Monday, March 24, 2014

Misery loves company

My long run last week was just that, miserable.  And as much as the misery would have loved company, I had to traverse all 20 miles solo...hence the main reason it was so darn miserable! 

But I'm looking on the bright side, I ran 20 flippin miles, all by myself, never stopped to walk one time, and I did it faster than I could have ever run in the past.  20 miles is the farthest I have ever run without stopping.  In my first marathon I had to start walk/running at around mile 16ish I think (it was 10 years ago, gimme a break, I can't remember for sure). So aside from my legs protesting, my GI system hating me, and my poor feet aching, I'm quite pleased with my first 20 miler in preparation for my upcoming marathon.  I have another 20+ miler planned for March 30th, thankfully this time I'll have my awesome hubby and sis riding along on road bikes to keep me company as we utilize a local bike/running path to get the job done. 

For those of you interested in the misery that comes along with a 20 miler, or those of you who can easily relate, let me break it down for you. 

I ran all over my home town and the neighboring town, ran more hills than I would prefer and had to repeat loops over and over to get it done because the area we live in is rather small as far as safe running roads go.  Look at those hills!  Especially between miles 2-4 and again right after the 8 mile mark.  Whew. My legs hated me!  Quite thankful that in our planning we chose a flat course!  Our marathon will have two real hills per the course elevation, yay!

Now onto the mile splits and the complaining...

Mile 1: Feeling great, this is going to be a good run, 8:07, that's way too fast for 20 miles. I have 19 more to go!  Slow it down a little, come on, don't burn yourself out in the first mile
Mile 2: 8:36, that's better, try to keep it right around there.
Mile 3: Oh shit, here comes that horrible hill.  Well just try to maintain effort and don't worry about pace. 8:44, not too bad for conquering that hill.  Keep it up, the hills not done yet!
Mile 4: Ugh, will this hill ever end?!  It's getting hot, gotta take these arm warmers off, stuff them in my waist band.  Can't wait for mile 6 for refueling, must conserve Gu and water. 8:41, not bad, keep it up.
Mile 5: This is miserable. I'm only 1/4 of the way done, seriously? I hate this, why did I do a long run today. It's too hot. 8:45.
Mile 6: Okay I guess I'm not going to die.  Finish this mile and I can take my first Gu and drink some water finally. 8:43, I'll take that.
Mile 7: The people in cars are staring at me like I'm nuts, I am nuts. Why am I out here in this heat?  It's 70 degrees by now, my body is used to 20-30 degree long runs. I may very well collapse from heat exhaustion, not even half way done.  Off with the shirt, please stare some more people.  Yes I'm running in a sports bra and shorts mid-March, it's like a sauna out here! 9:09, crap!
Mile 8: Can't let that happen again, no more 9 minute miles, keep it under 9. You can do this Jessy.  You have to do this.  8:40, okay that's better. You rock. Don't give up.
Mile 9: I was wrong, I don't rock. I suck. my legs are rebelling, no more hills please.  I can't believe I have 11 more miles to go. 9:12, suck suck suck.
Mile 10: On with the down hill. Try to make up some time. Gosh my legs hurt. It's harder going down hill than uphill on these tired legs! Ow ow ow. 8:24, okay I'll take that. That makes up for the last mile that sucked. Half way done, woohoo!
Mile 11: More crap. I feel like crap, my legs are crap, my time is crap.  Thank goodness I'm atleast half way done with this crap. 9:15.
Mile 12: More of the same, my mind is now on auto-pilot. This run sucks, I just have to accept these awful mile splits and get used to 9 minute pace. Why did I think I could qualify for Boston? All I want to do is finish, screw 3:35! 9:13, I hate you Garmin.
Mile 13: As much as I hate this, I feel a little better all of a sudden.  Another Gu taken, one water bottle empty, working on drinking bottle #2. 8:38. Okay maybe I can keep this up. 7 miles to go.
Mile 14: Nope, nope, nope. What was I thinking, all I can do is survive the rest of this run.  Picking up the pace isn't an option. 9:26, ugh.
Mile 15: 3/4 of the way done, Hallelujah! I can do this, the end is near.  I can survive 5 more miles. 9:09.
Mile 16: My water is all gone and I have 4 more miles to go. I'm going to sweat to death.  Dripping in sweat, no water and 30+ more minutes of this hell.  Must refill water bottles!  I'll run home and fill up at the garden hose. Oh no, huge hill to get to my house, legs don't fail me now.  10:12, I don't even care, please just give me water!
Mile 17:  Okay Jessy, pick it up. 4 miles. You do this all the time. Quit being such a wimp. Quit complaining so much.  You chose this, you are tough. You can do this.  8:26, holy cow, that was awesome.
Mile 18: Approaching my previous longest long run finish line, but I have to keep going.  I said I was doing 20, I'm not quitting. 8:44, I'll take it.
Mile 19: It's so hot!  Water bottle #1 is already empty again from drinking and dumping it over my head.  Little girl and her momma stand at the end of their driveway jumping up and down and cheer for me to keep going.  What a boost that was.  I smile and say thank you, shocked that my face still knows how to smile at this point.  I will keep going, thank you! :)  My legs don't want to move but I make them.  I think of Josee and convince myself to keep going. Josee Hope, Josee Hope, Josee Hope. My new mantra with every step. 8:31, I rock.
Mile 20: Last mile, suck it up and run. Don't wimp out.  I'm about to finish the longest run of my life. I can't wait to be done!  Legs are on fire, feet are aching in exhaustion, dripping in sweat, water is gone again, no one around to cheer me on now, must finish. Josee Hope, Josee Hope, Josee Hope. My watch beeps for the 20th time: 8:08!  Whew!
I can't believe I survived 20 miles.  A year ago I was running a couple miles at a time trying to revive my previous passion for running. Now I'm out running for 2 hours, 56 minutes and 51 seconds, all for "fun".  :) 
Afterwards I took an ice bath to help my legs recover, and wore compression socks and compression shorts for 24 hours.  My legs felt totally fine the next day!  3 days of rest afterwards because I needed it for sure!  Prior to that I had run 18.35 miles, 4 miles, 13 miles, 4 miles and then 20 miles, all in the last 6 days, my legs needed rest. Today I'll get back at it. I'm already prepping for my 20 miler next week.  What can I say, I'm a runner, you already knew I was crazy. :) 

Saturday, March 15, 2014

A thousand miles later

My running life has come and gone a few times over the years, but one thing has always remained, my love of lacing up my shoes and moving forward with a finish line to reach.  My love for this sport was revived during the last 12 months. 

Don't get me wrong, I never quit loving the run at all, I just lost the passion and drive it takes to technically be "a runner" (even though I never quit calling myself one).  I got married, moved away, went to nursing school, had babies, and did very little running from 2005-2008, and again took a break from 2011-2012. My sister asked me to run a 5K with her last March, so we signed up, froze our butts off and ran the race.  An old high school teammate was at the race and mentioned a sprint triathlon that she thought we should sign up for.  It was the perfect race to motivate me and get me training harder than I had in years. 

The year started out slow as I slowly got back into shape and my legs remembered their love for running as well.  I had injuries, took breaks, ran lots of races: 5k's, 10k's, 10 milers, half marathons, tried new things by racing in triathlons, made lots of new running friends, ran through 100 degree days and 12 degree days, rain, horrendous wind, snow, ice, and sleet, in the dark mornings before work, (note: today's 15 miler started at 0430!) as the sun went down after work, pushing a stroller with 80+ pounds of kid in it, with friends, and many many solo miles, 4 pairs of shoes, tons of Gu, training for another crazy marathon, began running for my sweet Josee Hope in Australia, and over 1000 miles logged in my online running log book.  Through it all I've become so much stronger, mentally and physically.  A 10 mile run once seemed like the longest run ever, now it's a mid week run that I can't wait to conquer. 2 hours of running alone used to seem like torture (who am I kidding, sometimes it still is) and now I log 2 hour long runs almost every week.  A mile under 7 minutes was a figment of my imagination a year ago, now I can run a 5K in 7 minute pace!  Hard work and stubbornness has contributed to most of my success, but the one thing that has gotten me through it all is my love for running.

I LOVE meeting runners, talking about running, visiting running stores, racing and seeing all the other funny, quirky, speedy runners from all around the area.  The fall of 1997 started my journey as I went out for cross country for the first time in 7th grade. Now, almost 17 years later, I can't imagine giving up this sport ever again.  It has always been a part of my past and who I am.  As I begin my 30th year of life tomorrow, I hope that running will always be a part of my future. 

I hope all of you awesome people find what you love and never stop doing whatever it is that makes you happy and makes you feel alive. 
"I don't run because I love the feeling of running. I run because it makes me love the feeling of living."  (and I love the feeling of running too!)  :) 

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

When will it end?!

This winter I have spent a lot of time whining about the cold. I am in no way claiming that I plan to quit whining either, I hate winter and I hate the cold.  It is nearly impossible to convince my body to step out the door on those freezing cold days, I can't wait to run outside in a sports bra while dripping in sweat! Call me crazy (most people do), I'd much rather whine about the heat than whine about the cold. ;)

This past Sunday the weather man said we would be getting 7-10" of snow along with plenty of ice too...just in time to ruin my long run plans. I tried to tell myself it would be okay, I could do the long run on a weekday, and that it wouldn't affect my training much. But then I thought about all of the people who live in much colder conditions than I do, and they somehow manage to train all winter. I told myself I was going to be super crazy and run in the ice and snow. Thankfully the 7-10" was wrong, but the roads were covered in ice and slush and it was still coming down. I layered up my clothes more than I ever have for a run...two pairs of socks, compression shorts and tights, two long sleeved running tops (one with thumb holes, woot!), and an outer shell/jacket to be a wind barrier. Plus ear warmers, gloves and a neck gaiter to cover my face when necessary. I was warm! Until I stepped out into the 12° feels like -5° weather along with wind and freezing rain. I told myself I would just do 3 miles, 4 tops, my husband kissed me good bye and off I went. To make a long story short, it.was.awesome. it was horrible and cold and my nose was dripping like a faucet but I loved it. One man was out in his driveway and yelled to me, "Now that's dedication. Get it girl." And I got it. :) I was cold and the weather was getting worse so I knew staying out too long wouldnt be smart but I managed to get in 6 miles and I earned my first pair of icicle eyelashes,  something every girl dreams of, right?

It may have been one of the most badass things I've ever done, aside from childbirth.:) As much as I loathe this time of year, I was excited to finish this run and say I did it. I didnt let the weather or my excuses stop me. After all, this marathon isn't going to train itself. No one said it would be easy.

Since my run people have called me "crazy, cray cray, awesome, insane, dedicated, stupid" and plenty of other complimentary names. Whats the craziest thing you've trained through?Happy running! :)