Friday, April 22, 2011

My screaming quads! Boston Marathon 2011

I’ve been trying to figure out how to start this and have erased many times hoping to do the race justice with my report. This training started out with good intentions and a plan in place, but that quickly fell apart due to a snowy Winter, broken arm, and probably 75% of my training being done on a treadmill. Not at all ideal training and meant I changed my goals for the race, after TCM I wanted to break 3:30 but during training changed my goals to have fun and run a good race under 3:45 just using this as a training run for Minneapolis in 6 weeks. Add to this getting sick the week before and I broke all my marathon rules: drank wine with dinner Saturday and Sunday, ate different then I ever have race morning and even ate Thai curry for dinner before the race, this could be bad.

The logistics of race morning were not ideal: up at 4am to catch a cab that per the hotel would take 30-35 minutes to get me to my team bus, crazy driver took 10 minutes, meaning I could have slept an extra ½ hour. Got up at 4am, ate toast and coffee and packed my bag to get to the bus. So happy I was on the nice team coach bus that blasted Prince to start the day. Anyone who knows me, knows how much I love Prince and this always gets me in a great mood, I knew this was my first sign the day would go well! Got to Hopkinton about 7:30, but had a nice warm place to wait for 2 1/2 hours. Ate a banana and a Lara bar, used the bathroom and tried to relax. Headed out to Athlete’s Village around 9:30 to find more water and attempt to meet up with a friend who I ran with a few years ago, but never met up with her even though she was pretty much standing next to me. I then made to trek to the start corrals and found a spot and started talking to Jessica who I had so much in commom with: moms to 1 year girls, BQ'd last Fall, grad students. We both secretly would love to run a 3:30 but wanted to just run comfortable. It is a perfect day to run, 50s and sunny with a nice tail wind.

The lead men

I have never run a marathon with anyone so this was a new experience, before I knew it we were miles in to the race and feeling good. The crowds, both runners and spectators were crazy but very motivational. The miles were flying by, I couldn’t believe it. I’d hit a miles marker and look down at my Garmin to see another sub 8:00 mile and think uh, oh you went out too fast. Then I’d think, but this feels good and I’m having fun. Before I knew it there was the 5K mark (24:29). Then the 10K (48:40) only 20 miles to go! Jessica looks at me and says “only a training run left”. I couldn’t believe all the water stops, they seemed to be almost every mile and seemed to sneak up on you. The crowds made it tough to get to the side for water, so I ended up hitting every other one for awhile. 15K mark: 1:12:43, still on pace and loving the hills, 20K 1:37:14, hoping I wouldn’t regret this pace since I’d been warned not to go out too fast and save some for the hills.

Mile 17 and feeling good!
Soon we hit the half mark (1:42:24) and I looked at Jessica and said that we had a good cushion to run a 3:30. Knowing that the hills were ahead I was happy with this. I’d been warned about Wellesley and wow that was crazy loud. I loved reading all the "kiss me" signs. Now the crowds just grew, kids were everywhere high fiving runners. We kept running and passed the third woman running with a shirt announcing “baby on board” and then the spiderman wrestler in full mask and all, wow that would be warm! 25K (2:01:24) and still on pace, Matt is getting the text updates and all I can think is he must be thinking “I thought she was running an easy race?” I knew I’d be seeing my cheering section soon and there they were, Ophelia was holding “Good job mama” sign. Racing has changed since she was born, I pay so much more attention to the kids along the course and look forward to her smiling face along the course.

30K (2:26:41) slowing a little but still with a 4 min cushion as Mile 17 and 18 bring the first hill and miles of 8:10s, but I’m able to get back to the pace of sub 8 until Heartbreak Hill which bring a 9:00 mile, yep I didn’t save my legs for this. I think the best sight along the course was the sign saying “The heartbreak is over,” yes it was tough, but I almost think it wasn’t as bad as Summit hill of TCM and I was able to get back to 7:40s pace so I must have something left.

35K (2:52:31) oh my gosh my quads hate me! Now my cough is returning and wow does it hurt to cough while running, never thought coughing would hurt in my pelvis. Just keep moving and you can do this. 40K (3:18:41) so much for the possible 3:25, but if I push I can get that 3:30. This wasn’t pretty, but I just kept pushing forward and then I turned onto Boylston and there is the finish line, the guy running next to me starts cheering and once again the emotions hit me, I’m doing this. I’m running Boston and I’m going to PR! I’ve become and emotional runner since becoming a mother, what happened to my hardcore self?

There it is, I look ahead and aim for the finish 3:30:27 I just ran a PR at Boston! I am thrilled and quickly push the thought of if only I could have pushed a little more out of my head. I make my way through the finish area and see Jessica again (lost her around Mile 22, she also PR'd at 3:31:xx), we grab our bags, find a spot on the sidewalk and sit knowing we may never get back up. My family finally finds me and there is Ophelia with her bright smile and Matt with my well earned Boston jacket.

Family pic after 5K

Overall it was a great weekend, great food, relaxing for the most part and a great race. Matt and my dad ran the 5K on Sunday and had fun. Ophelia had a blast swimming at the hotel and is such a great traveler and such a social butterfly when we’re out. This Boston trip was much different then the one I took 10 years ago as a girls’ weekend, but I still love the city, wonder if I can convince Matt to move?

Now as I look back on the race and forward to my next I am so happy with how far my running has come, but I want to get to the next level (whatever that is!). Maybe find a coach, look at nutrition, more speedwork and hills, who knows. The problem is I kind of like my "make it up as you go" training, it seems to be working for me. But then the thought creeps in, "what could I do if I trained better?" I still think my body is liking the lower mileage, but now to make it better mileage.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Will 1 week be enough time?

The last few days have not been nice to me, but I guess my body is telling me that I need to take it easy while tapering. Matt and I are now sick with whatever crap has been lingering in our house the past few weeks. Here I sit 1 week out from Boston and I can't stop coughing. It got so bad that yesterday I ended up cutting my 12 miler short, only making it about 7 miles before I knew my body was done. The run itself didn't feel bad, but was slow. I just couldn't breath and was constantly coughing, luckily there was no one running near me since I was perfecting my spitting while running technique.

Now is the time I must listen to the advice I give my runners: You won't gain anything during taper!

On top of this my GI system is not happy lately and just seems to be getting worse. About 3 weeks ago I reintroduced gluten into my diet at the recommendation of the gastroenterologist who is adamant that I do not have gluten issues since I only felt near 100% for a month or so after going gluten free. Well I think my personal experiment is proving otherwise! I am now back to more intense pain then I've had in months :-( I am enjoying the freedom to eat whatever, but I don't think my GI tract is. I originally agreed to this with the intention of having a colonoscopy done later this month. As much as I wasn't looking forward to that I wanted answers, but now I am starting to rethink this plan and wonder if my experiment of n=1 is enough evidence to give us the answer. Now to decide what to do and how to continue eating with Boston so near, do I continue to eat whatever making travel much easier (finding gluten free vegetarian options is tough) or do I cut gluten back out in hopes of feeling better?

Will 1 week be enough time to get my body happy and healthy again?

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Back to the treadmill and thinking about food

The weather is finally great and I was so excited to be out running in shorts yesterday. This morning I was back inside on the treadmill taking advantage of nap time to get in an easy 9 miles. As I ran this morning I was of course watching cooking shows and realized I had some pineapple juice I needed to use up. Of course I immediately figured out a dessert, although I can easily argue that this is one of the healthiest desserts I've ever made.

Yes that is a Gerber bowl!
Coconut/Pineapple Quinoa Pudding
1/4 cup dry quinoa
1/4 cup unsweetened pineapple juice
1/4 cup coconut milk (I used So Delicious unsweetened)
Mango (I used 2 big chunks of Trader Joe's frozen mango)
Shredded coconut- unsweetened

Bring quinoa, pineapple juice and coconut milk to boil, reduce heat and simmer covered 15 min. Add in mango and coconut and eat! This only made enough for one, next time I'll have to make more.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Perfecting the art of procrastination

We all have to have talents and strive to improve on these, right?! I have always been a good procrastinator, but would have thought that as an adult I'd get better about this, not the case in fact I think grad school has only helped me improve this skill. I have a case review to write by tonight pertaining to a patient with paranoid schizophrenia and substance abuse issues (at least this is my not so expert diagnosis). Why don't I just write it? Instead I'm finding anything else to do...
  • Run 16 miles
  • Shower
  • Make coffee
  • Eat lunch (twice)
  • Play on Facebook to catch up on status updates since this morning
  • Email a friend
  • Think about dinner
  • Call my mom
  • And now write a blog about it
Here I sit, coffee and books on the table, laptop on and a word document open and I just can't seem to get started....maybe I'll go get the mail now.

Friday, April 1, 2011

March Madness

Nothing to do with basketball here since I was out of that a long time ago when Pitt lost. March started with training madness which turned into taper madness. I think the weather didn't help, but March seemed extra long this year.

March Highlights
Running 254.7 miles (33 hours 10 min)
Biking 7 hours 15 min (most of which was early morning before work)
A lot of core work thanks to a broken arm
12 times to the gym so I get my insurance discount
My college roommate started running and joined the half marathon team I coach

March Lows
The weather! Too much snow and cold
A sick toddler with her first ear infection
Still continuing to not feel so great without any answers

So what's ahead
Focus on quality miles and biking during taper instead of eating
Boston Marathon!
Continue with morning biking workouts at least twice a week
Add back in weight training now that my lifting restriction is done
Enjoy all the foods I had cut out while on a gluten free diet. Per last week's GI appointment I will have further testing done in a few weeks (after Boston) so in the mean time I should eat whatever so the testing can be accurate.
Hopefully acceptance into my grad program (still waiting on the notification letter)
Spring, I hope!