Race Recap: Trick or Trot 5K-Cortland, NY 10/26/14

This past Sunday I had the painful joy of partaking in Cortland’s Trick or Trot 5K.  I say painful because my body was not too happy with me that day and it had every right to protest.

Why was I in so much pain?!

Oh, ya know, because I switched my training run around just so I could participate in said 5K.  I crammed in 15 glorious miles the day prior (16 if you count the extra mile I had walked to get home) and my body was feeling it.

Regardless of my lactic-acid drenched thighs, I was able to do the best with what I had and fared better than expected.

Even more exciting than my ability to move the day after such a long run was the fact that my little guy, Connor was able to participate in his first “race”!

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This event is definitely a must-attend for any parent!  Not only did they provide daycare during the race, but the little tykes were able to participate in their very own 100 yard dash.

Connor is still a tad young to understand the concept of when to run (though he does it on command any other day) so when the horn went off he just stood there.  I leaped in and trotted by his side until he got the idea.  He was VERY eager to catch that little shark ahead of him and finished his loop with a little help from mommy.

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Then it was mommy’s turn.  I didn’t quite know what to expect or how hard I would be able to push myself, but I managed to bring some life in my tired limbs.  I was tailed the entire race by a woman in a bright neon green shirt and I could tell that she was pacing me and trying to keep up so seeing her in my peripheral was just enough to keep me going when every inch of my legs burned.

A pair of flamingoes and superheroes just ahead were also there to keep my motivated.  I so badly wanted to pass them.  I did finally manage to pass them, but superhero batman had to pass me in the final seconds of the race and I finally felt like that infamous bird flipping runner.  All in all I was rather pleased considering I had physically exhausted myself the day before and still managed to place respectably 54/142 overall and 9/22 in my division.

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It wasn’t my best rest, but it was fun and I am eager to give it another go next year.  I’m even thinking that if I work on my training it could be a potential placement race in the future (unless it gets bigger and draws Ithaca crows–why are they so damned fast?!).

Have you participated in any Halloween themed races this month?

Marathon Training: Weeks 4-7 In Review

So, here I am feeling like a slacker!  These past few weeks have been nuts and I missed a big long run and a bunch of shorter runs.  I am a bit bummed, but am hopeful that it hasn’t hurt my training.

Screen shot 2014-10-01 at 1.03.20 PMOn the day of my 14 miler I was holed up in bed with a pounding headache.  I just couldn’t pull it together enough to go out and run for a couple of hours and by the time I felt better it was dark out and conditions weren’t prime for running solo.

Week 6 proved to be a challenge due to a mix of scheduling conflicts and an unwelcome bout of vertigo.  I only ran twice that week and when I went out for my 10 miler I could feel the difference in my performance over my prior 10 mile run.  I didn’t push myself as much as I could have and I was still breaking in new shoes so I am hopeful that it played a role in my slightly slower pace.

I am a little nervous for my upcoming week and haven’t quite figured out how my body is going to feel jumping from 13 miles to 16.  I’m just going to have to play it by ear and see how it all pans out.

Marathon Training Review: Weeks 1-3

A few weeks ago I decided to switch over from my 3x/week running plan to a more intense 5 day running plan, Hal Higdon’s Intermediate 2. The first week went fantastic!  I only missed one short run and was able to stay on track for my other longer runs.

I was also killing those runs!  My 10 miler was a new PR and my shorter runs were getting more speedy.

Hal Higdon Intermidiate 2 Training Schedule

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Sadly, week 2 is when I began to slack.  It was mainly because I was completely and utterly wiped out.  We shot a double wedding that weekend and after two 12 hour days of shooting the last thing I wanted to do on my first day off was go out and run 11 miles.  Let’s not forget to mention that I could also feel myself getting sick.  I know my body and know that I made a wise choice in staying in that day.

My cold was very mild and passed quickly and I was able to get back on track in week 3, BUT I still missed two of the longer runs.  We were out of town that weekend shooting in Buffalo and I wasn’t about to get up early and run 6 miles in an unfamiliar city.  The following day I was far too exhausted from the 12 hour day of shooting so I decided to skip yet another long run.

I know this is bad.

They say to never skip a long run.  They say that if you’re going to miss any runs try to make it those short ones.  But, we’re still fairly early on in the training and I think I will be okay.  You see, I always have the Intermediate 1 plan to fall back on.  When I look at that schedule and think about my current fitness level I know that I am well ahead of the curve.

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I only opted for the higher schedule to begin with because my longest training run from my prior 28 week plan was 9+ miles.  I knew that my body was already fully capable of going the 10 mile distance and saw no problem with the increased mileage.

So far, the training has been going well.  I don’t feel like it’s burning me out and I don’t feel like it’s too much too soon.  The only conflict I have had been due to a ridiculously busy schedule and illness.

It will get better now that wedding season is dying down and I do plan to work hard to stay on track for week 4.  It’s my goal to have a full week of training under me for this coming week.  So far, I am doing my best to stay on track and plan to do the same for the weekend.  It’s not always easy finding the time or getting up early, but I know it’s going to be a necessity.  I want to push myself harder so that I can PR this next marathon and even hope to run a half at the end of this month (10/19) so I can PR that distance as well.

I can feel both my mind and body getting stronger and know that I can accomplish anything I put my mind to. How are your training plans going?  Have you ever change things up during training?  What plan are you following?

Race Recap: Walt Disney World Marathon 1/12/14

WOOOWEEEE!!  I did it, I completed my first ever full marathon!

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It was such an amazing, torturous, and inspiring experience and I am proud to say that I am an official marathoner.  BUT, I wish (I know, I know, I’m ridiculous) I would have pushed myself a bit harder to get closer to my goal finish time of 5:30:00.

My friend and husband rolled their eyes at me when I told them that I was disappointed in my time of 6:30:10.  How on earth could I be disappointed?  I just ‘ran’ a freaking marathon!!  After all, how many people can say they’ve completed a full marathon?!? Not too many.

Well, that’s just me, I am stubborn and tend to look at the negative of positive events (and I’m my own worse critic).  This doesn’t mean I am discouraged or despondent, only slightly disappointed.

I am okay with the minor disappointment because it’s motivating me to push on and do better on the next one.  Yes, I said next one.  I definitely want to run another marathon and I want to kick this one’s ass. I may even be crazy enough to try out the Dopey Challenge in 2015, but that’s dependent on what our future baby making plans are.  Anyway, let’s get to the point of this post, the recaps!

1521458_653335481385006_113596622_nRace day started super early.  Buses to Epcot began pickup at 3 AM and we were up and at it by 2:45 AM.  I wanted to make sure I got there early enough to be at the start of my corral.  The first corral left the start at 5:30am, I was in corral O and didn’t start until 6:30am.  I think this part is what threw me off.  I hadn’t planned for such a long wait (silly me, I didn’t think to do my research) and my measly breakfast that consisted of a tiny Clif bar was likely burned up from the long walk to the corrals.

In the hours leading up to the race I nibbled on some Clif shot bloks to keep me energized.  My friend had left me at this point to go to a later corral so I was on my own.  To pass the time I chatted it up with a few fellow runners who were also doing their first marathons.  It was fun to talk about the stories that lead us to the start line.  Most of us never thought we’d be crazy enough to attempt such distances.  It wasn’t too long ago that 5k’s seemed like arduous tasks.

Talking to these ladies really helped to calm my nerves.  We were all here with the #1 goal being to finish.  Meeting a goal time would be the bonus or icing on the really big cake that is a marathon.

Despite trying to keep my mind off the task at hand, the fireworks at the gun of each corral’s start really built up the anxiety.  I WAS NERVOUS!  Like any big event that you spend months planning for you can’t help but think about the outcome.  Hell, the night before I had a nightmare that for some reason I didn’t make it to the race in time and was disqualified.  Not the best way to start out your first marathon.

Soon enough we were moving to the start and before I knew it we were off.

I stuck to my game plan of pacing myself based on my HR and kept it in the zone of 155-165.  This worked out fairly well for the first 10 miles, but then the sun came out and despite the temperatures being in the comfortable 60’s it was a shock to my system (I had been running in sub-freezing temps the week prior).

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At mile 5 my pace was 13:18 with an estimated finish of 5:48:22.  I felt good at this pace and confident that I was going easy enough that I would be able to see negative splits towards the end of the race.  But as each chunk of 5 miles passed I slowed down, by mile 10 my pace dropped to 13:41, and by mile 13 to 14:06.  I was a little disheartened.  Even my last long run, which went horribly wasn’t this bad.  I couldn’t quite figure out what was going on.

Since the start I felt like I had the urgency to pee and my stomach was a bit uneasy so I tried to stop a few times for bathroom breaks. It wasn’t until mile 16 that I actually found a line short enough to wait it out.  Peeing for the first time was AMAZING.  I had been sucking down liquids like a fish and my bladder was in desperate need of being emptied. I felt a little better after this, but the 5 minute break from running tired me out.

My muscles and feet ached more than they had before I stopped and I just knew this would mean I would need to take intermittent walk breaks through the remaining 10 miles.  I was right, by mile 20 my pace dropped to 14:40, but I felt like I had it in me to finish strong.  Then I had to pee AGAIN and I tried to poop AGAIN without any luck (yes, I said poop–we all do it!).  I was not feeling the greatest at this point, but with 6 miles left to go the end was in sight and I was confident I could make it through.

And, then came mile 23–in perfect timing, my urgency to go to the bathroom finally reached it’s limit and I was ready.  Lucky for me there was a restroom right past the mile marker.  I was FINALLY able to relieve myself of the pain I’d been harboring since mile 5 and I was lucky enough that it didn’t happen mid-run.  How horrific would that have been?!

With 3 miles left to go, I started an inner dialogue, “You can do this, run the rest, you don’t need to take walk breaks for a measly 3 miles!”.

The last part of race was such a blur, I was so ready to be finished at this point and I didn’t care what my time was as long as I was at or under 6:30.  I didn’t want to go more than an hour over my goal finish and had set this as a last-minute goal.  If I could break that time, I would be happy.

Let me tell you something, when you have been running for 23 miles, those last miles are the longest freaking miles known to man!  I never felt like a mile was so long in my entire life.  Well, that was until the last 0.2 miles of the race!  Once I hit mile 26 I figured it would be cake, but nope, those last 0.2 miles could have been another mile.  It felt like I was moving at a snail’s pace, but I ‘sprinted’ to the finish.

I threw my hands up and smiled big as I crossed the finish (hoping someone was there to capture it–they weren’t).  I had just finished my first marathon and was thrilled (and exhausted)!

Screen shot 2014-01-14 at 1.50.11 PMAll in all, I feel proud and accomplished.  I finished my first marathon and didn’t place dead last OR get swept.  Admittedly, I was (and still am) disappointed with my finish time, but that’s only because I expected to do better based on my training runs.  There are a few things I learned from my first marathon and I’ll be sure to put my knowledge to use for future races.  In the meantime, I’ll wear my medal proudly and gloat until people get tired of hearing “I ran a marathon”.