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Blog Entries posted by SandiBeach

  1. SandiBeach
    Delayed write-up and post due to crappy life in the beginning of October. (Subject of another post for another day.)
    I love running this 5K every year.  The start is less than a quarter mile from my house, it’s a certified course, there’s a lot of runners around the same speed as I am, and it supports a scholarship for a student at the local high school.  I was nervous about the race, more nervous than I should have been, but I was training well for the AC marathon, and thought a PR (and possibly a sub-20) could happen, so was putting unnecessary stress on myself.  In the back of my mind I thought there was a chance to place overall too.
    The opening ceremonies started promptly at 8 (the race at 8:30), so we woke up, took care of DD, had a good cup of coffee, and walked up to town for the ceremonies.  The race is in memory of a high school student who died years ago.  He was very active in the school and participated in both cross country and marching band, so the marching band takes the opening ceremonies very seriously.  A very moving rendition of Amazing Grace was played, followed by the National Anthem, and then speeches were made by the student’s family.  After that , there was about 15 minutes until the start, so I went for a nice warm-up run.
    Fall had arrived the week before, so I was expecting a warm, but cooler-than-I-trained-in weather for the race.  I wore a light jacket over a tank top and shorts for the walk up, and quickly removed the jacket- best part of having a stroller – holding all the extra clothes I always wear. I planned on a mile warm-up with some strides at the end.  About halfway into the mile I was pouring with sweat.  Apparently, it was an incredibly humid morning.  I finished my planed warm-up, and got back to DH, who was running with DD in the stroller so I could race hard, gave them both a kiss and lined up towards the front of the crowd.  Several hundred high school students run, and they all want to be on the line (and all sprint the start too fast anyway), so I lined up behind a majority of them (as do all the other non-students).
    The starting gun sounded right on time, and all the kids not paying attention screamed and started sprinting. Happens every year and is quite funny. 😁 We took off up a slight incline and ran the straight shot to mile one – 6:26.  Right on my target, but knowing the course, I knew mile 2 would be slower.  Plus, I was hurting.  The course is a triangle, mile 1 up one side (slight uphill), mile 2 wanders some, but is basically the hypotenuse and is more steeply uphill than mile 1, and mile 3 comes back down the other side to the point of the triangle and is a nice downhill, but a little steep in places (there is also a surprise uphill with half a mile left if you are not familiar with the course – DH was very distraught over this the first year he ran it).
    There’s a U-turn at 1.25, and I just barely got to see DH and DD as we made the turn off the main street to start the hypotenuse, that was a nice distraction.  I found myself as 5th female, but I wasn’t going to be able to change that.  We started up the biggest incline and mile 2 clicked off at 6:31 – not bad for the uphill, but my legs were done, and I was overheating (I should have been in only a sports bra, which is how I prefer to run).
    I reached the peak and made the turn for home.  I cruised the downhill, but couldn’t pick up much speed, and the little uphill took any speed left out of my legs.  Mile 3 passed by in 6:37.  It’s an awesome slight downhill for the last quarter mile, so the sprint home always feels fast – the last 0.1 flew by at a 5:42 pace!
    Based on chip time (20:22), I was 7th woman (crossed the line in 5th though), and first in my age group- so I snagged the best race prize ever – a cupcake from the local bakery!!
    I am always on a quest to break 20 minutes – my unofficial (non-certified course PR is 20:12) and my previous best on a certified course was 20:31 – SOOOOOO, BRAND NEW SHINY CERTIFIED COURSE PR!!!! YAY! 😀 Maybe with cooler temperatures and less humidity with a little more 5k centered training that sub-20 will be mine! (working on it for a Turkey trot)
  2. SandiBeach
    The short version – I thought I put in enough training, but “the wall” hit me good, and the marathon humbled me… as it should! Not super disappointed because it was my best effort for the day, and I have a lot more respect for the distance again.  BQs are not easy and that's why they are magical! I will be trying again!
    The Atlantic City marathon is my 17th marathon, but only the 3rd that I have raced, and the first that I have raced in 10 years.  I followed a Garmin-provided training plan pretty-well but missed the longest runs just because I didn’t want to give up family time for 3 hour runs.  My longest training run was 16 miles and I thought I could push the final 10 miles. Spoiler alert. I was wrong. Oops.
    A week out, the weather looked perfect - 50-65 degrees, partly cloudy with light winds.  Then Nestor formed in the Gulf.  I studied the hourly forecast obsessively since Thursday.  The storm was supposed to get to AC around 10am, and ramp-up the wind and rain between 11 and 12 with winds out of the ENE (a direct headwind for the final 5 miles with 4 of those miles on the exposed boardwalk).  Not a good forecast for someone aiming for a 3:20-3:30 with an 8am start time, and the forecast was pretty much spot-on.  Possibly dumbly, but I’ll never really know, my race strategy was to try to go slightly faster in the first half to maybe beat the increases in the wind. So, I started at the fast end of my goal time.
    There was not much to note at the start.  Parking in the garage was easy.  I found an out of the way bathroom in the casino that had no line and I got to the start with a nice 15 minutes to spare and easily made my way to the 3:20 pacer.  (side note – only 50% of us starting in that area were NOT wearing the Nike shoes – maybe that’s why I missed my goal– Ha!).  The weather felt pretty nice, but oddly I didn’t feel chilled at all so maybe it was warm and humid. I wore a thin t-shirt, shorts and detached sleeves, which was perfect for what happened.
    There was a countdown clock at the start line and the race was off exactly on time! Nice organization. My plan was to stay with the 3:20 pacer and see what happened.  He went off on the fast side and our first mile was 7:18, but we settled in around 7:35s after that.  It was a great group.  I was happily chatting away as the first 6 miles just clicked by.  I was feeling good- amazing even! DH and DD were at the 10K split cheering for me, and I waved and smiled as I passed.  Life was good!  We got back to the boardwalk at mile 8ish and DH and DD were there again.  I separated from the group and ran over for a DD high-five and was still feeling great!
    We passed the finish line at mile 9ish, and slight fatigue started to creep in, but nothing too bad.  Then something happened between 10-11.  I got a slight side-stitch, which has been happening in some training runs too.  Then I lost my place in the course.  I thought we were coming up on 12, when it was only 11 – bleh. The wheels started to come off here. (I rolled my sleeves down hoping that would help – it didn’t)  I decided to slow up to hopefully get rid of the side stitch, so dropped from the 7:35 miles to 8:05 for 12 and 13, which would still be good for under a 3:30.  It started to drizzle.  I started to hurt. Where did my awesome feeling go????
    Thankfully, my Mom was cheering on the second half of the course, and she was at 14ish.  I was hurting, but as a veteran marathoner, she had the sage advice to keep going you never know how you’ll feel in a few miles.  She was right I slowed to 8:30s ( BQ still possible) and started to feel better from 15-20.  I was trying to mentally convince myself that there was only a 10K left, and that got me through to mile 21, but then we turned into the wind, and steady rain. 
    My Mom was awesome at getting all over the course to support me, but it wasn’t helping my physical state.  My words to her at 21ish were “everything just hurts.” It did.  I tried to focus on body parts that didn’t hurt, but that just pointed out how even things like my nose hurt with the wind and rain.  Oddly, my muscles were feeling as good as could be expected, but all my joints hurt.  The tip of my toes hurt, my feet ached, kneecaps were screaming, hips throbbing, ribs and shoulders were tight, and my nose, even the tip of my nose, had a stinging sensation.
    At this point my running slowed to 9:30 and that was a struggle.  I knew BQ was out of the question.  Finishing was going to be hard enough, and I HAD to finish so I could wear the shirt.  It is a cool shirt! Haha!
    At 22 I was done. Completely done, and thirsty.  I was drinking every water stop, but I was thirsty, which I’ve never felt before while running. I focused on running to the next water stop.  Then I was going to walk and enjoy Every. Last. Drop. of the Powerade and water!  I did just that! BUT oh, walking hurt too, and differently.  It accentuated the hip pain but helped with the rib pain.  Whatever, I had to pick up some form of run, or it would take forever to finish and I was getting cold. (I put my sleeves back up – Yay sleeves – I do love those things).  So, I shuffled along at an 11:00 pace, but would get a disconcerting pain under my ribs and I was also making some horrible grunting noises.  Since my time was shot already, I’d just walk every time that pain would start and pick up a shuffle when it went away.  Miles 22-26 were between 10:30 and 12:45 pace.  To be honest, I felt so bad, I didn’t even notice how windy and rainy it was until after I finished, so I doubt that impacted my race too much. 
    To sum up how I felt in those last 4 miles… The 3:50 pacer passed me with 100 yards to go, right where DH and DD were cheering and said, “you can’t let me pass you now in front of the kid,” and I just yelled back, “sure I can!” and I did. BUT I still finished under 3:50 and I was 5th out of 71 in my age group and 25th woman overall, which I believe indicates the tough conditions of the day.  Today, I am proudly wearing my “finisher” shirt as, even though my time wasn’t what I hoped, I am proud of my effort and that I put it all out on the course yesterday.  Plus, I can say I finished a marathon in the remnants of a tropical storm! Oh, just as a kicker, today the weather is absolutely gorgeous!
    Race day thoughts: “I’m happy I did not qualify for Boston – I’m never racing a marathon again.”
    Day after race day thoughts: “This race would count as a good long training run…I wonder what local marathons there are at the end of November?  Maybe I could run Philly better…” Contemplating it at least! 😊
    Lessons learned: Marathons are a special form of hard and you can’t underestimate them.  Only racing a marathon can show you what racing a marathon is like (kind of like only childbirth can prepare you for what childbirth is like– and that is the only comparison that can be made between those two things).  I don’t think a perfectly flat course worked for me.  The only inclines were before mile 5 and I think the complete flatness contributed to the joint pain.  There was no variation on what was being impacted with EVERY step.  Don’t wear shoes that do not fit perfectly – duh – stupid rookie mistake for someone that is not a rookie.  Practice fueling – my fueling while running was pretty much non-existent, which probably contributed to that wall-smack.
    Not what I hoped for, nor what I expected, but a finished marathon is a good marathon (since although in some pain today, I believe nothing is injured)!
  3. SandiBeach
    I read a piece of advice on tinamuir.com about writing a letter to yourself providing the advice you would tell a friend if they were having pre-race nerves.  So, this is my letter to self.  The letter is regarding an upcoming local 5K this weekend that I set as a pre-marathon goal race.  The pain of a 5K is some kind of special, and I always get more nervous for them than anything over 10 miles.  Plus, in the back of my mind, I want to place well, and maybe PR, and maybe break a time barrier that has always been slightly out of reach…, and so I spiral down the mental path of too much pressure about a race that should just be a test of my ability at this specific point in life, AND more importantly should just be FUN!!
    Dear Sandibeach,
    It is so exciting that your race is finally coming up this weekend and you can see how well your training is working!  You’ve worked very hard to regain all the running fitness (and then some) that was focused on other, more important things last year.  You are now in the best running (maybe even any) shape that you have ever been in! Yay for that no matter how fast you can race a 5K! 5Ks are difficult and its hard to make even small gains in time for the short distance, but you can feel the fitness in yourself.
    You’ve seen the increases in pace over the last few weeks with the added 5K specific workouts.  I mean you ran a 6:36 mile as the final mile of a 4-mile tempo run without being at max effort.  That felt pretty awesome, didn’t it?!?! Less than a year ago you couldn’t run a single mile under 7 minutes, let alone one after three other hard miles.  Just look how far you have come in one year! 
    Don’t compare yourself to anyone else, and don’t worry about who is going to show up, and whether there is a chance to place overall.  These things are out of your control, so stop wasting energy on them.  The race is your opportunity to see just how far you’ve come and provide an idea about how far you can go.  Push yourself to see what you can do, no need to waste energy on strategies to compete with other people, as that will not necessarily show you all that you can do, but will allow others to control you and your race.  The goal should be to execute your race for your best time, and the race results and the items out of your control will fall where they will.
    Don’t doubt your abilities.  You can do hard things.  The race will hurt, but you can push through.  Embrace the hard to see how far you have come and discover the impacts of the training plan.  Think of the training plan as the hypothesis of a big science experiment and the race as the results of that experiment.  After the race, you can draw conclusions and develop a new hypothesis/training plan.  You would be selling yourself and the training plan short if you don’t just go out a run the best race you can run.  This is your chance to show off the abilities of the plan and the work you have put into following the plan.  The race is the finish line.  The hard part is done, and now is the time to SHINE, celebrate, and feel the results of the work payoff.  Go out there, be smart, and run the race that the training has made you capable of and that the conditions of the day will allow (whatever the results may show)!
    Your BIGGEST fan!
  4. SandiBeach
    Actual temperature = 99*
    Heat index = >110*
    antsy to get outside and move
    105 minutes on the schedule = 20 minute short run just to burn off some energy, be smart, and stay safe
    mile 1 = lots of sweat, but happy to be moving (9 minute mile)
    mile 2 = one single rain cloud- summer downpour!
    splashing through puddles, soaking wet, unconsciously increasing speed = joy and uncontrollable laughter = looking like a grinning crazy lady running
    mile 2.25 = perfect rainbow
    mile 2.5 = 20 minutes = I don't want to stop, rain ends
    21 minutes = sun returns - puddles on blacktop = hot bath water splashing up and running down my legs.
    2.64 miles = home, dripping with sweat and rain, soaked to the bone and so thankful for the perfect joy-filled run, even if not the long run on the schedule.
    Just what I needed.
  5. SandiBeach
    I've made a commitment! Sort of a commitment that is.  I picked a marathon to attempt a BQ, but I have until August 31 to sign up before the price increases.  As such, I have not signed up yet, and really haven't made any commitment to the race yet. (Working on baby #2 might come first--we'll see) The commitment part is only that I started a training plan (good training for possible future pregnancy too).  The goal race is the Atlantic City Marathon, and my training plan started on July 1st.  I'm using the Marathon Advanced plan provided by Garmin, which is time based and starts at around 30-35 miles per week at my paces.  So far, I've been pretty good at completing a majority of the assigned runs, but have "failed" at two workouts.  The first was a 90 minute long run that I cut 2 miles short due to lack of bringing hydration with me (DUH it was close to 90*), and coming off of a summer cold,  The second was a hour-long run with 40 minutes at a "steady pace."  I managed two miles of the steady pace before a cramp made me decide that finishing the run in quarter miles of running with walking until the cramp subsided was not worth it.  First two weeks = 27 miles per week  - not exactly marathon training distances (but it IS only week 3 - I was running around 30 miles per week before starting the plan), and the current week is going better - for now.  I'm at 22 miles so far, with completing (yay hydration!) a 90 minute long run on Sunday and a 3 x 10 minute tempo run (5.7 miles total) today with easy runs to fill in the rest.  That same "steady pace" run looms ahead, along with a handful of "recovery threesies" to total 16 more miles - big jump in mileage... We'll see about the steady run based on the record-setting heat and humidity predicted for later this week.  I might cut it to an hour of easy, or 40 minutes (or 30 - same as last week) with 20 at pace- also depends on whether I can find time for DH to watch DD- it will likely be too hot at the times I can get out for long stroller sitting.
    I'm getting on the bandwagon to complain about running in heat and humidity.  Don't get me wrong, I really do LOVE 90* and low humidity days for living (less happy about the high humidity we've been having, and the almost 100* coming this weekend), but summer is THE BEST!  However, I don't enjoy seeing my paces slowing with each hard effort.  I keep telling myself, that I will see AMAZING things once the temp/humidity drops, but since I've never before trained outside through the summer, it's hard to convince myself this is true...I'm stubborn-HA!  Every so often I miss the treadmill, and its predictability of weather and paces.  Anyway, I'm going to quote Des Linden, and just "keep sowing up" and optimistically dream about the zoooooming that will happen in September/October! 😎 Enjoy the sun and sweating everyone!
  6. SandiBeach
    As a Mother’s Day present from my Mom, she offered to watch DD while I ran a 5K race in Cape May, NJ – a 2.5 hour drive for her.  (DH had a horrible work schedule for the past month or so and has been stuck working weekends).  I really wanted to see how fast I could run a 5K with my current training.  I haven’t tried to race a 5K in almost two years.  For that last race I finished in 21:43, which was good enough for 2nd in my age group and a cupcake from the local bakery (still my favorite prize ever)!  My goal was to beat that time, and possibly be under 21 minutes.
    I chose the Great Cape May Footrace mainly because it is a certified course, but also because it is a combined 5K/10K, and the 10K gives out prize money, which makes the 5K less competitive, and just for fun I wanted a shot at placing overall in a race.  Looking at the past results, my goal time would have been first last year, but there was bad weather last year, and you never know who is going to show up for a race, so i didn't want to get my hopes too high.
    Race morning, I got up nice and early, packed DD up and drove the 1.5 hours down to Cape May. We got there at 6:40 for the 8am start.  Upon arrival, I had a PoP emergency.  My Mom wouldn't arrive for another 20 minute, so wasn’t sure what to do with DD.  Quick decision - I strapped her into her front carrier and took her into the PoP with me.  Luckily, it was very clean and hadn’t been used yet (that I could tell).  DD LOVED being in the "little blue room" and wanted to touch EVERYTHING! HA! I took care of my business and managed to keep DD from getting her hands on too much – Success! Weird, but a success, racing always makes for “fun” experiences!
    We crossed the street, picked up my number and met my Mom at 7am.  My Mom and I walk, a lot, it’s just what we do. So, we strapped DD into her stroller and took a walk down the promenade. After a two-mile walk, we were back to the start, and I ran a few strides in an adjacent parking lot.  Everyone in both the 5K and 10K gathered, and I was standing next to one of my favorite run-bloggers (outside of the loop of course), Fueled by Lolz/Hollie (she is much faster than me and was running the 10K - see fast people go for the prize money! 😀).  We chatted for a few seconds – she is super friendly.  They played the National Anthem, reviewed both courses, and we were off with a shouted “GO.” So very different, and just as fun, from the high-production starts of Run Disney.
    We ran about 100 yards before a quick right turn off the street along the beach and into the neighborhood house-lined street.  This road consisted of the first of the two hills on the course (about 10 feet elevation gain).  I took off a little fast but settled in to a “hard but I think I can maintain” pace.  I could see four women in front of me, including my new friend – GO HOLLIE! I tried to hang with her and mile one ticked off in 6:27.  I passed one of the women as we made our way back to the road along the beach.  We stayed on this road for 1.5 miles. A woman passed me here, at about mile 1.2 in the race. We passed the start/finish at about the halfway point in the race.  I waved at my Mom and DD as we passed, a nice little distraction, but the super suck of a 5K was really setting in now. I took a quick look at my watch expecting to be close to mile 2, and it read 1.65 – ugh.  However, the woman that passed me wasn’t pulling away, so I just focused on keeping her close.  Mile 2 came in at 6:43, and I noticed that the woman was fading and I was closing the gap.  I passed her just before the 5K turnaround around mile 2.15.  The turnaround was the first point that you could see who was running each race.  Thrilled, I saw all three of the women ahead of me continue straight!
    I made the turn and headed for home, so happy to not be running 10K! I saw the woman I just passed was also in the 5K, and I was struggling hard now.  Right after the turn was the second approximately 10-foot hill to get onto the elevated promenade.  I was worried I was going to catch my foot on the steep incline and fall on my face.  Thankfully, this did not happen.  I pushed as hard as I could the last mile, with only two thoughts, try to run under 7 minutes for all three miles, and try not to get caught.  I wasn’t about to glance back to see where woman #2 was, but since I was fading, I felt the pressure behind me.
    The finish line is in sight for about half a mile.  It is such a tease, as it doesn’t seem to get closer with each step.  The “6 mile” sign for the 10K felt so painful since I thought it was the “3 mile” sign, but then realized I still had 0.2 miles left not 0.1.  Soul-crushing in a 5K - HA! Mile 3 6:54.
    I could see the race official yelling “1st woman” when I was about 50 yards from the finish, and they stretched the banner across the line.  I wasn’t sure what to do. Do I raise my hands, and hit it with my stomach/chest? Are they going to lift it over my head, and my raised hands would catch on it? Crap, I never had to think about this before. With the last three steps I decided to raise my hands up.  The banner wrapped around my stomach in a wonderful hug – one of the best feelings EVER! I won a race!!!! I can’t believe I won a race!! The second woman faded more than I did and finished about 25 seconds behind me.  After catching my breath, and suppressing the vomit, we congratulated each other.  My time was 21:08, not under 21, but significantly better than my last 5K, so yay! I picked DD up and gave her the biggest sweaty hug. 😍 She’s the best training partner and helped me get so much stronger than I thought possible!
    It was a beautiful morning, so we took a long walk all around town looking at the beautiful houses, strolled on the beach, and went back for the award ceremony.  I picked up a cool-looking clear medal, and an engraved beer glass that I have since used for all my drinking- both beer and water! 😊 My new friend Hollie, although not thrilled with her pace, was 2nd in the 10K – Congrats to her in the much harder race!! I was much happier running only half the distance! 😀
    I was hoping for a picture of the finish line, but sadly, I haven't been able to find one, even though there were a bunch of people taking pictures.
  7. SandiBeach
    RunDisney races- always early, well-organized and IMO Super-fun! This weekend was Star Wars themed.  Now, I used to be a huge Star Wars fan.  I nerded-out reading all the published books that expanded on the original three movies and loved it.  Then the new movies came out, and, of course none of them followed the books I read, so the world I envisioned was destroyed, and although I was happy to see the new movies, I never became a huge fan.  However, I couldn’t object to a trip to Disney for a race, and the original movies are a big focus of the races.  Plus, the course should be the same as the last 10K I raced prior to the baby adventure (I thought the course would be the same in August when I signed up for the race – it was not).  
    Dark and early wake-up at 2:30am I usually can get ready in 15 minutes for a race, but this time. I needed time to pump milk and get completely dressed before my brother arrived at 3:15am to watch DD sleep during the race.  Everything went smoothly and I was on the bus to the start by 3:30.  I like to arrive early to avoid any stress and get in the corral when they open so I can start towards the front without too much of an issue.  The 10K doesn’t require proof of time for getting in the first corral, so there is small amount of people that provide the wrong estimated finish time, and then force their way to be on the line at the start.  I’m not about to get in the middle of that trampling-pushing-mess, but I like to start in the first wave (where I should with my predicted pace).
    5:30 start time – right on time and with a beautiful firework sendoff, and obligatory StarWars music.
    I started a little farther back than other times I’ve run Disney, about 15 seconds off the start, but in the first wave, so not a big deal.  I didn’t want to waste energy, so I tried to keep an even pace and avoid weaving around people too much, and there were a lot of people to weave around.  However, it only took less than an 8th of a mile to get by the mess and settle into a comfortable pace.  My plan was to pick a “comfortable hard” pace and only look at my watch when the mile buzzed. 
    Mile 1- nothing much to note after finding my place and comfortable pace.  It felt like a sufficiently easy pace that I could probably maintain.  BUZZ BUZZ- my watch read 7:06 – Well, that’s faster than I thought -cool! I wonder if/when I will crash.  Just keep going until you can’t.
    Mile 2- This is a completely straight road and feels maybe slightly downhill, but probably is just perfectly flat.  There was some video screen entertainment and remixed StarWars music, nice to keep you moving along.  I kept moving at what felt like a consistent effort, maybe I felt a little more strained, but still “comfortably hard.” BUZZ BUZZ – 6:55 – huh, that’s even faster, and I don’t feel like crap – maybe my watch isn’t working right, but the mile markers are matching up. Just keep going until you can’t.
    Miles 3 and 4- This is where the hills were located. Florida hills (i.e. overpasses), but still- hills.  I felt powerful on the up hills and cruised to recover my breath on the downhills. I guess pushing approx. 50 pounds up slight hills during training was useful! I passed 2 women on the hills but was starting to feel like I was working some by the end of mile 4.  BUZZ BUZZ – 7:06 then BUZZ BUZZ – 7:00.  Still holding pace, I’m probably going to slow, but maybe 45 is going to happen!  Just keep going until you can’t. Just keep going until you can’t. Just keep going until you can’t.
    Mile 5 – You enter EPCOT and there are a lot of turns through this mile.  I was feeling it now.  It was starting to hurt, and 1 of the 2 women I passed on the hills was able to pass me back on the flat. I kept her in my sight, but knew I couldn’t reel her in, at least not the way I was starting to feel.  BUZZ BUZZ – 7:30. Crap- that was a lot slower but felt even slower than that.  If I hold this pace, I will be under 45!!!! Just keep going until you can’t. There’s only 1 mile left…Give it all you got. You can push through pain…do it now! Go, go, go!
    Mile 6 – Around the world of EPCOT – I’ve run this numerous times. A nice curved loop of 5 - 10 foot slight hills. I could push it-I KNOW THIS LOOP-JUST GOOOO!.  It was a new sensation, and a wonderful one at that. Like never happened before in a race for me, I was able to pick up the pace in the final mile.  I could feel the increase in speed- So much fun! One-two-three-four, One-two-three-four, One-two-three-four- Just keep going until you can’t. I like to count to 4 over and over and over again when I want to distract my brain.  It also serves to keep my step cadence up and regulates my breathing.  These were the only thoughts in my head for the last 1.2 miles – Even the loud remixed Starwars music couldn’t distract me.  BUZZ BUZZ – 7:14!!!!  Only 0.2ish left – PUSHHHHHHH ITTTT!!!!  My tangent running isn’t too bad, but I know it’s always going to be more than 0.2.
    The finish line – I could see the woman in front of me – about 10 - 15 seconds. There was no catching her in less than a quarter mile, and I wasn’t concerned about that – I just wanted under 45 at this point.  You can see the line with about 30 seconds left of running.  The announcers call out the finisher’s names at this point since there are not too many, unlike later in the race, when there are so many finishers they could never keep up.  I heard them announce the woman in front of me – followed by “she’s a top-ten finisher.” The clock is well under 45, and I was off the start…45 minute 10K here I come!  Wait – what? Did he just say she was in the top ten? She was probably 10th – still 11th would be awesome. Yay! - “My Name” was announced! Two male names - sprint! Don’t let them pass! Well under 45 minutes now!  Did he say anything after my name – I don’t remember – oh well.  Across the line YESSS– the clock is STILL well under 45!! I DID IT!! Wait, I just heard the next woman coming down the home stretch’s name, and she’s in the top ten too… That means I must be in the top ten! Is that right?? Could I be in the top ten finishers?? At this point, I was stopped by an official writing my number down – I guess I am in the top ten – nobody has ever cared about my number before. TOP TEN!!!! Weeeeeeee!  Cue the tears and overly large stupid grin on my face. Final official time was 44:28 - I couldn’t believe that I crushed my “A” goal AND came in 7th overall woman (8th by net time) and 2nd I my age group! It was my fastest 10K in over 5 years, and my 3rd fastest ever – less than a minute off my PR! Watch out PR – I’m coming for you!
    Plus, on the bus and back to the hotel before DD woke up for the day!
    Now I can’t go to a RunDisney weekend without doing the “challenge” of the 10K on Saturday and the Half marathon on Sunday… stay tuned to see if I “blew up” on the Half or not! Last time with the same training plan but on the treadmill, I ran a 45:32 10K and had a “super-happy” half marathon finishing in 1:44.  My goal for the Half was to “run happy” again, and see what time that resulted in.  In the back of my mind I was hoping that would result in under a 1:45 since I had done several 10 mile runs during training at around 8:15 min/mile.
  8. SandiBeach
    Back in October I was up to running about 10 miles per week, and basically running two runs at “as fast I could” speed for up to 4 miles.  Every run felt hard, but I wanted to make some progress, and I had no idea how to judge speed while running with a stroller.  My trusty Garmin was saying I was running around 9:30s, which felt very difficult (7:30s used to feel easy). At the beginning on November I ran a 10K I ended up somewhere between 50 and 51 minutes. I was thrilled with this time, but was burnt out.  I had no desire to keep running the way I was doing it. It was just too much work every day and it wasn’t fun.  Plus, my feet were hurting, and the weather was getting nasty.  So, I backed off running and maybe logged 10 miles total all of December.  January was filled with walking every day at lunch, but still not much running.  During this time, I lost a steady 2-3lbs per month, and by the time February came, I was feeling better, and the weather was starting to turn around a bit.
    The first week of February I decided to try the training plan for a 10K that I did right before getting pregnant.  So I set up the schedule for on my Garmin for an April 27th 10K race. If anyone remembers, I did the entire training cycle on the treadmill with a hope of an under 45 min 10K, and I ran 45:32 in very hot and humid conditions.  This time I was going to run the entire plan outside while pushing a stroller (I have a semi-running stroller, and still use the car seat insert so that DD can see me, and I her, the entire time).  This set-up, stroller +baby, weighs about 50 pounds, which adds a nice “something extra” to intervals run on a slight incline 😉. My muscles were in a little shock after the first few runs, but it was a nice soreness.
    Having easy runs and working hard with specific workouts felt good! The times were not comparable to what I ran on the treadmill, but with pushing the stroller and running hills I could feel strength building!  With about 3 weeks left until race day, I could feel the training clicking!! There were even a couple of training runs calling for 10K and 5K paces that I ran faster paces than I did on the treadmill!  One of the best parts of the training cycle was the weekend long run.  I ran approximately 10 miles four weeks in a row.  I would run the first 3-4 miles with DH pushing DD in the stroller and finish the last 6-7 miles on my own.  These runs all felt amazing with the best company/distraction for the first part and nice “me time” for the remaining miles!
    Training was going well, but I made a calculation mistake.  The race I thought was on April 27th was actually on April 7th.  Oops, I realized this with about 4 weeks until the actual race day.  I continued with the plan, skipping three weeks at the end, but making sure I did the final race week, so that a week of tapering with some little shakeout runs occurred.
    I went into the training hoping to better 48min for the 10K, but with those few awesome training runs, I started contemplating the possibility of that 45…  So C Goal – 48 minutes (I would be disappointed if I run slower than that), B Goal – Under 47 (I would be happy with this result), and Absolutely ecstatic A Goal – beat 45:32 (my recent pre-pregnancy 10K time).
    Race report is written and coming soon!
  9. SandiBeach
    This was written in October 2018 while I was building my running base after having a baby in July 2018. 
    My feet ache…I think I need new running and/or walking shoes.
    Sometimes I qualify as a stereotypical girl, I find any excuse to buy new shoes…they just typically tend to be running shoes.  Although…I do enjoy a nice colorful pump.  Oh, and don’t get me started on knee-high boots.  They’re the only reason I’m happy for fall, to start wearing those again. But running shoes, definitely running shoes, are my largest expense, and I haven’t purchased a new pair in over 15 months.
    My shoe size didn’t change during pregnancy, which I was warned might happen, but I believe my bone structure might have changed slightly, and/or my feet still are not used to carrying extra weight while running or walking fast.  Every time I stand up my feet hurt, and it takes a few steps for the achiness to go away. Not sure what that’s about, but since I am still about 20% heavier than I was pre-pregnancy, I think that may be the cause…or it’s the shoes.  Really, I just want an excuse to buy new shoes.
    I’m trying to train smart by only running every other day, or so, and I’ve been increasing a half a mile per run each week.  I started with one mile runs and am now up to three mile runs…If you do the math, you’d realize that the increase was faster than my plan.  I jumped from 2 miles to 3 miles between last week and this week.  But back to the shoes, did I mention I want to buy new ones?  I guess I will gradually rotate a new style in every once in awhile to attempt to avoid changing anything too abruptly. 
    As you can probably tell I am trying to be cautious to avoid injury.  Although, now that running is starting to feel easier, I’m (probably) dumbly stating to increase distance at a much faster rate than I originally planned.  I’ll stay at 3 mile runs for a while now though.  I think 10 miles per week is a pretty good goal for now.  I might start to throw some speedwork in there if my feet cooperate, which brings me back to the shoes…time to shop and hope that they help with the foot achiness. 😊
     2019 UPDATE- I got new shoes! I switched from Asics/Brooks/Adidas to all Suacony and my feet have been much happier- I also lost 15-20 pounds and took a break in December, but I’ll give the credit to the shoes! 😊 It's always the shoes😉
  10. SandiBeach
    Flashback to the end of September 2018 (from memory):
    There’s a local 5K in the town by our house held by the high school every year.  It’s a great race, we live within walking distance the start and finish, it’s reasonably priced, and supports a scholarship for a local high school student, so no excuse not to run really.  Side note - the bakery in town provides cupcakes as prizes to the age group winners – best award EVER! This year it was 4 weeks after I was cleared to run- about 10 weeks after DD was born.  DH said he would join me and push DD in the stroller, which kept me from trying to race…probably a smart thing.  It’s the only organized race I have ever been able to convince him to do, plus, he joined me in the ice cream mental recovery 😊, so no time goal, but I wanted to run the entire thing.
    We started towards the back of the crowd and took off at a nice semi-easy pace.  DD slept for the entire time, waking up at the finish, so I think she enjoyed it! The up hills got a little difficult, but we maintained pace.  DH, not having run anything in over a year, and not used to running with the stroller, struggled a bit, which was too be expected, but I’m proud of him for not stopping.  I felt pretty good, but I didn’t have the stroller. We finished in under 31 minutes, just under a 10 min/mile pace.  Awesome for both of us! 😊 AND a very enjoyable run with the entire family!! No cupcake for me this year, but I hope to get back there again for 2019.  (DH did stop by the bakery to surprise me with a purchased one though – Yum!)
    DD’s first 5K:

  11. SandiBeach
    I’m Back…running/training again that is! And hopefully as a more active member of this community.
    I wrote this entry back in September 2018 and never posted it, not sure why, but I think I got distracted by running/walking and taking care of my new little girl.  We have been blessed with a fun-loving, smiley little girl that is laid-back, but constantly moving, and very easy to keep happy.  I absolutely love being the mom of this wonderful girl!
    Sept 2018 - I am preparing myself for the hard work of coming back to running and racing.  It’s exciting and slightly scary at the same time.  Trying to draft a plan in my head has been difficult, along with trying to figure out logistics with a baby.  Let’s backtrack first.  I ran my last mile at 33 weeks pregnant, which was back in May.  My body just didn’t want to run any more, but I did continue to walk every day until 39 weeks.  Our little girl was born mid-July (39 weeks, 4 days). A very looonnnngggg hard labor, but that’s a separate story with little relevance to running, except that I might be better at endurance now than before. 😉 Side note- delivering a baby is nothing like running a marathon.  For me at least, the marathon is much less painful.  For some reason I thought that running a marathon would prepare me for labor, but I was so wrong – Ha!
    There was nothing very notable about my recovery. I did eat a large (notable) amount of ice cream… good for mental recovery, maybe not so much the physical. 😀  I just rested a lot and did not try to do any strenuous exercise until the 6-week, “your back to being a normal person” check-up with my doctor.  I was cleared to resume all activity at that appointment.  Yay, running could commence!  The week of the appointment I started walking harder and throwing a few “I’ll just jog for the distance between those 2-3 mailboxes” in the middle of the walks.  Everything felt okay, but not great. 
    I was curious to get a baseline of where I was starting from before doing too much running, so the first chance I got, which was almost 7 weeks postpartum. I set out to run one mile as fast as I could.  There’s a housing development by my house that has a perfect half mile loop, with about a 20-foot change in elevation.  I took off starting on the downhill at what I perceived was a hard, but not all-out effort.  I looked down at my watch and was pleasantly surprised to see a low 7:XX on the pace readout!  I then hit the flat section and the uphill and that pace quickly slowed, and the effort became "all-out."  The second lap I was able to maintain a consistent speed for the entire lap, but it was significantly slower than the first, and I was on to the edge of losing my breakfast on the slight incline at the end of the loop.  Overall, I finished the mile in 7:59, which was better than I expected, but it felt incredibly difficult.  (Pre-pregnancy I did a 7:19 min/mile 10K). I would not have been able to run much farther at a similar speed, and the next day my muscles let me know that they were not prepared for the run, but I am happy with where I am at.
    Summary of week 1
    Sunday – 1 mile time trial – 7:59
    Monday – no running, a mile walk to breakfast and a 2 mile walk in the evening
    Tuesday- 1.6 mile lunch walk, 1 mile run at 9:20 average pace speeding up over the distance followed by 1.6 miles walking
    Wednesday – evening walk, with intermittent random distance easy jogs at conversational pace
    Thoughts- coming back from very little is difficult.  The heat and humidity (heat index over 100 Monday-Thursday) doesn’t help either. Once I get up to a 2 mile straight run, I think I will try to develop a more structured plan, but for now I’m winging it based on how I feel, but just not increasing anything too rapidly. -END-
    I have another bloop already written from October 2018. I then plan on posting the short version of what happened between October 2018 and March 2019, followed by training updates and random running thoughts now.
  12. SandiBeach
    I've been lurking around, reading every post, but not commenting much, or adding any of my own.  My last post was my race recap back in the beginning of November after 3 months of treadmill training, which resulted in a successful 10K almost hitting my "A" goal, followed by a 'happy" half marathon full of pure running joy! After that success, the ever present, "so I think I should try to BQ again" thoughts crept jumped into my brain. And the planning of which 2018 marathon to make my attempt commenced. Short-lived planning that is.  Because four days later...WHAM!!!! - life.  
    Unexpected, ecstatic, over-the-moon excited, LIFE!!!! Four short days after that joyful half marathon, that little stick that women get to pee on showed a wonderful "+" sign, and my DH and I were/are thrilled to be expecting our first child in July!  Apparently, I was already 3 weeks pregnant at the race. Can I use that to say I would have hit my "A" goal if it wasn't for the baby? - Ha!
    So needless to say, I put my BQ training plans on hold until after the little one joins the world, but I haven't hung up my running shoes.  Now, at 4 months in, and with my doctor's complete blessing (always find a doctor who is a runner- makes life much easier) I am still hitting the treadmill 3-4 mornings a week.  I try to get a 5K in every time, but it doesn't always work out that way.  Sometimes its 2 miles, sometimes a 30 minute walk. I run by feel, and by heart rate, backing off when my breathing gets labored or if my heat rate gets steadily above 150.  This leads to a very boring-to-report 3.1 miles 3-4 days a week at a pace between 8:30 and 9:30 min/mile.  My pace keeps slowly declining, but I feel good, and I just felt the baby kick me for the first time this morning!  I'm guessing the kicks were because today was my first day not running this week, and he/she missed bopping around for 30 minutes. 
    I doubt I will be posting much except for updates when my running changes, but for now I've been steadily chuggin along doing the same thing pretty much every day, which is quite boring to write (and read) about.  Plus, I do plan on a good blooping topic as I again make a running comeback (and possible BQ attempt) when my body is ready hopefully starting sometime in the autumn.  Perfect timing for indoor running again!
    I will be here reading all your running updates though, as they are my mental break from work, and I enjoy every single one of them! 
  13. SandiBeach
    It's about time that I updated everyone on how my goal 10K race went on 11/4/17.  Since returning from the mini vacation running trip, life has thrown a few curve-balls at me, but nothing bad.  THANK YOU to everyone who provided comments on pacing strategy, I appreciated reading them all!!!!
    It was the 10K with the Wine and Dine Half in Disney World. Nothing like a nice trip to Florida just when temperatures start to drop up here in the mid-Atlantic!  The weather was beautiful for hanging out with my family (who mostly live just next door to Disney), but slightly humid for racing. It was 66 and foggy at the start of the race at 5:30am.  Good thing I train at that time every morning, so waking up with the 3:15am alarm wasn't too bad for me.  
    Nothing beats the party atmosphere of a Disney run at 4am! This year the DJ conducted a lip-sync competition between the corrals, which was highly entertaining, and the hour wait for the start flew by! Before I knew it, fireworks were sending us on our way.  I studied the results from last year and realized a 45 min pace would put me around the top 100 finishers (Disney races make you feel fast!), so of the crowd of 10,000, I put myself about 10 seconds from the front of corral A.  Just enough people to keep my speed in check down the initial stretch, but not enough to have to weave around people for too long. 
    As suggested, I decided to run by feel, and not look at my watch until the first mile marker.  I ran what I believed to be "comfortably hard" and hit the first mile in 7:06, mile 2 was 7:09 and 3 was 7:14.  All three of these miles felt "comfortable," and I didn't really think I was slowing down. Then I hit the "hill" and I quickly became aware of the problem with my treadmill training at 0%.  The barely-a-hill overpass (my Garmin says I gained 7 whole feet in elevation that mile-Ha!) dramatically slowed my speed, and mile 4 clocked in at 7:29.  After climbing the mountain, I was able to bounce back with a 7:11 and 7:17.  I was also able to push slightly harder, and finished the last 0.3 (Garmin's calculation) at a 6:51 pace!  All in all I averaged 7:14 (Garmin) exactly my goal! So I am SUPER happy with that, but that darn 0.1 extra put my official time at 45:32 (cursing that extra 0.1 also since about 0.1 from the finish I was about to lose any contents that happened to be in my stomach!).  Gotta try to run those tangents better, which is difficult in such a large race. Probably the better answer is to train smarter and aim for a slightly faster pace!
    Overall, it was a great race, and I am extremely happy with the results of my treadmill training! Next go-round I'll be sure to add some incline to the mix, even though I despise the thought. My time was good enough for 15th female and 2nd in my age group!!! YAY!
    Being the crazy running type, I also ran the half marathon the next day.  I didn't have any particular time goal and just wanted to give a good effort to see where that would put me.  Such a perfect run! Full of runner's high and feeling like I was soaring for much of the race!  I was smiling and waving at all the volunteers, and high-fiveing everyone I could! High-fives might be my favorite! They give me so much energy! Of course there were some points of struggle - we went up that same mountain, but overall, it was a run of pure joy! AND I was able to pass two women in the last mile, always feels good to do that! Finished with 1:44, another 3-year best! 
    BTW- if anyone ever wants information on the Disney races feel free to ask me questions, my Mom and I have been running them for years...I did my first Disney half in 2000, so I have a lot of information, and I love to talk about them.
    Since getting back to NJ, I ran an easy three on the treadmill on Friday, and 4 easy miles both yesterday and today at around 8:30-9:00 pace.  I was lacking energy Friday and yesterday, but I am starting to feel more like myself today!
  14. SandiBeach
    Just to warn you, there is a lot of pre-race rambling for the second half of this post, mostly myself talking to me trying to figure out a pacing strategy.
    This is my last training check-in before my goal race.  Over the past two weeks my training has been:
    Sunday (10/22/17)- another beautiful day! Couldn’t skip out on another beautiful beach day with my Mom.  We’re weird, “beach day with my Mom” = walk/jogging 15-20 miles all around a shore town. Monday – rest day, legs were feeling the “beach day” Tuesday – 10 min w/u, 2x2miles at 6:58 min/mile with 10 min between at 8:19 Wednesday – long run- 8 miles, progression from 8:19 to 7:30, ave. 8:00 Thursday- 4 miles easy 8:44 pace Friday – 10 min w/u, 2x(15min at 8:19, 3min at 6:58 then 2 min rec at 8:34) Saturday- wall painting in living room and dining room! Ended with suddenly feeling a head cold coming on. Sunday- more painting! And head cold in full swing. Monday- 10 min w/u, 6x 2min at 6:58 1 min recovery at 8:34 felt pretty good when running, but got hit with a bad wave of nausea when I started walking to cool down Tuesday- rest day to try to kick the head cold, skipped an easy 5 miles, figured rest would be much more useful. Wednesday- feeling about 90% healthy (very surprised by this), 10 min w/u 10 x 1 min. at 6:40 with 1 min rest at 8:34. Felt good! Thursday/toady – easy 20 min. with 5x 30 sec pickups to 6:40- very humid in the gym, and this felt harder than it should have. Still not completely 100% over the cold, but very close.  Friday – will be a rest/travel day, maybe a brief easy 1 mile jog if I get a chance Saturday- RACE Day!!! Yay!  Race day goals:
    A Goal: sub 45 minutes; B Goal: sub 46 minutes, C Goal: better my recent 10K times, best in the past 3 years stands at 47:03.  Looking at my past results, it’s been just a hair over 4 years since I ran under 45 minutes in 2013, which corresponds to the last time I tried to train (not just random running) for a race before I switched jobs in early 2014.  D Goal: try my best and have fun, you never know what weather, head colds and random other issues might arise, and there is no sense in ruining a day being upset about not hitting a specific time goal as long as you gave it your all.  If a time goal is missed, you at least get data to evaluate the training plan and adjust for the next go round! My biggest concern right now, is what pace to try to run the first mile.  I’ve been training with a 10K pace of 6:58, but that’s on a treadmill.  As I have previously mentioned, I’m not sure what that means for outside pace, but thought it would be about right for a 7:15 goal.  For a starting pace, then, I’m not sure if I should try to hit the 7:15, or maybe see if a little faster, like 7:05 would be okay.  I’m also concerned because the first 3 miles are pancake flat and there are small (very small, but more than nothing) hills in the second half.  I don’t know if it would be better to have the approx. 30 seconds “in the bank” for the hills, or if I should be more conservative with the hope of being able to power over the hills.  Should I try to bank a little time, or a little energy? Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.  For a data point, my last outdoor run was a 5K race with almost exactly even 7:00 splits on Sept. 30th in the middle of this training plan with not much rest the week before.  I felt like maybe I could have struggled and eeked out another mile around the same pace, but not another 3, at that time.
    I think I’m leaning to trying for around 7:15-7:20 for mile 1, hoping to drop it to 7:05-7:10 for miles 2-3, and then holding around 7:15 for the rest, pushing the pace for the last 0.5-1 mile if there is anything left to push and the distance depending on how I feel.  I plan everything out like this, but then generally push at the edge the entire time and go out way too fast, which leads to large positive splits.  That recent 5K is the first time I have not done the positive split thing- proud of that - Ha!  I’m trying to be older and wiser now, so we’ll see. 
    Have a great weekend everyone! And a big GOOD LUCK to anyone running NYC!!!!!!
  15. SandiBeach
    Life (wedding, moving, traveling- Yay!) took precedence over my running since around late 2014/early 2015.  I’d still run a few miles here and there, but was averaging around 20 miles/month.  For perspective, in 2012 I was just shy of 1000 miles for the year, with some months being close to 200 miles.  Fast forward to July 2017.  I was feeling very out of shape, and I had some free time to get back into running.  For July and half of August, I ran after work through the neighborhoods around our house approximately 3 miles with a longer 4-7 mile run thrown in on the weekends.  Hot and humid but I felt good.
    My DH (he injured his feet early July, or he would have run with me) was supportive and would push me out the door for runs, but I wanted to relax weeknights after work with him, so I would skip running many nights. Plus, the days were getting shorter, and I won't run by myself outside in the dark (too paranoid).  So any serious training wasn't going to be happening.  That is, until DH asked the brilliant question, “why don't you go to the gym and run before work?”  Light-bulb moment/facepalm! Not sure why I didn’t accept this possibility before… I guess sometimes you need a different perspective to see things that are right in front of you.  Either way, the training fire was now re-lit!  
    I already woke up around 5 am, but if I adjusted just a few minutes earlier, I could get to the gym for opening at 5, run for approx. an hour, and still get to the office before 7! (7 am is a general requirement since I loathe sitting in any traffic in the morning.) Then at night, I could happily relax knowing I already ran.  This worked perfectly! Now, I just needed a training plan and a goal race.
    I picked a 10K on 11/4/17 as a goal race and found a training plan on Garmin Connect for a 10K.  It’s the advanced plan, which converting time into paces has me running 20-30 miles/per week on four days of running. Perfect.  I could run only weekday mornings and have weekends for “cross training.” Cross training consists of house destruction/repair.  What else would you do on a weekend when your house was built in the mid-19th century???? Generally, I get my upper body/core workouts by ripping down plaster ceilings, reinforcing joists, dry walling, and painting. Next training cycle will be a complete kitchen remodel, and I’m definitely looking forward to that one!
    I’ve followed the Garmin Connect plan quite closely, but pushed all the runs onto weekdays and reorganized them to not have hard workout on days next to each other, unless that was in the original plan.  It’s mostly a time-based plan, so it takes into account different running abilities.  Sometimes I convert to a mile goal for the day, such as for long runs.  It just helps me mentally on the treadmill to complete miles so I can push the pace at the end a bit and get done faster.  In my brain 9 miles sounds a lot better than 75 minutes...I can get those 9 miles done in closer to 73 minutes!  (And, I mean, those less than 2 minutes just mean so much in a 75 minute run. )
    I’m using a 10K pace of 6:58, and a threshold pace of 7:30 (sometimes 7:19).  My hope is that this will translate to under 7:15 /mile for a goal of under 45 minutes for the 10K race.  The difference is because I believe I run faster on the treadmill than outside (I run with a 0% incline, one of these days I'll bump it up to 1%. Maybe. Probably not.).
    Last week (week 9 of a 12-week plan) included the following:
    Sunday: rest    Monday: 10 minute w/u at 8:20 followed by 2 x 2 miles at 6:58 with a 10 minute recovery at 8:34 between. Tuesday: 9 mile long run averaging 8:09, start at 8:20 for 5 miles then get progressively faster. (gotta save those 1-2 minutes!) Wednesday: rest Thursday: 15 min. at 8:34, 15 min at 7:19, 15 min at 8:20 Friday: rest Saturday (only weekend run all training cycle): 15 min w/u at 8:20 then 10 x 2 min at 6:58 (last one held for 3 minutes, with 1 min recovery at 8:34. Cross training: Paint dining room ceiling (made me much more sore than running did – my shoulders still hurt today (Monday)) It was a good week! Finished all the runs well, but definitely didn’t feel great for most of them, and Monday’s run was very difficult.  Good thing I get to try that one again next Monday – Ha!
  16. SandiBeach
    Hello All!
    I have to confess, I’ve been a lurker for YEARS (probably somewhere around 2012), and enjoyed every minute of reading about the ups and downs of your running adventures.  I lack confidence in my writing ability and meeting new people, but I thought with the new format, I would try to come out of the creepy lurking shadows and at least let you all know that I exist.  I was quite crushed when I read that RW was removing the loop, and I’m not much of a “Facebooker,” so that wasn’t going to be an option for me even if I introduced myself before the end.  I tried to read a few other blogs about running, but nothing was nearly as interesting as the Loop, and, of course, I felt like I knew all of you…even if none of you had any clue I was reading.  I just want to THANK YOU all for the great reading and the motivation over the years, and for driving my desire to get back on the training train treadmill these past couple of months.
    I found this page by lurking my way over to Dave Shultz’s blog, in an attempt to find any information about PEGLEG’s BQ quest, and it worked!  I was hoping and praying for her with every attempt.  When I finally found my way over to this forum, and read her race report, tears of joy were streaming down my face! CONGRATULATIONS PEG!!!!! This complete stranger is so happy for you!
    Now, since I feel like I know so much about all of you, here’s a little information about me:
    I ran a couple of 5 and 10Ks back in my teenage years while playing a lot of soccer, and I decided that without any additional training, I would run a half marathon.  Not the smartest thing I’ve done (not the dumbest either).  I managed to finish with minimal walking (ahh to be young), and an EXTREMELY painful week of muscle soreness. However, I was hooked and decided that I would run that race every year.  I tortured myself similarly by not training for the next few years.  Then, towards the end of college, I decided recreational running was fun, and that year, my time dropped dramatically and the week of pain never occurred.  At the time, I was utterly amazed at what a little training could do.  The following year, I trained a little more seriously and ran several other races.  It was a very emotional run when I first clocked a mile under 8 minutes in the middle of an 8K! With two miles left in the race, let’s just say I learned that crying and breathing at the same time is difficult.  I completed my first marathon in 2006, and have since completed 13 more, qualifying for Boston at the 2009 Flying Pig.  Unfortunately, at the time, I wasn’t interested in running Boston.  I now regret that decision. 
    I fell off the structured training wagon for several years until two months ago because other life is sometimes more important. It feels amazing to be following a training plan again and I hope to set some PRs in the future (and maybe work on getting that BQ again - maybe)! Right now, my A goal is for a 10K under 45 minutes at a race on 11/4/17 <--- I figured putting a goal out there will give me something to blog about in the future.  
    I know it’s blasphemy to some, but now that it is dark at all the times  I’m at home, I am an almost 100% gym treadmill runner.  I am completely ok with the brain zone-out for an hour or two.  It just makes it hard to guess at where you really stand in terms of outdoor speed during training.  Since I have had difficulty finding information on this, I'm going to try to include my training treadmill paces, and resulting outdoor race pace, in an attempt to help others that may be looking for this info.
    I’m sure that’s more than you all care to read and thank you to anyone that read this far! I hope to add to this wonderful community, and like some others in the past have said, I am sure it will be nice to have a place I can geek-out about training and running since it’s just not my DH’s thing. He's a good sport about it, but i can tell he isn't really interested in the amount of detail I want to discuss.
    P.S. – To all the other lurkers that have made it over here... HI!
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