6'0 tall, former athlete, mother of 3, struggling to keep up on the RUN of daily life.

Monday, June 29, 2009

26.2 things I learned running my First Marathon

This is my no-frills list of what I learned…

1. Running on closed roads makes you feel like you own the city. This alone is worth the entry fee.

2. Having friends and family along the path and at the Finish Line makes the journey amazing.. Wear a bright color so your poor spectators don't have to strain for hours..

3. Pain is temporary, your accomplishment is FOREVER!!

4. A good Pace group leader can make a race truly enjoyable, they do all the Math, hold the sign and you just follow.

5. Your race T-shirt will not always fit you, but may look great on your better half.

6. A Marathon includes people in all shapes, sizes, ages and outfits. It is the great equalizer. The guy with the poofy grey hair and thick glasses, who you could see running a library or being a cereal killer, has run 101 Marathons and may just kick your butt!! The older ladies in pink wearing tiaras have run over 80 Marathons combined and WILL pass you too.

7. Over hydration may be a worse problem that being on the edge of dehydrated.

8. (This is just for me) Tapering too much may make you feel out of shape. Know your body and keep with the mileage that you feel is right and won't tire you out or make your legs sore. The worst thing would be getting to the race and being out of shape. Find a plan that fits you for training, then tweak it and listen to your body.

9. A GREAT play-list (Will post soon) cannot help you if your mind is OFF.

10. Race day is not different than any other run. You have your good runs and bad runs. But it TRULY sucks to have a bad run on Race day.

11. Running a Marathon is in some ways harder than giving birth. When I had Easton I was laying down and had an epidural. What I would have given for a bed and pain meds at mile 20.

12. Companies that claim they will send texts about progress during the race may FAIL!! Do not rely that your friends and family know where you are on the course.

13. My husband is SMART!! I already knew that.... having someone who is savvy with maps and directions can make driving and parking on a busy race day a breeze.

14. My Dad is SMART!! I already knew that too…when Dad did not get the texts he went online to watch my progress and even saw me cross the finish line. Pretty sure he had the best view of my Marathon from his cozy home with my boys.

15. Running for FUN and to FINISH versus running for time on your FIRST Marathon is really good advice!!! (I know you all told me, SORRY I did not listen)

16. Waiting in the porta potty line is NECESSARY, do it there so you don't have to do it on the race course. GEEEEZZZ!! (If I only had some patience) Men have it easier when it comes to "going" during a race, anywhere is their bathroom (well for the #1 part anyhow). I will never think the guys going in the bushes are crazy again. Dropping trow to get out the urine is TOTALLY acceptable on race day. If you need to pee (or worse) drop your pants and go, no one will care and you will feel much better.

17. HILLS are the devil! If a race boasts that it is FLAT, sign up and quickly..

18. Wearing toss-away clothes to the start line is SMART!! You may look a little crazy in your worn-out over sized duds, but no crazier than the people wrapped in garbage bags. You will stay warm and the clothing goes to a good cause.

19. (Personal Opinion) Big races are a PAIN in the A--!!! Not worth all the hype. Yes, they may be well organized and have all the bells and whistles. But the intimacy of a small race cannot be matched.

20. My work marathon running friend Faith said "respect the distance" because a marathon isn't just 2 half marathons... Mile 20 and beyond will be the longest miles you will ever run in your life!! I did not believe this, but it is soooo true. The idea that 1 mile is a short distance is totally transformed in the Marathon. One mile is a BEAST!!

21. Wearing your name on your race Shirt is GOOD! It takes away the anonymity and lets people cheer you on by name. May seem dorky, but at mile 20++ when you hear your name being yelled by another racer it keeps your legs MOVING..

22. There is nothing like crossing the FINISH LINE. It means you have accomplished what you set out to do. It means you can stop running. It means that you are a MARATHONER.

23. Putting the race Medal on is AMAZING! I would still be wearing it if I didn’t think people would point and laugh.

24. Grab everything in the post-race food section. You never know what will hit the spot. A dry Bagel, water, Cheetos and Lays chips were heaven for me. Cheetos have never tasted so scrumptious.

25. Your body will HURT after a Marathon. Take the pain meds, ice, wear recovery socks, rest and DRINK an adult beverage (if you are of age).. LOL. I am not promoting alcoholism here, but toasting to your accomplishment and having some spirits take away the pain is a GREAT idea.

26. The Marathon is something that should not be entered into lightly. You will be humbled, you will be tested, and you will want to QUIT!! You will tell yourself a Million times over that you will NEVER DO THAT AGAIN… But you probably will. Once the pain wears off, you will be back for more. My boss told me "I think you have another Marathon in you. Sorry! But I think you do." She may be right, but today I will not think about that.

26.2. People who run race longer distances than Marathons and complete FULL Iron Man races are Robots or possibly Aliens.. LOL.. WOW people!!! There has to be some non-human DNA in there somewhere to take that kind of torture.

What do you say after you run your first Marathon?

Thanks to everyone for the WONDERFUL comments! My first Marathon was tough and taught me more than I could have imagined (look for a post this week about the 26 things I learned). Amazing what you can learn running more miles than most people like to drive.. My mental and physical capacity has been tested and I came out pretty darn good. Man am I SORE!!

To address a couple of comments...

Kelsey- I did see you and THANK YOU for the cheer!! At that point I was so disoriented I had no idea who would be waving at me. I was totally rude and did not even give a thumbs up, SORRY!! I even told my husband that someone cheered for me like I knew them, but I didn't know anyone running the Marathon. I wanted to put that part in my Blog about the race but had no idea what mile marker I was at, FUNNY!! If you are ever running in the same race as me let me know, would love to say hi.

My time- Thanks to everyone for helping me realize that my time is good for a first Marathon, or any Marathon. I always expect the best from myself and really I should have gone into the first race to finish. I know that now and I am very proud of my time..

Preparing for my next Marathon- Ummmm.. I LOVE LOVE the half Marathon and am excited to do some 10K's and 5K's. But I am not ready to even toy with the idea of running another Marathon...not today.... People who do are AMAZING!!! Yes folks you are AMAZING!! For this Tall Mom my running path will take a slightly shorter path...

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Seattle Rock 'n' Roll Marathon 6-27-09

This time last year I had a 5 month old baby, 50 extra pounds and considered running a 5K at 10 minute mile pace without stopping to be a HUGE accomplishment. A little over a year later and here I am running my first Marathon....

Race morning started at 4:13 AM, the night before I barely slept, I basically laid in bed with my eyes closed and hoped that my brain would turn off... It didn't. I was NERVOUS, way more nervous than is healthy I think. So I got up, braided my hair, ate my usual and we were out the door. My SMART husband did a zoom in on Mapquest and found an alternate route to the advised Race drop which was a busy traffic road .5 from the start. The website for the race said no spectator parking but muscle man did not like that idea. So on a whim we took his route and AWESOME. We found parking and about 200 yards from the starting area and walked hand in hand to the pre-race frenzy and quickly got in line for the blue wonders, YUM!! My nerves that made me feel like I would expel my breakfast were starting to fade. Knowing I was at the race and on time was GREAT!! We wandered around, peaked or heads behind a few TV cameras and snapped some pre-race photos..

Posing in my un-attractive toss-away sweats.
And the throw-away top from my heavier days.. I LOVED that Dave and I could be together, I NEEDED him so much that morning.
I was so nervous that I wanted to go in my Corral #5 early and talk to the pacer. But I also felt like I needed to pee. We checked out the lines and they were CRAZY so I passed. BIG BIG HUGE MISTAKE... More on that later. I didn't even take the time for a fun Corral photo, I really was a nervous wreck.. Once in my Corral I found the pacer, Marion a tall slender blond with a beautiful smile and legs for days. Come to find out later that she played basketball at a D2 college in North Dakota, fun to have things in common (I played for Gonzaga). I also met Sherrie from Portland, she had a Marathon body, 98 pounds soaking wet and tiny. She had her name written on her arm and was an experienced runner. She had qualifies for Boston for her age group (41) but wanted to try for the lower mark. Then there was Katie, wearing pink, an infectious smile and positive vibe, she had 2 kids about the age of my little ones. This group of women were amazing and I am REALLY glad that I started the race with them.

At the starting Corral there was also an OLDER fellow with poofy Bob Ross (painter guy) curly grey hair and THICK old school glasses. He was on his 101st Marathon and had been running since 1984....ummmm I was 5.. Amazing feat, but the guy was a little, well a lot creepy..

The one thing I forgot on race morning was the battery for my good camera, brought the camera but battery was plugged in charging.. UGH!! Dave did the best he could with the little camera and the huge crowd. I was glad to be near the front, that helped with my anxiety with crowds.
I was near the green 3:40 sign. I had high hopes...


The start of the race was thick with people, I tried not to elbow people in the face but at my height it is bound to happen in close quarters...LOL.. Marion lead us and held that green sign the entire time. I chatted with Sherrie, Marion and a little former UW soccer player named Joclyn, I think? We all bonded on the run. That group made the first nearly half of the run amazing. We were on or ahead of pace and at one point Marion said "Let's slow down a little." I did not expect that. We ran along Lake Washington, it was amazing with the sun sparkling off the lake and a crisp breeze. There was no rain, in fact the weather was perfect in the morning hours. We swapped positions weaving around people. Since the Marathoners and Half-Marathoners (including my friends Shelby, Jill, Tanna and Cela) started out together the pack stayed thick for MILES. As we turned the corner and sprinted up an incline toward I-90 my body felt weird. Like my energy got zapped. And I had the most horrible need to urinate. There were no toilets in site, in fact there were almost NONE the entire 26.2 miles...hmmmm??? I tried to stay with the WONDERFUL group...but I faded at mile 11.5. I loved the feeling of running with a pack all with the same goal and being on the I-90 floating bridge closed for me to run. The first 11.5 miles were awesome and I will try to hold that feeling...from then on it was GRIM.

THIS SECTION IS MARKED TMI (Too much information):
If you have a queasy stomach or just don't care to know the reality of the Marathon feel free to fast forward. I had always heard of people wetting themselves during a race. After my experience at my half marathon where I had to pee the last 3 miles, I could understand it is horrible holding it in. My bladder is not good for races.

Weak Mommy bladder + being hydrated + long potty lines+ impatience= YUCK!!

I saw my pace group fade into the distance about 200 yards away, I wanted to catch up but I hurt. We got into the tunnel after 1-90, it was dimly lit and I decided to pee, just a little. In hindsight, first I should have gone a second time before I started the race and second I should have just dropped my pants and squatted. Instead the urine started to flow and flow...everything I drank for the past 3 days came out. My spandex, legs and socks were soaked. At that point I was HUMILIATED and totally lost it mentally. This was the worst case scenario, I am sure I was not alone in the accident department, but REALLY??? WHY?? Training for 16+++ weeks in the snow, rain, heat, with stomach aches, time away from my family and friends and my race was ruined because I WET MY PANTS. CURSES!!! UGH!!!

So I kept running, wet. I knew that I would see Dave around mile 14. So that was what I thought about, seeing my support, a familiar face. The Half Marathoners would go left to finish and I would stay straight. I was breathing hard because I was so out of it. I finally spotted my husband and stopped. I said "I can't do this! I am done!" He said "Do you need to just finish the half?" No way!! Yes I had a ton of miles ahead of me, but I am NOT A QUITTER. My pace for the half way mark was GREAT 8:26 miles, then it went downhill (or uphill for runners, LOL). Charity was on the right and smiled, but I could see from her face that she had never seen me looking so haggard so early. Marion, my pacer had finished her part of the race and was standing near the side, she saw me stop and came to check on me (AMAZING) and I told her about the urine accident, I think it was TMI for her and she just said "You can do it!"

I have not plugged in my Garmin to see the truth of my pace, I really can't take the blow to my EGO. Lets just say I never saw an 8 at the beginning of any mile after that. I was getting slower and slower with each step. My soggy feet were starting to blister and HURT. I tried to run up the hills, I tried to run down the hills, I TRIED!! I underestimated the power of the Marathon and overestimated myself. I finally saw a toilet at mile 16 and stopped so I could sit...and I had to go again. I really do not think that my bladder can handle LONG races.

Mile 17 started a HUGE climb up.. And to the right were the SPEEDY folks running down. Oh how I wanted to swap places. Instead I walked and jogged as best I could. Yes I WALKED a lot...something I had never done on any of my training runs.. It wasn't my body, my legs were OK it was my energy level and my mind. I had NOTHING left in the tank. It was a bad run day, lucky for me it fell on race day (sarcasm). So mile 17, 18, 19 all hill. My race tank proved to be a great way to keep me going, with people saying "Go Fast Mel!" But Fast was not something I could do.

The water stations I had sprinted by and drank on the go earlier, I now slowed to a crawl and GULPED down. I decided that I would do what I could to survive and make it across the finish line. What I didn't know was that Dave, Charity and my other friends were not getting the progress texts, that company TOTALLY failed!!! So they had no idea where I was or if I was still running, that was scary for Dave since he knew I was STRUGGLING.

Mile 20...yes the infamous mile 20. Well since I died at mile 14 and before, this was just a continuation of the agony. But what I will say is that 6 miles++ never felt so long. That last hour was FOREVER. My pace group passed on the opposite side and I yelled "Go Sherrie" I just looked up her time and there was nothing?? I wonder if she forgot to put on her chip? BUMMER!! I am sure she made it she looked strong and was with the new pacer.

I was ALONE, surrounded by people but ALONE. I really think that in the future I will run with someone, even if I have to slow down and help that person. Trying to hit the pie in the sky time proved to be more stressful than it was worth. I thought if I could get my stride going, second wind, that I could still hit the sub 4 hours...but as I saw paces of 10's, 11's and gasp 12's on my Garmin I knew that was not possible.

I asked myself "Why am I doing this?" About 33,333 times on the race. And those last miles, that was all I could think about. Running on the Alaskan Way Viaduct is miserable, well for me. The pavement is uneven and sloped, you can see the faster runners passing you on the left toward the finish and it is HOT!! I was wishing that the weather report earlier in the week had held true, a drop of rain would have been AMAZING.. Instead it was 75+ with nary a breeze. I stopped at every water and Cytomax station, I was ZAPPED, TIRED and DONE. My stomach was aching and I wanted to lie in the fetal position. I tried to do everything not to think about the pain, nothing helped...

Eventually the pain passed and I was approaching the turn back up the viaduct...they played "Another one bites the dust." That was even more irritating than the LOUD blaring bands along the course....Sorry I am not a fan of loud music, why I chose to to do the Rock 'n' Roll I will never know?? We needed inspirational music, not something to remind us that we were literally "biting the dust." I got passed by ladies in tiaras, HUMBLING!! There was a story in the Seattle times today about the ladies, they are sisters who have run 3 marathons the past 3 months and always with Tiaras.

Mile marker 25....10:27 pace (I have never run in the 10's in any of my training). Legs spent, blisters on fire, head light, no focus...a woman passed me and said "You only have 10 minutes left to run....keep running." So I did. I found what little was left and I picked up my legs, one after the other.. Thankfully the last half mile was partially down hill. As I turned the final corner Qwest Field was on my right. The Finish Line was about 150 yards away..

There is was the Line I had been running for ALL DAY. Older men were passing me on the left and right. I wanted to badly to stride it out and sprint, but at that moment my time did not matter. Instead I used my last bit of strength to raise my arms and wave to the crowd. The decals paid off as I heard the announcer say "There is an excited young lady. Run Fast Mel!" Or something like that. I had a crowd cheering me on, my name over the loud speaker and the FINISH line just steps away. I wanted to cry with joy, but I did not have the energy. With a smile I put my size 10's on the mat and I was done. It was an amazing and surreal feeling. Something I can never re-live. Official chip time 4:11:51. I was DONE RUNNING!!!

Followed closely by near collapse (not really I just put my hand on my knees). I freaked out the medical staff, she saw me as a 6'0 tree about to fall. I stood up and in delirium ached to find Dave and my friends. I grabbed a water and headed out, to what?? to my MEDAL, the most beautiful medal with a green ribbon. I put it on and felt like a CHAMPION!! Funny how a little thing makes the accomplishment more REAL.

I heard Mel and saw the pride on Charity and Dave's faces. The race was so big they could not take a Finish Line photo but they did see me cross, after watching a zillion other people. Having them there was PERFECT, but poor Kiera headed to the Family Reunion section to wait for me in "F" and did not have her phone. So they told me to "Take my time" and make my way to that area. I posed with a smile for a post race photo. I talked to a few people and all said "That race was HARD." I weaved past water booths, bagels, bananas, and kept grabbing things not sure what I was hungry or thirsty for. Chips, yes please!! I got Cheetos and Lays, YUMM!! I needed salt.

Weaving around, my head was foggy. I made my way to the metallic blankets (I have ALWAYS wanted one of those) and out toward the letters. A big F and there was my little Kiera. She helped me lay down the blanket and my loot. STINKY hugs, I reeked that is the only word for it. Kiera thinks Marathoners are crazy, I AGREE I had to be crazy to do what I had just done. My left calf seized up and the pain was like a knife being stabbed in my leg. I had bad cramps when I was pregnant but never this painful. Kiera tried to help by rubbing on the muscle, but it continued. Dave arrived and grabbed my legs with his firm hand like he did when I was pregnant. It helped nearly immediately, THANK GOD!! I was starving and FREEZING. How could I be cold in nearly 80' weather?? Dave got out my pink jacket while I took off my YUCKY socks. Just then my right calf balled up, OUCH!!! Dave to the rescue. I put on my pink Recovery Socks and have not taken them off for fear of the pain. We relaxed, I ate, re-hydrated and eventually it was time to go back to my boys. Sore, defeated, but I am a MARATHONER!!

I LOVE my Bling Bling Medal
Dave thought it would be good to get the city in the background
My Dad watched online and took a photo of the screen
I was sooo happy to be done..
Signing off...after a LONG RUN and a LONGER Race Report. To say I am not dissappointed would be a lie. I keep re-thinking what I could have done differently to have a better outcome. Then I remind myself that I DID IT, something that most people will never do. I ran 26.5 (yes) miles and I crossed the Finish Line.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Recovering from the Seattle Rock 'n' Roll

I have had the most amazing support throughout my Marathon training. It has been a long process and I am PROUD to say that I am a Marathoner....but I am not ready to post a report yet so please check back. First off I need to focus on recovery and say my Thank You's. If you are overly interested in my time my race number was 5110..of course the time will tell you nothing until you know the STORY behind it...

Dave and I went to the Race Expo on Friday, while Mom and Dad watched the kiddos. I took the day off to prepare for the race. We had a great time!! I managed not to spend a dime, AMAZING for me. Unfortunately my race t-shirt is too big, when I signed up for the race, originally registered for the 1/2 Marathon, I was 30 pounds heavier. So hubby got a new t-shirt, he is happy.. There were several great vendors and I got some contacts to see about products in the future.

Before the race I learned about Recovery Socks and contacted Marco, he said to stop by his booth to test out the socks. It was great to meet Marco and learn about his product, I will do a full report soon. Thanks to Marco and Recovery Socks for their generosity, I am typing wearing my bright pink recovery socks..

Me and muscle man, a lady nearly broke my good camera while taking this photo.. OOPS!!
The Rock 'n' Roll Expo
Me and Marco before I tried on my socks.
I am a recovery socks model...LOL. Loving the look and feel of the socks, more about that later. Lets just say that I had horrible calf cramps after the race, Dave rubbed them out and once I put on the socks I have had no issues..
My time...LOL.. In my DREAMS.

First off Thank you to my wonderful, doting, supportive and SMART husband. Without Muscle Man I could never have trained, he took care of the little ones so I could hit the road. He gave me much needed massages and is my CONSTANT support. He mapped out our route, planned out our food and was there for me EVERY DAY leading up to the race!!!

Second Thank you to my parents for watching our boys during the races. Having Dave with me at the races and knowing that my boys were well taken care of was sooo important.

Next to Thank you to Charity, my best friend since high school, who was my training partner, and finish line cheerleader. Her constant compliments and telling me how proud she was of me kept me going.

Thank you to Kiera for coming to the finish line today and meeting me in the "F" family reunion section. In my delirium I would have been LOST..
Super Thanks to Shelby, my running partner who ROCKED her half-marathon today..
Thank you to my friends (Angela, Jill, Lora, and Lynette to name a few), family, and Bloggy land for all of your positive words and thoughts. This has been a LONG road and I am still amazed that I am a MARATHONER!!
Dave in his new shirt...and Charity all smiles with pride. They made me feel like a ROCK STAR after the race.. See the pink socks..
My Finish Line ladies. LOVE THEM!!I may never do another Marathon....my next goal it to run a race with the love of my life. How fun would that be?? Having Dave there at the Finish was amazing, but crossing the finish with him would be surreal..

Friday, June 26, 2009

I'm Ready to RUN!!

Ipod updated... Check

Race number and chip attached... Check

Carbo loading and hydrating.... Check

Gear laid out... Check

Alarm set for 4:30 AM... Check

Yes I am NERVOUS and I am so ready to run this Marathon. My FIRST Marathon. It seems like this day has been in the distance FOREVER and now it is here. The feeling is surreal. I wish I had more time to write, post photos, etc... I PROMISE to have an update soon after my race.

Gun goes off at 7:00AM PST and I am in Corral 5. Wish me luck Bloggy Land!!

Signing off, next time I sign on I will be a MARATHONER!!!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Track me....

My Buddy Lora set me up with a SWEET pre-race gift. She paid my small fee to have 5 of my family and friends receive texts about my progress during the race this weekend. I am really excited if this works well!!

Has anyone ever used this service??? If so let me know your thoughts. From the FAQ it looks like anyone can join and track anyone...not sure how I feel about that, but for the people I want to be able to track me I am pumped!!


But what will I WEAR??

As a basketball player people knew my number and my last name, I had an identity. When I SCORED my name was blasted over the loud speaker and people cheered, honestly I LOVED that!!! As a runner I have a race number but my name is LOST....so I decided to do something about that. Who knows if I will regret my choice, as I run past packs of SCREAMING bubbly cheerleaders on the course but.... We went to Wal-Mart and bought decals.. I know you are TOTALLY curious what Tall Mom will wear for her first Marathon...

You can cut the tension with a knife... SMILE!!
Clumsy girl with an Iron, this cant be good..
My VERY DEEP wording, took at least 2 minutes to think of it. All laid out and ready to GO!!
Follow the instructions, the only thing I did wrong was try to do the last two words together and I bumped the "E" in my name. Thankfully I caught it after the first iron pass and was able to salvage the situation (see I am a total CLAUD).
And here you have it.. A little flubbed on my name, but for a first try not to shabby. Plus I did not ruin the shirt, so it can still be worn on race day.. And what does the whole outfit look like??? Dun...Dun...Dun....
Ta Dah!! Yes I am a victim of matchy matchy. My shoes match my shirt, which match my socks. All garments have been battle tested for comfort and longevity. I have placed my Gu and chomps in the pockets I plan to use. The IPOD is getting a revamp tonight, the Garmin is fully charged, my shoes are broken in and all items are clean and ready to RUN!!
Front view.. Love my Nike..
Nathan is still a big ?? I think I will trust the water stations at literally EVERY MILE and use my pockets in my clothes. Dave will meet me at mile 14ish with the cutest tiny bottle of Blue Gatorade (also purchased at Wal-Mart). I love my blue Gatorade, but I don't think I need to carry the extra weight just to have it. I could go all water or gulp down a Cytomax if needed... Now you can spot me in the crowd, the 6 Foot Mama in blue.
FYI Shelby and I had a great 3 mile run yesterday, once I get a photo of the two of us I will post about it. I have posted about EVERY run in my 16 weeks of training... WELCOME NEW FOLLOWERS :)

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Graceful I am NOT

As Marathon day approaches I find my usual clumsy lack of grace to be very apparent. Managing to avoid a Clutzy injury and make it to the start line will be a feat. Here are some examples of my awkward moments:

1. While walking to the bathroom I hit my hip HARD on the corner of the kitchen table, leaving a large bruise.

2. I stubbed my toe on the coffee table.

3. Poked myself in the eye while putting on my makeup.

4. Felt a cringe in my back while playing on the floor with my boys.

5. And the TOPPER, the worst of all. While in Seaside staying at "Grandma's House" which is a beach house that smells and feels like a trip to Grandmas, I was walking briskly down the brown shag carpeted stairs. My left foot slipped out from under me slamming hard into the wall. My rump hit the stairs with a THUMP and I felt like my neck got smashed like the "Whack a Mole" game at Chuck E Cheese. Thankfully my toes feel fine, but my neck still is in a post-whiplash state of ouchiness..

Yes folks it is THAT BAD!!! So I will take some Tylenol on race day to keep the twingy results of my clumsiness at bay and HOPE that I can keep it together for the next few days... Please tell me I am not the only clumsy one...
3 miles today at lunch with Shelby...

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

M day Forecast...

Yes folks RAIN is in the forecast. I live in Seattle so it should not be a big shock, but we have had AMAZING weather the past few weeks, my hopes were high for race day. The Weather Man is not always correct, after all he did not predict the snow in April. This does, however, change my plan for attire on race day. I know you are all anxiously awaiting photos of my chosen ensemble, will get those ASAP.. I don't think I want to wear long sleeves, but will see...hmmmm decisions decisions.

I just printed out my pace chart for a 3:39 finish and laminated it with packing tape, thanks for the advice Aron!! I know some of you are worried I will be disappointed if I don't qualify for Boston. If a BQ does not happen you will NOT see me with a sour face at the Finish line. My dimples will be in full effect regardless of what the race clock says... As an athlete I set my goals HIGH and always have.

"Shoot for the moon.
Even if you miss, you'll land among the stars."
Les Brown

"Attempt to qualify for Boston.
If you come up short,
you will have a great TIME."
Tall Mom

3 by the Sea

Stats for 6/22:
3.11 Miles
Time- 25:30
Pace- 8:12
Seaside Oregon on a drizzly day along the Promenade path.

We took a quick trip with the in-laws to Seaside, Oregon this weekend. If you have never been to Seaside you should go, at least for a day. It is a total tourist trap with shopping, events and beautiful beach. I was so excited to run my 3 miler along the water.

I set out while the family was eating breakfast, I TOTALLY should have eaten first because all I could think about was getting back to EAT. Along the way I saw people in clamming gear, a group of Harley Rider posing in front of a statue, a lady speed walking while holding goggles(?) and various older couples relaxing and walking their dogs. There were homes with pristine yards and hotels from nice to yuck, amazing how the real estate can change with a few strides. It was raining but not enough to be annoying, it was refreshing. My legs felt a little heavy, but I am guessing it was because of all the beach walking and chasing after my non-stop little guy.

I passed a runner who looked like me in height and build. I thought about stopping her and telling her about the long length spandex pants I bought at the Nike outlet, but chose to stay quiet. The run was relaxing and just the escape I needed. I have ZERO time to Blog or check out Blogs today, will try to get caught up this week. Below are a few photos from the trip.

My new Nike sweatshirt, love outlet shopping
Posing with my little stud on the Promenade
Hubby on Fathers day with the view of the other direction of the Promenade.
In town I saw this store and had to take a photo for my Fairweather Running buddy... too funny!!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Last LONG Run B4 M Day

Stats for 6/19:
8.02- Miles
Time- 1:06:03
Pace- 8:13
Drizzly run, surround with natures creatures and a YUCKY stomach ache.

My last LONG run is in the books for Marathon training. We are taking a little trip tomorrow so I opted to get it in today on my lunch hour++. Hard to believe that I am nearly on week 16 of my training, wow does time fly when you are running. Because I am a busy working Mom, I opted for a VERY BASIC Rookie 16 Week Marathon Training plan. I added tweaks here and there, goals for speed, hills training, added mileage, etc., but overall I just followed the plan. Today this is what my plan looks like.
Yes I like to check things off. I missed 3 total days due to travel for business or fun. I was short on mileage on a few and ran additional on others. I am VERY proud of what I have been able to accomplish!!

Today I left the locker room wearing my Capital City 1/2 Marathon long sleeves and no hat. The weather in Seattle area has been amazing dry for 29 days, this morning it rained. When I looked outside the pavement was dry, when I went outside it was drizzling.

Drizzle+Long Hair+ 8 Miles= No pretty for work

The first few miles the refreshing rain kept me company. I took my usual green route along the river path. Along the way I felt like a Princess in a Disney movie surrounded by natures creatures, swallows swooping in front of me dancing on the breeze, a squirrel drinking from a puddle, and a tiny baby bunny hopping to stay one lucky foot ahead of me. The animals were happy to have the rain. The trail had a pungent fresh green fragrance when the rain stopped.

As I approached the underpass there was a man who resembled a Saturday Night Live spoof of a German Body Builder, "I Want to Pump You Up!" style. He had a thick head of blond curly hair, jean shorts, over sized calves and was walking a poodle. It took all of my restraint not to LAUGH OUT LOUD. As I passed I realized that my stomach was not doing well. I know better than to EVER eat bacon but my salty urge got the best of me in the cafeteria this morning and I paid for it. My stomach was bloated and irritable the rest of my 4.5 miles, UGH!!

I thought a lot about my Goal for the Marathon and if it is realistic to hope for a BQ. My plan for this training run was to finish with 8:13 pace. If I run an 8:13 pace in the Marathon that will leave me 262 seconds or over 4 minutes to play with at the end of the race (that is if I don't rely on the pacer).

I ran through the stomach pain, itchy legs, slight irritability in my right foot and being hot in my long sleeves, not the best run ever. And when I plugged in my Garmin friend I had run 8:13 Pace!! Not consistently mind you, I admittedly suck at pacing myself, but to hit my goal flat on, that has to be a sign from the Running Gods.

Wishing all good luck in races this weekend, I hope you hit your pace!! Thanks to everyone for your comments on my last post, I truly cherish the Inspiration from others..

Friday, June 19, 2009

Inspiration- The Climb

About a week away from my first Marathon, I feel nostalgic to the point of cheesy, so bare with me. I heard "The Climb" sung by Miley Cyrus on the way to work. Listening to the words made my heart grow as I sang along (be glad you were not in my jeep, tone deaf). As a HIGHLY driven person/athlete my brained is WIRED very different. My mind tends to focus on the END RESULT instead of all the wonderful things that happen along the way. This Blog is my way to focus on how far I have come, so I don't lose sight of the journey. I have TRULY changed through my running and for the better.

Through college and today this quote has been within eye shot.

“Don't let what you cannot do interfere
with what you can do.”
John Wooden

I decide what I am capable of and take the steps to accomplish what I "Can do." I may fall short, I may surpass my own expectations, but I WILL NOT let what I cannot do keep me down.

I want to know What Inspires you?

Favorite quotes
Race stories (even your own)

Please leave me a comment (Yes I am fishing for comments), your words will be what I read next week as I prepare to Climb my next great mountain. I would love to hear from any and everyone.

Have a great Weekend
Continue to Inspire, Melanie

Thursday, June 18, 2009


My attempt at using Paint, I sorta suck, but I tried.

I have been toying with the idea of running with a pace group at the Seattle Rock 'n' Roll Marathon on June 27th. Has anyone ever done this? What was your experience? Good? Bad? I have never run in a group, so I really don't know if I would like it. I realize I am not chained to the group and can go ahead, or behind, at any time. I have read a few articles on the subject and I think it would be a good match for me. I really like the idea of just keeping up with someone trained in pacing and not having to stare at my Garmin to hit my 3:40 or less (If all the Running Gods aligned) Goal. I tend to go out too fast, so having someone to keep me at pace would be great!!

Looking at my Capital City Half Marathon mile splits last month, I know one thing, I have no idea how to pace myself. Just look at these times:

1. 7:03- No wonder my husband FREAKED and thought I would die before the finigh
2. 7:23
3. 7:48- Part of mile 2 and 3 were up a steady incline
4. 7:48- Hey I matched 2 miles in a row, RARE.
5. 8:02- A steeper hill
6. 7:56
7. 7:39
8. 8:00
9. 7:25- Saw hubby and got excited to get to him
10. 8:46- KILLER hill, should not have sped up to see hubby
11. 8:31- Still on the hill and slowing to recover
12. 8:21- Really had to use the facility
13. 7:45- Down hill to the finish

Ranging from 7:03 to 8:46, not consistent AT ALL. I will make the call at the Race Expo next Friday. Think I will try it with a Pacer, what harm could it do?

I Googled First Marathon for fun to see what people had to say. Like About.com can teach you how to run a Marathon. I came across the article below, it is worth a read. Everyone has a first race story, even the pros.

First Marathon Kara Goucher

Running For Kicks

Stats for 6/15:
3.16- Miles
Time- 26:57
Pace- 8:31
Run including hill training, boys and hubby tagged along, raced muscle man.

Not to miss a single training run I will double blog this morning. On Monday afternoon I ran with my boys on my lunch hour. I work from home on Mondays, LOVE IT!! Our usual family run includes my hill training mid way through. Hill training for muscle man means he stops, watches me and lets the boys stretch their legs. Blaine, my 3 1/2 year old, loves to moves his little legs up the hill like Mommy. I must say he is getting very good! On the decline, after my second run up UGH, I slowed down to run with him, he was going about 11 minute miles. After re-loading the little stud cargo we approached the next hill. Muscle man thought it would be a good idea to race up the hill, he would be pushing the double jogger. RACE? I am a distance runner... So we both sprinted, I edged ahead, panting and trying to get my legs to move quickly and up hill. In the end hubby hit the concrete barrier first. We both took a minute to walk and catch our breath. He said "I would have never beat you if I would have done your hill training." Darn right!! Either way it was fun to play and have my boys with me.

Stats for 6/17:
5.00- Miles
Time- 43:53
Pace- 8:46
Lunch run in cool overcast weather with Shelby.

Finally reconnected with my work-lunch-running-buddy Shelby. She will be running the Rock 'n' Roll 1/2 Marathon in (dun dun dun) 9 days!! I really need to get a photo of me and my training buddy one of these days. We had a nice run, it was in the mid 60's overcast with crisp air, PERFECT!! I can only hope that race day will be the same. Around mid way there were two young girls roller-blading, one was much better than the other. The beautiful young girl with wavy hair said "Good work ladies," and smiled with sincerity. I LOVE NICE PEOPLE! Shelbs and I chatted and had a really great run, always fun to have Shelby with me. Hard to believe we have been training together since February.

On the run I was testing some new gear, the first, short Nike spandex that I got using a birthday gift card to Fleet Feet (THANKS LORA!) and the second, my sparkly white running shoes Gel Kayano 15's. I know a few people were worried about me running my Marathon in new sneakers, so I have prepared my evidence as to why I needed new shoes.

I believe that I should write to the people at Asics. I LOVE my Asics don't get me wrong, but for the shoes to give out after 275+ miles at $140...hmmmm that is not right. (FYI I cringed at the idea of spending that much for shoes but that is what the pro's fitted me for at Fleet Feet and I have had no knee issues, so worth every EXPENSIVE penny) I was disappointed in the longevity of my Gel Kayano 15's but I have not had any pain in my training so switching shoes was not an option. I bought the same pair in the same width. Below is a visual display of what 275 miles of running and ++ additional miles will do to shoes (note I weigh 185lbs so I will wear down shoes faster).

My trained-in shoes are dirty, I like the breath ability of the shoes, keeping them clean is another story. There is also a little hole in the fabric on the right shoe which I assume is caused by my massive toes, LOL. Luckily the weather has been good because if it were Spring and rainy in Seattle I would have puddles by the end of my run. Look at my shiny new shoes!! I have to tell the truth, I am SUPER excited to have pretty new shoes on race day.
The padding is the REAL reason I am swapping shoes. I have lost a good amount of cush and give over the past 275++ miles. I loved my "pillows" when they were new, now the shoes are stiff and lifeless.
And traction, WOW!! I could have worn a hole in the bottom after 26.2 miles. I am not a fan of feeling the road when I run, but I like to know that my shoes are gripping. The photo is not the best, it is BAD!! My analogy is car tires, you will get better performance if you grip the road. I think the same goes for running shoes.
Hard to believe but I have just 19 miles total left on the training plan before my Marathon. With the 5 I did yesterday my new kicks will be worn in and ready to RACE!!!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Tall Mom Product Reviews

I have been PROMISING product reviews for about...ummmm..forever.. So here goes, find links to websites in Green. FYI the details below are the opinion of Tall Mom (Melanie), I hold no responsibility for items purchased by anyone following this review.. LOL

The giving-sporty folks at Nathan sent me a fuel belt to use in my training. I chose the Speed 2 because I was worried that the 4 bottles would weigh me down. I didn't think about the fact that I can remove bottles and just train with 2 bottle, or use the additional weight as part of my training. I may be purchasing a Speed 4 in the future. For now I LOVE my fuel belt. The pocket is separated in two, is big enough for Gu's, Chomps and a cell phone, and has a hook for my car key. The belt is light, fits well low on my hips and is perfect for hooking my Ipod shuffle. The only advice I have it to only fill the bottle part way, topping off could cause leaking.
For my birthday/happy Marathon gift my WONDERFUL and thoughtful friend Lynette had a necklace handmade for me from the My3gemz artist on Etsy.com. If you have never been to Etsy.com check it out, there are some really amazing and beautiful things to celebrate running and you will be supporting artists in their crafts. Above is my necklace, although it will have 26.2 engraved at the bottom, first of its kind :) I will not wear the necklace until I cross the finish line, but bet your booty I will sport it for weeks non-stop after that.
Hubby came through for my birthday and got me the earrings I have been wanting on Tarma Designs. The size is perfect for my ears and the studs work well for running. My only beef is that the backs were bent in shipping, really people?? Learn how to ship your product. I will be sporting these on race day, bound to make me just a wee bit faster LOL
Yes this is a running website and as runners we burn a TON of calories. With the work comes the reward and I indulge with a Take 5, Chocolate, pretzels, Carmel, peanuts and peanut butter, all melted together for sweet and savory goodness. My co-worker, and Angel of a human being, Beth will drop a bag of the snack sized Take 5 in my cube, at just 105 per little bar it barely feels like cheating. She buys the snack size at Albertson's in case you are interested.
I am no nutritionist, nor do I pretend to be. If you are interested in the content of these gooey lovelies please click on the link above. What I do know is that the Chomps rock my running world. I tear a corner in the package just big enough for the over sized chew to slide out and stuff the pack in my belt. Running and grabbing a Chomp is easy. Once you plop the strawberry (that is the only kind I have tried) chewy nugget in your mouth it will stick to your teeth, but not in a bad way. Take a swig of cool water and let the flavor set in. The texture and melt-ability make this treat the pick-me-up I need mid run. I plan to test some of the other flavors after my race.
The Luna Moons marketing is targeted at Women "Nutrition for Women Athletes." I like these as a pre-run snack, but I am not a fan for the run. The little moons get hardened very easily, making chewing difficult. The flavor is good, but unless you eat the whole pack in one run you will not get your running monies worth. They are worth a try, but the effort exerted to chew the little moons should not be spent during the run.
I bought these because the package made me feel like a kid with a fun treat in my lunch pale. The shark-shaped organic chews have a sharp different flavor that takes some getting used to. I found them to be easy on my tummy. But, like the moons, I don't recommend these to be taken on the run. Maybe pre-run, but no need to pack these in your fuel belt or pockets. The little sharks get hardened fast. Worth a try, but with the price tag I doubt I will purchase the swimmers again.
That is my Opinion for today.. Thanks for playing :) If you decide to purchase any of these products based on my review please let me know..

Monday, June 15, 2009

Blame it on the Cake- Dreams

When I played basketball I had a re-occurring stress dream where my coach went to put me in the game but I was not ready, my shoes were not on and my hair was down. Sounds funny but those dreams caused me crazy gut rot.

Last night I had my first vivid Marathon dream. UGH!! Hubby and I were in a park trying to find my Corral #5, only there were no numbers anywhere. I was sitting on the grass looking at a map when people started running. I FREAKED!! I was not ready, shoes were not on, fuel belt was empty of fluid, and it was time.. So I asked an older lady in a pink unofficial looking shirt and she said that was the "warm-up group" and that I had plenty of time. I realized I had to go and spotted a nearby restroom. (YEAH RIGHT like there would be a potty with a flushing toilet and no line in a race with 25,000 people, only in my dreams). When I came out the Corrals had all moved and I was LOST.

Muscle man was there and we frantically looked for my area to start. We ended up in an underground building with a bunch of Goth looking teenagers and darted out a back door. Once outside it was snowing and there was no start line to be found. I could not believe that I was wearing a tank top in the snow. A few other weirdo things and I woke up…. I hope that these dreams will not take place for the next 2 weeks, talk about torture.

Tonight Hubby and I are having date night and driving the Marathon course in Seattle. Hopefully that will put my mind at ease a little. I blame it on the cake, just don't eat sugar that much anymore, my system did not know what to do…LOL!!

The beautiful cake at my 30th birthday party
hosted by my good friends Kiera and Katie
Me and my boys... FYI it is Caprisun on Easton's pants

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Taper 9 messing with my MIND

Stats for 6/13:
9.51 Miles
Time- 1:22:16
Pace- 8:38
Cool day, hilly run in my neighborhood. My last run in my 20's!!

I have not run since Tuesday night because I have been busy. Today I got back into the swing with my long run during taper for the marathon. In my mind I thought "It is just 9 miles, only running for an hour and a half." FYI that is not the right attitude, AT ALL!! NEVER think of mileage in that way, it is a recipe for disaster.

I was tired when I started out and was thinking about my friend M (abbreviated for privacy) who is going through a very tough time right now, her heart and trust have been crushed. I thought about how lucky I am to have an amazing husband. When I got home from work yesterday he and the little studs were all dressed up and the house was decorated for a party. I love the little surprises!! I opened my presents early, and was spoiled with running earrings and "Spirit of the Marathon." We watched the film last night and I loved it. The only part that freaked me out was seeing the sea of people at the start line, have I mentioned my crowd fobia? I am more worried about being surrounded by 25,000 people than I am to run 26.2 miles, guess I will get over it, no other choice. While watching Muscle Man said "I would love to run a Marathon with you someday." WHAT??? The idea brought tears to my eyes.

I was lost in thought for a while, but soon realized that my body did not want to GO. I have a few gears, today my engine would not shift to the high gear. So I adjusted my pace and hoped I would make it through the "just 9" miles that I had ahead of me. Kept thinking that I wanted to cut my run short. If there is one strength I have it is my ability to push out the bad thoughts and keep going. I focused on singing, on the beautiful leafy trees and made up little stories about the people in the passing cars.

This was the first run where I did not see any other runners, weird!! Must have been the time of day. My right shoulder hurt a little, knees burned on the hills and my arches felt sore. I am thinking that my shoes may be done already, BUMMER!! I added up the mileage since I bought my kicks and I am at 285, I know that shoes should be able to last a bit longer but with my weight I may break down the soles sooner. I am not sure if I have time to break in a new pair with the marathon just 2 weeks away, what do you think? Maybe I will buy myself a new pair of shoes for my 30th birthday.. which is tomorrow...

The run was uneventful, I struggled and fought through it. Taper week is WEIRD!! Amazing how I could run 22 miles with zero pain, discomfort or self doubt and the following week come close to failure on a 9 miler. Guess it is all part of the wonderful world of Marathon training. I just got a text from my friend Ang who PR'd by 18 minutes on her 3rd Marathon!! SWEET!! GOOD JOB BUDDY!! I will post a link to her race report once it is up so all my Bloggy running buddies can give her the LOVE she deserves.

Off to shop for a new birthday outfit..

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Run with me in BC

Stats 6/9/09:
8.02 Miles
Time- 1:04:12
Pace- 8:00
Evening along the Seawall in Vancouver B.C., on a warm day, from the Convention center to Lion’s Gate Bridge.

Rare but this evening there were no planned events for the conference I am supporting for work in B.C. A bunch of people planned to go out and have drinks. I, on the other hand, had a different idea of the PERFECT evening. Yes folks I laced up my Asics and hit the Seawall path for a quick 8 miler. I thought you all would enjoy running with me in B.C. so I brought along my camera and risked my speedy time to stop and snap a few photos.

I did a little warm-up walk. I know me warm-up?? Ummm well the truth is I was being lazy and decided to start after the 3 flights of stairs…LOL. I set off in the busiest part of the path. There were people to dodge everywhere. I imagined myself in my marathon race surrounded by 25,000 other runners and practiced my weaving techniques. I do not claim to be graceful but I can weave witht he best of them.

The first mile was strictly people watching and SO FUN!! Here are the list of characters: Two adorable girls wearing matching pink hats, in a double stroller, eating ice cream, followed by a panting Bulldog who would have loved to be pushed and probably loved the ice cream. A couple pinned up against the fence, I think he was checking her tonsils for something? A groups of 6 people eating on the balcony of a small house boat in the Marina, the balcony fit exactly 6 people. I could go on…but instead of boring you with my rambles lets get to the pictures…
Self Portrait all smiles in my hotel room before the run.
The adorable jogging map the concierge gave me. I am going to use it as a bookmark.
Oh Canada!!
The view from my hotel room of the Seawall path, sorry I am in the photo..
My warm up walk past the convention center, much of the city is under construction in preparation for the Winter Olympics.
View from the top of the stairs, I think that floating Chevron station is adorable. It is lit up at night, but I can't get a good picture. OK I am easily amused.
Headed down the stairs and past the Sea Planes to start my run
The Sea Planes, you don't see that every day....well unless you fly them..
I didn't take many photos on the first part of my run because I was weaving past people and racing a group...they were all lined up and started just after I passed. Again this was great training for the Marathon. I could see the shadows, I could hear their footsteps, I had to practice looking over my shoulder to pass, speeding up and slowing down as needed. I was pretty cool, eventually I got passed by a few runners, but only by men. I LOVE lighthouses so running under a little one was a treat. Note the man who passed me as I stopped to snap the photo.
The Crane was eating dinner I felt bad interrupting but thought it was a neat shot with the bridge in the background.
The photo does not capture the beauty of the sun reflecting off the water, it was breathtaking.
I was hoping for sub 8 minute miles so I was pushing myself. As times I felt just a tad light headed and imagined wavering and falling off the wall into the water. I wonder if that has ever happened ?
Can't go to Canada without taking a photo of Canadian Geese... We have these all over in Seattle, but I still thought it was cool, later I saw a group of baby Goslings.
My friend the Crane was still there on the return trip
The Bridge in the DISTANCE of the photos taken from my hotel...that is where I turned around. Amazing when you can see the entire distance of your run, really puts things into perspective and makes you realize what you have accomplished.
My Geese friends chose to cool off. This section was just before a large fragrant flower bush that nearly knocked me out, deep breaths and potent floral do not mix.
The Lighthouse with the upper viewing deck and the city.. Money shot...LOL At this point I had about 3 miles left and still felt really strong.
The building to the left is called HMCS Discovery...sorry no time to Google that one, but there it is. Around this point there was an older woman with an unorthdox style ahead. For all I knew she was the 10K champion in Vancouver, in my mind she was the one I had to beat. I sped up and passed her. Runner's Etiquette I probably should have kept going, instead I snapped another photo giving her time to pass. Then I sped ahead again, I am a total JERK..
My Hotel is near the IMAX tee-pee looking things to the left, CRAZY!! When I took this photo I had a REALLY hard time getting going again. Not sure if it was seeing how far I had to go or the lack of food and drink during the day but my tank was on Empty. The last 1/2 Mile was TOUGH. It didn't help that I barely had a place to run because the path is Hopping on a Tuesday night, go figure.
Back to the Sea Planes and we are DONE..
I hit stop and promptly rested on a nearby park bench. Sweaty and triumphant. Proud of my time and for getting out there while away from home. I thought about how much I miss my boys and hubby.. then my thought quickly turned to FOOD... laser focused on the Cobb Salad and Corona that I would have for dinner. YUM!!
OK I know stair are good for you, but would you want to run these at the end of your 8 miles? don't answer that, just agree with me, I made the right choice. After all I still had to hike up, I meant to count the stairs but forgot..DER..
There is a path that leads near the Convention Center and has a view point. Another photo of the cool gas station, mountains and SeawallWonderful run and I am so glad I did it and at a pretty good pace too. Learning from past mistakes I will ice my knees tonight. God Bless America that I remembered my ice packs.. Had to throw that in there since I was out of Canadian slang. Thank you for joining me on our Running Journey in Canada, hope you enjoyed your visit, EH!!