Sunday, August 23, 2015

Summer is almost over!!

Hey Guys!!

I feel like I've had my hand on the griddle since June. Every year I promise myself I won't train through the summer and eye down a fall marathon. But alas, I can't say no to the run. But I swear, pinky swear, I won't do this ever again!

But now that the heat is waning and the humidity is creeping under 100% I feel hope! I'm really not sure how I made it this far without an injury, but ta-da! I'm still in one piece. I had a slight set back for about a week and didn't run. I became dehydrated. Like really bad. The type that doesn't bounce back after a Gatorade.  I pretty much destroyed myself by not drinking enough and sweating so much. Every. Single. Day. So I had to work on getting my hydration back. Now, I'm feeling much better and moving on.

I don't know if you noticed what I just said. But I nonchalantly, in passing said I TOOK A WEEK OFF! It's hard to even retype that! You know how I am. How you are. This is not a trip to happy town. But, I knew it was short term so the freak-out-o-meter didn't go too crazy. I decided to work on my weaknesses. My flexibility, core and balance.

Don't take away my runner card! But I'm gonna say the Y word. I did it. I did Yoga. At first I felt like a traitor to my sport. Out of my element. But then it struck a cord with my perfectionist, competitive side. I wanted my poses to be better than a piece of crap. I wanted my form to do the postures justice. I was sick of my arms and legs shaking. This became a goal. I know Yoga is also kumbaya and all that fluffy stuff. But I was content with working on my breathing and form.

So I took lots of Vinyasa and Yin yoga. Stretching my connective tissues as far as I could. I refused to fold early. I worked on this 2-3 hours a day. I did this for about 3 weeks.

Then, I discovered Bikram yoga. To me, it's the only thing I have ever found that can give me a workout. It's been around since the 1970's. It's a 90 minute class of 26 postures in 105 degrees. The instructor has a dialogue that he cannot deviate from. It's 45 pages of script that will answer your every question as you get into the postures. You are encouraged to never leave the room and only drink as permitted. It's extremely regimented. Requires insane focus. No talking. Complete stillness. Do not even think of wiping the sweat off your face. That's tantamount to blowing a snot rocket in a starting corral. Be still.

So clearly, that type of yoga is for me! So I've been taking Bikram everyday since I started last week. I love the challenge. I love that regardless of what you're feeling it is best to not show it. Remain calm. Suck it up. It's 90 percent mind.

I now have to find balance between the running and Bikram yoga. I can't do 10.5 hours of hot yoga a week and train for a marathon. This week I will find that balance. The learning curve for me is so delicious it's hard to stop. I love seeing progress. I'm a freaking runner and I can touch my toes now! (Ok, I can touch my toes behind my head. I'm an overachiever!) But this is HUGE!

Here are some pictures. Some yoga, some Bikram. Not perfect. Yogi's everywhere are probably gasping but for me this is big.

My first Yoga outfit. It felt weird!

Thanks for reading guys!! Cheers to a wonderful week ahead. Celebrate what you can do!


Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Boilermaker 15k 2015

Hey Guys!

My wounds have healed! I can now speak about the
delicious suckage that was my goal race. The Boilermaker 15k Road Race. The largest 15k in the world with 14,000+ runners. Still my favorite race! I can't wait to do it again!

This is the BoilerMaker Start
Same photo blown up to show me a few rows behind the eventual winner. I didn't have the wheels I wanted that day, but I had GUTS!

The hill is still there!

So, I was invited back to the Boilermaker again this year. It was by far my favorite race last year. It's like going back to your hometown and seeing family and friends. It's super exciting. And then running a race up a hill. Uh, yes please! All my favorite things!
This is Tuan. I met him last year. A great ambassador for Utica. A super great guy and Boilermaker Volunteer.

I arrived Friday at noon. Fran was there to pick me and 2 other athletes up at the Syracuse airport and take us to Utica. It's a 1 hour drive. I got to the college where we would be staying and went to my room and slept. Then, waited for my friend Yonas to arrive. And then we went to dinner. I met him last year. He is on the brink of nailing a 61 minute half. A dedicated, talented athlete and great person.



The Boilermaker is sometimes called the African Olympics. The field is stacked with some of the best talent from Ethiopia, Kenya, Eritrea and Somalia. Someone had just flown in from Dubai that morning, as well as 3 from Japan. American represents equally well with amazing talent. Fernando Cabada took 1st American this year. Lindsay Scherf, Ahmad Osman...Just sick talent from everywhere. When I'm old and gray my dream will be to sit in the media truck and scream my lungs out!

The Master's women are equally competitive. It's almost like age is just a number. The wheels just keep turning and ripping the pavement off the street like it's sand. It's such a great feeling of family and togetherness among the Master's Women. But you know we all state our age and do our individual "holy fuck's" when we see who we are running against.  Jen Rines won the Master's division last year. Clearly, a monstrous talent. She was possibly going to run this year but didn't. We did a collective, noooo upon hearing that news. It's that type of vibe.

It's very cool to see women just like me. They are running doubles during car pool. Up at 4am on Sunday to run long. I'm like, phew, I'm not crazy...this is normal.

So we hang out, run, eat, nap for 2 days and then wake up and race.

My Build Up:

It was dicey this year. I was training slightly off pace due to the swamp like conditions here in NC. The grind was based more on effort than the watch. This is something I had a hard time with. I tried very hard to hit the intended splits and 90% of the time I did. But the wreckage post workout was exhausting. I thought I fractured my leg a week prior to the race. There were some ups and downs. But I weather stalked and figured if I could get a good day I would be ok. That training at effort would translate into pace with cooler conditions and lower humidity. Bingo.

Race Day:

It was around 60 degrees at 6am on race morning. I was ecstatic! This was my day, finally! But 6am is not 8am. At 8am we were loaded onto the start line and the sun just baked on us through a cloudless, humid sky. So much for my ideal day. But whatever. It's Boilermaker. Just run hard. How bad can an hour be?
UGH! Not part of the plan.

This was taken at 6am. I see you!

It can be hard! I ran for the 1st time ever without looking at my watch. I focused on getting mile one under control (6:24) and then maintaining that pace without looking for the race. I knew there would be some variation as it's very hilly. But given race day conditions I was probably looking at a 58-59 minute finish. About 6:20 pace. But hoping the hammering could get me 57.

So after mile one I did not run even splits. But I didn't know this. I kept my breathing hard and my effort easier on the uphills and hammering the downs. Without a watch I guess I ran the uphills too easy. And downhills slightly off as well. I started to feel better after the 5k. I felt good. Probably because I was running too slow. But it felt harder because of the sun and humidity. I was pouring water on my head every mile. Eating the ice chips. Anything to cool down. Mind you, I don't even drink during a marathon in the winter. I hate water. But my core temp must have been hot because I felt like I was going to combust.
Probably mile 2

This was maybe 2 steps after cresting the top of a mile plus hill. Falling apart, but trying.  

I stayed strong and kept the effort. After I hammered a long down hill at mile 5 my legs didn't feel so well. The snap was not there like I wanted. It was like my mind wanted to keep hammering but my quads were just about done helping out. Thankfully, there was plenty of course variation left to let the hamstrings play along.

So I kept on thinking I had a 59 at worst in the bag. Mind you, this is still unacceptable, but I had to be real. I was telling myself to just get to mile 9. The last .3 is the treat, the cherry on top, the amazing part of the course. It is a slamming downhill into hoards of spectators.
The Finish

So I run what feels like 5:30 pace at mile 9 because I'm dead. It was really 6:10 pace. I got closer to the clock and my jaw dropped. I'm like shit! I'm late! I should have been here by now. What the what?! It said 1:03. I thought, well maybe that was the wheelchair start? After .00003 nanoseconds I confirmed with my Garmin 18 times that no, I really ran a shitty MP at the Boilermaker. My goal race. My favorite race. Ugh.

I was shocked.  Just shocked. I was afraid to look to my splits. However, I put my time aside and checked in on everyone else. The elite tent had your average collection of DNF's, PR's, cramping, wincing athletes, joy, sorrow, news reporters and USADA in full effect trailing half of them. It brings it back to the reality that racing is an adventure. Shit can go wrong or shit can go epically right. We all put ourselves out there on the line for the adventure and the experience. Hoping it's less pain and more elation, but accepting of either.

If racing were a string of PR's we would probably quit and play tennis after a year or so. The bad days always make the good days so rewarding. Yada, yada.

Back at the Hotel sipping purple chongos...

Or Gatorade. It was time to shower and get on the greyhound back to the airport. I was sad. As an invited athlete you tend to feel like a kid in 3rd grade that wants to bring home a perfect spelling test and wave it in the air! You want to get the bonus word right as a token of appreciation. Well, my spelling test sucked. I felt horrible. I deserved to be in corral F. I hugged the amazing people that invited me and said good bye. I slept on the bus ride back.

Time always helps put things in perspective. Again, I am honored to race among such amazing talent. To make new friends and memories. That is what life is about.

Caveat: This is my 2nd race where I have been underwhelmed. Boston 2015 (3:02). While this is great in learning what I'm made of, seeing my mental strengths, motivating myself to try harder....this is ending! This is BULLSHIT! I want more! I will never give up. I work my ass off. I will push pine needles with my fucking nose if it makes my body stronger.

To avoid this disaster in the future I may make a few adjustments:

1. Not avoid all racing for 4 months prior to my goal race.

2. Not DNF a race the weekend before said goal race and have to carry that mental baggage to the start line.

3. Not plan on conditions being ideal.

4. Check my watch more often for a reality check.

Thanks for reading. As always, thanks for your kind words and encouragement. I am dying to wave the happy flag after a race very soon! After signing up for another marathon the week after Boston and then changing my mind I have a self imposed ban on redemption races for 2 weeks. No just yet. But My next big goal is an October Marathon!! WOOHOO!


Monday, July 6, 2015

I'm Back in the Saddle!

Hey oh, oh eh Guys!

I just had my leg examined by my orthopedist. My X-ray's are negative. My leg is not broken!

Basically, I have a huge amount of scar tissue over the old fracture site. This is the area that has been giving me trouble. I knew I had scar tissue there because I can feel it. It has not bothered me during marathon training and running easy. 

However, over the past few weeks I have increased my paces. My leg was happily plodding along at 7 pace. However, at 6 pace and faster my leg was getting cranky. That's because I'm really stretching that area on toe off. 

So, I need to suck it up and keep going! I need to run harder and break up the scar tissue. Pile on the massage. Poke it with an ice pick! 

I can't tell you the peace of mind this gives me. It has been so stressful to run knowing that I was possibly breaking my leg again.

So onward!!

Thank you for all your kind messages of support. You guys rock! Hopefully I will too!!!


Saturday, July 4, 2015

My 1st DNF

Hey Guys!!

I have regretfully let my blog slip this summer. I'm so sorry! And now I have a big fat fail to report.  You know I love reading about your fails and successes. I like to learn what works and what doesn't work for you guys. So, here's what happened on my trip into downtown FAIL-VILLE.

I wish I could say, ah-ha! That's it! But it's never so easy. First,  I hate summer running. Every year I swear I won't train through the summer. But I usually do. And I usually wreck myself. However, I am not sure if or how wrecked I am, yet.

I had a few tough weeks adjusting to the heat and humidity in NC. Fine. So did everyone else. Then last week I felt like I was finally able to run without bitching, crying, reporting the weather on all my Strava links. I did it! I kept plugging away. I felt good.


I'm a liar. I will deny any pain to myself and others until blood is pouring out of my eyeballs.  And then I will tell you it's a nosebleed smearing around because I ate too much gluten for dinner. I will grimace until my teeth break before acknowledging pain. Unless there is bone showing, keep going. But it's not to be a tough guy. It's because I'm willing the pain away. If I don't acknowledge it, it doesn't exist! The pain to me is because:

*I ran too fast on my way out of Umstead yesterday.
*I switched to a 0 drop too aggressively.
*just too many cul de sac turns too fast.
*too much mileage. Not enough mileage.
*too many rocks on the trails.
*dehydration. I just need to drink more.

I can't say that when I run I'm in pain. I'm not. But afterwards I sometimes feel like shit. But by the next run I'm okay. That's normal, right? Historically, I run a lot. I run hard. So that's the price I pay. I'm good with that. I've said it a million times: I rather run hard and injure ~once a year then run safe and stay healthy. I LOVE the fine line. I love the edge. I love the success that comes with pushing myself at the risk of wrecking myself.

So it's all very vague for me in the summer. I can't tell when to back off. And quite frankly, I don't think I would back off. Only a few of you will nod your head to that one.


So, this morning I had a 5k scheduled. I hate 5k's. But I looked at it as though it was a matter of minutes until I could claim my reward for all my hard work. Just a few crappy miles to solidify that summer can't touch me. I planned on doing the motions and collecting an 18:35-18:45. Taking my dinky trophy home and moving on.

Contrar Mu Frar.

Let me back up to my strides yesterday. They always predict my fitness. My strides were strong, almost obnoxious for parking lot running. I did 4x200 getting the pace just under 5 pace. I was sure my 5k would be tit.

I did my 2 mile warm up. I switched shoes.  Then, I went to go do strides before the start and I couldn't. My body was saying no. I tried to push and I was getting zapped in my ankle. I thought that was weird. But still, I lined up because I drove almost 2 hours and I'm fucking fit!

So the gun goes off and I feel paralyzed. Partly out of fear that I'm about to break my leg on the next step. I told myself to shut up and suck it up. I closed my eyes and went hard again. It wasn't working. My leg was acting weird. It was getting a warm burning feeling like it was torn. My range of motion was stolen. I figured I was being a wimp because I don't like 5k's. I kept trying to go. But it was like my legs were on backwards. I was so focused on figuring out what was going on that I was running like shit. Or was I making this up? Don't know. See above section on lying.

So, after about .50 I decided I would DNF. I made that scrunchy face trying to hide my dissappointment. I have never quit a race. Then, the logistics came into play. I was running on a parade route and there was no escape! What a nightmare. I scanned feverishly and found a space between some people and ran into a parking lot. I stopped. I thought, now what? It's over? I failed. My kids had secretly made all these "I'm proud of you" signs and I have to say I stopped running? I tapered all week for this?

I was shocked. I figured I overreacted and this was some horrible dream. My leg didn't hurt standing there. I decided to do a long cool down. That lasted maybe another 3 miles before I was almost crying again. Now, I'm really upset. I'm mope-running, avoiding the finish line...circling a bank parking a zillion times just for mileage. Ridiculous.

So, after talking to a few friends and feeling cheered up a little, I left. I sat in my car and mutilated my leg trying to self diagnosis. I need to know NOW if this is broken or strained, torn...I can't take uncertainty. Well, I don't know. I'm going to have to wait until Monday to see my Ortho.

So that sums up my 8:30 hour this morning. I'll probably swim until my rotator cuffs fall off tomorrow.

On a side note. The part of my leg that hurts is the exact area of my fibula I fractured into 2 pieces last August. The odds of breaking a fibula are less than 10%. The odds of rebreaking a fibula are NILL according to my Ortho. He said it would be impossible to break it in the same area again.  So I will relax knowing that is MUST be soft tissue. I just stepped on something, ya....until Monday, that's my story!

I promise to update you. Thanks for caring and reading. : )


Tuesday, May 19, 2015

A Month Post Boston

Hey Guys!

Sorry I have been MIA. It's never so easy to move on after a crappy race. Especially, a marathon. It's not like a 5k that can be repeated the following weekend. So, I went through the usual range of emotions:

1. I'm always proud after I marathon. I was proud of this Boston.

2. Then, disappointed. I worked so hard. The grieving for that probably took 2 weeks.

3. Then, I really wanted to race another marathon. Badly!

4. Then, I didn't want to run 20 miles ever again.

5. Then, I let it go. Live and learn. I moved on.

I mean c'mon. It was a 3:02. The self whining was ridiculous. Yes, I failed to reach my goal. But hell, at least I wasn't injured.  I left the finish line with a bruised ego but also with a shit ton of fitness that I would build off of. Then, shop around to other shorter races.

I bought new running shoes. I bought 2 pairs of booty shorts and said ONWARD!

Now, I'm back to 5k/10k/15k training. I'm not stalking any fall marathons YET, but when I feel fit I'm going for it. Last summer most of my long runs could have been pushed into marathons with great PR's. But I waited too long and eventually injured. Lesson learned.

My mileage is around 80/week now. I'm in the gym about 5 days a week doing core, stretching, arms. It's almost like a vacation. But the humidity is surely starting to destroy that fantasy!

I'm in a good spot now. I am happy with my training. I'm up at 4:30am 7 days a week and usually have shoes on ground by 5:30ish. I get to watch the sunrise and do what I love to do. But don't take that fluff for defeat or complacency. I am hungry! I want a better summer than last year. I want a 5k, 10k and 15k PR. Then I want to march my ass 26.2 miles to my fastest marathon yet. I won't concede. I won't give up.

That is why I love this sport. Sure, you can have fails, but as long as you learn from them then you'll just be that much stronger. If someone said, Laura: HERE is the recipe for a 2:50 marathon. Do this, eat that and you'll get there guaranteed. I would say, get that needle out of my arm! Haha. Joke. I would say no, training is an adventure. It's life, it's living. I don't want the easy way out. I love the daily grind, becoming stronger. Give it here!

Again, thank you for all your support and kind words!  I'm really just a physical token of all the cheers, love, support and encouragement I get from you guys. Without that I may as well just treadmill in the dark. LOL.

Cheers to happy summer running guys! I promise to update more!!


Wednesday, April 22, 2015

My Boston Marathon 2015 Race Report

Hey Guys!

I feel weird saying this. But, I'm not as upset as you may think. Clearly, that is not the race I had trained for. While I am bummed I didn't go sub 2:55, I'm more bummed that we had horrible race conditions. That, I can't control. If we had 40 degrees and a tailwind and I ran the same time I would be sick to my stomach!

I can't say thank you enough for your support. Every mat I crossed I thought of all of you. I knew Pete in Japan had set his alarm clock to see my finish. I knew my Mom was my social media director. I knew Joey was biting his lip after my 15k split and crossing his fingers. I knew the teachers at my kid's school had the tracking projected on the board. My sister did the same in her own classroom. I am and was beyond honored that you care.

But SHIT it was miserable. It came down to logical reasoning for me. The rain, wind and cold took me out mentally before they did physically. I knew when it was pouring sideways at 9am with a 20+mph headwind it was going to be tough.  I have never even tempo'd 6 miles with any degree of success in wind half as strong. So, I approached the start with a slightly defeated but optimistic attitude. I would will the conditions away. Draft. Focus.

That technique lasted about 10 miles. I was screwing my head into the wind at times. Trying to fight it. I took other measures to conserve energy. I kept my arm swing minimal and tight. I didn't hammer any of the uphills. When the wind would break I tried to stride my split time down. This wasn't working. At the half I knew I was done. I couldn't push any harder. I'm 100 pounds. The wind was strong. My clothes and shoes were soaked. I couldn't even see at times because the rain was so blinding.

I tried to run the rest of the race as best I could. I wanted to stay strong and kept hope that the conditions would change. That is a tough agenda when you know every footstep is off goal. Then, on top of that the weather became worse as I approached Boston. I was laughing at times in disbelief. Was this really happening?!

The pace felt moderate. But the effort was sub marathon pace. It was a messed up feeling. How could I be running so slow but giving so much?

I stopped looking at my watch after 2 hours. It was depressing. But it's BOSTON! I mean, there was no boohoo'ing. The fans were out in full force. I was running the race most runner's dream about. I wasn't going to be a little bitch because I was wrecking my Sub-3 streak. I really enjoyed the race despite not running as fast as I wanted. I finished with a smile on my face in 3:02. I'm not defeated. Success is not always linear. I'm probably a little too eager to redeem myself but that's ok.

My plan is to babysit my fitness for a few weeks and do it again! I worked hard for the shape I'm in. I'm not shutting it down and waking up in 5k land in a month. I'm going to recover and try again. I know I can do it.

The Good:

*I feel fine. Not even a blister.
*I'm confident in my training and fitness level.
*Brooks T7 Racers are great marathon shoes.
*I didn't get the hypothermic shakes until the finish line.
* I had loving family standing at the finish line.
*I found the best hairstyle for marathoning! See below.
*I will never stop doing this marathon!

The Bad:

*I'm sitting here and I can't think of anything. I refuse to feel sorry for myself. I'm still healthy, alive and happy! There is no bad. I ran the Boston Marathon for a 3rd time. I am elated to have the privilege.

The Immediate Plan:
Recover this week. Do some easy runs. I'll KNOW what I have. Considering I feel nearly flawless I am planning on another marathon soon. Within the next month. I'm still in the planning stage.

Here are some pics from the weekend. Thanks again guys!! I love you all! XO

A joke. I was lost again in Boston...

Pre race wind...

A Boston Sunrise

I saw this in a running magazine. I highly recommend! 

The light was right. The kids, not so much!

Every race, forever...


Pre race 5am. 

Post race lunch with my finish line dream team

My BFF at the hotel. She helped with train tickets and hair stylists.

10 seconds post race.10 seconds pre hypothermia

My babies tracking me in school.

Joey and stretching on Tuesday morning. 

Can you tell what I did on Monday? If not, I'll tell YOU!

Heading down to the start.

My ONE race photo is sucking air on Heartbreak Hill. The bib is starting to fold...



Thanks for reading! I will keep you posted on plan B. You know I'm not done yet!