Monday, April 27, 2009

Less Than A Week!

I have a bib number assigned to me already for the Pig Half: 16655. Looks like they are doing the chip timing a little different this year. I have never received a bib number prior to packet pick-up either, but it's been a couple of years since I've done this race.

I am not sure if people are able to follow my progress on the flying pig website on race day as I pass over the checkpoint timing mats (nor am I sure anyone would really want to!) All the bigger marathons seem to be doing this now and it is a cool feature. I from last year that at the expo there is a place to sign people up to receive text messages of my time and pace at the checkpoints, which I think are 5K, 10K, 15K maybe and finish. Greg followed me that way in Akron and thought it was pretty cool. It is especially helpful to know when you are trying to meet up with someone after they finish.

Here's the course map. I can't wait!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Come On, Legs

The Flying Pig half marathon is May 3rd. At two weeks away, this weekend was my last time to do a long run before the race. It was a beautiful weekend, but unfortunately, it was an ugly run. As soon as I left the driveway, I knew it was going to be bad. My legs felt like they were full of sand. My breathing was way too hard for as slow as I was going. And the effort also felt really hard for as slow as I was going. I wasn't looking forward to 11 miles of this difficulty. But I knew that if I didn't do it, I'd regret it and suffer more at the race. So I quickly threw out any hopes of maintaining a certain pace and kept telling myself I just have to cover the distance. Which I did, minus one mile, painfully.

After the first 3 miles I felt like I had already ran 10. Anything that wasn't downhill felt like uphill. Half way through I stopped and took a break. I sat down, but really wanted to lie down. I ate my gel and drank some water. Then I started back to home, which made me feel better - at least I was on my way back. I could smell the stable! For a mile or so I felt a lot better. Then everything seemed to pile up again and I had no energy. So I walked occasionally and stopped for breaks. My pace was a crawl by the end. I made myself go to 10 miles, feeling that would be enough mentally. There was no sense in pushing myself one more mile to go the planned 11 when I was hating it so much. It just wasn't my day.

I felt fine later. My legs and body just didn't cooperate with me that morning. I guess their idea for a fun morning was to curl up in the sun with a good book and a cup of coffee instead of my eager idea to go run 11 miles. I just hope they join forces with me the day of the race!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

How Many Creative Titles Can One Invent to Say One Went for a Nice Run?

The Pig Half is in 19 days and I get an annoying, unnecessary email from them every day reminding me of this fact (where "fact" is days left until Pig). I need to unsubscribe!

After the Heart Mini, I felt great. However, starting the Monday after it, I did suffer some sort of weird coughing sickness and feel like today is my first full day of not having coughing fits. Relief at last! I was worried that it would carry on and I wouldn't be able to attempt my 12 miles this weekend. I think it is partly allergies (damn trees having to grow their leaves again).

So, yep, 11 or 12 this weekend in preparation for the Pig. The weather is going to be beautiful. I may try to do it Friday to get it out of the way for the weekend. Tonight I ran a quick 2 miles and felt pretty good. Nothing eventful. In fact life in general has been rather mundane recently.

But here's a funny of Steph not thinking before speaking (common practice of mine) and interacting with Old People. Tonight we were picking up wiper blades for Greg's car. I went over to a book section of the store and found an older gentleman and his even older mother (I know because he called her so) looking through crossword puzzle books. I think they were just passing the time, entertaining themselves in the store with the books, rather than buying them. Uh, because what else do you do on a rainy Tuesday night, right? Anyway, I heard (or thought I heard) the man say, "L - O - L ... now what on earth could that one mean!" I stepped nearer and said "laugh out loud", thinking I had earned my badge to Educate the Uninformed for the day. I was also prepared to follow up with what the Interwebs is and how computers work. He looked at me. Then he said, "On no, [pointing into book] I said L - O - L - L. I know what LOL means." Me: "Oh! I thought I course you know what it... " sheepishly scampers away...

So before any of you out there who know me (you know who you are, Jannelle) accuse me of talking down to the old folks because of my disdain for Grumpy Old People (Homo oldandgrumpius, a certain genus that have given me nightmares and cause me to shudder even now!), this example/incident/embarrassing moment is my proof for my innocence. I was simply trying to help. If I was an Old People Hater, I would have snubbed my nose, laughed at the incredulity of someone not knowing what lol means, and maybe even given old grandma a good shove on her walker. See? Sharp contrast here.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Heart Mini Marathon 15K Report

The weather was less than lovely. About 38ยบ and rainy. But we all know that's worse for the supporters (aka fans) than the runners! Thanks for sticking it out in Brueggers and the Westin, Greg!

I felt very prepared for this race. Didn't do anything stupid like play kickball the night before or eat loads of spaghetti that would sit heavy in my stomach the next day (some of my past mistakes). I was looking at it as a run, not a race, but had a specific pace in mind. My last 15K was the Mason Mini, and it wasn't great. I was hoping that this time I'd feel good, improve my pace and feel better about the upcoming Pig Half. Check, check and check!

Overall the race course seems like it would be boring, but I enjoy it. It goes out Columbia Parkway from downtown, where there aren't spectators except at the water stops. I think it's the rolling hills that keeps it interesting for me.

Going out, I went a tad bit faster than planned, but it was hard to tell from the hills. I felt like my effort was right on target, so I just kept going at that pace. I listened to different runners' stories (kind of eavesdropping I suppose, but I was bored) and that kept me entertained for part of the time. Things definitely improved when the leaders were coming back and I could start looking at other people ahead of me on their way to the finish.

After the turnaround I could only think about Torrence. It is a huge hill and I kept worrying that it would ruin me for the rest of the race. When I got there, I plodded up it trying to keep my heart and breathing rate under control. I was passing people who were walking it, which kept me motivated. After reaching the turnaround to go down, I was relieved, but it was still hard! My quads were definitely getting weaker, and since it was wet, I was extra cautious. I made it to the bottom and heard someone say, "Well now it's just a 5K!". Ug. That was correct. Just a 5K. On thrashed legs!

There was one more large hill back into downtown that felt similar to Torrence. I really struggled up that one. Plus the wind kicked in pretty hard! At one point a gust was strong enough to stop my progress a little, and me and a guy running next to me exchanged "holy crap I don't need this right now!" faces about it. :)

I gave all I had at the end. It wasn't much of a sprint, more of a flailing push.

Tyrannosaurus Rex arms-RAWR! I also need to work on my grumpy face.

So in summary, I felt great the entire time. My breathing wasn't even hard until the hills in the last half. My legs felt good, until they were pushed, but that was expected. My end time was 1:41:09, which is a 10:53 pace. While still not where I was a couple of years ago, this was a HUGE improvement from last fall (11:43 - eek). So I finally feel like I'm improving! And I feel like I'm ready for the hills in the Pig, at least mentally.