Saturday, December 22, 2007

Rudolph Run - The Flash Returns

He's Baaaa-aaack!

Tim announces the course route

Since there's not a local Christmas 5k around here, we made our own this weekend and called it the Rudolph Run. As I type this it just occurred to me that I left my water cooler and cups out on the greenway...oops...better hurry and go back to get them.

Superfast Tim set the route up and marked it with arrows. I put out water at the halfway point, and brought Gatorade and donuts for the finish. In attendace were Tim (race director), Heather, John D., John Phillip, Jacob, Briar, John G., Pam and Mark, The Flash, Amy, Will, Kevin S., and two guys I had never met before - Robert and Joel.
We missed Michele who had sitter difficulties, Mike who couldn't make it, Holly who couldn't make it, Lee who had hurt his back, Don who had to play the drums in his band until the wee hours this morning, Kevin who chose hunting over running with us (can you believe that?!) and lots of others - Melissa, David S., Leslie, John and Kim, Tracy, Mary Beth and her boys, and lots of others. So someday, when it all works out for everyone, we are going to have a BIG turnout for one of these things!

Most ran 5k, and Tim, Joel, Robert, Kevin, and John D. ran 10k. Briar had some problems with his knee at mile 2, and me and The Flash walked it in with him from there.

I was hoping the 5k would work out some soreness, but I am still sore from those dang lunges. Today starts the madness, though. Christmas dinners and exchanging presents each day until Santa arrives. And maybe even afterwards for a day or so.

Kevin S., local triathlete

John G. and Superfast Tim

Friday, December 21, 2007

Fast-twitch Muscles - Please Step Up!


I needed some fast-twitch support this morning. My plan was to go 11 miles today. HD called last night and said her running buddies had other plans for this morning, and she was wondering what I had going on. I told her I was planning on doing 11, and she was welcome to join. So we met at the rec center at 4:40 a.m. I had overslept for yesterday's 5 @ 5 a.m., so I was intent on getting the job done this morning.

Just getting to the rec center was painful for me to begin with, though. I've really been trying to hit the weights and core training lately. My #1 goal for 2008 is to become an Ironman. My #2 goal is to actually look like one. I've been staying clear from the leg weights to allow for full recovery from the marathon, but I've been sneaking in a few lunges here and there. I think I sneaked a few too many in last night, and there was no denying it this morning. When I finally did get up and around and out to the car, it wouldn't start. Who knows why...the poor thing has really been rode hard and put up wet during it's time with me, so there's no telling. J.T. got frustrated about it this morning and said "You have GOT to get a new car!" And of course I refused. I told him unless it was going to cost a WHOLE LOT to fix, it was getting fixed and was going to last me at least a few more years. It's a 1999 and a half Pathfinder. It carries my bike, my kids, my kids' friends, a dried up chicken tender or two, lots of dried up french fries, scores of old Nerds, an extra workout outfit, and a picnic blanket incase the occasion arises. And...most importantly, it's paid for. I want a bigger house payment (translate:bigger, new house), not a new car payment. So I will continue to frustrate my husband by driving the POS car. I can hear Adam Sandler singing it now...

Anyways, I made it to the rec by taking J.T.'s truck. SuperFast Tim was there and although he hadn't planned on running, he decided to tag along. Tag along, however, would not be an accurate description. He pulled and pushed HD and I for 11 sub9 minute miles...whew! I think the pace ended up around 8:56 or something, but it sure felt more like 8:36. HD and I never really talked about whether we were going to make it out alive until about 2 miles to go, and at that point we declared that we might make it.

Tomorrow will mark 2 weeks since Rocket City. I should be recovered. I want a rematch. I am declaring war on the marathon. Victory will come in the form of running strong to the end and having fun doing it. No heart rate monitor. No Garmin. No fuel belt. Just me, the course and super duper fun blogger friends. The battleground: Let's rock-n-roll, baby!
I bought a cheap plane ticket today, financed via the super-secret-bike-fund.

Monday, December 17, 2007

The Opry and Other Stuff

I ran 8 miles Saturday and listened to Steve Runner's account of the Philadelphia Marathon. WOW is all I've got to say about that. This guy is a soldier. The Philly 'thon was his 17th marathon and his 17th try at a sub 4. I won't ruin the story for you - if you haven't listened to have GOT to go download his podcast and listen. It almost made me tear up...and I'm not a crier.

So that afternoon, post-Briar's guitar lessons...that are, by the way, about the only minutes he spends practicing, J.T. and I set out down I-24. We stopped Dick's Sporting Goods, I picked out an outfit for him to give me for Christmas, and that was about all the shopping I could handle. We headed on to NashVegas, parked in the parking garage behind the Ryman Auditorium, and walked across Broadway to eat at the Merchants Restaurant & Grille. We had the Jack Daniel's Fillet with asparagus and it was melt in your mouth good. Oh - and we didn't even have to wait here. That was the first sign that it was going to be a good night. So after the meal we walked over to Legend's Corner and listened to some live country music played by a young band who looked like they should have been playing some Dave Matthews Band...but they even pulled off some Charlie Daniel's and did pretty dang good job of it. This is a pic of the guitar player - I thought he was a cutey!

We had to stand in line to get into the Ryman for the Grand Ole Opry - but it was worth it. The Possum alone was worth it! We saw Marty Stuart, Connie Smith, George Jones of course, Trace Adkins, Little Jimmy Dickens, Derks Bentley, Jeanie Seeley, John Conlee, some blue grass band that played Rocky Top, and Lance Miller. I had never heard of Lance Miller because I never watch Nashville Star, but evidently he won Nashville Star or something like that. He was the one in the video I posted previously singing "George Jones and Jesus". I have a couple of videos of George, but they didn't turn out too well. Bless his heart...he couldn't exactly remember the words to "Yesterday's Wine". But anytime you get to hear that voice, you gotta love it.

Here's John Conlee, another one of my favorites(watch it, now, okay? It's only a few seconds!):

My country music weekend aside, as of today I am officially back. on. the. bike!!! I got up at 4:30 and pedaled along with Chris Carmichael for almost an hour. My plan was to then go swim, but 45 more minutes of sleep just sounded way too good. I tried to guilt myself into it...I even already had the swimsuit on...but then a little voice spoke up and said "excuse me, ms. lana, but wasn't this supposed to be your break, anyways. like your ONLY good break until like next November or something? Go back to bed!!" And that was all it took. Off with the swimsuit, on with the PJ's and who says you can't get 40 good minutes of sleep between an hour-long spin and the mad rush to get the kids to school and then off to work?!?! I slept like a log.

Did I happen to mention how wonderful it felt to pedal? I started getting all kinds of crazy ideas. Ideas that include my sweet little Gary Fisher mtb and trails, and Chickasaw Traces, even visions of cyclocross danced in my head! With 2 wheels, the possibilities are endless. You see when it's below 40 degrees, I can't get on a road bike outside. I've tried it, and I just can't enjoy that. But give me a mtn bike and some woods and big climbs to get the heart pumping and the temperature is no object. So...I think I'm going to incorporate some mtb'ing into my schedule pretty soon. The trainer will work for now...and it's Tennessee, so there'll be some lunch breaks here and there when it's warm enough hit the pavement, but I'm going to throw in some trails too...if for nothing else, but to mix it up and have some fun.

Oh yeah...and I'm still thinking about that other marathon. Still. I'll make a decision soon.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

George Jones and Jesus pulled me through

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Thursday, December 13, 2007

I really am doing things other than eating pecan cobbler

Honest, I am.

I am recovering on the Pfitz "Multiple Marathon" plan, I am working, I am celebrating my little sister's birthday, I am delivering my child to detention(the horror!) at 6:45 a.m., I am thinking about that "multiple marathon", I am thinking about the 2008 triathlon season, and I am enjoying mid 60 degree weather in Dec. Of course I am still procrastinating finishing up the Christmas shopping. So far, I have managed to do it all online - excluding some purchases at Cracker Barrel as I picked up dinner-to-go, and of course, my all night black Friday ordeal at Best Buy.

The legs feel great. Nothing like they did after my first two marathons. I am sure, no doubt, that is due to all the walking involved in the last 7 miles of Rocket City. I rested 2 days solid after the marathon, and by the evening of that second day I was just not pleasant to be around. I am about to concede to the fact that I am an endorphin junkie. Check me in. So I ran 5 on Tuesday, then about 5.5 today. I am still hungry for a successful marathon.

Work is busy, but I perform better when I am under pressure and have to meet deadlines. So that's a good thing.

Holly turned 28 today! And she told The Flash (our dad) that all she wanted for her birthday was for him to meet us at 5 a.m. for a run. To our knowledge, he hadn't been running much, if any. But dang if he didn't show up and bust out a 3 miler, outkicking all of us to the end. I have threatened to hire a spy to find out when and where he's been doing his secret training. Me, Holly, and Mike went on to run nearly 2 and a half more miles and got soaked in the rain. But getting soaked in 65 degrees problem when you realize it could be 30 degrees. Splashing in puddles is fun when you realize you could be slipping and sliding on patches of ice. I'm just not a fan of the coldasthewitchinthebrassbra kindof of weather.

I should have gotten a swim in today, but instead I had to jet after the run in order to go home and get my eldest up and out to report to detention. It appears that the "ice cream social" reward for gaining 50 accelerated reader points was enticing enough to take a chance at getting a buddy to take a test for him...but not enticing enough to put down the Wii and DS and read the book himself. Detention might not have been so bad after all, but the guilt trip for causing mom to miss her much needed recovery swim was.

Balance. Everything feels balanced right now, even if it is because I've thrown a few odds and ends on the other side of the scale. Granted, both sides need to be stripped down and re-evaluated and replacements made for things worn out...but balance is still a good thing, and I'll take it any way I can get it right now.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Pecan Cobbler...

...makes a 4:45 marathon a little easier to deal with.
For a few minutes, anyways.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

...The Rest of the Story

The marathon sure gave me another ass whooping, but it has been decided that I didn't help matters with my "over thinking" along the way. Let's talk about nutrition:

First off, it scares me to death. I've got to get this thing right sometime between now and 11-1-08. I wasn't going to get a sub 4 marathon yesterday, even if my nutrition had been perfect, but I didn't have to completely do myself in and record a 4:45 either. Here's what happened...

During my training for this marathon, I started out drinking water and Gu on long runs. Michele, Joe and I took turns sitting out Gu and water along the routes. I had a couple of bad experiences where I had to keep a tight squeeze in the butt cheeks in order to avoid a, know what I mean. So I decided the Gu was hurting my stomach. But I also had eaten a banana before these runs, so I immediately said "No more Gu, no more solid food. They are making me need to crap while I run." It coulda been one or the other, but I wasn't taking any chances. So I switched over to drinking OS Endurance before the long runs. And it worked great. OS is supposed to be all the nutrition you need during a run, and it seemed to work very well for me. But for a 20 mile long run, I would fill up 3 - 6 ounce bottles full of OS, and one full of water. I would I would take a couple of sips, on average about every two miles. By the end of the 20 miler I would have drunk all three OS bottles and half of the water bottle. That would be 21 ounces total, for a 3+ hour run. While I never had any GI issues, I also never really had too much left at the end. So this whole time I've been a little worried at the prospect of running another 10k after my usual 20 miler. Still worried about it the day before the marathon, I get out my Advanced Marathoning book, and reread Pfitz's nutrition section. I am amazed when I realize that he says I should be drinking about 3 times what I have been used to drinking. He says the stomach can normally process about 7 oz per 15 minutes. I start adding it up and realize I have not been drinking enough in training runs. I had already given my dad the job of having 3 more bottles ready for me at mile 20, but I call him and tell him to meet me at mile 18 instead.

I had also experimented with the OS Preload drink some during training, but just a little. When you are getting up on a Friday morning at 3:30 to run a 20 miler, though, there's really not a lot of time to eat anything beforehand, if you want to sleep any. So I'd usually take a few drinks of the preload and head out. No problems. Definitely better than the banana. So on race night, I set my alarm for 4:40 a.m. and began drinking the preload so that I could get as much down as possible. The preload has protein, which should regulate the rate my body would use glycogen. That's what I'm most worried about here - burning up all my glycogen before mile 26. I get about 16 oz of preload down prerace, and felt fine with it.

So I start running. I drink a little to begin with just for good measure. Then around mile 2 I take another sip, to keep myself fresh. Around mile 3, I am wanting another drink, so I take my normal couple of sips. By mile 5, I can tell I'm working too hard and my heart rate is too high. I knew the humidity was high, but I am hoping I can remedy this with hydration and more carbs. So I drink more OS. And I even throw in a water at a rest stop along the way. By mile 14 I have already drank 2.5 bottles of OS (15 oz) and a few sips of water and Gatorade from rest stops. Now, while this (prob 20-22 oz total)is not even half of what Pfitz recommends, it's quite a bit more than what I normally drink during a long run. My stomach starts to cramp around mile 16.5, I become nauseated around mile 18.5, and at 19.2 I was violently launching all that "energy" into someone's yard, and all over mine and Holly's (bless'er heart) shoes. It was bad. And it was at the very least, a total of 22 oz. But a few minutes afterward, I felt better. My mom said the color was now back in my face, and I was smiling and still confident I would finish. But I couldn't keep anything else down. Every time I would take a drink, I'd get sick again. My lower back started to hurt so bad that I would have to stop and bend over for a minute or two at a time. Then I realized it hurt my back less to run than walk, because the back pain while walking was excruciating. I had that feeling like I had the know when your back aches and you hurt all over. However, after running for a minute or so I'd be so out of breath I'd have to stop again. This is how I made it to the finish line...walking/shuffling/taking tiny sips of water or Gatorade to wet my throat a little. I didn't urinate the entire time. As a matter of fact, I wasn't able to until 8:30 that night. And this may be TMI, but it was dark and almost the consistency of a light syrup. I think I might have really been dehydrated, or at least on the verge. And what's up with that back pain? As soon as I got some food, water and a lemonade in me, my back felt better.

Back to my hydration plan, though, I obviously drank more than my stomach could was used to and could handle. So am I not drinking enough during training runs and need to train my body to drink more? Or do I not need nearly as much as Pfitz says, and I need to stick with what I've always done? And the solid food pre-race/pre-longrun - should I, or shouldn't I? How much of all of it is enough and how much is too much? Will the Gatorade Endurance at the rest stops be adequate for 26.2 miles, or do I need to tote my own mixture to make sure I have the right carb ratio? Or - do I need to quit over analyzing all of it and just run like hell?!?!

Aside from all my questions - I want to say a couple more things about Rocket City. First, if you haven't done this race - you really need to put it on your list. It was the most well prepared event I've ever been a part of. There were an amazing amount of volunteers, and they really took care of each and every runner. Everything was extremely well organized and the shirt was the best ever - a long sleeve nike tech shirt! And they also gave you a nice finishers hat at the end. The post race food was amazing, too. I've done CMM and Vegas, and this marathon was head over heels better then either of them.

I also want to say congrats to Michele, David, Lisa, Wayne, Darrell, Wes and Joe who also ran/walked/shuffled/whatever-it-took their ways to the finish line as well. All of you guys ROCK!

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Rocket City Marathon Race Report

Ok, I'm home, I've finally got some good food in my belly, and I am feeling better, so I will go ahead and do this race report. Just incase you don't read my blog often, I went into this thing aiming for a sub 4 hour marathon. I picked out a plan 18 weeks ago to get me that. However, today was not the day. 2007 was not the year.

I thought I was doing everything right. I ate well and hydrated well all week. Started carb loading 3 days out. Ate pasta and chicken at The Olive Garden the night before. Got in bed early and slept well. I woke up at 4:40 and started drinking my OS Preload, which has protein in it to help regulate the rate my body would burn glycogen. I continued sleeping and drinking the OS Preload until about 2.5 hours before the race. No solid foods, because solid foods before long runs have resulted in the runner's trots each time tried during this training plan. I had my cup of coffee, and I felt full, rested and ready.

My mom, dad, and Holly came up before the race started. J.T. and the boys were already there. The gun went off, and I set out feeling confident. I held myself back, just as planned, to 9:15, 9:11, and 9:07 for the first three miles. I saw David and Michele during mile 2, and I ran along with them. We were hitting the splits, but weren't making a lot of ground in making up any time. Miles 4, 5, and 6 were 9:14, 9:00, 9:13. Staying fairly close to pace, but feeling okay. At mile 6 I saw Holly and my parents. That charged me up some. Then I heard cowbells and saw that J.T. had Briar and Bo out cheering at mile 7. Somewhere around mile 9 or 10, I just had to back off the pace. My heart rate was approaching 176, and I knew I couldn't run 16 more miles like that. I was hoping I could fix the situation by taking in more fuel, so I increased my fluid intake quite a bit. We saw my parents and Holly again, I told them "I'm off pace." What I was trying to say was "Sub 4 isn't going to happen today."

Miles 6-10:

Looking at those splits, it doesn't look like I was off pace, but the total time I was at when I would come to each mile marker was showing that I was almost 2 minutes off. My garmin was quite a bit ahead of the markers. Still wondering what my problem was, I decided maybe I wasn't drinking enough. So I drank more and more OS looking for some energy.

Mile 11 was 9:10, and Mile 12 was 9:24. It was here that I decided I'd be happy with 9:20s. Then mile 13 was 9:52. And it was here that I decided I'd be happy with any split that started with a 9. Mile 14 was 10:09. I think it was this mile that I caught back up with Michele. Her HR was over the top and we both decided that this just wasn't going to be the day. Mile 15 was 9:32, and then Mile 16 brought more walking with 10:05. Mile 17-11:34. Mile 18-10:18. Holly and my parents showed up just shy of mile 19. The plan was that my Dad had my extra fuel belt bottles. But by now, my stomach was cramping and I was nauseated. I couldn't drink any more OS at all, so I just gave him the whole belt. I told my parents that I was going to finish, but that it wasn't going to be pretty. Holly ran along beside of me, and at mile 19.2 I got very sick. You know that feeling when you know you're going to loose your cookies, but you haven't yet...and you know you need to, but you don't want to, but you know it's coming anyways? And the 30 seconds it takes feels like an hour? I had that feeling, and then lost it all. It had to be everything in my stomach. It went on and on, and then I turned to sit down and it kept coming. I sat there for a minute or so, and then decided I felt better. I took off with Holly and mile 19 was 13:55. I couldn't go far though. I had no fuel, and couldn't keep any down. Mile 20 was mostly walking with a 17:04. Holly kept reminding me to take little drinks, because my first reaction to a cup of Gatorade was to swallow it at once...but that kept making me sick. My back ached badly from the vomiting, and during mile 21(12:26), I realized that I was in less pain running than walking. The walking hurt my back. Somewhere in mile 22(13:03) I vowed to keep running until I saw the mile 23 marker, and made it, and it seemed like a major victory. I still couldn't run for long periods of time, though, because my heart rate would get so high I'd become completely out of breath. Mile 23 was 13:15, and by now I wasn't sure if I was going to make it to the finish line or not. If it hadn't been for Holly running along encouraging me, I don't know that I would have. I remember feeling very sick again in mile 24 (16:14), but when I saw Mile 25, for the first time since mile 10 I knew I was going to finish. Before we got there, as we were walking, Holly said "Lana, when you start running again, let's take it on in, okay? Make sure you get to a point where you are comfortable with that, and then let's do it. So when we got to the 25 mile marker(11:32), I said lets go. And we ran it in the whole way in 11:12, slow but steady. I thought I was gonna get choked up when I saw the finish line. Briar and Bo ran out and met me with about 100 yards to go, and we ran in together.

Official Time: 4:45:13

Finishing this race was the toughest thing I've accomplished, athletically, to date. It was harder than my first marathon that I finished in 4:17, and it was harder than the Vegas marathon, which had 30 mph winds, that I finished in 4:08. I missed the goal, but I finished the race. And I'm fine with that, competitive nature and all. As a matter of fact, I'm proud of that.

Finished. Still alive. Barely.

4:45:13 Thats not a typo.

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Friday, December 07, 2007

T minus 24 hrs

Ok, I'm tired of being nervous. I'm done with it. It's over. It's played around with me all week, and I've had enough. It's interfered with my sleep. It's wreaked havoc on my belly. It's left my fingernails even shorter than normal. Enough is enough.

It's a marathon. It's not the Olympics. It's not for money. It's for a PR. Personal. Record. Personal. So there's no reason to be nervous. It's for fun, it's for finishing, it's for maybe scoring a sub 4. That's all there is to it. No big deal.

I'll post my time when I finish. With a smile, no matter what it is.

See you on the other side...

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Quick Update

Last Saturday's 12 miler was a good one - 9:02 pace. I have tried to rest this week, but haven't been really successful. Monday was a 6 miler that didn't feel so great. Tuesday was a 7 miler that I didn't get done. I slept through alarm, and then one thing after another prevented me from being able to do the run. I started to make it up on Wednesday, which was supposed to be a rest day, but then I thought better of it. I don't think this is the week to try and make up a missed run. Today was a 5 miler with 6 100m strides - it went well, but I am not sure what the significance is of doing strides 2 days before the main event. Not sure about that at all. looks like the weather is going to be nice. I'm going out there to run SMART. And that is the focus. Sometimes I run for FUN. Sometimes I run to WIN my AG. Sometimes I go out to beat a personal GOAL. I want sub-4 Saturday, and if the external and internal conditions are all right, I just might get it if I run smart. Slow and easy at first. Then steady and patient. And then rock n roll with whatever is left at the end. If the conditions aren't right, then hey, I'm gonna run smart with what I've got, readjust my goal, and be thankful for the opportunity and health to participate in such a great event. I have been so caught up in sub4 that I had momentarily forgotten how much I love the marathon. It's a great event - no matter what the finish time.

*Thanks to my speedy friend H.J. who called to wish me luck and reminded me what it's all about. This girl just ran a 3:39 BQ at Memphis!

And Congrats to my other peeps her in Manchester who rocked the Memphis Marathon last weekend - Heather, Pam, Lee, and Tim. It was H,P, and T's first - and they did amazingly well. Tim wanted under four hours and ended up with a 3:51 - Awesome!

Monday, December 03, 2007

It's alright to be a redneck

Here I sit. It's 10:30 p.m. I should be in bed. I have to get up at 4:30 to run 7 miles. My big day is only 4.5 days away. I should be getting rest. But I can't. I'm sitting here listening to Alan Jackson sing "It's alright to be a redneck" as I browse through all of your blogs...stalling...chuckling at A.J. and his funny lyrics. I love music. Love it. Any kind, really. I am most comfortable with good ole country...even as far back as Hank Williams Sr. I know all his songs. And love Don Williams. Don's tunes and I have spent some serious soul searching time together. And Hank Jr., well, you know I love Bocephus. But I like rock n roll too. And I especially love some alternative. Some old Nirvana. Some Smashing Pumpkins. Bush. Do you remember Bush? I like heavy metal Metallica, ofcourse. And Nine Inch Nails, whatever genre they fit into. I'll even listen to some rap if you catch me in the right mood. And I'm not totally stuck in the past either...I can jam to Fergie, and I can sing "Don't Matter" with Briar.

I miss music. It used to be a really big part of my life, even though I've never played an instrument more than the year or so of piano lessons that I so aggressively resisted when my parents forced them upon me. But I used to play all kinds of music all the time in my car, driving back and forth to college or work. J.T. and I used to sit up all night long listening to some our friends pick the guitars and sing country music. And when their fingers got too tired to pick or they were just too drunk to continue, we'd play song after song on the cd player...and sing along. Or we'd go "country cruisin'." That's when we'd load up a car full of people and 'refreshments' and take off down any and every country road in three counties with the windows down and the music blasting...singing along like the Griswold's. Good times.

Seems like lately by the time I end up in the car alone, I just want quiet. No time to fool with the music. But I miss it.

J.T. and I are going to the Grand Ole Opry in a couple of weeks. It should be good for my soul. Gonna get to see The Possum. And John Conlee. Mel McDaniel. And others. I can't even describe to you how excited I am about going to see George Jones at the Opry.

It's alright to be a redneck...