Go, Erin, go!

Working mom, wife, food-lover, ultra-runner(?). This is my life.

Post marathon musings. . . May 20, 2008

Filed under: marathon — Erin @ 2:25 pm

Thank you to everyone for all of your support and notes of congratulations. I don’t know if I could have made it through the training without all of you. I saw that people were reading the blog, so I couldn’t miss a run and let you all down.

Now that the marathon is over, I am having mini-flashbacks to it. Here are a few which you may find entertaining:

  • After the race, Cheryl and I were talking and she asked if I had noticed some circular holes in the pavement that were man made.  She had seen them and wondered what they were for.  I saw them, and all I thought about it while running was, “Oh look, some circular holes.”
  • I have a confession, I sent a few text messages during the race to Alan, Cristen and my folks so they had some idea of where I was.  Cheryl found this highly amusing, but I only did it when walking up the hills
  • There was a course marshall who was standing there just holding his flag directing the runners, I said to him as I ran past, “Come on!  I’m running here, the least you could do is wave the flag a little.”  He laughed.
  • I saw a woman run into someone’s front yard, into bushes and take a whiz.  Classy.
  • I saw a guy run off the course, and I thought he was going to go pee in the bushes as well, but he just ran over to a lilac bush and smelled the flowers.  That made me smile.
  • I was running past a couple that were running the half-marathon and I heard one of them say, “We really should have trained for this.”
  • There were lots of dogs in yards though out the marathon and most seemed perplexed by having hundreds of people running past their yards.  I felt sorry for some of them.  Others seem to think it was the best thing ever.
  • The course crossed over train tracks at numerous times and as the race went on, I became terrified that a huge freight train would come through and I would have to stop for ten to fifteen minutes while I waited for it to pass.  Luckily that did not happen.
  • I don’t know if I enjoy racing.  There is too much feed back on the course with mile-markers and race clocks.  I think I am a more pure runner (for lack of a better term).  I didn’t give myself much information on my training runs.  At times it wouldn’t be until mile 10 that I finally would have a look at my watch and iPod thingy to tell me how far I’d gone and how long it took.   I wasn’t able to zone out how I do when I have my better runs.  Races let me be in my head too much.  The less feedback the better for me.
  • At one point, I thought to myself, “Wow, I am doing this!”

I’m sure other memories will come along, but that’s what I can remember now.

I think I may be sick in the head because I am already thinking about the next one.  Don’t worry Alan, I swear I won’t do another full marathon this year.  I will probably do a half-marathon soon.  There is a very good possibilty of that.  I see that there is one in the Outer Banks in the fall, plus one in Raleigh in the fall as well.  There’s one in Chicago in August and another in September.  We’ll see where this year takes us. 

In the mean time, I am supposed to rest for one more day according to Hal Higdon’s post-marathon schedule.  So, no running tomorrow which is okay with me.  I am looking forward to a light jog with Riley on Thursday though.  Then we’ll see where my legs take me.

-Erin

 

26.2 miles May 19, 2008

Filed under: marathon — Erin @ 8:12 am
Tags: , , ,

I did it! 26.2 miles. I trained, I ran it, it’s done!

Cheryl and I headed to the park at about 6:15 to get our chips and do gear check. We found someone kindly enough to take our pre-race picture.

Erin and Cheryl - before the big run

The first ten miles were awesome. I felt great, I was right on pace, the running world was my oyster. I did come across some overly excited, overly loud runners around mile six and after hearing them talk, almost yell, for five minutes, I knew I had to leave them in the dust. First they were talking about how their relationship was never going to be the same now that they’ve run a long-distance race together. Then we weaved down below the road on a bike path and they said, “Oh my god, we were just up there and now we’re down here!” That was it, I kicked it up a notch and left them behind.

I kind of needed to use the bathroom from the get-go, but there was always a line at the port-o-johns. Finally, somewhere around mile 10 or so, I saw a Park Authority bathroom. So I popped in there, to the luxury of a flushing toilet and running water. I then continued on my way.

And then it happened. My IT band starting tightening up on me. The pain shot from my hip to my knee on my left side. At times it continued down to my ankle. I stopped to stretch everything out which seemed to help for about a mile or so. Then I stopped and stetched again, which worked for about 3/4 of a mile. And it just got worse from there.

The second half of the course was a little hilly, but not too bad. I walked up most hills, because that’s usually my strategy when I train on flat terrain and have a hilly race. Once at the top of the hills, I’d run down the other side which usually felt pretty good on my IT band. It got to the point that I was stopping and stetching every five minutes. My pace had gone to crap. It was now a battle of will to finish.

And a battle it was! Giving up was never a consideration for me, but man did it hurt! Walking hurt worse than running, but my stride was all sorts of screwed up, so running was more tiring than it should have been. I would run (really more jog at this point), slow to a walk, regret that I had, and then stretch so I could try running again.

Around mile 21 I completely lost it. I was in pain, I still had five miles to go, and I hit a low. Not “The Wall”, so far I’ve never hit that. No, this was just our right pain, sadness that I was not going to make it under five hours (my goal), fatigue, frurstration (this was not an injury I had been dealing with) and I lost it. I looked around, saw I was alone, and just let it go. I cried pretty good for a couple of minutes. I called Alan (I trained with my cell phone on me, so I ran with it on me) to get a boost. He didn’t boost me very well. I asked him, “I can do this, right?” His repsone was, “Yeah, you trained.” That was it! No enthusiasm, so encouragement, more like, “Why are you calling me?” But the tears and hearing his voice were enough to get back into it.

Those last five miles took me over an hour, but I got through them I ran until my legs couldn’t handle the pain and gait, I walked until I couldn’t handle the pain, I stopped, I stretched, I repeated.

At mile 23 I started counting. Each runner had their own little trick to get them through a rough patch or the last few miles of a race or run. My trick is to count to sixty. If I count to sixty ten times, that is approximately a mile for me. So at mile 23, if I counted to sixty ten times, then I’d me at mile 24. And so on, and so on. It got me through and I made it to the finish!

It was grueling, it was painful, it was incredible, it was over! I crossed the finish line and there were no tears, until I saw the medal. A guy held out my medal and I lost it. I started crying tears of joy and of pride. A volunteer ran over to me and asked in a very concerned tone, “Are you okay?” I said, “Yes, I’m just emotional.” Cheryl came over to join me and lauged at my tears, because I warned her about them and she had had tears of her own. She knew.

Cheryl and Erin - post run

We went back to the hotel to shower, change and check out. We then headed to Taco John’s for our first post-run meal. . . a six pack and a pound plus a small super nacho. Dude, it was awesome!

And so, it is over. I know I complained at times about the training, but I loved doing it. The run could have been better, but I am proud of myself for digging deep and finding it within myself to finish. Will I do it again? You bet! Will it be in the next year? No way! I am going to just enjoy running for running’s sake for a while and then look into doing a half-marathon. Maybe even do another triathlon.

Cheryl, I think we showed them “some courage” and definitely showed them “how to get the work done!”

Thanks to Cheryl for sharing the media for this post, and even more so, for sharing this experience with me. It was awesome!!!

 

Twelve hours May 17, 2008

Filed under: marathon — Erin @ 6:06 pm

Twelve hours from right now (7:05 PM CST) we will be on our way! Cheryl and I went and had dinner then found the starting line. Now we are back in our room just relaxing. We’ve laid out all our gear, put our bibs on our tops, and we are all set.

Twelve hours, baby! Woo hoo!

 

Week 18 – Training Run #57 – 2 miles

Filed under: marathon — Erin @ 7:10 am

That’s it. Training is over, tomorrow is the big day. Riley and I went for a lovely 2 mile walk this morning. Oh sure, I was supposed to run, but at this point, I was terrified that I’d twist an ankle or something stupid. So I chose to walk. This run is simply to warm your legs up and get bloof flowing. Mission accomplished.

I am now settling in to a leisurely morning. I have a pot of coffee brewing, just enjoyed an orange, and am thinking of having some oatmeal. The sun is shining, the birds are chirping, and it is beautiful out. I think I am going to go out back, sit on the deck, sip my coffee and read a book. Seems like a great pre-marathon ritual.

I think I am all packed, but of course as a marathoner, you become kind of OCD the night before a race, double and triple checking to make sure you have all you need.

Thanks to everyone for all your support, and especially to those who have left some truly entertaining comments yesterday. I am sure I will think of those at some point along my run tomorrow and laugh out loud.

Twenty four hours from right now (8:09 AM) I will be around mile six or seven. I am so ready to tear this thing up!

 

Two days, time to start packing. . . May 16, 2008

Filed under: marathon — Erin @ 8:42 am

Two days from right now (9:36 AM CST) I will be around mile 14 in the marathon.  Woo hoo!

I slowly got over my mood yesterday.  It helped that I went out to dinner with two girlfriends and had a great time.  I had a margarita to unwind and it did the job.  We had a nice meal and good coversation, exactly what I needed.  I got home just short of 10:00 PM (late for me!), took Riley out for a walk, and read just before bed. 

I also started laying out all my goods that I need to take with me when I leave tomorrow. 
So far, I’ve laid out:
  Short sleeved technical top
  Long sleeved technical top (just incase)
  Running shorts
  Socks
  Hat
  Running Shoes
  Fig Newtons
  Gummy Life Savers
  Baggies for the food mentioned above
  Immodium AD
  Peanut Butter
  Grape Jelly
  Toiletries
  BodyGlide

The things still to pack are:
  Jog bra(s)
  Pajamas
  Post-run clothing (comfy pants, t-shirt, North Face hoodie)
  Blanket (for the drive home, I get massive chills after a long run)
  Wheat Bread (for PB&J sandwich for breakfast)
  Chapstick
  Tissues
  Watch

I think that’s at. Fellow runners, or anyone else for that matter, am I forgetting anything?

 

 

Taper madness May 15, 2008

Filed under: Alan,Cook's Widow,marathon — Erin @ 7:55 am
Tags:

I am a total mess today, in my head at least.  Oh sure, outwardly I look completely normal.  I managed to put on a matching outfit today, shoes match my belt, good stuff like that.  But in my mind?  I am a freak. 

I am all nerves for the run Sunday and also since I can’t go for a long run and work through some stuff that’s bugging my mind.  Runs are therapy to me.  I don’t need to go see a therapist to get through my problems, I just need to be able to go run.  I work it all out, I calm myself down, and I feel great afterwards. 

Alas, that is not something I can do until Sunday, so the next three days are going to push me to the edge.  This is what they call taper madness.  Welcome to my world. 

I don’t remember it being this bad last time, but maybe I’m not remembering properly.  Marathoners are like women who have given birth.  We have selective memory and tend to block out the unpleasant parts of marathon training; quite like how I’ve heard women who’ve gone through labor and delivery some how block out the memory of the pain and have another child.

Last time I was training for a marathon I didn’t have quite so much going on in my life.  I saw Alan every day, I was working only one job, and I wasn’t trying to start the ball rolling with getting a new job and relocating. 

I don’t see Alan and often as I’d like.  I don’t have him around to talk some sense into me and calm me as he is very good at doing.  So, I’ve turned to my runs more than ever this year, and I can’t even do that for three more days!   

 Calgon, take me away!

 

Week 18 – Training Run #56 – 4 miles May 14, 2008

Filed under: marathon — Erin @ 8:07 am

It took me a while, but eventually I got into a good groove and had a good run.  Riley was with me the first 2.2 miles and VERY slow.  She’s not good at running two days in a row, so I wasn’t surprised.  I was able to encourage her along and when we were within a half-mile of home, she picked up her pace.

I took her inside, fed her, and went out for the last 1.8 miles.  It was some time in this leg of my run that I finally warmed up and felt smooth running.  Nothing exciting happenend, which at this point I say is a good thing.  I’ve been very cautious on my runs lately, keeping an eye out for anything that could make me fall, twist an ankle, or blow out a knee. 

Four days from right now (9:05 AM CST) I’ll be in mile 11 or 12 of the marathon, almost halfway done. 

Still feeling good, feeling pumped, feeling antsy.  Cheryl (my friend who is running it with me) and I are coordinating for Saturday and Sunday and Alan has planned a celebratory menu for Sunday evening. 

Soon young grasshopper. . .