Sunday, January 16, 2011

Updates/2010 race recap

Well, I haven't been on my blog for awhile (although I have created new posts, I haven't been able to publish them, but we got the computer fixed so I think problems are solved!). I will start by saying that, in general, 2010 was definitely not as awesome as 2009 was.

In 2009, I ended the year with a 2:56:58 Chicago Marathon, shocking and impressing a lot of family and friends along the way. I always run the Memphis Marathon to see two of my friends from college, so decided to still do that. I ended up running a 3:05, good enough for 5th place, but had to stop and walk a few times... I guess that's what happens after you run your PR by 15minutes 6 weeks prior... Well, turns out that was good enough for 5th place, just barely missing the prize money. Ryan also just barely missed the prize money (in his case, the top three guys got DQd since they ran the ending of the 5k course but still got money because it wasn't their fault, and then the next 3 males got money as well--Ry was one or two places off!). SO, we decided to look into prize money marathons.

Mercedes Marathon 2010
I will first admit that this probably wasn't the smartest move ever, but you have to remember that Ryan and I like winning money at races because we would eventually like to be able to save all of that money and get a condo together. So, we found one: Mercedes Marathon on Valentine's Day weekend. How romantic? For us, yes. We were hooked up: the hotel was a 5star hotel AND was literally a block from the start of the race. The only downside is that the town is pretty vacant at night, and we might have been a little scared for our lives while walking around looking for a dinner place!

Anyway, we had looked at the entry list the night before at the expo and Ryan decided to jump into the 1/2 instead of the full. Probably a great idea for both him and for me. The course was a two-loop course, so Ryan ran a few miles with me around mile 13 to kind of recap his race. He did GREAT! Now it was my turn... Ryan said as soon as he saw me, he saw "the face." "The face" is an expression I get when I'm just dead tired and think I can't go any longer (I no longer do that!). He was a little nervous for me, but knew I could make it through. When I saw him a mile from the finish, I got SO excited and started going a little faster. I even passed a female that was pretty far ahead of me. I ended up placing 4th with a 3:00:49. I was VERY upset with my time because during mile 3, my Garmin clocked me at a 5:55 (which I obviously knew meant it was short), and so to make up for this, the last .2 was actually .5, which ended up making the course long! I was very upset as I knew from mile 13 on that if I continued my pace, I'd easily break 3 again. Oh well, I got 4th place, good enough for $350, which was definitely needed.

Boston Marathon 2010
Again, 2010 was not my best (or smartest) year. Ryan and I had already registered to run Boston, which was 2 months after Mercedes. However, I don't regret any of it. Boston was AMAZING and one of those races that you really just have to do for the experience. It was even more meaningful to me as my students were learning about the exact things I was seeing! I took a TON of pictures and the kids loved them:) Race morning, Ryan told me that he was going to go out with the leaders and just hang for as long as he could. TV stations and photographers captured the moment and it is REALLY cool to see your boyfriend running with RYAN HALL and the likes. After about 2.5 miles, he came back to me. We had decided that I would start off at sub-3 pace and just hold it for as long as I could. I thought I'd make it about half way as my legs I could tell were still not fully recovered (although really, what can you expect when you do Chicago, Memphis, Mercedes then Boston in a matter of 6 months!). I made it to about 12 miles and Ryan said it just wasn't worth it. He could tell my breathing had become much more labored and that I was going to exhaust myself if I kept trying to push for sub-3. He was right. He always is. He helped me to be okay with running 7:30s the rest of the way. If I hadn't had Ryan with me, I'm sure the rest of my 2010 year would have been so messed up.

Galena Du--PRO CARD!
About a month after Boston, Ryan and I went to Galena to run in a du/tri in hopes of me earning my Pro card. I did! The year-long bike workout plan (plus the computrainer) helped me to earn my Pro card! It was amazing:) And, the winners got a bottle of champagne and a great prize package at Chestnut Mountain, which we later used in October.

FIRST HALF IRONMAN--Buffalo Springs Lake, June 2010
Ryan had convinced me to do a 1/2 Ironman earlier this year. I had never been to Texas, so I figured what the heck (kidding, Ryan was already signed up, so I signed up too). We had been using the computrainer a lot, but I had never actually finished the course. We drove through THE WORST weather I had ever experienced, so were happy when we finally arrived. WOW, was it hot! I didn't know how I'd survive. On race day, my swim was better than normal (Jess, I credit you for your patience with me in the water!), my bike helped me pass a TON of girls, and my run was one of the best female runs overall! On the run, I knew (it was kind of an out and back course) that I was 5th place going into it. I passed one girl pretty quickly. The next one took a bit more work (although, to be honest, I didn't think I'd pass her at all since I saw her wearing a college uniform and she looked TOUGH--I also later found out she's really good!). With 2 miles to go, I surged around this girl and she went with me for a bit but fell back. I really thought I wouldn't be able to keep ahead. It just goes to show you what kind of race these 1/2 Ironman events are! The final girl, I saw her at 1.5 miles to go. I was pretty sore from surging past the previous girl, and I knew the one that was right ahead. She was on the U of I team, not the same year Ryan was, but they knew each other. He had told me before that her run was where she struggled at in the beginning but he's pretty sure I could beat her. So, literally .5 to go, I am finally right on her tail to pass her... she goes "You're Ryan's girlfriend, aren't you?" and I answered yes (what, was I going to lie?) and she SPRINTED. I mean SPRINTED. I tried to go with her, but almost fell over. She beat me by 9 seconds and qualified for Kona. Moral of the story: wait until the very end to pass someone that you don't know! It was still a fun experience and I can't wait until 2012/2013 to compete in some more!

Steelhead 1/2 Ironman--July 2010
Well, I knew going into this one that I wasn't as ready as I had been for BSL. I had stopped doing a lot of swimming due to my work schedules and just wasn't mentally in it. The swim was awful. I was one of the last waves and, even though I was happy to be passing people, got kicked in the face a LOT and my goggles kept coming off. Onto the bike... it was raining. Not quite what I like, but just like at PowerMan Alabama (I didn't write about this one: it was in March and one of the hardest races I have ever done, especially since the whole bike was in the rain and on HUGE hills--one male racer was taken away by an ambulance), I knew that if I raced smart and slowed a little, I'd be okay. Definitely could tell I hadn't been biking NEARLY as much as when I raced BSL, but my run was something to be semi-proud of. 1:34 1/2 marathon... although it wasn't one of the fastest (2nd in my age group), I'm still proud of it since I didn't give up.

During the summer, I had been offered a teaching job in Memphis and Ryan had been offered a job by PowerBar. Ryan accepted his job and I turned down mine. Throughout the summer, I took on WAY too many jobs as I hadn't even been offered a teaching job yet. My training really suffered and before I knew it, it was the weekend of the Wisconsin Ironman (which Ryan was both racing and working at) and I had yet to get a 20miler in (this is the second weekend of September--yep, BAD news). I rocked out an AWESOME 20 miler (10miles at Marathon Pace, 10 miles regular) but definitely felt the effects of it for awhile.

Chicago Marathon
I will start by saying that Chicago has always been a HUGE hit or miss for me. 2007 (yes, the year of the terrrrrrible heat that they closed it down because of) was my first Chicago and the only goal was to finish it with dad. 2008 was again a hot year and I blew up at mile 16 with blisters bleeding through my shoes. Thank God Nic and his college friend Dan were there, because I thought I was just going to drop out (after medical wrapped up my feet and drained the remaining blisters, I finished the marathon painfully). 2009 was the best year ever, and then there was 2010. I 100% blame myself: I raced in a pro duathlon race the weekend before (I was wanting to show that I deserved to be a pro as I had yet to race anything pro yet). Obviously, I wasn't recovered and, with doing minimal marathon training, I suffered within the first two miles. My legs felt dead. I told myself I have to finish: Nic is doing his first one, we are doing it in memory of grandma and grandpa Swift, and dad is doing it too. Unfortunately, as soon as I saw Ryan's friend John working the aid station at mile 12, I dropped. I was heaving and almost passed out; I called mom to let her know, and she was glad I was smart about it.

Monumental Marathon as a training run?
Since Chicago was so bad, I contacted Cari Setzler, who I had trained with for Chicago 2009. She told me I needed to find a coach that wasn't myself and wasn't my boyfriend. I immediately started searching but realized how expensive coaches are when you don't have a full-time job. Even with my teaching salary, I could have afforded a coach, but just making money through subbing (which is so unreliable), I couldn't. Thank God Cari is the awesome person she is: we worked out a deal and she started coaching me. The first thought was if I would run a marathon for 2010 or just start training for 2011. Of course, being the competitive person I am, I told her I wanted to run a marathon for the confidence that I can still run sub-3. We decided on Memphis as it was a course I was familiar with and I could easily compare my time to the past two years. I treated Monumental as a training run, but was feeling SO good (and in the company of other Fast Trackers) that I wish I would have completed it. I guarantee I would have easily broken 3, probably close to a 2:55. But, it was a training run.

Memphis Marathon
What is it with my bad luck with hot marathons? Memphis is NEVER hot. Never. The START of this year's marathon was 55...that's like almost a record high for Memphis in the morning in December (no joke). Obviously, my feet weren't used to this (I had tried new shoes since the ones I wore at Chicago tore up my feet) and at mile 8, I got the SAME blisters I had in Chicago 2008... I dropped out. I have never had a more disappointing year in running. It's not like me to drop out of a race, but having a coach helps you think differently. We had decided that if I wasn't feeling it, I wouldn't finish it. No point in having to delay our 2011 training by "half-assing" a marathon in 2010.

So... 2010 wasn't the best year for running. Quite frankly, with my two wonderful grandparents passing, it wasn't the best year of anything for me. I was not very focused and pretty negative throughout the August-October as my grandparents and their support meant so much to my family and me. However, I know that God is taking care of them and everything happens for a reason.

BRING ON 2011!

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