Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Post-Birthday Update

It's been a busy week life-wise, but not very busy running-wise!

I have been reading up on tapering and preparing for a marathon and everything points to one important thing-REST. But not too much rest. Tapering is a maddening process. I never understood before, this being my first marathon and all. But I totally get it now. You've prepared for months and for the days you want to fly by you don't do much...which makes them pass even slower! Then there is the issue of, did I run enough, should I run a little this week? How about just a few brisk walks? I don't have the answer people. I've just been trying to do a little bit of easy exercise each day, drink tons of water and eat good food to prepare my body. Last week I went on a hilly walk, ran 3 miles and did some tough yoga. This week so far I just went on the same hilly walk. At this point I'm tapering down even more just to be safe.

What else is maddening is that I set a goal of 80 miles this month that I am not going to reach. I will top out at just over 50. I don't mind, I just hate it when I set an unrealistic goal.

This week I also turned 32. I love that the marathon is right after my birthday. I love that it gives me a chance to prove that even though I'm a year older, I'm in a year's worth of better shape. I'm so thrilled to get a chance to head out and run this marathon.

I also reimplemented MyFitnessPal for real at the beginning of the month and I've already lost 5 pounds! I have expected to, but I have been working hard on making sure my intake is smart and my exercise is consistent. It feels great to have some element of control and this time I might actually make it fully to my goal! (Usually I stop about 5 pounds from it for some reason).

This marathon is super significant in the wake of the tragedy of Boston. The Eugene Marathon is beefing up security and all, but I don't think it will deter runners at all. If anything, I bet more runners hopped off of the fence they were hovered on and signed up to run at the last minute. I ordered a blue Boston Running shirt but I don't think FedEx is scheduled to deliver it until Friday afternoon and we'll already be on the road. Sucky thing is that I am not sure what I'm going to wear now. Hmmm. I'm sure I'll figure it out. I just wanted to wear something special.

So that's it kids! T-minus-a-few-hours until the festivities begin!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Remembrance Run

Today I ran for Boston. I left my iPod at home and I just ran. I let my thoughts and prayers truly flow.

I'll just say it. I'm an iPod runner. I remembered today why I don't really like running without music. I don't like hearing my footfalls and breaths. To me it psychologically feels harder when it sounds harder. Today, add in post-race tightness and soreness and you've got a for sure hard-feeling run. But, at the same time, this quote kept running through my head:

...and I felt like it was appropriate because it knits runners together. We're all crazy. We go out and run and it hurts, it's hard and sometimes we all want to quit. But we all keep going because the hard is what makes it awesome. So in a sense, my run feeling hard today was appropriate :)

My shins were burning, my IT bands were tight and achy. But I just kept going because it could be worse, and I felt like it was the least I could do. The sun was shining and it was great. I felt alive :)

Style/Workout: No-Music Run, Boston Marathon Remembrance
Setting/Route: The Prom

Mileage:  4 miles

Progress: (running mileage): 4 today/30.86 this month/ 225.77 year-to-date

(For April I'm aiming for...80 miles)

Tuesday, April 16, 2013


I really don't have the right words to say about the tragic bombings at the Boston Marathon finish line. It is shocking, appalling and just breaks my heart. Boston is a special place, and The Boston Marathon is a special race.

I just haven't been able to stop thinking about all of these runners, their families, spectators who witnessed this scary event. It is the opposite of what a race is supposed to be. I wore my race shirt today, it was the least I could do to offer solidarity to my family of runners.

I have always felt that runners are a special breed, a sort of family that just "gets" one another. My race on Saturday kind of proved that when I ran with a "pace twin" whom I had never met but by the end we had a special understanding with one another. The reason I am never afraid to go to a race alone is because I never, ever feel alone. We are all in it together. This is what it's about. This is what keeps drawing us back to racing.

So...I refuse to be afraid. I refuse to let some A-hole keep me from what I love, and I will continue to encourage others to come run with me. I truly believe that from now on I will race ever more diligently, more determined, with more passion.

And I will remember Boston this way...

...And I will run on.

Monday, April 15, 2013

13.1 in the City of Roses

It's Race Report Time!


Pre-race: The night before the race, I ate a ton of spaghetti and bread to carb-load and drank a lot of water. I was not playing around with those two things this time. Then, I got everyone all settled in bed by 8pm and I managed to turn my own light out at 9pm. I slept really well until about 2am then woke up and when I fell back asleep I had the obligatory night-before-race nightmare where I get distracted by anything and everything and miss the race start. I HATE that dream! (I did, in fact miss the race start once-my first is NOT a fun experience).

I was up with my chirping alarm at 4:45am getting ready. I had packed my gym bag the night before so all I had to do was brew some coffee, get dressed, do one last check and I was out the door. I departed Seaside by 5am.  The drive was easy and uneventful although I did have to stop to go to the bathroom at about 6am. Somewhere in Hillsboro the rain started pouring in sheets. I started bracing myself for a long run in the rain.

I missed the Convention Center exit once but promptly turned around. It only took me a few minutes to find parking, but it was already 6:30 when I got parked (packet pick-up was only scheduled to continue until 6:45 and the race started at 7!). I fumbled with this stupid pay-as-you-park machine then finally made it to the expo around 6:40. Thankfully it was not raining this side of the city!

Nothing like last minute, huh? I don't like that. I got my packet, and while in line for the restroom nervously fumbled to get my race bib pinned on and organize what I needed (arm-band with iPhone, headphones, ShotBlocks, ID, black gloves). After a trip to the potty I struggled to find the bag check which ended up being at the other end of the expo. It is quite the miracle that I got my stuff checked and ended up in the crowd at the start with 5 minutes to spare. Whew! I do not like cutting it that close...but I did make it so lesson learned and that's all I will say about that!

They had pacers with flags so I made my way to the 2:00 pacer. My strategy was to stick close to the 2:00 pacer, running very relaxed and comfortable...NOT starting out too fast. Then mile-by-mile I planned on slowly inching ahead of her.

The gun went off and everything went really well, according to plan. We started out by crossing the Steel Bridge then headed toward the industrial area. I have to admit, I would be pretty lost without the huge mass of people I was running with. I don't know inner-city Portland very well. But for what it's worth, Portland's industrial area has some artsy elements that you don't see elsewhere. I really enjoyed the straight stretch where we had a great view of the Montgomery Park sign.

Around 3 miles we got stopped by a train. It was weird, kind of ridiculous and frustrating. But there isn't much race coordinators can do about avoiding the trains that run all over Portland so they just do the best they can. Last year, frustrated runners were jumping the tracks in between cars to get past the train. This year to avoid that they put time pads on the ground so anyone who stepped on them could have the time they had to wait for the trains subtracted from their overall time. I didn't see anyone jumping tracks so it must have fixed the problem.

So after waiting an estimated 7 minutes we got going again. I was bummed because I had a great rhythm going on, but I managed to find it again. Miles 4-5 we ran along Tom McCall Waterfront Park and I had flashbacks of the Rock n Roll Half Marathon last year. I remembered seeing my family at the end, my son running along with me on the straight-stretch and I remember it started pouring down rain! Instantly I said a prayer and thanked God that it was not raining. In fact, it was perfect running weather this morning.

Miles 5-6 were all a gradual incline along and through through neighborhood streets. It was tough, but I just kept thinking something along the lines of "steady as she goes" and I'm not sure where that came from. I just kept going. Once at the top, the next few miles were all downhill so we got a nice little payback.

Miles 7-9 I ended up running with a "Pace Twin". She and I just ended up running next to one another with few other runners around and it was great. She pushed me, I pushed her. Those ended up being my strongest miles. She ended up getting caught up at the water stop at mile 9, but she caught back up at the end.

*Speaking of water stops, I grabbed something at every stop. I would only end up taking a quick sip then tossing the rest, but I made myself grab something at every stop. I really didn't eat many Shot Blocks...I think only 3 the whole race.

Mile 10-13.1 were the hardest. I didn't feel like I hit a wall which was good, I just started to feel worn, and really wanted it to be over. I had lost any sort of pacer and could not find any flags so I had to depend on my mental toughness. I was a little slower at the end but I kept a pretty good pace nonetheless. Right at the end we looped back toward the Steel Bridge, took a challenging on-ramp up to the bridge, ran over the bridge then back to the convention center. When the Mile 13 marker came into sight, I kicked real hard and finished strong. I think the announcer called out my name (he was calling out as many names as he could), but I am not sure.

It felt so great. I felt strong. I felt like this race did not beat me. Sucky thing is that the chip race times ended up all weird. They had set up all of these timing mats near train stops and such and they spent a significant amount of time adjusting times based on who got stopped, etc. It was way off. There has been quite a stir on their Facebook page about it. Thankfully I was tracking myself. The Nike+GPS app tracks every little deviation you make so at the end of the race it actually had me at 13.5 miles.So based on my pace completing 13.5 miles, adjusted for 13.1 miles, my time should have been 1:54:17 which is a PR (old PR was 1:57:04)! I really wish it was official, but at least I know what it was :) P-flippin-R! 

After we crossed the finish line we were directed along where volunteers were handing out bottles of water and roses. That was really cool. I made my way back to the expo to get my medal!


Instagrammin' my medal
Once in the expo, there were lines for oranges, bananas, bagels, yogurt, and mimosas. I skipped the mimosas because I had to drive home-gotta be responsible! I picked up my medal and my belongings and found a vacant area of carpet to stretch. I called my husband and gave him a quick rundown. I chatted with other runners who were also stretching and ate and drank my goods. I checked out my race shirt and made sure it looked like the right size. I ordered a Men's Small and I'm glad I did. I don't like V-Neck shirts and this shirt fits awesome! It even has a bit longer hem in the back which will cover some of my rear-end.

Back-Sideways for some reason
Front-Love this shirt!

When I felt a bit recovered, I went over and got my complementary photo taken...not my best. I didn't have time to put any makeup on, so now you know what that looks like on me! I'm only human I guess. 
I wore a red shirt and a rose-printed thermal seemed like a good idea at the time... :)

I really appreciated that little benefit since I was experiencing this race solo. There were also photographers along the course and they took a few of me. I always like looking back at these, they are almost always just fact I consider it part of the experience-LOL Yep, there's some bad ones in there! I think from now on I'm going to wear a hat!

After a little bit, it was time to go. I knew I wouldn't get my race time until later so there wasn't anything else to stay for! I had spent some time walking, perusing the booths and stretching so I felt pretty ready to drive home. 

RECAP: What did I think of the race? I really enjoyed this race! It was a manageable amount of people so it wasn't too crowded. The weather was awesome and the course was really nice. The hill portion was a beast but the downhill really made up for it. Stopping for trains is the worst though...I really wanted to see what my body could do without having to stop. I love the loot, the shirt, the medal and receiving a rose. That was a very nice touch. Lastly I love that this race benefits Albertina Kerr. It is a wonderful organization.  

Progress: (running mileage): 13.1 today/26.86 this month/ 221.77 year-to-date

(For April I'm aiming for...80 miles)

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Non-Running-Related Goals

A few new non-running goals to improve some areas that have gotten sloppy:

No sugar in my coffee (working great!)
Drink lots and lots of water
No coffee in the afternoon, switch to tea (loving trying different favorites are minty, herbal teas)
Eat a salad every day with either lunch or dinner
Try some juicing to add some fruits and veggies (my husband has been all over this so I have been spoiled)
Portion Control: Use a medium plate and eat slowly
Walk on the treadmill or outdoors for about 45 minutes just 2 evenings a week
I'm using MyFitnessPal again which is helping a lot!

*I'm about 143 lbs again (I feel like such a flip-flopper!), so I'm hoping to lose a few. It makes running feel a lot better. And I thought it was ironic that this time of year last year, I was struggling with some of the same things. Maybe it is the time of year?

Race for the Roses Eve!

Tomorrow is the Race for the Roses Half Marathon (Portland, OR)! I'll be up bright and early around 4:15 am to shove out around 4:30. Race-day packet pick-up starts at 5:45 and lasts until 6:45. The half marathon starts at 7am. I wish the half marathon started at 8am, but oh well.

I am so excited for this race for so many reasons!

1) I'm excited to see where I am fitness-wise.
2) I'm excited to challenge myself outside of school, husband, kids, housework, etc.
3) I'm excited to get out of town, even if just for the day.
4) I'm excited to do something completely unrelated to any other area of my life. I feel like it could be a nice little refresher that I need. (Again...this goes along with the concept that so many other things are falling by the wayside during school that it's nice to have goals to work toward and actually meet/complete!)
5) Race Day is just fun. I don't have anyone else to go with me, but that means I also don't have any other distractions. I just get there, get my packet, get ready to go, run, do whatever I want after the race then head home whenever I'm ready. Races with friends are super fun, but at the same time races solo can be a cool experience too.

That all being said, I'm not feeling the best today. I stayed up too late last night then my kids thought it would be a good idea to wake me up before 6am on a Saturday because they wanted to add a new app on my phone and eat cake for breakfast. To say I was grumpy is a huge understatement. So I'm up. Checking things off my list of things to accomplish today and preparing for the race tomorrow. I just think tomorrow is the start of a great season of running. Sometimes all I need is a fresh race to renew my passion for running.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Finally a Fast Four!

Style/Workout: No-Goal Run, Last run before the half marathon Sunday
Setting/Route: The Prom
Mileage:  4 miles/
Progress: (running mileage): 4 today/13.76 this month/ 208.67 year-to-date
(For April I'm aiming for...80 miles)
Today I finished my 7 miles that I wanted to do before this half marathon on Sunday. This way I got a little mileage in, worked my legs just enough to wake them up after being sick and out of the game, and I still have Friday and Saturday to rest, fuel and hydrate to prepare. It's a bit nerve-wrecking to be out of the game like I was...I hope I can hang on race day! I've decided my goal is to finish stronger than I started. That means starting out with easy, relaxed miles then picking up the pace gradually once I hit the halfway point.

Today was also the fastest I have held for over 3 miles. Marathon training has slowed my pace a bit while running more mileage. Today I held a solid 8:41 per mile which felt awesome! It was pretty hard though, especially the last mile when I had a serious headwind! But the sun was shining and I got a run in so I'm happy :)

The Great Marathon Taper

I found a great article on tapering when your marathon is 3 weeks mine is

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

When All Else Fails, Go Run

Style/Workout: No-Goal Run
Setting/Route: The Prom
Mileage:  3.76 miles
Progress: (running mileage): 3.76 today/9.76 this month/ 204.67 year-to-date
(For April I'm aiming for...80 miles)

The Prom-where I run most
Today I needed to run, bad. Life has just been hard lately. I needed to conquer something when I feel like everything else is so out of my control. So I suited up and headed out into the rain and sideways wind. I didn't care...damn the weather!
Not where I ran today, but representative of the rain involved!
It's just been everything lately...My husband is about to be transferred, leaving our 3 kids and myself here until at least the end of the summer (maybe longer if we can stand it so I can finish my nursing degree in total). I am not handling it well. It sucks! Then the weather has been consistently depressing, we're feeling cramped because the owners of the lot next to us are building and we have next to nil for parking, I have way to much schoolwork than I know what to deal with, and I've gained 3 pounds since I don't really know when. Sometimes you just want to tell life to suck it.

Thankfully I've got running. It is one thing I can feel sort of in control of that cancels everything out, if only for a little while. Today I warmed up then headed out fearless into the weather. It was my way of telling the weather it couldn't keep me trapped inside. My husband and I have both been making a lot of healthy changes to our diets, and are both using MyFitnessPal. It has been great to have a partner this time around.

I'm just ready for this phase of our life to be over. I am ready to be done with school, done with the weather, done with no shopping options, done. I'm ready to move somewhere warm and sunny with a Target for crying out loud. I'm just done. But alas, I don't get to move for a while so I guess I'll be doing lots of running :)

Sunday I get to run the Race For the Roses Half Marathon in Portland. Each day that passes I am getting more excited! I haven't decided what my goals are for this race, but I am going to run a little bit this week and then rest/eat/hydrate Friday and Saturday in preparation. I just think it is going to be a really, REALLY good thing for me right now!

Also...still in marathon training. I haven't made any great feats since my 16-miler, and now it is a little too late for any super-crazy-long runs. But this weekend I will run a hard half marathon, then next week I'll plan on for a good 10-miler along with other workouts and that will be my taper. Then I'll play the race by ear, and mostly just try hard to enjoy every moment of the experience that I can. You only get ONE first marathon!

Thursday, April 4, 2013


Sooo wish I was literally SiQ(sick in quarters), but my life does not afford me that luxury. I have this weird cough that just kills my head and throat by the end of the day. I have been sucking cough drops until my tongue has no taste and muddling through each day on Robitussin (which does a decent job of keeping the cough at bay). While my body doesn't feel overly wrecked I am not sleeping very well since I wake up in coughing fits.

Today on my way home from school I was bumming out thinking my last run was Monday and that I should sneak one in...then it dawned on me...I'm sick! Hello! Give yourself a break Melanee!

So that is where I am right now. One more day of school and hopefully I can beat this miserable bug. I won't be running until I feel better. All I need is for it to get worse or migrate south from my upper airway to my lower airway and end up as pneumonia.

So here it PASS to get out of running to get my health back. (Sometimes we have to give ourselves that)

Monday, April 1, 2013

Happy April!

Style/Workout: Intervals
Setting/Route: Downing and The Cove, then The Prom
Mileage: 6 miles
Progress: (running mileage): 6 today/6 this month/ 200.91 year-to-date
(For April I'm aiming for...80 miles)

Yay, I broke 200 miles! I averaged it out and at the finish of March, I am averaging 64 miles a month so far this year. That puts me on track to finish at about 775 miles this year. I'm not gonna lie, I really want to break 1,000 miles (especially since I didn't even come close last year). So far this year I am 24 miles ahead of last year. All of these major long runs are helping a ton. I might have to pull the trigger and register for the Portland Marathon in October to keep up my high-mileage motivation.

So today's run goal: Intervals. And I met my goal! At this stage of the game intervals gets more challenging. Instead of the 3/6 run/jog ratio, it's flipped to a 6/3 run/jog instead. It was challenging but I conquered it! Here are my notes:

Why am I NOT a fan of intervals? Simple answer: Because they are hard, which makes them intimidating. I think they would be better with a running partner to cheer you on. You definitely can't think too much about it, you just have to get a rundown of your workout and go. That was me today. I started out on the treadmill then halfway through my warm-up I was over running on the treadmill and took it outside.

The first interval I felt fast. I mean here I was finally, with permission to go fast. It felt really good! The intervals went really well today and I felt strong.

Today was also a test-run on my ankle. I wore my ACE wrap which helped immensely. Too bad it puts a lot of pressure on my arch, which was aching by the end. I really need to get some K-Tape and learn to wrap it that way. I've heard it works wonders.

The other bummer today was that I forgot sunblock which for me is a major broken rule. Thankfully it was cloudy.

I ended up with sweat in my eyes which is no fun, and since the weather has warmed up a few degrees I was running without gloves or extra fabric to wipe them with. Bummer.

Speaking of running outfits, I actually felt pretty cute in mine today. It wasn't anything spectacular; I wore my flared capris and my Princess Half Marathon tech shirt (which I usually hate because it is v-neck and cap-sleeved) and I wore my pink sparkly Sweaty Bands headband. I usually don't wear anything sparkly or girly on runs but it felt really good. I might have to place an order for some new headbands for a little added flare on my runs. :)