This marathon cycle I unplugged a little bit. I didn’t write training logs for Salty Running. I did a terrible job, frankly, of even updating my logs for my coach to review. I didn’t post a lot about running on social media. I also hit taper with mixed feelings. I could see in those aforementioned neglected logs that I had done plenty of work — in fact, higher weekly mileage and better speed work than before Chicago — but I just didn’t feel like I had worked as hard. Was that because I didn’t spend as much time dwelling on my training? Or because I ran more with friends? Or because I ran a lot on the treadmill, which doesn’t require as much mental energy for me?
I had arrived home from the race spent and crusty. I lost and, although that part wasn’t unexpected at all, I had run probably the most miserable marathon out of my total of 15 finishes. The Columbus Marathon, not to mention a few hundred other runners, had beaten me thoroughly. Read more >>
The Monumental Marathon in Indianapolis is my all-time favorite race. I have run it every year except the first year of the race, when I had just started running and didn’t know about it. They also didn’t have the 5K that first year, which would have been the only distance I could have run at the time. Monumental was my first full marathon attempt (DNF result), and I have finished the full, half, and 5K (when injured) in the eight years since. It is usually the last big race of my season — Monumental has become my gateway to the holidays.
After Chicago didn’t go as planned (sub-5:30), my coach and I decided I would try the marathon again at Monumental. So I upped my registration from the half to the full and decided to give it a try even though I had never run more than one full in a year before — let alone two within four weeks.
Thursday night before race weekend, I went to the expo since I needed to work off-site Friday and wouldn’t need to go downtown. In arriving early, I managed to score a pair of free tech gloves that were for the first 75 people to visit the CNO Financial booth! I got my packet and Mr. Anise’s packet (he was running the 5K) and then hung out with my clubs, running store friends, the pace team, and coach. Eventually I decided I should walk back to the car, and I stopped for kombucha (locally fermented) from one of the local coffee shops. On the way home I stopped by the grocery (the high-end one) to get the dried kiwi and pineapple I needed for race nutrition. I laid out the rest of my flat runner (race kit).
Friday I ran early and worked from home until I needed to go to a conference where I was presenting. Finished up there, I had an acai bowl and later went for gluten-free pasta with the mister. I closed race eve by watching “The Emoji Movie” before bed.
Saturday morning I was up pretty early, and I ate breakfast and got dressed. I drove downtown and parked in my usual garage. I walked over to where I was meeting people and we had fun for a while until it was time to get ready; I walked over to the team tent to drop my gear and put all my accessories on (hat, sunglasses, nutrition and lip balm in pockets, TriSlide). I hit the porta potty and then headed to my corral where I met up with the pacer and started chatting with people. Our wave went off and we were underway.
The first five miles were relaxed, just as I wanted. I was acting as a tour guide for out-of-towners in the pace group. We were a little faster than I really needed to be that early, but only by seconds — not too fast. I noticed I had forgotten to set the HR screen on the Garmin 920XT I was using, so I wasn’t going to be able to use that as my guide. I was manually splitting the race and was about 2 minutes ahead of goal pace at 5 miles.
After the half marathon course split around 6.5, I stopped to use a porta potty and knew I shouldn’t sprint to catch the pace group. I figured I would reel them in over the course of several miles. That never happened, but my splits were solid, and I went through 13.1 about 2 minutes ahead of plan. At this point we had seen two fender benders caused by people not paying attention in race traffic, but other than that it was pretty normal. The temperature was good, and it was cloudy with a breeze, but no strong winds.
I passed my church and got to the stretch where I DNF’d my first marathon attempt. Passing that point still gets in my head a bit.
At mile 16, I was thinking I was going to be fine, even though I had lost a bit of time. I got to 17 and had another slow mile. And suddenly everything was hurting. Everything that had been the slightest niggle during training or Chicago or taper was suddenly pretty painful. I tried to push through to the 30K timing mats and see where I was, but I couldn’t hold on to running. After the mats there is a long, sweeping downhill. It HURT! I couldn’t even take advantage of it — it just hurt.
I came to grips with the fact that I wasn’t going to make my goal time between mile 19 and 21.
At 21, one of the local training groups I hang out with from time to time had a cheer zone. It was great, and everyone was supportive, even though it clearly wasn’t my day. I started talking to a guy who had run Chicago as well, and we had finished about the same time. Turns out our running lives had a lot in common. We stayed together and told stories. I knew any hope of even a PR, let alone goal time, had slipped by.
There’s a bigger cheer zone near the finish, and I saw my running club, training group, and other friends, and that convinced me to run it in to the finish. It hurt, but I ran that last stretch down the street and around the corner to the finish.
I was glad I was able to finish but a bit sad that I wasn’t able to PR or meet my goal. My finish time was 5:55:13 (on my watch it was 5:55:15 which is more amusing to be, but officially 5:55:13). My goal time still stands. I am not a 5:30 marathoner — YET.
Part of the joy of running a race in your hometown with your friends and training partners are the funny stories that have nothing to do with the race itself or running. I will always love this race, even when the full breaks my heart.
Now it’s time for some recovery. I am not even going to fight coach on recovery this time. I need it. And I need it to be able to move into Ironman training for 2018.
As always, it was a Runner’s Christmas in Indy, PR or not.
Going into this race, I knew that I had run the most miles of my entire life. I had some ups and downs in my training, but deep down I was confident that my overall hard work would pay off in the end. My carb-heavy diet in the days leading up to the marathon was nearly perfect and I had a solid race nutrition plan. I had a few goals in mind:
1) To finish … always my number one goal!
2) To PR unless the weather was ridiculous or I puked.
3) To break 3:00, circumstances permitting.
4) To win money, this was more like a perk, not an important goal since I can’t control who does or doesn’t show up on race day.
To attempt to break three hours, I knew I had to start a little quicker than a 6:51 pace, since most marathon courses are a little long (unless you run the tangents perfectly), plus I have NEVER negative split a marathon. I had the ideal conditions for this attempt: the temperature was about 40° and sunny with minimal wind. Here is the breakdown of how it went! Read more >>
I gave birth three and a half months ago and I ran a marathon. Say what? A marathon? Yes, you read that right. All that talk about easing back into it after having a baby, and not rushing anything to avoid injury? I really did mean it. And I have been following my own advice. But I did just somewhat randomly run the Hilton Head Island Marathon, three and a half months postpartum. And, spoiler alert, I randomly won.
Let me explain.
Everything happens for a reason. These are at once the best and the worst words ever.
Usually, people say this when things don’t go their way, and they really don’t know what else to say. For me, it was all I had to hold on to ten months ago. It was what kept me going, even though I hated it.
One year ago, October 2015, my husband and I found out we were pregnant for the first time. We were ecstatic. Everything was going to be perfect. Until it wasn’t. At 12 weeks, we went for what we thought was going to be a normal ultrasound, and walked out completely blindsided. How could this happen to us, two healthy, young people who did practically everything right? Our OB kept our hopes up. She told us, it wouldn’t take long to get pregnant again. She told us to try to go back to our normal lifestyles once we let ourselves grieve and heal.
After a few months of grieving, naturally I decided to train to race a marathon. Read more >>
A year ago, I couldn’t walk without crutches, couldn’t reach my feet to tie my shoes.
Today, I laced up and ran a marathon.
Eight months ago, I could barely run for 20 seconds at a time. My hip felt awkward and clumsy, as if all my veteran running muscles had abandoned me and left me with clueless glutes and quads. You want us to do what? Sorry, what does R-U-N spell, again?
Back then, I remember telling myself to just do the work in front of me and trust the process. Back then, the work was a Couch to 5k. I tried not to judge myself for how hard it felt. I tried to take the next step, whatever it might be, and accept where I was.
For eight months, I took step after step until the next step landed me on the starting line of the Kenai River Marathon. There were so many times in the past year that I doubted myself, doubted the process, doubted I’d make it to the start, much less the finish. I’m still in jaw-dropping disbelief at what I asked my body to do today, and that it answered with a heart pounding YES. Read more >>
I came on board Salty Running late last year to share my experiences with returning to running after recovering from a Cesarian birth. I shared my first few training logs and three posts about running and C-section recovery:
Now that it’s been a year, I wanted to share my experience with racing after a C-section too. I ran three marathons during my daughter’s first year: a half and two full marathons. Before I had my daughter, I managed to get my marathon best down to 2:57. My running goal after having her was to get back as close to that time as I could, if not exceeding it! Read more >>
After my NYC Marathon debacle in the fall, I decided I needed to reevaluate and come up with a plan for actually making progress toward my 3:10 goal. First, I enlisted the help of my running dad, Lonn, and asked him to coach me. Second, I decided to avoid long-distance travel for races to avoid the motion sickness that plagued me in New York. And third, I vowed to battle my own mind and improve my shaky mental toughness.
I chose a race in Newport, Oregon for its beautiful course and proximity to home. I also chose it because it is the marathon where my mental demon was born back in 2011, when I dropped out at mile 13.
That 2011 DNF released a landslide of self-doubt and race anxiety and I entered several years where my training went superbly, but then I fell apart on race day … four times. Newport 2011 was the little voice in my head telling me that I could not do it despite injury-free training cycles with higher and higher mileage at increasingly faster and faster paces. Could I finally overcome this defeatist feeling five years later? Read more >>
In the week leading up to the Trials, I did my best to avoid news of Saturday’s predicted heat. I stopped checking the weather. I started avoiding Twitter and Facebook. But still I unwittingly kept getting reminders of how miserably hot the conditions would be.
I didn’t want to know. I wanted to PR dammit! I had trained for it, and while I always train for PRs, this one seemed more special, important, epic. This was the biggest stage I’d ever find myself on and I wanted to do well. REALLY well. I wanted a storybook (blog?) ending to my journey. Specifically, I wanted to break 2:40. And as the expected temperatures climbed, my hopes fell.
I had always assumed race day would be warmer than I’d prefer. I’m not a good heat runner, and LA weather is not my optimal chilliness (even in February), particularly with a 10:22 start time. But as the weather got much worse than even I expected, I tried not to let it get to me. Studies show that people can trick themselves into biking faster if they think it’s cooler, so maybe ignorance would help. I’d be smart, I’d hydrate well, but I wouldn’t obsess over the heat.
Except I did. Read more >>
The Chevron Houston Marathon has been around since before I was born. The inaugural year, 1972, boasted just 113 runners who repeated a 5-mile loop at Memorial Park. Memorial Park is situated on the grounds of Camp Logan, a WWI military training facility in what is now downtown Houston. The first female finisher in 1972 was a 14-year old; she crossed the finish line in 5:11:55.
In 1973, fewer than half of the 130 entrants actually finished the Houston Marathon, and the women’s record was broken with a 4:29:07 marathon time. It wasn’t until 1975 that a woman ran the race in less than four hours; the winning female that year finished in 3:31:24.
In 1976 the course was expanded to include areas next to Memorial Park, for a loop that only had to be repeated three times. It wasn’t until 1978 that more than 500 people entered (and completed) the race. In the 1980s, the leaderboards reflected more cultural diversity, with winners coming from Ethiopia, Norway, Great Britian, Sweden, Canada, South Africa, and Kenya.
The Kenyan runner Richard Kaitany set a course record in 1989, with a finish time of 2:10:04. Two Ethiopians set the last course records during the 2012 race, with finish times of 2:06:51 (men’s) and 2:23:14 (women’s). This year, Ethiopian runners claimed three of the four titles between the half and full marathons.
North Country Trail Marathon in Michigan was my 26th marathon. It was supposed to be just for fun, just my husband and me on a little trail racing adventure. I left marathons and all serious racing in 2013, as I was aiming for the Olympic Trials. Unlike my build-up for #25, I did not have a big mileage base, wanted to ride bikes more than run, and my idea of fast was very different as I prepared for marathon #26. Still, my competitiveness wasn’t completely gone; I wanted to race, whatever that meant that day.
My husband nailed every workout on our FIRST training plan, but I was not as successful. I struggled with fatigue or lack of motivation in the middle of the training cycle and bagged several workouts in favor of doing more hills or going by effort with no watch. Cross training also slipped towards the end, but I went into race weekend relatively optimistic because by the last few weeks of training running seemed more natural. During race week I was pleased to feel that familiar prepared feeling I used to get before a marathon; the feeling that I’m fully rested and holding myself back from doing all the things you’re not supposed to do because of your upcoming marathon. Read more >>
Five weeks ago, I was on pace for a PR at the NYC Marathon before hyponatremia forced me to a walk in the final miles. A good friend suggested I attempt a revenge marathon in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware five weeks later.
I’m glad I followed his advice. The Rehoboth Beach Seashore Marathon rightfully boasts a friendly and lively Facebook page community, a no-muss, no-fuss start where you can arrive 20 minutes before the marathon and still have time to warm up, and good on-course support. I found a nice-enough, inexpensive hotel one block from the marathon start and enjoyed a 1.5 mile pre-race warmup along the gorgeous boardwalk. Read more >>
When you’re a marathoner, you spend months training for your goal race. Race morning finally comes and you know you’ve done everything right for this race. This is going to be your day, your race, your breakthrough! Oh no! Something goes wrong. You cramp up, you drop all of your gels, you don’t sleep the night before, or your gastrointestinal system doesn’t cooperate. You muscle your way through the race and finish, but not nearly with the time you know you are capable of.
Your reasonable side reassures you that sometimes things just happen, but you worked so hard; how can you not be disappointed? You dwell on the race for a few days, thinking I don’t want to waste all of this training, and the next thing you know you are searching for another marathon in the next month so that you can run the race you were meant to.
Say you asked me for my input on this plan. “Don’t do it. Let it go, recover and get ready for the next race on your schedule,” I’d advise you. So naturally, when I found myself sick and riddled with side stitches at the Portland marathon, I had already decided that I was going to run the Monumental Marathon in Indianapolis five weeks later. Read more >>
The “A” goal was 3:10, the “D” goal was to just enjoy the race and have a great vacation. The result? 3:37:39, my third slowest marathon ever. D-minus. I add the minus because, while I’m very disappointed that after months of high mileage and consistent strength-training I couldn’t pull it together on race day, I’m just as disappointed that my experience of the race was anything but enjoyable.
My friends would tell you I tend to be very hard on myself after a bummer race. I’ve succumbed to negative self-talk both during and after a race, and I’ve worked hard to overcome that in the past several years. I used those skills pretty hard during the race Sunday and in the days following.
Now that I’m a few days out and had time to process and analyze, I think I can describe my New York City Marathon with a minimum of f-bombs. So, what happened? Read more >>
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