Monday, October 25, 2010

Picture Time!

No don't worry, I haven't forgotten about my blog, or my loyal blog readers!  My life has just been work-work-work lately so I don't have a whole lot to blog about, seeing as I expect very few people want to hear about the drama of teaching middle and high school science or working crazy early shifts at a bakery.  However, my sis sent me a few pics from the marathon, and I decided to share!  I mostly look like a freak, but that's ok because we're all friends here!

This is me in front of the big ass 10-10-10 sign.  Since I'm a super-nerd, I'm holding up ten fingers in honor of my 10th marathon on 10-10-10.  Ha.  Props to my sister for shooting/successfully cropping out the 1001 other people in the area attempting to take the same picture, lol.  Although probably no one was quite as cool as me having it be their #10....

And this little beauty above must be from some point late in the race, as the word 'struggle' is pretty much written all over my face!  Actually, I don't look *quite* as bad as the guy grimacing next to me!  I do like this picture because of what my sister did making it black and white and the contrast and everything.  My sister is actually a really talented up-and-coming photographer.  You should check her out on her flickr site:

And last, but certainly not least is a lovely picture from post-race.  Yes, that is a bad of ice on my head.  Yes, it felt amazing.  This is myself and my bro-in-law waiting for the El.  I am attempting to give my signiture 'peace sign' however, it seems the heat and fatigue of running a killer-bad marathon has effected my fingers' ability to straighten.  Therefore, I look more like I am giving bunny ears to an imaginary friend or something...

So there you have it.  Pictures!  Such a rarity on my blog, especially since I put my sweet digital camera through the wash last winter....

And with that, I leave you.  I have an extra early, though extra fun day tomorrow.  I must be at the bakery a bit after 3am to get my morning stuff done.  Why you ask?  Because I am then going to this conference in Lansing about "Making it in Michigan."  Basically, a conference devoted to seeing if you have a food product to market and how to make it happen.  This is exciting because as you may know, it is my goal in the not-so-distant future to have my own bakery.  Plus, I am very into buying local and keeping my $$ spent on Michigan made products (hey, somebody has got to support this stuggling state!)  So, I get to spend a whole day (after the early bakery hours) listening and learning and sampling products.  While a sub babysits...err...teaches my students.  This is what I call a personal day! :) I'm very excited.

Ok, with that I am off.  I don't think I have ever had to set my alarm for 2:xx am.  But tomorrow will be a first....

Sunday, October 17, 2010

T +7 days....The Recap

My Local Readers~

Ok, I finally have a time when all of the stars have alligned- 1) I am far enough away from the marathon where I can actually think about it 2) I am close enough to the marathon to remember it, and 3) I finally have a spare second to sit and write it all out.  So here goes....

My 10th on 10-10-10.  I have to say, my first thought is to write that it went 100% differently from the way that I had hoped.  But, upon further consideration, I think that is overly dramatic.  So, like any good teacher, I will start with the good and THEN go to the bad.  Always helpful at Parent-Teacher Conferences.  But I digress.

The good:  I was in Chicago.  I made it to 10-10-10 with alot of training and pretty much no injuries (knock on wood- even though its over, I still must knock on wood!)  I finished the marathon.  My sister and brother-and-law were amazing- even setting a record for their cheering skills by seeing me 5 times on the course!  Which is amazing considering the craziness of the city and layout of the course.  There were fun *parts* of the marathon itself (ie the first 8 miles when I actually thought it might be an ok day).  Hmm, yeah, that about sums up the good.

The bad:  Well, I might as well just come out and say it as I already alluded to:  I ran my slowest marathon ever.  Yes, with the most training I have ever done, on the day where I had originally hoped to run my best ever, I ran the complete opposite.  4:05:something.  And honestly, it still feels unreal to me.  I came into the race knowing that it wouldn't be a PR, but I didn't even know I was capable of running that slow.  I have NEVER trained that slow on ANY run.  Literally, the second half was at a pace I haven't seen before in my life.  It was so weird.  It was like it wasn't even me running it.  My long runs always average betwen 8:15-8:40, so the fact that I ran a pace so much slower during an actual race is mind blowing.  And I simply don't know why.

Well, that's a lie.  I do know sort of why.  I was facing a burn out going into this race and the last month of training, as I mentioned on the blog before.  It wasn't necessarily a burn out due to the summer of training, but rather the consistant 2 years of training I have been going at since starting training for my first Boston in 2009.  That feeling of going from marathon to marathon with little to no time between training cycles, all the while adding milage and racing anything from 10 mile races to half marathons to a 50K mixed in.  I expected this would lead to a PR, but more is better only to a point.  And I think I got to the point where it became counterproductive to my goals.  My paces weren't picking up and my motivation (gasp!) wasn't where it had once been.  I feel like the last month of training was an exercise in survival.  One bad run led to a lack of confidence which led to another bad run, which lead to more self-doubt, and so on.  Coupled with a body that although it was holding up well, was just plain tired, and I arrived at the Starting Line feeling like I should be arriving at the finish line already!  So I guess in that since I am proud that I did it.

Outside of the running craziness inside and outside my head, was my work schedule.  This year feels particularly challenging for me.  Teaching above full time at my school, with new classes to prep for has been alot.  Added to that, my boss at the bakery has been continually scheduling me more to the point where including the market I am working almost 30 hours a week at the bakery- on top of my 'real job' teaching.  So these 6 day workweeks that are many times 12 hour days, plus having to cram all of my prep work for my classes onto my 'weekend' on sunday has overwhelmed me.  I'm honestly not saying this because I think I am all that great or anything- I understand lots of people work long and hard to make ends meet- but rather because although these aren't 'running related' necessarily, I think work + crazy commute contributed to my end-of-the training blues.

On a purely physical level- it was hot.  85-90 degrees, which would have been fine in August, but I felt like my body adapted to the cooler September temps and the heat was a shock to my system.  And for some reason, I didn't handle it well.  The whole right side of my body started hurting by mile 10 and I knew it would be a long day from there.  I felt so sad and embarressed.  But when I finished I was so happy just to have it over with.  Despite how poorly I did, I just laughed it off for the rest of the day with my sis and bro-in-law and with my parents (via the phone.)  It was only that night, when driving home from the airport late that it sunk in and I just let the emotion of everything take over.  It was so hard to fathom all of the time and training that I put it, to run a marathon I probably could have done with 1/4 of the time and training.  That has probably been the most difficult idea to come to grips with.

So where to from here with me?  The good news is, I have proved that I can handle a new level of training.  And I liked that.  But, that doesn't mean that I need to train like that 365 days a year.  This is the first time in over 2 years that I am not signed up for my next marathon.  Yes, I have a few ideas on the horizon, but nothing official.  So I'm taking that time.  I'm keeping my workouts completely slim-none for the rest of the month.  I feel like especially with my work schedule right now, I need the physical and mental breather.  In November and December I will get back to it, but with running just as a part of my workout routine, leaving more time for swimming and strength training which I have missed for the last few months or so.  That will also give me time to decide my spring plans.  I don't plan to start any 'formal' training until atleast the new year.  I want to be totally hungry and focused when I start up again.

I did run once with my friend this week.  He was running a marathon today, and I am still awaiting the results.  He took me out to dinner afterward to celebrate my 10-10-10.  It was super-sweet thing to do.  The run was on Wednesday and it was hard.  I'm glad to be taking time off right now.

So yeah.  I feel like a 'fraud' runner right now, after such a less-than-ideal performance.  But, I have to get over that.  I'm looking forward to some time away from formal training and to getting my body in better all-around shape (ie better arms and core that come with strength training and swimming) over the next couple of months.  We'll see where I go with the blog from here.  I'm sure I'll be around.

Peace, love, and running,

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

10th on 10-10-10

Race report to come!  Never fear, I haven't forgotten about my loyal readers.  I just need a spare second to write....after I actually figure out what happened on Sunday.....

10 marathons and #10 was the slowest.  Ever.

Stay tuned...

Saturday, October 9, 2010

1- tomorrow is it.

Can you believe that this countdown started from 100+ days, and now the marathon is here?  I have run countless 90-105 mile weeks, 5 20+ mile runs, and thought a million hours about it.  My beloved 10th marathon on 10-10-10 has arrived.

So yeah.  Today was good though!  Biked down in the morning to the Farmer's Market in Lincoln Park with my brother in law.  It was cool to see a different market and help him get a few things for the week.  Afterward, my sis and bro in law went to the gym, and I went for a quick 2 mile shakeout.  Then, I met up with them and we zip-car-ed to the expo.  It was really weird being at the expo though, I couldn't quite put my finger on it.  I was/am feeling nervous, but it wasn't the same as usual.  Like I don't know quite how I feel about it all.  I couldn't switch my corral because it was too late, so I'm stuck in the 'open' corral which stinks, because I really wanted to hook up with a pace group.  And, I know it is going to be super-crowded at the beginning because the FASTEST in the open corral is 4:00 pace.  Yikes.  So, I'm a bit nervous for the beginning and getting too boxed in.  But whatevs.  I just have to work with it and do the best I can.

Now, we are all chillin discussing 'strategy' for tomorrow.  Ie: where my sis and bro in law are going to see me and such.  I have my normal 'cramp' of nerves (my stomach feels like there is a gas bubble trapped in it...weird, but it always happens pre-race.)  I just feel not-at-ease in my head, but I don't know why.  I know a PR is not really a possibility for tomorrow.  That is not pessimism or anything, but merely me being realistic about where I am at right now from a physical and mental stance.  But, I put in SO MUCH this summer to this training cycle and I find myself questioning 'why?'  What was the point of it all if I run another 3:30+ marathon?  Sure, I love the training, but I also love seeing results.  And I feel like I was so ready at my marathon in Saginaw when I ran a 3:29 without even trying and now that whole idea feels lightyears away.  Keeping even a moderate pace seems so unabtainable.  I know this is all part of the mental burnout I am feeling after the last 2 years, but that doesn't make the feelings any easier or less real.

So the plan is to ENJOY it.  Seriously.  I know lots of people say that, and I am not usually one of them to admit to not 'racing hard' but I feel like it is right for tomorrow.  I have run well this training cycle.  I have learned alot.  It was not all for nothing.  There will never be another time that I run my 10th marathon, what's more on 10-10-10.  I can do it painfully, or I can love every minute.  I choose the ladder.

So we will see how it goes.  That's all there is to it.  The one thing I have learned is it doesn't get any easier- even on the 10th time.  There will always be self doubt.  There will always be the uncertainty.  There will always be the anticipation of pain.  But the thing that does get easier with time is KNOWING that I can deal with it.  That I can push through.  I've run a marathon with a stress fracture (my 1st).  I've run my second in 90 degree heat.  I've run Boston/Bayshore within 5 weeks of each other- 2 years in a row.  I ran Saginaw at the end of a 100 mile week.  I'm not saying these things to 'toot my own horn' but rather as a reminder of adversity that I have come through.  This should be easy then... ;)

Anyways, the weather man just said it would be 80+ degrees during the marathon and hense no PR's should be expected.  He was also comparing this year to the year of 'death' ie 2007, ie the last time I ran Chicago.  I always say how much I love the heat!  Now it is time for me to put my money where my mouth is!

See y'all on the other side.....Peace.  Love.  Running.

Friday, October 8, 2010


Well, thanks for the comments/messages!  I'm feeling *slightly* better today after some good sleeps last night.  And, I'm in Chicago at my sis' and bro-in-laws, so there is no turning back now!

Getting to the airport was a bit of an adventure though.  Traffic forced me to reroute completely on all side streets, rather than the freeway.  Then, half of the security terminals were closed, forcing everyone into one place.  After waiting forever, the security guard yelled at me for not taking off my sweatshirt (but I wasn't wearing anything under!?!?!) and then they had to pull me aside and frisk me and touch the bottom of my feet?? for some reason while all of my stuff (laptop, phone, bags, were someplace else I couldn't see.  Annoying.  Then, I dropped my ID and boarding pass on the bathroom floor, which would be OK except I am a total germaphobe......Good times.  But, I made it here at last.  We visited "The Worlds Biggest Whole Foods" for dinner tonite and a few groceries.  They even have a "trail mix bar" (ie my favorite food ever) which was stocked with all of my favorite things.  So, I got a great mix for POST marathon.  Which is sealed luckily.....

Anyways, it feels great to be here and be able to chill.  No running today, and a couple mile shakeout tomorrow.  We also have a farmer's market visit planned along with the expo.  And of course THE big game (ie U of M vs MSU).  My sis is a die hard U of M alum.  And, although I'm not die hard....I am an alum.  So we should have a nice afternoon of game watching and relaxing.  Sounds perfect to me!

Have a good day everyone!  :)

Thursday, October 7, 2010

4, 3 nervous. breakdown.

Ugh, I feel like my posts have all been such buzz kills lately!  I really hate to whine/vent on the blog, but sometimes it has to happen.  Like now.

This week has been crazy.  Honestly, it has been too much.  In my head and body, taper maddness is in full force.  Which I could deal with if it wasn't for my schedule this week.  Tuesday, Wednesday, and Today I was up at 3:30am and at the bakery by 4:30am.  Teaching from 10:30-5, killing myself in traffic because every road in Michigan is under construction.  Running after work.  Getting home by 7 or 8pm.  Too. Much.  Today, I seriously almost had a nervous breakdown.  I busted ass to get to my school on time, after working all morning making pasties at the bakery.  Then, I got to the parking lot and just sat there and wanted to cry!  It was so ridiculous, but for a couple of minutes I couldn't even force myself in!  Thursdays are particularly bad because I teach PE too, so my 'prep' period is no longer and I have to teach 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, and 9th periods straight.  2 x 7th grade science, high school girls PE, high school physics, high school chem, and honors high school chem all in a row.  Which was especially rough today.  Which I think is why I just wanted to sit in my car and start crying!  Uggghhh, I'm so lame!

The only good news is: I survived it.  Today.  This week.  And, I will not be working tomorrow as I am flying to Chicago!  So, I will be going to bed by 8pm tonite and plan to sleep until 8am.  I'm hoping that will screw my head on straighter than it is right now.

And running.  yeah.  Bad news is, my legs feel like lead on the riduculously short runs I've been doing the past couple of days.  Good news is, my paces are decent.  Yesterday, I met up with my dad at his work (he works ~ 5 miles from where I work) and ran.  I first did 2 miles on my own, then 3 with him for an easy five miler.  My miles = 7:19, 7:20.  Woah there tiger!  Today, I did 3 miles.  I almost blew it off completely to be honest.  My legs felt dead and my whole body felt jiggly.  Miles = 7:34, 7:44, 7:54.  They felt like about 10 minute pace, and I couldn't imagine doing any more!  I'm hoping it is just cuz I'd been working allll day before I ran.  Jeez, I'm freaking out!

Ok, that's it.  I'll hopefully have a better update tomorrow.  For now, I just feel exhausted and it is messing with my head.  I feel slow, fat, crazy, and insane!  Need. Sleeps.

I'm out...

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

6, 5 - Freaking. Out.

Yeah, true story.  I'm freaking out.

I'm working tons this week Tuesday-Thursday, yet my mind is on the marathon pretty much 24/7.  I feel completely out of whack in terms of only easy/short running and getting so nervous.  My eating feels all screwed up too- either I forget to eat/feel horrible and not hungry, or am eating for like 24 hours straight...which also ends up feeling not-so-good.  I blame it on the fact that my body isn't used to this little running!  And, sleeping is nonexistant.  Getting up at 3:30 was rough today, not only because it is 3:30, but because it is basically the middle of the night, I am always worried I will sleep through my alarm and so therefore I wake up 30000x during the night, which never usually happens for me!  Ugggh.  I just need this week done.

Teaching is going OK though.  I'm pretty on top of things in that area, which is always nice.  And my students like to ask me 101 questions about my running which always gets us off task and on tangents, but I never mind because I have a small obsession with running (in case you haven't got that yet) and I love telling my students about its joy!

Yeah, so I guess not much to report here.  I'm at a coffee shop because I was feeling like I needed to get out of my apartment after I got home, even though I'd been gone for 13 hours.  But I had already cleaned out my car, the kitchen, done tons of laundry and other stuff to get my jitters out, which wasn't working.  So I choose coffee shop.

Ok, I gotta go.  Alarm is again set for the pre-4am hour.  One day closer....

Sunday, October 3, 2010

8, 7 - ONE WEEK

Ohhh man.  I keep having waves of nervousness over me when I think about the marathon.  It feels "so close, but yet so far."  As in, too close for comfort but so far away that I still have tons of crap to do/get through before it.  Yikes.  And, I'm working at the bakery 5am-10am Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday before teaching 11am-5pm (yes, true story I have to teach again.)  Which stinks cuz I miss out on pre-marathon week sleep.  But is good because I need to make up for the 12+ hour shift I am missing this week by not being at the market Saturday.  Thus is life.

Today was a GREAT run though.  It was my last 'quality' work before the marathon and my last 'long' run, ie: 10 miles.  After a long day yesterday at the market and a long sleep last night in my freezing cold room (hell yeah I sleep with the window open when it is 35 degrees overnight) I awoke feeling hyper and ready to get 'er done.  I drove to a neighboring town to do a new route on the roads before visiting my friend at the town's farmer's market.  Let me tell you: this route was exactly my style.  Mostly flat except for one uphill, and all on sidewalks along the main road.  I could just look ahead and see sidewalk stretching ahead of me for a mile and attack it!  Love it.

I started off and immediately felt good.  I decided to just go with it and see how it went.  I was going directly into the wind for the first mile or so, but knew since my route was a big rectangle that it would get better.  And so I went.  I could tell it was fast, but honestly it felt good!  The temps were in the 40s, the sidewalk was open and I let my legs go.  I decided at mile 6 to push the last 2 slightly, then relax on the last two.  Mile 7 = 7:22.   Mile 8 = 7:16!  Overall = 8 miles at 7:26 pace.  My fastest training run in this cycle.  And my splits were close (for me!) too.  Everything between 7:16 - 7:37 (uphill mile).  I feel happy that my 'slow' mile was still only seconds off GMP.  Then I did 2 miles easy.  Totally a confidence building run.  I'm not saying that I feel less worried/doubtful/revising my goals about Chicago, but this was the best run that I have had in a long time.  I'm hoping I'll be even more ready after 1 final week of hard core taper.

Speaking of which, tomorrow I rest.  I sleep in, teach, prep, and go to bed.  That is the plan.  Taper is madness to me, one who took about 3 rest days during this cycle.  But it is a madness I will endure to get my legs primed and ready at the line next Sunday.  Plus, I have to actually focus on my job this week.  Imagine that.  Lots of young minds to mold in the areas of 7th grade science, Physics, and Chemistry.  Let the good times roll. :)

Friday, October 1, 2010

11, 10, 9 - its on the forcast...

I don't know what is going on with me, but somehow the marathon nerves + my decreased milage have made me stay away from my beloved blog!  But alas, I am back.

Yes, it is true- marathon day is on the forcast.  Calling for 51-67 degree temps and showers in Chicago.  Yikes.  Actually, I'm ok with that.  I fear wind the most.  And showers = cloudy skies = less chance for wind.  So yeah.  We will see.  It is bound to change about 100x before 10/10/10.

The second half of my week has been...ok.....I haven't been as productive as I should have, but I have still gotten a decent amount of work done.  My mental funk is still alive, but I'm trying to kick it to the curb.  I have got a nice amount of sleep this week, which makes a huge difference in my mental status so that is good.  Running wise, Wednesday was some sort of easy run with a massive hill repeat ('heartbreak' that I trained on last spring).  8:17 pace overall?  Maybe??  Yesterday, I did 10 miles split into a decent 6.5 miles in the morning, and a short 3.5 shakeout with my running group.  The morning run was at 7:41 pace, which felt a bit harder than I wish it did.  Then, at night after doing the first couple miles with my group, I broke off to go back early (which took major self restraint on my part!)  The first couple of miles with them were at a 9 minute pace, so I decided just to see where my body naturally went on it's own after.  Splits: 7:42, 7:22!  That was good, because I seriously barely felt like I sped up!

Today, I contemplated doing my last 'long run' ie; 10 miles because I've been doing my longs on Fridays.  But, with 9 days and knowing I will be majorly tapering the miles next week, I decided to hold off until Sunday.  Although I hate pushing back a long run, I figure that 10 miles isn't really long so physically and mentally it shouldn't be too tough after market day tomorrow.  So yeah.  Easy run today.  Felt OK.  I'll leave it at that.  I left G-man at home because I didn't want to obsess about pace.  At this point, it is all about relaxing, staying loose, and trying to stay fresh for the next week or so.

The rest of today has been spent writing tests and reviews and doing tons of errands.  I want to be really prepared because I know next weekend = zero time for prep work so therefore I need to be fully ready to teach for two weeks.  And, I'm trying to get a really good handle on my "October Finances".  I am very financially responsible, but need to keep better track of things as I am saving money now with my 2 jobs.  The joys of adulthood....

Off to keep at it!  Happy Weekend!

ps. I changed my blog layout.  Because I'm wild and crazy like that!  Hope it is more pleasing to the eye!