colorado marathon race recap.

I’ve been wondering how to write this recap. To approach it as “here’s my time, here’s a few splits, marathons are full of glitter, beef jerky && sunshine!!!” Then I realized how much of a lie that would actually be. So please, sit back while I share with you my miles, smiles, sweat && tears.

In this post I’m just covering race morning & the race itself. I’ll be sure to make another post about the rest of the weekend—it was a fun one for sure!

2:45 am: My alarm goes off. I wasn’t really sleeping. I believe I had woken up probably every 45 minutes. I lay there for a minute, not really sure what I was doing, or needed to do. I then told me self, “MOVE. DO SOMETHING” I fumbled around the hotel room, getting ready.. in no specific order… brushed my hair.. braided it. No. that looks like crap. Braided it again. Tried the other side. Finally about the 5th time I was pleased with my little bang side braid. You know, important 26.2 race prep. I head down stairs wearing my hot pink compression socks, moccasins, running shorts, && a blue brooks running shirt I had won the day before– to grab a cup of REAL coffee. The room only had decaf… <—one of the most useless things on earth, ever.

3:05 am: I come across the guy at the front desk and ask him if there is any coffee. He said, “Yup! Just for you! I was left a note that people would be wanting some at 3:30 and some at 4:00, so I just made it at 3:00!” I replied, “You’re a lifesaver, thankkkk you!!! Both of those times would have been a little too late for me.” He then proceeded to ask me which distance I would be running that day. I replied, “The marathon, 26.2 miles!” I think that’s when it first hit me that… OMG. it’s here. I didn’t back out && it’s too late now. He answered with, “That’s a really long ways! Would you like some carbs?! I can get you a bagel!” I told him no thank you. That I had been eating enough carbs to feed a small village all week long, and getting down 1/2 a cup of oatmeal was going to be enough of a chore. NO MORE FOOD, EVERRRR! Was what I really wanted to say.

I then returned to our room. Luke finally woke up. The next 45 minutes were a blur. It started with Ke$ha and ended with some Trivium. Somehow, I ended up dressed && ready to go with my oatmeal in hand as we were leaving. fun fact: I decided to purchase a new fuel belt the DAY BEFORE the race at the expo. I’d never run it, but it seemed pretty alright. So… why not give it a shot? My shorts only had one TINY key pocket, and I don’t have enough room in my sports bra to shove gels..comfortably.. not that I have huge boobs… but stuffing gels in my top just isn’t for me! I used a spi belt for PDX marathon… which was MEH. There had to be better. The weekend before I had seen this NEAT contraption made by level called a “flip belt” at the Cherry Creek Sneak. I thought about it all week, and was regretting not purchasing one then. So I was pretty excited to see them at the expo! (don’t worry! i’ll do a review!)

4:10 am: We headed out to the parking lot to meet up with Liz, her brother and friend so that we could all follow each other to where we would then be taken by bus to the start.

We park, and then head to stand in line for the bus. It was collllllld. How cold? I couldn’t tell you. Cold enough. 40.. maybe high 30’s. That’s my guess. We weren’t in line too long before we boarded the bus! I was so thankful it wasn’t a school bus. It was actually nice, with a restroom and everything! The bus took us through town and up Poudre Canyon. The only part that stinks about being shuttled for a point to point race, is that it gives you time to realize how far you are actually running.

We all get to the start. The sun is starting to rise, but we aren’t in the sunlight yet && it’s still SOOOO COOOOOLLLLD. We stand in line to wait for the porta potties. The lines looked long & moved like molasses, but we moved through && had about 12 minutes to spare. Just enough time for some nerves to start setting in. Luckily.. I have these guys!

The drop bag truck comes up, we take off our cover ups.. which I did NOT want to part with! We did the smallest warm up ever. Like… pretty sure It was less than .25 miles. I really was okay just standing there && shivering. We line up. I’m standing with Liz and her brother. Luke is up ahead. So we’re standing there, we all kind of get quiet. I’m freaking out  inside my head. It was the most collected freak out I’ve ever experienced. It went something like this, “You made it. You’re here. 26.2 miles is a really long ways to go. But you’ve done it before. It’s going to hurt, but you know you can do this. You don’t quit, you never backed out && you won’t now. No matter how bad it hurts. I believe, I believe, I believe. EVERYONE BELIEVES IN YOU. They are waiting for you!”

6:15 am: The race starts.

If I told you that I didn’t have a plan going into this race, I’d be lying. Even before the initial training started I had decided this was a course to start strong && expect not as strong of a finish. The first 17 miles are known to be collectively downhill, then it “flattens out” from what I read/gathered/heard. I drew the conclusion that it wasn’t going to be easy to make the transition from running “downhill”, to running “flat”. Originally I had planned to do a few long runs practicing that technique.. Which never happened. A few days before the race a teammate, Milan, warned both Liz && myself that it was like running two completely different races. That it took him four attempts to figure it out. So the game plan = strong 15-17 miles && then ease off if I needed to for the rest. Given the course.. given that I hadn’t even run further than 15-17 miles in OVER THREE MONTHS… after training went the way it did.. I knew this was my best approach to at least run under my previous PR.

The first six miles fly by. I’m feeling great. I’m throwing myself my own little pep rally in my head. At mile six a Roost car drives by and I hear, “Lookin’ strong, Roost!” **SMILES BIG** Taking the downhills easy but maintaining it on the uphills. I knew better then to pound it downhill. Uphill? Oh yes, those. After every nice little downhill, there was a shape/form/ of uphill that never failed to greet you shortly after.

mile 1: 7:50

mile 2: 7:51

mile 3: 7:39

mile 4: 8:00

mile 5: 7:55

mile 6: 7:57

At this point I’m enjoying the beautiful scenery. It is seriously gorgeous! With a river running right alongside you, crashing over rocks…Running, weaving down the canyon.. in and out of the rising sun. Feeling great, thinking about how awesome running is. How much stronger it’s made me… Appreciating that I could still see Liz ahead of me… which meant I was still running strong & was right where I should be at that point.

mile 7: 7:58

mile 8: 8:03

mile 9: 7:56

mile 10: 7:57

mile 11: 8:01

mile 12: 7:59

mile 13: 8:04

mile 14: 7:57

mile 15: 8:10

It was pretty perfect/uneventful until around mile 15. Which is when things started happening that I was fully expecting. I was getting super TIRED. I felt this way at a certain point during Portland, but it definitely wasn’t with 11.2 miles left to go. I kept reassuring myself that I was doing great. That I met my goal of running a strong first 1/2. GREAT! That is was okay if my pace started slipping. It was NOT a big deal.

mile 16: 8:22

mile 17: 8:14

mile 18: 8:19

At mile 17 you are well out of the canyon && on your way into town. There was a big group of people cheering at this point.. which is probably what gave me a little extra pep in my step! Kids giving hi-fives, more “good job Roost!” I was no longer enjoying the course, but was def enjoying the crowds/people at the aide stations. Right after mile 17 I had a brief moment where I was starting to feel a bit better, but it quickly faded. I was THIRSTY, my legs felt heavy, like they were barely moving. I was talking OUTLOUD to myself.

Around mile 18, I saw Lara. I think it was mile 18? Maybe it was sooner… I reached out & touched her arm. She flashed a smile. By her face && tone I KNEW she knew I was having a hard time. She so kindly offered to run me in. I had no idea what she was trying to run, but I did know that I wouldn’t be speeding up && didn’t want to hold her back. So I politely declined. Which, sure enough, she & the group she was with pulled ahead– looking strong, great && amazing!

I needed something to look forward to.

I remembered that David with Runner’s Edge, and probably a few more people that I would know were going to be around mile 20. I could stick it out until then. Right before mile 19 was the “BIG HILL” of the course. It’s not HUGE, but…it was huge to me that day. I put my head down, just looked at the pavement in front of my feet… but with not much left of the hill I found myself “power hiking” the hill. I figured, UGH. I’m running slow enough, just hike it for craps sake. I start getting frustrated with myself, feel the tears coming. I  wanted it to be over. I was walking during my second marathon, which I hadn’t even done during my first.

Then I hear someone call out to me, “Alright ROOST, LET’S GO, let’s run up this!!” I hadn’t met him before, and I can’t remember exactly what he said to me, but it didn’t matter. I started running again and kept running after that. It ended up being Bill Rodgers. We get to the top && I jogged through the aide station, then continued on. We didn’t stay together too long. I don’t really remember what happened, but thank you Bill!

mile 19: 9:08

mile 20: 8:43

At mile 20 or something, I think I ran through another aide station. I hear “hey hey COURTNEY COURTNEY!” It was Byron, from Texas! I had met him earlier in the week when I met Drum! <–yah! that happened! He calls out, “how ya feelin?!” I answer with a huge smile on my face and a thumbs up, “I FEEL LIKE CRAPPP!” The entire aide station laughs, which made me laugh. He tells me to keep up the good work. It was so nice to hear something so unexpected! It’s amazing how AWESOME you can feel running through aide stations… && how quickly it can fade. These miles were feeling like an eternity.

mile 21: 9:06

Just after mile 21 I finally see David & Julie. I was so happy to see them! I flashed them a “fake it till you make it” smile!  It took everything I had not to start sobbing. More people that I know, cheering me on! Somehow, I pulled off smiling! For some reason if I’m struggling, I get really really emotional when people are cheering me on. Haha, what a freak.

After I saw them, I felt like I couldn’t move any faster. Basically my body quit, and my mind took over. Every step I was taking was thanks to my brain convincing me that I could.I was getting really hot, felt sick, incredibly thirsty. I didn’t even care about my splits anymore. I couldn’t make out the mile markers, started confusing the numbers. I thought mile 23 said mile 21…. All I cared about was that I kept moving. I knew as long as I was moving, I could run under 10 minute miles.

My hamstrings were screaming. I stopped to stretch. Then I realized my version of stretching at that moment was standing there with my knees bent and my hands on them with my head down. As soon as I realized I wasn’t being very productive, I told myself to keep moving….Aide stations came up, I stopped to drink two cups.. I stopped to take my last gel. I stopped to drink GU BREW… I DON’T EVEN LIKE GU BREW!!! But I didn’t care.

mile 22: 9:51

mile 23: 9:43

mile 24: 10:07

Don’t ask me what happened at which point. Because I honestly can’t tell you. I’m sure my splits say enough. After mile 24, I found myself around more people. It didn’t make me feel better, but I felt relief in that I WAS ALMOST DONE.  A gal all decked out in Lululemon was beside me. She had come up from behind. We stayed together for the last two miles.

mile 25: 9:50

mile 26: 9:35

Never saying anything. I could tell she was hurting as bad as I was. I mean… DUH, all of us were hurting. We round the corner and I can see the finish. She pulls slightly ahead of me. I think, “Whatever… you go glenn coco”.  As soon as I told myself, “Just let her have it.” I hear a voice to my left say, “Are you really going to let me beat you?” I look… && it’s a much older man. I reply, “OKAY FINE! WE’RE GOING!”

Where this burst of energy came from, I have no clue. I blow past Ms. Lulu, && a good chunk of other people. Feeling like I’m running faster than I ever have in my entire life. Sprinting, probably looking like a complete ass with such a short final speedy kick that came from who knows where.. like someone was trying to kill me or something. I hear my friends calling my name. I hear my name on the loud speaker. I see 3:43:xx. I’m crying before I even cross the finish line. So, those pictures should be pretty interesting. I cross the mat and really don’t remember much else.

mile .39: 3:35 (9:13 pace) (best pace 4:51… <–HA!)

I was so proud of myself for finishing. I was so proud of myself for even starting. I was proud of myself for not quitting. I was so glad it was OVER.

I was given my medal and turned around. Standing next to me was the guy that helped me find my final kick. I threw my arms around him, giving him a huge hug & thanking him. I finally find my way to the reunion area, which DEFINITELY wasn’t as long of a walk waddle as PDX was. I found Luke quickly, stood there && hugged him for a good 2 minutes. I was done. I wasn’t moving. I just wanted to stay right there.

He told me to turn around, that I had people waiting for me! I did, and in no particular order I saw Heather who just ran her half marathon and did great!! Lauren and Phil came up! Lauren looking SUPER STINKIN’ cute in her Tri-Bella race gear! I finally met Emily, who came in like SECONDS behind me. Lara did fantastic too!

I saw Liz a few minutes later. Who knocked out an AWESOME time. It was a PR’S FOR EVERYBODY moment at the finish line. It was pretty neat. I wanted to stick around longer to chat… but at the same time I wanted to lie down. to sleep.. I felt like I was going to throw up or pass out.

We made our way to the car. Well, actually, I sat down on the sidewalk, Luke brought the car to me.

So. There’s the race.

I am VERY proud of my 10+ minute PR. I fought HARD for it. However convincing myself that I FOUGHT for it, is hard.. when I had to stop or walk at one point.

Do I feel like I thrived? Not at all. I feel like I SURVIVED that one. I definitely made some nutrition mistakes, however I don’t feel like I could have run that race any differently than I did. Considering what happened with my training… I’d say what I DID pull off.. WAS PRETTY DARN INCREDIBLE.

Here is the course elevation map. 

Doesn’t it look great? Well… don’t be fooled. There is still a nice amount of uphill…

Elevation Gain: 1,230 ft
Elevation Loss: 2,375 ft
MinElevation: 4,952 ft
MaxElevation: 6,166 ft

It was a really tough but an amazing day all at the same time. However you better believe… CIM…training.. coming at you with a vengeance!!! Until then, bring on the trails!!!

cherry creek sneak 10 mi, race recap!

I went into this race with SUPER low expectations. It’s been a rough training cycle. I made a goal of just averaging around && maintaining an 8:20 pace. *fingers crossed that pace felt remotely easy/maintainable.*

The night before the race was our co-ed bachelor/bachelorette BBQ! It went SO WONDERFUL (blog post on that later!). I was on my third glass of the wine for the evening when I was talking about the race to our friend Andrea. I believe I said something along the lines of, “I should probably start drinking water for tomorrow’s race, so it won’t be a COMPLETE disaster!” She then told me of a guy who holds the record for running the most consecutive sub 3 hour marathons, && how he SWEARS by drinking tons of red wine the night before. That it helps him run better. Well, shoot… BOTTOMS UP! Also add forkfuls of delicious cake to the mix!

Luke and I wake up the next morning around 6:05 am. The first thing I notice is that my lips are so dry THEY HURT. Hello, Courtney… you are insanely dehydrated. Awesome! I alternate between chugging nuun && water. Not sure how much it would actually help. Get dressed and out the door by 6:45. We arrive and go to pick up Luke’s bib && hit the porta potties. While picking up his bib, we see Andrea! We hang out before the race, head over to the start line. I positioned myself in the 7:30-8:00 m/m group. I prefer to start a little bit ahead of my goal pace group. (Which has ALWAYS worked in my favor.  ;) )

The race starts. I’m feeling great. My legs feel fantastic, my head is in the game. I’m ready to run! I glance down at my garmin and see a 7:04 pop up. Uhm, no ma’am. I try for the LIFE of me to slow down. I was finally able to slow down to a 7:51 for the first mile. But it felt SO. EASY.

I honestly really didn’t know much about this course. I was told it was pretty flat, except for Cheeseman Park and a few areas around it. I think not knowing the course actually helped me a TON.

I felt amazing 97.9% of the time. There were a few sections around miles 5, 6, && 9 where I noticed I was having to put in a little more effort, things were feeling a bit tougher. My splits show it && so does the elevation profile! Around mile 7, I started getting some stomach cramps, like an OMG, might not make it stomach cramps. However, I kept telling myself that most of the “work” on the course was done for. I could def hold what I had for 3 more miles!

1 7:50.7 1.00 7:51
2 7:48.5 1.00 7:48
3 7:51.0 1.00 7:51
4 7:44.9 1.00 7:45
5 8:17.0 1.00 8:17
6 7:46.0 1.00 7:46
7 7:59.7 1.00 8:00
8 7:36.9 1.00 7:37
9 7:42.8 1.00 7:43
10 7:57.8 1.00 7:58
11 :24.2 0.07 6:02

Around mile 8 there was a spectator cheering people on. I hear him call out, “Looking strong, looking good ROOST!” It took about 2.5 seconds for it to sink in… HE WAS TALKING TO ME!!! I smiled realllllllllllll big. It was probably the most AMAZING FEELING EVER. It made me think of all the wonderful/ talented people that I get to call my teammates! How strong they are, that there is a big group of them at the finish line cheering us all on! insert the <OMG I LOVE RUNNING && I LOVE MY LIFE> here moment!

The next mile breezed right on by. If any mile felt the toughest it was probably the last one. It FELT tougher for sure. I thought it was flat.. and thought, it shouldn’t feel like this if it’s flat. Little did I know that it was a gradual uphill. Which, there was a lot of that on this course! My garmin beeped before the finish.There was a guy I managed to pick off by two steps at the finish line… that was great! My final .07 came in at a 6:04 pace, best moving pace 5:23! <—neat!

I was greeted at the finish line by two of my teammates, Jeannene & Stella! I caught my breath and then caught them off guard with sweaty hugs! Beth knows about my sweaty finish line hugs too! Before I could hug them, Jeannene snapped this photo:

whaddup, runners high!

(i need to work on my water drinking skills)

Luke and Andrea then came over, I was so happy to see them! It’s a little bit of a blur what happened next aside from walking back over to the Roost tent. I was on CLOUD. NINE. We grabbed our stuff then headed back over to the finish line to watch the 5 mile finish! I really enjoy getting to watch the rest of our teammates/friends race!

 my final results:

10.07 miles in 1:18:57

10th in my age group.

75th female.

249th overall out of over 1,600.

I got even more excited when I realized a year ago today I ran a 10k (in houston) at an 8:19 pace.. and today I finished a 10 miler for a pace of 7:51. :D

I loved everything about this race && can’t wait to run it again next year! After this weekend I am MORE than confident that I will do well at Colorado Marathon next weekend!

ps: If anyone is going up to FoCo, stop by our room! There will be plenty of red wine && cake! ;) :)

 


running lately. cherry creek sneak.

I’m sure all of you know I am OVER this disaster of a training cycle. Guess I might as well jot down what I’ve been up to.

Last week I ran 40 miles. Meh. None of these runs were SPECTACULAR. I did do a small 6 mile speed workout with my mile repeats coming in at  6:58, 6:53, 6:49…. WHICH IS PRETTY STINKIN’ COOL TO ME!

Tomorrow will put me at 35 miles for this week. 5 mile cut back week… that’s considered a taper, right?! HA. I didn’t really have much to taper down from… okay… maybe back a month or so ago when I was knocking out 50-60 mile weeks… but not currently. So I honestly have nothing to blame my current craziness on anything like some other people do.

All I know, marathon #2 is like… EIGHT DAYS AWAY. I’m actually a SMIDGE excited about it now… I can’t lie. Why? Because even though training hasn’t gone as planned.. at the end of the day… OMGGGG I STILL LOVE RUNNING!!!!

I’m signed up for a local ten miler this Sunday called the Cherry Creek Sneak. No, it’s not going to be a balls to the wall speed attempt. I’m just shooting for an avg pace of 8:20ish. With the marathon a week out it seems a little foolish (to me) to dish out an effort like that. But then again, WHO KNOWS, maybe 8:20’s will feel like an all out balls to the wall speed attempt??? I won’t lie… I’d be a tad disappointed. Actually, I don’t even know what I’m talking about considering I don’t even have a clue to what my goal marathon pace is going to be…

 

So that’s running lately. Hope everyone has a great weekend!

 

some tough runs & hello saucony kinvara!

Last week I was bound and determined to do all of my running outside. It was absolutely gorgeous so running outside was an absolute treat! I am for sure guilty of spending WAY. TOO. MUCH. time on the treadmill in January & February. Which, looking back, all that time on the treadmill was making running a TAD too easy for me. Like I was forgetting how to run outside… that’s SO SAD. Anyways, last weeks training came in at 37.7 miles up from 16.1 miles the previous week (thanks sickness). Personally, 37 is looking really dang sad at this point in my training for Colorado Marathon. Although, I did put a LOT of work, sweat & blood (NO TEARS!!! yayyyy little victories!) into last week… let’s just take a look!

Sunday: 6 miles at Arches National Park in Moab, Utah! ABSOLUTELY GORGEOUS! What better way to explore!

&& yes, that’s the lululemon top i wanted for my birthday!

used my birthday $$, thanks dad!

Monday: off

Tuesday: 8 miles at Wash Park! I had every intention of going to Waterton Canyon.. however this conversation with Luke happened…


I’ve gone from worrying about being attacked by shady characters in the city of Houston to being a tasty little cat snack! So, on that note, I drove north about 25 minutes for an 8 mile run. ;) :)

Wednesday: 5.5 miles at Green Mountain with Laurie doing MOUNTAIN REPEATS! That was no joke. I have a LOT of work ahead of me when it comes to this workout. my. goodness. gracious. In those 5.5 miles there was 1,750 ft of gain. Talk about kicking my butt! I’m glad Laurie let me chase her! Afterwards I drove home to let the dog out for a bit, then headed over to Runners Roost where I ran another 3.1 miles with my friend / team mate Abby! It was probably my most difficult three miles to date. My legs were BEAT!

Thursday: off.

Friday: 4 (what felt like slow) technology free, beautiful miles on the Highline Canal.

Saturday: 11.1 miles at Wash Park. This run was interesting. My legs felt like dead weight. I’m assuming they were still beyond beat from Wednesday. To make matters even more interesting, I was also having some shoe issues (get to that in a moment) so I opted to wear my Brooks Defynace 4’s… which are the heaviest shoes I own. I think a mix of these things may have contributed to the little spill I took at mile 5…

As quickly as I had superman-ed it. I popped back up on to my feet. Put my hands on my head, took in a big deep breath to shake away that moment of shock, then kept running. It didn’t hurt, just scared me a little. The sweat that got into it & cleaning it up hurt more than the spill itself. I was honestly hoping to get a much longer run in.. but with the dead legs, aching feet & stinging wounds.. I decided to try again the next day.

*the next run isn’t included in the mileage, but I’m beyond PLEASED/PROUD with it so I’m going to share!*

Sunday: 17.5 miles at Waterton Canyon/Colorado Trail with Luke … 2,171 ft of elevation gain! bing bang boom, I’m one happy lady! There was an AWESOME AWESOME head wind for the first 6 miles.. however after having raced in ridiculous wind, running in it now is definitely not as discouraging as it used to be. WIND HAPPENS Y’ALL. If you’re lucky.. sometimes you get to run with it, but unforunately I find a tail wind extremely rare. Pretty sure most of us do!

the wind blown face.

can’t you tell i love that top?

WAIT!!! WHAT ARE THOSE ON MY FEET?!

So, after running the Canyonlands 1/2 marathon, my feet were SUPER sensitive. I had a blister forming on my left foot, my toenails were hurting… even before then I was having SUPER tight/sore calves constantly. Once home, I decided to give my beloved Pure Connects a break. Maybe just do shorter runs/races in them. I went back to my Saucony Mirages for the week, however quickly discovered that they weren’t quite big enough anymore…. the tips of my toes were at the very end of the shoe not leaving much room at all. My toenails were pretty unhappy…. that being the reason I ran in my Defyance 4’s on Saturday… which I’m really not a fan of anymore but at least they were the correct size.

Saturday afternoon,  Luke and I went into Runners Roost to try the next 1/2 size up in the Mirages. (well, now they are the mirage 2). However, the next 1/2 size up was HUGE… entirely too big. The gap between the two sizes was kind of puzzling. I was a little bummed, because I really didn’t know what to do next… or which shoe to turn to.

I told Marissa (the associate) the issues I have with my feet.. what I like in a shoe.. what I don’t like.. etc. I felt really bad…. because it was a pretty extensive list. She suggested the 1/2 size up in the Saucony Kinvara 2’s. That really the only BIG difference between the two is that the Mirages have that flexible medial support (which I needed BADLY at the time I first got them) & are a SMIDGE heavier than the Kinvara. The Mirages weigh in at 8.0 oz where the Kinvaras come in at 6.7 oz.

I figured the Kinvara 2 sounded like a pretty good solution.. they fit well & from what I could tell in the short amount of time I spent on the treadmill at the store seemed to feel pretty good. Well.. as g0od as a shoe could feel with an untaped blister && angry toenails.

welcome to the family!

17.5 miles on Sunday was MORE than enough time to get acquainted with them. Pavement, gravel, dirt, snow, ice.. you name it && the shoe performed perfectly! They felt absolutely fantastic! Which says a lot when you are running on this:

ps: thank you nick && laurie for the 101 course on blister care this wknd!

She also shared with me that the Kinvara 3 && a trail version would be coming out soon!! I already knew about the Kinvara 3’s thanks to Dorothy! I’m crossing my fingers this is a shoe I can actually stick with for a while.

fun fact: I tried two new gels this weekend!

My stomach still entirely loathes GU, no matter how delicious the flavor! However, although EXTREMELY sweet the Honey Stinger gel is an absolute WIN!

the race i wanted to quit. canyonlands 1/2 marathon – moab utah.

I knew going into this race that after being sick all week pulling off a PR would be a miracle.. my ultimate goal before I got sick was to go under 1:40. I’m sure as you can tell, since clearly I haven’t blew up my facebook, twitter, instagram or blog about it.. it didn’t happen. I took VERY good care of myself and did everything I possibly could the week leading up to the race trying to get better… including NOT RUNNING (whuttttttt). No dice.

Anyhoo, alarms go off, pre race- routine. blah blah blah. Since it was a point to point race we had to be shuttled by buses up to the start. The last bus left around 8:15. The race didn’t start until 10am. Which basically means you stand there and FREEZE in a canyon.. no sun… tons of wind. oh boy.

luke before the race start, proudly rockin the lehigh hoodie.

me in the back… clearly discussing shoes.

So, after shivering for what seemed like forever… the race started. I started with the 1:40 group… && there was a TON TON TON of bobbing & weaving. I felt okay for the first mile & that’s when I started noticing the head wind… THAT WOULD NOT QUIT… that’s also when I started evaluating how I felt… it wasn’t too great. My legs felt like lead & breathing was an absolute chore…  trying to hack up a bunch of stuff, etc. I managed to stay on my “A-race pace” until about mile 5 1/2. Then I knew there was absolutely no way I’d finish at that pace… considering I had already hit my inhaler once &  basically felt like hell. At some point not too long after this, I saw a line of empty port-a-potties. I officially decided it was going to be a long run when I jogged off the course to use one.

At mile nine there was a huge mondo hill. I’m not going to act like I’m some sort of badass… I POWER WALKED STRAIGHT UP THAT PIECE! I had had enough. At this point I had already wanted to quit like 30 million times. I was also wanting a beer like nobody elses’s business.

Mile 11 WAS THE WORST. It comes out of the canyon onto an open road through town.. When you think the wind that was already a pain can’t get any worse, it doubles, stirring up dirt, cars driving WAYYY too close to you. I could have seriously reached out and touched an 18- wheeler.

I finished in 1:53:47 for an 8:39 pace. Not my slowest, CLEARLY not anywhere close to my fastest. But again, solid long run? I won’t pretend like I wasn’t disapointed. I was… even given my situation. I was really really really looking forward to this 1/2. I don’t have any intention on racing another one until June.

I sat down with half a banana and a cup of gatorade. I’m glad I left my sunglasses on, because I DID shed a tear or two. I’m not exactly sure why… if it was beacuse I was so disappointed or if it was because I was proud of myself for actually finishing it. I can’t think of ANYTHING I’ve wanted to quit so badly.

Until now I’ve been PR’ing my ass off. Luke warned me this day was coming soon, when I don’t PR at a race, but cheese & rice that one hurt BAD.

On a happy note, the course is absolutely BEAUTIFUL! (good thing, since this year & last it dished out a head wind for 13.1 miles) The volunteers along the course are AWESOME! Right after that huge hill at mile 9 they have a big group of volunteers playing bongo drums! So that was pretty neat!

liz (PR’ed her face off), myself && heather.

heather, 1st female! her 6th win of the year! OUT OF SIX RACES!

oh, && also her 30th birthday! she’s a badass.

Yah, so I now associate Utah with wind, hence why I decided to not even enter the St. George lottery.. PASS. CIM, here we come!

oh && also: I’m a fan of being honest with myself. I really don’t believe a 3:30 is in the books for me at Colorado Marathon. Hopefully training for CIM will go much smoother.

ps: i really really really hated writing this blog post.

february was fantastic! bring on the march madness!

I decided, instead of talking about the goals I didn’t hit in February  … (oops) lets talk about what I DID do, mkay?!

sub 7 minute mile during a work out. 

I ran my first sub 7 minute mile during a 10 mile run, 5 at tempo. tempo miles = 7:41, 7:35, 7:30, 7:24, 6:53. negative splits baby! I also ran another sub 7 minute mile at the beginning of the most amazing recovery run coming in at a pace of 6:34. BOOM.

set up an appointment with the personal trainer.

well, we did that. it went fantastic! he showed us some amazing things. however, are we going twice a week… bahaha.

we did yoga. 

once.

diy project.

as seen on pinterest….

quick. easy. && it goes quite nicely in my guest bathroom.

monthly mileage

149 miles. only 20 down from january. however, with a shorter month & a week out avoiding injury… hot damn, i did just dandy! highest mileage week being last week at 61 miles.

march madness

for march I have just ONE goal. PLAN OUR WEDDING! we are about two months out && still have SO much to do! it’s really really really time to get crack’a’lackin on this one!

oh. i guess i do have a half marathon in utah on the 17th. i’d love to run under 1:40. i was told that last year apparently the race was windy as all get out… so we will see what happens!

hope everyone as a lovely month ahead of them!

snowman stampede 5 mile recap

Before I start my 5 mile recap, I would like to congratulate my fellow teammate Heather on her 5th WIN of the year this past weekend && setting a course record! She’s 5-o!

I’m definitely not winning races, or even wrangling in any age group awards (these roost races bring some serious competition), but I’d like to pat myself on the back as well for my 3rd PR of the year. 3-0.. little victory. After 3m half marathon I saw a hashtag on twitter … #notbraggingifyouearnedit … I have to say that I entirely agree with this, but I’m sure you already knew that.

Anywayyyz. So as most of you guys know, last week was my first week back running after taking a week off to avoid injury. I decided to ease my way back into it, doing nothing but LR/ recovery run paces. Happy to be running again, but you know how those paces get—total snooze fest! I knew I wanted to get some speed back by the end of the week so I figured signing up for Snowman Stampede 5 miler would be perfect! Plus I realllly wanted a 5 mile redemption race.

We get to the race on Saturday morning and head over to the Runner’s Roost tent.

Say some hello’s, meet a few new people and then we head out for a quick warm up with our friend Scott! We get in a good mile and a half. After the warm up, I stop and chat with a fellow team mate Trent and his wife Ann. Trent was supposed to race as well, but unfortunately had to sit this one out due to injury. Damn winter injuries–heal quick Trent!

They start lining everybody up a few minutes later. I start a few rows back. Like I said, this lady isn’t winning any races, no reason to start out in front. I notice that my pre race jitters are in full force (yes I still get them almost every race, I hope that never fades!). My stomach is kind of turning. Then another team mate, Amy, waves at me! We exchanged a few words.. and then I noticed I wasn’t nervous anymore after I saw her! I seem to do the best at races when I start next to somebody I know.. is that weird?

The race starts.

Naturally, I’m starting out under a 7 minute pace. After about .25 miles I’m able to get my pace down to where I think it should be.

*side note- I am a VERY safe racer. I have a pretty attainable game /goal plan for every race.. you know.. until I decided to give myself a goal of a 23 minute marathon PR this year… ; )*

I’m feeling awesome! My legs feel strong, I can breathe (for the most part) most importantly– I’m running pain free!

mile 1. 7:27

mile 2.7:31

There is a turn around at mile 2.5 which goes over a bridge. Right in front of the bridge I slipped on some ice.. but managed to save myself and not fall by throwing my left hip one direction and throwing my right elbow the opposite direction. It looked super attractive && graceful I’m sure.

mile 3: 7:28

At this point I find that I’m passing people left and right… okay, maybe like three people cou*THEYWEREALLDUDES*gh. I’m then settled right next to some guy. I noticed his pace was pretty consistent && right where I wanted to be, so I decided to run with him. What’s funny is we never said anything.

mile 4: 7:34

Coming up on mile 5 I’m starting to feel it.  My legs weren’t tired at all, they were doing awesome, my lungs–different story. It’s like my legs can go faster than my lungs will allow them to. GET ON THE NEXT LEVEL LUNGS! I knew at the end we have a short steep hill, just like the other two races we have done at Hudson Gardens. Every race that same hill eats up a good chunk of my time. This race was no different.

mile 5: 7:44

However, my sprint to the finish was pretty amazing.. for a 5:44 pace!

totally chicked my buddy for the race. sorry dood.

thank you trent for these pictures!

Crossing the finish line for an official time of 37:47! Over a 20 second PR! 5th in age group, 13th female. After a week off of running && being my first speed related run back.. I’ll take it! Even more awesome.. I ran the whole race pain free! woot! woot!

After most of the other racers had finished, Luke and I headed back out to finish up our miles for the day with an additional 4.5 mile run. We placed ourselves at mile 2 of the 10 mile race to watch and cheer on some roost-mates running that race!

Saturday put me at 41 miles for the week! Couldn’t be happier with it! : D

How about you guys?! What did you earn this weekend / last week?! Doesn’t have to be running related!

a few things friday : pictures. personal training. running. ps: you suck…

i’ve been slacking on the blog lately. i know you guys are missing my like 5 posts a week right? well, at least my mom is. ; )

anyways… a few of things on this friday…

  • pictures:  these came in to my life at all the right moments this week…

my precious god daughter, alina. SO. CUTE.

my sister & her boyfriend josh. they’re so fun!

  • personal training: we set up & went to our session last night! it was great! we told our trainer exactly what we wanted && he definitely gave it to us! my arms/upper body felt like noodles once we got home. it.felt.awesome. can’t wait to work that in twice a week. i’m even more excited to see where i’m at with my upper body strength in a month. the routine that he gave us is in “super sets”. three different exercises, three times each, three different sets! i also ran three miles before this session. would anybody like to guess what the number of the day was?! oh ps:: have i mentioned how much I LOVE being a member at lifetime fitness?! their facility/staff is amazing, HEAPS better than my experiences at 24 hour fitness.
  • running: i’m back at it! nothing extraordinary. just miles, no speed. i haven’t had any pain at all this week, so that’s great! i guess a week off was just what i needed! i’m sitting at 30 miles as of now, and hoping to top it out at 40 for the week! i decided that my first speed session should be tomorrow at the snowman stampede five miler.  ideally, a pain free PR setting race would be pretty dandy, but i’m good with just a fast run. : D
  • ps: you suck… : is what i’m afraid my heart rate monitor is going to tell me. you know, the one luke got me for christmas that i have STILL yet to open. especially after a week off of running, and then nothing but LR/recovery  paced runs for a week. i was told that, YES, i am definitely cheating myself by not utilizing it during my colorado marathon training. so, with that said, i’ve decided to take a crack at it next week…. that’ll be fun… you know, as long as “YOUR RUNNING TOTALLY SUCKS RIGHT NOW” doesn’t pop up on my garmin.

 

my strongest tempo run thus far & an injury on the horizon. :(

Thursday night I had my most strongest tempo run to date! I had 8 miles on deck, 4 at tempo. Tempo goal pace 7:30-7:15

I ran my two warm up miles at 8:40 and my two cool down miles at 8:57. Tempo miles : 7:30, 7:24, 7:19, 7:13. I do believe that would have been a 4 mile PR for me. : D

After, I noticed a slight nagging on the outside, bottom of my left foot between my midfoot and heel. I went home and iced it for a bit like a good little runner should. Given that I raced a few days prior to this run bringing home a HUGE 1/2 marathon PR, I didn’t really think too much of it. I figured my foot was just a little pissy about all the super hard running I’d been doing.

Friday morning we would have to leave out of town SUPER early to get to Crested Butte to time a cross country ski race the next day. We ended up having to leave earlier than planned due to SNOWPOCALYPSE :: denver edition. I had planned on getting the long run in before this but due to an earlier departing time, it just didn’t happen. Meh, I thought we’d be home pretty early Saturday night and we’d do it then. We had to be at the race start to finish setting up at 6:30 am… ended up not getting home from Crested Butte until after 10pm or so. So, that was a no go.

The fact I had two off days in a row was definitely a blessing in disguise.

Sunday morning I decided “Alright, a few miles behind, but let’s knock out the 16 … on the treadmill” Seriously, this city is nothing but ice and absurd amounts of snow at the moment.

Everything was super fine && dandy.  I was feeling great, running well within my long run pace at 8:27’s. At around mile 7.5 I started getting REALLLLLLLLY bored and decided to mix it up a bit by kicking it up to around a 7:56 pace. My legs were in heaven! However maybe .25 miles into it I felt an EXTREME pain in (again) the bottom edge of my left foot. My legs were saying “YES!” my feet were saying “oh no, no, no”. I knocked it back down to my 8:27 pace, and finished 8 miles.

Shucks. What now?

I find Luke a few rows of treadmills back. I sit down on the treadmill next to him, take off my shoe and start massaging my foot. I told him what was wrong.. then kinda just waited… looking up at him.. my face saying, “Alright, well you kinda resemble Jesus, so fix this already?!”

Unfortunately he didn’t have an answer except for, “Well, it’s not worth it if you are going to injure yourself.” I think I replied with an eye roll.

Bahaha. I’m so lucky that he’s my running coach. I’m sure any other coach would have been FED UP with my running dramatics by now.

The mini massage continued for another 3 minutes. I threw my shoe back on, started the treadmill again. I punched “stop” at 0.14  miles.

FOOT, ARE YOU FOR REAL?!

It just hurt too much. Even walking after I got off the treadmill && now is pretty painful. It’s not a stabbing pin point pain, it’s more so an evenly spread pain.

So, I get home and instantly hop on google. The term that best describes what’s goin’ on with ol’ lefty would be “peroneal tendinitis”.

Let’s have an “OH MUH GAH, my training is screwed” moment, shall we?

Okay, glad that’s over.

I described what I was feeling to my friend, Liz, and before I even told her what “google said” she said the same thing. : (

It’s obviously not an official diagnosis. I also refuse to believe that I’m actually INJURED. However, I DO know that injury is  in my very near future if I keep ignoring it.

The upcoming week involves tons of ice, anti-inflammatorys, swimming, and easy / extremely cut back runs.  Liz also suggested using an ankle wrap to help as well. Ironically last weekend there was one in my 3M 1/2 Marathon schwag bag. When I first saw it of course the first thing out of my mouth was “PSHT, I’ll never need this.” Nice Courtney, real nice.

*open mouth insert foot*.

I’m hoping with some TLC my foot will just be all like, “Oh, HA. I was totally JKAYYY about that whole painful running thing…” My fingers are crossed and double crossed that this takes care of this issue. If not.. well.. anybody know of any good doctors in Denver?!

3m 1/2 marathon race recap – the PR that shines the brightest!

My alarm goes off at 4 am. I lay in bed for a minute or two. RACE DAY! I then get up and head over to get ready for the big morning. It really is entirely absurd for me to wake up almost THREE HOURS before a race start. However, I feel most level headed, focused and ready when I have a ridiculous amount of time to piddle around and get all my ducks in a row.

I always expect that on race mornings I’ll have an extra spring in my step. For Portland Marathon I sure did… but not this one. Even though I was SUPER AMPED for the race, nothing felt right…physically. My whole body just felt a little off. Especially my stomach. During this time, I got dressed, ate breakfast, stretched, listened to as much ke$ha as I possibly could, danced around a little bit..

 pre race fuel. oatmeal. half cup of coffee. water.

(one of these days, i’ll remember a spoon)

Luke finally decided to get up at around 6:00. If it’s one thing I’ve noticed, he ALWAYS has to basically get me ready for a race at home.. but when we are out of town… the roles are definitely reversed. As he is getting ready, I’m getting EXTREMELY nervous about my stomach not cooperating. We leave the hotel around 6:15 am. I read in other race reports (and 3M confirmed themselves) the start line can be kinda nuts. aka: don’t expect to use the port-a-potties if you don’t show up early! Our hotel was so super close to the start that I eliminated that issue by leaving LATER. Luke made a point to drop me off far enough from the start, that I could run to the start line and use it as my warm-up. This worked nicely.

I arrived to the start line with about ten minutes to spare. Race start would be at 6:45 am. With about 6,000 runners expected there were no corrals. Instead, they had pace groups and you were to line up as close as you could with the pacers. I decided to jump in between the 1:40 and 1:45 pace group. So there I stood. I was dressed in my speed shorts, tank top, arm warmers and throw away gloves.. freezing my ass off. It was a notch below 40 at the start. I knew that once we started running I’d warm up pretty quickly. I looked around and felt bad for the people bundled up in jackets, tights and anything else associated with winter running. They were definitely over dressed. Even though they probably felt bad for me… standing there.. by myself.. shivering.

Race start. It didn’t take too long to get up to the start line. Of course it started slow as expected, but I wasn’t too concerned, from the recaps I had read if you were going to take any of the miles a little on the slower side it would be in the beginning.  As I crossed the start line and hit my garmin I noticed they were playing “Enter Sandman” by Metallica over the loudspeaker. UGH. #$%$#. I absolutely 100% entirely LOATHE Metallica, for my own personal reasons. I thought to myself, “If this is a preview as to how my race is going to go, I’m so toast.” I let that shake from my brain by thinking, well.. at least it’s “Enter Sandman”.. their one song I may have liked a little at one point in my life.

Then I started focusing on getting to my goal pace. The plan was to run the first 1/2 of the race between 7:50-8:00 min miles, then to burn it down at whatever I could dish out for the last 1/2. Okay, that’s a lie. Originally, going into this race I just planned to run it at marathon race pace for Colorado Marathon, which is 7:56-8:00. I changed my plan probably the minute after I publicized my goals for 3m.

mile 1: 7:48

After mile 1 any worries of me having stomach issues diminshed from my thoughts. My legs were moving, my stomach was settled and I was feeling awesome!

mile 2: 7:43

mile 3: 7:51

I was feeling really good! I ditched my gloves somewhere around mile 3. While I’m thinking about it, there were water stops every 2 miles on the course, I took water at each one. I’m not sure how much of it actually made it in my mouth.

mile 4: 8:02

mile 5: 7:56

*insert gel consumption here*

mile 6: 7:50

At which points I started seeing my family on the course is a little hazy! All I know, I SAW THEM A TON!!!! <3 I knew I was supposed to see my Dad first around mile 4, however we must have JUST missed each other. The first person I saw was Luke :) He was cheering me on and taking pictures. I screamed out, “WHERE IS MY DAD?!” to which he replied, “He’s here! I promise!”

One of the things that actually MADE this whole race for me was the fact that MY WHOLE FAMILY came to spectate! :D I was a little worried about my dad getting to the right places at the right times, because it was his first time spectating a race.

Honestly, this whole race is a blur to me! While I was running I was trying to take it all in. To remember every mile I saw them at, remember what I heard them cheer. However, I REALLY REALLY REALLY had to focus on NOT crying everytime I saw them. My heart felt like it was going to explode with happiness. Like I said, I saw my mom, sister, dad and Luke several times! Screaming their faces off! :D My sister is probably the EASIEST person to spot when running a race. Aside from her cheering, she is probably the most stylish spectator EVER!

It was at this point I started remembering the quotes of my team mates!

“The best pace, is a suicide pace && today looks like a good day to die.” -from Heather

“Drop it like it’s hotttt!” -Amy

Granted.. I don’t have the balls to run a suicide pace yet.. unless it’s like the last .XX of the race.. but I mean, I’ll kick it up a notch!

mile 7: 7:48

mile 8: 7:32

mile 9: 7:35

*insert gel consumption here*

mile 10: 7:53

Luke says that this video was around mile 9. I thought it was sooner. This was taken by my amazing sister! You can hear my family cheering! :D

I was a little unsatisfied with my mile 10 split. Then I remembered… BETH && TEAL ARE AT THE FINISH LINE !!!!

mile 11: 7:35

mile 12: 7:26

mile 13: 7:20

mile .16: 6:43 (not too shabby for an uphill finish)

I crossed the finish line! Giving me an official time of 1:41:29 brand spankin new PR by over 8 minutes! I stopped to catch my breath. I was shocked when I wasn’t gasping or dying for air. It’s so nice to be able to race AND breathe! Racing in Colorado is a whole different ball game when it comes to that… for me.  

I knew I had smoked my time goal. I started running again. Straight to Beth and Teal who were passing out medals! I was so excited they could be there and share that moment! I’m pretty sure I almost knocked Beth over when I slammed into her for a hug!

 this awesome picture was taken by Teal!

 Shortly after I found my family! I greeted them with tears and hugs the size of Texas!

 seesters <3

 proud poppa :) i literally jumped into his arms!

the man i can never seem to thank enough : )

excuse the “post race excitement expression” that’s plastered all over my face.

This PR and race will forever shine the brightest of them all. I know I have many races ahead of me, however you can’t compete with having the people you love the most being there to cheer you on. You can never beat how good it feels to see their beautiful faces while doing something you have such a great passion for. Sharing it with them.. knowing you could maybe run the worst race of your life and they would still be just as proud of you. I really can’t put into words how much this race will forever mean to me. All I know is that in my heart, it will always shine the brightest.

Okay, I guess I can set the sentimental stuff aside FOR JUST A SECOND.

Thoughts on the race: I enjoyed every little inch of this race! Luke and I will definitely be returning to run it in 2013. The course is absolutely amazing. It is notorious for being a quick course.. however, you still put a decent amount of work into it.

Alot of the course does wind through residential areas. Which is actually pretty cool, because you have a nice handful of absolute strangers sitting outside on their front lawns  cheering, drinking beer & playing acoustic guitars/singing. Austin is such a great place. : D

The race was sold out and capped at 6,000 runners. I think a little under 5,000 actually ended up running it. Which is REALLY unfortunate for those who didn’t run it because… uhm, you basically missed out on a KILLER race.

i love the medal!

my official details!

side note*If I missed anything in my race recap as far as information goes, please let me know!*

After the race, we went to brunch and then headed back to Brittany’s house with my dad, step mom, both sisters, Josh && Luke.

my sisters. my heart. my best friends.

Goodbyes came too quickly. After dad left, mom stopped by one more time. She also showed me a few HIGHLY addicting apps for the iPad… Before we headed to the airport, we stopped at Austin Java for one last final visit with Beth and Teal.

Like I said before I could NOT have asked for a better trip home to Texas. My family, friends, the race. It was all PERFECT. I’m a very lucky lady.