Thursday, May 26, 2011

Marathon Recovery & Weekend Getaway

I have recovered very well frm Fargo on Saturday and have managed a half decent week of bike and swim training. Monday I rode 16 miles (in the wind). Tuesday I swam 1300 yards. Wednesday I rode 14 miles (in the wind). And this morning I swam 1000 yards. My legs feel great and ready to start running again. My back is still a little twitchy but getting much better. Mentally, I feel recovered and super motivated to train hard over the next few weeks leading up to Grandma's and then the half ironman in July.

This weekend, I'll be getting some altitude training in! Sophie, my mom and I are headed to Denver to visit my brother. He moved out there in January and has really got into mountain biking. I have my bike shoes packed and he has a ride planned for us. He also has a trail he wants to take me running on. Sophie is very excited for her first plan ride and to her beloved Uncle Nik and I am looking forward to a fun weekend away. Have a great Memorial Day weekend!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Race Report - Fargo Marathon

It took a lot of work for me to squat down for this picture right after finishing the marathon! :)

Friday morning I had a quick court hearing and then picked up Sophie and my running partner Jim and we headed to Fargo. My back was still quite sore - no more pinching or pulling, but a steady pain. Driving seemed to aggravate it, so Jim took over and I chilled in the back seat with Sophie.

Four and a half hours later we arrived in Fargo and met up with Jim's wife (who was in Fargo for work) at our hotel. We hit the expo right away, and were able to park close to the Fargo Dome and did not hit any terrible traffic. This was obviously the perfect timing, because as we were leaving we drove past lines and lines of cars trying to get in for packet pick up (and the Friday evening race events). We picked up Olive Garden to go and went back to the hotel. After a relaxing evening stuffing our faces with pasta and playing at the hotel pool with Sophie, we had the lights out and were in bed at 9:30.

The alarm went off at 5:45 and Sophie was wide awake asking to go to breakfast. Sidenote: Sophie loves staying in hotels. She thinks she is a big shot. She especially loves continental breakfasts. Anyhow, I had everything laid out so I was dressed and ready for the race quickly. Back? Sore. I was worried about the race. When we went downstairs for breakfast, I could see outside that it was windy and raining. Beautiful.

We caught a shuttle from the mall to the Fargo Dome and had plenty of time to get to the start line. At the start the rain had stopped but it was humid. This is probably a good time to note that at my last laser zapping session the chiropractor gave me some Biofreeze and told me to use it during the race. Right before heading to the start line, I rolled the Biofreeze all over my lower back and right hip. I put it in my check bag. And then decided to carry it during the race. I held onto that little roll on tube of Biofreeze like it was my baby all 26.2 miles.

So the race . . . have you seen those shirts about race strategy, starting slow and then slow down? Yep, that was pretty much me. Whenever I tried to push the pace, I could feel my lower back tightening. And I really wanted to finish. So I just ran slowly. And walked the water stops. I kept this up and felt strong (but slow) for most of the race. About mile 16 -17ish I felt like I was struggling more, but still was able to run between the water stops. By mile 21.5, the wheels pretty much fell off and I walked more between water stops. But I kept going.

Random notes from the run: My stomach was weird the whole race. I only ended up taking to Gu's - one at mile 7 and one at mile 15. By mile 19 I couldn't take the taste of Powerade any more and only drank water. I used my Biofreeze four times during the race - so thankful I rescued it from the check bag and carried it. Although it didn't completely mask the back pain, it made it more tolerable. Around mile 19, I ducked into a porta potty to pee (and to really pour on the Biofreeze). I realized too late that there was no toilet paper. I guess pee running down my leg isn't THAT disgusting. It was humid - and I think the first time I've run in any humidity since oh, September? I was a salty mess.

When it felt like I could run no more, I ran a couple of more miles and was finally at the finish. Sophie was there was Jim's wife and I stopped to give her a hug and a kiss before crossing the line. My clock time was 5:26:something. I didn't wear a Garmin (it drives me crazy in rain/humidity with its crazy screen switching). My slowest marathon yet. But I was so happy that I finished.

After grabbing a quick bite to eat, Sophie and I were on the road back home. Four and half hours in the car without a shower? I swear almost harder than the marathon. By the time I got home, I was a shivering, achy mess. I took a shower, some Advil, and went to bed. Today I engaged in some "active" recovery cleaning the house - all the chores I avoided last week to try to heal my back. I am still quite sore but planning a swim and bike for tomorrow.

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Beam Me Up

I mentioned in my last post that I wrenched my back Sunday while working in the garden. Just what you want to happen the week before a marathon, right? So Monday I went to my chiropractor. When I told her what was going on her first question was, "And when is your next big run?" This woman knows me well. And to my answer - Saturday - her reply was, "Well I guess I better wave my magic wand."

Beside her usual adjustments, she recommended that I get zapped with the laser. Of course she used medical terminology, but basically, it was laser zapping. So yesterday I went in a got zapped with the laser. Between the adjustment and the zapping, I am feeling substantially better. I have another zapping appointment scheduled for tomorrow morning.

I am so thankful that her response was to figure out how to get me to the starting line without pain, as opposed to rolling her eyes, calling me crazy, and suggesting that I shouldn't run. Of course my mom and my husband? They are more on the calling me crazy, suggesting that I don't run bandwagon. Party poopers.

Right now I am cautiously optimistic. I swam this morning and it felt really good. I will try to run a couple of miles tomorrow and, provided I don't feel any tightening while running, will run Fargo on Saturday. I'm NOT crazy - if I feel like running is causing tightening and the potential to wrench everything out of whack again, I will not run. I have Grandma's coming up, and of course the half ironman in July so the most important thing is to be able to get through this little hiccup without too much more time off. Fingers crossed!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Weekend Fun

My hubby and I celebrated our fourth anniversary on Thursday. We have been wanting to take Sophie to a waterpark all winter and it never worked with our schedules, so finally Thursday we headed to Duluth for one night at the waterpark there.

We had lots of fun. AND being in Duluth got me super excited for Grandma's - only a month away! Of course, one little race between now and then - Fargo is less than a week away. Yikes! I have felt really low key about Fargo. I feel like it is more of a training run for a couple of reasons. I've never ran two marathons close together like I will be doing with Fargo and Grandmas and my goal is really just to finish both and have fun.

If I hadn't alreay been feeling low key about Fargo, coming down with a massive cold this weekend and hurting my back today while working in the garden would have brought me right down. Thankfully the cold is already improving and my back injuries are usually pretty responsive to the chiropractor, so I'll be on the phone scheduling an appointment right away tomorrow. My back problems got me my big DNF last spring at Madison and it is NOT going to happen again.

Monday, May 9, 2011

The (Near) Perfect Week

My fellow How I Met Your Mother fans might be thinking The Perfect Week is about a whole lotta loving . . . but I'm talking about a different kind of perfect week. This is a running (slash triathlon) blog.

My workouts last week really did make it a near perfect week - the perfect balance between running, biking, and swimming. Behold:

Monday: Ran 3 miles (at lunch), 30 min. yoga (at night)
Tuesday: swam 1000 yds. (am), ran 3 miles (at lunch), biked 13 miles (after work)
Wednesday: ran 3 miles (at lunch), biked 16 miles (after work), 30 min. pilates (at night)
Thursday: swam 1500 yds. (am), ran 3 miles (after work)
Friday: rest day
Saturday: 15 mile canoe race (in my kayak)
Sunday: 13 mile bike

To make it a truly perfect week, the canoe race would have been replaced by a long run. And the Sunday bike ride would have been longer. But you get the picture. Overall a great start to the month of May.

Monday, May 2, 2011

October Recap

Oh wait, yesterday was May 1st. Well it sure as hell felt like November 1st. Maybe it was the wind, maybe the snowflakes, or maybe the 28 degree temps, I'm just not sure . . .

I didn't end up running the half marathon in Minnetonka. As the week went on (and the gas prices kept going up), I actually made a financial based decision. This doesn't happen to me very often - usually I do what I want to do (or buy what I want to buy) and suffer guilt (and my husband's wrath) later. But I decided it wasn't a good financial decision to drive 90 some miles to a race with gas prices being so high. And I've got a big traveling month ahead - driving to Fargo for the marathon in a few weeks and then flying to Colorado for Memorial Day weekend to hang out with my brother.

So I skipped the race and decided to run my 20 miler by home instead. And then, when I started running and the wind was blasting me from every direction, I said screw it. While I need a 20 mile run, I also need to stay in love with running. And running for four hours into the (freezing cold) wind three weeks before a marathon is not the recipe for warm fuzzy runner feelings. But I ran 5 miles. And we took Sophie to see the movie Hop. And I went to bed at 8:00.

Hopefully November will be better. Oh wait, I mean May. Stupid stupid stupid weather.