Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Runner in Real Life + November in Review

I have spent far too much time running in cold and allergy season.

Yesterday, while leaving the post office, my nose started running.  Without giving it much thought, I looked over my shoulder to make sure there was no one "in range" and almost let a snot rocket fly.....while dressed in nice work attire.  Granted I live in South Dakota, so perhaps people would just assume I'm a farm kid (no offense farm kids, but I learned to "farmer blow" from you).

Oy.  Glad I caught myself.

After logging my run on Monday I realized I'd be 2.3 miles short of 100 for the month, and clearly I could not have that happen.  I did some quick rearranging and squeezed in a short 2.3 on Tuesday before class.  Phew.  Crisis averted!  And then I was a dumb dumb and accidentally ran 6 miles on Wednesday instead of 5, because I was too lazy to map out a run.  Whatever.......

My knees have been a bit annoyed this week, so I'm icing and rolling like crazy to get things back to normal.  After perusing the Philly race photos, I'm surprised my left knee works at all.  The foot plant I was sporting to (I'm assuming) alleviate the pressure/pain on my blood-blister-sporting-pinky toe was atrocious.  It almost hurts just to LOOK at the pics.  Ouch.

Speaking of pics... here's one to tide you over for a smidge....

November In Review

Total Miles:  101 down from 170.7 last month. (119.7 miles from November 2010.)  
Total Time: 16:19:26 down from 26:54:05. (18:02:34 last November.)
Total Runs: 15. Not bad for being sick for a week, and then taking 5 days off after the marathon.  Avg. 6.73 miles/run.
Highest weekly mileage:  
11/14/2011 — 11/20/2011:39.2 Mi6:28:49
Favorite run: I was enjoying a monster day of running high when I ran a speedy 3 miler followed by another 3 miler 3 hours later.  Two-a-day domination?  Why not.
Most hardcore run:  Yikes... I didn't really have a hardcore run.  My last scheduled tempo run was during my sick week, so it would appear that other than the previously mentioned speedy 3 miler, I didn't do any hardcore runs, other than some mid-week double digit runs, which I heart.
Favorite race:  Philadelphia Marathon.  Hands down. Almost tied with my fave race ever.... :D
Bike Miles: 0.
Favorite Jams: Glee's Adele mash up. l-o-v-e. Doesn't hurt that I have a monster Santana crush.  Mmmm.

Back to it

My legs and mind were ready to run days before my toe would allow.  I was shuffling along in dress shoes with no socks (in 30 degrees some mornings, brr!) because any extra friction on my shoe caused extreme pain.  I had to drain my toe's blisters daily.  Barf.  Finally Thursday I was all set to enjoy our 60 degree Thanksgiving day for a run in the sun.  And then my parents dropped me off at my place and I realized that my cell phone was in the back seat of their car.  Fail.

Instead of getting my nice little spring weather frolic in, I had to jump in my car and chase them down the interstate.  By some grace of God, I managed to see them pull off to get gas about 30 miles south of my city, and could retrieve my phone, instead of following them all the way home-home, only to turn around and drive back.  Once I got back to town, I was so hungry and crabby that a run was the last thing on my mind.

But since I wasn't able to get in a run, I wasn't able to commit to a super fun 5k on Friday night.  A bunch of my runner friends were doing the Jingle Bell 5k, and were dressing up as Santa and his reindeer, decked out in battery pack Christmas lights.  I'm cheap, and just could not justify spending $35 and possibly being injured in a 5k, because I wasn't smart enough to make sure my legs were okay beforehand.

While they were running, I got a nice leisurely 3.5 mile run in and everything seemed ok.

Sunday I got a nice 6 miler in, with what could be one of the last days I can run sans coat.  Judging by everyone else out running, I probably should've been wearing one too, but it was nice in the sun (but I froze in the shade, holy brr!).

My next round of training starts the 2nd week of January, and Shawn had recommended that until I start up, I should really focus on some good base building.  Try to rack up the miles, but to do so at recovery or general aerobic heart rate zones.  He also recommended that I do a max heart rate test so I know my exact zones instead of my rough guestimation.

I created a pre-training program (because that's what all normal people do) based on Pfitz post marathon plan, and then a couple more weeks tacked on, and put it on the fridge on Sunday.  After logging my 6 mile run, I realized that I needed 141.7 miles to hit my goal of 1400 miles for the year.  That averaged out to 28.7/week which seemed.... tough but doable.  So I quickly consulted the fridge to see that from November 28th-December 31st, I have 142 miles planned.

Interesting how things like that work out, eh?  :)

Friday, November 25, 2011

Philadelphia Marathon Weekend

You're all thoroughly briefed on how the Philadelphia Marathon went down, but that was only a mere 4 1/2 hours of our awesome Philly Reunion weekend!  Come along for all the fun details!

Megan and I traveled together from SoDak to Philly.  We took advantage of the BOGO Starbucks offer from 2-5 in the Mpls airport, even though we had to visit two separate Starbucks to do so.  I think I would've gone nutzo on the cashier who tried to tell us we need a coupon if there hadn't been another one approximately 17 feet away.  Then I finally got to meet Shawn!  We've ran at least one of the same races, and have meant to meet up at least 4-5 times when I've been in the cities for fun or race weekends, but it just hasn't happened.  Go figure, he'd be on my flight to Philly.  That worked out quite swell.

Once we landed in Philly we set out to find JENN!  We were freaking out because the arrival signs weren't showing her flight, and the one that was showing a flight from Atlanta wasn't set to get in until 11.  GAH!  Finally as we decided to head towards baggage claim we saw her.  Lots of squealing ensued.  I mean... LOTS. OF. SQUEALING.  It was obnoxious.

We were all starving so we hit the Hard Rock Cafe that was right next to our hotel.  Starving girls order a ginormous sampler platter right?  Right.  But then our actual orders came out... and our stomachs started to cry.  I've never wasted so much food.  And because we didn't have a fridge in our hotel, I just had to wave goodbye to it.  

Not kidding, there wasn't a crumb left of the apps but I probably ate 2 bites of my burger.  FAIL!  I apologize to the starving children all over the world. :(

As we were having a grand old time catching up, a super loud rock band took stage.  Since we're not proficient in sign language, morse code or telepathy, we just awkwardly sat and looked at each other... and the stage... and then would hurriedly try to get in a convo in between songs.

We're just not that in to you... sorry.

We decided to hightail it out of there and enjoy some vino in our hotel lounge.  Because two bottles of wine on top of two beers is perfect marathon fuel.  It's been a while since I've laughed SO HARD.  I love these girls and it was so great to catch up with Jenn.  Just not the same to babble through email.  After some drinks we finally went to bed, but it was like a grade school slumber party.  We talked and talked and talked.  And after about an hour, Jenn and I realized that Megan was no longer participating in the convo.  Oooops.  Sorry sleeping beauty!  But of course we just kept talking.

After finally crashing at 2am, 9 came around pretty darn early.  And because we all assumed someone else had set an alarm, it's a good thing we just magically woke up at 9.  We got ready and hit up the expo.  We stayed about 1 1/2 blocks from the expo which was awesome.

Can you tell I didn't get enough beauty sleep?  Uff da.

I got 99 problems but a BIB ain't one!
That song was in my head... all week.  #annoying

Ready to rock Philly!

Who looks this chic for a race expo?  Jenn... betch.... ;)

Race bib EEEEEEEE!

Oh hai Hal!

Hey Jenn!  Go pose by those balloons.  YES! Perfect!
Photographer gold right here, no worries.

Yes, we'll take the escalator, thankyouverymuch.

I love that they're head tilting in completely opposite directions.  Makes me dizzy. :)

My baby niece was due the weekend of the race, and I just knew she'd make her appearance on race day.  I secretly thought she'd arrive as we were crossing the finish line, but she showed up a few hours after.  I found this super cute onesie, and had to snatch it up!

After the expo and a quick bite to eat, we hit the streets for a quick shake out run.  We wanted to run to the race start to get our bearings for the next morning, and see exactly how far it was from our hotel.  Jenn's garmin took 1200 years to find a satellite so it made time for a photo op.

And 900 stop lights en route to the start line also made time for photo ops.

Finish line pic!  Yes, I'm wearing some of the brightest clothes I own, why do you ask?
In case it ended with a photo finish, we were practicing our sprinter leans.

Ok, now I'm getting cold.

After our two mile run, we somehow ended up shopping.... in our running clothes.  We hit up H&M, Lululemon (I'd never been, shocker alert!), and a running store.  Somehow my bank account came away unscathed.  We walked back to our hotel but my legs were killing me.  We'd been on our feet pretty much non-stop since 9am.  Uh oh.  My calves were super knotted up, so I tried to foam roll them in to submission......  :/

Dinner time!  We had planned to order italian food to go from Maggio's across the street, but the wait on to-go food was a trillion hours, so we went to the restaurant in our hotel.  It wasn't anything special, but we did match for dinner so that's a plus.  

And I had to order dessert, because I wasn't in love with my meal.  And oh my goodness, it made up for the lackluster dinner.  Smores sundae... you have my heart.

And then we ran the race.  And my calves STILL felt like crap.  Super duper tight and obnoxious, and I kept waiting for them to cramp up during the race because they hurt SO BAD walking around the day before.  But nada.  Three cheers for the legs.

The past month and a half many many emails were exchanged about our training and this race.  And one of the main topics was post-race mexican food.  It's a Jenn & Megan tradition, and one I was happy to be a part of.  Somehow no photos were taken of the mexican food.

But no worries, shortly there after it was time for MOAR FOOD.  We were less than impressed when the sushi bar in the hotel told us they were closed due to low capacity in the hotel, because that meant I had to put on real shoes to trek around town for food.

Disgusting note:  I thought I had a monster bloody toe for the last hour and a half of the race.  My left pinky felt really wet and super ouchy.  I assumed my toenail finally came off.  When we got back from the race, I took off my sock and was surprised that it wasn't bright red.  But my toe... was not pretty.  It was blood blister on top of blood blister on top of blood blister, with only my tiny sliver of a toenail not engorged.  **shudders**  I immediately performed surgery, but it was throbbing.  Luckily Jenn let me borrow some shoes that had a little bit more room to try to make my toe happy.  Needless to say, the walk to the sushi place was.... not the most fun I'd had all day.

My purty dates for the evening weekend!

Mmm beer.
Some rolls.  I housed some sushi before I could be bothered to take a photo of that.

After stuffing ourselves silly, we stumbled (literally in my not-quite-properly-walking state) to an Irish bar.  The only other people in there were also wearing marathon medals, so we felt like we were at home.  I pooh poohed Jenn's request for a Blue Moon, and made her drink an Irish beer, because that's what friends are for. :)

A random photo re-enactment of our race finish.  We all were super careful about crossing all timing mats together so people who were tracking us would get exactly the same splits, yet somehow Megan finished a second behind us.  So Jenn and I are #1 and she's #2.  It seemed funnier/more clever after a couple of beers...
These are a few of my favorite things........

The lovely ladies.

Me re-enacting how awkward I look in any self-taken photo (see above). And Megan showing off her awesome broken runner pose.  Possibly my fave photo of the weekend. Jk.

I miss her. Why'd we let her leave again???

Milk and cookies.   Mmm.

My friends are prettier than yours.  Fact.

We tried to make a night of it, but after a whole lot of not sleeping for the weekend, and a good 4 1/2 hours of running earlier in the day, we were out like lights.  Heh heh.  Jenn had to get up so early, I'm not 100% sure I gave her a proper goodbye, but thankfully she'll be back in the states for a bit for the holidays.

Buh bye Philadelphia!  Perhaps we'll see you again next year!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Race Report: Philadelphia Marathon

Sunday morning we were up and at em at 5am.  Actually, that's a bold faced lie.  It was so cold in our hotel room, that no one would/could get out of bed.  Finally Jenn was a soldier and braved out from underneath the covers to turn on the heat.  Since we were about a mile from the race start, we planned to stay at our hotel as long as possible to utilize a bathroom with no lines.  At about 6:30 we took off to the race.  While walking to the race start I realized I had to pee....badly.  And not just the... hmmm do I have to pee nerves.  All lines were a gazillion people deep, and I was panicking.  We decided we'd rather start in a later wave if necessary than stop during the race (bahahah, this is called foreshadowing people).  We all got in and out in record time (after waiting 10 minutes PER PERSON who was in front of us, seriously people get in and get out, we got a race to run!) and made our way to our corral.  Lucky us, we still managed to get back in our spots.  PR in portapotties to start the day!  WIN!

Once our wave was getting ready to start we all got super amped up that we were racing together and then we were off.  The crowd was super congested for the first mile, and we all agreed it was probably best so that we didn't go out too fast.  Before too long Jenn had decided she needed a bathroom, so began the quest of finding a port-a-potty.  Soon after my bladder gave me a salute as well.  So much for the emergency bathroom break before the race.  We ran for at least 5 miles without finding a bathroom, and finally broke off the course and into an open Starbucks to use their facilities.  I'm a gold card member, so I'm sure it's ok.  ;)

Thank you SB, not only for providing me with my beloved PSLs, but also for not making me wet my tempo shorts.

1. 10:12 
2. 9:44 
3. 9:51 
4. 9:57 
5. 9:56 
6. 10:22 

The crowds were awesome.  The race was still pretty packed, but it was fairly easy for us to bob and weave as a trio.  We were all trying to keep our pace in the realm of 9:40-10 minutes, but we were really thrown off by the bathroom break time.  We never discussed it, but it was pretty much decided that we wouldn't bother trying to "make up time" and would hopefully be able to do so during the final stretch of the race.

7. 9:26 
8. 9:58 

We got the eyes from Jenn and we knew that bathroom stop #2 was coming up.  Luckily we didn't have very long to wait until some port a potties appeared.  Unfortunately since there'd been so few leading up to that point, the lines were loooooooooong.  If we're stopped, might as well have a photo shoot, right?  Megan and I did some stretching while Jenn did her business and we were off again.

Shortly after this point was the "hard" part of the race.  There were a couple of hills from miles 7-10 and we tackled them like champs.  We stopped our chatty cathyness and just focused on going up up up.  Once we got to the top, everyone around us all started cheering like we'd just won the marathon for dominating the hill.  The racers were so much fun.  :)

9. 12:33 
10. 9:57 
11. 9:49 

This is clearly my cutest angle.

Not too far after mile 7 I remembered that Neal was going to be at mile 7 on the left hand side of the road.  I expressed my sadness that I had forgotten to look for him, and the conversation bubble was still floating above my head when I saw him!  YAYZIES!  Since I always do destination races for marathons, I never get to experience crowd support from people I know, so this was awesome and gave me a HUGE boost of spirits.

12. 9:48 
13. 9:47 

I was surprised that the half-full portion of the course didn't put a damper on my spirits.  Usually I get a little hohum realizing that I'm not even halfway done, but we were still with a huge crowd of people.  I noted our half split 2:15, and said that we were negative splitting this B!tc# which none of us have ever done in a marathon.  For the rest of the race, we got to see everyone who was ahead of us hauling booty towards the end of the race.  We cheered on the lead runners, and especially the super speedy chickies out front.  I noted that while I didn't feel like I was going slightly downhill, it looked like they were heading uphill, and hoped it wouldn't feel like a mountain for the final few miles.

The best water stop was the Lululemon stop which had music BLARING.  We all started singing and run-dancing (yeah, it's a thing) to Beyonce's Who Runs the World.  We went across a bridge and down a hill and started doubling back.  And I was confused...... no way this was the turn around of the race... (I knew it was essentially an out and back for the last half).  Once we re-crossed the bridge we were back on our way away from the finish line.  At various points during the 2nd half, each of us took our turn with feeling tired and feeling crazy strong.  When Jenn's knees started hurting a bit, Megan was charging up the little rollers like the energizer bunny.  We were definitely feeding off each other when we needed some extra energy.

14. 9:34 
15. 9:53 
16. 9:47 

From about mile 16 I started feeling really hungry.  I was GUing every 4.5 miles, which was the plan, and drinking water at every station, but I just wanted food.  I spotted a sign that said "BEER HERE" and my eyes must've lit up, because the person holding it shouted out, "Yeah JERI wants some beer!" and I did.  My stomach had been a little rumbly and usually beer settles it, so I had a little shot glass of it.  It was kind of amazing.  Nice dark brew.  MMMM.  I was riding such a high, and told Megan and Jenn that when I started to hurt to remind me that, "duh, it's supposed to hurt.  you're running a marathon!"  I know I can be a whiny brat when I'm hurting, so I thought some pre-emptive attention would help me.

17. 9:50 
18. 10:25 
19. 11:05 
20. 10:32 

When we finally got to the turn around of the race, we were all pretty psyched.  Less than a 10k to go, we can run 10ks in our sleep!  We started digging in just a bit more until my stomach dropped.  Uh oh. Luckily within about 30 seconds there was a CVS pharmacy along the route.  Thanks for letting me sprint through your store and use your bano guys!  Apparently Jenn and Megan had a little photo shoot outside while they were waiting.  And we were back on track.

It had gotten pretty sunny, and we were now facing it head on.  Luckily, the temps were fairly mild, and the humidity was nice and low.  We all decided to put in our headphones finally at around miles 21 or 22 to help give us an extra boost.  I kept doing math on how long we had left to run, because that keeps me from thinking about running.  We were passing so many people.  I was hoping the Philly site would have that neat-o graphic of how many people you passed during the last 5k/10k, because I don't remember one person going by us.  Is that what happens when you run a negative split?  Huh...interesting... :P

21. 10:57 
22. 10:22 
23. 9:37 

The last 5-6 miles I started snowballing on to the world's largest runner's high.  I had been enjoying the race previously, and being my sparkle farts self exclaiming how much fun I was having, but in the back of my mind I was telling myself to enjoy it now, because it's standard for my body to fail me.  Once we got to less than an hour of running I realized that even if I did endure some major pain, I could hopefully fight through it for that amount of time.  And when I realized I wasn't going to get hurt you couldn't wipe the smile off of my face!

Which was evidenced by the photos that Neal managed to snag at mile 25.  Seriously,  you'd think we were just getting going on this race, not 4:20+ minutes in to it!
jazz hands!

Megan's to the left, no worries!

extreme left foot placement due to blood blisters upon blood blisters on my left pinky toe. :/

Both Jenn and I had been doing our long runs with a fast finish and were itching to let loose, but we could tell Megan was hurting.  At one point she yelled out that she thought her hip might fall off if we started to kick too soon.  I told her not to worry, because I'd carry her hip if necessary.  That's what friends are for, ya know?  :)  We kept making her chase us just a little bit, because we knew we were going to score her a MONSTER PR.  "just keep swimming" was a mantra that I threw out repeatedly.

The final stretch was amazing.  There were so many people lining the finishing stretch, and because our names were on our bibs, I heard my name over and over again and I was just beaming.  I spotted a nice open spot a little bit in front of us and told Jenn and Megan that we needed to get THERE immediately because that would be optimal placement for our finishing photo.

We were hauling booty and grabbed hands and took the most obnoxious hands in the air, cheshire cat style smiling finisher photo.

24. 9:37 
25. 9:42 
26. 9:15 
.54 4:41 (8:36 pace) <--tangent FAIL, holy moley!

Our finishing time was 4:26:51.  Not my best, and not my worst, but by far my least painful and most fun.  Jenn mentioned it in her report, but post-race I said that without a doubt, this race running step for step with these two girls and supporting each other through it to the end was way more fulfilling that running a PR on my own would've been.  It's pretty rare in life that you get an opportunity to run a race like this at the last minute with your friends, one of which who currently resides on the other side of the world, and I wouldn't have had it any other way.

According to my garmin, our average moving pace (meaning sans potty breaks) was 9:47, and our loose goal at the start was 9:40 pace, so I'd say that's a win.  Because... you know... shit happens. :)

Friday, November 18, 2011

Philadelphia Marathon Goals

When I started training for Philly 6 short weeks ago, I knew that the race was going to be a lot more relaxed then previous marathons.  My co-worker joked that I would probably PR in the race because I was taking all of the pressure off myself, and my body wasn’t going to be super beat up like it is after normal 12-14 week training cycles. 
My training has gone… awesome.  My long runs have been strong, and I’ve felt pretty darn healthy (minus the monster cold from last week).  The weather forecast should be cooler and cloudy (ie:  jerbear running perfection), and I’ll be toeing the line with two of my favorite running gals.
Normally I’m mega-bitch during taper.  Obsessing, obsessing, obsessing.  Kyle commented that I should do more marathons “for fun” because I’m a lot less looney tunes this go around, and I must agree.
Our goal for the race:  have fun, run hard, and take a ridiculous hand in hand finishing photo.
Based on our cumulative training, I’m not sure what our finishing time will be.  I think a sub 4:10 is not out of the question for these legs of mine (PR is 4:12, so that would be STELLAR!).  Under 4:21:31 would put me ahead of Danielle in our challenge.  Primarily, I don’t want to have a body part fall apart and have to gimp run/walk the last 10-13 miles.  Spoiler alert:  that blows.
After this weekend marathon #4 will be under my belt!