Marathon #2: Week 16, Tulsa Run Week!

Monday.  Another sleepy start to the week.  I realized I was falling asleep, standing up in class (to keep myself awake) when my knees would buckle and jolt myself back awake.  Good grief.  But a nap perked me up, and later that night I headed out for a recovery run in my neighborhood.  I’ve been loving my recovery runs lately.  I’m doing better about keeping the pace down to at least race pace, which is not ideal for recovery pace, but I’m doing better than I used to.  Tonight was another sweet run, and I wanted to keep going, but…sleep’s on the schedule as well.

Tuesday.  Track night really happened this week.  It was an easy track night.  We ran just 2 miles at Tulsa Run (15K) race pace to test the pace.  One of my training buddies and I ran the two miles together at 9:00 min/mile.  I think that’s a doable pace for 9.3 miles…I hope.  I’m feeling a bit nervous.  I’ve never sustained that pace for 9 consecutive miles. With a warm-up and a cool-down, I got in just a little over 4 miles.

Wednesday.  Tonight is the last night for my intermediate training group.  They only have 2.5 miles on their schedule, so I ran 4.5 miles on my own at a sub 9 minute pace and then caught up with them for the 2.5 miles, again at a sub 9 minute pace.  That was a fast 7 miles, but it makes the pace I want to run this weekend seem more doable.

Thursday.  I’ve been avoiding leg workouts as much as possible this week since it’s race week and I want to be well rested.  Today in class, since we’re studying resistance training, we partnered up to create workouts for and train our fellow classmates.  My first training session!  I loved it!  Anywho, my “trainer” put my through a HIIT (high intensity interval training) workout since I told him my goal was muscle endurance.  It was an amazing workout, but my legs were a bit sore when we finished.  Shoot.  Here’s to quick recovery.  I’ve got a PR in my sights!  No running today obviously.

Friday.  Rest day.  And Tulsa Run expo day!  My exercise today consisted of walking around the expo after picking up my race packet, looking at all this cool running gear.  I’m excited for tomorrow morning, race day!

Saturday.  Tulsa Run day!!!  I’ve been dreaming about running this race for an entire year now.  First, you have to know that the Tulsa Run is a huge event.  Between the fun run, 5K, and 15K, something like 7,000 runners participate.  This year was the 39th running of the race.  Last year the Tulsa Run was the longest race distance I’d ever run.  It’s a hilly course, and 2 of the biggest hills come at the end of the course when you’re tired.  Last year, I caved and walked halfway up those last 2 hills.  While I still beat the time I had set for myself, the fact that those hills beat me has gnawed at me.  So I vowed this year would be different.  I’ve been training hard on hills this year, working on maintaining effort instead of pace, focusing on anything but the fire in my legs.  Today we’ll see if my training pays off.  Besides, it’s on our marathon training schedule as a 15K time trial.  So 7:30 a.m. A training buddy and I meet to get in a 5K warm-up.  Plus, we wanted to get in at least 12 miles today.  Even at 7:30 it was hot.  Crazy.  It’s the end of October, and I’m running in a tank top and shorts.  Thankfully, it doesn’t feel as humid as the 64% humidity that was predicted.  9:00 a.m.  The starting gun goes off, and we’re on our way.  I decided to run with a pace group, especially since I discovered my watch was acting wonky and won’t show my pace.  I wanted to run fast enough to get a PR, but not so fast I couldn’t maintain the pace.  Because of the heat, I decided to go with a 9:08 pace which ended up being pretty much the perfect pace.  The miles ticked by quickly, and we turned the corner for the last mile leading up to the finish line.  There they were.  Those hills that have haunted me.  “Vindication,”  I said.  “Here we go.”  I shortened my stride, pumped my arms, forgot about pace and just maintained my effort.  I got to the top of the first hill thinking, “That wasn’t so bad.”  At the top of the second one, I couldn’t understand why I’d had such a hard time with those hills last year!  They didn’t seem bad at all!  Maybe that hill training did pay off!  I could hear the cheering of the crowd at the finish line, so I kicked it into high gear, left my pace group behind, and crossed the finish line at 1 hour 25 minutes and 10 seconds.  PR!  And a total of 30 miles for the week.img_1284

My goals for next week:

  1.  Run 30 miles.
  2.  Begin to gather nutrition needed for the marathon.

Talk to me:

What did you do this weekend?

I saw all kinds of fun costumes at the race.  What will your Halloween costume be?

Marathon #2: Week 15 and the 20 Miler!

Geez.  I’m a week late again, but I can’t NOT update you on my last big training week of the season.

Monday.  Here it is.  It’s the week of our last long training runimg_1258, the week I’m hoping to hit the 40 mile mark.  I started the week in typical bleary eyed fashion, but lunch and a nap later, I headed out the door for my recovery run.  I decided to run down by the river and had a great run.  There’s something about cooler temperatures that just put a spring in my running stride.  I also tried a Hammer gel tonight–apple cinnamon flavor.  Wow!  So good.  It was seriously like eating a slice of apple pie without the crust.  And it didn’t make my stomach angry!  Seven miles down.

Tuesday.  I showed up at the track only to discover that a soccer game was on the schedule which meant we could not use the track.  I decided to head down to the river again and do the speed intervals on my own.  Another lady at the track heard my plans and asked to come with me.  Now there’s a good night!  I made a new friend and had company running those speed intervals.  And that girl was fast!  She inspired me.  At 58, she left me in the dust.  Speed intervals are just hard, whether at the track or on the scenic riverwalk, but we got ‘er done and there was a beautiful sunset waiting for us!  Five more miles done.img_1268Wednesday.  I ran with my intermediate group for a tempo run tonight.  My legs are feeling a bit tired so I just ran the 3 miles they had their schedule.

Thursday.  Up and out early before class to get in a hill workout.  It was nice and cool, perfect running weather.  I found a hill, got in some hill repeats for a total of 5 more miles.

Friday.  Rest day.  Strangely, I have to tell myself I cannot run today.  I’ve already logged 20 miles, and I know I do not need to run today, but the weather is just so perfect and runs this week have been amazing…Sometimes resting is harder than running.

Saturday.  Our 20 miler!  I love this run.  We start at one Fleet Feet store and run to the Fleet Feet store downtown, about 10 miles, and then img_1273return to the first store.  The route is fun, but the distance also makes me feel like I might actually be ready to run a marathon.  It’s hard to believe that this is our last really long training run.  The weather was great, and we set out at a nice easy pace.  I started to get tired somewhere around mile 17 or 18, but when the rest of my group picked up the pace at the end to finish in typical race fashion, I found the energy to drop the pace to 8:25 and finished strong.  This 20 mile run was definitely harder than last training season, which worries me on one hand but makes me glad on the other–worried because I’m afraid I won’t have what it takes to go another 10K and glad because it gives me the opportunity to work on my mental strength and to push through the fatigue.  Add another 20 miles to my weekly total.

And I did it!  My total running miles for the week equals 40!  I hit my goal, and it really wasn’t that bad.  In fact, it feels great!  Now begins the taper, where weekly mileage gradually decreases as our long runs decrease in length.  Race day is approaching!

My goals for next week:

  1.  Take it easy.  Next Saturday is the Tulsa Run, and I’m hoping for a 15K PR.
  2. Get in at least 30 miles.

Marathon #2: Week 14

Monday.  Today after class and a nap, I found the energy for a recovery run.  I can feel fall in the air, and the cooler temperatures just make me itch for a run.  I haven’t run by the river much lately, so I headed down to the river trails and had an absolutely delightful 7 mile recovery run.  Way to start off the week!  I tried some Huma gel, not really because I needed but just to test new nutrition without having miles to go if I cramp up.  I tried the strawberry flavor which was basically like eating pureed fruit.  My stomach liked it, so I’ll be trying it again.015Tuesday.  The track is closed tonight for another event, so we ran 400 meter sprints in a neighborhood.  That felt strange, especially since the last 100 meters or so was an incline.  I pushed hard and found myself running those sprints about 5-10 seconds faster than usual!  That made me insanely happy.  I’m not sure if it was the weather or just the fact that I’m getting stronger, but I’ll take 1.5 minute 400s!  I topped off that speed with a couple of slow miles for 4 more miles tonight.

Wednesday.  Leg day at school.  Body weight or near body weight deadlifts blew out my legs, so facing a 7 mile tempo run tonight seems a bit daunting.  Thankfully, the hills were kept to a minimum, and even though my legs protested the entire way, I hung on to tempo pace for the entire time.  It was cold tonight, too.  I wore a long sleeved t-shirt for the first time this training season and was perfectly comfortable.  Maybe fall really is here.

Thursday.  Field trip day at school.  We visited a gym to get exposure to another type of training.  The workout was basically a circuit, with each circuit a set of 4 different exercises.  We went as hard as we could through those exercises for 3 minutes, rested a minute and then repeated that cycle for 3 times before moving on to the next station.  The station my group started with included tire flips.  I was super excited!  I’ve been wanting to try flipping a tire but had never had the opportunity.  I found a 190 pound tire and went at it.  Fun times!  No running today.  I’ve already got 18 miles in and with 18 on the schedule for Saturday, I don’t want to risk injury by running too much.  I tried to get some studying in, but it’s hard when you’re being used as a pillow!014Friday.  Naps and more naps following work.  Yep.  That’s how I roll on a Friday.

Saturday.  We’re down to only 2 really long runs before race day.  That’s hard to believe.  Today we ran our longest run of the training season, 18 miles.  Temperatures were nice and cool but still warmer than during the week.  One thing I really love about starting runs at 6:15 a.m. is watching the sunrise.  Today was cloudy, so we didn’t see much of a sunrise, but here’s a sample of what we get to see.  002Anywho, I decided to go with shorts and a tank top today and discovered I was dressed perfectly.  It was a good run.  I got tired quicker than I would have liked.  Around mile 13, I started to become aware of how tight my legs were and feeling stiff.  Had I been alone, I would have walked, but that’s why I’m thankful I have a group to run with.  I kept going, focused on my music, remembered why I do what I do, and eventually, I started to feel a bit better.  Still, though, I was happy to see the store at the end of mile 18.  I’m just not sure how work’s going to go tonight…being on my feet 12 hours after an 18 mile run???  Either the activity will help work out the soreness or I’ll just curl up in a ball when I get home in the morning!  It’ll be an adventure.

I’m happy with training this week.  I got in a total of 36 miles.  I should be on track to get 40 next week.  I’m getting my nutrition plan worked out.  I still have one more type of nutrition to try next week, but I’m starting to feel optimistic about running another marathon.  My goals for next week:

  1.  Run 40 miles total.
  2.  Try one more type of nutrition.
  3.  Stay focused.  C’mon, girl.  There’s only 5 weeks left!

Talk to me:

What’s your favorite part of the day?

Do your pets like to sit on you?

How Do I Get Started?

There’s one question I get asked a lot that I still struggle to answer.  When people discover that I’ve lost over 60 pounds, I get asked, “How do I get started?”

I wish there was an Easy button for that.  You just smack the button, and Boom!  You’ve got the will, desire, and motivation to lose weight, right?  Yeah, it doesn’t work that way.  I’ve thought a lot about why this time stuck for me.  I’d tried many, MANY times before to lose weight and was never successful.  What was different this time?  If you’ve followed my weight loss story, you know there were several things that had a huge impact on me:  Made to Crave, goal setting, realizing fat didn’t happen overnight, accepting that safe weight loss is 1-2 pounds per week.

But how did I get to the point of being ready to make changes?  I think, for me, it all boils down to two main things.

  1.  Education.  I spent the first 8 months of 2013 just reading.  I read Made to Crave which gave me a new perspective on my weight issues.  I read about setting realistic goals in the context of losing weight.  I read about fad diets, about what they consisted of and the pros and cons.  I read about weight loss in general.  As I read different things and synthesized what I was reading, I came to the understanding that I was using food inappropriately.  Instead of using it as fuel for my body, I was using it to treat other issues like stress, boredom, and fatigue.  It became crystal clear to me that diet pills are potentially dangerous and that fad diets do not produce lasting results.  I learned that I had unrealistic goals when it came to weight loss.  And probably the biggest message that oozed out of everything I was reading was that weight loss needs to be a LIFESTYLE CHANGE.  I can’t just change what I’m doing for a few weeks or months.  I needed to find something that gets and keeps the weight off that I can live with.  In a word, my weight loss plan needed to be SUSTAINABLE.
  2. Finding my why.  Yes, I had to have a reason beyond “I don’t want to be this size” before I could began losing weight.  I think weight loss is like other things in life that we attach value to.  For some people, paying boatloads of money for a painting may be worthwhile because they attach a different level of value to the painting than me, who may look at it and say, “Yeah, it would look good in my house,” but that’s not reason enough for me to empty my bank account to buy the painting.  Same with weight loss.  I had to find a reason that made it worth my while to work hard to lose the weight.  When I found it, making those healthy choices suddenly just seemed like the right thing to do.  Not that making those healthy choices was always easy, but I had a higher goal to reach than just being a smaller size.  Does that make sense?  Sure, I wanted to be a smaller size, feel better, look better, but the one thing that made all the hard work worth it to me was  my desire to put food back in its proper place in my life.  I was tired of being controlled by food.  Maybe your why is to keep up with children and grandchildren.  Maybe your why is to lower your risk of heart disease and diabetes.  Maybe your why IS to look better (there’s nothing wrong with that if that’s enough motivation to kick your butt in gear).  There could be a million reasons why people want to lose weight, but I’m convinced that having a reason important enough to invest the time and energy that lifestyle changes demand is key to getting you to the starting line.

So I don’t know if that’s helpful or not or even makes sense.  But for me, once I really understood what weight loss involved and what would be required of me and I had a reason worth losing weight for, everything came together, and weight loss simply became a by-product of a healthy lifestyle.

Here’s to you and being ready to take the first step down the path to health and wellness!

Talk to me:

What’s your why for wanting to lose weight?

Have you read any health related books or articles that have been especially helpful for you?


Marathon #2: On to Week 13

Monday.  It began like any other Monday, bleary eyed from a long night shift walking into the gym to begin another week of classes.  Today’s class workout was a BOSU ball workout.  Totally kicked my butt.  I have my runs figured out to get 37 miles this week.  Today is recovery run day, but unfortunately, sleep overtook me when I got home from school, and I didn’t even get a single mile in.  Stink.

Tuesday.  Determined to make up my recovery run from last night, I ran to CrossFit, hit a back squat PR at 125 pounds (finally, passed the body weight mark!!!), and ran home, taking the long way home to get in close to 6 miles.  Next, our class workout was a tabata of 3 circuits of 4 exercises each.  Tabata is 20 seconds of work, going as hard as you can, followed by 10 seconds of rest for 8 rounds.  Holy cow, I thought I wasn’t going to make it.  When I got home, my left knee was bothering0124919d68ca4cbdbd95b201b2a1a8eb4e562bb43a me a bit.  It’s been bothering me off and on for months now, but lately it’s been acting up a bit more.  So I sat on the couch and caught up on Netflix while I iced that aching joint, hoping I’d be good to run speed intervals at the track tonight.  Well, I went to the track with my knee still hurting, hoping an easy lap or two would be enough to shake it off.  No such luck.  After a mile, it was still hurting.  I decided the prudent thing to do would be to not run, especially to not run fast.  Stink again.

Wednesday.  That darn knee is still hurting.  CrossFit was all abs today, so I did that workout followed by a back and shoulder workout for class.  I bailed on our speed and agility drills outside and just walked the parking lot.  I am too close to the marathon to risk injury, and I’m afraid if I keep pushing an already slightly angry knee, I’m going to push myself right out of the race.  Another stink.  But things felt better after more rest, ice, and ibuprofen, so I ran 7 miles tonight at tempo pace with my intermediate group.  It was a tough run.  Summer has reappeared, and my legs were just obliterated from CrossFit, but I managed to get ‘er done with only a brief walking break.

Thursday.  Still hurting.  I decided kicking in our kickboxing class would not be wise.  I threw the punches and then jumped on the stationary bike for a bit.  Even that motion bothered my knee.  It looks like no running again today.  Stink, stink, stink.

Friday.  The knee’s still talking to me.  It’s not excruciating pain, but things definitely don’t feel right.  I felt twinges all night last night at work.  So aft01b72a292dbbd7f16346c79441376e9840c24cdb8cer a nap, I went to my chiropractor appointment for other lingering issues and the issue of my knee came up.  He thinks it may just be tight quad muscles, thankfully.  So he did his thing, and I did the stretches he gave me.  No running again today.  Stink, yet again.

Saturday.  The knee feels better.  It’s not 100% but I ran basically without pain, thankfully.  Today was our first really fall like run.  I traded in my tank top for a short sleeved t-shirt and debated (and eventually decided against) wearing a jacket.  Temperatures were 40 something, but I knew I’d warm up quickly.  And I did, but those cool temperatures stayed with us for the entire 13 miles, making for a pretty sweet run!  Today was supposed to be a race pace day, when we run our training miles at race pace.  We were a small group today, though, just me and the guys, so we pushed the pace and for most of the 13 miles kept around a 9 minute/mile pace, which is much faster than marathon race pace.  It felt great!  And I tried bonk breakers again with no problem.  Things are looking up!01e37fb0e4ad354246e0686d5d8571856e7f52f012So a kind of disappointing week of training.  I fell quite short of the 37 miles I was going for, but the next 2 weeks are crucial mileage weeks, and if I can be healthy for them, backing off this week will have been worth it.  My goals for next week:

  1.  Roll and stretch…a lot!
  2.  Shoot again for 37 miles.
  3.  Plan my marathon nutrition and try it out on next week’s long run.

Talk to me:

What are you working on this week?

Marathon #2: Week 12 — Already???

Good grief.  Here it is time to post week 13 and I’m just getting around to updating you on week 12.  Sheesh…Well, better late than never.  Here’s a recap of week 12.

Monday.  It’s hard to believe it’s the beginning of week 12 of this marathon training session.   In some ways it seems much longer, but then again, I think how can we be this far in?  This Monday wasn’t as tough as  some Mondays.  Maybe the cooler fall like weather helped.  I was actually looking forward to my recovery run, and I was having such a sweet run, I tacked on an extra mile (well, close to a mile).  I tried some bonk breakers on my run, not because I needed the nutrition but just to try out something new without having miles and miles left if it doesn’t agree with me.  I did fine with them and am planning to try them out on my long run Saturday.img_1244

Tuesday.  Track day.  And today the schedule calls for 3-4 1600s.  That’s 3-4 really fast miles.  I was NOT looking forward to it, but because the evening track session was canceled, I went in the morning, when it was nice and cool.  Maybe it was the cooler temperatures, although I’d like to think it’s because I’m getting stronger, but I ran those 1600s with no problem.  Sure, I was winded and ready for a break at the end of the fourth lap, but I was able to sustain the pace without struggling as much.  That made me insanely happy!

Wednesday.  As part of my fitness and health trainer program, we get to take lots of field trips to try out different forms of exercise.  Today we did Bikram Yoga.  Hot yoga.  That was definitely a new experience for me.  It’s basically doing 90 minutes of yoga in a sauna.  Yoga is humbling to me.  It makes me realize how much work I need to do in the flexibility and balance department.  So while I sweated buckets during the yoga session, I felt invigorated and relaxed, like I’d had a nap, when it was over.  That night I ran with my intermediate group for a tempo run and got in another 6 miles.

Thursday.  I’ve been having really great runs this week, feeling good, loving the weather.  Fall is definitely in the air, and the cooler temps and lower humidity just make me feel like running!  I had to actually tell myself that I couldn’t run today. I try to only increase my weekly mileage by 10% to avoid injury, and with 18 miles under my belt already this week and a 16 mile run coming up Saturday, I’ll be over 10%.  So as tough as it was, today I rested, aside from the kickboxing we did in class.

Friday.  Another rest day, but it wasn’t so bad since I had to work last night and felt super tired.  Today was a day of multiple naps!

Saturday.  Sixteen miles!  My longest run of the season, and it felt great!  img_1256It makes me believe I might actually be ready to run another marathon.  I tried mustard again today.  I’m finding that eating a packet of mustard after a super sweet packet of Gu really isn’t so bad and is, in fact, a nice change from all that sweetness.  I also tried another round of bonk breakers.  And…no problems!  Yay!  I really like them.  They’re not as sweet as other energy gels, and while they’re sticky, the residue left on my teeth dissolved quickly.  I’ll definitely be trying more of them.  Today after my run, I met my family at the zoo.  It was Asher’s first time at the zoo.  He found Nemo in the fish tank! 01fb77c83e3947d4cd4e575f82a58aaf220ab5e513 Unfortunately, I could only stay for a short time since I had to get some sleep before heading into work for my 12 hour night shift.  But still, a fun ending to a great run!

So another good week of training!  I ran a total of 34 miles.  I’m headed for 40 miles/week, so this week gives me confidence that I can do it and will be there in about 2 weeks.  Then, it’ll be maintaining that mileage for the next month before tapering starts for the big day.  Starting to get excited…kind of.

My goals for next week:

  1.  Try a different flavor of bonk breakers.
  2. Shoot for 37 miles, total.
  3. Roll and stretch.  My left IT band has been nagging at me, telling me I haven’t been rolling or stretching enough lately.

Talk to me:

Do you think including balance and flexibility exercises in your exercise routine is important?

What’s your favorite animal to visit at the zoo?