February 27, 2016

Race Recap: 26.2 with Donna

I was about to start off by saying how my race recaps never seem to be upbeat, but really that just seems to be the marathons. Because while this race, like the marathon last November, did not go as I had planned, I still have run races and runs that I'm proud of and happy with the results. But none-the-less, for mostly my memory's sake, here is the race recap of my 26.2 with Donna.

It's called that, 26.2 with Donna, as this race was created by a three time breast cancer survivor, Donna, who runs the full every year (or at least I think she does - she did this year anyway). The run takes place in Jacksonville, Florida and ends right at the Mayo Clinic where the proceeds of the race money go. It is the only marathon (also called "The Breast Cancer Marathon" dedicated to breast cancer research (there are many other breast cancer runs/walks/events - this is just the only one with a marathon distance involved). The run goes through beach towns where the neighbors come out in full force to support the runners and it was probably the best community supported race I've done. It has a half marathon and relay as well (all on the same route) and if we were going to be living here next year I would definitely consider running again for the 10th year as I'm sure it will be even more impressive. It's a Boston Qualifying course and was so well supported and organized.

Going in to the race I felt fairly confident. I wish I did one more long training run and I wish I stayed a little more on track with my pacing during training, but generally speaking I felt ready and optimistic I could reach my goal of a sub four hour marathon. I was planning to wake up at 5:30 the morning of the race, catch the 6:30 shuttle with my friend Julie and hang out in the warm up tents until the 7:30 start time. Well, instead of getting up at 5:30 I got up a little after 2am when Mary woke up vomiting! Miles has graciously offered to sleep in the same bed as the kids (we had two double beds in our hotel) so that I could get decent(ish) sleep, but neither of us go much sleep at all when poor Mary woke up to puke and then she only wanted to sleep next to me. She would fall back asleep and then wake up again every 20-30 minutes needing to spit up/puke. We thought at first it was something she ate and thankfully Finn was spared. 

I was able to eat a good pre race breakfast (oatmeal, peanut butter, banana) and nerves were compensating plenty for any fatigue I may have been feeling from my lack of sleep. Because my friend Julie and I wanted to use the porta-potties one last time before the race we ended up pretty far back in the corals and it was so congested trying to move forward I knew I wouldn't be able to start with the 4-hour pace group. I wasn't planning on paying much attention to the pacers anyway though as they were utilizing the Galloway method for running which is a run/walk combo and I wasn't about to try that for the first time on race day. 

When the race started I felt good. I made sure to keep my pace slow despite adrenaline wanting me to go faster and planned to keep it slower for two miles, then slowly speed up to my training run pace and hope to hold that until mile 20 and then just fight through the rest. Only a little over a mile in to the race someone grabbed me and hugged me and it was my West Point roommate Katie who I had no idea was in Jacksonville! She came down last minute to run the half with her cousin and had forgotten I was running so it was such a treat to get to see her during the run (and such a great coincidence we literally ran in to one another!) We chatted for a bit then parted ways and I just tried to focus on my training and my pace. Hindsight - I wish I didn't focus on pace so much during the first half and went off feel instead as the first 14 miles we faced a pretty strong headwind and I am sure I put forth more effort to keep my pace than I would had it not been windy. None-the-less when I got to the halfway point on track to where I wanted to be, I felt good. I saw Miles and the kids around mile 17 which was a good boost, but could tell I was starting to slow a little bit in the coming miles. I saw them again at mile 20 and was happy with my time, I knew it's where I needed and wanted to be, but I was starting to get worried about how tired I was feeling. At mile 21 I knew I needed to push to stay on track, but by 22 I ran into the dreaded "wall" and I hit it hard. Right around this time the run goes off the roads and beach towns and on to the freeway with a nasty little hill. It was the only part of the course I really despised, but I'm sure that has largely to do with how miserable I was feeling. I don't know how to describe it other than it just felt like my body quit. My legs no longer wanted to move and I was feeling nauseous and on the verge of vomiting for the remainder of the race. I saw my pace go way, way down and slowly and painfully watched my goal get further and further away.

I honestly don't know if there was one big thing that caused this (like a fueling issue) or if it was just a combination of things (waking up early, maybe starting a tad faster than I should have, putting effort in to combat wind, etc), but it was pretty defeating to be on track for so long and then to have it go so horribly wrong for the last four miles that I ended up so far from my goal (finish time ended up being 4:24 - I had a couple of 15+ minute miles in there at the end - it was bad!)

This was the last race alert Miles got for me, so when that estimated time came and went he said he started to get worried something happened and was about to check at the medical tent. I would have been worried too since I finished so much later than predicted. But I'm proud of the pace/time up to that point - if only marathons were 20 miles!

 So, for next time (and I don't know when that will be, but know that I still want to reach this goal enough that I will do another marathon at some point) I will try to pace myself a little more. I didn't think I could run the second half faster than the first half for a negative split, but I think I should focus more on attempting that versus relying on "banked time." I also think I need to take in more calories early on when my stomach can handle it a little better, and I need to no sleep in the same bed as a puking baby.

While I'm still really bummed with the end result (especially because this was supposed to be my redemption run from Rock n Roll last November), I am proud of finishing and putting another marathon in the books.

Everything hurt. Especially my pride.
The day after we came home, Miles and I caught whatever stomach bug Mary had. Because nothing is more awesome than finishing a marathon only to get the stomach flu the following day! Here's hoping for better, healthier, happier races!

February 20, 2016

Five Years Without Daren

Five years ago today Daren was killed in action while deployed to Afghanistan. As with Cale, sometimes on these anniversaries and milestones I just don't really know what to say anymore. But it doesn't change or diminish the missing, the wondering, and the ache. It's just that what was true then, is still true now. We miss him. We love him. We wonder what he would be like and how much different all of our lives would have been these past five years if he had been a part of them the way we all wished he could have been. 

I was looking on my hard drive for a picture to share and stumbled upon some of my favorites. In typical Daren fashion they all are more of the 'outtake' variety.

My USMA graduation. 
Rock, Paper, Scissor with my sister to determine who would speak first at our wedding.
Daren's USMA graduation. With his grandparents. I love the look on Oma's face.
Fall 2009 with Roscoe

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 
We did a modified version of Daren's Crossfit WOD this week with Stroller Strong Moms (we also did this last year). I was so touched by the support and grateful to share a little about Daren with others. 

Miss you, Daren. Always.

February 15, 2016

Microblog Monday: A Marathon of Crappy Things

So I'll recap yesterday's actual marathon later. Spoiler alert - didn't go as I had hoped and my pity party is still ongoing. But since it's Monday and no one likes Mondays, here's a list of other things no one likes:

While driving to Florida (for marathon) I get a call that my less than a year old, under warranty, MacBook that stopped working last week has liquid damage and corrosion to the mother board, voiding the Apple warranty. I can think of zero times it was ever near water. We have additional warranty I THINK covers it, but I haven't called yet to inquire about it. 

Sunday morning at 2:30am Mary wakes up coughing and then pukes. Not a ton, but a decent amount. She then pukes every thirty minutes or so for the next six hours.

I had to get up at 5:00am for my marathon so what's a couple hours earlier?!

Run marathon that was good for about 22 freaking miles and then body says, "oh, this actually sucks so we are going to call it a day." Endure four (point two!) miserable miles to finish, but fall so very far from goal.

Drive home and get notice that fraud has been detected on debit card for $800 worth of transactions. A $500 one attempted at a "Yogurtland" in CA. After yesterday's events $500 in FroYo doesn't seem like a bad idea.

Husband comes down with stomach bug and yaks violently. As I type my stomach hurts and I worry what my fate will be the remainder of the night.

Happy Monday, friends!

February 1, 2016

Run, Ranger, Run

I've got a lot of running goals this year and this month. In two weeks I'll run my third marathon. I'm anxious and hopeful and terrified. So that should be interesting. In addition to marathon training I've set out to run a combined total of 2,016 miles in 2016 with my three best buds from high school. It's a very doable goal as we each will run an average of 42 miles each month. Yesterday I ran 10 miles putting my January total at 101 miles which is more than normal because of the marathon training, but at least gives me a good amount of miles banked for our 2,016 total.

This month I am also running with a group of Ranger wives as part of the "Run, Ranger, Run" program. This was created in 2013 when a veteran from 3rd Ranger Battalion wanted to raise awareness about the difficult transition many veterans face when leaving the military. He ran home from Columbus, GA (Fort Benning) to Indianapolis, IN - a 565 mile journey that now teams take on to help continue what he started. There are ten of us on a team, each will run/bike/walk 56.5 miles this month and raise funds for Gallant Few which is a charity organization that aims to reduce the underemployment and homelessness of Veterans, Rangers specifically. My fundraising page is here if you are able to donate - any support is so greatly appreciate.

In the theme of soliciting my dear friends and family for a good cause, I'll be participating in the Run Across Georgia this year as I did last year. I've been running a lot the last couple years, but still wouldn't consider myself "a runner." I don't always like running, more so that I like what running provides me; confidence, friendship, a challenge, etc. And since it's not always the most enjoyable activity I'd much rather have some extrinsic motivation such as a worthy charity or cause. If I run with my phone I have gotten in the habit of using the app "Charity Miles" which allows you to pick a different charity each time you run and a big name corporation will donate money to that charity based on how far you run/walk. It's not a ton of money, but every little bit helps. My favorite charities to support through Charity Miles are the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, Shot @ Life which provide vaccines to children worldwide, and St. Judes, but there are so many other awesome ones listed in the app. 

Again, here is the link to my fundraising page - as always, the support, the encouragement, and the donations really mean so much to me and I appreciate how well my friends and family tolerate the continual solicitations :)