Sunday, December 17, 2006

Jingle Bell Jog

This was my last organized race being run here in Clarksville. Because it was, I decided I was just going to go out there and have a good time, not worry about my time.

Since this was a Jingle Bell Jog, I put bells on my shoes and on Kaitlyn's shoes. My Tiger cubs had made big jingle bell necklaces with a HUGE bell and a shoelace so I had that on as well. Our race packets, in addition to having a pretty nifty blue sweatshirt with the logo on it, also had even more bells so those got pinned on my shirt.

It was about 46F, gray and cold when we lined up for the start. It was kinda odd since I could clearly see where the front runners were lined up but the majority of the crowd was lined up in FRONT of them. I verified that it was the front and made my way to the back. The gun went off and we took off.

This course followed some of the Queen City course and some of the APSU course but it didn't make much difference. Since we were running in downtown Clarksville, we were running on HILLS! And then some more HILLS!

I was going to follow a group that I knew did a run/walk interval but then just could not do it...even though they finished before me. I just really don't like to walk and then start running again although I did walk up one hill.

Kaitlyn took off right at the beginning and while I could see her in front of me, the stinker stayed in front of me the entire time.

Despite the fact I said I was not going to worry about my time, I just could not put forth some effort so I managed to pull out my second fastest 5K time. I finished in 33:xx ...not sure of the specifics, I think maybe close to 14? Kaitlyn finished in 31:xx. Samantha was out there running with us and finshed in 35:xx

We didn't win any door prizes but I had a fun run. Here are my splits:

1 mile: 9:59 (Entirely too fast!!)
2 mile: 11:14
3 mile: 10:53
.17 mile: 8:20

Boy, I was all over my pace today. According to my Garmin, my time was 33:37 for a 10:35 pace. I know I was off the official clock though.

I will miss running here even though I complain about the hills. This is where I started it and the people who helped me start and stick with it are here. Still, we are only a phone call/email away now and I know that I will meet some totally awesome runners in Virginia.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Still Here!

I am in an odd place right now, not entirely through choice.

I finished my Half and I am planning to run the full marathon at the Flying Pig. Training for that won't start until the first of the year so I am kinda between programs. On top of that, I am a single mom until we make the move to reunite with my husband, which puts a damper on my running. Still, I have managed to go out for a few runs. Last week, it was in the bitter cold of 19F and this week, it was 68F. What a difference.

My marathon goals, as of now are to: finish! First and foremost, I just want to finish. If I can finish around 5:30, that would be great....I may change that time as it gets closer.

So right now, I am torn between three different marathon training programs and would like reader input on them. I think all are good plans, I like parts of each and may end up mixing and matching the various things I like to create my own.

First up is Hal Higdon's Novice training guide. The longest run is a 20 miler, in week 15. It seems kinda light on the weekday milage and there are no speed or tempo runs at all included. Still, I know it is a solid plan and would work.

Second choice is sticking with Hal but using his Intermediate I program. This has the speed/tempo work that is missing in the Novice program, it is heavier on the milage and it has a 20 mile run in both week 13 and week 15. I am leaning more towards this one over novice but would it be too much?

Third choice was using Runner's World Smart Coach I plugged in my time for St Jude's and it gave me a Personalized Training Guide (Ignore the dates) I really like this one...I think perhaps the best. I like that it has some speed/tempo in there, the milage seems to be about right and that it has two 20 milers in there as well.

Soooo....advise me please! I know I will be able to tap into the knowledge locally when I move but I would like to have something in mind so I can maintain until then.

Saturday, I am doing a 5K. For the first time, I am not going to really focus on time. I am planning to wear a Santa hat, bells and just have fun! No, I am not going to totally ignore the clock (sorry, I am anal, I can't) but as long as I am under.....a time to be determined later, I will be fine with that.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

St Jude's Half Marathon

Jim, Samantha and I left town about 1:30 pm to head down to Memphis. We made pretty good time until we actually got to Memphis. Then, badly marked roads and blocked exits had us doing some creative driving to find our hotel. Because of streets being worked on, the trolley system and one way streets, we circled our hotel a few times before we could actually make it over to park.

I drove the van, which is a 15 passenger behemoth. It is too large to go into the self parking garage, underground so we were set to go into valet parking. I have an antitheft system on the van and was going to explain it to the valet. Apparently it was too much and he said to just park in the valet lot and not worry about it. Nifty! We didn't have to pay for parking! We did tip the guy though.

After checking in and making sure we got late check out, we went over to the Expo, which was unremarkable, to get our packets. I was not listed so I went to the help desk. They could not find my registration. I had a print out of my confirmation from the race director (since my entry was being comp'd) and we got everything worked out. I didn't get the free socks that early registered folks did...even though I had confirmation of my registration from July.

After picking up our packets, we wandered down Main Street in the bitterly cold weather. In our packets was a list of places that were offering discounts to racers so we opted to try The Majestic Grille. We had short wait and then got seated. It was located in this huge building, an open space like I would imagine a loft type apartment would be although most are not 10,000 square feet. I ordered a four cheese ravioli, topped with sundried tomatoes (scraped to the side...ick!), spinach, goat cheese and pine nuts. I was not too sure on the goat cheese but it was pretty tasty. Samantha and I also had some broccoli cheddar soup. With my runners discount, my meal was under $16! Since it was still bitterly cold out, we opted to take the trolley back to the hotel.

The alarm went off entirely too early at 6:00 am since we needed check our gear and be in our corrals by 7:45. Sam and I lounged for a few and then snapped some pictures from our hotel room. We had a very small breakfast (bagel for her, Clif Bar for me). Brittany, her sister Brooke and two of their cousins were in the room right next to ours. When we went out to meet Jim in the lobby, they were still in PJ's but almost ready.

Even though it was still cold, we made our way over to gear check and put our bags in. We made the plan to meet at gear check after the race since all of us finish at different times. It was about 10 min before we needed to be over in the corrals so we said goodbye to our jackets and braved the 30F weather over to the start.

Once in the corrals, we kinda huddled together like a group of pengiuns. There was an announcer who was whipping up the crowd and it made me choke up to see all the shirts around me that were running for sick kids. I had already decided I was going to dedicate my run to a precious angel, Eliana. Eliana was the daughter of a friend of mine. She was diagnosed with leukemia less than a year after Devin. She was only 5 months old at the time. Eliana fought a very hard battle, she went through a transplant but the day came when her body just could not battle anymore. She was a tiger, a sweet baby girl and she is sorely missed but never forgotten. Eliana left her family a month after her second birthday. So I ran this for Eliana and all those children who, like Eliana, gave it their all but didn't make it.

The race was set to start at 8:00 am and 15 seconds before, the count down started. Each corral would start one minute after the previous one. The elites and sub 7 min milers took off, music blaring. The music got the crowd whipped up and there was a roar as each corral went across the start line. People were hopping and bouncing with the music. It was an overwhelming feeling, feeling the enegry and being a part of it.

Samantha and I were in the corral behind where Jim was so we all wished one another good luck and took out places. I was back in the 5th corral so started about 6-7 minutes after the elites. All along the course, you saw discarded hats, mittens, scarves, shirts, jackets...even tech stuff. I was chilly for about a quarter of a mile and then I was fine the rest of the run. I knew that would be the case so that is why I chose to run in just a t-shirt and capris.

Speaking of elites, I never saw them. I find it amusing that they start before me, run twice as far as me and finish before me. Heh...isn't that incredible?

I had planned to run with the 5:00 pace group and kept them in my sight for most of the race. About mile 10, I lost sight of them and then the 5:15 group was closing in on me but I managed to stay ahead of them. It was helpful to have them even though I had my Garmin to help keep me on pace too.

There was music and crowds at various points along the course, there was a lotta water and powerade as well as Gu as mile 9. I saw several Elvi (more than one Elvis), Uncle Sam, a Giant Panda, a giant Bunny, a giant Green M&M, assorted Fruit and a lot of dogs wearing signs cheering us on. I felt bad because I also saw more than a few chips on the course where a runner had lost them and never noticed it. They only had one zip tie in our stuff to put on the chip, I like to have two just in case. I never even saw the hospital so I missed seeing the kids out front.

We got to about mile 9 and there was some bad mojo there for some reason. I just was really struggling there so I moved in behind a guy and gal running. He was discussing the Battle of Antietam in the Civil War, civil war photography so I listened to that until I felt stronger and not so dragging. It actually was an interesting conversation and after he realized I was listening, he moved over a bit so I could hear him more clearly. After the race, I compared notes with my group and at mile 9 we had: side stitches, puking, sock twisting and possible blister and sudden nausea. All of us have run longer distances so we are blaming it all on bad mojo.

I just passed mile 11 and a supporter on the crowd yelled to me "Two more miles R3!" (I had on an R3 shirt...local running store) She then saw a couple of full marathon guys by me and yelled "You guys look like you could go at least another 15 miles!" The crowd was a lot of fun. I would high 5 the kids and made sure I said hi to wee ones on the side of the course. I was always worried I was going to slip on discarded water cups but luckily, it never happened.

The police support was good but right before the final quarter of a mile, there were cars coming from cross streets and no one there directing them. I was really worried they would make us have to stop for them. There really needed to be someone there.

It is funny, I train in a very hilly area so this course felt wonderfully flat to me. There were a few minor inclines but it was nothing compared to what I normally run. It was amusing to me to hear the griping from other runners as we went up them.

The Hostess factory was right before we went into the smelled so good and I was soo hungry at that point. No free samples, darn!

As I came into the stadium, I didn't see any of my group but knew they were there so I was going to stride out and sprint. A couple of girls were moving like slugs right in front of me so I went around them. I sprinted across and a volunteer draped me in foil like a baked potato and then another put my finishers medal around my neck.

My goal time was 2:27:45, I wanted to be under 2:30 but came in at 2:33:04...I am so not disappointed though, I think it is a great time! Even better, I ran negative splits on the official results!

Mile 1 -10:39
Mile 2 -10:44
Mile 3 -10:53
Mile 4 -10:14
Mile 5 -10:40
Mile 6 -11:19
Mile 7 -11:31
Mile 8 -11:24
Mile 9 -10:53
Mile 10 -11:59 - walked through a water stop
Mile 11 -12:49 - walked through a water stop
Mile 12 -13:03
Mile 13 -11:18
Official time: 2:33:04, pace of 11:42, (split time of 1:14:01, pace 11:57)

I made my way up the stairs to find my buddies. I knew that I was one of the last in my group to come in and sure enough, Jim was up by gear check waiting for me. I got my jacket and we waited for Samantha. I was starving so ate some Clif Blocks. Sam came in about 20 minutes after me and after we got her, we made our way over to FOOD!

There was an area set up for after race eats. You had to have the tag off your bib to get in. The jerk who took my tag ripped my bib!! I know it is not a big deal but now it says St Jude's H Marathon...with a big chunk gone. Grrr!!! There was some yummy hot soup in various flavors (I got potato), huge muffins, bagels, donuts, fruit, cookies, pizza and all kinds of drinks. It was a great spread with plenty for everyone. I got some soup in a cup, which was wonderfully hot. I also juggled a muffin, some cookies (still in my bag), a slice of pizza and about 3 bottles of water. It sounds like we pigged out but it was a drop in the bucket. On the way home, we stopped and had a meal as well.

I did have a problem in the race, totally not running related. I have a nursing baby so no nursing baby for x hours = agony while running. Ouch!!!

It was a great, to start training for the Flying Pig marathon in May!