Race week is here!

The race is only a few short days away! I was having trouble wrapping my mind it last week, I think I needed to get through Thanksgiving. I know I have done everything I could to prepare for this day so just going to “trust my stuff” this week.

I got my elite packet last week with all the last minute details and list of athletes. Holy smokes there are a lot of women showing up! 115 on the list to be exact, some I already know wont be there, the Eastern Europeans are going after the prize money and will be way in front of me. We have a guy pacing us so that will help. My coach discussed strategies for not getting tangled up or tripped by other runners. Most important thing will be to stay calm and focused! Going out to fast can make the end miles tough.

The two weeks prior to a marathon is usually a tapering phase, running less miles and getting ready for the big day. It is crucial to stay mentally calm and in the game. Many aches and pains like to pop up, self doubt, questioning your training, etc. Maintaining race weight is critical too, who wants to carry a few extra pounds for26.2 miles! It is enough to drive a sane runner over the edge! I am hanging in there pretty good. Focusing on every last detail so nothing gets left behind or forgotten.

Sunday I had my last long run, 12 miles. This is the first time I ran this pace without pain since August! It sure felt awesome. My quads were super fatigued last few miles which was not exactly confidence boosting. I just shrugged it off and was thankful for no pain. All this mental training is helping with these kind of days.

Bad news is I started getting a cold over the weekend. I am trying rest, herbal remedies, over the counter and Melissa brought me some awesome essential oils. I am going to attack this thing from all angles! I could definitely freak out over this but with all the challenges I have had to overcome this is just one more. I work well under pressure and against adversity. So I say “Bring it”!

Very excited that Wendy Schulik got her funding so she can continue filming her documentary about women trying to qualify for the Olympic Trails. Follow her updates on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Miles-Trials-Running-Towards-2012-Film/188446341168490 or blog at http://milesandtrialsfilm.blogspot.com/. We met at Grandma’s marathon in June. She started her project in Chicago and several of the women she is following are from Chicago. It has been following everyone’s stories I can’t wait to meet them!

I had a nice surprise over the weekend when I was contacted by 2 runners that would be in town getting treatments from Dr. Ball.  One is staying with us and the other is staying nearby. Jaymee has run CIM 5 times so has tons of course insight! Lauren Fleshman just debuted at New York Marathon and is an extremely accomplished runner. Yeah more people to talk running with!

I am sure there will be more updates before we leave town on Friday!


2 weeks to go!

Last week I ran the most running volume so far during this training cycle 64 miles. This is much less than I ran getting ready for my marathon in June when my mileage hovered around 75. It has been 3 months since the first pain of injuries impacted my training/racing and 2 months since the MRI confirming what was wrong. When I got those results I remember thinking it aint over til it is over! I was going to just keep training and with a little luck and a ton of treatments from Dr. Ball I just might make it to the start line of CIM on 12-4. I know in my heart if I can make it to the start then I have a chance.

The one thing that has kept me going through pain, disappointment, frustration, is being positive. I am not even sure how I have been able to stay mentally positive and focused through all the challenges. I have been thinking back to my first marathon when I was running to raise money for my dear friend Susan. Here was a mother almost the same age as me battling for her life after a double lung transplant. She was always so brave and positive. I often wondered how she did it, knowing her outcome was bleak and she had a 5 year old son she would be leaving behind. The pain and suffering of a marathon seemed so small compared to what she was experiencing. I remember on race day feeling a bit of stomach discomfort around mile 21 and hearing some church bells as I ran by a Catholic church and then felt instantly better. I called Susan at the hospital after the race and she wanted to hear all about the day. I never told her my stomach felt sick but she told me how she prayed for me and she asked me how my stomach felt. When I shared her story she said she had been praying to carry any burden for me that I might encounter and how her stomach started hurting. Pretty powerful stuff considering she had so many health challenges herself and I was the healthy one. Sadly she passed away a few weeks later. She is one of the main reasons for my positive mental attitude. I think of her often and miss her always!

This short video clip titled “The First Gold” showing Joan Benoit winning the 1st gold medal for women’s marathon in LA 1984 Olympics has been very inspiring.


I was so excited to go to track practice. I have not been to night track at SCC since May! The track was closed over the summer and then I having doing my track workouts on the Alter G. I much prefer running on the track with other fast girls than on the Alter G.

The highlight of my week happened on Friday. I had just finish running on the Alter G and was rushing out the door to go see Dr Ball when someone handed me a note. Once I got to Dr Ball’s office I had a chance to read it while waiting. Much to my surprise one of the physical therapists at Spooner had read my blog and was inspired by my story and wrote me a short note and also offered to see if there is anything she can do to help me with the injuries. Well after the week I was having I just about started crying. It was such a random act of kindness I was deeply touched. I plan on contacting her soon!

It has been a tough week mentally, doubt is creeping it at every corner, can I really run a 6:15 pace for 26.2 miles on the little bit of training I have completed?? I have been so positive up to this point so was a bit blindsided by the insecurity and doubt. I tried just pushing it away but yesterday on my long run it came crashing down hard on me. Well better to get the mental and physical meltdown out of the way and figure out what I need to do the next 2 weeks to get myself ready. I wont repeat the details of Sunday’s 16 miler but will say if you are going to have a meltdown best to get it all out (like a 2 year old having a tantrum). Huge thanks to my friend Tere for talking me off the ledge!

Later that day I went down to volunteer/spectate at the Ironman with my daughter. I finished an Ironman race in 2007 and it taught me many life lessons. It was great to see many friends racing. I was hoping to get a little inspiration to take home. We watched the finish line for almost an hour, a great place to spectate. Usually I like to stay until midnight and cheer the last finishers but this year I need my sleep with my own race very soon.

This week would be the official start of my 2 week taper although I feel like I have been tapering forever. I am reading Ryan Hall’s new book and loving the part he writes about tapering for the 2010 Boston Marathon. There is not much you can do physically that will make a huge impact on your race at this point. It is time to focus on the mental training and trusting your stuff. I think it is going to be a long 2 weeks. I plan on using it wisely by visualizing race day, reviewing my race plan, reading inspirational stories/quotes and resting as much as possible.

Training last week


Mon-8 Alter G

Tues-8 track 4x 1 mile at 6:20

Wed-8 alter G

Thurs-12 miles hills

Fri-8 Alter G

Sat-8 strides

weekly total 64 miles  road 40 Alter G 24

Staying Positive!

This morning was beautiful and cool perfect for the Shun the Sun Half Marathon. My training partners Tere Zacher and Susan Loken were doing the race too! Always happy to line up with these fast ladies! I had nothing but high hopes today and nailing this run and basking in confidence the rest of the day. This would be my last big training event before California International Marathon (CIM).

Tere and I were hoping to stay together for  10 miles than race the last 5k. She started a bit quicker than I wanted so I just kept her in sight and started to pick the guys to catchup and pass. Good thing since my shoe started getting loose and was about to come untied (not even at mile 1 yet). I stopped to tie it and created more of a knot (really???). Took a deep breath and  hit the stop button on my watch, today is a training run not a race. I thought this is good it will remind me to triple knot my Brooks racing flats at CIM. Got going again and set my sights on catching Susan. She was doing a bit of a training run herself today so I needed to be in front of her based on our pace goals today.

Approaching mile 3 my right piriformis was starting to hurt. Yikes not good at all since I have 10 more miles. Ok positive mental training 1 mile at a time. Caught up to Susan and she gave me some encouraging words.  Miles 4 and 5 brought more teeth gritting pain. Stopped at mile 5 to do some quick stretches on the hip and started running again.

Miles 5-6 my pace was slowed due to pain and I now felt some pain shooting into my hamstring. Hamstring has not had any issues and I need to keep it that way. My husband,mother and daughter were kind enough to come cheer me on. I was expecting them at the finish and there they were at the turnaround. I stopped to tell them I was having problems and could they drive up a couple miles in case the situation did not get better.

Miles7-8 I slowed to around 645-650 pace still with pain. When I reached my family at mile 8  I knew I was better to cut my losses vs. risking more damage to my body. If this was CIM I would have pushed onward.

In 7 years of racing I have never not finished a race. It would be easy to let this get me down mentally. Instead I focused on knowing it was the right decision for today. If I had been out on the Beeline doing a time trial I would have stopped too. They drove me back to the finish area.

I got back just in time to see Tere win the female race and Susan not too far behind her. So glad to meetup with them and get some encouraging words.

This past week Melissa Guthrie was kind enough to reach out to me and provide me some doTerra essential oils to help with the pain and inflammation. http://www.doterraoil.com/ I have been applying deep blue, aroma touch, white fir and several others to a variety of body parts. It seemed to really help my knee. I think my hip area is so bad right now it could not put a dent in the pain. I am going to keep up this regimen though because I think it is helping.

My daughter Katherine made me an awesome cheer up poster to hang on the wall. Next to my computer I always post  my race course map with elevation, time goal and there is a magazine tear out advertisement for the Olympic Trails in Houston.

One thing this training is doing is making me more mentally tough than I ever thought possible! There have been many sacrifices along the way. I am going to take some anti-inflammatories to help with the inflammation and pain. I know that I can run a 2:45 marathon!! Can I do it on an injured body? I believe I can!!!!

Another PR in my Brooks ST5 racing flats!!

I raced the Phoenix 10k last Sunday and got a new PR 38:55 (to be honest I have not really “raced” this distance before). It just felt so good to race again since it has been months!! Race day is like the payoff for all the hard work. I feel like I have been in the trenches forever (maybe the Alter G is to blame).

It was a beautiful cool morning and there were many other Bandido girls racing also which is always a blast. I love running with all these fast chicks!! I had on my PR racing flats Brooks ST5’s and a bright new running skirt. I just knew Ariana Hillborn would be leaving us all in the dust.  My plan was to start a bit easy at 6:20 pace then pick it up negatively splitting the last 5k. I wanted to feel good race well, have minimal pain and no asthma problems.

Well my first mile was 6:07 too fast! I really wanted to stick with all the girls I train with but realized I needed to do my own race. Tere even gave me encouraging “stick with us” words. I am so used to longer distances that by the time I am settled in the race is almost over. Around mile 2 Coach John and some other Bandidos were there to offer cheers and advice. Everything was feeling good at this point. There was quite a few guys in front of me so I just kept trying to catchup and pass each one.

Before mile 3 we had a u-turn so I got to see Ariana in the lead. I was glad to have a bit of breath to yell out a cheer for her. Soon Tanaya caught up to me although we had heard about each other we had not met before. Amazingly she had breath to introduce herself. After the turn John and some other Bandidos were there to encourage us on. I remember John yelling “pass the guy in yellow shorts. YELLOW SHORTS”! I set me eyes on him and closed the gap passing him smoothly. I was clicking off 612-614 pace. Wow it sure felt harder than it should. Pain in my hip was not as bad as I expected (only about a level 5) and breathing was under control.

I try to remember to stay in the present. I was working on not think about next weekend running twice the distance at the same pace. Staying present at each mile allows me to focus and keep on pace. Fear lives in the future so if I stay in the present there is no fear of the outcome.

The last mile my legs were feeling fatigued, my mind was strong and focused. I was trying to catch one guy at a time. Their was one last turn before we sprinted to the finish line. Running down the finish it was awesome to hear the cheers from my friends. I finished in 38:55 last mile was 6:22, yikes can’t believe I slowed down. This shows me how focused I need to stay to keep on pace. Try and concentrate on one thing for 5 minutes and see how many times your mind wanders! Now try for 2 hours and 45 minutes, I have my work cut out for me at the next marathon.

This weekend I had planned on doing a time trial but there is a half marathon in Mesa, Shun the Sun is putting on the race. My goal is to start 620-615 pace hold that to mile 10 and pick it up the last 5k. I am hoping to feel strong, minimal pain, no breathing issues to build confidence leading into my marathon.


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