Posts Tagged ‘Marine Corps Marathon’

Random Friday Facts

1. This is my 199th post. I had to throw something up here so I can recap my T2 runners running MCM as my 200th. It’s a big deal!

2. I thought A LOT about making my 200th post the one in which I officially retire from blogging. But then Katie introduced me to Get Off My Internets, and I realized I’m not alone in all the things I hate about the blog world.

3. And don’t get me wrong, of course there are many blogs I love and friends I’ve made through this one that keep it worthwhile. But I think a lot of healthy-living bloggers have eating disorders. And if I listened to my body as much as they seem to, I would probably just sit on the couch about 20 hours a day.

4. Though I totes listened to my body this morning and slept through my tempo workout. (I’m lazy.)

5. In case you hadn’t noticed, my facts aren’t random. They can’t be! I’m not a computer.

6. I just looked something up in the AP Stylebook so I could comment about it on another blog.

7. I know how hard it is to keep posts completely error-free and that typos happen to everyone. But goddammit, how hard is it to use the right word?

8. I’m kind of sad that I’m not running a marathon on Sunday. But I’m glad that I can skip workouts when I want! (See #4.)

9. Though I’m signed up for a lot of races in 2012. That’s what 6 months free of injury will do to a girl.

10. Has anyone else noticed that That Thing You Do! is on the radio in stores all the time now? No? Just me?

11. I almost bought a house last month. Then I had a lot of panic attacks about it and let it go.

12. I just took a break from typing this to register for another spring race.

13. I went rock climbing last night! It wasn’t as fun as I remember it being.

14. I’m going to be Katniss Everdeen for Halloween. I’ve been waiting to be her for a year! It’s the one reason I’m glad I’m not doing a marathon on Sunday.

15. Good luck to everyone racing this weekend! I’ll be out at mile 11 and 16 of MCM and cheering loudly for you!


Help Wanted

Greetings, Blog World!

I have written about six posts in my head this past month. Why haven’t you been reading them?

They were good ones too. I set a PR last month! That isn’t even a joke. Here’s the photo proof:

Courtesy Chris Paul.

Look at that blubber fly! Jesus Christ, CW-X. Anyway, that is me running a 22:37, a big PR in that I haven’t run under 24 minutes in a 5k in over two years. I even beat Jim Moran (D-VA)!

But I’m really writing because I need your help. I’m helping out the new and fabulous Team 2 End AIDS marathon training program. We still have slots available for MCM, my favorite marathon, and for Chicago! But I’m here to recruit some site assistants. So if you’re in the DC area and want to pick up an easy part-time running job, read below and let me know! You can email me at lizardruns at

TEAM TO END AIDS (T2) endurance training program is looking for qualified candidates in the Washington Metro Area to serve as T2 Site Assistants for the 2011 training season (May through December). Site Assistants provide the T2 Coach with administrative and organizational assistance for each weekend training session (Saturday or Sunday). This assistance includes, but is not limited to, marking the running course, transporting water, volunteer assignment/management, checking on runners on the course, and reporting to staff. Former participants in the AIDS Marathon Training Program (the former program) are preferred but not required.

Site Assistants are asked to work every other weekend except for longer runs where both site assistants at a site will be needed. Site Assistants should also have a car or access to a car for the weekend training sessions. Pay ranges from $40 for shorter runs up to $75 for longer runs.

Happy New Year

So it looks like I’m ending 2010 as I started it–injured. I’m getting an MRI done tonight because my orthopedist thinks that nagging pain in my right leg is an ischial tuberosity stress fracture. Nice. I guess that would explain how utterly f-ed up my leg was after the marathon and why a few weeks of rest didn’t help. He told me it takes THREE MONTHS to heal from one of those, but the marathon was two months ago, and while I wasn’t completely resting, I think I’m on my way. Mostly I’ll be relieved to finally know that something is wrong, that I haven’t just been feeling stupidly sore for nothing.

I’ll keep you posted on the injury status, but for now, here’s my year in pictures, an idea I ripped off from my bloggy twin, the other Liz.

Started the year in California! Ran part of the Carlsbad Half Marathon, because I was just getting over a strained calf.

In February, we got a ridiculous amount of snow. I went out to return a library book and win some socks from Pacers.

And I hit the bloggy big time by proclaiming my love for this ad.

(My new goal is to be healthy and ready to run this again this year!)


In March we had a lovely CAR dinner the night before the worst race of my life. (Not connected.)

In April I did some hiking (and packed on some pounds).

And I found the other love of my life (after Wes and running).

Oh, and don't forget the relay. April was a busy month.

In May I turned another year older, learned how to open water swim, and got serious about training again.

In June I met Mason Jennings! (That's not me in the picture.)

And I did my first triathlon. Without drowning!

In July I started taking ice baths. Brrrrrrrrrrr. I topped out at 40 pounds per bath.

In August I went to Oregon! Here are some pics I never posted...

wine tasting

Portland is the city of bridges.

In Seattle, I spied Kara Goucher across the street from my hotel!

Apparently I did nothing in September, but in October I went on some gorgeous runs in southern Virginia and North Carolina.

And I barely finished a marathon...possibly with a broken hip!

In November, I went to watch the NYC marathon and ran some of the course...but I don't have any pictures of that. In December, I came to terms with my new sport šŸ˜‰

Happy New Year!

A Disappointing Run: MCM

Yesterday I ran my slowest marathon ever. It was definitely disappointing, but I’ve had so many misgivings and signs about this one that I’m not surprised or too too disappointed. While I realize that my defeatist attitude may have been self-fulfilling, I was definitely not feeling sharp or race ready, starting about 3 weeks out. I was having some injury problems, but I was also having some time problems, which compromised my ability to cross train. The great thing about running is that it travels well and you can squeeze it in anywhere. But when you can’t run… I’d also gotten too tired to do much cross training because I was running so much. I think next time I’m going to schedule a rest week every third week at a minimum. It makes a big difference for me, and I need to be better about taking them so I don’t burn out.

Anyway, the trouble started right away. Going through the first mile in 9 minutes, I felt winded. Which isn’t how you’re supposed to feel. I knew then it was going to be a long day. I thought about dropping off my group right there. I might have had a better race if I’d done that, who knows, maybe even a faster one, but I knew what times I had to run to qualify for Boston, and I wasn’t going to give up that early.

I had decided to wear my compression socks because I wanted something to shield my achilles. That also turned out to be a big mistake. I had never run more than 4 miles in them (and I did that on Thursday). Turns out they really rub the bottom of my right foot the wrong way. My foot was all hot and sore and painful, starting at about mile 6, and then the aches just went up that right leg, into my wonky piriformis and hamstring. I dropped off my group at about mile 15, but I told myself to just keep running, because last time I gave up mentally well before my body did.

Mile 10, still feeling good

I was doing a fantastic job of just running mile to mile. Every time I hit a mile, I’d just say to myself, ok, do another one. But then disaster struck. Just as I was starting to feel like shit…I missed three mile markers. Talk about a devastating psychological blow. Somehow I completely missed miles 16, 17, and 18. And, during that time, despite the fact that I had at least a dozen awesome friends out there cheering for me, I never saw one of them. It might be a good thing, because for a while there all I wanted to do was hug Wes and start crying, but it would have been nice to see someone just the same.

As it was, I just kept telling myself that I’d see Dash at mile 20 and that I at least had to run to her. So I did.

As you can see, I've settled into a plodding pace.

And now, I’d like to say a few words about the Marine Corps course. In short, I f-ing hate it. The only reason I run this stupid race is because I can sleep in my bed and ride the metro in. (Author’s note: As I was writing this sentence, Monday night at 5:30 p.m., I realized that my car was still at the metro! But somehow, no parking ticket! It’s a marathon miracle!) Anyway, I prefer local marathons–when I ran Philadelphia in 2007 I was terrified that I’d forget something, and then they didn’t give me enough food at dinner, and it was just a lot of unnecessary stress.

But people, I will never do MCM again. And this is not never like I’ll never do a marathon or I’ll never do a triathlon. This is never ever ever. The course is just CRUEL. They take the hardest 6 miles of any marathon and they make you run across a barren highway. When you are on the 14th St. bridge, you cannot see the end of it. And then you do get down to the end of it and they send you through an office park and hey, there are some people! But you don’t fool me, Crystal City with your misleading 23 mile marker and your 2 blocks of spectators. But then it’s right back into the desolation of the Pentagon parking lot and some more highway that’s deserted because everyone’s a mile down the road waiting to see you finish.

I did get to see Wes, Katie, and some other friends in Crystal City, but I also started having chest pains. I told myself that I could start walking at mile 23, and I did, and then I got some good breaths in, so the chest pains went away, but that was definitely a scary few minutes. Luckily I had no idea where the med tents were, so I couldn’t stop.

I walked and jogged back through the Pentagon parking lot, cursing the stupid marathon and swearing never to do it again. And then I came up on my teammate Amy. “Oh no, not you too!” I said as I reached her. Her persistent stomach problems had flared up on her. She tried to run with me, but she was still feeling sick, and I wanted to stay, but I was tired of suffering, plus she had a friend who jumped in with her anyway. (You should have seen the look on his face when I said I was having chest pains.)

Anyway, seeing Amy gave me a bit of a lift. It was like someone coming along and saying, “You’re right, this is really hard.” And with that affirmation, I scooted along to the finish. I walked some more and Amy caught me again. We walked through a water stop at mile 25, but then I shuffled on ahead. Coming in toward the finish I finally saw my family, and then IĀ  heard Dash call out to me as I came up the hill. I was practically doubled over, as you can see below.

I love this picture because it shows EXACTLY how I was feeling.

I came in a 3:52:28, which is my slowest marathon ever. Perhaps the most frustrating thing is that this time is 16 seconds slower than my first marathon. But I negative split that one! Which meant I felt a lot better at the end.

What can I say? I’m disappointed, of course, but I feel like I’ve gotten very lucky the last three times I’ve run one to not have something go as wrong as my socks went yesterday. And my socks could have been worse, so I’m still lucky there. I learned a lot this training cycle, and I’m ready to make some tweaks and get ready for the next one. And, for what it’s worth, my PR came after two steady years of marathon training–three marathons in two years. This is my first in two years. Looks like I have some catching up to do.

Congratulations to everyone who ran yesterday, especially my CAR crew! We did it!

*And thanks to Dash for the awesome spectating and pictures!

The Best Part

The best part of my half marathon PR?

When you do this:

You get this:

Begin at the Beginning

Before I can convey exactly how big a deal my race was this weekend, I need to give some background. So here’s part one of my race recap.

Coming in to this marathon season, I’d had a bad year. I started this blog in April 2009, right after I finished a half marathon dragging my leg along the course. I had piriformis syndrome that I’d left untreated since September 2007, and it had finally caught up with me. I wasn’t allowed to run for almost a month. My second blog post is about how hard my 16-minute run was.

I had to stop doing everything with that injury–I couldn’t bike or go to my beloved weight class. And I dropped out of the San Diego marathon that May.

But slowly, very slowly, I crawled back to some fitness. On my first day back to the track I rolled my ankle while waving to a friend. Steps are tricky. And then, just as everything was falling back into place, I fell off my bike. It was days before I could walk again, two weeks before I could walk without the aid of a cane, and 10-12 weeks before I could run.

I was in some major denial after that. I DNF’d my first triathlon, a race I should never have started. And I just kept signing up for more races, trying to force my body into recovery. It kind of worked. I got some races in there, got my 5k down to about 24 minutes, where it had hovered for years before my break through in 2008, and my 10k to 50, and I started upping my mileage and doing track workouts again, but it was pretty rough going.

I registered for the Tucson half marathon in December 2009, and ran it despite some quad problems. But the downhill course, combined with the plane ride resulted in a fairly serious strain to my calf. I was out again. This time I couldn’t run for 3 weeks. And, oh, I see I’ve already written this post once. 2009 sucked, but I wasn’t done being injured!

In February, I started training for a spring triathlon, but I was still registered for my favorite race of all, the National Half Marathon. And there I just completely blew up. Yes, I was heavy, having put on some pity weight the year before. And yes, I was out of practice, especially given the insane amount of snow we’d had, my calf strain, my year of hell, and all that.

It turns out that my leg was swelling when I ran, so I made my second visit to the ER in 9 months. I took some more time off, and the swelling, which to this day remains unexplained went away and hasn’t come back. At that time I still had Cherry Blossom and the American Odyssey Relay on my calendar. I made a deal with my body: I would take it easy, and if it got me through those two races, I would start taking better care of it. Why it took me a year to realize that I needed to treat myself better, I’ll never know.

But my bod came through, and I got through Cherry Blossom in a healthy 1:27, and the AOR. That month I also got Carmela Sherbert, the love of my life, and I really think that she let me keep up my end of the bargain with my body.

I threw myself into triathlon training on my new bike. I followed their schedule exactly, running only when it called for running, not worrying that that only meant about 15 miles a week. And slowly, I could feel myself getting back into shape.

In May, I made another deal with myself. It was time to get serious again about training. I had a few weeks left before the tri, and cross training was going great. I registered for Marine Corps, and on the morning of my birthday I got up and went to the track for the first time in months. And I kept going. I started losing weight again, and I started doing core work and weights again pretty seriously.

I did the tri. I ran 24.5 miles the week afterward. It was time to start training for MCM, but this time I swore I’d do it differently. I’d listen to my body. When it was tired, I would rest, and I would learn to take easy days easy, and I would just trust that, if I trained like George told me to train, the results I wanted would happen.

So after a disappointing finish in a Portland 5k that wasn’t even timed, the Philadelphia Distance Run was going to be my test race. My last half marathon PR was at that race in 2008, so I had two years of training resting on it. Would my body bargain pay off? I was nervous. So so nervous. After feeling like I may never run again, let alone run a marathon, after not setting a single PR since December 2008, I was finally getting a chance to set one again. Could I do it?

Well, you guys know how it turns out. But now maybe you know a little bit more about how I felt going into it. Tomorrow I’ll talk about the race itself. Thanks for letting me vent šŸ™‚

Ramping Up the Mileage

So you know things are going well when you show up at the chiropractor, and he’s all, “How do you feel?” And you’re all, “Pretty good. I did 44 miles last week, and I’m not sore or tight anywhere.” And he’s like, “Whhhhaaaaaaatttt?”

(My chiro is awesome, by the way, and he just opened his own practice. Check him out:

He couldn’t believe that I had gotten over my injury hump so completely, and while I was tempted to let him think it was a miracle possibly brought on by his intervention, I know full well what happened. As of April, I didn’t have any more races on my calendar. Whereas before, I kept trying to come back in time to do a half marathon–not a 5k or a 10k, mind you, a half marathon!–and shocker, I kept getting hurt. It was September before I could run again after my late-July bike accident last year…was a December half marathon the best idea? How about the one in January? Oh wait, couldn’t do that one because I pulled my calf. Or the one in March where I hit total injury rock bottom?

Now, I think there were also some shoe problems going on in there, but that, coupled with racing goals that were well beyond my current capabilities spelled disaster. Over and over and over again. I thought I was done running forever.

Enter triathlon. I actually think the triathlon was a brilliant move on my part. (Good job, self. I’m really modest too.) Because it allowed me to train as hard as I wanted, without pounding the hell out of myself through running. Which meant that when it came time to switch back to running, I was in pretty good shape.

So, for my week of 7/26-8/1 in review:

44 miles for a total of 7 hours running (most weekly miles in almost two years)

14 miles for a total of 1 hour biking (booo! Need to get more in!)

1500 yards for a total of 1 hour swimming (Have I mentioned that I hate swimming lately?)

We’re what, 12.5 weeks from MCM, 6 weeks from Philly. Am I ready for PRs? I have no idea. I’ll just keep plugging along with my fingers crossed.