Sunday, April 29, 2012

10K Season is Here!

Most marathoners take a break from marathons during the summer to train for and run 5Ks and 10Ks.  Why?  Well, because almost no one can run at marathon level year-round without getting injured or burnt out.  We all need a break and a chance to recover from the strains of the high mileage of marathon training.  And it just makes sense to do this when the weather is at its hottest.

I wanted to ATTACK my 10K time this year.  It is the only major distance that I have not PRed at on this side of having kids (I broke 3 of my old PRs last year within 4 months--see here).  My 10K time has pretty much hovered near 43 minutes for the last year.  According to the McMillan calculator (when I enter my Chicago marathon time), I should be able to get a 41:40.  So, at the very least, I wanted to break 42 minutes this year.  I figured this was a very reasonable goal.

But there is a problem.  I am now one of those people who thinks that I have to carefully choose a 10K course in order to get a good time.  The flattest and fastest 10K course around here is probably the River City 10K, where I got my old PR of 40:43.  Well, when that race came up this year, I could not find a babysitter, and it was Rick's turn to race (We take turns for races, meaning I run one, then he runs one).  Rick nicely sent me links to two other "fast" 10Ks nearby, but we were busy both of those weekends.

So that leaves Run Through the Roses this weekend and Cotton Row Run on Monday, May 28.  Both of these courses are tough and hilly, and I don't know how reasonable it is to expect a good time on them.  But they are the only chances I will have this season for the sub 42:00.  My running group has trained on the RTTR course over the last 3 weeks, and I did a pretty good 6x800 speedwork session with Julia on Wednesday.  Honestly, though, I am dreading the thought of having to run fast for 6.2 whole miles!  I am so used to marathons by this point, that they are almost easier for me to do than a 10K.

Here is a good entry from Arkansas Runner Mom on marathoners training for 5Ks (glad to know I am not the only one who struggles with wanting to do the shorter distances!)   

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Okay, just one more....

So, it looks like Rick and I will be running one more marathon on this training cycle after all.  We will run the Minneapolis Marathon on June 3, 2012.  We had originally wanted to wait and run the Twin Cities Marathon in October, but it makes more sense to run this one for various reasons (like having family members to visit).  We decided on this race on April 20, giving ourselves only 5 weeks to train.  No, I don't recommend this approach!

Of course, I am not starting from scratch here.  I do have a pretty good base of marathon training from the fall, winter, and early spring marathons and the 50K.  But the question is how to train for a marathon when I had already stopped marathon training?  

The Instant Classic was on March 17, and then I ran a trail 25K the next weekend (March 24).  For about 3 weeks, I didn't really do anything long, then last weekend (on April 14), I ran 12 miles at a 7:58 pace.  It felt nice to push it, and it was a hot day, so I felt especially pleased with the time.  

But that was before I knew about the marathon!  We were still deciding about the marathon this Saturday morning, but I went out for a good 15 mile run just to make sure I had increased my long run enough to be able to do 18-20 miles this coming Saturday.  I was able to get a 7:32 average, super fast for me and a nice combination of a marathon-pace run and a long run.  It gave me some confidence that I can train for this marathon and be ready come June.

Now, for the real confession.  I don't want to just run this marathon.  This marathon might be the last one I do for awhile.  I have always said that I don't put marathoning before my family, but I was wrong.  I have put marathoning above my desire to have a third baby.  I have let marathoning become so important to me that I can't "find a good time" to let my body carry and nurse another baby.  I have been selfish, and I am ashamed.  

This race may be it.  We are talking about the third baby in more real terms than ever before.  So, I will give Marathon #26 everything I've got.  Will it be a 3:10?  Rick says there's too much elevation change, and, with part of the course run on loose gravel, it's not a good course to get a PR.  There's the lack of training to think about and the fact that this race was an afterthought, a quick addendum to an already good season.  Plus, it's in June, for goodness' sake.   

Yet if there's something that can be said about me, let it be that I never throw an opportunity away.  I know that the odds are stacked high against me.  I know this whole thing might not make any sense or even seem downright foolish.  But it's all I've got, and I'm going for it. 

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Boston Marathon Heat

My heart is broken for those planning to run the Boston Marathon in the heat they are expecting for Monday (see here for ESPN's article called "Heat could affect Boston Marathon").  I would hate to have to face the decision to run in the heat or defer to next year.  I would not have the ability to defer if I had already traveled up there and paid for the hotel.  I imagine many are in that situation.

For comfort, here is my Chicago Marathon entry where we were also given a Heat Advisory and told to adjust our pace due to the heat.  It only made it to the upper 70s, but we had trained in the heat (well, I had in Alabama, so I was pretty accustomed to it).  Those running Boston will probably not be as accustomed to the heat, as most of your long runs were in early spring and winter.

I hope you all will make wise decisions about what to do, and please be careful as you are running on Monday.  From the perspective of someone who has sat in the medical tent after finishing three marathons and been taken to the hospital before finishing one, NOTHING is more important than your life--even your lifelong dream to run Boston.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Chilly Run

My running group had a nice long conversation about modesty the other day.  I actually brought it up, asking two of my friends who have girls older than mine if they let their girls wear bikinis.  I was wondering how you convince the girls to like modesty.  My little girl (4 1/2 years old) has been asking me for a bikini this year.  She doesn't ask for much, but I am just not ready to see her in one, or to have others see her in one!  I don't know if I ever will be.

The topic shifted to women who run without their shirts, and I laughed and said how much I would scare people if I ran without mine.  My stomach has never been the same since I had kids, and it's definitely not something I want to show off to anyone.  I keep it covered, and I enjoy running in singlets, so it all works out just fine.  End of story, or so I thought.

The next day was Thursday, and I set off for my usual 5ish mile run with my daughter in the single stroller.  We'd been having nice spring weather, so I had finally pulled off the winter boot from the stroller.  My daughter had enjoyed sitting in the stroller for some sunny runs wearing just shorts and short sleeves.  Today's weather seemed warm too--somewhere in the high 50s or low 60s--but I hadn't figured in the wind.  We had been running for a couple of miles when I turned to run southward, and the cold breeze hit us.  I quickly looked down through the window in the stroller and I saw what I jokingly and lovingly refer to as "the smallest little goosebumps in the whole world!"  If you have a baby or a child, you know how cute and strange it is to see tiny, tiny little goosebumps on their skin.  I don't see them often!  I can imagine that you moms know what I did next already.  I HAD to!  I, Ms. Modesty herself, took off my running shirt and used it to cover my shivering daughter, leaving me and my stomach exposed for all the world to see.  It's funny the things we will do for our kids without a second thought.

I managed to quickly run the last few miles of my run, trying to will people to look away from me by staring at them through my sunglasses (they surely must have known that I wasn't planning to run in just a sports bra--it was pretty chilly and my bra did not match my shorts in the slightest).  My daughter probably had no idea how much I felt like I was sacrificing for her.  I felt so embarrassed!  I was so glad to get home and to get inside my house for cover.

So, I definitely wasn't the most modestly dressed runner out there today, but I survived to tell the tale.  I did what any of us would have done in that situation.  And maybe, just maybe, I learned that it's okay to reveal something that's not quite so perfect to those around me.  Just don't expect to see me running in just a sports bra in any upcoming races!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Easter Egg Hunting and "Do I really look like that from behind?"

There is a line from a Harry Potter movie where Hermione says something like, "Do I really look like that from behind?"  I always thought that line was both really funny and really true.  As in, I am always wondering how I look from behind.  Is that weird?

Anyway, there is always a gold prize egg at my parents' Easter Sunday egg hunt with a $5 bill inside.  Each year, we have a friendly competition to find it (did I tell you I'm a twin and that twins are highly competitive??).  I was hunting all around the yard trying to find that prize egg!  

This picture is obviously an awful angle (Rick was enjoying clicking away!!!), but I did like how my calves looked in this picture.  TONED!  Pretty neat.  I never knew they looked like that from behind!  It has taken me awhile to like how I look, muscles and all (see here for more of my story).

Toned legs

More hunting...

And more hunting!!! (I was given a clue that it was in that bush!!!)
It was also cool to see my son save a robin's egg and put it back in the nest from which it had fallen.  My kids both love the outdoors, and Alabama had the most perfect Easter Sunday weather--low 70s with a nice breeze.  They enjoyed hours of outdoor play!

Rescuing the robin egg (no, we can't keep it!!)

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Video of McKay Hollow Madness Finish

I don't have much new to report this week.  I don't even really feel like a runner anymore!  These were my runs over the last 6 Saturdays (from February 18-March 24): 17 miles, 20 miles, 17 miles, 14 miles, marathon, and 25K.  On Saturday, March 31, I ran NOTHING!  That's right, not a single mile.  It didn't feel good.  It felt weird.

So since there is not much to report on the running front, here is the video of me finishing the 25K. The pauses are where Rick took a still picture with the video camera.  I'm thankful he was able to get both still pictures and video!  It's so fun for us when we can cheer the other one on from the finish line, and I was glad he was there.

Happy Easter!

UPDATE: I am having trouble viewing this video now, but it was working the day I uploaded it. :(  I know nothing about technology!!  I'm so sorry if you can't view it, but I don't know what to do!!

Note:  The person screaming so loudly that it almost sounds like she is crying is my daughter.  That really touches me, that she was so proud of me that she cannot contain it.  You can see Casey Fritz on camera turning to look quizzically at my daughter because Casey thinks she is crying!  She yells, "Katie (no, she doesn't usually call me that!)!!!!  Momma, GO!!!! GO!!!!" and then, "Mommy, you won!!!!  Momma, you won again!!!"  I am so happy to have this video to remember that moment.  May I always be her hero and someone she can look up to with pride.