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May 27, 2011

In a funk

Question:


(Link)
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The Wedding Singer Quotes and Sound Clips

Answer: Yes. (And can you name that movie?)

This is the first time in a long, long time that I feel like I can't get ahead of things. Every day brings some  new stressor- minor, no doubt, in the long run- but still...

Work has been... stressful. My personal life is... complicated.

In the past, running has been my release, my escape. But now even my training is contributing to my stress levels. I've been struggling through workouts. It's hard to push yourself physically when you're drained mentally. I'm tired, too, which means I occasionally skip a run in favor of sleep, knowing that I need to keep my body healthy. But then I feel guilty for skipping runs and get stressed about that... And FOOD- talk about comfort food cravings! Candy? Yep. An entire bag of chips? Almost. And then the food guilt sets in... and so the cycle goes.

I'm hoping this long weekend gives me a chance to recharge. An old friend is visiting, a coworker is getting married- both ingredients for a great time.

If all else fails: booze.

I'm kidding. Kind of.

May 14, 2011

The Day I Met Ryan and Sara Hall in an Elevator and David Torrence Bought Me a Beer

It's Saturday morning and I'm still exhausted from the Medtronic TC 1 Mile on Thursday. The day started out with loading the truck at the office, then loading my car with all the supplies we need for the press luncheon, hustling over to the hotel for said luncheon, changing clothes and setting up for press check-in.

As people started to filter in, I got a call from our office telling me that something needed to be updated on our website ASAP. I couldn't find a decent Internet connection so I grabbed my laptop and went down to the lobby. After some quick updating, I was back on the elevator up to the fourteenth floor when the elevator stopped and two people got on: Ryan and Sara Hall.

O.M.G.

Clearly I knew I'd see them at the press luncheon but wasn't prepared to be in a confined space with them. Luckily our race photographer was in the elevator with us and he started talking to them. It gave me the opportunity to pick my jaw off the floor, introduce myself, shake their hands, and tell them we were happy to have them here. I didn't even throw up or faint.

During the press conference I was tweeting like a madwoman (@tcmarathon) but did manage to get two crappy pictures with my camera.


L-R: Sara Hall, Amy Mortimer, Gabriele Anderson


L-R: Aaron Braun, Ryan Hall, David Torrence
Sorry for the quality. I was in the back of the room and  I couldn't get all paparazzi on them with my Kodak Easy Share.

After the press luncheon I stayed for the technical meeting, which is when we prep the athletes on the course, procedures and rules. Then we got to hand out their race bibs, chips and gear to them so I pretty much got to interact with the entire field.

Although I absolutely love the Halls and was obviously super excited to meet them, I didn't feel the need to take pictures with them or get their autographs. Since I was there in a work capacity, I didn't want to seem unprofessional. It was way cool to be able to interact with them like it was no big deal, like "Oh, hi Sara. Please verify your address on this sheet, fill out this form, and here's your chip and bib. Have a great race!"

After the press luncheon, we had various last minute walk-thrus and meetings before the races started. Since this is getting to be the longest post ever, I'll keep it short.

I was at the finish line for the elite waves. Women went first. Sara Hall won, broke the course record, and took home an extra $10k for breaking 4:32. Watch the replay here.

Two-time champ David Torrence gave a three-peat performance, breaking his own course record and also won the $10k for breaking 4:00. Ryan Hall came in last. Watch the replay here. David's kick at the end is epic.

After the race we had to tear down and then it was press release writing time. Without going into too much detail, we experienced some technical difficulties that resulted in us not being able to get the release out until 10:30 p.m.

Finally we were able to head to the post-race party where we ate dinner and a very excited David Torrence bought us all a round of beer. We spent the next few hours celebrating a successful race.

Then I race-walked James Hatch (the elite runner who led for the majority of the men's race) back to the hotel at 1:30 a.m.

Just another day at the office.

May 9, 2011

Race Report- New Prague Half Marathon

1:36:24

Now you don't have to scroll all the way to the bottom to figure out what I ran. Clearly the wind was not at my back and I didn't hit my goal of running under 1:35 but did run a PR.

I should say up front that this post is more for me than it is for you, but feel free to keep reading anyway.

It was a perfect morning for the race which was completely uncharacteristic of New Prague. It was a little windy but it didn't feel like anything I couldn't handle. I ran a warm-up with Shawn and Regina and settled in near the 1:35 pace group at the start. When we took off, I felt like we were crawling but I stayed behind the pacer. I was so surprised to see the first mile tick off in 7:12 and I couldn't believe that I didn't feel like I was working at all. Gotta love adrenaline.

Once we got out of town and turned into the wind, I knew that I was going to have to work a little bit. I tucked in behind the pacer and just kept my eyes on his feet. There were some early hills that took a bit of a toll (damn flat lake paths!) but I still felt good.

At mile 6.5 the course turns again and the wind was officially at our backs. The sun was out and it was definitely warm. And hilly. The hills aren't super steep but they are long. During this stretch I was feeling really good and another girl and I pulled ahead of the pace leader by a few feet, not intentionally but we were just ready to move.

I was still feeling great and was thinking that I would throw the hammer down after we got up one last big climb at 8.5. It was on this long, gradual hill that I started to struggle. I just felt like I started to hit a wall. The pacer caught me at the top of the hill and I stayed with him. By this point, it was just the pacer and one other guy in the group. The girl that I had been with had pulled ahead and looked great.

Around mile 9.5 we had yet another climb and a gap opened up between me and the pacer. I knew that I needed to stay with him to save me from some of the wind that was side-swiping me but I was so tired and the idea of picking up my pace sounded awful. I knew that this was the moment that I had prepared for. It was the settle in or push through moment. So I dug and closed the gap, which wasn't more than 10-15 feet. When I caught him, he told me, "Make that your last surge. If you fall behind again, we'll slow up, but don't surge." I was too tired to say anything back so I just nodded.

I got through Mile 10 with them but let a gap develop on another hill. This time I didn't have a surge left in me and thought that if I could just keep my shit together for one more mile, my adrenaline would let me catch him again.

I felt completely awful. I am not exaggerating when I say that it was taking everything I had to not walk. I was by myself, being side-swiped by wind, on the longest hill of the day. I did not even look at my watch when it beeped splits because I knew no matter what it said, I wasn't going to be able to pick it up. It wasn't a mental thing, I was just physically drained. My legs felt like lead and there was no going faster.

I kept telling myself to just keep moving forward, that I only had 20 more minutes of running left. I was literally running with my eyes closed (no one around on a fricking straightaway for miles) because it was killing me watching how slow the scenery was moving.

When I hit mile 12, I expected some adrenaline to kick in (one more mile!) but nothing happened. Still the same shitty feeling, the fight to move my feet. It wasn't until the last quarter mile that I felt even remotely capable to move faster. So I pulled together anything I had and concentrated on moving my feet as fast as I could.

Finishing sucked. I didn't feel relief or exhilaration or even disappointment. Just confusion. What the hell just happened out there?

It's two days later and I'm still not exactly sure. What I do know is that my quads and calves kill (thanks, hills!), I'm exhausted (hi, Sunday afternoon nap) and hungry (yes, I just ate my body weight in enchiladas, but of course I'll have dessert!). I also have a pretty good idea of what I need to change in my training, but I'll save that for next time.

And just in case you think I was exaggerating about how quickly things went to shit, numbers never lie:

712, 718, 717, 714, 713, 711, 714, 711, 718, 715, 743, 805, 743, 637 (last .1 mile)

I did somehow manage to place second in my age group. A little hardware never hurts.
Me and my brother Andrew, who did the Take the Hill Tri in St. Peter that day.

May 6, 2011

New Prague Half- Goals

I could wax poetic about why it's good to have goals but I'm going to cut right to the chase, mostly because I'm too nervous to think too much about this.

Overall Goal:  Don't give up. Inevitably there comes a point in a race where things get hard and I make the conscious decision to push through or to settle in. Every time I chose to settle I regret it, but when I'm in the moment, it's hard as hell to push. No settling tomorrow. I want to fight all the way to the finish.

"If the stars are aligned (and the wind is at my back) Goal"- 1:32: xx This would be the bomb.com.

"It's still a challenge but achievable" Goal: Sub 1:35.

"In the bag" Goal:  Run a PR. New Prague was the last Half that I ran... a year ago. Considering I beat my current PR (1:42) during training runs, I'm pretty sure a new PR is a sure thing.

Off to bed.

May 5, 2011

Hall-a!

In case you haven't heard, RYAN HALL is running the Medtronic TC 1 Mile! That's our race!




Which means I'll get to meet him!

Which means I'll probably freak him out when I faint.

Ryan Hall. The man who just ran the fastest marathon ever run by an American. Ryan. Hall.

I've been too busy announcing this via our social media pages and writing press releases and eblasts so unfortunately my blog is the last place to get any love.

Ryan Hall.