A week after the Nike Women's Marathon and I have a better perspective on things. I lost sight of things in my disappointment from the race. It's too easy to dwell on the negative, something I've done a little too much lately. Some good things:
1. I surpassed my fundraising goal and raised over $3064 for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Add that to my 600 miles of training that's over $5 for every mile I ran while training or $117 for every mile of the race
2. The 4000 Team in Training participants raised $14 million just for this one race! Roughly $500,000 for every mile we ran
3. Two of my honored heroes are officially in remission!
4. I can run anytime I want for as far as I want. Many people can't say that. Many people are struggling to fight a disease that still has no cure. (one of my favorite signs on the course said "I run because I can")
5. I had a totally awesome weekend with some fabulous people who I can't wait to see again and even run with again! (some of us are doing a 1/2 marathon in a couple of weeks)
Did things fall apart at the end? yes, but it shouldn't define the experience. As one of my very smart friends said I finished, raised a bunch of money for LLS, and am better for it. Sometimes I feel like I dwell on the negative too much. It definitely happened on the back side of Lake Merced. I never questioned that I would finish. Mostly I was disappointed that my body would not do what I asked of it. I really want to do another full marathon, but am having trouble finding one close by that works with my schedule. I'm thinking sometime in the spring, but work already rules one out that I originally wanted to do (I'll probably still do the half).
official chip time 5:00:33 (that's me right in the middle)
Germs, germs go away, don't come back another day! Seriously!! I feel like I have had the "crud" for weeks now. I feel like I have a cold, then feel better, so I start running again, and wham! Back to feeling lousy again. It's making practicing difficult too because I'm tired and my ears are stopped up.
Not much new going on at the moment. I signed up for my next race on Thanksgiving day last week. A bunch of us from Team in Training are running, which is going to be a blast! I spent most of the week trying to find an official finishing photo from the Nike Women's Marathon. I'm pretty disappointed in the official photographers. Most of my friends have great photos of them running up to the finish line. Me? Nothing!!! I was blocked in every photo I found. Next time I'm bringing my own camera! I have to call to add some photos to my album before I can buy it, so hopefully I'll have a few more pictures from the race soon!
I survived!!! It maybe not be the best way to start a race recap, but after finishing on Sunday it truly was how I felt. It really was not my day, which was a huge let down considering how well the first half of the race started. It taken me a while to write this, which may turn out to be a good thing. It's given me sometime to reflect on what happened.
The weekend started out really well despite the really awful flight with AirTran. I'm sorry to say this about anything, but I would be perfectly happy to never fly AirTran ever again. It really was that bad. We made to San Francisco though, and got checked into the hotel with a wonderful view of the parking deck, and then headed over to the expo to pick up race numbers and have fun. It was the most confusing expo lay out ever. I ended up having to walk around the entire tent before finally figuring out where the race number pick up was, and then there wasn't anything to do in the tent after that. I really didn't needed the flavored oxygen, nor did I want to blend my own smoothie on a bike. So, I went over to Macy's to check out the official apparel, and get a little something for myself.
Saturday was fun, but I ended up walking a lot more than I wanted since Mom and I couldn't find a cable car that had room for us until we were almost to Fisherman's Wharf. One of my roommates from Florida State lives in San Francisco, so we got together to have lunch and hang out some. Amazingly right when we were headed over to the dock for our bay tour we ran into the rest of the team! So we ended up having a great time together before heading back to the hotel (no walking this time!) for our meeting and pasta party! Walking into the pasta party is truly one of my favorite things of the weekend.
Saturday night was the first time I didn't sleep through the night before a race. It was kind of a weird combination of nerves and fear that my alarm wouldn't go off. The hardest part of the morning was waiting for everyone to get together for pictures before we left. It felt like it was taking forever. We didn't head over to the start until almost 6:30am which made me a little nervous. The group I was running with got stuck trying to get to our pace group and ended up waiting with the 12:00-13:99 pace group. All I'm going to say about it is that I have never come across so many rude people in one place in my life! If no one if moving there is no room for you to go anywhere no matter how rude you are to us, we can't let you go anywhere, and pushing us around isn't going to get you anywhere either!
The first half of the race was great! Because there are so many people we started off at a really comfortable pace. It was so much fun running past the piers and even getting to run by bakeries as they were making sourdough bread. It smelled great! We hit the first hill coming up off of the bay and you could tell that a lot of people were not ready for them. We had to keep jumping around people so that we could keep moving. Most of us jumped up on the sidewalk. It was by far the easiest hill to get around people because the road was still wide. The second hill was really narrow! And hardly anyone ran up it. We had so many problems because people would abruptly stop right in front of us. It was just way too narrow for that many people. I almost ran right into a road block pillar because it was hidden by the people in front of me. Mile 6 brought the first of the really challenging hills. It's actually pretty similar to one that I run all the time on Peachtree Road called cardiac hill although this one might have been a little steeper. There were two more challenging hills after that to take us up to the highest point in the race and the cliffs over looking the ocean. It was beautiful!!! And very steep, which made me a little nervous when someone in our group mentioned going faster to make up some time. I tried not to see myself falling flat on my face. It was probably the best view we had!! I was kicking myself for not bringing my little camera along for the race (and even more so after getting my official photos. More on that later).
From the cliffs we hit the Golden Gate park. The crowd started thinning out some at this point, although the crowd came and went in spurts, and there was never a big crowd until you got to the finish line. The best part of the park was the smell!! It smelled like eucalyptus! It was awesome. We split twice from the half marathoners in the park. By the time we rejoined the second time we were at mile 16 and I found my Mom right before the final split.
What happened next never crossed my mind in the weeks and months leading up to the race. The first half had gone so well (I finished 13.1 miles in just over 2:16, which was great). What was next was the great highway, which I hope was named for the view (which was great). I didn't think it was so great at the time. The great highway took us to Lake Merced, which is a 5 mile loop, the longest 5 miles of my life. Up until mile 18 I felt really good, and then things started to cramp. Not a muscle getting a little tight, but full of cramps in my hamstrings. Once one started another one would get going. I couldn't run anymore, so I stopped and got some salt out and my last pack of Luna moons to eat, realizing that I was going to be in big trouble later, but there wasn't anything I could do about it. Things got better and I was able to start run walking around the lake all the while thinking I could still finish with a decent time. The problem with the lake is that the only people out cheering you on are the volunteers at the waterstops. It was the first time in a race that i had run by myself for such a long stretch too. It was miserable. I could have used a TNT coach, but they were all running past me in the opposite direction and ignoring me. I'll spare you most of the details because this was a really low point in the race for me. I somehow managed to get around the stupid lake and make it back to the great highway where I came to a complete stop. Because I had eaten everything I had brought with me already I was out of energy and fuel and no way to get any. Finally a TNT coach stopped and asked if I was okay, and I told him that I needed something to eat. His reply "what do you mean you need something to eat?" I'm pretty sure it means I need something to eat, just a wild guess. Fortunately he had some sports beans that he gave me and then I saw Tommy Owens, our head coach (the other TNT coach was surprised I knew Tommy. I think he finally looked at my shirt and realized I was from Georgia. Maybe he was going through brain melt...).
It was great seeing Tommy. I wish I had looked better. To quote Tommy he said "this sucks because you're in such great shape." No argument from me. It did suck, and I had already gotten pretty upset over it all. And then Rob came back! Rob and I had started with the rest of the group and had fallen off at the great highway. We were both in pretty bad shape. Both of us were cramping up, and both of us were ready to be done. So we started walking and running, and even stopped to stretch (should have done that earlier!). And then a glorious sight appeared. We were at mile 25 and just a little further down the road we got our first glance at the finish line from a distance. It was all we needed. Rob started yelling at me to take us home as I took off with him behind me. Somehow we started sprinting in, picking up our Coach Joanna right before the finish were we went even faster. I almost had trouble keeping up, but there was no way I was stopping. We were finally at the finish! I grabbed Jo's hand early in the sprint in the hopes of crossing with her and Rob, but had to let go because of the traffic in front of us. Somehow I even managed to PR (5:00:33). I really don't feel I deserved it at all. I was so mad, confused, emotional. And then I saw the pretty blue box from Tiffany's! It didn't make everything better, but it at least gave me a small sense of accomplishment. I had finished!
I feel like I left a lot of myself out on the course. The memory of the great highway and the lake keeps coming back almost a week later. I'm not happy about it at all. There is some unfinished business with those two. I don't know if it means doing the event again next year or not yet. I've already signed up to do a 1/2 marathon Thanksgiving day. I need to go run another race and try to get the bitter memories out of my head. I know that I can't control how things go, but a bad race on top of not great auditions has certainly lead to some low feelings about myself. I'm also thinking about try another full in the spring. I need to check my schedule before I do anything else, and I want to get through the 1/2 marathon too and just see how things go. I'm already running again, and feeling pretty good! I've also started doing a lot of yoga the last couple of days which has felt amazing! Sadly last Sunday just wasn't my day....
So, there isn't really anything new today. It's raining again. I'm pretty sure I live in Atlanta, but I have to say it feels more like Seattle's weather at the moment. I got up and went on my run this morning. The radar said it wasn't raining, but the soft patter on the roof said otherwise. Actually, it was just dripping and misty. I really didn't get that wet. Well, I did get a little wet because you can't see puddles in the dark. Shocking I know :). Nothing big is going on with my runs. I'm trying to take my time and just use them to stay loose and relaxed, but yesterday's average pace was 9:30 and today's was 9:21. Hmmm....
I've had a lot of trouble staying focused and motivated this week. I'm glad my lesson was on Sunday despite it being the worst lesson in a month. Honestly, it wasn't bad, but it certainly wasn't anything to brag about. My teacher is pretty awesome and very understand since I was sick all week. I promised to practice lots before I leave for San Francisco. I feel like I'm failing big time. I am practicing, but I don't know if it's doing any good. I am really good a packing though :).
Just 2 more days till we leave!!! Here's a little reminder of why I do this:
I remember exactly where I was the day I first saw the website for the Nike Women's Marathon. I don't remember the exact date. It was sometime in June of 2007, and I was training for my very first Peachtree Road Race. I had done a few fun runs when I was a kid, but had never done really well. All through youth I played soccer, but never once did I consider myself a runner. I had recently gotten a pair of Nike shoes which were compatible with the NIke+ system and I was on the website checking it out. I had set up my training plan with Nike after getting the shoes, which was great because I had never learned anything about training to run all through my time as a soccer player. Looking back I probably would have been even better at soccer if I had done some endurance training before the season started. And then one Saturday it happened. I came across the site for the Nike Women's Marathon, and I was entranced. It sounded like the coolest thing I had ever seen. A race geared towards women with a chocolate mile, foot stations, and a tiffany's necklace as a finisher's medal. At the time I never thought I could run a marathon, but I thought it would be really cool to run this one. There was no way I could do it that year because the race was already full, but Nike had done something very cool. They had set up a virtual half marathon for those who did not get into the race. All you had to do was sign up and get the Nike+ system so that you could upload 13.1 miles on the day of the race and in return (for a small entry fee) everyone who uploaded the correct mileage got a finisher's shirt and a tiffany's keychain. I had never wanted to try something so badly. I saved up and got an ipod nano and the Nike+ system, paid my entry fee, and set up a training plan to train for a half marathon.
Now, I should say that up to this point I had never run more than 8 miles. I had been training during the summer in Atlanta, my least favorite season to train, and it had been tough. I had gotten to know an old friend at church who was a runner. The day I discovered the Nike Women's Marathon had been the day that a bunch of us from my Sunday School class had gone to a Braves game (which they lost because they always lose when I go to a game), and we started talking about running and I told her what I had found. She said that one day she wanted to run that marathon, and before I knew it this came out of my mouth, "well if you do let me know, because you might be able to talk me into doing it too." HA! The next morning I tried out Nike+ for the first time and loved it!
I thought a lot about trying to do the race in 2008, but for various reasons I ended up running 2 different marathons that year, ING Georgia and the San Antonio Rock-n-Roll Marathon. San Antonio was my first race with Team in Training, and we ended up training along side the team going to the Nike Women's Marathon. I was so jealous! I had never wanted to do a race so badly before and right then in the middle of training I made a promise to myself. I was running the Nike Women's Marathon in 2009 with Team in Training. No questions about it. I didn't care if it meant turning jobs down (which hasn't been a problem because there are no orchestra jobs at the moment) I was doing this race! There was also no question about doing the race with Team in Training. I love working with Team in Training! It's one of the best decisions I've ever made. Unfortunately for our staff coordinator in meant that i started bugging her the day I saw the lottery for spots opened (I'm pretty sure she's forgiven me, at least I hope she has). She talked me into signing up to be a mentor, which was funny because at the time I didn't realize she was the one choosing the mentors for the Nike Team (payback for the bugging? lol).
In just 6 days I'll be running a race I've wanted to do for 2 years. It hasn't fully sunk in yet. Could it really be possible that on Sunday I'll be in San Francisco running the Nike Women's Marathon? Could you believe that I've already started packing? I'm just a little excited. Frankly, it's hard to sit still at the moment. I have a feeling that it's going to take a lot of focus to get through the week. Just 4 more days till we leave. I don't know what will happen at the race. I have a time in mind that I would like to finish in, but I don't know what will happen. There is no question that I will finish. I haven't held my goal pace for more than 10 miles, and my long runs have been significantly slower than what I'm use to. To make things even more complicated I've gotten a little faster now that the weather is cooling off. It's honestly starting t mess with my head. Saturday's run was great despite being sick, but my average pace was 8:30 a mile. I can't hold that for 26.2 miles. It is whatever it chooses to be that day, but one thing is for certain. On Sunday I'm running the Nike Women's Marathon. It's just 6 days away!!
Only 8 more days!!! I cannot wait for the team flight on Friday. I am so excited!!! This morning we had our final Nike team GTS (group training session) running "just" 8 miles. It feels pretty awesome saying I only have to run 8 miles. Despite having a cold all week it felt really good too! In fact I held a pace under 9 minutes a mile for a while too. At least I held it until the 2 hills at the end. They kind of kicked my rear end. Something about not being able to get enough oxygen into the lungs. Oh well. It's time to get lots of rest and take more vitamin C to try and get rid of the germs. I feel pretty unmotivated at the moment, but I have a violin lesson tomorrow that I'm not ready for at all. So, it's off to be more productive and then off to our shirt decorating party tonight (love it!!!)
I didn't run yesterday because I still feel a little under the weather and it was raining and thundering, which didn't seem like a good combination for someone who is sick and has a big race next week. So, I put off my 10 mile run until this morning instead of doing just 5 miles like the schedule said. I know that it's not smart to cram miles, but I wanted to the 10 mile run. It's the last double digit run before the race and I felt like that was the better thing to do. Yes, I know that "the hay is in the barn." (can't believe I missed the meeting and didn't get to hear Tommy's "hay is in the barn" speech this time). I haven't been feeling well, and I'm a little nervous. Well actually I'm exhausted, emotionally exhausted anyways. There are a lot of things going on that are pulling me down. I'm trying to look on the positive side of things. For example, I'm running a race that I've waited 2 years to do in just 10 MORE DAYS!!! I'm pretty excited about that. Or how about the fact that I have run over 570 miles training for the race and haven't gotten injured. That's pretty awesome too. Anyway, I just can't keep pushing myself, so I've taken the afternoon off of practicing and have spent my time napping and taking lots of vitamin C. Got to get rid of the germs!! This Saturday is going to be our very last group training session. I can't believe it's here already. It seems like we just started this journey yesterday...
I can't believe that this morning was my final tempo run before the race next week. What?!!! Next week?!!!! I cannot believe that I am finally getting to run a race that I've been waiting to do for 2 years! I'm going to the Team in Training offices on my way to work to pick up my race day apparel and travel information. Someone seriously needs to pinch me!
This morning's run went much better than expected, and to be honest I wasn't expecting much. I was pretty sick over the weekend and I don't think I've quite kicked all of the germs out of my system. So, I just let my body do whatever it could handle. I was pretty impressed. I did have to take a short walk break after the second hill, but overall I'm pretty pleased. I don't know that I'm going to be able to hold this pace for the race. I'm going to think positive. As someone said on Saturday, it is what it is. The good news is that my right knee doesn't seem to be bothering me any more. It apparently was a combination of tight muscles and changing my stride when I run slower on Saturdays. It hasn't been a lot of fun, especially since it was really bothering me this past Saturday, but it's really happy during the week when I using my normal stride. Form is important people!!
Total Distance: 4.13 miles
Total Time: 36:22
Average Pace: 8:48 per mile
Mile 1: 8:13
Mile 2: 8:13
Mile 3: 8:13
Mile 4: 7:03 (got to love a downhill finish =) )
I'm really excited today because my studio's website officially has it's own domain!! And it's uploaded and published already!! You can check it out at: http://www.gartleyviolinstudio.com
What a crazy last couple of days! I'm pretty sure that I'm coming down with a cold. All signs point in that direction. At least it's waited until the taper part of training. Yes, that's right it's Taper Time!! Yesterday I only had to run 8 miles =). Now those 8 miles were actually done with my mentee who was running 20 miles yesterday (Go Angela!), which meant I was running miles 12-20 of her route. That also meant I had to find something to do with myself for a couple of hours until she got to where I was waiting. No big deal. I got to chat with one of our awesome GTS coordinators Amy, and cheer in my teammates who were just running a normal 8 miles, and then off Coach Jo and I went to cheer in our teammates at the 12 mile water stop.
I got so excited about the race and getting paid that I started getting stuff that I need for race day., which meant heading out to the Big Peach Running Co to get some supplies. It was awesome, and I got tons of awesome stuff and had a great time talking to one of the staff who has run the Nike Women's Marathon before. Check out my loot:
I got some Luna moons (blueberry is my favorite), Nike running Capri (really excited about these), citrus fruit Nuun, which also comes individually wrapped so I can carry an extra with me on race day, and a new Nathan's sport bottle. I got even more excited and went home to start planning everything I need to pack. Monday is our Coach's Countdown Meeting, which sadly I can't go to because I'm not done for the until until 8:30pm. So, I'm going into the office to get my apparel, flight info, schedule, and other tidbits of helpful information.
I've got a couple of other things I'm trying to sort out this weekend. One is finally registering a domain name for my violin studio's website. The other has been figuring out what to do with my iPhone. The screen cracked yesterday =(. A super nice employee at the Apple Store helped me come up with a temporary fix because I can't afford to get the screen fixed or just buy a new one. Hopefully this will work for now. Fingers crossed!!!
yesterday afternoon was very interesting. It made me remember a conversation with a friend who is one of my former teachers. So, here's the question: What is the proper way to tell your teacher you will either be late, or your not coming?
Interesting right? When I thought back on it I came up with an interesting answer. See the only way I've ever let a teacher know I'm not going to be able to come is by calling them. When I started talking lessons that was the only way you could do it. There was no Internet to send an e-mail and no such thing as a text message (this is otherwise known as the dark ages to today's children). In fact the friend I mentioned before hates it when her college students send her a text saying they are not coming to their lesson. I can understand that.
This all comes up because of two students yesterday. The first just started at a new school and is running with his cross country team and it keeps running into his lesson. First I get a phone call and voice mail, which is great! Then a get a text message, which I reply to and ask if they want to come on Thursday. Then I get another text message with the same message as the first one. The second student was running late. Her dad e-mails me to say they're late. Fine no problem. I know he's driving so I don't send anything back (by the way I do not use my phone while driving!!!). Then I get a text at would have been the beginning of the lesson saying they're late. It seems a bit much to me. But then I started to think about all of the parents who have started texting me about lessons. No phone calls. No e-mail. Just text. What happened to the old way of doing things? I miss it! While I dearly love e-mail, nothing every beats a phone call or a note in the mail. Personally all of the messages were a bit much, but on the bright side I did know whether or not they were coming, which is a step in the right direction.
So what do you think? What's the best way to let someone know you're not coming?