Monday, July 11, 2016

llbean 4th of july 10k

it comes as no surprise that a week has gone by and i havent blogged about my last race. (i also never wrote about the 5k i raced after boston... i guess that one just wont happen. actually heres a quick break down)...

husky dash 5k- a local race in gorham benefiting maine medical center cancer institute. the race was organized by a co workers son, and i found out about the race 2 days before. sure, why not.

in true danielle 5k fashion i started off fast (weeeeee yaaaaay 6:30s are funnnnnn #barf), climbed the big hill (see idiot, shouldnt have gone out so fast #morebarf), weeeeeeee downhill to the finish. the end.

7:02
7:04
6:54

21:21. a new 5k PR. finished first female, 4th overall. super surprised with this race, likely the best executed 5k ive ever run. maybe i should do these things more often... way less training than marathons!



great recap. sweet heel strike.


ok so onto 4th of july... every year we register for llbean 4th of july 10k and then curse ourselves when its a zillion degrees and a billion % humidity and they never change the course and the hills suck and we basically die. that about sums up yet another year of this race, except it was in the 50s when we woke up, which felt fantastic. it was quite humid though, and when the sun came out it started to get hot. certainly a cooler year temp wise compared to others, but not by much.

i woke up early to get a few miles in before leaving (knowing i wouldnt want to run before the race once we got up there), had some coffee and a small breakfast, and ty and i headed up to freeport. we met allie and jamie when we parked, and michelle came to find us too (for our pre race selfie, of course).

michelle is super patriotic. i was still trying to wake up.

we went to the flagship store to utilize the bathrooms (we werent the only ones with this idea... sorry llbean! this is what happens when you dont have locks on your doors and youre open all the time! yay for no pre race portapotties!) then i ran another little bit, changed my shoes (i looked like red white and blue barfed all over me) and headed to the start line. we couldnt find leslie, running late no surprise haha (looking for tall and neon... she usually stands out fairly well)... and then before we knew it we were off. i hadnt really had any sort of goal or gameplan in mind, was just gonna run and see what happened.

"just gonna run and see what happened"... also known as a fantastic way to run a horrific 10k. this race distance is likely my least favorite. 5ks are stupid and fast and over quick. 10ks are twice that distance (duh) and i still try to run stupid fast which ends up making me feel awful and question all life decisions in under an hour. running is so fun.

the start of the race, as always, was awful. a small road packed with a zillion people and if youre not basically standing on the start line, good luck for the first half mile. so crowded. you start downhill and everyone seems like theyre trying to win from the get go. i knew it was a bad idea, but i weaved in and out and around people until i found a good open spot, then took off (right after one of the boudreau twins, sorry guys i dont know which one you were, ran up behind me screaming CAW! scared the shit out of me! and then they likely really did win the race). after an 11 minute pace starting off, i was now looking at 6:30s... i want to just throw my watch off a cliff sometimes. i reigned it back in as best i could, but still knew i was running too fast for this course (and i knew i was not in PR shape so wtf are you doing idiot slow down!). of course i dont listen well and kept running... fast.

7:12

ok, not terrible, but im pretty sure that was a combo of the 6:30s and the slow start. the entire first mile is weeeeee yay i love running downhill and then goes up. then some more down, then up. up. up. (barf). and more up. begin 2016 llbean 10k breakdown after mile 1. yay.

7:22
7:29
7:47

you see where this is heading. my legs felt like lead. it was getting hot (despite most of the race in the shade... which felt like a rainforest in places). i wanted to walk more than anything, but i pushed through. dumped water on my head and back of my neck at each stop (which were pretty far spaced apart for a hot hilly race, IMO). i had my handheld of tailwind so i thankfully didnt rely on water stops for hydration. 

running through the cemetery just before the biggest hill on the course was certainly fitting for how i felt at that moment. d.e.a.d. 

8:14

oops. awful. but i was able to pick myself up at the top of the hill and finish semi respectfully. i wanted this race done with. the last mile is mostly downhill with a small uphill finish (and a bridge, yuck). i went back and forth with a guy in a red shirt and we helped push each other. 

7:51

guy in red shirt had passed me, i caught him at the finish
(photo credits to Allyn!)

i dont know that ive ever felt fantastic running this race. its a tough course and typically hot and humid, but its fun to get out early on the 4th of july and see friends. so yay, llbean 10k every year! of course. (and just for fun ill put in the reminder that the one year i made sarah run this race she puked at the end. she hates when i talk about it and i think its hilarious. sadly i cant find the post race pic of us).

...oh say does that star spangled banner yet waaaaveeee...

one day ill get this whole racing thing right
(and not always try to win the race to the port-a-potty post race)

47:30
198/1174 overall
10/95 age group

pace, heart rate, hills, oh my!

post race hydration at its finest... 

thumbs up for america!

Friday, June 24, 2016

the great run

way back in january (it seems like so long ago) sarah (and gary) convinced me to register for the great run. a marathon, 6 hour, and 6 hour relay on great cranberry island off the coast of bar harbor. a 2 mile stretch of road... running back and forth, back and forth. i had so much fun last august running 40 miles on a high school track, the loops of rhode island 6 hour in november was a blast... while everyone else thinks this was a crazy idea, i couldnt wait. bring it on great cranberry island! the competitive side of me also knew that i could likely break the female marathon course record (3:49:30), and if i worked hard enough, place close to the top. (gotta love small races!)

fast forward to the boston marathon. my training had been the best its ever been. race day was hot, i ran 10 really good miles, and 16 still semi good, smiling/not hurt/not race ending miles. i was (and still am) proud of my 3:46 finish there. ill look back on that day forever with zero regrets. but after boston i looked ahead to gci hoping maybe i could use the training i had done to carry me to a BQ for next year. take a little break, then jump back in. do some speed work. get in a few long runs.

what i wasnt prepared for, however, was that boston beat me up pretty good. racing a 5k shortly after was not my brightest move. ive been dealing with some lower leg muscle issue, im tired, need a break, etc. but i was looking forward to running at gci and was going to give it my all. i took my sweet time easing back into "training", 20 mile weeks at first, then some 40+ weeks, a few fast runs here and there. my long runs were anything but long. my thoughts of placing close to the top moved to "hey ill just aim to be top 15 female! yay! so fun!" (i think there were 15 females registered haha). i still thought a 345 was not a far off goal to set, but i had mentally let go of the BQ. i really didnt know how i was going to feel, what to expect. i went into this race with fairly negative thoughts... not ideal.

marathon road trip essentials

packing for a weekend on an island proved to be more difficult that i had envisioned (im sure it will shock you all that im not a huge camping type person... is there a dunkin donuts on the island?), but i surprisingly packed very little (we were all going to be stinky and sweaty, who cares about clean clothes ill just wear the same sweatpants all weekend! just dont forget the toothbrush!). theres just something about bar harbor and i love heading up that way so i left my house early and spent the day walking around town, had some lunch at side street, relaxed in the grass watching the tourists. it was a beautiful day and was forecast to be an incredible weekend, with low humidity. perfect race day? my negative thoughts started to change. i felt strong and confident. an "anything can happen, go give it what youve got" kind of attitude. winds of change.

you cant hate this even if you tried

is it october yet?
(the tree along mount desert island marathon course)

i got to the dock way before everyone else, so i just sat in the back of my car listening to music and reading. very calming and peaceful.





despite recent feelings i had been having, arriving on great cranberry island solidified that i was prepared to run a marathon. race a marathon even. i didnt get this far to only get this far. theres just something about this place... hard to explain. it felt welcoming. a step back in time. 


the morning was quiet and relaxing. i walked around taking pictures, stretching out the legs, waiting for the runners to all arrive. i took a golf cart ride with greg while he videotaped sarah for her fundraiser. it was a cool 50 degrees, the forecast for the day was a high of 70 something. the humidity was to stay low, however, which was going to prove to be very helpful. and the breezes coming through felt amazing.

caw!

i am in it with all my heart. a great reminder.


the smell of lupine beats daves car exhaust


#tentcity

despite not sleeping well and my stomach feeling like junk, i was able to get a little nap in and felt better when i got up and got going again. lets get this show on the road!

ready or not

race start time was 11:30 (i pleaded with gary to start the race at 7am in the cool temps. next year?! its a logistics thing, i get it. but oof, the sun was warm). i had a peanut butter sandwich, banana, some gatorade and coffee, and time passed pretty quickly. before we knew it we were heading to the start line... listened to the national anthem (i cried, obviously). race announcements and introductions of some awesome people... and we were off.

"believe. to look within, to overcome. loving myself enough. i have the will, the determination and the courage to defy the odds... and inspire. my challenges have made me a fighter- a survivor. they will not define me or confine me. i will run my own race. different, beautiful and all my own. i believe in me and my potential. and im going to succeed because im brave enough to think i can"
fellow flowers- turquoise

aaron graciously agreed to run with me... im not sure he knew what he was getting himself into (sara remember all the burping at maine coast? yeah, im pretty sure he thought i was going to puke all over him too! yay marathons are so fun!). i likely hadnt adequately prepared him for all the singing, crying, complaining, ankle popping excitement he was sure to be a part of over the course of the day... but he didnt leave me until after 23 miles (or drop back while i took off on a mad tear), so he obviously was having all the fun! (and hes clearly super lucky i didnt leave him since his sweat was flying off and hitting me throughout the whole race! ew). 

we had spoken with michael westphal just prior to the race about his race plan, and thought we might be able to run some of the race with him. (please please please watch the video link... i cant watch it any more, it makes me dehydrated. truly amazing man and i am lucky to have shared that island and race with him). my plan had been to start out at low 8s, high 7s, see how long i could hold out (way sub bq pace but i felt confident in that plan, as opposed to starting out slow and trying to speed up. endurance has never been my forte). mikes plan was first 2 miles at 8:30, then down to 8s. we started out the race just behind him, passed him within the first mile or so, and then he passed me. i stuck with my race plan, he was slightly ahead of his.

mile 1- 8:05
mile 2- 8:02
mile 3- 8:09

the race starts about a half mile up the dock. we ran out just past the 1 mile mark, turned around (sharp cone turn #1 of soooooo many), ran back thru the start, down (literally) to the dock, around the cone (i had yet to have thoughts of keeping on going and just running straight off the dock), then back up the hill on the start of the first 2 mile stretch to the other end of the island. up up up to the start line, then weeeee down. the support through the start line was one of the best parts of the day.

perfectly in stride, setting myself up for some superb arm bend tan lines, still stupid smiling and happy only because i have only climbed one hill and made two sharp cone turns

pure evil

official time stamp on this photo- 12:01. just short of mile 4
the smiles, sillyness, and all around good ended shortly hereafter
(replaced with delirius alphabet ramblings and all the complaining)

1 mile to go! oh wait, no. theres a lot more. the curse of a course like this.

mile 4- 8:02
mile 5- 8:07
mile 6- 7:59

the early miles ticked by pretty quickly (this is what happens when you are well trained, not injured, and goal focused, right?) i actually felt really good. i dont remember exactly when i started complaining, but i dont think it was within the first 10k. i was slightly surprised i was keeping very evenly paced miles right at/around what i had wanted. i didnt think i would be talking as much as i was, but who am i kidding, i love to talk. one of the best parts about this race/course was the fact that you were out there with marathoners, 6 hour runners, and relay runners. everyone had bibs (front and back), and you passed back and forth all day with each other. you were really never alone (well, there were pockets here and there). we would see the leaders coming at us the opposite way (ahead in the course), relay runners full of energy would pass us, the leaders eventually lapped us... just a really cool race concept.


somewhere after mile 6 and before mile 10 the negative feelings crept in (the miles between 6 and 20 are a blur). the day got hot... there were stretches of cool breezes and yes the humidity stayed low, but heat is heat, especially when youre running a marathon. who gives up in a marathon before mile 10? this girl. cool. i wont say im some pro runner (despite having gotten a pay check for winning a 5k a few months ago! amateur...) but i feel like ive run enough marathons to know its a long day. whether that hurts me or helps me is up for anyone to debate (ill likely win). but feeling not so great before mile 10, when theres still a lot more of the race (day) left to run... thats not awesome. sure i was pulling out good, even splits. but i was feeling dry, tired, sore... any excuse i could think of i thought it. i tried to pull myself together but kept sliding back into the negatives. 

photo by scott mason
i obviously said something so funny
(also, scott, you have a great camera that gave me some sick arm muscles!!)

aaron asked me what my plan was somewhere before mile 8. i said i wanted to surpass my 10 mile stretch from boston. get to 12 miles at an 8:05 pace, and re-evaluate after that. break the race up into 4 mile stretches, i thought that was what would be best for me. get to 12. get to 16. get to 20. just a 10k after that (if i made it that far). i told him i didnt care about the BQ (false). i didnt care about podium, let alone winning (also false. i was in 5th place at this point). in hindsight, i wish i had said that i cared, because i did. i cared a lot, actually. this has been the hardest thing for me this past week (all the tears. so. many). i wanted to win this race, and i gave up on myself so early. i made myself believe i couldnt do it. sarah would ride by on her bike and ask how i was. "hot" was all i kept telling her. if i had told either of them that i wanted to push it, just how much i cared, that i was giving up on myself but thought i had more, they both would have kicked my ass into gear. but i kept quiet (for once). i had stopped looking at my watch, and instead focused on the ring on my right hand that read "strength". the "HAS" i had written in sharpie marker on my left forearm. i knew i had more to give.


mile 7- 8:06
mile 8- 8:02
mile 9- 8:11
mile 10- 8:01
mile 11- 8:15
mile 12- 8:09

i made it to mile 12 and took a deep breath. i still wasnt even at the halfway point. i slowed down, sighed, but kept putting one foot in front of the other. i must have said 100 times if i said it once that it was going to be a long day. a lot of things hurt, my heart included. why couldnt i always have a race like mdi? i specifically remember asking how long it would take to walk 14 miles (to which aaron did the math that id never be able to do while running and said we might make the 6 hour cut off... excuse me, dont you understand i need you tell yell at me and tell me to suck it up and no there is NO walking keep running you fool! poof. next time. ha!). how one goes from running just over 3:30 MP for 12 miles to contemplating walking the remainder of a marathon is beyond me. but im so good at doing shit like that.


mile 13- 8:37
mile 14- 8:30
mile 15- 8:50
mile 16- 8:39
mile 17- 9:25
mile 18- 9:01

but alas, i kept running. not low 8s, but not terrible either. 830s felt like 10s, my feet shuffled and my legs didnt want to pick themselves far off the ground. i nearly tripped and broke my face on every bump along the stretch of road. the cones/sharp hairpin turns were not my friend. i had taken a gu somewhere along the way (early) and my stomach never felt the same. i was convinced i was going to puke. i took water at every water stop, mostly to throw on my head and the back of my neck, and drank my tailwind. i had a few salt pills which seemed to help, and chewed on some pretzel sticks (which proved to be too dry to swallow so id just get the salt off and spit them out. super hot). i do regret not eating any of the ice pops kids along the course had!

miles still ticked by and i lost track of where i was. another benefit of this course is no mile markers. same scenery over and over. different faces at different places, but all the same none the less. i watched matt pelletier, six(?) time vermont city marathon winner, crushing the course like a boss. leah and maddy racing the 6 hour course. before i would get to a cone at either end of the island i could see where i was in the race for females. the field had separated quite a bit, but the top 5 had been secured early on. caitlyn gained a big lead for first throughout the first half. maria was now in second. rebeccah had dropped behind jackley at some point. and i continued to slowly gain on rebeccah.

after 18, aaron announced only 8 miles to go. "were at mile 18?" "yup!" i was shocked. i hadnt thought we were that far, and only 8 more miles? seemed do able. the next few miles werent the fastest of the race, but my mind was back into it. i got some wind in my sails. sarahs music pumped me up a little (minus a few tears here and there, of course. damn you great big world!). there was one table out on the course with the coldest water ever made. and berries. a bowl of salted potatoes. the little things. it was also around this point that i was told about caitlyn dropping out of the race. she looked strong the times i had seen her, so i was concerned what happened to her. but ok, ill figure out what happened to her later... for now im in 4th place. still doesnt get me that damn mug. who cares. just keep running.

but i cared. i didnt get this far to only get this far.


mile 19- 9:14
mile 20- 8:54
mile 21- 9:15

im not sure when i caught up to rebeccah, somewhere before the cone turn on the far side of the island. there ended up being a good distance between us, which (unless i walked, which was still not out of the realm of possibility) secured my 3rd place spot. id call that a great day! the great run! (shuffle). i still couldnt give myself proper credit, but i kept pushing. approaching the start line again before heading to the dock for the final lap, i told sarah i wanted my last gu (likely too late but i took it anyway). and i decided i wanted my music. i didnt listen to music much at boston, but music fuels me and i know that about myself. i knew the songs i had lined up for my gci playlist, despite never having plans to even wear the thing. get the music on, let it all go. just do it. i didnt get this far to only get this far. 

where was this mindset 10 miles ago?


mile 22- 8:34
mile 23- 9:50

but first i stopped to get water. walked to put my headphones on. walked through another water stop. took my salt pill and ate my gu. as i approached the cone at the dock, jackley (2nd place) had just turned. i dont know how many times we had come up this hill, but this was going to be the last time (thank god). get thru the start line, 1 mile to the citgo sign, downhill around the cone (i curse these damned things!). ok, its go time. i saw her ahead of me on the hill, walking. i inched closer and closer and she started running again. thru the start line the cheers were empowering. i had lost aaron at the last water stop... i kept turning around to see him behind me, thinking he would catch back up. eventually i couldnt see him anymore and just pushed on. within the mile i caught and passed jackley. 2nd place now. dont turn around, dont slow down. just keep going. relentless forward motion. i didnt get this far to only get this far.

mile 24- 8:16
mile 25- 8:28

as i approached the last cone turn, i hadnt yet seen maria. there was a left turn that i couldnt see around and knew the cone was around that corner, but i had been expecting to see her earlier. just as i went around the corner, she was coming at me. there was very little road between the two of us. less than a quarter mile? maybe. i rounded the cone and tried to take off, but theres a nice hill placed right there and my legs just didnt want to kick it into the next gear. but hell if i wasnt going to try. i ran into aaron still headed out towards the cone and he gave me a quick pep talk.

i didnt get this far to only. get. this. damn. far.

1 mile to go! for real this time!

when i finally saw the citgo sign (for the last time), i started to cry (shocker). the whole day replayed in my mind. i could see maria just up ahead. "wasted time" by keith urban blared in my headphones. even just the start of that song is enough to pump me up and want to run fast.

mile 26- 8:29
0.2- 7:50

the space between us became less and less, but it was just far enough out of reach. i watched just ahead of me as maria crossed the finish line. gary draped her in the american flag. time seemed to stand still... cue all the feelings. she deserved the win, thats for sure. but i cant say i didnt feel an ounce of race envy. jealousy. im ok to write that because thats how i felt for in that brief moment. sure the tears have fallen this week thinking back on many parts of the day (oh hey 9:50 effing mile 23... wtf?!) but my race was my race alone. the world is full of IF's, and im not going to be stuck on some of those "ifs" because of this one race. it was an amazing day, a fantastic race, on a truly beautiful island. no one will ever be able to take this race, this weekend, away from me. would i run it differently if i could do it again? not likely. each mile made that race what it was. i could have (and almost had) ended my race before the halfway point. but instead, i came back and finished stronger than any marathon ive ever run before (i havent officially checked other race paces, but the way i felt i know that i worked hard and strong those last few miles, which is typically when im broken and slow and just trying to hang on to the finish). some races are a bigger deal to me than others... maine coast was the first time i went for a huge goal, falling short but learning so much about myself in the process. chicago, a huge stage for my first BQ, with an epic breakdown and a mile 25 water stop. MDI, my favorite race, the result of tough, dedicated training for an all around amazing race. and boston. the dream race for many, a memory ill have forever. and great cranberry island... surrounded by friends. fellow crows. giving it everything i had after wanting to give up altogether. this race reminded me about what it is that i love so much about running, about being competitive with others, but mostly about believing in myself. 

in the last 3 mile lap i made up almost 4 and a half minutes on 1st place, and placed 2nd, finishing just 24 seconds behind maria. 

i came through the stretch of flags, smiling the entire way. marathon #14, completed. 

3:43:37



1st and 2nd place females

does your marathon have a lobster trap podium?
(sadly you cant even see it but i love this photo)

there we go. also, close to impossible to climb post race.
but totally worth it.

mug!



after a really cold jump off the dock (that took a lot of convincing), and a lukewarm shower, i got some food (mostly about 7 handfuls of potato chips and some chocolate covered strawberries) and watched the finish of the marathon and 6 hour race. then onto an amazing lobster and corn on the cob dinner with friends, a walk to the beach to collect rocks and witness an amazing sunset, a crazy bonfire, and some scary amateur fireworks...

theres truly nothing like this race. this island. magic.





8:04

tent city management department maintaining order?

this picture took a very, very long time
(and you sadly cant see gary's purple hair)

until next year...

morning came all too soon and we packed up our tents and headed to a wonderful breakfast (cheesy hash browns!). we waited at the general store by the dock for our boat, i was able to get in a little bit of an atlantic ocean ice bath for my feet and calves, and took in the beauty that was great cranberry island for just a little bit longer. leaving was tough, but ill be back... thats for sure.

jen and i supporting boston

run fast, run long

we have salt in our blood, in our sweat, in our tears
we are tied to the ocean

race day was warm with some patches of nice cool breezes. i ran 12 really good miles, and 14 still semi good and mostly smiling/not hurt/not race ending miles. i was (and still am) proud of my 3:43 finish there. ill look back on this weekend forever with zero regrets.

well, except my lack of pink and purple ice pops.