Eat Drink Run Woman

Musings from a Seattle personal chef with a fitness problem

Archive for April, 2009

Published April 28th, 2009

Boston Marathon, Part 2 — I kissed a girl


Since I forbade him from banditing the race, my husband decided he’d run the course early, adding on a few miles to make it a 50K.  He left the B&B at 4 a.m., ran to Back Bay and caught the train to Framingham.  While he turned around in Hopkinton, he decided to save the section near Athlete’s Village for when he officially runs the race.  Long before I started making my way toward the corrals he was done.

Meanwhile, I got up at 4:30 to eat some instant oatmeal and down a couple of cups of coffee (the owner of the B&B not only got up early to have our coffee ready, she also had bagels, peanut butter and bananas available for us to pack).  I threw my drop bag over my shoulder and we headed to the T to catch the 5:15 subway to Boylston (runners ride for free on Marathon Monday).  Paula Sue’s running group took a few group photos, then we were loaded onto one of the buses to Hopkinton.

While it was somewhat clear in Boston, it got increasingly foggy as we neared Hopkinton.  Although I had packed both warm and cool weather gear, I opted to be resplendent in my Maniac gear — tank, arm warmers and wind breaker, along with my Race Ready shorts.  However, over that I wore an old pair of sweats, long-sleeved cotton race shirt and winter rain coat (I looked like a dork).  I was told to bring something to sit on in case the ground was wet, so I found a great use for the banner we used to use for our personal chef chapter:


I tried to take in everything at the Village.  Picture in front of the “It all starts here” billboard?  Check.  Write my name on my legs in black marker?  Check.  Get a shamrock temporary tattoo?  Check.  Score a pair of Boston running gloves?  Check.  I was like a kid in a candy store.

While I thought three port-o-potty visits would suffice, my bladder thought otherwise just as I was dropping off my bag.  We still had several minutes before the start, but as the minutes ticked away I started getting nervous.  I shed my throw-away clothes, but left on my heavy jacket until the last minute (wouldn’t you know it — I managed to hang on to the jacket I intended to donate, but lost my good one).  I hadn’t realized how far it was to walk to the corrals, so I started jogging to get around the crowds.  Even before I hit the #19 corral the gun had gone off, but fortunately it would take several minutes before we crossed the start line.


Published April 27th, 2009

113th Boston Marathon – Part 1


The picture captures it all — the joy, the pain, the tears.  It’s the overwhelming elation I feel for accomplishing something I thought inconceivable.  No more am I the scrawny, awkward, non-athletic teenager, nor am I the overweight and miserable 40-year-old.  I AM A BOSTON MARATHONER.  Here’s my story.

Official time: 4:15:48
Overall: 18202/22849
Gender: 6902/9302
Age group (F45-49): 1066/1456

While I got through my first two marathons with minimal mileage using the run/walk plan, I tried Pete Pfitzinger’s 18/55 for my first BQ attempt at the North Olympic Discovery Marathon.  I missed my goal by 15 minutes, regrouped and BQ’d 10 weeks later with a 3:54:34 at a small Marathon Maniac-sponsored race called the Light at the End of the Tunnel (I needed 4:00:59).  I squeaked in another BQ in October 2008 at Royal Victoria with a 4:00:26, so barring financial ruin I’ll be toeing the line again at Hopkinton in 2010.

While Pfitz was indeed strenuous, I liked the plan and intended to follow it for Boston.  However, I figured I wouldn’t try for a particular time.  Sure, I wanted to finish strong but I also wanted to take in the experience.  By the time I ran Royal Victoria I had become a Marathon Maniac, and the multiple-marathoning bug had hit.  I ran three more marathons for the year after RVM, then ran another on Jan. 1 and the Goofy Challenge at Walt Disney World Jan. 10-11.  I had no intention of running any others until Boston, but when I saw the Yakima River Canyon Marathon on April 4 was a Maniac reunion, I decided to run it as a training run for Boston.  But I swore that would be it; HA!

By early February I was jonesing for another race, so my husband and I signed up for one on Feb. 8, then I ran my first 50K on Feb. 22.  As a result I tossed out my plan to follow Pfitz’ 12/55 program for Boston.  His speed work beats me up, and considering all the races I was running my No. 1 priority was recovery.  That said, come March I wanted to see if I had ANY speed left in me, so I entered the annual St. Patty’s Day Dash fully intent on racing it.  While I was thrilled with my pace (about 8:20 — fast for me), I knew I could have gone faster if I had elbowed my way closer to the front.  Oh well.

A couple of days later I ran almost 7 miles at an 8:37 pace.  During that run my heel, which had been barking at me for several weeks, decided it had had enough.  While I wasn’t sure if it was plantar fasciitis, I was definitely dealing with a bruised heel.  I took the next four days off from running, focusing instead on cross-training.  And despite admonitions from the owner of my gym, I raced a half marathon that weekend.  While I missed my overall half PR by less than 40 seconds, again I was pleased with my effort.  (The course somewhat mimics Boston in that you get a couple of killer hills at the very end).

Again I had to take several days off to nurse my heel, but I got new shoes for work and replaced the shoe inserts with green Superfeet.  I also put the Superfeet into my running shoes, which helped tremendously.  I was able to get in a few more runs before Yakima, but I took it easy and ran by feel.  I then ran/walked Yakima, finishing in just over 4:36.  (That course also mimicked Boston with a 1.2-mile hill starting at Mile 22 that climbed almost 300 feet).

I came up with several goals for Boston, ranging from the “you’re freakin’ crazy” goal of another BQ or PR, to the more realistic 4:10-4:15 range, to the “You went out too fast, didn’t ya?” goal of 4:25-4:35.  I was hoping to make this my third fastest race, which would mean finishing in under 4:15:19.  Ever so optimistic, I printed out pace bands for a 4:05 and 4:10 marathon using a spreadsheet someone developed on the Runner’s World forum.


Published April 21st, 2009

Wow… Ow

I’ll be posting an epic report soon, but suffice it to say it was a tough race.  I made my “You never know what race day will bring” goal, finishing in 4:15:48.  What race day — or actually Mother Nature — brought was a steady headwind that hit just as I was entering the Newton Hills.  I ran up ALL of them (I actually only walked through the water stops), but the winds certainly held me back.  I also lost several minutes at a potty stop at mile 12 (that was my slowest mile at 13:35).

I did a great job of holding back for the first several miles (I’ve heard if you don’t feel you’re running too slow, then you’re going too fast), running the first three miles in 9:43, 9:24 and 9:23.  I then sped up just a bit, but tried to keep my effort consistent.  When I got to the Newton hills my times were above 10 minutes for three miles.  But someone pointed out on one of the running forums I belong to that my second half was only 4 seconds slower than my first!  (Darn bladder).

It was truly an amazing experience and I look forward to next year!

Published April 16th, 2009

Next up: No. 15

To say I’ve been distracted this week is an understatement.  I can’t believe I’m heading to Boston tomorrow!  What a long, strange trip it’s been.  This will most likely be my last post for several days, but I plan on posting updates on Facebook.  In the meantime, check out the Runner’s Lounge podcast featuring four Boston-bound runners, including yours truly.

As for my goals for the race, of course I have several tiers.  I doubt I have another BQ in me right now, and besides, I think I’ll want to enjoy the experience and take it slow.  But who knows — perhaps I’ll get caught up in the excitement.  My heel is holding up well, and I’ve been taking this week easy.  We may have to deal with wind and rain on Patriot’s Day, but I’m used to that.  If you’d like to track me, I’m bib #19631.

Here’s the breakdown of my tiered goals:

  • The “Who do you think you are, Deena?” goal: sub 3:54:34 (a PR)
  • The “Lay off the crack pipe, woman” goal: 3:54:34-3:59:59 (sub 4 hour)
  • The “Pretty optimistic, aren’t ya?” goal: 4:00:00-4:00:59 (BQ)
  • The “It’s a stretch considering my training” goal: 4:01:00-4:09:59 (beats the time of the No. 10 finisher in the very first Boston Marathon in 1897)
  • The “That’s a reasonable challenge (and most realistic)” goal: 4:10:00-4:15:18 (beats my North Olympic time)
  • The “You never know what race day will bring” goal: 4:15:19-4:25:00 (still a good race, but not as fast as I hope)
  • The “Started out too fast, didn’t ya?” goal: 4:25:01-4:35:00
  • The “What — did you stop to kiss the Wellesley girls?” goal: 4:35:01-4:45:00
  • The “Ruh Roh — something’s wrong” goal: 4:45:01+

Wish me luck!

Published April 15th, 2009

2009 Yakima River Canyon Marathon

yrcm41This is going to be a down & dirty report since I’ve been obsessing over another little race I’m running on Monday. 🙂

My darling and I have wanted to run YRCM ever since we heard about it.  His mom lives in Yakima, and when we heard Bob and Lenore Dolphin put it on, we knew it would be amazing.  However, this year was out for my darling as he was shooting a wedding that day (the bride originally picked April 18, but he convinced her to change the date due to Boston).  I figured I wouldn’t run it either, but then discovered it would be a huge Marathon Maniac reunion.  How could I NOT run it?

To save on costs I advertised for a roommate on the Maniac message board, and within a couple of days fellow Maniacs Rikki, Marie and Cheri took me up on it (we figured we could stand sharing a bed for one night).  The cost of the room couldn’t be beat: $70, divided four ways.  While Cheri would be driving solo from Oregon, Marie, Rikki and I made plans to carpool.

I originally had Friday off, but a last-minute trip to Tucson the day after the marathon meant I had to cook for my Monday client that day.  Fortunately I picked a speedy menu and made plans to meet up with Rikki and Marie in North Bend at 2 p.m.  However, we were concerned about the weather — Snoqualmie Pass had to close Wednesday evening for several hours due to a severe snow storm.  WTF?  It’s April!


Published April 12th, 2009

2009 Mercer Island Half Marathon

2009 Mercer Island finishThis was the third year running this race and I was determined to not only set a course PR, I also hoped to beat my overall half PR of 1:53:35 set at last year’s Kirkland Half.  However, given I hadn’t been doing any formal speed work and was dealing with possible plantar fasciitis on my left foot, I knew the latter could be a long shot.

I’m particularly fond of this race as it not only signals the start of the spring running season, it also is a fundraiser for colon cancer awareness (we have a family history of the disease).  This year I decided to forego wearing the blue colon cancer ribbon on my bum since in the past people kept coming up to me telling me I had a piece of tape on me.  (Don’t you get it, people?  You wear the pink breast cancer ribbon on your chest, so it only makes sense to wear the colon cancer ribbon on your bottom.  Sheesh!)

My darling decided not to run as an “official” runner this year, opting instead to take it as a slow training run and help pace me (shhh… don’t tell the race director).  This was fortunate as we encountered a huge backup at the Mercer Island exit.  By then I had to pee again, yet we were stuck in traffic for at least 15 minutes.  I actually considered peeing into a bottle in the car when I saw a couple of runners ahead of us get out of the car and run to the start.  With less than 15 minutes to go before the race start, I decided to do the same.  I kissed my darling goodbye, saying I’d meet up with him on the course.

I was a good half to three-quarter mile run to the start, which helped get my legs warmed up.  The lines to the port-o-potties were quite long, but fortunately they moved rather quickly.  I had just enough time to do my business and get lined up in the 8-9 minute pace group when the starting gun went off.

In order to reach my goal I would have to average an 8:38 pace.  Knowing I’d slow down at the hills at miles 10 and 12 I decided to start out at that pace, increase it during the middle miles, then run as fast as I could during the hilly portion.  My darling caught up with me just before mile 6; while I was doing well it was definitely a challenge.  I had put some cushier insoles in my shoes thinking it would lessen the heel pain, but it started talking to me.  I also started getting a tad bit dizzy, despite taking in plenty of fluids and gels (I think the rolling course may have triggered my vertigo).

Starting to struggle:

Struggle on course

Not a happy camper:
More struggle

While I had been on pace through mile 6, I started to struggle slightly after that.  Mile 10 — with its short, yet steep hill — got the best of me, slowing me to a 9:05 pace.  While I was able to run mile 11 in 8:41, I slowed again for the mile 12 hill, running that at 8:54.  Fortunately mile 13 is mostly downhill, and I was able to shake the dizziness and run that in 8:33.  However, the last bit of the course is a very cruel uphill.  Despite pumping my arms as hard as I could, I missed my overall PR by 38 seconds, finishing in 1:54:13.  However, I smashed my course PR by almost 4 minutes!

Published April 2nd, 2009

Just a quickie

Egads!  Another two weeks has flown by.  However, I’m flying to Tucson on Sunday to spend time with Mom & Dad, so hopefully I’ll have some time to properly blog.   The great news is he’s doing well, although it will be another two weeks before he’s given the go-ahead to travel home.

I rocked the Mercer Island Half (will post a full report soon); while I missed my overall PR set at last year’s Kirkland Half by only 41 seconds, I cut off almost 4 minutes from my course PR (while they’re both hilly courses, Kirkland’s hills come in the beginning, while Mercer Island’s are at the end).  However, my heel was sure talking to me afterwards and still hurt considerably the next day.  But a trip to the shoe store remedied things; I’m now sporting an ugly — but very comfortable and supportive — pair of Brooks walking shoes with the green Superfeet for work (they replace my Dansko clogs which have been giving me problems).

I actually haven’t done a lot of running in the past two weeks, instead focusing on cross training to heal my heel (the fact the weather has been downright CRAPPY certainly played into things).  But I hope to go on a quick run tomorrow morning before heading over to Yakima for the Yakima River Canyon Marathon (it’ll be a slow training run for Boston).  I’m really looking forward to this marathon as it’s a reunion for the Marathon Maniacs.

In Boston news, I received my celebration jacket last week, however, I’ve decided I’ll wait until after I cross the finish line to wear it (a lot of people will be wearing them on marathon weekend as they figure they’re celebrating qualifying for the race).  I also bought a singlet and will probably pick up a hat at the expo (yes, I know I said I wasn’t going to buy any more race stuff, but I also recall saying Boston gear doesn’t count!)

Anyhoo, for those of you who still bother to stop by, I promise I’ll be a more prolific writer in the months to come.  (And you KNOW I’ll be posting an epic Boston report!)