Sunday, November 13, 2011

Hartford Marathon Recap

Has it really been over a month since the Hartford Marathon!?

Oy!  Sorry everyone; I'm sure you've been on the edge of your seats to hear how this race went ;).  Overall, it was a great race.  In a nutshell these things happened:

- New PR 3:44.47
- Not a BQ; but getting closer
- Reminder that this was a race that I hadn't had a great training cycle for (recovering from injury, didn't decide I was going to do it for sure until my 18 miler went OK)
- Weather was pretty much perfect
- Stomach went into meltdown at about mile 18
- Stomach came back from meltdown at about mile 23
- Stomach went back into meltdown immediately following the finish line
- Stomach stayed that way for 2 days...
- My mom, Eric, and mother in law came to see me!
- I changed behind my mylar blanket
- We went to the Mark Twain House afterwards
- Despite stomach meltdown, I did not faint, barf, or lose control of my intestinal contents in the historical museum full of artifacts
- Have had a great recovery and have been enjoying running whenever I feel like for however distance

- Thinking about some Turkey Trots or maybe half marathons in the future  (word is there might be one in my hometown this Spring!)

Monday, September 26, 2011

Since I last blogged

Well,  I guess I've been a blog slacker.  I keep coming up with other things to do; stalk the rest of you, catch up on teen mom, remove toenails, you know the things that seem take over our lives some time.  So since it's been so long, here's a bullet post to get you all caught up.  I'm sure you're all glad you can finally stop holding your breath!

- I started a new job in August.  I'm still teaching 7th grade language arts, but instead of commuting an hour or so each way, now I commute 3 miles.  My team is great so far.  2 of the other teachers actually were my teachers and they were 2 of my favorites.  The school is a positive place to be and the commute allows a lot more time for sweating!

- I ran a race.  Yes, the New Haven Road Race was on Labor Day.  It's the 4th time I have run this 20K race.  I had very low expectations going into race day.  I didn't feel like my training was where it was last year, it was HOT, laddy, daddy, da.  After whining talking it over with the hubs, I got down to business and pulled out a personal best.  I finished with a 1:42.41 which garmin had at a 8:12 pace.  I'm currently writing a story about this experience for my students to show the theme of believe in yourself.  You think I'm kidding...I'm not.  However I did turn myself into a fictitious Gigi whose goal pace was a 6:06.  But it's still based on my story.

- I signed up for a race.  Just a little old 26.2 miler.  I'll be running the Hartford Marathon this year.  When did I decide this; oh, about 2 weeks ago.  And when is the race...oh, in 2 weeks.  Good thinking Carlee.  I'll be honest though, as a mentor with Team in Training, I've been running the long runs and as a running addict, I've been putting up decent mileage during the week.  I decided I would officially sign up after my 18 miler, but it had been in the back of my mind since July (when I was able to run again).  I don't have any huge expectations for this race.  Mainly because I like the way that strategy played out in New Haven (see above bullet).

- I nailed a 20 miler.  Yesterday in fact.  If you live in the tri-state area (is that a term they only use in CT or does every state have a tri-state area?), you may know that it was humid yesterday (and today and Friday and pretty much every day that I had a run scheduled in the last 3 weeks).  So going with the theme of this training cycle, I didn't have high expectations for this run.  However, it went pretty well for me and I ended up hitting the 20 miler with a 8:40 pace.

- I put up more than 50 miles in a week.  That was last week as you may have guessed.  I had 7 miler with 2 sub 8 minute miles (it was meant to be a 6 miler, but I locked myself out of the house, so I had to run to my mom's for a key), 13.1 miler (love doing this midweek as part of marathon training), a very sweaty and humid 4 miler that was worse than my 20 miler, an 8 miler with some tempo work, and of course the 20 miler.

- I crossed the 1000 miles for 2011 marker.  This happened on the run where I had to go to my mom's.  However, it happened before I realized I had locked myself out.  Talk about going from a personal high to pretty embarrassed in a matter of a song on the ipod shuffle.

- I'm going to be certified as a coach with Team in Training.  That happens Sunday, so more on that later.

- 2 of my best friends had babies, on the same day.  They have met, but don't really know each other, so this was not planned.  Though that would have been creepy cool.

I think that's it for now.  So now you know I'm training for a marathon and I'm already into taper.  Man did time fly!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

14 Wet Ones

Today I had a 14 mile run with my Team in Training group.  Similarly to last week, it was raining.  Honestly, it was a good rain.  Basically a sprinkle for most of the run with a few stronger showers here and there.  I much prefer this to running in the heat, so I was pretty happy with the weather.

I tried out a new piece of running gear today.  The Pearl Izumi Elite Barrier Vest
I purchased this on sale for $35 at L.L. Bean.  I'm super happy with the purchase, but a few caveats if you are interested.  One it's super small.  Remember I'm 4'10"-4"11" (depends on who's measuring) and I had to get a size large.  I just checked L.L. Bean's website, and all the reviewers talk about how small it is.  It has a nice pocket in the back and a small one inside.  It's very bright and I know it will come in handy on my morning runs, now that it's not light so early in the a.m.  The biggest bonus of all is that it looks much more attractive and hip than the item in my running wardrobe it replaced.  

I guarantee I didn't look as cool as this guy on my morning and even runs.  Nor do I speak French, so that's a double win for him.  However, it got the job done for 2 years of marathon training and it will be retiring honorably.  

Overall, the run was a great success.  14 miles at about a 9:00 pace.  (still a wee bit higher than I'd like, but it's moving in the right direction)  I got to run with my friend Edwin the whole time.  Plus, no pains or upset tummy or anything like that.  

The best part of my run was when I was leaving; Coach Henry told me how much I have improved since he first saw me running with the team.  That really means a lot especially when I'm not feeling totally there speed wise.  Sometimes we forget how far we really have come.  

Hope everyone had great long runs, races and rides this weekend.  

Friday, August 5, 2011


Mentally this week has been a challenge.  Last week I put up (barely) more than 30 miles, which I was so excited about.  I did this in 3 runs: 10.1 miler, 7.2 miler, 13.5 miler.  When people ask "How much do you run?" and they aren't runners, I always answer: "30-60+ miles depending on where I am in a training cycle."  When I hit 30 miles again, I was thrilled, it was like I really felt like I was a runner again (I'm not discrediting people that run less than 30 miles a month, I just don't know how else to explain the feeling I had.)

Looking ahead, this week was a step back week for my long run.  We are only scheduled for 7 miles according to the Team in Training calendar.  I used this calendar for my first (technically 2nd) marathon and it worked well for me.  As I've run more marathons, I have changed the TnT calendar to meet my own needs and usually add on mileage.  This way I can get in 2-3 20-23 milers in a cycle.  I also don't always step back in mileage and I normally wouldn't step back after a 13 miler.

However, this is me being smart.  I think, for the most part, I will stick with TnTs long run schedule.  I think this especially makes sense since I don't even know if I'll run Hartford.  So since I'd be dropping back in mileage, I thought this would be a good week to go back to 4 runs a week.  I'd like to get back to 5, but I don't think it will happen this cycle.  So far I ran Tuesday: 5ish, Wednesday: 8ish and Today: 6ish.  That means I put in 19ish miles during the week (which is more than last week), but if you add that to what I will be running on Sunday, it puts me below 30 again.  It makes me want to add in another run so badly.  Why do I put so much emphasis on numbers!?

However, I'm listening to my body.  I know coming back is going to be uncomfortable and I cherish that feeling.  But I need to stay out of pain.  Mentally, I just can't take another injury (even if I don't have any major goals right now).  Therefore my mantra is going to be: The key to a comeback will be pushing my body when it whines, comforting it when it cries!  Honestly this is how I approach "being tough" in my classroom too.  Should be easy right...?  And yes, my body has been whining, but my shins are starting to need some TLC (as happens in the beginning of most of my running cycles if I take too much time off).  So, there will be no "extra" run.  I will be below 30 for the week.  I am still a real runner.  

Happy Friday everyone!  Hope you all have great long runs, races, and fun!  

Monday, August 1, 2011

July you get 100 gold stars

Totaling up my July mileage today I wondered would I hit 100?  It's so funny that hitting 100 miles in a month used to be nothing, no problem, a given.  Now, as I typed in each day's total, I kept thinking, "Am I back? Am I finally at 100 again?"  The answer 101.6.  Phew!  Yay July!

Do I really feel back?  Well, no.  My pace is still way off and I'm running 3 days a week and not 5.  Not to mention, 100 isn't anywhere near the 224 I was hitting in March.  However seeing a 3 digit monthly total makes me feel like I am on track.  Woo Hoo!  Someone's getting her running mojo back :)
 (these bars are delicious by the way)

Sunday was my "long" run for the week.  I'm up to 13.5 miles and don't really know how far up I'll go.  I think for now I plan on training with TnT up until Hartford, so I should at least get to 20.  After that, who knows.  Like I said, I'm not training with a race in mind, but if the Hartford Marathon happens, so be it :).

My run was pretty uneventful.  I went out at 7:30 and wished I had gone out earlier.  It was a bit sunny and of course I made my route pretty shadeless.  And not to mess with tradition, I also mapped out one hilly sucker!  I curse myself during these runs, but if I don't have hills, I end up with a VERY boring route.  My pace was around 9:40 and way higher than I want it to be.  However, considering the hills, I guess it's not so bad.

I did make myself an ice bath after the run.  I'm not sure 13.5 miles really needs an ice bath, but I think it's a good habit for me to get into.  We also didn't have much ice in the house, so it was kind of a wimpy, starter ice bath.  I thought my cat was going to join me at one point, and I think that would have done more harm than good.

Today was my first rest day in weeks.  I've been doing a lot of cross training and haven't felt the need for one.  However, I'd like to try running 4 days this week, so I decided to take today off.  It felt super weird and I'm pretty sure the cats were giving me looks that said, "what, you're not going to go to the gym today...?"

Friday, July 29, 2011

Oh How Time Flies

I've definitely been out of the posting loop for some time.  I'm really sorry about that.  I really did try to get excited about posting my rides and swims, but for some reason, I just couldn't get into it.  I think I was just really disheartened about not being able to run.  I kept telling myself that it didn't matter that I had terrible race at the Country Music Marathon.  I reminded myself that the race was about raising money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society through Team in Training.  I did raise a lot of money and I did have a great time meeting new friends in a fabulous city, but I was down on myself about gaining an hour.  I was angry about getting injured after the best 14 weeks of a training cycle I had ever had.  I just didn't want to talk about running.

However, now it's been almost 3 months from that race and 2 months since I had to defer my Vermont City entry.  I've been back to running for about a month and I'm finally starting to feel good about it again.  I was afraid to try running again, I was annoyed at how slow I was, and I wasn't finding it as fun as when I was hitting a pace of 8:18 for 18 miles... I'm definitely still not there yet.  I'm working at trying to stay below 9:30s on my runs.  I've had a few runs that I've kept below a 9:00 pace; it's just a very slow process.

This week I should finally hit 30 mile/week again.  I figure I'll just move on from there.  Is there a fall marathon planned?  At this time, no.  However, I'm still working with Team in Training and the Hartford Marathon is a race I could be prepared for.  Plus it's only 30 minutes away and usually doesn't fill up until the last minute.  I'd love to do Philly, but don't feel like I can sign up for it at the risk of not being ready.  So for now, it's play it by ear and read Ironman recaps to get  inspired and get back at it.

In other news, I took a new teaching job in my town.  Now instead of an hour to hour and 30 minute commute each way, I have a 2.5 mile commute.  It's going to be amazing!  I will miss my old school a lot, but I'm feeling like I'm going to fit in here.  It helps that I was a student at this school and two of the teachers I will be teamed with are teachers I had when I was in school!

Feels good to be back and blogging again.  Thanks for inspiring me to get back to running, get off my debbie downer kick and get back to writing.  Happy Friday!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Lessons Learned Riding

It's been 2 week since I took up riding again.  So far I have logged 116 miles over 5 rides.  I have stuck mainly to the bike path but spent 9 miles off the path yesterday on one of my run courses.  My chain has fallen off once and I fixed it.  I can ride now ride standing up for approximately 8 seconds (and no the similarity between this time and the 8 seconds in bull riding is not lost on me).  I can ride one handed for about 4 seconds.  I also got my old lock cut off and replaced it with a new lock (this one requires a key).  So I am getting there.  This is a list of what I have learned so far:

1. Yes, practice does help.
2. Squirrels on bike paths are suicidal
3. Though 3-5 might be my favorite gear on the bike path, I am less successful with that gear on the road (especially on one of my hillier run courses)
4. Gears have to be changed (even if you don't like doing it)
5. I still have a lot to learn about shifting
6. I need to think about hydration
7. Some people do not understand what you mean when you say "On your left."  They may or may not give you dirty looks.
8. After a tough run, I can feel that my legs are shot just by walking around.  I don't realize how shot my legs are until I get back on the bike.
9. Red lights are even less fun than when you are running
10. I'm still not ready to even think about getting a bike with clipping type pedals
11.  It's still not as fun as running, but it will do for now. 

Monday, May 23, 2011

Not a Stress Fracture!

So my appt. with  the ortho was today and basically what came out of it was:
- not a stress fracture
- most likely a strain that I aggravated a lot
- should take 2 more weeks off
- can get back into training as long as it doesn't hurt and I do so slowly (after the two weeks)
- should be good for a fall marathon (thinking about philly)
- should think about triathlons

OK so I am not ready to give up marathons and don't totally by that final bit of advice from the doc.  (not because I don't want to do tri's but because I don't think training for marathons are a bad thing for my body...if I listen to it)

I'm so glad it's not a stress fracture, but I did leave feeling like, "Am I big baby? Why did it hurt enough for me to drop out of a race? Should I have stayed signed up for Vermont City?  What am I going to tell people...that it's nothing?"  Injuries are so bizzare and I know I need to trust pain and know when it is pain and not soreness.  I know this has been pain; it through off my gain completely and had me limping.  However, it does make me feel like a big wimp!

In other news, I did start biking again on Saturday.  I went for a 20 mile bike followed by a 2300 yd swim.  The bike is so foreign to me.  It leaves me with many questions:
- How fast do I need to be able to go in order to do a tri?
- How much does having a hybrid vs. road bike slow me down?
- How much harder is it to ride a road bike (i.e. will I fall)
- How do I go about explaining that the lock on my bike needs to be cut off because I forgot the combo and that I did not steal it.
- How do I ride with one hand?
- How do I stand up?  (i think my behind would really appreciate if I figured this one out!)
- How do I get over being so scared to ride in the road?
- Do they even make good bikes for girls that are 4'11" (oh and poor).

3 years ago I did my first and only (to date) tri.  I was the first girl out of the water and then I got on the bike.  It was a very humbling experience.  I did end up winning my age group, but it was a very small showing for my age group.

I'd like to get back into tris and though I don't need to place or even get rock star times, I certainly don't want to be asked to leave a course because I couldn't do the bike in the amount of time allowed. 

Any advice for a truly newbie biker!?

Friday, May 20, 2011

The Report and then some

OK, so this is really late.  As in I promised this report 3 weeks ago, but alas, it's not one I'm excited to write.  Therefore, I will keep it brief. 

Nashville was amazing.  I loved the city.  I loved that at 10 a.m. you could go downtown and every bar.  EVERY SINGLE ONE would have live music.  all day. all night. all live.  It was just so cool.  I'm not a huge country music fan, but for the past 2 months I've been listening to the country stations on my satellite radio for my drive into work.   You see,  I really was prepared for this race (at least 6 weeks out).  I even wanted to be prepared for the post-race living it up, so I could sing along. 

We, our Team in Training group from CT, arrived in Nashville on Thursday for the Saturday race.  We had a fun time at the expo.  I got a spi-belt knock off and a t-shirt from Brooks that says I heart Nashville, but the heart is a group of runners.  I had such a great time getting to know the group of TNT members.  We hadn't really trained in the same locations but got along right from the start.  I'm looking forward to meeting up with them all again soon.  

On Friday we went to the Country Music Hall of Fame.  This was really exciting, because really so many people got their start in Nashville.  Many of them by playing at those bars I mentioned earlier.  We were on our feet a big longer than I would have wanted to, but I was not counting on much from my legs in the race the next day.

Although I had had a great, fantastic, fabulous, dare I say perfect training cycle for the first 12 weeks, the last 6 panned out differently.  (particularly the last 4)  I had trained through one of the worst winters in CT.  I hit MP run after MP run.  I had my tempo runs down and had some awesome LD runs.  Everything was going better than I could have dreamed.  6 weeks out, I hit a 18 miler with an 8:20 pace and I was practically writing my BQ blog post in my head. 

Then my leg started to act funky.  It started right at the end of my peak week.  It didn't hurt, but it just wouldn't move the same way I wanted it to.  My pace slowed, but it was peak week after all.  My 23 miler went off without a hitch and I was ready for 2 more weeks before taper.  But my leg only got worse.  Soon my hip was just plain painful when I ran.  I pushed through it and ended up doing a 17 miler the next weekend; right on schedule.  I split that run 7 miles easy then a 10.5 mile race (on the hiliest course I've seen).  This might have been a bad decision.  My purple age group award, though awesome, was not worth what happened next.

I'm not convinced the race was the end of this cycle for me, because I think the damage was already done.  However, that ended up being my last long run before the race.  I just couldn't bear the pain I'd feel when I was running.  I think I totalled about 70 more miles in the next 4 weeks, taking the week before the race completely off.  I decided not to decide whether to do the full or the half until I toed the line at the start. 

My legs hurt at mile one, but really my hip felt fine throughout the race.  My coach would later note that I was favoring it like crazy, but I honestly didn't notice.  At mile 9, I decided I would stick with the full.  I was going very slow, but faster than I had been able to do in a long time.  I was enjoying myself and the TEAM atmosphere.  Plus it was my first BIG race and that was exciting too. 

Mile 17 was a long, long long, uphill.  It was gradual, but tough.  In my mind I was using this race as a training run for Vermont City, so I figured about 20 miles of running would be a sufficient training run.  After that hill I started a sort of run/walk method.  I would run 4-5 songs then walk 1.  I usually ended up not walking the whole song, because something would get me excited: a downhill, another TEAM member, etc. 

I honestly did enjoy myself on this run, but was completely humbled by my time of 4:39.  This is the same time I had for my first marathon 7 years ago.  The marathon where I had not trained at all except for by using the eliptical for hours at a time.  The marathon where I had run maybe one time a week, my longest run being an estimated 15 miles (but I was not measuring mileage at that point).  The marathon where I didn't know about nutrition, or hydrating or any of those things (not to mention tempo runs, MP runs, etc.)  It was certainly a hard dose of reality for me.  Especially after such a great training cycle.

However, I figured, I'd get back on the horse and nail the Vermont City Marathon.  However, the hip, though it didn't hurt during the race, was worse anytime I tried to run afterwards.  Vermont is out, it just wouldn't be smart or fun to pull it off.  I went to the ortho and had an MRI.  I'll get the results on Monday.  Though I don't think it's anything major, I'm almost scared to find out that it's nothing.  Could all this just be in my head? 

In the meantime, I've been swimming again and I'll be biking tomorrow.  I've gotten back into spinning more than once a week and I've been making the most of this all.  But, I miss running!!!

Sorry this race report went way off on a tangent...

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Country Music Marathon Report Teaser

Well, it certainly wasn't the fastest marathon or the prettiest, but I finished!  After 4 weeks of practically no running and absolutely no running under a 10 minute pace, I had no ideas what was going to happen.

I made it TN with the rest of the CT Team in Training group on Thursday and we had a blast, but in the back of my mind was,"which race are you going to do; the half or the full?" I didn't decide on Thursday or Friday; I didn't even know at the start on Saturday.

I was sore from the first step; my body could tell it had been a long time since my last run.  I did loosen up; but not much.  However, my hip was virtually pain free!  I knew at mile 11 (where we separated).  I decided at about mile 18, that I was definitely in it for the long hall.  (That's where we passed the finish line...).  It was definitely tough and I wasn't in it for speed.  I treated it as a training run, so after mile 20, I went for the run/walk method.

Final finishing time: 4:39...A definite personal worst and about an hour off my goal time.  However, I held under 10 minute miles for 15 miles and I hadn't done that for 2 miles in the month prior to the race.  I guess beggars can't be choosers.  Regardless, it's still hard to forget that 6 weeks ago I did an 18 miler and held under a 8:20 pace. 

I'm writing this, still a little sore, but mostly pain free!  Vermont City Marathon is in less than a month and hopefully I'll be in speedier shape for that one.

Full report, with pictures, to come!!!

p.s. Doing an event with Team in Training rocks!!!!