Friday, October 17, 2014

Home Stretch

Well, it's the home stretch before my marathon this weekend in Grand Rapids.  I may be stressed, I may be nervous, I may be excited...regardless, I KNOW I will have a good time.  Here's why...

1. I've trained. I did my physical training and I've done my mental training. I know you've heard me talk all year about working on my positivity, pushing out negative thoughts, working on running happy, and finding my "Melanie Pace" (a.k.a. The pace that makes me run happy). 

2. I've only ever heard great things about this marathon. I'm very excited to experience it myself. I hear it's well organized and the race director shakes every one's hand that finishes the race! Very nice! Can't do that in Chicago, that's for sure!

3. The colors should be beautiful. It's fall and the leaves are all changing. A good portion of this race is on a trail and I'm excited to see all the beautiful colors! I might have to take my phone out around part of that time in case I want to snap a photo or two!



4. The weather is supposed to be marathon perfect!


Actually, a little too perfect and I'm not sure if I should be wearing tank or tshirt, or capris or shorts. I'm bringing everything and will figure it out while there!  Arm sleeves are a definite and cheapy gloves.

5. My friend Julie will be there and probably running at least a few miles with me. Um... Julie is one of my best running partners!! How can I not have some fun?


Julie and I at the finish of our first ultra last fall!
6. Pickle Juice. Yes you heard me correctly. This race has pickle juice as part of their hydration/fueling on course. I've recently searched blog reviews of this marathon and everyone said they had never had pickle juice during a run but tried it during this marathon...and loved it! Now, I love pickles. One of my favorite foods. And as a child, I secretly drank pickle juice. Don't judge. I've been known to do it as an adult occasionally. DON'T JUDGE. So I'm super excited to try this at the race. I've never had it during a run before and I know you aren't supposed to try anything new on race day. But I've heard that it doesn't apply to pickle juice at the Grand Rapids Marathon, right? lol.

Pickle juice actually has sodium, potassium, magnesium, etc. All the good stuff to help prevent cramping! I'm game!

7. Have fun. Yes my goal is to PR. Yes, I'm going to try to do it. But I want to have fun. I want to enjoy my marathon. If for some reason a PR doesn't happen, that's ok too. I want to look at the race as a whole and think... I enjoyed myself. I did my best. I'm happy with my results. I have an awesome experience! Because after all, that's what running is all about!  But yes, I'm going after my PR. That doesn't mean I need to be fast. It just means I need to be consistent!  Keep going when the going gets hard!

I think that's all I've got for you all today! Hope you all have a great weekend. And to my friends running marathons this weekend (Indianapolis and Grand Rapids...you know who you are), have a fantastic time!

Big shout out to my girl Becky doing her first marathon in Indy!! Love ya! Have fun and kick butt!
 
Becky and I after our holy hot half marathon in Vegas this year

Monday, October 6, 2014

Marathon Thoughts

Happy Monday! Actually I'm not feeling particularly happy today but that's because of my own personal "female" issues. TMI? Whatever, it's life.

My thoughts are all over the place right now. Some are personal issues: my dad had hip replacement surgery a month ago and has had his ups and downs with his recovery. Others are running related, namely, the Grand Rapids Marathon.  Bear with me while I talk out my random rambling thoughts about the marathon.

GEAR

I don't know what I'm wearing, and that includes shoes. I'm incredibly frustrated. First, clothing. This isn't much of an issue. I never found the right sports bra yet (and I've been trying for years). I get horrible chafing and it sucks. I think I've found a temporary solution for the marathon. A couple of the bras haven't been chafing as much on my long runs combined with Vaseline (lots of it). Depending on the weather, I know the capris or shorts I'll be wearing. Not 100% on the shirt and now it depends again on the weather. I've run in lots of shirts so I think I'll be fine in whatever I wear.

Shoes. Oh shoes. Last year I ran in Brooks Ravenna 4's. I had trouble but ONLY because I think I wore my laces too tight on my first marathon, which caused major foot pain during that marathon and the subsequent ones. I think the shoes were fine. With that said, I've never found the "perfect shoe." I was fitted again and they put me in neutral plus shoes (I was previously fitted for stability). I tried the Brooks Glycerin. They are ok. Again, not the perfect shoe but fine. I also previously had gotten Mizuno Wave Inspire 9.  I never liked the shoes after I got them because the ankle fits higher up on my ankle. I only wore them before for short runs. And for a long time, I never wore them.

Brooks Ravenna 4



Mizuno Wave Inspire 9
I decided to try the Mizuno's for a long run. Coupled with wearing the new Injinji toe socks. I loved it. My feet felt great. I got no blisters (I'm guessing from the socks). I thought I would give the Mizuno's more of a try. After several long runs going well, I figured these would be my marathon shoes (but the new versions). I bought a pair of Mizuno Wave Inspire 10's. And I wore them on a couple long runs, and short runs. They felt good too. I'm sold. Marathon shoes. Until I wore them for my 20 miler and they started hurting my ankle (from the outside ankle area being too high up). It wasn't too bad but definitely a concern of mine. I wore my older ones the following weekend for the half marathon.  And my mile 10, the shoes were really hurting my ankle. Definite pain. When I helped my cousin after my half for the end of the marathon, I could barely walk in them anymore. I took them off several times and walked barefoot. These were no longer my marathon shoes. No way was I wearing them ever again!
Mizuno Wave Inspire 10 (Super cute)
 

I've debated trying to just shave off the top of the shoe a bit near the ankle bone so that it's lower. I thought about doing it on my older pair. I haven't decided if that will work or not and if I should try it. I don't think it would affect the shoe at all.

I bought an emergency pair of Brooks Ravenna 5's. I figured I ran my marathons last year in the 4's and it was ok. I wore them for my short run 5 mile run last week and for my 12 this weekend. And I'm just feeling "Eh" on them. I have absolutely NO IDEA what I'm going to do for my marathon....that's in less than 2 weeks!  Ok moving on...

Brooks Ravenna 5 (Also super cute)
 
I'm wearing Injinji Toe Socks. My new love. I love you Injinji. My non-blistered toes love you too. Thank you!


PACE

My ultimate goal for the marathon would be to PR. That means I have to come in under 4:44:54. I think it's doable. But I have no strategy. I've just been trying to average or maintain a pace on my long runs between 10:15-10:30 for the most part. I've walked at points and miles come in in the 11:00's. That's fine. I've been trying to "run happy". But I have no idea what to run for my marathon to achieve my goal. I mean, I know I have to run below a 10:53 average pace. But... how do I start? How do I keep going when it's tough? How do I get a PR? Should I see if I can run with the 4:30 pace group? Should I start out and run with the 4:45 pace group? (Roughly...the grand rapids marathon has "celebrity pace groups" and it's 4:29 and 4:44).

Ultimately, I'm just going to run. I'm going to try not to worry about it too much. I'm going to try to not start out so fast. I'm going to try to stay consistent. And I'm going to try to run happy.  My pace will be what my pace will be.

I'm attaching my 19 miler and 20 miler garmin splits. As you can tell, I haven't done too bad. I had a rough time on my 19 miler and a better "happier" time on my 20 miler but on both, my splits are pretty decent. (My 20 miler, my garmin messed up and I'm missing 1 mile somewhere in the middle, but it didn't matter to me).  So this makes me believe I can do it if I keep my head on straight and "run happy."
19 miler/20 miler
 
FEELINGS

I'm SO EXCITED for this marathon. I feel like I'm running my first marathon. I have no idea why. Maybe it's because I'm physically feeling better than last year and part of me thinks a PR is possible. I haven't tried to PR anything this year. THIS is the one I'm waiting for.  But I'm feeling nervous. As it's getting closer and all of my long (really long) runs are now over, I only have the marathon to think about now. No more worrying about my 18, 19 or 20 milers. This is it. Less than 2 weeks.

RUN HAPPY!!


Friday, October 3, 2014

Tri Town Community Half Marathon

Happy October! Hope fall is treating you well. This past Sunday, my friends and I ran the Tri Town Community Marathon and Half Marathon. I did the half. I considered the option of the full because originally it was the weekend of my 20 mile run, but things changed. Here's how things went down.

A groupon came up for this full marathon and half marathon in Merriville, Indiana. At the time, the groupon was $25 for the half and $35 for the full. Since half and full marathons can break the bank nowadays, my friends and I jumped at the chance. A few friends (including Melanie from See Mommy Race and my cousin Nick) decided to do the full marathon. The rest of us chose the half marathon since they would be on taper for the Chicago Marathon.  I knew that with this being a groupon race AND in Indiana (not knocking Indiana...ok, maybe a little), that I shouldn't expect too much from it. Also, originally, I was going to do my 20 miles this day and just tack on miles in the beginning and/or end of the race.  Since I was persuaded to do my 20 miler the weekend before with those training for the Chicago Marathon, I know longer had to worry about the logistics of that. I also scoped out the weather for those two weekends and I knew it would be a bit warmer the weekend of this Tri Town race.

And boy was I glad I did my 20 the week before this race and not that day! The race started at 8:00 a.m., which is actually a bit late considering some people were doing a full marathon.  The high temps that day were going to reach about 80 degrees. I think it came close to that during the marathon. And it was so sunny and hot and there was little shade. I really felt bad for the marathoners. And I was equally thankful to be doing only the half.

Ok, I'm having trouble focusing on this recap...  Here goes. I drove down with Derek. We were both signed up for the half. I met up with several other friends from the FNRC as well as my cousin Nick, who was doing his first marathon.
L-R: Melanie, Becky, Nick, Carol, Derek, Me, Karen
We headed to the start and waited...we waited to figure out exactly where to line up. There were are 200 people registered, 75 for the full and 120 or so for the half (approx). And we were just all standing near the finish line, not sure what to do. And 8:00 came...and we were looking around like... uh...where do we go?  Finally someone came over with a bull horn and told us where to line up. It's now after 8:00 and already getting warm and sunny. I knew for the full marathons, this needed to start soon because it was going to be HOT!

We started and my plan was to run with Nick as long as possible to help support him for his full. I was hoping to go all the way to about mile 10 with him but unfortunately that didn't happen. I only got to run to about mile 6.5 and I had to turn and double back. I was a bit disappointed but I gave him a high five and wished him luck, telling him I'd be near the later miles to try to help him finish.

The course for the half wasn't too bad. It was a tiny bit confusing but there weren't too many turn arounds for the half (unlike what I heard about the full).  I got to see friends several times and there were a couple different out and backs. In fact, I started making friends along the way because I kept seeing the same people over and over. That part was kind of nice.

Mile 7! Thanks Melanie for the photo!
I'm glad Melanie did the full so that she can tell you the clusterfuck that became of the full marathon. I can really only speak about the half marathon. And I believe the half marathon was 20 times better than the full. There was water at the aid stations. There were officers crossing us at streets. Both of those did NOT happen for the later miles of the marathon people.

As I eluded to in my last post, my Mizunos that I had decided would be my marathon shoes started to hurt my ankle about mile 10.  This was also an issue the week before on my 20 miler but it wasn't too bad. This time, it really started to bother me. I knew if this happened two weeks in a row, there is NO WAY I'm going to wear them on marathon day. I had enough foot issues last year at my marathons that I did not want to have issues this year.

I walked. I ran. I wanted the half to be over. So it finally was and I was happy to see the finish line. The first 2-3 miles of the course was on streets and completely unshaded and we had to repeat these same miles on the end. It was awful and hot. My time was around 2:23 which was perfectly fine with me and right around what my summer half marathon times tent to be.

I waited for all my friends and boyfriend to finish the half. I had some real rockstar friends who PR'd and got first in their age group! Nice job, you know who you are!


Finished!

L-R: Karen, Becky, Carol, Me, Derek

Me and my love
 
Derek took me to the spot that was near mile 23 where I would wait for Nick. I found a few friends that were doing the marathon and walked or ran with them about 0.2 miles each time I saw one of them. I just wanted to chat with them a minute and see how they were doing. I know a friendly face during a marathon is always a welcome thing.  Everyone was telling me the same thing. They ran out of water at aid stations, there was no one crossing people at streets anymore. It's almost like they gave up on the marathoners! Unbelievable and unacceptable, in my opinion. Some kind person drove his truck up around mile 21 and started handing people bottles of water. A saint to those marathoners.

I spotted Nick and he was walking. He was hurting and frustrated. He could barely run anymore and my goal turned out to be just helping him get to that finish line. He had missed any time goals he wanted to make at this point.  After a few "shuffles" of trying to run, he gave up and we walked the rest. I told him he did everything he could, that his training was awesome and he needs to be proud of being here and pushing through to the end.  I felt bad because I know how disappointing people feel when they are so far away from any goals they think they can hit, when they did the training and did well, and the luck of the draw was that this marathon sucked and it was hot.

Me with Nick around mile 23 of his marathon!
Nick crossed the finish line, as did the rest of my friends. I could have cared less about my half this day. They were the real rockstars. They were the ones that pushed through when the going got tough and when it seemed like everyone forgot about them. I'm glad I was there to give a few smiles and to support Nick on his first marathon. I think there will be a redemption marathon in his future...just not right now.
Me and Melanie after her marathon
Congrats to all the finishers of the half and the full marathon. I'm sure none of us will be doing this race again anytime soon! :)

*I'll post a link to Melanie's full marathon recap when she posts it so you can see how the full marathon went.