Sunday, April 3, 2011

Race Recap and a Winner

Running friends and the cheering section!
Today was the Knoxville Marathon and Half Marathon.  I ran the half. It was a wonderful day for a race - a little chilly at the start, but nice and mild by the time we'd run a few miles.  We got to the start line with just a few minutes to spare, thanks to my stomach.  I had an upset stomach all night (in spite of eating carefully) and I had to take two Immodium before I left the house.  This doesn't usually bode well for a race, but I was committed, so there was nothing else to do but go on.

The corrals were very crowded, and I got into my usual 10+ minutes per mile corral.  The first mile was very congested, and I was dodging people right and left.  It was a slow mile, because you just couldn't get moving.   Once we passed the first mile I said goodbye to my training partner and started pushing the speed.  She was doing a training run and didn't want to push, so we arranged to meet at the finish line.

Our friend Kate (the tallest girl in the photo at the top of the post) is expecting a baby soon, and so she did not run.  But she came out to cheer us on, and since she was very familiar with the course, she caught us about every three miles.  It was amazing! She is the best cheerleader on the planet.  My niece stayed with Kate and the two of them were very motivating!

I was still dodging people right and left, and I looked at my Garmin and saw that I was running about 9:20.  This is a good pace for me, but it felt good so I just kept going.  I slowed a little on the hills, but never got over 10:00.  I stopped for a potty break at mile 6 (which, incidentally, was under the hour mark), but was still going strong.

I kept up the sub:10-minute miles up until about mile 11.  Just before the 11-mile point my back tightened up and my stomach started cramping.  I stopped at the next porta-potty, but that didn't help. I got a Gu, thinking that the sugar might help my stomach, but it didn't.  It felt like my Immodium was wearing off, and I still had two miles to go.  This was not good.  There was nothing to do but finish, though.  I slowed down to about an 11:30 pace (very slow for me these days) and plodded along through mile 11 and mile 12.  Even so, I hit mile 12 at two hours - again, very good for me.  At mile 13, I told myself that I had less than 15 minutes to run and I was able to push myself and speed up to about a 10:50 pace.  Still slow, but better.  

I finished the run in 2:14:13 per my Garmin. I'd hoped for 2:10 or better, but this was all I had in me today.  On the other hand, I finished. And then couldn't find a potty to save my life after reaching the finish line - let's just say that I was very close to needing a shower instead of a potty by the time I finally found one.  My back was very sore, but the post-race party featured an assisted stretching area with trainers and physical therapists to help you stretch out the soreness.  I stopped by while I was waiting for my training partner to finish, but I didn't think it would help much. Boy, was I wrong! The deep stretches really helped and I was much less tight when I finished. I always forget how good a post-run stretch feels! I really need to stretch more often.

I'm not unhappy with today even though it was not entirely what I'd hoped for, because I am just two weeks out from re-injuring my back and I had the raging trots (I know - TMI!) all night.  I can tell I'm getting stronger - I was able to keep up the sub-10:00 miles during the first ten miles.  I'm not at all sure I'd have been able to continue beyond that even if it hadn't been for the other issues, because I'm still building my speed and endurance, and ten miles of hard running is the most I've done to date. So, odds are good that I was going to slow down at mile 11 no matter what.

I think I want to do another half sometime in May or June, just to see what I can do with it.  I'm convinced that I can (someday) pull off a sub-2:00:00 marathon.  Not in May or June, but surely within the next year.  That's my goal, anyway.  We'll see!

And, now that you've read my whiny post, I know you want to know about the giveaway!  Well, I found some great things while shopping, so I chose two numbers.  First, number 43, is Kim, who just ran her first half-marathon today!  Kim posted: "I am a follower!"  Second, number 106, is Kristen, who wrote: "I Facebooked the giveaway!"  I have just started reading Kristen's blog, and she is newly hooked on the half-marathon, as well.  Kristen and Kim, please contact me at trp100329(at) so we can get those Easter "baskets" on the way!  A great big thank you to everyone who entered, and wait 'til you see what I come up with in May! :)

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Half Marathon Weekend

It's race weekend here in Knoxville! The Covenant Health Knoxville Marathon is tomorrow, and Melissa and I are running the half.  Today was packet pick-up at the expo.  I love race expos.  Seriously, love them.  I love hanging with other runners, and I love the shopping, and I love all the informational booths, and did I mention the shopping???  Speaking of shopping, I got a few cute things for my Easter basket giveaway. There's one more day to enter, if you haven't already. 

I also got a new pair of shoes - half price! I didn't really need the shoes yet, but it won't hurt to have another pair to rotate, since I have dedicated one pair of shoes to trail running.  I know they make great trail shoes but I don't run trails often enough to feel justified in buying a pair.  If I keep running trails, I may re-evaluate that, but right now I'm content to use a slightly used pair of running shoes.

I also discovered that we have a local health shop with an Alter-G treadmill, and a Bod Pod, and VO2 max testing, among other things.  Right here in our own little town! How cool is that? There's also a local chapter of Girls on the Run, and a wonderful wellness center - all within easy reach of my home.  I'd never have known about any of it without the expo.  

And tomorrow is the run - Melissa is using it as a training run and taking it easy. I'm going to push it, I think.  Not an all-out effort, mind you (it isn't worth starting over with back rehab) but a solid effort, and we'll see how it goes.  I'll post a race recap (and the giveaway winner!) tomorrow.  Who else is racing this weekend?

Wednesday, March 30, 2011


Crazy busy here right now, and some family drama about which I won't elaborate, but it was pretty bad.  I should get back to regular posting if I survive this week!  Ran 3.5 miles yesterday without pain, so that's something.  Half marathon this Sunday - still not sure if I'm going to race it and try to PR or just run it for fun and finish.  I think I'm going to see how I feel that morning, and take it from there.

Have a great night, everyone, and I promise I'll make the rounds of your blogs and get caught up this weekend!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

The Week Sans Weekend

This weekend I'm attending an anesthesia review course with our junior students. So, it's the week without a weekend - the course covers 10-11 hours on Firday and Saturday and 7 hours on Sunday. In fact, I'm posting this on a quick break. I envy all of you who are running or racing this weekend.  On the other hand, if I had to pick the perfect weekend to rest my back, this is probably it.  I'm wearing one of those ThermoCare wraps and taking it easy today. And, yes, I feel horrible about not running - but it's only three days.  Three days doesn't make or break your fitness, right? Right?  Please tell me I'm right - I have a half marathon next weekend!!!  Oh, well - I'll finish it, that much is certain. Here's hoping your weekend is better than mine!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Bringing Stupid Back!

Yep, I'm bringing stupid back.  I know, I know - it never left, right?  Well, this morning I was working out at the gym, and I was using fairly heavy weights, because I do not believe that nonsense about women and light weights and toning.  Utter BS. However, let me add the caveat that if you are a woman in her mid-40's who has allowed her fitness to lapse and then tried to regain it, perhaps you should not be squatting with 120% of your body weight just a few weeks into resuming weight training. There's heavy and then there's stupid.

You already know this isn't going to end well, and sure enough, it didn't. I completed a repetition, thought, "Hmm. I'm feeling that rather more in my back than in my legs..." and then completed another rep. Why?  Because I had two more reps to go, and heaven forbid I don't finish the prescribed number of repetitions. The sky might fall in, and chaos would ensue, or something.  And on the last repetition, my lower back seized up.  So, I stood up as best I could, and cussed and whined a bit.

And then, of course I went immediately to the showers floor exercise area, where I proceeded to do walking lunges and box jumps.  Yes, my friends, I am afraid I did that.  Because I was just certain that it was just a severe twinge and it would go away if I kept moving.  Then I tried to go get on Jacob's Ladder and my back protested so loudly that I finally got the message and went to the showers.

Now I'm sitting at my desk with a heat wrap on my back, lamenting my own stupidity.  I was just getting to the point where I could do half-mile repeats at an 8:30 pace!! I have a half marathon in two weeks that I was hoping to PR.  Instead, I will have to slow down and go back through the rehab sequence again. Yay. Anybody know any good lower-back strengthening exercises?  Looks like I'm going to need 'em!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Weekend Running

This has been a wonderful running weekend! On Saturday, I joined my training partner (Melissa) and my friend Kim for a long run.  Kim, her husband and I planned a 12-miler and Melissa wanted to run 5.  So, Melissa ran with us to the 2.5 mile point and then she turned back.  The rest of us continued on.  We were running the local Greenways and by the time we got to mile 3 we were in a part of town that I had never seen before.  I told Kim that she'd better not leave me because I didn't think I could find my way back to the car!

Kim was having a rough day - she didn't want to quit, but she definitely wasn't feeling very good. She kept going, though - she was determined to log those long run miles.  I was proud of her - if every run were easy, everybody would be a runner.  It's the tough ones that define us and make us stronger.  So, 12 miles on the book for Saturday.

Today, Melissa and I drove out to the local nature preserve for a trail race.  It was my first trail race, and I didn't really know what to expect.  I did expect to be a minute or so per mile slower than my normal pace - ha! Try 3-4 minutes per mile slower! Now, Melissa was having a rough time with the hills (and some of them, seriously, were almost completely vertical), so she walked many of them.  I would run them and then slow down and wait for her on the downhill. She kept telling me to leave her, but I was afraid to - the trails were really rough and if either of us had fallen and broken a leg or something it would have taken hours to get us out of there - if anybody realized we were hurt. So, I could (maybe) have knocked a minute or two off the per-mile pace, but to what end? I still wouldn't have had a competitive time, and why risk a broken ankle over a ten-dollar trail run?

Look at that view!  Yeah, we climbed for it!
Now, that makes it sound bad, but the truth is that we had a blast. We worked really hard, even at the slow pace, but it was just fun to be running up and down hills and over logs and rocks and creeks - I felt like I was somebody on The Discovery Channel, or something - the scenery was that rugged. All in all, we covered 6.5 miles of gnarly woods for a simple white tee shirt and bragging rights.  This will definitely not be our last trail run!

This run also finished up the Cupcake Marathon for me, and almost knocked it out for Melissa.  To that end, we needed some photos:

Melissa - love the skirt!

Me in my Moving Comfort Alexis tank - LOVE that tank!
Yes, the angle makes us look short and stocky.  Oh, who am I kidding - I am short and stocky!  But take a close look at our previously-white shoes and you'll get an idea of the kind of fun we had just before these shots were taken!  See Ms. Garmin on my wrist?  She goes with me on every outdoor run these days - how did I ever live without her?  

I ran 18.5 miles this weekend, and I feel great! How was your weekend?

P.S. If you haven't entered my Easter giveaway, scroll down! :)

Saturday, March 19, 2011

A Runner's Easter "Basket" Giveaway

I've been toying with the idea of a giveaway, partially inspired by Leah and partially inspired by my love of all things Easter.  I love Easter so much that my youngest child is 20 and I still insist on coloring eggs every year.  I buy everyone in the house an Easter basket, and frankly, they're kind of tired of it.  So it's your turn - well, one of you, anyway! Maybe two if I'm having fun with the thing.

So, here's the deal - leave me a comment on why you love (or hate) Easter.  If you don't celebrate Easter, you can substitute the spring holiday of your choice.  One of you (maybe two) will win an assortment of runner's Easter basket (or spring basket, if you don't celebrate Easter) goodies.  I probably won't send an actual basket on the assumption that you'd rather see me spend that money on goodies. However, Easter shopping has been known to make me a little crazy, so there is no telling what you'll get!

For extra entries, follow my blog (leave a comment telling me you're a follower) and post this on your blog, or FB, or Twitter. I'll draw a winner on April 3rd.  Good luck, everyone!