Monday, October 14, 2013

Worst. Blogger. Ever.

I have been chastised by my mother once again for my lack of blog posts. She will bring up other people she knows who hardly ever post and say "So and So has posted twice since your last one." (the name has been changed to protect the innocent). So now that I have been shamed by my mother, and So and So, I will try to redeem myself with another mashed up blog of many races.

Some really great and blog worthy things have happened in the last month + that I haven't written. The first of which is that my little brother completed his first half marathon. This was a proud day in Big Sister Land. And of course, he was able to run it much faster than I ever have. Isn't that always the way? You inspire someone to try the thing that you do all the time, and they're instantly better than you at it. I'm still proud though. As a slow runner, I don't have much of an ego anymore. I just try to have a good time and get my money's worth.

He's looking a little TOO chipper. Perhaps it's the excitement of being almost done. 

There. He looks sufficiently exhausted. I feel better now.

At least I LOOK sort of fast here...


Nice shirt, nice medal, as always. 
The next race in the mix was the Big Cottonwood Marathon. I had waffled back and forth for 6 or so weeks about this one. I knew I could drop down to the half marathon at the race and still get a nice medal and a decent workout. I was not trained for the full 26.2. Things hadn't really come together for a good race. After much debating, soul searching, and reviewing last year's training leading up to the Park City Marathon, I realized that I could do the full marathon. I probably wouldn't love it, but I could do it. I spent way too much time pouring over the course map, studying the elevation chart, and pep talking myself into believing everything would be alright. Okay, the amount of pep talking was probably adequate. I managed to be in a really positive mood the night before the race and even right up to the start. It was such a beautiful day in such a lovely canyon, I figured if nothing else, I could just enjoy being out there. 

I planned my nutrition a little differently for this marathon than I have for others. I know you're not supposed to try new things in a race but I did anyway. I ate a different pre-race dinner, a rice bowl with chicken instead of my usual pizza, which worked really well and will be my new go-to meal before an event of this nature. I packed a bag full of pain pills that also had caffeine in them. I don't usually take pain pills, but I knew I wouldn't make it the full distance without them and the caffeine boost definitely made a difference. I also had a wide variety of gels, shot blocks, and other tasty  things, depending on what my stomach would allow. I made sure to fuel early and often as well as taking a pain pill or two when the slightest twinge would surface. Someday, I would like to be able to run this distance without the pill popping. It's good to have goals, right?

Because of the better fueling, I had less gastrointestinal issues this race. Thank goodness. At least this race had ample port-a-potties. I was more than a little thrilled to see so many of those blue boxes lining the course. After the Utah Valley Marathon port-a-potty debacle, it has become one of the top things on my list of what makes a good race. 

I started out in the back of the pack, as usual. I knew I shouldn't push too hard at the beginning so I just tried to settle into a good rhythm and let the gradual downhill do its thing. I'm surprised at how the miles flew by. I felt fresh and good and happy to be running. From mile 9 to 10, I walked and ran with a guy who was having some trouble with his foot. He was staying upbeat and positive, so it was nice to share that mile with him. After the mile 10 aid station, I knew it was time for me to move on though; I was feeling good and wanted to keep putting those miles behind me. We wished each other well and I kept on trucking. I hit the halfway point around 2:40 and felt great about that. I hadn't pushed too fast but was still making good time. I was on track to beat six hours. Now in every other marathon, there has been a point when I WAS on track to break 6 hours and I have always missed the mark. So I tried not to get too caught up in that. 
Feeling strangely fine.

We came out of the canyon around mile 17 and continued into town. We ran on a nice paved trail that was by the creepy old mill. It is haunted. I know, because even in the daytime, it makes you shudder. The mill was about mile 18. I was being awfully chipper and a man asked if I was having fun yet. I said "Of course! We're in the single digits now! And there's a creepy haunted mill! What could be better?!" He looked at me like I was a little crazy and tried to run a little faster. My chipper mood lasted all the way until about mile 22. I couldn't believe that I had felt that fine for so many miles, especially because of my lack of long training runs. I had to walk quite a lot of the last 4 miles, but when I was walking, I made sure to keep it at a brisk pace. I tried to maintain a 15 min/mile while walking. It paid off. I was able to complete this marathon in 5:53:11, a personal record by almost 16 minutes! I couldn't believe it. Sometimes, things actually work out, even if the training didn't. 
This is my favorite race picture ever. My mom snapped it just in time. She was yelling "You beat 6 hours!!!"

So happy with this race!

The medal is almost the size of a salad plate. My kind of bling.
After this most epic race, I had about two weeks off. I tried to just rest and recover without too much stress on my body. After the rest period, it was time to run the Huntsville Half Marathon. I ran the full last year and wanted to just do the half this time around. The half was rough for me. Maybe I wasn't fully recovered, maybe it just wasn't my day. But it was another gorgeous day here in Utah and I just tried to enjoy the day for that. It was one of my slower races, since my feet started to hurt around mile 9. And I mean hurt to the point that walking was difficult. So I walked the last 4 miles, while trying to run when I felt I could. 

Just happy to be done with this one. 

Nicer medal and shirt this year than last. Good work, Huntsville!
The last race to talk about in my mash up race blog is the Undead Race 5K. I don't run many 5K's, due to the lack of medals. However, for this race, people I actually knew wanted to run it! WHAT. I don't know many runners in real life, I have many internet running friends that will occasionally be at races where I am. But this time, people who were already my friends wanted to run. So we have been training for this one as a group for the last 3 months. It was so much fun to see everyone out there and enjoying themselves. Everyone in the group did better than they thought they would too. I bet I can talk them into another one soon enough. The other great thing about this race was that is was zombie themed. Some of us were zombies, and some were humans. The humans got a two minute head start and then the horde was unleashed. I was a zombie and it was pretty enjoyable chasing down all those humans. 

The best zombie makeup I could put together in the last minute. I procrastinate sometimes...

The zombies and the humans, coexisting for a tiny moment. 

How can you not like a race for charity that is also zombie themed?!

I have two more half marathons coming up this month and then another Ragnar Relay plus a half for the month of November. Then things die down for the winter months. I did just find out that I got into the Ogden Marathon, so that training will begin in January, in concert with my training for my first 50K in June. Also, in the last two weeks, I have started to weight train seriously. I can feel a difference in my body already and I am hopeful it will lead to faster finish times next year. Here's the point in the blog where I promise to try and post more often and you all say "Yeah, right.". But I will try. I will. 

Happy running!