Thursday, April 30, 2009

Zero Energy

I just am tired. Plain and simply tired. Weight training was a struggle tonight and 3x1 miles were even worse. 3x1 miles turned into 6x800's cuz there was no way I could run a mile. My legs are tired, my stomach hurts, my back hurts, and my knee hurts. Whine, whine, whine!!!!! I look forward to tomorrow off. Never thought I'd hear myself say that a week ago but yeah, I'm saying it: my legs need to rest another day.

My two new pair of shoes came in the mail today and I am wearing one of each. Different shoes, totally different brands. One is Saucony and one is Mizuno...neither of which I have ever worn. I have had so many problems with my last pair of shoes and so when I called Road Runner Sports, after logging almost 250 miles in the last pair, they are returning them for FREE and allowing me to try these other two for 60 days. Sweet, huh? We'll see how they do. I can already tell which one I like better of the two but I'll wait to hold judgement until I can actually run in them.

I took Abbey over at DU to tour around a bit...or as she called it "poke" around. We went over to the Ritchie Center and saw the hockey team practicing and saw the pool, which is one of two Olympic sized pools in Colorado. Also toured the fitness center, it's loaded with ever amenity that you'd ever want - I hope Abbey takes advantage. We also wandered around the bookstore and most of the campus; it's not a very big school so it didn't take a lot of time. We talked to financial aid today and most likely can get more $$ for her. Yes!!! Abbey's very happy about her acceptance!

DU campus (why doesn't my grass look this green?)

Brendan had an art show over at the district admin offices. Abbey and I got there before the boys so looked around for Brendan's piece. Couldn't find it until much later after Brendan got there and found it. It was a little ceramic jar and in a display case. Very nice. Brendan was so excited a few weeks ago when he found out that his piece was on display.

I am going to close and get to bed early tonight. I am not sleeping well .... again. Not sure if it's sinus related or something else going on (or both) but I was in a fog all day at work today because I took some Benedryl way too late last night. So tonight I took them earlier in an attempt that I won't have the same issues tomorrow. I am very glad tomorrow is Friday!!!! It's been a long and crazy busy week!

3 miles run
weights: 1

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

And She's In

Abbey was officially accepted to the University of Denver today, her first choice in colleges. What's been an emotional roller-coaster with DU initially putting her on a wait-list and her second choice not looking too promising, today's news is a fairytale where dreams do come true. to afford it - a whole different ball of yarn (Abbey says she's going to list her entire contents of her bedroom on Ebay. Watch for details). But she's determined to make it work so we'll try to make it work. Though the college process has just begun, what a relief to finally have her decision as to which school to attend. It's a great school with an excellent reputation - I hope she views this as a privilege and honor DU by working hard. As a parent, I can't stop see your daughter, who has struggled in so many ways through her high school years, to persevere and get in to her top college choice, and a great one at that, it's one of those moments that you are very proud to be a parent!

Okay, now we just gotta get these invitations out!!!!!

In all the hoopla of college-esque discussions and happiness today, I ran my intervals very late in the evening. Which is, after I ate, and not the best way to run intervals, especially with this sensitive stomach!! 4x800's ... which isn't too bad, thankfully, but at a 6:40 pace...which is a challenge. Especially after consuming a huge chicken breast. And I mean huge. I had no intentions of eating before I ran but I was on the phone talking to my dear friend Jane and while pacing my kitchen talking, I ended eating it and before I knew it, it was gone. All of it! So off to the treadmill at 9:00 pm for intervals. They went okay. I still am having some leg stiffness due to I presume Boston but for the most part, they went well. I even managed to do the last one at 6:30.

On the fence about doing the Bannister mile next Tuesday with the guys. 12:30 isn't my ideal time to run (unless the weather is good) and I think there's a lot of pressure to perform in front of the guys. Still, it may be good for me...I've longed to do a timed 1-miler for months now and this would be a good opportunity and also good to see the group and their pace would help boost me I think (I am, by far, the slowest in the group...even of the two females that are in the marathon relay with me in a couple weeks...though I can't help but wonder if I am making ground somewhere close to Alicia's time. please?). So I'll ponder this for a couple more days...along with my fall marathon. And no pressure from JC!!! :)

4 miles run
And a huge congrats to Abbey!!!!!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Still Tired....

Okay, I can say this only because I don't believe Rob's been reading my blog since I got back from Boston (Little clues I've picked up on which he wouldn't be saying or asking if he read... and if he read this one, he wouldn't be too happy that I am running without full recovery)...but my legs are still store. Evident by my run today. I ran about 4 outdoor miles, hitting the high school track for a half mile so I'd know my pace (8:35). I felt strong but I also was hurting. I think I have some short intervals tomorrow and then I will rest my legs on Thursday, as my schedule calls (I think I have weight training...oh eeks, I also have 3x1 milers. Hum. I may need to get the rolly pin thing out and rub the ole legs out).

I think I need a whole new nasal system installed. UGHHHHHHHH

Another 2 hours of invitation arguing with Abbey and we finally ordered some. She's not too thrilled with the final choice and for that matter, I'm not really either. Both of had to cave and come to some sort of compromise that neither of us were too excited about. Couldn't be that we are two peas....? John used to tell us that one day he wouldn't be surprised to come home and see us both dead, killed one another - our stubborn wills. We've progressed some since those middle-school-I-know-everything days but man....some days are still a challenge. She's a great kid and I love her to death...this whole college thing is very trying. I am going to miss her with all my heart *sigh* come fall.

I am in serious thought about the Portland Marathon. I'm really in a struggle because I know JC would be an amazing pacer and I may never have the opportunity for his assistance again. He is running the St. George Marathon the day before Portland and there's no way even his insane marathon schedule would let him run back to back marathons (he has a goal to run 100. He's on 64 and is well younger that I am. ahem). So I'll toy with this fall marathon thing a bit longer.

I'm excited for SBS's marathon this weekend and her friends that are running it. I think I'm actually going to be a bit envious I'm not on the road with them. Did I just say that? A week ago, I was never running another marathon. Ever.

I finished writing my article for Rob on the aftereffects of running Boston. I'll see if I can attach it somehow as a link to my blog. I may have to consult Dennis, the computer expert. Anyway, I will try that tomorrow .... I think it's pretty good.

4 miles run

Monday, April 27, 2009

Finally...the run

FINALLY!!!! I went for a 3 1/2 mile run tonight. I've been crawling out of my skin to get back out there and it felt great. Okay, I'll admit that my quads were a tiny bit sore but I think the run actually will help combat that soreness. I only ran at a 9 minute pace...and that felt like I was flying, but I'll take it. I did some weights tonight, too, and I'll even admit it, as much as I hate weight training, it felt good. It just is such a release to be doing any sort of exercising that I'll even welcome the weight training (though I can guarantee that I'll be sore tomorrow!). I made a promise to Rob, after I vented about the lack of running mileage on my plan this week, that if he allowed me to run more, I would not complain about the weight training or that the weight training was going to interfere with the running I wanted to do. Okay. I can do that!

My weight is up a few lbs and my body fat about 2%. Time to get back into the groove....I'm feeling a lot better and very motivated. Though I can't help but wonder if I have the Swine Flu...I took a good hour and a half nap today and that is SO very unlike me. I laid down about 4:00 today hoping to get in about 15 minutes. I woke up at 5:45 and was almost late for weight training. Errr...

I have lost the CD with Abbey's graduation pictures on it .. and I need it to do the announcements. This is driving me crazy................!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! These things are never going to get done and in the mail before graduation!

3 mile run

Sunday, April 26, 2009

I got the OK to run....yes

I'm not sure if my blah mood today is due to the rainy weather, that I didn't get much done that I had hoped to this weekend, that I haven't run in a week.....or maybe it's this whole Boston experience coming to a close as I unpacked all my Boston memories and put them away. Most likely, it's a combination of all. I dread tomorrow and the start of the week. My allergies are killing me....or I have a bad cold. Maybe the Swine Flu. I heard it has not hit in Colorado yet...maybe I'll be the first victim. I took a nap at 6:00. PM.

Alrighty. Rob seems to think Portland in October be a good marathon. I don't know. My dear friend, JC, has offered to pace me the entire way if I did Top of Utah Marathon mid-September. I'm tempted. But I'm also temped to do Portland so I can meet SBS and see if her posse can help pace me some. It's hard to know....I can't believe I'm stressing about it the end of April. But if you don't jump on these things now, then they fill and you're outta luck. Dennis was banking on Chicago being open through the lottery for St. George was known and whether he got in or not. But no luck. I'm certain he'll get in StG but if not, then he's going to have to scramble to find something...he wants to get to Boston next year.

On a somewhat positive note, Abbey has reluctantly given in to a graduation party...despite her and I having many arguments over this. Maybe that's another reason why I don't feel that well, it's so draining to argue with her. I have ordered her invitations....well, I at least put together the invitation and the proof will be emailed to me tomorrow. The college decision seems to be still in limbo and thus, I think that's some of her protest to celebrate. But there's more to it than that..... a lot more. It's hard to believe she's almost done. I will miss her so much (I hope she goes to DU so I can see her often....of course, I hope that someone mysteriously donates $42K a year for her to go, too :) )!!!!

I'll close with the picture I put on Abbey's announcements. She'll hate this...but she most likely won't read this (and if she does, I'm certain to hear!).

I got the green light to start running can't come soon enough. I have so much restlessness that I may be out there running for a few hours!!!!! That'll make one mr. rob happy....ha!

Good night!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

I'm so ready to run again....

I'm feeling edgy, I want to go run. Most of the quad soreness is gone with just a few traces of noticeable stiffness.....mostly as I walk down the stairs, obviously. I'd do most anything for a quad massage right now... hum. Anyway, I am so ready to run right now but I'm being a quasi-good girl; Rob has told me so many different numbers of mandatory wait-time days after each of my marathons, this time telling me 10, but I think the number that works best for me is 7. I went to the pool tonight and swam a's almost as therapeutic as the massage except that you have to do the work yourself. But it does feel good during and after. Tomorrow is only day 6; I may go ride my bike. I need to do something other than eat still lingering-around-the-house chocolate Easter eggs!

I went over to a local running store in my community this afternoon. There's a guy there that may (or may not) be one of the owners ... if not, he is at least one of the managers .... and always gives me a nice discount :). Today was a big sale and so I went in to restock on my GU and sport beans, and also in an attempt to find something other than my powder Accelerade to digest during my long runs and marathons. The current electrolyte of choice is just causing me so much stress trying to consume it during the race as the zip-lock bag won't rezip most of the time and if it's a windy day, the powder is pretty much everywhere except in my mouth. My overly sensitive stomach does not tolerate pure Gatorade that is provided at the back to square one in finding a solution. Which needs to be found sooner than later since the summer heat is soon upon us. So I thought I could pick the brains of some store employees about what they would recommend....only when I got there, no one really seemed to have an answer though one did suggest some type of tablets. They were pricey so I think I'll just do some online research for awhile.... Nevertheless, I did get side-tracked with shoes. The numbness in my feet does not seem to be subsiding and so I thought I'd pick the brain of some new guys working there...not sure where they came from because they definitely have never been there in the countless times I've been in, but they did seem pretty knowledgeable. The bonus of this, though not for my local running store, is that I bought my feet-numbing shoes from Road Runner Sports and they are going to take them back, despite I have worn them for 60 days, and exchange them for one of the pair I tried on at the local store. Hey...gotta save where I can, and if RRS is willing to exchange the used ones for free...then all the power to me!

I finally got my Boston suitcase unpacked and much-needed laundry done. Even managed to clean out my bedroom closet in an attempt for warm-weather clothing to hopefully fill it soon. It was in the high 70's all week but of course, the weekend has brought cooler temps only in the 40's. I finally took my RRCA coaching test (the class I took last month) and cranked a 99%, thank you!!!! That was sweet. Got Abbey over to the mall and she managed to find a skirt for graduation. Score #3 of the day, yes!!! Did not get any graduation announcements addressed or pictures picked...I will cross my fingers for that tomorrow.

I finally got online and looked at my race results. I thought it would be good to document it so I could look at it quickly when necessary.

10k 15k 20k Half 25k 30k 35k 40k
0:27:01 0:52:45 1:18:49 1:45:23 1:50:56 2:11:43 2:39:12 3:07:55 3:37:50

Bib: 18308
Finish: 3:51:55
Pace: 8:51
Overall: 13573
Gender: 4291
Division: 483

Friday, April 24, 2009

It's An Honor

I have had the privilege of connecting with a woman, whom I consider a friend, via blogs and FB. Her name is Sarah Bowen Shea; she is a fellow marathoner (running Eugene next weekend. Go Sarah GOOO!!) and a writer for many publications, including Runner's World and has an amazing blog she shares ( I feel a connection with her; we share many, many common interests, including 3 children; the youngest of which are twins. She has been supportive of my Boston journey and I love reading her blog; it's insightful, fun and pure joy to read!

In an attempt to attack the the 169 emails post-Boston, I sent her one today trying to fill her in about my Boston experience. I wanted give ample time in thought and response before I replied because she's one of those recipients I hold in high regard and wanted to word my reply to her with a clear head (and not sleep-deprived babble, like I feel I'm almost always in...especially the past few days). In addition to Boston details, I also told her of my fall sub-3:45 marathon plan and my quest to find a course that would land me there safe and sound. She suggested Portland (she may be biased since she lives there :))...but not only did she suggest, she also emailed a group of her Portland friends whom have run the course to offer me some of their perceptions of the course and whether my crusade was viable. And I have heard back from a few. Wow! I mean, it's fascinating to me that us ponytailed Nike clad sisters builds relationship and creates connections quickly though our mutual passion. My joy as a runner and as a woman, is always to connect.

Not to speak poorly of the male runners that are a huge part of my running life, they have provided me with so much and Dennis, in particular, is a very big part of my running world. But when women are asked to step up to the plate to help one another in a mutual interest, they don't hesitate.

There is something powerful about sharing the burden of the marathon distance with women that don't expect you to go out there and kill yourself to prove you are worthy. I thank you, ladies, for sharing your Portland Marathon stories and information. Be sure that if I DO end up doing it, I definitely hope we can all get together and share out stories and some great laughs.

Thank you, SBS! It's been a blast...and an honor! Best of luck to you and your friends in Eugene, I can't wait to watch you guys next Sunday online!!!!! I'm already nervous for you!

My legs are finally functioning at full-throttle....I can't wait to get back on the road and run. 2 more days and counting.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

It's a Go.....

I'm gonna hit the ground running next week, and my focus is a fall marathon with a 8:30 minute per mile (or maybe faster, but not slower). I had a post-Boston chat with Rob tonight about the Boston race itself, where I had "issues", possible scenarios to these issues, strength training weaknesses.... and the list goes on. If I had more sleep in my body and felt I could stay up longer, I'd go into more details for you but suffice it to say, there was just a crazy concoction of a number of factors that contributed to my 4-mile end-of-race death-march....but mostly, he thinks it's that I got ahead of the game-plan with my faster than suppose to be pace. I an extent...but I also truly believe that I would not have had the strength to tackle those hills even if I stuck to my original 4:05 plan. Who knows, I won't sit and dissect it to death; it's impossible to know with any certainty other than to get back out there and test the waters. We discussed how we'd try this to see if this works,try that to see if that works. Put this and that together and it was concluded that yes, I CAN run a 8:30 minute per mile marathon. And I'm excited to get back out there and work for it!!! Rob told me not to keep it a secret, to post it for all to see - it will make it much more obtainable if I do. So that ya go, it's posted. I don't know what marathon I will do, I have a lot of digging and researching, but it will be a fast one, where the weather is generally good, and I will have worked my tail off to make sure I'm in the best shape possible. And upon my return from that marathon, I will run well in Boston 2010 and upon my return from there, I am done. Not done with the marathon ... but done trying to keep PR'ing and keep up with the insane training. I will come back and find some marathons that are out there that look like fun, that are scenic, that my friends invite me to so I can enjoy their company, that I can go with some running friends and we enjoy together. That's what the plan is; I think it's a good one.....and more importantly, it's the one I want, it's the right one for me!!! No one else, just me. I'm tired and I am feeling my 46-year old body not really wanting or able to keep up the insanity of this heavy training and the stress it brings, both mentally and physically, for a whole lot longer. But I have one last big push.... and I'm ready!

This house was on Beacon Hill, I thought it was one of the coolest houses; it had a lot of varying shades of violet colored window panes on the second floor. Hard to tell from this pic, but it was really beautiful. Thought I'd share. I'll keep adding more Boston pictures to share through the days, since I am not doing any sort of exercise right now.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Oh yeah, the Pain

I'm glad to be back home in Denver despite sporting Wednesday's crest of Boston delayed onset muscle fatigue; every ounce of fiber in my body aches.
I can honestly say with 100% certainty that during the last 4 miles of Boston when I hurt beyond any hurt I can recall, I did not want to run another marathon again. Ever. Not even Boston 2010. But as I stated in my last blog, it was short-lived after I was able to take a shower, get some food in me, and crawled back into bed with the heavenly down comforter and amazing pillow (I swear, as a reward to myself, I'm going to buy a really good pillow like the Marriott has. Man!!). Thanks to countless hours at Boston's Logan Airport with an uncharged computer and the power cord mistakenly packed in my checked-in bag, I have spent many hours post-Boston thinking and calculating how I can get stronger so that I can persevere the next time. I welcome the pain, I invite's my pleasure. I now not only want to run Boston 2010, I want to run another marathon this fall. And I want to run well. Not sure how but I have a big conversation with one Mr. Rob tomorrow to discuss it. He seems to think I have only scratched the surface of my strength training. Which puts many questions into my head why I entered Boston with only a few scratches and not a full-blown battle wound. We'll discuss that also and I'll hopefully have more info on that later. I certainly feel I worked very hard; I was diligently in that gym 3-times a week doing strength and core work and I certainly can see the physical changes in my we'll see what I can do differently to make myself stronger. Somehow I have embedded it in my brain that I can run a marathon with an average 8:30 pace. Somehow, I feel I must try.

So, if I'm in so much pain right now, I have to ask the question that was brought up on Facebook by someone who's a endurance junkie: if pain feels good, if pain=pleasure, than is it really pain?
We wouldn't be doing these marathons and other endurance sports if we didn't get some sort of pleasure out of it, some sort of high, despite how much it hurts. I can certainly attest that some of those that wrote on my facebooks pages congratulating me have never experienced the pain, the pleasure, the high....and the lows. Are they afraid? Do they not feel the pleasure associated with the pain they feel? Is it only given to a few and not to others? Or are the few that experience it feel a certain drive or a certain need to make them feel better? Do only certain souls feel better internally if they hurt so much externally? Is it all about the balance? You feel so good afterwards, because you suffered through the pain during it? The sweetness of completing something wouldn't be the same if it was easy to do. Being in pain, working through it, and finishing brings the the accomplishment more meaning. Why can only certain people accept this?

I'm feel honored to be amongst those that feel that yes, pain=pleasure.... at least in the marathon!

This picture clearly exhibits my "pain" as I am about 100 yards from crossing the Boston finish.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Mission Accomplished

My "secret" goal of Boston was to run under 4-hours so I would re-qualify for it again next year, even though I am already qualified from my St. George 2008 time. But something told me that I needed a qualifying 2009 time to make it legitimate and so, going in to Boston, that was my true goal. So mission accomplished.

But that's not exactly true. I don't believe my mind ever got tangled, like in marathons past, and I got into the "zone" many times, especially the first 17 miles, but as I took off and was consistently averaging about 8:30 minute miles and not thinking it was too fast, I kind of thought that despite what countless people have told me, this may be a PR course. And I was on track for that for about the first 17 miles. I hit the half-way mark at 1:50:30. Double that and add about 4 or so minutes for the hills, I could possibly run this thing in a 3:45. Ok, that's where it all started to get ugly; this is not a idea for my mind.

When the hills came, they were merciless. Of all those you encounter from miles 16-21, the first Newton hill was, by far, the hardest. Steep. I slowed to about a 9:30 pace here...and never really recovered from that haunting 9-plus minute mile. Having only studied the course elevation a few times as to not wig out over them, I thought I was done with the hills at mile 20 and thought the infamous Heart Break was over and checked. Nope. It came, and it came with sheer force, unforgiving in duration and when I reached it's peak, my legs were screaming and I just had very little left in me.

Somewhere around mile 21, you turn left and are now headed directly towards downtown, and head-on into the wind. The winds had been strong since the start but they was even more fierce now. This is the point I also started having some major stomach problems. Intestinal. I took an orange slice from a spectator along the side and that tasted great and settled in my stomach fine, but anything else other than water was not appealing whatsoever; a true sign that I was suffering. From mile 22 on, it felt like a death-march and it took all my internal strength to not walk.

I crossed in 3:51:55 (or so I'm told, I have not looked on the official website and I forgot to stop my watch at the end). I thought I'd be overly emotional, like I was in Atlanta a few weeks ago when I PR'd, but I wasn't; I wanted that race to be done so badly by mile 22 that it was just such a relief to be crossed. All those years of dreaming and planning were over and I was glad!!

The start of the race was chilly but partially sunny; deciding what to wear was causing me so much stress but in the end, I wore a sleeveless shirt and a long-sleeved shirt over. I figured if it got warm, I could tie the long-sleeved one over it and tie it around my waist in case it got cold, as I hear it does, when I reached the water (and it DID). I thought about Dennis and his running group and how they would never dink around with their garments; they'd wear one shirt and be done with it. I just didn't want to have any regrets. I took the long-sleeved shirt off about mile 5 but by mile 22 on my ever-so-slow pace, I was cold and thought about putting the warmer shirt on, but honestly...I just didn't want to waste one second more on this course and wasn't going to waste time changing clothes. Even if it was just a few seconds. When I crossed the finish line, I was freezing and it was probably a good 200-300 yards before you got your shiny mylar blanket. It felt great but it was short-lived before I was shivering uncontrollably again and took quite awhile to get my sweat bag checked in before the race and to meet Karen under the "P" lamppost. She was a doll helping me into layers. I sat on the curb awhile trying to muster up enough strength to walk the 3 or so blocks to my hotel. Steve, from the running group called me and we had a great talk about the race; he told me, "Yeah, I didn't want to freak you out when we met earlier in the week about how hard the course was, but now you know, it is hard!" Yeah, thanks for that. ha. He told me he suffered at the end also and that felt good to know that someone that can run under a 3-hour marathon faltered severely at the end like myself.

One thing I must say is a huge, HUGE thank-you to the organizers of the Boston Marathon and the citizens of Boston and suburbs, who lined the streets many deep, showing their support. The girls of Wellesley were unbelievable with their roar; I've never heard anything like it before ever! The weather was cold but it didn't keep anyone inside. The organization of buses, sweat bag check, a billion port-a-potties before hand (how does one plan for 25,000 runners who have spent the past couple weeks over-hydrating?), the phenomenal aid-stations at every single mile after mile 2. It was incredible and the most well-run that I have ever seen. Thank you! I was truly impressed!

My friend, Sheri, had to leave to catch a flight home before I got to see her at the end but she did see me cross the finish-line along with my other friend, who is still here, Karen. Karen and I went out last night and had a great dinner and a few drinks. A great way to end a great day!

I mentioned to Dennis yesterday to shoot me if I ever told him I wanted to run another marathon other than Boston next year; I hurt that much at the end! But as I sat at the bar and listened to a few other runners off to the side talk about the race, my marathon heart started tugging already and I thought to myself that maybe yes, I will run another in the fall. Somewhere. My friend, Jonathon, has run an astonishing 64 marathons and while talking to him in my post-race celebratory bubble bath yesterday, he told me to not give up on the marathon, not to let it defeat me. Maybe he's right. And maybe, I need to see if I can sustain that 8:30 pace for the remaining 7 miles in another marathon that I couldn't do on Boston. As I sit here unable to move my legs (my quads are about as sore as they've ever ever been and my left knee is throbbing) something is telling me that I am NOT done. I am blessed to be given the gift of running the marathon and I don't think it's time to call it quits. I have the determination ... now I just need to find the courage. I know the simple glory of the start line and all it's power; I will not take it for granted when I start back up again and will play my cards better next time.
Are we endurance athletes driven by the solopsistic need for self validation; we hurt, therefore we are? Or is it that we love it and more is better?
In the meantime, I finished my first Boston marathon....and I am very proud!!!

It's been a whirlwind 4 days; I've had a blast.... but I am ready to go home! Thank you, Karen, from the bottom of my heart for being there for me these past few days - I laughed so much (oh the stories!). And thanks to ALL those who supported me along the way for the past several months. It's been a moment filled with portent and I could never have done it without you guys! Thank you!! And I wouldn't be here, of course, without Rob and all his knowledge about my held up great.

Okay, enough of the Academy award speeches! It's been a great ride, Boston, I'll see ya' next year!

Karen, me, Sheri; Fenway Park

Weeks 16/17

Weeks 16/17 Totals
I have no intention of running more this week so will take yesterday's 26 miles and add to the 10 from last week. But I would like to get in a couple days of swimming to stretch these overly sore muscles
Week running mileage: 36
Total mileage for 2009: 547 miles
This week weight training: 1
Cross training: 2

Sunday, April 19, 2009

T'was The Night Before Boston

T'was the night before Boston
and all through the hotel
All the creatures were stirring
While Jill prepared.....

Okay, it doesn't rhyme and I don't claim to be a poet so I'll leave it at that. My friends and I are sitting here trying to get an Internet connection so we can order some Italian food but after about 45 minutes of failed attempts to, we are giving up. I have tried countless times to get on google and every time I do, I lose connection. I can't even access my email, which is bumming me out because I know Rob sent me some instructions for the race and oh well...I can't view them. I'm trying not to let it stress me out!!!!!

So instead, I'm blogging about my day and trying to get my race stuff prepared.

Weather tomorrow calls for 45 degrees with VERY high headwinds; at least the rain is suppose to hold off until after the race. Though I tend to run better in the rain. And not so much in the wind. Which is causing me a little clothing issues. I hate trying to figure out what to wear! But it is what it is and I cannot do anything about it but run, run, and then run some more.

My girlfriends gave up trying to get some carbs online; we had a reservation at an Italian restaurant but I kinda freaked (you don't want to know) out about going out so the sweethearts they are (though Karen was stressing a little about my indecisiveness and my obsession in trying to get my Internet fixed. I still love her though...not sure it's mutual right now - ha) ordered some food the old fashion way, via a phone book, and have both left to pick it up. I'm enjoying the quiet; I need it to write and to think about tomorrow.

I went out this morning and ran/walked a couple a miles. I went over near Beacon Row and took a bunch of pictures of the gorgeous Colonial row houses; many displaying beautiful window boxes filled with gorgeous flowers and brightly colored doors. The streets and sidewalks are either brick or cobblestone. So pretty! It was nice to get outdoors, alone with myself, and stretch my legs some. Came home down Newbury Street which is lined with high-end shopping. If I had the money...I'd certainly love to do some damage with it there!!!

I went to two seminars today, one was on the 1982 Boston Marathon race between Alberto Salazar and Dick Beardsley; Dick was giving the talk which was called: Duel in the Sun - where he lost in the last few seconds on the race. Literally. Because the Boston police had him blocked. Anyway, it was really great to hear his story and what I gained from that seminar is that if you want something bad enough, you need to dig down deep and not let the pain take over your mind!!!! Which is a very hard place for one's mind to get to. The other seminar, which was awesome, was by Dr. Jeffrey Brown, who is a sports psychologist for the Boston Marathon, the NYC Marathon, the Houston Marathon and the Chicago Marathon. He spoke a lot about routine-deviation anxiety. Was he reading my mind??? Wow. I had to buy his book; I even had him sign it! I asked for his email address and told him that I had a lot of "issues"....I think that freaked him out, he didn't give it to me. Bummer. But oh well, I can hunt him down, if needed :). I walked away with a lot of mental strategy for the race; we'll see if it actually pans out.

After my brain-loading seminars, Karen and I took a cab over to Fenway to see a little Red Sox action. We got there late; Sheri was already there. I was kinda glad we were late; it was cold, I couldn't drink anything, and there's not a lot to do if you can't drink other than watch the game. So I spent a lot of time texting everyone I knew. But the Red Sox won so that was sweet! The hoards of people that invaded the street afterwards was incredible. I have some pictures I'll post, but right now I can't cuz my Internet isn't cooperating. We walked home from Fenway, which wasn't that far, and enjoyed more of the funkier shops along Newbury.

A very nice day: Happy Birthday to me!
Next year, Boston's on my birthday! Yeah!!

(I'll try to get some pictures on but right now my connection is just sitting here doing nothing. Not sure how I got on my blog....)

Signing off until after the race :/

2 miles run

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Boston Day 2

Lunch at the Barking Crab, a very cool place!

Day #2. I started the morning with an excellent 3ish mile run with Elaine. Felt really good to stretch...both my legs and my mind. Elaine had us at about an 8:50 clip but I seriously doubt it...if so, then I'm going to be flying in Boston cuz I felt great and didn't feel like I was moving!!!! But we weren't, as confirmed later by her watch saying we were going 6:30. And this I know we weren't!!!

Karen and I couldn't have done anything more touristy today than we did: we rode the trolley around town and stopped at about every stop that was something to "see" and, in her case, had alcohol (I only drank about a half one - total! Just a sip of hers now and then). As soon as we got on the trolley, we instantly met up with some great people, Steve and Jana, from Illinois and we hung with them for the remainder of the day. They were tons of fun and we laughed so much! Just what my mind needed today. Boston is a pretty cool city; I can easily understand why people want to live here.

Steve, Jana, Karen, Me; at the Cheers bar

By the time I got back to the hotel, I had missed Elaine for some afternoon marathon seminars (but I do intend to go at least one tomorrow['Mental strategies for running Boston' - have the race directors been reading my blog or what?]) but did meet up with her for a bit at the Expo, which had about 20,000 more people in it than it did yesterday. I need to remember that if I come back again next year, to be sure to do the Expo on Friday!!!

Elaine and I at the Expo; she's pointing to the "Best Runner Debut" sign.

My friend, Sheri, flew in today to meet up with me also. I love all my girly support!! Sheri is a flight attendant for United so can fly whenever there are seats open but Denver got hit by a pretty big storm last night and all through the day today so we were a little uncertain if she'd make it or not. Thankfully she did. I guess a direct flight from Denver to Boston last night was cancelled and that was the last one of the day so they rebooked all these people for today flights and thus, her plane was packed. So I'm even more grateful that she's here with me, it wasn't easy. I am so exhausted and I'm not sure why because I haven't done much walking. Maybe my mental exhaustion is leaving me physically exhauted! Karen and Sheri went to do a little shopping and I let them go on without me. As much as I would have loved it, I don't want to walk! I want to lie here and write and watch some mindless wasteland t.v. and keep my feet up. I'm seriously thinking I may go to bed here soon. Which is like 6:30 in Denver. Sad! I actually slept pretty well last night, a rare commodity; I pray it continues through the race

Tomorrow we're off to Fenway Park for the Redsox game. I may go a bit later than start time; I want to go to a couple running seminars in the morning and is my birthday tomorrow - it is all about me, after all!

Tired and off to go read more about finding my way to the race come race-day morning. Monday weather calls for a high of 47 with about a 70% chance of rain in the late evening. So the rain may hold off....though I'm in limbo about what to wear. I hear we wait up at the start line for well over two hours. Errr. I'm not complaining, just do not know what I need to bring to wear while waiting. And the whole sweat bag thing is such a major pain later when you are done!!! So I got some thinking to do tonight. And tomorrow! I can't believe it's all closing in....

3 miles run

Friday, April 17, 2009

I'm Here!

Despite a hectic start to the day, with a fresh coat of snow on Denver ground, I have arrived safe and sound in Boston.

It's kinda surreal.

My plane was full of marathoners filled with running talks. I tuned it out; I worked on my coaching test. First I attempted to take a nap, I was so tired, but that never happens on a plane. Or a car. Or anything moving, as far as I know. But when I got up from my front row seat (I scored with an economy plus seat - extra leg room! Yes!) to use the restroom at the back of the plane, I noticed more than half the passengers were on there for the same marathon purpose. You can spot them...lean and wearing running shoes; runners just have a certain air to them. Anyway, I DID get the majority of my test done - it was great to have a solid 3-hours with no distractions around to focus solely on me and my test!

I've had a great time since I've arrived. Meet my dear friend from Iowa, my cheerleader, Karen, at the airport and we made our way to shuttle, to the train ,to the connecting train, then hauling our suitcases up massive steps to find ourselves staring aimlessly at the corner of Boylston and whatever in an attempt to find the hotel. We asked someone and found we just had a short walk to our place. Sweet. Turns out, our hotel check-in lady gave us a room on the 13th floor. I must have had a horrified look on my face because Karen instantly asked, "Are you superstitious?" Uh, yeah!!!!! So the sweet lady changed us to floor 10. I'm sorry for the soles on floor 13, but grateful I am NOT one. Unloaded our stuff in our room and walked to the expo. Okay, I can now say that changing hotels last minute was the right decision; the expo is just a block away and accessible via a sky-walk thingy - we never even had to go outside to get to it. Nice!!

I've heard stories about the massive expo.....and they were true. Karen and I walked around, sampled everything we could consume (aren't runners NOT suppose to do this before a race??) and laughed hysterically as some guy tried to use this roller pin thingy on my hamstring. The thing actually hurt. I got my race shirt and packet pickup...which was just swarming with people. It was incredible, I've seen nothing like it!! I didn't buy the rolly thing but I did buy a new pink hat; I think I need it for the race :)

Karen and I wandered around Copley square and ate dinner at a little Irish pub. Fun times.
I'm very tired but wanted to write quickly and let you all know that I am here. I ran into Elaine in the lobby of the hotel today - seems like I just saw her in St. George. Her and I are going for a slow 3-mile run in the morning. Can't wait!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Boston Playlist

A-Punk 2:20 Vampire Weekend

Bittersweet 6:20 Big Head Todd and the Monsters

Chocolate 3:11 Snow Patrol

Closing Time 4:34 Semisonic

Come on Eileen 4:47 Dexy's Midnight Runners

Crack the Shutters 3:21 Snow Patrol

Dancing In The Street 3:43 Van Halen

Disturbia 3:59 Rihanna

Feel Good Inc. 3:41 Gorillaz

Gimme Some Lovin' 2:58 The Spencer Davis Group

Good 3:07 Better Than Ezra

Gotta Be Somebody 4:13 Nickelback Dark Horse Rock

Hanging Around 3:41 Gemma Hayes

Hollow Man 2:39 R.E.M.

Hot N Cold 3:40 Katy Perry

House of Cards 5:28 Radiohead

I Confess 4:35 The English Beat

Into the Night 3:42 Santana

Jumper 4:35 Third Eye Blind

Just Dance 4:02 Lady GaGa & Colby O'Donis

Let It Rock 3:58 Kevin Rudolf

Lost in the Supermarket 3:52 The Clash

Love Hurts 3:57 Incubus

Love Like This 3:42 Natasha Bedingfield Pocketful of Sunshine

Love Story 3:55 Taylor Swift

Love, Save the Empty 3:16 Erin McCarley

The Lovers Are Losing 5:04 Keane

Mercy 3:42 Duffy

More Time 4:22 Needtobreathe

Over My Head (Cable Car) 4:21 The Fray

Read My Mind 4:07 The Killers

Rooftops 4:13

S.O.S. 3:21 ABBA

Sandstorm 7:26 Darude Sandstorm

Semi-Charmed Life 4:31 Third Eye Blind

Sober 4:12 P!nk Funhouse

A Sorta Fairy Tale 5:29 Tori Amos

Shattered (Turn the Car Around) 4:14 O.A.R.

Sober 4:12 P!nk Funhouse

Standing Outside a Broken Phone Booth With Money In My Hand 5:37 Primitive Radio Gods

Steady, As She Goes 3:37 The Raconteurs

Sweet Home Alabama 4:45 Lynyrd Skynyrd

Take Back the City 4:38 Snow Patrol

This Must Be the Place 4:55 Talking Heads

Tubthumping 3:34 Chumbawampa

Two Princes 4:17 Spin Doctors

Viva la Vida 4:01 Coldplay

Wannabe 2:57 Spice Girls

Wish You Were Here 3:37 Incubus

What Is Love 4:32 Haddaway

Where the Streets Have No Name 5:40 U2

Whisper to the Scream 3:51 Icicle Works

You Make My Dreams Come True 3:09 Hall & Oats

There ya' go! That's my list. I have no idea if it's even close to my hopeful marathon finish time, I started adding up all the times and I gave up; too complicated, my mind is not functioning on anything too well right now. I'm probably a good hour plus short but I have spent way too much time on this thing and it's just going to have to do, I have run out of time to keep working on it. I decided these are a set of songs I like, be it for the beat or the lyrics (or both) and I think they will help ease my mind for 26 miles. If I run out of music with mileage to cover, I'll just replay it. These are great songs! Enjoy.

If there is one thing I have learned today it's this (and it's not what you might think - ha!): if Denver is ever in a drought, just book me a flight to a race and it's a sure thing it will snow...and snow a lot!!! 1-2' (that is FEET!) of snow predicted here, starting tonight and going through to Saturday morning. I have an 8:00 a.m. flight so hopefully I will be able to avoid a lot of this mess....but who knows! I called my friend from Iowa, Karen, who flying out to be my Boston cheerleader and told her she may need to don my bib and run the race herself (she doesn't run). She didn't find that comment too humorous, nor the one that told her to take lots of pictures so I could see what Boston looks like :).

I am ready to go to Boston (not literally; I have not packed one thing. And I'm not kidding! I have so much to do. errr). I woke up this morning and felt this urgency that this race needed to be done. I am tired, I am stressed, and I just want to go to Boston, have a great visit with my friends, see a new town I've never been to (and always wanted to), and RUN A GREAT RACE, drink lots of beer to celebrate, have a good nights' sleep, and come home!!!

I am ready, Boston!!

I am suppose to run 2 miles tonight but I just don't think I can get it in (shameful!). I'll be sure to do that tomorrow instead!

Just Dance, Jill, Gunna Be OK

A little more time to write than last night, but not much.

The devoted little runner I am, I actually DID do my intervals last night, at 10:35. p.m. When I finally uploaded my pictures on my blog and stated I was going to go run, it was 10:00. I changed clothes and went downstairs to get my running shoes so I could get going...and more importantly, get to bed before midnight. I keep all my running stuff in my laundry room tucked in a few different plastic bins; it's pretty roomy and many years ago, we added cabinets so I am able to hide it all there. Plus, it's convenient to the garage and out the door. My running shoes also call the laundry room home and have a nice little spot next to the dryer, but sometimes they mysteriously get little feet inside them and take a walk and end up God only knows where. Last night was one of those times; one shoe decided to abandoned his laundry room post. With only one shoe on my foot, I looked for the other shoe for 35 minutes.... even eventually bribing the boys to hunt with me by offering cold hard cash for the first to find it (Brendan, the little negotiator that he is, thought he should be paid "per minute" and not just on a commission-based pay for found merchandise. Ha!). I'm not certain how it got there or more importantly how I noticed it, but MIS shoe was spotted in the laundry basket upstairs in my bedroom. Hum. I was seriously beginning to wonder how I was going to run Boston with one shoe. Or worse, new shoes. So finally at 10:35, I started my 4x400's. I can say with 99.9% certainty that I have never run later. And I felt it; I was tired! But did them I did.

I cannot stop sneezing. My allergies are KILL'N me!!!!

I have felt pretty awful all day today. I hope it's allergies and not the onset of some major cold or something. My sinuses have never felt this miserable, I don't believe. Itchy, watery eyes; stuffed up nose; sneezing galore; can't' breathe; overly tired; my legs feel heavy. Yeah, this taper sucks!!!!

I ran 3 hill repeats tonight and though I may have run them a tiny bit faster than last week, they still really hurt (maybe this is the norm for half mile hill repeats??) and Boston self-doubt suddenly was swarming my head. But I remember how I just didn't feel right the week before St. George...even the night before said marathon, I was lying flat on my back with an ice pack underneath, staring at the ceiling, trying to calm my nerves. So this sinus stuff I currently have is just another test of my will and I will persevere. Yes, I will.

A powerful spring storm is predicted in Denver ... guess when? Yep, starting tomorrow night and going well past my 8:10a.m. scheduled flight. Visions of that nightmare to Atlanta are flooding my head; I'm not certain I can endure yet another one of those snow-pack flying days....I'm still not certain how I survived the one I had to! So say your little prayers to the Weather Gods. Really, shouldn't a person only have to do this once at year, at the most? As I lie here watching the weather, it looks VERY nasty for Friday. Please let me get out of here on Friday morning!!!!!!!!

I have barely packed. The weather in Boston seems to change every few hours; I have no idea what to bring! I'm going to bed tonight and not even think about it any more. I still have not taken my coaching test yet, which was my goal before I I'm just hoping to get it in by the mandatory April 28th deadline.

My friend, Ann Johnson, was just on 9-news; she was given the 9-news person of the month award for her foundation of 'Adopt-a-US-soldier' program. Cool!!! Way to go, Ann!!!!

To whomever sent me a watch in the mail at work yesterday..... I think I know who you are. Thank you!! I'll have a little conversation with you later!

I am tired y'all. Maybe I just need some sleep to get me feeling better.....

Tomorrow, I will post my Boston playlist. I have had a really hard time getting the CD's people have given me all loaded and renamed (they load as 'track 1', etc). Now I have no idea how to shuffle them around, which I think is a necessity! Anyway, I will have them for ya all. My latest favorite: Just Dance. By Lady Gaga & Colby Donis. "Just Dance (Jill) Gunna be OK"

3 mile run

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

A Girly Kick-off Dinner

I had the nicest time tonight when my girlfriends took me out to dinner for a little Boston kick-off pasta. I smiled and I was just what I needed!!! Thanks guys, you are the best!!!!

Shortest blog yet as it's almost 10:00 and I still want to run my intervals. Just 4 of 'em and at a 1:32 pace. I'll write more tomorrow!

2 miles run

Week 15

Week 15 Totals
week running mileage: 22
Total mileage for 2009: 511 miles
This week weight training: 1

Monday, April 13, 2009

T-Minus One Week....

But who's counting? Oh, that'd be me! All day long, I looked at the clock and tried to figure out what I'd be doing at exactly that time a week from today. 8:30 (Colorado time, 10:30 Boston time): start running. 10:30: half way done. 12:30: Done. It's now 10:00pm Colorado time and what will I be doing exactly a week from now? I hope sitting in a bar having already had a few drinks with friends after finishing a very strong Boston marathon.

I had a tough 2x1 mile on the treadmill tonight and I really wondered if I could actually run 26 miles in one shot on race day. My lungs hurt and I couldn't breathe. I really do not feel the normal urgency to RUN like I typically do in a taper; you know, that feeling like you got to go run NOW and that you could run forever! Ready, set, go Jill GO!! No, I'd almost be happy if we could postpone this little race until late September. I think that may be because I have so much weighing on my mind and I just can't ever feel great before a marathon. It's just hard. 26 miles is not easy and I just wonder if there will ever be a day where I don't get so pre-race nervous that my stomach hurts so much that I can't eat right. I love the prep work for the marathon and I could go and run 26 miles tomorrow and feel good, but put a "race" in front of that 26 miles, especially any important race, and I start to panic. Rob thinks that my nutrition, or lack there-of, today was the culprit for the difficult 6:30 pace 1 milers tonight. So I'm going to try to get in the right foods tomorrow....something solid, and stick to my nutrition plan! I'll try.

I made Rob conduct a little list of neurotic race worries that are clogging my mind right now: weather (in particular, heat); hydration; sleep; nutrition; right calf cramp; left knee; race day pace; mile 20 with the infamous "hills"; race day crowds; flying; stomach problems; mysterious feet numbness; what to wear at race; whether or not to carry water (90% yes); iPod playlist; to have fun; packing; staying healthy from now until race day; letting people down with a disappointing time; getting around on the train in Boston (and finding my hotel). I think that's all but I feel like I'm missing something.....and something major. Oh, yes....the Boston "let-down." That's gotta be #1 of those things that I worry about; I can already get sad thinking about how much I will miss it upon my return if I let my mind go there for too long (so I try not to). But there's still a lot more races out there for me, and I will come back to something this fall even stronger!!!

I have been playing around with iTunes and my playlist tonight and somehow, I lost the Boston playlist I had step up. UGHHH. I think I got the songs all reloaded again. I got to figure out what orders I want the songs. I had a request from SBS to list my songs; I will do that before I leave for sure.

Rob and I talked a little about this whole "time" thing again tonight and I finally expressed that I did not want to just lolly-gag this race, and have no expecations whatsoever, like we had discussed in the past; no, I want to do well. I don't know what "well" is for a time, but I do not want to just go out and blindly run. I truly feel that I am at a peak (aside from the missing lung I swallowed last week on hills); I am really in great shape (okay, not where I wish I were but I am certainly much better conditioned and fine-tuned that ever before. For this almost 46 year old body!); I have been running very well in the past few races I've done and I want to have one more good race in me, I want to make sure that all the hard work I've put into the weight training is paying off in one more race - I want to run strong and feel great in Boston!! And after I return, I am certainly willing to start the rebuilding process from scratch, if needed, so that once fall come, I'm ready to run strong again! Yes, if there's one thing I learned from my coaching class, I cannot peak and PR at every single race. And I get that now!

So please Running Gods, give me one more run this spring in my favor next Monday and if you do, I promise to trust my training and run smart....and strong! Keep my legs cramp-less; the sun behind the clouds with temps in the 50's; the ability to sleep well in my very expensive hotel; all past stomach problems be only only that, in the past; and that I have the strength to have my common-sense intact for race decisions. And if you can do that for me, I promise I will rock in Boston!!!

This is a story of a girl who one day finally made it to the Boston Marathon....

2 miles run
1 quasi-weight training

Sunday, April 12, 2009

It's a Rainy Easter

There are the eggs we colored last night; I love the colors!!! I've already eaten one of the pink ones....along with about 500 pink foil-wrapped chocolate ones. It's raining here in Denver today; a rare occurrence! But welcoming. I thought about the Easters when my kids were little and I'd hide eggs in the backyard and the kids would go crazy finding them. I miss those days...but the memories are good ones. I still get Abbey a stuffed animal for her Easter basket - this year she got a fuzzy sheep. My boys don't care about such stuff any longer.

I'm going to cut this blog short today and sign off so that I can go study for my running coach test, I'd like to get that all checked off before I leave for Boston, and then up to my aunt's later for Easter pizza. Yes, we are very non-traditional. Will be nice to see the family and get my mind off of Boston for awhile....I can't believe how suddenly, Boston's a constant - a disease of my mind!! I have a very busy week, which is good, as it will really help distract me. If any of the Denver girls are out there reading: Girls' Night out on Tuesday at Mama Louise, 7:00, kick-off to Boston dinner for moi :). I can't wait to see y'all.

Here's a pic of my blown-over fence from yesterday. ugh.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

The Wind Has Returned

... and with a vengeance!!! I took off for Cherry Creek park about 10:00 today for my 8 mile run. Suppose to run it at a 9:20, which is where Rob wants me to run Boston, I think, but I couldn't do it. Well, not initially. For whatever reasons, I felt I had to go at a hard pace for a few miles. Runstoppable had me at about an 8:05 pace for the first 2.5 miles. Just a tad off of a 9:20. Hopefully, Rob's not reading this. I slowed a little bit but not much, not until I got to about the 3.5 mile mark where my phone started ringing; it was Dennis and he wanted to know where I was so he could meet me. We had planned to head out together today and then meet up along the route here and there as he runs a lot faster than I, but he was running late and I had to get going so this actually worked out a little better as I found him when I turned at mile 4 (which was actually mile 4.3) and headed back the way I came. Which was directly into the wind! And the wind was BAD! And this is where I slowed considerably, even walking a few minutes. I told Dennis that if Boston is this bad, I'll be walking by mile 2. One of Dennis' friends, Jeff, told me that the winds can be bad on the Boston course. Great, wind AND hills. I think I encountered this scenario in Big Sur...and I don't think I really enjoyed it much. The winds in Denver have not let up all day since my run and even managed to knock down part of my backyard fence. ugh.

I changed Boston hotels today. Surprising that there were openings, but just like St. George where everything was filled months before the marathon, things open as race day approaches and people begin to bail and cancel reservations. I'm now at the Marriott Copley .. and don't even ask how much I'm paying!!!!!! I'm trying not think about the money; it's all worth it for the experience, right? I was at the Marriott on the Wharf up until today, which I booked like 6 months ago, because back then they (hotel personal) told me that the wharf hotel was close to where I would get on the buses to take me to the race start. Well, I'd been having nagging doubts about this for awhile now and finally today, in an attempt to actually FIND my hotel, I found that it's not even close to the park where I meet my race bus. They said that the marathon provides these shuttles to the start from the hotel but I couldn't find one thing to confirm this so I bailed on that hotel I had and re-booked (for a lot more cash, mind you) at the Copley, which is easy access to almost everything marathon related. It's worth the cost. Isn't it? Yes, for this panic-stricken girl who worries about almost everything, this IS a good thing.

Colored eggs with the kids. I have pictures but for whatever reasons, my blog page keeps locking up when I try to upload them to show you. I'm too tired to figure it all out! Maybe I can post them tomorrow.

Getting some writing done and having fun sharing many words with Elaine :). Hard to believe that I will see her again in a mere 5 days or so...we are so similar in many ways - scary! Doing a little Boston research and thinking about cleaning my house some. How's that for a Saturday night!

And, btw Dennis, that "scrap" I got on my leg today running has turned into a very lovely purple bruise! Along with 4 fairly large scrape marks. Pretty!!

8 miles run

Friday, April 10, 2009

I Hate The Taper

One week until I leave for Boston. It feels weird not to be planning my usual Saturday long run on a Friday night. I really miss it. The taper makes me feel edgy and a lack of knowing what to do. Perhaps it's the excess energy, usually expended in miles, now turned into restlessness. This, along with an unidentified numbing of my feet with every run, and the pace of life traveling at a velocity inversely proportional to the desired rate of rest, makes me wanna crawl out of my skin.

I did manage to get the majority of my iPod playlist for Boston all loaded; now I just need to move them around some to find the right song for the right moment. Thanks for those that sent recommendations; the new music is going to help!

In the meantime, I felt better on my short run tonight than I did when I inhaled one of my lungs on the hills Wednesday. So that's a positive. The downside? My feet are still going numb, my left knee is bothering me some and I have a muscle twitch in my left deltoid muscle. Which has been there for a few days now. I've barely done any weight training so I have no idea what's causing it. I'm eating okay, though not great. I had one too many beers last night ... but I'm looking at it as carb loading. I have not looked online at the race course and thinking I'm not going to, despite the fact a month ago I put out a desperate call to all the prostates for a course map. I haven't even looked at a Boston city map nor scooped out where my friends will be in retrospect to where I am. I wonder if I am feeling the unknown is somehow my ticket to this whole thing...cuz usually I've printed off about a hundred pages of documentation in preparation and the overly anal person I can be sometimes isn't having a meltdown about my lack of Boston knowledge. And I don't feel the urgency to start investigating all the answers that I know nothing about. I think I'd better at least find my hotel...and I should start that quest with at least knowing the name of my hotel :).

Okay, I lied when I said I didn't look at the Boston profile yet; I have but it was some time ago. So I just looked it up online. Hum....those hills at the end look miserable. (note to self: try not to freak out at mile 16.5. And for SURE, don't go too fast on 'em !).
3 miles run at 8:34

Thursday, April 9, 2009

If You Wanna Get in to Boston...

For you, Dennis:
Aside from Boston, whose restrictive qualifying times mean it has the fastest finishers (37.5% re-qualify), these marathons produce the highest percentage of qualifiers for the years 2006 to 2008. Here's your next chance:
- Bay State, Lowell, Mass (37.1 %) Oct 18
- Mohawk- Hudson River, Albany, NY (33.4%) Oct 11
- Inland Trail,Elyria, OH (29.7%) Nov 11th
- Last chance for Boston, Columbus, OH ((29.7%) Feb 14th
- California International, Sacramento (26.6%) - I actually ran this course; beautiful!!! Dec 6th
- Tucson (26.2%) Dec 13th
- Newport, OR (24.8%) June 5th
- Tallahassee, FL ((24.6%) Feb 7th
- Run for the Red, Poconos, PA (24.5%) May 16th
- Windglass, Corning, NY (24.5%) Oct 4th

This top 10 list varies greatly from a list I ran across recently online, which quoted St. George (the race I managed to Boston qualify and PR) and Chicago, to name a couple of the more popular. Of those listed, I can't say I've even heard of any other than California International. Oh, and yes, I have heard of Tucson. Anyway, I guess everyone has their own lists which if you look at it statistically, this makes no sense.

I'm not a huge promoter of Runner's World magazine, I think there's a lot of garbage in there that is so worthless, and most of the time it's the same song, different in, the material in this month is the same as last month, only written in different lyrics. I don't need to know how to run a faster 5K in 10 different ways. A 5K sucks the lung right out from my insides; I do not need to know how to do it better, it will always hurt. But for the beginner runner.... well, it might actually be helpful.

Yet I still read the magazine because I'm an information junkie and I can't get enough about running no matter the source!! So when this month's issue had a boatload of Boston stuff intermixed in the norm of "4-weeks plan to get you across any finish line" I flipped there immediately. A lot of interesting information, none of course that will land me a faster time across the Boston finish line, but more just trivial stuff about Boston in general and more specifically about how the majority of us out there worked our butts off to cross the finish line in the required time, are actually in the minority of those running Boston. Most entered are in by means of a charity, invited athletes (don't we all wish we fell into this category??), entries for sponsors, entries for cities, media promotions, and other invitations. It's estimated that only 80% of those entered actually "qualified" by the BAA standards set. To me, that's just insane! I know I worked very hard and no matter how I finish, I am very proud to be amongst the 80% that earned their way there.

As one article quoted, which I full-heartily agree: No matter how many times I get there, I will never arrive. I had a nice Boston talk tonight with a friend of Dennis' and it did my mind a lot of good. I will always look at Boston as the Superbowl of running and I will cherish every time I qualify and I can't imagine I will fully ever arrive. Thanks, Steve.

zero athletic performance today, it's a taper for Boston after all!!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

My Darling, Miss Abbey

Another one of those "what a day" days. Let's just say Abbey was the most uncooperative child alive when I "made" her go downtown today so that my cousin could take some pictures of her by the state capital. Heaven forbid that I wanted some Senior pictures, that my cousin takes fabulous pictures, offered to do them for me, and that I'm saving boo-koo bucks by having him do so. Did I really raise such an ill-mannered child? OMG is about all I can say. Thankfully, my cousin knows her well so knew this little picture taking session could potentially be an issue...which probably only manifested the whole situation since she felt she could whine and complain that much more. After like 2-hours of her being stubborn beyond belief, I finally caved and said she didn't have to go to the family dinner on Easter Sunday, since we are pretty informal and all, if she would just take a few normal pictures without her sunglasses on and without looking like she just vomited over the side of the railing. I'm not sure why I caved; probably because I had to pee like crazy!!! I think he got a few good shots in there; I can't wait to look at them when he gets them posted online later tomorrow. I need to desperately get out her graduation announcements and I'd like to enclose a picture. Need to do that by this weekend!! Before I go to Boston! I feel life zooming by...

Thanks, Tim for the CD of great running songs. They came in the mail today and many are going to work perfect!

I finally got to the top of the hill tonight at 7:00 for hill repeats. A bit late, but perfect weather. By the last mile, the sun had totally set and it was dark....just like my attempt to run them: dark. I just cannot breathe and I felt every single upward step. Dennis met me tonight to help pace me, which was great because I have not run with him in awhile and also because I was just sucking air so badly, it was nice that he helped guide my sorry butt up. Thanks, Dennis! I made Dennis promise me that I wasn't going to suck so bad at Boston as I did tonight running hills. My legs didn't really wanna run and my lungs were just killing me. I'd think that this time in to the taper, you're so ready to run that you feel like you can run a thousand miles. Not me, not today. I hope big changes between tonight and April 20th!!!
There is something about the taper that makes me feel edgy. Perhaps it's the excess energy, usually expended in miles, now turned into vague restlessness...but I just don't feel that good on a taper. I eat way too much food and I feel my butt and gut expanding at record rates. I'm going into Boston about 5 lbs heavier than I wanted and if I don't be careful, it's going to be 10!!! I can't stop eating..which is odd, because usually I'm so freaked that I can't even eat anything!! Hum....

6 miles run up hills

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Short but Sweet

My workout today was short but sweet and to the point. Just like my blog will be tonight. I have had a busy day: school, hair highlights, cousin in town for a visit, AND I actually went to the store and cooked dinner. Not just a slap it together dinner of grilled chicken, brown rice and broccoli, my staple diet, but a real dinner of chicken fajitas - with dessert and all (not that I needed it. ugh). Somewhere, I managed to get on the treadmill and crank out 6x400's at a 6:30 pace...though I did do the last one at 6:00. Couldn't help it, I had to test it...and it felt great!

4 miles run

Monday, April 6, 2009

It can creep up inside you...

....and take over in a matter of seconds. Boston is heavy on my mind right now and I can't seem to shake the uneasy feeling I have with it. Don't get me wrong, I'm excited beyond words to be there, I can sit here and be so emotional over the accomplishments I have worked so hard that are finally here. 11 years ago, when I ran my first marathon in Dallas, I had a great race. I knew then that if I played my cards right, I could get to Boston. I didn't now when or how but I knew that one day, I'd be there. I never really "tried" to run a Boston qualifier in the next 10 years; instead, I sat back and waited to see how my body adjusted to each marathon I attempted, never really thinking "now" was the time to get serious. Injury and dehydration problems dogged me with marathons to follow and it wasn't until 10 years later when I again ran the Dallas marathon, and ran it well, that the Boston dream reentered my mind and sought out my trainer, Rob, to help me. I quasi-thought when I entered the Big Sur marathon last April that I could possibly get to Boston, though it really wasn't the course to do it on and my mind got so flipping tangled on the flight to that race that I really had no hope at all of making it. The weather and the hills of Big Sur didn't help either :/. So it wasn't until St. George last October that I actually went to a marathon start-line with one purpose only: to qualify for Boston. I not only qualified, I had an extra 14 minutes to spare! I killed it!! And I've been on Boston-focus ever since.

You'd think that the fragile mind-set I was in in the couple weeks before St. George (oh..just ask anyone that knew me - I was beyond even remotely nice to anyone!!!!! You know who you are all are (I am sincerely sorry)), I'd have totally screwed up that race and miss qualifying by a land-slide. But something happened when I got to the start, and I can't even tell you exactly what it was but in a slew of chaotic events that only gave me about 10 seconds of pre-race line nerves, I tried as best I could not to think about Boston and just focus on those that I carried with me in my heart...and blasted my iPod full-force, lik any incoming negative thoughts were going to be drowned out by music 20 octaves louder than is safe. I don't know how it all happened, but somehow it did and now, 6 months later, here is Boston facing me head-on. And I'm a little scared! More than a little. I think it's the taper: it's making me edgy, like the usual expended miles have now turned into restlessness and my mind is working overtime because it can't run the mileage. I've worked hard over the winter to be in great physical condition but I am still feeling a sense of self-doubt, my mind is always my weakness, and I am worried about almost everything. One day I can't eat, the next day I eat everything in sight. What's wrong with me?

Rob told me today (and many other days also), that this Boston is not for a time; this Boston is for the experience. Brian told me I needed to experience Boston with all my senses. Steve told me that there's no other race I will ever feel so proud to run and it was an experience unmatched to anything. A few other experience comments and that's it!!!!! That's what's troubling me. "Experience" is the reoccurring theme here; I am afraid to let the experience end. I've had a blast (okay, not exactly...but pretty dang close) getting here I'm afraid of my first Boston experience coming to an end. That's why this is weighing heavy on me right now; I don't want to let it go.... and I'm afraid of where to land when I return *sigh*.

Did some weight training with Rob tonight and learned that I have either apparently lost all ab muscles or my stomach is more upset over this whole Boston mess than I ever imagined. I'm not sure which is the lesser of the two evils; I was dying on the simplest of ab exercises. I did throw out a lot of self-doubt comments his way, though, and my next newsletter so that he can hear and think about what is happening to me right now so that he doesn't become a member of the Jill's-lost-all-sense-of-emotional-control-victims club like last last fall. No....I will not fall pray to that ugly person I was (okay, some of it WAS justified, honestly!), I am not "mad" at anyone this round and I do not have the pressure of finishing with a pre-determined race time; I am just nervous about everything the race has to throw at me.....and I am a little sad it's all coming to a close. But no matter what, I'm going to Boston, Baby!! It's been a long road but I've made it and I can't imagine anywhere I'd rather be than on the start line of Boston!!!
Isn't this picture crazy of all the people running Boston? Wow!!!!

Weight training: 1

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Week 14

Week 14 Totals
week running mileage: 26 miles (in only two days, egads)
Total mileage for 2009: 489 miles
This week weight training: 1
This week cross training: 1 cycling class

On the other side of the tape

I volunteered today at the Platte River 1/2 Marathon; it was a nice change to be on the other side of the tape for a change of scenery. The woman that runs this race is a local Denver area running coach and has a very successful running career herself, which in include 3 Olympic marathon trials. I found her through various channels but her daughter also attends the same small Catholic high school that my daughter does and are in the same grade (though do not have the same mutual friends). Maureen has provided me a lot of valuable marathon information as well as some tweaking of my running form by watching me run on the track and some hills. All for free. So when she asked if I would be interested in volunteering today at one of two local races she puts on for charity, I couldn't say no. It actually worked out perfectly as I was in no condition to run it due in part to having just run a hard half last weekend and because of my Boston taper. I had a great time watching racers come across the finish line as I tore off their tags and offered congratulations. I even got to see Brian, one of the coaches at Smoky, cross in a victorious NYC marathon qualifying time (way to go, Brian). I had hoped we'd be handing out medals so I could proudly put it around his neck, but no such hardware existed; so a hug had to suffice and I promised I'd bring in my Atlanta medal to school tomorrow so he could deservedly sport it round his neck :). Jeff, the other track coach, unfortunately did not manage to qualify and I know that's just gotta be so hard for him. He missed qualifying for Boston, some odd-years ago, by a mere 9 seconds. When I told Dennis this, Dennis said he's probably have to just end his life right then and there, he'd never be able to live with that. I'm certain Jeff is disappointed - all us runners have been there and know his pain (you still rocked, Jeff, with an astonishing 1:32). I found out today, that I missed qualifying for NYC by an entire 11 seconds myself with my Atlanta time. Not that NYC marathon was a goal or even a's just the principle of it now that I know I was only 11 seconds off. I'm not certain NYC is a marathon I would attempt again (though I'm almost certain one could convince me to run just about anything out there...and probably in less than a minute). At one time it was a desire but it no longer has tugged at my heart. Not like many others I long to do. I also found out today that the Nike Women's marathon in San Francisco in October, is already closed. That was one on my 2009 race goals but I had no idea of it's popularity and before I figured that out, it was closed. So chuck that off the list and now we've come to the source of my imbalance right now: I don't know what to do this fall. Maybe not a problem for most but I am afraid of returning from Boston with no particular fall goals, and hitting that big Boston "let down" (Rack Nike up to #2 that was on my list that no longer is; the other was the Sunmart 50K in December which is no longer a race after 20-some years. Rumor has it that the sponsor, Sunmart itself, has run off with all race moneys... hum). I just run better when I have a purpose behind my running so with two races nixed, I am in race limbo. I want to take the summer to fine-tune my body; like I did this winter, and hit the fall hard; like I did this spring. So an uncertain fall race calendar is weighing heavy inside right now.

It struck me very deeply from the perspective of the sidelines without the painful cloud of my own effort and the layer of my own experience as I watched those cross the finish line for their own various and awesome reasons why they were running. Whether it's for their own personal race time goal to gain entry to a race they've longed for, or to cross their first half marathon ever, or perhaps in memory of a loved one (saw a few of those); it is one of the finest attributes of people who run, a tether of humanity that grounds us all. We all have our reasons why we run. And why we volunteer for those that do.

BTW, I'm dead tired today the past coule days. Maybe it's due to my whirlwind 11-day spring break? I hope it's just that and nothing more. I don't want a cold right now.......

Saturday, April 4, 2009

A tempo'd 8 to end the week

On the treadmill once again today; not because I needed to pace myself (okay, that's only half true) or any of the other 9 reasons I listed on Thursday, but because the outside weather was awwwwwful! Really awful. A big storm with predictions of up to 18" of snow was to start around midnight and continue through the night. When I got up, there was a slight dusting of snow. But it wasn't the snow that was stopping my preferred outdoor run, it was the wind; it was blowing totally horizontal at about 40 mph. And to top that, I think it initially rained before it snowed so underneath the snow, was a thin sheet of ice. I have no desire right now to slip and injure myself before Boston. So down to the basement I went with 8 miles at an 8:45 on my schedule. But instead, I ran 8 miles at an 8:30. I don't know why... but somewhere in the back of my head, I feel I have an 8:30 marathon in me (and it's NOT Boston!!! Really, I am not going to Boston with any goal time; I want to experience Boston, have a great time at Boston, learn from Boston and that's it....and if I want to run Boston again next year, I will take what I learned this year and THEN can run it for a time...but not this year; this year is for the whole Boston experience). I don't know if I my body is capable of a 8:30 marathon but something inside me tells me that if all the planets are aligned just right, I can. So I may as well train like I can and thus, I did my marathon pace run today at my "hopefully one day" marathon race pace :). I felt okay...not great but not bad. My legs, right where they bend, were hurting some; certain that this was related to yesterday's cycling class. I cranked up my iPod (I swear I'm going to need hearing aids before I am 50; the things we do just to cross a marathon finish-line) and got into a groove. The last mile I cranked the pace to an 8:00 for the first 800, a 7:45 for the next 400 and a 7:13 for the final 400. That felt great!!!

The wind stuck around for the entire day but very little snow so that's good for the half marathon tomorrow. I hope I don't freeze in my pre-race packet pickup assignment; I already have mega layers already laid out in anticipation. Took the boys to the Imax theater tonight to see 'Ring of Fire' - pretty cool, especially since it's right up my geology alley. Dinner at Spaghetti Factory after; it's been ages since I have been there and I have to say, I was amply disappointed in the menu, it's definitely not conducive to my diet but more so, there's just not much on it.

Anyway, I am way tired and need to get up at 5:30 so off to bed early on a Saturday night - yeah, I know how to live!

8 miles run at marathon race pace

Friday, April 3, 2009

"She's Got Legs....

....She Knows How to Use Them...."

A little ZZ Top for ya'... the very song that did a little pick-my-sorry-a$$-up at cycling class today. I LOVE this class...LOVE IT LOVE IT LOVE IT! Not because it's fun or easy - contraire, I love it because it's one of the bestest-best workouts out there! Okay, it is kinda fun in the sense the instructor, Jill (gotta love the name) is awesome! Her instructor skills are incredible; she jacks up the tunes and really sucks you into the class with her genuine enthusiasm. But I'm telling y'all (still a little southern left in me from my trip!), this class is one tough cookie! My ponytail, which was nicely sporting a little curl left in it from last night and had just the right "cuteness" swish to it pre-cycling class is now caked in grime and sweat...nasty. But ah, a good kinda nasty!

I will be the first to admit that I am not a cyclist. Probably never will be, as far as I can tell, because I just do not know how to push through the hurt. Not the hurt in my legs, no my hurt is the hurt in my LUNGS! Jill'd be yelling out, "I know your legs are burning but make 'em burn moooore..." No, my legs weren't burning, I have legs... I know how to use them; I just suck an entire lung every time I try to get my cadence up over 120. She's screaming, "Get your cadence at least to 135...mine's at 144....anyone top that?" Um...I need an oxygen tank at 118, please! I don't think my legs are capable of moving at 144+ revolutions per minute even if I set the resistance to zero!!! I just can't...I can't breathe. Wikipedia has defined cadence levels as the following: "Recreational and utility cyclists typically cycle around 60–80 rpm; racing cyclists around 80–120 rpm and sprinters up to 170 rpm for short bursts. The professional racing cyclist and Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong is known for his technique of keeping up high cadences of around 120 rpm for hours on end to improve efficiency." Well, Lance doesn't count; he's not human! But if this is the case...then I'll never be known as a "sprinter" on my bike, but I may just be able to knock out the title "racer" - even if it is just for short 1-minute spurts. Hey, I'll take what I can get in this highly competitive biking world. One trip to Boulder will certainly confirm see competitive cyclists out riding everywhere. It's pretty cool!

One thing is certain, though, evident by my totally sweat-grimed ponytail and the pool of water at my feet, I sweat at much higher ratio for one hour of cycling class than I do one hour of treadmill 9:15 pace running. My bandana that I use to soak up the drips was maxed full of fluids by 30 minutes. THAT'S why I love this class (Note to self: Next time bring two bandanas. Or a hand towel. Or a bath towel. Or better yet, a beach towel).

Speaking of hair...I'll let you in on a little secret: I'm trying to grow mine so I can donate it to the 'Locks for Love' program which is a non-profit organization that provides hairpieces to financially disadvantaged children suffering from long-term medical hair loss. Very popular amongst the kids to do this ... not so sure about myself. I love long hair, always have and always will. Though my hair IS growing, it's not growing as fast as I want and the ends are drying out in this arid state I live in. I have countless leave-in moisturizers and some work a little magic, but I'm going to be completely honest here: my hair is driving me crazy! Because it's so dry!! I pulled my hair back and I DO have the 10" needed before you can donate...but egads, I can't chop it to nothing. I can't!!!!!!!!!!!! I mean, that look is fine on some people but I would be in deep depression mode if I had to sport that image. I love being a girl and everything girly that comes with it, especially my hair. I love to do stuff with it sometimes, evident by my medicine cabinet full of hair adornments, but mostly, I love to keep it down where it's long..I can't chop it to an inch max around my head. So anyway, as summer running approaches and my hair continues to grow in length, I'll try to retain my willpower not cut it....I figure I have a year before I can cut 10" and still keep it long enough to "do" something with. Please God, show me the strength because right now, I'm about ready to whack it off!

Major snow storm predicted for tomorrow to Sunday morning. I am volunteering on Sunday at the Platte River half marathon handing out finisher medals and congratulatory hugs at the end (I also have some pre-race job which I can't remember exactly what it is right now). I'll be dressed in full Arctic attire while I cheer on the track coaches at Smoky as they attempt to qualify their half marathon times for entry to the NYC marathon. Go Brian, go Jeff!!

Oh...and how could I forget my most favorite cycling song of the day: a little techno music for you with an amazingly fast beat...a little motivation for Boston, perhaps? (btw, Abbey calls it "crap").

Cross train: 1