marathon training · races · running

marathon #8: fort4fitness

On Saturday I ran my eighth marathon, my first since the fall of 2012 (post-Leo).  It was hard – harder than I remembered them being – but I came out with a new PR of 4:21:21.  I initially hoped to go under 4:20, but with how I felt and how I had to fight the last few miles, I am really happy with the time I got.


So let’s back up.

I started running again – consistently – this past spring when Molly (finally) started sleeping through the night.  I had thought about doing a half marathon but wasn’t sure which one to do or if I wanted to put the money into it… and then Kimberly  generously registered me for the Fort4Fitness half marathon!  Around the same time my friend here in town started training for her first marathon and I said I would be happy to run with her anytime.  I jumped in on her long runs and found myself going 12, 15, and then 18 miles easily.  I felt really good.  I started to wonder if maybe a marathon wasn’t such an impossibility after all.  I checked and I could easily switch my Fort4Fitness half registration for the full, so I did.  I ran 22 miles by myself one Sunday morning and felt fantastic.  I realized when I finished that if I had kept that pace for the whole marathon I would PR.  That felt crazy to me and also really exciting.

Race morning I got up and got my stuff together, coated myself with coconut oil to prevent chafing, poured coffee in a large mug, and hopped in the car.  I drove down to Fort Wayne and met up with Kimberly, who had graciously picked up my packet for me the night before.  We went to the bathroom and talked and I tried not to be nervous.  It felt really strange to be running a race again after all this time!  We got in the corrals and I saw my friend Richele, who was there to run the 10K.  It definitely helped to see her, too, and to feel her excitement for me.

The first 10 miles I felt really good.  I don’t think I went out too fast but I did feel like my energy started to flag a bit.  Miles 10-20 I held steady and just did the work.  Miles 20-26 were hard – I really had to dig in to keep going and to keep moving.  I knew going sub 4:20 was looking dicey and at mile 23 I knew that I really needed to push hard if I wanted to PR (previous best 4:22:06).  The finish is in the baseball stadium and you run around the bases, which is fun.  I went hard and finished really well, which felt good.

I know there are some things I could do differently in the future – most notably a longer training cycle and better fueling (fortunately Kimberly gave me a GU race morning which I took at mile 20 – otherwise I would have not been carrying enough fuel on my own).  But for being my first marathon back in four years and for a PR I am so incredibly happy and proud of what I achieved.

I watched Kimberly finish her race (4:23 and a PR for her on a run she intended to do slow and as a training run!) and then I drove home.  In true mom-fashion I washed my face with a wet wipe in the car, then stopped at Aldi before I got home so I could grocery shop (I put on a long sleeve shirt over my running clothes so maybe the smell was masked a bit?  Let’s hope?).  Then I came home and cleaned up the kitchen and showered and took the kids for a walk and made dinner… post-marathon looks a lot different with three kids!  I also slept 10 hours last night, which felt amaaaaazing.

The day of the race I couldn’t stop thinking about how hard it was and how much work it took.  And one day later I’m already eyeing another marathon in November, debating if maybe I should give it one more go this year.

On an unrelated note, I just paid $18 to renew my domain again for the year, so who knows, maybe I’ll return to marathons and blogging.  If I did, what sort of things would you come here to read about?

marathon training · races · running · trips

presque isle marathon 2012

Dave and Leo and I spent the weekend in Pennsylvania at my sister and her husband’s awesome farm.  There were chickens!

And horses!

And chocolate zucchini birthday cake for Leo!

Leo had a blast seeing family and the animals.  All of my immediate family was around, as well as my aunt and uncle and mom’s cousins and our friends Peter and Becca.  Unfortunately, things fell apart on Saturday night.  Leo went down at 7pm but didn’t fall asleep until 8pm.  And then from 8pm-5am he was up every 30-60 minutes (I wish I were kidding but I’m really really not.).  At 4:30am Leo woke up.  I got him settled back down and then got ready for the race.  Kel and I had planned on leaving at 5am, picking up coffee, and getting to the park at 6am.  We both still needed to pick up our race bibs (even though Kel wasn’t running the whole race she put on her bib for the miles she ran with me).  We got out of the house a little late and couldn’t find coffee until we got almost to the park.  Initially we had also planned to make pancakes to eat pre-race, but that didn’t happen either (this was, by far, our least planned-out race ever).  Instead, I had warmed up leftover spaghetti noodles with butter, salt, and nutritional yeast.  We stopped at Tim Horton’s in Erie to grab coffee and go to the bathroom and then headed up to the park.  We found a spot and got to the registration about 6:30am (the race started at 7).  Bibs were pinned and we tried to go to the bathroom again, but the lines for the portapotties were too long.  Instead I handed stuff to Kel and jumped into the start, then took off!

I found a bathroom at mile 2 and then locked into my pace.  Kelly was waiting for me on her bike at mile 5.  She handed me GU Chomps and then rode next to me for the next 13 miles!  It was so nice to have someone to talk to and just keep me company.  I passed the 10k in 1:04:32 (10:24 pace) and the half at 2:14:56 (10:18 pace).  At this point I felt really relaxed and strong.  I figured a PR (a 4:22) was probably out of the picture, but I didn’t really care because I was having fun and enjoying myself.  At mile 18 Kel handed me GU Chomps and then rode ahead to mile 21.  I passed the 20 mile mark at 3:25:31 (10:16 pace).  At mile 21 Kel hopped in the race with me.  It was perfect timing, as I was starting to get tired.  At this point we walked briefly through water stops (to this point I only walked when eating GU) and then kept running.  Even though I was tired and my quads were tight, I still felt strong enough to try to push it to the end.  Around mile 25.5 Dave found us with Leo in the stroller.  He ran with us almost to the finish, then passed the stroller off to me to finish with.  I figured since Leo accompanied me on just about every training run, he sure deserved to finish with me!  Kel and I crossed the finish in 4:30:19 (10:19 pace).

This race continues to be one of my all time favorites.  It’s lowkey but really well organized.  The volunteers are super friendly and the course is amazing.  It’s completely flat and fringed by either forest or beach.  Race swag is great – a long sleeve shirt and running socks and a medal – no annoying coupons, or other things that you don’t need or want.  Simple!  Bonus: I get to run with my sister!!

After the race we grabbed lunch at Panera (my aunt and uncle and mom’s cousins had come to watch) and then we all headed home.  Monday Kelly and I got pedicures and made pesto tofu salad with sweet potato fries.  We also visited the Linesville Spillway and watched the horrifying fish:

There are so many fish that the ducks can sometimes actually walk on top of them.  And they’re huge.  And their mouths are so so freaky!  Here are the ducks (and fish underneath) going crazy for the bread we threw in:

Kelly and I were definitely more fascinated by the fish than Leo.  He just wanted to walk around the parking lot and go up and down the stairs (not my favorite activity since my quads were super sore!).

And yesterday we headed home after some last snuggles with Aunt Kelly.

We already miss all our family (the weekend went way too fast!) and I’m pining for another marathon (or three…), but it sure is good to be home!

marathon training · running

here we go

It’s been a busy week around here, although nothing too much out of the ordinary.  Work.  Chasing Leo.  Getting some runs in.  Hanging out with new friends.  Making haystacks.  Laundry.  Packing.

My runs this week have looked like this:

  • Sunday: 5.3
  • Monday: 5.4
  • Thursday: 6.4
  • Friday: (to be determined)

Saturday will definitely be a rest day and Sunday, 7am, let’s hope I’m ready for 26.2!

What are your plans this weekend?

PS – Link to a recipe or two you’ve eaten lately and loved?  I could use some recipe inspiration!

Leo · marathon training · running

marathon week

It’s marathon week!  I haven’t talked about running or the marathon lately, mostly because Leo has been sick.  And last week I didn’t really run that much because of said sickness (and resulting lack of sleep) and because I was waiting for my new running shoes to come in the mail.  After the Indy Women’s Half Marathon I realized I needed new running shoes.  I can always tell when I need new shoes because my legs start feeling dead and they get sore.  In general, I’m rarely sore after a run of any length.  After the half marathon, my quads were sore for two days, which was strange.  And my legs felt dead.  Then I realized I was around 300 miles, which is typically my “need-new-shoes” threshhold.  I ordered some up on Sunday but with Labor Day, they didn’t arrive until Friday.

Saturday morning Leo and I broke in the shoes with a 10 mile run.  We finished because it looked like it was going to rain and because Leo was ready for breakfast, but happily I did feel like I could have easily done more.  Sunday we did a little over five – 3 miles hard (9:15 pace with the stroller on an unpaved surface) and 2 and a little at a slower pace.

The marathon is Sunday so by all means I should be tapering… but instead I’m just going to run like normal.  I’ll take Saturday as a rest day for sure, but other than that, I’m doing whatever feels right.  I’m not convinced taper really helps me.  I think sometimes it just gets me used to reduced mileage so on the race morning a long run feels like a shock.  In the high mileage weeks I had last month, I did long runs on the weekend after a week of high miles and felt great.  I think sometimes my body responds better to doing more miles after it’s already been doing more miles rather than after it’s been resting.  So we’ll see how this week goes.  And how the race goes!

Leo, for his part, is feeling better.  Dave took Leo to the doctor on Friday and found out he has an ear infection.  Since starting medicine he’s been sleeping way better and doing better during the day.  Saturday night he slept 12 hours without a peep!  The rash is mostly cleared up, his cough is getting better, his nose isn’t running anymore, he hasn’t had a fever since Wednesday, and he seems much less agitated and grumpy.  All very good things!  Sunday evening Leo and I took a bike ride to the college and he got to run around on the grass for a bit.  He loved pulling up the grass, licking leaves, and watching all the college kids running around.

So this week will be running whatever, popping elderberry zinc drops (immune boosters), getting in some lentils for extra iron, and looking forward to a weekend of racing and FAMILY (all of my family will be together for the weekend – we haven’t all been together since Christmas.  HOORAY!).

Do you taper before a race?  When’s the last time your whole family got together?

marathon training · running

making 50 again

This weekend was a cutback week for me with running – 13 miles.  I’ve been pretty loose on the cutback weeks and this weekend was no exception.  I didn’t run 13 miles, but I got enough miles in on all the days that I think I more than made up for it.  Friday I ran 9.2 miles and Saturday I did 9.3.  Sunday I did 5 miles in the morning with Leo and then 7.25 in the evening by myself.  I felt like I was going pretty fast on my solo run, but I ran watchless, so I have no idea what my pace was.

I didn’t get a chance to write about it last week, but I did get my 20 miles last weekend.  I did 10 miles on my own before Leo got up (starting at 5am) and then 10 with him (we finished just before 8:30am).  Happily, the run was pretty uneventful and I felt really good throughout.  I finished tired, but not out of my mind tired or crying or thinking “I’ll never be able to do this” (all of those have happened before after a long run for one reason or another).  My pace without Leo was a little under 10 min./mi. and with him I was a little over.  With the 20 miles I ended up hitting 50 miles again for the week!

Since the majority of my runs have been with the stroller, I really have no idea what to expect for the marathon in three weeks.  This weekend I’m running a half marathon down in Indy, so that might give me a little idea of what I can do without the stroller.  As it is, I’ll probably just start out conservatively and see where I go!

What races do you have coming up?

marathon training · running

breaking 50

Last week was  a big running week for me – I broke 50 miles for the first time ever!  Breaking 50 has been a goal of mine for awhile, but I haven’t quite been able to crack it.  I was super excited to finally hit it!  Here’s how it broke down for me:

  • Sunday: rest day
  • Monday: 4.5 miles in the morning, 3.3 miles at lunch, 6 miles in the evening
  • Tuesday: 2.5 miles in the morning, 3.75 miles in the evening (5K plus run home)
  • Wednesday: 4.5 miles in the morning
  • Thursday: 2 miles in the morning, 2.5 miles at lunch
  • Friday: 7.3 miles in the morning
  • Saturday: 18.1 miles in the morning

Total: 54.7 miles

Leo’s breaking another tooth on top, so Saturday morning started early, with a 3:45am wake-up.  Since I had planned on getting up about 4am anyway, I gave Leo a bottle and settled him back down, drank some coffee and ate some sweet potato muffins, then set off.  I did a 7 mile loop and stopped by the house to see if Leo was ready to go, but he was still sleeping.  Dave sent me out for another 7.  When I got back to the house Leo and Dave were both ready to go.  We strapped Leo in the stroller and took off running together.  It was huge to have Dave with me the last 4 miles.  I was getting tired and he took turns with the stroller and encouraged me to keep going.  A deer fly definitely helped pick up my pace for a bit, too!

Sunday night Dave and Leo and I set out on a short family run/bike ride!

We did 4.5 miles and checked out a new running path in town.

How was your weekend?

Leo · marathon training · running

15 miles

I had 15 miles on the schedule for this weekend.  I planned to do them Sunday morning and to keep a schedule similar to what I had done last weekend – start out running on my own, then pick up Leo.

Sunday morning Leo woke up at 2:30am, 30:30am, and 4:30am.  Ouch.  Dave and I both were up at 2:30, then Dave took 3:30 and I took 4:30.  I got Leo settled back down to sleep at 5am and quickly poured myself a cup of coffee, some baked oatmeal, and changed into running clothes before I could back out.  I made it out of the house a little after 5:30am – about 30 minutes later than I had hoped, but still doable.  I did a 6.3 mile look and then came back to the house around 6:40am.  Dave and Leo were both still asleep!  We actually woke Leo up then in an attempt to keep him on schedule.  I gave him some breakfast and then got him in the stroller.  It was a longer running break than normal – about 40 minutes – but I managed to get a second cup of coffee and more baked oatmeal during that time, which was nice.

Leo and I did a 7.3 mile look and then I added a bit more to it, hoping I would make 15 miles.  When I got home I mapped it out and found out we hit 15 miles exactly!  We got home in 2:29:51, 9:59/mi pace.

This was my best long run in awhile.  I felt great for the whole thing – never too tired, never unmotivated.  The first part of my run was in the dark and then early morning, which was peaceful and pretty.  The second half was with Leo and I zoned out to podcasts (Simple Mom and Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me).

Also great?  Last week (Sunday to Saturday) I ran 43 miles!  It’s been a really really long time since I’ve hit mileage like that.  Plus to have a high mileage week and still have a great long run was especially exciting!

We also realized later in the day that Leo is breaking a top tooth – hence the early morning meltdowns.  Poor friend.

Other than the long run our weekend was pretty lowkey and laidback, which is what we like best!  I saw some friends from college, I made hummus, Dave went to see Spiderman with his dad, and Leo learned to shake hands!  He’s also getting crazy good at cruising on furniture and is thisclose to taking tentative steps on his own.

Dave also captured this amazing shot of Leo – we framed it for his room already!

How was your weekend?  What exciting things happened?