Wednesday, January 30, 2008

A New Adventure for a New Year

As most of you know, for the past three years I have raised money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society while training for an endurance event (usually a marathon or triathlon) through their Team in Training program. Because I believe so strongly in their cause and have known many people, including my brother-in-law and a high school classmate, who have been affected by leukemia or lymphoma, I am once again joining the cause.

However, this year I will be training for the America's Most Beautiful Bike Ride on June 1st, where I will be riding 100 miles on my bike around Lake Tahoe! This has been called a "tough ride" as there are several steep climbs along the way with 2,600 vertical feet of elevation gain.

And while this may be hard, it is nothing compared to what people battling cancer go through. And that's why I'm dedicating this season to a 4-year-old girl from Georgia named Kristen. Kristen is currently undergoing treatment for acute lymphocytic leukemia. She will be in treatment until July 2009. And thanks to people like you who have donated money toward research in the past, Kristen has a great chance of being called a "survivor" when she is done with her treatment.

In order to help fund research, I have committed to raising over $3,300 for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society this year. If you would like to help me reach my goal, you can visit my fundraising web site at If you prefer to send a check, let me know and I will get you my address. Your donation is 100% tax deductible. And no amount is too small or too large. Even if you give up Starbucks for just one day, that helps. Or if you own a company and would like to be a corporate sponsor, let me know. Together, we can help bring an end to a horrible disease.

If you would like for me to add one of your "honored heroes" to my list, I will be glad to. Just leave me a message with their name. As always, I'll post training updates here in my blog. It should be interesting.

Thanks in advance for your financial support and your prayers as I go through the training.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

3M Half Marathon Race Report

As usual, we went out to eat Saturday night so that I could load up on carbs. We went to Carinno's and I had spaghetti with marinara and lots of bread. Yum! Got in bed around 9:00.

I woke up Sunday morning at 4:45. At first I just put on my shorts and tank, figuring it would be in the high 50s and I would be fine. I had laid out my long sleeve under armour top and another long sleeve top to put on while waiting for the race, so I had those. When I was dressed, I headed to the kitchen for breakfast. I had my usual oatmeal for breakfast and then went outside to check the weather. It was COLD! I decided to go ahead and put my Under Armour on. I gathered up my gear and headed out about 5:45. The temp in my car showed it to be around 40 degrees. I was glad I put on the Under Armour.

And it's a good thing I left when I did. Traffic was smooth sailing until I took the exit for the race parking. There was a traffic jam. It took me until 6:30 to get into the parking garage and parked. I don't like getting to races so close to race start. I still had to get to the starting area, check my clothes for after the race and hit the port-a-potty.

As I was standing in line for the port-a-potty, the Star Spangled Banner was being sung. Yikes. But I wasn't getting out of line. I needed to go. And then I realized - "I don't have my knee brace." When I first started running, I had problems with my left knee. I got a deep tissue massage, new shoes, and a knee brace and haven't had problems since. The only thing was that I didn't know which thing solved my problem or if it was a combination of all three, so I had been afraid to run without the brace. But now, I had no choice. There wasn't time to find it, and I wasn't even sure where it was. It could be in my checked bag with my after-race clothes or it could be in the car. Oh well. I headed for the start line and hoped for the best.

As soon as I got to the start line, the wheelchair racers took off. And a couple of minutes later we were on our way. I felt really good and didn't feel like I was going to fast. At mile 1 I checked my split - 9:25. I thought that was perfect. If I was going to break 2 hours, I would have to run around a 9:00 minute pace. A 9:25 the first mile was good.

I felt really good through most of the race. I think I even hit the 10K mark at a new PR for me. I won't record it as such since it wasn't a stand alone 10K, but now I know I have it in me to go faster at that distance.

Between mile 10 and 11, however, I got a massive side cramp. This same thing happened to me last year during the Motive Half Marathon at about the same mile marker. I was going to try to run through it and just breathe deep, but I couldn't. I had to stop and walk and could barely breathe. For a second I wondered if my appendix would burst. That's how bad it hurt. And just like last year about 30-45 seconds later, the pain was gone and I was running again. It's the strangest thing. (I'm wondering if it might be the gel I take, but gels don't bother me in full marathons).

Just as I started running again, I could feel a pack of people approaching from behind. Without even looking, I knew what it was. The two hour pace group. They had been behind me at the start, so I knew if I still wanted to try to break 2 hours I would have to at least stay with them and maybe pick up the pace a little. I held with them the rest of the way and when I saw the finish line I tried to pick it up a little. When I crossed this finish line and got out of the way, I looked at my watch - 2:00:51. My official time may be just a few seconds faster, but it won't be much. Oh how I wish I hadn't cramped up. If I hadn't, I might have broken two hours. As it is though, I have a new PR for the half marathon distance.

Official results are as follows:
chip time: 2:00:48
total pace: 9:13/mile
Overall: 2049 out of 4451 runners
2308 females / 2143 males
class position: 170
gender position: 790

Here are my splits from the race according to my Garmin:
Mile 1: 9:25
Mile 2: 9:19
Mile 3: 8:59
Mile 4: 8:57
Mile 5: 8:24
Mile 6: 9:31
Mile 7: 9:22
Mile 8: 8:54
Mile 9: 9:16
Mile 10: 9:26
Mile 11: 10:05 (this is where I cramped)
Mile 12: 8:58
Mile 13: 9:09
.1 :59

After the race I got my clothes from the checked bags and put them on, got some food to eat and then headed back to the finish line. I had some friends running the race and wanted to see if I could catch them coming in. I was able to see two of them. For one, it was her first half marathon. I don't know what her chip time was, but her gun time was around 2:19 and I think that's pretty impressive for a first half marathon. My other friend came in a little later. We hung out for a while and then they took me back to my car (it's a point to point race and I didn't want to catch the shuttle).

All in all it was a very successful race.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Spirit of the Marathon

Thursday evening after work, I did a quick 5 mile run on the treadmill and then decided I wanted to go see a movie. In the running community it was commonly known that Thursday night at 7:30 pm, many marathoners would be at the theaters. You see, a special movie called "Spirit of the Marathon" was playing only on Thursday night at 7:30. A one time deal. And many movie theaters had already sold out. I wasn't sure I'd be able to get a ticket, but I decided to try. My daughter ended up going with me and we got lucky and got in. The theater was full.

Spirit of the Marathon was about 6 runners training for the 2005 Chicago marathon. Two of the runners were elite runners; two were repeat marathoners (one trying to qualify for the Boston Marathon and one who did his first marathon at age 65); and two were first time marathoners. During the movie we saw them at their training groups, training alone, dealing with injuries, etc. It really brought back all the emotions from the thoughts and experiences I had when training for my first marathon.

It was great to be in a theater of runners who understood. At one point in the movie one of the first timers said that when she told some friends she was running a marathon, they asked if she was going to win. The whole audience laughed - because we all have been asked that by someone at some point. Most people still don't even know that all marathons are 26.2 miles.

My daughter actually enjoyed the movie, too, but said she still isn't interested in running. She was amazed that the elite runner from Kenya could run 10 miles when he was only 7 years old. And she promptly informed me that those elite runners are done with their marathon when I'm passing the halfway point. Yeah. Thanks for that reminder.

The good news is that a friend of mine who is doing her 2nd half marathon this weekend was at the movie as well. I've been trying to convince her to take the leap and train for a full one. After seeing the movie, she said there may be a full marathon in her future. It may not be for another year or two, but she thinks she wants to try one at some point. I told her that when she is ready, all she has to do is pick the race and I'll be right beside her the whole way.

If you are into running at all, I would recommend seeing this movie if you can. I think they are doing an encore showing in February in select cities. I'm not sure if it will be out on DVD or anything, but if you can find it, watch it.

In other news, I signed up today for the 3M Half Marathon. Who knows if it will be a good race for me or more of a training run. We'll see what I feel like Sunday morning and what the weather is like. Most of this week has been in the 30s to 40s and rainy/drizzly. It is suppose to warm up some tomorrow and is suppose to be in the 40s or 50s at race time on Sunday morning. Sunday's afternoon high is suppose to be in the low 70s. We'll see.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Decisions, Decisions

This has probably been one of the fastest recoveries I've had from a marathon. I'm sure it helped that it was also the slowest marathon I've done, thanks to all the pictures we stopped to take along the way.

The Tuesday I got back from Orlando, I went to yoga and it felt great. Wednesday I did a 2 mile recovery run to see how my legs would respond. They were still a little sore, so Thursday I did a mile on the trainer. Friday I tried running again and made it 3 miles without any pain.

Saturday was a busy day with kid activities, so I decided it would be a day off. Sunday I hit the treadmill for a 5 mile run and then another 5 mile run on Monday. I have a meeting tonight, so I won't get in my yoga or a run. I'll try to run again Wednesday and Thursday.

I'm contemplating doing a local half marathon this weekend. It is supposed to be a very fast course and I still want to do a half marathon under 2 hours. Coming off a marathon, I'm not sure I could do it, but I'm thinking about giving it a shot. Or either running it with a friend of mine who is doing it. She is coming off an injury and would be doing it at a pace slower than my normal pace, so if I did that it would be a training run.

And of course, I'm still thinking about doing the local marathon February 17th. Part of me wants to try to beat last year's time, and part of me wants to opt out and just be a coach on the coarse for TNT that day.

I'm thinking I need to decide fast so I can register before the deadlines and before the races fill up. What to do, what to do.......

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Walt Disney World Marathon Race Report

Thursday morning, January 10th, my alarm went off at 3:30 am. I got up and got ready, finished packing, grabbed a bite to eat and headed to the airport. I still haven't figured out the timing to the airport with the new toll road, but let's just say I got to the airport early for my flight. It actually worked out well. Originally I was not scheduled to fly out with the other members of the TNT team, but as I was checking in I saw several of them. Their flight was leaving about an hour ahead of mine, so I checked to see if I could get on the earlier flight. There was room and I was on. This worked out well, because my friend Brandi (who I would be staying with) was on a different airline and was originally scheduled to get into Orlando about 40 minutes ahead of me. With me on the earlier flight, I would now get in about 20 minutes ahead of her. I felt like I was on the amazing race - everyone headed to the same destination on different flights trying to get there the fastest.

After landing, I headed down to get my luggage only to learn 30 minutes later that because it had the hotel tag on there, that it would be delivered for me. Brandi was finding out the same thing at the same time, so we got in line for transportation to the hotel. When we checked in Brandi played twister on the big board at Pop Century and we grabbed a bite to eat while waiting for my parents' flight to arrive. Once they got in we headed to the expo to get our bibs and chip and any marathon merchandise we wanted. After a quick trip back to the room, we caught a bus to Magic Kingdom and spent the next few hours riding rides until the park closed.

Friday morning we got up fairly early, ate breakfast and headed off to Animal Kingdom. We did the Safari ride, Mount Everest, and a few other good rides before heading over to Epcot for the Team in Training pasta party. While Brandi and I were at that, mom and dad ate lunch and explored Epcot. Then we headed back to Magic Kingdom for a couple of the rides we had missed Thursday night. And then it was off the MGM Hollywood Studios for the Tower of Terror and then the Fantasmic Light Show. After the show we headed back to Epcot where Disney magical hours would keep the park open until midnight. And we stayed until midnight, too. My mom wore her pedometer (which is not entirely acurate) and at the end of the day it said 16.5 miles. It was a busy day!!!

Saturday we slept until we woke up and then had a yummy waffle breakfast at the hotel before heading to Downtown Disney for some shopping. By lunch we were back at the hotel. I spent a couple of hours by the pool reading my book and relaxing. About 3:30 we headed back to the expo for some last minute purchases and then ate at the cafe right outside. Then it was back to the hotel to lay everything out and go to bed. I think we were in bed by 8:30.

Sunday morning the alarm went off at 2:30 am. Yes, you read that right. Disney requires that all runners be at the race site by 4:00 am for the 6:00 am start. We got up, got dressed and made sure we had everything. I headed to the restaurant to get some hot water so I could make and eat my oatmeal and everyone else met me in the lobby at 3:30 to catch the bus.

When we got to the race site it was relatively warm. Not really warm, but I think it was 100% humidity which made it feel warmer. Then it seemed like heavy mist and started getting a little colder, but nothing like we had two years ago. We hung around until time to check our bags and head to our coral. We got to the start line with about 30 minutes to go. And then we were off.

This was the third year that Brandi and I have done Disney. The first year, she was on track to stay with me, but had to peel off early to go to the bathroom. I was going for time that year and wasn't going to stop and wait. Last year we did the Goofy challenge and had plans to stay together, but she was hurt (tendonitis and stress fracture) and was afraid she would be so slow we would get swept. After heading through the castle, she told me to go on. So this was the year that we said we would stay together. And we did. We also stopped at every mile marker to take a picture and we stopped any time we saw characters along the way to take pictures with them.

We did pretty good keeping a decent pace for the first ten miles. Then came the first bathroom break and Magic Kingdom. There were several characters in Magic Kingdom and our time really slowed. After leaving Magic Kingdom our time picked up again until we got to Animal Kingdom and then it slowed again. Brandi's knee started hurting at this point and the sun was poking out making my exercise induced asthma act up so we did more walking and less running at this point. We didn't care what our time was. We wanted to have fun.

There is an out and back from just before mile 20 to about mile 21.25. It's mentally brutal. And it was hot. We walked. Then we ran some more to get to MGM and then slowed again for pictures. And then it was back to Epcot, past the hallalujah choir and to the finish line. We crossed in 5:57:16, which I think is my slowest marathon ever, but we stuck together the whole time and crossed the finish line together. That was our goal. The good thing is that I was not really sore after the marathon and didn't have the "marathon limp" so many people have after a marathon.

After finishing, we headed to the TNT tent to check on our participants and see who had finished and who was still on the course. We hung around for a while and then had our finisher pictures made with Mickey and Minnie. Then we sat and waited for my parents. This was their first marathon (and last according to both of them) and they were walking. They knew their pace would be close to the 7 hour cutoff. And right at 7 hours, they crossed the finish line. Their official time: 7:00:03. We got their finisher pictures taken and then caught the bus back to the hotel. As soon as we got inside and were getting some food, the skies let loose. I'm just glad the rain held off until my parents were done.

After eating and showering, Brandi and I headed back to Downtown Disney for some last minute shopping. Then we packed and watched tv until we crashed. Monday morning Brandi and I had to head over to another hotel where we would take a TNT coach clinic so that we could be certified to coach for TNT. I was expecting some cheesy speaker. Wrong!!! TNT does it right. We had Jack Daniels (not the whiskey). He is a very notable run coach. He even gave us all signed copies of his book. And we also heard from Nancy Clark, who is a well known sports nutritionist. It was a great clinic.

Then we headed back to the airport where my plane was delayed by 30 minutes. I only had an hour layover in Dallas to catch my flight home so I was afraid I would miss my flight. But, I made it. I got home and in bed around 11:30 pm Monday night. This morning it was up early and back to the daily grind. I went to yoga tonight to stretch out those muscles and it felt great. I may take another day or two off from running and then see how I feel.

If you want to see the rest of the pictures (and there are lots), let me know. I will try to download them to Kodak Gallery and can send you and email link.

Official results: 5:57:16
5 mile split: 59:49
10 mile split: 2:01:23
1/2 marathon split: 2:43:13
20 mile split: 4:23:23
0verall: 9564
Female place: 4123
Division place: 824

Garmin splits (you can tell when we entered the parks)

Mile 1: 11:14
Mile 2: 11:22
Mile 3: 11:56
Mile 4: 12:46
Mile 5: 12:28
Mile 6: 11:24
Mile 7: 12:00
Mile 8: 12:11
Mile 9: 11:34
Mile 10: 14:23
Mile 11: 16:18
Mile 12: 12:13
Mile 13: 12:00
Mile 14: 12:59
Mile 15: 12:47
Mile 16: 14:17
Mile 17: 14:53
Mile 18: 14:25
Mile 19: 14:03
Mile 20: 18:00
Mile 21: 14:21
Mile 22: 13:51
Mile 23: 16:40
Miles 24, 25, 26 and .2: 49:04 (I forgot to hit the split button after mile 23)

Monday, January 7, 2008

Getting Ready for Disney

Saturday was suppose to be an 8 mile run with the TNT group. We are in taper mode as the Disney marathon is next Sunday. When I finished the run, I checked my garmin and it said 8.86, so that is what is going in the books. Saturday afternoon was a warm but windy day, so my husband, daughter and I decided to go ride our bikes for a bit. I wanted to get my new tri bike out on the road and my daughter needed to practice on her new bike she got for Christmas. The gearing (now on front and back) was a little hard for my daughter to get use to, so we only went 3.55 miles, but I'm counting it as bike miles.

Sunday after church I hopped on the trainer for an hour. I need to get use to being on the bike again. Practice for the Tahoe season starts February 2nd.

Today I did a 5 mile run on the treadmill. I'll be lucky to get another good run in before Disney. I leave Thursday morning bright and early so that I arrive in Orlando around noon. I'm going with a friend and my mom and dad. We'll also be meeting up with the TNT team for the pasta party on Friday. I'm looking forward to spending some time in the parks Thursday afternoon and Friday and then we'll take it easy and rest on Saturday. I just need to make sure I've got everything. Right now the temps look ok to slightly warm, but there is a good chance of rain. Depending on the time and amount of rain, it could be a fun marathon (not!). I'm hoping for the best.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Off To A Good Start

Exercise in the new year has been good. Tuesday's are normally yoga days, but since January 1 fell on Tuesday, yoga was cancelled. I didn't want to let the day go by without doing anything, so I did some light, upper body weights with my dumbells at home.

Wednesday was my first day back to work since the holidays. When I got home, I hopped on the treadmill for a 5 mile run, did some light weights, and then decided that since I now have a tri bike and a road bike, I'd put my road bike on the trainer and pretty much leave it there. So when I got it on, I rode for 30 minutes. Then I stretched, showered and settled down for some football.

Tonight I hopped on the treadmill for a 4 mile run. I wanted to get 5 miles in, but I increased my speed and when I got to 4, I was done. That's all for tonight (other than more football - I'll be glad when the bowl games are over so I can go to bed at a decent time again!).