Tuesday, March 30, 2010
The Medievalist couldn't sleep
Thoughts of the big race danced around
Hindering her from counting sheep.
She tried to relax and ease her mind
Freeing it from the work of the daily grind
But words like "Natick" and "Wellesley" kept ringing through
Reminding her of a real-life dream about to come true.
The bib number is in - 1-6-5-5-2
Which puts her near the front of Wave Number 2.
Relax - the taper is in sight!
Just a few more days of a hard-fought fight.
These racing thoughts are not ones of doubt
There's no reason to worry, certainly not to pout
But must stay calm - many days still lie ahead
Which is why it is so important to go back to bed.
Hopefully dreams will come soon -
If she dreams come of Ryan Hall - certainly she will swoon
For they're both en route to Boston to fight the good fight
And will cross the finish line - victory is within sight!
Thursday, March 25, 2010
Running gave me a confidence that I do not think I had before. After I crossed the finish line of my first marathon, I realized "Wow, I just did something that most people cannot do." I guess I can do some things (which was I used to tell my Latin teach last year when he was surprised when I got a translation right). If I can go out and run 20 miles on any given Saturday, and have only been doing that for a year, surely I can be a good historian and writer. I tend to be very critical of my abilities as a medievalist, and often worry if I am talented enough for this field, for it is a tough one. I have to remind myself that I can do these things - write research papers, translate Latin, present my research - after all, I can run marathons! And when I think about that (and that my professors told me that they admire me for running - they admire me? They are the ones I look up to), I get the confidence I need to go out and be a medievalist.
Last year, when I went to the big medieval conference at Western Michigan University, I bought a button that had "Mens Sana in Corpore Sano" on it. I clipped it to the lanyard I had to wear while I worked at CTY, in order to remind me that that is the way to live. Juvenal was right, we all should pray for a sound mind in a sound body.
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
Saturday, March 20, 2010
Well, the sunshine all week and warm weather were good indicators that this was going to be a banner race. I was a little concerned that it was going to be too hot (studies have shown that performance decreases above 55 degrees), but it was 50 at the start. But I am getting ahead of myself...
Yesterday was the Expo, and they had Joan Benoit Samuelson and Bill Rodgers as speakers in their lecture series. Both gave great advice, not just about running marathons, but how to live life as a runner. When asked about her diet, Joan said "I am on a seafood diet. I see food, and I eat it." Good to know that she eats a ton too! She talked a lot about passion and desire - those are things that can't be instilled in someone, you have to feel that yourself. Joan stressed the importance of running your own race, and not anyone else's. I met them both after, and they signed my bib. Bill Rodgers wished me the best for my Boston debut, and was really encouraging. That is what is so great about this sport; you can meet the greatest runners and they are very down to earth and are inspiring people. Also spent some time with Brian, my MCM friend, and it is always good to see a friend before a big race.
First thought of the morning: I was so happy to fall asleep by 9:45 (that takes training too) and that I fell back asleep immediately when I woke up in the middle of the night. I am starting to get that down pat. I took all of these things as good signs and got pumped up. Played all of my psych up music, did my stretching, and then headed downtown. Metro was a little slow, but made it just in the nick of time. Here's a picture of the metro - the only time runners rule the metro!
And then we were off! Decided to not even wear arm-warmers at the start, so just a blue tank top and my trust blue Asics shorts. First mile was incredibly slow, about 40 seconds slower than goal pace. Nothing scarier than starting 40 seconds behind, and feeling like I need to "make up time" at the beginning of a race. It took about 4 miles, and finally I was hitting my splits (which I carried a band with them written down in my pocket). Phew! Started to heat up a little at that point, so I just kept dumping water on my head at every water stop. Tried a new trick: did not carry my own gatorade with me this time - just took it at the aid stations. Might keep doing that; it was nice to have my hands free. Crowd support was excellent - someone yelled "Looking good, Blue" and that kept me going for a few miles. I had decided that this was going to be an aggressive race, so I just kept finding people to pick off. My power phrase for the race was "relentless fighter" (which I wrote on my band) and just kept that phrase in my head the whole time. There were some strong runners, so I chased after them. There were a bunch of hills from miles 4-9, and since I practice on hard hills, I knew I was going to pass some people there.
I have to say, (obvious statement), a half marathon is so much faster than a marathon! Before I knew it, it was mile 10. Just a 5k left. Then 2.1, and then 1.1. It was at the 12 mile marker that I started to feel tired, but I knew I was only going to be running for less than 9 minutes at that point. I started to pick things up a little more at that point, finding those final people to pass. Then the finish line appeared - there is never mercy at that point! I flew down the chute, passed a few more people, and then crossed the finish line.
Official finish time: 1:39:30
And here are my other splits/results:
Division results: 26/571
Sex results: 10k split: 45:59 (new 10k PR)
Overall pace: 7:36
:-) Relentless fighter!
Almost a 4 minute PR. I was really happy, because not only did I break my 1:40 goal, I had 30 seconds to spare. I never felt too bad, and this makes my 3:35 Boston goal seem much more attainable. And that is the next stop! I met up with MCM forumites Eileen and Julie after, and we were all just so happy with the race.
What a great day.
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
I was definitely right! What a great vacation - best one I've been on in years. We got some great runs near the beach (see first picture). Spring was just around the corner in DC, but it was mid 70s all week in Florida. It felt great to have shorts on all day!
So yes, this is 5 year old Henry, who calls me his girlfriend. He was over the moon that I was there for a whole week, and had a lot of fun introducing me to his teacher, friends, cousins, and even other kids on the playground. This is him getting ready to go to the beach. He is so sweet, he said "I love you, Vanessa" every day and gave me lots of hugs. What a heart breaker.
She is a really good person, and I am so fortunate that we met last year and made a great connection. Jenny also has a great family. In addition to Henry, she has 2 kids, John and Maddy (13 and almost 11), who are wonderful, as is her husband (who is a high school history teacher - so we have a lot in common). I just felt really comfortable at her house, and her extended family is great, too. On Wednesday, she had to work, so her dad (who I had just met a few days before) picked me up, took me out to lunch and to the beach!
All in all, a great vacation. Very relaxing and just fun to be a part of someone's family for a week. Went to soccer games, picked up Henry from school, helped with spelling homework, etc. It was just what I needed. Just good clean fun - a lost art. Lots of laughs and smiles all week.
Now back to reality. But I am holding onto that vacation high for a while. My eyes are turned forward, for the National Half Marathon is on Saturday. I am very excited about it - my first race of 2010, and hopefully a testament of how well training has been going. It is my A goal to break 1:40, so hopefully that happens. Here's what I'll be doing to get ready..
Tuesday, March 16: 2.5 mile warm-up; 1x1200, 1x800, 4x400; aim for 5:40, 3:38, and 1:44 (for all of the 400s); take 1 lap easy between each interval. 2.5 mile cool down. Total mileage—9 miles
Wednesday, March 17: 6 miles easy
Thursday, March 18: 9 miles easy
Friday, March 19: OFF
Saturday, March 20: National Half! 2 mile warm-up, Race (goal: sub 1:40), 2 mile cool-down. Total mileage—17 miles
Sunday, March 21: 8 miles easy
Weekly Mileage Total: 49 miles