I did it! I ran marathon number nine and have the hobble to prove it!
In my last post I was letting you all that I didn’t have a great training cycle. Which, while it wasn’t perfect, it wasn’t exactly chopped liver either. I had five solid weeks and one 20 miler. I would have liked more than that, but I went into this race knowing it wouldn’t be a PR and that really took off a lot of pressure. I had an A+ goal of sub 4, but told myself that anything under 4:15 would be fantastic. I definitely didn’t want a repeat of 2016’s disastrous New Orleans Marathon, which had me walking by mile eight. Oof.
My training buddy Rose and I got in to Myrtle Beach on Friday afternoon and headed straight to the expo. The race was the very next day. We were all about a no muss no fuss marathon trip. Since Rose had to get back home quickly to see patients, and I didn’t really need a Myrtle Beach vacation without the S.O. we booked flights to leave and head straight back to Florida after the marathon.
I know that sounds crazy, but it was honestly really nice. All we wanted to do was focus on the run and get back home. The S.O. had to work and since I live in a beach town, I wasn’t dying to explore Myrtle Beach. No offense, as it seems lovely.
I had mall pizza for lunch. Which is important to note as I experienced some GI issues on race day. Was is the pizza or the shrimp with marinara pasta I had for dinner? Who knows. But once I started going #2 on race morning, I didn’t stop. I know you all love this bathroom TMI. I took an Immodium around 6 AM and hoped that would help. The race started right at 6:30 AM.
Rose and I had been checking the weather and the temps on race morning were in the high 30’s. Score! The wind on the other hand was not as agreeable with gusts in the teens. Rose’s husband Pete told us the wind would be rough from miles eight to 18. Pete has the wind direction stuff down to a science.
We got started running and I felt I was running too fast with a mile one of 8:41. I wanted to keep it closer to sub 9, say 8:58. I slowed a little and Rose and I discussed our pacing. I need to note that I couldn’t feel my feet and that was dumb. But, I am SOOOO thankful to have finally gotten a cold and non-rainy marathon. It’s been a minute.
At about mile two I noticed a friend from Florida, Jill, right next to me. She introduced her boyfriend and the four of us chatted. Jill and I fell in step and Rose and Jill’s boyfriend fell in step. I knew Rose would be stronger and wanted her to have a solid marathon so as she and Jill’s boyfriend pulled away, I stayed a bit slower and steadied my pace. Rose has been training for an ultra and has been logging lots of miles. Jill, who is also a very strong runner, just wanted to run with company. Jill said she’d stick with me no matter what I wanted to do. I said great and on we went.
Running with Jill is like running with an entertainer. She is full of energy and the miles went by super quickly. Sure to Pete’s calculations mile eight greeted us with wind and it got stronger as we ran. I noted at mile 11 or so that my legs didn’t feel great. I was having a weird pain in my left hamstring and an even weirder one in my groin. When we hit mile 12 there was a BIG gust of wind that was quite unpleasant. And the road had a pitch that I didn’t really enjoy. Jill continued to make me laugh and on we went.
Jill and I at mile eight.
By mile 13 I had to fart. And considering my issues that morning, I knew not to trust that fart. So when we hit a porta potty at mile 15 I dashed into it and was shocked that I had to go. AGAIN. This stuff happens to me on training runs but not normally during races. It was super annoying.
My legs didn’t feel great and I told Jill that. She said we could walk if I needed to but I knew that if that happened I was done. I figured it was just one of those points during a race that I’d work through and be fine again soon. On we went. We were counting off the miles until 18 to get out of the wind. And sure as shit, we hit mile 18 and turned and the wind was gone. It. Was. Awesome.
We got to see Rose at an out and back section near miles 18 and 19 and she was about a half mile in front of us. I unfortunately had to go again and tried to wait as long as I could. Jill and I had been counting the relay runners we passed as if we were running a Ragnar and it became a little game. Granted we were passed by relay runners too but it was something fun to do as we went along.
We got to a section of the course that’s on a closed shady trail. It was really pretty and honestly, aside from that darn wind, we couldn’t have asked for better weather. The miles 18 to the finish were perfectly cool and dry. We saw a random porta potty at 22 that was on the trail with no line. I was again incredulous that my body still wanted to stop and go. Gr.
From miles 22 to 24 I slowed some. We walked for a few steps through an aid station but that was it. We kept running and tried to help those who looked to be struggling. Jill would say hello and encourage them to join us. She’d ask their name and try to get them to stay with us. It was about mile 23 that I really felt the full force of those previous miles. I told Jill I was struggling and unlike the strangers she was helping, she told me to suck it up. Ha! It was all in fun and we kept going.
I never hit a wall during this marathon and I never went to a dark place. Sure the bathroom issues were frustrating and there were points when I thought about how stupid it was to run 26.2 miles, but I easily shook those off. I may not have pushed as hard as I could but I really wanted to run strong from start to finish without ending up like the walking dead the last few miles. As the saying goes, the half marathon of the marathon really doesn’t start until mile 20. I knew I’d get to 20 without problems, I just didn’t want those last six point two to completely suck.
Jill and I saw the finish line chute and picked up the pace a hair. We ran into the finish line and I saw a 4:06 on my Garmin. I was super happy with that time and finished smiling and proud of myself. I had so much fun at this race and while I regret not going into it in better shape, I think I worked with the course and my training to execute a great marathon.
Rose and Jill’s boyfriend had finished in front of us and were there to greet us with smiles and hugs. The four of us met up later at Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville to enjoy some boat drinks and cheeseburger’s in paradise.
Marathon #9 is in the books! Happy Sunday everyone!
In the spirit of
transparency oversharing, I’d like to tell you all what I’ve been up to while training for Myrtle Beach Marathon. I was in a “should-I-race-this mode?” as I feel that my training has been spotty, to say the least. And it’s 100% no one else’s fault but my own. I was doing that thing where I kept thinking, “March is soooo far away.” And then WHAM. It wasn’t. (Athletes I coach, look away.)
Basically I have had some great weeks and some real shit weeks. I have had THREE colds since November. I have no idea why. Well, sorta no idea why. I guess I could say work stress from a new schedule and possibly having too much on my plate.
My highest week thus far has been 55 miles, but that was only one week. I’ve run a few 16 milers and a 20 miler. (There was an 18 miler planned that turned into 16 because I didn’t start running until 8:30 AM and it got super warm out so I bagged it.) Granted, the pacing of my long runs has gotten much better. But…knowing what I know about training for a marathon, dis no good. No good at all.
At this point, I’ve made my bed and I’ve got two weeks to lie in it. What I have going for me is an awesome training partner who’s really got my back and, and quite frankly, has more confidence in me than I do in myself. Plus, I’ve got experience and hard headedness. If the marathon were only 20 miles (Heh, “only”) I’d be good to go. I can rock a 20 miler, it’s the last six that I’m worried about. (Isn’t it always though?)
This is a lesson I apparently had to re-learn. And yes, Universe, I won’t soon forget it.
It’s my second favorite month of the year! (October is first, duh.) I get to celebrate my birthday! I’m a huge fan of birthdays. Even now as I’m getting older, I think birthdays are the best. I’m wiser and yet still super hot. Totally joking. Anyway, here’s how my January measured up!
Run 201 miles
Bike 0 miles
Swim 0 miles
Strength & Conditioning 0
Races Croom Zoom 25K and Best Damn Race Jacksonville half marathon – I didn’t race either of these per se but I did use them as strength runs for my marathon training.
Current Reads I started The Nest but haven’t gotten far with it. It’s just not hitting me in the read-feels. I also started Live By Night and it’s also sort of meh. I need some good recommendations please.
Current Obsession Vitamin Water XXX – this shit is delicious. Try it. Trust me.
Current Song Nothing is really getting me right now. But I have been listening to the podcast Suspect Convictions and it’s interesting, but also very sad.
Current Need One more solid several weeks of training before the Myrtle Beach Marathon.
Current Triumph Fairly solid 20 mile long run with my friend Rose. It was a good confidence boost, even if it was a tough going due to dumb cramps.
Current Bain of My Existence Hacking cough! I don’t know where this came from but all of the sudden I sound like a three pack a day smoker. I’m failing at staying healthy this cold/flu season. This is the third cold I’ve gotten thus far. I swear I’ve been sleeping a lot, drinking lots of water (not just the XXX), and just generally eating healthier. I am wondering if I’ve had extra stress lately?
Current Goal A healthy, fun marathon next month.
Current Indulgence Pre-long run bagel. It’s been hitting the spot.
Current Blessings Having a great friend who is a doctor and an awesome boyfriend who doesn’t mind being a nurse.
Current Excitement I’m excited about the Myrtle Beach Marathon but I’m also excited about swimming and cycling again!
A couple of weeks ago, as part of my marathon training, I ran the Croom Zoom 25K. (That’s roughly 16+ miles.) This was a trail run and as my longest trail run to date, I highly enjoyed it! I’ve been dabbling in trails for a little while now and have completed a total of four trail races. Boy are they a different animal from road running! I’ve learned a lot of things in my short time as a newbie trail runner and I’d like to bestow these small nuggets of wisdom to you all.
- For the love that of all that is good and holy – buy trail shoes! I ran my first two trail races in my regular running shoes. I wasn’t ready to invest in trail shoes so I figured it was fine. While I didn’t bust my butt in them, when I switched to trail shoes for my third event I was SO happy (and lucky) I did. They made a major difference on the terrain and I felt way more stable. And I say this about an event that I DID bust my butt in. I think it would have much worse had I not worn them. Do I know what types are best? Not a clue. But I’ll get there at some point, I’m sure.
- Quick feet and watching your steps are a must. Ok, so this is probably a no- brainer but you have to watch your feet and watch them often. Trails can be so beautiful but they can also be quite hazardous if you aren’t paying attention. Being ready to hop from one foot to the other is key and I think it’s a skill that you get better at as you run.
- Don’t “scoot” on technical down hills. At the most technical of the courses I have run to date, which by many standards really isn’t THAT technical, I tried to “scoot” down a section and lowered my butt way down. This was a bad idea. I threw off my center of gravity and almost toppled down and broke my neck! The second time around on the same section I still took my time, but I stayed upright and this worked much better! (As a caveat here, I imagine there are some trails where you 100% have to scoot or but beware of that change in your center of gravity!)
- Trail runners are SUPER nice. Every trail runner I know or have met thus far has been super nice. And helpful. And not trying to run me down at aid stations. Ha! At aid stations during trail runs everyone has just sort of moved out of the way or stopped completely. Granted, it’s far less in number of runners than big road races, but it’s been really nice to stop to drink my water rather than carefully gulping it down while still trying to maintain race pace.
- There are still ridiculously fast trail runners. I still can’t get over how fast a lot of these trail runners run on what I consider precarious terrain. I’ve been passed by folks running double the distance at double the speed! So in awe of these folks! It takes tremendous mental fortitude and skill to be locked in for that long and going that fast. Nuts!
I am loving these trail races I’ve been throwing in and cannot wait to do more! But first, that little marathon I’ve been training for is in looming. More on my training in the next post.
I know this blog has been neglected lately and I apologize. I always know when I’ve been absent too long as I get an “Are you ok?” email from thoughtful Coach EK. He does know me well. It’s been busy here in Discombobulated land, but busy in a good way!
I’ve been going back and forth on shutting the blog down because it’s been so neglected. I started it as a creative outlet but now I’ve got creative outlets out the wazoo, plus my three (or four) jobs. However, instead of shutting it down I’m just going to post when I can and want. I have spent too many years building this small corner of the blogosphere and I hate to just *poof* make it disappear.
So, in 2017 the posts may not be as frequent as I would like, but I am going to do my best to to keep them coming. Mostly because I enjoy writing and a little because I like to hope you all enjoy reading.
That said, I am omitting a full report on the Hot Chocolate 15K because it seems like it was forever ago and I had a cold during it and it was exactly one million degrees out with about 123% humidity so…yeah, it was great! (Honestly, it would have been super fun aside from all of the above. The end.)
As a run of the mill “end of the year by the numbers post” I did some maths. I could be off by at least 14% because we all know how great I am at math. (I barely passed the one basic class they make you take in college. I have NO shame. I suck at math. But I can spell like a motherfucker.)
Anyway here are some fun numbers for the year:
1312 miles run
494 miles cycled
76 miles swam
Strength and yoga and float and Yamuna and other things I don’t care to count up!
Those numbers include 13 races:
1 full marathon
2 half marathons (one was an Xterra trail)
2 Olympic distance triathlons
2 random distance trail races (6+ and 7ish at night)
1 Olympic distance triathlon relay (I swam)
And a partridge in a pear tree!
In 2017, I have planned a full marathon (Myrtle Beach in March) and a 70.3 in the fall. I chose the Ironman North Carolina 70.3, formerly Beach to Battleship, as a TON of friends were going and I have decided that as a Floridian I’d like to continue racing flat races. Yes, I know I can’t always race flat, but for my return to 70.3 I’d like to not spend an entire summer in the only “hills” we have available which are about an hour away.
Coach Mason and I are sticking together through March and then I’ll transition back to Coach Jon for triathlon training. Mason doesn’t coach triathlon, and I have learned a lot from her. I’ll be sad to part with her. She has an excellent plan for me for the upcoming full, that is, if I can get my act together and stop getting sick.
I’m currently battling a second cold that I believe I got on the flight to Oregon. If you follow me on Instagram you’ll know we went Oregon for Christmas and I got to see the historic Hayward Field. The home to none other than legendary, Steve Prefontaine (and Galen Rupp, and Alberto Salazar…). It was pretty cool (and cold!). We also went to Portland and were both disappointed because we didn’t really find it all that weird. Maybe we just fit in? Ha!
That’s it for me right now. I’m going to leave the house to buy some groceries as we have been existing on eggs, water and NyQuil the last two days. Have a very safe and happy New Year!