Friday, November 29, 2013

Makenzie's First 5k

Last year as I was running my first post-baby 10k in the Utah Human Race on Thanksgiving, I noticed some kids running in it. I thought Makenzie might like to give it a shot and be ready for it the next year. After the race, some of my friends mentioned they were thinking the same thing and wanted to do it with their daughters.

As Thanksgiving approached, we realized Makenzie's 8th birthday would actually be on Thanksgiving! I told her about the race and she was eager to try it out. I thought it would be a pretty cool 8th birthday accomplishment! And fun to do with friends.

So a few weeks before the race, we did a few short runs to get ready. We went out as a family one night, with Kyle and Micah both squeezed into the stroller. Jarom totally kept up as we ran a mile around the neighborhood in the dark. :) It was pretty fun, the kids loved it.

Makenzie also enjoyed the privilege of running on the treadmill, which is usually off limits to the kids. She did 3 one-mile training runs. It was pretty cool seeing her challenge herself to different speeds. I think she was a little nervous about falling off of it. She kept saying, "Jarom, don't distract me!" She's focused. :)

Thanksgiving morning came, and Makenzie got up early on her birthday for her big race day! Jarom and Dad got ready for the Matagi Turkey Bowl.

Here we are with my friends Naomi and Michelle and their daughters, Kenzie's good friends.

About halfway through, I saw Makenzie and Rylee holding hands. Pretty cute.

The last half mile was not Makenzie's favorite experience ever. That's far for a little kid! She wanted to walk but she also wanted to run to get it over with. I know that feeling!! She took off when she saw that finish line.

Here she is feeling accomplished.

And here are the girls enjoying a nice break on their legs.

Naomi was so sweet and got the girls medals because this race doesn't do them. They look so cute with their medals and running bibs on, what an accomplishment for a little kid! Kenz wore her medal all day. Way to go, Kenzer!!

Naomi, Michelle and I have run several races together so it was really cool to see our daughters experience that for the first time. I hope we all do it again next year, and maybe more moms/kids from our ward will join us. I think it would be a really cool Thanksgiving tradition for Kenz and I since the boys have their Matagi Turkey Bowl tradition.

This race also just increased my desire to run shorter distance races this year. How cool to train for a 5k!! That time commitment seems much more manageable. And on race day? You're done in less than half an hour. That is sweet! I am not fast. Justin laughs at my attempts to sprint. He beats me in a sprint every single time. But that could be a new goal for me. Which is what keeps running interesting. New goals. Trying something different. And on top of it all, 5k's are cheap. I am in love with this new goal. Somebody sign me up for a 5k, stat! ;) 

Oh, and in case you were wondering, I did turn on MapMyRun out of curiosity how long it would take us and it took us about 40 minutes. We all finished right about the same time. Seriously so good, these girls are awesome!!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Big Cottonwood Marathon: My first (sort of) attempt at Boston

*These journal entries get pretty long, so if you just want to see how the race went, scroll down to "Race Day." :)

Before Race Day:
This marathon story starts at my last marathon's finish line. See how destroyed exhausted half-conscious happy I am?

Well about 45 minutes later, right next to the marathon finish, my three oldest munchkins ran in the kids 1k. And while I was trying to do a video and take this picture... phone started ringing. Dang it! I hit "decline" and tried to video my kids. Little did I know how much that call would affect my next marathon's fate.

As I drove away from the finish, I checked my voicemail. It was from the executive secretary from my ward. The bishop wanted to meet with me the next day. Our ward was splitting, we needed a new young women's president, and I was the second counselor. I had a pretty good feeling I knew what was coming. 

I was right. Young women's president. I had no idea how much that calling was going to turn my world upside down. All of a sudden, I had a full-time job. It was right before girls' camp. It was YW, YW, YW all day, all night. Justin made a few jokes about how much I liked to work for free. I did the best I could to juggle my calling, take care of my kids and my home, spend time with my hubby, and OH YEAH... train for a marathon!

As if life weren't hectic enough, I decided I better go ahead and tell people I was going to try to qualify for Boston, too. I was itching for a little more pressure in my life, so that seemed like the way to go.

So I started pushing harder on those training runs. Speed work, hills, tempo runs.
Finally, my right leg said, "Enough!"
It took me weeks to figure out what was wrong with it. It killed.
First I thought IT band. It did hurt. My dear friend Becca gave me some tips and nipped that in the bud. But something still hurt. Bad. Now I thought it might be my hamstring. Or my quad. What the heck? Everything was hurting in my upper leg and I couldn't place it.

So I went to a sports medicine doc my friend Kim recommended.
He dug his fingers into my adductor (runs along inner thigh) and ow-chihuahua that sucker hurt so bad!! I don't know why I couldn't figure that out on my own. But by the time I did, I'd had about a month of sub-par training: missing mid-week runs to let it heal, slowing down on long runs, etc.

I was about 95% sure Boston wasn't going to happen. Deep inside, though, I dreamed that something crazy would happen and I'd run the marathon of my life and qualify. But mostly I just knew I was nowhere close to being prepared for that. 

Nevertheless, I set out to give it 100% race morning. Here's how it all went down.

Race Day:

I woke up sick. Can you even believe it? I can't. I came down with body aches and a super sore throat the day before. My throat killed and my body felt weak. I popped 4 iboprofen in my mouth and they really helped, so I figured with ibuprofen, I could do this thing.
A group of girls from my ward and I were doing this race together. We had several doing the half marathon, and the crazies doing the full were Naomi, Brecke and me. First marathon for Naomi and Brecke.

We got on our bus a little before 5 a.m. Note to self: "the bus ride for a marathon is long. Next time don't drink like a gallon of liquid before boarding." Oh my gosh. I have never had to pee so bad in my life. I held it and held it, and FINALLY saw port-o-potties. Yay! I was about to make a bee-line for the front when Naomi said, "Oh, this is the half marathon start. We still have 8 or 9 miles to go."  NOOOO!! How was I going to make it? I seriously thought about peeing in a water bottle. It was dark, but not that dark. And I am not that talented. But after a few miles, the bus driver announced that one of the buses had high-centered ahead of us and was stuck. There was a traffic jam. All I saw were brake lights ahead, and I walked straight up to the front of the bus. As soon as we stopped, I asked the driver to let me out. And I did what any respectable marathon runner would do and peed in the bushes on the side of the road. Lots of other people were doing the same thing. Good times. :)

I got back on the bus and we started to get worried about how much this would delay our start. Naomi was getting nervous. Brecke took a nap.

But it turned out fine. The race did start about 30 minutes late, but we got to wait on a nice warm bus instead of a cold mountaintop!

Here we are at the top. Everyone is zooming around in the background. It was a whirlwind! Port-o-potties, bag drop, starting line, and BAM! We were off.

I started out fast. This time I successfully started my garmin, so I have my mile splits. My leg injury, which I had babied, iced, rolled and ibuprofened, felt fine. Hallelujah!

Here's how my first 5 miles went (the # on the right is my pace):

1    7:02.2    1.00    7:02
2    7:20.8    1.00    7:21
3    7:21.9    1.00    7:22
4    7:27.9    1.00    7:28
5    7:26.8    1.00    7:27

Not bad, right? 
On mile 5, I caught up to the 3:35 pacers. 
That was my Boston qualifying pace.
I ran with the pace group for a few miles. I thought maybe I could keep up and cross that finish line with them. I learned their names, we chatted a bit, it was fun.
 I ran with them until mile 8, but then they sped up and I... gave up.

Miles 6-10:

6    7:23.0    1.00    7:23
7    7:52.8    1.00    7:53
8    8:55.7    1.00    8:56
9    8:19.8    1.00    8:20
10    9:25.9    1.00    9:26

Ugh. Miles 8-10 were rough. I watched Boston slip off into the distance and I did something I've never done in a race before. I walked. I was giving up. But my body felt like crap and I knew I couldn't push myself as hard today. I texted Justin on mile 9: "9 so tired no BQ"

Around mile 11, I started feeling a little better. I took more ibuprofen (um.. yes, I took way more ibuprofen during this race than is medically safe). It helped.

Here was 11-13:

11    8:33.7    1.00    8:34
12    8:35.0    1.00    8:35
13    7:33.7    1.00    7:34

I hit the halfway mark at 1:43, 2 minutes faster than my last marathon. That gave me SO much hope. That was the moment I decided that even if I wasn't going to BQ, I was going to run this race. I wasn't going to do 11 minute miles the rest of the time like I was tempted to do. I was going to give it all I had and see if I could at least PR.

Miles 14-17:

14    8:09.5    1.00    8:10
15    8:00.4    1.00    8:01
16    8:01.5    1.00    8:02
17    8:14.9    1.00    8:15

These were the last of the downhill miles. I was feeling so good. I did walk a couple of times, but only for like 10 seconds. I saw Justin and the kids around mile 17 and man, that was such a sweet moment. I was feeling really fast at this time. I did some math in my head and realized that if I could stay under an 8:45 pace the rest of the time, I could still qualify for Boston. I was hopeful.

Miles 18-20:

 18    9:01.7    1.00    9:02
19    8:40.7    1.00    8:41
20    9:19.0    1.00    9:19
These were my "you can't do it"/"yes, I can!" miles. I was fighting with all I had. My family was cheering me along. But I was getting tiiiiiired.

Miles 22-25 (the dark ages):

 21    10:27.9    1.00    10:28
 22    10:21.1    1.00    10:21
23    9:50.5    1.00    9:51
24    10:47.1    1.00    10:47
25    9:57.7    1.00    9:58

Ohhhh... that's right. I don't really run 7-8 minute miles. I was just flying down a mountain. This is hard. Really, really hard. And I am slowing down like crazy. Bye bye Boston dream. It was fun flirting with the idea of you.

At the 25th mile marker, I was walking through the water station when the 3:45 pacer breezed by me. How sad is that? I saw the pep in his step and said goodbye to my PR, too (last marathon was 3:44:36). I ran behind him, and right as we approached the turn to the finish, I saw he had stopped at the corner and was waving us in. I ran by him and had less than a quarter of a mile to go. The finish was RIGHT THERE. But he started running, way faster than me, and he hit me on the head with his pace sign as he passed and beckoned me to come with him. I literally had NOTHING left to give. It was a miracle I was moving at that point. I was at the point of mind over matter, literally so miserable that I would do anything to end the misery. And in this case, the only way to end the misery was a little more misery. Haha, aren't I a cheerful finisher? I saw my friends to the right- they had a sign and cheered SO loud and my family to the left screaming and cheering, it was the best moment. I crossed that finish line and the clock read 3:48- something. I wanted to collapse into a pile of mush right there, but I forced myself to step over to a garbage can and brace myself against it. The exhaustion is just unreal. The marathon distance has humbled me down to nothing, all three times.

Here are my official stats:

Chip time: 3:46:20
Average Pace: 8:48/mile
Place Overall: 406
Sex Place: 181
Age Division Place (F 30-34): 42

Brecke finished soon after me and I missed it, darn it. Who gets a sub-4 marathon on their first try? Amazing! And Naomi finished at 4:14 which is also killer. That's a 9:40 pace for 26 miles. I bow down to them, I could have never in my wildest dreams achieved that on my first- I was so intimidated by the distance. My first marathon took almost 5 hours. These ladies are so strong.

Here I am with my family:

And friends:

(Mari, Michelle, Naomi, Kim, Sarah, Devrie, me)
I didn't qualify for Boston, I didn't PR, but I finished. That's the awesome thing about marathons- no matter how bad you do, if you finish, you feel pretty accomplished.
I'm ready to give marathons a little break and do some shorter-distance races next year. I'll probably try seriously for Boston when my kids are older. Running marathons is an exciting challenge, but I'm glad it's over for a little while! I did it, it was crazy, and it's over. The end!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013


I did it!!
It's over.
It was hard.
It was painful.
It was awesome.

Here's how it all went down:
I got up at 2:30 a.m. for this race.
2 freaking 30!!
Are you kidding me?
The last bus for the race start leaves at 4:15 (or so they say, but who wants to chance it?).
I didn't want to drive down to Provo the night before to pick up my bib so my friend Kim picked it up for me, as she was smart and booked a hotel in Provo that night.
I had to meet her at 3:30-3:45 a.m. race morning and I also had to nurse Micah before I left. Oh yeah, still nursing. Makes race mornings that much more exciting.
So between race jitters, nursing, and a 2:30 a.m. alarm, I got 2.5 hours of sleep before the race.
Thank goodness for my old friend Adrenaline. I felt fine. A little puffy, but fine.

I walked into the lobby of the Provo Marriott at 3:40 a.m. and found it full of runners. This looked like one fit bunch of runners. More fit than usual. And decked out in their fancy shmancy tech gear. I felt like such a newbie. A little baby marathon runner. Even though I've run one before (almost 4 years ago), it felt like my first time since it was my first time running one alone, pushing myself to my own limit.

Kim and I boarded our bus and made the long drive up to Wallsburg, UT. I don't even know where I was, really. She pointed out portions of the course she dreaded and some hills I could look forward to. We got to the race start and chatted for an hour or so between port-o-potty visits.

Here we are, hanging out in the dark in the middle of nowhere with a bunch of harsh, artificial lights, some port-o-potties, and a thousand other crazy people.  Kim is in the lead to win the Grand Slam for the 3rd time (I think she said 3rd time?), and was only leading by 15 seconds before this race started. Let's just say there was a lot more pressure on her than me. But you would've never known.

We headed to the starting line and my Garmin was having a hard time finding the GPS signal. I accidentally clicked "use indoors" and BAM, everybody started running. Agh! I wasn't ready! I was fidgeting with my headphones, phone (yes, I ran 26.2 with my big ole iphone 5 strapped to my arm... it wasn't bad actually), and Garmin. For the whole first mile, I was trying to get my garmin to search for a gps signal again, but I couldn't get it. Finally at mile 2, I gave up. I really wanted to see my mile splits on this race, but oh well.

The first half of the race went by fast and smooth.
I thought I had started just in front of my Boston qualifying pacer (3:35).
I was surprised and happy when he still hadn't passed me on mile 5, and as the miles went on without seeing him, I started getting really excited. 
I hit the halfway mark and the timer said 1:45.  Good news. I did some quick math and realized if I ran the race of my life and somehow kept this pace up, I would Boston qualify!
I realized that probably wouldn't happen, but being that far ahead of my 4 hour goal was exhilarating. YAY!

{Downhill marathon my eye}

Around mile 15, I saw Justin and the kids for the first time. I was heading up a long, dreadful hill and it was so nice to see my cute little family cheering me on! At that point, I felt so strong. Plenty of energy left.

I saw them again at about mile 18, and although I was starting to feel it now, I still had it in me to run over and give the kids high fives and thank them for cheering me on.

The last time I would see them before the finish line was about mile 21. This was about the lowest point of the marathon for me. My legs had just had it. They were ACHING so bad. It was getting hot. And there was no more downhill. Just a loooong, straight road ahead. I slowed down. Considerably. The 3:40 pacer passed me. I never even saw the 3:35 pacer... maybe they started ahead of me after all, or I missed them during my pee break at mile 13? I don't know. I didn't care. Let them pass me, I thought. I started dreaming of water stations just so I could have an excuse to walk for a second. I also started realizing I was getting dehydrated. I started downing 2 cups of Gatorade, 1 cup of water, and a bite of banana in futile hope the potassium might help my aching legs. Then I'd pour a cup of water down my back and move ahead. I was wincing in pain as I started running again. If you run, you know it's not until you walk that you realize how bad everything hurts. And starting back up is agony. But once I got back into my rhythm, it was manageable.

I had to dig into some deep places mentally to keep myself moving around mile 23. I started getting angry. I was looking around at everyone, drenched in sweat and obviously hurting, and thinking, "What is wrong with us?? Why are we doing this? We are so stupid! This is pointless!" haha... I was so mad. I started wondering why marathons have to be 26 miles and why they can't be 23. "23 would be perfect," I thought. But after getting lots to drink at the aid station at mile 24, I felt a little better. I allowed myself to slow down and that helped. I did start having an optical migraine on mile 25, which scared me a little. They're painless, but they blur my vision and they're caused by extreme physical fatigue. So essentially I was falling apart. I gave myself permission to slow down a little and that helped a lot.

The finish line was ahead of me, I could see it 2 miles away. And I swear every time I looked up at it, it looked like someone had picked it up and moved it back just a little. Seriously! It tormented me for 2 miles. 

But finally, I reached the end. I saw my family and my dear friend Naomi, who had run the half marathon and waited around almost 2 hours to see me finish (so nice!). Makenzie ran out and finished the course with me and I so needed the motivation. I looked up and saw that the clock still read 3:44 and I was so happy and relieved.

When I finished, my legs ached so bad I could hardly stand. I walked over to the med tent to beg for some ibuprofen. I had to sit in one of their chairs for a minute because I honestly could not stand. I finally got up and hobbled over to the grass and laid down. Holy shmoly, the pain!!

But I was surrounded by my sweet family and so proud of my accomplishment. Just 9 minutes away from a BQ on a race I was originally only hoping to finish! That was pretty good on the ole self esteem. ;)

Here are my race stats:

Chip Time: 3:44:31
Average Pace: 8:34/mile
Overall Place: 371 out of 1465
Gender Place: 101
Division Place (Female 30-34): 28 out of 112

1st half:
1:44:57 (8:01/mile)
2nd half
1:59:33 (9:08/mile)

{By the way... my friend Kim finished in 3:01:22. That's a 6:55/mi pace, my friends. She placed 4th in her division and 38th overall... and picked up some prize money to bring home! She also gained a bigger lead in the Grand Slam and I'm sure she'll win it again! Go, Kim!}

My next race is the Big Cottonwood Marathon in September. This course is supposedly pure downhill. I am hoping to train hard and qualify for Boston. I realize I may not get in to the Boston Marathon even if I qualify, as it will be very popular and competitive this year. But just hitting the Boston qualifying time is something I never, ever thought I could achieve and would feel AMAZING. So here goes, another 3 months of training and hopefully another sweet result!

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Provo City Half Marathon & Training Update

I have some major marathon training updating to do... but let's start with today- the Provo City Half Marathon.

Today was supposed to be my 18 mile training run. A friend of mine from church (who I've run several races with, including this same race last year) really wanted me to run it with her and some other friends, but I was hesitant. I know how hard I push myself in races and I didn't want to risk an injury a month before my full marathon.

But... I needed a downhill training run anyway, and I just love those girls so much, I couldn't resist. I signed up a few days before the race.

This race starts up Provo Canyon, and they make you get up there about an hour before the race actually starts. So I figured I would take advantage of that time to get my 5 extra training miles in. I ran up the road 2.5 and back. It was freezing, but gorgeous. This, I would learn at about mile 10, was probably a mistake.

The race started out great. I'm familiar with the first part of this course- I've probably raced down it 5 or 6 times. I like to start strong, so I kept up with the 1:35 pacer for the first mile, and then the 1:40 pacer passed me at about mile 3. I kept him in view for a while, but gradually lost sight of him. I felt strong, though, and knew I had a decent lead on the 1:45 pacer. 

By mile 7, I knew if I kept this up, I stood a chance of setting a PR (1:42:36), or at least coming close to it, which was exciting. But I had to pee. Really bad. I made the decision to stop at mile 8 and lost a little time there. It was ok, though, I still saw the same group of people I had been running close to the whole time not too far ahead. But in the back of my mind, I kept thinking how I had already run 13 miles now, and was wishing I had saved those extra 5 miles for after the race.

Mile 9 was when that all changed. Things started to get ugly. My legs were done. My entire body was starting to give up. For the first time ever in a race, I contemplated walking. This was the closest I've ever come to hitting the wall.

Take a look at my mile splits. Mile 9 was the slowest, and a pretty drastic jump from mile 8:

Mile 1: 7:32
Mile 2: 7:35
Mile 3: 8:10
Mile 4: 7:44
Mile 5: 7:37
Mile 6: 7:51
Mile 7: 8:07
Mile 8: 7:58
Mile 9: 8:44
Mile 10: 8:20
Mile 11: 8:22
Mile 12: 8:29
Mile 13: 8:05

I just barely looked at these mile splits (first time wearing my garmin in a race because I needed it for those first five. I never looked at it during the race, but I'm glad I wore it so I could see these splits. I will do that in the future). I'm actually really happy with how miles 10-13 look because I was DYING. Serious mind control tricks going on. I felt like a robot. Trying not to feel my body, just willing it to go with my mind. Crazy stuff. 

The end was brutal, no sugar coating it. Putting in an 8:05 pace on what was really mile 18, was HARD. During the end of that race, I kept thinking what a rookie mistake I had made running those 5 before the race. I was beating myself up about it. But now I'm kind of glad I did it. It was a really good test of my limits for the marathon. I know there is no way on earth I could maintain a pace like that for the marathon, but even if I took a minute or minute or two longer per mile, I would be really happy!

So here's the overall stats:

Time: 1:45:41
Average Pace: 8:04
Overall Place: 202 out of 1029
Division Place (Female 30-34- yikes! new competitive age group): 20 out of 130 (woot woot! Excited about that!)

Alright, that's enough blabbing for one day. I guess this pretty much sums up how marathon training is going. So far, so good! No injuries and feeling strong!

Here we are! Erin, me, Kimberly and Naomi
Erin is 5 months pregnant- yup! Kimberly set a PR by almost half an hour!! and Naomi (the one who talked me into it) had a really strong race and said it was one of her favorites ever. My next door neighbors ran it too, but we didn't get them in the picture- she set a PR, too! Great race day!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Here we go: Post Baby Marathon

When I was pregnant, I was so unsure if I would be able to do this.
Run a full marathon 8 months after giving birth?
I know people do it, but could I? Really?

I am happy to say that I think I can.
I've completed my first three weeks of training and so far, so good!

I think it really helped that I ran those two half marathons at 16 and 18 weeks along, because I've never felt this good in my running comeback before.
I always have these pelvic bone pains for months and months after giving birth, but I haven't felt them once this time. Except for being fatter than usual, I feel really normal!

I'm doing the Hal Higdon Novice 1 Training Schedule, the same one I did for my first marathon. Since that marathon was in 2009 and two babies ago, I figured I might as well start over like it's my first time.

Here's how the mileage has gone gone:
Week One: 3-3-3-5 (oopsie! the long run was supposed to be 6)
Week Two: 3-3-3-7
Week Three: 3-4-3-5 (Hal Higdon has you go down before your next big advance)
Week 4 (This week): 3-4-3-9

So this Saturday, I will hit 9 miles, which is further than I've ever gone 4 months after having a baby. My biggest concern is injury. I'm stretching like crazy, wearing compression sleeves on long runs, and paying attention to form. I'm probably due for new shoes pretty soon, so I better get on that, too.

My pace is anywhere between a 9-10 minute mile. I'm totally happy with that. I'm not pushing speed at all, I don't need to be fast right now. I just need to get the miles in. This first marathon is June 8th (Utah Valley), but I'm also registered for the Big Cottonwood Marathon in September. Sooooo excited for that one, a lot of girls from my ward are running it, too. So if all goes well in June, I can work hard during the summer to get a better time in September. I'm so excited for these races and crossing my fingers all goes well!