Thursday, September 27, 2012

Looking Back, Looking Forward (TOU Part III)

Top of Utah Marathon - Logan, Utah 2012

as promised, I have some final thoughts about my 4.5 months of training and race day at Top of Utah, Logan.  In addition, the race day pics arrived.  I rarely purchase the photos because normally I'm not a fan of my pics, but this time was different.  
 Lucky -  Run Wild Soccer Locker & City Runners shirt on 

This time, the photos perfectly document the day of running down the canyon to Logan.  
They capture the spirit, the intrigue, the mystery of the marathon.  
They capture a magical, fun day. 
They capture love of running 26.2.  
They capture friendship and support.  
They capture the inevitable pain that WILL always come in the final miles. 

 The Perfect weekend , and why it was:
*the weather was perfect - cool start and LOW humidity
*Chad, Terri, and Kristie there to support me
*I was very well trained
*my mental prep was better/stronger than EVER - I'm finally figuring this marathon thing out - this is exactly why I'm still in the game at number 24,  and heading to Boston for marathon number 25.  

*keys to,  and thoughts about the training:
*1st time to purchase a training plan.  I purchased a 12 wk McMillan plan - I've typically been of the opinion that a custom plan was not needed, but I  believe this,  "for me",  focused plan,  & "phase" plan was beneficial.  I filled out extensive details about ME.  
**strengths -(can handle high mileage, like to train HARD), **weaknesses -(speed), 
**likes - (yasso 800s), 
**dislikes (mile repeats - dislike,  but willing to do if needed or recommended) 
**want to race, but not over race
very detailed information was submitted to McMillan

 they sent a program that was good for "ME" - a challenging, speed and mileage focused plan, with some variety that I like.  Perfect!  (well worth the $$s)

*having a motivated, no whining, "like-minded" training partner - this helped to make the training fun,  and much easier than doing the tough workouts solo.    

*7 weeks before the marathon, I joined a 6 week boot camp - 2 days per week - focused on shorts sprints, squats, lunges, sit-ups, push-ups, jumping jacks, etc
*YOGA - always yoga - if you know me, you know I totally, 100% believe in yoga.  I'm lucky to have a GREAT yoga teacher. 

Interesting notes:
**I went into this marathon at a higher weight than I've been for my last several marathons, but ran a 6 minute PR (maybe a "life lesson" for letting it go)
**yassos 800s - 10 X 800 @ 3:43 avg (July 24th), and 10 X 800 @ 3:42 avg. (August 15th) - working up to the 10 X 800 workouts is my favorite marathon workout.  I've tried them several times, but this is the first time they worked out, for me, as B. Yasso describes.  (3:43 marathon finish time)
**1 year ago, a friend was discussing the desire to run 8:30 pace for 26.2 miles.  At the time, I could not even IMAGINE that for myself.  That goal was not even on my radar.  My avg. pace in Logan - official 8:30 avg. (Garmin - because I didn't run the tangents correctly - 26.4 - my avg pace - 8:28)  
the lesson - NEVER, EVER put limits on your abilities to achieve what seems like crazy goals.  
(thanks Terri)
**I was so excited about the marathon that day that I totally forgot to eat my "apple-a-day" 
You may,  or may not recall, my 2012 resolution was to eat an "apple-a-day 2012".  Ooooppps!  
on Sunday, I had 2 apples, so that I will still end 2012 eating 365 apples - so it's all good! 

with HARD work, the imaginable becomes doable, and achieved

Song of the Day - Mandisa "Stronger" 
(click "Stronger" above,  to hear song)

Imagine hearing this song at mile 22-23ish, while desperately trying to hang-on and finish. (some of the lyrics)
Oh, don't hang your head
It's gonna end
God's right there
Even if it's hard to see Him
I promise you that He still cares

When the waves are taking you under
Hold on just a little bit longer
He knows that this is gonna make you stronger, stronger
The pain ain't gonna last forever
And things can only get better
Believe me
This is gonna make you stronger
Gonna make you stronger, stronger, stronger
Believe me, this is gonna make you Stronger

Try and do the best you can

Hold on and let Him hold your hand
And go on and fall into the arms of Jesus
Oh, lift your head it's gonna end
God's right there
Even when you just can't feel Him
I promise you that He still cares

a chill bump moment, & tears almost ensued, but I had running to do.....

the clowning is done,  the "race" has begun, 
mile by mile,  we RUN TO FINISH IT!
focused and determined !
(notice the 2nd picture at the top, & then look at these taken late in the race - the high arms, and thumbs up - a sure sign, I'm TIRED, but I WILL FINISH IT ! ) 
Tired, hurting, but driven!  

Recovery - Ryan Hall and MEB style
all smiles now!  

If you missed the previous post (part II) go back to that to see the post race celebration pics.  (Sept. 21st)

After saying our goodbyes to Kristie and Terri, Chad and I started walking to the car. Shortly after completing my 24th marathon,  with a 6 min PR (a BIG deal to me), I tell him, and I quote:
"I'm done!"  (meaning done with "going for marathon PRs", not done with running)  
"I don't think I can go ANY faster than that!   well, maybe I can, but I don't think I have the gumption to try."  
with this statement, at the time, I was sincere and serious.  
Happy and fulfilled, I was ready to say, no more......
the next morning, I head out to complete my 30 minutes of movement.  I'm about 5 minutes into my walk when Mandisa's "Good Morning" song comes on.  (google it if you haven't heard it).  My walk picked up speed, my head lifted high, still celebrating the day before.  My thoughts immediately went to the future & goals.  this was my thought that day..... 
 "3:43 - I ran 26.4 (that extra .2 cost me almost 2 min), I think I can go sub 3:40, like 3:39:50. maybe I will give it a try!" 
 (yes, I'm sick and need help - but I do enjoy this illness)
Before we left Utah to return home, I had my goals for 2013 outlined. 
They are BIG!  
They will be CHALLENGING!  
They will be FUN ! 
Bring it 2013, I'm READY !  
Today, was my first run in 10 days (#marathonrecovery)
I'm excited to be back at it.
the future is BRIGHT
I will run a few weeks of easy mileage, and then back to the  "real fun stuff"

most of all, I'm thankful that I seem to have an undying desire to do better/ be better
I will share my 2013 goals in a future post. 

Friday, September 21, 2012

Top of Utah and On Top of the World, Part II

Part II
Sat. 3:40 AM,  I wake up, just before the 3:45 alarm clock.  coffee, yogurt, raisin bread, and 1/2 banana, shower, get race ready and out the door just before 5:00 to catch the bus to the start.  Everything is going as planned.  I feel totally relaxed as I ride the bus.  We had a 10 min ride, change buses,  and then a 30-40 min. ride up the canyon.  When we made the turn at mile 14, to go to the top of the canyon, the wind is blowing HARD! ......wasn't expecting that!    the day before was totally calm.  I quickly calm my nerves by telling myself , "I'm ready , the wind doesn't matter." 
Note to self !  

I represent Strength and Mental Toughness!

When we arrived at the top, the winds are calm and the weather is perfectly chilly for running.   (potty line, wait, potty line, go to start, shed the extra clothes, and ready to race)  The race oddly starts almost 15 minutes late.  (1st marathon out of 24 to start late)  Normally that would be no big deal, but at this race, Terri is meeting me at mile 14 to run with me - eeekkkk. 

Off and running, finally!  When I ran the St. George marathon in 2009 (my 1st BQ, my current PR race - 3:49), I used a weighted pace chart.  I enjoy technical running.  I think the concentration required to run different splits each mile serves me well in giving me something to focus on.  It also kept me from going out too fast which is crucial in running a good race at SGM.  I was happy and surprised when I googled "weighted pace chart TOU",  and I found a weighted pace chart.  The top of the pace chart has the following information:

"Top of Utah Marathon Pacing Matrix and Elevation Profile
In Advanced Marathoning, Pfitzinger and Douglas state that the optimal pacing strategy is to run at a relatively even effort, depending on the particular characteristics of the course. Surging will waste valuable glycogen (energy stores), and running slower than pace will force
you to make up for the lapse later. The Top of Utah Marathon course’s main characteric that controls pace is the downhill gradient of the first 2/3 of the course followed by the small rolling hills in the last 1/3. In The Lore of Running, Noakes describes studies that showed the
energy savings of running downhill to be about half of the enregy cost of running uphill at the equivalent gradient. The matrix below applies these principles and uses the TOU elevation profile to predict appropriate mile splits for an array of goal finish times. These splits take
into account elevation gain and loss for each mile, and will help TOU runners maintain an even effort over the varied terrain of the TOU course, and give guidelines to avoiding tactical pacing errors and to conserving glycogen.

My goal for the race was 3:44:59.  This is my BQ time, at my younger age bracket (40-44) which has remained as my recent goal. (for Boston purposes my age group is 45)  The pace chart offered 3:45 so I used that, and planned to run 4 seconds faster for each mile.   
As we head down the canyon, everything is perfect.  I haven't forgotten anything, (garmin, pace chart, ipod, gloves, race shoes, etc - check) and the weather is great.  low humidity running - Gotta Love It !  I intentionally start the first mile slower than the prescribed plan,  and then plan to get on pace starting with mile 2.

First half - 
slowest mile - Mile 1 - 8:40
 fastest mile - mile 8 -  8:11
13.1 - right around 1:50:05 ???

At mile 13, the crazy wind that we noticed on the bus was back, but get this - IT WAS AT OUR BACK!  Today is my day because I'm running downhill, and the wind is at my back.  SWEET!

At mile 14, Terri and Chad are waiting.  Terri is ready to run, Chad is taking pics.  I tell them about the race starting 15 minutes late, which they had already figured out by the pacing balloons.  We make the turn at mile 14, and head into the flat area of the course.   The wind quickly dies down.  I get a "Terri bounce" and the next few miles are fast - 8:08, 8:04, at some point Terri asks me about the pace.  She wanted to make sure I was aware of the fast pace.  I tell her that my plan was to wait until mile 16 and then make a move, but I was feeling great, so I was "going with it".  I tell her it's a gamble, but I'm willing to take the it.  8:02, 8:07, 8:20.  I stay well under the weighted pace chart until mile 23.
At 23 the "weighted" pace is 8:56, I ran this one at 9:09,
mile 24 - should have been 8:36, I ran it at 9:00
mile 25 - should have been 8:45, I ran it at 8:48
mile 26 - should have been 8:40, I ran it at 8:50

2nd half
slowest mile - Mile 23 - 9:09
 fastest mile - mile 16 - 8:02

I finish the race at 3:43:28. 
6 min PR  (BQ minus 11)
15 out of 78 in my age group (40-44)
Average heart rate - 152
Max Heart rate - 185 -  (almost blew up :) :) )  (220-44 = 176)
Garmin 26.4

(This course has a lot of turns which I knew from the pre-race ride.  In addition, the canyon part is constantly curving back and forth.  I came out of the canyon already .1 over and aggravated with that because I was focused,  and running the tangents.  I ended the day at 26.4 (which is almost 2 min. extra - urgh) 

Terri in pink shorts, Me in black 
Terri has been the BEST training partner this summer.  She's FUN, energetic, motivated, trains hard, and has BIG goals like me, and we are working hard to achieve them. We support each other,  and I was thrilled that she was there to share this day with me, and helping me.   I was so honored that she traveled from MS to help me finish strong.  She gave me the best encouraging and motivating comments along the way.
Thank You Terri ! 
We did it!  
We Celebrate!  Thank you Chad for supporting me. 
Ginny (me) & Terri
Kristi, me, and Terri
Oh Happy Day!

More post race thoughts and pics coming for part III

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Top of Utah and On Top of the World

Oh What a Weekend!
This pic perfectly illustrates a MAGICAL weekend.

Chad and I arrived in Logan Thurs. evening.  I was thrilled to be greeted with dry air at the Salt Lake City airport.  We made a quick stop at the Red Iguana, and then headed to Logan.
Yummy Shrimp Fajitas!  (BRIGHT western sun)
Beautiful Logan, UT sunset
Friday, I woke up with excitement.  I headed out to loosen the legs.  I had just enough time to get in 30 min.,  and get back to the hotel to submit my Boston registration.  (10:00 AM EST, Boston BQ minus 5 min)
Back at the hotel, entry submitted, and I received the following email:

Your Boston Marathon entry has been received!

now to wait for entry confirmation 

Later that evening I received the next email which said:
Dear Ginny,

This is to notify you that your entry into the 117th Boston Marathon on Monday, April 15, 2013 has been accepted, provided that the information you submitted is accurate.

I quickly notified Soccer Locker and City Runners that I been confirmed.  They immediately began the process of booking a hotel room, and flights for Boston 2013.   I'm so honored and thankful for this opportunity.  So, I will indeed be in Boston April 2013 for my 2nd attempt to conquer this course.   

much hill running ahead, but first TOU 26.2

HappY FridaY Y'all!


Next on the agenda was to ride the Top of Utah course.  Cache National Forest

Friday afternoon my friends, Terri (& training partner), and Kristie made the trip from Pocatella, ID (visiting family) to Logan, and we toured the marathon course again.  Terri was meeting me at mile 14, and Kristie was helping with logistics (such sweet friends).   The course is mostly a gradual downhill course until mile 14.  At mile 14, the course is flat for a while and then you have some small uphill sections.  The ups are not steep, but the timing of the gradual ups definitely get your attention at mile 18-19.5 and then again around 22-23ish.   In the car, the excitement was building.  Although, I knew the ups, at the end would not be fun, I was happy that they were not steep.  I was anxious to race.   

Summer training, yasso 800s, tempo runs, yoga, 6 wk boot camp, speed work, mental training, fast finish runs, finishing long runs on hills, etc. - all playing through my head, reassuring me that 


These are the thoughts I would use before and during the race.  Many of these are from the book Running Within by Jerry Lynch and Warren Scott.  (I highly recommend it).

* calm & confident, I race well  *expect success, I'm running my best  *I simply perform like the well trained runner that I am  *  run smart - glide & float  *  soft is strong  *  what you can conceive, you can achieve (my thought 3:40 - I can conceive that, I can achieve that!)

my goal was 3:43:59 - BQ at my younger age (my current BQ time is 3:55)

* I represent mental toughness  * my drive is unmatchable  * I am positivity  * stay positive

These are from supportive friends:

* Every step is another battle won  *  "none of this is gonna kill ya, so what do you really have to worry about?  * Finish Strong!  * "I can do all things through HIM who gives me STRENGTH." 

 * All of the hard work is done now just relax and get ready to collect the rewards.' 

* "I am beginning to feel peaceful and calm"  *  "throw back your shoulders, let the heart sing, let the eyes flash, let the mind be lifted up, look upward and say to yourself....Nothing is impossible! ~Norman Vincent Peale  

* The Time is Now!  *  Yeah!  Don't worry!  Be happy!  *  I think I can, I think I can, I know I can, I know I can!

"For Gold hath not given us the spirit of fear;  but of POWER, and of LOVE, and of a sound MIND-" 2 Timothy 1:7

Trust your training Ginny!  Your are ready!  *You are tougher than the rest of them!  This is what you came here to do!"  *"You know how to prepare like no other.  Trust your training and enjoy the wonderful scenery."  *

"Run like the champ you are !!!"

Friday evening I'm in the hotel by 7:15ish, lights out at 9:00 pm ish with the alarm set for 3:45.

I'm READY! be continued




Sunday, September 9, 2012

Top of Utah 26.2 & Boston Registration-will I get in?

BIG week ahead for us.  Chad, Terri, and I will be traveling west to Logan, UT.  Sat. I will be "racing" the Top of Utah Marathon.   I'm seriously about to pop.  I'm hoping to reserve some of the excitement for Sat. when I will be running for a PR.  This one is all about the "finish time".  Some people find their passion in "just running" and enjoying the moment.  My passion is RACING, & out performing my previous time.  I'm happy that I can go to some races and "just run for fun", but Sat. is not about that.
 My FUN, is a new PR.  

Let me back up and do a little catching up.  Terri and I went to Tupelo, MS to run the quirky Tupelo Marathon & 14.2 mile race eat at Vanelli's Italian restaurant (yummy!) (last year we ran the  full marathon as a training run).  This year, it was again a training run for both of us, but each of us had a structured goal for the 14.2 mile race.  Terri was running it as a MRP (marathon race pace) run, and I was doing a fast finish run.  Terri ended the day  with a "spot-on" training run, and ended the day with an 8:30 avg. in  hot, humid, & hilly conditions.   My plan was 14 with the last 6-8 at MRP.  I ended with an 8:39 avg. over the last 8 miles.  The day before the race, and morning of, I had to do some talking to myself.  I have race fever!  I had to keep telling myself - "self - you are 2 wks from TOU 26.2.  Today is NOT the day to race, control yourself and stick with the plan.  Terri and I ran the first mile together,  and then she picked it up to her goal pace.  As she picked it up, I didn't go "with her", but I did pick up my pace.  Miles 2 and 3 were faster than planned  for my early miles (8:43 and 8:41).  I talked myself back into "my plan" and waited for the last 8 miles to run MRP.
....Pacing, Running Smart, and Sticking to the Plan - It's tough out there!   
 (especially when "race fever" hits you hard)
Terri & I left Tupelo behind with our goals for the day checked off,  and another great training run behind us.

You may have noticed the Boston Registration in the title of my post.  I had decided weeks ago, that although I qualified again, I would not return to Boston in 2013 (too expensive & low on travel funds).  My plan was to wait for Terri and Audrey to BQ,  and then return to Boston with friends.  Last weekend, I was helping our local running club with a  5k race.  Soccer Locker & City Runners is our local running store.  During the day, the owner was talking to our running club president (Audrey),  about sending 2 pacer members to Boston (male & female).  Audrey knew that I had BQ'ed and mentioned this to the owner.   They called me over, and just the "mention" of the possibility of a return trip to Boston, with paid flight and hotel, quickly sent me into an emotional state.  Chill bumps came over my legs, &  I was about to cry,  tears of joy, obviously.
emotions of the moment - humbled, amazed, honored, excited, cloud nine, could it really happen to me?

  Later in the wk, conversations back and forth, and it has been decided that our other friend, and pacer member/volunteer, Terry and I will be going to Boston.  Terry will be able to register on Monday,  and he will get in, no problem.  My story is a little different.  I have to wait until FRIDAY.  eeeeekkkkkk - the agony!    
will I get in, will I go to Boston 2013?, 
will I miss the opportunity for free hotel and flight to Boston?  
come on BAA, let me in!    
what do you think about the 2013 registration?  any opinions about the closing date? 

I'm truly honored that Soccer Locker & City Runners decided to pick me to go to Boston.  
If you are local, and reading this, please go by and support Soccer Locker as they support our community through donations to local races and sponsorships, and supporting other local businesses.
(Soccer Locker supports my local business - Always In Stitches Embroidery & Screen Printing) 

What an exciting week.  Friday, I will be in Logan, trying to get into the Boston Marathon for 2013, and Sat. I will be RACING TOU.  I'm so excited that Chad (hubby) and my friends, Terri and Kristie  will be at the race.  Terri will be running the 2nd half of the race with me - so excited that my friend and summer training partner will travel across country, and share this day with me.  Wow!  
(thank you Terri and Kristie)  this will be a SPECIAL day with hubby and friends.  I can't wait......  

Saturday, September 1, 2012

It's Time to Trample the Weak, Hurdle the Dead

Labor Day weekend.....ahhh!

Time to head north to Tupelo, MS for some hot hilly fun.  This year, Terri and I decided we would head north once again for the fun Sept. challenge, but this year we will be running the 14.2 mile race, not the full marathon.  The Tupelo Marathon, with the appropriate theme.... 
"Trample the Weak, Hurdle the Dead!" 
has become one of my favorite races.    This will be my first attempt at the 14.2 mile distance.   My schedule calls for a "fast finish" 14-18 mile run, so 14.2 on hills,  sounds just about right to me.  I will NOT be racing this one. (TOU 26.2 - in 2 wks)  It's really about the FOOD -Vanelli's Italian, Sat. night.  YUMMO!  (totally worth the 5 hour drive north)

 The latest web update from the Tupelo Marathon, below:  :) :)

 Special notice: Tupelo Marathon and 14.2 Miler Contingency plans regarding Hurricane Isaac
 After consulting with Tupelo Running club Staff Meteorologist Michelle Rupp and long time, former Race Director Mike Lail I am announcing the contingency plan for this year's race:
 A. In the event of rain we will get wet 
B. In the case of heavy rain we will get really wet
 C. In the case of REALLY heavy rain I will wait in the building until you're all back
 Please check this page periodically for updates. I appreciate your concerns and hope that this message will allay those.
Thankfully Isaac has finally headed north, but the HUMIDITY remains in FULL FORCE.  (like a 5.5 mile run yesterday, and my shorts were dripping wet)

water on board - I'm ready to ride, eat, run, eat, ride - 
Happy Labor Day weekend "Y'all"!