Thursday, April 28, 2005

Oh My Feet!

Okay, so you're all going to think this is weird.

My training this week for the triathlon has been a swimming focus week. I've done three of four workouts, all of which are really long compared to what I'm used to swimming. You would think I'd be really sore in my arms or maybe even my abs or back. No. My feet are the sorest thing on me. I don't know what it is about swimming but it makes my feet hurt so badly. I'm even having a jabbing pain in my left foot today from swimming. It's so weird!

Monday, April 25, 2005

Let the Training Begin, Again

I took off approximately one week and now it's back to training. I was going to start my training this past Saturday with a light 5 mile run, but it was raining outside and I had gotten home really late from a track meet and it just wasn't worth it to me to get out of bed. But, I did get up early yesterday morning and went to the gym to do a swim workout in preparation for the triathlon. This was my workout:

Warmup: 4 X 150 swim, kick, pull, swim
Workout: 1650 ladder (275,250,225....25)
Cooldown: 200
Total: 2450 meters

This workout was hard. Especially since I haven't gone above 1000 meters since last summer. It totally wore my out and I never got a nap yesterday because my mom's in the hospital and I had to visit her and I had to watch my sister's kids so she could go to the funeral home for a friend. I'm still very tired today. And, my ribs are sore from the swim.

It's good to be back in the swing (or swim) of things.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Boston Marathon

It was hard and yet it was easy. It was hard because of the hills and the heat. It was easy because I’m in great shape and the miles just seemed to tick by.

We started our race morning by meeting as a group in front of the Park Plaza Hotel and walked together to the Boston Commons to catch the bus. The bus ride took FOREVER! How can 26 miles take an hour in a school bus? Once we got to Hopkinton there were people everywhere and it was hard to find a place to set up camp. Being the nervous person I am, I immediately had to go to the bathroom and spent the next 40 minutes waiting in line. By the time I returned to camp I had just enough time to eat a Powerbar and half a bagel and then once again line up for the bathroom. When I returned from this bathroom break, it was time to move to the corrals. This was a challenge. They herd you like cattle through these corals but only let you into the one to which you’re assigned. We heard the National Anthem and saw the flyover and then everyone applauded which must have meant the starting gun went off. It took FOREVER to get to the starting line. And what was dumb about the whole thing is everyone was running up the hill to the starting line. Why? It was uphill and the time doesn’t start until you cross the mat. Andrea and I didn’t run until we hit the mat. The first couple of miles seemed slow and controlled. We were turning 8:10s to 8:15s. The first 10 miles seemed to take a really long time. At mile 9, Andrea said I was running too fast for her so she dropped back. I was starting to feel fatigued too, but decided I would run at least to the halfway point before taking a walking break. I must say, Wellsley was a bit of a disappointment. Don’t get me wrong—it was deafening, but in my mind I just pictured it differently. I caught my dad right at Wellsley and we chatted a while and then I pulled away. He said he was proud and everyone turned around. A beautiful “after-school special” moment.  When I reached mile 14’s waterstop I walked through it. And then I walked a lot more after that. I walked up the hills; I walked down the hills. And despite all the walking, I was still making good time. The first hill in Newton was brutal but so were all the downhills into Boston. I saw John Kerry at Heartbreak Hill. He’s one tall man. Once I reached Boston I tried to run as much as possible because of the crowds and because I was getting closer to the finish line. I took a popsicle from a lady around mile 22 or 23. It was terrific. It was a super hot day and I couldn’t get enough water. I drank so much I felt like my belly was actually expanding. But by the end, I didn’t drink as much because the waterstops moved to the right-hand side of the road and I didn’t know and I missed a waterstop or two. At mile 23 I looked up and saw the Citgo sign an dknew the end was near. I ran the last two miles. I saw Dave and Mom right before the turn at Herford. No one told me there was a hill there! I finished in 3:53:19. Looking back I wish I wouldn’t have walked as much as I did, but I don’t think I anticipated as good of a time as I got while I was doing the walking. Had I known I was going to do a 3:53, I think I would have walked a little less and then done a little better on my time. Hindsight. I’d like to say that I thought about a whole lot during the race or really contemplated things in my mind. But, I didn’t. I really was numb to what was going on around me. In the last two miles I thought about my grandpa who died a few weeks ago and knew that he was watching me run for the first time. That really helped me get to the finish line. I would like to try Boston again to see if I could do better, but I’ll have to requalify this year to get back there. Overall, I’m pleased with the way things went and happy with my Boston experience.

I must say…my quads are KILLING me! Those hills must have been a lot harder than I thought they were.

Friday, April 15, 2005

Happy Birthday to me!

Tomorrow is my birthday. I'll be 27. And yes, I'm spending my birthday running a marathon. My family was supposed to have a birthday dinner last night (because I have a track meet tonight and we leave for Boston tomorrow) but my sister and nephew were sick so we didn't have it. But, my sister did call me (like, a million times on everyone's phones) to give me my present. She got me this really awesome Nike running outfit that had pink shorts (I LOVE pink!) and a white T-shirt top with two different colors of pink stripes. She was going to put my nickname (MJ) on it so people would scream out my name when I run the marathon. But the outfit was so awesome I asked her not to put my name on it because I'd like to wear it all the time and not just in marathons. Plus, I had already "ruined" a shirt by putting my name on it for Monday.

Great gift, here's the thing. My sister is the average because she has to and lives paycheck to paycheck and usually that doesn't cover it all. She had told me prior to yesterday what she wanted to do for my birthday and said she had to wait until Thursday to buy the shirt (she told me she was going to get me a pink shirt and put my name on it) because that's when she got paid. This already made me feel guilty because she didn't really have the money to even buy me a gift. And I'm okay with her not getting me a gift. Then I went yesterday and she had bought me that whole Nike outfit which I know was way more expensive than just a pink shirt. Now I feel really guilty about taking this gift. I talked to my mom about this and she thinks I should accept the gift because Amy wanted to buy it for me and it made her happy. I almost want to thank her by buying her a gift certificate to somewhere, which I know would probably insult her. Maybe I can just find a way to do something nice for her and return the financial favor without her really knowing it. Any suggestions?

By the way...absolutely LOVE the running outfit she got me. I'm going to wear it Sunday in the Patriot's Run.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

I'm Ready

Not much to say...5 days to go until the marathon. Tapering is going well, I'm mostly packed, feeling confident. I'm ready.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Safety Dance

We can dance if we want to...we can leave this world behind.

No seriously, there are a lot of saftey rules I follow when running. One, I only run during day light hours. I actually learned this the hard way when I was running in the dark and took a big spill because I couldn't see what I was doing. Two, I never jaywalk. I do this because I've had two warnings from police officers and getting a $60 ticket is not high on my list. Three, I try to stay on paths or at least on roads with wide berms. This one is hard to do when you live in a small town and there are no sidewalks. But, there is one safety predicament I seem to find myself in that I don't know what to do about.

Yesterday I did my run on a path I probably run 2-3 times per week. I was having a difficult run and was walking. Behind me I heard a russle in the field beside me. I turn around and there was a HUGE dog charging at me. I yelled "OH SHIT" and screamed at the dog "NO NO NO!" Luckily the dog stopped right at the edge of the path. The owners yelled for it and I told it to go home and it did. This isn't my first run-in with very large dogs. It seems to happen to me every couple of months, and I don't know what to do about it. I don't want to carry mase because I'm afraid that it will accidently go off and spritz me and with my asthma I think that could be really bad. I wish people would keep their dogs securily in their yards or on a leash. I could have been killed by that dog yesterday.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Capital City Half Marathon

Last week's weather was amazing. We had temperatures in the 60s and 70s and I was able to run the whole week in a T-shirt and shorts. Of course, until Saturday when I ran the Capital City Half Marathon. This day called for rain and wind and pure yuckiness. Instead of rain we got snow and got a lot of wind. The race is a minature version of the Columbus Marathon. It goes east on Broad Street not very far and then goes through German Village. It continues for four miles up High Street to Lane Avenue, hangs a left and then hangs another left at Tuttle. At Tuttle you go down almost all the way to Larkins Hall (at OSU) and hangs two sharp rights and you go around the stadium. This isn't on the streets; it's on the sidewalk right next to the stadium. You then continue north on Tuttle and turn right on Woody Hayes, right on College Avenue, right on 12th, left on Neil, wind your way through the Short North and then finish on Neil in the Arena District.

Here's what happened to me. Dad, Doug, and I started way too far back and wound up having a slow first mile, 8:45. Then we fell into pace and Dad told us to go ahead around 3 miles. He said he had to go to the bathroom. Going up High Street was into the wind and it was snowing sideways into your face. It was a wet snow too and my clothes were drenched and I was cold. At Broad and High I noticed my shoe was untied so I stopped and tied it and Doug went ahead. I tied my shoe and kept running, passing my dad at Nationwide and High. He yelled, "this sucks...I can't even run" as we passed the windiest part of the race where the freeway goes under High Street and nothing blocks the wind. When I reached the next mile marker I was at 8:08 and that included a water stop and my shoe tying so I knew I was flying. Shortly after the mile marker, I passed Doug and he didn't look like he was having fun. When we turned on Lane Avenue I saw Darryl ahead and caught him and talked to him for a while. By this point my hands were numb and he said he belly was numb. Thinking about it when he said it, my belly was a little numb too. The trip around the stadium sucked. Whoever thought that was a good idea needs to think again. Coming back up Tuttle was pure mud puddles and I quickly discovered why everyone was running on the sidewalks by the architecture school. As I went under the school I had a big snowball drop on my shoulder. It kinda hurt. As I was running up Woody Hayes, I started reminiscing about running Columbus two years ago and qualifying for Boston. This is where I was walking and crying and realized that I was still ahead of pace and only had three miles left and could qualify. It was nice to be at this point in the half marathon and still feel fantastic. When we turned left onto Neil, I saw a girl I used to run with and I took the next mile and a half to catch her. She saw me there and pulled ahead just a little. I let her for a while but then I pushed ahead of her for the last mile. As I crossed the finish line, a foot stepped in front of mine on the right to beat me out. It was the girl I had caught and I was pretty deflated at that point. But, being that we were wearing chips, I actually beat her by 2 places. First time I've ever beat her in a race. I finished in 1:42:55, which I wasn't trying to do, but the race felt fantastic. I never felt tired or winded and I really had a great run. I was underdressed, though, and my hands got really wet and cold and lost feeling and I was really concerned that I was getting frostbite. As soon as my dad finished I made him take me to the car and go home because of my hands. Hopefully next year the weather won't be so bad for the race.