Monday, October 13, 2014

Chicago Marathon Race Report: Redemption Is Here!

Short Version:

Yesterday, I ran the Chicago Marathon with a time of 4:46:49, my fastest in close to two years (and you know I have run lots of marathons in two years) and my fourth fastest marathon ever.  Considering how this year has gone with my surgery, recovery, rebuilding, and my asthma, I am very happy with this result.

Long Ass Version:

As most of you know, this race was a race I needed to do since I had to DNFd last year at Mile 11 due to a ruptured cyst, which ended up with a total hysterectomy in February of this year.  Last year, I was much faster (and skinnier) and I was training very well on high mileage and amazing paces.  But it was not meant to be.  It was all over before the two hour mark back then.  I did 5-6 marathons between Chicago and the end of 2013, but all were painful and slow, dealing with my issue in the best way I could.  The last marathon I ran was Disney in January and, after that, I DNFd two races and felt just ready to have my surgery.  All those marathons were above 5 hours with my fastest being 5:10 then.  As a gauge, my PR is from February 2012 and it is 4:34:09.

Recovery went well and I was able to get my miles back on track quickly after my surgery.  I ran the Surfer's Path Marathon in May, 2014, and came in at 5:16 which was not bad for it being three months post surgery but disappointing to me.  Then, I trained for the San Francisco Marathon only to crashed and get sick from overwork (handling my job plus two committees at work and maybe a tad of overtraining.  I was very tired of running at the end of July and I had no mojo whatsoever.

So, as soon as registration for Chicago opened, I was in.  Except it was a lottery this time around.    I entered the lottery and crossed my fingers, and I was very happy to have gotten in.  My husband sighed and just said OK.

I talked to my coach before I ran San Francisco and we agreed on a 10-11 week training plan for Chicago.  I told him I knew a PR this year would be next to impossible (not sure if I still think this is impossible) since my paces are way below what I was running last year and I felt like shit, so that I only wanted to improve from SF to Chicago and do the best he could to get me there.  I also asked for less miles this time with no more than 50s for my peak (he gave me 60).  I really felt at my wit's end in July.

But as usual, my coach works wonders and this time was no different.  Since my asthma has been really bad due to the Pollen Vortex, he gave me no short and fast speedwork and nothing faster than HMP.  I seriously doubt I could even hit the HMP and I did not disappoint having a very bad workout on that day.  I have been barely able to breathe this year and my breathing capacity (with medication) has lowered down to 45% in April and 52% now.  I also trained through one of the hottest and most humid years Miami has had, with temperatures above 90s and heat indexes in the 100s for months.  Most of my LRs had to be divided between outside at 5am and on the TM by 8am because the heat index would be 102F by 8am and 78 dewpoint or even more.  It's a miracle I was able to hit all my workouts except one short 5 miler before the 13.1 Boston.

But my coach did not give me an easy plan either.  I had MP miles every week, sometimes two in less than 4 days in between.  I ran the 13.1 Boston as an MP workout and ran 8 at MP and last 3 fast there, only to run 12 with 8 at MP on that following Thursday.  I ran one 18 miler and two 20 milers, not enough compared to what he has had for me before but remember, this was an 10-11 week plan and I was coming off a bad period of running.  But I could feel it working.  My running by HR coupled with his plan was working.  My breathing capacity went up to 52%, I was getting faster, and I was running through our heat and humidity without issue.  Except the HMP workout, which went horribly as I could not breathe even while running at an adjusted pace, I hit everything better than expected.  Those of you who wondered why I did not raced the 13.1 Boston, this is why.  My asthma will not let me run at HMP or faster; in fact, it's an attack waiting to happen.  It's not worth it.

So, with my MP workouts pointing to a PR, I was confident I could hit a sub-5 for the first time in 1 year and 8 months but I did not want to include sub-5 within my goals as I felt that was too soft at this point.  So, after consulting with him and others who will remain nameless but that are part of our wonderful community here in RA. (LRB, Lily, etc.) , I tentatively thought 4:45 was a soft goal easily achievable, 4:35-4:39 as my next goal, and a PR as a far goal that was there just in case the stars aligned.  I felt confident with this race.

The only issue I encounter was during taper.  Because my surgery could not get rid of all my endometriosis, I still have some that have remained painless.  Well, not anymore!  It was not the blinding pain of a ruptured cyst and it will not explode this time around but I am not painless and need to start another round of treatment which I started today.

Because of work, we could not leave Miami until Saturday morning and I was fearing the flight would be delayed and I would not be able to make it to the expo on time.  But we did, except for the little incident in flight I mentioned in the Dailies, where a dude just ran over my husband on the way to the toilet, hit an older man, vomited in front of the toilet and passed out, all while I was using the toilet.   That was, hmmm, fun.  Then, I feared we would be quarantined on the plane with Ebola concerns and I would miss the race. 

We got in on time, checked at our hotel, met with OtterGoRun (and coincidentally met never run and RVDowning at the lobby, you know chance encounters in a city that big are rare) and went to lunch with Otter and hubby, followed by the expo.  Picked my packet up and went to sign the #OWNCHICAGO sign at the expo.  I did not know I would get to see this again sometime during the race and seeing it during the worst of my asthma during the race kept me going:

I wrote Revenge on it.


This is the map of the course.  I stood up in the spot I called my husband to pick me up last year.  I thought it was appropriate:


And the FE picture with Otter:


We head back to the hotel and said goodbye to Otter, which gave us most of her day to spend with us and we appreciated and were glad to see her again.  Even my husband spoke to her, miracle!  We headed out to do some sightseeing:


Had a nap at the hotel and went to dinner.  We ended up eating at Morton's and I had steak and potatoes.  You read that right, steak and potatoes.  And a beer.  Gasp!

Since my corral was F in the second wave and I was staying across the street from the race, I put my alarm for 6:30am.  I slept poorly with my usual waking up 300 times during the night to make sure I could go back to bed and by 6am I was fully awake.  So, I got ready and tried eating something.  As you know, I like to run LRs and marathons on an empty stomach and the coughing that came up when I chewed up a nutritional bar showed me I should just leave it and run on an empty stomach.  That was the start of the asthma, I think.

They were expecting high 40s at the start but it was 51F according to weather.com so I left everything (gloves, arm warmers) behind, and opted for a short sleeve and a skirt.  Got outside and everybody appeared to be dressed for a freezer.  I was fine with what I was wearing.  Walked to the race start and walked to my corral as the wheelchair athletes were starting at 7:22am.  The corral was pretty empty and I moved as front as I could (my chip started 28 seconds from the start of Wave 2) and started talking to a girl that was running her first marathon.  She was very nice and appeared ready but she had a lot of questions.  Hope she ran well.

Wave 1 started and all corrals A through E were done in 15 minutes.  Our start time was 8am and they made us wait until then (I thought they would let us start behind E but I guess not).  We started and I had deja vu feelings and all and off we were off.

As you know, I trained by HR and was racing by HR.  My plan was to run the first mile easy and then pick up until I reach 155HR by Mile 3.  The GPSs get crazy during the race and it could have you doing a 6mm mile or a 15mm and no rhyme or reason to it.  The buildings or something wreck with the satellite reception.  A footpod last year was useless as my Garmin kept thinking it had satellites and kept screwing it up for me.  This year, I was running with this baby, the TomTom Cardio MultiSport, with the HR monitor on the wrist.  I ran the last two months with it and it's pretty accurate, both the HR and the distance (as compared to my 910X) and it's cool that I can get different color bands for each outfit (of course, that's important!):


I had planned to look for several people on the course: RobinCD marshaling, Jerryb at the aid station, and AmandainATL with her group sometime at Mile 17.  I can report that I saw none of them.  

As you can see from the splits below, I was pretty consistent with my HR.  I felt great during the first half, but it was windy.  I remember passing Mile 8 where my cyst broke and thought hmm, my insides hurt but nothing like that, KEEP GOING.  I saw a guy between miles 8 and 9 (news said it was at Mile 7 but I swear I had passed the 8th marker) unconscious and people administering CPR on him and I was like oh shit (the guy made it), I passed the Mile 11 marker where I called my husband and ended my PR attempt last year and limped to the El station to have my husband picked me up and I said KEEP GOING, I started coughing at Mile 14 but I said fuck you, asthma, KEEP GOING.  Then, by Mile 19 I was breathing like a fish out of water, my asthma was in full force.  You can see it on the splits that I had been getting slower for the last three miles and I knew that but I just thought I would be able to run through it.  I had a decision to make: I could attempt to run through it some more and risk an attack by Mile 23 and had to walk the rest or I start my asthma attack strategy now and salvage the race and finish strong.  I decided on the latter.  Based on what happened after I finished, it was the right decision.

So, I started walking the water stations and took 0:30 walking breaks whenever I coughed, then restarted running until I coughed again and repeat.  It ended up being only 1-2 walk breaks per mile, but most of the time not that many.  Oh, and I had to slow the pace while running to not raise the HR above 150 because anything above that would start giving me the coughing asthma back.

So, I pushed and I KEPT GOING.  I was having fun, I felt strong, I just couldn't run and breathe, damn it.  I high-fived kids, danced merengue where the Mexican Restaurants were, kept chugging on Gatorade and water, kept eating my gels on time, did everything right.  Here is me around Chinatown (I'll buy the pics when they are all available):



I swear I was running in both!  My mouth is open because I COULD NOT FUCKING BREATHE.

Anyway, pretty soon, I head to the finish line and I knew I was missing the 4:45 goal by a hair (especially since I weaved a lot and the GPS readings were off), so I pushed and I sprinted to the finish (if that picture above is from the chute, I swear I was running!).  Finished up and this woman put a medal around my neck.  I started crying, mostly because of what happened last year and because I had finished it this year, and she freaked out, ha.  Then, I turned around and I try to breathe and I couldn't.  The amount of air I was inhaling was cut by 90%, I exhaled and tried again, nope, still off.  I kept trying and trying and trying while I was having a fucking asthma attack.  I kept thinking that at least I am close to the medical tent in case I pass out and I am wearing my RoadID that says asthma patient.  It took me 10-20 seconds before I could breathe back to (my) normal.  Phew, good thing I did not have that during the race.  That was the worse one I've had ever.  Probably too much emotion at the finish or something?  Anyway, I kept walking, grabbed a banana, water and left for the hotel.  Tried to find hubby but I could not see him, so I went back, texted him, took and shower and got ready.  I felt fine afterwards, mostly because I was not running in the wind anymore.

I am posting the splits but please remember the splits are off (most of the time on the faster side).  I was not running sub-10mm miles at all:


The official splits from the race were the following.  I think they are by split (paces per split, not per the whole race).  As you can see, I was slowing down instead of getting faster.  When my asthma is not there, I usually run negative splits without issue, so when you see this, you know I'm not running my normal.

Splits

SplitTime Of DayTimeDiffmin/milemiles/h
05K08:32:23AM00:31:5631:5610:175.84
10K09:03:51AM01:03:2331:2710:085.93
15K09:35:36AM01:35:0931:4610:145.87
20K10:09:23AM02:08:5533:4610:535.52
HALF10:16:32AM02:16:0507:1010:315.71
25K10:43:14AM02:42:4726:4211:015.45
30K11:17:25AM03:16:5734:1011:005.46
35K11:54:48AM03:54:2037:2312:024.99
40K12:31:37PM04:31:0936:4911:515.06
Finish12:47:17PM04:46:4915:4011:305.22

I am happy with my time.  Like I said, it's my fastest in close to two years and my 4th fastest.  After SF, I seriously doubt I would ever run a sub-5, least of all being this close to my PR.  Had I not have any asthma issues yesterday, I think I would have run a 4:37 or thereabouts.  And I will run that or faster soon.  I am now sure of it.

Next: New York City Marathon

Thanks for reading (if you did not fall asleep!)

Tower of Terror 10 Miler Race

Hubby wanted to run all the Disney races this year (although we are not going to be able to do the new ones) so I signed us both to do the ToT 10 miler.  My plan was to run this as my first 10 miler and hit a certain time, but that was before I accidentally registered for Chicago.  So, before my Coach had a heart attack, I told him I would run this with hubby in his corral (Corral E) instead of mine (Corral C) a week before Chicago.

I like the Disney races.  I don't like or go to Disney World often (if at all) but their races are well organized and the medals are cool, so I do the marathon every year (the Goofy Challenge, but who is counting).  But, since hubby started running and doing HMs (the I'm never running longer than a 10K, ooh, a HM, dude!), I registered us for Disneyland, ToT, Wine & Dine, and of course, Goofy.  Kill me now; that's too much Disney spirit even for me.

Anyway, with that being said, I've never done a 10pm race and with me running with hubby, we would finish at least at 1:30am on Sunday.  I was worried because my coach has a sense of humor and he had me doing a 10 miler with 6 at MP on Thursday, the 10 miler on Saturday and 8 on Sunday.  I checked and triple checked and he did!  So, this would be a hard week for me between 80 hours of work, the trip to Orlando and back, running in the middle of the night (and morning) and running back in Miami after that, and finish 47 miles the week before my race.  But I did it.  Not sure how, though.

We left Miami at 10am and it was Feels like 94F.  It was nice to head North (LOL) and seeing the temperature drop into the 80s.  Orlando weather is always nicer than ours.  And it was nice to run in such cool and non-humid weather.   Got to the expo with a full hour to spare (woohoo!) and got our bibs.  All of a sudden, I see that Jeff Galloway is talking and I mention it to my husband.  All of a sudden, I'm all alone and he is already there listening to his guru.  He gave us nice tips about running and always try not to run with the heat index above 80F. I turn to my husband and said, OK, no more running except in January.

We met Jeff afterwards at the RunDisney booth and he remembered us.  My husband was too tongue tied to talk to him but I have no compulsion talking ever consistently and non stop (ask Baboon).  We discussed run/walking techniques for my upcoming 50 miler (if I ever get to run it, that is), and he spoke to my husband about his shin splints and whatnot.  We ended up with autographed copies of his book and left to have lunch...at 4pm.

Since Orlando has the best Puerto Rican food outside of PR, we headed that way, had some mofongo (sorry, no picture of that) and headed to our hotel, outside Disney.  Relaxed for a bit, got dressed, texted Baboon and wife and headed to the ESPN complex to take the shuttles to the race.  Last shuttle was 815 and my husband expected us to get there at 8pm, but I made sure to be there before then.  For someone that made us late to our own wedding, this was an accomplishment.

We met with Baboon, MBC, and Kathy, and also another forumite from the marathoners forum.  It was great to finally meet Baboon and MBC!  They are very nice.  I think Baboon is even funnier in person!

Baboon was very nice and took a picture of us:


Yes, I do look scared.  I probably was.  LOL.

You all saw the Baboon/MBC/Docket/Docket's Hubby picture in the Dailies, but if not, here it is!


My experiences during Disney races have been great, but like MBC said, it will also depend on the Corral.  Running in Corral C (mine) would have been slightly different than what we got in Corral E (but E was not that bad).

We head out and started with hubby's regular run/walk strategy.  But I wanted to make sure he was pushing enough rather than just running it.  We did great.  Then, I noticed all this smoke coming out of the character's section (lights, smoke, and the like) and realized that I might be having issues with my asthma if I continued running through that shit.  I did, a bit.

We ran Miles 1-5 very well, except for the slanted roads that made my ligament sore (still is), and my knee hurt (still does).  Then, my husband said, look!  Dust!  Another dirt path for you!

And that is why I ended up looking like this at the ESPN stadium:


Anyway, Miles 6-7ish were in and around the ESPN Wide World of Sports and me wearing an outlaw headband but I ran by it successfully (except for my cough today) and we ran back to Hollywood Studios. And then, my husband needed to pee. 

So, off we went back out to finish and I thought I could have us finish in 2:15 and we missed that by 4 minutes because he HAD TO PEE.   Overall, I think he did great.

As to me, I run at 6pm and I like it.  But 10pm is too fucking late. I am still exhausted from that.


Next up!  Hoping my insides do not explode on the Chicago course again!  No DNFs allowed this time!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Chicago Marathon Week 6 and the Michelob Ultra 13.1 Boston RR

Mr. Docket and I ran the Michelob Ultra 13.1 Boston yesterday.  This was sort of a last minute trip; we had registered but it all depended on how my husband recovered from the Disneyland Half Marathon two weeks ago (he has never done two half marathon two weeks apart).  He is more than halfway done with his quest for 12 HMs in 12 months for the Half Fanatics and has already gotten his second moon for doing the 6 in 6.  He felt pretty good in between and did a good recovery/mileage during the two week period, so he is happy.

In my case, I am training for Chicago and this was supposed to be a tough MP workout.  Specifically, I had to do 2 easy, 8 @ MP, 3 progressive (or as fast as I could).  Since training has been going OK, but this week's HMP workout went horribly, I was a bit nervous of attempting 8 @ MP after traveling the morning prior and being dehydrated.  I wish I had known this would not be the case.

Like I said, training has been going OK, but I have been running everything not tempo/MP at a much more slower pace than in prior sessions.  I know part of it has been that the heat indexes down here have not cooled down from the 95-106F for the last three months and it has been humid as fuck, but I was getting worried.  I have hit all my workouts except the one this Tuesday where I could not breathe and my paces felt horrid, but running most of my easy runs in the 12mm ratio has been partly demoralizing.  Fortunately, every single MP workout has gone well, so that gives me hope.  Chicago, in my mind, is not supposed to be a PR, but a stepping stone to a PR sometime later in the year or next year.  My endurance was damaged too much before and during the SF Marathon fiasco/illness.  But I have improved quickly, at least and this and the other MP workouts have me wondering whether I could squeeze a PR there.  I guess we'll see.

We left Ft. Lauderdale at 7:30am so we barely slept (extra 30 minutes of driving to that airport).  I went to bed past midnight trying to choose all the options I needed to for the NYCM transportation and baggage, since I managed to get a spot to run it the night before.  Very excited for that! I was supposed to run 5 miles on Saturday morning but the 4am alarm was apparently on mute because the next one I heard was the cat waking me up at 5am.  Oh, well.  It was a cutback week after all.

We arrived in Boston at 11am and went straight to the hotel.  We got public transportation set up and went to Faneuil Hall to have lunch at a nice Irish Pub and then take the train all the way to Chestnut Hill to do the packet pickup.  The race was pretty small and there were no corral assignments.  I was very happy about that because then I could start with my husband and smoked him all the way to the finish line. 

We did some sightseeing all afternoon long, doing as much as we could.  We loved Boston.  The people, the places to see, the food, everything was great.  The best part of the late afternoon experience was going into an ice bar and having a martini in 20F.  I was in heaven (my husband was freezing).  I wish I could have pictures for you but both our phones died during the afternoon so there are no pictures.  Sniff.  I guess I have to go back there again!

We were staying at the flagship hotel which was 0.50 miles from the start/finish.  Race start was 8:15am which is super late for us (our races start between 5:30am and 7am) but that allowed us extra time to sleep.  The hotel had a shuttle at 7am to take us there and we took it.  We walked back to the hotel after the race.

The weather was gorgeous, 54F, no humidity, but 18mph winds.   I guess Baboon felt I needed to get the same experience he had the day before?  Sigh.  I felt great, except for the stomach cramps I had all morning.  Fortunately, they calmed down a bit by 8am and we headed to the starting line.  But, thanks to that, I had no food prior to the race (which is normal for me pre-long runs) and the first gel was iffy.

Start: As I said, the race was small, as it had less than 2000 finishers.  We all lined up at the start in one bunch, a girl sang the National Anthem, and then we were off.  I wore one of my Boston Strong bracelets and a shirt that I think reflects the place and time of year:


As with my whole training this time, I am running by HR, so the plan was not to exceed 145 during the first 2 miles, 157 during the MP miles and fuck the HR during the last miles and just do what needs to be done.

AND I WAS FREEZING FOR MOST OF THE RACE! I loved every minute of it.

Miles 1-2: I was in the second half of the "corral" starters and still, half of the field behind me past me. Of course, I had to run the first 2 miles easy, so that was expected.  We'll see how many I could pass when I really start running.  There is a different between 54F and no humidity (50 dewpoint or something) and 95F with 74 dewpoint: I can fucking breathe.  I can run, not sweat, and did I mention I can fucking breathe?  What a concept!  This miles were not flat, though; lots of rolling hills or for us flat runners, rolling mountains.  The miles went by very fast and easy: 11:24, 11:12.

Miles 3-10: This is where I am supposed to pay attention.  My 8 @ 155-157HR (MP).  I start picking up the pace and immediately notice I pass 10-15 people at once, cool.  Usually, I start feeling like death by MP mile # 3 in 90-95F and humid, but I reached Mile 10 and I was like: I am done?  Seriously?  They went that easy.  Unfortunately, this race was similar to my marathon PR race (Ft. Lauderdale Marathon in 2013) where I ran with a headwind almost the whole race.  I could feel the MP being a bit slower than usual and the wind was brutal.  My face is burned slightly from it.  You can see how the wind played with me by the paces I hit: 10:04 (no wind), 10:36, 10:26, 10:30, 10:29, 10:30 (headwind, there you are), 10:19 (barely any wind), 10:30 (headwind).  Fortunately, they felt like a walk in the park, so I grew confident that I could pull these paces or faster depending on the weather.  The terrain here went from a gravel trail to running by the beach (flat, yay), and it is similar to the A1A Ft. Lauderdale Marathon where I had my PR, except, you know, for the 45F difference.  Ha.

Sometime at Mile 8 I saw my husband coming to the turnaround.  He seemed to be doing well and as we said hi, he told me he had to stop at the potties.  I saw him again at Mile 11 as I was exiting the beach and he said he had to stop again.   Thanks for the information, I guess....

Miles 11-13.1:  Now, the fun part started.  Could I run as fast as I could at the end?  Let's find out!  I picked my first victim and passed her within 0.10 miles.  Picked a second one farther away and passed her within 0.40 miles.  Then, I picked this girl I will call the Lulu girl (for obvious reasons).  She was running pretty well and no matter how fast I would run, she would always be the same distance away.  It took me 1.5 miles to pass her but I finally passed her at Mile 12...only to see her prancing by the finish ahead of me t the end.  Grrrr.  Anyway, I felt so good running fast and I was passing so many people, I just targeted everyone and said pass 'em all.  9:51, 9:57, 9:39, 9:03 (0.21 miles).

My target for this workout was 2:15 (11 minutes off PR but still a solid workout).  I ended up with 2:17:28 but with the headwind for most of the race, I think the goal was achieved.  I felt strong throughout and managed some confidence that, although I might not PR in Chicago, I am fucking close.

After I finished, I waited for hubby, talked to people, took my picture:


And then took some pics of hubby as he was finishing.  He finished sub-3, which has been his goal for all the HMs this year (although he did not achieve it in Disneyland due to the same stops he did here, sigh).  And here is us post race:


I really have not really raced a HM in three years and I have no intention of doing so any time soon, but it was nice to run a HM solo and with a challenging pace to see where I am in training.

Thanks for reading.

Chicago Marathon Training Week 4 and the Disneyland Half Marathon RR

This has been a weird cutback week for me.  I spent most of the week with severe asthma, three horrible runs and a trip to LA to run the Disneyland Half Marathon.  I was supposed to run this one as a progressive run, per coach's order, but since my husband was crying and lamenting I was not running his first Disney race with him, and he protested every chance he got, my coach switched my LR last week to add some MP miles and then I was told to go run this with my husband.

This is his first Disney race and he was very excited.  He ended up a tad disappointed, but I made sure he understood that the delays in this race and the lack of organization and slightly boring course were not typical of the Disney Half Marathon he is doing in January.  We had fun, but we had issues during this race that I have never had during the Disney races down here.

This is his 6th half marathon in six months.  Not sure where he got this idea of doing multiple races to increase his ranking on the Half Fanatics (not like I did that with the Maniacs last year, ha!) and he wanted to keep his sub-3 hour streak.  Based upon the three delays we had, we ended up running a 3:06 which I think was great for him at this race.

The race had very nice weather, 12 miles were under the cover of clouds and no sun, and the humidity was non existent.  I could breathe, fancy that.  The start at 5:30am had temperatures and heat indexes close to 40F cooler than we have had here for months, so it was a nice relief not to sweat that much and not to choke on air.  Overall, the weather was very nice to run a HM.

I was supposed to run in Corral B but since I was running with him, I moved to Corral H where he was.  We saw a fellow forumite from TX in Corral G and I tried to meet with Lurch and other friends but we were not successful in that.  For the first time ever I carried my phone so I could meet Lurch but we missed each other.  There is always Disney!

We started at around 6am (his corral) and we were off.  As soon as we started, my husband needed to pee.   The long wait was the culprit.  We tried to stop at the miles 1 and 2 potties but they had a bread line, so we continued on.  Then, the first water station at close to Mile 3 had a traffic jam (da fuck) of close to 4 minutes. There was no water in the cups, the volunteers were trying the accommodate the 200 runners that were stopped there and there was no way to run through it.  It was a very tight spot with no space to move or take water.  This mile ended up being 16mm because of that.  So, 4 minutes wasted right there.

After that little delay we saw the potties and both of us went there. Some delay there, but we were having fun seeing people, characters, and the Disneyland park that we were OK with the delays.

We kept going and off we went until Mile 5ish we saw a friend of mine from the Maniacs (Marathon Mitch) who had driven there just to cheer his friends up.  We stopped for 1-2 minutes to chat, take pictures with him and off we went again.  At around Mile 9, we were close to the Angels Stadium when my husband yelled: Look!  What you love, DUST!  I am allergic to dust and the next mile was in a dust path with lots of dust flying around.  Fortunately, I had my buff today, so I lowered it and looked like a pirate for 1-2 miles while I breathed the dusty air.  It worked!  No asthma attack there.

Running through the Angels Stadium was very cool (similar to the ESPN section of the Disney Marathon).  Lots of people there cheering us on and people announcing each of the runners as they ran by.

Off we went back to the finish line when my husband had to stop at the potties again.  He was having some stomach issues and by then he couldn't ignore them more.  So, we stopped and while he was on the line, I stayed by the water station and cheered some of the runners as they ran by.

We head up to the finish line, inside the park, and he is still doing well, considering all the stops and his stomach.  He didn't falter until the last mile and by then, the sun was out in the sky (but it was not really bad at all compared what we are used to).  We head to the finish line and we crossed.

He got his second moon and he is very happy.  He has another HM in two weeks and it will be the first time he has that close of a time between them.  Hoping his recovery goes well.

Some pics:


Not sure where the fuck I am here but I swear I was running with him the whole time: 


I'll buy the pics when they are all available, but there are some that look fine and there are some where I have no idea what he is doing, ha.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Chicago Marathon Training Week 3

I was very excited to start this week of training because it would be my first 50 mile week in a few weeks (it's been a while since I have felt good enough to run that much).  Last week I finally felt strong enough to train hard and was looking forward to the two quality workouts I had this week.

The first two workouts were done on the treadmill, mostly because Miami has been having a heat wave for the last few months and the last few weeks have suffered from heat indexes in the 100s all day long, so I knew running outside every day was dangerous.  Unfortunately, the treadmill gait made my knee swell a bit so I moved my rest day to Wednesday to rest for my first quality workout of the week, the Thursday MLR (Medium Long Run for the non-runners).  This was to be 10 miles with the middle 6 progressive (each mile faster than the last).  I ran before I start working (I work from home on Thursdays) and even then, the heat index was above 90F.  But fortunately, the sun was covered in some tiny clouds so it did not feel that bad.  I was surprised to hit great paces during the run, some that included Marathon Pace (MP) minus 20 seconds.

The rest of the week went by without much issue with the knee.  I could still feel it a bit swollen, and I felt the IT Band was a bit sore, but between the two Pilates sessions this week and the easy runs, the knee was great on Sunday, where I was to do 16 miles with the last 6 @ MP.  90% of the run successful, but I only did 5 @ MP for the following.  By Mile 10, the heat index was already at 93F, so I went to the TM to start my MP miles.  Unfortunately, the TM started making some weird sounds that caught the attention of my husband so he sent me outside to run until he fixed it.  I went out in that hellish, sunny, shadeless, humid, weather and hammered 5 miles at MP (by heart rate) and I hit great paces.  But, by the time I got back home for more water (man, it was hot), my husband said the TM was fixed and I hopped on it for the last mile.  Except my legs did not want to move fast anymore. So, I just cooled down and let it go.

Overall, last week was great.  This week I have a cutback week which includes running the Disneyland Half Marathon with my husband for fun.  It's a good way to recover from the tough week my coach gave me and to prepare for the one that is coming next.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Chicago Marathon Training Week 2

This week I felt more like my old self.  I am still behind on the paces but getting there.  All my runs felt great, even through the horrible heat and humidity that has been here for what seems like forever.  The weather is still hideous and it makes me think Summer is never going to end but some days show me that the 90s (rather than the 100s) are just a day or two away. Or so I hope!

The heat and humidity on Monday left me a bit disappointed and I was expecting treadmill runs every day (Monday being one of them), but fortunately it rained most afternoons which lowered the heat indexes from 100-107F every day to something in the 90s (and way more manageable).  So, I was able to run every run outside except for Monday's.

This week was also my second straight week doing at least 4 days of cross training.  The two private Pilates sessions I am taking a week are a given, but the other two days I wanted to add were done and with great success.  I used to leave cross training on the wayside when the miles keep increasing, so I hope I am successful this time around in keeping all four days for as long as I can.  The only bad news is that I have had no time to ride my bike in the last two weeks (due to the rain).  But the rains will be gone soon and I cannot wait to ride my bike at least once a week, if not more.

I got new shoes this week!  I have not tried them but I am looking forward to running in the new Hoka Huakas and the new Saucony Ride 7s.  This will be a great week to take them out for a spin.  Will write a review some time this week.

The total miles for this week was 46mpw and not only were they strong miles, but also faster than last week.  Little by little I am getting back to where I want to be post surgery.

Which reminds me this week was my sixth month post surgery.  It is very nice not to be running in pain all the time.  Score!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Chicago Marathon Training Week 1

Sorry I have not posted in a while.  Things kind of spiral out of control since my last post.  Where should I begin?

After my last half marathon with hubby (Michelob Ultra 13.1 Chicago), I went back to marathon training in earnest for the San Francisco Marathon.  Initially, training went well and I was able to keep my mileage at 55mpw.  But since Summer has been here in full earnest for months, the temperatures were brutal and the humidity as well, so I had to make do with the LRs being partly on the TM.  But I still hit a 20 miler and a 19 miler.  Then, close to three weeks prior to the race, work went crazy.  I had to lower down my miles substantially and I thought, good, tapering at last, ha.  Up to the week of the race, I felt fine (tired, but fine), then, I got sick the Monday of the race.  Exhaustion, headache, joint paint, maybe a fever.  But I was so busy at work, I could only take Monday afternoon off.  So, I was unable to rest as much as I needed.  I felt fine by Wednesday (or so I thought), but woke up on Thursday feeling again like a truck had run over me, twice!  But, on we went to San Francisco only to DNF at Mile 18 with fever, joint pain and a headache.  I slept the whole weekend at the hotel.  It took me another week of feeling better.

After the marathon, I realized that, with work being as stressful and full of hours, make me experience something similar to overtraining, but the stressor being real life stressors.  One author calls this "overliving" (Loren Cordain & Joel Friel, The Paleo Diet for Athletes).  I was stressed to the max which made me vulnerable to what I ended up getting, some sort of flu.  We all deal with this at certain points in our running lives, but sometimes there is nothing more you can do but affect and reduce training because it's the only voluntary stressor you can give.

So, on I go to start training for Chicago two weeks after the San Francisco debacle.  I was fine with DNFing San Francisco, as I know it was the right thing to do, but I have not been this ill for years.  And I don't want to have that happen ever again, LOL.

Coach Walter gave me another great program to train for Chicago.  With 11 weeks and me not feeling my best, we could not push as hard as we did for Chicago last year.  I also asked for less miles than I would normally do to concentrate on Pilates (which I have been doing for months and love it) and some more cross training, which I have neglected for years.  So, the plan is not super high in miles and not as aggressive as my prior one but it is definitely the one I need and can handle right now.  Walter knows me too well.  :-)

Week 1 consisted of all easy runs.  This time, I make sure to adjust for weather and to take it easy, as I felt I was still healing from that flu I had.  The temps this week were brutal and the paces were slower due to it.  But I felt myself enjoying running again; something that was lacking from my life the last three weeks.  And I completed the week without issue.  I actually ran a bit more to accommodate running with hubby on two short days.

The total mileage for this week was 35mpw; finished 36 miles, with three runs partially or fully on the treadmill due to our heat indexes being above 100F even at early times during the day.  Very happy to be back on track.

As to what time to attempt at Chicago, I don't think I have a fucking idea.  I'll see how I feel later and closer to the race.  Not sure if I can even PR this year; I feel slow this year, slower than ever, ever since the surgery.  Work has been very demanding, which necessitated me to reduce my miles for this training session.  That does not mean I won't give my all during training, as I always do.  And Chicago is still ten weeks away, so who knows.