Saturday, November 29, 2008

And Still I Run

I had no idea that running could be so habit forming! As you know I got up early on Thanksgiving Day along with about 30,000 others to run the Turkey Trot. (Just in case you are wondering - this is what it is like to start with 30,000 runners.)

After the race we came on home and got ready for the kids to come over. They all showed up about 3:00 and we ate our Thanksgiving meal of Honey Baked Ham and Turkey with most of the fixin's at about 5:00. Everyone was in high spirits and we had a great time.
Yesterday Rick and I just kind of rested up. Ran a few errands and such - but when it came time to work out I chose to run intervals! Did you get that? I CHOSE to run intervals. I'm going to try to break the 30 minute barrier (well, it is a barrier for ME anyway) at the Rudolph Run next Saturday, so I ran like the wind on the treadmill last night. Today I'll be doing the weight training. We'll see how everything goes.

Better "run", we have places to go and things to do...and I still have to run :)

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Dallas Turkey Trot - in the bag!

Yep...we got up early this morning (6:30) and headed off to the DART rail station to meet Cotton. We rode the train downtown and walked to the staging area and only got there 1 hour early. We walked around and found some water and bananas and listened to the band and speaker, but mostly tried to stay warm in the 50 degree weather :) ... With about 10 minutes left before the start I headed to the porta potty lines and got back to the start area with about 2 minutes to spare. I handed my jackets to Rick, but decided to keep my sweat pants on...a decision I would regret around the 6 mile mark! (It DID warm up!)

They kept announcing that the 3 mile run would start 15 minutes after the 8 mile run - but that does about as much good as telling the walkers, strollers and runners with dogs to go to the back of the start area! They started the wheelchair racers at 8:59 and our gun went off at 9:00 - very nice! Just the way it was supposed to be. Keep in mind that there were supposed to be 34,000 runners this year - Oh wait, make that 33,998 - Rick and Chris weren't able to make it due to injuries :( ... It took me 5 minutes to cross the start line!

My goal was 10:30 minute miles and I did pretty good keeping to that pace. I wanted to finish the race in 1:25 and I needed to keep that pace to do that. The first few miles went without a hitch. I even made it throuh the first water stop without walking more than a few steps. It was amazing to watch the number of 3 mile runners that turned off at the split... Didn't surprise me too much simply by the number of families with wagons and little kids I was trying to get around.

By mile 4 I was starting to feel the hills a little and was about to stop to walk when I topped a hill and there was a water stop! I walked through that (OK because that IS part of my running plan! ) and took off running again. I was still on pace - whew! My next goal was the 10K distance of 6.2 miles in less than 1:07 ...when I looked down at my Garmin I did it in 1:04:44 - I was ready to dance in the street, but I was too worn out by then! HA HA! I looked up and the last 2 miles I had to cover included the two worst hills of the entire race! We had to run up to the bridge - cross over that, and then run up another part of the bridge! I did walk these two parts but I knew myself and I knew it would be better for me to walk a little up the hills than to crash and burn at the top. I followed my plan and I was doing pretty good time wise...

I crossed the 7 mile mark at about 1 and 1/2 minutes over the time I wanted so I knew I needed to pick up the pace just a tad. As I was running this part of the bridge I noticed a small pack of people at the curb - It was really scary when I saw that they were giving CPR to a man down on the ground! Just as I passed one of the emergency personnel on a bicycle came over to help, and as I rounded the corner a little down the road the emergency vehicle was coming the other way and the police were letting everyone passing know that help was on the way...There were a lot of concerned runners! My prayers are with him and his family and I sure hope that he is OK!

I couldn't believe the last part of the race was up a hill. I struggled a little, but I kept telling myself I had less than a quarter mile to go! As I ran across the finish line the clock said 1:30 and my Garmin said 1:25:53...I had made up some, but not all, of the time I was behind at the 7 mile mark. I was less than 1 minute over my goal time - so I was really happy with that. I just checked my official time and they have me at 1:26:02. Close enough :) .... Cotton just barely beat me this time...he ran the race in 1:02:57 - so I was within 30 minutes of him...

Have a Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Slugdom. Fun? - NOT

One would think that once a half marathon is completed you would be on a runner's high. Such is NOT the case! I finished the race, and yes, I was on a high for a day or so...wore the nice shiny medal and the shirt to school for my kids to see. They follow my "racing career" and ask every Friday if I'm racing that weekend. They are BIG supporters! They love to see the medals that hang on the wall behind my desk. I think they can't believe someone so old can still run!

Anyway...I was excited about the race for those first few days and then, as usual, life got in the way once more. We've had a bizzare few weeks here. Between my school schedule and Rick's schedule at work we haven't been able to run like we were just before the race. Rick messed up his knee during the race. We don't know if it was the new shoes he got or the hillier than expected course, all we know is it messed it up pretty good. We didn't get to run at all that week after the race, which is probably a good thing, because our research shows you should take some time off after - although we had been doing the distance every other week and running between all along. We got up early last Sunday morning to go run and the plan was to go to church right after we showered, etc. Well, you know what they say about those best laid plans, right? Just as we started running I felt a "pop" in my ankle - no biggie, I thought... I've done that a million times and I just keep running and it relaxes and I'm fine. Well - this time at about the 5 mile mark it wasn't fine! My ankle was really hurting - Rick's knee was killing him and we ended up walking the last 4 miles! And this after I finally did my 5K distance in under 30 minutes! We were really bummed. It took us over an hour and 45 minutes to get around the lake so we called Candy and let her know we weren't going to make it to church, but we stopped by and dropped off what we were taking and then came home and hobbled around like a couple of "old folks" for the rest of the day!

We haven't run since. Well, I did run last night - a short run for me, but it was a run. It didn't feel as good as it did before the DRC Half - but I'm sure it'll come back quick. Perhaps part of this feeling of "sluggishness" is simply being so sad that we aren't in San Antonio this weekend. It is really a downer that Rick is working this entire weekend - and I have to go into school to finish this six weeks grades as well. We were both really looking forward to running the inaugural race in San Antonio and I think it simply adds to the "blues" we were already feeling. Just to make sure we didn't continue to be slugs I signed us up for the Cowtown Half this coming February. It will give us something to keep working towards in the cold months of December and January! (Although I'm going to be looking for a January Race too!) We are also looking at the Capital 10K in March...I'll keep you posted on that!

I think I'll go have a cuppa coffee now...and return to the land of slugdom for just a little longer. I'll probably run a 5K tonight just to make sure I still can and to keep from sinking too deep in the slug pool! Keep safe and keep running!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

DRC Half Marathon

Today Rick and I ran our first Half! My goal was to complete the run in under 2:30.

Our day started out early. We were up at 5:00 AM to make our way to the DART Rail Park and Ride over in Garland. We caught the train and made it to the White Rock station, then caught the shuttle to take us to the race. Once we got out on the road we determined pretty quickly that we had made the right decision in choosing to Park and Ride. The traffic was backed up for miles with people trying to get into the limited parking area around the lake!

We got to the staging area and quickly found the bag drop off. We went to the side of the fence and removed our warm up pants and put those in the bag. We knew we wouldn't need those for the run, although I chose to keep my sweat shirt/jacket and Rick kept on his long sleeved was still pretty cool (the upper 60's). We went over to put our bag in the check in area when I heard a voice from my past. I stopped, swung around and sure enough there stood Mary Lewellyn - Cotton's first grade teacher! I taught with her for 5 years at Northlake Elementary! She was one of the volunteers at the check in station! We backed away from the entrance into the tented area to catch up a little. We were so excited to see each other! I found out that she has been running for years and is a member of a couple of the local running clubs, including the Dallas Running Club which was the sponser of this event. Retired now, she still runs when she can, although right now she is on the sidlines with a torn miniscus on her left knee. After chatting for a couple of minutes Rick and I went on in and dropped off our bag.

We walked around the staging area a bit and found the merchandising tent where we would need to go after the race to see if we could exchange our shirts. (By the time we signed up they only had small and extra small left - I had gotten extra small thinking we might be able to give them to the girls but they were WAY too big for them! We were successful in this endeavor after the race and we each got a shirt that fit!) We found a tent that was giving away bagels so we each got about a third of a bagel and a swipe of peanut butter and headed for the start line. Didn't want to start off on a totally empty stomach!

We found the pacers for a 2:20 finish and got in behind them and just ahead of the pacers for the 2:30 finish. We were both hoping for the 2:20 time... The announcer kept us informed about the time left before the start and it seemed like no time at all when the countdown began. On your mark, Get set, GO! and the gun went off at exactly 8:00. A little over 4 minutes later we crossed the start line! It was pretty slow going at first. Of couse you had to dodge the walkers that always seem to get in line ahead of you, and there were some slower paced runners, but after about the .75 mile mark the pace was pretty good for me. Rick and I were pretty close and going just slightly slower than we had planned. About mile 2 or 2.5 we were running along when I saw a guy come running out of the bushes along the side of the trail. I yelled out "MEN CHEAT!" The runners around me cracked up laughing and a discussion of how to politely go to the restroom on a long run ensued. It was quite funny! It was just after this that I got stuck behind some slow runners running together across the path...Rick got around them. I was trying to catch up to him yelling his name to get him to slow down - he was running at a faster pace than he wanted - but he couldn't hear me over his Ipod and I knew if I kept going at that pace I would die at the end so I let him go. He would have left me at about the 9 mile mark anyway - we just parted ways a lot sooner than either of us had planned :( ...

I was finally starting to catch up to where I thought I should be a little at a 5K time was just slightly slower than I wanted - 32:22, but I knew that was because of the start so I just kept right on plugging along. My pace would vary - quicker when I was in the open, slower when I got stuck behind people...but I was averaging between 10 and 11 minute miles which is what I wanted.

We veered off our normal White Rock running path into a neighborhood and that is where the running really got tough. There were several hills that I wasn't expecting! I shortened my stride, straightened my back and just kept on pushing. Just the way we had trained for them... Actually felt pretty good and at the 10K mark I was at my "normal" 1:06:16. Seems I just can't get that 10K time any lower in a race, LOL. At the 1/2 way point (6.55 miles) I was right on pace for my 2:20 race. They called out the time as I crossed the line painted across the trail as 1:14 - I looked at my Garmin and saw 1:10. Whoo-hoo...I might just be able to do this after all....perhaps even faster, after all they HAD said the last half of the course was fairly flat!

I still felt pretty good, but I was tiring. At about the 8.5 mile mark I really started feeling the heat. We weren't in the 60's any more, THAT was for sure! About the last hill out of the neighborhood a very nice gal was running next to me and she said something about them saying this was a flat course. I answered that I had seen hillier (Tahoe), but this was one of the hilliest I had run and I was sure ready for the flat part! She said she was running this as one of her training runs because she was going to be running the White Rock Marathon in December for 57th birthday. I told her I was running this one for my 53rd! We decided we were pretty "BAD" ladies and she started yelling out to the crowd "Look at these BAD running ladies!" The crowd cheered and yelled us on as we left the neighborhood and veered onto the bridge at the spillway.

At the 9 mile mark my time was showing that I was slowing again - it was a 1:37:04...about 3-4 minutes slower than what I had been running in the early morning hours lately with the much cooler temperatures. Mile 9 was one of my slowest - 11:40. I think this was one of the last hills and included the bridge and the spillway. I had to walk here, simply couldn't run up that steep incline. This is where I lost my "BAD" friend. As soon as I got to the top I started running again though. It was nice running back on the path I knew though. I knew what to expect, I just couldn't make my legs go any faster. I would look at the Garmin and want to pick the pace back up, but my legs weren't cooperating at this point. When I looked down at the 10 mile marker and saw that I would need to do 10 minute miles to cross at 2:20 I knew I wasn't going to make that time. I was disappointed, but I also knew that crossing before the 2:30 mark WAS still doable if I kept pushing. Even though they said the last few miles were flatter - which they were - they still weren't FLAT and any hint of an incline at this point almost made me want to cry. I kept watching my time get closer and closer to missing that 2:30 mark. I prayed that I would make that mark...I had been working so long..."Please God, I'm not asking for 2:20 anymore, just let me finish in under 2:30!" Seems silly huh?

The last mile I started my normal countdown. It was so nice knowing we were getting closer and I was just urging my legs to keep moving one in front of the other...It was nice to have people along the way cheering for the runners and just after the 12 mile mark there was a whole group of the Team in Training supporters with music and bells and clappers just yelling a screaming for every runner going by. It really does lift your spirits!

With about 3 tenths of a mile to go my legs just gave out. I looked at Garmin and I was running at over a 12 minute mile pace. I knew at this point in the race and at this pace I wasn't going to make my goal. I was going as fast as I could and I was crushed. I staggered and slowed even further - my run was barely more than a walk when this nice girl in a red shirt came up beside me. She patted me on the back and said "Come on, we'll finish this one together!" She was so sweet. I told her not to let me slow her down, but she said - "No, we'll finish together - we've come too far to stop now." and she just started talking to me. I glanced down at Garmin and sure enough, my pace had picked up a little. She told me that she had turned her ankle at about mile 7 so she wasn't going to make her goal time, but was shooting for under 2:30. I told her that 2:30 was my original goal and she said "Well, lets go for it together then, see, I told you we would finish together. We'll either make it or we won't, but it will be together!" We kept running and chatting...we saw the 13 mile marker so I knew we were withing a tenth of a mile now...we turned a corner and there was the finish line. Rick and I had been working on sprinting to the finish so I told my new friend that we were going to go for it..."You mean we are going to sprint it?" she asked in answer was "YES!" and together we picked up the pace even more. All of a sudden she said "Girlfriend, look at the clock, you are going to do it!" I looked over and saw 2:29:50 and I pushed as hard as I could. I knew it still said 2:29 when I actually crossed, but at this point all I could see was Rick's grinning face! I ran to him and he said "YOU DID IT!" I looked for the girl in red but she wasn't there - and Rick said he never saw her. You think what you want, but I think she was my personal angel - sent as an answer to that cry out for help to finish in under 2:30!

Rick's official time was: Clock time - 2:21:03:00, Chip time - 2:17:32:19
My time was : Clock time - 2:29:53, Chip time - 2:26:21:12

About Me

My photo
This is about my life. My life as a wife. My life as a mother. My life as a Memaw. My life as a teacher. My life as a runner. My life such as it is.