has showed me is how dang important this crazy dream of mine is.  I want to reach my potential as a marathoner (where ever that is).  I am severely limiting myself running around like a chicken with its head cut off like I have been this last month. 

I used bag balm on my feet for the race, per suggestion from one of my hosts for the weekend, Mike.  I was scared to try (Rule #1: don't try anything new on race day!!).  But I was pleasantly surprised at how this works to prevent blistering in the rain.  I just had one blister post-race, which considering we ran in rain with intermittent downpours, is pretty darn impressive.

Another very cool thing about the weekend:  I stayed with a blogger friend, Jaymee Marty.  It was so nice to finally meet her!  She & her boyfriend Mike are so incredibly nice (guess that goes without saying, since they were willing to house two crazy hoodlums who they hardly knew for 4 nights!).  Crazy how this blog has expanded my connections within the running world.  I never expected it, but think that's one of the coolest things about it!!!

As Jim said today, "The thing about one night stands is... they never work out!" :).  Hahaha!  It's true!  They serve their purpose, but they never work out long term.  This race did exactly that for me.  It served its purpose, putting this fall training/racing season to rest, re-setting my brain from being stressed about running and racing to being excited to train and race, and reminding me how much I want this.

So - expect my typical post about plans for the next cycle, goals, etc., sometime this weekend!  This is always my most fun post - nothing beats dreaming, planning, vowing to be better/smarter :)


2:57 and change at CIM...

This is what happens when your legs aren't ready.

Perhaps my worst race in more than 3 years.  I have never hurt so early in a marathon; at 16 miles I went up a slight incline and realized that my legs were already feeling very shredded.  Oh, no....

The last 6 or so miles were a death march.  Not lying.  Quite a few 8 minute miles (where I told myself that i was just doing one of those "survival jog" cool downs when you really hurt after a long/hard workout), a lot in the 7's.  You rack up a lot of time when you're running that slowly!

It wasn't because I went out too fast and it wasn't because of conditions (35 mph winds at the start, flooding rains).  I truly believe that my legs just weren't ready because they haven't done anything of substance in the last 7-8 weeks.  I have to go back to my training log (need to fill in the gaps, I've been neglecting this... which is almost my #1 rule!) to see what the average has been over the last 2 months and 3 months.  I think I'll be surprised at how low it is.  I'm certain that the last 7 weeks were something like 70-50-NYC week (50?)-97-70-50-CIM week (25 or so).  That is really low for someone who is a strength and mileage runner.  I also noticed that I was definitely not overall strong either (especially noted in my core), which again, is due to the taper/re-taper thing (and totally my fault). I cut out strength 2 weeks before NYC and never really picked it up again afterwards.  I know better than that - I am someone who absolutely relies on that overall strength/lean build to power me through.

I will write much more tomorrow, but wanted to at least post something in case y'all were wondering :).


And we're off!

So Nate and I made it out to Sacramento for CIM, but I wanted to give you a snapshot of the craziness before we left Thursday evening:

I originally planned to go for a 5 mile run and see Jim, my chiropractor, over my lunch hour.  As it drew close to 11, though, I knew that wasn't going to happen.  I had a 1:00 meeting where things just weren't pulling together quite right, and I knew I needed to have everything polished, able to explain things, etc.  So -- plan B: take off from work right after the meeting, run in Red Wing, and then see Jim (hours begin at 3:00).

After the meeting ended (went well, yeah!), I ran to my office, grabbed my things and headed out.  Two miles into the run, I started doing the math... let's see. 

It's 2:30 now, I'll end just after 3:00...

Then see Jim, 3:15.

Then cruise home, 4:00 (45 min. commute)

WAIT!!  Oh shit (I think I did swear out loud).  Our flight is at 5:30 - and we live about an hour from the airport!!!!

WHY hadn't I thought through this before?  I had honestly been so busy getting year end stuff done at work that I hadn't thought about it - at all - until this very moment.

I decided to turn around at mile 2.3 or so (took me approximately .3 miles to get to the "oh shit" moment, and this was an out and back run).  As I neared my starting spot, I see a line of cars waiting... for a train.  Ugh.  I don't have an extra minute!  There was nothing I could do, so I just kept running back and forth, waiting for it to pass.  Guess this was God's way of telling me to do my full workout, not skimp out at 4.6 (ended up being 5.5 miles - long!).

I ran into my car, still in sweaty spandex and headed over to Jim.  He did a quick adjustment, wished me well, and I was on my way home.

I sped the entire way.  Please, Mr. Policeman, don't be out today... please!!  I weighed in my head the probability of getting caught, the amount of the ticket, the time I'd waste being pulled over vs. the time I was saving by speeding... I like being analytical.  I'd also like not to miss my flight.  So I shut off my analytical brain and just prayed.

Looks like a guy who would rather be hanging out at the bakery downtown, doesn't it?
It worked!  Ha.  Thank goodness.  Still no tickets ever to my name. 

I called Nate on the way, leaving a frantic message, apologizing for being so dumb about this - but assuring him all I needed to do was throw on clothes and grab my bags (a lie, but I could have gotten by).  I told myself he'd be home, have the dog and everything already packed.  We'd be okay.

I pulled into the garage to notice that Nate wasn't home yet.  I paniked!!  How is he not home?!? Was there a patient that went late?  Oh my GOD, we are going to miss this plane.  Maybe I can drive to Faribault after I load the dog and bags and pick him up on the way.  Yes, that will totally work out.

I let the dog out when I get home and run up stairs, throw on my "plane outfit" (strategically set out to maximize clothing pieces, since we're only flying with carry ons (illegal carry-ons, likely - I hope airlines don't follow Spirit airlines' policy...)).  I throw some food in a bag since I haven't eaten much all day (worked through my lunch).  I then call out to get Mesa.  No response.  I then check my phone to see if Nate is still at work (Yeah, Find My Friends).  He is!  And no call yet!! Argh!!!

And then it dawns on me...

Our flight is not until 7:30.  SEVEN THIRTY, not 5:30.  Oh my GOSH.  I think I hit my head with my hand.  I am such an idiot.

First thing: I call Nate to tell him about my realization.  Second thing: I heat up a bowl of oatmeal (carb day, yeah!) and sit down and eat it, slowly.  Mmmm, food tastes so much better when you're not rushing to shovel it down your throat.  I breathe.  Third: I then make a list of all of the things that I really should do before we leave (i.e. pack food for Fri/Sat/breakfasts for the race, etc, grabbing a few clothing items from the laundry, etc).  Fourth: I shake my head at myself.  This is just silly.  Why hadn't I stopped for a second, checked - or even checked the timing of things, discussed with Nate the DAY BEFORE?  Leave it to me to keep life interesting, I guess.

Nate gets home at 4:50.  Goal to leave at 5.  I'm pretty much ready, just a few things to go.  I call for the dog.  Still nothing.  Oh, gees.  Yep, she's missing.


Nate gets in his car to drive around our neighborhood, finding her 10 minutes later with two 8 year old girls, walking her to our house on a leash.  "She was really hard to catch, Mister!".  Nate thanked them and Mesa was hauled into the car.  She's covered in POO.  Again.  Seriously, this dog hates it when I taper.  Second time this week.  And it was 2 times the week before NYC.

We take off her vest, throw it in the laundry room to deal with later.  She still smells.

Nate decides to throw it in a bag to give to his parents.  HAHAHAHAHA, I laughed hard at this.  Here, in-laws, here's Mesa to baby sit.  She's crazy because she hasn't been run, she is covered in poo, and here's her vest which also smells.  Thank you for taking care of her!

So... nothing else really to write or comment on... we made it to our flight on time, Mesa is with the in-laws safe and sound (I'm sure they love us!), and we're now in Sacramento staying with Jaymee Marty a super fast masters runner (someone I met through the blog world - so awesome!).  And yes, it has been raining for almost the entire time we have been here. More updates to come tomorrow and Sunday after the race!!!