Two-part marathon / Adirondack by the numbers

Yes, I know, two halves don’t make a whole when it comes to racing. But, when you’re trained for 26.2 and your marathon gets downsized for heat issues, you have two choices.

1) Find a new marathon
2) Double down

Since the last time I attempted #1, I broke my hip and was on the DL for six months, I took what’s behind door #2.

I ran the Adirondack 1/2 on Sunday and then I ran another 13.1 miles Monday morning, getting it done just about within 24 hours of when Sunday’s half started. So, it kinda counts. I mean, i’ve got the blisters and aches that feel like I ran a marathon… LOL

Besides, it’s 100 days to the first race of the Dopey Challenge and i’m not messing with that training plan just because mother nature is a real jerk. 🙂

I know there were a LOT of people on social media who were furious with Adirondack for canceling the marathon. But folks, life happens. This was not my first canceled race of the year, weather has been crazy weird all year long and, having the marathon canceled was not the worst thing that happened to me last week.

So with the weather forecasted to feel like 98 by noon I was kind of glad I wasn’t trying to tackle a full marathon. Because the whole reason I was running Adirondack again was to do better than in 2015. And clearly, in that kind of weather, it was NOT going to happen.

Instead I decided to just run for fun, enjoy the lake scenery and soak it all in. 

I took the traditional picture in front of the big sign. 

And then took the bus to the start. It was gorgeous but foggy before the race. 

 And, I found the PERFECT pace bear….

Whenever? Yep, that’s my goal too! I did lose him at mile 7, but eh, his whenever just was a little faster than mine.

It did get hot. But the race was prepared. Volunteers with ice and cold towels and water about every mile for the second half of the course. EMT’s stationed along the course. And enthusiastic spectators everywhere.  

In lieu of a true race recap…I’m going to give you the Adirondack half by the numbers. Here goes:

13.21 – miles completed

17 – number of people I consecutively high-fived (love those word of life kids)

1 – inflatable flamingo

8 – misting tents I ran through

20 – pieces of ice I tucked in random places

12 – people who cheered me on by name 🙂

5 – taiko drummers

6 – wooden bears spectating together 

3 – wooly bear caterpillars (sorry to the one I almost kicked. Lol) 

1 – gluten free brownie eaten post race

10 – where I finished in my age group 

Countless – number of times I smiled out on the course, thanked volunteers and just felt grateful to be running 

5 – number of medals I now own from Adirondack. 4 halfs and a full.  🙂 


My finish time? Not my fastest, but I don’t care. I actually finished exactly when I told the hubs I would…and he was standing exactly where I expected. So I was able to high-five him before hitting the finish chute.  And to me…that’s a successful race. 😀

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Weather Jinx

As I sit here five days out from the Adirondack marathon with too much time on my hands and therefore lots of time to think, I realized something.

My marathon weather has well and truly sucked this year. 3 marathons – all different kinds of bad weather.

Does mother nature hate me?

Lets review…

January – Disney marathon
30 degrees at the start. In Florida. Ummm what??? Granted it did eventually (like like 3 hours in) warm up to 50. But still…was NOT prepared for that. See how cold I look?

May – Maine Coast marathon
Nor’easter. 43 at the start. Torrential downpours. And crazy winds. Gheesh…. nothing like looking like a drowned rat in all your photos. LOL

September – Adirondack marathon.
Fall. In the mountains. And look… actually don’t look because every time I DO look it goes up. And I just can’t deal.


But I have no choice. Other than to suck it up and get through it. At least it’s not going to be windy. 

My friend said I might need to adjust my goals. I said yeah, if it gets that bad i’m just gonna walk and sing Disney tunes.

Thank goodness there’s a lake to dive into at the end. Which is nice. 

So wish me luck folks….i’m gonna need it! 🙂

Right song…right time

Well folks…we’ve hit taper. And for once, i’m SO glad.

For some reason, this marathon training cycle has been a beast. August humidity and warmer temps combined with stress and whatnot just made my long runs way more difficult that usual.

Saturday’s 20 miler was basically my last attempt at redeeming my subpar training (and the disaster the prior 20 was) and giving me any shot at confidence going into Adirondack.

But let me back up… the week headed to that 20 miler was spectacular. We were up in Bar Harbor/Acadia for a few days and while i’d brought running clothes, I also was kind of planning to not use them. Leave it to the hubs to be the one to drag me to the gym one morning. Where I begrudgingly got on a treadmill and then knocked out some sprintervals. It was the next morning, when he returned from walking Gus and told me that he’d seen someone running on the sandbar out to Bar Island and “you should go join them” that i got that gleam in my eye, chugged the rest of my coffee and went. And OMG amazing! Sure, its like a 1/2 mile long so I ran it six times…but I could have run it all day. So pretty being along the sea.

I had stopped post run to text the hubs that I was going to beach comb for a few minutes when I saw another runner grinning coming back from his, so I chatted for a minute and found out, had I been brave enough to run the trail on the island (wrong shoes plus i’m SUCH a trail novice) i’d have been rewarded with deer crossing the trail. COOL. 🙂

But instead…I stepped over to the beach where i’d found oodles of sea glass. And the first thing I find? A unicorn!

That run was exactly what I needed. A chance to clear my head and find my happy on a run. I was still kind of unsure about the 20 miler ahead. But feeling less freaked out about it. (the sea…it heals)

So when Saturday morning hit and I planned my route and headed out into the cool pre-fall air for my run, my head was in the right place. I just hoped my legs were.

Mile 1, right on pace. Mile 2, oops…maybe wanna slow down a little. Mile 3, same as mile 2. Huh…well…okay why not. Because i’m not banking time for later, but hey, if my body wants to go sub-10 right now I supposed I shouldn’t complain. LOL I just am not going to look at my watch.

Around mile 6, I encountered a car wash fundraiser for a girls soccer team. They offered to wash my sneakers. Ha!

Around mile 7 I sailed up and over the steepest hill on my route and stopped for a photo along the river (if there isn’t a runfie, did it actually happen?).

By mile 9, the legs started to go wonky (ummm what is this weird thing in my thigh? Better stretch it) and the brain was getting bored. I had my headphones with me, but i didn’t want to use them yet. I plan to carry them at adirondack and use them maybe around mile 15 when that long flat stretch comes after the hills and I might need them. But this was too early. So I started singing in my head…. Quiet your mind by Zac Brown. This…. right song, right time.

Because the next few miles went okay. I hit a groove and kept chugging along. Any time my brain went wonky, back to the song.

At mile 14 when I came up to another hill I really didn’t want to do I stopped. I told my self “they only way back is through”, took a deep breath and went. Not only did I beat that hill, but I nailed the harder one after it no problem. YAY

Mile 15 I was dying for more water and just trying to get to the convenience store when a car stopped in traffic called out the window “You’re doing awesome!” and gave me a thumbs up. I laughed and thanked him. And was glad for the boost.

At mile 17 I realized I hadn’t walked yet. MAJOR improvement from the last one. But I knew when I took my next gel I would. Just to give the legs a break. And suddenly, coming from the radio of a house I ran by was “Aint No Mountain High Enough” OMG YES! Right song…right time. Because there isn’t a mountain high enough that I can’t get over. And we all know Adirondack is chock full of them. This might just have to go on my race day playlist. 🙂

I finished my run. I walked that 1/4 mile when I had my gel. And I walked another 1/4 mile at mile 19 when I tripped over a bump on the sidewalk and realized I might kinda not wanna fall.

And when I was done I collapsed in the lawn next to my puppy, who had come out to play ball and spectate my last two miles. Thanks Gus…

I am feeling WAY better now. I have set my race day goal to 4:44. A course PR and one that, if I ran like I just did, i’ll have no problem reaching.

So bring on the taper…I want some extra rest days, some extra carbs and some extra time with the world’s cutest dog. While I plan just the right songs for 11 days from now.

I kissed a unicorn and I liked it

How to train for a hilly marathon…
1. Run Hills
2. Kiss Unicorns
3. Embrace the suck

With 26 days to go until the Adirondack marathon, i’ve reached my peak mileage and am trying to face the fact that I don’t think i’m going to do well at the race.

Maybe its the weather, maybe its the strength training affecting my runs, maybe its stress, maybe its just a major slump. But even Big Papi had one and came back better than ever, so if it is a slump, I just gotta hang in there and muscle through until it breaks wide open.

Saturday was the first of my two 20-milers. And I spent a couple of days debating which I needed more – hills or an easy route I could build some self confidence on by doing well. I consulted my sole-sister coach. And she reminded me that running is 90% mental and the rest is all in your head… and to do what my instincts told me.

They told me – chase the unicorn.

Buried in the middle of the hilly park that I had to avoid a couple of weeks ago because of a 5k, is a unicorn statue. And I hadn’t visited in a while, so I mapped out an out and back (with a couple of loops in the middle).

My Adirondack simulation route – elevation chart…

Saturday morning was delightfully chilly…so I put on my lucky shorts, my disney marathon tee, my favorite turquoise sparkle visor, packed my buddy pouch full of gels and took off.

I wanted to run easy…to not push and save energy for the later miles. I cruised along enjoying the cool air and crushing the hills. And after a fun short steep one on my first loop of the park discovered this view…

As often as i’ve driven through there, i’ve never noticed. We just see SO much more on foot. And I continued on. And when I hit the ‘zoo’ after a long downhill, I said hi to the goats.

Second loop I found the unicorn. And with a kiss for luck (and a couple selfies) headed down the hill. 
 And down to a lower section i’d never been too. Where I found some crazy wooden flowers (and a nice clean portapotty). Of course, I regretted that detour when I had to go back UP the hill i’d been down. But its all good.

And when my watched beeped mile 10 I decided to stop on the stone wall and relax a minute to have my gel and water before heading out of the park and back along the route. Which was now some long downhill with a few ups. And by mile 13 my calves were mooing. Uh-oh. I stopped to stretch and knew I needed to refill my water because it was getting sunnier and warmer.

Yet, when I stopped at the only store between myself and home to buy water, it kinda didn’t work. It’s a small cafe in a garden center. And there was a group of girls getting fancy coffee drinks and after 5 minutes I gave up and left.

And at mile 14 when I had my next gel I kind of had a meltdown. I was hot, I was thirsty, and had my iPod had wifi service where I was, I might have called for a ride home.

And I had an epiphany…my body was reacting almost exactly like it did when I ran Adirondack in 2015. The hills had my legs like burnt toast and knowing how far I had left my mind started to play tricks on me and the doubt crept in.

So I stopped for a moment. Took a breath and sucked it up. I started walking. And made a deal with myself – 1/4 mile run, 1/4 mile walk, repeat. And sure, each mile got a little slower but I was still moving.

At mile 18 I was home and ran in to get some water before finishing the last 2 miles. I was hot and nauseous and SO dehydrated. But I was not giving up. I dry heaved a bit and the hubs said to me “well, if you’re going to throw up, maybe you shouldn’t go back out. Then again, if you throw up outside, its all just nature” hahahaha thanks babe!

I went out. With the plan to just walk the two miles. Also knowing, no way was I just walking. So I threw in some short run sections, just because. And…I finished all 20. The overall pace was slower than i’d hoped. But, I survived. I managed my mind and my legs and I never truly gave up.

And what have I learned from all this? That my next 20 miler i need to:
– Wear compression sleeves or socks
– Plan better water stops
– Run more hills
– Let it go 

The Adirondack marathon will never be a PR course for me. I think I will always struggle. Its the nature of the route. And while sure, i’d like to think i’ve gotten wiser and stronger as a runner and that I should be able to run it better than in 2015, I also have run enough to know that you can’t predict what will happen in a race.

So, I need to view this less as a race and more as a 26.2 mile adventure. A loop around the lake with something shiny at the end. And I love shiny things. 😁

Muscle Up Buttercup

I knew before I even left the house, that this run was extremely likely to go downhill. And not in the “whee, this is a fun hill to cruise down” kind of way. 

I mean like spectacularly awful crash and burn. 

Yet, with only 6 weeks until the Adirondack Marathon, it had to happen. 

The schedule called for 18 miles. And I planned out a route that had some really good training hills and a loop through a local park with a menagerie of animals (not quite a zoo) we’ve always called Goat World. 

Nothing. And I meant NOTHING went according to plan. Lol

It was 70 and 95% humidity when I headed out. By mile 2.5 I was already starting to drink my water. I had my buddy h2o, which only holds 10 ounces.  But that’s okay, because I knew there were a couple fountains along the route where I could refill. Or so I thought.  

At mile 6, I noticed a whole bunch of orange cones and one of these signs…

Hmmm this could be a problem. I’m fairly sure that race starts at Goat World. I may need to change my route. 

Of course, since I’ve taken to carrying my iPod instead of phone, I had to wait a 1/2 mile until I got to a wi-fi hotspot to confirm. And sure enough…I was on the course. A 1/2 hour before it started. 

I was also out of water by now. And the first  water fountain I knew of? Was turned off. Damn. 

Enticed by the idea of going by and seeing all the 5k runners, trying to figure out where I could get / buy water, and knowing that if I turned around where I was thinking to, I could end up SO in the way of the race, I headed towards Goat World. 

And…like a gift from the running gods, encountered a water stop. Those awesome race volunteers took pity on me and left me fill my water bottle, and wished me luck. 

A 1/4 mile later, I encountered the most aggressive dog I’ve ever met on a run. A large German shepherd, barking like he wanted to eat me and coming across the street at me. So, I stopped. And faced him. And he backed down and went home. I said out loud to him “what the hell was that?” And continued on and up. 

I was in the hilly section now, and the sun was shining. And I was starting to get nauseous. I had to stop for a minute to calm myself down. And then headed past where the runners were gathering for the race. 

Man I love being surrounded by runners. The energy is just contagious. I smiled at a few, wished a couple luck, and then encountered the mother of all downhills. 

The kind of downhill that makes you seriously question if you can make it down without falling headfirst. But, this was important for Adirondack. Because I know there’s a couple of those in the first half of the race. 

I reached the bottom at mile 10. Stood in the shade to open a gel, and seriously questioned myself.  I kinda wanted to call for a ride home. I was trying to figure out if I could call it at 12 and save the 18 for next weekend. 

I was miserable. Really miserable. But I was not going down without a fight. Time to muscle up, buttercup.  Because we don’t train just to make the race easier. We also train to learn how to embrace the suck. 

I did, however, decide that this was now going to be for time versus distance. And that I could likely pull off 16 miles in the time 18 should have taken. 3 hours. 

I stopped to buy a bottle of water. Where I of course forgot to stop my watch. This led to a horribly skewed time for that mile, so I don’t really know what my average was. Lol but that’s okay. It was slow. 

Because again, I was starting to feel ill. And stopping constantly to drink water. And I was SO gritty that it hurt to wipe my face and neck. 

And then I got my second gift from the running gods at mile 11. Sprinklers!! A low long line of sprinklers. And I probably stood there for 3 full minutes with a smile on my face. 

Slightly rejuvenated I continued on, and opted to run/walk the rest. Hopefully more running than walking, but I didn’t even care. 

I stopped for a second if I needed to. I walked when I had to. And I just kept moving. 

And found this cool fungus!

And at mile 14, when I finally found a recycling bin to toss the empty water bottle I’d been carrying for a mile (cuz I just can’t litter), I noticed the address I was standing at. 

Same as the area code for the Adirondack marathon. #runningsigns 

And I thought back to 2015, the last time I ran Adirondack. And I remembered how hard those last few miles were. And that I never gave up.  

So I continued on. Suffering but moving. Hoping that by powering through now, it will teach me to better handle it if it happens again next month.  

By mile 15.6 I was making deals with myself. I was near my house and walking/sprinting the tiniest intervals.  Unbeknownst to me, the hubs had seen me, and told me later he’s never seen me look like i was fighting so hard for every step.  I usually look like I’m having fun. Lol

But I finished. And saw him out in the yard with Gus. I waved, and slowly hobbled up. 

How’s it going babe, he asked. Not good, I replied. Then I laughed. Because 16 miles had never hurt that bad. And it suddenly became hilarious. 

I grabbed the lightpost next to me, hugged it for dear life, and then handed him my iPod. I needed a picture. One where I can look back and remember that even when it’s bad, it’s all good. 

Hello August…

The worst part of fall marathon training is that most of it occurs in the summer.

I don’t like the heat. I mean, you probably wouldn’t know because i’ve been doing my share of mid-day runs along the river…outside…in the heat and sun. But it usually involves stopping at ALL the water fountains during the second half.

And sure, I did do three races in July…but none of them were quite as good as earlier in the year when the weather cooler.

My poor garmin is getting dusty because I refuse to have digital proof of how awful my paces have been. I mean i’ve actually been eying this training shirt. LOL

But i’m 54 days out from the Adirondack Marathon, which means its time to really get serious. To decide if I have a PR goal, or merely a course-PR goal.

You see, that sucker is HILLY.

And while the first half is crazier hills than the second, the last time I ran this my goal was to beast the hills. And I did, and then the wheels came off by mile 17 and the ‘rolling hills’ in the later miles felt harder than the spikes.

So I plan to spend August ramping up both the strength training (adding a 3rd day a week), the hill training (wherever I can) and, as usual, distance (August’s schedule includes a 16, an 18 and a 20 miler). Dusting off the garmin so I actually know how fast (slow?) I’m going. And hoping that August is mild (yeah, I know….likely not happening).

I’m also going to up my hydration game (my running buddy h2o is about to get in some more miles) and maybe go back on the music (my single-ear sports bud isn’t getting its exercise either). Might be a good month to run to Zac Brown and Jimmy Buffet. oooh – virgin pina coladas in the h20 pouch? LOL

So, if you need me this month…i’ll be out running hills, feeling tropical and thinking fall.

Hello 2017…what’s next?

When you already get your first marathon of the year done one week in, its both comforting and confusing.

Because, where do you go from there?  Don’t most people start easy with oh, like a New Year’s 5k, set a big goal for Spring and then work up to it?

I mean, when you run a big race that early, then what.  Guess I need to set some goals for the year.

2016 was an AWESOME year.  I ran for the cycle (5k, 10k, 13.1, 26.2,  (bonus:ultra), I got a 5K PR (25:20) and a distance PR (44.1 miles). I ran less miles than the year before (1,505) and less races, but had at least as much fun.

So, here I sit with 11 1/2 months in front of me.  What can I accomplish?  What shenanigans should I get into?  Here’s a few things i’ve got in mind.

  • Knock another state off my marathon list
  • Register for Dopey 2018
  • Run a 50-miler
  • Run for the cycle again
  • Get a marathon PR
  • Run more with friends

I’ve already got 2 piece of the cycle complete (5k & marathon in Disney), tho it should have been three.  (Next year I’ll make sure Pudge got his peanut butter sandwich!) so I just need to find a half-marathon and a 10k.

I’m already thinking to do the Level Renner 10k again this summer.  That one was a lot of fun.   And I need to find a nice spring half-marathon that fits my training for my May marathon.  Hmmm…wonder if I can find one the weekend of my Birthday.  (you know you’re a runner when you’d rather run a half than party all night.  LOL)

The first on my list and the last on that list will hopefully be the same race.

Next up for me is the Maine Coast Marathon in May.It looks so fun and scenic and will give me my 5th marathon state.  While i’ve done 11 marathons (wow – how did THAT happen), I tend to run the same ones over and over.  Time to branch out.  🙂

I also am hoping to PR that race.  Its not going to be easy and I know it means that i’m going to spend the next few months doing a LOT of speedwork, and work in general, but its good to have goals.

Its also VERY weird for me to a) only have one registered race right now and b) nothing registered/planned in the next four months.    But, Dopey registration opens in February, so that will fix that.  And I will hopefully find the perfect fast and flat half for corral placement FOR Dopey (and get my Dopey brother to do the same).  See my brother will become Perfectly Dopey next year.  And i’d love for him to be able to start in his fastest corral ever this year.  But that’s on him….  I’ll just run the fastest half I can so i’m not holding us back.

As far as the 50-miler?  Its something i’d like to do, but doesn’t necessarily need to be this year.  Just a bucket list item.  Because my other thought for this year is a rematch with the Adirondack Marathon.  That course really got the best of me in 2015 and I want to try it again now that I really know how challenging the first half hills are and can train accordingly and manage my pace better.  I have unfinished business there.

The final one?  I want to run more with my sole sisters.  Whether its racing or training, i’m lucky to have two amazing mother-runners in my circle and I KNOW I need to log more miles and smiles with them this year.

Also – can I say how odd it is to write a non-Disney blog this week?  Oh well, that will resume in the fall i’m sure! #dopeyorbust

So…. how about all of you?  What’s your BIG Goal for the year?  Another state?  Another distance? Another PR?  I’d love to hear from my readers. Lets all have an amazing year!