Lansing Marathon 2012 Recap

“When you cross that finish line, no matter how slow, no matter how fast, it will change your life forever.”

488 miles, 16 weeks, and 1 pair of running shoes ago… I started this journey to train for and then run in my first marathon at the inaugural running of the Lansing Marathon, just down the road from where I go to university.

April 22, 2012, Race Day, was finally here.

I woke up at 4:00am. I could still hear my fellow college students spreading out the drunken fun from the night before into the early morning hours. Tried and true breakfast of oatmeal with MRM vanilla whey protein powder and peanut butter. I got my marathon spirits high by watching “Spirit of the Marathon” until it was time to leave, pick up my mom, and meet my dad at the starting line.

As race day approached, people kept asking me what my goals for the race were.

– FINISH the race
It was my first marathon and so ultimately I just wanted to conquer a distance that I had never done before. But, I also had another goal, a time goal.

A+ – 4:0x
I wanted to finish in 4 hours. I knew that with a 9-ish minute/mile pace that I could get it, but when it came down to it, would I be able to keep it together and do it?

B – 4:30
Erring on the side of caution, I told my family anywhere from 4 – 4.5 hours. I wanted them there to see me finish and didn’t want to risk them not being there because of pace was off. Luckily, I thought to buy a SPIbelt to hold my phone and text L (and Twitter) my mileage once an hour.

L and me waiting in the lobby. Gobbertastic 7am face.

Once we got there, most of the runners huddled in the lobby of the Radisson (mad props!) to keep warm and go to the bathroom. Temperatures were around 30 degrees at the start, so sunlight and warmth was a luxury. I finally lined up about 10 minutes before 8, even though the race didn’t actually get going until about 5-6 minutes after that when the anthem was song and the mayor and race director had spoken.

Mile 1-3: We started in front of the Accident Fund building and headed east on Michigan Ave for about the first 3 miles. Sunny and uneventful. At this point I was sticking to my “run 2 miles-walk 1 minute” technique and walking through the water stations (every 2-ish miles and Port-A-Potties every 4-ish, which I did not partake in) and doing it pretty easily. Started off pretty fast, around 8:17 pace.

Mile 4-6: Once we reached the western edge of Michigan State’s campus, we turned south for a scoch and head west over the highway. This was really when the “flat” course that we were promised started to be called into question. The overpasses were a bit of a struggle, but my go-to mantra and fellow runners kept me going strong. 8:28 pace.

Mile 7-9: We headed into the agricultural portion of Michigan State just south of the main campus. The wind really started to pick up here, and continued heading east following Mt. Hope Road. I was still keeping on pace and still following the 2-1 technique and hitting every water station. I think that this was even the portion when we got to see beef cattle! 8:53 pace.

Miles 10-11: Going out to the easternmost edge of the route, we finally got off the main roads and entered into a neighborhood. One of the trainers at my gym, Jess, was waiting at mile 11 (another client was running the full, too) and it really helped my spirit to see her and have her shout my name. 9:03 pace.

Mile 12-13.1: The neighborhood was really fun to run through. Lots of families were sitting on their front lawns and cheering us on! I ran a couple of miles with a 59-year-old who qualified for Boston 2013 and will be repping the 60-year-old age group with an awesome 3:45 time. Seeing the halfway mark was definitely a sight for sore eyes. 8:53 pace. Half time: 1:53:28

Mile 14-15: Finally done going south! Kind of felt like the middle of nowhere even though we were passing people’s homes. 9:22 pace.

Trucking on through the wind.

Mile 16-20: This. Was. Death. The wind decided to shift direction apparently and all of us runners felt like we were barely moving. Running nearly 4 miles on College Road into a headwind was soul crushing. This was when I seriously considered stopping and just walking the rest of the way. With the agricultural land, there wasn’t much cover from the wind. L and my mom were waiting for me at Mile 18 ready to take pictures and cheer me on, but it was tough going none the less, and my body wanted to quit. Switched to walking 1 minute after every 1 mile. 9:51 pace.

Mile 21-22: Finally out of the wind, but the damage was already done. My calves hurt and I knew that my pace was on the way way down. I nearly burst into tears when I saw my dad at the corner of Forest Road and Aurelius right by Mt. Hope Cemetery, I was so happy to see him there cheering me on. 10:37 pace.

Mile 23-24: Across the river from Potter Park Zoo. Trying to hang in there with my calves on fire. 1 mile run. 1-2 minutes walk. Can’t stop because then I might not get going again. Slow and staying slow. 10:39 pace.

Mile 25-26: I knew that I was close and I couldn’t give up. We had a few good downhill portions to keep us moving forward. Going under the highway rather than over it. We finally re-entered downtown Lansing. 10:22 pace.

Too fast to photograph... I whip mah hair back and forth!

Mile 26.2: I saw the finish line, and I ran. I don’t know what came over me, or where the energy came from, but all of a sudden it was like I couldn’t feel my legs and I just let it rip. I sprinted that last bit. Literally, I topped out at 9.0 mph as I got on my toes and let the adrenaline overtake me. This was mine. This was for me.

Race bling.

I crossed that finish line in 4 hours 5 minutes and 46 seconds. This was good enough to earn me the overall ranking of 169/404 total finishers and 2/15 in my age group (F 20-24).

After I got my medal and my space blanket, I started looking around for my family. I wanted a hug dammit!

My dad got to me first and I broke down. I sobbed tears of joy and pride in what I had accomplished. How hard that I worked for this and how happy I was that they were there for me to witness it. And he held me tight and let me cry, saying how proud of me that he was. Once L and mom finally caught up the initial flood of emotions had pretty much subsided, thankfully.

I don’t like to think of myself as a huge crier, but I had been holding back tears several times out on the course and it was about time that I let them go. Ya know, when breathing wasn’t quite as important.

My calves were killer. I had a huge knot in my left calf muscle that one of the chiropractors worked on for awhile. That was almost enough to make me cry, too, but for far different reasons. Needless to say, I’m stretching, rolling, and icing that baby tonight. Ouch!

Afterwards, L had promised me that we could check out a frozen yogurt place that I had heard of on the way home, Sugar Berry. Since we had driven my mom, she of course joined us.

It. Was. Awesome. Seriously, obsessed now and L may regret ever having agreed to let me go.

And I got the biggest cup. Hey, I just burned about 3,000 kcal, I think I deserve it, yes? Plus, it’s healthy…ish… if you don’t look at the toppings EVER.

Taro, Cake Batter, and Peanut Butter froyo. Toppings: pineapple, Lifesaver gummies, Reese's PB cups, Oreos, York candy pieces, Skittles.

Back home, showered, and happy.

All in all, this has been such a defining moment in my life. I don’t regret a second of it, even the pain and discomfort, that these past 4 months have brought me. That medal was worth every penny spent and every footstep taken.

While the wind wasn’t exactly welcomed, and I probably could have broken 4 hours if they weren’t gusting up to 20 mph, I don’t regret my time at all. No disappointment. ZERO. And I applaud the race organizers. This was not just my first marathon, but the city of Lansing’s first marathon as well. I can definitely see this race growing in popularity and would recommend it to others looking for a spring race.

And in case you’re wondering: no, I do not plan on running another one. But at least I can say:

I AM A MARATHONER.

Lansing Marathon Training: Week 16


Lansing Marathon Training

Week 16: April 16 – April 22, 2012

Monday: 4.20 miles (Easy Run, ?:?? avg pace)

Not sure on my pace or total time, since I accidentally pulled the emergency stop when I went to “turn” the page on my Kindle at the 0.55 mile mark. Why does there need to be TWO emergency stop buttons?! But, it was probably around 40 minutes total. Took it nice and even slower than I normally would on an easy run, as I will be doing for all of my runs this week.

Tuesday: 4.20 miles (Easy Run, 9:45 avg pace) + Lifting

Body is still a bit sore from the weekend, but it’s getting better every day. The run went pretty well until near the end when my left ankle started acting up. I’m a little worried about it because it hasn’t been bothering me this entire training cycle. I suppose I’ll just have to be super conscious of it for the next few days…

Wednesday: 4.20 miles (Easy Run, 9:51 avg pace)

Kept it slow after my weekly morning work meeting. My ankle started acting up in the last mile or so. Luckily, my training schedule (below) already has me resting for the next two days, and I definitely will. Saturday with an easy 1-2 mile run will be the last test. At this point, I’m of course still going to run my race, but Saturday will determine the goal(s) that I will be setting for myself on race day.

Almost to the end of the training calendar!

Thursday: OFF 

Friday: OFF

Saturday: 1.89 miles (Easy Run, 10:00 avg pace)

20 minute shake-out run the day before the race. Ankle felt great! Hamstring was tweaking a bit when I went to the race expo to pick up my race shirt and racing bib, but then again it’s been doing that for 7 or 8 months now (since my injury), so I’m not letting it get to my head too much. As long as I can sit and stand without pain then I know that I’m okay.

Sunday: LANSING MARATHON

Check out my recap post tomorrow to find out how it goes!

Reflections

Yes, I did feel a slight touch of taper madness, but not nearly as much as I was expecting based on how others have presented it as on their blogs and Twitter.

Last minute aches and pains may have me reevaluating my goal(s) for race day, and to be honest I’m perfectly fine with that. I don’t know if I’ll ever run a FULL marathon again (plenty of half marathons in my future though, I’m sure), so I will finish this race even if it means walking across the finish line in 6 hours. Things don’t always go perfectly the way you want.

At least the weather is looking like it’s going to be pretty good too, unlike for all of those who ran Boston this year.

No unseasonable warmth going on here!

Right now I’m just trying to eat right and fingers crossed that my IBS cooperates tomorrow. PLEASE! IBS, you have already interfered with my life twice this past week, you OWE me tomorrow.

Totals:

Miles Run – Week 16: 14.49
Miles Run – Total: 487.68
Strength Sessions: 1

Lansing Marathon Training: Week 15


Lansing Marathon Training

Week 15: April 9 – April 15, 2012

Monday: 6.00 miles Track Ladders (Quality Run)

Last quality run of the training cycle! 200m @ 7.5; 400m @ 7.2; 800m @ 7.0 with recovery periods of 6.0 for the same distance in between. Speed work always makes my legs feel so strong and makes me sweat like none other. There’s nothing like hitting the gym the morning after a big eating holiday, am I right?

Tuesday: 3.20 miles (Easy Run, 9:17 avg pace) + Lifting

This wasn’t a fun run. I got really nauseous for some reason, so I only did 3 miles (about as long as I could stand it) rather than the 4 that I had hoped for. I’m hoping that the nausea doesn’t become a trend, because I’m not above puking on marathon day as long as it means that I finish the race.

Wednesday: Strength + 5.00 miles Tempo Run

LAST tempo run of the training cycle. Halle-freakin-lujah. Too bad it had to come right after a group workout during my weekly morning work meeting. If there’s anything I regret about this internship or training for this marathon, is that the two had to intersect so that I couldn’t take full advantage of the gym and its classes. I honestly would join this gym if I had a full-time job and could afford the monthly membership. Until then, I’ll stick with my super cheap community center membership and maybe purchase a few things to start building my “home gym”.

Thursday: OFF 

Strength training is a must when training for a marathon!

Friday: 11.00 miles (Long Run, 8:39 avg pace)

Last long run! It was really windy and quite a bit warmer than I thought that it would be, so instead of doing the 2 mile, 1 minute walk like I usually do I did 1 mile, 30 seconds. This ends up being the same time-wise but it just as manageable especially when you’re having a hard time with your run mentally. I may end up using this run-walk method for the race and I’m perfectly fine with that since the time all end up being the same.

Saturday: 20 minutes inclined walking (1.17 miles) + Lifting

My pec major muscles are burning! I did chest flies for the first time in forever and I’m sure that I’ll be feeling it for the next few days. Gotta love the shaky feeling you get after a good, hard workout.

Sunday: 15.29 miles stationary bike

Last round of cross-training. Stationary bike at the gym. My lats are still super sore from the chest flies the day before. And now my booty’s sore from an hour on the bike seat and a night of bumping and grinding on the floor (on the floor!) Haha, for real though, dancing is serious work. I got whiplash St. Paddy’s Day 2011 because I whipped mah hair back and forth too enthusiastically.

Reflections

It is beyond exciting to finally see the 22nd in the 10-day forecast. And so few workouts left to go! OMGONEWEEKTOGO! The race planning committee posted a picture of the medals and they look amazing. I will be picturing that baby around my neck every time I want to quit next week. DNF does not get a medal.

No taper madness yet, and I still don’t foresee it creeping up on me in the near future. The semester is ending and I’m being kept plenty busy with school and my internships still, as well as trying to see people before they graduate and go off and leave me for ever.

Any last minute advice for this, soon to not be, marathon virgin? Technically, since I got injured right before my half marathon last fall, I’ve only actually raced in 5 and 10Ks.

Totals:

Miles Run – Week 15: 25.20
Miles Run – Total: 473.19
Strength Sessions: 3

Lansing Marathon Training: Week 14

Lansing Marathon Training

Week 14: April 2 – April 8, 2012

Monday: 6.96 miles Yasso 800s (Quality Run)

Last round of Yassos before the race! They weren’t comfy though. My foot is pretty tender from the blister, but I popped a Band-Aid on right before and it added a tiny bit of cushioning, but I still felt it! Just working on getting it to heal right now. Grr…

Tuesday: 3.70 miles (Easy Run, 9:15 avg pace) + Lifting

Blister is still healing! It hurt so much the night before, I could barely move my foot. It feels okay right now, but still bothersome. Heal faster!

Wednesday: 6.00 miles Tempo Run

I think that this may have been the first tempo run that didn’t feel absolutely terrible and dull and boring and not completely stretched for time. Blister is healing nicely and didn’t interfere with my run at all. Only one more tempo run to go!

Gorgeous flowers on campus!

Thursday: OFF 

Friday: Strength + 13.53 miles (Long Run, 8:44 avg pace)

I had to participate in a group coaching class at work in the morning, which was probably a mistake, but I went on my run and did a little over 6 out and back which explains why I didn’t do the full 14-15 as planned. Plus, I figured that I would make up the mileage with my warm-up and cool-down tomorrow when I lift. I guess the bottom line is, this run didn’t feel all that great. My breathing just seemed off and my stomach wasn’t too fond of it either. I guess I just do better running right after breakfast instead of during the middle of the day.

Saturday: 20 minutes inclined walking (1.16 miles) + Lifting

No running in the books for today, so I did 20 minutes of inclined walking (4.0-6.5% @ 3.5-4.0) to warm-up for my weights workout. I was really hopeful that no running meant that my legs would be able to take more weight, and indeed that was true! New squat PRs and a new bench press PR too (barely, but hey).

Sunday: 10.06 miles bike ride

Since it was Easter both of my gyms were closed, so that meant taking my workout outside! L graciously agreed to go on a bike ride around town with me so that I could still get my cross training in and get to spend some time with him at the same time. Also, I turned it into an errand and went to submit another job application for this summer. That takes me up to three! Oh. My. Gosh. Was this ride hard. The winds were gusting 20-30mph and we seemed to be biking into it no matter what direction we were facing.

Easter Carrot Cake!

Reflections

One week in and no taper madness yet! I feel like everything else in my life is just getting so much busier that I don’t have time to focus on the fact that I’m starting to not run as much.

I don’t know if you’ve heard/read/noticed, but I decided to drop down to the half marathon in October’s Grand Rapids Marathon instead of the full. I’m happy that I’ll be doing by first full in two weeks, but next year I don’t have the time to devote to another full, but I think that lots of 10Ks and half marathons will be in my future, and I’m fine with that!

I hope that everyone had/has a good Easter!

Totals:

Miles Run – Week 14: 30.19
Miles Run – Total: 447.90

Strength Sessions: 3

Lansing Marathon Training: Week 13

Lansing Marathon Training

Week 13: March 26 – April 1, 2012

Monday: 6.89 miles Track Ladders (Quality Run)

Not quite 7, but I ran out of time and it’s close enough, right? That’s what I thought, too. I aim for 7.0 on the 800s, 7.2 for the 400s, 7.4-7.6 for the 200s, and then recover at 6.0 and that tends to work out pretty well for me. If only I had my own programmable treadmill so that I wouldn’t have to switch the speed manually so many times!

Tuesday: 4.20 miles (Easy Run, 9:09 avg pace) + Lifting + Strength

Nothing really to report, other than I think the running has caught up to my body again. Tired! Good thing this is the hardest week and then it’ll back off for a bit until the race.

I also had to go through a semi-private workout with one of the gym’s clients at work since she was the only one who signed up for that time slot and she didn’t want to work out alone. Double strength workouts for today!

Wednesday: Strength + 6.00 miles Tempo Run

We had to do a strength workout at work this morning, so that wiped me out and forced me to move my run to the evening after my exam rather than in the morning like I prefer to do. It is was it is and I probably could have skipped the run all together. I mean, I have yet to miss a single workout this entire training cycle. In the big picture, 6 miles would not have made a huge difference considering that I’m running some 450-500 miles before I even step up to the starting line!

But, I wanted to do it. I want to follow my plan and I hate taking shortcuts especially when the goal is so important to me. So, I did it. And it was TERRIBLE. GI issues out the wazoo… literally. I had to stop twice to run to the bathroom. But, I’m stubborn; I’m determined; and I HAD to finish what I started.

Thursday: OFF

Friday: 21.00 miles (Long Run) 4.01 miles (Easy Run, 8:42 avg pace)

Switched my days up a bit because the weather was crappy and I felt pretty crappy myself. Something’s going on with my health and I don’t know if it’s something that I should be worrying about. I called my doctors and just have to sit tight I guess and wait for them to schedule me and maybe run some tests just to see that everything is working okay. Well, working like when they saw me last at least.

Saturday: 3.20 miles (Easy Run) + Lifting 21.01 miles (Long Run, 9:43 avg pace)

This was not comfy. Not at all. I had to get this done early because I had a lunch date. So, I was on the streets a good hour and a half before the lazy sun decided to show its face. It was COLD. About 25-30 degrees the entire time. So we have dark, cold, and add on to that my legs were definitely not feeling it and this was a long 3.5 hours. Other than just being tired, my legs felt okay until around mile 9-10, then it was more uncomfortable. Not pain really, but not comfy and not a soreness.

Though, I have to tell you guys, I’m pretty sure every part of my body is aching right now. Abs, armpits, calves, even my face was a little sore if that’s even possible. But, at least there were no GI issues! Seriously, zero. Thank goodness! Although, I did get two blisters on my feet. One was on my pinky toe and I really didn’t even notice, but the other is on the ball of my foot and doesn’t feel too nice now that it’s breathing. My sock was fitting poorly and rubbed it wrong I think.

Sunday: 15.32 miles stationary bike

I was anticipating this to be quite difficult due to the long run being the day before, so I was prepared to have to slow down and/or dial down the resistance (I usually do intervals of 2 minutes @ 9, 2 minutes @ 6). But, it turned out that I didn’t need to modify at all! Really the only things that were uncomfortable were my tushy and my blistered foot. I feel like I hadn’t read in ages, so it was nice to “crack open” the pages of my Kindle for an hour of solid reading.

My new Vibrams!

 

Reflections

Passed the 400-mile mark for the year/training AND my first and only week with a 40+ mileage AND the longest run of the training plan (other than the marathon, of course) under my belt. What a big running achievement week!

Here’s hoping that my race is warmer than my long run was! I just don’t want to have to lug around gloves, ear-warmers, and sweatpants for the race (or have to discard them along the route either). I just ordered a SPIbelt (in polka dot!) so that I can bring my phone with me during the race. My mom, dad, and boyfriend want to see me start and then come back and see me finish and texting is really the only way that I can think to let them know when to come. I have goal times, but who knows how much those times will actually turn out come race time, you know? So, yes, I will probably be texting/tweeting during the race (on my walking breaks), so be sure to tweet me during the race for motivation!

I’m still shooting for, and will completely satisfied, with a 4:00-4:29 finishing time for my marathon in THREE WEEKS. So crazy! I can’t believe that I’m finally in the same month as my race. But, after this week’s long run I am definitely psyched to say that I’m in Taper Town! Population: me.

Totals:

Miles Run – Week 13: 42.11
Miles Run – Total: 417.71

Strength Sessions: 3

Lansing Marathon Training: Week 12

Lansing Marathon Training

Week 12: March 19 – March 25, 2012

Monday: 7.15 miles Yasso 800s (Quality Run)

Speedwork felt especially difficult this morning, but I pushed myself through to the end. My body refuses to get off of my old schedule from before the time change and it is incredibly frustrating. I’m still waiting for the day that I will just wake up and it’ll be gone. It can happen, right? Anyway, only one more round of Yassos before the race!

Tuesday: 5.20 miles (Easy Run, 9:25 avg pace) + Lifting

Major stomach troubles decided to run over from the night before. No fun. Even as I sit here typing this I’m still feeling funky.  Luckily it was mostly during the run and the lifting went fine, just a bit sweaty, y’all know I have a problem! Right now my lifting is more about keeping the muscle that I gained through NROLFW than about making more gains.

Wednesday: 6.00 miles Tempo Run

I only have time to run up to 6 miles on Wednesdays, so even though there was 7-8 on the schedule, I just did 6 due to time. Uneventful, as usual. I’m wondering if, when I start a new training plan in the fall, I could switch out tempo runs for some other type of workout. Thoughts? Because I really don’t think that I could subject myself to them again after this cycle is over.

"Studying hard" in the library.

Thursday: OFF

Friday: 15.00 miles (Long Run, 8:51 avg pace)

Legs did not feel very strong right from the get-go. I cannot stress how many times on this run that I wanted to just stop and cut it short. One of the few things keeping me going, other than the fact that I’m quite driven to do what I say/plan that I’m going to do, is that it was drizzling out and that’s my favorite kind of weather to run in. I somehow still kept a good pace, so thank goodness for that!

Saturday: 4.20 miles (Easy Run, 9:27 avg pace) + Lifting

The first half of the run was pretty slow and uncomfortable because my legs were still a bit sore from the long run the day before, but they seemed to loosen up pretty well for the second half. Yay! The run was followed by weights that was heavy on the upper body.

Sunday: 15.31 miles stationary bike

I really like my Sunday cross-training sessions on the bike, but I don’t think that I will ever be happy or even content with the fact that my gym doesn’t open until noon on Sundays. I don’t even like the 8am opening on Saturdays. I like to workout at 6am, people. Sorry I’m not sorry. Used my new shoes today! More on that in next week’s recap.

Reflections

As much as I liked NROLFW, and now creating whatever kind of lifting workout I want when I want, I’ve already selected a new program to dive into when I’m done with my marathon. I’ll leave it a secret for now, but I’m pretty sure none of you will have heard of it before! I’m pretty excited to share my results with you all and hopefully inspire a few of you to take the program as well. I will say, that I did have to pay for it. Then again, I technically paid for NROLFW, right?

Note to self: Stop forgetting to take my pills AS SOON AS I come in from my long runs. I waited about 30-45 minutes after my run this past week to take my pills and so had already drunk (drank?) my chocolate milk by that point. I’m fairly certain that this is what caused my stomach to be out of sorts for a few hours afterward.

I got new toys in the mail this week! My very own foam roller, a digital food scale (won from a giveaway), and a pair of black and pink Vibrams! Best of all? I didn’t have to pay for any of it! Major win.

Totals:

Miles Run – Week 12: 37.55
Miles Run – Total: 375.60
Strength Sessions: 2