Monday, April 30, 2007

Eugene Marathon

I had a goal to run this marathon in 4 hours or under.

My time was 4:04:13. I am very happy and it is a PR. I was on my way to that goal until about mile 17.

More of the story to come, I should start at the beginning!

Michelle carpooled to Eugene with me as her husband Eric was running a 50 miler on Saturday. Needless to say, she didn't really want to hang out all day then get to Eugene at 9pm. So probably way back in January we decided to ride down together. I took my 4 year old daughter with us and dropped her off in Tualatin (Just south of Portland about 10 minutes) at my parents so she could visit. My husband and son stayed home to go to my son's baseball game.

The weather was perfect and good company made the 5 hour drive a fast one. We stopped only twice at rest stops besides the 15 minute rest and drop off in Tualatin.

Once in Eugene, we headed right to the Hilton for the Expo. We picked up our own packets as well as Rob's, Eric's and George's. Then we met right up with everyone else form the Y group. Linda and her husband Rich, Monica and Mike, Amy, Lesa, Michelle S. and her husband Frank, Patch and Sonja. We wandered around, looked at all the cool stuff, sampled some goodies, and I bought another Marathon shirt, but a light green one this time with a different design.

Then it was time to get back to My hotel, The Campus Inn and check-in. I had a Margaret B. and Lesa staying with me and I wanted them to be able to get their stuff in and organized. Then it was off to get Michelle checked in at her hotel (which was kinda far away) and get back to order dinner. Albeit far away, Michelle and Eric were staying at a much fancier hotel than the rest of us. And as long as they were comfortable, that's all that matters.

We were back at the Campus in and basking in the beautiful sun in the courtyard deck area and were joined by a man named Dan. He asked if anyone could join our group and we of course said "Yes!" Dan and his wife had come all the way from Philadelphia,PA. Dan sat down and joined right in. Soon, we were joined by Darrel and Sarah from the blogoshere. It was a down right marathon party! We had great conversation.

Eventually the food came and we had a great pre-race meal.

Great people, great food and great weather! It was a perfect evening!

After dinner was over and cleaned up, most people wanted to drive over to Hayward field where the start was and walk back to see how far it was and how long it would take. This was to aid in deciding to either walk or drive to the start in the morning. I didn't go, but took Michelle back to her hotel to make her pre-race preparations and came back.

As usual, everyone got sidetracked by Starbucks and they never really figured out how long it would take to walk there!

So I went off to my room to get all of my things ready too.

My roommates came back and we had some great chatting before bed.

The alarm went off at 5am and we did all our morning preparations and decided to walk to the start. Most people drove or took the shuttle. I had one of the ladies take this photo for my dad, he received his doctorate from U of O and I grew up attending Ducks games at Autzen Stadium and rooting for the Ducks in all their endeavors. I had always wanted a U of O sweatshirt and I purchased one on my way home at the Nike store in downtown Eugene.

We met everyone outside of Hayward Field and took some group photos before heading off to the porta-potty lines.

I then left everyone and headed to my 4:00 pace group. Then the race began. I found myself running with Lesa and Rob. It was a nice first few miles and Lesa left around the 2.5 mile mark. Rob and I were together till about mile 6. He was doing well for having run 34 miles the day before!

He stopped for water at the 6 mile mark and didn't catch back up to me. I was ahead of the 4 hour pace group and feeling good. I had no idea how far behind me they were. I was enjoying the beautiful course and just reminding myself to relax.

At about mile 14 or a bit after I started to feel like I had really heavy legs. I wanted to lose my fuel belt. We were supposed to have our crew of Mike and Frank at mile 17. I could hang on till then, but I wanted to get rid of the belt and be able to breathe easier. I could tell I was slowing down. I walked through a water station. At about 16.5 Amy caught up, looking all fresh and said the pace group was about 300 yards back. I was a bit disappointed. really disappointed when they caught up to us at mile 17.5. I stayed with them for about a half mile, still trying to find our crew guys. At mile 18, I realized they probably hadn't gotten there yet. I couldn't keep up with the group. They seemed to be sprinting. I stopped to walk for 30 seconds to just relax. True relief came at somewhere near mile 19 or so. When you finally turn around, or so it seems you cross a bridge to begin to go back towards Autzen stadium and the finish. Maybe it was mile 20. Anyway, I spotted Rich, Linda's husband crouch up by the bridge. I asked him if he would be at the finish and could I please give him the belt. I took out another gel and e-caps and my chapstick, stuck them in my pocket and was gone.

I could finally breathe! Those last 6 miles were tough as they always are, but I got my second wind. I felt so much better. I could breather, and my legs felt like they could move. I tried to pick my pace back up. My new goal became under 4:05. Since I knew that was the next pace group still behind me.

Somewhere, around mile 23 I think, I saw George and seeing someone you know is always a pick me up. I ate some orange slices at the next aide station and tried to pick it up some more. I was a bit bummed at the 24 mile marker as the 4:05 pacer came up beside me. He did say he was about 45 seconds ahead of his pace and as long as I stayed with or ahead of him I would be fine. I had no problems staying with him. At mile 25 he pushed me on ahead. This reminded me of our friend Rick who often does the same thing. Gives you just the boost you need to get yourself in.

We were just entering the fields at Autzen stadium and had to go all the way around to the finish area. That last mile was run on the road next to all the traffic on one side and people walking on the other. I began to see people who had finished already wearing their medals so I knew I was close. Then the 26 mile marker. I hate that mile marker because the next 300 yards seems like it goes on forever! I wish they wouldn't mark it! Although, once you got within about 150 yards of the finish there were SO many people there cheering you in. It was great. I would have missed Sonja if she wasn't screaming at me. I just missed her high five.

So, again, I crossed the line in 4:04:13 by my watch. I was very happy and tired and as soon as i stopped, I got a cramp in my upper glute. I found Amy, Lesa and Eric still in the recovery area and we all went out to find Sonja, stretch and cheer the others in. Eric and I went back in for ice. Me for my cramping glute and my sore hamstring and he for his IT and ankle.

We watched the rest of our group come in, cheered for lots of other maniacs and had a great time.

I met up with Michelle, Rob, Eric, and George to have lunch with Darrell and his wife before heading to my parent's house in Tualatin. It was fun to be able to get together and talk in person and relive our marathons. Again, great people, good food and good times. Very fortunate to have the opportunity to run and to be able to run with such fantastic people.
I decided to only drive the 1 1/2 hours back to my parents house and spend the night there and drive the last 3 hours home today. My hamstring was really bothering me sitting in the car.

It was nice to get to rest before that last bit of driving. Today the muscles are a bit sore, but the drive home was fine and sitting wasn't a problem.
Overall the weekend was amazing. The course was beautiful. Except for the valley miles of 14-19, everything was perfect.

My next marathon will be in two weeks, The Tacoma City marathon. I'll run this with no particular goal except to finish and have fun. It's a hilly course. It too, will be a great run with great people.

What a blessing the weekend was, truly a blessing.

Grace and peace to you.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Feeling Better

Well, it's Wednesday and I am feeling "much better. "
Like the Very Hungry Caterpillar after he ate the "Nice, big green leaf" on Sunday, ready not to spin my cocoon, but to run.

I was pretty iffy on Tuesday. Still felt like I was kicked in the stomach and had to be careful what I ate. Today, I can eat whatever.

I knew I needed to try to run on Tuesday, so I took the kids to the Y and headed to the indoor track. It was busy. I decided to run three laps for a half a mile, then walk one lap and repeat. It seemed to have worked. I ran three miles this way and walked a mile and a half. With a couple extra walking laps at the end. I felt tired at the end, but my legs felt pretty good. I did notice my nagging left hamstring/abductor but I was finishing by that time. I think I'll tape up the area with Kinesio tape for extra support for the marathon Sunday.

Today is my crazy day. My daughter has swim lessons from 4:55pm to 5:25 and my son has baseball at 5:30pm. I drop Annika off and head up to the track. So I get to run from about 4:58pm to 5:15pm when I have to go get Michael from the games room, run him outside to the fields and drop him off 10 minutes early for baseball, run back inside to pick up Annika from swim at 5:25 and get her showered and changed and get changed myself after my amazing 2+ mile 18 minute run and head back out to baseball practice. Annika runs and I walk the outdoor track around the field during practice.

After practice, I decide I can actually eat meat today besides the bread and pasta I've survived on for the past 3 days. Because it is now almost 7pm, I opt for the evil fast food joint. The kids get their favorite, chicken nugget kids meal things and I got an angus burger. It was really good. I think I needed protein. Hopefully it won't still be sitting there like a gut bomb tomorrow. We rarely do fast food, so the kids are really excited.

I am getting pumped up for the marathon. I am still pondering my nonexistent "plan" for this marathon. I have never really been one for being good at pacing myself or keeping track of my pace. I vividly recall being in 8th grade at Hayward Field at University of oregon for the Junior Olympics and running in the 800m. I remember the girls talking before the race about pace and PR's. I had no idea what they were talking about. I always just ran and liked to be in the front. If someone got close I just went fast enough to stay in front. This strategy didn't work in the Junior Olympics. It did work until the last 200m when about 5 people passed me and I came in 5th out of 8. Apparently I didn't have much competition in the regular meets! I learned quickly what pace and PR meant. Still, I've never been good at it. I can't seem to judge whether or not I need to speed up or slow down to last the long haul. Maybe Mr. Garmin needs to find his way to my house to help me out? Alas, I still think my "plan" is to stick with the pace group and go from there. I guess I really need help and more advice in this arena. And practice.

So, an under 4 hour marathon is my goal, my "plan" is to finish and have fun!

Grace and peace to you.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Update on Life and Countdown to Eugene

This past week has been one of sickness and low mileage.

It started out last Sunday when my 4 year old daughter woke up at 5am throwing up. She spent the day resting as much as a 4 year old can. She stayed in her pajamas and played quietly. She was upset when we wouldn't let her outside to play with her friends down the street.

By Sunday evening she seemed okay, and alright for preschool and daycare the next day. She indeed made it through school and swim lessons Monday.

I received an email Monday from an dear old friend, Ang. She lives in Blacksburg, VA and her husband is doing his Doctoral work at Virginia Tech. She wanted us to know she and her husband were okay and that they and the community really needed our prayers. This event has caused us, and the nation to stop, pray, wonder, and most importantly, cherish our loved ones and let them know how much we care and love them. Please take a moment to reach out to those around you and make a difference in someones life. It could make all the difference.

Tuesday we woke up to rain. My daughter was happy about this as her preschool class had been trying to go puddle jumping for the past few days. SO we packed her up with extra clothes and her rubber boots. But, in the middle of puddle jumping, she was throwing up again.

My husband went to pick her up, and took a half day substitute. He emailed me asking if I could be home by 2:20pm as he had an away baseball game to get to. Unfortunately, I was not, as my school day ends at 2:20 and I couldn't get someone to cover my class. So I left at about 2:25 and got stuck in the parking lot with all the students for about 10 minutes. No wonder we are supposed to stay for 30 minutes after classes end. It takes that long to clear out the lot!

So, no running Tuesday as planned due to taking care of a sick child.

Wednesday, It was my turn to stay home with my daughter. And my son had baseball practice at 5:30. my husband is one of the coaches, but I fill in when he can't be there. So, I was trying to help with practice, watch/hold my daughter and stay warm. I was able to get 17 minutes of running in while my daughter tried to go to swim lessons. She had felt fine, no throwing up, no fever and was very active during the day so I decided she could go. It was difficult to maneuver swim, running and baseball as the swim lessons ended at 5:25 and baseball begins at 5:30. Luckily everything is at the Y. I dropped Michael off early with the coach and went back to get Annika from swimming and get her showered and dressed before we went back to baseball practice. It was busy.

That night, my son Michael decided he needed some water and went downstairs. He set off the alarm by triggering the motion detectors at 2:10am. Needless to say, there wasn't much sleep after that.

Thursday, I was able to meet the Y runners on the trail after taking my cat, Texas, to the vet. On Wednesday, I noticed he wasn't putting his rear left leg down when he walked. Luckily, it was just muscle damage, and was prescribed some antibiotics and anti inflammatory medicine. He is doing fine now.

The Thursday trail/track run was an easy 4 miles, plus a few 100 repeats at the end.

Saturday, I met with a few Y runners, Rob, Linda and Emily for about a 9 mile easy run. Then we met Rick who was resting up for his first 50k for coffee at Starbucks. It was a nice morning and the end to an unintended low mileage week. Early taper.

Sunday I woke up I the middle of the night not feeling well. By 6am, I couldn't lay in bed any longer and went to lay on the couch downstairs. By 7am I was throwing up and feeling even more horrible. I didn't make it off the couch much all day. I managed to drink some 7 up and eat 3 pieces of bread and a bagel all day. I knew I would need to stay home sick so I emailed some lesson plans to my secretary and called in for a sub. So that's where I am today. Finally feeling like I can sit up for a while and have the energy to type.

I am looking forward to the Eugene Marathon this weekend. Rob had asked on Saturday if I had a plan. A plan for what? he replied with did I know what pace I would go out at for the first 8 or so miles, then the next 8? Did I have back up plans? Oh my gosh. No. I just figured I'd run. Stick with the pace group. I jokingly asked for a "plan" graphic organizer to help me set up this plan I needed to met my goal. Maybe he'll make one for me. Then I could feel organized, prepared and have something to measure my progress officially. :) If not, I'll just go with, sticking with the pace group.

My first marathon (Portland 2006) I finished in 4:29. The rest I have run with Michelle at a slower pace and had tons of fun. Recently I have pushed myself during training races and finished a 15 miler in 2:09 and a 20 miler in 2:57. Really, I'd like to finish in better than 4:29, but I'd be happiest with 4 hours or under. So I am hoping that this illness goes away, strength comes back and I feel great on Sunday in Eugene. Wish me luck and keep me in your prayers for a safe trip and a great race.

Grace and peace to you.
Go Hokies!

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Happy Trails

My week ended with an adventure with Rob, running on Tiger Mountain. Last Saturday, both he and Eric had invited me to run the "twelve Peaks" run with them for 34 miles. I thought they were joking at first, but I replied that if I could do half, I would join them.

Eric said there was a way to do half, so I was in. Later, Rob decided to just do half as well, and chose this alternate route for us. A route he had run before in the Western Washington Fat Ass.
It didn't really matter to me where we went. I guess, i had told them I just didn't want to hurt all week recovering from the run. They described the run as somewhat like Mt. Peak, but not just straight up and straight down like Mt. Peak. Okay, so I'll hurt a little, that's okay.

I'll send you over to Rob's blog to read his recounting of the day. He describes it so well.
It really was a great run, despite not always knowing if you are heading in your intended direction. We got back, had a hard workout, and spent the morning on the trails and that was what mattered. Besides, I had never run there before, so how was I supposed to know if we were heading in the correct direction? I just followed Rob!

Once we got to the point in the trail to actually head to the summit of West Tiger Mountain, I dubbed the trail the "elevator shaft." If I didn't have a water bottle in each hand, i would have probably been using them to help me climb up!

We didn't stay too long at the top. It was overcast and there were several people there. It was cold too. So we headed down a different, direct route down the mountain. It was comical how steep it was. This too was an "elevator shaft" down. It must have been washed out or something. Rob said there was another trail that was less direct somewhere. At one point I felt like a runaway train. I called out" I'm a runaway train" and decided to lean uphill and kind of sit down to stop myself! So I was muddy down my left leg and bottom. My left hand and water bottle were covered in mud too. Rob turned around and laughed. It was funny. I said I'd rather stop that way than fall and roll, or run into a tree and get really hurt. At least it was controlled that way! No injuries. I slipped earlier in the run too on a wooden bridge-type pathway. It was wet and slimy and on a slanted curve. My foot just slipped out from under me. No injuries there either.

Once we were down and finished we changed and headed back to my car that I left at Eric and Michelle's house. I had rode up with Eric, who was running 34 miles on the Twelve Peaks route with two other Maniacs. We stopped for a short visit and I headed home.

Later in the evening, my husband and kids and I went out to dinner with my parents and niece and nephew. My parents are babysitting this weekend while my twin brother and his wife spent the weekend in Seattle for the end of their spring break. It was a fun dinner. My parents had gone to all the Tacoma Museums on Friday while the kids were at school/daycare. They went to the Washington State history museum, Museum of glass and back here in Puyallup, the Meeker Mansion. They bought me a t-shirt that says "History is not for wimps." I love it!

We left dinner at about 7pm. I was exhausted. I wasn't feeling any pain, but I was extremely tired. That's pretty much how I felt today too. Not too sore, just a bit. I can tell I had a hard workout, but I am extremely tired! Hopefully, I can get to sleep early tonight and survive school tomorrow!

The rest of my running week looked like this:
Monday: rest
Tuesday: 4 miles at Y track
Wednesday: 4 miles at Y track
Thursday: 6 miles at and around Rogers HS track
Friday : Rest
Saturday: 14ish miles on Tiger Mountain
Sunday: rest and garden (and take care of my throwing up daughter)

My taper towards the Eugene marathon has begun. This week my running will look similar to this week, but no more mountains. Next weekend I want to run about 10 miles, but when and with whom I do not know. There is tons going on, The YMCA Daffodil Dash 5k and the Mt.Si ultra. I would like to go and be crew for some folks doing the ultra and run with them a bit. We'll see how it all pans out!

Have a great week!

Grace and Peace to you.

Saturday, April 7, 2007

Busy, Busy, Busy

Wow. What a Spring Break! I have been so busy, that going back to school is going to provide some rest!

I did almost all of my spring cleaning, which led to my 10 year old vacuum dying and buying a new Dyson. After using that today, I realized my old vacuum died a LONG time ago. Man does that thing have good suction!

I even managed to paint our master bedroom. Our house is about 6 years old. We have lived here for almost 4 years. It was "Construction worker off white" in every room when we moved in and I have gradually been painting each room. Our master is now robin's egg blue with blue and brown accents. I can't make it too girly, so I thought this was a good compromise. I'll try to clean up the room again and post a photo or two of my handy work.

Running this week was fantastic.

Monday: 4ish with Rob, Rick and Monica. It was supposed to be 5, but the guys were in front and "missed" the turn into the park for the extra mile. It was okay, we all had long runs on the weekend.

Tuesday: 5.8 (I drove it later in the day) with Monica mainly. We started with Eric, Rob and Lisa. Eric only ran with us till his turn to go home, and the Rob and Lisa took off for a fast run.
It was a run where Monica and I both felt we were going fast, but weren't in reality. Overall it was a good run.

Wednesday: I met Rob and we headed out to Mt. Peak. This run/hike is a killer, so I told Rob we needed to go slower and do the 3 mile loop first to warm up. My quads hurt for 3 days after I did it last time. So we went the back way up the mountain too. Up the service road. It was a long and tough climb, but easier than the trail. At one point I asked Rob it something up ahead was the turn off to the summit and he said "no, we are only about halfway up!" It is so different going the other way. Rob went ahead about 10 yards. He was very nice to slow up a bit for me. I know he can cruise right up. Once we got to the top, Rob share some water and we were off. Rob took off, flying down the mountain. I went a bit slower, okay, a lot slower, I am sure Rob waited at least ten minutes for me at the bottom. I have to favor my left knee as I had surgery about 18 months ago. Plus, the trail is pretty steep and switch backy that I felt like I'd run into a tree! I did get into just leaping and jumping down over the rooty sections and short stair sections. It was great. I had a ton of fun on this tough run. Only my right quad was sore, due to the favoring I suppose.

Thursday: I ran a 3.5 mile evening run with Michelle and my right quad was sore for about the first mile. Then felt great. It was a good recovery run.

Friday: Off, but worked at home so much I felt like I had a long run today!

Saturday: Nice and easy 8.3 miles with Michelle and Rick. There was a huge group that met at 7:30. We started early and looped back, but still ended up completing the run together. It was also a good recovery after a great week.

Sunday: ?? soooo busy, I'll try to get a 5 miler in sometime.

My husband and I took the kids to our church's Easter Eggstravaganza today. It is fun for me to go to these with my own kids, because I used to be the one in charge of putting the event on! I worked at the church for 5 years as the director of Youth Ministries. The kids had a great time. Crafts, games, Easter story, and an egg hunt. It was a fun morning.

I still have to fill the eggs for our own egg hunt here tomorrow. Who knows if the Easter bunny will have to hide inside or out. Our kids still believe, so, we try to make a big deal out of it. No fluffy, huge pre-filled baskets, no gifts, just jelly beans, malted eggs and a chocolate bunny, oh and Reeses peanut butter eggs- a 6 pack, 2 for the kids and one for Mom and Dad! The kids will hunt for all of it! I love it!

I hope you have a Happy Easter.
He is Risen!

Grace and Peace to you.