Friday, October 30, 2009

Quick Tips for Claire

Well, my e-friend, Claire, is an awesome raw foods extraordinaire and whips up some phenomenal items and blogs about them - with pictures because that's what she does in her thorough documentation - she writes AND photographs her food! If I had the time, I'd be diligently making everything she's blogged about because it sounds so scrumptious ... and healthy! The furthest I've ventured into her raw world is a failed attempt at some wheatberry pancakes and an altered green smoothie, full of spinach (I say altered because I still use the protein powder that I'm certain is not "raw"....but it is green: to the right). She dedicated an entire blog to me, ME recently after I was talking to her about the importance of protein for runners and the magical healing powers it had on overly worked muscles and how many of her masterpieces probably didn't have enough protein in them for me. I'm not trying to be a snob or self-righteous; I just know I need more protein. So Claire, the sweetie she is, got to thinking about me and protein and whipped up a raw version of a protein smoothie and dedicated it to me. Thanks again, Claire, I was honored. Here's her article:

Claire's also dabbling a little in the running world. Ah, a subject a little more to my liking and understanding! I told her I'd reciprocate her blog gesture with one of my own to her, about running, what else!. She's entering her first race, a 5-miler! Not a 3.1 mile 5K; nope, her first race is going to be 5-miles. Wow! Starting with a bang...Atta girl!!

Somewhere I got my wires crossed and thought Claire's first race was Thanksgiving and I was composing a blog to her about hydration, carb-loading, focusing, pre-race prep, race strategies, etc. and was going to present this beautifully thought-out, well-composed masterpiece to her next week. Well, I got to thinking this morning, as I was organizing my day in my head before I crawled out of bed, that I had no Halloween candy for those darling little Trick-Or-Treaters tomorrow. There's a reason for that - that being I have zero self-control and therefore cannot buy those handy sized sugar-loaded "things" until, max, the day before Halloween; anytime sooner and well, it'd be all gone. Thinking you'll just have "one" turns into ten before I realize what damage I've just done. If sugar's here, I'll eat it. Thus the constant comment from my daughter, "We have nothing good to eat in this house!" I guess that may be true if your age still is in the teens, but I tend to disagree; there's nothing wrong with an apple or a banana....and we have plenty here all the time! Sugar's fine in small amounts; 10 lbs bags of Halloween candy consumed in one sitting is not.

Anyway, back to my morning ritual of preparing my entry to the world after slumberland.....realizing it was Halloween tomorrow, it hit me that I think I had the wrong holiday of Claire's entry to race-world! I think it's tomorrow - Halloween! A quick message to Clair asking to verify race date; off to cycling class; check messages upon completion of class; confirmed message that yes, her race IS tomorrow. *sigh*

So I am sorry, Claire, that I failed you! I will say this though about the race tomorrow - just a few minor tips:
-Get all your race attire laid out tonight with bib pinned on.
(I like to wear my bib on my shorts and not my shirt. On the shirt, it bothers me as my arms pumps across it)
-Scrunch up the bib in your hand and then un-scrunch it flat on where you choose to wear it on your attire. If it's scrunched, it's not so big and bulky and cumbersome as it is in it's "new" state.
-Drink LOTS of water today.
-Get to the start early tomorrow.
-Eat some Oatmeal about an hour before, a banana about a half hour before. I like to put peanut butter (Smart Balance!!!) in my oatmeal...but not sure about the raw contents of pb.
-Before you line up, run a little,stretch, run a little, stretch, then run a little and stretch. 3 times. Not more than 100M running. Do dynamic stretching, not static stretches.
-It's okay to be nervous; I think it's a way of honoring the race. Just try not to get too nervous and puke. Been there, done that, not fun!
-Don't start too far back.
-Look around you at the start and eye-up the competition and pick a few out ahead of time that you want to kick their butts! You'll know who they are...the ones you just KNOW you can beat cuz you're in such awesome shape and they are....well....not!
-DON'T, DON'T, DON'T start off too fast. More races are killed within the first few steps because you start running faster than your body can sustain for 5 miles. Don't get caught up in the endorphin rush pushing you faster the first mile cuz by mile 4, that's just not going to feel that great!
-If feeling good just after 3 miles, pick up the pace a little.
-If feeling good just after mile 4.5, then gut it out, Claire. Give the race all you have in you!
-Don't leave anything out there on the race course; otherwise you're going to feel bad for a few days after thinking you could have run harder...and we want you back at that start line eager to get on with another race soon!
-Drink some Gatorade immediately after - get back in some carbs. Make sure you drink lots of water the rest of the day!
-Celebrate later that evening with Trick-Or-Treaters and your mom's birthday cake. Raw, of course :) !

So there ya go, Claire (and anyone else)...I know it's brief and not really what I intended to write about but hopefully you'll get a tip or two out of it. You inspire me to be eat healthier and maybe I can add a touch of inspiration to your running, too! Good luck, Claire, and to all those out there running this weekend! I know I need luck as I venture out onto the roads after the blizzard we just endured the past 52 hours!
Any other veteran racers out there with any advice or tips for Claire before she steps up to the plate, holler!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

A 50-Miler, me?

I've had so much going on to share - where to start off....

We came home from our little trip to New Mexico last night, a day early. A massive storm was predicted, which accuracy for once, to hit Denver last night and I didn't want to be stuck in the middle of nowhere. I was a little bummed that we never made it to the 4-corners and Mesa Verde, which was on the original schedule; we haven't been there in ages and I know the boys would have enjoyed that immensely. But we had a great time in Albuquerque and got a good three days of quality time exploring the area!

A few firsts for me while on vacation (don't worry, they aren't some life-altering occurrences where I'm going to get deep and heavy here ... just plain ole simple firsts that stuck with me):

-I ran my first longer-than-12-mile run in Albuquerque in the 22 years I've frequented there. I've been in the midst of training for a marathon or two (or 3 or 4 even...) while I've visited there and have had to arrange my runs around whatever was going on, as we runners do, but I can't recall ever going over 12 before. So 17 was a pretty big milestone.

- I did this 17-miler on the Bosque Trail that runs along the Rio Grande River. I've never run on this trail on my own; the only other time I've been on this trail was when I ran about 10 or so miles of the Duke City Marathon about 10 years ago. I knew to get in more than 10 miles in city neighborhoods, I'd have to venture on this trail for something new. The leaves were turning vibrant gold, plentiful, and I really enjoyed this really flat bike trail. A kids' Halloween bike ride was going on and I loved watching them zip past me in their costumes; a great distraction to the monotony of the continuous miles I was running.

- I didn't have a sucky long run - for once. Granted, it was only 17 vs. 21-23 like I was doing this past summer but still....the run went well and I could do "race pace" in the middle, whereas I haven't been able to all summer.

- I actually lost a lb on vacation vs. gaining 7. Sweet!

- I ran speed work on vacation. Which is just kinda weird. And I didn't do 400's on a track; I thought about that but kids were still in school here (I think) and I'm not exactly sure where the nearest high school is anyway so I ran about a mile, found a fairly flat side street and ran quarter mile repeats. Fast one way, slow and recovered the other way. Repeat x 10. At an average of 1:33. That'd be a 6:12 pace, baby! Pretty happy about that! I had negotiated with Rob about doing 12 instead of 8 that he wanted me to do but I ended them at 10 because I got a late start an wanted to get out of town....and also because my annoying glute pain was acting up. Again. I'm happy with the 10 I got in; I worked them hard and felt great so I'll take it!

- The boys and I hiked the 5 volcanoes, cinder cones, that border the western edge of the city. Always wanted hike around them, beings the geologist and all, but never did for whatever reasons. They were awesome!

- I read an entire Runners World magazine from cover to cover in one sitting. Usually, it takes me about 3 weeks to read about half before I give up. I need more hours in my life...

- As to the subject of this blog: Thoughts of a 50-miler next year entered my mind. Thanks, in part, to the magazine (above) I read. As Tish Hamilton wrote in the article, "I was going to run just one ultra, and I didn't want to have to explain that 50-K was 31 miles." That's not really my exact reason....I'm sort of going with the: I'm going to run just one ultra and I don't think I'd run 50 miles if I know how painful 50-K is so I may as well enter the ultra world with a big bang, and just end it right then and there. Me, doing a 50-miler!! I think I'm ready mentally!!! Now...which to pick. And how to even go about training. Here's an article on ultras I found pretty interesting:

- I bought my first lightweight trainers: Nike LunarGlide. They're super ugly; I got the dk gray/yellow color (oh sorry, their official color is: Anthracite/Reflective Silver-Voltage Yellow) but wow, I ran just a half mile on them today (forced rest day due to the irritating glute) and they just feel so light on the ole legs! They are apparently the latest crave so I'm excited to see how they work. And if they DO work, I need a different color!

That's it, I think!

Denver is getting bombarded with major snow today (so glad I came home early). I like snow, for about 3 days....and then I'm overly done with it. Gonna be a long, looooonnnngg, winter - ugh. It's totally screwing up my long run plans this weekend of heading up to the mountains to run a long downhill course that would be great training for Tucson. If I postpone my long mountain run to next weekend, then I'm out of the half marathon I wanted to do; I don't now how'll I'll squeeze everything in. As it is, I'm going to have to run about 10 on my treadmill. Not fun, but I'll head over to the gym and do it vs. my basement where I get so easily distracted. Charlie, old massage therapist, worked on my glute today and he said all is good...I just need to stretch the ga-gee-
bees outta it. Ok, I'm gonna make the effort. Really! Picture is from my backyard deck. Another 10" predicted before this beast moves out!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Run the Rio

I'm on a little trip South in New Mexico; the boys and I are on fall break so I brought them down to see their grandmother .... and just for much-needed time away.

The internet cafe I'm sitting at closes in a mere 10 minutes so this will be sort.

I've been coming down to this part of the woods for the past 23 years; though lately, not as often for personal reasons. In all the years I've been down here, I have only once ran on the trail along the Rio Grande River - and that was only because it was part of the marathon I did here about 10 years ago. So today, since I had to run 16, the longest I've ever run down there, I found a map of the trails in the vicinity and headed to the path along the Rio.

I have to say: I'm so sorry that I never did this in the years before. It was gorgeous. Of course, the leaves are just starting to turn here and so all the large Cottonwood trees are just turning bright yellow so that made it extra special. But the trail is very flat and I was able to get in a very nice long run in. For one!!! Even sporting VERY sore quad muscles two days later from that 5K I ran on Friday night. Sad, huh??!!!??? I stopped to stretch my quads a few times but overall, I felt great and I was able to maintain the "plan", though a little fast the first 6:

6 miles at 9:05,
6 miles at 8:25
4.75@ 9:27

I was also particularly happy that I was able to choke down my pb&j sandwich - my fuel of choice since I can't seem to stomach those GU's lately. It worked out well, though it was a tad sticky. Also happy to report that the XOOD electrolyte stuff, electrolyte choice of Tucson Marathon, is going down well, too! Happy, happy, HAPPY about that!

After I ran almost 17, the boys and I hiked all over the volcanoes that line the western edge of the city. We had a blast! Brendan was climbing all over those things and the two of them did some trail running, too.

Okay, the employees are giving me the evil eye...time to go.

Happy running this week to all!

Week 43

Week 43:
Week's running totals: 35.34
2009 running totals:1515.44
Weight/core training: 2.

Friday, October 23, 2009

From the Marathon to the 5K

With Brendan. I may not have the costume, but I'm sporting the right colors!

This post will have to be short; I am suppose to be packing for a few days away during our fall break....though that plan is sort of up in the air as I type; Ryan is not feeling well. He came home from school and looked really pale (the child is about as pasty-white as they come so anything whiter is kind of ghostly looking). I sent him to bed with some Advil and some Gatorade, went with his twin brother, Brendan, to the Halloween 5K and upon my return (much later than I wanted, had to drop Abbey off at DU but had to make a quick detour to the mall first. Bad mom!), he was running a slight fever. Eeeeerrrrrrrr! We're suppose to take off tomorrow about 7a.m. but will postpone that until a little later in the morning to see how he fares. Called my aunt, who is traveling with us, to inform her that plans were either 1) we'd go later in the morning with Ryan if Ryan is feeling better, 2) we'd wait and go on Sunday and then skip a day of our trip or 3) we'd head out later on Saturday, without Ryan (he will have to stay with his dad) and come home on Tuesday instead of Wednesday. I have clothes literally thrown into a corner with no sense of order, and most likely logic, so I may be up a bit later than I hoped.

My boys and I were suppose to run this Halloween 5K tonight; we ran it last year and they enjoyed it. I am convinced I will NEVER like the 5K. I remember Matt from our relay team telling me that the 5K is the worst race ever invented. I full-heartily agree!!! It sucks the lung right out of me...and I'm not kidding about that. I seriously think I have some sort of exercise-induced asthma or something cuz honestly, I cannot stop coughing and feel like I just can't get enough air in me! Anyway, Brendan and I headed to Wash Park for the race, sans Ryan, and picked up Abbey from DU along the way. Traffic was a total nightmare; I don't know how anyone drives in that mess on a daily basis. Drives. Me. Mental! So we got there kinda late due to the sea of traffic on I-25 but all was good, we had time to get us registered. Tons of decked out costumes. I'm not creative, and I can't run in anything "fun" - I once wore a green pony-tail holder with tons of ribbons in it for a St. Patty's run, and it bothered me the whole time I ran. Ha. So my orange shorts and black shirt had to suffice for Halloween "attire" - I think it worked well.
Though I can't help but think those orange shorts are jinxed! They failed me on one of my timed miles this summer - so much so, I never even finished that mile and DNF'd at 800 (a horrible day the day before left me sporting a heavy-heart still at scheduled 5a.m. run the next morning; just couldn't feel it). They didn't do a lot of good today for me either. But I'm okay with it. Sorta. I really thought I could run faster...and maybe I can, maybe it was just a barrage of things and the planets were all mis-aligned; I'm not sure but I crossed with a 23:10. ugh.

The following is not a list of excuses, I don't believe in them. This is just what was.

I had a horrible headache after that lovely traffic I got to endure for 40 minutes (what is normally a 20 minute drive). My left shoulder is acting up again. My left hamstring and glute are just tighter than cello strings! But the largest hindrance working against me is that I just can no longer run a 5K at a decent speed. Oh, and if you read my last blog about mastering the "take off too fast and then die at the end" game, well I'm here to report that I have not faltered from the rules of this game, no sirree! My goal was to run about 7 minute miles. Mile 1: 6:43 (ta-dah!!!). Mile 2: 7:33 (um, really? Cuz it felt like a 6 min/mile). I made the mistake of grabbing some water here and after I took a very small drink, that went down the wrong pipe, I had to really slow down because I was, honest to God, not getting any air in me for about 10 seconds! Mile 3: 7:42 (oh yeah, paying for that first mile quite nicely now). Coughed constantly. Played hop-scotch with a guy for the entire race. Somehow I managed to run past and stay ahead of him as we passed the 2 mile marker but rounding the last .1 mile corner in my slower than snail's pace, he passed me to claim his Jill vs. the-blond-guy-in-the-blue-shorts trophy. Yeah, I got this going out too fast game down pretty darn well - I challenge anyone to just try and beat me. Good thing that I don't really give a crap about 5K's. Well, that's not totally true, I would like to run them faster, but that's not my goal right now and I'll just use this little race as some much-needed speed work!
Maybe one day I may work on speedier races (thought I somehow doubt it) but in the meantime, I had a blast running with Brendan and will take advantage of doing these races with them whenever my boys want to give 'em a shot. And the fact that Abbey was there...well, that was just extra special cake icing for sure. It doesn't matter that I may have coughed up a lung; I got to spend time with the most special people in my life doing the thing I love most (but if they'd just try a 1/2 marathon instead of a 5K, then that'd just be oh so much sweeter!!)

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Snowshoes, perhaps?

Picture taken as I left school today of the track where I run my intervals. Hum. I'm thinking I may have to dig out my snowshoes, I do have them you know. Snow wasn't sticking to the streets but there must be some sort of chemical attraction in the track surface because those little snowflakes were accumulating quite nicely there. I snapped this photo with my cell phone as I exited the school parking lot at 3p.m.; it continued to snow throughout the afternoon and when I returned from the grocery store, at 9:45p.m., light flakes were still falling.

I live in Colorado; snow in mid-October is pretty normal. But it doesn't mean I like it. :P YUCKKKKKKK! I know why retired people move to warmer climates - as age creeps into my body, I'm thinking a place in Southern Cali ... on the beach...would be pretty awesome!

As tempted as I was to drag out the ole snowshoes, there wasn't actually enough snow to engage in such activity, nor did I have the proper winter gear, which is sitting boxed up in my basement, unpacked and ready to go, so it was off to the basement for intervals on my treadmill. I debated heading to the gym, just to get a change of scenery and out of my house, but I didn't want to spend the time driving to and from. I desperately want to try to land in bed earlier than has been the case as of late; I tend to function a lot better on somewhat more than what I've been getting lately. Soooooooo....

6x800 @ 3:35 (7:10 min/mile pace)

This seemed slow to me having run most of my intervals sub 3:30 pre-Portland so not sure what was up with the increased time. I always like to either put the treadmill at a 1% incline or increase the pace a tad, to make up for the treadmill itself doing a bit of the work for you. So I opted for a 6:58 pace, which is 3:26 for the 800's. No need to report actual times since the treadmill did that for me. I'm happy to report I didn't fall off or have any other catastrophes and the intervals went well. Worked out at 5a.m. with t-man and after each set of weighs, I ran a mile at an 8 minute pace. I think the theory behind this weight train/run/repeat x3 is to get me fast to run through the fatigue and not slow down. All I can say is that this week felt a lot better than last week - I could actually breath today and my legs weren't lead pipes. But I was still in post-Portland recovery last week and despite Rob thinking I should have been strong, my body was not really ready to engage in a regular full week. That's my take on it anyway, from my training and from what I could read up on. I always say we're an experiment of one and my body just takes longer than most to recover, I guess. Anyway, add this morning's work out to my intervals tonight and though my were legs not sore or fatigued, they certainly did not feel fresh either. But I pumped out the 800's and felt great afterwards. For all those that have success with Yasso's 800's conquering the same number in marathon finish time, I bow to you. If I could land a 3:26 marathon that would be one helluva sweet day in my life!!!!! I may even retire the marathon after that.

But alas, my legs don't produce fast slow-twitch muscles and I have succumbed to the fact that I will just be stuck at a 3:46 marathon pace for eternity :).

I am lying here in my bad, ready for slumberland (please let me sleep more than 4 hours tonight!!!) with a heating pad on my left shoulder blade. Apparently Elizabeth's sadistic torture in that muscle yesterday is either still healing, she didn't get enough of the crud worked out, or I've managed put produce more knots in there today weight training, less than 15 hours after she worked them out. I'm guessing it's the latter. Errrr!

I can't end my blog without a VERY special thank you to Jim Clawson, pacing buddy, whom, upon my return from work today, surprised me with a gorgeous bouquet of pink flowers (a man after my own heart - PINK!!). And we're not talking cheap WalMart flowers here, we're talking major fancy-smancy flowers. I didn't expect it nor even feel they are warranted - I ran with him because it was an honor for ME to do so. I didn't even get a victory flower or anything from the one person I carry most with me after conquering Boston. ... so thanks, Jim. You really didn't need to do anything, but I love them and will smile every time I see them and remember the awesome experience!

Hum, maybe I ought to pace more often :)!

Pretty, huh?

Monday, October 19, 2009

Way to Be Tough

Jim and I at mile 20

There couldn't be a more gorgeous sun-filled, blue-sky'd, autumn day on Sunday for the Denver Marathon. The morning started crisp and cool, which was ideal for marathon runners....but it quickly warmed up and by mile 15, I could really feel the heat of the sun rising and warming up to uncomfortable temperatures for the last few miles. Unfortunately, this heat and a few other predicaments left Jim not finishing in the range of his hopeful time finish line clock. Still, I couldn't be more proud!

Rise and shine and in the car headed towards downtown at 6a.m. Parked and got Jim to the start line while his wife, Jane, and I went and watched the gun go off and Jim cross the start line. No time to lolly-gag, I needed to be at City Park by mile 6 and we had to book it to make it. Mile 6: here he comes and off I go, Gatorade in hand, and pace a wee-bit ahead of what he predicted. A good 15 seconds/mile ahead. I had a few concerns but I really don't run with Jim, only have run a few races here and there with him and made him once run hill repeats with me, which I could never get him to do again. He said he felt good here but, too, expressed his slightly excessive speed. I was not going to say a word about pace. I've done the "start out too fast and kill yourself later" game - in fact, if there is a winner of such game, I have to hold the gold medal here. But I have no idea if this is fast for him or not and now wasn't the time to preach holding your pace, so I just muttered a few words between large inhales to slow my erratic breathing (this pace was close to my tempo pace), and ran to the 8 mile marker with him. Jane and I walked back through ankle deep leaves to the car and headed to mile 14.

We got to mile 14 about the time the front runners were rounding the curve; I really enjoyed this section watching all those out in front and cheering them on. I stood on the corner and said my favorite line: You're so strong, keep it going! I think this is more empowering then the, "looking good" verse. I don't know why, but that line just never does anything for me when I'm running. I loved this section where I could cheer the runners on, to be on the other side of the receiving line for a change. It was interesting to me how some runners were so focused and were oblivious to those cheering around them and others were so receptive; they'd smile or wave or even offer a gesture of thanks. The sun was shining, 17th street was lined with large trees full of autumn leaves canopying the street, and I was having the time of my life.

Jim pulled up right after the 3:30 pace group and off I went. I had a bottle of Gatorade for him to exchange but Jim didn't want it. His pace was slowing a little here, too, and couple warning bells went off here also. One, it was getting warmer and I didn't know how much Jim was drinking but I didn't think it was enough and I knew he wasn't eating enough. Having partaken in the lack-of-nutrition glee in Portland just two weeks prior, I advised him to eat something more than a few sport beans. All I could do was advise. Jim also mentioned here that he was glad to see me. Hum...if anyone's "glad" to see me, there must be something wrong :). But he said he felt good though slowing his pace down to where he felt it more comfortable. Okie-dokie. I let him go at around 15.25 and said I'd find him at mile 19 for the long stretch to the finish line.

In a melee of obstacles of Jane not being able to find a place to park at mile 15 and thus not there to pick me up, we were not able to make it to mile 19, which was on the west side of Washington Park so had to suffice to be at mile 20, on the east side. I stood there and the one thing that was on my mind was the heat: it was getting really warm. Jim came in about 10 minutes later than we anticipated and voiced his concerns over cramping in his legs. My mind quickly turned into warning signal of dehydration. I had offered him salt pills earlier in the race but he didn't want them then and I failed to bring them with me this time, having left them in my long-sleeved shirt, which was now in the car since it had to be in the low 70's. Darn!!! But it was probably too late for them now anyway. Mr. C. walked a little here and I knew his mind was gone and he was hurting bad. I tried my hardest to just talk about anything - mindless chatter just to keep him distracted. I talked about Boston qualifying and how one day he's experience it, too. I talked about my race in Big Sur, CA last year and how warm it was and the cramps I got and how I had to walk. I talked about how I was so dehydrated in San Diego marathon and didn't drink enough. My goal here was to just keep him from being reminded how much he hurt ... and also to let him know that his pain wasn't only his. Each and every one of us marathoners have pain; it's part of the experience. It's why we do it...because it's not easy.

Jim's son Will joined us the last two miles and I ran off to the side more so that the two of them could have some time together. People cheering were lined deep as we entered downtown, cheering for Jim, which his name on his bib, and probably wondering why the heck I didn't look like death. The guy with the semi-transparent psychedelic speedo and clown nose and wig, passed us at the end and for the life of me, I'll never forget that ungodly sight. Wow.

Will and I pulled off to the side just before Jim crossed the finish line in 3:56. I was honored beyond words to be part of his first marathon. Thank you, Jim, I had a great time being your pace car and WHEN you get to the start line of another, I'd be honored to be there for you again!

As for my running:

Today I went to massage therapy again. I'm hoping this isn't going to be habitual, I'm not sure I can afford this little luxury for too long. But achy glutes and a strained muscle in my shoulder thought I'd better. I must be a sucker for physical suffering because OWIE!!! She digs so deep into my glutes and my calves that I cringe even before she touches me because I know it's going to be excruciating. I have (had. Please be "had") more knots in my left glute and some trigger points in my left calf. A big knot now in my left Trapezius Muscle (shoulder, kinda), too. I mean, my muscles know the instant I walk out her door and decide to unite and see how many knots they can form? Cuz geez, I was just there two weeks ago and she got them all out and it's not like I've run a billion miles since then. I schedule another appointment for the week after next, just in case.

I am feeling tired lately and hope it's not a warning sign of something big coming on. I think I just need some sleep. My diet's been so far off the charts. 3 more days of work and then I'm off for a week. Taking the boys, along with my aunt, down to New Mexico for a few days. I'm looking forward to a change of scenery for a bit.

Halloween 5K on Friday night that I'll probably do with the boys. It was really fun last year but I SUCK doing 5K's. Honestly, they have got to be the worst race ever invented. Let's just run your guts out, literally, for not 1, not 2, but 3 miles. Good speed work, though.

Okay, well past my bedtime and 5:30 am work out so off I go....

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Week 42

Week 42:
Week's running totals: 34.25
2009 running totals:1480.1
Weight/core training: 2.5 (.5 cuz I went on my own on Friday morning and I really had no ambition and wasn't sure what some of t-man's stuff was he had written so I just half did what I needed to do)
1 yoga class

Saturday, October 17, 2009

My Turn to Pace

Two weekends ago, if you read the blog, my incredibly gifted outdoor gear writer friend, Sarah, of Marathon Moms, paced me the last two miles of Portland and had her friend pace me the previous 3. Okay, I should revise that to say that Sarah did not really "pace" me as I was no where even close to running an 8:45 min/mile by mile 24 when she jumped in and relieved Ellison, even though that was her official job title. I've never had anyone pace me before (though let me give credit here where credit is due: my dear, DEAR friend Randy, whom lives in Dallas and I've know since my freshman year in college, has planted himself at various points along the course of the Dallas White Rock marathon each of the 3 times I've run it. He ran with me a bit here and there and see how I'm doing, offer whatever assistance I may need. He's awesome! But he's never run more than a half mile or so with me) since I really don't enjoy conversations lasting more than 3 1/2 seconds when I physically hurt so much, I wasn't sure how I was going to fare with this pacing thing of Sarah and Ellison. Quite frankly, I was pretty nervous about it. These woman didn't know me and didn't know my mannerisms, or lack thereof, and I was afraid they were going to think me some wack-o woman. Especially since we met the night before for dinner and I was starting to get really nervous - nothing like trying to impress a couple of amazingly smart women when you're stomach is doing somersaults and all you really are focusing on is getting your mind de-tangled for tomorrow's run.

Nevertheless, all worked out well with the pacing thing in Portland. Ellison, with eagle eyes, found me at exactly mile 21, even though I was clustered within a large group of 3:45 Boston qualifier hopefuls. By this time, I was starting to falter and the first thing I told her when she asked me how I was doing was: I'm quickly tiring. She offered a few words of encouragement and then she just ran. No lots of questions, no yelling at me to pick up the pace; I did my thing and she just ran beside me. At one point, she asked me if she should talk about something. I was so beyond any sort of "zone" by now - you know, that happy place your legs and mind unite and you feel like you're just floating out there and every part of the marathon is going well. I lost that zone once I got over the bridge at mile 19 and I tried to get back into it but just never quite could; I had lost so much ground on that damn bridge and suddenly my zone was overtaken with "time" and how much I had lost and how I had to quickly get the legs to turnover faster. This is never a good place for me to land; when a finish line time starts to consume every second of my mind, it overtakes me and sets me up to fail - quickly! So the diversion of Ellison's story of her marathon and making it to Boston was welcomed; I enjoyed listening to something other than the bad words formulating in my head telling me I was overly tired and trying to tell me that walking would be a better alternative than trying to run this thing. I hate those voices! I generally try to drown them out by blaring my iPod as loud as it will possibly go with an upbeat sappy song my daughter would deem "lame." It doesn't always work - the mind being ever so powerful!

But by the time Sarah found me at mile 24, I couldn't sustain anywhere even close to a so-called pace and was relieved when she started talking to me about the areas we were entering at each turn, about her husband and kids exiting Mass that morning and how she ran into them after her rowing match, and about her first marathon in San Francisco and how it was disappointing for her. It's amazing to me, now that I look back, that she could tell so many stories in our brief 2.2 miles (2.2??? It honestly felt like 12.2!).

But I love it - having someone out there for me, focusing on nothing but ME. For once, I wasn't doing a thousand things for someone was my turn and they were there to help!

I enjoyed my pace buddies so much that I offered to do the same for my good friend, Jim Clawson, as he runs his first marathon tomorrow at the Denver Marathon. Jim's a pretty private person, he rarely ever talks to anyone about what he's doing but it didn't take long for me to figure out what he was up to: he was doing longer and longer runs that were timed perfectly with Denver and he did this 10-mile race on Labor Day where the courses follows part of the Denver Marathon ... there really aren't many people who run 20+ mile runs just for the fun of it; those runs generally have a purpose behind 'em.

But Jim, being the private person he is and all, didn't seem all that receptive to the idea of me there, thinking it wasn't needed, and I'm not one that's going to force anyone to do anything they aren't comfortable with ... plus, he wasn't being very direct on whether he was doing it (even seeing him running the 'hood on Thursday, he was not committed to running it) but he was coming around and seeing the perks of maybe having me there.

So I'm in! I met at his house last night for a couple hours and we discussed where to meet, what to bring, and of course, got side-tracked by a hundred other things non-marathon related, but I think we covered all our bases for tomorrow and are ready to go and I'm racking my brain about things to talk about in case he gets in that frame of mind where he wants my endless chatter and not the dangerous voices in his head. But I'll be completely honest here - I had a really crappy 11 mile run today and I am more than a wee-bit nervous that I'm not going to be able to haul my sorry ass at his hopeful 8:15 pace! Though this pace is really doable for me in 1-2 mile stretches, or when my legs don't feel like lead still from Portland, but the last stretch I'm doing with him will be about 5-6 miles and well, it MAY be a bit ambitious for me in my current heavy-leaded-legged state. I'm having a few aches and pains, too - mostly the front of my hip, likely the tensor fascia muscle, and my glutes. Trainer-man thinks the hip happened in yoga and that I just strained it. I don't really think it was a direct yoga injury, I think I "strained" it running 26.2 miles in Portland and exacerbated that strain with yoga since my body parts never have really been in those positions before ...I don't know, but it's there and I need to be diligent about stretching the crap outta it. I pray I don't slow Mr. C. down tomorrow. But if that's the case, I'll just pop off to the side and let him do his thing - he doesn't need to hear his daemons speaking to him on top of my wheezing gasps for air. I also think his 14-year old son, Will, will chime in about mile 23 for the tail end to pull his dad in also. A glorious moment, for sure!

Will is the connection how I met the Clawsons some 8 or so years ago when my boys were in grade school together with him. Jane (wife) is a fellow Iowan (Dubuque) and I just love these guys...we've shared many laughs and drinks and good food with them. Jim fought like hell to get me out for martinis after I got home from Boston, the only offer to celebrate my victory. I had so many races and long runs planned that it was late June before it ever panned out - each time we tried before and I couldn't, Jim would say: there is not a weekend where you DON'T have a run planned. Yes, that was true so it was time to find the time. Jane and I drank so many martinis when we finally got together that I vowed to never have a lemon drop martini again and I think dear Janey lost a box of Cheeze-It's the next day. Maybe that's something that one shouldn't blog about ....but we had a blast and I'll always remember their generous and gracious hospitality. Jim's also given me tons of upbeat music for both Boston and Portland playlists, saving me tons of dough by not having to iTune it. There's countless other great things that their friendship has provided over the years so I am deeply honored that I now get to return the favor to him. I even get to get up at 5:15 tomorrow to do so - woohoo! To show my respect, I'm even nervous with my own stomach issues on his behalf!

btw, last year I intended to pace my running partner, Dennis, a bit here and there on the same course. This was ONE week after I ran St. George and Dennis runs about a 7:20ish pace. Enough said. I met Dennis at mile 7, which was uphill, and I was sucking on a lung to get to the top of the hill with any sort of sentence longer than 3 words. But when I met him again at mile 17, his calf had popped and wobbled over to me where I massaged it and applied Icy/Hot. He took off with another friend and I, encouraged, quickly cut across the park to meet him at mile 20. Mile 20 never happened; his calf was so bad and he had to quit. I felt incredibly bad! Here, I just BQ'd and he was aiming for the same and he had this happen. My heart was heavy (but he just BQ'd last weekend - hooray, Dennis!). Anyway, I hope I'm not a jinx as a pacer for the Denver Marathon!!

Also, good luck tomorrow to Emily, a teacher at Smoky running her first marathon Denver and to FB friend, Stephanie, whom I believe is doing the Denver half! Run like hell, girls!

So here's to you, Jim: may you run like the wind, may I not jink any injuries and may my legs and glutes keep up with ya. Thanks for letting me be your pacer tomorrow - I am deeply honored! Jim and I drinking a green beer post-St. Patty's day 7K run in March.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Yoga For a Nap

She's a beauty, eh?

I desperately wanted a nap today but there was no way I could squeeze it in; too much to do at work landed me there 35 minutes past check out time (gasp) and I'll be lucky to get to bed tonight before midnight. Home to writing and laundry and dinner and dishes and okay, skipped the dishes (that's what my kids are for); I had to get to the gym. On my plan: 10 minutes easy followed by 20 minutes at race pace (oh how I wish that were a 7:30) followed by 15 min easy.

Why on a treadmill at the stuffy gym when I have such gorgeous views seconds from my houses? Be-cuz, my friends, I vowed a couple months ago that after Portland I was going to venture past my comfort zone and broaden my horizons in areas that I have longed to do yet never can manipulate into my marathon training (okay, I'm back to marathon training but going at it a bit differently this time around. Sorta). So after a fairly decent run on the treadmill, with race pace being 8:20 and not the 7:30 I dream of, I ended my 15 easy minutes 5 minutes early and headed to.....drum roll.....YOGA!!! (btw, I got the okay first).

I bought the mat a couple months ago on clearance at REI - I'm not one to let exercise equipment sit for too long. Especially this awesome highlighter yellow and florescent green mat (I was a little sad walking into class and noticing many shades of pink mats *sigh*). Tonight was the
night; time to give it a try!

Here's what I learned in Yoga today:

- My instructor, Ellen, is amazingly flexible.

- I will never be Ellen.

- I don't have a lot of balance.

- Chicks all wear black capri lycra pants; men wear baggy shorts.

- Women are more flexible than men (aside from me).

- I need a new pedicure.

- I need to sit closer to the instructor so I don't pull a muscle in my neck as I constantly turn my head to the left to see what the heck a 'monkey pose' or 'down dog' is.

- To bring water if I go directly after running 4.75 miles.

- My feet are really ugly.

- There is no way I will ever be able to balance on only my hands with my elbows resting on my knees, feet off the floor.

- Yoga's awesome at stretching my overly tight hamstrings and quad muscles - which will make me run better :)!

- The 160 beats/minute, pump-me-up running music I listen to will NEVER be heard during yoga class.

- I cannot simultaneously "breathe" and move.

- Something is off with my left hip flexor.

- I do not relax well (I didn't actually just learn that; was I expecting a magic wand here?).

- That the words "let"........."go"............ mean to release your mind ; not to stop clinching my mat for fear of falling over. Ouch, that hurt my hip!

- That my left side is more dominate than my right (indicative also by weight training).

- This better help my running, as all the articles I've read claim.

- I am no way going to have time to shower before I work out tomorrow morning with t-man. Ewwwww.

And finally, that yoga was way more rocking than a nap. If I can learn to relax about 15% .... and exhale when Ellen tells me to and stop holding my breathe.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Welcome back to the road, Jill

22 degrees and a light dusting of snow on the ground wasn't going to detain me, it was d-day, day to get back on the road running. I've been practically crawling out of my skin to do so this week ....though I will admit, it was kinda nice not to adhere to any sort of schedule and just do whatever. Unfortunately, whatever meant sheer laziness along with a higher than normal consumption of foods that are not particularly beneficial to my training. Or my waistline. I was doing okay weight-wise for a few days post-race but it's all caught up to me a week later.......
Time to get back on track.
Okay, can I just say a quick side note...Halloween is evil. Not in the sense of the holiday, per se, I have always loved the fun of the holiday - heck, I even always hand-made my kids' costumes each year when they were little (yea, call me the domestic goddess!). No, I'm not talking the adorable costumes and the spooky decorations....I'm talking the SUGAR! Where there is an entire isle dedicated to a holiday that is fill with miniature-sized bags of candy, you know you are in trouble. You think you can eat one or two cuz I mean, really, there's so small they can't possibly hurt you. But one just never suffices and before you know it, you'd pounced on about 10 of them. Major guilt!

So enough of that....until the actual event and even then, I'm going to have to pull every ounce of willpower to not indulge too much because I ...... am.....

I've signed up for the Tucson Marathon. December 13th. More on that and why and whatnot later but it's late and I need to talk briefly about my short 3.58 mile jaunt this morning.

I got so wrapped up watching the Chicago marathon this morning online via Universal Sports and the marathon website, repetitively hitting "update" in the right hand corner, that I got a late start to my run this morning. Plus, I was dealing with some overnight-in-19-degrees camping issues with Brendan (that child can certainly test my patience!). btw, a huge congrats to Jeff and Jay of the Prostates running group; Jeff ran his 5th Chicago and ran a 3:14 to BQ and Jay ran his first marathon ever with a 3:50. Alan from the RW blog ran well, too....I enjoyed watching you guys!!

I wonder if the anticipation of getting out there to do the one thing you love so much because it's the one thing that can heal your insides yet haven't been able to for a week, can get you so pumped that it can actually cause some sort of let-down when you actually get out there finally to do it. I don't know...but I didn't feel that great. My left hamstring felt tight from the first step and my glutes just ached while running. I also think I took off a tad too know, the adrenaline rush of that first run back and all. I pulled myself back after a mile and ended running 3.58 miles in an average of 8:56. That number is actually higher; at the turn around point, I stopped for a minute and re-adjusted my shoelace and then started back up slowly. I'm also feeling some minor annoyance in my right heal.

So I'm heating my left hamstring and finding a tennis ball to roll on my heal. I'll continue to stretch and I am certain my bod just needs another week to recovery so will take the week training smart.

Yesterday, my boys ran a very cold 2-mile race that their school puts on as a fundraiser. We woke up to very cold temperatures and snow yet I didn't even give them the option of not doing the race. Rain, wind,, sun, sleet or snow...just like the mailman, the Parkers push on! We got there way too early for this tiny race and ended up inside the clubhouse warming up; I think my toes are still thawing from standing outside. The sad part was that what normally is about a 300 person race turned out to be about 40 people and thus, I'm sure the band didn't make any money on this little event. Most likely even lost money. The also bummer side to this was that had I run it, at least run it having not just run Portland the weekend before, I easily could have won the women's division. And you know what the prize I handed over to the 15:45 place finisher??? An iPod shuffle. Gold. I mean, sheeeeeeeesh!!!

5:30 a.m. work out tomorrow morning; got my plan for the week; will eat right. Welcome back to the road, Jill!

Brendan and Ryan and their October 10th snowy 2 mile run

Ketty, Becky (my hair Goddess miracle worker), Ann; start of the 2 mile band run

Week 41

Seems hardly worth posting but I don't want my weeks to get out of order, like they were earlier:

Week 41: (Post-Portland Marathon Week)
Week's running totals: 3.58
2009 running totals:1445.85
Weight/core training: 1
Cross Training: 1 swim (1 mile)

Friday, October 9, 2009

3R's and very little P

Rest, Recover, Refuel and trying my hardest to possess a little Patience.

It's not so easy; my legs wanna run.

When I came back from running Pikes Peak Ascent (I think that was the race), I told t-man I was taking 12 days off after Portland, I was so tired and I wanted to do nothing! I had run the Georgetown 1/2 the previous weekend followed by Park City Marathon the weekend following Pikes Peak. The CO relay two weeks later. And Portland three weeks after the relay. That's a grand total of 5 pretty major races in 9 weeks (6 races in 11 if you want to count the BIX 7-miler I did the end of July). When I got back from the CO relay, I just was not recovering well and I was super-duper tired! 12 days seemed like the magic number to get my legs happy and healthy and ready to get back into the game.

At that time, anyway, that 12 number seemed logical. It's amazing what a tired body will say to you at the moment.

The next time I met up with Rob to work out, like two days later, I regretted that 12 day hiatus (my body was obviously feeling better), knowing my legs would be wanting to run, and renegotiated for 11 days. He agreed. Now it's been 5 days since Portland and it's about killing me not to run. A run is detox for my soul, it is my 'reset' button, it is my emotional chiropractor causing everything else to clack-clack-clack-clack back into proper place and perspective. Things that are tight somehow loosen up, and things that are loose somehow tighten up. I feel out of sorts with myself right now; I don't know what to do and thus, I've been eating to pass the time. ARGH!!!

I did manage to make it to the pool last night and swam a mile. I am probably more of a natural swimmer than a runner but swimming doesn't do anything for my mental state other than give me a headache staring at the bottom of the pool for an hour. I don't have an odometer when it comes to swimming; I just swim one speed. I don't think it's slow nor is it fast, it just is. At the end of every swim I do, I like to see how far I can make it underwater. I give myself two attempts. I have no idea why I do this other than I did it on the swim team in college and could make it about a lap and a it's a test now of sorts, plus I think it's going to help build my lung capacity or something. Happy to report, I am ALMOST to one full lap. Not quite but almost there. But even better than the almost 1-lap-under-water feat was that when I finished and walked over to the hot tub for a few minutes of defrosting (the pool was freezing), a guy said to me: you are an amazing swimmer. Yeah, that made my day. I may just have to join the DU Masters swim team afterall!

What I DO like about this week after the marathon is how incredibly good I feel (after all the post-marathon muscle soreness left my body). As you know, I had a list a mile long with aches and pains and ailments and concerns. It's amazing how everything is exacerbated 10-fold whenever the stress of a marathon comes into view. This week, after all marathon soreness has finally seeped out, I have no calf problems (Elizabeth told me there were no pulled muscles, no knots and very few trigger point areas of concern - yes! (only a small one in the ole glute ... that annoying glute!!) ); no backache (okay, just a tiny bit); no throbbing head (a wee-bit there, too. 2 weeks of this is MORE than enough already - go....a....way!!); no ankle pain from the sprain; no heavy quads. Everything is aligned perfectly right now and I'm going to do whatever I can to try to keep it here.

I know it's in my best interest to lay low for a few days; I know I will come back stronger if I just try to be a little more patient and let my legs heal fully. Our minds like to play little tricks on us and tell us our bodies are all healed and ready to go - when really they are not.

I got the ok today from t-man to go back out on the streets on Sunday for a short jaunt. 7 days post-Portland, not 11 - he feels my pain to get back out there. I can't wait. I have no scheduled races coming up, though I'm seriously thinking of the Tucson Marathon on December 13th. I may squeeze in a Halloween 5K if I can find the one I did last year (it was a blast: everyone dressed up in really fun costumes). I am not, however, going to schedule 6 races between now and Tucson and I'm just going to get stronger....and faster!

A huge congrats to my friends that ran St. George last weekend. Dennis managed a 3:19 PR and Boston qualified at the same time; a year of injuries dogged him but he finally managed to get that BQ monkey off his back. Elaine, who, I admire more than the sun, BQ'd sporting leg braces on both her knees. Jonathan ran a strong race even after running something like 10 marathons this year already. And a new friend, Angela Gohlke, ran a PR by 21 minutes finishing in 3:36. Fantastic job, guys!

And good luck wishes to those Prostates running Chicago this weekend (Jeff, Jay and possibly Matt) and to Steve C. who is doing the Kona Ironman in Hawaii (amazing!).

Run well, my friends. And don't forget to rest well, too!

Week 40 (Portland Marathon Week)

Week 40: (Portland Marathon Week)
Week's running totals: 36.2
2009 running totals:1442.27
Weight/core training: 1

Portland Marathon: 3:46:26

Monday, October 5, 2009

Made in Portland

Welcome Portland


I didn’t cultivate my 3:40 harvest I was hoping for, I didn’t even cross close to it.

And I’m okay with that. I really am. Because, as I told my pacer friend at mile 23: I have never in my life worked so hard for a time in a marathon before – and that to me is a victory in itself: I learned to finally trust my training and not be so afraid of running my hardest. I learned I CAN run hard and not be so afraid to do so. The next time I get on the start line of whatever marathon I decide to do next, I will stand there with the 3:40 pace group and not second-guess whether or not I should be there. I now know I should! And one day I will either do it or give up having fought like hell for it - and THAT, my friends, is what I have been so afraid to do! That is a far sweeter victory than crossing with a PR.

I think I did most everything right in Portland. I didn’t start out too fast and kill the race within first few miles, as I am notorious for. My pace wasn’t all over the map; I ran hard but remained controlled. I didn’t allow myself to get fixated with my watch and a time. I started out sandwiched between the 3:40 and 3:45 pace group, making sure the 3:40 group was in view; the leader had to be about 7’ tall so it was easy to spot him. Mile 2, despite having gone to the bathroom about 8 times that morning, found me having to pee. And bad. Found a few Porta-potties the side, I saw they were open, and I darted in front of runners, hopped onto the sidewalk, and wedge myself between spectators to do my thing. I’m not sure how long I was there, I refused to be a victim to the “watch” but it couldn’t have been for long yet upon my return to the race, I could not see my 3:40 beanstalk pacer dude and was pretty sure the 3:45 group was now also in front of me.

I remained calm and fell into a pace where I could slowly gain time to reach the 3:45 group which I came upon about mile 5. Hovering with these guys for a couple miles left me feeling like I had more in me; I could see the towering 3:40 pace man holding his Red Lizard (the local running club) sign in the near distance and I decided that, because there was not much more than a minutes between the two groups, if I wanted to make my move up to the 3:40 group, now was the best time to do so before they realized they were not exactly on target and started to speed up. About mile 7, I reached the 3:40 group and there is where I hung out, and felt great.

Until mile 16.5 when they lost me on the climb up to the St. John’s Bridge.

I SUCK on hills. I know this little fact is my nemesis but I had no idea just HOW atrocious my climbing skills are until you visibly watch literally a hundred people pass you by. In one measly mile.

I don’t know exactly why I can’t run up…I train at elevation, I’m not at sea level, I should have tons more oxygen to easily carry me up; I have hills I run in my regular running routes; I ran Pikes Peak a few weeks back, for crying out loud; I practice running hill repeats in my neighborhood. Apparently, it’s not enough – or I do not have the right muscles or the correct build to be a hill climber. I need to either train a little differently for big, long hills or I need to succumb to the fact that my weakness curbs my body upwards – and that’s just the way it is. I will talk to trainer- man about this, hopefully soon, because I’ve determined I will never PR, best I can tell, if there is a major hill at the end of a marathon. It just about wipes me out.

The bridge’s hill crests about mile 17 and though the 3:40 left me way behind and the 3:45 group managed to pass me, I regrouped and was relieved to quickly catch up to the 3:45 group (I am certain the only really scenic part of the course, which was on this bridge, will have a picture of me sandwiched between a cluster of 50 wanna-be Boston qualifiers – this group was massive and somehow, as I entered the group, I also encountered the photographer. Dern!). I ran with this group for a few miles…..only now, something was amiss, off, just not feeling right. My effort now felt forced and come mile 20, I started to feel that heavy leg syndrome that equates to fatigue. I tried to run in front of them, hoping to find some superhuman kryptonite powers from my tiny sip of Ultima electrolyte from the aid station, but I couldn’t stay there more than a few minutes.

Mile 21 brought me support – Ellison. Dear, sweet Ellison is a friend of SBS (aka, Sarah), SBS is wonderful woman whom I met via the blog world and have secretly admired for a couple years (she gave me some pink arm warmers – THANKS!) and has given me the opportunity to do a little writing for her book (thanks, again!). Though I’ve never met Sarah or Ellison before, they took me out to dinner at a very quaint Italian restaurant called Lucca the night before the marathon and we all hit it off well. So upon Ellison’s entry (the woman has hawk eyes, I was in a group of several people and she spotted me – thanks, Ellison), she asked me immediately how I felt and I responded that I was fading ….. fast. I wasn’t sore nor had any agonizing body parts; I just was suddenly overcome with dreaded fatigue. Ellison managed to keep me in pace with the 3:45 group for about a mile and after that, I had to let them go, I could not hang on. Having run the course a couple times in prior years, she was able to tell me when a short uphill was approaching; a nice, reprieve of a downhill (where I apparently caught a second wind for a brief half mile for she told me, “you don’t know want to know how fast you just ran that mile”; followed by a microscopic hill at mile 23 that just about made me want to cry. I told her I had to just walk about 6 steps; that was it, just 6 so I could not expel any more energy on an uphill. She got me back in the game and talked to me a bit about when she was in Boston and her experience there. Normally, I hate chatter in a marathon but I was so far beyond focusing on my pace or a groove or anything that was about anything other than how tired I was, so I welcomed her story.

Ellison ran with me up to mile 24 where were met by Sarah and the exchange between parties. I was so tired I couldn’t even thank Ellison so I tried to hold her hand for a second to show my appreciation. I think I managed a half-ass attempt at this – not completely sure (I still have yet to email and thank her…..but I will do so in a way-better-than-email gesture). By the time Sarah came into the game, I was done. Utterly and completely done. I must have been hovering around the 12 minute/mile pace because honestly, it seemed like eternity before mile 25 came into view – I could have sworn to all the heavens above that we had passed it hours ago! Sarah asked me if I wanted her to talk and I told her I did and it was kinda funny because I don’t think she was ready to hear that and as she mentioned later, she can talk to the world about anything yet at that moment was at a loss for what to say to me J. She talked about her marathon in San Francisco and how she couldn’t break 4-hours and she talked to me about the parts of downtown Portland we were entering. She told me at one point I had less than 5 laps around a track left – and I cringed; 5 laps around a track seemed like a death sentence. Somehow I managed to pick up the pace a little the last mile, but not by much. A couple turns off the main street and I’m across the finish line.

I saw the clock reading out the times and my brain computed that I had not run the 3:40 (which I knew), and I didn’t even manage to PR (off by 13 seconds) but it didn’t even matter. I remember thinking of a quote from some famous runner guy that my internal memory playlist is full of which said, “you got to ask yourself, ‘Do you want it? You got to answer yes’ “that with 5 laps around the track left, I didn’t want it. What mattered to me was that I gave it my all out there on that course and I was very, very proud of that!!!

Sarah followed me all the way though the end, just sliding off to the side as I crossed the clock and scooped me up on the other side to help gather my trinkets. I can’t even express my gratitude to her for no spectators were allowed anywhere near the finish, they were all fenced off way to the sides, but I don’t think she was aware she was trapped until it was probably too late. No one questioned her being there, I don’t think, and honestly if she weren’t there, I probably would have found the nearest tree and planted my butt down for hours. She kept me moving and got me chocolate milk, grapes, an orange, banana, pb cookies – all the things I needed to get back in my body immediately and get me refueled. After I got my gorgeous, pink rose and finisher’s shirt, we excited the masses and she walked me back to my hotel where I retrieved my camera so I could snap a picture. I felt really great at this point and I walked with her across the bridge to the other side of the river where she had a rowing race that morning and left her bike there to get her back home. I enjoyed the time with her, learning about her rowing endeavors and savoring the time with a new friend.

Could I have done anything differently in Portland to help my demise near the end? If there is one factor that may have been a contribution it is the fact that I did not take any GU's for fear that they are the intestinal culprit that seems to cause me major stomach cramps and therefore, I most likely did not get in enough calories to help drag my butt along. So I will continue to work on getting a pb sandwich on my long runs and also start playing with other forms of nutrition. So maybe that was the culprit, and yet maybe not. There is no way to know for certain.

I may not have raced the time I wanted in Portland but I came away with an incredible sense of accomplishment having run my heart and soul into that race. I meant some awesome friends along the way: In addition to Sarah and her friend, Ellison, I also was part of a team from a blog site on Runner’s World and our team was called: The Loopheads. Though we had emailed many times and blogged our aches, pains, and ailments for the past couple months, it was an honor meeting them in person and hanging out with them at many times throughout the weekend. Friday, Leah picked me up at the airport. Friday night, we all met up at Rimsky’s, a coffee/dessert house was our initial meeting and two others from the blog world showed up, too. Saturday, we all met at Juanita’s house and we took group pictures. Saturday night, Dave and I went to dinner and had a few drinks and then later met up with Sara and Liz for a martini. Sunday, Dan and I walked around downtown then met Juanita and her husband for an evil donut at the notorious Voodoo donughts. They later took me to the airport. 4 of them (Liz, Juanita, Leah and Dave) never and a marathon before. Juanita ran her first marathon on her birthday; we celebrated as a group with some running gifts and a cake. Sara ran an astonishing 3:08 marathon, PR’ing by 3 minutes and placing 13th overall female (out of 10,000 runners). Liz followed close behind with debut marathon time of 3:17 and 37th overall female. I came in 3rd in I think 233th female (22 in my age group) and Juanita at 4:20, Dave at 4:28 and Leah at 4:44. It was an honor and an extreme privilege to be part of an amazing group of runners! Portland will always hold a very special place in my heart.

As Juanita and her husband took me to the airport today, she asked me which of my marathons were the most special. I told her each one had their own story and with it's own unique meaning ….and though Portland wasn’t a “pretty” or scenic course by any measure, it will be one that I will forever cherish as extra “special” – because of the incredible people I met this past weekend and because I feel I honestly am no longer afraid to fight for what I know is waiting inside me. That is a first for me.
I got to meet, and be on part of, an awesome team; I got to meet SBS, whom I consider a good friend; I got to meet Sarah's friend, Ellison; I even briefly saw a FB friend at the airport for a few minutes today, whom I hope to become better friends with. It was a weekend for firsts - all around

Thanks, Portland – I had a great time!

At Rimskys: Dan, Juanita, Me, Korina, Mac, Sarah, Liz, Leah

Team Loopheads: Liz, Juanita, Dave, Sarah, Leah, Me (front of shirts, above; back of shirts, below)
My view of the Willamette River outside my hotel. I know, sweet

Me, Sarah: standing outside my hotel immediately after the race (notice my awesome pink arm warmers that Sarah gave me??? Nice!)

Me, Dan on some bridge at the Willamette River

Dan, Juanita, Jeff (Juanita's husband), me: the infamous VooDoo Doughnuts

My donut: isn't it gorgeous (the perfect girly-girl donut)? But it tasted horrible - way too sweet. I had to throw it away after one bite :(

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Portland Playlist

Playlist below. I have a few more to add, if I have time when I get to the hotel. But for now, enjoy. Also updated addressed issues at bottom.

Apologize - Timbaland Shock

I Gotta Feeling - Black Eyed Peas

Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It) - Beyoncé

I Kissed a Girl - Katy Perry

So Alive - Love and Rockets

Waking Up In Vegas - Katy Perry

Wanna Be Her - Peaches Boys Wanna Be Her

Go On - Jack Johnson Sleep

Poker Face - Lady GaGa

Hey World (Don't Give Up Version) - Michael Franti & Spearhead

Crazy On You - Heart

Closer to Love - Mat Kearney

Disturbia - Rihanna

Please Don't Leave Me - Pink

It's My Life - Talk Talk

Tubthumping - Chumbawampa

Read My Mind - The Killers

Sunlight - Death Cab for Cutie

Waking Up In Vegas - Katy Perry

So What - Pink

Closing Time - Semisonic

Love Like This - Natasha Bedingfield

Gives You Hell - The All-American Rejects

Hanging Around - Gemma Hayes

Can't Get You out of My Head - Kylie Minogue

So Alive - Love and Rockets Love

Say You Will - Fleetwood Mac

Use Somebody - Kings of Leon

Love Story - Taylor Swift

More Time - Needtobreathe

Rooftops - Lostprophets

Closer to Love - Mat Kearney

Sandstorm - Darude Sandstorm

Wannabe - Spice Girls

Mercy - Duffy

You Can't Hurry Love - Diana Ross & The Supremes

Funny the Way It Is - Dave Matthews Band

Billie Jean - Michael Jackson

Say Hey - Michael Franti

Story of a Girl - Nine Days

Viva la Vida - Coldplay

Hot N Cold 3:40 Katy Perry

Good - Better Than Ezra

Come on Eileen - Dexy's Midnight Runners

Love, Save the Empty - Erin McCarley

Gotta Be Somebody - Nickelback Dark

Beautiful Day - U2

Gotta Feeling - Black Eyed Peas

Into the Night (feat. Chad Kroeger) - Santana

Can't Get You out of My Head - Kylie Minogue

Keep the Car Running - Arcade Fire

True Faith - New Order

What is Love - Haddaway

Sell Out - Reel Big Fish

That's Not My Name - Ting Tings

The Adventure - Angels & Airwaves

There ya go, my Portland playlist. I still have some CD's of Mr. Clawson's to add when I get to the hotel and have a little time, but if I don't, I'll just replay this one another time :).
I'm almost packed. It's 11:00 the night before the night before and I'm going to call it quits. I have a couple hours after work tomorrow before I had to head out and I can make some final decisions by then but for now, here's the progress I've made since yesterday:
- massage therapy found my calves looking great!! Another smaller knot on the inside of my left calf but nothing major and E said the old calves are going to hold up well (I could go into the horror story how they cramped up so bad in Big Sur....but I'll leave that for another day). E worked on my glutes - OUCH!!! She said my back problem is most likely due to the trigger points built up in my glute. She worked WAY long on the left one...owie. But it's feeling good now.
- Don't believe I'm taking my Garmin (sorry, Dan). I think it will stress me out too much. It's too complicated for this past honors chemistry and physics kid! Rob made me a pace band to wear - though it's rather boring and lacking any charcter like the last one he made me...which I wonder if it's going to bother me (thanks tho, Rob. I hope I don't get lashed for this comment but there's a reason I gave you multiple colors :P Thanks for the list o worries..). Will wear my regular watch and maybe the pace band. Consunses is NOT to bank time in the beginning. Good plan!
- SBS and Ellison and Alexa are going to be pacing me from about mile 14 on. A little worried about this but hopefully they'll understand that I am not going to be myself and any foul language sputtered out of my mouth is not direct at them in any way, shape or form.
- Pretty much have ruled out white shirt. Not sure about anything else other than I'm pretty sure I'll wear my pink hat. Thinking lt blue shirts, dark blue shorts, pink hat. Maybe.
- Don't think I'm wearing my fuel belt. I'm sure that this decision will come to haunt me but I absolutely hate taking it so will stuff the pocket in my shirt and hope I'll find my sign-less posse along the way!
- Think I'll start running with the 3:40 pace group. For awhile. Or, I think I'll start running between 3:40 and 3:45. Maybe I'll just start running.
A HUGE thanks for all those who have given me words of encouragement and their support; it means the world to me!
K, that's it. I'm tired. Enjoy the playlist - and don't laugh!