Monday, October 19, 2009

Detroit Free Press Marathon Race Report

On Sunday, October 18th I completed my first marathon. Woo hoo! It was really hard but a wonderful experience.

My friend Wendy and her husband Ken came in from California to run the race. I met Wendy last year on an online fitness forum and she has been a big running inspiration to me. We met in person in May of this year when we visited another forum friend in Colorado and ran the Title 9K+ race in Boulder. David and I had dinner with Wendy and Ken on Saturday night and then we all went to our hotel rooms to try to get some rest. David and I stayed in the host hotel even though we live in the Detroit area because I didn't want to have to get up super early and then deal with traffic.

I slept better on Saturday night than I thought I would, though I still woke up several times. I ended up getting up half an hour before the alarm went off because I was a bundle of nerves. I had a special item to wear as part of race day apparel, because my friend Megan sent me a bracelet that says "Mind Over Miles." She sent one for my running buddy Vicki, too, which is so sweet of her. Vicki and I trained together and planned to run the marathon together. It was Vicki's first marathon, too.

My breakfast of champions consisted of oatmeal, a chewy granola bar, and two Tylenol tablets. A little pre-medication can't hurt, right?

We headed out of the hotel with Wendy and Ken at 6am, allowing us plenty of time to walk to the start corral which was less than a mile away. Well, we TRIED to head out of the hotel at 6am. The hotel is in the middle of the Renaissance Center, which is a group of interconnected cylindrical towers. And let me tell you, it's a freaking maze in there. It took us a while to find our way out to the street.

When we arrived at the start, we found our corral. Wendy and Ken were supposed to be in a faster corral but they sneaked into mine so they could run with me. Vicki and I had agreed to meet at the corral. I didn't see her so I started calling her cell phone. I called several times and walked through the whole corral searching for her, but I never found her! I did not see her for the entire race. I was very upset because I'm the one who talked her into doing the marathon in the first place. I knew she was riding downtown together with her friend Pam, who was also running the marathon, so she wasn't starting the race alone. But it was still really upsetting.

Standing in the corral in the cold was nerve-wracking. Did I mention that I was a bundle of nerves? At 7:15 the first corral was released and we started moving up. Our corral was sent off just past 7:30. I was really happy that I could still see David on the sidelines because that helped keep me calmer. Once we crossed the start line, my nerves mostly disappeared but I was still wondering about Vicki.

I went out a little faster than I planned but that was ok. One thing I found annoying is that a lot of people dropped their throwaway clothes right in the middle of the street. Come on people, go toss it on the side of the road so your fellow runners don't have to trip over it.

At about mile two we reached the approach to the Ambassador Bridge. I am no fan of hills but I was excited about crossing the bridge. Could have done without the winding around on the approach to the bridge, because it made it really apparent how many people were way in front of me already. :) But the bridge was fantastic. The sun was just coming up so we had a gorgeous view of the sunrise and the many trees that were wearing their fall colors.

Over the bridge, we soon turned onto Riverside Drive in Windsor for a long straightaway along the river. This was also very cool because there's a sculpture park along the way and a fantastic view of downtown Detroit. But I didn't pay as much attention to the scenery as I probably should have because I was thinking about running and the distance in front of me. Wendy and Ken were in front of me for most of this, but not too far and it was easy to keep them in sight.

It seemed like we reached the tunnel pretty quickly. The tunnel was interesting. It was pretty warm in there. Fortunately the crowd was pretty well spread out. Near the end of the tunnel, there were two guys in puffy jackets who didn't have race numbers. They were stopped by the cops and I wonder what happened to them.

Coming out of the tunnel - yay! It's David. We exchanged "I love you's" (awww) and he said "See you at 12." I thought, wow, he has an overly optimistic idea of how long it will take me to do this race. I took my first GU here and also my first dose of Aleve. My feet weren't hurting yet and I wanted to keep it that way!

The next few miles are a blur. I remember I got depressed when we passed the point where the half split off. I contemplated heading for the half finish and taking a DNF but quickly realized that was ridiculous. Plus, there were Wendy and Ken up ahead motioning me on to continue. And then much to my surprise, there was David again on the side of the road. Turns out that when he said "See you at 12" he meant mile 12, not 12pm. :) That was a nice psychological boost to see him.

I continued trudging along, keeping Ken and Wendy in sight up ahead. Wendy needed to make a pit stop somewhere between 12 and 13 so Ken and I waited for her. In retrospect, I should have kept going because 1) they run a lot faster than I do so inevitably they would catch up to me and 2) my legs seize up if I stop moving forward. Took me a bit to get forward motion going again in anything resembling a smooth movement.

Maybe a mile or so after that, Wendy and Ken pulled over to the side. Wendy was taking off her jacket and Ken looked like he was stretching. Having learned from my previous error, I kept going. Wendy caught up with me soon after and said Ken had mentioned his ankle was hurting. She'd suggested he drop out at the half but he didn't want to do that.

I was thinking negative thoughts at this point about how much still remained ahead of me. It was probably my lowest point in the race. Wendy told me that this was the part of the race where she just started focusing on the next mile marker. I started doing that and it's amazing how much it helped me. I would repeat to myself (in my head, not out loud) "just get to 15, just get to 15" or whatever the next mile was. Somehow that made the miles go by faster. I also occasionally muttered a long drawn-out f-bomb (out loud, not in my head) but I kept it fairly quiet so as not to offend my fellow runners who may not be as potty-mouthed as I am.

Somewhere in the miles between 14 and 16 I could no longer manage to keep Wendy in my sights. I'd told her and Ken before the race that they should take off whenever they felt like it and I didn't think they had any obligation to stick with me. Ken was still behind me at this point and I wasn't sure what was going on with him.

The run through Indian Village was another highlight of the race. It's beautiful there - the houses are great, the trees were pretty and the residents were very encouraging. I skipped the beer that was being offered, as well as the jelly beans. Seemed like it would not be in my best interest to partake in them. At mile 16 I took my second GU and another dose of Aleve.

I think the Aleve was a life-saver for me. By mile 15 of my 20-miler, my feet were killing me. But during the whole marathon, my feet felt a little sore but nothing like the anguish I experienced previously.

We did a weird little loop around some traffic cones on Jefferson and then headed in the direction of Belle Isle. It was at this point that I started taking more walk breaks. When I do another marathon some day I'm going to work on eliminating walk breaks as much as possible. Or else I will plan them (e.g. run 10 minutes, walk one minute) so I don't end up stretching the walking out longer and longer.

On the bridge to Belle Isle, Ken came up to me again to see how I was doing. Apparently he had been feeling somewhat barfy though he never actually vomited. He said that it was clear to him he needed to do some more training (did I mention that he's an amazing adventure racer and will be doing a 150 mile race in March?) Yep, a marathon is only a training race for him, because he is unbelievably impressive. I'm in awe of him.

Belle Isle was a little aggravating to me because there was some DJ providing "entertainment" at mile 22 near where people were getting back onto the bridge to exit Belle Isle. The only problem is that those of us entering Belle Isle around mile 19 could also hear him clear as a bell saying "you're at mile 22, only four miles to go." That is depressing to hear when you've got 7 miles to go. Plus this DJ had no idea how to motivate runners. Berating someone for taking a walk break at mile 22 is not the way to go, jackass!

I saw Ken again on Belle Isle but he dropped back again. I found out later that he was probably about 50 yards behind me for the last 7 or 8 miles of the race. Since he wasn't having a good race himself, he made it his mission to make sure I was doing all right. What a sweetheart!

When I exited Belle Isle I managed not to punch the DJ in the face. I didn't have the energy to form a fist anyway. No way would I have been able to put any power behind the punch. Maybe I could have mustered up a bitch slap but he wasn't worth it. It was encouraging to leave Belle Isle and realize that I was kind of in the home stretch.

I'm somewhat embarrassed to say that I walked HUGE portions of the last 6 miles of the race. My legs were so fatigued. My goal at that point was to make sure I finished within 5 1/2 hours. That was partly because it was the time I'd predicted all along, but also because the late checkout at the Marriott was only until 2pm so if I didn't finish in 5 1/2 hours there was no way I would make it back to the hotel in time to take a shower before checking out. I did NOT want to have to drive all the way home to shower before coming back downtown for dinner with Wendy and Ken.

When I walked, I tried to keep up a decent pace. I noticed a lot of people were strolling along slowly on their walk breaks but I figured 5 1/2 hours is long enough to be on my feet and again, I had the shower to motivate me.

The run (walk in my case) along the Riverwalk was cool. That was the first time I'd ever been on the Riverwalk and it was great to see how access to the riverfront has been opened up. Very nice! Around mile 23 or 24 some people said things like "you're almost there." I couldn't help myself and said to one guy "unless I can see the finish line, I'm not almost there." I know people are trying to be encouraging but come on, 2 or 3 miles to go is not "almost there." Those feel like endless miles at that point, at least to me.

As I reached the 25 mile marker, I put on the dorky Bluetooth headset and called David as previously agreed upon to let him know I was getting closer. He didn't hear the phone ring so I left a message letting him know where I was and that I was walking so it was probably going to be another 15 or 16 minutes.

Soon after that Ken approached me and asked how I was doing. I said I was probably going to walk to the finish. But then I saw my brother Rob yelling encouragement. Well, I couldn't embarrass myself by walking it in after that, so I started to run (very slowly). Rob said he would call ahead to his wife Milissa, who was waiting at the finish along with David and my nephew Alex. Rob loped along on the sidewalk not having any trouble keeping up with me.

Coach Sandy from Team in Training saw me somewhere between 25 and 26, can't remember where exactly. She ran with us for a bit, gave me lots of encouragement and told me Team in Training had a water station around the corner about half a mile from the finish. She left us and we finally turned that last corner and could see the finish line. That felt like a really long half mile to me. I managed to keep running but I have to say that it was damn hard for me to do so. If you saw the finish line video in the prior post then you know I was not exhibiting good running form at this point. :)

I saw David and my family and heard them yelling for me. Tried really hard to smile but couldn't quite do it until I crossed the finish line. People told me it would feel amazing to cross the finish line but I didn't really believe it until it happened to me. I took my beautiful medal and put it around my neck. The benefit of finishing as late as I did is that the security around the "runners only" area was non-existent so Rob, Milissa, Alex and David came right over to hug me. I felt like crying. I can't believe I completed a marathon.

And I made it to the hotel with 20 minutes before checkout so I took that shower. Yeah! Then David, Wendy and Ken and I had a drink at the bar and headed to Pizzapapalis in Greektown for a delicious pizza feast. Ken gave me a bracelet that says "Nothing Great is Easy" from endurancetrust.org.

Before David and I left Wendy and Ken at the hotel, Wendy gave me the most wonderful gift. It's a beautiful silver bracelet with a heart charm on it. The charm is engraved with "Detroit Marathon" on one side and the date on the other. Wendy said a friend gave her a similar bracelet after Wendy completed her first marathon. I am so touched and feel honored to have Wendy as my friend. Now I will always have a reminder of the wonderful weekend and this amazing experience.

Detroit Free Press Marathon

I completed the Detroit Free Press Marathon yesterday! Race report to come, but in the meantime here's a video of me crossing the finish line. Pain face is in full effect. I'm the one in the long-sleeved pink shirt and black hat, behind the group of people holding hands. The man next to me in the orange hat and peace symbol shirt is my friend Ken who crossed the finish line with me. His wife Wendy ran the race, too but finished well ahead of us.
video

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Brooksie Way 5K Race Report

Last Sunday, David and I ran the Brooksie Way 5K. I ran the inaugural Brooksie 5K last year as my second race ever and was horribly disappointed when the course turned out to be a third of a mile short. But I want to eventually be one of those old people who says "Well I've run this race 25 times, every time since the first year they did way back in twenty ought eight" so I decided to give it another chance.

The weather was fairly cool on race day so I wore a long-sleeved shirt and shorts. (Naturally I regretted the long sleeves about 1/4 mile into the race. But it was my awesome shirt from the Dick Beardsley half marathon in Minnesota that I ran last month so I wanted to wear it.) Anyway, we left the house a bit later than planned and naturally there was traffic on the road leading to the university where the race started. So we arrived with enough time to get to the start line and not enough time to look for any of my friends who were running the half marathon that started shortly after the 5K.

We lined up about halfway back in the 5K pack but that was a poor choice because when the race started, the people in front of us barely moved. David usually takes off like a jackrabbit at a 5K so I was surprised to see him still beside me after a minute. He finally dodged around the crowd and took off. He ended up with a PR. Yay!

My plan was to take it pretty easy for a couple of reasons. One, hello, I am running a marathon soon and I didn't want to go nuts and get injured. Two, I'd done a 15 mile run the day before so my legs weren't fresh. And three, well, I'm kind of lazy. I had no intention of trying for a PR.

The course was much the same as last year (except the start line was farther back) and I knew there was going to be a rather painful hill about halfway through. I focused on keeping a steady pace and having a good time. Saw lots of people sprinting ahead and then having to take walk breaks. I have been that person before and I don't have any interest in doing that again. Weirdly, there was a water stop around the 0.25 mile mark. Who needs water a quarter mile into a 5K? That was just plain strange. All I can think is that was a water stop near the end of the half marathon course, but I don't know.

As I approached the hill I told myself I was not going to walk it. Last year I started walking about halfway up the hill but I knew I could do better this year. I'm proud to say I conquered that hill. Well okay, I was huffing and puffing but still, I didn't walk it.

As usual, I can't remember a lot of details. But I do remember a few sweet downhills which I totally took advantage of, including a downhill leading to the finish line. Woo hoo, I came flying down that hill and felt like a real runner for once as I crossed the line strong instead of wheezing my way across it.

The course was actually a 5K this time around, so I guess I can stop bitching about last year finally. My total time was about 30 seconds slower than my PR, which was faster than I intended to run this thing. I guess those downhills helped and maybe I'm not quite as lazy as I thought. In any case, I had a lot of fun and I will do this race again next year (God willing and barring any injuries, of course). Good times!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Good news and bad news

First, the bad news. My new shoes aren't the solution to my sore feet on long runs.

Second, the good news. My 15 mile run today was awesome. I felt great. I had sore feet for the last few miles but because I was expecting it, it seemed easier to take. I felt substantially better after 15 miles today than I did at the 15 mile mark last weekend. Also, I took an Aleve about 8 miles in and I think that helped, too. My legs didn't feel as sore so I believe that made the feet easier to handle.

I'm starting to feel like this marathon is going to be okay. Also, I know it helped to find out that my friend Wendy and her husband Ken plan to run the marathon alongside me and my running buddy Vicki. I knew Wendy and Ken were coming to run the marathon but didn't know they were going to stick with us. Wendy said that she wants to cross the finish line with me. They are so awesome! They're veteran marathoners and could finish much faster but they said they don't care about time. What a mental boost that will be to have them by my side! It's going to help me tremendously.

Life is good!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Shoes, pain and mental strength

Ran another five miles in the new Sauconys today. Still feel good. The real test is Saturday's 15 miles. But from what I hear, it is normal to get sore feet during a marathon. I'm pretending I don't know that.

I need to come up with some strategies to stay in a positive frame of mind even when my feet hurt and I don't feel like running anymore. I am going to finish this marathon, damn it. And it would be a bonus if I actually have fun instead of treating it like a death march.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

So far, so good

I tried out the new Saucony shoes this morning. They felt fine, but it was only a five mile run so time will tell how they feel over a longer distance. But I was glad they were comfortable for a short run. Even if they don't help for a long run at least I know I'll be able to use them.

My total mileage for September was 163.93. Should have run an extra .07 just to get to a nice even number. That mileage wouldn't sound like a lot to a hard core runner, but that's a ton for me. My previous high mileage month was August with 153.19. Prior to that, I didn't even break 100 miles for most months.

Oh, and at the beginning of the year I set a goal of running 1,000 miles in 2009. As of today, I'm at 1002.94, so mission accomplished. I guess I can stop running for the rest of the year if I want to. :)

Sunday, September 27, 2009

New Shoes

I went to the awesome local running shop (Hansons) today and talked to them about how flipping sore my feet were during the 20 mile run yesterday. I am now the owner of a pair of Saucony ProGrid Guide 2 shoes. I bought men's because I have big feet and they felt good.

I'll be doing 15 miles next Saturday so we'll see how the feet feel after that. I hope to God these help with the problem because otherwise I'm not sure how I'll manage 26.2.

Recovery Run

Went out for a nice little three mile run today to loosen things up. The first several steps were tough - my legs were protesting! After that, I settled in and felt good. Running three miles sure feels nice and short after the agony that is a 20 miler. It's amazing to me how much better my legs and feet feel compared to yesterday. I enjoyed running today.

Now I'm going to forget all about the 20 mile agony and pretend that the whole marathon will feel just as great as today did.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

20 Miler

I ran 20 miles today. Holy crap, that was hard! I spent the last five miles telling myself that I was going to back out of this whole crazy marathon idea. Then I finally finished the 20 miles and took some Aleve and felt better, and I realized that after all this fricking training I have to find a way to get through the marathon.

But seriously, why do my legs have to get so damn sore? Gah. I'm good through 14 or 15 miles and then I get really sore and I want to give up. I'm definitely having issues with the mental aspect of running long distances. I need to figure out a solution before the marathon on October 18th.

I'm just going to tell myself that after the taper my legs will feel nice and fresh for marathon day, so it will seem easier. Please, nobody disabuse me of that notion. It's all I have to hang on to right now!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Back. Sorta.

Ah, my poor neglected blog! How could I abandon you?

Short update for now:
- I'm still training for the Detroit Free Press Marathon
- I have to run 20 miles on Saturday and I'm dreading it
- I did a 30K race on a freaking hilly course over Labor Day weekend and I did a terrible job and it scared me into thinking perhaps this marathon thing is not for me. But I will keep going and hope that the 20-miler restores some confidence.

In happier news, on Saturday I ran a 5K. This particular 5K was the very first race I ever did, when I started running last year. So this was my first repeat visit to a race. It was fun and I set a PR. Yay!

Friday, August 7, 2009

The Legend Race Report

Last Saturday David and I ran The Legend. This was a 5-mile trail run at a park north of Lansing, MI. That's about a 90-minute drive for us so we stayed at a hotel Friday night.

It was the third and final race in a series of trail races I completed, so I earned a nice big drinking glass with the series name on it, given to everyone who finished the series. It's not a medal but it's pretty cool.

We had gone out to this park a couple of weeks ago to try out the trail and it was pretty tough and muddy and flooded out in a couple of places. Saturday at the race they expected people to run through the flooded out spots but I admit I went it to the woods and went around the water instead of going through water that was above the ankles. Call me a wimp and it wouldn't bother me. I collected a lot of mud on my shoes because I did plow right through the muddy spots.

As usual I went out too fast because the trail was pretty flat and gentle at the beginning. When it started getting rougher and more hilly I slowed way down. And I was really careful (slow!) going through the muddy spots because I didn't want to slip and fall like a number of other people did. David was up ahead of me and out of sight for the whole race because he's faster than me. But that was cool because then he was at the finish line yelling "Go Cathy!" by the time I got there. :)

It was weird because I spent a good portion of this race running all by myself! I've never had that happen before, usually there are always other people around. But I was too slow for the fast crowd and too fast for the slower crowd so I was mostly by myself. Near the end I was running next to a woman for a while and we talked a little bit about how much the hilly trail kicked our butts. I tried my best to pass her at the end but I just had no juice left so she beat me.

But I really find I enjoy the trail races because it's a mellower crowd, it's a good challenge, it's pretty on the trail and it's just a lot of fun. I had a good time and I think I'll do this same series again next year.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Heart of the Hills 10K Race Report

Now I remember why I make a point of looking for races that say they have a flat course. I do not enjoy hills!

On Saturday, David and I ran the Heart of the Hills 10K. Let me start out by saying that my performance was abysmal. I think I came in 283 out of 306. Hills suck and I'm not good at them, which I'm sure means that I should do more hill work but let's never forget that I'm fundamentally lazy.

The start and finish were at a local high school. The race started at 8am so we showed up at 7 for packet pick-up. Nothing in the goody bag except our t-shirts (cotton) and a few advertising flyers. What, no lip balm? No key chains? No snacks? Well, it's a small race so it doesn't matter.

Running buddy Vicki was doing this one, too. Since we're in marathon training and needed longer than 10K today, we set out for a little warm-up run. Just did 15 minutes, nothing major. Normally I don't warm up at all so this was a change for me.

A few minutes before 8am we lined up at the start. We had D-tags but strangely there was no timing mat at the start. Oh well, guess they measure everyone's start time based on the gun time. Not a big deal considering it took all of five seconds to get across the start. Plus, as mentioned above I suck at hills so I don't think five seconds is really going to make or break my performance.

It was raining a little bit throughout the race but I didn't mind. Felt pretty good, actually. The heavy stuff didn't start coming down until after we were done.

I set out too fast for the first mile. Once we started hitting some hills I slowed right down. I realized this race was going to be a rough one for me so I told myself if I finished with an 11:30 pace I'd feel successful. So, by that measure it was a success, even though I've run a much faster pace for a half marathon.

Here are my times mile by mile:

Mile 1: 9:50
Mile 2: 11:33 (yep, hills!)
Mile 3: 11:16
Mile 4: 11:20
Mile 5: 10:28 (nice gentle decline right after we passed mile 4 so it made me feel like continuing even though earlier I felt like giving up)
Mile 6: 11:12
last 0.2: 9:44 (can you tell I was excited to be near the end of those fricking hills?)

Along the way, I was passed by an old man who was all hunched over and he pounded his feet more loudly than anyone I've ever heard. You would think that would have spurred me on to go faster, but I'm sorry to say that I couldn't catch him. I don't know how old he was. There was a 74 year old who finished ahead of me AND a 91 year old. Yeah, embarrassing. Hope I can still run when I'm their age.

During the final mile, a guy just in front of me asked a volunteer how much more there was to go. She wasn't sure so I gave him the distance from my Garmin and we started chatting a little bit. Turns out he has atrial fibrillation so he has to keep a close eye on his heart rate while he runs. If it goes above a certain point (140 something, I think) he has to take a walk break until his heart rate goes down. He was glad still to be able to run even though it took his pace way down from what it used to be in his younger days. He had to stop to walk then so I trudged on along to the finish.

I was so happy to hear the loudspeaker. The race finished on the high school track and I was relieved that they didn't make us run the whole way around. Would have seemed endless to me at that point. Then it was off to the concession stand where Whole Foods was supplying cookies and bananas. Waited a couple of minutes to see Vicki cross the finish line. David finished before me so I found him and we headed back to the car.

Lesson learned: Hills suck

But I bet I'll do this race again next year and maybe even train on some hills so I can at least beat the 70+ crowd. :)

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Especially for Black Bear!

Sorry, Black Bear, I went to class today but we didn't do a track workout. We just ran loops around the shopping center where the running store is located.

And one of the coaches hassled me about not attending the Saturday morning long runs. Considering I'd have to get up at 4:45am to get there on time, I'm not too interested in attending those runs. I run long with a friend much closer to home at 7am on Saturdays and that works fine for me!

Next up is the Heart of the Hills 10K this Saturday. Hoping my favorite Black Bear has decided to run it, too. Hint hint HINT!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Been too long!

Wow, I've sadly neglected this blog. I don't feel like I have much to say. My marathon training schedule officially started on June 29th and I promptly skipped a couple of days of running that week. Whoops! Oh well, better to goof up the first week instead of the more important weeks later on.

I skipped the Wednesday running class a couple of weeks ago because I was swamped at work and also thunderstorms were going through the area. They did a track workout that day so I may have missed something interesting.

This past Wednesday's class was okay. The run itself was nothing special. They sent us out on the roads to run 4-6 miles. Once again, the coaches went with the fast runners and those of us who are slower were left on our own. The weather was good so it was an enjoyable run. I did only 4 miles since I'd already run 3 miles on Wednesday morning (just in case work was too busy for me to get away for the class).

After the class, we had a seminar on injury prevention. Not sure exactly what the credentials were of the speaker; I think he is some sort of physical therapist. In any case, it was really interesting and he talked a lot about improving one's posture and showed us a few exercises that will help us keep in alignment more easily. He'll come back for another session some time to talk about core strengthening.

One of the coaches gave me a marathon training schedule that he selected for me. Not sure how he selected it since he really hasn't seen me run, nor has he talked to me. The coaches do know our running distances and times because we have a website where we log all our runs so they can review it. The schedule the coach gave me is higher mileage than the schedule I'm using and I don't think I'll be following it. My current schedule may be a little light on mileage so I'll probably end up doing a compromise between the two. Since this is my first marathon and there are approximately a billion different training schedules out there, it's tough to know what's right.

This morning David and I met Vicki at the park for a 6-miler. I ended up doing 6 1/2 miles. It was hot for 7am (over 70 degrees) and really muggy. But it started raining part-way through the run and that kept us cool. The only other times I've run in the rain it's been a cold rain in winter or fall. Running in a warm summer rain was actually surprisingly pleasant.

Okay, done rambling for now.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Tonight's running class

Blah, tonight's running class was really disappointing. First of all, it's freaking hot out there - 90+ degrees. I prefer to run at 6am when it's not so gross outside yet. But I didn't run this morning because I knew I had the class tonight.

So we get to the class and all they did was send us out to the streets to run 4-6 miles! The two coaches took off with the fast runners and left us slower people behind. What a waste! If I'd known that's what we'd be doing, I would have run this morning and skipped the class. Seriously, what am I paying for here? I hope it's better next week. They say they will give us our personalized training schedules next week.

After the running portion of the evening, we went into the running store and they gave us a seminar about choosing proper shoes and socks. Interesting stuff, I guess, if you were brand new to running. Personally, I didn't learn anything new.

Blah! I am whiny today!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Running Class

I signed up for a "Marathon 501" class through a local running shop. My marathon training partner Vicki was going to do it, so I figured I would too.

The group meets twice a week, on Wednesday evenings and Saturday mornings. Wednesday night will be hill work or speed work, while Saturday is the long run. We have two coaches and we also get emails a few times a week from the head coach of the whole program. (They run this class out of several locations.) Plus they have a website with different training schedules we can use, and where we track all of our workouts so the coaches can review it during the week and give us comments when we meet for class.

Last Wednesday was the first class where we actually ran. The prior Wednesday was orientation and they didn't have a Saturday meeting. Not sure how I feel about the class so far. We met at the running store, then ran two miles to a middle school that has a track. Once on the track, we did a two-mile timed run that the coaches will use to help us determine what our training pace should be. Then we ran two miles back to the store, got some initial comments from the coaches about our workouts we'd posted online, and that was it.

I was hoping that we'd be getting some tips on running form and that sort of thing during the class, but so far it hasn't happened. This thing will run through October (most people in the class are training for the Detroit marathon that happens in Oct.) so there's still plenty of time for that, I guess. But the coaches seem a little disorganized and I'm hoping that improves, too. If nothing else, though, at least it will force me to do some hills and speed work which are two things I tend to avoid on my own.

I won't be attending the Saturday long runs because they take place at a park which is way too far away from David's house where I spend the weekends. I don't want to drive 90 minutes to meet for a 6:45am long run. Vicki and I meet at a park and do our long runs together, and there's a huge Team in Training group that meets there so we always have people to run with if we want.

Overall, I'm just keeping my fingers crossed that I didn't waste $150!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Flirt with Dirt 5K Race Report

Yesterday was the Flirt with Dirt 5K at Lakeshore Park in Novi. The park has mountain biking and hiking trails. The race took place on the bike trails.

The temperature was in the low 50s so in other words, perfect. The skies were cloudy. The park is small and we arrived early because we figured parking would be a nightmare. We were wrong - they were very organized and we parked quickly. I'd already picked up my race packet on Friday so David and I just milled around until it was time for the race to start.

They started us off down a grassy hill and we ran a lap around a soccer field, then along the driveway to the trailhead and finally onto the trail. I positioned myself about midway back in the pack and I really don't know if that was a good idea or not. The trail was mostly very narrow singletrack so there weren't a lot of opportunities to pass or be passed. There were a number of times that I was right on someone's heels and could have been going faster but there was no way to get around. Of course, there were also times when someone was on my heels and couldn't get past me, so I suppose it all evens out in the end.

About 3/4 mile into the race, it started to rain. Fortunately, it wasn't raining very hard and the trees shielded us from most of it, anyway. I quickly forgot that it was raining and never even noticed when it stopped.

At one point the girl in front of me tripped on a root or something and fell forward, arms splayed out, right on her face. Ooof! I stopped to ask if she was okay and she said yes, then apologized to me for blocking me! Sheesh, I was just glad she didn't get seriously hurt. We continued to run and she said "ouch" and kept looking at her left palm. I bet she ended up with some fun bruises and scratches.

The trail had hills but not any that were as long as the hills on the first trail race I did, so I didn't have too much trouble. I was really pleased that I didn't walk during this race at all, unlike the previous trail race. It was uphill to the finish so I was huffing and puffing by the time I got there and didn't exactly cross the line in a blaze of speed, but that's okay.

I had two goals for the race:

1) Don't fall. (I fell during the first trail race, ugh!)
2) Keep a faster pace than the last trail race.

Mission accomplished on both counts! Woo hoo! I finished 10th in my age group, which sounds pretty awesome until you find out that there were only 15 racers in my group. :) I finished 96 out 155 overall. Good or bad? I don't know, but I was happy with my performance.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Nice and slow

Went out for a run this morning. I turned the Garmin on when I started running and then didn't look at it again until I was done. I wanted to run nice and relaxed without pushing myself to go faster. My goal was to do something a bit longer than the 3-milers I've been doing since the Bayshore half, but I didn't want to go all out since I have a race tomorrow plus it just felt like a good day for a relaxed run.

I hit the rail trail and ran until I felt like turning around, then ran some more and did a little random neighborhood running, too. When I bought my condo 15 years ago when I was tubby and inactive, I had no idea how wonderful it would be to have that rail trail a mere 1/4 mile from my front door. I love it! They've expanded it in the last several years so I could go a good 12-14 miles or so from end to end if I wanted to (with a couple of scary-ass road crossings in there).

Weather was perfect this morning - low 50s and sunny. A delightful day all in all, and lots of people out enjoying the trail with me. When I got home I expected to see maybe 4 1/2 miles on the Garmin, but it turns out I ran 5 1/4. Loved every minute of it.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Today's run

I ran three miles today at a 9:57 average pace. That's faster than the 5K we did on Saturday. What is happening to me? I honestly never thought I'd break a 10-minute mile. Now I want to see how much faster I can go.

But I'm taking tomorrow off from running. Partly because I don't want to overdo it, but mostly because I have an appointment at 7:15, then I have to work, and then right after work I go to my first Marathon 501 class! Time to start getting ready for the Free Press Marathon. I'm excited and terrified.

Monday, June 8, 2009

More running with David

Since the 5K on Saturday, David and I have had two more opportunities to run together. On Sunday, we headed to the park where I'll be doing a trail 5K on Saturday. I just wanted to check it out and see how crazy it is. We did about 1 1/4 miles there. I think I can handle the terrain, but I'm a little worried about being able to pass people or let them pass me - it is mostly narrow single-track. Hmmm, should be interesting!

After we left the park, we went to my house and did another 3 miles on my local rail trail and got done just before it started raining. A good day of running!

I stayed at David's house last night and we headed out for a run at 6am today. We have a good three-mile route in David's neighborhood that we've run before. We headed out really fast (faster than our race pace from Saturday) for the first 1.5 miles. After that, we knocked it down a notch so as to avoid a heart attack. :) Our average pace for the three miles was nearly as fast as our 5K. I'm excited about the next 5K road race we decide to do, because I think we will kick some major butt.

I have to say once again that I love running with David! What could be better than sharing my favorite activity with my favorite person in the world?

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Dow 5K Race Report

Yesterday was a big day because it was David's first 5K. We ran the Dow 5K in Midland, MI. Since the race started at 8:15am and we live about two hours away from Midland, we drove up the night before and stayed at the lovely new Springhill Suites. I love staying in new hotels - less opportunity for other people to get gross things on every imaginable surface! Best thing about the hotel is that it's entirely non-smoking. Ahhhh, I love to be able to breathe!

We woke up around 6:30am on Saturday so we could get over to the Community Center early and pick up our race packets. Turns out neither of us slept very well on Friday night. I think we had a case of pre-race jitters.

After packet pick-up, of course we had to commemorate the occasion with a pre-race photo opportunity. One of these days I'll shower and do my hair before a shower so I can look pretty in a pre-race picture instead of greasy and unkempt. :)

Then we met up with Michelle, a friend I originally met on a papercraft forum. It was her first 5K, as well. Michelle was the reason I registered for the race. She lives in Midland and I told her I'd run the race too, to provide some moral support.


David later decided this would be a perfect race for his first one since he grew up in Midland and his parents both still live there. Ultimately Michelle decided she would prefer to run her own race rather than have me run alongside her, because her pace is a little slower than mine and she was worried about holding me back. David and I love to run together so we decided to stay side by side for this one and it was awesome!


The race started right on time. We were about halfway back in the crowd so it took us a couple of minutes to cross the starting line. But once we started, the nerves finally dissipated like they always do. We were both really excited and started out way too fast. We'd anticipated running a 10:45/mile pace but we were doing well below 10 for the first mile. We kept telling ourselves to slow down but that didn't work very well!

David's dad lives right on the 10K course and very near the 5K course, so he came out to cheer us on and snap a couple of action photos. We both got a great boost from seeing him and I'm just so pleased that he was there.

We pretty much kept pushing the pace the whole time even though we kept saying we should slow down. We were both feeling good, though, so why slow down, right? When we got down to the last quarter mile I said "Let's go, leave it all out on the course" and we pushed it even more and crossed the finish line together. Ultimately when the official times were posted David ended up finishing two seconds ahead of me. I think I crossed the start line just ahead of him.

The final result was the fastest pace I've ever run for any race (even faster than the Corktown 4-miler in March where I busted my butt) and we finished with a 9:59/mile pace. Yeah! For me, that is a super-freaking-fast pace. David and I both realized afterward that we could have run it even faster but we held back a little because we were afraid we'd be dying at the end.

David loved the whole race experience and I think he'll sign up for another one down the road. And we'll be sure to push hard the whole way and leave this race in the dust!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Another day, another run with my boyfriend

David and I got up early before work today and ran three miles together. I love running with him! :)

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Another beautiful day

What a gorgeous day it is today! It's currently about 50 degrees and beautifully sunny. David is helping a friend's dad move some furniture at 10am today, so we headed out a 8am for a nice three mile run. I'm so thrilled that David is enjoying running. It's been great to run with him these past two days and I hope we have many more great runs together in the future.

Yesterday we discussed that he's interested in doing a half marathon some time in the future. We haven't identified a race yet, but you can bet I'll be ready and willing to sign up for it and run it alongside him (if I can keep up with him - he likes to pick up the pace!)

That's all I have to report for now. I hope everyone is having a great Sunday.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Milestone!

Recovery from Bayshore has been really smooth this week. I haven't run a ton, just 2-3 miles a day until today. This morning I went to Stony Creek to meet my friend Vicki. I planned to run six miles and she was planning 12 since she's training for a half later this month.

My beloved boyfriend David decided to come join us. We're running a 5K in Midland next Saturday - his first race - so he wanted to run three miles and make sure he could handle the distance since he's a new runner. I am so freaking proud of him and delighted, because he ran six miles today! We took a couple of short walk breaks but by far the majority of the six was running. He did a great job! I love running with David and I'm really excited about getting to do that more often.

He may be a convert to the delights of the early morning run, too. He felt great after finishing. I always love running first thing in the morning because then I don't care if I'm a lazy bum the rest of the day. I still know I accomplished something good. Now David understands that feeling. :)

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Bayshore Half Marathon Report

I am proud to announce that I completed the Bayshore Half Marathon this morning in 2:16:51 which was a PR for me. (Previous PR was 2:20:02). Woo hoo! My Garmin battery died before the race started so I was running blind and actually that worked out okay.

The race course was so beautiful! Traverse City is located on a big bay of Lake Michigan and almost the whole course was on roads along the bay. Lovely views, great weather (mid-50s and some sun), awesome houses along the course that I would love to own.

I saw so many people I knew today, which was wonderful. I spent the time before the race hanging out with Sue, who was one of the Team in Training mentors when I trained for Phoenix. She's awesome and she will also be running the Detroit marathon so I know I'll see her a lot while training for that. She was aiming for a 2-hour finish time so I didn't run with her.

I set out alone at the start line, but about 2 miles in I heard someone say my name. It was Tracy, who was the TNT walk coach when I was a member. She is also awesome. She was running with her friend Tammy and I ran the remaining 11 miles of the race with them. That was so great. I wouldn't have gotten through it without them. Tracy was gunning for a 2:15 finish (which she didn't quite get) so I was pushing myself a bit to stay with her. It was soooo nice to have someone to run with, though, that I didn't want to fall back. Tracy and Tammy did pull away from me a bit in the last half mile because they wanted to try to sprint and I didn't have it in me.

With about 2 miles to go, we say Sandy who was my TNT running coach. She ran the last 2 miles with us. Are you seeing a theme here with the TNT people? Great group of folks and it's nice to feel like part of a running community.

Overall, I had a fabulous time. I've attached a few pictures David captured. The finish line was on the high school track so there was a nice group of people there at the end giving encouragement.

Wheee! I'm so glad I did it. I feel surprisingly good right now. I have a blister on the arch of my left foot but it doesn't hurt so it's all good. David and I spent the day in downtown Traverse City checking out all the cute little shops. And I had some beer and some pie and some pizza and everything else that was delicious. And I have a nice shiny medal and a shiny new PR. :)


Sunday, May 17, 2009

Now the taper really begins

I have the Bayshore half marathon coming up next Saturday. I had a pathetic week of running this week. Between Monday and Friday I think I only logged 8 miles. I know I should be tapering, but come on! That's just ridiculous. I was busy all day Saturday so I didn't run then.

This morning I headed out to the park with Vicki. She had 11 miles scheduled. I was planning to do six. My six ended up a little longer because I needed to sidetrack to a restroom after about four miles. Embarrassing! And then when we got to the end of the loop I felt good so I tacked on another half mile. Ended up at seven total for the day. It felt good. Now I won't run more than three at a time for the rest of the week. Friday will be a day off.

Keep your fingers crossed for good weather in Traverse City next weekend. :)

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Title 9K+ Race Report

On Sunday, May 10 I was in Boulder, CO to run the Title 9K+ race. (Sorry BlackBear, not Bolder Boulder!) Title 9K+ is a 9.9K women's only race sponsored by Title 9K clothing company.

What brought me to the race was a friend named Rachel from an online fitness forum that I belong to. There's a group of a few of us on the forum who are runners and Rachel invited me and another woman, Wendy, to come visit her and run the race. So I flew in on Friday evening, met my friends in person for the first time, and had a wonderful weekend!

On Saturday morning we went for a nice 4-mile run near Rachel's house. SO FREAKING BEAUTIFUL to go for a run with the Rocky Mountains forming the backdrop. Gorgeous! I was concerned about how the high altitude would affect a midwest flat-lander like me, but it turned out to be okay. I felt it, and my heart rate was up a bit, but it was manageable.

After our run, we cleaned up and headed up to Cheyenne to visit the Sierra Trading Post outlet. Wow, what a huge store! I bought a few running shirts, which I totally don't need but who cares, right? And also a cute casual skirt. Wendy and Rachel found even more and better deals than I did. It's probably a good thing I didn't buy more, since I hate checking luggage and my carry-on was already stuffed to the point of bursting.

On Sunday morning, we were up early and off to Boulder for the race! Rachel's husband and kids came with us. (It was Mother's Day, after all!) The race as at the Boulder Reservoir - really lovely there. It had been raining while were en route but fortunately stopped by race time. It was still cold, though. But Wendy (who is from southern California) was wearing shorts while Rachel and I were more bundled up. She's a tough one, that Wendy. :)

Rachel is super fast, so she lined up well ahead of me and Wendy. Wendy is also faster than me, so I was left in the dust pretty early on. I was wearing my jacket from the RNR Arizona half marathon, so that was fun because it caused a couple of women to start conversations with me. The race was mostly along dirt roads. Man, there were a couple of killer hills. But I kept on running. Really the only thing that slowed me down was about half a mile from the end when they had big pieces of chocolate at the aid station. Had to stop for that! Mmmm, chocolate.

The end of the race was a downhill, so I was able to turn on a little speed and feel what Rachel must feel like all the time when she runs! Crossed the finish line and collected my medal, which is actually a pretty necklace with a little pendant that says "Fit to Run" along with the name of the race and the date. Very nice! I haven't done a 10K before so I don't have a good point of comparison, but I was happy enough with my time. Mostly was glad the altitude didn't cause me to gasp for air and pass out. :)

Then we headed into town, did a little shopping, and then Wendy and I headed off to the airport. The weekend was much too short. And the race was a lot of fun, but mostly I enjoyed meeting my friends and hope I get to see them again soon.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Rounding out the week

I'm so lazy about blogging lately. But I've still been running!

Last Saturday afternoon after the trail race, David and I went to Stony Creek to hike on the nature trails. We managed to get caught in a rainstorm and I twisted my ankle in my rush to get back to the car. How nice that I can actually fall during a trail race without injury, yet I can't do a simple nature hike without hurting myself! My ankle was a bit sore for a few days, but nothing too bad. Certainly not enough to keep me from running.

On Sunday, we headed out to the bike/walk path at Stony Creek to do David's "couch to 5k" training plan. After we did that (about 2 miles), I was going to run out the rest of the 6-mile loop and David was going to walk it. When I got to the 5.5 mile mark, it started raining. Then it started raining pretty hard. So I was fairly well drenched by the time I got back to the car and called David to let him know I'd come pick him up. Unfortunately, the road set-up wasn't too cooperative so I had to do some goofy backtracking to get to David and he was soaked. Ugh, I felt bad about that.

Monday morning I got up early and did a lovely 5-mile run around David's neighborhood. I'm so happy that it's getting light out earlier now so I don't get all creeped out by early morning runs outside. It's nice to get away from the treadmill.

But speaking of the treadmill, on Tuesday and Wednesday it was back on the ol' belt of boredom to get my runs in because it was rainy and I'm a wimp! I took Thursday and Friday entirely off from any kind of exercise because I was feeling tired and my legs were a little dead. And frankly, I'm lazy so really that's my main reason for taking days off.

Today I met Sue, a former Team in Training mentor, to do a long run in Oxford. My regular running buddy Vicki is in Cincinnati this weekend for the Flying Pig half marathon and Sue was kind enough to invite me to run with her group of friends who usually meet on the weekends. Sue needed to get a good long run in, too, because she's also running the Bayshore half in a few weeks and her friends usually don't go more than 5 miles.

So Sue and I intended to get 12 in, but the route she chose ended up with us back at our cars after 11 1/4. We called it close enough because my legs were pretty sore anyway. But in a little while, David and I will hit the streets for his couch to 5k training so that will get me a couple of more miles, anyway. Then we're off to the Green Street Fair in Plymouth to walk around and then we'll probably hike at Maybury State Park. Gotta take advantage of the good weather and spend some time outside! Hoping not to get caught in a rainstorm this weekend. :)

Saturday, April 25, 2009

First Trail Race!

Today I participated in my first trail race, the Road Ends 5-Mile Trail Run at Pinckney Recreation Area. It was only the second trail run of my life and I loved it!

I accomplished my primary goal, which was not to end up DFL or DNF. Sadly, I did not accomplish my secondary goal of not falling down. Just past mile 2, I kicked a stick and sent it flying into the legs of another runner. I turned my head to apologize to her. Mistake! I promptly tripped over Lord knows what and fell forward. Fortunately, I just picked up a lot of dirt and a few minor scratches on my right leg. No real injuries.

We're having what the weather guy calls "unseasonably warm" weather, which I refer to as "freaking awesome, feels like summer and I love it" weather. But for running, it's probably not the best.

I left the house shortly before 7am and it was already almost 70 degrees outside. It probably was 70 by the time the race started at 9am and a few degrees more than that at the end. While I do love not having that crazy shock of cold air when I step out of the house to run, I wish it had been a little cooler. There's just no pleasing me, eh?

Normally for a 5-mile run I don't bother to carry water and today was no exception. But with the warm weather and the hills, I was so happy to see the water station around the 2.5 mile mark. In fact, I said "thank God" when I saw it and the woman running near me echoed my sentiment.

So anyway, about this trail. As I mentioned above, this is only the second time I've ever run on a trail. The first time was last Sunday because I thought "hey, it might be a good idea to attempt a trail run at least once before you do a trail race, genius." So I ran 5.3 miles on the mountain bike trails at Stony Creek Metropark. (Though technically all those miles weren't on the trail since I got a little turned around and decided getting on the road to go back to my car was probably my smarter move.) I enjoyed the first trail run, found it fun and challenging but not too strenuous.

Naturally, this made me excited and probably a little cocky for today's race. David has gone mountain biking at Pinckney before and warned me that it would be a tough, hilly trail. Well I am here to tell you, that man knows what he's talking about. Wow, there were some killer hills. Fortunately, it seems that it's quite acceptable to walk up the hills in trail racing. Yay! So walk I did, for most of the hills. Occasionally (for the less steep ones), I acted all tough and ran up. But overall, my pace was pretty slow and I was okay with that. I felt a lot more relaxed than I normally do during a race. I really didn't feel any pressure to race. I just wanted to have fun.

I was wearing the shirt from the Martian Half Marathon so that caused a few other people to strike up conversations with me. One woman and I chatted for a bit as we ran. She'd also run the Martian half. I told her this was my first trail race and she said "it's my first one, too, and it's kicking my ass." I enjoyed talking to her but she stopped to walk and said "I'll let you go, have a good race" which I think is code for "go away and leave me alone, lady, I'm trying to race here."

When I got into the last mile of the race, I noticed I was feeling pretty good and my breathing was fine. Meanwhile, quite a few people around me were sucking in wind like a Dyson sucks dirt out of your carpet. I would feel egotistical and think that it's because I'm so much more fit, but the reality is that I didn't push myself much. After the fall at mile 2, I started running more cautiously because I didn't want to fall again and risk an injury.

In summary, the race was a great time. I had a lot of fun and will do more trail running in the future. Next time I do a trail race, I plan to push myself a little harder and leave more of my energy out on the course instead of taking it back to the car with me.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Survived the week

So, we had major layoffs at work this week. I ate a lot of chocolate on Tuesday when it was going down in my department. But I did run on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. And managed to finally get my eating under control.

Today I went out for a nice 12-miler with my friend Vicki. What a fantastic day for a run. It was almost 50 degrees when we started out at 7:30 this morning and gorgeously sunny. Ahhhh, a nice long run feels so good. We tried to keep our pace very reasonable today because we tend to overdo it. But we still found ourselves going way too fast from time to time. I swear, I need to keep my eyes glued to my watch every minute, otherwise my pace just gets out of control.

Vicki agreed to run the Detroit Free Press Marathon with me! Woo hoo, I'm so excited. We run really well together and it will be great to have a training partner for all those long miles. Plus, we're planning to run the whole race together. We don't have any time goals, we just want to get through it. It will be a lot easier to get through it if we run it together. Yeah!

Monday, April 13, 2009

I run so I can eat

That's what my favorite Bondiband says: I run so I can eat. But in this case, it should say "I ate, so I need to run!" Wow, did I ever eat a lot over the weekend! Like, everything in sight, former fat girl style, just chowed down. Good thing I ran 9.5 miles on Saturday, but that didn't put a dent in it!

Today I made it to the gym and got about 4.5 miles in before work. I'll run before work this week on Tue, Wed and Thu, too. Maybe even Friday. And I've got 12 scheduled for Saturday. If I do all that and eat right all week, then maybe I'll be back to where I started before I took a trip to binge-ville.

Job stress (as in, we're having layoffs and I'm waiting to see if I still have a job) has definitely played a role, but I think I also just got tired of always being the healthy, virtuous chick. However, I feel thoroughly gross and also don't want to regain all my weight, so it's back to healthy virtuousness this week and beyond.

Now somebody hold me to that.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Martian half marathon race report

The good news: I set a PR at the Martian half marathon this morning.

The bad news: Actually, there is no bad news. I SET A PR! Hehehe.

The official results aren't posted yet. If my Garmin is at all correct, then I beat my previous half marathon time by about 12 minutes. YEAH! (Edited to add: results are in and I set a PR by 12:37. Wooo!)

I don't know what else to write about. The race started at 7am. I arrived at about 6:30 and went into the building where late packet pickup was happening because it was warmer in there and they had real toilets. :) Temperature was in the low 30s at the start and around 40 at the finish, so it wasn't too bad. My hands were cold the whole race so I kept my gloves on. But then my hands are almost always cold, so that's no surprise.

As my friend Wendy predicted, my nerves settled down as soon as the race started. I think there were around 4,000 people registered, nearly all of them for the half and very few for the full. The race route was along the roads in Dearborn, MI (home of Ford Motor Company). The majority of the route was along one long road that goes through a number of parks, so there were lots of flush toilets along the route. Why am I so focused on the toilets? I don't know, but porta potties are gross so real toilets are appreciated.

The weather was mostly cloudy but the sun peeked out from time to time. It's hard to believe we're supposed to get three inches of snow tonight.

Even though I knew quite a few people who were running the race, I never saw any of them. It felt like the miles were going by pretty quickly and I felt quite good through most of the race. The course was mainly flat but there were a couple of killer hills which fortunately were very short. I'm proud to report that, aside for stopping at a couple of water stations, I ran the whole way. (That's different than my last half, where I took a few walk breaks in the later miles.) When I got to mile 12 I started getting pretty excited. And also had some weird and horrible abdominal cramping which fortunately disappeared after a few minutes.

I was really happy to see the finish line up ahead and I have no idea how the hell I'm going to run a full marathon in October. After I finished, I headed for the food tent and promptly ate three giant chocolate chip cookies. Yum!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Weekly round-up

On Monday and Tuesday, I didn't run at all. That felt really weird to me. I did strength training on Monday, so I wasn't totally workout-free those days.

I felt pretty guilty about not doing anything on Tuesday because it wasn't pre-planned. I wanted to sleep in on Tuesday morning and planned to go to the gym and hop on the treadmill on Tuesday night. However, after work on Tuesday I drove to the gym and when I arrived in the parking lot I thought "I really don't want to do this" so I went home, instead. I think my legs just needed a break.

Wednesday morning I was back at it with 5 miles on the treadmill. I bumped up the pace every mile because I'm trying to get used to doing negative splits instead of always running full-out in the beginning and then crapping out at the end. I also went back to the gym after work on Wednesday to do strength training again. I actually made myself work my abs, which I hate to do, so it was nice to feel some ab soreness later in the week. :)

I have the world's greatest boyfriend, because David is very agreeable about doing our usual Wednesday "date night" at the gym instead of going out to dinner like we used to do. I enjoy eating out but it's so hard for me to keep myself in control when I go to a restaurant. Also, since I dedicated myself to strength training three days a week it really helps me to have that additional opportunity to go to the gym on Wednesday nights.

On Thursday morning, back to the gym. (Are we sensing a theme here?) I did three miles and then had some issues that caused me to need to stop. I'll spare you the TMI. :)

I went to bed at 9:15 on Thursday night. (Oh, I didn't mention that I also promised myself this week that I'll start getting more sleep and I was pretty successful at accomplishing that.) As a consequence, I woke up at 4am on Friday.

Okay, I also had to pee which seems to be a multi-time occurrence at night these days since I've become such a coffee hound (all decaf, though). Anyway, since I was up anyway and had planned to go to the gym for weight lifting, I figured I'd just go early so I could get some running in, too. So Friday was a kick-ass workout day. I sandwiched in two runs surrounding my strength training. All in all, I ran just over 5 miles and also lifted weights for 40 minutes. Woo hoo! I worked those darn abs again, so I'm feeling them again today which makes me perversely happy.

This morning I was scheduled for five miles. Normally I'd go meet friends at the park for a run, but it was supposed to rain today so I didn't want to commit myself to that. Turned out it was really nice out, 40 and sunny, so I didn't have to treadmill and could run outside instead. It was hard for me to motivate myself to take the first step, but once I got going I felt good and actually ran 7.5 miles instead of the planned five. I ran more miles than my schedule called for this week. Oops. :)

The schedule I'm following is aimed at the Bayshore Half Marathon on May 23, so next week isn't scheduled as a taper week even though I've got the Martian Half Marathon on April 5. We'll see how it goes, I may trim back the mileage a little bit from what is on the schedule depending on how I feel. I'll definitely take next Saturday as a total rest day, which will be easy for me to do since I'm taking a card-making class at the local scrapbook store at 10am on Saturday so I'll be up and out of the house early doing other stuff.

Must remember to go to the Martian Expo next Friday after work to pick up the ugly race shirt and get my race packet. =)

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Finishing out the weekend

I wrote a whole big post and Blogger ate it. Booo! Short version: I ran six miles today even though it was supposed to be a rest day. I will rest tomorrow instead. I backed off the pace to give my legs a break, but still it was fast enough to be a PR pace if I keep it up for a half marathon.

Running rules. :)

Saturday, March 21, 2009

The speed continues

On Thursday, I went to the gym before work and ran three miles on the treadmill. Did it at a pretty slow pace. I went back to the gym after work with the intention of running more, but I got through a quarter mile and my legs felt dead so I just walked a couple miles and called it good. I strength-trained on Friday, no running.

Today, I met a couple of running buddies (Erica and Josh) at the park for a run. Josh is the person with whom I ran the first two miles of last Sunday's 4-mile race. He and Erica are much faster than I am. I was determined to see how long I could hang in there with them. Turns out that today the answer was seven miles. After that they started pulling away because I had to slow down a little bit.

The awesome thing about today's 10 miles was that my average pace was a mere 2 seconds per mile slower than Sunday's 4-mile race. I'm so amazed that I could sustain that pace over a longer distance. It was over a minute faster per mile than the half marathon I did in January. Keeping my fingers crossed that I will PR by a good chunk of time in one of my upcoming halfs.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Still feeling speedy

This running faster thing seems to be sticking. I ran five miles before work this morning and my average pace was about 15 seconds slower than the race I did on Sunday. And that is still WAY faster than my usual pace.

After work it was in the 60s and sunny so I just had to get out and run again. I did almost three miles and my pace was slightly faster than this morning's pace. What is up with that? I guess running outside in warmer weather agrees with me because I just can't believe how much my speed has suddenly improved. Let's see how long it lasts! I'll be really interested to see what happens during this Saturday's 10-mile long run.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Corktown 4 Mile Race

Yesterday I went to Detroit for the Corktown 4-mile race. Corktown is a Detroit neighborhood, near Tiger Stadium, which apparently is the Irish area of Detroit. At least there are a lot of Irish bars there, and they have a St. Patrick's Day parade after the race.

It was gorgeous weather, almost 50 degrees and sunny. David came with me and we had plans to meet friends for a drink after the race. I went to line up and scanned the crowd of runners for people I knew, because I knew several of my TNT buddies were planning to be there. Suddenly I felt a tap on my shoulder and it turned out two of my buddies, Josh and Stephanie, were standing right in front of where I lined up. Another friend, Tim, came over so we chatted for a couple of minutes and then it was time to race.

Stephanie was doing the two mile race and was planning to walk/jog. Tim is a speed demon so he took off in front. Josh and I ran together for the first two miles. Josh is a much faster runner than I am but he was holding back a bit at first. And I was pushing myself because it felt good to have a challenge and also it's fun to race with someone else.

At the two mile mark, Josh said he was going to kick it into high gear so he took off. I kept pushing myself to keep up my same pace even though I didn't have him there any more to lead me. I could really feel it in my legs but it still felt good. Then I had some extra motivation around the three mile mark, because some guy near me kept horking up big phlegm wads and spitting them onto the ground. I freaking HATE THAT! It's so gross and I thought I was going to throw up, so I had to pick up the pace just to get away from Horky McSnottington.

I kept checking my watch and couldn't believe the time I was seeing. I ended up at the fastest pace I've ever sustained over any kind of distance. It felt so good to see that. I don't expect ever to be fast but it's nice to know that I still am able to improve from where I've been. I know this was a short race and thus very different from my upcoming half marathons, but I really am feeling hopeful about getting a PR at the Bayshore half in May.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

This week's update

This week was mostly a treadmill week for me. Nothing really interesting to report. On Wednesday, I did two runs in one day for the first time ever. Ran 3 1/2 miles before work and another 4 after work. It just worked out that was how I could best fit my runs in this week.

Today Vicki and I met at the park for a run. I had 10 miles to do while she had 6 on her schedule. It was a bit colder than last week (around 25 today) but nice and sunny. Plus, once again we lucked out with no wind so that made it feel pretty good.

For some reason we were faster than usual today. It felt pretty good so we went with it. We ended up over 30 seconds per mile faster than our run last week. After Vicki left and I continued on, I thought I might slow down but in fact I picked up my pace by a couple of seconds per mile. I finished my 10 miles without any problems and now I have hope that I may actually be able to beat my time from the RNR Arizona half marathon when I do a half in May.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Spring has arrived

Today I met Vicki at the park at 7:30am for a 10-mile run. And what a wonderful change in the weather compared to last Saturday's 15 degrees! It was nearly 40 when we started out and it felt delightful.

Plus there was almost no wind, which was also a big switch compared to last week. In fact, there tends to be a lot of crazy wind at this particular park so it's rare to have a nearly windless day like we had today. It started raining about seven miles in so that felt a little cold, but fortunately the sky didn't really open up until we were almost done.

I really enjoy running with Vicki because we go at a similar pace so I don't feel like I'm holding her back, nor do I feel like she's holding me back. It works out really well. I'm already bummed because she's now tapering for a half marathon in two weeks, so next Saturday she's only doing six while I'll be doing ten. And the weekend after that, she'll be in Virginia Beach running the Shamrock half. So I will be doing six with her next Saturday and finishing the last four on my own, then I will see who I can recruit to run with me the following weekend.

Tomorrow I'm doing four miles, but it will probably be on the treadmill because it's supposed to rain all day and I don't particularly enjoy running in the rain.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Nothing much to report

Just a quick update. Ran 4 miles on Sunday. Ate everything I could get my hands on during and after my nephew's birthday party. Ran 4 miles on Monday morning and felt thoroughly gross due to the previous day's eating excesses. Nice lesson learned there: stop eating crap!

I did six miles tonight and felt a lot better, though I wasn't really into it. It's supposed to get warmer later this week so I hope to get off the treadmill and back outside.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Icicle reporting in!

After running on the treadmill all week, today I made plans to meet my running buddy Vicki at the park at 7:30am to run nine miles. And wouldn't you know it, I woke up to a dusting of snow and 15 degree weather - the coldest we've had all week by far. But I was committed so off I went.

When I arrived at the park, Vicki was there and so were Debbie and Sue (former TNT mentors). Deb and Sue had planned to run starting at 7am so I was surprised they weren't already out on the trail, but it was nice because Vicki and I started out with them. Deb and Sue are faster than us, though, so after about a mile they started pulling ahead and Vicki and I stayed together.

Unfortunately there were some icy spots hidden under the dusting of snow. Vicki fell down twice and slipped once. I slipped a bit once but managed to stay on my feet. Vicki thinks she's going to have a pretty sore knee later so she planned to apply ice as soon as she got home. I hope she's all right, because she's running the Shamrock half marathon in Virginia Beach in three weeks so now would be an especially bad time to get an injury.

Despite the bone-chilling cold and major runny nose that comes along with it, it felt great to run outside for the first time since Valentine's Day. Vicki and I plan to meet again at the same time next Saturday. Keep your fingers crossed that the weather will be a wee bit warmer then!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Meh

Nothing much to report. On Sunday, I planned to do five miles but I did slightly more (5.37 - don't ask me why I stopped there because I don't know). On Tuesday I was scheduled for five, but I ran six just for the hell of it.

I'm scheduled for another five tomorrow, but I'm staying up late tonight to watch the Top Chef finale so I probably won't feel like getting up early to run. And I can't run after work tomorrow because I have plans already with some friends. So, looking like Friday will be a running day instead of a day off like it's supposed to be.

On Saturday I'm hoping to get some friends to meet me at the park. My schedule calls for only four miles, but since I cut my long run short last week I may aim for 8-9 on Saturday instead. Not if I end up treadmilling it, though. I'm just not that ambitious this week.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Should have gone outside

I didn't plan to meet with anyone at the park this morning because we were supposed to get 3-5 miles of snow and I am so over running in the snow. However, when I dragged my lazy butt out of bed at 11am, the snow was just beginning. So I could have done my nine miles and been home before the snow. Oh well.

I pretty much lazed around for most of the day and watched the snow fall. Finally around 4:30 I decided I really needed to get to the gym. I decided I'd just run five miles today. Then at the gym, shortly into my run I started watching an episode of House which really caught my attention, so I ran six miles instead of five just so I could see the end of the episode. As always, felt absolutely fabulous after the run. Nothing feels better.

More running tomorrow, I think, though technically I'm supposed to be taking the day off. But I'd rather take the day off on Monday, so I'm gonna switch up the schedule.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Redeeming myself

As mentioned earlier this week, I was all ambitious and did my Wednesday morning run on Tuesday evening instead. (Incidentally, the bad weather predicted for Wednesday morning never showed up.) So Wednesday became a day off and I was supposed to run five miles on Thursday. But I didn't, I was just feeling super lazy. So then I considered and rejected the idea of going to the gym before work this morning. Lazy again!

However, I redeemed myself after work by hitting the treadmill and getting those five miles in. It actually turned out to be a great run. I got into the groove almost right away and felt fabulous.

Tomorrow I'm scheduled for nine and it's supposed to snow several inches, so I won't be running outside. Looks like I have another treadmill run in my near future!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Slight change of plans

Today was supposed to be a non-running day. However, the weather report calls for super-nasty snow and rain during tomorrow morning's commute. So I figured I should do Wednesday morning's run tonight instead, so I have some hope of leaving the house early and getting to work on time. (Which begs the question, why am I still awake when it's almost midnight?)

In any case, it was one of those runs where I didn't get into my groove until after three miles had gone by. The run was a one-mile warm up, three miles at tempo, and then a one mile cool down. After I completed three miles I didn't have to talk myself through every quarter mile any more. Some runs are just less fun than others for some reason, but I did feel great when I was done.

I think the main issues were that I was hungry and also I like to just go home and relax after work. All in all, morning running works better for me but tonight was good and I'm glad I did it.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Monday update

This morning I was scheduled for a 5-mile easy run, so I woke up around 4:45 and headed off to the gym. As usual, the first mile was less than fun for me. I generally start out with a lot of whiny thoughts: "my legs are tired, I don't feel like doing this today, why aren't I sleeping right now?" I usually manage to push myself to positivity after the first mile or so.

Today "Love Shack" came on the video screens right around mile 2. It's impossible for me to be in a crabby mood and listen to that song. It perked me right up and the remaining three miles were terrific.

I was trying to figure out why running on the treadmill doesn't bore me as much as it used to. I realized that it's because it gives me great thinking time. Once the initial whiny thoughts subside, I think about other things like what's going on at work, what my plans are for the day or the week, and so on. Today I was thinking about strategies to approach a plan I'm doing at work and I felt a lot better after spending that time contemplating it. Not much else to do on a treadmill besides run and think so I like to make good use of the time!

Tomorrow is a scheduled day off but I'll be getting up early anyway just to do some laundry and play with my crafty stuff. I like to get up early every day during the work week even if I'm not running that day, in hopes that keeping a consistent schedule will be better for me than constantly changing my sleep cycle. Plus I can get a lot done in those couple of hours before I have to start getting ready for work. Love to start the day feeling productive!

I should be sleeping right now, so off I go.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Outside again

Today I had plans to meet some old TNT teammates at the park for a run. And when I woke up, I looked outside and saw a couple of inches of snow had fallen overnight. Ugh, I don't enjoy running in the snow especially when the flakes are still falling.

But since I'd already promised people that I'd be there, off I went. Plus I was going to have to run eight miles today one way or another, and it's definitely a lot more fun to run with people outside instead of all alone on the treadmill.

We met up in the warming room. There were seven of us. Two were walkers so they went separately and the other five of us headed out together. I'm the slowest one so eventually the pack of five broke up a bit and two went on ahead while three of us stayed back. The two who stayed with me, Josh and Debbie, were definitely running slower than their normal pace just to accommodate me but I appreciated it (even though I do feel guilty when I hold people back like that).

When we hit the water station at the 3.25 mile mark, up from behind us came another old teammate Neil. We'd thought he wasn't coming but it turns out he was just a little late so he hauled butt to catch up with us. Neil runs at my pace normally, so we were able to run together while the others went on ahead. So everyone had someone to run with and it was nice.

It was in the upper 20s, so really the temperature was quite comfortable. I was wearing a light jacket plus a winter-weight Nike shirt and ultimately I had to unzip the jacket. That shirt is WARM! I could have skipped the jacket entirely and been fine. The shirt is kind of fleecy on the inside and definitely keeps me toasty.

All in all, quite an exhilarating run and I'm so glad I went. Running has turned out to be not only great for my fitness and my mental health, but also a great way to connect with people and make friends. I love it! :)

Friday, February 13, 2009

Happy Friday!

Here are five things I'm grateful for today.

1. It's the weekend so I get to spend lots of time with David.
2. I ran five miles this morning.
3. I ate a giant, frosted, heart-shaped cookie with M&Ms and I don't feel guilty about it because of point #2.
4. I'm pretty close to needing a new, smaller pants size.
5. I'm gainfully employed in a job that I generally enjoy.

The run was scheduled as an easy run. I wasn't really feeling it for the first three miles, but then I got into my zone and really enjoyed miles four and five. They flew by! And as always, I felt freaking fabulous when I was done running. Life is good, baby, life is good.

What are you grateful for today?

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Today I did my first official "speedwork" session as part of my half marathon training. I have to admit, I was a little afraid of it when I saw it on the schedule. I don't like to breathe hard. :) The basic plan was one mile warm-up, then two 1-mile repeats at a fast pace with half-mile jogs in between, and then a cooldown. Total distance 5 miles.

The fast pace wouldn't be considered fast by elite standards, but it was challenging for me. I did ultimately end up enjoying it. It's fun to push yourself sometimes. When I felt a little bit like slowing down during the second fast mile I reminded myself that people on the Biggest Loser who weigh twice as much as I do are able to do this, so I can do it, too.

This Runner's World schedule I'm following is interesting to me. All the paces were chosen for me based on the previous half marathon time I entered. It only has speed sessions one time per month. There are also tempo runs every other week. And a lot of what are labeled as "easy runs" where the prescribed pace is much slower than my normal running pace so I confess I have been running faster than it calls for. It's very different from the TNT plan I followed, which just gave me a mileage total for the day without any directions regarding pace.

By the way, the guy on the treadmill next to me was doing one-minute intervals. During his speed intervals, he was going ELEVEN miles per hour. His rest intervals in between were about the same pace as my speed intervals. :)

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Today was a better day

Today I managed to get myself up at a reasonable time and not lollygag around for hours. David and I headed for the gym and I accomplished the eight mile run that I was supposed to do yesterday. Felt great!

Treadmill running just isn't seeming horrible to me like it used to. I get into a zone and just feel great. It's amazing to me how much I love running, especially considering I used to think it was the worst thing ever.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

4 instead of 8

I bailed on the eight miler today. I ran four instead, which is what was supposed to be tomorrow's run. After sleeping so late and spending so much time sitting around after I woke up, I just didn't feel like taking the time to run eight today. Felt great after four, though, so I'm looking forward to tomorrow.

Sleep!

Sleep has apparently become my priority the past couple of days. I was supposed to run 4 yesterday morning, but when the alarm went off at 5am I was exhausted so I decided to blow off the run. I'll make it up on Sunday.

Today I slept in until 1pm! 1pm! Who does that? But I guess my body must have needed it. I've been staying up late and getting up early for a couple of weeks and I just can't keep doing that. I'll be going to the gym in a bit to get my 8 miles in and I'm sure I'll feel much better after that.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Getting caught up!

Despite my absence from posting, I've still been running. My run with my old TNT buddies on 1/24 was the last time I ran outside - it's been treadmill all the way.

Probably my favorite run since then was on January 29th. I woke up unbelievably early that day (4am) and decided to head for the gym instead of going back to sleep. I had no particular running agenda because I wasn't training for a race. So I just ran for the pure fun of it and found myself doing seven miles. Seven miles on a treadmill would normally be boring, but I just got into a zone and really enjoyed the heck out of it. It just felt great to run.

This past Saturday, David and I were at a hotel up north because we had plans to go snowmobiling. I woke up half an hour earlier than I needed to, so I decided to hit the hotel treadmill for a few miles. That felt good, too. And it was a good thing I got those miles in because then I ended up throwing my back out and had to take a couple of days off from running. I was supposed to start my new half marathon training schedule yesterday, but I decided it was more important to let my back get better. I'm feeling great today so I started race training, just an easy four-mile run. Which felt great, and too short. I'm sensing a theme here - I'm really enjoying running these days!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Signed up for another one

I've been running a bit this week, trying to get back on track for my 1,000 mile goal for the year. I took Monday and Tuesday off, but ran on the treadmill at the gym on Wed, Thu and Fri. I also went out to the park today to run with the TNT people. It was freaking cold - bitterly cold. Thought hard about not going, but I'd already told a few people that I'd be there. I ended up doing six miles (one time around the park loop) and called it good. I will hit the treadmill at the gym tomorrow and then I think I'll be back on pace for 1,000 miles.

While at the park today, a couple of people mentioned that they were planning to do the Martian Half Marathon on April 5th. I'm already signed up to do the Bayshore Half Marathon on May 23rd (as is one of the Martian half-marathoners).

I thought about it for a while after I got home and then thought what the hell, I'm going to go for it. My training schedule for Bayshore calls for me to do an 11 mile long run the week of the Martian half. So I'll just treat the Martian as my long run, a little longer than called for, and not worry about my time. Bayshore is still the race where I'll be aiming to beat my RNR AZ time. Martian can be slower and I won't care - I'm just going to consider it a training run. A training run that happens to have one of the ugliest race shirts I've ever seen in my life. Can't wait to get it! :)

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Rock 'n' Roll Arizona Half Marathon Race Report



My boyfriend David and I arrived in Phoenix on Friday. That day utterly sucked because I had one of my cats put to sleep, so the less said about that, the better. We went to the race expo to pick up my packet. I spent a ridiculous amount of money to buy the official race jacket as well as a cute pink fleece hoodie with the race name embroidered on it. On Friday evening, I met with my TNT teammates to decorate our singlets.

On Saturday morning, I met with our coach Sandy and a teammate, Kimberly, for a quick 2-mile run. Some TNT people from Oregon joined us as well. It felt great to run in 50-degree weather after all the cold at home.

On Saturday afternoon, we had a wonderful experience because we had lunch with a friend from an online forum and her husband. I've known her on the forum for 5 or 6 years, but this was our first meeting and it was really cool. I was really nervous about it, but they were great. Very easy to talk to.

Saturday night was the TNT pasta party. I didn't actually eat anything because I was still so stuffed from lunch. There were about 2,000 TNT runners from all over the country. Amazing! They announced the biggest fund-raiser. One girl from New York raised $34,000! Wow, made me feel like a total slacker! John "The Penguin" Bingham was the emcee for the event. I absolutely love him, since I am a penguin myself! He lost his first love to a blood cancer back in the 60s, so TNT is near and dear to his heart. We also had a speech from a woman who lost her daughter a few years ago. It was very emotional and touching, and reminded us all why we were there.

After the pasta party, I laid out all my stuff so I'd be ready on Sunday morning.

On Sunday morning, I wanted to be up by 5:30 because the 1/2 marathon folks were due on a shuttle to the start line at 6:15. I set the hotel alarm clock and also set my cell phone alarm as a back-up. Unfortunately, I forgot that my cell was still on Eastern time, so it went off at 3:30am Mountain time. Whoops! But despite that, I slept surprisingly well the night before the race. I ended up waking up at 5am so I got dressed and went downstairs to get some pictures of my full marathon teammates, who were leaving on the 5:30am shuttle.

When the time came for my shuttle, I met up with my Michigan teammate Becca. We rode over together and then wandered around checking everything out. I don't know why they made us get there so ridiculously early since the 1/2 didn't start until 8:30, but at least we had a chance to hit the porta potties and watch the start of the full marathon.

Finally our start time was coming up so I checked in my gear bag and we headed for our corrals. Becca was a few corrals behind me so I never saw her again until after the race. The half has so many runners (about 20,000) that they do a wave start, releasing one corral at a time. John Bingham was back, releasing each of the corrals and making lots of jokes about how the people in the back have a lot more fun. :) My corral was released at about 9am. I was so excited to finally get started, I wasn't even nervous at all. I made sure to keep a nice slow and steady pace instead of leaping out of the corral like a maniac and wearing myself out.

I highly recommend a Rock 'n' Roll event to everyone. It helped so much to have the bands there at every mile. I always found myself picking up the pace when I ran past a band. I wish I'd brought a camera with me to take pictures of all the bands.

Having my name on the front of my singlet was great, because lots of people were calling out encouragement to me by name. It's amazing how much it helps to hear a total stranger say "looking good, Cathy!"

I really don't remember a lot of individual details of the race. I know I made a pit stop around mile 6 or 7, which took 4 minutes because there was a line. I ended up missing my goal time by fewer than 3 minutes so I really regretted that bathroom break!

I made a few cell phone calls during the race. I talked to my sister, my sister-in-law, my TNT mentor, and David. Perhaps that was a strange thing to do, but I enjoyed it.

I felt really strong through the first 9 1/2 miles. Then I sort of conked out and took a little walk break. I probably walked 5-6 minutes in all, but never more than 2 minutes at a time. When I got down to the last mile, I saw our Coach Sandy so she ran with me the rest of the way. I was so happy to see her and was glad she was there to run with me.

When I crossed the finish line I was so happy! I was just wandering around and totally walked past where they were handing out the medals. Needless to say, I went back and got one!

After I found David, we went back to the hotel so I could get a shower. He went out to buy me some pain killers because my legs were so sore. And he was considerate enough to also bring me some chocolate milk - exactly what I needed at that moment! Then we took a walk, which made my legs feel a lot better.

I'm proud and happy to have completed my first half marathon and I'm looking forward to the next one in May. I will hit my goal time next time around!

Mission accomplished


I did it! I completed the Rock 'n' Roll Arizona Half Marathon on Sunday. More to come later. :)