Monday, April 30, 2012

Mother Runner & Dashing Daughter Finish 2012 Run For Babies Together

On Sunday, April 29, 2012, my daughter and I ran the Run for Babies 5K! The 5K run was held before the March of Dimes "March for Babies" Walk. I decided to run with a baby doll in a Bjorn along side my daughter. I knew this wasn't going to be a race about speed, but my daughter started off fast that I had to run to catch up to her! Unfortunately, my daughter didn't understand the concept of "don't start off too fast" so she hit the wall at mile 1! ;-)

I told her we should keep going even thought I wasn't sure if she would be able to finish. She started to cry when runners kept passing us. Finally, after all the other runners past us, we were the last two before the police car.. But, we kept moving! When we reached the finish line, I let her cross first, so she wouldn't be last! :-)
Zoe Hill
Place: 187
Pace: 15:10
Time: 46:59

Malinda Ann Hill
Place 188
Pace: 15:10
Time: 47:00

Much to our surprise, we learned she placed 1st in her age group! It's all about who shows up! :-)

Place O'All Bib# Name G Age Tagtime Pace
===== ===== ===== = === ========== == ======= 1 187 209 Zoe Hill F 9 46:59 15:10

Thursday, April 26, 2012

REDEFINE POSSIBLE: 19th Annual Philadelphia Marathon

2008 Philadelphia Marathon Finishers
*P.S. One of the only times Malinda finished before Leah! ;-)

Whether you’re a seasoned marathoner or a first-timer, Philadelphia is the place for you. 
The course is scenic and the terrain is mostly flat.
The temperature is usually ideal and the crowds are awesome.
Join me this fall and REDEFINE POSSIBLE!

My 1st Philadelphia Marathon
November 23, 2008
(Age 37)

Overall Place: 4,210 / 7,344
Gender Place: 1,379 / 3,040
Division Place: 248 / 511
Age Grade: 56.4%
Pace: 9:47.4
5K: 0:30:41
10K: 1:00:16
15K: 1:30:50
25K: 2:39:04
30K: 3:09:07
35K: 3:36:38
40K: 4:04:41

My 2nd Philadelphia Marathon
November 20, 2011
(Age 40)

My 3rd Philadelphia Marathon
November 18, 2012
 PR? ;-)
(Age 41)

Monday, April 23, 2012

Darden Cares 5K

"I hate you garmin! I would be celebrating a 5K PR
if you didn't tell me I only ran 2.98 miles. But it is a 2.98 PR - 21:30!" 
Leah Connor's post on Facebook ;-)

Omg loved that race this morning. Kinda annoyed it was only 2.98 miles but I actually practiced racing and had so much fun doing it. I think I'm finally learning how to race this shorter distance after 4 years and dozens of attempts. Early on I passed a younger woman and then she passed me, but then i passed her again on a downhill and opened up my lead on the final uphill. And along the way i passed quite a few guys as well ... All much younger than me! Whoo hoo! 21:30 which even though the course was shorter than yesterday, I ran much faster than. Of course the pace today is only slightly faster than my cherry blossom ten mile pace (7:15). I hate you Cville hills! Still it's good to run 7:13 pace for almost 3 miles the day after running 7:20 pace for 3.1 miles!

Darden Cares 5K Results
April 22, 2012

The annual Darden Cares 5K, with proceeds benefiting the UVA Children's Hospital. Hosted by the Darden Graduate School of Business Administration at the University of Virginia. Sponsored by Ragged Mountain Running, Ivy Gardens, Office of Student Affairs, CrossFit Charlottesville, Charlottesville Skin & Laser, SEAL Team PT, CRS Incorporated, and MSC Property Management

Narberth Cystic Fibrosis Run

Over 700 runners took part in the 16th annual Narberth Cystic Fibrosis Run on Saturday, April 21. The five-mile run followed a certified course around Narberth. The Narberth Cystic Fibrosis Run raises money to help make wishes come true for kids with cystic fibrosis. Cystic fibrosis is an inherited, chronic disease that wreaks havoc on the lungs and digestive system, and for which there is no cure. Organized by siblings Ame Austin, Molly McBryan and Matt McCloskey, who has cystic fibrosis, the mission of the Narberth Cystic Fibrosis Run is simple: to fulfill the wishes and dreams of children living with cystic fibrosis and give them respite from the daily turmoil inflicted by this disease. Since the Run’s inception, it has fulfilled more than 80 wishes of children living with cystic fibrosis.

 Before my 1st "normal" race since the runDisney Princess Half Marathon.

My two "must have" race items - Brooks Addiction running shoes & Team Sparkle skirt.

I was so excited after the Narberth Cystic Fibrosis Run I had the "guts" to ask someone to take my photo! And then I took an awful selfie. ;-)

2012 Official Results
45:34 (5 miles)
9:07 (average pace)
323/689 (Overall)
114/326 (Female)
35/89 (Division 40-49)

2008 Official Results
42:32 (5 miles)
290/714 (Overall)
81/390 (Female)
32/120 (Division 30-39)

Run for Autism 5K

Over 700 runners at the start of the Run for Autism 5K
Charlottesville, VA
April 21, 2012

Leah Ann Connor wearing her "Our Doubts Are Traitors" t-shirt
 Unofficial Time: 22:35 

Dunkin' Donuts ran a PR too! :-)

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Over Qualifying for 2013 Boston Marathon

Leah Connor
"BQ = BFD"

I am pretty sure I won’t believe that I actually qualified for the 2013 Boston Marathon until I’m at the starting line in Hopkinton next April. And I’m certain l will be a little anxious between now and September 14, when I finally will be able to submit my application with all the other BQs who met their standard by 5 minutes or more.

Four years ago, when I went from running my 1st marathon in 5:17 (Marine Corps Mararthon) to finishing my 2nd in 3:54:47 (with negative splits and a portapotty stop during the 2008 National Marathon), I thought, wow, maybe some day I could qualify for Boston if I train properly and continue to age. At the time, I was almost 37 and the BQ for my age group was 3:45. I thought I might need to wait until I turn 40, when the standard eased to a more feasible 3:50, but the goal was set. I wanted to earn my spot to run Boston.

My first real attempt to qualify was at the 2008 Richmond Marathon. That dream died pretty quickly. It was an unseasonably warm day and it was abundantly clear by mile 5 that the BQ dream was dead. My husband, who was waiting in the hotel lobby with our two kids wasn’t very happy that it took me 43 minutes longer than I wanted to finish (no late checkout!).

My 2nd and 3nd attempts to qualify were both in Philadelphia. In 2009, I was just glad to finally run under 4 hours for the 2nd time. (That was a pretty insane training season, I ran 3 marathons in 6 weeks, no wonder I ended up with sesamoid stress fractures!). In 2010, I knew by the halfway point that it wasn’t going happen, by mile 20, I was updating my facebook status.

My 4th and presumably my final attempt occurred at the 2011 Chicago Marathon. By the time I got to Chicago, I thought if I can’t do it now, I just give up. Maybe I’m just not made for marathons. I’ll start focusing on PRs in shorter distances. You can read all about how that went in my post, “They should have a medal for dropping out.”

So how the heck did I go from my most painful marathon in October 2011 where I struggled to finish in 4:07:45 and vowed to never run another marathon again … to 6 months later running 3:38:04? Oh, and during that 6 month period, how did I also find the time and energy to run two sub 4:00 marathons, one 17 seconds from my PR at the time (3:55:04) and the other my 3rd fastest marathon (3:56:07) the day after running a half-marathon (thank you Disney for creating the goofy challenge!). Oh and I also ran huge PRs in the 5K, 10 mile and half-marathon during a 6 week period from February 27-April 7. What is my secret? What magic food am I eating? What key workouts am I doing? What drugs am I taking? I have no clue!

What I do know is that there was no straight line up to this recent success. My first real PRs, the ones from a breakout season in 2008, stayed out of grasp for what seemed like an eternity. I didn’t come anywhere close to them for nearly 2 years, and finally, after many ups and downs, tears, disappointments, and struggles, I broke them in 2011, after 3 years of seemingly no progress. Now, a year later, I’ve improved again in every distance, and by significant margins.

So what is the key to my success? Part of me thinks all of this is all a fluke and I’m just lucky. I’ve had perfect racing weather and no significant injuries that have kept me sidelined. But I do know It’s important to figure out what works and what doesn’t in terms of training. So here are a few things that I do know.
  1. Racing weight is key (for me at least). I’ve found the perfect weight for me (+/- 5 lbs) at which I’ve run all my best races. If I gain an extra 5-10 lbs on top of the high end of my racing weight, I start to slow down. Losing weight is the closest thing to a performance enhancing drug, it’s got the potential to make that much of a difference in your racing times. (For more information, read Racing Weight: How to Get Lean for Peak Perfomance by Matt Fitzgerald.)
  2. You cannot run too slowly during your training. Go all out during every workout and you’ll be burnt out by race day. Staying on the treadmill and in the pool keeps me from running too many miles too fast. I know this has kept me sharp on race day.
  3. Our doubts are traitors.” Mental preparation and self-confidence is an integral part of training. Self-doubt is just as damaging as a stress fracture. I’ve learned to relax a little more before race day and make sure I have Plan A, B, C and D goals.
I’ll write more detailed race day reports for the Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run (1:12:36) and Charlottesville Marathon (3:38:05) and what it really means to me to qualify for Boston for the first time during my 18th marathon, but that’s it for now!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Are you a runner with chronic illness?

"Nausea" Pencil drawing by Malinda Ann Hill

I'm the "go with the flow" slow twin and I was diagnosed with Idiopathic Gastroparesis in 2000.

Gastroparesis (delayed stomach emptying) causes stomach pain, fullness, nausea and vomiting. After several hospitalizations, IV's, feeding tubes, medications and other treatments, I had a gastric neurostimulator (stomach pacemaker) implanted on March 3, 2011.

While my symptoms continue to be debilitating at times, I try my best to run whenever possible. I will write more about my experience in a future post.

Are you a runner with chronic illness? How has chronic illness affected your running? Comments appreciated!

My guest post "Running with Chronic Illness"
APRIL 24, 2012

I started running when I was 22. Over the last 18 years, I’ve run dozens of races and completed 7 marathons while living with chronic illness. I have gastroparesis (delayed stomach emptying) which causes severe stomach pain, nausea and vomiting. There is no cure for this condition and only a few treatments available which offer temporary relief. After many years of failed treatments, hospitalizations and feeding tubes, I had a gastric neurostimulator (stomach pacemaker) implanted on March 3, 2011. While the pacemaker has provided some relief, my symptoms continue to be debilitating. I continue to run whenever possible even when I’m experiencing stomach pain and nausea. However, there are many days that I cannot run because of vomiting and fatigue.

I hadn’t run for weeks when I met Joan Benoit Samuelson at the Credit Union Cherry Blossom 10 Miler Expo. During her talk, she kept repeating “run your own race” – inspiring words that I needed to hear at the time. It can be an emotional struggle when I want to run but my body won’t let me. It is especially difficult when I see my identical twin sister running consistently and surpassing her race goals.

I’ve learned that I cannot compare myself to my twin or any other runner. I cannot even compare myself to the runner I was before I got sick. My body has changed and my running has changed. I have become the “go with the flow” slow runner and that is the runner I am meant to be today. I am truly grateful for every step that I am able to run. I appreciate every moment when I run – that is why I run without expectations, without time goals, without music, without a Garmin, but always with gratitude.

On her photo, Joan Benoit Samuelson wrote “Wishing you a great run through life” and I am determined to do just that!

My twin and I dubbed ourselves “Twins Run in Our Family” since we are identical twins and opposite runners. We run together to support Alex’s Lemonade Stand for Childhood Cancer in memory of Leah’s brother-in-law Michael who died of leukemia on March 17. 2003. We’ll run the Broad Street Run (May 6) Chicago Marathon (October 7) and Goofy’s Race & a Half Challenge (January 12 & 13).

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Identical Twins Are Opposite Runners

Identical Twins are Opposite Runners

Leah is the "Garmin obsessed" Boston Marathon Qualifier (3:38:11)!

Malinda is the "go with the flow" slow runner who prefers to run in costume

Broad Street Run
May 6, 2012

Chicago Marathon
October 7, 2012

"Goofy's Race & a Half Challenge"

Walt Disney World Half Marathon
January 12, 2013

Walt Disney World Marathon
January 13, 2013

Can you donate $2 or more?

ANY donation is greatly appreciated!

"Fighting childhood cancer, one race at a time"

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Marathon Mom Malinda Meets More Memorable Marathon Moms

Sometimes, you don't have to run a PR 
to have an amazing race experience.

Although I wasn't registered to run the races,
my twin was registered and couldn't attend the expos.
 So, I "had" to go to the expos to pick-up Leah's race numbers. ;-)

What wonder opportunities to meet two 
inspirational marathoners (and mothers)!

At the 2011 Philadelphia Rock N Roll Race Expo 
I met Kara Goucher! 

At the 2012 Cherry Blossom 10 Miler Expo
I met Joan Benoit Samuelson!

P.S. I was fortunate to ask Kara and Joan questions after they shared their stories...a blog post about both experiences is in progress!

Kara Goucher

Joan Benoit Samuelson

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

runDisney's 2012 Walt Disney World Half Marathon

Malinda Ann Hill
Overall Place: 11,710 / 22,425
Gender Place: 5,211 / 12,331
Division Place: 723 / 1,774
5k Split: 33:46
10k Split: 1:10:00
15k Split: 1:52:11