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Archive for May, 2009

End of May update

Wow, things have been a little crazy the past couple of weeks. No, I didn’t fall off the face of the earth. I have just been ridiculously busy. Between a new full time job, two video side projects, and training 11+ hours per week, there hasn’t been much time for the blog.

The job – I really like it so far. I do not like the 30 minute each way commute, but I knew that would suck going into it. My day was made on Friday when I stopped at the one place on my way to work that looked like they may deal in coffee. Imagine my delight when upon further inspection, I discovered that not only does this little cafe have a drive through, but they serve Alterra coffee! And they have a punch card. Jackpot!

Side projects – Yuck. I have one really crappy one on my plate that needs to get done today. On a Sunday. And it is sunny outside. Boo!

Training – It’s going well. I haven’t missed a single workout since I started officially training for Ironman. That means I have completed 1-2 workouts per day every day since May 10th. After my long bike ride today, I am headed into a taper week. The schedule I am following consists of a three week build, and then a one week taper, and then repeat. Taper weeks also come with one day off, so this coming Friday I have a rest day. Weird. I have gotten used to waking up between 5 and 6 so I can work out before work, and I am much less tired than I thought I would be. I guess my body is just getting used to it.

That’s all I got. Hopefully once things calm down a bit with my side projects I will have time for more updates. And with that, it is just about June. Are you listening mother nature? JUNE. I expect temperatures at least in the 70’s from now on. Thanks in advance.

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Opportunity knocks

I got a job offer last week, and will be starting my new job tomorrow. I will be doing office work at a small physical therapy clinic (one doctor). Here’s the cool part. This doctor is totally on board with me eventually getting trained in some area of wellness, think personal training, massage therapy, PT assistant, etc. It is an opportunity for me to figure out what I am passionate about and turn it into a career that I love. It is an opportunity for her to eventually add services to her practice. Win, win.

I will still be doing freelance video work on the side, because let’s face it, office work does not pay that much. But I am grateful for this opportunity and excited to see where it leads me.

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And so it begins

The marathon is behind me, and I had a full week of recovery in which I did absolutely nothing training-wise, save one 5 mile run in the rain. I was feeling disheartened and unmotivated, which was a bit worrisome.

This week, a switch has been flipped in my brain. It is time to train for Ironman. I am motivated, and I have realized that none of the workouts on the training plan are optional. I just need to get it done. If that means riding on the bike trainer at 9pm, then so be it. Swimming on a Saturday? Suck it up. Weightlifting? Bring it.

Today was the first of many double workout days. I was in the pool by 7am for a 1hr 15min swim that almost made my arms fall off. That was immediately followed by a 60 min run. I was drained at the beginning of the run, but by the time a got a few miles in I was feeling good. It felt great to finish the workout.

My body is sore in a good way. I did some lower body strength training yesterday for the first time in a year. My shoulders and arms are tight from swimming, but just enough that stretching them feels a little bit like heaven. This will be a long four months, and there will be lots of ups and downs both mentally and physically, but I am ready for it. Mark my words.

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Mom

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To the woman who has always been there for me, loving me from day one,

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taking me on adventures,

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guiding me along the way,

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and supporting me in every way possible.

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You are beautiful, strong, kind, and generous, and I am thankful to have someone like you to look up to, to talk to, to share things with.

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I feel lucky to have you not only as my mom, but as one of my best friends.

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Happy Mother’s Day Mom! Love you!!

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Well I can’t leave my big downer marathon post on the top of the page. I am mentally recovered now, and in a much better place. I am proud of my PR, even though I know I could have done better. Here’s the thing: we can always do better. Whether I smashed my PR or beat it by a measly 30 seconds, there is always room for improvement. I can only move forward from here and set new goals for myself. Warning – this post may be a little random.

For two days following the marathon I debated signing up for the Green Bay Marathon on the 17th. I wanted revenge, redemption, whatever. I wanted my 3:50. Three days after the marathon I came to my senses. It was it a terrible idea. Not only would it have been for the wrong reasons, but I probably would not have even been recovered enough to even run fast. I would have run a terrible race, beat myself up about it, and gone into Ironman training with a negative attitude. No thanks.

I am still sick, mostly in my sinuses. I have been waking up in the morning with a pounding headache and ear pain. Hopefully it is not a sinus infection. I don’t feel terrible any more during the day, so that’s good. I know I said I wasn’t going to run this week, but it was so nice out after work today I just wanted to get out there. I set out for a 5 miler, and 15 minutes in it started raining. I love running in the rain (when it is warm out). My legs felt pretty good, though I could feel some stinging in my quads towards the end.

What I do not love – gnats. There are massive swarms of gnats all around the lakefront. They attack without warning and usually when your mouth is open. Yum! And they end up in places. When I got home, the little buggers were plastered to my face, under my shirt, and even in my sports bra. Delightful.

I wish I never had to hear Brett Favre’s name in the news again. Pathetic dickhole.

I am obsessed with going on a Caribbean cruise later this year (like November), even though there is no way we can possibly afford it. I found a really good deal on a balcony cabin, and lord knows I love a good deal. The problem comes in when the great deal still involves dropping a couple grand. But oh how I long for the beach, the sun, coconuts, pineapples, palm trees, and rum drinks. I get a little giddy just thinking about it.

That is all, carry on…

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WI Marathon Race Report

One day after the WI Marathon, I am pretty much overwhelmed with disappointment. My official time was 3:56:31, and though I should be happy because my goal was just to PR, I am pissed off about things that were out of my control, and I am having my own little pity party up in here.

Let’s start with Friday night before the race. I had an early dinner of chicken and pasta, and as I was relaxing on the couch, I started to get a headache. I decided to just hit the hay around 9pm, and I fell asleep right away. Around 2am I woke up with a sore throat. This has got to be a joke. I drank some water and went back to sleep, until I woke up at 3am. Yep, sore throat. I dozed on and off until I had to get up at 4. I felt groggy and generally crappy. I had my coffee and pre-race breakfast, and tried to put the fact that I was getting sick at the back of my mind. Bear in mind, I do not get sick. Ever. It is very rare, so I couldn’t figure out why this day of all days, my body decided to bring on an illness.

My training buddy James picked me up a little after 5am, and we were off. We arrived at the race and met up with some other friends in the parking lot. I was feeling a little better, probably because of the race excitement, and we snapped some photos. Here I am waiting to use the port-o-john.

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Since it was pretty chilly, James and I decided at the last minute to sport our “Feeling gouda” shirts for the race. Notice my cheesy pose:

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And here are my friends Ben and Maritza ready to take on the half-marathon (don’t know what he’s doing with his pants there):

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We all finished using the facilities and jogged to the race start. Because of our super-awesome shirts, we were allowed to line up in the “cheesy start corral,” which was right in front. This would turn out to backfire slightly, as you will soon see in my split times. Right before the race started, I was excited and feeling pretty good, but I was really worried about my stomach holding up, as it was already feeling a bit off-kilter.

The rest of the story is going to include my mile splits, because they are just so wacky. Here we go…

Mile 1 – 7:48  “Oh Shit!” I actually said that out loud. Waaaay to fast.

Mile 2 – 8:01  Ok, slooooow it down. This is what I meant about starting in the front. We were amongst all of the front-of-the-pack runners (marathon and half-marathon), so it was hard to slow down.

Mile 3 – 8:18  Better…

Mile 4 – 8:42  That’s more like it

Mile 5 – 8:29

Mile 6 – 8:32

Mile 7 – 8:44

Mile 8 – 8:48

Mile 9 – 8:36

Mile 10 – 8:28  Miles 6-10 were really comfortable. I was really happy with the pace, and I was feeling good. It was shortly after this that things started to go downhill.

Mile 11 – 8:30  My stomach was really starting to bother me here. I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to stomach much more nutrition, so I forced down some Clif Blocks.

Mile 12 – 8:27

Mile 13 – 8:42  Still holding a great pace, but I was starting to feel really sick. We hit the half way point around 1:51 or so, about 3-4 minutes ahead of schedule to run a 3:50. Though I just wanted to PR, a 3:50 was my ultimate goal, and it was in sight.

Mile 14 – 8:36

Mile 15 – 9:00

Mile 16 – 8:51

Mile 17 – 8:44  Here I was toughing it out, but my lower intestine felt as though it was going to explode at any moment. I was also starting to feel a bit dizzy. It felt kind of like I had taken some cold medicine, which I hadn’t.

Mile 18 – 8:57

Mile 19 – 9:41

Mile 20 – 10:45  Here I actually had to stop abruptly and walk. The pain was so sharp, I didn’t even know if I could finish. I waited to use a port-o-potty at the aide station, but there was a guy in there taking forever, so I decided to wait until the next one.

Mile 21 – 11:59  Here was another walking break, and I actually did stop to use the bathroom.

Mile 22 – 9:01  I felt a little better, and got back almost on pace. I didn’t think a 3:50 was still possible, but I figured I would still PR by a few minutes.

Mile 23 – 10:26  Here my stomach problems started up again, and I had to walk for a minute. Now I started to see my PR slipping away. I wanted to cry thinking about how hard I had worked for this, and through some cruel twist of fate, it was being taken away from me.

Mile 24 – 9:18  The last three miles were pure torture. Not only did I have incredible pain in my gut, but by now my legs were just done.

Mile 25 – 9:25

Mile 26 – 8:51 

Mile 26.2 – 2:and change

I think it was just by sheer will and determination that I finished those last 3 miles. I knew at the end that my PR was going to be close, so I just gave it everything I had. So that’s that. I PR’d by 32 seconds, almost collapsed at the finish line, and then wobbled over to collect my cheesy medal.

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I have no finish line/post race photos because I was so sick and shivery I thought I might die. In the aftermath, I am trying to sort through what happened, and it just boils down to the fact that it wasn’t my day. That’s a hard pill to swallow when you have given over 4 months of your life, dedicated to becoming faster, stronger. Never missing a workout, even if it meant running 15 miles on a treadmill because of a blizzard. Going into race week with the utmost confidence that you have done what was necessary, put in the hard work, and that it will pay off. At least I know that it wasn’t for lack of effort. I did everything right, and it wasn’t my day. As awful as I felt during those final miles, I am already beginning to forget the physical pain, to put it behind me. It’s what we as runners have to do. Believe me, if we carried that pain around with us, no one would sign up to do it all over again.

A few times during the race I wondered to myself what I was thinking in signing up for Ironman. I was doubting myself, doubting whether I have what it takes. Today I feel differently. As disappointing as the marathon was, I can’t go back and change it. I can only look forward. I do have what it takes, and I will put in the work. I have to trust that it will pay off, that it will get me to the finish line.

I am still sick today, though feeling slightly better than last night, when I could barely swallow. My legs aren’t that bad (or I should say not as bad as usual after running a marathon), which just confirms in my mind that I could have run faster. I am going to lay off the running this week and use it as recovery, and then it is right back into the swing of things with Ironman training.

And finally, a few thoughts about the WI Marathon itself. Being as it was the inaugural race, I think overall they did a good job with it. The course was very scenic, with much of it run right on the lake shore. The first half of the course was shared between the marathon and the half marathoners, which was nice because there were a lot of people. After the half-marathoners split off towards the finish, things really thinned out. The southern portion was still along the lake, but it reminded me more of running on Lake Drive in Milwaukee. You could see the lake beyond the beautiful houses that lined the streets.

One thing that was promised on the race website was “cheesy course entertainment.” There was not a single bit of entertainment anywhere on the course that I saw. Crowd support was very limited, which was kind of to be expected. Especially at the end of the race, it would have been nice to have more people in downtown Kenosha cheering us on. Also, there was supposed to be a Hammer Gel station at mile 17-18, and unless I am totally blind, it was not there. Not that I wanted Hammer Gel, but it was stated on the website, so I think it should have been there. And finally, the Heed energy drink that they had on the course was disgusting. I understand that they were a sponsor, but I would strongly advise them to try and get Gatorade or something else for next year. Yuck.

So there you have it. I am already considering throwing in a fall marathon after Ironman this year to chase that 3:50, but we’ll see. It might just be too much to mentally handle. One thing at a time, one foot in front of the other.

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Just a quick update. I finished the race this morning, though barely. I did end up with a new PR by about 30 seconds I think. The official times aren’t posted yet, but my Garmin is saying I ran 26.33 miles in 3:56:29. I am glad I PR’d, but disappointed with the day in general, including waking up this morning sick. Right now I need to shower and get horizontal on the couch. Stay tuned for a full race report tomorrow…

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