Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Running The Numbers - 2013

I am obsessed with both math and running.  I keep tons of data on my training and racing.  Here are a lot more numerical details than you probably want about my running in 2013. :-)

Miles Run: 864.78
Increase Over Previous Annual Mileage High: 404.79 mi., 88% increase
Runs: 131
Hours Run: 144.38
Average Run Distance: 6.60
Average Run Pace: 10:01.04
Average Run Duration: 1:06:07.7
Miles Walked: 133.37
Walks: 59
Average Walk Distance: 2.26
Visits to the Gym: 96
Personal Training Sessions: 49
Personal Training Hours: 24.5
Miles On Elliptical: 55.8
Races Run: 11
Total Race Mileage: 102.9
Third Place Medals: 0
Second Place Medals: 2
First Place Medals: 1
Falls: 1, August 14
Injuries: 4 (three cases of tendinitis and a stress fracture)
Toenails Lost: 6
Pairs of Shoes Retired: 3
Pairs of Shoes Purchased: 5
States Where I Ran: 1, Indiana
Longest Run: 22.7 mi., November 2 (before passing out in Monumental)
Shortest Run: 0.47 mi., February 2 (aborted run due to IT pain)
Week With Most Running: September 1-7, 45.23 mi.
Month With Most Running: September, 136.37 mi.
Month With Least Running: November, 28.2 mi.
Most Honks on a Run: 44, October 12, 20.05 mi.
Favorite Run (Tie): July 13, 8.01 mi.; September 21, 20.1 mi.
Least Favorite Run (Tie): January 5, 12.08 mi.; June 8, 10.47 mi.
Percentage of Goals Reached: 57.14% (4/7)
Weight Range in Pounds: 6.8
Total Lifetime Mileage: 2,952.74
Percent of Lifetime Mileage Run in 2013: 29.29%

Mileage By The Month
January: 50.03
February: 41.53
March: 68.59
April: 73.9
May: 72.8
June: 46.46
July: 87.38
August:  113.11
September: 136.37
October: 99.88
November: 28.2
December: 46.53

Can't wait to see the beautiful numbers of 2014!

With Wendy, Wes, & Brooklynn
Final Run of 2013

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Running Year In Review - 2013

The year 2013 was full of running ups and downs, but mostly ups.  I wanted to honor the year in a special way, and I decided to make a little funny running slideshow to the tune of "The Twelve Days of Christmas."  This "Year In Review" slideshow began as a gag gift for Wendy, but turned into a nice memory slideshow of our 2013 running fun.  It's so silly, but will be fun for some of you who remember these fun/funny events, so I wanted to share it with my friends.

Instead of "days," I used categories for each round of the song.  Here was my outline:

Round 1 Theme: Wendy.  A large chunk of my 2013 mileage was run with Wendy, usually in matching outfits.
Round 2 Theme: Memories.  There were a lot of fun moments from runs or involving runs in 2013.
Round 3 Theme: Family.  My family supports me well in my running and racing.
Round 4 Theme: Finish Lines.  I was blessed to cross several finish lines in 2013.
Round 5 Theme: Medals.  Check out that shiny participation swag, y'all!
Round 6 Theme: Group Runs.  I enjoyed many holiday-themed group runs and races with teams in 2013.
Round 7 Theme: Gear.  Part of the fun of running is acquiring new gear.
Round 8 Theme: Small Group Training/Fun Runs.  Running would be a bore if I always did it alone.
Round 9 Theme: Injuries.  I had two or three cases of tendinitis and one very minor stress fracture (that was 90% healed by the time it was finally diagnosed). I also had lots of blisters and messed up toenails. I spared you the toenails.
Round 10 Theme: Training With Sam.  Sam Rightmyer of Anytime Fitness put me through the paces this year in both a six-week boot camp and weekly training.
Round 11 Theme: Weather.  I ran in all kinds of crazy and severe weather in 2013.
Round 12 Theme: Stats. I ran over 860 miles in 2013, which is 87% more than 2012, the former top-mileage year.  What fun!

Enjoy, and Happy New Year!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Monumental Marathon 2013 - Race Report

Monumental 2012
I'm a half marathon girl.  I love the distance.  It's long enough that you get to enjoy it, but short enough that you can run a bit hard.  After three years of trying to break two hours in a half marathon and being thwarted by injury after injury (including a broken left femur), I finally earned a sub-2 time in the 2012 Monumental Half Marathon with a 1:54.  With that goal achieved, I wanted to try something new.  The very day I was toying with the idea of running a full marathon, Wendy texted me and asked if I would like her to pace me in the Monumental Marathon in November 2013.  "YES!" I said.  I had "run" a marathon before, the Kona Marathon in Hawaii in 2009, but I had walked the bulk of that course.  My goal for Monumental 2013 was to run the whole thing and finish the race "still liking running."

I had a fun winter and spring, building a mileage base and running some races.  In the summer, I completed a six-week boot camp program with my trainer, Sam, at the local Anytime Fitness.  Those sessions helped me build muscle, core fitness, and balance.  In July, I completed the 100-mile Red Eye Relay on the seven-member team Embrace The Chaos.  The ensuing months were chockfull of 4:45 A.M. 6-milers and Saturday morning destination long runs, all with Wendy.  I got stronger and stronger with each training run, and even finished a Bloomington-to-Bedford 20-miler singing show tunes.  I was ready.

The morning of the race, I awakened early to the sounds of the Monumental start line being constructed right outside my window.  I stood at the window and watched the volunteers work.  One worker must've noticed my silhouette in the window.  He began jumping and waving wildly at me.  I waved back.  For some reason, that moment was encouraging to me.  In my mind, I felt that he knew I was a participant in the full marathon, and he was cheering for me and saying, "This is going to be a 'Monumental' day!"

Monumental Mile 1
Wendy arrived in my hotel room, and we prepared for the race by donning our matching singlets, shorts, arm warmers, and gloves.  We topped off our race day attire with flowers in our hair.  We walked to the start line with my husband and parents, and then got into our starting corral, where the energy felt like a tangible thing.  The moment toward which I'd been literally counting the hours was about to happen.  I was overwhelmed with a myriad of feelings, and I was so glad Wendy was with me to share the experience and guide me to success.

At the gun, we began to execute the race plan: navigate the pack in the first mile, then maintain 9:45 minute-miles until the halfway point, when we would gradually accelerate.  The plan would allow me to comfortably finish around 4:15.  We talked.  We laughed.  We quietly questioned all the people wearing full tights. ("They're going to be SO HOT later.")  Wendy made sure I drank and ate at the right intervals.  We ran into friends. We commented on the beauty of the course during a peak fall weekend.  We laughed some more.  Everything was going perfectly.  It was shaping up to be the race of my dreams.


It was at the end of the 14th mile that I started to have unusual feelings.  I remember seeing the marker to conclude Mile 14 and thinking, "I hope Wendy doesn't remember that I'm supposed to take a GU soon.  I feel so full."  I was getting a bit weary, which was expected, but the weariness was early, sudden, and profound.  I told Wendy that we needed to slow our pace.  With each subsequent mile, I slowed a little bit more, first by a few seconds, then by minutes.  My vision was blurring, everything was starting to annoy me, and negative thoughts were blooming in my mind, which is very unusual for me.  I did my best to stay positive, both to help myself and to hide the pain from Wendy. 
Not fooled by my concealment efforts, Wendy could see that I was descending into trouble, and offered encouragement.  She talked about how proud my parents, husband, and students were going to be.  She told me to slay the miles one at a time.  She told me, "Forward is a pace."  The only time she failed was when she said, on the 18th mile, "Hey, we're closer to the finish than we were when we started."  Even in my weakened state, I think I could've figured out that nugget myself. :-)
Additionally, Wendy was eating EVERY FOOD AVAILABLE on the course.  Because Indianapolis had held Trick-or-Treat the previous evening, children were handing out their candy.  Wendy ate Tootsie Rolls, M&Ms, Fruit Roll-Ups, and Shot Bloks that took her two miles to open.  She kept offering the food to me, but it sounded so awful.  I didn't even want Salted Caramel GU, my favorite flavor. 

I have lost a lot of memories from Miles 19-23.  I remember creating a new strategy in my mind: I told myself that if I acted like everything was fine, everything would be fine.  When our photo was taken on the 19th mile, I employed this strategy, and it's difficult to tell that I was in a lot of pain.  I also remember telling Wendy, "Let's just be quiet for awhile," when I could no longer process her words.  After 22 miles, as Wendy was mopping the drool from my chin with a tissue, she said, "Jo, it's OK to walk. You NEED to walk."  I knew walking would mean that my goal of running the whole marathon was lost.  However, now that Wendy had given me "permission" to walk, I allowed myself to do so.  What happened next is fuzzy for me, so I will let Wendy explain from her point of view.
Wendy: "Around 17, I noticed (while running) that Jo's belly was kind of sticking out. Since she has NO belly, I found this odd. Despite not feeling hungry at all, around mile 19-20 she started exhibiting all the signs of severe glycogen depletion. She was a little confused, her vision was blurred, and she totally stopped talking. At 21, her vision was getting worse and I forced her to eat more shot bloks and GU. Nothing was helping. I, who have run looooots of long distance runs, couldn't figure out why she was in this state given her pacing was perfect, it wasn't hot, and she was eating and drinking plenty. At 22, I told her we needed to stop and walk to get more nutrition in her. (She never stopped running until that moment.) She shoved in more food, and then she lifted her shirt a little... and her abdomen was such that she looked 5-6 months pregnant. So I then figured it out: nothing she was eating or drinking was absorbing. That's why she didn't feel hungry but continued to go deeper into glycogen debt. I wanted us to just walk it in from there. But near 23, she began to stammer. I told her to sit down on the curb. She promptly sat down IN THE MIDDLE OF THE STREET. I said, 'Do you want to move to the curb?' She said, 'No, I just want to lie down a minute.' I said, 'No, no, no...' Her eyes rolled back in her head and she passed out cold. I could tell she was breathing, so I called her name a few times. No response. Three runners stopped (good for them!), and one called an ambulance. She came to a bit with a sip of water. I pressed on her belly, which was huge, and she winced. HER BELLY WAS SO BIG! That is soooo abnormal for her. She woke up, was seriously confused about why everyone was around her, and then spent 28 minutes in an ambulance. The whole ordeal was almost 45 minutes. After sitting in the ambulance (where they kept threatening to take her to Methodist!), her abdomen slowly shrank, her vitals normalized, and she started talking. She asked them to please not take her to the hospital, just drive her to the finish. They kept insisting hospital. Then she said, 'I want to finish. Can I get out?' They stared at her. She said she wanted to finish this thing, signed the papers saying she was leaving against medical advice, got out, and marched in the last 3.2 miles."

The Last Mile
We still don't know what happened.  My doctors think that it was either caused by Crohn's disease (a condition with which I was diagnosed in 2003), or a hernia.  The event upset my whole system.  Immediately after leaving the ambulance that never moved (and after apologizing to the medics, with whom I was a little short when they wouldn't let me leave), I experienced extreme hip pain that caused me to limp those last 3-ish miles. 

Believe it or not, Wendy and I actually had fun on those last miles.  The only way not to cry was to laugh, so we made jokes about the situation.  Wendy kidded that she thought I was pregnant with a yeti, the character on the packages of my beloved Salted Caramel GU, when my belly became distended.  She reminded me that when the medics asked if I remembered what I was doing, I said, "I'm running a marathon... and I'm FAILING." Near the end of Mile 25, my Dad joined us to walk about a mile.  He even gave me his jacket to cut the wind.

When we hit Mile Marker 26, we began running.  It was painful for my sore belly and hip, but I couldn't imagine any other way to finish the Monumental Marathon.  As we rounded the corner, I noticed that most of the crowd had gone since their loved ones had already finished.  However, the ones who were there cheered heartily for us.  My triumphant all-running, 4:15ish finish did not happen, but I still experienced the triumph of a finish, albeit one that was an hour and 11 minutes later than expected.

This marathon was aptly named for me, because it was truly Monumental, though not in the way we expected.  At first, I did not view my experience as a success.  However, since the event, I've gained perspective.  I understand that it took perseverance to leave what was a very comfortable stretcher and warm ambulance in order to finish what I started.  I also understand that I have a very good friend in Wendy, who never, never, never left my side.  I understand that my Monumental Marathon was a success in a way different than I had planned.  Nevertheless, I have grander plans for the 2014 Monumental Marathon.  On Nov. 1, I will run that entire course.  I will wave at the spot where I passed out on Mile 23.  I will finish that race with a 4 on the front of my time.  And I will do it all with Wendy by my side.

I'm a blogger. I'm blogging. I BLOG.

Hi.  I'm Jo.  I never felt it necessary to have a blog because I had my own nifty web site, www.JoKai.net.  It served me well from 2005 to 2010ish.  However, Facebook found its way into my life in late 2008, and it became my main avenue for life-sharing by 2010.  (JoKai.net is still there, but only for archival purposes.)  Recently, I've wanted to share more than a few-sentence status update, and a blog lends itself well to that need.

I would like to treat this blog less as a means for public sharing and more as a memory book for myself.  That outlook will help me be more diligent in writing, I think.  I already keep a simple handwritten diary (for 10 years, now), where I list what I did that day, what the weather was like, and any major (or minor), events.  This outlet will allow me to expound on events and share pictures or videos. 

The main focus of my blog will be running.  I run.  I run a lot.  I like to talk about running.  Sometimes, I talk so much about running that people quit wanting to listen.  With this blog, I can (maybe) get it out of my system, and all my talk will be here, buffet style, for those who want to dig in.  I'm blessed to have lots of fun in my life, and I know those people/things will find their way into this blog, too.

Oh, what's the deal with the blog title, you ask?  Well, have you ever seen What About Bob? :-)