Indianapolis Monumental Half (#3) + Gobble Gallop 5k (#5)

Yo.

So like almost a month ago I ran my third Monumental half marathon and then this happened and I couldn’t bring myself to blog about my stupid slow race times anymore (even though I believe running\fitness is a totally legit way of both coping with and escaping from life’s horrors).

I still kind of feel that way but I’d like to get back into a habit of writing for fun again. I haven’t really been spending my free time in a useful way (partially anxiety related and partially just laziness). But I need a recharge, so I’m probably gonna do what I do every few years and start a new blogging challenge. I’m going to try to write something every day for the rest of the year. OMG ROFL RIGHT? But I’m going to try. It’s more productive than angry shitposting on Twitter (but maybe less cathartic, haha.) I’d also like to share more of what I’m reading because I love when other bloggers do that.

Anyway, I’m going to cram two race reports into this one post today since they’re both so long overdue. (Although maybe that’s unwise since I just vowed to start blogging every day…?)

The Monumental Half

I finished in 1:59:37, 163/798 in my division, 905 out of 4798 women and 2459/8114 overall. My PR (STILL, FROM 2012, IS 1:58:36.)

While it’s annoying to hit another 1:59 when I feel I could have done better, it was a really beautiful day and a nice race so I’m trying not to feel too discouraged. (Especially since there are far greater things to feel discouraged about these days.)

I think coming away from a bad cold and signing up for three halfs in three months was too much for me. My legs were really beat up after the race; both my heels were in plantar fasciitis hell, and my knees, right quad and my left hamstring were all aching. I felt like I’d run a full marathon instead of a half.

And all for naught! Pretty much the same thing happened in this race that happened in the Indy Half in October: I ran at my goal pace for the first 10 miles and then crashed at 11 and couldn’t get it back. Miles 11-13 were 9:14, 9:14, 9:12. And this time it had nothing to do with fueling or hills. I kept up with my gels and this course was flat as fuck. The plantar fasciitis didn’t really impact me much while I was running, but afterward it flared in both heels and there were moments in the following week when I was in bed and they were throbbing and on fire. My right quad was still tender and tight.

I took some time off after the race to just work on conditioning, rehabing my heels (it is kind of astonishing and funny just how well the tennis ball thing works) and maintaining my lifting routine. I also ate a whole lot of junk food and gained five pounds.

My first run after the race was a week later, three miles outside that felt like total garbage. I did another week of garbage runs outside and my heels ached after every run. And the quad pain persisted. But then something weird happened: I started running on the treadmill and all the pain vanished almost overnight. (Only slightly exaggerating!) I also started wearing an old pair of running shoes around the house at all times and I think that helped too.

I’d been doing some half-hearted foam rolling on the quad, but I finally laid down on the roller and did a really LONG, HARD quality session and I FINALLY got it. I literally felt the kink smooth out. And so that felt better too. I continued doing short runs on the treadmill and the heel pain stayed away. So there’s something about the treadmill that is changing/improving my foot strike in a way that doesn’t exacerbate the heel issues. I HATE running on the fucking treadmill, but I’ll take it.

Gobble Gallop 5k

This race actually went a lot better than I thought it would, mostly because I went into it with super low expectations. I had done literally no 5k training whatsoever. I hadn’t run outdoors in almost a week but I’d done a couple really good treadmill runs and I thought maybe I could finish around 26:00

I finished in 25:23, 139/974 overall, 33 out of 551 women and 6th in my division. So while it was just one more race this year in which I fell just short of a PR, I’m not even mad because check out these splits: 8:05, 8:08, 7:57, and the last .19 was in 6:46!! A girl approached me after we finished and was like, “daaaamn, you were hauling ass there at the end!” (I’m paraphrasing, I don’t think she said “damn” or “ass” but you get the idea.) It made me feel so, so good.

Of course the PF came right back after the race and I’m struggling with that again, but it’s only mild compared to what I was experiencing earlier this month, and I’m staying on top of it.

All that being said, I have to think that if I can get in shape and do a little training, a January or February 5k PR is within my grasp. (I know I also said in October I was just SURE I’d PR, but FOR REAL THIS TIME.) I’d be thrilled just to finish in 24:59, but something like 24:15 would be really cool.

And last, off topic but I just want to thank everyone who has taken the time to publish their thoughts on the election and the horrifying aftermath, and other issues related to racism, privilege and social justice; among them Sonia, Elle, Caitlin, Angela and Sybil. One of the main reasons I love blogging and have been hesitant to stop even though my creative juices have basically dried up is that I adore the connections I’ve made online. Whenever I feel like an outsider in real life, there are always people I can connect with online and I’m so grateful for that. (Edited to add: and for those of you who are just trying to get through it, I’m grateful for you too.)

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Race week thoughts

So it’s race week! Again!

To repeat something I’ve been saying for a while, I’m ordinarily not one for doing races as training runs. I really can’t afford to enter a lot of races so I have trouble treating a race as anything other than a Very Big Deal. (Here’s a poorly researched and hastily written piece from the archives about running on a budget!)

But I couldn’t resist signing up for a few fall half marathons this year because A) work schedules and child care are allowing me to do this for the first time in years and B) I got in on some great early bird deals so I only paid 40, 50 and 50 bucks (which is about as much as I’m willing to pay for a half marathon).

As I’ve ALSO already mentioned, September’s half was a TOTAL FUCKING BUMMER so I’m hoping for better weather this week and not to forget important things like all of my gels.

Last week’s runs

I’ve had a few good confidence-boosting runs recently so I’m feeling pretty positive. (Although my kids have been sick and I know I’m going to start my period any day now so…we’ll see.) I’m a couple weeks behind on training posts, but none of them were all that great anyway, so I’ll just stick with last week.

Monday: Weights + 2 @ 9:57
Tuesday: 5.7 @ 9:22 (warmup; 4 @ 9:12, 9:13, 9:07, 9:06; cool down)
Wednesday: 3.1 @ 8:40 (I usually lift on Wednesdays but I wasn’t feeling it and the weather was gorgeous so I did some half-ass lifting and then went outside to run.)
Thursday: 6 @ 9:04 (2×2 – which I have discovered that I LOVE – warmup; 2 @ 8:45, 8:39; one recovery mile; 2 @ 8:40, 8:50 and I skipped the cool down because FUCK THE POLICE).
Friday: Weights
Saturday: 10 @ 9:32 (I did 2 on/2 off:  2 @ warmup pace; 2 @ 9:00, 9:11; 2 @ recovery pace; 2 @ 8:56, 8:49; 2 @ cool down)
Total: 27 miles

It was a heavier week for me. I’ve been averaging closer to 20 miles a week and I’ve been inconsistent with speed work and harder running. Last week I skipped the 400s in favor of more miles at/around HMP. (I think it goes without saying that I really have no idea what I’m doing but it felt right to me.)

My aim for this race is really just to have a nice race. Even though I’m not RACE-racing, I SHOULD be able to finish in two hours without killing myself.

fthepolice

500 Festival Mini Marathon 2016

Saturday was the 40th running of the OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini Marathon. It’s the country’s largest half marathon (30,000+) and one I’ve avoided in recent years in favor of smaller races. But this year I was eager to do a spring half and had a couple of friends who were race ambassadors (thus constantly posting about it on social media and getting me all enthused against my will), so I said what the hell. (Unfortunately I said it like five weeks ago and didn’t have a whole lot of time to train.)

I finished in 1:59:20 (9:06 average), 212/1939 in my age group, 1220/13,487 for my gender and 4547/24,769 overall.

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OMG there’s a lot of people here. What am I doing?

I finished 43 seconds shy of a PR, so while it’s frustrating to miss the mark by so little time, it gives me confidence that I CAN do it just by tightening shit up and running a little smarter. I haven’t raced a lot in the last couple of years and haven’t raced a HALF since 2012 so a lot of Saturday felt like shaking off the cobwebs and getting accustomed to racing again.

Race day

I set my alarm for 5:45 but I woke up at 5:30 and couldn’t go back to sleep (UNHEARD OF for me). I realized I’d just started my period. Whispering curses, I stumbled in the dark to the bathroom and then to the kitchen to make coffee. My biggest concern was getting out of the house without waking the kids. When the baby wakes that early, I can nurse her back to sleep, but it takes a while and I didn’t have time to spare. Luckily, I got out of the house without waking anyone.

The finality of walking out the door made me anxious, and I procrastinated in the kitchen for a moment as I tried to think of anything else I needed. Garmin, gels, sunglasses, hat, sunblock, water, phone, credit card, tampons, keys, wallet, toast, COFFEE. Okay, go.

Downtown

There are parking lots right next to the finish, but I chose one closer to the start. (The course is roughly a loop but finishes a couple blocks north of the start.) There was less traffic on the way in, it was cheaper, and I knew exactly where to go. I took an interior walkway from the parking garage to the Hyatt and after finding a bathroom, I sat in the lobby and texted a friend and people-watched until it was time to head outside. I did about a half-block warm-up jog on the way to my corral.

At the start/some spoilers

Since I signed up so late, I was assigned to Corral I in the second wave, which started at 7:45. The race is extremely well-organized and started promptly, but there was still a great deal of congestion at the start. That, plus me just not having the confidence to run as fast as I needed to led to a lackluster first half. By the time I reached the Brick Yard (roughly the halfway point), I was hitting 8:50s but it wasn’t enough to catch up.

Miles 1-3 (9:03, 9:04, 9:04)

Down Washington Street past the zoo. Sometimes you can glimpse the elephants from here but I didn’t even look up. I was busy weaving around the slower runners. I didn’t want to waste a lot of time and energy trying to dodge, duck, dip, dive and dodge, but I also didn’t want to hang back and twiddle my thumbs. I took my first gel at a water station just past mile 2 because I’d only been able to choke down one piece of peanut butter toast in the car and I was hungry.

Miles 4-5 (9:09, 9:03)

We headed west out of the downtown area. The sun was out and I was nervous about running 9:00 miles when so many of my training runs had fallen apart at that pace. I also just kind of spaced out a little and ran slower as a result. When we turned onto Main Street in Speedway I made a conscious effort to tighten up and focus. Many lively spectators lined the streets here and I think that gave me a boost.

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Main Street, Speedway, USA. A week before the race. I stole this photo from my pal Jorja’s Instagram. Hi Jorja!

Miles 6-8 (9:04, 8:58, 8:53)

The Yard of Bricks. This is the famous part of the course on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and it’s typically a tough part of the race. When it’s sunny, the heat beats down on the blacktop and you get roasted. In years past, this was the point where I started to break down. But this time, it was overcast and I felt strong. I knew I had to start logging -9:00 miles if I still wanted to finish under 2 hours. I took another gel before heading down into the tunnel and then up onto the track.

I took this amazing, blurry photo when I ran this race in 2010 back when I thought it was important to take pictures during a race.

I took this amazing, blurry photo when I ran the Mini back in 2008, when I apparently thought the most important thing to do during a race is take pictures.

On the jumbo screen, I saw people pausing to bend over and ‘kiss the bricks,’ an Indy tradition. I thought about how gross that was and how if somebody in front of me stopped short and caused me to stumble, I’d flip out. And it’d probably be on the jumbo screen.

Miles 9-11 (9:00, 8:57, 8:54)

A quiet stretch of side streets before we headed back downtown. My energy started to flag and I started running numbers in my head. I took another gel at mile 10. (Probably should have taken it at 9 though.) I was running harder now but still waiting for mile 12 to shift into a higher gear. I knew if I hauled ass, I might still scrape out a PR, but I didn’t want fall apart or throw up. We turned onto 10th Street and more spectators lined the streets. I started to feel a little excited and a little nauseated.

Miles 12, 13 (8:47, 8:44)

White River Parkway to the long final stretch up New York Street. Cow bells. I was trying stay under 8:40 but I couldn’t hold onto it and my legs were about finished. I felt like throwing up and even briefly put my hand over my mouth but it passed. In my head, I chanted, shut the fuck up, shut the fuck up, shut the fuck up. (Thanks, Jen!)

I couldn’t BELIEVE how long it was taking. What the FUCK? Where IS IT? I screamed in my head. Finally, I spotted the bright yellow banner over the finish line and I set my gaze on it and ran as hard as I could.

Last .32 (7:47)

It was the first half marathon that I can remember feeling like I was going to collapse as soon as I crossed the finish line. I also realized I was about to pee. I moved off to the side out of the way of the other finishers and sat down on the curb. I crouched, digging my heel into my crotch until I felt like I could stand up without wetting my shorts and then headed over to post-race area (and the porta-potties) in Military Park. I ate a Clif bar on the way over.

After Party

I started to feel raindrops as soon as I got into the park. The forecast had been sunny/70s, but it was now chilly and wet. I thought longingly about the dry sweatshirt locked up in my car two blocks away. Luckily, my friends were in a tent with their training group and invited me over there for snacks. I had a cookie and some Michelob Ultra. Because it was there.

A few final thoughts, in bullet form

  • None of my longer training runs went all that well so I wasn’t really confident in my ability going into this race. Taking on the last five weeks of an ambitious (for me) training plan meant my legs were pretty tired most of the time. So while my running improved, my confidence did not.
  • Initially my goal was 1:57 (a PR + some insurance), but realistically, I knew I’d have to have an incredible day for that to happen. Later (right after that hot run in Missouri), I adjusted my goal to just a PR and if that didn’t happen, just finishing under 2 hours.
  • I kept waiting for my legs to give out and they never did, so I think if I’d just started out little stronger, I could have done it.
  • I drank water at every aid station and took gels at miles 2, 6 and 10. This was a little different strategy for me since in my training runs, I carry my own water and take Shot Bloks more frequently. But it worked out and I’ll probably do the same next time (except maybe take the last gel a little earlier).
  • According to the Garmin, my splits were consistent as hell. But if you look at the official results, you can see how much time I tacked on with sloppiness/not running the tangents.

sdfksdjlkjNext up

I’m signed up for the Indianapolis Half October 8 and even though it means training through the worst part of the summer, I’m eager for another shot at a PR. I’m going to add HILLS to my routine this time, and also work on improving my strength routine. Instead of doing 3 miles on one of my strength days as the Higdon plan called for, I’m going to do two days a week of quality strength and one less day of running. (That’s the plan anyway, wink-wink.)

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Gray shirts, am I right you guys?

Five weeks to half marathon greatness: week 1

So I didn’t precisely follow THE PLAN this week but I came close. Eleven minutes into my tempo Wednesday, my eldest decided to throw an hysterical fit at the gym childcare (a first for us!) and I had to go rescue her. A lot of her preschool friends go to the Y so she usually has a good time there, but in hindsight I think she was feeling crappy that day and I felt bad that I didn’t see it earlier. But I’m not gonna lie: I was IN THE ZONE so it sucked having to stop my run. #mommymartyr

Thursday was supposed to be an easy run + strength day so I compromised and ran my missed tempo and then did 20 minutes of light strength work. Thirty pushups, some tricep dips and bicep curls, a few rounds of ab exercises and some squats and lunges and then I called it a day. I’m reeeeeally trying not to skip out on the strength work this month. But it’s so boring. I hate it.

My tempo miles were 9:01. 8:36, 8:40, with a warmup and cooldown mile on each end. I’m especially pleased with the effort because it was sleeting and windy that day and I was cold and tired. The plan called for a rest day Friday but I went ahead and did 3 easy miles to make up for THAT missed run.

Saturday: 5 miles at “GHMP.” I came close to my goal pace, but didn’t quiet hit it.
Sunday: 7 miles. THE PLAN called for 10 but since I crammed all my mileage into the latter part of the week, I cut it short. (I did 10 last week though so it’s cool.)

This week

A 15k practice race. Of course there are zero 15Ks within a 50 mile radius this weekend, so I’ll be “racing” myself. (I did find about 300 5Ks though, and a marathon and half marathon…which I briefly considered running, but a last-minute entry would cost me 75 bucks and I just can’t justify that expense for a practice race.)

I may drive somewhere nice to run just for a change of scenery though. Running circles around my neighborhood gets a little tedious, especially getting into the double digits.

In summary, a survey: 

Week 1 was:

A) Kind of a failure
B) PRETTY PRETTY PRETTY GOOD.

no bloggity

Heeeey everybody,

So I know you’ve probably been going into convulsions and seeing babies crawling across the ceiling because I haven’t blogged in a couple days.

No?

Bollocks.

Anyway, I’ve had a harrowing couple of days at work. We’re doing this co-mailing with a trade organization and their marketing director called me on Monday to say, “oopsie! We need all 7000 of your inserts in Florida by Friday! Sorry for the short notice! I know a great printer if you need one!”

Yeah. On top of the like, 50 other things I’ve got going on right now. So I put in a couple of 12 hour days and spent a couple sleepless nights stressing. Now that that’s over with, I can go back to just being regular stressed instead of uberstressed, which is perfectly within my capabilities.

The reason I left my last gig was because I felt irrelevant and I wanted to be challenged…but maybe that’s overrated! Just kidding — I love my job! I LOVE IT. And it’s about time folks. Believe me, I paid my dues.

Anyway, I didn’t run or even do jillian last night. I just came home, scraped together what food was left in the house, poured a glass of wine and sat down on the couch for a *shudder* Hills marathon on MTV.

My husband got home from work early and caught me watching it! He was like, “you’re watching trash aren’t you?!” Guilty.

But more about dinner: I took some leftover cayenne-roasted butternut squash, some leftover chicken, whipped up some pesto and put it all in a whole wheat tortilla.

Dude. So good.

Anyway, today is back to basics. I’m working 8 to 5, running, maybe doing a little light jillian and then polishing off the rest of that bottle of Fire Steed from last night.

Survey: Half marathon is in 9 days. Do I do 12 miles on Saturday or just a short run (like 6-7) and call it quitsies? (I did 11 this past weekend, but it’s taken until just now for my right bunion to recover.)

BTW:

darklord

Oh yeah.

I live for the carbo load

Thinking happy thoughts, thinking thoughts about my legs feeling good and my feet feeling good and my toenail not falling off tomorrow!

Listening to my theme song.

I made a faaantastic pre-race Mediterranean pasta (I added chicken) with a side of flatbread and hummus. (And a glass of Panilonco Carmenere – just a small one!)

My husband loved it too. I can tell when he really likes something I cook because he doesn’t just say, “Mhm, it’s good;” he says, “Oh my god, wow this is really $@#&% good!”

And then he has seconds.

I don’t know how my cooking tastes to others – its hard for me to be objective. I think all the mystery is lost when you cook it yourself. I sort of like everything I cook, so he is the true judge of whether something is good or not.

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The hubby and I are watching the Biggest Loser – motivational mindless crap to watch before hopping in bed early! I’m leaving the house at about 6:45 tomorrow morning.

Other than that, I don’t think there’s anything else I can do to prepare for the 13.1 that I haven’t done already – besides sleep and drink more water.

My goody bag had a protein shake in it. At first glance it looked like a delicious breakfast drink but it says you’re supposed to drink it after your work out…um, no thanks! I’ll rebuild my muscles with a mimosa and a belgian waffle!

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I will try to slap out a quick update later on tomorrow –

Wish me luck!!

Peace!

The OCD in me…and lessons learned

When I started training for this half marathon eight weeks ago, I created a spreadsheet for my runs and added a column for total weekly mileage vs. the ACTUAL total. I envisioned these nice tidy rows of numbers as I completed the intended mileage each week. Then I got sick and it all went to crap.

traininglog

You can see where it fell off – the week of Oct. 5 I only ran three miles – that was the week I got sick (after running 21 miles the previous week), and the next week I spent recovering. I’ve started to pick back up, but I feel like I missed the most important week – the 12 mile run. I still did it, but I wasn’t fully recovered yet and that run was TOUGH.

I can see now that one of the mistakes I made was scheduling another run immediately following the long run. I should have rested or cross-trained Sunday, and then run again on Monday. But I was determined not to do anything Mondays because my husband is home and we like to hang out and be lazy together. But taking a day off in between runs may have prevented me from overdoing it and getting sick. Or, it may not have mattered either way.

I’m still pretty optimistic about the half marathon. I’m all better now (cut to Monty Python and the Holy Grail: “I’m not dead yet!”) but it just ANNOYS me that I didn’t train exactly the way I set out to. Is it because I feel like I failed at training? OR just because the OCD in me wanted to have a perfect spreadsheet? Maybe a little of both.

So for next time I’ll still be doing the long run on Saturdays, but I’ll hold off on the next run until Monday nights and if it means I have to forgo an hour of couch time with the hubby, well, at least I won’t be dead.

And now I have to hurry up and work out and hit the grocery store before this afternoon – our Sunday afternoon mischief may or may not involve a Chicago style hot dog and possibly some zombies.

Later!