It’s Been Awhile!

Slowly but surely I’m getting back into running shape.  Really slowly.  After three weeks off after Twin Cities, I’m easing back into running (and cycling on the trainer).  The arctic blast and early snow that we got last week make it more difficult to get out to run.  Thank goodness for warm weather weekend escapes!

IMG_3767Hiking in mountains of Palm Springs

IMG_3834Selfie with a Joshua Tree at Joshua Tree National Park 

I feel SO lucky and thankful.  Life is good. :-)

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Because Just Any Old Marathon Isn’t Challenging Enough . . .

I registered for “America’s Toughest Road Marathon”.

Seriously.

I’m officially registered for The Blue Ridge Marathon in Roanke, Virginia on April 18, 2015.

What makes it so tough?

  • 7,430 feet of elevation change during the 26.2 miles.
  • Running up and down THREE MOUNTAINS during the 26.2 miles.
  • Running downhill.  That sounds easy, in theory.  But it hurts.

blue ridge elevation

Those are MOUNTAINS in that course profile.

This marathon has also received 5 star reviews from Marathonguide.com and has been added to many an article about “bucket list” marathons.  It’s been billed one of the most gorgeous marathons.  It’s been put to the test by Competitor Magazine.

blue ridge

An excerpt from a blog of a runner  (“Let It Ache”) who ran it last year:

Then we make a turn out of town, then up this hill.  The hill which started at mile two didn’t end until mile 7 – fucking unreal.  4 miles into this bitch, I am thinking you can’t be serious as I am keeping a around a 10 minute mile.  Mile 6 approaches and the legs are feeling it as we continue to go up and we hit this 180 turn and all I see is a road with a 30% incline, just sick…

Sounds fun, huh? :-)

So WHY in the world did I register for this marathon?

  • I wanted a marathon where I wouldn’t be tempted to race.  I’m getting sick of the training that goes with BQ attempts and being dissapointed when I don’t hit my BQ time. If I put in months of training, I don’t want to walk away from the marathon feeling disappointed.
  • I wanted a marathon in April so that I can take time off after it and be back running by mid-May.
  • I wanted to travel somewhere cool, so that even if the marathon ends up sucking, the travel will be an experience.
  • I wanted a new training challenge.  Something that would force me to train differently than I’ve done before.  I am a decent up hill runner.  But I do not know how to run downhill.  So this will challenge me.  I’ve been reading up on hill training and running and have lots of training ideas.  I am excited because in addition to the running and hill training itself, training for this will force me to focus on my core, my hips and my glutes.  All areas where I need focus and help.
  • And the biggest reason:  I wanted to do something that challenges me in a way that scares me.  Life is about doing things that challenge and scare you. :-) And believe me, the hills (up AND down) in this marathon scare me.

So there you have it.  Marathon #14 is on the schedule.  :-)

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Post Marathon Truths

So after running 13 marathons, here are some things that I’ve found to be true, post marathon, for every single one of them:

  • During the marathon, I swear that running a marathon is the stupidest thing I’ve ever done and that I’ll never run one again.
  • Within 24 hours of finishing a marathon, I’m searching the web to figure out which marathon I’ll run next.
  • The idea of taking a week completely off of exercise and watching what I eat always SOUNDS appealing, but quickly gets old.  Call me weird, but sleeping in, eating like crap and drinking too much red wine is overrated.
  • There IS such a thing as PMD (Post Marathon Depression).  Seriously.  It’s like Post Partum Depression – you have such a build up and so much excitement to The Big Day, and then when it’s over and you aren’t in training, your physical and emotional and mental body are out of whack and you feel down . . .

So, what have I done after every marathon, to cure these post marathon blues? Register for another marathon!  Stay tuned. :-)

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Twin Cities Marathon 2014 – Race Recap

My previous 12 race reports were about goals achieved (or not achieved), paces, what went right, what went wrong, blah, blah, blah.

This marathon, my come-back-marathon after 168 days of no running because of two tibial stress fractures, was different.  I didn’t have true goals in terms of time or strategy.  I mostly just wanted to run another marathon because I could.  And because I love running marathons.  So in that sense, my marathon goal was achieved.

As I ran and ran and ran on Sunday (for 4 hours, 5 minutes and 50 seconds!), I spent most of that time reflecting on how grateful I was.  Grateful for Scott, who rode his bike along the course cheered for me in several different spots.  Grateful for the running friends who gave me shout outs from the sidelines or from the course as they ran by.  Grateful for my family, who were all waiting at mile 25 with signs and smiles.  But mostly grateful that I was, once again, running a marathon.

Here was my day, in pictures.

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Lucky #13

Lucky #13 marathon is in the books.  4:06:50.  Painful last 11 miles. Full report to follow when I’m not sore and tired!  It was a hard day out there today.  It hurt, but I’m not hurt.

A couple of my favorite photos from the day.

TCM race selfie with meg

Selfie with my energetic, awesome daughter

tcm race

Selfie with Scott in front of my old/new signs!

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TCM: Pre-race thoughts

Besides Boston, this is the most excited I’ve ever been for a marathon!  I’m 90% excited and only 10% nervous.  I REALLY honestly have no time goals, which takes away from the nerves.  Do I want to do well?  Of course.  Will I still try to run my miles at BQ pace?  Maybe.  If the legs and lungs feel good, then yes.  But if they aren’t feeling it, then I won’t.  And that’ll be ok.  I’ve also revised my previous plan to “run naked” (without a garmin).  I decided that is too risky and setting me up for a marathon where I feel horrible.  Why?  Because I think if I did that it’s highly likely that I would run the early miles WAY faster than I should, because I will feel good.  So I need the garmin to use it as a guide.  If I run the first mile in 7:15, I need to slow down or I’ll be “running” the last miles at 10:00+.  So I am using the garmin, but going to do something different with it.  I’m just going to have the screen on timer (no other data fields) and I’ll still run by feel, but then when each lap tells me time, I’ll adjust by slowing down or speeding up a bit. If I finish under 4:00, I’ll be very satisfied!  But mostly, I just want to have fun – soak up the crowds, see friends and family along the way, see my mom’s newly revised bright pink signs (with my new last name), and see the whole family at my parents’ place at mile 25.

The Twin Cities Marathon Expo is one of my favorite expos – lots of free stuff, seeing lots of running friends and buying cool stuff!

The weather looks like ideal running weather.  36 at the start, upper 40’s at finish.  24 hours.  Can’t wait!

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