Saturday, July 5, 2008

Grandma's Marathon Finisher

Runner's Knee and all, I did it. I always knew I would, I just didn't know how painful the process would be. Turns out, it wasn't painful at all. Rest and taking it easy for a week seemed to do wonders for my knee. I was able to complete the last 2 weeks of marathon training (easier weeks) and feel ready for the big day.

I was hoping for a sub-5 hour marathon. My goal was to get my girlfriend and her mom finished in under 5 hours. I was confident this would be an easy task for me. Miles 1 through about 17 started off fantastic. We were crossing the mile markers at least 2-3 minutes ahead of the pace schedule. Between miles 17 and 19 we slowed a bit, but we were still on pace to finish 4:50. Then my girlfriend started to feel ill and had to take long walk breaks and many bathroom breaks. From mile 20 on I knew it was going to be interesting. After tears and anger (at herself), we power walked 5 miles, still stopping at all the port-a-potties along the way. When we got to mile 25 I was worried we may not finish in the "start gun's" 6 hour mark so I figured we needed to pick up the pace to at least a jog. We were actually able to run the last 1.2 miles at a pretty speedy pace and we finished 10 minutes shy of 6 hours. Not anywhere near where I thought we would be, but that is life. I'm just glad my friend was able to finish her first marathon and get the t-shirt and medal she deserved.

I'm not sure when my next marathon will be. Right now I really don't even have much desire to run. I've been thinking biking, walking, rollerblading, and DVD's sound much more appealing. I did stumbled upon some running blogs, and they always inspire me. I think I will sign up for a few shorter distance races this summer to keep myself moving. I'm hoping to "freshen" up my body in the next few months. I could use a healthier diet and a leaner look.

My first goal:

100 push-ups.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Slowly but Surely

I'd say the knee is about 75% now.  I've been running pretty frequently on it and its holding up.  The running doesn't hurt so much now, its still just the bending and sleeping.  Who knew sleeping could cause so much pain?!

Not a whole lot else to update on the running front.  Its slow.  Its there.  I'm dealing.  So here is a fun meme!

1. How would you describe your running 10 years ago?

Shoot, 10 years ago I was 16.  I "ran" every so often because I thought I needed to exercise more.  I was 5'4, 88 pounds and danced 20+ hours a week.  I don't really think I was running for the right reasons.

2. What is your best and worst run/race experience?

The best, hands down, was crossing the finish line of the Twin Cities Marathon last October.  It was the most amazing feeling of my life.  The worst was just a few weekends ago when my body rejected me and could not go any longer.  Stopping at mile 15.5 of 18.6 because I physically could not go on was rough.  But I learned its ok to listen to your body and to not get down on myself for it.  

3. Why do you run?

Why do you breathe?!  Its a simple question.  I need running to sustain.  It keeps me active, it keeps me healthy, but most importantly its my time to get away and decompress.  Its also an accomplishment.  Type A's LOVE accomplishments.

4. What is the best or worst piece of advice you've been given about running?

I can't say I've really been given all that much advice.

5. Tell us something surprising about yourself that not many people know.

I used to cut the "underwear" out of running shorts because I could not stand the feeling.  Rebel!

As a runner, I am tagging:

Wednesday, June 4, 2008


Marathon training was going fabulous. I felt like I was running faster than ever and even had thoughts of future Boston Qualification ...

Then I got "runner's knee," also known as chondromalcia. Not. Fun. I feel like someone shot me in the knee cap every time I try to make my knee function like a knee. In other words, sitting, walking, stairs, running, etc. are not on my list of things I do well right now.

I had to drop out at mile 15.5 of 18.6 on Saturday. It took everything in me to make myself stop. Not only did I have the knee pain, but my body ached, and I was very nausious. People say, "Oh no... just too long of a run?" or "Oh no... maybe it was the heat?" No. I've run longer than that before. No. All my long runs had been a breeze and this was not much longer. No. The heat was fine, I was hydrated. No. My body just could. not. do. it. And it killed me to admit that.

So 3 days later I still have not run. My knee is feeling maybe 25% better and the competitor in me is going to try a run tonight. If anyone I knew were in this position, I would roll my eyes and call them crazy if they were going to try to run already. But when its you in this position, its the worst thing not to run. I get so mad when I see others running. I get so mad when I see my running clothes clean in the bin. I get so mad when it hurt to sit, walk, or go up stairs. I just get so mad that my body doesn't want to cooperate.

I have resigned to the fact that after this marathon, I'm going to stick to 1/2 marathons and lower. I want to work on speed. I want to finish fast. I enjoy that distance.

But I have not resigned to the idea that I won't be able to run the marathon. I'll find a way.

If there's a will, there's a way.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

The best part ...

Aside from the rush of endorphins, the enjoyment of the outdoors, and the exercise, the real "best part" of running belongs to one thing ...

New running gear.

Really, is there anything better to motivate you to go out for a run than new shorts and a new tshirt?  I don't find myself updating my running wear all that often.  Once or twice a season I typically acquire a few things and that is what happened today :)  

I will preface by saying I am 100% an advocate of supporting local running stores for running shoes.  I would never buy my running shoes anywhere but Run N' Fun in St. Paul.  I think of it as my contribution to a company who does such great things for the running community in MN.  

But running clothes?!  Thats a different story.  I am a sucker for a deal.  I cannot think of one item in my running clothes that I have purchased at full price - what a rip off! (in my humble opinion)

Marshall's pulled through for me today.  They had a fresh stock of Adidas, Nike, and New Balance gear.  All the best in my book.  After picking 14 items from the racks, I was able to cut my purchase down to just 5 things: shorts, 3 shirts, and a sports bra.  What a success!

Needless to say I'm excited for my next run ... but not for the clean out of the work out bin that needs to happen before I can fit them into my life :)

Monday, May 19, 2008

Light at the End of the Tunnel

There is a light at the end of 2 tunnels now.

The most exciting is the light at the end of the "school" tunnel. As a teacher, there is nothing better and nothing worse than the last few weeks of school. On one hand, the kids are getting restless and "more active". On the other hand, the bright shining sunlight of summer is motivation to just trek through and make it to the last day of school where you can wave good-bye for the summer and live life on my terms!

There is also a bright light at the end of the "marathon" tunnel. I can't believe I'm down to the last few weeks of training. June 21st, 2008 - Grandma's Marathon. My excitement runeth over! Its also a bit nerve racking though. Its unpredictable how your body will react to running 26.2 miles. Will I be in pain? Will adrenaline take over? Will my stomach cooperate? The unknown is scary.

My training has been flying by and going well. The long runs are getting longer. Yesterday was 18. It felt painful. My legs were ready to be done by 13, but we pushed through. I have come to realize that my perfect pace is a bit faster than the average Joe. Although its a good thing, it makes it hard to train and run comfortably with those who's perfect pace is not like mine.

So here's to a few more weeks ... a few more weeks of kids ... a few more weeks of training ... and a few more weeks of looking towards the end of the tunnel at the bright shining light.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Hoping to Become More Energy Efficient

It has been awhile since my last post.  Motivation has been lacking in many areas of my life, running & blogging included.  The weather in MN has been dreary.  Cold.  Colder than average.  Snowy.  Windy.  Totally lion, not lamb.  The tides look to be changing next weekend where we might hit 50 for the first time in months.

But enough about the weather.

My runs have been dismal.  I have been doing just enough to get by on Hal Higdon's training plan.  Although the weather has not been great, its been a bit easier to get outside just knowing that soon it will feel like spring.  My long runs are feeling great, which helps the weekly mileage add up with ease.  I think the long runs feel so good because my mind is better at drifting off into la-la-land when I know I have many minutes to go.  During short runs, my mind is consumed with thoughts of dread, exhaustion, and just plain wanting the miles to go by faster.  On the other hand, during my long runs I can just let it all relax, because we're going to be here for awhile :)

Environment and "eco-friendly" thoughts have been consuming my mind not only on my runs, but throughout the day.  If each person doesn't make an effort to help save and clean up our environment, what are my children going to grow up in?!  It scares me to see so much trash, liter, smoke, etc. basking around us.  Guilt overtakes me when I throw away something that I know will not biodegrade.  Our human lives take so much energy, in the physical and the literal sense.  At times I wish I could bike to work, or walk to the places I need to go with more ease.  Unfortunately that isn't as easy for my lifestyle as it sounds.

What about you?  Does the thought of where our environment is heading scare you?  I don't know enough about "global warming" to make an informed decision on what should be done, but I do know that feeling of shame when lights are left on, the paper is not recycled, and the miles add up on the car rather than the training log.

Friday, February 29, 2008

Treadmills: The Love/Hate Relationship, Volume 1

You love to hate them, you hate to love them. Treadmills are the best invention ... and the worst miles I will ever put in.

I'm not sure what it is about treadmills that makes me want to quickly find a new hobby. Maybe its the running for ___ miles but never getting anywhere... or the terrible pounding elephant sound that each stride makes ... or maybe its the fact that there is this display board, with numbers, and my time, and how far I have gone, but yet how far I still have. to. go. "A watched pot never boils" just like a watched treadmill screen NEVER MOVES.

I live in the tundra. Yes folks, the tundra of St. Paul, MN. Training for a summer marathon sounds peachy, until the program starts in the thick of winter. My best intentions are to bundle up and brave the winter weather, but then I take one step outside and the treadmill all of a sudden sounds like a better option. Its one thing to run in cold temperatures, but its another thing to run in cold temperatures with arctic winds blowing at your face! Not. fun.

So Mr. God-Foresaken Treadmill, thank you. Our love/hate relationship will get me through the winter training and prep me for sunshine, dry sidewalks, and warmer temperatures .... oh how it can't come fast enough ....

Monday, February 25, 2008

A Weekend of Firsts

First race of the season.

First long run.

Both a success! I signed up for a 5K "Frolic" in White Bear since it was right near my house and wouldn't require getting up too early on a precious Saturday morning. The "frolic" description was appealing, but didn't keep me from waking up and feeling the need to try to set a PR. Really?! A PR after 1 (yes, read that ONE.) week of marathon training (oh yeah, Hi! sorry forgot to mention, marathon #2 training just started, more about that another day)?! A PR in 10 degree weather?! A PR on icy roads?! "But of course!" my ever competitive brain chirped.

With about 300 running friends, Saturday morning was the fastest 5K I've ever run, or tried to run for that matter. I set off at a good pace and held it the entire way. It wasn't fun. Well, finishing with a PR was fun. Running faster than I thought I could was fun. But the feeling was NOT fun. So why is it that I can't wait to do it again?!

24:37 - a 7:56 pace. I really didn't know I could do that! Imagine what I might be able to do with a bit more training (read: > 1 week!)

And Sunday was Long Run #1. 6 miles. I felt eerily good. Until it was over. My legs do not quite know what all that running was all about. Lets be sure not to tell them we are going to add 20.2 miles to that in a mere 17 weeks :)