Sunday, May 8, 2011

Provo City Marathon

LeeAnne, Shelli (my mom), and me before the race

The Provo City Marathon...never heard of it? Don't worry I don't think anyone else has either (including runners, spectators,and aide station workers). Needless to say my experience running this was not a good one. It started off great with perfect early morning weather. I was excited to be at the start with my mom and LeeAnn. I thought that since there were very few marathon runners I might actually run a lot better. I felt really good and was super excited to have one more go at my marathon. That all changed once the race started.
Actually the first half was great. My half marathon time was 1:50. So I was maintaining around an 8:30 min. mile pace. I admired the beauty surrounding me as I descended down the canyon. The mountains were snow capped and the sound of the rushing river to my right kept my mind busy with nature. But there were no mile marks that were easy to see. I saw a pavement marking at mile 6 and 12, which was kinda driving me crazy. I had my garmin to let me know where I was, but still during a race it's nice to see the markings. During that first half the aid stations were tiny, just a little card table with dixie cups half full of water, manned by 2 or 3 people. I figured that was only temporary because we were on the canyon trail and that the stations would improve as we ran farther into the course. I was wrong.
Most of the time I was running alone. It's hard to run a marathon and hardly see any other runners. There were hardly any spectators to give you encouragement. I kept thinking to myself that this felt like a training run. A lonely training run that continued to get worse and worse with every mile. By mile 20 I was losing it. The aid stations were few and far between. They were supposed to be every 2 miles. When its 80 degrees and straight sun, and you hit a 2 mile mark, mentally you need that water station. One time it was about 3 miles till it came. I was finally with a few male runners at this point and all of us were dying for that station. When it finally came, we were greeted with dixie cups half full of water. Even when I grabbed 2 or 3 I was still thirsty. I continued to feel myself growing more dehydrated and weak by the mile. At mile 22 my friend LeAnnes husband had heard from my mom (she did the half) that there wasn't much water at the aid stations. So Dave was waiting there for me with a water bottle so cold I could see the condensation on it. Best site ever. I started crying when I took it from him. I drank some, poured water over my head and drank some more and continued to push on running. I slowed my pace quite a bit those last 4 miles and felt like giving up so many times.

Finally at mile 25 right before the last hill there was my sweet mom waiting for me. She had finished her half and greeted me with water and ran the last little bit with me, gave me some encouragement, agreed with me that this was the marathon from hell, and sent me on my way to finish that last mile. I love my mom, she really is one of my best friends and always supports me in whatever I want to do. Even if it's running another marathon.

As I crossed the finish line and saw that my time was 4:09 I had a few thoughts.My dad caught my famous dirty look face on camera. This is how I felt about this marathon.

But my these were my thoughts. First was that even though this is now my worst marathon time, I'm actually okay with it. I finished another marathon in really bad circumstances. I didn't give up when I really felt like quitting. And I think that to me is what a marathon is about. Pushing through the despair, the pain and finishing what I set out to do. It's been 13 months and 4 marathons for me, so for now I'll say goodbye to marathons. For now. :)

Sunday, May 1, 2011

One More

It's been just about 2 weeks since Boston and I'm still not quite okay with my time. So what does this runner girl do? Sign up for one more for another try, of course. This Saturday my mom is running the Provo city half with a friend who is doing the marathon. As she's been talking about it, my mind entered the place I like to call my crazy runners mentality. In that place I've had many a conversations with myself justifying why running a back to back marathon is okay. Here's what I've come up with.
1. I'm still in pretty good running shape, meaning I don't have to do another 4 month vigorous training schedule to run this marathon. I ran 10 miles yesterday and did fine with it, besides the fact that it was April 30 and I was pounding through about 4inches of unplowed snow on the streets. Topping it off with slushy sprays of water and snow covering me head to foot every time a car passed me. Good times!
2. I want another chance to have a strong finish. As amazing of an experience that I had with Boston, I didn't finish how I would have liked too. That was the first marathon that caused me to hit the wall, and I didn't liket that. So I want to try it again to see if I can do better.
3. I just want to do it. Plain and simple. I love to run.
So there, I know some of you may be rolling your eyes thinking I'm nuts, and well, there may be some truth to that. But really there is nothing like crossing the finish line to a marathon. Running so hard for 26.2 miles and then crossing that line knowing that you have just completed a race that at so many times seems impossible to do.
Just one more...I'll let you know how it goes.

Friday, April 22, 2011

2011 Boston Marathon....check

As I was running I passed a shirt that said "this marathon would be fun if there wasn't so much running." I have to agree. :)
What a whirlwind trip, but an amazing experience to be a part of at the same time. SATURDAY
We arrived in CT late Saturday night, and had a not so great hotel experience. It would have been fine if say I enjoyed the smell of smoke/mildew and didn't mind checking into a room that had not been cleaned. Arghh! Anyways we finally got settled in a clean room.
Went to Boston and spent a few hours at the runners expo. People, people, everywhere! I had to hold onto Camerons hand for my life in fear of getting separated and lost in the swarm of thousands and thousands of people! But the expo was great, lots of food freebies, energy gels, bars and drinks.
After getting all the important things we walked around the finish area, got a little rained on and decided to head out of the mass chaos of people and head to the Harvard/Cambridge area. After that to Salem. I've always been a little fascinated with the Salem witch trials, so we hit some museums and walked around that little town. That was fun, but I was tired from all the traveling/driving/walking.
That night we stayed in Milford just outside of Hopkinton which is where it starts. We had a nice hotel this time (thank goodness) and I slept surprisingly well.

I met up with a friend in the morning and took a shuttle to the start. We were both in wave 2 which began at 10:20.
As we waited in Athletes village we were freezing to death! There was a strong wind that sent nonstop shivers through us, not to mention the nervous anxiety for the race to begin. But as we were there with so many others it was just an amazing feeling. Everyone of us there worked so hard to get Boston. The common question going around was "what race did you BQ at?"
Once our wave and corrall were called we had a little under a mile to walk to the start.
I can't stress how many people there were...runners and spectators. Just amazing. Finally I was there, Boston. As I ran that first half mile I couldn't help but shed a few tears of happiness that I achieved a very hard goal. One that at times I felt was completely out of reach. After what seemed like forever, it started. And it started fast, and only got faster. I was looking at my Garmin noticing that my pace was approaching a 7 min. mile. I had to stop myself from going too fast, but it was hard with so much excitement in the air, not to mention so many people passing me up. The first half I felt great and was maintaining close to an 8:30 mile. I was taken back by the support of the community. Everyone talks about the amazing spectators at Boston but I wasn't prepared for how truly amazing they are. I was feeling great, and thinking I might have a new personal best, but then I entered Newton and came face to face with the newton hills. I had looked at the elevation map and knew what was coming. I'm so used to climbing mountains here in Utah that I almost laughed that people made such a big deal about those hills. I was overconfident that I could do them no problem. But as I began climbing those hills they really got to me. They devastated me. I think as I was starting mile 20 and had the last "heartbrake hill" to conquer, it conquered me. I have never felt so defeated before in a race. Never. I've never hit the wall, but as I started mile 23 I ran smack into that wall. I stopped for about 2 seconds and stood there for a second trying to muster the will to continue. At that moment a man in the crowd saw me and with a voice I'll never forget began yelling to me saying, "Hey...what are you doing? You've worked so hard for this. Get can do it." Just hearing him was all I needed. I pushed on and as I was giving it my all I could hear him cheering for me saying, "that's a girl, you can do it." Now that is what they mean by the Boston spectators. I finished with a time of 4 hrs. and 33 seconds.
I felt a little disappointed with myself that I wasn't close to my last 2 marathon times. But I keep telling myself "it was Boston and Boston is not easy." It's the experience that was amazing and as hard as it was, I loved it still. Everything we do in life shapes us, and when life gets hard,we just need to remember that "we can do it." One foot in front of the other, fast or slow, just keep moving forward.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

1 week till Boston!

I wish that I would have journaled more for this Boston training time, but it seems like this time around things haven't been quite ideal. So for my 16 weeks of running to get ready for it I'll mention some of the highlights or lowlights of it all.

Let's go back to March 5 my birthday. The big one. 30 years old. I ran 20 miles and they actually went pretty well. I keep telling myself that turning 30 is acutally going to be a good thing. 30's not that different than 29, life is good, and I'm running Boston, a life goal.

To make turning 30 even more special we were headed to Maui a few days later. I was supposed to run 16 miles there but unfortunately we were there when the tsnami hit Japan and were evacuated from our hotel at 11pm due to the Tsnami warning sirens blarring through the islands. So we spent a night in a car along with hundreds of others waiting it out. Thankfully we were okay, but having a night with no sleep but a dent in my running for that week.

We got home and both my boys were sick, especially my 2 year old. He got croup really bad and that was really scarey. I had to stay up with him all night (making sure he was breathing) and taking him outside to get him cold air when he wasn't breathing well. The next morning (an 8 mile tempo run day)was spent at the doctors getting him steriod treatments and breathing nebulizers. I had a week of not great sleep.

Just when I thought the sun was shining again I came down with a severe snotty head cold. I did my final 20 (about 2 weeks ago) very sick. If I would even tilt my head forward or look down I'd get a disgusting fountain of snot pouring out of my nose. Sorry for the graphic image, sick I know. :( The good news is that I actually ran that 20 still maintaing around a 9 min. mile which is pretty good for being sick.

Unfortunately I haven't had the most ideal training, but now I'm 1 week away from running The Boston Marathon and I'm super excited. I feel ready despite it all. This time around I'm not trying to qualify for Boston, I've made it and I want to enjoy the race, so the pressure is off. I've been tapering my runs these past few weeks and finished my last "distance" one today with 8 miles. 8 miles in the very wet, very snowy, very slushy spring day today. But it's good. I'm happy and so excited to be apart of an amazing race next Monday. So here's to hoping for good weather, good health and a great race. Boston here I come!

Friday, February 25, 2011

18 mile rebound run

Today I braved 18 miles in what started with very wet, snowy conditions. I was nervous since I have had 0 energy this week as I've slowly been recovering from the flu. But I decided to just go a little slower so I could get my miles in. Surprisingly (slow as I was) I was able to complete the run and feel pretty good about it. Luckily the last 5 miles of my run the sun came out and I enjoyed seeing the beautiful snow covered mountains and breathe in the fresh (inversion free) air.
Onto Boston news: They've made changes for the race. This is a brief summary of the email I received from the BAA.
The Boston Athletic Association (B.A.A.) announced last week a change in its registration process for the Boston Marathon, allowing the fastest qualifiers to enter the earliest and with a rolling admission system while also offering all eligible runners an increased registration period.
In addition, the qualifying times will be tightened by five minutes in all age groups in both genders for the 2013 race.
I'm just glad I got in for this year!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Stomach flu strikes hard

Theres nothing like catching a very violent stomach flu that seems to go on 3 days which is technically forever when your looking down a toilet. Anyway I think I'm finally done with the symptoms and now have 0 energy. How I'm going to run 18 miles this weekend I don't know. So training is not going that well. :(

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Plantar Fascias

Plantar Fascias...the diagnosis is in. No wonder my heel has been on fire anytime I stand, walk or put weight on it. Sunday our Super Bowl host also is a physical therapist. He helped me last year when I ran Salt Lake, and had problems with my knee. I had an eventful Sunday with food, football (okay so I don't think I really watched any football) and some therapy and taping. He's great and I couldn't believe how much taping my foot helped. I felt instant relief. He's also getting me a splint thing that I will put on my foot to sleep in at night. He said if I ice, stretch, (I hate doing both of those)wear the splint at night and get taped I should heal in about 4 weeks. So theres some hope in sight. I have a 16 mile run on Saturday and with the ibuprofen I'm hoping to do just fine. :)