Medtronic Twin Cities 10 Mile {Race Recap}

I was up at 3:30 am Sunday morning, starting my pre-race routine. Ashley was going to be picking me up at 5 to go to our friend Amanda’s house so we could all carpool together. After I ate my toast and foam rolled, I started to get nervous. I don’t know why. I run 10 miles regularly and this was supposed to be fun. I wasn’t sure if I was going to go for a goal time or just run the race as I felt comfortable. I figured I’d see how the first mile went.

By 6 am, we were downtown hoping that the rain wouldn’t start again. We met the rest of our Team OT Efers crew, snapped a few pictures and talked about the brunch that we were headed to after the race, before I went to my corral.

Once in the corral, I saw the 1:15 pacer. I heard him talking to another runner about the pacing strategy. I heard him say he was going to bank some time to make up for the two mile long hill that we’d hit around mile four.

screen

I knew that I did not want to even attempt to run with that strategy. Banking time never works out well for me. It was then I decided I was just going to do my thing. I’d run as fast or as slow as felt good.

Just as we were sent on our way, it started raining again. Not too hard, but enough to be a little irritating. The first mile I started slightly fast, but not so fast that I was going to regret it. It was really crowded but we were treated to a beautiful sunrise. As we approached mile three the rain really started coming down and a headwind picked up. It made me so happy that I was only running 10 miles and not the full marathon. We had to curve around a tight and narrow turn to cross the bridge over the river. That was my slowest mile at 7:52.

Once we were on the bridge, the congestion started to break up. This was the part of the course I really remembered from running the marathon three years ago and cheering for my friend Kirsten last year as she ran the 10 mile. I grabbed water at the first water stop I saw and unfortunately got more up my nose than in my mouth. The rain was letting up which was exciting, but it left large puddles all over the street. I tried to avoid as many as I could without weaving too much. I was still consistently a tenth of a mile ahead of every mile marker.

By mile four, the rain had stopped and I had run under the blow up wall. The steepest part of the long hill was starting. I began to slow my pace to compensate. When I ran through the five mile clock (38:33), I calculated I was going to have no problem beating my previous 10 mile time from Goldy’s Run two years ago. I distracted myself by gawking at the beautiful houses (mansions?) I was running by.

I continued to run at a steady, but slower pace as I gradually climbed the never ending hill. It’s so deceptive because it doesn’t look like I was going up hill, but my legs could feel it. After getting to the top I got a little downhill segment where I speed up. One more tiny hill and I was on the flat and downhill home stretch to the finish line. I picked it up some more as I started my final mile to the finish line. It was my fastest of the race, the downhill helped of course. I was still about a tenth of a mile ahead but I didn’t care. My watch was showing I had maintained a 7:34 min/mile pace. Woohoo.

I ran through the shoot with a big smile on my face. I had finally gotten a personal record. My first in any distance since Thanksgiving. I’d also negative split the race.

Official time: 1:16:28  Avg. Pace: 7:39 min/mile

My Goldy’s Race 10 mile time was bested by nearly six minutes. I expected to run it faster than two years ago, but that was a surprising chunk after my lackluster races lately.

22104381_10104059650664513_3514567023589054914_o (1)

I made my way out of the finisher’s area and waited for the rest of the team to come through. Everyone did so well!

22104704_10104059650774293_2095347733485777532_o (1)

We made our way back to Minneapolis and enjoyed brunch at Ike’s Food and Cocktail.

22104391_10102670616640201_3931065919388397094_o22095853_10110695439899640_1063723408479698566_o

It was a fun morning! Now we’re talking about a relay race next year some time. That would be really fun. I’ve been wanting to do a Ragnar or similar event.

 

My First Marathon Recap #tbt

Written two weeks after my first marathon (Seattle Rock N’ Roll) in June of 2009 in the form of an email to all of those who supported my fundraising for Team in Training. Re-reading it brought me right back to that day. As I upload it here, I’m looking at the shadow box hanging on the wall in our office with my medal, bib and picture of Meghan and I crossing the finish line, hands in the air, smiling. 

I did it, I ran a marathon!  It was by far the most physically challenging thing I’ve ever done.  The weekend was a whirlwind of hilarity with my teammates, inspirational speakers including the head of The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and Runner‘s World’s The Penguin, and tears.  Tears of pain (mine), tears of remembrance, tears of happiness, and relief.

So here’s a little recap of my race, to give you an idea of what it’s like for a novice to run a marathon.  Sorry…it’s a bit long.

2:45 am

Time to get up and start getting ready.  It’s not like I had really been sleeping, but this time I was up for good.  I made my peanut butter and jelly toast (untoasted…boo) that I always have before a run and nervously paced the hotel room.  Once I had gotten dressed and put on plenty of sunscreen and Body Glide to prevent the dreaded chaffing, it was time to meet my team to go to the starting line.

4:30-7:25 am

We arrived in Tukwila.  We waited to check out bag and I hung out in a plastic trash bag to keep me warm.  After about a dozen trips to the porta-potties (just in case) it was time to get into our heats.  It didn’t really hit me until Meghan (the best mentor ever!!!) and I were standing at the start line waiting to hear our start that I was actually going to do this.

7:30 am

Here we go!  The Penguin sends us on our way.

Miles 1-5

I was feeling great!  Cheering and yelling out to fellow Team in Training teammates. I even sang a little Michael Jackson on the way. The sun was shining and I believe that Meghan put it just right when she said that it felt glorious.

Miles 7-14

Still feeling good, we broke from the half marathoners for an out and back over the water. We had a beautiful view of Mt. Rainier.  At this point I knew that there was no wimping out.  I couldn’t just do the half marathon anymore because when we met back up with them I’d already have run 14 miles.  After a quick porta-potty stop, we were on our way.  I was still feeling good but my tendons were starting to flare up a bit.  We saw Meghan’s boyfriend Adam who was cheering and capturing our excited smiles.

Miles 15-19

Now I was always told I’d hit the wall sometime around this point. Being positive, I though, eh, I’ve run 17 miles before, I won’t hit the wall this early.  Hit the wall I did not, but I sure did hit something.  This was a vicious out and back.  I was still smiling and feeling good when I saw Josh at mile 15.  I was shocked that I heard him yell out my name.  It pumped me up…until a two mile long hill hit.  That was the worst out and back of the entire race. I could see the Space Needle and Mt. Rainier but what I couldn’t see was the end of the hill.  It was shortly after we hit the turnaround point and headed towards the last 7 miles, that I shed my first tear. I tried to be tough and Meghan was cheering me on and staying by my side, but man exhaustion and pain were starting to set in and my GU was not helping.

10399223_651493494843_2633696_n

Mile 20-24

At this point I was in full blown tear mode.  Being tough went right out the window.  At this point it took everything I had to not to jump off the viaduct into the bay.  I was hot, tired and in excruciating pain.  So what do you do when you’re feeling like crap?  Stop? No way, Cry? yes. Yell and scream? Absolutely!   It’s amazing what some good yelling can do for you.

The Home Stretch (Miles 24-26.2)

This was my low point.  It took me an entire 31 minutes to get through these last 2.2 miles.  When I saw that I was so upset, 2 miles in 31 minutes?  Seriously, that is how long it usually takes for a 3.5 miles.  I walked up the last hill…who puts a hill in the last 1.5 miles?  That’s just mean.  It wasn’t a big hill, but you may as well had me running up Pikes Peak.  Meghan and Coach Jen were running and walking right besides me.  Cheering me on and telling me how tough I was to keep going even though my knees were barely bending. We all let out yells together.  Meghan and I crossed the finish line together, hand in hand.  I could not have done it without her.  If anyone wants yet another reason why TNT is such an amazing program, there is it.  Team Mentors really are there for you.

10399223_651493539753_7338978_n

Five hours later, I was at the finish line.  It was about a half hour slower than I wanted to run the race, but I finished which is what really matters.  It was exhilarating and sad at the same time.  I had worked so hard to get to the start line, ever harder to make it to the finish line and it was over. Once I got my medal, I went straight to the medical tent where they promptly plastic wrapped ice to both knees.  I grabbed my dry, plain bagel and devoured it.  Josh greeted me at the TNT tent with beautiful flowers from Pike’s Market and a big smile. We met up with the rest of my teammates who did the half and took lots of pictures before Josh had to lower me to the ground.

10399223_651493514803_3109885_n (1)

Here I am almost two weeks later.  I’m walking normally again, with some nagging aches and pain. I’m taking the entire month off of running (killing me) as per my great physical therapist and really taking in what was just accomplished.  Yes, the marathon is my personal accomplishment but I could not have done it without all of your love and support. It got me through the injuries, pain and exhaustion.  More importantly, we raised $5000 to help find a cure for cancer.  As I ran beside people who had names and pictures of ppl that they lost to cancer it really hit me how important Team in Training is.

10399223_651493444943_7423639_n

25 runners came from the Rocky Mountain Chapter to run the Inaugural race with $109,000 raised to support important research and patient programs and we all came back with so much more than medals to show for it.

Thank you, thank you, thank you.  You are all amazing.

Bolt for the Heart 5k {2015 Race Recap}

One of my favorite Thanksgiving traditions since becoming a runner, is doing a Thanksgiving morning race. Regardless of where we spend the holiday, we make sure we run. This year we spent the holiday in Indiana. My mom was on top of signing up everyone who would participate, long before Thanksgiving.

We lucked out this year because the weather was beautiful. The sun was shining and I was comfortable in capris, a tank and a long sleeved shirt. Quick group picture before the start:

12274279_10206816958855922_8069114119373646102_n

The night before I told Josh that I thought I’d try to start with him and just back off when I needed to. With my recent 10k time I was going to try for an average of 7:15 min/miles. He assured me he’d be running 7-7:15s. About that…

We bolted across the starting line. We weren’t even half a mile in when I told Josh to run ahead. When I crossed the first mile mark, I was shocked to see I had run a 6:55 first mile and Josh was no where in sight. There was no way I could sustain that pace, so I started pulling back.

The biggest hill, the only real hill, was on the way to the second mile. It felt big to me but I kept going, opting to not take the available water. I got through that second mile in 7:13. I was longing for that third mile and to take off my long-sleeved shirt. I was hot! The best I could do was manage to get one arm out.

Shorter distance races just kill me. I’m so horrible at pacing them. Having run the course before, I knew that I had to run all the way down the path to the street, make a hard right, then another hard right to get to the third mile mark. I hit it substantially slower that my previous two miles, at 7:31. It was a straight shot to the finish line. I picked it up as much as my body would allow to cross the finish line to a waiting Josh.

He tried to give me water, but I honestly felt like I was going to puke. After a few minutes, I felt better and was happy to see I set a new personal records by almost a minute and a half.

Official Time: 22:16         Average Pace: 7:13 min/mile

That time was good enough for second place in my age group. Josh also got second place in his age group with a blazing time of 19:xx. Once the rest of our group was ready to go, they headed home. I decided I wanted to enjoy the beautiful weather. I ran the 6.5 miles back to my mom’s house. I even managed negative splits.

Nothing like working up a sweat to get ready for the biggest meal of the year!

Bank of America Chicago Marathon {Race Recap}

This is quite possibly my most delayed race recap ever. I’ve been working on it off and on for two weeks now, but just haven’t had it together enough to complete it. Here we go.

When I woke up I felt okay, not good, but well enough that I was going to run the race. Not that I was ever really considering not running, but if I’d felt slightly worse, I may have reconsidered my pace a bit more. Julie and I ate some almond butter and jam bread and chatted as we got ready. Worrying that my antibiotics would give me the runs, I opted to wait to take them until after the race. I did take some Advil to help my throbbing head and achy joints. My corral was set to close at 7:20 am. Not knowing what was involved in getting to the start line, I left the hotel a little after six and walked with hoards of people towards the park.

IMG_2518

As it turns out, I had plenty of time. I went through the security line, walked right over to my corral and didn’t even have to wait for a porta-potty. About 10 minutes before the corral was set to close, I took off my warm-up clothes (which I didn’t really even need since it was nearly 60 degrees), and settled in a spot by the 3:40 pacers. I talked to a few people next to me before the national anthem was sung and we were slowly being led to our start.

First 5k (25:38 – 8:15 min/mile)

Amazingly, the race start moved quickly. Must have been because all the super fast runners ahead of me and the efficiency of corral organization. Almost immediately after crossing the line, we went through a tunnel before making a few quick turns. Josh called me at about mile 2.5 and told me to look for him at mile four. I made my way to the outside of the crowd so that he would actually be able to see me as I ran by. There were so many runners and so many spectators. I couldn’t believe how many people were out so early. The runners were taking up at least four lanes of road from one side to the other. I ran the first 5k a little faster than expected.

10k (51:45 – 8:25 min/mile) – 15k (1:17:42 – 8:22 min/mile)

I was super excited to actually be able to spot Josh and our friend Jason just past the fourth mile. I settled into a nice even pace with our pacer and tried my best not to do any weaving. As we ran by the Lincoln Park Zoo we past the 10k mark. This is one of the few landmarks I actually remember running by. In the sea of people I found myself doing more people watching than scenery viewing. This was when I saw one of my favorite spectators – a woman wearing a flesh colored body suit, purple wig and holding a sign that said “Rub my belly for luck.” It took me a minute to realize that she was supposed to be a troll. I took my first gel a bit early, but wanted to take it before I got too tired.

At this point in the race I was feeling pretty good. I was easily keeping pace with the group, but not feeling good enough to push any harder. It was definitely smart for me to scale back my expectations. This was also when I started feeling warm. I bought some cooling sleeves to wear during the race since I knew it was going to be warm. They weren’t doing much for me. I was grabbing water at each water stop trying to keep myself hydrated. This was easier said than done thanks to being sick, the antibiotics and me sweating pretty profusely. Josh called me again right around the 15k mark to tell me they were now at mile 11.

20k (1:43:47 – 8:21 min/mile) – 25k (02:09:32 – 8:20 min/mile)

Unfortunately I was on the opposite side of the road then they were, so I made my way over to the far left side so that I could see them. This started to add a bit of additional mileage. It was worth it to see my family. Plus, with so many people, it was pretty damn hard to try to follow the nice blue line (showed the tangents) to the finish line. I excitedly waved at the boys as I ran by.

12118894_10206405695798805_4919510028294528225_n

Maybe it was because I wasn’t feeling great or it was warm, but the race was feeling long by the time I passed the 20k timing mat. Though I was taking water at every stop and drinking my own when I took my second gel, my lips and throat felt dry. I tried not to focus on that and look forward to hitting the half way point (1:49:20 – 8:22 min/mile). Being with the pace group was really helping me maintain a fairly even pace. My goal was to try not to run huge positive splits in the last half. I could tell that how my body was aching and my chest was starting to hurt that I was going to slow down at some point.

I was looking forward to the 25k mark because I knew that my entire family would be somewhere between there and mile 17. I was definitely getting hot .I took of my cooling sleeves because they weren’t doing anything for me. While we ran through patches of shade, being in concrete city, even with the gusty wind, I was starting to overheat. Luckily they were handing out soaking wet sponges. They were amazing! I ran past the 25k time mat for my last negative 5k split during the race. Josh called then to say the family was just past the 17th mile. I was so excited but my chest was starting to burn a little bit.

I ran by my whole family which was so exciting. I was trying to stay strong as I ran by. I knew I needed let go of the pace group. I decided to hang on until mile 18.

30k (02:35:38 – 8:24 min/mile) – 35k (03:02:30 – 8:39 min/mile)

Right after I saw my family I took my third gel. I was happy that my stomach wasn’t giving me any problems whatsoever. When we crossed the 30k mark, I decided to let go of the pace group. For a few miles I could see them just ahead of me. I calculated that even if I slowed to a 10 min/mile pace, I should still come in under 3:50. I was really starting to feel crappy. My legs felt great, but my throat was killing me, my head starting to throb and the burning in my chest getting a little worse. I didn’t feel like I was hitting the wall, just sick.

The crowd support was getting pretty sparse and shade was hard to come by. I was getting so hot. At mile 20 Josh called me to give me some support. I think he knew that I was starting to feel bad. He said they were making their way to mile 25 and would be waiting to cheer me on through the last of it. It did help pep me up a bit but I started walking through the water stops to help the burning in my chest subside. It was getting pretty bad and even walking for a few minutes and drinking water helped temporarily. I took a fourth gel around mile 22. I was glad that I had packed the ‘just-in-case’ gel because I definitely needed it.

40k (03:30:39 – 9:04 min/mile) – Finish 

I was tired, I was ready to be done. I scanned the crowds trying to see my family but it was packed. I ran right past them just after the mile 25 sign. This is when they started having signs saying 800m, 400m, etc. It kind of annoyed me because I was just thinking, ugh another half mile. I knew that of course but the signs in meters makes it seem so much closer. I had been told about the hill just before the 26th mile. I laughed it off because it was tiny. Um, it felt huge. I actually stopped, drank the last of my water, then continued. Right at the top of the tiny hill you turn and there is the finish line. I tried to sprint a bit towards it but felt like I was moving like molasses. I gave it all I had, put my arms in the air and ran through the finish line.

I was done and so happy about that. I looked at my watch and realized I had set a new personal record. It wasn’t the BQ I’ve been lusting after, but almost a full five minutes faster than Fargo.

Official time: 3:42:43 (8:30 min/mile average)

I was so excited! I called Josh to tell him I was done and very slowly making my way to the family meet up area. Almost as soon as I crossed the finish line, texts and Facebook messages started flooding my phone. I got choked up at the amount of love and support I was receiving. I’m incredibly lucky.

IMG_2522

It was at least a half mile to get to the family meetup. I picked up my medal, some snack bags, took a finishers picture and waddled along with thousands of other people. When I finally found then I got tons of hugs.

12112079_10206405695558799_5271703840883787021_n 11254337_10206590925685234_659494267883578880_n 12144834_10206405695398795_4093881688121531770_n 12105753_10206405695198790_2800848727109098032_n

And my lobster, who is my biggest cheerleader, had only the sweetest words for me as he greeted me and we wished each other a happy seventh anniversary.

IMG_2525

Afterwards, we walked to Shake Shack for a burger and milkshake. I hadn’t had dairy, onions or regular bread with wheat in it for weeks. Both were amazing. My family dropped me off at Julie’s hotel where I spent the afternoon lounging and talking with Julie about the race before we went to dinner. How awesome is it that she decided to run the marathon in part to celebrate her 50th birthday?! We’ve been texting back and forth about another race we can meet at.

IMG_2526

We had a lovely dinner with my family plus our Colorado friends Jason and Jennell. By the way, Jennell was even more under the weather than me after having the stomach flu. She still did awesome and is way tougher than me. I would have called it.

IMG_2533

I’m proud of my performance considering I was sick and it was way warmer than I would have liked. I’ve had a couple of what-if moments. What if I hadn’t been sick? What if it was cooler? etc, etc. Every race I’m getting one step closer to getting my first BQ. I still can’t believe I’ve cut my time from 5+ hours to a substantial sub-4 hour marathon.