Marathon Monday – Country Music Marathon Race Report!

The Country Music Marathon this past Saturday was my 4th marathon, and first since I've been a mom of 2 (my last marathon was March 2010). I had been watching the weather forecast from 10 days out and watched the chance of rain go from 40% to 100%. Saturday morning dawned overcast and dreary. It tried sprinkling a little while we were driving to the start area (Ryan and the boys ended up getting up to drive me as all the shuttles were sold out and I wasn't about to pay $30-$40 for a taxi), but then it stopped. The guys dropped me off and I headed down to the start area. I actually found a group of porta-potties that didn't have much of a line. I'm not sure how people weren't seeing them – it's not like they were hidden or anything – but that sure was nice. After that stop, I headed to corral 20 and that's when it started raining, lightly. There was a gas station right by corral 20, and there were several hundred runners huddled together under the covering over the pumps. That made it a little nicer. I was wearing a trash bag, but it was still nice being under cover for a while. Eventually I made my way into the corral (which actually ended up being corral 21 – they had the signs with the corral numbers at the back of the corral instead of the front) and did my final stretching. We paused for a moment of silence for Boston and then the National Anthem and they finally got the wheelchairs underway. I crossed the start line about 30 minutes after corral 1 started, so not too bad. I never was in a really large clump of runners, so that was nice, but I did do my share of weaving back and forth.

I wore my trash bag for the first mile and would have worn it a bit longer, but when I tried to make arm holes (I'd only had a head hole at first), I managed to get my right arm hole too close to the head hole and I ended up with a trash bag toga and I decided to get rid of it altogether. It really wasn't too bad running in the rain, but I'm very thankful I decided at the last minute to wear a hat (I had never worn a hat while running before, but it didn't bother me at all). I'm also thankful that I no longer wear glasses – I saw a lot of people with glasses and they were getting wet and/or fogging up. During the early miles, I leap-frogged with another Team RWB member, and when we were running together, we spent some time chatting. She was running the half marathon. It was nice chatting with her, and we didn't even notice the gradual 3 mile uphill climb that we had! Eventually our run/walk times didn't coincide anymore and we drifted apart.

I felt really good for about the first 15 miles, although I was half tempted to take the half marathon turn off and just call it a day. But I decided that I hadn't done all that training for nothing and I really couldn't get any wetter than I already was, so I went on. I'm really glad that I didn't turn off and that I completed the full distance! My knee started hurting some for a few miles around this point, but I managed to stretch a few times and it was fine until around mile 23. Mile 17 was a tough mile because we were running by the half marathoners again, but they were turning into LP Field (the stadium where the Tennessee Titans play!) for their finish. That was where we finished, too, but we still had another 9 miles to go.

Somewhere shortly after the 4 hour mark the rain tapered off and eventually stopped for a while. During this time, I was praying that the sun wouldn't come out because that would have been really miserable with as soggy as I was. I had been wringing out my ponytail and my skirt during most of my non-fuel walk breaks, and my shoes were squishy from not only the rain, but the water on the roads we had to run through. In some places it was 2-3 inches deep. Thankfully Feetures makes awesome socks and I ended the day with not one blister despite all the sogginess!! I was out in a park/golf course when the rain stopped, and we got to run around a really pretty area in the park, including around a lake. It was nice that I could enjoy the beauty a little without the rain falling down. It was also around here – around mile 23 that my knee started acting up again (I think it's due to weak hip abductors and/or adductors) and I had to stop and stretch and walk more frequently. Up until this point I was on pace for a sub-5 hour marathon and when I realized that wasn't going to happen, I was sad for a little while, but then I brushed it off knowing I was still going to have a HUGE PR (personal record)!! I could have walked the last 3 miles completely and still had a PR!

Despite the rain and the super hilly course (I knew it was going to be hilly going into it, having studied the course elevation profile), I finished in 5:06:24 which was a new PR by an hour and 18 minutes!! I never once had to use my hill mantra (This little hill ain't nothin'), but the relentlessness of the hills is what hurt my knee, I think. My nutrition plan was perfect – a serving of Generation UCAN pom-blue and an English muffin with peanut butter before the race, and 4 Jelly Belly Sport Beans every 20 minutes and alternating water & Gatorade at every water stop during the race! I also had 2 orange slices around mile 18 and they sure tasted good!

Here are my splits from the day – feet of elevation gained/lost for each mile are in parentheses:
Miles 1-5 – 11:00 (60/62), 10:45 (53/135), 10:48 (114/48), 11:01 (104/35), 11:14 (81/25)
Miles 6-10 – 10:45 (34/85), 10:47 (58/71), 10:59 (85/41), 10:50 (42/114), 10:58 (31/93)
Miles 11-15 – 11:25 (21/64), 11:18 (69/38), 11:12 (92/90), 10:50 (9/58), 11:33 (100/32)
Miles 16-20 – 11:46 (42/88), 12:55 (84/23), 12:07 (133/141), 11:40 (61/31), 11:17 (91/167)
Miles 21-26.5 – 11:31 (22/30), 11:30 (52/69), 13:11 (68/47), 12:33 (27/48), 13:25 (62/52), 13:08 (41/10), 11:20 pace for the last .5 (16/52)
Total elevation gain – 1653 ft.
Total elevation lost – 1751 ft.

Post Country Music Marathon

All in all, I'm very happy with how the day went!! I'm going to try tweaking my run/walk ratios from 9:1 to maybe 7:1 or 8:1, and I'm definitely going to work on some strength training for my hips (and everywhere). The Marine Corps Marathon in DC in October will be flat compared to this and I should definitely get my sub-5 marathon and another new PR in the fall! But in the meantime, I'll be running the 10 Miler here on post on May 11 and the Army Strong Triathlon on post on June 15. I'll keep posting my training updates weekly, but they might become Training Tuesday. Marathon Monday posts will start back up in mid-July when I start training for the Marine Corps Marathon!

CMM Flat Mama

Thanks to everyone for cheering me on and supporting me for this marathon training cycle and the Country Music Marathon!!

Tuesday Thoughts & Training

In the light of the tragedy at the Boston Marathon yesterday, one of my good friends asked me if I would still be running my marathon that I've been training for. When I said "Yes, of course, I'm still going to run it" he said that he hoped that I would say that. We runners are a strong community and something like yesterday will only make us stronger – both as individuals and as a whole community. Although tragic, yesterday's events will not stop us. They will give us even more drive and determination to do what some think is crazy or even impossible. On that note, here's my training recap from last week, my first week of tapering for the Country Music Marathon in Nashville!

Monday – On the schedule (OTS): 4 miles
                What I did (WID): Ran 4 miles!! Yes, I actually got my week started off on the right foot!

Tuesday – OTS: Rest or XT (cross train)        
                 WID: Rest, and the extra sleep sure was nice!! I did have a softball game in the evening, so I didn't have a complete day of rest.

Wednesday – OTS: 8 miles    
                      WID: Sleep. I was tired after the softball game last night which was followed by wearing Thomas during Robert's baseball game afterwards. And then we didn't get home until after 9 and Thomas was overtired and was up several times during the night.

Thursday – OTS: 3 miles
                  WID: Ran 6.1 miles – made up for yesterday a little bit. I was a little stiff from the softball game on Tuesday and this really helped loosen my legs up.

Friday – OTS: Rest or XT
              WID: Rest. Another graduation ceremony with 0715 formation, so no time for even a short workout DVD. Last one of these Friday graduations for a while.

Saturday – OTS: 12 miles
                  WID: Ran 12.8 miles. I had a great run, my fastest paced long run since my half marathon in February. What a great confidence boost for 2 weeks before my marathon!!

Sunday – OTS: Rest or XT
               WID: Much needed rest!! It was nice sleeping in a little later.

Total miles for the week – Scheduled: 27, Actual: 22.8
Total miles run for this marathon training cycle so far – 270

I'm thankful that softball season has started so I don't go crazy with my lower mileage during taper.

Wednesday Wrap-Up

As promised yesterday, here is my training report from last week! I had a pretty good week, only missing one run and culminating in my 20 miler!!

Monday – On the schedule (OTS): 5 miles
                What I did (WID): Sleep. And it was planned after running my long run the day before.

Tuesday – OTS: Rest or XT (cross train)         
                 WID: Ran 4.6 miles to start off the day! It would have been the 5 miles, but I started having some tummy issues so I ended up walking the last almost half mile home.

Wednesday – OTS: 5 miles     
                      WID: Sleep. That's an important part of training, right??

Thursday – OTS: 5 miles
                  WID: 5.4 miles in the rain! It was an awesome run with perfect temperatures and a great way to start off the day!

Friday – OTS: Rest or XT
              WID: Rest. Another graduation ceremony with 0715 formation, so no time for even a short workout DVD. Well, I guess I could have gotten up at like 4:30 and did 30 Day Shred. But I didn't. Rest is always nice.

Saturday – OTS: 20 miles!!
                  WID: Ran 19.5 miles which is close enough in my book! I ended up leaving an hour and a half later than planned, despite being completely ready by 5:15. I went to turn on my Garmin, only to discover it was completely dead despite me charging it after Thursday's run. So I waited for it to charge. During my almost 3.75 hours out running, the temperature went up almost 30 degrees and by the end, my long sleeves and tights were way too much. But I persevered and got it done! One of my friends came and joined me for miles 8-11 and that was really nice having her run with me.

Sunday – OTS: Rest or XT
               WID: Much needed rest!! It was nice sleeping in a little later.

Total miles for the week – Scheduled: 35, Actual: 29.5.
Total miles run for this marathon training cycle so far – 247.2

It's all downhill from here! Taper has begun and my mileage, especially my Saturday long runs, will be going down. Thankfully intramural softball has started, so I won't go completely crazy with less running!

Tuesday Trivia

Did you know. . . . ??

— I only sort of forgot about my Marathon Monday post? I remembered – as I was almost asleep. I'll post it tomorrow, so stay tuned!

— Thomas has moved into a new room at the Child Development Center? He's no longer in his old Infant/Pre-Toddler room, but in a full out Toddler room! He's done 2 days so far and seems to love it. Their outside playground is huge compared to the old one and lots of neat new things for him to play with. His teachers are nice as well.

— Spring sports season is underway. We are juggling softball and baseball between 3 of us. The Band has a softball team (The Arpeggios) and Ryan and I are playing. Robert is playing baseball and Ryan is the team's assistant coach. We had our first preseason softball game last night and lost 22-1 and then played again tonight. After leading for the whole game, the other team scored 3 runs in the final inning to come back and win 13-12. It was a really good game and I scored a run and made an out (guy popped it up and I caught it!). Robert had his first game tonight and each kid gets to bat in the 1st inning; they each get 6 pitches (from the pitching machine). Robert had a nice hit and got an RBI even though he got out. I think his team won, but I don't know that they were really keeping score. The game was over an hour long and was only 1 inning. Thomas just kind of tags along and we hope he doesn't get too fussy while hanging out with the band spouses/families while Ryan and I are on the field playing. He didn't do too bad tonight.

— I am completely crazy. I registered for the Dopey Challenge for the Disney World Marathon weekend next January. The Dopey Challenge consists of running a 5K on Thursday (Robert will be running that with me!), a 10K on Friday, a half marathon on Saturday, and a full marathon on Sunday. For completing all 4 of the races, I will earn SIX medals and bragging rights. It'll be a challenge for sure, and I plan on taking all the races slow and taking lots of pictures as I run through the Disney parks!

— I should have been in bed an hour ago, but we were just getting home from the double header of ball games we had tonight. So now I'm going to bed. Good night!

Marathon Monday

Despite missing one run and having 2 others that were short it was still a pretty good week to end my highest mileage month ever! I was so close to that elusive 100 miles, but there's always next month!

Monday – On the schedule (OTS): 7 miles
                What I did (WID): Sleep. And it was planned after running my long run the day before.

Tuesday – OTS: Rest or XT (cross train)          
                 WID: 4 windy and chilly miles in the afternoon. I slept too long in the morning so I ran after work. I only had time for 4 miles before we had to head to baseball practice. Oh, and did I mention I ran these at a 9:13 pace despite the 13 mph winds with gusts over 35 mph!!

Wednesday – OTS: 7 miles      
                      WID: Sleep in the morning. I don't know what I did after work that I didn't run. Oh well.

Thursday – OTS: 7 miles
                  WID: 4.2 miles in the afternoon with Thomas in the jogging stroller. We ran while Robert was at baseball practice. It was nice taking Thomas out in the jogger again – first time since November. He laughed and giggled the whole time and when I was done, he was signing for more!

Friday – OTS: Rest or XT
              WID: Rest. Another graduation ceremony with 0715 formation, so no time for even a short workout DVD. Well, I guess I could have gotten up at like 4:30 and did 30 Day Shred. But I didn't. Rest is always nice.

Saturday – OTS: 12 miles
                  WID: Slept through my alarm clock – didn't wake up until almost 9!! The sleep sure was nice, although I really wish I had gotten my long run in.

Sunday – OTS: Rest or XT
               WID: 12.1 miles. Ugly miles. I ran in the afternoon after church and it was nearly 80 out. I wasn't properly hydrated or fueled, and my trial fuel for the run didn't work for me at all. 40 ounces of water during the run wasn't enough water. The super hilly route I chose probably didn't help either. But I got the miles in and learned the importance of not sleeping through my alarm clock now that it's getting warmer out.

Total miles for the week – Scheduled: 33, Actual: 20.3.
Total miles run for this marathon training cycle so far – 217.7

4 weeks to go until the Country Music Marathon. I'm nervous about my 20 miler this coming Saturday, but at least now I've figured out what type of fuel works for me during my runs. I've ordered a 24 variety pack of Jelly Belly's Sport Beans and hopefully they arrive on time. At least I know where I can buy some locally if I need to.