The End of My Streak [Race Recap}

Four years. For four years straight, I set a new personal record at every single race I did. Regardless of distance, I was on a roll. Sometimes they were small, sometimes they were big, but they were always a PR. Last night, that ended and I’m not going to lie, it stings a little bit. It’s not nearly as fun to write about but as I share my triumphs, I should also share my disappointments.

Last night was the annual Maple Grove Esprit de She. You might remember last year the course was significantly short. Well this year, they got rid of the 10k option and changed the course which was actually the right distance, if not ever so slightly long. While I loath 5ks, I’m not one to pass up a race minutes from my house that always ends with booze and great company from my amazing running group friends.

Just after 5 pm I drove over to the Town Green where the race was starting. Unlike in previous years, the course was not a loop. We were now finishing at the newly completed Central Park. We hung around for a while sweating before taking our group picture. Unfortunately, thanks to bag drop being at the finish line, we were missing more than a couple members.

13902600_10153845270111608_7523145028557451263_n

After the picture I tried to stay in the shade as long as I could. I was dehydrated and it was HOT and HUMID (it was nearly 80 degrees still). Blah. You’d think I’d be use to it by now, but no. Does anyone get use to humidity? I was silently cursing them for moving the race from late September to early August. Anyway, I made my way to the front of the corrals with some friends and sweated it out for 10ish minutes until the race started.

I crossed the starting line quickly, going out a bit fast as I chased after a ton of high school girls that were ahead of me. I knew it was going to bite me in the ass. I finished the first mile in 6:50. Bad decision. After that first mile I was looking for the water stop. It was about 1.5ish miles in. I stopped, drank one cup, poured one over my head and continued on. The second mile was 7:13. Already positive splitting.

Once I hit 2.5 miles, I’m pretty sure I stopped sweating. I don’t think I had enough fluid in my body to keep it going. I was overheating bad. I posed for a picture.

bazu-9090021 (1)

When I thought I’d safely passed the photographer, this is what I was feeling.

bazu-9090019

I was done. I just wanted it to be over. I looked at my watch and new that my chance to PR was gone. My third mile was 7:39…ouch. That is a HUGE positive split. The finish line was setup really poorly. We had two tight turns to make a U and had to run on uneven patchy grass.

bazu-9096431

 

I tripped a little bit, but was just so damn happy to be done, I didn’t care. I honestly was so hot I thought I was going to vomit.

Official time: 22:41      Avg. Pace: 7:19 min/mile

I was 22nd overall of 1430 runners and 5th in my age group of 501.

I missed beating my 5k PR by 26 seconds.I was really bummed. I hadn’t really expected it. Yes it was hot and yes I was dehydrated and sore from Orangetheory the previous night, but I’ve gotten so much faster since November. I was kicking myself for the walk break I took to drink the water I needed so badly. Honestly, if I hadn’t walked then, my streak would probably be in tact.

It had to end sometime right? I’m trying not to be too hard on myself, it’s not like I totally crashed and burned, and no one PRs every single race forever. I’m trying to tell myself that one race that broke my streak, doesn’t mean I’ll never PR again. It’s silly to think that right?

After the race I got some free food (which by the way, has gotten worse every year) and even better, free booze while I hung out with the girls.

13667994_10102943210988573_8694586982392092397_o

Not a total failure of an evening. It evened cooled off nicely after the race. Maybe next year, if it’s in August again, they can start it an hour later.

 

Chicago Rock n’ Roll Half Marathon {Race Recap}

I did everything I could do blow this race for myself. I ate like crap, drank a ton and spent hours and hours walking around Chicago. So obviously, I went into the race expecting a horrible race. While it was definitely not my strongest performance, it could have been worse.

We walked over to the starting line with plenty of time to drop our gear bags, hit the porta potties and find our ways to our corrals. With a whole four hours of sleep and an upset stomach, I was not at all looking forward to running. It was also about 70 degrees and humid. Blah.

IMG_4601

The race started on time and about four minutes after the start I crossed the starting line. The first mile cruised by. I obviously didn’t look too closely at the course map, because I mistakenly thought that we’d be running much of the same course as the marathon. Not so much. We ran maybe a few blocks of the same course.

My watch distance was off by the second mile likely due to going under lots of overpasses and the buildings of downtown. I realized I should just not look at my watch because it wasn’t reliable as far as distance or pace. With no goals in mind for the race, other than to finish, I just trucked along.

The course was boring but the music, when there was actually a band, was nice. It was pretty warm out, but I was doing my best to re-hydrate. I carried my fuel belt with my water bottles filled with Nuuns and took water at every water stop. A few sips in my mouth and the rest of the water over my head.

I was doing a pretty decent job of holding a steady pace. According to my results I was averaging about a 7:45 min/mile pace. As I got to the 10k mark, I started wondering how many more miles I was going to be able to go before I had to make a pit stop. Turns out two. At mile eight I veered off course to the lone porta-potty. Much to my dismay it was occupied. I took a gel and anxiously waited for the person in it to leave. Finally they did, I popped in and ran out as quickly as I could.

I got in two more miles before I had to stop again. Luckily there was one available and it was the last time I had to stop. The last few miles felt long. We went through a really dark tunnel under the Solider Field (I think) that was filled with potholes and so dark I was worried about tripping and face planting. They definitely needed more light there. When I came out of the tunnel we were near the lake as we approached the finish line.

I was so glad to be done when I finally crossed the finish line.

Official Time: 1:45:29       Avg. Pace: 8:03 min/mile

For a standalone half marathon, I set a new personal record. But this was about a minute slower than the second half of Lake Wobegon. I’ll take it as my streak continuing.

IMG_4602

Those two bathroom stops really slowed me down. All things considered, little sleep, bathroom stops, warm/humid weather, lack of training, boozing and eating like crap, I did pretty well.

Shortly after I finished, my girls finished just as it started pouring rain with some crazy thunder and lightning. With a small break in the rain we went back to the hotel for a little R&R before the Cubs game.

Would I do this race again? Not so much. Will I consider doing the Brooklyn Rock N’ Roll Half next fall as an excuse for another girls weekend? Absolutely.

 

An Ode to My BRF

Two years ago this past week I made my way to the Chalet at Elm Creek in the early morning light. I was nervous, would I gel with the group, would I find someone who runs my pace, would I be too slow or too fast? As I pulled into the parking lot I saw a gaggle of women in brightly colored outfits standing around chatting. I made my way to the group and introduced myself. With introductions out of the way, we set out for a few loops.

As the group started running, we naturally fell in step. Slowly you and I broke away from the others. We easily fell into conversation and I felt at ease. The next few Saturdays, we found ourselves running together again. I started looking forward to my long training runs more than I had in a very long time. With the same goal of going sub-4 at the Twin Cities Marathon in the fall, I had found my training partner.

rice-lake-classic-age-group-winners

 

All summer, we ran for hours at a time. While we ran we talked about a little bit of everything, getting to know each other. We talked about everything from our favorite post-long run treats to family and how we thought our kids would likely never give up nursing (thank goodness they finally did right?!). We found things we had in common like weaknesses for ice cold Coke and Reese’s Peanut Butter Eggs. We learned how to push each other without making one another miserable. That fall, not only did we both achieve our sub-4 goals, we smashed them.

Since that first summer two years ago, between us we’ve trained for five more marathons. Every season growing stronger and faster. We’ve talked through losing loved ones, family discord and way too much about my nasty stomach issues. We’ve laughed and definitely complained as we trained our asses off. These runs served as therapy and entertainment. Your perpetually sunny outlook on life was infectious.

1799064_10102544407209543_1615046062499309648_o

 

This spring as we trained for what we both hoped would be our first Boston qualifying marathon, we reflected many times on our previous training. We’d come so far. Training with you had pushed me to a place I never dreamed possible. I knew that we were on the brink of achieving something we never thought possible that first summer. I had a feeling as we got on the bus together that morning, we were both going to do it. We were both going to qualify. After I crossed the finish line, I hurried back to watch you. Watching you, my BRF, cross the finish line, arms in the air, brought tears to my eyes. I was so proud of you! Proud to be your training partner and your friend.

BRF Finish Line LWTM

On our runniversary, I needed to take a moment to thank you. Thanks for spending hours on end with me before anyone should be out of bed on a Saturday morning. Thank you for bitching with me all the way up that damn Fernbrook hill.  Thank you for pushing me, motivating me and inspiring me to do more. Thank you for believing in me. Thank you for helping Minnesota feel like home. Thank you for just being you.

Adventures in Travel and Recovery

What a busy three weeks it’s been since the marathon. I’m exhausted and while I’m not finally home, things are not really slowing down all that much. Quick and hopefully, abbreviated review of the past several weeks. I was going to add a bunch of pictures but then I may never actually publish this:

Week One:

I walked, walked some more, foam rolled and slept a little more than usual. I was itching for a run and met my BRF for a few loops around Elm Creek. We ended up doing nine miles which felt like plenty to me. After that run my hamstring was incredibly sore. Like so sore it hurt to push on it and walk. Ugh, more rest.

Week Two:

Off on a cross-country trip with the kids. Yes, just me and the kids, by myself for 12 days. First stop, Denver for my brother Ted and my sister Audrey’s high school graduation. Crazy that I have siblings in high school right? What is crazy is that when I graduated and went off to college, they were not yet four years old, younger than Ella is now. It was almost surreal watching them graduate. They are off to SOKA University and the University of Colorado in the fall. I think my favorite part of their graduation week was the time I got to spend with them. I feel like I missed they’re entire childhood because I went to college, then got married, had kids and now live states away. I got to do a long walk with Audrey, tour the Botanic Gardens with Ted and stayed up until 2:30 am talking to both of them. It was worth being exhausted the next day.

We had a great trip filled with lots of family time. My grandparents flew in from San Diego which meant we had four generations together. We went on a cultural adventure around Denver which included the Museum of Nature and Science as well as the Denver Art Museum. On our last day in Denver we also spent hours playing in and walking around the Denver Botanic Gardens.

I also got to sneak in a Florence and the Machine concert with my BFF Rachael. Our night also had to include a stop at The Market for my favorite cake. I ran a few times, slow and not far, but between altitude and an irregular sleep schedule, it was all I felt like doing.

Week Three:

Onto Indiana! Who has three siblings that were all graduating this year? Me! Next up was my sister Emma’s high school graduation. We arrived in Indianapolis LATE. We got to my mom’s house around midnight and the kids weren’t in bed until 1 am. Luckily we were working on Mountain Time which mean it was only 11 pm technically. The kids were so far off their schedule by this point, it didn’t matter. Luckily they slept in pretty much every day.

My grandma and step-grandpa Max drove up from Missouri for the occasion and I got to watch my brother Riley work his pastry chef magic on some of the best desserts I’ve ever tasted. We spent my time there eating. We had a special girls only trip to The Cake Bake Shop to toast to Emma’s graduation and my birthday. This is the second time we’ve done this with four generations and I think it will be a new tradition. It’s a good thing I went to Orangetheory and ran a few times while I was in town. While we were doing the girls thing, Anderson was busy with Papa riding in the Jeep and visiting the tracker store.

Late in the week, I got to watch Emma graduate with honors. She just looked so happy and I was proud of how great she did not only in academics but also in how many close friends she’s made in the two years since they moved from California. It is not easy moving across the country, especially in high school. Her graduation party was the next day and boy did we have good food. It was a nice party aside from one of her classmates asking me if I was her mom. I mean really. She is off to Indiana University in the fall.

Week Four:

We finally headed home! It was a two short flights but one long layover in Chicago. I was so happy to be home when we landed.I met my friends Morgan and Ashley for an easy, unplanned 10 miles that Sunday evening to get myself back on track. While I’m not really training for Chicago, I at least need to keep my base.

That brings us to this week and I still feel like I’m recovering. I’m working on a huge project for my old company and all of our summer activities are starting up. I hand wrote two other posts on the plane, but I cannot find them at the moment. Oops.

 

 

What’s Next?

I no longer want to crawl up and down the stairs. In fact, I’m itching to do more than just go for a walk. Not running feels so boring. I almost don’t know what to do with myself. Since the marathon I’ve done nothing. I’ve walked up to 2.5 miles at a time, spent a lot of time stretching and foam rolling. Oh and eating. I’ve been so hungry. My friends have been kind enough to bring me all sorts of treats from quiche to cupcakes, booze to gelato. Needless to say, my body has had plenty of calories to help it recover.

I am planning a very easy, no time, distance, or pace goal run Saturday morning with Amy. I’m looking forward to a chance to hear in more detail how the race went for her, other than the obvious setting of her new personal record. I’m also really looking forward to my first Orangetheory class in three weeks on Monday.

Looking forward to this summer and fall, I have a few things on my calendar. First up, the Rock N’Roll Chicago half marathon in mid-July. While I’m going to keep my fitness up, I’m not sure how much I will actually train for this race. We will see how Orangetheory goes on Monday before I decided whether or not I want to jump back into speed work so soon after a marathon. I’m more just looking forward to that being my first girls weekend away since before kids. It could also be the first training weekend for Indianapolis (see below).

In late August I have our local Esprit de She 5k. It will be my first 5k since the Bolt for the Heart on Thanksgiving. It’s always a fun night, but now that they moved it up to August, it could be a really hot one! They also dropped the 10k distance after the course measurement fiasco. Hopefully this year the course will not be a quarter mile short.

Back on New Years Day, I registered for the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon in November. Originally I did so because it was 50% off and it was to be my Boston qualifier back-up plan. Luckily I don’t need my backup plan. I’m not make a decision just yet, but I’m considering dropping down to the half. It’s about 23 weeks before Boston. That means I’d have about 6-7 weeks ‘off’ before training for Boston would start. That’s really not much time between training cycles. I have two fears, first that I’ll get injured, two, I’ll be so burned out that my training for Boston will suck. We will see how I am feeling in a few months. I could always start training for it and if I feel like it’s going to be too much, back off. Regardless I’ll do the race at some distance.

That will take me until the end of the year. There will likely be a turkey trot or another small race thrown in there for fun, but I don’t like racing too much. It’s expensive and hard on my body. More running for fun. That’s just what I need.