Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Reflections

A few years ago a good friend emailed me with subject title of lemonade..... You know, life gives you lemons, you make.... well you know the rest (or can read about it here).

2009 has been all over the wall for the LaPans. If you have read my blog you have read all about the fun times. The numerous races I've been able to do setting PR in many distances. The entire summer spend traveling around, first with our friends in Utah, followed by months in the Pacific Northwest.

It was a summer of fun, reconnecting with old friends, losing touch with others. We visited people and places and tried new things and didn't follow a plan. Sorta lived in the moment. While yes, it still all sounds absolutely fantastic in 2009, it wasn't the complete story. I tend to talk about all the good in life. Glass half full kinda blogger, I suppose. I'm not going to change anything about that, just wanted to put it out there that I am expecting, hoping and longing for bigger, better and all around fresh start in 2010.

Back to the lemons. I suppose you can say the Lapans chose to take their lemons and turn them into sugary, sour yummy lemon drops. Maybe a little too many of those were had, but in the end we managed to survive this year. Those of you that know us, know the ups and downs of our year. We've managed to stay upright through some big real estate mishaps, family and loved ones drama. We've managed to get past the big bumps, and I think in the end realized our strong our relationship is, in fact I think our "lemonade" is pretty darn good.

While ending a year cycle doesn't necessarily mean everything changes come midnight tomorrow, but for me at least, it makes me hopeful. It gives a big fat ending line to an on the surface kinda good year that really was a struggle for so many reasons. It means a fresh start, and new beginnings. New adventures and new goals.

Tomorrow Shane & I are flying to Seattle to celebrate my uncle's marriage to his fabulous new wife Michelle, as well as bring in the new year. A weekend of celebration of a new family and fun times with my old family (college buddies). When we get home we will start fresh with a lot of things, including pulling the lemons off our tree in front that didn't make it over the summer, giving the good ones, the strong ones that survived a chance to thrive. It will be the theme of the new year.

Bring it on 2010. The LaPans are ready. New adventures, new challenges and soon a new member to the LaPan family (and the answer to your question is NO, just saying).

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas

Somehow, we didn't manage to get our stuff together and create our traditional Holiday cards.... It's one of our favorite things to do this time of year, creating some sort of story line about our year, or what is to come. While this year has had it's ups and downs, to be shared in another post about the upcoming NEW YEAR, we did have a huge loss - our Sara girl. So, to honer her I wanted to share our very first Christmas Card, circa 2002.

May you all have a fabulous Holiday - And we will be sending New Years wishes soon!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Tucson Marathon

This isn't going to really be a "race report" per say, because honestly after the first 11 miles, it wasn't a race for me. It was a walk/run, say hi to my cheerleaders & wait for someone (Shane) to tell me I should stop so I didn't hurt myself any further. But, that's not what happened, I got a "suck it up buttercup," instead... and so, I did.....

Of course I can't start there without first going into the pre-race mishaps. And, now that it's over and done with I can totally laugh about it, but at the time -Not.So.Funny.

We left fairly early on Sat and went a back way to get to the start of the race. I wanted to see the course (which was a rookie mistake because I NEVER do this) because they had changed an out and back section and it looked like a good climb on the elevation map.

Driving the route you do see how much up there is in the first half. Certainly NOT a downhill course. Net down, absolutely. The new out and back, not pretty at all. A good solid climb for over a mile. But, I realized once I get done with that, the rest of the way is a very gradual straight descend, one of my strengths so I figured I could make up time there.

After the course, packet pick up, etc we were at the hotel & ready to check in when I realized my bag did not make it into the car. Yes, I know, how does THAT happen? I really have no good explanation, other than it just did. And it wasn't just a bag with some running shorts & shoes that could be quickly replaced. IT had my orthotics and my inhalers, etc.

My wonderful husband decided since he was 'only' doing the half he would start the treck back home to get my bag & I should stay. As soon as he left I got on the phone and started sending out messages to see if anyone could run by our house and possibly meet him along the way. Then I called our friends Bryan & Jamie that were staying in the same hotel & we had dinner plans with in a couple hours. They told me to come down and have a beer with them. I opted NOT for the beer, but company sounded great. Turns out they knew someone that was still headed down and happened to be right by my house and if there was a way in, he could grab the bag. We also had another friend offer to bring it down as well.

There REALLY are great people in this running/tri/friend community. Really, Really good people.

Needless to say several hours later, in exchange for a 6 pack of Fat Tire I had my bag!

Race morning was pretty flawless. I met a really cool (and fast) girl on the bus that said she wanted to start at my pace, around an 8:30 so she could get warmed up. IT was nice having someone to hang out with, since I didn't have anyone I knew staying at my hotel, thus riding on the same bus. The start was gorgeous. The sun rising over the mountains, wispy clouds above. Crisp cool air.

The start was very non eventful. You could see people taking off REALLY fast because the first mile is a GOOD downhill. My new friend kept an eye on her garmin so we were holding back a lot. The effort was so easy. First 2 miles about an 8:15 (which with that much down is REALLY hard to pull off when you could easy be in the low 7min mile range). I was happy to have someone to keep my in check. After a couple miles we had some rollers and I could feel the effort a bit on the ups so I gave her my gloves (she was still cold) and told her to go! She ended up finishing in 3:33!

I turned on my ipod and just did what I came there to do. Take it easy at first, no heavy breathing, and concentrate on good form. When we reached the out and back around mile 5 or so you could see the lead people heading back UP the hill. I realized then that Shane & I had not driven the FULL out and back and there was going to be even more climbing then I thought. This would normally not be so bad, except I didn't do a whole lot of hill running so I wasn't sure how much time I would loose. The hill was tough, but doable. I did loose quite a bit of time, bringing my avg between miles 5-8 from an 8:32 to a 8:48 ( I set up my garmin so I could keep track of both).

I knew that once I got to mile 8 though, it was a great descent (and straight) until mile 15. I slowly started to feel like I just wasn't in it. I was bringing my avg back down slowly, but my quads and under my knee caps started to hurt. I tried to take shorter strides, but as soon as I started to speed up the headwind was RIGHT in your face, pushing you back. I could get behind someone to draft (which WOW does that work when you have a wind like that), but then I'd need to pass them to keep my stride & form in check. Around mile 11 Things started to really go wrong. My left IT band started having pain off and on and I wasn't sure how long it would last.

I knew that my sister & niece were meeting Shane at his finish line & heading back up to see me on the course so I could see them at any time. Around mile 14 I took 2 more Tylenol and shortly after saw my family. I looked at Shane in pain and told him it was starting to get bad...but I'd run it out and see if it loosened up at all. The tylenol did seem to help, but the next time I saw them around mile 19 the road started to slant BAD and the dull pain went to a SHARP shooting pain. I stopped to talk to them, stretch it out and try to walk out the pain. The road was so slanted that even walking was hurting..... I don't know if it was the fact that Taylor was out there, or that I could do a 12-14min mile and STILL PR that kept me going, but it did.

Finally around mile 20 the road straightened out and the pain did subside a little. I saw my family again at mile 21, and Shane said that was it, they were going to the finish so I needed to suck it up and get there. I figured he's supposed to be my voice of reason so if he didn't tell me I needed to stop, well then I guess I was hobbling the rest of the way. I made plans with myself to walk until the pain made me limp, then I would stop, pull off the road do all the different IT band stretches (yes, I'm an old pro at this now) then run a faster tempo pace/Repeat. This is what got me to the finish line.

Taylor was there to give me a high 5 as I came down the shute. There was no sprint, or fast finish, I just needed to get there, and then head straight to the Medical tent for ice.

As I reflect back on the day I have a lot of feelings that vary. Yes, I finished and yes it was a dead on 7min PR. However, in the end I don't know that I would make the same decision. I didn't want my niece to see my quit, but in my heart I still know that the smart thing to do was probably stop when the pain got bad and not to do more damage on the IT band, like I did so many times to the other knee before surgery. I am also really happy about a few things. I learned how much stronger of a runner I am. I never once felt strained. I never once felt too fatigue or tired or like my effort was too much. In fact, at the finish I've never been so coherent after any sort of run race like that.

I know that I need to go to back to my surgeon, have an MRI and see what he thinks. I'm going to rehab the knee with rest, swimming and ART for a few weeks and go from there. Hopefully this winter/spring I will be healthy & focus on shorter run speed and races as well as getting back some of my cycling speed! Needless to say, once again I'm pretty sure stand alone marathons are just not for me. And, now that I've tried it (again), I am ok with that!

In the end, it wasn't about the medal, or the PR or the mental idea of not quitting - I didn't want Taylor to see me give up... even if I knew it wasn't really what I'd be doing, she wouldn't know the difference....



Someone on the course who did drop out, and my sister & Shane drove back to the start asked Taylor if she was going to be an Ironman like her aunt & uncle. She said, but only after I grow up first. Too cute.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Agh Hail the Marathon Taper. Or Not

I'm bored. The End.

Just kidding. Well, kinda. I'm starting to get restless. And, I should probably really get out of the house at some point. Shower, maybe even brush my hair and apply makeup.

Someday that will happen. Someday.

After our week in Mexico I've REALLY started my taper. Taking resting to a whole knew level. Well, it's been a week and I totally feel rested and ready. Well, maybe not totally ready...but I do know that come Saturday I will be.

There is something so different about a marathon taper vs an Ironman taper. Lots, actually. In Ironman taper you are exhausted. Famished. Sore, tired, hungry and grumpy. You wonder how you could possibly go 140.6miles in ONE day when you feel that crappy. And, for me at least, it lasts 2 FULL weeks. The last few long workouts are horrific. You start to doubt yourself.

Then compare it to the marathon taper. Which I may have thought similar to the description above if, well if I had never experienced the Ironman taper.

Saturday was my last "long" run. The plan I was following called for a mere 1 hour run. I went just a couple mins over and ran a whopping 7miles. I don't know that I have EVER tapered to that low of mileage for a marathon in the past, but I also have never done so much speed work, so I stuck to the plan.

Saturday afternoon I was TIRED. Even after about 10hours of sleep. My knees hurt, my glutes hurt & my IT band felt tight.

AH HAIL THE TAPER....

Sunday I laid around all day snuggled in blankets. Hey it was cold out side (read, hey..I maybe had a slight hangover). We rented movies. Ate healthy popcorn, jr mints & mike and ikes. It was just like being at the theatre, sans having to actually shower and look presentable to the public. It was PERFECT.

Yesterday I made it out of the house for a lunch time swim with masters in the RAIN. Yes, I feel like a champ for going - but there is nothing better then swimming with rain drops falling on top of you. Even if I complain the entire way INTO the pool. It really is awesome.

Today I got to go out (in the cold again) for a whopping 30min run. That's right 3.25miles in zone 1. Nothing like a good warm up to tire you out. Or, do absolutely nothing for your boredom.

My legs feel fantastic, rested. I'm managed to stay healthy thus fair (knock and wood, and a quick puff of my inhaler). The weather is looking great for race day. Things are lining up well.

I've gone through 99.9 million scenarios of outcomes for the race. So many variables:

My PR is 4:19 (nothing to brag about). It was at the St. George Marathon. I was running 10.5min miles in zone 2 at that time. Now, I run 8:30-9:15min miles in that same zone. I ran the half last year in 1:48. 5 months later with very little training I ran another half in 1:45. My knee feels great, but I also know deep down it's not. When you go from Ironman training to just marathon training you feel like you haven't trained enough. 5-8hours a week of exercise vs 12-24hours per week, totally different.

I feel good, I feel strong. I feel somewhat confident. If only I had a really good marathon under my belt to come up with some expectations. I did several weeks of yasso 800s. According to the theory behind them, I could have a VERY fast marathon. I am not however, THAT confident.

So, in just a few days, I'll be in Tucson. Freezing my hiney off at the start. Scared, nervous, and wondering why I got myself into this. Then, approx XX hours after that, I will be (hopefully) a very happy, and soon to be intoxicated finisher.