Sunday, December 28, 2008

Electric Shock and 20 miles

Here is a new analogy for my love of track workouts....electric shock treatment. Yup, that's what it felt like on Friday. You all probably think I'm some sort of nut.....track beast, track monster and now electric shock therapy. I wonder how many negative terms I can come up with during this training cycle.



1000m @ 4:16 TIMES 5...ugh..

#1 4:10 opps....I couldn't seem to get it right the first time on the track and I felt like I just had the shit shocked out of me....ZAAAPPPP
#2 4:21 now that's more like it but I thought for SURE I was going to yak....had to bend over.
#3 4:16 NAILED it....with another wave of yakage....
#4 4:22 I couldn't hold on but I didn't feel like puking....maybe not pushing hard enough??
#5 4:22 I was toast.... literally

Sort of Accomplished

I'm not unhappy with my results because I did work my ass off and it wore me out so bad I went home and took a huge nap. Yipes....

Yesterday was a gorgeous day and a scheduled 20 mile run and I had my first fight with Running. Yes, I got SO mad I swear I teared up. I could not BELIEVE my GPS for one thing....when I got to mile 18 I felt like I really should have been on  mile 19 and my legs were screaming for me to PLEASE stop. It was very frustrating and honestly I felt very emotional. I just couldn't push my legs to go a little faster on the last 2 miles. I was so mad but so glad to be done.

Results: 20 miles @ 8:55 total time 2:58

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas! Mine was exceptional as always and I am so grateful for the love of my family, Wonder Boy and all the things we have in our lives. I couldn't be more blessed.

The New Year looms....and I have been thinking A LOT about where I was in my running this time last year. Whoa.....that will be a post in itself.

Next week is Hair of the Dog 5K on New Year's Day and Wonder Boy and I will run together. Then, Saturday the local Distance Series Tune up begins for the Shamrock Marathon. Good stuff to look forward to!!!

Hope everyone had a fantastic weekend!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Track Beast

Ok, so the picture is a bit dramatic, but this is my mental image of track days.....facing a beast.

Gawd....track is ROUGH. I just can't seem to embrace the work that needs to be done. I'm like a whiney baby that doesn't want to go to school.

I procrastinated this one bad this week and ended up having to do my pukepeats the day after a 17 mile run. Yes friends, I did 17 miles yesterday with Running Buddy and I REALLY don't recommend hard track work after a seriously long run. Most experts would probably agree.

So here are the highlights:
-First track location.....CLOSED FOR REPAIRS...and flooded from this morning's rain. Uh's your chance to bail out!!! 

-2nd track location.....lookin' good BUT DOORS ARE LOCKED.'s another chance to bag this run.

-Nope....just climb the one will see you fall on  your ass with your backpack strapped to your back as you attempt a 5 foot drop.

15 min warm up (6 laps)
1200m @ 5:10 (actual time was 5:08)
1000m @ 4:16 (4:10 almost vomitted in my mouth on this lap...the horror.....)
800m @ 3:23 (3:27 oops ....went too hard on the last repeat)
600m @ 2:31 (2:20 YES!)
400m @ 1:39 (1:39...nailed it to the second)
10 min cool down (5 laps)

I was one happy mother to spit in the face of that track beast. I get such a rush of confidence when I hit all the track target times. But it doesn't last because I always come back to the track scared and nervous I will fail. Then I will be all pissed with myself.

I watched The Biggest Loser the other night (the finale) and the winner, Michelle, had a GREAT statement about her commitment to weight loss...she said "you just have to surrender yourself to the process." Well, she is order for me to get faster, I have to surrender to the process it takes to GET faster. It just has to be.

I am going to whine and bitch about track for the next 14 weeks. But I know in the will all pay off.

I drove away from the track smiling from ear to ear as the beast wandered off into the setting sun. I won the battle today.

I logged some big miles this week. I also got some crud from the petri dish that is my job....and I have had no voice for the last 3 days. Not good for a speech therapist. I am officially off for 2 weeks and I am looking forward to some non-rushed workouts and runs in the sunlight. Next weekend is my first 20 miler of this training cycle and I am PUMPED!

Hope everyone is enjoying the holidays!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Track Monster

All I can say about yesterday's track run is *Blech* I should have just bagged that workout because my heart wasn't in it. I don't know why I dread the track so bad but I just do. Joy put it best when she compared it to Dante's Circles of Hell....apparently...if I read it correctly on Wikipidia....this is a divine comedy divide into 3 parts, Hell, Purgatory, and Paradise. Well, if that doesn't describe track work than I don't know what else does...

First, you enter the circle of Hell.....running your ass off for 8oo meters or more (after a warm up) just hurts like HELL.

Second, you enter the circle of Purgatory.....running your ass off 4-8 MORE times for 800 meters puts you in a painful place of temporary punishment getting ready for the final step.... 

Paradise or Heaven.....isn't it heaven when you are finally finished with all that hell??

My track work continues to follow the FIRST plan for a BQ marathon finish. So, the prescription for this week's track included 4 x 800m for 3:23 min with 2 min rest intervals.

To add insult to injury the track was FLOODED as a result of some seriously torrential downpours we had the day before so the 2 back corners of the track were impassable and required a 10 second walk through the slushy, sloppy, muddy grass (which dirtied up my shoes!! Grr....)

Running Buddy saw the ugly mean side of my rude ass....which in turn will probably guarantee me a 15 mile long run by myself tomorrow...I deserve it for my poor behavior yesterday. I pouted like a baby because I was so not motivated. The running was challenging and the track was just plain flooded which interrupted the flow of my pace. I just wasn't happy.

So blech.....I think I may try to join the local running group on Tuesday nights for track work. Maybe if there is a group of people plodding along....I will feel more motivated to get the work done.

The rest of the running story continues......have a great weekend blogger friends!~

Monday, December 8, 2008

A Turkey Trot or a Trotting Turkey???

This might be one of the dumbest posts ever...but tonight my dear friends.... I got chased by a turkey on my run. Yeah, you read it right....a FRICKIN' TURKEY!

I was 2 miles into my 6 miler tonight....crankin' a good 8 mpm pace....ZZ Top blazin' in my ear when I come upon a few "wild" baby turkeys. No big deal...I see them all the time on my runs. I really thought they were partidges or something. Who the hell knows??

Anyway, they were so cute all gathered in the middle of the street as I came running up on them. Then OUT OF THE BUSHES comes the mutha turkey and she was NOT happy. I'm tellin you this turkey was a full on big ass turkey!!  What the hell?? That turkey came after me pissed off. 

I have NEVER had such an experience. And really it wouldn't be blog worthy if it hadn't been for the fact that normally, I get chased by dogs..... and angry drivers or jerks on bikes. But a TURKEY?? chased me for about 2 min up the road with its wrinkly nasty neck and red goozle all stretched out ready to peck my freakin' leg! I really couldn't believe it was happening to me.

Ok, this really isn't the turkey that chased me....but this is EXACTLY what she looked like. That chase felt like it went on forever.

Tonight's run results: 
6 miles in 47 min 47 seconds and a trip to the gym for some core work

Weekend run results
51 min 10K with Running Buddy at the Army/Navy 10k (got 6th place)
1 hr 52 min 13 miler with Running Buddy in the CCCold and wind.....

Happy Monday friends...oh and a big ass shout out to Frayed Laces who scored BOSTON this weekend!! 

Friday, December 5, 2008

Pace Setter

I am so honored to be the featured Pace Setter runner this week on April and Amy's blog. Go check out my interview and also check out some of April and Amy's past posts....they are great bloggers...very funny and very inspiring. Thanks again girls!!

Ok, so tomorrow Running Buddy and I are going to run the Army/Navy 10. I am excited because this will be a race for my Running Buddy since I have already hit my 10K PR. Now it is her turn and we are both pretty excited. Although it does look to be pretty chilly.

Sunday, we will be running a 13 mile run hopefully at an 8:53 mpm pace. I am currently following the Boston Qualifying time training plan that is featured in the "Run Less Run Faster" book by Bill Pierce, Scott Murr and Ray Moss. 

Running Buddy and I had an awesome track workout yesterday. I was less than motivated but my trusty partner kept my mind focused. We ran 3 x 1600's at a 7:05 mpm pace (*gasp*). That sucked and it was hard but I hit the mark and Running Buddy was just a few seconds behind me. We did 400m rest intervals in between with a warm up mile and a cool down mile. It was a great workout and very motivating.

Hope everyone has a great weekend! Thanks to all of you who keep up with my blog! Thanks again to Amy and April....

I will post race reports and details hopefully on Sunday!  Good luck to anyone who is racing this weekend too-

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Epic Happy Race Report

To say that I am extremely happy with my finish time at Saturday's Race for Literacy 1/2 marathon is putting it mildly.

Here's the story in all it's glory:

Really, I had no aspirations for doing any great time on the course for the simple fact that Thursday's turkey trot was a huge PR and well, this girl just wanted to have fun on the run.

I woke up to cloudy dreary skies...but dry and it SEEMED relatively warm when I let the dog out first thing that morning. It just felt like 50 degrees and I had no doubt that I would wear shorts....and well just bundle my core like I always do.

I also couldn't help but feel just a little "weird" about the race because it was an inaugural event, it was out in a place I had no idea how to get to, I had no idea what the race route would be like, if there would be water, or how much support there would be on the course. Plus, I have been fighting a headache for 2 days and a bit of depression.

So, as I drove out to the race....and made a wrong turn....I said to myself "Self...this could be a bad day all together."

Luckily, with the help of Wonder Boy's reassurance and navigation, I was able to correct my wrong turn, loose no time on the drive and get to the race with 45 min to spare. 

When I got there, parking was plenty. I saw the venue and proceeded to get out of my truck to get my number and WHOOOAAA.....burrrr....the wind was howling off the water and it was about 5-10 degrees colder than it was at my house. 

Questions to self....Did you bring gloves? No.....Did you bring hat? No......Did you bring extra pants? No.... Will you freeze your nads off at this race? Uh...that would be a big fat YES!!!

Ok, just a tip for you all.....socks make good gloves. I had an extra pair of those.

Thank goodness I also had a windbreaker vest in my running bag.

So I sat in my truck for 40 min with the heat on as I waited for the start....watching all these people with gloves and hats and pants on. Damn. I figured I could hack the cold and wind for 2 hours right? I have been in tough conditions before. It was 45 degrees with a stiff North East wind.

I got out of the car for a warm up run and then hit the start line and my goodness...the field of runners was SO small. I figured...heck at best I could place 3rd in my age group. Hell, there were hardly any women.

The field stretched out fast and the freakiest part of the run was that at several moments on the course, I was completely alone with just traffic cones and I questioned where to go several times.

I started out very comfortable and I knew something fishy was up right away when mile marker 1 popped up and my watch said 5:45.....HA HA HA! In my wickedest wildest dreams....yeah, the course was not measured right for the first mile but it got back on target after mile 2 and I was showing 16:20 and that seemed right.

I was cruising man. I felt strong with the exception of shin pain for the first 3 miles....but it went away and never bothered me again. I figured it was from the Turkey Trot.

I hit all my mile markers just over an 8 mpm pace....I was grinning from ear to ear. I thought, if I can make it for the first half at that pace and still feel good, I may actually break my PR from Fleetweek.

Well, mile 6 came and went and I was still feeling like a champ and the watch said 49 min. Then my mind races and starts doing the math....I was on track for close to a 1 hour 45 min finish. My heart started to pound as I got very excited.

Mile 7 then mile 8 and all is still good in the legs, lungs and heart. Still doing some math in my head......

Now I'm on mile 9 and just a bit off of my goal time.....and I think ......can I pick it up for 4 more miles? Then, there was a head wind. Yuck....focus focus focus....

Then Missy and Beyonce came on the ipod just around mile 10 and I was feelin' the love! I kicked it up just a bit despite the head wind that followed me to the end.

I got to mile 12.2 at 1:38.......boy was I getting anxious....and my stomach started to churn.

As I got closer to the end....a very popular and local runner jumped out on the course and proceeded to pace me all the way to the mat and my official finish time was 1:46:16. Yipee skippy!!! I was happy but ready to barf.

Here I am ready to barf.....

Not only was my time great, I got second place in my age group....but then there were only 3 chicas in my age group!  HA HA! I missed first place by 40 seconds....but I met the girl that beat me and I shook her hand and congratulated her at awards and she said to me "you kept me going-" Aww...snap!

So, I reflect on so many things today....particulary my readiness to actually train for a Boston Qualifying time for the next 17 weeks. I think I'm ready....I think I'm in a super amazing place in my running. 

Just this time last year, I was struggling for 10 min miles.

For a girl who never believed in herself....I never believed I was pretty, or smart, or a good friend/girlfriend......I never believed I was strong or confident. I never believed I was an athelete or talented in anyway. I never believed I could......

But that is starting to maybe I believe I can do this. Maybe I am strong....maybe I am a real runner now.

Stay warm and dry on your runs my blogger pals.......

Friday, November 28, 2008

It's My Birthday......

Ok, what a treat...yesterday was my birthday AND it was certainly a day of being grateful. I am very grateful for so many things in my life and yesterday was an awesome day to reflect on how good my life is and I was able to rest my head on my pillow last night feeling very satisfied that I am one lucky chica for having all the things I have in my life.

Anyway, I found this funny clip from Cheers called The Kelly Song....and well I'm not so diva like Kelly was on Cheers...but I love me a good song with my name in it! IS my birthday....and it IS all about "me!" Right?? Whatev......

Yesterday started off with a killer Turkey Trot 10K in which I PR'd big time. It was such a fun run. I met up with a few folks from our local runner meet up group and the weather couldn't have been more perfect and the route is flat and fast too so it was just right for me to get some indication of how strong I am post marathon.....and well lets just stay I surprised myself completely.
                     ME and The local runner group
I actually started the race off a bit too fast.....I latched on to this group of runners wearing bright orange T-shirts....some team I suppose, but they were movin' and scootin'. After I passed the 2 mile marker and saw 15 flat minutes on my watch I knew I was not in good company so I slowed up a lungs were starting to burn a little along with my shins. It was a good warm up though! I knew there was no way on earth I could hold 7:30 mpms for the whole 10K.

The race went on well despite my quick start....mile 4 was 30 min even on my watch and then I found 2 ladies who were running a good comfortable pace and I followed them to mile 6. My watch showed 46 min and some odd it was on to the last .2 which I tried desperately to speed up on....and I got a little nauseous from the pace and when I crossed the mat and through the finish line shoot....someone else must have felt the same way as me because there was a nice pile of puke to hurdle over...and I felt the urge to was scary.

My finish time was 47 min and 40 seconds......that is about 5 min off my best 10K time. It was an average 7:40 mpm. Holy moly. I'll tell ya what...I feel like a different runner since OBX. I have NEVER been a very good runner....but things are really starting to change and I am cautiously optimistic for my Shamrock training. My new mantra is to "make or break" the 3:50 BQ time for my age. We'll see......

Anyway, after the race I piddled around the house and then headed to my mom's for some seriously sinful feasting. To say my stomach was full and I was uncomfortable is putting it mildly. I had the food baby going on big time. I fell asleep on the couch with my mom's miniature pinchers at least half a dozen times....and then around 11 pm I hobbled my fat ass on home.

I had a great birthday.....Running Buddy hooked me up with cake and a cool new PINK gear dad sent some cashola and a cool new PINK mom hooked me up with some itunes gift cards and a cool new PINK Nintendo DS...(the kid in me still loves a good toy to play with)...and Wonder Boy got me a stand for my fish tank. All in all it was just a great day.

And hell no...I ain't going quietly into my 40's....I have a half marathon coming up tomorrow and its an inaugural event....always a favorite of mine to do the "first" of anything!!!

Here is a shot of the goods from yesterday.....blessed is what I am. Hope everyone had a great Turkey Day!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Out of the Funk and onto the Road....

I think I'm coming out of the dark and the post marathon funk is finally dissipating. I must say that after a week and a half past marathon, it was a rough emotional ride. It's bad enough just finishing the marathon and then just "missing" it like a long lost loved one who has gone away. But, all the crap that happened with my Running Buddy getting sick just made the funk that much worse. But, I'm feeling much better and I'm back on the road with a new goal!!

So, my activities post marathon have included:

1. Some easy running
2. Some easy spinning on the trainer
3. Making a vision board for the BQ goal
4. Keeping my head above water at work 
5. Enjoying a bit of down time between training cycles
6. Spending money on running stuff (new pink sunglasses, a winter running jacket....uh oh)

I did take it "easy" last week, as I was trying to recover....but it was tough. This past weekend I did a 10 miler and it felt awesome. It was hard to believe the weekend before I ran a marathon. I would safely say that I'm 90% recovered from OBX and in one week, I will start the training cycle for the Shamrock Marathon in March. It makes me so happy!

Worked sucked an egg roll was just hectic and it started with temps in the 30's with a 20 degree wind chill and I had to drag the damn trash cans out. Then I realized I needed to get some candy for two 4th grade students who won a contest I have every I had to stop at the grocery store. Then I get to work and all hell broke loose and it was just a long day.

By the time it all ended, I felt like I needed a nap. I had a 6 miler planned after school, but I must admit, I had to really dig into my running heart and soul to get's cold right now and I was tired.

But I have this killer new Nike running jacket:

Ok, I'm a huge Nike clothing fan....I can't stand their running shoes but their running gear kicks butt and this snappy new jacket is no exception. I saw it in last month's Runner's World and it looked like a must have. I'm picky about my cold weather wear because I hate to sweat and then freeze. This jacket truly does "wick" the sweat. I had an under armor base layer on with this jacket and although I did have a bit o' sweat going on, I stayed relatively dry in 38 degrees and I did NOT get a chill. This jacket also has REMOVABLE SLEEVES! Oh hurt turns into a vest too. I couldn't be more in love.

So, tonight I gave it a test drive. I put on my gloves, Brooks tights and new OBX head band that I bought from the expo and I swear when I looked in the bathroom mirror I looked like Mitzi the snow bunny ready for the slopes.

Then I met this fool:

Do you all know his crazy cold ass? Maybe you are too if you are, here is a bit of his resume: 
-Friends call him Snowmiser
-Whatever he touches...turns to snow
-Special abilities include projecting cold rays, lowering the temps of geographic areas and causing it to snow
-Preferred temperature: FREEZING

Whoa momma.....that cold blast from Snowmiser was a slap in the face. It took me at least a mile or two until my legs stopped feeling like popsicles. I hate WINTER....and it's not even here yet. Wonder Boy is trying to cheer me up with visions of a romantic raging fire this the fireplace people!

Anyway, after I finally warmed up and the Nike jacket did it's job, I was pleased with my 8mpm 6 mile run. It felt good to FINALLY be back on the road again!

Happy Wednesday blogger buds.......

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Happy Endings and Friendship

"Sometimes me think what is love....and then me think love is what last cookie is for. Me give up last cookie for you....." Cookie Monster

My Running Buddy's sacrifice to finish those last miserable, painful and grueling miles with me when I had already given up the fight, will never ever be forgotten.

I have been and still am in post marathon depression, which I googled by the way and it is a REAL condition. Wow, so in addition to some muscle soreness you get to experience a little emotional emptiness. I looked at my split times a little more closely and is the low down:

8:48 min per mile for the 1/2 marathon (1:55)
8:49 min per mile up to the 20 mile mark (2:56)
BAM! 9:58 min per mile and the dreaded WALL

And well, I was right on target for my Boston Qualifying time of 3:50 until mile 20. Before I even knew my splits I had given up the race for Boston. Even Wonder Boy tried to encourage me not to give up around mile 18, but the pain was more than I felt confident I could endure.

And I whimpered about it to Running Buddy....and she had many words of encouragement. But I couldn't convince my heart.

And then I thought about how lucky I was to have a good friend finish one of the toughest races I have ever done....and I saw this quote: 

"The most important thing in life is not the triumph but the struggle. The essential thing is not to have conquered but to have fought well."(Pierre de Coubertin)

And now I put this marathon to rest and move on to the next.....

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

My Most Handsome Hero

Although Veteran's Day is almost over, I am compelled tonight to send my thoughts and prayers to all the veterans who have and are serving this great country. Whenever I go to races big or small, and they play the National Anthem and say the Pledge of Allegiance, I almost always tear up. Our community here in Hampton Roads is very military....and well, my biggest military hero is my Dad.......

So tonight, I am dedicating a late evening post to my most hansome military hero. Although my parents are divorced and my Dad has lived far away from me for most of my life, he has always been there for me and has always given to me whenever I was in need. I have spent all of my life with my mother, but still in many ways I am like my Dad.

He served in the Navy for several years and fought in the Vietnam war when I was just a small child. My mother missed my father terribly while he was deployed on his ship....there are still several love letters and poems that fill photo albums and scrapbooks. My mother recalls still with sadness in her heart, her fear of my father being at war, her loneliness of having a small child all alone.....the longing for the love of her life.

It's a story I am reminded of on a daily basis as I see the parents of the children I work with separate from their families on deployment. It is the ultimate sacrifice.

Thank you Dad for you gallant and brave service to our country. You are and always will be my most handsome from your Irish Girl.....

Monday, November 10, 2008

Race Report

The weekend turned out very nice and the marathon was so much fun. I managed to PR this one with a finish time of 3:58:03. My main goal was to break 4 hours and I did it! All in all...I'm pretty darn happy with the race itself. The conditions couldn't have been more perfect. Here's the story:

Saturday morning, I got awake bright and earlier with knots and nerves in my stomach. Nothing new....but I was also obsessed with my disappointment over not going to the race with Running Buddy, so you can imagine the anxieties and emotions I was having.

Anyway, Wonder Boy and I headed south together and he did his best to cheer me up and help calm my nerves. We had some good laughs in the truck on the way down. The weather was very cooperative so that also eased my mind. I couldn't seem to shake my sadness over not having my partner so I texted her throughout the day.

We made it to the expo and it was PACKED full of runners. I picked up my packet and shwag bag and then it was time for some retail therapy. Poor Wonder Boy...he doesn't do crowds, so when I said to him "Ok! Let's go look around!" his eyes went googly and he said "Sh-sh-shop??" I had to explain to him that it was part of the marathon experience and there was no way I was going to pass it up.

The goodies were awesome....a booty bag, hair scrunchies, power bars, electrolyte samples, a huggy and some cereal...yummy

After expo, we checked out the surf and checked into the hotel and began the relaxation process.

We finally made it out to dinner around 6pm. I of course indulged in a few beers for nerve calming purposes. We had a good meal and it was a nice distraction to my nerves.

Back to the hotel and a feeble attempt to get my mind off of the marathon. We watched stupid movies, I texted Running Buddy, watched more stupid movies and then packed my stuff up for the race.

What an interesting night of sleep. I took one Tylenol PM to shake the restlessness and begged Wonder Boy to leave the TV on....which he graciously did. But because he has trouble sleeping without some sort of "white noise" he turned on the a/c/heat unit fan. I never noticed it until about 20min after I fell asleep and Wonder Boy turned off the TV. I woke right up and screeched "What is THAT??" It was a struggle between who would get or Wonder Boy. Thankfully, he had ear plugs. I plugged them in and attempted to resume some sleep.

But, every hour on the hour starting promptly at 2am I woke a sweat, and then cold, sweat, cold, sweat, cold, shiver.....until about 4:30am. It was a rough night of sleep. Seems I didn't need the 3 alarms plus wake up call that I had set for 5am.

I was up and moving and ready to hit the start line around 6am. The sunrise was breath taking.

We got to the start early and I was able to get in a good warm up run. I think all in all it was a perfect beginning.

Then gun went off and the game was on.

I did not have my GPS. So, I had no idea of my pace. This marathon had no pace groups either. I was completely on my own with the exception of a sticker I made for my sleeve that had split times for a 3:50 finish.

I hit every mark with a 2min cushion time up until the 1/2 marathon point. I suppose that was bad in the end for me. I did read somewhere that it's better to pace yourself and not try to put "time in the bank" with a faster pace. I was so comfortable though. My first mile was a 9mpm....then I cranked up to just over 8:30mpm. I'm not sure this was a good idea since NONE of my really long runs were done at this pace. But I thought "hey, you have fresh legs and you ran your 1/2 marathon at 8:24mpm...shouldn't you be able to hold at least an 8:50mpm???" Hmpf.....

Well, as I feared, the 2.5 mile jaunt through Nags Head Woods zapped me. That darn trail is too hilly. I don't mind the packed dirt....but I HATED the curvy and hilly aspect of it. I could feel my heart rate go too thighs started to burn...I started to get hungry but I had so much anxiety in my stomach. I knew Running Buddy was waiting somewhere on the course for me and I was anxious about that. Things started to crumble a little in those woods.

And to add injury to insult...the last half mile is a single track, mulch packed trail that is EXTREMELY hilly and ends with a climb out of the woods. I was huffing and puffing as I exited the woods. I crossed the 13.1 mat at 1:55 but boy was I feeling a little winded.

Running Buddy met me there along with her family, fiance' and Wonder Boy. It was SO good to see them all. They had signs and cheers and I wanted to cry. Running Buddy came up to me and started to run with me....taking my sweaty shirt.....making sure I had what I needed. All I could say was say "I miss you." She reassured me and said that she would meet me again at mile 20. And then she was gone and I was back on my own but feeling a little stronger and happy that I had seen my partner.

I cruised along from about mile 14 until around mile 18 when I noticed my legs were feeling quite tired. I was still hitting my time marks....I think I hit mile 17 at 2:30. But I was starting to get concerned that I wouldn't hit the 2:55 mark necessary to make the 3:50 finish. My legs were really starting to loose their strength. 

By the time I hit mile 18.5 I knew things were not going good with the legs. My thighs were KILLING me and all I wanted to do was pop out from the sound side part of the run (which is also curvy and rolling with some hills.) and see Running Buddy for some encouragement.

As I came around the turn exiting the sound side and onto the highway, I knew the run for 3:50 was over.....I was past mile 19 and the 2:55 mark was slowly creeping up....

Finally, mile 20 and I see my Running Buddy....and she was ready to run. What a RELIEF to see my calming presence. By this time, the pain was horrible.

In the marathon, I see the miles past 20 as a big mystery. Every marathon is different on those last 6 miles. You run the 20 miles and you get to the last 6....and the finish line is separated by a double steel door....and you go in through the door and its dark. The soul of the marathon sits there in a big chair with a drink and cigarette and it looks at you and laughs and says "you think you can get through this part of my darkest room and succeed? Good luck!" and then it throws pain at you in every place you never thought possible. I had my ass handed to me on a shiny silver platter. I got humbled and humiliated on those last 6 miles inflicted on me by the marathon because I attempted a pace that was beyond my ability to sustain.

Thank goodness for Running angel....who graciously talked me through those last miles....and reminded me of how strong I inspiring I am...and how proud she was of me. I couldn't speak...only grunts and a few occasional giggles. Then there was silence and then only the sound of my labored breathing.

And occasionally she would try to sing to the Rocky theme...and something about "don't you know that you are my hero...." and all I could do was shush her....because ugh! No songs!! Especially those!

Then the took whatever was left in my legs. I could barely climb. And when I got to the other end....Running Buddy saw a side of me that she has never seen.....a demoralized, tired, and weak runner. And then she said something to the extent of "Running the last 6 miles and finishing this marathon with you means more to me than any time I could have gotten if I had run this race." I would have cried inconsolably on any other occasion.....but I was tired. I was so deeply moved. It was a very emotional moment for me.

I tried to pick up the pace as I saw the 3:50 time hit my watch. I only had less than a mile at that point but I was doing the marathon shuffle. Running Buddy and I made it to the last .2 and we crossed the mat together. It was so much fun. I was in so much pain.

The after race party was nice. I had a few beers and there was some good music. It was such a gorgeous day and now marathon number 6 is in the bag!!!

Running Buddy and her family left to come back to Virginia Beach after we all hung around for awhile. I will selfishly confess that I wished I could have spent the whole rest of the afternoon with my running partner, just the two of us, drinking a few more beers and rattling her ear off about my 26 mile journey. I just felt very attached to my partner at that time and knew that she would be the only one that would really understand the story and listen attentively to every gory detail. Sometimes I think only runners really understand each other.

But we all said our good byes...and Wonder Boy and I went to lunch and I had a very delicious meal and some more beer!! It was all good.

After I got home, I spent some time with my mom. I ended up falling asleep for a little while with her dogs all wrapped up with me, a warm blanket in a big ol' lazy boy chair. And I felt like a little kid again....being at my mom's and sleeping peacefully as she sat with me. 

Today, I am home resting and recovering and there is no school tomorrow so I ended up with a 4 day weekend!! I really want to start running again. I hope to be back on the road again soon. Shamrock training cycle begins in 3 weeks!!

Hope everyone had a great weekend! I will post a few more pics this week...hopefully of Running Buddy and I crossing the finish line!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Letting Go

Well it's official...Running Buddy has the flu and has been fighting a fever all week. My biggest nightmare has come true. I am so sad, I can't even focus on the marathon this Sunday.

I think we were both hoping and praying that things would get better yesterday, but her fever spiked to 101.4 last night and although today she feels better, she is tired and worn out from fighting the war.

So, the decision is for her to not run Outer Banks this weekend. I can't say I know how SHE feels because I have always been able to run my races and meet my goals. I got sick one time...last year, when I ran the Shamrock Marathon with Running Buddy....and I made it through. So, I really don't know what it feels like to throw in the towel....or DNF for that matter.

I have so much respect for my best Running Buddy for making the admirable decision to not run on Sunday and jeopardize her health...because in the long just isn't worth it.

But I am SO sad that it has ended this way for her with all that we have been through. All the miles.....all the hours of talking....coaching and hoping for a better time on Running Buddy's second marathon. She put it perfectly tonight...."I can't seem to put closure on this....." and really...... how do you put closure on 18 weeks of training and then not even make it to the start line?

I have all the respect in the world....for those folks who train for marathons and triathlons...specifically Ironman....and get sick or injured after months and months of hard work. 

I'm selfishly sad because I trained Running Buddy and I want her to finish this thing. But I can't even imagine what she is feeling or going through....not being able to run...knowing I AM running.....and thinking about all the hard work she has done and not being able to run the race.

How is it that these little things seem so big and so unfair?

I ran 4 miles tonight in the dark and in the rain....and it couldn't have been more depressing. I know that in order for me to do my best on Sunday...I have to let it go. I need to accept the fact that my best running bud got sick and can't run and that after she gets well we will pick up where we left off. 

But until then, I have to cry a little, take a deep breath and breathe...and hope that when this weekend is all over, I will have put closure on a journey we started together and I ended for us both.

Oh my....just 3 more days. Wonder Boy and I will travel south for my 6th marathon Saturday morning. Tomorrow, I am taking a half day off from work and I am going to go have lunch with my biggest mom...who saw me through my first Outer Banks Marathon. I think I will try to squeeze a 3 miler in down at the beach when I leave from school. After lunch with my mom, Wonder Boy and I will go surfing.  It will ultimately calm my nerves and take my mind off my sadness.

I am excited about the marathon on Sunday,  but I feel rather lonely. 

Ok, in honor of Running Buddy's hard work and determination....I promise to run hard, run fast and remember the power of pink.

Damn...this sucks.

Thanks blogger buddies for keeping in touch! I will blog before I leave on Saturday and then post my race report. Please, pretty please, end me some goooood vibes!!!!!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Waiting Game

This week is driving me nuts already. Five days to go and I can't stand waiting. Yes, waiting for the marathon. I feel ready to go...I just wanna go. I want to just run and I can't because I'm on taper. I feel strong and ready and I can't do anything about it.

So, I'm spending obscene amounts of money on running stuff. I just bought a new top, pink running bra and jacket for this weekend. It made me feel good. I also bought this cute little accessory at a local running shop:

And it's PINK! Whoo hoo! Actually, I saw it when I picked up my race packet for the Sandman Triathlon back in September and I have been wanting to have it ever since.

Here is the run down on my workouts since taper started. Just some 5 milers and few 4 milers with Running Buddy.  We had a fun 10 mile local trail run with some folks from the running meet up group on Saturday. I think Running Buddy got a little eye opener.....the run was a little bit of a challenge since the route had some single track trails, lots of sand and a few steep hills with more sand. 

Sunday, we only did an easy 5 miler and then I couldn't stand it....the weather was just too perfect so I took out my Cannondale carbon fiber bike and rode 54 miles. Really, I just cruised it was SUCH a gorgeous day.

Today, since the time has changed, I did an easy 5 miler in the dark with all my blinking and flashing lights. I looked like a Christmas tree. Then I went and spent more money.

Then I got the dreaded text message from my Running Buddy....."I have a 100.1 fever and I'm sick" We are 5 days out from our marathon. I'm so worried.

Off to vote tomorrow so I will be forced into a much needed rest day. Then, I sit and wait....and wait...and wait....until Sunday.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Funny Campaign Add

Anyone out there tired of the campaign adds? Man, its just getting old and in some cases just with the mud slinging and all with some of the local candidates.

I just found this very funny SNL spoof on campaign adds. Hope you get a good laugh.

I've been cheating a little on the blogging....I am on taper and ready to pull out my hair. Not much is going on in my running scene other than trying to keep myself sane until the marathon. I'm just ready to do the marathon.

I promise more substantial blog material tomorrow.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Spooky Running

Found this YouTube clip and thought it was appropriate for the spirit of Halloween! I think Running Buddy and I are going to dress up in tacky Halloween wear on our runs next week.

Running Buddy and I have had a great week of running. We are officially on taper and I am having on and off bouts of nerves and anxiety for the marathon. Running Buddy is picking up the slack and planning activities for the next 2 weeks to help me keep my mind occupied. She is such a good friend. 

We are on for a 15 miler tomorrow and then that pretty much wraps up any long running we have until we meet the 26.2 in North Carolina. We are both tremendously excited.

Have a great weekend blog buddies!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

A Light at The End of the Tunnel

Running Buddy and I completed our last 20 miler today and I think we are finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. We have been struggling with these last few long runs and Running Buddy has been mostly compelled to stop dead in her tracks just before or slightly after the half marathon point. She gets discouraged and then well, the run just sucks from there and mentally its over in her head.

But, this time, knowing it was our last shot at a good long run.....and the last time we will flirt with the marathon distance until the marathon......I planned the pace out just right based on her 1/2 marathon time from last weekend's Fleetweek race.

I crunched out some numbers and came up with a 3 hour and 10 min finish based on a 9:45 mpm pace for the first 13.1 miles and then a negative split time of 9:30 mpm for the last 7.

And BAM! We did it without stopping (except for a brief period to drink and eat some shot blocks). Not only did we make it....we did the last mile at 8:30. I have NEVER seen my Running Buddy finish so strong. We knocked out the 20 miles in 3 hours and 12 min.  I have to add that there was an extremely stiff north wind blowing today at 15mph sustained with gusts up to 20 at the beach.

It was the confidence boost Running Buddy needed for OBX coming up in 3 weeks.

I got a little emotional in the car on my way home as this last 20 miler is a little bitter sweet. I have put so much of my own heart and soul into helping Running Buddy achieve her goal and at the same time get myself to a better level of running that I am completely emotionally drained as much as I am physically tired from the rigors of this training cycle.

I just can't believe I did it without quitting because, unfortunately, its a nasty little character flaw of mine (quitting). Many times, I was ready to quit and let Running Buddy handle her own training. But after today's's been all worth it.

Now, I can sit back and taper with a smile....let Running Buddy go do her thing at OBX and know that I was a part of getting her to her goal.

As far as the emotional emptiness goes......I know I gave it all.....the advice.....the motivation.....the pushing and coaching and just being there for every run....knowing when to let go and when to stay. It has brought me to my knees today. As of this last run, it's out of my hands and Running Buddy has to make the rest happen on her own. As far as the race goes.....we decided to run at our own paces. It's not what my heart wants because for's all about the love of running and the camaraderie NOT about speed. But it's what my partner would prefer to do for for fear of holding me back. 

Well now, on a lighter are some pictures to make you laugh. They are indeed a little better than the last race but still....I just DONT take a good picture!

Hope everyone had a fantabulous weekend!

                                            BEFORE (Fleetweek 2006)                                                                            

 AFTER (Fleetweek 2008)            

HAPPY ME! Another PR!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

I've Been Tagged!

YAH! I have been tagged! Thanks Joy! So, here are a few random but boring things about me...the REALLY is boring but here goes:

1. I am an absolute Soap Opera freak. I am obsessed with All My Children, One Life to Live, and General Hospital.  I have been watching them since I was in the 5th grade. Um...if my math is correct that puts me at wasting several hours of approximately 30 years of my life engrossed in soaps.

2. I once fell through the ice when I was little and nearly drowned. My first brush with death. Oh, that's a bit morbid.

3. I'm a certified diver but I'm terrified of drowning. See #2

4. I once rode an elevator with Michael Jordan. Yummy...

5. I hate cooking and I don't know how. If it doesn't come in a bag, can or box, I don't mess with cooking unless someone does it for me. I am blessed to be in love with a "man's man" who loves to eat and cook.

6. I was a band geek and played the clarinet from junior high school until high school. It was the most amazing experience.
This one is for my blogger friend hair isn't as big but it's still a lot of hair!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Wardrobe Make Over

I had a rough start to my morning today. First, I stayed up way too late reading tons of blogs. It's like I have become obsessed. Plus, I had two bloody mary's. And, I did a tempo run with Running Buddy yesterday for 7 miles followed by a 1 hour spin in front of Dancing With the Stars.

When the alarm went off this morning, I felt like poop. I dragged myself to the shower, ate my breakfast and poofed my hair. Then, I ironed some clothes for work. I wore a my gray capri pants, 'cuz it's still summer around here. The capris have a zipper on the side. Well, this zipper has been giving me grief for awhile, and well today it decided it was done. 

It jammed up, got caught in part of the pants and wouldn't budge. It would have taken a pair of pliers to get it unstuck. I was breaking a sweat trying to get it unstuck. 

I had 5 min before I needed to get out the door and I was still arguing with the zipper. I finally said F-it, and I ironed another pair of pants. I was pissed.

And it made me realize, it's time to go clothes shopping. OH THE HORROR!

I hate shopping for clothes. Nothing ever looks good on me, I'm fashionably retarded and well, I just don't have the patience.

Do I see things that are cute? Yes. Do I think they would look cute on ME? No.

But, my current wardrobe is showing its age along with its owner.....and it's time for a wardrobe make over.

Now if only I had the money.

In honor of the dreaded dressing room experience, I found this HILARIOUS video about trying on clothes.  Enjoy...

Fleetweek pictures to follow tomorrow......

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Hitting the Mark

What a great day and awesome race the Fleetweek 1/2 Marathon was!! Honestly, I couldn't have prayed harder for the amazing weather conditions and flat route. It made a PR that much easier to obtain.

The day started out like every race Running Buddy and I go to together. She came to my house just a few minutes late and had just gotten up as usual. It was a bit cool in the morning with a breeze but otherwise, perfect conditions for running.

We got there in plenty of time to warm up, walk around, make one last potty stop and get a good spot at the start line.

So the big decision for me was which pace group to follow. I chickened out of the 1:45 pace group and went with the 1:52. I guess I was just too afraid of starting the race at an 8 min mile. I think it might have been too much for me to handle. Part of me says I could have done it, but I don't think it would have been a very pretty ending.

There were a few familiar faces in the 1:52 pace group and that was good too.

Running Buddy got into the 2:oo hour pace group. She has been fighting funk all week but is much better this weekend than last with just some lung chunks and loose nasal drips. I'm still trying to teach her the fine art of dry blowing......

I have to admit I got choked up leaving her behind in the 2:00 hour pace group. It was very hard not running with her but she completely talked me out of letting me go slower with her. For me, it's all about the camaraderie and friendship. But Running Buddy sees it a bit differently and well, we just ran our own paces and I'm finally ok with that.

The 8:25 mpm was EXTREMELY comfortable for me. I had no trouble keeping up, breathing or pacing. It just felt so easy. One of the group leaders started to get a bit ahead of that pace and I stayed with her. Then the other leaders yelled for her to slow down. And she did.....and I kept going. And at that point, I was no longer with the pace group.

I was on my own.

Not that I was afraid, but I had to be VERY aware of my speed. I wasn't wearing Garmin so I had to do the stupid math in my head with just my watch.

I had no trouble pacing myself at all for the whole race. 

I did get a bit of a belly ache around mile 9 when I took some water. I got a little nervous that maybe the water had some funk in it. My belly ache started to get my attention and I thought to myself......"how could I be nauseous after being hungry at the start line??" 

Then I burped.

And it was all good.

Oh, and I got a stupid blister too. It felt like a rock at first. Then I knew after about 10 min I was working a blister.

At mile 10, I decided to kick it up.  My split was an 8:14 mpm after a steady tempo of 8:24.

I finished the race in 1:49:53. My age group place was 6th out of 60 women. I couldn't be happier.

And....I am so happy with my training up to this point for the Outer Banks. So far, it's all falling into place.

And as far as my Running Buddy goes.....its a shout out to her....she is FINALLY starting to show some awesome progress and I am so encouraged for Outer Banks and Shamrock in March. Lately, we have been having some tough runs.

Running Buddy went out too fast in the beginning and started to slow after mile 10. She learned a lesson. But overall, girlfriend finished in 1:59. The goal was 2 hours. I'm one proud partner....and one very blessed friend to have such a great running pal.

The Fleetweek 1/2 Marathon continues to be one of my local favorites. There is nothing more humbling and inspiring then running past the huge air craft carriers parked up on the docks at the Naval Base. It's so amazing and so beautiful.

Tomorrow, Running Buddy and I will do a recovery run and then I hope to sit down and plan out the last 2 weeks of real running before taper madness begins!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Stupid Nerves

I have been sitting on pins and needles since Wednesday about the half marathon coming up tomorrow.  Ugg....its randomly wreaking havoc on my digestive system too.

Not that I don't think I can do this thing tomorrow....lord knows I have run several half marathons. But my expectations for tomorrow are making me nuts in my head and causing me to have obsessive thoughts about pace and time and performance....and lions and tigers and bears oh my!

I went for a 7 mile race pace run last night to try to ease my jitters. There was a TERRIBLE head wind up the boardwalk for the first 3.5 miles but I managed to hold an 8:30mpm. Of course the turn around was great and I held a 7:30mpm for the rest of the way. Total time was roughly 55 min. Although it should make me feel really doesn't because my mind always wanders to the "cup half empty" side.....and I start saying to myself "what if my ankle starts to hurt, what if there is a headwind, what if my hammies start to slow me down??"

I WHAT IF myself to DEATH.

Then the nerves roll in when I think about trying to run somewhere between an 8mpm and an 8:15. Just don't know if I can do it.

So I was in a nervous funk last night that ruined my evening with Wonder Boy.

I made the mistake of watching "Spirit of the Marathon" in the middle of the night last night which gave me freaky dreams.

An absolute MUST SEE for those of you obsessed with the Marathon

I'm beginning to sound like a nut case!  AH....just breath......

Well, off to go pick up my packet for tomorrow's race.

If nothing else, I'm very excited to be running this 1/2 marathon knowing there are so many others out there pounding the pavement too this weekend! I look forward to stalking everyone's race reports!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Saturday Morning Reflections

First, let me say how SUWEET it is to sleep in. The 5:30 wake up time for work is a killer. So, when I get to stay in that wonderful heaven called THE BED until 8 snuggled with the stinky Golden's all good.

I just realized I haven't blogged all week. 

My life is boring.

The running is good and I am only 3 weeks to *taper madness*. I actually went social last night and ran with a group of local folks (mostly dudes) for a 4 mile recovery run and then we stopped at a local beach watering hole for a beer. That was a huge treat for me and a major milestone because #1....I'm socially retarded and #2....I am always intimidated running with dudes....especially young ones.

I am pretty sore and tired this weekend from the massive amount of miles I have accumulated in the last 2 weeks. I ran 20 milers for the last 2 weekends with Running Buddy and had two 10 mile mid week runs. I totalled 58 miles in the ol' Asics last week and this week I pulled off another 7:50 mpm 9 mile tempo run. I do feel some tightness in my hamstrings and soreness in the left hip....SURPRISE! Yeah Yeah, I know...I am backing down big time this week. I do have the 1/2 marathon to consider next Sunday so it's going to be all about biking but still running with fewer miles next week. Gotta freshin' up!

Ok, I'm posting these pictures only so I can give my blogger buds a good laugh. The Neptune 8k photo finish shots are the worst pictures EVAR. They are so bad they almost deserve some kind of trashy award. Here they is:

         I call this one WHAT'S THAT SMELL??!!

Do I look like a man?

Ok, a little better but SHEESH! What kind of facial expression is going on?

Really, its the rain

I am really getting excited for the Fleetweek 1/2 marathon and I can't decide if I want to try to get in the 1:45 pace group. That means an 8 mpm run for 13 miles and not ONE SECOND slower. I'm afraid if I get in that group and I can't hang on I will hate myself. 

Oh the pressure!

The jury is still out on the East Coast. Have a fantab weekend friends!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

My Rapture is a Rainstorm

Today was the Neptune Festival 8K in Virginia Beach and of course I signed up a little late this year due to the freaky weather we have been experiencing for the last week. We had a nasty Nor' Easter blow in and it brought several inches of rain and very windy conditions earlier in the week. It made training very interesting.

But by today, things were supposed to clear out.  Hmpf.....more lies.

I got up this morning to check the radar and sure enough.....storms loomed off the coast. I wasn't sure if those storms would roll our way but it wasn't looking good when I headed out the door. Those dark mean clouds that lay low in the sky were swarming as I headed to the oceanfront.

By the time I got there, the drizzle started. By the time I picked up my packet, it was raining.

I met up with a few of my running friends and we all huddled under the Old Lighthouse Museum until the start. There were probably 30 people huddled up together. By the time they called everyone to the start line, it was POURING down raining.

The gun went off and I ran my heart out....quick start or not I just wanted to get it over with. I couldn't believe how hard it was raining and it seemed like it only rained harder as we made our way up the beach.

As we came around our first turn, I saw a guy running ahead of me with a jersey on that had a holy cross on the back. It struck me at first, being a slightly spiritual and part time catholic person. Could it be a sign?

We all plodded up the rain soaked and puddle ridden street with the wind to our back. I didn't wear my ipod for obvious reasons so it was a different experience to hear people breathing and wet shoes hitting the pavement.

Of course I forgot to start my watch, so when I looked down at the 5k mark....there was a big fat 0:00! I seem to be having a problem with this.

I started to feel the pace on the 5k. I was poopin' out for sure. So, I latched on to some dudes who seemed to be maintaining a decent pace.

I never really look up when I am running hard and getting tired. I get less observant too. So when I started to follow these guys, I only noticed one thing.....a guy with untied shoelaces. I named him "shoelace guy" and he was pacing me pretty good. 

I stared at his flopping shoelace for the last 1.9 miles. All I could think about was how much I wish I could bend down and tie his shoe.

And then he ramped it up for the last maybe .3 miles and I couldn't hang on to the finish. And I never noticed anything more about him other than his flopping shoelace.

So I cranked it up and finished that 8K run in 38 min. As I crossed the mat....."shoelace guy"came up and congratulated me. He said....

"Great helped me so much. Thank you, that was just a great run and you really got me through to the end."

I was so touched that I introduced myself and shook his hand. He said "My name is Keith and I'm out here running for my mom who died last year of cancer." And that is when I noticed the holy cross on the back of his jersey.....he was the dude with the cross I saw earlier in the race.

I remember mumbling something out of my mouth....I don't know.... but I was so overcome with emotion that I walked away with the biggest lump in my throat and by the time I got to the boardwalk, I was in a full on cry. I cried because of how much I love my own mother. I cried because I helped Keith push himself to the end in honor of his mother.....and he was a total stranger.

I'm a sap.

Either way, here is the result......First Place in my age group

Thanks for the awesome pace Keith-aka "Shoelace guy"

It rained most of the morning and through awards ceremony. I was cold and damp and shivering but it was worth the wait to get the plaque. HA! I'm getting a pretty cheesy collection of this stuff. 

All in all, my running keeps getting better. I have reached a new level physically and emotionally and I keep dreaming about qualifying for Boston.

No more races until Fleetweek 1/2 in 2 weeks. The rubber hits the road here.

The story continues on the East Coast. Have a good weekend blogger buddies!!

Summer Vacation