2018 Pettit Indoor Marathon Relay

BWRC at Pettit Marathon Relay

A few months back the running group I trained with decided they were going to send some teams to go run the Pettit Indoor Marathon Relay.  I somehow got swept up in all of the excitement and put my name in as well.  I was able to convince my old college friend Christine to join us also.  If anything, it would give us a chance to catch up while we do the relay.  Spots seemed to fill up quick and before we knew it, the BWRC was sending enough runners for 11 teams.

Each team can have up to 4 runners and would collectively run the distance of a marathon on the indoor track – which ended up being 95 laps in total.  If you have a full team of 4 runners it ended up being between 6-7mi per runner.  The active runner ran with a velcro strap with the timing chip around their ankle. After their leg was done, we’d transfer the velcro strap to the next runner.  Along with Christine, we were matched with Emily who is one of the site leaders for BWRC and Nolan who was a last minute replacement for someone else who couldn’t make it.  From the very beginning we told each other we were not trying to hit any specific time or pace, so that took some of the pressure off.  I brought my wireless Bose speaker and we had music the whole time so it was pretty clear we were in it to have some fun.

Marathon Relay Team
Nolan, Christine, Emily, and Me

The last time I ever did any kind of relay was when I was in high school.  In the second or third to last event of the track meet, there would sometimes be a race called the “Weightman’s Relay”.  It was a 4x100m race for shot-putters and discus-throwers.  That’s right, it was the big guy relay.  A lot of times this race was just an “exhibition” race – also known as “watch the fat guys run”. In all honesty I really enjoyed when I was able to run it, because just for 100m I could pretend I belonged out there on the track with the rest of the runners.

High School Track Team

The Team

 

Christine on her first leg
Christine on her first leg

I’ve known Christine for over 20 year now.  Is that right? I can know people for that long? Man I am old! We were cheerleading stunt partners in college so our shared fitness goals started early on.  After that we stayed friends and eventually started running around the same time. She even helped me finish my second marathon.  I knew having her on the team would help me mentally just like it did when she ran in the marathon with me.

Nolan
Nolan making it look easy

Out of the four of us, Nolan was clearly the fastest.  He is 11 years old and on cross country at his school.  It was pretty amazing watching him run so fast and so effortlessly. I didn’t care about finishing fast, but with him on the team, he could cancel me out since I was the slowest.

Emily on her first lap
Emily on her first leg

I haven’t known Emily very long, but one thing I do know is that she absolutely brings the positive energy.  She is one of the site leaders and pace group leaders for BWRC and I was happy to find out she was on our team.  I wish I was faster so I could run in her pace group too.

The Race

The race started promptly at 1pm and we set the order of our runners – Christine, Nolan, Emily, then me.  When Emily became our captain a few weeks back we decided to do 4-lap legs.  After talking more on Facebook we decided to shave it down to 3 laps.  We had no goal or strategy, so we just wanted to see how things would go.

After each of us completed our first leg of 3 laps, we quickly changed our strategy to running 2 laps per leg.  Since the track was a little longer than the standard track at 445m (.28mi) it messed with our pacing.  We worried that we would get tired faster.  “It’s a marathon, not a sprint” could not be more true at this point.  We figured, if we knew we only had to do 2 laps at a time, it would be much easier to manage throughout the rest of the race.

I had my Marathon Relay playlist rocking the entire time at our pit stop so we could pass the time waiting for our turn.  Now with the shortened legs, there really was not that much time to wait around for your turn.  One thing I did not consider was how quickly I would tighten up waiting my turn.  The running track is secondary at the Pettit arena to the two hockey rinks and the olympic speed skating long track.  The temperature felt like it was in the 50s the entire race.  I would absolutely love this climate during an outdoor marathon, but not during an indoor marathon relay.

One by one, the length of this race was starting to wear on us differently.  First Nolan’s foot started hurting him and he was running out of energy.  He was still clocking pretty quick splits, but you could tell he was not quite enjoying himself any longer.  He ended up swapping his shoes out with some shoes he had broken in.  Next my ankle started stiffening up and then eventually Christine started hurting also.

My last lap

The Finish Line

Just like my marathon experiences in the past, we just had to keep chipping away at the miles.  I refocused on the task- run 2 laps, rest for 6 laps, and repeat.  At around mile 20, I caught a second wind, which was the opposite experience I have had running a marathon.  I had three more legs to run, told Christine “I am feeling good, I am going to do these fast”.  These last three legs were my fastest of the race.  Christine was hurting bad by the end, so Emily and I picked up an extra lap to cover Christine’s last leg.  That left Nolan to finish the last leg and the race for us.  We wanted him to cross the finish line for our team, and the math of the of all the laps made that happen.  We finished just under 4 hours, so now I can say I finished a marathon under 4 hours.

I definitely underestimated what it would take to finish this relay.  Normally, a 6.5-7mi run is something that seems absolutely doable, but when you pair that with constant cold temperature, and stopping and waiting a majority of the time, it gets a little more difficult.  Next year I will be more mentally prepared for the race and hope that we will get a better time…as long as Nolan is back on my team.

11/15/17 – 400m Repeats and a Goal

It has been quite some time since I have done any work on a track. I think the last time was when Justine was still in the NICU and I escaped away to Lake Shore Park to get my mind off of the craziness of the hospital. I remember I was just so happy to be running and doing something “normal”. Over the past several years, running and working out has served as a way for me to clear my thoughts. When I am in the middle of a workout, all I need to do is concentrate at the task at hand. All of my worries and concerns will still be there when I am done with my workout. So this time is just for me.

I told Jim that I want to run a sub-30 minute 5K. It seems like an attainable goal IF I put in the work. He told me I needed to start incorporating speed and hill work into my training. In training for the marathon, I never really focused on speed since it is all about the distance. It was hard work getting in all of those miles every week, but there is no time limit. I knew stepping onto the starting line this year at the marathon that one way or another I was going to finish the race. And I did! But now this goal for the 5K is different. It is time based so just putting in the number of miles isn’t the only thing I need. Now it is about what I do in those miles: quality over quantity.

I hadn’t done 400m repeats in a long time so I wasn’t sure how I would do on my first attempt. I did a 1 mile warmup (not shown below) and then did 8x400m with a 1200m cool down. Ideally, the 400s would be at 5k pace, but like I said, it was my first try, so I just went with what felt good. I never knew how difficult it was to hold a steady pace for 400m. The wind on the backside straightaway did not help either.

Ultimately, I think it went well for my first try. I learned I know nothing about pace so I need to focus on that. When you are as slow as I have been, there is no rush to get to that finish line. “I’ll get there when I get there”. Now with this goal in mind I want to start pushing my limits to see what I can achieve. I’ve seen how far I can go. Now it’s time to see how fast.

11/13/17- 3 Miles and 9 Hills Later

This was my first outdoor run since the marathon. I️ finally got over my cold and it was time for me to get out there. I was a little worried at first because it’s been so long but I figure I’ll do a short distance and it wouldn’t be that bad, right? Every Monday the BWRC meets up at a park near our house so it is hard to pass up. I️ have been trying to go the past couple of weeks, but I only go if Justine is napping after school. And of course she hasn’t been doing that the past couple of weeks. Well today when I got home from work she was asleep! So I got ready as fast as I could and jumped I the car to head to the park.

My Sweatshop/running friend started running with the group a few weeks back so I was glad to see her. She is faster than me but she hung back and kept pace with me. I wanted to push it a little bit since I hadn’t run in a month so I was doing my run-walk at a faster pace – more like 10:30/mi during the run according to my friend and it felt comfortable. I think all that yoga I had been doing the past month had paid off.

My splits:

  • Mile 1: 10:39
  • Mile 2: 11:27
  • Mile 3: 11:51

Me and “Wheels”

We ended up doing just over 3mi because I wanted to have some gas for the hill sprints. I do enjoy running hills but I had never run them in a group before. I wasn’t sure if I would be intimidated by them or pushed by them. The group is so great that they were cheering me on as I ran up that hill 9 times. One of them even hung back with me to make sure I finished. It is so great to be a part of this group.

Great run to come back to finally shake off the cobwebs left from the marathon. I was extremely motivated and I’m sure I’ll be sore tomorrow. Gotta admit, I’ve missed this feeling.

Busse Woods Running Club

Boston – 4/15/13

Yesterday, a little after lunchtime I was talking with a co-worker about how difficult it is going to be for me to have our newborn baby girl and train for the Chicago Marathon this year. Over the past couple of weeks or so I had been going through the process in my head. Friday night carbo loads into Saturday morning long runs. Being gone for a few hours on Saturday morning only to come back completely useless for the rest of the day. All while a baby girl is waiting for me at home? I don’t know. How am I supposed to that?

As he was walking away I received a text message from a friend showing a tweet that there was an explosion at the Boston Marathon.

Text Message

WHAT?! That must be some kind of mistake or accident or something, but a very eery and familiar feeling came over me. Just like when 9/11 first happened, I was sure it was some kind of accident and my mind went immediately into rationalize mode. I jumped on google to see any reports, nothing. Went to twitter and my timeline was full of tweets about the explosions (now it was two). WHAT?! My immediate thoughts went to the runners I knew that were running the race – Chanthana and Kevin. They have always been so supportive of me and running even though I am nowhere near the level they are. I saw on Facebook that they had finished already, probably 30 minutes to an hour before the explosion, but I couldn’t help but worry about them.

Then the images started popping up online. Each picture a little more graphic and bloody than the previous one. Then two videos went public of the explosions, both from the vantage point of the finish line looking back at the course. I may not have been at the Boston Marathon, but I have been one of those people. Gutting out the last 200 meters of the race to ultimate victory of the finish line. Some people stopped in their tracks, some people continued to finish the race, and even one older man was actually knocked off his feet from the explosion. Yes…one of those people could have been me.

I frantically refreshed my twitter timeline hoping and praying to hear from Chanthana or Kevin. I sent them tweets and a text message just to let them know I was thinking of them. Eventually one of their teammates sent a tweet out to let us know they were ok. Thank God!

Tweet Tweet from @jennypoore

As I continued to read through all the tweets about the runners and spectators at the marathon I couldn’t help but feel the sense of community around everyone who was involved. Just like Chanthana and Kevin supported me through my training, there was all of these people praying for all the victims of the explosions. And just like me, all of them could have been at that finish line, either sprinting for the finish or supporting others to do so. There was this need to help, and to be honest I felt helpless. Here I was, a timezone away and there was nothing I could do to help. I stopped what I was doing and I prayed for everyone who ran the race, who was near the finish line during the explosion, and who will ultimately be scarred for life with this tragedy.

Whoever decided to do this did it to people just like me. They did it to our running family. But as all families do in times of adversity and heartache, we rise together. Today, there has been social media campaigns on Twitter and Instagram to show our solidarity, support, and love for all of the people effected by this heinous event. There are running groups who scheduled special runs tonight, people wearing race tees at work, people walking/running for 26.2 minutes, or people wearing a special bib all to honor their running brothers and sisters. Just do a search for #runforboston or #prayforboston and you will find messages and images of people showing their love for not only the city of Boston, but for each other.

At the time of this post, 170+ people were reported injured and 3 people have lost their life, including an 8 year old boy (Martin Richard) cheering on his dad and a 29 year old woman (Krystle Campbell) cheering on her boyfriend. I pray that the doctors are able to save the lives of the injured, and that the families of the ones who died can find some kind of comfort in the support from the nation.

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Blog posts about the 2013 Boston Marathon from my runner friends:

The pissed muscle of the week – Piriformis

Piriformis

After the 20 miler on Saturday I was feeling really good about the marathon.  I did the usual post-run ice bath when I got home and Jaz and I went to Edward and Michelle’s wedding where I danced…minimally.  Sunday we hung around the house and my brother and his family came by for dinner.  Then Monday…Oh My God.  I woke up with this terrible pain in my hip.  I had never had any type of issue with my hips so it got my concerned.  I had been trying to engage my glutes in my running the past couple of months, and it appears that I was “successful”.  But since I hadn’t been always doing it, using them for 20 miles can really take its toll.  Tuesday was way worse, I could barely move and walk around.  It was agonizing.  I started getting really worried with the marathon just a couple weeks away.

On top of that my allergies kicked in and I got a sinus infection.  I went to the chiropractor every day, stretched and iced as much as possible.  The pain travelled up to my lower/mid back area.  I finally went to get a massage on Thursday to see if my massage therapist Christine could figure out anything.  And she did.  My piriformis muscle on both sides were super tight and apparently this muscle is right on the sciatic nerve, which explains the pain in my lower back.

So after two months of having 100+ miles, I had my first goose egg week.  But somehow, I am not worried.  I know myself, and if I try to push myself after having a nagging injury, I will end up hurting myself even more.  My body needs the rest once again, so I will give it.  It was driving me crazy because the weather was SO cool this week, I know I would have loved every run this week.  As long as it stays this cool through October, I’m alright with missing this week!

So pirifformis muscles, sorry for pissing you off this past weekend.  I promise, I will only do that one more time this year!

Unexpected Motivation

For a while I have been trying to figure out what is so appealing about other runners.  Sure, they have incredible legs and can do something that many people don’t even think of starting, but there was just something more that makes me admire them.  This weekend I figured it out.

I ran the Elk Grove 20 miler on Saturday.  It was my second attempt at 20 miles this season and I was dead set on making it the full 20 this time.  It was very cool at the beginning and I was cursing myself to not having worn my gloves as my hands were pretty cold.  This run splits all the various pace groups in waves, so of course I was in one of the last waves.  Here we were, a few hundred or so people ready to embark on a 20 mile run.  For most of the group, it will take a fraction of the time for them to finish compared to me.  I always plan on just running my pace, making sure I just finish and not get in any people’s way.  But even though there were people fast enough to finishing about the time I hit 11 miles, there were people still giving me the approving nod or the occasional “stay strong” or “you got this!”  On any other day, we were completely strangers, but today we were in the thick of it…together.

I had been playing cat and mouse with this one woman pretty much the entire run.  I didn’t know who she was, but clearly we were pretty close to the same pace.  In my head, I called her Becky.  She’d pass me and I’d think “damn you Becky!” I’d pass her and I’d think “Bet you didn’t see that Becky!” The last 2 miles felt kind of rough for some reason.  She was making her move to pass me, and this time, instead of letting her, I stuck with her.  There just seemed to be something comforting about having someone thinking the same exact thoughts as me.  We’d hit a couple of tiny inclines and I would drive up them, making sure she followed me.  Then there were moments when I felt like I was starting to fade, and instead of taking off, she’d slow down and let me catch up until I caught up to the pace.  We didn’t say a word to each other.  Just knew that we were chipping away at the mileage, and I was feeling pretty good.  I didn’t have much of a kick left and I knew she did, so I finally let her go with about 1/3mi left.  She gave a quick glance back and she knew I wasn’t catching up this time and took off.  I had to walk for about a minute just to loosen up as my calves were tightening up, and then I finished the run on my own.  While I doubled over, stretching my legs I saw Becky walking by.  No words were spoken, but we both gave each other a smile, as a thank you.  I needed her there at the end and I think she needed me too.  If not, oh well, she had me around for almost 2 miles, haha.  Thanks Becky…or whatever your name is.

So what is the thing that makes runners so appealing?  It’s that inner strength you must have to be a runner.  That inner strength is so evident, that even people that are just around you can feel it, whether it’s just a comment to motivate you, or just simply being there and leading by example.  I hope that is something that I can learn and share with others.  Once you have that inner strength and confidence, there isn’t much that can stop you from going towards what you dream.  Keep fighting…it will be worth it.

 

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6am on a Saturday – Runners go run 20 miles

Confidence

 

Have you ever had that moment in your life when you just knew you would succeed?  I think I have finally hit that moment in training.

Let’s admit it, last year was terrible.  I was severely undertrained, and didn’t have a good base to run something like a marathon.  I look back at last year and I think about how naive I was.  I thought the fact that it was such a “great thing” that I was training for a marathon would carry me through that day in October.  I remember thinking all year that I was jumping into something crazy, but the fact that I am doing it means that I would finish.  But all through last year, I never once felt good about the marathon.  Of course I would worry about it everyday, but there was never a moment last year when I said to myself “I think I will do well”.  So I went into the marathon, with 18 weeks of training behind me, over $2000 raised for the America Heart Association…the fact that I got to the start line, was a victory in itself.  And to me, it felt like the last part of the win that day.

Here are some of the pictures where I felt like I was defeated that I haven’t really shared online (mainly because I was ashamed):

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Weeks went by after the marathon, and I was sure that I would never go through that again.  I know the weather was not ideal and it was not in our control, but it scarred me.  It discouraged me.  It almost felt like I was proven wrong.  I didn’t finish like I wanted to.  I wanted to finish with a genuine smile on my face, and it didn’t happen.  I felt cheated.  I wanted another shot, but could I be strong enough?

Here I am, 24 days till my second marathon and I had that moment.  The moment I felt like I will be ready for the marathon.  Throughout my training this summer, I did my best to stick to a running schedule, running 4-5 times throughout the week including the long run on the weekend.  I gave my body rest when I felt I needed it.  I iced and stretched constantly, and most importantly, I trained my mind by pushing my body.  Remember those 95 degree days we had this summer? I ran in it because I wanted to remember how tough it was last year in the heat and find a way to finish my run.  The moment came yesterday when I was running with the F^3 crew during their fun run downtown.  It was a cool night and it was just supposed to be a casual run through  the city.  I ran with Heather, Cate, and Christine and they said they were going to do a slower pace.  They ended up easing into their usual pace, but somehow I kept up reasonably well.  Before I knew it, I shaved a minute off each mile running an average 10:30/mi (my usual is 11:30).  I was shocked, but the fact that I did it means that I am capable!  Now I am not expecting that throughout the marathon, but geez, I’ve never run that pace for that long!

But there it is, I am a runner.  I will be running the Chicago Marathon in 24 days.  And I will be ready for it.

9/11

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For one of the first times in my short running life, running was more than just foot after foot.  I am sure that out of the almost 12,000 runners who finished today’s Chicago Half Marathon, people were sharing the same thoughts. Every so often I would catch a glimpse of a runner carrying an american flag or a sign from a spectator mentioning what 9/11 means to us now.  And for those couple of strides of catching eye contact with these people, I would get that lump in my throat and I start to fight back tears.  Now of course that is something you could have caught on TV at some point today, but actually being out there with people who have shared that same pain, or even more pain if they lost someone in those day’s attacks.

During the race, I started thinking about where I was ten years ago with my life around the time of the 9/11 attacks and how life has continued even after that horrific day.  It was difficult not to catch footage or segments this week on the radio about that day.  Today, I thought about how these people actually lived through that day, whether actually being there in front of it all, or someone they loved died.  There were moments that just overtook me and I just wanted to stop and cry though out the race.  Everytime I had that feeling I remembered the people I heard on the radio or on TV talking about their experiences.  Here they were, 10 years later, sharing their story and instilling a sense of courage into anyone who would listen.  I remember that day I was so scared because I wasn’t sure if my brother was traveling for work that week.  Those moments when I didn’t know felt like hours, but soon enough, we found out all was okay.  We were the fortunate ones.  There were thousands of people who never got that call from their loved ones.  Now those same people moved on from that day and have continued to live their lives.  So I would shake out that lump in my  throat and move on, just as they did.

There is something about finishing a race that is so exhilarating.  The entire race goes through your mind in that last stretch and you just want to finish strong.  Luckily I saw Sean at the last corner, it is always nice to see a familiar face on the course.  He had finished about an hour earlier, and he decided to run that last 1/4 mile or so with me.  Here was the perfect example of someone just wanting to help, just like that day 10 years ago.  And then the emotions came flying through me again.  I saw Jaz waiting for me on the sideline, and I waved to her and mouthed “I love you”, Sean exited off to the side and it was just me and 200 feet till the finish line.  I kicked it into high gear and just let all my thoughts run me.  At the end of every race I run, I send a kiss to the sky for my dad.  Today, I sent another kiss for all of those who died on 9/11/01.  It was my moment with them.  I may have never known the wonderful people that died that day, but today, I ran for them.

Another 100 mile month!

Another 100 mile month

So another month of training comes to an end, and I hadn’t really looked at how many miles I ran.  I figured it was over 100 miles, but I really had no idea how many miles over 100 I ran.  I was pleasantly surprised to find out that I had logged 122 miles in August.  Thanks to DailyMile I was able to compare this mileage to what I did last year while training for the marathon.  To my surprise, I actually DOUBLED my mileage from last August.  I know I am expecting to do more mileage this year since I am following the intermediate training, but last year, I remember missing a lot of runs.  This year I get at least 4 runs in during the course of the week including the long run.  I really think  that has helped me so much this year.  I guess we will find out for sure on October 9th to see if all of this training really help me out. But first thing’s first, I got my first 20 miler this weekend.  I hope to stay around the 4hour mark.  Unlike last year, I am actually somewhat looking forward to it this time around.  I just need to feel what 20 miles feels like again.  Then I’ll get to do it again at the Elk Grove/Busse Woods 20 miler in 2 weeks.  I don’t expect September to be close to the mileage of this August or July, but I do hope to hover around 100 miles again.

39 days…