Thursday, October 18, 2012

Thoughts on maintaining marital bliss and being an obsessed runner

This one's for you honey! This one's kind of important to me because we've had some bumps along the way dealing with my running obsession. I know that other runners have had this problem as well so  I want to encourage you to keep on plugging along with both your running and your partner.

My running friends know I'm yappy, my husband knows I'm yappy, but what he didn't know is that when my newest obsession took over that he'd have to listen to my constant jabbering about running this and running that. He's kind of used to my OCD and I joke around about it, but it can sometimes be really hard on the people around me. Anyhow, the last year has been somewhat trying for us as we work out the bugs with changes, but one of the assets I have is that I'm not a quitter. Most people know that about me. Once I set my mind to something I usually stick with it and this along with my running this includes my marriage. Just like running I reassess when something isn't working and make changes. I can happily say I think we've come out on the other side! Yes, we'll probably still have another running fight or two, but I think we've finally overcome this hurdle. Well, here are the tricks I am learning along the way to make marriage and obsessive running work.

1. Do not force your partner to be interested in your running. Also do not try and turn them into a runner. If they are interested it will come naturally. It's okay if you don't like the same things and it's important to remind them and yourself of that. It is okay to ask them to run with you or try to encourage it, but don't force the issue.

2. Do try to find a mutual hobby or something to do together. For us, this is a big one. What we found is that we felt disconnected some because our interests were different. We are working on something fun that we both like to do together.

3. Try to adjust your running to be not so disruptive to the family's routine. That is not to say there shouldn't be any give and take on this, but if your running is interfering with every single outing that is planned this could cause a problem. My husband is very good about taking over with the kiddos so I can run and this has actually never been an issue.  He knows how much I do all day and has never had a problem picking up the slack. Other spouses though do feel differently on this. For us, the bigger issue has been me missing out on family things versus him having to pick up extra responsibility.

4. Following number 3 another tip is keeping a family calendar. Figure out important dates like vacations and events that your kids or spouse may be participating in.  Use this when you schedule your races. More than once have I managed to schedule a race during a date that was planned for a kiddo's sporting event or a party that we were invited to.  Not all things can be planned ahead, but if you put a little effort there you can avoid this conflict.

5. Races - this is a your partner may vary kind of situation.  Mine does not like going to races. We have found that we get along so much better when I go by myself.  Also, and this is hard for me, I get big time taper madness that can test the patience of every single person in my family.  I try to remind my husband that this too will pass... until the next race anyway.

6. My final tip don't hold in hostility towards each other- keep the lines of communication open. Keep talking. Just like running sometimes you gotta push along through the tough spots and run on the days you just don't flipping feel like it so goes with marriage. Sometimes you gotta just push along talking until you get past that rough spot. Just like with running though you'll often find your second wind.  Sometimes this is easier said than done, but you married them for a reason. Remember that. Just like when you lose your running mojo sometimes you lose your marriage mojo.  Do something to rekindle that.

Love you with all my heart Mr. Wannaberunningmama

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

2012 Chicago Marathon Race Report

Well, thought writing up a race report might give me something to do while I sit and wait not so patiently for the Chicago race people to get my Garmin data and get me an official finish time. I still don’t have that so you’ll only get my word of mouth finish time for now.
I’ll do my best not to be too yappy. This was by far the most fun I have had in probably 10 years. I can’t thank everyone that was there enough for helping me figure out what the hell I was doing because even though this was my 4th marathon I really didn’t have a clue how these big races work. I won’t spend a lot of time on training other than I knew this training cycle was going well and I knew I was going to PR. Not a doubt in my mind going into that. What I didn’t know is how much easier this race would feel for me running it than the others I’ve ran. I feel like I really learned a lot on the course about pacing and this will help me a lot with the next race.
Prerace I realized night before that I somehow managed to grab the extra band for my Garmin instead of my Garmin itself. I was in a bit of a panic, but since I’ve managed to do this to myself before I wasn’t actually too panicked. Thankfully though John (my super fast California coach) is a pretty amazing guy and found me a Garmin I could borrow. Thank you Sandra if you are reading for the loner!! Hurdle one solved. I also packed my blender even though John insisted I didn’t need that either. I’ve been mixing glycomaize with flax milk and a banana and I didn’t want to drink that crap without my banana mixed in. So had that prerace and felt pretty ready to go. Oh, I should add night before I had pasta with just a little bit of clams in it. Big mistake. Lesson learned. I knew seafood made me retain water, but there weren’t very many and I stayed away from a heavy seafood dish so I didn’t really think those tiny bit of clams would matter. Not for sure they were the cause of my problems, but just the same not eating them again.
Leave for race with the friends I met there and we were kind of cutting it close to get there and get gear checked. I knew I really had to pee (sorry tmi). Anyways, they all assure me there’s plenty of toilets and I’d have time to go. We get there with 9 minutes to get to our corral and get gear checked. I hand my friend Brandi my gear bag and ask her to please check it because I really got to go. I start looking at the lines and start freaking. I knew there was no way I’d get to a toilet and to my corral in time. (Yes, promise to get to the race part, but for whatever reason this peeing issue took up a bulk of my energy on race day.) I start looking around like Clark Kent looking for a phone booth and trying to find somewhere to squat because I figure I damn sure was not blowing all this training and PR on a full bladder. Finally find a big old potted planter thing in front of a wall and fixed my problems or so I thought.
Start running and oh my gosh mile 1 not what maybe 10 minutes from the last time I peed I feel like I gotta go again. I’m thinking you gotta be kidding me. This is not gonna be my race. I spent the first 3 miles thinking about nothing but that. Yes, sad. I again kept saying I am not blowing my training on a full bladder and not proud of this, but at that point actually tried to pee on the course. I heard real marathoners do it, but guess I’m not a real runner. No can do. I decided that I was going to push on and I was not stopping. If I still had to go at the half way point then I was going. I figured I could hold it two hours if it killed me. Garmin I found to be useless. The paces didn’t seem to line up with anything so figured I’d just run for now and then thought about my friend’s advice to use the pacers. Yes, that was real helpful – these pacers sucked. Well, maybe not the official ones, but I’m telling you I saw people with anything from 4:00 to 4:30 on their backs. I had no idea what pace I was going at this point. I knew that I saw the official 4:15 guy around mile 6 and knew I had to get ahead of him. I also was proud of myself for not starting out too fast – although honestly wasn’t too worried about that. I am slow to warm up and rarely have that problem. Around mile 6 I think I moved ahead of the official 4:15 pacer and then my next strategy was to try and make sure I was surrounded by mostly people with 4:10 on their back. I saw some with 4:10 and some with 4:00 so I figured I was doing okay. My garmin was off on distance for most of the race. I can’t remember where it started, but I know I was hitting the miles beeping on my garmin about 2 or 3 minutes before I’d hit the official mile marker. I also wasn’t sure what my exact start time was either so I couldn’t even figure out what my times were or paces by that. The clocks were all based off of the 7:30 start and I started after 8:00 according to the chip times that registered. I just figured as long as I was running between the 4:00 and 4:10 group I was okay. I switched Garmin over to average pace and it was showing 9:18 minute miles so I felt pretty good. It read 9:18-9:20 for well actually almost the whole course, but it was below 9:20 from mile 6 to mile 12. I remember that for sure.
At mile 10 I kept thinking this is too easy. I thought about my last race how I was tired at mile 10. I wasn’t the slightest bit tired. Everything felt good and I felt like I was really sandbagging, but Garmin said less than 9:20 pace and I remember the correspondence John and I had prerace and he told me that 9:20 seemed about the right pace to hold for most of the course. I knew from my half times and my training that 9:20s were about right as well so even though I felt really good and wanted really bad to pick it up I kept that advice to heart. He said wait until mile 18 and then if I felt good pick it up. Mile 12 rolls around and I still have to pee. I was annoyed, but I knew I had held it for 11 miles and my watch still said I was averaging below 9:20 pace so I knew I was in good shape. I knew I wasn’t going to make it to the finish if I had already held it for 11 miles and that if I had to go this was the best place to stop. I knew mentally it would be harder for me to stop past the half-way point so I just wanted to go and get it over with. I don’t think I lost a whole lot of time, but obviously this was time that I would have liked to have had and I really had to go. (Which sorry more tmi, but I was grateful that I actually had a full bladder and it wasn’t my usual nervous bladder dribbling crap. I felt 100 times better after.) Get back on the course and avg pace was now showing 9:23 so I was pissed that I lost that much time. I had to work real hard on not picking up the pace too much because that’s a bad habit of mine. I try to play catch up after potty breaks and sometimes wear myself out. The other reason I stopped at mile 12 is I really wanted my second half to be faster than my first. I still felt really good here. No fatigue whatsoever. Keep telling myself to stay steady and not pick it up no matter how easy this felt. Plug along at mile 15 still feeling good. It still felt too easy, but I kept remembering that 11 miles was further than I thought and I knew my last 3 marathons I never ran the entire race. I always walked at least part of the end if not lots at the end. I should add I was psyched that I also had not walked a single water stop. I thought I would need to and nope didn’t need to do that either. I was real focused though. I honestly didn’t even hardly notice the crowds even as loud as they were because I was just so focused on what I was doing. Oh and I also remember looking at my HR around mile 15 because I think I started to pick up the pace a little, but HR was edging up so I backed my pace back down.
Finally get to mile 18, you know the spot where I could pick it up if I felt like it. Well, I still felt good, but I didn’t think I could pick up the pace any more so I decided to just hold where I was at and reassess at mile 20. I picked up the extra gel that was on the course at this point too because I was starting to get a little antsy about my legs staying strong. Get to mile 20 and I decide again to just hold where I’m at and reevaluate whether I thought I could pick up again at mile 23. Mile 22 rolls around and I don’t know what happened, but I literally started tearing up on the course. I picked it up pretty hard there. I was real emotional because I knew I had it in the bag then. My Garmin was still reading 9:20 pace average so I honestly thought I was closer to a 4:05 finish at this point, but I didn’t realize how off the distance was on the Garmin by this point. I only picked up the pace for about a ¼ mile before my legs said uh uh and I backed it back down again. Miles 24 and 25 were really hard. I just kept telling myself I was almost done. I get to mile 25 and I picked up the pace a little there. I get to the sign that said 800 meters and I picked up the pace a lot. Of course then the finish line seems to be so far away and I somehow kept running. I hit stop on my Garmin as I cross the finish and it said 4:10:40. It also said my distance was 26.77. This was a phenomenal experience for me. I am definitely doing it again.
Hopefully soon I will have an official time. Still waiting on that. My 20K, 30K, 40K and finish times apparently did not register. Highly annoyed about that as I know I did not go astray from the course and was in the middle most of the time. As soon as I get my official time I will update for sure.