Saturday, October 31, 2009

October Totals

Considering my month of working out ended on the 19th, I think I had a pretty good month. Just wait, though. There will be LOTS of working out starting on Monday.

Swim = 0 meters (not for long!!!)
Bike = 24.22 miles
Run = 65.9 miles
Other = 1.25 hours (stretching and core)

Friday, October 30, 2009

Foto Friday

Despite the warm temperatures this week, it's no secret, winter's coming. With the start of November and my new training schedule there are hours and hours of indoor training ahead of me. This year I vowed there would not be bikes in the living room like last year. So, Dave and I have spent the whole week cleaning out the basement and have put together our workout area. We're not done with the space yet as we hope to make it not seem so "basement-like" but for now it will have to do. Check out our set-up:

Our treadmill is so old it doesn't have buttons; it has sliders. But, it works and we only use it when the weather is too awful for running outside. Usually I try to run outside in the winter. My bike is in the middle, in case you couldn't figure that out based on the fact the bike looks like it would fit my 6 year old nephew. Dave's "Charlie Brown" bike is on the right. There's more to the room too with weights (although I prefer to do weights at the gym) and we're hoping to bring down our exercise ball and roller. The television is hooked up to cable and we hope to get a DVD player so we can watch movies while riding.

I think it's a pretty good set-up!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Thursday Thoughts

In honor of Halloween, I want to know what is your favorite candy?

Mine is Reese's Cups!!!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Happy Freakin' Halloween

It's not officially Halloween, but tomorrow is beggar's night around here. I have an admission to make: I don't like Halloween. I have been trying to come up with a way to get out of handing out candy this year. I was hoping that beggar's night would be on Saturday like I thought it would be, so I could make plans for Saturday night. But alas, after reading my local paper, I discovered beggar's night would be on Thursday. Begrudgingly, I dragged myself to Meijer and bought three bags or Reese's Cups. We live in a neighborhood of 300 houses and yet we rarely get more than 20-30 kids. I probably bought too much candy but I'll take it into work and get it out of my sight if we don't hand it all out. I'm glad I bought the candy today, though. I've already eaten two pieces and if I had the candy for longer, I probably would have eaten a lot of it. Let's hope we don't have any teenagers trying to come in and take the candy they don't deserve tomorrow. Bah humbug! Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

On the Horizon

Every day for the last week in the half I've been looking in Training Peaks to see if Coach had put any workouts in yet. Nope. Nope. Nope. And then today...YES!!!! There are workouts starting next Monday. Thank goodness. I've been going absolutely stir crazy in this break. I don't know how to organize my life when I don't have a workout to start the day. The first workout: a swim. It will be a full 9 weeks from my last swim to my next swim. Oh swimming, how I've missed you! You know what else I noticed with my workouts? There is usually more than one a day. Yikes! I'm 10 months out from my race and there are already two workouts a day. This is going to be a BIG change. Patience, Meredith. Patience.

Monday, October 26, 2009

On Second Thought

Sure we talked about getting a dog yesterday on the blog as sort of a joke, but there's actually been A LOT of discussion and research between Dave and I about getting a dog. We'd really like one. We'd think it would be fun and comforting. We're also kinda picky about what we want and know at this time that we just can't afford it, even if we adopt it. Plus, Coach is right, we shouldn't be making decisions right now coming off the marathon and heading into Ironman training. You CANNOT make decisions while on a rest period. Your world is upside down. And my world right now is upside down and inside out right now.

So, Dave and I are going to put the dog talk on hold and wait until the new year to revisit the issue. At that point we'll both be training, we'll be in a better place financially, and we'll have a few more questions answered.

Thanks for all the thoughts and ideas on the blog and on Facebook. In a few months, we'll check back in and let you know how it's going.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

If you thought Cujo was cute...

Dave and I have been talking about getting a dog. Sure we couldn't keep our fish alive, but if we want to have kids before we turn 50 we might want to learn how to care for something other than ourselves and fast. So, we've been talking about getting a small dog. We've picked out a name, Chewbacca, and are looking for dogs that match that name. We think this looks like a Chewbacca:

Honestly though, we can't afford a dog, but if we ever get one we are definitely making one of these:

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Nicole Caldwell's Photography Blog

Check this out! Here is a blog entry of the wedding I was in back in September. Especially check out the very last picture. Dave and I know how to work a photo booth.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Foto Friday

Molly has some BIG dogs! Check this out:

Cujo's head is like 6 times the size of mine!!!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Thursday Thoughts

Dave and I just went to see "Ride Across the Sky", a documentary of the 2009 Leadville 100 mountain bike race. All I've got to say is Lance Armstrong is a beast!

Would you ever consider doing an "unconventional" race, ie-ultra, mountain bike, etc.? And if yes, which race?

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The Beauty that is Me

Seriously, I take the best running pictures, EVER!!!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Final Thoughts

There have been many, many emails exchanged between Coach and I since the marathon and I have some final thoughts.
  • I wasn't upset with the fact I could not run the time I thought I should be able to run. I was upset that my body would not go and I could not keep it together mentally.
  • But, I need to let that go and be okay with the fact that the course was REALLY hard.
  • I need to stop competing with others even if really the competition is only in my head. I am only responsible for myself and only how I can perform against myself.
  • I have a lot of mental work to do before "the big one" next year. Coach and I have also learned some physical weaknesses that were exposed this weekend that will need sharpened before Ironman.
  • I want to race more.
And now, I'm letting go. The soreness is still strong but subsiding and I'm starting to get hungry for what's ahead. This will be the first time since I got injured in 2004 that I will not be training for a marathon during the year. Sure, I still have some goals I want to achieve in the marathon but doing something else for a while will only make me a better marathoner. It's going to be a long two weeks without any workouts, but I'm excited for what's next.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Heading Home

No blog post today. I'm sitting in the airport and my computer is out of batteries. Expect a wrapup of the marathon tomorrow.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Nike Women's Marathon 2009

I never imagined a race that had 20,000 women in it would be as hard as it was. I've run the Boston Marathon four times, and this was much harder than Boston. To say there were hills in this race is to grossly underestimate the severity of the hills. I swear to you, this race felt ALL uphill. And the points that weren't uphill were sharply downhill.

I really felt like I started conservatively. The first couple miles were in the city and downhill heading down to the piers. My splits were right around 8:00. The run along the piers was flat and easy and helped me to settle into my run. After the piers there is a left turn and a climb begins toward Lombard street, but it's only for a block. Then we cut over heading towards the Golden Gate Bridge. This is where the steep climbing begins. At mile 4 the run is on a trail that goes straight up and straight down. It's short and steep but nothing compared to what's coming up. Mile 7 is a LONG, one mile, steep hill up toward the Golden Gate Bridge, followed by a steep downhill, and then another build in miles 8 and 9. This is where I saw Dave and I knew it was going to be a long day. I told him the hills were relentless and that I was struggling to keep my splits in the 8:00s. Here's a video he shot. It was also really windy out on the course as you can hear from the video.

After mile 9 there is this long, sharp downhill that got us down to the beach area on the other side of the bridge. You run a long here for only, like, two miles where you can see the finish line. Then it's into Golden Gate Park where another climb begins. This one is not as steep but definitely long--like three mile long. In this park the half marathoners break off only to be reunited with the full marathoners right before their finish. For the marathoners we have a turn around in this park where you can see where you are. To my amazement, I'm doing better than I feel, but I also know there is a long way to go. I see Dave a couple times in this park and let him know that I'm struggling. Cardiovascularly, I felt great, but my legs just would not go.

Around mile 14 I start running with a girl who I run with for the next 3+ miles. I told her I was jealous of the half marathoners who were almost done with their race. She says to me, "don't look at the finish line when we pass it." I didn't. I tell her I'm struggling; that I thought the race was harder than anticipated. She says she is too. We say we'll get to mile 16 and see what happens. We get to 16 and then we shoot for mile 17. At 17, I had had enough. Right at the mile marker I stop to walk. She says,"NO! NO! NO! Run until the next water stop." I tell her I hate her but keep running until the next stop. She says, "You're going to pass me anyway because there is a hill up there that I'm going to throw up before going up it and then throw up again after going up it." I giggle. We get to the water stop. She stops to walk, I keep going. That was the last time we saw each other. I hope she didn't get sick on that hill.

I think I made it to 18 before I totally lost it. Once the half marathoners broke off, this race got really lonely and it continued to be a rough course. Pass the zoo, we turned into another park (which I can't remember the name of) and go around a serious of lakes/ponds. Again, climb up to the top of this park, and then come down the other side. Except this time there are NO spectators and there is traffic on the left. This was the longest point of the race. At one point I stopped, started to walk, and started to cry just as runners were coming the opposite way on their Sunday run. They yelled to me, "NO! NO! NO! You can do this!" I picked it up to a jog again but crying made it tough to breath and I had to tell myself that I had to get my head in the game.

I tried to do everything to keep myself entertained and take my mind off the horrible marathon I was having. I counted. I sang. I told myself that I would run 5 minutes and then take a 1 minute walk break. The miles began to get longer: mostly 10:00s but I think I even through in an 11:00 in there. Things were going on a downward spiral and fast. It seemed like forever before I was back on the Pacific Coast Highway and heading toward the finish line. Despite how horrible I felt the race was going, my time really wasn't reflecting the way I was feeling. Around two miles to go, an official tells me I'm #180. And he gave a number to the gentleman in front of me, so I was obviously placing higher than that. (I was surprised how many men ran this race.) A few people passed me after that as I continued to run and walk all the way to mile 25. In the last mile I saw Dave and Molly. Finally the finish came into view and I was done--3:49:XX. Not spectacular, but it was over. I got my necklace (cute), my finisher's shirt, some water and chocolate milk, and my mylar blanket. I found Dave and Molly, hit a port-a-john and then it was a long walk back to the car.

It's been a few hours now since the race and I have a few reflections. But, I'd like to wait to talk to coach and then save them for another post.

Marathon season has come to a close.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

You Call Those Hills?!

Sorry about the lack of the post yesterday. I felt like I had been hit by a bus! I love to travel and see things but I HATE the traveling part. After getting up at 4:00am and being up for umpteen hours, I couldn't see straight, I had a sore throat, and my head was stuffy. I slept 10 hours and feel like a million bucks.

Friday after we arrived, Molly picked us up and took us downtown to the Expotique. What a disappointment! I'm not a huge fan of expos to start with but there was NOTHING at this expo....unless you're girly, girl and want to get your nails painted. That's not me. I picked up my packet, got my corral wrist band and we headed to lunch.

After lunch we drove the course. Why does it always feel like it takes FOREVER to drive the course? The course? Well, it's hilly. A lot hillier than I anticipated. The hills are short and steep and mostly in the first half of the race. The second half where it will only be marathons seems like it could be a little lonely. But, that's never bothered me before so who cares.

The rest of the weekend has been filled with eating, hydrating, and resting. It's a little weird not to be staying close to the action. I don't really feel like I'm running a marathon tomorrow, but then again, I'm also feeling really relaxed going into this race. The last two races I have not posted any time goals on the blog and it's really taken a lot of pressure off of me. Tomorrow, my plan is to go out there and run.

Check back tomorrow for the race report. It might be a little sloppy, though...the dinner menu includes margaritas. And since I've been holding off for several weeks, the margaritas will be had and Hall and Oates singing might commence.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Check back later

I have been awake for 16+ hours, fighting a bit of a head cold/allergies, and just want to konk out. Check back tomorrow for some adventures from NoCal.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Thursday Thoughts

I was talking to Molly earlier this week about my superstitions with food pre-race. I have to have ravioli the night before the race and toast the morning of the race. Do you have any food superstitions before your events?

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Happenings at the Gym

Today I went to the gym as I do every Wednesday. Wednesday is core class so I incorporated it with a 30 minute run on the treadmill (it was raining outside). I have been going to this gym, a national-chain, high-profile gym, for five years now and have pretty much been able to stay in the background. There's usually only one person who talks to me there, besides Dave, and it's a guy who I went to high school with who works at the gym. Today, though, I must have been wearing a sign that said "TALK TO ME!!!" It started when I walked in and the front desk guy noticed I was wearing a Chicago Marathon jacket. He asked me if I was doing the Columbus Marathon this weekend and I began telling him about the marathon I am running this weekend. Then during and after my workout I had lots of other people talk to me. I think it may have had something to do with the fact I was wearing tiny, spandex running shorts. :)

I also saw some things at the gym today that really bothered me. The first was a personal training session with a male personal trainer and a female pupil. (That's how they do it at my gym--so shady!) Anyway, the girl was doing standing shoulder presses and they were all wrong. First of all she was walking around. She should have had her feet planted with her knees slightly bent. Secondly, the weight was too heavy for her. She couldn't get her arms straight and she was arching her back to get the weight up. She was asking to get injured. And what was the personal trainer doing while he should have been helping her? He was watching ESPN. Seriously. I believe personal training is somewhere in $150/hour range. There should probably be some PERSONAL training in that charge. Give me a break!

The second thing I saw that wasn't so shady as something that just really bothered me happened in another personal training session. One of the female trainers was working with an overweight woman. The woman was doing good work but really being challenged. The last part of the session was on the treadmill right beside me. The trainer had her walking on the 'mill with the incline at a pretty good percentage. It was all the overweight woman could handle. The trainer had her stop. The thing that bothered me about this was that the trainer had her stop. I wish she had changed the workout to keep the woman moving and finish the workout on a high note.

Ah, just another day at the gym.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Did somebody say hockey?

You guys are going to hate me. Being that I am racing this weekend and then have to take the next two to three weeks off, I just don't have a whole lot to talk about regarding my running and Ironman training. Today's topic has nothing to do with either.

For those of you new to the blog, and I know there's quite a few of you, I live in Columbus, Ohio. Cow Town, USA. Columbus is also College Town, USA with the largest university in the US right downtown. Our world revolves around the university and especially Ohio State football. The world shuts down on Saturdays to watch the game. You may laugh, but I remember in 2002 when we made the national championship game, high school basketball games were rearranged so that people could watch the game. Yes, that's how serious we are about our Buckeyes. And being that I am alumni and lived here my whole life, I LOVE IT!!!

But, we have two emerging sports in Central Ohio that are doing great and no one knows about. The first is our professional soccer team, the Columbus Crew. Last year our team won the MLS Cup and this year we have clinched a spot in the playoffs yet again. And being that my company has worked with The Crew many times this year, I cannot say enough good things about this organization. They are grade "A" and are very good to their fans. I am now a fan for life.

Another team gaining respect in town is the Columbus Blue Jackets, our professional hockey team. I have to admit, for a while I was quite skeptical. I grew up a fan of the Pittsburgh Penguins and Mario Lemieux. But, they kept getting better and better and last year we finally made it to the playoffs. This year we are in first place (for now) and 4-1 overall. Tonight I attended my first regular season game. We were in the second to last row, but we were center ice and could see all the plays open up. Jackets won 2-1 with two awesome goals in the second period. Frankly, the score should have been 6-1 as we had three pucks hit the posts and one goal that went in but I guess the referees had already blown the whistle. What a crock! I had a lot of fun. I hope to go again sometime in the next ten years. :)

Monday, October 12, 2009

Horrible, Too True Nightmare

It's no secret that I am horribly, horribly scare of bridges. No, no; it's a phobia. I freeze up. My heart races. I sweat. I think I will die. Seriously, it's bad.

In four days I leave for San Francisco and they kinda have a very famous, very big bridge there. Dave says I HAVE TO go across it. I vehemently say no. NO!!!! Not walking, not riding. NO!!! Molly, do not let Dave talk you into this. Just say NO!!!

Last night I had a dream, nay, a nightmare. I was being forced to go across the Golden Gate bridge. It was awful. I woke up in full panic.

Seriously, I'm not crossing that bridge.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Miscellany for Sunday

A little miscellany today...
  • Watching Ironman yesterday scared the devil right out of me. People looked like HELL crossing the finish line. Louisville has the possibility to be as warm as Hawaii. Yikes!!
  • Generally I don't get involved in politics (yeah right) but seriously, Ohioans, we have a big scheme on our hands with Issue 3. Do your homework. This article is an editorial, but it sheds some light on the things the casino companies are hiding.
  • I've been filling out some sponsorship applications and going back through my last couple years of racing results. Holy wow have I made improvements in the last year! Seriously, I was bad.
  • I hate to shop. :) I spent an hour and a half in one store today, tried on several, several things and walked away with nothing. I love how fast I've gotten, but my body has totally changed into total athlete. Clothes look horrible on me now. Damn you Anthropologie.
  • Last week before the marathon!!!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Log on

No new blog post today. I'm watching Ironman today. You should be too. I have even tried pausing it while we are working our wedding tonight.

See ya tomorrow.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Kick Some Kona Butt!!!

Good luck to all the athletes racing in Kona tomorrow. A special shout out goes to Marit and Bree. Kick some major a$$!!! Dave and I plan on following along as much as we can tomorrow, but we do have a wedding (and there is also college football). Next year, I'll be there. Ha ha ha!!! :)

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Thursday Thoughts

Ugh, it's been a week of painting. The room is a burgundy color which means layers and layers of paint. Hopefully it will be done tomorrow. In the mean time, it's chores I don't enjoy.

What are the chores you despise doing and why?

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Feeling a Little Bloated or Swollen

It's been 6 weeks since I broke my finger and it is starting to feel better. I can finally bend it and can almost get it into a fist. It's still super-sore, but definitely better. I have to wear the tape for one more week and will probably wear it through the marathon just for protection. Today I tried on my wedding rings just to see. Luckily I was not wearing my rings when I fell and did not have to have them cut off. But I've been worried if they'd ever fit again.

I'm hoping I'm still really swollen. I'm going to wait several months and then make a decision if I need to get my rings resized.

I really did some good damage when I took this spill.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Total Destruction of my House

I might have mentioned previously that Dave came home from Yellowstone with thoughts about how he wanted to redo our master bedroom. I have tried to lay low and let it blow over, but he keeps persisting!! He cleaned out his half of the closet and put his dresser in there, which of course meant I had to clean out my half of the closet. Then he decided he wanted to paint the rest of the walls (we had one accent wall and hadn't painted the other ones). Instead of having an accent wall, all the walls would be the same, BURGUNDY! color as the one wall. Again, I laid low, didn't help and watched as my bedroom began looking like a cave. This past weekend we made a trip to Homegoods and that's when things took a serious turn. After dropping a whopping $500!!! we came home with a new set of awesome chairs and a set of new bedside lamps. Game on! Of course, the stuff is sitting in my living room right now. Or maybe I should call that my storage closet--bikes, photo booths, chairs, ugly couches. The only thing I like in my living room is my HDTV. Anyway, Dave and I are now working collectively on finishing the painting. We have 12 foot tall ceilings so it takes A LOT of work. Hopefully we'll have it all done by the end of the week and will have the chairs and my dresser in place. I'll post pictures when there is more progress.

Monday, October 05, 2009

I'm Feeling Fast (and my legs are fried)

I did the hardest run of my life this weekend, races not included. Coach had a LONG interval workout on the agenda that was 15 to 30 seconds faster than race pace. I thought my lungs were going to explode. I kept telling myself, "Meredith, if you want to achieve X:XX in the marathon" (seriously, I'm no longer talking about my goals on the blog) "then you have to be able to do this run." And, "Meredith, Ironmen work hard!!!" It worked. I killed this run! First interval, 7:19 average: second interval, 7:12 average. I remember when those paces were full-out sprints.

One more key workout to go and then I'll be shutting it down. Taper time!!!

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Don't Tell Anyone

Ssshhhh! I've got a secret to tell. This biking isn't so bad. Ssshhh! Don't tell anybody! Especially not Coach. I've been riding now twice a week, with most rides being between 30 minutes and an hour. The soreness is going away. I've been able to increase my RPMs comfortably. And my mileage is coming up. I think the thing I like most about it is it's a nice respite from running. Marathon training has been extreme and I'm ready for a break.

Speaking of break, after the marathon Coach is making me take a mandatory 2-3 week, absolutely no working out, break before Ironman training begins. I think I might die during that time.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Achy Breaky

I'm not a fan or tapering. Others talk about feeling bloated or like they need to train more. Tapering for me always makes me feel achy. And by achy, I mean my body hurts and I wonder what happened and how I will get to the start line. Right now my right hip is bothering me, which somehow is also causing a pin-pointed pain in my right inner thigh. My left achilles hurts. And of course, my finger is NEVER getting better (okay, that has nothing to do with running). Somehow in two weeks all the pain will go away and I'll feel nothing for 26 miles. I'm so excited!!!

Friday, October 02, 2009

The Plans are Set

It's two weeks until we leave for San Francisco and our plans are coming into place. We're staying with Molly. We're so thankful she's taking the crazies in for a weekend. She'll be just a few weeks away from her Ironman and will have tons of training to do. Dave's going to join her on an ocean swim. I'm going to watch from the sidelines. We've found a bar to watch the Buckeyes' game if we can't get the channel at the homestay. We'll be attending the expo on Friday and driving the course. Speaking of the course, I checked out the profile online today. Yikes!!! But, if I can conquer Boston, I can conquer this one.

Two weeks!!!!

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Thursday Thoughts

I mentioned in August that I got a parking ticket and I was upset that I got it because I did pay for my parking I just couldn't read the parking spot number. The next week I started making some phone calls and it seemed like everything was going to be taken care of. I kept my cool; they kept theirs and I waited to hear the outcome. Unfortunately no one called back, so I decided to just pay the bill. When I sent in my check, I added a letter explaining the situation and who I had talked to. This morning I checked my PO Box and to my surprise I had received a letter back from Parking Solutions and to my utter shock, they sent my check back and told me the ticket had been voided. WOW!!! I am so impressed. Thanks Parking Solutions!!

What has been a good deed you have done or received recently?