Tag Archives: lincoln marathon

Lincoln Marathon 2015 Recap

For 18 weeks, I focused on one number: 3:10. Whatever my actual pace was on easy, tempo, and long runs, three hours and ten minutes was always in the back of my mind. I’d targeted that goal twice before, instead running 3:13s both times. Lincoln was going to be my race, the one where I finally broke that barrier.

I didn’t. In fact, I didn’t even come close. Unlike the past two races, though, I’m not beating myself up about it. Sometimes, the weather is challenging. Sometimes, race day is not your day. And last Sunday was definitely not my day.

We left home a little after 7:00 on Saturday morning and drove the six-ish hours to Lincoln. Jordan deserves the Husband of the Year award — he’d spent Wednesday through Friday in the mountains with sixth-graders, then got up early Saturday to drive me to Lincoln, got up early again on Sunday to watch me run, and then drove me home. He’s a winner.

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Our first stop in Lincoln was the expo. It was really crowded, so we didn’t stay long. Instead, we checked in to our hotel and I went for a short shakeout run, then stretched and Sticked to work out the stiffness from the car ride. We grabbed some pasta from Noodles and Company, then just relaxed in the room and went to sleep early.

I slept surprisingly well for the night before a race, waking up just before my alarm went off at 4, when I ate my bagel with PB, popped some Immodium, then crawled back into bed for a while. Finally, we got up, got ready, and headed to the start line. Lincoln knows how to start a race: there was a huge indoor space to wait in (which wasn’t necessary, since it was already 60 degrees, but it would’ve been really nice in colder weather), and approximately 12 million porta-johns, to which my nervous bladder sent me several times.

Finally, it was time to find my corral and get ready. Lincoln’s corrals are sorted by bib color, which makes it easy to find the right spot. As I lined up, I saw the 3:13 pacer and told J, “I’ve got to beat that guy!” (Spoiler alert: I didn’t).
photo 2 (9)The National Anthem played, the wheelchair racers started, and then — BOOM — we were off!
photo 4 (2)The first few miles ticked along right on pace, but the weather was heating up and getting humid fast. By mile 5, my tank top was already getting soggy, and I was getting nervous, though I was still on pace. By mile 10, the sun came out in full force, I was sweating hard, and my pace started to drop from 7:15s so 7:25s or so. At that point, I knew that my 3:10 goal wasn’t going to be realistic.

Miles 7-12 were mentally challenging, as the half-marathoners were starting their negative splits, and I was getting passed like crazy. Since so many more people run the half, a lot of the spectators were shouting things like, “You’ve got this! Just two more miles!” It made me laugh… and also really tempted me to turn right, toward the finish, at the split. But I knew I’d never forgive myself if I didn’t finish the full, so I turned left, leaving the half crowd behind.

J saw a woman wearing this shirt and took a picture for me. He knows me well.
J saw a woman wearing this shirt and took a picture for me. He knows me well.

The second half of the race had much less shade, and my pace started dropping significantly. I was seeing eights on my watch, which I didn’t like, but if I crossed a certain speed threshold, I’d get lightheaded and nauseous, so the slower, safer speed won. At about mile 15, a little twig wedged itself down into my shoe. I had to stop and take my shoe completely off. I was not thrilled with losing even more time, but there was no way I could run another 11 miles with that thing rubbing my foot.

J caught me shortly after mile 15, and I made a “shoot me now” gesture. The heat and humidity was dragging me down — training through the winter certainly didn’t prepare me for it — and a headwind was blowing to boot, but he cheered me forward.

At this point, my pace was shot, so I simply focused on moving forward, breaking the race into 2.5ish-mile segments — from aid station to aid station. At each stop, I chugged at least two cups of water and often dumped one on my head, too. Several aid stations and friendly spectators also handed out cups of ice, which I’d dump down my bra for a few minutes of sweet relief. I probably should have been drinking Gatorade — I’m sure my electrolytes were way off; my body was gritty with salt by the end — but since I hadn’t trained with it (thanks to that strict diet), I didn’t want to race with it. I’m not sure which was the worse decision — risking it and having it destroy my stomach, or skipping it and getting more and more dehydrated. I did take three Vfuel gels, the last one at mile 17 or so (I think). I carried five, planning to take one every 45 minutes, but after a while, I just couldn’t stomach them in the heat.

I finally hit the turnaround just before mile 20, expecting to get some relief from the wind. Nope — it shifted, too. I thought that shift was all in my head, but several other runners said the same thing. I read an interview with the women’s winner, and she even said so! That made me feel like less of a baby. The last 10k was a slog — I had to stop and walk several times to keep from blacking out, and I continued my chug-dump-ice routine at the aid stations.

At least everyone else was struggling, too, so we cheered each other on as we leapfrogged. One nice guy even offered me water from his Fuel Belt when I was hurting. That’s the best thing about this sport — sure, we’re there to compete, but everyone looks out for one another, and I love the camaraderie.

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Finally, I turned the corner into the stadium and toward the finish line, which was at the football field’s 50-yard line. That tunnel seemed to go on for-ev-er, but I really appreciated that the half and full marathon were split all the way to the finish. Dodging walkers at the end of a marathon is rough, so I liked that we had separate paths. I also loved that they announced each marathon finisher over the loudspeaker in the stadium. I felt like big stuff.

When I was finally close enough to see the clock, I saw 3:27, and gave it what little kick was left in my legs.

photo 2 (10)It looks like I’m passing all those chicks, but they’re in the half lane.

The race sent a finisher video, but I’m not smart enough to embed it. If you want to see what a 90%-dead redhead looks like, click here.

Once I crossed the line, I stopped to catch my breath and wait for the world to stop spinning, hobbled back into the shade under the stadium and grabbed some Gatorade and water, then shuffled back out to the stadium turf. I wasn’t sure where J was, and I didn’t think nonrunners were even allowed where I was, but I desperately needed to sit down, as I was pretty dizzy. I eased myself onto the turf, rested my head on my knees, and drank my water and Gatorade. I even managed to choke down some chocolate milk. After a while, I felt okay enough to try to find J… but I couldn’t get up. I had to ask a stranger to help me. Ouch.

Post-race. So much sweat.
Post-race. So much sweat.

I finally found J, and then found the showers (another perk of this race: not having to stink afterward). Then, we found my favorite post-race lunch: a burger, a beer, and sweet potato fries. It was everything I wanted.

My official time was 3:27:14 — my third-slowest marathon, and far slower than the 3:10 I originally hoped for. I was disappointed, sure, but I honestly feel that there’s nothing I could have done differently. I’m not a good heat runner anyway, and I didn’t have any opportunities to train for those conditions, since the last 18 weeks were, you know, winter.

I felt better about my finish when I got the official results e-mail Sunday night: I crossed the start line 133rd overall, 15th woman, and 5th in my age group, and I crossed the finish 130th/16th/6th. So yes, I struggled, but so did everyone else. Later, I read that the men’s winner — who also won last year — ran 10 minutes slower than he did in 2014. So yeah, the conditions were tough. I wasn’t just a wimp.

I was impressed with the race as a whole and would definitely run it again. It was extremely well-organized, and the volunteers and spectators were awesome. I also think it could be a PR course if the weather cooperated — it’s flat, but not painfully so , with just enough little rollers to keep it interesting.

So what’s next? I’m not sure. I’d like to try again for 3:10… sometime, but not this fall. I don’t want to register for another goal race until my stomach stuff is straightened out, and with all our travelling and adventuring this summer, I don’t want to be committed to a hefty training schedule. For now, I’m going to recover, then run for fun and lift a little more weights. And then…. whatever I want, I guess!

Anybody else race this weekend?

How far off is your personal worst time from your personal best?

Any suggestions for what my “next big thing” should be?

Lincoln Marathon Training: Week 10

I like to believe that I’ll post more each week than my training recaps. But then I remember that I teach English and essays don’t just grade themselves. The good news is that Matt from No Meat Athlete and his sister are doing another #writeandrun31 challenge this month. I got some decent writing out of the January challenge, so I’m looking forward to this one. I’m committing to 10 minutes per day of writing, which is what I did in January. It’s not much, but it gets the juices flowing and I usually end up writing longer. Plus, it’s easy to convince myself to do even if it’s bedtime.

I hope I’ll have some interesting, non-training log stuff for you to read soon, but until then, let’s take a look at this week, the first on my new plan.


AM: 45 minutes of strength training, done in the basement because driving on icy roads before 5 a.m. sounded just plain awful.

PM: 10 miles easy


8 miles easy — layered up for 4 outside, then finished with 4 inside once the sun went down, followed by enough core work and stretching to get to a good stopping point in The Bachelor. 
photo 1 (1)


Cruise intervals: 10 x 1000m. With the warm-up and a too-short cool-down, I hit an even 10.


AM: Strength training in the basement again, this time for only 30 minutes. I love sleep.

PM: 8-mile easy run. I didn’t get home in time to make layering up for a couple of outside miles worth it, so I stuck to the tready.


7 easy miles, core, and stretching


I spent Saturday decorating for and chaperoning a dance, and while I thought I’d probably have time to run between decorating and heading back to let in the DJ, I didn’t want to risk running out of time. Decorating always takes longer than I think it will. Who knew that hanging gossamer was such a time-consuming task? Anyway, I decided to run before decorating, which meant starting at dark o’clock, which meant treadmill.
Luckily, this plan has kind of an awkward cutback week — it started with Saturday’s shorter progression run, and this coming week’s runs are shorter, but this Saturday’s long run will be back to 20. I won’t complain, because that 11-mile progression run fit perfectly into the time I had on Saturday, AND I had a little time in the afternoon to squeeze in a catnap before this grandma had to stay up until midnight.


30 minutes of yoga.

Totals: 54.1 miles, a little over 2 hours strength, stretch, etc.

In other news, I’ve had “The Wobble” playing in my head all. day. long. Darn you, dance.

Which would you choose for a strength workout: bodyweight and dumbbells at home, or an early-morning drive to the gym? I prefer home, but sometimes I go to the gym since I don’t have all the weights.

What was your favorite song to dance to in high school?

Lincoln Marathon Training: Week 7

Hi friends! First off, thanks a ton for all the encouragement on my last recap. You all inspired me not to give up on my 3:10 goal and give it one more shot. This week was a cutback, so hopefully next week will feel better again.


AM: 45 minutes strength training. The gym is still crowded.

PM: 8 miles. We had an inservice day, so I was able to get out a little earlier than usual. Combined with the longer days, that meant I was able to do the whole thing outside. That makes me happy.
photo 3 (14)


This was a weird day. I took a group of kids on a field trip, and we had lunch at Tokyo Joe’s. When I started running several hours later, my stomach felt like I had just eaten. It was miserable, and I made all of 5 of my planned 12 miles. I felt pretty crummy; in fact, I didn’t even eat dinner, and you know something’s wrong if I’m missing a meal. Apparently digesting is hard. But the good news is I have an appointment with an RD on Friday, so maybe she can figure out what’s wrong with me.


I got up bright and early feeling much better, so I cranked out a 10-miler (originally scheduled for Thursday). So that was good.


AM: I got up at no-o’clock in the morning to make up Tuesday’s 12-miler. Why in the morning? Well, because I promised my freshmen I’d stay as late as they needed for help on their research project. Yeah… two came in and they were gone by 4. And it was 60 degrees. Boo.

PM: 45 minutes strength at the gym


5-mile recovery run. Another beautiful day ended with a beautiful sunset. Followed by core work and stretching. photo 2 (21)


15-mile long run. In shorts and T-shirt. It was amazing.

photo 1 (21)

Later, my friend Sarah came over, and we went for a walk. Because when it’s 70 degrees in February, you don’t stay inside.


Rest day. J and I took a walk because it’d be a crime to stay inside on a 60-some degree day, and then I did some hip opener yoga.

Totals: 55 miles, 2.5ish hours strength and stretch

This week, mileage ramps back up. Here we go.

How’s the weather where you are? Sorry to rub it in to you East-Coasters.

Lincoln Marathon Training: Week 5

This training cycle seems to be going really quickly. Week 5 already?! But that’s a very good thing, because the days are getting longer and warmer (though I’m sure we still have several cold and snowy spells ahead). Week 5 was a decent one; I feel like my body’s finally adjusting to the heavier training load again. And I even made it back into the gym, which resulted in some major DOMS… meaning I need to not take several-week breaks from lifting. Profound insight, that one.

I love memes.

Anyway, here’s how the week went:

Monday was a great day. I started by going to the gym… at 7:30 because I had the day off. 7:30 is an amazing gym time because no one is there. I wish I could do that all the time. Later, once it warmed up to shorts-temperatures, I headed out for a nine-miler, finished with 10 strides. (Side note: I’ve been doing strides for years and I still feel like I’m doing them wrong).
photo 1 (19)
Then, the day got EVEN BETTER because when I got home from my run, these babies were waiting for me on the porch:
photo 2 (19)
End-of-year shoe sales are the best. I already have an identical pair that’s still in rotation, but no worries: my Sweat Pink shoelaces will help me tell the difference.

14 miles. On. The. Treadmill. After work. It might not be exaggerating to say that this felt like the longest run of my life. Also, no grading got done that night. It was mostly just run-eat-sleep. I did manage to catch most of the State of the Union address, so I felt like an okay American.


5 recovery miles. They felt remarkably short after the previous day’s run. Afterward, I did some core work and stretched a little.


AM: 11 miles easy, again on the treadmill because winter. I miss daylight and non-icy roads.

PM: 45 minutes of strength training at the gym.


I fully intended to be a good person and work out in the morning so I could stay and watch the basketball game after school. But being a good person seemed a lot less important at 4:30 a.m., so I turned off my alarm and went back to sleep. So… 5 evening recovery miles, core work, stretching, and foam rolling. And no basketball-watching. Hashtag I’majerk.


18-mile long run. I started at around 7:30, and it was pretty chilly. I kept expecting it to warm up, but it never did. It wasn’t miserable, but this friend of mine had a hard time getting undressed for a post-run shower because her hands were so cold. She flailed around for nearly ten minutes and it was kind of hilarious.

Okay, it was me. I don’t have friends.
photo 4 (12)
Yes, I’m wearing giant, non-running sunglasses. My awesome running sunglasses got stolen a few months ago, and the cheap-o ones I bought to replaces them broke. These were better than nothing.


Rest day! 30 minutes of yoga.

Totals: 62 miles running, about 2.5 hours strength/stretch

This coming week looks almost identical mileage-wise. My main goals are to work on my post-run nutrition (always a struggle) and keep working on stretching and strength training.

Have a great week, friends!

What is your favorite time to go to the gym?

Runners: What sunglasses do you wear? I really need to get some decent ones again, but I can’t afford Maui Jim’s like my beloved stolen glasses. Whomp whomp.

Lincoln Marathon Training, Week 2

Before I get into my training recap for the week, I want to tell you about Sweat Guru’s No Excuses Challenge. If you’ve read my blog for long, you probably know I love challenges. Encouragement to work out, a group of like-minded supporters, and a chance to win prizes? I’m in. The Holiday Sweat challenge was a lot of fun, so imagine my excitement when I saw this one! Here’s what it entails (wording taken from Sweat Guru’s e-mail):

  • Each Sunday we’ll send you an email with weekly prompts (workouts, healthy snack ideas and more)

    • We ask that you share your answer or interpretation of those prompts daily via Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, your blog, etc using #NoExcuses #SweatPink for a chance to win fun weekly prizes from brands like Augusta Active, ShowerPill, ActivMotion Bar, WIN Detergent, Beaming with Health….etc etc…

    • The workouts will be things like drop down and give us 10 push-ups or burpees or even get out and run (or walk) a mile!

  • Each day, we’ll all share what we’re doing and how we’re doing it on our social channels and help each other stay accountable, motivated and on top of our goals.

  • Every Friday, we’ll send around an email with winners, prizes and our favorite Tweets, IG posts and blog posts from the week (hello, link love and social sharing!)

Want to sign up? Use this link: http://bit.ly/1yCAQLl.

Now, let’s talk about week 2 of marathon training. Between marathon training cycles, I tend to forget, or maybe just look at through rose-colored glasses, how time-consuming training is. This cycle seems especially so, since I’m going back to a Pete Pftitzinger training plan after using McMillan plans for the last two races. Both plans have about the same overall mileage, but Pftiz has longer-at-once mid-week runs  — an 11-miler one day and a 5-miler the next, for instance, instead of two 8-milers like McMillan’s. I’m hoping that the mid-week longer runs will make me stronger and faster so I can finally get over that 3:13 hump. So I’m willing to put in the mileage, even if that means seeing numbers like this on a treadmill on weeknight.photo (13)

AM: Longer runs also mean two-a-day workouts when I strength train. I’m trying to do upper and lower body on different days, when possible, so I can spend a little more time on each. Monday was upper body and core.

PM: 8 miles with 10 strides… or at least as close as I could come to running strides on a treadmill. They’re so short that it’s tough to do them inside.

AM: 30 minutes lower-body strength training.

PM: 12-mile easy run. I was pretty disappointed to see that I can’t watch The Bachelor on Hulu yet for free. Looks like I’ll be a week behind all season, so no spoilers!

AM: 5-mile recovery run followed by some stretching and foam rolling, I’m really bad about doing those two things, so one of my goals this cycle is to diligently do them.
photo 3 (12)

Only one workout today, as I had an evening full of meetings.

AM: 9 miles easy. J and I both had meetings/stuff that had to be done after school, and I wasn’t sure how long they would take, so I wanted to make sure the run got done.

PM: Quick upper-body and core strength workout.

AM: 5-mile recovery run, some core work, and a bit of stretching. And then I took a selfie, because that’s what bloggers do.
photo 2 (17)
Working out at home is the best, because who has time for clothes that match?

J had a meeting in Denver (read: free hotel room), so I went up and stayed with him Friday night. Saturday morning, I headed to the Cherry Creek Trail for what was supposed to be 16 miles with 8 at goal pace.
photo 1 (17)

The first couple of miles were pretty clear, but then the patchy ice became more ice than concrete. Instead of goal pace, I stuck with “stay-upright” pace. It was a beautiful morning, though, and I love running in Denver, so overall, I’m not disappointed. I’m a little sore today, even though I didn’t go fast. I think it’s from stabilizing myself on the ice.  Afterward, I met up with my two college roommates for pedicures and brunch, so Saturday was pretty super overall.

Rest; just 30 minutes of yoga. J agreed to try joining me for my Sunday yoga sessions. I’m pretty excited… even though he’s WAY more flexible than I am and will show me up.

Totals: 55 miles, 2.5ish hours strength/stretch

Week 2 is in the books, and today I made a bunch of meals to free up some post-run evening time, so bring on Week 3

Are you joining the #NoExcuses challenge? DO IT.

What’s your favorite city to run/exercise in?