Thoughts on Finishing a Marathon

May 1, 2013

There is something that has been on my mind that I want to share with you all, and get your thoughts on as well. It has to do with race finishing times.

Ok, so here it goes. This past Saturday morning, I was running one heck of a marathon. I was hitting consistent splits, my legs were feeling strong, and I really thought I was going to go sub 3:35 for the Boston Qualifying time. I was completely on pace for it, and then the last set of hills came. They were just difficult enough that it slowed my pace down just a bit, and was enough to send me over the 3:35 mark. When I crossed the finish line, and saw the time on my watch, my first reaction was a bit different than I originally portrayed in my recap.

I was disappointed. I was upset.

I stood right at the finishing line, leaning over the barricade, trying to catch my breath, taking in the last 3.5 hours of running. I came into the race with pretty solid training, but very minimal speed training. I did approximately 6 temp runs throughout my training, but really didn’t do much more. I kept my runs around 8:30 pace, so I was used to being in that 8 minute range. I still felt like I needed to go a little bit faster though. But why?

Kentucky Derby Marathon

As runners, most of us have a dream, a goal, or even a hope, to make it to the big race in Boston. It is the elite event of all races. I made it back in 2011, when the qualifying times were different. I had to run a 3:40 back then. Now, I am required to run a 3:35:00 or faster. I feel as if I need to re-prove myself to get there again, as if there is an¬†asterisk by my name that says, no, she didn’t make it based on today’s standards.

After I caught my breath and started the slow hobble to grab my medal, I realized how absolutely absurd I was being. I had just run my second fastest marathon ever. I fought through some killer hills that I had not even trained for. I kept a very consistent pace, and never backed down. My mind and body stayed strong the entire race, and not once did I even consider giving up. I had just killed that race, and found myself in a completely different spot than I was just a few minutes before.

I was proud. I was thrilled with my accomplishment.

So what that I didn’t BQ at the Kentucky Derby Marathon. I’ll do it again some day – that day just wasn’t April 27th, 2013. It doesn’t make me any more or less of a runner, or any less worthy of lining up at the start in Hopkinton. It makes me a runner, who is proud of the day she ran 26.2 miles in Louisville, Kentucky. It makes me a runner who is stronger than ever, knowing my mind overcame the aches in my body. It makes me a runner who will not back down – who may or may not make it to Boston again. And you know what, I am a-ok with that. There is no way I am going to let the qualifying time of one race overshadow the last 4 months of training – the early morning wake ups, the battle scars of a long run, and the pure joy of accomplishing something huge – finishing another marathon.

Kentucky Derby Marathon

Next time you finish a race, and aren’t thrilled at first with your finishing time, think of how far you have come, where you have been, and where you are going. Hopefully that will put your amazing accomplishment into a more joyous perspective.

 

A Career Change

April 30, 2013

Now that I am back from Louisville after running the Kentucky Derby Marathon, I am ready to dive into some news! A couple of weeks ago, I was notified (along with the rest of the company I worked for) that I would be losing my job and the company would no longer be in operation. Of course, this is something that no one really ever wants to experience. Rather than looking at this from a negative standpoint, I chose to look at this turn of events as an opportunity. An opportunity to do what I really love.

I am turning my passion for running and personal training into a full-time job! I will be taking on more running coach clients, along with immersing myself in personal training here in Tampa, and virtually as well. I am still making the final tweaks on my new website, and will be unveiling that within the next week. I just need to get my logo perfect first! ūüėČ

So why am I jumping the gun and telling you about my career change before everything is 100% ready to go? Starting this week, I am going to be leading a boot camp and running group at a local gym here in Tampa, and I want to let as many people I know so you can hopefully make it to a class! Here are the details:

Bayshore Fit Bootcamp

 

If you have any questions, please email me! I hope to see you out at a class or at running group in the near future!

The Kentucky Derby Marathon 2013 Race Recap

April 29, 2013

My 8th marathon is done, and I couldn’t be happier with the result! I trained smart and ran a very consistent race. This was the second time I ran the Kentucky Derby Marathon, and I really enjoyed it so much more than the first! The weather was predicted to be cold and very rainy, however, we woke up the morning of the race and the storm system had headed south instead of hitting us in Louisville. Cool weather and cloud filled skies – I was unbelievably excited!

Kentucky Derby Marathon

I stayed with my cousin Dave who lives 10 minutes from the start line, so it was a very easy race-morning commute. His friend Jason met up with us, and the three of us headed over to the race! We parked about a half a mile or so from the start, and made it with just a couple of minutes to spare. It was absolutely jam-packed by the time I got there, so I ended up in Corral D, instead of the A Corral I was originally seeded in.

Kentucky Derby Marathon

Love the photo bomb in this one!

The crowd was already moving up to begin the race by the time that I hopped in, so there was zero wait for me. I was quickly off and running! If I have learned anything in the past few races that I have run, it is that I have to start off slowly. Coming out of the gates with completely tapered, fresh legs can be pretty deceiving. You feel like you can run like the wind, but it is not something you want to start off with. I hit the first 5k averaging around 8:10 miles, which is a bit faster than usual, but I felt ok about it. I didn’t want to hold back too much, since I knew I had some hills ahead of me and I knew I would be slowing down a bit later on.

Kentucky Derby Marathon

One of the cool unique parts about the Kentucky Derby Festival Marathon is the runners get to run through Churchill Downs, where the actual Kentucky Derby is held each year. We came up on Churchill Downs right at mile 8. We headed on into the venue, and were directed onto the infield, through the tunnel. It was pretty fun to be able to look around the downs and check everything out.

Kentucky Derby Marathon

Kentucky Derby Marathon

Kentucky Derby Marathon

We did a quick lap on the infield, and then we headed out back to the streets. At this point, the half and full marathon split, so the crowd got significantly more spread out. It was pretty congested until the split, so I was pretty happy to get to this point in the race. It was also the first time I saw my family Рalways the best part!

Kentucky Derby Marathon

The next big hurdle of the race was the first set of hills in Iroquois Park. I had been mentally preparing myself for this mark throughout the beginning of the race, and I am so glad I did! The hills were pretty intense from about miles 11.5 to 15. Luckily, for every uphill, there was a pretty gracious downhill. I was quite surprised how well I did with the hills, considering I completed zero hills training throughout my workouts. My splits only slowed to about 8:25/mile, and I was very happy with that. It definitely didn’t hurt that the park was beautiful!

Kentucky Derby Marathon

Kentucky Derby Marathon

Kentucky Derby Marathon

I came out of the park flying! Miles 15-16 showed a 7:45 split on my awesome new Garmin – I am guessing because I hit a downhill at this point, so I pulled up on the reins a bit. There was no way I could sustain this pace for the whole race – no way, no how! I slowed to a more comfortable 8:10-8:15 pace, and just churned out the next 8 miles.

Kentucky Derby Marathon

The next set of hills were coming up at mile 22, so I started to mentally prep myself, again, for the challenge. I hit the first couple of hills pretty strong, but then they really got to me. Hello lack of hill training! Up until mile 23, I was on track to run a 3:34 and change. I slowly started to lose some of that speed, and really fought for the last 3 miles. I was hurting like mad, but I knew if I even had a shot at a pr, these last few miles were going to hurt, and hurt pretty bad. I rounded a few more corners, and headed for the finish. Once I saw the line, I gave it absolutely everything I had. Every last ounce of energy I had was dedicated to that stretch. I crossed the finish line, and immediately looked down at my watch.

3:35:44

Kentucky Derby Marathon

It was my second fastest marathon finishing time ever, and was, by far, my most physical and mentally challenge race I have ever run. During the last 3 miles, I held on so tight. I fought for every last second I ran. My legs were telling me one thing, and my mind, another. Luckily, I was literally talking to myself out loud, saying,¬†“you are stronger than you think you are”. And guess what? I truly believed it.

Kentucky Derby Marathon

No, I didn’t reach that PR or a Boston Qualifying time, but I ran a damn good race. I crossed the finish line and was incredibly proud of what I just accomplished. I pushed myself through a much hillier course than I am used to, and honestly, I had a lot of fun. I wasn’t pressuring myself for a certain time or pace. I was in it to simply run it. And run it I did!

Kentucky Derby Marathon

A huge congrats to both Dave and Jason who ran a great race! It was Jason’s very first marathon, and he did awesome! Such a huge accomplishment!

Has anyone else ran the Kentucky Derby Marathon? Did you race this past weekend as well?  How did it go?

 

Kentucky Derby Marathon Expo

April 26, 2013

There is no turning back now! Tomorrow, I am lining up for my 8th marathon!

Kentucky Derby Marathon

I arrived in Louisville Wednesday afternoon to spend a little extra time with my family. My dad has 5 other siblings, and they all live here, so I have a lot of people to visit with! My cousin is also running the marathon, so we headed to the expo last night to grab our race packets before the crowds hit. It was held downtown at the convention center, and was very easy to get in and out of!

Kentucky Derby MarathonThere were zero lines everywhere I went. Big win to get to expos early! I grabbed my packet and took a quick walk through the official merchandise and other vendors. Compared to other expos, it was a pretty small event, but was organized well.

Kentucky Derby Marathon

The course was posted and it has changed since the last time I ran the race. I am looking forward to a new route, and hopefully a little less hills than last time I ran it – fingers crossed!

Kentucky Derby Marathon

 

I am pretty excited to sport a Boston ribbon in support of all of those affected during my race tomorrow. The race staff was nice enough to give all of the runners ribbons to pin on our race shirts. I know that I will be running these miles for everyone that wasn’t able to finish Boston on April 15th. Anyone else dedicating your spring race to those runners?

Kentucky Derby Marathon

 

Ohh, something fun I just have to share. I think there is quite a lot of truth to this – what do you think?!

Kentucky Derby Marathon

 

Well, the forecast for tomorrow is looking like cold rain for the whole race. I have run in the rain multiple times, but never for this long of a distance, or in the cold. I would love your tips on anything I can wear or use to help me out! I really haven’t set a goal for this race. Just looking to have some fun and enjoy the race. Regardless, I don’t want to be uncomfortable for the whole race because of the race!

Kentucky Derby MarathonSee you on the other side of 26.2! Let me know your cold and rainy marathon tips!! I could really use them!

 

 

#BostonStrong Tampa

April 24, 2013

Currently I am flying high in the sky, headed up to Louisville for the Kentucky Derby Marathon on Saturday. With everything that happened in the past week, I will say the marathon has been put a bit on the back burner. I haven’t put a lot of thought (or worrying) into the day, so I am just hoping for the best at this point. Now more than ever, I am excited to run 26.2 miles for those that couldn’t last Monday.

Tampa was one of the many cities that rallied around Boston and held a support run in honor of all the victims that were affected by the bombings in April 15th. On Monday night, I headed over to FitNiche in Hyde Park and met 100+ of my closest friends to run a 5k. What the store expected to be around 50 runners was easily triple their estimate.

Boston Run Fit Niche

The awesome manager of the store, Lee Stephens, gave us a quick run down of the course we would be running. It was all right turns that led us back to the store, all with accessible sidewalks and minimal traffic.

Boston Strong Fit NicheLee also let us know that the first mile would be in complete silene, in order to pay tribute to those affected in Boston. Once we all started, it was¬†eerily quite – all we were able to hear were the pitter patter of running sneakers on the hot pavement. It was a nice time to reflect on the reason we were out running together. It wasn’t just another 5k fun run. This had meaning behind it.

Boston Strong Fit NicheBefore we knew it, we passed the one mile mark, and were able to chat again. I ended up running most of the distance with Heather, who was actually in Boston when the bombs exploded. Luckily, she was quite speedy and finished around the 3:20 mark. It was pretty interesting to hear her experience of simply being in Boston when all of this was happening. Glad she was one of many people that walked away from Boston unscathed!

Boston Strong Fit Niche

Boston Strong Fit Niche

The 5k FitNiche hosted was truly amazing. So many people came in support of the Boston Marathon. Most of them will never qualify, let alone run the race, but we all had one thing in common – the love for the running community, and everything it provides each and every one of us.

Boston Strong Fit Niche

Did you participate in a Boston Tribute run this week? Have you ever ran a mile of complete silence in a group setting?