Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Cellcom Green Bay Marathon - May 17, 2009

All week last week I dreaded the marathon day because I just didn't feel "right." I didn't want to get on the course and throw up or pass out - you know, those fun feelings I had felt all week coming to the surface and actually happening during the race scared the hell out of me. I just wanted to finish - and of course, not die.

I took off for Green Bay early Saturday morning and had a delightful pit stop in Milwaukee, where I hung out with HR guy and his awesome dog for a couple of hours, slowly walking up and down the shore line of lake Michigan. It felt good to be outside, and it felt good to move around a little since I didn't do much all week.

I got to Green Bay and met Mary at Lambeau Field around 3:30. We hung out at the Expo for a few hours, scouring for free stuff, which was pretty slim. I did manage to find some great new running shirts. It was fun running into Justin, my favorite Packer partner (we went to several games together over our years at UW-GB) and Steph who also went to school at GB (and is part of the NKOTB clan!).

We got the low down about the course from the race director, which was really nice. It was good to know what to expect and to find out where the best bathrooms were on race day!

Krista met up with us and we proceeded to carb load with a great (FREE) dinner. I don't know how many breadsticks I ended up eating but seriously, they were amazing (everything was good, but these breadsticks...really...).

I joined my family back at the hotel for a quick chat - - I am a REALLY lucky girl - - mom, dad, Amanda, Ches, Grandma & Grandpa, Beth, and Ann & Jim all joined me in this adventure - - it is so nice to have such great support from my family (and friends!)!!

I didn't sleep at all on Saturday night. I felt awful, I had weird dreams, and I tossed and turned all night. So, needless to say, I was feeling really ill prepared for Sunday.

But, Sunday morning I was up at 5 am, got a bagel with peanut butter and honey down, drank some coffee and got to the start line...

  • Green Bay had an appropriate amount of bathrooms. Granted, the race started at Lambeau which HAS to have quality (and quantity) bathroom facilities but there were also tons of port-o-potties and I didn't feel that I waited too long in line (the 2 times within 15 min that I went). Some races are AWFUL.
  • I missed saying good luck to Mary at the very start (because you know, I was in the bathroom) but she caught me around mile 3 and we chatted for a bit before she rocked her way to a 2:04 1/2 Marathon time.
  • I had a tear in my eye during the National Anthem - yes, I'm sappy.
  • I found my fam along the start line and was able to wave to them as we took off. That was neat.
  • I didn't like the 4:30 pacer's plan of attack. I hate walk breaks that do not include water at the start of the race. So, I left them. You know for the first 23 miles.
  • I saw someone texting while running. Seriously, even I'M not that addicted to the Crackberry!
  • Every mile marker in the Quad Cities tore me up. It was SO emotional for me to undertake such a huge task. But this time was different. Not emotional. Not overwhelming. I didn't even think about the miles.
  • My stomach hurt for the first 5 miles. Then I told myself to get over it.
  • I listened to Jason Mraz, Saving Abel, Fergie, Lady Gaga, The Wreckers, and Kelly Clarkson
  • I saw my family at miles 11, twice on the bike path (somewhere between 15 and 19), in Lambeau (I totally picked my sister out of the crowd!)!
  • I missed my family at the finish - even though they were there and saw me!
  • My 8th grade social studies teacher (who ran the 5k) found me along the route and ran a little with me around mile 14- it was SO nice!
  • Mary was at the entrance to the Lambeau parking lot cheering me on and right around the corner from the finish!
  • I wasn't annoyed with ANYONE during the WHOLE 26.2 miles. That's insanity my friends.
  • I was seriously in my own little world and really didn't think, I just ran.
  • I only talked to two people during the race - Mary at the very beginning and some guy while in downtown GB (around mile 22 ish) and that was for about two seconds during a walk break - we had been pacing with each other and we both asked how the other was doing). During the Quad Cities, I would have DIED without 3.2 mile dude. I seriously would not have made it to the end with out his support and conversation. It makes me sad I didn't ever get his name.
  • I'm going to sound like a MAJOR jackbag right now but I didn't feel like it was a big deal. I felt like the Quad Cities was HUGE. And THIS is HUGE. I think playing it down helped me get through it.
  • Although I didn't feel this one was HUGE, my colleagues and boss did - Paula got me a marathon cake that was AWESOME!
  • I hit my wall about mile 23. I told myself there would be no wall. But there was. HOWEVER, I did not allow myself to cramp up like I did in the Quad Cities. I pushed it too hard the first time around and had to stop and stretch and was hurting as I crossed the finish line. This time I was able to back off a bit when I felt like my calves were going to cramp and they never did. I was also able to finish really strong.
  • I hit the infamous sign that all the players hit on their way out to the field - it was awesome running through that tunnel and really really special to run around the field.
  • For not being a huge thing, I teared up as I came to the finish line.
  • It is a HUGE thing. Have I mentioned that?
  • I got one kick ass medal!
  • My dad told me he'd run with me some day...I'm going to hold him to that.

My recovery process is going REALLY well. Last time around was not so good and I ended up with SI Joint issues and physical therapy. This time around my SI Joint is AWESOME, the only things that are sore are my quads and my big toe nails (I didn't get a single blister though!). I've been in the pool for the last couple of days and I'm able to walk down stairs without feeling like I'm 185 years old.

All in all - this was a REALLY good race. Now, I'm "off" for a couple of weeks and then it's full steam ahead to start training for the Lakefront Milwaukee Marathon on October 4, 2009.

Friday, May 15, 2009

T minus 48 ish hours

On Sunday I will be running in Green Bay - I have been so ready to rock this marathon for weeks now. However, I was side lined this weekend when I could not get out of my bed on Sunday and Monday with a fever.

I hate when my training is thrown off for some reason - especially when it's coming down to the end of the line. It kills me to not be able to get in a scheduled run, however, for the most part I have felt stronger and faster this time around.

In the last couple days my head has transitioned from "freak out about not getting in my final 8 miler" mode to "back in the game" mode.

I can do this. I can run 26.2 miles. I've done it before, I know what it feels like. I am ready. My legs are strong, my heart is in it, and so is my head.

My goals as always are to finish and not die. I can do that.

Thank you to all of my friends and family who constantly support me - especially to Ann who logged lots of miles with me! I'll keep you all posted on the outcome! Here's hoping for perfect weather!!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Wisconsin 1/2 Marathon

Considering the fact that I have run 13.1 miles some 12 ish times over the last year, I have never run in a 1/2 marathon race...until Saturday.

Mary, one of my very dear friends from college, and I signed up to run the inaguaral "Wisconsin Marathon and Half Marathon" to be held in Kensoha - where Mary's parents live and where my boss is the State Senator.

I went down to "K-Town" on Friday night and Mary, her family and I ate at Luigi's - this hole in the wall Italian place that was amazing. I had homemade pasta with a big ol' meat ball on top. Homemade pasta in Kenosha is always amazing. Always.

Feeling carbed up and ready to roll on Saturday morning, I got a good night sleep and was up bright and early at 5:00 am (which is sleeping in for me!).

Earlier on in marathon training, my long run routine was to eat a peanut butter power bar and drink some coffee. For my 18, 19, and 20 milers however, I have switched to these awesome bagels that are whole grain and have 10 grams of protien in them...but I digress...anyway, I ate my bagel with peanut butter and honey and headed out.

Krista, (a friend from high school, who met us at Mary's house) Mary and I grabbed a ride from one of Mary's Chicago friends and we headed down to Harbor Park, got our gear checked, and stood around for awhile. We decided to head to the bathroom - this is where I digress again. Seriously folks, how hard is it to use a bathroom in a timely manner? There were a few men who hopped out of line because people were being so slow (mainly women - yes, I'll totally blame my gender for being slow, thankfully, I am not). I appreciated these men who found an alternative place to dispose of their morning coffee. I would have joined them had it not been completely socially inappropriate. I'm not THAT girl.

Anyway, we got to the start line and I managed to bump into my boss who had come to wish me luck and send me off.

The weather was absolutely perfect. The sun was shining, there was a bit of a breeze and it was probably in the low 60's.

The route was beautiful. We ran through downtown Kenosha and then out through some really great houses and north along Lake Michigan. The scenery was lovely.

I was feeling pretty good. My first mile was done in 9:50 and I was ok with that since there were so many people to weave in and out of. After the first 4 or 5 miles I started to feel like I could push it up a little faster so I put some Fergie on the MP3 player and took off.

Kendra and her boyfriend Jared were there to watch one of Jared's friends (and ME too!!) - Kendra is an excellent photographer and caught lots of pictures along the route, I'll post some as soon as I see them! Mary's parents, sister and cousin were all out cheering too, and some people I met while campaigning in November even came out - it was nice to have supporters along the route!

My only goal for this run was to do it in at least 2 hours and 15 minutes. This was my split for the 1/2 at the Quad Cities Marathon. At mile 12 I realized that I was in a prime position to run this in 2 hours. I had stayed strong the whole race and felt good - stradling the line between pushing it too hard and pushing just enough as to not kill myself - I kicked around mile 12.5 as I knew I had it in me.

I have been doing my Monday training runs as "speed" days and while I'm not very fast, towards the end of the run I spend a good chunk of time increasing the speed. So I know, that even on tired legs, I can always give it a little more.

I finished in 2 hours and 36 seconds. An average 9:13/mile. I was VERY proud of that. Being a steady 10 minute miler may be changing soon!

After the race we ate brats and drank beer by the lake - a perfect way to end the race!

I really enjoyed the 1/2 and while I still love the marathon (we'll see if that changes after May 17th, but I doubt it!!), I can't wait to do another 1/2 - - and, I registered today to do the Chicago Rock and Roll 1/2 on August 2nd - which will be followed by the Milwaukee Lakefront Marathon on October 3rd. (yes, I know, I'm a bit insane!).