Wednesday, January 25, 2012

My first negative split!!!!

Just got back from a nice little students took a lot of my energy today, so by the time I got home, I was a little drained, but the schedule said "7" and the sun was I quickly changed out of my dress shirt and khakis, laced up my Mizuno's, fired up my Garmin, and headed out.....totally unsure of what I might or might not have in the tank.  Temps were in the high 30's and I started into a headwind.

Felt like I wasn't moving too well, but I really was trying to go out conservatively and see just how far I could go without any walk breaks.  Ordinarily, I take a little break every mile but as I got going, I felt no need to stop at all.  The wind was chilly, but I soldiered on.  Some of the roads I was on had virtually no shoulder to run on, so there were a few near misses, but I kept chugging along.  When I reached my turnaround point, I looked at my Garmin to check my time....and was surprised to see the average speed coming down!  I've never managed a negative split EVER......naturally, I'd love to be able to pull that off in a race the BOSTON MARATHON, for example, but if I can do it in training, then anything is possible.  As the New England darkness began to set in, I headed home.....staying within myself but still curious to see if I could pull it off.  When I reached my driveway and shut off the Garmin, I rushed inside to upload the info and see how I did.  Although I'm not about to set the world on fire with my blazing (HA!!!!) speed, I'm pleased to report that Mission Negative Split has been accomplished!   Here are my amazing splits!

Mile 1: 9:56
Mile 2: 10:26
Mile 3: 10:22
Mile 4: 9:46
Mile 5: 9:49
Mile 6: 9:52
Mile 7: 9:35
Mile 8: 8:55  (only .13 miles, but still....)

Total: 7.13 miles @ 9:57 pace (1:10.53)

All in all, a very nice Humpday run!!

Also, I need to give a shout out to everyone who has contributed towards my charity requirement for Boston......donations are still coming in and my "finish line" is almost within sight!  Thanks!!!!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Deep breath.......

Just filled out my application for the 2012 Boston Marathon..............breathe........breathe......

This is starting to get real!!!

In 91 days, I'm going to be toeing the line in Hopkinton.........destination: Boston.  26.2 miles away.....with nothing to get me there but my own determination.

Oh yeah.....this is getting VERY real!!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Brrrrrrrr........but SO glad I did it!

Hi all.......just got back from my weekly long run and it was a GOOD one!  At about 7:15, I met up with the other members of my charity team (Team Running For Cover - representing the Melanoma Foundation of New England) at the Station 5 Grill in Natick.  It was hard to leave the homey dining area (the whole place smelled like warm apple me, it was HARD to leave!), but at about 7:30, we got into several cars and drove west to Hopkinton, the starting point for the Boston Marathon.  After overcoming the initial shock of getting out of warm cars and having to acclimate to the chill (about 25 degrees with a fairly stiff breeze blowing west to east (more on that later!)), we gathered for a team picture, turned on our Garmin's, took a deep breath, and set off on the adventure.

As advertised, the first few miles of the Boston Marathon are some cases, pretty sharply downhill (particularly in the very first mile!), so I can understand why everyone warns you to take it easy at first.  I can only imagine that the adrenaline surge on race day would make one feel invincible and lead you to fly through the first miles, but I know how hard that will make the last few miles, so you really do have to try to keep to a reasonable pace.  Of course, as a "Clydesdale", I always try to maximize downhills to make up for time I lose any time the road turns upwards, so I filed the intel away to be pulled out again in April.

It was chilly out, but after a mile or two, I was fully warmed up and really didn't notice the cold at all.  I was rockin' some new gloves (Manzella Hatchbacks - sort of a combo glove/mitten...ok, call it a "glitten") and also a handheld bottle (Amphipod Hydraform Lite - 12oz) which has a little pouch on the handle which perfectly held my car key and 2 GU's (for those who need to know - Espresso Love and Chocolate Mint.....what can I say, I like a variety!).  The bottle worked great and the glittens kept my hands warm once I was warmed up.

Also, after about a mile, I was already essentially by myself.  It's not a bad thing, in fact, I'm very much used to it.  I tend to do all of my training alone, so this isn't much different.  I probably could have pushed the pace a bit more and tried to stay with the others, but at the end of the day, one of my running mantras is "Run Your Race".....I have to stay focused on what works for me, putting ego and ambition aside and just focus on what needs to be done that day.  After having gotten hurt the last time I trained for a marathon, I really want to avoid that this time, particularly as I'm 2 years older than last time, and also because I'm training to run BOSTON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!    So when everyone pulled away in the distance, I just kept plodding along at my own pace, lost in the beauty of a cold day and enjoying having the opportunity to build my base mileage on the same track I'll be running in April.

The miles slowly trickled I passed from Hopkinton.....through Ashland.....then the 'Ham (Framingham)....and finally Natick.  Ran into and through Natick Center and then turned about to head back to the Station 5 Grill.....and that's when it hit me.

The tailwind that had been subtly pushing me along through the initial 10.5 miles was now smacking me right in the face....I was already tiring a bit, so it was a rude adjustment.  The key thing is that I made the adjustment and soldiered on towards the finish.  Maybe it's knowing that you're close to being back in your warm car, on your way back home, that pulls you through the tough miles, but either way, before I knew it, I was turning into the parking lot, saying goodbye to my friends, and heading back home.  All in all, it was a great day, a terrific run, and I feel so good for having done it.  After the minor disaster I had last weekend with my long run, it feels great to have successfully completed my scheduled long run for Week 5.


Finally, another appeal for my fundraising.  I'm currently in training to run the 2012 Boston Marathon on behalf of the Melanoma Foundation of New England, an extremely worthy charity.  Thanks to the generosity of friends and family, I'm already 2/3 of the way to my $4000 fundraising commitment, but could still use your help.  If you or anyone you know has been impacted by melanoma, please click on the link below, read my page, and give generously.  Also, please feel free to forward the link to anyone you think might find it useful.  I thank you in advance for your attention and your generosity.

Friday, January 13, 2012

On course....again!

So tomorrow morning, I'll be meeting up with the rest of my charity team and we'll be running the front half of the Boston Marathon course......from Hopkinton to Wellesley.  We've already run the Newton hills, so this will give us a taste of the downhill slopes that lead to those notorious uphills.  To say that I'm psyched for tomorrow would be a bit of an understatement.......until I look at the weather report:

Temps in the mid 20's......winds from 10-20mph from the west....."feels like" 14-15 degrees

Looks like I'm going to have to suck it up, bundle up, and get-r-done!

Will have a full report later......

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Somedays, you're the windshield....

and somedays, you're the bug......

Today I was the bug......on one of the most beautiful days of the year (thus far, anyway), I had one of my worst runs ever.  Absolutely defies logic.....but naturally I now have to go into "analyst" mode to try to figure out why this happened and what (if anything!) I can do to prevent it from happening again.

The beauty of having this blog is that it gives me the opportunity to vent frustrations and concerns, but it also gives me another opportunity (other than my written running log) to be accountable.....and so in the interest of starting to take lemons and make some kick-ass lemonade, let's get the ugliness out of the way!

My marathon training schedule told me I was to run 11 miles today.  When I was relaxing last night, I realized that the last time I'd run 11 miles, I was running my one (and as yet, only) marathon in October 2009.  Since that time, I've run a fair amount, but nothing much longer than a 10k until I started my Boston training.  I wasn't worried about the distance, but I was spending way too much time trying to figure out what route I might take.  I think now that doubt was starting to creep in, but when I work up, I was definitely not ready to run.  Still, I suited up and headed out with good intentions......almost immediately, I knew it was not going to be my day.  Even though I was making a concerted effort to go out easy, the legs just weren't responding.  I kept trying to stay focused, but the longer I went, the more obvious it became that the distance was bigger than the man on this day.

So let's look at the ugly facts.......the splits.

1: 9:55
2: 9:23
3: 9:41
4: 10:33
5: 10:35
6: 9:50
7: 10:43
8: 11:06
9: 9:27

8.27 @ 10:06


So now I just have to put it all behind me and move bad runs have been few and far between so I just have to focus on making sure I get my rest, fluids, and stretching done so that I recover well physically.....the mental part......well, I'll just have to work on that over the next few days.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Ever have one of those days???

When I went out for my run this morning, I had only planned to go for an easy 3......just stretching the old legs out, shaking off the cobwebs left over from New Years, and getting the first run of the new year in the books.  As this is the last day of "vacation" before heading back to school tomorrow, I just figured I'd go really easy, then head home to take care off all the myriad things that need to be taken care to get ready for school.

So I put on a new pair of tights (got 'em at the New Balance Factory Outlet over the break) and my bright neon green longsleeve Reebok top (thanks, Barb!), laced up my NB 760's, and headed out.

The first 1.25 miles were mostly uphill, so I started easy and warmed up quickly.  The air temp was around 40, but the wind was gusting strong, making it feel about 10-15 degrees cooler.  I then doubled back, cruising back mostly downhill.....

And then something funny happened........

Instead of turning right and finishing up the run on the flats, I turned left and went looking for some hills.

I was feeling good, and wasn't ready to say goodbye to vacation just yet, so I kept going.  My pace was steadily between 9:30 and 9:50/mile and it felt comfortable.  While I NEVER fly over hills, I kept my pace steady and under control.  Finished with a nice dowhill past Ben's school and then I was finished.

Normally, I stick to my "plan", but this time I doubled up, running 6.1 instead of 3.  While my DailyMile widget seems to be adding my 2012 mileage to my 2011 mileage and calling it all "2012" (hope it's only a glitch that will be fixed soon!), it felt great to close out vacation and get a really good run in as the first run for the new year.  I'm so excited about the possibilities ahead for this year, so a good start feels that much better.

Thanks to all of my new readers........I love reading all of your blogs and hope that you enjoy my musings.  Hope you're all doing well and getting your running years off to good starts, too.   See you all out there on the road!