ilanarama: me in Escalante (yatta!)
Here it is, the much-belated (due to roadtrip vacation home) CIM race report. To compensate for its lateness, it is ludicrously long. Grab something to drink, put your feet up, clear your calendar and dive in. Or alternatively, scroll through to the summary and look at the pictures. :-)

Training )

Pre-race )

Actually running the darn thing )


Post-race )

Hardware!
ilanarama: Mountain can has santa hat! (mountain santa)
December 1st, so I'm using my Santa-hatted mountain icon (made for me by [personal profile] blnchflr). And also, ONE WEEK TO CIM! Yay! Yikes!

The first thing I want to say is to reassure those of you who read my most recent post that after several days of rest and aggressive self-massage/foam rolling/icing, my mysterious calf injury seems to have retreated. I'm pretty sure it's related to my ongoing peroneal tendon issues (the ankle bone's connected to the knee bone, as it were) and possibly even to the iliac crest pain I've been having lately. I'm also pretty sure it's not going to be a problem for the race, hooray. And three days of rest during taper is not going to destroy all the training I've put in. (However, the three pounds of fat I have put on...maybe!)

Okay, on to the (abbreviated) week:

Monday - 6 miles easy (9:07 avg pace) with 8x10sec hill sprints. I think this is where I did whatever bad thing I did to my calf, because it was tight that night and the next morning.

Tuesday - 9.9 miles with 3GMP, 3 min easy, 3HMP. Looked like this: 8:53, 8:24, 7:43, 7:44, 7:39, 8:14 (3 minutes), 7:18, 7:21, 7:20, 9:07, 9:15 (.5 mile). Overall pace 8:01, a real solid workout. (This is partly to brag, and partly to remind myself that see? I'm in great shape for my race! No excuses! I can do it!)

Wednesday through Friday - no running. I walked 3 miles on Wednesday and I did my core exercises on Wednesday and Friday, and foam-rolled and massaged my calf twice a day.

Saturday - 4.2 miles easy at 8:30 pace. Yeah, when you take 3 days off, you can run faster. I was tempted to keep going but this was a test. The peroneal tendon at my ankle hurt when I started but loosened up with the run.

Sunday - 10.4 miles easy but hilly, 8:36 average pace. Felt fine other than the same initial pain in the PT, hooray.

Total 30.5 miles, about 2/3 of what I'd planned for the week but it's really no biggie at this point.

While I was sitting on my butt not running, I indulged in a bit of retail therapy and ordered a new Garmin 610 to replace my 305, which has experienced a recent dramatic decline in battery life. Possibly wearing it while hiking all day in England contributed, but anyway, it's three years old and I bought it when it was already nearly obsolete. In fact, I bought my 305 almost exactly three years ago, when retailers were deeply discounting older GPS watches as the new ones were being rolled out for the Christmas shopping season, and that's why I got the 610 - the 620 is now the hottest newest, and so the 610 is on sale all over the net (as is the 210 in the wake of the 220, and so on). I even splurged for 2-day shipping, so it is supposed to arrive Tuesday - good thing, as I got low-battery warnings from the 305 today on my run only an hour in! I just hope I can figure out how to use it before the race.

But even if I can't keep track of out how fast I'm going, you guys can. Online tracking for CIM is up and available at http://rtrt.me/cim - my bib number is 7873. You can set up alerts or just check the website periodically. There will be timing at 5.9M, 13.1M, 20M, and the finish. Also, I've set it up (I think!) so that my splits will automatically post to Facebook.

One week! Aie!
ilanarama: my footies in my finnies (snorkeling)
It's unsurprising that the last few weeks before a race tend to be filled with disaster and depression, and most especially the phenomenon known by runners as 'taper madness' or 'taper tantrums'. My training has come to a peak, which is very hard on the body. Everything has been working toward the point which is now less than two weeks from now - so naturally, everything is going wrong.

The biggest problem, at the moment, is that I seem to have strained my soleus (the deep calf muscle). On Monday I ran an easy 6 miles with hill sprints, felt fine, though my peroneal tendinitis was bothering me a bit more than usual. In the evening when I did my core routine I noticed my calves, especially my right calf (the one with tendinitis) were tight, so I made sure to do a little stretching (which I don't do often enough) along with my exercises. But on Tuesday morning my calves still felt tight, and when I headed out on my run, my right calf felt like a block of wood, unresponsive and stiff.

Despite the odd feeling in my calf, I had a great workout. My run was 2 miles easy, 3MP (which averaged 7:42), 3 minutes easy (which was not particularly slow, 8:15 pace), 3HMP (which averaged 7:19), and then easy home, which was another mile and a half, for a total of just under 10 miles. Except as I headed home I felt like my calf was even tighter - usually it loosens up as I run - and after I went upstairs and took my shower, I found it hurt to go down the stairs!

I didn't run yesterday (Wednesday), and I bailed on my planned Turkey Trot today. I have been self massaging and foam rolling (using the excellent resources at http://www.athletestreatingathletes.com/self-muscle-massage/self-muscle-massage-pt-1-the-calf/). I don't think it's a tear, or something severe enough that I'll have to cancel the marathon - at least, I hope not. No idea how many days I'm going to need to take off; as they say, 'the hay is in the barn' and I don't need to do more workouts, but hope I can get a run or two in before the marathon.

You'd think that this would be enough for the vengeful gods to throw at me, but, no. My husband's had some sort of respiratory ick for the past two weeks - I've been sleeping in the guest room, washing my hands fifty times daily, and taking vitamin C / echinacea / zinc supplements. So far, so good, but I'm terrified I'm going to come down with it.

Of course I'm stressing about the weather, too. We're just getting into that timeframe where forecasts are possible and...they're not that great. It's looking like wind and rain, bleah.

I'm not in the best of moods, as you can imagine. So, naturally...I get my period! I'm at that stage in my life where it's so irregular as to be random, and it's also become heavier than it used to be, and lasts longer. If I was in a normal state of mind I would probably rejoice, since this means I'm unlikely to be having it during the race, but after reading horror stories of perimenopausal women with month-long periods, I'm just hoping it GOES AWAY NOW PLEASE.

Ah, well. Taper tantrums. I'm self-medicating with alcohol and chocolate, and crossing my fingers, and hoping for the best, because there is nothing else I CAN do.
ilanarama: me, The Other Half, Moab UT 2009 (marathon)
The California International Marathon (CIM) is five weeks away now, so it's time I start thinking about a marathon goal. I'm not a fan of starting out with a goal (other than a vague one like 'New PR', which coincidentally has been my vague goal from the beginning) but I like to start running some goal marathon pace (GMP) miles as the race approaches, and I want to have a pace plan heading into the race.

A little under two years ago, I ran the Houston Marathon in 3:29:13 on about 49mpw. Six weeks before, I ran the Winter Sun 10K in 43:06, which sounds really fast except that it's a downhill course, with 58ft gain and 375ft elevation loss. Converting to a flat course (using the Runworks calculator) suggests that without the downhill advantage, I would have run about 44:02. (The Winter Sun is also at a lower elevation than here - and at a higher elevation than Houston, which is at sea level, but I'm discounting altitude effects because both this race and my recent half marathon, which I'm using as a tune-up, were in Moab at roughly the same altitude; and CIM is only a few hundred feet above sea level.)

Runworks will calculate a predicted marathon finish time based on a shorter race, but I don't like most online calculators for this as they tend to be quite optimistic. (When I was a newer runner, I matched these calculators pretty well, but I think that has changed now that I've become better at running faster - and running shorter races. Just by way of example, plugging 44:02 back into the calculator suggests I should have run Houston at 3:23. Which - I might have been capable of a slightly faster finish than I ran, but not that much faster!)

I prefer the calculator spreadsheet made by Greg Maclin (who incidentally is the guy I ran most of Houston with) that can be downloaded from his website at http://mymarathonpace.com. This has a tweakable setting for 'aggressiveness', and by putting in the 44:02 and selecting the 'Moderate' setting, I get a 3:29:47 prediction - just a tad slower than what I actually ran. (If I don't tweak for the downhill and just put in my time directly, my time comes in about 80% of the way to 'Fairly Conservative'. But I believe that the downhill-corrected time more accurately represents my ability at that distance, at the time.)

So, that was not quite two years ago. Now I'm running about 60mpw, and I ran a half marathon at 1:35:55. Plugging that into Maclin's calculator, on the 'Moderate' setting, I get just under 3:25. On the 'Fairly Aggressive' setting, I get just under 3:22. If my endurance has improved (and it should have, with the additional mileage) maybe I can split the difference here and make 3:23.

But wait, there's more! The Other Half was kinda hilly, right? In fact it climbed about 350 feet and descended about 450 feet. Runworks tells me I would have run a 1:35:07 on a flat course, which, maybe. When I plug that in to Maclin's calculator, I get 3:20:15 to 3:23:15 depending on setting.

My 'BQ Babes' - the virtual running partners I've had since I first signed up on the Runner's World Online forum back in 2008, who I now mostly interact with on Facebook, tell me I should go for sub-3:20. I...don't think so. It would be awesome, but I think it would be a stretch. But I do think 3:23 is a reasonable goal. (At least I think so until I do the math and realize that's 7:45 pace! Yikes!)

Today's workout was a bit of a test of that goal: 12 miles with 7 miles at GMP. And it wasn't bad, despite the rather hilly route (I don't have much of a choice on this unless I want to do short laps on the river rec path) and the gusty wind: my first 5 GMP miles averaged 7:43 pace, and even with two more slower miles (due to hills and wind, not due to me being tired, I think) my overall average was 7:46, perfectly acceptable as a test. My HR was pretty stable, around where it belonged. So a 3:23-ish is feasible.

So. A goal is sub-3:23, B goal is sub-3:25, C goal is a PR (sub-3:29:13). Now I just have to get to the start line uninjured and in the best running shape I can be.
ilanarama: a mountain (mountain)
Three years ago I ran the Boston Marathon. This morning I watched the elite women's race on livestream, watched one of my friends who started with the elite cross the finish line in 33rd place overall, amazingly caught by the finish camera despite being almost half an hour behind the winner and checked on the tracking for my many friends running this year. While I was cheering with other friends on Facebook, one of the people I know through an internet running forum - who was there cheering in person - posted, "Holy shit -- explosions. What is happening?" I went to Google news, and to Twitter, and watched the horror unfold real-time.

The first thing to do was make sure all the people we knew (we being the collective internet running forum banded together on FB) were okay. As it turned out, everyone I know personally has checked in, but one of the women (who I first met at Boston when I was there) finished shortly before the explosions, and said she was only 200 yards away - freaked her out! Another friend hadn't finished and was diverted away - couldn't get to her warm clothes for hours.
So far there are two confirmed deaths (one an 8-year-old, apparently) and upwards of 100 people in hospitals. At least four leg amputations and a dozen critical injuries.

I haven't managed to get much work done today. I mean, I knew I wasn't going to work much this morning, tracking my runner friends, but I have been glued to various liveblogs and news outlets and Facebook all day. It's depressing, rage-inducing, and frightening. It reminds me of 9/11, when Britt and I were at some friends' house in Denver, getting ready to fly back to our sailboat in Grenada, watching CNN and realizing we weren't going anywhere.

Nobody's claimed responsibility, and despite what various quasi-news places are saying, there's no suspect in custody according to the Boston PD. The timing on tax day, and near the Oklahoma City bombing date, makes me suspect domestic terrorism. But nobody knows yet.

I have been thinking about running Boston again; I mean, I would have to qualify, but I almost certainly will at my next marathon (hopefully this fall), so it would be a decision of if I wanted to go or not. I'm leaning toward it, now. Maybe it's a gesture of defiance.
ilanarama: a mountain (mountain)
I seem to have tripped and accidentally registered for the New York City Marathon in early November. Oops?

Okay, there's actually a longer story here. The NYCM is a mega-big race with a lottery entry in which only about 10% of entrants get in (although if you come from overseas you can get in automatically through a package deal), however, there are various ways to get a guaranteed entry. One is through a qualifying time which is actually more stringent than Boston's; for 40-49 women it is a sub-3:38 marathon or 1:44 half, so my 3:29 at Houston gets me in. Actually, my 1:43:xx at The Other Half in October qualified me, and I started thinking about it then.

That's because, beginning next year, the qualifying standards are tightening significantly across the board. For me, I'd need a sub-3:21 marathon or a sub-1:34 half; the latter is certainly a goal of mine, but I've still got a long way to go. A lot of my friends who qualified under the old standards won't make it under the new either, and many of them who had not run NYCM before decided this was their last chance, and signed up. My frequent race roomie Karah ([blogspot.com profile] tiredmamarunning) qualified the year before, and then decided to defer, so she's running in 2012. I thought about it hard, and decided that I just wasn't up for an expensive megamarathon, and told all my friends to have a good time in New York without me.

Unfortunately, I rapidly wilt under the combined pressure of deadline and friends (which is why I signed up for Houston last year), and Monday was, as every freakin' runner on my Facebook page let me know, the OMG LAST DAY TO REGISTER FOR NEW YORK!!1!one!

...so I did.
ilanarama: me, The Other Half, Moab UT 2009 (marathon)
I have been nattering about my injury recovery and training and race goals all over the internet, and the Houston Marathon runner tracking was amazing, with splits every 5K and interactive maps and whatnot, so a race report feels a bit like overkill.  But do I ever let something like that stop me from writing pages and pages?  Of course not.  I am not going to do a mile-by-mile report, but here are a few highlights.  Okay, more than a few.  Photos, too. If you're only looking for the numbers, scroll to the end.

Gory details! )
ETA: Larger versions of the "synchronized running" photo (only) is at Flickr, but in order to see the photos on Flickr you need to click through with this "guest pass": http://flickr.com/gp/svwindom/678N8P The others are taken from Brightroom's previews. (I am going to buy a print of that last one, though, despite the stupid ridiculous price, because it makes me smile!)
ilanarama: me, The Other Half, Moab UT 2009 (marathon)
In just one week - on Sunday, January 15th - I'll be running the Houston Marathon. (Gulp.) Actually, I am quite excited about this, because unless I get injured or sick in the next week (KNOCK ON WOOD LIKE WHOA) I will be better-prepared for this one than for any previous marathon I've run. More miles, better fitness, a solid 10K six weeks prior. (BTW, I have added links to two race photos to my Winter Sun 10K race report - or you can use this Flickr Guest Pass to see them, along with the photo from The Other Half I'd posted before.) Fired up and ready to go!

My bib number is #3060. I believe you can track me, or at least check my results afterward, at http://alerts.houstonmarathon.com/. There is also a team competition, which is scored as (age group placement) / (number of people in age group) * 1000 for each person (so for example, if I come in at #10 in my AG out of 300 people, which incidentally is about how I expect to finish, my score would be 33), and the lowest three scores on each team of up to 6 people are added for the team score. I'm on a team called The Competitive Jerks, but my score is unlikely to count as everyone else on my team is a lot faster than I am (likely to get single digit scores). That's okay by me, though - it means the pressure is off!

Well, sort of. Because of course I have goals, and I am going to do my best to meet them. These are:

A goal: 3:28 to 3:29:59 (sub-3:30)
B goal: 3:30 to 3:33:18 (better than an hour faster than my first marathon)
C goal: PR (under 3:35:57)
D goal: finish upright and uninjured. Okay, I want this no matter what.
 
I think these are realistic goals. My 10K PR points to something between 3:25 and 3:35, depending on what kind of assumptions one makes (it was downhill, but at altitude while the marathon is at sea level, my endurance tends to be pretty good, but I have only been running more than 50mpw for a short time, etc). I spent a week around New Year's in Bakersfield, CA, which is at 400ft, as Britt's working on a solar installation project there, and I did a test "marathon pace" run, 2 easy miles followed by 10 at MP (I was striving for between 7:50 and 8:00) - my average pace was 7:55.5 and my heart rate was perfectly flat at 76%HRR, or the low end of marathon pace HR. This, for those of you less geeky than I am, is a very good sign. Of course, the downside is that I was running in this:

Running near Bakersfield, CA

Can you see the mountains in the distance? I didn't know they were there until we drove over them the next day.  But Bakersfield has the worst air quality in the US - just this morning our local paper ran an (AP) article about the horrible air quality there, with the helpful information that this year is the worst in over a decade, and that pollution has exceeded federal health standards nearly every day - and I was seriously wondering how much damage I was doing to my lungs.

Speaking of Bakersfield, some nattering about weight... )

Incidentally, that article about elite marathoners also listed the following breakdown of their mileage:  70% is slower than marathon pace, 10% marathon pace, 10% tempo (between half marathon and 10K pace), 6% 10K pace, and 4% 5K pace.  I looked at my own mileage and did the math:  even if I start counting in early October, when I started including some faster running, I have run 89% of my miles slower than MP (I used 8:10 for this, even though I'm hoping to actually run 7:55-8:00 pace), 5% at MP (7:50-8:10), 4% tempo (7:25-7:49) and a grand total of 2% faster than 7:25 pace.  

Counting everything since I started running again in August (and adding the miles I'm expecting to run this week before the marathon) I will have run around 828 miles this training cycle.  Yowza!  Of course compared to the elites this is peanuts, but it's been a good cycle for me.  The past eight weeks have been: 56, 61, 47, 51, 66, 66, 52, 54, and next week will be around 20.  (The taper looks odd because I ran last week's 16-mile long run on Monday; if I swap Sunday and Monday the last weeks are 66 and 42.)

Today I ran my last long run before the marathon, which was not long at all, only 12 miles - and I went up and over the mesa, which is about a 600ft climb/descent, which is probably more than twice what I'll have in all 26.2 next week.  Felt good, felt fast.  Now it's time to taper hard and rest up, and get ready to run a marathon.
ilanarama: me, The Other Half, Moab UT 2009 (marathon)
A couple of days ago I succumbed to peer pressure - in this case, the 'peers' were my online running buddies from RWOL, many of whom are Facebook friends of mine, who were all talking up the Houston Marathon in mid-January. This year it's the day after the Olympic trials, so a lot of people are planning to go to watch the fast elites zip by on Saturday, then run a flat and fast marathon on Sunday. The other draw is that it's a lottery entry - but this year, the first 2000 people to sign up with a certified sub-four-hour marathon time, which I have, were guaranteed entry...so I did.

I'm still wondering whether I did the right thing. There are definitely pros and cons:

Reasons to and not to run Houston
TONOT TO
Perfect timing - can heal up, then backpack and hike and stuff in August and September, then train hard October through December before the snows hit. And ski afterward!SEVEN MONTHS AWAY. I could die of waiting.
Known to be "flat and fast."In other words, "boring."
Watch the Olympic trials!For what, 30 seconds as the racers zip by?
Will see some of my online running buddies I haven't seen since Boston, and meet some I haven't met in person yet.Will miss others who have picked different fall/winter races.
Lots of crowd support, which is always fun.About twice as many runners as I really feel comfortable with. And no chance for an AG award.
Britt's not likely to want to come to Houston, so I get to spend all my time hanging out talking running with other runners, which would bore him silly.Britt's not likely to want to come to Houston. I'll miss him!
Relatively cheap flight and hotel. And I already paid the entry fee.If I'm gonna spend money to travel somewhere, why not go somewhere niftier?

I've signed up, and paid, but I don't actually HAVE to go, of course. I don't have flights yet - that's probably the most expensive part, and that will probably be the deciding point. It's kind of strange to think about running a marathon when I can't even walk without crutches yet. But it's nice to have something to focus on, to plan for, so I don't get mired in the unpleasant now of injury.

Speaking of which, back to the doctor next Tuesday. Hopefully he'll tell me everything is healing up well and fast and I can ditch the damn crutches and start running again. It's such a pain to function that I probably walk on my bad foot more than I should - if I want to get a cup of tea, I can't carry it into my office unless I cheat, for example, and since it doesn't actually HURT, especially if I walk carefully and put the pressure on my heel rather than my toes, I do a lot of cheating.

BTW, today when I got out of the pool and limped back toward the locker room on my crutches, a ~10 year old boy offered to open the locker room door for me. I thought that was super sweet (although in retrospect, maybe he was just hoping to see nekkid girls). Actually, he screwed his eyes closed when he opened the door, so everyone could see that he was NOT PEEKING, and I thanked him profusely, because getting through the locker room door is the toughest part of my workout, I kid you not. I kind of wished that I was really a fairy godmother in disguise, like in all the stories, so that I could wave my wand (cunningly disguised as a crutch) and reward him for his kindness to a poor old injured woman.
ilanarama: me, The Other Half, Moab UT 2009 (marathon)
Cliff notes version: 3:35:57, a 6-minute PR and 10/256 in my age group, on a seriously gravity-aided course, on a stupidly hot day, wearing a tiara, on pretty much no sleep and the least amount of fuel ever, feeling good (for values of good that are possible while you're running 26.2 FREAKING MILES) the entire time.

Epic novel version )

The official photos are up here. Yep, I'm the woman with a manic grin and a sparkly tiara.

ETA: Barb's husband Pete took pictures at the finish line and after the race, including several of me.
ilanarama: me, The Other Half, Moab UT 2009 (marathon)
So. Gulp. The Boston Marathon. Yeah, I'm running.

Boston is held on Monday April 19th, which is the Patriot's Day holiday in Massachusetts (and Maine, I think, but nowhere else). I am starting about in the middle of the second wave, which starts at 10:30 EDT, although it will probably take me around 5 minutes just to cross the start line. My bib number is 20054.

How to track me, and what my goals are )

I've been watching the weather forecasts nervously, but it's still too far out to really tell. At the moment most forecasts are predicting low 50s and overcast (good), moderate wind from the N (not great, but not awful - it's a crosswind), 30% chance of rain (I'd prefer not). Tomorrow I drive to Albuquerque and stay with a friend (turned out I could get a far cheaper ticket that way), and on Friday afternoon I arrive in BOSTON!
ilanarama: me, The Other Half, Moab UT 2009 (marathon)
Well, okay, not really both ways. But on Saturday I ran the inaugural Rim Rock Marathon, and it was most definitely uphill and through the snow. I had wanted to run this race back when it was the 22.6 mile Rim Rock Run, gate to gate through the Colorado National Monument in Grand Junction, but never managed to get there. This year they extended it by a little bit at the beginning and end to make it into a full marathon. And not your run-of-the-mill marathon, either; the course switchbacks up a brutal climb, rolls a little along a ridge, and then plunges down the other side. (You can see the elevation chart and the course map if you are curious!)

rr3 rr2

My primary goal was to run a faster time than my PR from last year's Baltimore Marathon, 3:54:36. Despite the significantly harder course, I am in much better shape this fall and I thought it would be amusing to have a ridiculous mountain marathon be my PR course. I thought I could probably run about 3:50; my magic pixie-dust time was 3:45, and I would be content to get under 4 hours.

Race report )

I crossed the line with a chip time of 3:46:51, 30th overall out of 184 finishers, 6th out of 76 women, and second in the female masters (over 40) category (they didn't do age group awards). But as at the Other Half, the second overall woman was also over 40, which moved me up to get the first place award - a gift certificate for a pair of trail running shoes.

Analysis )

In conclusion, this was an awesomely fun race, and I look forward to running it again. Maybe without the snow, though.
ilanarama: me, The Other Half, Moab UT 2009 (marathon)
Hi, this is LONG. For those of you who just want the summary: 3:54:36, which hit my goal right on the nose - a personal best by 12 minutes and it qualifies me to run the Boston Marathon (for either 2009 or 2010, and if I do it, it will be 2010). Edited to reflect updated race statistics: 8/94 F45-49, 169/1126 women, 773/3112 finishers. Third marathon, first time running Baltimore. The weather was sunny and became quite warm, 54 at the start and 72 at the end, with dewpoints pleasantly in the upper 40s.

Long and probably boring unless you're a runner. Possibly even if you are. )

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ilanarama: me, The Other Half, Moab UT 2009 (Default)
Ilana

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My running PRs:

5K: 21:03 (downhill) 21:43 (loop)
10K: 43:06 (downhill)
10M: 1:12:59
13.1M: 1:35:55
26.2M: 3:23:31

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