Thursday, August 30, 2007

Race Report - Chicago Distance Classic Half Marathon - August 12, 2007

11th Overall
3rd 40 - 44 AG

*all pictures in this posting taken by Brian Gaines

I'm very late posting my race report due to the fact that I left on vacation the same day of the race and when I came back I had a really tight deadline on a work assignment. So here it is for what it's worth.

I considered this race to be an "A" race as I was going to use the results as a way to determine what my marathon goal pace would be in October. I didn't run very well here last year as I took it out quite aggressively and died big time in the last 5K, going from being in the top 10 overall to finishing 23rd. I still cringe when I remember that race. But anyway that was then and this is now and I was determined to make it a smart and strong race. I arranged to stay at the Congress hotel the night before the race, arranged for the kids to be with the grandparents, and brought my number one support guy along (that would be the husband, poor guy rarely gets any mention). It wasn't the best week leading up to the race training wise and there was a lot of work and vacation planning distraction but I felt like I would be focused when the gun went off.

I woke up at 3am on the morning of the race to the sound of thunder. There was a regular light show going on outside with plenty of rain. I lay there trying to get back to sleep but I couldn't and I got up around 4:00 and I ate my breakfast. I had told fellow chiadeads Kelly, Paul, and Brian that they could drop by my room before the race if they wished to drop stuff off and after the race they could use the shower. I was pretty sure Paul was coming and I waited for his call and I monitored the weather from my window.

The weather cleared up, Paul showed up, and Andy, Paul and I left for the starting line about 5:40ish. It was humid but not the beastly heat that had been the norm all week so I was grateful for that. We got to the starting line and I left to do my warmup and strides, Paul went to go find Kelly and Andy waited near the starting line. I felt okay during warm up but I still felt really distracted and I worried about how warm it might get. I got more positive as the warm up progressed and I headed for the starting line. I had decided to stick with the 1:25 pace group and I hope to be able to make a move ahead of this group at the 10 mile mark if I could so that I could make an attempt at sliding in under 1:25. I met Bob the pace group leader and he was upbeat and ready to go. I met a few others that would be joining the pace group and I felt that this could actually be fun. The gun went off and I became part of the blob known as Bob's group or the 1:25 group. I heard Andy's voice cheering me on but I did not see him.

Bob's group....The guy holding the yellow flag is Bob and I'm on his right side hidden from the camera.

The early part of the race was smooth as the pace was comfortable and easy to match. As a group we actually had to hold back as a few of our splits were a little fast. First few splits 6:34, 6:28, 6:25, 6:20, 6:25, 6:32, 6:29, 6:36. I heard Andy several times during this section and a few other people calling my name and I motored on. It was about 8 miles that I started to feel that things were getting a little harder. It was getting warmer and I regretted not taking any GU with me. I had planned on it but I left the hotel room without it and I didn't return to get it when I realized I didn't have it. I put that out of my mind and focused on trying to keep with Bob's group. The group seemed to keep humming along while each incline caused me to slip a bit from the group until I would catch up again on a flat or decline. The 10 mile mark was a really good 1:04:50 for me but I had serious doubts on being able to stay with the group much longer. I lost Bob's group about half a mile after that slipping to more like 6:35's. I was with another cluster of runners at this point and they helped keep me going at this pace up to 12 miles. My 13th mile at 6:56 was definitely a low point but I didn't lose faith as I knew I was still running better than last year and hell I was flipping almost done! The multiple tight turns in the last mile of the race didn't do much to help with a struggling pace but I would say it was really more the humidity and heat that I was kind of fed up with that contributed to that mile. It was in this section that I heard Andy and Brian cheering me on and Brian took some really great pictures of me. Thanks Brian! I made the last turn for the finish, turned on the sprint and finished in 1:25:41. I talked with Bob in the finish area and I spoke with several men from the pace group. I promised to stick with them to the end next year and I thanked Bob for his work.

Overall I was happy with my time as I beat last year's time and it wasn't the march into hell it was last year. It seems as if the 10 mile mark is kind of a threshold for me as I had a drop off after 10miles in my half marathon in March, of course the drop off in this race wasn't as bad and the whole race was at a much faster pace. Somehow though I just know I should have been under 1:25.

Andy and I returned to the hotel (slowly, I was tired) and I showered. Paul, Kelly, and Brian showed up after their races, changed and we all went to get a bite to eat. It is always fun getting together with friends after a race to share our experiences and I got a look at Brian's pictures of the race on his digital camera.

Now my vacation started and it was off to the Wisconsin Dells for a week of family bonding, very little running, and a lot of time playing in water and going down the slides. It was a blast and much needed vacation.

Congrats to all who ran the race!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Kind-of disabled list

If anyone is wondering why my training logs have not been timely (okay so they are pretty much absent) is that I'm nursing a knee issue. I'm not sure what the deal is but it points to something a little more serious than just "runner's knee" My running is happening once every 2 -3 days and usually not much more than 3 -4 miles. I've finally secured an appointment to see my primary care physician and start the process of trying to get him to send me to someone who can actually tell me what the deal is. Most likely I will be cancelling my next race (Park Forest 10 miler) and depending on what I find out I may have to pull out of my marathon in October.

Pain started with my first run after the Chicago Distance Classic. Since I left on vacation the day of the Distance Classic I didn't run until tuesday and I had this weird sensation that my knee wanted to lock. I would be running and I would get this twinge of pain deep in the center of my knee joint. I can't even touch the area where the pain is coming from. Its not consistent pain but it happens maybe 3 -4 times during a minute of running. Downhills trigger pain and turning sharp corners does also. I walk without pain....I can just hear the Dr. now "Don't run".

I'm bummed but what I really want is a clear understanding of what is happening so that I can do what I need to do to get back to the roads. I'm definitely hoping we aren't talking surgery here but if that is what is needed then so be it. Of course it could be something really minor and it just needs time....I just don't know and I've never had this injury before in all of my years of running.

I see my primary care physician tomorrow. Let's see what happens.

Runner Girl Janeth

Monday, August 27, 2007

Training Log August 6th - 12th, 2007

Monday - 6.8
Super humid day, it was insane. I was rested and tolerated the humidity okay.

Tuesday - 4
Matt Pilates with 4 miles of running afterwards. Humidity continues to be pretty brutal.

Wednesday - 6.8
Not feeling so great. Running is sluggish

Thursday - 4.5
Warm up, 6 x (1' pickup with 2' recovery jog), cool down. Each pickup felt forced and uncomfortable. By the time I went to bed my tailbone/lower back was so tight I could barely bend over. I suspect a new exercise I did in my pilates session strained something.

Friday - 5
Back a little better but I can feel it down hills and around turns. Tightness centered on my tailbone.

Saturday - Back better after warming up. Busy day packing for stay downtown for the race AND packing for next week's family vacation which will start promptly after the race is over. I feel distracted and out of sorts :-(

Sunday - 14.1 miles
Warm up and strides, Chicago Distance Classic Half Marathon - 1:25:41. 11th Overall and 3rd in 40 - 44 AG. Warm and humid but not as beastly as it had been most of the week. Thank God! I ran with the 1:25 pace group until 11 miles when I had to let them go as I was struggling with the pace, in a matter of seconds they were too far ahead to ever hope to catch up with them again, definitely disappointing but I put my attention to trying to keep it together the best I could and get to that finish line. my 13th mile was poor but I was able to sprint and finish faster than last year and weather conditions this year were definitely not as good as last year. Things were definitely difficult after the 10 mile. When I ran the half in March it was the same thing, althouth it was at a much slower pace as I finished that in 1:31:02. The 10 mile mark seems to be a sort of a threshold for me. Hmmmm, I'm going to have to think on what to do about that. Of special note is my 10 mile split of 1:04:50 which is faster than I ran at the Fox Trot Memorial race in 1:05:12.
Splits: 1 - 6:34; 2- 6:28, 3 - 6:25; 4 - 6:20; 5 - 6:25; 6 - 6:32; 7 - 6:29; 8 - 6:36; 9 - 6:24; 10 - 6:33; 11/12 - 13:09; 13 - 6:56; 13.1 - :44.

Weekly Summary
Total Miles: 44.9
Just a weird week. The taper felt crappy and I had a lot of trouble keeping focused all week. Work issues and the hectic schedule of getting ready for our vacation didn't help. I think I'm just due for a really good break and that's just what I'm going to do with my family. Next week will be what I like to call "active rest". Run if and when I feel like it. Sunday's race was good but still felt short of what I had really hoped for which was to slip in under 1:25.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Continuing Information on Jenny Crain

August 23, 2007 at 08:15 PM CDT
“Positive & Hopeful”

Today Jenny’s family met with the multidisciplinary medical team caring for her. She has not gotten worse and seems to be minimally improving. Doctors are putting in a tracheotomy and feeding tube today. This is a very good development because it will provide her more comfort and the nutrients needed to promote healing. Her condition remains critical, with continued focus on treating her brain, vertebrae, carotid artery, and jaw injuries. The care team cannot get a full assessment of the brain injury until the swelling in the brain subsides, which as been decreasing in very small increments. The family had many questions about the brain injury, with the doctors unable to give an accurate assessment until the swelling decreases. While Jenny has broken vertebrae the doctors did report that it does not appear that she has spinal cord damage. While this is hopeful news, it is not conclusive. Jenny is not in a coma. She is under heavy sedation and receiving pain medications to keep her comfortable. Jenny does not have any broken bones in her legs, arms and torso. The focus is on her head and neck injuries. The doctors were positive and hopeful at this early stage of Jenny’s long road to recovery. Because of her excellent physical condition Jenny is at an advantage in her fight to recover. Jenny is such a positive and hopeful person. The news today reflects her spirit. Please keep praying and sending your positive energy to Jenny. We will post additional information as it becomes available.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Jenny Crain in critical condition after being hit by a motorist

I've recently received news that Jenny Crain, a very talented elite runner living in Wisconsin, was hit by a motorist and is in critical condition at Froedtert Hospital. Froedtert Hospital has something called CarePages, and there is now one for Jenny that has been updated a couple times today. Sign on at www.carepages. com. You'll need to get an ID set up. Once you do, the page you're looking for is supportjennycrain.

The most recent update on her page is as follows:

After undergoing surgery yesterday Jenny is in critical condition. The
extent of her injuries has become clearer. As a result of the accident she
suffered brain damage, broken vertebrae, damage to the carotid arteries, among
other injuries. The most serious concern now is bleeding on the brain. The
neurologist has indicated that Jenny is now in a waiting period to see if the
bleeding will stop. Please keep Jenny and her family in your prayers. We will
update this site as frequently as information becomes available.

Jenny is well known in her community for her volunteer work and kind nature. It is heartbreaking to hear of this news knowing how much she has worked and sacrificed pursuing her dreams.

I pray that she recovers and somehow can return to what she loves. I pray also for the ones that love her, that they can have the strength to support Jenny come what may.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

For you triathlete fans!

Take a look at Jen Harrison's site!
She's a friend I met through some runner friends a few years back.

So let's count all the Jen's I know.
Jenny Garrison (triathlete and training partner, at least for the running part)
Jennifer Harrison (friend and sometimes race competition)
Jennifer Broughton (friend, neighbor)
Jen Skrowronski (my personal trainer)
Jenny Spangler (college teammate, old training buddy)

Reminds me of a skit I saw on the comedy central show Kids in the Hall where one of the guys does a song about all the Dave's he knows and by the end of the skit he's singing his song while walking down the street with all these Dave's following him and singing along
"These are the Dave's I know, I know, I know, these are Dave's I know!"
Very funny, really. :-)
Thanks Russ for this link :-)

By the way I also work with 4 Dave's .... all in the same department!

Monday, August 6, 2007

Training Log July 30 - August 5 - 2007

Monday - 4.9
7:30pm River Run. Time: 41:36 (8:29/mile).
Easy run. Not feeling all that bad after my long run yesterday. I'm thinking that taking the GU during the run yesterday helped save my legs a little for today.

Tuesday - 9.38 miles + 2.6 miles
4:30 am. Time: 1:14:56 (7:59/mile).
Intervals. Warm up 1.5 miles, 10 x half mile with 1.5 - 2 min recovery jog, cool down. This was a long workout but I didn't do all that bad. Halves started out between 2:59 - 3:01 but after the 5th one it slid to more like 3:03 - 3:05 and I took the 2 min recovery jog instead of the 1.5 min. I wanted to do a hard effort mile afterwards but I ran out of time and I was pretty done after the halves. Splits: 1 - 9:17; 2 - 7:38; 3 - 7:49; 4 - 7:07; 5 - 7:31; 6 - 7:36; 7 - 7:45; 8 - 7:34; 9 - 9:10; 9.38 - 3:26.

7:15 pm - Pilates session 1 hr

Run to and from pilates session 2.60 miles.

Wednesday - 7.4
8:30 pm. Time: 1:04:43 (8:44/mile).
Legs a little slow tonight but I enjoyed the night and it was nice to work out a little of the junk in my legs from yesterday's workouts. Splits: 1 - 9:01; 2 - 8:35; 3 - 8:42; 4 - 8:30; 5 - 8:50; 6 - 8:50; 7 - 8:44; 7.39 - 3:28.

Thursday - 10
8:30pm. Time: 1:24:40 (8:28/mile).
Nice 10 miler over rolling course. Really felt good in the last 3 miles. Splits 1 - 8::42; 2 - 8:29; 3 - 8:34; 4 - 8:37; 5 - 8:34; 6 - 8:35; 7 - 8:35; 8 - 8:07; 9 - 8:07; 10 - 8:17.

Friday - 8.25
6:30 am.
Prairie Path run with Dan. A little tired from last night but not bad.

Saturday - 20
6:30 am. Time: 2:29:00 (7:27/mile).
Thought I would try a 24 miler today with the group out in Barrington but as I took on the hills and did so with a group running faster than I had in a long time I thought sticking to a high quality 20 would be the best. I ran with the group through 18 (they all stopped) then I did 2 miles on the track at the school putting in a last mile of 6:55. I was tired but this was definitely one of the best long runs I've done in a long time. The running group I was with were so positive and supportive. A great day.
Splits (I only have splits 1 - 14 and my last mile as my GPS watch lost contact) 1 - 8:01; 2 - 7:27; 3 - 7:21; 4 - 7;23; 5 - 7:29; 6 - 7:24; 7 - 7:22; 8 - 7:30; 9 - 7:35; 10 - 7:17; 11 - 7:33; 12 - 7:11; 13 - 7:21; 14 - 7:16,...20 - 6:55. Finished with nice blister on left heel from hole on inside of shoe. It was the last run in them anyway. New shoe time!

Sunday - 0
Tired and a little tight but not so bad really. I could have run something short or even make it to the trails race everyone else was running but I needed some "home" time.

Weekly Summary
Total Miles: 62.5 miles
This was a good solid week for me. My interval workout and long run this week were a real pleasant surprise as they went way better than expected. I was tired during some parts of the week but it wasn't that deep fatigue type of tired. My stomach issues from last week seem to be resolved and everything is going well as nothing really hurts. Back down week for Chicago Distance Classic. Hoping for nice weather - see everyone there!