Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Stillwater Marathon

This was the inaugural year of this new race and it included a full/half marathon, 20 miler and 12K. Smaller race with about 2000 combined in all four races with about 500in the full. I tried training with the Pfitz 18/55 plan and things were going well until the stress reaction about 6 weeks ago which led to almost 4 weeks off and basically a 6 week taper. The lack of training changed the way I ran and changed my goals for the race. My plan was to enjoy the run, start slow and easy, run a smart race and have fun.

Early morning and up at 4am to eat and leave, we parked at the lot within walking distance to the start and made the wrong choice of following everyone in front of us who took the very long way to the start, about 40 minutes and a very long set of stairs later we were there. Took a quick Gu, hit the porta potty and headed to the start. I found the 4:00 pacer and lined up to prevent starting too fast. The start was really crowded with all the runners and spectators who thought they needed to stand in the start area. The race finally started about 15 minutes late, a little lack of organization. Perfect running weather, a little breeze, upper 40s at the start and upper 60s at the finish.

I started running and ended up a little in front of the 4:00 group, the pace leader was annoying, chanting and screaming nonstop and I knew I would want to smack him before the half mark if I stayed there. I continued running with two guys named Mike who also decided to pull ahead of the group, we chatted about our injuries and running goals etc. One had just run Boston and was doing an easy marathon with his friend who hadn't been able to run a marathon in 4 years because of injuries. I ran with them until about mile 10 when they decided to slow and walk the hills.

No mile splits as I didn't want to focus on pace, I ran with my Garmin, but had it set to HRM and distance, no pace. This really changed the way I ran and was nice to run what felt good instead of keeping pace.

Some observations from the course....
Mile 3 Passed an Assisted Living and a huge group of the seniors were outside watching the runners, there was also a radio playing KISS on the lawn, not sure if it belonged to them or not.
Mile 5 Saw a running friend.
Mile 13 first tough hill, long gradual incline.
Mile 15 Nearly attacked by 2 geese as they took off from the grass beside the course.
Mile 17-18 Through a neighborhood and a bunch of kids had set up their own water/candy/ice stops.
Mile 19-20 second tough hill, shorter, but steep incline- this is where I really started passing people.
Mile 21 Talked to a couple young guys running their first marathon, they were struggling and wanted to quit. I later saw them finish around 4:30

Splits: 1st 10K 54:11 13.1 mile: 1:54:31 20 mile: 2:57:12 2nd 10K: 54:49
Finish 3:52:01 8:51 pace
4th in AG 35th Woman 149th OA

Overall a pretty good course, a couple bigger hills, but pretty much rolling. Good crowd support for a small race and well organized once out on the course. I'll be back next year, watch out 30-34 women!

I felt the best I have ever felt during or after a marathon and ran smart for a change. Started slow and kept a pace that felt good, one where I was able to talk and felt that I wasn't really working. I walked at every water stop drank plenty of water and took Clif Blocks more often then normal, after the half started dumping a 2nd glass on my head/neck. I appreciated the crowd support saying I was looking good, nice job etc. because for once I actually felt the same way. When I crossed the finish line I realized how happy I was that I ran so well and felt great at the end of a marathon for once. A little boy, maybe 4 or 5 gave me my medal, he looked so excited to be there.

Grabbed water, fruit and salted nut rolls from the finish and headed back to watch Matt finish in 4:39:00, he had a tough race and leg cramps started around mile 20. Then we hit the real food and had pasta, bruschetta, and pie, yum. They also had hot dogs and meatballs for the runners. Nice spread! The post race food was a close 2nd to the pancake breakfast after the Du last fall. We started the not so long trek back to the car now that we knew the shorter way, but the way back meant walking up the long flight of stairs.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Strange Weather

Living in Minnesota my entire life I should be used to this, but it always surprises me. Last weekend we had frost warnings Saturday night after that windy, cold half marathon and woke up Sunday to frost on the grass. Last night I had a sluggish run only to find out afterwards that it was 92F during the run at 6pm! We hit record highs of 97F yesterday. It was a great night for ice cream on the deck after running, but I'm not quite ready for this heat yet.

The ritual weather obsession for this weekends marathon is in full swing, but of course the forecast changes daily. Guess I can expect anything from 40s-upper 70s with sun, clouds or rain. Wouldn't it be nice if we all had jobs where we could be wrong all the time?

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Maple Grove Half

The beginning of my training went really well, the best I had ever had until 6 weeks ago when I found out I had a stress reaction in my right tibia. I ended up not running for almost 4 weeks and and have only been back with minimal mileage the past couple weeks. This race is only a couple miles from our house and on some great paved trails through parks and along a lake.

Wokw up at 5:30am to gusting winds (20 mph sustained with gusts) and temps in the upper 30s, I think it was low 40s during the race. It took me about an hour to decide what to wear, finally decided on shorts, winter socks, 2 tech shirts (one long sleeve and one short sleeve), a jacket, gloves and headband. It was so nice to only leave 30 minutes before the actual race start. We lined up on the track for one lap before heading out. My plan was to run comfortable and stay behind the 1:45 pace leader, he wasn't a very good pace leader, he kept stopping at the mile to catch up on time since he was running way too fast.

I never race with my iPod, but I figured I might need to motivation, so I put together a great play list and brought it with. Due to the wind there were no mile markers or finish line marker, just the mat on the ground. For a small local race there were a lot of spectators and race support.

Mile 1 7:40 A little fast
Mile 2 7:57
Mile 3 8:00
Mile 4 7:48
Mile 5 8:03
Mile 6 8:04
Mile 7 8:03
Mile 8 8:45 (Strong winds and hills)
Mile 9 8:47 (Big hill into the wind)
Mile 10 8:08
Mile 11 8:04
Mile 12 8:02
Mile 13 8:05

Final: 1:47 8:10 pace. Only 5 min off my PR, so I can't be too upset due to the conditions and my lack of recent training. The leg felt great and still feels good today. There were times when the wind was so strong, I felt like someone was pushing me backwards. There was also a part that we ran under a highway next to a lake and it stuck like nasty rotting fish.

Mentally I needed this race to know that I can handle the full next weekend after my injury and lack of training. I plan to take it easy and start out slow, for once. Maybe I can actually learn the smart way to race.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Am I back?....

Tomorrow will be my first race since last Summer and even then I wasn't running at my best. I had great expectations and high hopes when this training season started. That all ended in early April after my last 20 miler and the tibial stress fracture. It has been 5 weeks since any real training. I have kept low mileage for the past couple weeks since being back. The total I have run since the injury is less than I normally run each week. Last weekend I managed a 10 mile run with a short walk in the middle and 5 miles is the longest continuous running distance before walking.

Not sure how this weekend and the marathon next weekend will go, but I plan to finish. I plan to take it easy and make myself walk the water stops, next weekend is my goal anyways. Ideally I would love to run under 1:45 tomorrow, but not sure if that is realistic.

Course Map

Elevation Profile: Looks a little hilly

Sunday, May 3, 2009


It's been awhile since I posted and few things have happened in that time. The biggest being finishing my Master's program which took up much of my time and added to the lack of writing.
-About a month a go I ran a great 20 mile training run which started with a tightness in my right shin that went away after a couple miles. The following day I woke with increased pain and my next run was cut short due to the pain. After 1 week off running and the pain getting worse I saw my sports doc and got an MRI which showed a stress reaction in my right tibia. I missed the Earth Day 20 miler and ended up taking a full 3 weeks off. I discovered a pool treadmill and was able to get in a run on that which helped a lot.
-The 100 mile Ironman Bike Ride was miserable. Cold, wind, rain and sleet lead to numb hands, soaking socks and gloves and us cutting the ride short.
-I have now been back to running for almost 1 week. 3 pain free easy runs of 3-5 miles. The plan is to continue with the every other day running and increase the mileage a little. I am also biking a lot more and weight training 3x a week.

I hope to be able to run both the Maple Grove Half in 2 weeks and the Stillwater Marathon in 3 weeks. I'm not expecting anything spectacular but I will finish.