Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Seeking joy

And now for something completely different. Not running related. Shocking right?

I have been thinking about joy lately. Yes. JOY.

  1. 1.
    a feeling of great pleasure and happiness.
    "tears of joy"
    synonyms:delight, great pleasure, joyfulness, jubilationtriumphexultation,rejoicinghappiness,
    gladness, gleeexhilarationexuberanceelation,euphoriablissecstasy,
  1. 1.
    "I felt shame that I had ever joyed in his discomfiture or pain"

(Yoinked from google)

This is something that I have been thinking about on the in between times, when I am not out running with Greg and Charlie, when I am not plotting my next marathon/BQ attempt -or sometimes when I am. That would bring me joy for sure. 

Obviously there is a little bit more to joy though. I have been working recently to get myself in a better place mentally since I have certainly been experiencing some stress and anxiety for the last few years (yep, it has been that long, ask Karen...) So attempting to figure out how to rewire my brain, change my thoughts, etc, is only going to be beneficial to me as a mom, a runner, a partner, a friend. 

I am working on it.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Marathon Training: Recovery week

I was not sure that I was going to write this post, but I made the decision that SO MANY people struggle the week after a marathon. After you come down from the high of finishing, you sink into a level of depression (ok, I did!) that you feel can only be cleared up by immediately beginning to train for your next race. I get it, trust me.

I obviously took the more unconventional approach to forcing myself to rest, which may have blown up even more than the average person. Being completely UNABLE to run made me want to even more, in case that was even possible. I researched ALL of the races, planned out every single run from now until GCM, and focused on running and running only for the entire week.

So yeah, if you want to force yourself to take time off from running and make yourself rather miserable in the process because it ends up being all you can think about, I highly recommend scheduling surgery. Regardless, I got through the procedure and while I am still wrapped up shoulder to wrist and I have not taken a shower since last Wednesday (I am stuck with baths because I can keep my arm out of the water easily), I am finally feeling back to normal and ready to tackle these few weeks before the East Side Turkey Trot, which I would love to run in 21:xx. *crosses fingers*

I spent a few days last week sitting on my butt, but there were a few days when I just NEEDED to do something. So here is the recovery week in review:
Monday: Rest
Tuesday: rest (wanted to run, convinced myself otherwise)
Wednesday: surgery
Thursday: 1.78 mile walk with Carol
Friday: rest
Saturday: 3.22 mile walk with Addie/stroller
Sunday: 3.25 miles on the treadmill (1 mile was run!)

Total: 8.25 miles - not bad, not bad...

Yep, that is what my ridiculous self looked like getting ready to hop on the TM yesterday. Normal running stuff + a gigantic arm bandage. I rewrapped it this morning. The swelling has gone way way down, which made the bandage be ridiculously loose. Now that I am rewrapped up, it feels much better. Still have not seen the incision point though because I am coated in gauze. I guess that can wait till Thursday.

So, recovery week is over, now it is all about base building until training officially starts on 1/4/2015. Here we go!

Friday, October 24, 2014

Birds planning

I have not taken any pain meds since yesterday at about 6:30 pm. I am definitely trying to steer clear of them today. I think I will just feel better knowing that I am done with them for this surgery. The swelling seems to be going down as well because my Ace bandage is beginning to loosen up around my arm. So all of these things are positive progress.

This morning, I climbed into the giant tub in my bathroom (seriously, it feels like an absolutely enormous tub!) to relax a bit, shave my legs so I feel a little bit more like a human, and attempt to avoid getting my bandages wet. Obviously, a shower would be much preferred, but I was pretty much told that was not an option. Too much risk of getting things wet, I guess. It is one of those things that I hate, but darn it, I have got to get through this time until the 30th when I get to go back to the doctor and hopefully get all of my bandages off.

I have been planning some birds, since I have not have much else going on these last few days. I know that I am not 100% sure when these birds will happen, but it is something I have been thinking about for a long time that I feel like I need to do. I have been struggling with self, and the freedom of the birds will hopefully give me a feeling a freedom that I have felt like I have been missing.

Lately things have felt rather claustrophobic and I have felt very...  enclosed. I want some level of freedom that I might be able to see on my body since I cannot just get up and take off in the way that I want to.

I have a lot that I am feeling right now, as I am getting ready to dive into my next training plan, but right now, for this moment, I need to focus on the fact that I need to get this BQ.

Here I come GCM - BQ or bust!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Surgical repairs

Yesterday was surgery day. I am not sure if I mentioned that being in my plan or not. Ha! But it is done now.

If you recall, when I was about 26-ish weeks pregnant, last May, I was running a 5K (and SLOWLY running it, I was pregnant, after all) and turned my ankle in a pothole. I bit it, hard, on the pavement and wound up completely fracturing my elbow. The bone on the tip was actually completely severed from the rest of the bone, and remained attached to my tricep, so it actually pulled that bone piece up to the middle of my arm. So surgical repair was the option for me.

Now, 18 ish months later, I was having pain from my hardware. Weird pain too, like it would hurt when a seam from a sweatshirt hit the scar incorrectly or something. And that seems crazy to me. I mean, that is nothing! So I got with Dr. Penix, my surgeon, and he said that the most common way to get rid of that pain? Remove the hardware. So, I went to my pre-op, got cleared, scheduled the surgery for three days after the marathon, and yesterday I arrived at the surgical center at 6 am for my 7:30 am surgery. It was definitely going to be different than my original surgery because I was going to actually get to have some anesthesia this time! Not being pregnant makes a huge difference to what you are able to do.

(PS - I can also have some slightly stronger painkillers this time. Winning!)

They brought me back into the pre-op section, made me pee in a cup (pregnancy test), and then closed the curtain around me so I could get into my hospital gown. I haven't worn one of those things since Addie was born! You gotta love the open back hospital gowns and the socks with grippers on the bottom. That is the best thing about hospitals. Ha! After that, the nurse came back, got me a blanket and taped my ear. They always tape my left ear because I have an earring that I have a difficult time getting in and out. After that, she got me set up for my IV. I was to take one bag of saline and a small amount of antibiotics over the course of the surgery. Luckily, my veins are decent on my left side (they are collapsed in my right elbow) and she had no issues getting the IV into my hand on the first try.

The anesthesiologist came in to talk to me, said that he was not going to give me a block this time. He filled me in on his plan, etc, let me know that yes, you can have some nausea, etc, as a result, but that I should be ok (young, healthy, etc). 10 minutes after that, he gave me my cocktail - at least that is what he called it - squirting two syringes into my IV. I was then wheeled into the operating room where I chatted with everyone back there and then nothing. As far as I know I could have gone out in the middle of a sentence.

Here is what came out of my elbow.
7 screws and a plate. That is hard to believe! And yes, I brought it home with me and I will keep it forever. The screws are quite a bit longer than I would have expected.

I am curious to see what this bow looks like now. I am curious what my incision looks like since it got reopened yesterday. But for right now, I am all wrapped up.
But soon, this will be gone and I will feel great and things will be good. And it will be back to running and back to training.

Here goes.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Next on deck

I now I have one entire day between me and the marathon. I have had an entire day to digest what happened on Sunday, question every single decision that I made on race day and question whether or not any of those decisions would have changed the end of the day. Would I have been faster? Maybe. Would I have qualified? Maybe. But that has passed. That ship has sailed for this particular marathon and now it is the time to reflect on the things that went well, and maybe make some edits to the things that went wrong.

I don't have all of the answers from this cycle or all of the plans for the next cycle yet, but suffice to say, I want to try again. I ran very hard. I can run harder, I think. I can plan better, fuel better, take advantage of small downhills and tackle uphills more effectively. I can stick with my speedwork and tempo runs more than I have in the past (yeah, they completely fell off the horizon in the last few weeks of prep) and use that to help maintain my strength. I can crosstrain more frequently or take less rest days. I can do the strength training that I am supposed to do. There are always things to improve.

So I have been chatting with Krista. She is a Toledo friend that is also trying to qualify. We were originally internet friends who have now met in person and run together. She is planning on making her next attempt in Toledo on April 26, 2015. The Medical Mutual Glass City Marathon.
I am definitely thinking that I am leaning this way as well. I like the idea of having a friend there with me to run. Even though, like I did in Columbus this weekend, we will need to plan to stick together for as long as we can, but run our own races overall. That is the way that it has to be, because we do not want the other person to be dragged down in any way. Now, I am feeling sad that Karen's race did not go according to plan, but I am glad that mine was as close to plan as it could have been.

I need to figure out what my training plan will be, and how I am going to go about getting there, but it looks like BQ attempt 2 will be in April.

Monday, October 20, 2014

The Columbus Marathon: Race Recap

Well, I was not sure how I was going to feel prior to the race, writing this recap, but I guess all things considered, I have to feel pretty good. I don't want to discount ANYTHING that happened on race day, or anything that happened leading up to it. It was the hardest, longest run of my life, and it was worth every second of it.

So, I am going to skip the expo. That was pretty standard. We got all of our stuff, etc. Karen bought two pair of shoes - which was SMART of her. She is always running out of a shoe and getting sore, etc, so having a few backlogged pair is a good plan. It just makes it easier to roll between shoes when you always have them. I didn't buy anything, but I got my stuff for the next morning.

After we left the expo we headed to Grove City (where our hotel is, about 6 miles from downtown Columbus), dropped our race stuff at the hotel and immediately heading to dinner at Long Horn. There were lots of choices to eat there, so everyone was happy. Chelsa and I both enjoyed a beer, everyone got delicious food (especially Chelsa and I who enjoyed the same pasta dish), and it was just the 4 of us, without the pressure from everyone else. There were tons of runners from our group there with us, but we made the decision to just go eat and not worry about what everyone else was doing, which I am grateful for.

Karen and I shared a room, and we were lucky enough to get a room with a little kitchenette (no idea how we lucked into that) so we got the coffee pot ready for morning, and turned on the football game. Karen took a bath to try and relax and I just laid in bed watching TV in my pajamas. When Karen came to bed about 20 minutes later, we turned out the lights, turned down the volume and slept fitfully all night. We both were tossing and turning, but at the same time, we expected it. We were up before our alarm, which was set for 4:45 am, and started the coffee pot and started getting ready. We both had a goal to poop before we left the hotel. I know that might sound strange if you are NOT a runner, but trust me. Go before.

We left to go downtown at 5:45 am and found the parking garage. We got a pass and having that made all the difference. If you run the Columbus Marathon, I recommend purchasing the reserved parking, that was fantastic. We headed over to the starting area, making a stop in the porta potties and then finding another one from our group in line for gear check. I was checking gear, which I have never done before, to make sure I had my keys and wallet since I was planning on leaving Columbus before Chelsa was done running.
After a few minutes, we decided to head over to the corrals to hang out there and use the bathrooms a few more times. Apparently one of the issues that has happened in the past in Columbus was the lack of toilets, and they more than made up for that. Karen and I were in the A corral, in order to try and hang with the 3:35 pacer, and there was probably 20 toilets that you could ONLY reach in the A corral! So we went right away, then hung out at a heater, went again, and then found Dave and Scott, the guys who were taking us through the streets.
(Don't I look nervous? I SO WAS!)

And soon, we were off! They always play Born to Run when the race starts, and even though I was prepared for it from running the half two years ago, I cried. Music gets me like that. The start and finish were in a different location than they were in previous years, which allowed them to be in the same spot, so I was not familiar with exactly where we were going when we started.

Our first mile was a little bit slow, as expected. There were 18,000 runners, so that could not be helped. We picked things up for the next few miles, banking a bit of time, sometimes I wonder (ok, for the last 10K I wondered) if that was a good or bad thing. We settled into a solid pace around mile 6, and I was feeling great. I started chatting with Dave & Scott, I wanted to know how fast they really ran marathons when they weren't pacing us (super fast), I found out about some of the other runners that were hanging in our group. I was in a fantastic mood, and I bet it showed. I was trying not to do anything stupid like jump or dance though, even though I was tempted, afraid I would pay for that later (yup.)

We crossed the 10K mat at 50:20, pretty much dead on where we wanted to be. We looped back into downtown and then headed out into the German Village and past the Children's Hospital (one of the new parts of the course, since they are the chief beneficiary of the marathon). As we circled past a park, Karen stopped to use the bathroom, and I kept plugging away with the group. She caught up with us quickly, and we headed toward downtown to drop off the half marathon participants right before the 13 mile mark. We past where they turned off to head toward their finish, and I realized I was in this for the whole race.

13.1 time: 1:46:14 - required time per pace band: 1:46:36 at mile 13. So we were a bit ahead at this point. Feeling fantastic, I ventured ahead of the pace group for a bit. I was not super far ahead of them, but when feeling good, I felt like I needed to go for it. Right around mile 14, my left knee started to creak a little bit, and I was tempted to quit. Just for a second though, because by the time I thought about it my knees started to feel better and we plugged onward toward the Ohio State University campus.

We actually ran INTO the Shoe, which was awesome. It gave me the push to keep on running and keep my pace up. There was another mat here, Karen explained that it was to ensure that people didn't cheat and skip that section.
16.3 miles: 2:13:25 - pace bracelet pace at 16: 2:11:12 and 17: 2:19:24, so I would say that I was right in there at this point. After coming out of the stadium my energy was waning and I was starting to feel the pressure of what I was hoping to accomplish. We went up the ramp through the tunnel that the visiting teams go through, and that little uphill took a bit out of me, and around mile 18 the 3:35 pace group passed me. I could see them though, so I knew that I had a chance.

By mile 20, I was 24 seconds off pace and the pace group turned a corner and I lost them. But it was only 24 seconds! And I only had a 10K left! If I could run the 10K in the same pace I ran by first 10K, I had a chance!

Yeah, a few steps further, I realized that was not going to happen. Here came the wall. I took in my final gel (Gu, salted caramel, try it!) and made every single effort to get my legs to turn over. They were going, but they were definitely slowing down, and with each mile that passed I was getting further off goal pace. At mile 23-ish, I saw Andrew, one of the guys in my run group. He cheered for me, and I exhaustedly (I can only assume) waved to him. Then around mile 24 there was a cobblestone section. Seriously, this is my ONLY complaint about the course. I am just trying to stay upright at this point, and trying to watch my feet to make sure I did not trip was tough. I REALLY wanted to start some kind of walk/run at this point. But I was also afraid that I would not start running again if I stopped, so I just kept going even though it was slow.

Mile 25 was my SLOWEST mile of the entire day, clocking at 8:59. Under circumstances of earlier in the summer, I would not have flinched at such a time. After all, my original long run goal pace was 9:14 to hit my sub-4 or bust goal. But at this point I was cursing in my head and at my legs why they would not just GO! (Obviously they had run 25 miles. No wonder they did not want to go!) Karen's mom got this shot of me coming into the finish.
Just trying not to fall down.

And finally, it was over.
Whoa. It may not be that fantastic BQ I had hoped for (semi-secretly until recently), but that is more than 47 minutes off my previous (and only!) marathon time. I cannot help but wonder what could have been, if we had run even splits early instead of a few sub-8 miles, or if somehow my fueling had gone just enough better that I didn't hit the wall. Maybe gels at 4-8-12, etc rather than 5-10-16-21? I don't know, but I will experiment some more for the next race. I will say that at 5 miles was better than at 6 like I did for the Pig 2.5 years ago...

I am proud of this race. I can't NOT be, but it makes me even hungrier.

We are absolutely at BQ-or-BUST So MMGCM? I think?

Friday, October 17, 2014

The runch crew

So my work running group is now up to three. There were three of us that headed out to the park yesterday to cover the 4 miles of trails that Greg and I have recently made our Monday and Wednesday lunchtime ritual. We have been having a fantastic time out there, and clearly now, people are seeing that and wanting to come with us. I am glad. Our Flying Pig team next spring is going to be fantastic. We might even need a second team. I think it will be a pretty quick team if it shakes out like I expect it to right now.

When I got into the office yesterday, Charlie found me within 15 minutes of me settling in for the morning. Charlie has only been with the company for two-ish weeks, but he has already made it known that he likes to run and he is pretty quick (8:00-ish pace). He told me about how he was running the Bourbon Chase and a half marathon soon. Obviously, I have some experience with both of those things, so I was interested to hear his thoughts on that.

It is nice to have a larger group to run with for sure. They keep me rolling when I don't feel like doing anything. And recently, that has been a little bit frequently. Nearing the end of training has left me feeling a little bit drained on running, which I assume is pretty normal for marathon training. I have been running hard and a lot of miles for a pretty long time. So burn out has been rather inevitable. But running with Greg and Charlie has re-inspired me for sure, and I am ready to keep it up with them.

Greg and I are relaying a half marathon on 11/15. Because we are awesome.