Wednesday, April 25, 2012

A Great Stepback Week!

24 days - but who's counting, right?  Yeah, right! 

This last week I was in Las Vegas all week for work.  The work was great - very productive, lots of great things on the horizon.  The workouts, not as great.  I ran.  Once.  On a treadmill.  I dislike treadmills.  Especially when I have been able to do the majority of my training runs outdoors lately.  Treadmills suck, but they are necessary at times.  Needless to say, with my work schedule and being exhausted, I only made it to the gym one time for a pretty decent 5 miler. 

I had a very large travel debacle.  Our flight was cancelled and I spent the better part of 40 hours awake, trying to get home on Friday morning.  I made it, safe and sound, thank goodness I had my mom along for a travel companion or I may have lost it even more so. 

Saturday I had planned to run 12 miles (step back week on the training schedule).  I was tired, too tired.  I made the grown up decision to push my long run to Sunday morning.  I ended up going out for my 12 miler solo.  I love running partners, but I secretly like to spend time solo on runs every now and again.  It gives me an opportunity to really focus on what I am doing and what I am trying to accomplish.  I have kind of fallen in love with the Midtown Greenway, Cedar Lake Trail, Minnesota River trail that can get me all the way from South Mpls to Hopkins/Mtka area past 494.  It's a great trail, lots of other peeps out there enjoying the trail so you never feel alone.  And at one point in Hopkins (I think) the trail turns to dirt for awhile and I LOVE IT!  Maybe trail running will be in my future at some point.  It feels good to switch from pavement to dirt for a bit. 

I am so glad I waited until Sunday to run - I thought it was going to be bad since I ran so little during the week.  But, I think my legs were actually pretty happy about the extra rest.  I felt great from mile one.  My breathing was on point, my legs felt strong (tight, but strong) and my head was in the right spot.  I decided before I started that I was going to run this as close to my marathon pace as possible.  I ended up running it even a little bit faster than I plan on running the marathon.  I got to mile 9 and felt so good I actually contemplated tacking on a few more miles, but instead I decided to push the last three miles.  I ended up running the last 6 miles of this run at negative splits.  It felt amazing.  I wore my Camelbak again and it was perfect, enough water, holds my Gu, keys and phone - best purchase I have made lately!

Take a look at these splits - I was having fun! (Tried for so long to copy the details from Garmin Connect - could NOT figure it out!)

Split   Time    Distance
1        9:49.3  1.00
2        9:55.9  1.00
3       10:23.9 1.00
4       10:34.7 1.00
5       10:12.5 1.00
6       10:47.2 1.00
7       10:32.7 1.00
8       10:05.5 1.00
9        9:56.9 1.00
10      9:51.8 1.00
11      9:48.5 1.00
12      9:21.0 1.00
Summary Time 2:01:26 Miles 12.01 Avg Pace 10:07



This run really made me feel confident in my ability to push myself and keep a decent pace (for me!) for 12 miles.  I can only hope that it translates well to my 20 mile run this coming Sunday and then ultimately the full marathon at Fargo. 

I am pretty sure this smile says it all!

Be happy and healthy my friends!
Jen

Saturday, April 21, 2012

4 Weeks!



One month/4 weeks/28 days/672 hours....however you break it down, that is officially the time remaining until I run my very first full marathon!  I am here to tell you that I am officially nervous, like stomachache inducing nervous.  My training has been solid - I have had a couple of rough patches with some nagging body pains but nothing I haven't been able to work through.  This last week was not real good - I was in Las Vegas for work - I only had time to run once so I am behind on my weekday mileage.  My long run this weekend is 12 miles (step back week after the 19 miler last weekend) - I normally do my long runs on Saturday mornings.  My return trip from Las Vegas was a debacle and I ended up being awake for almost 42 hours straight - I had no interest in getting up at 6:30 on Saturday AM to run so I have pushed it until tomorrow.  Which is totally fine and ensures that I get two nights of decent sleep under my belt before running a longer distance.  The biggest reason I didn't make more time to run during the week - all I could do is run on the treadmill.  Tuesday afternoon after working I headed to the gym, jumped on the tready and recalled how much I HATE it - I logged 5 miles and promptly got off that darn thing.  I just could not drum up enough motivation to hit it up again two more days.  When you get off the tready for a bit and then have to use it, it's even worse.  I just don't have a good relationship with the tready - I swear I am always more sore and in pain the days after a treadmill run - in my head?  Possibly, but I still don't like it. 

So, my head is spinning.  Examining the remainder of my training calendar and figuring out what I need to do to get to the start line in 4 weeks ready and healthy to run that 26.2 miles.  This coming weekend I am running the Get in Gear 10K with Melissa on Saturday morning.  Then, on Sunday I will be logging my 20 miler - the longest training run I will have before the marathon.  I have started to wonder if I am going to regret using a training program that doesn't believe in running the actual distance prior to the race.  But, I can't go back now and change that.  Honestly, I think once you have run 20 miles, the remaining 6 will come, I reckon it's the .2 that is going to kill me! 

I am excited, nervous, scared, unsure, and super psyched to run this marathon.  I am not sure how healthy it is to have such a mixed bag of emotions but I suspect it's pretty normal for runners attempting their biggest goal.  A little over a year ago when I started running, if you had told me I was going to be running a marathon on May 19, 2012 - I would have laughed in your face, and not even politely - I would have belly laughed all over you!  I continue to be amazed at my progress through training and the way my body has really come through for me. 

I do not have an official time goal for the Fargo Marathon, I just want to finish upright, maybe even with a smile on my face.  I would be lying if I said I didn't have any sort of finish time in my mind - but it's not a thing that will devastate me if I don't get it.  I really do just want to run this race, have a great time and know that I did everything in my power to properly prepare myself for the challenge.  And, I would be kidding myself if I didn't say that I am already contemplating whether or not I will run the Twin Cities Marathon.  I have told myself that if I make it through Fargo and there are still spots in the TC Marathon - I will do it.  Oh goodness, did I just say that out loud!?!?!? 

I will check back in later this week.  There are so many things I want to write about - it's just about making/taking the time to do so. 

Be happy and healthy friends!
Jen

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Get Lucky Half Marathon Recap

I ran the Get Lucky half marathon almost three weeks ago - so this recap is quite overdue.  As most of you know, I am over half way through training for my first full marathon on May 19th in Fargo (it makes me shiver just to type that out, if we are being honest).  So, midway through my program Mr. Higdon suggests actually running a half marathon race - suggesting that this will give you a good idea of your progress on training and a guideline for a potential marathon finish time.  I am not overly concerned about trying to predict a potential marathon finish time - I am overly concerned with FINISHING a marathon so testing my training progress was key. 

The Get Lucky is a pretty big event with a half marathon race and a 7K - it draws a lot of runners and this year happened to actually fall on St. Patrick's Day.  Melissa ran the 7K along with 8,700 of her closest friends over in Minneapolis.  I ran the half with about 2,500 of my closest friends in St. Paul!  I told you - it's a big event. 

Ready for the big race!
I headed to St. Paul on my own Saturday morning - and my mom met me at the race start.  I ran in to a friend at the start - it was actually the best meeting possible - as we started talking I looked at his wrist and saw his Garmin and it sent an immediate chill down my spine - my Garmin watch was STILL IN MY CAR!  Conversation cut short - I ran back to my car and threw on my Garmin with plenty of time to spare before the race started..  So, thank you Jason P. for being my reminder that I didn't have on a piece of my race gear before it was too late to run and grab it.  
I decided before the race that I was going to try and stick with the 9:09 pace group as long as possible and then fall back if I needed to.  That plan lasted for about 5.5 miles.  According to my Garmin splits - I ran the first 5 miles in 45 minutes and the race group was in my sites the entire time.  One thing about Saturday that I will remind you of - it was warm, borderline hot, and it was humid.  I don't typically run races with my fuel belt - I really wish I had on this particular day.  It was hot and humid on March 17th and I personally don't feel like they accommodated the race course with enough water stops for the weather situation.  But, I am not going to dwell on that.  I learned a valuable lesson on this race day - sometimes you just need to carry your own water so you can make sure you properly fuel yourself. 

I hit the turn around of the race (6.55 miles) and was actually still keeping pretty decent pace.  My time at the turn was 1:01 - so, if I had been able to keep that pace - my time would have been PR crushing - but alas, that was not the outcome.  I will tell you that miles 8-11 were rough.  As in I had to take a few walk breaks rough.  There were a few reasons I think that I struggled - the course is hilly, it was hot and humid and I was not properly fueled.  These are things that I had some control over and some that just happen.  I am not going to dwell on this race - it actually taught me a lot.  My finish time was not what I was hoping for - I ended up coming in at 2:14 (which was 8 whole minutes slower than my first half).  But, the fact remains that I finished and I finished strong.  My legs were tired - they felt like they weighed about 100 pounds a piece at times during the race.  I would be lying if I said I didn't think about just quitting more than once.  But I didn't - I ran, I didn't stop.  As my good friend Ann says "I can do hard things!"

Mere feet from the finish!  Thank goodness!
The best part of the race - seeing Ann and Hannah at about the 3/9 mile marker and then seeing my mom, my husband and my two girls just before the finish line.  The girls were far more interested in playing in the dirt - but I did manage to get my oldest to look up and see me when I ran by!  The crowds were so great and supportive on the race course - if you ever go to a race, please know that as runners your cheers, hoots and hollers mean the world to a runner on the course.  There can be dark moments during a race and a cheer from a perfect stranger can actually snap you out of it and be just the boost you need. 

I will admit that my immediate reaction to this race was not a positive one - but then my mom reminded me that I finished, I made the most of the situation and finished strong - she is right.  I didn't PR like I was hoping to - but I did finish, my girls got to see my cross a finish line of a half marathon on a really rough day. 


My support system - My Mom behind the camera too!

The best reasons to finish a race!





















Now, onward with my marathon training.  As of today, there are 45 days separating me from the Fargo Marathon start line.  Holy wow!  I best get running! 

Be healthy and happy friends!