Friday, October 30, 2015

I am a sucker, Pics from The Chicago Marathon 2015

Yep, I am a sucker.  I bought the digital downloads for all of them.  Here are the best.  I had picked out three I wanted and it was cheaper to download them all then to buy and download the three.

 This is my favorite one and probably the one i will print and hang on the wall.  LOVE the colors and how I looked.  I looked strong instead of like a dying cow:)

I kind of sort of remember running over these mats.  They weren't at the very end but I swore I was looking directly at the photographers.  So weird that some people knew to look directly up.  I don't remember them being up that high or in that position.  Maybe I was hallucinating at this point?

In retrospect, I wished I had taken more photos with the photogs post race, but I had assumed my hubby and i would be meeting up and he could take pictures with our phones.  Oh well, it wasn't meant to be (we didn't see each other again till I had showered and was ready to hit the train to the airport).  There will be other marathons, I am sure!

Monday, October 26, 2015

A thank you post

I am a little behind in writing this.  I have been on such a high since Chicago and I am slowly coming back down to earth:)  Here goes, some super sappy thank yous to all that made this possible.

First off, to my three running partners, my BRF Robin, my speedy running partner Mel G, and miss Stella-Ella.  Thank you for being there for me no matter what the work out, hour, or temperature (or humidity for that matter).  You have motivated me to be the best I could be.  Thank you for pushing me during speed work, and making me run when I didn't really want to.  Thank you Stella Ella for being by my side during EVERY SINGLE RUN.  When I had to go inside my head to not panic about the lack of watch and or phone, I just visualized all of y'all there, and it was all good.  I can't wait to do a marathon with Stella ella and Mel  this year or next, and I can't wait to train for and run together the Heartland Series next year with Mel.  Thank you both so much for the gifts post marathon!  I will cherish both so much!  Robin gave me my necklace that I wear to proudly every day, and Mel took me to the running store to pick out my 26.2 sticker for my van.  Thanks for listening to me pre/post and during many runs, and when you couldn't be there physically, thanks for letting me text/call/FB chat (sometimes even during the runs:).

Thanks to my hubby for taking care of little red while I got all of this training in, especially after I started going for longer and longer and longer.  Thanks for understanding that it wasn't just the run, it was the pre-run ritual, the post-run chocolate milk, and sometimes the ice bath and a nap.  Thanks for also enduring my requests for more and more gear.  You never say no, even when I say, hey, let's go to chicago and run a marathon for a long weekend trip! Thank you for trying your hardest to see me on the route.  Even if I saw you once and you never saw me, I knew you were out there and that kept me going.  Next time we will have this down!

Thanks also to my parents who packed up and headed out for a week of watching little red, so we could have some "Us" time, and I could stay off of my feet some.  I am really glad for this trip we left him at home, because we were able to do whatever whenever, which included a ton of just laying in the bed and watching TV (something I don't ever get to do at home:).  Little red is still asking when y'all are coming back, so come back SOON!  We love y'all!

And last but least my coach, Coach Jenny.  Wow, what a great training cycle.  You helped me get the mental part of running going in the right direction and that was huge.  Your work outs are awesome and you got me to love the strength training, something I usually skipped.  Other than a few aches and pains and a small illness or two, you got me through big injury free and totally ready to throw down at Chicago.  I am really looking forward to continuing our work towards a better half marathon time and another stab at a full and that 4:30 I so desperately want.  Let's do this!

A big thank you to all of y'all reading all of my ramblings.  I started this blog for just a few people to read about my training cycle and it has morphed into more!  So cool!  Have a great week!

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Happy, happy weekend!

It was a week of easy runs and it will be that way for quite some time.   I managed three, 3 mile runs and a 6 miler, all with walking and running and a very easy peasy pace.  I am really enjoying mindless runs, because my body does need to heal and I am going to pay attention to letting it do so.  My ankle is still a little hateful, so will continue to go in and have body work done, as well as icing and compression during and after every run.  Even hitting it with my deep blue EO every night.

I was so glad to actually get to long run this weekend.  While I don't miss getting up at 4 am and gagging down drinking UCAN, i do miss the time to clear my head and get some me time.  This weekend has been all about my little red, and i needed some mommy time for sure today, even if it was for only a brief hour.
We got to see Thomas yet again on Saturday, this time at one of his shows that he puts on.  It was a free event that the town of Salina Kansas puts on for the local kiddos.  We got invited to head out with another mom friend and her Thomas addicted kiddo.  What we didn't know was that it was a trick or treat costume thing, complete with contest.  The boys were dressed alike, not planned, so we said their costume was "Twins".  Both boys had a great time despite the crowds and got tons of park time afterwards.  Little red, despite not having a significant nap stayed up past 10 pm.  I really thought he would crash hard early, but nope.  This kid is the energizer bunny.  I honestly need to bottle up his energy and drink it daily!  We have had a full day today of playing and the park and he hasn't napped and is still going strong, yet again.  

I am looking forward to another week of easy running and incorporating strength training back in.  I can't believe I would ever say I missed it, but I did.  Have a great week y'all!

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Week one of running again post marathon

I have read tons of blogs/articles/studies about running post marathon and recovery post marathon.  I am a huge believer in compression and have been compressing as much of myself the last week and a half as I can.  I had also read a full week off was advisable.  Lots of the articles i read called it week zero.  My coach had advised me to do some sort of active recovery but for one reason or another, I was too busy last week to get a bike ride in.  Instead I was up on my feet moving stuff from lab to lab tuesday through friday,  I also ended up taking it easy this weekend due to a sick kiddo.  Sometimes maybe just plain on resting is a good thing.

Fast forward to monday, my first run back.  I knew it wouldn't be easy.  I am not sore anymore but still tight in some places.  Let's just say my legs felt like tree trunks and my body was not happy.  It doesn't help that we had gale force winds coming from the south/south west either.  No matter how I planned my short running route, it was going to be in the face of some sort of wind.  You see my body may not be ready to run, and I am going to keep runs easy and under three miles, but my mind NEEDS to run.  I am craving the run and I want to get out and sweat, even if it feels like the first time I ever ran ever.  I am ready to embrace the suck:)  I am also ready to get back to long run weekends.  Even though I was at home with a sick kiddo while my hubby worked, and not able to go out, I craved going out. I seriously think I have a major problem:)

I also am going through a major desire to sign up for another marathon and soonish.  Like not this fall but certainly, I don't think I can wait till next fall to do another one.  While I have my spring planned (wicked half in wamego,  The heartland series in KC, and possibly Hospital hill again or Bill Snyder half,) I just want to train and do another marathon this spring.  I have a little  problem, a good one though.  We are using our vacation time this year to attend my speedy friend Mel G's wedding out in Colorado, and see some of the folks I lived with when I moved to Colorado to work for a year back in 2002/2003.  SO, the marathon I would love to sign up for is the very next weekend (Grandma's marathon in MN).  I don't think our budget could handle back to back weekends of travel.  I can get a plane ticket directly out of Manhattan and round trip for a little over 500 bucks, BUT I would still have to rent a car and get a hotel room and yada yada.  I could drive but it would be a 10.5 hour trip.  Now my mom has already volunteered for this journey but still, budget wise, I am not sure if this is a good idea.  Still thinking, still planning, still scheming:)  There is coincidentally a full marathon in Denver that sunday we are there.  It's very tempting to sign up for, but I am a little worried about altitude and the fact that it is a down hill course, and I am not a fan of down hill runs.  Also, it would extend our little vacation from being gone thursday-sunday to wednesday-monday, so I would have plenty of time to acclimate to the altitude and not to have to travel the day of the marathon.  Decisions, decisions.  Yes, I do have a problem:)

Friday, October 16, 2015

Post race thoughts

Is it normal to be dreaming of you next marathon already?  I had such a good training experience, even with the Kansas heat and humidity, and overall a great race minus a few negatives, but all I can think about is the next one.  I have the Heartland Series next spring for my third year, and Wicked Half again with miss stella ella, and a few other small races, but turning my mind to the big one.  I also have lots of other thoughts that didn't make it into my other blogs thanks to me being on a time crunch the day I wrote all three, so this post and probably several after are going to be a hodge podge of a ton of thoughts.

I am still a little sore but I can at least go up and down stairs without wanting to cry.  Kudos to those who race back to back weekends, because there is NO way in hell I could pound pavement so soon, and certainly not another 26.2 or even 13.1 just yet.  My next race is November 7th and it is a nice trail 5 K with stella ella and Mel G.  I also have a 10 miler coming up but that is in December, so plenty of time to train.
Stella ella has been cray cray lately.  She hasn't gotten her exercise quotient and I can tell.  I wish I could bike with her and not fear for my life.  I am hoping to get back to some easy, slow, short runs next week.  Coach wanted me to take it easy and cross train this week a little.  I had planned on biking, but the last two days have been spent walking back and forth and back and forth moving stuff from one lab to another.  I should have worn my vivofit, so I could track exactly how many miles i was walking a day.  Plus add in the fact that we have no AC and it is hot outside, so all I want to do is curl up in a ball and sleep.  
 I have taken to icing my ankle/left leg nightly as it seems to be the last hold out for pain.  I am hoping to get a massage week as I ease back into running.
And I am constantly HANGRY.  I have never been this hungry post a race and post not doing any training.  The other night, my speedy friend Mel G and I attended the opening of our local running store's new location.  I wanted to have a beer and sit down and talk and that morphed into my licking a plate of salad clean and then downing a 10 oz sirloin steak with mashed potatoes and green beans. I may or may not have embarrassed her with my licking LOL!    Every day I just want protein in  the form of meat.  I had to have a burger last night and seriously think I could have downed two.  I guess it is from the excess carb loading we did last week or just the serious amount of calories I burned last sunday.

I have been thinking a lot about not making my time goal.  I really felt like I had a shot at a 4:30, and I think if I could find a smaller marathon, maybe not in such a big city where i could pace myself with my watch, I would have a much better shot at it.  I also have read a ton of blogs of runners who also ran the Chicago marathon and they all had the same feelings and experiences that I did (although most hit their time goals and from corrals behind me).  Too many runners, not enough signal for watches, and lots of jostling for position.  I know my two bathroom stops did not do me any favors, especially the first one when I had to wait a few minutes for one to even come open, but I think the mass of walkers at the end really hurt me more than anything.  For most of the race, people were very good about either moving to the sides if they were walking or holding up their arms to signal they were doing the galloway method and proceeding to walk portion of their run/walk segment.  Towards the end, no one was moving at all.   I felt like a drunk sailor weaving back and forth and back and forth.  My watch was already off a mile, but I wonder how much the weaving added to that.  I am hungry to get back and try for that 4:30 again!!!!  I am really on the fence though about big or little. As I said, i think little would be better for hitting my pace goal, but I am still coming down from the amazing buzz from a big city marathon.  It was amazing and I am enjoying so much reading all the other blogs and listening to podcasts about Chicago.  I am going to plan a fall marathon and would LOVE to get into MCM so going to enter all lotteries in hopes of getting into at least one.

Well, time to move more stuff!  Have a great weekend!!!!

Monday, October 12, 2015

Race day! The Chicago Marathon!

 I was in the second wave in Corral G.  That was good and bad.  It was good in that i didn't need to be at the corral till around 7, but then I didn't start until after 8 am.  I hadn't done any long runs at that time due to Kansas heat, so I wasn't sure how my tummy/body would react.  I also didn't know with the crowds how long it would take to get to my gate and start corral.  I had walked to the gate the day before, and it took me 15 minutes without crowds.  I wanted to be at my corral at least an hour before.
Honestly, the security moved pretty quickly.  This is me prior to saying good bye to tony and getting in line.  I had my throw away coat and my gloves and UCAN to take 30 minutes before.  I left an hour and 15 minutes before my corral closed, and was through and inside in plenty of time.  Of course our hotel was only 2 blocks off of the park, so that made it sure easy and quick. 

 My corral was empty when i got there, so I hung out outside of it.  I decided to make the most of the porta potty lines and get in immediately even though at the time I didn't need to go.  That was a good idea because as i got out, the lines had tripled in size!
I had taken a few pics before we loaded in.  We could hear the announcements at the beginning of the race as the wheel chair athletes left and the elites.  It was very exciting even if we couldn't see the start!  
This was the last pic i took before my touch screen on my phone decided not to work anymore.  I was super bummed and totally forgot about trying to force quit it (which is what finally made it work again after i googled the problem when we were at the airport).  I guess in a way it helped me stay focused and enjoy myself versus taking pics and listening to music.  Honestly, there was so much cheering, bands, djs and people running to talk to that i didn't need any music.  Tony had planned on being on the course at several spots, but he missed me every time.  I am hoping for some good pics from the marathon photo people at a premium cost :)  

At the start of the race, I wasn't nervous, I was just ready to get started.  About a mile in, it hit me that i needed to PEE NOW.  I had taken my UCAN about 30 minutes before the race and I guess it went straight through me.  I saw guys off peeing under the underpasses, but no women squatting.  Hmmm.  About the time I was about to panic, I saw a bank of porta potties.  It may have taken about 3 or so minutes to pee and get back on the course.  What is funny is that my watch had been freaking out and telling me I was running a 4 minute miles.  It had hit 3 miles before I had gone 30 minutes, so I knew there was NO way it was correct AT ALL!  I had no music or way to take pictures, and I had no reliable watch to gauge pace by.  I had a brief moment of panic, but then told myself oh well, just enjoy what you can do and run by feel.  Apparently my feel got me ahead of the pace group I had intended on staying with, so by stopping to pee, they had caught up with me and I was with them.  Whew.  The pace group  participants had bibs on their back, so I was able to keep with them throughout the race and keep them in my sights.

The race itself was AMAZING!  So many crowds, so much cheering.  I so wish I had pictures because I saw so many cool things.  All the neighborhoods came out big time, and all of the areas had people/kids/dogs cheering.  There were maybe two spots that the cheering was thin, but there would also be one or two people clapping, making noise, or holding up funny signs.  There was always someone handing out something whether it be ice, pretzels, candy, or orange slices.  Anything you would need was there.  Even Vaseline for chaffing and sponges for cooling off.  All of the aid stations were very well manned with first aid tents and gatorade first, and porta potties and water after that.  Truly as everyone says, the training is way worse than the actual race!  I was able to run and not worry about anything!!!  There was even a Nuun stop along the way, about the time I had started sweating super salty.  They were like little angels.  My biggest debate on starting was whether or not to carry a hand held with some Nuun, since that is what I trained with.  I can't do gatorade and gels and not puke.  I had decided not do have any hand held stuff and just drink water, so it was so nice to get some on course.  

Most of the race I just spent running with my thoughts.  I did hear some people cheering for Team Beef (the jersey I was wearing).  I knew I should have put my name on my bib, but I totally forget to grab a sharpie.  Most people who had their name on their shirt or bib got lots of cheers.  The scenery was really amazing, but I am not from a big city, so that kind of thing is fun for me to look at.  I found for a stretch of time I was always near one lady pace wise, so I struck up a conversation with her.  She was sort of chatty, but then got her phone out and started doing something with it, so I took that as a signal that she was done talking.  She was from Chicago, so she was a good tour guide as we ran together for several miles.  Honestly, at that point, I kind of needed someone to talk to.  I also loved the blue line that they had painted on the road for the tangents.  I assume this was done for the elites, but it sure did help me.  Instead of my mantra being "strong" or "comfortable hard" it was more like "follow the blue line, follow the blue line".   I kept waiting for the wall to come, but I never did find it, and I am thankful for that.  I stayed hydrated, especially at the end, when I would take a cup from the first table or two, drink two big gulps and pour the rest over my head and then another one from the last table and do the same.  I of course chaffed majorly thanks to this strategy, but it was worth it.  I also fueled according to my plan at mile 8ish, 12ish, 16ish and then again at 20.  I honestly couldn't get another dose down at 24, as my stomach said not only no, but hell no.  I compromised and took one chomp versus the three.  I finished a little slower than I started, but not because i was tired, mainly because at that point there were SO many people walking that i was weaving in and out of people constantly.  In a sick twist of humor, the only big hill was at the end.  That was also at then end of the section that people could cheer from, so it was very quiet.   The medical personal and security guards cheered for us though, which was nice.  I wasn't able to pick up the pace across the finish because of the crowds, but I am hoping that means good finish pictures:)  All in all I was very proud of how I ran.  I felt good the whole time and I listened to my body and gave it what it needed.  I did have to take two restroom breaks and I know that affected my time.  My A goal was a 4:30 and I finished with a 4:45:38 but I will take it for my first, and it will give me a goal to work for, for my next one.  

Then the real marathon began.  I had been warned of this, so I knew it was coming but it still sucked.  We were funneled through the chute were we got our water, bananas, protein shakes, medals and heat blankets.  We were also give wet wash clothes, which was nice for wiping sweat/salt off of my face.  Tony and I had planned on meeting at the runner's meet up area under the letter C.  Well, Tony had gotten on a train and was still in China Town which was 8 miles away.  He was walking towards me, but so many of the roads were blocked off that he couldn't get to me.  So after shuffling for what seemed like a mile, I then stood at a sign and waited and waited and waited.  I couldn't use my phone and there was a band playing very loudly, so I couldn't hear when I tried to call him using the voice commands.  I couldn't access my GPS on my phone, so couldn't find my way back to the hotel and couldn't find my land markers (the Trump towers).  To make matters worse, we had a late check out and had to get all of our stuff packed and me showered.  I finally put my big girl panties on, shuffled and fast as I could to a security guard, got directions back to my hotel, and shuffled back as fast as my little legs would take me.  I got back to my hotel at 2:30, took a cold shower, packed, and got everything out of the hotel and into the lobby by 2:58.  Whew.  Tony walked up as I was turning in the keys.  We then headed to the train and got back to O Hare.  After standing in the security line for over an hour, we finally got through and got to eat. I didn't realize that both of us had not eaten since very early that morning, and both of us were starving!  What is funny is that was probably our most expensive meal, but oh so good and worth it.  After that we had plenty of time to get my phone fixed, call and talk to everyone, and nap before getting on the plane and heading home.  

All in all I had an amazing experience and can't wait to do it again.  I was pretty sore yesterday post race, but am not that bad today.  I am trying to stay hydrated with my all day Nuun drink that i got at the expo.  I got a huge blister on my big toe of my right foot, and was sore in my ankle area where I always hurt, but nothing too bad.  Nothing that a week off and some cross training won't fix.  I am thankful to my parents for coming out and taking care of andrew, so we didn't have to take him with us.  Tony and i enjoyed a mini vacation and just laying around resting my legs versus chasing a 3 year old around.  We got to watch two FULL football games while resting which is unheard of at home.  I can't wait to enter lotteries for next year and would do Chicago again in a heartbeat!!!  MCM, please let me in next year, please, please!!!!
I can now proudly say, I AM A MARATHONER!!!!!

Chicago Day 2: A day of sights and food!

For day 2, we had decided to do some sight seeing, but not by foot.   I also had a shake out run with the AMR tribe.  We had three miles planned but we stopped a ton for pictures so it was perfect.  The best way to see a city is by running it for sure!  Jonna had lived in Chicago and was am amazing tour guide, plus I met and talked with several mother runners as we ran.

After the run,  I was trying to stay off of my feet as much as possible.  I had put it out on FB that I was looking for fun tours, and overwhelmingly people suggested the boat tours put on by Wendella.  Everyone recommended the architecture tour, and that is what we chose.  It was a little walk to the dock, but it was a nice long sit on the boat learning the history of the buildings and city.  I HIGHLY recommend doing this tour.  Very informative and fun.  The weather was perfect and sunny with a cool breeze, perfect for sitting on the boat.

Trump towers

Corn cob building

Formally Sears tower

We took lots and lots of pictures but not near as many as some.  After the boat tour, we headed to our next pizza stop.  We had posted about Pizano's pizza place the first day and we were told Lou Malnati's was better.  Luck would have it that there was one near the boat dock, so we headed over.  On our way, we stumbled on Glaze and Infused (a really cool doughnut shop that had come highly recommended as well) and stopped for a pre lunch (since it takes so long for the deep dish to cook).  We had the most amazing white chocolate hot chocolate with cinnamon.  
 Both places had amazing pizza.  The crust was slightly different at Lou's with it being more flaky and buttery and less crunchy.  We ordered sausage on our pizza, and it was a bit much, although the sausage itself tasting good.  It just covered the entire pizza.
After lunch, we headed back to the hotel, and laid around and watched the Vols beat the Dawgs and KSU loose a heart breaker to the number 2 TCU horned frogs.  It was the perfect amount of laying around.  We had dinner in bed again.  At this point I was tired of carbs, so we had some chicken instead for dinner.  I was able to go to sleep at a decent hour as we had to be up around 5:45 again the next day.  

Now on to the Race Day!

The Chicago Marathon: The expo and the first day

This may have to be two posts!  I am still riding on a HUGE high after running my very first FULL marathon!  I had the best experience ever and honestly, can't wait to do my next one.  The training is the hard part, the race is the party!  Yes, lots of exclamation points in the first few sentences.  Let's start at the beginning shall we?

We traveled up to Chicago Friday morning early.  Like get up at 4 am and drive to the airport early.  We were lucky that our little tiny airport has a direct flight to chicago, and it was only 1 hour and change.  Probably for the cost of driving, parking, and gas, we came out even, and at the better end of the deal.  Upon everyone's advice, we hit the trains and went straight into the city.  We had decided that the expo should be done first, so we dropped our bags off at the hotel, and headed over in a taxi.  I had to laugh as we are so small city people.  Tony almost tipped the drive 30 bucks on our debit card, whoops!
It was huge!!!!  I got to visit all of my favorite people and products including the NUUN people who had coolers of every flavor they have, and the UCAN group where we got to try out some of their new bars.  I got some samples of everything and some tubes of watermelon Nuun and a new blender bottle for my UCAN.  
There were lots and lots of picture opportunities.  I took advantage of a few, but my main goal was to get in and out, so I wasn't on my feet too much.  I really didn't need much other than a new running jacket, and to say Hi to the ladies at the Another Mother Runner booth.  Honestly, the Nike merchandise for the race was not really that cute.  They sponsored the race but there were lots of other brands that had chicago themed stuff.  I settled on a t shirt that the sacouny group had for sale.
This is Sarah of the Another Mother runner tribe.  She and Dimity saw me off for my very first half marathon years ago in St. Louis.  She also saw me off for my first full marathon.  How cool is that?  She is amazing!  Her voice on the podcast got me through so many long runs.  We had a great talk about various things, and she even did a video of me talking about social media and how podcasts are awesome.  Their merchandise was the cutest I saw.  I ran in my trucker hat and LOVE it, even though people thought I was just a cub's fan:)  Another Mother runner also did a shake out run Saturday morning led by Jonna that I attended.  

After the expo and another cab ride back to the hotel, we decided to find some deep dish pizza.  We settled on a place within walking distance of our hotel in the loop.  Our hotel was the Burnham, located right on the edge of the loop, which was in walking distance of everything.  We were right on the edge of millennium park and a 15 minute walk to the gate to get into my corral.  So glad my running friend Bunny recommended it!  How cool that they had actual keys to the doors!  Back to the pizza, we hadn't eaten since around 4:30 that morning so we were starving.  We quickly learned that deep dish pizza takes 30-40 minutes to make so pre eat or eat an appetizer.  
We ate an entire medium deep dish together.  It was the BEST ever!!!!  We were finally full and happy.  We also went shopping and picked up a few things we had forgotten.  Of course there was a disney store across from our hotel, so little red got some presents.  That night we had Chipotle for dinner to continue our carb loading.  We got it to go and ate it in bed.  I tried to take the whole stay off of your feet to heart as much as possible.  I think we were out by 8:30 pm that night!!!  

Okay this is getting too long so will break this into maybe three posts!