Saturday, August 4, 2012

Summer Marathon sucks.

Wow. Had we known we'd be marathon training during the hottest summer ever on record, we might have thought twice about entering the race!  But we didn't, and we did, and so here we are.

Distance Runs:  We had a 15 mile run scheduled for two weeks ago.  The weather has made it so hard to fit in.  When it's 90+ and super humid, it is just so hard.  So we looked at the weather and planned to do our run on a Saturday.  The weather was supposed to be cooler and not so humid. We started around 8:00, and it wasn't too humid, but it did feel hot in the sun.  We did a downtown run,  starting, as usualy, at Sawyer Point.  We went over the bridge to KY, ran a bit thru KY and then took another bridge back to Cincinnati.  After running a bit toward the Eden Park Hill, Julie started to feel lightheaded and needed to sit down.  We talked about not finishing up the run and even started to walk back to my car, but then Julie changed her mind and we decided we'd try to get the mileage in, even if we had to do some walking.  And walk we did.  Lots of walking and some running, but we managed to finish by 11:10 (started around 8:10).  We enjoyed our trip down MLK Blvd and enjoyed the friendly people who all wanted to say hello to us.  Even the women who commented that she had seen us the day before.  We were no where near that area the day before...but as Julie said, "we all look alike." :)

Our route took us by the new Washington Park and we did a detour through it.  It's really lovely, and I hope lots of people get to enjoy it.  We especially liked the water fountains that cooled us off.
So that takes us to this week.  Wednesday looked like the best weather day to run our long run, but since we had just done 15 on Saturday, I was a bit worried about tackling 16 just 4 days later.  However, we decided that since we walked so much of our Saturday run, we could do it.  It was a hard run, and we were both exhausted afterwards, but we did it, and in good time. (About 11-minute miles, including two bathroom stops and a little walking...though not much :)

I was tired and a little sore afterwards.  Also wore the wrong type of shirt and had horrible red welts on my arms from chafing.  OW!

We decided to do hill training in Evendale on Friday.  I both love and hate hill training.  The Evendale hill is about .75 mile long and is a pretty tough hill.  It's pretty steep in a few different places, and by the time we get to our stopping point, we have had a workout.  But then...we get to jog downhill. It's lovely.  Just lovely.  But we get to the bottom, have a few sips of water, and then have to go back up it again...and again.  We did it four times, so ran a total uphill of about 3 miles and total mileage of 6 miles. I know we will be thankful for this workout come October.

I guess that's it for now.  It's been tough, but I know we will get through this.  Running in San Francisco should seem like a breeze after this summer, as long as we can get our long miles in.  No change in weather wish us luck!

P.S.  We both booked our airline tickets this week, so are super excited!  Julie gets to visit her mom for a few days afterward, and I am going down to LA with Cyndi to visit with friends there!!!  YAY!!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Weeeee Did It! Hills as Therapy! And 14 Easy Miles

Seems like I have a little catching up to do.

Last week Julie and I started our 4th of July celebration by running 12 miles.  It was HOT.  It was HUMID.  It was HARD.  But..we did it!  We met at 7:00, but even though it was early, it was humid and already warm - in the 80's!  Running was hard, pretty much for the get go.  I'm pretty sure we made it to the top of the Beckett Ridge Hill without stopping, but much of that run is a blur to me now -- I recall running by some sprinklers and trying to cool off a bit.  When we got to the top of the hill, we got rewarded with a teeny bit of water...Julie put out the world's smallest water bottle on one of the hottest days of the year!  That Julie!  If I didn't love her so much, I never would have made it through that run.  The rest of the first 6-mile loop was pretty uneventful. It was hard, though, and we took a break to walk every once in a while.

The second time around the loop was even more difficult -- hotter, more humid, and now we're tired.  I think we had to walk some to make it to the top of the hill -- we figured we weren't going to kill ourselves, but we would get the mileage in.  Lots more walking on the second lap, but again, we ran when we could and got all 12 miles in on a very hot, and did I mention humid, day...  Never was I so happy to get through with a run.

Two days later it was just as hot and humid, and Julie was busy, and I really needed a therapy run.  I knew I couldn't run 6 miles without stopping (110 heat index for goodness sakes!), so I went back to our Miami Bluffs Hill and did hill repeats.  They were hard, but it felt great to push myself.  I could barely breathe by the time I got to the top of the hill.  I wanted to do more than 4, but was dying on the 4th one.  By the time I got back to the bottom of the hill, however, I decided to try for 5.  Off I went, and I only made it about 20-30 feet when I had to stop -- I was going to try to just walk up the hill, but even that felt too hard. I went back down to the bottom trying to convince myself that 4 repeats was enough.  I sat down on a bench for a while and was thinking of something that would spur me in to getting that 5th repeat done.  A good song came on my Ipod (China Grove), and I poured a little water over the top of my head and decided to give it one more try.  I had to use baby steps, but I made it up  to that top of that hill.  Very slowly, but I made it. It felt great to accomplish something that I was about to give up on. 

Yesterday was our 14-miler.  I think we are ahead of the training schedule, but since it was a beautiful day, we wanted to take advantage of the nice weather.  We met at 7:00 at my house and took off fast.  We had lots to talk about and lots to catch up on so the run went pretty quickly.  We both felt great, and ran the first 10 miles in 1:43 minutes. Not sure what our time was for the last 4 miles, but I'm sure it was at about the same pace.

We both felt great afterwards - legs felt strong, and we both feel good about conquering San Francisco! 

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Hill Repeats!

Julie and I attempted our first Hill Repeats last Friday.  It was a hot and humid morning, so I was happy to work on hills, rather than go out and run for an hour.  We chose the Miami Bluffs Hill, which is about 4/10ths of a mile long with an incline of 150 feet. That doesn't sound like much, but this is a hard hill -- we've run it a few other times, but always toward the end of a 6 mile run.  I've been able to make it to the top only a handful of times, and Julie hadn't yet conquered the hill, so we knew we had our work cut out for us.

It was hard, but we conquered that hill...six times! Oh yes we did!  For me, it seemed to get easier each time, except the last time, when the last part was super hard.  We weren't really sure how many times we should have done the hill.  I thought I read something about 4-6 times, so of course we did the larger number. 

I felt great that we were able to run the hill six times and make it to the top each time.  It really gives me hope for San Francisco.  Imagine, though, my surprise the next day when I woke up feeling more sore than after I ran the last marathon!  Our glutes got a workout, and I certainly felt it the entire day!  I know that means we got a good workout, but I never expected to be so sore!  Glad to report that Julie was sore too!

But all in all, I am glad we did the hill training, and I know we will keep it up throughout our training.  Our goal is to not let those San Francisco hills get the better of us!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

I love marathon training (when the weather is perfect!)

Julie and I did our long run for the week yesterday -- 10 miles.  We had to get it in by then because the weather forecast is stiffling for the next week or so.  It's supposed to be 100+ today and in the 90's after that.  But yesterday morning...oh, it was perfect! 

We met at 7:00 am,  and it was a brisk 58 degrees.  PERFECT.  We ran a 10-mile loop through Landen and around Landen Lake.  It was a really great run.  I felt good, my legs felt good, and I could breathe -- something I found difficult last week when it was so humid.  We had lots to talk about, and the first 4 miles just flew by.  We had water waiting for us in 3 spots, so we were able to keep hydrated too.  I could have easily kept on running.  I needed a run like that after last week's disasters.

I love running with Julie!  She is fun to talk to, and one of my few friends who has the same outlook as I do politcially and spiritually.

Tomorrow we are doing our first hill repeats.  Oddly, I am looking forward to it, even though it will be ungodly hot out.  I just want to get good at hills so the SF marathon doesn't kick us.  We're running the bike trail hill (aka the Miami Bluffs Hill...also known by me as the Killer Hill).  It's hard to make it all the way up to the top.  There is a super steep part that goes on for too long...and when you finally catch your breath, it starts up again. 

So I think the plan is to run up it and run or walk down it 4-6 times.  It's going to be tough. :)

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Training begins...sort of

Our official training started the week of June 10.  As luck would have it, I was in Holden Beach, NC that week, so got to train on the beach!  Life is good! 

My first beach run was challenging, to say the least.  It started out hot and humid, and I was sweating like a (flying) pig!  I made a note to bring a kleenex with me for my next run.  I ran 3 miles, to the end of the island, and then I turned around for the 3 miles back.  While I had been running in the first direction, storms were moving in, so my return run was without the sun, which I was quite thankful for, until the skies opened up and poured down on me.  I ran for almost a mile in the pouring rain -- no where to hide, of course!  When I got back to the house, I was soaked, and everyone wondered why -- the storm passed by the house completely! 

The rest of my runs were a lot better.  Even though I'd prefer to be running with someone, I had some nice runs, including an 8+ run where I just felt great.  I could have kept going!  I was glad to get that run in.  Summer training is going to be hard for me.  I HATE running in the heat.  It's so difficult for me.  I'm hoping we have a cool summer, but that is doubtful! 

The week I got back from vacation was hot and humid.  I ran 5 times and none of the runs were great.  The first was at home, and I managed 6 miles, but not happily.  The second was with Julie at Sharon Woods.   After about 5 miles, we started walking, and just kept on walking...until the last half mile, which was all downhill.  My other runs that week were crappy.  It was hot, I had a hard time breathing, and I just felt like I couldn't run without stopping.  I know the weather will get better, and we will have better runs.  Just waiting for that to happen!

Today it is beautiful, so hopefully our run tomorrow morning will be nice...after that we have several days of high 90's and high  humidity in the forecast.  Ugh!  This will be a challenging summer!

Monday, May 28, 2012

One year later...and another successful marathon!

Back again after a year's break from this blog, but not from running.  Julie and I decided to run the Flying Pig Marathon again this year...well, Julie decided and then I agreed...and then before I could change my mind she already registered.  So we started training again in January.

We had the best winter weather training EVAH!  Warmest winter on record, no snow to speak of and only one or two days where it was icy, making it difficult (but not impossible with my new Yak Trax :))

Still, it seemed like a long training season, but we were infused with excitement in April when we got chosen to be in the Nike Womens Marathon in San Francisco!!!!  Super excited about that.

Our training was marred with Julie's stomach issues...the running part was fine, but the poor thing had to find a bathroom several times during most of our pun intended. :)  And I put some excitement in to our 18-mile training run.  I had a horrible cold (and probably a slight flu) in the morning, but didn't cancel because I knew we wouldn't be able to schedule another long run in anytime soon.  I felt bad pretty much right from the start, and the Eden Park hill that is usually pretty easy for us, was extremely difficult.  I was breathing hard and could barely make it up the hill.  I just wanted to get the run over and done with!  This time it was my turn to have to make several bathroom stops, and on number 4 or 5, I got a surprise of blood (it's a runner's thing)...but  not what I needed right then.  When we had about 4 miles to go, I tripped and almost fell.  Was able to stop myself, but then a little while later I tripped again...this time going down hard.  My wrist immediately hurt, and I later found out that it was broken in two places.  I got to enjoy a bright purple cast for a month.  The surgeon told me not to run until I got it taken off, and while I pretended to listen to him, it didn't stop my training (I had a marathon to train for, for goodness sakes!!)

Julie went on a strict super bland diet two weeks before the marathon, and we unbelieveably didn't have to stop to use any porta potties on race day.

And race day was PERFECT!  The weather forecast was for a hot and humid day, but we got lucky -- it wasn't nearly as humid as they predicted it would be.  (The organizers were so worried about the heat that they let people defer their run till next year if they wanted to).  We started in a faster corral (E), and got off to a much faster start than in years past.  We started out running 10-minute miles.  I was so happy about that...Julie was, well, sort of happy about it -- I figured if we could get a few fast miles in, it would help us with our time when it got hotter and muggier (which, yay!!  it didn't do!).  So we just kept up these 10-minute miles..the second 6 miles (the HILL MILES!) was even a bit faster than the first six miles.The Eden Park Hill seemed So Easy!  I was feeling great!  The crowds were amazing, as usual, and we were making great time.  We saw Judy around mile 9 again and we both got a big hug from her. We saw Jeff and Jim again in Hyde Park!  A fun surprise sighting!   And running through Hyde Park is a blast on top of that!

My only issue was the bottom of my left foot - what started as a slight annoyance got worse and worse until finally after about 13 miles I had to stop and take my shoe off -- I was hoping my sock was just bunched up weird...but straightening it out didn't help out any, so I just kept on running. Every step was pretty painful and I tried to run more on the side of my foot that flat on it.  Ugh.

We saw Jeff and Jim again in Mariemont, and Jim had a nice cold Dos Equis waiting for us! We had our nice, cold sips -- it tasted so good!  We kept on running and saw them a half mile later.  They are goofy, but were having fun! 

Around mile 20, Julie needed to slow down a bit.  She encouraged me to go ahead, and since I was feeling pretty good, I decided to try to run a while at my "comfort pace".  It took a while, but I eventually was ahead of her enough that we couldn't talk any longer  :(  It was lonely running by myself, but I also felt happy to be running at my pace, and I know she was happy to be able to set her pace as well.

About a half mile after we separated my foot got worse -- all of a sudden what I now know to be a blister got huge -- it felt like I was running on a bumble bee...and then I think it must have popped (sorry for the grossness of that image!) It felt weird and hurt just as much, but at least it was better than that 30-seconds where it just felt huge and weird to step on it.

I saw Jim and Jeff at the 21.7 party zone and explained that Julie was just a minute or so behind me.  I got my final hug and went on my way.  The last miles were hard, but not painful.  I was tired and just wanted to be done.  I longed for each water stop where I could slow down and get something to drink.  Around mile 23 they handed out cold, wet towels, and they were awesome!  I think I was running faster than my comfort zone, but I just kepy thinking how happy I was that I didn't have as far to go as Julie did!  After all that running, you just want to be done.  I kept up the 10 minute pace, and the last mile, the cheering of the crowd helped me do a 9:57 mile.  I had no idea I was running that fast -- it felt like I was crawling!

My final time was  4:33!!!  Twenty-one minutes faster than last year.  I was so thrilled!  I got my medal and a cup of water.  Then I elevated my legs for a minute...then I remembered I could greet Julie as she finished so I got up and headed back...I was almost there when I saw her -- she had just finished -- in a time of 4:40!!!  We both had PR's and both ran just about as good as we could.  So happy to have run it the way I hoped I could! 

And in two more weeks we start to train for San  Francisco!!!!

P.S.  I took my sock off after we met up with the boys and Eliz & Amy, and I asked if there was anything on the bottom of my foot -- the facial reaction from all was pretty telling - a huge blister, blood, all sorts of fun things!  Can't believe I ran almost a full marathon like that!

Thursday, May 5, 2011


Okay, so I didn't get a good night's sleep, but I managed a few hours, and just reminded myself of the article Pam read that said hardly anyone gets a good night sleep the night before a marathon -- many are travelling, too excited or too nervous to sleep. I had a good night the night before, and that had to pull me through the day.

We popped out of bed ready to get ready!!! We immediately went to our large picture window and saw not one rain drop on the ground! We had dodged a bullet. The weather forecasters were w-r-o-n-g. We were going to have a rain-free day; we just knew it!

We toasted bagels and lightly spread peanut butter on them (the healthy kind for Julie - the yummy kind for me). Got out the Glide, got dressed, and visited the bathroom... Julie got her pre-texts ready to send at different mile markers, and we had fun editing what she would report.

Just as we were getting worried about Pam & Elizabeth showing up, there was a knock on our door. There were there and ready to roll!!! (well E was ready...Pam, still not so much!)

Still no rain coming from the skies -- so cocky were Pam & Elizabeth that they left the plastic ponchos in Tom's car. Julie and I left ours in the room, and we all headed downstairs to walk to the Start! EXCITED!!!

Stepping off the elevator, we notice people fussing with plastic ponchos -- putting them on, as if there is RAIN outside...and a short walk toward the front doors confirmed it for us. We walked outside, and the rain was coming down fairly steadily. We had about a half mile walk to the start of the race. Julie and I ran back upstairs to grab our ponchos, and Elizabeth & Pam got plastic garbage bags from the hotel staff. Off we walked, all covered up, following the throngs of runners to the start (hoping that whoever was in the front knew where they were going). :)

As we made our way slowly to the start, we tried to figure out how to get to our corral (or pig pen as they called them that day). Before we could get to the right place the race started, so we just walked in where there was an opening and headed toward the start.

Elizabeth was NOT going to let me and Pam hold back a second or two so as to finish with a better time. She insisted we all lock arms and go thru the start together. Off we went! It seemed a slow start because there were just so many people. I felt like we couldn't run our pace as we threaded our way around walkers and runners that were slower than we were. But still, off we went, filled with excitement (or dread, in Pam's case).

Over the bridge in to Kentucky while the rain steadily fell on us. After running with the ponchos for about a half mile, we all, one by one, got rid of them -- easier to run without them, and we were going to get wet so might as well just embrace the rain.

There were some brave souls cheering us on in the rain, and a few bands that played in the shelter of awnings and between buildings. They were great fun to listen to!

The rain slowed down eventually, but I'm not exactly sure when. I don't remember it bothering me, so it must have been pretty early on.

We approached mile 5 looking for Jeff & John as well as Julie's kids Liam & Caitrin. We noticed Jeff & John on the left side of the road. What a welcome sight! We gave them high 5's and big smiles and went on our way.

At about the 5.05 mark, who do we see again, but Jeff! He tore down the street to greet us a second time. He is a nut.

The Mile 5 fluid station appeared and Julie found her kids. Liam gave her a big hug and twirl while Caitrin reminded her that she doesn't like Gatorade! What a fun stop for her, and seeing everyone definitely pump us all up as we headed up toward the major hill of the race. It's never as bad as we think it's going to be, and gets easier each time. Pam was feeling good, Elizabeth was going strong, and Julie and I were running up the hill excited to reach the overlook. We got there and once again enjoyed the beautiful view of the river, bridges and Kentucky. It's prettier on a dry, sunny day, but it was still nice...and nice to have the major hill out of the way.

The next few miles were fun -- lots of twists and turns, and I knew we had friends to find around mile 8 so that gave us something to look forward to.

Judy from IHN was right where she said she would be -- outside St. Ursula church in her bright pink outfit. I screamed her name and she excitedly cheered us on while we waved to her. Her smiling face was such a welcome sight.

Next we were on the lookout for Mary Reckman. Mary told us she'd be the one screaming and jumping up and down, and she did not disappoint. When I saw her and called out her name, that is exactly what she did. We ran over for hugs and thanked her for being so supportive.

Off we went, knowing the next time we'd see friends or family wouldn't be until around mile 16 in Mariemont. So we had to find something else to keep us going.

Miles 9-16

Pam started to feel tired and a little sick around the 9-mile mark, so we walked for a bit. Back to running, and around mile 10 we get a great surprise --Jeff & John make a surprise appearance! Needed it, needed it, needed it! We had been walking on and off, but were happy to be running when we saw them!

The next miles were tough. Poor Pam felt worse. We tried doing the 10/1 method, but it didn't help. She finally found a bathroom to use (thank you to those lovely people in Mariemont who let her use their home!) Hoping that would be all she needed, we started running again, but she still felt bad. We changed to the 5/1 method, but she couldn't keep up with that either. I can't imagine trying to run while feeling so sick to my stomach.

We spent the next few miles running and walking. We were greeted by the Parish clan at mile 15 -- always a welcome, smiling sight! Then we saw Jeff & John at mile 16 -- where they handed us Chocolate Buttercreams -- not really what we were looking forward to, but why not! They went well with the beer we were given around mile 11! (maybe THAT's why Pam got sick...???)

Despite Pam feeling so bad, miles 9-16 were so much fun. The crowds in O'Byronville, Hyde Park and Mariemont are the best! High Five's, screams of encouragement, fun and creative signs, bands playing, fluid stations competing to be the best (voted on by the runners). It was all just amazing. Just like my first marathon, I was smiling almost the entire time!

Things got worse for Pam, and after much deliberation and encouragement from Pam, Julie & I left her and Elizabeth -- feeling guilty and also somewhat relieved. We told them what we were going to do, and Pam was happy to see us go and actually thanked us. We took off and ran...using all the pent up energy we had from the last several miles. We ran 10-minute miles for the next several miles. It felt great. Lots of room to run and lots of energy to use up. The next thing we knew we were on the short stretch of Columbia, sharing the road with cars! Leaving Columbia, around mile 20, I think we had used up all of our 10-minute mile energy! But we still felt good and continued to run at a good pace. We even forgot to "hit the wall" at mile 20. :)

Eastern Avenue we knew the stretch ahead of us was going to be long.

Between miles 20 and 21.5, we were excited to be close to finished, but felt our bodies start to complain a little. Stories were hard to tell or even to listen to. We started to hear lots of noise up ahead -- it was the 21.7 party zone. I was pretty sure we'd find Jeff & John there cheering us on, and sure enough, we did! Always, always, a happy sight! So nice to see them and to know that the next time we saw them we'd be near the Finish Line!

The next few miles hurt (although in retrospect, I can't recall the pain...I just know that I wanted it to be over with!). We walked through some water stations -- extending the walking time with each one. Adding leg stretches to the end of our walks. Every mile marker we hit we talked about what that run was like for us during the week -- okay, just our regular 6-miler, okay just to Loveland, okay, just as far as we ran to our car after Elizabeth got hurt -- oh no! That seemed FAR!! Once we hit 24 we didn't stop we saw the light at the end of the tunnel and didn't stop again. We were too tired to talk or even listen to each other, but we kept up a good pace (confirmed by the spectator who shouted, "Great Pace, Ladies!"

After we passed Mile 25, it seemed like it would go so quickly...then, what seemed like a while later, we passed 25.2...still another mile! But unbeknownst to us, we must have picked up the pace, because we ran that final mile in 10 min 21 seconds! After going about a half mile Julie said, Oh Patrice, we still have far to go. I lied and told her that I thought it was only another 2 or 3 tenths -- In reality, I had NO IDEA! Somewhere along this last mile, the course went UP HILL. Really? Was that necessary??? :) We looked down and forged ahead. Soon the "Finish Swine" was in sight, and we also saw Jeff and John cheering us on from the sidelines! Welcome sights, both! The crowds at this point were AMAZING. Screaming and cheering us on. It was awesome!

Julie decided to sprint the last little bit -- didn't even give me a warning -- just took off like a bat out of hell, bound and determined to beat me...which she did, by a second! Her first marathon was a success! And so was my second marathon. All along I hoped to beat my time of 4:54:57, but after all the stopping we did in the middle of the race, I didn't think that was possible. I thought we might come in under 5 hours, but just barely. As it turned out, I ran it in 4:54:17, and Julie right in front of me at 4:54:16. Happy, Happy, Happy!!!!

The best part was how great I felt afterwards. I didn't have near the soreness of my first marathon. I could sit for a while and then stand up with no pain at all. My only problem was blisters on the bottoms of my feet, which hurt while we ran, but healed up quickly.

I am ready to do another!

Pam & Elizabeth ended up finishing strong as well. Pam finally got over her stomach problems, and they ran strong the last miles of the race -- meeting up with a cute young runner who asked if he could pace with them. They helped him finish and they all looked great!