Post-Marathon Syndrome (PMS)

 

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This weekly wrap is all about starting over from square one. Any else have PMS–post-marathon (or fill in big race) syndrome? Here are the classic symptoms:

  • Depressed (What’s the point of running anymore? These legs don’t even work. I look like Phoebe from Friends)
  • Crying spells (That dog in the commercial needs to get that treat. ** sniff sniff**)
  • Mood swings and irritability or anger (WHO ATE ALL THE COOKIES?!?!?)
  • Appetite changes and food cravings (Did someone say Halloween candy?)
  • Trouble falling asleep (insomnia) (I should have worn the other sleeveless shirt, better breathability … what do you think honey? ZZZZZZZZZ)
  • Poor concentration (Work? What’s that?? I just ran a marathon…so…)
  • Joint or muscle pain (Who made this $#$%#$ toilet so low?)
  • Fatigue (If I take a little nap right now in the kid pickup line, it’s no biggie)
  • Weight gain related to fluid retention (MUST.eat.all.the.foods.I.couldn’t.eat.before)
  • Abdominal bloating (Why these clothes tight?!)

Feel me on this one? Tell me I’m not alone. Luckily, I have some other races planned, so the real crash probably won’t happen until January after the Houston Marathon in 9 weeks (!). 🙂 In the meantime, I’m trying to honor the recovery process and just run for fun AND run with people I don’t normally get to run with because I usually have to run longer. I have the BCS half marathon Dec. 11, so it will be a good check-in race to see how my legs are recovering. I’m not hoping for much at that race.

 

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This week, I didn’t push the recovery because the roller coaster of emotions was hard core. I ran 4 easy miles Friday and 6.5 miles Saturday. I did lots of walking and stretching a little bit of yoga and some biking to get the littlest one off to school.

And that’s my week. I’m linking with Holly and Tricia for the Weekly Wrap-up!

NYC Marathon Race Recap

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Hard to believe this race is in the rearview mirror!

First and foremost, thanks to everyone for all the messages, texts, well wishes during the training and the race. Knowing that I have the love and support of so many people means so much to me. I also want to thank my training group, the Brazos Valley Runegades, and my BRF, Lesley, for training with me during a very, very long 20 week training cycle in what was one of the hottest summers in Texas in a while. During this training cycle, I logged 821 miles of running. And I couldn’t have done it without God’s blessings of health, family and friendship.

Second, I’m really blessed to have gotten into the NYC Marathon through the lottery on my first try. I was kind of stunned when I got in, fully expecting to not get in and then thinking, oh crap, I guess I have to run. lol. I’m so thankful that I didn’t give in to the worry, anxiety, butterflies that plagued me much of the training cycle.

I left on Friday morning for NYC. After I arrived at the airport, I went to the bathroom and when I turned the corner. I saw a man using the stall with the door open! Thankfully for me, he was facing the wall. I quickly did a double take questioning whether I was in the right place. I walked back to the restroom entrance, saw the “WOMAN” sign and then walked back into the bathroom as the man was using the sink. And no, he wasn’t transgender… He was embarrassed as he realized his mistake and I just chuckled. But, I thought, I hope this isn’t a sign of things to come.

I whizzed through security and waited for the little puddle jumper to take me to Houston. The incoming flight was delayed which meant I was going to miss my connecting flight to NYC since I only had 45 minutes between each flight. The airline employee told me there was a chance I could still catch my flight because they could make up the time, so not to worry. After a smooth flight, we landed with 20 minutes to spare before the next flight. It was in another terminal, but I got my sprinting face on and was ready to bolt. Except, they had to move the plane back one foot from the gate because they had miscalculated. After correcting for that, I still had 10 minutes to spare. I dashed out of the plane, trying very hard to fight the urge to push people out of the way. The other plane had left on time. But, I was put on the next flight to NYC arriving at 9 pm, about 4 hours later than planned. No worries.

I met my sister at the airport, had a nice dinner at their place and went to bed much later than usual but got a pretty good’s night sleep.

Saturday, we headed to the expo. I was so excited and had a checklist of things I wanted to do. I picked up by bib and shirt, made a custom back bib, and walked around all of the booths. I wanted to buy every.single.thing, but I really wanted to show some restraint for things I would really use. I heard a talk on race strategy from the race organizers, met with some of the pace team leaders. For a few seconds, got photos with Shalane Flanagan as she dashed between appearances she had to make at various booths. And got a Bartie with Bart Yasso (such a nice guy!). I splurged on a pair of 2XU recovery compression leggings that aren’t even available online yet. It’s part of a new recovery line they’re launching. These are dreamy. And I got a free shirt with purchase! I love this shirt.

I tried to stay on top of nutrition and hydration all day, and for the rest of the day, we just chilled at my sister’s place relaxing. We had a nice dinner at her house. My parents came in town from Maryland to surprise me. This was the first time they’ve cheered for me during a race, so it was a big deal. I know they worry A LOT about me running, particularly a marathon, so it meant a lot to have them there. Everyone had a pow wow about marathon signs to make for the race.

Saturday night, I was getting nervous and overwhelmed with the thought of getting to the starting line on time. I didn’t get much sleep (as I usually don’t before a race day) and woke up at 3:45 to eat a small meal and have a cup of coffee. After a short subway ride, I got to the NY Public Library at 5:30 am to catch the bus. Everything moved very efficiently and in about 10 minutes I was on my way to Ft. Wadsworth. We got there at about 6:30 am, got through the security screening, and got in my corral. I settled in for the long wait until 10:15. I spent the time chatting up other runners, eating more and drinking my water and some hot tea.

We got in our corral late because they Wave 1 (I was in Wave 2) left later than planned. But, we got started right on time. From the corral, you walk quite a way just to get to the start line. And then, it was wall to wall people. I positioned myself as close as possible between 3:40 and 3:45 paces groups so I could get a good pace and not get stuck behind people. There were people elbowing, and tripping each other accidentally it was soo hard to stick with the pace group. I stuck with them until mile 11 or 12 and then hit a bottleneck and when I navigated that, they were gone. 😦 Not the ideal, but I settled into a comfortable pace and kept going. I had my phone with me (as I always do during races) and my headphones. The weather was perfect. I didn’t put my headphones in because I wanted to enjoy the crowds and cheering. I’m so glad I ran without music because it was hard enough to navigate the mass of runners. Also, why I didn’t take any pictures. During the first 11 miles, I fought hard to stay at my pace and not trip or be tripped by people passing me, slower runners, etc.

I didn’t take any pictures because it was too dangerous to do so without getting injured.

Miles 1-13 Started on the Verrazano Bridge and ran through Brooklyn. Running on the bridge wasn’t as bad as I thought and I kept to my pace. The crowds in Brooklyn were electric and this section is largely flat. My biggest problem was sticking with the pace leader and trying to keep him in sight.

Miles 13-15: The bridge into Queens was steeper than I had expected so I slowed down a bit on the incline not to burn it all and stay steady. My sister, brother in-law and parents were in Queens cheering at mile 15, which was awesome to see them. I was so worried I wouldn’t catch them, but then I did and waved. I wish I stopped to get a hug, but my brain wasn’t working to backtrack a little bit to get over to them. I almost wiped out several times, and being short and at elbow level of many runners, I was convinced my face would be covered in bruises. Not intentional at all, but hard to navigate.

Miles 16-20 through Manhattan and into the Bronx. Two more bridges and this section wasn’t bad. My pace slowed down a bit and I knew I wasn’t going to hit anywhere near 3:45, but I still wanted to get under 4 hours if possible.

Miles 21-24 were the hardest. Back into Manhattan and a steady incline up 5th Avenue. I was dragging. I was stopping at all the water stops and guzzling water and Gatorade.

Miles 24-26.2: I was ready to finish. I buckled down as best I could and ran through the soreness that had developed all over. I pushed through and finished in 4:01.

Favorite things about the race: NYC. Simply the most diverse and eclectic group of people around. The crowds, the scenery and the organization. The people are energizing. Random people shouting your name? That’s awesome. Through every marathon I’ve run, and this one no different, I’m really struck by the physical and mental obstacles that many have to overcome to run this race. I saw one elderly man with a stooped posture walking with a sign on his back that said 87 marathons and counting!!! It was inspiring and emotional to see the Achilles team runners overcoming blindness and other challenges to crush a race like this. Simply amazing! And as I encountered each of these runners, when the voices in my head were starting to get to me about feeling tired, I thought if they can do it, I can too. And I can!

The challenges of the races? People talk a lot about the bridges and how hard they are, but I actually didn’t find them too bad. The Pulaski Bridge from Brooklyn to Queens was one of the hardest because of the incline grade. But, I had trained to run on hills so it wasn’t a big deal. What I wasn’t expecting was the grind of 5th avenue from miles 21-26 when mentally I’m not all there to remember my mantras and verses. And then in Central Park, because of the small hills at the finish, you can’t see the mile markers, so I just had to push to keep going.

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Then, I walked 15 blocks to get my heat sheet and race poncho (which is absolutely lovely and warm) and then 15 blocks south to meet my family. THAT was painful, but I’m glad I did that to keep moving and not stiffen up. Walking up and down flights of stairs to take the subway right after the race was also not fun, but necessary.

NYC, my third marathon in less than one year, was by far the hardest course ever. I was a little disappointed that with each marathon I’ve gotten a little slower instead of improving. But, I’m so thankful for the ability to run, and to run another marathon, a blessing I don’t take lightly. and experience this awesome race–truly once in a lifetime.

 

NYC Marathon Training Week #19

 

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A long journey has almost come to an end. Exactly one more week until NYC Marathon. I can’t believe it’s almost here. Week 2 of Taperville has been dreamy. I’m enjoying the lesser mileage for a bit, but filled with cravings. I’m trying my best not to cave in to all the urges, but it’s not easy. And Halloween is here too. Talk about temptation!!

Coming off last weekend with a LOT of driving and my third and last half marathon in October, I didn’t want to push too hard through the week. I want to stay healthy and hopefully injury free. I hit all of my paces and felt good!

Here’s how my week went: 34.5 miles of running and 5 miles of biking

  • Monday: Easy 6 mile Run
  • Tuesday: 6x600s
  • Wednesday: off
  • Thursday: 6 mile tempo run
  • Friday: Easy 6 miles
  • Saturday: 10 miles

My last long run yesterday was fun. I wanted to get an average of 8:23/mile pace, and I held 8:17. My last mile split was 7:51! The whole run felt awesome, and it was such a nice ending to the hard, hot summer!

The weather right now in NYC is looking pretty good for race day. Low of 40 and high of 55!

My goals for the race are:

Goal A: HAVE FUN! Despite the nasty weather, during my first marathon last December (rainy, windy and 55), I had fun. I was cracking jokes and chatting almost the whole time. The second marathon I had fun until I feel behind my friend at mile 15 or 16. Everyone I’ve encountered who’s already run NYC has said it’s a fun race, so I want to enjoy it as much as possible because I’m pretty sure this will be my last NYC (never say never, right?)

Goal B: 3:42 or better finish time (BQ) Ambitious considering my training! Still don’t know whether my little legs are ready for that pace and with the crowds/weather/course whether that will happen. I know NYC is a tough course.

Goal C: Beat my PR of 3:48

Goal D: Finish under 4 hours.

That’s my week. How was your week?

I’m linking with Holly and Tricia for the Weekly Wrap-up!

 

NYC Marathon Training Week #18

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What an exciting week of training! I’m really behind on blogging after a whirlwind weekend and playing catchup yesterday. I really enjoyed my first week of taper…maybe a little too much! I ran 30 miles and biked 12 miles this week. A far cry from the previous week of 57 miles! No taper crazies…yet. The reality of NYC Marathon being less than 2 weeks away is settling in!

Months ago, I had registered for the Marathon 2 Marathon half marathon in Marathon, TX, which was on Saturday. That’s a mouthful! My BRF had signed up for the full so that we could train together since I had gotten into NYC through the lottery. We had booked our hotels, lined everything up for the weekend, training was going outstanding for her, and we were pumped, especially because the weather was looking beautiful for race day. And then….my BRF had a family emergency come up and couldn’t race. Everything was ok in the end, but she decided not to run the race (understandably). So…what was I going to do?

My husband wasn’t crazy about me driving hours (8 hours to be exact) by myself for a race, running by myself and then turn around and drive myself home. But, this was my third half marathon in October, and I had gotten it in my head that I was going to run three halfs this month. My husband knew there was no talking me out of it. 🙂

So, I took the day off running Friday to prepare for a long day of driving ahead.

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The race was in way, way west Texas, close to Big Bend National Park. I had hoped to get to the park, but there were bear warnings the week before the race and some parts of the park were closed because of it. So, I thought it best to avoid wildlife encounters.

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Marathon, Tx is a tiny town and has only two hotels and a bed and breakfast, all of which were quickly booked up months before race day. So, I had booked my hotel an 55 miles away (the closest biggest town they had suggested). No problem. I checked into the hotel, dropped off my stuff, drove 55 miles for packet pickup in Marathon. Registration included a free pasta dinner for all runners at two locations: The Gage Hotel Restaurant (right next to packet pickup) and the Historic Ft. Stockton Visitor Center. I had chosen the Ft. Stockton location because that’s where my hotel was, but when I saw this menu and the runners already eating, I was disappointed with my choice.

I went to the visitor’s center where it was a little homier. They offered pasta, crockpots with three sauces and garlic bread. It was fine and I was happy for the hospitality and free meal. I didn’t need that whiskey marshmallow anyway….

Then, I drove 55 miles back to my hotel. ugh.

Race day morning was gorgeous! I took the sunrise picture (above) on my way down to the start in Marathon.  img_2524I got to Marathon in great time and got on the bus to the start line. The starting line is 13 miles away from Marathon on the highway that leads to Ft. Stockton. I was excited about the race and was talking to the person next to me. She wasn’t really chatty, though. She probably kept thinking, please stop asking me questions and talking to me.
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We got to the starting line a little later than expected around 8:20 am. There were four races going on with staggered start. The full marathon started at 7:30 am and the half started at 8:30 am. Despite the cold temps, I knew it would warm up quickly because there is no shade at all out there. I ran in a singlet and skirt and I also used arm sleeves for the first time. I figured I could take them off when I needed to.

There wasn’t much to the start line. No loud music. No DJ spinning tunes. No MC. Just three port-a-potties and lines more than a dozen deep. I got in line to use the facilities, but as the clock was ticking, I realized there was no time to use the potty before the start. The guy in charge said with a chip start there was no worry because the time at the end would reflect our start and if we needed to stay in line, we could. But, I thought. That just messes with your head having start after so many people. So, I jumped out of line just in time for them to start. I broke out of the pack pretty soon with some guys and was first woman, soon to be passed another woman going at a good pace. I was hoping to beat my PR of 1:44 for this race, so I was trying to maintain a good pace. The course is pretty flat, but there is a large hill around mile 8-10. It doesn’t look big on the elevation chart, but believe me. It’s a big long hill.

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I settled into a brisk pace for me and tried to keep the woman in my sight the whole time just so I could try to get my PR not to pass her. She was going pretty fast, and I didn’t want to burn out in the first few miles knowing that the hill was coming up. Around mile 5 she slowed down and then she completed stopped at a water stop. I kept going, and was now the lead woman in the race. The whole time I kept thinking, this is weird. I’ve never been the lead woman. Someone is going to pass me, for sure! And if not, the chip time will definitely show that I haven’t won. I have gotten second overall woman in a race, but to be the lead…that’s another thing. There were plenty of men in front of me, so I just chugged along, knowing that once the chip times came in, I might do well in my age group.

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The finish line was in sight!

I crossed as the first female with a time of 1:47. Not a PR, and I was a little disappointed, but I felt I ran well. My lungs were burning afterward, and it was a little hard to breathe after I got my finisher’s medal. I stood around stretching, keeping an eye on the monitors and saw that I was first in my age group. yay! But, as I looked at all the other times, I saw that my time was indeed the fastest. Doh!

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And sure enough, they called my name as overall female winner. I collected my award: a giant belt buckle, and drove 8 hours home. 🙂 I know that will probably be my last overall win, and I’m savoring it!

I’m linking with Holly and Tricia for the Weekly Wrap-up and with PattyErika, and Marcia for Tuesdays on the Run.

NYC Marathon Training Week #17

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Can you believe this countdown!!!?!?!?! I’m getting an email from the TCS NYC Marathon folks every other day (or so it seems), and all I keep thinking is, omg, omg, omg! Still feeling all the emotions on any given day and after this week: TAPER!!! Woohoo!

Reading all the race recaps from Chicago, I was so happy to hear so many people PR’ed and had a great race. It was so exciting to hear people reach their goals after this long training season. I have to admit I’m a little jealous because their big day is done. And I still have three weeks to go.

This has been a long training cycle, and this was my highest mileage week of this training.

My week in summary: 57.7 miles running and 7 miles biking = 64.7 miles total

This week felt good. The weather was warm…again so we didn’t feel the chilly morning temps like the week before. Boo! But, that’s the way it is here in TX. Wait a few minutes and the weather will change.

  • Monday: Easy 8 miles
  • Tuesday: 1000’s
  • Wednesday: off
  • Thursday: 7 mile tempo
  • Friday: Easy 8 miles
  • Saturday: 6 easy miles
  • Sunday: 3 miles easy, Half Marathon, 4 miles easy = 20 miles
  • Sunday was the Nutrabolt Oktoberfest Half Marathon & 10K here in town.

It’s a small race, and the second time this company has held it. Last year, Hurricane Patricia came close to the area and brought some flooding, heavy rain and winds right on race day with temps in the 50s. This year, was sunny with a race day start of 70 and 98% humidity. I think I’ll take rain any day. Even with a 7 am start, it was warm and muggy, and I was already sweaty by the time I got to the start because I ran 3 miles to warmup. We had a lot of people in our running group run either the Half or the 10K, and several people who weren’t running came out to cheer! It’s always fun to see your friends along the course.

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I saw this on the course around mile 6 and just had to take a picture. So pretty! The clouds dissipated and it turned out to be a sunny day.

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The coolest thing about the race was getting to finish INSIDE Kyle Field where the Aggies play football. We ran through the player’s tunnel and around the side of the field and could even see our finish on the jumbo monitor. This is the closest I will be to a college football field.

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The course was relatively flat but had two big hills right after another around mile 8 and 9. The course was well-marked with lots of volunteers, water stations around every 1.5 miles to 2 miles that were well-stocked. Even though I ran with a water bottle with Skratch, I still took water at every stop.  I finished in 1:49–not a PR, but I’m happy with that because I was not racing this AT ALL. My goal was to keep close to marathon pace, and I did. This is my second half-marathon this month and my 11th overall! I also picked up a second place AG award. I got a running hat from SweatVac Performance Wear. That was a pleasant surprise because there were so many fast runners.  Runners also got a T-shirt, reusable bag, beach towel, and a beer mug. The post-race food was bananas, oranges, water, soft pretzels, kolaches (Czech pastries with fruit in the middle) and bratwurst. I was really not in the mood for brats but I managed to eat a few bites of pretzel and pastry.

After the race and watching my friends finish, I ran 2 miles with my friend Lisa and then another 2 on my own on campus. I never get to run on certain parts of campus because it’s not part of our usual route, but this was fun.
img_2475 img_2477 img_2478I was very happy to be finished! And now, it’s taper time. 🙂

I’m linking with Holly and Tricia for the Weekly Wrap-up!

Which race conditions would you rather have: rain or heat/humidity? Celebrating Oktoberfest?

NYC Marathon Training Week #16

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A little over a month to go until NYC Marathon! Woohoo! This week was a great week of workouts. Finally, it’s nice to see things coming together after that long, hot summer of training. It’s hard to believe that I’ve been training since June!!

Last week, I told you about that little old Buffalo Stampede half marathon that was a train wreck of a race. By the way, thankfully, they’re issuing refunds to those who couldn’t run and a discount for next year’s race. The race benefits the local natural history museum, which I know needs the funds, but right now I can’t think about running it next year. We’ll see how I feel later. But, even though I didn’t PR, I got third woman overall and 2nd place AG (a LOT of people dropped out so…). I didn’t have time to pick up the medal after the race or enjoy the podium pic, so my friend Lisa crossed the finish line and got it for me and gave it to me this week.

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This is how my week turned out:

Monday: Easy 5 miles (I planned to do 8, but it didn’t work out).

Tuesday: 1200 intervals. I felt like I was flying.

Thursday: 7 mile tempo

Friday: 8 miles

Saturday: 18.3

Total 46 miles running

16 miles biking

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The beauty of an early morning run never gets old. I always have to capture the sunrise. And after that, the joy of the run with your bestie!

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I was scheduled to run about 13 miles at race pace with my bestie, but after last week’s fiasco, I wanted to run much more. I ran 5 miles by myself and tried out my new NYC Marathon playlist (stay tuned for that!) and then met Lesley for 13 miles. She’s on taper for her marathon, so this long run needed to be at race pace for her. We kept a great pace for the whole run, talking, laughing and running. We both kept looking at our watches thinking we weren’t sure we could hold the pace for the whole run. But we did it!  The entire time, I felt great. I mean really, really great. I felt I like I could have gone faster, but I held back for fear of dying in the end. My end pace was 8:29 for 18 miles. I’m aiming for my race pace to be about 8:25, but I’ll take it.

img_2428Hope you had a great week! I’m wrapping up with Holly and Tricia for the Weekly Wrap-up!