Thoughts On The Marathon- One Week Till Go Time

Here I am, one week away from marathon day.¬† This time next week, I will be recovering with the biggest margarita ever and a lot of ice cream! Maybe at the same time, who knows ūüôā

And now for my favorite kind of post- list post!  Here are some of my thoughts with one week to go:

  • Taper sucks! I never felt this way with half-marathon or triathlon training, but I feel it now.¬† I am going out of my mind!¬† For one, everything hurts.¬† Bones and muscles I didnt even know I had are hurting.¬† I am having nightmares of the most ridiculous nature; showing up naked being the most popular, I constantly think I am sick if I so much as sneeze and all I want to do is eat and sleep!!!¬† I am totally over taper!
  • My 20 mile run was easier than my last long run yesterday.¬† I was completely beat before I even started the run and I struggled through the whole thing.¬† I was downright exhilarated when the run was over!
  • I am so excited for this week- I know it is going to crawl by but I don’t even care.¬† I am just happy to only be working two nights.¬† I have plenty of time to rest, elevate my legs and sleep, sleep and sleep!
  • I have officially become obsessed with the weather.¬† I check it one or two or ten times a day.¬† Yesterday it said 57 and raining and I was angry.¬† Today, it says cloudy and 54 and I am all about it.¬† I know God is busy with things like the Superbowl, NBA lockout and the Oscars, but if he is listening, I would like it to be in the low 40’s at the start with it getting no higher than mid-50’s by the finish.¬† And if I can be really picky, partly sunny.¬† Whatever the weather, please please please NO RAIN, please!
  • I have three outfits picked out.¬† I will probably pack a weeks worth of stuff for one night.¬† Possibly more.¬† And I bet you, I will still forget something.
  • I am staying overnight in a hotel.¬† I live less than 20 minutes from the start line. I don’t care.¬† I know I will feel so much better if I am there when I wake up.¬† Not only will I not have to leave until 15 minutes before the start but I will have my own toilet to poop in; there really is no better reason!
  • I am starting to get very emotional when I think about the race.¬† Anxious, nervous and emotional. I’ll probably cry like a baby when I cross that line.
  • When I start to feel worried about race day, I go back and read past race reports.¬† Especially, Philly half from last year.¬† It helps immensely.
  • I am looking insanely forward to my massage this week. Ridiculously. Like, I cannot describe.¬† I am looking even more forward to my post marathon massage.
  • I have worn Brooks Adrenalines since 2007.¬† I hated the new ones that came out and needed new shoes.¬† I have officially been running in Saucony’s for the last 5 weeks.¬† Still, there is a part of me that wants to run in my Brooks on race day.¬† I am sure they have 26.2 miles left in them ūüôā ¬† Let’s face it, I’ll probably pack both!
  • So many people are so excited for me, that I am getting so excited.¬† I know that no matter when I cross that line, my family and friends will make me feel like a winner.¬† And I am, because I have them in my life.
  • I have taken more Airborne and more vitamins in the last 8 weeks than ever before.¬† Next to getting injured, getting sick has been fear #2…I have 6 days to go, so lets hope my body stays with me on this one!!!
  • I have gained weight and quite a bit of it.¬† Gaining weight while marathon training…of could I would!¬†
  • This is hands down the hardest thing I have ever done.¬† I can honestly say, without a doubt, this has never been fun.¬† I have been thrown so many curve balls- having first planned for run a marathon two years ago.¬† When I am training for half-marathons and tris, I actually have fun.¬† But these last 15 weeks have tested in me in many ways.¬† I have sacrificed a lot to get here- and I have worked so hard.¬† I didn’t always get my work outs in, and I went three weeks in a boot hardly working out at all…a lot of people told me I should bag the race…but I kept at it.¬† I decided as long as I had my doctors blessing, I was only going to listen to myself.¬† I worked hard to get healed and picked back up my training.¬† I trained in rain, I trained on boring courses without music, I did long runs on the treadmill (seriously, there is nothing fun about 16 miles on a treadmill!!!) and I trained alone most of the time.¬† I did all of this while working a full time job and a part time job.¬† I did this while changing full time jobs.¬† I did this with some personal stuff happening.¬† I did this with still maintaining a social life as much as possible.¬† But it should be noted, I could not have done this without the unending support I have received from my parents, R2, my friends and my amazing support group here.¬† My parents and R2 have definitely felt the hit of my training personally- my time with them is much more limited, they deal with my nerves, self-doubt and anxiety and they have changed their schedules to work around my long runs when needed.¬† No, marathon training has not been fun for me…but it has taught me so much and I know that all the hard work will pay off when I cross that finish line.¬† And I cannot wait!!!
  • And last but not least…the most important thing I must always remember…my mantra for race day…

What has been your greatest lesson while training for an important event?  What is your favorite mantra during tough parts of the race?

Marathon Motivation

As my training cycle begins to get real serious, and the marathon begins to peek its head out from the horizon…and I begin to be exhausted every day and on the verge of eating my own hand every minute…I decided over the weekend that I need a motivation overhaul!¬†

Here are some of the photos that I have been posting on my mirror, bedroom walls and work desk.  Whatever it takes, right!

 

 

How do you best motivate yourself?  Do you use quotes or photos or certain mantras?

Updates, Updates, Updates…I’m BACK!!!!!!

Anyone still here…anyone?? Anyone??

It has been almost a full month since I have written!  So much to get caught up on!

Unless you are on my Facebook (and if you aren’t, why not?) you might have thought I died. Or was kidnapped. Or that I hate blogging.¬† Don’t believe the rumors- none of the above are true.¬† The truth is, I was so overwhelmingly busy that I could not sit long enough to finish a post.¬† But now things are calmed down a little and I am ready to give you the updates.¬† And there are some major updates!

  1. I turned 30- That’s right folks, I am officially in the 30 club!¬† And honestly, I feel great!¬† I am so happy to be out of my 20’s I cannot even tell you!¬† Plus, turning 30 has been so much fun…I had a surprise party back in May and then over my birthday weekend I went to Boilermaker¬†to celebrate with 9.3 miles¬†with two of my closest friends.¬† Last weekend topped off the birthday festivities with a trip to Baltimore with R2.¬† We stayed Friday-Sunday and had so much fun.¬† Yeah…hello 30, I think I love you!
  2. I GOT A NEW JOB!!!!- I did it!  I finally left my old school and got a new job!  This is the best news and best thing to happen to me in a long time.  I feel emotionally more stable and so much less stressed out.  I have been sleeping through the night again, not freaking out over dumb stuff and can enjoy my weekends more because I am not thinking about work.  I feel like my prayers have been answered!  I start in two weeks and I cannot wait!!!!!!
  3. I am still racing- Since I last wrote I raced the Boilermaker, Splash and Dash and NJ State Triathlon.  See below for race reports- they were all good ones!
  4. R2¬†and I are still amazing- I am not the mushy mushy¬†type and I certainly dont¬†talk much about my relationship publicly, but seriously…how lucky am I to have such a great guy.¬† R2 has been there for me every step of the way while I searched for a new job and is ridiculously supportive of my racing.¬† We have so much fun, we are almost always laughing and we genuinely like each other so much.¬† It has been a great six months!
  5. Marathon Training is underway- That’s right…the official training has begun.¬† I don’t want to rush summer or wish time away,¬† but I will be glad when the race itself is finally here.¬† This training is daunting!!!¬† I have to be honest, I don’t see myself ever doing a second marathon!

Three Race Reports!

¬†¬†¬†¬† Splash and Dash- Splash and Dash is a local swim/run race held in memory of a local boy who was killed in a car accident.¬† It is held at night and super fun.¬† I had a pretty good swim and used the run as a training run so it was so-so.¬† I was happy with it overall and can’t wait to do this race again!

¬†¬†¬†¬† Boilermaker¬†15K- Hello automatic PR ūüôā¬† This race totally lives up to its hype.¬† While I wanted to kill myself up the first 3.5 miles of hill that seemed endless (hi, I train in SJ!!) I love love¬†loved all the course support.¬† I am not even kidding, there was support every single step of the race!¬† People everywhere-¬†more music than anything 1/2 marathon I ever raced and water/aid stations everywhere!¬† I went into this race with some shin pain and random back pain so I wasn’t sure what to expect out of myself; in the end, I was really happy with my time.¬† 15K-¬†1:48:23.¬† Slow, steady and recovered well from it- stuck with the plan and it worked!

¬†¬†¬†¬† NJ State- This race was last weekend…you know, in the 92387 degree heat.¬† Which honestly, was still better than last years weather.¬† This was my first full tri this year-¬†up to this point I had been doing only relays.¬† I went in thinking I would see how I felt and take it from there.¬† Listen-¬†I KILLED the swim.¬† As in…20th out of 103 in my age group and 375th out of 1362 overall.¬† KILLED THE SWIM.¬† I felt like superwoman coming out of the water and was rearing to go!¬† I zoomed in and out of transition and started the bike.¬† Ugh…the bike.¬† My disdain for the bike runs deep and my goal was to do the same or better than last year, although my¬†lack of bike training had me thinking I might not make it.¬† However, I did…beat my time last year by a few seconds ūüôā¬† Hey, I’ll take it!¬† Once again, I zoomed in and out of transition and was ready to run.¬† I should clairfy…I was ready…my legs, notsomuch!¬† Took me a solid mile to get my legs back, but I knew I was doing so well overall that I kept pushing and smiling.¬† I crossed the line with a¬†THREE MINUTE PR.¬† And I couldn’t have been happier!!!

What’s next?

Racing-¬†This weekend I have Belmar¬†tri, one of my favorites.¬† After that, my concentration is really on running.¬† Getting through this marathon training without injury and feeling good and confident.¬† I have a few 5k’s¬†in August where I hope to work on my speed and then the WildWood half-marathon at the end of the month.¬† The WildWood half is going to be a good indicator of where I stand in my training.¬† They will have pacers¬†and I plan to use one; my hope is I¬†can keep the pace for 13.1 and reach a solid PR,¬†which will give me confidence for the full marathon.¬† In September, I am running the Jersey-Liberty Half Marathon.¬† This is purely a training run with no PR expectations.¬†¬†In Oct, I am running the LBI¬†18-miler (falls right into my schedule perfectly) and then November is the marathon!!!!

Life- I have a little over a week of in between jobs ending and beginning and then I start the new school year.  I am not the least bit sad to leave my current job (although I will miss most of the people, most families and the students) but I am scared/nervous/excited for the new job!  In September I will be heading downtheshore for my yearly, much anticipated, vacation.  Other than that, I am just feeling really blessed right now in my life.  Lucky, and blessed.

Pictures

You know I wouldn’t leave you without photos!!!¬† Here’s a hodgepodge of race photos from the S&D and NJ State…

PS-It goes without saying that my Reader was out of control, so I deleted everything and I am starting over today.  Please update me on anything awesome I may have missed!

Scott Coffee 8K & Black Bear Tri Reports

So many races to catch you all up on!!¬† ¬†That will¬† give me more time to get caught up on my reader as well.¬† (Does anyone else feel like they will never be caught up on their readers?!?!)¬† I raced yesterday too but that post will have to wait…as will my hospital post (the fun never ends with me) and my general life update!¬†

Two weekends ago, I raced twice; first on Saturday at a local 8K and then Sunday in the Poconos for a relay tri.  I was the swimmer.  Obvi, right?

Friday night I had to work, and I had a bad week the days before so I was really not in the mood to race.¬† But I woke up Saturday and got ready to toe the line!¬† I ran into a few friends and my friend Kristen and I decided to start out together.¬† First mile…9 minutes…WHOA fast runner.¬† Had to slow that down or I was going to lose it.¬† We slowed it down a notch but by mile three we were still just under a 10 minute mile pace.¬† At about that time, I took off from Kristen (she would have done the same thing and I would have let her too)¬† because I was feeling like I could really push it.¬† I held on strong, only stopping at the final water stop and came through the finish at 49:57!¬† I have raced this course four years now, and all I wanted was to get in under 50 minutes.¬† I was ecstatic!!!!!

Pre-race with Kristen

Mom and pre-race

YES!!!! ūüôā

After the race we grabbed a quick lunch and then R2 and I were headed to the poconos for race number two of the weekend!¬† We headed up to the Jim Thorpe campsite the night before for a night of cooking out and chatting around the fire.¬† (In addition to the good times, it is about a 2 hour drive, so going up the night before was a major morning of time saver!)¬† The ride up was going well until R2 missed his exit.¬† Have you ever missed an exit on the PA turnpike?¬† Not fun!¬† After that notsomuchfun time, we were finally there.¬† There were a total of 10 of us camping, however only four of us were doing the tent thing.¬† Our friends had a camper.¬† It worked out really well because we used the camper for making dinner ūüôā¬† R2 is a former Eagle Scout, so I was camping with the best of them!¬† In fact, it was obvious that R2 had some experience when we compared our tent to our friends tent:

Even though we were camping and having fun, it was still the night before a race.¬† Bed early is still the rule!¬† Wake up call was 5am and after packing up the site we were off to the race.¬†¬†¬†I had a little bit of anxiety because I was remembering the prior year when the swim portion of this race¬†chewed me up and spit me out.¬† Talk about humbling!¬† Well, this year I was back for redemption.¬† And I got it.¬† My swim was 30minutes and I felt great the entire time!!!¬† I quickly tagged off to Shauna for the bike and she was back in no time!¬† We were kicking ass one relay person at a time and next up was Lisa on the run.¬† As she passed us on the first lap, she yelled out “8 minute miles” and we could tell she was rocking it.¬† Turns out we were all right too- end result was 1st place female relay and 3rd relay overall!!¬† Wooohooo!!!!

R2 at his tri, spectating ūüôā

Happy girl coming out of that swim!

Awards ceremony!!

Philadelphia Marathon- 6 months away!!!

Yes, the countdown has already begun.

This is round two for me when it comes to Philadelphia Marathon attempts.¬† The difference between last time and this time…this time I am GOING to run it!¬† Yes, I will!!!

And I have a plan:

Strategy:  Start off slow and then back off!

In all seriousness though, I really do feel like if I keep up with my training the way I have been, I will be a marathon finisher no matter what come November 20th! 

I am sure that over the next six months, I will be full of questions and concerns about running my first marathon.¬† I anticipate ups and¬†downs- days of feeling great and days of feeling like crap.¬† I know there will be some anxieties.¬† I know I¬†say finishing is my only goal but I also know I will have¬†finish times in mind.¬† I know I will think about every little detail leading up to the race.¬† I already have my training schedule.¬† I have a decent¬†grip on what I want to do nutritionally.¬† I have all of you seasoned marathoners- trust me, your posts are going to be monumental to my training.¬† But what I have most right now, that I have honestly never had before with my running…is confidence.¬† And I think we all know that confidence is¬†key!

There are only two things plaguing me currently:

*Fear of injuries- I¬†don’t think I will ever not worry about injuries.¬† From day one of running, I have had issues-¬† knee, shin, hip, calves, feet…you name it.¬† It is only natural for me to worry about re-injury, which is why I am taking every possible step to stay uninjured.¬† I honestly cannot do more than I am doing…stretching, rolling, icing, wearing compressions…I have it all down, now my body just needs to stick with me!

*Long Distance Training- I can visualize myself starting at the line and crossing it again hours later when I finish.  But the idea of training those 16, 18, 20 and 22 mile runs seems insane to me!  When I think about those training runs, I get completely overwhelmed.  What route will I run?  Should I do an out and back or a loop?  What nutrition will I take?  Where will I carry it?  What if I need a bathroom?  What if the boredom kills me?  Questions like that run through my head daily.  I mean, things like nutrition and bathrooms are kind of taken care of for race day.  Training is a whole different beast! 

So runners- here is what I need from you:  please share your long-distance training tips with me so I can calm myself down!!!!

A Real Post- With Updates & Everything!

I have been a little MIA but really, just my usual busy self.

Today we have a snow day.  It is completely unnecessary.  A few weeks ago, after a blizzard, we had school.  Every single other school in the county was closed.  Today, we have a few inches. All schools had a two-hour delay. We are closed.  We can never just be like everyone else.  The upside is, since I had off yesterday for Presidents Day and today for snow, I only have to work 2.5 days this week.  I am taking a half-day Friday to head to Florida!

Speaking of Florida.¬† This time last year, I was on my way home from Florida.¬† I had spent the weekend with Morgan in Orlando and Jacksonville.¬† Looking back to that time, I see truly how much has changed in my life.¬† I had a blast in Florida, but that was not a good time in my life in general.¬† I had just lost my grandfather, I was unhappy at work, living at home with my parents, feeling lonely much of the time and only days away from a major injury.¬† These days, while I am still unhappy at my day job, I have so much good in my life.¬† It really is amazing how when you allow yourself to live a good life, life becomes good.¬† It isn’t that bad things aren’t happening or that I don’t have bad days, it’s more like I am choosing to focus on the good.¬† Life is so much easier this way and I only wish I had begun living like this a lot earlier!

February is flying as fast as January did; when I get back from Florida it will be March already!¬† February started off with a Hip Hop Thrown Back Party that my friends Victoria and Jason threw- it was a blast!¬† I haven’t partied liked that in years but it was so worth it!¬† I have been dating someone since late January (first mention of it in this blog, right now) and things with us are going really well.¬† Last weekend was my Tri Teams winter party which was also super fun.¬† Of course, it is always a good time with my teammates.¬† And of course, this weekend is Florida.¬† We take off Friday night around 6pm and we are there until Tuesday afternoon.¬† I cannot wait!¬† We really don’t have much planned, which is the idea- all we really want to do is bask in the 80* weather, spend time on the beach and hit up the bars for some dancing at night!¬† Our hotel is right on the beach and I cannot wait to run down A1A and swim in the ocean!

As for my training, that is also going really well.¬† It seems I have settled into somewhat of a schedule- consistently hitting workouts four days a week and pulling at least one two-a-day a week.¬† I am running, biking, lifting and doing a little P90X.¬† I have been sticking to the 10% rule like a psycho- I refuse to get injured again this year!¬† So while my mileage is still quite low, my runs are all quality and I feel great!¬† I have also been riding my trainer a few days a week and I can feel my bike skills getting better.¬† I am actually looking forward to getting my bike on the road again!¬† And the best part of my winter training has been my strength- I have been lifting solidly since the beginning of the year and it is showing.¬† I not only feel strong but I am looking stronger.¬† I don’t think I have been this lean in a long time- I am really feeling good about the way I look!¬† I still have a lot I want to work on, but by summer, I plan to rock my bikini’s!

Starting in March, I will be back in the water swimming a few mornings a week.¬† I always look most forward to the water as I truly love to swim.¬† On March 2nd, I will (along with many others) be trying to get a spot in the B.A.A 5k!¬† I want to run that race so bad- I am going to cross my fingers and toes and hope for the best!¬† March is also Shamrock time- I am still bummed out about missing out of the half-marathon but I think it was for the best.¬† I would have had to push my training more than I would have wanted so if probably worked out the way it should have.¬† The weekend is sure to be a blast- I am heading down with my friend Nicole and we have a house on the beach to stay the weekend and we are running the 8K.¬† I am still looking forward to catching a tan on the boardwalk while watching the big races on Sunday ūüôā¬† I’ll begin my half-marathon training plan when I get back from VA; I am still going to train as if I am doing Frederick in May, although I still have not made a final decision.¬† I am pretty sure March is going to fly by as fast as January and February, which I am totally okay with because then Spring will be here ūüôā

I’ll leave you all with some photos from the Hip Hop Party-

How was your February?

Truly Starting Over

Flashback to: December 2007:¬† “I want to do a triathlon”

My first triathlon was set for August of 2008.¬† I honestly believed that I had plenty of time to train when I picked that race.¬† I honestly thought it would be easy.¬† It was not easy. Before I started training, I had not run more than a mile in years. I hadn’t been on a bike since middle school. I hadn’t swam seriously since getting my lifeguard certifications ten years prior.¬† Even though I had been an active member of the gym for 10+ years and was a pro at walking on the treadmill, riding the stationary bike and lifting, I had little to no base when I began the road to my first tri.

Flashback to August 2008: I finished my first tri.

In the time since, I have completed nine 5k’s, four 8k’s, one 7-miler, one 10-miler, six half-marathons, two duathlons, six triathlons and been the swimmer for three relay triathlons.¬† Additionally, I am a finisher of the Air Force Mud Run and Warrior Dash.

I have conquered knee issues, shin splits and most notably a torn hip flexor.¬† I have been down.¬† But I have never been out.¬† I was told this year I probably wouldn’t race until late summer and half-marathons were probably out of the questions.¬† I was racing in May and in November I PR’d at the Philly Half-Marathon.

However, I have done very little since the Philly Half by way of working out.¬† A few pilates classes, a couple two mile runs and a little biking here and there.¬† It was a much needed break physically, and more importantly mentally.¬† I was so drained coming off this season I wasn’t even sure I wanted to race in 2011.¬† But some time off and a fresh perspective has all those thoughts in the past.¬† And I am ready to get it going for 2011.

So, this week, I started over again.¬† Of course this time, I have a much better base and I know my capabilities.¬† I know I am capable of running 13+ miles, riding a bike and swimming for a mile or more at a time.¬† The differences between 2008 and 2011 are immense.¬† But one thing is the same: starting new is never easy.¬† It will be a slow couple of weeks.¬† You may have noticed my first race, an 8k, isn’t even until March.¬† My first half is in May.¬† I am going to start off walking and work my way up, following the 10% rule like it is my job!¬† The idea for 2011 is slow & steady, have fun, stay healthy & uninjured and kick ass. ūüôā

Yesterday was the first day of my 2011 training season.  I went for a walk with my roommates dog and we had a blast.  We were out for about n hour; not sure how far we actually walked and not sure I care.  I worked up a great sweat and had a fun time in the snow.

2011 Race Schedule

Just because I have decided to take the pressure off when it comes to training and keep my goals more personal, doesn’t mean I don’t have a race schedule planned.¬† And here it is!

Shamrock 8K; Virginia Beach, VA- My first race of 2011.¬† My friend Nicole and I planned to do the half-marathon but did not sign up in time unfortunately.¬† Since we had already found a placed to stay, taken the time off work and planned the trip we decided to at least do the¬†8k and then just spectate the half and full.¬† I really wanted to run this race since I had to bag it last year after my injury, but I guess it is just not meant to be for me.¬† At the very least, I will enjoy 4 days in VA Beach¬†ūüôā¬†

B.A.A Boston 5k; Boston, MA- This is obviously assuming I get in on the day registration opens.¬† I know it is going to be a crapshoot since 27402378 are trying to sign up but hopefully I will get in.¬† Either way, I will still be in Boston for the marathon and I am way ridiculously beyond excited to reconnect with and meet new bloggers ūüôā¬† It is going to be a super fabulous weekend.

Frederick 1/2 Marathon; Frederick, MD- I actually just decided on this the last week.¬† I wanted a May 1/2 marathon and this one fits best into my schedule.¬† Plus, since I deferred Baltimore to this year, I will get the Double Medal ūüôā

Black Bear Olympic Relay; Poconos, PA- Despite the freezing cold, rain and getting sick in the water, I loved this race.  I was the swimmer last year with my friends Kurt and Brian and I am the swimmer this year with my friends Shauna and Lisa.  Hopefully we get better weather and I can get some revenge on that swim course!

Boilermaker 15K; Utica, NY- This race takes place the day after my 30th birthday so a few of my friends and I are heading up to race and party it up!  We are spending the weekend, including my actual birthday there and then running is specially made shirts!  Other than Boston, I am most excited for this race.

NJ State Sprint; Mercer, NJ- This is my “A” race for 2011…this is my favorite course by far and as anyone who reads my blog knows, run by my favorite RD’s, CGI.¬† I am not even kidding…this race is great!¬† Even in 100 degree weather last year it was enjoyable.¬† If you are looking for a mid-July tri, I cannot recommend anything more than this race!

Belmar Sprint; Belmar, NJ- This race is pretty simple but still one of my favorites.  I love the ocean swim, the simplicity of the looped bike course and the run along the beach.  This will be my third consecutive year racing this course and I look forward to getting even better this year than last year.

Timberman¬†Sprint; Lake¬†Winnipesaukee, NH- This is the only race on this schedule that I am still back and forth on; the entry fee is ridiculous and hard to justify but a lot of my teammates will be there and it will make for a fun weekend.¬† Plus…Chrissie Wellington.¬† Yeah, her.

Wildwood 1/2 Marathon-¬†Wildwood, NJ- This is the newest 1/2 marathon in the CGI half-marathon series and I am very excited about this race.¬† Not only does it take place the same time I am on vacation in Wildwood, but so many of my teammates are racing this and with the entry fee you get a ticket into Morey’s Pier and water park.¬† So after the race we will be hanging out on the boardwalk and beach AND then back at my place to hang out.¬† It will be a most excellent way to end summer!

Baltimore 1/2 Marathon-¬†Baltimore, MD- I deferred this race last year to this year and as much as I loved this race in 2009, Baltimore does not make it easy to stay overnight there.¬† The hotels in the area do not accommodate¬†even though they are “race supporting” hotels.¬† I found it all to be very frustrating and if I run into issues again this year, I probably won’t bother with the race anymore.¬† Which would be a shame since I really do like it and they give out the coolest medals!

Philadelphia Marathon- Philadelphia, NJ- Yup. Giving it another go. I am unsure if I will ever attempt a second, so the first has to be Philly.  The half distance has my little racing heart and I cannot think of any other full that I would want to be my first.

I put a lot less on my plate this year than last but as you can see, I am also going to give the marathon another try.  My first attempt was a bust but I feel like this year could be my year.  Especially because I have full intentions of going into every race the way I did the Philly half this year.  And of course, at the end of the day, all I want to do is finish.

I am sure there will be some 5k’s¬†and 10k’s¬†dispersed in there but for the most part, I want to keep it more simple for 2011.¬† I am still toying with Steelman again if I can get a relay together but I don’t think I’ll be adding in any more big races.¬† I am excited for all the traveling I get to do with my racing this year and picked my races bases in large part based on that.¬† I figure, I got nothing holding me back right now…midas well get all the traveling I can get it while I can.

Will I be seeing any of you at any of the above races???

First 2011 Post…Where I Have Been & Goals

I have been struggling to come up with the right way to express how I have been feeling lately and when it came time to put my goals list together I struggled even more.  It took me almost the whole month of December to figure out why.

And here it is…

I was keeping charts and graphs and tracking everything I did.  I was driving myself crazy writing schedules, setting alarms and calculating my pace/distance for every swim/bike/run.  I was completely overwhelmed by all the facebook updates and blog posts in my google reader that were all about running, working out and etc.  I was putting a ridiculous amount of pressure on myself and feeling negative about myself.  All because I felt like I had to fit into some standard.  (I feel like a five year old even admitting all this.)  At times lately, it has all felt very competitive; I notice gatherings with my teammates where the only conversations we have are about working out and who is doing what and how much of it they are doing.  Honestly, it makes my head spin. And instead of being motivated to change, I shut down and allowed it all to push me into a hole that kept me from having a desire to do anything at all.

Running is not my life.¬† Neither is swimming.¬† And well, I think we all know biking isn’t either.¬† There are so many more aspects to my life than working out and¬†keeping track of my miles.¬† But I was pressuring myself to “keep up with the Jones’s” for a while and was concentrating to the point of exhaustion on things that honestly don’t matter to me.¬† But I wanted them to matter to me so I kept doing them.¬† I wanted them to matter because I thought it put me in the same ranks as everyone else.¬† A “real” athlete.¬† If I woke up and didn’t want to work out, I felt like something was wrong with me.¬†¬†And¬†the truth is, more days than not I woke up¬†not wanting to work out.¬† The more days in a¬†row this happened, the¬†less I felt about who I was as an athlete.¬† And not only was I frustrated but I¬†was confused as to why I even felt¬†that way.

But I know why- I felt that way because I thought I was letting myself and others down if I wasn’t “taking it serious enough” and that if I didn’t take it serious, people wouldn’t take me as a person seriously.¬† Got all that?¬† Anyway, the good news is, I snapped myself out of it, got real with myself and decided that I don’t have to be so serious.¬† And people who like and respect me will like and respect me even if I am not caculating my miles vs. distance every step of the way.¬† They will like me even if I don’t care that I missed a workout.¬† But most importantly, I will like myself again.¬† Because I will be having fun again.¬† And for me, fun is what it is all about.¬† And for the record, I am totally most definitely without a doubt an athlete!

At the end of it all I was able to come up with some goals.

Goals for 2011:

  1. Run for time, not distance; stop focusing so much on mileage.¬† It’ll be easier now with a Garmin to keep track of my miles without having to map out runs and etc, but some days I just want to run.¬† Run without caring about the exact distance.¬† At the end of the day, the miles I run in a week, month, year…that is not who I am.¬† I am not the miles I run, I am a runner simply because I run.
  2. There will be no more week in reviews.  No more formula posts to keep up with or anything else that cause me to self-pressure over miles/hours/etc.
  3. No more “100 push-ups a week” challenges for me.¬† Or anything of that nature.
  4. I will only host a give-a-way when I truly believe in the product.  I will not make the give-a-way rules harder than and IQ tests and there will always be less steps than when you call your credit card company!
  5. I will eliminate all unrealistic goals.  And I will push hard to achieve the realistic ones.
  6. Give myself a break.  Or two. Or ten.
  7. Realize¬†I don’t need to blog every day.¬†¬†Go¬†back to¬†quality over quantity.¬† My faithful readers will be here whether I blog once a day or once a week.
  8. Keep my goals more private.  Again, limiting the self-pressure.
  9. Continue to be an honest blogger.  Remember that at its most basic foundation this blog was my journey.  It is not always pretty, but it is always real!
  10. I will make it fun again.¬†I want to channel the way I felt when I started this whole journey to my first tri…I felt fresh and new and it was fun.¬† I want to go back to how good it felt to just want to go to the gym…get out and run or hop in the pool.¬† I want to get back to a place where I knew what I was doing was making me a better person, not driving me insane.¬† I want to get back to me.

I just thought I should start the year posting how I really felt.  Being me.  Honest little me.

Philadelphia Half-Marathon Race Report

Other title options:

-Redemption!

-Dear Philly, I kicked your ass!

-How the hell did that happen?

-Will I ever PR again?

Notes:

  • I had worked Saturday at the expo for 3 hours and then again at my night job until closing!¬† Not kidding…no one would cover my shift, or switch with me, so I worked from 5pm-12am the night before.¬†
  • I resigned myself to the idea that this race would be just for fun and that I should have low expectations.¬† In¬†fact, I never even thought about a time goal…I basically just wanted to finish happy and not injured.¬† I told my mom to expect me around 2:30-2:35, although I did say I was going to try to stick with a pace group and there was a chance I could come in before 2:30.

Pre-Race:

I was so wired when I got in from work that I could not sleep.  I ended up dozing off for about two hours but it was 4am before I knew it!  My mom met up with me at my house and we were off.  We met up with my friend Brian and followed him to a garage and then headed over to the Art Museum. 

About 30 minutes before the race my stomach started hating me and I needed a bathroom STAT.  The line was 2390823908 people long and I seriously thought I might die.  The pain was unreal and I could not even imagine how I would run in it were to continue through the race.  I made it through the line and to my corral but within minutes, I needed the bathroom again.  Ugh, this was not good!  Luckily after stop number #2, I felt a little better and even luckier, I was done just in time to start with my corral, although I was at the very back.

Race:

Miles 1-3; I did not start off well.¬† Between my stomach bothering me and having to move through the crowd of slower-than-me runners and walkers, I was having a hard time.¬† I got to the 5k at just under 36:00…I was not happy!¬† Then it occurred to me that I had two¬†options.¬† 1-¬†allow this to ruin my race and just give in or 2- get through the rough patch and press on.¬† I did not want to get down on myself early; I pretty much said to myself “get it together”¬†and then that is exactly what I did!

Miles 4-6.2; At about the mile 4 mark, I realized I was making up some time and when I looked up, I saw the 5:00 pace group not far¬†ahead of me.¬† This was the pace group I had hoped to spend some time running with but because I got into my corral¬†too late and got behind because of my¬†disastrous first three miles, I had lost sight of them.¬† But here they were just a little bit ahead.¬† I knew if I pushed a little harder I could catch up to them.¬† I stopped at the water stop to take a GU and then pressed on with the 5:00 pace balloons in sight.¬† I saw my TT friends cheering and it was exactly the boost I needed to pick up my pace!¬† And then I was there- running with the pace group ūüôā¬† The thing is, once I got there, I felt like I could go faster; I went with my gut and kept on moving.¬† I was feeling so good- everything was going right…this was the best I ever felt and i decided at that moment, unless anything insane happened, I was going to PR this race.¬† I was going to make it happen.¬† I reached the 10K mark at 1:07:30…I was under an 11:00/minute pace.¬† I had made up SO MUCH time!

Miles 6.2-10; This was the hilliest part of the course (you know, as hilly as it gets for the area) but also the best miles for me mentally.¬† I kept reminding myself that this was a fun race and that I was having fun.¬† I thought about how Kate told me that she felt like her Ironman went as well as it did because she stayed postive, so I just tried to channel all my positive energy.¬† I made myself run up each hill no matter what…just kept telling myself one foot in front of the other.¬† And every time the thought of walking crossed my mind, I just reminded myself that I was on my way to a PR!¬† I took a GU at mile 8 and Mile 10 was reached at 1:48.¬† Still under an 11:00/pace and¬†very much on target for a PR.

Miles 11-12; In every half-marathon in the past, I have fallen apart at mile 11.¬† So as I approached mile 11, I had a little chat with the asphalt.¬† My legs were hurting…my shins were on fire and my left calf was angry.¬† But¬†I was not stopping.¬† No way.¬† I directed my mind to think positive and get the frick to the finish line.¬† I had come this far…made up time…and was well on my way to a PR…I was.not.stopping!¬† I thought pushing through mile 11 was the toughest part of the race until I reached mile 12.¬† Now I had to pee.¬† I tried to run through it…just get to the finish and then pee.¬† But my bladder was having nothing of it- and the porta-potty lines were FAR too long.¬† I was NOT going to ruin my PR by waiting in a damn porta-potty line.¬† No friggen way.¬† So I did what any classy Jersey girl would do in this situation…I pee’d in the bushes.¬† Free of my need to pee and back on my feet running, I blasted into mile 13 ready to get to the finish.

Mile 13-13.1; The crowd support through the finish was amazing.¬† And not even kidding, I texted my mom to let her know I was on my way in- I didn’t want her to miss me.¬† I could not believe I was at the finish- I was elated.¬† The crowd was cheering and I saw my mom and Brian and I was running as fast as I could- and then…I crossed the line at 2:23:08!!!!!

Post-race: GLOW GLOW GLOW GLOW ūüôā¬† Followed by some pictures, gatorade, a banana and the very slow walk back to the car.¬† Then it was home to sleep for a few hours because I am crazy and went into work that night!

Prior to this race, my PR was 2:27:44…so I improved by over 4 full minutes!¬† I have been chasing that damn PR since May 2009 and it felt so good to finally reach my goal.¬† In addition to a 4 minute overall PR, this was a 10 minute course PR!!!

More Notes:

  • I walked the water stops and I stopped once to stretch my calf and once to pee.¬† Other than that I ran the ENTIRE race.¬† I never stopped moving (except to pee) no matter what, I just kept going!!!
  • Mike- I looked for you at medals!¬† I asked all the way through the line if anyone knew where Mike was- but to no avail ūüė¶¬† One guy thought I was looking for my dad and tried to direct me to the meet-up area and a few others looked at me as though I had a personality disorder.¬† Awesome.
  • The crowd support for this race was really good- especially in the cheer sections.¬† Music going, people dressed up…Philly does spectating well ūüôā
  • This race would not be possible without the help of volunteers and the Philadelphia Police Department.¬† The officers throughout the race are wonderful.¬† I appreciate them being out there more than I can say.¬† Philadelphia cops have a tough job every day and it was a joy to see them on the course.¬†
  • I am quite sore.¬† I chaperoned an ice skating trip yesterday and that has only added to the soreness.¬† I plan to spin out my legs this afternoon but I am taking a week off from running.¬† It is officially the off season!!!

Thank you for all your support- all the well wishes and happy vibes.¬† My excitement over my PR has not ended yet.¬† I smiled through writing this whole report.¬† This is the report I thought I would have to wait until 2011 to write.¬† 2010 has been a rollercoaster year- being injured and told I might not be able to run until summer…proving THAT wrong and running as early as April.¬† Racing back to back weekends over summer and PR’ing through them was amazing…but nothing tops this race.¬† This was the highlight of my year.¬† I had to bag so many races…and I fought with myself over each one.¬† I was hard on myself for not running Philly Rock and Roll…I did not feel ready and I did not feel I should race.¬† I know more than every that I made the right decision.¬† This was to be my comeback race…and my only plan was to get to the start and finish lines.¬† The PR is the AMAZINGLY SWEET icing on top ūüôā

Photos: