Tag Archives: marathon

Worth noting.

13 Aug

Even though I’m really enjoying my relaxing weekends, it really doesn’t bode well for the blog. I mean, you guys don’t want to hear about how much I didn’t do every single post. But here are a couple of things that are {somewhat} notable:

1) Watched the entire first season of Downton Abbey. I had heard how awesome this show was from fellow bloggers and friends so when I saw it in Redbox, I snagged it. And I really enjoyed it. Now I’m scheming on how to watch Season 2.

2) Watched Drop Dead Diva on Lifetime. It is one of my absolute favorite shows of all time. And I am so thankful that it’s on during the summer when Bones and NCIS aren’t. I don’t know how I would survive the summer without at least one weekly show that I die for.

 

3) Veered from my cleaner eating habits. I ate Taco Bell for dinner Friday, Chinese for dinner Saturday and McDonald’s for lunch Sunday. But enough’s enough. Back on the horse today.

4) I went on my first bike ride since the beginning of marathon training. Travis and I got caught in a downpour and hid under a tree. At first, it was an adventure. Then, when the tree got saturated and stopped protecting us, it was just kind of irritating. But it was fun to ride home through all the puddles!

5) Got really sad watching the men’s Olympic marathon. (Spoiler alert) Ryan Hall seems like a such a great, down-to-earth guy and I really respect the way he involves God in his training, so seeing him have to drop out so soon was really sad. It’s also sad that Abdi Abdirahman had to drop out, but I know less about him so it didn’t affect me as much. But YAY MEB KEFLEZIGHI!!! I was SO excited to see that he came back from being in something like 10th place to being 4th. I told Travis that if the course had been longer, I think Meb would’ve been able to come in 3rd. But alas, no medals for Americans in the marathon this year.

6) I got ambitious yesterday and deep-cleaned my bathroom. Even though I really dislike cleaning, I love things being clean. If I ever have extra income burning a hole in my pocket, I would consider hiring a maid. (And I’ve already suggested to Travis that when we try to sell our house, we have a cleaning service come clean the house for me.)

And that’s all that’s worth telling you about!

I realized last week that I haven’t posted my thoughts on my new Garmin yet so stay tuned for that sometime soon…

Race Recap: Mayor’s Marathon

25 Jun

{Sorry for the late update/recap – we’ve been in The Last Frontier with no wi-fi!}

Travel on Friday to Anchorage was a debacle – our 6:30 am flight to SLC got delayed enough that we would miss our connection to Anchorage. After spending an hour investigating options, the best choice was to instead fly to Minneapolis at 11:35 am, have a layover until 3 pm, then fly 5.5 hours to Anchorage, getting in there at 6 pm (Alaska is 1 hour behind Pacific Time) – meaning a 15 hour travel day for us. Travis’ parents were able to pick up my race packet, so everything ended up working out fine. Just not my choice of how to spend the day before the race.

Once we got in, we dropped our stuff off at the hotel, ate dinner at an Alaskan restaurant called Gwennie’s, and then passed out in our hotel room.

……………………

My alarm went off at 5:30 am and I popped out of bed. I had actually slept pretty well – I woke up quite a bit throughout the night but was able to get back to sleep quickly without lying awake panicking.

I slathered on Body Glide (not enough apparently because I got major sports bra chafe);  put on my 2XU compression tights, running skirt, new REI shirt, and 2 sports bras; taped my big toes; got my race bag together; packed my stuff; did my hair and makeup (just mascara and a little powder); and then went down to breakfast.

Everyone (Travis’ parents, brother and nephew, along with Travis) was up to see me start! I had coffee and water and buttered a plain bagel to eat closer to the race start. We drove over to the race start and got there at 7:00 – plenty of time before the race started at 8. I used the portapoo, stretched, took some pics, ate my bagel, found some Tums, and then used the portapoo again.

During this time, I was feeling relieved that race morning was finally here (no more worrying and wondering!) and excited – I was about to run a marathon! It was also the perfect day weather-wise: sunny, mid-70s, no rain. A gorgeous day. Finally, it was time to line up.

They played an Alaskan song, the National Anthem and then the mayor spoke. And then it was time to go! Travis and his family snapped some pics of me as I ran by and then I was lost in the sea of runners. There were about 1,000 runners again this year – from 48 states, 16 countries and a record number of Alaskan runners.

I tried to ignore the pace of the runners around me and just run what felt right to me. My legs felt good but the sun was hot – I could tell that it would get pretty warm out on the course. I had my Garmin set to show the average pace of my entire run and when I saw 11:20 for my first mile, I decided that even though it was faster than I said I would run, I didn’t feel like I was going out too fast. By Mile 3, my average pace was around 11:33, where it stayed for almost the entire race.

1 – 11:21

2 – 11:21

3 – 11:45

The first aid station was around Mile 2 and I grabbed a cup of water, stopped to drink it and then kept running – which was what I did at every aid station, although around Mile 10, I started grabbing 2 cups of water and an orange slice every time. I was So. Thirsty. There were times when I wished I had my Camelbak and didn’t have to wait until aid stations for water and then chug down 2 cups at a time. But overall, I think it was worth it to not have that extra weight/annoyance to deal with.

The first 4 miles, we ran along the busy highway, which wasn’t the most enjoyable but it had a nice view of the mountains. Then we crossed over the highway and got on to a county road, which was paved and rolling hills. I was very encouraged during the first 5 miles of the race – the hills that I had seen on the elevation map weren’t challenging to me at all! I sailed up almost every single one of the hills – there were maybe 2 in the entire race that I had to slow down to run up and got to the top breathing heavily but I didn’t have to walk any hill (except at the very end but even flat road was a challenge then!).

4 – 11:45

5 – 11:22

I ate my first packet of Honey Stingers at Mile 5, which is also when I started my iPod. Travis was going to join me for Miles 9 – 13, so I planned to listen to my iPod until he joined me. Well, it had other plans. Around Mile 7.5, it froze. The screen was on but it wasn’t playing music. I took off my headphones, stashed them in the pouch, and gave it up for dead (I handed it to Travis’ brother when I saw them at Mile 9).

After the rolling hills on the county road, we ran past a golf course and then got on the Oilwell Tank Trail, which was where Travis joined me. This was the gravel road that stretched from roughly Miles 7 – 14. I had been slightly apprehensive before the race about this portion because of reading about “baseball size rocks” and the possibility of twisting an ankle. And I’ll say – they’re not lying. There are some very decent size rocks out there and it was not at all like a well-maintained gravel walking/hiking trail. It was a gravel road. But I had known it was coming and I knew when it would end, so I didn’t mind it for the most part, though it was kind of rough on the feet.

6 – 11:44

7 – 11:32

8 – 11:13

9 – 11:34

There were a few steep hills on this part of the trail but we muscled up them. Travis peeled off at Mile 13 and I continued on.

10 – 11:41

11 – 12:14

12 – 11:18

13 – 11:26

Around Mile 14, though, we were funneled onto a single-track hiking path – like a true trail run! I was absolutely thrilled at this discovery. It was a lot easier to run on than the gravel, but we were running through the woods and even had to cross a couple of streams (on small bridges)! I was in heaven. I kept thinking, “This is freakin’ awesome!” Even though that part of the trail was the peak of the course elevation, it was less steep than previous parts. I kept running, though almost everyone else around me was walking.

14 – 12:07

Still on the trail, we started going back down. I felt great so I ran it at a strong pace and kept going when we got back out onto pavement around Mile 15. We kept going down for Miles 16 and 17. These were my fastest miles of the race. I knew that I still had 10 miles to go, so it wasn’t the time to get crazy, but I also felt I should take advantage of the downhill while I could. I ate my second packet of Honey Stingers here – I didn’t really want to eat them but I decided it was probably the smart thing to do if I wanted to avoid The Wall.

15 – 10:56

16 – 10:47

17 – 10:58

At Mile 18, which was along a main road in Anchorage, Travis met up with me again (and his family was there cheering me on!).

{nice sweat stain, huh?} 

Travis asked me how I was feeling and I said “Ok.” I still felt energetic and mentally excited to be out there but my legs were starting to make themselves heard. It was nice to have him there to distract me and break the race up into smaller sections – especially since I didn’t have my iPod!

18 – 11:40

After a mile or so, we left the main road and dived back into the trees on a nice bike path. The rest of the race was like this. I had been expecting this part of the race to have a city feel, but we were in such densely wooded areas that it still felt like we were out in the country! This was a pleasant surprise to me. The only thing not a pleasant surprise: BUGS. So. Many. Bugs. (I’ve gotten spoiled living in Colorado.) But the bugs were more just annoyed than actually biting me so at least there was that.

19 – 11:45

20 – 11:39

Around Mile 21, my legs felt great. I picked up the pace a little but then decided that probably wasn’t the best strategy, considering I did have 5 miles left, and they would be the hardest ones. So I slowed it back down. For the whole race, I had been eyeing my Garmin. My average pace had been hovering around 11:33 the whole time, sometimes getting as slow as 11:35 after an aid station stop, and getting as fast as 11:28 after my speedy Miles 15 and 16. I knew that I had to maintain an 11:26 average to come in under 5 hours. So I was trying to keep enough left in the tank to push it in the last 2 miles.

21 – 11:39

Travis peeled off at Mile 22 and headed with his family to the finish line.

Before he left, Travis encouraged me to continue focusing on enjoying myself instead of hitting a certain time goal (I told him that enjoying myself at that point would mean walking but I understood what he meant). As I ran along trying to maintain my 11:30 average, I realized that since my Garmin was measuring slightly longer than the course mile markers, my pace wasn’t accurate anyway – meaning I’d probably need a 11:22-11:25 average to make it under 5 hours. That wasn’t going to happen. There was no way I could speed up that much.

22 – 11:23

23 – 10:57

24 – 11:52

As I realized that, I also realized how much pain my lower body was in. I ran until the Mile 24 marker and then took my first non-aid-station walking break. Those last 2 miles were a combination of exhausted running and painful walking. My legs were so tired and sore from running but every time I stopped to walk, the pain was amplified. Such pain.

I let go of my 5 hour goal and broke out the mental game – “This is where the rubber meets the road. You trained 6 months for this moment. Don’t give up now. They didn’t say it would be easy, they said it would be worth it. This is when you show what you’re made of. How bad do you want this? Just think of the gallons of cold water waiting for you at the finish line. After this, you’re done – No more running! Can you believe that you’re actually at Mile 25 of a MARATHON? We’re actually doing it Harry!”

For each of my 4-5 walking breaks, I’d pick out a landmark a hundred feet ahead or so at which I’d start running again (or else I never would). And the parts I did run, I ran at whatever pace I had in me – “Just run it” I told myself. I grabbed water at the last aid station and powered up the hill, running most of it. In those last few miles, there were quite a few nice local people who had sprinklers/showers set up for runners to stay cool. Even though I was hot and SO INCREDIBLY THIRSTY, I didn’t run through the sprinklers… because I didn’t want to get my shoes wet.

25 – 13:06

26 – 12:55

FINALLY, I could see the finish line area. It seemed to stretch on for way longer than reasonable but I didn’t really care. I was almost there. I was almost done. I picked up the pace, mustering all the energy reserves I had left (for around a 10 minute pace) and crossed the finish line strong.

Gun time = 5:09:10

Net time = 5:08:24 (11:36 average – Garmin says 26.59 miles)

I was (and am) VERY pleased with the way I ran and how this ran went. I maintained a very consistent pace throughout the whole thing, my hill training definitely paid off, I had fun, AND I accomplished my B Goal of 5:10:00 or under. What more could I ask for?

After I crossed the finish line, I got my medal and shirt, chugged two cups of water, took some pictures and then Travis and my mother-in-law massaged my legs, which were in excruciating pain. I’ve heard other marathoners talk about the pain after the race and they are right. Holy cow.

We left the race and went to pick up our RV. I showered there, where I discovered a big blister on the inside of my right big toe (though I hadn’t felt it forming at all!) and the sports bra chafe. After that, we ate at The Village Inn (I had some delicious sausage and gravy crepes), went grocery shopping (I tried to take a nap while they were doing that) and then we headed out of town for Denali. My legs were pretty sore and painful that first day but Sunday morning, they were more of a good sore, and now on Monday, they just have a few twinges here and there but are mostly just exhausted.

I’d say the marathon was a success!

Thanks for all of your encouragement and advice while training for this race! It means a lot to me.

And now, I’m off to enjoy Alaska disconnected from the interwebs! Enjoy my random postings in the meantime and I’ll be back the week of July 7.

Week 18 Tapering: 6/18 – 6/24

20 Jun

I am doing this training recap early because this morning, I went on my last training run!

Marathon training is officially over. All that’s left now is to run the actual race. 😉

My runs this week were just like last week’s – slow, recovery pace. My massage Monday seems to have helped my tight muscles ever so slightly but they’re still begging for lots and lots of stretching.

Anyway… here’s what has happened so far this week.

Monday: 3 mile recovery run (37:20; 12:06/mile)

Tuesday: 2 mile recovery run (~12:15/mile)

Wednesday: 4 mile recovery run (49:30; 12:22/mile)

On today’s run, the first 3 miles I ran were around a 12:50 pace. Then the last mile, I ran in 10:59, just to remind myself that I can run faster.

Running Miles = 9

Here’s what the rest of the week will look like:

Thursday: Rest (to finish packing!)

Friday: Traveling

Saturday: Mayor’s Marathon – 26.2 miles!

Sunday: ??

………………….

Like any other athlete before a race, I’ve been checking the weather for race day everyday. So far, it’s looking like the perfect day:

Apparently, 69* is hot for Anchorage. But for Denver, it’s downright chilly (what with all the upper 90s we’ve been having lately. I’m not complaining though – dry heat is nothing like humid heat!) And I love that sunrise in Anchorage is at 4:21 – no getting up when it’s still dark outside for this race! The race starts at 8:00 so I figure I could get up around 5:30 or 6:00, get to the race site around 7:00 and be good to go.

T-3 days!

Week 15 Tapering: 6/11 – 6/17

19 Jun

I got in all of my planned miles last week and each run felt better than the last. I purposefully ran them all at a very slow recovery pace. Even when I felt like I could run faster, I made myself keep it slow and VERY easy, reminding myself, “Running slow is the thing helping your legs feel better.” Having no pace pressure also made running more enjoyable!

Monday: 3.06 mile recovery run (38:08; 12:27/mile)

Tuesday: 6.01 mile recovery run (1:13:43; 12:16/mile)

Wednesday: Rest

Thursday: 6.02 mile recovery run (1:12:19; 12:01/mile)

Friday: 4.03 mile recovery run (49:00; 12:10/mile)

Saturday: 2 hours of easy hiking

Sunday: 30 minutes of moderate hiking

Total Running Miles = 19.12

And with that, it is now RACE WEEK! Gah!

My IT band/hamstring/glute/hip area has been feeling really tight the past week so I got a massage last night. It felt great, though there were definitely some areas that had me wincing a bit while the lady worked them over. My legs felt great on my run this morning but they end up getting angry the longer I sit down at work. Even though I get up to stretch and walk around every hour, my hips are not happy! At least they don’t hurt while I’m running.

Travis and I still have a lot of stuff to do before we leave on Friday morning so I gotta go. It’s good that I’m busy – less time to drive myself crazy with race day nerves!

The Race Strategy

14 Jun

As I’m almost staring down a week until the marathon, I’ve started getting my race strategy together. Using the published course map and the satellite view in runningahead.com, I mapped the marathon course. It helps me in races to recognize the portion of the course I’m on so that I have an idea of where I am and where I’m going. For this race, it will also help me prepare for the hills – and get ready to cruise the downhills!

{I posted the maps in map view instead of satellite so that they’d be easier to read.}

Miles 1-5

Miles 1-5 are an out and back along the highway following a paved trail or road. The elevation gain is steady – 150 feet in 5 miles. Since I’m used to this kind of elevation gain from my daily runs, I’m not worried about the hills. I will, however, be keeping a close eye on my watch to make sure I don’t go out too fast. Coming from elevation to sea level, it could be hard to accurately gauge how fast I’m running when I start. My goal is to run these miles at a very conservative, relaxed pace, probably somewhere around 11:45/mile. If I see my pace go faster than 11:30, I will slow myself down.

Miles 6-10

Miles 6-10 are a nice little downhill! But they also include 4 miles out of 7 that we run on a gravel road called the Oilwell Tank Trail. So these miles will be spent focusing on not twisting my ankle and watching out for wildlife like moose and bears! I read that the race organizers and wildlife rangers sweep the trail in the morning to make sure there aren’t any hanging around but that doesn’t mean they could mosey on over there before I get to that spot.

Other information I read: If you encounter a moose, you’re supposed to give them a good 10 yards of space and an open escape route to get around them. If in doubt, don’t approach. Moose can be moody and ornery. Bears are much more timid and if they hear humans, they’ll probably run away. If you happen to surprise one, put your arms up to appear larger and back away slowly keeping the bear in your sight. (I’m kind of hoping I don’t encounter either of these guys on the course.)

Miles 11-14

Miles 11-14 are still on the Oilwell Tank Trail and are the last section of extended uphill! I will allow myself to walk if needed here and just focus on getting to mile 15 without killing my legs.

Miles 15-20

Miles 15-20 are a net downhill of 300 feet! This is where I’ll pick up steam if I’m feeling good. But I won’t let myself run faster than 11 minute miles because I’ll still have that last 10K to run! The few short pesky hills in this stretch should help keep my pace moderate. Mile 15 is also the last of the Oilwell Tank Trail – I’m sure it will be a relief to get back on to pavement. Around Mile 18, we start running through the actual city of Anchorage. Hopefully this also means more spectator support!

Miles 21-25

Miles 21-25 are mostly downhill, but still involve a few pesky (and downright ornery) hills. If I’m still feeling good, I’ll run at whatever pace feels comfortably fast. But if I need to walk, I’ll walk. It’ll be the longest run of my life at this point!

Miles 26 and 0.2

Mile 26 gets right down by the water (only 3 ft elevation!). But to get to the finish line, we have to climb back up to 79 feet! That’s just cruel. But exciting because it mean we’re almost there. We finish on the high school’s track. (The route I mapped is long by 0.2 mile.)

…………………

I found a really cool running calculator today while surfing Runner’s World boards about increases in running performance going from altitude to sea level. Using the pace from my 20 mile run (which would mean a 5:07 marathon), it calculates that at sea level, I could run the marathon in 4:48, an average pace of 10:58 (an increase of about 30 seconds per mile). I would be beyond thrilled with that time. But again, I want to enjoy this race more than I want a certain time so even though I’ve been tempted to print off a pace band for a 5-hour finish, I won’t. I don’t need the clock staring me down – I’ll have plenty of hills doing that!

Even though my legs aren’t feeling fully recovered from my 20-miler, my brain is feeling excited! I’m still nervous, and reading about the Oilwell Tank Trail hasn’t done me any favors – in the participant guide, it’s described: “Narrow, brushy, and full of rocks that threaten even the most stable of ankles, the Tank Trail tests both physical and mental mettle, as lesser-prepared participants begin to wonder, even this early in the race, if perhaps this wasn’t such a great idea.” Sweet. Thanks for telling me that. (Double gulp.)

But I’ve very glad to be feeling excitement! I’m looking forward to getting out there and proving to myself that I can do this. It still seems incredible to me that I am ready to run a marathon. That’s crazy talk! And in just 9 days, I’ll be at the start line.

Week 16 Tapering: 6/4 – 6/10

12 Jun

The theme of my first taper week:

Those who can’t run, walk.

Monday: 1.55 mile walk with pooches (untimed)

Tuesday: 2.63 mile attempted-run-turned-walk (38:54; 14:49/mile)

When I got home from work, I made a deal with myself: I could watch one NCIS episode before going out on my 4-mile run. That would allow it to cool down some (like 1 degree) outside too. I ended up falling asleep by the end of the episode but woke up right as it ended. Determined to run, I got ready and headed out with the dogs. I walked the first 1/4 mile to warm up and then started to run. Half a mile later, I was walking. My legs felt absolutely horrible and I was exhausted and cranky. I decided that I was doing no one any favors by pushing myself to run at all, let alone 4 miles. So I walked almost all of this and let it rest at 2.5 miles.

Wednesday: 5.05 mile easy run (1:00:10; 11:57/mile)

My legs felt better for this run but still weren’t 100%. Regardless, I was able to run all 5 scheduled miles, even averaging a 10:58 pace for the last 1.55 (sans dogs).

Thursday: 5.15 mile ‘fartlek-ish’ run (1:02:26; 12:11/mile); 1.55 mile walk (untimed)

Running in the evening is getting trickier by the day. It’s usually blazing hot by the time I get off work (80-90 degrees most days), with the sun still out in full force. So I’ve started to work backward from sunset to figure out what time I need to start my run by in order to not finish in the dark but still miss as much of the heat & sun as I can. Which works out decently well, except for the dilemma of dinner. What can I eat that won’t upset my stomach?

What is not the answer: a burrito. For some reason, I thought that eating a burrito before this run wouldn’t be that big of a deal. And maybe it wouldn’t have been if I had remembered to take Tums before leaving. But I didn’t and the acid reflux made this run pretty miserable, causing me to cut it from 8 miles to 5 and spend the last 3 miles doing fartleks with walking breaks instead of running the whole thing. I had been planning to run the remaining 3 (of 8) with the dogs but instead, I grabbed them for a walk when I got back. The whole time I was kicking myself. Seriously? That was a rookie mistake. Regardless, lesson learned. Again.

Friday: 2 mile walk to Redbox with Travis and pooches (untimed)

We rented Contraband. Meh. Not Mark Wahlberg’s finest. Travis said it was the exact same storyline as The Italian Job, only that movie was actually good. This movie also had a lot of cursing, which just gets hard to listen to after a while.

Saturday: 10.09 mile long run (2:08:29; 12:44/mile); 1.32 mile walk (untimed)

This was quite possibly the worst run of my life training to date. I was miserable the entire time (with the exception of maybe 5 minutes when I was running down a nice downhill and a hot breeze was blowing). The course I ran is a very gradual but relentless uphill on the way out – 165 feet in 5 miles. It’s not that bad but enough to make you really notice a difference when you turn around and run the gradual downhill. Except that I was so tired and hot that day, my speed remained the same. Here are my shiny new GARMIN splits (I’ll post my review of the watch once I’ve used it a bit more):

The reason this run was so hard is the trifecta: 1) I got started later than I should’ve (around 8:30), which I immediately regretted. It was already 80 degrees by then (the high for the day was 95) and was probably 85 by the time I finished at 10:40. And let me tell you, Colorado sun is HOT. Ridiculously hot. On a nice 70-degree day, you can be kind of chilly sitting in the shade but step into the sun and you’re burning up. 2) My mental game was off. No part of me was excited to be out there and by mile 9, I was silently cursing everything in sight. 3) My legs felt slow and useless.

Thus, my 12 mile run turned into a 10 mile run. Starting around mile 7, I bargained with myself that I could walk for a little bit (a minute?) at every mile marker if I ran the rest. Then around mile 9, I started doing run-walk intervals. The minute I walked in the door, I ran a tub of cold water and sat down in it. Ahhh…

Later, around 4:30, I took the dogs for a walk. But it was still way too stifling hot to be in the sun so I cut it short.

Sunday: 1 mile walk with pooches (untimed)

Total Running Miles = 20.2

Total Walking Miles = 9

I don’t normally count the miles I walk with the dogs as training because they’re pretty slow (since I usually wear flip-flops and the dogs sniff everything). But at least half of the miles I walked this week were done in old running shoes and with minimal allowance for sniffing so the walks were faster less slow than usual. {And I’m grasping at straws to not feel so bad for only running 20 miles last week.}

So now you can see why I’ve decided to do all of my remaining runs in the morning. And actually, once I get past the unpleasantness of having to get up early and the craptastic feeling of stiff and sorry legs, I enjoy running in the morning. It’s so nice and cool out! Plus, I LOVE being able to leave work knowing that the minute I walk in the door, I can lay on the couch and not move all night. That thought alone gets me out of bed. Glorious.

The Taper Crazies

11 Jun

So I’m beginning to see what people mean when they say they hate tapering. At first, I couldn’t see a downside to once again embracing 3-mile runs; having time on a work day to do something other than eat, run or work; and being able to replace miles with minutes of sleep. But then I encountered the worst part about the taper:

My brain.

And now I understand: the taper crazies are all in the head. They’ve been there on every run since my 20 miler, cursing my legs when won’t move like they’re supposed to (and following the rabbit trail downward spiral of what that could mean for race day…). They keep me up at night, wondering why in the world did I decide that running 26.2 miles sounded like a good idea? and CRAP, the marathon is less than 2 weeks away. They suggest that my legs won’t be fully recovered by race day. That my brain won’t be fully recovered by race day. Every mile on my training plan that I don’t run is like a stain on my conscience – what if that mile was the difference between succeeding and failing?

Of course I know I’m being ridiculous. I know that it’s better to take things easy and listen to my body, rather than be a plan-following Nazi (so that’s what I’ve been doing despite the taper crazies). But it helps to hear other people say it too:

Listen to your body. Don’t worry about cutting short or skipping a workout if you feel tired or sluggish. The taper is all about recovering from the effects of a long distance training schedule. Remember that it’s not the training done in the taper that will help you on the marathon day. Rather, the gradual buildup of distance over the last few months that will get you across the finish line… Think of the taper period as running to simply keep your legs moving…. The tapering period serves no benefit for increasing fitness for the marathon day; the fitness was acquired in the previous months of training. If you feel tired or sluggish, listen to your body, not your training schedule and skip a workout or two. {source}

Self: Remember this – You are not screwing yourself over by skipping a run when you legitimately feel horrible (or by cutting a run short when it’s 85 degrees outside…a story for tomorrow). It’s good for you to run at a slow recovery pace, even if it is mentally painful, hurts your pride and makes you doubt your ability to run faster.

The taper crazies have been exacerbated by my exhaustion. Not only does my body not want to run physically, my brain doesn’t want to run mentally. Even my stubbornness has taken a few hits this past week and thrown in the towel early and often.

So I’m asking God to let these shorter runs revive me. To freshen my legs and my outlook. Remind me why I love running, even though right now I want to dramatically swear that I’m never running again after this marathon is over.

As for the other aspects of tapering, I’m going to do all of my remaining runs in the morning. Even though I’d rather get back into my morning routine, it’s just too. darn. hot. to run after work anymore.

I’m also going to cut out alcohol, eat fewer sweets, drink at least 64 oz of water per day (not including water during runs), eat more protein (chicken and salmon this week!), and really try to get 8-10 hours of sleep a night.

Have any advice for conquering the taper crazies?

Week 15 Training: 5/28 – 6/3

8 Jun

I’ve been exhausted this week. Two mornings, I’ve woken up as late as 7:15 to get ready for work, even though I went to bed at 9 pm the night before (that would be 10 hours of sleep). The other mornings, I’ve gotten up at 6 or 6:30, which is still later than usual. Yesterday, I was dragging at 1:30 pm and had to go buy an iced coffee (mmmm… iced coffee). Maybe it was last weekend’s 20 miler but I hope my body gets it together sometime soon here – we leave for Alaska TWO WEEKS from today. Gulp.

Anyway, because of that, this week has been a lesson in being joyful even when life is a mess and I feel behind on everything. I actually have kind of appreciated the challenge because it’s a lesson I really want to learn (and a lesson that will take a long time to learn).

Last week was the pinnacle of marathon training. Now I just have to coast injury-free to the start line.

Monday: 800 meter swim + 45 minute easy hike

First swim in a good 5 months. Breaststroke felt good, front crawl majorly rusty. Swimming outside is awesome.

Tuesday: Rest

Wednesday: 5.11 mile run (58:31; 11:27/mile)

This run was MEH. Decent but not great.

Thursday: 10.04 mile run (1:54:24; 11:23/mile)

First 4-5 miles were MEH – legs felt tired and stiff. But last 3 miles were GREAT – legs felt light and fast. Weeee!

Poor Man’s GPS Splits: 

1 – 12:12
2 – 12:18
3 – 11:37
4 – 11:29
5 – 11:25
6 – 11:40
7 – 11:24
8 – 10:21
9 – 10:41
10 – 10:43

Friday: Rest

Saturday: 20.1 mile long run (3:52:44; 11:34/pace)

Sunday: 1.75 mile walk with Mom and dogs (untimed)

Total Running Miles = 35.25

My running total for May was 133.43 miles (April was 111.68), bringing my 2012-miles-to-date to 424.11, over half the way to my goal of running 700 this year.

I said it before, but I’ll say it again – after being sidelined in 2010 from running a full marathon, I feel very blessed to be on this side of my 20 mile long run with no injuries. Nothing. No twinges. No lingering aches. Just exhaustion, apparently. I’ll take it.

(Oh, and it’s a very surreal feeling to be able to write: “on this side of my 20 mile long run.” I ran 20 miles?!?!!? It’s kind of an awesome feeling. I can’t imagine what 26.2 feels like!)

Our Busy Weekend

6 Jun

Some more pics from Saturday’s race (courtesy of my dad):

(Those last 4 are stills from video that my dad took, so that’s why they’re not the best quality. I included them because I actually look like I’m running!)

After the race, we walked around the Taste of Louisville festival for a bit before deciding to redeem the coupon on our race bibs for a free margarita at Old Santa Fe. Travis and I put on flipflops and changed our shirts and we enjoyed al fresco dining. I wasn’t very hungry so I ordered guacamole and chips, which were delicious.

Then we went home, showered, napped/watched TV until we decided to go do some shopping. Our first stop was the auto parts store. Our Focus died a few weeks ago and Travis has been hard at work trying to fix it. Nothing he did seemed to work so he finally gave up and brought it to a mechanic. Turns out that the things Travis had fixed actually had been broken but there was one more piece to the puzzle. It’s a tough part to get in and out (as Travis and my dad discovered first-hand on Sunday) so instead of paying $500 for the mechanic to do the work, Travis decided he and my dad would tackle it together.

Our next stop was Sam’s Club to look at Garmin watches. For my birthday! My parents are SUPER generous and said that they wanted to buy me a Garmin for my birthday (in July). Since they wanted to make sure I got the one I wanted, we picked it out together. Sam’s Club didn’t have any though. 😦

Then it was off to Walmart (I had seen Garmins on their website but they’re not in the store). No luck there. On to Gordman’s, where my mom and I spent a solid 45 minutes deciding which pillows to buy for our new couches (as an anniversary present from my parents – they think of any excuse they can to buy us things 😉 ). We were heading to the register with our final selections when I noticed one of the pillows had a tear. After calling to another store and finding out they had one, we went over there to buy pillow #6 of 6. Depressingly, those pillows didn’t end up working out so we had to return them anyway. But the others worked great!

While at the second Gordman’s store, Travis and my dad went to Home Depot and bought a stand-up, rolling tool chest that Travis had wanted. I told Travis he could buy one since he officially PASSED his Professional Engineer’s exam! Since they took a while doing that, my mom and I wandered around Gordman’s and found some shoes to buy. After my successful purchase last summer of b.o.c. sandals, I decided another pair for $35 (instead of $60) was in order.

Finally, we were on our way home. Unfortunately, I had had a massive headache for the previous hour or so. When we got home, I went straight to bed, only getting up to eat dinner. Not sure why my head hurt but it could be a combination of not drinking enough water, not replacing electrolytes well enough and not taking a nap.

………………..

The next morning, I felt better. We went to church and then ate lunch at Sweet Tomatoes, a salad bar place. Travis had talked to our friend that works at REI about Garmins and learned that REI sells them in the store. So after returning the pillows that didn’t work to Gordman’s, we headed downtown to find me a Garmin.

After much hemming and hawing, I decided on the 210. I had previously wanted the 405/410 until I learned that they’re no longer making them (and REI didn’t even have any).

The 210 comes with a heart rate monitor. It tracks all the basics: pace, time, splits, distance. You can view your elevation after uploading your data.

I also looked at the 610 but it was too expensive and I didn’t feel like the extra features were worth $150 to me (though they might to someone else). I decided against the 310 as well. Even though it being waterproof made it appealing, I didn’t feel that made up for the less-than-appealing humongous square display. Plus, it would probably be too big to wear with a wetsuit during a triathlon anyway – so what would be the point?

I think the 210 is really cute.

I took it for my first test “run” last night (I ended up walking most of the 2.5 miles because my legs were so tight/sore!). I really like how it fits and the distance/splits seem accurate but I was a little frustrated with the pace display. Thought I think that’s because it was displaying my average, not current, pace (which would explain a lot). I’ve been too lazy to actually get out the manual and figure out how to work the thing so I can’t really make a judgment until I do that.

In addition to the Garmin, my mom bought me a shirt to wear for the marathon.

The last picture is loading weird, but the lines are actually horizontal on the shirt.

The shirt is REI brand and is actually designed for backpacking, so I can get double use out of it. It’s 90% Polyester, 10% spandex so it’s very stretchy and is wrinkle-resistant. I also LOVE that fabric “texture” and figure that I can probably get away with teal + pink for the race. I’m going to test the shirt out on my 12 mile long run this weekend.

Post-REI, we headed home so that Travis and my dad could work on fixing the Focus. While they did that, my mom and I shopped for and hung a picture collage in the living room. When we got new couches, the arrangement of our living room changed quite a bit so the pictures had to be moved around. This is what we came up with:

One of the frames we bought (that will go in the middle on the left) didn’t have a wall-hanger so I have to work on that still – as well as putting pictures in some of the frames.

The canvases on the right need to be put in black frames and then they’ll be hung up above the loveseat.

The car and picture projects lasted until about 8:30, when we finally grilled up some elk burgers. Around 11, we went to bed and my parents (sadly) left the next morning to fly back to Minnesota. It was a short but sweet trip! Thanks Mom and Dad for your overwhelming generosity with everything. We are very blessed by you.

Happy National Running Day!

Ready like Spongebob.

5 Jun

After this weekend’s successful 20-mile run, I want to run around like Spongebob: “I’m ready, I’m ready, I’m ready, I’m ready.”

My parents came out Friday night and we went out to eat at a new pizza pub near us called Right Coast Pizza Company. The place was packed and it took a while to get our food, but when it did come, the pizza and bruschetta were amazing. I would definitely go back.

We rented the movie J. Edgar from Red Box and so I ended up staying up until almost 11 before deciding I really needed to go to bed, considering I had 20 miles to run in the morning. The movie wasn’t even that great – very slow-moving albeit somewhat interesting.

The next morning, I got up at 4:40 to get running by 5. The race start was at 8 am, it would take 30 minutes to drive there, and I wanted to run all 7 additional miles before the race, since it was supposed to be 90 degrees later. I was so nervous/excited about running 20 miles that I didn’t sleep very well (woke up at least once every hour) and I woke up without an alarm clock. I had gotten everything ready the night before so I just had to get dressed, eat breakfast and head out the door. I’ve decided that my best pre-race fuel is a blueberry or cinnamon raisin bagel with butter, eaten 5-15 minutes before starting my run. The butter doesn’t seem to bother my acid reflux like peanut butter does.

I wasn’t thrilled with the idea of running 20 miles when I headed out but it’s hard to not enjoy running in the morning. Everything feels so fresh and sunny. Even though my legs felt pretty good, I kept my pace very conservative and easy.

Splits:

By the time I got back, my gray shirt (that I was planned to wear for the marathon) was already soaked… making me decide against wearing it for the actual marathon.

I changed my sports bra and shirt, drank a glass of chocolate milk, grabbed my stuff and by 6:45, we were heading up to Louisville for the Taste of Louisville half marathon.

Finding the park and getting our bibs and timing chips was a breeze. We had just enough time to run our stuff back to the car and stand in line for the bathroom before they announced we should start lining up.

Women’s on left, Men’s on right

Soon, we were off. Right away, we settled into a very comfortable, easy pace. All of the other racers took off so we were pretty much alone for the first 5 miles, with the except of a few racers around us. Aid stations were roughly every 2 miles and were well-stocked with water, oranges, grapes and bananas. I ate several oranges and grapes out on the course and even though my parents were waiting at Mile 6 with Honey Stingers, I didn’t feel like I needed them. The course was also very well-marked and very pretty – we ran through a lot of neighborhoods and quite a bit of the trails were gravel and shaded. Tons of volunteers were helping out too. I’d definitely do this race again!

My stomach wasn’t feeling the greatest for the first 2-3 miles. Maybe it was drinking the chocolate milk in between my runs? Whatever it was, I’m not too concerned about it happening during the marathon since I won’t be taking an 90 minute break in the middle.

Around Mile 3, we started catching up to the runners in front of us and we ended up passing quite a few over the course of the morning. I may not be a fast runner, but I’m a steady one!

After Mile 4, we started to pick up the pace and I had a full-blown runner’s high. Legs felt great. Lungs felt great. Travis said that I talked the most he’s ever heard me talk on a run. I was just having a really great time!

The course has 2 out and back loops – one is Mile 1 to Mile 6, the other Mile 6 to Mile 12.5. So when we reached Mile 6, we got to see the first male coming in on his last mile, as well as all of the other runners in front of us. Even though it made the trail a little crowded at times, I really liked this. It made me feel like I was actually in a race instead of just out for a run with Travis (because when you’re in the back of the pack, sometimes it doesn’t feel like you’re even in a race!)

I was encouraging other runners and thanking the volunteers and loving life until about Mile 9 – when that turnaround seemed so. far. away. and my hips, specifically the left, had started throbbing. It wasn’t that surprising though, since I was technically on Mile 16.

Even though it was HOT, we kept up the pace until a major hill at Mile 12, and then slowly made our way to the finish line.

Finally, the finish line was in sight. I ran as fast as my tired legs would carry me and was SO excited to be done! I ran 20 MILES!

20 miles. Done.

Not only that, I beat my Colorado Half Marathon time (2:30:52) again! Our official net time was 2:30:05. Even though it wasn’t a PR, I didn’t care at all. I didn’t go into the race thinking it would be, I ran at a good pace, I LOVED THE EXPERIENCE, Travis ran with me, my parents were spectating, and it was the culmination of my marathon training. It is a huge blessing to reach this point in my training without injury and feeling as good as I did.

Now you can see why I feel like Spongebob. I’m ready, I’m ready, I’m ready. I’m confident that with tapering, sea level altitude and the race excitement, I’ll have the energy and strength I need to run the full 26.2 miles in a little over 2.5 weeks. I just need to stay motivated to run for the next 19 days and I’m golden (note to self).

So with that said, these are the race goals I’m toying with:

Goal A (This is AMAZING!, 11:26 average pace) – 5:00:00 or less

Goal B (I love running!!, 11:50 average pace) – 5:10:00 or less

Goal C (I feel pretty good, 12:15 average pace) – 5:20:00 or less

Goal D (This is tough but I’m finishing, dangit, 12:35 average pace) – 5:30:00 or less

But ultimately, since this could be the only marathon I run ever (or at least for the foreseeable future), I want to enjoy the experience like I did on Saturday. Run at a comfortable pace. If one mile is slower, don’t sweat it. If 20 miles are slower, don’t sweat it. Stop at the aid stations. Walk if you need to. Say hi to fellow runners and the volunteers. Take it all in. As long as I enjoy the race, I don’t really care about my pace. (Though I’d be lying if I said I wouldn’t choose a faster time over a slower one.)

The 2o mile run being over also means… IT’S TAPER TIME! So. excited. I Heart Taper.