Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Rock N Roll Half Marathon Race Recap

Hey guys.  I'm just not feeling the blogging thing this week.  I almost wasn't even going to do a race recap on my half marathon last Sunday.  I've got the blogging blues.  Anyway, I'll make my recap brief...

I came, I ran, I finished.  :)  Ok, just kidding.

I started off my half marathon on Friday with my charity pasta dinner.  It is always really nice to see everyone as I really only see them once or twice a year.  Derek came with and it was nice to share this charity dinner with him.
Pasta dinner - I'm in the pink on the left...looking girly...
Sunday morning came early as I had to get up at 4:20 a.m. (and that's pushing it).  I wanted to leave my house at 4:45, which included eating breakfast in the car.  The race starts at 6:30 but I have to get down there, park in my secret $2 lot that's a 20 minute walk and meet up with my charity group.  I left at 4:50 a.m. so I was pretty close.  I wanted to try to meet up with the Chicago Running Bloggers as well but frankly, I'm tired and new it would be hard and didn't feel like running around, so I just hung out with my charity and took a team photo before heading to the potties and the start line.  On the way to the start line though...look who I ran into!

Charity - Pre Race (I'm peaking out on the left, second to last row, maybe 3rd over)

Maggie and I pre-race
I was in Corral 6, with an estimated finish time of 1:50:00.  Um...I don't belong anywhere NEAR corral 6! What was I thinking last year when I put an expected finish time of 1:50:00!!  Anyway, with the line for the bathrooms, I made it to the corrals 5 minutes before the start but could only get as far as Corral 14 so I figured that was probably good enough. After looking around, I saw the corral's finish time as 2 hours and thought that sounded more reasonable (even though I knew I wouldn't finish that fast).  It was a better corral for me.

While in the corral, I tried to turn on my bluetooth headphones and as always seems to happen before a race, they didn't turn on.  I hate them.  I had a newer model but the bf's dog ate them...so I'm back to an old pair.  They also didn't turn on for me during the IL Marathon (full marathon) in 2012! Maybe you remember my race recap??  I had to run the whole marathon sans music!!  Well, looks like I was going to be running this half marathon sans music.  Whatev...  I've always been a fan of the saying..."you never know what will happen on race day."  Now I just need to figure out my headphone situation.  This is clearly not working for me.  Bluetooth headphones suck.  That is all.  Even more annoying was the guy in the corral in front of me was wearing the same headphones.  Maybe I could knock them off his head accidentally and do a "switch-a-roo" with mine??  Hm...

The race started and I was off.  I didn't have a time goal for this half. I wasn't planning on racing it and with the way the weather was (mid-90's) the week before, I knew it'd be hot.  I just wanted to use it as a training run, try not to let my mind spew negative thoughts all over me, and have fun. 

I started off pretty good with times around a 10:00 min pace +/-.  I wore my hydration belt too but just with the two back holders figuring I could use it to supplement the water stations.  My shoulder has been bothering me if I care a hand held too so even though I don't like my hydration belt, I figured I'd give it another shot. 

The weather was supposed to be cooler than it was but it ended up probably being in the upper 70's and completely sunny.  Still better than the past week but still hot for a half marathon.  I just kept running along thinking happy thoughts to stay positive. I also kept thinking I had friends doing a half ironman that day so what could I really complain about.

Well, it did get really hot. I was completely overheated.  I ended up drinking both of my water bottles and refilling one once and drinking it.  I stopped at every aid station and drank water (with 2 Gatorade stops).  I put ice down my sports bra in hopes of cooling me off.  I ran through 4 places where people were spraying us with hoses and got completely drenched (loved this!).  I grabbed the sponge from the sponge station (because where else do you grab sponges?).  I mean, I couldn't get enough to drink or to cool myself off. I was wondering what my problem was. I don't think I've ever had this much to drink while running.  But I still felt dehydrated as my fingers were getting swollen.  But I had some side stitches and didn't know if I was over hydrated or dehydrated! 

By mile 9, my "fun" run was starting to be over and my negative thoughts were trying to rear their ugly heads!  I probably spent 5 minutes walking and doing nothing but wasting time between mile 9 to 9.3!  I really didn't want to continue running and wondered if anyone would "look down on me" for walking the last 4 miles.  I decided that I just walk way too slow during a race and it would take me FOREVER if I walked the last 4 miles.  I ran off and on and walked a good portion of the run between miles 9-11.  By mile 11, I seemed to get my running legs back and started running again but by mile 12, I was done. I contemplated walking the last mile since that wouldn't take me "too" long but decided that I needed to just run and suck it up.  The whole time I was trying my best to remain positive.  "Trying" is the key word.  I just felt really dehydrated and my head was hurting so it was a constant struggle. 

I finished in about 2 hours 21 minutes.  No where near my best time of 2:03.  But I finished and that's all I have to say about that.  It's a summer half and the last couple years, they have been hard.  I finished my two summer halves last year in 2:29 (June) and 2:24 (July) so this time seems about right for the conditions.

I also chafed on my shoulders from my sports bra and spent half the time running with my straps down around my shoulders.  I have blisters from chafing on my boobs (TMI?) on the top front.  My headphones ended up rubbing (I guess) on my chest and I have a check mark branded on me.  I didn't know what it was at first as it was red and swollen and looked like a burn.  But then we figured out that my headphone must have been rubbing and with the heat... well... anyway.  I have a blister on my pinky toe.  Yeah, it was a good day. 

But I will most likely sign up for it next year. And the year after.  Even if I have to walk it if I have shoulder surgery.  Because I run this run for 3 reasons:

1. It was my first half marathon in 2006 (when it was called the Chicago Distance Classic)
2. I run it for my charity group every year.
3. I had a friend murdered in 2008 not far from where I was parking for my half marathon (on that day, at that time), right around the same time I was parking and I run it year after year in memory (my memory) of him.

Hopefully next year it will be cooler?  If not, I'll probably still be there...

Post Race with Josh and Liz (my friends that I started running this charity for)
For being a 5 year runner of this half
(although I did it 2 times before under Chicago Distance Classic)...7 times in 8 years
Doing the "Kelly" pose...of course!

Smiling, looking happy...but that's because I'm talking to these two nice people
that told me they were from my charity group.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Marathon Training Review

Hi everyone!

I wanted to give an "almost halfway" marathon training review for the Fox Valley Marathon on September 22.

When I was trying to create my plan, I decided to shorten the 18 week plan by 2 weeks.  Therefore, I'm pretty much using the Hal Higdon Novice plan - but a 16 week version.  As I stated before, I attempted to do the Intermediate mileage plan this time around (with a few of my own tweaks) but with the craziness that has been my weekends until now, I haven't been able to get my mileage up that far and decided to settle back on the Novice plan.  It got me through my first 3 marathons, and it will get me through this one.

Also, until now, I have been having a really hard time getting into the "marathon training" mindset.  When it's hot/humid, I'm a big baby complainer and don't want to run.  I've been feeling like running just seems hard for me this time around.  The long miles are really mentally challenging and I'm definitely having to put on my big girl panties and to get through them.  I'm managing but I feel as though by the last few miles, I'm just always struggling (more mentally than physically).  And my miles haven't gotten that far up there yet, longest run has been 12 miles.  Very soon, I'll be hitting the 16-18 miles.  I've just been feeling like maybe I shouldn't have signed up for the marathon this time.  I've been wondering why I do this to myself every year.

I will tell you, the last few weeks, I've gotten better with staying positive on my long runs.  Staying positive is always my hardest part.  I'm really my own worst enemy.  But there is no room in my head for negative thoughts when I am running these double digit miles (especially up near 16-20).  So...negative thoughts be gone!!  Who knew it was that easy?

Starting today, for some unknown reason, I'm feeling positive about my marathon and my upcoming training miles.  I have no idea why this just popped in my head during lunch today.  Maybe it's because I'm changing my scenery today for my 7 mile run and running along the Lakefront instead of the suburbs (which has great areas to run but I'm getting tired of seeing the same things).  So even though I'll be running when it's hot and humid and at about 4:30-5:45...if I can skip out early), I think the scenery change will be good for me.  I did come prepared.  I brought my fuel belt (which I never wear) and a visor.  I also made it known to myself that I will just get through it the best way possible.  Because if it's really hot and humid, I believe slowing your pace and/or taking a walk break is definitely allowed!

So that's my mid-marathon training review.  Short and simple. Change your mindset and the rest will follow.

And I will be at the Rock N' Roll Half this weekend running if anyone else is going to be there!  Maybe I'll see you!

One a side-note, I took an extra run rest day because I hurt my knee over the weekend.  Grrrrr (wait, I'm supposed to stay positive).  Basically my boyfriend's dog decided to push into it and I just hyper extended it.  I haven't run since and I will feel the pain when I'm walking a bit but it didn't hurt when I biked on Sunday.  So I'm hoping it won't bother me running. I'll find out today.

I've also been having a pain ... um...not sure exactly.  It might be a sciatic nerve pain?  It basically goes down my butt on the right side to my upper leg/hamstring. My hamstring is fine.  I've been trying to stretch it a little more.  Again, this doesn't hurt when I run but will hurt when I stop cycling and stand up or right now at my desk while I'm sitting.  It seems to be slightly better than about a week ago, so I'm hoping the stretching will help a bit.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

June In Review

Yeah, I know. It's the middle of July.  What can I say, before I knew it, it was July 4th!  Now, July 11th!  I can't keep up with life.


Total Run Miles: 79.15
Total Bike Miles: 59.08 miles (0 spin classes)
Total Swim Distance: no measurable swim distance. Did participate in a swim clinic and swam around Lake Michigan for an hour. Not sure how I never made it to the pool.

June was so busy for me as far as activity went.  I had Ragnar in the beginning, which was all kinds of fun...and all kinds of exhausting.

I participated in my first duathlon (the Tinley Park Race Around the World Duathlon).  If you read my post, you will recall it was more challenging than I anticipated.  Whether that be from the weather or just not being used to do that type of activity together, I'm not 100% sure, probably a combo of both).  It was a fun one to do though as it's local and not super competitive.

I had the Short Run on a Long Day 5k which I tried my first ever attempt at pacing a friend!  Success! 

I participated in an open water swim clinic (after running 1.5 miles to the beach in a wetsuit).  This was fun and I learned a lot.


I started back up on personal training, although I'm only going 1 time a week right now due to cost.  I figure 1 time per week is better than 0!  I went back to my old personal trainer, Mike.  He now works for himself (instead of the gym I used to go to).  He gave me the old rate I used to have, which was a pretty awesome rate.  I love him and his training, he pushes me because he knows I can do it.  And he's a runner and trains me in a way that helps with my running.

Lastly, I started my MARATHON TRAINING.  With all these activities going on, I took the beginning of my training schedule kind of lenient.  I still tried to get all the miles in.  Originally I was attempting to do the Intermediate mileage schedule instead of the Novice mileage I always do, but the mileage increased quickly and I didn't feel as though I was "there" yet.  Instead of risking injury, I have decided (yesterday) that I would move back to the novice mileage.  After looking at my training, I realized I'm right in line with those novice miles.  And I don't want to try to play "catch-up" in marathon training, it will not work!

Seriously, could my June have been any more fun???  Look at all the new things I tried! 

Ok...maybe all of this activity is why I never made it to the pool at the gym!  My mileage started creeping back into the "normal for me" range this month too.  Without marathon training, I typically do about 70 miles.  Now that I'm marathon training, that number will definitely increase a bit.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

My "Relaxing" Mini-Vacation

This past weekend, I ventured to White Lake, Wisconsin for some camping fun.  I used to go camping all the time with my family but haven't been in a while so I thought it would be fun.  Actually Derek asked me to go with him and a friend of his (and a few of his friend's friends).  Turned out I was going to be the only girl but they said it wasn't a big deal.  A girl went last year with the guys too.  This was Derek's first time up.

A couple days before the trip, I hadn't gotten much information so I asked Derek to ask his friends where we were going, etc.  Being a girl, I wanted to check the weather so I could pack accordingly! lol.  I found out where we were going and after I looked at the website, it appeared that it was a rafting place as well.  Ok, I'm definitely no stranger to rafting either, I've been many times with my family (Colorado, Canada, Tennessee...to name a few places), but again, it's been a while.  I asked if we were going rafting and Derek came back with his friend's response... "Yes but it's lazy river rafting."  I looked at the website and saw there was a family friendly Class 2 set of rapids and figured we would be going on those.  There were some that were Class 3 & 4 rapids but since they said "lazy river rafting..." well, Class 3 & 4 aren't "lazy river". For those that are not familiar with rafting...the rapids range from Class 1 (or 2??) up to Class 5.  Class 5 is the highest and it's not legal for people to raft on those.  I've done class 3 & 4 rapids often.

Fast forward to the day of the trip, Friday, June 28th.  Derek and I were carpooling with his friend.  We left relatively early and from there we were also meeting up with the rest of the guys.  After all our stops, and grocery store trips, we made it to the camp area around 5:00 p.m. or so.  On the way up, Dale asked me if I could raft because of my shoulder. I told him paddling wouldn't hurt my shoulder.  We checked out the river right near our campground (which was on an Indian Reservation and we had to follow so of their laws) and took a few photos.

We ate and went to a local bar.  Derek and I met a couple of strange nice people and had fun talking to them for the night. We played a few drinking games which were fun because we didn't lose and therefore, had a few shots bought for us. Derek and I had a few drinks, not too much, not too little...just right! :) 

The next day was the "lazy river rafting".  Upon paying, I realized it was the Class 3-4 river price (aka more expensive). I didn't say anything but at least I got myself prepared for some rapids.  We did the Smoky Falls route which was a 12 mile trip.  Eh...Derek's friends (well...he only knew a couple) , were really into just sitting on the river and drinking (sounds safe).  I didn't mind it as everyone else ...even those not in our group...had the same idea.  Derek and I weren't drinking (we had enough the night before) but we were up for some lazy river time.  However, a little annoying was the fact that they just kept trying to mess around (pulling people into the river, taking their oars, etc).  After a while, it was becoming annoying and Derek seemed a little irritated too.  But we hit a few of the rapids.  Some were just nice fun little ones, a few had really big (BIG) drops in them!  Wow, this was fun!  FUN!  I haven't been rafting in a while and Derek and I had a little communication problems with my paddling.  Nothing that we couldn't work out (actually never really did but we got from point A to point B just fine).

Then came the second to last set of rapids.  It was nicely named the "Lower Tea Kettle Rapids" or something close to that.  Sounds kind of like a Disney amusement park ride for kids.  Anyway, long story short.... I came, I rafted, I fell out.

Falling out of a raft is nothing new to me.  I did it when I was a teenager (and we have video to prove it).  But I happened to fall out during one of the rockier rapids and basically...this is what I think happened.  Ok, I don't know how I fell out but our raft hit a certain way, I basically tumbled backwards and to the side...boom, I'm in the water.  I went under and immediately hit my head on a rock (no, we weren't wearing helmets. I know now they had some but the place never made it a point to tell us it's a good idea).  I got really scared when my head hit because I was still underwater and my body was getting all thrown around and I was afraid I would hit my head again and maybe go unconscious!  I hit my shoulder and my knees, I tried to get air but immediately got sucked back down.  I was still holding my oar and my finger and hand got crushed.  Eventually we hit flat water and I came up for air.  Later I found out Derek ran me over with the raft twice. No wonder I couldn't get any air! Lol

When I came up, I found Derek and grabbed on to the raft.  I told Derek I hit my head. I just kept saying "I hit my head." Later I realized I must have hit it in two places.  Anyway, he told me to get int the raft.  The water was really deep (I couldn't stand) and I know from past experiences that I would not be able to get myself in the raft.  And Derek wouldn't be able to just haul me in.  He told me to hold on to the raft because we were going through another set of rapids. And then he told me to let go of his life vest. (Apparently, I was holding onto one of the straps but didn't realize it and was pulling him towards the water).  So I hit another set of rapids while holding on to the raft.  BIG MISTAKE for me to do that because as I was holding onto the raft, the rapids twisted me and boom...dislocated my shoulder.

So now, I'm holding on to the raft while finishing going through rapids, with a dislocated shoulder.  Ugh.  If I didn't hold on, I probably would have been fine.  When I got through those rapids, I told Derek I dislocated my shoulder.  He was trying to figure out what to do and how to get me either in the raft or over to the side when I finally was able to maneuver my shoulder back into place.  Not really a good thing that I can do that now myself but at least it was back in place and I wouldn't have to figure out how to try to get to an ER in the middle of the river.

Derek was having a hard time trying to paddle us over to the side (where other people were docking their rafts) so I let go and told him I would swim there and he can just paddle the boat there.  Well, I was swimming and kicking and flipping over and trying whatever I could to move, but with that life vest on, I wasn't going anywhere!  Someone else told me to grab their raft and they got me over to the side where I was able to sit on a rock. 

At first, I was laughing and joking with everyone because, in reality, I was ok now.  Derek came over and sat by me and everyone else went on doing their thing but as I started to tell him how scared I was when I hit my head and dislocated my shoulder, I just started to cry.  I just went through so much trauma that it all caught up with me.  The worst part of the whole thing was how scared I was in the water but since it all happened to so fast and I was just trying to do what was necessary to get through it, I hadn't had time to process it.  Now that I was sitting there ok...it all just hit me like a ton of bricks and I went from laughing to crying in a second.

We took a good long rest.  Derek was asking if I wanted to try to get one of the other guys in our raft so they could paddle the rest of the way instead of me but being stubborn like I am...I said I was ok and I think I can do it.  My shoulder was back in place and was just sore (as was my bleeding and swollen finger which hurt more than anything!).

We slowly rafted and the guys were taking forever anyway so we had lots of breaks.  After a while, I just wanted to be done because my head was hurting and I was tired and drained so we went on without the guys.  Come to find out there is one more set of rapids.  The Smokey Falls rapids.  As we came on to them, it didn't look bad but then I saw the steep flow of rapids and it looked FAST!

I told Derek I was just going to get down and brace myself.  I really just didn't want to fall out again.  I was hurt enough.  Our raft got turned around while going into the rapids and it was probably a good thing that I didn't see what was coming.  Derek turned around so he could see and paddle and do whatever while I wimped out in the raft.  And apparently the Smokey Falls rapids are just that...a FALL.  We went down this huge drop and our raft hit hard. I flew up and back and luckily landed in the center of the raft.  Derek immediately came and asked if I was ok. I told him I was fine.   The rest of the water was calm and the end was right there, but I couldn't paddle hard enough due to my shoulder and finger to get us out of the undertow of the rapids and they were pulling us back towards it.

I started freaking out, "Derek, I don't want to go under!"  We positioned ourselves near some rocks and just rested and waited for everyone else to come through.  This was fun as we watched the next two rafts (one of which was our friends) flip as they went down the falls.  I actually would have rather fallen out then because the water after that was calm and you could stand!  A group of boy scouts made it through ok but the next several rafts again tipped.  Not sure how my raft was one of the only ones to not flip there!  Ha!  All of our friends were finally through but the water was so deep near us that we had to try to paddle away from the falls before we could get out.  I just wanted to get out!

We tried paddling again, I paddled with everything I could muster, I tried paddling so hard...but it wasn't good enough and we were getting sucked back towards the rapids again.  Derek jumped out thinking he could stand there but as luck (bad luck) would have it, he couldn't and therefore, he couldn't drag the raft.  Now...Derek is in the water, and we are getting sucked towards the falls.  I had such an extreme anxiety attack and fear.  Derek is practically drowning and I'm not doing anything to help him!  All I could do was yell.... "DEREK!!  DEREK!!  I don't  want to go back there!  (Pointing towards the falls) I don't want to go under! I don't want to go back there!"  Over and over, that's all I said! 

Finally his friends saw we needed help and came over.  They were trying to get Derek out of the water and I just kept pointing and yelling, "I DON'T WANT TO GO BACK THERE! I DON'T WANT TO GO BACK THERE!"  Seriously, a panic attack at it's best!  Who cares about my boyfriend...I just didn't want to go back there!  lol.

Derek's friend Dale hoisted him into our raft and fell in as well.  GREAT!  I threw him my oar and told him and Derek to get me out of there! 

Ugh. We made it through. We got back. We talked and laughed and joked.  I felt really bad that I got so hurt.  I felt ridiculous!  I had rafted like 100 times in my life! 

We all went out to eat but Derek and I didn't want to drink so we went back to the camp early to sit by the fire and hit the tent early.  Derek's stomach was bothering him all day and well...I just got beat up by the river and lost the fight!  I was hurting and tired.

Just to end a perfect day...Dale came back drunk and fell over on our tent. He hit the side of my shin pretty bad and now I have a bruise from that on top of all the bruises I already had.  Nice!

I did have fun. It may not seem like it and yes, all my injuries (that part) were not fun.  But the rest of the rafting and camping was really fun. The river was beautiful. I got to spend more time with Derek which was nice.  I always see how my safety is the first and foremost thing on his mind when there is an issue (where apparently my safety is the first and foremost thing on my mind as well. Sorry babe).

Needless to say, I have to retire from extreme activities for now.  That one did me in.  It is looking like a great possibility that I need to have surgery on my shoulder as it just keeps dislocating...even in my sleep.  I will probably do that after my marathon this year.  Not looking forward to it but I hate limitations.

As far as what I hit.  I hit my head in two places, I hit my shoulder hard, both knees and my hand and finger.  I took  a couple of photos for the fond memories.  And my shoulder is sore and weak.  It's a fun time.  But I did run 8 hilly miles on Monday and was not affected so that's some good news.