Saturday, June 16, 2012

Grandma's Marathon 2012!

Well it was a pretty great race. 3:06:02 was my official time. So that means no PR today, but I was about 5 ½ minutes faster than at Illinois Marathon (time of 3:11:26), 7 weeks ago. My PR from the Indy Monumental last November still stands; today was about roughly 1 ½ minutes slower than my PR of 3:04:25. So am I disappointed? Not really. It was my second fastest marathon and I actually had an awesome first half of the race, coming in at 1:31:36 for the 13.1 mile time. I would have liked to PR today and I think I could have, but I think a few factors played into my time today. First was the fast-changing weather. It started out feeling fine, but felt like it was going to really warm up. It was a very humid day and did get warm in the second half. The second were the rolling hills. Being a flatlander Chicago city boy, I don’t see hills much at all. This course has many “gentle” rolling hills, and one big one around mile 22 or so, that went up, then slightly down, then up again. And the last big factor in this race was my lower back (gluteus medius, perhaps), which really got soar around mile 17 or 18. (Maybe that was made worse by the hills? Or the grade on the roads? Or weak core. Not sure.) The latter slowed me down big time in the last 10 miles and I knew at mile 18 that a PR was no longer in the cards for me today, but I was going to try and still have a strong finish, and enjoy the run anyway.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Questioning the Hot Race -- Will Cooler Heads Prevail?

The race reports I’ve read from fellow runners in the early part of the 2012 race season show quite a few marathon and half marathon runners battling hot and often humid race conditions. It seems like many of the reports are from the same race and the same runner. Each has worked hard over the past several months preparing for the big event. Each striving for a new PR. Each coming face to face with heat, sun, humidity, and then race strategy changes quickly from PR to survival mode. It’s almost heart-wrenching to read and hear what people go through, because I’ve been there, and I know it just plain sucks. It’s not fun. Distance running in hot weather is anything but fun. When the heat cramps, side stitches, nausea, light-headedness, mega thirst, fatigue, or leg cramps set in on a hot day, there’s little you can do to maintain a “decent pace” much less recover and get back on track. It just doesn’t happen. Splits get slower and slower. You walk more and more. You try to drink as much as you can, but it’s not enough. Salt pills help, maybe, but they’re no antidote.  You’re at the mercy of the elements, and all that’s left is to roll with the punches. Your goal is to not pass out on the road.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Who Has The Runs

I was recently interviewed for the awesome blog over at Who Has The Runs, so thought I'd share the link here.

Answering the interview questions made me think about my own running from some new angles, but it was also enjoyable to think over the past years and what got me into running. I've also enjoyed reading the interviews from other runners featured on the blog. It is certainly worth reading and following for anyone with even a mild interest in running!

Enjoy, and happy running!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Recovering: It's better'n nothing

The shin pain was the result of a stress reaction or stress fracture in my right medial tibia. I’m still not exactly certain whether there is a huge difference between ‘reaction’ and ‘fracture,’ as the terms seemed to be somewhat interchangeable, at least in my diagnosis and even my past experience.
Looks okay to me!
Google results for “difference between stress fracture and stress reaction,” produce examples of people like me asking the same thing, further muddying the issue as no true medical authority seems to be stepping in to help. :) It’s okay though, I asked my doctor and she said there’s not really much difference. The treatment is basically the same. Admittedly, I have no spot on my leg where the bone is broken in two, nor does a clear fracture exists, so a ‘stress reaction’ is probably the most accurate classification.  Google searches for the above phrase also return ‘running’ and ‘long distance runner’ in the results, and I think to myself, yep, that’s me. So, that’s good enough for my research, thanks Google. Whatever it truly should be termed, it happens to us, and in good numbers, so I’m not alone in my recovery process.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

F^3 Lake Half Marathon

One goal for me this year was to do more introspection and recaps from each of my races.  They’re obviously great milestones to measure your progress and review where you are physically. Mentally, races are often much bigger challenges and all the more exciting to reflect on, be they good or bad.

After my last big race in November, I was really looking forward to running the F^3 Lake Half Marathon at the end of January. Although I’m well acclimated to training in the lonely brisk winter months, I’d never run a race in the middle of winter in Chicago, or anywhere else for that matter. I knew before registering the weather would be a big factor:  there might be snow, freezing wind, and be just plain cold. But that was all fine. I’d handle that. I suppose I got a little reckless with the mileage I put in during the month of December, so even though I thought I was being careful, the training was taking a toll on me. I took some days off and cross-trained a bit, and figured I’d still be able to pull off a decent time.  In December I ran a new half PR while training, so I was ready. Or so I thought.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Injury as a Motivator

I spent most of January dealing with different aches and pains. Looking back at the month I half-laugh, half-shake my head. I can only attempt to shelve the echoes of disappointment that continue to rattle away at the inside of my head. I mean, it wasn’t a total wreck, but I never felt 100% the entire month, it was my lowest mileage month since May, I had the perfect opportunity to run a fast Half with a great time and instead came out flat, and now I’m about to head to a doctor to get my right shin checked out since it’s one of the pains that’s been bugging me nearly the whole month but this one doesn’t seem to ever fully heal. To literally add insult to injury, January, like much of December, was a great month for winter running in Chicago - warm, warm, warm, at least relatively.  And I missed most of it.  Ugh. Generally I get a little down when injured, nothing shocking there, but feeling like this for a month eats away at you.  You begin to do other things to bring you up a notch or two.  Eat. Watch more TV. Sit around more. Of course eating your way to happiness has zero to no positive effects.  So even though I’ve tried to remain just as active by cross-training, I’m not getting nearly the same time in, and apparently not the same caloric burn.  Six pounds heavier I realized it was time to cut back on my eating. I really don’t want to start from square one.