Friday, December 28, 2007

Podrunner Introduces a new Podcast called "Intervals"

If you have been reading my blog you know I am a fan of using Podrunner in my training. They offer music mixes at various BPMs to help keep me on pace. Well, DJ Steveboy just announced a new podcast which looks rather exciting. I thought I would pass it on.

New Podcast Launches February 1, 2008

Intervals is a new podcast of varied-BPM music mixes for interval training. "First Day to 5K," the first 14 mixes, take you from absolute beginner to 5K runner in nine weeks! P:I will feature sets for beginning, intermediate, and experienced levels, as well as sets for 10K and half-marathon training

Podrunner: Intervals will be produced by me, and hosted and mixed by DJ Beatsmith, the only DJ to have guest-hosted Podrunner (he mixed the popular "153 BPM - Hotfoot").

Podrunner: Intervals will be available free starting February 1 from iTunes or most podcast directories, or directly from or the Run Time newsletter. Music for P:I will come from Beatport, and we'll link to the original tracks.

Excited as we are, the Red Robot needs your help to succeed! Please tell your friends and gym buddies about Podrunner: Intervals, and post about it on any athletic forums or groups you belong to. If you know anyone whose New Year's Resolution is to get fit, P:I is your present to them!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Overcoming Exhaustion

After several weeks where I was working long hours, trying to keep up with preparing for the holidays, and trying to keep my training for the marathon going, I hit "the wall" after running almost 16 miles last Saturday.

Like most days, I was up early and running on about 5-6 hours sleep (I typically need 7-8). But I wanted to get the long run in before camping so that I wouldn't spend hours running during the camping trip. I got out and logged 15.77 miles in 3 hours 5 minutes - an 11:45 min/mile pace. Not too shabby for a long run. But the last 2 miles were really tough, as I ran out of gas. After showering and then rushing to get us packed to head to our campsite, it happened. I felt tired. Very tired. I could hardly move. As usual, I pushed to keep going.

After setting up the camper I laid down to sleep at about 8:30 pm and didn't get up until 8 am the next morning. I thought I had enough rest but I felt tired all day on Sunday. We rode our bikes down to the ranger station (probably about a 4-5 mile round trip) and I felt like I could barely make it. I took a nap on Sunday afternoon for about an hour or two. Sunday night I headed to bed around 10 pm and got up Monday around 8 am.

I finally felt human again. It was the first day I felt a normal level of awakeness. I should have run on Monday, but decided against it. We got out and enjoyed a movie and some camping activities. I didn't run on Christmas either. It was a busy day - and I figured I could run the afternoon we got home.

We got home around 5 pm on Wed and I still didn't run. Getting dark and feeling a little drag while unpacking the camper and the truck.

I got up this morning to run a 5 miler after about 7 hours sleep. I was keeping a pace of around 10:45 min/mile but I felt tired the entire time - and my heart rate rose early in the run. It definitely fell into the category of "hard runs."

I think I am still overcoming the tiredness from before camping - but I also suspect a poor diet (lots of red meat and other items) could be contributing. The camping trip helped tremendously - providing several solid nights of rest and just relaxing around the campfire. I think I needed about 3 more days of camping! But alas, I needed to return to work today.

My plan: Get plenty of rest now through the marathon (now just over 2 weeks away), and eat a healthier diet (avoid the sweets and not so much on the red meats).

Any suggestions? I need to find a bit more energy if I am going to survive Disney!

Oh, and we are hosting a BIG New Year's Eve bash at our some work to do to get ready for that event! (I know, I do this to myself....).

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Merry Christmas Campfire

Santa brought me a new digital camera, a Sony Cybershot DSC-W-80 which can also take video with sound!

So I am playing with YouTube to see if I can begin to bring some video to my blog. I am not sure why it isn't showing the beginning of the video as the background, but hopefully this will work.

Here is 1 minute of campfire for you to enjoy - no narration, just the sound of a crackling campfire on Christmas Day. Enjoy!!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Sunday, December 16, 2007

The Tinkoff 1000 is in The Bag (as is my 20 miler)

Early this year, Adam Tinkoff, better known as the Zen Runner, inspired a number of folks to set 1000 miles as a goal for this year. Personally the most I had ever run in a year was in 2006 when training for the Disney World Marathon. I managed to finish around 800 miles. So 1000 seemed like a good goal to go for - and looked like good community fun!

I started the year with the Disney World Marathon the first week of January - that gave me a good head start on my 1000 mile goal. However, in February when I sought physical therapy for my plantar fasciitis, I ended up taking 4 weeks off from running.

During the rest of the year I focused more on preparing for my races rather than the 1000. I figured it would come if I trained as planned for the Marine Corps Marathon and the 2008 Disney World Marathon. And so, here I am - passing the 1000 mile mark on my last 20 miler run for the year. I have completed nearly 1007 miles.

Today's 20 miler was a really tough run. In anticipation of the temptation to stop early, I planned a route that did not return near my house until the very end - to get home I would have to complete the run :-). The initial miles were not very encouraging either. After 6 or 7 miles, I was beginning to feel it - too early for such a long run. But the early miles were not the easiest. In addition to the uphill climb from mile 2 to 4, I was running into the wind - forecast to be around 18-20 mph. I felt better at 10 miles just last week. But I was going to tough it out.

At about 9 miles in as I was about to make a water stop at my office, I ran into Shirley's husband Dave who was out for a bike ride. He was not looking forward to the run back toward his house, since the wind had been at his back during the first part of his ride.

At about mile 12 I was feeling the familiar soreness in the feet, but my legs were starting to feel sore as well. By mile 15, I was really feeling quite done, but was determined to get a full 20 miles in, so I settled into my mental push.

About 17 miles in, I got a little bit of a second wind. I was feeling good that I was headed toward my house now, and that the run would soon be over. Everything was hurting and I was ready to be done.

On the last .1 mile down my street, I ran a comfortable, fast pace to finish up the run. 20.27 miles in 4:11:21 - a 12:24 min/mile pace with an AHR of 157. Overall I am very pleased. All my miles were under 13 min/mile.

Now it's time to put my feet up and address some Christmas cards!!!!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Good News and Not so Good News

The good news: I had the most incredible long run in quite some time today, logging 16.1 miles in 3:05. Besides the beautiful weather (about 60 when I started and 70 deg F when I finished - sunny) I was relaxed and just enjoyed the run. The first 10 miles were effortless and I had no aches or pains until 11-12 miles in. The last few miles were harder, but never really difficult. I started the run with the latest Phedip episode about Billy Mills and was inspired to play my Native American music playlist for the rest of my run.

I was also very pleased with my pace (11:33 min/mi - my goal was an easy long run, with walking breaks every 5 min. I wanted to be a good bit under 12 min/mi and I achieved that) and with my heart rate (AHR 153 bpm).

When I finished, I spent plenty of time stretching - something I am not very disciplined at doing, but is really needed with my many foot and leg problems, which brings me to....

The not so good news: This came later after sitting for a bit after running and showering. As I got up to walk, I had the familiar pain in my left foot that reflected my plantar fasciitis, which always acts up after a long run. But I felt the same sharp pain in my RIGHT foot/heel as well. A few presses on the heel revealed the familiar PF symptoms - now in both feet!

Advil and rest for a bit. I was hoping to get a few shorter runs in this week before running 22 miles on Sunday. This is my big 20+ miler before Disney. I may need to settle for some time on the elliptical machine in lieu of my shorter runs.

As for post marathon - it looks like I have some rehabilitation coming up after Disney (read that as break from running, cross training, and getting the ol' feet better). Sigh!

On a positive note, I now have logged 978 miles this year. Just 22 more miles to complete my Tinkoff 1000 :-).

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Reindeer Run Race Photo and Saving Memories

Just ordered this pic from the Reindeer Run - I was able to download the small version.

Today I was cleaning up my room and uncovered all the race numbers I have been saving. I really didn't start collecting them until last year - so I have all my race numbers from 2006 and 2007.

I also ordered race pictures from pretty much every race I have run.

Now what is the best thing to do with this stuff besides leaving them in a pile somewhere? I thought about putting them on the wall but it would fill a wall. So I figured I could put the race numbers with the appropriate picture in a photo album. I would save the wall for marathon stuff and significant events (my first 5K and my first half marathon). I looked at the scrapbook stuff but: a) I am not a scrapbooker and don't have the time to learn, b) the photo album stuff was cheaper.

Just lift up the page, stick in the stuff, and put the plastic back over it. A race number takes up an entire page. I can put pics and other stuff on the facing page.

As for all of the hardware I have collected....well, I will have to think of something creative. Right now they are hanging in a pile on the corner of a bookshelf.

Any ideas?

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Reindeer Run 5K - Full Race Report

Reindeer Run 5K
Maitland, Florida
Weather: Sunny
Racetime temp: about 62 Deg F

I got my kids out of bed at about 6:15 am - a bit early for them, but they were excited to be joining me for the Reindeer Run. For the kids there would be "snow" and a Kid's Run complete with Rudolph noses and jingle bells.

The 5K was to begin at 8 am so I wanted to get there between 7 and 7:15 am to beat out most of the crowd and get a decent parking space. We got there in good time and got the kids signed up for their race. Next we stopped at the registration area and said a quick hi to Shirley. Then I prepped for my race - Icy Hot and some warm up jogging.

This was a fun run - but even without the timing, Trackshack had set up signs showing folks where to line up if they expected to run at a 6 min pace, 7 min pace, etc. all the way up to 10 min or more. I dutifully lined up between the 9 and 10 min/mile signs - expecting to run around 9:30 min/mile. It was a large crowd - probably over 2000 runners.

Once the race started it took nearly 2 minutes to cross the starting line where I started up my Garmin. It then took the next mile to free up from the start congestion.

A frustration here: I was passing up WALKERS during the first mile, who must have lined up with the 7 min/mile group. It was difficult to get up to my target pace because of the slower walkers and runners who lined up close to the starting line. I didn't let it get to me, though. After all, this is a "fun run" and for many of the walkers, they probably didn't even know what the signs meant.

I began to think that this was probably not a good race to go for a PR and began to run through all the reasons why it might not happen. Let's see - one, losing time at the start with all the walkers. Two, not very much sleep for most of this week - I was not running fully rested. Three, not sure my calf was up to the job.

When I passed the first mile marker, the clock time was over 11 min, but my Garmin told me 9:30, so I was on track for the PR so far. I pressed on.

The crowd had thinned into the 2nd mile so it was easier to run. I ran through the water stop but slowed to get a cup and take a drink. I was thirsty but wanted to keep moving.

I hit mile 2 just under 19 minutes - still a 9:30 pace. But I was really winded and didn't think I could keep the pace up. The calf felt fine but my heart rate was way up. I have an alarm on my Garmin that goes off when I hit 180 bpm. It was tweeting at me around 2 miles into the race.

I took a few 15 sec walking breaks between miles 2 and 3 - I just couldn't keep going, even by slowing my pace. My 180 bpm alarm kept going off and folks around me were wondering what was up with my watch. I was just beginning to think that I was just going to have to walk longer when I saw the 3 mile clock ahead. If I passed it before 29 min on my Garmin, I could make it with the last tenth of a mile.

I sprinted in through the finish and hit the stop button. 29:28!

The final stats:

Final time: 29:28
Pace: 9:28 min/mile
AHR: 172 (very high for an average)
MHR: 188 (this is a new high for the year)

Garmin measured a total distance of 3.18 miles and had my mile splits at:

Mile 1: 9:20 min
Mile 2: 9:11 min
Mile 3: 9:28 min
Finish .18: 1:27 min

I didn't see Shirley at the finish, but figured I would catch up with her later. I found the girls who were ready to munch down some of the Christmas cookies and hot chocolate in the finish area. They also played in the snow (a pile of icy stuff). Then they ran their kids runs - each receiving a ribbon.

It was truly a fun run!

Friday, December 07, 2007

Still Ramping Up for Me!

As I watch a number of you ramping down your running for the year, I am slightly jealous and would like to ramp down with you. However, I still have a few running things to get done over the next few weeks.

1 - The Reindeer Run - this 5K is tomorrow. One of my goals this year was to break 30 minutes in a 5K. Although this is a fun run, I am going to use my Garmin to measure my progress. Because my calf was not doing so great after OUC, I waited until this morning to go for a run. It felt pretty good - but began to feel a little tight when I tried to speed up. My cunning plan: get to the race early enough to warm up well, lots of Icy Hot, and in the event I start to feel anything strange, back off and just enjoy the fun run.

2 - The Tinkoff 1000 - Not discussed too much lately, I am about 40 miles away from completing this goal - so I think I am going to make it! I have reduced my mileage with some of the issues with my calf - but I should make it before the end of the year.

3 - The Walt Disney World Marathon - This race is coming up on Jan 13th which I am hoping to run with my husband. He continues to struggle with foot issues which may cause him not to run it this year. I have just over 5 weeks left for the race and with that a few 15+ milers and a 20+ miler before tapering down. I am still hoping for busting 5 hours. One disadvantage of this race is that you are peaking out during the holidays. Ah well, maybe that is an advantage to stay ahead of all that consumed holiday cheer.

After Disney, time to take a break from training. I have been training pretty steady since May...I am ready for a break!! :-) Although the first thing I will be doing after the Disney Marathon is sign up for the 2009 Goofy Race and a Half. Sign up starts the day after the marathon, and the Goofy spots fill up fast.

Tomorrow - I will post a Reindeer Run race report!!! :-)

Saturday, December 01, 2007

OUC Half Marathon: Full Report

Race: OUC Half Marathon
Location: Downtown Orlando, Florida
Weather: Sunny, about 63 deg F at start, 72 deg F at finish
Final chip time: 2:20:42 / 10:51 min/mile
Overall Place: 1538 / 2049
Age (45-49): 58 / 97
Gender: 611 / 933

With a race start of 7:30 am, I wanted to be there about an hour before the race - just to secure good parking and to take my time getting to the starting area. Maddy and I were set to meet in front of Panera's near the finish area. I drank a Gatorade AM on the way in to downtown as my prerace nutrition.

I found Maddy and her friend Sheryl as I was heading over to check my bag of stuff. we used a regular restroom in the park before the race. I had a feeling I had not completely "processed" all of that Gatorade (but more on that later). Then we stood around and chatted while we waited for the race to begin. Sheryl was running the 5K so we said our good byes to here and lined up. Before we even knew it, the race was started! Maddy and I ran together for almost a mile until I let her move on ahead of me - I would try to find her at the finish. She was a faster runner and was not a walk break taker like I am.

Distance / Time note: I am going to go through my times via Garmin distance vs the markers on the race. My Garmin tends to hit the miles a little before the course does. By the end of the race the Garmin had me at a total distance of 13.4 miles. It took me about a minute and a half to cross the starting line.

I settled into a quick pace and hit the 1st mile in 10:04 (Garmin mile time). A little quicker than I wanted to be - but it felt comfortable. By the 2nd mile I had settled into a comfortable clip (10:19). I took 30 sec walking breaks at each mile and walked through the water stops. I opted to bring a few Clif Shots and drink the race water / gatorade offerings.

At about mile 3, the calf muscle that was hurting me on Thursday evening started to ache again. I focused on staying relaxed and keeping my stride short so as not to push it. I figured I could run through it so I kept going. Mile 3 came at 30:48 (3rd mile was in 10:25). At this point, I also felt the need to use a restroom (remember that Gatorade). In fact, I kind of felt the need to go at the start but, oh well. I figured I could bank the quick start to hit a restroom later. But since the need was not urgent, and there were lines at the port-a-johns, I kept going.

Mile 4 was a little slower at 10:58. Somewhere between Mile 3 and 4 I did my first Clif Shot. Mile 5 was in 10:40. On the course clock and the course 5 mile marker, I hit mile 5 at about 53 minutes.

The next few miles:
Mile 6: 10:26
Mile 7: 10:36
Mile 8: 10:52 (another Clif Shot around this time)
Mile 9: 11:01

By now I was starting to feel the run - my heart rate was climbing a bit and I was starting to look forward to the end. One group set up some signs - one which said "Aren't you glad it isn't 26.2?"

Another interesting observation: At one point, a motorist that was anxious to get around the race was driving on the sidewalk in the direction opposite our flow. So the car was on the sidewalk while the runners were in the street - how odd is that?

Mile 10: 10:33 (just a 5 K left)
Mile 11: 10:45
Mile 12: 10:37

Now in the last mile or so, I was feeling tired but determined to run. I took one last walking break at about 12.4 miles, then ran the rest. I thought alot about Susan running her marathon and Elijah and what a "marathoner" he has been through his recent treatments.

Mile 13: 9:59 (my fastest mile)
Mile 13.42: 3:33

Final on Garmin: 13.42 miles in 2:20:48
Average pace: 10:30 min/mi
AHR: 164 bpm
MHR: 186 bpm

As I sprinted in the last .1 miles, I didn't see Maddy - figured that she was going to look for me in another 5 minutes since I was ahead of when I thought I would be. My Garmin was tweeting madly at me for exceeding 180 bpm. I finished with 2:22 on the race clock and a final chip time of 2:20:42 - nearly 9 minutes better than my best half marathon distance (which was at MCM).

After the race, I looked around for Maddy and finally found her. I will let her tell you the story of her race. :-) I even helped myself to the free beer afterwards.

Maddy, Sheryl and I after the race in front of Lake Eola.

Maddy and I showing our Pray for Elijah bands (no we are not punching each other:-)

We hit the public restroom one more time (I never did use that port-a-john but waited until this time to go, then headed home. What a great morning!

OUC Half Marathon: Short Summary

Full (and lengthy) race report to come. Today's results - a PR!

My goal was 2:25. I finished in 2:20:42!!! I felt great in the run today although my left calf did start to hurt a bit after about 3 miles - it is pretty sore now. Hamstring is also a bit sore - so it is RICE for the rest of the weekend!

It was super seeing Maddy! More on the race and some pictures to follow!

Friday, November 30, 2007

Race for a shirt?

As I picked up my race packet for tomorrow's half marathon, I spied the race shirt for next week's RDV Sportsplex Reindeer Run 5K. They were offering a long sleeve technical T-shirt for the first 1400 registrants - and they already had 1100 registered.

So when I got back to my office I went to the website and found the registration fee was a mere $20. I could get a nice technical T-shirt for less than just buying one off the shelf!

I did have a second motive - one of my goals this year was to break the 30 min barrier in a 5K. I didn't run very many 5K's this year - and the ones I ran I ran with my daughter. This is the last 5K (and race) of the year.

So I signed up for a cool shirt and a shot at a sub-30 min 5K!

Now to rest up for tomorrow's race!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Cholesterol, Sore Feet, and OUC


Total: 172 (ok but up 20 points from last year)
HDL: 66 (very good since it is greater than 40 - up 11 pts from last year)
LDL: 68 (very good since it is less than 100 - but up 9 points)
Triglycerides: 188 (borderline high - down 2 points from last year)

Not sure how such small changes in the numbers gave me such a big leap in total. The total number is not bad - but I can't seem to get my triglycerides lower.

Factors: Being a runner could elevate TGs. Taking estrogen (birth control) can raise it. Having the right family genes (which I have) will also point to it being higher.

I am thinking I need to cut back on sweets and fats - maybe lose a couple of pounds - but no real worrisome numbers here. I just know that my brother, at age 39, had a heart attack with TG levels over 900! All the genes are on my mom's side: Mom, Uncle, Aunt, Grandmother (and brother) - all with heart disease. My physician has given me a clean bill of health per my last checkup.

Sore Feet

This week I am doing conference duty at the Orange County Convention center which translates into long hours and very sore feet and legs. I have managed 1 run this week on Tuesday of 5 miles but the hours have really made it hard to run (not to mention the sore feet). I am planning to run in the morning. One last 4 - 5 miler before the race on Saturday.

As you may know, on Saturday morning I will be running the OUC Half Marathon with my husband and running friend Maddy. Given my recent performance in running including a halfway point time during MCM of 2:29, I think I am well positioned for a half marathon PR without pushing it too hard. I think I can maintain an 11 min/mile pace which would have me finish in under 2:25. I may run it slower with my husband since he is coming back from a bout with tendonitis. We shall see. Like Maddy, I am excited the temps will be pretty good. Warm, but not too hot. Should be good tank top weather. Hope we get a breeze!

Big race weekend with Susan running St. Judes for our friend Elijah. Elijah went home from the hospital and on Saturday he celebrates his birthday. So we will be running for his birthday!!! :-) Shirley is also running a marathon on Sunday in Las Vegas. It is going to be an exciting weekend!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Who Has Time to Run??

Try as I might, I am struggling to get 4 days of running in a week. I am quite recovered from MCM and now need to get back in the swing. The good news, is that when I do run, it is going really well!

The biggest strain on my running has been my travel/work schedule. My morning choices are between getting a decent night's sleep and trying to run tired. I have been picking sleep - mostly because there are all kinds of illnesses going around, so I am trying not to compromise the immune system (while taking lots of Airborne and using hand sanitizer).

My Sunday run was in the late afternoon/evening since we were just returning from our camping trip. Once home I suited up for a 10 miler. I left the house around 4:45 pm - and got home well after dark. The run felt really good. My goal was to run close to an 11 min/mile pace. I took 30 sec walking breaks once a mile - and hit my goal pace. The splits:

Mile 1: 10:34
Mile 2: 11:13
Mile 3: 11:04
Mile 4: 11:25
Mile 5: 11:35
Mile 6: 11:13
Mile 7: 11:13
Mile 8: 11:02
Mile 9: 10:49
Mile 10: 10:11 (fast finish)
Mile 10.13: 1:10

Total distance and time: 10.13 miles in 1:51:35, an 11:01 min/mile pace!

The run felt really great. I paid a bit later with a sore hamstring and with both heels complaining! (not PF in the right foot!!! One is enough).

Tonight I got out for a 5 miler and I think my Garmin was off a bit. The mile alarm was going off earlier in the run than normal. I ran my normal 5.1 mile route and it registered 5.17.

I completed the 5.1 miles in 51:20, a 10:04 pace. I took a 30 sec walking break halfway through, otherwise I just ran the entire way. It felt great. I focused on relaxing and taking it easy (particularly with the hammy). The Garmin had me running sub-10 min/mile splits for all but one mile.

Still - I need to find a way to get to bed EARLY so I can be rested for those morning runs. This week's challenge: I am attending/working a conference Sat - Thurs. The good news is that I don't have to travel out of town. It is a longer commute than normal for me (45 min vs 15 min) but I will be sleeping in my own bed. Working the conference and getting my day job done in the evening will challenge my running schedule. My running plan for this coming week should not be too strenuous - I have a half marathon to run next Saturday - Dec. 1st - Elijah's birthday and the day that Susan runs the St. Jude's Marathon. We can be running together that day!

You know you are a marathoner when you run a half marathon as a tune up for your full marathon! :-) More on the race later!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Back to the Woods

Fishing during our camping trip this weekend. Check out the camping hat :-)

It has been outrageously busy for me lately - I worked 100 hours in the past 2 weeks, including all of last weekend.

So when this weekend's camping trip came up, I could hardly wait to get back out into the woods, even if the woods were only 25 miles away. We were experimenting with camping just over the weekend close to home. It was a rousing success.

Relaxation achieved, smores consumed, campfires made and fishing (with no catching). We will do this again soon. Next camping trip is over Christmas - Santa will have to find us out in the woods :-).

Thursday, November 15, 2007

My Meme

Shirley just tagged me to do a Meme. You have to check out her post - such hidden talents with that woman!

A meme is apparently a fun chain-letter like way of getting to know others better and making new friends. (this according to Shirley's blog).

Here are the basic rules for this meme (cutting and pasting from Shirley's blog):

• Link to your tagger, and post these rules on your blog.
• Share 5 facts about yourself on your blog, some random, some weird.
• Tag 5 people at the end of your post by their names and links to their blogs.
• Let them know they are TAGGED by leaving a comment on their blog.

Now this is TOUGH! As busy a person I am, I have a hard time thinking of 5 things that are interesting, unusual or outstanding. I am like the children of Lake Wobegone - I am above average in a lot of things, but I don't consider myself a master of anything (sigh).

Ah well, here goes:

1. When I was in 7th grade I picked up a guitar and taught myself to play (had a few basic lessons in junior high). I wanted to learn the clarinet but my parents couldn't afford to rent one. I was in two rock bands in high school - and could play a mean rhythm for BTO's "Taking Care of Business" and Eric Clapton's "Cocaine". I could also play "Wipeout" (yes, I am dating myself here). Of note: I wrote a song for my wedding which I have since copyrighted and hope to record sometime.

2. I was a radio DJ in college and then part time after I graduated. This was back when I still had to cue up vinyl records and later tapes.

3. When I was in college I worked one summer as a Compucamp counselor back when Apple computers first came out. We taught kids about CPUs, Disk drives and programming in Logo. There was no such thing as Windows, a mouse, or the Internet (circa 1982).

4. I have worked for the same company for the past 12 years, however in that time I have had 13 different offices in 4 office buildings and on 6 different floors (I just moved last week - new building thus new floor).

5. I grew up in Vermont but never learned to snow ski until after I had moved away. I developed my technique while on my honeymoon (in Vail) falling down the hill a few times before calling it quits. I got much better when I signed up for a company ski team during the brief time we lived in upstate NY. My goal was to make it all the way through the course without falling....which I achieved about halfway through the season. At least the post race beers were good!

That is it for me. I would like to tag:

Susan from I Run for My Life
Adam from The Zen Runner
Maddy from Gotta run
Kevin from Kevin Bonks!
Maritza from Marathon Maritza

Saturday, November 10, 2007

A Few More MCM Pics

I finally got the single-use camera down to the photo place for developing (next time I take a digital camera) so I just got a few more pics.

Here is the race shirt the night before. It says, "Life is an Adventure" on the front and "Bring it on!" on the back. The back also has my pace group time and my dedication to mom.

I found Miles in the Runner's Village before the race and got a picture with him!

Michelle was our 5 hour pace group leader.

Here we are just approaching the starting line - and just beginning to increase our speed past a walk.

Approaching the mall area in DC...

After finishing, the finisher's chute leads you toward the Iwo Jima Memorial. See the tall buildings way in the background. That is where you have to walk to get to bag pickup and the finisher's party.

A fellow runner I met with the 5 hour pace group at the beginning of the race. I lost him around mile 3 or so and found him in the finisher's chute.

I sure am going to miss the crowd support at Disney!

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

What's Next?

One major difference between completing my first marathon and completing MCM, is that after the first one was done, I felt kind of lost for a little bit - I had achieved the big what?

This time, the next race is just around the corner. The 2008 Walt Disney World Marathon is just a little over 9 weeks away. I even have the OUC Half Marathon in a little over 3 weeks as a tune up race. So I still have that training mindset.

So what is the strategy? My training plan going into these races was to take it easy for the 3 weeks following MCM - easing back into running as my body felt up to it. Then build to at least one 20+ miler before tapering again to Disney. I still have all that good MCM training under my belt - it is just a matter of maintaining it.

In consultation with my running coach, blogging buddy and fellow Dolphin Runner Shirley, she thought it was a sensible plan (ok, coming from someone who ran 21 marathons in 9 months...still). After the marathon I waited until Friday to take a 3 mile easy run that felt just great. On Sunday I ran 5 miles. This week I ran 4.5 miles on Tuesday at an easy feeling pace of just under 11 min/mile. My heartrate averaged 150 bpm, which is nice and low in my aerobic range. I am planning 5 on Friday and 8 on Sunday. Next week I am going to go for a tempo run or two. My hamstring has been a bit achy today - perhaps from the long flight. I brought my "Stick" along and used it on the flight (it was great!). I can probably help loosen up that hammy. The one I have is smaller than the smallest one they advertise on the web (I bought it at the marathon expo). It fits in my computer bag!

I would like to add two things to my training. One - I want to get my weight training going again. I think it helped me earlier this year until I got out of the habit this summer. I also want to continue to work tempo / pace. I don't believe I will improve over MCM by 41 min, but I am really going to go for breaking the 5 hour mark!! I am also hoping to improve on the half marathon time I set at MCM (2:29) when I do OUC.

So there you have it!

Sunday, November 04, 2007

8 Miles, 17 Years of Marriage, and the Epcot Food and Wine Festival

What do these have in common - all things that were a part of my past week!

Running - I ran 3 easy miles on Friday morning, which felt wonderful. Today, my long run day, I did 5 miles at a fairly easy pace - running with my hubby...which leads to...

17 Years - On Saturday my husband I I celebrated 17 years of marriage! To celebrate we went to Epcot to the....

Food and Wine Festival - At this event, the entire World Showcase is turned into a big food and wine party. There are booths from countries from all over the world featuring a several native food dishes as well as wine. After two laps around the "world" I was feeling pretty happy. There was no need to make dinner reservations - we ate on the fly. We ended the evening with Epcot's "Illuminations" fireworks show! Although I had a bit more to drink than I have had in a long time, I felt good enough this morning for my 5 miler - so all in all, a great weekend!!! :-)

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Finish Line Video

The Washington Post has video (complete with sound) for the finish line of the MCM. Using the clock times, I finished at 5:24:15 - crossing toward the right side of the screen.

Pretty cool, but it seems to take a bit to load. You can move the video ahead and not play it from the beginning if desired.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

26.2 Things I learned (and relearned) as I ran my 2nd Marathon

1. I forgot how hard those last few miles were, beginning around mile 20 (it is different during the race than during the long run). As I prepared for my second race, I thought that during the first race it was the heat or that it was my first race. As it turns out, they ALL are hard around that time!

2. I can push myself more than I thought.

3. Traveling to a race by yourself has its advantages – I really met a lot of interesting people vs spending my time talking to someone I know.

4. Racing without an iPod is totally cool. I had so much good interaction with others on the course. During MCM, I never missed it.

5. I wasn’t as nervous the night before the race as with the first one.

6. I felt much more ready. I didn’t have that first time feeling of “I might not finish”.

7. Sport beans aren’t so bad afterall.

8. There is ALWAYS a long line for the portapotty.

9. Up hill is hard.

10. Downhill is easy.

11. Runners are the coolest people on the planet.

12. Hearing someone call you out by name is so great! I missed not having my name on my shirt this year.

13. Pace bands are a great item. Next time I will mark on the pace band when I plan to take my Clif Shots – I lose track of when I take mine (did I just take one or do I need to now?)

14. 8 hour Tylenol is your friend during the race.

15. Advil is your friend after the race.

16. Blogging friends are AWESOME!

17. Pace groups are a great way to keep moving.

18. Garbage bags can be amazingly warm on a chilly morning.

19. The feeling at the end when finishing is just as intense, and just as much a sense of accomplishment as the first time. As with the first race, I was so emotionally moved at the end, I was crying / (practically sobbing) in the finishers chute.

20. Free massages are worth the wait.

21. Jott and Twitter are a fun way to provide real time updates – I just wish I knew how to keep my comments to 140 characters.

22. Having a US Marine present you with your medal is, well, indescribable.

23. Entry fee $100, Hotel $350, Cool marathon jacket $85, Crossing the finish line of another marathon – priceless.

24. Fuel belt saves the day once again.

25. Online tracking is very cool.

26. I am 41 minutes and 1 second faster.

26.2 Bravo Zulu!

Monday, October 29, 2007

The 32nd Marine Corps Marathon - Part Trois - The Race


Race Day – Heading to the Start

After checking my luggage with the hotel, I headed to the metro. I was a bit early, but wanted to beat the big crowds. The trains were not too crowded so it was an easy ride in.

After getting off the metro, I just followed the runners as they walked out of the station, around the Pentagon building and to a distant parking lot. The walk was probably a mile. It was a cool morning, probably about 52 degrees F with a breeze. Walking helped to keep me warm in my shorts, short sleeve shirt, and toss away sweat jacket. After quite a walk we arrived at the Runner’s Village where the UPS trucks were waiting for our checked bags. A tent was there and many runners were seated inside to get out of the chill and the wind. As I walked around a bit I saw a shirt with a familiar logo on it – Trackshack.

The Trackshack is an Orlando running store – so I spoke with the runner – Heather – and we hung around together all the way to the starting area. It was her 4th marathon but her first MCM. She was hoping to finish in 4:30 but was going to line up near the 5 hour pace group. She was also meeting other Trackshack runners at the 5 hour meet up area. I met the other Trackshack runners and just stayed with them until the race was about to begin.

I spotted the 5 hour pace team and met the leader, Michelle. Unlike the training I have used (5 min run 1 min walk) she was only going to take walking breaks through the water stops, about every 2 miles or so. Given that approach, I would need to “rubber band” with her group – getting ahead and then having them catch up during my walk breaks.

Even though the sun was coming up, it felt colder the longer we waited for the race start. I was shivering and used my garbage bag to cover my legs. Finally the national anthem was sung and the race began. It took a good 5 min before we started to move – about 15 minutes to cross the starting line – but we were off.

The Race

Immediately, I deviated from my running plan and just tried to stay with the 5 hour pace group. She seemed to be running kind of fast a pace that I may have run with my walking breaks. The biggest, baddest hill in the race began around mile 2 and climbed up to mile 3. By then my heart rate was already anaerobic and stayed that way pretty much for the entire race. I had a feeling I was going to hit the wall later in the race because I knew I was burning up the gas in my tank faster than normal.

I looked for Karen near mile 3 but didn’t spot her. And apparently she had trouble spotting me since I was wearing a white shirt, white hat and black shorts – along with thousands of other runners. I was sad I missed her, but looked forward to seeing here after the race.

I also began looking for a bathroom, and to stay with the pace group (I was determined after my experience with Disney NOT to lose them). I ran ahead on the down hill and got a very good lead on the group. When I finally spotted the porta potty, the lines were about 4 deep. I got in a line, which was moving quite slowly. When the balloons marking the 5 hour group ran by me, and my line hadn’t even moved, I abandoned the potty break and decided I would catch a break later.

I struggled to stay with the pace group. I kept them in my sight during my walking breaks, and ran quickly to catch up to them. My heart rate was high (averaged around 163) during most of this time and I kept thinking I was going to blow it at the end of the race. But I had something on my side – cool temperatures. It was in the low 50’s with a breeze – which made it cold to be standing around but great for running. By mile 3 I didn’t need the jacket any more. I was never chilled or overheated. The cool temps helped me keep going, so I kept pushing.

By mile 10 we entered the downtown DC area where all the monuments were, beginning near the Lincoln memorial, running past the Washington monument, by the various Smithsonian Museums, on past the Capitol and back past the Jefferson Memorial. We passed the halfway point during this portion of the run and amazingly enough I was still in eye shot of the 5 hour pace group, which was over a minute ahead of pace. I knew my splits were looking good as we crossed the 5 mile, 10 mile and 13.1 mile mats. However, typical of my long runs, I figured I would be slowing down at the end. I knew lots of my blogging friends were “watching” me race, and knew that they were cheering me on. In fact, at times when I needed an extra lift, I would imagine Maddy, Petra or Susan (and Adam and Shirley and Lizzie Lee and...) cheering me on – telling me how well I was doing and to hang in there. It gave me a lift.

Then, I had my first big surprise. Around Mile 14 I heard someone yelling my name (I didn’t have it on my shirt – so they had to know me) – it was my friend Karen. She had missed me at mile 3 so she headed to the mall area and setup just after the halfway point with her laptop. Using the web-based runner tracking tool, she knew when to expect me! I was so surprised and elated to see her – I was really starting to feel the aches – having run pretty hard the first half of the race. What a lift!

After that point we entered what many MCM runners think is the hardest part of the course, the East Potomac park. People thought it was hard there because there was little crowd support. Well, after running Disney, let me tell you, it was a beautiful run out to the end of an island and back with lots of trees and scenery – and a few brave souls who set up out there to cheer on the runners! One guy even offered to loan someone his bike. It was actually a nice part of the course.

After the park we circle back to the 14th street bridge. This is the infamous bridge that you have to “beat” by 1 pm when they reopen it. Anyone not across by then is picked up and bussed to the finish area. A 14 min/mi pace is required to beat the bridge. At this point I was still on an 11:27 min mile pace (as of mile 18) – a 5 hour finish pace. But I was running out of gas. The bridge is at mile 19.

After crossing the bridge you run into Crystal City. This is an out and back run so you see the runners ahead of you on the way toward the Pentagon while you enter Crystal City. Still, the crowd support (which was incredible the entire race) was really great here. It’s a big party down there. I crossed the 20 mile mark and heard my name again. Yes, it was Karen who had picked up and moved to Crystal City to catch me again. There she was with her laptop tracking me. She said she was very popular with the other spectators who asked her to check on their runners as well. After 20, I was really hurting so seeing her was so incredible (totally unexpected). I stopped to give her a big hug, and set off with a little more energy toward the finish. Shortly after seeing Karen, my phone rang and it was my husband and kids – calling at a very good time! I could feel all the support there at a most difficult time. After 20 miles, the race was primarily mental. My heart rate was not so bad – but my legs were ready to stop. While running through Crystal City, my right calf began to cramp up a bit.

A little further and we could see the Pentagon – we were not far now – just about 3 more miles to go. As we ran by the area where we started earlier in the day, I caught up with Heather from the starting line. She was really struggling – having some stomach issues. I ran with her for a bit, but she couldn’t really talk – she was focused on just keeping herself going. I wished her the best of luck and hoped to see her at a Trackshack race in Orlando sometime.

I caught up with another runner I ran with earlier – who had passed me earlier in the race, patted me on the back, and said we were going to finish this. Later we had seen each other again and I found out that she was an active duty Marine, a new mommy (6 months old) and it was her first marathon! I congratulated her on her wonderful first marathon performance, on being a new mom, and thanked her for serving our country in Iraq and at home. As I caught her around mile 23 I patted her on the back and told her she was almost there, and that baby was going to be waiting for her at the finish line. I congratulated her on an excellent race and continued on.

I had quite a bit of walking in those last couple of miles (as my times would reflect – about 12 min+ per mile) but I saw folks I had seen before. As we approached and passed the finish for an out and back final mile, I struggled on that last full mile – that had to be more than a mile – it was so long!!

Then we came upon the last .2 miles – right up a fairly steep incline and then to the finish. I had decided to dedicate those last .2 miles to all the troops serving and sacrificing in Iraq and Afghanistan. I sprinted up that hill without stopping at all. My calves screamed and tried to lock up on me but I pressed on, right across the finish line. I couldn’t believe it, I was done. Since I started my Garmin late, I wasn’t sure my exact finish but I knew it was around 5:05 or 5:06. The official time was 5:06:26, a 41 minute PR.

The 32nd Marine Corps Marathon - Part Deux - Pre-Race

The Trip

My flight to Dulles went without incident. It was raining when I arrived in the DC area, so I opted for a cab to my hotel. The $55 cost was much less than renting a car.

Glitch #1: No late checkout: I had a reservation at the Crowne Plaza Hotel National Airport – located on Crystal City Drive. At check-in, I immediately asked if I could get a late checkout for Sunday afternoon, since I needed a place to clean up after the race. They said I had to checkout by 12 noon since they had 300 people checking in on Sunday. There were no showers or anything to use, although they offered the public restroom sink.

Elegant resolution #1: Local friends: A local friend who was going to meet me for dinner on Sat night. She was part of the reason I signed up for the race – since we planned to run it together. Because of some personal events, she was unable to train and had to postpone until next year. I asked if I could clean up at her place since she lived right in Arlington, 10 minutes from where I was staying in Crystal City. She told me it was no problem!

The Expo

Next I headed to the race expo to pick up my race number, shirt and packet. That went really well – and there were no lines on Friday afternoon.

I had dinner at the hotel and met my first runner (that I spent time really talking to). I don’t recall her name, but she was a bit older than me and in town from Nashville I think. She sat down at a table next to mine as I was finishing up, and I ended up joining her while getting a cup of decaf. We had a really nice conversation about marathons, training and life in general. I went to bed a bit late – but planned to sleep in (which I did).

Saturday, after a good breakfast, I headed out back to the race expo. This time I met a number of runners also on their way to the expo. The expo was held at the DC armory past the main portion of DC via the subway (called the Metro). Many of the race participants stayed in Crystal City where I was, so I met lots of runners on the metro during the entire weekend. I sat with one runner on the metro who was heading in to pick up his race packet. Upon reaching the expo area there was a long line leading up to the number / chip tent, so, since I already had my race packet, I said my goodbyes and headed directly into the expo.

At the expo I listened to Danny Dreyer, author of “Chi Running”. Then, I stood in line for the free 5 minute massage (worth every bit of waiting). I walked around the expo for awhile, bought a few things, then decided that I had better get back to the room – enough walking around the day before a race.

Back at the room, I took a nap for about an hour and a half before meeting my friend for dinner. My friend Karen is a co-worker of mine who works in our McLean, Va. Office – a place I have traveled to frequently. We had a lovely dinner together, complete with leftovers which we thought would make a nice meal on Sunday when I come over after the race to clean up. After reviewing the race course, Karen said she would try to catch me around mile 3 since the course came very close to where she lived.

Pre-Race Prep

After I got back to the hotel, I began the process of getting everything ready for the race and also for checking out the next morning. I pinned my number on my shirt, picked out all the clothes and items I would need for the race. I packed two bags to take to the race start. The larger one which I would check at the bag check-in to retrieve after the race, and a smaller one to take to the starting area that would be a throwaway. Since the temperatures were going to be cooler than I am used to, I packed a dry short sleeve shirt, my ¾ length running pants and my new MCM running jacket in the bag to be checked. I also included a credit card and $20. In my small throwaway bag I included some Icy Hot packs and some wet wipes to clean my hands afterwards, a garbage bag for additional warmth at the start if needed, and a packet of Bull Frog in anticipation of the sunny weather.

As I got into bed, I set 3 alarms (yes, I wanted to make sure I would wake up). I set the one in the hotel room along with my cell phone and BlackBerry. I have had hotel alarm clock mishaps in the past, so I wanted back up. I could have asked for a wake up call, but decided the alarms could cover it.

I slept pretty well for a night before a big race. I was set to wake up at 4:45 am but woke about 3:30 am with a headache (I had been suffering from headaches for the past couple of nights). I took some ibuprofen and prayed that it would knock out the headache by the time I had to get up. Sure enough, the hotel alarm went off just fine and the headache was gone. I was dressed, packed and out the door by 5:30 am.

The 32nd Marine Corps Marathon

“By endurance we conquer”

- Sir Ernest Shackleton

Life is an adventure. And in that adventure, things happen that you don’t expect, and resolutions occur that are beyond what you can imagine – that is what makes it an adventure.

The Marine Corps Marathon was all I thought it would be and more. The weather was perfect, the spectators were fantastic, the Marines were awesome, and I ran a good race.

There are so many interesting details – I am putting this in multiple posts – rather than put you through the agony of one long 5 page post (I am too verbose, I can’t help it).

The synopsis is here:

What went well? Just about everything!

What went poorly? I didn’t really run the race like I trained (but it worked out anyway).

Where was I lucky? This really isn’t luck, but my friend Karen pulled through like a champ in ways I didn’t expect. In addition, I had excellent on-line race support from all my blogging buddies (this was not unexpected).

Where was I unlucky? I couldn’t get a late check out – but I had a better post race option that worked out much better anyway. It also took 45 min to get through airport security for my flight back causing me to almost miss my flight – but I DID make the flight with all bags.

What would I do differently next time? I think I would spend the night and leave the day after the race. Then I could clean up and enjoy some of the post race celebration. For the race, I would definitely run as I trained and planned.

The next few posts provide the details of my experience.

Preliminary Results

Big post coming - I had an incredible race! The results:

Finish time: 5:06:26 (new PR by 41:01)
Overall place: 14768/20667
Gender place: 5051 / 8057
Division place: 449 / 795

Thanks for all your cheers and support :-)

Saturday, October 27, 2007

This is a test message...

This is a test message to see if I can send post to my blog from my phone while I am here running the Marine Corps Marathon. listen

Powered by Jott

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Just 2 more days....

Taper madness and pre-race jitters are in full swing. I have been checking for the 10 day forecast all week and am thrilled that the weather for race day will be absolutely perfect. After training all summer (and even this past week) in heat and humidity, the race day weather should feel like a dream.

I have even been watching YouTube videos from last year's MCM to see what areas of the course looked like. I tried to imagine running by those points in the race and up the last hill to the finish.

I panicked yesterday as I felt a bit of a scratch in my throat. "No! I cannot be getting sick now. I just kicked an illness last week." I stopped at the store on the way home and got lots of Airborne, Zinc lozenges and even used the peroxide in the ear trick. This morning I felt great so I did my 3 mile run. Still feeling a bit scratchy here and there, I will continue the preventative approach and get lots of rest over the next couple of days. I will be washing my hands a lot and watching out while traveling so as not to catch one of those really nasty bugs.

I stuck to my running plan and ran 5 miles on Tuesday and 3 miles this morning. Both runs were approached as easy runs and my times were well under 11 min/mi for both. The city has been repaving my street this week, so I have been carefully watching where I run to avoid any rocks or other things that might trip me up.

I reviewed my old marathon check list and have developed my packing list, which I am about to go pack up. I hope I don't forget anything...

I am nervous but really excited. And I feel SOOOO ready for this race. I will have a computer with me but will also try using Jott to update twitter with the weekend events. One thing I am a bit nervous about is that I am on my own for this race - no support crew on the course, no family to help me limp back to the hotel room. That said, I do know that there are lots of friends both cheering me on and virtually with me on the race course. That thought will keep me encouraged along the way. I will bring the iRiver when I feel the need to talk to you.

In case I am in a crunch and need some help, I do have friends in the area I can call in in a pinch. So I am not so totally alone.

Thanks for training with me, encouraging me and for being with me on Sunday!!!

Semper Fi!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

One More Week....

I should warn you that, although I am a program manager, my college degrees are in mathematics (yes, I am a geek).

So as I thought about what my marathon target times should be, I consulted a variety of on-line pace calculators and combined that with my own training data and gut feelings.

Here is my analysis / "predictions" for MCM:

Realistic target time (probable time): 5:10:00 / 11:50 min/mile pace

Dream time: 4:59:59 / 11:27 min/mile pace

Here is my reasoning - I am open for recommendations.

1. Based on my 5 miler time today, the models are predicting anywhere from 4:45 - 4:56 for marathon time. I think that is on the optimistic side.

2. My really long runs have been around the 12 min/mile pace. During the PWWHM I kept an 11:45 min/mile pace. I think that could have been a little better under larger crowd race conditions.

3. My shorter training runs have been consistently around a 10:35 min/mile pace - when running very easy they are just over 11 min/mile. This makes me think that an 11:50 pace is quite reachable, and 11:27 might even be possible.

4. My Parrot Predictor (based on weeks I have trained more than 26.2 miles) has indicated: 5:08, 5:16, 5:01, 4:49, 5:04 during my September training. This makes a 5:05 or 5:10 finish seem quite reasonable.

5. The race course has some hills - I have been training on flat terrain. The hills will give me a little trouble and slow me a bit in some places.

6. The weather is supposed to be perfect if the 10 day forecast is correct: Sunny skies, high temperature of 64 degrees. Low of 46 degrees. After training and running in the heat and humidity all summer, the effort should be lower (as I was so hoping).

Either way, I expect a PR since my Disney Marathon time was 5:47, and I have 10 more months of experience and training on my side.

Now did I jinx my race by making predictions???

Question: For race strategy I was going to line up with the 5 hour pace group and try to stay with them. If it gets too much I will drop back. Does that sound ok?

UCF 5 Miler Results

The results are in (drum roll please):

Race clock time: 50:33 min
Net chip time: 49:51 min

OMG, I broke 50 minutes today!!! :-)

Garmin splits:

Mile 1: 9:41 min
Mile 2: 9:29 min
Mile 3: 10:07 min (began losing some steam)
Mile 4: 10:23 min (trying to conserve for the end)
Mile 5: 9:27 min (big finish)

Garmin said I ran 5.1 miles - the last .1 was in 46.65 sec.

Quick synopsis - cloudy but humid with no wind - so it felt pretty hot. While running my splits were showing me running less than 10 min/mi. I took a few short walking breaks and walked through both water stops, but I could tell my was on pace.

Started with 173 bpm Podrunner mix for the first 4 miles, then cranked to a 179 bpm mix for the last mile (fastest mile).

Average heart rate: 169 bpm
Max heart rate: 186 bpm (What??? a new max heart rate?)

Hope everyone elses races go well today!!


I placed 35 out of 66 for my age group
208 out of 426 women
566 out of 894 total finishers

Saturday, October 20, 2007

UCF 5 Miler Predictions

When I attended UCF (oh, nearly 20 years ago) we used to joke that UCF stands for "U Can't Finish." So the name of this race is quite appropriate. Tomorrow is the UCF "U Can Finish" 5 Miler. I have run this race twice before. The first time I ran (2004) my goal was to beat 1 hour. I believe I ran the race in about 58 minutes (mission accomplished).

Last year (2006) I was hoping to break 50 minutes. It was a very hot day, and I really started to slow around mile 3. I still managed to finish in 51:14.

This year I am hoping to break 51 minutes. I don't want to push too hard with my marathon next week, but I think that my 5 mile pace lately has been very good. Thursday evening I ran 5.1 miles in 52:15. This is not far from my 5 miler PR time (10:16 min/mi pace vs a 10:14 min/mi pace). I did push myself a bit on Thursday, but it was a training run so I think in a race environment I can do better. My goal is to run relaxed and work to push more in terms of not taking as many walking breaks vs. running faster. There are 2 water stops so I plan to stop just for water - or skip if I am feeling up to it. We will see.

Weather report looks pretty good. Cloudy skies but no rain, with temps in the low 70s at race time.

Speaking of race weather, the extended forecast for Washington, DC for next Sunday calls for mostly sunny skies - low temperature of 48 degrees with a high of 69 degrees. I am going to be in heaven!!!

Running and Biking in the Rain

Today was to be an easy 4 mile run for me - tomorrow is my 5 miler race and the beginning of the last week before my marathon.

My husband's plan was to run 18 miles - further than he has ever run before. Our joint plan was to run the first 4 miles. Then I would hop on my bike and accompany my husband on the next 14 miles. Seemed like a good enough plan. I mapped out the route the night before so we knew where to run for 14 miles.

This morning we got up around 7:00 am and took about 30-45 min to prepare for the run. The weather report was not great for today - big chance of showers and it had been raining over night. But, in spite of the rain chances, we decided to go for it and headed out for the first 4 miles.

It was a great, easy 4 miler for me completed in 45:15 - an 11:18 min/mile pace. About the time we got back from the first 4 miles the skies opened up and the rain began to fall. As we got our supplies for the next 14 miles, the radar seemed to indicate that the rain would last for a little bit, then it should clear up for the rest of the run. There was no thunder and lightning so we headed out. I grabbed a rain poncho for me since I was not going to be running or expending enough energy to keep me warm in the rain (very good thing I did that!) My husband felt fine - with his running keeping him warm. With extra water on hand, we set out in the rain.

The rain was steady but not too hard, so actually not bad to run in. There was a little bit of a breeze so I was very happy for the rain poncho. The rain stopped after about 5 miles or so. My husband was making great time, with a pace comfortably under 12 min/mile and he was not getting winded at all. around mile 6 I began to have this realization....I really don't bike very often, and when I do it is to the elementary school and back (about 2 miles). As my bottom side began to get a bit sore, my back from bending over and my arms from supporting me - not to mention an slightly different set of leg muscles being used to propel me - I was beginning to wonder if a 14 mile slow bike ride was really a good idea. It was great being there with my husband - but I worried about the resulting body aches. Ah well, the die had been cast and we were going to finish it.

Around 8 or 9 miles into the 14 miler, my husband's legs were starting to get sore - but he had plenty of energy. We turned back toward the house to cut the run short about a mile. As we headed toward home we ran through UCF and observed all the football game day preparations, including the smell of barbeque grills firing up for the tail gate parties.

Closer to home, my husband was feeling pretty good, so instead of making the turn toward our house we continued down Lockwood Blvd to add the mile we cut out back into the run. He completed his 14.14 miles in 2 hours 46 minutes. He ran an 11:46 min/mi pace. Amazing!!! I was relieved to finally get off the bike. And hours later as I write this, I am feeling no ill effects. I should be just fine for my 5 mile race tomorrow.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

The Phedippedations World Wide Half Marathon

My husband and I after finishing the World Wide Half Marathon.

Today was the day...race day...the second annual Phedip World Wide Half Marathon. My husband and I ran a race with over 1100 participants today. When we were stretching before starting the race, our neighbor was out and saw our race numbers. He asked us where the start of our race was. And we told him we were starting right there, in front of our house, running with many other runners all over the world.

We were not trying to set any PRs - I wanted to go easy since this was my first run since I got sick earlier this week. I felt fine this morning. My husband was actually running another couple miles after we finished to complete his scheduled 16 mile long run. My Garmin would keep official race time and distance. I had my Elijah reminder band on. We were ready to go!

We started out easy - our pace under 12 min/mile. We managed to maintain that pace for the entire run. We ran around part of Oviedo, then south through the University of Central Florida, before running home. On the way we saw a bunny rabbit, helped a man push his stalled car out of the road, ran past lots of runners and lots of drivers. We had one driver yell at us, with thumbs down, but other drivers yielding to our run. I think folks thought it interesting that we were running around the neighborhood and campus with a race number on!

About 2.5 miles from the house, I realized that were were almost on pace for a half marathon PR! So we kicked up the pace a bit, and finished in 2:33:25, and 11:45 min/mi pace. I reported 2:32 for last year's Phedip - but I ran that in two parts - a 10K followed by additional miles. This is the fastest continuous 13.1 miles I have ever run. My husband beat his previous time of about 2:54. We finished running to our house for a total of 13.54 miles in 2:39. After a quick picture, I grabbed my bike and accompanied my husband on the last 2.5 miles of his 16 miler. He finished that in about 26:39.

My splits:

Mile 1: 11:37 Mile 8: 12:14
Mile 2: 11:49 Mile 9: 11:47
Mile 3: 12:02 Mile 10: 12:05
Mile 4: 11:42 Mile 11: 11:47
Mile 5: 11:51 Mile 12: 11:15
Mile 6: 11:35 Mile 13: 10:46
Mile 7: 11:42 Mile 13.1: :53

Total: 2:33:25

My iPod froze up about halfway through - I justed finished listening to Phedip here at the computer!

What a great race!!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Episode 10 - Back on the Road Again

A view down the Pacific Beach Boardwalk - where I ran my 16 miler back in July.

Yes, believe it or not, a podcast has been produced!!!

Welcome to another episode of Running Adventures!

Episode 10 of Running Adventures starts with some animal facts and takes you on a running adventure from La Jolla Cove to the Pacific Beach Boardwalk and back.

Featured music this week from the Podshow Podsafe Music Network was "Pipe's Canyon Sunset" by Michael Mucklow

The opening music is "Super Soul" by 4saizons and the closing music is from "Adventures of a Deaf Dreamer" by Josh Woodward.

Have a great adventure in the coming week!

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Friday, October 12, 2007

A "Senior" Moment

I had one of those moments today - you know - the ones where you realize that you are getting older and the people you interact with seem to get younger.

This morning my cold progressed solidly into my chest. (Warning, TMI ahead). This complete with coughing up "stuff" that had yellow and greenish coloring to it.

Time to head to the doctor.

At our doctor's office, I had been seeing a nurse practitioner who, herself, was a runner. I knew that she was no longer with the office, but I made an appointment with the new nurse practitioner and wondered whether she too would be a runner, or at least athletic enough to relate to my health concerns and the upcoming marathon.

After a nurse quickly weighed me, took my temperature and checked my blood pressure, she stepped out, and soon the nurse practitioner came in. She looked like another young nurse except she wore the white coat with the practice's doctors names on it. She was a young woman who appeared to be in good shape and couldn't be much older than 24 (although she looked about 19 years old). She was probably born around the time I was completing college.

I told her my story and that I was concerned because I was running a marathon in about 2 weeks and wanted to get over the illness as soon as possible. She seemed to understand, and although she admitted that she was not a runner, she knows runners who do distance training - one in particular who is running the Disney Half Marathon this year.

With an official diagnosis of bronchitis, she prescribed a strong antibiotic for me and prescription strength expectorant - because she wanted to get this knocked out quickly so I would be good for my race (yay!).

As our visit ended, I realized a couple of things:
1 - she was going to be fine as my primary care giver
2 - I was probably going to be treated by people who are younger than me for the rest of my life

I had crossed that age threshold where the folks providing services to me would, in fact, be younger than me.

That is ok, because in a distance run, I can still kick many of their young butts! :-)

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Running and the Common Cold

The good news is that running can help boost your immune system - and mine has been such that I have not been sick in, oh, probably well over a year. I don't have the tendency to overtrain so I get to enjoy the benefits of a strengthened immune system.

So now that I am finally tapering, a post nasal drip sneaks in, steals my voice, and keeps me off the road. My sinuses are not clogged, just that annoying post nasal drip. And laying in a dentist chair on Tuesday for over an hour with that drip was not fun and probably didn't help.

I have read before that if the cold is above the neck, you are ok to run. If below the neck, you probably shouldn't. I have also read that running easy is probably just fine and may help - but if you have a fever or flu symptoms you should lay off.

Ok, no fever or flu, and I feel relatively ok (but was tired this morning). I guess one more day off.

In the meanwhile I am using all the "tricks" I know to reduce the time and severity of this affliction. I don't need an illness imposed break on top of the typical taper madness. I don't think I have any infection yet - I am taking Guaifenesin to loosen the mucus so I can cough more productively (ok, probably TMI). I am armed with tea, chicken soup, and a day home to rest.

I am glad I felt fine for the Dolphin run and also glad I have time to kick this in plenty of time for the marathon.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

The Great Dolphin Run!

Check out the results of the Great Dolphin Run at the What's a Few Miles Among Friends blogsite. An incredible run with three other incredible people.

I am amazed and blessed to meet the wonderful people in real life that I have met virtually through this blog. I can't wait to meet more of you! :-)

Sunday, October 07, 2007

22 Miles Down - Let the Taper Begin!

Picture was at the finishline of last week's Miracle Mile 15K - my husband and I finishing together.

This weekend was the last big run before the Marine Corps Marathon. My husband, who is training for Disney, was scheduled to do 14 miles. I was to do 22 miles. I enjoyed my run on the Seminole Wekiva Trail with Maddy so much last weekend, we decided to return for this week's run. I knew the shade it would offer in the later miles would be a life saver.

We were going to try to hook up with Maddy and run with the Team in Training crew on Saturday, but there was lots of rain in the area on Saturday morning. We figured we would get a better chance for a dryer run on Sunday. The forecast called for partly sunny skies, 30% chance of rain, 85% humidity with a temp ranging from 76 to 88 degrees (which was to feel like 100 deg F). An early start would be best. So we were up early today and ready to start running at 6:45 am (I am not sure we could have started at 6 am without headlamps on this trail). My dear husband ran my slower pace and we ran 4 min and walked 1. We ran down the trail for 7 miles before turning back to complete the first 14 miles. We finished that in about 2 hours, 49 min. I did really well with my heart rate, keeping it in the 140's for the first 9 miles of the run, then in the low 150's until approaching 14 miles.

We made our transition - my husband to a bicycle while I traded my CamelBak for my pre-filled fuel belt - and headed back out. Just 8 more miles to go....

By about 16 miles, I started to really feel it - felt that I had to work for it. By 18 miles, I had to really focus to ignore the pain in my feet, to relax and just run. I started walking every 2 min but I still managed to run more than I walked. The last few miles were tough - but I did much more running this time at the end than I did with my 21 miler a few weeks ago. The shade of the trail combined with a breeze and some light rain (and associated cloud cover) really helped out. I would have burned out much sooner in the sun.

My final time: 22 miles in 4:38:38 (avg pace of 12:40 min/mi, AHR of 152bpm. This time was 6 minutes faster than the tough 21 miler I did 3 weeks ago.

I knew my feet were wet - there was squishing going on during the run, but no blisters. The surprise was that the black bottom of my orthotics caused my feet to turn black, including the nails of those two toes that I hurt earlier. After cleaning up my feet (couldn't get all the black off), my two middle toe nails started to come loose. One came completely off and had a think new nail underneath. The other came half off with nothing but skin underneath (I know, TMI, but this is my first lost toenail encounter).

Let the taper begin!!!

(Side note on mom - she came home from the hospital on Friday - doing ok but they are still investigating why her blood count was so low. Thanks again for all the well wishes).

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Update on Mom

The good news is that today's tests showed that her arteries were clear. They believe the angina attacks were because her red blood cell count was low. They gave her a couple of units of blood bringing it to borderline. They just need to figure out why the count got so low.

Thanks for the well wishes. She seemed very pleased to know I was running for her.

For my Mom

My mom is in the hospital. She has been since Sunday night. She is in and out of the hospital often these days, for a variety of reasons. This time, she had been having angina attacks, so they are running a number of tests to see where the trouble is. She does have heart disease and has had quadruple bi-pass surgery (1998).

I can tell you so much about this wonderful woman - and I probably will over the next few weeks. For now I just wanted to declare that I will be running the Marine Corps Marathon for her. Five years ago, when I started running, I did it for a few reasons, one being that heart disease is in my family and that I wanted to do something to keep my heart healthy. Today it just made sense that I should run this race for her. She is out of breath just walking across the room. I can run 26.2 miles for her.

So mom, though I know you will never read this blog, I want you to know that this race is dedicated to you and your heart - not the physical one that is struggling right now, but the one inside you that has shown me love over the years.

I am running for you.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Fast 4 Miler With Husband and Easy 1 with Daughter

It was raining this morning so I couldn't get out for my normal run - so I took my gear with me to work, intending to hit the treadmill.

When the time came for the treadmill, I decided to just go home and run outside - there was a break in the rain and I needed to be home in time to take my youngest to soccer practice. My husband was just getting ready for his run, so we decided to run together.

With only 45 min available, it was going to be a 4 miler. I fired up a 176 bpm podrunner mix - this was going to be a fast tempo run. My husband was stepping up his training - running 4 min and walking 1. So off we went! The first mile was less than 10 min, the second mile was before we hit the 20 min mark. I was starting to tire for the pace and bpm but this was to be a speed work out so I pressed. Mile 3 came at around 30:25 - lost a bit of ground there. Heart rate was right up there around 173 bpm. It was a bit warm and humid - so the heart did have to work harder.

We ran the last mile, and after the first walking break decided to skip the second - leading to about 6 min of non-stop running (still going 176 bpm). The last mile was in 9:43.

Adding on the last 40 ft to the house we ran 4.01 miles in 40:20 min - a new "record" for 4 miles for me. I beat a time I set on a treadmill in June by 7 sec! None of the other 4 mile runs came close. Pace was 10:04 min/mile - heart rate average was 163 bpm (anaerobic of course) and max heart rate 182 bpm (equals the highest max HR I have hit this year). It was a hard run, but a good one.

After hopping into the car and driving over to soccer practice, my older daughter and I ran once around the park for one more mile. She has been out of running for the summer so we did a 1 min run 1 min walk pace for 1 mile - in 14:06 min. We also recorded 3 facts for the podcast....hopefully we will have a Running Adventure episode out before the end of the weekend.

Running with my family is great. It is truly a gift to be able to share something I enjoy like running with family and friends!

Run on!

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Goodbye September - My Biggest Month (in miles)

September is the biggest training month (miles wise) that I have ever had. With the races and such coming up, it will probably be the biggest this year. Although I don't put in those 50+ mile weeks like some folks that are seriously training for a marathon, I am amazed I even found time to do 150. And as it turns out, going that extra 2 miles while running with Maddy today rounded out the number (no need for junk miles).

Now it is just 4 more weeks until the Marine Corps Marathon! The two friends who were originally signing up for this race with me won't be running. Both had very good reasons for not running it this year. Fortunately, a co-worker of mine and his wife are both running MCM and staying in Crystal City (as I am) so I hope to hook up with them. We won't be running together. They are going for BQ's! But it will be fun to know a face in the crowd.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

The Miracle Mile 15K

Today my husband and I ran the Miracle Mile 15K road race through downtown Orlando. The race conditions were pretty good, temperature in the low 70's and some humidity but not oppressive. The start time was 7:00 am - just after it the sun came up.

After suffering from a headache on and off (mostly on) for the past two days, I was excited to wake up this morning headache free and ready to run! We got down to the race area around 6:15 am and the crowd was already gathering for the race. This is a rather large event that includes a 5K and Kids Fun run in addition to the 15K.

When we got there we found Shirley working her usual station - the computer at the Start/Finish. She was busy so after chatting a bit we headed out to warm up.

My husband opted to run with me the entire race - which was great. I think we kept each other going. I brought the iRiver along, so hopefully, if I ever get to producing the podcast again, you will hear about the race sometime :-). We ran 3 min and walked 1 per his routine. I worked to keep my pace up a bit more so the total pace would be under 11 min/mi.

I was Garmin challenged as I forgot to start my timer at the start of the race, then turned it off after the 1st mile (I started it around a half mile in). I finally started it back up from scratch at 2 miles. Toward the end of the race, the battery was running low....I hadn't charged it since my trip to South Dakota!

We had a great race. Last year my husband ran it in 1:46:23 and I finished in 1:52:27. Our goal was 11 min/mile which would be a finish of just over 1:42.

And the results...drum roll please....

We finished in 1:39:57, a 10:43 min/mi pace! A course and 15K PR for both of us! And wow, a great improvement over last year.

I competed in a new age group - the 45-49 year olds. Here are race stats:

I came in 615 out of 878 total finishers
276 out of 451 women
32 out of 54 for my age group

This is much improved over last year's results (718/804, 339/402, 57/63).

I may have some speed left in me yet!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

The Kindness of Strangers

So here is the rest of the story....

When I got to my class this morning, one of the students suggested I call the police station to see if my license had been turned in. The student even handed me the Sioux Falls police department number.

During the time when I wasn't teaching, I stepped out and made the phone call. The first lady I spoke with referred me to the Crime Lab, who usually deals with found property. When I spoke to the Lab, they checked and voila! They had my license.

This afternoon I went to the police station to pick up the license. After handing me the license and getting my information, she then said, "Oh, and this is yours too" while handing me $3 - the money I lost with the license. My reply: "Wow, I didn't expect this back - thank you so much!" When I asked them where it was found, she indicated an intersection that I remembered running through along the path (not the bathroom or the football park).

So, what did I learn from this "running adventure":

1. Get a Road ID bracelet and stop carrying a driver's license when running!
2. Although things seemed pretty bad, it could have been worse in so many ways.
3. Never underestimate the kindness of strangers or the hospitality of a small town / city.
4. I am a very blessed person.

Everyone I have encountered here in Sioux Falls has been friendly, helpful and hospitable (never annoyed or put out) during my stay. When I first got here I thought I had found a relatively dead city - little crowds, quiet and slow. Now I can see that the life is in the people who are here - who take the time to care about people they don't even know. The point is that people who are like that are EVERYWHERE! Instead of assuming that people are detached, I can think of people as friends I haven't met yet.

So I am on schedule to travel home on the early morning flight to be home tomorrow afternoon. Thank you everyone for your good thoughts and encouragement. I really am blessed.

Now I think I will do a few more work items and go for another run....