Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Week 12 / The Long Run Madness

It’s so strange to me to be in the running pattern I seem to be in lately – that being intervals are my friend and the long run is my foe. I used to dread intervals, so much so I’d have anxiety on Monday for Wednesday’s interval sessions. I’d literally lie awake at night, worried I wasn’t going to make my mark or pass out mid-way with some sort of head explosion embolism due to lack of oxygen. Funny, cuz I always survived, best I can tell anyway, and actually can only recall one time that I had to cut a workout short for not feeling up to par. But the long run was always my baby. I loved it. I loved going out there for hours and just run. Run and run and run and runandrunandrunandrun! I loved how it gave me time with my inner self; it was detox for my soul, my emotional chiropractor to click back into proper perspective.

I don’t know what’s up with the ole switch-a-roo but I can tell you that lately, my speed work is over the top incredible but I can count the number of long run over 18 miles I’ve done in the past several months where I felt like celebrating. Not even a simple smile on my face. Even last summer while training for Portland and then Tucson, my long run felt forced, difficult, far far far off the pace and the mark where I need it to be. Sunday was just such a case – again! My friend, Jim, met me for the last 18 miles of my last long, 21-miler. When he met me at mile 3 (he wanted a few miles less than me, he’s not training for anything right now, just wants to remain in fabulous running condition…) he immediately asked me how I was doing. I’m certain I didn’t need to even utter a word, it was written in my body language – it just wasn’t happening. Ugh. I was up most of the night with my allergies, I’m frustrated with the excess lbs of weight I don’t want, my left hamstring was tighter than cello strings, my back’s been bothering me again, and just overall sense if blah. At mile 9, I was practically begging to turn around and go back, my legs were just achy and my back was starting to throb. But Jim wouldn’t let me (bless him!) and I trudged along, listening to him talk so that I could get my mind off the task at hand. At mile 16, my back was screaming so I stopped at the gas station, refueled the water bottle and applied some Icy/Hot to the ole back, which never does really help but it feels good to at least do something. The last 6 miles are that same, gradual uphill and my pace slowed to a pathetic crawl. I was done; I spent every last morsel of strength to get up that last stretch of a hill and end the run at 21.5. This long run is beginning to turn into my nemesis. I think after Boston, I'm putting the long run on a temporary time out until I can get my mind back into the mental game of this thing called long-distance running.


I don’t know what this means for Boston as I lie here each morning with a heating pad on my back but I have a feeling that it’s not going to end pretty there. Because I have no formal taper time beings I had not much mileage buildup, I’m not sure there’s a “peak” – which is where we all want our marathons to be at race time. Since Katie’s trying to petition Boston to be somewhere tropical, like Hawaii, I’m going to see if they’ll also sport a Boston-now-held-in-Hawaii 7x1 mile interval run instead of a marathon.

Though I’ve struggled for the past couple months finding a happy place with my running, running still takes me in, and continues to comfort, heal and challenge me in magical ways. I am forever grateful I am running Boston and am going to enjoy my experience there no matter what. My back my give out at mile 9 and I’ll have to walk the rest of the way, who knows, but I will never take my training for granted again! My “issues” right now are so petty compared to people like Meg, who have larger health concerns to tackle. I can run, maybe not where I want to right now, but I can run! Many cannot!!! know I can offer so much more to the sport that continues to consume me, but for now, it’s time to just get out there and give it whatever I have and be grateful I am running it and stop whining about my lack of perfect conditioning. Geeeeeez, get over it already, Jilly – suck it up!!!!!

So in other news…

I have not yet cleaned the bathroom while on spring break, I found the $ key under "symb" on my BB, I have not even looked at the Garmin manual nor have I even touched my resume. I did rake a bunch of leaves, which was not on my week off agenda. I'd say I'm doing well.

While Denver was facing amazing spring-like record-high temps in the 70’s, I was in the mountains enduring more snow and cold temps, to watch my boys ski and indulge in a little mountain sledding. I guess I’ll let it slide, since we actually had a really nice time and I did get to endure some of this lovely springtime weather yesterday before the next round of cold temps hit us this weekend. I’m going to see if Kathleen and Steve want to get a group discount admitting the 3 of us mental patients, sick of snow, to the psych hospital in Pueblo if we land more snow this season, which is quite possible. I’ve seen snow as last as mid-May here in Denver before (pic of the sledding hill in Breckenridge, ski area as the backdrop).

Had a great lunch with college daughter today and then in typical A.D.D. moments, left my wallet in her dorm room, only finding this little tidbit out an hour later after a cart full of groceries were scanned and bagged and I went to pay for them. Figured I had't shared my A.D.D moments in awhile so had to let you know that yes, they still occur on a regular basis.

My allergies were at an all-time high on Saturday and Sunday, giving me a PR of tissues used in a two-day period! What I won’t do for a PR!!!

Okay, heating pad back therapy session complete, though I’m still in pain (that’s not a complaint, that’s just a comment) so off for a little run.

Run strong!

Week 12 2010:
Week’s Running totals: 43.5
Running Total for 2010: 502.91
Weight training: 2
Swim: 1 (yes, I actually went to the pool on Saturday, believe it or not)

Friday, March 26, 2010

Week 11 / Friday Frazzles

I can’t believe it’s Friday already. I’m totally frazzled; the week has flown by and I have accomplished very little on my to-do list. I did, however, get one killer run in on Wednesday which I don’t mind bragging about: 7x 1 mile repeats. Yep – SEVEN 1 mile repeats!!!!! I woke up that morning to a typical springtime-in-the-Rockies snowstorm that dumped 12” of the thick, wet, white stuff, which school officials deemed too torturous to drive on – and thus was my first snow day off work this school year! SWEEEEET! But to back up a couple days, I was a tad sore from my ½ in Atlanta on Monday so didn’t run. Plus, it’s hard to rack up many miles running up and down the aisle of an airplane. Tuesday I popped over to the gym and cranked out a pathetic 3 miles at some ungodly 12 … or 19 minute mile….not sure which and it really didn’t matter; they were just recover miles, or as some like to call them: junk miles. I don’t like that term much because I think sometimes a few plodding-along-at-a-snail’s-pace miles help you recovery quicker by shaking out the lactic acid, but I can understand why some like to use it. Anyway, followed that killer run with some sorry attempt at some core work. Thought about swimming laps but didn’t. Does that count for at least partial swim points? I am so behind in swimming; I’ll take whatever I can get! So lame Tuesday workout and a Wednesday Armageddon snow day left me hitting my treadmill feeling pretty pumped for some intervals. The great thing about not having a plan is that I have nothing to follow – which is the whole point of not having a plan. I came up with that all by myself, I’m such a genius. I’ve missed so much training so a plan right now is rather ridiculous with the few remaining weeks to Boston (more on that in a sec). I’m on the “get up and see how you feel and run accordingly” plan. I like it. I knew I wanted (needed) to do some speed work so I just took off on the treadmill (before I get treadmill bashing (haha) comments, let’s look at this picture again guys….TONS of snow = not happy, dry tracks sporting less than 12” of snow around town). I start running and think in my head I did 10x800’s @ 7:03 for Razz’s 6.66 miler race two weeks earlier (which, btw, I came in 4th. Yes, 4th. No autographed nothing, no name printed in highly publicized running publications, no sponsorships, not even a medal…..*sigh*) so I wanted to see if this round I could either 1) up the pace a tad or 2) run a couple extra 800’s. So I take off at 6:58 to see how it feels. Felt great. So great, in fact that once I reach the 800 mark, I decide to go farther and attempt mile repeats. Man, it feels good not to have a plan and doing what feels right at the moment! Finish the first one and I feel so good I decide to speed up the pace a bit to 6:53. #2 down, feeling good. #3 @ 6:49 and this pace is where I held them for the following two. If you can follow all my numbers I’ve babbled off, I’ve now done 5x1 milers. Feeling really good, might as well cram all my missed Boston speed work into one kill-me workout so I up the pace to 6:44 and blast through two more. 7x1 mile repeats all under 7 min/mile and the last two at 6:44. YEAH, that should have killed some excess body fat!! Too bad I couldn’t use THAT run for Razz’s virtual race, I’m certain I’d move up a spot or two – the over-achiever girl I am and all!! Yesterday I was back at the gym for another lame 3-miler topped off with a pretty BA core and weight training workout that has my shoulders a wee-bit unhappy today. I consider any wt workout where muscles are somewhat sore the next day a success. An easy run today and a 22er this weekend and that should get my mileage back up in the 40’s….which is still considerably less than where I wanted it to be when this little Boston project all started 14 weeks ago, but I can’t go from 30 miles to 55 in a week’s time without a high potential of injury so I’m happy with this.

I got to thinking about my remaining no-Boston-plan and the taper. Jilly and the taper usually occur 3 weeks out. I’ve been known to go a tad less when I only had 8 weeks between my last two marathons and hadn’t racked up the miles in between much, and this worked really well for me. Well, it’s not like I’ve actually hit record high mileage this training period (or lack thereof training period); I’ve actually felt like I’ve been on a perpetual 2 month taper…. so I’m not really going to taper this time around. No gasps from the audience, please…I mean not taper in the sense of a typical reduce-your-mileage-in-half-each-week taper. I’m going to do a 22-mile run Sunday; a friend has offered to run part of it with me (I think he wants to keep an eye on me, he must be thinking I’m going to cheat and cut it short, like I threatened since I’m actually dreading this run with a passion) and that will be it for the “long” long run. From there I’ll figure it all out with some quality runs next week and the week after and leave the last week before Boston to just get the legs ready to run and the body full of glycogen. Woohoo… I can’t believe it’s THAT time already!

Okay, so it’s officially allergy season. I’m dying here. I’m sitting in my office at work unable to breath because I forgot to load up on antihistamines or 7 other nasal cleansing things I’m taking. Ugh. 2:30 when I leave work can’t come soon enough.

I’m off for spring break next week – yes! Here’s my goals for the week off:
- Run well.
- Sleep well.
- Eat well.
- Buy stock in Kleenex and Zyrtec.
- Figure out how to upload (download?) my Garmin data off my watch (I’ve only had the thing for 11 months…one can’t be bogged down with too much too soon!!)
- Figure out how to use get the $ key to work on my Blackberry (I’ve only had this since Christmas).
- Work on my resume for a friend who’s promised me a high 6-figure job (ahahhha, yeah, I wish).
- Read blogs.
- Have fun with my kiddos.
That’s it. Nothing more!! I’m going to try not to clean any bathrooms even, though I’ll probably cave by Thursday….I have twin 14-year-olds after all!

Oh, and this just out: Balloon Boy’s dad is out of prison. What a winner that one is.

Here’s last week’s stats that I never got posted earlier this week:

Week 11 2010:
Week’s Running totals: 31.21
Running Total for 2010: 459.41
Weight training: 1
Atlanta ING Half Marathon: 1, Time: 1:46:05

Happy Running Weekend!!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Atlanta ING 1/2 Marathon RR

Hey y’all, I’m sitting at the airport waiting for my departure back to Denver. Man, I love that the airport has WiFi and I’m able to catch up on a few blogs and re-enter the world of the internet – I feel like I’ve been on the 5 step recovery plan: “I, Jill, am a blogaholic….” I have missed my fix and wondered what each of you have been up to.

You know how I can get so wordy; as much as I love to run, I love to write….but I’ll try to condense an action packed weekend into a brief summary:

Arrived in Huntsville, AL on Thursday evening, an hour later than expected due to United inevitably delaying my flight. By the time my girlfriend picked me up and we drive the hour to her house, it was well past 1a.m. when I finally hit the pillow.

Woke up Friday morning to sunshine and warmth! Went for a short, hilly run and this is what I found: temps warmer than 25 degrees, birds chirping, dandelions, crab grass, acorns and black walnuts lining the road, red bricked houses galore, red soil, no snow, green-grassed lawns, paper mill smells, Tennessee River, oxygen, and abundant daffodils. All things either too early for Colorado or things Colorado does not even possess - I was in springtime heaven….and my sinuses were letting me know. Drippy and stuffy....which I don't fully understand how you can have both!!! I love the beauty of spring but not the allergens that loom in the air. Especially after having endured WAY too much of this crud in February. My girlfriend and I had a nice day just doing nothing. How often does one get to do that!!??!! No child screaming, “Mooooommmmm….,” no job to go to, no kids at school whining, sleeping later than 6a.m. I also consumed about 30,000 calories more than I should. Saturday, get up and head to Atlanta for the race. I’m actually contemplating pulling a Jamoosh and running the full marathon instead of the half because 1) I’m not in the mood to “race” a tough ½, I’m still having mental issues “racing” right now with the 5-week lung fungus running hiatus and, 2) I’m not in the mood to do another long run before Boston next weekend so the thought of knocking off doing 26 LSD miles in a race is tempting me, and 3) my sinuses are really bad today and by the time we reach Atlanta 4 ½ hours later, I now have motion sickness (I am not a good traveler. I like being in new location but getting from point A to point B is never easy for me, I have “issues” on a plane AND a car. My family all loves traveling with me!!).

Make our way to the expo and I’m feeling like total crap. I’ve eaten way too much bad-for-me-foods (why must I feel compelled to resort to high school eating behaviors while away from home??!!??), my sinuses are killing me, the car made me nauseous, and I’m really not in the mood to be there. As far as expos go, this isn’t all that exciting….but I did manage to find a shirt to wear for Boston that is PERFECT for the race. I’ll share more on that as Boston approaches. I decided that I’m absolutely in no mood to run 26 miles the next day so 13 was going to have to suffice….it was only a passing thought to run the full anyway, I seriously doubt I’d ever go through with such a thing; I’m way too much of an anal planner for that to occur.
Race day morning is about 49 degrees and calling for rain showers later in the morning. I have no earthy idea what 49 degrees is with humidity. Living in a semi-arid state and all, I’m not acclimated for the warmer temps….let’s recall what a miserably cold winter Colorado has had! So I found the start to be warmer than I thought it’d be: 49 degrees in Atlanta is a whole different feel than 49 degrees in Denver! By mile 1, I totally discarded my gloves and was glad I had the foresight to wear a sleeveless shirt

I had no expectations going into this race of my abilities. I know last year I PR’d my half marathon time on this course, even though it’s really hilly. Maybe the extra oxygen or the fact that I was in pretty decent shape last year training for Boston; either way when I crossed the finish line last year, I felt incredible and strong. This year I had no idea; 5-weeks of less than ideal training due to Mr. Lung Fungus left me a huge question mark. I knew, though, that to perform as well as last year was most likely not going to happen, but how far off exactly was a total mystery.

Thankfully I was seated in corral C so my start wasn’t behind a mass of walkers and casual runners. Again, not bashing those – I am all for anyone and everyone that wants to run these things, but I don’t like being stuck behind them and not able to quickly get into a steady pace, especially for a half marathon. This race was predicted to hit about 18.000 runners (but I think a little under 10,500 finished) – it’s a biggie!! Hit mile 1 at 8:00. Mile 2 at 8:00. Mile 3, with a large hill at 8:10. Mile 4 at 8:10 with another large hill. Mile 5 at 8:00. See a pattern here? I was and it was that 8 min/mile was what my body had in me. I wasn’t hurting and I wasn’t dying and I wasn’t holding back…this is where my ability to run a very hilly half marathon was. I hit a couple miles along the course in the 7:40 range and felt slightly encouraged but I knew some of the toughest hills were yet to come and once I hit mile 11 with an 8:30, I knew then that my lack of training properly was going to spew me a less than 1:44 where I landed last year. I got to mile 12 and just decided it wasn’t worth killing myself for a few measly seconds off the clock and I just accept it for what it was and slowed the pace down, took in my surroundings, and crossed the finish line.


Overall finishers: 960/10481
Sex place females: 207/5863
Div Place: 13/542

Am I disappointed or bummed or any other unsatisfying emotion? No, not really. I mean, I can’t help but be bummed in a sense about the training and where it left me but I had a moment out on the course and came to the realization that I’m 46 and at my age and the 32+ years I’ve been running competitively, I have to work like hell to make a tiny dent in any PR time or produce amazing results anymore. I was not able to train at the level I needed to this winter with the garbage I had going on in February to produce the results I hoped for…and that is sucky. My training suffered and I lost the drive to fight like mad when I was healthy because basically, I ran out of time and in my head, I knew there wasn’t a lot I could do about that. All I could do now was see what I had left of the conditioning that was still inside me. So when I clocked a 1:46 with the amount of training I’ve done, I was actually pleasantly pleased. I think I had about 3 good workouts in the past 6 weeks; a 1:46 is gratifying under the circumstances!! The hills in this race are relentless (and I am convinced they raised the elevation of every single one of them from the previous year I ran it!!!); I don’t think there is even one mile where there is not a series of many hills, except for mile 7-8 (where my splits were in the 7:40’s), they come at you in full-force and do not give up. But you know what? As much as I hate hills, and we all know I do, I remained tough on them and felt strong. And that makes me even more happy. I had a great weekend, with great friends and I ran a tough race well on minimal training. I'd say it was a pretty dang good weekend!

So where do I go from here, in my mind and in my training, now that Boston is a mere 4 weeks away??!!?? I have come to peace with the fact my 3:51 2009 Boston finish time will be faster than this year’s. I really am okay with that. My goals for the next 4 weeks are to run enough to maintain the conditioning I currently have – it’s not like a big test the next day where I can cram in all the needed work to produce mega results but I do not want to lose anymore either. I will eat healthy and controlled, I will get as much sleep as I can, I will weight train to maintain my current conditioning, and I will enter the Boston start line ready to give the race whatever my body wants to produce - with a big smile on my face. And it’s all going to be okay! There are other races and marathons out there waiting for me; my body is much more in harmony training in the summer for a fall marathon than it is in the winter for a spring marathon, so maybe Chicago in October…..after I’m done with Boston, I will sit down and look at my options. Until then, I got a little race to run and a party to attend so let’s get this show on the road and finish up my training in good spirits!

I thank all you guys for your well-wishes last week for my race, I thought about you during the course and carried each and every one of you with me. I'm so bummed I wasn't able to connect with Saundra while I was in Atlanta, but am sooooo excited she PR'd and had an excellent race!! I am so behind on blog world so I apologize for my lack of comments but will be sure to get to you guys soon, promise (I am back to work tomorrow so have time to read ;) )! Run strong, friends!!!

Oh, and least I forget - GO UNI PANTHERS!!! Man, I love that my alma mater whomped Kansas' butts!!

My friend from Alabama, Shari, and I the night before the big event

Shari and I just before the start (our hotel was steps from the start line. SWEET!)

Blue shorts me crossing the finish line

WAY relieved I'm done

My friend, Scott, and I after the race (he's a wee-bit tall)

Finish line view from our hotel room. Cool, huh?

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Top of the day to ya

Twas a fine St. Patty's Day, lads and lassies, at the O'Jill's house today. Mr. Lucky Leprechaun came again last night and despite making our annual leprechaun trap, we were not able to catch him. He is sneaky - and fast! In true annual tradition, he didn't let us down by turning our milk green, our toilet water green, and even left a trail of green powdered sugar for french toast toppings this morning. Unfortunately, he did NOT leave us that heavy pot of gold; apparently my house is NOT at the end of the rainbow. Dangit. I sported my florescent green Park City Marathon shirt today and couldn't wait to get home from work and watch my favorite of all green traditions: watching Lord of the Dance on dvd. Ah, don't you be laughing, this is pure athleticism at it finest. We as runners would surely twist an ankle and be outta marathon commission but I seriously doubt any of us could get our heart rates up as high either. My kiddos used to watch this with me, but this year they all scurried when I put that puppy in. Hum....they're grounded! Well, since I was left alone with my own viewing pleasure, I at least did my 50 crunches Katie guilted me into followed by 50 (each leg, mind you!) glute pullbacks with my resistance band while watching. Yeah, I knocked off TWO (count of my goals for the week! I rock!!! I didn't get to watch then entire video for lack of time but I did fast forward to all the "good" parts. Anyhoo, attaching a great piece above; maybe you, too, will get the the Michael Flatley bug and make this awesome dvd part of your annual St. Patty's Day tradition! I will add that the males of the blog world may actually enjoy this ... especially about half way through. If you want to view the entire dvd after viewing this small snippet, just email me and I'll get you a copy....I'm certain my comments will be flooded by mid-morning with inquiries :). Btw, I saw them live not once, but twice. Once in Denver about ...oh...8 years ago?? And then about 6 months later when they were part of the Vegas show circuit. I don't believe they are in Vegas any longer but they still do tour. If they ever make it to Denver again, I'm going. Twice.

So now you know another one of my quirks. No Orange shorts in a race. No hotel room on the 13th floor. And I love Lord of the Dance. I also get a moment about once a year where I have to listen to my John Denver CD. I bawled at his televised funeral. I believe my friend, Meg M-T in Iowa, still have my John Denver book.....

Well, it was a given this week my legs would not work. Last week they were flying, this week they've back to leadville. My weight is up and my running sucks and I have a 1/2 marathon in 4 days and a big marathon in 4 1/2 weeks. YEAH! I think I'm going to take up knitting. I ran twice today just because run #1 totally was worthless. My Garmin was "frozen" when I set off to do a few miles at 1/2 MP. It's a little hard to run exactly 1/2 MP without my watch telling me what my pace was, I'm not the best at effort-based pacing. When I hit the 2.65 mile turn around point, I was at 19:43, which I think is a course PR ... um, 7:26 would be my dream 1/2 MP - that ain't ever going to happen. Sooooo, that freaked me out and my mind decided I was dead, when really I wasn't, but decided to slow the pace down to a crawl on the way back. Which frustrated me. Which frustrated me that I was frustrated. Round two today, I'm back at the same park, on the same trail, but my friend, Matt, met me after his coaching job at the school near my house. This run went a lot better because Matt just talked and I just listened to something other than the voices in my head telling me I was a complete running failure and could not run. Matt just finished a 50K trail run in Alabama a couple weeks ago so he filled me in on all the details. The run felt effortless, and I know we were cruising along at a great clip! Yea, I have some mental issues going on right now. Atlanta will be interesting, to say the least. BTW, I googled and found out if your Garmin is "Frozen" hold the two buttons on the side together for 8 seconds and it resets. Hum. So it's happy. For now.

Speaking of which, I have not packed a single thing and I'm already 25 minutes behind my "goal" bedtime (and have not done 2nd round of my glute pullbacks nor my 50 ab's that for failure?? I do, however, have my boys panned out for the weekend. Though that didn't all fall into place until I guess that was a failure, too. Eat perfectly this week? Fail. Ironed the night before? Fail. I did do a great weight training session yesterday at the gym so yeah, that weighs out all the other failures! I love it when I get to make my own rules.); so I must close and get moving on the packing. I'm heading out tomorrow to Alabama, where I served my time for a few years. One positive out of that is that I still have some great friends there and can't wait to see them and spend some girly time together. I head to Atlanta on Saturday, race on Sunday, return to Alabama on Sunday after race and then back to Denver on Monday. So what I'm really saying here is that I will be absent from computer world for a few days ... please don't think I'm ignoring ya, but I won't have Internet (eeks!).

I picked Univ Northern Iowa to win the whole shibang NCAA National Championships in my basketball pool...complete underdog upset coming, beware! GO PANTHERS!

So I will close today's Irish blog with: May the Road Rise to Meet You--From the Gaelic, which means may success be with you!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Week 11 / Runnin' of the Green

Week 10 2010:
Week’s Running totals: 44.75
Running Total for 2010: 428.20
Weight training: 3 (yep, 3!!)
Swim: zero. Again. I'm just going to accept the fact this isn't going to happen right now

Yep, another race for me; that’s two in one week, folks, with Razz’s 6.66virtual race and all. And here I am being all sneaky and such, not telling anyone about this little Irish gem. I think only a handful of bloggers knew ….

One of my all-time favorite races in Denver land is The St. Patrick’s “Runnin’ of the Green 7K” always held the Sunday before St. Patty’s Day. The Irish in me loves, loves, LOVES, all the green-ness of this fun holiday and why not do what I love best on my favy holiday: running! Don’t ya just love how it’s a 7k!??!! How many races in your life do you get to run a 7K (Lucky #7, Luck of the Irish….see the connection??? So clever!)!

I haven’t actually “raced” a race since I ran the Tucson Marathon back in early December, which is pretty rare for this girl. Last year at this time, I was already 3 races into the calendar year. I’m not sure if y’all are like me but if I get out of race mode for a while, I kinda get race-lazy and really don’t relish jumping back into it. So as I stood there at the start line today, I was kinda dreading this race. The fact it was a balmy 34 degrees and windy didn’t help matters any.
I got stuck in the inevitable large-race cluster start. As I was standing there at the start line with my boys, about 20’ from the actual start like banner, I had a feeling this was going to happen. As I looked at those around me, I sensed most were not serious runners. You know who they are. I have absolutely nothing against these people at all, I was just placed too far behind them (and they too far up in the front. But I won’t get into that issue right now). The gun went off and it took a bit to get to the actual start line, and THEN …. Man, what a mess….people just lollygagging everywhere. I thought about my friend, Dennis, and how he’d be having heart-failure right now. Ha. It was a little frustrating but I really had no intentions to kill myself in this race; my job was to get a race under my belt and get a feel for my racing fitness. I had no expectation and no goals other than to see what I can do.

This race is hilly. HILL-E! The first mile is relatively flat with a small downhill; I tried to stay off to the left hand side were there were less people but I still was stuck behind people moving too slow. And that was okay, it keep me from killing myself at a neck-breaking 1st mile pace like I tend to do. I hit mile 1 at a 8:00 min/mile. Slow but consider all at the start, it’s good. 2nd mile is probably close to 80% hills, and they come in a series of about 3 big ones. Kinda nice as it gives you a little reprieve at each but man, them are tough. I was stoked to see how well I was killing the hills. Not perfect or easy by any means, but I wasn’t sucking up a lung like I am hill-notorious for. Mile 2 I hit at exactly 8 again. I’m pleased, this is not an easy mile. Mile 3 is on the turn around and thus all them uphills are now down – woohooo! I hit mile 3 at 7:22. YES! But moreso, I’m stoked I’m feeling fine. More than fine! I’m breathing and my lungs don’t hurt and I’m not slowing. There was no mile 4 marker so I have no idea what I did…and btw, I do NOT wear my Garmin in a race because I refuse to become a slave to the clock; I wanted to run a hard effort on my own ability and just enjoy my surroundings. This is a LARGE race, I think about 6000 runners, and most are dressed in some sort of very fun Irish attire. I wore my GREEN shorts (not orange) and my Portland marathon shirt, which has some green in it, and a green bow in my hair, which I lost somewhere along the course :(. I didn’t see a finish line race clock so it wasn’t until I stopped my watch and checked it a few second later that I realized I came within a few seconds slower than my PR time last year (unofficial Jill watch time: 33:43).
HUH??? I was absolutely stunned! I wasn’t even doing the math along the way to realize that two 8 min/miles and one 7:22 could land me close to my last-year-in-prime-condition’s PR time if I continued to feel well for the last 1.45 miles….so when I saw what my time was, I was thrilled! THRILLED! And the best part, I felt great and didn't even push it to an all-out max effort! That feels so good! (I also heard on someone's blog that the course was changed, and lengthened slightly from last year, to make it a "certified" course. Even more bonus on my behalf - yea!!).

Yeah, I’ll take it!!!!
race results just in:
age group: 17/428 in age group
Female placement: 79/2180
Overall: 239/3730
Official time: 33:43 (Gun time 34:27 - yeah, I got a bad start)

I found the boys after and we grabbed our free garb and headed home; snow was starting to come down and I was flipping freezing!!! I wish I could have gone to the beer garden to see if any of the prostate teammates were there, last year we had a great time downing a few Killian’s, but no way this year, I was frozen to the core!

Ryan, twin #1, managed to knock off 9 minutes off from last year (he attributes this to the last semester in P.E. where they played floor hockey and had to run a lot); he wants to run cross country this summer as he enters high school so I hope this little race helped motivate him some. Twin #2, Brendan, didn’t run as well but I admire him for getting out there; it’s not easy to just go run 4.35 miles with zero cardio training whatsoever (well, he does box, remember "the eye"???). I’m so proud of both of them!!

Next weekend I have a little ½ marathon down in Atlanta (Atlanta ING). I’ve run this race the past two years and absolutely love it. The course, the weather, the support, the city – I love it all! I used to live in the South for a period of time and have the most dear-to-my-heart friends there so I try to venture down each spring (thanks frequent flyer miles) and spend some girlie time with them and run. This year, my ex-neighbor, and fun running friend, Shari, is going too – I’m so excited!! I’m not sure how I’ll run down there, I thought after I was done today that I really couldn’t maintain that pace for much longer so how I’ll perform in Atlanta will certainly be a mystery…but for the first time since before I contracted that nasty lung crud, I’m actually looking forward to it. We shall see!! I ran a 15-miler on Friday night after work and my back was killing me. Again. This is really starting to concern me because if there is one thing that can destroy your marathon pace quickly, back issues would be one.


I was inspired by Anne-Marie’s blog how she lists her goals for the week. I always feel that each day I’m just frantically cramming everything in and feel so disorganized and frustrated (stressed!) each day so I decided that instead of my weekly gratitude list, today I’m going to make a “goals for the week” list, so here ya go:
- Eat perfectly
- Be in bed each night by 10:15
- Do my weight training at max effort and do not whine about going for 3 hours prior
- Stretch my back at least 2 times a day, morning and night
- Do Katie’s 50 sit-ups a day challenge

- Do 50 glute pull backs everyday
- Make sure meals are planned before I go to work so I’m not scraping together dinner at the last second, like I tend to do

- Bite my tongue when college daughter tests my nerves (this will be a tough one - haha - she's home for spring break this week...but on her way out of town in the opposite direction of me on Thursday)
- Get all arrangements for my boys to stay with friends next weekend all in place by Monday evening. Get all food for them and laundry done before Wednesday so I’m not a scattered mess when I leave them on Thursday (I’ll miss them :( )
- Clean my bathrooms
- Iron all clothes the night before work for the next day (this will be tough…but I can DO IT!)
- Get a resume out for a writing job that sounds awesome (even if it’s probably too ambitious for me)

Congrats to all those that raced this past weekend. I heard/read from a couple, they did awesome!!

Run well this week, Friends!!

My boys, R and B, before the start

Us three, all in our Irish beads

Thes Irish Step Dancer girls had to be FREEZING! I love LOVE Irish Step Dance...can't wait to get my "Lord of the Dance" dvd out on St. Patty's day, my dorky tradition!

Freezing....and boys eating corned beef bagles :)

Thursday, March 11, 2010

GW, MA 6.66!* MR Race Report

A mid-week race you say? For Jilly? Oh yeah…and not just any old race, Razz over at runningoffatthemind, hosted a little virtual “Global Warming, My Ass!* 6.66 Mile Run” Race. Just a little virtual race for anyone who's TOTALLY SICK OF WINTER and wants to change things up a little.

One of the race criteria was to write a race report, and not just some crap one-liner, “I ran my 6.66 miles in 15 hours 22 minutes” race report - he wants a full-blown, every-tiny-spec-of-detail-until-readers-are-so-sick-of-you-they’ll-never-wanna--read-your-blog-again race report. Sweeeeeet! Mega wordy AND autographed prized swag? I’m in!

Here we go: Jill’s race report to the virtual “GW, MA 6.66!* MR

I quickly got race registration underway (it was a lot of pressure to comment, “I’m in” especially one who doesn’t follow rules well and originally wrote, “In.” Yikes. I had to quickly re-enter with proper wording so I wouldn’t be disqualified for a minor detail!) and then I went back and read the rules. One can’t be bogged down with rules before registering; all I needed to know was that it was a race and autographed prizes were involved. Then panic started to set in since I had no idea how I was going to fit a 6.66 mile race into a Boston training plan that was already 4-weeks in the tank. I’m kinda one of those chicks that registers for high-profile races before she has thoroughly thought out the logistics of training. Lucky for me, I quickly read one of the race detail was: “You have to complete 6.66 miles. Unlike most races, I don't care how you get it done. Just Get. It. Done. For example, if you think you can win with 3 2.22 mile tempo runs, go for it. BUT, for every race that you do, I expect a race report for each one. Hell, you could even do a relay although I'm only doling out 1 prize for the "team." We're going by the honor system, folks. If you're cheating to win a virtual race, well....I mean.....that's kinda respectable in a scumbag kind of way.”

Are you kidding me? Yeah, baby!!! Not only can I not stray way from marathon training right now having given up a major chunk of it to Mr. Lung Fungus, I can actually USE part of training for this race!! And well, since I’m the ever-so-anally competitive creature I am, I’m going to use my high volume, high speed, 800 interval training day to see if I can land in the top somewhere (I actually have no idea what the abilities of all 60 participants are. I wonder if bribery is acceptable, in an Enron sort of way!!??). Intervals = speed. Major score!!!! I just so happened to have 10x800s on my so-called plan that fell in between the required dates of Mar 4 – Mar 16.

I chose Tuesday, March 10th, as D-day.

Pressure. Nerves. Performance anxiety. Viagra. Opps….wrong topic…

All y’all have heard enough of my whine-N over the course of several weeks to know I haven’t been running my best lately and last week when I attempted to do a teeny-tiny smidgen of speed work, my lungs felt like they wanted to explode; I had no idea how this lofty speed work this week for the race was all going to pan out.

I’m fortunate enough to have a real live track 300’ from where I work. Lucky me. Unfortunately, it’s the height of track season at the high school so said track is a little in use these days. No way in heck I was gonna plant myself on a track with a bunch of 4% body fat 17-year olds who are being recruited by some of the best running colleges in the country. No way. So I hit the treadmill.

I’m actually a treadmill fan. Not for all runs, despite what you might think after that infamous 19-treadmill-miler next to uber-fit ultra-woman, but I do like speed work on them; they keep the pace exactly where I want it and all I have to do is run. Or fall off the end. "Suck it up and keep running" is my treadmill manta. I mean, I have an image to upkeep for all the others on the treadmill, whom I assure you, are all walkers. It's once in a blue moon I ever see anyone ever running on the things. Not that I'm competitive or anything (bawhahahah), I always have to eye the competition next to me and make sure I can outrun him (unless it's ultra-marathon chick...not even my fastest male friends can keep up with her!). Yeah, sick... I know.

I hit the treadmill at my gym because they have a tiny t.v. placed 10”from my head; nothing like a little TLC’s “Say Yes to the Dress” cat fight between bridezilla and her mother to distract from the task at hand. Plus, I wanted to do some hamstring torture machine after my run and Santa has never left me one of these (meany!). So off to 24-hour fitness I go.

I make sure I’m not wearing my orange shorts or polka-dot socks, we all know how fatal those beasts are. iPod 8 octaves louder than what’s considered “safe” and closed-caption TLC in front and I’m warming up with a mile and a half at 9:14. Legs feel good. Huh? Lungs feel good? What?? Okay, Jilly, you’re feeling great, let’s see what you can do.

I’m not a firm believer in the whole Yasso thingy, you know….knock off 10 consistent 800’s at a certain time and compute that time to predict what your marathon finish line time is. Example: my halves for this little project I wanted to set to 3:31 so I should be able to run a 3:31 marathon. Hahahahah….not so much. This has never worked for me, though I’m not against saying it can’t work for others. Still, on good days, I can run speed work pretty well and knew I used this 800 number for my last marathon in Tucson so heck, might as well try it again this round (and best I can tell, I'll never run a 3:30 marathon. *sigh*). So 7:03 min/miles I set the THANG and I ran.

First one about did me in. Oh Lordy, I was gagging and looking at the little guy going around the track on my display screen every 10 seconds. Geez, must he run soooo slow? Finish #1 and do a very (and I stress very) slow recovery 400. #2 is better. #3-5 go uneventful, I’m just trying to divert my attention away from the little track guy and more into a little Bad Romance from Lady GaGa (yeah, I have horrible taste in music...but whatever it takes, baby!!) and the mother on t.v. who is being a total biotch to the poor bride who wants the $21,800 dress. I mean, geez, come on, mom! How many times can you say you spent a downpayment for a house on a wedding dress??!! #6 I am in awe how well I feel. The dress show is now over and enter “What Not to Wear” – the show my 19-year old always swears she was going to get me on. Yeah, I’ll take a $5K shopping spree to NYC any day, sigh me up! Oh, I have to go on national television? Um…..back to the race report. #7 is another story and after a 400, I hop off. My footing is off. Yeah, that’s it, that’s why my pace wasn’t feeling right – It has nothing to do with it being too fast. Start #7 over and now I got the stride down right and things are going mighty fine. Man, the chick on the pathetically-dressed show WAY needs a make-over more than me. #8 and 9 just feel really amazing….I am truly in awe that after 4 weeks of barely running and no speed work whatsoever, I am able to crank these puppies out. And damn, I need those gold metallic open-toed flats!! #10 is a little tougher, I’m sweating profusely and drinking water like I’m in the Mohave, but I finished and never once adjusted the pace nor the 1% incline which is what “they” say is needed to convert treadmill pace to real road pacing.

Sooooo, I ran 5.5 miles @ 7:03 pace. I could go out and run the other 1.16 miles at a faster than 9:14 warm-up pace for this workout to get my 6.66 total or I could be a scumbag and respectably lie and say I ran the remaining time in like 5:58 later that day …..but that’d require me to write another race report and well, one of these RR's is about all I’m sure I can write (and you can read) in one week. So I'll use the warm-up pace plus the intervals if I can do the math correctly, which I’m sure I can’t, I’m giving myself an unofficial time of 7.12 min/mile = 47:57:11999 (Feel free for anyone to fix this if I’m off….had I worn the Garmin, I wouldn’t have had to spend 48 minutes computing this). To the Japanese spam/porn star commentor, let's see if you can top that time (I get spammed a lot by this dude or dudette).

And there ya go, my first PR of the year!!! Yay, Jilly!!!!

A sign of things to come, perhaps? Ah, I can’t put myself through that sort of pressure but I’m flying pretty dang high from a spectacular (for me) workout, I mean RACE, and the following tempo workout I had yesterday …. FINALLY!!!! Finally. Smiles all around on this girl's face tonight as I write this little report up. I thank Razz for hosting this race to get us all out of our winter coma and united in a fun little event, it was exactly what I needed to get myself feeling good about my running again. Not so much in the fact I hope to come out on top (well, okay, swag never hurts the ego :) ) but because for the first time in 4 weeks, I actually FELT good running. Maybe all that rest fueled the legs for a couple good workouts, I'm not sure. I’m also working my a$$ off trying to get down to marathon weight and have been pretty successful this week….let’s hope the trend continues and this all comes together in ... um.... 38 days (gasp). Thanks Razz, I had a blast!!
Yeah MarathonPhoto, take that awesome picture. And I didn't have to pay $3500 for it! (btw, this was later in my basement after I got home and did a little stretching. I still look like a drown rat!)

Monday, March 8, 2010

Week 9 2010 / It's going to be Okay...

Week 9 2010:
Week’s Running totals: 44
Running Total for 2010: 383.45

Weight training: 2
Swim: zero (um, that's three weeks and no swimming. I’ll blame this week on Tara
:) )

I’m sitting at my desk at work, it’s 9:00a.m. That’s 11:00a.m. Boston time exactly this time in exactly 6 weeks, I figure I'll be about mile 4 into Boston.

Surely I'm not the only one that does this, look at the clock at various (massive) times of the day, week, and month and start a countdown of where I'll be during a race!!?? I guess it helps get the mindset ready for the task as hand for all the hard work we've done.

My training started out with a bang at the beginning of the year. I made a plan, a mighty ambitious one, and was bound determined it was not going to defeat me. I went to Boston last year feeling well-prepared, but little did I know I wasn't. I found out at the top of the infamous Heart Break Hill that I had a lot more work to get myself ready and vowed I'd be back in much better condition this year. I started the year out on a roll feeling great, running strong, with some awesome speed work.

I guess sometimes someone has other plans for us. In my case, Mother Nature (or the germ-infested high school where I work) and her powerful pre-springtime ritual of providing Jill with heavy doses of whatever crud is out there lurking decided to take up room and board in her sinuses. And her lungs.

Frustrated. Angry. Sad. Depressed. Every downer emotion flooded my head. I’ve gained 5 lbs in my training slump. 4 weeks of prime marathon training right down the toilet. Err.

We've all been there, at least those of us that have played this game a time or twenty. There are no guarantees. That's the gamble we take, and need to accept.

I'm feeling better, finally, though not 100%. I had an extremely slow 22-miler on Saturday that helped at least boost the confidence that I *can* run 26 miles in Boston, albeit way slower than last year.

And I'm wrapping my brain around this and accepting it for what it is. Last year when I qualified, everyone under the sun that had been there and ran it told me not to race Boston, just go and "experience" all it had to offer and have a blast on the course. The cross country coach at my school, who is an incredible marathoner, told me Boston was to be experienced, not nervous about. My then-trainer told me I needed to just run it for the adventure so when I went this year, I'd know more about the course and where my weaknesses lie and could run stronger this year with the knowledge of having already run it. This "experience" scenario never sat well with me; I'm a girl who wants to perform my best if I've invested the time, energy and in Boston's case, a crap-load of money. I told him who knew what the next year would bring; yes I was already in for 2010 but there were a slew of variables that maybe wouldn't allow me to race it hard, let alone even go. I raced Boston last year and I even managed to have a blast along the way (well, aside from mile 22 when I was hurled over with major stomach cramps).

And this year will be no different. Despite losing a lot of valuable conditioning and most likely not running faster than I did last year, I was given the gift to be there and as Pre says, to give anything less is sacrificing my hard work. I guess my foresight was right, had I not raced Boston last year, I'd never be forgiving myself right now. I may not race as well as I want nor finish as fast as I know I can this year, but I will be there and I will not take it for granted. It's all going to be okay.

Ah, I’m now looking forward to it! Finally! I can tell because pre-marathon anxiety is starting to set in....

I'm going to take a new approach and turn down the quantity and up the intensity. I've proved I can run the distance, now I just gotta do a little extra speed work. I have a little time....

Right now, as I finish this post up, I'm around mile 14....and feeling damn good!!! I will finish, and I will have a blast along the way!

Run well, friends!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

It's What's Inside Me

It's 6:30p.m. on Wednesday night; I’m already in my pink polka-dot jammies, drinking a protein shake, blogging. It’s fine moments like these when you think that maybe, just maybe, all can be okay. Just maybe I will run well again. Just maybe my life will be “normal” again. It feels good to believe!

I’m a very superstitious person when it comes to running. Well, when it comes to a lot of things, but when I invest a lot of time and energy to perform a race, I like to be in control of all things I can control to make sure things turn out well. I can control my running attire. I have a slew of running clothes I cannot wear to a major race again because they failed me in another race or key run. My orange shorts, for instance, had me stop half way during a timed mile last summer, unable to breathe. A Halloween 5K with my son in same failed mile orange shorts left me about a minute slower than a 5K earlier in the year. A minute’s a lot in a 5K. I could defend them and say that the timed mile was a few hours after I found out an article I wrote for a major magazine was not selected and therefore my head wasn’t into the run. And I could say that Halloween 5K was on a somewhat hillier course than the prior one and well, 5K’s just suck a lung out of me anyway and I can pretend I don’t really care about my time; I had a blast running that race with all the crazy costumes and the added bonus of having B run it with me. But I’ll still never wear them in a race again; they earned their “F”rating. I have a pair of socks, full of brightly colorful circles on them which I’ll also never wear in a race; I wore them on a tempo run once and started puking bad. I could defend them and say I ate too much before that hot, miserable day and I don’t perform tempo runs well, in general, and this wasn’t the first leaving-my-guts-on-the-trail spell. But whenever I go to grab a pair of socks for a race, I will not choose them. Both of these guys, amongst a few others, have lowered their status level to “training attire.”

It’s not just wearable items, either. I’ll probably never run the St. George Marathon again; I ran that race perfectly in 2008 and qualified for my very first Boston Marathon with 14 minutes to spare; it holds a very special place in my heart. If I ran that marathon again and it was a disaster, I’d never clench it with the same high affection. Last year at Boston when we were checking in the uber-expensive-because-it’s-the-Boston-Marathon hotel and the dear, sweet check-in girl gave me a room on the 13th floor, I freaked. Um, no. Not even no, but absolutely NO WAY! I had to wait for an hour before a room on the 10th floor, with a “less than stellar” view became available. I didn’t care, I wasn’t there for the view (in retrospect, I got a room with a great view of the marathon finish line chute. What was she talking about less-than-stellar? This was a marathoner’s dream view! Meg, NOO getting a room on the 13th floor or I'll have to sleep in the lobby!). I still have my first BQ marathon shoes hanging in my garage. I still have my first ever marathon shoes (Dallas White Rock, 1997) hanging in my garage. Can you tell which pair matches which race?

I’m not ridiculous about everything (shhhh, quiet with the laughter!), I just don’t want to cross the finish line one day realizing, “Damn, I wore the orange shorts!”

I can’t be the only one out there, can I? Share with me some of your obsessive, compulsive race rituals or irrationalities so I’m not the only freak out there!!! Please!!??!!

The reason why I’m in my jammies already and ready to crawl into bed at the first possible second is because I just got home from the gym where …..ta da….I had a GREAT workout. Running, included. I have to admit that I’d done all my weight training since I started my Boston mission half-assed. I know what to do, it just wasn’t inside me yet. Having given up the trainerman and doing this solo for the first time in a very long time, I was simply afraid. And overwhelmed. No direction, no focus, just aimlessly doing whatever came to mind. I had some great weight workouts but I never pieced together what was needed where in corelation to my running. When I was sick for 3+ weeks, I took the time to finally sift through countless logs with past weight/running training and think I’m finally on the right track now. A friend told me the other day, “Look inside you, Jill, it’s in there. You know what to do!” The emotionally-needy person my daughter correctly identified me as needed to hear that. I went to gym tonight and did a great circuit core strength training followed by a vicious mile. Repeat times 3. Why the BA mile after a rigorous core circuit? To train ya to run though the fatigue of the marathon, to keep running hard when you want to slow down. The treadmill won’t let you, it’s setting the pace and you just run your mile and never give up. I love it!! Here was my workout:

15 leg press @170 lbs
15 each arm press out fly @ 40 lbs
15 each arm arm hammers @ 20 lb dumbbells
15 t-pushups with 8 lb dumbbell
25 reverse ab curls on a weight bench
1 mile @ 7:13

I ran and my chest didn’t feel like it was going to explode, like it has the past 3+ weeks when I ran. I can’t say I’m 100% as I’m still really congested and a little chest tightness but I couldn't do this workout today last week. I definitely feel the consequences of losing a vital part of my Boston training but I’m starting to feel at least although I may not PR in Boston, I think I can at least run it. Well, some of it anyway. A huge sigh of relief. I’m going to work hard to get to marathon training weight, I’m going to run the Atlanta ING even though I know it will fail in comparison to the 1:44 I ran last year, and then I think I’ll get to Boston with my head on straight and feeling good - no matter how I perform.

But one thing is certain, I won’t be wearing the orange shorts and colorful circle socks! It's finally inside me!