Monday, October 29, 2007

At last: Help for runners' chafing!

This marathon I actually SOLVED a couple long-term chafing issues I've had! I'm so proud of myself!

OK, guys, just move along now because this post is for the girls.

I have a couple spots that my jogbras *always* chafe me in long events. I've tried all kinds of lubricants, etc., and they reduce it but never solved the problem.

This time I cleaned the areas (this probably only works for hairless flat skin areas cleaned free from oils, btw) and put a big 3"x2" piece of Tegaderm there.

I thought it would rub off during the race, but it didn't - it stayed put perfectly and worked like a charm!

Another tool in my long-distance arsenal!!! Not sure if it will stay on during a swim, though, but it's worth a test-swim. . . .

MCM photos

Some of the photos are already up for Marine Corps Marathon, but I don't like the website because the thumbnails are so small you can't really tell what the photos look like very well!

2007 Marine Corps Marathon Race Report

First of all, Marine Corps Marathon has a reputation of being a flat race. The elevation chart for the current course supplied by the race organizers is a damnable lie. Let us disabuse anyone of that "flat" notion now:

Here's the race satellite map:

Official weather for the day - temperatures close to perfect but strong winds!

Mean Temperature 53 °F / 11 °C
Max Temperature 61 °F / 16 °C
Min Temperature 45 °F / 7 °C

Dew Point 36 °F / 2 °C
Average Humidity 54%
Maximum Humidity 77%
Minimum Humidity 30%

Wind Speed 12 mph / 19 km/h (NW)
Max Wind Speed 26 mph / 42 km/h
Max Gust Speed 30 mph / 48 km/h

Here's my summary chart below. Take note of the distance measured by my Garmin. 26.7 miles is a full half mile long! I always try to run the tangents, but in a course that crowded (and it was crowded with walkers three and four abreast the whole entire freaking way, and in many places the course was squeezed down to only one lane by spectators or at water stops) I'm sure I ran an extra half mile to get around their roadblocks. Which is enough for me to resolve to stick with smaller races in the future if I'm running for time! Especially when Garmin tells me my time for 26.2 miles was 5:17:01, nowhere close to my official race finish time of 5:23:51.

Here are some of the gory pace and heart rate details for you data geeks (and for my personal reference in the future):

Notice the around Mile 21.5 (just after the bridge) there was a long stop followed by a series of meltdown events? Next race I've decided that I'm just going to leave my digestive tract at home. It's really an annoying hassle to deal with its issues in the middle of a marathon, you know?

Finishing rank:
16577/20667 Total Finishers = 80.2%
5901/8057 Females = 73.2%
261/439 Women 50-54 = 59.4%

PR Reduction 27:47
Previous: 2004 Richmond Marathon, 5:51:38, 13:43 min/mile pace
Current: 2007 Marine Corps Marathon, 5:23:51, 12:21 min/mile pace

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Done with Marine Corps Marathon!

Unfortunately I managed to lose my pacer Dave at mile 5 today!! But he did fine without me and nearly equalled his time from last year (when he didn't lose time in the first five miles helping this slower runner). I got nearly a half-hour marathon PR so I'm pleased, even though it wasn't the sub-5 I had wished for, and I ran a 23+ minute positive split. Maybe next time!! But I did beat him on age-grade. :-)

Bib FName LName City State Country Age Sex ChipTime ClockTime Overall SexPl DivPl AgeGrade Start Split5M Split10M Half Split15M Split18M Split22M
22984 NANCY TOBY ST. MICHAELS MD 50 F 05:23:51 05:40:48 16577 5901 261 49.4% 00:16:57 0:57:39 1:54:31 2:30:38 2:53:36 3:29:41 4:25:51

So I hit #4 and #5 of my 6 goals (about a 29-minute marathon PR and about 54 minutes faster than my previous MCM). Not sure I was exactly smiling at the finish, I was beat! But I did finish upright.

Details to follow in a day or two, after sleep and of course, downloading my Garmin data! Thanks for checking in on me!

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Ulman 5K

Yes, Lance was there, and he ran, and finished 4th (I think). Not bad for starting out hard with no warmup!

But the real story of the day was the first successful 5K outing for the cancer survivors in Holly's fabulous Cancer to 5K program. Bravo, survivors!!!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Running with Lance

Did I mention that I'll be running with Lance on Saturday? No? Did that slip my mind? Sorry, senior moment there. . . .

Yeah, he and I will be racing a 5K together.

I expect he might beat me, but you never know. (Actually I expect I'll be jogging and walking it very slowly, since I have Marine Corps Marathon the next day).

All the credit goes to Holly for setting up the gig.

I just have one question for him: "Lance, I know you're running the New York City Marathon again this year, but are you working hard on your swimming? Because you have a lot of people that would love to see you beat Jaja in Kona next year."

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

My house looks like a CSI scene

No, it's not because of the axe murders.

My 4-year-old twins were on a time-out in their room for fighting when Catherine got a massive nosebleed (possibly from a kick in the nose by Elisabeth, but that allegation remains unproven). I thought all the screaming was just them continuing their usual carrying on. Nope, it was Catherine smearing blood on every available surface and Elisabeth getting horrified by it. It was utter carnage in there.

Had to go get out the carpet cleaner.... and wash the walls.... and all their clothes.... and the bedspread.... and the sheets..... and the bathroom and hall walls and floor....

Fortunately Catherine also discovered the way to take blood stains out of her new Ariel the Mermaid shirt. Dumping an entire 100-ounce bottle of concentrated liquid laundry detergent in the washing machine will do the trick, never fear.

Update: The bloodstains are murder to get out of the beige carpet. I used the upholstery cleaner machine when they were fresh, but they were still quite evident. This morning I scrubbed with a brush and dish detergent. They're faded but still visible. I hear club soda might help, that's the next step. Then I give up and live with bloodstains on the carpet. What exactly do the criminals use on CSI to get this stuff out? Bleach?

Monday, October 22, 2007

Marathon finishing times

I'm looking ahead and tapering hard for Marine Corps Marathon next Sunday. (Forecast continues to look slightly on the hot side, sunny and dry, low 47*F, high 68*F).

The median time for US marathon finishes is, as of 2005:
Men: 4:32
Women: 5:06
According to:
So fully half of all 382,000 US marathon finishes are slower than those times.

Sometimes I get the impression that faster runners have a very distorted idea of the pace and finishing times of the typical runner. (See many discussions rebuking slower runners for "poor pacing" or "lack of fitness" or "disrespecting the distance" in this year's Chicago Marathon, for example.)

I looked up the median time for finishers in my age group (50-54) on this course last year (2006) and it was 5:19.

So I have a huge set of tiered finishing goals for the 2007 Marine Corps Marathon, my 10th marathon:

  1. Dream Goal: Any chip time beginning with a "4" (under 11:27 min/mile pace)
  2. Under 5:06:00 (faster than the average USA female marathon) (under 11:40 min/mile pace)
  3. Under 5:19:00 (faster than the average finisher in my age group on the MCM course last year) (under 12:10 min/mile pace)
  4. Under 5:51:34 (PR - faster than my fastest previous marathon, Richmond in 2004) (under 13:25 min/mile pace)
  5. Beat my previous 2001 Marine Corps Marathon time (~6:17)
  6. Upright and smiling

If you would like to track my race position online next Sunday, the race goes off at 8:00 AM EDT and runner tracking is available here.

My MCM mantra: The race starts on the 14th Street Bridge. And oh yeah, BELIEVE!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Only a ten-miler today

Heh. Heh. I said "only" and "ten-miler" in the same sentence.

I'm heading out in a few minutes for my last longer run before Marine Corps Marathon.

I'll probably have to return home going past the Bush entourage on his visit here today. Hopefully they won't scream through our little town with sirens blaring and lights flashing and block the entire street - that's just tacky, calling attention to yourself that way.

Updates later. . . .

The helicopters kept zooming overhead while I was running, in advance of the presidential visit. When I finished up and headed back through town to go home there were numerous state, county, and local cops hanging around along with plentiful and obvious Secret Service. Before 9 o'clock in the morning. I can't imagine how expensive a little trip across the Bay was, nor why he can't sit in the traffic at the toll plaza like everyone else. . . .

I don't take great photos while simultaneously driving, but here's one in front of the Inn at Perry Cabin with the ominous black Suburbans all lined up toward the rear:

Here's an AP photo of him today in front of the lighthouse at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum, about a half mile from my house:

Meanwhile, I had cleaned up and we escaped the traffic tangle in town on the ferry to the next peninsula and enjoyed the beautiful autumn afternoon next to the Tred Avon River in the quaint little town of Oxford, Maryland. Appropriately, the girls wore their "Little Oxford" shirts that grandpa brought back from England.

Friday, October 19, 2007


Not much to report - just starting the final countdown to Marine Corps Marathon (10-day forecast: sunny and high of 68*F! Woot!) and getting some vaccinations (chicken pox and hepatitis) done for the girls, etc.

Two recent anecdotes:

Tonight they got into the pots and pans and were playing with them. Good fun, so I didn't pay much attention to the bashing and crashing noises. Then later when I came into the kitchen I discovered that Catherine had found the muffin tin and had the bright idea to make "cupcakes". So she filled two of the little round places for the muffins with butter and stuck the tin in the oven.

Fortunately she doesn't know how to turn the oven on.

Then the other day we were driving and looking at the trees that are changing colors here just now. I pointed out one vivid scarlet tree and said, "Look how bright that tree is! It looks like it's on fire!"

I hear Elisabeth's tiny little voice from the back seat: "Uh-oh!"

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

We have our flu shots!

I took the girls over to the county community center and we all got our flu shots for this winter done! They were the only kids in a very long line of elderly folks, so after waiting for perhaps 20 minutes they let us go to the front of the line, which was very nice.

Two other nice things - They used a new device that shoots it straight into your arm with no needle, kind of Star Trekkie. Well, new to me at least. It felt just the same as a shot, though. No anaphalaxis yet. So far.

And the lady that handled our check-in did some sleight-of-hand with the paperwork so that the shots for the girls were free. $20 for all three of us instead of $60 is good! (So now I can put part of that $40 the county funds paid for me back into the girls' school Halloween party as Class Drudge Mom Parent).

So it will take another two weeks to build immunity, but then we're prepared once the flu starts making the rounds this winter.

I didn't tell the girls that we also have to go to the pediatrician tomorrow and get more shots for chicken pox and hepatitis. That little piece of information can just wait until tomorrow. They were super-good today, only one little *sob* out of Elisabeth during her shot, so I really hate to make them go through it all again tomorrow at the doctor's office.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

How fast can I go?

Based on one of my big sources of inspiration, my friend Linae, I went to the old results to see what it would take to go Top Ten at Eagleman (half Ironman) and Columbia (Olympic) next year in my age group (50-54). Well, just because I'm racing age group instead of Athena there next year simply because I don't want to start out the day as a Tail End Charlie with the Athenas in the next-to-last swim wave.

Oh crap.

Actually, I found out that the AG competition is much more fierce at Eagleman than I knew - the times are much faster and packed tighter together. Maybe has to do with that little Kona-qualifier cachet.

Top ten at Eagleman would require about a ~6:00 finish: roughly swim ~43:00, bike 3:11, run 1:57.

Dang those old hags are fast. That sounds like I might as well aim to be the first woman on the moon. At first. But then I start breaking it down and think that any one of the disciplines is within reach with hard work, so maybe....

Top ten at Columbia is much closer to me, about a 3:37 finish: swim ~37:00, bike 1:36, run 1:10. All well within reach in each discipline if I had a great day.

It's just that putting it all together on one day that's kind of tricky. But that's what keeps it interesting.

Just saving these numbers in my notes, so to speak, for future reference. . . .

Monday, October 15, 2007

I wanna run Las Vegas

I just heard that they're going to try to set a record for Running Elvises at the 2007 Las Vegas Marathon on December 2nd.

I want to be a part of history.

I'd also like to open up a can of running whupass on fat Elvis decked out in full regalia.

Hmmm..... let's see, flights/hotel would run about $500. . . . marathon registration $85. . . .

Eat what you want

We all know what healthy eating is and its positive effects, right?


I love this blog:

Defy the Food Nazis.
Eat what you want.
Life is short.

Marine Corps Marathon weather

In keeping with my usual obsession with the weather at long events, I've been checking out forecasts leading up to Marine Corps Marathon in two weeks.

The long-term forecast isn't out for race day yet, but it's still looking pretty warm for at least the next 10 days:
70*F to 82*F for the highs, lows only down to 50-53*F.

Here's the climatological data on race day, just in case you were wondering - yeah, if it's full sun and no wind and 65 degrees, that can feel pretty darned hot on those 4-lane concrete roads when you're trying to run:
Day: 28 Oct
Record High 83°F
Record Low 25°F
Normal High 65°F
Normal Low 40°F
Mean 52°F
Normal Precip 0.11in
Normal Snowfall 0in

I'm betting on a warm race day. I'm going minimalist again - my standard shorts and my sleeveless jersey that I wore for a couple other PRs this year. I'll wear a throwaway long-sleeve tshirt to the start, and then run with as little as I can after that. If I get cold, I'm not running hard enough. :-) I'll also have to wear a waist-pack too to hold all my tons of Clif Bloks (26-30, 1 per mile plus a few extra) and salt caps (~20 if I use Endurolytes) and my phone. I might leave a jacket and my phone with baggage check, though.

I do like several of the MCM clothing items that are being sold this year - I might spend a little money at the expo!!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Training for Halloween

We're in training for it this year, because it's soon to become a Big Event in the household. Studying up, determining if this is the correct white hairband for Cinderella and if the tiara goes with it or not, and so forth. We're trying on our dresses, trying out our best curtsey, and practicing walking in our high-heeled slippers (NOT running, because that's how Cinderella lost hers, of course. Catherine, I said NO running).

We're still negotiating about the coach, horses, and long white gloves which have been requested. But I tell you, it's hard to resist her when she starts twirling in her dress and quoting lines from the movie, "It's more than I'd ever hoped for! It's like a wonderful dream come true!"

We've got another Little Mermaid in our household too, but she's afraid of the red Ariel wig. Hmm. It might have to be a little Curly Top mermaid instead of a redhead.

Not planning the 2008 season, sort of

I think there should be a moratorium on planning the next year's athletic events until at least the Halloween candy has been eaten.

I'm just saying.

Except if you're going to participate in some of the Big Triathlons, you are compelled to enter them up to a year in advance. Which sucks.

I've got some events in mind, some I've had to enter already if I wanted to get in, entered one marathon just for the early entry discount (and I'm not fully committed to it, I can always switch to the half marathon), and some I've already decided against (another Ironman attempt because of insufficient training time and insufficient desire, Big Sur marathon because of the excessive travel time for me).

I'm still mentally casting around for a major focal point to my training next year, though. I'd like some big event that I can get excited about. (Ideas for me??) Or maybe I should just get excited about doing better at the same old nearby events. Hmmm. Whatever it is, it's got to be FUN. (Which also precludes an ultramarathon for me, btw, and hitting both feet with a sledgehammer - same difference).

Uh oh

I just saw a new 5K race offered in the next town over from me. Five days after Marine Corps Marathon.

Hmm. I'd really like to try to finally run a sub-30 5K, but that may not be the time to attempt it!! But I'll probably go out just to support the new race and hobble around the course slowly.

With crutches. And an oxygen tank.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Final longer pre-marathon run

I'm up early for my last longer run before Marine Corps Marathon in 2 weeks. What a contrast to one week ago! Last week - 75-80*F and 99-100% humidity. Today - 46*F and a mere 81% humidity. The plan is to do 10 miles easy and then 5 miles hard. Hopefully I'll get some better ideas about where to dial in my race pace in a couple of weeks.

Hmm, where have my cotton running gloves gone?

Updates later. . . .

WOOOO HOOOOO!!! 15.5 miles done today at an 11:07 min/mile moving pace, in nearly perfect weather, finishing at 59*F and 44% humidity. If I could achieve that on race day, that would get me a 4:52 marathon! BUT I'm quite sure I can't hold that pace for another 10.7 miles, nor hit that pace if I count in some walking at the water stops. But on a perfect day, a sub-5:00 may still be within reach!!! And even on a not-so-perfect day, somewhere in the low 5:xxs is definitely probable. Details from Garmin to follow after a hot bath (nooooo no ice baths for me!)

And here are the charts and numbers that I know you've all been waiting for:

Starting before dawn:

The aid station:

A fine finish!!!!

My training buddy David completed a FULL marathon today in training in 4:37, including about 12 miles running under his usual pace with me. Well done!!! Too many miles for me to risk it two weeks out from the marathon - I'm nursing along a painful little toe and some plantar fascitis that I don't want to aggravate unless it's for the Big Race!!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Cooler is better

Ahhh. . . . today is 59*F. MUCH better for running! I only had time for 2 miles but I averaged about a 10:35 min/mile pace with my heart rate averaging only 154 bpm, which is a brisk speed for me when it includes my (usually slow) warmup mile.

I just got a new pair of shoes and I think they're a big improvement, and I plan to wear them for the marathon. I am a strictly Asics gal - the men's models come wide enough and sturdy enough for my crappy duck feet. But the last pair I got was a new model (Gel-1120) without much cushion and I started getting some new aches and pains in my feet. Now in this pair (Gel-Foundation 7), after only a couple of runs, they're feeling better. I just wish they'd stop "improving" the shoes and stop discontinuing models that work for me!!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Blood pressure

I haven't been to a physician since my girls were born, 4.5 years ago. BUT I just checked my BP on my home monitor that I used for a while while I was pregnant (put away and couldn't find since then) and 5 readings were between:

127 to 129 systolic
76 to 78 diastolic

(I had a couple lower readings, actually, but it was adjusted slightly wrong).

COOL!!! Not too bad for an overweight 50-year-old!
Now I wish I could do a blood lipid profile on myself and I wouldn't need to go in to the d*mn doc at all!!
So this triathlon stuff may be good for something after all, even if I'm not fast or competitive, eh??

Dead Garmin Forerunner 305

This has happened to me twice now. The thing goes dead, has a blank screen, and becomes totally unresponsive. Each time I have assumed that the battery has given out or it's not connecting properly with the recharger.

BUT! It just needed to be rebooted.

Press the mode and the lap/reset button simultaneously for a few seconds and voila, it comes back to life!

It didn't even lose any data.

I don't know why it occurs, or what prompts it to go dead. This fix is listed in the manual, but it's not obvious to find.

It's become increasingly obvious that I've become addicted to my Garmin, too, since I really don't like to run without it any more and was even thinking of buying a new one when I thought this one was dead. I want to know my current pace, average pace, and distance run. All the time.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Chase Bank sucks

A rant here. Those of you looking for triathlon stuff, you can move along now.

Last week I had an incident with my Chase Bank Visa credit card which was truly aggravating.

I'm in the line at our local grocery (that I've shopped at with this credit card probably an average of once per week for three years) and the checker tells me the bank refused the card.

WTF!? I knew it was paid up. Huh? The card is not due to expire until November!??

This prompted an annoying flailing about. I used my debit card to pay the $212 for the groceries, but that took money out of my checking account and I knew there were some big checks outstanding on that account so I had to run and get some cash and go to the bank and deposit it quickly.

It turns out (which took 2 phone calls to figure out) that Chase Bank was going to mail out a replacement that day. A replacement that hadn't even gotten in the mail yet. And since I was making a charge in a different state than the credit card was registered in (like I do all the time and have for years) the computer triggered a shut-down on the card.

So the moral of the story is don't use your credit card within 2 months of an expiration date or you're likely to be embarrassed at check-out.

Bah. Of course it's useless to complain to them, too. So I'm left to rant here.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

It can always be worse

You could have been running the Chicago Marathon today and gotten stopped on course.

Whew! I sure wouldn't want to be the race official to have to stand in the middle of the road and tell 5,000 runners they couldn't continue on course!

It's about 91*F with heat index there right now (3PM local).

Update: One fatality reported. Whew, a 35-year-old guy started the race at 8AM, and was pronounced dead at 12:50PM. Only 4000 of the 36,000 entrants finished the marathon, officially. 302 hospitalizations = nearly 1 percent of entrants. There were a total of 10,934 DNFs.

Update2: There was another runner fatality today at the Army Ten Miler in Washington, DC, where I heard they ran out of water on the course.

Maiden voyages

We were finally able to take the two kayaks and the two girls out for their inaugural voyages together! Loading and unloading the kayaks was the hardest chore, naturally, but once we were launched it was great fun to paddle them around a couple of nearby inlets on a beautiful calm day.

Average speed was only about 22 minutes per mile for 2 miles - we'll have to work on that pace a little as we train!