Lansing Marathon 2012 Race Report

The Details:

  • 3:52:18
  • 2nd place AG*
  • 115 out of 404 overall
  • 22 out of 161 females
*Technically I was 5th in my division, but since I’m now officially old, the first 3 in my division were the Masters female winners, so that left me as the 2nd place age grouper.

This was a very disappointing race for me.  But I don’t want my disappointing race report to reflect negatively on what was a fabulous inaugural marathon, so before I talk about my race itself and what went right and what went wrong, a few words about the Lansing Marathon:

  • With an inaugural marathon, you never know what your getting yourself into.  But this was a great first effort.  Between all 4 events (5k, half marathon, marathon relay and marathon), there were apparently about 2000 people.  I believe the event was put on with two goals in mind:  to get the community more healthy/active and to bring some vitality (and money??) into the local community.  If those were the goals, I believe it was a success!
  • I thought I would be irritated with the half marathoners and relay runners sharing the course with the marathoners.  But since there was a small field of marathoners (404) it was actually nice to have the company/distraction of the others on the course.
  • The course itself gave a good “tour” of Lansing/East Lansing.  We started downtown, ran through MSU campus, went south into the boonies (farm fields), went through some neighborhoods, went through a nature preserve type place, then ran for a bit on the River Trail before coming back into downtown and finishing at the Capital.  It gave an out of towner like myself a good taste of Lansing/East Lansing.
  • In terms of level of difficulty, I do not think the terrain itself was difficult.  (The crazy wind that we had on race day is another story, but that isn’t the fault of the organizers).  Locals talked about this course being more hilly than the originally planned course, but I guess it’s all perspective and depends on what you train on because I did not find one single hill challenging (on the uphills; downhills are another story for me, but I have issues with downhills).  The “long” hill between mile 17 and 18 that bloggers had talked about would be comparable, in my mind, to Lemon Drop hill at Grandmas.  Not bad at all.
  • The finish line food and atmosphere was very festive (except I was in a pissy mood because of my race).  I ate two JUMBO cookies that were super yummy.
  • There were, of course, some minor things that could use improvement, but overall it was a great race.  Kudos to the Lansing Marathon race director and organizers!

Now, on to my race itself, because I’m sure you are dying to know.  The highlights/lowlights:

  • My goal was between 3:32 – 3:35 (8:05 – 8:12 pace), depending on how I felt when I started.  Well things felt good, so I was optimistic.  My paces for the first 10 miles were on target, between 8:01 and  8:17.  I was hopeful that I would be able to maintain.
  • Then at mile 11 we turned south and started dealing with very windy conditions for miles 11 – 15.  I was initially by myself and fighting the wind.  I was still maintaining pace, but only because I kept looking at garmin and making myself keep on pace.  With the wind, my body FELT like it was working too hard for that pace.   So I made the decision to kick it in, in order to catch up with a group of 3 runners who were about 100 meters ahead of me.  Although I had to speed up (and tire myself a bit) to get up to them, I was very glad that I did because tucking in behind them and letting them break  the wind made the next miles feel so much easier.  So miles 11 – 15, with the wind were 8:14, 7:59 (sprinting to catch up to group), 8:09, 8:33 (very windy, even with group), 8:17.
  • This whole windy stretch (and the next windy stretch) was in farm fields, so there was NOTHING to block the wind.  And very few spectators.  But lots of sheep. 🙂
  • At mile 15 we turned west and finally were out of the wind.  I felt very relieved and was still feeling like it would be a good day and I’d be able to meet my 3:35 time goal.
  • Then at mile 16 we turned north.  Since I was feeling good, I pulled ahead of the pack of 3 people I was with, thinking it was time to pick it up a bit so I could meet my time goal.  BIG MISTAKE because shortly after that the wind came back, with a vengeance.  It was unexpected for me because since we were running roughly parallel to the previous windy stretch, I figured the wind would be at our back.  But apparently Mother Nature thought it would be fun to challenge the marathoners and switch directions of the wind. So Miles 16 – 19.5 were directly into the wind.  And it was worse.  (I’ve heard/read that it was between 20 – 30 mph).  And, this time, I was by myself.  No one to tuck behind. Just to give you an idea of what the wind was like, it literally blew all 117 pounds of me a step backwards at one point and blew me sideways at another point.   And by the time my pack of 3 caught back up with me, about mile 17, I was exhausted and defeated and couldn’t keep up with them.  Ugggg.  Paces were between 8:34 – 9:11.
  • So during this windy stretch from mile 16 – 19.5, I fell apart.  Mentally.  I started thinking negative thoughts.  Telling myself this sucked.  Dropping random F-bombs at the sheep.  Asking myself why I even bother running marathons.  And when the negative thoughts started they spiraled.  I started laughing at myself, telling myself what a joke it was that I blog about how strong I felt going into this race, mentally, because of all the life crap I’ve dealt with successfully the last few months, but then when things get a little tough on the course, I gave up.  I just couldn’t stop the negative thoughts about myself and how I was racing, and THAT is what ruined my race for me, without a doubt.
  • Mile 20 – 26 were a disaster because of how defeated I felt.  I gave up and started walking the (slight) downhills because I started imagining issues with my right thigh (there aren’t any issues; it’s in my head; downhills scare me for some reason and when I was already in a negative mood, it was compounded).  I just shuffled along and just wanted to be done, so badly.  I felt angry at myself about my attitude.  My paces were 9:02 – 11:33.  Sweet.
  • The last .2 miles continued to piss me off.  Mother Nature thought it would be really funny to wait until I was within sight of the finish line and then, literally, have the wind pick up and blow my cute bright pink hat right off my head and back down the course.  I debated leaving it, because the finish line was in sight.  But my time was already shot and it IS a cute bright pink hat.  So I stopped and ran back down the course, bent over and picked up the hat and went on my way.  Random dude behind me said “Very impressive” when I picked up the hat.  I assume he meant that I could bend down and scoop up my hat after running 26 miles??  Or else he liked my butt. 🙂

So Marathon #9 is in the books.  Not my best.  Not my worst.  And, as usual, I learned some things about myself that I need to work on and I also learned that running in the wind really sucks!

But I didn’t come to Lansing to wallow about a poor race performance, so I DID manage to get out and drink a bunch of good beer and eat a bunch of good food, including this skillet full of deliciousness:

Whoever wrote the menu and said it was a dessert meant for sharing with 3 or more obviously didn’t have me, after running a marathon, in mind because it was NO PROBLEM for me to polish it all off:

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Hello from the Inaugural Lansing Marathon!

Highlights so far:

  • I found good beer – MBC Sunset Amber 
  • The locals are all very excited about the inaugural marathon/half marathon/5k/relay.  It’s on all the news channels, in the paper and people are talking about it in bars and restaurants that I’ve been in.  I even think I have a cheering squad of my own coming out to support me tomorrow (two random locals at MBC that were stunned that I am actually going to RUN for 3 hours and 30 some minutes, who say they will look for me with the lead runners – which shows you that they have no clue about marathons to think that I’ll be in the lead!) 🙂
  • It feels cold and windy today, though the sun is shining.  I hope the wind dies down a bit for the race.  Forecast still looking good, with 39 degrees at start, 49 degrees at finish.  Winds at 10 – 12 mph NE.
  • I got my race number.  I’m lucky number 326.  I also picked up a cute bright pink Lansing Marathon wind jacket.  I’m a sucker for anything bright pink. 🙂
  • I’ve finished one book, am starting another and am going to go to a movie by myself this afternoon.  Very relaxing!
  • I sort of have my bearings, have studied the new marathon course map (behind me in this wind blown JUMBO picture!) and am ready to roll.

Two Sleeps Til – Lansing!

I woke up today with the Beastie Boys song “No Sleep’Til – Brooklyn” in my mind.  Totally brings me back to my high school days.  Yep, I’m old.  And I’m gonna admit it, I still like the Beastie Boys every once in a while.  And how about those lyrics?  They really treat women well.   Google it.  Still, it is a catchy little tune. 🙂

So, everyone all together now.  To the tune of No Sleep ‘Til  Brooklyn.

Two Sleeps ‘Til Lansing! 

Let’s hope it’s not No Sleep ’til Lansing!  I was talking with a running friend who was having trouble sleeping two nights before running Boston and I divulged my secret sleep strategy for marathon week.  I’ll share it with you, my 5 readers, too.   Here it is:  The entire week of the marathon, I get up at my “normal” time of 4:30 a.m.  Yep, even though I am in taper and so don’t have to run that early, I still get up that early.  Even on the Saturday morning before race day.  Why?  Because then by the time Friday night and Saturday night roll around, I’m exhausted and can fall right to sleep.  Just like a normal work week – where I am lame on Friday nights because I’m so exhausted so I crash by like 8:00!  I’m old. 🙂  It works for me.  Looking back to my earlier marathons, particularly Grandma’s 2009 where I only got like 2 hours sleep (which then negatively affects my race!), I had so much trouble sleeping on the night before the race.  I chalked it up to pre-race excitement.  But now I think it is because I adjusted my sleep schedule race week to sleep in during taper and that threw off my race night sleep.  So there you have it, the secret to a good night sleep on marathon eve.

I’m officially off to Lansing this afternoon.  And I am SOOOO excited!  For the marathon, of course (weather still looks perfect!).  But also just to get away and hang out.  I downloaded 2 books to my kindle and am looking forward to just lounging around til race morning reading and relaxing.  Again, I’m old. 🙂

Random Thursday Thoughts

Random Thursday Thoughts:

  • The taper crazies have set in.  I feel like a slug with so much resting and inactivity.  I can’t wait for Sunday so I can run 26.2 miles!
  • I had some really good advice for a friend earlier this week.   Then last night it occurred to me that I need to follow my own advice about the very same thing.  Lesson:  Listen to myself.  I’m smart.  🙂
  • Along the same lines.  I swear I can predict the future sometimes.  I predict good things coming up. 🙂
  • Funny search of the week that landed someone on my blog:  “running a marathon naked”.  And I thought I had issues.  (And why would they end up on my blog??)
  • I found out my hotel is literally 1/2 a block from the start line of the marathon.  Love it!  Extra sleep and no worries about bag check or throw away clothes.  Just roll out the door and run.

The Marathon: My “Find Out About Me” Time

Watching the Boston marathon yesterday and tracking my friends who were running got me so excited for Lansing!  Congrats to Kristy on her first Boston finish and to my speedy coach MB  (2:58 in the heat!) and all the runners from my Lifetime running group.  I was so impressed by everyone who got out there and finished in those miserable running conditions.

I LOVE the marathon.  I love challenging my body and mind.  I love the nervous energy and excitement at the starting line.  I love when it all comes together and I have a great race.  Even though I hate it at the time, I even love those marathons when nothing seems to come together and it’s a crappy race.   Because no matter what, it’s 26.2 miles of running.  And I love that I can run for hours on end.  When I race a marathon it’s about more than the “me time” that I love on my training runs.  It’s my “find out about me” time – where after months of training and hard work I have the chance to put it all together and see how strong, mentally and physically, I really am.  Because during every single marathon there are low points, times when you want to quit, slow down, even cry.  And I love powering through those moments.  I love the feelings of strength and accomplishment that the marathon always brings me.  I can’t wait for Sunday!

I’ve been stalking the Lansing weather forecast and it looks good so far (36 at start, 54 for high; partly sunny).  Although I’m sure the Boston runners thought the same thing last week at this time.  I know it’s still too far out to accurately predict the weather.  Whatever weather race day brings, I’ll roll with it.  My race outfit won’t change even if the weather changes (though the arm warmers and gloves may not be necessary).  I’m mixing up the color scheme this time (but still have my necessary pink!).

Lansing Marathon Training, Week #3 Recap

I got 9 hours and 45 minutes of sleep last night!  Woot!  I needed that.  I usually get 6 1/2 hours of sleep a night, but this week has been 4 – 5 a night and those are fitful hours.  I woke up feeling refreshed and ready to tackle the 1001 things on my to-do list.

Unfortunately, my legs were NOT feeling refreshed.  They felt super beat up from yesterday’s hilly (almost) 16 mile run.  I did pilates, hoping that would loosen them up, but they felt stiff and sore.  So, coach said to take the day off instead of doing the scheduled 6 miles.

I’ve been running long enough to know – on a logical level – that I shouldn’t be a slave to “the schedule”.  And that deviating from the schedule and missing a run occasionaly won’t make a bit of difference on race day.  Especially when the run I’m skipping is just a 6 mile recovery run.  BUT – I’m Type A to the extreme.  So I am really bugged that I had to take a day off today and so only ended up with 36 miles for the week.  But, like I said, I’ve been doing this long enough now that I know I need to listen to the body instead of the schedule. And the body definitely needed a rest today.

So in addition to the extra sleep, I treated myself to a long, hot epsom salt bath (which took me as long as it took to polish off a large glass of red wine).  Mmmm.  Red wine and a hot bath – just what I needed!

Other than having to cut out the run today, I’m satisfied with week #3 of Lansing Marathon training.  I incorporated a decent amount of pilates and managed weights once.  I know I need to get more of the weights/strength in.  This week for sure! 🙂

Lansing Marathon Week #3 recap

  • Miles run: 35.7
  • Biking: 45 minutes
  • Pilates: 4 times
  • Weights: 1 time
  • Planks/core:  5 days

Details:

  • M: 8 miles (8:09) w/ 4 x 800m (7:17ish) and 10 min at 7:40 mixed in; pilates
  • T: 5 miles (8:38); pilates
  • W: 7  miles (8:39)
  • Th: pilates
  • F: bike 45 minutes; weights
  • Sa: 15.7 HILLY miles (8:31)
  • Su: pilates

Looking at this, I’m not doing a great job of keeping the pace easy on easy days.  Might explain why I was worn out today.  Goal for this week:  keep my easy days closer to 9:00 pace.

97 days til race day!

Lansing Marathon training, week #2

Week #2 of Lansing Marathon training is in the books!  Last week was lower mileage and not all I wanted, since there was a mini-taper for the half marathon.  This week, too, was lower mileage and not all I wanted since I was recovering from the half marathon and buried under a mountain.  I was a bit sore through Wednesday, which meant I got lazy about pilates and didn’t do weights, like I had wanted/planned.

Recap:

  • Miles run: 41.7
  • Biking: 60 minutes
  • Pilates: 2 times
  • Planks/core:  yes!  I’m up to 3 planks a day, about 5 days a week.  AND one of the planks is 90 seconds.   🙂  Also mixing in some other random core stuff when I think about it.

Details:

  • M: bike 60 minutes
  • T:  5.1 miles (9:56)
  • W: 7.4 miles (8:11; 3 hill loops at MP; HMP & 10k pace)
  • Th: 5.1 miles (9:04)
  • F: 3 miles (9:23); pilates
  • Sa: 14.6 miles (8:15; with middle 7 miles at MP of 8:00 – 8:05)
  • Su:  6.5 miles (9:26); pilates

Update:  I found time for pilates tonight.  Yeah!

This week I want to pick up the pilates and weights.  For sure!

104 days til race day . . .

Kicking Off Lansing Marathon Training!

Day One of Lansing Marathon training kicked off today!  Yipee!  Love, love, love starting a new training cycle.  This will be a 17 week training plan for me, because I’m training with the group that is going to Boston and they started their 16 week training plan today.

So, the kick-off workout, with the group, ended up being 8.25 miles.  Warm up easy for 15 minutes, then 6 x 6060’s (huh?), then easy miles, then 2 x 6060’s (huh?), then easy til the end.  What is a 6060, you ask?  (I did too, I’ve never done these with coach before).  It’s a new thing he’s trying.  60 seconds at faster than 5k, with 60 seconds active recovery (about 90 seconds slower than the faster than 5k pace).  The point of them was to be able to recover sufficiently during the active recovery part to still be able to do the 60 seconds at the same just-under 5k pace.  When Coach MB said what the workout would be, truthfully I was a little disappointed.  I thought, “I came all the way here for a group workout and all we’re doing is a few 60 second bursts of speed?”  As usual, I underestimated the workout.  By the 4th 60 second speed burst, I was spent.  Numbers 5 and 6 were tough for me.  It also didn’t help that some of these were up gradual hills.  And, when we got to the other 2 60 second bursts, they were directly into the crazy (20 mph) wind.  SO – it was a great workout.  I know it was more difficult for me than the rest of the group because there were only 5 of us there today (b/c people are still on vacation) and the ones that were there are all ultra speedy.  So, when we were doing our “easy” warm up miles and the “easy” miles after the speed bursts, those miles were at what is basically just a touch slower than my marathon pace.  Ended up with 8.25 miles in 1:06:23 (8:04 pace avg.)

I love kicking off the training week with a decent workout.  One thing that I always disliked about the Pfitz plans I followed was starting the week with a rest day.  Seemed odd (and, of course, I never did that; I mixed things up b/c it would bug me too much otherwise).  So, in general the next 17 training weeks will look like this:

  • Mondays:  speed days with group (alternating tempo, intervals and things like the 6060’s)
  • Tuesdays:  rest or cross/strength on our own
  • Wednesday:  hills with group (remember, I’m training with the Boston peeps, even though I won’t need much hill work for Lansing, it will be a great strength builder!)
  • Thursday:  7 – 9 mile maintenance pace run on own
  • Friday:  rest or cross/strength on own
  • Saturday:   long run w/ group
  • Sunday:  recovery run on own
I’m not sure what he has planned for us for peak/average weekly mileage.  During the summer it was around 40 mpw.  My guess is the mileage will be higher since most of this group are training for Boston and therefore “more serious” runners (though I would say I’m just as “serious” about this as they are!).  I love me some high mileage (I’m on track to finish the year with just under 2200 miles), so bring it!
My challenge, I think, will be to really really take the rest/cross/easy/recovery days easy. I will need to make sure to do this, probably even more so than the others, because the days that I run with the group end up being a harder workout, for me, than for them because I’m one of the slowest ones so when they run the warm up/cool down easy, I have to run it at a good clip to keep up with them.  I’m NOT complaining, I know that this type of thing is what helped me qualify for Boston 2013.   So, I really need to try to pay attention to nursing the old body on the easier days.

In other exciting news, I managed to do planks 6 of the 7 days last week, working my way up to TWO 60 second planks, and 1- 30 second side plan on each side.  Goal by the end of this week:  3 – 60 second planks and 2 – 30 second side planks.  Baby steps.

I am SO excited to be starting training.  I need the distraction from life issues, the focus and the endorphin therapy.  Only 117 days til race day!

44!

44 is the number of the day.  Not 44 miles, 44 Toys For Tots boxes!

There’s a law office behind those boxes somewhere!

I spent my morning putting together 44 drop boxes (and taping signs on them) for the Toys For Tots collection which begins this week.  Thankfully I’m out of the office for the earlier part of the week and then the boxes will be picked up Wednesday so I can have my law office back!  SO much to do for this TFT stuff, but it’s fun and it’s already worth it when people write on their applications how thankful they are that we are able to provide toys for their kids for Christmas.  No matter how stressful and crazy my life sometimes seems, it really isn’t so bad compared to others who have MUCH more to worry about than I do.

***

In other exciting news, I did my first double digit run this morning since Twin Cities.  10 miles at about 8:30 pace.  I think.  Garmin was dead so I ran naked this morning (that ought to bring in more sickos to my blog when they search naked running; Sorry to disappoint.  No photos here, move on.).  It actually felt good to run without checking garmin.  Gave me freedom to just be.

Wrapped the week up with 33.5 miles and pilates 2 times.   Also brought back the tempo run and some slowish, short intervals.

  • M: 5.1 miles (8:57)
  • T: 6.2 miles (8:28) w/ 3 miles at tempo (7:45)
  • W:  rest
  • Th: 7 miles (8:36)
  • F: 5.2 miles (w/ 5 x 400m)
  • S: pilates abs
  • Su: 10 miles (8:30); pilates advanced

I feel energized and positive about the direction my running is heading again.

*******

Have people picked their Spring Marathon yet?  I know Chris is doing Lansing Marathon, Mindi is doing Wisconsin Marathon, Kristy is doing Boston (Lucky!!).  What are others doing?

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