ZIRCADIA   49,175
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Focusing on Getting Super Fit Again

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

So I was looking for a particular picture of some cookie decorating party I helped put together a few years ago, and as I was going back and back through all my photos I saw a lot from a time period where I was looking definitely and clearly slimmer and trimmer.

I really liked how those photos looked, and I remember how I felt at that time. I might have gained SOME muscle since then, but mostly I've gained some fat.

I held that lower weight for about a year, then got offtrack when my grandmother died and then I went straight into marathon training right after that, which made it difficult to try to lose the weight. I toyed around with trying to lose the weight a few times since then, but always ended up getting focused on something else. (More running, regattas, moving, etc.) And I lost sight of my goal and my commitment pretty quickly.

Well - I'm ready. I just finished a strong marathon and with that goal out of sight for a while now, I'm facing my first full Vermont winter (and due to a very mild winter last year, maybe my first REAL Vermont winter), and I'm not travelling soon so no desination races in warm climates. There isn't any big running goal to focus on in the near future.

I've felt the need to refocus my weight more to the middle than the top of my BMI range for some time now, and now I really feel I'm ready to do it.

I used the photos from that time frame to make an inspiration collage for myself so that I am looking to re-capture a (recent, reasonable) version of myself, rather than striving for someone ELSE's ideal. I don't think this is the right method for everyone, some people's last photos of themselves at a lower weight were achieved unhealthily, or far too long ago, or whatever, for them to be a good motivator. But for me - this was not too long ago, it was a time when I was sticking to the Spark program very closely, and living a very healthy and active lifestyle.

My goal is to track all but one meal a week, strength train full body at least twice a week, and I've got an additional challenge going to not eat any sweets except for one square of dark chocolate per day at least until Thanksgiving.

I think that last one is helping me keep the rest of my food in check! The strength training is very important to me because that has been lacking for some time and I think twice a week full body is a good, BASIC, goal.

So far I've tracked for 3 days. On one of these days I didn't track dinner - but it wasn't bad. It was a "shepherd's pie" brought home by my husband. The portion size was fairly small/reasonable, and it was simple food I could tell it wasn't very unhealthy. I wasn't sure how to track it, but I believe I would have been within my goals that day. I went about 100 over on Sunday, and 8 over on Monday. So far I think that's really good!

I CAN DO THIS!!!! I will post here more often for accountability. And here is the inspiration collage I made, I hope you can see it....

There are some photos from when I was in San Diego, a couple from my fastest (maybe short, but maybe because I was my lightest? I didn't have a Garmin then) 5K ever, and from the Turkey trot later that same year, when I was heavier, but it's such a nice picture and I ran only 1:30 off of my faux PR, after having turned my ankle at the halfway point and walking a bit. It's a happy picture. In any case, the pictures are all around the same time frame, and lowest weight.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KENSINGTONC 11/20/2012 11:09AM

    Woohoo! Good for you. For some reason my subscription to your blog fell off, so I logged in to re-subscribe. So happy to hear you doing well, and I think you know exactly what you need to do, so keep it up!! xoxo Liz

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FITGIRL15 11/17/2012 11:23PM

    I have been doing some very similar "reality checking"... and think it's time to get REAL! LOL
Ok... after Vegas! :)

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SEEHOLZ 11/17/2012 11:12AM

    I have complete faith that you'll inspire yourself! You are amazing and while I agree that you look just fine right now, I get the quest for feeling your best, physically and emotionally!!!

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WINDO4 11/16/2012 12:51PM

    Good luck on your quest. It is attainable!

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WAVEDANCER7 11/13/2012 3:01PM

    I second Hope. And jen. emoticon

I'm trying to eliminate my vices too. Wine. Ugh. Its just so nice to relax at the end of the day with a glass (or two). But i know where that wine and sugar goes! So that stops. So does the late night eating. We can all do this together! With our powers combined....

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SWEATONCEADAY 11/13/2012 2:20PM

    cute collage....
emoticon join us on myfitnesspal...
emoticon tracking is so much easier

i'm trying to hypnotize you.

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MBSHAZZER 11/13/2012 9:57AM

    LOVE the collage! Love the plan, too! It's important to be in a place where you can reach your goals, otherwise you will just get frustrated. Sounds like you are in that place now, so there will be no stopping you!

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MARLIE13 11/13/2012 9:26AM

    Whee!!! Me too! I mean....focusing on really getting back in shape! The less sugar, no cupcake/candy thing is going pretty ok for me too. Maybe too ok and I need to crack down harder?

Keep it up!

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HOPERY 11/13/2012 9:25AM

    Well, I think you looked great last week, but I know how it is to feel bigger than you would like. You are so great at setting goals and going after them. You will be back to where you want in no time at all!

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Monday, November 12, 2012

Sorry it has taken SO LONG to report back - you all probably thought I died or something.

No! On the contrary! :) But I will get to all the details in due time.

First - major stress. There was some question if the race might get cancelled because there were some trashtalkers on the web saying bad things about the race organizers, etc., and I was starting to be super worried and looking at back up options for races.

I then received confirmation from the race organizers that they were definitely moving forward and they had the race permits approved, and I started to finally get excited. YAY! :) *Phwew*

THEN - Hurricane Sandy. It didn't hit Vermont, thank goodness - and it cleared out before our travel was due to start.

However - I didn't realize how strong the impact was on travel services. Although a plane could have easily flown from any airport due to the weather, the airport in Newark was out of commission still and lots of flights had been pushed back/rescheduled, etc - long story short our flight out was cancelled and I had to fix our hotel reservation and flight - lots of calls and waiting on hold to expedia and a trip to the airport later - we had a flight early enough on Friday to not stress too much about enough time before the race. PHWEW.

So we get out to Vegas, my first time - we stayed at the New York New Hork Hotel & Casino - we arrived very early for checkin (10:30 am - check-in 3PM, early checkin 1pm??) . But we asked the front desk clerk and got early check-in RIGHT AWAY and even got the fee waived due to the fact that our plans were disrupted by the hurricane. (Orginially our flight was arriving Thursday at near to 2PM so PERFECT for checkin...)

We looked around a bit, hooked up with my sister - played in the ARCADE!!! YAY! :) DH won a ton of tickets at a game (I won a few and my sister won a few but DH was the real genius!) - and I got a SQUID HAT! :D

Then when we went to lunch, magic happened:


Then we went to dinner with a wholllle lotta sparkers.

That is - My sister, ME, WAVEDANCER7, her friend, HOPERY, MARLIE13, and SWEATONCEADAY!!!

I had met WAVEDANCER7 and HOPERY before, but it was new for MARLIE13 and SWEATONCEADAY! :D YAY!!!! The food was amazing but apparently the little Italian owner guy was not thrilled with the fact that my party was 10 min late and they were sitting waiting for us. :P LAME. I had a great time, though. :)

Then it was time to get up to bed for a good night sleep before the race.

Here is me in our elevator lobby - we stayed in the Chrysler Tower WAYYY up high:

I laid out my race gear:

I gave myself a case of the giggles putting my squid hat in the lineup, but no - I did NOT race with it. hahahaha.

EARLY EARLY I get up and eat two multigrain croissants w/ some JIF Natural to Go. Then lay in bed some more before getting ready to go.

We go pick up Hope and head over to the race start, which was around 45min away. There were no clear signs or volunteers directing to the start, we just turned and parked somewhere where there were people. Turns out we had to walk over to the race start. There might have been some panicking on my part here....

We found my friend Xanthe from Runner's World when we parked, so she walked with us over to the start area. Luckily I had my headlamp because it was pitch black. We rush over to find out they're delaying the start due to parking issues and whatnot. So we're not late! YAY! We go through the portapotty line (very fast - great number of portapotties), and DH found us and took some pictures - yay!



Now before we start the race, about my training and how I'm feeling.

My training was SOOOO much better this time around than before my other two marathons. For my first, I really didn't know what I was doing and just did the most beginnerest plan. I got to the start uninjured, but with very little racing experience at any longer distance, I went out WAY too fast... finished 5:55.

My last marathon, I knew better - but I didn't pick an actual plan, and freestyled it other than increasing long runs. I did multiple 18-2o mile LR, but my weekly mileage was WEAK. I wasn't running enough to really support the LR, I suffered the first hints of Plantar Fasciitis before the race and I did something to my achilles during. It was a tough and horrible experience, and I finished 5:57 - and 3 months of aquajogging afterward to rehab.

This race I had 3 20 milers, a 19+, and a 17+. I had 2 weeks of 50 miles! A new weekly mileage PR! I hit new monthly mileage PR's as well. All of this followed work to improve my mileage last year. I felt really ready. I felt I could target a sub 5:30 marathon time.

Now on to this actual race:

By the time we got started, due to the delay, I didn't need my headlamp afterall and I passed it off to DH. YAY!

We get going, and my target pace is 12:30 - well... First HOPERY's nutrition starts falling out of her pack! ACK! So we stop while she gathers and I'm fine because who cares, you don't want to start too fast anyway. We get underway and the first part is a climb. Boo. But then it's some nice gentle downhill and rolling to flat and we're on our way!!!

Now for some splits:

Mile 1: 12:58
Mile 2: 12:45
Mile 3: 12:37
Mile 4: 12:28
Mile 5: 13:19
Mile 6: 13:17

Around this time I'm noticing that it will be ridiculous to try to worry too much about keeping a 12:30 pace - it's hilly. If I can get a 5:30 at this point, I'm thinking - maybe still doable, with some good downhills later... but I know that my strategy has to be more related to the course and less about a specific mile split. I wasn't worried about the first couple miles being slower, but mile 5+6 are pretty much all uphill.

Somewhere around mile 5 we see DH!! YAY!!!!!!!!!!!! :D He's working an aid station, so it was fantastic to see him there. Then later at mile 6.5+ we pass the half marathon turnaround point. Awesome!

Hope went behind at DH's aid station to take a portapotty stop, then caught up with me, then another time fell back just a bit and then caught up. Then....

The real smack in the face begins.

Mile 7: 12:18 (WOOHOO!)
Mile 8: 12:29 (nailing it)
Mile 9: 12:57 (starting to climb...)
Mile 10: 13:20
Mile 11: 13:55
Mile 12: 15:20

Well then. This climb at this part of the course goes on FOREVER. I run as much as I can, slow my pace to compensate, and then finally walk a little. We hit the marathoners turnaround sometime after mile 11, before mile 12 on my Garmin at least. I'm about .3 ahead of the course already and consistently for the rest of the race - and I know I didn't run wide tangents because the path is narrow. But oh well, that's fine.

During this climb I realize that keeping my time goal of 5:30 is completely out of the question and I'd be lucky to still get a PR. I just have to tackle the terrain as best as I can and hope to be able to finish in good shape.

WEATHER SIDE NOTE: Temperatures feel great, low humidity awesome - however... my shorts won't stay in place. Usually all they need is the barest amount of moisture, not soaking, just anything. Any sweat I have is evaporating super fast from my legs and so I got a really great chafing on the inside of my right thigh. Yayyyy.....

At the turnaround they were out of cups, but lucky me, I was carrying my handheld so I filled my bottle and look up the hill (the turnaround was just barely downhill so you have to start back on a climb) and there's HOPE! So I wait for her and we start back up walking. Once we turn the first switchback, the grade is easier and the walk break helped so I start running again and we crest the original huge climb before the turnaround, so it's a downhill section. During the downhill I'm feeling really great (As I should be, hello) so I move and take advantage. Sometime during this part I know Hope is falling behind me for the last time during the race, I loved having her company but I know that I have to run my own race. So here on out I'm on my own.

Looking down from one of the high points of the climb:

Mile 13: 12:50
Mile 14: 11:57
Mile 15: 13:15
Mile 16: 13:22
Mile 17: 13:25
Mile 18: 12:30

On the way down I took this photo - what you do NOT want to see while running a marathon:

You can easily see my pace reacting to the elevation changes. Rolling/uphill more like 13 or 13+, downhill much faster obviously, Mile 14 was solid downhill - and then mile 18 was right on my original target pace. So obviously I still have some juice. Also in mile 17, I think - is where DH's aid station was, I took a portapotty break and paused my garmin. :P I lost about 1:45 here between that, talking to him for a second, getting my water bottle refilled.

I leapfrogged these guys a few times early on, then passed them... then got behind them when I took the portapotty break, took this before I passed them for the last time: TURKEY AND PILGRIM!

Mile 19: 12:23
Mile 20: 13:29
Mile 21: 14:06 (Up the first downhill of the course, and past the turnoff to the finish...)
Mile 22: 13:49
Mile 23: 14:43
Mile 24: 19:57

I think this picture is around mile 21:

WELL. First on this course you have to pass the turnoff to the finish - so that's depressing because amazingly I am passing/around some half marathoners at this point. I pass some people walking that are like - you're almost there!!! And I'm like - don't say that, it's too early!!! And a girl was like - she's running the full marathon, they have to keep going... yep.

The thing is, after you pass the 21 mile marker it's all uphill! And we're into the sun, and now it's finally starting to feel warm outside... I said - just keep your LR pace and you can still get a PR (13:30), just keep running slow and it'll be fine. But at this point my HR was getting really high. It was weird- my legs felt fine, but I couldn't run slowly enough to keep my HR in check. I had miles left to go, I wasn't in the final meters of a 5K so it was too much. I chose to walk. UGH. It was really sad to have to do that. I walked strategically at moments earlier in the race, but just up short sections of steeper incline - never lasting too long - just to manage my effort. But now, my effort level was far higher than it should be. I didn't even really feel like I was going uphill.

Anyway - so sometime in the middle of mile 23 was some walking and solid walking for most of mile 24 split. At the end of this climb was the turnaround point. They said it was 23.5, my Garmin read 23.86 so I turned around very close to mile 24 on my splits here. Anyway - I stopped for a moment here, refilled my water bottle, dumped some water over my head, drank some from the cups, and got on my way. I slowly returned to a sloowww run, and as I realized - hey, I really AM going downhill, and my HR was staying in check, I continued to up the speed until I was really cooking down the true downhill finishing stretch.

Mile 25: 13:25
Mile 26: 13:06
Final .49: 10:49 (sub 10mm at the finishing sprint)

FINAL CHIP TIME: 5:56:53 (Garmin w/ pause break, 5:55:12 :P)

DH, sister, and brother were all waiting and cheering me in to the finish!

My sister and brother both did the half - it was my brother's first half marathon. My poor sister was struggling with something in her knee - similar symptoms to ITBS, but the pain is deeper in the knee than on the outside really? In any case, she's working through some PT but she had to walk nearly the entire race. She still stuck it out!! TOUGH COOKIE!

And speaking of tough cookies... I'm sure you were wondering about HOPERY. WELL! SHE MADE IT!!!! She hung in there on this crazy difficult course, and finished her first marathon pushing herself to the finish.

AND - I was so shocked to see a familiar face when I was coming down to the finish of the race and got a picture with this favorite little sparker:


I think we are tallest and smallest sparkers....

And here are the turkey and pilgrim with their pal the Indian Princess, who smoked all of us. I think she came in around 4hrs if I remember correctly...???

So.... wanna see the elevation chart of this beast???

Talking with some racers and another Runner's World Online friend after the race just emphasized the race's difficulty. Big Sur is known for being a hilly and scenic marathon at which PR goals go out the window. It was definitely tougher than that course. My RWOL friend said one could easily run 30minutes faster on a flat course. I think this course rivals the Mad Marathon (of which I did the half this summer).

My takeaway from this race is that, although I didn't get a PR - I ran a really smart race. My splits are all over the place, but that is due to elevation and managing my resources. I hated to walk that mile near the end, but the way my body was reacting I know I needed to - AND by doing so, it allowed me to finish the race really strong. So I know it was the right decision for that day.

I ran a crazy tough course VERY close to my current PR, and importantly - under 6 hours. This means I can pretty much sign up for almost any marathon since 6hrs is a very common cutoff time, and be pretty confident in my abilities to finish.

I also have recovered AMAZINGLY well. All of the additional mileage REALLY helped me bounce back. I am now thinking it's realistic to consider becoming a marathon maniac! HUZZAH! :D Also doing the Chowdah Challenge for the Cape Cod Marathon (a la Goofy - half and then full the next day). I know I need to get my mileage back up to 35-45 consistently for maintenance to be in a good position going forward.

I am only slightly disappointed I couldn't get a huge PR and reach my time goal, but that was a reasonable goal for an easier course. With what happened I am sooooo thrilled. I feel very proud of myself and optimistic about my future marathoning.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

STRIVERONE 3/28/2013 8:12PM

    I followed ONMYMEDS to your blog. Your detailed report was a pleasure to read. I will bear it in mind as I train for my first full marathon. And of course, Congratulations on your own progress.

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ONMYMEDS 3/28/2013 9:55AM

    Awesome job. That is a wicked looking run. Great race report.


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WOLFKITTY 11/25/2012 10:06PM

    Great lessons in your recounting! Thank you!
HUGs, Dana!

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MARLIE13 11/13/2012 9:27AM

    I bet the squid was hurt that he/she didn't get to run the race. You rocked those hills!

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HOPERY 11/13/2012 12:25AM

    It was such an honor to run my first marathon with you!

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SEPPIESUSAN 11/12/2012 5:48PM

    Great job! You got some great pics and got to meet some great people. And that fortune in your cookie was just perfect!

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AMSTERDAMAND125 11/12/2012 4:50PM

    Great job! That elevation chart is just not nice looking... :) Congrats!

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MOSTMOM1 11/12/2012 2:49PM

    WOOHOO!!!! Thanks so much for sharing. It was fun reading through your entire race. So cool that you got to hang out with other SparkMarathonWarriors too! Turkey and Pilgrim. Yes. Your squid hat would've totally fit in...
emoticon emoticon

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SWEATONCEADAY 11/12/2012 2:38PM

    yeah dana! i loved that you stayed at the new york new hork!!! you also wrote you have met me before and then met me for the first time silly girl! it was great to meet you though.

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WAVEDANCER7 11/12/2012 2:32PM

    So so proud of you and Hope on this crazy course. I was miserable doing the half- so i can't even fathom how painful the full would have been. But your hard work, dedication, and training all paid off and you should be very proud of yourself! Also- that Goofy sounds insane. You are an animal!

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RUNTRILAUGH 11/12/2012 2:23PM

    thats a tough course, for sure! but you look like you had a great time! LOVE the squid hat!!!!


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TRILLIUM22 11/12/2012 2:12PM

    Great job. Sounds like you are learning a lot about training for a full. It
too bad there is not some correction factor that takes into account the difficulty of the course and adjusts your time. It sounds like you were in shape to PR a similar course to the ones you've run before.

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SEEHOLZ 11/12/2012 1:35PM

    AWESOME JOB!!!! What I love the most... is that you're smiling in all the pics and you just look like you had such a FUN, care-free time.... despite running 26.2!!! That's amazing!!!

So glad you recovered well -- and I have no doubt you'll meet your both your PR and maniac goals :-)

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MBSHAZZER 11/12/2012 1:07PM

    GREAT job, Dana!! That looks like a really tough course and you ran it so smart! Also, upping the mileage during training really does work to help recovery! I'm so glad you had a good time with Sparkers and RWOLers!

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PJBONARRIGO 11/12/2012 12:42PM

    Awesome pix and blog- you are amazing! What a wonderful thing to be able to complete a marathon! You rock! emoticon

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11 Days till Marathon!!!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

BLERGH! I'm tapering and I'm full of taper madness! I need to go run now.

Just wanted to check in!

I've been eating everything in sight, and I need help. :P I'm going to write down everything I eat from here on out until Vegas and there I will be super careful with food until the race to make sure I don't have any problems on race day. EEK!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

WOLFKITTY 11/2/2012 11:52PM

    Hang in there! My race is in 9 days.

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FITGIRL15 10/31/2012 1:19PM

    You can do it!!! Hang in there, eat to fuel!!! XOXO

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SEEHOLZ 10/24/2012 9:11PM

    Almost there--- just hang on. They call it "madness" for a reason- it affects some more than others and I've been eating too much of the wrong types of food myself lately- needs to stop!

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AKA639 10/24/2012 12:19PM


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MARLIE13 10/24/2012 9:39AM

    Watch your pocketbook! Tapering is when I start to find running gear I HAVE to HAVE!

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FARRAH511 10/24/2012 9:18AM

    emoticon emoticon

)) -::-
. .))
((. .. - -::-
-::- ((.* Farrah -::-

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SEPPIESUSAN 10/23/2012 8:42PM

    Exciting!! Good luck with the marathon, and I think I heard you are meeting some Sparkers, have fun!!

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MBSHAZZER 10/23/2012 12:59PM

    I love a marathon taper! It's a nice reward for all that hard work! I know you are going to do GREAT at this race!

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TRILLIUM22 10/23/2012 12:31PM

    Enjoy the taper. My legs always begin to feel zippy and I like that.

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COOP9002 10/23/2012 10:33AM

    Let us know how it goes. Sounds like you're ready now.

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EWL978 10/23/2012 10:30AM

    Good luck, enjoy and bring us back a winner!!!!! emoticon

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DLDROST 10/23/2012 10:29AM


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Marathon Countdown!!! T-34

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Today I notched my newest weekly mileage PR with 50.15 miles. WOW!!!

And that is after a half marathon on Sunday. Not gonna lie, this was tough. But I had to do it! :D

I have one more big week before my taper. This week is a cutback to 40 miles and I think the LR is only 12. WOW! :) Looking forward to this week. Then another 50 mile week, my final 20 mile LR, and it's TAPER TIME.

SO CLOSE!!!!!!!!!!!

But right now I'm tired. I've got a swing band rehearsal tonight and not really feeling like going out and doing that tonight, but I want to maintain good relationships with my musician network (hence picking up another rehearsal sub for tomorrow and the gig on Saturday for the rehearsal tonight). And I know it'll be fun.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

HALFWEIGHT 10/10/2012 2:13AM

    Hope all is well with you. Looking forward to your next post.

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FITGIRL15 10/2/2012 3:47PM

    Good Job, Dana! Is this the race you'll be doing in Las Vegas? or am I completely out of it? lol

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WAVEDANCER7 10/1/2012 5:43PM

    Ugh you are scaring me. i'm definitely not ready for my race. boooo

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SWEATONCEADAY 10/1/2012 5:37PM

    i'm excited taper time is near because that means meeting dana is near!!

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SEEHOLZ 10/1/2012 7:13AM

    You've been putting in a ton of mileage this training season! I can't remember which marathon you are going to run, but you are definitely well trained, so you are ready for sure!

Happy October!

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HOPERY 9/30/2012 11:43PM

    I can't wait to taper! Oh, I guess I should look forward to the marathon too...

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AIMLESS07 9/30/2012 7:33PM

    Taper time is awesome!!

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MARLIE13 9/30/2012 5:10PM

    Woot to the hoo!

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MBSHAZZER 9/30/2012 3:27PM

    Nice job, Dana! I;m so excited for your marathon! You've trained so hard - it will be so great to see what those legs of yours will do on the big day!

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RACE REPORT: Marathon Oasis et Demi-Marathon de Montreal

Thursday, September 27, 2012

OK - so before you really get your hopes up, I did not get a PR. It wasn't my day - but it is all good and I will give you all the details so you can really appreciate how it all went down. :)

First of all, it was our first trip to Montreal and it was so cool! We were definitely surrounded by French speaking folks, but all we had to do was say, "Sorry, English?" and everyone spoke English. So it is an easy trip for someone who wants to experience being surrounded by a foreign language, but low maintenance. :D hahaha.

Roscoe came with us, because we found a hotel that was pet-friendly. We thought about boarding him anyway, so that we would find it easier to do things we wanted to, but we figured - how often will we have a pet-friendly hotel??? Let's just do it! Well...

Roscoe was stressed by the drive, and stressed by the city. He was one stressed out panicked pooch. We're not taking him to any city trips ever again. Probably not almost any trip in the future, except maybe if we rent a cabin somewhere quiet or something. He doesn't LOVE the doggie daycare experience like some dogs, cause he just doesn't care too much about other dogs and "play" seems like a foreign concept for him... but being blase and being totally stressed out are two different things. He's definitely being boarded for the big trip to Vegas!

Here is a cute picture of him when we stopped on the way out for DH to go get some cash - waiting for him to come back from the ATM:

So in any case, we get to Montreal. We pay the hotel to park in a garage (very nice not to have to worry about street parking or anything). We get settled and then head to the expo.... which we missed. OOPS! But we were JUST BARELY late, so they let me pick up my packet, I just couldn't go shopping. (This is probably a good thing...)

NEON GREEN SHIRT! And the first time I have a bib with my name on it:

We head out to meet a friend from Runners World Online Forums for dinner - he is a speedster but also a native Montrealer, so it was pretty fun to meet up with him in person. We've been internet pals for a while, and he's actually nicer in person I think... a little more sarcastic online. :) hahaha. John!

This is DH, me, and John!

The food was GREAT. The waitress was adorable and had a cute French accent, and we had a great time, great conversation and all. We would totally go back to eat there on future Montreal trips.

So we head home and since we have a metro stop suuuper close to our place, John walks with us and before departing we discuss his time goal - we joked before about him running 1:23:45 (I told you he's fast) and me running 2:34:56. HAHA. He says, no way, I'm going for maybe sub 1:27, anything there I'll be happy.

And of course, I'm hoping for a new PR - sub 2:27, and goal time 2:25ish.

So come a night of some sleep, it's alright...

I wake up and get ready - I barely force one bite of the marathon bar I brought for morning fuel. I dunno what was going on - I've eaten them plenty of times before and after runs, but this morning - no dice. Lately I've been doing PB&Honey or Nutella&Fluff once or twice before LR or Half marathons... this potentially comes into play later.

But in any case, I'm feeling pretty good, I get dressed and take a moment laughing at how huge my butt pocket is bulging - I took a picture but not sure if you can make it out:

It's in the black strip of fabric with print on it back there... hahaha.

ANYWAY - I had to walk to a metro station, buy a ticket, take it one stop and VOILA!

Oh except the metro is on the opposite side of the little island practically from the start... so another walk....

and then I'm in corral SIXTEEN, which meant going almost all the way across the bridge (I thought I'd never see my corral...). And then the race didn't start on time.

My corral crossed the start over 30 min after the race actually started, and that was late. So I was standing around on that bridge basically forever.

Picture of the start, still some people moving back to corrals, not me... :P I kinda wish I had gotten there really late and just hung around near the start and ducked under when my corral was moving through. HAHA

I did get to chat with a few racers and have some guy try to sing a Vermont song to me that I have never heard before. HAHA.

Anyway -


The start is crowded as we funnel off the bridge and into a realllly narrow section. But things spread out a bit and I have plenty of breathing room, although I'm still dodging and passing people for a while.

My goal pace is 11mm, 10:55 tops:

Mile 1: 11:00 (perfect!)
Mile 2: 10:49
Mile 3: 10:51
Mile 4: 10:52
Mile 5: 10:52
Mile 6: 10:48

All this is on the little island in the river next to the big island of Montreal proper - everything is pretty flat, there is some wind but very mild at this point. I'm wondering about my pace being a bit quick...

Here's me on the course somewhere before the 10K mark probably, since I'm feeling so FANTASTIC! hahaha

Mile 7: 11:26 - up the bridge leading back to Montreal, and INTO a wicked headwind. EEK!
Mile 8: 11:03 - holding strong into some more wind, Montreal side but along the river.
Mile 9: 12:06 - my right big toe feels really weird and I'm worried about just pressing forward. I've got the marathon to think about and don't want to be stupid - so I stop, and take off my shoe, mess with the sock - nothing hurts to press on and I don't feel anything out of the ordinary so I decide it's obviously not important so let's go. I lost about a minute futzing around. so run pace still good.
Mile 10: 11:19 - thing started to feel really off toward the end of this mile but I pushed it thinking, just 3 more miles after this!




Look at me lookin like I'm about to cry and looking for the finish line, foot baaarely off the ground:

Mile 11: 13:09
Mile 12: 13:04 (I think it was somewhere in this mile that the Quebecois that was singing to me at the beginning came up behind and was like GO VERMONT!!!)
Mile 13: 13:44 (just get me to the end)
final .28 - 12:20 avg, my wimpy attempt to surge got to about a 10:30 supposedly but I'm not sure even that...

Here's me trying to bring it in as strong as possible, running on determination alone:

Finally I finish....


Yeah, I was not happy. Goal race, good temps (only like 50), sunny, only negative on the weather was the wind... and I just totally died at the end.

I am not sure if it was the slightly too fast pace, or the fuel issues (also my gu schedule was OFF... I did NOT make a good strategy with the aid stations, should've just carried my handheld...), the missing breakfast, the fact that I was just finishing TTOM, or some combination of the above factors... Also since analyzing this some more, some people have suggested that it might also be because it's one week after the first 20miler of my training cycle... oh yeah.

Then since the race started late + how long it took me to start + not finishing as fast as I had hoped (less of a factor)... I made it back to the hotel AT NOON (checkouttime) luckily, the hotel people were flexible and nice and we were able to get out ok.

But in any case - my official time is 2:34:30

Here I am PRETENDING to be THRILLED post race, when I really feel like crap and have like no time to get to my hotel...

I'm a good actress! :D

That is almost 10 min off my goal time (2:25), and 7:14 off of my PR time. UGH! But considering a had a massive bonk.... that's really not so bad. I had some near PR races this year on challenging courses, so I am super happy overall with my racing and training this year, this race just wasn't the race.

My first half was 2:44+ two years ago, and it's not even my worst time this year (2:36+) so.... all things considered. It's ok. And the goal is really the marathon coming up, so time to refocus and buckle down!!!

I want to run in Montreal again, maybe even this race, but I don't think I would make THIS race a goal PR race again just because of the disadvantage I feel the corral gave me.

ALSO - my friend (had to add cause FITGIRL asked) finished in less than 1:23:45 (I think 1:23:3x??) and I finished just under my joke time of 2:34:56. :D hahaha. So that's kinda funny...

And the medal is really beautiful:

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

HALFWEIGHT 10/10/2012 2:11AM

    Hey, you finished, you earned a beautiful medal, and you will have another day for a PR. You are still so inspiring: post more! emoticon

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MARLIE13 9/28/2012 9:09AM

    " some people have suggested that it might also be because it's one week after the first 20miler of my training cycle... oh yeah."

I think that calls for a big fat DUH. lol!

Great job and I loved your report!

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TRILLIUM22 9/27/2012 11:52PM

    I think that 20 miler did you in. I've run a half towards the end of my marathon training, but I thought more practice that marathon pace than PR a half. My current half PR was run 6 weeks after a marathon. That worked well. I had the endurance and just needed to work on pacing and then tapering

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WAVEDANCER7 9/27/2012 8:41PM

    Hey- Bonks happen! And you are right, Marathon is the main focus. You wouldn't be so mad if this was just a 13 mile training run. So relax, brush it off, and move forward to bigger and better things... like 20 mile LR's this weekend. hehehe muuahahah. :)

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MBSHAZZER 9/27/2012 3:07PM

    Dana, 100% it's down to running a half the week after a 20 miler. You have to taper if you want to PR! I think, given the fact that you just ran a 20 miler, you did FANTASTIC!!!

I really would like to run this one, so thanks for sharing all the great photos and the race recap! I am a bit surprised that it was so cold there! :D

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FITGIRL15 9/27/2012 1:42PM

    It always amazes me how you runners can account for how you felt after every mile you ran! lol

I think your time was awesome, considering how things went down! 10 minutes is no big deal! You will shave that off in no time!

How did your speedster friend make out? I can't imagine runninga 1/2 marathon... let alone doing it in 1:27! OY!!!!

Very nice medal indeed!!!

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