Friday, March 30, 2012

Another post revolving around my dog

Have you entered my Mizuno Wave Rider 15 raffle yet? Every $5 donation to Open Heart Magic = 1 entry. If you've already participated in a previous raffle, you don't have to donate again if you're looking to enter. Details on the original post! The raffle goes until Monday morning!

All week I look forward to meeting up with my Thursday night running group. However, Metra had other plans. My normal train was indefinitely delayed so I had to take a later train. That got me into the train station at 6:35 when our group run started at 6:30. Dang you Metra!! I was still planning on running, but I decided to eat dinner and relax a bit first before heading out.

This face kept following me around because she knew she was going with!
My goal was to do 5 miles and I wasn't sure how I wanted to pace it. Once I was out there and realized it was cold and there was wind, I decided to do a tempo run (aka I'll be home and done faster). I warmed up the first mile, had 3 tempo miles at about 8:15 pace, and then a cool down (which was actually still kind of quick). In the end I completed 5 miles in 42:22 (8:28 pace). Pepper was a trooper and loved every minute of it. She kept looking back at me, checking on me. She kept up great with the pace and I think it is now time to start training her to finish a 5k with me! Some of the smaller races in our area allow dogs so I'm hoping that we can finish one together some time. If she keeps up this great work, she'll be ready.

Afterward I got home, I had an email from Ali at Running with Spatulas, reminding me to take a photo for her virtual race. I already did the miles at the Shamrock Shuffle over the weekend so I decided to have some fun with the dog and a spatula!
I may or may not have put peanut butter on the spatula to make the dog interested!

Next up, my half marathon this weekend! If you're running the Chi-Town Half Marathon too, meet up with us! I'll try to post a pic of my outfit on my Facebook page so you know who/what to look for and say hi! Also, speaking of virtual races, the Jelly Bean virtual race is this weekend too! I'm counting my half marathon towards participation, but there are lots of different options! Check out Run With Jess' page for more details!

What races are on the schedule for you this weekend? Are you also participating in the Jelly Bean race?  Happy Friday Everyone!!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

A Day of Great Things

Yesterday was a day of great things.

1) Mizuno tweeted and Facebooked about my Wave Rider 15 raffle! Have you entered yet? Every $5 donation to Open Heart Magic = 1 entry into the raffle! My blog hits were up significantly and I got the most hits ever in a single day! Hello to new readers! Please enter my raffle if you haven't already! :)

2) The last day of CCD! I loved teaching and all, but I needed a break from those kids. God bless moms of 7th graders. They sure are a pain. That also meant that I got to eat some delicious cupcakes that my assistant made. Funfetti = the best.

3) My PRO Compression socks came in the mail! Thanks Schwaggle for having a great deal!
Don't mind the creepy Goldendoodle calendar in the background

4) I ordered a pair of Oiselle Lori shorts from The Clymb for only $21 (including tax and shipping). I've belonged to RueLaLa and ideeli for years but only recently heard of The Clymb and it is my new favorite site!! Daily discounts on the best brands of running clothes? Yes please! My bank account is thankful.

5) 3 days away from my 2nd half marathon of the year and 4 days away from my vacation!

Oh yea, I guess I haven't really mentioned my vacation very much since I've had so many other races going on. I leave on Monday and am driving with Toph and another couple (Sam and Kate) down to New Orleans. Toph and I have been there before. A few times.
On Bourbon Street in 2009
Hurricanes at Pat O'Brien's in 2010

I'm excited to go back to share the experience with friends! Of course we (Kate and I) will be running while we're there, running up and down the French Quarter (making sure to avoid the puke spots and plastic cups along the way). Hopefully I'll remember to take some pics along the way! Have you been to New Orleans before? I've hit up several different restaurants and the classics too (Central Grocery, Cafe Du Mond). I'm totally open to suggestions, especially any vegetarian friendly options? 

What are some of your favorite things from this week? Any other great running clothes deals you'd like to share? :D

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Easy Miles and Ginuwine

Have you entered my raffle yet for the Mizuno Wave Rider 15s? $5 charity donation = 1 entry into the raffle! The raffle goes until Monday, April 9 and the winner will be chosen (using that same day. For more details on how to gain additional entries, click on the blog post here!

Last night I met up with our friend Ryan for a 4 mile run on the trail. Because of the Shamrock Shuffle on Sunday and the Chi-Town Half Marathon this upcoming weekend, I've decided to take a break from speedwork again this week. I am looking for a goal 5k coming up, but with all the other races I've signed up for, I'm not sure when would be the best time. If I don't choose one in April, I'm not going to have time again until June. (May is pretty booked with bridal showers and other races.)

The goal of last night's run was to just take it easy at a conversation pace. We met on the trail like usual and headed out. Thankfully I actually remembered to take a photo this time!

Pepper came with us and had a fun time! She always loves going for a run, especially when we see rabbits, squirrels, or any other animal out on the trail. I haven't done a weights workout in a little while, but running with her when she sees a rabbit must be some sort of equivalent, right??

Our splits were right at 9:30 which I was pretty happy about. Even though I've been running regularly for quite some time, I always have a sense of accomplishment when my splits are consistent.

Tonight is the last night of CCD for me this year. I'm excited to get my Wednesday nights back! I think I'm going to take next year off just because I need a break. Those little 7th graders sure can be draining! Teacher friends and readers, I don't know how you deal with those kids every day. I guess since I plan on being a mom some day, I'll find out! Dun dun dun....

I know this was on Parks and Rec a few weeks ago, but it is one of my many, many favorite scenes. Growing up, as a kid in the 90s, Ginuwine's "My Pony" was a classic jam.

So naturally the scene when Tom Haverford realized that Ginuwine was Donna's cousin was quite amazingly hilarious.


Just looking at these gifs make me laugh again and again! Please tell me, have you seen this episode? Toph told me he had never heard the song before. I refuse to believe him, but he swears that when I was playing it was the first time he heard it. Was this song also your jam back in 1996 when it came out?

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Shamrock Shuffle Race Recap

**First things first, have you entered my latest charity raffle? A pair of the Mizuno Wave Rider 15s!**

I debated the night before how to best get to the race. I ended up carpooling with Amanda's caravan to downtown Chicago. It was great to get down there early and have time to gear check, stretch, and use the porta-potties (TMI?). We met up with a large group at the Hilton for a group photo.

Then, we headed to our corral (B). When charging my Garmin the night before, I wasn't paying attention and didn't realize that it was frozen. When I went to turn it on before I left, the battery was dead. I was heading to the race with a time goal and no way to track my time. I didn't want to run with my phone so I was just going to wing it. Maggie said "Watch, without your Garmin, I bet you'll do awesome and knock that PR out of the water." I doubted it but had no choice but to give it a try. I started the race with Amanda and Maggie but Amanda quickly was speeding ahead. I tend to start off too fast so I wanted to be comfortable yet pushing hard. My goal was to break 40:00 and I knew if I had splits under 8:00, I would meet my goal.
Hanging out with Maggie and Amanda in Corral B before the start

Maggie was so kind to say our splits out loud at every mile and mile 1 was 7:55. The first mile my legs felt tired but I knew I was off to a good start.

Mile 2 the split was 7:40. The speakers were blaring LMFAO's Party Rock and hearing lyrics talking about shuffling while running the Shamrock Shuffle can be pretty motivating (or nerdy, however you want to think about it).

I didn't want to run out of steam so I slowed down a tad for mile 3. I knew most of this mile would be in the sun so I was happy when Maggie announced our mile 3 split of 7:55. At this point I felt great. There were less than 2 miles left and I knew I was going to meet my goal. I started to pick things up during mile 4. I turned and Maggie was no longer with me. I just kept moving and kept pushing towards the finish line.

Right after I passed the mile 4 marker, I spotted Amanda up ahead. I knew she was aiming for the 38's so I started to think either a) I'm having an awesome day or b) Amanda's not having a great day. Even though I was running towards Amanda, I would have never dreamed to be in the 38s. I just kept moving and realized I was gaining on Amanda. I tapped her on the shoulder as I passed and gave her a wave. She shouted "Go Kelly!" and I just smiled and waved. I wanted to conserve energy for the Roosevelt hill so I didn't say anything in return. Sorry Amanda! I wasn't trying to be rude. :)

I ran up the hill and it didn't seem to hurt as much as much as I remembered. I guess that means my hill work in Palos this winter is paying off! I saw the finish line and sprinted to the finish. My name was one of the few announced as I was crossing the finish so I hope the photog got a shot of me with my arms in the air shouting, "That's me!"

I finished and started to look for Amanda behind me. Since I didn't have my watch, I had no clue how I did. She was excited because she met her goal of being in the 38s. I looked at her in disbelief. If she was in the 38s and I crossed the finish line before her, that meant I was in the 38s too. Jumping and cheering ensued and I am still on the runners high from it! Maggie was right behind us and finished under 40:00 too! We saw Nicole Fritz soon after and stopped to say hi.

And snap a pic with the green guys too.

It was now time to enjoy the fruits of this race and drink some post-race beers. Some folks gave us their beer tickets so we were of to a great start.

Amanda soon joined us and the party continued.

More friends stopped by to say hello too!
L to R: Jenni, Nohemy, Mandy, and me

I didn't see everyone I would have liked to and we didn't get our obligatory Kate Kate Kelly photo. I obsessively checked the website afterwards for the official results.
That is a 38:44. Previous PR: 40:49... I couldn't be happier with my time! Another great Shamrock Shuffle in the books!!

As I mentioned before, this was my 6th year completing the race. There were quite a few complaints about the shirts this year. Can you see why? Here is a history of the swag.
Which one of these is not like the others?

*Special thanks to Nicole, Maggie, and Amanda for letting me use/steal their photos!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Mizuno Wave Rider 15 Raffle!

I'm super duper excited to announce my next raffle!

For those of you that have seen me walking around town, you've probably noticed some new kicks on my feet. I've been sporting the Mizuno Wave Rider 15s that Mizuno sent me to test out!

They definitely stand out in a crowd and are super comfortable. The Wave Riders are in the Moderate/Neutral range.

What does this mean for you?!

The folks at Mizuno have donated a pair of the Mizuno Wave Rider 15 Limited Edition shoes for me to raffle off!

Here is a little bit about the Wave Rider (taken directly from Mizuno's website)

What makes Wave Rider 15 different?
By combining the best qualities of every Wave Rider that came before it, Mizuno has created its masterpiece with the Wave Rider 15. While the pendulum in running may swing from one extreme to another, the genius of the Wave Rider 15 is found through its harmonious balance of a lightweight feel, wrapped-to-foot fit and exquisitely smooth ride, ultimately producing a brilliant running experience.

And here is a video from Jason Lewis at Mizuno USA talking about the Wave Rider 15.

I guess the main question at this point is...
What do you have to do to win this sweet pair of kicks?

Just like all of my other raffles, donate to my charity, Open Heart Magic, by CLICKING HERE. Every $5 donation = 1 entry into the raffle. ($5 = 1 entry, $10 = 2 entries, $15 = 3 entries, etc.)

Those that have donated to this raffle (or any previous raffle) can gain additional raffle entries if you:
1) like Running Kellometers on Facebook
2) blog about the raffle
3) tweet about the raffle (@kellywils0n)
If you do any of the items mentioned above, please leave a comment letting me know so I can be sure to include the additional entries! (If you have any questions please leave a comment or send me an email!)

Entries will be accepted until 9am (CST) on Monday, April 2 and the winner will be announced that same day.

Best of luck to all those entering!

Chicago Running Blogger Meetup

I don't usually have time to blog on the weekends and this weekend was no different. This weekend was jam-packed full of fun activities so when I wasn't out enjoying the day, I was sleeping. Lol. So now I have too much to say so I'm going to spread it all out.

Saturday morning I picked up Maggie on our way to the city to pick up our Shamrock Shuffle packets and enjoy the expo. But before we headed to the expo, we met up at the Bean for some photos (obviously, we're bloggers) and a run (obviously, we're running bloggers).
Katie - Live Half FullKim - Ilax StudioErin - Eri-thon,
Bobbi - Zero to 26.2, me, Maggie - Mag Mile RunnerRachael - A Runner's Crave

We ran on the lake front path, up to Oak Street Beach. It was a nice and comfortable run and we all kept the same pace and it worked out very nicely!

And then back down to Navy Pier. It was great to get to know these folks better in person and now I have more great blogs to follow! (That's never a bad thing.) Once we got to Navy Pier, we went to the food court for lunch and talked about when we're planning our next meetup.
Kim, Katie, Sarah, Kelsey, Bobbi, me, Rachel and Maggie not pictured: Amanda and Erin

Afterwards I was spent and tried to go to bed early but that never seems to work out as planned. Sunday was the big Shamrock Shuffle where I had a big goal that I thought I could achieve. Spoiler alert (if you haven't already checked DailyMile): I met my goal better than I expected :) Race recap to come out later this week!

In other news, I will be posting my next raffle tomorrow tonight (I got too excited and couldn't wait until tomorrow). Stay tuned!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Running in the Rain

Every Friday I like to talk about my Thursday night run. Today is no different folks! :)

I met up with the FN Runners and decided to do a hill workout this week. I haven't done hills in a few weeks and so this was a great way to get out there and get it done.
Thanks for the photoshop Maggie!
L to R: Maggie, Kristin, Amanda, and yours truly

Despite the skies looking like they wanted to rain, we had a new runner come out and met up with another runner out on the trail.
These guys looked like they wanted to join us too (not really). It was humid and dry for the first 2 miles, and then the rain started to come. It rained for about 1.5 miles before it cleared and the humidity came right back. I could hear the squish of my orthodics within my shoes, but the rain was certainly refreshing. I was rushing to get to the run since my train was late so I didn't have time for my snack. Therefore, the entire time I had a side cramp but tried not to complain about it... too much. Maggie and I ran together for 5.1 miles in 46:29 (9:06 pace). I enjoy running with Maggie as the conversation is always interesting. (You can hear more about it by going over to Maggie's blog.) I ran with my Roctane Water again and I definitely think it helped.

It is currently raining here in Chicago and I hope it clears for tomorrow's Chicago Running Blogger Meetup! And then Sunday is the beloved Shamrock Shuffle!! This will be my 6th year running this race. It is always a day full of fun, beers, and friends. Some year it is hot (2007 and 2011) and some years it is cold (2008 and 2009). I'm hoping this year will be "just right."


I can't wait to be at the starting line with some new running friends in the best corral I've ever qualified for (B!!). I have some speedy goals that I hope I can meet, but if I don't I know a fun time is guaranteed regardless! Do you have a favorite race that you run every year? Is the weather as unpredictable as a Chicago March?

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Lessons from Forever 21

I'm really tired of my current work wardrobe. I always wear the same things and I feel like I haven't bought something new in a long time. With all the fashion posts of my other Chicago blogging friends, I have been inspired to mix things up. I like to think that I have a semi-eye for fashion, but lately all i wear is dryfit, leggings, and race shirts. I need to get back in a groove of liking what I wear to work and out.

Today I set out on my lunch break and headed to Forever 21. I wanted to try on lots of clothes and scope out their athletic section.

And then I remembered these important things to remember when shopping at Forever 21:

1) Sizing is inconsistent. Small, medium, large... you never know what is going to fit at Forever 21! I know the empire waist trend is popular, but that doesn't mean that everything has to dramatically flare out afterwards. No one wants to look like they're pregnant if they're not. Just saying.

2) Don't get excited about their athletic line. I was (although I don't know why) and was disappointed. They had lots and lots and lots of sports bras in a variety of different colors. I already have my preferred brand of sports bras. There is no way these girls can be supported by them. I haven't tried them but I'm just guessing.

3) If it was a bad day for clothes, that doesn't mean it is also a bad day for buying stuff. I tried on 10 different things and didn't like a single one. I left the dressing room feeling sad because I actual wanted to spend money today. Then, I looked at what was surrounding me... accessories! I've been wanting a skinny belt for a long time so I searched for the belt section and got to digging.
I got 3 skinny belts for $4.80. That's right! Yay for bargain shopping! And that is why I keep going back to Forever 21.

Do you shop at Forever 21? What are some things you've learned from shopping there?

I took yesterday as a rest day (my legs are thankful for it) and tonight I'm meeting up with my running group. I'm hoping this supposed rain holds off!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Another Warm Tuesday

After recovering from the heat of my half marathon on Sunday, I did some rowing on Monday in the cool basement while re-watching episode 3 of Game of Thrones. It felt great to get the body moving in a non-running way while the sweat wasn't pouring off my brow. I'm still surprised that these unseasonably warm temperatures are continuing!

Last night I made plans to meet up with my husband's friend Ryan who has recently gotten back into running. We met up at the Old Plank Trail in Frankfort with the pup for 4 miles. I didn't want to look at pace and just run according to how I felt. I haven't had a rest day since the half marathon so I didn't want to push it. I took a speed work break this week because of the shuffle, but I'll be back at it next week. I think my next 5k is going to be in April so I have to keep up the speed work to meet that 22:xx goal! I felt great during the run and tried a new type of fuel.

I follow Gu on Facebook and they offered some free samples to some people that completed a survey. I was one of those folks and receive a sample of the Roctane Ultra Endurance powder shown above in both lemon lime and grape. (The website link has some more information on this product if you're interested). I gave the grape a try last night and I really liked it. The flavor was good and it didn't seem to mess with my stomach. Then again, I was only running 4 miles. :) I'm going to give this stuff a try more in the upcoming weeks. I don't know if I want to put the cart before the horse, but I'm really liking this stuff and it might give me what I need while being easy on my stomach?! Have you tried this product before? If so, let me know what you thought!

We ended up finishing the 4 miles in 39:18 (average 9:49 pace) with negative splits at every mile. Even with the warm temperatures, I didn't feel horrible. Maybe it is because the temps weren't as bad as Sunday. Maybe, dare I say it, my body is starting to get "used to" these temps? Either way, it felt good and I'm excited that I wasn't dying in the heat. My dog on the other hand was completely pooped at the end. I got her some water and realized that I need to start carrying more water for me and for her while out running. Maybe I need to invest in one of those retractable dog bowls to keep with me?
Just look at that face, so tired!

This Saturday I'll be attending the Chicago Running Blogger meetup and the Shamrock Shuffle expo after that. I'm excited to meet up with fellow running bloggers! Can't wait to meet all you guys! :)

P.S. I'm going to have my first official giveaway and another raffle (a big big prize this time around!!) starting soon! I'm excited and can't wait to share it with all of you! :) Happy Hump Day!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Get Lucky Half Marathon Race Recap

I've been talking about this half marathon for weeks so I was really excited that the day was finally here.

On Friday I went to the "expo" and picked up my race info and hoodie. (I use the quotes as it wasn't really an expo. Just packet pickup where you could buy more Team Ortho stuff if you wanted.) The hoodie is nice and long and I wore it most of the day on Saturday (and again right now).

My friend Amanda tipped me off about this awesome $2 parking lot so I drove downtown nice and early the morning of the race. I got to the starting line and was surprised how small the group seemed to be. I soon met up with Nicole Fritz who took some nice pre race photos.

Of course I wore my green sparkle skirt and some obnoxious green and orange socks from Target. I had gone back and forth on about 3 different shirt options because I couldn't figure out the weather. At mile 7, I regretted my decision to not go with something lighter.
Photo Source: Nicole Fritz

Soon after seeing Nicole, I saw Gingerfoxxx and her bf Matt.
GFoxxx and I had similar race goals (to finish) so we ran the race together. I got excited while I was talking and started off a bit too fast. I think the first few miles were under 9 minutes.

Too early in the race for us to not be smiling! (Source)
The farther we went, the hotter it became. The course was along the lakefront so there wasn't an inch of shade. At mile 2 we were looking for the first water stop that wasn't there. They weren't marked on the course map so I wasn't quite sure where they would be. Standard is every 2 miles, but apparently not according to Team Ortho. The first water stop was at mile 3.5 (not joking). Thankfully I had brought a small water bottle that we were able to use in between. When we finally saw the first water station, I was looking forward to my mid-race favorite beverage--lemon lime Gatorade. Only it wasn't there. "Powerade! Powerade here and water right after!" is what the volunteers were announcing. Um, wtf? Blue Powerade? What kind of race is this? I didn't take any because I wasn't sure how my stomach would handle it. I kept it to water just in case.

The course was the traditional out and back along the lakefront path and the volunteers did a really great job directing traffic. They kept us from veering off the course and were encouraging along the way. I think considering the heat, they prob could have had more medical personnel.

The second half of the race was even tougher than the first with that sun beating down on us. Gingerfoxxx had a great idea and that was to list cold (non-dairy) items that we were longing for. Margaritas, mojitos, popsicles, ice cubes, carnival lemonade shakeups, Italian ice, the first jump into a lake when it isn't quite warm enough and it gives you goosebumps all over. This helped a little bit, but only for a few minutes. I ate a Gu at mile 8 and my stomach didn't like me very much after that. Gingerfoxxx was having larger stomach issues than me, but I didn't mind when she stopped to walk. (I know all about stomach issues...) We were finally rounding the bend for our last 1/2 mile when she spotted her bf Matt who snapped this gem. :)

I think my face in this photo is priceless. "Yes I'm running, but I'm not enjoying it." We were almost done! Thank god. The cheering at this point went above and beyond what was expected. The deafening roar from the volunteers and finishers helped motivate us to finish strong! Right as we turned the corner, we could see the finish line. I spotted Nicole with her camera so I made sure to pose for the pic.
Source: Nicole Fritz

There weren't a ton of people running this race and they were announcing names as people crossed the finish line. As we crossed the finish line at the exact same time, both our names were called together. Kind of cool actually. Our finish time: 2:12:57 (10:08). I was really happy that I didn't have a specific goal time for this half marathon, considering the horrible weather conditions, etc. I was happy to keep Gingerfoxxx company and finish/suffer through it together.
Sara and I

Half Fanatics!
Nicole and I

Overall it was a fun race, but my opinion on Team Ortho is still out there. I was really disappointed with the lack of extra water/support during the heat. Then again, this was their first time putting on THIS race (but they've put on the Polar Dash and Monster Dash in Chicago as well). I know it is hard to tell in some of these photos as my skin blends in with my white tank top. I really should have put on sunblock because now I have a wicked hillbilly sunburn. No worries, I'll spare you all the photo. :)

Next up: Shamrock Shuffle! Hopefully 1) we'll have cooler weather or 2) my body will be more used to the heat. Fingers crossed!

Road ID Raffle Winner!

I'm working on my Get Lucky Half Marathon race recap, but I wanted to announce the winner of the Road ID Prize pack first!

And the winner is....

Maggie Wolff

Congratulations Maggie! Please contact me via email to claim your prize!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Sunday Funday

Apparently Chicago has decided to not have a spring and go straight to summer. Today I ran the Chicago Get Lucky Half marathon I've been hyping for the past few months. The temperature was in the 80s and I met my goal of finishing. It was nice to not have a time goal for a change. A full recap is coming tomorrow! :D

Now it is time for the season finale of the Walking Dead... And time for Lori to not watch Carl some more. :)

If you haven't done so already, today is the last day for the Road ID raffle! Only $3 per entry! :)

Friday, March 16, 2012

Thursday Night Lights

Today is Friday. In the words of Ned Stark, "Thank Gods." Have you signed up for my Road ID raffle yet? Only $3 donation per entry!

Last night I met up with the FNRC for our typical Thursday night group run. There were some new folks that came out so that is always exciting! It was quite warm which has been the theme here in Chicago this week. I guess I'm just not used to the temp yet for running as others didn't think it was as warm as I did. But I think we need to talk about how LIGHT out it is at 6:30?!
L to R: Don, Tarra, Kate, Wayne, Melissa, Cathie, and Maggie
I took the photo this time around so I'm not in it.
You've seen photos from our other Thursday night runs. It was amazing to be able to actually enjoy the sun after 5pm on a weeknight. :)

I went out for 5 miles and ran with Maggie and Wayne joined us at the half way point. I didn't realize it at the time but I was pushing the pace on the way back. Mentally I guess I just wanted to be done so I ran to the end faster.

Today is a busy day and I'm leaving work at around lunch time. I'm meeting my cousin's maid of honor (Ashley) to talk about all things bachelorette party, which we will be attending in Nashville from May 17-20. I know it will be a fun trip and I'm really looming forward to it. Ashley works at a hotel in the South Loop, conveniently the same location as the Chicago Get Lucky Half Marathon/21k/7k packet pickup! I get to enjoy lunch while planning with Ashley, and enjoy the expo before heading home early. Yay for Friday! I know I keep talking about this half marathon... but I am just ready for it to be here! The anticipation is killing me! :)

Since I'm running on Sunday, I'm taking tomorrow off. It will be weird to not have to get up early on a Saturday. My husband and I are going to start "spring cleaning" tomorrow so that should be fun. Hopefully I'll still get to sleep in a little. :) Have you started your spring cleaning plans yet?

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Lessons Learned from my Marathon Experience

First things first... have you entered my Road ID Prize Pack raffle yet? Every $3 donation to Open Heart Magic = 1 entry into the raffle. You have until Sunday (March 18) to enter!

This weekend is the start of the half marathon fever I have picked up this year (as of now, I'm signed up for 5). Based on some of the things I've learned from my marathon experience, I have a completely different perspective. I have eluded to my marathon experience several times (and talk about it briefly in the "about me" section), but I thought it was time for the full history.

I signed up to run the Chicago Marathon on the first day of registration in 2011. It was on my bucket list of things to do and I was excited for the experience. I took most of 2010 off of running because I was planning my wedding, buying a house, and didn't make time for other things. I got a Garmin for Christmas 2010 in anticipation and to help keep track of my runs. I gradually built up the mileage during the winter and spring until marathon training officially started in the summer. I trained with the CARA group that met at Yankee Woods in Oak Forest (the Yankee Runners).

Lesson 1: Doing all your runs outdoors better prepares you for race day
We did our long runs on the trails, and when the weather was really really hot, we would meet earlier or adjust the course accordingly to avoid the sun. I ran a lot of those super hot weekday runs on a treadmill to avoid going out into the heat. In the long run, I wasn't letting my body adjust to all temperature conditions. I was so focused on overall performance and the pace of each run, I lost sight of the end goal. I couldn't meet my pace goal if it was hot, so I adjusted so I could maintain my desired pace... instead of working with the different elements that could be a factor on race day.

Lesson 2: Do not completely focus on a time for your first marathon
I had my mind on the prize of 4:30. I mean, if Oprah ran that time, I could beat it... Right? I ran my 20 miler very strong. I was spot-on my 4:30 goal.

But the weather for my 20 miler was gorgeous. I started running at 6:00am so the sun was barely out. We ran on the trails and in the shade. I had my normal amount of Gu and not too much Gatorade. Also, I did an "out and back" to the 5 mile point 2x so I was very familiar with the territory and it mentally helped to break things up. Because of the strength on my 20 miler, I had every reason to believe that the marathon wouldn't be any different. I wear my 20 miler shirt with PRIDE!

However, that was not the case. On October 9, 2011, temperatures were in the high 60's before the sun rose. The advise was to slow the pace to account for the heat. "Slowing" my per-mile pace by a few seconds (10:15-10:30 minute miles) wasn't enough and I was already struggling by mile 6. We were still on the "fun" part of the course and I could barely keep up. At mile 9 I knew I was in deep trouble. I started the race with my friend Amanda and we both had a goal to finish around 4:30 but Amanda was much more focused on finishing, where I was much more focused on 4:30 (for Amanda's full recap, click here!).
Amanda and I at the start of the Chicago Marathon

At mile 10, Amanda had family waiting so I stayed with her until we saw her family and then I had to slow down dramatically. I'm now averaging an 11:40 minute pace (probably how I should have started) and my stomach is roaring. I saw my family at mile 11 and tried to crack a smile. I didn't want them to see how much pain I was in, especially considering my cousin and Uncle have run several marathons before. At this point, I still thought I could finish. After mile 12, I knew I was in for a rough rest of the race with nothing but the sun beating down my back. There was barely an ounce of shade until the finish and the temps were now in the mid to high 70s.
Flying solo at about mile 12

At the halfway point, I started to walk. My stomach couldn't handle the mixture of water, Gu, and Gatorade and it got the best of me. I threw up and saw all my hydration preparation for the entire day flash before my eyes. Tears started to come but I just started walking. I thought if I kept moving, I might still finish. At mile 15, there was a medical tent. I stopped and said that I threw up and I wasn't sure if I should continue. The nurse touched my arm and realized I didn't have a bead of sweat on me. I was sat down and an IV was hooked up almost immediately. The throwing up continued as the IV was administered and I saw my marathon goal of finishing slipping farther and farther away with each minute. I knew once the IV was in that I wasn't finishing the Chicago Marathon. I was diagnosed with "mild heat exhaustion" and only made it to mile 15. After an ambulance ride to the finish line, I met up with all my running group friends and pretty much had a breakdown. Lots of tears and lots of disappointment. I didn't finish what I had trained since January to do. It was my one running goal for the year and I felt like a complete failure. Everyone told me that I did the right thing in stopping when I did as things could have been much worse.

A DNF for my first marathon wasn't good enough. I had put in the training, the hours, the effort. I was going to finish a damn marathon if my life depended on it. Thankfully, the Grand Rapids Marathon was that following Sunday (October 16, 2011). I signed up on Monday and was back in the saddle. I still had my eye on the 4:30 prize and knew I could achieve it. I treated that training week like a "taper" and started my 2nd marathon with the hope of finishing. I felt great for the first several miles.
My husband and his family was there cheering me on, the scenery was beautiful, and it was a gorgeous day for a marathon.
My cheering squad (even Pepper came too)! My SIL made everyone custom shirts!
The temp was not too hot and not too cold. You would have thought that I learned from some of my mistakes in Chicago.

Lesson 3: DO NOT mix Gu and Gatorade
If you've run a long distance or read an issue of Runners World magazine, this is pretty common information. If you're Gu-ing this mile, don't take Gatorade. Take water instead. DUH. I didn't have a schedule. I was Gu-ing and Gatorading at different times, depending on what I felt like. I am a planner.
Amanda and I looking and feeling great at about mile 17.
Yes, Amanda drove all the way from Chicago to run with me and cheer me on!

Why did I not plan this out? Mile 18 comes along and my stomach starts to roar again. "No!" I said to myself (probably out loud). "You are not throwing up. That is final!" My stomach had other plans and at mile 19 up came the Gu, Gatorade, and water all over again. The idea of a 4:30 finish was gone, but the idea of a FINISH was still there. Come hell or high water, I was finishing this damn marathon if it was the last thing I did. After I threw up, there was a guy that came up behind me. He said "It's okay. Just have some water. You're almost done!" That brought a big smile to my face. Someone else understood. Someone else was as crazy as me. It was exactly what I needed to hear! I tried to run/walk to the finish.. that is until I started throwing up more. Amanda stayed with me from about mile 21/22 until the very end. She held my extra clothes, a cup full of gummy bears, whatever I needed. She told people coming over to try to help me that I was fine and she was staying with me. (I refused to be taken off the course!!!!) At mile 25, I turned to Amanda and said: "If you ever hear me say I want to do another marathon again...YOU REMIND OF THIS MOMENT RIGHT NOW!!" (This was said as I was puking for the 5th time of the day). We smile and laugh about it now. (See Lesson 5). I guess the million dollar question at this point is... did I finish?
The final stretch!

Hell yes I did! Look at the size of that smile! With Amanda and one of my little cousins at my side, I crossed the finish line! I was so happy to be done and vowed to never do another marathon again! I finished in 5:28 (ahem, beating Katie Holmes' time of 5:29, thank you very much).

Lesson 4: Try to include other races as part of your training
I think another thing that slipped me up during the planning of the race was the timing. Normally I would get up 1 hour before I needed to start running, eat breakfast, brush my teeth, and drive over to the trail. On the day of the marathon, I had to get up extra early, get to the race, etc. In the year leading up to the Marathon, I didn't complete any other races of a distance longer than an 8k. I think if I had completed a half marathon or something (coinciding with my training schedule of course), I think I would have been better prepared for what the morning would have been like... how early (or late) I should eat, etc. Or even gotten up earlier during the week of a training run just to get my body used to being up earlier than I need to!

Lesson 5: Never say never!
I always said that I was a "one and done" marathoner. I just can't accept this finish as my only race. I've learned so much about myself and about running to have this experience be my only marathon experience. My next marathon goal: finish without throwing up. I think that is a good goal to work towards and I think it is achievable in time. Date of said marathon: TBD :)