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Archive for April, 2009

One week

It is one week until the Wisconsin Marathon. I am still feeling pretty confident, but I am also starting to feel slightly nervous. I know I have put in the training and I am ready, but I still have those nagging thoughts of “Can I do this? Did I do enough to prepare? Can I really hold my pace for 26.2 miles?” It’s the usual second-guessing that is inevitable as you taper down the mileage and the race closes in.

Right now the forecast for next Saturday says 58 degrees and partly cloudy. Perfect. Lets just hope that it is not cold and stormy like today. Incredibly, my 10 miler this morning could not have been timed more perfectly. As I ran into the parking lot of Lake Park Bistro and back to my car, I could see the storm clouds. I stopped to talk to a fellow runner in the parking lot, and about 30 seconds later the wind shifted and it dropped about 15-20 degrees in a matter of seconds. Then as I got in the car it started pouring. I was so glad I finished just in time.

My goal for this week is to take it really easy on my legs, and to eat really well. I usually do eat pretty healthy, but lately I can really feel the effects if I don’t. I’ve noticed that if I eat crappy at night, I feel crappy running the next day. I want to make sure I am properly nutritionalized (I just made that up) so I can give myself the best chance of running a great race.

And now, I plan to lay around for the rest of this rainy day watching movies and perhaps having a Weeds Season 4 marathon. I just learned that season 5 starts in June, so I must be prepared.

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Welcome baby Brynn

My newest little cousin Brynn Marie was born on Wednesday night. I got to visit her yesterday and hold her at the hospital.

I now have 7 little cousins under the age of 12. Oh, and I bought her the cutest swimsuit of all time. Please check out the ruffle on the butt. I cannot wait to see her splashing around in it this summer.

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Congrats to Kelly and Sean for producing this beautiful baby girl!

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Thanks to the glorious weather today, I was able to go for my first outdoor ride of the year. It was also my first outdoor ride with my new aero bars. I have been practicing the positioning on the indoor trainer, but lets just say that didn’t quite prepare me for an actual riding situation. Here they are:

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I warmed up for a while, and then it was time to give it a try. I never really feel fully balanced on my bike even in normal riding position, much less hunched down on my forearms. I can’t ride with no hands, and sometimes even letting go with one hand to grab my water bottle makes me nervous. Weird, right? Well I slowly got into position, and it wasn’t as bad as I thought. I did feel a bit wobbly, and I felt myself slow down a lot, but I didn’t have the immediate feeling that I was about to fall down and bust my ass.

Overall I think I probably only spent 10 minutes or so out of my 60 minute ride in aero position. I am hoping that it starts to feel more natural the more I do it. The transitions were also really slow, especially if I was in aero and had to switch back up to regular position. That made shifting kind of hard, but I’m sure it will get easier with time and practice.

If only I could afford this beauty:

I wouldn’t even have to move my hands to shift, and I am quite sure I would fly on this baby based on looks alone. Ah, someday…

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Last big run

Today was my last big run before the marathon in three weeks. The days have been flying by, and I can’t believe it is right around the corner. This week I had an injury scare which had me super worried, but it seems it has passed now. Tuesday morning during my interval workout on the treadmill, my ankle was really sore. I have a weak right ankle to begin with from years of playing soccer and spraining it repeatedly, and I think I must have tweaked it in a soccer game last week. I was supposed to do 6×1200 repeats. When I got to the fourth one, my ankle really started bothering me. Then the pain moved up the front of my leg a little and was almost unbearable. I had to stop the workout.

I showered and went to work, and I was walking with a noticeable limp. I could not flex my foot upwards without intense pain. I immediately started to self-diagnose with the help of the internet, and I came up with “tibialis anterior tendon sheath inflammation.” Yes, I realize I am a total dork.

See that tendon that connects the muscle to the foot? That became inflamed from running and caused my problem. I was freaking out that my marathon was ruined and all of my hard work was for nothing. Nothing like being a little over-dramatic, right? Well, over the course of the day on Tuesday, the pain gradually subsided and I could feel things loosening up a little. Still I didn’t want to take any chances, so I skipped my soccer game on Wednesday and I swam on Thursday instead of my usual tempo run. Friday I did nothing so I would have fresh legs for my 20 miler this morning.

I found myself this week with no one to accompany me on my long run. My usual training partner went to opening day yesterday and didn’t think he would be up for it this morning. Luckily, this last big run coincided with the Badgerland Striders South Shore Half-Marathon. I decided to run 7 miles on my own, and then head down to Bay View for the race.

I headed out the door at 6:40 for my first 7 miles. I wanted to keep this run really easy, and I ended up averaging 8:52 over 7.16 miles. Right where I wanted to be. Then I stopped home, changed into a dry shirt and jacket, and headed to Bay View. I got there around 8:10 and registered for the race. It was only $10 (gotta love the Striders). Their races are always no-frills, but they did give everyone a very colorful pair of running gloves (mine are bright pink). I stayed inside until just before the race, as it was still pretty cold outside.

The race is an out and back course all on the Oak Leaf Trail. It runs south first all the way into South Milwaukee, and then heads back north. My plan was to start off the race nice and easy, and see how much I had left in the tank for the second half. Here’s how my splits turned out:

Mile 1 – 8:59

Mile 2 – 8:11

Mile 3 – 8:25

Mile 4 – 8:23

Mile 5 – 8:13

Mile 6 – 7:55

Mile 7 – 8:24

Mile 8 – 8:40

Mile 9 – 8:31

Mile 10 – 8:25

Mile 11 – 8:17

Mile 12 – 8:29

Mile 13 – 7:40

Mile 13.21 – 1:34

My Garmin said the course was 13.21 miles, which I ran in 1:50:13, or an average of 8:21/mile! This is a huge half-marathon PR for me. I think my previous best was somewhere around 1:56 or 1:57. Awesome! And all this after already logging 7 miles beforehand. Also encouraging is that my splits were pretty consistent. The fluctuations were mostly due to some rolling hills I think. I also can’t believe I logged a 7:40 mile there at the end. When we hit the 12 mile marker, I checked my watch and saw that a 1:50 was in sight. I knew it wasn’t likely, but I had to go for it. I missed it by a few seconds, but I am still very happy with my result.

I came in 246 out of 638 overall, 46 out of 239 women, and 9 out of 48 in my division (F25-29). I am feeling pretty confident about the upcoming marathon, and barring a catastrophe (in running you never know), I will set a PR. The next three weeks will be sort of a semi-taper. I am going to follow my running taper schedule for the marathon, but I will probably try and increase biking and swimming a bit. I am still training for Ironman after all. I think I also may stop playing soccer for the next few weeks just to give my ankle a rest. I want to go into the marathon completely healthy, and stay that way through September 13th. Fingers crossed…

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