Monday, November 6, 2017

Indianapolis Marathon

This was one of my worst best marathon experiences.  Let me explain :)

On Saturday, November 4, 2017, I ran my 12th marathon.  It also happened to be my 60th birthday.

I'd been sick for a few days before (cold virus) and woke up marathon morning feeling dehydrated.  That, coupled with a few days of very little sleep, meant I started the race feeling run down with little energy. I didn't feel my normal pre-race excitement. The weather was not too bad, so I figured I would feel better as the day progressed.  It wasn't too hot like some race days have been.  However, there was a slightly damp chill in the air and a little wind.  For most runners it might be considered nearly ideal conditions. But, many years ago I had an issue with hypothermia while snorkeling in a spring fed river (in Florida, of all places).  Ever since then, my body has been more sensitive to cold, especially in my legs. I believe this contributed to the issues I had during the race.

The first 16 miles of the marathon went well.  My pace was good, perhaps even slightly faster than planned, but not by much. Since waking, I had worked on hydrating with some electrolyte replenishing drinks and water, so I thought things were good and I was going to meet my marathon finish time goal. I should have know better.  Shortly after mile 16,  my legs started cramping.  I believed that it was the issue mentioned previously.  Whenever it's cold and damp, even if it's not freezing, a wind can send a chill through my legs and cause them to cramp.  I figured I would warm up again soon, so I started walking, and I would stop every once in a while and try to ease the cramps. After attempting to run several times with no success, I noticed my arms starting cramping and feeling a little tingly. Thus, in addition to the cold sensitivity issues, I believe I was still experiencing dehydration. 

Under different circumstances, I likely would have pulled out of the race and experienced my first DNF.  However, to repeat, this marathon was on my 60th birthday. I ran NYC Marathon on my 50th birthday, so I couldn't stop the tradition.  Additionally, for the first time ever, I had more than one family member waiting at the end.  My husband is at every marathon, but this time two of my children came to town to see me finish.  Also, my nephew ran the same race, so I knew he'd be at the end too.  I couldn't let anyone down.  It was a painful race.  There was one point I broke down in tears, but I still had miles to go.  At mile 23, my headphones stopped, so I could not listen to any motivating music or podcasts.  I was so grateful to see the finish line.  As I was hobbling to the end, I saw my family.  The first thing I said was "I'm sorry it took me so long".  At that point I felt it was one of the, if not the worst marathons for me ever, even though it was not my slowest marathon finish time.  I barely got my medal and marathon hat, and then headed back to the hotel. I didn't visit any of the post marathon activity booths.  I just wanted to take a warm shower. As a side note, as I was taking a post-race shower, I noticed my palms had a slightly bluish tint. It quickly went away in the warmth.

Why did I change from thinking it was one of my worst to thinking it was one of my best? The more I thought about it, the better I felt about my experience.  I am grateful that my family was there and they were proud of me for finishing it, and even for just starting this running path I'm on. I didn't start running until my late 40's, and I finished my 12th marathon!  At 60 years old!  Before I started running,  I would never have foreseen myself accomplishing even one marathon.

But, the most important reason I consider it one of my best marathons, is because I persevered in spite of the pain.  No matter how much I wanted to stop at one of the aid stations and have them take me to the finish, I kept going. It's a good life lesson, too.  I'm considering buying the marathon photo of me crossing the finish line as it shows how much pain I was in.  It is a reminder that I have more strength than I give myself credit for.  On to the next race!

No Excuses; gotta run

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Resurrecting this Blog

This is just a quick note.  I haven't written in this blog in over a year!  No, I haven't stopped running.  In fact, I've run two more marathons since my last posting. I hope to write more in the future.

I will be turning 60 in a few weeks.  60!  I certainly don't feel that old. To celebrate, of course I am running a marathon (my 12th).  I ran my second marathon on  my 50th birthday, so I figured it is only appropriate. 

While my times have slowed, my enjoyment of running has not.  I continue to work on making my running something I do to enjoy, not work.  I may work hard at it (sometimes), but when it starts to feel like work, then I know I need to back off.  I've gotten better about not stressing about missing or altering workouts.  When it comes to long runs in my training,  it's so much better to decide to "go for a run" and see how far I feel like going.  I may be a few miles short (or over) of a planned run, but a run is a run is a run!

When I hit 60, I'm personally resetting all of my PR's.  After all, I'll say it again, I'll be 60! 

That's it for now.  I hope to write more later, and maybe be a little more consistent this time!

No Excuses!

Sunday, September 18, 2016

And The End Has Come - For Now

Training is over!  Well, training for this marathon is over.  I have some 5K's and half marathons scheduled later this year.  So that just means training is not as intense.  I think a week break is in order, however.

I ran the Cleveland River Run Half Marathon on Sunday, September 11.  It was a beautiful day, perfect for a race.  It was supposed to be a "just for fun" run, but with the weather I couldn't help but push it a little bit.  I ran a 10 minute per mile pace, and I ran the entire race for a change with no walk breaks. I pushed it a bit at the end as I felt like I could run another 13.1 miles :)

This continues to be one of my favorite half marathons.  I've run it four years in a row, and it never disappoints.  The medal is nice too :)

Overall it was a great experience. This race doesn't have an expo, but I don't mind because they mail my packet, saving me an extra trip or an overnight stay!

Now, about the marathon . . .

It was a busy few days.  On Friday we drove to Dayton, picked up my packet, then made a quick trip to Oxford to drop things off to our son, then back home.  The expo was average but there were some nice vendors.  One issue for me was the way it was arranged.  We entered the building and walked around, visiting vendors.  I saw a few I wanted to re-visit.  Then the path took us downstairs and there we picked up my packet.  There were more vendors on that main floor.  The exit only went one way however, and to get back to the other vendors would have required re-entering the building, and it just wasn't worth the effort.

Saturday morning we left around 2:30 a.m. to head for the race. It rained and stormed on the way there.  Once we got there, I got on one of the buses to head to the race start.  About that time they decided to delay the race for 1/2 hour.  Even though the start time was a few hours away, they made us stay on the bus (safety first).  Finally we left for the start.  

It was still overcast, but the storm had passed.  People gradually started filling the start area.  We had been incorrectly told that no one was allowed to enter/park near the starting area, so Curt was not there at the start of my race.  This is me waiting for the start!

As it was getting closer to the new start time, it got more humid and warmer.  They didn't have race corrals, just flags with finishing times.  I lined up at a slower finishing time.  I prefer to be in a slower group than my normal pace so I don't go out too fast.  The 10K and marathon start at the same time, and the half marathon starts 30 minutes later. So, at the start area there were all sorts of people milling around, making it difficult to find the proper pace time.  As the start approached, the groups surged ahead, and I assumed I was still in the slower group.

Finally we started.  By now it was quite warm and humid.  There were two hills at the beginning of the course.  I didn't look at my Garmin to see my pace - I probably should have!  After the two hills I started to feel a little ill.  I almost pulled out at mile six after spending some time in the porta-potty (I won't give too much information!).  I decided to slow down and walk a bit - and I was passed by more than one pace group - I had definitely somehow gotten into the wrong one during the beginning race surge!

By the time I could take in any nutrition, it was too late for my muscles.  I was cramping any time I ran for more than 1/4 mile.  I walked a lot the rest of the race, but I was determined to finish.  I saw several runners stopping and some likely didn't finish.  One person dropped almost right in front of me - we were just past a water break, so we passed the message back, runner to runner, that medical help was needed.  One runner stayed with him - he had some severe muscle cramps.  A mile later I saw another runner almost drop and she limped to the aid station.  

All in all, I am glad I finished!  The medal is really nice.  This was the 20th Air Force Marathon so it was extra special (and quite heavy). The course was not too bad; again not one of the best but not one of the worst I've run either.  Some things they did right - there were water stops at just about every mile, and they had bananas at some of them.  I discovered I can eat them during a race without issues!  At one point they were handing out wet sponges and it was great to cool down!  However, I think the delay contributed to my nutrition issues and I'm not sure it was necessary.  We spend quite a bit of time at the starting area waiting. 

I learned some things from this marathon and this training session (that's the point, right?). I learned that the training plan is working.  I didn't have any problems that were caused by not being properly trained physically.  As far as mentally, this marathon was a test of my willpower and stubbornness and I know I can push through adversity.  The Cleveland half marathon was my best half since I returned to running!  I also learned that I need try to be more rested on race day, or at least not to run a half so close to a full as I'm not QUITE as young as I used to be.  I also need to work on my nutritional issues.  I plan to keep training, after a short break (and by break I mean I won't push training this week).  I want to run a long distance (20 or so miles) at least once a month and experiment with nutrition.  I can stay close to home while running so it's easier to experiment.  

Marathon Number Nine is in the books!

No Excuses/Gotta Run (later)

Monday, September 5, 2016

Winding Down

I haven't updated this blog lately. Life has been busy!

We successfully moved the two kids to their respective schools.  As predicted, I got a lot of natural strength training during the moves.  We carried many boxes, pieces of furniture, etc.  Also I cleaned the house thoroughly after the moves, and that involved some stretching and lifting.

Another factor is that school has started.  Since I am teaching 12 credit hours, I'm basically working two full time jobs!  It's good that I enjoy both jobs.  As busy as I am, I try to keep my running as a priority.

Training has been going very well.  I made it through my third and final 20-mile run with no issues, no injuries :)  I think this is the first time I have completed all my 20-miles runs (and the other training runs) without injury.  I'm happy to report I have not missed a single run in this training cycle. I have rearranged a few, but not missed any.  My knee does hurt a bit after the longer runs, but it's not "clicking" and it's not causing me to change my stride, and I'm not experiencing any other unusual muscle pain.

I have missed some strength training.  At this point in the training cycle, I feel with the limited time I have, running is the priority.  I do a few push-ups, sit-ups, etc. as I have time, so I haven't completely abandoned the strength training.

I'm in taper mode now, having run my last longish run yesterday (8 scheduled miles turned into 10).  I added a half marathon into my training cycle, and that is coming up soon.  I will try to post an update afterwards.  I'm going to try to not race it, but use it as a tune up.  It's difficult to not compete, though! The marathon is six days after the half.  My main focus for these last two weeks is nutrition and keeping healthy.

No Excuses/Gotta Run

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Week Twelve, Thirteen Finished and Now Week Fourteen Begins

I didn't write anything last week like I usually do.  These last few weeks have tested my ability to "go with the flow" when it comes to training.  All in all, I'm pleased with my progress. The hot, humid weather has been difficult to deal with, but I've been able to do my running, even though it might be at a slower pace than I prefer.  When it's hot, I slow down.  The important thing to me is to get the training in, even if it's slow.

At the end of week twelve, I ran the "Runaway Bride Women's Distance Festival" 5K.  It is always a fun race, and as the title implies it is mainly for women. This year they added the bride.  We chased a bride (a local fast male runner in a wedding dress complete with a veil) and had the option of wearing a bridesmaid dress.  I wore one (lucky for me it was shorter) and I won my age group.  It was so fun to see the bride and runners in various dresses.  I laughed when I first saw the bride :)  My total time was about a minute slower than last year, but I haven't been training for speed.  But wow, the age group just above me - those 60+ year old women can run fast!  I'll have my work cut out for me in a few years.  I really liked the prize this year; it was a small glass.  Because I was a little sore from the 5K and I raced rather than ran a training run, I decided to forgo the 14-mile run scheduled on Sunday.  My goal is to not end up injured, so I have learned to adjust, as hard as it is sometimes.

Week thirteen went fairly well.  I was able to do all my runs, with some ingenuity.  On Wednesday, a seven mile run was on the schedule.  About two miles in, the lightening started.  I'm crazy, but not stupid!  I was running in my neighborhood instead of my usual route, so I came back home and, as much as I prefer outside running, I finished on the treadmill.  I put on a rather difficult program, so I pushed myself. 

Friday was the first day of my "vacation" - I'm off work, but will be busy moving kids and cleaning, etc.  As it was the end of week thirteen, a 20-mile run was on the schedule.  It was a very hot, humid day.  I started out around 5:45 a.m.  I wore a head lamp and stayed in my neighborhood.  Once the sun started to come up, I left the neighborhood and headed toward town.  It didn't take long for it to heat up.  I was out of water by the time I got to about 10 miles, so I stopped at a local Walmart and re-filled my water bottles.  What a sight I must have been - I was dripping wet and probably a little flushed from the heat.  I refilled my water again at DCTV (thanks to my husband).  With a lot of slow running and walking, I was able to finish my 20 miles.  It was tough, I was dehydrated, but I finished.  This is the first time in several years  I've gotten two 20-mile training runs in; one more is scheduled in a few weeks.  I usually end up being injured and having to take time off, and never seem to get to those long, long runs.  I can't say the run was without injury, however.  Because it was hot and humid, my feet swelled.  I felt a little pain, but did not notice a blister forming and opening, until I got home and looked down at my shoe to see what the little bit of pain was about.

But, the key thing is that I finished the run and was still able to walk (as long as I wasn't wearing shoes) the rest of the day!

Today is the unofficial start of week fourteen.  I will have to really adjust my schedule due to the moving activities going on this week.  I was scheduled for an 8-mile run on Tuesday; I ran that this morning.  Of course it was a little too soon perhaps; with no runs scheduled until Wednesday, hopefully my heel will heal.  At least now both pairs of shoes match!

Where I am missing out is my strength training.  For weeks twelve and thirteen, I have only been able to get one session in each week.  But, it is a tougher session, and it is better than nothing.  I hope to get both sessions in this week.  However, we will be moving kids to two different colleges, so I may be getting some informal strength training during those moves!  Time has been limited these last few weeks, so if I have to choose, I will do the running. 

That's it for now!  The next few weeks will test my resolve to get my training in and to adjust as life dictates.  I can do this!  There is only one more 20-mile run, and then it will be basically taper time (which can be the worst part of any training plan).  I will try to write each week.  This is mainly for my benefit so I can look back and see how this training went and how it well it worked.  I won't know that until Marathon day!

No Excuses  / Gotta run

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Week Eleven - Getting closer

Good or bad, the weeks are flying by this summer.  As I write this, it's hard to believe it's the last day of July.  My fall marathon is seven weeks away.  There is still plenty of time to train and to work on NOT getting injured.

This was a good week.  I was able to get my runs accomplished and my strength training, all on schedule, even though my daughter was visiting. The strength program continues to step it up with more difficult workouts, and I like the way it's causing me to work different areas.  I don't like doing evening runs because of the heat, but during the week I have no choice.  It was very hot when I did my nine mile run this week, and I was wearing new shoes.  Even though they are the exact same except in color as the other pair I started breaking in last week, they felt tight on one foot and I ended up with a blister on the bottom of my little toe.  Ouch!  I know sometimes different colors of the same shoe are slightly different, but this felt much tighter.  I believe, however, my feet were very swollen because of the heat or other issues.  I wore those shoes for my other runs this week, and by Saturday morning's run they felt fine.

That's it for this week. 

No Excuses  / Gotta run

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Week Ten - Tough Week

I'm amazed I've made it this far without any injuries or major training detours.  I've been following my schedule, making adjustments as necessary.  I was able to get my strength training in, too.  That program stepped it up a bit and I can feel it, especially in my abdominal muscles. 

This week was supposed to be a "cut-back" week as far as mileage.  Every few weeks, this schedule has a week with much less mileage.  I suppose it's to keep one from burning out.  I switched and moved the lower mileage week to next week.  My daughter is visiting at the end of the week, and I didn't want to try to squeeze in my runs or skip any high mileage while she is here.

The hot, sometimes stormy weather made this a tough week.  Tuesday's scheduled 10-mile run became an 8-mile run on the treadmill.  I didn't feel like taking a chance with the lightening that was happening, but after 8 miles I could do no more on the treadmill.  I used to do a higher percentage of my runs on it, because of weather and family obligations.  I can't imagine that now!  Wednesday we ventured to the big city and I was able to finally purchase some new running shoes.  Mine were well over their prime, and I could feel it in my hips and knee.  Of course I had to try them out, so I made up the 2 miles from Tuesday as soon as we got home.  Well, I MAY have gone 3 miles, but the new shoes felt so good! 

The toughest day by far this week was today.  I ran (technically I ran and walked) 20 miles!  I slept in a bit and started later than I planned.  Originally I wanted to be out by 4:30/5:00 a.m., but I ended up out the door at 5:50 a.m.  I wore my headlamp for part of the run, then looped back home to drop it off once it was light enough outside.  We are under a heat advisory, so I wanted to finish before it got too hot.  I didn't quite accomplish that goal, but the point is that I finished 20 miles.  Last year when I was training for my October marathon, I didn't end up with any 20-mile runs due to schedules, injuries, etc.  I have two more planned before this marathon.

Since today's run was so long, I altered my route.  Instead of keeping it in the country, I ran into town, by the library, a park (both of those twice - going out and coming back), some major parking lots, and so forth.  I did a country loop at the end.  I stopped home at 17.5 miles because all of my water was gone, and I was very thirsty.  I was tempted to stay in the nice air-conditioned house, but I couldn't since I was so close to my goal.  I saw some interesting things on my run.  At the library, I saw a group of people sitting on and around the cannon.  There is a Pokestop there, and I imagine someone set up a lure.  I saw quite a few runners; I assume they were like me and wanted to get their runs finished before the heat of the day set in.  I saw the usual deer and other wildlife. I'm glad I stuck it out and finished.  I didn't have my usual stomach issues, so I'm getting better at know what to eat and what not to eat the day before.  Now it's time for a little rest!

No Excuses  / Gotta run