To Sticker or Not to Sticker?

Following the Route 66 marathon, my second, last November, this happened:IMG_1576Yes, I became one of those obnoxious people with a 26.2 sticker on the car window.

I was going into work a few nights ago.  I have to cross an air bridge from the parking garage to the hospital, and parts of it are frigid.  Seriously, the air blasting out of the vents is like Jack Frost breathing on you.  (Remember, that Santa Clause movie where Jack Frost freezes everyone with his breath?)  So I walk fast, partly because I’m freezing my tushy off but also because I just naturally walk kind of fast.

Anywho, I came upon another nurse going to work.  He made the remark, “I’m going to get out of your way.  I saw you get out of that car with 26.2 on it!”

I just laughed, and said, “That doesn’t mean I can run fast!”

But that brief exchange has stuck with me and has made me think a lot about why I put a 26.2 sticker on my car.  Is it making other people feel I’m superior to them?  Does it seem like I’m bragging?  Am I sending a message that I belong to some exclusive club?

That certainly was not my intention, but I began to feel rather self-conscious about the sticker on my car.

But it got me thinking about why marathoners put stickers on their cars, and I have to say I think it’s the same reason people put any kind of sticker on their cars.  I’ve seen cars pulling into the garage ahead of me with some “RN” or nursing related themed bumper sticker.  I see the stickers of families, where there’s a sticker for Mom, Dad, big brother, little sister, and the dog.  I see political stickers from both Republican and Democratic supporters.  I see stickers about Jesus, guns, a child who made the honor roll, and some with no real cause except to make you chuckle.

But the one thing all those stickers have in common is that they represent what’s important to those who drive the car.  They let us know who you are.  I think bumper stickers are a way of connecting with our fellow humans.  They tell stories of accomplishments and hint at beliefs and passions.

So I’m not going to feel bad about a 26.2 sticker on my car.  Running is an important part of my life, and running a marathon is a big achievement, something I’m proud of, and something that changed me.  It’s a part of who I am now, and that’s what my 26.2 sticker means to me.

Besides I don’t think that thing would come off if I wanted it to!

Talk to me:

What bumper stickers are on your car?

What’s the best bumper sticker you’ve ever seen?

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Post-Marathon Blues

The days, and weeks, after a marathon are kind of strange.  At least they are for me.  You’ve been working and training for a race for 4 and a half months, and suddenly it’s done.  Poof.  Now what?  Not having to go for a run feels weird.

You may have noticed that things have been a bit quiet here on the Other Side.  It’s because I’m in a serious post-marathon funk.  I remember this happening after my first marathon, but it seems a little more intense this time.

Part of it is that I haven’t really been able to recover like I did last time.  Following my first marathon, I met up with my training group for a recovery run a week after the race.  We rehashed the race, spent some time celebrating our accomplishment, and talked about future running plans and races we want to run.

This time, I haven’t been able to run since I crossed the finish line.  I’ve had a persistent pain in my right shin since the race.  With immediate running the pain intensifies, and then I spend the rest of the day walking in pain.  It’s been 3 weeks since the race, and I’ve not run at all.  It is seriously messing with me.  I am in such a funk.  (Yes, I have an appointment next week to get my leg checked out.)

There really is a phenomena called post-race blues.  I see it as a loss of focus and lack of a goal.  One thing I’ve learned about myself is that I need to be challenged.  I need a goal to work towards.  Unfortunately, pain is preventing me from setting a new running goal.  I can’t sign up for a race until whatever is making my leg hurt goes away.  Sigh…I just want to run!  (I know.  I’m whining.)

Anywho…perspective.  That’s a big part of what keeps me healthy in mind and spirit.  So I’ve been trying to find the positive in not being able to run.  It’s taken me a while, but I think I’ve found a couple of good things about taking some time off from running.

  1.  It gives me an opportunity to volunteer at a race.  Next weekend is a holiday 5K that I was hoping to run.  It would have been race number 12 for 2016, a goal I had set for myself.  But I’m quite sure things won’t be up to running order in a week, so I decided to take the opportunity to volunteer to help with the race instead, something I’ve wanted to do but have found it hard to do when I’m running the race!  I’ll be standing at the finish line handing out medals and water.  How fun to see those runners cross that finish line and be able to celebrate their achievement by handing them a medal!  I feel my spirit lifting a bit.
  2. It gives me time to try yoga.  I’ve read some about the health benefits of yoga, the core and balance work, the stretching aspect, and how helpful it can be to runners.  I know I need work in the balance and flexibility department, so even before the marathon, I’d been thinking about incorporating yoga into my workout routine.  The only thing stopping me now, since I’m not running hours a week, is…nothing!  I just need to make it a point to go.
  3. It gives me time to sleep.  I can’t seem to get enough sleep since the race finished.  Maybe I just didn’t let myself think about how tired I was before, or maybe I’m tired because I’m just in a funk or maybe still recovering physically from the beating I gave my body, img_1351but at any rate, I’ve had time for lots of naps since afternoons aren’t taken up with running.  Lots of naps.  Maybe one day I’ll catch up on my sleep…
  4. It makes me hungry to run.  After my first marathon, I kind of lost the desire to run.  It seemed hard.  Not running for several weeks now has made me crave a run.  I seriously almost salivate when I see runners on the street.  I want to be out there so badly too.  But while not running has put me in a funk, not running also makes me love running more if that makes sense.

So hopefully soon this post-marathon funk will lift, and I’ll be back to myself and running in no time.  In the meantime, I’ll enjoy some activities that I haven’t had time for before, and look forward with eager anticipation to my first post-marathon run!

Talk to me:

What pulls you up when you’re down in the dumps?

What’s something you’re looking forward to right now?

 

Thank You!

Some things are just better said in person, or, you know, in video.  Happy Thanksgiving!

Marathon #2: Route 66 Marathon Recap

3:30 a.m.  My eyes popped open.  Race day!  Nervous butterflies fluttered in my belly.  For some reason, I was feeling way more apprehensive about this marathon than I did with my first one back in April.  What ifs scrolled through my mind.  What if I bonk again?  What if my legs cramp up again?  What if the pain in my right leg hurts too much to run?  What if my nutrition plan is not right?  What if my pace is too fast?  What if I haven’t trained enough, or trained good enough?  What if I can’t run 26.2 miles?

4:45  Apparently, I’ve had all the sleep I’m going to get.  I decided to just get up, try to shake off the nerves, and go about my normal pre-race routine, starting with a shower.  There’s nothing like a shower to clear my head!  Then it was my usual pre-race breakfast of a banana and a rice cake with peanut butter and honey, followed by rolling that tight calf.  For good measure, I rolled my hamstrings, quads, and IT bands too.

6:30 a.m.  I left the house to meet my friends at the Fleet Feet store downtown.  There’s plenty of parking there, and it’s not far from the start line.  Plus, all the training groups are meeting there for one huge group picture.

7:15  My buddies and I head towards the start line.  It’s cold today!  I wore a lightweight jacket over a long-sleeved shirt and added a heavier jacket over that and 3 pairs of gloves.  You have no idea how cold my hands can get! My fingers looked like fat, little sausages!  As I warm up, that heavy jacket and the gloves will wind up beside the road.  I expect there will be a trail of clothes along the course today.

8:00  Our corral is full.  We’re just behind the 4:30 pacer.  The national anthem has been sung, and corral A is on the way.  The mass of people in corral B where I am surges forward and excitement takes over any lingering apprehension.  Confetti fills the air.  Here we go!  The race I’ve fought for through tough runs, speed intervals, and hill training for 19 weeks was finally starting!

8:07 (or somewhere around that time)  I hit start on my Garmin as we cross the start line and the first steps of 26.2 miles are behind me.  I’ve decided to run with a pace group this time.  In evaluating my last marathon, I suspect that being too aggressive on the first half may have led to such a miserable ending.  The pacer’s job is to get us to the finish line within a minute of our goal time of 4 hours 30 minutes, and I want that time so bad.  I know if I stick with him, he’ll get me there.  Besides, I had a great experience running with a pace group during the Tulsa Run.  The support and camaraderie for this much longer distance will be nice.

I got warm quickly and by mile one, I tossed my heavier jacket.  By mile four, just in time for my first energy gel and mustard packet, the last of the gloves sailed to the side lines.  My nutrition plan involves taking an energy gel and a packet of mustard every 4 miles.  Instead of drinking Gatorade offered on the course, I’ve opted to take electrolyte tablets every hour.  I think the sugar content in the sports drink contributed to my late race demise last time since I wound up feeling sick and unable to take nutrition to sustain the last push to the finish line.

Mile 13.  The halfway point.  I’m starting to struggle mentally already.  We’re only halfway there and my legs are already so tight.  I focus on keeping pace with the pace group, listen to my music, think about this gal I met during the early miles who is running her 66th (seriously!) marathon today, and admire the beautiful fall leaves.  I’m trying not to think about all the upcoming hills.

Mile 15.  The pacer admits that he struggles mentally the most from mile 15 to 18.  Okay.  So I’m not alone.  I’m seriously wondering if I’m going to make it the entire way.  I still have 11 miles to go.  I try to distract myself by wondering where I’ll see my family next.  My brother and sister and their families are driving around town to cheer me on from different parts of the course.  I cannot even begin to make them understand how much that means to me.  They are the best!

Mile 18.  This is the mile that I bonked at last time.  But oddly enough, I’m starting to feel better.  I’ve pushed through some of the fatigue, and I’m feeling a little more energized.  Let’s hope that continues.  Spectators, as usual, are a godsend, and with their creative signs, the entertainment helps to keep me going.  My favorite sign, aside from the ones my family held up especially for me, was one that said, “Run like you’re the third monkey trying to get on the ark.”  resized_20161120_190552

Mile 21.  There’s my family!  I give them a thumbs up and keep going.  Only 5 more miles.  By George, I think I’ve got this!  So far, I haven’t had a single cramp, and I’m not feeling sick.  My legs are super tight, but I’m not done yet.resized_20161120_191058

Mile 22.  The dreaded hills of Cherry Street.  Thank God for our pacer!  I was crying inside trying to get up those hills.  I think I might have actually groaned out loud, but the pacer coached us through.  The pace group had dwindled to just me and one other guy at this point.  We were about 2 minutes ahead of pace, so the pacer encouraged us to just lean into the hill and take it easy.  Relax the shoulders, he reminded me.

Mile 23.  The hills are mostly behind me now.  The finish line is just 5K away.  I picture the 3 mile loop I run in my neighborhood.   Piece of cake, I tell myself.  The pacer is telling me if I’ve got anything left to take off.  I’m feeling pretty fatigued, but I think I’ve still got a little something left in the tank.  I drop the pace to 9:30 and head for the finish line.

Mile 25.5.  Oh my gosh, I am so incredibly tired.  My legs are so tight I’m not sure if I can make it this last 3/4 of a mile.  I’ve only walked through water stops, so I gave myself about a 15-20 second walk break.  It was enough.  I rounded the corner, climbed that last short, steep hill.  Putting a hill at the end of a race course is just a mean trick, by the way!

Mile 26.  I could hear the finish line and the cheering of the crowd.  They pulled me forward.  There was my family yelling for me.  I high fived them as I went by and crossed the finish line with a fist pump in the air having beat my goal with a time of 4:25:33.20161120_124221And marathon #2 is behind me!  And what a much better experience it was!  I think I learned well from my first marathon.  My nutrition and hydration plan worked well.  I didn’t cramp up at all, which I attribute to the mustard, and I realized that if I just trust my training, it will carry me through.

For my own benefit and in case your wondering, this was the nutrition that I used during the race:

Mile 4:  apple cinnamon Hammer gel

Mile 8:  apple cinnamon Hammer gel

Mile 12:  Accel gel

Mile 16:  Bonk breakers with caffeine

Mile 20:  Bonk breakers with caffeine

 

 

Marathon #2: Week 19, Taper and Race Week!

Holy cow!  It’s finally here.  Race week!

Monday.  Taper week.  This week is really all about resting and recovery.  We won’t be doing any big runs; I won’t be working out in the gym.  I’ll just be eating carbs, sleeping, and letting my body repair muscles so I’ll be ready to run…(drum roll, please)…26.2 big ones!  So a quiet day besides some rolling and stretching.  My one activity was stopping at Goodwill to pick up a jacket to wear at the beginning of the race.  The weather looks to be fairly mild, but with lows in the upper 30’s to low 40’s, I know I’ll be cold at the start of the race, but with highs forecast to be around 60 degrees, I know I won’t be cold for very long.  My solution is to pick up a cheap jacket, discard it at the side of the road when I get too warm so it can be donated once again.  I also picked up a couple of pairs of cheapy gloves.  You know, those thin ones that come 2 in a pack for $1.50?  I’ll just layer up gloves and shed them as my hands warm up.

img_1316 Tuesday.  I get to go for a run today!  A slow, short one, but I get to run!  I’ve been having some tightness to the point of pain in my right calf that has me a little worried, but I took some ibuprofen and hit the road.  Boy, did that feel good.  I kind of wanted to keep going.  Four miles is just a warm-up, but I reminded myself I’ve got 26 miles to run in one whack coming up.  Patience, girl.  And my Accel gel came today, so I’ve got all the nutrition that I need for the race.img_1323Wednesday.  More rest.  I’m starting to get a bit stir crazy.  Not working out and limited running is getting to me.  But my calf is still angry, so hopefully, extended rest will have me in tip top shape by Sunday.  More rolling and stretching happened again.

Thursday.  Okay, it’s official.  I’m cranky.  I NEED a run or to throw some weights around or something.  I’ve had enough of this rest!  Let’s DO something! That was my attitude in class this morning, so I was really looking forward to my last slow 3 mile run this afternoon, but my calf hurt the entire time, it was hot, and I struggled to run those 3 miles.  It was a most unsatisfying and disappointing run.  What if I’m not ready to run another marathon?

Friday.  I got in a little nap when I got home from work, and then went to my chiropractor appointment for one last tweakimg_1322.  My psoas issue is much better, and he taped up my leg, hoping that would help the tightness along with all the rolling and stretching I’ve been img_1324doing.  I picked up some more mustard packets on my way home, so I think I have all my supplies.  Now it’s just to figure out how to carry it all.

It’s been a tough week, which sounds silly since all I’ve done is rest, but I’m not used to all this inactivity.  I’m looking forward to the weekend and the race.  Stay tuned for details of my race preparation!

 

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Marathon #2: Week 18, the Last Week of Training!

Monday.  Well, here it is.  The final week of marathon training.  I find myself relieved on one hand, ready for a break, but on the other hand, it’s hard to believe we’re at the end.  But here we are, and it’s another Monday recovery run day.  I felt more tired than usual today.  I blame it on working Saturday night when the clocks went back.  While everyone else got a blissful extra hour of sleep, I got to work an extra hour.  (Can you hear the sarcasm dripping…because it is?)  That was a brutal shift.  Anywho, I came home from class, fell asleep on the couch, and woke up around 3:30 or 4:00 thinking I should get up and go for a run.  But the next thing I know, I’m waking up at almost 8:00 p.m to pitch black outside.  So much for running today, uh?

Tuesday.  I’m trying to take it easy in the gym this week, going lighter on the weights.  It’s hard, though, because I like lifting heavy weights!  I know it’s for the best, though.  I don’t want to over stress my body and make it do tons of recovery when a marathon is just around the corner.  Tonight is track night, but I’m deciding to forgo a speed workout this week.  Instead, I headed down to the river after class for a recovery run on a truly fall like day.  I love the cooler weather and the changing leaves.  What a great run!

img_1314Wednesday.  Leg day in class.  It was a relatively short workout since we had some other class activities on the agenda, and while I went super light on most exercises, I still went above body weight and deadlifted 125 pounds for 3 sets of 10 reps.  Don’t ask me why.  I was certainly feeling my hamstrings when I went out after class for a 7 mile tempo run–on a route with tons of hills.  Oy!  That was a tough run.

Thursday.  Another leg workout, since our workout yesterday was so short.  Again, I went super light on the weights, and this time stuck to that.  It’s so hard when I feel like I’m not challenging myself, and I know I can do so much more.  I keep reminding myself that on marathon day, my body will thank me for not pushing it.  One more time after class, I went out for a run.  Today’s run was a short 4 miles at whatever pace I felt comfortable, which ended up being tempo pace.  My legs felt pretty tired again.  I’m hoping I haven’t done too much in the gym even though I’ve tried to take it easy…

Friday.  Rest day!  Sunny decided a nap was a good idea, too, and that my foot would be good to cuddle with.

006Saturday.  Our last group training run.  I always have mixed feelings about this day.  I’m excited because it means training’s over and it’s race time; on the other hand, I love running with my group so much and after running with these folks every Saturday for the last almost 5 months, I’m going to miss seeing them.  It was a small group again today, just two of img_1317us and our coach.  We actually started with over 10 people in our group.  That’s our coach leaning his chin on my head, with all my post run crazy hair going on.  Our run was a short one, 8 miles, and we started out at tempo pace.  For some reason, I was struggling to keep up that pace today.  My legs felt a little tired, but I just felt like I really had to push to maintain that speed.  We slowed down a bit which helped (I HATE being the one that slows the group’s pace), but when I realized I’d only had yogurt for dinner about 13  hours before and a banana before I left the house, I didn’t feel so bad for struggling.  I think I was asking my body to run faster than it could on an empty tank.

So training’s over.  Eight days from today I’ll be at the starting line with 26.2 miles in front of me.  Am I ready?  Hmmm…I guess I’m about to find out.  Some days I think I am; other days I have my doubts, but now’s the time to just trust my training.  My goals for next week:

  1.  Rest!
  2.  Rest!
  3.  Rest!

Talk to me:

Where do your pets sleep when you’re sleeping?

What’s your favorite thing about fall?

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Marathon #2, Week 17, the Countdown Begins!

Monday.  Let the taper begin!  It’s hard to believe this is really the last img_1288week of training.  The next 2 weeks are really all about resting and recovery, although this week my mileage will already start to decrease.  Mondays are recovery run days, so after my usual nap following class, I headed down to the river again for a nice slow recovery run.  I’m breaking in some new shoes for the marathon, so I wore them today.  So far, so good!  All in all, I had a great run.  The slower pace felt good after the race on Saturday.

Tuesday.  Yep, track night.  Slightly cooler temperatures have made it easier to get out the door for those speed workouts.  Tonight’s workout was a 1000 meter lap followed by laps of 800 meters, than 600, 400, and finally a 200 meter lap with 200 meter walking recoveries between each lap.  It felt surprisingly easy!  I don’t know why that was.  Maybe it was the cooler weather, although I’d like to think it’s because my fitness level is improving!  Either way, it felt good to be able to run those distances at a fast for me pace, but that also tells me I probably need to move up to the next pace group to continue to challenge myself.  Ugh.  It’s hard to think about running even faster!

Wednesday.  Because I have to go see the eye doctor tonight, I decided to get in my tempo run right after class.  It just so happens that our class workout was a leg workout.  But I threw my backpack in the car, pushed start on my Garmin, and hit the pavement.  Holy moly.  My legs felt like lead, and I struggled to keep a 9:30 pace.  Even though, technically, that would have been tempo pace, I wanted to get to about 9:00/mile.  After about a mile or so, my legs loosened up, and I was able to keep my pace at about 8:50 to 9:10 for those 7 miles, even with tons of hills.  Don’t ask me why I picked a route with tons of hills for a tempo run AFTER leg day!  Anywho, I got it done and wound up with another one of those sweet headband sunburns.  In November!  What happened to the fall weather?  I also discovered apple cinnamon flavored Hammer gel.  Super yummy!  It’s seriously like eating the gooey part of an apple pie without the crust.  So good!img_1258Thursday.  My legs are pretty sore after yesterday.  Thankfully, today’s workout was upper body.  We have 16 miles coming up on Saturday, and because I should be starting to decrease my miles, I called it good after the workout.

Friday.  Rest day.  Yep, lots of naps and snacks.

Saturday.  It’s hard to believe this is our last really long training run.  The marathon is just 15 days away!  I was feeling a bit tired and unmotivated when I woke up, so I wore my finisher shirt from my first marathon for inspiration!  img_1303I also decided to work on some logistical aspects of running a long race today, like how to carry everything I need for the race.  A couple of things I discovered in April was that it’s sometimes hard to find what I need in my running belt and that Ziploc baggies can kind of be a pain in the tushy when you’re on the move.  I discovered that layering my  nutrition works well.  I put the gel I’m going to use first on top so it’s the first thing I grab when I open the zipper of my pouch.  That way I’m not searching for what I need; it’s all in order.  I also found a bottle with an easy open top (much better than a baggie) that fits into img_1309the pouch of my water bottle for electrolyte capsules–along with my mustard packets.  I’ve also discovered that when my hands get cold (which is frequently on our morning run, even though the rest of me is warm), I have a hard time tearing open packets of mustard and gel.  Today, I just tore a slight tear in each of my mustard packets before dropping them into my pouch.  It wasn’t enough to allow the mustard to seep out but enough of a start that I could easily open the packet even with cold hands.  I’ll definitely be doing that for the race and will do that with gel packets as well.  I also wore my new shoes.  This was the longest run in them, and at the end of the run, my feet felt great!  The run today was good.  We were a small group, so even though our schedule called for race pace, we started out way faster than race pace.  We ran that pace for about 13 miles, but then, one member of our group started to fatigue and was struggling to maintain.  So we slowed the pace and eventually ended up walking the last 3 miles or so.  But that’s okay.  Our overall pace ended up almost exactly where we should have been, and we know we can run 16 miles.  We’ve done it many times during this training season.  The walk actually felt really good.  My legs were still a bit tired from leg day this week, and walking was a good way to get tight muscles loosened up after a kind of fast 13 miles.  All in all a good run!

So this week I got in 34 miles.  I feel good about my training this week.  Let the countdown begin!

Goals for next week:

  1. Take it easy.  I plan to only do body weight exercises or super light weights for upper body.  Runs will be at recovery or base pace.  I probably won’t do speed intervals this next week.  Tapering begins in earnest, and preparing for the race at this stage is all about rest and recovery, as hard as that is.
  2. Continue to gather nutrition for the race.  I’ve ordered some Accel gel and picked up some Hammer gel and Bonk Breakers today, so I’m pretty much set.  I just need to figure out what I want to take when.img_13063.  Rest, stretch, and roll as much as possible!

Talk to me:

Do you have any big, exciting events coming up in the next few weeks?

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!

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What’s your favorite part of the day?

Do your pets like to sit on you?