Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Earth Day Marathon!

The Earth Day Marathon was April 17 in BEAUTIFUL Gambier, Ohio.  Despite torrential rain on Saturday, the forecast was pretty good for Sunday.  Temps in the high 30s, low 40s but winds predicted up to 30 mph.  They nailed the forecast and it was good to be mentally prepared for the bashing that strong in-your-face winds can provide.  I managed to figure out from the course map that there would be a headwind for miles 4-8 and then again from miles 19-26.    I had no major goals but to enjoy the day, be friendly, and stay positive.  Mission accomplished with a 4:21 finish which was almost but not quite a personal worst.  The course was absolutely beautiful!  Cows on a grassy green hillside lit up by peaks of sunshine and blue sky - I was in farm girl heaven!

This race had to have the most friendly runners on earth.  I can probably count on one hand the people who did not speak to me as we crossed paths.  The double out and back course was great.   There were 260 folks running the half and 117 running the full marathon.  Being able to see people in both directions was a very very nice distraction.  Even the lead runners had a nice little something to say to me when we passed!

When things got a little rough in the last 7 miles I starting thinking of our church and decided that I could just go ahead and have a little church of  my own.  Pastor Brandon would say,  " I was gettin' my church on!"  I sang a little Newsboys (out loud - no one was around), I said good morning to the cows, and then I gave myself a little sermon:  Just keep going, don't get negative, this will eventually end.  I closed with Amazing Grace.  This past Sunday was Easter and Amazing Grace (David Crowder style) sounded so much better with a worship band and 400 people belting it out! 

I actually passed a few people in that last stretch.  I ended up being the 8th female of 37 AND I WON MY AGE GROUP!   As I approached the finish, I saw Jerry with the dog paw sign.  I saw the girls run towards the track which I hoped meant they were going to do the final 0.2 miles around the track with me.  I was so happy to see them and have them join me for the finish. 

What a happy day!  Here are some pictures Gina and Abby took throughout the day.

Here we are at the start!  I am empowered by the fact that Gina let me borrow her sweatpants!  It already feels like a great day.

About mile 4 and already  happy that I wore shorts and not tights.

Babs and Beans on the train!

Of course, Jerry could not refuse playing on the train either!

Approaching mile 13.  I'll just carry this drink with me!

Mile 20ish.  Jerry FINALLY remembers my chapstick!  Notice the lack of a crowded course?

A curb approaching mile 26??!!  Then a small, steep downhill??!!  Ouch.......

Best.  Feeling.  Ever.

The haul:  Finishers Medal, Finishers Mug, Pine Seedling,  Socks, and a Hat.  Not to mention the tech tee and sunscreen from packet pick-up.  Not bad for a $50 registration fee and four months of running in crappy weather!  I'd do it again......

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Breakin' 25

Yesterday was the 39th Cleveland Spring Classic in Strongsville.  Last year all four of us participated and came home with t-shirts and trophies.  This year Abby was the only one to represent and she did us proud!

I had put off registering since April is to be a crazy month, but early in the week Abby asked when the race was and indicated that she would really like to go again this year.   I signed her up that night.

I even made the drive to Strongsville on Friday to pick up her packet to ensure that she would get a small t-shirt.  In the past we have had notoriously bad luck with races running out of small size shirts.  She is tiny and an adult medium would never make it.  She said to me later in the day, "Where do people who don't run get their t-shirts?"  We decided the answer to that is vacations and bat miztvahs.

Saturday morning we saw Jerry off on a rather long training run and then we headed west.  It was a nice cool morning with a very fine drizzle in the air.  Gina even dragged herself out of bed to watch Abby run.  This race has free registration for kids under 14 so there were about 4 or 5 buses from Cleveland schools. There were 27 girls in Abby's 1-14 age group but she held them off and crossed the line in 24.36 and was handed a nice 1st place trophy for her shelf.  Her goal going in was to break 25 minutes for the first time so this is her new PR.
From there it was on to Starbucks for mocha and a well-deserved blueberry scone.  It was a great day for her - no puking, gagging or other stomach malfunctions.  We hope to do lots of racing this summer and she has definitely inspired me to try and go a little faster now!  She will have to drop a full 2 minutes to reach my 5K PR, but I am pretty confident that will eventually happen.  Sniff....

Today Gina participated in the Swim for Diabetes.  She was not feeling well but somehow managed to swim 200 laps (5000 yards)!   Another great week of family fitness!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Milestones and Goals

Sunday:  5 miles with Jerry
Monday:  4 miles
Tuesday:  14 miles
Wednesday:  4 miles treadmill
Friday:  10 miles
Saturday:  4 miles

Total:  41 miles

Sunday:  20 miles
Tuesday:  5 miles with local momma-speedster Jackie
Wednesday:  8 miles
Friday:  4 miles
Saturday:  13 miles

Total:  My First FIFTY MILE week!

WooHoo!  I did not plan to run a 50 mile week but while doing the math in my head during the last mile of saturday's long run, I realized that I would have 49 miles for the week.  It did not matter that it would be a high mileage record for me, I needed to do one more mile and make it 50.  I know that a 50-mile week is poppycock to lots of runners out there, but for me it is a new milestone.  So the last 3 weeks of training went really well at 45, 41, and 50 miles per week.  It's taper time.  My goal for the marathon:  Enjoy and Finish.

The twenty mile run stunk though.  We had spent the morning down in the Valley cheering on many friends during the Fools Run 50K, especially my pal V who came from Maryland to run her first trail run.  It was super cold and windy although the sunshine was awesome.  Here we are after the finish.  She makes everything look so easy!  A pot of coffee at our house later, and we once again said good-bye to each other.  Then I changed and headed out for the dreaded 20-miler.  Jerry joined me for the first 10 miles.  That was nice.  The second 10 miles were torture!  I was beat down by the wind and solitude.  I hate it when that happens.

Abby will have her first track meet this week.  She did a pretty nice job keeping up with her running over spring break.  A 6:40 mile on the treadmill kept her motivation up.  She has some nice goals set for track this year.  I think her 1600 PR is 6:32 so she is fairly certain she will crack that. 

Gina has been having a good old time during her break from swimming.  She set a goal that she would walk or run at least one mile every day during the season of Lent.  She has not missed a day and has covered some nice ground.  She is also doing push-ups everyday and whatever else she can come up with - exercise ball, uphill lunges,  etc etc.  She is a pretty funny girl and listening to her find new muscles has been quite humorous.  I know that swimming is a GREAT sport, but it is not weight-bearing exercise and some of those muscles could use some strengthening.  So we are hitting the bike path as much as possible.  Our walk on Saturday evening was great - we had seen Jane Eyre at the theater which set the girls off on perfecting their British accents.  I spent the entire walk smiling and giggling to myself as they carried on their rather silly conversation:  As do I sister, Quite Right, Oh you vex me,  and so on and so forth........

We also passed our one-year anniversary of being vegetarian!  That feels really great!

The other milestone is that Gina now officially can drive!  What a strange feeling to sit in the passenger seat as your teenager takes the wheel.  I think I was sweatier after that event than when I did the 20-miler!  She actually did a great job, but we have a lot of work to do before hitting the roads for real.  For now we are sticking to parking lots and the roads that connect the schools and anywhere else with limited traffic.  But if you live locally - consider yourself warned!