Friday, October 19, 2012

TC Marathon Recap #2

Ok, where was I?  Ahh yes, mile 13....

After our quick pit stop we got back to running, my family was waiting for us just around the bend - so we got to high five the kids again.  We headed out and up the "smallish" hill to head to the River Pkwy. 

At this point my legs were definitely feeling the first 13 miles but there was only one option - keep running cause we were finishing this thing! 

The crowd support on the Mpls side was really great - there really was not a quiet spot the whole way.  About mile 14 I saw a couple of our friends with their son - I was so focused on not stopping that I almost missed them!  It's funny how hard it can be to really focus on anything other than forward motion!

We kept fueling and taking walk breaks through the aid stations.  We were letting each other know how we were feeling and vowed to stick together.  We had made it that far - there was no leaving each other at that point. 

Mile 16 - out of the corner of my eye I saw these people jumping around on the side of the road.  All of a sudden it dawned on me - it was my friend Ann and her husband Jay - dressed as ROBOTS!  It was awesome - they had a boom box playing that song Gangam Style and dancing!  Seriousl
y - best thing ever!  We took a picture and then Ann dropped her costume and ran with us for a little bit.  She is such a great friend and I can't wait to be able to jump in and run with her at her marathon some day!

Photo Courtesy of Ann Freeman

A little after that we saw Tracy's family again - it was great to see her kids and see how proud of their mom they were.  It actually worked out really well, our families were about 1.5 miles apart - so we would see her peeps and then we would see mine - it was like having double the support out there!

We saw my kids and family again at mile 18.  I can safely say this was a point where I was so tired and so ready to be done.  But I really tried hard to be tough and positive, especially when we saw our cheerleaders!

 We crossed the river over in to St. Paul.  It was a relief and it made me dreadful all at the same time.  If you have ever run a race on this part of the course you know that this is by far the "hilliest" part.  I just kept telling myself to keep moving.  We were still taking walk breaks through aid stations and listening to our bodies.  Things hurt by the only option was to keep going and get up those final hills to the finish line. 

We ran up the incline at 19-20, and then when the real beast of a hill came up at Mile 20-21 - right before you get up to Summit - we opted to walk, along with the rest of the runners that were with us at that point.  When we got to the top we could hear and see the crowds and it motivated us to get going again.  Now was the time for the real race to start.  Those last 5.2 miles are serious.  That trek up Summit Ave is no joke. I knew that, I have run it a few times, in races and in training runs.  I don't
really think anything prepares you for the last 5.2 miles of a marathon - it becomes a mind game.

Again, the crowd support in St. Paul was amazing too.  The entire way up Summit Ave was lined with spectators - it was really great.  I spotted another friend around mile 23 - she had been there all day cheering on several of my other friends that were running.  It was so great to see a friendly face and get encouragement to finish strong - thanks Amy!  She even had signs with all of our names on them!

Mile 24 - walked through the aid station and spotted my friend Annie who was volunteering - again, so great to see a smiling, friendly face!  And then there was the huge crowd at the TC Running Company's cheer zone.  It was awesome to hear all of the partying and cheering coming from that crowd - and hearing Adam (the store owner and EP Grad) root on the runners! 

It was at this point that my goal of finishing at the 5 hour mark was definitely not going to happen so we just decided to get moving - do whatever we could to get to the finish as soon after the 5 hour mark we could.  Our friend Erin (who had run the 10 miler earlier that morning and had a great race) found us just after mile 24 and ran with us for a little while.  It was great to be distracted from what we were actually doing and hear how her race went.  She kept telling us how great we looked - I am going to suggest she get her vision checked!  :)  But, seriously, it was so nice to see a friend and get so much support. 

The best part of the TC Marathon was coming up to the top of the hill by the Cathedral and seeing all of the people lined up along John Ireland Blvd waiting for the finishers to come down.  There wasn't
much gas left in the tank and it took a little convincing of my legs but we made a strong push down the hill and in to the finish chute.  First we saw Tracy's family and then a little bit further down the
finish area there were my kids and family (complete with my mom, sue, melissa, travis and lyla - who had been with Rob and the kids all day) - we ran by both groups and all we were focused on was the finish line.  There really is no feeling like being that close to the finish and giving it everything you have to get there and finish strong.

Photo Courtesy of my mom

I ended up crossing the finish line in 5:16:20.  We finished, we made it to run another day!  It was a great day - so many great moments and so many moments when I really questioned what in the world I was doing!  It was so wonderful to run with one of my most treasured friends.  To be there for each other - to support each other - to remind one another that we were definitely doing this! 

I am not sure when I will run another marathon - pretty sure it won't be in 2013, but maybe Grandma's Marathon 2014 - a girl could get that crazy again!  I guess I am just proud of myself for saying that I will actually do this again!  Third times a charm, right? 

There are other things I would like to talk about from the marathon but that will be for another post.  There are so many people I want to thank but I would like to dedicate a whole post to that.  I don't think there is enough gratitude and thankfulness in our daily lives so I want to be sure they get the credit they all deserve! 

Thanks for sticking with me everyone!  Live to run another day!  Finish lines are for winners!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

TC Marathon 2012 - Recap Part #1

It's official - I am now a TWO time marathon finisher! 

This marathon was not the same as my first for several reasons:
  • The first one, you don't deviate from your training schedule, EVER. You know that every training run serves a purpose and because you are scared to death you will suck if you don't get them in, you do it, even when you don't want to.
  • First one was in the Spring, I got to train in the fall and winter - which I much prefer for running than the heat of the summer.
  • First one was on the flattest marathon course you can possibly get your hands on in the Midwest, seriously - they use it as a marketing piece to get people to run their marathon.
  • First one I ran completely alone. 
  • First one there were four people I knew along the course, otherwise it was perfect strangers cheering me along the rest of the way.
  • First one I had to travel and sleep in an unfamiliar bed the night before.
So, as you can see there were a couple of differences, some are positives (which they were - did I mention the flatness) and others may seem like they would be negatives.  It's really all in the eye of the beholder I guess.

Bottom line I was not as prepared for this race as I was for Fargo.  I knew it, my friends knew it, my husband knew it, my mom knew it, my Physical Therapist knew it.  But, it didn't matter, I had signed up, paid the entry fee and I was going to run it and I was going to finish - the finish line was the goal - nothing else.

My best friend from high school, Tracy was also running this race.  She ran TCM many years ago, I think we were in our early 20's, I thought she was nuts back then and really wasn't in to running and races, etc.  I remember her doing it, I recall her training for it and back then she was one of those crazy runner people and I just didn't get it.  Well, as you all know, I now get it.  I am one of those crazy runner people and now we were going to do this together.  We did our 20 mile training run together and we talked about how we would really like to start the race together and stay together as long as possible.  We were both dealing with our own demons on race day so we decided up front that if one of us needed to go ahead, they needed to just go ahead, the other person would be okay with that.  Honestly, the way my legs had been feeling, I was fully expecting to have to send Tracy on her way at some point of the race and I was okay with that. 

Tracy and I made our way to the start corrals on the cold morning - it was 30 degrees at the starting gun.  It actually didn't feel as cold to us when we were lined up - we were blocked from any wind and the sun was shining as we started the race through Downtown Minneapolis.  Those few miles through downtown were the only miles on the entire race course that I had never run before.  Other than that, I had run some form of mileage along all the other parts of the race course prior to that day - either during training or during some other race.  It felt great to be in my hometown running this marathon, there was so much support everywhere.  You really didn't go far without hearing cheers from the side of the streets.  Minneapolis and St. Paul residents really know how to come out and support the runners. 

It took a few miles for my legs to get "warmed up" and my hips to not feel so tight.  About mile 7 is when I recall feeling pretty good and so did Tracy.  We were having a good run, listening to our bodies, fueling when we needed to and enjoying the scenery and the crazy cheering people!  My family and some friends were planning on being on the course around mile 11 so when we crossed that 10 mile mark I started to get excited to see them. 

We came around the corner on the parkway and I knew we were getting close.  And then I saw them, my kids - my girls were seeing me run a marathon!  I was so happy to see them.  I grabbed a jolly rancher from my husband, kissed him, kissed my girls, said hi to my mom and bestie Melissa and we were back on the road!  It was such an adrenaline kick to see them on the course and know they were out there cheering! 

My running wheelhouse is really from miles 7-14, I typically feel really good, legs are loose but not too tired and can usually keep a pretty good pace and rhythm.  This held true for the marathon.  There are hills on this course that you just don't ever really get used to.  But, they were part of the journey so we sucked it up. 

The half marathon mark was on the west side of Lake Nokomis - Tracy took a quick potty break and I took a moment to snap a pic:
After that, we were ready to tackle the hardest part of the course and cross over in to St. Paul.

I will stop here cause the last part of the race is where it gets dicey and I could get long winded (shocker, I know!). 
And, as you may have noticed, mile 13 and Tracy and I were still together and determined to keep it that way!

More later....

Friday, October 5, 2012

2 Days!

Hello my long lost blog readers!  I hope that I haven't lost all of you due to my lack of posting.  The summer has been crazy busy, work has me traveling a lot and training for marathon #2 was all I could handle on top of it all! 

I have missed writing.  I say that every time I come back from a hiatus.  I should really take a hint. 

So, here is the bottom line.  I am running the Twin Cities Marathon on Sunday October 7th.  That is a mere two days away.  I am scared, nervous, excited and happy about it all at the same time.  My training for this marathon was not the same as when I trained for Fargo at the beginning of the year.  I was totally immersed in that training cycle - rarely did I miss a scheduled run.  I can not say the same for this training cycle.  I am trying to come to peace with the fact that I am not as prepared for TCM as I was for Fargo.  I let a lot of things get in the way this time - work travel, heat, early morning workouts without enough daylight, time with kids, the list really could go on.  The biggest lesson I have learned is that I was not prepared for training for two marathons in one year.  It's a lot of work - it's a lot of sacrifice that I just wasn't prepared for.  But, it's okay - after Sunday it will be over.  I will cross that finish line - probably quite a bit slower than I did in Fargo, but I am determined to finish.  I am still battling a lot of leg issues - hips, hip flexors, calves - you name it and they get angry when I run for longer than 6 miles.  I have a great physical therapist who is going to help me tackle my running form after the marathon and see if we can tweak some things so that my glutes, etc start taking on more responsibility when I am out there running. 

I am also already signed up to run the Monster Dash Half Marathon on October 27th.  I intend on having as much fun as possible at that race and running it with a couple of close friends.  I have no aspirations of personal records, etc - I just want to really enjoy running again!  One of the other things I have learned over this summer of training - I don't like running in the heat, not even a little bit.  Note to self - spring marathons are really where it's at for me (if I do another one).  I want to get back to the enjoyment of running and I think not having a strict training schedule will really help with that.  Besides, I am crazy, I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE running outside in the winter! 

Sunday morning - 8AM CST - I will start my second journey of 26.2 miles.  I still can't believe I am doing this again.  I can't believe that next Monday I will be able to come back here and report that I have completed my second full marathon and I am still standing!  When I start to get down on myself I need to remember where I have come from over the last couple years and cut myself a little slack. 

That being said - after the marathon - I have work to do.  I have about 15 extra pounds that are going to be receiving an eviction notice, I am going to be in the weight room, outside running, maybe find a class or two that I can join, maybe some yoga.  I really need to get back down to my "fighting" weight and stay there this time.  Losing the weight is the hard part, keeping the weight off - that's the HARDEST part. 

If you are so inclined - please send me your good running mojo vibes for Sunday.  I can use all of the extra mojo I can get my hands on.  And if you are on the course - I will be wearing a black UA short sleeve top, black compression shorts or tights with a blue sparkly skirt!  Yell and I will yell back! 

What?  What's that you say?  You want to see a super cute picture of my daughters?  Well, who am I to deny people of their cuteness!  Here they are - photos are courtesy of my extremely talented photographer father - Jim Bayer, Owner/Operator Bayer Photography!

 Ava is on the right - she is 3, going on 12.  She looks up to her sister and has a blast at her one day at preschool during the week.  She is my snuggly, sweet baby...for now.

Zoe is on the left - she is 4 (5 in Dec), going on 25.  She is our fashionista, she is wildly in love with Adam Levine (Maroon 5) and loves the color purple.  She is my mini-me - except I don't know where she gets the fashion, girly stuff from!