Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Buffalo Marathon Race Report

The whole week before the race, I checked the weather.  Last year, this race had been super steamy and I was hoping that we would catch a break.  Work consumed my life the week before the race which actually worked to my advantage because I hardly thought about  the race until the weekend snuck up on me.

Saturday morning I did a super easy run with my running buddy before packing up and driving to my in laws.  We planned to stay with them the night before the race so we wouldn't have as far to drive on race morning.  Brian and I went to packet pick up which was very small so it was just a quick in and out before we headed back to relax for the rest of the day.

My mother in law made the most delicious pre-race meal of pulled pork. homemade baked beans and salad.  It was a pretty low key night as I went to bed early since I was waking up at 5am for the race.

Race Morning

I slept great and when my alarm went off I just felt good.  I had my usual pre-run/race breakfast of oatmeal and coffee.  Brian was a little slower to wake up and with 15 minutes before we had to leave, I dragged him out of bed.  He had breakfast and then disappeared upstairs as I waited and waited at the door to go.  I finally gave up and went upstairs to find him shaving! We were already late by 10 minutes.

Once we finally got on the road, I started to get a little bit nervous.  We were running late and I hate being late.  The good part was that the weather was perfect! Cloudy skies with temps barely touching 60F.  We stopped to grab Brian some Tim Horton's coffee (of course!) and that put us even more behind.  I had wanted to get to the race and be parked around 6:15am but it was getting closer and closer to 6:30am before we even arrived at the race area.

I headed for the start line and the the port-a-potties.  The lines were so long but I knew I would need one potty break before the race.  I met up with my running buddy and we waited in the lines for the bathrooms.  I was getting more and more nervous as it was about 10 minutes to race time.  Finally I got in to go the bathroom, did my business and met back up with Brian.  I gave him the last of my stuff, kissed him and headed for the start.  The start was so crowded - there were so many people because it was literally about 2 minutes from 7am (official start time), but my running buddy and I squeezed through the people and made our way to just in front of the 3:30 pacer.

After both national anthems (Canadian and US) we were off!  Even though it was crowded, we did not have to weave around people.  We just took it slow and let our legs warm up during the first mile.  The plan had been to warm up during the first 6 miles but of course we were feeling good so after the first mile we were already close to 8:00 minute pace which was our goal. 

We passed Brian for the first time and headed into the first section of the half marathon course.  The half marathoners and relay runners were running with all the marathoners for the first half of the race.  This part contained some weaving around the city, one short out and back and then one long 6 mile out and back before the half way point of the marathon.

Everything was feeling good, legs were happy and we were feeling pretty good.  We saw Brian again around the 3 mile mark and you could tell we were feeling good.  We had to focus to not go to fast. I remember really enjoying this part of the race.  I was running with my buddy, we were happy, lots of people cheering and the weather was perfect.  I had decided to wear my visor because I knew if I didn't then it would become sunny - sort of a superstition thing I guess, but it worked out because it never got sunny!

As we headed into the second out and back portion of the first half, my running buddy started to not feel as well as she had  hoped.  She had a cold the previous week and it had taken it toll on her.  She decided to slow down a bit and I pushed on.  By this time the 3:30 pacer had passed us but we were only about 15 feet behind him.  I kept him in my sight as we ran along.

The next 6 miles were still pretty crowded with half marathoners but I just kept plugging along and enjoying the race.  My breathing was good, but my hip flexors were hurting a little bit.  I tried to not think about my legs because I knew they would be fine, I just kept going.  Around mile 8, I started running with another girl who was trying to stay with the 3:30 pacer.  She was running her second marathon and it was nice to have the company.

As we approached the 13.1 miles, the half marathoners began to split off and finish.  I wasn't really paying attention, just kept looking and following the pacer.  The pacer actually followed the half course and I almost went with him.  I don't know why he did that, but thankfully a volunteer steered me back on course because he saw that I had a marathon bib on.  From that point on, I never saw a 3:30 pace group again. 

The pacer had been quite a bit ahead and as I ran through the half, I was right on where I wanted to be.  (See bottom for splits) Before I rounded the corner to the 13.1 mile marker, I stuffed GU chomps in my mouth and of course around the corner was Brian snapping pictures of me.  It was hard to smile and chew at the same time!

The second half of the course was a full out and back - 13.1 miles of twists and turns before rounding back into the marathon finish. I was still running with a few people and I was feeling good.  My knees would hurt and then feel better but otherwise I was doing really well.  The first part had been mostly flat, while the second half had a few hills - mainly around mile 14 and mile 22.  I just pushed on.

I ran with a few men who asked about the 3:30 pacer - no one knew where he had gone.  My legs started to hurt more and more as I entered the 18th mile.  I took another gu chomp at mile 15.4 but then got a little absorbed in my thoughts and didn't eat again until mile 19.  I think this is where I started to lose it mentally during the race. 

I had been running so strong and feeling so good that around mile 21 when my legs started to not listen to my brain, I didn't know what to do.  I wasn't out of breath but my legs just kept getting slower and slower.  I started walking through the water stations because I was so thirsty.  I started to give up more and more.

At the beginning of all this marathon training, I had decided to run this race with my running buddy.  She is the one who loves the high miles, she is the one who has always wanted to run a marathon.  I knew that if I had a buddy to run with, I would train for it - otherwise I most likely would not. So she was my motivation to do this and she was my inspiration to run.

Out on the course, I started to wonder why I was even running this marathon.  Why was I putting myself through this when I really didn't want to.  My goal had been to run 3:30 for the marathon and qualify for Boston but this was when I thought I would be running the whole race with my buddy.  Out there on the course all alone, I started to give up because I didn't want to qualify for Boston without her.  I didn't want to run without her.  If I went to Boston, I wanted to go and run with her.

I know it may seem silly, and of course my mind was not thinking straight when I was at mile 21 and 23 and 25.  But I just could not bring myself to keep going and running the same pace.  My dream had been to do this with my friend, this wasn't about my goals, it was about her and being together.  My dream had been that we would cross the finish line together.  I know this is the excuse my brain came up with during the race to allow myself to slow down.  It was my mental way of saying its ok to not meet your original goal.  I know I hit the wall and fought with my own demons for the final 6 miles.  It felt like the race would never end and even though my brain was telling my legs to keep going, to keep moving, they just did not want to.

I walked through all the water stops from mile 21 on.  My legs were in so much pain - I can't even describe it.  My right hamstring started to feel a bit funny as well.  It actually hurt more to stop so by mile 25, I just pushed on and kept going until I saw Brian at mile 26.  He snapped a bunch of pictures as I ran by. Although my legs were hurting more than ever in my life, I don't think my face showed pain (or my usual death face) because I wasn't breathing that hard.  After 26 miles, I was hardly out of breath - it was the weirdest thing ever.  

As soon as Brian stopped taking pictures and lowered the camera, I started to lose it.  I almost started to cry, my eyes teared up - I didn't even want to run the last 0.2 miles.  I wanted to stop right there.  But he said to me "I am so proud of you" and even though that made me tear up more (and still does now as I write this), I kept going.

When I got to the finish, I tried very hard to smile and actually my finish photos came out really nice.  I stopped immediately after crossing the finish line because there were people in front of me.  I tried to take a step forward and my legs almost gave out.  A volunteer grabbed me, handed me some water and started walking me back into the finishers area.  My legs were in so much pain - more pain than I can ever remember after any race.  They ached and throbbed and no matter what I did, I could not get them to stop.  When I was finally stable, the volunteer let me go and I immediately went for the table of oranges and began stuffing my face.  It wasn't until I was about 4 oranges in, that I saw Brian standing off to the side waiting for me.  He had seen the whole thing and was worried but I told him I was ok but that everything hurt.

I expected to feel more at the finish line.  I expected to feel this great sense of accomplishment but I didn't.  I felt defeated.  I felt like the marathon had owned me.  Over the last year, there have been so many races where I have controlled the race, the speed, everything.  But this race, it took control of me at the end and it took everything I had to hold on.  For having so much mental toughness in so many other races, I really just gave up mentally in this marathon.  And that is a hard thing to deal with.

After the race, I got a quick mini massage which helped my walking immensely.  In my head and out loud I kept saying that I would never do this again.  And to be honest, I don't know if I will.  Now that is has been almost three days from the race of course I feel like I want to run again and do better, but I can't see myself doing it again.  Maybe some day in the future but not for a while. I enjoy the shorter races too much and I also enjoy the shorter recovery time :)

Today, my quads are still sore - better than the previous few days but still sore.  My left leg especially for some reason, although I am not sure why. I am proud I did the marathon because its a freaking marathon.  Everyone at work is so amazed I ran 26.2 miles this weekend and I am actually walking normal and not a total cripple.  It is an amazing accomplishment, it still doesn't feel totally real and I can't believe it was only a couple of days ago.  It all just feels like a dream.  But I did it.  And I am glad I did.

Chip Time: 3:38:55
Place: 217/1045
Female: 45/479
Age Group: 9/102


Monday, May 28, 2012


I did it!


Race report and recovery plan to come soon!  My legs are incredibly sore and you can believe I am walking like a grandma.

Happy Memorial Day!

0.2mi from the finish

Friday, May 25, 2012

the numbers

first marathon training summary - 

total training weeks: 20 (+ 1 extra week in the beginning of January)

total miles run: 803

total runs: 112

total run time: 112 hours 37 minutes 36 seconds

average run distance: 6 miles

average run pace: 8:25 min/mile

average weekly run mileage: 37 miles

highest weekly run mileage: 54 miles (week 17)

highest monthly run mileage: 208 miles (April)

longest run: 21 miles (week 17)

# of runs over 20 miles: 2 (20 miles week 10 and 21 miles week 17)

# of runs over 15 miles: 9

# of races run: 3 (15k, half marathon, 5k)

# of shoes used: 4 pairs (2 Brooks Ghost 3s, 1 Mizuno Wave Riders, 1 Brooks Ghost 5s)

# of hours cross training: 71 hours (yoga, total body, spinning & pilates)

This training cycle I have run in rain, snow, heat, slush, EVERYTHING.  It has been an amazing journey and I seriously cannot believe that I am running a marathon this weekend.  I can't believe how fast the time went by and how much time I have spent getting ready for this day. This last week of taper has been really good for me.  My legs feel fresh and I have had a ton of energy.  I have emailed my coach my race plan and he suggested doing some positive visualization which I have been doing and I have been working on a mantra to say during the race. I have my racing outfit laid out and ready to go.  Everything is coming together.

I really think the difference in my training for the last few months has been the addition of yoga, total body class, spinning and pilates.  I didn't always make all four classes each week but I always fit in yoga and at least one other type of cross training.  I feel stronger and more balanced than I ever have before because I haven't been JUST running.

The best part of the last 20+ weeks has been training for this marathon with one of my best friends and best running buddies. I would NOT have signed up for this race or even trained for this race without her support and help. 

Sadly I don't think there is any runner tracking for this marathon.

Thank you to everyone for your support and encouragement - I really appreciate it.

See you on the other side of 26.2!!

The Profoot giveaway winners are Jess K and Amanda.  Please email your address to me at morningrunner12 {at} gmail {dot} com!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

High Mileage Love

This training cycle I really think I pushed my limits.  Before this I had only hit 40 miles in a week once and it had literally destroyed my legs. 

Last year I was reading about Marlene doing mid week long runs during her marathon training and I hoped that maybe one day I could do that.

My garmin after my run to work in April

I started off running about 20-25 miles a week almost 2 years ago, last year I increased to 30-35ish while training for my half, and this year I peaked at 54 miles a week while training for the marathon.

I did my first run to work and ran many Thursday evening long runs with my running club.  And it turns out that I LOOOOVE the higher mileage.  I was kind of sad to see taper come because I knew that would mean I would be decreasing my miles.  But I know that my body needed the rest.

This whole marathon thing wasn't really my idea - I wasn't sure I really wanted to do it.  But now I am happy I did, I am happy I pushed my limits and ran farther and faster than I had before.

Last night, I went to my running club and I ran my last tempo workout before the marathon.  4x1000m at Tempo pace (7:06) and my legs actually felt pretty good.  I talked to many of the other girls from the club who have done a number of marathons and they shared some advice which really made me feel better.

That didn't stop me from having a scary marathon dream last night though.  I was running the race, but then all of a sudden someone was chasing me.  I ended up running through a mall and out into a housing development.  I hid in the bushes until the man left and then fled to a river where I floated down stream for a while.  As I was floating, I was trying to figure out how I could get back on course for the marathon and still finish under my time goal.  Then I woke up. Definitely not your typical pre-marathon dream.

Only a few days left before the race.  I still can't believe it is THIS weekend.  Feels like just yesterday I was secretly signing up for this race and had no idea if I would really even be running it.


Monday, May 21, 2012

Profoot Review + Giveaway

I love shoes.  High heels, boots, sneakers, flip flops, wedges, sandals, flats.  Love them all.  But sometimes they don't love me back.

Even though I am running 50 miles weeks while training for this marathon, I want to be able to walk and I want to be able to wear my favorite high heels.

When Profoot asked me to do a review of their products I was excited because my feet have been needing a little extra love.

As soon as I received the three products above, I immediately used the moleskin.  I had actually been meaning to pick some up from my local store because I have this annoying callus that will not go away!  It is on my left pinky toe and no amount of pedicures will get ride of this thing.  I cut out a bit of the moleskin and placed it on my toe one morning before my run.  And it worked amazing.  I was impressed because in the part nothing really has stayed on my foot.   I once tried a band-aid on my little toe but that didn't last long.  The moleskin stayed in place for the whole run.

If you have been reading this blog for a while, you may know that I have a serious shoe problem.  Not only do I college running shoes, but I also collect high heels.  Right now I have four pairs of running shoes in rotation and four pairs of work shoes in rotation.

Yes I know that is a lot of shoes.  Two of my running shoes are on their way out of rotation with almost 500 miles and I try to have a bunch of different work shoes because I do have different pairs of pants that go with different heel heights.

But that is not the point.  The point is that I love to wear my 2-3 inch heels even while I am running and training a lot.  The 2ox miracle molding insoles were amazing! I put them into my favorite high heel ankle boots and my legs were thanking me.  Usually the ball of my feet will hurt by the end of the day from all the walking and standing on hard floors all day but with the inserts my feet actually felt good.

Would you like to win some Profoot care products?  Two lucky winners will receive the products!  

To enter please visit Profoot on facebook and please "like" their page.

For extra entries - follow my blog, follow my blog on facebook, or blog about this giveaway.

Just leave a comment and let me know what you did.

Giveaway ends May 25th and then I will randomly pick the winners!

****Disclaimer: I was sent products from Profoot for the purpose of this review, the opinions on this product are my own.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

One week from today

This morning I woke up at 5:30am to volunteer for a local 5k and 10k race.

I did this last year too and there is just something special about volunteering and spectating a race.  I arrived at the empty race area just before 6:30am and just soaked up the quietness.  It was peaceful and amazing to think that in just under 30 minutes, this place would start to buzz with people and race excitement. 

I was scheduled for packet pickup for the 5k race and although it was hectic and busy as I passed out bibs and t-shirts it was fun to interact with a bunch of racers - many who were running their first race.  The excitement was contagious and I began to think about where I would be next Sunday.  I would be standing around with a bunch of other racers while volunteers took time out of their day to help me possibly have a great race.  I would be starting my race, my first marathon, and hopefully the weather would be good!

Once the 5k race went off, I made my way over to the finish area to see the top runners come in.  This is possibly my favorite part of spectating.  I love seeing the runners at their best and I love cheering them on because of course I know their name while they have no idea who I am.  After the first few women came in, I made my way to the post race area and quickly began to give out water.  It was a hot day and the sun was beating down.  The swarm of finishers quickly over came myself and the other volunteers trying to pour water as quickly as possible. 

The 10k race followed closely after the the 5k finish and I left the water area to spectate the 10k race as well.  I knew a lot more people running the 10k than the 5k and I was excited to see how they would do.  As I waited for the runners to come to the finish, I thought about how I would be feeling the following week.  It was 9:18am and at that moment I hoped I would still be feeling good and finishing within the next hour and a half. 

As the top men finishers started to trickle in, I once again began cheering for many who didn't even know me.  I wanted them to run well and I wanted them to finish.  The top woman looked awesome and I have seen her run many times - pretty inspirational.

I made my way back to the finish area and began handing out water again.  It was insanely busy as we handed out water to the finishers and just being among everyone made me feel like I could do anything.  Just being around the runners, made me want to run and to run well. 

I don't feel nervous about next week, yet.  I know the nerves will come.  I still can't really believe that in one week from right now (9:19pm) I will be a marathoner!  I am not sure how it will go, I am not sure that I will make my goal, but I do know that I will run this and I will make it.  I know that I will run farther and longer than I have ever before.

Volunteering and spectating the race today gave me great inspiration to run a great race next week.  It reaffirmed that even though I have all the training in the bank from the past 20 weeks, the greatest part of this race will be the mental battle that I will face on the course.  It will be the battle of breaking down or pushing forward and pushing on.  

I know it will be a battle but I hope I can win!

This is just a mishmash of thoughts....Can't believe the race is only a week away.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Brooks finally got it right (maybe)

At the beginning of 2011, I made the switch from Asics to Brooks.  I finally realized that I was running in the wrong shoe plus I had heard some great reviews about this neutral running shoe from Brooks.

I decided to try the Ghost 3 shoes by Brooks and I instantly fell in love.  I ran my half marathon in them last spring and I have collected many pairs since them.  The Ghost 3s have been with me through everything and beyond.

When Brooks released the Ghost 4s I was not happy.  First they were heavier than the Ghost 3s.

Ghost 3 = 9.2 oz
Ghost 4 = 9.3 oz

Ok so its only 0.1 ounces but still it is the principle of the thing.  The heel to toe offset was the same (12mm) but I just was not happy so I started buying up all the regular width Ghost 3 size 10 shoes I could find.  A few weeks ago I was looking at my shoe mileage and realized that my last two pair of Ghost 3 shoes were quickly approaching the 500 mile mark! Ekkkkk!

My running buddy (who also runs in the Ghost 3) had already made the switch to another pair of Brooks shoes and so after a little research I decided that I would make the switch into a pair of Brooks PureProject shoes.  Then something caught my eye on the Brooks website.

The GHOST 5 shoes!!!  And although they were a little weird looking (in my opinion compared to the 3s) I decided that this new model actually might be worth trying.  Once again the heel to toe drop is the same as the 3s and 4s, but these babies are lighter!

Ghost 5 = 8.8 oz

This was too good to be true.  Just three weeks from the marathon and I was going to get a wonderful new pair of lighter shoes!  When I tried them on at the store they felt so right and after a quick spin around the parking lot I knew that these shoes would be the ones I would wear while running my first 26.2!

Another great part of these new Ghost 5s is that the toe box is a little bit bigger than the previous Ghost 3s.  My feet feel less smooshed but I still get the same light weight feel.  You can kind of tell the difference between the 3s and 5s in the picture below.

I ran in my new Brooks this morning and the run went great.  The shoes are so comfortable that I hardly feel a difference from my older Ghosts.  They of course feel like they have a bit more padding in the shoe, since they are newer and have no miles on them compared to my other Ghosts.

I really hope that the Ghost 5s live up to my expectations from the Ghost 3s.  Those Ghost 3s are going to be really hard to replace plus they have been with me through so many training runs and races.  

I did end up buying the Brooks Pure Flow shoes as well, but since they are a 4mm heel to toe drop, I am going to have to slowly work them into my running and most likely this wont happen until after the marathon. 

Thanks Brooks for realizing that the Ghost 4s weren't that great and making the Ghost 5s.  Let's hope these live up to the Ghost 3s because I have put them through a lot and they have really lasted.  And next time, Don't change a shoe when its already perfect.  Thanks.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Breaking 20

I feel like there is a time barrier in every race distance that runners want to break through.  Every since I started racing 5ks (which was almost 7 years ago), I always wanted to break the 20 minute barrier.  At first I don't even think I knew what pace a sub 20 minute 5k was, but I wanted to run it. 

This weekend, for the 3rd year in a row, I ran the Pink Ribbon 5k which is a women's only race to raise awareness for breast cancer.  It is a fairly flat course with a downhill finish and I have set PRs on the course for the past two years.  I hoped that this year wouldn't be an exception.

Sunday was a perfect day for running but I was nervous.  I hadn't raced a 5k since November and with all the miles on my legs from marathon training and just entering tapering I was worried.  Warming up helped to loosen my legs and my nerves and as I lined up at the start with all the other women, I was calm and happy.

Front page of the local newspaper.
 The first mile, I just focused on NOT starting too fast.  I had no idea what my legs were capable of, so my goal was to keep it around 6:40 pace for the first mile.  My legs had other ideas and I went through the first mile in 6:36.  Not too much faster but I had to pull back a bit just to hit that pace.

The second mile had the turn around and so I started to see other women runners behind me.  They are always so supportive of the leader runners, they are cheering and happy.  It made me smile to see all the pink and all the women participating.  As I approached the second mile, I started to hear footsteps behind me and then a young girl blew past me like I was standing still.  I had no idea where she came from.  I just continued with my pace and came through the second mile in 6:26.

The last mile is a slight uphill but mostly downhill to the finish which I love.  There was a girl ahead of me and I focused on reeling her in and passing her.  I knew I was in 7th place at this point and I just wanted to move up in the standings.  I slowly caught up to her and passed her.  I could tell from her breathing that she was having trouble with the uphill and I knew I could beat her.

With about half a mile to go, my garmin said my overall pace was 6:30.  I knew a sub 20 minutes 5k was a 6:27 pace and I really thought I wasn't going to make it.  I just tried to reel in the next girl (the one who had blown past me).  I did end up catching up to her but could not pass her.  As I rounded the corner to the finish, my friends started cheering and yelling for me to pass her so of course she knew I was right behind her so she sped up too.

I finished the last mile in 6:17 and final 0.1 in 5:55 pace.  And I came in under 20 minutes!  I couldn't see the clock until I was right at the finish but I was so happy with my time!


I had done it!

It felt almost unbelievable that I had actually run that fast.  I guess I was just unsure if I could really do it.  I guess this takes away all my fears that marathon training actually makes you slower.

I came in 6th overall and set a new PR by about 40 seconds (previous PR from November was 20:30).  I was actually so nervous about the race, that I forgot the camera at home, so no pictures :(

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Balancing life, wife and running

Just over 7 months ago, Brian and I got married.  We had been engaged for just over a year when we got married and before that we had gone to college together.  In our 6 year friendship, 4 years of which we dated, we had been through a lot of changes.

We made the choice to not live together before we were married.  It was a choice that was slightly difficult at times because of course we wanted to be together but we thought that living together after being married would make our marriage and wedding that much more to look forward to. 

After the wedding, I moved into our house and we made the transition to living together.  It actually went much smoother than I thought.  We had talked about it before hand and had basically set up what jobs each of us would do around the house.  I do the laundry, cook dinner, and take care the grocery shopping.  Brian takes care of the lawn and snow blowing, cars, and does the bills.  We share the cleaning of the house.

And we thought we had figured everything out but it wasn't that simple.  I don't think we really thought out what would happen when one or both of us got so busy that we neglected to take the time for each other. 

When I decided to run a marathon, I never really took the time to think about how much time a week I would spend on running.  And by running I mean getting ready, driving to run, stretching, planning runs, and cross training.  Turns out its about 15 hours a week that I spend solely on running. 

Each week, since about the end of January, I have run an average of 43 miles.  Plus I go to yoga on Monday afternoons, Total body class on Tuesdays or Thursday mornings, spinning on Friday mornings and Pilates on Saturday mornings (when the long run isn't too long and I can make it to the class).  And I love every minute of running and planning and all the cross training but it does take me away from spending time with Brian.

Also since the end of January, my work load has almost doubled.  Usually I put in at least 40 hours a week but with my work load increase, I started to work over 50 hours a week.  That means often I put in 10 hour days.  And with the work load increase, the stress also increased which has taken its toll on the relationship between Brian and I. 

Running has always been my stress reliever and thankfully in the past few months I have been running a lot!  But with all my running and my working, that hasn't left much time for Brian.  He has been very busy with his own work projects as well which means we haven't spent as much time together as we would like.  The weekends often seem like the only time when we are guaranteed time together.

I think that is why I have always done my long runs Saturday morning at 6:30am.  That way I can be back home and still have most of the day together.  Brian knows how much running means to me and how happy I am that I can run, but he also wants to spend time with me.

I think the most that I have learned is that it is all about priorities.  Yes I want to run and train my best for this marathon and Yes I want to do the best I can at my job, but after that I need to make Brian a priority.  Sometimes, I need to rearrange my schedule to put him first instead of work or running.  We are newly married and although we may feel like we have it all under control, we don't.  We are still getting used to everything and still working at our relationship.  Every day, we both work at this relationship because that is what it takes to balance our lives.

There are so many other things I want to do - I still have yet to print any of our wedding pictures, I have a stack of books to read, I haven't scrapbooked in over a year, and I know my house should be a bit cleaner.  But honestly those things can wait until a rainy day when I have more time. 

Life is all about the choices we make.  Some days are tougher than others, but life is a balancing act and I know I still have a lot to learn.  But its a process and for now, we are doing pretty good.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

I'll have a side of taper

I made it through the big week of miles.  And now it is time to start tapering.  But just because I am less than three weeks out from the marathon and taper has officially started, doesn't mean the hard workouts stop.

Today is a prime example.  I have 3x2mi at tempo pace.  In the rain.  At least it will be a warm, 60F rain.

And just because it is taper, doesn't mean I wont be throwing in a little race.  This weekend I will run in an all woman's 5k race on Sunday to support breast cancer.  This will be my third year running it and it has to be one of my favorite races.  So just because its taper, doesn't mean I would miss it.

Just because taper has started, doesn't mean there isn't still lots of fun to be had.  It is hard to believe that the marathon is so close.  Feels like it was just yesterday that I was secretly signing up for the race and hoping that my knee would be ok.

19 days to go!

Friday, May 4, 2012

A busy night

Yesterday was a very busy day.  After work for 10 hours, I escaped to the hot outdoors for my scheduled run with my buddy.

2mi @ easy, 2x{4mi @ MP +1mi @ T), 1 mi @ easy

The temperature was into the 70s by 6pm and so it was a hot run.  Usually for these after work long runs, I don't bring any water or nutrition.  I discussed with my running buddy and we agreed since it was going to be so warm out we would bring water and some food to keep us going.

I carried my handheld and actually wasn't bothered by it too much.  I ate GU chomps every ~2 miles after mile 5.  The workout was far from easy but I really think having the water and nutrition helped.  I honestly prefer to do any run under 13 miles without nutrition but with the heat, it actually worked out for the best.

Once we were finished, I headed straight home because I had to bake cupcakes for a cupcake bake-off challenge today.  3 hours and 100+ mini cupcakes later plus lots of buttercream icing and I was ready to finally get to bed.

In the morning at work, I quickly prepared the cupcakes.  I was filling them with a raspberry filling and then icing them before the competition.  It turned out to be a lot of work but they came out pretty nice.

I ended up taking 3rd place to some very good cupcakes.  It was a lot of work but a lot of fun and it was interesting to see what the other participants had come up with.  My work did this as a fundraiser for United Way - you paid a dollar and got to try every cupcake.  I tried all seven different types of cupcakes and now I feel like I am in a sugar coma!!

These cupcakes were actually not that hard to make.  Here is the recipe for the Perfect Cake Mix Cupcakes!!  And for the Raspberry Filling and Raspberry Buttercream!!

Raspberry Filled Vanilla Cupcakes with Raspberry Buttercream

Cupcake ingredients: 
1 Betty Crocker Yellow cake mix
½ cup butter
1 cup water
3 eggs
Raspberry Filling ingredients:
½ cup Raspberry jam
½ container Cool whip
Raspberry Buttercream Ingredients:
½ cup Crisco
½ cup Butter
1 tsp Vanilla
1 tbsp Skim milk
½ cup Raspberry jam
4 cups Confectioners’ sugar

Mix together cake mix with butter, water and eggs and beat with electric mixer for about 2 minutes.  Start filling cupcake tins and then bake at 325F for 20 minutes.  Once all cupcake batter is used, mix buttercream ingredients into bowl and beat with electric mixer until smooth.  In another bowl, mix cool whip with raspberry jam.  Remove cupcakes from oven when finished baking and allow to cool.  When ready to fill cupcakes, use a knife or coring tool to remove a bit of the center of the cupcake.  Using a bag, pipe filling into cupcakes and then pipe frosting on top. 

Cupcake recipe from Tidy Mom
Buttercream recipe from Six Sisters' Stuff

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

WIAW: Easy Post Run Dinner

Every Tuesday night I run with my running group.  A few of us usually meet around 5:30pm to do a 2-3 mile warmup, then the whole group gathers at the designated meeting spot to talk about the workout, race results, etc etc.  Then we all go and run the workout in our specific pace groups.

Last night my running buddy and I had a very long workout on the schedule.  We met and warmed up at 5:30pm and did 2.25 miles before meeting with the group.  Shortly after 6pm we got our workout started....

10x800m @ 3:25 w/ 3:25 recovery

We finally finished after a 2.75 mile cool down at 8:10pm.  A very long workout indeed.  That recovery time really made this workout take forever.  But we felt great throughout and ran well.  Once I headed home, I began thinking about what I was going to have for dinner.  The fridge didn't really have much leftovers and I didn't want to spend a lot of time making something new because it would be close to 9pm before I got home and showered.

So I decided on an old favorite that is quick, easy and delicious.  Rice, black beans, cheddar cheese and salsa.  Yum.

I had the rice in the fridge, already made (thankfully!) and so I just had to open a can of black beans and heat them up with some rice. Half way through, I added the cheese and continued to microwave.  Then I added and salsa and devoured it!

This was simple and easy and one of my favorite post run meals.  I ate quite a bit and actually didn't feel too full after ward. Perfect!

Thanks to Jenn at Peas and Crayons for another What I Ate Wednesday!!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Flower City Half race report

Sunday I raced the Flower City half marathon as part of my marathon training schedule.  This was the second year in a row I had run this race.

The morning dawned a cool 30F but sunny.  I made a judgement call and decided to wear less layers since I seem to always overdress for running/races.  My running club racing singlet, arm warmers and capris with gloves and sunglasses were hopefully going to keep me warm enough for the entire 13 miles.

I met up with my running girls and we did a quick mile warm up before removing our sweats and heading to the start line.  I was chilly at first in my skimpy outfit but once we were in the mass of people at the start, it was actually warm.  Soon we were off and running.

As I mentioned before this course was very flat for the first 6 miles and then hilly from mile 6-9 and then flat to the finish.  I had planned to try and keep at 7:20-7:25 pace for the first six miles.  The miles slowly ticked by and we weaved around the empty streets.  I was being passed by a lot of runners at this point but I knew the hills were coming so I held back and didn't push myself.  The sun was shinning and I was just enjoying being out on the course.  I passed Brian around mile 2.5 and made sure to smile!

Around mile 3 I started to feel a little bit fatigued and that worried me.  I had done a small mini taper for this race but there was still a lot of fast miles on my legs.  After about a mile or so I started to feel stronger and better and just pushed on to the hills.

The crowd support going into the hilly portion was awesome and it gave me a little extra boost and I started up the hill.  I tried not to push the pace and just maintain my effort from before.  I lost about 4 seconds on my over all pace on the first large hill.  We entered a steep downhill and I picked up speed as I braced myself and tried to recover before hitting the second hill.  At this point I seriously got confused about the course.  I thought they had changed a section because I didn't remember it from the year prior.  About 2 minutes later I realized where I was and that things had not actually changed.

With three hills left to conquer, I entered the cemetery portion of the race.  I saw Brian again but didn't really acknowledge him because I was focused on not tripping on the cobblestones that lined the hill.  The last thing I wanted was to fall!

At the top of the cobble-stoned hill, I tried to recover quickly but the next hill came fast.  I don't really remember thinking about much at this point except trying to just get through the hills.  Finally I reached the flat portion and tried to pick up speed.  I was feeling great and this point and had actually gained back a second that I had lost through the hill portion.

I was surprised at how good I felt and how good my legs felt.  I had no pain in my legs what so ever, while last year at this point I started to have trouble.  The cemetery portion of this course can get very lonely and boring and although it was not as bad as last year, it still was pretty desolate.  Definitely my least favorite portion of the course.

Once out the cemetery, the crowd support picked up and as I made a right turn I thanked a very cute police man.  Always nice to have some eye candy while running!  At this point I continued to try to pick up my pace without going all out and burning out.  I was seeing my pace slowly drop back closer to 7:20 overall and I was happy.  I was feeling good and continued on until I finally made it to the mile 12 marker.  I couldn't believe that the race was almost over - my legs were still feeling good and my pace was dropping.

The final mile I did my best to smile because I was happy to be racing.  I had enjoyed running the race and knew I was going to PR.  As the finish line came closer and closer, the crowds began to grow and get louder!  Although I had my garmin time, I wasn't really looking at it in the final mile - I was just trying to get to the finish line.  When the clock finally came into view I was very happy to see a 1:36!  My favorite part had to be running with the streets lined with people and finishing while the announcer called my name.

Brian happened to catch me close to the finish - I didn't even see him.  I think this is my favorite photo that he took.  It just shows how good I felt and how strong I finished.  My goal had been to run under 1:37 and I did that and I ran about 5 minutes faster than last year's race and PR. 

Monday and today (Tuesday), I am feeling really good.  I have no soreness and only minimal tightness in my legs.  I think all this high mileage marathon training is actually paying off to help me run faster at the shorter distances and recover faster too!

Post race, I met up with my running girls and we all had brunch together with our significant others.  I had muffin bread french toast and it was the best thing ever.  A great way to refuel after a fun race!

Final Stats:
1:36:30 (7:22 pace)
Place: 166/2252
Female: 37/1299
Age group: 15/280