Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Hyannis Marathon Recap

I ran a good race on Sunday. I missed my goal by about 6 minutes but I felt real good and strong the whole time. The fact that I felt I could have kept going at the end, gives me the desire to kick it up a notch. Not only have I begun researching additional marathons to complete this year, but also options for an ultra marathon. There is one in April—a 50K. It’s a 31 mile race in Carmel NY (gasp).

We knew ahead of time we were in for a windy race weekend. Missy and I arrived to Hyannis the afternoon prior to race day and spent an uneventful evening at a series of places: the race expo, Olive Garden, Home Goods and Christmas Tree Shops—Woo! I know, such crazy ladies we are! We retired to our room and got to bed early in preparation for the big event. Missy had not participated in any races since a little one a few months back. Maybe you’ve heard of it… the NYC Marathon? Though completing the marathon with flying colors, her heart wasn’t in the Hyannis Half 100%. She registered for it then had some doubts. She even convinced herself that upon arrival to the race, she would do the Hyannis 10K instead of the half marathon. A little bit of coaxing from yours truly and she changed her mind back to the half. And it’s a good thing! She had her 2nd best half marathon time ever! Kudos to Miss!!

I, on the other hand had trained for this race whole heartedly. At my stage of athleticism, I’m not willing to attempt a full marathon without proper training. Though I spent weeks running and cross training in doors and out, in the elements and also on the monotonous treadmill, nothing prepared me for the 40-50 mph wind gusts that would not let up during miles 17-23. Oh My Gosh!

Enter play by play…

Pre-race, 9:00am - We arrive well rested and fed to the Hyannis Conference Center, aka, the start and finish line. Having parked about ¼ mile away, we were quickly aware of the wind we would face out on the route. Dressed in my wind proof gear, I wasn’t cold per se, but the force of the wind was tremendous! I begin to worry I won’t finish in my goal time. It doesn’t help that I’ve lost a token that has been passed between my sister and step-siblings for each marathon. It was my turn to wear the little golden eagle pin and apparently it’s fallen off my jacket since I affixed it in the hotel room. I had pinned it to my jacket’s pocket which was zipped, so even though the eagle fell off somewhere, I still had the backing in my pocket. Sigh, this half token would have to suffice.

We ran with these on our backs. It was my dad's 65th birthday and since he is the reason I ever laced up running shoes, I gifted him my medal.

9:15-9:35- We wait in a line to pee. Why do girls take so long to pee???

9:45- Line up at the start. I look around for Kate, my friend with whom I’ve been running for years. She is there with her hubby for his first (and her third) half. There are too many people!! 4,300 half marathoners, 400 full marathoners and lots of relay-ers too. No luck. We’ll catch up later.

10:00- the Gun!! Bye Miss! See you later! Have fun!

10:01-11:00- miles 1-7… Feelin’ good here. Looking at my pace bracelet, I realize I am 4 minutes ahead of my goal time. Okay, time to slow it down. I do NOT want to expend too much energy now and have the need to crawl across the finish line later. Pacing in the 8’s is not what was agreed.

11:01-12:00- Wow, what a beautiful day it is! The sky is blue, the sun is bright. The ocean is gorgeous! Look at the size of that house! Hmmm, I’m getting hungry. When’s the next water stop? Where is a port-o-potty? Does a Kennedy live there?

Noon time- I approach the finish of the half marathon. The full is a double loop course which is kind of a mind fuck. As half marathoners are approaching the finish and getting cheered on to veer off into the chute because they’re “almost there”, I have to push forth and do it all over again! LOL, it’s what I signed up for after all!

1:00- Where is mile 20? If I can just get to mile 20, it’s all down hill from there. As soon as I hit the 20’s it’s all good. Just a little 10k to go! WOAH! How about that WIND!!??

1:01-1:30- Hmmmm… can I get a tail wind!?? Why, if I am doing a loop, is this head wind constant? If I’m traveling east then shift west, shouldn’t the wind be at my back at some point?? And it’s 40 friggin mph nonetheless??

1:31-1:45- WTF Wind!!??

1:46-2:00- Ok, almost done…Not making my goal of 4:10, but it’s going to be close. Kick it up a notch! I’m strong! I feel great! Woo! Mile marker 24!

2:01-2:16- Woo! Mile 25!!! Getting there!! Keep running. One foot in front of the other… Ooohhh, I see the home stretch! And there’s mile marker 26! I hear the crowds!! Hey, there’s Missy! Smile, she has her camera out!

2:16:12- DONE! Hmmm… my legs feel good! Even great! Let’s keep going…LOL! Nah, where’s my medal? Let’s get outta here. Check out at the hotel is at 3:00. We still need showers. Oohh, is that a smoothie shop?

Overall this race was great! This was the review I posted on—

This was my second time in Hyannis for this event. In 2011, I did the half and this year, the full. I'll agree with most comments about this race that the main event is the half, with the marathon being secondary. Over 4300 ppl did the 1/2, and 402 was the final count for the full.

Reading reviews of previous year's fulls, I was weary. Some comments reported insufficient water stops and not enough water for marathoners on their second lap around the double loop. Being a 'middle of the pack' runner, I surely hoped this wouldn't be an issue for me. I train with a water belt, but don't like to race with it. I jokingly told race volunteers at the water stops on my first loop to 'be sure they're there on my second lap!!' They were! and with a full water table. I didn't get the impression they'd be running out any time soon, even for the 'back of the packers'.

People were friendly for sure! The route is beautiful. I enjoyed it more on my second loop, only because the pack thins out tremendously and I was able to view beautiful houses and the ocean/beaches unobstructed.

Roads to traffic barely close for this race and if I had to complain about one thing, that would be it. I don't doubt residents were made aware of this race far in advance, however we'd run past lines of cars with angry drivers behind the wheel waiting to be let through the crowd and it made me uneasy. There's one portion of the race where they cone off one lane for runners and keep the other open for drivers. Drivers were speeding past in anger and was annoying. I mean, geeze, we're stimulating their economy by being there!!!

This is a great race to PR, as the course is flat with a few rolling hills. I tried to finish in 4:10 but wind was a huge factor. From miles 17-23 or so, I had a head wind which was reported later as being as gusty as 40 mph. I ran with my wind gear so I wasn't necessarily cold, but the force of the wind cut my speed tremendously. I finished in 4:16:12. I felt real strong the whole race and at the end I could have kept going which certainly adds to the fact that I had a wonderful experience with this marathon!

So, I raced on Sunday, hit the gym on Monday with the hubby. Massage was Tuesday. It’s Wednesday and time to hit the pavement again…

Contemplating the Sybil Ludington 50k in April.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Feeling Defeated

So Valentine’s Day was on Tuesday. Not a big deal. I don’t think Joe and I have ever really celebrated Valentine’s Day. We don’t need a Hallmark Holiday to get us into crazy consumer mode and over pay for roses and candy and whatnot. We did go out to dinner on Monday, sans Peanut but that was only because my mom had the night off and wanted to spend time with her grandson whom she’d not seen in at least a week. SHE called it a Valentine’s dinner then gave us a box of Italian cookies for a gift. Thanks Mom!

Valentine’s Day was spent working, then running, then coming home to my loves. We had dinner, watched TV and went to bed.

The day after Valentine’s Day, February 15, I’ve realized is an evil day. It’s the day your co-workers bring in all the candy THEY got as gifts or from their kid’s school candy swap. They don’t want to eat it, so they unload it onto the rest of us. The surplus of candy in my office on a regular day is out of this world, but come February 15, wear your stretch pants!

I suppose I could use my will power and “just say no” to the Reese’s and Hershey’s and cookies and everything else, but I can’t. I have tremendous will power in terms of pushing myself to the limit in fitness. I’ll rarely decide to sleep in if I’ve already committed to waking up to my 5:00 am alarm to work out. I’ve done marathons, countless half-marathons, triathlons, a Warrior Dash…I’ve stuck to training plans with utmost integrity, but put a cookie in front of me… it’ll usually be gone in a second. Yesterday my day started off fine as far as eating goes. Even by lunch time, I was on the right track. Dinner was healthy too but it was all the in between CRAP that got me. And it all “got” me even more so on my run today.

Here’s a summary of yesterday:

Breakfast- 2 egg veggie omelet with side of potatoes. Not great, but not horrible.
Lunch- Zone Zinger Smoothie from Emerald City Smoothie. YUM! Talk about healthy!
Dinner- Sweet and sour shrimp over rice with veggies.

Okay, not bad right… well I brought a smoothie home for Joe too and when I stopped at home, I stuffed two of those Italian cookies from Mom down my throat. Indulged in a handful of Dove chocolates back at work, had a few bites of Justin’s ice cream (his reward for being semi good at the doctor), several Fererro Rocher truffles (these Justin grabbed off the shelf at CVS and insisted we buy them. I caved because the check out line was about 15 people long and I did not want to subject the whole store to his screaming until we made it to the exit), and then I polished off the box of those damn Italian cookies with Joe.

To top it off, yesterday was an unplanned rest day because of a visit to the doctor with Justin, then the trip to CVS and then dinner. An excuse I know, but I do need to allow two rest days per week. I’ll end up not resting on Friday to make up for yesterday. Today I was sure to get out on the pavement though and get those calories burning. I was excited to wear my new cold weather running leggings and insoles, both purchased from New Balance the day prior. I woke up at 5:30 am, got dressed, affixed my head lamp and headed out in the dark. I felt sluggish immediately. I planned on doing my usual 5.5 loop. I usually hit mile 3 in 24ish minutes. Today I hit mile 3 at 26 minutes. Uhg. “Oh well” I thought. “No biggie. I’m still under a 9:00 pace. That’s faster than I ever expected be a few years ago.” I was rationalizing. I was trying to put a positive spin on my sluggish run. I felt unhealthy and like I was standing still. I was still running though. I should feel good about that! I started thinking about all the people that were NOT running and I should feel empowered because I was “that crazy runner” out in the dark in 20 degree temps. My self esteem began to rise a bit. Not a lot, but a bit.

When I approached the home stretch I actually considered just stopping and walking and logging my run as a 5, not a 5.5 miler. BUT, alas I kept on. More than anything I needed to start getting ready for work. I was racing against the clock now. I finished in 50:00 exactly. I paced a 9:04 minute. NOT shabby but I’m not proud of how I felt. I need to learn to under indulge when it comes to sweet treats. Fewer cookies!!! Less chocolate!!! Yes, I’ll always burn it off, but I’ll feel like a rusty, squeaky, un-oiled machine while doing so.

Lesson learned today: I am what I eat! It’s been said for years. Today I experienced it first hand. I will eat well today and kick my workout’s ass tomorrow! I kinda need to eat better anyway for the next week. Hyannis Marathon is in 10ish days!!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Vulgarity vs. Miles on the Pavement

Selfishly I’d been running for myself all these years… maintaining health, keeping sane and spending less than every waking hour with my family. Oh the nerve! LOL. Though it sounds selfish, I think running keeps balance and ultimately is far from selfish.

A few nights ago, my son was being less than cooperative. This is not rare by the way, but on this specific night, he was being particularly devilish. It was time to brush his teeth. He HATES this part of the day. Not sure why. He has a really cool, battery operated toothbrush which does all the work for him. He even decorated it himself with stickers of dogs, cats, stars and cars. I don’t mind brushing my teeth, in fact I look forward to it, and so I can’t imagine why he would despise it so much. He runs away then when I catch him he kicks, screams and does everything he can to fight the inevitable. I give him the option to do it himself but every time he takes the toothbrush from me, he throws it on the floor or just holds it as if he doesn’t know what to do. I’ve tried creative ways to persuade him… “Let’s brush Mickey’s teeth too!” or “You can brush mommy’s teeth after you brush your own!” I’m not going to create a sticker chart for teeth brushing because the one for potty training barely works. OY!

So anyway, I digress… My kid was on my last nerve!! Just brush your F****ng TEETH! I screamed. He wouldn’t still. Adults won’t usually respond to vulgarity, why should a 2 year old? Finally, and this happens nightly, I pin him to the floor (sometimes with the help of Joe), strategically hold his hands down with one hand and with the toothbrush in the other, I get the job done. He will usually try to escape my hold and while doing do, move his head from side to side in frustration and scream at the top of his lungs. This actually helps my cause. His open mouth and moving head let me get in all the places a perfectly still boy wouldn’t.

Why am I telling you about this particular incident? Because I am ashamed that I told my two year old to brush his F****ng teeth. I hadn’t run that day and my energy was all pent up. At the end of a day that I haven’t run, I feel different than if I did.

Last night we went through the same rigmarole. Justin ran when I told him it was time to brush teeth and get ready for bed. Willfully, I caught him and carried him kicking and screaming into the bathroom. I offered him the chance to brush his own teeth. I told him that Special Agent Oso wouldn’t want to sleep in his bed if he had stinky teeth. He refused. I politely took him by the hand, and then strategically grabbed his other hand, situated his little body against mine and shoved that super cool toothbrush in his mouth. He hated it. I hated it.

When I was done, I set him free. 30 seconds later it was as if the ordeal never happened. We were snuggling on the couch. I apologized for having held him down to brush his teeth but explained that he is a big boy and if were to brush his own teeth, our nights would be so much more pleasant.

The fact that I dealt with last night with a touch of patience, a hint of class and a lot more maturity is because I ran yesterday, a fast 5.5. My mind was clear, my energy expended. Smoking moms would have had a cigarette after going through Justin’s fight for independence. I on the other hand already had my “fix” and was ready to conquer.

My point? Running brings a sense of calmness to my family. Not just to me, but to the whole house. Isn’t there a saying about if you keep mama happy, the house is happy? It’s true, I promise.

I encourage moms to run! If you’re not a runner, then walk, bike, yoga, kick box… Do something! It’s not selfish to want to be a happy mom. We all need an outlet!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Ramblings of a Runner Mom

When I set my goals for 2012, I didn't think for a moment I was being unreasonable. I'm a full time mom, a wife, a part time runner, a home-maker, I have my priorities and I can balance it all. It's all part of the challenge (which I enjoy)...WAIT! Enter the Holidays, a new full time job, vacation, death in the family...OY!

Looking back on my training for my upcoming marathon in two weeks, I'm proud to say I stuck to my plan and hurdled (har har) over the obstacles put in front of me. Here are the conversations that took place in my head while planning for and doing long runs in the face of tragedy, drama, chaos and adversity.

November 24 + 25... Thanksgiving then my step brother's wedding. Better eat and drink light! got 12 miles to run on November 26. Oh wait! My sister is in town? Whatevs, she can come along too!

December 1-6... Fly to Vegas to visit my sister. Vegas Half Marathon on December 4. No personal best in this race. Ran shoulder to shoulder with 47,000 people and was in costume!! Can we say woot woot for Santa's little helpers!?

Christmas Eve... gearing up for official Hyannis Marathon training. Run 10 miles, take Christmas off.

New Years Eve... Run 15 miles and have a no guilt evening out. Bring on the sushi, and DO NOT hold back on sauces! Hmmmm, maybe I've achieved ultimate fitness...My legs don't even hurt, not even in these 5 inch heels.

January 16... Run 17 miles (in temps not exceeding 20 degrees). Ahhh! I just started a new job! My son goes to school now! I'm not a stay at home mommy any more! Whoa, life has shifted! Ut Oh, my tummy hurts....

January 17... my second official day at work and I need to call out sick. The Stomach bug has crippled me (and seemingly everyone else in the state of CT, including hubby and my Peanut). Five unplanned rest days ahead. Thank goodness I got my long run in.

January 21... Still not feeling my best but training needs to recommence. 13 miles, here I come!

January 24... My Grandma passes away :o( It's a sad week. Funeral is Sunday. Sister and cousins flying in from all over.

January 28... Grandma's funeral is tomorrow. Gotta log some miles still. 18.5 DONE and in record time, averaging a 9:05 pace! (fueled by advil, mucinex and sudafed, mind you. The stomach bug is gone, but now I have a cold) Shit, I ran 40 miles last week?!!

February 1... Florida is so close, I can taste it! Vacation is upon us. Can't map out a 13 miler for vacation though because I don't know the roads down there. Oh well. Shift training plan. Run 10 miles after work the day before departure, then 10 miles when I get back from FL. Bringing running gear for some short 3 milers around the resort. Wait, it's 62 degrees in CT in February?? Where are my shorts at?

February 2-7...LOTS of walking at Disney. My feet hurt so bad. More so from holding Justin half the time because he hates being in a stroller. We should have got one of those kid leashes... Still setting the alarm for 6:00 am to run before Joe golfs at 9:00 though (only did this twice on vacay).

February 8... right back to the gym, post vacation.

February 9... got that other 10 miler in.

February 11... got 20 miles on the plan. It's supposed to snow then be windy and "frigid" all weekend. Stressing about how I will get this run done. Run 5 miles to gym, 10 on treadmill, then 5 home? Run all outdoors in the snow? I'd rather forgo the frostbite which will ensue from wet cold shoes. Maybe it won't snow at all. After all, it's barely snowed since OCTOBER! Run on dad's treadmill and commission family to keep me company during a movie? At my goal pace, I'll be done in 3ish hours. That's ONLY 3 hours of my life. I can do that! Treadmill, Shmedmill... What movies are 3 hours long? I have Casino on DVD...

These conversations are constant. Not a day goes by I'm not plotting and planning my runs. Thinking about running, what gear I'll need, which route I'll run. Hills? no hills? Indoors? Outdoors? Do I need new insoles? Is this sports bra supportive enough? Where are my good hair elastics?

Stay tuned for how I muddle my way through this 20 tomorrow. My next thoughts will be on the 26.2 I do in two weeks!!