Tuesday, May 8, 2012

The countdown is on...12 days and counting!!!
I would really like to believe that I am not a "type A" personality (it just doesn't fit the art teacher stereotype for heavens sake)... but I can't help but have everything lined up for the best case scenario leading up to race day.
There are some things beyond my control.  I cannot help that I have to face the set-up of our huge annual district art show this Saturday, or that my son's soccer and baseball schedule is just ramping up for the season.  My daughter, Maddie is facing her last practices and district final track meet next week.  With the usual orthodontist appointments, art council meeting, lawn mowing, allergy shots, hair cuts, and of course mother's day.  I still have to fit in some quality workouts to feel "strong" as John Rolf put it.  He initially set up my training plan and I felt it necessary to consult with him on the most effective approach to these last weeks of training.  He reassured me that the "training" is over and it is about feeling mentally strong and physically ready.
I finished the 22 mile training run last week with the notion that "the hard part is over".  But, I have to admit that it is now causing some anxious feelings  and self doubt.  It is hard to accept that the time has run out for "worth it" workouts.  The question remains:  did I do enough?  Am I ready?... accepting that I did not flawlessly stick to the program.  Was it consistent enough to pull through in a strong way? (Admittedly, I had many weeks of only 4 run days, and/or maybe a cross-train day).  The other doubts stem from the ability to "heal" in such a short time (blisters, tight muscles, and general fatigue of the schedule).
So, here is my plan (of course not one of a type A personality):  Today, I went out for 5-6 miles with one minute pick-ups (I did about 10).  The goal:  to feel like I can still recover from the discomfort of pushing my pace and carrying on.
Tomorrow:  off (too much crazy in the schedule... to fit it in would just leave me tired).
Thursday:  a tempo run with some abs/ core work and some super stretching (just to make sure I feel strong and ready).
 Friday or Saturday and easy run
Sunday:  10 miles (just to keep my body on that "long run" schedule).
Next week:  its all about recovery, stretching, easy runs just to keep the muscles moving (no strength training or pace pushing).  Blisters, will hopefully be fully repaired (gotta love nu-skin).
And... the most anticipated event pre-race: MASSAGE!  I went to an amazing massage therapist in Waterville, Tonia Patton, after the 22 mile run.  She literally erased the pain that had been in my butt, hamstrings, etc. (and upper back/neck from holding on to tension).  I have an appointment for her to do that again.   Chris and I will visit her on Wed.  before the marathon (she says she is planning to really stretch the muscles thoroughly).  Hopefully, this "secret weapon" will help me feel refreshed and ready to go!!!
I also have the menu planned out:  plenty of protein and vitamin C the next two weeks.  Balance meals and hydration (got to keep my ice cream habit in check...and cookie cravings, margarita, martini etc).
Last (but not least) plenty of positive thoughts and surrounding myself with positive people (positive energy is contagious).  This is where Chris and I really need to be supportive of each other (Chris, do we have a deal?)  We can do this (no pressure, but this is sort of a metaphor for any challenge we take on in life).  Did I mention how cool it is to marathon train with my loved one (my best friend:)?
Here we go... counting down with the strategy in place.  Bring it!!!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Not many miles this week :( Felt like I lost precious training time as the marathon is nearing. Thought I could try a run today after some blisters healed and despite of ankle pain... good run! I guess sometimes rest is needed :)

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Two more long runs to go!!!

 I have just completed the last of two 18 mile runs.  I am feeling accomplished and more nervous than before these higher mileage long runs. This week's schedule had me running more miles mid-week than previous.  I felt super tired keeping up with the schedule but have to admit that up to about the 14 mile mark today felt pretty strong :)  Good news, I suppose...so why am I so nervous?
Well, it is because of what happens at about mile 17-18.  I start to have legs like bricks.  I have tried different socks (huge blisters on Friday too).  So far I am favoring the Injini toe socks with a little mole skin for some added protection.  I have found which shorts and shirts cut down on the chafing (this helps in those last few miles especially on hot days).  I have experimented with different nutrition and hydration too (I feel good going out after a slice of Ezekial sprouted grain bread with peanut butter and banana, and so far hot day long runs have been helped with some s-caps. "Gu" also seems to help give a little extra push at about mile 10-11).
Thank you Fleet Feet (Stacy & Cara) for your advice and all the gear!

 Even after all this experimentation, and working out the details, I still don't know how those last miles are going to be possible.  I thought that the confidence with miles adding so far into training!
Two more long runs to go!!!  Will it help?  Will I be ready?
I know that the training is meant to give some practice in all the scenarios that could occur.  Will there be record breaking high temperatures like during the Boston Marathon?  Will there be high winds like today's Glass City Marathon?   So many variables, so many friends with their own stories and advice to try, and so little time to prepare.
My next step in preparation... coming up with strategies to help calm my nerves with 28 days to go until the Cleveland Marathon!
Friends with any advice are welcomed!
and wondering how my "Everday Athlete" are feeling today.  We are all in this together (you too Chris)!  Easy days, hard days, nerves, sore muscles, stiff legs, chafing and blisters.
 I wanted the challenge, here it is... it will leave us stronger, right?

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

smooth and easy...

The miles seem to be adding up quickly. Each week brings me nervously closer to the anticipated and fast approaching marathon (as I write this there are 46 training days left). We all know how time flies. I'm feeling like the longer runs should seem a little easier as the practice runs become fewer. I've been told that the longer training runs are preparation more for the mental confidence than anything. Unfortunately, there is still a lot of self-doubt in my ability to go further. As I became sore and tired finishing the long run this weekend, I couldn't help but wonder how I was ever going to add ten more miles on (hopefully 46 more training days will get me there).
It has become sort of a ritual for Chris and I to discuss the details of our long run as we wind down our weekend over dinner. We have been working out the details of our experiences to repeat on race day. We have talked pace, clothing, nutrition, hydration, pains, stretching, chafing solutions, shoes, socks and blisters. All with the hope that we get it right and 26.2 will be as smooth and easy as possible.

Speaking of “smooth and easy”...
Just prior to heading out for our 16 mile run this weekend, Chris read of the unfortunate passing of Caballo Blanco. He was a big influence on Chris in the beginning of his running journey and a great motivator by example. So, it was sad news to hear that a seemingly invincible mentor would no longer be able to participate in the events of the running world but should (and will) be remembered in his contributions. Sunday's long run was a somber one as the sad news kept creeping into my two and a half hours of mental solitude. Ultramarathoners amaze me!  So, How does someone like Micah True accomplish such extreme miles so seemingly effortless? Truly inspirational to contemplate the experiences and contributions in his lifetime (cut too short, I might add). We can't forget him in our mental preparation as we plan our race day details, so Chris and I will remember Caballo and his words:
Easy. Light. Smooth. Fast.
Don’t fight the trail. Take what it gives you … Think easy, light, smooth and fast. You start with easy because if that’s all you get, that’s not so bad. Then work on light. Make it effortless, like you don’t give a [poop ;)] how high the hill is or how far you’ve got to go. When you’ve practiced that so long that you forget you’re practicing, you work on making it smooooooth. You won’t have to worry about the last one—you get those three, and you’ll be fast.” -Micah True, El Caballo Blanco

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Loving the great running weather!

It could not have been a better February for training! I'm pretty sure that I only used the treadmill twice so far during the training schedule (and it was because the kids needing me around rather than because of bad weather). Its amazing how easier it is to talk myself out the door to run, in blowing snow or cold temps, when the forecast promises mild weather ahead in the week. Now, we are looking forward to highs in the 70's for the rest of this week! Just last week the big decision before heading out for the long run was if I needed to wear heavy gloves or light. This week its shorts or capris. I suppose this will mean that I should prepare myself for any weather on May 20th. I suppose that I should be thankful for the opportunity to test wardrobe options in training rather than being blind-sided by unfamiliar weather race day. I can't wait to shop the new spring line from Fleet Feet in Cleveland (more details on this super cool discount opportunity in a later blog).
Chris and I have worked up to 13 miles for our weekend long runs and maintaining the weekly miles (hills, fartlecks, and repeats included). My 13 mile finish time was 1:54 for the first week and 1:48 this past Saturday. This upcoming Sunday we plan on running in the “Churchill's Half Marathon” event in Monclova. I am hoping to (at least) match my finish time from last year, 1:45. We'll see how it goes. I believe that the hills, repeats, and fartlecks are helping my pace. Last weekend was an easier long run. I learned that I feel more fresh starting out if my day off is the one right before the long run. My muscles just seemed to need that rest and were more “re-charged” as I headed out for the long haul. I plan on working that into the schedule for this Sunday's event too.
On another note...I can't believe that I am even going to admit this...but my, ankle is showing some pain (yes, the same ankle that left me unable to run for months). I can't even say when I started to feel it, but admitting it means that I will be going easy on it this week (at least until Sunday). I am hoping it will subside with no further worries. I did make a promise with myself to take it easy and avoid risking injury that could keep me from reaching this marathon goal for a second time! In fact, I just learned that one of my fellow “everyday athletes” just received this type of bad news. She is forced to give up running Cleveland due to a stress fracture in her femur. This sounds terribly painful and I can relate to her disappointment. Tiffani, you are definitely in my thoughts this week. What a lesson in not taking anything for granted!!! Our bodies are amazing machines. Sometimes we don't listen closely enough to what it is telling us until it is too late. Tiffani's bad news this week is the reminder that I needed of the very real consequence that can happen if I don't listen to the ankle pain (or the tired muscles) as I head out for the day's workout. I will also not take for granted the beautiful gift of great training weather!... and enjoy what I can do this week :)
Maybe I didn't think this "good weather" concept thoroughly...
Wednesday run: 5 miles and should have included fartlecks (since I took Tuesday off with the ankle pain). One word...HOT!!!! I forgot how 80 degrees can cause major fatigue. The pick-ups in pace were short lived. It became a mental game to just finish the workout. 5 miles completed with a little added chafing to remind me. I guess I will have to put my time in acclimating to the warm weather ahead of me.
To end the night, Wednesday, was my first “debut” as head girls high school cross-country coach. It is official!!! I will be coaching high school for the first time this fall and super excited. Tonight we had our 8th grade open house and sign-up for the team...woohoo... training some future winning runners is so exciting (and inspiring)!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Great Meeting my fellow Everday Athletes!

What an awesome weekend!
I have to admit it was a weak training week.  Sick, again... bronchitis :(
Ready to go now (after some antibiotics and holding back a little on the training).  I absolutely feel re-energized by the super-inspirational group that I am sharing in this training adventure!  Thank you for the motivation to head out feeling strong this week.
Yesterday, was a whirlwind.  Chris and I travelled up from Columbus for a photo shoot in Cleveland.  I did not want to miss the opportunity to meet the group and sport some really cool running gear from "Fleet Feet" for Ohio Sports and Fitness mag.  It was comforting to work with other "amateur" models and turned out to be pretty exciting!  The few hours we spent on this adventure was filled with action.  After some studio shots, we headed outdoors for some more photos (a bit cold in a tank top, but still fun).  I especially enjoyed connecting with some pretty cool, and amazing people that are training for Cleveland too.  It was all organized by Marla from OSF, the Fleet Feet people, and of course photographer.  These are some of the really great people making a really awesome experience come to life.  All of the athletes have backgrounds that show true strength, commitment, and that "grit" that will, undoubtedly, make them successful in this endeavor.  Now that we've met, I am even more eager to share in the ups and downs of marathon training and life's "curve balls" after meeting them in person.  Hopefully, we will be able to connect in some training runs...already have the plan to do a "leap year" run with April on Wed.  Reuben's plan of a 14 mile long run,  after the photo shoot, was a huge motivator (as I haven't run that distance for a long time).  All of the runners were working hard.  Surely, I will have to start out this week on track.  Especially after the over-indulgence this weekend (Admittedly pre-planned... Chris and I made a pit stop at "Melt bar & grill" on the way home).  This place is trouble, but soooo good!  I couldn't help but think of my new friends powering through a long run while I was finishing my indulgent weekend.  Marathon training takes super motivation and sacrifice.  I needed find the balance.   Chris and I were really looking forward to having this getaway too.  So, Saturday turned into my long run workout day (although it was 2 miles short of the plan).  This left me ready and energized to enjoy the weekend away with Chris :)
Today was a 4 mile run with a milestone:  running pace just under 8 min. / mile.  This is a goal that I was working toward (pre-injury pace was 7:45 for this distance).
Ready to train this week!  Chris and will be burning off those "Melt" calories as we put in some good miles this week.   I am so glad and thankful to have the great weekend memories and new friends to keep the motivation going!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

My Valentine

Training is going well.  I feel like a regular workout schedule is becoming the "norm".  My goal was to get in the habit of a daily workout schedule by the beginning of the marathon training plan (Feb. 20)!  I can't believe that we are already approaching mid-February (Valentine's Day).
So.... appropriate timing to mention how lucky I am to have my husband, Chris, as my super-special valentine.  I know.... blah, blah, mushy.  But, he deserves the recognition.  The best part of having "that someone special" is being able to share in all of life's adventures! Words alone could not give him enough credit for his role in my (our) running life.  Not only is he my #1 in cheering, motivation, and the occasional kick in the rear, but he is also the one who enables me to carry out this crazy running/workout schedule (with the busy career and family).  I could not do it without him!
What makes it so super-special is that he is sharing in ALL of it with me. It wasn't always this way.  When I started running he was supportive from the sidelines.  As I began to catch the running "bug", he was inspired to try it too.  Well, its been a long road for both of us.  He's gone through the ups and downs of a beginning runner behind my schedule of gaining strength and speed.  He stuck through the frustration and pains while continuing to support all of my event goals.  He has trained and enabled me to train (true love).  Then came this crazy idea to do a full marathon.  He trained with me in the fall and was psyched up getting ready for the event.  My injury occurred at the peak of training and he was in the thick of super long runs and feeling ready.  He chose to make the ultimate sacrifice and wait to run the marathon with me.  He spared me from the sidelines that he has familiarly endured.  He was ready and would have loved the accomplished feeling of his own event.  True love.  True sacrifice.  Not only did he agree to run an absurd amount of miles, but he is training along my side.  We have our own workout schedule and our own pace, but we share in the hurdles and benefits of this journey.  Thank you, dear, for joining me in this life adventure and being my true valentine.
Want to go on a long run together (or at least celebrate one together)?
Last weeks mileage total was 26.2 (ironically).  Still thinking this is impossible in one run.
This week:
Sunday, 2/5:  10 miles!  woohooo
Mon., 2/6:  cross-train:  turbokick (always moving, love this workout!)
Tues., 2/7:  cross-train:  extreme results gym (live in Toledo?... got to try this circuit workout!)
Wed., 2/8:  5.3 miles:  made it at an 8:08 pace, another woohoo
Thurs., 2/9:  5.2 miles