Gourmet Veggie Mama

Tag Archives: Marathon

Marathon Done

My Austin Marathon is in the books. I’ve had a good 24 hours to reflect on the experience, and the main thing I keep coming back to is how different it was than my first one.

Austin Marathon finisher!

I ran it in 4:45, which, although it was slower than my original goal time (before the illness and injury that marked this training season), is a PR by 9 minutes. More importantly, I finished it strong. I never stopped to walk* this time around, whereas I broke down after mile 20-ish in my first marathon and took several walk breaks. Plus, I am older and slower than I was 3 1/2 years ago, and I have had a baby since then. So yeah, I am pleased with my showing.

* Except to drink water at water stops, simply because I am not coordinated enough to do so without slopping it all over myself and having the water go down the wrong pipe, sending me into a coughing fit. Talk about counterproductive!

I’m tired, I’m sore, but I’m happy. I feel accomplished. The first 10 miles or so, as I now appreciate is usually the case, was a breeze. I barely even felt my feet hit the ground.

Then came the real hills. I knew they were coming, and I knew they’d be hard… but I was still having a good time. I took my coach’s advice and really had fun with this race — I whopped, I high-fived kids and just generally tried to make it a party around me wherever possible. And just before I headed up into the hills, I high-fived a guy holding a sign (“Free High-Fives”), and he said, “No hills for you!” Woot! There were still hills, but I attacked them. The clock at the halfway point said I was on pace to run a 4:35, and I really wanted to hold onto that.

Next, as our race plan termed it, was the “Great Northern mental madness.” The stretch in North Austin between the halfway point and 20 miles is a relatively bleak, sparsely-spectated section that looks flat, but is actually a net uphill. In a word, BLAH. But, I got to see my two very favorite people in the world twice on this stretch, so that helped a lot!

daddy and nora

I fell into running with the 4:40 pace group for a few miles, and the company helped, too. I lost them at a water stop and was never really able to catch back up, but I didn’t let that break me. In the stretch after 20 miles, which was supposed to be net downhill and fast, there was a serious headwind, so it wasn’t the relief I had anticipated it being. That said, I never really felt like I hit the wall — and I hit it hard in my first marathon. I just put my head down into the wind, stopped looking at my Garmin, and kept on truckin’. I saw my Rogue moms cheering at mile 25 or so, and then my mom was right on the finishing stretch! I cruised through the downhill, cursed through the brutal uphill right before the finish, and high-fived the announcer on the way in.

After that, it was time for a medal, water, a breakfast taco (Distance Challenge completed!) and some Chuy’s takeout on the way home. And then pizza for dinner later. Yeah, I ate my way through the rest of the day. I should’ve taken an ice bath, but I chickened out… and now my quads are screaming at me any time I go up or down the stairs. At least I don’t have a race next weekend! But, unlike last time, I do have a toddler to run after.

I’d love to run a 4:30 marathon, and I think someday I will. Yeah, I’m totally going to do this again. It’s just such an experience — there’s nothing else like it.

Not to worry — back to your regularly-scheduled tasty-food programming tomorrow!

Where the f%#& is my hat… and other stories from race week

I couldn’t find my running hat this morning, so I tore around the house in a rage looking for it. Nora had been playing with it outside a couple of days ago, and I was sure it was lost, presumably dropped on the sidewalk somewhere. And that, of course, would be the end of the world.

You see, I’m running a marathon tomorrow, which makes everything a BIG HUGE deal. Even if it isn’t.

I started coming down with a cold on Wednesday. Taper colds are pretty common (something about your immune system being weakened by the sudden reduction in mileage), but to me it was an abject disaster. I had to be over this thing by Sunday. I downed Emergen-C and immune-boosting herbs* (which I had already been doing as part of my pre-race ritual), sucked on zinc lozenges, downed buckets of water and took naps whenever it was possible. I freaked out that the cold was turning into a sinus infection and went to the doctor yesterday, only to be told that I had probably just picked up a viral bug and that it would get worse before it got better. Ugh.

* Wishgarden Herbs makes a blend called Kick-Ass Immune. For reals.

But! It didn’t! I am feeling much, much better today, and (fingers mega-crossed) I will make it to the start line healthy(-ish). And even if I don’t, I will drag my weary, sniffling butt over the finish line if it is humanly possible. I have trained too hard to let this get me.

They call it “taper madness” for a reason. This is my second marathon, so I know the drill, but it still caught me by surprise how downright antsy I’m feeling this week. Having a toddler doesn’t make things any easier, since she doesn’t understand why I don’t want to play “ring around the rosie” with her a million times in a row and/or swing her around in the air. Mama’s back can’t go out right now!

Add to that the fact that she puked (which she never does) on the very same morning that I was freaking out about getting a cold. She’s totally fine — I think it was just a weird tickle in her throat or something — but I am ashamed of my reaction. My first instinct was not one of concern for my child. Oh no — I went into overdrive thinking about how I could manage to tend to a child with the pukies and not get sick myself with an already depressed immune system and a need to rest a lot to kick this cold. I am a baaaad mama. Or at least I am during taper week.

The final straw, though? Our internet went down yesterday. In my house, that means no TV (we get everything streaming and don’t have cable) as well as no access to my beloved internets except using my phone.* That also means very little distraction in the two days leading up to the marathon. Something in the universe is testing me, here!

* I’m currently sitting on a neighbor’s porch, stealing their wifi. I am a junkie.

I found my hat in the laundry bin with the other sports clothes. I had put it there after wearing it on Thursday, since I wanted it nice and clean for race day, and I knew I’d make a point to run a load of exercise clothes on Saturday so I could have everything all laid out the night before. Sorry, Nora — I shouldn’t have blamed you. The world isn’t ending after all.

In fact, I think it’ll all be okay. I’m feeling good today, and I’m more than ready to show up at the start line tomorrow. It certainly won’t be an easy race (marathons just aren’t), but I’m in the game and ready to roll.

Should old acquaintance be forgot…

Can you believe it’s 2013? I can’t. Time has truly gotten away from me lately.

I’ve been reflecting on 2012, and all the big changes that happened over past year. We moved from Northern California to Austin and became homeowners for the first time. I started transitioning from being a stay-at-home mom to a freelance writer (although I do still spend the vast majority of my time in stay-at-home-mom-ville). Nora started preschool, and she turned 2. She went from barely speaking a few words to speaking in full sentences and having entire conversations about her day (or imagined happenings). We weaned, and ditched diapers (except at night, and I am probably jinxing the whole potty-training process by even mentioning it).

As I’ve mentioned, I’ve been training for my second marathon, which will take place in 2013. I hit a pretty significant roadblock when I was diagnosed with pneumonia yesterday. I am on an aggressive course of meds and hope to recover quickly, but I’ll need to take at least a week off of running. I am hopeful that I will bounce back and be able to restart my training aggressively, but my hopes of a PR have pretty much been dashed at this point. I am just hanging on, hoping I can complete the 3M Half Marathon weekend after next without too much pain, ramp up to another 20-miler (my last one involved coughing fits… so not good), and then rest up and hope to finish the Austin Marathon with my dignity intact. If I can’t, though, I can’t. I’ve been pushing through for too long, and if there’s one lesson I can take from this, it’s that I need to take care of myself and rest when I need to.

For right now, I’m enjoying hanging out with my family and our friends who are in town visiting, eating black-eyed peas (of course!) and taking it easy.

black-eyed peas

Gotta have black-eyed peas.

Here’s to a happy and prosperous 2013, and more good things to come!

Cowgirl up

I ran my first marathon in October 2009. It was something I’d planned to do for a long time, basically ever since I started running.* The Nike Women’s Marathon was an amazing experience. The crowds, the excitement, the San Francisco hills… it was the experience of a lifetime. And I said I’d never do it again.

* I started running (for real, other than just “jogging” here and there) in 2006 using a Couch-to-5K plan. If I can run a marathon, anyone can… really.

But, here I am, three years later, gearing up to do it again. Yep, I’m about to start training for the Austin Marathon, in February.

I’m in a different place now that I was back then, literally and figuratively. In 2009, I worked long hours, but I didn’t have a child to care for. I dragged myself out of bed at ungodly hours to run, but at least I could make up a run over lunch or in the evening if I needed to, having that great Northern California weather on my side. I trained on my own, using a Hal Higdon marathon plan as my guide, but this time, I’ll have Rogue Running and my awesome running buddies to keep me company, keep me honest, and keep me sane.

I wasn’t really planning on a second marathon anytime too soon, but then I heard about the Austin Distance Challenge. With six races from October to February, ranging from a 10K to a marathon, it provides what seems like the perfect road map to training successfully for a marathon. The races will keep me motivated and help me get through the holidays in racing shape, and I am really excited about having the support of a wonderful coach and a running group that I already know and love. That in itself is surprising to me, because I have always been a steadfast solo runner, and I never would have joined Rogue if I hadn’t just needed to meet some people, being new in town and going out of my mind trapped in the house with a bored toddler.

Am I ever glad I did, though! Rogue has helped me run through my first Central Texas summer (ugh) and live to tell about it, and I have met some incredible running mamas whom I am now proud to call my friends. I really didn’t intend to get all mushy, but there you have it.

Ready, set…

So, yeah. Second marathon, coming right up. I am psyched and a little scared, but I know I can do it!

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