Monday, October 22, 2012


I'm a few weeks late on updating this.  I got a little busy.  After the Milwaukee Marathon on Sunday, October 7th, Ryan and I decided to get married on Saturday, October 13th.  Okay, it might have been planned that way, but regardless, I've been slacking quite a bit on blogging.

This update will just consist of Milwaukee recap, and hopefully I can update on "life after Milwaukee" within the next few days.

I've been trying to think how I wanted to recap this race, but all I could really come up with is my typical "let me take you through the race" that's what I'm going to do.

Ryan was working the Milwaukee Marathon expo, so had been in Milwaukee since Friday.  Mom, Dad, Nic, Lauren (his gf) and I drove up together Saturday morning...after doing wedding stuff, naturally.  We actually wrote out our song list (our wedding invites had lines for guests to write requested songs in on) on the way there and created a list for our band, Modern Day Romeos, to play.  It was a pretty fun drive, minus the construction delay on 12.

There was an Elite Athlete meeting at 12:30....and we arrived at 12:28.  Nice.  In any case, it was good to be at this meeting because they did say the NEW USATF rules allowed Garmin watches.  Too bad I had already decided not to use mine (they weren't allowed last year).  We hung around at the expo to chat with Andres and Mary (Andres was running).  We all said our good-byes to Ryan and left to go to our hotel in Port Washington.  Mom, Dad, Nic, Lauren, Ryan, Andres, Mary and I then ended up going to dinner with some of dad's Hillstriders friends at a cute little pasta place "downtown" Port Washington.  The food was good, the Spotted Cow was delicious, but the company was even better.  We came back and put "Ryan and Jacqui Giuliano 10-13-12" wrappers on our mini-candy bars and went to bed a little after.

Sunday morning just seemed to come too soon.  None of us wanted to be up so early....especially when we checked the weather to see that it was only 35degrees out.  Regardless, we sucked it up, layered up and went on our drive to Grafton High School, where the Milwaukee Marathon begins.  We got there way too early, so decided to go to the bathroom and run a little warmup.  It was finally time to line up and I was anxious to start running.  Mom and Lauren grabbed our sweats and off we went a few short minutes later.

I found myself in a pretty good group for the first 7-8miles.  The first mile was too fast, as I figured, 6:14.  I knew I needed to slow down to 6:30s if I wanted to have a good last 10 miles.

Mile 1--6:14, yikes.
Mile 2--6:19, thought I slowed down more than that.
Mile 3--6:34, that's what I'm talking about.
Mile 4--6:28, let's keep this groove.
Mile 5--6:21, getting anxious, gotta stop.
Mile 6--6:33, good job bringing it back.
Mile 7--6:28, perfect.
Mile 8--6:29, sweet.
Mile 9--6:24, well maybe there was a little downhill...
**it was also at this point that my hamstring tear occurred last year.  It took all I had to focus on NOT thinking about that moment.  Images of last year kept flashing in my mind, but I just told myself I HAD to stay with the guy in front of me.

Mile 10--6:35, the guy in front of me slowed down a little, so I did too.
Mile 11--6:39, that was not a good choice.  He picked it up a lot and I couldn't. Shoot.
Mile 12--6:28, the guy in the orange singlet is gone, but this new two-person pack isn't too bad.
Mile 13--6:36, I remembered this mile just as if I was running it again last year. This is where our pacer dropped and I could see that she and Amber were way off pace--not that I could pick my pace up as my hamstring was torn, but it still made me feel good that I could SEE them ahead of me.
HALF WAY--1:24:55...yep, I'm just gonna run what I did last year. No other girl in site, so I'm okay with that.
Mile 14--6:37--just gotta maintain at this point.
Mile 15--6:39...6:40s is my goal pace, still hanging on
Mile had a lot of sub 6:40s, you can still get this
Mile 17--6:42...good...this is also when I found out RYAN WAS WINNING!!!
Mile 18--6:45...still there, but left IT band is hurting a bit on the downhills. dang.
Mile 19--6:48...okay can't get much slower right now...
Mile 20--6:59...Ryan is no longer winning...but I'm winning by almost a mile...not sure what to think
Mile 21--6:48...well, let's just stay sub-7:00 pace
Mile 22--7:13...I'm told I'm 5 minutes ahead. Goal re-evaluated
Mile 23--7:03...yep, not trying to PR. left IT band feeling as if it's popping
Mile I went down the big hill, I could really feel my left IT band. smart re-evaluated goal
Mile 25--7:09...another confirmation that I just need to maintain this pace
Mile 26--7:06...wooohoooo soooooo close! feeling MUCH better than last year at this point!

TOTAL TIME--2:55:06

At Mile 22, I figured out that if I ran sub 7-minute pace for the last 4.2 miles, I'd still PR from last year (2:54:46).

Did I want to PR?  who doesn't YES
Would I risk injuring my IT bands to PR?  you bet YES
Would it be worth it? NO

So as heartbreaking as it was to see the clock hit 2:54:47, I knew I had made the right decision.

Ryan and I signed up for Milwaukee last year for me to redeem myself from last year.  My training got sidetracked with not finding a teaching job...I had found out I made the Duathlon Worlds team (competing in Nancy, France on 9/22/12), so my goals shifted from running a sub 2:50 marathon to getting speed for the 10k run/40k bike/5k run for Duathlon Worlds.

Near the beginning of August, I found out some PHENOMENAL news: I got a job teaching 7th grade math at Aptakisic Junior High in Buffalo Grove.  This incredible news meant my new focus would be on the marathon again.  Unfortunately, I hadn't been running nearly as much as I should have at this point, so Cari and I decided my goal would be to try to win Milwaukee instead as a 2:55 would do just that these past few years.

If you've read my blog, you probably noticed that I have done exactly one 20 mile run.  Last year, I had at least three 20s and a 22 miler, so I knew this whole marathon thing would be tough.  However, I had signed up as Jacqui Giuliano and wanted to make my almost-husband proud.

I think I did.

Breaking the Lakefront Marathon 2012 tape!

Ryan ended up finishing in third... he had to make a few stops and didn't train at all for this thing.  And he finished third.  I'd say that's pretty good.

Here are a few pictures from during the race...and after...

 Just me and my bike lead person.
The bright orange singlet guy I hung with for awhile... I'm even smiling here!!:)
Taking a pic with Nick big deal. OMG!!!

 Last race together as fiancĂ©'s!!!
 Finisher medal and award winner medal
 Female Open First Place
Check out that sweet last name...:)

Thank you, friends and family, for supporting me in my dreams for, well, forever.  While many people have pointed out that Chicago was "stacked" this year, so I ran with a "weaker" field in Milwaukee, I still find it such an honor to be called a marathon champion.  I cannot believe how lucky I am to have started out our "new life" with such an incredible race.  Thank you again for all of the support and congrats--I truly appreciate it and hope that your season has ended (or will end) well, too!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Ready to redeem myself... Milwaukee Marathon 2012

Today was my last workout of this season.  It was bittersweet as I really started enjoying all of the 4:30am workouts (not that I have to stop that, but I just won't be training for a marathon anymore).

This week I had a 20min tempo on Tuesday and a 3miles at Marathon Pace today.  I ran them about the same.  Since they were both early in the morning, I only had my Garmin splitting at every mile to let me know what pace I was running at.  I just went on feel, since Milwaukee doesn't allow GPS watches.  I have to know what pace feels like if I want to have a good race, so I've really been making sure to only look at my Garmin when it splits my mile so I can gauge how close I was to my target pace.

Tuesday I went 6:09 (oops), 6:14, 6:13, xx for 3.25miles total
Thursday I went 6:20, 6:13, 6:14 for the 3miles

I ran the same course both times, but Thursday was after a late afternoon massage by Dave Davis, so I knew I'd be a tad sore.  I was okay with the soreness as it slowed me down and kept the pace a little more honest.

I haven't really told many people that I'm racing Milwaukee.  I used that approach last year as well to kind of keep it low key and pressure free.  I figure now that people are picking up their packets and posting their Chicago bib numbers on Facebook, I could answer the "you're not racing Chicago?" question on my blog.

It's not that I don't like Chicago.  While it is crowded, it sure is nice to run with someone.  I just have some unfinished business at Milwaukee.  After tearing the hamstring at mile 10 and just pushing through it, I want to go and RACE this year.  I want to be SMILING at the finish line because I completed a marathon pain free.

In the end, that's every marathon runner's goal anyway.  So GOOD LUCK to all of my friends and family racing this weekend.  Remember how lucky we all are to have made it healthily to the start line and use that to keep the negative thoughts and pain away.  Sunday is YOUR DAY!!!