May 16, 2012

Five Trails Half Marathon preview

On Sunday, I am running the Five Trails Half Marathon in Leavenworth, KS with my friend Jodi.  Jodi and I worked together many years ago.  She has accomplished so much since I last saw her.  She finished her RN program and is now in the US Reserves.  This will be her first half marathon.  I am very happy to run next to her as she accomplishes another achievement.

But, to get there, I must drive 700 miles.  I thought that a friend of mine would go along - but schedules just didn't work out. So, I will leave work a little early on Thursday and drive into Arkansas - probably at least until Texarkana - and stop for the night.  Then, start early Friday morning and drive the rest of the way.  I have 3 new audio books downloaded and I have hundreds of Steve's music to listen to - hopefully, will make the ride go fast.

The goal of this race will be to finish with Jodi.  She has been training with a group - so will wish all the group members a good race.

After, the HM, I am going to take 2 weeks off with just light running and strength training.  Then, I will dive hot and heavy into a training program for the Women's Half Marathon in Bloomington MN.  My goal will to run it in less than 2:00.  Which is cutting 5 minutes off of my PR.  I really think that I can do it - with the right training.

I just talked with Jodi and it sounds like we are going to have quite a weekend of activities.  So, stay tuned for the post race recap.

May 10, 2012

Speed Work

Since I now have this awsome new blog design....I must keep blogging on somewhat regular basis.

I am 10 days away from running the Five Trails Half Marathon with my friend Jodi.  It will be her first half marathon, and our goal will be to finish.  Because life has gotten in the way of some of my training time, I haven't been as consistent with the long runs.  However, I have faithfully done all the speed and tempo workouts.

I remember back a couple of years ago, I was so happy when I was able to run on the treadmill at level 6.  This is only a 10:00 minute pace - but it just seemed so hard on the treadmill.  Then I started using Runner's World SmartCoach and my plans gradually started incorporating faster workouts.  I remember the first time that I was able to run at a 9:00 minute pace for 1/4 mile - I was so impressed with my self.

Well, today's workout was 6 miles Speedwork 3 X 1600 @ 8:30. (but my memory thought it was 5 miles).  But anyway - I did not know if I was going to be able to actually do it.  I have to do my speedwork on the treadmill, because on the open road, I have no idea what pace I am actually running.

Well, I did the 3 X 1600 @ 8:34 (level 7 on the treadmill) - and it wasn't as hard as I thought it would be.  I was breathing pretty hard the last repeat and my HR was in the 160's, but I felt really good.

AND I had such a sense of accomplishment.

Next goal is to finish the Bloomington, MN Women's Half Marathon (August 26th) - under 2:00.  If I can keep from falling in potholes and work with Lindsay, my new trainer the next few months - it is entirely possible.

May 6, 2012

Armadillo Stampede Recap......New PR!!

For those of you not from Leesville, The Armadillo Stampede is an annual 5k race held each year in conjunction with Mayfest, a local festival held the first weekend in May.  Before, I started training for marathons, I would use this as my "lets get in shape after winter" goal each year to start running after being dormant over the winter and putting on weight.

Now, it is is another training day in the ever-lasting training schedule of some half or full marathon.  I have run the Armadillo Stampede nearly every year since we move to Leesville.  The only time I did not run it, was when I ran the Mini Marathon in Indianapolis (twice) and the Flying Pig half marathon in Cincinnati (which are both held the 1st weekend of May).

My usual goal was just to finish and still be breathing and walking at the end.  But, now that I have gotten faster, I change my goals.  Last year, I finished my 1st 5k under 30:00.  I have added speed work and tempo runs to my half marathon schedule (like I should have done anyway) and my times keep getting faster.  I have done enough reading to know that the speed work for a 5k is different than that for a half marathon - but any speed work has to make me faster.

So this year I had the lofty goal of running under 27:00.  That is probably just under a 9:00 pace.  I had 2 friends who run much faster than me, and thought that if they pace me just a little faster, I wouldn't have any problem.  Then life interferes with everything.  One friend got injured and isn't running and another had a daughter's softball game.  I was on my own.  Now of course there are 200 other runners, so I would just have to find someone to keep up with.

The family before the run

I found some other friends, but their goals ranged from 19:00, 24:00, to 30:00 or just have fun.  No, I needed someone serious (in my ability range.)  The race started and I just kept glancing down at my Garmin.  I knew that I needed to keep up about an 8:50 pace the first mile.  I have such a hard time with an internal pace.  I have to just glance at the Garmin.  I finally found a good pace and some people around me that I kept close.  But I ran the first mile a little too fast and I paid for it later.

Louisiana is relatively "flat", but there are hills.  This course has one very steep hill that hits at about the 1.25 point in the race and is about 150 yards long.  I kept up with most of the runners around me and even passed some of the young boys who had gone out way too fast.

When I run full or half, I usually drink an Ensure or Slimfast walking to the start.   That is usually far out enough that it is digested well before the race starts.  I did the same for the 5k, but it probably wasn't far enough I guess.  At about the time I was getting to the top of the hill my stomach started feeling like a volcano was going to erupt and I was going to vomit.  The combination of probably going out too fast, the hill, and the heat (probably 80 degrees with 80% humidity) was just too much.  But I was still able to keep my pace - the legs felt so good.  All the speed work was working.

The last mile was tough and by my calculations, it was going to be close.  Even if I didn't have make my goal, I was going to have a PR.  But the last half mile, my stomach eased up a bit and I was able to still keep a good pace.  With the finish line in site, I knew that I was going to finish under 27 and I sprinted.  I forgot to shut off the Garmin until I had walked a bit, so when I looked, it shut off at 27:02.  I really didn't know how long I had walked.  But, the official time was 26:33!!

Garmin:  Mile 1:  8:10                            Official time:  26:33
                Mile 2:  8:48                            Garmin Time:  27:03
                Mile 3:  9:20                            Garmin Distance:  3.1
                        .1:  0:49 (8:07 pace)

Fran...sprinting towards the finish line

But to add more excitement to the day, I found my daughter after the race who couldn't find my 7 year old grandson.  He was running the 1 mile fun run but did not finish with the other runners.  We figured that somehow he had taken a wrong turn and ended up running with the 5k runners.  I alerted one of the officials, who also radioed all the guards and bicycle police.  So everyone is looking for a lost 7 year old.

I took off and started running the course backwards and saw him about 3/4 mile from the finish.  He actually had passed several other runners who knew him.  He was very red faced but was hanging in there.  He is going to be a great runner one day.

Corbin and Fran finishing a very long 1 mile fun run

All  in all it was great race.  I have my eye on a July 4th 5k.  With the proper speed work - I might be able to break 26:00???  Stay tuned

May 2, 2012

New Blog.........200 Days

My daughter, Jennifer upgraded my blog for my Mother’s Day present.  She and her blog designer did a fantastic job.  I haven’t had the desire to blog very much.  I told Jennifer that all I wanted to say was sad things.  She said that it is my blog and I can say what I want.  So if you are looking for something upbeat, you might want to stop reading now.

It has been 200 days since Steve was killed.  It is so hard being without him.  One of the hardest things for me to do is just drive home.  Steve usually got home every night from work before me.  By the time I was pulling in to the driveway, he had gotten home, changed clothes, and was out in the shop working.  So, I would drive up and see the shop door open.  Now, when I drive up, the door is closed.  It is just one more vision that I can’t look at without crying.
Steve always had some project out in the shop.  He was building a guitar, making pens, or tearing apart one of the motorcycles.  I can’t even count the number of winters that he had The Beast (his 1985 HD Wide Glide) apart and in pieces.  I would go out and talk to him.  He would ask how long until dinner – I would say, “About an hour” and he would work until dinner was ready.
I miss the way Steve always made me feel safe.  It was like no matter what happened to me, he would be there to protect me.  He was a safe driver.  He practiced safety whenever he was around his shop equipment and he did not tolerate people who were not safe.  He was always there for me whenever I needed him.  If I came home and complained about someone, he offered to slash someone’s tires.  I told him that it wasn’t worth me bailing him out of jail. But I have such good memories of 30 years being with a wonderful man.  We have 3 great children that Steve loved and was so very proud of all of them.  He gave them a hard time when they might have made some bone-head decision, but he really loved them.He was such a good father to the kids when they were young.   When the Army transferred me to Fort Sam Houston, TX for a year, he became a great mother & father.  But during that year, all the kids learned how to do their own laundry.  There were many things that I had done for the kids that Steve made them do for themselves.

Steve, the kids
and his beloved Blue Van

The Gibson Family, December 1990
right before Steve deployed to Dessert Storm
Well, enough sad things.  There is too much to do around Steve & Fran’s Farmhouse to sit around and mope.  There are several runs coming up over the next few months.  Maybe there will be a special event in November and I have grandkids to spoil. 
I miss you Steve.  I’m taking it one day at a time – and like someone told me today, sometimes it’s one hour at a time.