Thursday, September 22, 2011

Hoppin' on the Three Things Thursday bandwagon.....

  1. Well. This morning's workout, albeit on a treadmill, totally rocked. I am definitely getting stronger, and slowly, second by second, getting faster. Being on the treadmill didn't really suck any less than it normally does, but whoa nelly - ! did I push it on through and work up a truckload of sweat, and I always feel seriously bad-ass when I sweat a lot. All body-parts - especially the legs - felt super-good and the cardio was right there along with them, playing nice.  I managed 5K in just under 40 minutes (39:50) which for me, is pretty darned good, and then 4 miles in 52:00, and then 5.3 miles in 1:10. Only 3 short walk breaks, about a minute/minute and a half long. My short-range goal (end of the year? End of January?) is to get to 5 miles in an hour - seems like I am well on my way.
  2. My current pair of running shorts - a crazy-comfy pair of cotton/spandex Danskins - is already developing holes along the inseams, and I've had them less than six weeks. This really ticks me off because a) they're barely used, especially by the standards to which I generally hold the running clothes that I buy and b) they are my single and sole pair of running shorts at the moment. And we are broker than broke. This is just not acceptable. No choice but to buy a new pair before the marathon, because no way, no how will my current shorts hold up through two more weeks of running (including an 18-miler) and then through 6+ friction-filled hours in one day. Either I need to find shorts with industrial-strength inseams, or I need seriously smaller thighs. Upon reflection, I know which option I would choose if I actually had a choice....
  3. And speaking of disintegrating running accouterments - the left shoe of my trusty Asics has developed a hole in the mesh lining near my big toe. I bought them in late April and they are wearing out fast - looks like I can take them through the marathon (like I have a choice - are we detecting a theme here??) and then I'll be looking at replacing those. I need a sponsor..................Asics? Brooks? Addidas?  Anyone? ..................  


Sunday, September 18, 2011

Weekend Wrap-Up

Ahhhh, Sunday.

I love doing long runs on Saturday, because that leaves the day after open for sleeping in and not having to do anything at all. Long runs on Sunday mean being sore all day and then having to go to work the next day...ugh. Saturday long runs rock!

That being said, Jenn and I were slated to do 18 miles yesterday, but ended up with only 15 instead, as Jenn was having hip issues, and then developed a nasty blister. The weather, however, was glorious - cool, overcast, even some rain - which wasn't a big deal to me at all. Running in the rain - very familiar with that!

Portland is now only three weeks away. So, this coming Saturday will be 18 miles (non-negotiable), the following weekend will be only 8-9, and then the weekend after is "M Day." I am toying with the idea of taking the Monday after marathon day off...I have a feeling I'm going to be pretty wrecked after this one. This training schedule Jenn and I have been following has been very thin and somewhat rushed - our weekday mileage over the past several weeks has been inadequate due to several factors, and quite frankly, I would feel much better with two or three more 18-20 milers under our belt. But - it is what it is.

I am still determined to beat last years time (7:11) - but the margin of which I suspect we'll be capable of achieving has changed considerably. At first, I would have been really happy to get in under 6 hours, but now, I'll settle for under 7. I don't know....maybe I will be pleasantly surprised. After all, this time I'm not dealing with a foot injury which dictated I couldn't run for nearly the entire month of September like last year - and in reality, it was still injured on marathon day - thank God for ibruprofen and compressive foot wrapping! But Jenn is dealing with some lingering issues, so we're just going to see how it's going to go.

In any case, I am excited about adding another full marathon medal and bib to my Wall O' Bling. And speaking of bling, I am also hoping that Portland decides to really beef their medals up a bit in commemoration of the 40th Anniversary, because the current design is a bit....lacking.

Everyone run happy this week!  :-)

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Eugene Women's Half recap...and a revelation...

Well, another half-marathon down. It was fun to race again, especially since I've done so few events this year, but it was hard. At least, the latter half was hard; I mentioned in one of my previous posts that it was predicted to be pretty warm, and suffice to say, the weather gods did not disappoint as far as that was concerned.

Saturday was packet pick-up day, and Kim from (Just) Trying is for Little Girls arranged for a blogger meet at the 5th Street Market fountain.

 Me, Kim, Jenn and Laurie

Jenn, as most of you probably know by now, is from My Quest for a Smaller Chest, and my trusty wingmate. Laurie blogs from (Mis)adventures of a Jogging Stroller Mom, and she rocked this race big time.....I think she was finished, showered and actually headed out to the mountains for a camping trip before either Jenn or I got anywhere near the finish line.

A little later, we were joined by a few other awesome running bloggers:

 Jenn, Meredith, Kim, Me, Julie D. and Ashley

Here we have Meredith from Therapeutic Runnings of a Mom, Julie D. from The Finish Line Diaries, and Ashley from Inspired Miles of a Mom. All these ladies are wonderful and you should go check them out right now! (Or, after you finish reading this post, of course.....)

We wandered around the Market and chatted, checked out the starting line and traded war stories. Jenn and I were truly in some awesome (and fast) company. After a while, it was time to go check into our hotel, grab some dinner and watch the Ducks game (unfortunately, a loss) so we all parted ways with our cool goodie bags in tow.

Race day dawned with not a cloud in the sky, but unfortunately with a noticeable haze from the wildfires that were raging in various parts of the state (a few of them still are, I think.) It wasn't so strong that one could smell it, but it was very obviously there. The temps were great, but were expected to hit at least 90, so we knew that the latter part of our run was going to be in pretty warm conditions.

  Typical pre-race smiles! Seems like we should just get a jump on things and practice our exhausted, sweaty frowny-faces instead....

And then, we're off! Those smiles still plastered on our faces.....silly smiles! You will soon be gone....

Wave bye-bye to the nice spectators!

Over the hills, through the woods, to the finish line we go....only there weren't any hills (just a few bumps) and several water/Honey Bucket stations (which came in handy.......really handy.....twice.) There were a few woods, somewhat. We got stopped by a train just before the 1 mile marker, and they ended up adjusting the finish time by a whopping 8 minutes. Much of the first 9-10 miles were either not an issue due to the time of morning, or nicely shaded, and then the shade went away - about the time it really started to warm up.

Jenn and I stuck together until about mile 11, and then I just sort of faded and told her to go. So she did. Which was fine, because then I could just revert to my tried-and-true stoic "death-march" walking pace that has brought me across many a finish line in the past - with a few half-hearted spurts of "shuffle running" thrown in for good measure.

Right about the 13 mile marker, where I could see the balloon arch of the finish line and hear the music, Kim was waiting for me, having finished in an awesome 2:03 - and she instantly became my new best friend forever as she firmly coaxed me into a run towards the finish, dropping away just before I crossed.

So, yeah.

13.1 miles later:

See? No more smile. But at least I'm not crying. No, really, I'm not.

It was about 75 degrees when we finished. Not baking or broiling, perhaps....just a light sautee on the small burner. Thank goodness I'd (very) liberally coated all exposed skin with SPF 40, because even through that I'd started to get a bit on the pinkish side.

We got our obligatory finish line picture - notice the smiles are back - this was after lots of water, a bit of walking and some emergency carbs:

Once again, all is right with the world!

I was very happy to finish. And tired. And sore. And, well, feeling kinda like I'd been walloped by that train from earlier that day. All things considered, my time wasn't horrible, but it really wasn't all that awesome either. I've done better. I've done worse, but I've done better.

Which leads me to the revelation alluded to with my post title.

After every personally disappointing finish, many well-intentioned people always say the same thing (usually in a chipper, hopeful sort of voice): "Well, you finished! That's all that matters!"

I hear this every. single. time.

And like I said, I totally get the well-intentioned part of it all, and I would never chastise my friends and family for saying those sorts of things. But something fundamental has shifted in my thinking - and I can't really put a finger on it other than to say that quite honestly, "just finishing" is no longer sufficient.

In 2010, I finished the Helvetia Half in 3:07:15, which is still not overwhelmingly stellar, but was a slightly more than a full minute per mile faster than this race. In the Running Universe, this kind of gap is huge. Twelve years before that - which, granted, there was over a full decade spent doing all those silly things, like aging and gaining/losing weight, and not doing much running  - I finished my very first half marathon - the Hartford Half Marathon - in 2:43.  


The bar needs re-setting, my friends.

Yes, I'm getting out there and I'm running. Yes, I am finishing the races. Yes, I'm full of awesome determination and grit and yes, I hear the "Oh my gosh, I couldn't even run to my mailbox and there you are, running 6 miles and 13 miles and 26 miles!!"

But - and I know ya'll know this is true - it is totally within the realm of sane possibility for a 43-year-old me to run a sub-3-hour half marathon...and a sub-6-hour marathon - perhaps even a sub-5. This just has to be true, because these expectations aren't unreasonable, not for a healthy 43-year-old person who is dedicated and consistent and challenges herself with her training........

And guess what the answer is? I just said it in my last paragraph. 

More on this later.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Five Things Friday

1.  Tomorrow Jenn and I are headed to Eugene, as Sunday is the Eugene Women's Half Marathon. I feel extremely unprepared for this, somehow. There hasn't been much running for the past two weeks. It's supposed to reach 90 degrees, according to the last forecast I saw. The race doesn't start until 8am, which means it probably will have hit 80 or even a bit higher by the time we're done. I have a feeling it's going to be a bit brutal.

2.  The first Ducks football game of the season is tomorrow. This is good. Pound those Tigers!! I know this has zero to do with running, but this is my list, so deal with it.

3.  Even though this half is going to be tough, I am looking forward to it. It's been a while since I've done a training run with benefits. (Bling and t-shirts, people!  Bling and t-shirts! Get those minds out of the gutter!)

4.  Even more ominous is the Portland Marathon, which will occur in 36 days. The longest current training run so far.....? 11 miles. Sunday will obviously bump that number up a tad, but from there on out it's white-knuckle time - two 16-milers, an 18-miler and a 10K chaser as the taper. I hope it's enough to prevent my untimely demise on Oct. 9th.

5.  Did I mention it's supposed to hit 90 flippin' degrees on Sunday...?????