Sunday, January 27, 2013

13 miles to go

As you may know I started my marathon training January 1st for the Wisconsin Marathon May 4th, so I am currently at the end of week 4 training.  For the past few weeks my mileage has been hovering around 24 miles or so, but this week I got to up the mileage.  On Saturday I had a 6 mile race pace run on the schedule.  I went out by myself with a plan to stay around a 9:30, I have a really hard time achieving my "normal" race pace of about a 9 minute mile.  So the plan was to go out to Wright Road and just run the neighborhoods and check out some houses.  Running alone is never ideal, but I seemed to find my groove around the 3.3 mile mark, and started to kill it.  I ran the next 3 miles around an 8:53 pace, which is pretty fast for me.  Another reason I feared my 13 miler today.  By 7pm on Saturday my legs were already feeling sore.  I suppose tiring your legs out the day before a long run is actually the plan so you are used to running on tired legs, but I was not thrilled about it. 

This morning I decided I better suck it up, and go meet my friends at ASR.  I am so thankful that I did.  Although the plan was the hills in Oakhill Cemetery and back to ASR for 8 miles.  I was running with Dustyn, and we both decided we were not feeling the hills, so we made our way out of the cemetery and down to Riverside to run.  We did have one big hill down there, but I didn't mind too much.  We made our way back towards downtown on the path and headed towards the bus station for a little bit of extra mileage.  I'm glad I had someone to run with and keep me going.  On our way down Jackson we saw Maria and Andrea on their way out for more miles, they were the only other ones doing more than 8 miles, I asked where they were going, and decided to jump in with them.  I ran miles 8, 9, and half of 10 with them, until my turnaround point.  Maria joked that I might as well just keep going with them for 17.  I said no thanks and started to make my way back. When I hit mile 11 I felt a small surge of confidence, I COULD do this.  I had been contemplating with myself scaling back to the intermediate mileage for the week, which was 11.  At mile 12 I knew I could do it.  My ankle felt tweaked but it didn't matter I was going to run 13.1 miles in less time than my first half marathon.  This may not feel like a huge deal, but it is to me, I am about 5 minutes from being a sub 2 half marathon, which is one of my goals for this year. 

I can't express how awesome it feels knowing that I had an almost 20 mile weekend, and I feel great!  I can't wait to keep going.  Thanks so much to my running and non-running friends for their support.  13.36 down, 12.84 to go :o)

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

2012 in review

As we close out 2012 I can't help but consider my goals, and accomplishments from the past year.  I set out at the beginning of 2012 with races every month from May until August, and even surpassed that.  The year started out in Florida with Ragnar Relay Florida Keys, which I met some truly amazing people.  I did not know anyone on the team, but walked away with 11 new friends.  You can read about my experience (here).

It was in February that some friends finally convinced me to take on 13.1 again in May.  In March my miles started to climb with back-to-back weekends with 10 mile runs.  It was also in March that I started my project of planning the Sundown Dash (a local 5k to benefit Chasing Chad).

April brought new experiences.  I visited NYC, and was able to run through Central Park from my hotel a mile or less away.  I loved the juxtaposition of the trees and baseball diamonds with the buildings, I had to stop and take a picture.  At the end of April I ran Crazy Legs in Madison, with a PR time 6 minutes faster than the previous year.

May 5th I trekked over to Kenosha for the Wisconsin Marathon with Jessica, and stayed with her, Aaron and Laurie.  The weather was dreary, but that is where I achieved my PR Half Marathon time of 2:00:24.  Yes, I was a little disappointed to be 24 seconds over 2 hours, but there is always 2013 to get it done!  Mid May Elizabeth and I decided to head over to Racine to do the Color Run.  It was a lot of fun, we ran together, and I especially liked the color throw at the end.  It was hard to breath with all of the colored corn starch, but it looked really cool.  In fact, my skin was colored pink and purple in some areas for a few days from it!  After the race we found the helpful hints of what to do before the race to avoid this.  Of course the fun did not stop there, I signed up for triathlon training with my friend Elizabeth.  We had both done a triathlon previously, but I was less than thrilled with my first triathlon experience.

Triathlon training continued into June, and my team "Green Machine" and I ran Ragnar Relay Chicago.  The great thing about this team was how well everyone got along, and a couple of my teammates from Ragnar Key West were able to join us.  Unfortunately I had a case of severe dehydration and/or electrolyte imbalance and felt terrible after my first leg.  In fact my teammates were pretty worried about me going out for my 7.7 mile run.  Just before my run I ate a banana and drank coconut water, and was off to a shaky start, but quickly felt better once I got moving and pulled out some fast miles for me: 8:47, 8:44, 8:55, 9:02, 9:33, 9:15, and 8:48.

The 4th of July weekend was my second go at a triathlon.  I made huge leaps from my first, even though I still had some anxiety in the water to over-come.  The heat index was over 100 degrees and it was somewhat miserable, but from this triathlon I decided I wanted to push my limits further, and I started recruiting friends for the Fontana Olympic Triathlon a month and half later. The end of July was also my first experience as a race director.  Overall the Sundown Dash was a success with 165 registrants.  A few days later I was up in Milton for the Milton Mud Challenge for MS.  It was a fun 5k course with a lot of obstacles in the middle.  It was pretty hot, and I was pretty disappointed they didn't have any water on course for participants. 

Next up was the Fontana Triathlon, in training Britten, Jacky and I had biked the course, so we knew the hills that lay ahead.  August 25th came before I knew it.  In my training I focused on getting my biking miles up, and swimming in as much open water as possible.  In the end it payed off.  I rocked the swim after a slight panic attack that I quickly talked myself out of, and even finished the swim before a couple of others in my age group.  The bike went fairly well, and the run was a torturous 2 loop 5k course, completely uphill on the out.  I survived! In fact, I took 3rd for my age group.

In September I volunteered in what has to be the most inspirational race I've ever witnessed: Ironman Wisconsin.  The day before Ironman I was baking with Laurie, and she said she wanted to do a half ironman after she couldn't run as much.  After Ironman, she immediately wanted to do the half in 2013.  Also in September I took the opportunity to volunteer at the River to Ridge Half Marathon, 10k, and 5k.  I was stationed out on the water station at the half, and had a lot of fun cheering on my friends as they came by.  Later in September I joined a Ragnar team for Ragnar DC.  One of my fellow Ragnar Ambassadors needed another runner on her team, so I flew out to Philadelphia, hung out there for most of the day, then drove down to the Cumberland, MD area. Sitting harbor-side while drinking beer was my favorite post-Ragnar.

October was the Haunted Hustle Half Marathon in Middleton.  I kept telling myself that I was going to start seriously training after Ragnar, but then never officially followed a training plan.  I injured my foot in volleyball 2 weeks prior, and although it felt fine to run I decided to tape it up.  Despite the injury I decided to start with the 2 hour pace group to pace myself in the beginning and see where I ended up.  I actually did very well at keeping the pace right around a 9 minute mile, and staying with the pace group.  I met a nice guy who works in Madison and we chatted quite a bit during the run.  It is always nice to make a new friend to run with, even if it is just for that day.  Although it was not a new PR time kind of day I was happy with my time of 2:02:52.

A few weeks later at the beginning of November I was off to Chicago with 3 lovely ladies to run the Hot Chocolate 15k.  After watching the Hot Chocolate Facebook page I knew that packet pick-up was going to be quite the task.  After arriving at a Soldier Field parking lot we waited in line for a couple of hours snaking our way through the ginormous line.  We went out to dinner and drinks at a cute little Italian restaurant a few blocks away, and then it was bedtime.  I did not sleep very well that night, I kept tossing and turning, and unfortunately my stomach was really upset in the morning.  I wasn't sure if I was even going to be able to run a 15k that day.  Luckily my stomach finally decided to settle down.  At the start-line there were so many people I decided that I would stick by the girls, because I could not find Jacky a corral back to run with her.  A while after the official start time we were able to start.  At the 2 mile mark we miraculously saw Jacky running up the hill next to us, so I ran the rest with her.  We had a good time weaving in and out of people, we must have passed hundreds of people!  After the run was a great time too, we got in line for our chocolate, and caught up with several other ladies from Janesville.  

The Hot Chocolate run concluded my official races for 2012, but not the running fun.  In December ASR did Wednesday night hill run, which Jacky and I got turned around on, so we made our own route and went to check out Christmas lights.  Then the last Thursday of the year after our Thursday run we had a little post-run cheer at O'rileys, marking my one year anniversary of running regularly with ASR.  Last night I finished out 2012 with a snow-covered trail run with my friends at All Season Runner.

2012 was sure a busy year, 1111 miles covered swimming, biking, and running.  I can't wait to see what 2013 brings!