Saturday, November 27, 2010

This Year's Accomplishments

As this year is soon going to come to an end, I've been thinking a lot about what I've accomplished this past year. With my IT band issues, I feel so stuck in the day-to-day with my running. In order to pick up my spirits, I have been looking back at all of my races this past year and I really have accomplished a lot running-wise, if I do say so myself. Here's a recap of all of my races so far in 2010:

Jan 2: Athlete's Closet Winter Series 5k: 26:59
Feb 13: Athlete's Closet Winter Series 5k: 24:29
March 6: Athlete's Closet Winter Series 5 miler: 42:50
May 15: Mind the Ducks 12 Hour Ultramarathon: 59.8 miles in 11:58:31 (PR, of sorts)
July 17-18: 20in24 Back on my Feet Lone Ranger Ultramarathon: 76.16 miles in 19:16:26 (PR, of sorts)
Sept 19: Rock 'N' Roll Philadelphia Half Marathon: 1:52:09 (PR)
Oct 31: Marine Corps Marathon: 4:09:30
Nov 27: MCRRC Turkey Burnoff 10 miler: 1:26:33 (PR)

That's a lot of racing! I may do a 5k in the next week or so, but I'm pretty much done with my racing for 2010. I think this year of running has truly been life changing. I've been a runner my whole life, but this is the year that I really solidified to myself that running is something that I love, hate, enjoy, struggle through, but mostly, something I will (hopefully) get to do for my whole life. I also have pushed myself further than I ever thought possible and it's been a fun year of running. I have already registered for the 20in24 ultra for next year and once the MTD 12 hour race opens up, I'll register for that, too. I've come to realize that distance is what I am good at (I'm the long and slow queen), but I've really enjoyed the shorter races, too.

I am thankful for everyone this year who has been a supporter in any fashion, whether it's reading this blog, cheering me on during my races, sherpa-ing my long runs, or even pacing me a bit during my 24 hour race. Without everyone, I truly wouldn't have been able to do it. I am so excited to see what next year shall bring. 2011 is going to be another year of exciting races and hopefully PRs. :-D

Monday, November 1, 2010

Marine Corps Marathon Race Report

I am struggling to figure out how to feel about the MCM Marathon. In a lot of ways, it was an amazing experience and in others, it was a total failure. This is leaving me feeling, well, unsure of how I feel.

The weekend started with a dinner with MCM Fourmites from the Runners' World Forums. It seems weird to have been talking with these people for months and months, yet to have never met them. It was really great to finally meet these people who have been amazing people to talk to about running and who have been extremely supportive during all of my running related stuff the past year (races, sicknesses, injuries, etc). I ate some yummy pizza, snacked on yummy bread, laughed a lot, and overall, had an amazing night. I am so happy to have thought to have posted on the MCM boards early this year because in so many ways, these people made the race for me.

Sunday morning, my dad and I got up quite early and headed on the Metro to the race. I have been lucky with all of my major races before because they required very little of a commute to get to it, so this was  new experience for me. After getting there, finding my Mom (she was at a wedding the night before and met us at the race) and waiting 20 minutes in line for a bathroom, the race started! The gun went off before I could get in line, but my time group started to far back that it was not a big deal. It sound weird, but I love being in the massive crowd of a race before it starts. The energy of the crowd is so exciting and nerve-wracking, so I did not enjoy having to run to the start.

When I finally reached the start, I felt like I was in a can of sardines! To be honest, one thing I did not enjoy about this race was how crowded it was. I have only run the Philadelphia Marathon before, which is comparable in size to the MCM, but with the roads so much wider in Philly, the race is only packed for the first 2 miles. I was still dodging people (on and off) up until around mile 20 of this race. I did not enjoy constantly having to run around people and I'm sure I was more tired because of it. I did, because of running from the bathroom, sneak in to the 4:10-4:30 marathon pacing section, so I am not surprised I was passing people and moving around to try to keep up a sub-4 pace. Still, I was annoyed throughout the race because a lot of the time, I couldn't just run, I had to defensively and offensively run.

For all the dodging, the first half went by so quickly. I could not believe it, but I guess after two ultras, 13.1 miles is not as big of a deal as it used to be. My watch (which was a few seconds slow since I accidentally started my watch too soon) clocked me in at 2 hours exactly for the half. This was good because I was running exactly on pace and felt that I could probably speed up the second half just a bit to PR.

Everything was going alright until about mile 19 and 20. I felt tired the whole race, which I attributed to my cold and my lack of running the weeks before in the hopes to heal up my ITBS. Around this time, I was really starting to feel tired. We hit the 14th St Bridge and I just fell apart. I got a side stitch, my back was in agony, and I couldn't breathe very well. My pace went from 9 minute miles to at times 11 minute miles. I truly felt like the forthcoming 6.2 miles would not be possible and I would get my first DNF. It was such a trying time mentally for me because I do not like to quit ever, but the miles ahead seemed impossible. I ran into a fellow Runner's World fourmite earlier on, but he passed me around here. He was super supportive, but I just couldn't keep up.

Around mile 21, my side stitch just disappeared for no reason. I felt stronger and I was able to pick up the pace to around a 9:30 min/mile. I know a PR was out of the question, so in a lot of ways, I didn't push myself as hard as I could have. I did not feel the pressure of the PR, so I ran hard, but was not killing myself. To be honest, I'm not sure I could have really run any faster, so I guess it was nice to not have the pressure of the PR looming over my head.

The last few miles were tough, but I pushed through until we got to the end. The last .2 miles are uphill, which was just cruel. I love hills normally, but my legs were shot and my breathing was off. I kept hearing people cheer for GaGa (more on that later), but I just could not move my legs forward very quickly. By the time I finished (4:09:30 officially, which is about 6.5 minutes slower than my previous slowest marathon to date), I felt really off. I started to see all white and struggled to see clearly. I knew something was up, so I headed to the medical tent. I found out I was pretty dehydrated, my body temperature was quite down (95.8 degrees), my blood pressure was way down, and my heart rate was still racing. I was able to call my mom and have her find me. The medical staff were amazing and they treated me amazingly. After two bottles of Gatorade, a bottle of water, a banana, and a bag of chips, I was allowed to leave. They said the cold medicine I had been taken had probably been the culprit of my dehydration, so I started the race dehydrated and the liquids I drank during it couldn't really hydrate me enough.

One of the positive parts of the race had to be the great crowd support and reaction to my costume. Even in line for the bathrooms before the race, other runners were snapping pictures of me. I waved at least 50 times during the race to spectators cheering, "Go Lady GaGa!" It was great when people would cheer, "Is that you, Lady GaGa?" I would wave or give a thumbs up and they erupted in cheers and laughter. I kept thinking, "You know, I'm not her actually, just someone dressed as her..." Either way, getting those reactions was great. I also loved passing people and seeing them do a double take of me in my blonde wig and costume. No one expects to see someone looking like I did during a marathon, even on Halloween. During my lowest point of the race, the bridge, I even got a "nice ass" comment. While it was not something I was aiming to hear or really expected to hear, I felt so terrible that any comment that was in the least bit positive was gladly accepted by me at that point.

Overall, I'm feeling alright about the race, but still bummed my time was so bad. I knew I wouldn't PR with my ITBS (which gladly didn't bother me during the race) and my cold, but being almost 7 minutes slower than my last marathon was a bit disheartening. I am just eager to have a good training program for my next race, as well as to be in a good physical condition for it.

Thanks to everyone for your amazing support and I cannot wait for my next race (Mind The Ducks 12 Hour 2011? Yeah, I'm sure that will definitely be my next one.).

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Just Dance

I ran for the first time in 15 days. I was able to run 7 miles with pretty minimal ITBS pain, but there was still more than I'd like (obviously, I'd want none). This run was also really awesome because I was able to test out my costume for the Marine Corps Marathon, which is of Lady GaGa. I purchased a blonde wig from K-Mart, bejeweled a sports bra, purchased black running briefs (okay, they are really running underwear, but they'll serve the same purpose), and purchased some big black shades with some bling along the top (these were actually for me to wear, but I realized how awesome they would look with the costume, so I ran with them). I am aiming to look like her in her "Just Dance" video (pictured to the left) and by golly, I think I look a lot like her once my costume is all on.

Testing out the costume was pretty funny because in all honesty, there's a fair amount of nakedness seeing as I am only wearing black underwear as bottoms. Running my 7 miles through neighborhoods in Rehoboth Beach, DE (where I am currently to celebrate the Sherpa's/Mom's birthday) was pretty hysterical. I got so many funny and confused looks from older people and an even weirder one from a fellow runner. I also was honked at by some movers (I never understood why cars would honk at female runners. Do they just want to say, "Hey, we appreciate your looks," or are they cheering on my healthy lifestyle? I just think they are being pigs). Overall, the shades, wig, and briefs all worked out great and I am beyond excited (and a little nervous) to wear the outfit 7 short days.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Where have I been?

Man, who knew school would make it impossible for me to blog? In most cases, I had homework to focus on, so I couldn't really blog with any good conscious when I had homework. I also have been injured with an ITBS flare up. I haven't run in nearly 2 weeks to try to rest it, but with my marathon just over a week away, I am getting antsy. I'm hoping to try running tomorrow to see how it goes.

Today, on a walk home from class, I realized that during my co-op (and lack of one when waiting for it to start), I really used running as an escape. While I awaited my co-op, running was something I could put my energy into it. When my co-op started and I felt unfulfilled in the work, I used running as something to keep me excited and to be an escape. Now that I am back at school, taking classes, working two part-time jobs, involved in lots of clubs, and attempting to find a job since I graduate in December, I am struggling to find the passion for running. Well, that's not true. I loved running, but it was tough to fit it in. This injury right now has made me kind of forget I used to run so much. I think I have been so busy that I haven't even had time to think about it and then when I do, I freak that I won't be able PR the marathon. I shouldn't aim to do that, but I am too competitive to just "run" a marathon.

Okay, enough blabbing. After my run this weekend (and test run of my costume for the race), I will update this to reveal of all systems are a go for the race.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

PR for my Half Marathon = happy me :-)

To start, I decided to not fast for Yom Kippur (aka the day before my race). Driving up Friday to Philly, I inhaled a 32 oz bottle of water and was still parched. That made me think that if I go the whole day before without food and drink, I would not make it to the finish line. Not going to get into the religious debate about it, but that was my decision and that's that.

I made sure to eat a lot of yummy carbs yesterday, including a delicious rice bowl with Chinese broccoli and grilled pork tenderloin. I'm just drooling thinking about it. Made a pasta dinner and got in bed about 10:30 pm. Woke up around 6 am to get myself prepped. My stomach was all a mess and I worried that I might have to run to the porta-potties during the run, but I got lucky that it calmed down.

I met some other runners from Drexel and we all headed to the race. We checked in our bags, hit up the bathrooms, and got ready to race. Finally the race started! I think my issue to begin with was I was not really sure what I wanted to run the race in. I knew I wanted to run it faster than 9 minute miles, but that was about it.

The first few miles were weird because 1) having forgotten my banana at home, I was starting to get a side stitch, and 2) my Garmin wasn't picking up the satellites right in Center City so I couldn't exactly figure out my pace. I also felt like everyone around me was flying by, which was a bit frustrating. My Garmin was saying I ran more than I had, which was annoying, but it actually broke up the race because I had when my Gamin would say I ran a mile, then the actual mile about .3 miles later.

I found myself running around 8:30 min/miles and I was feeling like I was pushing it, but it was sustainable. I just kept making sure I was hitting 8:30 min/miles, even with the water breaks. The course was really really flat, so it was easy to keep an even pace. At this point, I knew that unless some freak thing happened, I'd PR the race, which was so exciting.

Around the 10 mile mark, I was starting to feel the Shot Blocks in at the bottom of my stomach and it felt so so awful. I felt so nauseous, but knew that slowing down was not an option. I just pushed harder and harder to the finish, which made my stomach hate me even more. Right before the 13 mile mark, surrounded by spectators, I started to gag and was very very close to throwing up. I was able to not toss my cookies in front of thousands of people, but it surely was a close call.

As I sprinted to the finish, I felt so awful and sick to my stomach, but I knew the race was almost done and I'd PR by almost 2 minutes! I'm exhausted, but I am definitely on the road to breaking 4 hours at the Marine Corps Marathon in just 6 short weeks. Ah!

Final Results (official)

1:52:09 (8:33 min/mile pace)

Monday, September 13, 2010

Moving back to school and Philly Rock n Roll Half Marathon

Training for the Marine Corps Marathon has been going pretty well. My ITBS *knock on wood* has been not as painful. I've been pretty diligent about about rolling it out after my runs, so I am happy that my hard work of building up a base hasn't gone to waste.

I got in an 18 miler two weekends ago and a 20 miler this past Saturday. They both went really well , surprisingly well. The biggest change from training from my ultra to my half and full marathon is speed and the lack of my walk breaks. This sounds pretty stupidly obvious, but golly, the change is pretty crazy. I will say I think I have been able to transition pretty well, even with four weeks off due to my ITBS. I have been training well and putting in some solid miles, but at some point, there's other stuff that comes into the equation. I've gotten my hopes up that I can finally break 4 hours for the marathon, but I have to realize that although I have a good distance and endurance base, I am running much faster than I have in a long time. I have been able to run the miles faster, but I wish I was just a smidge faster as I feel like I am just where I need to be to break 4 hours, without much wiggle room.

Friday, I move back to school (Drexel University in Philadelphia) and finish up my degree in Marketing. Friday night starts the beginning of Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement in the Jewish religion. This requires fasting of all foods and beverages for 25 hours. You're probably wondering why this matters in a running blog, but this will affect me as I plan to run the Philadelphia Rock n Roll Half Marathon on Sunday. This means I fast starting Friday night and can then eat and drink again Saturday night, the night before the race. I am a bit nervous about not drinking at all the day before the race, but I'll make sure to hydrate a lot this week and have a very nutritious meal the night before.

Can't wait to see how my ultra training will affect my racing abilities for shorter races. I'll make sure to post a race report after I finish!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Kicking back into gear...with my new gear!

Got in my longest run in since my 24 hour race in a 14 mile run with the Road Runners club. I went to do it at 9:40 min/mile pace, but the coach for that group went to help another one, so we were with the 10 min/mile group. It was good to keep it slow for my first run back and it felt great! I'm really happy that my IT band didn't cause me issues, though my right hamstring is still tight, even months after my 24 hour race.

Okay, on to the main point of this post. Since I can probably remember, once I found out about Garmin watches, I've wanted one like nothing other. To be able to constantly check your pace, distance, and other fun facts. For someone who hates numbers and analyzing them, I am kind of obsessed with data and analyzing it when it comes to things I love like running. I have been keeping an Excel spreadsheet documenting each run I do with distance, time, pace, and the weather. It might be a bit obsessive, but it's nice to look back on.

When my new watch finally started acting up (it was $30 at the Nike outlet, so not a huge investment, but still annoying), I decided I might as well go for it. I got it with the heart rate monitor for a fab price at Amazon and it arrived yesterday! I was too busy to run yesterday, so I did my first run with it today. I did a 4 mile run, with one as a warm-up and the last 3 at tempo pace. I haven't done a tempo run in probably 8 months and I haven't done a speed workout in 3+ months, so I was a bit nervous. It went went well! I did the warm-up in 9:08, the second mile in 8:18, third in 8:35, and fourth in 8:17. I was supposed to aim for around 8:30 min/mile, so I'm pleased.

I'm still learning how to use the watch, but so far, so good. :-) I'm going to attempt an 18 miler this weekend, so I can't wait to use it then. I will be heading to Rehoboth Beach, DE for Labor Day weekend, so my runs will be there. Since I don't know the distances of my routes there so well, my new gadget will come in handy. Can't wait! :-)

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

And I'm back...let's hope for good

Okay, so I haven't posted in forever because I have been doing physical therapy for the past 4 weeks for my ITBS. Without running, I have not really had motivation to exercise. I have mentally tied exercise with running so that when I'm not running, I have no desire to exercise. If I was at school, I would at least have exercise classes at the gym to go to, but here at home in MD with no gym, I am not able to push myself to do anything but run. With that said, I have been very good to rest up when I should with my ITBS and did not push myself when I needed to. This is good for my running and health in general, but not so great for my training. I totally forgot that my school's track club registered me for the Philadelphia Rock 'N' Roll Half Marathon for September 19th. Whoooops. With now less than 4 weeks, I know I won't PR, but I'd like to at least be within 5 minutes of my PR.

After that, I have to then decide if I can do the Marine Corps Marathon on Halloween. To be honest, I do not want to do it if I do not think I can PR. My goal is to break 4 hours and my PR (three years ago) was 4:01 and this past fall, I ran one in 4:02, so it's doable, at least before my injury. I am really afraid I won't be able to run it in my goal time, so I have to wait the next few weeks to decide what I will do.

For now, I have to feel happy that I ran 7.25 miles today at MP + 11 seconds on average. For that, I am ecstatic and feel like a million bucks. Let's hope this can keep up....

Sunday, August 1, 2010

ITBS can really eat rocks

Now that my 24 hour race is over, I'm in this weird place right now. I am feeling like a break would be great, but am stressed about starting training for the Marine Corps Marathon. The week after the race, I only got in 4 miles, but I was fine with that. This past Tuesday, I got in my normal 7.25 miles with my local Road Runners club. I run them at about 9:30-9:45/mile pace (for which I am going to need to speed up for my marathon training). My knee starte to bother me a bit, but it just felt like my normal runner's knee flare up. I woke up Wednesday with my knee really hurting me, which felt weird. My hip also started to hurt, so I immediately thought I had ITBS. A Wednesday night visit to my PT uncle confirmed it. Sometimes if I walk too much (especially in unsupportive shoes), my knee and hip really hurt. It's really frustrating because I am already sidelined from training for my marathon plan, which should be starting in a week. I have a large mile base from my ultra training, but in order to break 4 hours for my marathon, I really need to get my miles to be faster. I am not running at all because I am trying to let it heal as much as possible, but it is getting so frustrating.

Okay, rant over. My mother finally uploaded her pictures from my race, so I figured I'd upload some of them.
The fam before my race.

That's me on the left waving as the race starts.

This is me at the end of the race, covered in sweat, dirt, and happy tears. 

Sunday, July 18, 2010

It's all built up to this...

Okay, this is a seriously long race report, but after I ran for 19+ hours, I think a long report is due.

Ah, where to begin? The week of the race, I really was not getting enough sleep. It was a combination of nerves and just not being diligent about when I went to bed. Friday, I packed and my family and I headed to Philly. I went, checked into the hotel, and picked up my race packet (which included getting weighed in, as well as getting my blood pressure and temperature checked). Afterwards, my mom, dad, brother, and I headed Marathon Grill. I had the best roast turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, green beans slathered in butter, salt, and pepper, and a cranberry bread pudding. It was the perfect pre-race meal in that it had protein, carbs, and some yummy fat. J Went back to the hotel and went to bed at 10 pm. I didn’t sleep well, but I still got more sleep than earlier in the week.

At 7 am, I had to get up, get dressed, and head to the race location to get a spot. We ended up being able to set up our tent right next to the course. I ate some Pop-Tarts, attended the pre-race meeting, met up with another fellow Drexel Track club member who was doing it, and got myself ready. Before I knew it, the gun went off and we were starting! I was worried because I woke up tired and that didn’t seem like a good start for a 24-hour race. The heat was seriously oppressive and it was only 10 am.

The first loop (8.4 miles long) went by really well, though I realized my miles were a bit slower due to the heat and the time it took me to refill my water bottle and get food at the aid stations. I didn’t see the food at the aid stations for most of the first loop (it was usually kind of at ends of tables where I was focused more on the drinks in the middle…silly me), so I was pretty hungry after the first loop. I took me a few hours to kind of get my eating right, which was pretty annoying. The food at the race was not nearly as good as the Mind the Ducks 12 hour race and in just a few short hours, none of it looked appetizing.
I had a great plan where I called my mom with 1 mile to go (I ran with my phone in my belt) and told her what to have ready for me. This allowed me to run in, get what I needed, and head back out in a minute or two.

Loop 2 went okay, but the heat was starting to really affect me. When I finished it, I wondered how I was really going to make it through the whole race. I was also getting really bored. I had my iPod stocked with music, but I was already so bored. Luckily, 3 miles into Loop 3, I met a guy who I ended up running most of my race with. His name was Glenn and he was doing his second 20in24 Lone Ranger Ultra. He had completed 84 miles last year and was going for 100 miles this year.

With Glenn, I ran the rest of my 3rd loop and we only separated in the 8th loop. With all that time together, we talked about everything and anything; we even had a debate about religion! He was a really nice guy who had been running for a long time, so I was great to run with a vet and learn from his experiences.

I had some friends come by me during my race and it was so amazing to see them all support me. I also had some friends volunteer to pace with me during the run. This started at the 6th lap. Kristin, a girl in my co-ed honors fraternity, was my first pacer. She had never run more than a 5k, but quickly volunteered to pace my 8.4 miles. She did great! The most memorable time in our loop was when it got dark in the loop, I looked to see the moonlight on the river and said, “Wow, the moonlight on the ocean looks so beautiful.” Glenn and Kristin would NOT let me live this down. :-\

Another one of my brothers from my co-ed frat, Neal, came to my rescue as my 7th loop pacer. Around this time, 12 hours in, I started feeling so nauseous. It was dark and I was using my headlamp, which made me feel motion sick. I think my stomach was also revolting from all the physical strain I was putting it under. I felt so sick at this point and wondered if I could keep going. Neal was fabulous in that he kept me thinking positive and got me talking about anything and everything so I was distracted. I really thought that might be my last lap because I felt so terrible, but I knew I wanted to do at least 2 more loops to run at least 70 miles. Glenn also told me that I was not allowed to think negatively, so once I had those two cheering me up and some Maalox in my belly, I felt amazing. The best part of this lap was turning the corner to the last ¼ of a mile to see 10+ of my fraternity brothers screaming, cheering, and dancing for me. I actually stopped and started to tear up. My friends are so supportive of my crazy running and seeing a huge group at the turn made me just melt.
For my 8th lap, I had a very special pacer, my younger brother, Joey. I got him (I should say, strongly convinced) him to run high school cross country my senior year and his freshman year. He hated it so much that year, but he slowly started to enjoy it and by the end of the season, he was hooked. He ran all 4 years and ended up captain of the team, just like I had done my senior year.  He hasn’t run much since he graduated, but when I asked if he would want to run a loop with me, he was actually totally game to do it. In a lot of ways, we’re opposites in that I am obnoxious and never shut up, while he’s much quieter and more reserved. I was worried that maybe we would run out of things to talk about, but he was great! Glenn was slowing down, so Joey and I pushed ahead. He was extremely positive and made me not think too much of how much pain I was in. I am lucky to have a great brother who helped me through a tough time.

After the troubles of the 7th loop, and when I finally caught my second wind, I knew I would make it to at least 9 loops. I originally aimed for 10, but I knew that I physically could not do it. My awesome mother/Sherpa convinced my friend Maddie, who had done the Midnight Run (they had a run at midnight that was one loop long), to do my last loop with me. She got her friend Steve, also a Midnight Run participant, to join us. My nausea never fully went away and it definitely came back during this last loop. Maalox was seriously my hero this race.  The loop was slow slow slow, but at that point, I was just enjoying that I was almost done and that the sun was beginning to rise.

As I was able to sprint the last little stretch of the race, I just felt this immense sense of accomplishment. I cried briefly after my 12 hour race. It just is such an emotional overload and the culmination of so much work and effort. The same thing happened with this 24 hour. I just broke down in tears because I was so emotionally overloaded (and so exhausted!). I was proud of myself for covering so much, disappointed I didn’t reach my goal of 80+ miles, relieved the race was finally over, and a bit sad that this big event I had built up so much to do was over with.

Overall, I think I’m sad that it’s all over. I will be happy to have a brief break in training for at lest a few weeks before Marine Corps Marathon training, but I am a bit saddened that my big race is over. I guess this just means I have to plan another one…


Time-19 hours, 16 minutes, 26 seconds
Distance- 76.1 miles
Place- Overall: 43/208, Female Overall: 10/68

Monday, July 12, 2010

Frankie Says Relax!....and to taper

It's t-minus 4.5 days until my 24 hour race and I am officially in taper mode. The more and more I think about the race, the more my stomach does flips. I had a successful 16 miler yesterday and now I just have to relax. Weather permitting, I'll get in 7.25 miles tomorrow and around 4 miles on Wednesday. After that, it's resting Thursday and Friday. Friday, my family and I will be driving up to Philly, checking into the hotel, picking up my race packet, enjoying a $15 3-couse meal at Marathon Grill, then sleeeeeeeep. Don't worry, I won't eat too much. It'll just be a salad, lasagne, and some chocolate mousse. That'll be carby and not too filling (hopefully).

I get a lot of flack from non-runners who say my running is not good for me. They say I'll end up in a wheelchair and I'm being stupid with how I treat my body. I really hate this. I mean, REALLY hate this. If people know me, I am someone who researches the hell out of things. I have researched the heck out of what I am doing and have purposefully chosen to be more conservative with my training (at least in comparison to the people who run 80-100 miles a week). When I hurt, I stop and relax. When it's too hot, I slow down and drink more. Overall, I'm pretty cautious as I train for this ultra. When people harass me about my running, I always tell them I could be doing drugs instead, which would be 10x worse. In order to commemorate my sentiments, my awesome mother/sherpa had a shirt made for me. There I am, pre-16 miler, in my spiffy new shirt. It also feels awesome to run in! Most people won't get it, but those who get it so far have really found it hilarious. My mother is so awesome for having not only thought to make this shirt, but to have actually purchased it for me for my race. I love it so much!
Alright, it's bed time for me. I may or may not update before my race, but if not, let's hope the race goes well!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Whew, a long run that went well!

I cannot tell you how great it feels to finally have a long run without serious issues. Mind you, the run was still super difficult since I had tight hamstrings and it was 100 degrees out, but I survived my 30 miler!!! The sherpa and I got out around 9:30 am (a bit later than planned) and everything was going well. With it being so hot, I was drinking a ton, but that was good. I brought some watered down coconut water with me, so that was a nice change from straight up water every once in a while. Around the halfway point, my mother pointed out that I only had one more electrolyte pill (with 3 hours still to go). When I was ready for the last pill, about 4.5 hours in, my mother realized she dropped it somewhere. It was an accident that anyone could have made, so I was not upset at her, but it did put me in a mental funk. I was drinking more coconut water, which has potassium and tried to eat more salty things to keep some sodium in my system.

I had been running the miles about 12-15 seconds slower than normal, but with the 100 degree heat, I just went the pace my body felt comfortable at and did not freak out about it. Once I had 6 miles left, I really started to feel exhausted. With no electrolyte pills in my system and the heat, I just felt like my body was done with the running. I pushed through and finished, but man, I was exhauuuuuuuuuuusted when I finished. I finished literally soaking wet and had dirt all over my legs, but I felt accomplished. This is my last really long run before my 24 hour race and I am so happy it was not demoralizing like my last three long runs.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Running Funk

I haven't been on here for a few weeks because I have only negative things to say about my ultramarathon training. I've had 3 awful long runs in a row and with 3 weeks left until my 24 hour race, I'm pretty bummed, freaked out, nervous, and worn out. Three weekends ago, I wanted to get in a long run at night, so my mother and I trekked to the National Mall to get in 20 miles. I was eager to get a long run with my headlamp, but Mother Nature had a different idea. 10 minutes into the run, it poured for 20 minutes straight. It being a scorching hot evening, it was such a relief at first. Then once it stopped, running in soaking wet clothing became more and more of an issue. After about 7.5 miles, I had to call it quits. Running in soaking wet clothing was going to lead to chafing, at a minimum, so we headed back home. I was really upset, but it was only one run.

Last weekend, while in Philadelphia for a friend's graduation party, I decided to do a 25 miler on the course of my 24 hour race. I didn't end up having enough time for the 25 miler, so I decided 20 would be sufficient. I really set myself up for failure on this one because 1) I didn't get enough sleep the night before, 2) It was 95 degrees and I only had one gel pack for the whole 20 miles, 3) I forgot my electrolyte pills, and 4) I was pushing myself kind of hard on the miles. I purchased a bag of peanut M&Ms halfway through so snack on throughout the second 10 miles. I guess it was the heat and my unbalanced electrolytes, but around mile 11, I felt so nauseous. I now realize I was starting to get a cold, but I could not stop coughing and I had to walk during the run a bit. I barely trudged through the run, but could only complete 17 miles.

With my internship FINALLY starting and my cold getting stronger, I didn't run much this past week. I only got in a 7.25 mile run on Thursday and thought running 26.2 miles would be a good idea this yesterday. I had my electrolytes, the right food, and my handheld water bottle, so I was set. It was a hot day, but I was mostly in the shade. Around the halfway point, I felt pretty tired, but knew I could finish it strong. As the miles added up, I felt more and more tired and slowed down a bit. Once I hit the 7 miles left mark, I felt so happy. For some reason, that mark is always a joy to see as it seems kind of like the final stretch. I had an initial high from that, but once I hit the 20 mile mark (6 miles left), the tiredness crept right back. I was just so beaten up mentally and it was such a struggle to push through. I had chafing issues, which of course just made me feel even more defeated. I was able to keep up running in my 10/2 cycle (10 min. running, 2 min. walking), but I ended up slowing down between 10-30 seconds/mile. My mother, who was biking with me, tried to cheer me up, but it was seriously a death march. I know that my 24 hour race will be hotter with much less shade, so I am starting to really feel like this race is going to be the toughest thing ever. I am sick, which I keep reminding myself definitely impacted my running capabilities. I'm just hoping in the next 3 weeks, I can get to a place mentally that has me positive and ready to take the race on.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Running with my new running goodies!

Many of us have heard that running is an inexpensive sport to participate in. The myth says that all you need are your running shoes. Though that is not inaccurate to say all that are needed are shoes, most runners prefer to purchase more to make their run more enjoyable with special running clothing and fun gadgets. This week at the beach, I was able to purchase and/or test out three, count them, THREE new things. I have to say I enjoyed all three and can't wait to use them more and more.
The most exciting thing that I got to test out was my new Petzl Tikka headlamp. I am unsure how the lighting will be for my 24 hour race and to prepare myself, I purchased (well, my mom was nice enough to treat me to it) a Petzl Tikka headlamp last weekend. Last night, I was able to test it out on a 6 mile run. I was really worried about it because a lot of people get motion sick when using lights at night and I easily get motion sick. I made the mistake of eating a bunch of organic gummi bears, White Cheddar baked chips, and grapes before my run. This was not a smart idea. I was nauseas for most of the run, which distracted me. I also was in a neighborhood that was pretty well-lit. When I got home, I did feel slightly light-headed and motion sick, but it was not as bad as I thought it would be. I am excited to use it again and plan on running my 20 miler this weekend later so that I can use it for some of the run.

The next two items I got were clothing items. There's an Under Armour outlet in Rehoboth Beach, DE. I needed a new sleeveless top and, as personal a this is, some running-friendly underwear. I was happy to find both and after having run with both twice now, I am very pleased! I got the top in a blindingly pink and I love how it feels when running. I also am loving the underwear. The whole Dri-Fit invention is amazing and I figured if all of the rest of my running clothes have it, why shouldn't my underwear when running? They were pricey, but I can say they were quite worth it. Yeah, that was personal to say, but in case any other runners happen to read this, I give them two thumbs up. :-)  

With only 5 weeks until my 24 race, anything to distract me from the pain I will be willingly putting myself through is good right now. Overall, with my new watch from last week and these three new fun items, I have even more motivation to run!

Friday, June 4, 2010

6 weeks until insanity....

I can't believe it's 6 weeks until the Back on my Feet 20in24 Lone Ranger race. I am really eager because after my 12 hour race, I keep thinking about what I am capable of and wondering how the heat (and little to no sleep) will affect me. I am slowly easing back into miles. I got 16 miles the week after my race, 25 miles last week, and I should be completing 35 miles this week. I didn't exactly intend to ramp up about 10 miles each week, but it just sort of happened that way. I plan to make my long run 15 miles this Sunday, then increase it by 5 miles each weekend until I get back up to 30 miles. It's hard for me because I am unsure of what exactly to do since I am trying to balance two opposing things: resting/recovering and preparing myself for the next race. I think I have been smartly and slowly increasing miles, but only time will tell.

I got a new watch, which is my exciting news. I needed a slightly less basic watch than I had before, but was not intending to 1) spend a lot of money or 2) purchase a watch with a lot of features. Eventually, I'll buy a Garmin or GPS-enabled watch, but I can't afford one now and don't need all the features yet (okay, it's 90% because I can't afford it yet). I got Nike Triax Mia which is pretty cool so far. The extra features that it has is that it has interval training (which I have set to beep when I need to walk and run during my race) and it also saves the data of up to 10 runs.  The buttons are kind of small and I have to get used to pressing them compared to the much larger buttons on my other watcher. Overall, I love it and can't wait to keep running with it.

Well, I am off to a comedy show. I am excited to get slowly back into my miles, but it also is making me more and more nervous. Similar to my 12 hour race, I am just so eager for it to happen, I want it to happen this very second. :-)

Monday, May 24, 2010

The Aftermath

What do you do after running 59.8 miles in 12 hours? What seemed like a lot to me now is nothing in comparison to what I've run. I was on this utter high after my race for a few days, then real life set back in: my lack of security clearance (therefore lack of co-op, meaning I sit around all day doing mostly nothing) and my lack of  income due to that lack of job. Ah well, I guess it could be worse. I am lucky enough to be staying at home with my family where I do not have to pay rent or anything else really.

I have been slowly getting back into running. To be honest, I feel fine (minus a slightly tight right hamstring), but my old HS coach, who was a really big ultramarathoner in the 90s, said I need to back off and ease into it. He says I shouldn't have my miles back up for another 4 weeks. This has me worried since my 24 hour race is in 8 weeks, but I'm being good and slowly easing into my miles. I only got in 16 miles last week (mostly because I was busy and lazy this weekend and didn't get to run). It is nice to not have this pressure to hit a certain mileage in the week, but it is starting to freak me out that I will not be ready for my 24 hour race.

I had a pretty funny dream last night about my 24 hour race. It was a loop like it will be in real life, but it was really small and it was through a zoo! I had to dodge bears of all different types, monkeys, and some made up animals that my dreams invented. I somehow was in 2nd place, but was being lapped. For some reason, during my dream, the loop was small, but still 8.4 miles like in real life. I was wondering how she could have lapped me so quickly, but alas, I could not change it. I woke up at some point in the dream where I was trying to fend off some creature that does not exist in real life. Weird weird dreams, I tell you.

Well, I'm going to get in 6 miles today. I'm hoping to get my miles up this week to at least the mid-20s. I will be in Philly this weekend visiting friends and doing a scavenger hunt with my fraternity, so the weekend will not be the best time to run, but we shall wee.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Mind the Ducks 12 hour Race Report

Warning: This is a long race report. The race was long, so I figure it is only fitting.

I woke up at 5:30 am on Saturday morning and hurriedly got myself ready. When I finally stopped for two seconds, I realized what the heck I was getting myself into. I almost did not want to get up and go, but I knew I prepared well and was ready. The weather was amazingly perfect as it was partly cloudy and in the low 60s.

My mother (aka Sherpa) and I drove the 10 minutes to the lake and we got ourselves settled. I checked in, got my race bib and bag, put on my chip, then got myself prepared for the madness I was about to put myself through. I got to meet a few other runners, which was nice since I was pretty nervous.

Right at 7 am, the race started. We all shuffled through starting line and were off. The first hour, I just did not feel 100%. I was having some lower GI issues that were worrying me, but after I took some Pepto and finished the first hour, everything seemed to just fall into place. I was in 7th place (I later found out that there were 11 women competing) after the first hour. I didn’t like that place, but knew that place should not matter during the race, seeing as this was my first ultra. The next couple of hours kind of went on uneventfully.
As the hours swept by (pretty quickly actually, which felt weird), I found myself creeping up the rankings. A bunch of us ladies were tied for laps for a bit, but I eventually got up to 4th place, then 3rd place. I knew to keep myself in check and not to push myself when I should be worried about distance, not place. Around hour 6, though, I realized it was possible to catch the 2nd place woman.

I felt amazing up until about hour 7.5. At hour 7, when I realized I would definitely hit my 50 mile goal, I thought to myself, “Okay, I think I can do all 12 hours. I feel great!” Just a short 30 minutes later, I realized that would require 4.5 more hours of running, which seemed INSANE at that point. Nothing really hurt that much (okay, my right knee’s usual runner’s knee pain would flare up from time to time, but nothing that would stop be from running), but 4.5 more hours seemed like a ton. I just convinced myself that I needed to get to the 10 hour mark (50 miles) and figure out the game plan after that.

I loved the small course and the race was run unbelievably well, especially due to the amazing race director Shelly and the superb volunteers. The runners there were so inspirational and supportive of everyone else. Whenever one of the top guys would run by, they’d say how strong I looked as they zoomed by me. It was really great. I ran with a few runners during my time and everyone was always so supportive and nice.

Around mile 45 or so, I ended up re-connecting with the only other 22 year old in the race. He was of course many laps ahead of me, but we ended up doing the last 2 or 3 hours together. It was nice having a companion during the run, especially to discuss running. Most of my friends are not runners, especially not ones training for ultras, so it was great to talk to someone else who knows what the training and experience is like. He also had not run for as long as we planned to hit in the race, so I was not the only crazy one running way more than I have ever done.

Around hour 10 is when I snuck into 2nd place. I really think that my tortoise and the hare theory worked for this race for me, but there were some amazingly talented runners out there. I feel like I just hit a pace that was slow enough that I could keep going at that pace for a long time, but not so slow I was trudging along or walking  (though I did incorporate walking breaks every 10 minutes).  I eventually hit the 50 mile mark (my high goal for the race) and I felt amazing. I knew I still had 2 hours left, but I just decided to break it into 2 1-hour sets.

Eventually, it was the last hour and I could not believe it! I was going to make it to around 60 miles and going to run the whole 12 hours. The last hour was kind of a blur, as it seemed to whip by. The last lap, my running companion, Jesse, said we should really push the last lap. Having seen him run fast the beginning, I just told him to have no gripes about leaving me in the dust. Once we hit that last lap, he was gone! I pushed pretty darn fast for all the running I had done. It felt amazing to finally finish! I had run 59.8 miles (the course was .49 miles, hence it not being a full 60 miles). I came in 10th overall and was the 2nd placed female. Since there were awards for overall winners for males and females, I won 1st place Open Female Award. I was slower than I planned on being, but in the end, I think it helped me be able to run all 12 hours. Overall, I could not be happier of how my first ultra went. I am sure hoping my 24 hour race in July goes similarly, but that would be a lot to hope for.

Final Details: 59.8 miles in 11:58:31 

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Less than 36 hours and counting

My goodness, I cannot believe a stomach can be so nervous for days upon end. I feel like the baby to the left. I know that I have been very diligent with my training and haven't missed anything key. I've built up my mileage from about 30 miles per week (mpw) to 50 mpw in a steady fashion, to avoid injury. My sore ankle is all gone, my hip is not hurting as much, and with my antibiotics, my sinus infection is at bay. I really am prepared for my 12 hour race, but the thought of it is making my stomach turn. With any other races, the distance was not the item in question, it was the time it would take to cover said distance. For this race, the time is set, it is just on me and my body to figure out how many miles it will cover. I really feel like 50 miles is totally possible on the nearly flat .49 mile course. I think my mind is having issues comprehending the idea of running for so long. I am really happy my mother will be there to root me on and that I was able to fill my iPod up with awesome new tunes from my brother. It's chock filled with dance beats and lots of synthesizers. I am really happy that when times are going to be tough during the run, I can blast some "Just a Friend" by Biz Markie or "Party in the USA" by Miley Cyrus (okay, that last song is a total guilty pleasure and I cannot believe my brother had that on his iTunes...he actually specifically told me to put it on my iPod).

I fly tomorrow at 4 pm with my madre to Rochester, NY. We'll land, drop our stuff off at the hotel, take a test drive to the race location, eat dinner, then try my hardest to get any sleep at all. The weather is set to be perfect to run in: partly cloudy with a high around 60. Everything is set for this weekend to go really well, but I am doing my best to be happy with whatever I am able to run. Next post shall happen post-race. Hopefully it will come with awesome pictures and happy news. :-)

Monday, May 10, 2010

It's Taper Time!

Whew, it's taper time! I safely landed in Maryland on Saturday. I will miss John a lot, but I am happy to be back in Maryland and with my family. I was able to map out two runs around John's neighborhood last Thursday and Friday, so I really only missed one day of running. Not a big deal in the grand scheme of things.

Sunday, Mom and I got in 20 miles (me via feet, her via bike). I'm very lucky to have my mom come with me on my long runs; I don't think I would be able to do the without her keeping me company and holding my snacks and drinks. I felt extremely sluggish and leaden during the whole run. My whole body just felt like I had an invisible full body weighted suit on and I couldn't break through it. I did not run (well, you know the deal, run with walk breaks) my miles slowly, but they just felt so arduous.

Earlier this morning, I got in another 14 mile run. I felt much better during this run than the previous day's run and I cannot believe that even with only running 4 days this week, I got in 48 miles. My race is coming up on Saturday, so I will be tapering the rest of my runs for this week. I will most likely get in some miles (between 4-7) with the  local Road Runners club on Tuesday and do something similar on Wednesday. I think I am going to take Thursday and Friday completely off to rest up my legs, especially since I am flying on Friday up to Rochester. I am getting so many butterflies in my stomach, it's not even funny. I hope I can just relax enough to sleep the night before the race. Just five days and counting...

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Who knew beavers were so dangerous?!

This comes a bit late because the boyfriend and I have had an interesting past couple of days. Monday, I got in a 17.3 mile run around the same lake as Sunday, the Craighead Forest Lake. Again, my ego got the best of me and instead of practicing my walk/run strategy, I ran the whole thing. I did take water breaks after each loop, but they didn't last really long (if they had, I never would have gotten myself to keep running). I ran it even faster than   Sunday's run, so I felt really great to run (actually run with no walk breaks) 32.2 miles in about 28 hours. 

The only problem I am facing now is how and when I will be able to run next. On Monday, my boyfriend and I were driving back from his phone bank in Prairie, AR when this pretty large beaver jumped out in front of his car. He did the safe thing and didn't swerve (if he had, we would have been in a flooded rice farm) and we hit the beaver straight on. Poor little sucker had no chance, but who would have known a rodent, large as it is, could so much damage to a car?! It screwed up his bumper and messed up other things under the car (I'm not expert, but I was told it involved the radiator and cooler). We had to slowly drive a mile or so to the closest town and thank goodness his roommates came to our rescue (as well as a really friendly volunteer firefighter). The car had to be towed yesterday and is now waiting to get repaired.

The boyfriend is understandably upset that his car is in the shop and he is having to hitch rides with his co-workers. His lack of car also leaves me without a way to run. Here in Jonesboro, AR, there really are no sidewalks and no safe roads to run on. I have been driving to Arkansas State University's track and the lake, but now I don't know what to do. I can't take off this whole week until I get back to Maryland, especially since my race is about a week and half away. I haven't exactly figure out a solution, but hopefully I will soon because I do not have much time to figure this all out.

Ah well, hopefully it shall work out. Before I leave, just wanted to remind everyone that if you see this on the road, be very careful. It can lead to a damaged car and the inability to run. As we found out from Wikipedia, beavers are vulnerable on land, something we learned firsthand this week.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

14.8 miles + Marshmallow Malt = Crazy Delicious

Just got back from getting a delicious Marshmallow Malt. It's not a traditional post-run drink, but it surely is delicious.

I ran 14.8 miles today. My ego got the best of me and I ran the entire thing. I probably should be practicing my run/walk strategy, but I just couldn't bring myself to walk on what is now a shorter long run for me. There's this really pretty lake near Jonesboro, AR (where my boyfriend is currently working on a senatorial campaign and where I currently am visiting him) called Craighead Forest Lake (picture to the right). It's got two loops: a 2.4 mile loop directly along the lake and a 2.9 mile one that goes around the lake along the paved roads throughout the park. I did 5 smaller loops with a larger loop thrown in after the first 3 smaller loops. It was really pretty out and I was so happy the predicted rain never came. I saw a bunch of other runners, as well as innumerable geese, 2 turtles, and 1 snake (I almost stepped on it and and shrieked when I saw it). Overall, it was a nice run. I have another 3-4 hour run tomorrow, which begins my weekends of back to backs. I've never used a training program that has back to back long runs, so I'm excited, but also nervous. I didn't run a full 3 hours today, but felt nervous about doing one more loop and felt conservative, as to save my energy for tomorrow.

I've been having running dreams that are crazy! I had one a few days ago where I was doing my 12 hour race, but in Philadelphia (it's actually in NY) and I was running the race barefoot. Last night, I had a dream that the 12 hour race as in Philadelphia again, but this time, it was actually on the course where I'll be doing my 24 hour race in July. My mom was going to walk it and she left our foot sensors to track our running on the opposite side of the course. I was so furious because we had to do a loop of the course that wasn't counted for since we had no sensor to track us. I guess I am starting to get really nervous for my race since I keep dreaming about it. I woke up with such a nervous stomach and I'm 13 days away from the race; it makes me wonder how much sleep I'll get the night before.

Ah well, I'll be off now. I will probably post an update or another post about my long run tomorrow. Until then...

Monday, April 26, 2010

30 miles stronger

This post is a few days late, but Saturday, I got in my longest run to date and my longest run before my 12 hour race. I was again up super early to make some salted potato wedges and my mom and I were off (me running, her biking) at 6:40 am. The weather was not supposed to be nice (chillier than it has been and rain in the forecast), but for the first 2/3 of the run, it was so nice. My mom and I have begun counting things on our long runs to keep us occupied. We each have an earbud in so we listen to music, but keep an ear each open so we can talk, but the counting is fun. Last week, we thought counting people would be a good idea since we were out early. We then ran into 3 running groups and by mile 13, we were up to 200+ people. We realized that was a bad idea. This week, we stuck with dogs and we counted 42.

The weather turned a bit as the sun went behind the clouds and it started to sprinkle at around mile 21. The week previously, my mother asked if we should train in the rain. I said I'd prefer not to do so, but if it happened, it would. I think she jinxed me by saying that, but luckily, it was only a light sprinkling for the final 9 miles.

I have recently become very confused about my training for my ultra and where I really want to take it. I am part of an ultramarathoning e-mail list and someone recently posted about walking breaks during their training. A pretty big ultrarunner posted that any walking during a race or training is failure. I think he is extremely judgmental and opinionated (above all, I disagree with his walking=failure idea), but it really resonated with some feelings I've had. I've run entirely through each of my 2 marathons, so why am I purposefully incorporating walk breaks into my ultra training? Can I run 50 miles straight? No, but I still feel kind of like cheating by incorporating my walking breaks. It allows my body to be able to physically handle the distance I've trained so far, but I still feel weird about it. My mom (a non-runner) keeps telling me that I'm being silly and should keep doing what is working for me (aka walk break). I tried a new running-walking ratio for this 30 mile run that had less walking and it didn't work for me (I think it was a mental thing coupled with being sluggish the first few miles so early in the morning). Once I went back to my 10 min run, 2 min walk routine, my miles were much faster and I felt great. I still have to mentally get over my ego and keep it up OR I need to remove all walking breaks and go that route. We shall see what I decide.

I'm off to Arkansas tomorrow to visit the boyfriend, so I will be doing my training for the next week and a half there. I'm excited to see my guy, of course, but I am also happy for a change of venue from running.

Sorry for my long post today, but I've been thinking a lot about running, what it means to me, why I do it, and what I want to get out of my running this year. Who knew running would be so darn mentally draining? I sure didn't.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

28 miles feels pretty darn awesome

Running your longest distance feels really amazing. I haven't been able to say that in 2+ years when I ran my first marathon and golly, it was an amazing feeling. To be able to say that I ran from Lake Needwood to DC and back, 28 miles total, feels really darn awesome.

I got up at 5:30 am so I could bake my salted potato wedges (a must on my long runs) and be off running at around 7 am. I didn't have my powdered drink mix that I normally had in previous runs (I ran out, but it was of course delivered an hour after I got back from my run), but drinking just water was do-able for one time. I actually felt amazing running with my walk breaks. The weather could not have been more perfect and I liked being out and done so early (well, when you're out for 6 hours, it's hard to be done "early"). I didn't eat as much as I should have, but I still felt pretty great.

As scary as it is to say, I could have kept going. It gives me a lot of hope that in 4 weeks, when I trek up to Rochester, NY for the Mind the Ducks 12 Hour Race, I will be able to keep going for more than 4 or 5 hours. I am getting more and more anxious for my race and I keep trying to guess how long I will be able to run for. I know a race situation will be different than a training run and with my extremely competitive nature, I will not back down easily, but it's nerve wracking. I know I will be as best prepared as I can be by then, but I can't stop the butterflies in my stomach, even 4 weeks out.

Today I have an easy 4 mile run and when that is done, I will have run 50 miles this week! That's also a first since the most I had run previously in a week was 46 miles. I love having firsts, so it keeps motivating me to run. I'm off to do that, then play in my kickball league. Hopefully my team will stay undefeated. :-)

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

I got beaten by little kids

The Road Runners club I am in does this timed mile with one of the local young runners clubs each year. It was super super cute to see the kids as young as 3 or 4 running. I was supposed to do a 4x1 mile workout, but since the race was happening and I was curious to see what kind of mile I could crank out, I opted for 3 miles on the treadmill and the race.

It was really cool seeing all the kids running and having exposure to running at such a young age. I joined a track club in 5th grade and it was my first exposure to running. I am so thankful the flyer that I got in 5th grade for the Olney Track Club caught my eye and that I joined. Because of it, I ran in middle school and high school. I've kept that going through my college's track club, which has brought me to run 2 marathons and has me training for 2 ultras and a 3rd marathon. I could have just as easily joined the local basketball or soccer league, but I am so lucky that something about the track club appealed to me. I don't think I would be so involved in running for so long had I not joined.

Either way, I ended up meeting another member of the Road Runners club and we talked about running, races, triathlons, eating during running, and more. We ended up running in the same mile heat. I was really hoping to run  close to a 7 minute mile, but I ended up running a 6:49 mile! He ran a 6:40 mile and we both were aiming to be close to 7 miles, so yay for us! I was so happy to break 7 minutes, even though about 4-5 kids around 10 years old smoked me. Those kids could be future Olympians, right? And future Olympians are fast even as kids, so I'm okay with them beating me. Overall, it was a really great experience. :-)

Monday, April 12, 2010

Why running 26.16 miles is disappointing

Normally, I'd be so happy to run 26.16 miles. I mean, c'mon, it's .04 of a mile away from being a marathon and I was only doing a training run. Well, the "only" .04 miles is going to annoy the heck out of me for at least the next 48 hours. I was only supposed to do 25 miles today, but since I was too tired to do my 7 mile run yesterday, I figured pushing up to the marathon distance would make me feel less bad.

My run went really well! I felt great and pushed myself to do my miles 31 seconds/mile faster than the last two weekends of long runs. I wasn't feeling great this morning after a weekend of drinking with my fraternity brothers and with the kickball team I joined, but once I started running, I felt great. The weather was perfect (low 70s, sunny, slight cool breeze). I ate a little less during this run than others and used my fuel belt instead of my handheld bottle. The slightly less food seemed fine, but the fuel belt bothered my lower back like it normally does. It was really bothering me, but I was able to deal with it until the last 2 miles. I had to give it to my mom. She's my sherpa. She rides a bike alongside me and holds my food and extra liquids in a backpack. It's really nice having her along.

I'm torn with how to keep hydrated during my runs. My fuel belt hurts my back too much and my handheld is really annoying to hold. The liquid sloshes along and my hand gets gross and sweaty. I purchased a Nathan two bottle holder , but it doesn't fit a 5'3'' female with a short torso and hips. It looks like this:
Elite 2V Plus

I wish I could find something that works for me, but I am optimistic that I can find something.

I'm off to a yummy pasta dinner with shrimp and clams with my sherpa aka mom. I cannot wait to pass out tonight....I earned a lot of sleep. :-)

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Why I am doing this

When I tell someone that I registered for an ultramarathon aka a race longer than a marathon distance, most people's first reaction is, "Are you crazy?!" Yes, I am crazy. It is not normal to push your body 30+ miles, but most people reading this already know I am not exactly normal. I started running in elementary school at the local track club and have been hooked ever since. I also really enjoy challenging myself in any way possible, so I have been challenging myself in the world of running with 5ks, 5 mile races, half and full marathons. No marathon in the Spring seemed exciting, so the little voice in my head that said to challenge myself said, "Why not do an ultramarathon?!" My fingers decided to listen to the voice and it registered me for my first ultramarathon just a few months ago.

I have registered for Back on my Feet's 20in24 Lone Ranger Ultramarathon. It starts at Lloyd Hall in Philadelphia, PA (behind the Art Museum) and is run along the 8.4 mile loop that runs along Kelly Drive and MLK Drive. The aim is to run as many loops as possible in 24 hours. My goal is to run at least 50 miles. I am secretly (I guess not so secretly if I am posting it here) hoping that I can run 50 miles in my 12 hour race in May and at least 60 or 70 miles for my 24 hour race in July, but that's a lot to ask my body to do. 50 miles is still the goal for the 24 hour race.

I am on my 10th of 24 training weeks and everything has been going well so far. Each day when I don't feel compelled to run, I know that in July I have a lot of friends and family that will be cheering me on, so I must keep pushing myself to run. I also know that I am running for an AMAZING cause, Back on my Feet. They help the homeless gain confidence through running, then help them get their own housing, jobs, educations, etc. They do so much good and I am so happy to support the amazing cause.

I am fundraising for Back on my Feet for my race, so if you are willing and able to donate to a great cause, you can do so here: Donate Here!

I also became a member of the Montgomery County Road Runners Club. I will be trying to run with them during the week so I can meet runners in the area and have a group of people to run with. On the weekends, my mother is my sherpa in that she bikes next to me on my long runs and holds my drinks and food, but during the week, I need a group of people and I can't wait to go tonight.

I'm off to spend the afternoon with my Nana, then run with the Road Runners tonight.