Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Flower City Race Report- Part One

My sixth half marathon is in the books! I've done the same amount of half marathons in the first four months of this year, which was my goal for the entire year last year. Woohoo! I knew going into the race that I wasn't going to PR. I was just going to go with the flow and see how things shook out. I wish I could have gone a bit faster and that I didn't stop a few times, but overall it went well. I'm almost afraid to admit it but I am missing the cooler weather too. It was a bit hotter and sunnier then what I've been used to training in. I took two photos the whole time so this might be a bit wordy.

Getting ready in the AM went perfect and Rob and I were on our way. When we got downtown I decided to try and park in the same lot we parked in last year. Fail number one. The lot was full and then we got stuck in traffic right near the finish line. Drove by a lot and then did a u-turn to head back to the lot, passing my parents in the mean time. My parents parked in the lot I was heading for. In the mean time, with about 4-5 cars in between us, the parking machine ran out of tickets and was saying the lot was full. It wasn't even close to being full. Fail number two. So we all did u-turns and I had to head in the opposite directions as my parents. We went back to a parking garage, which was a block or two away, and got back in the line of cars and found a spot in the garage. In the meantime people are texting and calling me to figure out where I am and if I found a spot...ahhh very frustrated at this point. I head to the arena, eating my bagel on the move, and can't seem to locate my parents. I left Rob so I could go in and go to the bathroom, thank goodness the line was moving fast. I headed back out and in the meantime Rob found my parents. By now the pipe and drum band are playing and marching to the start line and I am not even heading in that direction yet. This is not how I like my pre-race ritual to go. I like to be early, organized and in place to enjoy some down time before GO.

They wore Boston Red Sox hats as a tribute, so cool!

Molly and Katie were under the 2:45 pacer sign so it was pretty easy to meet up with them. Thank goodness! We chatted a bit and listened to the National Anthem and Sweet Caroline, another Boston tribute, and sang along. Rob and Dad decided to bike along the course as I ran so that was a fun way to share the course and have some company as we went.

Found them!

Molly and I stuck together and Katie ran off to try to get a new PR (4 minutes under by the way!!). First few miles were pretty flawless. The race starts by passing the Susan B. Anthony house and this neighborhood does it right! The cheering, signs, music and people are a great way to get started.

Susie B. in the middle. From FF FB page .
Failure is Impossible!!!

We then headed by Frontier Stadium and back into the city where the crowds at the starting line had shifted a block and were cheering like crazy. During that stretch we got passed by the first few people leading the 5k, which didn't happen last year so they must have changed the 5k course. Dad and Rob rode ahead to the location that my sister and her family were hopefully going to be spectating from. As I approached the mile 4 water stop I saw them all on the left hand side and I saw my nephew Colin running towards me. When I got to him I got a high five and he ran with me back to everyone else. I know how much he loved coming last year and how he got a kick out of watching the water stop. So much that we played water stop in front of their house last year, me handing him a bottle of water, him pretending to take a sip, throw it on the ground and keep running on. So cute! Even Ainsley got to come, but I don't think she really understood what was happening and why we were all there.  

More love for Boston. From FF FB page.
We pressed on and I took some chews at the spot I remember taking them during training runs last year. We got to the Park Ave. neighborhood and this was a pleasant surprise. Last year there was no one in the area cheering, this year there were people and signs and they were all dressed in green to match. As we kept going they had another group of people with live music and an extra water stop, this was great.  Around this time Molly needed to stop and I decided to stop and wait for her. I chatted with my Dad and cheered for other runners going by. Once we got going I fell in line with Amy who was pacing and stayed with her for a stretch. After we made the turn on to Goodman Amy started looking for her Gu/Gel and she couldn't find any. I offered my chews but she said that the aid station coming up would have some. The day before I made the choice to only put one pack of chews in my belt, for long runs lately I have been doing two. I should have just done what I normally do. When we got to the aid station they had run out of gu/gel and so I offered chews to Amy again and she took a couple. As we continued UP Goodman, ugh, I just happened to look down as I was running by lots of empty packets of gu/gel laying on the ground, when I noticed one that looked puffier then the rest. Sure enough someone had dropped one and I picked it up and gave it to Amy. I think she was pretty excited. Turns out she found her gels after the race,  buried behind her cell phone in her belt, still glad I could help.

It looked something like this...

Since I don't have much of a weekly recap, I thought I'd break the race report into two...just to keep you coming back for more! Up next Highland Neighborhood, Mt. Hope, U of R and the finish!

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Dreaming of a Marathon

My sister called the other day to let me know that she had a dream that her bridesmaids dress for my wedding was white and shear and she discovered this the morning of my wedding. She said I told her to find any dress to wear as long as it fit. She proceeded to go from store to store, with my dad none the less, to find any dress possible and then realized she was late for her hair appointment and it just continued on until she woke up. She said when she woke up she was kinda exhausted from her dream. It's funny how realistic dreams can seem and how we continue to be effected by them even when we are awake.

Little does she know her dress is blue and shiny!

Even though I haven't had one in a little while, I had a couple marathon dreams early on in my training. I have a feeling I'll probably have one or two more before all is said and done. I never sleep well the night before a race anyway. The one dream that stands out the most had me running along and progressing nicely. I got done with the first half and decided to take a break, change my clothes and eat lunch with my family, who had come to watch. Why not stop and smell the roses, right? Well, when I finally got going again I realized I would not finish by the cut off and I wouldn't get a medal, and we all know it is about the medal. I woke up feeling completely defeated, while realizing how stupid and unrealistic the dream was. Now that I am getting closer to the marathon, 21 days to be exact, I am sure I will begin to doubt myself and wonder if I have done enough to prepare.

Tomorrow is my last race before the full and it is the one year anniversary of my very first half marathon. Crazy to think it will be my 6th half marathon, all within the last year! Rob pointed out that it is one every two months. I plan to post my race report by Monday at the latest. Hope you're enjoying this beautiful weekend.

Last year, with my first race medal.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Needed Caffeine For Week Fourteen

If you read yesterdays post you know that a little Mountain Dew helped me out on my twenty miler! Week fourteen was my biggest training week ever and I am feeling better then ever too. How is that possible? I have been plagued by tight calves and a sore hip/butt for months and yet this week it has been minimal. Don't get me wrong, I am not complaining, but I am hoping this isn't the calm before a storm or something treacherous sounding like that. Maybe I have been doing my training properly and have laid down a good foundation. Let's review my 14th week of training, four more to go!

Monday- Yoga.

Tuesday- 4.09 miles from Fleet Feet.  

Wednesday- 9.5  solo miles. 

Thursday- Rest.

Friday- Rest.

Saturday- 1 hour spin class/arm strength training.

Sunday- 20 miles.  

Total Miles: 33.59            Planned Miles: 40        
Total Marathon Miles: 288.76

Monday was a day a lot of us will never forget. Since my 8th graders were painting and I normally play music, I asked if they wouldn't mind if I put on the Boston Marathon. The ones that answered said it was fine and they totally got into watching it. They were cheering for the elites and asking me questions about what they were doing and why. I felt like I actually knew what I was talking about too. The elites finished during my lunch break so Sarah and I kept it on to see the winners cross the finish line. All was right in the world. Then we had a meeting after school and one of the other teachers asked if we had heard what happened, since we had been watching it earlier we were shocked to find out what transpired at the finish line. I couldn't help but think what if it was me or my family that was put into harms way by my hobby, something that I do to try to be a bit healthier. This one hit way too close to home.  

Tuesday has been our weeknight long run night, but since it was raining and we were in a bit of a funk Molly and I went to Panera instead. We had heard that there was going to be a 4.09 mile memorial run at Fleet Feet and we were intrigued by the news crews and the event that was transpiring around us. We decided to suck it up and run. One of the runners who trained with FF for Boston returned and the news crews surrounded him like a swarm of bees. Ellen spoke and got emotional. Malcolm talked about his experience and how his medal is so different then all his others. We then ran 4.09 miles in honor of the time the first blast occurred. 

Media Swarm

Ellen staying strong.

Malcolm sharing his Boston experience.

Wednesday I was on my own to do my long run. This is the longest solo run I have ever done. This run kinda sucked. When I run alone I often have a really hard time keeping a consistent pace. It was also windy and cool and sunny, so I was warm and cold and had fogged glasses all at the same time. I ran down to Rob's work in Bushnell's Basin and then headed back on the canal. Long cruddy run and I was excited to be done with it. This was more challenging then 20 now that I think about it.

Saturday I got to sleep in and headed to the RAC to warm up on the octane, do some arm strength training and take an hour spin class. The spin class was good. I think I still like my Wednesday class better but the instructor was six months pregnant and put me to shame. One funny thing is that she played a song that I haven't heard in a long time. It was a song that Rob used to like when we first started hanging out and I instantly had a flashback to driving around Rochester in his black Mazda on a sunny day, with the sunroof open when we were just friends. Isn't it crazy how a song can transport you to a past memory? Good times.

Speaking of Rob we started our wedding registry this past weekend. His demands were a scale, with fancy bells and whistles,  and a mandolin for slicing veggies. He got his wish...

Monday, April 22, 2013

Double, Double Digits!

I covered 20 miles yesterday!!!!!!! Time to taper :) I may be the only runner on the planet who is excited to taper. I've read lots where people are all, I hate taper, I feel like I need to run more, I get antsy. Not me, nope, no way. Mandatory mile reduction/rest? Okay with me! 26 days until Cleveland. When I woke up Sunday morning I wasn't very motivated to run. Maybe because it was really cold and there was snow on my car.

Okay, so maybe it wasn't a lot of snow.

Beautiful day for a run!

Why is it snowing so close to the end of April? We chose to do our long run on Sunday because it looked like the better weather day, it was, but it was still cold and not as sunny as first predicted. I got my usual pre-run bagel but couldn't bring myself to force the whole thing down. Last week I remember being really hungry at the end of the run, so I got a blueberry muffin to enjoy afterwards. Molly, Katie and I met at Fleet Feet and used one of the suggested routes they have on their website. The route kind of picked up where we left off on last weeks long run.

Ready to go. 

Starting at Clover we jumped on the canal and this can sometimes be a blessing and a curse. I usually think of the canal as being pretty flat, which is the bonus to having some boring and repetitive scenery.  However, I forgot that the canal west gets kinda bumpy and hilly, this annoyed me. I started to struggle mentally around the park because I wanted to be done with the path and I knew we had a lot of running ahead of us still. This was around mile 7-9. There was a run/walk going on in the park and we were running against the race traffic and my lovely running partners started to pick up their pace. At mile 9, right around the U of R, Katie left us and Molly and I were on our own to try to not kill each other for 11 more miles. I was dreading the last stretch along the river because I have hated this stretch during every race that I have done along the path. Surprisingly it wasn't so bad.

We got to Corn Hill for a pit stop and for me to buy some more Gatorade. I also thought having a few swigs of Mountain Dew sounded really good. I think the caffeine and sugar helped me out because mentally I felt a lot better and I got some more pep in my step. The store clerk asked if I was running ten miles, I said I was about ten miles into a 20 mile run and he asked me why I was doing such a thing, haha. I felt bad ass. The second half felt pretty good, as good as the second half of a twenty miler can feel. We stopped to stretch some more and made some more potty stops. We both made it back in one piece and relaxed in the FF parking lot while I enjoyed my blueberry muffin.

Seeing the sights around Rochester

I took a couple showers and relaxed around the apartment and enjoyed some lo mein. I couldn't believe how good my body was feeling. I wore my calf sleeves during the run and I my calves feel better then they have in more then a month. I also had minimal hip/butt pain. Even when I woke up this morning I felt pretty good.

Doesn't look as good as it tasted. 

Next up is the Flower City Half Marathon this weekend. It is crazy to think that this was the event that I trained my heart out for last year. It will now be my 6th half marathon and three weeks until my first full marathon. WOW!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Week Thirteen Made Me Beam

Week 13 is over and done. Just when I think training couldn't be going any faster it seems like it is passing me by. Even though the weather was a downer this week it was a great week. 

Monday- Dr. Burton and yoga on my own.

Tuesday- 9 miles with Molly.  

Wednesday- 45 minute spin class. 

Thursday- Rest.

Friday- Rest.

Saturday- 18.1 miles with Katie & Molly.

Sunday- Rest.  

Total Miles: 27.1            Planned Miles: 36        
Total Marathon Miles: 255.17

I went to Dr. Burton on Monday and practically broke down and whined to him about my cruddy 16 mile run in the OBX. My first question to him, "what was I supposed to do if it (pain in my hip/butt) happened during the marathon." I think he probably thought I was a wimpy amateur (which I am) and to suck it up and deal with it was probably the answer he wanted to say (I don't blame him). I don't remember what his exact advice was, I joked that I might have mom and dad carry my foam roller and some ice, he said that could work. I couldn't imagine laying on the sidewalk stretching out while marathoners in there 60's and 70's, blind, disabled, what have you, flew by and stared at me, probably laughing. I imagine them laughing. All this doesn't matter, he allowed me to vent and complain and didn't judge me (at least to my face) and reassured that I would be okay and in the grand scheme of life this is barely a blip on the radar. He was right, damn him. After my AMAZING 18 mile run my confidence is back and I am cautiously optimistic for 20 miles this weekend. 

Tuesday's midweek long run feels like so many miles ago that I can barely remember it. Molly and I left from Fleet Feet and headed down East Ave towards the city. We must be spending so much time with each other that we can read each others mind, because we came dressed in the same exact outfit! Since it was cold and rainy and I was preoccupied with running 9 miles I forgot to take a photo, whoops. The route we took was nice and different then normal. Towards the end the rain was coming down pretty hard and we both just wanted it to be done. I did find this little gem along the way...


Sunday, April 14, 2013

18 Feels So Good!

Yesterday's 18 mile long run was pretty much flawless! I was nervous after the 16 miler because I wasn't able to do it consecutively and I had a lot of pain. I had lost some confidence that I wouldn't be able to do the distance. Molly and I planned to run together and she found a route that covered a lot of the route of the Rochester Marathon. We were on the canal for a while but because of that it was relatively flat. Katie also decided to join us for a little bit more then half of the run and since we haven't seen each other in a while we had a lot of catching up to do.

We met at Fleet Feet at 8:30 and I picked Katie up since we would be close to her house and she could just run home. The weather was overcast and windy and a bit chilly. But it was pretty comfortable as long as we stayed moving. Most of the first part of the run was on East Ave heading towards Fairport and so we were on and off sidewalks and grass. Everything was going great, our pace was very comfortable and we were chatting away. Our first pit stop as at a Burger King so we could go to the bathroom and get some extra water for Camel Clancy (Molly) who now wears a Camelbak by the way, so she is legit!
Photos may be simulated.
Then we kept heading towards Fairport and jumped on the canal, right ahead of a lot of people participating in a walk for dislexia. I was worried that the canal would be pretty boring but there were plenty of other walkers and bikers to smile and say hello to.

Something like this! 
The canal was okay because it was sort of broken up into little chunks of landmarks that made it interesting and more manageable. When we got to Bushnell's Basin we said our goodbyes to Katie and I went into the Hess to grab another Gatorade.

It wasn't this busy. 
Molly and I jumped back on the canal and headed towards Pittsford, this time playing music out loud for a new distraction. We paused near the Great Embankment Park to stretch and to take more rocks out of my shoes. That is one of my biggest pet peeves with running on that portion of the canal because it isn't paved.

I always dress up for my long runs.
We got to the village of Pittsford and I took more rocks out of my shoes and texted Rob that we were still alive and had about 4 miles left. Molly and I were both in really good spirits still and aside from Molly's Garmin battery running on empty all was good! Earlier in the run I suggested that, since the original route was closer to 19 miles, and since the canal can get boring, we jump off the canal a bit earlier and head towards Fleet Feet via Clover. When we got to Clover I was in need of a short rest and stretch and Molly was trying to beat her Garmin's death so she kept continuing on.

I caught up to her at Monroe and we finished together! When we hit 18 miles or a little bit more, we decided to walk the rest to the store. We were both so smiley and happy at what we accomplished and when I thought about how much of Rochester and the suburbs we covered it was unbelievable. The weather held up and only sprinkled a couple drops of rain, our gear held up and aside from being pretty hungry at the end of it it was pretty perfect!! 

I was just so excited! 

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Lazy Elves Took Over Week Twelve

My name is Stephanie and I was abducted by Lazy Elves. They are located in the Outer Banks, if you are training for anything, avoid the area. Week twelve was my last step back week before ramping up to my biggest weeks. I may have stepped waaaaaay back. 

Monday- 16 miles. Covered this last week.

Tuesday- Rest. Massage.  

Wednesday- 5 miles with Dad & Ronni. 

Thursday- Rest.

Friday- Rest.

Saturday- Rest.

Sunday- Rest.  

Total Miles: 5 (technically speaking)       Planned Miles: 29         
Total Marathon Miles: 228.07

After my 16 mile run I was a bit burned out. I was discouraged that I couldn't do the entire run consecutively, my body was just tired, and my calves and hip/butt were very mad at me. I didn't approach the week thinking I was going to take four rest days, it just kinda happened. But I'm sort of glad it did. I treated myself to a massage and then wanted a day or two to just hang around and read and be on vacation. On Wednesday I wanted to check out the boardwalk around Duck and we wound up doing 5 miles, nice! Thursday was a scheduled rest day so I think I watched Lincoln and Les' Mis. Friday the weather was cold and I think rainy so I skipped the run. Saturday we traveled back to Syracuse so rest day again and Sunday I headed back to Rochester and just wanted a day to get back to the real world. Okay so I am not a perfect marathon trainer and I am okay with that. I did 9 miles yesterday with Molly and felt great, so it was worth it. Plus now I feel rejuvenated and ready to go into my next two big weeks and then it is time to taper, holy cow, 38 days til CLE!!!  Here is one of the things I am working so hard for...

Okay one final gratuitous sunset photo to end the vacation talk...

Friday, April 5, 2013

My Vacation Scrapbook

As my OBX vacation is coming to a close, I thought I'd share with you what I've done this week. Pretty much a whole lot of nothing, which is fantastic!

The weather has been kind of up and down, of course the day of my long run was the warmest but it has gotten cold and rainy and windy. The view from our porch:

Since I am a hushpuppie lover, I have taken it upon myself to sample a variety of them to test my palette. By far the best, which I kinda already knew, was Awful Arthur's. Oh so yummy!

After AA we walked across the street and walked down Avalon Pier. It had been busted up last summer during Hurricane Sandy and just recently re-opened. Glad it didn't still look like this:

My exercise partners and I took a 5 mile jaunt into Duck to check out the boardwalk, which I didn't even know existed the last time we were here.

We found a duck in Duck! 
We may have made our turn around at Duck Donuts and this time I had my camera so I thought I'd capture the process.

Back to the neighborhood to fly some kites! They are dubbed Sharky and Koi Koi. Each of them had difficulty flying at some point during the week but here they are up and soaring. $60 bucks on kites....check!

We were dying to try out Cravings, a restaurant that is part of a gas station. It was featured on Food Networks Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. It was pretty small and it took us some time to get service but the food was AMAZING!!!! I had the seared scallops in lobster sauce with truffle oil, holy crap it was good! It was so good I got it for take out the next night.

I convinced everyone to do a wild horse jeep tour and it did not disappoint. My dad wanted to drive a jeep and it only held four, so I went in the lead vehicle with Evan, Anne and Abbie. It was freezing, but fun and we saw some horses.

Love their plates!
The crazy wind and weather woke me up Friday morning and when I went out, the waves were the biggest I have seen here yet. The sun was out for about 20 minutes and now it is dark and cloudy again.

Now off to enjoy my last day. I think I might head to the hot tub and enjoy my last left over hushpuppies before I start to pack. What a great week of doing nothing!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Week Eleven Was No Week Seven

Okay, so I had a hard time coming up with something that rhymed with eleven, other then heaven. If you've been with me on this journey you know that training so far has had its up and downs. Week eleven as pretty good overall. I can't believe that we are already into April which will be my last full month of training, crazy!! Here is my weekly recap:

Monday- Dr. Burton visit and Yoga. 

Tuesday- 8.03 miles in Fairport.  

Wednesday- 1 hour spin and sculpt class at the RAC, 2.1 mile run with Molly. 

Thursday- Rest.

Friday- Rest.

Saturday- 3.4 miles around Colonial Williamsburg.

Sunday- 3.2 miles in Duck, OBX.  

Monday- 16 miles in Duck, OBX.

Total Miles: 32.73       Planned Miles: 32         
Total Marathon Miles: 223.07

Monday was a recovery day from the Syracuse Half Marathon. I felt pretty good, considering after the Lake Effect Half Marathon I could barely walk. I scheduled an appointment with Dr. Burton and he said my mobility in my hip was better even though I still had some tender spots. I then headed to yoga to stretch out. I have one more free class so I need to figure out strategically when to use it. Tuesday I had 8 miles on the schedule and Molly and I couldn't make the timing work to run together, so I plotted an 8 mile route around Fairport and headed out early to get it done in the daylight.

Tour de Fairport

This route was a good one, now that they have built the pedestrian bridge over the canal it is great to jump from the canal path to the trolley path and make longer routes. The run kinda sucked though. My body was tired and my calves were sore but I got it done with some walking at the end. Then I enjoyed some of this:

I ate about half of this and then went to bed. I figured since I had such a long run I might wake up thirsty. I woke up about an hour after I had gone to bed and went to the fridge for something to drink. When I opened the fridge I saw I had put my pint of sherbet in the fridge instead of the freezer. I guess I was a little tired and out of it. I did enjoy the rest of it the next day!

Wednesday I did the hour long spin and sculpt class like usual. I finally got to try out my new spin shoes and they rocked!! Molly joined me for part of the class and then went to her personal training appointment. After we were both done at 5:30 we decided to change into our running clothes and head out on the path behind the gym. This run sucked even more! Even though we both had the best intentions to get out there and get some miles done, it wasn't happening. It was almost comical how slow we were running. We decided to give up and head back. When we got back to where we started I was finally warming up, just a bit, so I encouraged Molly to do a tiny bit more and we wound up with just over 2 miles. 

Thursday and Friday were both travel and rest days. Saturday I got this fun run in at Colonial Williamsburg and even though Sunday was scheduled to be my long run day, I pushed it a day back for better weather. 

Easter egg hunt!

My loot!
Well I thought it was a good idea at the time, but I probably would have been better off running on Sunday. The weather on Monday wound up being warmer and sunnier then I am used too and it was humid. I had 16 miles on the schedule and figured out an 8 mile loop that I would do twice. I convinced my dad to come with me on his bike, so he and Ronni rode around while I ran. 

Looks comfortable,
but I actually got tan lines!
When I got to the 4 mile turn around I was feeling pretty good so I decided to keep going, that way my second loop could be shorter. At 6 miles we headed back and at this point I was starting to feel the heat and the sun. Around mile 10 my calves and hip/butt were really starting to hurt and even though I would have liked to do 16 consecutive miles, it wasn't happening. I decided to head back to the house at 12 miles, stretch, maybe change and head back out for the last 4. 

Gotta love Duck!

Okay so I may have had a little bit of fun.
I rolled out and maybe iced my hip, it is all a blur. I stood on the deck with the cool ocean breeze and ate some pineapple and then put my music on and headed back out for the last four. This was more of a run/walk but I just wanted to see my Garmin hit 16. When I finished I rolled out and iced some more. I was sore and overheated and tired for the rest of the day. 

These have nothing to do with my slow pace, nothing at all.
So since I am on vacation and training for a marathon, I thought I would treat myself with a sports massage at a local massage therapy joint. The price seemed decent and they had great reviews on yelp and tripadvisor. I made a 10:15 appointment for Tuesday morning. It was an hour of heaven, and even though I would have liked her to apply a little more pressure, Christina did a great job. If you are ever staying in the OBX and need a massage I highly recommend this place. They were super nice, the place was very quiet and clean. 

Okay so that weekly recap may have covered more then a week but since I altered my training schedule a bit next week will just be a bit shorter. Okay, off to go fly a kite, hope your week is going well!!

Ever get a massage on vacation?

What are you supposed to do when your body breaks down on a run?