Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Boston Marathon 2011: 3:22!!

Wow, I am running the Boston Marathon! Really! I kept repeating this yesterday and all weekend, really. I also kept telling myself how shocking my time was going to be to me and others after I passed the 19 mile mark and did a finish time calculation for the first time.


And with little distance training, and no long endurance bike training to give me a solid base since my bike accident February 21, I wasn't really expecting much. I really hadn't ridden long or run consistently since IM training last fall. My expectation was to race a 3:40. My qualifying time was 3:26 in San Francisco last summer when I was riding and running a LOT. I've basically done nothing since IMAZ.

I'm psyched. I re-realized today that I am, in fact, a runner. It's in my blood. It's in my genes. It's in my head. I have the confidence and the pain tolerance to push through. I actually think I'm probably a marathoner, and I could be a half marathoner with more short training. It feels good! I'm excited! It's interesting to get to the point of acceptance on things like this. I don't realize things very easily... I have to prove and reprove and reprove to believe in something. I'm pretty tough on myself.

Here's my race report:
I prepped myself over the last month for the fact that I would have a difficult race. I haven't biked or swam in over 2 months. I've run 2-3 times a week, including a few longer runs since IMAZ: 1x12 miles, 2x18 miles, 1xhalf marathon race. I knew I was coming into this wrong. I resigned myself to enjoy the Boston experience. And I was pretty okay with it, I mean what else are you going to do? I was hoping to do well enough to qualify again for 2012 to come back and race for real.

I took a 3 hour guided bus tour of the site the day before the race... It was good to understand the towns, the hills, and the general course. Good move. We had a crazy 1970s runner guy as our tour guide. Classic Boston guy... The thick accent was silly! He kept telling stories of "back in 1986" and "today they let anyone run this race for charity and I disagree with it." He was remarkably unrefined and quite perfect for the tour.

The night before, I wrote out splits by mile, based on an 8 minute mile average, varying by elevation changes on the course (see chart). I did this so my parents could find me on the course with text trackers. My expectations: 00:24 5k, 00:49 10k, 1:14 15k, 1:36:30 20k, 1:43 half, 2:03 25k, 2:27 30k, 2:54 35k, 3:20 40k, 3:33 finish.

I had a nice pasta dish and got to bed a little later than I wanted (around 10:30). I tried to prep appropriately for the race, deciding to wear long sleeves and shorts. I woke up at 5am, kinda tired, but excited. I grabbed a bagel and some hot cocoa from Dunkin Donuts and met Erica at 6:00 to meet up with the Banditos group from Scottsdale and catch the bus to the race start. It was abnormally windy, and about 45 degrees, but clear like Phoenix. Not too bad, especially compared to all the stories I kept hearing about BM weather.

We waited until race start...Erica started at 10am, and I started at 10:20. I was in the second wave (of three) and then in corral two (of eight). Erica was a lifesaver for me regarding prepping me for the race. She brought me a raft so i didn't have to to sit on the cold ground at the athlete staging area in Hopkinton. She brought HUGE 55 gallon trash bags to wear to keep wind out. She warned me about going out too hard. She was a nice calming voice leading up to race time, and I thank her for that.

The race start was interesting... I heard from several people that I need to chill at the beginning of the race (downhill for 6+ miles). Stay in your long training heart rate zone, says my Coach, Nick. It was difficult to have all the people passing me during the first 5-7 miles. And they did... It didn't feel good - I felt sluggish and it took my race ego down. But I kept reminding myself that I'm here for the experience, not to break any records. My calves hurt within the first mile. This pain stayed with me the entire race that I blame on the half marathon race I did last Sunday with no recovery runs this week. I knew better.

Erica warned me that the first 16 miles were downhill. Others said first 6. I decided to follow Nick's race HR plan... It has worked before and I trust him.

So I ran the first 7 miles at between 150-160 (it should have been 144-154, but I couldn't help it). I hurt more those early miles than I wanted to admit to myself. I then picked up to 170 on a hill (around 7.5). My 5k time was 30 seconds slow (24:28) 10k was exactly on target (48:52), 15k was 1:12 (1:14 target), 20k was 1:35:37 (1:36:30 target). Once I picked up the pace, I started to feel better. It was crazy. I had a tough time staying right at 170. I would look down and be at 175, or look down and be at 167. I had to micro manage my HR monitor constantly. I couldn't get into a steady HR for anything! Honestly, the monitoring of my HR kept me busy and distracted. I didn't pay much attention to pace or to time, as these things are irrelevant in the first half of a marathon.

By the half marathon spot, I was nervous about keeping the HR up, as I was fatigued. But I knew I could push to keep my 170 HR, based on experience and talks with Nick. What pace 170 meant was another question! I felt good... I was passing people all over the place and I kept hearing people say to each other "how do they make it look so easy" and "wow, she looks good" or to me "nice stride!". It was encouraging and I needed it! The miles flew by...

The fans were remarkable. I must have slapped hands with 250 people throughout the race... Mostly kids. I would raise my hands and cheer back at groups cheering for me. Passing the Wellsley campus and all those screaming girls was crazy! I spent most of the day smiling. What an amazing experience. All the volunteers, all the cute cities, all the cow bells! Wow!

Half split was 1:40:37 (1:43 target), 25k was 1:59:08 (2:03 target). Here's where the splits really start disparaging: 30k was 2:23:42 (2:27:30 target), 35k was 2:48:06 (2:54 target), 40k was 3:12:03 (3:20 target), finish was 3:22:52 (3:33 target).

I wore my pink Sally Meyerhoff bracelet: "Be Relentlessly Positive." I looked down at the bracelet many times during the race. I never had the chance to meet Sally... I really haven't existed in Phoenix running circles and only knew of her. However, her untimely death has had quite an impact on me, and I think about her and what I've learned about and from her regularly.

I saw my parents during the 24th mile... My mom was jumping up and down in the road trying to get my attention and it was so very nice to see them there with their friends Frances and Jerry. This was definitely a highlight.

The smiles turned into tears at the point when I realized that I could finish under 3:30. Keep it together, Teri. Then, with 3 miles left, I realized it was possible to maybe beat my San Francisco qualifying time of 3:26. Then, with 2 to go, maybe I can go under 3:25, and even better! I was ecstatic.

What a day...

Got to Boston

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


Its been too long...

I broke my arm 6 weeks ago yesterday, and its been a long journey. I know the break has been good for me. My body feels recovered, I've lost a little weight, and I'm ready to hop back in the saddle.

This past weekend, I participated in my first ever triathlon relay - the Marquee Half Iron - and with two amazing women: Karleen Dirmantas and Robin Watson.  Although the race that we were prepared for was changed to a duathlon the morning of the race, we had great motivation and a great experience. 

I was the runner for the half marathon distance. And while I would normally feel excited and prepared, I felt nervous and anxious.  I broke my arm six weeks ago and have not yet recovered nor been training up to my potential. However, my team inspired me to be better and to be more, because I wasn't just racing for me... I was racing for them.

The first lap of two was comfortable. The time flew by... The second lap required me to push harder, and push into a high heartrate zone, per Nick.  I pulled through and ran a 1:37, faster than I expected given my lack of training.

Racing with Karleen and Robin was a treat. We have big plans... To beat our coach at the same distance race at SOMA in October. We need a 4:20 :) Bring it on!!!

Next up - Boston Marathon next Monday. I'm excited to experience and pay homage to the famous Boston race. Wish me luck!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

My sweet broken arm: 2 weeks later

I broke my arm 2 weeks ago. Dumb fall off my bike avoiding a car. Distal ulna fracture. Basically, cracked both bones in my left arm, just below my wrist. Surgery two days later added a plate and screws to my bone and bam, I'm healed!

When the cast came off after one week, I found a foreign hand attached to my arm. It made me nauseous.

Now, 5 days post-cast, it seems like I'll never be normal again. It feels like it's been months. Like I'm done riding and running forever. I'm adjusting to a new life.

Yes, I realize that I will heal... That I will run again (likely within a week or so), and that I will race the Boston Marathon in 5 weeks, and that I will compete in Ironman Canada in August.

But, I've lost something and I cant figure it out. I seem to have lost my love or my care for it all right now. I rode the trainer yesterday for about 15 minutes before I gave it up. I ride because I like being outside and being fast. I do NOT like the trainer. I do not like riding indoors.

I stayed up until 1:30am Friday night, watching a movie, while Tyson slept soundly, resting before his 90 mile ride Saturday morning. I don't stay up like that! But I needed to do something different because my normal routine is botched right now.

Food - i have developed a new, utility-based relationship with food over the last year. I eat because I need to. And, I don't have the need I had two weeks ago, so I find myself not eating or not remembering how to be "normal" about eating. It's only been a year, and I'm all messed up about food already??

Time... What do I do with all this extra time? What did I do before triathlons?

Hmmmm... Struggling here. Let's see what the next week holds.

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