Wednesday, October 9, 2013

It's been a while!

I haven't updates this for quite some time now and this will be a quickie!
I have the Chicago marathon on Sunday and thought that deserved an update I guess, time will tell. 
I have only raced twice since the Houston marathon back in January, which was my 2nd marathon where I finished in a PR 3:01. 
Since then I have done a small local 5k and 10k, both were abysmally slow but I'm hoping that's in part due to Houston summer heat/humidity.
I have been training consistently and have averaged around 90 miles/week for what feels like forever. I peaked at 124 miles and I think my stand out sessions were 14 miles at 6:30 an 8 miles @ 6:11, both on the treadmill. 
The vast majority of my runs have been done on the treadmill, hundreds of miles all summer long, the reason - to hit the paces set and avoid the Houston summer. 
So on Friday I will board a plane solo and have a couple of days sightseeing before running, hopefully, my fastest marathon to date.
I am leaving the kids and hubbie behind which I am nervous about but I hope to enjoy myself and not spend the whole time missing them. 
My goal...... I'd really like 2:54. Having not raced it's hard to know where I'm at but I don't have too much longer to wonder. 
Oh, one other thing. Before Houston, and indeed pretty much since I started running again I have had stomach issues. I was having to stop 3/4 times every run in the weeks leading up to Houston and there was a fair amount of blood involved. Well, I am all cured.
I have cut out gluten and whilst I think it has helped the thing that made the, literally overnight difference, was taking around 1.5 tbs of Psyllium husk at night before I go to bed. It's a fibre supplement and basically gives a good 'clear out' (sorry!) first thing and then I have ZERO problems both during and after runs. I literally haven't had any issues since trying it, sooooooo happy. It's so nice to be able to run and not have runs interrupted. Happy days!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

5k time again

Just a very quick update, not that there's much to report really. I have the Dr's on Wednesday when they are going to have me swallow a little camera and take a look at my small intestine to make sure the bleeding isn't coming form there. I don't think it is, I think it's the same haemorrhoids as before but the Dr thinks otherwise? I have continued with keeping dairy to a minimum, I am pretty stupid and don't realise all the things that dairy is in so have not cut it out 100% (ok, so I know it's in chocolate but I'm eating it, the end.) The copious amounts of milk I was having has gone and I do notice a improvement in the stomach department but no huge cure I was hoping for. 
Having said that, this week has been a success, I'm still stopping but not as often and I'm getting the miles in. Yesterday was 20 with 8 recovery today with no huge problems, I'll take it.

The pollen that seems to affect me so hugely in Feb/March has gone and I am breathing easy again, so with this renewed vigour I asked coach Doug if we could target a 5k on May 25th in The Woodlands. It's a while off but it's nice to have something to shoot at and it's the first available weekend when soccer will have stopped and we will only have swim team to 'deal' with, so is logistically doable ish. 

My 5k PR is 19:30, so not exactly setting the heather on fire. I haven't run too many 5k's and we are not the best of friends. I used to think of myself as being fast, I think I kind of was in my youth? But these days...... I need to try to rediscover some speed so asked Doug for a schedule that was high in miles but full of fast stuff too and he has duly obliged, thank you AGAIN Coach Doug :)

So time to get back to work and be focused again, just hope my stomach cooperates.  

Hopefully when May 25th comes I'll have a 5k PR that begins 18:??, that would be nice. 

Then it will be around the time to get focused on Chicago and the fun really begins :)

Monday, April 1, 2013

Spoke to soon 

Back to having some major discomfort with my 'stomach', I was worried I had spoken too soon. 20 miles on Saturday became 10, the weekend before 23 became 16.
It is frustrating the sh*t out of me. I got told today that I look so good when I run and I'm lucky because, as the nice lady who told me this had 'not been made by god to run', presumably she thought I had? sigh. I spared her the gory details but did let her know that every step of my 8 miles with 6 x 1 mile repeats at 6:30, were fairly uncomfortable. It was supposed to be 10 miles but I called it a day after the repeats were done.
I didn't mention the frequent bathroom stops to pass mostly blood or the constant ache I have in my rear end and stomach whilst I run and sometimes for a while after. She was trying to give me a compliment after all, poor lady, I apologised for my response but she caught me at the wrong time and I found myself being the crazy lady who gives her life story when a simple 'thank you' was all that was required!

Back to the bum Dr on Friday, maybe he can help.

This is driving me crazy, I just want to run. 

answers on a postcard please.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Chicago is a go go

Got a place in the Chicago marathon woo hoo! Also continuing to feel like a brand new runner since cutting dairy, kind of feels like nothing's going to hold me back. Look out Chicago, here I come :)

Sunday, March 10, 2013

easy fix?

21 miles, 0 pit stops! After literally months of stopping 3/4 times every run (that's a lot of stopping and a little bit frustrating when you're putting in 90/100 + miles a week) today I had a pain free, stop free run, all 21 miles of it. The difference, no milk or oatmeal for a few days. Goodbye forever oatmeal and lovely, lovely milk :(

I got so caught up in my other recurring problem (bleeding) that I was convinced the two had to be related but it was just plain old diet. I should have learned this lesson already but forgot it somehow along the way. Need to make a note to myself and put it on the fridge perhaps. 

I will maybe give oatmeal a go in a few weeks time with almond or soy milk, just incase it is just the milk that's hurting me but for now I am happy to not dabble. 

So here's hoping that's an end to my troubles and I can get back into enjoying me some big miles. Keep everything crossed for a spot for me in Chicago marathon, find out on Tuesday! 

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Bum Dr

Thursday was the first time ever than I have not eaten a single thing for an entire day. I didn't know that was possible, I realise I sound like the spoilt brat I am, I know people go hungry every day but I feel light headed if I haven't eaten for 30 minutes and I couldn't comprehend an entire day of no food. 
Anyway, it took SO much will power but when you're paying, what turned out to be $1250 for a camera up the butt it does provide some motivation to make sure you do what you're supposed to do and do it well! It's not like I could have cheated and got away with it right?! I wonder how many people do cheat, I mean there must be a LOT, I'm going to ask the Dr when I go for my check up in 3 weeks :D

The front cover of Times magazine that I picked up in the waiting room. Oh the irony.

Long story short (get comfy, we know by now I not capable of an abridged version) I drank a gallon of the most vile tasting stuff all afternoon Thursday and almost instantly what went in my mouth came out my.... you get the picture. It wasn't pleasant but wouldn't have been so bad if I didn't have my Kindergarteners open house at 5:30. Great. My husband is offshore so I am on single parent duty for 3 weeks. We decided to walk - seriously do I have anything between my ears at all? I got through it unscathed, just had to put on a bit of a bust of speed on the walk (waddle) home to avert disaster.

My kids asked why I was going to the dr's, so I told them. They didn't believe me at first, what does it say about me that my kids think I'd make something like that up? Anyway, once they were convinced they found it just about the funniest thing they'd ever heard. I asked that they not tell anyone, private family stuff, so of course my eldest told everyone at his table the next day at school. Apparently it's 'totally gross' ha!

We were all up at 5am and my mum drove us all to the hospital that is around 40 mins away, she was on school run duty. It's handy having parents that live close by....sometimes. 

I was seen fairly quickly, got into the gown (nice) and lay down on the bed. It's kind of sad that this was one of the most relaxing mornings I've had for years, no kids, no one demanding anything of me and me being the one on the receiving end of a lot of care and attention. I could have a colonoscopy every month and enjoy it! 
Of course cue my period to start right then, and the ridiculousness of me being worried that they were going to see. Emmm they're going to see a whole lot worse than that :s
The Dr doing the deed came in and said 'you never told me you know *****, he said you're a crazy runner'. Yes, great so nice to meet a friend of a friend when he's about to stick something up your bum. Honestly, not weird at all. Then the conversation turned to running and the fact that 3:01 means I must be 'virtually world class' that made me laugh! 'Not quite' hahahaha! I felt like a little bit of a super star, a complete fraud but hey it still felt kind of good. 
Then I was told that I'd be out for only a very short time. Hold the phone, say what?! I'm getting knocked out?????? I have never been unconscious before and was very nervous at the thought. I asked if it was necessary. I think they thought I was insane, I was told I didn't want to be awake during this but really it can't be any harder than child birth right? After a bit of a discussion I agreed and I watched the sleeping potion go in and then I was out.
What felt like seconds later I was woken up by the nurse and felt the best heavy sleep EVER still surrounding me. That is some good ****! Can I go again, please, can I go again?! Ha

The upshot was they removed a polyp (no biggie) and cauterised some internal haemorrhoids that had been causing the bleeding. Other than that, a clean bill of health. 

He suggested a 'good bacteria' pill once a day to help with what he described as the 'runners diarrhoea'. 

I am happy I can now separate the two issues. I didn't know if the blood and sore stomach/having to stop all the time were related and indicative of something more serious. They are not on both counts. So the bleeding has been dealt with, now I need to work on my diet to help my tummy. I have a feeling the oatmeal and/or milk that I eat every morning might be an issue so have eliminated both and we'll see if that helps. I was good before long runs, cutting out dairy and high fibre 24h's before but got lazy and now every run is a long run and so I have to face up to making the change permanently. 

I wasn't supposed to drive for the rest of the day but had to go get the kids from school and then stop off at the dr's for my 4 year old who had a temperature and sore ear. I was a bit spaced out and think I enjoyed the sleeping potion for most of the day yesterday! 
No long run this morning but will go tomorrow, I might get to enjoy a trouble free run if my oatmeal/milk hunch is right - how great would that be great!

I other news, I entered the lottery on Tuesday for the Chicago marathon. Their system crashed during the regular sign up so they decided to allocate the remaining 15,000 through a random lottery process. I have a feeling I might have mentioned this is my last post, not sure? Anyhoo fingers crossed I get a spot, I do hope so. If I do then I can begin to panic about leaving the kids for the 1st time ever, well there was that night in the hotel before Houston but getting on a plane and leaving them for 2 nights? eek! Will find out on Tuesday, if not I need a plan B because I have some serious low 2:50 business to take care of.

Got some gear for the running group I am very proud to be part of, some for my best cheerleaders too!

Other than that nothing much planned for the summer, it's too hot here for racing. I think I might do at least one sprint tri as a gift to myself to break up the summer. I wont train for the swim or bike sections, I just like getting out of my comfort zone to remind myself how wonderful my comfort zone is. 

Sunday, March 3, 2013


No, not a misspelling by this, at times foul mouthed mother of 3. I am in a bit of a funk. 

I didn't race the Woodlands half this weekend as planned. I am having a hard time hitting anything other than easy paced runs due to the vile pollen that lingers in this part of the world during February/March. It is killing me. It was the same this time last year, of course I had no idea then why all of a sudden I couldn't crawl round 10 miles without desperately wanting to walk (it was my 1st real time running here during this time of year). A year on and I've learned a thing or two but not how to defeat these seasonal allergies. 

So that's part one of the funk. Part two is a bit more personal. I have mentioned it a few times now, my 'stomach' and the trouble it has been giving me for quite some time now. Well, it hasn't improved any, in fact I'd say it worse than it's ever been. It is frustrating the sh*t out of me - pun intended. I have to stop 3/4 times every run and every time there is quite a bit of blood. TMI? The pit stops have been going on for ages now, the blood thing has got worse. 
So I made an appointment and have the pleasure of going for a colonoscopy on Friday. I don't really care too much about the procedure, the most disturbing part is I don't get to eat for the entire day before or the morning of - like I asked the nurse 'emmmm is that even possible?' she assured me I wont starve but I'm not convinced I wont keel over. Oh well, need to get this thing sorted out. My stomach is sore and achy virtually all the time to varying degrees. It's worst whilst I run and afterwards, I get to around 5 miles and just want the run to be over - this is stealing my running joy.
The bottom (pun not intended) line is if I can't get some kind of resolution to this I will have to throw myself into some other activity. I can't keep going like this, it's simply not worth it for me. Running is...was my joy and now it is just a big pain in the arse (ok, last one promise). The good news is that there are triathlons, and I can swim and ride a bike so I have somewhere to go if I need it. I am hoping this will be something that can be fixed. I've never had any health problems before, I come from a family that has had very few health problems, we're lucky like that and we seem to live forever so I am finding this very frustrating. Pain has become my norm during runs and after and having taken a step back I realise that this should not be the case.

I hope this doesn't sound too depressing a post, I'm just a very matter of fact type of gal and whilst I want nothing more than to get into Chicago (going to have to wait with all the other to see if I get a spot through the lottery for the last 15,000 spots) and blow my PR out of the water, it's not going to be possible unless I can sort this thing out.

Oh, you know what else is great? The fact we have a HUGE health insurance deductible so will have to pay for the procedure entirely out of pocket, talk about adding insult to injury! Oh how I miss you NHS!!!! (but not the HUGE taxes we pay to fund it ;)).

In other news I find myself volunteering to be my 6 year olds football (soccer) coach for this season at the Y. How do I get myself into these things?! I'm actually really looking forward to it, just have to keep my somewhat competitive nature on tight reigns, 'they are only 6, they are only 6'! I went to a 'soccer clinic' at the Y on Saturday and the guy taking it said 'you're the one that runs all the time aren't you?' 'emmmm, yes, yes I am'. It felt like a  bit of a confession.
My kids sporting activities start to ramp up from this point on, 1st we have 2 kids in soccer and then summer swim league starts and I'll have 2 doing that also. Exciting! That means having to get up and have my long run done by 6:30am on Saturdays and some of my long runs are 28 miles! Thank you to Doug Storey for accommodating my high milage through the summer request, we'll see how it goes tummy permitting. You see, I am not all doom and gloom, I am hoping I can find an end to the trouble I'm having. 

I have wondered if it's diet related but nothings changed, but then things haven't been good for a long time.....part of me wonders about the porridge (oatmeal) I eat every morning. I rediscovered it maybe around a year ago having not had any for YEARS and am now addicted to the stuff. I know that we can crave things that we are in fact intolerant to. Maybe I'll cut out the porridge and therefore the milk and see if that helps any. 

I just want to be able to run and not feel discomfort, well the effort type of discomfort is my friend this other not.

Hubbie is also away for another 3 week trip which means I am bound entirely to my 2 hour time limit at the Y but that's fine with me at the moment, I don't have any desire to go any longer. I do take imodium for all runs over 15 miles, I am tempted to use it on all my runs but don't think that's a good idea but it does still offer some relief. 

So it's back to over the bridge and back, over the bridge and back, oh how I love that bridge. I actually do, it represents freedom for me AND thank goodness it's tree lined so I have hiding places :s

Hopefully I'll be saying goodbye to the funk soon and be back to working hard and enjoying it.

Some completely unrelated photos to show it's not all doom and gloom!

 4th place in 1st ever science fair, he's the handsome one on the left (I am living in a never ending 'Wonder Years' episode) ;)

 This child was born to be a gymnast, we may have found her thing!

I ran over that bridge a few times during my 50k, never saw any naked children. Apologies Texas, stupid naked Europeans.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Piney Woods Trailfest 50k

Set off at the relatively decent hour of 5:50 to meet a friend who I was getting a lift to the race from at Kroger at 6am. I got to have a quick chat with friends who were setting off on their runs before jumping in my friends car and heading off. The destination was Lake Houston Wilderness Park which is only around 15 mins away from where I live. 
We got there and picked up our packets which included a nice t-shirt that I am yet to try on, hope it fits! It was still dark but by the time the gun went off at 7:30 the sun was up. I had intended to run with a friend but it's hard to do that once you pin the number to your top right?! I had given this 'race' zero thought and had no idea what time I would run, how long does 50k take, who knows?

A couple of guys took off from the gun with a 3rd not too far behind them. I ran along with my friend in a group of 4 for around a mile (maybe less) before getting itchy feet and taking off. Does this make me a terrible running buddy? Probably! He is still speaking to me and he said before we started that he knew I wasn't going to stay with him so all is good! 
The course was a 1 mile loop then 3 x 10 mile loops. There was also a 20 and 10 mile race and 5k. I finished the 1st lap just as the 10 miler started but my 1st toilet stop put me right at the back of them ALL so I had to pick my way through the masses which was kind of annoying at points - why do people run trail runs with headphones in BOTH ears? 

I honestly don't get the whole headphone/music thing. I do plug myself in on the treadmill otherwise it is beyond dull but when you're outside running through the trees and what is a beautiful park, why the antisocial music thing? Ok, so it suits some people, fine whatever but please be aware you are in a race and there are people coming up from behind who you ought to really try to get out of the way for. Ugh, it really wasn't all that bad it's just dumb to me that you would purposefully lose one of your main senses when you're out and about, it would make me feel very vulnerable I think. 

The 1st and second laps were ok, to be honest I didn't feel great at any point, still feeling the marathon in there a little bit despite it being 4 week ago now. The course had a small handful of little climbs and downhills, nothing too challenging but for the most part was very flat. It was muddy in parts and the surface did take a toll on my legs, no return like I'm used to getting from the road and treadmill, it is much more sapping to run trails. There were roots and sticks everywhere, I ran the whole 31 miles looking at my feet with the occasional appreciative glance up at the trees. I rolled my ankle a tiny bit but no harm done and was happy to have faired so well on such an uneven surface. I felt like I was back at home and thoroughly enjoyed being in a forest without a road, greenbelt or treadmill for miles :)

I ate and drank at all of the 3 aid stations, I had a cookie, banana, m&m's.....gatorade and coke. I have only had coke twice during a run and I think it's wonderful! Gatorade doesn't agree with me (suffered after this run for a while) and there's something about coke that I crave when I run long. The right sugar/caffeine combo for me, wish I could have it at points along the marathon. 
I had 3 toilet stops in all, I wont go into detail but I am a little worried about the amount of......blood that appears fairly regularly, especially on/after long runs. I probably ought to go see a Dr about it but I more than likely won't. My stomach bothered me during this one despite the imodium, not bad enough to slow me down and the toilet stops helped but still a little annoying.

The 3rd lap was tough, I ran the entire race on my own but at least had other people to pass during earlier laps due to the other race distances and start times. No such luck on the final lap, only saw a small handful of people and it felt pretty lonely. I love quiet time, crave it, my kids create a constant barrage of noise ALL day long and peace and quiet is not something I have much of in my life but a little company on that final lap would have been nice. The people at the aid stations became the most welcoming sight ever, especially the old couple and young girl at the last one around the 7.5mile mark on the 10 mile loop. I wanted to see that nice woman's face so badly on that last lap! I think running for that length of time is like being in labour, there comes a point where you kind of fall in love with.......everything/everyone! I was in love with the nice old woman at the aid station, I even told her so in not so many words :D I took my time at the stations, no running through for me, stopped and fuelled before heading off again, they became very welcome stops for me. I picked my water bottle up at the start of the 3rd lap which I was grateful for, I had started to get thirsty and filled and emptied it 3 times on that last loop. 
After 2 cups of coke at the final aid station for the final time I perked up a bit and put the final 2.5 miles to rest. I was very tired at the end, my time 4:16 - that is a loooong time to be on your feet and running for! I was 3rd overall (I think one of those guys must have dropped out?) and 1st female. My splits were kind of surprising to me: 1:26, 1:24, 1:25. I didn't run with my garmin, haven't worn it in ages, hate that watch so apart from seeing the clock at the end of every lap I had no other time 'clue'. I do feel like I have a pace that feels comfortable to me and I guess on this day and this course it was 8:15/mile. Kind of amazed my final lap wasn't way slower than the others, I thought it would be. But I was stuck in a groove and just kept pushing for each mile marker, a good sign that the endurance I built for Houston is still in there....somewhere.
The winning time was 3:59, nice job that man! A few running buddies were there at the end, they had run the 10 miler but I felt very antisocial, I just didn't have the energy at the end to stand and chat! I got my award, congratulated the winner then found a quiet spot with a nice tree and lay down and put my legs up in the air against the tree. It felt GOOD!  My legs were very happy to be the other way round after more than 4 hours on my feet. 

Feels so good, the shoes were discarded moments after.

I love the laid back feel of these tiny races and especially enjoyed the different vibe that these trails runners gave off. So friendly, I had people shaking my hand and congratulating me, something I feel is sadly lacking at the end of road races. I've mentioned before that I was brought up to shake hands at the end of every race and miss that aspect in most races. I hate that you finish and then that's it, nobody really talks to each other. This was different, I think I like trail runs and trail runners. 

My husband and kids were due to come watch me finish but just missed me by a few minutes. The thought of their faces helped keep me going on that last lap. When I thought about walking (and I did think about it more than once!) I reasoned walking takes so much longer than running so might as well keep running, get done quicker! Simple logic but worked for me. 
We spent the remainder of yesterday at the Mardi Gras celebration in the town centre then we had a sitter for a rare night out. Yes I know, great timing, run 31 miles then have a late night AND drinking. I feel a little bit below par today, I really don't like drinking any more and am happy for it to remain a very occasional occurrence. Had a lovely evening with running buddies H and N, N cooked up a storm for us - delicious! 

I thought a lot about 50 milers and 100 milers during that last lap. I think I could do 50 miles with the right preparation but 100 miles? I take my hat off to people who have covered that distance, that is truly an incredible feat. Yesterday I resolved NEVER to attempt one but has to be done at some point! Who wants to keep me company for the final 50miles? Any takers?! 

Wednesday, February 6, 2013


1.5 is not my favourite number right now. It's what the treadmill reads every time I step on it these days and it hurts. But I decided after Houston I wanted to give it a go as I think I could benefit from the increased workload it creates. 

Today was just 6 miles at 8:00 pace with 6x400m thrown in. It almost killed me. Oh the 400's were to be at 5:20 pace. I'm used to being asked at the end of EVERY race if i'm ok, but today was the 1st time I think I've ever been asked whilst on the treadmill at the Y! My response: 'no but yes!' I opened 'Jack Daniels' last night (not the wet kind) and read a bit about paces and inclines on the treadmill and I need to have a conversation with Coach Doug Storey about what I'm doing. I told him in passing that I was planning on doing it but it's been kind of crazy since the marathon and I haven't had a chance to sound him out properly. 

I love it though, it hurts so good! I also like that I'm getting my fix despite my milage still being way down due to the ongoing recovery from Houston. This week will be around 60 miles with almost half coming from this Saturday 50k I'm running. It's a local race and I'm taking it easy and running with a friend. I'm looking forward to it, it will be the furthest I've ever run and for the longest time too no doubt. Unfortunately we have had a lot of rain this week (not a bad thing in itself) but I heard the course is low lying and so there will be a lot of water to wade through. My partner in crime for this one asked me on Friday if I had trail shoes because I would need some. Emmmmm no and I'm not going to get any between now and then and have broken them in for a 31 mile run so I'll have my golden oldies on that must have a round 600 miles ish on them by now. I am already anticipating a fall/slide or 2!

I wanted my milage to pop straight back up to 90/100+ post Houston but marathon recovery is not an overnight thing as I am discovering and I trust Doug so am doing as I'm told (apart from the incline thing). He has promised that I can get back into some more miles after my next 'serious' race which will be the Woodlands Half marathon in a few (4?) weeks time. 

I am very pleased to now be part of Bayou City Elite, Doug Storey's racing team and am hopeful that the tops will be ready for the Woodlands half so I can wear it with pride! 
I have been practising my core and strength work religiously for the past few weeks now and I swear I can see a difference across my shoulders which I HATE. I have very broad shoulders as it is and now I have all these 'lines' showing up across them - muscle? *shudders*

Not much else to report, feeling good post marathon no niggles or sore bits. Very much looking forward to Chicago in October (I'm just going to sign up and tell my husband we talked about it and he agreed - his memory is awful ;)). 

I'm not sure what shape I'll be in for the Woodlands but I'd really like to sort out that half marathon PR of mine. We'll see what happens! 

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Post Houston Thoughts and Wet Pants

I keep meaning to find a few minutes to write down some of things I want to remember while they're still fresh in my mind after the Houston marathon last weekend so maybe I'll do it here. It's Sunday morning and the kids and hubbie are all still sleeping despite the fact it's 8:05!!!!!! This NEVER happens but we were at Monster Jam (think big noisy monster trucks :s) at the Reliant Stadium last night and didn't get home until 11pm which is later than late for everyone in this house. The kids had fun and I enjoyed it too, especially the popcorn and candy floss......emmmm.....cotton candy (have to translate virtually everything over here!) 

Ok back to business! Will do bullet point style but will not doubt still be very long winded as I'm incapable of anything less. 

* FUELING - I do need fuel during a marathon. Crashed at mile 16 and then took a gel at around 16.5 maybe (not sure where I got the gel from the spectator) and one again at the official 'gel aid station' which was mile 20. So next time I plan to take 3 starting at mile 7. I hesitated before typing that number because it does make me nervous taking one so early on but this is a learning curve and I do aim to use them during longer runs to try to et my stomach used to them so fingers crossed I wont encounter any problem mid marathon.  And I'd really rather not 'crash' energy wise EVER again during a marathon thank you very much!

* MILAGE - It has been 2 years since I started running again and I feel like, whilst it's nothing really I have put in some milage and watched (and continue to watch) my legs and body change in composition on a month to month basis. I feel like it's now or never. If I'm serious about getting as fast as I can over the marathon (and I am) then I need to start putting in consistently high milage now. I'm 35, 36 in May and I don't have that long to build the kind of milage base I want so got to get after it now. High milage works for me. I feel so good on it and I know I need it to get my marathon time as fast as it can be. I also thoroughly enjoyed the build up to Houston and being allowed to run 100+ miles a week. It requires zero discipline for me, what's hard about doing what you love? So I am really going to (and already have) asked Coach Doug (Storey) for big miles week in week out. Ideally I would like to average 100 miles a week +. 
This only becomes difficult when my husband is away with work. This wasn't an issue until recently when he was away for 7 out of 8 weeks over November and December. I am then restricted to a 2 hour time slot at the Y for the child care and that's not long enough. I have a treadmill at the house which I never use as it's......old and crap. Well it is. Ideally I'd love a new one but they aren't cheap and my husband already thinks I've lost my mind with all this running malarkey but I may have to gently force the issue (hmm bit of a contradiction in terms to 'gently force' :D). 

* STRENGTH - I was doing a little bit of core work before my miles got high for Houston. I would fit in it after I had done my running whilst at the Y but once I needed the full 2 hour child care limit to run the core work went out the window (yes I could have done it at home but never got into that routine). 
This needs to change. In an ideal world I would have enough time to fit in everything I want to better my running. But I am limited to 24 hours in a day. No matter how hard I try to squeeze an extra couple of hours out of every day the earth and its rotation refuses to play ball (how annoying is that?!) So, time wise milage gets top priority, then sleep, then nutrition, then strength. That's just the way I feel it needs to be for me. I am obviously only talking about running here, my kids and husband are the top of the list above all those things but this is a running blog not a 'how I try to have a balanced family life' blog. 
So core will return. I need a routine I can do at home and I will get up a little bit earlier to do it or do it of an evening. I prefer the early option always as I am spent come 7:30pm when the kids and all settled in bed.

DRILLS - I don't remember what Heather called it.....'Dynamic something' but I think it's the type of 'speed' drills I used to do as part of every single warm up in my previous life as a runner (ie in my youth). I'm sure they've moved on since those dim and distant days (I know they have, I witnessed it for myself last summer at the track meets I went to at Rice Uni).
So H and I have been talking strength since Houston and both want to get some in there. She is a guru in this department. She was a 400m hurdler at college and has WAY more knowledge in this field but not for marathon running as she herself acknowledges. Anyhoo, she is sending emails and doing some research and wants to meet me at 9am on Tuesday at the football field ;) at the Y where she will show me what's she's thinking and we'll run through some drills. 
We talked a little about preschool for next year, maybe if we can try to line up when our kids are in school we will get to run/train together more, it makes sense. Who wants to be the only crazy out there for all to see on the football pitch, much better to have a crazy friend with you, hay it can't be madness if there's more than one of us....right?! Oh, she ought to be in Colorado already but isn't sure if/when that will happen now. The oil patch is a fickle business. I am so happy to have them stay here but not at the expense of them being where they want to be. So I will enjoy the time they have in Houston and getting to have such a like minded running buddy to train with until they get the move they want. 

* Nutrition and Sleep - my kids (youngest is 2 1/2) are starting to sleep a bit later HOOOORAY! I actually have to wake them most mornings at 6:45 to get up for school (the eldest is in Kindergarten so we have to be up for that every day). This makes a nice change from being assaulted by mini terrorists every day at around 5:30 when they used to rise. 
Ok, I like 9 1/2 hours sleep a night, hell I'd even take 10. I don't get it but I'd like it. I do get enough sleep now though. We are through the worst of the broken nights with babies and toddlers (3 kids in under 4 years gives you a lot of that) but now it's pretty plain sailing. Don't get me wrong we go through phases, my 6 year old is currently coming into our bed every night at the moment and then it will be the 4 year old, etc etc  etc. But on the whole, we are out of the woods. 
So I get around 8 1/2 hours a night. I go to bed early (always before 10) and haven't been having to get up early to run but that will change with an increased milage but I can handle 2/3 early starts a week, I can not handle a mega early start every day, I turn into a zombie who becomes very clumsy and  can't string a sentence together (think drunk without the booze!)
Nutrition wise, pretty happy too. I think I'm still on the heavy side but I'm hoping consistently high miles will take care of that. I cook every day, make most things from scratch. I have shifted to very 'clean' eating and have gone from buying organic meat to now opting for organic fruit and veg too. I have been very aware since having kids and being solely responsible for everything that goes into their mouths that what we eat is so important. This has intensified since taking up running again. It hasn't been a conscious decision just something that has happened naturally. I find myself wanting very simple, 'clean' food. I claim I'm not a health nut (my friends laugh when I say this?) and yet find myself working out more than most, making my own bread, I have gone from being the person who buys the tomato pasta sauce in a jar to making my own. My one 'cheat' was using tined chopped tomatoes but now find since using fresh (skins and seeds removed) I can't go back. sigh. My latest toy is a juicer haven't used it yet but I see it having a prominent place in my future!
Having said all that I am definitely not above popcorn and candy floss at a Monster Mash but in general there has been as shift towards 'cleaner' eating. 
Alcohol is no longer appealing, I have the odd beer but think I used it as a way to release stress before, to unwind after a tough day and now running takes care of that for me so I'm no longer drawn to it in the same way). I used to drink a lot in my late teens and throughout my 20's, very much the culture in Scotland. Very glad to no longer be in that place, I suffer horribly the next day (4 days). 

* Small stuff - Bin bag...trash bag with a head hole as fashioned by H was a GREAT idea to keep me both warm and dry once we left the George R Brown Convention Centre and headed to the start line. I kept it on until around 2 mins from the start and felt warm and dry in the cold rain. I will make sure I always have one with me for every marathon from now on.

Warm fleecy tops with a hood I got for H and I for the same period of time (outside waiting for the gun) to throw away was also greatly appreciated. Found them the day before for $10 a piece so didn't hurt too much to toss it. Will start to keep my eye out for such items and start a 'throw away' collection. All clothing was collected and given to the homeless after the race (these guys think of everything). 

Shoes. I didn't know what to do here really for race day, the whole shoe thing kind of confuses me. I've decided there's a lot of hype and if it aint broke I wont try to 'fix' it. So for the race I wore the same shoes I've been training in. I don't keep track of milage on my shoes but would guess they had around 400 miles on them (they were pretty new ha!) I am thinking I can get more than the 350 the manufacturer tells me I can, I don't want to spend $100+ a month on shoes so I guess I will have to get more out of each pair. I also hate breaking in a new pair, despite getting a wide shoe they are still too narrow initially until a couple of runs have stretched them out. Maybe I'll look for a wider fitting shoe the next time I'm at a running shop. I also recently read it's wise to rotate shoes as pairs can have defects, this makes sense to me, eggs and baskets and all that. 

I need to get shorts with a pocket for gels that I can race in. 

Also would like arm warmers, I think they might have been a smart idea for Houston (cold and wet) but as I don't have any I didn't wear any. I have next to no running gear. I probably need to get some.

Gloves, yes need some warm, waterproof gloves too.

When staying in a hotel pre race ask in advance about what, if any, breakfast is available and maybe take my own. Ditto with the meal the night before, ask for advice about where to go. We were lucky and Doug and his wife took H and I out to eat the evening before the race so they did the thinking for us. They had their car and so we could get out of the very busy Downtown and went to a great Italian where I got my usual night before spaghetti bolognese. Also $60 all in (with tip) for 4 plus a glass of wine - love the cost of eating out here in the US of A!

Taper!!! ok, best till last! Despite going a little bit crazy during this one, it my 1st real taper, and deciding the day before the race that I couldn't actually run and was going to drop out. I will say it. The taper worked. I went from being able to do 6-8 miles at marathon pace and a bit faster at the end of my long runs whilst having 100 miles in my legs, and it feeling fast, to cruising through 16 miles at that pace on race day (ok the first 5-6 of the marathon felt a little rusty but after that it was EASY). Even after I had my fueling crisis at mile 16 the pace never felt very fast not the way it had in training. 


I am writing the above as a reminder to myself! I know that I will freak out during my next taper and the same doubts will no doubt flood my mind and I want to have something to remind myself that all will be well! 

As I said I have been meaning to jot down all the things I want to remember while they are still fresh in my mind so I can use the knowledge gained from this marathon for my next.

So what is next. I have prepared a race plan for 2013 and have given it to Doug so he can come up with a training schedule for me. Thank you Doug! I will post the details of it later. But the biggies are a marathon in Chicago in Ocotober and then Houston again in January (ok, so I'm into 2014 but it's the year ahead). I think 2 marathons a year are the limit, Doug agrees. 
Why Chicago? I googled 'fast and flat marathons USA' of course. It is not a definite yet, another one that needs some 'gentle force' with my husband! :D I have young kids and the night before Houston was the first I've ever spent away from them. So to go to another city for this running hobby seems a bit of a stretch for me. But one that fills me with so much excitement. I admit I felt like it was a HUGE extravagance to have a hotel room the night before Houston and all to myself :s I wouldn't want to take the kids to Chicago, it just wouldn't work. But if I can trick my husband into viewing it as a weekend getaway for just him and I..... ;) No trickery really, I am very tongue in cheek incase you hadn't noticed. 

In the mean time I have a local 5k at the Y on the 2nd of Feb, my kids will be running in the 1 mile race too and then a 50k, yes I said 50k on the 9th. Its also local, only 10 miles away and a friend asked if I wanted to do it with him so I got the ok from Doug. I will be taking it easy, well that's what I'm saying at this point but that may change between now and then. Oh, hell it already has! 

Ok, everyone's up and I have things to do and have blabbed on and on for long enough.

If you have any thoughts or additional advice on any of the above I am always open to suggestions. I have so little experience and I love to hear what other runners have to offer, regardless of what pace they run. Experience is experience. 

Oh, I did 8 miles with the group yesterday and got all the post marathon chat which was fun. Because it was such a short run H and I decided to go for the post run coffee (tea in my case) and further chat which we never do because we feel we have to race home to save our husbands from our kids ;D Anyway, I had (as usual) pee'd myself a little (lot) during the run (see 3 kids) anyway, I put my grey tracksuit bottoms on after the run then went and sat down for my cup of tea. When it was time to leave I realised that my wet shorts, which are always black to hide my leaky bladder, had most definitely shown through onto my grey bottoms. So I did the whole awkward hover as we all got up to leave trying to make all the guys walk out in front of me, and would they, NO! So off Heather and I went, in the lead. sigh. I whispered my problem to her whereupon she leaned right back and looked at my ass, despite my cry 'don't look!' :D She confirmed my fear. 
Just thought I'd mention one of the not so glamorous aspects that make up my every day. I could go way worse than this, believe me but will refrain....for now!
Yours, keeping it real. ;)

Monday, January 14, 2013

Ministry of silly walks

I was kind of hoping the video of the finish would show a little bit more of my post marathon attempt at walking but it does catch a bit of a wobble. Enjoy! :D

Some more stats:

Person Details


NameCook, Vicky (USA)
Age Group35-39
My FavouriteAdd Runner To 'My Favourites'


Place (M/W)22
Place (Division)3
Place (Overall)146
Finish Net03:01:50
Finish Gun03:01:59


Finish Net03:01:5009:4906:578.65

Sunday, January 13, 2013

3:01 :)

No cliff hanger here ;) 

This will be brief. I never thought I'd be so happy with missing my goal but happy I am :) See, can't stop smiling :):):):):):)

Long story short:

I decided yesterday that I wasn't running, then that I was only treating it as a training run due to the tightness I felt in my chest during my easy 3 mile run. I think I just totally freaked out. My whole family is/has been sick and I have been dreading getting it too and I haven't been 100% but honestly I think it might have just been anxiety!

Anyway, after texting Coach Doug and Heather that I was out, I texted them back to say '**** it, I'll run and see what happens'.

Today was cold, wet, and windy in Houston. Nice running weather for this Scottish girl. I stayed downtown in my own room and didn't know what to do with myself so I spent the whole time last night reading and missing my kids (who met me at the end and have since driven me crazy - so normality has been resumed ;)). 

I am not good in big crowds and boy were there a LOT of people there this morning. This is y 1st big marathon but I had no problem getting a porta-loo, bag drop was easy, I got pretty close to the start line. All good, nice job at moving a lot of people around seamlessly Houston.

I caught up to the 3 hour group and there I remained. I felt great, i wanted to go at mile wait...mile wait. Then mile 16 hit, I was waiting until mile 18 to make my break but holy moly the life just seeped out of the soles of my feet. 

I learned a HUGE lesson today. This runner DOES need fuel during a marathon. Yes, I had decided not to take anything other than a few sips of gatorade from the 10 mile point on. All that stuff messes with my stomach and I thought I didn't need it. WRONG. 

I have never felt anything like it, the pace dropped off, my eye sight went terrible, I was weaving around and felt so light headed. I started asking all the spectators is they had a gel I could have. Then I saw a man with orange slices I grabbed one and inhaled it, still no gel, I NEEDED a gel. I kept going and asking everyone then I got lucky and a woman gave me one! THANK YOU BEST SPECTATOR EVER. I told her she had saved my life, a little dramatic perhaps but she did save my race. 

I took it, then washed it down with gatorade (made it to the next water station) then got a banana from someone. Ok, kick in, kick in, kick in! And it did, I felt a million times better, felt energy come back and then it was back to business. I could still see the 3 hour 'balloon' so close and yet so far. I told myself to relax and take my time getting them back. I knew if I could just get there I could settle in and I'd get my goal. I worked to close that gap but I could not get to them. 
I took gatorade from that point onwards and another gel at around the 20 mile mark where there was a fuel station. 

Crossed the line, in 3:01 did the whole stop running and my legs would not cooperate and walk thing! Was held up by a nice guy until I looked like I wouldn't veer into the barrier and/or collapse anymore. So that's a 12 minute PR, I'll take it.

It was so awesome. I'm so happy. I know there's so much more in there even at this point. But the really exciting thing is I feel like I understand what my body needs fuel wise (I'm sure I still have a lot to learn but todays lesson was a very important one) and I know that with the right training (mega miles) I have so much more to give. 

I found my family and within 5 minutes of finishing I had my 4 year old on my shoulders and was making the 15 minute walk to the car so we could get back to the hotel. Life was restored to normal (4 year olds have no respect for the fact their mums have just run a marathon). Love her.

Bit of a sore tummy afterwards, price to pay for those gels but worth it for pulling my race back around today.

22nd female, 3rd in AG.

Next goal, sub 2:55 by the end of the year (would really like low 2:50's actually so might revise that). But talk, as we know is cheap. Rest time then back to averaging some serious milage for 2013.

I'm adding the most important part late!!!!!!! Huge thanks to Doug Storey, Coach extraordinaire. Like I told him, I knew he knew his sh** ;) If you're 'serious' (ie prepared to work hard) and are looking for someone who takes your thoughts, wants and needs into account (he gets that we runners are all different) then he's your man.