Sunday, September 30, 2012

My First 20 Mile Training Run

After how hard the last 3 or 4 miles were on my 18 miler, I was pretty nervous about bumping it up to 20. But I made all the arrangements for the kids to be taken care of, and even got a friend to run part of it with me so that helped me feel a lot better about it.

I got up at 5:30 on Friday, and my plan was to leave at 6:30 to meet my friend, Amber, at 7:00 - 3 miles away. When I got up and and my oatmeal, I woke Elle up since she was sleeping on the couch. While I was getting ready, she came in and told me she heard a mouse under the coffee table. So I went out and moved the trap to the coffee table. A few minutes later she came in and said, "I saw a mouse!" She told me it had gone behind our little blackboard that's propped up against the wall. I went out and looked behind it and there was a ton of mouse droppings there! Was it just living back there!? So, I moved the mouse trap again to that little crack then went back to getting ready.

(We did end up catching that mouse later in the day. That was our 10th mouse in the past few weeks! We caught 6 in the storage room and 4 in the kitchen, one by one with a single mouse trap. I really hope this was the last one!)

I finished getting ready about 10 minutes early so I decided to do one mile then stop back in for a bathroom break before heading out to meet Amber. This worked out really well, and I was able to see that all the kids were up and eating cereal as I passed by. Luckily George was so happy about the cereal (a rare treat around here) that he didn't even mind me leaving.

I ended up being about 5 minutes late meeting Amber, but luckily she's easy going and had just gotten a little warm-up in. I stopped at the bathroom and got a drink before we headed up Memory Grove and into City Creek. I LOVE this route because there are drinking fountains and bathrooms every 1 to 2 miles so I didn't have to carry much with me.

The other night I had a dream that I was running an ultra marathon. I had done already 30 miles and just had 20 to go, and I was winning! Not only was I winning, but I was racing against world class ultra runners, AND I had even stopped to wipe off the table mid-race. (Yeah, do you think I was a little paranoid about mice maybe? Can you blame me? 10 mice!) Anyway, I also had a little bag of Reeses Pieces in my dream so I knew that's what I'd have to take along with me for this run! I also brought a flask of hammer gel in my back pocket and some honey stinger chews, that have electrolytes and caffeine in them, with my Reeces in my iFiness belt. This fuel plan worked great!

It was so fun having Amber to run with, and we just spent an hour and a half chatting as we plugged along. She was sore from her workout the day before so she helped me take it nice and slow up that hill. We actually stopped and walked a few times too. I was totally fine with this because I knew I had a long ways to go and needed to start out slow. It was a beautiful morning and we were even a little cold when we got higher up, but it was also really beautiful up there with all the bright fall colors!

Unfortunately, my camera was acting funny so I didn't get any more pictures after this, but it was beautiful.

We went up 4 miles, then back down - putting Amber at 8 miles, and me at 12. It was a great feeling to already be more than half-way done! She headed home, and I stopped at the lovely bathroom again. Then all I had to do was run back up 2.5 miles before turning around and heading home. That didn't seem too bad at all! It was really nice to break it up like that.

I did those 5 miles up and down, and couldn't believe how great I felt when I got back down to the bottom at 17 miles! I texted Pete, "3 miles to go and I feel AWESOME!" 

I really didn't feel much different then I do on any normal run, except for the bottoms of my feet hurt a little bit more. 

I knew the last 2 miles would be harder though. They always are because that's when it flattens out which is hard to deal with after running downhill for so long, and this is exactly how it's going to be on the marathon course. It's also really mental because I just start to think about how many miles I have left, and want to be finished. I need to work on that. Pete suggested picturing the 25 mile marker and practicing staying strong. 

When I hit 19 miles, I had to stop and walk. And I walked for almost a whole block. After you've been running for that long and you stop, you really feel how tired your arms are! But then I made myself start running again. I had a friend tell me later that she saw me just before this and that I looked great. Crazy!

Anyway, I really think that last mile is totally mental because I would want to slow down, but then I'd make myself run faster, and I could do it. My legs felt so heavy, but I was able to keep going!

Then, when I got closer to my house, I realized that I was cutting it close to going over 4 hours which was kind of my goal time for this run. I picked it up a little at the end which felt really good. I really felt like I was at the end of a race! I was so exhausted, but just had to make it to the finish line! When my Garmin beeped at 20 miles I just wanted to stop, crumple up in a little ball and cry! It hit me so suddenly. But I made myself keep walking, and I took some deep breaths to avoid an all-out break down. I did probably whimper a little bit, though. I walked to the end of the block, then back to my house. By then I had calmed myself down. 

I had just gone over the 4 hour mark by 22 seconds. SO close!

My new favorite thing is to leave a water bottler filled with ice water out on the steps so I can have a drink right when I get home. Then I stand at the stairs and stretch for a little while before going inside and putting the Mom hat back on where I finish stretching.

Lucky for me, George was napping when I got home so I had a few more minutes to stretch before he woke up. Then I still had Pete there to keep him busy while I took a nice bath and got myself ready for the day. Then I picked the kids up from school and made some cream cheese filled pumpkin muffins as a reward for a morning well spent. 

I spent the rest of the day looking forward to bed time. Pete was awesome and massaged my legs, then took care of dinner by ordering pizza.

Really, it was about as perfect as a 20 mile run can be, and it has given me a lot of confidence for race day in 3 weeks! I will just try not to think about having to add 6 miles onto that! Yikes.

Let the taper begin!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Site Review:

Recently, the kind people at offered to send me some of their merchandise in return for a review of their site. It is a family owned and operated store that specializes in swimming and swim training gear.

Yeah, actually that was 3 months ago. Here's what happened...

Soon after they first contacted me, I went onto their site and very easily found some swim fins and ordered them. They have an option to pay with check or money order so I thought that was pretty cool and unique.

I was impressed with how quickly my order shipped, and that they sent me an email when it did so I knew what was going on. My fins arrived within a day or two, but there was one problem: my hands were still recovering from my fall so I wasn't able to test them out right away. And, for some reason, I ordered extra large. They were too big, but at first I thought this would be ok since they didn't seem too crazy big. Well, when I finally took them to the pool, I realized that it really would be a problem. My ankles were sore for the rest of the day because of how badly they were pulling on my feet.

I emailed my contact, Julie, from AquaGear and told her I had opened the fins and tried them out, but that they were too big. She got back to me very quickly and said that it would be fine for me to exchange them even though they'd been opened. Awesome!

Then, me being me, I didn't get around to mailing them back for a loooong time. I blame it on me being at the peak of my Utah Half training, but that's really no excuse. Then Julie emailed me to check and see if I'd sent the fins back or not. This helped give me the push to get them sent out!

When I finally sent them back, they actually called me to tell me that they were sold out of the size I had requested, and they wanted to see what else they could do for me. Unfortunately, I got this as a voicemail and never called them back. Lame.

Another month went by while I did nothing about the situation. Again, Julie emailed me to see what I wanted to do. She suggested some other fins I could try so I picked the Speedo Short Blade Training Fins, let her know which ones I wanted and before I knew it I had some new fins on my porch!

I just have to say, their customer service was amazing! I would have totally let this order slide, but they made it so easy for me to make the exchange. And even after all my neglectfulness, they did not let me fall through the cracks! Thank you AquaGear. :)

Another month went by before I finally got to the pool again to try out my new fins since by now I had finished Utah Half and have been enjoying sleeping in in the mornings. Well, today I finally went and put them to the test. I really like these fins. I'm used to the regular sized fins they have at the pool, and these short ones feel a lot more natural and don't pull on my ankles as much. It did hurt a little bit on one foot, but that might have been because my foot was already sore from running 20 miles yesterday (more on that later). I think they will work great and I'm excited to skip the fish-fins-out-of-the-basket routine whenever I go to the pool now!

The one complaint I had with the site was that I saw no easy way to look at shampoo from their category links even though I could find it if I searched for it so I knew it was there. I told them about this, and the next time I looked at the site, there were a bunch more categories listed including "personal care." I thought that was really nice that they listened to my suggestion, and it's really nice to just be able to look at all the shampoo, conditioner, lotion, etc. at the same time.

I would totally recommend this site to anyone looking for swim training gear.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Ok, THAT was a long run!

Whelp, today I ran 18 miles! That is the longest I've run since my Ironman back in 2009, and it's the longest training run I've ever done! I only made it to 17 in my training for both the St. George Marathon and the Ironman.

The SoJo Marathon has been offering a series of training runs where they provide water at aid stations along the course starting at the Half Marathon starting line, you just have to bring something to put the water in. I asked my friend Shannon, who's doing this marathon with me, if she wanted to do the last training run with me. It was was 2 weeks ago, and she was going to be out of town so I just ended up running 11.6 miles around here.

The next weekend I decided I wasn't quite ready to run 18 since it had been 4 weeks since my (almost) 16 miler. I decided to do 16 again and see if I could do it faster, which I did! It helped that I ran up City Creek which was beautiful with the leaves starting to change, and it was a nice cool morning, and I got to have some fun downhill in the middle! Yay for downhill! I did this 16 in 3:01, and last time I actually did 15.6 miles in 3:06 so I went farther in a shorter amount of time. Sweet! I felt really good afterwards, just a little bit sore.

This week was another training run, and this time Shannon was able to do it with me! I met her at about 6am near where the finish line will be, then we drove her car up to the 18-mile starting point. I had written all our turns down on my arms.

I didn't have room for them all on just one arm becuase there were a lot of them!

We started just in time to see the beautiful sunrise over the mountains. It was really nice.

That little green dot is where we started, and the red one is where we finished.

It started out pretty nice, going downhill for a ways, but we weren't able to enjoy it since there hadn't been a bathroom where we started since it was pretty much the middle of nowhere. Luckily, after about 2 miles we came to a city building. We thought it probably wouldn't be open, but we checked anyway and it was! What a nice bathroom they had too. I love city buildings! :)

After that I felt much better, and the next 3 miles just flew by. It was so much fun running with her and catching up with since we hadn't seen each other since June! She's a much faster runner than I am, but she set a pace that was perfect for me. It didn't feel too hard, but it was faster than I would have done by myself for sure so that was really cool to see that I could do that!

We stopped at a 7-11 after about 5 miles to use the bathroom again, and it was right across the street from the Medical Center where they were starting the official training run and where the half marathon will start. It was good to see we were on the right course! After this, every couple of miles, there would just be a table with 2 coolers on top - one with water and one with some kind of lemony drink that was really good. They even had a couple bottles of water in case you didn't bring your own. Shannon just carried a cup and I carried one of my fuel belt bottles in one hand and my hammer gel flask in the other. That worked out perfectly.

We also started seeing signs telling us where to turn which was good because I had written down the wrong direction on a couple of my turns! Oops, I guess that's what happens when you try to read a map at 5:30 in the morning! We managed to stay on track, though, thanks to the signs and our smart phones. It also helped that she knew the area.

One thing about this course is that it is a lot harder than we expected. The course description says, "Mostly downhill with a couple of good bumps thrown in to make things interesting." Well there seemed to be a lot more "interesting" than downhill. We were surprised by how much uphill there was and how short the downhills seamed.

I felt really good until about, oh I don't know... (That's another mistake I made, I paused my Garmin at one of our stops, and forgot to start it again until we'd run about 1.5 miles! Oops.) 11 or 12 miles. I remember Shannon saying, "soon we'll just have 6 miles to go!" and I felt like that was a very impossible sounding number. Around this time, we hit another hill and I stopped and walked when we got to the top. I was really starting to feel it! Shannon was so nice to stop and walk with me, and stick with me for so long even though I know it was so slow for her. When we hit about 14 miles, she decided she wanted to try and push it to the end so I told her to go ahead. She took off and was soon out of sight. Now came the hardest part of the run. Without her pushing me, I slowed down a lot, and my legs were starting to get pretty sore so I allowed myself to walk a few more times. I was ok, though, nothing was hurting more than it should and I knew I could finish this even if it took me a long time. I kept going.

The last 2 miles are on the Jordan River Parkway and that felt really hard! We'd had a bit of a downhill in the shade for the 2 miles before, and the Parkway is totally flat and in the sun so I started to feel the heat. I was really hurting, and stopped to walk a few times here. I finally finished after about 3 1/2 hours of running which was about what I'd planned for. Man was I glad to be done! The cool thing was that my Garmin said I had done 16.3 miles (remember, I skipped about 1.5 miles on it) in 2:58! Another big improvement on my 16 miles! Thank you, Shannon, for pushing me and helping me do that!

When I was about 1.5 miles from the finish, I stopped in my tracks as I realized that I had left the key to my car in Shannon's car 18 miles away! I had left my purse there thinking about how we were coming back to her car, not thinking about HOW we were going to get there and forgot to grab my keys! Another 6am mistake! Oh well. Luckily, she lives pretty close to where we were so she called her husband to see if he could come get us. He came and saved the day! This way I got to meet her new husband anyway, and she also showed me her new house so that was fun!

It was lunch time by the time I left and I stopped at Chipotle for a very well-earned burrito! George was about ready to go down for a nap when I got home too, so we ate, then I put him down for a nap so I was able to enjoy a bath and some knee icing. What a great run. I feel really good about finishing, and I'm so glad Shannon and I were able to reconnoiter the course together!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Just Kidding, Just Kidding, Just Kidding

Last Saturday, I told Pete I wasn't going to do any more triathlons.

Pete said, "Can I get that in writing?"

Ha ha, very funny.

I was so serious! I felt so terrible right after Utah Half that I was sure this would be the last one and I'd really be DONE. I didn't even care that I had already paid for a marathon in October, I seriously thought I would just skip it. Why do I even do this crazy stuff anyway, right?

Have you seen any of the Saturday Night Live skits with "Judy Grimes"? She makes me laugh so hard every time! Every time I say, "just kidding!" I have to laugh because of I think of this. So, here I am now saying it.

I'm not going to do triathlons any more.

JUST KIDDING, I'm going to do one this weekend.

Just kidding, I hate triathlons.

Just kidding, I love them!

Just kidding, I don't.

Just kidding, I do, and I'm doing an Ironman next year!

Just kidding, just kidding, just kidding.

Serisously, though, I can not decide what I want to do right now. 

I took Sunday and Monday competely off, felt pretty depressed and just laid around all day. 

Tuesday I went for a bike ride with the kids to the Gateway. Then I ran for 30 minutes Wednesday morning with the stroller. I only made it 2.6 miles, and it was hard! I didn't feel sore or anything, but I guess I was still recovering. 

Thursday was my birthday! I woke up early and ran 5 miles, and it took me 58 minutes. Ug, maybe I really should just be done with this running stuff, right?


Pete was so sweet and got me all this awesome running/tri stuff for my birthday! I was so suprised! It was such a great present!

(That's the hips and legs Trigger Point kit, new bottles to replace my leaky ones on my Fuel Belt, a box of chocolate Recoverite packets, some apple cinnamin Hammer Gel, and a box of honey stinger chews)

I was so excited about my trigerpoint set that I went down immediately to watch the DVD that came with it and roll out my legs that were sore from my slow 5 miles. (really? Still recovering, still recovering...) I'm so excited to have this and hopefully it will help keep me from getting injured.

I baked a cake, then went and got my hair done. I got back in time to feed the kids and take them over to our brother and sister in laws house so Pete and I could go to dinner at The Copper Onion and it was so good! It was even cool enough to sit outside so that was really nice. After dinner, Pete dropped me off at home so I could finish the cake while he picked the kids up. I made a chocolate cake with peanut butter frosting and it's pretty much the most delicious cake in the world. :)

What a great birthday! And I slept in the next day. I was going to get up early the next day (Saturday) for my long run, but when I woke up at 5:30 it was a full on rain storm with thunder and lightning. I decided I could fit it in later and went back to bed where I stayed until almost 9! Wow, that never happnes! Pete went mountain biking in the morning so I took the kids to the zoo. It was a nice cool day so it was the perfect day to go, even though it was quite crowded. It was fun, and George zonked out when we got home! I got ready to run so I could leave as soon as Pete got back. I felt bad leaving because he was so tired and sore when he got back, but luckily George was still asleep so hopefully he had a little while to recover!

I was scheduled to run 10 miles, but I decided to just be good and use my heart rate monitor/watch and run up City Creek for about an hour then run home. I ended up doing 11.6 miles and LOVED IT! I was so happy to be out running long again and I just felt so good! 

My heart rate monitor started beeping at me after about half an hour so I ended up just turning it off after running past a couple getting married and felt really annoying! I had my phone in my pocket with the GPS going, but basically I just knew about how long I'd been running and that was it. I think I turned around at about 1:10, and thought I'd be end up with about 10 miles. I was excited to see 11.6 on my GPS (Strava), but I don't know how accurate that is. 

Anyway, the point is that I still love running!

I'm excited to jump full swing into marathon training next week with my long run being 18 miles! The cake is now all gone. I'm going to be good and cross train, strength train, stretch and use my new rollers along with running a LOT. Wish me luck! :)

I'm waiting until after my marathon to decide for sure what I want to do with triathlons next year. Registration for Vineman Full opens November 1st, and that's the one I probably want to do so I need to decide by then.