Tag Archives: marathon

Week 14 Training: 5/21 – 5/27

29 May

Somehow, after the long holiday weekend of sleeping in and relaxing, my brain is functioning even less well than it did on Friday. I don’t know how that’s possible.

Anyway, I am so glad that this is the peak week of marathon training – because that means tapering starts next week. Don’t get me wrong – I love running. I wouldn’t be training for a marathon if I didn’t. But I’m discovering that I don’t love running this much. I’m definitely more of a half marathon gal.

These past 3 weeks, I’ve had a really hard time feeling motivated to get my runs in. I’ve resorted to giving myself little pep talks, “Don’t give up now. You only have x weeks left until taper. You can do this for x more weeks. You’re almost there.”

And I am almost there. One week left. 3 days. 3 runs. I can do this.

It’s at times like this when I need to read and listen to things that pump me up for running. This Nike ad is one thing that does it for me:

You pretended the snooze button didn’t exist. You dragged your butt out of bed while others slept. While others ate their pancakes you had a feast of protein, glucose and electrolytes. You double-knotted. You left the porch light on and locked the door behind you. You ran 5Ks, 10Ks, 26.2 miles. Some days more, some days less. You rewarded a long run with a short run. And a short run with a long run. Rain tried to slow you. Sun tried to microwave you. Snow made you feel like a warrior. You cramped. You bonked. You paid no mind to comfort. On weekends. On holidays. You made excuses to keep going. Questioned yourself. Played mind games. Put your heart before your knees. Listened to your breathing. Sweat sunscreen into your eyes. Worked on your farmer’s tan. You hit the wall. You went through it. You decided to be man about it. You decided to be woman about it. Finished what you started. Proved what you were made of. Just kept putting mile after mile on your interval odometer. For 25 years, you ran. And we ran with you. How much farther will we go? As far as you will.

A few others:

If it was easy, everyone would do it.

Ok! Now that we’re pumped up to RUN, here was my training last week:

Monday: 4.1 mile easy run, untimed (FELT GREAT!)

Tuesday: 8.61 mile tempo run (1:39:18; 11:31/mile)

HOT run. Ran first 6 miles at or faster than GMP (11:18 average). Last 2.5 miles were easy pace (12:03 average). Walked .5 mile to cool down.

Wednesday: Rest

Thursday: Rest

Friday: 5.23 mile run w/4 x 800 easy (56:52; 10:52/mile)

I ran these 800s like fartleks – at a faster pace but not fast enough to require recovery. 800 times were 5:28, 5:44, 5:13, and 4:55. Not too shabby.

Saturday: 9.58 mile Long Run Part 1 (1:53:18; 11:49/mile)

Sunday: 4.59 mile Long Run Part 2 (55:42; 12:08/mile)

Total Running Miles = 32.11

…………………….

Yesterday, I went swimming at the outdoor pool near our house. It was awesome. I love swimming outside! (Never mind it was my first time swimming since…???) Since my run Sunday morning had pretty much sucked, I took yesterday off from running and Travis and I went on a little hike near Roxborough. We were going to go to the state park down there but they don’t allow dogs. Apparently, they’ve had 10 mountain lion sightings in the past week or 2. After hearing that, I’m not sure I ever want to go hiking there. Yikes.

After that, we went to a park and played frisbee and sand volleyball with some friends. It was a good weekend overall!

Here’s my plan this week:

Tuesday: 5 miles (pm)

Wednesday: Rest

Thursday: 10 miles (am)

Friday: Rest (my parents are coming to visit!)

Saturday: 20 miles

Sunday: walk/cross-train

Blazing Long Run

26 May

Last night, Travis and I went to see the 6:30 showing of The Avengers. The movie was really good! For some reason, I really enjoy that kind of movie. After some ice cream from Coldstone, I went to bed around 10. I didn’t set my alarm clock because I assumed I’d wake up early like usual. Well, the pooches did wake up at the usual time. I got up at 7 long enough to let them outside and feed them. But then I went back to bed and closed the bedroom door. When I finally did get up at 8:45, I was completely groggy and exhausted so I had breakfast and a cup of coffee to wake up.

All that to say, I didn’t get started on my long run of 14 miles until 11 am, when it was already 80 degrees out with no clouds in the sky. Wow, does that make a difference! It felt like 95 degrees on this run.

I ran 2.5 with the dogs (and they were doggin’ it especially slow today so I turned around earlier than I had planned) and then 7 with Travis, who is still contemplating the half marathon next weekend (never mind that this was his longest run in…a couple years?). By the end of that 7 (so 9.5 for me), I threw in the towel. The stubborn part of me wanted to just get the run done with but it was SO HOT and I couldn’t imagine running another 4.5. I drew up an ice cold bath and sat in there for about 7 minutes.

I plan on running those last 4.5 miles tomorrow morning, which is still within a 24 hour period so close enough. And I’m feeling pretty good about this:

I’ve ran 45.5 miles in the past 7 days. What’s amazing, though, is that they’ve been good miles. In fact, Monday’s run was the best run I’ve had all month. Running just felt so easy and natural and I couldn’t help but smile as I ran. It made me think of a new running phrase – instead of Run Happy, my motto is Run Blessed. I’ll post some more thoughts on that soon.

Well, we’re off to a BBQ. Hope you’re having a fun weekend full of great weather and even better company!

 

Clothes and Couches.

24 May

Clothes

Our care group is having a little BBQ this Saturday and since it’s supposed to be 84 degrees, I’m planning to wear my new dress:

I LOVE this dress. It’s so comfy, casual and for some reason, I’m smitten with the orange/tan color combo.

As for the trendy vs. timeless pants, longevity and comfort are the winners this time.

The skinny jeans fit me well… standing up.

But they’re a little iffy for bending over or sitting down, meaning I’d always have to wear a belt. And since I don’t like being limited like that…

Dress pants it is.

The dress pants are the Aubrey cut from Gap (a quick Google search shows that they’re either only available at Gap outlet or have been renamed). They’re the perfect size in both the waist and hips (hard to find!), perfect length to wear with either heels or flats, and they’re machine washable. Best part, I got them for 50% off. I feel like $30 for nice dress pants is a very reasonable price.

After much contemplating, I mailed my “marathon shirt” back yesterday. I did exchange it for a large and while it fit better, it was still really long and a little tighter than I would prefer:

One of my friends is an amazing seamstress (I was going to write “sewer”, but somehow that didn’t seem right…) and I was thinking about asking her to shorten the shirt 2-3 inches. But the more I thought about it, it’s just not the right shirt. So back it went, much to our wallet’s delight.

Speaking of our wallet, I have not bought and am no longer planning to buy a Garmin just yet. A new pair of running shoes had to come first (somehow, they seemed more essential) and our Alaska trip has pretty much eliminated any wiggle room beyond that in our budget. But it’s a small price to pay for the trip of a lifetime.

So what am I planning to wear for the marathon? Well, after way too much thought and deliberation, I’ve (almost) decided to go with this short-sleeve shirt if it’s a warm day:

 Malibu Half 2010

Or this shirt if it’s chilly:

On the bottom, I’ll wear my pink running skirt over my 2XU compression tights. The other bottom option I’ve been thinking about is my running skirt over my Aspaeris compression shorts (just in case compression tights would be too warm) but then I’d want to wear compression socks and not only would that be more $$ to spend, I’m not sure it would be any cooler than the tights in the first place. I’ll probably change my mind 10 more times before the race and end up bringing along 5 different options anyway. Le sigh. #firstworldproblems

Travis laughs whenever I bring up the majorly important and hard decision of what I’m going to wear during the marathon. “When I ran my marathon {Twin Cities 2006},” he said, “the night before the race, I realized that I didn’t have a drifit shirt. My roommate said he had one I could borrow, and that’s what I wore.”

Boys.

Couches

We are LOVING our new couches that we got from our friends who just sold their house to travel around the country:

You almost can’t even see Charlie on the loveseat… but she’s there. All. the. time. Luckily, besides a minor mishap (looking at you Katy) in the first 36 hours, the couches have remained intact. But the dogs still lick them every chance they get. ?!?!?

Week 13 Training: 5/14 – 5/20

23 May

It’s official!

I’m registered to run 26.2 miles in Anchorage on June 23. Gulp.

I have to be honest. As the reality of that distance sets in, I’m starting to wonder what made me want to run a marathon in the first place. Why again did I think that sounded like fun? But there’s no turning back now when almost all of the hard training is behind me! After my 20 mile run in 2 weeks, it’ll be taper time.

………………….

My runs this past week were slow but actually felt pretty good, which was a huge change (and blessing!) from last week.

Monday: 4.1 mile easy run (50:18; 12:16/mile)

Tuesday: 9 mile tempo run (1:45:30; 11:43/mile)

I ran the first 3.5 miles easy, the next 4.5 at goal marathon pace (11:30) or faster (whoops), and the last mile easy. Splits (courtesy of my Poor Man’s GPS):

1 – 12:13 (3:46 wu, 8:27 run)
2 – 12:28
3 – 12:03
3.5 – 5:47
4.5 – 11:03
5.5 – 11:30
6.25 – 8:56
7 – 8:16
8 – 11:11
9 – 12:00

Wednesday: Rest

Thursday: 4.13 mile easy run (48:50; 11:49/mile) + 60 minute CorePower 1 Yoga class

I cut my run short by one mile to make it back to yoga while my free week was still good. I went to a more traditional Vinyasa class this time. Here’s the description:

I enjoyed it. It was relaxing while still being challenging and our instructor, Linda Lou, was really nice and friendly. All the people there are so happy, they make me happy. When I was leaving, I noticed a pure barre sign on the building across the street. That’s what I want to try next.

Friday: Rest, walked an easy mile with husband and pooches

Saturday: Rest

Sunday: 18 mile long run (3:47:36; 12:38/mile), walked the dogs for 15 minutes

Total Running Miles = 35.23

Only 2 weeks left and it’s taper time! (If you can’t tell, I’m really looking forward to that. I’m so behind on everything!)

Anniversary Trip {Part Two}

22 May

Sunday dawned cold but clear. When I went out to get bagels from the grocery store across the street, this was our car:

Brrr…

After eating a cinnamon raisin bagel with peanut butter, I was off on my run and Travis was off to his morning hockey game. I took the pooches with me for the first 3 miles, then planned to drop them off to run the last 15 alone. After being couped up in a hotel room for 36 hours, only going outside for bathroom breaks, Katy and Charlie had a LOT of energy. And needed a lot of #2 pit stops. Nothing gets things moving like a run.

It was 35 when I first went out so I had decided to wear a long-sleeve tech shirt plus a lightweight jacket. The sun was out in full force, though, and by the time I got back to the hotel with the dogs, that jacket was too much. I left my long-sleeve on and with my compression tights and running skirt on bottom, I was perfectly dressed for the 40-50 degree weather.

Running in the mountains isn’t all bad

Pooches in their kennel, I headed back out with 3 hours of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix to keep me company. Having something like a story to think about helps to pass the time. Since I had a long way to go and was running at a good 4,000 feet higher than usual, my strategy for this run was to run at an easy, comfortable pace and walk when I needed or wanted to. Which was good because there were a lot of hills on this run.

First 3 miles:

15 mile out and back:

And those just show the main hills! There were also a bunch of smaller rolling hills. I ran up most of the smaller hills but walked up the big ones. It just wasn’t worth pushing myself to run up them, only to be completely out of breath at the top and have to walk anyway.

Miles 5 – 7.5 (of the 15 mile route) were tiring. It was enough uphill to be noticeable but not enough that I could justify walking. Around mile 6, I saw Travis driving back from his hockey game. He honked and I waved.

Finally I got to the turnaround! But because of the doozy of a hill at miles 10-10.5 (which I walked most of), and my aching legs/hips, I actually only ran the way back a minute faster than the way out.

Around mile 13, I took a bathroom break, which was glorious. For the last 2 miles, I alternated between thinking “Hey, this isn’t so bad”, “Holy crap, my hips are throbbing”, “I can totally run a marathon”, and “EIGHT more miles after this? I’m screwed”. But I made it. And I’m pretty sure that I’m going to cry at the finish line of the real marathon because I get emotional just finishing my long runs. 😉

I borrowed Travis’ phone so that I could track my splits via the MapMyRun app but I’m pretty sure it didn’t work correctly. It says that the route I ran was only 14.6 miles instead of 15.1 (and actually, on the phone it said it was only 13.99 but when I looked it up online later, it said 14.6). It also said that my pace on some of the flatter miles was something like 14:45. I know I’m slow but I’m not that slow.

So plugging in my own numbers, it took me 3:47:36 to run 18 miles, for an average pace of 12:38. For running the longest run of my life at 9,300 feet with a cumulative elevation gain of 736 feet and a bunch of walking, I’m feeling pretty good about that pace.

Nevertheless, I’m hoping that I’ll run the marathon faster than that. And since the race is practically at sea level and I’ll have tapered beforehand, I feel confident that I can. Even if I run the race at an average pace of 12:30/mile, that would put me around 5:30:00 for a marathon finish time. So the goal I’m toying with right now is somewhere between 5:10 (11:49 pace) and 5:30 (12:35 pace).

I’ll wait until after my 20 miler to officially decide on goals.

………………………..

After my run, I took a shower and Epsom salt bath. Travis’ team had won their morning game too so they were moving on to the championship game at 3 pm. We packed up all of our stuff, ate lunch at Noodles & Company, and then went shopping at the outlet mall for 25 minutes to kill time. I went to the Gap Outlet and found this adorable dress for $32 that I am smitten with as well as 2 pairs of black pants — traditional dress pants for $30 and skinny jeans for $35 (I’ll post pictures later). I’m only going to keep one pair (due to our Alaska trip limiting our $$ resources) but can’t decide if I want to go trendy or timeless. Thoughts? Travis had some luck too with finding some hiking/aquashoes at the Columbia outlet for $25, marked down from $85!

Then it was off to the last hockey game. I took the dogs for a short walk while Travis got ready and then went in to watch the game. They lost by 1 point in overtime. Bummer!

A quick stop at a gas station for snacks and we were headed home to do laundry and veg out. We took Loveland Pass instead of the Eisenhower Tunnel, which neither of us had done before. The views were gorgeous:

But as always, I got freaked out and asked Travis to slow down at least 10 times. I’m a wreck on mountain roads.

Finally, we made it home. After we unloaded and unpacked everything, Travis was going to recharge the AC in our Focus when the car just up and died. Now it won’t start. I’m just glad that it didn’t die at the top of Loveland Pass! That would’ve been bad.

But I convinced Travis that instead of spending all night trying to fix it, he should just hang out with me. And so we ended our nice little anniversary weekend with an episode of NCIS (we’re totally addicted to that show).

Pretty soon, though, the real celebration begins: ALASKA!!

Week 12 Training: 5/7 – 5/13

15 May

When we went camping a few weeks ago, it was incredibly windy all day Saturday. The sun was shining with no clouds in the sky but with a constant 20 mph breeze and highs only in the upper 50s to begin with, it was chilly. I wore a sweatshirt and windbreaker all day and broke out my long underwear in the evening.

One unfortunate side effect of being out in the sun all day but cold was that we forgot about getting sunburned. After our friend Lauren mentioned that she had gotten burned out there before, Travis and I put sunscreen on the few skin surfaces that were exposed. I of course forgot about my scalp and lips, both of which got toasted.

Since then, my head has been a mess. My scalp and parts of my face are peeling (though most of my face was fine) and my lips – oh my poor lips.

They were on fire Sunday when we got home from camping. I iced them with a popsicle (by eating it) and slathered on Burt’s Bees. When I woke up Monday morning, my bottom lip was twice its normal size. My vanity kicked in and I contemplated locking myself into my home office and refusing to go to work but it ended up deflating enough to look pretty normal by the time I left for work. By noon, it was back to normal.

But by the time I got home from work that day, I could feel something… a look in the mirror told me a nice blister was forming there. Sweet. Yet again, I was tempted to sequester myself at home. Practicality won and I just sucked up looking a little gross with Blistex smeared on my lip sore for what has now been over a week. My lip has gotten somewhat better but it’s still pretty nasty.

This morning, I woke up to this:

That would be dried blood. Apparently, I was attacked during my sleep.

For some reason, it reminded me of Heath Ledger as The Joker.

Eh?

Anyway, I’ve been diligent about putting Blistex on it so that it doesn’t dry out, crack and bleed everywhere but apparently I’m failing a little. Even just eating my salad makes my lip bleed. I’m SO ready for this to be over with. Okay, lip?

…………………

Training last week was less than normal but still decent:

Monday: Rest

Tuesday: Run fail; 2 mile walk, 4.5 mile bike

Wednesday: Rest

Thursday: 5 mile very easy run (untimed)

Friday: Rest

Saturday: 12 mile easy long run (2:23:14, 12:02/mile)

Sunday: 60 minutes Hot Yoga

Total Running Miles = 17

………………….

Do any of you watch Bones? The episode last night was SO GOOD! I was worried that it was the season finale but it’s not – their website says another episode will be on June 1. Whew! That was a close one.

But Desperate Housewives IS over. Did any of you watch the season finale on Sunday? So good. I was happy yet sad about how it ended. I’ll miss that show but think that it’s wise to end a show on a good note instead of dragging it out until it’s a craptastic limp noodle (ahem, House and The Office).

I’m back baby.

13 May

Yesterday morning, I met my friend Cathy for coffee, which is always a great start to the day. Then, I timidly headed out on what I hoped would be a 12 mile run. Together with my successful 5 mile run on Thursday, my weekly mileage would be 17 – which I feel is decent for a week when legs wouldn’t cooperate.

It helped that yesterday was the perfect day for a run – 50 and overcast. It seemed to be on the verge of rain all day but it didn’t actually start until the late afternoon.

I got going on my run around 10:00. I decided to run a 3.7 mile loop with the pooches, then drop them off at the house and run the last 8.3 alone. Right away, I could tell a huge difference in how my legs felt from earlier in the week. They actually felt normal instead of running-through-mud exhausted! I was so thankful and the entire run, I kept reminding myself to be grateful for being able to run, regardless of pace.

I think my incredible soreness + exhaustion was partly caused by some tough long runs and by doing a long run at night – instead of moving around like I normally do after morning long runs, I went to bed and then sat around all the next day (camping). Probably didn’t help things.

To help prevent that from happening again, I ran yesterday’s run at a very easy, comfortable pace. Whenever my legs felt good and I was tempted to pick up the pace, I humbled my pride (I didn’t need to prove myself!) and ran slower. All that said, I still ended up averaging an 12 min/mile pace, which I am very pleased with. Not only do I know that I have it in me to run faster than that, I am running smart and not trying to prove myself during training. Whatever gets me to the start line sans injury and ready to tackle the 26.2 beast.

Splits:

I also discovered a fix to my feet blisters: bandaids and first aid tape.

Sorry for the nasty foot pic. That will be the last, I promise.

I put a bandaid on with the pad over the blister area, then taped them around once (the tape is clear). It wasn’t completely comfortable and I was aware of them the whole time I was running but it really wasn’t that bad and I didn’t have any painful blisters after my run (and the ones that are there from before didn’t get any worse). I consider it a success and will be doing this for my long runs from now on.

I wore my new Brooks for the first 3.7 miles of this run and definitely think that them bothering my calves earlier in the week was a fluke. The problem was my legs, not the shoes. I think I will really like these! But I’m going to break them in with lower mileage runs to get my legs used to them, just in case running 16 miles in them straight out of the box added to the legs fiasco.

Following my ideas for long run recovery, I also elevated my legs after both of my runs this week. I can’t say whether or not it helps but I can definitely feel the blood flowing so it must be doing something. I also drank a protein shake after my long run yesterday.

It was delicious but it has 44 g of sugar. Can’t say I’ll be buying it again – I’ll probably just stick with Athlete’s HoneyMilk or look into Muscle Milk.

………………………

Now that I’ve detailed all the ways I’m trying to be smart and giving my legs some help in staying rested and refreshed, I’ll tell you about how I trashed my legs by going to my first hot yoga class this afternoon.

One of my 2012 goals was to try hot/Bikram yoga and I had penciled it into my schedule to go today. I’ve seen a lot of Corepower Yoga locations around Denver and they seemed to be pretty much the only yoga studio near my house that offered hot yoga. So it was the logical place.

Conveniently, they also are offering a free week of yoga to newcomers so I got to take the class today for free! I would love to check out another class or two this week – we’ll see if it works out!

The class I went to was Hot Power Fusion. This is the description that they have online:

The woman who checked me in, Laura, was also the instructor and she was great. So friendly and happy. She explained all about hot yoga as I was filling out my information form and during the class, she encouraged us all to listen to our bodies and do whatever we were comfortable with. She also explained that since the room is heated to 100 degrees with 30% humidity (making it feel like 150 degrees), I might feel faint or light-headed. If I did, I could just rest, take a drink of water, and start again when I was ready.

I walked into the room and it was HOT. I laughed silently as the class started because Laura apologized for the room being on the cooler side. It was definitely hot enough for me. I was a little nervous about it before the class started because I don’t like saunas – it feels so hard to breathe.

Surprisingly, I got more used to the heat as we started moving. Pretty soon though, the sweat was pouring off me. My arms, legs, face, neck, hands – everything was just drenched by the time the class was over.

I enjoyed the class – there were a lot of “yogi” names for poses that I didn’t know. I call them by their layman’s terms, I guess. There were only a few times during the class that I was lost or confused about what Laura was asking us to do – though if I didn’t have a basic knowledge of yoga, I would’ve been lost. (If I had told Laura that it was my first time practicing – she did ask when I was registering – maybe she would’ve explained things more.)

Anyway, it was very enjoyable (and challenging!) and I definitely wouldn’t be opposed to doing hot yoga again. I do, however, think that the copious amounts of sweat that I had to mop off my body will deter me from making this my yoga class of choice. I mean, I don’t mind sweating during a workout but this was ridiculous. I had heard stories about how much you sweat, and now I know firsthand.

My body feels like jello now, which it always does after a good, hard yoga session. I’m just hoping that it doesn’t feel like jello tomorrow (or at least that my legs don’t!)

Do you enjoy hot yoga?

Long Run Recovery

9 May

I headed out last night for what I planned to be a very easy, nice 8 mile run.

Half a mile in, I threw in the towel.

My first reaction was that my new shoes are using different muscles in my calves (because they’re lower to the ground – the insole isn’t as tall?). My second reaction was that my legs have not yet fully recovered. So instead of pushing myself, I decided to walk home and do some easy cross-training. At this point, trying to get the miles in will do me more harm than good.

When I got home, I grabbed my bike and rode over to the library to pick up Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. The audiobook case was so big that it almost didn’t fit in my Camelbak (sans water bottle). I was having a rough afternoon (for more reasons than not being able to run) and if that case hadn’t fit, I would’ve lost it. But I was able to cram it in and bike home for a whopping 4.5 miles roundtrip.

Then I convinced Travis to walk the dogs with me for another 1.15 miles before we ate mini pizzas and watched 2 episodes of NCIS.

Today, in my spare time, I’ve been researching the best ways to recover from long runs. Things I learned:

1. Eat right after your run, specifically something with protein and carbs. (source)

I already knew this, but since I’m not hungry ever after a long run, I usually shower, take an epsom salt bath, get dressed, stretch and THEN eat. If I do eat right after a run, it’s usually pure carbs, like a bagel with nothing on it. This could have something to do with my slow recovery so I bought some recovery drinks to take right after a long run to see if that helps.

2. Elevate your legs. (source)

According to Livestrong, elevating your legs can help to increase the blood flow and ease the discomfort of muscle tears from exercise. That’s pretty much the idea behind compression tights (which I do wear after long runs) but it can’t hurt to add something else to the mix.
3. Get a massage for tired and sore legs. (source)
The article reads, “According to Coach Jay Johnson, NikeRunning.com’s resident training expert and former track coach for the University of Colorado, a certified massage therapist can help your tired legs recover and get you back on track.” I have a Groupon for an hour-long massage that I’ve been meaning to use. I need to use this sooner than later.
And probably the best advice of all from this article on Livestrong:
“Even if a runner diligently follows her training program and boosts her recovery through proper diet and hydration, she may still be prone to injury or fatigue. When a runner is left feeling too sore or too tired to run, she should listen to her body and do the one thing marathon runners often dread the most — cut back on running. During a cutback week, a runner can trim her mileage by as much as 50 percent, using the extra time away from running to rest tired muscles, ice aching joints and get a good night’s rest. A runner also can keep her muscles fresh and loose during a cutback week by stretching or cross-training, whether by lifting weights, cycling, swimming or playing another sport.”
I also really liked what Hungry Runner Girl said on her blog the other day: “If you have to take some time off [from running], don’t worry, running will be there for you when you are back.”
With that mentality, I’m not pushing my legs to run when they don’t want to. Instead, I’m letting them do their thing. Obviously I hope they’ll do their thing sooner than later but I know in the long run, taking some time off is the best idea and will benefit me in the long run. 😉

Week 11 Training: 4/30 – 5/6

8 May

I guess I spoke too soon when I said that I hadn’t missed a training run. Because now I have.

It started off with shaving a mile off two of my mid-week runs last week. And then last night, I totally blew off both my run and the cross-training I was going to do in lieu of my run. But it was for a good reason – we got new couches! Our friends sold their house to travel the country as a traveling nurse (the wife) in an RV so they gave us their couches. The evening was spent rearranging furniture. I’ll post pics soon. We like the new setup a lot (and are praying that the dogs don’t destroy the couches like they did last time).

Anyway, here’s last week’s training rundown:

Monday: 3.04 mile easy run (35:56; 11:49/mile); 45 minutes easy yoga

This was supposed to be a 4 mile run.

Tuesday: 8 mile run w/5 x 800 (1:37:45; 10:51/mile)

800s: 5:04, 5:08, 4:54, 4:40, 4:34. The first couple of 800s were done at a comfortably fast pace. The last couple, I was really pushing it. The rest of the run was at an 11 min pace.

Wednesday: Rest

Thursday: 2.5 mile easy run (31:15; 12:18/mile)

This was supposed to be a 4 mile run.

Friday: 16 mile long run (3:14:18; 12:08/mile)

Saturday: Rest

Sunday: 45 minute walk with pooches

………………………..

This training week really tested my mental resolve to run a marathon. This was the first week when I actually doubted my ability to do this. That run on Friday, and specifically Mile 2, really freaked me out. “What if I can’t run this marathon? Maybe my body just can’t handle this. What if I’m tired for the rest of my training plan? What if my legs feel like this until the race?”

Obviously, I’m not giving up and I’m taking practical action to get my legs rested up. But I’ve felt God challenging me.

It started the Saturday I ran 15 miles – when I stopped at the gas station between my warmup and the half marathon course, the gas station guy asked me, “Do you run happy?” At first, I was really confused. Then I realized I was wearing my Brooks running shirt that said Run Happy. I laughed a bit, said “Yeah I do,” and left.

But his comment stuck with me. On my warmup, I had been thinking about how tired my legs felt and how I didn’t know if I could run 13 more miles. “I don’t know if I can do this.” That phrase sounded like something I’ve said about the Christian life. “I don’t know if I can do this.” I’ve discovered that the remedy to that is to depend on God – because guess what? I’m not expected to be able to do it. God wants me to admit my need and look to Him for strength and sufficiency, not within myself. Why would running be any different?

And that’s where I get hung up. For some reason, I have a really hard time believing that God cares about running. It’s the same way I had felt about my eating habits – my struggle seemed so trivial, so vain. Why would God want to be involved? How could I ask His blessing and help with something that is clearly my own undertaking or doing?

I often think about the quote from Eric Liddell in Chariots of Fire: “I believe God made me for a purpose, but he also made me fast. And when I run, I feel His pleasure.” Well, God didn’t make me fast but He did give me a love for endurance sports. When running doesn’t suck, I really do love it. So why wouldn’t God care about it?

It’s my own mental block so I won’t go any further into my own struggle. I believe that the truth (whether I can truly buy it or not) is that God cares about everything we care about. There’s nothing too trivial or menial or vain to Him. And He wants to be involved in every single aspect of our lives, whether that is running or reading or cleaning our house or working at our job. Especially when it’s something that I spend so much time doing, thinking about and writing about. I want to involve God in my running, despite all of my objections about why He shouldn’t want to or why it’s “not worthy” of being prayed for.

So I’m praying for it. I’m acting in light of what I objectively know to be truth, regardless of how I feel subjectively. I see that training for a marathon can be an opportunity for my faith to grow. Instead of entertaining “What if’s?” about my ability and race conditions, I can run to God in faith. Faith that He will sustain me to race day. Faith that no matter what happens, God is ultimately the one in charge and is actively working everything together for my good. Faith to remember that running doesn’t define me – it’s something I do but it’s not who I am. 

I’m also praying for the grace to be thankful. That’s what was so convicting about the gas station guy’s comment – Do I run happy? Well, actually, no I don’t. Most of the time when I’m out running, I’m complaining and whining (to myself) about this ache and that twinge, my slow pace, the bug swarms, the d@mn traffic, the stupid gits in my way, etc. etc.

There’s a verse in 1 Timothy that reads:

“For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, for it is made holy by the word of God and prayer.” (1 Timothy 4:4-5 ESV)

Thanksgiving is the key to receiving things in faith. So my desire above all, more than a fast pace or race goals or a perfect training plan, is that my running – and life – would reflect how grateful and thankful I am to God for His provision. It’s His blessing that I have the time, energy, resources and desire to be out there, pushing my physical body to its limits. It’s His blessing that I haven’t gotten injured or sick. His blessing that I get to run my first marathon in Alaska, of all places.

Circumstances don’t create joy or rob us of it. It’s our perspective that does.

16 miles, 88 degrees.

7 May

So about that long run…

I got off of work an hour early and was greeted by a balmy 88 degrees. On my way home, I heard on the radio that the temperature broke the record for Denver. Sweet.

I decided that I was in no rush to get going on my run so I took my time getting ready, eating pretzels and packing my Camelbak. I had planned a 10 mile loop followed by a 6 mile loop, giving me time to come back to the house to get more water and to change shoes if I needed to.

Oh yeah, Thursday night I went and bought new running shoes from Runner’s Roost. I normally get all of my shoes from Boulder Running Company but I had a 20% off coupon from the Platte River Half for Brooks footwear at Runner’s Roost. You can’t argue with that.

I explained to the sales guy that I had gone through four pairs of my trusty old Nikes and they had been great until I started running more mileage. I showed him the shoes I had (I brought them along) and he pointed out several different brands that had stability shoes with larger toe boxes.

I tried on the Brooks Adrenaline as well as a pair of Mizunos and Adidas. The Adidas had a weird heel feel and the Mizunos were way too tight right when I put them on. But the Brooks… those felt pretty good. They were roomy, felt low to the ground, fit my heel well. I ran for a minute on the treadmill (I was in my work clothes so that was plenty!) and they felt pretty good. Since that was what my coupon was good for, I decided to go with them.

I took them to the Rec for what was planned to be a 4 mile tempo run. As I got started running, the tempo run turned into a nice, easy run. “Just get the miles in.” The shoe on my left foot felt great. But the shoe on my right foot felt too tight. I retied it at least four times. Didn’t work. After about 2 miles, the outside of my right foot started hurting. And then my right ankle. The run was sucking anyway, so I called it quits after 2.5 miles. I was a little nervous for 16 miles the next day. (And I was pretty sure that it wasn’t the shoes – just my foot being stupid.)

I made sure to drink plenty of water while I was at work on Friday and did some carbo loading from the vending machine:

After loading some new Lady Gaga tunes onto my iPod, I headed out on my run a little after 5:30. Right from the start, my legs felt tired. Not a good sign. But I hit Mile 1 at 10:52 so at least I wasn’t running as slow as I thought I was. Then I got to mile 2.

It’s a decent hill but definitely not as tough as some of the hills I’ve run. But it crushed me. I seriously have never felt like that on a run before  – when I say it felt like a nightmare where I was trying to run and couldn’t, I’m not exaggerating. It was a horrible feeling. I didn’t even get to the toughest part of the hill before walking. All I knew was that if I didn’t feel better on the downhill, I was calling it a day. I couldn’t imagine trying to do 15 more miles like that!

Amazingly, though, I did feel better on the downhill. I didn’t feel great but compared to how I had felt almost the entire previous mile, tired legs didn’t seem half bad. I decided then and there that I’d rather feel like I was running fast and really be running slow, than feeling like I was running slow and be running fast. Running is not fun when it sucks.

The rest of the run was pretty uneventful but I definitely let go of any expectations about time (ok, I’ll admit I still wanted to run faster than  a 12 min pace). I had worn a tanktop because of the heat and my backpack was rubbing on my back, which was not enjoyable. I took gels at Miles 4.5 and 9. But my shoes and feet felt good. Legs were meh but they were still moving, which is all I could ask for.

Splits:

1- 10:52 
2 – 12:34 (hill) 
3 – 11:04 
4 – 11:39 
5 – 11:59 
6 – 11:16 
7 – 11:40 
8 – 12:33 
9 – 12:34 
10 – 11:33 
.1 – 1:12 

Total – 10.1 miles; 1:58:56 (11:46 average)

Back at the house, I stopped long enough to exchange my tank for a t-shirt (heavenly!) and headed back out. I had filled my Camelbak up, so I didn’t need more water, and it was already 8:00! It would get dark around 8:30 so I knew that I’d be running in the dark for the last few miles.

There was a big hill at Mile 2 of that loop too. (Who planned this route anyhow?)

That hill was more substantial and I ended up walking it as well. As I was running around the park at the top, I was actually feeling pretty great. The sun was setting as I made my way around the park – it was beautiful.

Besides the fact that I could tell my shoes were rubbing my feet (grrr!!), my legs felt pretty speedy. (They were actually slower, however.) I don’t quite know what happened to these splits but I was tired – I kept forgetting where my mile markers were (I actually couldn’t remember them the whole run, while is abnormal – good thing I wrote them down!)

It was dark as I left the park and started on my last 2 miles of what felt like a day-long run. Travis ended up coming to look for me, since it was so late. What a sweetie. He offered me a ride home but I declined – I only had 1 mile left!

Splits: 

1.16 – 13:40 (forgot to hit split)
2 – 12:13 (hill!) 
2.92 – 11:53 (hit too early)
4 – 14:04 
5 – 12:34 
5.93 – 10:47 

Total – 5.93 miles; 1:15:11 (12:40 average)

16 miles total in 3:14:18, 12:08 average

Even though it pains me to see the dreaded 12 at the beginning of my pace again, I feel like this run was an anomaly for two main reasons:

1) It was almost 90 degrees out when I started.

2) My legs were exhausted from the get-go.

I don’t think running on a Friday night had that much of an effect (I had actually slept pretty well the previous few nights), but it probably didn’t help.

And actually, I don’t think the heat was the biggest factor in this run either. I surprisingly didn’t sweat that much and while I drank my entire Camelbak over the course of the 16 miles, I don’t feel like that’s a ton. Although I did do much better with hydrating early in this run – I wasn’t nearly as thirsty toward the end as I have been on other runs (trying to get better about that since I realize I’ll have another 10 miles to go during the marathon!).

The biggest factor in this run I think was exhaustion. All of my runs last week were just plain crappy. My 8 mile run on Tuesday had some redeeming Yasso 800s but otherwise, those miles were also slogged out at on very tired legs.

Since this week is a stepback week anyway, I’m going to really step it back. I’ll still do my long run of 12 miles on Saturday and my long mid-week run of 8 miles tomorrow. But I took another rest day today and I’ll probably just do some light cross-training on Wednesday and Thursday instead of my 5 mile run – probably just walking or the elliptical. I’m also going to hold back on the speed work and lower body strength training until my legs feel back to “normal.” (I realize that they’re probably not going to feel 100% until I start tapering.) I would really like to avoid having another week like this past one!

As for my new Brooks shoes, I’m not ready to give up on them. I ran 16 miles in them almost straight out of the box so I think they have potential. The next thing I’m going to try is Nu Skin or taping my feet. (Travis requested that Plan B be cheaper than a new pair of shoes.)

And now I’m off to bed!

What’s the warmest temperature you’ve run in?