Tuesday, September 25, 2012


If you googled "how to change bike gears", and happened to fall on this blog post, you are so in the wrong place.  If you are expecting a tutorial on bike gears from this post, keep googling. It's the total opposite! I'm the one who needs the book "Gears For Dummies".  Just say this last weekend's Hope Ride, a 50 mile cycling event I did with my husband, a friend and some family members was a much needed lesson on gears.  It wasn't exactly the way I wanted to learn.

As we headed out that morning, it was a frigid 40 degrees.  We had registered for 50 miles, so we were to ride two different 25 mile loops.   We headed out for the first loop hoping for warmer temperatures sooner than later.  I'm positive this was my coldest ride yet since I've started riding.  Yes, I'm whining! I hate the cold and it doesn't exactly make it any better when you're on a bike with the wind in your face. 

The first miles were relatively easy and flat.  Once again, I said "the first miles".  After so many miles in, I thought I was on the wrong ride early.  I know I've contemplated doing the Hilly Hundred, an extremely hilly, 2 day ride in October  again this year, but I questioned whether someone cheated and copied some routes.  

We encounter this hill and I'm pedaling with all of my strength.  Obviously my strength was not what this hill wanted.  It wanted me to change my gears, you know, those things most people know how to operate properly and efficiently BEFORE they go out on a 50 mile bike ride while not knowing the route elevation changes.  

Of course, this is probably the biggest hill I've ever attempted after finally taking the plunge and going clipless.  You know where this is going, don't you?  In the mere second I mentally address that my bike is no longer progressing forward and only about to fall sideways, I manage a miraculous getaway out of my pedals, all after expressing a few expletives.  Sorry to those who had to hear it. Yes, I witnessed you, the one with the unapproving glare.  That's OK, what I actually said was way less harsh than what I actually thinking.  

After, I made my great escape, I felt it was in my bike's best interest for me to finish the rest of the lovely incline on foot.  I think this particular situation had to occur one to two more times, in the exact same order: hill, almost fall over-but didn't, walk the hill, before I eventually figured out how to prevent this "disaster waiting to happen".  

When the hills weren't an issue, I would play with the gears hoping to find a resolution for my ignorance.  Thankfully, for my sake and most importantly the bike's, we came to a compromise. I'm positive my gear changing abilities are not up to par with Lance Armstrong, but at least I finally got to ride up some of the last hills versus walk.  

I know, you want to know how I got through 160 miles on the R.A.I.N. Ride, without knowing how to properly change my gears.  Honestly, I had never thought about it until now.  Obviously, there must not have been any significant hills.  When I did R.A.I.N. & the Hilly Hundred last year, I had done it on a hybrid that had "gears for dummies". There were little numbers on the top and they were easily changeable.......by people like me.  I had just replaced my hybrid with my road bike this year back in late March before doing the R.A.I.N. this year,  and have yet to do any rides with significant elevations changes, thank goodness.  

Within our first 25 mile loop, one of our rest stops was at a combo winery/restaurant where we gladly went in and had a few sodas and relaxed prior to heading out for the last half of our first loop.  My husband decided he could get warmed up by tasting a few of the wines before we hit the road again.  

If I had known at mile 25, what I knew at mile 35, I would have stopped at mile 25 and headed home.  Were there more hills? Actually, no.  Loop 2 was a relatively flat and easy route.  What I didn't know, was that the wind speed would increase up to 29 miles per hour and the there would be wind gusts up to 36 miles.

 In addition to the very unwanted and unnecessary resistance training, for whatever reason my quads were on fire and my saddle was not serving my rear end very well either, 2 issues that are rare for me.  I don't know what was wrong with me, as I have been on the bike this past summer numerous times and have yet to endure either issue until this past weekend.  My only guess is that the combination of hills, wind & my recent marathon have wore me out and I need to take it easy. Oh, wait a minute, I think my knees have already screamed that out loud.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012


I was awake a few minutes before my 4 a.m. alarm that I had set the night before.  Amazingly, I slept pretty well for it being the night before my first ever full marathon, the Air Force Marathon.  I usually don't sleep well the night before any race, so this was definitely unexpected but appreciated.  I figured I was going to need all of the rest I could possibly get for the next 26.2 miles I was about to endure. 

I jumped out of my hotel bed that surprisingly served me well and immediately commenced consuming my pre-race breakfast that I had removed from the hotel fridge; 2 pancakes, 1 banana slathered in peanut butter & a Powerade Zero, all brought from home.  Just say I have yet to get this pre-race fueling down and was questioning whether I was eating enough or too much.  Can you even eat too much when you're going to run over 26 miles?  

My stunning legs and their KT Tape.  
I got dressed and KT taped my knees and feet. I usually wear a knee brace, but it tends to be cumbersome and I hate wearing it during races. The tape is anything but.   If you've never used this stuff, believe me, it works.  My biggest issue is my right knee because of details I won't bore you with, but I've ran less miles that really hurt my knees while I finished 26.2 miles and my knees feel great as if I've never ran.   

We took some pre-race photos before we left the hotel and discovered how chilly it could be at 6 a.m. in the morning as we packed up the car with our overnight bags.  Thankfully, I had picked up a $2 clearance sweatshirt at the local Walmart the night prior in anticipation of the chilly start of the race.  

Once we arrived at the Wright-Patterson Air Force base, just say a warm up was unnecessary.  We had to park so far away,  I'm almost positive my mileage after walking to the start line and back to the car after the race exceeded 32 miles versus the expected 26.2. It was definitely a brisk walk in 50 degree temps and running shorts. Although perfect for running, I was definitely not ready to walk the guesstimated 2 miles in this nippy air.  

We made our necessary two trips to the infamous race port-a-potties, checked our bags and got in some additional pre-race photos before we headed over to the start line.  When I say "we", I'm referring about my uncle & cousin, also both running the full.  It was a family affair. 

This "guy" flew over right before the
official start! 
My opinion of my marathon training was that is was less than fabulous and was not consistent. Regardless,  I would finish whether it was crawling or being pulled across the finish line by my hair as I had suggested to a fellow runner who had coincidentally mentioned some cave man strategy around mile 14.  Hey, whatever it takes! 

I lined up behind the five hour pace team not because I thought I had any chance of finishing within five hours, but because there wasn't a 5:15 or 5:30 pace team.  I figured they would eventually lose me, but it gave me an idea of what pace not to exceed before they did.  

I was forewarned about the hill early in the race between mile one and two.  I made sure not to out pace myself and to ensure an early bonk.  

       Mile 1 11:10.1       Mile 2 11:22.2

As I settled into my run, I had decided part of my strategy was going to be take water at every station and eat at all opportunities, especially earlier in the race as suggested on my Facebook page by a fellow and more experienced runner, Mark over at Wise Running.  Fueling on my long runs has never been my strong point, so I figured I couldn't do anything worse.  When the volunteers held out bananas, I had a banana.  When a lovely lady was handing out Fig Newtons from a tray, I helped myself to two of them.  I later had more bananas and even a cookie somewhere along the route. I did skip out on the Krispy Kreme glazed donuts.  I was wanting energy and fuel, not a diabetic coma.
Mile 3 10:15.3
Mile 4 10:45.2
Mile 5 10:48.2
Mile 6 10:44.1
Mile 7 10:47.1
Mile 8 10:58.8
Mile 9 10:59.0                                       

My  pace stayed pretty consistent as you can tell from my early miles up until about mile nine. After that, my right IT band was started making his presence known in a very painful way.  I guess I should have KT taped him too! My IT band made sure I knew about his unwelcome and painful visit for longer than I had hoped for.   This is well indicated in my slower than desired pace up until about mile eighteen. 

Mile 11 11:04.5
Mile 12 11:26.2
Mile 13 12:00.3 
Mile 14 11:33.5
Mile 15 11:50.9
Mile 16 11:50.6
Mile 17 11:53.7
Mile 18 12:11.6

Right before I was about to come up on the 18 mile marker, I hear quite a bit more conversation from the runners coming up from behind me than I had heard through out the race.  As I hear it get closer and louder, I turn around to find the 5 hour pace group literally on the back of my heels.  Surprised that I hadn't noticed that I passed them, the pace leader makes a comment referencing mile 18 being where many tend to encounter the "wall".   As I hear this, I immediately pull out my GU Chomps.  I'm determined not to be a statistic.

While trying not to choke on my Chomps, the 5 hour pace group continues their party mentality with stories and riddles.  I know this works for some and very possibly gets them through 26.2 miles less painfully, but I'm not very tolerable of a loud noise. I don't even run with headphones or music.  At this point, my only goal is to separate myself considerably from the group while not  out pacing myself.  

Strangely enough, around the same time, my IT issue has seemed to lessen considerably and I feel energized once again. I'm able to put in the distance from the pace group and find myself utilizing a fellow runner to pace myself.  We both admit to pacing each other and keep up the conversation.  He tells me he had registered for a total of 12 marathons this year and had just had a heart attack 90 days ago.  I mentioned the irony of his efforts when he admits to his love affair with french fries and fast food; proof that our health is 20% exercise and 80% diet.  

Mile 19 10:56.9
Mile 20 10:22.6
Mile 21 10:23.3
Mile 22 10:45.5
Mile 23 10:41.6
Mile 24 10:54.0
Mile 25 10:16.9
Mile 26 10:39.5

I eventually lose my company somewhere at a water station and venture on my own for probably the last 3-4 miles or so.  I'm not too excited to see the next hill as this race was advertised mostly flat, and it had been anything but mostly flat. Didn't I specify "No Hills" in the special requests part of registration?  Regardless, I storm up it like a trooper.  I'm not letting this hill take me out.  

I finish my first ever 26.2 miles ever at 4:51:21, considerably less than my anticipated time of 5:15-5:30ish.  I'm absolutely ecstatic.  As mentioned before, with my less than stellar training, I definitely underestimated myself.  

Standing in front of the wall that runners had signed the
night before at the expo after I finished my marathon!
This is the only "wall" I encountered!
After crossing the finish line of my first ever full marathon, I accepted my medal and headed over for post-race fuel, pizza and chocolate milk.  I earned every calorie! 

www.momrunsfasterthandad.com 1st marathon
on the wall 

I then sought out my uncle who I knew most likely finished more than an hour prior.  We took some post race pictures while waiting for cousin.  
Me, next to a very big Air Force airplane.
I couldn't asked for a better first marathon.  The weather was perfect.  For once my fueling strategy worked.  I was able to pace myself well enough that I was capable of running the race in its entirety.  The volunteers and street side spectators were extremely supportive! I'm already contemplating which race will be my next marathon! 

Thanks to those who have endured reading my long, sometimes rambling blog entries, liked me on Facebook and/or have followed me on Twitter . If you have yet to do so and are a glutton for punishment, you may also find me here on Daily Mile and Pinterest.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

10 Running-Related Personal Questions

Yesterday, over in Twitter land, I was called out in a tweet from Nicole over at Not "Just" A Half blog,  to answer the following questions put out by by Sarah & Dimity at Another Mother Runner.       
I'm always up for a challenge, kind of, as long as they don't involve me in their TMI Tuesdays.  

I Survived MY 1st Trail Half Marathon &
 My Robo-Mom Knee Brace. 
1.  Best Run Ever:  That's a toss up between two runs, my first half marathon trail run, this year on my 39th birthday, August 4th.  It was difficult & the humidity was like nothing I've ever experienced, yet I finished & felt totally accomplished.   I literally rung out my clothes in the bath when I came home after this run.  The other run would be the Indianapolis Women's Half Marathon I just ran last weekend, Sept. 1st.  It too was hot & humid, yet I unexpectedly managed to PR.  Ok, if I have to pick, I'll go with the trail run.  It was definitely more challenging. 

2.  Three Things That Describe My Running:  Empowering, Invigorating, Therapeutic

3.  My go-to running outfit is: I usually wear a black pair of Nike or Adidas running shorts with a liner (liner is an absolute must- I won't even consider buying them without) and a chafe-free & wicking fabric tank, usually a Nike or Adidas. Sunglasses are a must.  I will sometimes go girlie & wear a running skirt. Of course, I always accessorize with my Brooks Trance running shoes, Garmin, and Road ID bracelet. 

4.  Quirky habit while running:  I won't stop running until I've hit my mileage goal exactly.  If I go out for 3 miles, it will be nothing less than 3-not 2.99, and so on for 4, 5, 6.  I will run circles in front of the house until my Garmin beeps to indicate I've reached my goal.  

5.  Morning, midday, evening:  All Three! I go with the flow of life's schedule and the weather.  You can find me out running as early as 6 a.m. up until as late as 11 p.m. 

6.  I won't run outside when it's:  Funny that you ask.  When I first started running, if you want to call it that, about five years ago and up until about the end of last year; I was very finicky. If it was below 60, or above 75; I didn't want to run outside. If it was raining or the wind was blowing, I wouldn't run outside.  I insisted on the gym treadmill.  As I think about it now, they were just excuses not to run.  In order to combat this "issue", I registered for numerous holiday races this previous year from the Jingle Bell Run to the Turkey Trot, etc., knowing I would have to run in the cold.  I'm too cheap to skip runs that I had paid for, regardless of the temperature, so I eventually acclimated.  Now, amusingly, I wish & hope for 55 degree mornings, abhor the treadmill, and have ran during many 90 degree, blistering hot days.   To directly answer the question, I wouldn't run outside when it's icy.  You can't always see ice and I'm not going to risk a severe injury for 1 run.  

7.  Worst injury-and how I got over it: An IT band issue from overuse & over training at the same time I "took out" a considerable amount of cartilage in my left knee from the Dances With Dirt 50 mile Relay Trail Run just a week after running the Indianapolis Mini Marathon.  For the IT band issue, I found foam rolling and have been doing it ever since.  According to doctors, there isn't much I can do for the lack of cartilage and the unusual, excessive movement of my patella, a.k.a. the kneecap, other than to consistently wear a knee brace while running to stabilize it and reduce the friction.  It helps tremendously. If I don't wear the brace, I notice almost immediately.  The brace is a tad cumbersome & with hinges, therefore;  the kids have referred to me as robo-mom. 

8.  I felt most like a badass (bad word, lol) mother runner when: Anytime I run, whether it be  a road or trail race, a jaunt through the neighborhood, or a  mud run.  Running, period, is badass

9.  Next race is:  HA! My FIRST ever full marathon, the Air Force Marathon this Saturday, September 15, as in 3 days! Eeek! As I've told myself numerous times this week, I won't cross the finish line first, but I will cross it. 

10.  Potential running goal for 2013:  As many half marathons as I can fit in-road & trail, a couple more full marathons, maybe even a full trail marathon.  I want to focus on more consistent running and better training for my races.  I'm open to anything, my first triathlon, more mud runs.  My ultimate goal would be to recruit & convince my husband to run a race with me. 

Hey, don't be shy!  If you are a fellow Another Mother Runner blogger, feel free to share with us your answers to the above 10 questions.   Just don't forget to refer back to their page at Another Mother Runner.  

Thanks to those who have endured reading my long, sometimes rambling blog entries, liked me on Facebook and/or have followed me on Twitter . If you have yet to do so and are a glutton for punishment, you may also find me here on Daily Mile and Pinterest.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Taper Time

I've heard it a thousand times. The taper before your marathon is imperative. I get that. The key is rest, rest and then more rest. I can handle this part quite easily. I'm quite capable of finding things to do since I know longer am required to run for hours on end to cap out at 22 miles on  a trail on the near north side of Indy. 

So far, I've thoroughly cleaned our our walk in closet. I've repainted the front office.  I also sanded and painted the stairwell. I put in a few more hours than usual at the office last week.  I'm not sure if those all count as resting, but my legs are being used minimally. How do I know this? Ask my back. The sanding, the paint rolling, has brought out the muscles in my back that running tend to neglect. 

Physically, I can handle this taper so many refer to as torture.  Mentally, not so much! While sanding, painting & cleaning all I think about is should I be out running instead. Maybe I should add a few miles onto this run.  All of a sudden I have joints & muscles hurting that shouldn't be hurting. I've read this is the psychological part of your separation anxiety from your dependence on running. 

I'm excited that my first full marathon ever, the Air Force Marathon is in just five days, but also nervous that the last 4.2 miles I've never ran will be the death of me.  I keep telling myself my last long run should have been 26 miles, not 22. Others say it's not necessary.  We shall see, or better yet I will see.  

I've been passing some of the time "hanging out" with some of the Air Force marathon runners on the Air Force Marathon Facebook page.  They are quite a group.  If you have a question, you can count on them to answer. If you want to know what the 10 day forecast is for Dayton, Ohio, they will tell you. If you are unsure of your training, they will reassure you.  If motivation is what you need, they will motivate.  If you want to vote for president, you                can do so here.  Don't ask! You'll just have to visit their page. 

Five days, just five days until my first marathon ever. I know I won't cross that finish line first, but I  will cross it. 

Thanks to those who have endured reading my long, sometimes rambling blog entries, liked me on Facebook and/or have followed me on Twitter. If you have yet to do so and are a glutton for punishment, you may find me here on Facebook and/or follow me on Twitter , Daily Mile and Pinterest.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

I Was Promised Rain

As of right now, almost 9 hours after I finished the Indianapolis Women's Half Marathon, we have yet to see any significant indication of the Hurricane Isaac remnants we were promised.  Many joked of swimming & boating via Twitter and Facebook versus running. Instead we got humidity that was to die for. 

Most of us would of welcomed Isaac, but no, just like many blind dates, he was a no show. I don't know what he was scared of. Did he not think almost 2500 ladies willing to brave 13.1 miles couldn't handle him? Well, I assure you Isaac, 2500 women who are willing to accomplish 13.1 miles in this humidity could have handled you, in fact we would have welcomed you with open arms.   

As I began my first mile and immediately started to pour in sweat, my hopes of any PR's were immediately squashed.  I just told myself I was going to pace myself to get myself through this awful humidity and that with my recent marathon training, I shouldn't do any worse than my last half, the 500 Festival Mini Marathon.  

Our route took us from downtown Indianapolis to the Monument Circle, up north to the State Fairgrounds area and back down south to the finish line near the NCAA building. I think it was right before mile 7, I seen my husband on the side of the street "trying" to get pictures, so I waved.  The picture is a tad blurry, but you get the point.  

At mile 7, the time caller (I'm sure they have a more official name. I just don't know what it is) called out 1:09.  With some quick "in my head" math, I realized a PR wasn't out of the question, if I maintained my pace or close to it.  From that point, that was enough motivation to "keep it moving". 

Finished & Smiling Because I PR'd. 
Just say there was a lot, and I mean a LOT of mental work going on after that to keep me moving in order to keep up with my last ditch effort at a PR.  Right before the last mile, the turn was a little farther up than I had expected, just say I kept the expletives in my head.  Regardless, I pulled through with a PR of 2:07:38, 9 minutes and 27 seconds faster. WooHoo! PR Happy Dance....in my head. I was not dancing at the finish line, sorry! 

The night before, I had headed over to the downtown Hyatt Regency Hotel for bib pick up.  It was definitely a ladies affair. There was the local Cosmetology school giving free manicures and massages available. After I picked up my bib and bag, I watched the fashion show by Blue Mile, our local running store while munching on pastries & drinking tea. I then did a window shopping through the vendors. 

I heard the race after party, catered to the female once again, with mimosas, bloody marys and massages.  I didn't get to find out, as I needed to get to an offspring's football game. 

Oh, by the way. It's now thundering. I think Isaac is now trying to make an appearance. 

Thanks to those who have endured reading my long, sometimes rambling blog entries, liked me on Facebook and/or have followed me on Twitter. If you have yet to do so and are a glutton for punishment, you may find me here on Facebook and/or follow me on Twitter , Daily Mile and Pinterest.