Saturday, April 30, 2011

Runaversary and April In Review

So much to blog about today, the question is where to start.  I guess it is best to start with happy Runaversary to me!  So what is that?  One year ago today I ran my very first 5k.  My time was 29:17, not bad for your very first 5k and not believing that I was a runner.  Obviously things changed from that point. 
 I can still remember the morning like it was yesterday.  I did not register for the race, so I got up early so I could be there to register before.  I was tired and scared because it was raining.  I remember thinking I could not run in the rain.  It seems so silly now.  I had run the path before and there was hills.  My goal was simple, just run the whole way.  

The race hooked me.  I loved the feeling of support on the course.  I love the the cheering from everyone as you came up on the finish line.  What an amazing feeling.  I came in 4th in my age group which was quite an accomplishment for me.  

I am excited because tomorrow is that race, the very first experience on a course.  This year I signed up.  This year I am prepared.  This year is a completely different experience.  I met a wonderful woman who encouraged me before the race, I guess she could see my nerves.  After she told me how well I did.  I hope that she is there tomorrow, I would love to see her again, and talk to her again.

I can remember thinking as I finished; I was signed up for the Cleveland Marathon 5K, I wanted to run the day of the Marathon.  At that point I had decided to run a 10K at the marathon, which was 2 weeks away.  I walked into the expo, what an amazing place.  I remember looking around at all of the booths, and the runners.  I was amazed at everything I saw.  I marched up and changed from a 5k to a 10k.  The best decision I made.

After finishing the 10k last year, I knew that I wanted to run the marathon this year.  I signed up before July, and I put the wheels in motion.  That set the course of my running over the next year.  I have run so many amazing races.  I have met the most supportive running friends.  I am so blessed to come as far as I have come.  Now in 15 days I will run across the Cleveland Marathon finish line again - but this time not as a 10K finisher, but as a Marathoner!  What an amazing year.

Now on to the fun April in review.  I ran 117 miles, 3 short of last month.  Yea I was tempted to get out there and run the 3 today but it is taper time, so I will be smart.  

This month I have run two 20 mile runs, both had 10 miles divided up before and after a 10 mile race.  Both of these were tough runs, but I learned so much about myself during the runs.  

I also accomplished two 1/2 marathons.  Both of these I finished within .10 seconds of each other, I call that consistency!   These runs I felt strong and prepared for.  I enjoyed them so much.

April was full of ups and downs, mostly physically and mentally.  Nothing that I regret because I have come out so much stronger for it.  I am a new runner - 1 year old today, I have so much to learn.  I have accomplished more in one year than I ever thought would be possible.  

Now time to enjoy taper, mentally prepare and come out strong for the Marathon!  I am so excited to cross that Cleveland finish line, and this time I will be running 20 more miles than last year!  I can say that is an amazing accomplishment.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Last 20 Mile Training Run

Today marks my last 20 mile training run before the marathon.  This was not a perfect run, but honestly how many of them do we get.  This was a run where I learned lessons, and I believe that they are going to be perfect when it comes to running the Marathon.

When I woke up this morning it was pouring.  I was honestly not looking forward to running in the rain, but as we all know this is Cleveland and it is possible that come May 15th it could be pouring buckets.  As I got to the meeting place, it was nice, the sun was starting to come out, and the rain had stopped.    Before I got out of my car, I had to show that this was a beautiful spring day here in Cleveland. 
When I looked at the temperature I was pumped for the run.  I had to take a picture of myself rocking my new Bondi Band from Daily Mile, and got ready to run the first 10 miles.  I just want to say I loved the Bondi Band it was the first time I have ever warn one to a race.  I have never ran down by Edge water before, I was so amazed at how beautiful it was.  

As we started out our run there was a hill.  I decided to make friends with the hill.  For the first time on a run, I felt confident on the hill, and actually said that we should run it again.  This was a great decision, the hill was not easy but I stayed strong and made friends with it.  This was the first time I felt great when it came to tackeling a hill.  We started out in long sleeve shirts - mistake 1.  As the run went on I was getting warm.  We decided to change tops before the 10 miler, which I was grateful for.

The first 9 went smoothly, due to time we finished at 9 to do another 1 at the end of the race.  I felt strong, confident and ready to rock out the second 11.    We stopped to take some pictures, to show us rocking our Running Skirts.
I have to say that the skirt was super comfortable, and I am looking forward to wearing mine again.  We had tons of compliments on the skirt.  Dave even pointed out that people were looking at us, not sure if that was good or not.

As we started the race I started to panic.  All of the people that were around made me panic.  I started off good.  I felt strong, but soon realized my second mistake of the day - when we changed I did not bring any water with me for the final mile we ran and started to feel very thirsty.  This started to get into my head but then I remembered that the first water stop was mile 2.

Each mile was a struggle, I was taking so much to drink at water stops and chugging the water.  Note to self, chugging water makes for an upset stomach, while taking one cup of water that is just fine.  This started off mistake number 3.  It got worse when I chugged Gatorade and then decided to start to sprint to pass people.  Yea, I ended up getting sick on the side of the road, however felt much better when I was done.

By this time I was running by myself, which turned out to be a blessing.  I was able to clear my head and just run.  For the first time just after mile 6 I shut off my head and just ran.  I realized that for me running on my own, and I just tuned into my music, and finished strong.  I ended up only 4 minutes behind Jodi and Dave, so I count that as a success.

When I finished, I quickly found Dave and Jodi, and I was ready to finish my last mile.  I found it funny that Jodi mentioned that 19.07 was good for the day, and I said that is fine, but I am finishing my 20.  Jodi decided to run it with me.  A quick loop around the parking lot and we finished.

My two running partners, who are wonderful.  I am proud of them for keeping going, and finishing strong.

Me proud that I finished 20 miles during a not so perfect run.  

Of course I had to take the picture of Jodi and I at the end of the run.  Both of us are smiling because we finished.  
I have to say that the Cleveland 10 miler was the perfect training run before the marathon.  It showed me a beautiful part of the city of Cleveland.  This was a wonderful race.  I am looking forward to running it again.  Today marked the final 20 mile run.  When I first saw our training plan, this scared me, but I felt great.  Looking forward to the next part of training - a smart taper, and then race day!

Friday, April 22, 2011

My Motivation to Finish Training Strong

Last night I got an opportunity of a lifetime.  Jodi invited me to listen to Lynn Jennings speak.  I am new to running, I still have not been racing for a year yet, so I am still learning names.  Being that she was an Olympian I have heard of the name, but of course the first thing I did was Google more about her.  As soon as I saw a picture and read about her I knew who she was, I just needed a quick the refresher.  I accepted the invitation, and looked forward to the inspiration that I knew that I would receive.

As I know that I have said in many blogs my biggest problem with running is mental.  I often let my head get the best of me.  I have been referred to as Negative Nancy, and asked that Positive Patty join us for runs.  I have always let my head get the best of me.  At times this is a great asset, but mostly this can be a problem.  I just knew that a cross country champion and an Olympian had to have some great words of wisdom to help me over come these struggles.  

Sitting there and listening was amazing.  I just focused on her, and everything that she had to say.  I blocked out everything around me and listened.  What impressed me the most is while she is an amazing and accomplished runner, she did not have the perfect running career.  Hearing that she came in last on different occasions during her career, made me realize that these are wonderful learning experiences.

At one point she passed around her Bronze metal, and allowed each of us to touch it.  I have never seen a Olympic metal up close.  I just sat in awe, watching two of her races and listening to her story.  I even asked her how to over come your head.  Her advice, was advice I had heard many times, but for what ever it sunk in then - Turn off your head.  That is exactly what I need to do, I need to turn off my head.

I was able to grab a picture with Jodi and Lynn after she spoke.
Lynn and I were talking during the picture, but still it was was a great picture.  It was an amazing honor to talk with hear and to hear her speak.  

This could not have come at a better time in my marathon training.  Tomorrow is my last of three 20 mile runs.  There is 22 days until the marathon, so taper starts next week.  I got the motivation to finish out training strong and to show up at the marathon ready to go.   

The advice I have for everyone out there who is getting ready to run there 50th or first race is to be in the moment.  Clear you head of everything else.  This is not the time to worry if you switched the load of laundry, or if you are planning on cleaning the bathroom when you get home.  Be in the moment.  Push your body past the uncomfortable point, because you are ready for this.  Trust in your training and enjoy the journey!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Reflection on My Marathon Journey So Far

Today is one exciting day in running, and with all of the excitement everywhere, I have started to reflect on my journey in becoming a Marathoner.  One year ago, I was not a runner.  I was training for my very first race, but I did not consider myself a runner.  Now that seems so long ago.  I am a runner.  I have become a #runnerd.  Yep I said it. 

This journey has had it's ups and downs.  I have learned so much about myself and what I am capable of along the way.  I am not the same person that I was when I signed up to run the Cleveland Marathon.  I am stronger now, I believe in myself, and I have learned that I have the heart that it takes to run across that finish line.  I have also found out that this is something that everyone can do if they are willing to put the time and effort into training, and just do it. 

I think back to January and getting up early on a Sunday morning in below freezing weather to hit the trails for a long run.  I saw that I would have 3-20 mile runs in April and that seemed so far away, and impossible at the time.  I trusted the training and went with it.  Come February more of the same weather, the runs started to get longer.  I became amazed at each of the accomplishments I had made this far.

Before starting Marathon training the farthest I had ran was 13.1 miles.  I knew that I had to double that, but I could do that.  In March, I took on a 30K.  This was a difficult race, mostly because this became my longest run to date, and the weather was difficult, as so many runs since I had started running.  The beauty of March is the weather started to warm up, slightly, and I was able to run outside more. 

Now we are in April.  This has been a month of races, and a month of 20 mile or 13.1 mile long run's.  This has been a month of injury as well.  I have found an amazing pride and sense of accomplishment as I finished my first 20 mile run.  It was amazing, and I felt great.  I have learned how tough I was during my second 20 mile run because I was injured and struggled to finish it, but I did.  I found the secret for my success in my last half Marathon.  

The end of my training is coming up quickly.  This weekend I have my last 20 mile run before the Marathon.  My last 2 long runs are 13.1 miles and 8 miles.  3 More long runs and then the Marathon, it is so close.  I am getting excited each day knowing that I am going to accomplish a task that seemed impossible only a year ago. 

Each training run I have learned so much about running, myself, and strength.  I have learned that I may not run a world record pace, but that is fine, because I don't need to.  Running is a sport that I can run my heart out at, and feel great because I have accomplished something, and I will never have to compare myself to anyone else. 

To be a runner you do not have to run a 5 minute mile, you can run a 10 minute mile or a 13 minute mile, as long as you are putting one foot ahead of the other and putting your heart out there, you are a runner.  That is the beauty of being a runner, everyone can be great at it, they just have to do their best.  Running has given me a self confidence, I know that I am worth it, and that every run, training or race is important. 

I am excited to see what the next couple of weeks bring as I prepare for the marathon.  The new trails, or fun stories and all of the pictures and memories.  In the end on May 15, 2011 I will be a marathoner.  I will join an elite group of people who cross that start line and put there heart on the road and give it all they have.  I am proud to join this group of people, I deserve it and so do you!!  Keep running!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Glass City Marathon Report

This weekend was the Glass City Half Marathon.  I was excited and nervous at the same time.  This was the first half Marathon that I was going to run without Jodi, so that made me nervous.  Also coming off of an injury last weekend, and the Marathon less than a month away, I was not sure what would happen and I did not want to injure myself more. 

When I started out I chose not to go for a PR, rather I set a goal of finishing between 2:15 and 2:30.  I accomplished that.  My official time was 2:16:31.  At the expo I found some compression sleeves for my legs.  I was hoping that would do the trick with the shin splints and the calf pain.  I was right.  I had no pain at all this run.  I felt great.  I was happily surprised to see that my splits from mile 9 on were negative splits.  I have never done that before in a race.  Mile 9:  10:30; Mile 10:  10:24; Mile 11:  10:11; Mile 12:  10:04 and Mile 13:  9:48.  I was happy with this since that is when the wind started to kick in. 

When we got there this morning the line for the bathroom was so long.  I felt comfortable waiting since it was moving fast.  It was cold, and I am glad that I packed running clothes for all weather.  I did not wear my new Bondiband because I did not think it would be warm enough, but I should have, I would have been fine. 

I then headed to the start line.  The wind was terrible.  I wanted to cry, but I knew that once I started running I would feel good.  My first 2 miles were the slowest.  I planned on that, knowing I would have to dodge runners and walkers and find a pace to set myself into.  I then found a group of runners who were averaging a pace of 10:30 and decided to stick close by.  Just after mile 8 I broke away and started to find new groups of runners to pace myself with.  

On and off the wind would kick up, making running not so fun.  When I was running into the wind tunnel, I though I was moving backwards.  I was pleased to see that every one of my splits were under 11:00.  I was also pleased that I did not have any pain, I felt great the entire run.  I also did not bring my back pack, which I always do.  I relied on my running fuel that I bring with me, and the water stops.  That seemed to work out well.  

At the end I was coming up to the finish line, and heard GO JENN... My husband was right there.  He scared the crap out of me when he said that, I had my head down to break through the wind so I did not see him standing there.  I gave it all I had at the end.  It felt great to finish.  As we left the stadium to walk down where food was we got a beer mug, and they filled it up, how cool, LOL
Gotta love the hair can you tell its windy?
Better View of the Mug

This was a great race.  I think I liked it so much because it is my Husbands birthday.  What better way to celebrate then to run a Half Marathon!  I am excited and nervous about the upcoming weeks in preparation for the Marathon.  The one thing I learned today is that I can do it, and I will finish strong!!! 

Saturday, April 9, 2011

One Hot Mess Of A Run

Well I was looking forward to today's 20 mile run.  This was my second 20 mile run of the training schedule, one more to go.  The first one I rocked, and I knew that I could do that again.  That is exactly what the plan is.  However, lets just say - best laid plans. 

So Jodi and I met at 6:30 this morning.  We were both super excited that we could run in Capri and long sleeve shirt.  We did not need layers.  We did not need all of the extra clothes.  So the first 10 miles felt good.  I was a bit tired at the end, but felt good.  We almost finished up the 10 miles, we were a little shy, I was worried about finishing in time to get ready for our next 10 miles - We have scheduled to run the CWRRC Spring Classic - 10 miler.

We started the run.  I felt ok, but about 2 miles in I felt a bad pain in my right calf.  Jodi stayed with me the best she could.  I am not sure how long she stayed with me, but then she needed to go faster since her hip was hurting from going so slowly. I could not go any faster.  My calf was on fire.  The pain started out at a 6, and slowly moved to a 8.  I walked and ran, and learned that running was so much better than walking.  It hurt so bad.  I just kept going.  Jodi kept telling me that I could stop, but I knew that I had more in me and decided to finish. 

I learned a few things about myself today.  I can do it.  When looking back the positives outweighed the negatives.  I stayed strong even when I thought i was going to die.  If I could go back and change something I would have run more than walking, but other than that I felt good and I did it.  I know that I will be icing a lot today. 

Any way I look at it I am ready to run this marathon.  I know that I will finish strong!!!

Monday, April 4, 2011

1/2 Marathon in Review

This weekend I ran my first 1/2 marathon of the year.  I have to say that it was interesting, but it was a fun race.  It came at a perfect time in our marathon training.  I can't believe that we are getting so close to the Marathon, and this this race came at the perfect time. 

The race was interesting.  When I saw the route, I was confused.  I knew part of the trail because I had ran it before, last summer.  We started out going down hill.  That made for a fast mile.  We did look at the run as a training run, and did not want to go for a PR, but I did want to have a pretty good time.  We came up two bridges, which were tough, but I felt good running them.

The last part of the race we stayed pretty strong, but it had a weird turn around.  The last half mile started out going up a hill.  I told Jodi I would run it but wanted her to finish strong.  She did that, and I just ran up that hill.  I ran up the hill, was a bit winded after I got up the hill.  I felt I took it a little fast so that I could have enough steam at the end of the race.  I did finish as strong as I could.  My official time was 2:16:21

Saturday, April 2, 2011

March In Review

March was a great month of many accomplishments.  I struggled many times through many runs.  When looking back I see how the struggles had made me a stronger runner.  I am excited to see how far I will come over the rest of the of this training and through many future runs.

This month I ran my first 30K run (18.4 miles)  This was the longest run at that point.  I can not believe I finished it that was amazing.  

I ran my first 20 mile run last weekend.  That was wonderful feeling to finish this run.  I ran the entire time.  I was able to accomplish over comping my head.

I ran a total of 120 miles.  To date the most miles I have ran in a month was 86, so accomplishing over 100 miles is so exciting.

I am excited to see what the Month of April has in store for me.  I know that it will be great!
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