Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Round 2

October 9, 2011.

That is when I step back into the ring and go other round with the marathon. I don't think it will be a TKO, but I hope to have the upper hand by the end of this round. Jeff and I are venturing to Portland so that I can run the Portland Marathon in attempt #2 of the marathon distance. I learned a lot my running just one marathon-what I did well and what needed work on. I took that into consideration and made some changes for 2011 to help better prepare me to step into the ring ..again.

1) I joined a group of talented women to run with (Boulder Express-
2) I am working with the coach of this group (Lee Troop) who doesn't sugar coat things and tells it likes it is.
3) Working more on my core strength and flexibility--running takes a toll of your body. And at the rip old age of 33 I need to be careful....
4) Running more miles before the start of the marathon training. Last year I went straight into 50+ miles weeks and built to 80 in 12 weeks of training...all off of 35 miles a week. It took about 3-4 weeks for my body to adjust.
5) Committing to this running thing for the next year to 18 months. I have been competing in multi-sport for so long, I didn't know if I could be a runner again. I decided it would take more then a few months to see if I could run fast again, so I jumped in head first and committed to running...just running.

Seven months from now---almost to day---I will be in Portland ready to take this on. But between now and then, there is a great deal of work to be done. Many workouts. Many long runs. Many days of not wanting to run, but going out to run. Many laughs with my teammates and many stepping stones. It should be quite the adventure.

Rock On

Thursday, January 13, 2011

They're Back......

Love these! Thanks PowerBar!!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Gimme a T....

The old saying goes that it takes a village to raise a child. What about to raise a runner?

My first "team" sport experience was in 12th grade when I joined the cross county team. I continued the team spirit when I went to college and ran 4 years of cross county and 3 years of track. Not only did I make big strides (no pun intended) in my running, but I enjoyed sharing the pain, suffering, laughter and joy with others.

Team 1999

When I left college, I lost my team. I was alone in the running world to fend for myself. No planned week of workouts. No one calling out splits. No where to be at 4pm. I didn't even have to run if I didn't want to. What a strange concept.

I moved to Colorado and found my running again (great to find it at 5300 ft above sea level). I met my husband, found love and another sport...duathlon. Not a team sport. But something other then running, and at that time, I needed something different. I spent about 5 years working at this sport and then other another sport..swimming. Still, I was doing this primarily on my own. No team.

2010. I wanted to run a marathon. I choose to just go to one sport and I still thought I could do it on my own. For 12 weeks, I trained on my own (sometimes with Jeff) and laid mile upon mile. Alone. Cursing...alone. Being proud..alone. Just me and an iPod. I saw my friends with a team. I told myself I could do this on my own. I didn't need a team. In a sense I was too proud to admit that I did want to belong and have a team again. I was determined to do this on my own.

And I did. I ran my first marathon in a respectable time.

But I still longed for a team. A group to be accountable to. To look forward to seeing. To look forward to suffering. To support and encourage each other. I had to take a strong look at what I wanted. I thought about the group I coached and saw their gains and heard what they had to say about being part of a group. I thought back to college. I weighed the pros and cons.

I wrote an email expressing my sincere interest in being on a team. I admitted that I needed and wanted a group of women to run hard and fast with. My biggest gains came with I had that support system. I wanted to not only challenge myself physically, by challenge others in a safe, inviting, and fun atmosphere. I needed a team again. As much as I wanted to deny it, it was the truth. I could not and can not do everything by myself.

Moving into 2011. I am part of a team. A great group of ladies who laugh, curse, and say inappropriate things. But we run hard and have fun. We are ALL making gains and progress. Is it because of each other? I like to think it is.

Team 2010

Rock on~

Monday, December 6, 2010

Testing 1...2....3...

Wikipedia defines a test as: something that may be administered orally, on paper, on a computer, or in a confined area that requires a test taker to physically perform a set of skills. The basic component of a test itself is called an item, which is sometimes colloquially referred to as a "question."

In my case, I (the test taker) took a physical test in which the skill was to race a 5K. The confined area could be defined as the ColderBoulder Course at the CU Campus.

And the "question": Where is my fitness as of December 2010?

Since the end of October/beginning of November, I have been working on building a base and preparing myself and my body what I have planned for it in 2011. The ColderBoulder presented a great "test" to see where I am and where I need to go. Last year I ran a similar test down at Chatfield. Different course this year, same objective.

Going into the 5K, I had some good pre-test results from my workouts. I knew what was possible-or at least had an idea. But again, I kept reminding myself this is December and I don't want to be a Winter Winner. That needs to wait until spring/summer. Jeff and Heather warmed up with me-Jeff being the comic that he is-kept making us laugh and keeping the mood light. The Open Wave started at 10.10. It was suppose to be warm, but sadly, it was cold. I don't know why I was surprised. We do live in Colorado and it is December.

The "confined area" started off down hill, had some sharp turns, a tough 2nd mile, and then a few more turns and flat 3rd mile. The race started and I ran on how I felt. I didn't wear my Garmin so I didn't have a number telling me I was ahead or behind where I thought I should be. I am finding that this practice allows me to race better with fewer numbers to worry about and less over analyzing. The first mile passes and I am feel good. The 2nd mile is the tough one. Some s-curve and uphills took me through this mile. I knew I needed to work this mile-this one is usually my down fall. I keep running and pushing to catch the girl in front on me. The goal is just to get up to Broadway and then focus on the last mile. I finally reach it and know I only have about 7 min left of racing. I settle in to being uncomfortable and keep pushing closer and closer to the finish. I tell myself not to look at my watch-what good will it do? I know where the finish is and I know roughly where I am in relation to the finish-so I just need to run there.


Nearing the finish, I let a girl I passed, pass me back. Dumb move. Right hand turn into the fieldhouse and there is the finish line....and the clock. I cross the line and get my answer.

Answer: I am in a good place for December 2010.

Rock On

Monday, November 15, 2010

A Proud Mama

We have all experienced our mothers (or fathers or aunts) bragging about us at one time or another. My father-in-law will talk to complete strangers (for hours-no joke) about the success that Jeff and I have experienced on the athletic field. My mom thought that me running a 3.10 marathon was incredibly fast. She thought it was even more impressive that I finished 3rd out of 200+ women. My friend Julie has an aunt who stops people in the grocery store to tell people how Julie went to Kona to compete in the Ironman World Championship. Sometimes the people closest to us will not tell us how proud they are of us, despite the fact they are. They will show it in other ways: talking to strangers, pictures on the wall, the excitement in their voice, or a heartfelt hug or smile.

I now know how they feel and I can call myself a "Proud Mama".

For the last 5 years, I have been coaching a group of adults in the BoldRunning Program. Over the course of the seasons, I have seen them start out as timid runners, learning how to navigate a sport that can be quiet intimidating (especially in Boulder), and achieve success in many arenas. And I am proud of them. This past season was especially memorable for me.

Every Tuesday night I looked forward to seeing my 15+ group of runners. They have been running together for 1-5 years. They have all gotten faster over the years, but they still choose to stay together and work together. They support each other. They push each other. They laugh together and share their own running experience with the group. They welcome new runners into the group. They have a good thing going that they don't want to break up. They are committed to the program and to themselves. They balance life, kids, jobs, husbands, wives, soccer practice, school music recitals, HOA meetings, and parent-teacher conferences. And they deal with me every Tuesday night. They ran more miles then other groups because I had to get in X amount of mile for the day (lucky for them this was during my marathon training!) It got to be a joke about how many miles they had to run on Tuesday nights.

The summer program started in June and went through October 17th. Throughout the program they trained hard, building toward that A priority race. Some experienced set backs and learned how work through disappointment. Life got in the way sometimes. But they kept showing up Tuesday nights (and Wednesday, and Thursdays and Saturday and sometimes Sunday). The trained in the hottest of hots and dodged the big thunderheads. They persevered.

And then came race day.

And I smiled and talked about them to others like a proud parent.

Here are some of the amazing events I watched happen this year (I used initials to protect the innocent, but you know who you are!):
  • MDo finished top 10 in a triathlon and ran her fastest BB.
  • JS ran her fastest BB and PR'ed at Denver, then got engaged.
  • LR PR'ed in Moab and ran a smart race. Negative split the 13.1 miles.
  • GN race his first half marathon and reached 40 mph riding downhill.
  • HB ran a 2.10 half in Greece while working through some niggles.
  • TP learned how to swim and did her first open water swim!
  • EJ risked her life to stop traffic for group as they crossed the street. She also won a duathlon and PR'ed at Twin Cities.
  • MM ran a smart race in Chicago. She is an awesome role model to her girls.
  • GB is a rock in the group. He came out to support the group while he recovered from his surgery.
  • PG continues to amazing us all. He qualified for Boston with a 3.57. He is 60.
  • TG and SK. The new mom's of the group came back and regained their post-baby fitness quickly.
  • CH ran some HARD trail races and lived to tell the stories.
  • SM ran a PR at Toronto. She worked hard for this!
  • KL knocked 12 miles off her half marathon time and ran 1.41 at Denver
  • MDu did it all. She did her first 70.3 triathlon. PR'ed at every triathlon distance. Then ran a half marathon after telling me that she does not like running.
  • MF PR'ed at the 5K and 10K. He knocked off 10 min off his half marathon time. I personally think he would have PR'd by more if he did not wear BB shorts.
  • JM PR'd at the Heart and Sole Half marathon and then went on to PR on Imogene Pass.
  • SL bought his first road bike and race in his first triathlons.
  • AC helped a fellow group member change a flat during a race and went on to have a great race of her own. She has challenged herself by signing up for her firs 70.3 triathlon!
  • KD ran her long run (mostly alone) around her kids schedule and had a solid Portland Marathon.
I am so very proud of you all! Congrats and thanks for the adventures and memories.

Rock On

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Running Project

Again...long time between posts. No excuses to be made or had. But decisions have been made that will affect the directions of our athletics.

A funny thing has happened-Jeff and I are getting older. And as we get older, we have both started to see life in a different way. In a sense we are getting more mature and wiser-some days are better then others. It is not all athletics all the time. Life is more then that. But we would be kidding ourselves if we were to say that athletics is not a big part of our lives; it still is. There are just other things is life we want to live and experience in addition to athletics.

Done (for now) are the days of training until 2-3pm on the weekends. Done are the days bundling up in layers of cycling gear to brave the wind. Done are the days of dreading of smelling like chlorine day after day. We have taken on a new project: RUNNING.

It has been about 10 years since I have done just that. When I left college in 1999, I gave up my last track season because I already had two science degrees and a job offer. What I didn't know was that I would also give up running for about 2 years because the man I was dating didn't like competitive women. Needless to say, that relationship did not work out, but it did get me to Colorado. I came back to running for a few months, got injured, met Jeff, started competing in duathlons, moved to triathlons, and now I am ready to go back to running.
Then: Junior Year (20 yrs old) at West Virginia Wesleyan. Davis and Elkins XC Meet-1998
Now: 32 yrs old. Mile 24 or 25 at the Erie Marathon-2010

It started this summer when I decided to run a marathon. 12 weeks of just running. I enjoyed every minutes of it-even when I was yelling and cursing on the ending miles of a 20-22 mile run. I finished the marathon, pleased with my first attempt, but wondering what I could do if I did it for more then 12 weeks. I spoke to a few people about it and made the decision-I am going to focus on my running for the next 12-18 months.

And with that decision came more decisions. I reflected back on my college days and what allowed to me to make big gains while running. I found and joined forces with an amazing and supportive group of women. I felt that having a group to support, challenge, and suffer with would be an imperative step in this project. I employed the knowledge of local professionals to help me strength my body as a whole and develop more flexibility--I forgot how much pounding your body takes from just running. And I decided it was time to work on my limiting agent when it comes to running--the mental side.

The decisions and players are made and set in motion. Now it is time to see where this project will take me.

Rock On,

Friday, October 8, 2010

The last 13.3 Miles

As mentioned in my previous post, things were going smooth for the first 13.1 miles. I was happy, or has happy one can be when running 26 miles at a quick pace. I was looking forward to mile 16 because I was going to drop my FuelBelt and pick up my hand held filled with magic juice-Red Bull. I think my affinity for Red Bull started when I mixed it with vodka. There were a couple time where I raced off that concoction and it did not go so well (at the time I thought mixing both and racing the next morning was a superb idea). So I thought removing the vodka component would be a smarter idea and just drink Red Bull. Bingo.

Mile 16 rolls up on us and I hand over my FuelBelt to Jeff and he goes and fetches the Red Bull. As soon as we passed mile 16 things started to go down hill....rather quickly. My entire lower body got tight. My hips were sore. My calfs were in knots. My IT bands were screaming at me. Jeff had warmed me that a flat course is not always an easy course. It is repetitive motion on your legs. No changes in muscle groups. I laughed as I did not believe him. Laughing at him was coming back to bite me in the ass. My pace slowed. A LOT.

Jeff kept encouraging me, but my body was not willing. My mind was retreating into a dark dark space. I thought about just walking off the course many times during the 5 miles stretch from mile 16-21. It would have been so easy to just stop and call it a day. I was done caring at this point. Jeff kept telling to to relax, push though it. I kept telling him to shut-up. I told him I had to deal with this myself. These were my demons to slay.

I kept moving, albeit slowing and sipping on Red Bull. At one point, I asked Jeff who was behind me. I was in 2nd place. He said " Just men". A mile later I was in 3rd place. Damn. The bright spot in these 5 miles is that I was still passing people who did not follow their plan. I was a total bitch during these miles. I was angry. Upset. I didn't want Jeff to talk to me. I just wanted to give this race the finger and walk off.

At mile 21, I snapped out of my dark space. I was light on my feet. My mood was better. I apologized to Jeff for being a bitch and asked if he still wanted to be my husband. He laughed and said "Yes." Good...crisis averted. My pace I was holding for the first 16 miles came back by mile 22. I only had 2 x 2 miles to go. This seemed extremely doable at this point in the race. I looked down at my watch and knew the last 5 miles at killed any chance of hitting my A goal. So I had to resort to my B goal. It was still going to be a decent time for a first marathon, but I would be lying if I said I was not disappointed.

Jeff was amazing during this race. He was so supportive. He dealt my my highs and lows in stride and did not take it personal. He knows from experience what this is like and having him by my side made me stronger. I have no idea how he swim 2.4 miles, rode 112 miles, and then ran a 2.56 marathon at the end. I thought about this many time during this race.

Each mile, I was getting faster. I was passing more and more people. I was trying to regain back 2nd place, but I knew the damage was done and I have to minimize any other damage at this point. We reached mile 25...only 1.2 to go. My watch was set to beep at 26.2 miles. I finished my last mile in 6.55 and my watch went off at 26.2. But I was not at the finish line. I just wanted to stop running, but I had to cross the finish line. 0.2 miles later, I crossed the finish line in time of 3.11.

I staggered toward my mom, brother and cheering squad. I kept looking for Jeff. He had left me at mile 25. I wanted to see him. I started to get really cold. My legs were not willing to move much further. I wanted to sit down. Jeff finally finds out and we start to walk back to the car. The car was parked about 800m from the finish. It took be about 15-20 min to walk that far.

The experience of running my first marathon was invaluable. I learned a lot. I know what to expect now-both physically and mentally. I know that I trained for only a short period of time and was happy with the result. It has made me look forward to my next marathon. I decided I was going to run one about 2 hours I after crossed the finish line.

Rock On