Manic Monday Training Recap – 05/27/19

Manic Monday

Training For VCM Relay: May 26, 2019
What Was Planned vs What Happened

Monday 05/20/19: 3 mile run | 3 mile run + stretching
I zipped out for three rather speedy miles when Ben got home from work. It was quite windy, but sunny and warm.

Tuesday 05/21/19: Yoga | Rest
I had a last-minute doctor appointment for what I thought was a tick bite (it wasn’t, yay!), and since my doctor is an hour drive each way that pretty much shot the day in the foot. But I did stop at Fleet Feet for running fuel… and walked out with a new pair of Altras!

Wednesday 05/22/19: Speed Work | 5 x 400 (3.25 miles total)
I NEEDED this run. Vera is teething and has been super clingy and sad, and I needed me time. I also hit some really great paces, which made me feel so great!

Thursday 05/23/19: Strength | Strength
I put my new, custom made plyo box to work and did a CrossFit inspired workout. 5 rounds each of 10 x box step ups, 10 x thrusters, weighted carry, 10 x dumb bell snatches and 10 x wood choppers. I did a 2 minute plank finisher as well. I miss CrossFit so much!

Friday 05/24/19: 4 mile run | Rest
My folks decided to come up for a last-minute visit, so I had to run around cleaning my festering pit of a house before they arrived. They brought lunch and wine, and by the time they left I was too full to run.

Saturday 05/25/19: Rest | Active Rest
I mowed the lawn and did some stuff around the house, but otherwise kept it easy.

Sunday 05/26/19: VMC Relay | Leg 5 of VCM Relay (5.44 miles)
I felt great the whole time, and kept a great pace!

Weekly Mileage: 11.69

Total 2019 Mileage: 191.79

A pretty good week and a great race! I was riding high yesterday, feeling bulletproof and dreaming about fast summer running. But as the day went on, my left heel started hurting. I did a bunch of rolling and stretching but I woke up limping today. BOOOOO. I’ll write more later this week (does anybody care about a race recap?), but for now, I’m wearing my most supportive shoes at all times and taking it easy. On the docket for today: Memorial Day BBQ.

Have you ever had a great race and then had a mysterious injury afterwards? This is the second time I’ve ended up with a hurt foot after a race even though nothing hurt during…

Race Week

Hey there. I disappeared again for a while. Oops. Life with an almost 11 month old is tough. You’re supposed to keep them on a strict schedule, so I say no to anything that might take us away from home during nap time, and then the kid doesn’t nap. She’s sleeping through the night now, but wakes up ready to rock every day before 6 am. I’m slowly starting to dig out of my ridiculous sleep deficit, but my days are now a lot busier with an active almost-toddler, so I’m still pretty tired, and blogging just hasn’t felt like a priority.

That being said, I’ve missed it. I’ll never be a famous blogger with lots of viewers and sponsors, but this is basically my journal, and I love using my blog posts as a way to look back and remember things. So here I am.

OK. So. It’s race week; the Vermont City Marathon and Relay is on Sunday. In a last-minute switcheroo, I will be running the final leg and actually get to cross the finish line, which I’m quite happy about. It’s a 5.5 mile leg with no big hills, which is what I’m trained for. I did a 6 mile long run this past weekend, and other than some stomach troubles, it felt great.

Logistically speaking, Sunday morning is going to be a bit challenging. We live almost an hour from Burlington, and with a race start time of 7 am, we’re going to have to be up and on the road pretty early. Ben is supposed to run a leg of the relay as well, but he’s had some foot pain this week and is currently undecided on whether or not he’s running. If he is, that means we need someone to watch Vera. I’m thinking we may end up sleeping at my in-laws house Saturday night so I can nurse Vera and then leave her with Grammy and Pop while we run.

All in all, I’m really excited and feel quite prepared. After my crappy experience trying to run the full marathon in 2016, it will feel like a bit of redemption to cross that finish line on Sunday, even if I’m only running a leg of the relay. I still don’t know that another marathon attempt will ever be in my future, but at least I can wash the taste of failure out of my mouth a bit.

Will any of my friends be in Burlington this weekend? Who wants to meet up?

Friday Free-For-All – 04/05/19

Friday Free-For-All

Well, the decision of whether or not to renew my blog domain registration was taken out of my hands. I was literally sitting down at my computer to cancel auto-renew when I got an email from WordPress thanking me for my payment. Crap! For some reason, I thought the renewal date was much later this month. That’s kind of crippling the rest of my month spending-wise, but I’m taking it as a sign from the universe that I’m not quite done with my little blog just yet.

We have a very full weekend ahead. “Oysterfest” with my in-laws tonight, TWO birthday parties tomorrow, and then my folks are coming to visit Sunday. Bring it on! I’ve been feeling pretty isolated lately (being a stay at home mom who lives in the boonies will do that to you), so I’m excited for some social events.

The weather around here has been downright bipolar lately. One minute sunny and blue skies, the next, blowing winds and sleet. It was 60 degrees on Wednesday and 35 on Thursday. COME ON SPRING, LET’S GO ALREADY!

A friend of mine is looking for someone to split the Vermont City Marathon with and I SO WISH I could do it. After the crapfest that was VCM 2016, it would be so nice to have a positive experience with the race, but I simply can’t afford the registration fee. That and I’m definitely not in shape to run a half marathon at the end of May. I mean, maybe I could do a super short training cycle and get there, but it wouldn’t be pretty. Boo to being fiscally responsible.

Have you ever had to turn down a race because you couldn’t afford registration?

 

A Change of Plans

The problem with planning your race schedule too far in advance is that life often gets in the way. When I originally signed up to be on my company’s Vermont City Marathon Relay team back in January, I didn’t know that my friends who were planning to get married Memorial Day weekend would have a lunch wedding rather than an evening wedding.

After finding out that the service was going to be at 11 am rather than, say, 4pm, I arranged with my team to run the second leg. This would have allowed ample time to run a fast-for-me 6 miles, grab a quick shower, and drive to Randolph (about 1.5 hours away) by 11 am.

Fast forward to last week, when my friend very sweetly and graciously asked for my help getting dressed the morning of. We’ve been friends since my freshman year of high school, and she is one of the best people I know, so I consider it an honor and a privilege to help out. But this means I need to be in Randolph by 10 am rather than 11 am, which means there’s no possible way to run my relay leg and still make it there on time.

Obviously, this is a disappointment. I was really looking forward to conquering the marathon course after last year’s DNF suckfest. And I’m leaving my team hanging, which is not a nice feeling. But my friends are getting married. The marathon relay will always be there, but my friends getting married is a once in a lifetime kind of thing that I wouldn’t miss for the world.

Have you ever had to bail on a race due to a life event?

Why I Won’t Be Making Another Marathon Attempt…Yet

This post has been several weeks in the making. After the disaster that was the Vermont City Marathon 2016, I knew I needed to take some time to decide what I really wanted to do. I shared with you all that I was feeling a lot of pressure to sign up for a redemption race and try again, and I have been resisting that pressure and sorting through my feelings ever since.

As you’ve probably deduced from the title of this post, I will not be making another marathon attempt this year. I haven’t totally ruled it out of the realm of possibility at another time in my life, but the time is not now. I researched various fall marathons. I read race recaps and stalked race websites and talked to a bunch of people, but when the chips were down, I just couldn’t hit the “register” button.

I always intended the marathon to be a “one and done.” After I signed up for VCM, and all through my training, I maintained my gut feeling that I didn’t want to do this again. True, I didn’t actually finish a marathon, but I did the training. I felt all the feelings and all the physical impacts and it just didn’t work out. Not finishing the last 7 miles of the Vermont City Marathon sucked, hard, and while I still feel robbed of having the title of “marathon finisher,” it doesn’t really change the fact that I’m simply not ready to put myself through that again.

Marathon training is friggin’ hard, and I just don’t have the grit to do it again right now. I look back, and I don’t like the person I was this spring. I was exhausted. I was moody. I was emotional. All I did was eat, sleep, run, and stress about running. I ate too much and gained a bunch of weight because I was too stressed to manage my fueling properly. I don’t want another four months of stress. Another four months of early wake up calls and hours slogging through double-digit long runs and watching the weight on the scale creep up and up because I can’t eat like a normal human when I’m running that much. Another four months of blisters and panic over every ache or pain and a constantly chafed butt.

I have done a lot of soul-searching. A lot of back and forth. And when it came right down to it, the only reasons I could think of for making another marathon attempt were the “shoulds.” I should do it to make up for VCM. I should do it so my blog readers don’t think I’m a weenie.  should do it so that when my friends ask me if I’m going to try again, I don’t have to say that I chickened out. And I’m sure you can all appreciate that deciding to do a marathon because you think you should and not because you want to is a really bad idea.

So there it is. I won’t be running a marathon this fall. And I may not ever decide to train for one again. It’s just too hard for me, and that’s ok. Some people aren’t meant to run multiple marathons. Some people aren’t meant to run even one. Achieving a certain pace or distance goal has no bearing whatsoever on my status as a runner, and I refuse to feel bad about myself or that I’ve failed somehow because I’ve recognized my own limitations.

Instead of dragging myself through another round of marathon training (and in the summer heat, no less), I will be focusing on a half marathon PR attempt in early October. My half marathon PR was set two years ago, and I’m ready for a new one. Training for a half is much more manageable, and dare I say, enjoyable, than marathon training. It won’t take up as much time, it’s less fraught on the eating and fueling front, and my recovery time will be much faster. I already have a training plan ready to roll (thank you, Hal Higdon (plus my bazillion edits)), and I’m ready to get back to regular, enjoyable running.

A Love Letter to the City of Burlington, VT

First things first, THANK YOU SO MUCH to every one of you who has commented either here, on Facebook, on Instagram, or Twitter. Even though I may not have replied to everyone, please know that I read and appreciate every single kind word. You guys are wonderful. Now, on to business.

I know that my recap of the Vermont City Marathon yesterday was a huge downer. I’m still feeling really, really shitty. I’ll get over it eventually, but I just need to feel what I’m feeling and acknowledge it before I can move on.

HOWEVER-I don’t want people to think that I hated the race, or that I don’t appreciate the amazing way this city stepped up to support runners on an oppressively, dangerously hot day. In fact, this post is an attempt to recognize all of the positive things that happened on Sunday, in spite of my disappointment and frustration. I need to pay homage to the incredible residents of my city.

When it became apparent that Sunday’s temperatures were going to be extreme, RunVermont put out a call to folks living on the race course, asking them to help runners by leaving sprinklers running, or putting out hoses for runners to go through. And I’m here to tell you that Burlington answered that call. And then some.

There was not a single neighborhood that didn’t have some kind of unofficial support going. Children were standing on the side of the road holding out bags of ice. Men and women stood on their front lawns all day and hosed runners down, calling out, “Free showers! Cold showers! You earned it!” There were college-aged bros standing with 30 gallon athletic coolers of water on their shoulders so runners could have a drink or refill their bottles. There were women on Pine Street dressed in crazy tutus and wigs with spray bottles to help cool runners down. There were live bands playing, cowbells clanging, signs waving, and high fives for days.

Every time I took an orange slice or a handful of ice from a spectator, I smiled and said something along the lines of, “Thank you, you’re amazing.” And every.single.person said, “No, YOU’RE amazing! Keep going!” These people gave up their Sunday and stood out in the blistering heat to do something completely selfless and kind, and I can’t thank them enough.

I NEVER would have made it as far as I did on Sunday without the exceptional people of the city of Burlington. I had always heard that spectator support for Vermont City Marathon was off the charts, and I know now with every fiber of my being that it’s so true. This city loves its marathon and loves its runners, and I am SO FIERCELY PROUD to live here.

So Burlington–thank you. Thank you so much for being incredible, and making what could have been an entirely miserable day at least somewhat positive. And you can bet that from now on, if I’m not taking part in marathon weekend as a runner, I will be out there spectating, with water, ice, and a kind word, because I know first-hand how much it means.

Have you ever been completely blown away by spectator support at a race?

Race Recap: Vermont City Marathon 2016

Disclaimer: I received an entry into the Vermont City Marathon as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

This is gonna be a long one, folks, so bear with me. TL/DR: The race was cancelled at the four hour mark and I didn’t finish. You can also read my “just the facts” BibRave review minus all of my emotional baggage by clicking here.

I hit up the Sports and Fitness Expo on Friday around 4pm, and it was quite busy Still, though, getting my packet and t-shirt was very easy. Lots of local vendors and anything you could possibly need to purchase last minute–Body Glide, Gu’s, Shot Blocs, socks etc. Volunteers were encouraging runners to hydrate well, because conditions were expected to be very hot and humid. RunVermont had actually been very communicative all week regarding race day conditions, and had added extra aid stations, ice stations, misting stations, and encouraged residents of Burlington to pitch in and spray runners with hoses and sprinklers. I wandered around the expo for a while, but the only purchase I made was a #FueledbyDonuts tank top from the Montclair Bread Company.

Photo May 27, 4 28 52 PM (1)

After that I had a ladies’ night at Outback with some girlfriends for a much-needed drinks and chat session, and then I went home and chilled out for a while before an early bedtime. Saturday morning I had my shakeout run and yoga session with Athleta, then spent the day getting all of my gear together, and sitting on my butt. I was in bed, lights out by 9:45.

I woke up on my own at 5:10 am, then proceeded to just lay in bed until my alarm went off at 5:30. I had my bagel with cream cheese, plus 16 oz of watered down Gatorade. I proceeded to sip more water while I got ready, then got in the car at 7 am to find parking downtown. I parked at the corner of King Street and St. Paul, because that lot is my personal favorite lot, and because parking is free on Sundays, I didn’t have to worry about feeding the meters.

I walked slowly over to the start area in Battery Park, checked my bag, and used a porta-potty. I met up with my dad about 15 minutes before the start, chatted, took some pictures, and then got into the corral with the 5 hour pace group. Temps were already in the 70’s at 8 am, and we already had yellow flag (moderate health risk) conditions. We had been told that if conditions reached black flag (extreme health risk), the race would be cancelled.

Photo May 29, 7 52 24 AM

I spent the first 3 miles grinning like an idiot. I was taking my time, focusing on not going out too fast, and just trying to enjoy my first marathon. The crowd support through the downtown area is insane. Thousands of spectators cheering, ringing cowbells, waving signs, and just being so encouraging. After the first loop through downtown, we headed out onto the Beltline.

I had been warned in advance that this stretch is the toughest part of the marathon, and it’s absolutely true. It’s a long out and back on a closed highway, totally exposed to the sun. It was on the Beltline, at around mile 5.5, that I had to start using run/walk intervals, and where I started to realize that this was going to be a hell of a lot harder than I thought. There was an aid station at mile 5.5ish that was already struggling to keep up with the demand for water and Gatorade. There weren’t any cups ready to go, so runners were having to stop and wait. There was also a sign indicating red flag (high health risk) conditions. I plugged along, trying not to push too hard, and finally made it to the turnaround and headed back. By the time I reached the aid station again (mile 6.5ish), they were completely out of water and Gatorade. Completely. Out. Thankfully, I had my OrangeMud VP with Nuun in the bottle, but not everyone had brought their own hydration, and people were NOT happy.

Photo May 31, 2 28 46 PMFinally, the Beltline ended and we ran back through downtown. My dad was waiting to take pictures and cheer me on, and I thought that surely I must be out of the woods now that the Beltline was over. WRONG! My strugglebus was just starting to rev its engine. The heat was already getting to me, and I felt awful. I couldn’t keep up with my 10:1 intervals, and just started walking whenever I felt like it. I had a huge group of my Lyric Theatre friends cheering on Pine Street (mile 9ish), which was a great boost, but I was already doubting my ability to finish. It was so damn hot and I felt sick. Ben was waiting for me at the end of Pine Street, and I told him how shitty I was feeling. He encouraged me to keep going, but not to do anything that was going to end up with me hurt or sick.

A half mile or so later, I ran into my friend Erik on his motorcycle. He was ferrying around a course photographer, so I stopped for a hug and a little encouragement. I was barely running, and seriously considering quitting at the halfway point. We were running through a nice residential area, and people were spraying us with hoses, which was SO NICE. I got an orange slice and some pretzels, which really helped me feel a bit better, and I don’t even like oranges. I made it through the halfway point at Oakledge Park, and decided that come hell or high water, I was finishing this damn marathon.

I was walking at least as much as I was running, but I was still moving, and that was all I cared about. I made it back to Pine Street, passed my friends again, and just focused on moving as much as I could. Mile 15 is the “Assault on Battery,” Vermont’s own Heartbreak Hill. Some friends were there, plus my dad and sister, who brought water for me to refill my OM bottle, and Ben was there too. I power-walked up the hill, and then continued alternating running and walking as much as I could out North Ave.

At around mile 17, I turned into a neighborhood called Lakewood Estates, and can I just tell you that this neighborhood is magical? Almost every house had some kind of unofficial support–hoses, sprinklers, music, ice, water, even a few live bands. There were all kinds of people giving out high fives and shouting encouragement. It was amazing, and I started to feel better. The sun had gone behind some clouds, and I was sure that I was going to finish.

I got back out onto North Ave for a bit, then turned down Leddy Ave, walking and running as much as I could. There were volunteers handing out potato chips, pretzels, and orange slices, so I grabbed some chips and an orange slice for some salt and natural sugar, and then all of a sudden there was a guy on a bullhorn. “I just received word that the race has been cancelled due to extreme conditions. Please proceed to the next official aid station for instructions.” I was in shock. Surely this was a mistake. A bad joke. Not reality.

I ran down the hill into the Leddy Park parking lot and there was a volunteer at the aid station confirming what I’d heard. Extreme conditions. Race cancelled. No more timing. No more water stations. We won’t stop you from finishing, but we highly discourage it. Busses are coming to take you to the finish. Everyone gets a medal. I just stood there dumbly. I texted my dad and sister–yeah, they’d heard. I texted Ben, my mom, Coach Suz, Team Can-Am… I was in a daze. Coach Suz asked if I was going to continue, and I honestly thought about it, but knew there was no way I could finish without more water stations. And suddenly, I was mad. The volunteer who was announcing that the race was over was kind of a dick, to be honest. No apologies. No sympathy. Just trying to get people to stop. I know it was for everyone’s good, but I think that particular volunteer handled it poorly. He was yelling that water was “shut off,” even though there was a table full of water right behind him. Another volunteer saw me standing there, and asked if I wanted some ice. He gave me a full cup of ice and I stood there chewing on it and just trying to process what was happening.

We had to walk about a 1/2 mile back up to North Ave to catch the shuttle buses, and then the final indignity was that the bus I was on dropped us off at least a half mile from the finish area, and we didn’t receive any instructions about where to go to get our medals. Meanwhile race volunteers had told my family that I would be dropped off over at the Echo Center, almost a mile away from where I was actually dropped off. Apparently, because I was on the first bus, they hadn’t figured things out yet. I hobbled to the waterfront, and the finish line was still open, right there. People were still cheering and runners were still crossing the finish line and I just felt so numb.

I found my family and got my medal and left the area as soon as I could. I was pretty much in shock until I started to write this recap on Monday. And then I just burst into tears while typing this up because I can’t fucking believe this happened. I have also heard from numerous people that what I was told was misinformation–there were still water stations, chip times were still being recorded (even though “official” results would not be honored), and the finish line stayed open. So it seems that I could have continued, but I just gave up. Apparently lots of runners finished after the race was “cancelled.” They finished in spite of the course being “closed” and in spite of the conditions. And I feel like a failure.

So now I don’t really know what’s next. On the one hand, I feel sort of like I’m “supposed” to run out and find a redemption race because otherwise all of this training was just a waste of time. But on the other hand, I don’t know if I can put myself through this again. I had to fight for every single step on Sunday, and who’s to say that the next marathon will have better conditions? It’s summer. Any race day between now and October could end up with high temps and misery. And there’s also the financial aspect. Signing up for another marathon is gonna cost probably at least $100, plus travel and accommodations, and I really can’t afford that right now. I’ve talked about it with Coach Suz some, but I still don’t know.

Needless to say, this is not the recap I had hoped to write, and this race was not the experience I’d hoped for. I still kind of feel like I’m in shock.. I feel like I’m some stupid, overly emotional crybaby because I’m letting this get to me so much. I’m tired of thinking about it. Tired of trying to analyze it. Tired of talking about it.

How do you pick yourself up after a terrible, horrible, no good very bad race?