Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Be Willing

I, like every other runner in the free world, was glued to my computer yesterday watching the Boston Marathon.  I screamed at the screen trying to encourage the race.  I cried when Meb won.  (I totally ignored the baby as he wanted attention.  #motheroftheyear)

And of course, I was totally inspired.  I love Boston.  It is, by far, my favorite marathon.  It suits me.  I calls me.  It loves me.  After I set my PR there way back in 2009 I knew it was time to hang up the marathon flats.  I have only done two marathons in the five years since then.  I moved on.  I tried triathlon.  I've rocked the shorter distances.  I have embraced the half marathon as "my distance."

Truth is, though, I love the marathon.  It's a great race for me as it takes me a long time to warm up to my race pace, I can zone out like nobody's business, I like the long training, I like the accomplishment of the marathon.

Last night I started the discussion with coach about trying the marathon again.  *sigh*  Do I really want to run another one?  Can I be the runner I once was?  Do I even have a shot at qualifying for Boston again?  I told her we'd sleep on it and revisit it once the glow of Boston has dissipated.

Except, I didn't sleep.  I just kept thinking of wanting to run another marathon.  I just kept coming back to two words: Be Willing. 

Be willing to literally run the extra mile.
Be willing to eat better.
Be willing to count calories and lose those extra baby weight pounds.
Be willing to go to bed earlier.
Be willing to get up and do the work while everyone else is asleep.
Be willing to take ice baths.
Be willing to use the foam roller.
Be willing to drink more water.
Be willing to do the extras like weigh lifting, riding my bike, and stretching.
Be willing to commit to the process.

I haven't really opened myself up to the training, to the process.  I've just gone through the motions knowing that yes I can run any race and I'm okay with being mediocre.  Shoot, I had a baby.  I can use that excuse forever.  But that's not what I want.  Why would I be paying money to a coach to just be mediocre?  I want to be that badass marathoner again.  I want it.  I am willing to Be Willing.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Attack of the Angry Geese

I got up early Sunday to get in my long run before church.  But, I slept in a little longer than the alarm went off, so I allowed myself only enough time to run without stopping and taking a 5 minute shower before heading off to church. The run started well, uphill into the wind, but I warmed up well in the first 30 minutes.  Then I had a series of 8 minute stretches at race pace.  The first one cruised my at a sub-8:00.  I had just finished a small section out of the industrial part of town and was now on the bike path nearly a quarter mile from my house as the crow flies, or in this case, the geese fly.  There was a dead goose on the trail that I ran around and then I noticed two geese out in the field who were looking none too happy with me.  They started squawking very loudly at me, took flight, and came right at me with their mouths open, their feet fully engaged, and their wings flapping. 

 Let me back up.  I hate birds.  Always have.  When I was a kid, a very small kid mind you, I was chased by a very large pelican.  Then when I was in the Young Scientist program at the local science center (yes I've always been a nerd) I had an owl hound me during a session.  And finally in high school I had a very large owl come to my window every night and wrap it's talons around the screen.  FREAK! ME! OUT!

So when these geese came out me I totally flipped out.  I was screaming NONONONONONO!!!  I ran as fast as I could out into the street (thank God for no cars on a Sunday morning) and got to the median where they left me alone.  If I had been wearing a heart rate monitor all kinds of bells and whistles and alarms would have been going off.  Out loud I actually said, "Fine.  You win.  Run is over."  And I headed home. 

I didn't finish the run Sunday and I have yet to set off in the direction of those geese again.  The dead one is still there and every time I drive past it I look for the angry geese out in the field. 

Have you ever been attacked by birds or other animals on your runs?

Friday, April 18, 2014

Foto Friday

I finally found an official race photo from last weekend's half marathon.  Surprisingly, I didn't look completely like death, even if I did feel like it.  There was also a video of the finish where again, I didn't look like death.  Guess the sunglasses hide everything.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Meredith Kessler and I are practically best friends!!

I grew up in "small town America."  My town had one stop light, one restaurant, one gas station.  The entire high school had 200 students and everyone knew everyone.  My town was just like my favorite quote from the movie "Doc Hollywood" - You can't poop in this town without everyone knowing what color it is.

In small town American you get to participate.  In high school I was involved in everything - tennis, basketball, weight lifting, track, student council, band, choir, drama, etc.  In small town America high school sports you compete against other equally small and usually awful (as we were too) schools.  We traveled to exotic places like Baltimore, Amanda, and Heath, Ohio to compete against the same teams over and over again.  One school we competed against frequently was a super-close, private school: The Columbus Academy.  They were equally as small but usually competitive and because they were a 15 minute bus ride from our school, our track team probably competed against them 3-5 times per season.

My best event in track was the 400.  Yep, I was one of those crazies who ran and liked the 400.  Let me mention, I am 5'1".  Most people who run the 400 are much taller.  They are usually good at it and don't have to take as many steps.  Generally, I could hold my own against these giants.  But there was one athlete at Academy that would beat me solidly every time.

Let's fast forward several years. 

I am a fan of triathlon.  I may not enjoy doing it, but I like to read about it, follow it on twitter, watch it when it's on TV, go to races, etc.  I like a few pros, namely, Mirinda Carfrae, Linsey Corbin, and Meredith Kessler. Now, I knew Meredith Kessler was from Columbus, Ohio but it wasn't until I saw a tweet from her last spring that I started putting two and two together.  Her tweet said something to the affect of looking forward to being the commencement speaker at her alma mater Columbus Academy.

*record scratch*

I started Googling.  What was her maiden name?  What year did she graduate?  Did she play sports?  And all of a sudden it made sense.  She used to totally kick my ass at track meets!  Meredith Kessler, the super star professional triathlete, is a local girl I ran against in high school!  How cool is that?!

We're practically best friends.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Union Hospital Run for Home Half Marathon

Oh Mother Nature.  You're such a bitch!

In all honesty, I've had a rough couple of months of training. I go to work before people should be at work all so my husband can go in at a normal time - we work at the same company and have found a way to make it work so we do not have to put the baby in child care.  I spend the rest of my day at home with the boy.  By the time Dave gets home I'm just exhausted and have little energy or patience to start a workout.  There have been weeks where I have good intentions and before I know it, it is the weekend and I haven't done a single workout.  Consistency has not been my friend.  I've missed two important long runs and really felt like I needed to do one before my "A" race in May.  (Let's be real.  I will not be going for a new PR but this "A" race is the one I've been training for.)  A week ago we were in Kansas and I looked all over for a half marathon to incorporate as my long run.  I couldn't find one.  So Coach let me run one this past weekend.  I had initially planned on running the Athens Half Marathon but all the hotels were booked.  Dave found a different one, in New Philadelphia.  The race started at 1:00pm so I wouldn't have to find a hotel room.

One o'clock should be a great start time for a race in April as the weather can be a little cool in the morning.  But wouldn't you know it was hotter than BALLS! on Sunday?  The low was about 70 degrees and the high was going to make it into the 80s.  I've spent all winter in the freezing cold or on the treadmill.  I was not prepared for 80 degrees.  Nevertheless, I pre-hydrated, pre-salted (yes it's a word), and was ready to go.

The plan was to treat this as a training run - couple miles of warmup, couple miles of building, most miles at race pace, and one mile all out.  I started close to the 1:50 pace group to keep myself accountable to slowly building into the pace. 

Those first couple of miles, though, were a little faster than I had planned.  I was settling into a comfortable barely sub-8:00 pace.  By mile 3 I was super hot and already feeling dehydrated, I knew this race was not going to go as well as I had hoped.  I walked my first water stop between miles 3 and 4.  I was still running in the low 8:00s and doing alright but miserably hot.  I walked up a small hill at mile 5ish.  We went passed a timing mat at mile 6 and according to the tracking I was still averaging 8:18s.  By this point I was toast and really, really, really wanted to drop out.  In my head I said, "nope.  Do this for Anderson.  Run for the medal.  Small steps.  You're fine."  I kept putting one foot in front of the other.  I drank at every aid station, I poured water over my head, I used the kids' sponges they had, I let people with water gun squirt me.  Around mile 8 there was a relay exchange near the stadium.  I *thought* this was the stadium we finished at.  I was mad that Dave was not there, but it was probably a good thing because I definitely would have dropped out then.  (I found out after the race that it was not the stadium we finished at and it's a good thing I didn't drop out because I would have not known where I was.)

I struggled those last couple of miles.  I walked and jogged.  I was heartbroken when the 1:50 and 1:55 pace leaders passed me.  Note, there was nobody with either of those pace leaders.  I kept chugging along though and soon enough I was finished.

I was hot and yucky and sat down on the pavement to get my hot calf sleeves off.  Dave found me and told me he thought I was the 10th female finisher.  What??? No way.  I ran a 1:55.  He told me the first woman finished in 1:30 and the next didn't finish until 1:40.  This was a big race, y'all!  We went to the pavilion to look up the results.  Would you believe it?  I finished 2nd in my age group and 9th female overall.  I got the coolest trophy too.

This was a great race.  It was super organized, the price was decent, there were tons of volunteers, the awards were amazing, and the park that the race started and finished in was super cool.  I would definitely do it again, but next time I hope the weather is at least 20 degrees cooler.