Saturday, October 10, 2009

Metric Marathon October 4, 2009 in Harwood, Maryland

I felt like I was entering another world as I drove through the farmlands of Maryland, ironically not far from my house-on-house neighborhood, to the town of Harwood, only 12 miles away.  I was expecting a small crowd at this event hosted by the Annapolis Striders, but the wonderful weather may have brought some last minute runners to the course that ultimately totaled almost 250 people .  Two of these last minuters were my friends Kathleen and Kelley.

I was told the course was hilly with significant hills at miles 12 and 14.  The course did not disappoint and lived up to it's "hilly" status.  And that hill at mile 14, it was mile 14.  According to my Garmin we totaled 2183 feet of ascent/descent during the 16 plus mile race!  I was surprised and my knees felt it the minute I crossed the finish line.

Kathleen, Kelley and I started out conservatively, mid pack, with no time goals other then to complete the distance.  We all settled into a comfortable pace and the miles literally passed by quickly as we shared conversation and laughs.  I was really having fun getting to know my new friends better. 

I did not carry any fuel except for one Gu.  The water stations were spread out every 2 to 4 miles (I believe) which in general was fine.  Got a little anxious for water once.  Kelley was kind enough to share a few jelly beans later in the race. 

Around mile 14 or so, I started thinking that maybe I was feeling too good.  With only a little more then 2 miles left I decided to pick up the pace and see what happened.   My motto of "I can do anything for 20 minutes or less" was in the back of my mind as I tried to finish strong.  Which, I believe I did.

I am super pleased with this race.  Not so much for the time, but for the real joy I had in the event.  I am not sure I smiled more during a race then this one.  The company certainly had a lot to do with it.  Running is about so much more then a fast time.  Sometimes the best races may be your slowest.  I feel really good about where I am right now.  Enjoying the runs and feeling that drive again. 

A big hip-hip-horray for race director Melissa Currence!  She and the volunteers did a fantastic job.

Okay, so time may not be the most important but here are the dirty details.  I hit my lap button at every mile marker, which are never exactly 1 mile, so the actual distance I ran is noted:

1m:  8:45
.99m: 8:23
1m:  8:14
1.03m:  8:36
1m:  8:37
.99m:  8:42
.99m:  8:34
.99m:  8:24
1.01m:  8:38
.99m:  8:36
1.03m:  9:07 
.95m:  8:04
1.01m:  8:17
1.02m:  8:32
.98m:  8:32
.98m:  7:51
.31m:  2:18 (a 7:32 pace).  So, looks like I did pick up that last little bit.

16.24 miles in 2:18.23 (8:31 avg pace)
112 overall out of 240
18th female overall
5th in age group of 30-39

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Recap of Summer 2009

My lack of blogging is in no way reflective of my running and racing.  I have been quite active since the last post, but just not as eager to share the specifics.  After the Zooma 10k, I continued to be caught in the rut that has been ever present since Beantown. 
Addie and I ran the Father's Day 10k in Severna Park on June 21st.  She did great!  Me, not so much.  Basically I just jogged the 10k.  I wasn't feeling like myself and had zero desire to race that day.  Addie placed first in her age group though! 
Through the rest of June I focused on coaching my 5k group for the Women's Distance Festival 5k (July 11th)  in Annapolis. It was a great race and everyone ran a PR! I had a lot of fun running with each of my runners at some point over the course.
July 18th I ran the John Wall Mile.  My goal for the summer was to participate in all the Annapolis Strider Race Series events.  This, as the 10k, was one of the them.  My expectations were low, but I did warm up properly and I did try.  Before my 1 mile race I paced Addie though hers. She did awesome and once again walked away with a medal.  My sister, Jenny, was there too. She raced and did awesome!  I came across at 6:27 and peed in my pants during the last 800 meters.  I had my period and thought it was blood dripping, but alas, it was urine.  Never had that happen before.  Either way, a litte depressed with the finishing time and the fact that I didn't bring a change of clothes. 
Since July I have started to incorporate circuit training into my mix.  I wrote an article about it for Women's Running Mag (due out in the Nov-Dec 09, I believe) and I am hooked.  I feel stronger overall.
On to August.  Addie and I head to the next race of the series, the Dog Days 8k at Annapolis Community College.  Apparently it uses part of the XC course, which is on trails in the woods behind the college.  I have not run on trails in forever and had some reservations given my ankle.  But, I strapped on my ankle brace and off we went.  Describing conditions as humid is doing an injustice to that day.  It was soupy!  Addie felt faint afterwards.  My time was horrible, but I guess you can't compare a strictly road race time to a part trail race time.  Both Addie and I walked away empty handed that day.  Addie just barely getting 4th.  But the frozen freezy pops were awesome.

At the end of August came the Annapolis 10 Miler (or A10).  This is not a series race, but one that gets a lot of press and has been mentioned in Runner's World.  Last year I was closed out, so this year I made a point of getting in early.  As with all the races this summer, this was done without any specific training.  In fact, I had only run one 10 mile long run a couple weeks before.  I ended up doing alright.  Ran a 1:25.30.  Not horrible considering the training and the freakin' hills on this course.  Some of the course was similar to the Zooma.  It is so hilly back in those Annap 'hoods.  Beautiful, but tough.  I vowed that day to add more hills into my training and toughen up.
People along the course were amazing.  Locals have really embraced this race.  Many were giving out food and drinks (one had a table of beer which a runner gladly stopped for) as well as playing music and being very supportive.  All in all I had a lot of fun at this race, but not sure I would do it again.  I, personally, don't like fighting crowds for the first half of a race. The start was very narrow for the 5000 runners.  I know many runners that love the lively, festive and crowded atmosphere, and if I do run it again it would be strictly as a fun race with no race intentions.  I just like the smaller venues.  That said the long sleeve race top was amazing!

This month (September) I will begin coaching an 8k and a 10k group in Crofton.   I am starting to up my mileage in anticipation of the Metric Marathon on Oct. 4th (part of the series) and as prep for a March marathon.  I hope to do the B&A Trail marathon.  After that I am toying with the idea of an ultra. 

I feel like maybe I am starting to get some of my old drive back!

Monday, June 01, 2009

Zooma 10k Race Annapolis MD May 31, 2009

5 am wake up call! This was an early race with a scheduled 7am start. With the possibility of it being warm in late May, the early start was fine with me. Plus I can get back home at a reasonable time. However, I bet the early start had more to do with city and county issues with the race then heat concerns. More on that later.

Well, it wasn't hot, but rather rainy with some rolls of thunder. I was nervous they would call the race. Arrived by 6:10 or so. Car line to get into the stadium was long for the main gate, so I cut around to the back one and was able to get in more quickly. Love being local.

At about 6:30 I left the car for my warmup. One of only a handful of the 3,000 runners actually warming up. Most ladies (and a few guys) huddled under small areas of cover trying to stay dry. One mile, some dynamic stretches, strides, pit stop and I was as ready as I was going to be. My shoes were already soaked. Not the ideal way to start a race, but what can you do?

The ladies that had parked next to me actually left the race after sitting in their car for half an hour. I tried to talk them into staying, but they said it wasn't worth it. I do not understand that type of thinking. For me, if I get up out of bed, I am doing the darn race! Part of the excitement of racing is dealing with the conditions the running gods throw at you that given day.

The announcer kept us enthusiastically informed of the start time and they certainly started on time. Many people were still in potty lines and there were still quite a few still trying to park or get to the starting line. I am not sure if that was their own fault (arriving too late) or too congested (big backups on the road and potty line).

The start area was pretty slim consider the number that would pass through. Maybe 10-15 people wide. Orange cones were set up right in the middle to help people avoid one of the bigger puddles that had developed. So the starting line was sort of split. I stayed on the left a few people deep. As we headed out, it was one giant puddle after another and by the time we exited the Navy Stadium parking lot, I am sure everyone's feet had gained a couple pounds.

I hit mile one in 7:26. No surprises. Familiar with that area and ran it before (Annapolis Olympic Triathlon). I was pleased with the split and had hoped to stay in the 7:30-35 range for the race. Missed the 2nd mile marker. I hate that. It was somewhere before the base of the bridge. I was mentally prepared for the bridge and have crossed it's pain before. I knew it would be hard, and it was. Holy Schnikey, was it hard. Tried to make up for my major slow up on the down side by letting gravity have it's way with me.
On a side note: That is one thing I really need to work on. Hills. Despite running them all the time in Crofton, I still have issues with how to successfully conquer those boogers.

Covered miles 2 to 3 at a 7:50 pace. Let me tell you "why" I slowed. Past the bridge, I assumed we would hit some more favorable terrain. I was not mentally prepared for the massive rolling course that lay ahead. Call me a wimpy, but it appears more people than not had the same issues. And considering how I placed overall (and the winner's time) my guess is that everyone suffered a little and were certainly slowed by the course. Plus it was still raining. (No excuses though.)

Mile 4: 7:48. Mile 5: 7:57. Mile 6: right around 8min/m. A slow and rapid decline in pace. Positive splits are never a good sign. I did take advantage of the 200 meter downhill to the finish and picked it up to a 6:24 pace (according to the garmin).

Final results: 6.3 miles in 48:50 which works out to be a 7:45 average. I like using the garmin distance here b/c it makes me feel better about the effort (vs. 6.2 miles). :) This is one of the slowest 10ks in memory, but I am not upset.

After the race I made some new friends (two fellow Annapolis striders) and jogged the mile and half back to the start with them. The bridge was no fun on the cooldown either. Ouch! I finished 27th overall (out of 1267 10kers), 23rd female (not a lot of guys in this one), and 4th in my age group. That's a top 2% overall finish. I am pleased with that.

I did love the fact that a woman won both the 10k and half outright.

We waited what seemed like forever for the results. Initially they were supposed to be available at 8:45 but we waited another hour after that. I passed some of the time with Strider and Coach Evan Thomas. I had assumed that awards would go 3 deep in each age group (not that that would have ultimately helped me). Only the first in each age group was awarded. They never posted the results up anywhere for the runners to view. So, at the time I had no clue how I had done.

We did all get cute silver necklaces with a round charm that had the date and race name engraved. I personally like that better then medals, which end up in a pile in my closet (except my marathon ones). :)

Luckily the weather turned for the better and it was beautiful as I waited for results. I was actually the very first to get a massage. A perk to running the 10k and finishing ahead of most. And jogging back (instead of taking the bus from Jonas Park back to the stadium) helped too. After the massage, which was wonderful, I headed to the wine area and, during my wait, tried each of the three varieties a couple times. First time since my college days that I can say I was a little tipsy by 9am.

A local bakery offered mini cupcakes. I snagged a couple extra for my kids. They also had a really good band playing (not sure who it was) and offered boxed lunches, bottled water, and other vendor goodies. I stopped by Arbonne and got rubbed down with some muscle relaxing creme and am now signed up to host a spa party. I am such a sucker, especially after some wine and cupcakes.

Regarding the course: I actually spoke with one of the race coordinators . She said that the course wasn't exactly what they envisioned. I know it is easy to blame the directors for a bad race course, but I have learned that it can be difficult to negotiate all the city & county red tape. Annapolis is know for being difficult with events like this. Most recently the Annapolis Tri was axed b/c they were denied bike course permits. A couple years ago the Cherry Pit 10 miler had similar issues and had to re-route to some awful muddy path/trail (more like a cut through). I ran that and it was crazy.

I would say overall I enjoyed this race a lot. Being it's second year, I am sure there will be improvements made in the years to come. I'll be more ready for the hills next year!

One thing I did learn about myself, is that I have lost a little of my drive. My competitiveness. I don't mind putting myself in a position of pain, and in fact look to put myself there. But, I hit a certain level of push and I just don't feel like pushing anymore. A good example is that I used to always try to reel in the runners ahead of me and I would try to fight off anyone who tried passing me. I just don't give a poop today about that.

I certainly want to finish a race with a feeling that I tried. But I don't know if I want to lay it all out there, at least not right now. I think this will change again at some point. I want to try to be a locally competitive master's runner in a couple years.

I have also felt frustrated with various issues that have certainly slowed me down in the last 4 years. But, isn't running for the sake of running the whole point? Does it really matter how fast I am? Everyone of course will say "No, it doesn't matter if you finish last, as long as you are out there." But, it does matter to me. Maybe that's why I am holding back right now. Maybe I am scared of the results, or lack of results, I will get with a full on effort. I don't have expectations to run like I did 10 years ago. My lungs, ankle, etc.. (not necessarily my age) just don't make that possible. Or maybe I am still just mentally still distancing myself from the Boston Marathon.

Okay, enough of that. Next up is the Dawson's 10k which Addie will also be running. I have no clue about the course, but I have my fingers crossed that it won't be quite as hilly as this one.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Two Mile Bates Track Race in Annapolis, MD May 16, 2009

I have a love-hate relationship with my Garmin watch. Or maybe this was an inaccurate track. I would love to hear from other runners who wear their Garmin running on the Bates track and what they get as far as distance.

Anyway, took my Running 201 group to this track race as a practice session. We are working towards running a 5k faster then their last (which for most was their first). I thought this environment would be a nice way to talk them through warming up, dynamic stretching, etc.. And the track would allow me to run my race, yet still keep an eye on them as we go around and around.

It was humid. Really humid and pretty warm. I believe this was the first humid day we had in our area and certainly the first these ladies would be running in so far this spring. We went through the warmup, stretching, strides and lined up. There was going to be a "fast" heat run after the "slow" heat ( which I am pretty sure no one appreciated being called slow). I wasn't sure where I fell. The starter said the cut off was right around 7 min pace. Well, that's right about where I thought I would be. So, I decided to go in the slow heat.

As we rounded the first curve, 200 meters into the race, I realized I should have started in the next heat. There was no one with me and I felt bad, so I pulled up after the first lap. Call me a rabbit for the first heat.

It actually ended up being a good thing b/c it allowed me to actually "coach" the runners on every lap! Loved this. They all did amazingly well despite the humidity. Only lost one runner, mid way through, who looking quit pale told me she wasn't feeling so good. I told her to stop, which she did and promptly made it to the restroom to puke. Gotta love running.
A second runner, bless her heart, ran one lap short of the 8 total. We were responsible for keeping track of our own laps and she just lost track. She did finish that 7th lap with a heck of a kick!

Then came the "fast" heat. Off again I ran and this time being out in front was not an issue. There is a little 10 year old girl in our community that rocks these races. I do fear how she'll fair training and racing like she is at this tender age. But, that's a discussion for another day.

Off I run, trying to maintain a doable pace. Officially 4 weeks post Boston, there is no real fatigue in my legs, but certainly a lack of speed work to expect any blazing times. I miss running fast. I finish the race in 14:11 running mile splits that are pretty darn even. Here's where my Garmin, or the track, messed up.

Officially I ran 8 laps or 3200 meters. 1 mile is actual equal to 1609 meters, so technically 2 miles is 3219 meters, 19 meters longer then what we ran. This info only complicates what the Garmin gave me. My Garmin Forerunner 305 tells me I ran 2.13 miles. The track tells me I ran less the 2 miles, whereas the Garmin tells me I ran over 2 miles. And that .13 makes a huge difference in average pace. 7:05 vs. 6:40 min/ mile.

I really don't know where to lay my faith. Training paces will obviously vary greatly based on either race result.

All in all not a bad race, either way. I placed first in my AG and had two of my runners also place. I came in 3rd female OA. I would like to know the darn truth though. But as my husband says, a few years ago, running without all this added technology, the answer would have been known right as I crossed the line.

I want to mention my daughter Addie, who also ran the 2 mile and did so well that she placed 2 nd in her age group of 19 and under. And my son, Thomas, who is participating in the kid's running series, ran the 400 meters like a champ! He was joined by many of the children that belonged to my group of ladies. We all went home smiling with a sense of self accomplishment!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Boston Marathon 2009

Leading up to Boston, my training was going great. Everything seemed to fall into place, despite the constant nagging ankle injury. Wearing the cumbersome brace an aggravating necessity. Out of a planned 5- 20milers, only one was cut short, in part due to my ankle. The rest were beautiful with a couple going sub 3 hours. The training also mixed in plenty of speed and tempo runs, hill work and strength training. I had no doubt in my ability to run a sub 3:40 marathon. Worse case scenario I would run a 3:45 and still requalify. Since running my qualifying race, I have incurred this ankle injury and hoped it wouldn't slow me down on race day.

We flew in on Saturday, explored the area that evening and had dinner out. Sunday we picked up my bib number and shopped at the expo. I was almost hyperventilating as I got my race packet and was so thrilled to be a part of something this big. We had a lot of fun looking at all the vendors and their wares for sale. Because it was also my 38th birthday, I felt I could over indulge a bit on marathon gear. My daughter even got a future Boston marathon qualifier shirt.

After a couple hours of walking around, the kids started to get tired and I was worried about spending too much time on my feet. We headed to a nearby chapel that offered a mass for the marathoners. I was glad we found this as I needed some spiritual reassurance. Thomas fell asleep and I prayed for God to be with me tomorrow, no matter the outcome.

Before laying down, I set 2 alarms and scheduled a wake up call for 5am race morning. I didn't get much sleep the first night and anticipated less tonight. I was so nervous. More nervous then I can recall for a race ever. I am not sure where the butterflies were coming from. Maybe because I knew so many people would be tracking my splits, or because it was Boston with all it's history or the sheer number of people in the race.

I slept okay and woke up before any of the alarms had a chance to do their job. Before 6am I was in the lobby with other runners waiting for the hotel shuttle to take us to Tremont. Our shuttle was full with people and excitement. The Best Western Running Team was off. By 6:30am I was standing in line for the school bus ride from Tremont St in Boston to Hopkinton.

The bus ride took about 45 min to an hour. I met some nice people and tried hard to relax. I actually was having trouble keeping my breathing and heart rate normal. I was so anxious, it was all I could do to remain seated.

Once at the high school fields a.k.a. athlete's village, I set up my temporary home of plastic bags and a towel near one of the tents. Under the tent was already spoken for, but it wasn't raining (thank God) as initially feared, so I was okay.

I sat down, forced myself to eat a cereal bar, read a trash mag and tried to relax. I closed my eyes, but with the music blaring and the announcer announcing, I decided to just soak it all up. It was fun and interesting to hear about birthdays and weddings as well as about a runner running his 190th marathon. Crazy.

With an hour to go before 2nd wave was to head to the start, I stood in line for the potty, yet again. I delayed this as long as I could and would have used a tree, were there one available. During my 45 min wait in line, I met some really cool ladies. Each inspiring. After sharing toilet paper and good luck wishes, we parted ways to the start.

The starting line is another .70 mile walk from the athlete's village. After handing my bag off to volunteers (who were awesome), I began the final leg of my journey to the start of the Boston Marathon. One final stop at the last possible potties about 10 min before the the start. I probably shouldn't have gone, but again I waited. I shed all my throw away clothes knowing I would have to move quickly to the start after I was done here. I exited with a mere 3 min to get to the 3rd corral. I didn't realize that an uphill hike and dodging people would be the only way there. I made it to the back end of my corral and hopped in at an opening between the metal barricades.

My body was overflowing with tension and strong emotions. To say I felt overwhelmed is an understatement. Then we started to move. Jog, walk, stop, walk, jog. I think I heard a boom, but I can't be sure. I later found out that Bill Rodgers led our wave. Very cool.

The race went downhill right at the start. My concern about going out too fast was not an issue. The start reminded me of triathlon starts. We were all elbowing and running into each other fighting for a spot. I didn't want to expend energy weaving around runners, so I just went with the pace dictated by those ahead.

I had been told that the first 16 miles is down. And this is what I was mentally prepared for. Well, imagine my surprise when a hill popped up within the first mile. And then more and more up hills as we went along. It turns out that although there is a net drop in elevation, the net drop occurs over rolling terrain.

As I hit the 5k mark at 26:39 I was concerned that I still didn't feel good. It's not unusual for me to take 3 to 5 miles to get into my groove on long runs, but races were often different. My pace was slower then I had hoped, but still within requalifying. At 10k (53:19) I had maintained an even pace, but still didn't feel "good". I tossed the split sheet I had laminated and tugged in my sleeve. I knew then that a sub 3:40 was not in the cards for me today.

15k at 1:20.06. My three 5k splits thus far were: 26:39, 26:40, 26:47. 20k at 1:47.08 with a 27:02 5k split. I still wasn't feeling comfortable, but I wasn't feel horrible either. Some minor stomach cramps I had earlier seemed to have eased and I thought a 3:45 was possible.

I crossed the half way point at 1:53.03. This was actually a fun spot. The cameras were set up and everyone was posing for the photogs as they ran by. I could hear all the clicking as I passed and tried to smile.

It was at this point that my quads started to ache. No biggie. I can deal with pain. Then, somewhere around mile 15, I think it was, I knew something bad had happened. My right IT band and especially at the insertion point on the outside of my right knee, gave a sharp shooting pain accompanied with a feeling of weakness, like it was about to give out on me. My ankle quickly followed suit with pain and weakness. I had a moment of panic. The ITB was a completely new sensation for me, especially doubled with the ankle. Each step down on that right leg caused pain and a feeling of weakness. The pain grew and worsened as the marathon continued.

At the 25k mark in 2:15.22. A 28:30 last 5k. The slowing was starting. 30k in 2:46.53 with a 31:31 5k split. Now I knew I was in undesirable territory. I was really hurting and wondered if even finishing this thing was now possible. Walk breaks began, I think, about now. I decided that I would finish no matter how slow. I wanted to cross that line and wear the medal.

I cannot recall exactly when, but it was certainly once I was dealing with the pain of the ITB, that I came upon the Hoyts. This was their 1000th competitive event together. The Hoyt Team consists of dad who pushes his (now adult) son through races. If you think the marathon is impressive, he has also taken his son through the Ironman. I crossed over to the side of the road they were on, and briefly gave a word of encouragement and a wave to his son. For that moment I didn't feel my own pain, only the joy of running and the realization of how lucky I am to be running at all. Facing the difficulties of the physical challenges of this last year are nothing compared ot the lifetime of challenges these two face head on.

35k in 3:21.27 with a 34:34 5k split. 40k in 3:58.44 with a 37:17 5k split. I walked a lot in the final 10k. I wondered with each right foot strike if I would end up stumbling to the ground. Everything from my ankle up was very weak. The wind was fierce, especially towards the end. The temps had dropped and I was getting cold. I climbed the final hill and rounded the last turn to see the banner up ahead. I knew I would make it. I did not want to walk in. I jogged through the finish in 4:16.23. Overall average pace was 9:47.
(My DC National Marathon last year was a 3:41. 35 min faster).

Once you cross the line, the marathon is done but you are no home free yet! I felt nauseous and woozy. I toyed with the idea of wrapping up in a warm blanket at the medical tent I was passing. But, I needed that medal around my neck. I hoisted my leg up on a cop cart and, as my leg involuntarily shook, weaved my shoelaces to free the timing chip from my mizunos. I traded it for my medal which I immediately placed around my neck.

I was asked by a volunteer if I was okay. I had problems forming words properly. Like when you come in from a really cold run and your face is frozen. I asked where we could pick up our bags, and although I am sure it was less then a quarter mile away, it seemed too far to go. I wrapped my foil blanket tight to shield the wind and headed to the bag buses realizing I had forgotten to include clothes to change into afterwards.

All I wanted was to find Porter. He would take care of me. I could feel the emotion, or was it nausea, swelling up. I was worried because we had decided that if we didn't find each other by 3:30pm we would meet back at the hotel. I had no energy to get back on my own. Luckily Porter had been keeping up with my performance via his blackberry with the athlete tracking and knew that something had gone wrong.

I found Porter near the letter "C" in the family meet up area after a brief but tense scan of the crowd. I called his name 3x before he looked my way and we embraced. I finally felt a sense of release and cried. He gave me his coat when I told him I had neglected to think about packing something warm. The kids looked at me with concern. Poor Thomas didn't know what to make of his mommy. He kept telling me that he loved me and kissed my leg.

Cabs were hard to come by, as many runners had the same idea. We walked what seemed like forever, to get away from the most runner congested area to finally flag down our chariot back to the Best Western Roundhouse.

Once in our room, Porter helped me into a tub of cold water. I was able to sit in it for only a few minutes, but knew it would be good for my legs. After a hot shower there was more icing and hydrating. I also developed some monster blisters.

Finally I was ready to wear my medal and walk (a.k.a. hobble) across the street for dinner. It was nice to be around other runners, wearing their medals, jackets and race shirts and celebrate our achievement.

That night, as I replayed the race in my head, I was dissatisfied with how it had gone for me. I knew, and still know, that I have the ability to run a sub 3:40 (or faster). I also get angry because I wonder how much of my ankle injury caused my unsatisfactory performance. Now, a couple days post marathon, I am starting to take a different perspective, thanks in large part to the wonderful support and encouragement I got from friends and family.

My dad ran Boston in 1982 (the "duel in the sun" marathon). He told me he ran 20-30 min slower then his qualifying time and that some marathons are just about finishing. It was important to me to have this Boston link with my dad. Addie, my 11 year old, says she would like to continue the tradition and run the race herself one day.

The last 4 years have thrown some crazy stuff my way. From a condition that causes my lungs to collapse (and thus reduced my lung capacity) to ruptured and herniated disks in my neck. Most devastating was severely injuring my ankle and wondering if I could ever run again at all. This was truly a scary time in my life both professionally as running coach and as an athlete driven to compete. Running is a huge part of my life and how I define myself. I am so blessed and so lucky that I can run.

Random Boston Stuff:
My actual distance covered was 26.53 miles which ends up being a 9:40 average pace.
Some of the items I was offered during the race: lots of high fives from kids who kept count, tissues, water, Gatorade, variety of candy, oranges, Popsicles, beer, mimosa, kisses, wet wipes, wet sponges.
One frat boy told me he loved me and high fived me so hard my hand was stinging.
Saw one male marathoner stop to kiss a wellsley girl.
Saw one lady runner take a guy up on a beer offer.
The runners were able to keep up with the Red Sox game by fans holding up signs with the score.
Here I am right on top of heartbreak hill, at mile 21ish. I am 1:56 into the video:
(I am a bit delirious).
The amount of spectators is massive. We pretty much had wall to wall fans cheering and screaming the entire way. It bothered me some the last few miles.

Early 2009 races

Feb. 14, 2009: Valentines Day 5k: 23:07. Was running a nice pace but fell apart the last mile. I attribute this to being fully engaged in marathon training. Had a long run before the race. BUT, Addie also ran the 5k and did great! She ran a 32:48. I am so proud of her.

March 15, 2009: St. Patrick's Day 5k: Brought my running group home for their first 5k finish! They were awesome despite cold and rainy conditions.

March 21, 2009: National Half Marathon: This is where I ran the marathon last year and BQ'ed. Ran a 1:44.35 and was satisfied. Training run for Boston and to see where I am right now. My estimated marathon finish time, based on this race, put me at 3:38. Right where I'd like to finish in Boston. But the question remains on how my ankle will respond when doubling this race distance.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Been a Long Time and Road

I have not written a thing since after Iron Girl Tri 2008. I think I needed a break from reporting disappointing results. My ankle is a bit better, but I still have to wear an ASO brace for any athletic activity. When the time is right, I will divulge all the gory details. But, I can't right now.

I also had continued pain in my glutes and hamstrings. I have finally been able to find some relieve after a visit to RehabtoRacing in VA. They made some biomechanical suggestions, stretches, wearing superfeet, etc.. and I can honestly say that my glute issues are 80-to 85% better. Some days it feel 90%.

So how did 2008 wrap up for me?

The Annapolis Triathlon ended up getting canceled due to the city and/or county being ridiculous with there demands. It was initially downgraded to an aquathlon and then canceled. Really a shame.

In October I ran the Run for Kathy 5k in Bowie MD. Since this was the 10th and final running of the race, it was quite an event and larger then last year. I was given a free entry and a seated number b/c of my 2nd place finish in 2007. I felt a bit unworthy b/c I knew I wouldn't be able to run as fast due to the ankle and other injuries.
I ran a long warmup, about 2.5 miles to get my achy muscles ready. Ended up running a 23:02. I was pleasantly surprised with that, despite running positive splits. I think I won something in my age group, but not overall.

Later in October, I took my 11 year old daughter, Addie, with me to a Halloween 5k. Just for fun. Ended up coming in 3rd overall in 22:56. There were no mile markers on the B&A trail/course, so I have no clue how that played out. Ankle was painful, but pushed through. Addie ran an amazing 27:50! Unfortunately, her age group was 11 to 19!

A week later I ran the Downs Park 5 miler. This is an Annapolis Strider Champ Series race. Even though I had missed so many (due to the ankle), I thought, what the heck. I got lost driving there and literally showed up about 5 min before the start. I ran to the bathroom and then to the starting line. I decided to relax and took the first 2 miles slow (8:06 and 8:17). As I felt better I picked it up (7:24, 7:54, 7:33). Came in at 39:15 and got 2nd in my age group. Pretty course too.

November brought the Cold Turkey 10k, which I did last year and liked. I decided that I would use this race as training, shooting for T pace or so, and not stress about actually racing. Always a good thought beforehand, but one I often have problems carrying out.
Conditions were far from ideal. Very cold and very windy. Wind is the worst running foe!
My first 5k was a 23:26 and the 2nd a 24:13 for a grand total of 47:38. I was 2nd in my age group (so no frozen turkey for me this year) and 15th female overall. Not too bad considering.

Then December brought a race I would rather forget. The Anniversary 15k. Ugh! I was still recovering from the flu and had my period. I started out okay, but was dealing with general fatigue and things just seemed to hurt. I pretty much threw in the towel at 5 miles. I slowed to about an 8:25-30 pace and just held on. I was very uncomfortable and just wanted to be done. Time: 1:15.40, 3 min slower then the year before.

Now I am in full Boston training and am happy to report that it is going pretty well. I have a V-Day 5k on Saturday that I hope will reflect this. Pray the ankle, glutes, etc.. hold up!