Words words words

Have I mentioned how much I miss studying Shakespeare...? Anyhow, I am not good at the daily blogging thing, so the following is all sorts of randomness from the past few days.

Got the guesstimated ETA on my bike yesterday. Looks like it's going to be about another 2 weeks. Poo. And Thursday's forecast is for partly cloudy skies and a high of 60...rats! On the bright side, that might mean one last chance to wear shorts in '09. I have to enjoy every outdoor workout that I can that doesn't involve a subsequent full load of laundry.

Yesterday I had a sucky 5 mile run/walk. This is when I go out intended to run, then after 1.5 miles or so say screw it and start alternating walking with running. I decided to scale back on my mileage plans for today and only did 3 miles--but it was a really pretty good 3 miles. Yesterday my shins were really angry, but today my legs felt fine. Weird. I guess I'm doing pretty well for only being 9 days out from my last marathon, considering.

The only real issue now is my lungs. I quit Advair cold-turkey over the weekend. Why, you might ask. Why would a runner stop taking her 24/7 asthma meds just as H1N1 is gripping her entire area? Why? I'll tell 'ya why...my 4th bout with oral thrush, that's why. I am done with inhaled steroids. I don't care that they are the most effective asthma treatment. I can't bear the side effects any longer...thrush, sore throat, hoarseness, decreased immune function. The decreased immune function allows me to become sick with every little virus that comes my way. And every time I catch one of these things it opens me up to thrush.

After spending $$ on probiotics and other "alternative" treatments I am once again on diflucan to get this crap out of my system. And tomorrow I am off to my PCP to discuss my options. Most likely I will give Singulair a try, again. Perhaps it will work better with the more effective allergy meds I am now on. In the past it didn't seem to do much, but it also had 0 noticeable side-effects. It's a compromise I am happy to make. Though I would like to be able to sleep through the night without waking in a coughing fit and needing my Albuterol inhaler. Hrmmm...

Speaking of Swine Flu 2 paragraphs up...one of my close friends in my community seems to have had it descend upon her house. I saw her at the store tonite and kept my distance, which cracked us both up. While at the store we were stocking up on our own "flu survival kit." At this point it's not if we get the flu...but when. It's definitely closing-in on us. While at Walgreen's tonite I asked the pharmacist when they expected the vaccine and they have been told LATE November. Add to that the 10-14 days that it takes the vax to be effective and the earliest we can expect to be protected from the virus is early December. Fat chance.

While I am at my doc's office tomorrow I am seriously considering asking about the possibility of renting a nebulizer for a month. 2 of the last 3 flus I have suffered have landed me in the ER for breathing treatment. Given how stretched hospitals are becoming I envision laying around the waiting area for an hour or more just to be seen. Seems more logical to take matters into my own hands, if need be, and not go out further spreading the virus if I can avoid it.

If I'm still healthy on Nov. 7 I may register for a 5k Turkey Trot. Seems a waste to not make as much use of my marathon fitness as possible. A week after that I hope to do a really fun 4+ mile trail race in a state park about 30 minutes away, too.

Still not sure about our Halloween plans. There will be trick-or-treating with the kiddo and maybe going out to watch some fun bands later in the night. If weather permits we may go to try and help reclaim Grand Rapids' spot in the Guinness Book for largest zombie walk the night before, too...



And it was worth the wait! My ring took about twice as long as the jeweler had predicted, but I LOVE the results. It's not 100% what I would have had done had it been a fully custom job, but that would also have cost probably $300 or so more. Not worth the money, really. I wish the sides were a bit more open (the long sides are still pretty much enclosed in gold), but the underside of the diamond is now cleanable, so that will make it much easier to keep the pretty bling sparkly. And I love that the small side diamonds (which were earrings that belonged to my late maternal grandma) are no longer in prong settings (which didn't match the original ring's design well) and the setting is now all white gold. I NEVER wear yellow gold and have always preferred white. 2-tone was kind of trendy when we got married, but it's admittedly dated now.

The best part of my new ring...how unobtrusive it feels on my finger. That ugly airline tubing spacer always drove me nuts. It made a callus under my finger and collected a lot of dirt. I was always afraid I'd lose my ring, too.

I did have to have the new one resized right away. When I was fitted back in Sept. I must have had a bloated/puffy hand day (in part perhaps because it was more humid and warm that day). The ring had been made a 5.5, but was loose. So the jeweler resized it to a 5. I have surprisingly dainty fingers for a stocky gal. My feminine hands surely don't match my duck feet and cankles.

Speaking of ducks...I had planned to get out on my first post-marathon run today, but decided to hold off for one more. It was windy and pouring most of today and in the 40s (the sort of weather that ducks don't mind, but me...not so much). Lungs are still kinda chunkyfied, so going out in that mess just didn't sound all that appealing. Though I will say that not running for this many days has my legs feeling fabulous.

After my first marathon I only allowed myself 2 full days of rest and it took me over a month before my runs were no longer really uncomfortable. After the last one I gave myself 3 days and found that I felt better about 7-10 days faster. This time I will have had 5 days of rest. I have a feeling that this will really leave me feeling strong and refreshed much sooner. I know several more experienced (and faster) marathoners who swear by taking a full week off, post race. So I don't feel particularly sloth-like or guilty. I am actually really enjoying the prospect of running for pleasure, rather than following a relatively strict training schedule.

I am also REALLY looking forward to the arrival of my 2-wheeled toy. Hopefully it's soon. It will be nice this Winter to stay indoors on the bike trainer if it's really godawful outside...instead of bundling-up in eleventy-hundred layers and running on treacherous roads or dragging myself to the little fitness club. I will likely still join there for a couple of months in the dead of Winter, but more as an excuse to run side-by-side on treadmills with my running buddy...more of a social workout than a workout workout.


Half Fanatics?

So my super-fast friend Jeff Scovill (the same dude who WON the Grand Rapids Marathon yesterday) kinda made me verbally commit to run Green Bay in May. He's planning to run the full...I'm pretty certain that I'm done with that business at this point, so I would do the half--with the added bonus of finally being able to see him finish a race, instead of being somewhere near the halfway marker when he is catching his breath.

Running at Green Bay would have a few big plusses, not the least of which is the fact that my sister and my nephews live in GB (near the course, apparently) and my folks could come spectate, too.

AND it looks like GB is only 2 weeks before Bayshore. If I did both races I could qualify for the Half Fanatics, which would be really cool. The Half Fanatics is a relatively recent half marathon version of the Marathon Maniacs club. There are varying levels of membership requirement. At the very basic level a person can become a member by completing 2 half marathons in a 16 day period or 3 in 90 days. No problem. The Marathon Maniacs membership requirement is similar...but finishing 2-3 marathons in that span would be a problem for me, heh. 2 in 5 months has about killed me.

My other potential option would be 3 half marathons in a 90 day period, which I could do by running the Oktoberfest race, something a bit later (perhaps Grand Rapids or Mackinac Island Great Turtle), and then Vegas in early Dec. The first and last are already pretty concretely in my plans for 2010, so it would only make sense to try to squeeze something in the middle there. I am really finding so many new goals to look forward to for next year.

Pit-stop cost me a marathon PR

(mostly copied from the RunningAHEAD.com race report):

Crap. Pretty certain this 3rd shot at the distance will be my last, too. The marathon is about 10 miles beyond what my body apparently can tolerate in a race.

Woke this AM about a half hour before my alarm was set to go off (@ 4:15) and decided to go with it. I prefer a leisurely race morning to rushing around trying to get us out the door into the cold, dark "night," anyhow.

We arrived well over an hour before race start and hung out in the warmth of the Grand Rapids YMCA (along with one of the many Jeffs from RA (JWU42), until 10 minutes or so before race start. Prior to this I had tried to make one last potty stop indoors before heading to the starting line, but lines were long. So I figured I could get in and out of a port-a-john in time. Wrong. Those lines were just as long. Darn.

I pride myself on never having stopped to use a portable toilet mid-race. But I knew before the gun went off that today wouldn't be my day. In hindsight I wish I would have sucked it up and found a dumpster or bush to squat behind, but there weren't as many as I would have expected during the early miles. By just before the 7 mile mark I decided to get in line for a toilet behind a couple of other women. This cost me 2.5 minutes or so...the price of a PR. I didn't realize this until the drive home. Damn!

I planned to stick with the "John Bingham" 4:44:44 pace group for the entire first half and to pick up the pace for the last half. The first 13 miles were wonderful...well under my HM PR pace, relaxed, comfortable. I could have maintained that even split for the entire race...or so I thought. At the 16 mile mark my right calf started it's usual song-and-dance...the tightening that signals cramping to come. Crap.

My training for this race has been far better than for my prior 2 marathons. More miles and some actual speedwork in the form of tempo runs around 10 minute pace or faster. A couple of months ago I had an amazing 18 miler at 10:30 pace, too. One of those runs where I felt like I could have maintained that pace forever. No discomfort, a smile on my face the rest of the night.

An easy PR today seemed like a foregone conclusion. I had already decided that this 3rd marathon would likely be my last (I don't enjoy the distance enough to keep at it--not at the expense of shorter distances that I much prefer and perform better at--finishing strongly in the first half of my AG, instead of plodding through a miserable death march for a couple of hours...then taking weeks to recover), so I was looking forward to going out on a relatively good note. 4:49:30 (70/80 AG) wasn't that great a way to go out.

On the bright side, I was able to hold the cramps off until just before the 25 mile mark (I think they struck around 22 at my last race) and this time only one calf was affected and not nearly as severely as in the past. I was approaching the final aid station when it hit and as my foot twanged off at a weird angle and I grimaced I saw one of the kids holding out a cup of Gatorade look at me in horror...like "holy crap, that chubby broad is gonna fall on me!" I think a course photographer might have captured the moment, too. That one should be a real keeper.

Adding insult to injury...once again I missed seeing our own Jeff Scovill place in a race...this time FIRST! I found out via my hubby at around 17.5 miles. Eryn/backroadrunner had called him on his cell to let him know and to relay the info. to me. Had I run the half I would have seen him finish, which would have been beyond awesome!

But post-race was awesome. We (Eryn, Jeff, Jeff's GF, DH, DS, and I) stood around having a few New Holland Brewery beers, then shuffled about a mile to the Hop Cat beer bar (well, I shuffled...everyone else actually walked) for drinks and "crack fries." (MTA: I called Cory/Corland on the way to Hop Cat and he was already there waiting for us--last time I had seen him was on an out-and-back section of the course) We made it back to our cars a couple of hours later, said our goodbyes, and I vowed that the next race I run "with" jscovill will have me registering for the shorter distance, so I can see him finish, for a change.

This race closes out my target races for '09. And now I am eagerly looking forward to concentrating on the distances/events I love--primarily the HM, trail races/relays...and taking a crack at a couple of sprint duathlons. It's going to be a nice change to put some miles in via bicycle with the hubby. I can't wait to cover 20 miles via my own leg-power and not have it take over 3.5 hours.

Here are the laps...including the last one when I forgot to stop my Garmin:
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Date:10/18/2009 8:02 AM
Course:2009 Grand Rapids Marathon
Distance:26.2 miles
Pace:11:03 / mile
Equipment:Nike Run Avant+ (blu/yel)
Misc:Quality: 6/10, Effort: 9/10
Field Placement:1227 / 1555 (78.9%)
Age group:35 – 39
Group Placement:70 / 80 (87.5%)
Gender Placement:445 / 635 (70.1%)
Weather:45° F, Humid, Partly Cloudy
Notes:Last marathon. Thank gawd.
Statistics:VO2 Max: 30.0

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Intervals (GPS Interval)
TypeDistanceTimeTotal TimePaceAvg HRMax HRNotes
Interval1 Mi10:24.7810:24.7810:25
Interval1 Mi10:22.9620:47.7410:23
Interval1 Mi10:28.8231:16.5610:29
Interval1 Mi10:20.9241:37.4810:21
Interval1 Mi10:21.1951:58.6710:22
Interval1 Mi10:33.441:02:32.1110:34
Interval1 Mi13:11.791:15:43.9013:12
Interval1 Mi10:28.051:26:11.9510:29
Interval1 Mi10:18.751:36:30.7010:19
Interval1 Mi10:17.691:46:48.3910:18
Interval1 Mi10:36.951:57:25.3410:37
Interval1 Mi11:07.042:08:32.3811:08
Interval1 Mi10:13.112:18:45.4910:14
Interval1 Mi10:30.472:29:15.9610:31
Interval1 Mi10:28.372:39:44.3310:29
Interval1 Mi10:44.452:50:28.7810:45
Interval1 Mi10:49.383:01:18.1610:50
Interval1 Mi10:33.133:11:51.2910:34
Interval1 Mi10:47.23:22:38.4910:48
Interval1 Mi11:01.173:33:39.6611:02
Interval1 Mi11:12.383:44:52.0411:13
Interval1 Mi11:09.293:56:01.3311:10
Interval1 Mi12:39.134:08:40.4612:40
Interval1 Mi11:42.334:20:22.7911:43
Interval1 Mi12:24.124:32:46.9112:25
Interval1 Mi12:17.014:45:03.9212:18
Interval0.58 Mi15:27.95:00:31.8226:40