Thursday, October 25, 2012

Simple Amusement

I try to remind myself to enjoy the little things in life. In the current injury situation I find myself looking back alot and being thankful for all of the things I have accomplished. But I always need to refocus my thinking into looking forward to accomplish greater things.

I have had a few days to work out the grumpies inside me. It is a good thing for me to take a break from running and focus on my strength, swimming and cycling (all of which will benefit my running).

We had gorgeous weather yesterday and I was finally able to tackle some much needed yardwork, including mowing the lawn now that I could at least walk without decent pain.

This morning, I was partially listening to the news while talking with my hubby. We were expecting some severe thunderstorms running through the area and they were listing off affected cities of the biggest storm sliding through northeast WI and into MI. One of them that caught my attention........Spread Eagle. My husband and I both looked at each other and burst out laughing!! WHHHAAATTTT? Seriously??

So I had to google this to figure out where this town is located and if it truly existed. YES, yes it does!!

And then to see the highway number (Old Highway 69 if you cannot read it) just south of the city....ahhhh just too fitting.

Have you had your laugh today??

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

I called the foot doctor....

I have had pain in my left since the day after my marathon. I attempted a run on Saturday since my feet was feeling mostly better, I cut it to 2 miles as I could basically feel the pain right away. It wasn't that much worse than walking around on it so I figured it really couldn't hurt.

I WAS WRONG!! I was limping around the house in pain and I could barely put any weight on it for about 24 hours. I was frantically searching around the internet for possibilities of what it could be and based on the placement of the pain I thought it was peroneal tendonitis. I wasn't 100% sure so I decided at this point I needed to consult a professional and promptly found a podiatrist. I was lucky enough when I called Monday that they had an 1 opening on Tuesday otherwise I would have had to wait until early November.

As the podiatrist was having me push against his hand in different directions and pinpointing the spot of pain I was describing the uneven surface of the marathon and the dirt trail and he had this look like he knew what it was right away. He was going to take some X-Rays to make sure there wasn't anything structurally wrong with my bones.

The peroneal tendons run across the ankle to the mid-foot. One attaches in the location noted and the other goes in here and goes along the bottom of the foot.

As I guessed it, it was peroneal tendonitis..I should be a doctor...NOT! He promptly instructed me I have to take 4 - 6 weeks off from running and he gave me some few stretches to perform with the nice little sidenote "this tendon is the most difficult to get to and stretch"...AWESOME!! He also said if the pain is not gone in 6 weeks I would have to come back to see him and I would end up in a walking boot. Needless to say, I will be icing, stretching and not running until this is gone!!

My left leg can SUCK IT!! Anyone want to switch with me??

In talking with the doctor I remembered a little problem I had in 8th grade that I ended up on crutches & in an aircast for 2 weeks because of this same tendon! It likes to slide over the bone that sticks out on the outside of your ankle and will do this a few times a week. They just told me to live with it and if it got worse I would have to get a screw put in it. And the anterior shin splints I suffered from last winter was on my left leg.

I am determined to come back from this stronger than ever! So I will be getting cozy with the stationary bike, swimming pool and Jillian Michaels. I am secretly hoping that I can repeat last year and come back as a faster runner and triathlete. Just gives me more reason to work on my weaker areas of the triathlon and  hey, I was wanting to get in more cross training anyways!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Marathon Photos

Well, I did a horrible job of  taking any pics from race day. I left my phone in the car since it was likely going to rain most of the time and honestly it was just one less thing to carry with me. So I relied on the race photographers figuring I should be able to get a good one.

Well, let's just say apparently I just like to look bad in my pictures. They put signs out saying "SMILE...photographer ahead" AND you could spot them on the sides of the trail since nobody other than runners were out there. Do you think that would help me at all?

The first photographer I saw was around the 17-18 mile mark (I think?) and I was just trying not to make it look like it hurt. Would have been nice to have seen some earlier on when I was actually happy.

Passing someone :)

Oh yeah, here is a nice little game we like to on a slippery balance beam after you've already run 15+ miles. Try not to fall now!

Finally sprinting into the finish!!

Do you think I got any good ones??
We are always way more critical of ourselves.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Race Recap: Whistlestop Marathon

Well, the weekend did not exactly get off to the greatest start. We had an incident at home on Friday and I felt so bad leaving without being able to handle the situation. I can be a control freak and I just had to trust in others and know they would be able to take care of things while I was gone. I had a marathon to run the next day and could not give that up.

I loaded up the car and then headed over to pick up Sarah to pile the rest of the car full. We began our journey all the way up to Ironwood, MI to check into our hotel. We then hopped right back into the car for the 35 minute drive east to Ashland, WI for the expo. Let's just say, they should really just call this a packet pickup w/ some merchandise.

Since we would not be getting a shirt at the finish of the race Sarah and I both got shirts to commemorate our First Marathon, we both decided on the same one since it boldly stated what we have accomplished!!

We picked up our packets in no time since this was a small race (under 500 marathoners) and headed over the pasta dinner. Let's just say if we would have known what to expect we would have gone out to a restaurant for some pasta instead. We ate and mowed down our free apple to fill us up and headed back to the hotel. We both needed to finalize our race day outfits and get everything ready for the 5:30am wakup call.

Cool plaques for first place finisher (they also had one for local winners too)
Of course, I slept like crap and 5:30am just came to early. I lounged in bed for a bit and then began to get ready for the day ahead. I walked down to the hotel breakfast with bread from home in hand along with my peanut butter. I stuck with my usual and ate 2 pieces of peanut butter toast and we ventured out back to Ashland. Then we had to hop onto a bus and drive to the start, which was very daunting. That bus ride seemed to take forever and was not exactly thrilled about running that far back to where we would finish.

We got dropped off the bus and huddled in the chalet until shortly before the start. The plan for the day was to breakup the race into 6 mile chunks and the final 2.2 miles.

Part 1 (1-6)
We headed off with some rolling hills for the first mile and I walked for a bit with Sarah when we hit mile 1 as she was not feeling well. I immediately began counting down at every mile marker how far I had left. We then turned onto the trail, which according to the race information was a "crushed limestone" trail. I guess if you consider dirt with some large rocks in it "crushed limestone" then they were right on point. I was hoping this would just be a temporary problem since I was not exactly trained for this kind of surface. We stuck together until mile 2 and I had decided at this point to run as long as I could. I talked to 2 older gentlemen for about 1.5miles, I was coming to pass them and one mentioned what a beautiful morning it was so I decided to run with them until the next aid station when they walked. I kept on rolling through the mist that had been ongoing all morning without issues.

Part 2 (6-12)
I ate my first GU after the 6 mile mark and kept on my merry way. The footing was still the same and it basically kept changing so you had to be very aware of where the packed down lines were an constantly readjust that along the way. I was still running through at this point and was continuing to pass people the entire time, I really enjoyed this section as the rain got worse and then seemed to clear away. I finally felt like I was in a zone and was hoping I could keep it up. I was slowly watching my average pace creep down toward the 10:30/mile mark which was where I wanted to try and stay as long as I could.

Part 3 (12-18)
My 2nd GU was consumed and I just kept on trucking, I knew very soon I would be halfway done with the race and was looking forward to that moment. My legs were starting to feel the wear & tear of the surface and I just wanted to get through this section of the race without having to stop to walk. I was aiming to run until 18 where I would begin a walk/run ratio to finish out the race. My mantra quickly became "Quitting is easy" during this portion. I came up to the aid station right before 16 and what was that I could hear???MUSIC!!! This was literally the first aid station that had speakers and music playing. Everyone was cheering really loud and I could feel the adrenaline surge in my body.......and then it was quickly over and there I was staring at this some old lonely trail. Yep, my nice little bubble I had going popped here and I had to stop to walk for the first time, and my feet instantly were tingling. I kinda freaked out but I kept on walking and it went away. I walked for about .25 miles and began running until mile 18.

Part 4 (18-24)
Time for my 3rd GU and I walked at this point again too. I told myself to start running after .25 miles again and I would run until mile 20. I finally made it to mile 20 and stopped for a walk break again. I almost felt defeated at this point because I was so ready for the race to be over and I knew I still had a solid hour left. Staring down at this trail for the last 3 and a half hours had gotten to me and I just wanted to be off it. At this point I just told myself to run to the next aid station, which were at least every mile at this point, where I would walk for a few minutes and proceed to run again. Everyone around me was basically doing the same thing so there was not a lot of cat and mouse playing going on.

Part 5 (24-26.2)
 Is this stinking trail over yet?? I seriously felt like I was in some stupid video game where the background just kept replaying itself over & over again. There was no corners to turn, just one really long straight trail!! I tried to joke around with some other runners about this but nobody wanted to talk. It was a very lonely race as nobody wanted to encourage others on and everyone just kept to themselves. I had been feeling uber bloated since about mile 22 and could not stomach eating another gel so I skipped it. FINALLY we turned off that stinkin trail, onto an asphalt trail and man did my feet hurt! The surface change really was a jolt to my legs and running became so much harder. The last aid station came and I wanted to run the last 1.2 miles to the finish but I just couldn't. I had to take one final walk break halfway there to recover myself a bit. There was little motivation as there was nobody around to really catch at this point as I could only see 2 people ahead of me but we were evenly spaced out and all running the same pace. I rounded the last few corners and made it to the finish!!

I managed to make my B goal by finishing in 4:50:07 (darn you last walk break!!), but I never had to use a porta-potty along the course so I can't blame that either.
Bib #Overall
Age Group
NameCity, StateFinish
21335712318Kons, AliciaNeenah, WI  04:50:07.1    CenturyLink Full Marathon

*I believe there was only about 430 full marathon runners so this was definitely a fast group.This was also my last official race with my old last name, since all the next ones coming up I've signed up for post marriage. At least I should remember when the switchover occurred.

I managed to waddle over to get my mylar blanket, medal...and then they make you walk out of that tent another tenth of a mile to another tent to get our finishers duffle bag. Darn you race directors!! Downside is that the medal and bag were the same for the Half Marathon & Marathon and it doesn't differentiate which race you did. Just kinda annoying since we went through alot more to just get the same thing.

The duffelbag is pretty cool. loaded with pockets!!
 I walked back over to the finish area bleachers to watch for Sarah to finish. I sat down not knowing if I would actually be able to get back up and I could not stop myself from shaking. I decided to trek it back to the tent with the heat to try and get warm. I found a spot where I could see the last turn before the finish, but still could not get warm. I finally had to pee and was not about to use the cold portapotties outside when I knew there was an indoor bathroom. I decided to check and see if I could find out if Sarah got picked up by medical as I hadn't found her yet. They weren't much help so I decided to go back to where I was sitting. I turned into the tent and there was Sarah with her medal and finisher bag. I immediately teared up because I knew just how much of a struggle she was going to have that day feeling under the weather! I was so proud of her for finishing that beast, we had a quick hug and we immediately left the place not wanting to come back.

We warmed up in the car on the way home and shared our experiences on the way back. We had a few other runners in our hotel as well and we were able to discuss the experience with them later when we ventured down to the hot tub. They felt very similar to our complaints about the race so we were happy we weren't the only ones.

Overall, would I do this race again....HELL NO!!

The only positive thing I really have to say about the race is that the aid stations were good, they had Water and Red Powerade at each one (although I carried my own gatorade and just refilled my water) and some decent food was at others scattered throughout the race but I never took them. There was only one aid station that was handing out GU's and it was at mile 18 if I remember correctly.

Right now, I want a break from some of the longer runs but I think I definitely want to do 1 (maybe 2) next year. Anyone have a really good race suggestion?
P.S.I think I want a race with really incredible spectators!!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Marathon Eve

Ok, so it's a little early but by the time most of you read this it will be. How's that for pre-planning! After 3 months of training it is surreal to think that I'm so close to starting the Whistlestop Marathon.

I will be leaving town shortly after noon to make the 5 hour trek up nort to Ashland, WI for the race expo & pasta dinner. Then we get to drive about 30 minutes to MI where our hotel is located, couldn't find anything in Ashland that wasn't ridiculously overpriced! One of the main requirements when we were searching was 1. Don't be a total dive
2. Must have hot tub
and that really was about it, we really aren't that picky.

I have successfully packed about 1/2 my running wardrobe because I still haven't figured out what I will exactly wear. I don't even think I packed 'normal' clothes! I will leave that task for tomorrow when we can sort of rely on the hourly forecast. As of right now it's not exactly looking pleasant for the weekend. At least after the marathon is over, we probably won't want to venture out from the hotel.

I know I can't control mother nature and there was always this possibility, all I'm asking for is to not have to run the entire 5 hours being wet & cold. I would honestly prefer it to be snowing over raining when we dip into the cooler temps. The bulk of the marathon is run on a trail so this could turn into a squishy nightmare with horrible knee pain for me, but I'm trying not to think about it. I just need to go into the day with a good mental game plan and adjust it as needed for the conditions.

My goal is to JUST FINISH the race since it is my first marathon and I know the distance will never be easy. 26.2 miles is far to run and is not something you decide to do overnight. It's taken me 4 years of running to get the point of truly feeling like I can conquer this distance and not be afraid of it.

But let's be honest, I do have time goals in mind. My plan is to try and start out around 10:45 - 11 minute miles and slowly increase my pace. I don't ever really want to see an under 10 minute mile unless it's after 20 as I don't want to slam into a wall halfway through the race. If things mentally & physically work out for me I think my A goal is achievable, here is what I'm thinking:

A Goal: 4:30 - 4:45
B Goal: 4:45 - 5:00
C Goal: 5:00 - 5:15                                
D Goal: Get your arse across the finish line!!
F Goal: You will not Fail....see D Goal :)

Fuel Plan: I plan on eating a GU every 5 - 6 miles, more likely 6 and eat 1 shot blok at 3 mile intervals between the GU's (ie. Mile 3, 9, 15, 21) & maybe 1 mile out for that final last burst. The race has red powarde (ICK!!) for their drink so I'm going to load up 3 out of the 4 bottles on my fuel belt with Gatorade and just refill the water one often, until I drink the Gatorade and then I can have some water with a little hint of Gatorade to it.

Now it's time to enjoy the atmosphere surrounding this big event and try and get some sleep before the race is here.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Marathon Training Recap - Week 12

So, I did pretty good last week but I can't 100% prove it. My laptop crashed and I don't have any of my files right now.Which means my marathon training plan is gone so I'm going from memory. I shipped my laptop to our office and I have to deal without it until Wednesday morning, at least they were able to recover my files....WHEW!

Monday: 4 mile run - ended up getting in a quick 3.2 miles
Tuesday: Strength - JM 30 Day Shred Week 1 completed even though it was around 10pm
Wednesday: 5 mile run - 5.5 mile trail run with Kim & Matt (except the 0.5 mile he skipped out on)
Thursday: Core & Swim - Skipped since my body was really dragging and felt I needed the extra rest
Friday: Rest
Saturday: 8 mile run - Completed on a crushed gravel trail to mimic next week's marathon surface, felt amazing and finished in the right amount of time so I just missed being stopped by the train!! Felt great and kept a 10:20 overall pace without having to stop :)
Sunday: Cross Train - Did 20 minutes on the elliptical and completed a 700 yd swim ladder workout. Wanted to do bike instead of elliptical but forgot my headphones...phoey!

I completed my goals from last week with the exception of the bike ride, that will just have to wait until after the marathon when I probably won't feel like running. And technically I only did 700 yards swimming instead of 800 but the gym was closing and I had to get out of there. If I wouldn't of had to wait 5 minutes for a lane would have been just fine though!

At this point the marathon is only 6 days away and I cannot wait for Friday to get here. I only have to work a half day and then Sarah and I are off to the expo and pasta dinner! I'm happy the marathon is Saturday morning so we don't have another whole day to sit and stress about it. We will just have to hobble around on Saturday if we want to emerge from our hotel room.

I think I'm going to end up packing half my running wardrobe as I'm still up in the air to what I will wear and I want compression stuff to wear after the marathon. I have to remember to pack "real" clothes!!

I'm starting a list of miscellaneous items to pack, let me know if there was anything you wished you had before or after your marathon?

Thursday, October 4, 2012

I Hate the Marathon 5!!

Ok, so I gained the 5 pounds typical to preparing to run a marathon, and all I can say about it.... I HATE IT!!

I have spent the last year paying close attention to my weight and had lost about 13 pounds. It's driving me insane to watch the scale number slowly going up. I hate that I never feel full and I feel like I can constantly eat all day. I've recently come to terms with the fact that I am an emotional eater. After careful consideration that is not the reason for the weight gain, but all the carbs my body is craving right now.

I was secretly hoping I would be immune to this, I did get away with not gaining the Freshman 15 when I went off to college thanks to walking all over campus with a 20 pound weight on my back.

I have had issues with my weight ever since my college years when I went from being mostly active to sitting at a desk all day. I did gain weight during my last year in college thanks to my emotional eating (thank you stress!!) & having a bout of depression but nothing like how fast I saw it stack on with the job change. I realized at that point in my life, when I was 50 pounds more that what I was out of high school, I had to make a major change to my eating habits and successfully stopped gaining weight.

Next was the hard part, losing it!! I tried to start running once before and had little success, but I found other ways to get active instead. I tried running again a year later and with some encouragement I successfully became a runner. I have kept at it because of all the benefits it has done for me.
  • Lose/maintain my weight
  • Tone my muscles
  • Improve my self worth
  • Improve my mental strength
  • Realizing you can do anything you put your mind to!
I'm finding it hard to love running right now when it's failing me with my biggest struggle over the last 5 years. While I know this gain is likely only temporary, it's still hard. I worked so hard to get the weight off and I know I will have to face this road again. I have been trying to really focus on why I'm eating something and not just blindly eat.

I know the overall benefits have outweighed gaining the few pounds that I have and I just need to accept it. I will lose the weight again and I'm pushing to finally hit my goal weight of 125 lbs. by 2013.

I will admit that I habitually weigh myself every morning, am I the only person that does this?

Have you ever struggled with your eating habits?

Monday, October 1, 2012

Marathon Training Recap - Week 11 & Sept. Recap

All I have to say about last week.....SORE & TIRED!!!

That 20 miler really took alot out of me and I didn't even attempt to run until Wed, all 3 miles just plain hurt! The 6 miles kinda hurt and the 12 miler was really difficult mentally, just not feeling it Sunday. Thankfully it was my first Taper week so I didn't really feel too bad, BUT I did modify the crap out of last week!! I can at least say I got in all except 1 scheduled mile and I threw in a little swim, which I really missed :)

9/24/2012CoreRestStrength3 m + 400 yd Swim6 m PaceCross12

My goals for this week
  • Enjoy taper
  • Swim at least 800 yards
  • Get a bike ride in on the road bike
  • Mixup my runs this week & have fun!
I have noticed one thing missing in my Marathon Training Plan.....
I don't have one for Post Race!! Any advice out there??
*Note that I do have a Half Marathon 3 weeks after the Marathon

September Recap
Miles Ran: 113 (compared to 80 in Aug)
AND....that was all I really did other than a few strength workouts
** I didn't get any cross training workouts, definitely need improvement here!!

September Races
9/1 - Justiceworks Just Run Half Marathon
9/23 - Fox Cities Half Marathon (New PR Baby!!)