Tuesday, October 28, 2014

I will DNS Sunday...

I may....not for sure...but may have a metatarsal stress fx in my right foot. I am afraid to get it checked for sure.  The top of my right foot has been hurting since Wineglass...thought I tied my shoes too tight and had a bruise. Now I'm not so sure. Have been resting and biking and did a short easy run yesterday that was better but I am afraid to do too much before heading into a serious training cycle in 6 weeks. Therefore, as much as it pains me, I will be on the sidelines on Sunday cheering at the Red Baron Half runners.

I think I need a cushioning shoe...anyone use Hokas???? I'm thinking of trying a pair? I am desperate.  I have big plans for next year!

Ugg :(

P.S....I hate biking on a trainer. It makes me want to poke out an eye. 

P.P.S .... (Flashback 1986) I haven't been over doing it! This seems so very very wrong!

Monday, October 6, 2014

Wineglass Marathon 2014...Marathon #7 done!

Wineglass Marathon
Corning, NY
4:38:07 (officially...wait for the story!)

Yesterday I ran my 7th Marathon and my 4th Wineglass Marathon.  I was under-trained but knew I could finish.  I wasn't planning on running for time and mostly wanted to go out there, support my waterstation volunteers, and just plain enjoy the run. That I did, but it was an adventure to say the least!
I've definately got the finish line pose down!

Since this is the hometown marathon for our small little community, I have been getting more and more involved as a volunteer the past few years.  This year I was asked to take on the task of organizing the waterstation volunteers.  875 volunteers later, it was a done deal.  With 3 course monitors in place for race day, though, I was free to run. 

As usual, the race SWAG is top notch:
Also a bright yellow race bag to put it all in at the expo

For the first time, I believe the weather was pretty close to perfect.  Started in the 30's and ended in the high 50's.  Sunny, light breeze. For me, that is perfect.  There were plenty that thought it was too cold or I heard a couple people complain about the 'headwind'....that was not my take on things.

As it is a point to point course, and SD was riding in the lead car with the Sheriff as Race Marshal, we took the bus out to Bath together.  It was chilly but I didn't have to check my bag until the last minute so I was fine.  

So much awesome in this picture!
I started slow and steady and really, really tried not to go out too fast.  I just ran comfortable and easy.  The first 4 miles are through the town of Bath and the community was out in full force to cheer on the runners.  I saw Jamie & Mike from Couch to Ironwoman at the 3 mile point! It was pretty cool that they drove down from Rochester to spectate! I ended up seeing them 2 more times along the course! Loved it!

I could give you a blow by blow of the race, but suffice it to say, I really just enjoyed the people, day and run for most of  the morning.  The backdrop of fall colours sillouetting the runners was spectacular! 

I even stopped at mile 10 to grab a selfie with the Elmira College Eagle...'cause normal people running a marathon do this, right?????

Even though I was stopping at each waterstation to thank the volunteers and snap a quick pic of their stations, I was moving at a respectable clip.  I was somewhere between the 4:30 and 4:40 pacers.  I hit the half at 2:14 and was feeling pretty good.  By the time I got to 17, I realized that I really WAS feeling good (remarkable since my longest pre-race run was 15 miles) and I could see the 4:30 pacer right in front of me! Even if I slowed a bit, I'd hit a course PR and could come in in the low 4:30's.  So now it was ON.  I had a great mile 16-20.  I hopped into the soft shoulder and clipped along the inside edge of the road and just put one foot in front of the other trail style! Saw a couple familiar faces in mile 21 and as I was entering the park, SD caught up to me on his regular run (when you volunteer to drive in front of the lead runner, you are finished early!) and ran/chat with me for a few minutes.  He split off and headed back home so he could be back at the finish line for me.  

Now this is where it gets weird.  Just before the mile 22 mark, a runner comes racing back along the course in panic and tackles me! She was having trouble breathing and was panicking.  It was weird because of all the people on the course, I was the one that had the RD on speeddial! The runner was fine once she sat down but I called for medical nonetheless because she needed someone to look her over and retrieve her.  Once I had her settled, I continued on.  It wasn't a huge amount of time, but a few minutes anyway.  Unfortunately, it was just long enough for my legs to start tightening up.  I was slowing down and stiffening up.  I was able to suck it up and get through 24 because Thing 2 had run ahead of his waterstation (his XC team runs the mile 24 waterstation) to see if he could find me.  He ran back to the waterstation with me and I definately felt boosted by all the kids cheering me on! They were incredible!

But around 24.5, my right knee was in a world of hurt and started giving out on me every once in a while.  I had to walk a bit.  Miles 25 and 26 were almost 12 minute miles for me.....shouldn't have been that way but this was already an unusual race so I had to just take what the day gave me and do my best....because I was definatly crossing that finish line! I walked twice in the last 2 miles....something I have never done.  I didn't like it one bit.  Once I turned onto bridge street I resolved to just finish this running despite what I was feeling.  I had a first time marathoner beside me who was feeling the same way so we started running the best we could.  

I was able to make it to the finish and my friend Laura snapped the awesome finish picture of me that is above.  It's important to smile at the finish even if you don't feel like that! LOL! 

The post race chute was extremely well organized to keep runners moving and not clog up the finish line.  I got my medal, water, food (best post race food I've ever had....Wegmans chicken noodle soup is the only thing I want after a race and we have it here at Wineglass!).

Yesterday I was a little pissed because I thought my time was 4:40...turns out that that was gun time.  Chip time was 4:38, which I can live with because despite the weirdness that happened over the last 4 miles, I still managed a course PR.  If I hadn't stopped and I'd kept on at close to the pace I was on, I would have been pretty close to 4:30 I think.  

I went home, showered and headed back out to the mile 24 water station to collect the leftovers for the team.  When I was packing up a car came by and told me there were 5 runners left on the course and the RD's were deciding whether to pick them up or let them finish.  They decided to let them finish.  I'm glad they did.  Wineglass is classy like that.  So the least I could do was keep my waterstation open for them.  I waited around 25 minutes for them to come through and give them a drink and cheer them on.  In the end, this is the heart of a marathon....these ladies knew they were slow but they were determined to finish this hardest thing they've ever done.  It was a priviledge to be a part of it.  Suddenly my little problems seem inconsequential....

Kuddo's to you Ladies! You are marathoners!

Friday, October 3, 2014

Back on the grid....

I've been away a while. Kind of a post-half-Ironman funk. After Musselman I just ran & biked for fun...mostly just doing whatever I felt like for as long as wanted barely acknowledging that I had a fall marathon. 

So what have I been up to since then? Did a sprint Tri in August in Rochester. SD & Thing 1 came away with AG awards! I PR'd my sprint distance time. It was fun to have that weekend with our big boy because....

After that we sent him off to college (heart happy & breaking at the same time) 

I've been volunteering with The Wineglass Marathon this year. Basically, if your waterstations are messed up its on me.....but I think we are in good shape! This was interesting.  I had no idea how much work went into organizing water stations! I have 875 volunteers on the course Sunday! 

So as a result, I have decided to just run the Wineglass for fun only. I'll visit with my volunteers along the way and just have a good time. Sunday might end up being my slowest marathon ever but this year I am happy to simply be blessed with the ability to take on 26.2 miles with minimal training. I am thankful for so many things & these running legs continue to amaze me. 

Marathon #7....let's do this...

Friday, July 18, 2014

Mussleman 70.3...I AM A HALF IRONMAN!!!!

Musselman 70.3
Sunday July 13, 2014
Geneva, NY

Half-Ironwoman!!!!! 70.3 Conquered!

This is going to be a long one.....

Welcome from my favourite bike store: Geneva Bike Center

In what were the worst swim and bike conditions in the history of the race, I DID IT! When I finally clicked 'register' for this race I seriously worried about being able to make the bike cutoff.  It never even occurred to me to worry about the swim.  It has always been my strength. This is how it all went down....

A beautiful morning for the mini-mussel swim start!

It's important to wear your 'swag' glasses when competing ;-D
We had planned a long time ago to make Musselman weekend a family affair.  It is such a family friendly event that it was a natural choice for all of us to get involved. We drove up Friday and stayed in the Athlete Village at Hobart & William Smith College...a super-great deal btw! Thing 1 & 2 were signed up for the mini-mussel (the sprint race). Thing 1 has done a couple before but it was Thing 2's first tri.  He didn't really want to do it but stated that it was better than 'waiting around for all of you all weekend'.  SD was also signed up for the Double Mussel (the Sprint race on Saturday and the Aquabike on Sunday...he had no interest in the half marathon at the end so chose the aquabike option). Still a badass weekend for him in my opinion!
My boys <3

They all did well! The best part of it for me was seeing Thing 2 clearly just doing each leg of the race at his own speed.  I saw him in one of the transitions and he was just taking his time, getting his stuff, having a drink.  Being himself. Weather for the sprint was lovely on Saturday.  Sun was out & the lake was calm.  It was a little windy on the bike so that was a little slow, but all in all, a great day! I have to say, though, it is TOUGH to try to spectate 3 different people! I was so proud of all of them!

After the race, we went back to our rooms, showered and went to the mandatory meeting for Sundays Half-Ironman & signed our names on the Wall of Mussel!

A great feature of this race is being able to rack your bike securely the night before...it makes race morning so much easier. One of the unique things that Jeff Henderson (race director) does is ask everyone a question during registration and then uses the answers for little messages that are left at your rack spot.  This years question was "What is one word that people would use to describe you?"  I answered CRAZY and this is what I got:

And btw, all 3 of my guys guessed correctly what it would say ;-D

Going into this my main goal was to finish under the 8 hour time limit.  Unfortunately, because I was in the 2nd last wave starting at 7:20, my time limit was cut to 7:40.  I felt that I could realistically finish in 7:30.  10 minutes cushion is a scary place to be!

Waiting on the beach to start I commented to SD that it seemed like it was getting windier.  The water didn't look too bad actually, a little chop but I didn't really think about it...and though it was overcast, we worried only about the bike.    The weather forecast that morning said the rain would hold off until almost 11am.  How wrong we were.....

SWIM 1.2 miles: 48:07:

As I stood on the beach I had the same thought I have before every tri: Geez those buoys look so very far away. But I reassured myself that I would be fine. I have always been fine on the swim. It is by far my strongest leg. Waves went off every 5 minutes and finally it was time for wave 5. I waded into the water and we were off. The water was shallow so most people started to run/walk forward. I did this briefly and my legs started to feel like it was going to be more work than necessary so I started swimming. It was not too bad for the short swim out to the first buoy...a little wavy but not too bad. As I made the left turn into the very long longest section of the swim it was instantly clear that Seneca Lake was very very angry this morning. The water was crazy choppy with huge swells that were tossing me way off course. Usually I have no problem sighting but several times a kayak yelled at me to change course. I was swimming as hard as I could and making very slow progress. It was the closest I have ever come to plain quitting a race. All I could think was 'just get to the canal and it will be ok'. The last aproximately 550 meters are in a narrow canal with a current in your favour. I have no idea how everyone survived except that the kayakers were totally on their game and kept an eagle eye on everyone. I was making slow progress and actually passing some people from all the earlier waves but for every 2 strokes I took I was pushed back and off course by the waves! When I finally got into the canal I expected it to be smooth sailing but no. Overwhelming nausea overcame me. Not kidding. I had saliva overload and that taste in my mouth. It took every ounce of mind-over-matter to not hurl into the water. I KNEW that was something I wouldn't be able to carry on after. Queen of the high seas I am not. I finally...FINALLY...reached the boat ramp exit and almost cried when a volunteer grabbed my arm to help me stand up. When I looked at my watch it said 47 minutes. I was stunned! This was 12 minutes slower than what I am capable of and it never ever occurred to me that I would be BEHIND after the swim. By my Garmin I had swum 1.35 miles! That is a LOT of extra from being thrown off course!

T1: 4:23:

I was so tired I walked into transition and slowly dried off and got my bike shoes on. I was well over 4 minutes in T1. I also didn't see my boys which was disappointing but I also knew I was so much later than they were expecting. Turns out they were there but didn't see me and waited until every last swimmer was hauled out of the water before going to see if my bike was still there. They were relieved to see it gone. That day 28 swimmers were hauled out of the water and their race was over. Many of those stayed and volunteered....what a testament to the wonderfulness of the organizers and community surrounding this race! I spoke to a guy after the race who told me he chose to not wear a wetsuit at the last minute and thought he was going to die. I am so thankful to race organizers for having so many kayakers etc out on the water keeping an eye on us.

Bike 3:42:08: 15.1 mph

Starting out on the bike I am almost 15 minutes in the hole. The bike is my weakest leg and my whole training cycle has been geared towards making the bike cutoff of 12:30pm. I now have only 4:15 to make cutoff...15 minutes less than I bargained on and 30 minutes less than my ideal situation. I had wanted to have 3 hours clear for the run just in case my legs felt like crap. The pressure was on.

Starting the BIG climb. That is NOT me all happy & jolly.  I am the one dying behind and to her left!
The first hour was horrible. Not only did I hear 'on your left' constantly but the wind was fierce! After an hour I had gone only 12.7 miles. I was scared. If things didn't change I wouldn't make cutoff. Around this time the rain started and I saw lightening several times. It was a little nerve wracking to say the least. By 15 miles I had picked up my speed to the 14 mph range but I was still desperate. Something had to change and quickly! Somewhere around that time the rain got worse but we also turned a corner and the wind, my personal kryptonite, changed. I flew! I gave it everything I had. I knew I was probably trashing my quads but if I didn't give it everything I had my race was over anyway. I knew I'd be mad at myself if I didn't put it all on the line. I clocked 18 & 20 mph splits (my Garmin clocks splits in 5 mile segments). Then came the one HUGE climb and some rolling hills and I dropped one 5 mile split below 12. But except for that I was cranking hard and shockingly, making up some time. My goal for the bike (under amazingly ideal conditions) was 3:45. I biked this course on a training ride and only did it in 3:48 (14.7mph speed). When I got to around 40 I knew that if I could just keep up the pace I would not only make cutoff but maybe even make up some of the swim deficit. I kept repeating "don't get a flat, don't get a flat"! Thankfully I didn't.  I rolled intoT2 in 3:42:08! My best long bike ride ever despite horrible rain, wind & hail! AND it was only 12:05pm! I had beat cutoff by 25 minutes and given myself almost 3 hours for the half marathon! 

I. Was. Thrilled! 

Plus I heard a volunteer yell at me "hey that's a great cheering squad you brought!"  I looked up and there was Thing 2 beside me making sure I saw him! Thing 1 and SD were there too & grinning (and looking slightly relieved!). Just what I needed! 

T2: 4:09

When I arrived In transition I thanked God again for giving me the forethought to have put my shoes in a ziplock bag. I was beyond soaked...I was dripping and so was all of my stuff in transition except for my shoes. And just by chance I happened to have an extra pair of socks in my bag and they were blessedly dry! Changing into dry shoes and socks felt like heaven! I grabbed 3 more powergels for the run and set off.

Happy happy coming on to the run course!

Run: 2:19:15:  10:28 pace

I ran out of transition to lots of cheers from my crew, the volunteers and all the other spectators. It was fabulous. As I was heading out I saw several fasties finishing. It boggles the mind how fast they are! But very cool too. 

While the bike leg is through the rural roads of the Finger Lakes, the run is through downtown Geneva and the residential/college area. Even in crappy rainy conditions the whole town was out to support us. Very cool! As I started all I could think was that if Mother Nature truly hated us the sun would now come out.

In a stroke of luck, the run was my perfect running conditions: light rain and overcast. It was glorious! It was still humid, which clearly bothered some runners, but with the light rain I was in heaven! The first 2 miles are along the lakeshore, which is beautiful.  I was surprised that my legs actually felt pretty good. I was prepared for this to be a sufferfest.  It was not.  I really felt strong and my cadence was high...but something was wrong.  My shirt was HEAVY and banging into me. WTH???? Then I realized that my back pockets were full of empty gel packs from the bike...lol! Mindful of the no-littering rule in triathlon (why can't runners heed this?) I stopped at the first aid station a little over a mile in and emptied 7 gel packs from my pockets! Now I felt better! What great volunteers! One came over to HELP me do this sticky yucky task! Now I was better & was cranking out a good pace.  Miles 1 & 2: 9:51 & 10:32

In the 3rd mile you head up into the town and have to make a steep climb up through a residents garden! Remembering my ultra training, I just walked the hills.  The course was cool though....lots of strategically placed entertainment.  There was always a band cranking out a good rhythm at the top of every big climb to help get you there.  I saw several people dance their way up hills! Mile 3 came in at 11:06.  We then ran down the main street of the town and down through the college into a lovely residential area with rolling hills.

Miles 4&5: 10:11 & 11:15: I just ran steady and walked through the water stations.  I took a powergel once along this section but then couldn't stomach any more.  Half a banana seemed a much more solid choice at this point.

Miles 6, 7, 8 headed out of town and through a vineyard and included the largest climb of the day aprox 240 ft elevation gain over about a half mile.  Again, I ran the beginning and then when it got really steep I just put my head down, followed the beat of the drums ahead and power walked to the top.  9:47, 11:10, 11:44

At this point I knew we were turning back toward town and it was only 5 miles to go! I hit a gentle downhill and settled in.  I passed quite a few walkers at this point.  We ran back through the college and back towards the lakeshore.  Miles 9, 10, 11: 10:14, 10:40, 10:02

Believe it or not, I could still do the math at this point and switched my Garmin back to total time to see where I was and figured that if I could just run under 11 minute miles I could actually BEAT my 7 hour time goal! Crazy! So I left it on the overall time and gave it all I had left.

The last 2 miles are the longest.  I felt pretty good up to this point but at mile 11 you can actually see the finish but there is still over 2 miles to go.  It felt long and there is a very slight incline along the path.  I was tired.  Mile 12: 10:59

The last 1.1 was the longest! I could see the finish line but it still seemed so far away.  With around a half mile to go I looked up and saw a kid up ahead that I recognized...it was Thing 2! He had run back along to course to see if he could find me! He gave me a thumbs up and told me he was going to sprint back to tell the others I was coming.  It was just what I needed! Mile 13: 10:53

The last tenth of a mile I hammered down at 8:28 pace and with a big grin on my face passed my guys and sailed across the finish line @ 6:58:02!!!!!!

I was SO happy! I could not believe that I had overcome such horrendous conditions to finish UNDER my A goal! WooHoo!!!!!

Awesome medal! Re-Purposed bike gears!

Saturday, July 12, 2014

It Is Time...

Well, it has been a long few months...flipped directly out of marathon training into 70.3 training. It has been a challenge to say the least. But the training is done, the bike is racked & the alarm is set. My journey starts @ 7:20am

Musselman here I come! See you on the flip side!!!!

"Be CRAZY today, Tracy"
...Yeah...both teens & husband guessed correctly what this would say! Lol! 

Friday, July 11, 2014

2 days to go!!!

Packing up & heading out! All this stuff for one race! I know the water temp will be wetsuit legal, but can I also bring a Sherpa into transition?????
Musselman, here I come!

Saturday, June 14, 2014

So This Happened...

Tri Oswego Olympic Distance:
3:17 (3 minute PR!)
2nd place AG!

Got redemption in the swim with a 12th overall & 2nd woman out of the water! Very happy after last weeks disappointing sprint swim (will catch you up on that one later)

Slow Bike but crazy hilly windy challenging course

Best run ever (even though I got it as a WAY long course and don't think I messed up tangents). 

More detail later but I think I'm on track for Musselman!

Friday, June 6, 2014

I Didn't Run On National Running Day...

But how cool is this....

My boys' Indoor Track Team was honoured by the school board for winning the NY State Scholar Athlete award for a team average of 98.7! Proud Mama!

Sorry for the lack of running posts after Toronto. I am training but with Thing 1 graduating, it's been a little crazy. Good but crazy!

We had this, this week too:
International Bacclaureatte Sashing Ceremony 

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Goodlife Toronto Marathon 2014 Race Report

This was it. That is what I thought as I lined up at the start...not at the very back like I usually do but at the very front of +4 hour corral.  I was not here to finish. I was here to race...against myself & the clock but make no mistake, it was a race.  I hit play on my ipod & Back in Black blasted into my ears.  I didn't even hear the announcer say 'Go'.  I just looked forward & walked til I hit the mat and started to run. I was ready for this to be hard.
Ready to go!

Toronto is marketed as a downhill course. It is a net downhill in the first half but there are a few big hills thrown in to keep the unprepared cursing.  I've run this before.  My PR on the course is 4:43. I knew what was coming.  My plan was to run strong & steady, attack the downhill and run solid going up.
Huge Medal...I may have to frame that bib with the K.Switzer autograph

Miles 1-5: 9:30/9:03/9:51/10:05/9:57 Straight down Young St.  When I started running I was just trying to find my solid steady pace.  Trying to ignore the crowd, I went to the outside and tried to ignore them simply finding my groove.  The first couple miles of any race are the crowd thinning and everyone finding their spot. I heard a couple guys near me commenting about how all these people passing us were going to regret it later.  He was right and I took note of a sensible runner and hung in the general vicinity of him.  The pace chart I'd written on my arm had a 9:54 pace.  I knew that anything under 10:16 was sub 4:30 so my goal was to hang as close to 10 as possible.  Right on track even through the steep 1/2 mile climb from 2.7-3.25. My quads weren't so much tired as they were a little sore from standing at a ballgame the day before. Nothing to be done about it so tried to just ignore it. Reminded myself that I am lucky to be here.  Lucky to be able to run.

Miles 6-10: 9:37/10:00/9:54/9:35/9:48  (10K split 1:01...exactly on track) Mostly downhill with a few rolling inclines. This is where we take a right turn into a pretty swanky residential neighbourhood.  We ran past Upper Canada College and Casa Loma.  Very pretty and a nice distraction.  I had my first gel at 7 miles.  I took a small piece of banana from the aid station around 8.  I felt pretty solid.  I thought I'd lose the armbands by now but the breeze was cool and the streets were shaded.  I kept them.  I was mostly running by myself.  Not much of a crowd around me by mile 10.  My right knee, where I slammed it against a bed at work on Thursday & had a lovely bruise was starting to ache.  I threw down a couple acetaminophen that I'd brought just in case.  I thought I'm stronger than a bruise. Keep going. Keep steady. Try to ignore the breeze picking up.

Miles 11-15: 9:43/9:57/10:05/10:07/10:52 (this is wrong...gps was wonky this mile and next running by skyscrapers)

As we headed downhill at the end of mile 10 we met up with the half-marathoners.  What a different experience this corner was this time! Two years ago I remember a rush of people coming together from 2 directions to head onto the Rosedale Valley road.  Today though, we were meeting the frontrunners! That is both humbling and very cool.  I started to get passed and had to tell myself that these people were only running half the distance I was and to stay cool and steady.  In the Rosedale Valley it was calm, no wind and the sun shone.  At mile 11 I finally ditched the armwarmers.  As we exited and headed into the downtown core the wind started to pick up.  I was able to stay solid through this.  It was gusty at times but was not solid the whole time.  I'm not really sure how fast miles 15 or 16 were because the gps was getting blocked by all the tall buildings.  15 says 10:52 and 16 says 9:21. I felt steady so I'm going to average them at 10:07 pace.  My 1/2 split was 2:09:57......it doesn't get much closer than that to be on track! When I hit the half mat and saw my split I was thrilled! I told myself to keep my head in the game and stay strong.

Miles 16-20: 9:21 (again, this mile is wrong)/9:36/9:59/10:15/10:39

As mile 16 finished we split from the half-marathoners again.  It's a hard split.  They are all excited to head into the finish, and we marathoners head to out on the long lakeshore loop.  The wind was in my face.  I could feel the headwind getting worse with every step I took.  I told myself at mile 16 that I can run 10 miles any day of the week. At mile 17, with the headwind straight on me I told myself that THIS was why I trained through the crappy winter.  This was why I did all those mile repeats in 17 layers in freezing temps on a windtunnel like 1 mile stretch of road. By the time I got to mile 20 it was gusting at 25mph. I told myself that eventually I had to change direction and it would be better...but for now this is what I trained for....for the hard that every race throws at you at the end.  At least it wasn't snowing or raining I told myself.  I looked down at my bib and the message Kathrine Switzer had written to me "You can do this" and told myself to be fearless. People walked but I ran.  I kept running.

Miles 21-23


I continued to just plod steadily into the wind.  Tried to stay upright and not lose my hat on the bridge! When I hit the 35km mark where the turnaround loop was in East Humber Bay Park I was roughly 3 minutes behind my 4:20 goal pace. 3 minutes....that's all, I thought...I can DO this, I thought...then I was incredulous as the wind was still in my face after making the loop back towards the finish.  The headwind continued until we were back over the bridge...so about 2 km more (1.2 miles). Then the calm was so sweet.
I'm a hot mess but I'm happy...really.

Miles 24-26.2


The last 5km were so emotional for me.  I KNEW...really KNEW that I was going to do it.  I was trucking along passing people like crazy.  I wasn't just going to beat 4:30...I was going to crush it!  I was tearing up heading down Lakeshore back towards the crowds and the finish line.  I barely saw my SIL as she shouted at me. I DID see the big smile on Thing 2's face as he started running beside me just before the turn into the chute.  I crossed the line with tears running down my face.  I had done it.

4:23:42  Average Pace: 10:03 per mile 
14 minute Overall PR, almost 20minute course PR

The bottom corner of this is my favourite! I passed 49 runners & NO ONE passed me in the last 7km!

This race has taught me many things.

  • First of all, that I am strong and I made this happen.
  • Training & hard work WORKS!  
  • If you are not getting the results you want you need to take a chance and try something different
  • Support is important.  I had the wonderful guidance of Coach Heather and the support of my family and runner friends.  
  • Things happen for a reason.  All those sucky blustery cold winter runs made me tough & able to handle the wind! I don't see those 3 minutes as 'lost', I think of them as 'earned' and it had the potential to be race crippling, which I'm sure it was for many people. 
And finally, a couple of thoughts for the race organizers:
With my SIL after...she ran her 2nd half! SO proud of her!
  • Deciding to have NO GELS available on the course is NOT COOL and could have been dangerous.  I read the fine print but I'm sure there were plenty of others who have run this in the past and expected there to be something available on the course.
  • The bananas were nice, but mile 8 is too early for the only nutrition on the course.
  • Well done with the water stations...finally.  No issues with lack of cups or water/Gatorade like in the past.  
  • I almost missed getting a medal because I was a hot mess crying and stumbling and there were NO volunteers IN the chute! They were all outside the long chute leaning over to hand out medals.  I almost didn't see them.  If I'd needed medical at the finish there sure wasn't anyone there to catch anyone.  They were at the end of the chute by the crappy food.
  • Speaking of food...the last thing I want after running a marathon is a slab of pita bread.  I took a banana because I needed something but dry pita....just gross.  Lots were eating it though so who knows.  Me, I'm partial to the chicken soup and broth at the end of the Wineglass Marathon.  
  • I appreciate the desire to be a 'Green' expo, but the option of a bag would have been nice.  I picked up packets for 3 people and the bibs, papers and shirts were awkward to carry and enjoy the booths
  • AWESOME & inspiring having Katherine Switzer at the expo! I was honored to meet her!
  • Having the same shirt for the 5K, Half & Marathon seems cheap to me.  Maybe it's just me, but I kind of expect a long sleeve shirt at least for a full marathon.  The boys liked the dark blue, & will wear theirs but I know it's a shirt that I will never wear.  
And Finally, Thing 2 paced his cousin to his first 5K finish in 22:32 to come in 49&50 side by side :)

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Katherine Switzer Says...

I can do this! So I'm all in! Can't help but be inspired carrying her message to me on my bib!

This is it!!!! Cross your fingers for me!

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

5 Days to Toronto & Tapering...

As I got ready to run this morning I commented to my husband that "I'm not sure running 3 miles is even worth it". But I laced up my shoes & went out to run 3 miles because 3 miles is what Coach Heather told me to run today. Then about a mile into my run I realized that I am LUCKY to be able to run 3 miles! I have patients that can't even walk to the bathroom let alone consider running anywhere...can you even imagine??? I also remembered a time when I couldn't run to the next street light without huffing &puffing & swearing in my head.

So today I remember how far I've come and am very thankful for it.

....and now I've going to go get out my staple gun and re-cover some chairs...because it's only 9am on my day off, my run is already done and I have WAY too much time on my hands ;-D

Thursday, April 24, 2014

10 Days to Toronto...Marathon Training Recap

It is officially 10 days to Marathon #6 (and time to start stalking race day weather reports! LOL!) so I thought I would review my training up to this point.  Besides, during a taper, what on earth am I supposed to do on my days off when I am not running/working out half the day????? Clean my house...nah...

My lovely outfit most day :(
After having failed x 3 to beat Oprah...go sub 4:30...I decided this time to take a completely different approach.  Either 4:30 was way beyond my capabilities (I don't think so) or I am doing something wrong training.  So as you know, I hired a coach.  Although I do know Coach Heather, I haven't actually seen her.  She is basically an email coach. She sent me 2 weeks of workouts at a time and we emailed back and forth about how they were going and making adjustments from there.  One of the things I asked of her was a more Hanson-esque type plan.  I wanted shorter long runs but with more race pace challenging effort.  To this end she delivered for me.  I can honestly say that I would have NEVER put myself voluntarily through some of the speedwork, hill repeats, or progressive tempo long runs like she had me doing.  Even when the result was less than what I hoped, I knew that my body was getting the best possible training out of it.

We trained for my unicorn goal of 4:20.  Figured, why not? Even though I have no idea how it happened, I was able to lay down that 1:56 half in November so I figured I'd at least give it my best shot.  Here's how it has gone so far:

In the early weeks I ran by effort.  Speed burst of X-minutes @ what feels like 5K effort etc.  Then we progressed to hill repeats (possibly the devils work ;)) and strides at the end of runs.  Once I had a feel for what it felt like to run fast she bumped it up asking me to go into the 8's during the speed/tempo runs.

Long Runs:
This is what my conditions looked like most days...sigh.
Again, we started with just running easy, but then she had me starting to throw fast race pace miles in during the middle, or run the bulk of my run easy and then finish with 2 or 3 race pace miles.  These fast finish miles really challenged me! I didn't always make it on goal but I did it enough and close enough given the conditions that I considered it good.  The weather challenged me the most this training cycle.  I have never before had to resort to the dreadmill for a long run but I did this time.  I thought I was going to die of boredom and it was the most mentally hard run I had, but I did manage to get through a 14 miler on the darn thing! I ran many long runs on tired legs.  My longest run was 18 miles....and it was probably the most I was mentally 'present' in any of my runs.  It was a progressive tempo run broken into 4 - 4 mile sections and then a 2 mile sub race pace fast finish.  I had to concentrate to run my target paces for each section.  It was hard but it turned out well.  That is not to say that all was coming up roses in the long run category.  I had a couple that just plain sucked. I was tired, I was slow, the wind was fierce and I just didn't want to run anymore. But I am going to consider those runs good mental training because I finished them.  My last long run was a 15 miler on Sunday and I ran it at an even 10 minute pace and felt pretty good.

Except for the last month, due to time constraints, I mixed in some swimming and biking cross-training.  I feel like I have it in me to break 4:30 (That would be a huge 7 minute PR) but I also feel that given the right conditions on race day, I really could pull off something in the 4:20 range.  I really don't know how it will work out, but I am going to hope for the best and just go for it.

'Cause if I don't try I will just never know, will I?????
Last long run! & Shorts!!!

Friday, March 28, 2014

Registered!!!!! 70.3 Here I Come!!!!!!

I finally did it! It took a while and lots of encouragement to finally click that 'register' button...but I did it! I'm going to attempt to become a Half-Ironman at The Musselman Triathlon in July!!!!
1.2 mile swim/56 mile bike/13.1mile run!

I am excited & scared.  I am comfortable with the swim & run, but the bike scares me.  I'm still not sure I can make the bike cutoff.  I have a lot of work ahead of me.  Any tips, suggestions on how to bike faster are welcome! I need to bike 56 hilly miles in less than 4 hours as I project that my age group will be one of the last waves.  My longest ride has been 40 miles & that took me 2 hours 47 minutes.  Yes, I have some work cut out for me.

Ironically enough, today's Runners World Quote of the Day was:

"If it scares you, it might be a good thing to try"

So here I go!!!! 15 weeks to race day!

Oh & the funniest comment on my fb wall was from my mother who asked "what's involved in this marathon?"   She is so sweet. I love her!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Succumbing To The Treadmill Makes Me Feel Like A Failure...

After faking out most of the country for the weekend, Mother Nature must be laughing her A$$ off right now after bringing back sub-zero temperatures, high winds & yes, MORE SNOW.  I don't even know what to say anymore except that I am thinking of starting up a global warming fan club.

This week is week 11 of my Toronto Marathon training plan. It has been going well! Coach Heather has had me doing workouts that are harder and much more challenging than I would normally even consider.  Just knowing that she will check in on me is keeping me accountable and working hard.  Today I had speedwork intervals to run....like really speedy (for me). After a warmup I was supposed to run 3 x 1mile @ 5k (8:20) pace with 4-5 minutes easy in between sets for a total of 6-7 miles.  This was going to push me pretty hard and I wasn't even sure I could hit even close to that pace.  And then I opened my door and saw snow on the ground.  Sigh.  So I went to a work meeting (Yay, awesome day off).  After 4 hours of my life I will never get back, I walked out of work prepared to hit my workout and was immediately pummeled by 20mph gusts of wind in bitter cold.  Just the cold I can deal with, but the wind kills me.  I just could not face this workout in that kind of headwind.  So off to the gym I trundled, to get on the treadmill.  I nailed it, btw.  Even hit 8:13 pace on the last set!  But for some reason, the workout was really unsatisfactory...I just couldn't take much pleasure in it.  Does anyone else feel like this???? I even did some core and jumped in the pool for a quick 1050 yards.  But still less than satisfied.

I think there is something wrong with me.

I need some spring!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Is Garmin Making Anyone Else Crazy?????

So I'm not the fastest runner out there.  Heck, my children chuckle when I mention how 'fast' I ran on any particular run....'speedwork' - I'm trying but my fast is not many other people's fast. Nevertheless, I am a slave to my Garmin and in an effort to run 'fast' (for me), I have been following my coaches training plan and trying to execute each run like I'm supposed to.  I can feel that 4:20 within my grasp. I am proud of what I have been able to do so far.

So let me just say that when Garmin Connect 'updates' and 'improves' their site and it results in my hard-fought threshold workout (with some paces in the 8's!) showing up as an overall 18 (WTF?) minute pace, you can imagine how choked it makes me.  It turns out that Garmin is having 'a little issue' with moving pace versus elapsed pace.  You see, at the end of the meat of my run I stopped in at the gym to take part in a strength training class. I did that for an hour and then ran the mile home afterwards.  Of COURSE I restarted my Garmin for the mile run home! It's running. It counts.  But even though everything looks fine on my watch, it uploads as only elapsed time now.  IT IS MAKING ME NUTS!  I don't always stop my watch during my run, but I do occasionally hit a long red light or need a pit stop.  Maybe some of you keep your watches running, but i don't.  Am I cheating in some way? I didn't think so.

I hope they get this fixed.  I understand from the forums they are working on it.  In the meantime I have to edit any run that I didn't run continuously.  This is very frustrating.

Friday, February 28, 2014

14 miles on the Dreadmill...

Dear Winter, 
I hate you. I hate that Every. Single. Day. I wake up to a stupid igloo graphic on Weatherbug because you can't get your S@!t together to get the temperature up above zero....Fahrenheit. Thanks for the gusts of wind, snow squalls & ice. They are awesome 😳. I have put up with a lot and done my runs outside anyway. But I have a spring marathon to run...that I WANT to run. And well. Today, because I couldn't figure out a way to run outside for almost 2 1/2 hours without getting frostbite I was forced onto the dreadmill. It was awful. 
Here are some 'highlights':
-I arrived in the middle of a 'treading' class. The only open mill was at the front right by the yelling instructor. 40 minutes of this. 
-I couldn't figure out how to reset the pre-set 1 hour time limit right away so had to do it in 2 time blocks....kinda takes the bada$$ out of your workout when the new person next to you looks at you sweating like a pig and the mill says 1 mile. I kinda wanted to yell "plus 6.25!!!" 
-I watched Day of our Lives for the first time since we used to watch it in the student lounge in University in 1991. The people are the same. I picked it up right away. That is sad. 
-It is also possible to simultaneously watch CNN, Rachel Ray & The President & Veep run around the White House and follow along with all of them if the closed captioning is on. 
-I NEVER want to do that again. 
-it caused me anxiety not being able to Garmin my run so I can analyze splits. 
-I nailed my last 3 miles at marathon pace. Sub mp actually. 9:40, 9:50, 9:30

So, winter, that's it. We are done. Finito. Bring on the global warming. 

Sunday, February 23, 2014


What can I say? Double hockey gold again! The women were down 2-0 with 2 minutes left in the game...didn't give up, put everything out there and tied it up with just seconds left in the game & won in sudden death OT. That'll teach my co-worker to send me a trash talk text with 2 minutes left in the game. 
The men showed Sweden who's boss this morning getting past Lundquist for a 3-0 victory! That was some GREAT hockey all series!

Plus double gold in Curling! Canada is a happy happy country right now! 

Oh, I had a good run too today...6 miles @ 9:58 pace :)