I'm Back!

by | | 7 comments
After working all weekend, I had the day off today. I managed to catch up on lots of home stuff, and strapped on the running shoes for a 9 miler this afternoon. IT WAS AWESOME! It was pretty chilly out there - 41 without the windchill. I wore shorts and a light long sleeve T-shirt, and I was the most underdressed runner out there. Hello? This is Minnesota. It's only going to get colder people. Sure I had an ear band on, but everybody else had pants, hats, and mittens!

Today was my longest run since TCM. I hope to keep up the long runs over the winter and do the Winter Carnival Half at the end of January. More on the 2009 race season later.

I now have even more incentive to get/stay in shape this winter. Of course New Orleans 70.3 is at the beginning of April, but Steve and I just booked a trip to Mexico in the middle of January, so I need to be bikini ready by then :)

I've had a bit of time off since the marathon and am looking forward to finally getting back into things again. The full training starts soon!

Patiently Awaiting the Mail

by | | 9 comments
Steve got me a sweet Cyclops Fluid 2 Trainer for my birthday. They're coming out with the new latest and greatest model this month, so the Fluid 2 went on a major sale at REI (like 90 bucks off). I'm quite confident that I'll never be able to out power the Fluid 2, so for me, it should work just fine. With New Orleans early next spring, I'll be a good trainer this winter.

With the test, the marathon, marathon recovery, and my birthday, I didn't actually pull it out of the box until last Thursday evening. That's when I discovered that the small pieces were missing. I called the company, and they're sending me the missing parts, but with Columbus Day thrown into the mix, they still haven't come. I had a sweet 32 mile ride in the sun on Saturday, but today it's cold and getting dark early, so I really could have used an indoor ride.

I did a 6 mile run on Monday to test out the legs for the first time since the marathon. They felt OK, but my right IT band was feeling a little stiff, so I'm trying to take it a little slow. No use busting something now.

So... no workout today. Boo. I may go to the Y in the next day or 2. I want to get back into my traditional winter weights routine, and I hope to get a little faster in the pool this winter in preparation for NO.

I haven't totally given up on riding outdoors this fall, but trying to get out there after work now that it gets dark so early is darn near impossible. Guess I'll just keep watching the mail...

Twin Cities Marathon Race Report

by | | 4 comments
...One week later. It was my "birth week" this week. My birthday was Tuesday. I am now officially 28! I think I ate cake at least 5 out of the last 7 days, and just as I had resolved to clean up my eating a little, my brother Matt gave me a belated birthday gift - 2 huge bags of mixed Halloween candy. This is going to take some serious willpower.

So I owe you a race report. You've probably heard by now that it rained. It rained a lot, but I'll take the rain over last year's heat any day.

The day started out with a gathering of farm animals in our living room. The cow, the pig, and the chicken were back, and this time they brought 2 cute farm girls with them in the form of my sister Annie and Mike's girlfriend Brianna. My mom was there to supervise the craziness. Thanks mom! A hearty breakfast of oatmeal with lots of water was on my menu. Soon we were in the cars and driving to the marathon start - just 5 miles from my house. The freeway off ramp is always the spot that takes the longest to navigate through, and in keeping with last year's tradition, the pig and the chicken began running up and down the street between stopped cars. After we had found our parking spot, I looked over to see Steve doing a pole dance on a street sign in his chicken suit, a sight that was both disturbing and hilarious.

Borsch and I did a little warmup and then went into the Metrodome to stretch. The familiar smell of Ben Gay greeted my nostrils, and though I was disappointed to find out that they had converted one of the ladies' room into a men's room, I eventually found a bathroom to use for the traditional pre-race ritual. We did a few minutes of stretching, and before we knew it, it was time to drop our stuff off with our support crew. We stopped for a picture and then filed into the starting chute. A few minutes later, we were off! I had warned Borsch ahead of time that we had to purposely run slow, because the huge crowd and adrenaline of the morning always moves your legs faster than they should be. We were hoping to keep a 10 min/mile pace, and the first lap was perfect - 9:55! I was a little nervous after my massive side cramp incident at Grandma's Marathon a few months ago, but I think I managed to will away any that were coming on. Borsch kept telling me that he felt "floaty" for the first few miles. He was off to a great start.

I don't exactly remember when it started raining - maybe around mile 4 or 5? I know it was early on. At first it was just a mist, but it didn't take long for the sheets to come down, and that's when my feet started feeling squishy. I should have listened to that inner voice that told me to wear my tri shorts for the race. My running shorts do some awfully weird bunching when they're wet. I still felt great, even though I was worried that the furry support crew was getting soaked.

The rain started to subside around mile 12 or 13, and by then, I was looking forward to finding the farm at mile 15. I had seen lots of friends out there already. Maddy and Luke were EVERYWHERE, Sarah and Trevor brought their dog and one year old son, and Rural Girl managed to navigate her way through traffic to cheer us on too. Thanks for coming out you guys. It really meant a lot to have you out there.

The furries at mile 15 didn't let us down. They were cheering their wet hearts out! The rest of the race is sort of a blur. Our times started to slow down after 15. Borsch was cramping up, and I was feeling like I was running a marathon. Summit was a welcome sight - our home stretch! We saw our support crew at the top of the hill right before mile 26. I let them know that Borsch was just behind me and ran in for a 4:36 finish. It wasn't quite what I was hoping for, but I'm happy with it nonetheless.

A few thoughts: TCM is well known for its amazing crowd. It was down this year by about half I'd say, but I can't believe how many people came out to support the runners. It was simply amazing. This was my ninth TCM and my 10th marathon. I've hit double digits! Borsch and I had passed a guy early in the race who was wearing a banner that said, "This is my 3ooth marathon." What an inspiration. I told him so and got a little choked up. I don't think I'll ever hit triple digits...

What I've Eaten Today

by | | 5 comments
Guess my marathon summary will have to wait till later. I have to conserve calories. Usually the day I run a race, my stomach is a little queasy, and I don't feel like eating much. The next day, though, watch out! The list so far today:

A large bowl of Great Grains cereal - 6 AM
2 fun size Salted Nut Roll bars - 8 AM
Leftover spaghetti and cake - 10:30 AM
Leftover Fish and a small bag of chips - 12:15 PM
Almonds that a coworker had to give me because my stomach was growling - 1:30
Banana - 3:30
Baked chips - 5:45
Two salads - 6:30
Papa Murphy's Gourmet Chicken Mediterranean DeLite pizza - 6:40

...and now I'm finally full

* In my defense, I got up at 5:30, so a 10:30 lunch wasn't that far off.

Monster Weekend Update

by | | 8 comments
I'll post more later. I see an early bedtime in my future tonight because I have to be into work extra early tomorrow. Boo. I had asked for the day off, but I guess it wasn't in the cards. I just got back from church an hour ago. The great thing about living 5 blocks from a Catholic college campus is that they have late services, which fit perfectly into the schedule of a very busy weekend. I indeed have a lot to give praise for today. I am truly blessed with the gifts of family and friends. I had a good race today, and I have the BEST husband in the whole world.

The crazy huge test that I have been obsessing over for months was Saturday, and it was every bit as hard, random, and irrelevant to my practice as everyone said it would be. But it's over for now. I take comfort in knowing that I studied my butt off, and whatever the outcome, there's probably not much more that I could have done. We won't find out the results for at least 60
days, which is stinky, but I'm just going to try and put it out of my head for the next couple of months.

I rushed home after the test to find that Steve had finished cleaning the house. It looked great, and one of the biggest bouquet of flowers I've ever seen was sitting on the dining room table as a congrats on being done with your test/good luck at the marathon/happy upcoming birthday statement. A little over an hour later, we started cooking for our bloggy friend meet up/family coming up for the marathon meal - salad, grapes, spaghetti, grilled chicken, and garlic bread - yum! We got to meet Rural Girl's adorable family, hang out with Stu, and catch up with Robby B and his lovely wife. I think they were all a little shocked to see my family filing in the door - Steph and Borsch were already here, but then my brother Mike showed up with his girlfriend Brianna, followed by Matt, and Mom and Annie weren't far behind. I love having a full house! Before all of our bloggy friends left, we stopped to take this picture:

Steve, Me, Stu, Robby B, Michelle, and Borsch posing for a quick blogger photo.

After finding bedding and figuring out where everybody was going to sleep last night, I passed out and didn't wake up till Steve's alarm clock went off this morning.

Steph, Steve (the chicken), Borsch, Mike (the pig), Me, Brianna, Matt (the cow), Annie, and My Mom before the start of the race

I'll write more on the race later, with more pictures. My awesome sister Steph took a ton of them! It was a lot of fun, and I saw so many inspiring people. Plus, I have a lot of people to thank. Suffice it to say for now that the farm animals were a HUGE success again this year. I'm quite sure that our cheerers have more fun out there than we do. Borsch and I ran most of the marathon together, and I'm so proud to have taken another one to the finish line. It rained, and body glide can't handle over an hour of rain followed by over 2.5 hours of wet clothes rubbing. I have burns everywhere. My time was good. Not great, but good. Given the lack of training I've had for this race, I'm happy with it. Plus, we got Borsch to his first marathon finish line, and that was the main goal today. I know I've made a lot of jokes this year about just winging it, and that's not necessarily the way that I like to train, but it had to be that way for this year. I try really hard not to take for granted the gifts I've been given, and tonight, I know that there are a lot of them.

It's a Good Thing I'm Running a Marathon in Two Days

by | | 4 comments
... because I have been eating "brain food" (aka crap) for most of the week trying to keep myself motivated and fed while doing some last minute studying. I have some serious calories to burn off! It's a good thing I completed grad school when my metabolism was still good! I finished going through the books last week, and this week I'm trying to get through them one more time. I'll be so glad when the clock hits 4 PM tomorrow, and the test is over. Even though everybody says I'll feel like I failed it, even though I won't find out the result for at least 6 weeks, even though there's a possibility that I'll be taking it again next year, I know that I'll just have to put it behind me, enjoy some supper with friends, and mentally prepare myself to run a marathon on Sunday.

I ran a 6 miler Tuesday morning, and it didn't go so well. I'm definitely in couch potato have been sitting on my butt doing nothing but reading shape. I don't really understand, because my 20 miler just 2 weeks ago went swimmingly. I hope I'm not totally kidding myself with the goal to keep up with Borsch and finish in 4:15-4:30, but I guess we'll see on Sunday. I've honestly been in worse shape than this and have made it through the race just fine. The weather is still supposed to be around 62 as the high with a chance of rain late in the day - perfect. I'm excited to have my family coming up and friends coming into town for the race. Plus, there's sure to be stories that come from Steve and my brothers dressing as a furry barnyard! Hopefully I'll throw up a quick post Sunday, but after this week, I may just sleep. I do have to tell you about my early birthday present though...