Thursday, April 29, 2010

Inbetween Stuff

I am totally behind the ball on writing my Boston race report but that doesn't mean I can't post anything right?

I have done 10.5 hours of yoga in the past 7 days (and that includes 2 days of being out of town). I feel great. Sore and tired but great and fired up for the next steps. I am also trying to branch out and find some opportunities to begin practicing more, learning more and even TEACHING. It is very exciting.

Anyone in Portland want some free yoga classes? Seriously - let me know!

I have run twice since Boston. First time on Monday (one week after the race). A really nice and easy 4 or 5 miles that felt great. Today I ran 3.6 miles around my Willamette Riverfront loop after my 2nd yoga session of the day. I have to admit that my right knee started feeling a bit tweaky and is still sore a few hours later. Damn! Might be the excessive yoga...speaking of which. I hope I don't get injured.

But honestly I can feel my body transforming with this yoga stuff. I wonder if/when it will go away and become easier for me. Hoping it tempers out somewhat but I want to stay challenged. I am really liking it.

Weather in Portland has been more dynamic than usual - spurts of hard rain followed by bright sun and rainbows. Reminds me of the midwest and I love it.

Blazers lost tonight and are out of the playoffs. Bummer.

Ok, bye.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Boston Update (quickie version)

I ran the Boston marathon!

I finished in 3:57:03. The race knocked my socks off - I was expecting crowds and support but nothing like what I saw. I had my name on my shirt and felt like a rock star. I've never experienced anything like that before. I high-fived no less than 875 kids and cheek-kissed 2 Wellesley girls. The weather was gorgeous. I ran an even steady and easy pace until Mile 20ish when my legs cramped up. The last 6 or so miles were very difficult but I finished the race. Of course I wish that hadn't happened but it made me feel human and alive and I'm proud of myself for pushing through it. I have my suspicions to the origin of this demise but can get into that later. I'm going to write up a race report early next week with all of the details.

Thanks for reading!


Sunday, April 18, 2010

Boston Marathon Eve

Well, it is almost here - the day I've been waiting to come for months. I have to admit I am super fired up and ready for action. Last night I couldn't fall asleep because of all of the excitement - thoughts running through my mind like crazy.

Yesterday I slept in then went to the convention center w/my sig O. We got there early afternoon and ended up spending a lot longer than anticipated. It took me a while to get into the swing of things, but before I knew it I was signing up for contests, taking samples, pictures, buying crap, etc. I ended up getting the official Boston jacket for 2010, plus some fun shirts for my supporters out here. I also found a great t-shirt made by New Balance that I'll have to post a picture of.

We got out of the convention center about 3:30 and had a small lunch (including beers!) at The Pour House before heading back home. I had only a short while to get in my 4 mile run so ended up going only 2 miles down heartbreak hill. I guess I went down to Walnut Street (which is mile 19 of the course). I did a bunch of analysis on the hills that basically amounts to me making them smaller than they are. I think it worked!

After that we made a pasta dinner and my uncle (who is also running tomorrow) came over to celebrate. We had your basic salad, pasta w/tomato sauce and veggies and some bread. I had a sip of wine but am otherwise holding off until the race starts. When we drove my uncle back to the T we drove the entire 4 miles back down and up the hilly part of the course so it was good to see that again. At some point, however, it becomes futile to keep looking at it. I'm not Ryan Hall, I just need to go out there and run my race.

I tried going to bed early but probably fell asleep around 1 a.m. local time. I did wake up at 10 so I guess I got in my sleep. Waking up at 5 a.m. tomorrow is going to be a bear...I am going to put myself to bed around 8 or 9 tonight and just read until I get tired.

On my agenda for today:

-attach chip to shoe
-attach bib to top
-fashion a name tag for my top (I'm on the fence on this but have been convinced by my sister that I MUST do it!)
-cut out pace band
-charge Garmin
-ice shin (it has been flaring up again)
-set alarm
-finish packing my bag
-pack up bag for Josh for the finish
-run thru the meet up plan w/my peeps
-go to bed early!

Is that thorough enough?

I have completed my plan for tomorrow morning and my "marathon plan" for the race. Here we go:

Race Day Schedule:

5:00 - wake up, shower, coffee, eat, drink limited water (don't want to have to pee on the bus), body glide up, dress
6:00 - drive to T station
6:30 - arrive downtown at shuttle buses, meet up with Susan, board buses
7:30/8:00 - arrive in Hopkinton
8-9:15 - bide time, stretch, hydrate, eat a little more, take pics, beam with pride, etc. (try not to freak the F out)
9:15 - take bags to baggage bus (take off all non-throwaway clothes, more body glide, Gu, tylenol)
9:30 - head to corral 13
10:00 - start race!

Race Plan:

In general, here is the race plan....

In case you can't read it, I've separated the race into 5 sections: Zone, Settle, Wellesley, Hills and End. I wanted to note some bullet points in each section, so here they are:

Zone (Miles 1-4):
-don't go out too fast!
-watch Garmin & ease into it

Settle (Miles 4-13):
-find stride
-save legs for later
-take nutrition/water

Wellesley (Miles 13-16):
-keep pace @ W.O.S. (Wall of Sound aka the screaming ladies)
-take nutrition/water

Hills (Miles 16-21):
-eat/drink at start and end
-head down and grind it out
-remember I-205
-catch breath inbtwn hills (1-1.25 miles btwn each hill)
-Mile 19 - family meet up
-end of hills is real halfway mark

-shake em if you got em
-finish strong/nothing left
-soak it in!

I am really excited for the finish and to eat/drink my face off. I really hope the race goes well and I finish feeling not too terrible. I know it is going to hurt, and probably pretty badly toward the end but I've been there before and know I can push through it. I suspect the most difficult part of the race will be pacing myself through the downhills and not going out fast. Then of course the hills will be a little nasty with the finish being the nastiest part of it all.

Despite the challenges of a race like this I am really looking forward to knocking it off my life list and making myself and people I know proud. I'm going to relish in the pain and struggle knowing not everyone has the luxury of participating in such events. It really is a privilege and I intend to make myself worthy of it.

I might write more later depending on how nervous or bored I am...until next time! (Oh, if you want to track me, my bib is 13523.)

Friday, April 16, 2010

I Am In Boston

I arrived tonight after a relatively uneventful direct flight from Portland. Weather as I arrived is exactly the type of weather I'm used to in the Pac NW. And I love that. Race day should be 55*, partly cloudy w/some chance of rain. That's exactly how my qualifying race weather was so bring it.

On the flight there were many many Boston runners, including Barb (that's all I got from her) that I sat next to, also running her 1st Boston. She and I chatted a bunch about our training and plans for the race. I usually am not one to conversate too much esp on a long flight but this was great. Everything started to sink in. I read my book and remained calm.

My sister picked me up and I've been cozily tucked into her house for the evening. I got to see my little nieces and it is just good to be here all around. We ate pizza for dinner and I sadly abstained from beer. I think it is time to start the cleanse.

Through a random contact my sister has, she acquired a DVD bootleg of the official John Hancock Race Preview for the 114th Boston marathon. We watched it and were both crying by the end. (Lame, but how can you not?) I am going to watch this video no less than 5 more times before Monday. It is a great run through the course, with a video of the entire race from start to finish, not leaving a mile out. There are voice overs of interviews with various people that have advice and lessons learned about the course. How perfect.

My better half arrives at like 2 a.m. tonight and tomorrow I plan to get my race bib while my BIL gets his for the Sunday 5k. I have never been crazy about these big race expos (I have a friend pick up my Chicago bib for me in 2007) but I think I'll do a lap regardless. This is Boston FGS. I brought my vintage 1979 running mag and will try to get pics from those featured within (Grete Waitz, Bill Rodgers). I think they'd get a kick out of seeing this 30 year old publication.

I also plan to do an EASY run backwards down HBH (heartbreak hill) and then walk back up it. I'm staying at the top of it which is quite convenient. I keep trying to marginalize these hills by examining them physically, driving them, analyzing the elevation profile, comparing to my long run elevation profile. I just want them to disappear!

My usual 20 mile route goes across a looong gradual bridge that climbs 210 feet over less than 1.5 miles. I usually hit this around my 13 mile mark. I think the series of hills that spans miles 16-21 in Boston climbs 275 feet. So this should be nothing for me. Right? RIGHT!

I hope my magic taper worked.

I need to give a shout out here to all of the European runners that are not able to make it to Boston. I am completely devastated for you and feel your pain. I wish I had something conciliatory or encouraging to say but I know how I'd feel if I were in your place. Just hang in there, and you are missed here.

One of those runners that is unable to make it is my friend Petra - I was so excited to meet her in person on race day and take the bus together. I know you'll get your chance to run Boston at some point in time but I will truly miss you on Monday.

More from the battlefield tomorrow. I'll try to take pics of the people scoping out HBH tomorrow, it should be interesting.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


Again, way too late on the posting once again but better late than never.

First, my last post was in reference to my final day at work, which has now passed. I put in a lot of effort in the last two weeks that I'm proud of, but it almost killed me. I am so glad it is done. I have been having a wonderful retirement thus far and know it is only going to get better. More on that later...

The Boston marathon is 5 days away. I leave Portland for Boston on Friday and have a few days to acclimate to the time zone. I have been training for this race since just after christmas. I had intended to do an 15 (ish) week training program but hiccuped a few weeks in and had to adjust. Actually, the reason I wavered is because I got sick. When I returned I solidified a 10 week program that was very similar to my Portland training. I truly think that anything beyond 10 weeks for me is tough to commit to and stick to. I love the concept of pre-training build up and think I'll employ that should I ever run another marathon. This is something that I believe Pfitz uses and I think Jen used it in her current training cycle. It compartmentalizes things a bit more and puts less pressure on a bigger plan.

I would like to type up the whole training plan and record my results, but that ain't gonna happen. Maybe some time later, but for now I'll say this:

1. I did the best that I could and am proud of that
2. I completed several long runs including 2 x 20 milers
3. I am relatively injury-free
4. I am slower than I was for the Portland race
5. I didn't push it on my speedwork like I have in the past

Touching on some of the above....

Long runs:

Week 1 - 11 miles @ 8:16 pace
Week 2 - 8 miles @ 8:24 pace (must have shortened this run?)
Week 3 - 13 miles @ 8:35 pace
Week 4 - 15 miles @ 8:29 pace
Week 5 - 18 miles @ 8:43 pace
Week 6 - 12 miles @ 8:09 pace
Week 7 - 20 miles @ 8:34 pace
Week 8 - 20 miles @ 8:43 pace
Week 9 - 16 miles @ 8:27 pace

The two 20 milers I just ran what was comfortable, not like training the last time. Last time I started at a good clip and it felt good but hard. I'd decided to push it for the whole run and if I died at the end so be it. I'm glad I ran that way because it helped indicate to me how fast I could really go and helped dictate my race pace. This time around, however, I wasn't feeling as ambitious and was definitely feeling slower. I was okay with trucking along at a pace that felt good. The last mile of my Week 7 20 miler was 7:22 because I decided I had energy left and wanted to use it. The last mile of my Week 8 20 miler was 7:36, same thing. So I think I maybe could have pushed those runs more. I guess I'm just feeling a little more comfortable and less pressured to run fast for the time being.

I had a really bad tempo run early on in the training which salted my attitude toward speedwork for the whole cycle. (This is where having a coach would have helped me out but I won't go there.) Again, I'm feeling less pressure for speed so I didn't take my tempo runs super seriously. I also cut short my track workouts if I wasn't feeling it. My build up before this training cycle was two months of eating and drinking (post-Portland marathon) so I just didn't have much speed in my body left hanging around. My build up to the Portland race was a full 10 months of dedicated training and racing including focused speedwork and triathlons.

There is probably a lot more I could get into on my training since I haven't divulged much in the last 10 weeks. However, all are bygones for now and the next important step is to....

Set My Goal!

I had a mini crisis last night about how the hell I was going to run this race. All this time I've been telling everyone "no, I don't have a goal time, I just want to have a fun run." At a certain point, however, this has to mean something. I am a numbers person and I can't just get into my corral w/o a race plan in mind. I haven't been laboring over my paces at all or put much though into it so I started stressing out. I contacted my old friend Coach Shawn who helped walk me through everything. We talked today for about an hour and it was great to be able to bounce this off of someone that knows what they're talking about. The plan is to start off with an 8:30 pace (8:20 or 8:25 is okay too, but only if I'm feeling it) then reassess at the halfway point. If I am still feeling really good kick it up a bit or if not stay on pace and if I'm feeling bad it is okay to drop back. As I've stated to numerous family/friends/waiters/waitresses I JUST WANT TO HAVE FUN. (Is that such a crime?)

I am mostly worried about my ego getting in the way. Now that I've thought it through I am confident I can run it free of worry about my time and comparison to myself and others. I'm definitely going to enjoy everything and soak it all in. It is a fun race and I'm proud that I made it there.

Next on my worry list is logistics and packing....stay tuned!

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Going The Distance

Let me briefly say that I am in the final stretch and it literally feels like the end of a track race. (Had to tie in the running here somehow.) I'm giving it my all and feeling like I can't possibly push any further. Body and mind are squeezed to their limits but the finish line is right there. Just a bit ahead.

It will be interesting to see if I vomit into the grass at the end but I do know for certain I will be so very relieved.

Many many more posts to come in the next week, month, year.