Tuesday, July 28, 2009
My last blog was about the Big Sur Marathon 3 months ago where I was registered for the Relay, but went on to finish the entire 26.2 as a training run for the "real thing" in San Francisco. Well, I did it!! I ran the SF Marathon with a 28 minute improvement over my Big Sur time. My training over the past 3 months went really well without any interruptions. I wasn't incorporating speedwork, but I was running lots of hills and continuing to increase my monthly mileage (ending at 130 miles). My plan for SF was to run by feel and take a 45 sec. walk break after every 4 minutes to conserve energy and put off fatigue Galloway style. I was pretty sure I would beat my Big Sur time (4:54) and I wondered if I would break 4:30. But at the same time I didn't want to set the bar too high because I'm signed up for yet another marathon in 3 months and, of course, I'd like to PR there too.
Race morning I got up at 3:15 AM to drive to SF an hour away and get there an hour before our 6:18 start time. My friend from Florida who was also running her first marathon spent the night at my house and we drove together. This race is so big it started in waves so as we were walking to the start line at 5:30, we could hear the National Anthem already being sung. I was unusually calm all morning. The port-a-potty lines were nice and short. I thought my nerves would help me use the bathroom (good) and take away my appetite (bad), but I guess I wasn't nervous because I never got that "urge" for the bathroom and I had an appetite. (I didn't end up needing to use the bathroom at all on the course so it worked out just fine.) For breakfast I had toast with peanut butter, half a banana, and some orange juice. On the course I ate 5 GU's (w/caffeine), 8 Endurolyte caps, and half a banana. I wore two 8 oz. bottles of water on my belt and drank a little every half mile or so and refilled at the water stops. I also drank a little Cytomax at about 8 of the aid stations.
The hills were more than I expected. I did look at the elevation profile, but everyone around here says Big Sur is the toughest road marathon around and you don't hear that about SF. According to my Garmin SF was 4900 ft. total ascent compared to Big Sur's 4000 ft. total. I'm convinced SF is hillier. And the dowhills at Big Sur were wonderful, gradual and runable. There were a couple in SF that were too steep to run. The weather was perfect, nice and cool until the last 5 miles or so when the fog cleared and the sun came out. The course took us across the Golden Gate Bridge and back which was crazy. The bridge was wet from all the fog and there were mats over all the grates to keep it safe. The first 8 miles went by so fast I forgot to take my first GU. Everything else went pretty much according to plan. My Garmin read 26.5 which is only a .3 mile or 3 minute difference. I'm getting used to the Garmin reading long. It's so much nicer when the opposite happens, which is rare in my case. The Garmin recorded an average pace of 10:04/mi. so if all goes well again, maybe I could run the next one just under 10.
Here are my splits from the timing mats on the course.
7.6 Mi: 1:15:22 Pace: 9:55
Half: 2:11:48 Pace: 10:04
20 mi: 3:23:27 Pace: 10:11
Finish: 4:26:59 Pace: 10:11
I was really proud of myself when I saw that my average pace didn't slow down at all in those last 6 miles. I kept telling myself the race starts in the last 6 miles. The first 20 is just a warmup. The "wall" never showed up, but it was a very emotional last 6 miles, tough but good. I kept thanking God and getting choked up. I finished the last mile strong and crossed the finish line feeling great, holding my arms up high, and shouting for joy through my tears.
Monday, April 27, 2009
I registered for the Big Sur Marathon relay months ago with some of my running friends. At the time I wanted to run the third leg of the race because it's the most challenging and the most scenic. As the race approached and I continued to push my distances further and further I began to think about runnining the first leg instead so that I could continue and experience the entire course. Bart Yasso is quoted as saying "If we were told that we could run only one marathon in our lifetime, Big Sur would have to be it." I had already run 23 miles twice this year and I was not battling any injuries. How could I resist? I'm supposed to run my first "official" marathon in San Francisco in July with my BFF. So my plan was to treat this as a 26 mile training run like Jeff Galloway includes in his training plans. I met Galloway at the expo Saturday and told him about my plan and asked for advice. He recommended I run 2 minutes and walk 1 minute. In training I did a 4/1 averaging 11:15/mi for my first 23 miler. I compromised and set my timers for 3:00run/0:45walk intervals hoping to average around 11:15/mi which would put me at a 4:54 finish time. Before the race I was questioning whether or not I deserve a medal for this one. When I was picking up the relay packet I asked Ben the race official in charge of the relay if my timing chip would pose a problem when it crossed the finish line since it was only supposed to cross the start line. He said I should take it off sometime after crossing the start but before crossing the finish. He also said to look for him at the finish and he would give me a marathon medal in addition to my relay medal because I would have earned it. I didn't think I'd see him at the finish but I appreciated the offer.
I went to bed after midnight, slept horribly, and woke up at 3:15 to catch the 4:15 bus to the start line. The bus ride was from near the finish to the start line. A school bus driving along the coast on a hilly, windy road goes slow. We're talking 25 miles an hour. Just to drive the course took the bus over an hour. While I was glad to get a feel for the course, it was intimidating thinking I was about to run all the way back on my own two feet. The race started at 6:45. I had my camera with me and was recording a video diary. I've still got some editing to do, but I recorded at about 8 points on the course including the start, finish, highest, and lowest points. I cried again while I was watching it last night. At the halfway point I was feeling incredible and I had no negative thoughts that I had to repeat that 13.1 over again. I had just climbed the biggest hill on the course and I was surprised how easy that 2 mile climb turned out to be. Seeing the downhill ahead of me with the Bixby Bridge in the distance I felt on top of the world. I pulled out my camera to try to explain it, but all I could say was "I feel good, really good." I was overcome to the point of tears at that point and later that night I learned that it was right about the same time that our pastor's wife at church had said a prayer for me because when she saw my son walk into the Sunday school room at 9:10 she remembered I was running the marathon. I KNOW God was running with me! My HM split was 2:23, a little ahead of goal so I tried to slow down because I knew the last 5 miles would be the hardest. At mile 20 I started to feel my IT band flaring up and mentally that was not good for me. I was concerned about the possiblity of being out for weeks and not able to do the SF marathon in July, but I didn't want to walk all the way to the finish. I adjusted my gait to land on the inside of my foot to take the pressure off the knee where the IT band was rubbing and that kept it from getting worse. Mile 22 was the hardest, but it didn't last long. I was worried about my knee and noticing that my feet and hips were hurting, but I was still ahead of goal so I just slowed down a little and kept going. By the time I reached mile 23 I felt great. It was the furthest I had ever run EVER and I was recording the moment with my camera and the guy next to me says "me too" and I hollered a "woot woot". Only a 5K from there, piece of cake! I knew my knee would be fine at that point so I just kept landing on the inside of my foot, trying to find the flat part of the road (the camber was horrible). I turned on the camera again when I saw the finish line and kept it recording until I ran across shouting for joy! I had more energy approaching the finish at this race than I did at my 30K trail race. I give credit to the run/walk. I walked straight over to Ben and said "I did it" and he replied "The whole thing?" and I nodded my head and turned off my camera. I love that I have that moment on tape. The camera just happened to be pointed up at my face and I wasn't even thinking about it. He wasn't one of the people handing out medals, but he had a marathon medal for me in his pocket which I gladly accepted. I never did take off my timing chip and I actually managed to beat my relay team to the finish line, which is another story in itself. So instead of recording the timing chip of the 5th leg runner who crossed after me, they gave our relay team the result from my chip which was 4:54:12, an 11:14/mi. average, exactly what I set out to do!
I feel better than expected today. The top of my left foot is a little sore where my shoe was tied because I was turning my foot in so much trying to take the pressure off the outside of my knee. My hip flexors are pretty fatigued, but I'm not feeling much lactic acid soreness, just a little bit in my quads. Again, I credit the run/walk and the fact that I ran so much (maybe half?) of the race in the dirt on the shoulder. I knew the dirt would slow me down, but I also knew the recovery would be much quicker than if I had run on asphalt the whole time.
I did it!! I can now call myself a marathoner. I've received so much inspiration from so many people here on Spark, but there are a select few that ran a marathon before me, with challenges along the way, that have inspired me and helped me believe that I too can run a marathon. Those people are Jeff, Gerri, Denise and Gail. Thanks guys! I don't know if I would've done it had it not been for you going before me.
Thursday, December 18, 2008
I haven't written here since last spring. Yikes! Lots to catch up on. The top of my left foot was hurting after those two spring 5Ks. Not sure if I mentioned that because it wasn't exactly a running injury. A pair of new street shoes I bought was buckled too tightly and I think it caused some tendonitis. The top of that foot bugged me all summer. Fortunately it's gone now, but I haven't really done any speedwork this year because of nagging aches like that one.
My last blog mentioned my next goal of new PR in the 10K. It had been over a year since my last 10K so I was pretty confident I could run a PR, but the course ended up being harder than I expected it to be. My previous time to beat was 54:23. I set my goal at a sub 54. The first half of the race was relatively easy, but I had a hard time keeping the pace the second half. I felt my sub 54 goal slipping away, but I wasn't going to give up because I still wanted a PR. Fortunately the finish line was .04 mi. closer than the Garmin said it would be which translates to about 20 seconds. So according to the course and my chip time I did make that sub 54 goal coming in at 53:51. I'm pretty sure the Garmin would've put me just over 54 if I would've run the 6.2 according to the GPS. In my experience usually it's the other way around and the Garmin gives you a better time and says the course was longer than it should've been. Either way I feel the need to note the difference. Here are my mile splits and HR info. 8:32@187, 8:19@195, 8:57@194, 9:12@194, 8:47@196, 9:00@196. Average HR 194(95%). That was in July.
August was the first time I ran over 100 miles in a single month and I did it again in September. There were a couple of LSD records there too running 15 miles for the first time in August and 16 miles for the first time in September.
In October I ran my 2nd half marathon followed by 10 days of no running while we were on vacation. My 2nd half marathon was the same race as my 1st. Yes, I waited an entire year to run another half. I decided I'd try to beat my previous time of 2:06, but I wasn't going to go for sub 2 hours because my hamstring was bugging me and I knew I'd have another chance the very next month in another race I had signed up for. This race was so much better for me than the year before. The year before I ran it injured and discouraged and it was HARD! This year I felt strong and was able to run easy and still beat my previous time. It was such a great feeling passing all the same points I did the year before and remembering how bad I felt then compared with how great I felt now. I had no problem running a negative split and I came in feeling great at 2:03:30 confident that I could break 2 hours the next month. Here are my mile splits: 9:07, 9:21, 9:05, 9:35, 9:21, 9:05, 9:17, 9:23, 9:18, 9:24, 9:13, 9:14, 8:38.
In November my running highlight of the year happened when I broke 2 hours at the Big Sur Half Marathon. I was mentally and physically READY! Still no speedwork, but I knew all along that if I was healthy and I wanted it bad enough to really push myself, then I could do it. It was such a great race. I got plenty of sleep the night before, I was able to use the restroom right before so I didn't have to stop on the course, I fueled well before and during the race, and best of all I wasn't injured. The only thing I would've changed is I was carrying too much water on me, but I guess that's better than not enough. During the first mile I was reading the Garmin wrong and I thought it said I was falling further and further behind my goal, but actually I was running further and further ahead. What a relief when I figured that one out! LOL! Fortunately I stayed a good distance ahead of my goal the entire time according to the Garmin because this course ended up reading long. My Garmin time for the 13.1 miles was 1:57:58 (9:01/mi). My chip time was 1:59:23. I was really pushing that last mile when the Garmin said I was all done and the real finish line was no where in sight. I was ecstatic when it was over! I couldn't help crying. Such a great feeling, especially when you have to work for it. I was high for days. Here are my splits from that one. Miles 1-3 27:04@185, 9:01@189, 9:14@190, 8:59@187, 9:20@189, 9:10@190, 9:21@191, 9:12@191, 9:26@191, 8:54@193, 8:55@196. Average HR 190(93%).
Goals for 2009 include running 1000 miles, a trail race or two, and running my first marathon in October. There are a bunch of half marathons I'm looking at coming up, but I think I'll just run them easy. The next time I race a half with a goal in mind I'll attempt an average pace just under 9:00/mi. since I was only 2 seconds off that pace last month.
Right now I'm gearing up for my longest training run to date coming up this Saturday. 30K here I come!
Saturday, April 05, 2008
I did it!! Just barely but I did it! Can you see the little numbers in the picture? 25:58!! My goal was set at 25:59. Thank God for GPS because that little screen telling me I was falling behind in the last mile was really pushing me. It was an out and back course and the first mile had some downhills so I knew the last mile would be tough uphill. I passed a girl in my age group somewhere around that last uphill and I ended up getting 1st place in my age group! My mile splits were 8:18, 8:19, and 8:30. Avg HR 194, avg mile 8:21. My next goal is a new 10K PR.
Monday, March 31, 2008
I ran the Mermaid Run yesterday and I am so glad I did. It was an all women race which I've never experienced before. I was racing this one for the girly t-shirt and the post race pancake breakfast. I had no idea that racing with only women would make such a big difference. When I went to line up at the starting line there was a ton of room up in front. I think most women are used to letting the men line up in front so there just weren't many people up there. So I went up to about the second row, although we were all pretty spread out and we weren't really in rows. We took off and I just could not believe that the girls in front didn't just take off leaving me in the dust. I was actually up there with them. After the first half mile I knew there were only a few people in front of me and I thought I might actually place. This wasn't a very small race so placing was not a goal I came with. I just wanted a new PR. I came thinking I'd be able to use the strategy of trying to pass each person in front of me, but there was no one that close after the first mile. After two miles I was still on pace for a new PR, no one was passing me, and I was feeling good. I turned the last corner and saw the finish line about 600 yards away. It helps so much when it's in view. I even heard the announcer call my name as I approached the finish line. Very cool!
Okay, now for all the numbers. Warning: I'm a numbers freak! My goal was 26:20 (8:29/mile). I set the Garmin to pace me at 26:40 (8:35/mile) because I figured I could pick up the pace at the end, and mentally I knew it would help me if it said I was ahead the whole time, and my recent 2 mile tempo runs at 8:35 were hard enough. I ran mile 1 at 8:21, mile 2 at 8:30, mile 3 at 8:31, and the last .11 mile in 45 seconds (7:06/mile). Average heart rate 196. Garmin 5K time 26:07 (8:24/mile), chip time 26:16, and gun time 26:18. A new PR by all counts! And I just barely missed placing. I came in 4th out of 99 in my age group and 10th out of 237 overall. I still can hardly believe it!
I've got another smaller 5K this Saturday. I'll be setting the Garmin to pace me at 25:59 and since it's a smaller race, I might just place this time.
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