Monday, March 28, 2016

Papa John's 10 miler - 2016

There really is something to be said for this training schedule. I'm not really able to get to each day's training mileage, but I'm trying! And I don't cross-train like I should (not at all, actually). But I beat last year's time by 10 minutes and got a PR over 2014's time by 8 minutes!

Traditional pre-race photo

Last year, we were late in finding a parking spot and late in getting to the start line, then I had to visit the port-a-potties so by the time we actually crossed the start line, we were surrounded by walkers. (This sounds cooler if you watch The Walking Dead.) I think we just went out too fast and then paid for it by both of us getting worse times than the year before.

THIS year, we were determined to get over to the stadium EARLY. Alarm went off at 6:00 but the weather ended up being colder than what we originally thought which required a change of race attire. My breakfast consisted of a slice of whole grain bread with a ginormous scoop of peanut butter and a large glass of water. I really need to figure out what I should eat before running, but this seemed to work well for me this time. Matt ate a PowerBar -- might not have been much better than my choice. But we left and thanks to no traffic, we were parked and ready to go by 7:20. Still too early and still cold/dark out there. I ate a pack of Sport Beans while we waited ... caffeine-injected jelly beans. Note to self: need more of those!

Cold at the start, warming up at the finish ... what to wear?

I set my RunKeeper to track my intervals (run 4 min, walk 1 min) but wasn't going to actually use the interval timer until I got to Iroquois Mountain. Thank goodness it was a cool morning, because I wasn't getting too warm or needing water by the first water stop -- ran on through but around this point, I could see the mountain looming in the distance. Tried not to think of it though, so of course, that was all I could think about.

Looks about right.

As with what happened with the Indianapolis Monumental in November, I realized I was running either faster or better or whatever when I didn't see any of the elites or wheelchairs coming back towards me on Southern Parkway (if you aren't familiar with the route, it's a straight shot down one road, then into a park that loops around and comes back to the same road and then ending at a football stadium). I will say that I was a little disappointed because seeing them fly down the road toward me is quite motivating/inspiring.

I couldn't check my pace too easily and didn't really know what my pace should be anyway, so whenever I felt like I was speeding up, I'd slow it up a bit. Somehow, I made it all the way to Iroquois and halfway up the first hill before I finally had to start walking. Thank goodness for the interval tracker! I made sure that whenever I did stop to walk, that it wasn't until the tracker was at :04 minutes (even if I ran through however many of the walking intervals) but I'd only walk for that one minute.

Iroquois wasn't too bad this time and I love that they handed out full-size water bottles at the 2nd water stop (first one in the park). I carried that puppy with me the rest of the race and didn't have to stop at the other two water stops. Main reason it lasted the rest of the race was because my fingers were starting to swell AND were sweaty so I couldn't open the ding-dang thing for several minutes.

Matt hit the halfway mark flying. Literally flying. He's been doing awesome with his running, even if he doesn't do many training runs. Booger.

Coming back down Southern Pkwy, it seemed like that part of the race passed more quickly than the first part and definitely faster than the prior two years. I loved looking around at the spectators and the runners who were running with partners -- how they were all so encouraging to each other. I imagined they were also talking to me so it helped me continue to push on. :) I did see one girl passing everyone around mile 7 and she was wearing anti-gravity running shoes -- what the heck?

Mile 9 is also a horrible part of this race -- as soon as you turn the corner, BOOM - ginormous overpass that seems incredibly steep. Just when you want the race to be over, it's a big slap in the face. There was a support group smack in the middle of that incline though -- they were so supportive and I know they weren't talking to me but again, I imagined they were and I took their words and ran with it. Also, best part of running the overpass that day was being almost to the very top of the incline and getting the text that Matt had finished the race (also with about an 8 min PR) -- so proud of him! I gave a little "whoop!!" and ran the rest of the incline and back down the other side to get to the stadium. I did stop to walk one more time just so I knew I'd be able to finish strong. At this point, I knew I had a better time but didn't know how much.

As usual, I don't want to see any of my finish line photos because I know I look horrific. But wow, this race felt good. Next up, the Kentucky Derby Mini-marathon! When I ran the two halves last year (KDF and Indpls Monumental), I had a personal goal of if I finished in under 2:30, I'd sign up for a marathon. I did that with the Monumental and I'm registered for the full for this year. Do I set a similar goal for the KDF half or no ... ???

Traditional post-race stop, especially after this race since we walk right past this Starbucks on our way back to the car. 

Monday, March 14, 2016

Rodes City 10k - a little PR and a not-so-good weekend

I was not feeling good for this race. Not at all. All my prep and training just seemed to fly out the window in the 24 hours before the race. But I got it done. And with a slight (and totally unexpected) PR to boot!

Pre-race summary -- since Matt and Allie were going to the Roadshow concert on Friday, right after work and school, I drove the not-so-good car to work and was fulling planning on walking from downtown Jeffersonville to Slugger Field and back at lunchtime for packet pickup. I was even looking forward to it since it was going to be a nice-ish day. I had just gotten to work when Allie sent a text saying "I think Grandma fell" (Grandma, being my mom who was visiting with my sister). After a few more texts, it was determined that my sister had it under control, would be taking my mom back home to Indianapolis that afternoon, and the kids were off to school. Immediately after that, my sister called and said she had instead sent them to school so they wouldn't be worried and had called an ambulance as Mom was unresponsive but had groaned a bit while Sis was trying to get her to move/respond. I start back home and am thankful that I only work 10 minutes away. Pulled in right after the ambulance did and Mom seemed to be doing better -- they were going to take her in to the hospital as a precaution though.

A little background - my mom is amazing. She was a church secretary for 30+ years, did crossword puzzles every day (rarely left any blanks), sharp as a tack ... until about 6-7 years ago. It's not Alzheimers, but her short-term memory is shot. Her long-term memory isn't much to speak of either. And she seemed to be 'maintaining' while my dad was still alive, as I think it gave her motivation and purpose through the days to take care of him. He passed away 4 years ago this week (still sucks to think about it) and since then, she's just gone downhill. I'm thankful my sister moved back home to take care of her but it just sucks to know that the mother who raised me and supported me with whatever I wanted to do - she just isn't there any longer. Sucks sucks sucks ...

So anyway - on to the hospital where they run every possible test they can on an 84 1/2 year old woman ... MRI, EKG, EEG, Echocardiogram, chest x-ray, blood work, urinalysis (she has a history of UTIs knocking her out for a couple weeks). She may have been born in New Albany, but all her doctors are in Indianapolis so there's no one really to report to or no medical records to compare to. Basically, her tests showed that she's 84 1/2 years old with memory impairment and water on the brain (causing memory issues and mobility issues). Yep - we knew that already. Thankful she has excellent insurance! I was leaning towards not going to the 10k -- but the tests were all completed, at the time, we were thinking she would be in the hospital until Sunday or Monday, so we went ahead and planned to run the race.

And guess what -- no walk at lunch to get our packets, no way I'm driving the not-so-good car into downtown Louisville at night and by myself to get the numbers ... so we change the plans to leave the house EARLY to get our numbers before the race.

One would think that late packet pickup on race day would be close to the starting line. One would be wrong. We did finally find the parking garage with the bib numbers and we made it to the starting line in plenty of time ... but we passed several frantic looking folks without numbers and not really sure where they were supposed to go. Either it was pre-race jitters or being anxious about my mom, but I visited those portapotties way too much that morning. Made me decide that I will definitely be partaking of Imodium AD prior to the 10-mile race in 2 weeks ... TMI? deal with it.

Race summary:
Star-Spangled Banner gets me in the feels every time. Anyone else?
Prior to the gun going off, I tell Matt that I'm just going to finish but I'm not feeling it. I know he's going to fly pass me anyway so we make plans to meet at the finish line.

Mile 1 - I actually made it through the entire first mile with no walking!
Mile 2 - immediately after the 1st mile marker, there's a hill. I kept running up that too! I think I didn't stop to walk until the first water stop and only walked through that so I wouldn't waterboard myself.
Mile 3 - starting to walk a little more frequently but not for long periods of time. I really need to get a interval timer or figure out if I can do that with my phone if it won't run my battery down too quickly.
Mile 4 - this sucks, but I think there's less than a 5k less so I'm holding onto that. I seem to be holding steady on the pace, even with stopping at the first 2 water stops
Mile 5 - I see the digital clock, try to figure out what time it was when I started (meaning, how much time to deduct so I know if I finish around the same time as last year). I skipped the 3rd and final water stop.
Mile 6 to the end - sweet cracker sandwich, I can't even think right now and dear Lord why can't I get any closer to the finish line?? In the end? I finished - just like I said I would. And with a 38 second PR over last year's race. I will take it. (Matt - rockstar that he is - finished in 9 1/2 minutes faster than his PB!)

From there, we got our Gatorades, Powerbars and bananas and had to zip back to Indiana for Will's band contest. From that, we dashed home so that I could change and get back over to the hospital with Will (no time to shower and I'm sure I should have spritzed something on me to cover the sweat smell) and Matt could take Allie to a birthday shindig. Matt comes back by hospital and gets Will, I stay with my mom and sister and after much and nothing at all, she's released with a possible diagnosis of a TIA (mini-stroke).

I have a lot to be thankful for and this weekend has helped me to see it. I've had the rug pulled out from under me too many times to count (other issues that were not divulged here) - but with my mom, with our crazy schedule, with everything - I have to just turn it over to God. I have to. Meanwhile, I'm going off to have a bit of a cry now.

So yay for a PR, time to start preparing for the Papa John's 10 miler, hoping that with all the rain in the forecast that I can get outside and get some cleansing runs in, and a request to anyone who may still be reading this to please pray for me. That I change, since I can't change anyone else. And that I can get through this while remembering that it's all in God's hands.

So yeah ...