Half-Marathon Training: Bringing Up the Rear

Another week of training is behind me.  Did I meet that determined goal to get all my miles in?

Well, kinda.  (Do y’all say kinda and y’all where y’all live or is that an Oklahoma thing?)  I got my Monday recovery run in and most of Tuesday’s track workout.  That aggravating hip flexor/groin issue is acting up again, and I had to cut the workout short on Tuesday.  Now, it’s MRI time to see what’s going on in there.  Great.

035I managed to sneak in a short run Wednesday before work (it was actually quite invigorating), and I was all prepared to get a run in Thursday morning when I left work.  I had my bag with me and everything, but a long night shift and a second shift coming up Thursday night squashed my will and determination.  Exhaustion won out, so I wen039t home and crashed instead of running.  And once again, I missed a workout.

Today, our long run day, we had 9 miles on the schedule.  I was feeling a bit nervous since my longest run over the last few months has only been 8 miles.  But I went into today’s run with a bit of a race strategy in mind.  I know me and that it takes 4-5 miles for me to find my groove.  It just takes me a while to find my breath and rhythm and pace, but when I find it, I’m ready to run.

So I stayed in the back of the group, pacing myself a bit slower but keeping the group within striking distance.  I found myself, at first, wanting to scold myself for not keeping up with the group.  You may remember I’ve had issues with being in the back of the pack before.  But as I ran, I realized some really great things were happening back there:

  1.  I had a chance to soak in my music and our surroundings.  So many times when I’m running in the thick of the group, I’m keeping up with conversations, trying to not run into people, trying to keep up but not go too fast.  But in the back I ran mostly alone, and I had time to really listen to my music and to enjoy the scenery around me.  Score for being in the back!
  2. I learned from my fellow runners.  When you run in the back, you only see the backs of people.  But that’s a great vantage point to watch running form.  I saw all kinds of gaits today, but what I honed in on was one guy who looked totally relaxed as he ran.  His arms were swinging gently from his shoulders, and while his elbows were tight to his side, his shoulders were totally relaxed.  I took a mental picture and filed it away.  That’s how I want to be when I run.  Score again for being in the back!
  3. I learned patience and pacing.  Long distance running involves a lot of patience and proper pacing.  Go out too fast and you’ll wear yourself out before you get to the finish line.  I’ve been told over and over as I’ve trained for long races to be patient.  Stick with your pace, and then when it’s time to go for it, use the energy you’ve stored up in not going out too fast to finish the race strong.  But pacing myself has always been hard.  Even with a running watch.  That’s one of the best things about running with a group.  The coach sets the pace and all I have to do is stay behind him.  But today, in the back by myself, I couldn’t just rely on the coach’s 046pacing.  I had to consciously pace myself a bit slower.  It’s hard to not get into race mode when you’re running behind people.  I just always want to catch them, but today, when I would start to get too close, I’d adjust my pace.  And it worked!  By about mile 4 I had my Popeye moment where everything inside of me started to feel alive; my legs felt loose and light, and then I ran with the group, in the middle of things, for the remaining 5 miles and felt great doing it!  Score yet again for bringing up the rear!

So onward and upward!  I have some time off from work this next week when work will not be an excuse to keep me from meeting my running goals.  It’s been a week of good runs, and I feel encouraged (if I had a “thumbs up” emoji, it would go right here!).

Talk to me:

What did you do this past week?

What are some common phrases in your neck of the woods?

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Half-Marathon Training: Time Trials!

So we’re about 4 weeks into half-marathon training, and it’s been a month of ups and downs.  And time trials.

Sometimes I’ll have a good run, and I think the slump that’s been hounding me this entire year is on the downhill slope, but then another run happens that leaves me feeling like a novice runner, and I come home feeling beat up and discouraged.  But I keep lacing up my shoes and heading out the door because one thing I refuse to be is a quitter.

Over the last few weeks our training has included a couple of different time trials.  Time trials are benchmark runs used as a measure of fitness.  They’re generally not much fun but they are incredibly useful in assessing progress, or lack thereof.

The first time trial was a 1.5 mile run at the track.  Yeah, you know me and track workouts, so a fast 1.5 miles at the track was NOT something I was looking forward to.  For those 6 laps we were instructed to run at 100% effort.  Give it all you’ve got.  Get out of your comfort zone.  Run as hard as you can.  And this was the weather forecast for the evening of the time trial–just one word:  HOT!  012The coaches don’t cancel track workouts until the heat index reaches 105 degrees, so since we were only like at a heat index of 104 (kidding–I have no idea what the heat index was but actual temps felt like 104!), the workout was a go.

I ran the first mile in 8:08, not my fastest mile, but I was okay with that time.  But with 2 laps to go, I just couldn’t hold on.  I was starting to feel queasy, whether from the heat or effort I’m not sure, but I ended up walking about 100 meters of each of the last 2 laps and finished my 1.5 miles in a disappointing 13:09.014Then today was the Bedlam Run, a local 5K/10K, that our training used as 023a 5K time trial.  We needed to run 6 miles one way or another, so some chose to run the 10K.  I chose to run a 1.5 mile warm-up and cool-down on my own and race the 5K.  I was a bit nervous since I haven’t been running well and my last 5K was a total disaster, but the warm-up felt good, the weather was exceptionally cool for August in Oklahoma, and I felt excited to run.

While the race was meant to be a time trial, I also knew that with the struggle I’d been having with pace and distance, if I pushed myself too hard, I wouldn’t be able to finish, even a 5K, so I went into the 037race with a goal of running half-marathon race pace, 8:50-9:15 per mile.  From the start I hit 8:50, felt great, and had a good race finishing in 27:44, third in my age group.  That was an unexpected surprise!  And there were super yummy pancakes at the after party.

030I felt good during the race but had a terrible time with the 1.5 mile cool-down (go figure), but over all I was encouraged–until I checked the chart that predicts race times based on a current race.  So with a 5K time of 27:30-28:00, it’s not likely that I can set a half-marathon PR.  Boo!  Hiss!

There’s a part of me that just wants to throw in the towel, but the competitor in me says I have to keep trying.  The realist in me also knows that I have to be prepared to adjust my race goal.  Maybe, if everything is perfect and it’s my day, maybe I can run a PR on race day.  But if it’s not my day, I’m trying to accept that a good goal is racing my best, feeling good doing it, and finishing strong, regardless of time.  It’s not the finish I want, but as with all things in life, it’ll be a learning experience, and I’ll gain something from it if I just look for it.

So onward and upward!  Tomorrow starts a new week.  I WILL get my miles in!

Talk to me:

How are your health and fitness goals coming along?

What did you do today or this weekend?

Half Marathon Training: I Didn’t Die

This week began the official training for the fall half and full marathon season.  I was a bit nervous to begin training since I’d kind of lost my running mojo, but at the same time I was excited to have a new goal to work towards.

Mondays are recovery run days, where the goal is just to move but not to overtax the muscles.  It’s to allow the muscles to heal from the long run of Saturday so the run is short and slow.  Even though we hadn’t yet done a long run, we ran recovery pace for 3 miles.  It was miserably hot (when is it not in Oklahoma in July [insert frowny face]?), but despite the heat and humidity, the run felt great.  I came home drenched in sweat but feeling immensely content and incredibly happy to just be able to run.

But then Tuesday morning came.  Track workout.  Thankfully, track workouts are offered at 6a.m. during the summer.  Running speed intervals during the heat of 6p.m. just makes me really unhappy, but at 6a.m., temperatures are a little lower which makes the workouts slightly more bearable.  If you followed me during marathon training at all, you know I do NOT like track workouts.  But I do them because the benefit is huge.  Running speed intervals has been crucial in helping m008e develop speed.  But this week the workout felt so hard.  Maybe it was because I had just run less than 12 hours before, or maybe it was because we did long intervals–1 x 1200 and 4 x 800.  Anyway, I only made it through 3 800 meter intervals.  On that third 800, my pace was way off, my legs were lead, and I was just done.  I had to come home and just lay on the floor for a bit to recover.  I hate that I wimped out, but…I did a CrossFit workout following track.  Maybe that made up for it???

Wednesday morning was an early CrossFit workout, followed by a bike ride at the river.  I’d like to truly add in some cross training during this training session.  I counted CrossFit as cross training during marathon 013training, but it’s really strength and conditioning.  Cross training mimics running, in that it’s exercise that uses the same big muscles as running–walking, cycling, etc.  So with Wednesday being cross training day, I cross trained with a bike ride.  I’m always humbled by how unfit cycling makes me feel.  I can run for 30 minutes without struggling, but 30 minutes on my bike makes me huff and puff.  I guess that’s a sign I need to spend more time on my bike, uh?

Thursday.  Holy cow!  I was so sore.  Speed intervals, heavy deadlifts…just sitting down was hard.  Thankfully, strength training in CrossFit focused more on upper body.  My running training schedule called for a 3 mile run with “sprinkles”, 30 second bursts of basically sprinting.  I thought I could get it in after CrossFit, but the conditioning workout included 400 meter runs.  I did 3 rounds of the workout, running each 400 meter in under 2 minutes which just did me in.  The workout helped to decrease my soreness, but I had nothing left in the tank for a running workout.

Friday morning, I got off work and headed to the gym for a bicep/tricep workout.  It was a short 30 minute workout.  I was hoping to pick up the run that I missed the day before, but sleep won out, and I missed the run again.

Saturday.  My favorite run of the week!  Saturday runs are long slow distance.  It’s the longest run of the week but at a conversational pace.  I love these runs, and today’s run felt amazing.  Because I’m training for a PR, I picked a pace group just one step faster than the pace I’d trained with for the marathon.  I felt a bit nervous, but the pace f015elt great!  It gave me just the right amount of challenge.  I felt I was working hard (well, kind of hard) at the end but never really struggling.  It started raining just as we finished our 6 miles, but who could tell?  We were already dripping wet with sweat from the pea soup like humidity [insert another frowny face].  But I came home feeling great, excited about running again, and feeling encouraged that the PR I’m going for might actually be within reach!

All in all, a good first week of training.  I picked up the pace, and I didn’t die!  Yay!  Here’s to the second week of training, and not missing a run this time.

Talk to me:

What’s the weather like right now where you live?

Do you enjoy running, or being outside, in the rain?

The First Mile

It’s 100 degrees here in Oklahoma, but last night I attended an event to kick off the fall race training season.  Seems kind of strange, right?  It’s boiling hot but we’re gearing up for fall races.  I mean, you know it’s seriously hot when the cooler of water looks like this:

041But when your goal is a 15K, half-marathon, or marathon some time in the fall, now’s the time to start training.  And Tulsa has a lot of great races coming up in the fall–Tulsa Run 15K, Route 66 marathon.  I’m giddy with excitement!

Yep.  That means–HERE WE GO AGAIN!!!  But this time I’ll be training for a half marathon, instead of the entire 26.2 miles.  I’ve been in a running slump for most of this year, struggling with pace, distance, and just enjoyment of the sport, and I’m just not mentally prepared for the rigorous, 30-40 miles of running a week marathon training involves.  This summer I’ve just taken it easy.  I’ve run at a pace that felt good, not pushing myself, running when I wanted to instead of running because I felt I had to.

And I’m feeling my running mojo return.

Last night I attended The First Mile.  Hundreds of runners descended on a local Fleet Feet (running) store, gathered into pace groups, and took off 043in the insufferable heat for a 1-mile or 3-mile run.  Me?  I went for the 3 mile run.  One mile’s just a warm up!

And it was awesome!  I saw some friends I haven’t seen in months, and getting to run with them was just great.  The run felt good, and I came back feeling excited to begin training again.  But first, I hung out in the shade holding up the wall for a while.  It was stinkin’ HOT!  I was ever so grateful for the lady who came around passing out cold, wet towels.  Heaven, I tell you!042Once I cooled off, I enjoyed some of the free goodies–sweet potato burrito and a green apple Sno-Cone.  I seriously can’t remember when I last had a Sno-Cone, and in this heat, it was divine!

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So here we go again!  My goal is a half-marathon PR with a finish time of 2 hours or less.  I’ll have to work hard for that, but I’m feeling excited and ready to go for it.  Come along with me on my half-marathon adventure and see if I get that PR!

Talk to me:

What’s a new goal you’ve set for yourself?

What’s  your favorite Sno-Cone flavor?

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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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