Thursday, September 29, 2011

Just Signed Up...

...For the Warrior Run 5K next Saturday. I've decided not to push my luck with the Columbus Marathon. I haven't run a significant distance since Air Force, and I'm looking forward to running the Cincinnati Half with my sister in a few weeks. I'm going for a Half PR, since my 13.1 split at Air Force was better than I did at Little Miami.

I'm still seeking 5K redemption from the hilly Cheetah Run, and Running Buddy tells me that the course is flat, so... yeah.

I'm going to stick with my original plan of switching to a minimalist shoe after the Cincinnati Half (I'm leaning toward the New Balance Minimus) and getting some one-on-one instruction on proper running form. I'll spend the fall adjusting to the new shoes and making sure I'm running properly(ish), and then ramp up again in January to prepare for the Flying Pig.

I like to have plans.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Decisions, Decisions

I still haven't decided whether I'm going to try to run Columbus next month. It's slightly less than three weeks away. My heart is 100% into it - I want to go and redeem myself, to free my brain from reliving those 10 seconds over and over all winter long. 10 seconds.

But my body is a little more unsure. I've only been out to run once since Air Force - a short 3 miles last Thursday at a decent pace. I came out of the run still feeling not-quite-right, especially in my left foot, which feels a little tight. Charlie has convinced me that I need to take a week off from running altogether, and I've reluctantly agreed. I'm going stir-crazy. I'm going to try really, really hard to stay out of my running shoes until Thursday. On Thursday, I'm going to see about 3 miles. Then, if that goes well, I'm going to go for 8 on Friday. If that goes well - and by "well," I mean at a faster-than-race-pace, I'm going to go ahead and sign up. The price goes up on Saturday. If it doesn't, then I'll just have a long winter to look forward to. I still have the Cincinnati Half Marathon on 10/22, so maybe I'll set my sights on another Half PR.

I'd still much rather have those 10 seconds back.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Air Force Marathon - Race Recap

As I mentioned before... I'll get the pain out of the way early - I didn't meet my goal of running a sub-four-hour marathon. I didn't blow it by minutes, either - I blew it by 10 freaking seconds. TEN SECONDS. A desperately-needed 30-second potty break at mile 22 kept me from reaching my goal. I don't like giving too much information, but I would have gladly peed my pants if that was all it took - unfortunately, that wasn't the issue.

Failure to meet my goal aside, the Air Force Marathon was totally amazing. AMAZING.

My marathon fun started off on Friday at the Breakfast of Champions. Thanks to a member of the AF FB Group for giving away her ticket, since she couldn't make it! I was so excited to have the opportunity to go.

I got to hear from some really interesting panelists - Josh Cox, who holds the AF course record (and who now also holds the 10K record and would hold the Half record had his pace car not lead him down the wrong path), Mark Cucuzzela, the Military's Medical Consultant and winner of this year's Marathon, Danny Dreyer, of Chi Running fame, and Marshall Ulrich, all around badass. Dude has ascended all of the big 7 summits, with success on his first try. Only person in the world to do that. I actually got to talk to Dr. Cucuzzela one-on-one and get his take on switching over to a minimalist shoe - he's all for it. I even got my sister a Danny Dreyer autograph (wanted to get an autographed book, but they had sold out of Chi Running, so she'll have to settle for an autographed AF Marathon poster).

After breakfast, I headed over to the expo to pick up my packet.

Don't you love the "Beer Coupon?" I think that's the best part.

Shockingly, I managed to avoid buying anything but Sport Beans and Gu. I still can't figure out how that happened.

Met my friend Rachel for a carb-filled lunch - thought about ordering fettuccine alfredo, a la Michael Scott. That's what Rachel had, and it smelled soooooo good.

Drove home, found that Charlie was complaining of an earache, took him to the pedi, found out that he had a double ear infection. That meant the Charlies wouldn't be accompanying me to the race. Enjoyed my now-traditional pre-race Chipotle.

The next morning, I got up ass early so that I could leave my house by 4:00. Of course, there was no traffic, so I was easily at the gate by 5:00, when it opened. I got prime parking, which was still a good mile from the start line. On my trek across the base, I walked and talked with a woman who had run more than 100 marathons. I thought that was pretty amazing, until I heard that Running Buddy (hereafter referred to as "RB") ran the marathon with a woman who was on #202! How crazy is that?

It was COLD out! We're talking 40-something degrees. Which is nice, and all, but not when you're standing around in running shorts and a tank. Luckily, I had dug up an old, ugly long-sleeved shirt to use as a "throwaway" shirt, so at least my arms were covered. Still, I nearly froze to death waiting to catch up with RB. I watched a lot of videos on the design and use of several Boeing aircraft while I waited - their trailer acted as a nice wind-shield.

Met up with RB and her husband, who was running the half. We had about 20 minutes until start time, so we chattered nervously and RB showed off her super sweet hot pink KT Tape job. 7:30 was quickly approaching, so we said our good-byes and good-lucks and went off to meet our pace groups.

The start was amazing. I know I already said that, but I'll say it again. AMAZING. To be on the Air Force Base, surrounded by active military personnel, all of who were voluntarily there to support US, the RUNNERS, was totally amazing. Inspiring. Especially when you looked at the 10K-ers who were running with the packs. That's hardcore.

(source: AFM FB page)

Someone sang the National Anthem, and then the B-1B Lancer got us all pumped with a spectacular flyover. I've never been that close to a plane like that, let alone a plane like that flying directly over my head, and I got goosebumps. That thing was a monster! And really freaking loud. The ground shook as the sound wave caught up with us. Holy cow.

(source: AFM FB page)

And then we were off.

I'm going to spare you the paragraphs and paragraphs of detailed race recaps, since it really went very, very well. The pace group was awesome, I enjoyed the camaraderie and the conversation. They did take a few sections a little faster than I would have liked, especially at MileTen, which took us through downtown Fairborn. This was my absolute favorite part of the course - it was a giant town-wide party just for the race. Hundreds of people lining the streets cheering, dressed in costumes. At the end of the main route, there was a giant set-up mimicking Area 51, complete with Alien costumes and blow-up props. It was freaking sweet. I haven't found any pictures yet, but I'll certainly share them when I do. The only thing missing was Fox Mulder. Would have loved to see him right around the halfway point :p

Around mile 12, I found myself running with two random guys from the pace group, Adam and Shawn. We compared playlists, complained about hills, swapped stories about kids and families and life, and joyfully called out each mile marker. I *may* have been a little obnoxious with my forced enthusiasm. I'm very much of the "Fake it Till you Make It" camp, so I was trying my damndest to tune out the tiredness of my legs toward the end. Unfortunately for my new friends, that included singing out loud to my ipod and squealing in delight every time we ticked off another half mile.

We carried each other through miles 12-22, when Adam had to stop to stretch out his hamstrings. I was afraid to stop because I thought I might not be able to start again, so I kept going. Well, that only lasted a few minutes, because I had to take an emergency bathroom stop. It was unavoidable. Thankfully, there was no line at the porta-potty, but it still took me 30 seconds (yes, I timed it). I will forever kick myself for stopping. I wish it had been as easy as just peeing my pants, but it was... something else. We'll leave it at that. I still haven't been able to figure out how to make that problem go away. I managed to push through it at the Pig, but there was no ignoring it this time around. Next time I think I'm going to stick with Sport Beans only and forgo the Gu altogether. It was after I had my second Gu at mile 20 that my stomach really started to revolt.

Anyway, I got back on course and started up the last of the giant hills. Now I had no one to talk to. I turned on the gas to try to reach the pace group, but it just wasn't going to happen. Again, like the Pig, it was a matter of willing myself not to walk. I thought about why we were there on the base, thought about people who were enduring pain much worse than I was, and just kept putting one foot in front of the other. The 4:00 pace group was *right* in front of me. I still had a chance, but I watched it slip away. I just couldn't close the gap. I knew as soon as I saw them cross the line mere seconds ahead of me that I had missed my goal.

So close. So fucking close. And yes, I should just be happy that I did it, that I ran 26.2 (26.49, according to garmins everywhere) freaking miles, that I have the ability and the health and the guts to go for it, but I was just so disheartened. I shook the hand of the Air Force guy who presented me with a medal and thanked him for his service. And then I cried. I'm not exactly proud of that fact, but I'm willing to admit it.

I stood in the super-slow-moving food line sipping on water (stomach still not pleased with me). I managed to bend over enough to untie my shoes, and that was sweet freaking relief. I wanted to get my flip flops from the bag check, but first I needed to know just how close I came, so I hit up the results tent first. I got my little time printout and saw the 10 seconds dangling off the end. 10 seconds. I may have shed another tear in disappointment. Don't judge me too harshly, it was a very emotional day for me.

Thankfully, while I was hobbling over to bag check I ran into my good friend Rachel and her husband Dave, who had just run the Half Marathon. It was so good to see a familiar face. They had even brought their infant son Julian, so I got to peek at him, too. How can you not smile when you see a baby? Dave did a great job in the Half. I was probably a little bitchy, because I was disappointed and hungry and tired and wanted to puke, so I couldn't even satiate that hunger. So I'm sorry, Dave, that I made such a horrible first impression. But he did friend me on Facebook, so I couldn't have been that bad... right?

I said my goodbyes so that they could get the baby home, and started searching for my Running Buddy. I didn't have the energy to shove through the crowds at the finish, so I settled for watching through the food tent and did actually get to see her cross the line. She looked great, for just having run 26.2 miles! Sweaty hugs for everyone :)

So, all in all, it was a fantastic experience. The course was awesome, minus the giant hill at the end. It was really crazy to be out running on an airport runway. The finish area was the best part, because the lanes were flanked by planes. That was really cool.

The crowd support and organization and volunteers completely rocked it.

The medals? Well, they're gigantic, and detailed, and really, really pretty.

Charlie said it looks like something Flava Flav would wear. He may be right.

What's even cooler is that the marathon was also held at deployed locations all over the world, so that active military members were able to participate.

I'll definitely be back next year.

But then there's that whole issue of the ten fucking seconds. And that's how I'll always refer to them, the f-word-as-adjective included. Sure, cognitively, I know that I did it, because I can just subtract the potty break. But that leading 3 will never be a part of my official time.

And that's why I might be signing up for the Columbus Marathon tomorrow, after I take a test run on these legs tonight. Best case scenario - I officially break four hours. Worst case? I run another marathon. Either way, I come out ahead of the game :)

Official Stats

Distance MAR
Clock Time 4:01:18
Chip Time 4:00:10
Overall Place 672 / 2513
Gender Place 125 / 744
Division Place 22 / 120

Monday, September 19, 2011

Air Force Marathon Update - I Didn't Make It.

I'll get the pain out of the way early - I didn't meet my goal of running a sub-four-hour marathon. I didn't blow it by minutes, either - I blew it by 10 freaking seconds. TEN SECONDS. A desperately-needed 30-second potty break at mile 22 kept me from reaching my goal. I don't like giving too much information, but I would have gladly peed my pants if that was all it took - unfortunately, that wasn't the issue.

I cried when I got my official results.

Failure to meet my goal aside, the Air Force Marathon was totally amazing. AMAZING.

How could something that begins with a B1-B flyover NOT be spectacular?

Overall Place 672 / 2513
Gender Place 125 / 744
Division Place 22 / 120

This race is obviously deserving of a full recap post, I just haven't finished it yet. Soon! For now, admire my awesome hardware. This medal is a BEAST!

While you're at it, you may as well question my sanity, because I spent yesterday evening putting together a four-week plan to run the Columbus Marathon next month to try to trim those 10 seconds off my time. I'm giving myself until Wednesday to decide.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Spoke Too Soon

The build-up to marathon #2 is much easier than the build-up to the Flying Pig. I don't have that gigantic pit in my stomach this time around, and I don't want to puke every time I think about lining up at the start of the race. All in all, that makes me happy.

The pit has arrived.

That, or I drank too much coffee this morning.

Nope, definitely the pit.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


It's official - I'm now in possession of my Air Force Marathon bib number!

Four more days until I have one of these shiny medals hanging around my neck.

The build-up to marathon #2 is much easier than the build-up to the Flying Pig. I don't have that gigantic pit in my stomach this time around, and I don't want to puke every time I think about lining up at the start of the race. All in all, that makes me happy.

I am a little stressed out about the getting there and the parking, since I'll be leaving my house at 4:00 AM for the 7:30 start. I don't know how traffic will be, I don't know how parking will be, and I don't know how nervous I'll feel when race morning is actually upon us. I wish I could just spend Friday night up in Dayton, but, alas, it was not meant to be. I did manage to score a ticket to the Friday morning "Breakfast of Champions," where I'll get to hear people talk about running-related issues and meet Danny Dreyer, the guy who does "Chi Running." My newly-a-runner sister would be very excited to meet him. Sadly, I'm still stuck in the camp who uses dirty-word-filled mantras to get me through a long run. Of course, that all hinges on Charlie agreeing to do pre-school drop-off that morning. I'm hopeful - he is the best husband, after all.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Joining the Twits

I've been officially delegated the social media guru for my job, so now I have to figure out how Twitter works.

Rather than making bunches of mistakes on my "real" Twitter account, I'm setting up a feed for this blog so that I can learn the ropes.

Yes, we're way late to the party.

I'm ok with that.

Follow me!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Cheetah Run - 5K Recap

What better way to spend birthday morning than running a 5K?

Oh, I don't know, maybe NOT getting up before the asscrack of dawn to drag a cranky husband and toddler down to the zoo to watch you run said 5K?

I decided that I wanted to do the Cheetah Run this year. I almost did it last year, and it would have been my first race, ever. After Sunday, if I had done the Cheetah Run last year I might have sold off my running shoes and given up on trying to be a runner, altogether.


Two words: Holy. Hills.

As my running buddy said, "if I had to design the cruelest 5k course ever, it would look something like that!"

Don't get me wrong, I knew there were going to be hills. The hilly reputation is known far and wide. What I didn't know was just how long and steep those hills were going to be. I was expecting the hills in the zoo, but I thought they would be gentle, rolling hills that I would handle with grace and swiftness. I wasn't expecting the gigantic ass-kickers of hills that were waiting for us outside of the zoo gates. Grace and swiftness went out the window. Instead, there was huffing and puffing and gasping for air and spitting (so that I didn't puke) and R-rated-mantra-repeating (more on that in another post). Plus, I stopped to walk when I got my cup of water. I needed that water. Turns out I could have used those 10 seconds at the end, but whatevs. I'm alive.

When the dust settled and I didn't feel like keeling over anymore, I finished in 26:22:00. I didn't even halve my 10K time, which makes me feel kind of crappy, but then I remind myself that there were hills on this course, and I had run 15 miles on my legs the day before, and I start to feel a little less bad. Besides, I still finished 31/686 women. I guess that's not too bad. And we were all schooled by the women's winner, who was a TEN YEAR OLD GIRL. That's right, we were all outrun by a kid. She was speedy, no doubt.

Looks like I've got some work to do to meet one of my 30 by 30 goals. Next time I'll pick a flatter course. Do they make courses that are all downhill?

But look how excited I am to be 30!

Here is me posing with Charlie after my race and his Cheetah Cub Run. He was SO proud of his ribbon, but he wouldn't come anywhere near me. "Don't touch me, Mama, you're wet and yucky!"

Moral of the story: Cheetah Run is a wolf in sheep's clothing. Cute tech shirt, tough course.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Do You Yasso?

Yasso 800s were discovered by a guy named (what else?) Bart Yasso.

I guess in the running community he's some kind of BFD, but what do I know? I've only been part of the community for a short time, so his name doesn't have the power over me. Yet.

The exercise involves running a series of 10 800s (800 meters, that is). In between each 800, you jog for the same amount of time it took you to run the 800 (for example, if it takes you 5 minutes to run the 800, you would jog for 5 minutes before the next one). It's both a marathon speedwork exercise and a marathon time prediction tool. According to Yasso, the time for your 800s will predict your marathon finishing time. If it takes you 5:00 to run each 800, then your marathon time will be 5 hours. If it takes you 2:50 to run each 800, then your marathon time will be 2 hours, 50 minutes. Get it? You're supposed to start these workouts a few months before your marathon, beginning with 4 800s and adding another one every week until you're up to 10. The final week is supposed to be 2 weeks before the marathon, though the Runner's World article says 14-17 days is ideal, which I find weirdly specific.

Now, I can't say that I was a disciplined Yasso follower. I followed the Run Less, Run Faster plan, which did incorporate a lot of 800s, but also included speedy 400s, 1200s, and 1600s. Wednesday was 17 days before the marathon, and I had 8 800s on my RLRF schedule, so I decided to just go ahead and add two more and see how the complete session of Yasso 800s went. I think they went pretty well. My times for the 10 speed intervals were: 3:45/3:45/3:45/4:00/3:55/3:53/3:50/3:50/3:48/3:00 (though I really pushed it on the last interval and kind of felt like I was going to die). I also didn't rest as long in between because it was 8:30 by the time I started and I was tired. According to the method, I should be able to hit my 4-hour goal.

Whether you buy the science behind Yasso 800s or not, it's still speedwork. Still not totally confident that I can hit the 4:00 mark, but I'm sure going to give it all I've got! 17 days to go!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

You have GOT to be Kidding Me

Or, "Why Speedwork isn't Always Your Friend."

Ladies who have been pregnant (and male counterparts of ladies who have been pregnant, and friends of ladies who have been pregnant, and people who have read about pregnancy) know that making it through 40 weeks of pregnancy without stretch marks is something to brag about. But not something to brag about **too** loudly, lest you become one of "those women."

I am was one of those women. My body is far from perfect, but I've been spared the stretch marks. According to "The Experts," I can thank my ancestors for good skin elasticity genes.

So I've been doing these speedwork exercises as part of the "Run Less, Run Faster" program that I'm following (I'm sure that will be its own post later on), and, as "speedwork" would imply, there's a lot of short distance sprinting at a pace much faster that I'm used to. Sprinting uses and builds muscles differently from running longer distances at a slower pace, so I've suddenly got some nice upper leg muscles going on. Based on this random leg muscle diagram, it appears to be my Tensor Fasciae Latae and my Rectus Femoris that are benefiting most (or maybe not, I'm not an anatomy and physiology expert. whatever happened to quads and hamstrings?).

Great, huh? Well, yes, until I spotted a small web of stretch marks a few inches below my hipbone, right on the spot where that "Tensor Fasciae Latae" supposedly is.

WTF? Exercising is supposed to make you look better, not give you stretchmarks!