Thursday, April 29, 2010

A Whole New Attitude

Yesterday I woke up with an entirely new attitude. I finally started calming the demons in my head. I asked myself a few questions:

1. Why do you want to register for the Colfax Marathon? Because your race was cut short, because you feel like people will see you as a failure for not doing it or because you want to?

Answer: Because my race was cut short and I feel like people will think I’m a failure for not doing. Is that the right attitude to go into a race with? I think not. It’s not even healthy. I’m pretty sure that no one thinks I’m a failure (at least I hope not).

2. How does your body really feel?

Answer: Tired. I’m not sore from Saturday anymore, in fact the soreness was gone by Tuesday night. My calf however is still screaming. During a practice booth setup session yesterday I could feel my muscle pulling every time I stepped on and off the step stool. It’s not an oh the muscle is tight, it’s an owe my muscle is tearing sensation. Also not good going into a race.

I knew the answers to these questions all along, but it was hard fighting the nagging voices of self doubt in my head. My decision is not to run Colfax because I don’t really want to and my leg hurts. Is it worth tearing my calf muscle which would endanger all of my future races for? No way! Plus you know what, I may have had an act of God ruin my marathon but I still raised more than $4500 (nearly $10,000 in the past 12 months) for cancer patient. That makes me a winner regardless of race status!  Cheesey moment of self esteem boosting positive reassurances done.

Of course I cannot go without some sort of challenge or activity in the mean time while my legs heals.

Enter the Bikram yoga challenge. A local Bikram studio just a few miles from my house has a pretty awesome deal for newbies. For $65 I can get a month of unlimited classes, a yoga mat and a water bottle. This is a great deal considering monthly memberships start at like $100…ouch. During this month, I’ll be challenged to do as many classes as possible. If I can do 15 or more I’ll get a discount on my future months membership. As it happens Saturday is the first of May (aka May Day for you silly Coloradoans that haven't heard of it). No better day to get started on a new challenge than the first day of the month. It’s also the only month this summer that I don’t really have anything going on so that just works out perfectly.

Also in the mix is going to be a boot camp class offered at the Longmont Rec. Center. It’s M/W/F in the evenings. So I’m thinking that once my calf feels good, not right now, that I’ll start adding those classes to the yoga. I’ll be getting full body workouts doing both classes. I’m really excited to get started!

I think this break is just what I needed. I get to try out new exercises and really listen to what my body wants. It may also be the jolt my system needs to move past my fitness plateau, not to mention awesome cross-training for running. This being said, I am not abandoning running. I’ll add runs in there here and there to keep my running fitness as well. Again not until the calf feels better.

Anyone want to join me for some hot yoga?

Stormy Day Apology

This was on the Nashville website:

Stormy Day Apology
by Country Music Marathon

April 28, 2010

Helping you successfully complete the Country Music Marathon or Half Marathon had been both a goal of yours and ours for several months leading into last weekend’s event. Unfortunately, the severe weather predicted during the days leading up to race day prevented us from helping most marathoners attain that goal.

Due to severe weather in Nashville on race day, marathoners were asked to divert from the course and were unable to complete the full 26.2 miles. While we understand how disappointing it was for all parties involved, this decision was made in the best interest and safety of the participants, volunteers, and spectators.

We apologize for the disappointment experienced on race day and hope that you understand how difficult of a decision it was for our organization. In the end, as lightning flashed throughout the greater downtown region throughout the morning and afternoon, we are confident the right decision was made.

Once again, we apologize for the unfortunate events of this past weekend and look forward to seeing you on the road again in the coming months.

Read more:

I appreciate the apology and I think they did the right thing, but ugh, still heartbreaking. So I checked out my time...had I not walked the last several miles and stopped stretching I would have beaten my Seattle time. UGH. 

More on what I've decided to do coming soon!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

So What's Next?

I’ve been asking myself this since Saturday. I tell ya, not being able to finish a race that you trained nearly six months for really messes with your mind. I can’t stop thinking about how my training is going to go to waste if I don’t hurry up and do a full marathon. Or that people think that I’m a quitter because my race got cut and I didn’t do another one to make up for it. Last night I even dreamt about running the Colfax Marathon which I honestly have no desire to do at all.

When I heard that there was a chance our race would be cancelled or cut short before I headed to Nashville I immediately started investigating other race options. The first one that came to mind was the Colorado Marathon in Fort Collins. Of course it is sold out. It must be one of the easiest courses ever. It is completely downhill and has an 18 % BQ average. Maybe next year I’ll be able to register before it sells out.

The other option was of course the Colorado Colfax Marathon. Now that thought of running down Colfax for hours on end does not excite me at all. In fact is makes me want to sleep. At this point it would be feasible for me to run it. It’s less than three weeks out and it’s convenient for me, no real travel required. Plus it’s not sold out. I not really considering it but should I feel the urge to do it I have the option. My fear is that I’ll hit a wall half way in a think why the hell did I do this to myself? I should have listened to my body and taken time off to let it heal. On the other hand that voice in my head is saying come on, you need to do a full marathon since your race was shortened.

But as I’m typing I’m sitting here taking no action. Honestly I am just burned out. I spent 23 weeks training through the holidays, winter weather, another bought of tendonitis and a calf strain. I am mentally and physically exhausted. I think the best thing I can do for myself is take some time off. Does this mean I’m going to stop running until it’s time to train again? Not a chance. But I think I’m going to take a break from the distance. I’m definitely not going to do another 6 month training cycle ever again. Four months is more than enough thank you.

I’m thinking about trying out some Bikram Yoga or getting back in the pool. Mix up my workouts a bit. Plus doing activities other than running will give my ankle and calf time to heal. I do have some races in my sights for this summer/fall.

I’m already registered for the Crossroads ½ Marathon on September 19th and I’m planning on doing the Inaugural Rock N’ Roll Denver Marathon on October 17th. Those are the only two distance races on my plate for now. I’m going to run the Bolder Boulder 10k on Memorial Day and definitely Rogers River Run 5k which is the race that started this all. I’ve been so wrapped up in training for my distance races that I’ve forgotten how fun it is to do a short, fast race. I’m bound and determined to set some awesome PRs this summer.

If you weren’t able to finish the marathon you trained for, would you run the next available one? Or would you take a break to recover from all the training?

Monday, April 26, 2010

Marathon Interrupted

Race morning came way too early.  Late Friday night we heard they may start the race early so instead of meeting at 4:30 we had to meet at 4 am.  Which means I needed to get up around 2:45.  Of course I woke up at 2 and let myself get out of bed about 2:15.  I didn't want to disturb Deanna so I went into the bathroom to start my prerace routine. 

Mini coffee pot was awesome for boiling the water for my oatmeal.  I forgot to bring  a spoon so my toothbrush stirred it and I tried to pour it in my mouth.  Needless to say I was a mess.  I taped the crap out of my leg and ankle with hopes of a pain free race. 

As you can tell I was having some race day nerves. It was time to get dresses and head out the door but not before a few more pictures...

Yes I know I look silly. I got lots of stares and looks, but a girls gotta do what a girls gotta do to hold the legs together. I was determined not to let my ankle tendonitis or calf strain slow me down!

When we got to the starting line it was already pretty warm out and cloudy but not raining.  We dilly dallied for a while but then it was time to head to the starting line. I got right behind the 4:30 pacer who looked all of 18 maybe.  But she sure could run.  About 25 minutes after the first group headed out at 6:45, I crossed the starting line.  Holy hills and humidity.  Remember when I said the course is fairly flat?  Ha, dead wrong. No the hills weren't big but they were long and steady inclines one after another.  The humidity was killer.  Apparently 95-98% humidity negates any sort of altitude advantage.  Regardless I was sticking with the pacer who was actually moving quite a bit faster than the goal pace.

By mile 6.5 I had to start pouring water on my head.  Every water stop, one down the throat, one down my shirt. I could not get my temperature down and it was starting to hurt my pace.  I held on and decided well small change of plans, I'll run/ biggie.  So that's exactly what I started to do.  I passed the 11.2 half marathon turn off and it finally started to get a bit cooler.  The wind picked up and the clouds really moved in.  A few miles down I heard from some other runners that they had closed the course and were making all of the people behind us do the half regardless of it they were registered for the full. I was so happy that I had made the cut!

Three port-o-potty stops later I was almost to mile 16 which means yeah only 10 miles left!  It also was when my calf, ankle and IT started really screaming. I had been stretching my calf every few miles but it just wasn't enough.  I think I must have changed my gait which inflammed my stupid IT band.  A very nice TNT coach from Tennessee was nice enough to hang with me for a few miles and even refill my water bottles.

We were hurried off the greenbelt by the river as the lightning started.  A few minutes later it began to rain. Rain really hard. It was hurting my body when it hit.  It was coming down so hard that it was washing my sweat into my eye which caused burning. So I'm sure I looked ridiculous trying to waddle in the rain with my eyes closed.  Actually it makes me laugh to think about it now.  The police were shouting "Take cover...or you can keep running." I was thinking well which one is it? 
My shoes became cotton and rubber pools.  It got more and more difficult to hold a steady pace at all.  Many runners ran into gas stations and entry ways to take cover from the rain.  Not going to lie it was getting scary out. Between the rain, thunder and lightning it was nasty.  I was definitely looking around for the nearest ditch just in case the tornado sirens went off.

Around mile 18 I was told that we were all going to be taken off the course just before 21 miles.  At this point I just started walking.  My time wasn't going to count so why should I be pushed myself and giving myself blisters for nothing?  I don't know if I've ever felt so many emotions at the same time. I was mad that they let me get this far just to cut me short, sad that I even though it wasn't my best race ever that I was going to be given a medal that I didn't really earn, relieved that I wasn't going to have to run 5-6 more miles in the nasty weather especially since I was about 15 minutes behind my goal much was running through my head.

I was really excited when I saw Deanna at mile 19.  We walked and chatted about the adventures on the way to the half marathon finish line.  She had helped people that had gone down on the course and saw the AT&T building get struck by lightning twice.  Apparently between the heat and humidity of the morning and the severe weather of the afternoon there were a lot of people who needed medical attention.  I crossed the finish line and did my best to force a smile on my face.  Medal in hand I went to check in at the TNT tent.

I didn't bring my camera or phone with me so we're going to have to wait until the official photos come out for you to see what a wet dog I looked like. This is a picture from out the window in our room.  I had to immediately hop into a hot shower when we got back because I could not warm up. Every inch of me was drenched.  Taking off my clothes was like peeling off a wet swimsuit.  Awful. This race goes down as the WORST MARATHON EVER!

I don't even know how I feel about this medal I have.  Techinically I didn't earn it. Was that my fault or something I could control?  Nope.  Do I feel like I can say that I've done two marathons? Nope.  Did I suffer through extremely shitty conditions to get it? Yes sir. So I suppose I'll say I've done 1.79 marathons? 

I'm in Music City

Well getting here was a bear.  Somehow in between the time I left my office and arrived at the airport just a half hour later my flight had been delayed. Ugh. At that point it was only delayed about a half hour which wasn't bad at all. 6:35 came and went, 7:10 came and went as did 7:30. Finally a quarter to 8 we finally boarded and took off for a bumpy ride. We landed in Nashville just after midnight.  I picked up my very wet (they must have left it on the tarmack while it was raining) bag and head to the hotel.  My head finally hit the pillow around 1 am.

I woke up way to early this morning around 8ish.  Of course I couldn't fall back to sleep so when Deanna called to say she was down the street at Panera around 9 I was all over it.  The expo opened for the day at 10. I was looking forward to getting some free swag. Love expo samples!

I picked up my bib and headed over to get my t-shirt and goodie bag.  I noticed this little countdown they had going on.  Looking at this picture now I notice that it was off by about 12 hours. Someone doesn't know how to tell time apparently. Or maybe they got confused and thought it was supposed to be the countdown to when the expo closed. 

Last year in Seattle I didn't really purchase anything which was kind of a bummer. I missed out on getting a regular t-shirt to wear around which I didn't want to do this year.  I got a cute little Rock Star t-shirt amongst many other things. 

Including:  more KT Tape (why can't I find a store in Colorado that sells it?), Bondi Bands (one of them is for Nancy), and The Stick. I'm pretty excited about all of my purchases. I'm definitely trying out The Stick later.  I also got an awesome reuseable bag courtesy of Publix and misc samples. Overall I was kind of disappointed with the expo. There were really not many samples or freebies. Clif wasn't there which made me sad. Love Clif Bars.

Anyway, after the expo I was finally exhausted and headed to the comfy hotel bed. Two hours later I was refreshed and headed down to Broadway to check out all of the music joints. 

Deanna and I met for lunch shortly thereafter then it was off on a trolley tour. Totally cheesey I know but it was the only way I was going to get to really explore Nashville (well other than the race). I was the only single person on the tour and it was actually kind of lame. Here are a few pics from it.

As was the norm for my weekend, the trolley tour ran late which made me late for the Inspiration Dinner.  I was so frustrated at this point. I hauled ass to get there, hurting calf and all. The Penguin spoke again. Even though I heard the same speech in Seattle I still laughed. He's a good speaker.  I was so ready to head back to the room after dinner. 

I got back to the room and had a mini breakdown.  All of the doubts in my head coupled with not having any of my loved ones with me at the race just got to me. After talking to my mom and watching Deanna burn a huge hole in her TNT Coach shirt I felt much better. So funny!

Everything is laid out and ready for tomorrow. Time to try to get some rest. Oh yes and the latest on the race.  Runners of the full marathon must reach the 11.2 mile point by 10:40 am in order to be able to stay on the marathon course. Runners not there by that time will be diverted to the half.  I don't think I'll have any problem with that but it certainly puts a lot more pressure on me.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Leaving on a Jet Plane

I’m packed and ready to go. Last night was a very busy night. I stopped by the store and picked up a new ice pack that I can strap around my leg…awesome and some Tylenol since IB Profin is a no no. As soon as I got home I was running around and talking to myself like a crazy person. After wearing my compression socks for basically 3 days straight it was time for a wash. No I do not have stinky feet. Load of laundry in, it was time to get together all of my race day stuff.

Race Day Gear:

TNT Singlet
• Running skirt
• Sports bra
• Moisture wicking sock
Garmin (fully charged)
• Fuel belt (don’t forget the water bottles)
• Gels, Nuuns and Oatmeal
• Gatorade mix
• iPod (fully charged w/ new earphones)
• TNT information packet
• Josh’s Speedo sandals for post-race
• Throw away jacket

But let’s not forget the most important things. I’m going to go ahead and call this my injury repair kit. I should market this idea…seriously. Mine includes:

• Travel foam roller
• Compression sleeves
KT tape
Shaklees Muscle and Joint Cream
• Herbal tendon and muscle recovery gel
• Extra Strength 8 Hour Tylenol
• Warm around ice pack (Not pictured because I was wearing it)

Oh how I love you all! Well not really the foam roller because it hurts me until I have tears coming down my face. But you know it hurts so good.

After packing the important things it took only a few minutes to pack the rest of my gear for the weekend which was great because I still had work to do at home. The camera is charged and ready to take pictures in Nashville. Maybe I will pick up a disposable to carry with me at the race. Eh, I’ll probably get sick of holding it and toss it. I may as well save myself a few bucks for some ice cream.

Calf/Ankle Status Update: Both still a bit sore but feeling 10x better than they were last week. Currently sporting my nice, clean compression socks and icing with the new ice pack for 20 minutes at a time. Fingers, arms, legs and toes still crossed for race day.

P.S. Totally hoping to bump into some stars in Keith Urban (hot) and Nicole Kidman.  Just casually getting coffee.  I'm sure all famous people are hiding out during the crazy weekend but a girl can hope right? I will be armed with my camera while exploring the city just in case.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


Just a day until I leave for Nashville which means I’m only 2.5 days out from the race. I would say three, but its lunch time on Wednesday so technically I don’t have a full 36 hours until race time. I’m not going to lie, I am totally FREAKING OUT. My calf is still hurting, not all the time but when I jump up and down I can definitely feel it. If I can feel it jumping up and down, I’ll definitely be feeling it while I’m running. I tried to get into PT but of course no available appointments in either of the offices. I’ve been wearing compression socks for days and the past two nights I tried my hot rice pad on it. I’ve been rubbing my herbal gel on it as well. I even brought it to work with me today. It doesn’t smell the greatest, but eh, I’m not impressing anyone. There is not bruising or swelling, I can stretch it without pain and I don’t remember ever hearing a pop so I’m sure it’s just a strain but eek. Isn’t this just my luck. Seriously, ugh.

Last night after work I headed to Road Runner Sports to pick up some compression sleeves which are basically the sock without the foot part. Didn’t find them there but I did find a travel size foam roller. I was all over that! After an appointment I stopped by The Boulder Running Company. They had the sleeves! So on race day I’m planning on taping the calf as well as wearing the compression sleeves (mine are white...not pink). I’m hopefully that once I’m going I’ll be just fine.

From now until race day, I’m wearing my compression socks nonstop, icing, rolling on my foam roller and downing anti-inflammatories. That’s really all I can do now. It will be fine right? I keep trying to visualize myself crossing the finish line strong but right now that image keep getting rudely interrupted by flashes of me being hauled off by a medic. In my heart of hearts I know I can do this race. I did a marathon with tendonitis before right? I need to learn to stop Googling and freaking myself out. Half of the information online is not accurate anyway. They guys at the running stores didn’t seem to be too concerned when I told them what was going on and that I had a race on Saturday which made me feel better.

Fingers, toes, legs and arms crossed for a good race. One thing is looking up, the expected race temperature has decreased from 79 to 74. Rain is still in the forecast but maybe it will just be cloudy.

P.S. I haven't packed a thing. Tonight I must eat, pack, clean, work. It's going to be a long night!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Marathon Monday and Tapering Sucks

Today is Marathon Monday in Boston.  I think it's the only race that is held on a Monday and is like a holiday in Boston. The winner of this morning's race finished in an amazing, 2:05:52 setting a new course record.  That means for all 26.2 miles, he held a pace under 5 min/miles. He runs over 12 mph...he must be half cheetah.  Amazing! 

Instead of cheering for tens of thousands of runners, I'm eating lunch in my cube trying to calm my marathon jitters.  Tapering sucks there is no doubt about it. What sucks more is that I've listened to Josh (Yes, I'll say it again, you're right) and stopped going to the gym.  After I met Rache for a workout on Tuesday, I knew I needed to back off because my calf and ankle were hurting to the point where I wasn't walking normally.  Now, almost a week later, with icing and compression socks I feel like I'm so close to being 100%. 

Of course any normal person would be like heck yeah, I get to eat a ton and not workout, awesome. Yeah, not me. I'm going crazy not working out. This is the longest I've gone in I don't even know how long. I've been doing crunches and pushups at home to at least feel the slightest inclination of the burn.  Many runner gain weight during the taper and I'm no exception. I can feel my pants tightening around the waist and I feel gross and bloated.  Oh well, I'm gearing up for the big race right? All of this is not helping with my nerves though. I almost feel more nervous than I did about Seattle. I think it's because I know how hard the distance is and this taper has just been really rough.  I know I'm well trained and resting to get healthy is the right thing to do, but man I'm struggling.

This weekend the carb gods decided they wanted to help me carb load. Josh and I went over to Great Harvest  Bread Company to pick up my free loaf I got at Canyonlands and we actually won something!  They were having some sort of event and every hour at random times there was a basket winner. We just so happened to win!  Score!  Check out our delicious basket: bread, cinnamon roll, apricot jam, a little knife and a gift certificate for $5.  Mmmmmmmmm.  My carb hungry body is very excited about this. In fact I'm enjoying a delicious sandwich right now. Throw in tons of water and Gatorade and you have a runner on a mission to be carb and hydration ready.

We also had an awesome Italian since being in Italy. We went to Undici  with Russell and Shanna (his girlfriend, not Josh's sister).  So delicious!  Being hungover the next day, not delicious. In fact it totally sucked. No more drinks until after the race.  Biggest highlight though, after four years I finally got a new phone. Yes, I have now joined the 21st Century.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Pace Tattoo and Mental Prep

My last marathon, I ran to finish.  I had a goal of 4:30 in mind, but with injury and it being my first race, it was just not in the cards for me.  This time I really think that I can run for time.  I have three, okay four, goals:

1. Beat my previous time of 5:06:57.
2. Hold a steady pace and finish strong.
3. Have Fun.
4. Come in under 4:30.

The final one is the last one on the list because if it doesn't happen it doesn't and I don't want to beat myself up about it.  To help me try to achieve it though I ordered this awesome PaceTat.  They aren't sold here in Colorado yet, apparently we're behind the times, so I had to order it online.  I ordered the 4:20 marathon pace chart.  That's a 9:55 min/mile pace.  Most of my runs I did between 9:30-9:45 so I think aiming to hold a steady 9:55 until I think (hopefully) I can speed up at the end.  So race morning, or probably the night before I'll put it on my arm to refer to.  This way I can turn off the mile alarm on my watch because I know I'll just be waiting for the each of the 26 beeps. 

I'm still thinking about joining a pace group but I'll have this to fall back on if I have to stop at a porta-potty or stop to stretch.  Now I just need to set my watch to beep at me if I start going too fast or too slow.  I'll probably give myself about 30 seconds to a minute on the slow alarm, but the fast alarm is really important so I don't burn out too soon.

My Train with Altitude t-shirt also arrived.  I'm excited to sport it at our Inspiration Dinner in Nashville.  I have all my gels, my PaceTat, my t-shirt, singlet. I'm ready for the race...

I printed out the race course and elevation chart. The course is pretty flat though there are a few steady inclines that last for a mile or more.  I'm trying to mentally prepare myself for race day.  I know that the wall may come but I'm trying to give myself ways to overcome that.  It can't hurt to know where the turns are, where the hills are, etc.  I think I almost have it memorized. 

I keep reassuring myself that I am much better trained and in even better shape than I was last year.  I haven't run since my 21 miler because it's just not worth risking pushing my ankle too far before the race.  I've been crosstraining my heart out and making sure I'm really working my abs and my back.  I'm going to need both to be strong during the race.  I'm so close to actually having somewhat visable abs. Finally!  All I can do now is eat plenty of food, drink plenty of water and let me body relax before the race.  Only 12 days left!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Taper Time

Well it's official...time to taper.  On Saturday I was eager to get out there and do my last long run before the race (only three weeks to go...eek).  I met Deanna, her friend whose name now totally escapes me and Tina.  We started off and got two great loops of the Boulder Res completed. Tina decided to take a break since she's not in training while De, her friend and I ran Eagle trail...bad idea.  The wind had been picking up but by the time we tried to do Eagle it was ridiculous. We were running straight into it and at one point, no matter how hard I was trying, I was not actually moving forward. A little over a quarter mile in we turned around.  Ugh!  With 11.28 miles down, I headed to the gym.

Torture...pure torture. That's the best way to describe the gym.  When I got there I had to wait for a dreadmill which irritated me. Come on people, you're barely moving on the thing while talking on the phone. Get off for those of us that are actually planning on working out!  Anyway, I finally got on and walked abotu a quarter mile to get my legs back in running mode, 2 miles down, so hot so I take a break.  Another mile and a half down, gel digestive failure.  Back from the bathroom, half mile in my IT band totally seizes up.  I hope off, stretch and roll on a foam roller. At this point these two women in the abs area are staring at me.  I casually tell that they my legs is not actually held together by the tape but it's simply keeping my knee cap and ankle in line and that I'm doing my final long run before a marathon. They looked at eachother, looked back at me, and tell me that I'm crazy. At this point I totally agreed with them.

I pick my sorry looking ass up and get back on the stupid running device. I walk a half mile to get my legs warmed back up. A mile and a half later I'm spent. I just cannot take the heat of the gym, the stupid people on the phone and my freaking IT band seizing again.  I gather up all my crap and head home. At this point I'm exhausted, frustrated and grumpy. Poor Josh was on the receiving end of this...sorry babe.

I roll on my foam roller again and head back out to brave the not-as-bad-as-the-Res wind.  With tears in my eyes I finally finished the run. All 21 miles of it.  Other than the last marathon I don't think I've ever been so happy to be done running.  Had I been able to do it all at the Res it would have been over with in about 3.5 hours...with all of the dividing up, driving time, waiting time, etc. it was like 5 hours.  I still survived and I am feeling pretty confident going into the race.  I'm even thinking about joining the 4:15 pace team...we'll see how I feel when I get to Nashville.

The rest of the weekend was spent nursing my sore legs and enjoying family time. I did get my long awaited Blizzard right after church on Sunday. So happy Lent is over and I can have my sweet indulgences again!

P.S. Thank you to Kirsten, Brandon, Jill, Grandma Walker, and Kim Greenlee for donating this week!  You guys are amazing!