Friday, April 16, 2010

26 mile tempo...

...It aint no workout. But it's what we do all those cute little 8-10 mile tempos to get ready for. That's really all a competitive marathon grab a pace that's about 95% of your anaerobic threshold (tempo pace) and hope like hell you can hold it for 26.2 miles.

This has been arguably my worst pre-marathon buildup yet. Since January I've pounded some big miles, but have been sick 3 times and have a nagging foot injury that I just can't seem to find a solution for. Despite being more focused than any other time since the trials, my workouts really never got to the level I'd like to see them and my races have done little to quash my unease. But then again, my training leading up to Boston last year was beautiful...and I ran the worst marathon of my career. Also, before I ran my PR a few years back, my training was less than perfect as well. So, the quality of the journey doesn't always dictate the essence of the result. Fortunately, starting about four and half weeks ago I had a couple glimmers of hope. I had a two week span where I didn't crush my workouts, but I at least ran what I had written on paper. The first workout was a 2M warm, a 4M tempo in 20:55, a 9M run in 60 minutes, and another 4M tempo in 20:46. Considering I was running solo and it was a breezy night at the track that's not too bad, for me. A week later I ran 5x2mile averaging 10:21 with 2' rest. Also not bad for a solo effort on a windy night. Unfortunately, almost as quickly as I started to feel fit I fell ill with a respiratory and throat virus that forced me to start my taper a week early. I've been in taper mode for about 2 1/2 weeks now and just tonight started to feel like things may be coming together. I've done most everything within my control to get ready for my 26M tempo. I fly out to Boston tomorrow morning. All that is left is to get some rest and get to the line in Hopkinton for my tempo to bean-town. 2:18 or bust.


Sunday, April 11, 2010

Bad Luck

I tend to have bad luck for certain thing is cars and the other is drama at races. I have run one race where the airline lost my luggage, a building fell on the starting line, there was a tornado the night before turning off the power to the hotel (for the WHOLE weekend meaning no lights and NO hot water) and the town flooded. I have also run races where I have forgotten chips; I have gotten lost on the course; I have had home stays with very, very interesting hosts, I have pulled hamstrings and had to wait 5 hours to get bused to the finish (where I then got in an argument with a Marine about how I was an elite athlete but did not have my credentials because it was in my bag in the elite tent since I didn't want to race with it and I had not crossed the finish line to get there the other way because I had to pull out-whew--apparently I am still bitter). So today and this weekend my bad luck happened with both!

It was my sister and her husband's 16th wedding anniversary this past week. So, me being the amazing sister that I am agreed to babysit her kids for the weekend (ages 10, 12, and 15). Me being a non-parent and the owner of a black thumb I was worried I was going to somehow hurt one of the children. I have pets that I have kept alive for 5+ years, but they seem less fragile somehow (although each dog has been to the emergency vet at least twice for small things like electrocutions and severe, heavily bleeding cuts; and that doesn't count the things that they should have gone to the vet for be we took care of it at home). Plants, however, are another story...they are all DEAD! My weekend started out with me driving down a car on loan from my dad (I seem to be cursed with car problems and at my house right now we have 4 cars and only 1 is working). This car has 298,200 miles on it and since September I have replaced the clutch, the timing belt, spark plugs and something else I can't remember. So, I was certain this wonderful car would get me the 80 miles to my sister's house (from Fort Collins to Highlands Ranch), but it had other ideas. As I drove along the interstate in downtown Denver in rush hour Friday evening, it died at least 30 times while I was driving it. I had to keep restarting the car while I was rolling 30 mph and then it continued to do it all the way to her house. Luckily I made it but not without several frantic calls to my husband and dad seeking advice and sympathy! The babysitting part was actually ok, when I finally left today they were all alive and appeared to be healthy--there were no trips to the ER and everyone made it to their soccer games on time (well, mostly). Although there was an incident with a dead mouse, but I (errr... my nephew) saved us.

My plan this weekend was to also run the Platte River Half Marathon. I have run it 4 or 5 times. It is a well organized race with amazing race directors, a good after party and amazing volunteers. So as usual I made it part of my racing schedule/marathon build up. I was pleasantly surprised to see some of my teammates (Megan and Lavenna) at the starting line which was fun. And the first 6 miles of the race were good. I felt like the pace was pretty controlled and I wasn't expending too much energy. My splits were good considering I haven't done much yet for workouts. Then at around 6 miles my stomach starting hurting a little. I have learned that my blood sugar tends to drop during races causing stomach craps, so I usually carry a gel with me even in halfs in case that happens. I waited another mile or so and it didn't improve so I took the gel. I had about 1/4 of it and was carrying it in my hand when I realized that it was much more than blood sugar, I was SICK. I started getting chills and feeling really, really bad! At around mile 8, I had to slow way down and jog because my stomach was hurting so bad. At mile 10, I made it to the bathroom and spent about 5 minutesand then continued on in the race. I was still feeling pretty bad, so my pacing wasn't as fast as before but much better than miles 8-10. I was thinking about jogging in but knew the goal of the race was to get in a hard effort so I kept going! I finished the race but paid the price with getting sick all over again and have been sick all afternoon and evening. I am guessing I have a stomach virus or some food poisoning. But on I go! Oh yeah and my car...I had to leave it at my sister's and had a relay of family members who got me home this evening-3 legs, but I made it and am exhausted! The race didn't turn out quite like I had hoped as I wanted a hard, controlled effort with even pacing and I got about half of that. But I still got in a decent effort and finished even though I was not feeling my best. And my brother-in-law is going to take the car in tomorrow and see about getting it fixed down in Highlands Ranch. So, it all worked out even if it was a challenging day!

I did want to congratulate my teammates Megan and Lavenna on their excellent races--we were all in the same boat, not really ready to race, but still showed up hoping for a good, strong effort! I believe they finished 1st and 3rd and represented our team well!! And a special thanks for Maureen Roben and Alan Lind for an amazing race and for continued support! Thanks to both of you and all of your volunteers for putting together another successful race this year!! I hope to be back ready to RACE it next year!