Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Bring it, 2012!

Saw this on Kara Goucher's fb page and thought it was blog-worthy! To all of the long distance running skeptics out there, there's so much more to this sport than is necessarily describable (or defendable, for that matter) in words. But, I think this pic sums it up. :-)


Running continues to challenge me to be the best me I can be. I'm forever grateful.

BRING IT, 2012!!!!!!!! :-)

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Dream BIG :-)

It’s a sunny, cold Sunday in December. I don’t feel like Christmas shopping and I already ran this morning. So, I will blog! J
It’s been over a month since New York. Since my 8th marathon adventure, I’ve taken my recovery very seriously. About two weeks after the marathon, I was struck with a nasty virus that worked its way into my respiratory tract, sinuses, and I could even feel it in my joints and muscles (VERY SCARY). I was completely lethargic, in a good amount of physical pain, and was just miserable. After using my weekends to do little more than relax, avoiding mileage over 30 miles/week, NO racing, and lots of good eating and sleeping, I FINALLY feel back to normal and ready to focus on my upcoming goals!
I was feeling good enough this week to squeeze in a 5K race this morning.  I really haven’t pushed myself to my fullest since the Columbus Marathon in mid-October, so I was really feeling the desire to race regardless of the weather conditions. No matter how much effort I put into my training workouts, I always know I’d put out more if I were in a race. Something about the atmosphere and the energy of the other runners just gives me the extra bit of motivation to push harder. It was FREEZING cold this morning, the race was in a desolate, impoverished location near the Cleveland Clinic off of Carnegie, and I was WAY over-dressed. I bundled up with Under Armour, a hooded sweatshirt, and a running jacket. I probably could have done without the hooded sweatshirt, as I could absolutely feel the weight of it from miles 1.5 until the finish. It was a tough race for me mentally mainly because I haven’t raced a 5K since September, and it is SUCH a different race from the marathon. Not only does it recruit completely different muscles in your body, it also requires an intense mental focus from start to finish. There is no time to “choke,” you have to be ON. I didn’t have confidence to commit to a certain pace or time goal, so I just went out and did it.
I felt like I was going to vomit my lovely pasta dinner from the night before (regretted getting that chicken put on it…) from about half way through until the finish. I ended up getting “chicked” in the meantime, and didn’t have it in me to race with her. It was a major mental struggle getting to the finish line. My legs felt SUPER heavy, my pace dropped dramatically to the point my Garmin was beeping at me to SPEED UP, and I felt like dropping out. My body was just not vibing the intensity I started out with. But, I ignored it and kept pushing! I ended up finishing 2nd and was pretty thrilled to have broken 20 minutes. I didn’t see that coming!!! It wasn’t a P.R., but it felt good to run a decent race. Mainly, it felt good to run a race and have it hurt. NYC was enjoyable, but I ran a low-key pace to enjoy the experience. NO REGRETS THERE, but I miss the pain! Every time I push my body to the point of major physical pain and keep going, I learn a little bit more about myself and my potential.
So what is my potential? As I plan my spring 2012 marathon goals, I’ve been thinking a lot about how far I’ve come. I managed to transform from a 4:29 marathoner to a 3:18 marathoner in one year, completely on my own. My current P.R. is 3:16, and although I’m WAY proud I do feel that there is a lot more room for improvement. To this day, I really have no clue how I’ve managed to get as far as I have, and it makes me wonder how far I can go?
This spring, I will be running the Boston Marathon on April 16 and the Cleveland Marathon on May 20. I’m going to follow Hal’s Advanced-2 training program again, and plan on running Boston as my 2nd 20 miler. I do not have plans to P.R. at Boston, but am hoping to at least run faster than my 3:35 last year.  I am hoping to P.R. at Cleveland, but by how much I haven’t really decided. Any serious goal requires patience, dedication, and passion. I have all three of those things, and don’t by any means expect to win CLE or even get close to it, but I want to move in the direction of getting REALLY GOOD. I want to make Cleveland the baby step to see what my potential REALLY is…
I’m dreaming BIG. :-)

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Endless Possibilities- New York City Marathon 2011 :-D

Another 18 weeks of marathon training complete! During this time, I ran a 5K P.R. (19:34, 6:19min/mi), a 5 miler P.R. (33:55, 6:47min/mi), a 10K debut (42:19, 6:50min/mi), a 10miler P.R. (1:09:13, 6:56min/mi), a ½ marathon P.R. (1:30:08, 6:53min/mi), and a marathon P.R. (3:16:02, 7:29min/mi). As I was completing my eighth marathon, which was by far one of my most anticipated marathons, thee New York City Marathon, I did a lot of reflection of the accomplishments that brought me to the start line on Staten Island.  Some people express themselves through art, music, dance, etc. It wasn’t until I was gliding through the streets of NYC that I realized that running is the expression of who I am. How the heck can running for hours and hours possibly be a mode of personal expression??? ? Well, here’s my best attempt to explain this realization I came to in my 8th 26.2 adventure: I am insanely goal driven, hyperactive, a challenge-lover, personable, energetic, analytical, driven to perfection, a teacher, a learner, extremely hardworking, flighty, intellectual, anxious, loving, shy, hopeful, focused, determined, type A, sporty, and girlie. Some of these traits may seem a bit contradictory, but somehow, one way or the other, running has helped fuse all of these different features that make me who I am. And, I can honestly say, I’ve never been happier! Running, like nothing else, helps me be the best me I can be. :-)
After my 26.2 victory in Columbus three weeks prior to NYC, I felt energized and relaxed. No matter what the outcome in NYC, I was earning a medal that I’ve been yearning for for 2 years. I was officially knocking off the final big marathon off of my Running Bucket List, and I could not wait for the experience! I just wanted to run a comfortable pace and enjoy the scenery of one of the greatest cities in the world!
When I get to NYC on Friday, I was in complete awe. I haven’t been their since I was 10 years old, and my memory totally cheapened the splendor of NYC! There’s no city I’ve been to that expresses the beauty of diversity and culture like NYC. I LOVE it there!! I spent Friday and Saturday doing a bit of wandering around, but nothing excessive. My biggest mistake in big city marathons is attempting to see everything AND run a successful marathon. Some people can do this with no problem. Not me. I was happy to have had the opportunity to hang out with my cousins and enjoy some awesome NYC cuisine!
Picking up my bib at the Expo!

My tour guide, AKA, my cousin Ashley!


Sunday morning, my cousins volunteered at the Staten Island Ferry loading dock and were out at 3am. I awoke at 4:15am with a text alerting me that the subway, which was supposed to be a quick 10 minute ride to the ferry, was an HOUR. Immediately, a crazy chip was activated in my brain and I became frantic. I was rushing around trying to throw everything in my suitcase so I could check out, pack my carry on bag for the race, and get all of my race gear on. I was like a mad woman…not the way I like to start race day! Then, my lovely training buddy and good friend Jen and her hubby Sam met me at my hotel to head to the subway. As soon as they arrived, I realized I could not find my Garmin clip that had my Road ID information on it. Again, I was frantic. A super nice gentleman offered us his cab to the ferry which calmed my nerves quite a bit. Once we got to the ferry, I found my Garmin clip and calmed WAY down. Jen and Sam were such patient, calming forces…I’m so grateful!!

We hung out at the ferry station for a bit, said goodbye to Sam, and then Jen and I floated over to Staten Island. We had plenty of time to enjoy the food we packed in a warm, relaxed setting before heading on the buses to Runner’s Village. Plus, we made some international friends intrigued by my O.C.D.! I always pack my pre-race food with me (yes, I carried orange juice, jelly, a loaf of bread, and bananas with me hahaaa). I guess I didn’t realize how weird it was until those guys pointed it out. Unfortunately, one of the guys turned out to be a SERIOUS creeper and managed to find me around mile 8 in a sea of 48,000 people. WEIRDUH!

Czech Republic friend/stalker

Time literally flew by after we left the ferry station. We hopped on the buses to Runner’s Village and as soon as we got there, we were checking our bags and heading to our corral! Jen and I were both in Wave 1, and a really nice volunteer let me drop back a few corrals so I could start with Jen! We, along with about 15,000 of our closest friends, moved up to the start line at the apex of the Verranzo bridge leading to Brooklyn. Mayor Bloomberg said a few words, Frank Sinatra’s “ New York, New York!” was played, and the National Anthem was beautifully sang! Jen and I waited in anticipation and in complete awe of the truly amazing journey we were about to embark on. I felt so blessed to be there at that very moment, with people from all over the world, to run in the streets of one of the greatest cities in the world!

The gun went off, and we scooted towards the start line. I’ve NEVER run a marathon more jam-packed with people. We literally walked across the start, and did a light shuffle across the Verranzo bridge. I really had no goal time in mind coming off my 3:16:02 at the Columbus Marathon a few weeks prior, so I wasn’t sweating the slow initial mile that I had absolutely NO control over. We ran the first mile in 8:50, which I didn’t want hanging over my head for the next 25 miles. So, Jen and I ran quick 2 and 3rd mile to make up for the time lost on the bridge. We were running through Brooklyn, which was LINED with spectators like nothing I’ve ever seen! The amount of crowd support was AMAAAAAAZING!




I did a lot of reflection as I was running. I thought about how far I’ve come, how much I truly love this sport, and how much running has changed my life. I can’t imagine where I’d be today without it. It really has helped synthesize all of the crazy traits that make me who I am, and has made me the best me I can be! I am forever grateful to have had the opportunity to have had all of these amazing experiences!!!!

We ran through Brooklyn until mile 13. Jen and I were feeling great, and I was just loving the company! I always take on my 26.2 adventures solo, and so it meant a lot to be able to share this experience with her. We trained together and have become pretty good friends through the process. The journey of the marathon is hard to put into words, so it’s great to be able to share it with someone that knows exactly what it is!

As we crossed the bridge from Brooklyn to Queens, we knew it was about to get tough. The bridges are a steep, steady incline with NO crowd support. You have to really dig down deep into yourself get through them. As we circled through Queens, Jen and I were awaiting the most notorious part of the entire course: the Queensboro Bridge. We were approaching mile 15, and hopped onto the bridge. We were running on the bottom of the bridge, with wind burning our faces, and nothing but the pouncing of runner’s feet, accompanied by heavy breathing, to get us through it. It was truly painful. But oddly enough, somewhere in this pain was beauty. And, not really a masochistic kind of beauty. Something different. In no other marathon, or experience in my life for that matter, have I ever really felt the power of the human spirit. All of us runners, from all over the world, trained for this very moment and with the end goal in mind of conquering one of the most phenomenal marathons in the world. The spirit was tangible. At one point, I glanced to my right and saw an old man putting out everything  he had. I stared at him to get his attention, and gave him a HUGE smile to help motivate him to keep going. He said something to me in Italian, I think haha, and he smiled right back at me. He lifted his head, and kept pushing! It was an awesome feeling. Maybe if I had a time goal I would have had a different mindset with the challenge of this bridge, but since I was out there to enjoy the experience…that’s exactly what I was doing! As soon as we came to the end of the bridge, I had chills down my spine and was just OVERCOME with joy! We were coming into mile 16, and the countdown was ON! We rolled onto 1st Avenue in Manhatton, and the crowds were ROARING! I felt like a just earned the gold medal at the Olympics!! I was cheering and jumping up and down. The exhilaration at this point, as was the challenge of the bridge leading into it, was like nothing I've ever experienced. TRULY AMAZING! Jen and I made a pact at that point to finish together. We had come so far and wanted to make it count!! I was so thrilled to be able to share this entire experience with her.


We ran through Manhatton and circled around the Bronx. The Bronx was EXACTLY how I expected it. HUGE hair, lots of VIBE, and Michael Jackson’s “Don’t Stop Til You Get Enough” BLASTING! I LOOOOOOOOVED this part!!!  We were at mile 20, and just had 6.2 miles to get us home to Central Park. We circled down into Harlem, and rounded into Central Park. These last few miles were rolling hills, and Jen and I kept pushing each other to stay strong. We were good to break 3:30, and we just needed to maintain a sub-8:00min/pace to make it happen. I knew we had this! The HUGEEEEE crowds were just a blur at this point, and I was in admiration of the beautiful scenery. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise, NYC is truly BEAUTIFUL for so many reasons!!! As we rounded mile 23, I could see Jen hurting and she told me she had to go to the bathroom and wanted to stop at a port-a-potty. I yelled ‘NOOOOOOOOO!’and she said, “KIDDDDDDDDING!’ hahaaaaaa Thank God!! Then, mile 24 came around and we just had two miles to go. People were lightly shuffling through the park, and Jen and I kept our stamina and pushed through. Then, eventually, mile 26 should up. Just .2 miles to go!! There were signs in increments of a  100 meters  and the finish line was in sight!!!  We pushed, and pushed, and crossed the finish line TOGETHER!!! 3:27:23, 7:55min/mi! By far one of my most moving, and amazing 26.2 experiences yet!!



Cousins!!!

So, what did I learn from this 26.2 experience? (1) Life is filled with endless possibilities. I began my running career as a little college freshman jogging through streets of JCU. Had you told me that someday I’d be running the NYC marathon, I would have never believed you! God has given us the ability to have passion, and the potential to seek out whatever passion we may have. If you listen to your inner spirit and believe in yourself, you have the ability to do some truly amazing things. (2) Life is short. Don’t wait for it to come to you. Go out and get it!!! (3) Share your experiences!! Blogging has been one of the most liberating experiences. I’m so glad I’ve been able to inspire others, while simultaneously reflecting on how I can become a better runner…and person while I’m at it! Plus, this is the first time throughout my years of training that I’ve run with someone else. Running with Jen throughout my training and the NYC Marathon was so much fun and so motivating. Her drive for success and perfection has definitely rubbed off on me, and helped keep me focused through my 18 weeks of training. Thank you, Jen, for everything!!!!  (4) Enjoy life! You don’t have to race every marathon…and you don’t have to feel bad about it when you don’t! I’m WAY proud of my 3:16 at Cbus, and WAY proud of my 3:27 at NYC. Both were different experiences with different goals and AMAZING because I ENJOYED the experiences!  (5) As my experiences prove time and time again, DON'T STOP BELIEVING!!! If you believe in yourself, the world is yours!!!  Never give up on your dreams! :-D
So, is this the end of my blog? For now, yes…L As with all things, it’s good to take a break. I am in recovery mode right now, and won’t start training again until the end of December for Boston. Maybe I will blog again…maybe I won’t…we shall see...
Life is filled with endless possibilities!!! J

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

....

....meant to blog last weekend and well...didn't! NYC re-cap coming soon!!! :-D

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

ANNNND Guess What???

...no NO not chicken butt! Butttttttttttttttt I did have yet another amazing 26.2 experience in what turns out to be thee most AMAZING city in the world...NEW YORK!!! Finished in 3:27:23, 7:55min/mi and loved EVERY second of it!! More details to come this weekend when I have time to blog it all out!!! :-D

Post New York City Marathon with my medal!!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Sexy and I know it- Columbus Marathon 2011

....I work out! http://www.mtecresults.com/runner/videoResults?rid=4710&race=512

It hasn't even been a week since I completed the Columbus Marathon, and the endorphins are still going! For the first time since the Glass City Marathon in 2010, I can say that I'm 110% proud of my 26.2 accomplishment!! There's so much I want to blog about because I don't want to leave anything out from one of the best experiences of my 28 years of existence, but here's my best attempt to report it all...

Going into Columbus, I didn't feel as focused as I have for previous marathons. I was being much more liberal with my diet, consuming excessive amounts of adult beverages, sleeping inconsistently, and well...having a lot of fun! Maybe that was just the formula I needed to make it really happen this time! My goal was to run a consistent 7:30min/mi and to not choke, LBJ style, as I have in my most recent marathons. Both at the Marine Corps Marathon in October 2010 and at the Boston Marathon in April 2011, I had strong starts that I wimped out on near the mid-point of the race. I just couldn't maintain the mental stamina to push my body 26.2 miles at the pace I had trained so hard and long for, and developed a "ehhhhhhh enjoy the experience!" lackadaisical attitude that had me lightly trotting to the finishline. After both marathons, when people asked me my finish time, I'd say it begrudgingly knowing I was capable of doing so much better. I wanted revenge on myself, and a flat-fast course to make it happen. I knew NYC was a big risk, so I decided to squeeze in Columbus prior to NYC to see what I REALLY had...

I drove down to Columbus with my friend and training buddy, Jen, and her husband, Sam. They were kind enough to bring me along with them and to let me stay at their relative's house with them. Considering how insanely expensive NYC is, I was glad to be able to save some money, in addition to the great company! I typically travel solo for my race experiences, so it was fun to have people around that I could share the experience with! We went to the Expo, watched the OSU game, had a delicious dinner, and lights were out by 9pm. Going into marathon #7, I was prepared for a sleepless night as usual. For whatever reason, sleeping the night before a marathon just doesn't happen. I woke up WIDE AWAKE at 3:30am, and just laid in bed until 4:15am. Funny enough, I was up before the people we were staying with got home from the bar! hahaaaaaa ;-)

At the expo with Jess!!! Well, sort of!! hahaaa She's the poster-girl for the CLE Marathon!!

SOOO I did my normal pre-race routine, and was out the door by 6am. The second we stepped out the door, I just KNEW it was going to be a great race. I just had this instinctual feeling that Jen and I were going to rock out...it's hard to explain but I could just feel it!! We got to DT Cbus, parked the car, and headed to the race area. I honestly had NO CLUE where the start was, what the course was going to be like to plan a good race strategy, or any real expectations for the marathon. I've been so busy and distracted with other things in my life lately that I just didn't really think about it. And, maybe this was another part of the formula for my success?


Well, the start to this race was less-than-ideal. I ended up waiting in line for a Port-A-Potty for 30 minutes!!! I also unfortunately had a less-than-polite exchange of words with a rude girl that cut the line while I was waiting. A man standing next to me also made this girl aware of her less-than-classy behavior, and we actually made this girl cry. Haha! OOPS, but it's so unbelievable that someone would have the audacity to cut a HUGE line with people all running the same race that starts at the same time. GRRRR! SO, it was 7:20am before I got into the Port-A-Potty, and the race started at 7:30am. I was FREAKING out. I like to feel calm, collected, and prepared before I race. But, factors that I had no control over were preventing this from happening. As soon as the Port-A-Potty drama was over, I attempted to find my corral. The race start was SO UNBELIEVABLY JAM PACKED. I don't think I've ever seen such chaos before a marathon. I was stuck in people traffic, and the race area was fenced in. My watch said 7:25am, and I had NO CLUE how the heck I was going to make it to my corral before the gun went off. So, I put up my skinny elbows and just pushed through the crowd praying to God I was going to make it. I never made my corral, but managed to get up to corral C. It was 7:28am at this point, and I met some really nice women that calmed me down. Again, as I've said over and over again, runners (with the exception of the RUDE line cutter) are the NICEST people in the world! I jumped around a bit, threw off my long sleeve shirt, and was ready to ROLL! I said a few prayers, saw some cool fireworks, and then the gun went off!

Going into the first mile, I glanced around for the 3:15 pace group. Although I didn't have any intentions of finishing 3:15, I at least wanted the potential goal if I was feeling it near the 13.1 mile marker. Since I didn't make it beyond corral C, the 3:15 pacers were waaaaaay ahead so I gave up on it. I did, however, find Jen! She was just hoping to run a 3:30, so we weren't running this race together. I gave her a quick shout out and wave, and off I went. I finished the first mile right around 7:30, so I was a happy girl! It's hard to hold back with race adrenaline juices flowing, but I managed to stay in control. Then, in the second mile, I ran into a guy that ran the River Run 1/2 Marathon. He congratulated me on my race, and that was JUST what I needed to feel that I actually had the potential to do something great that day. There was no way I was letting myself choke this time around!! Then, my new running buddy Rose appeared!! We ran the River Run together for the majority of the race, and I was SO excited to be able to run with her. She's a great, consistent runner with a 3:20 P.R. and with goals to run a sub 3:20. We stuck together from that point on.

I was having a BLAST. Rose and I were chatting through each mile, there were so many fun bands and DJ's throughout the course, the neighborhoods were absolutely BEAUTIFUL, and the spectators were SO positive and encouraging!! I crossed the 10K at 46:03, a 7:24min/mi average. This was a little faster than anticipated, but the energy of the race was taking over me! I kept  going, attempting to stick around 7:30 +/- a few seconds with each mile. I felt so great, and knew I just needed to keep this mentality all the way through. Coming to the 13.1 mile, I was at 1:37:27, a 7:26min/mi average. I felt awesome and tried hard to stay focused as the half marathoners turned the corner to the finish. I took my second gel at this point because I knew I'd need the extra boost to ensure I could maintain a strong second half. I had NO desire to choke at this point and there were no feelings of "just enjoying the scenery." I wanted to OWN this course and there was no way I was walking away without a P.R.! As I came to mile 16, I felt that I needed to step it up. I pulled away from Rose and a few other runners that joined our pack. Mile 20 was still a bit away, and there are no guarantees on how your body is going to feel for those last 6 miles. I didn't want to bank on a strong finish, so I picked up the pace at mile 16. I was passing people left and right, and just kept focused on trucking along! The crowd was a bit more desolate at this point, which made this part challenging. However, I came across the OSU basketball players that were volunteering on the course. A few 'HEYYYYYYYYY GIRRRRRRRRRL you look GOOOOOOD's were totally what I needed to perk up! hahahaaaa...Then, a few of my former students saw me and gave me a shout out. AHHH it was AWESOME and exactly what I needed at what turned out to be a pivotal point in the race! I was running strong and felt great despite running a 7:30ish pace for 16+ miles!

Once I got to mile 18, I felt the distance for the first time. I grabbed one of the gels that were distributed by the race volunteers and decided to save it for the 20s. I took the last gel I brought with me to get my head back in the game, and it WORKED! I didn't plan on using another gel until mile 21, but listening to my body was definitely the right decision. I felt great going into mile 20, and kept pushing! I was 2:28:54, a 7:26 min/mi average! I knew I had this, and just prayed that I could keep going strong. Once I got to mile 23, the pain was setting in. I felt my pace drop, and I decided to ignore my watch and focus on finishing. I did the math and no matter what, I was in for a P.R. if I just kept trucking. Once mile 24 came around, it was literally like "BOOM WALL"! I said to myself, "F&*#! The wall!" I took the gel I had grabbed from the volunteers at mile 18, and sucked it down. The spectators REALLY helped me keep going, and told me how great I looked and how awesome I was doing. I took their word for it and kept pushing! I felt AGAIN like I had to go # 2, similar to how I felt towards the end of the River Run 1/2 Marathon. But, I ignored those bad feelings and just focused on getting one foot in front of the other. It was distracting seeing people walking, slowly trotting, and I felt guilty passing people at that point. But, there was no way I was giving up on myself!!! Unfortantely, I was totally non-verbal at that point and didn't have enough in me besides thumbs up for the people I was passing. Once mile 26 showed up, I kicked it into gear. I knew I had a P.R., and I wanted it to be a strong finish!! I flew through the finish line, hands in the air, and tears in my eyes for this well-deserving, awesome accomplishment!!! My Garmin had already gone off, but the clock said 3:17 so I was SO happy because I knew I had to be under it since I started in corral C. I soon discovered that I ran a 3:16:02, a 7:29min/mi average!!!!! Not only did I P.R., but I ran below my goal pace, I didn't choke or give up at all, and had SO MUCH FUN along the way!!! I've never finished a marathon feeling so proud, exhilarated, happy, and accomplished all at the same time! Truly one of the best experiences of my life! Plus, Jen ran a 3:22 so we were both on a high!!! I'm SO proud of her and her accomplishment, and am SO happy I was able to see her surpass her goal!!


So, what does this mean? I'm back in Wave 1 for Boston this year and  I'm qualified for Boston in 2013. But most importantly, what this means for me on a personal level is almost indescribable. I learned the importance of having faith in patience.  Although it's difficult to maintain, it is key to really reaching any goal you set for yourself. Also, the sense of gratification that comes along reaching your goal as a result of determination, dedication, and hard work is the best feeling in the world. I trained through one of the record hottest summers, fought through feelings of self-doubt and negativity, and managed to find purpose in what I thought was becoming purposeless. I truly believe that no matter the obstacles that may come in the way, if you work hard and believe in yourself, you can reach whatever goal you find worth achieving!!! DON'T STOP BELIEVING!!! :-D

...and it's not over! In two weeks, I will be getting myself ready to roll for the ING New York City Marathon. What are my goals for this marathon? To have fun and get an awesome medal!! I'm in taper-mode, and haven't missed a workout since running the marathon Sunday. Yes, this is moderately insane. But, it will be so worth it when NYC is checked off my running bucket list!!!

So, I'm finishing up Week 16 with 582.44 miles under my belt.

My Week 17 NYC marathon training plan (based off of Hal Higdon's Advanced-2 Marathon Training Program):

Monday: 30 minute tempo
Tuesday: 40 minutes cross training
Wednesday: 4 mile pace
Thursday: 4 miles easy
Friday: rest
Saturday: 8 miles
Sunday: 3 miles easy

2 weeks until I'm dancin' in the streets of one of the best cities in the world!!!!! :-D :-D :-D

Monday, October 17, 2011

Guess What?

Chicken butt! hahaaaa NOOOOO...Just a quick lil blog entry for now that's worth while sharing...

I finished the Columbus Marathon yesterday in 3:16:02, a 7:29min/mi!!!

Still on an adrenaline high from accomplishing my goal hahahaa! One of the best running experiences I've had yet! More details to come!!! :-D :-D :-D

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Week 14: Long time, no blog!

Well, HELLO THERE! It’s been quite a while!
Life has been flying by full speed since August. With teaching, family gatherings, moving, wedding planning for my sis, socializing (yes, this is a priority!!) and all the while staying consistent with my marathon training, I just haven’t had any time to sit and reflect on all of the wonderful things that have been going on over the past few weeks. Gosh, where do I begin? And how the heck is it already October?
Since my rejuvenating Half Marathon back in September, my training has been right on and fantastic! Going into every workout, I’ve been keeping the fun part of running my main focus and putting the over-analytical part on the back burner.  And, to my surprise, it’s been working!!!  I’ve gotten in two solid 20 milers, the first of which at a 7:56min/mi and the second at an 8:03min/mi. I ran a 19:34, 6:19min/mi 5K P.R. at the Parma Hospital 5K a few weeks ago, my pace runs have been on, I’ve done some good speed work, and overall feel super confident going into the Columbus Marathon this upcoming weekend! My goal is to run a sub 3:20, but I’m really just excited to run my all-time favorite distance, 26.2 miles, with some awesome people! This will be my 7th marathon and I feel 110% confident although I will only be 15 weeks into my training going in.  I didn’t initially plan on running any marathons besides NYC this fall, but decided to do Cbus in place of my final 20 mile training run. I haven’t had the opportunity to run a flat, fast course since the CLE Marathon in 2010 where I ran a 3:18, so why not give Cbus a shot?  I know I have what it takes to P.R.  as long as I’m able to relax, maintain my confidence, stay consistent throughout the race, and most importantly, HAVE FUN!! Additionally, I’m just SO EXCITED to be running this with my good friends Jen, who will be qualifying for Boston, and Jeness, who will be completing her very first marathon! It’s been amazing to see the dedication and determination that both of them have given to their training, and I know they will do fantastic! They are truly phenomenal women and have inspired me to keep running this fall even when I felt that my purpose was fading. Thanks for being awesome, girls!!
I’m currently concluding a step-back week, and will be somewhat tapering next week. Since I’m still training for NYC, I still want to keep some intensity in my training this week.  I’m a little sore right now, mainly due to dancing all night last night at a family wedding!! Extra cross-training, I suppose??? Plus, I was challenged to a 1 mile race on Friday by a boy who despises running and doesn’t train, but thought he could beat me. Obviouuuuuuuuusly, I couldn’t back down. Fortunately for me, he’s cute and was an enjoyable view for my 5:47 mile. Unfortunately for me, he ran a 5:10 mile. Although it can be annoying when non-runners exploit their crazy natural talent, I'm not feeling that same vibe nor am I disappointed by the outcome. Ya gotta lose some to win some….right??? :-)
Soooooooo, I've completed 505.14 miles over the past 14 weeks. Wow I really ran that?? LOL!! Going through the motions of marathon training day after day often leaves me forgetting how much mileage I'm actually covering. I am a crazy woman. :-)
Here’s my Week 15 NYC Marathon Training Plan (modified from Hal Higdon’s Advanced-2 Marathon Training):
Monday: 4X400
Tuesday: 40 min cross-train
Wednesday: 10 miles easy
Thursday: 40 minute tempo
Friday: 5 miles easy
Saturday: rest
Sunday: Columbus Marathon!!!
I’ll hopefully have some time this week to blog my race plan for this weekend. In general, I’m hoping to stick to 7:30 for most of the race, and hopefully kick into gear for the last (BEST!) 6 miles of the race. I can’t wait!!!! OH and just 4 weeks until the NYC Marathon!!!!  SO MANY FUN THINGS TO LOOK FORWARD TO!!!!
Parma Hospital 5K 1st Overall Female, WOOP!!!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Week 11: How MP Got Her Groove Back

Back in the swing of it and feeling GREAT! The River Run certainly resuscitated my ailing heart. :-)

Racing during marathon training is essential for many reasons. Not only does it put your fitness level to the test, but it helps you figure out what works and what doesn’t work before, during, and after a race. This is with regards to nutrition, dealing with race morning chaos, sleep (or lack thereof, usually),  Port-A-Potty use (eventually you stop thinking of how disgustingly unsanitary those things are, LOL), proper warm-up, pre and post- run clothing, and so much more that would never cross your mind as essential until you race.  But the main benefit of racing is the “high” that comes along with it. It’s so much fun being surrounded by so many people of different abilities all trying to achieve their goals. The energy at a race is like nothing I’ve ever experienced, and always has me wanting to come back for more.  Plus, the adrenaline rush that comes with pushing yourself to your limits and coming out with a P.R. is indescribable. Simply put, it’s amazing!  My 1:30 at the River Run last weekend was the electrifying jolt my running heart needed to start beating again. I got my groove back! :-)









Monday night before Open House at AHS, I got in a solid hour of cross-training. I did 30 minutes on the elliptical and 30 minutes on the bike. I have gotten quite good at the YMCA showers before night events at school, haaaaa. Tuesday, I was totally exhausted but my spirits were high! I rocked a 45 minute tempo, increasing my 6:40-6:50 time to 25 minutes instead of 20, with a 10 minute warm-up and 10 minute cool down. I covered 5.89 miles and felt GREAT afterwards! Wednesday I ran a 4 mile pace at an average 7:08min/mi pace. I was clearly running this too fast, but I still had residual race adrenaline that I couldn’t suppress. So, I just went with it! Thursday I covered 10 miles easy through CLE. It was a cool, beautiful night, and I just wanted to keep this at a relaxing pace. I decided to be rebellious and ran with headphones for this one.  It was just what I needed to tune out the world for a bit, and I averaged an 8:02min/mi pace.  

After a busy rest day Friday, I was very excited to embark on my first 20 mile journey of my training on Saturday. Yes, that’s right…EXCITED!!! It’s been a while since I’ve genuinely looked forward to running for 2+hours like I used to! :-) I had a late night Friday, so didn’t end up on the Tow Path until 9:40am. OOPS! My goal for this long run was to keep focused on completing the mileage, and less focused on my pace. I wanted to be around an 8:00 min pace, but wasn’t too concerned about being right on. I also decided to be rebellious for this run and ran with headphones, but again I felt that I could use the distraction. I know my analytical side is a part of my charm (INSERT SARCASTIC SMERK), but I need to ease up on it in my running. I love running, and need to run like I love it…not like I “have” to do it. As  a consequence, I really didn’t focus on my pace at all throughout the run. It’s hard for me to even give a detailed report on it because I was in “la la running land” for most of it. And, it was wonderful!! I ended with my usual strong last mile (7:00ish pace), and overall ran in 2:38:47, an average 7:56min/mi pace. That’s fantastic considering I wasn’t even paying attention!  But, I won’t be running my next 20 miler in this same lackadaisical fashion. There will be no headphones, and I will be focused!!! :-)  But, it sure felt good to step outside the box and relax for a little bit. 

Overall, awesome week in training!! I covered 44.89 miles this week, and 389.83 miles over the past 11 weeks. I’m feeling good despite some major back pain from too much heavy lifting over the past week.  I seriously have no upper body strength. Once NYC is over, I think it may be time to start some weight lifting…? EEEEEEK doesn’t sound appealing, but it’s unbelievable how weak I am. The more I run, the wimpier I get. My big bro said to me as we were trying to carry a coffee table down the fire escape, “You’re like an offensive lineman (I think that’s what he said) playing in the NBA right now.” I, obviously, asked for a translation in my language and he replied: “For as good of an athlete you are, you are unbelievably weak.” LOL! :-)

My Week 12 NYC Marathon Training agenda (based off of Hal Higdon’s Advanced-2 Marathon Training Program:
Monday: 7X800
Tuesday: 40 minute cross-train
Wednesday: 45 min tempo
Thursday: 6 mile pace
Friday: rest
Saturday: 5K ??? possibly…going to see how I feel towards the end of the week
Sunday: 12 miles 

I registered for Boston this week and am still waiting to hear back!!! Fingers crossed I get in again!!

Starting to REALLY feel ready to kick some butt in Cbus and NYC in just a few weeks!! MP’s Got Her Groove back! :-)

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Week 10: I've Got the MoOoOoves Like Jagger- River Run 1/2 Marathon ;-)

SUCCESS. It’s a great feeling. :-) But no one said it would be easy!

I woke up this morning at 5am chipper and ready to run. I was hoping for a P.R., with the possibility of a sub-1:30 in the back of my mind, but was really just looking forward to running my favorite 13.1 course with some fabulous people! My long run training buddy and coworker, Jen, was running with me along with another coworker, Kasie. They are such great, fun women so I was excited to be able to take part in this super fun event with them! SOOOOO, I did my normal pre-run routine before heading out the door, which included a brief catch-up of the Jersey Shore. I haven’t had much time (or willingness to sacrifice the time I do have) to watch those clowns depict some of the poorest characteristics of mankind, so I tuned in for a bit while I was getting ready. I must say, The Situations head-butt into a cement wall has got to be one of the most ridiculously hilarious things I’ve seen in while. What a d&^%bag. :-) When 6:25am rolled around, I turned off The Shore and headed out the door!

My tummy wasn’t feeling well once I got off the highway into Berea, so I made my first of several pit stops at a Burger King (reallllllly creepy morning crowd in there, LOL). It didn’t even occur to me that I should be concerned that this tummy ache may be a factor in the race, and mayyyyyybe that’s a good thing. Once I got to Wallace Lake, I got in a solid 2 mile warm–up, a few bathroom breaks (eeeeeeeek), and some stretching. Despite my GI issues, I was feeling calm, my legs felt energetic and spunky, and I was just excited to get out there! I also met up with Jen and Kasie before the run, which was the exact adrenaline boost I needed to make this an awesome race. They just had such fun, positive vibes that kept me distracted from over-analyzing my plan-of-attack on the course. I set my Garmin for a 6:55 mile pace, and just wanted to stay under 7:00. We had a moment of silence in memory of 9-11-01, and then off we all went! 

I stayed calm at just under a 6:50 pace for the first mile. The song “Moves Like Jagger” was stuck in my head and I LOVE that song! It’s got a certain je ne sais quoi that makes me want to grab a cute guy and start dancing hahaaaa! No, I didn’t do that, haaaaaaa. Maybe next race. :-)  But the rockin' mind tune was keeping me pumped, I was feeling good, and I knew this was going to be a great race! 

As I was passing into mile 2, I saw a guy running with a Leetonia singlet on. My Grandma, who passed when I was in kindergarten, grew up in Leetonia. She was the most hardworking, dedicated, and loving mother, wife, teacher, and human being, and I hope that I can be half the person she was some day. I pray to her often, and I was very overcome by emotion seeing that shirt. This was just another bit of motivation to make this race a great one, and just a reminder that I always have an angel over my shoulder no matter what…0:-)

Once I was into mile 3, I was in gear and I was just rolling with the 6:50 pace. GREAT feeling! Around this time, a girl I usually use to pace myself popped up to my side. She’s a solid runner that always runs at a consistent pace, so I was happy to see her! I filled her in on my plan, and we ended up running pretty much the rest of the race together. We chit-chatted a bit and have very similar race P.R.’s. Again, another reason I love running.  Runners are SERIOUSLY the nicest people in the world. I’m convinced that the key to world peace is running! :-) I’ve met so many amazing people through running. Also, a local running elite girl was running the race casually (yes, she still kicked my butt at her “easy” pace!) and she also was a huge help to my success at this race. She seemed so calm and in control, and motivated me to stick with my goal. She’s a truly phenomenal runner, and it’s so obvious she loves it. She’s SUCH an inspiration!! I will be cheering her on all the way to the Olympics! 

As soon as I got into mile 6, I could tell that the course mileage was way off (by at least .15 miles too long) and this was going to lose me time. My stomach was starting to feel super queasy, but I was feeling good everywhere else so I did my best to focus on everything else possible besides that. I kept trucking, and trucking, and suddenly mile 11 showed up. I was totally on and just had to seal the deal. I lost Rose around this point, and was feeling good enough to place Overall.  I was being informed of my status by bystanders and also other runners for most of the race, which was awesome (and another reason you shouldn’t race with headphones!). The men on the course, as always, were being super supportive. LOVE it! Then, as I got into mile 12, I knew I was golden for home…butttttt my stomach had some other plans. I knew something was going to come out in either direction (gross over-share, SORRY!), and I just had to get to a Port-A-Potty ASAP. There was NO way I was risking a P.R. to stop, so I went to the finish line sick as EVER. I’ve NEVER EVER been so ill at a race! As I was finishing up the last .25 mile, I really felt like I was going to humiliate myself. I was freaking out. There was a huge crowd at the end cheering me on and shouting my name, and I’M SO SO SORRY for not being more gracious. I was just SO FREAKED OUT. As soon as I crossed the finish line and they announced I was the 3rd overall female (HOLLA!!!), I booked it for a Port-A-Potty. Gosh that was miserable! BUT I DID P.R.! The official gun time was 1:30:08, and because I was an Overall finisher they didn’t recognized my chip time (LAME!!!). My Garmin said 1:29:25, and I know I had to have been under 1:30, so I’ll just keep that in mind. But, otherwise, 1:30:08, 6:53min/mi, is STILL a P.R.! Plus, it was super exciting to win 3rd female!!! 



So, YES, this race was a SUCCESS! Jen won our age group at 1:36, and Kasie rocked out Brown’s style in 2:00! I heard guys discussing how awesome Kasie was for sporting the Brown’s jersey the entire race, and I had to agree!!! I also got to see my friend and cousin-in-law, Jess!! She’s always such a smiling gem and makes my racing experience so much more fun!! OH, and I also saw Debbie! She rocked out as well, especially considered she ran a 50K the weekend before. You are amazing, Debbie!




SO, I’m very happy with the race, my fitness is better than I expected, and my attitude is where it needs to be! My total mileage this week is 42.81 and my overall mileage is 344.49.

Next week will be Week 11 in my NYC Marathon Training (based off of Hal Higdon’s Advanced-2 Marathon Training Plan):

Monday: 40 min cross-train
Tuesday: 45 tempo
Wednesday: 4 mile pace
Thursday: 10 miles easy
Friday: rest
Saturday: 20 miles
Sunday: 40 min cross-train

I can’t believe C-bus is only a few weeks away!!! I’m confident that no matter what the outcome is, it’s going to be another great experience to get me ready for NYC! 

I've Got the MoOoOoOves Like Jagger! (still in my head hahhaaa) HAPPY TRAINING EVERYONE!!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Week 10: Twas the night before the River Run...


“Now, here, you see, it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place. If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that!” This is a quote from Alice in Wonderland that my principal shared with the teachers at a staff meeting on Thursday this week. He was relating an idea regarding the necessity of evolution of species for survival in a constantly changing environment to the need of teachers to evolve their practices in a constantly changing society. Yes, I’m a nerdy science teacher so for obvious reasons I found his motivational approach to be brilliant and inspiring, LOL. But, as I pondered more on the meaning behind this quote from a movie I saw when was I was 5  years old (…I think?), I felt a great sense of relief regarding feelings I’ve had lately that I’ve recently blogged about. I was starting to worry that maybe my inability to feel truly content with my life and this constant search I've been having for something more would eventually turn me into a sour, miserable person. But perhaps accepting life for what it is and never reaching for anything more is what would eventually turn me into a sour, miserable person. Additionally, the unexamined life isn't worth living anyways...right? So If I ever want to make the most out of my life, I have to reflect, explore, develop new goals, and open up new doors. Speaking of goals…

As I’ve struggled lately without any real concrete goals getting me to Staten Island this fall, I’ve officially decided that NYC will be my last hard-core 26.2 for at least a year. I plan to train the remaining 8 weeks with the intensity I mapped out for myself back in July, and then after NYC it’s back to running for fun. I’ll be putting the Garmin away for a while and going on runs wherever they take me!  I’m looking forward to having more time to get back into Pilate classes, and maybe Yoga...and who knows?? If I want to be the best MP I can be and keep up in world that will always be moving faster than me, I need to try something new. And HEY, maybe this is what I need to eventually become a REALLY good runner…? I guess I will just have to figure that out as I go. You have to love how life always provides you the opportunity for possibilities if you are willing to seize them. Life is GOOD. :-)

I’m finally back in the swing of things at work, and have no complaints regarding any of my workouts this week! Monday I had 6Xhill at my favorite hill in Little Italy. It was a cool day, in MAJOR contrast to the previous 90 degree disgusting 19 miler I had a few days prior. So no matter what, I was guaranteed a great workout that day! I had a few quality repeats, and a few that were a moderate bust. The good news is I had major booty muscle soreness the next day, so clearly the workout paid off!! The bad new is I’m pretty sure Sir-Mix-Alot would NOT approve, haaaaaaaaa! Tuesday was an easy 4 miles, 32:49 (8:12min pace). Wednesday was a 45 tempo that I was EXHAUSTED for, but still squeezed in. It went well, but I noticed I started wheezing 15 minutes into my 6:50 pace. I’m not sure if it was the temperature change or allergies, but I was not comfortable with it. I took deep  breaths and that seemed to help a bit. I haven’t used an inhaler for my asthma since high school, and I’d like to keep it that way!! Fortunately, there was no wheezing on my 9 miler Thursday on the Tow Path. I took it easy with the River Run ½ marathon on my weekend agenda, and ran 1:12:22, 8:02min/mi. I was feeling great and energetic, and eager to race this weekend!! Friday, I planned on an early evening 5 mile easy run. Instead, it turned into a late night 5 mile pouring rain run due to a coffee date turned dinner date and drinks with one of my favs, Jeness! There’s nothing like great company and bar food/beer to get me ready for my race this weekend! Speaking of my race…

This will be my fourth year running the River Run ½ marathon. Below is what I like to call a little trip down Memory Lane...:-)

River Run 2008; 1:57:17, 8:59min/mi

River Run 2009; 1:42:53, 7:42min/mi

River Run 2010; 1:31:27, 6:59min/mi
  This is my all-time favorite half marathon, and I seriously look forward to it all year! I don’t have any major goals this time around. Obviously, I always aim for a P.R. and hope to snatch one tomorrow. A sub 1:30 would be REALLY nice, but we’ll see what my body is vibin’ tomorrow morning. I'm running this race with my AHS friends Jen and Kasie, so no matter what it's going to be a blast! Also, I will be sporting red, white, and blue tomorrow in memory of 9-11. I will be thinking about all of those who have sacrificed their own lives, willingly and unwillingly, to ultimately provide all of us the freedom to live our best lives. I'm forever grateful. :-)