One triathlon, one marathon down…one marathon to go! The Chicago Marathon went pretty well. In spite of the nasty, sudden drop in temperature, my official time was 3 hours 33 mins and 34 secs. Not a personal best (LA was 3:29:54) but pretty good considering the cold and getting over a nasty cold.
Big sis did great. She struggled a little due to wearing some compression tights she had not done a long run in (remember: nothing new on race day!) but the Turner girls are tough and she was determined to finish and she did. Running a marathon is always about you vs you, a test of will and physical strength.
At mile 14 I saw my niece with her “Go Mommy and Go Aunt Jen Jen” and “Move Over Kenyans. Let the Turner Ladies Pass” (what can I say? the kid is creative 🙂 signs. She really lifted my spirits, because around that time you’re like “ugh, I’ve got 12 more friggin’ miles to go!”. Seeing her see us was by far the highlight of the race and certainly helped me to push through. I hope she remembers the day and how her mother demonstrated how you always finish what you start.
There were more than a few meltdowns on the course. I didn’t witness it but my niece said that one woman stopped and said “[Expletive] this! I’m going to Starbucks!” Apparently when she went to leave the course, an official said that she either needed to finish or go to the medical tent. She told him to step aside because she was going to Starbucks. I do hope she enjoyed her mocha mocha whatever whatever drink, and honestly I do understand. I could have dealt with a frappe something or other myself.
One woman at mile 18 just stopped and was crying to her boyfriend who had jumped in for moral support, “I don’t understand?! How can these people be possibly still running?!” Yep we were. And I have to admit I thought we were a little nuts too 🙂
Miles 16-19 are the toughest for me in any marathon because you’re in no man’s land. You’ve come far but you still have far too go. And I don’t care what course you’re on, these miles always are the thinnest in terms of spectators. It’s just you and you baby, and at that point, you’re getting pretty sick of yourself.
And then you hit 20 miles and you know what a 10K feels like so you pull it together and focus. The next three you hunker down, the next two you pick up the pace, and the last you lay it on the line, because the crowd is cheering, you’re cheering, you FEEL it, all the struggle, all the miles, your work…there is light at the end of the tunnel, baby and this thing is about to END. It’s time to bring it home. You will finish, you must! And you do, crossing the finish line, the victory all your own. An incredible feeling. AWESOME.
Man, I was tired! The flat terrain actually beat me up more than hillier terrain because you are using the same muscle groups over and over again. I recovered (have some tips on post-marathon recovery) and taught two cardio classes and worked a fitness expo on Saturday. It was a busy week.
Anyway, I’m so thrilled to have run the marathon in my hometown. In some ways I’ve come full circle, returning home, hopefully a better, stronger person in every sense of the words. To do this with my sister, to hopefully provide an inspiring memory to my 7 year old niece, is priceless and something I know I will never forget.
Ok. So seriously?! I can’t even believe my hometown. I arrived Thursday with weather sunny, seventy, and AWESOME! Forget what a difference 24 hours can make, try 4 hours.
The weather turned cold, rainy, and yucky. Overnight the temperature dropped 40 degrees! Are you kidding me?! I brought some cold weather running gear but was not really planning to use it. In the 15 mins I had to pack, I scooped up a bunch of stuff from my running drawer but unfortunately my tried and true running beat up tights were not in my totally organized (not-so-much in this case) scoopage. So I bought a bunch of overpriced (yet super cute ) running gear at the Expo and had a blast with my sister trying things on. We’re not sure how this is all going to go down tomorrow but we sure will look cute!
We are both getting over colds. She thinks she’s got a sinus infection, I’m still a little phlegmy (umm-umm good), we’re both exhausted because these colds, although better, really knocked us out…we’re both like, “Whose brilliant idea was this anyway?!” Yours big sis. Yours.
So now, I’m hydrating, sleeping, staying off of my feet and still trying to decided what I will wear tomorrow – briefs or tights. It will be a down to the wire decision and as monumental as trying to achieve world peace. Wish me luck!
Yesterday marked a less-than-awesome conclusion to training for the Chicago Marathon next Sunday. All week I’ve had a little tickle in my throat and by Friday night that tickle had turned into a full on nasty scratch with accompanying chills and not-so-sexy phlegmy cough. Awesome.
I was up and down all night long, sneezing and coughing. I blew my nose so much I had to dip into my secret t.p. stash (more info than you ever wanted to no). Even Max, my dog, was like “C’mon. Knock it off. Some of us are trying to sleep around here.”
Saturday morning, I pulled myself out of bed for one last run before next Sunday’s marathon and to also meet the MAD COOL RUNNING CREW.
My run was TERRIBLE. Seriously, everything was tight, my knees were rickety. I was doing like a 9:45 mile pace, 2 mins off my normal pace. Ugh. But I simply didn’t have it and I didn’t push it. What I got is what I got. I’m not going to get any faster so there’s no point in pushing it.
Over the course of the run, my legs did loosen up and I started to feel like my old self. By the time the CREW showed up I was feeling more or less human again and not like the sweaty mess that was dragging one leg behind her like an extra from Thriller.
The CREW showed up in spite of the cold, rainy, weather and honestly, hanging out with them was the best medicine I could have possible had.
Went for a swim to take some of the soreness, which also helped, and then headed to Jersey to pick up my bike. (Thank goodness it arrived safely with no damage.) Then it was head home and more Epsom salt bath therapy and work on MAD COOL. My life is so exciting, For excitement and if I’m really good, one of these days I will finally watch The Hunger Games on DVD. Craziness man. I’m a wild one.
Anyhoo, this week leading up to the marathon is all about relaxing. I wanted to get all of my running around done this weekend to make that more likely. I leave for Chicago Thursday. I may do a little running on the treadmill Tues but that’s it. Really looking forward to going home and running this race with my sister and capping it all off by celebrating my mother’s 72 birthday. It’s good and special. I’m glad to share this experience with my family.
So now I’m going to take a lesser dose of oil of oregano and hit the hay. Earlier today I put a few drops too many in my water and almost blew my head up. That stuff is effective but crazy strong!
One race down. Two marathons to go!
Saturday I completed the Malibu Triathlon, Olympic Distance: .9 mile swim 24.9 mile bike course, 6.2 mile run.
It was a good race. Overall I came in 11th out of 54 women in my age group with a time of 2 hrs 46 and 59 secs.
The race was held a Zuma Beach in Malibu. I used to do the slightly shorter sprint distance race when I lived in L.A. but have not done this race in over 4 years.
It was a little more complicated to do this race coming from New York. I had to ship my bike from New York to L.A. Both time-consuming, expensive, and stressful. My bike didn’t get put back together until the day before the race so I didn’t have a chance to ride it again before the race. On the course, I noticed that the gears were not shifting, and were getting stuck. So I made the strategic decision to choose a gear that could work on the flats and hills and stuck with it. Not ideal to have one gear for all things in the course, but I’ve had my chain fall off in other races, and honestly, rather than dealing with time lost time that could happen with that, it’s better to just go slower and deal with the inefficiencies of staying in one gear. That was a little bit of a bummer but okay. I decided to preserve my legs for the run.
Swim was good, a little choppy, but good. Swimming in the ocean is still a little freaky and there’s so much more to manage, the waves, the giant seaweed that entangles you, the pack of super aggressive women who are swimming around and on top of you… a lot. But it’s great when you finish and can move on. Get in. Get out.
I arrived at the run with my legs intact and had a good run. 46:48 secs. 151 out of 1152 participants.
That’s all the spots and dots of it: the pre-race prep and logistics, the during race strategy, the times. That’s one small piece of the story.
But let me tell you what it FELT like. Let me tell you why I put myself through the torture of getting up at 3:15 in the morning. To drive an hour, stumble around in the dark with my bike, deal with all the stuff you have to do in transition area to set your stuff up. I do it because every time I conquer my fear and deal with the ocean, and speed on a downhill on a bike, and when I cross the finish line and the announcer says “Here’s Jennifer Turner from New York City”. It feels AWESOME! Like YEAH. Pop my collar on that!
The energy around these races, the amazing women you meet like Abby, Gaia, and Breanna, the personal accomplishment you feel when you have EARNED your finish, that feeling is something no one can take a away from you, and it stays with you and permeates all aspects of your life.
I wish this feeling for all of you. I’m not saying go out and do a marathon or a triathlon, but I am saying find an activity you enjoy, determine an athletic goal that is a challenge for you, make it happen, and achieve it. What happens is about so much more than time, rank, or medals. It’s about YOU. Through this setting and achieving goals, and challenging yourself, you grow, and you add an entirely new dimension of fortitude to your personality. It really is MAD COOL. Go get’em!
One race down. Two marathons to go. Looking forward. I better get some sleep!
Well folks, we are T-5 until the Malibu Triathlon, this Saturday September 15th! I am thrilled to get one race under my belt and done. What I love about taper week before a race is that you suddenly have all this time on your hands. Since you can’t work out and you’re storing every bit of energy (cause you’re going to need it!) you just can’t work out as long or as hard.
I’m okay with this because quite frankly, I need a break.
Saturday I did a nice flat, 5 mile run around the reservoir in Central Park before I met my MAD COOL RUNNING CREW, gals. It was a great run after the totally not-great run I had had the week prior. I did my run before the sky cracked open and a monsoon ensued. I ran with the ladies in spite of the crazy rain. They were absolute troopers. It’s one thing to run in the rain after you’ve been running for a while. To run in the rain as a new runner is really hard. You’re still not use running. Part of you kind of wants to bag it because you’re still assessing if you want to run in any weather condition, and at what discomfort threshold. But they hung tough. So proud of them!
Then I went for a recovery swim to get some of the sting and soreness out. Swimming is amazing for this. I highly recommend some sort of water therapy post workouts. You can do hot baths with Epsom salts followed by cold showers and/or you can swim. It really works. REALLY.
Post work out nutrition is also important. I had a protein shake and a very small multi grain muffin. In general I have cut out bread carbs from my diet and get my carbs from fruits and vegetables, but post workout my body was craving an immediate carb fix. Also really important to get protein in to help repair those muscle. I prefer to get my protein source from hemp seeds. Which also has Omega 3 and Omega 6.
Then it was off to get some acupuncture and work on loosening up my hamstrings, calves, and feet before the big race. And that’s it.
Taper week is the most boring week. You just want to rest, chill, and try not to do any damage to what you already have, because in the words of my coach Sid, “what you got, is what you got, girl, so go get’em.” I will Sid.
Wish me luck!
Part 9 – A Really Long, Seriously, Long, Long Run – Did I mention it was LONG?
Saturday was BRUTAL. Wish I could sugar coat it and say differently, but it was. It was the last time on my bike before the Malibu Triathlon 9/15 and the last long run I could do before the Chicago Marathon October 7th.
I got in trouble on Saturday because of things I did on Friday. You know how you’re working on something and you get really into it and you think “just a little bit more”, you want to get a little farther before you stop, and the next thing you know it’s midnight? Well that’s what happened to me. I messed around and really didn’t hit the hay until 12:30. Then because my mind was racing, I couldn’t fall asleep until 1:30. Not good, Jen.
I woke up late and then, because I didn’t follow my on rule, I didn’t have all of my stuff laid out the night before, so I was running around like a chicken with my head cut off and couldn’t find my cycling jersey (still can’t find it, Max must’ve taken it). I ended up grabbing a black running jacket, lightweight breathing material, but still black, and got out of the house.
Okay. At least we were moving. It was hot at 8am. Not brutal but hot and even though there was some breeze on the bike, the black jacket didn’t help. When I finished 2 hours later, with a mini brick (1 mile run right after). I was dehydrated. I then had to go over to the bike store, ship my bike to LA, where it will go to another bike store and be reassembled. I won’t see it until 2 days before the race. So many logistics!
Then I had to run errands, so by the time I got to the park it was 12:30 and hot as Hades. And btw, I was still dehydrated. The run started out okay, I even had a moment of glory when L.L. Cool J’s “Mama Said Knock You Out” came on in my playlist. But it quickly went down hill from there. Mama knocked me out.
Some of it was because it was late, it was 90 degrees, I was dehydrated (I had to stop several times to drink water. I usually never stop but I had to). Some of it was running twenty miles by yourself (it was closer to 22 with the run over to the park and back), well it’s a lot. And you know what? I was kinda over it. Running that distance can be boring and overwhelming, especially when you’re not feeling so great.
Also I normally would not do a 17 mile run then a 22 mile run the next week. I would have normally done a shorter 8 mile run this week to give my body time to recover. But next week I must recover because Malibu is on the 15th. So much to do. Sigh.
But I finished. It was ugly. It was a patchwork of running and walking but I got it done. I was determined. I stretched, showered, had a protein shake, then got a painful and long-overdue massage.The post workout maintenance and recovery are critical. You need to get protein and carbs into your system, hydrate (add lemon it really helps), use a combination of ice and heat to help get the inflammation out.
After the massage I treated myself to Chipotle and watched Law & Order (so predictable). My brain was fried.
Then I did an epsom salt bath, super hot for 10-15ms. Then a cold shower. Then got in my Target jammy jams and went to SLEEP. Felt much better the next day. And now I’m back and ready to hit.
So learn from my mistakes. Here are a few tips:
1) Go to bed. Whatever you’re working on will be there the next day. Let it go.
2) Lay your stuff out the night before. Get organized. It really helps you to be more efficient with your time.
3) Be well hydrated going into a workout. That means start even the night before.
4) Don’t do a triathlon and 2 marathons. Obvious, right? That’s kinda how it all shook out for me in terms of schedule but you need balance and you need time to recover. I’m excited to do all of these races and it’s been a very productive summer but I’m also looking forward to taking my own advice. Wish me luck!
Part 8 – The Percy Sutton 5K Race Was a Blast!
The Percy Sutton 5K race was an absolutely phenomenal experience! The ladies did an amazing job. All finished and are already talking about the next race. They have caught the running bug and I couldn’t be more thrilled.
Originally, I was not planning to race the race, just run it with my CREW. The training experience was not about me at all but hopefully a shared experienced for the ladies in which they could stretch themselves physically, emotionally, and create bonds through this shared experience.
But my CREW encouraged me to race it. “Don’t hang back with us. Run, girl, run!”
So I did. In spite of a less than awesome training week and I didn’t sleep well for two nights before (I was so nervous for everybody!) I finished in 22 minutes, turned around and went back for the CREW. It was exciting bringing everyone in! Alisha’s moment was particularly memorable.
She really EARNED her finish. http://www.madcoolfitness.com/uncategorized/alisha-crosses-the-finish-line/
Congrats to her and the the rest of my MAD COOL RUNNING CREW!
After the race, I still had 17 miles to run. Because of the Malibu Triathlon on September 15th, my training schedule has to be adjusted, with my long runs pulled up and worked around races. All of my longest runs have to be completed by 9/1. The 17 miler was tough. Even though the 5K was only 3.1 miles it was very hilly, so my hamstrings were KILLING ME but I got through it.
Normally, Sunday is my rest day, but because I needed to get more time on the bike, I had to pull it together, get up, and head out to Jersey to cycle. Ugh! I really didn’t want to do it because I was tired, but I really needed to get the time in the saddle in. Also, the thing about triathlon is that you must practice the bike/run transition. I don’t care how strong a runner you are, those first few steps off of the bike are a little wobbly so you’ve got to practice and get used to that feeling.
I go through that and then it was off to do something fun. My sister and seven year old niece were visiting from Chicago to come to the U.S. Open. My niece has been taking tennis lessons for a few years, and my sister, continuing the Audrey Turner tradition of exposing her kids as much as possible, has been bringing my niece to the Open for a few years. She appreciates it about as much a a seven year old can but of course was more interested in getting a U.S. Open T-shirt with glitter.
We then saw then saw the movie “ParaNorman” which terrified me. I’m sitting in a room filled with kids yet I’m the only one screaming my head off during the suspenseful parts. Embarassing. Blaire, my niece, thought I was hysterical.
Is it just me or have these “kid” movies gotten a lot more adult?
Tomorrow the MAD COOL RUNNING CREW will run or walk a 5K race, 3.1 miles. For many, they have never challenged themselves in this way before. In crossing the finish line, many will also cross and break down barriers of what they thought they could do, and will think of themselves differently. It will be a seminal moment.
To my CREW, ladies, I’m so very proud of you! You were courageous and stuck with it. Thankfully no blood was lost, but there was a lot of sweat, and a few tears from all of the laughing we did. It was a blast!
We trained as a CREW and tomorrow, we will finish as a CREW. Tomorrow is not the end but just the beginning. Don’t stop. Keep going because the road to good health is a journey that never ends until you punch out, and we don’t want that happening any time soon! Good luck tomorrow and remember, especially tonight…
STEP AWAY FROM THAT CHICKEN WING!
Good luck, ladies!