Tuesday, October 30, 2012

That's How it Works! (And Doesn't)

Thank y'all so much for your love on FB and the blog.  I woke up this morning feeling like P Diddy extremely sore and a little hungover because I haven't had more than one glass of wine in like 4 months and last night I had.... more than one. We had some friends over for wine, tacos, and Spanish quinoa (we deal with hurricanes in high class here). 

Spent a couple hours reminiscing about the olden days in college and my dad was astounded by the drama we had at our small liberal arts college/Greek life experience, since he went to Arizona State and then Notre Dame for law school, he had no idea! It was fun.  

I thought today I'd chat about what I loved having with me on my marathon and what I could have done without.  I have quite a few friends running the Savannah Rock and Roll 1/2 and full marathon this weekend and while my experience is not the same as anyone else's, I know reading about these things helps trigger things you may not have thought about.  I've scoured marathon review blogs for like the past 2 months!

What worked:

Nuun- This stuff is awesome. It's so much lighter than Gatorade or Powerade and while it doesn't have carbs, it's great for staying hydrated, especially if you're taking in your carbs through gels, chews, or anything else your training has shown effective.  I also took Gatorade at some of the water stations, but eventually I decided to mix it in with my water because it was just way too strong and I didn't want to upset my stomach! My favorite flavor is Strawberry Lemonade, but I tried the Grape at the MCM Expo and loved that too!
Shot Bloks- I had a really rough time with gels when I first started running longer distances.  I have a sensitivity to textures and they just didn't sit well in my stomach because I couldn't get over how gross they were to take in.  My friend Megan told me about Shot Bloks and I've never looked back.  They have plenty of variety and I haven't found one that has been too strong. My favorite is Tropical Punch.  It has a mild taste and caffeine for an added bang!
Camelbak Water bottle- I used to be the girl that would refuse to hold anything while running.  Then I ran in Savannah in the summer.  I have a hydration pak that I love, but it was so heavy I wanted to try something different.  When I found this water bottle, I was really hesitant.  I tend to get tense without hold anything, I thought it'd be worse, but even if I do get more tense, it's worth it. I took in over 120 ounces of fluids during the marathon and I was so thankful for my water bottle and those hot Marines who would fill me up when I needed it.  

Swiftwick Socks and Mizuno Wave Inspire 8- Happy feet mean a happy runner.  When I saw that Hurricane Sandy was set to make landfall some time around the big day, I ran right over to Fleet Feet Savannah and asked what I could do to make my feet happy if I was literally going to be running in a hurricane.  The awesome staff there told me about Swiftwick socks and how they work well enough to use during triathlons. I did a big no-no and wore them for the first time during the MCM but with the mixture of my awesome shoes and these socks, I have no black toenails, my feet stayed dry (even when I spilled some water on them accidently), and I will gush about them forever.
Random, but necessary 

SpiBelt- Did another no-no and ran with a SPIBelt that my hubster bought for me the day before the race.  It was an awesome investment.  I was able to have my fuel available very easily and had my money and license securely in there.  This is important because two years ago when I ran the 10K here, I lost my license on the mall before the race.  I also left my phone on the Metro that year too.  Both were thankfully recovered, due to honest and amazing people, but it was scary there for awhile and so not worth the stress! 

Skin Lube- I know it sounds weird, but since I'm allergic to Body Glide, it doesn't mean I can't chafe! I'm so glad I put this stuff in my SPIBelt, because I really needed it around mile 13.  Since my sports bra was relatively new, I wasn't aware of the rub spots yet so I got a few bad spots, but other than that my body is chafe free thanks to this stuff!

KinesioTape- I'm not sure if it's a comfort thing or if it really works, but I started wearing this stuff after doing rehab with hubby for my hamstring and back, and it felt so much better.  I tend to look at this stuff as a rehab tool instead of a game changer because I don't think one or two pieces of tape can really cure what ails you, but as long as you're doing exercises to strengthen those muscles that they are supporting, I'm all about it.  

Things I'd do differently:

There are really only a few things I'd do differently.  First, I'd put skin lube basically everywhere my clothes would be touching my skin.  Even though it wasn't that bad, I know I could have saved myself a few screams in the shower afterward, had I done this.  

Also, I would have brought my phone.  It didn't rain once during the marathon and while I'm glad I was able to take everything in without zoning out, I got frustrated at the end of the marathon when I didn't know where everyone was and there were also a lot of pictures I would have loved to take.  Of course, if I would have brought my phone, it would have rained the whole time.

I feel like this race went pretty much the best it could have.  I am still in awe of myself for running 26.2 miles without music or distraction, but I high fived about a hundred people, chatted with fellow runners, and made some great new friends because I wasn't in my own little world.  I also really noticed things around DC:  Watergate, the Kennedy Center, Arlington, Washington Monument, the Capital, the Pentagon, the Lincoln Memorial... these are all things I've seen before a million and one times, but running by them was different.  Going on the subject of other cool shirts I saw, there was a quote on one that said, "The preparation is the journey, the marathon is the victory lap." And again, this just touched me so much and changed how I looked at things. I took my victory lap with the best preparation I had and can't believe it's over!

Monday, October 29, 2012

I am a Marathoner- MCM Recap

I'm not sure it's really hit me yet. I'm stuck here in Alexandria, VA due to a little hussy called Sandy.  Luckily, I'm with my husband and my dad in a sweet hotel suite with a kitchen and thanks to Harris Teeter, we're set in food and drink.

40 Year Old Virgin is always a Hurricane Hit!

Hallway to our 2 bedrooms AND 2 bathrooms, we're pimp style here

The Important Stuff

On to the marathon.  Wow.  I'm not sure this will come across very well as I'm still processing.  Yesterday morning, I woke up and put on my running clothes anxiously, had my pre-race meal, and got KT Taped up by my amazing husband.  I had debated bringing my phone because the possibility for rain was so up in the air and decided against it.  My dad and I headed out to the Metro and went to Charity Street to drop our stuff off (while raising money is hard, it is well worth it on race day... another blog post!) The howitzer fired at exactly 7:55 and about 10 minutes later, we were across the start line. 

Race Day Wear

I can't even remember what I was thinking for the first few miles.  I was just taking in the atmosphere and since I didn't have my music or my podcasts, it was really quite amazing.  I never noticed how much I miss out on with music playing in the background.  I saw men who had been running this thing for 20 years straight, servicemen and women running not only in their uniforms, but carrying 50 pounds of gear on their backs surrounded by people carrying flags, a man who dribbled a basketball the whole 26.2 miles.  I also was able to listen to the sounds of footsteps around me which was oddly calming and got me into a rhythm before I hit the hill of doom in Georgetown.  
I was feeling awesome til this point at around mile 7 where I just thought, I have 19 miles to go, I'm not gonna kill myself on this hill.  So I didn't.  I really just listened to my body the whole time and it was amazing. The first 10 miles flew by.  We saw my fantastic husband and dedicated friends (seriously, who would stand in the cold, with an oncoming hurricane and run all over DC to cheer for you other than the most dedicated of people?) and headed onto Roosevelt Island which was probably the worst part of the race (if there was one).  It's surrounded by water (obviously, island) and with impending Sandy doom on this fair town, the wind was fierce and cold.  
After the half marathon mark, there were no people to cheer for the most part.  It just so happened after the half marathon mark that I realized, holy crap I'm actually running a marathon!  So not having anyone to invigorate me kinda really sucked.  When we got back to the mall area, my dad and I split up and I got to see my friends once more! I was excited for this part of the race because it was on the mall and I knew there'd be a lot of people and I was not disappointed! 
Hubby running with me to give me my extra shot bloks. Don't mind Nicole's finger blurring the bottom!

I was aware of the time (although I didn't have my watch) and knew I needed to get to mile 20 by 1:05. I was at mile 19 around 12:10 and was so excited that I'd "beat the bridge"! Then when I hit mile 20, it became real.  I wasn't going to be picked up by the slow bus, I had a 10k to go and this was real.  Heading to Crystal City, I hit as much of a wall as I guess you could call it.  I don't really feel like I hit the proverbial wall, it just really started getting hard because my feet hurt. I hadn't seen my buddies since mile 16 and I was worried about my dad beating the bridge!  Luckily at around mile 23, I saw some amazing friends who surprised me by making one more stop before the finish! I needed that. So badly.  Shortly after that, I saw my dad. He had beat the bridge! I was so proud and excited for him.  

So everyone kept telling me there was only a 5k left. I still can't for the life of me understand how those last 3 miles were really 3 miles.  I'm pretty sure someone moved the signs.  We ran past the Pentagon, where 11 years ago runners ran on the same route and saw the destruction from 9/11.  I saw the difference in color on the building and the Pentagon Police cheering for us and that did it for me. I had my motivation to finish.  I knew I'd see my awesome cheering team in less than a mile and I had quite a little hill to deal with on the last .2 miles so I dug in and moved on.  I heard my cheering team before I saw them.  Seriously. If you ever run a marathon, I might hire them out. Then I saw my husband and high fived EVERYONE. Will and my friend Nicole ran with me for about a quarter of a mile to get me to the hill and I ran with adrenaline to the end.

What happened next I could not predict. Of course I was overwhelmed by the fact that I had finished a marathon and was emotional.  Then I continued walking and saw 100s of Marines lining the way for me to get my medal, I high fived and shook their hands and they told me how awesome I was.  I didn't really comprehend how these men and women, who put their lives on the line for our freedom, were telling me I was awesome, so I cried some more. Then I got in line for my medal. I looked for the cutest Marine picked a random line and I was given my medal and it was topped off with being saluted. Wow.  The after effects were typical.  I tried to stretch as best I could and waited for my dad in the finishing area. By that point, I was already chipper and on a high.  I couldn't wait to see everyone I loved and get myself into some warm clothes!  We headed to the OAR tent and got my stuff. They were awesome and gave me an extra medal and food! They also gave my posse some food and drink and we took a few pictures. 

I was really excited about the Coke and SunChips

My dad and I in the tent. We were both ready for a shower!

After a quick little lunch, we headed back to the hotel room, showered and took it REALLY easy.  I was still in my runner's high bliss until this morning. I woke up, thought about what I bad ass I was and then tried to move.  Turns out not training on hills since I live in Savannah doesn't agree with my quads and the 3 significant hills we had to run up and down.  Oh well, I'm still a bad ass, just one that walks a little funny!

Thank you, thank you, thank you to everyone who has supported me over the past 6 months of training and fretting.  Whether it has been financially (you can still donate until November 28th using the link on the right!), emotionally, or running with me when I probably would not have run, I truly appreciate everyone and everything so much more now.  I saw a woman with a shirt on while I was running that said, "The woman who began this race, is not the same woman who will finish." I thought it was so beautiful and incredibly true. I truly appreciate things in a different way now.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Running while sick

So in my excitement of the last week, I somehow picked up some kind of bug that gives me a low grade fever and dizziness when I stand up.  Oh, and my eye twitches if I stand for more than 5 minutes. Yesterday morning I thought, "Well, I don't have a huge fever and it's not in my chest so I can run."

I was on tap to do 12 miles and needed a change in scenery. I've recently been running at Rails to Trails with my friend Dawn. Check out the Save our Rails to Trails Facebook page here. This a great little trail about 10 minutes from our house that I had never been to before August.  If you live in Savannah, you should really check it out. The view is unbeatable.  I'd put up a picture here, but my phone isn't being compatible with my computer right now... Check out the Facebook page, it has pretty pictures too!

Anyways, I had run there every Saturday for 5 or 6 weeks and had 12 on my schedule for yesterday so I decided to head down to Isle of Hope to get it done.  I slept in because my throat had felt a little scratchy on Friday and took my temp to make sure I'd be alright.  I felt pretty good throughout my whole run... my head was a little "full" at the beginning but I fell into a routine and didn't notice it anymore.  Finished my run, went about my day... as the day went on, I started feeling worse and worse.  I ended up eating some soup for dinner, drank some NyQuil, and passed out for 12 hours.

I've been feeling better today, just tired. I took the pup for a walk downtown (again, I'd show you a picture of how beautiful downtown Savannah is, but my computer sucks.) and really wanted to run another 4 or 5 miles but kept myself in check and stuck to taking a 2 hour nap and grocery shopping.  I've been told as long as your cold  is not in your chest and you don't have a fever, you're good to go.  After testing that theory, while I felt great during the run, the aftermath has been a pain in the butt.  I have been sick for more than a year which makes this even more irritating! Oh well, at least it's not marathon weekend!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

19 days and I'm running-logged

Hi Blog Friends,

Bet you're wondering, where the heck did that shirt girl go?  All 5 of you... If that.  It's been about 3 months since my last post and boy have I been busy busy.  If you follow my personal page on Facebook, you'd know I am still in MCM training.  In fact, I'm in taper mode. Which is something I NEVER thought would happen.  I'm getting a bit worn out with running ALL. THE. TIME.  I really should have had a better cross training plan because I feel like all I have done, especially in the last month, is run.  It's like being waterlogged, but with running.

The weather just turned this week though, so I'm regaining my excitement.  I went for a 5 mile run this morning and killed it.  Stayed started off slow with the pup and ditched him,
What are you looking at?

then had negative splits til I was down to 10:09 by the last mile.  I'm ok with that. I was feeling really gross after the Jacksonville Marine Corps 1/2 Marathon this weekend, followed by 7 miles of pure torture the day afterward because I needed to get 20 miles in on the most freakishly hot October weekend ever.  I'm glad I took yesterday off because I did a little rehab with the Hubs to strengthen my legs and core and felt a serious difference.

Hmmm, what else has gone on?  Too much to fill in everything now, but I did PR in a half marathon at the end of August. In Savannah. I also signed up for the Savannah River Bridge Run in December.  It's a 10k, my fave, but it's also twice over the Talmadge Bridge... Google it. You'll see the behemoth.  I want to do the 10k or Half Marathon in February at Tybee, and then perhaps the Blue Ridge Half Marathon.  It's in Roanoke, which is close to Lynchburg. Super college town!

Right now though, I'm going to continue focusing on the Marine Corps Marathon.  It's gonna be such an incredible experience with my father and a plethora of my amazing friends cheering for us.  DC is such a magical place. I've prided myself on never being jaded by it even when I went up there frequently during college. I always have to go say hi to Mr. Lincoln and see the White House at night.