Monday, September 20, 2010


The final week! I ran a 5K on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. I did yoga on Thursday and Friday. Took the day off completely on Saturday. I started feeling quite anxious about the marathon on Thursday. The anticipation was brutal! Plus it was hard because I couldn't run to burn off the anxiety. The fortunate thing was starting on Friday I was busy visiting with my sister Nicole (veteran marathoner) and friends Ashley and Kris (first-time marathoner) who were in town for the marathon.

Marathon Eve- Saturday September 18th. Molly and I picked up our race packets then hung out for a while discussing our race plans. That night we had dinner and Ashley and Kris- pasta, bread, salad, oatmeal bars. I was feeling more relaxed because having company took my mind off the marathon. Went to bed about 10:30pm and actually slept well surprisingly.

Marathon Day- Sunday September 19th. Woke at about 5:45am after getting a good night's sleep. Breakfast was one-half each PBJ, protein bar, banana plus water. Our ride (Molly's parents) picked Nicole, Kris, and I up at 6:45am and we arrived at the start about an hour prior to race time. We found a spot to sit (close to the bathrooms!) and try to relax. Ten minutes before gun time we ventured outside to the start line. The weather was perfect- just under 50 degrees with a partly cloudy sky and no wind. We started near the 4:00 group. Nicole decided to run with the 4:00 pace group as she was trying to PR at under 4 hours. The National Anthem was sung and before we knew it we were off!

Miles 1-9 (Easy): I considered these "warm-up" miles. Our legs were fresh and it was hard to not run faster than a 9:00 pace. These miles flew by and were quite easy. Saw Peter, Eleanor, my parents and brother, Molly's parents, and my co-worker doing the relay marathon along the way.

Miles 10-19 (Fun): Quickly used the porta-potty around mile 10 then around mile 11 realized I dropped my Tylenol and Shot Bloks in there. Bummer. But Molly was generous enough to share her Tylenol with me which I took at the half-way point. Ate two gels and started stopping for more water. We put our music on. My feet were doing fairly well. Still stayed at a consistent 9:15 pace. This part of the marathon was not easy and not hard, just moderate. These miles flew by as well, was really in the groove, kind of zoned out of most of these miles, in fact frequently didn't even know which mile we were at! Saw lots of familiar faces in the crowd- my parents and brother, Peter, Eleanor, Ashley and her dad, Molly's husband and son, co-workers, etc.

Miles 20 to 26.2 (Hard): Molly started to have some issues around this point. We agreed that if it didn't improve I should keep the planned pace and move ahead. This was a bummer to separate.

Ate a gel, part of a bagel, and Gatorade during these miles. I thought I was around mile 18 but learned that I was almost at 22! I think knowing that I was in the "20s" caused me some mental stress and I immediately felt tired and a little panicky knowing that I had ran further than I ever did in training.

I would totally agree with the saying that "the race starts at mile 20." Miles 23-25 were just plain hard, physically of course I was tired- legs were heavy, etc, but I found these later miles to be mentally exhausting. I was almost on the verge of falling apart, I had to take it second by second, keeping myself together. Spectators were talking to me and I just kept staring ahead, completely focused on not falling apart. I repeated the words of Deena Kastor, "Sometimes the moments that challenge us the most, define us" over and over. My pace went down to 9:30-9:45 but I felt like I was sprinting.

I was telling myself that where I was at, exactly in this point of time, was why I ran hundreds and hundreds of training miles and worked so hard over the past 17 weeks. I did not see my family during these miles and kept scanning the crowds in search of some encouragement.

When I reached mile 25 I knew I would make it. I kept just putting one foot in front of the other over and over and over focusing on my music lyrics, "sometimes you feel tired, feel weak, and when you feel weak, you feel like you wanna just give up. But you gotta search within you, you gotta find that inner strength and get that motivation to not give up and not be a quitter, no matter how bad you wanna just fall flat on your face and collapse."

I made the final turn and saw the finish line, probably a quarter of a mile away. "You better lose yourself in the music, the moment you own it, you better never let it go, you only get one shot, do not miss your chance to blow this opportunity comes once in a lifetime." The finish line was getting closer and closer. I saw my sister, who had already finished, about a tenth of a mile from the finish. She was yelling and screaming for me and ran me in to the finish and got me yelling and screaming too. Finally my feet struck the last timing mat. I had made it. I was now a rare breed- a marathoner. A 4 hour 7 minute marathoner!

Nicole guided me to get my medal, blanket, shirt, and water. I couldn't really comprehend much for a few minutes after I stopped running. My friends, family, and co-workers came over to congratulate me.

Shortly after, we watched Molly come into the finish. Even though she experienced some unexpected issues, she looked great at the end and had a good time for anyone, much less for not feeling well the last ten miles.

Nicole's goal was under 4 hours and she achieved 3:51. I was so proud and happy for her. Amazing! Kris met his goal of about 3:40. Unbelievable!

Final words: I really never thought I could do this. In three years, I went from a non-runner to a 7 time half-marathoner to a full-marathoner, plus I had a baby there in the middle. I am no great athlete by any means. All you need is a little fitness and a lot of perseverance.

I would highly recommend doing this. It will make you a better spouse, parent, sister, daughter, friend, and employee. You will be an active participant in your own life. You will realize what you're capable of.

"Once you cross that finish line, no matter how slow, no matter how fast, it will change your life forever."

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Week 17

The last long run week! Molly and I ran a measly 8 miles on Saturday. Fine run. I ran 24 miles this week.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Week 16

I was REALLY sore after the HM last week. My quads were killing me which hadn't bothered me prior in marathon training, even after the 20s. So I took it easy running-wise the first part of the week. Ran with the Pacesetters for the 12 mile run on Saturday. We ran our marathon pace- 9:10. The weather was nice and cool (upper 40s-low 50s) which was fantastic.

Week 15

35 miles this week. For the long run, ran the Cheesehead half marathon in Hilbert. We wanted to get extra miles in so ran 3 miles before the race. It was a warm, very sunny, very windy day which made this a tough race. My half time was 2 hours 29 seconds, which is my slowest half time ever by 3 minutes. This was kind of frustrating.

On the positive side, my feet were doing better this week, probably because I have really been working on landing on my midfoot/forefoot. In fact, one runner during the HM even commented that I have a great running form :)

Friday, August 27, 2010

Week 14

Went to sports med on Tuesday for my feet pain. xrays normal. Exam normal. Differential diagnosis: achilles, plantar fasciitis, tarsal tunnel, stress fracture- nothing seemed to fit. I am wondering if my insoles I bought from Fleet Feet last year are part of the problem. The underside of the insoles are quite hard. My doctor said to consider PT and custom-made orthotics but I am wary this close to the marathon. I may consider it after the marathon if my feet are still bothering me.

I concentrated this week on using more of a shuffling stride, landing on my midfoot instead of my heel.

I did my second 20 mile run with Molly and Friday. Time was about 3 hours 10 minutes. It went much better the second time around! I felt strong. Had a side ache around mile 19 and had to walk a block or two but finished strong. My feet weren't too bad afterward. My calves did hurt for a few days after I think because of the new stride.

Ran 40 miles this week. My second highest mileage week.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Week 13

This was easy week. Which was very fortunate because my heel pain seems to be worse. I did all my running on the treadmill because my feet feel much better when I don't run on the roads. I have also been taking naproxen almost daily. I am getting a little nervous about being able to finish my training properly because of my feet pain. It is mainly my heels, the left is worse than the right. Sometimes if feels like the soles of my heels have a dull ache , other times I have a sharp shooting pain in the mid of the left sole. Then sometimes, I have a burning pain along the medial aspect of my heel or the back of my heel.

It is getting very frustrating, because otherwise I am feeling great from a cardiopulmonary standpoint. Also (knock-on-wood) I have no hip or knee pain.

I ran 29 miles this week. The long run was a half-marathon on the treadmill, which is my longest TM run to date.

I am going to see my sports medicine physician this week and hope to receive a diagnosis and treatment plan to get me through the marathon!

I am going to make an appointment

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Week 12

This was the biggest running week of my life! My first 20 miler was done on Friday August 6th. Ran with Molly and Nicole out and back to my parent's house with an extra 4 mile loop thrown in the middle. This was my longest and also my hardest run. Around mile 11 started having some stomach cramps and needed to make a pit stop at a gas station bathroom about mile 13 or so. This really got me down mentally. Also, I waited too long to fuel up so my energy got low. Didn't really take in much sugar until mile 17. However, we maintained a great 9:03 pace for 20 miles for a total time of 3 hours 1 minute! Total miles for the week was 42! My first 40 mile week!! Overall, feeling pretty well. My feet hurt pretty bad after the 20 miler but today (2 days later) able to do a 10K on the treadmill no problem. Now I get to say hello to easy week. Long run will "only" be 13 miles! :)