Saturday, April 28, 2012

Illinois Marathon: Where my Dream Came True

"The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams."  -Eleanor Roosevelt

I believed.


Formal race report to follow.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

1 Day

Bright and early on Saturday morning, I'll be toeing the line for the start of the 4th annual Illinois Marathon.  This will be my second marathon, and I've gone through a lot of emotions.  Tapering is hard...I've found myself having more anxiety associated with this race than when I was training.  

However, after each mini-panic attack about weather, or fitness level, or blood sugar, or GU, or cramping, I remind myself that I made it through Chicago and smiled the whole entire race.  The race is a celebration of all of the training I've done in the past 4.5 months.  I remind myself that in preparation for this one race, i have run 804 miles.  I have run:

3    20+ training runs...all in different states (Illinois, California, and Iowa)
7    16-19 miles runs
7    12-15 mile runs
17   8-11 mile runs
and 79 runs 1-7 miles long

That would be a grand total of 113 runs I've run in preparation for Saturday's race.

When I look at the above stats, I feel good.  I've put in a lot of miles (for me), and gained both speed and perspective in the process.  I've learned some lessons the hard way (ChiTown half marathon and Spring Spring 10k).  I've learned the mind is so powerful.  

The weather, which was causing me to be nervous, looks practically perfect now.  The starting temperature is supposed to be in the 40s and in the upper 40s in the morning.  It is also supposed to rain (30% chance).  This will be far different than the Chicago Marathon weather this fall.  I don't think I'll be getting too warm.

I'm also excited because 15 people from my running club are running either the half or full marathon.  My training partner is the 4:25 pacer.  I couldn't be happier that she is pacing.  I wish I could run the race with her, although that time and my goal time don't exactly line up.  

With all that being said, there is only one thing left:

I believe in myself.  I can run this race, and run it well.  I believe.

Saturday, April 21, 2012


Hello from the Nissan dealership where my car is getting its tires rotated and oil changed.  I know nothing about cars so taking my car to a place that will just do everything for me is far more convenient and easier than me trying to do it myself.  

How am I occupying my time for one hour?  Making all of my to-do lists.  I have 5 lists going right now:
  1. Things to get done today
  2. Things to get done before Thursday
  3. Packing list for the marathon
  4. Things that need to be printed
  5. Things that need to be done on Friday morning
I function so much better when I make myself lists.  I find them especially critical when I am traveling.  I'll be honest...I am a bit nervous that I have to travel for my marathon.  I don't want to forget anything.  For the Chicago Marathon, I was at my home.  I did not have to remember anything, which was nice.  I'm afraid I'll forget something basic, like socks or my running shoes.  How awful would that be?  Hence, lists are important!

On another note, sitting in the waiting room at the dealership is a unique experience.  The TV has some variation of Animal Planet on and the segment has been about elephants so far.  Did you know elephants have to learn how to use their trunks?  I didn't know that, but I've also never thought about it before.  Currently, they are doing surgery on some animal.  It's pretty gross.

Time to add to my lists.

I cannot believe the marathon is in 1 week!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Marathon #2 Thoughts

Congratulations to all of the runners who ran the Boston Marathon today in the extreme heat.  I know from looking at my friends' times that it was a very challenging day.  

I feel as though Ive been neglecting my blog as of late because I've been too busy.  My Spring marathon is less than 2 weeks away now.  I cannot believe it.  My longest run before the race will now be 8 miles, which seems like nothing.  This training cycle has been drastically different than Chicago's in the fall.  I've learned so much about myself and training the second time around, such as:

1.  More miles will give me more confidence when conquering long runs.  I am going to total up all of my miles and long runs this training cycle, but it was quite a bit more than in the fall.  My final 22-mile run could not have gone any better, which is a great confidence-booster going into the marathon.

2.  Tempo runs are important for success.  I didn't run too many tempo runs in the fall, and wanted to change it the second time around.  I ran quite a few tempo runs this time around.  I am hoping my body is now well acquainted with what an 8:00 minute mile feels like.

3.  Diabetes varies depending on the training cycle.  In the fall, my diabetes was under control during training.  I had to do very little to have numbers that were in range.  This time around....totally different story.  I've had highs and lows and really bad lows and really bad highs.  I've tried multiple things out.  I'm hoping my body is strong for race day.  

4.  I'm in the best shape of my life.  I know I felt this way in the fall, but I truly feel like I am in far better shape now.  My body keeps amazing me on what it is capable of.  I never once dreamed that I could run like I do today many years ago.  

5.  Roctane rocks.  I've made the switch over to using Roctane GU now instead of just plain GU shots.  My old stand-by of Razz has now been replaced by Blueberry Pomegranate with the occasional Island Nectar thrown in for good measure.  I have not decided if I'll be relying solely on the Blueberry Pomegranate flavor for the race, or if I'll do a combo.  I don't know how I'll feel about Island Nectar at mile 22.  

6.  I'm running this marathon with music.  I used to not run with music - ever.  Then one day I started because I wanted some distraction.  I ran my last 20 and 22 mile training run with my music and liked it.  I plan on making a long pluralist this weekend for the race.  I can always put it on pause if I want to listen to something on the course, but I am excited to run to my tunes for 3+ hours.

7.  Believing and doubting go together.  One moment I'm thinking I'll nail my goal time, while the next moment I think to myself there I'll go out too fast and die at mile 20.  Then I think about all the training I've done and my doubts fade and my beliefs become stronger.  

8.  I'm running solo...most likely.  There are pacers for the 3:25 group and 3:35 group, but none for 3:30.  I am 98% sure I'm going to run by myself.  There is a small possibility that I'll start with the 3:35 group, though.

9.  The marathon race is small.  There are 1800 or so marathoners.  The half breaks from the full around mile 10 I think.  There are 8,000 half marathoners.  Therefore, after mile 10, it will be lonely.  I'm fully prepared for this.

10.  Is it weird that I really want to beat a half marathoner?  I do have other goals, but that is most likely the most ridiculous of them.

11 days to go!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Let the Taper Begin

22 miles....done.

I completed my last long run of my Illinois Marathon training plan.  I'm currently on week 19 of a 21 week plan, and honestly, I am ready for it to be over.  The next time I'll have a true long run is Saturday, April 28th - the day of the marathon.

I am lucky that we did not have school today, so did my long run today.  Normally, I would have to do my long run on Saturday or Sunday due to time.  I love long weekends.  Originally, I was going to run my long run on Saturday, but when I started to run, I knew it was not going to happen.  I was not mentally prepared to spend 3+ hours running, nor was I physically prepared.  I didn't eat enough the day before or the morning of my run, nor did I drink enough.  I stopped at 10 and called it a day. 

However, today I woke up in Iowa excited to run my last long run.  There is something special knowing that the tapering is beginning.  On my run, I thought about how many miles I've run in this training plan.  IN the past 9 days, I have run 70 miles.  In my training plan so far, I have run over 730 miles.  I think my legs are ready for a taper. 

Do you normally do your long run on a certain day?  Or, does it depend on your schedule?  I typically do mine on Sunday morning.  But, I did one 20-miler three weeks ago and today's 22-miler both on Monday. 

Wednesday, April 4, 2012


I don't consider myself a veteran runner by any means.  Most often, I tell people that I am knew to the sport.  I've only truly been running for about 4 years. 

As I've talked about before, I ran my first half marathon when I was in college.  The only goals I had were to finish and not walk, both of which I accomplished.  After that first race, where I ran a 2:17, I made drastic improvements in my race times.  My second half marathon, which I was incredibly under trained for, I ran in 1:58, which thrilled me.  Races continued to go better and better. 

Then I started to have some success.  Real success.  Not only were my times improving, I started to win a few awards and place in my age group.  Running helped improve all the other areas of my life.  Some people would say to me that running came naturally, which I disagreed with.  I had to work hard to improve. 

Prior to Sunday's race, I had high hopes for myself.  My training had gone fairly well this year, and I felt good.  Everything was perfect...and I thought I could PR. 

Then during the race I stopped to walk just about 4 miles.  And as I walked, I wanted to quit.  After 1 minute of walking, I knew my PR would not happen.  Shortly after, the 1:45 pace group went by, then the 1:50 group, then the 2:00 group near the end.  It was so hard to get passed by so many people, and not pass a single person. 

I questioned everything.  My training, why I run in the first place, my upcoming marathon, my hopes and dreams related to running.  All of my confidence turned into questions. 

It would have been easier to quit the half marathon than to walk so much of it.  It was so much harder to keep walking and getting passed by so many people.  It took a lot of courage to finish this race, but I am glad that I did. 

Fast runners get awards and lots of recognition for their achievements.  The runners who finish near the end of the race do not get any of that.  Many times people are rude to them, cutting them off by walking in front while they are still running or thinking thoughts like "how could they be so slow?"  This race revealed to me that these runners have so much more courage than the faster runners.  They continue to run knowing that they will not win anything.  They continue to run when everyone else is finished, which takes a lot of courage.

It would have been far easier to quit the race, but I kept going.  It was hard, but I don't quit.  On Sunday, I did the best I could do on that day.  Throwing out my Spring marathon at this point in my training cycle is not going to happen.  I've been training for this one race since before Christmas.  I'll have trained over 4 months by the time race day arrives.  I only have 1 long run left to accomplish before the taper begins.  When race day comes, I hope I have the same courage I had on keep pressing on when the race gets tough.  

Monday, April 2, 2012

Reviewing March

March went by too quickly, but that seems to be the trend in life recently. 

March's Numbers

Running Miles: 194
Biking Miles: 121
Weights: 2 times
Walking Miles: 33
Elliptical Miles: 6
Laps in the Pool: 27

*    *    *    *    *

Best Race: I ran two races - a 5k and a 10k in March.  I am most proud of my 10k race.  After running that race, I truly felt that I could PR the half marathon I ran on Sunday. 

Biggest Surprise: I ran 194 miles.  This is my highest mileage month by 20 miles.  In March, I ran:
  • 1 20-mile training run
  • 2 19-mile training runs
  • 7 runs that were 8-12 miles long
Books Read: 1...finished while on vacation.

Play lists Made on iTunes: 3, one for each race I have recently run.  I have started to race with music, something I never used to do.  It provides a nice distraction.

Best Part of the Month: My vacation to California.  It was not only much-needed, but also incredibly enjoyable and stress-free.  I did get my 20 mile run accomplished while there, which I think is incredibly successful. 

New Discovery of the Month: I like oranges.  I never liked oranges growing up, but bought one recently because it just looked good.  And it was.  I've been eating oranges like crazy lately.  I think I'm just making up for lost time.  Orange juice, though, I'll never be able to drink.

Best Thing Purchased this Month: A new laptop computer.  I got a Mac Book Pro, and love it.  I'm still figuring some things out on it, but the transition has gone well thus far.

March Madness:  My brackets were awful.  I had Missouri going to the Final Four, which obviously did not happen.  I did, however, pick Ohio State to get there, but had them in the championship game.  I did enjoy watching the tournament this year.

Goodbye March.  You were a good month.  April, you started off rough but can only improve. 

Sunday, April 1, 2012

ChiTown Half Marathon - A Race to Forget

I debated what to call this post:

"Diabetes Sucks Race Report"

"How I Walk 1/3 of a Half Marathon Race Report"

"Second Worst Time Race Report"

The possibilities were endless.  So, I combined the highlights...the race name with the fact that I truly want to forget I ever ran this morning.

Here's the report, in numbered fashion:

1.  The weather was great - little wind, 50 degrees, mostly cloudy.  It was the perfect day for running a half marathon.

2.  I felt great - and then I got to mile 6.5, where it felt like all of the energy I had was zapped from my body.  By mile 7, I was knew I had a low blood sugar.

3.  At mile 7.5, I took my one and only GU.  It didn't really work and it was more of an effort to run.  There were multiple choice words going through my mind referring to diabetes at this time.  Many of these words can be found on this wonderful blog

4.  By mile 9, I just stopped.  I stood in the grass, drank 2 cups of Gatorade, and hated life.  But, I started to walk, hoping to "walk off" my low.

5.  I walk 4 miles.  In case you are not aware, a half marathon is only 13.1 miles long.  And it was a hard walk.  Everyone passed me (for the most part).  And I hate getting passed.  People who were wearing cotton pants and shirts passed me.

6.  At mile 10, I ripped off my timing chip on the back of my bib.  I did not want to have this time associated with my name.  (see point 10 for more detail).  I contemplated ripping off the entire bib, but I really wanted the medal.  It was my 10th half, a goal of mine that I wanted to accomplish for the last 6 years.   

7.  When I saw mile 13, I attempted to run to the finish line.  But, having mostly but not fully recovered from being low, my run hurt.  I'm not sure about the rest of the diabetic world, but when I have a low blood sugar, my legs get incredibly weak.  Walking normal is hard.  Even after I had treated the low, my leg function was not back to normal (as usual). 

8.  I waddled into the finish chute, pissed  off at diabetes.  I crossed the line on what the clock said 2:00:36.  I knew I had run a 1:59:xx. 

9.  After putting clothes on, I checked my blood sugar...only to find it was raising rapidly.  Thanks, diabetes...where was that at mile 7.5?

10.  The results were posted online.  I looked for some of my friends who ran the race, and randomly searched for my name.  My time appeared in the online results.  Even though I ripped my chip off the back of my bib and threw it into the bushes, I was still tracked. 

11.  I determined that diabetes sucks some days.  I did everything I normally do this morning, and look at the results.  Routine only works 98% of the time I have decided. 

12.  I don't even know if I want to run my Spring Marathon anymore. 

13.  I want to go back to California.  I had a great trip there last week.  I know that all I did this post was complain, but sometimes that is least for me.