It's a very slow process - two steps forward, one step back - but I'm inching in the right direction. - Rob Reiner

February 20, 2012

An Awesome Sunday Run

Last October, I ran my fastest half marathon ever (officially averaging an 11:39 per mile pace - although my Garmin pace was 11:29).  I was so happy, because I had taken 7 minutes off of my previous best.  I was actually start to feel like a better run, like I was getting faster.  Then, I started training for my first marathon.  In order to get through the marathon I developed a walk run plan.  I ran 3 minutes, and walked one.  This worked great for the marathon and certainly helped me get through that very difficult task.  The problem is it made me a "lazy" runner.  After finishing the marathon, I found it difficult to run more than 4 or 5 minutes without having to stop and take a walk break, even on shorter 3 or 4 mile runs.  While I was averaging 3 and 4 mile runs in the 11s in Oct, my shorter runs in January and February have been in the 12s.  I've been discouraged because I lost my "speed".

Over the past few weeks, I have been adding speed work back in to my training and have been forcing myself to run more - no more walk breaks after a few miles.  I have to tell myself - Michael you can run one mile, or two, or four!  And I have been running more and have had some decent speed runs.  I have a half marathon coming up in two weeks.  So last Sunday, I went out for an 11 mile run.  It was awful.  After five miles I was so tired I could hardly put one foot in front of the other.  I ended up cutting the run to eight miles and averaged 12:51 per mile.  I was so disappointed.  Later that day, I got very sick (vomiting), so I think I was just sick and didn't realize it.  So this weekend I was hoping for a much better result.  I was going for 12 miles, which would be my longest run since the Disney marathon.  I knew it would be tough, but I really wanted to get in 12 miles!

I am signed up for another half marathon in April, and one of the benefits of that race is that they provide supported group runs on Sundays.  I had planned to go a few times, but had never actually made it out.  This Sunday, the planned route was up to 12 miles, the weather was going to be about 35 degrees with light winds and sunny, it was the perfect day to give it a try.  In all of my training over the last several years, I have never been to a group run. I almost always run by myself.  I have always been afraid that my pace would be to slow.  But I knew this was a pretty large group (about 100 people each week) so surely someone else would be as slow as me right?

So, I got up bright and early, headed out the door at 6:10 am, and dropped by my friend Michelle's house (she was going to run too, which helped get me out of bed Sunday).  I was excited to find out they had tons of pace groups ranging from a 7:30 pace to walking.  When they called out the 12:30 pace I left with that group - wait where's my group, finally one girls popped out and said she'd run with me.  So here I was at a group run and it was me and one other girl. Oh well, at least I wouldn't have to run by myself.  We started talking and it was so nice to have someone to run with.  The route is a 6 mile out and back, so if you want to do less miles you have to adjust the route accordingly.  She tells me she is only running five miles today - bummer, that means I'll only have a running partner for 2.5 miles of the 12 mile run.  I run with her for the first 2.5 and I feel great.  I say good bye and keep running.  I haven't stopped to walk once.  I am feeling great.  I decide that I will try to run the first 6 miles without a break (other than a quick one to stop for water - which is every 2 miles).  It's such a beautiful morning, and we are running through an older part of town with these gorgeous older homes.  I feel wonderful.  Then we run through Loose Park - hey, this is where Jim and I got married.  A huge smile comes across my face.

For the first six miles I still see lots of people as people are heading back the other direction.  But I knew the people would get less and less.  There were several people who started behind me, but I knew most people wouldn't be doing the full 12 miles.  Once I finally made it to the six mile turnaround, I only passed 2 people on the way back - wow only 2 people behind me. At mile six I am still feeling strong, as a matter of fact I have been getting faster as I run.  I'm really in a zone.  Can I run all 12 miles?  I might just try.  I finally reach mile 10 and I'm still feeling great.  I am going to go for it the last two miles.  I see two groups in front of me - 2 guys, and a little further up 2 girls.  I pass the two guys, and one of them says to me, man you are really trucking - "I'm trying" I reply.  I keep pushing, I'm running well, only a mile left.  I finally come up on the two girls and pass them.  Wow, look at me passing people at the end of a run - usually I'm dying at this point.  I'm watching my Garmin and my overall pace keeps coming down - I think I can beat my KC half marathon pace.  I get down to an 11:28 pace, but wait all of a sudden I'm kind of lost - I missed the turn.  I stop and look around - oh crap there are the girls I passed turning way down the street.  This slows me down, but I'm almost done.  I end the 12 miles (12.1 actually since I missed my turn).  My overall pace 11:33.  Wow, I ran 12 miles - and I actually ran all 12 and I did it at what I thought was my fastest pace ever, but I guess it was just a few seconds shy of my best "Garmin" pace.  Anyway, I didn't care.  I was all smiles.  I had just ran well, and ran hard.  I had pushed myself and I had got it done!!

What a wonderful Sunday run.  What a great day!  Sometimes, it all comes together.

Check out those last two miles - the fastest all day (ignore that .1 that's where I got lost).

February 15, 2012


I am afraid. 

Afraid of what?  Of failure.  Around August of last year I started discussing the possibility of doing a Half Ironman with some of my girlfriends.  It was a fun idea to talk about, but now it’s becoming more of a reality.  I haven’t signed up for the race yet – why - because I’m afraid.  I’m afraid of lots of things:

·         I am afraid that my shoulder won’t hold out and that I’ll train and train only to be disappointed in the end and unable to race.
·         I’m afraid I won’t physically be able to bike for 56 miles.  I remember all too well my first (and only) 50 mile ride and how I thought I was going to die before I finished.
·         I’m afraid that I will be too slow and get “swept” from the race.  How disappointing would that be?
·         I’m afraid of new injuries and the fact that I’m not sure my body is up for the challenge.
·         I’m afraid of the training time and commitment.
·         I’m afraid of getting a flat tire in the middle of the race and not being able to fix it.
·         I’m afraid of finishing dead last.
·         I’m afraid.

This isn’t my first big event.  Over the past couple of years I’ve had several “firsts” – completing my first half marathon, first triathlon and first marathon.  So why is this one troubling me so much?  I do think my biggest fear is my shoulder.  I’m still not certain that I am physically capable of doing the training to get to the point where I can swim 1.2 miles.  I still know in the back of my mind that surgery has been recommended.  I know that I’ve been swimming again for a month, but have seen little improvement.  I don’t want to commit to the very hefty $250 race fee only to find out that I can’t race.  But am I using that as an excuse not to move forward?  I don’t know.  If my shoulder was out of the equation, would I still be here? 

I keep talking in terms of “if I train for this Half Ironman” and “if I do this Half Ironman”.  I need to stop saying if and start saying when.  I already know that I don’t have to commit physically to the race (i.e. sign up for it and pay the fee), but I need to commit mentally.  I need to say I am training for a Half Ironman, I am going to do a Half Ironman in July.  If at the end of the day my shoulder is an inhibitor, well it just is, that stuff happens, but I can’t keep letting that get in my way and give me an excuse to not try.

So friends, I’m saying it to the world.  I am training for a Half Ironman.  My journey begins February 27.  I hope you will all be here to help me along the way.  I know I’ll need your support.

What do you fear?  Do you let it stop you?

The miracle isn’t that I finished, it’s that I had the courage to start” – John Bingham

February 12, 2012

My Bloggerversary!

I just realized this morning, that today is my one year Bloggerversary!

It's kind of hard to believe that it's already been a year.  The last twelve months have full of ups and downs - my first marathon, my first missed triathlon, and lots of other adventures.  I've met a 100 or so new people.  I've gained lots of new followers and lost a few along the way.  I've enjoyed telling you all about me and getting to know all of you.

I hope I have another wonderful year this year!  Thanks to all of you who have made this first year so special!

February 08, 2012

Hooked Me Right In…….

I know this is not news to anyone, but Disney is a marketing genius.

So, when I ran the Disney World Marathon in January, all over the expo were t-shirts and medals showing Disney’s Coast to Coast Challenge.  Basically, all you have to do is run a marathon or half marathon in both Disney parks in the same year and you automatically get an “extra” medal to commemorate this great accomplishment.

So immediately, before I even ran the marathon, my mind was churning.  I knew I wanted that Coast to Coast medal.  So after we got home I started looking at races at Disney Land.  They don’t have a full marathon – shew – don’t have to go there again, but they do have a half in September.  My sister lives in LA, so I thought, wow how awesome would that be?  I could go visit my sister, run the half marathon, and get my medal(s) it’s a win-win-win!! 

So I e-mailed my sister and asked about the timing of the visit, and added – would you want to run with me???  And she said “YES”!  She has done a few half marathons before, but not in awhile.  So now it’s like a win-win-win-win situation!  I am super excited to run a race with my sister – something I’ve never done before.

So I’m all registered and just waiting on September now. Then you’ll see me with one of these babies – pretty sweet right? 

February 06, 2012

Buffalo Run (Trail) 5k - Race Recap

The pre-race dance!
One of my 2012 goals was to participate in at least one race event every month.  Well, in Kansas City, in February, it's usually VERY cold and there aren't a lot of events to choose from, but when I saw the Buffalo 5K Trail Run at an nature sanctuary in beautiful Parkville, MO I thought it sounded like fun.  I knew it could potentially be very cold and snowy, but Jim and I decided to take our chances. 

Our winter in KC has been very mild so far with temps in the 50s and very little precipitation, but like clock work the rain came in just two days before the race and the temperatures dropped.  We got about an inch or more of rain in the area.  Then on Saturday night before the race we got a dusting of snow.  I wasn't sure what to expect for my first trail race given the weather, but I was still ready to give it a go.

So Jim and I got up Sunday - it was cold, but not too terrible at all.  It was about 35 degrees and sunny, so once you got going it really wasn't bad at all.  The trail was very nice with alot of it covered in pea gravel or mulch.  There was really only one bad stretch that was very muddy and slippery.  It was a fairly long downhill stretch of probably a half mile or so.  I had to be super careful about my footing, but managed to navigate the trail without biting it -so that made me very happy.

You start the run with some small rolling hills, and some bridges.  I was rolling along pretty well for the first mile.  Then right after the first mile you start up a huge hill.  You climb just over 200 feet from mile 1 to 1.7.  That's some serious elevation.  I was initially running up this hill, but realized (as most people around me did) that it would probably be better to walk it if I didn't want to die.  Once you crest the hill, the rest of the race is pretty much downhills or again some small rolling hills.  The downhill section was pretty tricky, but it was kind of fun too, lots of mud and rocks.

This was my first trail race and I thought it was a blast.  It was a really small race with only about 250 runners.  I was surprised with how great I actually felt throughout the race.  It made me happy with my current fitness level.  Although my overall pace was pretty slow for a regular 5K I was happy with my finish time (for me).  I finished with a 12:51 pace overall, but was honestly expecting to be around 14 or 15 minutes.  You can see from my Garmin splits, that hill really impacted my overall time.  But, I would definitely do this race again.

Jim - of course - managed to not only win his age group, but to also finish 2nd overall!  Congrats Jim.  You rock Baby!!!!