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Now that the DC RnR is behind me, it’s time to turn my attention to triathlon training.  EEK!

I am still contemplating running the Lake Placid marathon in June, but it’s on my husband’s birthday, so that’s really up to him.  It’s definitely a possibility though.  It’s a nice course, and it would be fun to have another marathon this year.

As for tris, I have quite a few this year…

I’m also volunteering at the Lake Placid Ironman this year, which will be a fun way to spend my 29th birthday.  I was originally going to sign up for the 2013 LP Ironman the day after, but I’m going to do the HITS Cooperstown full iron (I’ve been hearing good things about their most recent race!) in 2013, and those are too close together.  So Lake Placid will have to wait until 2014.

As for training, I feel confident in my running abilities.  So the most important things for me to focus on in these upcoming months are my swimming and biking.

The next month will be base training, just working on technique and increasing my distances a bit, as well as getting down to a good race weight (I’m not in bad shape, but it could be better.  And I’d rather not carry any extra weight for 140.6 miles).  Once April 30th hits, I’m 25 weeks out from my ironman, and then the real training will begin.  At the moment, I’m planning on using the Beginner Triathlete full iron plan.  It’s a 20 week plan, and I always start a few weeks early so that way I have some cushion for things like illness and injury.

The hardest thing in these next few weeks will be the same problem I had all through the DC RnR training – just fitting it in around my work schedule.  It’s not really a huge problem.  I have the time.  It’s just a matter of developing better habits.  I work pretty much 9 to 5, but I teach, so by the end of the day, the last thing I want to do is be on my feet some more.  But I’m alsoterrible about waking up early.  Every morning I set two alarms – the early one, and the one I know I’ll actually get up for.  But that has to end.  I love it when I actuallydo get up early and get my workout in because I feel so accomplished after and the day has barely even started.  But that’s hard to remember when I’m nice and warm under the covers.

I wish that clocky didn’t almost give my husband a heart attack every time it went off.  That thing was the best.  It scared the crap out of me every time it went off, but it did it’s job for sure!

The other thing that will be a challenge is cleaning up and paying more attention to my food intake.  I’ve been eating everything in site for the last couple months, and not in a good way.  If I don’t pay attention to what I’m eating, I tend to fall back into the habit of eating lots of snacky foods (or “snacky snacks” as my husband likes to call them).  But it really only takes a few days of eating better for the sugar and junk cravings to go away, thank goodness.

I guess that means I need to pawn all the leftover snacks in my office off on my students ASAP.   They’re in college, hungry, and broke (it’s almost the end of the year, and by now they have no money left for fun, or food).  It’s a good setup for getting rid of food.

I thought it was interesting to look at my garmin data from the race this weekend…

  • Mile 1 – 9:30
  • Mile 2 – 9:26
  • Mile 3 – 8:58 (wow!)
  • Mile 4 – 9:38
  • Mile 5 – 9:55
  • Mile 6 – 9:43 (Dupont Circle hill – pretty darn good!)
  • Mile 7 – 10:12(the hill continues)
  • Mile 8 – 10:11 (cresting the hill)
  • Mile 9 – 9:12
  • Mile 10 – 10:15
  • Mile 11 – 12:12 (hello, port-a-potty that I didn’t actually use – grrrrr)
  • Mile 12 – 9:52
  • Mile 13 – 11:05 (and there’s the start of the foot problem)
  • Mile 14 – 10:11
  • Mile 15 – 10:28
  • Mile 16 – 11:58
  • Mile 17 – 15:10 (ouch)
  • Mile 18 – 11:18 (where I saw the 4:25 pace group pass me and started to have delusions of a 4:30ish still being possible)
  • Mile 19 – 10:25
  • Mile 20 – 14:06 (back to reality)
  • Mile 21 – 13:53
  • Mile 22 – 13:45
  • Mile 23 – 14:27
  • Mile 24 – 17:15 (The lowest point.  Stupid foot)
  • Mile 25 – 12:37 (I.WILL.MAKE.SUB.5.)
  • Mile 26 – 9:40 (I.WILL.MAKE.SUB.5.)
  • Last .48 (my garmin was a little over) – 10:05

A very interesting day.  I was really pretty consistent during the first half.  But the second half was all over the place!

NOT a stress fracture!  Hooray!

Apparently I’m getting pretty good at self-diagnosing.  I went to my (awesome) orthopedist this morning and it turns out to indeed be peroneal tendonitis.

So it’s just a few more days of rest and then just go with the flow.  No restrictions.  Just do what I need to do and back off if it hurts.  Thank goodness!

My guess is that I aggravated it somewhere in the first half of the race when things were crowded.  I stayed on the outside of the road so that I could pop around people pretty easily and there were just a couple times that I had to hop up in the curb to do this.  When I hopped up on the curb, I probably rolled my foot just a bit too much and got things irritated, and then continuing to run just made it more and more inflamed as I went.

Oh well.  Live and learn.

However, now that I know it’s okay, I’m thinking maybe another Buffalo Marathon is in store for May… It would be nice to get another one in this year…

Things have been quiet here on the blog lately, but while I’m sitting here on the couch, I figured it’s as good a time as any to write my race recap from today!

I was looking forward to this weekend and meeting everybody from our No Meat Athlete group.  But first, we had Friday afternoon to enjoy!

My husband, my sister, and I decided to go check out the cherry blossoms since my husband and I had never been in DC when they were actually blooming.  Since it was much earlier than normal, and a Friday afternoon, and a rainy day, there was almost nobody there, and it was fantastic!

We also stopped by the expo and picked up my bib and swag bag.  It was interesting to walk around an expo for a much larger race.  Usually the races that I do have an expo that consists of the shoe sales, the bondiband people, and bib pickup, and that’s it.  Not much to look at.

We made a big wandering journey through the expo, grabbed some larabar samples (yum!) and headed out to enjoy the city until dinner.

For dinner, our No Meat Athlete group was meeting for a group dinner at Cafe Green, a vegan restaurant near Dupont Circle.  This place was AMAZING.  I want to eat there every night!  Matt and his friend had pre-arranged the menu for dinner, so they just kept bringing out amazing vegan dish after amazing vegan dish.  I have never been so stuffed and with such DELICIOUS food.  Nachos, a cheesy panini-type thing, some other roll appetizer with peanut sauce (still not sure what it was, but YUM), then salads with three homemade dressings (balsamic, raspberry vinagrette, and caesar), then our main course (my husband and I picked the thai-basil gnocchi – which was absolutely INCREDIBLE – I must try to replicate this sometime very, very soon), then cookies and cream cake, then another round of cake, and then chocolate fudge.

And it was all vegan.  And amazing.  Oh my.

My best friend and I often talk about someday opening our own vegan bakery/cafe.  I don’t think it will ever happen – more of a daydream, really – but if we did, it would be just like Cafe Green.  I LOVED that place.

Before everyone headed out to the houses/hotels for the evening, we took some group pictures…

Our No Meat Athlete training group after dinner at Cafe Green – stuffed and happy!

We also had a special guest with us at dinner.  The founder of Farm Sanctuary, Gene Baur, joined us for dinner.  He was also running the marathon this weekend (his first), and heard about our group.  It was great to get to meet him.  I didn’t get to talk with him much (since there were so many of us, we were split at a couple different tables), but he seemed like a really great guy, and he’s doing such a great thing with his organization.  I’ve wanted to get over to see the sanctuary for a while now.  Perhaps this summer…

Me and Gene – great guy!

After dinner and picture-taking, we went our separate ways for the evening.  My husband and I took the metro back to my sister’s house.  I spent the night relaxing, making the spectating plan with my sister and her husband (they did such a great job!), and laying out my race stuff.

Saturday morning, the alarm went off at 5am.  Ouch.  I had some breakfast (banana and the homemade almond butter that I am obsessed with), got bodyglided up, got dressed, and my husband, sister, mom, and I were out the door at 6:15.

I should mention now that my goals for the day were very simple…  just have a good run.  I haven’t had a good run in MONTHS.  Everything has felt like crap.  My 18 miler was alright.  Not great, but not terrible.  But all I wanted for race day was to cross the finish line and say “that was a good run.”  I had reset my garmin the night before the race so that the only thing displayed was distance.  I’ve learned recently that when I see my pace, I let it get into my head and it either makes me tired (if I’m going faster than I thought), or mad/discouraged (if I’m going slower than I thought).  So I decided that for this race, I did not want to know ANYTHING about time.  Not even time of day, because then I would just do the math.

On top of just having a good run, I really wanted my time to at least START with a 4 finally, so I wanted to be under 5 hours.  Which, realistically, I know I can do.  If I have a good run, I can do 26.2 in 4:15 – 4:30.  I know I’m capable of this, which is why it’s so frustrating that my current PR was a 5:11.  Not something I was proud of in the slightest.

So there were two main goals:

  1. Be able to say “that was a good run.”
  2. Be under 5 hours.

We drove into town and I got dropped off about two blocks from the armory.  My family headed off to get some coffee and get situated near mile 1 for their first spot of the day.

I headed over to the armory and played what I like to call “ride the port-a-potty line” a few times.  While in line, I found a few other people from our NMA group, one being Susan Lacke (one of my favorite bloggers – check out her stuff if you haven’t already).  I hadn’t gotten to talk with her much at dinner either, but we chatted for a bit before the race and headed to our corrals.  She is so sweet.  I’ll definitely be in touch with her in the future.

By 7:45 I was lined up in my corral (14).  There were speakers everywhere, blasting music and the announcers at the start line.  I never heard the anthem, but apparently it was sung.  The announcers counted down from 10 and then the gun went off.

And then we stood for a while.

I’ve never done a race this large before, so I’m used to just lining up and going with the gun.  This was my first corral start.  It was very strange.  But, well-run, so I have no complaints.

I found out after the race, that my family, who was standing at the mile 1 marker, actually got to help set the race clocks!

My sister, taking her job VERY seriously (she might hate me for this picture, but I think it’s funny).

We could hear the announcers releasing each corral over the speakers, and once they got to corral 9, we started walking toward the start line.  At 8:20am, it was our turn to go, and we were off!

The day started off a little bit chilly, but by the time we started running, it was absolutely beautiful.  I was happy that I knew ahead of time that my family was waiting for me at mile 1.  I was able to keep my fleece jacket with me and just carry it to them so I didn’t have to freeze in the morning before we started running.  It was also nice that the race organizers had the armory open for gear check and for people to stay warm before the race.

The crowds were great.  The streets were lined with people and signs and it was a great way to start a race.  At mile 1, I saw my husband, sister, and mom.

After I passed, they got to see a proposal at mile 1!

The guy with the microphone was a reporter who just happened to be in the right place at the right time.  Talk about some good motivation to run!!

The first half of the course was beautiful.  It was awesome to run all around DC and see all the great federal buildings, museums, and monuments.  It would be a great race to run with a camera.  My husband and I just recently joined the 21st century and got iPhones, but I had that in my armband, connected to my headphones, and I wasn’t about to keep taking it out to take pictures.  But there were plenty of runners stopping along the way to take some great pictures.  I think my favorite part was at mile 4 when were were running down the mall and to my left, we were right next to the Washington Monument, and to my right was an amazing view of the White House.  Very pretty.

There were several bands along the way.  I think my favorite was the drumming group somewhere around mile 5 (I think?).  Drum groups are always fun at races, and this one was pretty good!  I also saw them again on the second loop, so that was nice.

A few miles into the race and we were in the Dupont Circle area.

Dupont Circle is HILLY, y’all.

We made it up the big ass hill that I wasn’t expecting (this was the first time I didn’t look up the course profile ahead of time), and put that behind us around mile 7.  Just after getting over the hill, I saw another NMA shirt up ahead of me!

I busted my butt to catch my fellow NMA’er and found out it was Al – a really nice guy from my table at dinner the previous night.  We ran along together for a bit until I spotted a port-a-potty with just one person waiting somewhere in mile 11.  My general rule in a marathon is if you see one with no line, you take it while you can.

However, this would prove to be stupid, and I am STILL kicking myself for it and will be for a long time.

I hopped in the port-a-potty line and after about two minutes of waiting and no one coming out, I gave up.  I didn’t need to go.  I was just being preemptive.  No big deal.

I jumped out of line and kept going.

Not long after that, we were running down H Street and then split off from the half marathoners.  We were headed out for our second loop of the day.

This was where things started to get not-so-good.

I started feeling pain in the outside of my left foot.  I slowed down a bit.  It seemed like a cramp, so I wasn’t concerned.  But my pace definitely took a little hit here.

Just before the halfway point, I saw my husband, mom, and sister again.  At this point, it was getting rather warm, so I ditched the shirt.  My poor husband had to carry my nasty sweaty shirt back to the car, what a good guy.

At the halfway point, I let myself take a glance at the race clocks.  Until now, I had been purposely not looking at them.  I was kicking butt!  My first half came in at 2:11.  I was right on pace, and very happy with how strong the first half felt.

I remember thinking “Wow!  I spanked the first half!  … I hope the second half doesn’t spank me…”

We crossed the mall, and just before mile 16, we went through the tunnel under the 395.  Running through the tunnel was amusing because all the runners going through kept yelling and enjoying the echo.  There was also a guy with a truck and speaker system blasting music that echoed the whole way.

This was the first time I stopped for my foot.

I pulled over in the tunnel and took off my shoe to rub the “cramp” in my foot for a second.  It seemed to help for a little bit and I kept on going.

Somewhere around mile 16 (I believe), I saw my family again.  By this point, my brother-in-law and dad had caught up with the group and everybody was in one place.

Don’t mind the weird face.  I had a mouthful of Gu.

Right before I saw them here I had to stop to massage my foot again.  I didn’t realize they were right there and apparently they were all watching me from a distance and wondering what the heck was going on as I sat down on the curb, took my shoe off, and rubbed my foot for a bit.

This was where the foot started to get really bad.

I kept trying to run, but whenever I did, I would get a sharp pain in the lower outside edge of my left foot.  It felt terrible!  But there was NO WAY I was stopping at this point.  Even if I had to walk the rest of the way.  I knew my time from the first half was good enough that I could make the cutoff without a problem, so I wasn’t worried about that.  But I no amount of massaging would make this “cramp” go away.  I started to get a nagging feeling that it was more than just a cramp.

There was a lot of walking involved in mile 17.  My time for that mile was a sad, sad 15:10 (ouch).  I noticed a guy that had been around me for a while (we had been doing the back-and-forth passing each other thing for a while), so I said hi and we chatted for a bit.  Turned out he had some pretty severe chafing going on in some pretty… sensitive… areas.  Yuck.  I’ll take the foot.  Chafing is the worst.

I kept trying to run and kept on getting severe sharp pain in that spot.  So I did a lot of run 50 feet, walk for 5 minutes, run 50 feet, walk 5 minutes.  Around mile 17.5, my chafing buddy stopped at the med tent for some vaseline (score) and I went on ahead.  Somewhere in here, the 4:25 pace group passed me and I was absolutely SHOCKED that I was ahead of them.  I had no idea!   I started to get crazy thoughts that I could still pull out a decent time.  At this point, I seemed to be able to run a bit more (behold, the power of mind games) and my pace went back to 10’s and 11’s for a bit.

My family surprised me just before we hit mile 19 and went over the bridge into Anacostia.

My great support crew

We went over the bridge into Anacostia, and did another little out and back loop before mile 20.  The foot was back at it.  Around mile 19.75 I had to stop, remove my shoe, and massage again.  It was getting worse and worse.  And I was getting pissed and upset.

There was a lot of walking involved in miles 20 – 24 (times of 14:06, 13:53, 13:45, 14:27, and 17:15 – yuck).  I tried to keep my walking pace up, but my foot was killing me.  And every time I tried to run I would get a shooting pain.  So I never got far with that.

Just before mile 22.5 I met a very nice man who was also walking.  We chatted for a bit.  Turned out this was his 107th marathon!  Amazing!  He was a very pleasant guy and I was nice to have someone to run/walk/plod along with for a while.  A little after mile 23 we started to run again but the pain shot through my foot and I told him to go on ahead.  Damn foot.

Normally when I get to mile 23.1, I am ready to push to the end.  At that point I feel like it’s just a 5k left.  And I can run a 5k feeling like crap, so I can do it then too.  So I started to play the 5k mind game.  But my foot was not ready.

I hobbled my way along until I got to mile 24.  At this point I just wanted to bust it out to the end.  I had let myself get drawn into looking at the race clocks, and I had done the math.  I knew I could MAYBE squeeze in under 5 hours if I pushed, and dammit, I wanted my sub-5.

So at mile 24, I threw it down and hopped/ran my way to the finish.  I must have looked like a total moron, pretty much hopping along on one leg, but I WANTED MY SUB-5.  For mile 25, I managed to do a 12:37, which I think is pretty darn good considering I was basically hopping on one leg.

At mile 25 I busted my butt and the adrenaline was flowing.  It’s amazing what adrenaline can do.  I was able to RUN!  Normally(ish)!  I ran my last 1.2 miles strong (9:40 pace) and was so happy go go over the last bridge and see the RFK stadium come into view.

I ran around the stadium and into the finish area.  I heard my family yelling somewhere but wasn’t sure where they were.  But they caught me as I came in…

I rounded the corner and saw the finish line.  And then I saw the finish clock.  I could JUST squeeze in under 5 hours – as in, SECONDS under.  I passed some girl (yay) and bolted for the line.  As far as I knew, I got my sub-5.  I could barely walk, but I got my sub-5.

I got my medal and limped my way through the finish area very, very slowly – so slowly that later my husband told me he thought I got a finishers massage in there (they didn’t have them at this race).  I got through there and called my husband to tell them where I was and then I sat down and was done walking.  My foot was completely jacked up.  It was not good.

My family found me easily.  I hobbled my way over to the NMA group and said bye to everybody and then hobbled to the car to head back to my sister’s house.  Somewhere in all this my husband told me the race texts said my final time was 5:00:45.  I was pissed.  I checked my garmin.  gamin said 5:00:26.  I was still pissed.  I had JUST missed it!

And then I remembered stopping for about 2 minutes for that port-a-potty that I ended up not even using.

GAH!!!!

Oh well.  I still got a PR.  It’s not a time I’m really proud of, but considering I did it mostly on one leg, I’ll take it, and I’ll beat it later.  A PR is a PR, right?

Nice medal!

One really great thing we tried for this race was that my husband tracked me using our phones.  My family loved knowing exactly where I was because they knew if they had enough time to get somewhere and catch me, or if I had already passed there.  They were able to catch me on the course way more than I thought they would.  We just used the “find my iPhone” app on my husband’s phone.  I was originally going to use the Runkeeper app, but it drained my battery way too fast and wouldn’t last for a whole race.  But Find my iPhone was perfect and didn’t drain my battery at all!  We will definitely be doing this for future races.

Thoughts on race organization:

I loved this race.  I thought Competitor did a great job putting it on.  It was well organized and very well supported.  They had tons of port-a-potties, water, gatorade, and Gu.  Med tents were plentiful.  And the course was well marked.

For the first half, it was crowded.  I was always aware of lots of people around me, and it was definitely 13 miles of bobbing and weaving around people.  But it really wasn’t unpleasant, or unacceptable in any way.

Once we split off from the half marathoners, the course opened up and it was much more relaxing.

Overall, I thought this race was very good.  I would run it again.  Hopefully with two good feet next time!  I loved the NMA group, and I hope Matt does another one in the future.

Now, post-race, I’m thinking the foot is either a stress fracture, or peroneal tendonitis.  I’m staying off it as much as possible, and will be going to my orthopedist this week.  So I’ll report back.

Need to contact me?

geonerdette at gmail dot com

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