Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Boston Strong

Remembering those who lost their lives, those who were injured and those affected by the horrific events one year ago today. 

 My post from April 2013 with my experience in Boston. http://instephsshoes.blogspot.com/2013/04/the-boston-marathon-2013.html

Monday, March 31, 2014

Rock CF Rivers Half Marathon Race Results

The short; PR BABY!! 

The longer version...

Sunday was the 4th annual Rock CF Rivers Half Marathon on Grosse Ile.  This was my first race of 2014.  I've run this race every year since its inaugural year in 2011.  This race holds a special place in my heart.  I PR-ed every year.  2012 I was 30 weeks pregnant when I ran it, so that was my half marathon pregnancy PR. 

Last year, I ran a 1:36:50. So this year I really wanted to see 1:35.  I would have been extremely happy with 1:35:59.  I wasn't so sure I could do it though.  This winter has been brutal for everyone training for spring events.  I didn't feel like I was in race shape to run a 7:20 pace for 13.1 miles.  I told myself that I would be happy with 1:40 or better. 

The morning was cold, with roughly 10mph winds for the first few miles.  I went out a bit fast with mile 1 being a 7:13 pace.  I felt good though.  I figured I would just run hard for as long as possible and then back off in the later miles if I needed to.  I ended up seeing a guy I met in Ann Arbor a few weeks ago and ran with him for most of the race from about mile 5.  He is a fast runner and my dad had told me that morning that "if you see Stuart, run with him for as long as you can". Stuart was just what I needed.  Even though we didn't really talk, it was nice knowing he was there.  The miles were tough, but I was able to keep pushing along.  The hardest part of the race was about mile 10.5 to 13.  The headwinds were stronger than the start, or they at least felt that way!  My pace dropped really low for mile 12.  it was my slowest mile of the day, but I was able to pick it back up for the last 1.1 miles.  Entering the GI high school track, running towards the finish line was one of the best feelings.  I could see the timing clock and knew I had crushed my previous PR.  I was pumping my fists in the air and could wipe the smile off my face.  I crossed the finish line in 1:34:03, 2:47 faster than my previous PR and well past the goal of 1:35:59!!  Stuart finished about 30 seconds ahead of me.  I thanked him and hugged him.  he didn't know it at the time, but he was a huge help in me pushing the pace for the entire run.  In fact, I think I hugged just about every person I saw and knew at the finish line.  I was (and still am) so happy!!  I really, really needed this run.  I most definitely feel as if I am ready to run Boston.  Not only run it, but hopefully PR!

Here are my splits.  They stayed pretty consistent.  I was really surprised with my middle miles!

Mile 1 7:14
Mile 2 7:17
Mile 3 7:13
Mile 4 7:10
Mile 5 7:09
Mile 6 7:08
Mile 7 7:04
Mile 8 7:03
Mile 9 7:03
Mile 10 7:08
Mile 11 7:13
Mile 12 7:22 - slowest mile of the day
Mile 13 7:13
Mile .10 7:09

Official Time: 1:34:03
Pace: 7:11
A/G Place: 1/99
Gender Place: 7/452
Overall Place: 58/855

The 2 Stephanie's post race.

Pre-Race Group Photo with the 5am runners & friends

So happy with my PR!  Best finish photo I have ever taken.
My PR face! :-)


Monday, March 24, 2014

Am I ready?

 I was feeling pretty discouraged all last week.  This winter has affected everyone's training.  I just don't feel like I've put in the work I need to be able to run the marathon I want to run.

Then Saturday happened, and I have a renewed sense of hope.

I headed out to Ann Arbor to run with my dad and some of my close running friends.  I live in the flat land and Ann Arbor offers tons of elevation.  Rob, of PR Fitness, maps out some great courses for their Saturday morning runs.  This weeks course was my favorite course to date.  Lots of gradual climbs, down hills, flat terrain, everything in one great 10 mile out and back course.  I knew going into this run, that I wanted to push the pace.  My Garmin was not working properly which was probably a good thing.  I wasn't able to look at my pace, just run by feeling.  I was hoping to finish the route with an average sub-8 minute miles.  We actually finished with an average pace of 8:02.  So close to sub-8's.  This was our fastest 20 mile training run to date. 

I felt great after the run too.  A little soreness, but nothing that didn't subside with some stretching and compression gear.  That is what really made me feel as if I may be ready for Boston.  If I can run 20.10 miles at an 8:02 pace and feel good enough to run the next day (I didn't run, but wanted to), then maybe I am ready to tackle the hills of Boston. 

I've got less than a month to go and intend to just keep most of my running easy.  I have the Rock CF Half Marathon on Sunday where I PR-ed last year.  I originally wanted to PR again this year, but I am not so sure I can.  And I am ok with that.  I'll run hard and whatever happens, happens. 

Friday, March 14, 2014

Is anyone there?

Wow, it's been a long time since I have written on this blog.  Late October to be exact.  I toyed with the idea of just shutting it down all together.  It lacks content and it's boring.  But I also enjoy looking back from time to time at my various races, training, etc...  So for now, I will keep it.

Anyway, we are now 5 weeks & 3 days out from the Boston Marathon.  I don't feel ready at all.  Yesterday bib #'s, wave and corral information was posted on the BAA site.  Shit just got real.  I was pretty pumped to see that not only are my dad and I in the same wave and corral.  Not only that, but our bib#'s are only 2 numbers off.  Mine is 16191 and his is 16193. 

At the start of training, I had Plan A (sub-3:20), Plan B (sub-3:25) and Plan C (Sub-3:28).  This winter has really taken a toll on my training, as well as everyone else training for an upcoming race.  I am now just hoping to reach Plan C which would be a PR at Boston.  Plan A is out the window and moved to my fall marathon. I've put in some hard speed sessions, but not enough hard long runs.  With the way the roads have been with ice and snow, my paces have been slower than what I should be running. 

Last weekend I ran 21 miles.  18 was on the roads, but had to be cut short due to ice.  I finished off the run with 3.1 miles on the treadmill.  Not my ideal 21 miler, but I got it done. I had a good run for the 18 miles and it was great tackling the hills of Ann Arbor.

Angie, Dave, myself and Jeff - a few running friends, post 18 mile run

This weekend I plan to run 16-18 miles, but of course, our roads and paths are ice & snow covered.  I'd like to head out to Ann Arbor to run again, but that makes for a very long morning away from home. I was away on business this week, so I'd like to run close to home.  I need to push the pace but also find some elevation.  I live in the flat land, so finding elevation is tough. 

I don't know what to do.  I feel like a student cramming for an exam.

I'm nervous. I'm stressed out. I have not felt this way over a marathon in years!! I'm scared I will fail.

I know I can easily say "hey it's Boston, just go run and have fun".  But that is not me.  I am never one to just "go run and have fun".  I always have fun, but I always have a goal and I must reach that goal. Last year was such a successful running year for me and I want to continue that into 2014. 

I have Rock CF half marathon on March 30th.  Again, another race where I have to change my goals.  I originally hoped to run a sub-1:35.  Last year I finished it in 1:36:50.  I'd love to PR, but now I am not so sure I can even do that. 

I think once the weather breaks and I can get some good paces runs outside, then I will start to feel more confident in my ability to race.  Until then......

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Monday, October 21, 2013

Detroit Marathon Results

I did it. I finished out my year of racing just the way I had hoped to and celebrated my birthday the way most marathon runners would want to.

I wanted to push hard and keep up my streak of Boston Qualifying marathons. If you read my previous post, you'd see my goal was 3:35 on my 35th birthday. That would give me a 5 minute padding to my BQ time of 3:40 for Boston 2015 (I'm already registered for 2014). I definitely did just that and then some.

Let's start at the beginning though.

Friday evening a small group of us headed downtown to the expo to pick up my race packet, poke around for a bit and go out to dinner.  My friends Jeff & Kristin have a baby 6 months younger than my daughter and they are both named Anna!  Of course we had to get a picture of them with the countdown clock.

Future BFF's and marathon runners (my Anna is on the left)

me, Jeff and my dad

Packet pick it up quick, as usual. And the expo was like trick or treating for adults. I left with all kinds of free sample sized Lara bars, granola, pop corn, etc... I picked up a container of PB2. I never tried this stuff and figured it was worth the $5. I also purchased a hooded sweatshirt from the official marathon gear area.

After the expo, we all headed over to the Eastern Market district for Thai and Sushi.  I've never been to the restaurant Jeff chose, Sala Thai but it was very good!  It was so nice to get the expo out of the way on Friday so that I had my Saturday free since Sunday was the marathon.  I spent Saturday visiting my niece and then carb loading on pizza with my dad, step mom and my son & daughter.  We had a slumber party back at my house since it would make Sunday's logistic easier on everyone.  I laid out my race day outfit and hit the sack by 9:30pm. 


Sunday morning we were up by 4:15am and to Jeff's house by 5:15am.  We made it downtown and in a structure within a half hour.  We parked next to the Compuware building in Campus Martius.  The Compuware building is open the morning of the marathon so you have a place to hang out, use indoor rest rooms, meet up with other runners, etc... So nice!   We took a quick group photo and headed to the start line at 6:30am for a 7am start.

missing from the photo is my dad, he was in the restroom doing his "thing".  LOL!
We started right on time.  I felt good, even though we were off to a quicker pace than we had planned.  When I am feeling good, I like to just go for it.  Why hold back?  One of my favorite parts of the marathon comes within the first few miles.  We cross over the Ambassador bridge into Canada.  Depending on the weather and when you reach the bridge, you can see a really pretty sunrise.  We ran along the Detroit river in Windsor and enter the tunnel at mile 7 to head back into the US.  This is another favorite part of the course.  You hear people chanting "USA, USA", its a nice downhill into the tunnel and you are running 1 mile under water!  it does get pretty warm in there though.  I had my gloves off and sleeves up by the time we made it out.  The course then takes you back into Detroit, through Mexican Town, Corktown and back towards downtown where the half and full split.  Miles 13-18 are the most boring to me.  I do like the MLK High School band and I enjoy looking at the unique homes in the Indian Village portion (miles 16-18).  It was a breezy day and I really felt that head wind from mile 18-26.2.  I knew I had a great pace so I made sure to focus and keep pushing.  My left hamstring was a bit painful, but I was able to not let it get to me.  I felt strong mentally!  I made the turn on to Fort Street, heard "Go Stephanie, Happy Birthday baby, you got this" and saw my friend Susie who just ran a 3:37 in Chicago the week before.  I smiled, waved and crossed the finish line in 3:29:50!  I beat my goal by 5:10 and BQ-ed by 10:10!  Happy Birthday to me!!  My dad crossed just behind me in 3:30:35.  He also BQ-ed by 19:25!!!  
I managed to meet my goal and stay strong however, once I finished the pain set in. Oh the pain...  My legs were cramping up pretty badly.  I sat down, had my dad rub my legs out and then rub his out.  We collected our post-race food, took a quick finishers photo and headed straight to the car!  I was cold.  I  just wanted a hot shower and warm sweats.  
Detroit ended up being a great way to celebrate my 35th birthday.  I aged up this year too.  I am now in the 35-39 age group.  Time to go scope out my competition.... lol
Official Results:
Time: 3:29:50
Pace: 8:00
Age Group Place: 6th/318
Gender Place: 40th/1,898
Overall Place: 304th/4,291
Oh and just because, I had to share with you my birthday cake.  We get this every year for my husbands birthday, my son's birthday and my birthday.  It's a 5lb double layer frosted chocolate chip cookie cake.  Yes, that is Dora the Explorer.  :-)

Thursday, October 17, 2013

The Detroit Free Press Marathon is THIS Sunday!

Sunday, October 20th, is the 36th annual Detroit Marathon.  This will be my 5th marathon this year (6th if we count my 50K, which I usually do).  I signed up for the marathon almost immediately when registration opened.  You can beat the early registration fee! I think I paid $65?  That is really inexpensive compared to most marathon fees.  And, since the event is held on my actual birthday, what better way to spend my 35th birthday than to run a marathon! 

Over the last couple weeks, I was starting to have my doubts on how well I will be able to perform bit now I am super pumped about this race.  The last time I stepped foot on this course was October 16th, 2011.  I ran my 2nd slowest marathon (3:45:30) but it didn't matter.  I had SO much fun that day!  I had carried my camera, took tons of photos along the course, didn't feel bad at any point in the race and, little did I know, I was 7 weeks pregnant!!

Running in the Ontario part of the course

Rick, myself and Jeff - my running friends I ran with that day

Me, my mom and my stepdad
My goal is to run a 3:35:00 or better.  Every road marathon I have run since having my daughter Anna back in June 1012 has been a BQ time.  I want to keep my streak alive and finish out this year with another BQ.  My marathon times have been the following; Grand Rapids Marathon in October 2012 was a 3:39:02, Boston Marathon in April was a 3:29:46, Pittsburgh Marathon was a 3:33:16 and Ann Arbor Marathon was a 3:30:26.  I know I can pull off a 3:35:00, if my legs feel good.  I've put a lot of miles on my legs over the summer with various races including a trail marathon & 50K, running 220+ miles in July, etc...  So hopefully I don't show up Sunday with dead, heavy legs.  If so, I will have my dad there to pull me along like he does best. 
I've been trying to make sure I get a little bit more sleep than I usually do, as well have increased my carb intake.  I will be resting my legs Friday and Saturday so that they are fresh on Sunday.  The weather is seeming to cooperate too.  I've done the work, now to push hard and hope for the best.