Marathon 26.2


Sunday, May 24, 2015

Memorial Day Weekend Race

My Mother-in-law has the racing bug!  We did our first race together last summer, the Chick-fil-a 5k, then the Diva race.  This year, we started out doing the 5k 4H last week and yesterday, we did the Mel T. Ingram Memorial 5k race.  I remember wanting to do this race last year but I was a bit concerned about the hilly course.  For some reason, I did not run it then.

The race was to start at 8am.  Since this is the closet race yet, we left the house around 7:30.  There were ample parking and we quickly got our race packet.  While standing in line to pick up my race packet, I spoke to the race organizer,  she was super nice and friendly.  The race packet had lots of goodies that included a shirt, coupon for chick-fil-a, a week pass to the fitness center, flag, stickers, poster, hand sanitizer, cookies and candy.  This was probably one of the nicest race packet I received.  So many of the local races give out only t-shirt and race numbers.

At 8:00, the race started.  We started towards the back and off we went.  There were several hills on this course with lots of turns but it was super organized with volunteers to guide you at every turn.  The first hill came pretty quickly.  I was glad to be done with it, then another hill.  At mile 3 came the last hill toward the finish line.  I could hear people cheering enthusiastically for the finishers.  I was glad to cross the finish line.  I cooled down and waited for my MIL to finish.  She did great.  Her time was 1 minute longer than last week's race but considering the hills she did awesome.  I was so proud of her.  She won her age group and I won the first female masters (mastes=over 40 yo).  Another first for me.  I was very excited!  Great metals, plaque and goodies for winners.

The race organizers made this a very friendly, fun and supportive event.  It was super organized with plenty of volunteers so there were no confusion about the course.  Classic race series did the race timing and placement.  Walgreens even had a booth giving away lots of goodies!  It was such a great race experience overall.  I look forward to doing this race again next year!

Photo of me getting my award and a big hug from the race organizer.

My plaque:

Sunday, May 17, 2015

5 K Road Race Win

Yeaterday, I did a 5 K for 4 H road race with my MIL.  This was the smallest race I've ever ran.  I am estimating 15-20 people??  It was close to home and I do a lot of training here.

Being a small local race, it did not have a race timer.  The race would be 2 loops on the walking trail and marked with blue chalk.  I was confused about where to turn but I figure I would follow the other runners!   At 9 am the race started and it was starting to get hot.  I found myself towards the front of the small pack of runners.  There were 2 other runners ahead of me and I was the first female runner so far.  I was exciting how well I was doing in this race.  I wanted to win first overall female so I kept up my pace and even ran faster at certain spots.  I did not look back to see where the other runners were.

I did not pass or see any other runners/walkers during the race except for the 2 other runners ahead of me during the start of the race!  

I was the first female to finish the race and the top 3 finisher.  This was the first time I won the overall female category!  I am your average runner so a win like this was awesome!

Unfortunately, I let an incident upset me at the race (even though I was able to resolve it before hand).  I let it overshadow my win and instead focused on my frustration yesterday.

Today, I woke up feeling better and not bitter..  I do not have to hold on to negativity forever!  I think my marathon training really helped me to work on being more positive and not to hold on to negativity (for too long)!

This has been a specular month for me.  Completing my first marathon and winning the overall female.  There is only one "first" marathon and my "first" time winning the top female runner so I should and will relish in my success.  

Today, I choose to be positive :)

Thursday, May 14, 2015

My First Marathon

This past weekend, I did my first Marathon!  I am now just coming off my marathon high!  I ran the first inaugural race of Chasing Jefferson Davis Marathon in Abbeville, Georgia.  The race turned out to be very small with maybe 30 marathon runners.  There were three other people also running their first marathon!  For the most part, I was not nervous about the race until my drive in that morning.  One of the many benefits of running a small race is I can arrive 20 minutes before race time, get a good parking spot, use the restroom, have my energy drink and still make it to the starting time on time!  At 6:30 or so, (in conjunction with the half marathons at a different location) the cannons were fired and off we went.  The course consisted of mainly back roads with approximately 6 miles of dirt road.

The first half mile or so, it seemed like the other runners were also running at a slower, easy pace.  I briefly chatted with a few runners who passed me.  Mile 1 passed pretty quickly and because of my pride, I could not let myself walk.  My plan is to ( loosely follow the galloway plan) 1 mile run and 1 minute walk.  Mile 2 also went by very quickly but I knew this was going to be a long race, 26.2 miles after all!  If I wanted to finish, I better stick with my plan.  So reluctantly, I took about a 50 second walk break and continued on.  I'm not sure when exactly the dirt roads started (mile 3, mile 4???) but I rather enjoy running on the dirt road.  There were some areas with loose dirt/sand but it was mostly shaded.   I ran some parts of the race by myself and had 2 other runners pass me.  I was glad they passed me because I could hear them talking and I like the solitude.  I listed to my music with one ear bud and taking in the scenery.  At that point, I was enjoying the running, the experience.  Back on the road, I had to cross over to the other road.  There were several people standing around chatting and no one bothered to look up or direct traffic.  There was no traffic anyways so I continued on.  I must admit I was annoyed by this.  I continued on and made my way to my first water stop.  The people were nice and I thanked them for the water.  Around this time, I met up with another runner we chatted on and off for a while before he eventually passed me.  Being out on the open roads, there were no shades and it was hot, hot, hot!  Also, the gnats were terrible.  They would literally swarm around me!!  I had never experienced that before.   For the next 5 miles maybe, it was a solitary race.  I could now see 2 other runners way ahead of me.

I did start to feel better about the race.  The people at the water stops were friendly and nice.  (Some even filled my water bottles for me, offering me GU and fruit).  Law enforcement, race personnel and other drivers checking on me, waving, beeping and giving me the thumbs up.  Around mile 17 or 18, the heat finally hit me.  I was able to catch up to one of the runners.  For the next several miles, it was great to have another runner there!  I think the heat was getting to him too).  My legs were starting to cramp and I worry I would have a repeat performance like my first half marathon.  (flash back to my first half marathon:  running great until mile 7 and calf cramp.  Bad!!!  I could not run at all not even to cross the finish line).  Panic did set in.  I took out my biofreeze and rubbed them on both of my calves.  It felt better and I was able to run some.  I remembered later, being stopped at the railroad tracks to wait for the train to go by.  One of the race staff (in his car) handed me a powerade.  I was happy to accept it.  I know, don't try anything new on race day but with the calf cramp and heat, I took it.  I dranked some and I waited (along with my fellow runner) for the train to pass.  It was a great excuse to rest!  When the train passed, I did not want to liter so I asked the police officer if I could give him my powerade bottle.  I tried to run some more and later, my other calf started to cramp up!  Not good.  I rubbed more biofreeze on my calves.  At the next water stop, I poured water on my arms and legs and I felt better.  I was able to run a little more.  During these miles, it was nice to get encouragement from the other runner and we chatted about our families.  We had some things in common and I talked about my daughter.  I think talking about her gave me the strength to continue on.  I looked at my watch and I knew I had if I stayed at it, I could still complete this marathon within the 5 1/2 hours.  I started to run again, if only for a minute and walked.  I continued on like this and kept going.  I eventually passed another runner.  Ok, for the record he was walking.  He too was suffering from cramping.  (I did offer him my biofreeze).  I was thrilled to see a sign for mile 25!  Finally mile 26, with 2 very enthusiastic girls working the water booth.  On my last mile, a runner passed seemed like out of no where!  One last hill to go (ugh) but then I see a sign to turn onto a dirt/grass road.  Yes, I am close I see the trailed taped off by ribbons and I hear cow bells.  Crossing the finish line and I said Thank God, I'm finished! A wonderful lady gave me water and sat me in a chair in front of the fan.  She then gave me a cold wet paper towel.  Someone else came over and helped me fill out my place card.  A big thank you ladies!!!!

Some things I wanted to add. There were very few spectators but I really enjoyed reading the race signs placed along the way.  I  looked forward to reading them during the race.  Despite my initial reaction, this was a very friendly race with great support from race staff, law enforcement and emergency response.  It turned out to be a great experience.  I was able to catch a shuttle back to my car shortly after finishing the race.  I was eager to make the drive home.

When I got home, hubby had water ready for me n the juuzzi tub and I got a nice message afterwards.  I also got a beautiful card from my daughter and hubby.

It is now Thursday and I am fully recovered?  My quads were hurting for several days and my lower back was also sore but by Wednesday, I was feeling much better.  I am also ready to sign up for my next marathon.  I am thinking in November, I will run another marathon!

Final thoughts.  Training:  I have trained on running mostly 3 days a week.  Mainly because of injury (Achilles) but for my next race I would like to train 4 days.  I think on my next marathon, I will follow Hal Hidgon's plan more closely but still incorporate walk breaks.  I think I am less sore because of the walk breaks.  For hydration, I may try something different.  Instead of Nunn, try tailwind.  I like the thought of not having to carry GU and blok.  Not sure how I would avoid the cramping but maybe tailwind will help with that.  I would keep up the carbo loading the week before the race and maybe more gatorade week before race.  Music or no music?  Though I always trained with music, during this race I wore1 earbud and last 5 miles without.... I was surprised I could run without music!

That's it, a very long race race report with all my thoughts.   I am sooo proud of myself.  To have a goal (a hard goal) and achieve it.  Completing a marathon is hard, it is both mental and physical and I dd it!  I am proud.  I look forward to my next marathon and I hope to better my time!

No race photos!

Sunday, March 22, 2015

First Marathon Training...thoughts

I have been comprehensive for a while about my upcoming marathon, my first marathon!!! I picked this marathon because at the time it was the one closest to home (ok still at a 5-6 hour drive), small but established race and a beautiful scenic route. Upon further research, the course is extremely tough course with evelation of +-1400 feet! Yikes. I think my comprehension increased even further after running my last (hilly) half marathon. Looking around at marathon schedules, I recently found an inaugural race closer to home. It would be a 2 hour drive with rolling hills vs.running up a mountain. Again, I found myself at the same crossroads as to which race to do like my first half marathon. After much debate, I decided to stay with my original plan. After all, I had already paid my entry fee! For a week, I felt good about sticking to my plan...but yet there was still that nagging doubt in the back of my head. After last week's long run of approx. 19 miles, all the doubts came creeping in. Was I making the right decision? After all, running 26.2 is hard. Do I want to make it even harder by running a super tough course? I believe I could do it but will I have a good experience? Will I finished before the cut off time? Am I setting myself up for failure? Poor hubby, had to hear once again about my doubts. He is good like that, listening with patience and always, a voice of reason. So once again, I am changing my plans. I have decided to run the marathon closer to home. I have paid for my entry fee and the new hotel reservation is made. I am feeling much more at ease and I know this is the best choice for me. I can go into this marathon with a more relaxed mind set. Just run this marathon to complete it (hey, course is open for 8 hours)!!! It's point to point which I like...I like the unknown instead of dreading "that hill" on the way back and best of all, it's only about a 2 hour drive. On top of that I have another week more to train. This is the winner. I know the other marathon will be added to my bucket list. When I become more confident at running marathons, I know I will want to tackle that mountain and conquer it!

I am still trying to tweek my diet, for optional performance. I have been feeling more tired lately and low energy. I am trying to add more carbs, yeah pasta to keep my energy level up during training runs. I still have to decide if I want to carry any electrolyte or water on my run. I have however, found what works for me in terms of fueling during a race, (GU) is best. It's all still so new! Surprisingly, several of the halfs I did, I did not bring any fuel or water. I found that I did not need it and the water stops along the way was sufficient to finish the race. (Everyone is different so find what works best for you and stick with it during race day).

 With Hubby's insane work schedule, I have had almost no free time.  I am soooo looking forward to some me time! I am ready to start a knitting project, go shopping, running (without pressing for time)!!! I can't really complain too much though....Life IS good.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

My 5th Half-Marathon Completed

Yesterday, I ran in a half marathon.  This was the 5th half marathon I completed since September.  I first embarked on my half marathon training in June after completing a 10k.

The past 2 half marathon races have been great races.  I went into the races feeling very calm and have done well in both races.  I must admit that I have gotten too relax in my training routine because I got too comfortable.  I have been keeping up with the "running" part but everything else I neglected.  Running a race also requires mental training.  I have been neglecting that along with being too relaxed on my vitamin/supplement and getting acupuncture treatments for my injured Achilles.  (Not everyone requires the last part but for me it is a vital part to keeping me healthy).

I have been comprehensive about this upcoming race.  It is a small semi-local race.  It is a Run for Christ series and I have enjoyed running these races.  (They are small races but well organized).  My comprehension about running this race is that 1/3 of the race has hills, lots of hills.  Ugh!  Also my last long training run of 3 hours of approx 18 miles was the toughest run ever (or so it seems).  Anyways, I have not been running my best these past few weeks.

On race day, packet pick up was a breeze. At 8:30, I was lined up at the start line (4 mile, 8 mile and half all started at the same time). I did not warm up or stretch a lot before hand so I was a bit stiff for the first 1/2 mile.  The first 2 miles went okay and at miles 3 to 4 it was hilly. Mile 6 and 7 were challenging with even more hills.  Around mile 7 was the turn around and I was not looking forward to the (more) hills on the second half of the race.  I regret not taking more walk breaks during the first half of the race because I found the second half of the race to be very challenging.  I didn't have as much energy and I felt I ran at a much slower pace.  I just wanted to be done with the race!  I did however, kicked it in on the last 50 yards.  Overall, my time was about 8 minutes slower than my previous 2 races.

I'm glad I did the race.  It is a good experience for the marathon I am training for in May.  There will be lots of hills!  Next time, I need to stick to my plan, that means walk breaks, at least stop for water at every water station ~ every 2 miles. Don't let my ego get in the way, and run smarter.  Stick to my training regime, all aspect of it!

That's it, keep up my training and keep prepare for my marathon in May!!!!

Sunday, November 2, 2014

My next Half Marathon

Wow, my next half marathon is almost here!  The second one ever!  My training for this next half marathon is so different from my first.  I am training smarter, hydrating more and I will eat better this time.

My last long run was on Thursday of around 9 miles.  Yesterday, I ran 60 minutes on the treadmill at a steady good pace with no walk breaks.  I will probably run another 30 minutes in the treadmill today.  I will finish my training with 2 more runs on the treadmill of 30 minutes each before my race.

I am feeling physically good this morning.  I have no pain in my feet!  I am so thrilled.  I think a combination of things attributed to this pain free morning!  The CEP 2.0 running compression socks I wore during my run, the stretching and acupuncture treatments.

I'm going to keep a positive attitude this week and next time blog more about my training regime and the race itself.

In between training, teaching and cooking, I also found time to knit.  This week I finished my sweater I had been working on to wear during my race weekend.   This sweater was very challenging for me starting out but I was determined to get it done.  Once I figured out the right stitch placements and how to do the right/left lifts correctly,  the sweater became much easier to knit.  The sweater is called Bloomsbury and I purchased the pattern from Ravelry.

Pictures of front and back.  I love the sleeves and the laces in the back.  What a beautiful design!

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Food and Running

Last Saturday,  I made the trip to Doraville to the Asian supermarket.  It was a late start and I arrived there around 1:30pm.  The place was super crowded so I picked up mostly essentials, few Asian vegetables, pho soup broth, etc.  I had to finish my trip with a stop to the bakery for my boba tea and pastry.  To my surprise, my favorite bakery was open.  I think it is called the Hong Kong Bakery located in the Asian Square.  It is a small bakery down from the Sweet Hut.  I purchased some fresh (and very delicious) pastry then I stopped by the Sweet Hut for some Boba Tea and Thai tea.  It was a good way to finish the trip.  It was a long car ride (over 4 hours round trip) but well worth it.  Here is what I bought from the bakery:

This is my first full week back into half marathon training.  I am still not at 100% so I want to ease back gently into my training.  Friday is suppose to be my long run day of 6 miles.  By the time I got to the trail, it had turned into a cloudy humid day.  At mile 1, I was not feeling it at all.  It had been a super stressful day and I did not want to run.  I made it for a few laps and finally called it before mile 3.  It was frustrating and when I have really bad running days like this, I wonder if I should stop running all togetherness, not run the half in November.  I was in full feeling sorry for myself mode.  Besides, my heel was slightly hurting.  I ended up taking Saturday off  and today, I resumed my training. Sometimes I just need some time to get a new perspective.  Today, (no sitter) I had to do my run on the treadmill and decided to aim for 6 miles again.  I set the incline to 1 and went to running.  First 3 miles were a little bit of a struggle but mile 4 felt good.  Around mile 5, I was having to push myself to keep going.  Sometimes, those voices want me to just quit and walk!  Not today!!!!  I was able finish my run at a consistent pace without any walk breaks.  This has been my longest run since my last race.  I want to continue increasing my long runs by 1 mile per week until race week.  That's about 5 or 6 weeks away.  I figure if I can run 10 or 11 miles by then,  I won't have any trouble finishing the half...  I am trying to be real careful about not overdoing it and getting hurt.  

I recently purchased a pair of compression socks.  I have noticed a few runners wearing them at races but I have never owned a pair.  I think with my Achilles/heel/foot/calf issues I recently encountered,  I am willing to trying anything.  The compression socks were costly but I wanted to give them a try.  I opted for the CEP 2.0 compression socks.  I wasn't sure if I would like them but when I put them on, it felt good.  It could feel the extra cushion on the bottom of my feet and the compression on my Achilles and calf.  I think I will probably wear them during my race!  I have also ordered a pair of heel lift and I am looking forward to trying them too.