Thursday, January 26, 2012

"America's Toughest Road Marathon"

what is America's toughest road marathon?
who will be running America's toughest road marathon?

Thank You, Thank You, Thank You
Marcia @

I will be "running", waddling up and down the mountains at

the Blue Ridge Marathon

I won a FREE entry.  At least this time, I will not pay an entry fee to torture myself.  I like it!  :)

I haven't heard if it's true or not, maybe it is America's toughest road marathon, maybe it's not, but for me it will be "challenging" to say the least.  I have few goals for this race, but if possible, I would like to run jog or waddle the whole way.  That's about it as far as goals for this one.  In my area, we do not even have appropriate terrain to train on for this marathon.  We have rolling hills, that is, what "I" call hills, but for many of you, what I call hills, you would laugh and say they do not qualify.  My experience so far,  would be St. George marathon (net downhill with some uphills), the Tupelo marathon which is mild rolling hills, and Mt. Desert Island.  MDI is the hilliest marathon that I've completed so far.  I ran it as a training run (SLOW pace), and surprisingly it felt easy with the higher mileage that I've been running.    I would like to run the BRM with a little more effort than a training run, but this will depend on some other race decisions this spring. 

If you have suggestions for training for "America's toughest road marathon" on rolling hills, 
I'm open to suggestions.  

From my reading so far, it looks like I need some uphill, as well as downhill training. 
(I did some downhill training prior to St. George - it worked.  My quads were fine during the SGM.  the day after - eeeekkkkk! that's a different story....)

Has anyone been to this marathon?
Anyone going in 2012?
Please Share.......

Training update:
In Dec. I contacted Meggan about a 5k training program.  (check out her blog - she is SUPER fast, and she posts great training info. and details.   She also ran in college, and her husband is a cross country and track coach.  We're both from other areas, but we live in MS now, although on opposite ends of the state.  We also share a LOVE of addiction to Dove chocolates. )  She was so generous to share with me, a 5k training program based on my most recent 5k time (22:59), my recent mileage, and based on my desire to keep my mileage up.   

I was nearing the end of my 3rd week of 5k training.  I had a great/hard track workout on Wed. with Chad (my hubby),  and was EXCITED about an upcoming 5 miles race on Sat.  It would be a test, and a continuation of my 5k training.   Fri. morning,  I woke up with the beginning of what I had hoped was allergies.  I went out for a 7-10 mile run, but realized during the muggy southern run, that my sinus issue may be more than allergies this time.  I decided during the run that I wouldn't be racing on Sat.  During the run, based on how I felt,  I lowered the mileage to 6 miles, and I decided on Sat.,  I would just go and run to get the mileage, or if I felt ok, I would run the race as a tempo run, instead of "racing."  Later in the day, I canceled the plan to run at all on Sat.   Sat., Sun., Mon., Tues. - no running, just some easy walking.  I'm thankful that it was "just a cold".   Yesterday, I finally felt better (not 100%) but ready to go for a run.  I ran slow for 4 miles.   This evening, I will run 5-8 miles depending on how I feel.  

Yes, a little "set-back" in my training, BUT:
*I'm so thankful to be healthy, MOST of the time
*this week, as my head was pounding for several days, I said several prayers for people who deal with chronic pain. I'm thankful!
*this week, I'm once again, thankful for my love of running.  I missed 4 days of running, but it's a great reminder to be thankful each day, I CAN, go for a run
*if I'm going to be sick, the timing was actually "good timing" in the big picture.  I'm thankful!
*4 days doesn't have a major impact in my plan.  I'm thankful!

moving ahead now with extra motivation after a few days off
yes, I'm a lucky gal and I'm thankful

thanks Meggan for sharing the 5k plan with me

Monday, January 16, 2012

HOUSTON....we have NO problems!

I was honored and excited when my friend Terri, invited me to go to Houston with her to run the last 10-11 miles of the Houston Marathon with her.  She and Dawn had been planning for months.  Unfortunately, Dawn had an injury that kept her from running the race, but she made the trip to Houston for the Olympic Trials.  I'll be honest, I don't follow the elites real close, until now.   I do keep up with Ryan Hall and Kara Goucher, on a small scale, through social media.  Dawn is much better with the "411" of all things sports, and especially with the elite running scene.  Thankfully, it was HIGH on her agenda to BE AT the trials.    I'm thankful because I'm not big on crowds, and had I not been with her, I'm doubtful I would have gone.  (thanks Dawn - it was amazing!).  (and it was not super crowded like I had expected)

The day ended up being super special.  We had fairly good viewing for the start of the race and stayed for the elite to pass a few times.  Later in the morning, after going inside to warm up for a bit,  we started looking for a spot to view the men's finish.  We were standing near the VIP area.  Dawn had left us to find a "better viewing spot."  She sent a text saying, "come to the bleachers!"  At the same time, I noticed random people were going into the bleacher area for the VIP.  So Terri and I walked over to the VIP bleachers, asked if we could enter and they say "go ahead".  As it turned out, Dawn was down the road, at another set of bleachers so we called her to join us.  We found spots right on the fence near the finish.  PERFECT viewing!  
How perfect you ask?  How about these.....

Ryan finishing

Happy Olympian

2012 men's team

Meb - front and center, AND a hug for Terri,  but I'm a dork and couldn't get my TWO pairs of gloves off in time to snap the pic  (sorry T.)
Shalane finishing

Kara finishing

Ladies 2012 team

Happy Shalane
Now I'm a follower of the elite 6. 
A super way to start the weekend.

Sunday morning Dawn was up EARLY to drive Terri to the start of the race.  My plan for the day was to start running from the condo that we stayed at (see pic below- the green one) and to run toward the marathon course to meet Terri around the Galleria (about mile 16).
I've been following Tina from my early blogging days.   I contacted her last week about a route that I was thinking about running.  She was so sweet to help me with a safe and scenic route (much better than my original plan).  My goal for the day was to get 17-18 miles.  I left the condo and ran along here:

Beautiful area and a super place to run, except, Houston has WAY too much concrete.  I ran 7 miles and made it to the Galleria @ Post Oak near mile 16.  Terri's goal for the day was to run a sub 4 hour marathon.  Shortly after arriving at the Galleria, I noticed the 3:20 pace group heading through the area.  I decided to start walking to meet Terri.  I walked for about 1.5 ish miles.  Just as I was starting to get nervous, thinking I may have missed her in the crowd, I spotted her running hard and looking great.  We were happy to see each other.  I think we were both relieved that the search was over, and I was EXCITED to run with her.  

As you  know already, I LOVE to RACE, but one of  my other passions is to run with other runners who are  running their first marathon, or trying to reach a new goal.  You may remember that Terri, Dawn, Vicki and I traveled together back in March to run the Snickers marathon.  After a little recovery, Dawn and Terri started planning and training super hard to race in Houston.  Terri added some INTENSE cross training to her running routine.  All of it paid off......

When we first started running together we chatted for just a minute and then Terri put her earbuds in.  I quickly noticed that we were running fast (8:33 ish pace) I interrupted her music to ask Terri what she wanted to do?  She said she just wanted to keep it under 9:00, like 8:55-8:59 pace.   Ok, we both had our tunes and took off.  I was excited and feeling super.  I was happy she didn't want to chat because that allowed me to focus on the tangents and pacing.  I was quickly reminded that pacing is a pressure-filled position to be in.  I had to keep slowing the pace.  (remember, I had only run 7 slow miles before meeting her, and I had a walk break, so I was fresh and ready to go, and Terri was running well)  I did not want to run too fast at mile 15-16.  When you run with someone, the tangents are tough to run.  In addition to that, the volume of people in this marathon made it difficult to run the tangents.  Luckily, Terri doesn't worry or get stressed about the details, "the girl just RUNS"  These are the splits from my watch

 8:53,8:47,8:58, 8:54, 8:52, 8:56, 9:04, 8:54, 9:13, 9:28, 8:16 
8:56 avg.  

Terri ended up at 3:54, WAY under her goal.  (4th marathon and sub 4:00)  As you can see, she only slowed a tiny bit in the late miles.  During this part, I ran ahead a little (on pace) and then I would wait for her.  She was so sweet, each time she would apologize and say, this is all I have.  Around mile 24, I told her "let's finish this".  I doubt she even heard that - she wears her tunes LOUD.   Whether she heard it or not, SHE did finish it in a FAST way.  At mile 25, the girl took off, and we ran the final mile @ 8:16.  FREAKIN AWESOME T.W.!  

I had pulled off the course for the last 1/2 mile but kept running on the sidewalk beside her.   At the reunion area we celebrated with a BIG HUG!  It was such a perfect day for her and  fun and exciting for me.  Later in the day, she had a call from her hubby saying her father-in-law was back in the states.  He has been in Iraq for the past year.  Doesn't get any better than that........   thanks for inviting me Terri ! 
Terri @ the expo

Ginny & Terri - let the post race celebration begin!

Terri & Dawn

More on my training later, but I'm starting my 3rd week of 5k training.
Week of Jan 2nd -  5k training - week 1
50 miles running, 5 miles walk, 12+ mile bike, 3 days of S90D or Bob Harper, 1 yoga class
Quality Runs - 12 X 200 w/ 1 min recovery,  on the track,  :48 avg. and 17 mile long run

Week of Jan 9th - 5k training - week 2
57 miles running, 2 miles walking, 3 days of S90D, 1 yoga class
Quality - 6 X 800 on the road @ 3:30 avg with 2:15 recovery, and 18 mile long run in Houston - last 11 @ 8:56 avg.

This week I will be running 8 X 400 on Wed.,  and then racing a 5 mile race on Sat. 
Ready to Race!