Sunday, April 29, 2012

Race Report

Yesterday's Christie Clinic Illinois Marathon and Half Marathon went really well. I had a goal time of 2:44 or less, to make my unofficial PR into an official one. That comes out to a 12:30/mile average pace.

Papa Runner ran the full yesterday, and our policiy is whoever is running farther gets priority. He got the good GPS watch, so I wasn't able to get all the good data to analyze. Instead, I wrote the time I needed for each mile on my hand and used a stopwatch to keep track of my splits.

I think I had negative splits for EVERY mile. Each mile was just a bit faster than the one before. By the time I reached the end, I had shaved almost three and a half minutes off my goal time. That makes this my best, most consistent race. It was AWESOME!

Final time: 2:40:36.
Papa Runner totally rocked his marathon, shaving 23 minutes off his previous PR. My dad ran the half yesterday and finished about 10 minutes ahead of me. I had some other friends in both the half and the full, and it looked like everyone had a good race with a lot of PRs set. One friend was running her first half marathon. I passed her as we entered the stadium, and we finished seconds apart.

The spectators at this race are always a lot of fun. I always like looking at the signs. Some good ones: You trained longer than Kim Kardashian's marriage. Run like you stole something. Worst Parade Ever! Don't Not Run. Don't stop, almost there (that's what she said.) A series of Chuck Norris jokes, ending with "But Chuck Norris never ran a marathon." Good luck, person I don't know. And of course, the Ryan Gosling poster featured above. Loved that one enough to make my own. (Image blatantly stolen and defiled with a Hey Girl Meme.)

There was a group dressed in full Pirate regalia passing out water, a group handing out mimosas and bacon (they were out of bacon when I went by, but you could smell the next batch on the grill), and one guy who had set up his own porta potty on his driveway. Lots of kids high fiving. A guy selling shortcut maps. A giant banana and Cookie Monster. Girl Scouts with baskets of Jelly Beans.

My new favorite slogan, seen on the back of a shirt: Never mess with a woman who runs 26.2 miles for fun!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

A New Personal Record!

I finished the Illinois Half Marathon in 2:40:36. It's a new PR! That beat my previous best of 2:58:22, set on the same course last year. It also beat my unofficial PR of 2:44 set during a training run in February. That was my goal for this race--2:44 or less. Full race report will follow, but for now I need a nap.

A little tip: Make sure you get plenty of rest the night before the night before a race. No, that's not a typo. Two nights before your race is when you need to get good rest. The night before your race? You'll be too excited to sleep well. Especially if it's your first race, a particularly special race, or a race for which you have an ambitious goal. This was my 7th half and 8th endurance race over all, and I've found that to be true for all of them. Maybe I'll get to the point when a race isn't a big deal any more, but I hope not. I love the excitement.

Last night, I did not sleep much, and when I did I had weird dreams. One dream was that I was walking to the start line when I realized everyone, including myself, was wearing matching bridesmaid dresses. I was freaking out, thinking how am I going to run in heels and a floor length skirt, when I woke up to the phone ringing. No, my toddlers weren't too scared to sleep at Aunt S's. It was a wrong number drunk dial. That's the first time I've ever been drunk dialed. Guess I can check that off the bucket list.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Final Tune-up

Another 4 miles in tonight. This is my last run before the Illinois Marathon on Saturday. I feel ready. Tomorrow night my running club is meeting up for a pre-race meal. So fun!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Mid-week workout

Another six miles in, six miles closer to my goal. I feel ready for the Illinois Half Saturday. The weather forcast looks ideal for running. Temps 45-65, possible showers. I prefer cooler weather for runs. As long as there's no lightning, I actually enjoy running in rain. Some of my best times have been in light rain and temps in the 40s. Bring on the PR!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Let's Talk About Boobs

How's that for a title?

So as I said in a previous post, I had a compressed nerve in my back that was causing a lot of trouble. I've lost 15lb since Christmas, and my old bras were not getting the job done. The lack of support caused my back issues. I'm a very curvy girl, and a supportive bra is crucial in my daily life and especially while running. Ladies, I can't emphasize enough how important it is to be acurately measured and to get a well-fitting, supportive bra. It's important for anyone, but especially for a curvy runner like myself.

I'm going to talk about sports bras over a few posts in the next few weeks. A good quality sports bra is pricy but worth it. Of course, you can get cheap sports bras at Target or Walmart. They usually come in sizes small, medium, and large. They don't fit very well, and they aren't very supportive. I know women who have to wear two and three of these at a time. The money you save gets spent on the extra bras. Not worth it.

My favorite sports bra is the CW-X, especially the Ultra Support II. All their bras have a unique "five point star" technology that is very supportive and minimizes bounce without compression. That lack of compression was very important for me because I ran my third, fourth, and fifth half marathons while nursing twins. A compression bra can cause lots of problems with blocked ducts and can even dry up your milk. I didn't have to worry about that with this bra.

Another pro to this bra is the mesh fabric that is very breatheable. I get extremely hot when I run, and this bra is very cool.

It comes in actual sizes (32-42, B-DDD) rather than the small/medium/large size ranges. The Ultra Support II has a back clasp. Some of their other bras have front clasps. All have adjustable, padded straps for a customized fit. No underwires. This bra gets an all around A++ from me.

With all these pros, there's one very big con: It doesn't come in my current size. In addition to being very curvy, I'm also petite, which makes shopping difficult. I'm currently measuring as a 32F (yes, I just revealed my bra size on the internet!) So as much as I love this bra, I'm forced to look elsewhere. In future posts, I'll review the other bras I'm trying.

Note: I received no compensation for this review. This is just my own experience with the bra I've worn and loved for 4 years.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Six Miles In

Finally, some movement on my ticker! I was able to get 3 miles on the treadmill on Thursday and another 6 today. I'll have some posts in the next few days about my two week break, but I'm feeling great now and ready to get back out there. I did 6 miles in 1:15:30 today, an overall average pace of 12:35. I also managed negative splits: 13 minutes/mile going out and 12:10/mile coming back. If I can do the same or better next Saturday, I should be able to hit or beat my goal time of 2:44 for the Illinois Christie Clinic Half Marathon. I set an unofficial PR of 2:44:30 during a training run a few months ago, and I want to make it official. My current official PR is 2:58:22, so I'm confident (barring something huge) I'll set a PR even if I don't hit my goal time.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

On the mend

Well, it's been a long, drawn out saga. After 3 trips to the ER and 4 diagnoses by 4 doctors, I think I've found what has been causing my breathing issues. It was a compressed nerve in my back.

I thought it was a long shot as the source of my shortness of breath, but went to the chiropractor this morning. The results were instant and dramatic. By the time I left I was breathing normally for the first time in almost 2 weeks.

I've lost 15lb since Christmas, and my old bras just weren't cutting it any more. I did get new ones in the proper size, but the damage was already done. I've had a "pinch" in my back for a while now.

Then I had that cold that may or may not have led to pleurisy. I think the combination of compression and illness just pushed that nerve over the edge. It was hyperstimulated and causing my diaphram to spasm.

I plan to have a few more adjustments over the next few weeks to get the nerves in working order.

(If the breathing issues return, though, and further adjustments don't help, my next option is to explore anxiety as the cause.)

I still need to rest and recover, but I'm REALLY hoping I can run at least a little tomorrow. I've really missed it. And I'm determined to run the Illinois Half Marathon on the 28th and hopefully turn my unofficial PR into an official one.

Friday, April 13, 2012

I hate not running

This forced break from running is KILLING me. I have a race in two weeks, and I haven't run at all in over a week. I don't think I'll be able to run this weekend, either, since a shower nearly did me in this morning. I'm heading to the doctor for a follow up in a few minutes, we'll see what he says.

Monday, April 9, 2012

No run today, either

So I missed my long run this weekend, and I'm under doctor's orders to take it easy this week yet. I made another trip to the ER on Sunday when my pain got worse. A CT scan showed for sure there is no clot in the lung, so that was a relief. I was diagnosed with pleurisy, which is painful but harmless. It should subside in a few days. Man, I'm anxious to get back out there and run. I hate falling off my mileage goal, but I have plenty of time to make it up.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Long Run Postponed

Today was supposed to be a 14-miler, but instead I made a trip to the ER. I've had some mild chest pain, more of an ache, for two days. Yesterday, I had a low fever and a sinus headache, and my lungs felt heavy. Seemed like a typical cold. Today, the chest pain has localized to a small spot in my right lung. I also coughed up some blood. Because I have a blood clotting mutation (MTHFR a1298c) and because my sister has had a pulmonary embolism, I decided I should get checked out.

The EKG was fine, chest x-ray was clear, and blood work (including d-dimer which looks for blood clots) was normal. So I'm home with orders to rest, follow up with my doctor next week, and come back if the pain gets worse.

Thursday, April 5, 2012


Six miles on the treadmill tonight. I did "ladder" drills. After a mile warm up, I did 1/4 mile at 6.6, 1/4 mile recovery, 1/2 mile at 6.3, 1/4 recovery, 1 mile at 6.0, 1/4 recovery, 1/2 mile at 6.3, 1/4 recovery, and 1/4 mile at 6.6, 1/4 recovery, followed by 1.25 mile cool down for a total of 6.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

My Goal for 2012

This year, I plan to run 1000 miles. This is about a 20 mile/week average, with a little wiggle room. I'm already off to a good start: we're 1/4 done with 2012, and I just reached 250 miles (1/4) on Sunday. To reach this goal, I've been running twice during the week, 4-6 miles each, with a weekend long run ranging from a minimum of 6 to a maximum of 20, depending on what I'm training for and where I'm at in the training.

Training for the Little Rock marathon got me well on my way, since at the beginning of the year I was doing 14+ miles most Saturdays, but now that I'm done with that my long runs are more in the 6-12 mile range. Once Papa Runner is done with his next race at the end of the month, I plan to gear back up for my next marathon. I haven't officially signed up yet, but I'm hoping to do the Leading Ladies marathon in South Dakota in August.

After that, it's Papa's turn again for a fall race, and then I hope to do the Disney Goofy Challenge in January, but that's not firm yet. If I can't do it in 2013, I'll do it for sure in 2014.

All of this is just ground work for my long term goal. And this goal is pretty crazy and impossible.

When I was training for my first race, my coach told me every runner should have 3 goals: a weekly goal that's fairly easy to achieve, a medium term goal 3-6 months out that's "on the edge of achieveable" with hard work and a little luck, and a Crazy, Impossible Goal, one you may never actually reach, but that you set anyway to keep you motivated. At the time, I set the Goofy as my CIG, but now that it's on the horizon, I've set a new one. I haven't shared it with anyone other than Papa Runner, my parents, and my sisters, but someday I'll make it public.