Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Fox Valley Marathon 2013

3:35:12* a new PR by 5 minutes!

12/97 AG 12%

46/608 Women 7.5%

223/1317 OA 16.9%

1st half 1:44.23* (7:59/mile) my fastest half marathon to date.

2nd half 1:50.49 (8:28/mile)

So this isn't the post I envisioned writing post FVM. Everything leading up to this race pointed to the fact I would get the time I wanted. My training was solid, I had no injuries, I was in good health. I rarely have a "bad race." I don't let nerves get to me, at my core I am a performer and know all sorts of Jedi mind tricks to stay calm and carry on.

I got a 5 minute PR, which I'm really happy about. Yeah, it wasn't the sub 3:30/ BQ-5 that I was working towards, but my body had other plans for race day. Before I launch into the what went wrong side of things, I will say this:

I am truly thankful for the love and support I've received over the past 14 weeks. I am happy that my body allows me to complete 26.2 miles. I LOVE running. BQ, PR or not, the BEST day of running for me is any and all days I can run injury free. Currently I have some minor quad soreness, a funky right knee and a tight left hip flexor. I do not have any injury to speak of.

This recap will be a bit different than my others. I'll let photos (and a few words) do the talking.


It was 45 degrees, and low dewpoint the morning of the race. *Perfect*

I ran into Melinda Before the start. It was nice to see her and have a quick chat.
I was feeling good going into the race. Said my good byes to my Daad and L and soon it was time.

Soon we were off running. I felt good but I also felt a little "off." Nothing that I could pinpoint, just not the usual springiness I have when I'm running.

I love running. This is awesome!

I felt good but "off" and took off at a conservative pace. (Mainly I was trying to run by effort because I don't trust the garmin all that much. Plus it is defeating when it reads a pace you don't want to see.)

So around mile 4.5 I'm cruising and see someone holding a sign. I see they have a dog on it and think "aww what a cutie, it kinda looks like CB!" Then KIM Shouts my name and I realize it's her holding a sign with CB on it!! dERP!! I didn't expect to see her so early in the course. :)

Took a salt and gu at mile 5 and almost didnt get it down. Once I got it down I started feeling queazy. I decided at that point, no more salt pills.

Half Way!

I was happy to have 13.1 more miles to go. But the "off" feeling was getting magnified with each step.

I patted the Fox on the head as I ran by around mile 17. I did this last year too.

But by this point the "OMG I LOVE THIS" was fading fast.

Mile 17 where I smash hard into a brick wall.

Well that "off" feeling became super intense around mile 17 and just kept intensifying. My body hurt. My arms and legs and all my muscles became very sore and difficult to move.

I had wicked side stitch starting around mile 17 and I don't remember if it ever let up before the finish.

I tried to "push" the pace from one light pole to the next and my body just wouldn't go.

I was getting more and more delirious with each step. My thoughts were so incredibly negative by this point- and it wasn't because I might not BQ, but instead extreme frustration at the fact my body was failing and there was nothing I could do. I repeatedly though "if only I tripped and fell, then someone would tell me my day is over." I couldn't DNF myself. I couldn't throw in the towel, it is not in my soul to simply give up. So I continued on.

I walked up a hill at mile 23. I saw the hill and thought "there's no way in hell I could run up that." The pain inside was tremendous.

Around mile 25 I saw Britt's husband and he started running with me. I remember him asking how I felt and I replied "I feel like shit." We "picked up the pace" towards the finish and he was nothing but encouraging. Had you asked me my pace at this point I would have said 7 minutes. I felt like I was sprinting. My actual split was closer to 8:30.

I tried to just keep pushing towards the finish. I was in pain. Once I crossed I remember bending over to catch my breath and felt numb. I actually don't remember much after that.

My Daad, L, Britt, D, Kim, and Bobbi were all there and I don't have any memories of our interactions. I know they kept asking if I was ok, but in my delirious state I kept saying "yes, I'm fine." I wasn't.

Thank you Britt for pushing me and inspiring me the past 14 weeks!

Thank you to my Daad and L who spectated and saw the progression of my meltdown. Thanks to L for putting up with me while I chase this BQ goal.

What went wrong?

A combo of the following:

•Stress leading up to the race

•Depletion of electrolytes (I took Gu every 5 miles, but no salt)

•Whatever caused me to feel "off."


I ate fine before the race, slept ok, so basically I feel something above caused me to bonk hard around mile 17.

I am happy with my PR and know a better day is in these legs.

Thank you again for all your support and encouragement, I certainly feel very loved :)

- xaar

Friday, September 20, 2013

Rockin out with my Foxes out

2 days to go until I hit the trails of Fox Valley for the 2nd time. The First Time was magical and wonderful even though I missed my goal due to an injury. This time around will be even better.

This year is the first time I've trained for a marathon and actually been 100% injury free on race day- and my heart is jumping with joy.

I've had some extreme Highs and Lows during this 14 week training cycle, but the good always overcame the bad.

I need to remember how far I've truly come this year- from barely maintaining an 8 minute pace for a 10K race in São Paulo, Brasil back in January, to getting a PR in every distance I've run in 2013. 8k, 5k, 10 mile, and 13.1

Sunday will be a celebration of a ton of hard work and dedication and I am so freaking excited.

I want to thank everyone for being so supportive and understanding during these last 14 weeks- knowing an entire running army has your back is a great feeling to have.

So this Sunday morning, at 7am as the gun goes off, while I start the journey of marathon #8, I'll be rockin out with my Foxes out. Thank you KIM!!


- xaar

Saturday, September 14, 2013

FVM BQ or BUST Week 13

ONE WEEK TO GO! Where has time gone... no really WHERE HAS TIME GONE? Feels like yesterday I was reaching out to Coach Britt again about designing a 14 week plan once again for Fox Valley. Now here I sit, one week to go and in relatively good health. My ITB is feeling a little tight.

Monday- Easy 5

Tuesday- REST/ Date night with CB!

While we were walking through Grant Park I noticed that the Chicago Marathon banners were starting to get posted. YIKES. 4 weeks to go until my 3rd Chicago Marathon! If all goes according to plan in Fox Valley next week, I'll run Chicago with L again- and it will be my "victory lap."
Wednesday- Speed. 2x3 miles at 7:18 pace.  + Strength

This workout surprised me once again- my 5k PR pace is only 10 seconds a mile faster than 7:18- so to be able to run that 2 times, and still have gas in the tank speaks volumes of how my fitness has progressed.

After these 3 marathons i'll be doing in a span of 7 weeks (Fox Valley, Chicago, Naperville), I hope to still be in good health and knock off some major PRs in both the 5k and half marathon before winter has Chicago in its icy grip for a few months.

Thursday- Easy 5 + Strength

Not much to see here, just some easy recovery miles followed by my little strength routine.
Friday- 7 Miles + 6x20 second pickups. 59:00

Saturday- 12 miles, with 10 @ Goal Marathon Pace. 1:36

The weather was crisp and cool and all I could think of was "man, my quads are still sore from all the strength stuff I've done this week."  Oh yeah, and the fact that it was hovering around 50 degrees with a low dew point. And all I could really think was "I HOPE IT'S LIKE THIS NEXT WEEK! OR COOLER!!!"

I ran the first mile with L and then hit the gas. This workout went so quick. I dont run with music outside but people watch instead. I noticed so many people broke out the leggings and jackets this morning with the cooler temps, only to overheat and tie the jackets around their waist. It was a bit chilly at the start- I had a light tank and shorts on but quickly warmed up after a mile. My hands stayed freezing for longer and I might look into buying a pair of throwaway gloves for next week.

Later on post 12 miler...

I went to Fleet Feet where Newton was sponsoring a clinic with Bart Yasso and Paula Newby Fraser. Hearing both of them talk about some of their experiences almost made me cry. YAY Taper emotions! I also ran into Chris who recognized me.

We also did some running form drills led by the Newton rep for Chicago. The main point was to not mimic how Meb or Ryan Hall look while running, but to figure out our own most efficient way to run. They also had us do drills to demonstrate how looking down or up while running negatively affects our posture, how over striding is very inefficient (try to balance while on your heel- you will fall backwards), and also answered questions from the group. I was very happy I went to hear them both speak- and in our goody bag we each received a copy of Bart's book "My Life on the Run."  YAY now I have something inspiring to read this week!
"Never limit where running can take you." is what Bart signed in each of our copies.

I'd say this was a wonderful end to the week. Tomorrow i'll take CB for a walk and once again visualize how Fox Valley will go down one week from tomorrow.

- xaar

Friday, September 13, 2013

9 more sleeps

9 days until Fox Valley and I'm over the moon excited.

Im more than halfway through a short n sweet 2 week taper and can't wait for a 12 mile "long run" with some goal paced miles mañana in some awesome temps.

Taper thoughts

Ok, so the only real difference in mileage from this week to last week's peak mileage is the reduction in miles for my long run.

Near the end of my 20 miler last week I was out by soldier field and heard Sweet Caroline playing at a festival. I started choking up almost immediately- because it brought back memories of my grandma (who passed away 11 years ago) and her love of Neil Diamond Fun fact: Neil Diamond was the first concert I ever attended. At the ripe old age of 7? and also because that song became the anthem of Boston post bombing. Or perhaps it was always played at Red Sox games but I never noticed during the games I went to...

The one thing I've noticed this year vs last years taper is that I'm super emotional.

Received my Fox Valley race plan from coach last Friday- I cried.

Last 2 miles of the 20- I cried.

Ran 2x3 miles at 7:18 pace on Wednesday, I cried.

Got my final weeks worth of workout from Coach and I cried.

Shit. As I write this my eyes are starting to well up.

And these are completely tears of joy.

I keep reflecting how far Ive come this year and am amazed at what my body and heart have been able to accomplish with the most amazing plan put together by Coach Britt.

Foto courtesy of Kim. Last years Fox Valley, and one of the best days of my life.

For so long (in regards to running) I've been operating at way under my potential. I slacked with training, I got injuries a lot. This year I feel I'm finally where I should be with running. I also felt that way last year but severely underperformed in Fox Valley due to my ankle injury.

I have only the happiest of thoughts going into tomorrow's long run and my workouts next week.


- xaar

Monday, September 9, 2013

FVM BQ or BUST Week 12

Week 12!?! Where the heck has time gone!?!

Monday Easy 5 with the pup

I always love running with him. :)

Tuesday REST!!

Wednesday 9 miles with 7 tempo miles at 7:35-7:30 pace + strength


Thursday Easy 6 + strength

Friday 7 miles with 5x 20 second pickups

Received week 13 + the outline of my racing plan for Fox Valley from Coach B. I got chills.

Saturday 20 miles, 2:59

Ran the first 1.5 miles with L and then 6-7 middle miles with KIM! It was nice to run a few miles with some of my favorite people around for this final long run before Fox Valley. Overall I felt good with No complaints other than the heat and humidity (70 degrees when I started at 6:20am).

Sunday REST

2 weeks from now Is my goal race- the race I've pretty much been working towards for 2 years now. And I'm excited, nervous and anxious for 9-22 to come so I can run my heart out and put all the training Coach B has laid out for me to good use. and to prepare for the mental side of this race, I will be be pulling back from the distractions of social media. Well, I've already been doing that... 9-22 can't come soon enough and I'm so freaking ready to hit my goals.


- xaar

Monday, September 2, 2013

FVM BQ or BUST weeks 10 and 11

Monday Easy 7
Ran with Marla for Fleet Feet Pint Night

Tuesday REST

Wednesday Easy 5

Ran with CB in the morning.

Thursday 3x 2 miles @ 7:18 pace

Crazy to think my current 5k PR pace is 10 seconds faster than 7:18/mile.

Friday easy 8

Saturday 16 on the Los Gatos Creek Trail 2:24.

splits ranged from 8:00-11:00 a mile. Yay hills and dehydration. But I was very happy to run the last 2 miles with L.

And it wasn't ideal.

Sunday 2 hours of Stand Up Paddle Boarding!

Week 11!

Monday Unintentional Rest Day

Returned from California.

Tuesday 2 early am miles to pick up the CB dog.

Wednesday 10x 800's at 3:22-3-19


Thursday easy 6

Friday Easy 8

Saturday 18 miles with 10 @ GMP 2:26.

It was rainy the first 6 miles which was fun but not really since there were 12 more miles to run in wet socks n shoes. It was also on the hot and muggy side and all I can hope for is a beautiful cool dry day for Fox Valley.

These past 2 weeks had some highs and lows and I really cannot believe that I've got less than 3 weeks left at this point. I know I've made some crazy progress so far and need to remember that.

I'm starting to freak about the weather, if BM registration will be closed before I even run Fox Valley, and a host of other things. All of which are out of my control. So this week of training I'll just calm the eff down and focus on my final week of high mileage before I start a 2 week taper. Yes. I like my tapers short n sweet.


- xaar