Thursday, April 23, 2009

Enjoy it while you can

The last two weeks have been 'light' workout weeks as I recover from the marathon.  Tomorrow will be my first run since the mary and it's supposed to be 'embarrassingly slow' according to the instructions.  Um, yeah, I'm *typically* embarrassingly slow so that shouldn't be a problem.

I'm enjoying the sleeping in and the light duty while I can.  Next Monday, I start the forging process.  The beginning of the hardening.  IronMan training.  **insert ominous music here**  Let's hope I come out the other side in one piece.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Curse you, you exuberant 50 yard line guy Illinois Marathon report.

The travel weekend started off swimmingly on Thursday when my plane was loaded up, driven out to the taxi way, and then towed back in for maintenance issues. Nice. I got put on another flight, bumped off that one, and was eventually rerouted through Denver to make it to Chicago about 5 hours later than planned. Sigh. Add in the 2-1/2 hour drive to my brother's place and it would have been midnight before I arrived.

So I decided to drive a while and find a hotel for the night. Then finish driving down Friday morning. I drove, and drove, and tried to calculate what would yield the most sleep and yet allow me to arrive fairly early so we could hit the expo. I ended up stopping only about 1/2 hour away from my brother's place and crashing for the night. Up and at it early Friday morning to get to his place around 9. It was sprinkling and blustery, which I kept hoping would just go away in time for the marathon on Saturday.

We hit the expo to get our shirts and bibs. A little disappointing, as there were no 'goodies' in our goodie bags. Just a bunch of fliers about other races. The shirts were pretty cool tho: navy blue, long sleeve 1/2 zip tech tees. Schweet. We blitzed through the expo and then headed to run some errands, one of which was to grab some more gels. Yeah, I'd be packing 10 of those little suckers for the run. Ugh. A few other errands and then we went back to my brothers place for a little down time before dinner with a big family contingent.

Jeff was coming in at 6:30 so I headed to the Champaign airport to pick him up while everyone else headed for our dinner reservation. I swooped by the airport and then we met everyone at the restaurant where they still hadn't ordered. Nice timing. Had some pretty good pasta, some really good garlic bread, and some decent pizza as a nice carbo load dinner. 

We snagged a hotel about 1/2 mile from the start line which was awesome and after dinner we headed to my brother's place to bring him back into town for the night. On the way I asked Jeff where his carry-on bag was. Um, yeah, he forgot it at the airport. *Sigh* So after Rob packed up his stuff and we helped put the girls to bed, another trip to the airport to retrieve the forgotten bag. Arrived at the hotel and started putting stuff together for the morning. Shorts/pants...check. Shoes...check. Bibs and chips....check. Fuel belts....check. Gloves....check. check. While I had my whole suitcase full of running stuff (ok, not quite full, but close), Rob had forgotten his shirt at home. Back out to the car for another round trip to his house, back up to the hotel room and finish gathering gear. 11:30 or so before we finally hit the sheets. But then, two nights before is the most important night of sleep...or so I'm told.

Up the next morning and out the door by 6:30 to head down to the start. Chilly, for sure. I had decided on tights and a long sleeve shirt and my jacket figuring I'd chuck the jacket at some point. Not so much as it turned out. Over that I had a sweatshirt and sweats. I tried to wait until the last minute to stuff my sweats into the bag and throw my stuff on the gear check van. Soon enough tho we had to head to the start line to meet up with pacer Tom, who we were hoping would guide us to a "just" sub 5 hour run.  

Rob, Me and our Gram in the background :)

A bit of madness at the start line with no real way for anyone to determine where to line up.   The only pace signs were the one's held up by the pacers and they were pretty small.  We eventually found pacer Tom and hung out close to him to listen for pre-race instruction.   Tom was running his 49th marathon.  Wow.  Soon enough someone yelled "3..2...1..Go" and we were off.  No really, that's how it started.  Well, it is the first year of the race.  They'll get a starters gun eventually I'm sure.

The first few miles went by pretty quickly and smoothly.  Somewhere around mile 10 we saw our Aunt and 2 cousins.  Then around mile 13 we saw Susie and Spencer (my SIL and niece). Rob tossed his jacket, but even though it was nice and sunny, it was a bit cool for me and I kept my jacket on all day.  About a mile later we saw Jeff, our grandparents and another aunt.  Not too long after that we saw our cousin who had finished up her leg of the relay.  So, yeah, we saw a lot of family out there which was awesome.  Race support rocked!  Not just the family but the volunteers too were cheering for everyone.  Gotta' give Champaign an A++ for support!

And we were doing a pretty good job of keeping Pacer Tom in sight.  About mile 15 Tom said we had about a minute 'in the bank', so were were headed for a sub-5 hour marathon.  Then about mile 17 or 18 the wheels fell off.  It was getting tougher to stick with Tom.  A quick porta-potty stop and he was in sight, but not reachable.  We just couldn't make up the distance.  And things were starting to ache.  So, from about mile 18 we started a run walk.  Walk until xx.xx miles and then run as we could.  

Approaching the 25 mile marker, we decided we had to run it in the rest of the way.  Less than 1.5 miles.  We could do that.  And we could hear the music coming from Memorial Stadium at the U of I where the finish line was waiting.  The closer we got the more excited I got.  The excitement culminated at the about the 20-yard line where the announcer at the 50-yard line yelled "Bring it home" and all thought disappeared.  My legs just took over and started sprinting toward the finish.  It's not my fault.  Really.  I just lost my head.  I know, I's not nice to leave your running buddy in the dust like that.  I honestly had no control.  I just went.  Here's my official apology to my brother for beating 1 second.  Even tho I still plead temporary insanity.  Actually, it's all that 50-yard line guy's fault!  Yeah, that's it!  Curse your encouragement anyway!

Finish time: 5:14:05

Not the sub-5 we were hoping for but an awesome run none the less.  And a 26 minute PR for me.  That I will take.  Thanks Rob!  Wouldn't have done it without you! :)

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

It's Official

Well, I guess it wasn't a dream (nightmare?!?!) after all. I just received this email......

Aloha Ironman Lottery Winner!

Congratulations! It is with great pleasure to send you a special invitation to participate in the 2009 Ford Ironman World Championship in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii on October 10, 2009.

Attached is your personalized athlete information letter which details step-by-step instructions on how to complete your online registration and enter your unique athlete password.

You will have until April 30, 2009 to secure your slot.

Thank you and we look forward to seeing you in Kona!

Ironman Athlete Services

So I have two more weeks to "decide". As if there was any serious choice in the matter. It still doesn't seem like it's really happened. Except for a few moments each day where I think about it and want to throw up. I guess it's time to HTFU (Harden the #!&$ Up)!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Moment of insanity

No, this isn't my marathon race report...that's coming up and has it's own moments of insanity. (see my brother's post).

This is about the moment of insanity when I registered for the Kona Ironman lottery, oh, back in February. Figuring I'd never get in. NEVER get in.

I'll post the details later, but suffice it to say.....

I'm taking a trip to Kona in October, and I'll be bringing my bike. Wish me luck, cuz I really feel like I'm going to need it.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

And I'm off!

Tomorrow morning I head out for Chi town.  I arrive tomorrow afternoon and then I'll drive down to my brother's place just a bit away from Champaign.  

Friday we hit the expo to get our bibs and shirts (of course, why else do the run?!?!).  

Saturday 8 a.m. start (that's 6 a.m. for us West-coasters) for the inaugural Illinois Marathon!  Send speedy thoughts my way!

Friday, April 03, 2009


Today is a rest day from training. Finally.

One week from tomorrow at this time I will hopefully be more than half way to the finish line of my third marathon. A PR would be nice, but I'm really there to run with my brother. And hopefully I can hang with him. I told him if I die to just roll me off to the side and come back for me when he's finished. My longest run was a bit over 17 miles, so another 9 is a looooong way. Truly tho, I think I have a better nutrition plan than I did for my first two marathons. And I think I'm in better shape in general. But I am slow, and being on my feet, running, for that long is just plain tough on the legs and feet.

I checked the 10 day forecast yesterday: 60 degree high and rain showers. Today the 10 day says: 58 degree high and sunny. Just goes to show that the weather predictions 10 days out are still a crap shoot. I'll definitely keep an eye on it as the time gets closer, but I may just pack every running outfit I might conceivably need just to be safe. Might as well get my $15 luggage fee's worth, eh?