Adjusted Reality

“Reality can be beaten with enough imagination.” – Mark Twain

Month: November 2012 (Page 1 of 2)

The Trots

The turkey trots, that is. 🙂

So, if you haven’t been paying attention, 11 days before this race, I ran a marathon.

Up until 3 days before this race, my training has involved margarita to mouth reps and couch ass plants and as much time in pajamas and not in spandex as possible.

I was more than prepared for a personal worst.  I expected it.  I was going to run this slow.

Then, I had a really blissful 3 miler on Tuesday where nothing hurt, my turnover felt better than it has for months, I felt… light, airy, and FAST.  I thought maybe, just maybe, I had some speed hiding somewhere in there.  I figured why not give it a try – not as if I’m saving these legs for anything.

After a crappy night of sleep, we were up and going at about 6:30am.  I laughed that triathlon Quix who had to be up at 4 to get to transition by 5:30 would be saying “Poor baby…” but been-on-vacation-all-week Quix was like “WAH, it’s EARLY!!!!”  I figured it was just 5 miles, so I cut a nice slice of crusty sourdough and had that for breakfast instead of my norm and some tea (nothing I’ve done race morning but I’ve definitely had the same quality of food before morning runs).  We parked in a different spot than last year, and walked 1.5 miles there as a warmup (which was MUCH better than sitting in a car in traffic for 1 hour+ to park), and dithered around and port a pottied and got water and ran about .25 of a mile and then lined up.  Normally Zliten likes to sandbag his pace and start further back, but after the dodging and weaving drama at RnRSA, he decided to start with me in the 9-10 minute mile corral.

My plan was to start out around 9:30s and see what happened from there.  If I was having a good day, I could cruise into the 8s the latter half and rock this race.  If I wasn’t, I could maintain or slow a little without completely blowing up.  Zliten looked at me like I was a little cuckoo inn the cocoa puffs and said his goal was 11s.  The race started, we smooched, and took off side by side but running our own races.

I remembered there were hills but forgot the first mile was ALL UP HILL.  I was feeling decent so I pushed it -garmin said about 9:45.  I crested the hill and saw ZLITEN.  So 11s were more like keep-up-with-Quixs.  OOOoook.  The next mile was steep ass rollers, so it was 7 min mile pace, then 11, then 7 then 12.  I cruised as hard as I could through these, and actually followed Zliten up the last one.  After we crested the last bad one, I took a few seconds to recover, and then kicked back to 9:20s.  I was about 9:50 avg – so way behind my norm but I still had time to get it.

Pushing kept getting harder and harder, even on the flats and finally around 3.3 I noticed that a) I would need unheard of speeds to not make this my personal worst and b) I just had no gas.  I had been fighting my lungs and legs the first 5k and then around then my head left the party too.  And I was ok with it.  I made a new goal to finish under a 10 min/mile pace (which under normal circumstances should have been cruise pace for a 5 mile race) and kept on keeping on.

I’ve run this route many times and coming over the bridge at 3.3 is where I usually start to kick and accelerate.  I had nothing today.  All the gas was gone.  This was a slog to the finish.  I’m thankful I made an impromptu secondary goal, because it was the only thing keeping me pushing and not walking it in.  I took my first water stop around 4 and that pepped me up a bit and I did anything I could to keep my average pace below 10 (it was hovering between 9:58 and 10:01).  I hit the end bridge which I usually cruise down in the 7s or 8s and could barely keep it in the 9s but I just stayed with it and pushed and finally found some kick the last stretch.  I ran to the finish and crossed at 50:05 for 5.03.

My previous times were 45:50 (different course), 42-something for a 4.54 mile oops it’s short course, and last year 46:30-something  for the same course.  Year 1 I trained specifically for this.  Year 3, it was in the middle of specific training to 10:15 pace a marathon.  This year, it was definitely a post-script to the season, but a 3 minute PW was a little sad even if it was totally expected and made sense.

What made me incredibly happy though… I caught up with Zliten at the finish and he showed me his garmin – 50:11.  Holy fuck – this boy PRed this race by 10 minutes from last year.  He had a great day, and though I lost him on mile 3, he had the juice I was missing and pushed hard and accelerated and finished strong.  He felt like he was going to puke for a while after the race.  I had been stressing that’s how you need to feel at the end of a short race to know you gave it your all (and not feel like you had a few more miles in you) and he did it!  Although, I’m thankful I was still able to beat him by 9 seconds. I don’t like him beating me. 🙂

Instead of being all emo, I’m taking this as a good yardstick of where I’m at.  I may feel like I’m omg lets go train hard again, but this is a huge validation that it is a GOOD THING I’m taking time to do step class with the blue hairs and yoga and pedal my bike slow and take happy garmin-less runs and sleep in and just de-intensify.  Because I’m not.  If I can barely push myself through a 10 min/mile 5 miler racing, I am nowhere near healed and need some time.  Just because I feel fine doesn’t mean I am fine.  And being not-fine is actually fine after the year I’ve had.

This was race #22 of the year I showed up at, healthy, and ready to do battle.  That blows my mind.  Once we made this 24 races in 12 months goal (with new longer distances), I figured, I’d have to show up sick, injured, onthefloortired, or whatnot and just get through, or worse, DNF/S.  Not so.  I’ve not won every fight, but I’ve certainly done what I could each day with an in-tact Quix.  They’re not all winners, but I’ve learned something at each and every one.  Some rewarded me with outcomes I never thought possible (hi 2 u Pflugerville Tri, Tri Rock, and RnRSA marathon), some showed me weakness and what I needed to improve,and there may have been many high and lows, elation and tears, but I don’t look back on any of them and think “why the fuck did I race this?”.  They all had a purpose.  Whether it was perfecting race day strategy, trying something new, building to an A race, completing a series, or just helping pace my Zliten, every race day has been worthy of the champagne I’ve celebrated with after.

Look for more specifics after race 23 and 24.  After the year we’ve had, we want to go out with a bang.  The mind is willing, but the body is beaten.  So, no century rides,ultras, polar bear club swims, or that sort of epic.  We searched and searched and finally came up with it.

Dec 15th – 8am – 5k race. 6:30pm – another 5k race.  It’s they day after my last day of work for the year.  In another 3 weeks, I should be rested enough to try to best my time (on the same course from May).  The evening one is a tour though the city’s best light show, and I plan to run it with “hydration” (nog and brandy, etc) and enjoy the pretty lights and the end of my epic year.  Or maybe see what I can do there too.  Who knows.

Since I missed posting this last weekend, here’s my racing/tri/sporty thankfuls:

-We have family that love and supports (even if they think we’re crazy) what we do.  Even if my mom is sometimes like, “Are you going to win the race?” hehe.  Yeah.
-I have a husband that is not only supportive, but has fully drank the triathlete koolaide and loves it just as much if not more than me.
-I have not yet had to really choose between my hobby and my jobby.  It may be a huge juggling act sometimes, but I’ve always made it work.
-I may feel like I’ve gotten SLOWER, but I don’t for long lose sight that my base has gotten huge and I feel like I could tackle distances that baffled me even months ago.
-I went from eating like crap, to eating as little as possible (and probably kind of killing my metabolism) to eating like an endurance athlete to fuel my races.  I may still have body issues and sometime cringe at race pictures, but beneath some of the flubber I wish to lose, I have a strong amazing capable body that lets me do things I never imagined at 265 lbs, or even 125 lbs.  Marathoner, half ironman triathlete, what?  Much better than supermodel skinny.
-I have a gaggle of bloggy people that amaze and inspire me on a weekly basis.  You all inspire me to do more and be better.  I always feel like a stalker when I totally athlete-crush on bloggers I’ve never met, but I’m a card carrying member of the fan club of the folks below…
Katie, awesome Ironman and triathlete
Sonja, Katie’s coach
Sarah OUAL, Oiselle runner extraordinare
Nicole, Ironmanx2
Ty, fast ass Boston Marathoner and triathlete
Monica, crazy fast socal runner gal and eater of delicious foods
Sweaty Emily, fellow lover of race day champagne, winner of ultras, and all around badass
Pinkypie, an endurance lady from across the pond
The Happy Runner, who makes me realize that possibly having babies someday just means more PRs with additional cheering squads 🙂
Tricia, who inspired me to consider the marathon, who is a huge inspiration to many, and who has the most adorable son
The Oiselle Ladies, who actually make me think living in Seattle might be fun (and inspire the crap out of me in both fast running and business)
Libby, badass ultrarunner, who also inspired me to think about marathoning, and runs a marathon or ultra every few weeks.  And is a badass race director.  Y’know.  No big deal.
Charlotte – as they say, my sister from another mister.  I read her blogs and so often go “OMG ME TOO!!!”
Josie, who is an amazingly strong, buff, hilarious woman who inspires me to be buffer
Tonja, who I online-met in the weight loss days, who turned her love of fitness into a business and trains people to be superheros!
Annabelle, who is also a sister from another mister in that “omg me too” way.  While I’m not quite in the vegan camp like she is, inspires me to be more ethical with the foods I eat and to love my bod for what it is.
Carla – I love this lady.  She inspires me daily to be both stronger and a better person.  I loathe that she’s leaving Austin and we have yet to meet (but it’s probably for the best as I’m more interesting online :D).

…and these are just the ones I remembered while I’m drinking whiskey on the patio at midnight.  Y’all are awesome and inspirational.  Consider yourself “I love you, man’d *hic*”  Hopefully the restraining orders don’t start piling in, but seriously, while pro athletes are awesome, YOU really inspire me because, like me, this is your hobby, not your job.  If I missed you, please comment!  Thanks to Ty for the linky love idea.

So, this week’s goals:

-Ease back into quality food in smaller quantities.  It was a shock to the system and I got through 3 days and then kinda went crazy over the holiday.  Track and aim for the 1000s (aka under 2000).

Last week: 1800. 1800, 1500, and then radio silence… 🙂

-Starting weight – 182.6 as of today.  Both UGH and not as bad as I was scared of.  I’d like to lose at least 1 lb this week, but secretly, I think some of this is water weight and I’d love to see sub 180 next week.

Last week: probably higher than that. *shudder*

-Movement – 30 mins cardio activity 5 times this week.  2 weights sessions. 1 yoga.  Cardio is anything.  Today and yesterday it was playing Dance Dance Revolution.  I forgot how much I love it and I may just play that for 6 weeks instead of swim bike run.

Last week’s movement: Monday: swim+ circuit training, Tuesday: 3 mile run + core and arm weights, Wednesday: 10 mile trainer ride+yoga, Thursday: 5 mile turkey trot run + 4 mile walk, Sunday: 30 mins DDR.  About 5 hours of activity.  That’s about right.

This week’s questions: what’s your favorite fitness activity? Hit me up so I can try it in the next 6 weeks!

Let me leave you with a bonus picture of our outdoor cat Nachocat being derpy!  Bonus internet cat pic ftw!

 

Detox

In the middle of peak training, when I get frustrated that all I do is swim/bike/run/eat/sleep/work/do laundry/repeat, I sometimes longed for the days when my hardest workouts were playing Dance Dance Revolution for 30 mins.  Or when I was not doing anything active.  How nice would that be for just a week and see how the other half lives again?

Well, I spent the week doing a lot of this…

and none of this…

…and I lived to tell the tale.  Barely.

Here is a day by day of how last week went…

Monday:

Mental – Wheeee!  I just ran a marathon and life is great and I’m so happy and I’m kinda tired in that “I ran a marathon yesterday” way which feels awesome.

Physical – Let’s just say I was “ambling slowly”.  Toilet sore (phrase shamelessly stolen from Charlotte – meaning it hurts to sit down and stand up from the toilet – aka OUCHY QUADS).  Still incredibly rungry.

Drink of the day – Margarita at dinner out with Zliten.  Very happy to be able to go out to eat and enjoy my Monday night instead of being in the gym swimming and doing weights or on the trainer.

Tuesday:

Mental: Still a bunch of yay happy lala rainbows and unicorns.

Physical: Ambling quicker.  Threw my back out a bit but it only lasted a few hours.

Drink of the day – A lot of vodka.  Out of Austin Half Marathon pint glasses.  Wearing my freaking marathon medal.  It was almost like training, with 100% more drunk tweeting than my normal Tuesday run (don’t have me on twitter? I’m @quixotique).

Wednesday:

Mental: Eh.  I’ve hit the “ok, time to be doing something” day and I am not.  Just kinda looking forward to getting through the week now.

Physical: Not sore anymore, but body feels kinda sluggish.  I could run now, but I really don’t feel like it.

Drink of the day: One cactus lime beer.  Halfheartedly.  I didn’t really want it, but I committed to one full week of being a lush, so who am I to break my streak?

Thursday:

Mental: Blaaaaargh.  All I want is my bed.  And I slept 10 hours last night.

Physical: Hhhhhuuurrrruuuunmmmmmpppphhhh.  Basically, I have no real appetite, I feel kinda run down and achey (like I have during major peak training weeks but since I’ve done jack and shit this week, it feel more like bed sores) and sort of yucky from indian buffet at lunch (which I ate much less than normal because the rungries are subsiding).

My conversation with Zliten about how I feel today:
(6:46:18 PM) Quix: i dont have much of an appetite but carrots are helping
(6:46:24 PM) Zliten: well good
(6:46:29 PM) Zliten: thats better than worse
(6:46:51 PM) Quix: i do feel kinda run down and achey, but no more than i have after some brutal training weeks
(6:47:05 PM) Quix: i think my body is just not quite sure what to do with running so hard on Sunday and then nothing
(6:47:07 PM) Zliten: oh see thats how I felt a few days ago
(6:47:23 PM) Quix: see before today I felt like I could go back out and run another marathon
(6:47:48 PM) Quix: today i think the “ok it’s time to actually recover” is kicking in and all i want is my bed
(6:47:56 PM) Zliten: ahh yeah
(6:47:56 PM) Zliten: ok
(6:48:01 PM) Quix: i’ve come down off the drugs as to say
(6:48:10 PM) Quix: gone through the withdrawals
(6:48:14 PM) Quix: and now just sort of exhausted
(6:48:18 PM) Zliten: that makes sense
(6:48:37 PM) Quix: a lot of things in me are saying “YOU COULD CURE THIS WITH A RUN!!!!”
(6:48:46 PM) Quix: but that’s not the point
(6:48:54 PM) Quix: the point is to heal and rest and recover
(6:50:09 PM) Quix: until today i was convinced i was ready to just hop back on everything next week, i was INVINCIBLE!
(6:50:17 PM) Quix: but today, I realize that I’m a looney. 🙂

Drink of the day: beer.  Lots of beer at beer night (which I haven’t gotten to go to for 5 months because I was training or tapering – YAY!).  I actually didn’t eat dinner (minus sharing some fries) because I was so full from the BEER.  This was also the only day I got any miles – a mile walk to, and a mile walk back from the bar, which actually felt pretty good and probably contributed to my better mood on Friday.

Friday:

Mental: A little more centered.  Because I knew I just had the weekend to go, and sort of making peace with my slothiness.

Physical: Legs feeling like coiled springs.  I can’t remember the last time I got out of bed and nothing hurts.  However, body is a little stiff from all that dang SITTING.

Drink of the day: Sonic diet cherry limeade margaritas.  Story behind this: intended to go out to a new bar near my house that just opened.  We got there and it was SO crowded, we weren’t into it.  Instead, since I was craving margaritas, I grabbed a big diet cherry limeade from Sonic and we mixed that with some tequila and orange liquor and a little extra lime juice, and it made 3 pitchers of pretty fantastic skinny margs.  They may have also been from my Austin Half Marathon pint and wearing my medal :).

Saturday:

Mental: Enjoyed the “stay in my PJs and read” part of skipping morning training, but then I got dragged out into the real world and, let me tell ya, I’ll take 4-5 hours at Lake Pf ANY DAY over doing bullshit like spending 2.5 hours at the car wash.  Or shopping for a kitchen organizer.  Or hitting costco.  I asked Joel “Is this what normal people do with their weekends” and he said “Yep, I think so”, to which I said “Well, I don’t really care for this” and he agreed.

Physical: I’m just starting to feel run down from not doing anything.  Usually, I get a bit of it after 2-3 days of nothing, and here I was at 6 being slothy.  Oh yeah, and the drinking.  I am definitely not in college any more.  The “just a beer” days really didn’t affect me, but getting buzzed 3 nights already in a week and it was only Saturday is not something I should make into a habit.

Drink of the day: Lotsa wine and champagne at our friends’ pre-Thanksgiving party.  Lotsa rum and diet cokes when we got home.  Pretty sure the end of the night got sucked into a black hole as I remember vaguely seeing 4am and then waking up at 11:30am.

Sunday:

Mental/Physical: I sat on the couch and played video games for 9 hours and pretty much ignored the world.  I realized that since I had drank Sunday after the marathon, so I thankfully didn’t have to have anything to drink today. =)

Summing it up: it was harder, and less enjoyable than I thought.  Last week, I won an contest for a shirt (thanks Tricia!), and after the trials of the week, I picked this one (It’s all good.  I ran today.)  Torture is when you know a run would solve your mental and physical issues, and you physically have nothing to stop you from running, but you’re not doing it for your own good.  I thought this week would be much easier.  I mean, I RAN A FREAKING MARATHON for godsakes, you think I’d be ready to hang up the shooz for a bit.  Silly Quix.  I’m excited for some more balanced weeks though.  Just a quick hit of the endorphins for the next few weeks more days than not.  Still getting to spend some more time with friends and family.  And definitely, less of the “getting drunk 3 days in a row” thing.

And, now, it’s Monday.  I’m back at it, at least half-assedly (on purpose).  I expected to bound out of bed and go want to run like 20 miles, but I actually had to drag myself out – I decided to do a circuit training class with the blue hairs over lunch and it was definitely something different and I haven’t done strength in weeks.  I was going to also run and swim today, but I’m trying to reign myself in, so I’ll do one or the other, and very slowly.  The goal this week is very general: do something.  5 days.  No more than 1 hour per unless it’s super low intensity.  No setting any PRs no matter HOW rested you feel.  The exception to this is my 5 mile turkey trot on Thursday.  I am fully accepting that it MAY be my worst turkey trot pace ever, but I’m ok to give the legs one last speedy hoorah if they have it in them to cruise.

I’ve done a lot of thinking about what’s next, but I’ve also made myself not do any concrete planning, signing up for races, training schedules, etc.  I’m now allowing myself in the coming weeks to re-read the Triathlete’s Training Bible, and start setting out a 2013 plan for us.

Also, it’s that time.  Today I’ve started tracking my food and working on eating like a normal, healthy human not an endurance athlete burning through calories like a furnace in Alaska.  The pants are definitely tighter from vacation, then 2 tapers, then a week off.  It’s time to work on shedding that plus some over this winter (I have not yet gotten on the scale – I feel like I want to give myself a week of being good FIRST so I don’t see a sad scary number and freak).  FASTER in 2013 part 1 is shedding some weight, in a healthy way, and maintaining my muscle.  I’m sort of not sure what a reasonable calorie goal (while pushing quality food, of course) is for me, so this week, the goal is to track, and end each day with a 1 in the front (under 2000).  Next week, we’ll see from there.

With that, I’m going to take my week off and try to get some stuff accomplished I’ve been putting off (but not so much stuff that I can’t enjoy some more slacker time).  We finally got our windows replaced last week – going from original 1960s single pane windows with cracked and degrading seals to new, energy efficient double pane pretty windows is amazing – plus we now have screens!  So I’m going to open up the house (something I’ve never been able to do), put on some groovy music, make healthy lunch, and rip my credit card a new one doing some online shopping buying some Christmas pressies.

Question of the day: what would you do with a week off and nowhere to go?

RnR SA Marathon

You R Awesome!

My 500+mb video of Quix kicking butt @ RnR SA Marathon. I cant upload it to Youtube with the music…

Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Marathon (not me) – Rock and Roll San Antonio Recap

I AM A MARATHONER.

And my head is in the most wonderful place.

This is not how I anticipated the day would end. I figured 1) I would have a great time, be beaten, battered, and broken, and be so ready for the offseason and kinda hate running/marathons etc or 2) I would have a miserable day, be beaten, battered, and broken, and be so ready for the offseason and kinda hate running/marathons.

I didn’t anticipate 3) have some highs and lows but being so happy at the end with a slightly longer time than I had hoped, but feeling so good at the end, if someone would have told me that it was now a 50k, I would have been like, OK, let’s do this.  Who am I?  Who has their happiest marathon miles in the last 10?

Let’s go back and I’ll elaborate.

All week, there was enough work stress that I had trouble sleeping one night stressed about it, and I got a zit from it.  My second zit in 2012.  So to say that it was NOT EASY.  Also, I was freaking the fuck out about the marathon and I figured that something bad would happen.  Getting sick.  Twisting my ankle stepping off a curb.  Something.  Finally by Friday I was in a better head state, and had gotten fantastic sleep since Monday, so I felt better about getting to the start line a-ok.

We went to the Texas Tri Series party, and I was 1 part bummed that my 2nd place finish in my age group wasn’t recognized because they only gave 1sts, but 100000 parts inspired to speed the fuck up next year. 2013 is for FASTER.  No new distances (probably).  Just speedspeedspeed and working on body composition.  Also, got the news that Jack’s Generic will be at my home turf (Lake Pflugerville) and it will have an Olympic option!  I AM SO STOKED!!!!  Is it tri season yet?

I guess I like biting things.  Usually awards.  =)

Then, Saturday morning we woke up, packed, and headed down to San Antonio.  I am never ever packing the day of again, I forgot so many things (most notably my foot powder – though it wasn’t all bad – I learned chafe-free works just as well if not better). But all the important stuff was there so it was a-ok.  We checked in to our hotel (the Mariott Riverwalk) and we could see the start line from our balcony.  Good hotel spot, check.  We hit up the expo, which was across the street (another big win for the hotel) and got our stuff quickly and circled through all the vendors but I was grumpy because I was hungry.  We decided on Saltgrass Steak House – boring chain, but safe food for my belly I know works pre-race.

We got lost getting there which made me grumpier because I was trying to limit time on feet, and then when we got there, they had discontinued the menu item I always get (grrr), but as soon as I got my chicken and shrimp, taters, and salad w/bread, I was a normal human again.  After a stop in the room, we had to go back to the expo because they didn’t give me enough pins and Zliten found a leezard!  However, that was a quick trip, and by 4:30, we were back at the room and in for the night. TV, dorking on the laptop, setting shit out, snacking, baths, and watching room movies ensued.  Totes relaxing, as the kids may or may not say.

However, I did not have high hopes for rest.  I had great “night before the night before” sleep and many nights before that, but shit was LOUD outside (our room was the ground floor on a busy street).  The hotel even offered by the hotel and I was really kinda meh about all of it.  However, 9:30 hit, and a few false sleep starts and some sleepy juice – I WAS OUT.   And did not wake up until the alarm went off and it was AWESOME and felt rested.  However, again – CRAMPS.  Thank god I dealt with this at the Showdown Half a month ago, so I knew what worked.  Ibu gels as late as possible on top of breakfast (pr bar, pita chips, and some gatorade) and packed some herbal muscle relaxers as a gamble.  I forgot baggies, and I wrapped them up in a cough drop wrapper and then used my spi belt wrist thing.  So it worked out.  Overpacking ftw! However, I went to bed not full because I only really had one huge meal, and gatorade and pita chips a dinner did not make, so I was probably hungrier than I should have been starting out with 5 hours of running to go.

Most importantly, I wrote FIGHT on my nails and fist as a reminder.

We got to the start and made buddies with our friends around us – a gal from CO and another first marathoner from SA.  But, then we had another bathroom need before the start, and because we were 20 corralls back (I was assigned 18, Zliten 21 because he sandbagged his finish time) we went up to the potties and waited.  Worst porta ever, piss and shit on the seat, no TP, but I did my best and got out quick, and we jumped in corall 22 and started at 8am (30 mins after the start) and got our day on.  I had hoped to keep the 5:00 hour pacer in my sights, but they started way before me.  Oh well.  Garmin pace ftw.

I wanted to mile by mile recap, but I just can’t.  Goldfish brain and all.

Mile 1-5 I was having a grand old time.  I was running conversational pace (10:30-11:30), dancing, singing, keeping Zliten amused and enjoying.  Dodging and weaving all the walkers was annoying but I was lovin the course just like I did 2 years ago.  Zliten pointed out the alamo to me, which I missed because I was so focused in 2010, and yeah, it’s freaking tiny.  Someday I will go IN, but next trip.  I ate 3 blocks around 5.

Mile 6-10.8 I was starting to feel rough.   YAH I KNOW.  TOO EARLY.  This was causing me strife.  First my arches started to hurt.  Then my back tensed up.  Then my glutes.  I was like, OH FUCK SHIT NO.  Worried that my taper was too taper-ific and my legs were not ready for this.  But Zliten kept up MP pace range for me so I kept going.  I was afraid this was going to be my demise of the marathon but figured I didn’t have much too lose and it’s not like it’s a breakneck pace to keep up so I kept up.  I looked at the FIGHT on my hand and thought “why the fuck is this coming up in single digis”.  Argh.  Not happy miles at all.  I had an planned shoving of the blocks in my mouth at 8 because that’s what I’ve trained myself to do.  Feel despair = time to shove shit in your mouth.  It’s like productive emotional eating.

Mile 10.8-15 I split off from Zliten and got a little emotional that finally, there was a race I was watching the half marathoners go and not turning in with them.  I felt nothing but happy in Austin when I turned in, but this was my time.  It was MARATHON GO TIME.  I figured I would get choked up a bit, but I was just feeling proud/happy/scared that I was committing to really doing this.  The miles got tougher as I went on because it was hot with no shade, and then finally around 15 – the ibu wore off and cramps set in.  I crossed 13.1 at about 2:27 so I still had hope of my 5 hour goal around then but it was going to be a rough fight to get there.

Mile 15-16 Cramps hit.  I didn’t have a water station for a while to take my gross tasting pills.  So, I walked.  I looked at the FIGHT and it did nothing.  I needed the walk.  Somewhere around here I tried a salt packet just in case I needed it and promptly spit it out and discarded it.  Gross.  I didn’t feel really off or anything, so I went with it.

Mile 16-18 Hit a water station, got the pills down, and then felt *better* and a great song came on, so I took off (back to M-pace).  If I didn’t walk again, I could sub-5.  I was feeling great again singing to myself and running strong.  But my body wasn’t ready to keep up 10 more miles of straight running so I backed off around 18 and walked again.

Mile 18-24 Cramps came and went (pills worked but not all the way).  I realized that a) I was going to finish b) it was not going to be sub-5 and c) I was ok because I was having a great great day.  Mile 18 I knew I was going to finish.  Mile 20, I realized every mile after that was a distance PR.  Mile 21, I was taking a walk break, and there was a cheerleading squad and I told them to do a backflip and I’d start running again (and they did so I did).  I walked through all aide stations and sucked down nutrition and water and ran when I could (I’d guess the ratio was about 3/1 runnng/walking).  The awesome was that when I was running, it was m-pace range, but I was scared to continue that so I didn’t blow up.  Going slower didn’t feel good at all.  When I walked, it was 15-16 min mile power walking.  Each mile I felt increasingly better and happier, but I wanted to save my hoorah for the finish.  I tried to do a “no more walking” thing at 22, but I had to walk one more time through the 23 aide station.

Mile 24-26.6 I walked through the 24 station, got 2 gatorades and a shit ton of water, and at about 24.4, a good song came on and I realized that I was feeling great (no worse than 11 at least) and I was close, so I made the “no more walking” pact a reality.  It was a HUGE confidence builder passing all the walkers and trudgers (and I mean, by running, I think I was mostly in the 10s, I really felt great and my legs were liking that pace).  I passed the 25 marker, went around the go in turn, up the hill, down the hill, and was back to singing to myself and passing people and thinking about how I was going to cross the finisher line feeling awesome, strong, badass, and, well, a marathoner.  I found Zliten cowbelling like crazy under the last bridge and this is how I left him.

I busted the fuck up the last hill and ran through the chute pumping my fist getting people to cheer and crossed strong (Official time 5:23:34).  I got my medal and several finisher pics before I stopped my garmin at 5:24 and made my way through the finishers shit and stuffed everything that looked good in my bra (I had some DDDDDs by then, hehe) and then found the finishers meet up area and stretched and nommed and gatoraded waiting for Zliten.  We met up and talked and I found out his last 2 miles didn’t go so well (he crossed 13.1 about 7 mins after I did due to body issues) but he finished and we recapped our time and then got me a finishers shirt because the race shirt was kinda lame and a beer and then got going before we got too comfortable.

I got cleaned up in the pool shower because we had to be out of the room before the race was over, and then got on the road.  I have been craving (after not having for 7 years) a big mac and I knew it was probably the easiest quick food without an extra drive so we did it.

It was what I expected.  No need for it again any time soon, but it was calories in were needed like right then, was fine, and sustained us for the drive home.

Zliten was feeling rough but was awesome and got us home safe, we drank champagne, ate pizza, and I wrote this blog post (after dealing with some work stuff).  I saved it for the today to edit and… you’re welcome.  It was sort of incoherent babble that I only got because I was there.  Hopefully this is semi-coherent! 🙂  However, I did leave in all the curse words because apparently when you’re happy about a marathon, you curse a lot!  Fucking-a!

So, to sum up… I wont lie.  I am in love with the marathon in ways I never thought possible.  I am resisting the urge to sign up for another in a few weeks.  Or a 50k.   I really didn’t think this distance was going to be for me.  I’ve had some triumphant long runs but never an “omg enjoyable” anything over, like 12 in training.  Every time I tried to push beyond 13.1, my head got stuck in this “that’s really far and I’m scared” place and I just couldn’t do it.  I didn’t understand I could feel anything but pain in the 20s.  I didn’t think I could rebound from a low during a race that long – I figured it was continue on with planned pace or die.  I am not so much proud of my time (though I’m certainly not disappointed), as I am how I kept my wits and positive attitude about me, and felt increasingly strong as the day went on.  This was an experiment.  Can a half ironman turn around in 6 weeks and use that endurance and mental game to complete a marathon?  The results are a resounding: yes.

Obviously I know what to do to improve my time next time:

1. Eat more the night before.  You shouldn’t have to eat 3 times in 12 miles :P.

2. Train more long runs.  Obviously.  The blow up at 15 was partly because I’ve barely had any runs over 15.  I need to become bffs with 20.  x-on tired legs is great, but I can tell 15-20 is going to be my toughies until I get really cozy with it.

3. Pick a marathon that’s not on a hot and humid day, and also on that day of the month where I just want to curl up in a ball and die.  Poor planning Quix. 🙂

4.  Taper LESS.  I skipped a few miles the last few weeks due to stress and I think I would have done better in the first half if I had done them, maybe?

But even though I want to sign up for another race, I promised myself an offseason, and I can’t think of a better way to go into it happy as fuck with what I’ve done.  This week, I will do nothing but train wineglass to mouth reps, butt to couch reps, and practice saying yes to social invitations.  Maybe some walking and yoga if I want.  The goal is NO SWIM BIKE RUN, lots of social time, and keeping the gross food in check a bit.  We’ll resume with anything healthy Nov 19th.  Expect next weeks post to be…. not so much like anything else in 2012.  I still have Turkey Trot 5miler and two more 5ks to do this year, but they are all “fun runs”.  Meaning, I’ll run them as hard as I feel like at the time with no specific training, and the chips will fall as they may.

OMG I AM A MARATHONER.  Seriously, I was so afraid of this race.  70.3, excited.  26.2, terrified.  Now who’s afraid of the big bad marathon?  Not me.  Respect for the distance?  Totally.  Know how to better train for it?  Absolutely.  Scared of completing the distance?  No mas.

 

Why I Run + Marathon Goals

Six years ago, I could barely cross a parking lot without breathing hard.  Five years ago, I was making progress, and getting active, but running was the furthest thing in my mind.  Four years ago, I attempted to run a mile, almost passed out and died at the end of it, didn’t run for 2 more months, but then later in the year tried it again and didn’t die quite as much.  Then I ran a mile and a quarter.  Then a mile and a half.  Then, I banged out my first 5k on the treadmill and was elated!  There was something to this running thing.

Three years ago, I kept working on upping my mileage and getting faster.  I ran my first 5k road race a few days before I turned 30.  I wasn’t the slowest person, like I had feared, but what really opened my eyes was the 60-some grey haired man who smoked my ass in the race.  I could not catch him even if I tried.  It wasn’t all downhill after age 30!  Also, my goal was 30 minutes and I soundly thrashed that by coming in just under 28.  That year, I ran my first 10k (goal time 1 hour, hit just under 57 minutes), ran my first marathon in the heat of the summer (goal 2:15, hit 2:16), and my first 5 mile turkey trot (goal was under 45, I came in under 46).

Two years ago, I trained really hard to get a sub-2 hour half marathon and got almost there, and then the week of got really sick and barely made it through with 2:19.  That frustrated me and I took a little time to pout, but then decided to dip my toe into multisport to change it up.  I tackled my first duathlon, my first sprint tri, and my first olympic distance (which just about killed me – 4 hours of constant movement? who does that? :D), and on a whim, decided to use that extra endurance I had built up and ran a fall half marathon (because, really, I was a runner at heart) and KILLED IT (2:08, 7 minute PR).  I was totally high and in love with racing and running, but super burnt out from a long season, so I took some time off.

One year ago, Zliten really started to race with me (he did a few times in 2009 and about half in 2010 but mostly he was my… as they say, athletic supporter ;D).  He got the bug HARD and we raced A LOT.  We did a bunch of sprint triathlons, in which I slowly improved my time, and a bunch of races overall.  I slowly moved from being a runner with a bike and a swim cap, to a more balanced triathlete.  I still always sighed a relief when I got to the run leg though – it was my home, my comfort.

This year, as you know – the goal is 24 races in 12 months.  My first metric century ride (first on accident, then on purpose).  My first half ironman.  #20 is in just four days, and it’s a doozy.  Not the first time I’ve attempted it, but the first time I’ve arrived at the week before a marathon I planned to run happy, healthy, tapered, trained, and ready to go.

Yes, this is where I’m at now.  No more freakouts.  Let’s do this.

I realized that I had fallen a bit out of love with running this year.  I felt betrayed and foresaken by my body and mind when I just couldn’t make it through the miles to marathon in February.  I put in a lot of long, slow, draggy miles in the heat this year which I did not love.  I love going fast, speedwork is my favorite session of the week, but to get to 70.3 with the training time I had – it was miles miles miles and no track Fridays.   Then, after the half ironman, I was faced with what had become my least favorite leg of the triathlon, all the time, to get a crash course in marathon training.

I really pouted about it (and HURT for the first two weeks) until something happened.  And it always happens when I run more.  I get better, and faster.  Running with the boys at lunch really helped me to remember what a sub-10 minute mile pace is and I look forward to trying to keep up with the front of the pack soon.  All of a sudden I went from bagging runs because I could barely walk to being able to actually complete a week, as planned, feeling great, hitting paces, and remembering what it felt like to really train as a runner.

The last two weeks, every run has been great.  11-11:30 (marathon pace) is like second nature to me.  Runs have brought me out of funks.  Runs have made me sleep better (and skipping a run made me sleep crappy).  Runs allowed me to take a break in the middle of a chaotic day and get out in the sunshine at lunch.

And now, in just 4 days, I’ll be doing a bit of running in San Antonio.  No big deal, just 26.2 miles.

And here is the requisite goals section:

Pre race:
-No more freakouts.  Remember that mental game I put on the shelf?  Take just a little bit of that out of the box now, and shift my attitude to being excited!  I’m doing my first marathon!  This is a momentus occasion, not something of which to be terrified!
-Good food that comes from my kitchen.  Lots of complex carbs and as much as I need to feel full.  Limit sweets and treats.  Starting Friday night, lots of simple carbs that go through me quick and top off my tank.  Nothing spicy, greasy, fried, or low quality.
-Lots of sleep.  Running when it doesn’t stress me out to run and in short durations.  Running around MP.  A walk tonight.
-Take time to envision what the perfect race would entail (not tied to time, but to feeling/effort)
-Have a “just as expected morning” involving all the normal pre-race stuff I’ve got down.

All-going-according to plan, plan:

Mile 1-15:
Go out with the 5 hour pacer.  By all means do not lose them (going slower or faster).  Eat at mile 5, 10, and 15.

Mile 15-20:
If I’m still feeling good, start decreasing pace slowly.  Stay between 10:30-11:30.  If I’m feeling rough, just keep hanging with the pacer.  FIGHT.  Either way, eat at mile 20.  Remind myself that walking and slowing down isn’t going to make me feel better, and isn’t going to do me any good.  There is keep this pace, or quit.  Slow hurts worse (during and after).

Mile 20-23:
If I’m feeling good, hang with or decrease pace to 10:30-11:30.  If I’m feeling rough, just keep hanging with the pacer. Same as above.   FIGHT FIGHT FIGHT.  Think that this is a distance PR from here on out.  Think that this is just the end of an ironman in a few years.  Think that years ago I couldn’t run a mile.  Think that 6 weeks ago, you completed your first half ironman.  Think that 6 months ago, you completed your first metric century in about the same amount of hours. Decide what food will be mine when I make it over that line… FIGHT FIGHT FIGHT FIGHT!

Mile 24-26.2:
If I’m feeling good, time to guts out whatever pace I think I can.  If my brain is still functioning, try to do math and see what I can shoot for.  If I’m close to 5, figure out what I have to do to get under it.  If I’m close to another round number, see if I can get my feet going to hit that.  If I’m feeling rough, try to continue to hang with the pacer, maybe they’ll give me a piggy back.  Remind myself this is it.  Season is over in about 30 mins.  Fun runs from now until January and a lot of fuck all else.  This is the one to waste my legs on.  Remember when you weren’t sore after that 70.3?  Let’s make up for that.  Champagne is much better with a good time.  My legs are still fine, as long as my brain is.  The faster you get to the finish line, the faster it’s done.  Walking is for suckers.  FIGHT FIGHT FIGHT FIGHT FIGHT FIGHT until the tape!

Alternate plan:
If something really effs up my day, drop all time considerations, flip the garmin to another screen that doesn’t have pace/time/etc, and realize – hey, first 26.2 miles!  FIGHT when I can, just keep moving.  If it takes me 7 hours, whatevs!


After:
-Try not to get sent to the med tent looking like this.
-Remember that walking gets better after a bit, my legs won’t feel that way forever.

Time goals:

A+: under 5 hours
A: in the time allotted

It’s my first marathon, I’m allowed wishy-washy goals!  I have a plan to execute on to get the time I’m looking for, but I’m not going to get upset with myself if I don’t hit it perfectly as long as I keep my head in the game and make the right decisions at the time.

Full disclosure, linking this video so I can get entered for a super sweet t-shirt giveaway, but it really reminded me to get going on a timely topic and post more positive pre-marathon thoughts than my wah-wah-wah-I’m-tired-and-scared post.

Well, next time we talk, I’ll be a marathoner. Wish me luck, success, good weather, good sleep, speedy legs, and most imporatantly, a brain that shows up that morning ready to FIGHT.

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