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Archive for the ‘2010 race’ Category

First off, about a week and a half before the race I was asked by Choose Cherries if I would represent them in the marathon . I accepted and planned the outfit (red top and red hat) for both myself and runnin around uptown. Fast forward, this is what I ended up with (instead of team red it’s team pink!):

Perhaps I should have known the day would be interesting when approaching the subway, I noticed a bunch of cops and a person covered up with a sheet. Yep, dead guy right at the subway entrance (found out later it was a jumper). Gah.  Fast forward, around 820 I did a last port-a-potty stop before dropping my stuff and heading to the corrals. One problem: we hear as we’re being directed in a giant circle, that the corrals have closed for wave 1. Shit. I didn’t care too much but I knew my family didn’t have tracking!  Since I was at the front of “wave 2” I asked a volunteer to use a phone and was told “oh, I don’t have one.” One minute later she pulls out a phone. Ugh. Special thanks to Leo for letting me borrow his phone! Finally after standing for a good 45mins (perfect before 26.2) we get to the starting line and the canons go off. Finally, my journey begins.

Being at the beginning of the wave made for a quick start which made for instant pacing to come into play.  Brooklyn, just like last time, whizzed by and that first 10 miles went as planned.  Paces were in check and nothing felt off base (and when it did speed up or slow down one of us would pull in the reigns).  Having strategically placed family around the course helped as well (miles 5 and 8 in Brooklyn, friends at mile 14 right before the Queensboro).

Mile 8(I get cold easily so the arm warmers were perfect!)

Going over the Queensboro we still were right on target. Random: some British guy asks “what bridge is this” and upon response goes “this isn’t a very nice bridge is it?”.  And then it started upon approach in Manhattan as AC had to stop briefly.  First Avenue was a blast with rows of people and passing family once again.  Then it was my old running team.  And I remember hitting the Bronx and feeling like someone had punched me in the gut.  My stomach was not in good shape.  I remember turning to AC and just saying “ow.”  Up to that point, I had 2 packs of sport beans (nothing unusual) and water (one mixed with small amount of Gatorade).  Somewhere around mile 20 or so the 3:40 pacer passed us and I knew – things were not exactly going as planned.

Heading back into Manhattan I made a quick pit stop which may have been a saving grace.  I still felt a little queasy but not as bad as the Bronx.  I remember AC feeling pretty much the same (no need for detail on what was said).  Heading up 5th avenue was definitely a triumph – it definitely helped to have someone to be there to keep me moving.  It was not the hills but the hope the stomach would simmer down.  Hitting the park I felt a lot better (may have been an orange and not drinking anything for a few miles?).  I was able to bring it together and pull AC along through that brutal stretch (I remember saying something to the effect of ‘you’re a fighter’ ::cue Christina Aguilera). We passed a lot of people in the park which definitely felt good.

I saw my mom exiting onto CP South and knew a sub 3:50 was in the bag.  I looked at AC and said “let’s go get you a monster PR.”  And that we did.  Finishing in 3:46:54 I scored a 20 minute course PR and AC had a 17 minute PR (her 2nd marathon).

Marathon #9 in the books

Go team red...err pink!

I’ve preached to the choir that the marathon can be a crap shoot.  One day it can be an amazing perfect experience but the next it could be not so good.  I also look at each one as a learning experience.  This one was a mental push.  Though the splits are UGLY, I choose to be ignorant to that.  I choose to look at the mental push and fight at mile 23 to pull it together. I choose to look at the fact a 3:46 is not satisfying.

The day after at the finish line - a lot more coherent!

I also think it was an amazing experience having someone to share the full 26.2 with (thanks again AC!).  I did that for my first marathon in 2004.  It’s tricky to find someone on the same page.  However, we trained and ran races well together so it made it no problem.  We knew each of our strengths and weaknesses (it really helped me through Harlem and I think vice versa in the park).  The pact?  Who cares if you can walk on November 8?

I have to say I actually feel the least amount of post marathon aches I’ve ever had (knock on wood).  Most of my pain has been in my neck.  The legs feel like they went on a  long run . However, I do know there was no BQ or under on this day – maybe a minute or two?  As I told AC, was it worth it to feel incredibly sick over that?  Perhaps a few of you out there disagree but honestly it wasn’t going to make much of a difference on this day.

What would I change?  I need to work out the nutrition kinks.  I think it may have been a case of too much hydration that made my stomach heavy and the nausea (especially since it disappeared once I stopped taking water).

Moving forward? Recovery and I’m looking forward to a marathon free 2011.  Yes, that’s right folks.  No marathons.  Next year is a year of speed.  A year to work on finding that next gear which I think will propel me through that mental wall to get to that next level.  I’ve already signed up for the NJ Half as a goal race in the spring.  I’m excited to find more races to complement that (and find a new team as a home).

Congrats to NYC bloggers that completed the marathon as well.

I’m sure there will be more thoughts to come…

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Some races you go in with a PR mentality and others are meant to form a foundation for something bigger.  With November 7th just 4 weeks away, today I used Staten Island to do a bit of practice for the big show.

While many of my friends set huge PRs, today was meant to be a confidence booster for NYC Marathon.  After Philly, I felt a bit beat up and began to ponder if my goals for November were too lofty.  I think it’s all part of the training but it doesn’t make it any easier to stomach.  So my goals for today were to go out, run marathon pace and nothing further.  No thoughts of PR in the head or anything unattainable for 26.2.  That goal?  8:10-8:15 pace.  So how did my plan go?

The day started early with a 6:30am ferry to Staten Island.  Properly fueled I enjoyed a ferry ride with pushthruphilly.  I watched the sunrise and smiled seeing the Verrezano draw closer.  This to me was a dress rehearsal.  It was crisp but as the sun rose the rays gave warmth.  I caught up with Runnin’ Around Uptown and we headed out for an easy warmup.  With the chill we definitely needed it to try to work out the kinks.  Heading back we headed to the back of the corral so we didn’t get sucked into a pace we wanted no part of today.

As the horn sounded, we started off.  I gave a fist pump crossing the start line and it was time to get down to business.  Immediately there were people flying by us but I could feel we were right on the money.  Unlike 3 weeks ago, everything felt good.  There was no hesitation in “can I really do this?”   AC and I dropped right into conversation and the miles seemed to melt away.  We’d walk through to get our water/gu.  Then pick right back up.  While some may say you are wasting valuable time, I have found it allows for time to actually get liquid down and stomach it.  Looking at my splits, it didn’t lose tremendous time.  Even with the rolling hills, I felt comfortable.  I fell into my metronome, pacemaster set of timing.  Sadly my garmin went a bit wacky so the mile splits don’t make sense but I could feel the pace (as is evidence by the time today).

It was funny getting to mile 11 and I remember looking over to AC and saying “already?” or something to that effect.  It just felt good.

Approaching the finish line I got my fist pump ready (no Snooki to be found – must have been too early!).  I’m hoping the brightroom photographers captured this moment.  I felt good so hey why not have a little fun out there;-)  Final time: 1:48:02/8:15 pace.  Bingo.

 

Splits courtesy of AC. Includes warmup obviously.

 

 

Amazing how a good workout and solid race can help rejuvenate the body.  I’m excited for the last push to November 7.  If this week is any indication, there are good things ahead.  This course was anything but neither is NYCM.  Let’s hope I can do this for another 13.1 in 4 weeks;)

One thing: People, when you’re at mile 8, you are not ALMOST there.  Yes, we just got up a hill but that does not constitute almost there.

Second: Men, please wash your clothes and make sure they’re not incredibly stinky after.  There were several violators in the corral this morning.  Yuck.  At least in the winter the bengay covers it;)

So now I’m entering the final big week.  One last 20-22 miler on Sunday.  Yes!

I’ll end with a couple of sunset photos and apples (went apple picking Saturday!).  Quote of the day from my friend Sharon: “She’s being all awe inspiring and sh*t” – in reference to the Statue of Liberty

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Mental games

Pretty much every race I’ve run in Philly has produced PRs or pretty awesome experiences. While yesterday did not produce a PR as hoped, I did learn a lot and had a pretty fantastic time out there. At the end of the day, shouldn’t that be our goal?  I also learned a few other things along the way.

Anyway, rewind to Saturday. While I didn’t observe the fast completely, I was not hydrating and eating as I normally do. Somehow a glass of Gatorade and cliff bar doesn’t translate to my usual pre-race day food. Dinner consisted of bagels, cheese, tuna salad. Again, not my usual food but I figured it’d suit fine with massive amounts of liquids.   This is the second half marathon I’ve run post-fast.

Sunday. 5:15 wakeup to prepare for my first true race since Boston? I definitely felt nerves even more than before pikes. Funny. The awesome part of this race is since my dad’s friends have done every single pdr they get VIP access (and so do I). So pre-race I was within feet of Shalene Flanagan. Neat. Didn’t spot Ryan Hall.

Oh, the race. Runnin’ Around Uptown and I planned to run this one together. Our plan? See how the legs feel and go from there. Obviously a new PR was on the mind but this ultimately would be a stepping stone for November 7.

We got to corral 3, had our ears blasted with the national anthem and finally we were off! Immediately we were sucked into going way too fast. ES and her friend Kelly she was pacing caught up to us. We started chatting a bit when Amy goes “um 6:40 pace.” Immediately we dropped back into our own race. And smart that indeed was as we were at mile 2? Eek! Not sure on splits since my garmin seemed to hate Philly! However AC’s watch stated 7:02. Not good.  That’s um 40 seconds faster than goal pace.

At this point, it was hot. The sun was blazing and we were sweating like crazy.  I felt fine, as did AC, so we started to cruise.  I think in the back of our minds we knew we weren’t going to PR today but sometimes that isn’t the name of the game.  A solid race is where you want to be at this point in training.  I commented on a few items in the city as I’ve run this course five times prior (all in the reverse direction – grr rock n roll stop messing with Philly!).  We spotted our friend NM twice in our tour of the city and she joined us on the run to the Kelly Drive/West Drive section.  She pushed the pace a bit but looking back it probably was closer to a 1:40 pace.  However, it just didn’t feel “comfortable” today.  I passed my dad and he commented to just stick with it (he knew it wasn’t my day either).

As we entered the park loop, AC commented how nice it was to have a bit of peace and quiet.  I tended to agree as we could finally relax and just let the legs roll.  I felt pretty good at this point.  AC pointed out we were a good 40 seconds behind goal pace at this point.  We both knew there was no way we were going to hit the goal today.  It stinks when you know so early.  We arrived at mile 7 and I remember thinking “crap, another 10k?.  That never happens to me but today I should have taken that as a precursor of what was to follow.  When we hit a “bump” or a hill as they refer to it (haha) I would comment to AC.  We both laughed especially once I commented that 4 weeks ago I was running up one massive hill!  Anyway, we took our gu/sharkies at around mile 8.  I stupidly didn’t take very many and have to wonder what the heck I was thinking?

Mile 9 I remember thinking: “ok legs, 4 more. you can do it.”  At this point, I started to feel a bit “off.”  As we approached mile 10, I began to feel even more lousy but continued.  Finally, as we approached mile 11, I remember asking AC if we could walk the water stop so I could recollect for t he last section of the course.  She agreed (you rock for being there!) and we started running again.  At this point her words to me, “ok, I’m pulling you to the finish line.”  We started rocking out sub 7:40s (I think close to 7:30 not sure since the garmin was funky).  I was hurting and definitely felt depleted at this point – not leg pain but just an empty tank of energy.  AC continued to pull me along.  All I remember is just thinking “it’s faster to run than walk.” haha.  And thank goodness AC is here to pull me to that finish line!

With that we crossed the line at 1:43:09.  Not a PR.  But I think I learned a lot about being able to pull out mental toughness to get to a finish line.  It hurt but mission accomplished.  No leg/body soreness (ran 5.5 this morning).  I had a good time in Philly with family and friends.  I earned another sub 8 half (becoming the norm! yay!). All was not lost in this half (#25 or 26 in my career I believe).

No garmin splits.  I forgot to manually do them.  Wish I did because I’m sure they would be interesting.

As I look out with less than 7 weeks to go, I don’t think my goals are unreasonable for NYCM.  Guess we’ll see.  Last tune up before NYCM is Oct 10: Staten Island.

How do you deal with a race when you know a PR is out of sight and you know it isn’t your day?

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Pikes Peak Pics

Sorry for the continuous Pikes posts – here’s some images from race day.  I broke down and bought the rights to the downloads. 

The first batch are from the cog train ride.  I was an idiot and left my SD card in my laptop.  Fortunately, I met a girl on the ride up that let me borrow her card in my camera!  So here’s a sampling

Heading above the tree line. One sad tree.

Colorado clouds over 13,000 ft up

Andrea and I at the summit. Have to give her credit for giving me the idea for this race:)

Pretty awesome to be 14,115' above sea level

My vote about Pikes Peak Marathon!

Even over 13,000 ft above sea level I smile:)

Holy crap I just ran up and down a mountain face!

Post race with Andrea after spending a day on a mountain

There’s more but I won’t bore you with more:)  Now it’s time to move on – NYC Marathon isn’t going to run itself.  I’ll be heading out for 18 tomorrow.  Philly Distance Run in 2 weeks.  Exciting yet lots of work to be done.

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As I begin to reflect on the events of yesterday, it’s hard to even put in words all the emotions and feelings that occurred during this race.  Pikes Peak Marathon is nicknamed “America’s Ultimate Challenge” and they don’t lie. This race is not meant for the average joe that just wants to do a marathon.  It takes true heart, guts and determination to get up and down a mountain.  That said, I wanted this challenge.  I wanted it badly as I have been writing and talking about this for almost a year.  It actually started last year after my friend Andrea finished the marathon and I decided this would be my 30th birthday present to myself. There also was a tremendous metaphor in this as I feel like reaching 30 I’ve become a very different person than the shy girl that moved to NYC at age 22.  Mostly though, I wanted the challenge.  I wanted something different and Pikes Peak definitely presented a challenge and a very different kind of adventure.    

So race day.  I had taken the cog train (one of 3 in the US) to the top of Pikes Peak on Saturday to get a feel for what the conditions at the summit.  It should be noted I never had really been at altitude before so it was all new.  Anyway we drove down to the race and cut it a bit close to the start but honestly, did it really matter?  That’s the difference between this and a road race.  We chose to hit the bathroom first so I actually missed the official starting gun.  No biggie.  It meant as we started we got personal cheering;)    

I started out with my friend for the first mile before she took off.  I knew it was going to be a long day and my intentions were to finish with a smile on my face.  I remember running up the roads and hitting the trailhead.  That’s when it really hit.  I was heading UP UP UP.  I was stuck behind a lot of walkers right away which was OK for a little while but it was even too slow for my power hiking.  I was able to pass a few people but didn’t expend too much energy.  As so many Pikes veterans have told me, it’s about keeping the legs moving forward and don’t waste energy – you’ll need it!    

  As we hit mile 5 (8 miles to the summit) my legs felt pretty good.  However, I knew don’t take anything for granted the race doesn’t really start til you hit A-frame (aka the treeline).  I met some friends around Barr Camp and we stuck together all the way up.  One woman was from Kansas and had come to run this after overcoming breast cancer.  Another woman had run this 11 times and 75 total marathons.  It was a blast and really helped me pass the time.  I wore my camelbak which was a very good move – aid stations were about every hour on the ascent!  As we reached the A-frame, I remember the aid volunteers welcoming us.  This is when I looked up and went WOAH.  All I can say is it was a long ways to the summit – I was in switchbacks hell.  Again, I was pre-warned about this so I knew there was quite a while to reach the summit.  This is when things got a little sour.  My calves started burning worse than I had ever felt before.  It was awful.  Fortunately the women I was with comforted me and just kept helping me remember to keep moving forward.  I saw Andrea at this point and she was on her way down.  She asked how I felt and I lied that I felt fine…but didn’t lie that I’d see her at the finish line;)    

This is only part of the way up. The views just got better

 

As runners continued to pass, I knew it was one step closer to ending the burning calves and a faster down.  Again, I was told 75% of the race is the up.  Funny since I’m used to mile 20 being the beginning of a marathon!  Again I look up and all I saw were switchbacks of runners.  Oy.  Where the heck are these golden stairs?  The golden stairs are what are the last switchbacks up to the summit.  They really aren’t golden and you shouldn’t bother counting.  They’re rocky and it’s a last calf buster as you approach the summit.  By now, I felt like a snail and was getting encouragement from the other runners how once you turn around it’s a whole new ball game.  All that kept going through my head is keep moving forward.  One foot, now the next.  Refuse to quit.  Oh and thoughts of Katharine Lee Bates using the summit of Pikes Peak as the basis for America the Beautiful.  If there was a bit more oxygen, I may have started singing.  As it was, thoughts were all there would be at this point.  Finally, I reach a switch back and look to see a sign for the Pikes Peak Marathon.  I had made it…to the summit!  13.32 miles down…less than a half marathon to go;)    

A little taste of life on the trail

 

This was the ascent finish but Sunday this was my just past half way point

 

 Coming back down I felt like a new woman.  My calves were pleased to be put on a bit of a rest and let the quads take the next part of the show.  The plan for down was to run where plausible and allow gravity to take me down the mountain.  Don’t fight it.  Less fight means less quad pain later.  I stuck with the other two women all the way down the A-frame part of the trail.  So helpful as it made time fly.  As long as that 3 miles felt going up, it felt so much quicker going down (which it was).  When we approached the A-frame aid station I knew greenery was around the bend.  And..more oxygen! Major win.    

They had traffic lights at the aid stations for where the end of the trash zone was to contain cups and miscellaneous trash

 

At this point my legs said “ok, time to rock ‘n roll.”  And I’m sure it wasn’t really rocking that fast but hey after that painful expedition up the A-frame anything felt speedy.  I lost my two friends I had made at A-frame at the aid station.  I started passing people which was a nice feeling. I began feeling fresher and a pep to the step.  Very odd but I went with it.  I made sure to continue to eat and drink at each aid station to keep that pep in the step.  I got a few rocks in my shoe but I knew if I stopped to empty my shoe I may have issues moving again.  So blisters be damned I kept forging ahead.  As I got to Barr Camp, I remembered there were a few down hills on the way up so of course you know what happens on the reverse.  I decided to walk the uphill to save my legs and give my poor beat up calves a break.  Time was not an issue and I knew I was well within the time allotment.    

Doesn't even begin to justify my experience...

 

For the last 4 miles I tagged along with another girl cruising down the trails.  It was nice to have someone dictate the trail which took the pressure off of me thinking about direction.  After 7 ½ hours on your feet, it becomes tricky.  Finally I see 3 miles to the finish and know the dream is about to become reality.  I look up to see clouds forming around the summit.  At that point, I was thinking “time to bid adieu to Pikes for now.”  I continued running passing an aid station playing “Chariots of Fire” and finally reached the trailhead which emptied onto a roadway.  Ouch.  Roads at mile 25 after all that trail running feels AWFUL.  At this point Leo (@ex_cyclist) rode up next to me!  What awesome timing.  We chatted for a couple of minutes before he took a quick picture.  At that point someone yelled to me “just a couple more turns to go.”     

half mile from the finish and pumped!

 

I will say at this point I moved my sunglasses up to my hat so all emotions would show.  I saw Andrea on the sidelines waiting for me.  I yelled something to the effect of “this was fantastic” with a beaming smile.  As I was about to round the final turn I hear from Brooklyn, NY here comes Bridges Runner!  Thoughts flooded my head.  Most of all, holy crap I didn’t just run a marathon.  I got to experience one of the most scenic marathons in the world.  Then thoughts of all that have supported me through the training and in general.  It’s amazing what thoughts flood the mind during special occasions.  Finally, I cross the make shift finish line where they tear a piece of my bib off for a gun time of 8:28:28.    

Pikes Peak

 

I wish words could do justice for the experience I had out there yesterday.  I’m not sure they can.  I’ve stated that this is my year of 30.  While I’ve experienced so many great events, I will say it’s also allowed me to meet some pretty cool people along the way.  I’ve been able to reflect a lot about life in general and what it is I want out of it. Life is about experiences.  This now may be one of the top experiences of my life so far.  It was worth every mile, every twisted ankle on the trails, and every thought of “can I really do this.”  I do believe if you want it, you will get it.  Dreams are great but getting after them is even better.  Believe in yourself.  It goes a long way to making reality.  I made one of them happen yesterday.    

It’s great to look back and know I did this for the right reason.  It reaffirmed my love for running and experiencing things that simply cannot be justified by words.  I guess you have to be there to really understand what I exactly felt yesterday.  Sure, I may have said this about other road races but this is different.  There truly is something to be said about experiencing a day on a mountain and the views that go along with it.  As my friend mentioned to me, we spent a workday on a mountain!  I proclaimed “well, I can’t think of a better working day.”  It’s true.  So thank you, Pikes.  You gave me a very special birthday present!    

And thank you for all of your support.  It truly has been a magical time. This was marathon #8.    

The stats of elevation: start 6300’ summit 14,115’ finish 6345’    

the mountain

And this is what a mountain looks like on a garmin

 

To come? A guest post and more pictures,,,,

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Well, I did it:.  I conquered Pikes Peak (Voldemort) yesterday in 8:28:28 (love the 8s).  Race report soon.  Thanks for all the support – truly one of those lifetime experiences I’ll never ever forget. 

I’ll collect my thoughts and put together a race report.  So much to tell.

ex_cyclist from twitter captured me a half mile from the finish. Do I look like someone that just ran up and down a mountain?

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Each year the NYRR marks one 5 mile race as a race for ONLY recognized teams separated into a mens and womens race.  For the more competitive teams, you’ll find people really amped up and primed to go out for the kill. Generally it works in my favor to run just that much faster because the competition is THAT much faster.   However, this year I had August 22nd on the brain.  That made this race less important to me and more of a chance to give the legs a little turnover, than all out race.  I wanted to see what felt comfortable and roll with it.

Friday afternoon I had biked home from work to discover I had left my watch at work.  Dilemma.  Do I go back or just go “naked” for the race?  I really didn’t want to schlep back to the office and decided to use my internal pace clock.  I wasn’t going for an all out effort so this gave a great opportunity to just go by the gut and total feel.  My plan was to hit around tempo and just maintain that effort.  Again, no need to knock myself out but it can’t hurt to give a good little workout.  After watching the men, one of my friends KP gave me an old school watch just so I had some sort of vibe for the race.

While at the start corral I ran into nyflygirl and eatdrinkrun.  Always nice to put a name with the face but also a great way to calm race jitters.  I find no matter what I get them a little before the horn goes off.  My mechanism is to start gabbing away.  Anyway, the horn went off and somehow the watch never started!  So I was back at square one.  I didn’t care but I’m pretty certain I got off to a slow start.  I can’t remember my mile 1 split exactly but I think it was somewhere around 7:35-7:40.  Slower than I wanted.  I picked up the turnover just a hair and got into a groove.  It was pretty awesome – my legs felt great and the hills were no problem.  I never felt out of control and just went with what felt good.  It’s a shame I don’t have splits because I am pretty certain it was pacemaster at work.  I felt that in control.

Cruising to the finish (photo by C. Dopher)

Crossed the line in 37:27 (7:29 pace).  Felt great and best of all?  No hip discomfort at all!  It seems wearing regular shoes, constant stretch/ice/Advil has done the trick.  Knowing I ran this without turning on the afterburners gives me a lot of confidence going into the fall.  I think there’s a lot of damage to be done after August 22nd.  I have a whole lot of fitness and confidence to build off of going for marathon #3 on November 7th.

And with that, I’ve reached my last race as a F29.  It’s been a nice racing decade but I think the F30-39 will be even better.

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