Sunday, January 29, 2012

More race photos

I'm going to milk this race for as many posts as I can!  It's fun to share and re-live it as well.

I finally downloaded the pictures from our camera.

I knew that Bean was making signs on bright paper, but honestly I was so delirious as I was finishing the race that I hardly noticed them.  I saw my family and heard them cheering me on and that's what I needed I guess.  Still it means the world to me that they had these!

The one thing I did notice as I ran by my family was that Lily was not happy.  Bean was holding her and she was in tears because of all the screaming everyone else was doing!  It didn't last long of course, but Bean was so busy cheering for me and hanging on to her that he couldn't get the camera out.  But he did get this one shot of me finishing, on his phone.  There are some more finish photos on Brightroom but I haven't purchased them yet.

The girls treat while waiting at the finish was donuts.  When we were at the Expo on Friday my 4.5 year old told me she remembered coming to my last race (Nov. 2010) and that Daddy got them donuts. I assured her that he'd probably do the same this race too.  She has this uncanny ability to eat the frosting off the donut leaving most of the rest of it intact.  

Gracie girl.  She'll be 5 in April.

Sprinkled donuts used to be their favorite.  But our donut shop has the BEST maple icing and they are learning to appreciate it as well.

Lily-bug.  She loves this bright green jacket.

Miss Rose.  She always gets the biggest donut possible.

I just like this picture of my girl and my sister.  She's wearing a Barcelona scarf she just got for her birthday.

The only picture of all of us, but it'll work!  My awesome family.

At first I thought this picture was out of focus, but then Bean pointed out he took a picture of Lily's reflection in my medal.  Pretty sweet!

The sexy husband.  I am close to getting him to run his first half (he's done 10k mud runs).

My fantastic sisters who made the trek in the minivan with the family to cheer me on.  They are some of my biggest supporters.  One of them texted me "I'm almost more excited for you today than I was on your wedding day."  One thing I love about us is that we don't look that much alike, we each have different hair--just like my girls.  But those who know us, know we are extremely similar and close.  I pray my girls have the same relationship that I have with my sisters.  I think maybe I've inspired them to run another race.  They've raced before, but not in a while.  

Lily is my little shadow.  She insisted on putting my visor on, even though it was soaked in sweat.  She loves to wear it around the house and say she's going running.  The night before the race when I was putting her to bed, I was praying and she interrupted me to say "pray for mama race."  Then she told me "the map, find you, find water" which was a conversation we had at the Expo about the map and where the ocean was in relation to the course.

Remember I told you how instantly tired I was?  I am throwing all pride to the wind with this last picture.  Bean JUST showed it to me for the first time.

Me, on the ride home.  Usually I curl up a bit when I sleep while traveling, but I was so tired I didn't even need to do that to doze off.

Still wearing my finisher's medal though!

And that my friends, is another look at my race in pictures! 

Friday, January 27, 2012

what happened with my stomach??

If you haven't read my race report, check it out here.

I had a good start, but my stomach really was my undoing.

In all my training and running, even for other races, I've never had this happen.  I have pretty much always used Gu during long runs and races and had Honey Stingers along on many of my runs during this training cycle.

I don't think my race nutrition was the problem.  I think it was my pre-race nutrition.

A few months ago I read this article in Runner's World.  I tore out the page and it's been on the side of the fridge, just waiting for my race prep.  I'd read before about eating more calories/carbs in the week prior to the race and I think I tried to do so the week before my last half marathon at the end of 2010.  I didn't focus on the numbers as much as just made sure I ate plenty and there were carbs.  I love carbs, so it really isn't a problem.

On Thursday of last week I attempted to get in 500-600g of carbs.

I had pancakes for breakfast (a big favorite of mine, but I don't often indulge) with my mom's old maple syrup recipe (1 cup brown sugar, 1 cup white sugar, 1 cup water, 1 tsp maple and 1tsp vanilla, bring to a boil).

I ate Kraft Mac & Cheese (from the box, it's truly the best) for lunch and we had Five Guys Burgers for dinner for my dad's birthday.  I had some carb-y snacks in there as well.  Oh and a small ice cream sundae for dessert.  It was my dad's 60th birthday you know, had to celebrate.

Partway through the day I felt so bloated and gross.  While carbs play a big role in my normal diet, I eat fairly balanced.  I avoid the calories that come with lots of white flour usually.  I thought carb loading would be fun, but it wasn't so much.

Now sugar loading, that would be another story.  Easy peasy. Maybe I just should have eaten cookies and brownies all day.  I can pound that stuff without ill effects!

In talking to Bean at some point that night he recommended that I not try to eat so many carbs.  He said "you have never carb loaded for any of your training runs, you'll be fine."

So on Friday I ate much more normal and I did feel better.  Saturday was my 8 year old's birthday party involving laser tag and Chuck E. Cheese.  It was a full and kinda stressful 3 hours.  I find Chuck E Cheese pizza to be quite like eating cardboard, so I think I ate only 1 or 2 small pieces.  I don't even remember what I ate for dinner that night.  I think it was kinda grab and go, not an actual meal.

I honestly don't think my stomach recovered from Thursday's carb-fest.  As I'm typing this right now, a new caveat hit me.  Years ago I was diagnosed with gastroparesis--basically slow digestion.  I was having a lot of stomach issues and this was a contributing factor.  Normally it doesn't bother me much, but I betcha it didn't help any with all that food in my tummy on Thursday and the whole end of the week for that matter.

One thing the article said was to experiment several weeks out with this method in anticipation of long runs.  I didn't do this.  Shame on me, I know.  I just figured--license to eat unlimited carbs?  Whoo-hoo.

With all that was going on with my stomach, I probably should have taken in less prior to the race.  Most of my other races I've had oatmeal or a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, a little water and a little coffee.  But I think even that was too much for me this time around.  I didn't feel like I wanted all of it, but I was afraid to deviate and afraid I'd need the energy later on.

So, many lessons learned.  DO experiment with pre-race food, not just that morning but the days prior.  Increasing my carbs probably wouldn't have been a good idea, but clearly the method laid out in this article isn't for me.

I'm bummed I had to learn this during my first marathon, but hopefully it means if I dial it in, I can perform that much better.

And yes, there will be another marathon.  Down the road.  I would like to run a good race and feel good the entire time.

For me, the two obstacles to running a marathon is the cost of registration and the training time.  My husband and family were incredibly supportive, even when it meant I was occupied up to 5 hours on a Saturday--which is the only day we both have off together.  I'm looking forward to doing long runs on a Saturday that are less than 2 hours and don't necessarily require ice baths.

Perhaps I'll run another marathon sometime in 2013.  I have some goals and things I want to work on that will help me once I decide to start training for that distance again.  I'm proud of my 5:20 finish, but quite honestly, I want to beat it into the ground too.  I know I'm capable of more and I want to prove it to myself.

So, that's what I think happened with my stomach.  Terribly interesting, huh? (yeah, I know...notsomuch!)

Thursday, January 26, 2012

My first marathon race report (finally): Carlsbad Marathon 2012

I run a marathon and drop off the radar! Motherhood is basically active recovery.  There has been very little rest happening.  I've been going to bed on the earlier side almost every night.  In fact I could easily go to bed right now (it's 9pm) but I can sleep in a bit tomorrow, and I really wanted to start writing.

After picking up my bib.  Don't mind the mess behind me.

Anyhow, yes--I ran a marathon!!!  My first marathon.  It's still a little bit surreal that I completed 26.2 miles.  That is a long way.  And it takes a long time.  I'm definitely proud of myself and can't wait to get a 26.2 sticker for my car.

Things didn't quite go according to plan--but, let me start at the beginning.

I think I finally got in bed about 10pm on Saturday night.  I had everything laid out on the couch, my peanut butter and jelly sandwich in the fridge and a bag packed for my husband to bring to the finish line for me.

Some child woke me about 3:30am which bummed me out since my alarm was set for 3:50am.  Surprisingly though, I did doze off again and my alarm woke me.  I got up and started getting ready.  It went smooth since everything was laid out.  I left the house a little before 4:30am with my PB&J and coffee in hand.

Ready to go!

The drive was about 40 minutes and I ate my sandwich, drank a little coffee and a little water as well.  The start of the race was in a mall parking lot, so there was plenty of parking and I was just a few isles from the port-a-potty city.

I took a few minutes to gather my things, put my belt on, thread my ipod through my shirt etc.  I made a last minute decision to not wear water on my belt.  I left one bottle in the car and carried one bottle in my hand for several miles and then tossed it.  I'm glad I didn't wear the water.  My belt ended up bothering me anyways, and that would have made it worse.  It worked to carry one bottle with me for a while and there was plenty of water available on the course.

The weather ended up being great! It rained the day before and the day after the race, but it was dry on Sunday.  I was concerned about it being pretty cold, but it honestly wasn't.  I had a zip up hoodie as a throw-away that was perfect.  I had a pair of pants and a long-sleeve shirt in the car too, but didn't need them.  I wore gloves for a little while but they weren't super necessary.

A few weeks before the race I connected with Sarah on Twitter and we realized Carlsbad was the first marathon for both of us, and we didn't know anyone else running it.  We decided to meet up before the race, at least to have someone to wait with before the start.  I went to our meeting place but didn't see anyone I thought was Sarah, so I went to use the bathroom.  One thing I learned about running the marathon as opposed to the half is there are PLENTY of porta-potties when the races have different start times.

Headed back to our meeting spot and just a few minutes later Sarah showed up and we met for the first time!  It was great to have someone to talk to and share the nerves with.  We both were excited and confident, but just anxious to get going.  After a few minutes we made one more bathroom stop and then headed to the start.  About 10 minutes later, we were off!!

Start line is the orange banner in the distance

Me at the start.  Think I'm excited?!

Sarah and I decided to run together for a while at least.  Her training runs had been a little faster than mine, but they were the pace I'd hoped to run.  It was so dark for the first few miles.  The roads were full, but we didn't really get stuck behind anyone.  By the 2nd mile the roads were wider and everyone was pretty spread out.

My new running friend Sarah!

I shed my hoodie around mile 2.  Although I was still a little cold, it was fleece and making me sweat.  I was much happier without it.  We hit the ocean and it was gorgeous! THIS is why we live in San Diego!  Running along the ocean in short sleeves in January.  Can't beat it.

Around mile 5.5 I realized I should take in some nutrition.  I wasn't feeling the need, but know it's best to stay on top of it and that's how I've been training. I pulled out a bag of Honey Stingers and shared them with Sarah as I wasn't feeling the need to eat all of them. They didn't settle great (even though I've used them plenty in the past) but I just ran on.

Our first 5-6 miles were about a 10:30-10:45 pace.  I could feel that it was faster than my training runs, but I felt strong and good and knew this was a good pace to meet my goals.

Miles 6-9 were a gradual climb.  We'd have a bit of flat road, then it would climb again.  Around mile  6 and 7 we saw the leaders coming back down the road hitting their miles 12 and 13. It was pretty awesome to cheer them on from the other side.

Right before we hit mile 8, I told Sarah to go on ahead of me.  My stomach wasn't feeling great and I figured I should slow a bit on the hills and hopefully pick up a little on the way back down and maybe the kinks would work themselves out.  I think I tossed my handheld water around here too.

This has never happened on a run before and I was frustrated.  I felt slightly nauseous and although I could run through it at that point, it was definitely slowing me down.  Finally just after mile 9 we got to turn around around run down the hill for the most part.  This road was rolling though, so there were a few small climbs too.

I think my pace through these miles was around 11:00-11:15.  Slower than I wanted, but I was waiting for my stomach to right itself.  I took a little water at every other aid station or so.  Around mile 11 or 12 I decided to take a Gu.  I was afraid of feeling totally depleted even though I was still nauseous.  I suppose the Gu helped my energy, but it didn't make my stomach feel so hot.

Miles 13-15 were stupid.  One of the things I didn't like about this race is there were a ton of U-turns.  We'd run a street, only to turn around and run back the other way.  I realize it was necessary to get 26 miles out of the area, but I found it really mentally challenging.  I'm somewhat familiar with the area, but I didn't have the course memorized to know when the U-turns were.  Miles 13-15 though I just kept waiting for the U-turn because I knew it wasn't a very long street. I started taking a few walk breaks here and was getting discouraged about my splits.  

In spite of my struggles, I hit 13 miles at 2:20 which had me on a pretty good pace to hit a sub-5 hour time.  Right around mile 15 we ran across a bridge and under us was the 101 full of half marathoners.  I'm sure there are marathoners here too, but it's mostly halfers I think.  I decided to stop for a minute and document this point in my run since I hadn't taken any photos during the race and probably wouldn't again.

And of course the self-portrait! 

Right after this was where we joined with the half marathoners.  It was weird running in a crowd again after things being so spread out in the miles prior.  After a few miles though, the course split and the marathoners ran on a few more miles before ANOTHER u-turn and the half-marathoners did a u-turn at the split.  Sarah was well ahead of me by this point and I found out later she missed the split and ran a bit before realizing and turning around.  I read another account of someone who missed the split and never realized it and ended up with a 23-mile run.  Big bummer!  When I ran through the volunteer at the split wasn't very exuberant in her directions and I can totally see how people missed it.

These next few miles sucked.  A lot of uphill.  Wondering when the u-turn was coming.  And my stomach was only feeling worse.  I didn't feel like puking nor did I need to use the bathroom.  I was just nauseous.  I kept taking water at aid stations because I did not want to get dehydrated.

Finally at mile 18 we turned again and it was the home stretch now.  Straight ahead for 8 more miles.  Perhaps the longest 8 miles of my life.  I was struggling.  I was seeing my goals slip through my fingers.  Whenever I ran too long, I'd feel even sicker and I'd have to stop and walk.  I tried to run at least 4-5 minutes between walk breaks and keep my breaks to 1 min or so.  But there were times I walked longer.  And times the intervals were shorter.  When I was running, my pace was pretty slow anyways.

At some point I texted Bean and told him I was feeling sick and struggling.   I didn't wait to see a response, but it helped being able to tell someone.

My cousin lives in the area and had told me she was going to try to come cheer me on.  She told me where she'd be, a location we passed twice, but I never saw her.  She has two young boys and is pregnant, so I figured any number of things could have changed their plans.  When I hit mile 19 I started to hit the wall.  I felt dizzy and lightheaded.  I was exhausted.  I was disappointed.  And then at 19.5 I heard my name.  At first I thought it was just someone who took the time to read my bib--but then someone was coming towards me and it was my cousin!!  My sweaty status didn't stop her from giving me a huge, long hug which was exactly what I needed.  She asked how I was doing and I said "I'm struggling but I'm doing it."  Turns out she had missed me twice already but I'm SO glad she took the time to try again and find me.  It was just what I needed to get through that wall.

Around mile 20 I decided I needed to attempt some more calories in spite of my stomach.  Over the next mile or so I slowly took in a package of Honey Stingers a few at a time.  They didn't make me feel great, but since I ate them slowly it wasn't terrible.  Someone was passing out oranges at mile 23 perhaps and they were SO delicious.

Honestly, I was walking a lot, and I was running slowly.  My sub-5 hour time was out the window and I was just focused on finishing.  I was bummed, but I was still going to finish a marathon.

At mile 24 I got my phone out again and had a text from my sister that was easy to open, so I texted her that I was 2.2 miles away.

It would have been stellar if I could have run out those last few miles, but it was getting harder.  My legs were so dead and my stomach was feeling terrible.  I walked a lot of mile 25.  With just under .2 miles left, I dug deep and started shuffling again.

I RAN across that finish line, seeing my family on my left side.  I snuck in at 5:20, before it hit 5:21.  Not that one more minute mattered, but it's still nice to say 5:20.

I did not run a sub-5 marathon.  I did not run a 4:45 marathon.

But I ran a marathon.  I trained for a marathon with 3 young children and a job.  I ran a marathon before I turned 35.  Had my stomach not revolted, I think I could have run a sub-5 and maybe even that 4:45.  Sarah was stellar and finished around 4:45 herself!

After I crossed the finish I started walking and it was incredible to think I didn't have to start running again!  I got my medal, had my photo taken and got my food bag and water bottle.  I had to walk out and around a fence to meet my family and then I got to sit down!  It was so incredible.  I took my shoes off and found 2 big blisters on my right foot and every toenail on that foot was tender.

I changed out of my wet shirt and into the race long sleeve tech shirt.  I chugged the chocolate milk my husband brought me and ate a little food.

When my husband went to bring the van closer I started to fade and told my sisters I could lay down on the concrete and fall asleep right there.  My sisters drove the car home that I drove up and my husband drove me home in the minivan and I definitely dozed off while on our way home, after eating some of the donut he also brought me.  YUM!

Once we got home I ate a little more, got into an ice bath, then a hot shower and took a nap with my three-year-old!  I was pretty stiff and sore, as would be expected.

All in all, it was an incredible experience.

These shoes (still not my favorite) carried me 26.2 miles.

It will be awhile before I see this mileage and time elapsed on my Garmin again.  My overall pace was just over 12:00min/mile.  More analysis of my splits later

I still need to download the pic's that my family took on the camera.  It was so great having them there at the finish.  Even though they had to wait longer than anticipated, the kids were really good and excited for me.  It was awesome that both my sisters came too!  My youngest sister chose her days off in order to be there for my finish.

So that's the basic run down of my race.  I plan to write a few more posts about it, analyzing what might have went wrong and other tidbits from the race too. 


Saturday, January 21, 2012

Here we, here we go!

It's almost 9pm and I think I'm about ready to get in bed.  My stuff is piled up, just have to lay it out for the morning.  Hopefully sleep will come quickly.  Which I think it will since the kids woke up early this morning and I spent a total of 4 hours birthday party-ing for my oldest daughter.  Yeah, not necessarily the BEST agenda for Marathon Eve, but I'm a mom---it's what I do.  I wasn't on my feet too much though, so that's good.

I'm tempted to check out pace bands and analyze my long runs.

But I know what I can do.  I know what is running smart for me and I'm just going to do it.  It's not just about the time over my head as a cross the finish, it's about the experience of my first marathon.  It will only happen once.

Live tracking is available here: and my bib # is 319.

Trust me, you're not going to be super impressed with my pace, but I just hope I hit every mark and RUN across that finish line.

I have a fresh playlist for when I need to change it up and I found out my cousin and her family are going to try come support on the course because they don't live too far away.  And my great husband and two sisters will be at the finish with my kids.

I'm so excited! Nervous, but only because I'm ready to cross the start line.

Let's do this thing.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

why I'm running a marathon

I am running a marathon because I can.

Because I've run 4 half marathons, some 10ks and a 15k.  It's next, right?

I'm running because I am goal-oriented.  I enjoy working towards something.

In a life that is extremely unpredictable--because that's just how kids are--running is a constant for me.  Training is a constant.

Running is straightforward. If I follow the training plan, if I don't push myself too hard, but I do challenge myself--I will reach my goal.

I'm running a marathon because I have an amazing husband who has supported me all the way and put up with me being gone almost every Saturday morning, our only day off together.

I'm running a marathon because I want to inspire my children, my daughters, to achieve, to work hard towards a goal and see it come to pass.

I'm running a marathon because it's my sport.  A sport in which I am the only member of the team, and I only have to compete against myself.

Because I want to put a 26.2 on my minivan.

Over 6 years ago I ran my first mile and it felt like a marathon.  Yet somehow, I was hooked.  5 years ago this month I ran my first half marathon in 3 hours and 5 minutes.

I ran 17 miles in November in 3 hours and 5 minutes.

Sunday I will run a full marathon.

Just because.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Let the carb loading begin!

The countdown has truly begun.  My marathon is this weekend!  I'm done with work for the week and can truly focus on my preparations.

This past Sunday I had a strong 8 mile run.  I ran a different course than the week before with less hills and my pace was much better.  My achilles did bother me some, but it was much more bearable and recovered quickly.

Last week I checked out the race website to get some of the details for race day.  When I signed up for the race all I only paid attention to the date, location and cost.  What I failed to pay attention to was the start time of the race.

6AM!  My race begins at 6am.  The half doesn't start until 7:30am, which means I probably won't even see the one person I know doing the race.  (Although I met another mother runner on Twitter who is racing the marathon too and we may try to meet that morning).  That is EARLY friends.  I thought 7am at the earliest, or 8am.

Maybe it's a good thing I didn't know it started at 6am.  Otherwise I would have been stressing over it for longer than a week.

I never sleep well the night before a race anyways, so getting up at 4am is really not that big of a deal.  It will take me about 30 minutes to drive to the location.  I think I'm going to sleep in my running clothes to make one less step in the morning.  Changing my clothes always makes me extra cold anyways.  This way I can just add a few layers and be ready to go.

Speaking of running clothes...I'm at a bit of a loss as to what to wear.  My preferred running attire is Nike Tempo Shorts and a black tank top I bought this summer at Costco.  But most likely it's going to below 40 degrees at the start and perhaps rising to the 60's.  And it might rain or sprinkle a bit.  So I think shorts and a tank are out, even with layers to shed.  I'm leaning towards capri's and a tshirt.  Maybe the tank under in case I warm up a lot?  The whole clothing/rain/cold weather is stressing me more than the early start. I picked up a thrifted throw away jacket and my sisters are checking their closets for a pair of sweats to wear while I wait at the start.

These are the things I mull over all day long right now!

Overall, I am super excited and just ready to run! I feel prepared.  I may not be as fast as I'd like but I am confident that I will be proud of my race.  For me, taper madness hasn't been as much about not running a lot of miles but about WANTING to run the race.

I ran a fast 5k this morning, under 30 minutes.  I wanted to run outside to get a feel for the weather.  Most of my early runs have been on the treadmill because I have to be done by 6:45am and I don't run in the dark.  I started running at 6:15am just as the sun was coming up.  It was chilly to start but I warmed up pretty quickly and wasn't too uncomfortable.  By the time I finished at 6:45am it was a little warmer and I had even broken a sweat.

Tomorrow I will rest and stretch and then one last easy run on Friday morning.

Let's do this thing!!

Monday, January 9, 2012

T minus 12

I will be running my marathon in less than 2 weeks now.  AHHHHH.  It's here!

I know I'm prepared.  I could be more prepared, but isn't that always the case?  Unless something goes terribly wrong, I feel confident that I will make my main goal.  Anything else will just be icing on the cake.  I think I will be eating cake both before and after to celebrate too!

I ran 8 miles yesterday.  The schedule had 12 for this weekend, but I had hiked 4 miles on Saturday and Sunday afternoons are pretty much my toughest running time.  After the entire weekend and after being at church for 5-6 hours--it's everything I can do to get myself out there.  But I managed to find 8 miles in my immediate neighborhood--doing a lot of up and down parallel streets and a few laps at the park at the end.  My pace was slower than I preferred, but taking everything into consideration, I suppose it wasn't too bad.

This weekend is a tough one for getting my run in as well, even though I only need 7-8 miles.  I am teaching a class all day Friday and Saturday.  I may run on Thursday, but that would be with the girls or maybe I'll get up at 5am and do it on the treadmill.

I'd like to do a Yasso 800 trial also.  I haven't done one before, but I'm curious to try and see how my times hold up for the marathon.

I'm running a freaking marathon.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

to carry water or not?

I have a thousand questions about my upcoming marathon.  17 days from now.  Am I really about to run 26.2 miles?

Yes. I. Am.

I'm a little stressed because I strained my achilles during my 20-miler.  In doing a little reading tonight, I suspect it was the hills on my route.  I was going to run that same route for this weekends long run, but now I'm reconsidering.  I'm hoping with tapering and icing, my achilles won't be a problem on race day.

But, here's my first question.

Do I run with water or not?  I'm leaning towards not.

I don't really like running with a water belt.  I do it on my long training runs out of necessity.  I struggle to find my rhythm with the bulk around my waist.  Yes it is nice to be able to grab a swig of water whenever I want it, but I feel like it's a weight I don't want to carry while I attempt to cross the finish line

I've used a water belt in a few of my half marathons.  It seems a little more practical for that distance.  I'd still grab water from the aid stations if there wasn't a crowd, but I'd have my bottles for in between stations or if one was too busy.

I plan to take some walk breaks during the race, which are perfect for water stations.  I don't usually drink water until mile 4 or 5 and hopefully the stations won't be as crazy during then.  I'm not trying to qualify for Boston or anything, so even if they add a minute or two to my overall time, it's not the end of the world.

If you've run a full marathon, did you carry water with you? What was your experience?

More questions to come!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Running with Mama

My babysitter had to leave a little early today, so I had him drive the kids to me as well as load my jogger since I had planned to sneak in a run before I headed home.  Why not run with the kiddos!

Photos were taken on the run, so they are a little blurry.

The little girls (big girl was somewhere else) were more into running than riding today.  Since it was a recovery run from Monday's 20-miler, I figured I'd indulge them.  Sometimes I can be a slave to the Garmin and want to get the most miles for the time I have.  But I figured the stops and starts were equivalent to a HIIT workout, right?

Lily has surprisingly good form with pumping her arms. 
I've noticed Gracie can be a little knock-kneed when she runs, which is evident here.

They ran maybe a half or three-quarters of a mile total at a few different points.  It was pretty cute and super fun.

The view from behind me

I dream of my girls running races with me.  I dream of them running cross country or track one day.  I hope at least one of them loves running as much as I do.   

I dream of my girls running races with me.  I dream of them running cross country or track one day.  I hope at least one of them loves running as much as I do.   

Yes, I realize these photos look like we're running in the summer.  Shorts, tank tops, bare skin.  We're having a crazy winter heat wave, it was in the 80's today.  Which is nice in some respects.  But kinda annoying when you like seasons and having some cold.  I'm sure the cold will be back.  It's very weird to run in shorts and tank tops in the beginning of January.
I'm going to make more of an effort to take the girls places they can get out and run and explore.  We passed by a trail that Graicie wanted to explore.  I want my kids to love and experience the outdoors.

Today was a great reminder of how easy and fun it is.

Monday, January 2, 2012

I believed I could, and so I did...20 miles!

I read blogs in Google Reader to fall alseep almost every night.  I used to suffer from a lot of insomnia, but something about reading stuff on my iPhone in bed in the dark makes me sleepy.

Last night I read the New Years Day post on Another Mother Runner.  Which opened with this photo.

There couldn't have been better words to inspire me for the 20 miles on the schedule for the morning. The content of the post was good, but it was these words that really stuck with me.

I've pretty much been off my training schedule for almost a month.  I injured my back on December 8th and ran just 20 miles from then until the end of the month.  I missed some long runs, and some middle of the week runs.  Holiday events, multiple church services, family in town to hang out with and so much else just made it hard.  I realized one reason it's difficult to train through December.  But I don't even know if I would have run 20 miles if I wasn't training, so I suppose that was a good thing.

I ran 18 awful miles early in December.  Technically, I could have called that my longest run and moved on.  But I really wanted a 20-mile training run.  Plus I needed to redeem that awful 18 miler.   Bean and I determined that today was the best day for my long run.  The last day of our vacation.  It was hard for me not to log miles on January 1st--the first day of the year, but I figured that 20 miles on the 2nd would make up for not running on the first day of 2012.

So this morning I woke a little after 6am, while the rest of my family enjoyed sleeping in on the last day of vacation.  I ate peanut butter & banana toast and drank my coffee and headed out shortly after 7am.  I decided to run from home, even though my route would include some hills that challenged me during my 16-miler.

I changed up my route a bit, so I didn't have AS many hills and I benefited from the downhills of the hills I ran up.

Since I hadn't done a long run for 3 weeks, and not much running at all, I decided to do 5 minute run/1 minute walk intervals.  I thought it would give my body a bit of a break and hopefully help me not crash like I did with 18 miles.  I think the strategy was a good one and I'm toying with running some of the marathon that way.

I could attempt a mile-by-mile review, but that would be too long and probably boring.

Here's what went right:

I felt pretty strong up until the last 4 or 5 miles, but still finished strong the last 2 miles
My back didn't bother me at all, yay!
I was able to refill my water bottles at the right time
I finished!  I finished 20 miles.  Last time I could barely run down the hill that is 2 miles from home.  This time I totally did.  In fact I realized I was running too fast because one knee was starting to hurt and the other quad started seizing, so I had to slow it up!
No BodyGlide on my feet and NO blisters!! (yay for new shoes: Mizuno Wave 7's)
My sister met me for 3 miles at the lake
Nuun.  I love it.  I was dreaming of Nuun and an ice bath at the end.

Things that need work:

I still went out too fast...especially since miles 2-4 were almost completely uphill
I applied BodyGlide as always, but still had some unfortunate chafing, which hasn't happened in a long time
It got HOT about 9:30.  And I was running the lake at that time, which gets an extra beating of the sun. The heat really played a factor in my last hour.  We are having unseasonably warm weather.  I hope it breaks in the next 20 days.
I don't think I timed my nutrition very well...waited too long
My 20 miles finished .75 from home! Bad math :( I'm sure the cool down walk was good for my body, but still wanted to be home ASAP
I have some issue on the inside of my left knee. It feels like a bruise, but happened the last few miles.  I iced tonight, so hopefully that will help
The mile alerts were turned off, and I rely on those to see where I'm at

And my favorite, random experience...

After I finished 20 miles and started walking, I turned my belt around to access my phone easily.  Which put the attached water bottles around the back, and I finished the .75 miles that way.  It wasn't bothering me while walking, but apparently the bottles put pressure on my back while walking, bruising it.  Seriously, I get the award for stupid injuries!

I finished my run just under 4 hours.  I was out there longer, paused my watch at lights and a few short breaks, water refills etc.  I had wanted to have an average pace around 11:00, but it was 11:30.  BUT, I'm not bummed.  I'm still happy with it.  My lack of running for 3 weeks, plus the hills, plus maybe a few holiday pounds, all play into it--and I'm just proud I finished and I didn't feel completely wrecked.  That was the goal.

My watch didn't pick up my mile splits, which I'm bummed about, I think I turned them off when I set the intervals.  I need to experiment and make sure they work together before the race.

I'm going to do this.  I'm going to run 26.2 miles.  I am SO getting that sticker for my car.

I believe I can, so I will.