A Race Recap Unlike Any Other: Two “Firsts”

Well, it’s now well over 3 weeks post-Carmel and I’m finally starting to process the race and the weekend. A few days before the race, I wrote that I wanted to give a solid effort and not focus as much on the time on the clock. Coming off my stress fracture in the fall, this training cycle was already a success. I committed to the training in a relatively mild but difficult Chicago winter and surprised myself (and Coach Dan) with plenty of runs longer than 16 miles. (My “long run” was only up to 9 miles in January…) Making it through the cycle with a smart build-up and few aches and pains was such a relief. I was myself again!

So race day was to be icing on the cake – an ‘exclamation point on the training cycle’, if you will.

It didn’t quite turn out that way and it’s taken me a few weeks to understand why and to explain why I’m not upset about it. Long story short, by the time I got to Mile 10, I realized that I was already starting to overheat. This isn’t the first time I’ve started to salt out so early, as Boston 2014 was almost exactly the same experience. I saw Glenn Hein at the start line and realized he was pacing the 3:15 group. I thought I’d hang behind them for a bit and then maybe latch on later in the race. 3:15 sounded doable, but tough. I ended up running closer to 7:30 min/mile for the first 10 and I could probably blame that for overheating so early. My plan was to stick closer to 7:45 and then gradually work my way down. No matter how many races you run, I think you’re always in danger of overshooting by 10 seconds per mile— and that’s energy that you should conserve early on. We all have that number in our head – the pace that *should* be easy on race day. But every cycle is different and our bodies usually tell us far before we realize what’s happening. I think in cases like these, we choose to ignore those signs. After dumping water on my head and taking sips of water at almost every single aid station (I think I only missed one), I was still hot at Mile 11-12. When I turned the corner and realized that the 13.1 timing mat was on the ground, I made the quick decision to call it a day. I debated dropping at the half for a good 3-4 miles before it actually happened.

And just like that ‘Lucky #7 marathon’ turned into my first DNF in the marathon. I walked over to a volunteer to make sure I was headed the right direction, toward the finish line and gear check. Thankfully, I stopped at a convenient place on the route because the trot back to the finish area was only about 1.5 miles. I unpinned my bib from my singlet, rolled it up in my hand, and jogged back to the finish area.

In every other half marathon or marathon I’ve ever raced, I think that I’ve been more emotional about the race itself. When I DNF’d that day, I wasn’t upset. Normally I would be crying and really disappointed in myself. I’m not sure how to explain this other than to say that it just wasn’t my day. I shouldn’t have felt like I had run 20-22 miles at the halfway marker. I should have been in a pace groove and anxiously waiting for the chance to run just a wee bit faster.

Why is it that factors that go into a poor race experience always feel like ‘excuses’? I think most runners, myself included, feel like you need to be a superhuman and overcome whatever obstacles come your way. Some days, I think we can. Some days, you can’t…but that doesn’t mean that you have to beat yourself up about it. Looking back, I can say that there were several big factors that resulted in a poor day to race. First, I was PMS’ing HARDCORE before Carmel (increased body temp, etc.). I felt off all week. Second (and most importantly), life dealt me and The Man the worst card before the race. A death in the family meant that we slept very poorly and we were emotionally exhausted for an entire week. It’s bad enough when you lose someone, and it’s arguably twice as exhausting when you see someone you love so much go through something so difficult. I didn’t sleep more than 5 hours per night until Thursday that week and I spent most of race week trying to catch up, put the pieces back together, and be somewhat productive at work. I underestimated the toll that grief and emotional exhaustion would take on race day.

The training cycle for Carmel had a whole lot of LIFE happening. I started a new job, put my running legs back together post-stress fracture, experienced a loss, and dared to dream about a perfect race day.

So Carmel wasn’t Lucky #7 when it comes to the race. But I am one lucky woman.

After I got back to the finish area and borrowed a stranger’s phone to call Manny, who was anxiously waiting for me on the course, past the halfway point, some more LIFE HAPPENED.

Manny, my mom, and my sister walked up to the area where I was stretching in the grass. Knowing that I’d probably be emotional and upset, they all asked “what happened?” and “are you ok?” several times. I explained that it wasn’t my day and that I *genuinely* wasn’t upset about it. I just wanted to go back to the car, change into my dry clothes, and grab a beer with friends and family. It may not have been a good day to race, but it was definitely the perfect day to enjoy some warm sunshine and relax with people I love.

The one person that kept asking me if I was okay — incessantly! — was The Man. After the 5th or 6th time, I said, “I promise! I’m fine, Manny!”. And in hindsight, I can understand why he asked so many times.

Because, as I was in the process of taking my shoes and compression socks off by our car, he told me that he’d had something planned that morning. I asked him nonchalantly, “what did you have planned?” and he proceeded to get down on one knee and ask me to marry him. I was standing there with tears streaming down my face, salt on my forehead, and in complete disbelief that this was happening. Of course, he had a plan and I completely messed it up by not finishing the marathon.

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Carmel wasn’t Lucky #7 because of the race. It was Lucky #7 because Manny and I get to spend the rest of our lives together. That’s bigger and way more important than any race I have ever or will ever run. But I’m sure there are plenty of races in our future, too. Two “firsts” in one weekend. That’s life. 🙂

What I learned at Carmel:

– Love the good days, learn from the bad days. Don’t beat yourself up about life and BE OKAY with *not* being superhuman.
– Just because you didn’t run 26.2 miles doesn’t mean that you won’t get a blood blister or two.
– 10 seconds per mile is substantial. Cool your jets!
– Just because The Man has ruined every single surprise he’s ever planned in the 9 years we’ve dated, doesn’t mean that he’s incapable of surprising me when it really counts. 😃

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Bayshore Half “Race” Recap

“Racing” didn’t really happen at Bayshore. I was hopeful for a PR and sub 1:30 the weeks leading up to the race but it was just one of those days that didn’t go as planned. The last time I ran a really disappoiting half marathon was 2 years ago; I might have been due for another reality check.  Bayshore was a similar experience but in completely different racing conditions. It was 45ish degrees at the start with a slight headwind. Really, perfect racing conditions for a spring race. Give me 40 degrees and sunny and I’m (usually) ready to crush it.

But b mile 5, I knew sub 1:30 wasn’t going to happen. I felt like I had bricks in my shoes and couldn’t find a single rhythm to my running. I tried my best to stay smooth but just didn’t have the right gear and couldn’t switch to a faster one. My goal pace felt like a sprint and my right hamstring started to talk by mile 5-6 (the slight cant to the road might have had something to do with that.)

I’d like to point to specific evidence in my training that explains why 13.1 was a strugglefest. I do remember thinking that the elevation change in the first 1.5 miles was harder than expected. The race directors changed the course since I last ran it (in 2012). The start now runs east toward the bay and has several rolling hills before you reach the flats on the bay. I knew that there was one large hill that I should be prepared for but I didn’t expect the 2-3 rollers after that. Once we reached the flats, I felt good but knew I should settle into more of a rhythm. It just didn’t happen.

The absolute highlight of the day was being able to run the last 6.5 miles with Corey. We both had similar days – after I made a pit stop near mile 6 (I took advantage of a pit stop because I knew my race was over already), I saw her coming and we decided to trot it in together. Well, we trotted. And walked. And bitched. And took a shot of beer at mile 10. [We saw a big sign that said NOT WATER and made a bee line toward it. Because that’s what you do when you run the last 6 miles of a half at your long run easy pace!]

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There wasn’t a race photographer this year, but a local photographer snaps pics during the race and provides free prints at the local running store. Found one of me and Corey — this is clearly during one of our running segments…after a walk break. 🙂

 

I know that I would have been really disappointed and in a sour mood if I finished Bayshore solo. I’m bummed that we both didn’t have the race we trained hard for, but running the last half with Corey was my favorite part. OH! And….Manny beat me! He’ll never let me or Corey live that one down, that’s for sure. Spending the rest of the long holiday weekend in Traverse City with new and old friends was so much fun. As Corey and I trotted to the finish, I remember us talking about how we were totally fine with lackluster races as long as Holly and Elizabeth had the best days. And they did! They’re both heading to Boston and I can’t wait to cheer them on (either from Chicago or in-person! TBD!)

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I took this winter/spring as a break from training for a marathon…and I’m so so so glad I did. I feel more energetic; I have a really strong base going into Chicago training. After two years of training for Boston through tough winters, a step back and a refocusing was just what I needed. I’m sure I’ll fit in a half marathon into my schedule somewhere this summer, but I haven’t decided on anything. I’m enjoying the process of training and ready to jump into a fresh cycle.

Onward!

– J

Cherry Blossom “10 Miler” Race Recap

Last weekend, I flew to DC to catch up with my twin sis, meet her new puppy, hang out with family, and run the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler on Sunday morning. I’d been looking forward to this weekend for awhile because it felt like some sort of marker that spring was finally arriving. Apparently, the cherry blossoms haven’t peaked on the weekend of the festival since 2007. Good timing!

I flew in on Friday around 4pm and went straight to the expo with my suitcase. Kirtana, a mutual friend, was planning on meeting me there along with my older sister, Brittany. Kirtana and I have crossed paths countless times in Chicago – I can’t believe we hadn’t met until this past weekend! I grabbed my bib and old school cotton race tee at the National Building Museum before we drove over to Eastern Market for some margs and food.

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The next morning, my mom, sister, and I were all incredibly lazy. We slept in past 9 am (which I guess isn’t that bad for me, considering that would be 8 am CT) and made plans to meet Lindsey for lunch/brunch. I had a 30 minute shakeout to do so I went out to get that done while they walked to lunch down the street. As usual, the shakeout felt like complete crap and I just wanted to be done with it. I’m sure the windy day and the slightly rolling hills around the neighborhood didn’t make it feel any easier. Still, a shakeout is a shakeout and it always feels good to move after a flight, even if it was the day before.

My route was pretty random. Can you tell?

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The rest of Saturday, we spent spectating a roller derby. Having never been to one before, Lindsey and Nick had to explain all the rules. Dude, those chicks are hardcore. Beyond wearing wrist and knee guards, I think they should also be sporting some kind of chest armor because I saw many elbows to the … bosom. Also, I’m not sure how anyone can move so quickly or change direction so swiftly on roller skates. Mad skillz.

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We walked a fair amount all weekend but this was the perfect activity to put our feet up and rest a bit. Later, we ordered pizza and chilled at my sister’s place.

I prepared my race things and gear check bag for the next morning and finally went to bed around 11 PM. Well, I laid down but I probably didn’t fall asleep until after 12:30 PM. I purposely put my phone on the other side of the room so I wouldn’t be tempted to check the time. I wasn’t nervous about the race, really, but I just couldn’t turn my brain off. And all of a sudden, my 5:20 AM alarm was buzzing (4:20 AM CT….woof).

Race morning was very chill. There was no rush and everything was so easy about it. Lindsey and I met each other on the train (she took it 1 stop before I hopped on, as I was staying down the street from her apartment) and were on the mall before the crowd hit. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a race so organized with plenty of bathrooms to use before the race. We avoided waiting in line by getting there early, though, so I’m sure the lines were long and slow closer to the start time. Lindsey watched my things for a few minutes as I did a 15-minute trot down the National Mall. In Chicago, it can be difficult to find an open area to warm-up before races sometimes. I didn’t have to dodge around many people and you couldn’t really tell that it was race morning on my warm-up. Lindsey and I swapped places as she did a quick warm-up, we changed into our racing shoes, and dropped our bags at gear check.

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Twinsieeeeez.

The last time Lindsey and I raced together was probably a Thanksgiving Day dash a few years ago (we really can’t remember) so it was fun to hang out with her beforehand! She’s training for the Chicago Half in May and was using Cherry Blossom as a training run – it’s been fun to be her “Sister Coach” the past few months. I jumped into my corral about 10 minutes before the start. About 5 minutes later, the race organizers announced that the course would be short due to some emergency or crime scene on the planned course. They couldn’t do an official measurement in time but estimated that it was 400m to 800m short. I was kind of bummed standing there in the corral, knowing that it wouldn’t be an offical 10 mile time but figured it wasn’t my goal race anyway and I was just looking for a nice, solid effort leading in to Bayshore in May. The only time-related goal I had was to hover as close to goal half marathon pace as possible. After a poor race at Shamrock 8k two weeks prior, I wanted to see if 6:40-6:50 pace was doable.

Mile 1: 6:50

There’s never much to say about the first mile 🙂 I was warned that the first 2-3 miles would be pretty crowded but I didn’t have to dodge that much (probably relative to Shamrock).

Mile 2: 6:42

I spotted my family spectating and even heard a vuvuzela after I passed. I felt strong running across the bridge and felt like I was getting into a rhythm.

Mile 3: 6:35

Highlight of the race: @runfastandfab ran up to me and said, “Are you Jenny P from the internet?!” Ha! The running world is crazy awesome. I said yes! and we chatted for a few seconds. She seemed to have more energy (read: ability to speak clearly) than I did but we said we’d meet up after. It made me think back to running Chicago in 2011 when I met Jefferson for the first time during the race.

Mile 4: 6:30

I didn’t even realize I was pushing the pace a bit this mile. I had already missed a few mile markers & hadn’t lapped my watch so I wasn’t relying on my splits much. My friend Michaelene and her boyfriend James were spectating the race but I didn’t know they’d be around Mile 3-4 until I saw them, once on either side of the road before and after the turnaround.

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Also note, the race directors told us at the start that the mileage difference would be between miles 4-6, but that once we reached the Mile 6 marker, the distance would be as planned through to the finish, so that was another reason not to rely on my watch too much. I liked this section, running down Independence toward the tidal basin. It was open and clear and everyone around me seemed to be running the same pace.

Mile 5: 6:41

Just kept chugging along at the same effort, as we ran toward Hains Point.

Mile 6: 7:01

This is where I think I took a bit of a mental hit. I was starting to fatigue and let myself get into a little bit of a funk. Potomac Park was absolutely beautiful with the canopy of cherry blossoms reaching over the path. There are few spectators here so you really have to grind on your own.

Mile 7: 7:04

I lost my rhythm and resigned to keeping my legs moving at this point. I don’t even think I looked at my watch more than 1-2 times from Mile 7 to the finish. I had a sip of water in Mile 7 (or maybe 8?).

Mile 8: 6:54

At this point, I was practically rejoicing that the course was short (but obviously not because of the emergency that caused it to be shortened). I remember thinking, “ouch, this feels like the end of a marathon”. Probably a bit dramatic but I felt like I was seriously fading even though my splits don’t show it much.

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Mile 9: 7:05

Just willing my legs to keep moving and hoping that they’d stay on. 😀

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0.4 – 6:53 pace

The last section is up two small hills but they felt gargantuan (kind of how “Roosevelt Mountain” feels at the end of many Chicago races). It’s a bit of a struggle too because you look up hoping to see the finish line but you really don’t see it until you’re less than 400 m from the actual finish line. The crowds were awesome here!

Official Splits:

5.7 M – 38:15, 6:43 pace

Finish – 1:04:49 6:49 pace

Overall place 680

Place in gender 152

Place in division 56

At the finish, I saw Ellen, Mary, and Allie. It was nice to finally meet Ellen and Allie in person and to catch up with Mary before she runs Boston next week. No matter where you race, there always seems to be someone that you “know” — or just feel like you know after some mutual stalking.

Overall, I think it was a good effort. I know where I’m at in my training and what kind of pace I can sustain on a good day. I’ve really only been focusing on tough workouts for 6 weeks now (after a decent base-building period), so I’ll take a solid 6:49 pace for 9.5ish miles as a sign that I’m moving in the right direction. And, if anything, it’s a bit of redemption after running 6:55 pace at the Shamrock Shuffle 8k. Running Cherry Blossom was a good reminder what race pain feels like and I’m looking forward to giving my workouts 100% in the next 4 weeks or so. I know I need to get some pace practice in and get comfortable with being uncomfortable — be willing to hop on the pain train in the last couple miles of the half. I think I would have felt much better during the race if I had started closer to 7:00 min/mile and worked my way down to 6:30s by the finish. There’s just something about a perfect spring day that makes you want to run fast and I clearly botched my race strategy in the first 5 miles. You race and you learn.

Oh! And Lindsey surprised herself (and me!) by running an amazing negative split! Her first half was around 8:30 pace and she ended up running 8:06 average by the finish. I mean, we miiiiight just have to adjust her goal time for the Chicago Half (duh). 😀

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Brittany, my mom, Lindsey, me — and not be missed, Apache! (16 week old Chesapeake)

-J

Shamrock Shuffle 8k 2014 [34:22]

First race of the year = rustbuster workout.

I’m making more of an effort to just get to the start line this year and the Shamrock Shuffle 8k was my first go at it. Considering I raced TWICE in all of 2014, this year is going to be very different. I didn’t have a big plan going into Shamrock. The longest tempo I’ve run so far is only 3 miles so I knew there would be a decent amount of grinding if I wanted to run 6:40-6:45 pace. As much as I wanted to run a certain pace, I was also fighting my 3rd cough/cold of the winter all last week. Huge bummer. I was completely drained by the end of the work day and all I wanted to do was crawl in bed and dose myself heavily with Nyquil. By Saturday, I felt decent but not 100%. And then add in the crazy weather forecast and I kind of threw a time goal out the window:

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Once you see that wind icon (especially in Chicago) you know it’s going to be a doozy. I met Corey and Chanthana at 7:30 AM so we could each do a quick warm-up before walking over to gear check and changing into racing shoes. CT was generous & offered to watch our bags while Corey and I ran a 20-minute warm-up a few times around the block. We knew there was a headwind from the south but we realized during the warm-up that there was also a crazy wind swirling from the west. Running north was effortless with a strong tailwind, at least!

I felt congested during our warm-up and the cold wind wasn’t making breathing any easier. As usual, despite thinking that we would have enough time to relax, get to gear check, do a few strides, and get into the corral in time, we were rushed to get there! Corey, CT, and I huddled together in the corral to try to stay warm before the start.

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Annnnd we were off.

Mile 1 – You can never trust your Garmin in the first 2-3 miles so I didn’t look at it. There was a lot of dodging and shuffling (heh) in the first mile and I felt like I was flying past so many people that had a slower goal pace that I did (big corrals will create that problem, and I started in the middle of the corral). I felt like I was running smooth – breathing totally normal. Once I manually lapped my watched at Mile 1 and saw 7:10 flash on my watch, I thought “what? That can’t be right! I thought I was running closer to 6:50!”

Mile 2- Running south on State St. was surprisingly not against a strong headwind. I was still fighting to pass people (and trying not to elbow people in the process) but found more of a groove in this mile. Split 6:45 – “ok, closer to goal pace at least”.

Mile 3- By the time I got to mile 3.5, my breathing was really labored. Despite feeling calm and controlled until that point, a lot of congestion was building. Breathing through my nose was basically impossible and the cold headwind went straight to the back of my throat. Derp. Still, I tried to push the pace and clocked a 6:42 here.

Mile 4 – the “holy headwind mile”. This was a big mental WOOF. I looked up at one point and saw everyone tucking their heads down and bracing against the wind. Effort was high here even if pace wasn’t as fast as I wanted it to be. Those 40 mph wind gusts that were predicted became reality. Split: 6:53

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Mile 5 – Just tried to pull it together. Once we made the turn back south on Michigan, my lungs and legs were burning. The headwind was still strong here and I had to stop to blow a snot rocket. 🙂 Everything was backed up and I just wanted to be done. After the left turn to the finish, I tried to kick it in a bit but not sure if that was all in my head. Split: 6:51.

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All in all, these were pretty crazy conditions for the first ‘spring’ race of the year. I’ve only run the Shuffle one other time and that was 4 years ago when it was 75 degrees and sunny. This year, the weather turned the opposite direction. The effort was there on race day but the goal pace wasn’t. My legs felt good and my form felt strong, but the wind and my congestion made racing difficult. I’ll consider this a good rustbuster (and my first 5 mi tempo of this training cycle) and hope for real spring temps to arrive soon.

Splits: 7:10, 6:45, 6:42, 6:53, 6:51

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My next race is the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler on April 12! I’ve heard so many good things about this race and I’m looking forward to putting in another solid effort before Bayshore at the end of May.

-J

Honolulu Marathon: My Sister’s 26.2 Debut with #Saucony26Strong

On Sunday, December 14th, my older sister Brittany and I ran 26.2 in Honolulu. That means that this recap is approximately 45+ days “late”. It was Brittany’s first marathon and we had the crazy cool opportunity to be a part of 26 strong women all going for 26.2 in 2014 with Saucony.

After a long, luxurious week in the sunshine (we soaked up all of the vitamin D we could), we grumpily boarded a plane bound for home. And while I grabbed my iPad to load a movie and try to entertain myself for the 8-hour flight, Brittany sat for a few hours typing away on her race recap. I kept peeking over at her to see if she was even close to finishing; she had so much to say (because, duh, she should. She ran a marathon)! I was so curious about what moments stood out, the things that made her laugh, and how she interepreted her first marathon. All of our racing experiences can be so different — and how we interpret them is so personal, especially when it’s a distance you’ve never run before. When she felt like she was done with her first draft, she nudged me, passed over her iPad and asked me if I wanted to read it.

This is what she had to say, just 6 days after racing her first marathon. I’ve filled in some details (in italics) that stand out to me; moments that make me proud and happy …and giggle with laughter at the moments that I hope we’ll both remember for a long time to come. You did it, Brittany!

——

“The alarm went off at 3:00 a.m.  With the time difference, it felt like 8:00 a.m. to us, which worked out well.  I had laid out all of my gear the evening before so that I was sure not to forget anything.   I ate some oatmeal, drank water with nuun, and packed a banana to eat closer to race time.

Either Brittany really was calm and collected or she really concealed her nerves well. I think I was more flustered that morning than her!

Despite a recent minor calf issue, I opted to forego the single calf sleeve I was given by my PT and went with full compression socks instead.   I figured since I have tight calves to begin with, they might both need a little extra support.  I put on my bullet shorts, sleeveless top, and Monumental Marathon running cap (that was my first half marathon, which I ran with my other sister, Lindsey), and laced up my Kinvara’s (my favorite shoe by far).  I loaded up my side pockets with gu, put my iPod in my back pocket, and plugged in my recently-purchased yurbuds.  I was glad I had bought them because my last pair was well beyond its useful life.   Also, they seemed to stay put much better than my old pair.  Couldn’t have any gear malfunctions on race day!  Two puffs of the inhaler and some quick stretches and we were out the door.

Brittany’s recent minor calf issue came just 3 weeks before race day, at the end of peak week and just 7 miles into her 20-miler. Her PT was able to see her within a day of stopping her run short and experiencing some sharp pain. He diagnosed her with a minor calf sprain and we rolled with the punches. She received 3-4 Graston treatments and she (luckily) experienced absolutely no pain while cross-training on the bike and elliptical. I know how frustrating an injury so close to race day can be — but she handled it well and her calf was 100% ready to go the morning of the marathon. I remember telling her that the beginning of taper was probably the best time that a little niggle could happen.

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Can you tell Britt is almost 6 feet tall? I didn’t get that gene!

The other 26Strong coaches and cadets met in the lobby of our hotel around 3:30 a.m.  It was very apparent how nervous most people were.  I was both excited and nervous, to be honest.  I’d been working hard for almost 7 months and now race day had finally arrived.   (“Can we get this show on the road already??”).  We left the hotel around 3:45 a.m., just as a light rain started to come down.  A few people we saw were smart and had brought trash bags to keep dry but it was a warm rain and not very hard so I didn’t mind it much.  As far as race conditions go, I would gladly take cloudy and raining over 74 and sunny*.  It was about a 1.5 mile walk to the start so it served as a good warm-up.  We were grateful not to have to take a shuttle there because it would’ve just complicated things. 

Spoiler alert!: I think it was to our advantage that Brittany and I both love running in the rain.

When we got near the start, I really had to pee (hello hydration!).   The lines for the port-o-potties were super long, as usual, so we kept walking while we looked for another option.  Not finding one, we got in what appeared to be a shorter line and waited our turn.   Until that morning, I didn’t have a full appreciation for how many Japanese people were in Honolulu for the race.  Jenny and I were easily the only blondes in the crowd 🙂  After about 20 minutes, it became obvious the lines were NOT moving.   Maybe it was the added complexity of getting the trash bag off before they could pee but everyone was taking their sweet time!   Thankfully Jenny spotted some public restrooms that seemed to be a well-kept secret so we jogged over to them.  No line.  Phew!  We were in and out in minutes.

*I can’t overstate how ridiculous these bathroom lines were — After a bank of 7-8 lines didn’t move an inch during our 10 min wait, I ran across the field to stand in another line. Brittany could see me (barely) from across the field and I told her I’d jump up and down like a crazy person if my line moved faster. Neither of us moved. (The runners in those lines must have started 30+ min after the official start of the race, I swear.) I saw people running in and out of this group of trees so I decided to run over there to see if there were ‘secret bathrooms’. Success! After another run across the field to grab Britt and back to the bathroom and THEN to the start line, we finally made it. Phew.

The start wasn’t organized into corrals of any kind.  Instead, there were signs posted, each with a target finish time.  It was essentially a “seed yourself” scenario.  It was really crowded but we managed to get near the 4:00 sign and only waited a few minutes before the official start of the race (complete with fireworks, believe it or not).  Just before the start, the Darude song “Sandstorm” started playing on my iPod and that’s when I finally felt ready to race.  Music was one thing that really helped me get through my training so hearing a song I love to run to really fired me up!

I’ve never seen fireworks at the start of a race — that was exhilarating! I’ve also never been at a start line and wondered, “when are they gonna say something in English? I wonder if there’s important information they’re sharing.” Because over half of the participants are Japanese, at least 75% of the annoucements were in Japanese. The only thing I heard in English before we started was “You’re going to runnnnnnnnnn!”. 🙂 

The first couple of miles we had to weave in and out between people while trying to keep as steady a pace as we could.  It was frustrating to be wasting energy going side to side in the crowd rather than just forward, but there’s no helping that when you’re in one of the largest races in the US.  It took patience, but going out too fast would’ve been disastrous anyway.

*The amount of weaving that we had to do was pretty frustrating, but we kept tabs on one another and worked our way through the crowd. It would have been much easier if it hadn’t been pitch black outside. 

The crowd opened up a bit around mile 4.  I remember seeing some goofy-looking Christmas lights downtown Honolulu (that’s just weird to me).  The streets were wet from the rain and we were still 2 hours from sunrise so I tried to really pay attention to my footing.  Hawaii also has rows of raised plastic reflectors separating traffic lanes, which were annoying to dodge.   One wrong step and someone would roll an ankle.  I’ll pass, thank you very much.

We had agreed to look for Lindsey and Manny around mile 5 since that was the closest point to our hotel.  Those two are quite the professional race spectators by now (especially since they’ve done quite a few themselves).  We spotted them and we were all smiles.  I ran towards them and yelled “sweaty hugs!” before they even knew what was happening (mwahahaha).  Eh…they were already wet from the rain, right? 😉  It’s always a boost to see friends and family along the course.

Next, we began the climb up Diamond Head.   I knew there would be some uphill portions of the course, but I didn’t have a full understanding of how steep it was going to be.  “Small, quick steps,” Jenny said to me.  I didn’t have too much trouble and to my surprise, even my calves behaved themselves.

The wind and rain really started to make things difficult around mile 8.   It was so windy I felt like we were practically standing still.  I couldn’t get a full breath.  It was at this point I was extremely glad I’d worn a hat.  I put my head down in an attempt to block the wind.  My Indiana training definitely didn’t include wind and I think it affected me both mentally and physically.  I thought to myself “if this keeps up, there’s no way I’ll finish!”

I’m not sure I was even ready for the wind, even after training in Chicago. Wind is one thing, but wind and rain is another. We dealt with the rain and wind for the majority of the race, with the most annoying section between mile 8 and 14-15. 

2014-12-14 07.24.01Here’s what we were dealing with. Straight headwind for at least 6 miles with a heavy downpour. 

At about the halfway point, Jenny suggested we use a race/walk strategy, as it was obvious we wouldn’t finish in 3:xx.  We would run for 4 minutes and walk for 1.  “Yes please.”  She had me follow right behind her and just focus on her feet and matching her stride.   It sounds odd but it worked.  It took my mind off of everything else that was going on and I just had to keep putting one foot in front of the other.  We used that strategy the rest of the race. 

I knew we were working too hard to maintain goal pace in tough conditions; I wanted to make sure Brittany was able to run those long legs across the finish line and ENJOY her first 26.2 as much as possible. She said to me, “Jenny, I’m running across that finish line no matter what.” I kept my eye on my watch so she could focus on maintaing a rhythm and watching my heels. It’s funny to think about how I was completely convinced that I was blocking even a small amount of wind for her — I’m 5’6″ and she’s 5’11”. I still like to think that I helped a wee bit — even if it was only a mental boost. 

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I don’t remember much of miles 15-22.  I know I was struggling, needed to stretch a few times, and was cussing up a storm.   (Sorry to anyone I may have offended.  lol).  I hardly checked my Garmin at all, thinking it would just discourage me to see my pace.  I vaguely recall there being a rainbow everyone was snapping pictures of.  All I could do was focus on the task at hand.  Left foot, right foot, left foot, right foot.  

This is where the race really got interesting. We maintained our run-walk strategy and I knew Brittany was feeling comfortable doing that. But when I heard her say “oh f***, oh f***”, I knew we were in for a treat. I couldn’t help but laugh — I totally knew what she was going through. She was swearing not because she thought she couldn’t do it; she was swearing because it was a totally new sensation. She likely heard people say “you won’t know what running a marathon feels like until you run one” a million times leading up to her race — and now she was really experiencing that dead-legged exhaustion that sets in. As her pacer and sister and coach and friend, I took every opportunity to try to make her laugh, to remind her to look at the views (which improved toward the end, thanks to the rain stopping), and to dance to whatever song was on her iPod. I knew she was staring at my heels to keep her legs going, so I waved and made silly motions to her as she followed. We joke now that she spent 26.2 miles staring at my butt. 

2014-12-14 07.59.332014-12-14 08.27.34This rainbow showed itself around miles 18-21. The rain had pretty much stopped and we were delirious.

Once we reached Mile 18, Brittany said “hey, longest distance I’ve ever run in my life!”. Her longest run was 18 miles (due to her calf sprain, she wasn’t able to complete her 20-miler), so every mile marker after 18 was a milestone. We maintained our run-walk strategy really well, I think! We stopped a few times to stretch our quads and calves and get our Gu down. 

Honolulu- Pacing!

The people from Saucony and Competitor (Sean, Brandon, and Erin!) who helped organize the 26Strong program were spectating and taking pictures at mile 25.  Luckily this was a downhill part of the course or they may have gotten to see just how slooooooow Brittany can move.  We attempted to smile for the camera and I’m 100% sure Jenny was more successful than I was. 

When Brittany says that she was running slow, she really means that she was at mile 25 of a freaking marathon and she was tired. Because, duh, running a marathon is hard. 🙂 I 100% remember her having a spurt of energy here – seeing people you know on a race course always gives me an adrenaline rush and we knew all we had to do was continue running down the hill and straight through the park to the finish line. 

Shortly thereafter (near mile 25) some people were handing out ‘shots’ of beer.   I hadn’t spotted them yet when Jenny asked “do you want a beer?”  I responded “heck yeah!” before I realized she meant now and not at the finish.  Haha!  No beer for me….I have a race to finish… Back to business…

I, for one, was completely serious about taking the beer offer. Next time, Brittany, next time. 😉 

On the final stretch, we again spotted Lindsey and Manny.  This time they were joined by Jenny’s friend, Chanthana (a fellow marathoner).   I remember hearing them cheer but don’t recall exactly what they said.   I was soooo exhausted and just wanted to cross that finish line!  I know I was able to keep picking up my legs but just barely off the ground.  I do remember Jenny saying “You’re doing it!  You’re running a marathon!” which made me smile (more so on the inside than visibly showing it). 

VIDEO: That moment when you are just meters away from finishing your first marathon. *Also, I’d like to give a shoutout to Chanthana’s incredible lungs and vocal chords. 

When I think about running Honolulu with Brittany, I think about this moment. Lindsey, Manny, and Chanthana ask Britt “who’s a marathoner?!!! … You’re a marathoner!”

Jenny and I held hands as we crossed the finish line, which made me feel so incredibly proud.  We were congratulated and each given a seashell necklace.  How appropriate!  As I bent over and held my knees, a woman asked if I was okay (thinking to myself: “Does it look like it?”)   But I did feel “okay” relatively speaking.  We kept walking through the finish chute looking for water but no such luck.  This was a huge race organization fail in my opinion.  I know they wanted to keep the line moving but making you walk another half mile for water wasn’t cool.

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Lindsey, Manny, and Chanthana soon found us and were all smiles and high-fives.   “You’re a marathoner!  You’re a marathoner!” they kept saying.  :D. After getting our race medals and t-shirts, we found a place to sit (woo!) and take off our shoes, get some water, check our phones, and all that stuff.  One unique thing about the Honolulu Marathon finish is that they have malasadas*, which are the Hawaiian equivalent of donuts covered in generous amounts of sugar   (“Sign me up!  I’ll take a dozen”).  It may not have been the smartest move to eat that right after racing but at that point, I didn’t really care 🙂

*Malasadas = pillowy sugary doughnut slice of heaven. All other races need to take note!

Looking back on the whole experience, it definitely was the chance of a lifetime and I can’t believe I even had to think twice before I said yes.  Many people run marathons (about half a million Americans actually) but not many get to go about it quite the way we did.   Lots of new shoes and gear, a magazine cover, the support of 24 other women, free race entry and travel expenses, and most important to me – having my incredible sister as my coach.  Jenny and I often joked that we were dreaming.   This just doesn’t happen.  But it did happen.  And it’s something I’ll always cherish.

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When asked if I will ever run another marathon, I’m not sure.  It was a bucket list item of mine and now it’s complete.   Training for 26.2 is a huge time commitment, not to mention the mental and physical discipline it requires.   For now, I only know one thing for sure.   I won’t ever have another FIRST marathon.   So I’m going to bask in my achievement a little while longer.   Mahalo Honolulu.

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2014 Monumental Marathon: RACE RECAP 3:11:07

I spent 12 weeks of training worrying, obsessing, and wondering whether or not I’d be able to run a PR in Indy last Saturday. I’m exceptionally good at thinking about these things. I do it so often that it’s a surprise to me when I am able to turn off my brain.

That happened on race day. I didn’t think. I just RAN.

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My sister asked me last night to tell her all about the race, about every single mile. And I couldn’t. I don’t have a lot to say about each mile of Monumental because I didn’t obsess over the details, I didn’t question my pace, I didn’t get ahead of myself, and I didn’t calculate my finish time early on. I had a conservative plan going into it, but ended up running closer to feel than by pace than I ever have before.

I ran a 3 min, 30 second PR with a time of 3:11:07. IT WAS THE BEST DAY EVAHHHHHH! 

The big headline: I ran my 5th marathon, with a 3 + min PR, peed my shorts for the 2nd time in a marathon (it was awesome) and totally surprised myself on Saturday. 

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I’m so happy I showed up with a “ok, let’s just see what happens!” kind of attitude because it took the pressure of a PR out of my mind. Manny and I drove down to Indy on Friday morning after dropping Barklee off. I hydrated like crazy before and during the drive and we had to take 2 pit stops in the 3 hr drive. Somehow I managed to get 50 oz of water in before 11 AM. I also came dangerously close to finishing an entire large bag of pretzels on the drive. Hey, salt content, people! The drive down was cold, wet, and windy. We even saw snow come down during one of our pit stops. I was nervous about the race day forecast, but kept telling myself that I could deal with the cold – there was no rain in the forecast, thank goodness!

We drove straight to the expo at the Convention Center to meet Scott and Meghan. (Note: I first met Scott at Twin Cities 2012 and he’s raced every marathon I’ve raced since: Boston 2013, Boston 2014, and now Monumental 2014! Let’s keep this streak alive, dude! #TRWU for the win!) The expo is no-fuss, so we were in and out within 15-20 minutes. And the only reason we were there that long was because of an orange sticker on my bib that read “Seeding Group 3. My bib number was #519 so that didn’t sound right. Scott didn’t even have a seeding sticker on his bib so we walked over to Solutions to ask them about it. I asked them what my sticker meant and the woman said “you entered a time when you registered that said you’d run a 3:30 marathon”, to which I replied, “Oh no, that’s definitely wrong.” She was willing to help but she said “That’s ok. You can just move back if that’s not right”. {uhhhhhhh….}. I responded, “No, I’ll be running a much faster time than that tomorrow.” So she gave me a different seeding sticker. In hindsight, I may have sounded like a brat but there was no way I was going to let a silly sticker have an affect on my race (mentally, mostly). We made a plan to meet up in the morning & left the expo.

Manny and I met my brother for a beer and some lunch at Upland that afternoon. I had a beer because a) you shouldn’t change your routine, even on race weekend and 2) it was my brother’s birthday. It was delicious and oh so worth it. After relaxing for a bit, we stopped at Target for some throw-away items and oatmeal for my pre-race breakfast. I had a small headache and started to feel pretty tired from the drive so we went home to watch a movie and eat dinner. Pro tip: find a movie that will hold 100% of your attention the night before a race. I watched Divergent and didn’t really think about the race at all!

I went to bed at 10:30 after laying out my things. The forecast didn’t change much during the day on Friday, so I decided to wear shorts, compression socks, a long sleeve shirt, a hat, and gloves. After tossing and turning for 30 minutes or so, I fell asleep. And then it was 5 AM and it was go time! I slept well and felt really rested. I slept a LOT in the weeks leading up to the race, especially after peak week knocked me on my butt – I know that extra sleep helped prepare me for the race.

Side note: I didn’t even get a pre-race shakeout in on Friday! I thought I’d be able to fit in 2-3 miles after the drive down (because running before the drive would be pointless), but it was cold and windy and gross out. By the time I had an opportunity to run on a treadmill, it was already 4 pm – pretty pointless to shake out that late. Instead of stressing out about fitting it in, I just rested. I’m glad I did! I ran Mon, Tues, and Wed but Thurs and Fri were total rest days.

So, snuggle up with your favorite beverage and get comfortable, folks! This recap turned out to be 275% longer than I originally thought! 

I thought I’d be able to squeak by with a small PR. My plan was to run 1:36-37 through the half and then see if I could negative split. I divide the marathon into 5-mile segments, so I thought I’d run 7:35/mile pace in the first section and target 7:30, 7:25, 7:20, etc for each section after that. This plan would get me to 3:13 and change – if it all went according to plan. We found parking just south of the convention center and start line by 6:45 am. I’m so happy they had the Convention Center open so I could stay warm and do some dynamic stretches before walking 1 block to the start. Gotta love that about small races! Scott, Meghan, and Jeff met up with me and Manny and we chatted for a few minutes while we got ready. The nerves kicked in about 15 min from the start. I said goodbye to Man 5 min from the start, took off my throwaway clothes, and got ready!

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(Likely the closest Jeff will ever come to smiling in a picture.)

It was 30 degrees with a strong headwind from the north, which meant that we’d deal with the majority of the wind in the first half. I wasn’t that worried about the wind considering that’s my normal in Chi, but I knew I should try to tuck in to a pack and draft a bit off some big dudes if I could find them. From the start, it wasn’t crowded (again, small races ftw!). I’m used to jostling and dodging a bit in the first few miles of most races, so this was a welcome relief.

Miles 1-5 

Mile1-5

So, that 7:35 initial pace I mentioned? Yeah, that never materialized. I was definitely excited to be racing in the first mile and tried to focusing on letting my legs warm up. My quads were the most exposed part of my body; they didn’t really warm up until toward Mile 4 or 5. I felt comfortable running closer to 7:20. By mile 3, I realized that I was running a wee bit too fast and that I needed to let the 3:10 pace group pass me. They did at Mile 3.5 and I put my head down and focused on my own race. The pace group would be within my view until about Mile 8. I took my first Gu at Mile 5. Mmmmmm….root beer flavor!

Miles 6-10

Mile6-10

The plan targeted 7:30s here, but every single time I looked down at my watch, I realized how comfortable 7:20-7:25s felt. The half marathon splits from the full course at Mile 7. I looked ahead where they had a sign directing the marathoners to the right side of the course and remember thinking, “welp, I’m going to be all alone now!”. It seemed like 1 runner for every 10 in the half were moving to the right. I knew the wind would be a factor in these miles and that I should find a small group to draft off of but it never materialized. It was likely strung out a bit between the 3:10 and 3:15 pace group. Every time I felt like I found a big dude to draft off of, I felt like they were just going slightly faster or slower than I wanted to. It would be pointless to spend energy surging to catch a small group of runners and I wanted to run my own race. Around Mile 8, a small group formed. These two women were talking pace strategy and I could tell that the leading woman was pacing the other. She looked incredibly fit (and *freezing*, judging by her decision to wear just a sports bra & capris in 30 degrees) and they told me to tuck in behind them. It was nice to have something to focus on for a few miles; I kept my eye on the pacer’s heels and dodged sketchy potholes when I could (ahem…no falling on my knee this time around!). They were running even 7:20-25 so right where I wanted to be. And the men in our group seemed to be the ones trailing so that was also also a confidence boost. You could tell they were letting the women do the hard work. The wind seemed more manageable for these miles, but we still had a few gusts that felt strong. I ended up running with them through Mile 15-16. (Fun fact, I looked one of the women up and it turns out she also lives in Chicago!) I took my 2nd Gu and waved to Lindsey Hein (AKA spectator extraordinaire!) near Mile 10.

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Photo credit: Lindsey H.

Miles 11-15

Mile11-15

I just kept moving through the half. My mom, sister, and Manny were planning on spectating at 13.1 and I started to worry when I didn’t see them there (There was no way I’d miss them.) I looked at the clock as we ran across the timing mat at 13.1. I was right on pace-  It read 1:36:30. I remember thinking, “Just keep this rhythm going”. Every time I started to tense my shoulders or hands, I’d take a deep breath and relax. My form felt really strong. I saw my mom and my sister here at Mile 14 — no Manny! They were loud and obnoxious on a quiet part of the course, which was exactly what I needed. The only thing I said to them was, “where is Manny?!?!” Turns out he got stuck behind traffic related to the 5k after the start. Derp!

At this point,  I started to get annoyed by the two women – the pacer and her friend. They were talking a lot (too much!) and they were completely obsessing about the pace. The one racing told the pacer, “Ok, next mile I just need 2 seconds back.” Yeah, 2 seconds won’t make a difference. I knew I was having a good day and I didn’t want to get stuck depending on them for 7:20-7:25s so I left them around Mile 15. There’s a slight uphill there, the only noticeable one on the entire course. It was shorter than I thought it would be. Short, quick steps up the hill and onward! I took my next (3rd) Gu just after 15.5 along with a few swigs of water. (I’m really proud of how easily I got each Gu down, along with water every 5 miles.)

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Out of 26 race pics, this is the only one that looks somewhat attractive. You’re welcome.

Miles 16-20

Miles16-20

My legs TURNED ON in this section. The sun was out so I started to feel more warmed up and we had an ever so slight tail wind (although it really wasn’t that noticeable). People were starting to string out even more and I felt like I would be running by myself for the rest of the race– and that’s pretty much what happened. At 18, near the IMA, I saw my mom, my sister, and (surprise!) Manny. It was so nice to see them one more time before the miles really became lonely. I gave Manny a side-5 and a thumbs up to all three of them – my legs were rolling and I knew the next time I would see them would be at the finish line.

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Happy after running through the IMA 🙂

Mile 18 was fast for two completely unrelated reasons:

1) It’s a long downhill section.

2) I purposely peed my shorts and IT WAS COMPLETELY EXHILARATING. Don’t worry, folks. I’ve done this before. Been there, done that. And this time was just as hilarious as the first time. There was no way I was stopping just to go to the bathroom. And once you make that decision to pee your shorts, there’s no going back. I was gliding on this downhill section, the sun came out from behind some clouds, I looked down and practically snorted at myself. It was heavenly. I can only imagine the view that that dude running behind me had. It was glorious, until it was cold. Even then, it was worth it. I remember thinking “oh no, what if my calfs cramp because of all the pee in my socks?!”. Thankfully, that didn’t happen (and I finished the race with zero blisters!).

If you’d like proof that I was thoroughly hydrated and my pee was essentially water, here you go:

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See that? White compression socks are STILL WHITE, post-pee at the finish. And yes, I’m keeping those socks.

Despite the obvious adrenaline rush, I started to feel like the last 10k would get really interesting once I passed Mile 20, where I took my 4th and final Gu (mmmm Caramel Macchiato- just as delicious as Espresso Love). I wanted to stay close to 7:10s and hopefully dip under in the last section of the race.

Miles 21-26.2

Miles21-Finish

At 21, I couldn’t believe how empty the course was. During race week, I watched the time lapse video of the course several times and realized this section would be tough without spectators. I wasn’t running with others at this point. This one dude and I went back and forth a few times between Miles 17-20 but he likely saw me pee my shorts at Mile 18.5 and decided not to get near my kind of crazy. There.was.no.one.near.me. Just me and the road. This section is a parkway and close enough to the finish that spectators are few and far between. Once you make the turn onto Meridian at Mile 23, the energy starts to pick up a bit again. The run-walkers in the half marathon were clustered in groups on the left side of the street. Marathoners were running on the right but I honestly only remember seeing 3 or 4 others. I stopped after 23 to take a few more swigs of water before continuing on because I knew it would be my last one (I never really felt thirsty the entire race – proper pre-race hydration and regular sips of water the entire time helped, of course). I really had to pull myself together in Mile 23.

ENTER: 100% pain face.

I didn’t know my face could do that, but I’m willing to bet I looked like this for the better part of the last 3 miles. (These are in the finish chute.)

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By the time I reached Mile 24, I was entirely ready to be finished. I didn’t have much, if any, kick left. I wanted to dip closer to 7:00 min/mile but that wasn’t really happening. I was just trying to keep it together. I stopped to walk for 5-10 seconds and immediately thought, “no, Jenny. That’s not happening.” (Low point- so close!) With 2.5 miles to go, I started to calculate my finish time. That’s always a dangerous game to play, but, after some tough math with a brain that didn’t really want to function, I knew that I’d PR even if I just had to keep up with 8:00 minute miles. I still had 7 min miles in my legs; I just had to keep telling myself that.

I WAS GOING TO PR. PR! Peeeeeeeee (your shorts) -RRRRRRRRRR! 

Ok, hold it together. It’s happening. Just keep the legs going. Come onnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn, Jenny.

We made a right hand turn, I looked off to my left, and realized the finish line was in sight. This dude on my left yelled, “YOU’VE JUST GOT TWO TURNS LEFT. TWO TURNS LEFT UNTIL YOU FINISH!”. I was like shit, I can’t make it two turns! I literally had 0.2 miles left and I felt like I was going to fall over. I made the first left and tried to focus on the second.

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Pic credit: Lindsey H.

I made the final turn and somehow there was a tiny kick left in my legs. I don’t even remember seeing people run near me but knew they were there. It’s amazing I didn’t run into anyone through the finish chute. I heard the announcer say  “and we’ve got Jenny Poore from Chicagoooooooo coming through!”.

As usual, cue the water works, folks! I crossed the finish line, stopped my watched, and looked down. It read 3:11:07. 

THREE ELEVEN OH SEVEN! Like, what?! That couldn’t be right! My pie-in-the-sky goal was 3:13. That’s the time that I thought I was capable of on Saturday.

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I put my hands on my knees, fought to stand with shaking legs, and volunteers asked me if I was okay. I said yes and started to cry. It was all worth it. I didn’t know how badly I wanted to PR until I did. And I didn’t know how fit I was until I raced. All that worrying, all that agonizing about the short training cycle and silly knee issues from a ridiculous fall in July. I made it. I fucking made it.

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Unreal.

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I couldn’t even manage a smile for the post-finish line photo. Water.works.

5 days later and I still don’t think it’s quite sunk in. All I know is that I’ve got the fire back. I want that sub 3:10 now — you know, because I’m addicted to running and racing and what the finish line feels like when you conquer that distance. I’ve run 3:17, 3:14, and now 3:11 in the marathon. I can’t help but think, “why not just keep the pattern going and run sub 3:08 next year?”.

My favorite two photos of the day are these two. I’ll never get sick of the “I can’t believe I just did that” feeling and happy hugs at the finish line.

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IT WAS THE BEST DAY.

-J

The Beginning of a New Cycle – Monumental 2014

I’ve debated a bit about whether or not I want to post training updates this time around. This seems to be a normal part of a new cycle for me – do I want to share how my workouts are going, even (and especially) on the days when they’re not going well? Am I posting for myself? I’ve certainly had different answers to these questions in the past. And just as before, I’m a bit conflicted. For now, I’ll update when I feel like it. I like being able to look back on past training cycles. It helps put things in perspective, especially when you consider the training-LIFE balance that anyone training for a marathon has to deal with. I’m toying with the idea of posting monthly updates – surely, few people (if anyone) would read them but at least I’d be able to process what the heck is happening running-wise.

Thoughts? Do you read training updates or do you scroll them? What do you think are the advantages or disadvantages of sharing?

So, the weekly update!

Last week was a transition week into my training for Monumental. I’ve been ramping up my mileage a bit in the past 6-7 weeks and I am happy that I was mentally ready to start a new cycle.

Monday: REST + taking care of those sniffles

Day 1 of training (although 16 weeks out was officially Monday, July 14) and I woke up feeling like absolute crap. I fought a cold/cough/sore throat over the holiday weekend but thought it had run its course. Turns out Monday was the worst of it and I spent half the day working in bed. I spent the rest of the day being lazy. But hey! I spent 30 full minutes foam rolling and using the roll recovery that night!

Tuesday: [8 easy with 8 x 20 sec surges (7:44 avg) – paced between 5:50-6:10 min/mile] 

After 10 hours of sleep, I woke up feeling human! I took plenty of meds and hydrated on Monday so I’m sure that helped a lot as well. The only time I had to run was during lunch so I ran 8 easy in a nearby park and ran straight to Potbelly for lunch. I took the long way there :). The surges felt great (turnover seems strong lately) and it was a good ‘light speed’ workout, considering the lingering congestion I was dealing with.

Wednesday: [10 miles easy (7:40 avg)]

Easy 10 on the lakefront this morning. It was a “cool” 72 degrees out, so it was pretty enjoyable. Seen on my run: Mr. Bean’s doppelgänger. I’m curious to see how these longer mid-week runs impact my training. Still a bit of lingering congestion, but much better than Monday!

Thursday: [Bastille Day 5k! 20:32 + 1.67 mi warm-up]

One word describes this race experience: woof. I jumped into a 5k just to see where my fitness is at before officially beginning the training cycle. I thought I could get to low 20s without blowing up. I’ve PR’d at this race the past two years and have liked racing it. This year, the congestion was terrible. The 8k starts 15 minutes before the 5k and they finish together on an out-and-back course. I was on target through 2-3k & felt pretty good – just starting to hurt but knew I could push for another 2k. After the 3k mark though, staying on pace was pretty much impossible. They didn’t put a race official at the turnaround to even let people know that a race was happening. There was plenty of traffic on the lakefront because it was such a beautiful evening. (The course is never blocked off but it’s never been a big problem in the past. In fact, I don’t even really remember any congestion last year.) This time around, there were cyclists on both sides and down the middle of the path – I was basically surrounded by bikes on both sides. And then, you run into the 8k runners that were running a much slower pace by the time the 5k runners were at the turnaround. There were more people running in the grass during a 5k than I’ve ever seen before and you could tell some people were frustrated. At that point, I literally had to stop and walk for a few seconds because it was so bad. Total of two stops probably totaled 15-20 seconds.

Soooooo yeah, it didn’t go well. But I guess it was a decent workout. I haven’t done any structured speedwork since before Boston so at least I know I have a little bit of pep in my legs these days. I doubt I’ll be able to squeeze in another 5k in the next few months, but damn I really want that sub 20 goal knocked down this year. I know I can run a sub-20. I ran 20:05 at the same race last year. It’s gotta happen!

The highlight was definitely hearing some familiar voices with 200 meters to go. Corey, Chanthana, and Manny were definitely the loudest spectators at the finish. We grabbed some burgers and beer after the race. NOMS!

2014-07-10 19.15.00-2

 

Pre-race optimism 

Splits: 3:52, 4:03, 4:07, 4:18 (darn traffic), 4:09
9th female
4/113 age group
32/861 overall

Friday: [5 easy + 5 x 8 sec hill sprints, (8:11 avg)]

My legs weren’t sore or tired from the 5k at all. Derp. It felt good to move at the end of the work day.

Saturday: [Long Run – 14 mi (7:52 avg)]

What a backwards Saturday. I woke up to a crazy downpour (think monsoon) at 6:30 AM and the rain didn’t stop until 11 AM. At that point, I was already preparing a late breakfast and debating delaying ’til tomorrow. After the rain cleared, Man and I headed out for our long run at 1 PM. Annnnnd it was sticky. And hotter than expected. If there wasn’t an annoying crosswind the entire time, I’m sure it would have felt much hotter. Ran easy 2 to the lake with Man and then ran 7:40-7:50 for the remaining 12. Stopped at plenty of water fountains and just took it mile by mile. Didn’t have much energy today despite 9-10 hrs sleep. Just happy to get it done and relax the rest of the weekend!

Sunday: [3 recovery (8:10 avg)]

Just a quick jaunt around the neighborhood in the evening. We drove down to 3 Floyd’s in the afternoon to pick up some friends that had biked the 35 miles there. We had a few beers and ate lunch – annnnd watched the World Cup on my iPhone. It turns out 3 Floyd’s has a policy against playing sports on their TVs (they always play movies?).

Totals: 

6 runs, 45 miles

Core x 2

1 “race”

& 1 cough/cold that went away! 

– J

Boston Marathon 2014: Race Recap

No one likes to write a race report about a race that didn’t go well. I questioned putting these thoughts out there, but I know that I’ll be glad I did eventually. It will be good to look back on it in the future–hopefully when a race goes “right”.

On Tuesday and Wednesday last week, I didn’t really feel like reliving each mile of 26.2. And then I thought, “well, this year should be much easier to write than last year.” (biggest understatement ever made by anyone ever.) It’s clear that this recap may be easier to write for different reasons.

Like many, I found 4.15.2014 to be an emotional day. To be honest, I didn’t even fully realize it was 4.15 until that Tuesday  morning. I was so focused on being days out from reaching that start and finish line again that it hit me like a ton of bricks. I know I wasn’t alone (just like I wasn’t alone on 4.15.2013). Last year, I ran Boston in a 3+ minute PR of 3:14:37. It was a great day and then, suddenly, it was a terrible day. I surprised myself then. With practically zero hill training and a very short training cycle (just 14 weeks), I ran strong and hit almost every pace I planned in my race strategy. It was a day to remember. Yet a day I wanted to forget for so many days, weeks, months afterward.

This year, I wanted to repeat the race experience at Boston 2013 and enjoy being part of the kickass running community that clearly can’t be stopped.

I didn’t run the race I’m capable of on Monday. I ran 3:21:16, over 11 minutes off of my ‘B’ goal. I know I should be proud of this time. If you had told me 2 or 3 years ago that I would run this at Boston, I would be *over the moon*. I wouldn’t think of this as a failure or a disappointment. It’s perfectly ironic to me that my 2013 Boston experience was wonderful in terms of the race and so devastating in terms of its events — and that my 2014 Boston experience was absolutely wonderful in terms of the people I shared it with and disappointing in terms of my race.

But then, you think about last year. Facing each day was much harder the few days after last year’s Boston Marathon. I don’t want Boston 2014 to be about coming short of my goal. And I definitely don’t want to take the experience for granted. A few days ago, I gradually started to find a sense of humor about the whole experience. For example, how ridiculous is it that so many Midwestern runners (and elsewhere!) trained through one of the WORST winters in history and then ran 26.2 in 60+ degrees. (Luck of the draw with most spring marathons) Blaming the heat feels like an excuse for failing, but there were factors that I could control and others that I could not. That’s the way the marathon goes.

Even though miles 16-26.2 felt more like a slow march, I want to recap the miles of Boston 2014:

My goal was 7:10-7:15/mile or 3:08-3:10 for 26.2.

The last 8-9 weeks of my cycle went really, really well and I felt confident in this goal time. I knew it wouldn’t be easy, but I felt ready.

I woke up on Marathon Monday rested and calm. I slept surprisingly well and got up right away when my alarm sounded at 4:30 AM. Chanthana and I seemed to have a similar morning—we felt like we had plenty of time to get ready and we weren’t rushing around. We even had a few quiet moments to sit and have breakfast together. We left the hotel with Lauren with enough time to meet Corey and Molly near the buses at Boston Common. We all climbed on a bus together and chatted the entire ride. (I remember the bus ride being much longer last year–probably because I was super nervous then.)

2014-04-21 06.31.36-1Lauren, Corey, Molly, CT, and I about to check our bags and board the buses to Hopkinton 

Aren’t we super attractive, ladiezzzz?!

Quick shout-out to that $5 Walgreens blanket! I didn’t realize it was a Christmas tree until I opened it up on Sunday night! Almost didn’t want to ditch it in the Village. 🙂 Also, as I was leaving the hotel on Monday morning, I showed Manny my awesome hobo outfit and he immediately said, “you’re so lucky I love you.” I mean, how could you not with that kind of outfit?!

After spending the morning in Athlete Village laying down, chatting with friends, and waiting in the bathroom line (75% of my time was spent  there, I swear), I was in a bit of a rush to get to my corral. Never fails. You wait and wait and wait and then you’re suddenly in a rush to apply BodyGlide, count your Gus, double-check your watch is working, & get to corral before the start. I nervously walked up to my corral, walking a bit and jogging a bit when space allowed. By the time I got there, I had 5 minutes before the start of Wave 2. I saw Leticia and Michele (didn’t know they’d be at the start!) and told them I was nervous and a bit worried about the temp. With two minutes before the start, I heard the announcer say ‘alright runners, it’s 58 degrees right now. how about we hold it right there?’. And I thought, hell yeah man it’s already warm! I had throwaway arm-warmers on (because you come prepared for cold weather when you train in -10 to 40 degree temps!) and immediately threw them to the side. I most definitely wouldn’t need them.

2014-04-21 10.17.24

Miles 1-5:

My goal for these miles was just to let the downhill do the work. I wanted to stay relaxed and find a flow, without putting the ‘breaks’ on (that would just kill the quads even more). My pace for these miles should have been 6:55-7:05 per mile. I didn’t feel like I was getting caught up in the excitement of the race. I felt really smooth and focused on keeping my heart rate low.
Miles 1-5

Looking back on it, I probably could have cooled it down a tad. Running 6:50 compared to 7:05 doesn’t seem like a big difference but I know better.

Miles 6-14:

The course here is gently rolling with no major hills. It’s a good time to settle into goal pace range and just focus on fueling properly. The goal here was 7:107:15, to stay consistent. Even thought there are no major hills, it’s still a challenge –something I remember being surprised by last year.

Miles 6-14

This section felt pretty good. The rolling hills felt like the hills I had trained on at Morton Arborteum. My legs had more pep on the hills this year than they did last (which, again, makes sense because I did zero hill training in 2013). Miles 6 and 7 felt just as strong as Miles 1-5. Right after the Mile 7 marker, I felt like I need to make a pit stop and got lucky when I found an empty one. False alarm (insert profanity here). TMI: I thought I needed to go #2. Didn’t happen, but I did pee. And I only managed a few drops. I knew this was bad. At this point in the race, I should be plenty hydrated. When you realize that you may be flirting with dehydration at Mile 8 of a marathon, it’s a really bad sign. I tried not to think too much about it and kept running. I took water at every other water stop in the first 13 miles. Once I reached Mile 14, I knew I need to be taking in much more than that. I also started to pour water over my head and my back by mile 8. (And another bad sign– it felt so cold on my skin that it took my breath away for a second). I took a Gu about every 5 miles and washed it down with water.

Right after Mile 14, Jess and I exchanged a few words. She looked so strong and I have to say, I was 177% jealous of the water bottle she chose to carry during the race. She asked me how I felt and I said “I’m hot.” It was nice to see a familiar face when it all started to go downhill (errrr…uphill) (and she most definitely had some words of wisdom to share with me at gear check after the race). Thanks Jess!

Boston2014-6My face says it all: “Damn, it’s getting hot.”

The first time I looked at my splits after I finished (this wasn’t until Tuesday afternoon–didn’t have the nerve yet), I was actually shocked to look at these miles–the splits weren’t as bad as they were in my head! Miles 13-14 felt pretty tough, miles 8 and 11 were slow due to bathroom/water stops, but the remaining miles were pretty much in goal range. Still, the fact that they’re a bit erratic (even with the rolling course) isn’t a good sign.

Miles 15-21:

The hills. Yeah, this is where it gets real.

Miles 15-21

Mile 15 not good.

Mile 16 “Mayyyyyyybe I can get back into it.”

Mile 17. Nope.

Mile 18 Yeah, this isn’t going well.

By mile 18, I was playing mental games with myself. I spent so much mental energy just calculating and recalculating my projected finishing time. Each time I passed a mile marker, I weighed whether or not I could hold a pace closer to 7:00 and what the finish time would be. And then I gradually resigned to “ok, what if I just hold 8 min/mile? I mean, that’s 30 sec slower than your long run pace, Jenny!”. It wasn’t pretty and I stopped to walk at least 10 times. I’ve never walked in a marathon before (except to drink water or recover from choking on my water, heh…). My legs felt like lead and I was ashamed to even look ahead or to the side at the thousands of spectators lining the course. If there’s ever a time that I wished there were zero spectators at a race, it was then. [Spectators–you are amazing and in hindsight I’m happy you were there! I mean, I probably would have just sat on the curb if you hadn’t been screaming your f***ing heads off!]

2014-04-21 13.29.28Hyedi snapped this pic near Mile 19. I told her I was shocked she saw me when I wasn’t walking! Heh.

Miles 22-26.2:

Miles 22-finish

Just trying to hold it together. After the hills in previous section, my legs didn’t even want to run downhill. I wanted to love those downhills, but my legs definitely didn’t. They were boycotting and I felt like there really wasn’t anything I could do about it. I walked in this section a few more times, yelled at myself (internally) a bit (ex: “you only have 2,3,4 miles to go– do you really need a walk break?”), and generally just felt sorry for myself. The goal for this section was to just hold it together and just get back into goal pace after the hills. This clearly didn’t happen. (I remember thinking that my slowest mile of Boston 2013 was 7:59 around mile 22-23. After seeing a few 8’s on my watch, this made me disappointed.)I had a bit of a mental boost seeing the huge Chicago crew (seemingly led by Lynton) and getting a side-5 from Jeff around Mile 22. Seeing some familiar faces kind of snapped me out of my own head for a second–that was MUCH appreciated!  Around Mile 25, Mary said hello as she passed and did her best to keep me going, but I just didn’t have anything left.

Making the right on Hereford and the left on Boylston was emotional. The crowds were unbelievably loud yet I felt like I couldn’t quite hear them. Manny, my mom, my sister, and some friends told me they would be cheering on Boylston (closer to Hereford than the finish). I remember looking to my left several times to try to spot them. And once I turned my attention on that beautiful finish line and put my hands over my heart, the tears started to flow.

I cried because I felt lucky to be back again after last year. I cried because I didn’t run the race I wanted to. I cried because of the crowd support (despite wishing them away when the going got tough). I cried because my legs hurt. And I cried because there’s only one place I was thinking about throughout this cycle–the Boston Marathon Finish Line. It’s so beautiful.

Not every marathon can be beautiful but that finish line surely was.

Boston2014-5

Marathon #4 was the toughest marathon I’ve ever run. It was also the most meaningful after a difficult 2013. I know that a 3:08-3:10 is in these legs of mine. It’s probably just a matter of time before that happens. And I can’t wait until it does.

The stats: 

My goal in the future is to never, ever, EVER run such a huge positive split in a marathon again. 🙂

Boston Marathon 2014 Jenny Poore Results

 Things I’ve Learned:

  • Don’t be a silly goose. Readjust your expectations up until the minute the race starts according to the weather.
  • Just when you think you’ve had enough water to drink, drink way more (this goes for the day of and especially the day before). I’m normally good at hydrating before a race (and maybe my body just didn’t have enough time to acclimate), but I think I should have had more water on Sunday. Rookie status.
  • Just because I didn’t run the race I wanted to, does not mean that I’m not strong. (And one bad race usually means a great one is just around the corner.)
  • When a race is going poorly, try to at least make the mental switch to just enjoy yourself. –> I clearly didn’t do this. It’s obviously much easier said than done, but I wish I would have just let go and had fun with the crowds.
  • I had so much more fun training for this year’s Boston than I did last year’s. It’s no coincidence that it’s because I spent the majority of every Saturday with Chanthana and Corey. Those two helped me through long runs in ice, snow, and wind—and they’re both ridiculously good at brunching. (#alltheBACON!)
  • Returning to Boston with *almost* the same crew as last year (we missed you so much Kris!) was very special. I recommend stalking these people: Kevin, Scott, Chanthana, Lauren (shout-out to Timayyyy! Because, duh, he’s gonna be running Boston *very very soon*).

2014-04-22 07.18.51We did it!

 

2014-04-23 20.10.14-1

End of one chapter and the beginning of another, am I right?

Onward and upward!

-J

NYC Half 2014: Race Report!

Headline of this entire post: I didn’t realize how strong I was until I raced this weekend. (And I’ve never had so much fun racing a half.)

This little confidence boost feels like it’s been a long time coming especially considering the following: a) the last time I raced (ahem…attempted to race) a half marathon, I bonked …hard. b) I suffered through a weird injury last fall and struggled to maintain an easy pace toward the end of that cycle. The last time I truly felt confident during a race was a 5k last July.

Going into the weekend, my goal was really conservative. To anyone that asked, I told them that I knew a PR was in the cards, but I didn’t want to race it all out, because Boston is definitely the priority. I would have been happy with anything near 1:32:xx. If I ran on the lower end, that would be a nearly 2-minute PR. And hey, chipping away at PR’s has been my M.O. in the past. When I told Corey what my goal was, she wasn’t having it and abruptly told me, “No way. 1:30:00 is happening.”

Pre-Race:

Corey and I flew in early on Saturday morning, which meant that I woke up at 4:30 that morning to shower, cab to the airport, and plan for time through security. We arrived at our hotel early where we dropped our bags before grabbing a quick snack and heading to the expo to pick up our bibs. We said helloooooo to Jocelyn at the Nuun booth and grabbed some extra Gu — in and out of the expo!

By the time we finished there, the hotel had our room ready to check-in. We chilled at the hotel for a little bit (hellooooo 4:30 am alarm!) before taking the subway to Central Park for a quick shakeout. The park was absolutely GORGEOUS that afternoon.

2014-03-15 14.47.47 HDR

It was in the 40s but it felt much warmer in the sunshine. I ran an easy 4 miles and did some strides while Corey finished up her 5.5. We grabbed coffee with Megan (#ReNUUNion!) and chatted for a few hours about (what else?) running. Then back to the hotel to rest and change for dinner!

We went to Ovest Pizzeria in Chelsea with Jocelyn and Laura. It was delicious (arugula and prosciutto pizza FTW!) and before we knew it, it was already past 10 pm. Back to the hotel to prep our race outfits, take some final sips of Nuun before lights out.

RACE DAY:

I was nervous about logistics on Saturday but everything about Sunday was so easy. I didn’t check a bag, but decided to carry my phone with me so that I could meet up with friends afterward. I’ve never raced with my phone in my Spi-Belt and I thought it would be annoying but it wasn’t so bad (and this might actually be a good test-run for Boston if I choose to carry my phone then).

I did a “long” caffeine fast before the half. I’ve done a 2-3 day fast before but my dependency on caffeine  at exactly 8 am every day of the week is mighty, so I decided to extend it (likely wouldn’t have been worth it to fast for just 2-3 days). On Monday and Tuesday, I gradually cut down on caffeine by drinking one cup of black tea in the morning. By Thursday, I was down to non-caffeinated tea and zero coffee. Let’s just say Thursday and Friday were not my best days. I was pretty irritable despite a lot of really good sleep the entire week and a lot of water. It took a LOT of willpower not to reach for the coffee pot on Friday– I even tried to trick myself into a caffeinated state by sipping on a decaf Americano (I know, I don’t really recognize myself anymore, either.)

So…..it comes as no surprise to myself that the very first thing I did when I woke up on race day was hit BREW on that tiny hotel room coffeemaker. Even a shitty cup of coffee can taste like heaven when you’re truly addicted and that cup surely did. Corey had 6-7 miles to run before the race to get to her 20 miles for the day so she left early.  I left the hotel at 6:45 am with a 7:30 am start time. The start line was almost exactly 2 miles from our hotel, which meant that I was doing leg swings and dynamic stretches in Central Park by 7:10 am. (At which point, Mary tapped me on the shoulder and introduced herself! Nice to finally meet you!) I stayed warm by lightly jogging around near the corral in my throwaway sweatshirt. I really didn’t get cold until I threw the sweatshirt to the side 5 minutes before the race start. Note: wearing capris, gloves, and a hat was a really good decision).

I wasn’t really nervous. I was just excited. I had that ‘quiet confidence’ you have before a race you know you can PR. But I still wasn’t let myself dream.

I took an ‘espresso love’ Gu right before the start (helloooo more caffeine!). The plan was to take the first 5-6 miles at effort. Because CP has rolling hills, I knew it was going to be good Boston prep. If I could stay comfortable at or near goal marathon pace, I would let my legs fly once we came out onto 7th avenue. 

Miles 1 to 6 NYC Half 2014

Within 15 seconds of the race, a dude lost his….wait for it….shoe! I saw the shoe on the pavement first and then I looked up to see a dude walking my direction through the swarm of runners. I’m lucky I was able to dodge to the right quickly or I would have run right into him. I laughed with several people around me and wondered how his shoe could have fallen off so quickly in the race.

I felt really strong and consistent through Central Park. I focused on my form on each hill and took the downhills. I remember jostling a bit through mile 4 but tried to save energy after that. Cat Hill felt like a roller compared to the hills I’ve been running on Morton Arboretum. Harlem Hill was definitely tough but there wasn’t really a moment where I felt like my pace really dropped or I would make it to the top too winded. I took my first sip of water around Mile 5 (I think?). I have yet to master drinking on the run (yes, I know to pinch the cup and sip slowly) and I actually walked for 10-15 seconds through 4 water stops at Boston last year. But this time, there was no time to waste. I was feeling so strong that the last thing I wanted to do was waste time walking when it really wasn’t necessary. And because it was such a perfect day weather-wise, I just went with it. I’ll likely try to sip on the run at Boston this year after doing it somewhat successfully here.

We climbed that short hill coming out of Central Park and flew onto 7th avenue when I heard Tim and Chanthana call my name. I didn’t know where they’d be spectating and was so happy to see them. Cue a fun surge into Times Square! About a half mile later, I saw Leticia and surged again. 🙂 I think this is the “run happy” section.

2014-03-16 10.30.25

(Jocelyn’s mad race photography skillz)

2014-03-16 08.21.18

(Turns out my form is pretty strong–thanks Leticia!)

I was halfway and felt like I could keep running for DAYS. The legs had so much pep in the them and I didn’t feel like I was going to drop my pace (quite the contrary). I was warned that the GPS would be wonky through this section so I tried not to look at my watch.

Mile 8

My Garmin clocked Mile 8 at 1.63 miles (see above) ….not sure how that’s even possible. Yeah, didn’t run a 4:13 mile there, Mr. Garmin! At this point, running west toward the river, we had a pretty intense headwind to deal with. I remember thinking “damn, this feels like the Chicago wind!”. I guess training through that wind has its advantages. Once we made the turn onto the West Side Highway, it was time to surge. One quick water stop and half of a Gu (didn’t feel like I needed it) around mile 8.5.

Miles 7, 8

NYC Half 1

There was just no way that my legs were going to slow down. I knew that I could push the pace in the last 4 miles. My form felt stronger than it has in a long time and I don’t think I’ve ever felt so strong in half marathon before. Running down the West Side Highway was awesome, mostly because no turning was involved and you knew you just had to run straight toward Freedom Tower. I felt like I was running by myself. There were plenty of people around me but we were all spread out across the road.

Whenever I looked down at my watch, I saw a lap pace between 6:35-6:45. In any other race, I would have started to calculate my finish time once I was 3-4 miles out. But I didn’t do that this time around. I stayed within each mile and didn’t show the total race time on my Garmin. I think I’ll definitely do that in future races. I didn’t get ahead of myself. I surged during mile 12 because I felt strong. (6:16 mile?! Wut.)

Running through the Brooklyn Tunnel was weird and exciting — I appreciated a small break from the swirly wind (even though we supposedly had a tailwind, the winds felt swirly). That uphill stretch coming out of the tunnel felt pretty tough but then I spotted the “800 m to go” sign. I’m not sure I had much of a finishing kick.

Miles 9 to finish

I didn’t even know I was close to 1:30 until I was 5 seconds away from the finish line. I crossed in 1:30:13 with gas left in the tank.

When I entered my goal time this past winter, I thought I was being aggressive with entering 1:30:00. It’s amazing what you can do when you just put in the work and avoid getting too ahead of yourself (mentally, mostly). My previous half marathon PR was 1:33:51. I PR’d by 3 minutes and 38 seconds.

2014-03-16 09.34.39

This tweet says it all. I’ve felt like I’ve had a pretty strong Boston cycle this time around but nothing mind-blowing. If I raced NYC all-out, there’s no doubt in my mind I would have run a 1:28-1:29. And if I let myself dream a little bit, an even faster time might be in these legs. Prior to Sunday, I was excited to race Boston because of the entire experience. It’s going to be a special experience no matter what. But now I’m excited to RACE BOSTON. I think deep down I was waiting for a good race experience before I left myself admit that Boston training is going well and that Boston itself will be a true race. (Because, guess what? My body isn’t breaking down like it did last year!)

The rest of the weekend was so much fun. Words likely couldn’t do it justice.

We brunched…

2014-03-16 13.40.38-1

We drank beer and met Twitter friends IRL….

2014-03-16 17.53.05

And then we drank more beer…

2014-03-16 23.29.35

I wouldn’t change a thing about this past weekend. It was fun to spend literally the entire 3 days with Corey and to spend time with people that have so much fun with the sport. The running family is strong!

Thanks for the congratulatory texts and tweets the past few days! You all really know how to make a girl feel special. 

Now, just a few more weeks of strong training and I’ll be racing again. This time to Boston.

-J

A Reflection on What Worked: 2013 Edition

A (belated) annual recap is in order. I really like looking back on years’ past and I think I deserve it to myself to recap 2013. This is more for me than for anyone reading so you really shouldn’t feel obligated to read 🙂 (Because, let’s be serious–enough annual recaps are floating around out there!) 

2011 was the year of firsts.

2012 was the year of: “Ok, I did all that last year. What can I possibly tackle in 2012?”.

2013 was more like a rollercoaster. A lot of good things happened and a lot of unexpectedly sad and frustrating things happened.

BUT, there are accomplishments to celebrate and setbacks to learn from so that 2014 is the best year of running and racing yet.

In 2013, I…

improved my 5k time by 33 seconds.

improved my half marathon time by 2 min, 30 seconds.

improved my marathon time by 3 minutes, 10 seconds.

ran 1,622 total miles (annual personal distance record).

ran a monthly mileage high of 202 miles in March.

ran an average of 31 miles per week and 135 miles per month.

successfully trained through a Chicago winter and raced my first Boston Marathon.

ran my first relay– Hood to Coast with Nuun!

2013 Races

raced 6 times, with PRs in the 5k, 10k, half, and full.

bonked…hard. Ya live and ya learn, ya know?

trained hard for a fall marathon that didn’t happen. It can’t all be sunshine and rainbows.

was reminded that the ‘little things’ make a big difference (and that acupuncture and ART are my friends!).

and placed in my age group a few times! (it appears my fears of placing in this competitive age group were a bit dramatic):

  • Wacky 10k: 2nd place overall female, 1st age group
  • Chicago Women’s 5k: 2nd place age group
  • Bastille Day 5k: 2nd place age group

Jenny_Poore_s_2013_Training_Summary___dailymile

So, there ya have it. All in all, it was a year of accomplishment with a few setbacks. What doesn’t kill ya makes you stronger. I’m looking forward to a fun year of racing and running in 2014!

– J