Friday, July 25, 2014

Why Am I Doing This...

A few months ago, when I was a few weeks out from the OKC Memorial Marathon, and a friend of mine suggested we all get into the lottery for the Chicago Marathon it sounded like a FABULOUS idea. Now I am just over 78 days away from my next 26.2 and I was wondering why I am doing this.

This will be marathon #4 for me, and I am super excited to go run in one of my favorite cities with some of my favorite people. Plus, it'll be FLAT, FLAT, FLAT! Our hotel is booked, plain reservations are made, and we even have a reservation to carb load on Saturday night.

But holy cow, do I feel like I have a long way to go! After recovering from over training for my last 26.2, I have been working for the last month on building up my miles again. I am back to running 6 miles during the week pretty regular and have been turning my Saturday runs into something that would resemble a long run.

I have 14 miles planned for tomorrow and I am trying to not feel super intimidated by the distance. I have a good plan, which won't involve many solo miles, and I will be running with as many friends as possible. I am hoping the miles will just fly by. What are the chances there is another polar vortex that swoops into Oklahoma in the next 12 hours or so and I wake up to temps in the 40s? Probably not very likely.

I always think, after a marathon, that maybe it's not the race for me. I much prefer a half marathon. I love a race for which it doesn't take much to be trained. Marathons are time consuming! But, I am still chasing that perfect race. The perfect course, the perfect weather, the perfect raining, and I think that is what is keeping me coming back.

Will Chicago be that race? Will I get my 4 hour marathon? Will I at least get a PR? Only time will tell, and I will continue to slog through these summer runs, knowing that cooler weather should be coming at some point, and the heat will make me that much stronger.

78 days to go...

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

I Feel Like I Am Doing Alot of Catching Up...

So, I originally started the blog as a way to keep a record, so that someday someone could look back on this and maybe think that I did some fun or cool things with my life. I think the only way that is actually going to happen is if I actually write on the blog.

The summer is almost 2/3 over and what have I done? A lot of nothing. Ha! Not really, but some days it feels like it.

I did turn 40. Yikes! Remember when your parents were 40? Well I remember thinking how OLD my parents were, and they were younger than me when I was 13. (In case you don't know, that's how old my girls are, at least for another three weeks or so.)

I am trying to embrace the fact that I have another decade under my belt. How about a look back at some of the highlights of my 30s?

  • I became a vegetarian
  • I participated in 3 3-Day Breast Cancer Walks
  • I ran three marathons
  • I ran ten half marathons
  • I did four sprint triathlons
  • I did one Olympic distance triathlon
  • I had 2 knee surgeries
  • I had Lasik eye surgery
  • I had my appendix removed
  • I fell two times while running
  • I crashed my bike once, and fell over on my bike once
  • I survived elementary and middle school with my girls
  • I survived the loss of Lucy, our first four legged baby
  • We gained two other four legged babies
  • We bought a new house
  • We tossed around the idea of having another baby (What were we thinking?)
  • My girls decided they no longer wanted to share a bedroom
  • We became debt free
  • I discovered that indie rock is my music of choice and saw Wilco four times in concert
  • I learned how to bake really good chocolate chip cookies
  • I learned how to bake and decorate pretty fabulous sugar cookies
  • I took a cake decorating class
  • I discovered that I love Chicago
  • We went on our first cruise
  • I had my first, and only, tequila shot (30th birthday)
  • Celebrated our 18th wedding anniversary
Well that I all I can think of right now. I don't think that is all I did in the last decade, I sure hope not. I do know that I am not the same person I was when I was 30 and I am proud of who I have become in the last ten years.

Here's to the new decade and all the adventures that are in store for it.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Scorcher Half Marathon...

It is a testament to the craziness of my friends when one of them suggests we sign up for a half marathon called the Scorcher, in June, in Oklahoma, and three of us take her up on it.

Back at the beginning of May, right after the horribleness of the OKC Memorial Marathon, my first thought was redemption. My chance to finish out my time in the 35-39 age group with a speedy race based on the previous strong running that had been going on earlier this year.
Best laid plans and all...
After getting about four hours of sleeps, thanks to a wonderful surprise birthday party the night before, Rochelle picked me up and we headed for Stillwater at 4 am. I should say that we left Norman and traveled in thunderstorms the entire trip. After OKC, I was not looking forward to a rain delay. We found the start of the race with little effort, and got to wait out the rain under the Stillwater High School football stadium. Bonus points to the race director for this, and the real and abundant restrooms in the stadium.
We had about a 20 minute delay, so as always we got a picture or two.
Even with the rain, it was a beautiful morning.

Me, Sarah, Ro and Anne
We got lined up and set out in the rain. It took about four miles for me to give up on trying to avoid the puddles on the route. After about the first mile my friends went off on their paces and I settled in with my plan to run and walk when I needed to.
My hopes for a speedy race had pretty much been thrown out the window during May when I struggled with what my doctor called Overtraining Syndrome. After weeks of insomnia, fatigue, and upper respiratory problems it was nice to know I wasn't crazy, but it also meant that I needed to step back and rest. So, with very few miles in the weeks leading up to this race I knew that I would just have to listen to my body, and I am happy to say that I did.
It turned out to be a very fun day. I talked to quite a few people out on the route, and was happy to finish even if my time was horribly slow (for me). I did get to see Scotty, who won the race at about mile 8 and we took a selfie by the port-o-potties.
Me, Scotty and the port-o-potty
Did I mention that it rained the entire race? Thankfully it was not cold, but I regret my decision to wear a race skirt, shorts would have been a much better option.
Me and Gus at the finish line.
I got a picture with the owner of my favorite local running store, OK Runner. Yes, I know I look like I just crawled out of a very large puddle.
And then there was a post race, change into dry clothes picture with the girls.
There was one scary moment in the restroom when I was putting on said dry clothes, when I had some trouble with the dry sports bra. I thought I was going to have to ask a stranger for help but I managed to get dressed all by myself.

Not so much a Scorcher, we renamed it the Super Soaker Half Marathon. Who would have thought?

Monday, June 23, 2014

Another Memorial Marathon...

***I originally wrote this post on 5/5, guess I have done a pretty horrible job of keeping up with this. I am not going to edit this, but I do plan to post later why I think this day was so hard for me.***

Marathon #3 didn’t go exactly as I planned.
I think the OKC Memorial Marathon and I are officially breaking up. I know that I had said before that I would never run the full here again, and I don’t know what I was thinking that changed my mind. You just hate to have one of your running buddies go it alone; and I have been running strong all year.

My alarm went off at 4 am, and Josh was wonderful enough to get up to head out the door with me at 4:45am. We picked up Sarah, Rochelle and Cliff, swing by and meet up with some other friends to caravan downtown. The beauty of the Memorial, and I know I have said this before is that my office is right in the middle of the starting line and the finishing line. With a little sneaking around I can get into our parking lot for free parking, real bathrooms and we have now waited out two rain delays in our break room.

Of course there were pre race pictures.

 It all started to go to hell when they announced the first rain delay, then another, and another. In all the race started at 8:15 which, if you are keeping track, was almost two hours after the initial 6:30 start. So by the time we crossed the starting line, we should have been very close to being at the half way point. I ate breakfast at 4:30, so I was almost 4 hours past my banana and bonk breaker breakfast.

We started out well, maybe a little fast, but Sarah and I tried to settle into a pace that was sustainable over the long haul. We made it up the Walnut Street Bridge, through the bottleneck onto Lincoln, and made sure to hit up all the water stops on the course. Josh and Jen were at mile six cheering us on and before we knew it we were at the split and headed towards Chesapeake.

At mile 9, I had to take a walk break. Not long before then the clouds that had brought the earlier rain, decided to clear off completely and all that was left was the blazing sun and heat. My new plan to deal with the heat was to run a mile and walk a minute and get as much water/PowerAde at the water stops as I could. I saw Josh and Jen again at the half way point and they had ice for me that I ended up putting down the front of my sports bra.

After that it just got ugly. There was very little shade and the course heads out to Lake Hefner and the wind going south was brutal. I was not the only runner out there having a miserable time. I was near tears when I saw Josh again at mile 17, in a spot that I had not expected to see them, and I tried to keep running as much as I could by then. The water stop around mile 19 was handing out cold sponges and I kept pouring water down my back to try to keep cool.

At mile 20, Josh ran a little and walked a lot with me for the next mile or so. The highlight of the whole day was the beer that one of the local running stores was handing out at mile 21. Best. Beer. Ever.

If I had known how horrible the day was going to be I would have started drinking earlier. The next couple of miles were more walking than running. Everything hurt; my knees and hips, along with the pain of blisters on my toes made every step impossible and running into the strong south winds made standing up straight even when I was walking a struggle.

Rochelle showed up around mile 23 and grabbed my arm and forced me to start running again. I can honestly say that I would not have been able to finish if she hadn’t been there. She made me keep running and when I was ready to walk so would only let me slow down. She talked me all the way to the finish line, and Josh and Jen were waiting there to cheer me on once more.

I knew that it was going to be a warm day, and I had adjusted my goals for the day before we even began, but I never imagined how horrible it would be. I crossed the finish line in under 5 hours, about 30 minutes slower than Cowtown last year.

No finish line photos with friends this time around, but I did get one selfie with Cliff before we headed home to a much needed ice bath.
I didn’t feel like a quitter this time around, but it’s so hard to train for a marathon and then have your performance on race day not reflect how strong I felt throughout my training. You can’t control everything on race day, and we were just dealt a pretty crappy hand. I am thankful that I had family and friends out on the route that were supporting me, I could not have done it on my own.

No more Memorial Marathons for me. I think I will stick to the half marathon, or maybe I will convince my super speedy friends that we could do well as a relay next year.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Let's Talk Marathon Training...

I have not talked about it much here, but I am running my third marathon on April 27th. I officially registered for the Memorial Marathon a week ago. I never thought I would run the full in OKC again, after the first time, and then after I tried a second time. I was back out there for the half last year, and it was pretty full of disappointment for me. So with all of our history, why not sign up to run this race again.

I know, I know, there is a lot to be said about being able to sleep in your own bed the night before a race. And yes, I do realize that logistically the location of my office being smack in the center of the race start and finish, including real bathrooms and free parking is a major win. Even with all of that I am having a some anxiety about this race. What will the weather be like? (No hail, please!). Have I trained enough? Am I really stronger mentally than I was a year ago?

Is the third time really a charm?

You might be asking yourself, with all this anxiety, why would I sign up for this race? It's a valid question.

Can I claim peer pressure? Probably not. My fabulous friend Sarah was planning on running it. I had been running strong, and thought, why let all this strong running go to waste? Instead of junk miles, how about marathon training miles? There you have it. To the non-marathoner I do realize that this probably sounds insane. To be honest for this two time marathoner, it sounds insane.

So in nine days I will be lining up for marathon number three. I am nervous and excited to see what OKC has in store for me; I do love a good story. Lots of questions, and the answers will be here soon enough.

Oh yeah, did I mention that I signed up for marathon number four today? Now that sounds insane!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Let's Talk About Food...

I haven't done a WIAW post in a while. Who am I kidding really? I have seriously been neglecting my blog most of 2014. There has been stuff going on, running and baking and family stuff.

Let's talk about the food. I think I am a pretty boring food person. I eat the same things over and over again. No wonder Carson is like that, maybe it's hereditary? 

I have rediscovered my love for avocado egg salad sandwiches. It's a great post long run food. 

We have had a couple of recent trips to Blu for their fabulous blue cheese chips. They are the best!

I have switched up my soup of the week a couple of times and went with orzo with veggies the other week. Yum!

Back to my soup of the week last week with roasted red pepper and barley. Where have red peppers been all my life? Why would anyone waste their time with green bell peppers? Red peppers are the best!

I have not neglected my family in the cookie department. Even with all the sugar cookies and cakes lately, I have still made versions of my chocolate chip cookies pretty consistently for them for the last few months. Nothing says love like homemade cookies. One of my biggest compliments lately was a friend's son who said he wanted to come with her to stop by my house because I always have cookies. Cookies with wine? Even better. 

Do beverages count as food? After a 21 mile long run I think they do. This was my ice bath beverage bar. The Svelte protein shake was so good! So chocolatey and delicious. Hot tea to warm me up while sitting in the ice and a tall glass of Nuun to rehydrate. 

Last night while the meat eaters in my house had steak I had couscous with roasted sweet potatoes, zucchini, mushrooms, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts. I'm so glad I prepped these on Sunday. It was fast and filling. 

So there you have it. I have been eating a lot lately. Marathon training makes me hungry!

Strides of March Half Marathon...

Since it's been over a month, I should probably tell you about the half marathon I ran last month.

What could be better than a half marathon that is dirt cheap ($45!), well run, and practically down the street from your house? It's the trifecta of running, in my opinion!

We knew it was going to be a good race, when we went to packet pick up and the wonderful volunteers were more than happy to get us the size race shirt (technical!) that would fit us the best. The volunteers at packet pick up really set the tone for the event I think.

Woke up to a beautiful Sunday morning, met up with some of my favorite running peeps and we took the 15 minute drive to Draper. There was plenty of parking, though my only complaint of the day was that there were only five port-o-potties at the start of the race. While we were there in plenty of time, we missed our window and the lines were way to long by the time we got over to them. Note to self, use the bathroom as soon as you see it, especially if the line is not long.

It was a beautiful morning!

The race started right on time, and we were off on the rolling hills around the lake. While I was looking for a little half marathon redemption, I was not out to PR this race. After running strong in Tulsa, I was just looking to do the same but maybe do it a little faster this time.

Rochelle, Sarah and I settled into a comfortably hard pace. We chatted along, talked to a few other runners and the miles just ticked off. Before we knew it we were at the turn around. I loved the out and back course, and the route support was fantastic. They had water at about every mile or so and the volunteers did all they could to get it to everyone that wanted it. It was nice to cheer on the other runners after the turn around, and the guy that were pulling up the rear gave us a good laugh.

At the half my official split was 57:06. At about mile 10 we picked up the pace a little. Sarah and Ro headed off and I pulled out my iPod at mile 11 and pushed it to the finish line. The rolling hills were tough on the way back, but the downhill to the finish was a nice reward for the had work. I didn't look at my watch the entire race, and crossed the finish line in 1:52:37, well beyond my expectations for the day. It was not a PR, but it's my fastest and strongest half since I PR'd at Cowtown two years ago.

We didn't get pictures at the start, but we had plenty at the finish line.

Carrie, Sarah, me and Ro

My three speedy friends all finished top three in their age groups. I was fourth, and they had me in the right age group so no unexpected trophy for me like at the Sooner State Games. They were able to pick up their winnings quickly and we headed off to brunch.

I cannot say enough about how fantastic this race was. I almost hate to tell everyone how fantastic it was because I love the small local races and when word gets out this race will definitely get bigger. Well organized, fabulous volunteers, and plenty of food and water at the finish line. We will definitely be back next year.