26.2 Recap!

It’s come & gone.  My 2nd marathon.  And I can’t wait until the next one!  Now the moment you’ve ALL been waiting for:  my race day recap:

Pre-Race
My alarm was set to go off at 4.  Guess who woke up at 2am and never fell back asleep?  Yup, you guessed it.  I didn’t stress too much about the 5 hours of sleep because I woke up at 2am for my first marathon and felt fine.  Plus, I seem to have better runs when I sleep poorly the night before.

I ran to Walgreens for a last minute purchase: liquid Immodium.  I realized that was the only thing not “laid out & ready to go” before the race.  I have found the perfect preventative treatment plan for an upset tummy during race day – and it worked like a charm!

Breakfast consisted of oatmeal w/1 tbsp of peanut butter, 1 dark chocolate Ensure (it’s not JUST for old people, friends!), and a few sips of coffee and water (for nerves).  This was the beginning of a perfect nutrition plan.

Race!
We lined up in our corrals and all huddled together for warmth.  The morning started a tad chilly for a tank top & shorts (47 degrees) but I knew I would regret the extra layers by Mile 2 so I toughed it out and laughed at everyone else bundled up with layers to throw off later.

I got a bit teary as I was lining up thinking about my Dad…nerves could have also played into the emotions.  I knew how much he’d love to be there cheering me on.  Although he couldn’t physically be there, he was with me in spirit the whole time. In fact, I’m almost positive he was keeping my mental spirits sky high to push me forward.

Always with me during races.

Don’t mind the sunburn 🙂

The race course was TOUGH.  Lots of hills.  St. Louis is actually a pretty hilly city.  I was extra proud of myself that I never walked once (water stations don’t count), not even up the hills when everyone around me was dropping like flies.  I knew if I’d stop I’d never get started again!

I took advantage of EVERY water/aid station.  At first I mocked the amount of water stations (1 nearly every 1.5 miles) but in hindsight I’m SO glad they were there.  Hitting up the aid stations probably added a few minutes to my finish time, but I’d rather have difficulty in a race due to an injury than lack of nutrition & hydration.  Because it was a much warmer day than most of us were used to (high of 75), I was extra grateful for the salt packets and Gatorade PRO w/extra salt to keep my electrolytes in check.  I never felt a nutritional deficit. I MIGHT have started feeling a tad nauseous around mile 23 from all the gels & Gatorade…

I’m truly not sure how I completed the race.  My knees hurt, my quad injury resurfaced, and my feet hurt by mile 6.  I’d only been able to complete a 16-mile run for my longest run in training so Miles 17-26.2 were harder than they had to be.  The hills killed my knees and the downhills started hurting more than the inclines.  My calves were screaming, my shins hurt from the down-hill slamming, and the bones in my feet felt injured around Mile 22 (they are fine now!).  My lower back hurt from all the compression & slamming, my toenails felt like they were about to fall off.  But it was the fastest 4:49:50 ever.  It’s so cool for me to say I finished in “the 4s!”  WOO!

I only averaged an 11 min. mile (slowed down after Mile 19).  I set my Garmin to scream when I was going fast than a 9 min. mile so I wouldn’t fall into my habit of going too fast and running out of juice. I averaged a 10 min. mile for a good portion of the race.  I was just so happy to have made that much of an improvement from my last marathon of a 12-13 min mile average.  Just goes to show you how persistence and hard work pay off.  I shaved 50 minutes off my last marathon.  How’s that for improvement?!

Picture dump!

In the finish line chute! Just a few more steps!

Beautiful fall day in St. Louis

 

My friend, Travis, stopped by to cheer me on at the Finish!

My cheering squad…minus the puppy that desperately wants to be in the picture. He ran with me for the last mile 🙂 Great boost!

 

Scout was proud of her Mom!

Not to worry, I’ll include the emotional & philosophical component recap in my next post.

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Serious Countdown, Tapering Psychosis

Alright folks…we’re in the single digits on the Marathon Countdown.  One word: NERVOUS.  Goodness, gracious.  I remember the week before my first marathon I was a total WRECK and remember thinking “the stress & worry I’m feeling now is NOT worth it, I’m never doing this again”.  Well, look where I am today.  Doing it again, feeling the same way.

My tummy hurts, my appetite is way down, I’m exhausted, and I’m totally doubting my ability to finish 26.2 with a decent time.  ARGH!  Typical “tapering psychosis”!

To add to the 2 or 3 major setbacks I’ve experienced during my training, I’m currently dealing with an inconvenient case of whiplash thanks to the jerk-face that rear-ended me last week.  I’ve had whiplash accompanied with a fractured C7 so this case is nothing compared to that.  But seriously dude…didn’t you know I have a huge race in a week!?  I don’t have time for the low-grade headaches, neck aches, and unfocused vision.  Wait…no one does!  🙂 duh.

I took 2 days off before running an easy 5-miler (my last “Sunday Runday” before race day!).  I felt fine, just need to remember to relax my neck & shoulders, which I was coincidentally having issues with before the whiplash.

My last few runs will be purely mental: running my “goal race pace” to remember “how it feels”.  You know how you can drive your car without noting your speed and you realize you’re going the speed limit?  It’s kind of like that.  Granted, I’ve BEEN doing that during my other runs, but this week is crucial to tapping into that mental element.  Endurance runs are certainly physical, I won’t undermine the physical training you must go through.  But when race day is here, getting to the finish line is all mental.

I hope my brain can handle it!

Cupcakes…yes, more than 1…like 4.

Okie dokie.  September was a tough month.  My mileage went up and up and up from 8 miles to 20 (scheduled) to make up for my injury time off.  September was also tough on the diet.  It was all good until my dad fell ill and, as it turns out, living in a hospital for for over a week (not consecutively) makes it hard to continue my strict diet of veggies, fruit, and lean protein.  I did my best, but these little tasty treats sneaked their way into my tummy:

S’more
S'MORE

Image source: The Cup

Yep. This cupcake is as decadent as it looks.  Chocolate cake, fudge filling, marshmallow topping, surprise graham cracker bottom, chocolate drizzle, with mini “mallows” and a graham cracker to top it off.  One word: RICH.  Normally I don’t feel guilty stopping half-way for diet purposes, but I just didn’t feel that I could toss the other half in the trash for the sake of my midsection.  Plus, half-way through you discover the delicious fudgy goodness, which always leaves me digging for more cupcake!  This cupcake would be PERFECT with a bonfire.  The “mallow” frosting was my favorite.  No wonder everyone that follows “The Cup” has this one on the countdown!

Peach Cobbler

PEACH COBBLER

Image source: The Cup

I know I’ve had a lot of “favorites” during this Cupcake Challenge.  But seriously.  This one is my #1. My favorite dessert is my mom’s peach pie and/or peach crumble.  August is my favorite time of year only because it’s prime peach season.  Sadly, my birthday is in January (aka, NOT peach season) so my mom freezes peaches so I can have a birthday peach pie.

I had this cupcake twice.  I loved it both times, but the first time was my favorite.  The peaches in the peach cake were a little more “whole”, which I adored.  The second time, they were more dispersed and chopped within the cake.  Still good, though.  The cream cheese frosting?  Ohmygoodness.  Heaven. And the crumble topping made it even more “down home”.  It was fabulous and I can’t wait until next September when this one makes a comeback!

One of my awesome coworkers visited Jilly’s Cupcake Bar in St. Louis last weekend and brought me back on of these monstrous yet delicious treats:

Reese'sChunkage2_940x450

The Reese’s Chunkage.  GAWD.  My office reeked of chocolate, peanut butter, and GUILT.  Just when I’m trying to get my diet back on track after a 2 week slip (family time will do that to ya!) this amazingly delicious treat was practically FORCED into my face 😉

Chocolate cake with chocolate ganache AND peanut butter mousse filling!!!!  I was going to stop half-way on this one since it was the size of my head, considerably bigger than The Cup’s treats. But I discovered the middle goodness and had to keep going.  Top it off with the chocolate & peanut butter buttercream frosting with chunks of chocolate and Reese’s peanut butter cups…and I’m pretty sure I gained 5 lbs. that day.  700+ calories of cupcake = lunch for this gal.

Ugh…even 26.2 miles may not undo the serious cupcake damage from the last month 🙂

Countdown

See that countdown on the right?  Yep. Less than 20 days until that darn Marathon.  Am I excited?  Sure.  I’m excited for it to be over.  This 4-month training has been anything but ideal.  Between a quad tear that knocked me out for a good 2 months and the death of my dad, my heart, body, diet, & mind just aren’t holding up like I’d like them to.

So on 10/21/12 I’m going to need some serious “internet cheering”. Got it? Good 🙂

Last weekend was my scheduled 20-miler.  I made it to 15 and my body said “done”. I didn’t run out of juice or enthusiasm, but my body hurt in ways that couldn’t push through 5 more miles of training.  If it were a race I would have gladly pushed through the pain.  Since I only have 3 weeks til race day, I’m in prime “injury zone” and wouldn’t have enough time to heal properly and confidently to cover 26.2 miles on race day.  So I scaled back and laughed at how ridiculous I sounded by saying “I’m so disappointed I only ran 15 miles today”. HA!  Dumb.

So the tapering continues.  I love tapering but I hate the psychological stress that comes with it.  There’s an article somewhere that when in the “tapering time frame” of training, your mind and body starts playing tricks on you.  You feel every single pain and worry it to death that you’re hurt or coming down with a cold.  Normally I’d take the time to find it to back up my statement with research, but we’re all friends here, so you’ll just have to trust me this time! 🙂

I’ve visited the race website several times every day making sure I’ve got everything covered.  Course map, elevation, aid stations, race start, expo info…you name it, I want it to be second nature.
I promise…cupcake reviews NEXT! Yum!