The Pittsburgh Marathon (Part 1)

I can’t believe I haven’t posted about this yet, but I’m new to this whole blog thing, and I just kept putting it off.

In the weeks leading up to the race, I finally completed my 20+ mile training run (21.25!) and began the taper. I decided on my training fuel (ShotBlocks.. thanks to Dorothy at Mileposts for her awesome article about marathon fueling!) I researched about pacing groups, trying to decide what my new goal time should be, and finally just decided not to make a decision. I talked and thought about running way too much. But after taking the first half of my finals, I finally flew home to do what I had been training for!

Before heading into my corral

Before heading into my corral

On May 5th, 2013, I completed the Pittsburgh marathon in 3:47:28.

The marathon is certainly it’s own animal. But I loved every second of it. It was everything I thought it would be, and then some. And I can’t wait to do another.

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Finally Spring

After three weeks of running only in the gym, I am happily back on the road again. At least more than I was. I’m being extremely careful with my leg because I don’t have time for a full recovery before the marathon, so at least for now I’m alternating between the road and the ArcTrainer. But I got in 6.5 miles on Monday, and 7.5 today, so I’m a much happier girl.

I’m also much happier because the weather is finally nice! Winter was not nearly as mild here this year, at least not for 6:30 am runs. I didn’t bring Under Armor or gloves to Florida with me, so the many 35-40 degree mornings were miserable.

With the grand entrance of Spring and the much warmer weather, I’ve been skipping around the apartment in summer clothes, eating fruit salad and grilling vegetables. With the warm weather outside and a summery smell in the air, I’ve brought out some of my summer music. This song has been stuck in my head all day…

Check them out and let me know what you think!

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“I run because it’s so symbolic of life. You have to drive yourself to overcome the obstacles. You might feel that you can’t. But then you find your inner strength, and realize you’re capable of so much more than you thought.”
–Arthur Blank

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Gym Running

This week, a few things were different. I was supposed to run 16 miles today. But after straining my achilles again earlier this week, my runs are limited to “running” on the ArcTrainer. (As much as my leg hurt on Tuesday, I’ve been icing and stretching a lot, and I’m hoping and praying to be back on the road by Monday at the latest.) The weather has been cold here lately too, which is unfortunate since it’s spring break. I guess if I have to be running inside, now is a good time for it. But, because it’s spring break, the campus gym is only open from 11-1, which really disrupts my running schedule (I like to be done by 10am.) I knew I wouldn’t be able to get the full sixteen miles in with only two hours to run, but I downloaded a movie to my iPhone and decided to make the best of the time I had.

I loved everything about this movie.

I loved everything about this movie.

Honestly, watching the movie made the two hours fly by. The ArcTrainer’s information isn’t always accurate, but I think I got in around 15 miles, which I’m really happy with. Since I work at the gym, the manager and other workers know me and knew why I’m bound to the machines, but I’m pretty sure they all still thought I was crazy for running for literally every minute they were open. Then again, the people around me probably thought I was crazy every time I laughed at the movie.

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A Little Motivation

My fundraiser package came in the mail today!

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Running for a Reason

After setting my sights on the Pittsburgh marathon, I began investigating the different methods of registration. I was excited to find the option of running (and fundraising) for a charity, which wasn’t an option for Melbourne. After some consideration, I decided to register as a part of the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh team.

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My goal is to raise $1000 to benefit the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh. I feel so blessed to have the opportunity to run my first race and benefit an awesome cause at the same time.

Check out my fundraising page at http://www.crowdrise.com/childrensofpittsburgh2013/fundraiser/shelbyblock.

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The Melbourne (Half)Marathon

As the race got closer, I was very happy I wasn’t doing the marathon anymore.

After returning from Pennsylvania (and being able to run again!),  I was very happy about the warmer running temperatures. What I wasn’t happy about, however, was my times. Since I started running again, I feel like I’m significantly slower than before. My goal for the marathon has been under 4:00:00 (4 hours), which allows me a 9:09 minute pace per mile. But before my injury, I was running around 8:00 minute miles, even during my long runs. (I was usually running faster than that—starting off around 7:30 and slowing down to around 8:15’s by the end. I blame it on not having my Garmin yet… it was hard to be consistant. I was using the MapMyRun app and didn’t read my times until I finished.) Anyway, despite my best efforts to stay in shape during my injured period, I seemed to have lost speed. (But not endurance, which is good!)

Anyway, I feel like I was sufficiently ready to race a half marathon, but not a full marathon. I think a lot of it was mental, but either way, I was calming to know I would be racing a distance I had run several times previously during long runs. Since my goal time for the marathon had been 4:00:00 hours, and since I haven’t been very pleased with my training times lately, my only “goal” time for the half was 2:00:00 hours.

Conditions: The weather was super chilly, around 45 degrees and windy, and right by the water, but it warmed up significantly throughout the race. A lot of runners near me had on long sleeve shirts, but I’m happy I raced in a dryfit tee. I also ate beforehand (at 4:00 am), which I don’t usually do before long runs. I was really excited—my “reward food” was a peanut butter and jelly bagelthin. I very rarely allow myself to eat bread, so this was a real treat, and I enjoyed every bite. : )

Once the race started, I became even happier I was only doing the half marathon, because the marathon course was two consecutive loops of the half. It was a slow course—a lot of it taking place on a straight stretch parallel to the water (although not always in sight of the water). I think it would have been very disheartening to watch the mile markers pass by and know you had to do it all again.

I started off a little slower than I wanted, but I started to overtake the pacing group ahead of me around mile 3. I passed several people while climbing the “hill” of the first causeway—the incline was nothing compared to even the littlest hills in Pennsylvania. Around mile 7, I could feel myself starting to lose momentum. I decided to start pacing with Yellow Shirt, the young guy running just ahead of me. He paced me (pretty consistently) at 8:04 minute miles, which was just what I needed!

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Me with Yellow Shirt, around mile 10 

As we finished mile 11 and began to climb the second causeway, I decided I couldn’t let this guy beat me, so I passed him. I can’t believe I actually kept up the pace, but honestly I hardly felt the last two miles.

I finished in 1:46:49, which I was pleased with. After looking at my Garmin around 1:30:00, I wanted to break 1:45, but I think it was too late in the game. I really am happy with what I ran, though, so I’m not complaining.

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Now, I’m ready to train for the marathon! And I’m also really ready for a nap. And chocolate chip cookies.

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