Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The Secret of the Universe (updated 1/2/2009)

I was cleaning up my computer desk and came across something I had set aside. My 9 year old daughter had discovered the Secret of the Universe! (Update: apparently my 13 year old daughter had the original idea - shared it with the 9 year old, who wrote it down).

According to my daughter(s)...

The secret of the universe is life
because without life no one would not want to look
for the secret
because we don't exist
because if life doesn't exist the universe and its secret would be nothing
so there would be no secret to the universe
because if life does not exist
then nothing would know about the universe
because life doesn't exist
so we don't exist so
without life the secret would be nothing
because nothing would exist to see anything
it would be nothing and nothing would exist
the universe wouldn't exist so
there would be no secret to discover
so life is the secret of the universe.

There you have it! Enjoy LIFE!

Monday, December 22, 2008

30 Miles in One Weekend - Tapering to Goofy!

How do you train to run a half marathon on Saturday and a full marathon on Sunday? You run Sat and Sun training runs - Saturday half the distance of Sunday. So when it was time to run our last 20 miler for the Disney Marathon, we had to do it after running 10 miles on Saturday.

I did this 10/20 combo in early October - when I was at the top of my running game. Time wise the October run went better than this weekend's run. But somehow, this weekend's run seemed like more of an accomplishment.

This weekend, I was fighting back an illness that hasn't completely let go since San Antonio, and perhaps some recovery from that same race - which was just 1 month ago. But my husband and I got out there and did it!

The 10 mile run on Saturday felt really good - a 12:15 min/mi pace with an AHR of 149 bpm.

The 20 miler was a surprise to me. I didn't feel too great the morning of the 20 miler - my head was aching so I actually went back to bed before getting up at 2:30 pm to start the run. The temperature was about 78 deg F and the sun was out. Fortunately, the air was not humid and there was a nice breeze. My husband and I suited up and off we went. I tried a new strategy for energy. My chiropractor had given me a supplement called CoQ-Quinol. It is supposed to supply some energy. I had previously taken about 2 tsp with water before a run, but this time I mixed some in some of my water bottles and took it during the run. I never once felt that "run down I want to lay down and sleep" feeling. Although my legs were beginning to ache beginning around 14 miles onward, I still felt strong in my run - focusing on relaxing my body, running even and keeping my posture correct.

We finished 20.2 miles in 4:19 hrs - 12:53 min/mi with AHR of 152 bpm.

After the run I had a date with the bathtub and 20 lbs of ice. Then out for dinner.

It was a good day to run!!!!

And now, we are tapering to Goofy!!

Anyone who is running Disney and wants to meet up with some blogging / twittering running folks, go to http://runningmates.blogspot.com and post a reply to the Disney post. We would love to meet you!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Disney Half / Full Marathon Medal Preview

In the most recent Disney Marathon newsletter, a picture of the pins (which represent replicas of the medals) was provided. There was much fanfare about new medals this year. The program guide for the race does show the Mickey Medal, but this is the only place I found the new Donald Medal for the half...and the Goofy Medal.

I am looking forward to the bling! I am starting to get excited :-)

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree!

We finally got our tree up!

It is interesting how the process has evolved over the years.

Step 1: I set up the tree and put on the lights. Last year we got a new tree with lights on it! But I still add more lights.

Step 2: The kids decorate - adding all garland, ornaments and anything else they can get into the tree

Step 3: Dad puts the light on top. We are using the same lighted start we have had since our first Christmas tree together 18 years ago.

Happy Holidays! :-)

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

It's all Good!

This picture was taken while my hubby and I were out for our 18th anniversary last month. We are preparing for when our teenagers start to feel like they are unfairly treated! :-)

Well the running continues to go well. Tonight hubby and I ran a tempo run together - 5.15 miles in 56:40 - an 11 min/mi pace. And that with a 1 min walking break every 5 minutes. It was a push to keep that pace up - but it was a great workout! I am beginning to really feel like my ol' running self again! :-)

Our plan leading up to Disney - this coming weekend run 8 miles Sat and 16 miles on Sunday. Next weekend we run 10 miles on Saturday and 20 miles on Sunday. Then the taper begins! I must confess, I am ready to be done with marathon training. I have been training non-stop since mid-July. It will be nice to have more of my Sunday's back again (vs doing 15+ mile runs). I have some running goals in mind for 2008 which I will be posting soon!

And it appears I am just 28 miles away from breaking 1000 miles in 2008. That should happen over the weekend!

Life is good!

Monday, December 01, 2008

A Good Run!

Had a really great run tonight...so good to feel normal again! Ran 5.12 easy miles with my husband running 5 minutes and walking 1 minute (avg 12:03 min/mi pace). AHR was around 150 bpm.

I am happy!!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Back on the Road....sort of

Went on my first run since San Antonio and my illness. Went with hubby and saw Dave and Shirley biking by!

3.09 miles in 37:45. It was a tough run. My heart rate started at 80 bpm (usually not a good sign) and quickly rose. And on the way home, the call of nature hit! I hate that feeling on a run. Now that I am back I don't feel that great.

I will take tomorrow off and see how I feel on Sunday. My heart and mind want to run again but my body is not quite ready! I am suffering from that feeling of my training getting far behind and fear of not being ready for Disney....but I think I still have time to be ready.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

A Lagging Race Video

I shot just one short video during the marathon last week...at mile 21. I wish I had done more...but you know how it is when you are focused on just finishing! :-)

San Antonio Part 3 - The Aftermath

It is now one week since I ran the marathon. My legs feel normal again (aches finally subsided Saturday). My ankle size is normal and feels ok - only a little pain if I push on it.

The chest cold....well, that has taken a path all it's own.

I ended up spending all week sick to some degree....with a doctor visit on Tuesday. Once armed with antibiotics, the healing began. Even this weekend I have been feeling kind of crappy with headaches and swollen glands. Now, on Sunday night, I am just starting to feel pretty decent.

I think the reduced immunity with the marathon made this chest cold / sinus infection harder to fight - making me sicker than usual.

Lessons learned from this marathon:

1) Watch where walking in the dark (ankle injury alert).
2) With a cold, lots of rest and hydration important. As recommended by a few folks I think I will try Afrin nosespray next time.
3) Eating the elephant one 2 minute bite at a time worked well....don't think about how much further there is to go...just the next couple of minutes.
4) Use sunscreen (I looked like a raccoon for a couple of days).

I am not sure there was anything else I could have done differently that would have made this a better race (outside of kissing my sick family before leaving town). You just never know what you are going to have on race day. All you can do is adjust and go with it! I know many of you have had similar types of situations!

THANK YOU EVERYONE!!! For your supportive comments on Blogger, Twitter, email and otherwise - and for those who donated to Parkinson's.

Now to get ready for Goofy...just 49 days left. I will probably make my first post race run either tomorrow or Tuesday - a nice easy 3 miler.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

San Antonio Part 2 - The Race

Finishing my 4th Marathon - Priceless!

On race morning, Amy and I both woke up ahead of the alarm and made ready for the race. I managed to get some decent sleep, and although my voice was still pretty hoarse, I was feeling pretty good. As we got ready to load the bus, the temperature didn't seem as bad as we thought (forecast in upper 30's) so I changed out of my 3/4 length pants into shorts.

We boarded the TNT bus at 5:30 am for our 7:30 am race start. I had managed to pick up an Amphipod belt at the expo with a pocket big enough to carry my digital camera - so I had high fidelity picture taking capability for this race! I wouldn't be able to use my iRiver with my vocal limitations, but at least I could get some decent pictures.

As we made our way down the street toward the starting area, my right foot turned sideways on the side of a manhole cover and I felt a sharp pain radiate around the outside of my ankle. Darn it! I didn't need a twisted ankle now! We continued to walk while I tested it out to see how bad it was. I could walk, but it was pretty sore. This put a new wrinkle in the race. How well would this ankle hold out?

We arrived at the race start area and made our first porta potty stop. After that, we headed toward a small crowd that was gathering around some outdoor heaters. I have seen these at some outdoor restaurants for use when the temperatures were a little cool - but never for something like this. There was a fence around the heaters - perhaps this was part of the "premium package". Still, we strap hangers could gather around the outside and get a bit of the heat.

We checked our bags, made a second porta potty stop and headed for the starting area. Amy was in corral 29, I was in corral 20. The corrals would start 1 at a time at about 1:30 min apart. Doing the numbers, I figured it would be 30 - 40 min after the gun before I would cross the starting line.

I found the 5 hour pace group in my corral. I asked if they were going to walk the water stops and the pace leader said they would slow a bit but not walk - her plan was to run steady the entire way....wow. I figured I would see how long I could keep them in sight...but I had to account for the chest cold and now the ankle to determine what kind of time to really expect.

Finally, the starting gun sounded and the corrals started to be released. About 40 minutes into the race, Corral 20 started its journey. The sun was out, and although the temperatures were still cool, I shed the sweater I had - keeping the gloves on for extra warmth.

I ran with the 5 hour pace group for a little while. They were running about an 11:30 min/mi pace, which felt nice and slow for me. My heart rate was at a good level as well - upper 140's. I also tried to keep my water stop walks very short to stay with the group. Ahead of mile 5, the course started to go up hill. It was in this stretch that I finally let the 5 hour pace group go. My heart rate was rising too high to keep up with them - I knew I needed to conserve for later. Unlike MCM, I didn't think I was up to pushing myself with the cold and ankle issues.

Our uphill segment then turned to a nice downhill segment for a mile or so. I relaxed, opened my stride, and let gravity pull me down the hill. This worked well early in the race. Later, downhill segments began to hurt my ankle. In the days that followed, I also learned that up and down hill segments means sore quads...

As usual, I had the urge to use the bathroom shortly after the start. Since the porta potty lines were so long at the various water stops, I decided to try to wait it out and see if the urge went away (which it did in MCM).

We ran through downtown, by the Alamo, and near some other San Antonio landmarks. Running through downtown the crowd support was awesome - making it easy to run strong. There were plenty of bands along the race course as well - a trademark of the Rock n Roll marathon series - although as the race wore on, more of the bands seemed to be on break when we ran by. Still, there was enough going on where I did not feel like I missed my iPod at all. The bands were great entertainment where crowd support was low.

As we approached the 12 mile mark - we started passing by the lead runners who were coming from the other direction. They were already just 3-4 miles from finishing the race - about 10 miles ahead of us. It was hard to believe it would be another 2 - 2.5 hours before I would be coming back the other way.

It was around mile 13 or so when my body started to ache. My hips hurt, my neck hurt, my ankle was starting to ache - I generally just ached all over. And what made it even harder was the fact that there was so much of the race left to go!

Mother nature's call did not let up as I had hoped, and so after the half marathoners split off, I made my pit stop at the mile 15 water stop - there, the lines were nice and short. As I began to struggle with my running, I continued to walked the water stops but kept running the rest of the time. Later, I resorted to my method of running 5 minutes and walking 1 minute.

I remember seeing mile 18 and all I could think about was just walking. And it was only mile 18! I figured I would make it to mile 20 before I felt that bad. Still, I trudged on. By the time I actually reached mile 20, I was walking alot, and not sure how I was going to finish the remaining miles. It wasn't that I felt like quitting - I was just ready for it to be done. It was around then that I got the idea to eat this "elephant" one bite at a time. Perhaps I couldn't run 5 min without stopping, but I could probably run 2 min. I used this approach through the really hard miles in my long runs. I would run 2 min and then walk 1 min. As I ran the 2 min, I would start to feel like stopping about 1 min in. At that point I would tell myself "you can run just 1 more minute" and keep going. I would look at my watch again and see 30 sec left. "You can run another 30 sec, no problem." I would then reward the 2 min completion with a 1 minute walk.

This approach worked really well. I ran the 2 minutes pretty strongly and ended up passing people...passing lots of people, who had resorted to walking. I caught up to and passed folks I had seen on and off throughout the day.

Then, as a very cruel thing at the end - there was an uphill run until just before the finish. The course went up hill for about a half mile, then made a right turn with .1 miles to go. I walked part of the hill but as I approach the turn, I could see the 13 mile sign for the half marathoners, signalling just .1 miles left - I started to run. Upon making the turn I could see the finish line. My chest was heaving as I started sobbing upon seeing the finish line. I was there!!!

I made a strong sprint for the finish line, passing a few more folks before crossing - with a chip time of 5:37:49. My splits:

5 Km 36:07
6.1 Mi 1:11:48
10 Mile 1:58:33
Half 2:39:13
17 Mile 3:28:28
20 Mile 4:12:39
24 Mile 5:09:09

My friend Amy, who came into this race with a sore knee and fully expecting to walk the course, crossed the finish line 2 hours later - completing her first marathon and raising money for TNT! Way to go, Amy!

The Inaugural Rock n Roll San Antonio Marathon - Part 1 - Pre-Race

This was going to be my marathon. My training had stayed closer to schedule than for my previous races. In the 2 months leading up to the race I had averaged 44 miles / week. Everything was going according to plan!

But part of the adventure of running are the little things you don't plan for. And who a person is deep down inside is revealed by how they handle those things. Or, in my case, it is probably just stubborness.

I met up with my good friend Amy at the hotel on Friday evening. We used to work together about 20 years ago. She now lives near Houston. We ran a Disney Half Marathon together (her first, my second). This was her first marathon and she was running it for Team in Training. Staying with her meant I got to tag along with the "team" by just paying for dinner, some of the hotel room, and the bus transportation.

Friday night, we did a lot of catching up and probably went to bed a little later than we should - but it was great fun.

That is when it struck! Post nasal drip. My sinuses were pretty clear but that annoying drip was there. By Saturday morning, I was hoarse.

I was a bit concerned but I felt pretty good, so in the morning I headed down to the workout room and did 2.5 easy miles on the treadmill to "prime the pump" for the race. My heartrate was slightly high, but remained in the aerobic zone for the run, so I was optimistic. We headed to the expo after that to pick up our packets and stroll around.

Me with the Star Wars Runner

While at the expo I hooked up with the Star Wars Runner! He was running his first marathon! I didn't have much of a voice so we didn't talk for a long time, but it was fun to meet yet another running blogger!

After walking around the expo for a long time, we decided to head back to the room. The TNT folks were meeting for the bus to the pasta dinner at 4:30 pm. I was still feeling kind of puny so I decided to forego the dinner and rest up with some good cold medications. I also prepped all my stuff for the race the next day and got my bags ready for checkout in the morning since we couldn't get a late checkout for the afternoon. I was determined to get a better night's sleep and be ready for the race the next day.

Part 2 - The Race

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Another Marathon Bites the Dust! (Preliminary race report)

Not my best work, but a good race in spite of circumstances.

Details to come this week but the result:

Time: 5:37:49 (of my 4 marathons this is 3rd in time)
Pace 12:54
Place 6108/7526
Women 2581/3511
Div 303/427

Just to make it interesting, in addition to fighting a chest cold and lack of voice, I twisted my ankle while walking to the race start area. It did get sore but was ok for the race. It is pretty bruised and swollen right now.

Thanks for your thoughts and encouraging words today! A typically long race report to come later this week!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Not the Way I was Planning it

Short update on my San Antonio experience.

Late Thursday / Early Friday a little post nasal drip started to bother me.

Friday night - bigger post nasal drip kept waking me up.

Saturday - cold in chest, lost my voice completely, feeling crappy.

Race is tomorrow!

I can't believe I get sick the day before the race!!! Geez....

I was going to do live updates on Twitterfone, but I have no voice. Which also prevents me from recording on my iRiver for a podcast. I guess live audio was not meant to be.

I hit the drug store and I am attacking this thing. I skipped the pasta party with the TNT folks (my friend is TNT) and stayed at the hotel for a fish and rice dinner (my usual pre race meal). I wasn't really hungry but I knew I needed to eat.

We went to the expo today and walked around for quite a while. I ended up buying an Amphipod with and extra pocket that fits my digital camera. Well, if I can't talk, I can at least take good pictures! I also got a running hat and t-shirt.

I even got a chance to meet the Star Wars Runner at the race expo. I didn't call Marathon Girl because, well, I couldn't really talk. Any talking I did was strained. Sorry MarathonGirl! Perhaps we can meet up at OUC.

I will post pictures later this week - I am feeling a bit puny and need to get ready for tomorrow. I am modifying my goals. Without knowing how ill I may be in the morning, my goal is to go easy and enjoy the race.

If you want to track me, you can check out live race results at http://www.liveraceresults.com/liveelite/ My bib number is 20097.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Less Than a Week Away

One week from now I should be reporting the results of the San Antonio Rock n Roll Marathon! I can't believe it is that close. I ran my final long run - 8 miles - in 1:33 today. I focused on a slower, marathon type pace. I also took the iRiver along. Although my podcasting has been non-existent, I am thinking of doing an episode, even if it is a short one, on San Antonio.

I thought about my marathon goals today. Based on how my training has gone and the weather (which is now showing race start at around 45 - 50 deg F and high temp of around 70 deg F):

Dream goal - under 5:00 hours
Highly desired goal - PR (under 5:06)
Realistic "would be happy" goal - 5:10 - 5:15

I am also happy to report that I am just $10 away from my goal to raise $500 for Team Parkinson. I have several names to pin to my shirt and run a mile for. There is still time to have me run for someone you know with PD. Just email me at marathonchris@gmail.com. A donation is not required for me to run a mile for someone with PD (or in memory of someone lost to PD).

I have been experiencing a little taper madness....that feeling that I am not running enough and that I may have lost some of the momentum I had while training 40+ mile weeks, that I am slacking! But I recognize the symptoms and will address it this week with plenty of rest, hydration, healthy eating and easy short runs.

It is also time to drag out my checklist and make sure I have everything I need before, during and after the race. The early morning temps look cold enough that I will need a toss away jacket and maybe even leggings - but I should be able to finish in a t-shirt and shorts. If the temperature starts in the 40's I may need gloves. I will have to continue to monitor the weather this week.

I normally carry a fuel belt, but I am thinking of using the water on the course. I still need to carry my Clif Shots so I may use my Camelbak fanny pak without the water to carry stuff. I am open to ideas. I want to run light.

More as the week goes on! :-)

Friday, November 07, 2008

SARnR Marathon Forecast - Sunny or Rainy?

The marathon is 10 days away, which means I can start monitoring the extended forecast for weather on race day in San Antonio.

On Weather.com the forecast is for 60% chance of showers the night before with temps down to 49 deg F. On the day of the race, 30% chance of showers with high of 73 deg F.

On Accuweather.com the forecast is for clear skies the night before with a low of 51 deg F. On the day of the race, sunny with a high of 70 deg F that will feel like 68 deg.

I think I will take Accuweather's version.

It is still early to know for sure - but in general, the temps will be nice in the morning but will warm up later. With a 7:30 am start time, I won't finish until 12:30 pm at the earliest....it will probably feel pretty warm. Rain might help....

I will know later this week what to pack, but it looks like warm weather gear is going to be the choice. With 50's in the morning, I will still need a toss off jacket or garbage bag (those $1 rain ponchos work great) to stay warm before the race begins.

More marathon planning to come this week!

Running has been good this week. After Sunday's "lesson" I took it easy on Tuesday and still managed a 10:39 min/mi pace for a 4.5 miler. Wed I ran 6 miles with hubby, running 5 min and walking 1 - average pace was around 11:30 min/mi. We finished a 10K distance in about 1 hour 11 min. On Thursday I did 4.6 miles, relaxed but strong pace, in 47:50...a 10:30 min/mi pace. I ran 12 minutes and walked 30 seconds - somewhat simulating running the marathon and walking through the water stops.

Saturday I run 4 and on Sunday I run 8 miles. For my Sunday run I will shoot for marathon pace and approach - marathon pace being 11:15 min/mi. I will try the run 12 min walk 30 sec approach again - at a slower pace :-)

I am experiencing the typical taper induced "I feel like a slacker" feeling about my running and miles - but it is all good. My mid week runs are comfortable and pretty easy. I am beginning to get really excited!!

Sunday, November 02, 2008

2 Weeks to San Antonio - a Mixed Bag for Training

"The Gang" on Halloween Night in the Halloween Knight's Graveyard

During my first taper week I had a mixed bag of training experiences. I had planned on running 31 miles but only finished the week with 25. We have several days of very cool weather - fantastic for running.

After my 23 mile run last Sunday, I took Mon and Tues off before running on Wed. So I missed my planned 4 miler on Tuesday. Wednesday morning, the forecast was for 43 deg F - with a breeze that made it feel like 38 deg. As I tend to do in cooler weather, I over dressed for that run (long tights, MCM cotton mock turtleneck, MCM running jacket, winter hat and gloves). About 1 mile into the run I had to shed the jacket - tying it around my waist. I used the hat and gloves to regulate my warmth after that. The big lessons for that day was learning (again) about how to dress properly for those temperatures....which I could encounter in San Antonio or even at Disney in January. Unlike CA, my speed was not too dramatic - but I felt good enough to run 6.7 miles at an 11:33 min/mi pace.

On Thursday morning, I would have another try - temps were going to be just a tad warmer - 47 deg F. But this time I was ready. I wore my 3/4 length running pants, and a long sleeve wicking t-shirt with the hat and gloves again. I did, at the last minute, throw my Team Parkinson singlet UNDER the long sleeve shirt - keeping the wind from making my body cold. This was better than Wed and the hat and gloves worked well to regulate my temperature. Still, the singlet made me feel a bit warm. I felt great running in the cool weather and ran the 5.1 miles at a 10:30 min/mi pace using a 179 bpm Podrunner mix to keep my pace going for the last 2 miles.

I did have a close call with my "equipment." At one point in the run, while stripping off my gloves, I dropped one of the two yellow bracelets I wear (Pray for Elijah and a Livestrong). I stopped and picked it up, but didn't realize I had dropped them both until I got home. I had lost my Pray for Elijah band. A few thoughts went through my brain - one was that someone else may find it and they might pray for Elijah. The other was that my running friend Joan might spot it, see it was mine and pick it up. As I drove along the same route to drop my daughter off at school, I was trying to remember where I had dropped it during my run - it was dark when I lost it. As we drove past the front of the school I spied it on the sidewalk where I dropped it. So I recovered my Elijah band.

Friday was Halloween night - and we had a great time! I took the girls trick or treating while my hubby, the Halloween Knight, guarded the castle and gave away candy. Since it was a Friday night, we went out afterward for a late dinner. After getting home late, I wasn't up for running early on Saturday morning so I decided to run Saturday evening.

Around 6 pm, I took off for a 5 mile run. I felt really good so I pushed up the pace a bit and finished the first mile in 9:44 min - a 5K pace. The other miles went quickly by as well - staying very close to a 10 min/mi pace. After 2 miles, I cranked up the 179 bpm Podrunner mix again to see if I could keep it up for a 50 min 5 miler. I came pretty close. I finished 5 miles in 50:15 min - a 10:03 pace - the fastest I had run for all of 2008!! My hamstring was feeling a bit strained, but felt better today. Overall my speed was picking up leading up to my marathon. The prospect for a sub-5 hour marathon was starting to sink in a bit.

But then came today....

I had good success this year running on Sat and Sunday. Even if Sat was a tough run, Sunday was always a good one. However, today was VERY different. I went out with my husband to run an easy 12 miles - 8 with him then another 4 or 5 on my own - but by mile 2 I realized that there was no gas in the tank. My heart rate climbed rapidly to 160 bpm - even though we were going easy (which would normally have me at around 145 bpm). By mile 5, I couldn't even run the 5 min between walking breaks. I toughed it out for the last bit and ending the run at 8.1 miles at a 12:33 min/mi pace (total 1:41:58). Not my worst run, but I have felt tired and dragging ever since.

Lesson learned: No hard workouts the night before a morning long run. If I don't get the Sat run in during the morning - probably best to skip it. And if I do get it in, marathon pace is fine - none of this 10K pace stuff!

I don't feel bad - I learned a lot of important lessons to carry forward.

2 weeks and counting!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

23.1 Mile Long Run - Done! Begin the Taper!

Today I ran my 22 miler - which became a 23 miler! Conditions for the run couldn't have been better. At 5:30 am, when I stepped outside to begin, the temperature was in the upper 50's - low 60's with a breeze. Even after the sun came up, the temperature felt cool.

Even though the sky was clear, the Garmin seemed to take forever to lock onto satellites. Once obtained, I headed out. My plan was to do my Lockwood "loop" 3 times - stopping after the first 2 to refill my water and Clif Shots. My hope was to keep my pace as close to 11:30 min/mi as I could by running 1 mile and walking 30 seconds. This was a bit ambitions for my long run but I felt good and the weather was good. The first mile came in at about 11:30, and my heart rate was in the right zone averaging 141 bpm. I continued on in the cool darkness with mile 2 in 11:52 and mile 3 in 11:40 min. My AHR was 146 and 149. Listening to my heartrate - I couldn't afford to push the pace or I would run out of gas - so I settled into this pace just under 12 min/mi and hoped I could finish close to 12 min/mi in the end. My heart rate stayed under 150 bpm for the first 10 miles of the run.

At mile 6.4, for no apparent reason, my Garmin lost satellite - not just for a min or so, but until I passed what I thought was the 8 mile mark or so. I lost almost 2 miles - so my mileage and pace were going to be off for the rest of the run. I reverted to taking my walking breaks at every 12 min mark (run 11:30 min walk 30 sec) and would try to keep my pace moving by feel.

I completed my 2nd Lockwood loop at 3:05 - about 15.2 miles into my run. After refilling the water bottles, grabbing my sunglasses and grabbing a couple more Clif Shots, I headed back out into the bright, cool sunshine.

At about mile 17, I felt amazing for about a mile. Why does that happen and why is it so short lived? It is an odd thing. I got a brief burst of energy, my pace picked up a bit and felt comfortable. Unfortunately, it only lasted about a mile. After the burst, my feet started to ache a bit and the distance and time began to weigh on me a bit. Still, I felt ok and hit mile 20 at just over 4 hours into the run. Judging from where I was, I knew I had another 45 min or so left - so I pressed on. I was also about a half a mile away from my turnaround point which pointed me home.

For the last two miles, I changed my strategy and ran 5 minutes and walked 1 minute for the rest of the time - focusing on trying to keep my pace up. I focused hard on trying to keep my form relaxed, shoulders back and relaxed, back straight, legs relaxed - but I was pretty tired. About a quarter mile from the house, I could feel my left calf begin to cramp - thank goodness I was almost done.

I finished in front of my house with a strong push and walked for a few minutes before heading into the house. DONE!!!

Since my Garmin was thrown off for losing the satellite coverage, I used Mapmyrun to figure out how far I really ran. I ran a total of 23.1 miles! The final talley:

23.1 miles
4:42:47 / 12:15 min/mile (faster than previous 19 and 20 milers)
AHR 149, MHR 166
2400 calories burned (according to Buckeyeoutdoors)
6 Clif Shots, 58 oz of water
Ice bath afterwards
Beginning temp: 59 deg F
Ending tem: 67 deg F

I am now officially tapering for San Antonio!!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Marina Del Rey - Part Deux - Running to the Santa Monica Pier

Santa Monica Pier

I have to say that California running agrees with me. After a fantastic 5 miler on Tuesday morning, I got up again on Wednesday for another 5 miler - this time running north up Venice beach instead of south (which basically led me nowhere). The temperatures were similar to Tuesday and my pace was faster....10:04 min/mi pace - and it felt very comfortable!

My favorite run of all was Wednesday evening. The workshop I was attending finished early on Wednesday - so I was actually leaving California on Thursday morning. So in place of a Thursday morning run, I did another 5 miler on Wednesday evening. This time, I drove down to Venice Beach with the goal to run north to the Santa Monica Pier and back. I was thinking 3 or so really easy miles, since it was my second run of the day....but since the run to the pier was 2.6 miles...it was a 5.2 mile run before I was done.

I made my run in the evening, about 35 minutes before sunset. At sunset, the beach areas come alive - all the shops are open, people along the board walk are selling all kinds of items. Lots of folks are out walking dogs, riding bikes or running. And there is a growing anticipation of sunset.

I ran along the busy boardwalk through Venice Beach, then into the Santa Monica beach area leading up to the pier. Unlike my morning run, it was very warm for this afternoon run - probably in the upper 70s. Still, my easy pace was under an 11 min/mi. I ran all the way to the end of the Santa Monica Pier - the time was just 20 minutes before sunset. I just had to stay for that!

A man was playing piano and singing love songs. The resolution from my phone isn't that great but you can get the gist of things.

It was beautiful - the music, the sunset, the people!

After sunset, I ran the 26 or so minutes back to my car in Venice Beach. By the time I got there, everyone was closing up shop. The sun was down and the day was done.

No running Thursday or Friday - today I am going to get out to do a few miles - but instead of 10 miles I think I will do 5 miles since I am getting a late start. Tomorrow is the big day...22 miles! Then the taper for San Antonio begins.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Running Adventures in Marina Del Rey: A Boat House Sighting

Considering the fact that I am staying in Marina Del Rey - which is basically one really big marina - I have seen many house boats. What I didn't expect to see was a boat house! I took the picture above while out running near Venice Beach this morning.

I had a fantastic 5 mile run down to Venice Beach and back. The temperature was a bit chilly - 53 deg F - and all I had were shorts and my short sleeve running shirt. Fortunately, it didn't take long to warm up. I think the cold made me run faster. My pace for my run was 10:25 min/mi.

Tomorrow I plan to run a similar route - but include more Venice Beach in the run. On Thursday morning I am hoping to play hookey from the early morning part of my workshop to run down to the Santa Monica pier and back - about an 8-9 mile run or so.

Time to get to bed....and here's hoping I don't keep waking up at 3:30 am!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Phedip Half Marathon / UCF 5 Miler Race Report

Today I finished my "catch up" runs from the WWFoR, which I missed last weekend with my Piraformis issue. Taking a break from the running along with two visits to my chiropractor have served me well - the pain seems to be gone.

Today's "Green" run began around 5:30 am when I headed out for the first leg of today's run - 8 easy going miles to the UCF starting line. I did a modified version of my Lockhood run combined with a short detour around UCF's campus to the starting area. I ran the 8.15 miles in 1:39:32 - a 12:13 min/mile pace with an amazing low AHR of 143 bpm. I ran 1 mile and walked 30 sec. The cooler weather really paid off today. It was a very cool 62'ish degrees with a breeze - chilly when standing still but great for a run. I also ran to the Phedip shouts of encouragement episode - a great episode providing over an hour of jokes and encouragement for the run.

At the starting area I looked around for Shirley to see if she could hold onto my fuel belt - so I could run the 5 miler unencumbered. I missed her in the start area but Betsy, one of the co-owners of the local running store, Trackshack, offered to take it to Shirley for me. I just made it to the starting area in time for the start. I looked around a little bit for Kitzy, but wasn't sure what she looked like - so I stretched a bit while lined up between the 10 min/mi and 11 min/mi pace areas.

Soon we were off and running. The field was pretty crowded in the early going but people were moving well. The walkers lined up toward the back this time, although I think most of the walkers probably signed up for the 2 mile race. I was hoping for marathon race pace, but could feel a bit of a drag as I ran - running a race with 8 miles behind you feels VERY different from starting fresh. I tried to maintain my pace with a 177 bpm Podrunner mix, and continued my approach of running 1 mile and walking 30 seconds. The first mile came in 11:27 min.

Just ahead of the 2nd mile, the first water stop came. I took a short walking break for the water and continued on. My second mile was in 11:25 min. Amazingly, I was on a 5 hr marathon pace - so I was doing ok.

As we ran down an out and back with music blaring from some speakers set up, the music played a bit of the Jaws theme (you know, the part where the shark comes...). I made the remark that we should all run faster to get away from the shark, and began to chat with a woman running beside me. I found out her name was Sam, she is a police officer who has recently gotten into running. She is running the OUC half in December (her longest distance) and the Disney Marathon in January (her first). Normally she runs with her running partner but he couldn't be here today. Since we had a good, common pace, we ran the rest of the race together - and chatted about all kinds of things. It helped to make miles 3-5 go much easier for me with times of: 11:17 min, 11:55 min and 11:21 min.

At the sight of the finished line, I bid my new running friend goodbye and picked up the pace for the finishline. My time for the 5 mile race (5.11 on Garmin) was 58:19 min - an 11:40 min/mi pace. My AHR for the race was 154 bpm - nicely in my aerobic zone. Adding this to my 8.1 mile run, my half marathon time was 2:37:51.

After eating a banana, a granola bar and some water, I met Shirley and chatted a bit while retrieving my fuel belt. She was pretty busy (and I was just distracting her) so I headed out to make my way home.

From the finish area, I took a direct route home - running 5 min and walking 30 sec - nice and easy to get home. The last bit of my run: 2.77 miles in 34:04 min - a 12:18 min/mi pace with an AHR of 150 bpm. I was getting sore by the time I headed home - but even with the sun, the air was still cool and the run home nice.

A good 15.8 mile long run day - and an interesting way to split it up. My feet are a bit achy as are my legs - but I feel good. Tomorrow is a rest day as I head to Marina Del Rey (near LA) for a workshop this week. I hope I can keep up the running out in CA. With the late sunrise and early sunsets (like just after 6 pm) I am not sure how much outdoor running I will be able to manage. We shall see.

Next week - the last big run before tapering for San Antonio. I am going for 22 miles on Sunday - with a 10 miler on Sat. But first - let's just get through the week!

Run strong everyone!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Good Running Week - Next Stop: The UCF 5 Miler

When I was attending the University of Central Florida (UCF) 18 years ago, there was a common joke that UCF stood for U Can't Finish. The upcoming annual 5 mile and 2 mile event is now billed as the UCF, U Can Finish 5 Miler and 2 Mile race. This year will be my 3rd or 4th year running this race.

This has been a good running week for me. The Piriformis has not been acting up - and my latest run felt very comfortable at a 10:50 min/mi pace. My chiropractor visit on Tuesday and again today have really helped out! After Sunday's easy 3.1 miler, I ran 5 miles on Monday, 6.2 on Tuesday for my ZenRun 10K, and another 5 miler yesterday. Today is my rest day before my weekend runs.

Tomorrow I will run 8 miles and then on Sunday, the day of the UCF 5 Miler, I plan to finish 16 miles and my Phedip Half Marathon - and do so while having a more "green" footprint.

Instead of driving to the race, I am going to run there (I live about 3 miles away). I am going to run an easy 8 miles before the race - ending at the starting line. Then run the 5 mile race. Then run the 3 miles home. I have no plans to PR this race...I would like to run at my planned marathon pace (around 11 - 11:15 min/mi). I think it will be a lot of fun.

Another bonus is that the weather report is calling for temps to begin around 64 deg and stay below 70 deg for the rest of the morning - with a high of 77 deg! It should be nice and cool until I get home!

A huge congratulations for all the Chicago Marathon participants: Maddy, Petra, Charlie and Melisa - for toughing out the hot temperatures!!! We are all so proud of you all!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Back on the Road

After a week off, I got out this evening for an easy 5K - figured I could use it for my WWFoR 5K race time.

Running 2 min and walking 1 min with my husband, we covered the 3.1 miles in 35:03. Not bad for all that walking!

I feel ok but a bit sore - will need to keep ice and ibuprofen handy.

Congrats to all those who ran today's Chicago Marathon! Tough race with temps getting into the low 80's. I am looking forward to reading the race reports.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Too Good to be True - I Seem to Have an Injury

After two great months of training and stepping up the mileage, I was amazed I was holding out so well.

Then I noticed a pain in my buttocks (yes a pain in my butt!) last week about 2 days after my 18 mile long run. I thought it was from sitting weird but after a few days it seemed to subside. It didn't bug me when I ran with it, so I just thought it was something else.

Well after this past week's 20 miler I experienced deja vu. The pain was back and I found myself limping around the office today. Monday was a rest day but I decided to give Tuesday a rest as well while I investigated.

I think I have figured out what I have: Piriformis syndrome This seems to match the location and type of pain I am experiencing. I also match the profile well for what would cause such an injury.

I am a bit ahead on my training so I can afford to lay off the running for a few days to give this a chance to heal up. R-I-C-E is the prescription.

On Friday I will take a short test run to see how it feels. I may have to wait on my Zenrun 10K and World Wide Half until next week.

Ah well....it's a runner's life.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

September Mileage, My 20 Miler and the Parrot Predictor

My running volume has definitely picked up! During September, I had my biggest month of running ever, hitting 177 miles (previously my biggest month was last Sept at 150 miles). October promises to be a big mileage month if I stick to my schedule. My target marathon is Nov 16th so my last 20+ miler is scheduled for October 26th before my taper begins. I am being cautious - watching how I feel so I don't overtrain. I had been keeping to my schedule for the past 5 weeks - but this week I skipped a 10 miler on Wed. I wasn't feeling up to it - and I think the extra rest paid off. Once again, I struggled sticking to my schedule while on travel. I have one more travel week coming before my race. We will see how I do!

Today's 20-Miler
After a great 10 miler run at marathon pace yesterday, today was the big 20 miler! I have been pretty tired lately, but was optimistic because I got a good nap in yesterday afternoon. I was in bed a bit late, but felt ok when the alarm went off at 4:40 am.

After gearing up I headed out in the darkness with 4 hours of running ahead of me. The first miles felt pretty comfortable. My plan was to run 12, stop for water, then run the final 8. I like having more than half my run completed before I stop.

When I stopped after 12 miles, I was feeling a little more worn out than I should have at that point - not so much my endurance - rather my legs were starting to ache. I figured that my 10 miler yesterday probably caused the pain to come a bit sooner today. I could tell that finishing was going to be difficult.

After mile 14, things were getting harder. I pushed it through to mile 18 before I went from my run 5 min walk 1 min routine to run 2 minutes and walk 1 minute routine. Two important but strategic points: 1) by mile 18 the only way home was to finish up the distance, 2) I was going to finish if I had to walk it - but I still had some run left in me.

I finished in 4:09:57 - a 12:28 min/mi pace. I am quite happy with this pace which is within the 60-90 sec of my target marathon pace. My time was less than one minute more than my 19 miler a month ago.

Parrot Predictor
George Parrott, known affectionately as "Coach George" on the Dead Runners Society listserve, presented this idea a few years ago. He suggests that a runner can run no faster in the Marathon than he runs his fastest 26.2 miles in a week during training.

I use a spreadsheet log that automatically does the predictions and so far it has predicted:

August 4 - 5:21:24
August 18 - 5:29:36
Sept 1 - 5:13:46
Sept 8 - 5:07:34
Sept 15 - 5:03:43
Sept 22 - 4:47:45
Sept 29 - 5:01:56

From my previous logs, the predictor did "ok" at getting a ballpark marathon time. In 2006, it was difficult to judge my times leading up to my first Disney Marathon. I didn't have many training weeks that exceeded 26.2 miles. The last data point, about a month before the race, predicted a 5:50 time. I finished in 5:47. Predictions leading up to MCM ranged from 4:50 to 5:16 (about 5 data points). I ran that one in 5:06. For the 2008 Disney, I fell into a training slump after MCM and only had one week with miles over 26.2. It predicted 5:08. My time was 5:35.

So from the numbers above, if I ran my marathon in 3 weeks, I would predict a time of about 5:05. With 3 more weeks before my taper, who knows....The important thing is to be sure that the wheels don't fall off after San Antonio leading up to Disney like they did last year.

On to another week!

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Running Sign in New York City

I saw this sign on the corner of 34th Street and 7th Ave. The bottom of the sign says "Keep up or shut up. RUNNYC"

This for all of you running a marathon in the next two weeks!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Adventuring in New York City

I am on business travel in NYC this week and tonight went for a walk around Manhattan with a quick stop in Times Square. What a great place to visit on a cool September night!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Miracle Mile 15K and The 18 Mile Long Run

Two great running adventures to tell about this weekend! :-)

Saturday began with the Miracle Mile 15K. This race is run in downtown Orlando and tends to attract the more competitive of the running community. You have to maintain a 15 min/mi pace to participate and the top female in my age group (45-49) ran it in 1:03:11, a 6:46 min/mi pace! I was 51/73 for my age group, 407/584 women, 881/1106 overall. Still, I was very pleased with my 1:41:04 finish time.

For some reason, I thought the race started at 7:30, so I naturally timed my arrival for 1 hour before the race to avoid the last minute crowds. When I arrived near the race area at 6:30 there were crowds everywhere. I finally double checked the race information and found that the 15K started at 7:00! It all worked out ok - I got my car parked and even got my porta potty stop in before lining up for the race. The race started a little late because people were still arriving.

I had decided to run my target marathon pace (11:00 - 11:30 min/mi) so I took a nice easy pace right at the start. I wasn't sure how I was going to work in my walking breaks so I did them at the mile markers initially. Later I settled into walking through the water stops. I also kept my walks to about 30 seconds. I was feeling pretty good, the weather was cool, and all conditions were ideal! My only problem was where to put the Clif Shot I had with me. I didn't want to run with my fuel belt and it didn't fit into that little pocket in my running shorts. I ended up carrying it in my hand until I took it between mile 4 and 5.

After a few miles, it appeared my pace was close to the 11 min/mi point - which I was happy with. I greeted most of the police officer's working the race - wishing them a good morning and thanking them for working the race. As I got further on in the course, I started to chat with a few runners. I ended up speeding up a bit running with them. I also skipped a walking break here and there.

Near the finish, I felt great so I picked up the pace the last 1/2 mile or so and sprinted the last .1 mile, passing at least 20 other runners who were bunched ahead of me. I finished about 1 min short of a PR - but felt great with an AHR of 159 bpm. A little high but still within my aerobic zone.

Sunday 18 Miler

So after running a strong 15K on Saturday, I wasn't sure what to expect today for my scheduled 18 mile long run. Surprisingly, my Saturday runs have not hurt my Sunday long runs but seem to help them out. According to the Higdon training plan, Saturday should be run at race pace and Sunday long and slower. I have been running Saturday's runs pretty easy so far.

I also felt pretty crummy yesterday afternoon and then in the evening. I had a headache so I popped some Advil and headed to bed - hoping to feel better in the morning.

I got up a little later than I have for recent long runs - at 5:30 am with the intent to start running about 6 am. My headache was gone and I felt ok - just the normal 5:30 am tiredness. I decided to split the run into 10 miles then 8 miles - stopping at the house in between to refill water.

I started out really easy - with the goal just to finish and a hope I could keep the pace below 13 min/mi - but that I wouldn't push my pace if I was feeling it too much. I ran 5 minutes and walked 1 minute. As it turned out, I felt REALLY GOOD through the early miles. My heart rate was nice and low - in the low 140s for the first 9 miles. Low heart rate for me means I am not working so hard, meaning I have gas for the latter part of the run. I was feeling good but I didn't want to start to push the pace until I was about 5 miles from the end. I decided if I felt good then I would step it up.

My AHR stayed below 150 until I got to mile 13 - and since I was 5 miles out, I stepped it up. My average pace until this point was about 12:12 min/mi. My last 5 miles were around 11:55 with my 18th mile in 11:30. Although it was feeling harder the last 2-3 miles, I just got it in my brain that I was now training to push through the end of that marathon :-). I also got a little help from my iPod tunes. I was around 17 miles in and feeling like I really needed a break when Jackson Browne's "Running on Empty" came on. The Forrest Gump in me kicked in and I picked it up a notch.

What a great long run after racing yesterday! I think I will focus my Saturday runs on race pace for now on!

Have a great running week everyone!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Preliminary Race Report - Miracle Mile 15K

Quick update on today's race!

Goal: Target marathon race pace (11:00 - 11:30 min/mi)
Actual: A bit faster, around 10:51 min/mi

Final time: 1:41:04 / only about a min off my PR!

Felt great this morning. Cooler start to the day and strong finish! More later :-)

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Today is Not That Day

This month’s Runner’s World magazine featured an article called “Get Motivated.” One contributor said, “I taped my mantra to the wall: ‘There will be a day when you can no longer do this. Today is not that day.’” I thought quite a bit about that mantra and made it the theme of my thinking this morning during my 5-mile run.

As I got out of bed once again in the darkness at 5:30 am, pulled on my running gear and stepped outside – I thought about how I didn’t really like running in the dark, or early in the morning when I wanted to sleep. But then I thought about how there will be a day, someday, when I wouldn’t be able to get up and run anymore. Today is not that day.

As I ran along my normal 5-mile path, I thought about the people I have been running for who can’t run like I do. Like my dad, who shuffles to get around; my mom with heart disease and emphysema who feels exhausted just walking across a room; and our little friend Elijah – who probably CAN run, but with his cancer treatments would have a hard time. There will be a day when I may be too ill to run. Today is not that day.

As I ran I met a fellow runner I see frequently on my runs. Joan is a 58 year old runner who runs with her husky. She always wants to stop and talk – and sometimes I just want to keep running and get my day going. But today I stopped and we chatted a bit. As I continued my run, I thought about how much I would miss seeing her if one day she stopped running. There may be a day when she no longer can do this – and I knew I would miss her. Today is not that day.

Michael Mucklow’s instrumental guitar music played as I mused on these thoughts and others. I enjoyed the cool air, about 65 deg F, along with a small breeze. The sky was clear and the stars and moon were bright as the eastern sky just started to change from black to a brightening blue. As I finished up my easy feeling run in my driveway, I looked at my Garmin and saw that I ran the run as fast as I did just two days ago, but with an average heart rate of 147 bpm – easy run. I looked up as the crescent moon smiled at me.

There will be a day when I can no longer do that.

Today is not that day.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Running for Team Parkinson

About a month ago, shortly before going to Arizona for my brother's wedding, my 71 year old dad told me that he had been diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease. I had never (personally) known anyone with the disease, and didn't really know much about it - so I did some online research and learned quite a bit.

According to Wikipedia:

Parkinson's disease (also known as Parkinson disease or PD) is a degenerative disorder of the central nervous system that often impairs the sufferer's motor skills and speech, as well as other functions.[1]

Parkinson's disease belongs to a group of conditions called movement disorders. It is characterized by muscle rigidity, tremor, a slowing of physical movement (bradykinesia) and, in extreme cases, a loss of physical movement (akinesia). The primary symptoms are the results of decreased stimulation of the motor cortex by the basal ganglia, normally caused by the insufficient formation and action of dopamine, which is produced in the dopaminergic neurons of the brain. Secondary symptoms may include high level cognitive dysfunction and subtle language problems. PD is both chronic and progressive.

PD is the most common cause of chronic progressive parkinsonism, a term which refers to the syndrome of tremor, rigidity, bradykinesia and postural instability.

My dad had been having trouble with his balance - and falling quite a bit - when he was diagnosed. He has the typical Parkinson's "shuffle" but is still getting around ok.

Last year, I ran the Marine Corps Marathon for my mom - not so much for a charity but for the fact that she suffers both from Heart Disease as well as Emphysema - and could never run, let alone walk, around the block.

This fall, I have decided to dedicate my running of the San Antonio Rock N Roll marathon to my dad and to use the occasion to help raise money for Parkinson's Disease research. I have a link here on my blog if you want to donate for this run - I have no big fund raising goals to meet (I set my own goal at $500 but no minimum limit like TNT). I would like to run in honor or memory of anyone you know who suffers from PD. Feel free to email me their name at marathonchris@gmail.com and I will pin it on my race jersey and dedicate a mile to them. No donation is necessary if you want to send me a name. I am just happy to be running for others and for my dad.

Today's Long Run:
I had a good long run today. Since I was going "only" 13 miles, I figured I would push my pace a bit and see if I could keep it under 12 min/mi. I came pretty close - but the run was more work that I thought it would be with 74 deg F and 100% humidity (the fog was so thick I could see about 100 feet in front of me). There was very little wind and I was sweating so much, my feet were squishing for all the sweat that ran down my legs into my shoes!

My Garmin has been acting flaky lately, and around 11 miles got weird and started counting backwards on me....I ended at about 9.5 miles! After downloading my run to Sport Tracks and fixing the route, it was more like 13.3 miles. I recorded it in my log as 13.2. My pace was about 12:03 min/mi. I am very happy with that.

I will be back to the longer runs next weekend (18 scheduled). On Saturday, I am actually running my first race since April - the Miracle Mile 15K. I am not going to go for a PR (I would need to maintain a 10:40 min/mi pace for that) but instead will target running it at my goal marathon race pace (around 11:15 - 11:30 min/mi). Hopefully it won't be too hot!

Friday, September 19, 2008

I Have Been Accepted!

Today I got a letter I have been anticipating for a few weeks.

"We are happy to advise that you have been accepted on Regular status to pursue the Doctoral Degree in Industrial Engineering, ..."

I'm going back to school! I start classes in January. And if all goes well, I should finish in about 6 or 7 years.

This is something I have been thinking about for years - and now, 18 years after completing my Masters, 25 years after completing my Bachelors, I finally get to do it!

As part of this process, I expect that I may need to curtail my marathoning a bit. I am going to need those hours to study! I will still be out there running - but perhaps, not so much the 4-5 hour runs on the weekends.

On the running front, I am on plan this week for about 32 miles - having a step back week after my 46 mile birthday week. On Thursday I passed the 100 mile mark for the month of September. I am on track to complete over 150 miles this month - the biggest month in my 3 years of running. My plantar is beginning to remind me that it is there, but I have been more aggressively massaging and stretching the area and it seems to help. It has been a strong running month for me! I hope I don't burn out too soon before my big races are over in January.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

I Have Completed My 46 Miles for 46 Years!

With the completion of today's 19 mile long run, I have finished a 46 mile running week (actually ran a total of 46.5 miles) in celebration of my 46th birthday. And what a week of running it has been!!! Overall, my runs have been strong and felt really good! Even today's 19 miler.

As has been typical recently, I was up while it was still dark and outside my driveway waiting for my Garmin to find the satellites at about 5:30 am. A bright, nearly full moon was beginning to set in the west. A bit of a late start with the distance I had to do - I was not likely to finish much before 10 am. The temperature just before dawn has been around 75 degrees (today was no exception). The reprieve I got was that it was not quite as humid as it has been lately. That made a big difference!

The first portion of my run was mostly in the dark. Since I am on the sidewalk I don't usually worry about traffic except for the occasional car coming from the side streets. I have started wearing a reflective "thing" (not a vest but just straps that lay over my shoulders and around my waist) so that any car coming would light me up like a Christmas tree. I figure it is better to be really visible and safe.

I ran the first 10.5 miles in just over 2 hours before stopping at the house for refills. This part of the run went really well. I was running comfortably and my heart rate was in the mid 140's - in a good part of my aerobic zone. I felt I had plenty of gas in the tank for the other 9 miles. The difference was that the sun had risen and it was going to make things more difficult for me!

I continued to run conservatively...running 5 minutes and walking 1. I didn't really start to "feel it" until around mile 14. My walking breaks got a bit slower which made my overall pace slower. Around mile 16 is when I started to have that "I really want to finish this" feeling - which is pretty good, since my last big run was 17 miles.

I was able to maintain my run 5 walk 1 pace until the very last mile, where I snuck an extra walking break before finishing the last .2 mile strong. I stopped the Garmin at 19.14 miles and walked the remaining .1 miles to the house. The finish time was 4 hours, 9 minutes, 5 seconds - a 13:01 pace. I was happy with the result and how good I felt throughout the run.

The overall stats:

19.14 miles
4:09:05 / 13:01 min/mile (faster than my pace for the previous 17 miler)
AHR 149, MHR 173 (really good AHR)
3228 calories burned (according to Garmin)
6 Clif Shots, 64 oz of water
Ice bath afterwards
Beginning temp: 75 deg F
Ending tem: 84 deg F

Thursday, September 11, 2008

46 Miles for 46 Years

Tomorrow I celebrate my 46th birthday. Since I don't have the endurance to run 46 miles on my birthday, I am attempting to run:

4.6 miles on my birthday
46 km on my birthday weekend
46 miles my birthday week

My schedule:

Mon - 4 miles (done! 4.2 miles)
Tues - 5 miles (done! 5.16 miles)
Wed - 8 miles (done! 7.9 miles - was a little ahead so stopped before 8)
Thurs - Rest day (done, thank goodness! I ran Sat (6 miles) and Sun (12 miles) last weekend so after 5 days straight running I was ready for a rest day!)
Fri (B-day) - 4.6 miles (done! 4.6 continuous non-stop!)
Sat - 5.4 miles (done! 5.4 even after birthday celebration the night before)
Sun - 19 miles (maybe I will run 1 more to grow on...my first really big run leading up to San Antonio)(done! See details in next blog post. Did 0.1 extra - didn't have it in the tank to do 20...but I completed my 46 for 46!)

It was the coming of my 40th birthday that started my running. In honor of my 40th birthday, I ran my very first 5K. So I guess you could say I am celebrating 6 years of running as well as 46 revolutions around the sun.

And what an adventure it has been! Thanks for sharing it with me.

I will let you know how it ends up!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Breathing New Life Into My Ipod - Engineering my Run

I own an iPod Mini which I won in a drawing about 2 years ago. At the time, the mini was no longer being sold - having been replaced by the 1G Nanos, but this one was special, with 6Gb of storage.

Recently, the battery has struggled to keep a charge. And more than once, I have gone out for my run only to find it dead within half a mile. I thought to replace it with a shiny new iPod Nano, but didn't really want to spend the $199 (okay, I did want to spend the money, but my husband didn't). I found a website online where I could replace the battery myself with their kit - and it seemed to have good reviews. And the batteries reportedly lasted longer than the original battery.

So I took the $30 plunge and ordered the battery. It arrived today and I managed to take my iPod apart and install the new battery.

I reassembled it and, lo and behold, the iPod powered up!

We shall see over time if I didn't break anything else and if the battery holds. If it lasts me awhile, it will be worth the $30.

Monday, September 01, 2008

The Miles are Picking Up!

August was an incredible month of running. I ran my most miles all year - 122 miles. This was more than June and July combined - which were a bit short due to vacation and other things.

Today's long run was to be 17 or 18 miles - depending on how well I was feeling. After a pretty good night's sleep I woke up at 5 am to prepare for my run. I was out the door and running by 5:40 am.

I decided to do my run in two parts - the first a 9 mile route down my usual Lockwood Blvd but with a little extra added to get to 9 miles. I would then stop at the house for refills and then do another 8 or 9 miles. Most of the first 9 miles were done in the dark, with the daylight arriving around 1 hour into the run. After the first 9 miles, I changed shirts (I could wring out the one I had on...) and refilled water and Clif Blok supplies, grabbed my sunglasses and headed out. It was a warm morning - but there were some clouds around that helped reduce my exposure to the heat of the sun. I felt okay after 9 miles but a bit tired. I decided 18 miles might be too far.

I began to lose steam around 12 miles in and seriously considered cutting the run short, but I pushed...telling myself that I was now in mental training. My legs were feeling tired and heavy and temperature was beginning to rise. By 14 miles, I could no longer maintain my run 5 min walk 1 min routine. I walked for about 3 minutes in the middle of mile 14, then opted to run 2 minutes and walk 2 minutes. That pace did me well for the rest of the run.

I even had in my arsenal a Power Shot gel - it was some Tangerine / Orange flavor with double the caffeine. I normally don't run with caffeine, but decided to take this along for the end in case I needed the boost. I finally downed it at mile 15. And, as I expected, it was pretty nasty. However, I think it helped me through the last couple of miles.

My final time for 17 miles was 3:42:10 - a 13:03 min/mi pace - which I was surprised by given my slow finish. With all the walking, my pace never exceeded 14:31 (miles 14-15) and I finished the last mile in 12:23 min.

The stats:

17 miles
3:42:10 / 13:03 min/mile
AHR 157, MHR 174
2593 calories burned (according to Garmin)
2 packs Clif Bloks, 1 Power Gel, 64 oz of water
Ice bath afterwards

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

A Good Running Week!

So far a good week for running!!!

Monday was a running day off. However, my husband and I restarted the one hundred pushups program. We did the test on Sunday and this time I am starting with the middle column since I managed 10 pushups.

Tuesday I was up early for a tempo run. What a great 4 miler where I ran each successive mile faster than the previous. My splits:

Mile 1 - 11:35 min
Mile 2 - 11:06 min
Mile 3 - 10:44 min
Mile 4 - 10:11 min

It was a great run!

Today I got in 7.1 miles in 1:24:19 - the fastest 7 miler in a long time. I didn't set out to go fast. I ran comfortably, in spite of the near 100% humidity and no wind this morning. My legs felt great, I think, after a nice rolling with "The Stick" last night. I took the time to massage and roll both legs and feet. And this morning, I felt like I could fly. I am definitely going to do that again tonight after I do my pushups!!

Oh, and one more change this week. I have modified my morning protein shake with some adders, compliments of my sister. In addition to the scoop of protein and banana (mixed with rice milk), I now add: baby spinach, cucumber, avocado and carrot juice! It looks terrible but it tastes rather good. Now I am getting my veggies for breakfast! :-)

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Run for the Fallen Has Completed!

If you have been listening to Phedip lately, you will know about this event that completed today.

Run for the Fallen is a group of folks who have been running across the country since Mid-June to run 1 mile for each fallen soldier in Afghanistan or Iraq - just over 4000 miles.

I started a Runner Plus challenge along the same lines.

And I am proud to announce that our challenge 55 runners ran 8637 miles for the fallen.

God Bless the men and women who are defending our freedom and God Bless their families. May we never forget the sacrifice they have made!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Where in the World is MarathonChris?

Wow, has it been 2 weeks since I have blogged??? I think all that "tweeting" makes me think I am keeping up here. As it is, Twitter keeps me so busy, I am going to have to scale back and get back to blogging again.

So where HAVE I been? It has been a busy couple of weeks. Let's see:

Sierra Vista, AZ - Last weekend I flew out to Tuscon, AZ and drove down to Sierra Vista to attend my brother's wedding. It was a small, family affair - but I think those are the best kind. I had a great time visiting with my brother and his new wife as well as spending some time with my dad. My dad was recently diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease - and I am just learning about the disease. If anyone has any good resources please let me know. While in AZ I did one long run on Sat morning in Sierra Vista (elevation 4600 ft). I had arrived in town on Thurs but waited until Sat to run to allow acclimation to the altitude (since I live at sea level). It was an incredible run. I ran at sun rise and felt fine while running - managing 11.23 miles. I wanted to take my iRiver but I didn't have my fuel belt and it was either bring the iRiver or a bottle of water. I opted for the water.

Tropical Storm Fay - After returning to Florida on Sun evening, I had a tropical storm to look forward to. On Mon evening I got home and my husband and I managed to squeeze in 5 miles before the weather got rainy. And did it rain!!! I kept wanting to get to the office treadmill, but I worked from home all week. No running until yesterday!

24 miles in one weekend! - This weekend called for 8 miles on Saturday and 16 miles on Sunday. Even though I didn't get much running in this week, I decided to go for it. The 8 miles on Saturday were a bit tough since I waited until 8:30 am to do them (finishing around 10:15 am). Today was the big 16 miler. I rolled out of bed at 5 am so I could get a 5:30 am start. I finished the first 8 mile loop in 1:41 - faster than Saturday's 8 miler. Then did the second 8 mile loop. At 13 miles I was really begin to wonder whether I should have gone for 16 miles. Both feet were hurting and the heat was starting to build (by now it was about 8:30 am). I pressed on for the turn around at mile 13.5. At this point, the only way to get home was to finish the run. As hot and tired as I was, I finished strong - posting my best mile (outside of the first mile) as my last mile in 12:16.

Total for today's long run:

16 miles
3:24:36 / 12:47 min/mile
AHR 152, MHR 176
2608 calories burned (according to Garmin)
4 Cliff shots, 40 oz of water and 32 oz of G2 Gatorade
10 ice bath afterwards

As much as I would like to get my long runs in the 12 min/mile range, I am giving myself a break with the heat and humidity - and the trend on my long runs is that they are getting faster each week. Check this out for August:

Aug 3 - 12.1 miles / 2:40:15 / 13:16 min/mi pace
Aug 10 - 14.0 miles / 3:03:34 / 13:07 min/mi pace
Aug 16 - 11.2 miles (elev 4600 ft) / 2:24:57 / 12:54 min/mi pace
Aug 24 - 16.0 miles / 3:24:36 / 12:47 min/mi pace

In another surprising moment of discovery - this year I am running on Saturdays as well as on Sundays in preparation for running the Goofy challenge. I was worried that the Saturday run, usually half the distance of the Sunday run, would make the Sunday run harder. In fact, no matter how bad Saturday is, the following day seems to go really well. Perhaps running the day before DOES prime the pump. Now, according to the Higdon plan, I need to be running Saturday at race pace - I haven't really been doing that. I have been taking it nice and easy. But I hope to step it up to race pace as time goes on.

Today I also signed up for the Miracle Mile 15K on September 27th. This is one of the few races I will run before my marathons.

Podcast: Not sure when I will get the next one out. I have been too busy to publish - though I have tons of files. We will see....

Run strong everyone! :-)

Sunday, August 10, 2008

14 miles - Longest Run Since Disney

I ran 14 miles this morning - a distance I haven't reached since running the Disney World Marathon in January. Must be marathon training time! :-)

I wasn't sure how today's run would go. For one thing, I ran 7 miles yesterday - my first go at running Sat and Sun with Saturday's run half of the long run distance. For the last two weeks I have run on Sat, but only 4 miles - and both times - very tough runs. Yesterday's run went very well and I concluded that: a) I have reacclimated to the heat and humidity and b) I run much better when I finish before 8 am.

Today my goal was to take it nice and easy - targeting a lower heart rate for most of the run. The lower I can keep my heart rate - the better my endurance. For me, I am optimal with a heart rate lower than 155 bpm. The longer I can keep it below 150 bpm, the better. When I am tired, my heart rate rises quickly - but today was yet another good day.

I knew I was looking at about 3 hours on the road. I had to balance my desire to finish before 8 am with running in the dark for too long. I don't like to run when it is really dark....people who drive through my neighborhood sometimes think that breaking bottles on the sidewalks must be cool. Darkness makes it hard to see hazards on the sidewalk. Fortunately, the city of Oviedo and/or my homeowner's association have seen fit to fix the street lights so that they were well lit. Add to that the fact that they have stopped running the sprinklers during my morning runs and running early isn't so bad.

I decided I would target getting out on the road around 5:30 am. I would run 8 miles, then stop at the house to refill my water bottles before doing another 6 miles. I should finish in about 3 hours.

The alarm went off at 5:10 am. I am NOT a morning person and had just gotten up yesterday at 5:45 am. However, I needed to get an early start - so I got up and got ready. By 5:30 am I was outside waiting for my Garmin to catch the satellites. It was quite dark but the skies were clear and there were lots of stars to decorate the sky. It was probably around 74 deg F and the humidity was high, as was usual for morning runs.

At 5:33 am I was on my way. My starting heart rate was in the 70's - a good starting rate. As I made my way through the dark through my first couple of miles I felt pretty good....heart rate was comfortably in the mid 140's. I cranked up the latest Phedip episode and plugged on.

One thing I DO like about the early runs is watching the sky begin to lighten and eventually the sun to rise. By 6:15 am, it was light outside - making me feel a little safer running through my neighborhood. By 7:15 am, as I was running by the elementary school about a mile from my house and my water stop, a bright orange ball of a sun was coming up on the horizon - the heat was about to really get going.

At 1 hour 43 min - 7.9 miles into my run I was at my house, refilling my water and Gatorade with a quick pit stop. Hard to believe I had to pee, but I guess I was hydrating well. I headed back out for the last 6 miles.

Things were warming up but I still felt pretty good. I didn't start to "feel" it until sometime after mile 10. My body was now letting me know this run thing was getting a bit long. I pressed on. This last 6 miles was an out and back, and I was due to make my turn at about mile 12.

At 11.99 miles, I turned around and started heading back. I kept wanting to speed up but held back a bit....about 2.5 miles from the house I gave myself permission to pick up the pace if I wanted...allowing my heart rate to rise out of my nice aerobic pace. I kept my AHR below 160 for the first 11 miles or so....really good!

About the time I was to hit 12 miles I looked at the Garmin....it said 10.59 miles!!!! Hey, how could I DECREASE in miles. Somewhere during mile 11 (probably right when I turned) I lost 1.5 miles on the Garmin. I knew how far I was going, so I figured I would calculate the correct pace later.

The last couple of miles were pretty hard - as they should be on the really long runs. I tried to maintain a decent pace, and actually finished my last mile just 1 second slower than my fastest mile on the run at 12:46 min. I wanted to try to finish in under 3 hours but didn't have the gas to do it. I finished the 14 miles in 3 hours 3 min and 34 sec. My final average pace was 13:07 min/mi - faster than the pace for last week's 12 miler! :-) This a good pace given the heat and humidity. The temp at my finish was 78 deg, but felt like 82 deg with the 74% humidity.

As much as I tried to prepare for chafing, I got a pretty good burn where my heart rate monitor strap runs across my chest (just in the middle). Body Glide is not working for that spot. Otherwise, I survived the run pretty unscathed and extremely hungry! Last night I didn't have much of a dinner - this morning after the run I had to have some calories: ham and egg omelet, bowl of fruit and english muffin along with a cup of hot tea. Mmmmmm...much better than Clif Shots!

A long - long run story - but a happy ending.

14 miles
3:03:34 / 13:07 min/mile
AHR 152, MHR 177 (last then of mile)
2129 calories burned (according to Garmin)
5 Cliff shots, 40 oz of water and 18 oz of G2 Gatorade
2 - 8 hour Tylenol before the run (for foot pain and possibly legs)

Off to take the kids to the pool!

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Introducing Super Amy!

SuperAmy is a longtime friend of mine. We worked together 16 years ago here in Florida and since both of us have moved around the country a bit. She currently is living just outside of Houston.

In 2003, Amy and a mutual friend of ours (Margaret), got the idea to run a half marathon together. We signed up to run the Disney World Half in Jan 2004. Amy was unable to run that race and I nearly dropped out but decided at the last minute, with little training, to do the race anyway (my first half marathon). Margaret trained and ran an 2:10 race!

The following year, Amy and Margaret returned for the 2005 Disney Half and we all ran it together with my husband and another friend.

This year, Amy is training for her first full marathon. She will be running the San Antonio Inaugural Rock 'n Roll Marathon (yes, that is the same one I am training for and a good part of why I signed up for the race!). She is running for Team in Training. She has been a triathlete - biking, swimming and running - but also a softball player along with her duties as full time mother of 2 and full time career woman! She is challenged by a number of aches and pains, but is pressing on to run the big one.

She has started her own blog to capture her journey to her first marathon. Check her out and say hello!! :-)

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Running for a Cause: Run for the Fallen

Beginning on 6/14/2008 a campaign called Run for the Fallen was started. I heard about it on an episode of the Phedippedations podcast. There is a group of runners that are running across the United States - 1 mile for every soldier fallen in Iraq and Afghanistan. To join in the spirit of this run, I added a challenge to the Nike Runner+ system - a challenge to run the same number of miles as the Run for the Challenge group. The response has been incredible!

There are currently 46 runners participating, and each week a few more join in. Last week we were just under 3500 miles - but this week the team has run a total of 5015 miles. There are still 2 weeks left to go! The Run for the Fallen runners were planning on running just over 4080 miles - we have already gone beyond that.

Check out their website! You can participate by running 1 mile on August 24th - the last day of the run. You can even download a runner's bib for the event!

Feel free to join the Runner+ challenge or join on the Run for the Fallen site for the 1 mile on the 24th.

Hot, Hot Run!

Yesterday was a very long day of travel. I was up at 3:30 am to catch a 6 am flight to NJ where I attended a meeting out on an Army range. Much of the activity was spent standing and walking around so I was on my feet for a good part of the afternoon. Then it was back to the airport and the flight home, arriving at the house last night at 11 pm. My feet were not pleased with all the standing and walking around in work shoes, so they were pretty sore last night. Running was not in the cards for this morning.

So I figured I would get my 4 mile run in while the kids were in karate class. I dropped them off at 7 pm and headed out. The sun was still out, so it was pretty hot. About 2 miles into the run I passed a church sign that showed time and temperature...it was 91 deg F! My miles got slower as I went on and my heart rate got higher:

Mile 1: 11:01 min - AHR 154 bpm (not too bad here)
Mile 2: 11:15 min - AHR 166 bpm (keeping pace but heart rate rising)
Mile 3: 11:43 min - AHR 171 bpm (this HR is HIGH for me...max was 176 bpm)
Mile 4: 12:09 min - AHR 173 bpm (MHR 177)

Total average pace: 11:30 min/mi, AHR 166 bpm (anaerobic)

I am pretty happy with the pace in spite of the heat and humidity. As hard a run as it was, I feel I have acclimated to the heat again so I can tolerate the work.

Friday is a rest day (also pushup day). Saturday I am going for 7 miles and Sunday I plan to do 14 miles.

Pushup progress: My husband and I are doing the pushup program together. We got through the first 2 weeks ok, but I was always JUST making the minimum for the first column (easiest). Week 3 was another story. I should have done the pushup test and gone back to week 1, but instead I just pressed ahead to column 1 for week 3....and could not do it! So instead we have been doing as many as we could. Instead of 15 I could do about 10. Next week we will attempt week 3 again.

Core workout: I happened upon Runner's World videos for building core muscles and have decided that I am going to add some core work to my program. I haven't been getting in the strength training like I wanted. At least the core work I can do at home.

I think I am going to begin by doing Planks (front and side) and the Bird Dog and add stuff from then. I will probably try to do them on the non-pushup days. I am open to recommendations!

Tomorrow is a day off! My company has gone to a 9-80 program where for every 2 week period, you get your 80 hours of work in the first 9 days, taking the 10th day (every other Friday) off. Sometimes working on that Friday is unavoidable, but this is the second one I have managed to take. Hubby is with his brother this weekend so it is just me and the girls. I think we will go school clothes shopping tomorrow and try to beat some of the crowds...next weekend is the last weekend before school - and things can get a little crazy then!