Thursday, December 31, 2009

New Year'e Eve run

Well - it didn't hit me that it was New Year's eve until dinnertime - I guess working threw me off. I did take a long lunch and run 11 miles. I started up this week on the final 7 weeks of the FIRST Marathon plan. Instead of the 3:40 pace, I am going by the 3:50 pacing and I will follow that come race day! So that meant speedwork Wed and tempo run today. Took to the treadmill for speedwork, as it was too blustery to run at the track at 5:45am. Today's run was nice - 40°, light rain. Planned an 8:46/mi pace and hit it on the nose! Was very comfortable too, but the cold gets to my knees afterwards. 15 planned for Saturday. Haven't done 2 long runs like that (within 2 days) in a long time (ever?), but hope to get them back to back to prep for the Chattooga 50k. That's my main goal for 2010 (an ultra).
The trip up to VA/DC/MD/DE was good. Got one good run in on Rock Creek Park. Again - a cold rain with 18" of snow on the ground. Didn't get far before my shoes/socks were soaked, but it was not an issue. Tried running on the main trail, but it was too much under water, so I stuck to the paved part for the first 45 minutes. Barely saw the pavement and continued to slosh thru puddles and slush. Came out on the closed section of beach drive and saw some other runners. Ran with them for almost the next hour - were members of the Montgomery County running club - doing maintenance marathon miles. Very nice people. Ended up with about 10 miles in that morning and felt great! Will have to total my miles up and give a final year recap I guess!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Still running! 2010 plans

So I made it thru the first week after the marathon without doing anything stupid (related to running at least!). Had a decent 5.1 miler Friday along with yoga and walking another 0.5 mile, then slept in a little and ran just under 7 today. Felt fine even with a decent pace, but still nowhere close to where I was - but I didn't expect to be. Doing another short 4 miler tomorrow morning - my schedule will be a little off in the coming week with some travel coming up, but I'll get those runs in!
I am starting to get excited with the prospect of slowing down during the marathon and seeing if I can run an even split, and possibly hit the wall later, like mile 26. Not planning a whole lot for 2010...
Feb - Myrtle Beach Full Marathon
Mar - Reedy River 10k

Lots of maybes...just going to wait and see how MB goes. Ideally - would do the Chattooga 50k (or another Ultra on Trails run). Then another marathon in the fall with my brother - leaning towards the Marine Corps Marathon in DC.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Back to Training!

Well, my soreness lasted until this morning, so 2+ days. Still a tender spot here and there, but I'd say I'm at 90%. Walked some Sunday, more on Monday and today spent 30 minutes on a stationary bike - tomorrow I will try to run and see how it feels. Only concern right now is what happened after Spokane (and NYC?), my left ankle/shin area. It has kind of been there for a couple of weeks, never more than an annoyance, but it is still there. I know it is an overuse injury (or could become one quick), but I'll see how 3-4 miles feels in the morning. Oh yea - back to getting up at 5am. Some parts of training are not as enjoyable as others!
I had many comments this week about why? and how? I do this running thing. Mostly of it is enjoyable, there is a sense of personal accomplishment, certainly it keeps me in shape. Hard to pinpoint. How? is just takes time and commitment! Running does Not come easy for me (nor speed), but dedicating a part of your life towards a goal and it can be accomplished.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Thunder Road Marathon Race Report

Saturday Dec 12th started off at 3:55am with my alarm going off (It really started earlier due to a 1 year old's molars starting to cut in) to meet my BRR friends Terry and Kathrin for the drive up at 4:45am. Got there smoothly and hung out at packet pickup (very easy, friendly people, nice red shirts). Met up with Todd and Tom and debated what to wear as it was ~28° at the start. Decided correctly to not wear gloves or a hat, long tights under race ready shorts, and 2 long sleeve tops plus my light jacket to block the wind. Had my Gu's, water bottle, thought I'd try out an electrolyte replacement pill, and had my emergency power bar plus my disposable camera. A Full load!

Todd, Me, Terry (Pre-race)

Started off from downtown at 7:50am with a good number of runners in the full and half (the 5k Jingle Jog started later). Tried settling into my pace pretty early and resisted the urge to stay with the mass of people that seemed to be rushing ahead. Had to keep remembering most were just running the half. Saw fellow GTC member Julie as she went by. Many miles later - saw Jim too as he passed. Hit my steady pace early, but still was 10 seconds/mile faster than I had anticipated. Stayed about 8:25 for the first 10 miles or so, and running 4 or so miles in there with Todd helped that even if it was on the edge of my comfort level. (Having hit my lap button on the 10k mat, once we got to the 7 mile marker - I thought for a second we had run a 6:44 mile. My math skills certainly decline during a race!) It really was nice running with him as we used to do the same races, not often getting to run with him though. I eventually had him go on ahead and could see him for many miles within 2 minutes of me. Leaving downtown - we ran thru some nice neighborhoods, including one section with a narrow divided road, completely tree-lined. Was very peaceful running there. Water stops every 2 miles, a few bands (alot less than I was expecting - but some good music when it was there). Some large areas of cheering people - gave some kids high-fives and thanked as many volunteers as I could. Saw Kathrin who was cheering us all on, especially her boyfriend Terry in his 1st marathon - he had bad cramping at 15 after running pretty well, and had to walk the remaining of the course, but he did finish, so hats off to him!

I knew I was ahead of my goal at the half (1:51), but felt good. My right ankle was sore, not badly, but overall felt fine. Still don't know where that ankle thing came from. Settled into 8:45's or so from mile 12-18, when I started feeling it. I had gotten hungry about mile 16, so started in on my power bar. I'd take a bite, pack it away and ended up finishing it around mile 25 (it had gotten pretty difficult to wash it down my mouth was so dry). I knew I had not hit the 9min/mile pace in Spokane until 16, but I wanted to put it off as long as I could here. After an 8:59 on mile 19, I broke into the 9's with a slight side-stitch. 9:19, 9:35 and 9:50 got me thru 22. I would walk every mile at this point, not for long, maybe just for 20-30 seconds or so to mentally rebuild and trudge forward. Somehow, I felt invigorated the next 2 miles - surprisingly good, running 9:34 and 9:37, before hitting 10:18's each of the last 2 miles. I knew I would PR and not feel horrible, so I didn't push myself as hard as I could have. Made it the last 0.2 miles and clocked in at 3:53:40! Another 8 minutes off my Windermere time.

The last 3-4 miles I watched Todd stay about 1-2 minutes ahead of me, knowing I would not catch him. Was good to see him up there though and motivate me to keep moving. GTC Jim ended up a few steps ahead of me at the finish - I hadn't been sure if that was him the last mile or not until we crossed. One guy ran with an "I'm getting married today" shirt on. He got Lots of cheers - and a story in the Charlotte Observer paper Sunday (but no other article on the race itself, go figure).

As for the course/hills - they were there. Not so terrible, more prevalent as I'd heard in the first half, but every hill the last 6 miles was demoralizing. The NoDa section had a "wall" setup for us to all run through - that was a nice touch, although 50 yards later when the crowd disappeared, it was back to suffering. Ran past two old haunts of mine/Todd's from our college(post-college) days - Amos' and Tremont Music Hall. Lots of good times and good bands there.

After the finish - did not have the emotion like Windermere, got my finisher medal (will have to change it one day as the skyline pictured now has 2 fewer since 2 more have gone up) and another shirt (white - Guess a mistake was made somewhere! Works for me - the shirts are nice) and the all important space blanket. I had gotten a little chill the last 2 miles, and took awhile to warm up (after going inside and changing out of my sweaty shirts and into 3 layers and the blanket). Hung out with Todd, finished 1 min ahead (and Rachel his wife) until they headed back to their hotel and I walked back to find Terry. (Tom finished in 3:08 and had already gone - even fast runners get cold!). Saw them with 0.25 miles to go and walked with them to get the story. I knew he'd finish somehow, no matter how bad he felt, and he felt Bad for awhile.

Made it home 4:15pm, had a x-mas party at a friends house (exhaustion set in around 7) and got home and crashed around 9:30! Think I've been talked in to running Myrtle Beach in Feb...stay tuned!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Tomorrow is the day!

Excited. Nervous. Those (hopefully) phantom aches that just appeared - how did my Right ankle get sore and Why is my left one acting up again?? Just hope I feel ok tomorrow. The 4:45am meet time to drive the 90 miles will come early.
Weather still looks good. Low of 29°, high of 46°. Temps supposed to be around 33° at the start, and 42° by noon. As long as the wind that is here today (10-15 mph) calms down as expected to the 5-10 mph, it should be great weather for running. Still slightly unsure of clothing - specifically headwear. Usually go with a hat, but could go with just the headband to keep my ears toasty. Tough call! :-)
Guess my next post will be the results...wish me luck (to finish, then to finish strong, then to break 4 hrs!). Thanks.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

3 days until...(and some stats) + My Prediction.

Now there is No rain at all for Saturday. Nice! Cold isn't a problem and it's staying consistent as we get closer. Trying to properly carbo-load this week and find any last tips out on the web and my growing collection of Runner's World. Trying to, but not getting, the extra sleep I keep reading about. Get to bed early, just to be awake for 2 hours in the middle of the night by a wide-awake daughter. She is adorable though, even at that time of the morning, so what can I do?! One last 3 mile run tomorrow, then I can start packing for my race. This is the 1st marathon (this and 3 others) that I have been in my bed the night before. Also the first one that starts and ends basically in the same location (downtown Charlotte), the other 3 were point to point. This will be the 4th marathon state for me and my 12th overall race of the year (5k, 10mi x2, 10k, Marathonx2, 8k, 7k trail, the Blue Ridge Relay, a 30k, and half-marathonx2. 50th race in 4 yrs and 85th race overall. Am on my 5th pair of shoes in 2009 (three still have miles left).
I made my race prediction today: 53min for 10k, 1:53 half, 2:54 20mi and 3:56 finish.
(FYI - I beat my Windermere Prediction my 4 minutes...not expecting to this time. Did you hear there are hills on this course?!)

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

4 more days...

Guess my post yesterday disappeared. Pretty basic - just a weather update (it was wintry mix for Saturday, high of 39° and low of 29°). Similar forecast today for Sat: High 42°, low 29°, but showers are back. Blah - would rather have snow than cold rain. Maybe it'll start later in the day.
Did my last speedwork today - 8 quarters. Only hit my pace on the last one, but didn't try too hard initially. A brisk 36° out this morning.
Consdiering my pace for the race...keep reading bits and pieces. If I do hope for a 3:56 (9:00/pace), should shoot for 1:55 half and a 2:00 2nd half. Hmmm, I ran the first half of Windermere in 1:55. That didn't work. I am stronger this time, and there will be hills, so maybe. 3 more nights to ponder this!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Counting down: 6 Days to go!

For my 10 miler this morning, decided to wait until the temps would be closer to what they are projected to be race day - 39°. Had to wait until 11am to go out, but that was fine - two nights in a row up until 11:30pm makes sleeping in a treat! Tried out my race day attire, just was missing the rain. The FIRST plan for a 3:40 marathon had me going out at a 8:23/mile pace to mimic the marathon. It was so nice to actually feel somewhat fresh - and for the 1st time in a Long time! I did hit the goal too - ran a 8:19 pace for 10.2 miles! Obviously had something left in me (the 8:03 pace for Spinx still is fresh) but not sure how long I could hold that. We'll see what happens and how the hills affect it!
Current weather projection: Showers. Low 37, high 44. Brrr.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

One week to go!

One week from today is the Charlotte Thunder Road Marathon. Spent some time on the website today - can't help but looking at the elevation chart. Compared it to NYC, San Diego, the Paris Mtn run I did last weekend. No need to look at Spokane - that would just depresss me. Paris Mtn is the closest...and that was spread out over 12.4 miles (well, not really spread out!) instead of 26.2. Oh well - little to do now. I ran 6 miles of hills Tuesday as one last tough run. Calves are what was feeling it on that run, but my time was good for that course (ICAR) compared to other times I've run it. My last "long" run is 10 miles tomorrow. Funny how anything under 15 doesn't seem long anymore!
There will be music along the course. Every little bit helps although it is rare it helps too much.
I should be riding up with some BRR teammates - they were very kind and offered me a ride up there!
Finally a race with GU - my race fuel of choice! But what flavors?!? Still may carry mine if I don't know the flavors.
Still no time goal...planning on going out comfortable and hopefully will hang onto the 4hr pace group when it catches me in the last few miles. If not - no big deal. (I will be disappointed, but for good reason and I really am ok with that - I haven't run enough to truly feel 100% ok with it).
Weather for race day: Few showers, low of 40, high of 52. Great temp wise (it had a low of 38 two days ago, so it could change), but rain is not great when it is a cold rain. It had rain for Fri, Sat and Sun recently, but now just Sat - so my fingers are crossed!
Starting to get excited/nervous. Wonder if I can squeeze in a marathon movie/book this week?!