Monday, April 27, 2009

2nd one done...OKC 1/2 report

I could hardly believe that the OKC 1/2 marathon weekend was finally upon us. So many months of training...and the "big day" was finally fast approaching. I arranged for some of my graduate students to take care of my dog. Boca was very excited as I explained the hidden curriculum rules about having a dog sitter. You know things like beg for treats, stay up later, play with all the toys without putting them away first, etc. So as I headed out the door to meet up with some friends for breakfast on Saturday morning I took a picture to show how sad Boca was I was leaving.

So it was off to Ollie's in West Tulsa, which has the absolutely most delicious breakfast buffet anywhere. I figured I better eat up, because I didn't know what my dinner plans were for the evening and wanted to make sure I wasn't feeling hungry. It was so nice to meet up with Bobby, Susan, Christin and Russell. We were all so excited to finally be heading to Oklahoma City.
Terrie and I had decided to save gas and the environment by car pooling down there. So we met at Ollie's and then drove to Bobby and Susan's to drop off Terrie's truck while Christin went to go pick up Cara. You can tell by my silly grin, I really belong in the "eating club" that has been eluded to maybe more so than the running group.
We arrived in Oklahoma City around 1:30 or so and made our way through the Expo. I was so excited to find a headband made of wick-it fabric that says "I run so I can eat". So appropriate..see picture above. We decided to eat at the Pasta Dinner at the Memorial. Even though there wasn't a lot of food left and it wasn't so great, I was so glad we did this because it was my only real chance to explore the memorial. I do have to say that I really think Oklahoma City did it right. If you haven't been there, you should go. It is very touching. We got back to the hotel around 8:30 or so and had decided to meet in the hotel lobby at 4:45 to catch a shuttle to the race start. The Runners World group was scheduled to meet at 5:45 for a group photo. We had heard some stories about people really struggling to get to the start line last year, and we had also heard that our hotel was full primarily with people doing one of the running events. Thank goodness Bobby thinks like me, and doesn't like to run late (at least not in this case). So it was off to bed and try to unwind...which was quite difficult, but I think I finally got to sleep around 10:30. Race morning the herd of us from"The Bricktown Hotel and Convention Center" made it to 4th and Robinson, where there happened to be a church providing free pancakes, and had real restrooms. We hung outside, woke up, chatted about the upcoming event, and tried to find our mental happy places. You can see Cara, Susan and Cheryl were all smiles.
Tom arrived shortly after us, grateful that his first marathon day was finally upon him. He was hoping that his leg injuries would hold out and it would be a great day. You can see Russell was also in great spirits (he ran a PR 1/2 at 2:32...AWESOME) and his wife Christin got her shoes on just the right way....this seems so hard on race day. I must have retied my shoes 3-4 times.
As time ticked on, 5:45 came and so did a bunch of the Runners World crew. We all milled around and eventually did get ourselves enough to take a group picture. TATUR Dave has a good one posted on his facebook. It was at this point that the size of the crowd was starting to play with my head. I have big anxiety around large groups of people. I tried to just be by someone I knew so I could try to block out everyone else. However, when there are 19,000 people running, kinda hard to do.
My buddies Janna and Ronit were all smiles in the morning, despite the fact they really hated the "Bricktown Hotel", sorry guys. They did awesome from what I hear. I never saw them again after the group picture.
The national anthem was sung, there were 168 minutes of silence in honor of the victims of the bombing, and then there was the starting gun. I had heard that it took quite a while for some to get to the starting line, this was true this year. I think it took me about 10 minutes to finally "start" the run after the gun went off. I was so thankful to have the crowd finally thinning out. So I attempted to take a picture of the starting banner, hoping that it would be a run to be a great PR for my 1/2 marathon distance.
I have no idea where in Oklahoma City this is, but I know I ran or maybe walked by it. As you can see we aren't curb to curb people so I was glad about that. My first couple of miles weren't too bad. It was so humid and so windy. After I hit the 1 mile marker I really could have used a water stop, but there wasn't one until 1.8 miles or so. At the end of the route there were a ton of water stops, but I really felt that there should have been 1 more between mile 1 and 5 to help adapt and adjust to how much I was sweating because of the humidity. Overall though, I am really impressed with how organized and put together this run was (except for not having enough medals) and for how many people were participating.
I was really starting to not be in a good place around mile 4, but was still on pace to match my average 5 mile time of 1:02. I made it to mile 5 in 1:04, but then just faded from there. At mile 9, I seriously thought about quitting. I didn't have the mental strength, I didn't have the physical strength, and was having a hard time being okay with myself and how hard the whole event was for me. Then this is going to sound a little corny, but this is a true story. The Miley Cyrus song "The Climb" came on my "illegal" ipod. Now I am going to share the lyrics from how it begins.."I could almost see it...that dream I'm dreaming...but there's a voice inside my head sayin' you'll never reach it..every step I'm takin' every move I'm makin' feels lost with no faith is shaken, but I.....I gotta keep tryin' gotta keep my head held high....'cus there's always gonna be another mountain...I'm always gonna wanna make it move....always gonna be an uphill battle....sometimes i'm gonna have to ain't about how fast I get there...ain't about how fast I get there...ain't about what's waiting on the other's the climb" These lyrics alone allowed me to be content with the fact that hey I was at mile 9 and even if I walk, it will build character. I will complete the 1/2 marathon, my 3rd, my 2nd in just 2 weeks. That says something about a person. Screw looking at my watch...start cheering on everyone and having fun. I danced through some of the locations where there was music, just to stay positive. I felt frustrated that my body couldn't do more, but really just had to keep it all in perspective. Finally....I could see the finish line. I ran the last .1 miles to get there, my time really stunk (3:10), but I did indeed finish. The weather was awful, winds between 25-40 mph, it was very humid, temp was in the low 70's, and just not a good run day for me. I remember Meg's daughter Hailey making the comment "not everyday can be a great run day" so true...but at least I did run...
I felt completely spent at the end, but had done well at keeping myself hydrated and was just physically tired and nothing else. Again if you go to TATUR Dave's facebook there has to be the worst most unflattering picture of me ever, but it really looks like I felt on the inside. After Susan and Cara and Cheryl finished we hung out on the curb for a bit waiting for our fellow Runners World group who were doing the marathon to finish.
I really wanted to wait for Terrie to finish. She took the early start meaning that she began running at 4:30 in the morning. Can you imagine, someone so dedicated to running her first marathon she was willing to get up and start running at 4:30. She did indeed finish. I am in awe of her and inspired by her accomplishment.
After everyone finished the marathon, we were trying to coordinate where to go eat. I of course had a shower as my top priority. Fortunatley the people at the "Bricktown Hotel" allowed us to use our rooms to shower without charging us, even though they said the were going to charge $20. I decided to take one last pic of our group gathering at the finish line. Roman felt the need to add his personal touch.Overall, the experience was not my best. But it takes these runs that are "eh" to make those runs that are "wow" that much more appreciated. I do think I may attempt the Acquarium 1/2 on May 16th so that I have a better half. I really want to get to the point that I can run the whole 1/2 marathon without feeling the need to walk. Any suggestions to accomplish that? I am feeling nervous about signing up for the full marathon in Greece, but hey it's in November. That's what 6 months away....why not....

Splits from OKC (not pretty)

My full race report with pics will come later...but here are my splits from my worst half. Is it possible to post a new personal worst?

Mile 1: 11:58
Mile 2: 12:41
Mile 3: 12:50
Mile 4: 13:09
Mile 5: 13:09
Mile 6: 13:55
Mile 7: 14:04
Mile 8: 14:33
Mile 9: 14:59
Mile 10: 15:53
Mile 11: 16:18
Mile 12: 16:12
Mile 13: 16:37

I am hoping these times are primarily due to running back-to-back weekends, and the heavy wind conditions..

more to come...

Monday, April 20, 2009

Splits from Sunday's run

Mile 1: 12:12
Mile 2: 13:35
Mile 3: 12:19
Mile 4: 11:45
Mile 5: 12:26
Mile 6: 12:38
Mile 7: 12:54
Mile 8: 14:14
Mile 9: 13:37
Mile 10: 12:16
Mile 11: 14:03
Mile 12: 15:13
Mile 13: 13:44

Can you tell where the uphills were? I should say that the mile 2 time was skewed because of my need to fix my pack so I had my inhaler and sports beans with me instead of it laying in the middle of the road. HA..HA...pretty pathetic, but done.....

Sunday, April 19, 2009

One down.....

I can now say that I have completed the Lawrence 1/2 marathon. Now as my good friend Trail Zombie would say....grab a cup of coffee (or whatever your drink of choice is), sit back, and happy reading. First things first I have to tell the "story" of the Lawrence 1/2 marathon, now known as the Kansas Marathon (because in 2010 they are adding a full to this event).

Back in July of 2005, I was fortunate enough to be selected to participate in a Weight Management study through KU. I was way more overweight than now (hard to believe I know, but....). Well part of the requirements for participation in the study was to exercise a minimum of 30 minutes, 5 times a week. Now take in mind that "exercise" was never really defined, so me being me started walking at a speed that would make me sweat. As, the study progressed I was starting to do the run/walk thing. Well the study ended the last week of March 2007 (I lost 56 pounds and have maintained that loss, and even lost about 10 more since then...). In February I began to panic about the study ending, so I decided to sign up for my first 5K. There was a montessori school called "Rain Tree" literally right next door to my apartment complex. They had a 5K and 1/2 marathon called the Rain Tree Run (pretty clever I know...). I had some of my colleagues doing the 1/2 marathon and I was just in awe. At that time, one of my graduate students at KU was also training for the 1/2. Now you should also know that she competed in swim at University of Texas, and even competed in the olympic she was asked just casually, what do you hope to finish in....Her response...."I hope to win" she wasn't kidding...she came in 3rd female. I was so pumped when I did indeed finish the 5K (in 56 the time was so excited it was less than an hour).

So, that was Rain Tree Run take 1 for me. Fairly successful I thought. So I kept up with my walk/run routine. Granted not as diligently, but I did. I did a 5K here and there. Well in March 2007, I did the Shamrock Shuffle in Lawrence. At the end of the run, I was handed a pamphlet about EZ8 a running camp for women. I thought...what a great idea. It was then April and time for the Rain Tree Run, but the benefactor of the run changed and so did the became the "Lawrence Half Marathon" (and there was still a 5K). I did the 5K again (different course of course) and thought this is the last "slow" run because I'm going to do this running camp. So I did 2 sessions of the 8 week running camp, and was getting quicker and doing more running and less walking during my outings. I had made some good friends that were doing the Kansas City 1/2 marathon and told me I should train with them and do it. I figured why not, I was at a pretty good running streak. I did the Kansas City 1/2 marathon in October 2007, was not a very positive experience for me for many many reasons, but I won't go into that for this post.

Well, because the Kansas City 1/2 was not a great experience, I decided to go back to 5K's for a bit (actually I stopped running altogether for about 4 months because I was frustrated). Well then the materials started to come out regarding the Lawrence 1/2 marathon & 5K. I figured, well it's been my tradition so why not. Of course the entire time I did the 5K I felt frustrated because that 1/2 marathon had been my goal since the first year I did it.

Well, I moved to Tulsa...and meet the great Runners World crew. Training has been a blast, now there are ups and downs, as can be seen through my previous posts, but what a positive and wonderful crew to be around. I decided in November, after doing the Route 66 quarter marathon, that I really wanted to go to Lawrence and do the 1/2 marathon because that was my goal. Well I looked up information, and found that the main sponsors had pulled funding so the website said that it was canceled for 2009. I felt so sad, but figured oh well, I will just start a new tradition of doing the Oklahoma City 1/2. Well at work, I listen to the Lawrence Radio station Lazer 105.9 ( streaming via the web and one day they were talking about how the people that run the IronMan in Lawrence in June were taking over the Lawrence Half marathon and changing the name to the Kansas Marathon and were offering a half, 10K and 5K for 2009 and would be adding a full in 2010. So I hopped right online and signed up.

Well in February as can be read, I messed up the good ol' hip, and well haven't been able to build up the endurance like I had hoped. And Lawrence is a very fast running community, so I was feeling extremely nervous, but knew that I wanted to get this Lawrence run off my "to do" list. So, I headed up to Lawrence, KS on Friday to meet with doctoral advisor, it went alright, Saturday I went to a conference...which was actually loads of fun. Then, the down time started and I started to play the mental game about the run. Then I decided to look at it from the point of view from a training run, just go..take in the sights...say some odd comments to people and get the miles in.

Race Day:
It was a gloomy and damp day.

But I showed up and took in the people and the puddles...

Well, I ran into my old running coach, was a little bit awkward, but I kept it short and sweet and decided to hang out closer to the street and the start line. I wound up chatting with a very nice woman named Donna who had come over from Kansas City to do the 1/2 marathon. She shared that she would be race-walking and hoping to maintain a 15-min mile pace, this made me feel much better about the whole race because i knew if I was hanging toward the end of the group I might not be there alone.

Well before I knew it 7:30 had arrived and off we all went....

During the first mile and a half, I had some pack issues in that hte clip came undone. This actually turned out to be quite a blessing, I was running along retying everything not really thinking about the crowd, my pace, or anything else other than making sure I didn't lose my pack cuz it had everythign in it. Well once I got everything situated, I turned the corner and voila....

Some old brick streets of Lawrence. If you've never been to Lawrence, KS, it really is quite historic and beautiful. But...I have to say I'd rather run trails than this brick again. You want to talk about uneven/unstable're looking at it. Now to also give you an idea of the run atmosphere...This photo was at about 1.25 miles in...notice how many runners are around I know you will be first mile was 12:03 and when this picture is taken I was doing an 11:47 pace....From this point the route ventured to campus. Again KU is a very beautiful campus on a hill. I felt pretty good. I was in my happy place throughout the run until about mile 8 then the thoughts about hurting and tired legs and all that came into play. I have to share this though, because I thought it was so funny. I had my "illegal" ipod and there were songs that played that made me think about and reflect on the Runners World crew and so I searched the crowd for look-a-likes. Here are some of the songs and who I thought of (please no one take offense):
Cranberries: Zombie (yup made me think of TZ)
Pink: So What (Rockstar Ed)
Dixie Chicks: Ready to Run (Susan)
Blue Oyster Cult: Don't fear the Reaper (TATUR Dave)
Scorpions: Rock You Like a Hurricane (Michael)
Baha Men: Who Let the Dogs Out (Boca (yeah the dog))
Boston: Peace of Mind (Bobby)
Miley Cyrus: The Climb (Me and my Journey...I know you can make fun if you want, but truly is lyrics of my running life)

Well like I said...I was in a running happy place until about mile 7-8ish, then I lost it. Part of the running path went on a semi-secluded running trail, well there was a giant puddle, me being me thought what would my friends I just ran through it. Got my shoes and socks soaking wet...oh well. At about mile 8 1/2 I saw a woman in a black jacket ahead of me...she seemed to be slowing down, so I kept saying in my head catch black jacket catch black jacket. Well I did...I wound up passing here just after the 9 mile marker. Then I felt like I was going up and down the hills all alone. It was a pretty isolated course with not a lot of crowd and fanfare. Well at about mile 10 I saw a younger girl (college student probably) and she was slowign of course me being me set the goal and mental focus to catch her. Well I did that at about mile 10 1/2 then was on my own. Once I hit mile 11, I decided to walk til I could see the finish. Why....well think I just lack endurance. The ending of the whole thing kind stunk..couldn't see the finsih until you saw the 13 mile marker sign...I would have liked to see it at about mile 12 1/2, but oh well. So as I am climbing the hill (think Denver of the Tulsa run) there is a man in front of me running (although you could tell he was very tired and fatigued much more of a shuffle) and I told myself I would pass him too....well once I saw the finish sign...I sprinted to it, passing the man feeling a little bad about that....finishing with a race clock time of 2:52:10. I was okay with my finishing time. I actually had a much more enjoyable time doing this 1/2 than my last. I am really looking forward to OKC, and having friends there with me to help with the spirit and atmosphere.

I wish I could have taken a few more pictures but the camera charge died. I also just want to send out a thanks for all the well wishes from everyone. If you want to check out the elevation from my run today here is the link:

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Part 2....

I have to thank Tom for tonight's run! I know he's hurting, but his "slower" pace really pushed me and motivated me. I did my 3 miles on the Riverparks trail heading south from 33:52!!! WOW! Not only that...we did each and every mile at an 11:17 extremely consistent...Thanks Tom!! Let's hope this running luck holds up through Sunday!

Monday, April 13, 2009

A Great Run...

That's right. I am blogging about a really great run for me. Tonight I completed my first sub 48 (47:57) 4-mile run. For me, that is quite speedy. I felt so great running tonight. I don't really know why. I was completely in my "happy place." During the first mile I was preoccupied with the fact I had to pee, and completed it in 11:47. Then I was just on a roll I guess. It was a sparse group tonight, but if they weren't there (Bobby, Rachel, Michael, and Ken) I probably wouldn't be consistent in getting in a Monday run.

You will have to excuse me for just a moment while I go on a tangent here. The run started out with comments about taking a break after OKC. I totally get where everyone is coming from. However, when I was training in Lawrence with an all women's running group...paying money to be coached...getting ready for the Kansas City 1/2 in Oct 2007...I would make comments about looking forward to taking a break. All I could think of tonight is the comment my coach sent me in an email..."you seem to have a negative attitude toward running, and should probably take a break". This reflection was in my head during most of the run tonight. How can a coach tell someone on their "team" they have a bad attitude...and should take a break? Then...I began to reflect on my last month of running or so...and I've been in a big time slump. I was doing well, at least I think anyway, then my hip popped out of alignment and taking 2 weeks off of running, well....just messed with me mentally. Then when I was cleared to start running again, it was somewhat tortoruous. However, thanks to the group from Runners World....which by the way is FREE coaching...I kept heading out. Everytime I would run, I would run with someone, or at least by someone different. My hip is still not 100% strong, it bothers me from time to time, but I remember why I run. To have fun...and destress...and meet people...and better my overall health. I don't run to "win" nor do I run to please others. I think Trail Zombie said it best...when running isn't fun anymore, don't do it. But don't quit doing something you enjoy because others don't believe in you, or you have a bad day and have to vent to someone.

Okay, enough of that soap box...

I can't believe the Lawrence 1/2 marathon is THIS Sunday. What on earth was I thinking? Oh yeah...I want to take it off my "to do" list. I am looking forward to spending some quality time with my dear friends in Lawrence Friday evening and Saturday. I hope that Sunday, I remember to take in the great sights of Lawrence, it really is a beautiful (and hilly) city. I was asked what my "goal" is for Lawrence, and I joked (yet seriously) stated that it's to finish. I do hope to beat my KC 1/2 time of 2:56, so we'll see. I thank TATUR Dave for giving us hills to train on, I am hoping it pays off for me on Sunday.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Lake McMurtry and week

Well this has definitely been one of the busiest weeks for me all year. On top of that, I was able to complete 18 miles between Saturday and Tuesday. After the Snake Run, I was all geared up and gung-ho for the Lake McMurtry Trail Run. As the week went along, I began to doubt if I should do the Lake McMurtry run or not. After the training run on Thursday, my spirits were lifted and I figured what the heck. Bobby and Susan were nice enough to meet up with me at McDonald's at 5:30 Saturday morning to head towards Stillwater and the 12K (7.5 miles). About 45 minutes into the drive I finally felt awake and was enjoying the sunrise. Once we made it to the race start we all gathered up our gear.

Once we had all of our "stuff" on (race number, jackets, gloves, water bottles, etc.) we meandered around the start area. Ken and Lisa were busy registering people and passing out race numbers and shirts to everyone who had previously registered. I wandered around and took in some sights.

It was a little chilly and windy, but quite tolearable. The sunrise was pretty and it was fun to see everyone so laid back and excited about their upcoming events.

Race Director Ken (Trail Zombie) Childress attempted to give each group instructions as to where their route went, how long it would be until an aid station would be in sight. At this point for the 12K, I had some serious stomach cramps and felt extremely anxious about the whole situation. I don't know what brought this on, but I felt just horrible.

My first couple of miles were not too bad, but then I hit the wall with a loud "THUD." I have no idea what happened. I had absolutely no mental toughness or physical toughness. I think I ran at least a tenth of every mile, but it was ugly and really no so fun for me.

On the way back, I decided to take a few pictures of the "little" climbs that were along the way. Overall the trail was fun. I just don't think I was in the right mental place to do this run. I really overextended myself this week, and this run for me was just the straw that broke the camel's back. I feel bad for being a little negative about the whole was the run at all just everything that led up to it.

My next "adventure" will be the Lawrence 1/2 marathon two weeks from today. I don't really think I am ready for it at all. Anyone from Runners World want to go and keep me company? Lawrence has such an elite running community, I am feeling a little nervous about the whole thing. I am trying to keep the whole idea of going just cuz it will be fun and I will no longer regret not doing it....