Tuesday, January 30, 2007

There is Always More To Learn

Based on the good advice from Terry , my own experience with my heel (which I was ignoring) and countless accounts online - I am going to slow down (ok, my husband does NOT believe me). On the running anyway. This week, I am only going to run the miles scheduled with my daughter. If I am feeling good I will do an easy 3 miles on Sunday. Then I go into a 3 day a week run schedule with out all those planned speed work days.

Unless the doctor tells me otherwise.

Today I made an appointment at the local Rehabilitation and Sports Medicine center. I am going to have an official review and diagnosis. My visit is next Monday. I am looking forward to dealing directly with this issue and training / racing pain free! (except of course for those really long runs which, well, always have pain).

I had a really nice run with my daughter today. We ran 1:30 min and walked 1 min for 1.4 miles. It was just enough to challenge her without wearing her out, and enough to get my heart rate up into an aerobic zone. Another nice thing about the runs lately - the temps have been in the 50s...very comfortable running weather.

Through this experience and also one I am also experiencing in my career, I am learning that sometimes slowing down is OKAY! I don't need to be going 100 miles per hour all the time, nor should I feel guilty (like a slacker) when I am not going 100 miles per hour. I always feel like I should be doing something. (sigh!)

That is one thing I love about life. There is always more to learn! :-)

Sunday, January 28, 2007

7.7 Miles, A Little Soccer and a Very Tender Heel

It isn't gone. It isn't even getting better. My heel (plantar fasciitis) seems to be worse.

I was worried that would happen.

I am not putting in the big miles like in my marathon training, but I am still running 4 or 5 days a week. And it hurts after every run. Now, even before running, pressing on my heel hurts.

I am now working on getting in to see a specialist to attack this thing head on. My chiropractor continues to increase my heel lift (right shoe) and thinks this will help the heel, but it isn't working. I told myself that I would train through to the marathon, then get this thing taken care of. So now it is time to get it done...

(whine over)

It was a beautiful Florida winter day. This means it is:

1) Sunny
2) Cool (around 63 deg)
3) Lower humidity (under 70%)

Perfect day for a run!!! :-)

I don't want to lose all those marathon training miles, so I am slowly building my long runs back up to the 10 mile-ish range. This week, I wanted to do around 7 miles. My run ended up being 6.5 miles before heading out with my daughter for our standard two laps around the block, adding another 1.2 miles. Both runs were very nice.

First run - easy long run keeping to my aerobic zone and listening to Phedip intervals.

Run 1 splits:
Mile 1: 11:00 min
Mile 2: 11:50 min
Mile 3: 12:12 min
Mile 4: 11:58 min
Mile 5: 12:21 min
Mile 6: 11:49 min
Mile 6.5: 5:30 min

Total time: 1:16:26 (approximate - without stops)
Pace: 11:44 min/mile
Avg Heart rate: 156 bpm (nice aerobic pace)

After brief rest, ran the block with my daughter.

Distance about 1.2 miles
Time: 16:27 min
Avg Heart rate: 143 bpm (recovery - aerobic pace)

By the end of run 2 my heel needed a break, but I had promised my younger daughter (age 7) that I would kick a soccer ball around.

Now I used to (operative word there 'used to') play soccer a long time ago, so this was going to be fun. The first time I stretched over to stop the ball from rolling out into the street I felt my lower back ache (ugh!). (Note to self: stretch better for soccer and play more soccer).

Once that was done, a little house stuff, a shower and finally, some ice.

Good runs with nice little cross train! Tomorrow it's the elliptical machine, then we will see how the heel feels. :-)

I am 72 miles into the Tinkoff 1000 challenge. OK, there is no official challenge - but my goal is to run a 1000 miles this year with Adam, from Burning 20. I am on the low side for my first month, but since I am planning to run a marathon or two, I think I will catch up. Last year when training for Disney I averaged about 120 miles/month in the 4 months before the race except for November, when I backed off to save my heel (there is that heel again, sheesh!).

Friday, January 26, 2007

A Little Chilly, A Little Run

In my search for a kid-oriented picture I ran across this one on a blog called "Writings of an Exceptional Being."
I had to laugh just imagining my kids with an expresso and a puppy.

This morning was time to run with my daughter again. Run #2 of the 5K training plan. For Florida, it was a chilly morning with a temp of 42 deg F that, with the wind, felt like 36 deg F. Brrrrr! We bundled up in long running pants, long sleeve shirt, a sweat jacket and hats for good measure. I gave my daughter my running gloves.

Funny how the cold makes you run faster! Today's 1.1 mile was completed in 14:58 min compared to over 16 min the other day. We had an incredible run together! Let's just say were were definitely "in the moment."

I think she is getting hooked. :-)

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Treadmill and Weights Day

Today called for a short run (3 miles) and strength training. Expecting it to rain all day, I brought my gear for an indoor treadmill run. By the time I was ready to work out, the rain had stopped. However, my thin Florida blood showed through - it was about 48 deg F outside. All I had were shorts and a sleeveless shirt - so I opted for the tread mill. If I had long sleeves with me, I might have gone outside. Ah well, next time I will be prepared.

The treadmill was not so bad. I walked for a couple of minutes, ran for over 30 minutes (without walking breaks!) and then did a cool down walk for a quarter mile (just over 4 min). A summary:

2:22 min walking
32:20 min running
4:40 min walking (cool down)

I ran much of the time at a 10:54 min/mi pace, with portions at 10:00 min/mi pace and finished at 9:30 and 9:05 min/mi pace during last quarter mile.

It felt great, and my heart rate was good. For the run my average heart rate was 151 bpm and the high was 168 bpm - a nice aerobic pace.

I didn't incline the treadmill - the last time I did that it put too much stress on my plantar fascia.

Afterwards I did some lower body strength training, crunches, pushups and finished up with some good stretching.

It was a great workout. Tomorrow morning is normally a rest day but it is my daughter's 15 min run day, so we will be up in the chill of the morning (forecast 43 deg F) to run our mile. A great way to start a Friday!

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Stuggling - Adventures With the Next Generation

Stuggling is when you combine studying (like for a science test) with snuggling (like in a comfortable bed). My daughter came up with the term tonight when she really wanted to snuggle and not do homework. I told her when we finished math we could snuggle while we study science - hence stuggling.

This same daughter is the one who has been inspired by my running to someday run a marathon herself. We will work up to that over time, but for this year, we are training to run a 5K together. During Disney's Minnie Marathon Weekend we are teaming up to run the Go Red For Women 5K where mother/daughter or sister/sister teams can run a 5K event around Lake Buena Vista and the Disney Village. We have developed a training plan leading up to this May 5th race.

This morning we ran just over a mile together. The plan calls for 10-15 min of run walking. We are running for 1 min and walking for 1 min. This seems to work really well. Over the weeks leading up to the 5K, we will slowly increase our time running to 30+ minutes and distance to 4 miles. We will work toward a 4 min run and 1 min walk approach. It will all depend on what my daughter is ready for. We are doing this at her pace.

What is so very cool is that we get to just run and talk together the entire time. That is priceless!

Before my run with my daughter, I did a 3.1 mile tempo run. Tempo runs, per the definition I found on-line, is running at about 85 - 90% max heart rate, running at a level that pushes you, but doesn't exhaust you, thus pushing that lactate threshold. I started out a bit fast but quickly got my heart rate up to my 169 bpm target. The 3 miles were pretty much in the 168-175 bpm range, which I think was where I wanted to be. My times:

Mile 1: 9:54 min
Mile 2: 10:15 min
Mile 3: 10:24 min
Mile 0.1: :47 min

Total: 3.1 miles for 31:20 min - nearly my 5K race pace.

I took 3 - 30 sec walking breaks at 1 mile, 1.5 miles and 2 miles.

Heart rate:
Mile 1: Avg 153, Max 172 (rate at end of mile 1)
Mile 2: Avg 171, Max 174 (good tempo)
Mile 3: Avg 171, Max 174

So the heart rate may have been a little high, but not bad.

Finally, after a tough tempo run, the best part of the morning was the two laps around the block with my daughter. We covered 1.1 miles running 1 min and walking 1 minute.

Time: 14:56 min
Avg HR: 142 bpm, Max HR: 153 bpm

As you can tell, I was feeling much better today than yesterday, not just physically, but emotionally as a very proud mom!

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Maybe it was something I ate.....

But whatever it was, I was not feeling so hot today - so I passed on the 3 mile run and going to work altogether and stayed in bed this morning. It all started with having Mexican for lunch yesterday and things generally went down hill from there.

Now I am feeling a little better. I wanted to go out and run, but I didn't eat much today. Besides, this is a "sick" day. There is always running tomorrow. Anyway, I am not sure if I would be running out of "guilt" or because I just want to run.

Sigh! I still feel like a slacker. Is this normal for post marathon?

Ah well, we shall rest and recover today and run tomorrow.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Elliptical and Workout

Monday is one of my strength training days. All I needed to do before the weights was warm up, so I used the elliptical machine to give the ole heel a break. After a 12 minute warm up, I did upper body strength training and a few stretches.

Overall, a good workout.

Tomorrow....a 3 miler. Maybe I'll do 4. Going to work to keep it in the aerobic zone again.

I feel like such a slacker....with such low miles. But that is what is on the 10K training schedule. I am going to keep my long runs a little longer - probably in the 7-9 mile range. I would hate to lose all that conditioning! :-)

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Easy Run in the Sun

Today I felt pretty good - no ill effects from yesterday's race.....so I decided to take my planned 5 mile run. I would take it easy at a nice, long run pace.

The great part about this time of year here in Florida is that I don't have to get up before sunrise to run. The best time to run is kind of the opposite from running up north. In the winter time, it is nice to run during the day - the temperatures and humidity are generally good. If it is a little too warm at mid day, you can always get a comfortable run in during the morning or just before sunset. On the other hand, in the summer time, the heat and humidity take a lot of the valuable energy you need to run - and the only time of day that it is bearable to run is just before or at sunrise. By 9 am, it is too hot to run. I end up retreating to the tread mill, like folks up north do when it is too cold or snowy to run.

So during the winter and early spring, I get to sleep in a bit before my weekend runs, and during the week I can go for a run on my lunch hour.

Anyway, I enjoyed a nice, easy run today. I did my usual 5 mile route, taking 30 sec - 1 min breaks each mile. My goal was to go easy and keep my heart rate in my aerobic zone (avg less than 160 bpm). The results:

Mile 1: 10:49
Mile 2: 11:27
Mile 3: 11:35
Mile 4: 11:51
Mile 5: 11:27

Total: 57:12 (11:26 mile pace)

Avg heart rate: 154 bpm
Max heart rate: 171 bpm (on last sprint at the end)

During my run, I finished listening to Nigel on Running from the Reaper and then listened to Steve Runner on Phedippedations.

As always, it was a great day to run!

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Seasons 52 Park Ave 5K Report

Race summary (with official results):

Seasons 52 Park Ave 5K
Sat, Jan 20, 2007
Time: 7:30 am
Weather at start: about 55 deg F. / 60% humidity
Weather at finish: about 56 deg F. / 55% humidity
Finish time: 30 min 20 sec / 9:46 min/mile pace
Div place: 69/209

Mile splits:

Mile 1: 9:55
Mile 2: 9:51
Mile 3: 9:48
Last 0.1: :45

Total: 30:20 min

The weather was cool and only a little humid - perfect for a run. With the temps I wore a long sleeve shirt (the one I got at the marathon) and shorts. My husband ran this race with me.

We got down to the race area in plenty of time to get a good parking spot, stretch a bit and use the porta-potty. We lined up a little ways back from the front since we expected a 30+ min finish.

Now here is the silly mind games I play ahead of these events:

"Chris, you feel great and the weather is ideal. This is a good day for a PR for the 5K. You can break 30 min."

"Well, I am still recovering from the marathon. It has only been 2 weeks and my run times have been slower than my pre-marathon running times. I should just relax and enjoy the race."

"But you can just run faster and will yourself to keep the pace - that same strong will that got you through the marathon. Remember, the crowd will carry you."

"I don't know, I should do pretty well but not get my hopes up..."

Well, the irrational side of me decided to try for a PR. So, as the race horn went off, I started right up and kept up with the crowd.

And boy was there a crowd. 3300 runners - a record for this race. These roads are NOT big and folks were running on the sidewalks on both sides. It never really thinned out either. I finished in a crowd of folks (a little smaller than at the start, but it was still a crowd).

So as I pushed myself to run faster we hit mile 1 at around 10 min (9:55 for my watch). I was feeling a bit winded. My heart rate was already 167 bpm. My husband ran with me, even though his long legs could carry him much faster. After about a mile and a half I finally needed to take a quick break. My heart rate was up to 174 and I was about half way through the race. After a minute break we continued on. I tried to focus on running relaxed and shortened my stride to conserve some energy, but at 2.2 miles I took another walking break - heart rate at 175. Just one more mile to push through.

Just about at 2.9 miles, my Garmin started to make noises at me....yes, I had breached the 180 bpm mark. I took another short walking break, but as I looked at my watch I realized that the finish was just about .2 miles away and the time on my Garmin was 28:44. Maybe I could beat 30 min after all. So I took off at a fast clip with the finish line in sight. My Garmin was going crazy...I knew I was over 180 bpm. It was hard to maintain but I kept the pace up through the finish line. 30 min 20 sec - my second best time and a near PR! I was pleased.

After downloading my Garmin I also discovered I had found a new max heart rate. My heart rate hit 189 right toward the end of the race. That was probably as good a test of my max rate as any.

Overall, for me it was a great race. A near PR and a new max heart rate. Now lets see what hurts later today :-)

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Lunchtime on the road for 5

What is more fun than working through your lunch hour? Running, of course!!! Although the weather has been a bit rainy (more on the drizzly side) by lunchtime it was perfect for a run. The rain had stopped but it was still plenty cloudy and even a bit on the cooler side (probably upper 60s)! I was scheduled to do 5 miles followed by some lower body strength training.

For the run I took a new route. I ran from the office and in through the UCF campus. I ran out of campus out onto Alafaya trail where I headed south for about a mile or so. I passed the first road to turn back toward the office but it was too soon! My run would only be just over 3 miles. So I continued to the next cross street into the office park, but it also seemed too soon. So, I figured I would head to the next (and last street). As I ran a little further I realized that the next street, which was marked by the next traffic signal, seemed a bit further away than I thought. It wasn't long until I realized that it really wasn't that far, and it got me back to the office at exactly 5 miles!

Although I had a good run, I probably won't run that route again. Alafaya Trail is a very busy 6 lane road - especially around the lunch hour. I was running against the traffic and the cars were kicking up dirt and dust - not to mention the fumes. I think I will stick to running around campus next time.

My splits:
Mile 1: 10:24
Mile 2: 10:55
Mile 3: 11:05
Mile 4: 11:21
Mile 5: 11:13

Total: 55:02 Pace: 10:57 min/mi
Avg HR: 161
Calories burned: 797

I was going to run at a faster tempo but opted for an easy run to some marathon tunes. It was a good run.

I also had a good workout afterwards with the weights.

Back at my desk....oh, about 2 hours later! Ah well :-)

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Warm Run in the Sun

(picture taken shortly before sunset in San Diego - 2005)

It was a warm and humid day (as it has been lately) but my schedule called for a run, and I decided to do it as a mid-day break from work. Then, I could do my strength training afterwards (also as scheduled).

I wanted to keep up a good pace (under 11 min/mi). I also knew it would be hot, but 3.4 miles didn't seem that long. So I set off with the iPod playing my marathon music, running in the hot sun. My splits:

Mile 1: 10:22
Mile 2: 11:17
Mile 3: 11:10
0.4 mile: 3:20

Total time: 36:11 min Pace: 10:50 min/mile
Avg Heart rate: 166 bpm. Max heart rate: 182 bpm (Anerobic)

I took 3 walking breaks for about 30-60 sec each. With the heat, I also brought 6 oz of water with me. I wanted to take more breaks but I pushed myself to keep up the pace. I could tell that my heart rate was climbing, and about 1/10 of a mile before I got back to my starting point, my Garmin was barking at me that my heart rate had topped 180. My run ended at just the right time.

Afterwards, I did crunches, pushups and some upper body work on the weight machines. Finally, I did some stretching before hitting the shower.

It takes me well over 1.5 hours to do all of that and get back to my desk (sigh). Overall, it was a great workout! The heel feels normal (a bit sore after the run but icing helps).

Tomorrow is a rest day. On Thursday I think I will try to keep my heart rate in the aerobic zone (under 170).

Sunday, January 14, 2007

I Have a Plan!!

After this morning's run and earlier blog entry, I surfed around the internet for information on post marathon recovery. Seems that one needs a plan for post marathon recovery as much as they need a plan for preparing for the race. There were a number of different views. Most agree that one should wait about a month before preparing for another race. You don't have to take the month off - just back off a bit on the training.

Because I am one of those folks motivated by goals, I decided to make the Winter Park Road Race (10K) on March 24, 2007 as my next target race. I am adopting Hal Higdon's 10K Intermediate Training program as my plan for running a faster race. It introduces tempo, repeats and strength training into my routine. I am pretty excited about it.

I don't really begin the program in earnest until the end of this month. I am also going to see how well my body and heel hold up to running as frequently as this program calls for to see if I do ok. And I made a modification - instead of a 3 mile run on Mon I shortened it. Normally I don't run the day after my long runs. These long runs are not so far so it isn't such a big deal, but again, we will see how it goes.

I may adjust as needed....but I am happy I now have a plan :-).

If anyone is interested, you can view my plan at Buckeye Outdoors. My log is listed under 'bouwensc'. You don't need a login to look at other logs, however, this site is great for maintaining your own logs and it is free! Steve of Phedippediations has his log there as well.

5 Mile Long Run - Ready to Begin Again

Today I slept in a bit, but got out the door about 10 am to do a 5 mile long run. My body was more than ready to go - my right leg was feeling better. Again, uncharacteristic of this time of year, it was warm and humid with temps between 71 and 75 degrees with 68% humidity. It reminded me of last week's race and the weather conditions there.

The run went really well. I ran at a relatively easy pace but tried to push the pace up a little more toward 11 min/miles with a 45 sec to 1 min walking break at each mile. My splits were:

Mile 1 - 11:13
Mile 2 - 11:39
Mile 3 - 11:57
Mile 4 - 11:59
Mile 5 - 11:14

Total: 58:05 min
Avg Heart Rate: 159 bpm

This is a bit slower than the pace I have been training at for 5 miles, but I think I am still recovering from the marathon. The humidity slowed me a bit as well.

I don't know if it is the recovery effects from the marathon, or the post marathon "blues." It seems harder to get to and maintain the pace of running I was used to before the race. Perhaps I just need to give it more time. I also don't have a training plan right now, which I am beginning to realize helped to give me focus on my running. Now that I have had a week since the marathon, I will put together a training plan to ease me back into running and help target my upcoming 5K and 10K races. I also want to incorporate other types of training such as weight training, core work, and focused running to include intervals, speed and hill work.

However, there is the little issue with my left heel...the plantar faciatis. I am going to see about finding a sports doctor to examine and recommend some approaches for dealing with it. My chiropractor has increased the lift in my right shoe and thinks this will help. We will see. In the meantime, until I get that resolved, the hill training will have to wait.

I listened to this week's Phedippedations which discussed hill training. Hill training can be a challenge in central Florida. It is pretty flat here. My friend Shirley uses the university parking garages for her hill training, so I will probably do that.

So I am back on the road again...and as the glow of completing the marathon fades, it is time for new goals to conquer! I am ready to begin the next running adventure! First stop, next week's Park Avenue 5K.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

My first post marathon run

Today I took my first run since the marathon. My body was just "aching" to run - it was time to get out there!

Without knowing how I would feel, I decided to do 3 or 4 miles. I was going to go easy the whole way and just savor the run, much like my 4 mile pre-marathon run. In many ways, this was just as glorious. It was partly cloudy and a little breezy, but the chill from the morning dew was gone (this was a lunchtime run).

The only real pain that I felt was in my right quad, which ached a bit as I ran. It wasn't extremely painful, and I was hoping that perhaps I could run out some of the achiness. The achiness never really went away, and by the time I turned around after 2 miles I was ready to come home.

Besides the one leg, the rest of me felt great. My heel did well - with just a minor ache after the run was over. My starting heart rate was at 63 bpm and stayed in the 140's almost the entire time. My heart rate climbed into the 150's and up to 163 only as I sped up for the second half of the 4th mile. It was a very easy going run - where I ran a mile and walked a minute. The split times:

Mile 1: 11:52 (first mile does not have a walking break)
Mile 2: 12:36
Mile 3: 12:45
Mile 4: 11:54

Total: 49:09 min
Pace: 12:16 min/mile
Avg heart rate: 143 bpm

What made this run so great was the time I got to think about the extraordinary world I was running in. What was extraordinary today? Was it the white bird that was sitting on the brick wall that took off flying across the road in front of me? Or was it the kids playing on the playground at the elementary school? As I watched the kids, I imagined that they were the next generation of people who will be running the world. They will be the doctors, teachers, engineers (and runners) that we will see creating new things and running our planet in a few years. THAT is extraordinary!!! For now, the most important thing for them to do is play on the playground.

I will take a break tomorrow and try a run on Sat or Sunday. My goal is to run a 5 mile long run this weekend. I want to ease back into running again. I will be going farther soon enough.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Running Adventures in an Extraordinary World

I really had to think a bit in coming up for a new name to my blog since "Countdown to my first marathon" no longer applies (yay!!). I wanted to use "Adventures in Running" but that has been taken by a rather interesting website that offers just that - adventures trips with running activities.

I thought about using "average running" in the title - but this is not an average thing. You could say I am average in my running ability - I am not fast. I am rightfully a "middle of the pack" runner. But what I have been doing and plan to do are more than average running things. I actually finished my first marathon - a feat that .1 of 1% of the planet achieves. That is a bit more than average. Now, I need to come up with the next adventure. And adventures are exciting! :-)

The fact that we live in an "extraordinary world" is easy to see. When you are running, whether in your neighborhood, in a race, in another city or even another country - there are such extraordinary things to see. You experience things running that you can't when you drive down a road! You can enjoy first hand everything from the greetings of individuals out walking or running to wildlife flying around or children playing on a playground. If you want to experience places outside your local area, listen to Adam on Burning20. In his podcasts he takes you running all over the place - and helps you feel the wonder of his surroundings. Or, Nigel on his podcast Running From the Reaper will take you along a gravel path in the English country side where you can hear swans in the background. Steve Runner on Phedippediations has taken his listeners on a historical tour of his home town of Oxford, MA.

So what are some running adventures coming up this year? I still need to set a few personal goals, but two things on my "list" include:

1 - Running a 5K race with my 11 year old daughter. She is so excited about all my marathon running, she is upset she has to wait until she is 18 so she can run a marathon (16 for the Alaskan Midnight Marathon). So this year we are training together for a 5K team event at Disney in early May. Perhaps we will run that marathon in Alaska together when she turns 16 or 18 :-)

2 - Run with my husband in his first marathon. He was scheduled to run Disney with me this year but due to health and shin issues could not complete the training. We are going to give it another go next year. Perhaps I can train to run a bit faster and maybe I can keep up with him. We are going for Disney 2008!

In general, I want to keep up the running routine I have developed over the past 6 months, and work on more cross training to help strengthen my running (mostly core training). I like Adam Tinkoff's goal to run 1000 miles. Maybe I will try that too :-).

So as I slowly recover from my marathon (too soon for going down stairs. Ouch!) I am excitedly looking forward to another great year in running.

Running long and strong in Florida! I am on a running adventure in an extraordinary world!! Thanks for joining me!

Monday, January 08, 2007

Marathon data: the Garmin Mystery

(still looking pretty good at mile 18)

So many numbers associated with a race, in this case the marathon.

From the race folks:
Distance: 26.1 miles
Chip time: 5:47:27
Clock time: 5:52:35
Pace: 13:15 min/mile

From the Garmin Training center:
Distance: 26.82 miles
Total time: 5:47:44 (a few sec longer since I didn't shut off the Garmin right at the finish)
Avg Pace: 12:57 min/mile

From MotionBased (an online service that works with my Garmin):
Distance: 27.4 miles
Total time: 5:47:44 Pace: 12:41 min/mile
Moving time: 5:42:46 Pace: 12:30 min/mile

So, which one of these is the right number? I think it is cool that the Garmin can keep track of when you aren't moving (I made two stops - one in the rest room and one to greet my family at mile 17 - so 5 minutes sounds about right).

Now I can understand a bit why the Garmin would measure a different distance than the official race distance. My understanding is that the race distance is the very shortest distance along the course so if you run wide or wander across the road it can make a difference over time. By the end of the race, the Garmin was registering mile splits 0.4 miles before I reached the marker on the course. But why would MotionBased indicate more than a half mile difference from the Garmin Training center? Inquiring minds want to know.

My mile splits per the signs on the course:

Mile 1: 12:26
Mile 2: 14:32 (bathroom break)
Mile 3 & 4: 25:32 (avg 12:46) (I never saw the 3 mile sign)
Mile 5: 12:31
Mile 6: 12:07
Mile 7: 12:26
Mile 8: 12:49
Mile 9: 12:26
Mile 10: 12:18
Mile 11: 12:23
Mile 12: 12:12
Mile 13: 12:08
Mile 14: 13:22 (conserving after giving up the 5:30 pace team)
Mile 15: 13:27
Mile 16: 13:31
Mile 17: 13:10
Mile 18: 14:55 (met with family)
Mile 19: 14:04
Mile 20: 14:23
Mile 21: 13:01
Mile 22: 15:27 (the wall!)
Mile 23: 14:20
Mile 24: 12:49 (almost missed a mile marker - hit lap button late making this short)
Mile 25: 15:28
Mile 26: 13:12 (running through Epcot felt good)
Finish: 2:33 (10:29 min/mile pace)

Later we will ponder the heart rate data....I am such a geek!

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Today I Became a Marathoner!!!!

As MarathonChris crosses the finish line of her first marathon, she is met by her faithful support team.

“So, Chris, you just finished your first marathon! What are you going to do next?”
“I’m going to Disney W… oh wait, I am already here!”

Today truly was a magical day!!!

Race summary:

The Walt Disney World Marathon
Sunday, January 07, 2007
Time: 6:00 am
Weather at start: 64.4 deg F. / 100% humidity
Weather at finish: 75.2 deg F. / 83.5% humidity
Finish time: 5 hours 47 min 27 sec / 13:15 min/mile pace

Full Race Report:

Although I had requested a 3 am wakeup call, I woke up at 2:20 am and never really fell back to sleep. So at 2:50 am I rose to prepare for the race.

At 3:35 I took a bus from the Dolphin hotel to the race start. There, the Epcot Imagine parking lot was brightly lit and spotlights were waving at the sky. The walk from the bus to the staging area was about a half mile. There you could get coffee, Tylenol, water and other items. I found a spot on the ground and sat down to relax until it was time to go to the starting area (about 40 minutes).

At about 4:45, the group moved toward the starting corrals. This was another .6 mile walk. A row of portapotties was close to the starting corrals. Since the lines were already forming, and it was already 5 am, I got in line to get in one more bathroom break before the race. I was in Corral C (the 5 hour+ corral). I found the Cliff Bar 5:30 pace group and joined them. Perhaps I could keep up with them for the race. The pace leader Sharon did a great job prepping our group before the race. Up at the starting line (a good 200 yds away) there were large viewing screens and speakers throughout the corral area so that all could be seen and heard through all through the corrals. At 6 am, the start was highlighted by a countdown followed by fireworks and loud music. We were finally off! It took about 7 mins to get to the starting line from where I started. Our pace group leader did an excellent job keeping us slow in the first few miles. She had a good plan and was executing it. Unfortunately, I wasn’t going stay with the group very long.

In spite of my earlier bathroom break, I already needed to go again (I hydrated well with the expected warm weather). I waited until around mile 3 and used a restroom in Epcot. I tried to build a lead from the 5:30 pace group so I could find them again – but I was never able to catch up with them after that bathroom break. I tried for several miles to catch them, but couldn’t do it. I think my mistake was trying to catch that pace group. I probably expended more energy in the initial miles doing that, instead of conserving for later. I didn’t really give up on catching them until almost halfway through the race. At that point, I knew that I needed to conserve my energy for later.

The run through Epcot is always a treat. It is still dark but the streets are lit up as well as the globe in the lagoon. Inspirational music is also played. We ran around a good portion of the World Showcase before exiting the park and running past the start area again at mile 4.

The first timed split for the race came just before we entered the Magic Kingdom at mile 10. I reached mile 10 at 2:12:17, a 13:13 pace. The run down Main Street USA as the early morning sun began to shine was simply “magical.” I wanted to cry because I couldn’t believe I was finally running the marathon! I felt great. We then ran through Tomorrowland, around behind and then through Cinderella’s castle where I tried to make sure I posed for the camera men there. After that it was through Frontierland and out of the park, through the back lot where the floats for the parade are kept.

Shortly after leaving the Magic Kingdom, we hit the halfway mark, the second timed split for the race. I reached mile 13.1 at 2:50:43, a 13:01 pace.

The next leg of the race took us along some back roads, by a few hotels and into a back entrance of Animal Kingdom. My family was going to meet me inside Animal Kingdom around mile 17. My husband called me at around mile 14 (I had a cell phone on me) and I let him know my pace was about on schedule. We coordinated a meeting point so I knew where to look for them.

Just after mile 17 and the big yellow brontosaurus in DinoLand, my family was waiting on the side with a camera along with signs with “Go, Mommy, Go” and big cheering smiles!!! There were lots of hugs and kisses, a dry visor, extra gels, a couple of Ginseng supplements and a switch in sunglasses before I was back on my way. My husband’s “I Love You” had that look of “I am so proud of you” in it as well. It made my day! Off I continued with some new found energy.

My clever family actually saw me 3 more times. They met me along the way as I exited Animal Kingdom – beating me to the exit area. They then drove by me as they were leaving the parking lot. Finally, as we were running down the road with the lane on the right side of the road open for traffic, they drove by one more time. The best line of the entire race happened there. My husband, who was a passenger in our friend’s car, leaned out the window as far as he could and yelled out, “I love you MarathonChris!!!” Then seeing all the other runners looking at him, he yelled, “I love all of you, too!” After that they drove off to meet me at the finish line. By now I had reached mile 19 and the heat of the day was starting to affect me. Mile 20 seemed pretty hard but I reached that split at 4:20:51, at a 13:02 min/mile pace. I think I made some time after that visit at Animal Kingdom.

The hardest stretch of the entire race was coming up, and the sun was well into the sky. Between mile 20 and mile 23, the race headed toward Wide World of Sports in a down and back loop – nothing but highway and no trees. I had figured this would be hard and I was not disappointed! At this point, I had to put on some upbeat tunes on my iPod and just “zoned out” a bit. It helped carry me down the road a bit.

Somewhere between mile 22 and 23 I hit the wall. At this point, both feet hurt, my legs hurt, and when my walking breaks were over, starting up my run again nearly brought me to tears (more from effort than from pain). The miles from there through 25 were really hard. I managed to run more than I was walking, but my walking breaks came often. The crowd support from around mile 24 on was really good. At about this point, the volunteers were finally giving away ice on the course. I put the ice pack on my neck, chest, put a few in my shirt and popped one in my mouth before giving up the bag. This seemed to wake me up and helped propel me to mile 25 and the re-entry into Epcot, where I had passed that 25 mile sign just about 5 hours earlier in the dark. In the last mile of the race, I tried to visualize the last mile of my runs on Lockwood Blvd. I tried to run the entire distance but just didn’t have the energy to do it without the breaks. I did run most of the distance around the World Showcase, ran through Mile 26, took a short break during the last .2 miles and then poured on what was left as we left Epcot and approached the grandstand at the finish line in the Imagine parking lot. I sprinted through the finish and as I crossed the finish line I let out a scream. Ahhhhhhhhhh!!! I had finished in 5:47:26, a 13:15 min/mile. I had finished my first marathon. I AM A MARATHONER!!

Now, to come up with a new name for my blog!!! :-)

Friday, January 05, 2007

1 day, 14 hours - the Marathon Expo

This morning we drove out to Disney to pick up my race packet and number at the Marathon Expo. We tried to get there early to beat the rush and I think we succeeded. There really were no lines at all to pick up my race stuff.

I didn't get pics of the Expo (forgot to bring camera) but here are a couple of pics. One shows some of the stuff I picked up to include the race shirt (wicking long sleeve - I love these), race number, Sharkies, and Cliff Shots. Cliff is a sponsor of the race and is organizing the pace groups, so I grabbed info on the 5:30 pace group which I may join up with. The pace group items came with a bib to pin on back as well as a wrist band with the split times for a 5:30 finish. The 5:30 pace crew will be taking walking breaks about every 6 minutes, which fits in well with the way I trained. My breaks were less frequent - but more frequent breaks will work well with the expected weather conditions.

I have also defaced my bright orange race shirt with my name - hoping for a little personalized encouragement along the way.

The expo is probably typical for marathons. When you enter the building you report to the line with your race number (provided in the package mailed out a couple of months ago). There, after presenting picture ID, they give you your race number, champion chip, and verify that you signed the waiver not to sue anyone if you get hurt. Then they send you downstairs to the expo floor to get your bag of goodies and tshirt. On the way out of the first area, you scan your champion chip on a computer to verify that your name comes up in the computer. In the corner was a countdown clock - just 43 hours to marathon start!

On the expo floor there were lots of vendors with running clothes, shoes, gear, etc. There was also an area for people to make signs for their racing family members. Too many cool things to spend money on. I had planned to buy my gels there, but they had already run out!!!! Fortunately I knew where the local running store was and was able to swing by for the needed gels.

We only spent about an hour at the expo, which is good since I probably would have spent more money there if I stayed longer.

One item I wanted to get at the expo was a larger pouch to hook onto my fuel belt large enough for a camera. They told me they sold out already! So I am going to skip bringing one (who knows, I may find another option before Sun). I will have my trusty crew keep a camera handy for mid race and post race pics. Also, instead of bringing my iPod Mini along, I have loaded up my husband's iPod Nano - lighter weight and smaller - to stash in the small pouch I was able to procure. On the iPod, I have a selection of "marathon" music, including a playlist called "marathon pick me up" with specific songs to encourage. I also have a few podcasts including this week's Phedippedations as well as the "Shouts of Encouragement" edition produced for the WWH marathon - figured they may come in handy as well.

Family spectator plan: Given the crowds, we figured there would only be time for my family to meet me once along the race course and then at the finish. Although the Magic Kingdom's Main Street is a cool place, it is relatively early in the race (around mile 10). So they are going to try to meet me in Animal Kingdom around mile 16.5. To view from inside the park you need to buy a day ticket, but since we are annual passholders, this is not a problem - hopefully this will mean a smaller crowd. I figure this would be a good place for some encouragement. It will also allow them to sleep in a little before moving out to meet me, probably in the 3.5 hour range, or around 9:30 am. They should be equipped with a camera as well as some Cliff shots.

Today I have been diligently hydrating...and had a bowl of spaghetti! Tomorrow will be a little more carb loading, although I want to bring my own food instead of eating out. I am feeling great!!!

This may be my last post before the race. Tomorrow early afternoon we will leave and and check into the Dolphin hotel to rest and relax with a book by the pool. After the race we plan to go out and celebrate!!! So the next post may be late Sun or early Monday with initial race results!

Thanks to everyone for their good wishes and support! I will be taking you all along with me!

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Four glorious miles in the rain...

The plan had been to rise early and run this morning but, I got to bed late last night sooooooo. ... I decided to do a late day run. It had been a sunny, warm day - temperature 81 deg F. I waited until around 4:30 pm - by then the clouds had moved in to cool things down some.

I dressed for the run and left the iPod at home. I was going for an easy 4 miles and was going to lose myself in thoughts about the marathon. This was, after all, the last run I was going to make before the big race.

It was a fantastic run! I didn't miss the iPod at all. I just ran and soaked up the sounds around me. I did bring the Garmin along with the HRM. My new toy supports my continued data collection experiment to understand my heart rate and how I feel.

About a mile or so into the run it began to rain. What made the rain so cool was that this was one of those rains that are a little more than a drizzle, enough to help cool me down on a warm day but not too cold to chill me. I felt energized running through the rain - much like the energy you get running while the sun is rising. It was glorious!!

I picked up the pace on the last mile and ended up with a total run under 11 min/mile pace:

Mile 1 - 10:53 (first mile does not involved a walking break so it is always quicker)
Mile 2 - 11:30
Mile 3 - 11:36
Mile 4 - 9:46 (burning the last mile - heart rate 179 by the end)

Total: 43:47

My favorite heel is a little sore, as I expected. I will ice, massage and stretch it tonight and over the next few days.

I have completed my "Wed" plan on my checklist. Now I just need to make sure I am in bed by 10:30 pm. I am so excited for the encouragement I have been getting from my running friends out there. Thanks to Adam for the mention on Burning20. I am going to listen to Nigel's podcast, Running from the Reaper, tonight which also mentions my quest! I will need to take these along on Sunday and keep them handy when the going gets tough!

I am honored to have such good friends - to be part of a community of runners who are all on this journey together. Thanks for the support!!!

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Part 2a - Looking forward in the New Year - first - the Marathon!

Before I look at all of 2007, there is so much to look forward to just for this week! My countdown clock now reads 4 days, 13 hours, 33 minutes until the start of the 2007 Disney World Marathon!

So this Part 2a installment will be focused on the marathon - mostly because it is all I can think about right now.

In preparation for my race, I downloaded a number of marathon checklists and created one of my own based on all of them. There are really two parts to the checklist: Things I need to remember to bring and things I need to remember to do. For things to bring I broke it out into stuff I needed to wear and take to the starting area and other stuff to pack. I also have a short list of things my family cheerleading section will carry for me. For things I need to do, I made a list for the entire week - day by day - about what I will be doing, to include when I will go to bed and get up.

Did I mention I am a project manager and planning is one of my strong skills? :-)

All my "lists" are in an excel file called "Marathon Prep Kit." If anyone is interested in this list, send me an email or leave me your email in the comment area and I will be happy to email it to you.

Now that the New Year's festivities are over, I will be watching my diet this week as well as my rest! Since my heel has been bugging me a bit more than usual, I took an extra day off and will run 4 miles tomorrow morning - my last run before the race. I want my heel to be in as good shape as possible (it will hurt during and after the race no matter what I do, but the more I stay off it, the better it will do). Friday morning I will go to the race expo, hopefully before most of the crowds arrive. Saturday afternoon we will check into the Dolphin hotel at Disney so I can sleep in race morning until 2:45 am....to catch a 3:30 am bus to the starting area.

It is all coming together and that is very exciting!