In 2 months…

27 Nov

So, I guess now is when I say I’m planning to run the Miami marathon on January 27th– 2 months from today…

Basically, as a very generous gift, I was given a trip to Miami to do so last year, but as you may remember, I had a “short” bout with the dreaded plantar fasciitis … this prevented me from doing any running whatsoever for an unspeakable amount of time.

And so, January 27, 2013, is the day I hope to will run a sub-3:35 marathon.*

I actually got a little queasy just typing that out.  Yeesh.

Well, anyway, I suppose my official training for this race began the day I was slated to run the NYC marathon, which you may have heard wound up being canceled…

I ran 20 miles in the park that day, and the following week, ran a total of 44 miles, plus did a 45-minute Flywheel class.  My training has been decent but unremarkable.  My long runs have been very slow.  My speedwork has been pretty much on par.  Last week, I ran a little over 53 miles and did a 45-minute Flywheel class.  I also consumed about a million calories.  Fuel, of course!

This is a goose!

Who knew that goose was delicious?!?! T and I discovered this on Thanksgiving!

I made my Grandma’s oyster dressing. It involves: oysters, saltines, and a “little” bit of butter…

It is also DELICIOUS.

Can’t have Thanksgiving without green bean casserole! I used about 3 times the amount of cheese that the recipe called for. Obviously.

Anyway, so that’s just some of what I fueled my 53+ miles with last week.

One more shot of the goose

This week is a bit of a cutback week — I’ll only run about 45 miles.  Then next week I’ll run 60… which will be the most miles I’ve ever run in a week.

A few random observations about running during this, my 13th(!!!!) marathon training cycle:

-20 milers almost always suck.  They would probably suck a little bit less if I ran with a buddy or if I listened to music, but this last 20 miler (Friday after Thanksgiving) I had neither, and it was particularly brutal.

-For some reason, it’s difficult for me to hit MGP on anything but a circular path (lately for me, it’s been the Reservoir and the Astoria Park track.)  Why is that?  I should probably rectify this situation, seeing as how I’m pretty sure that the Miami marathon is a typical road race and not one done around a reservoir or on a track…

-I really want to join a running club/team.

-Inclement weather is almost a given on nights when I have NYRR running class.  Case in point:  the weather today sucks.  And I have class.

Anyway, this is not cohesive at all, but the 2 people who read my blog asked why I hadn’t written anything in a while.  So, tada!!!  I’ll do better next time. 🙂

Hope your holiday season is off to a great start!

*this really only involves shaving 4 minutes off of my PR, but I’d rather be closer to 3:30 if we’re being honest here…

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Opinions and…

2 Nov

I believe it was Shakespeare who quoth “opinions are like a**holes– everyone’s got one!”
No?
Well, anyway, it seems everyone has got an opinion about the NYC marathon this year.
As you may or not have heard, we in the NYC metro area were hit by a little storm early this week. It’s caused terrible devastation to much of the area– one of the worst hit areas being Staten Island.
… which is where, every year, the NYC marathon’s 40,000ish participants camp out for several hours in the early morning while waiting to run over the Verrazano Bridge and continue running for a grand total of 26.2 miles.
…every year, including this year, according to Bloomberg’s announcement yesterday.
I will be one of those 40,000ish people, and for the past 24 hours, I have felt conflicted, to say the very least, over this.
It feels more than a little tacky, tasteless, and just plain wrong to be commencing a big-ass party where so many people are suffering and where people have DIED. It actually me sick to my stomach.
For me, and me personally, I would have been more than OK with them canceling or at least postponing the marathon, especially if it were in order for the supplies and person-power to go toward Hurricane Sandy relief. This will be my 4th NYC marathon, my 13th marathon altogether, and my 2nd marathon of the fall of 2012. I’m good.
But I can’t speak for the numerous people whose first marathon will be NYC 2012. People who have been training for months for this day. I can’t speak for the people who flew in from places literally all over the world, to run this. I can’t speak for people who have raised tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars for charity for this race.
I wish, oh how I wish, it were as simple as diverting the efforts and funds for the marathon to hurricane relief, but I know it’s just not that simple.
I have to ask if the people who are complaining about the marathon still happening have put their money where their mouth is, so to speak. It’s one thing to sit in your apartment and grouse on a Facebook page. And that’s fine. Everyone is absolutely entitled their opinion, of course and I definitely understand the outrage. I just hope they’re doing something other than simply voicing it. I am by no means a saint. Quite the opposite. But I did donate a hefty sum here.
I promise I am not saying this to toot my own horn, but rather to share the little I did in order to attempt to alleviate my guilt over this whole thing and feel like I was helping in some small way. By the way, the NYRR donated $1 million to hurricane relief.
On a very shallow note, it breaks my heart that the NYC marathon now has this mar on it. I’ve said before and I’m saying again that for me, the NYC marathon is better than Christmas Day.
But on a much larger note, I just… I don’t know how to feel.  Yes, I’m running the race because I don’t see what good boycotting it will do. And I’m not sure I’m completely against Bloomberg’s decision. It brings money and hope into the city, blah blah blah. Again, I’m conflicted.
What I am NOT conflicted on is my belief that anyone who takes issue with the marathon happening should do their part in some sort of way to help out.
Good luck to everyone who is running on Sunday and my most fervent prayers and well wishes go out to those who are suffering from the results of this horrific storm.

SpOOoooOOOoooOOOOky!

31 Oct

So, about a month ago, I discovered a 5K trail run in… SLEEPY HOLLOW!  I am (nearly) a Halloween baby and I have ALWAYS loved the fall and particularly the glorious month of October.  Since I’m a semi-recently converted city mouse, I don’t get to see the foliage nearly as much as I would like to.  So, the notion of participating in a trail run in spooooooky Sleepy Hollow really got me stoked!  I told T that was what I wanted to do for my birthday weekend.

Friday night, T and I drove to Tarrytown (about 40 mins outside the city in the Hudson Valley) and checked into our hotel a little late after a few, uh, wrong turns.  (We forgot the Garmin and the roads are NOT well-marked up there!)  We were ravenous by the time we got to our room and almost everything that w0uld have delivered was closed.

We wound up finding a pizza place that was open and went to bed with our bellies full of a shameful amount of really greasy food…

Then we got lost in the morning on our way to the race.  Thankfully, we left super duper early and still made it in time.  When I picked up my bib, I noticed that I had mistakenly been signed up as a dude.  Which I decided to go ahead and clear up.

The race photographer captured this moment in which I cleared up the little gender snafu…

The official race guy said with a wink, “Sure, we’ll get that cleared right up so you can get your award!”  I laughed and rolled my eyes.  Yeah, right.

Then, T and I headed to the start.  I was feeling a bit nervous. (Or maybe that was the late-night greasy awful-ness still settling into my belly?)  This was my 2nd ever trail run (my first trail run actually being my first official race ever!)  And also, if I was being completely honest with myself, I had taken a little peek at last year’s results and had seen that it wouldn’t be entirely impossible for me to place in my age group…

Once we reached the start, I stretched…

The official race dude thanked everyone for coming and advised us that the first half mile to a mile was uphill, so to be prepared for that… and then we were off!

Fast dudes at the front

I immediately thought to myself, “Why is everyone going SO SLOW?!?!?!” and powered  ahead, even though I should have known better… but hey, I was having fun!  (As evidenced by the pics the race photographer captured of me!)

I’m on the left in the blue and red…

REALLY having fun here!

Not sure about that stride…

Anyway, shortly after this, I realized that my watch wasn’t working (damn it) and that the guy wasn’t lying about the hill.  It sucked and I felt like sh*t immediately.  I was pretty frustrated since I realized I had no idea how to feel out 5K/3.1 miles and I suck at pacing myself.  Harumpf.  I managed to pass 2 women who were ahead of me on the hill (yay, Queensboro Bridge running!) and then tried not to wipe out as I motored down the other side of the hill.  It was STEEP.

As I ran, I realized this was an excellent reminder to not attempt to be a hero for the NYC Marathon.  I felt like crap for having gone out way too fast (on a darn hill, no less!) and I did not want to spend a good 10 miles after having already run 16 feeling this way.  I promised myself then and there that I was going to take the NYC marathon easy.

make it end!

I finally saw the blessed finish and told myself to try and do some kind of minimal kick, especially since I could hear someone coming up behind me.

For the record, I beat her (by 2 seconds!) 🙂

And then I actually thought I might barf, but I didn’t.  Cool story!  I met up with T and then we went hung out while they tallied up the results.

And I came in 6th woman overall!

Also, I got an award for taking 2nd in my age group, but I just noticed that these results indicate I was 3rd.  Oops?  Well, anyway, that was fun for me.  Even if I had not gotten my little award, I would still say that this race was a super fun experience.  I don’t often run races that aren’t NYRR-sponsored and yes, I do LOVE NYRR, but… there is something to be said for the casual, hometown feel of smaller races like this.  Everyone was so nice!  Plus, I won’t EVER complain about running in a state park, especially in the peak of fall foliage time!  Another thing worth mentioning– ain’t no way this very mediocre runner (I’m NOT digging, facts iz facts yo) would ever place in a big race, so this was a nice little ego boost.

The rest of the weekend was equally awesome.  We went and walked around Stone Barns, which was just beautiful, stopped in for a beer and some delicious food (Ommegang mac and cheese, OMG) at The Tap, in downtown Tarrytown, and then went on a haunted hayride!  It was perfect.

Then… we came home… and weathered a little storm.

Monday morning, I received word that I didn’t need to report to work, so instead I took care of a little 10-mile run in my neighborhood, over the Queensboro Bridge, and then back.  There was definitely a spooky feel in the air, but I did enjoy the rare camaraderie I felt with other runners.  Typically when running in NYC, no one really acknowledges one another (which makes me sad.)  But on this particular day — with the grey skies, the  continual spray of rain, and the high wind gusts that nearly knocked my hat off my head more than once — other runners were waving and smiling at me.  We were united in our wacky need to run on a day when a hurricane was approaching.

angry, choppy East River

Anyway, I never really thought I would experience a hurricane first hand.  I should also say right off the bat that I was INCREDIBLY lucky and never lost power or water (unlike many of my friends) and was never in any danger.  The storm was merely a headache that kept us cooped up for 2 days and forced us to evacuate our bedroom since our ceiling was leaking pretty badly in there.  (GRRRRR.)  But again, I was VERY lucky.

I ran to work today since the subways are not working.  I’m so lucky to have a shower at work!  I will be commuting home by foot, as well… and possibly doing the same thing for the rest of the week.  That’s OK, though.  I just hope everyone who was affected by Sandy recovers OK and without too much cost, financial and otherwise.  Man.

17 Days ’til the Next One…

18 Oct

Oh, hey!

Hard to believe I’m going to be running another marathon in less than 3 weeks, but the number of runners I have seen in the park lately and the statuses in my Facebook and Twitter feeds tell me that it’s that time again.

A few things to say….

1)   Follow-up to last week’s post:

I was incorrect when I said in my last post that I run on the upper level of the Queensborough Bridge.  I’m dumb.  I don’t think you can do that, unless you want to be dodging traffic and taking your life in your hands.  It just feels different from the marathon because in the marathon, you’re actually running on the road.  Not the pedestrian path.  Duhr.  Also, I still find the runners and cyclists not using the correct lanes to be annoying as hell, but I will concede that there are some portions of the path that are not well-marked at all and I admit that it does not feel natural to be traveling on the left side of any two-lane route.

This is what appears quite a few times on the side closer to Queens

Yes, I took this picture while running and yes, I am slightly obsessed.

I wish it did more as you get closer to Manhattan.  It is really seriously dangerous.  Just this morning, I had some speedy cyclists coming at me in my lane, and I was scared.

2)  Traveling:

I went to Chicago this past weekend to visit my dear friend Jennifer.  We’ve been friends since we were 9 and have run 3 marathons together– the Flying Pig twice and NYC once.  Now, that is friendship!

NYC 2010

Jennifer just had adorable Baby Mason in March and is already back to being svelte.  AND she was game to come to Flywheel with me, which was a lot of fun!  Flywheel Chicago is… pretty much the same as Flywheel NYC, but it was fun going to a different studio.  And Jennifer loved it!  (Hi Flywheel, I have taken no less than 5 friends with me to your classes, several of whom have become devoted regulars, and I think you should hire me as an instructor, or at least give me some sort of benefit for being an ambassador, thaaaaanks. ;))

Anyway, I went for a little run along the path on the lake on Sunday and it was pleasant, considering about 3 miles in, it started pouring and I finished out the run drenched.

3)  Beer

Is awesome.  Recently, I’ve been indulging in some nice pumpkin beers, in honor of my favorite season.  T snagged this one for me, which was exciting because I’d never seen it before.  I really love Ithaca Brewing Company’s Flower Power and it turns out they make a solid pumpkin ale as well.

Other recent indulgences have been Captain Lawrence’s Pumpkin Ale and Bell’s Oktoberfest.  I LOVE Bell’s Two-Hearted, but don’t generally care for Oktoberfests, so I was pleasantly surprised with how delicious this was!  I currently have a 6-pack of Abita Pecan Harvest ale chilling in my fridge and I’m super excited to give it a taste.

3)  Fitness

So… 2 weeks ago, my mileage was a grand total of, uh, 15.5 miles + one 45-minute Flywheel class.  Oops?  Well, in my defense, my mom was in town for a week and I much preferred to hang out with her and see the NYC Ballet, Philadanco, and Bring it On on Broadway.  We also ate at 16 Handles no less than 3 times.

I intended to do a long run on that Thursday morning and even had a date with Ali in which I was to escort her over the Queensborough Bridge.  But upon waking up at my mom’s place on the UES and getting ready, I discovered that I had forgotten to bring the oh-so-crucial sports bra.  BLARGH.  So I did what any good friend would do and ran to our pre-arranged CP meeting spot whilst clutching my bosom with one arm, and told Ali that I would be unable to join her.  I then took the train home to Queens where I gathered up my sports bra, put it on… and ran a grand total of 4.5 miles before calling it quits in order to hang out with Mom.

The following week, (last week) I stepped it up a bit for a grand total of 41.5 miles and two 45-minute Flywheel classes.  That’s more like it!  I even got up at the crack of dawn on Thursday and ran 15.5 miles before work.

This week I’ve run 25 miles thus far (including 12 this morning before work) and done one 45-minute Flywheel class…

4)  Fatness

I ate this today and it changed my life.  For real.

Also, did you know that McDonald’s has a pumpkin shake?  I discovered this while at O’Hare on Sunday.  Since it has a grand total of 670 calories, I went with the healthy choice and got an Oreo McFlurry instead.

5)  Politics

Blah.  I will be so glad when election day is over and the man is still in office.  (Please.  PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE.)  In general, I am so very loath to get political  in real life or on the Internets, so I’m just gonna say that this girl does not want to live in a county where our president doesn’t think gay people should be able to get married, wants to overturn Roe v. Wade, and, to grossly over-simplify, has a general attitude of “If you’re rich, rawk on!  If you’re not, tough titties!”

LOL… but not really….

Plus, more germane to the topic of this blog, Paul Ryan lied about his marathon time.  I mean, IS NOTHING SACRED???

Anyway… I’m off to Flywheel.  Peace!

Quick Vent

2 Oct

One of my biggest pet peeves is when people either choose to disregard or simply don’t pay attention to the space they are occupying and whether or not it makes sense for them to be there.  THIS MEANS YOU, group of people standing in the middle of a crowded and busy NYC sidewalk.  ALSO YOU, person coming down the up subway staircase, against the flow of foot traffic.  But most of all, and specifically in this post, I mean bikers in the pedestrian lane and pedestrians in the bike lane.

I run over the Queensboro Bridge a few times a week — the upper level (the lower level is the one incorporated in the NYCM, for the record.)  For those of you (most of you, I presume) who have never run over the upper level, there are CLEARLY MARKED lanes.  The lane closest to the water is for pedestrians.  The one closest to the traffic is for bikes.  Here, I’ll show you how clearly marked they are.

taken from Gothamist

I think you can see that there are pictures of BIKES in the left lane and pictures of PEDESTRIANS in the right lane.  This is pretty clear, no?

Nearly every time I’ve run over the bridge, I’ve seen cyclists in the pedestrian lane.  I almost always stand my ground, and they go around me.  There was one time where a cyclist was approaching me in the pedestrian lane, yelling at me as though I was in the wrong, and we had a brief, profanity-infused verbal altercation as we passed one another.  Thus, I’ve had some animosity toward cyclists on the bridge.

This morning, however, I was more than a little dismayed by some fellow runners.  As I approached the bridge on the Queens side, I noticed a running group gathered at the entrance.  Soon thereafter, a few of them passed me.  Fine.  As I continued toward the Manhattan side, the ones who had gotten to the other side already and had turned around were running back IN THE CYCLISTS’ lane.  I got to the Manhattan side and turned around to run back and as I did so, I passed more and more runners in the cyclists’ lane.  I kept thinking about how dangerous they were making it not only for themselves, but for me– since the cyclists had to veer into my lane in order to go around them.

I really don’t get what is so hard about this.  F*cking pay attention to where you’re supposed to be!  I really wanted to say to someone from the group “Not to be a jerk, but do you realize that every single one of you is running in the cyclists’ lane?”  However, I am a wuss.

Maybe next time.

Oh, and here is the link to the article on Gothamist where I got the pic.  The article — and you’ll obviously see this if you click — is about a pedestrian being struck by a cyclist on the bridge…

Unwise

26 Sep

So, last week, I relished sleeping in in the mornings and taking it easy in the evenings.  However, by the end of the week, I was itching to go for a run.  Fall is my absolute FAVORITE time of year to run and there’s also another 26.2 I have coming up in the not so distant future…!

So, Friday morning I went for an easy 5 miles– just from my apartment, partway over the Q’boro Bridge, and back.  It felt glorious.  Friday night, I went to Flywheel for a nice 45 minute session.

Saturday morning I ran over the bridge and to my old ‘hood, the UES, (about 4.5 miles) where I picked up my bib and tee-shirt and then hurtled myself down Fifth Ave for a mile.  Then I watched some other runners dominate the other heats, which was a lot of fun!

Ah yes. Gorgeous, as always.

My time was 6:34 and I guess that is cool, considering I didn’t feel like barfing at the end and really did it for the easy 9+1 point?

Saturday early evening, T and I went out with my good friend and her fiancee in the East Village, where I downed some delicious Lagunitas IPAs.  Then we called it an early night, since I had a race the next morning.  However, on our way to grab a cab, we passed Lunasa, the site of our joint birthday party 2 years ago, so we had to stop in for a beer.  As a waitress walked by with a tray of shots, T told her to bring us a round.  Um, what?  In other words, I am a really responsible runner.  (Of course I did the shot.)

The next morning, I got up at 5:30 and just missed the 6 AM N/Q train at Broadway, so I had to cab it to 102nd Street and the park, where I met up with Lori, got my bib, and took off for the NYRR 18 mile tune-up.

And this is where I learned a valuable lesson.  Running 18 miles just 8 days post-marathon and preceded by a run + spin day and another run day is… not fun or easy.

I considered throwing in the towel every mile, post about mile 13, but I stuck it out like a stubborn little b*tch.  Was it pretty?  No.  Was it fun?  Nah.  Did I take 2 walk breaks?  You bet your a$$ I did!

I kept reminding myself that I would have punched my mother in the face (love you, mom!) for the opportunity to run a mere 3 months ago when I was dealing with the dreaded PF.  I kept telling myself that the weather could not have been more perfect for a run (true).  But, the bottom line is that it was hard as hell.  Everything hurt.

But I finished it —  in just under 2:49 (a 9:23 pace.)  Fine.

OMG MAKE THIS END

It’s a little over 5 weeks until NYCM and I have to admit that Sunday’s brutal run kinda freaked me out, but then again, I will actually TAPER for NYCM… so that should help.

In other news, I currently have my nails painted in Essie’s new “Marathin” shade and it’s purty.

I’m not sure why it’s called “marathin” and not “marathon,” but I like it anyway.

I hope your days are filled with running, pumpkin beers, and other delicious fall goodies!

DEAR SWEET BABY JESUS, I RAN A MARATHON!!*

18 Sep

*aka, Dayton Marathon Race Report

So, yeah.  I’m a little excited that after 8 months of torturous un-running, I trained for and then ran my 12th marathon!!!!  AND I had a blast!

But let me back up.  I know it’s been a while since I wrote.  I’ve been busy, plain and simple.  I know, I know, who ISN’T busy?  But that’s the reason anyway.

Since last I wrote, I ran the Percy Sutton Harlem 5K.  It was a hot-as-hell day (85% humidity, barf) and I ran an 8-mile warm up to the start– starting at my apartment and running over the Q’boro Bridge and up the East side of the park into Harlem.  By the time I arrived, I was DRENCHED.  I ran the thing in  23:38 (7:38 pace) and then ran a very slow 3 mile cool down (before which I finally met the lovely Meggie in person!)

As I stated before, my training program was the uber low mileage and very short 8-week Higdon  “senior marathon training program,” which peaked at a whopping 30 mpw.  I plugged along at that program, with 3 runs per week– one short, one slightly longer, and one long– and 2 days of Flywheel.

I have to say, after doing the Pfitzinger’s 18/55 plan (18 weeks of training with a peak of 55 mpw) last summer, this one felt like a walk in the park.  I also really enjoyed incorporating Flywheel into my training program, which you may recall I began doing very begrudgingly as replacement cardio when I couldn’t run.  Now, I LOVE it and am a solid devotee.

One other race I did in advance of my marathon (I’ll get to it, I swear!) was the Bronx 10-miler last Sunday.  This one wound up being one of the more hilarious races I’ve ever run, mainly ’cause I was doing pretty awesome for the first 10K or so (7:59, 8:06, 7:52, 7:44, 7:30, 7:27) and then nature called and I had to make a little stop.  That was annoying.  What was more annoying was that after I ran away from the port-o-potty, I realized I couldn’t find my phone, so I ran BACK to it, burst in one some dude taking a wizz, exited and waited for him to finish, went in again, and couldn’t find my phone anywhere… then after standing dumbly for a minute trying to figure out what to do, I discovered it deep down in my sports bra.  After that, I pretty much stopped giving a sh*t about the race and finished in 1:23:09 (8:19 pace.)  One of the best things about this race was running into my buddy, Ali, who had been sick for a while and who I was delighted to see out running again, and kicking serious ass.

Stolen from aliontherun ❤

Annnnd… 6 days later was the Dayton Marathon!

Dayton is my hometown and I was more than a little excited to run my hometown marathon for the first time.  I was obviously also more than a little nervous, given the cruel journey of angst and sadness that plantar fasciitis had taken me on (how’s THAT for drama?)  Seriously, though, I wasn’t sure how well-prepared I was with my meager mileage.  But, I didn’t have my heart set on any huge goal and just hoped to break 4 hours.  I was also super excited for T, since it was his first marathon!

We flew in on Friday morning and my mom picked us up and took us to the expo.  The rest of the day was spent eating, resting, and visiting with family.

T and I woke up bright and early (4:30 AM) on Saturday, showered, and got to the start!

Let’s do this!

hell yeah!

still sleepy

We left just after 5 AM because I had read a lot of complaints about the traffic at the marathon start.  However, this year they must have fixed all the issues that were mentioned because we were there and parked by 6… with a good hour and a half before start time.  We hung out in the car with the heat on for a while and then headed to the start.

At the start, I ran into my good friend Jamie.  She was running the half (her first.)  She is a local celebrity.  I used to work with her at WDTN, I was in her wedding, and dated her brother for, oh, 5.5 years. 😉  Anyway, it was wonderful seeing her!

It was a gorgeous morning and I documented a bit of it with my flip phone (yes) as we anxiously waited.

only 26.2 miles ’til I’m back!

See you “soon”!

so awesome beginning and finishing amongst these bad boys

That’s a lotta bananas…

Before long, T and I had made our last potty trip and had to split up.  There weren’t corrals, but I positioned myself near the 4-hour pacer and T positioned himself further back.  Then, there was an awesome flyover, which really revved everyone up.  Ordinarily, I’m not an aviation enthusiast, but this was a pretty sweet way to get started.

The anthem was sung, the gun went off, and off we went!

The weather was absolutely perfect.  We could not have asked for a better day for this race.  It wasn’t long before I saw a familiar person– Julia, who was running her 30th marathon in her 3oth state this year for Titanium qualification for the Marathon Manics.  Holy crap.  By the way, this was her 60th marathon overall.  Anyway, Julia and I ran together for about a mile before I bid her adieu.

Oh, just running on the most gorgeous fall morning I ever did see!

I saw my parents and T’s at mile 5, and I stopped to hug everyone.  Splits at that point were kind of all over — 9:06, 9:15, 7:48, 8:34.  I was feeling OK, not great.

I carried on, in the zone, casually trying to stay around an 8:40 pace, because that was what felt comfortable, but I wasn’t thinking too hard about it.  I was stopping at nearly every fluid station for water and/or Gatorade because I couldn’t shake an unquenchable vague thirst.  But the course was pretty delightful– a few inclines followed by soft declines.  I texted with T a bit and he sounded like he was doing great.  At mile 10, there was a huge crowd and lots of people calling my name, which was exciting.  I slapped a bunch of kids high fives and smiled and waved at everyone who cheered.

After Fairborn, (which was mile 10) it got a little sparse and I started wishing I had brought along my IPod.  I tried to focus on reaching the halfway mark and when I did, I got a burst of energy.

8:42, 8:44, 8:45, 8:32, 8:32, 8:27, 8:32, 8:53, 8:50

Before I knew it, I was at mile 14.  The miles seemed to be flying by all of a sudden, and I continued to feel that way even though it was a quiet area with not many spectators.  I should mention that the majority of this race is run on an Air Force base, so there is limited access for civilians.  The volunteers at the fluid stations were AMAZING and so encouraging, though, and the military people who were watching were really great, too.  I was in the zone at this point and really feeling as though I was out for a relaxing run on a beautiful fall day.  It was incredible.

8:37, 8:39, 8:39, 8:33, 8:26, 8:47

As I reached mile 19, I started getting a bit antsy for the race to be over.  Not because I was feeling miserable by any means, but I just wanted to wrap it up and start celebrating by hanging out with my family and T and his family.  I knew that everyone was waiting for us at mile 22, so I pressed on and looked forward to it, telling myself, “Only a few more miles ’til I see everyone at mile 22, then it’s just a breeze from there ’til the finish!”  There were a few tough hills at this point– including a significant-ish one at mile 21 as we went over an overpass.  I said incredulously to the 2 dudes running next to me at this point, “A hill at mile 21?  What the hell is this?”  They didn’t respond and I was a bit offended.  (T later told me they were probably gasping for air as I breezed past them, so we’ll stick to that theory. ;))  I saw my mom’s sign as I approached the crowd at mile 22 and then I saw T’s parents and mine, as well as my brother and my niece!

Very shortly after the 22 mile mark, the full marathon met up with the half, which had started an hour later.  At this point, I had been running for a little over 3 hours, so it was a bit frustrating to find myself dodging people walking the half who were not staying in their pre-ordained lane and were walking 5 abreast.  However, I was having such a good day and I was almost done, so it didn’t bother me nearly as much as it could have.

A few more small inclines appeared and I climbed them, recalling that the elevation chart had shown the course finished on a downhill.  Before I knew it, I spied the finish!  I cruised on in, got my medal and my space blanket, and found a spot in the grass to sit down and suck down some Gatorade and stretch.

8:45, 8:48, 8:42, 8:41, 8:59, 8:32, 8:12, 7:15

My watch said I’d finished in 3:47:11 and I was pleased with that finish time.  (My official finish time was 2 seconds faster, woohoo! ;))

It was a weird and peaceful feeling to be sitting at the finish of a marathon alone, pleased and feeling good and not obsessing over my pace or finish time.  I knew I could have finished a bit faster, but in the end, I likely wouldn’t have PRed and would have just felt physically like sh*t.  It wouldn’t have been worth it.  I also found it interesting that my time was less than 2 minutes slower than my time in NY last year, and I have never felt worse after a race than I did after that one.  That race, of course, was 3 weeks post my PR in Columbus and NYC is a notoriously difficult course.  But still.

Eventually, I met up with my parents, my brother, and my niece.  They told me how hellish the traffic was for them and apologized for not being there to see me cross the finish.  I just felt bad they had dealt with traffic and was happy to see them.  Two of my besties, Jill and Jess (+ Jill’s little baby, Raymond) surprised me by showing up, as well.  I received a text from T who was about to cross the finish, so I went to watch and screamed my head off like a crazy lady. 🙂  T did extremely well, especially considering that he hates running (:)) and he had some knee issues crop up in the later miles.  I was absolutely elated to see him finish strong, and he seemed pretty pleased himself.

The rest of the day was spent with our families, beer, and food.  What more could I have asked for?!

In summary:  I LOVE THE DAYTON MARATHON!  It may be my favorite race.  Hometown pride here!  Oh and the foot?  Feelin’ good!  *Knock on wood!*

Next up… NYC marathon.  Am I crazy?  Don’t answer that. 😉