Monday, March 28, 2011

Suzanne: Feeling Better and 5 Weeks Until the Next Half Marathon

Happy to report that I'm finally feeling better! I was bummed on Sunday that I missed running the Oakland half but I know I made the right decision (thanks to those that sent messages of support). Yesterday, I was finally able to get my first run in after being sick all week. I kept procrastinating all weekend long about running - finding any excuse (even doing house chores) to not run. I think I was scared that being off a week meant I lost all my training that I'd worked so hard to build up? I've decided that running and training can make a person crazy - ha!

Well, the good news is that the run went well and 4.5 miles later I felt great. I decided to stop at 4.5 miles as I didn't want to overdo it (something I naturally will do if I let myself). Still coughed here and there but my lungs and legs felt strong which was encouraging. Oh, and I'll admit...when I'm really dreading a run the one person that makes a run enjoyable for me is....yes, Britney Spears! Her music is great to workout to.

This week marks 5 weeks out from the Parkway Half Marathon on Saturday, April 30th. The countdown begins!

Here's my training plan this week:
Monday: 4.5 miles
Tuesday: cross-training
Wednesday: 4 miles
Thursday: speed training (4-6 miles)
Friday: cross-training
Saturday: 8-10 miles (long run)
Sunday: rest or hot yoga

Signed up to continue training with the Fleet Feet running group as the Saturday long runs were great - gets the run out of the way early and makes you accountable.

Happy Running,

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Suzanne is Sick, Sick, Sick and the Oakland Half is Off

Let me start by saying that I don't usually get sick....I was one week away from running the Oakland Half Marathon and then I knew something was wrong Saturday afternoon. Whatever I got (the flu I think) came on quickly and I was down for the count that night with aches and pains, shivering one minute, burning up the next. I'll spare everyone the rest of the details, but let's just say it was AWFUL!

Four days later and I'm just starting to feel human again - I can't remember a time that I was sick for this long. It's now evolved into a head cold with stuffiness and congestion. It's no wonder I got sick as my daughter has been ill - strep throat and then caught another virus afterwards - for two weeks now. I'm hoping we're both on the path to recovery.

Unfortunately though that means the Oakland Half Marathon I was supposed to run this Sunday is officially OFF. At first, I thought "OK if I feel okay by Monday I can squeeze in a semi-long run and then taper the rest of the week." Then on Tuesday morning it was "No biggie that I don't get a long run in as I can just run a few 3 milers that week and still run the half." But by Tuesday afternoon I knew better...there was no way I was going to be able to run this week, especially not 13.1 miles. And who was I kidding...I can barely breathe today as I'm still stuffed up. Can't blame me for dreaming I guess?

The plan now is to continue to rest, get better and then ease back into running. Of course I've been worrying about how this will impact all the training I've done so it all down the toilet now that I've been out of commission for a week? I really hope not as I've worked really hard to get in the running shape I'm in (or was last week).

Hoping to run sometime this weekend and I'm curious to see how I'll feel. Maybe this break was a good thing for my body? I have no idea but a girl can hope.

Once I'm healthy again I'll begin my training schedule for the next half marathon on 4/30. Hope everyone is having better luck than me in staying healthy!

Happy Running,

Friday, March 18, 2011

Suzanne's Shamrock Finish Line Photos

Thought I'd share the finish line photos from the Shamrock half favorite is the first one.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Suzanne: Shamrock Half Marathon Race Recap

WOW! If I had to summarize my race recap in one word that is what it would be. I shocked even myself to run a new personal best of 2:08:42, besting my previous PR by 15 minutes!

I've officially surpassed one of my 2011 running goals to improve my PR by 15 minutes. Guess I should set a new one?

As we all know, 13.1 miles is never matter how many times we've run it and how long we've trained for it. To me, it's always intimidating, daunting and scary to think I have to run that far. Last night was no different. I never sleep well before a race or when I'm going to travel. Always waking up looking at the alarm clock to make sure I haven't overslept. It didn't really matter that we were "springing forward" an hour as I wasn't going to get a good night's sleep anyways.

My strategy today was to go out fast and see what happens and for how long I could go. It was hard at first as there were a lot of runners and it was crowded. I felt like I was zig zagging for the first 5-6 miles which was frustrating. The paths were narrow and I probably irritated a few runners by jumping in front of them here and there. What's funny is I used to be the runner that was annoyed by people doing what I was doing today but now I understand why - you're just trying to run fast and you're trying to get into some open space so you can breath and run.

I basically managed to keep a 9:15-9:30 mile pace for the first 6 miles. I've never gotten to that half way point and was under an hour. I was psyched when that happened. I was also pumped when I passed first the 2:20 pacer and then the 2:10 pacer. That is when I knew I could potentially have a great running day.

The first 8 miles went well and way better than I had planned. I was feeling really good, strong and had at that point shown no signs of fatigue. Miles 9-11 were a mental fight. I started drinking more gatorade at the water stations (I only carried water myself) and I took my jelly beans at mile 9. Thinking back I should have taken them earlier and I'll make that adjustment in future races.

Mentally, I just kept talking to myself and my fight was to NOT allow the 2:10 pacer group to get near me. I was going to do whatever it took to stay in front of them. I also would not allow myself to walk for fear that I'd never start up again. So yes, it was a mental fight to the finish. I kept telling myself that I was going to regret not giving it my all if I didn't capitalize on this opportunity to finish under 2:10 for the first time.

The last 2.1 miles weren't easy but I'm so proud of myself for pushing through it all. I have to credit the Fleet Feet half marathon training, speedwork and my training sessions (to strengthen core and overall strength) for putting me in the best position to succeed. It's truly made a difference.

Once the finish line was in sight, I didn't hurt anymore. I managed to sprint out the last part of the run and was so proud. I didn't expect to run this time - was hoping for 2:15 for this race - and really surprised myself.

This marks my fourth half marathon since last July. Who knew I would get the half marathon bug?

What's next? Well, I've decided to run the Oakland Running Festival half marathon in two weeks. It counts toward the Nor-Cal Half Marathon Series (you have to run 4 in 2011 to receive a special medal) which would put me at two completed so far. I felt good the second week after the Davis half marathon - when we ran 12 miles - so I'm hoping that will happen again.

This race also taught me that I can and should continue to push myself to run faster. My biggest fear has always been that I'll run out of gas towards then end but this race taught me that I can do it. So now I need to continue to train faster to build endurance and confidence. Wish me luck!

This week, I will plan on rewinding my training plan two weeks back and run the following:
Monday: Rest Day
Tuesday: 5 miles
Wednesday: 6 miles
Thursday: 5 miles
Friday: Rest (cross-train?)
Saturday: 9-10 miles
Sunday: Hot yoga

And congrats to my "sisters" Judy and Morgan on completing the Shamrock half! Judy ran a fast time as well and Morgan amazingly ran on her knee that had her out from running for the last two weeks. So proud of both of them!

Happy Running,

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Happy 1st Anniversary to our Blog!

Is there such a thing? Well, we're celebrating the first anniversary of our blog!

A year ago, Jenn convinced me to do a blog together once I shared with her that I was training for a marathon. The blog would help hold ourselves accountable and share our marathon training experiences as two full-time working moms. Naturally I was a bit hesitant but then decided oh what the heck - plus Jenn is very persuasive (anyone who knows her can attest to that).

It started out as "Jenn and Suzanne's Excellent Marathon Adventures" and has been revised to "Jenn and Suzanne's Excellent Half Marathon Adventures" as what started as a marathon dream turned into a half marathon for me when I injured my hip in May. I have to admit that the injury may have been a good thing because I ended up LOVING half marathons! Who knows if I had actually finished the marathon that I would have ever run again? I still wonder sometimes if I'll ever do a marathon...but that's a blog topic for another time.

Since we started this blog, Jenn and I have successfully run half marathons, 10ks and 5ks. And this year, we're planning even more - yeah!

We want to thank everyone who has supported us - friends, family and our blog followers - along the way! It has meant a lot as we continue our running adventures.

And a special thanks to my partner in crime and bestie Jenn for (1) encouraging me to do the blog as it's actually been fun and a great way to chronicle our running adventures and (2) for all the encouragement and support you provide even though we're 2,000 miles apart!

Who knows what we have in store this year for the blog....hopefully a lot of happy race recaps?!

Happy running everyone!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Suzanne: It's Shamrock Half Marathon Time, Baby!

One week until the Shamrock half marathon! Woo hoo!

On Saturday, we ran our last long run of 9 miles. My first non-double digit run in over 5 weeks. Even though I didn't really feel up to running, Judy and I talked the entire time and got through it just fine. Running buddies make such a difference!

After the run, I decided to take a dip in my pool as my "ice bath."
This was a first but I wanted to try it as my body was a little beat up. I put my ankles in first - I had done this a lot in high school and college for basketball so that wasn't too bad. But then decided to just go in and sit. Let's just say I couldn't say what I really wanted to because my two girls were watching me. So instead I hugged my towel as hard as I could as my body was submerged from my hips down in 53 degree water. The first 5 minutes were the worst but I managed to stay in there for 24 minutes.

Felt much better afterwards, although walking after getting out was a challenge - felt like a robot. My right hip has been a little tight so I will continue to ice, stretch and use the foam roller. No pain, just a little tender.

This week training was good. For speed training, Judy and I did a little over 7 miles and ran hard. We were supposed to run 1 miles (2x) faster than our normal mile speed. Let's just say we did it pretty fast but I really surprised myself that I could run those times. Thanks to Judy because I never would have gone that fast on my own - I was just trying to stay near her. :-)

I'm also on the lookout this week as twice this week I've almost been taken out two times...once by a little dog who decided to jump right in front of me while I was running and the second time by a 15 pound weight sitting in the middle of my brother's floor that my big toe ran right into. So now I'm paranoid that I'm going to do something stupid like that and not be able to run! I will also try to enjoy tapering off this week.

Here is this week's training schedule:
Monday 4 miles
Tuesday 3-5 miles (speed training)
Wednesday trainer workout
Thursday 3 miles
Friday rest
Saturday rest (maybe hot yoga?)and pick up race packet
Sunday 13.1 miles!!!

As for what's next...I will see how I feel and make a last minute decision whether I will run the Oakland Running Festival Half Marathon on March 27th. This qualifies for the 2011 Nor-Cal Half Marathon Series I'm participating in (you have to run 4 half marathons they offer). I felt good two weeks after the Davis half marathon so as long as I experience the same, I'll plan on running this at the end of the month. Will keep you updated and will post a race recap next Sunday!

Happy Running,