Just Breathe

Seems so simple, right?

Remember last week when I mentioned I was just getting over an upper respiratory infection? Yeah, I completed the 5 day Z-pack last weekend, but sadly I still had a lot of chest tightness and trouble breathing.

It felt like I couldn’t take a deep enough breath so I just kept taking lots of shallow breaths all the while my chest feeling really tight/congested. I somehow stuck to my Tuesday/Thursday runs but at the end of them I was waaay more out of breath than I should’ve been. I felt like I ran really hard sprints after just a couple of miles.

When I set out to do my long run of 18 miles yesterday, I got no farther than a mile from home and was waiting at a traffic light to take me into the park, when I realized there was no way this was going to happen. I was out of breath after less than a mile.

I turned around and ran home, rinsed off and took my butt back to the doctor. After explaining my symptoms and rehashing the past month of terrible running, Brandon having pneumonia and a course of antibiotics not making me feel better, the doctor decided I should either have a breathing treatment or prescribe me an inhaler. Apparently, there has been a lot of respiratory stuff going around here recently and she said I presented as such. Asthma-like symptoms, etc. So I stayed and did a 10-15 minute breathing treatment where I breathed in albuterol to dilate my bronchial tubes.

It made me pretty jittery afterwards, a common side effect, but the doctor said she could hear a big difference in my lungs than before the treatment. She said the effect would peak about 15-30 minutes after the treatment and I should be back to normal.

It made a BIG difference! I felt like I could finally breathe again. She said not to attempt running again that day, so I took advantage of my free morning to run some errands.

Then, Brandon and I met up with our friends downtown for an O.A.R./Carbon Leaf concert!

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It was a blast – despite getting poured on for about 15 minutes!

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I woke up this morning ready to tackle my long run. Again, 18 miles on the schedule. It was a beautiful morning, in the 60s, sunny skies, light breeze.

I brought my headphones but didn’t end up using them for the whole 2.5 hours, I just wanted to see how I was going to handle running. I was off and found running to be A LOT easier than it had been for the past 3 weeks. I actually had hope that I’d be able to complete this run.

So, I did what any marathoner would do. I kept running. And running… And I wasn’t gasping for air. My body felt strong and I wanted to go faster, but I knew I’d never finish if I went my usual 8:30 pace as I was doing before all this began. So, I kept it around a 9:00min/mi and felt really good for the first 10ish miles of the run. I ate some PowerBar energy chews, got some water and was on my way.

Then the hills came. More hills on the second half of my run than the first and I think they were a little too aggressive for me just coming back from all this. My longest run since Labor Day was last weekend at 12.75 miles, so I knew the last few would probably not be as fun as the first.

I ended up running 16.5 miles and I’m really happy with that.

16.5

18 just wasn’t in the cards today and I don’t want to stress my body more than it has been over the past month.

The doctor gave me an inhaler prescription to fill if I want to, which I haven’t yet. I’m thinking I may though because I want to be able to finish out strong for this marathon. At least getting all (or most of) my miles in.

After my run today, my chest is a little tight (understandably so), but I may take an appointment with the pulmonologist just to make sure everything is ok.

My hip has been doing exceedingly well throughout all of training this summer. I do PT exercises during the week to keep it strong and ice it occasionally when I feel a tinge of pain. I’m so thankful I don’t have that to deal with, too.

One thing that having an injury taught me (last winter) is that now, I train more conservatively. The goal isn’t to run 18 miles because my training schedule said so. The goal isn’t to even run this marathon in a month.

The goal is to be runner for life. Maybe not a marathoner, but a runner.

I don’t want to be over-zealous now and eff up my body for the rest of my life. It’s just not worth it to me. No time goal is worth that, no distance goal is worth that. Just being able to run.

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I’m a pretty simplistic person, really. I’m happy with the small things in life. So give me a few minutes of your time and go on a run with me; I’ll be a pretty happy camper.

I was really frustrated by this setback since I had really high hopes for September. My training over the summer was going really well and I was getting pretty fast. But again, while I may be disappointed about slowing down, I’m still running.

I leave for Naples, FL on Tuesday evening so I’ll be running my long run in FL on Saturday! I’m hoping the humidity won’t kill me since I’m just bouncing back, but I only have 10 to run, so at least I won’t be out there forever.

Hope you all had a great weekend!

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Getting It Together

Sunday I busted out 12.75 miles. It was my first long run since Labor Day and I was kind of dreading it. Sort of like that first workout after a long hiatus; I knew this run probably wasn’t going to be the best I’ve ever had.

It went well overall and I even tried some new energy chews from Nutrilite.


(source)

I really enjoyed the flavor of these guys. Last year for Savannah I trained primarily with fruity supplements on my long runs. This year I want to gag when I taste those flavors. Heck, I actually did gag on my 18 miler a few weeks ago when I attempted a Gu.

I’m really digging the citrus flavors in my sport beans and these chews are really good, too. They’re not sticky like the Clif Block Shots and they’re small enough to manage to chew while I’m running. 2 servings come in a pouch, so that makes it easy for me instead of carrying 4 packs of another brand. Try them out!

So, the chews helped me out on my run and so did the fall-like temperatures. It was somewhere in the 60s Sunday morning and a little damp from overnight rain – perfect running conditions. I even ran a new route for the first 6.5 miles which helped break up the monotony long runs have plagued me with this summer.

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Pretty pleased with the overall time considering my extreme lack of running over the past 2 weeks due to my upper respiratory infection and chest congestion. Can you tell when I hit the big hill near home?

I’ve also managed to change jobs right in the thickness of marathon training and recovering from being sick so.. I just have a lot going on right now.

I did manage to run tonight. Only 2 miles with Owen. Seriously though, I’m just glad I ran. I almost said forget it..which I’ve been doing too often lately during the week.

Even going for 2 miles means I went and I can get used to running 3-4x/week again. I know there’s not much left of training but I feel like I have so much time to make up for. Obviously, I’m not going to get those 2-3 weeks back. I’ll just have to make the best of the situation and run with the training I’ve got under my belt and anything I can gain over the next 40 days.

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(source)

When you break it down, I have:

18 miles this weekend
10 miles next weekend with Dawn
20 miles on October 6th with Tyna

then it’s taper time!

13 miles, 10 miles, then it’s the Marathon!

How is it so soon, already? Knowing myself, I don’t what to look back on this training cycle and have regrets.

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I know I can’t help getting sick, especially with a respiratory illness, but from here on out I’ve got to stick with my weekday runs. Just running long runs on the weekend isn’t going to make for a happy marathon day no matter the goal.

There, it’s on the internet so I have to follow through, right? Winking smile

 

Have you been struggling or embracing your workout plans lately?

Marathon on the Horizon

I’ve written this post 1000 times in my head. I’m not sure which version is going to come out tonight, but getting it out there will be a big relief for me.

Training for a marathon the second time around is SO completely different from the first time.

There’s a lot of ways you can spin it. The ways going through my mind are:

#1: You’ve got one marathon under you belt with no time goal, let’s try to get faster and break 4 hours for the next one.

#2: You enjoy running, so just run with no time goal. Run for fun.

#3: Let fear of getting injured a second time around get in the way of running and defer your entry to next year.

I think I’ve got a mixture of all three going on now. At the beginning of marathon training, the goal was more similar to #1. I incorporated speed work, tempo runs, and I obsessively checked my pace on my Garmin.

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After about 4 weeks of that (the beginning of August, not even a third of the way finished with training) I could tell something was different. I blamed it on the heat and the humidity but honestly, I don’t know that I really like being a slave to my Garmin. Do I like having a goal to work toward? Yes. Do I love the feeling of a bust-your-ass workout?  Of course. But as the days turned into weeks, even though I saw improvement, I wasn’t in love with running this way.

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Some of the problem could be that I don’t really like my training plan this time. Another reason is that I can’t run on the treadmill. I know the treadmill has a bad rep, but it’s perfect for those days when it’s too dark or hot to get some miles in.

Mentally, I’m just not where I was last year. When it’s your first marathon, every week you’re reaching new PDR’s (personal distance records) and that’s exhilarating to see IF you can do it. Then when you do, you’re pretty freakin’ proud of yourself.

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I would say training for a second marathon is above and beyond harder than training for your first. That’s my experience at least. I’ve toyed with the idea of not running the marathon because I’m afraid I’ll injure myself again. But.. I think that’s just a cop-out. I’m big fan of finishing what you start, so quitting really isn’t an option.

I was burnt out after racing the NYC Half Marathon this past March. I took 6 weeks off of running. SIX. WEEKS.

In that time though, I really got into weight-bearing exercise like circuit training. I’ve been a runner for 9 years; I want to explore what else my body can do.

The icing on the cake though was Brandon getting pneumonia 3 weeks ago. I did everything I could to not catch it. I didn’t end up catching it, but I did have some pretty crummy feeling days. All I wanted to do was come home from work and sleep or drink hot tea. Turns out I have an upper respiratory infection and it’s been making it hard for me to breathe.

When you can’t breath normally and drive to work, it makes running such a silly thing to think about. I am on antibiotics now and am feeling better but it’s really taken a toll on me over the past 2 weeks. I ran tonight for the first time since last week and it felt good to get out there again.

So, as it stands now, my mind is somewhere between  #1 and #2. Instead of racing the marathon to beat my time, I’m thinking I may just take my time and run with my friend that is running her first marathon that day. (Yay!)

I’m entering the last 6 weeks of training and while I can’t say I feel as ready as I did last year, I can say that this training cycle has taught me a lot about myself as a runner and as an individual.

Do what makes you happy. If you don’t like something, change it.

This post wasn’t meant to be all woe-is-me, but getting it out there always makes me feel better. With my lack of posting this time around, you can begin to see why.

The marathon distance is a distance to be respected. It can make you feel on top of the world or suck the life right out of you. I fully intend to give it 110% on October 28th, but what my 110% will be that day has yet to be determined.

I’ve always said a half marathon is the perfect distance… I think 2013 may be the year of half marathons!

Keeping Up

I wrote the following post last Thursday, just haven’t had time to publish it add pictures. It’s pretty direct, so I apologize for the lack of writing style. For your reading pleasure:

Marathon training is going well, I’m in my 5th week out of a total 18. I had a low-mileage week 2 weeks ago when a random Wednesday night concert was thrown into the mix and I couldn’t get my Thursday tempo run in. Follow that with an only 6 out of supposed to be 10 mile long run that Saturday. Truth be told I felt like I was getting sick that weekend and just couldn’t run any longer in the heat that Saturday.

Last week I had a decent speed workout on Tuesday but the rest of the week was great. Instead of cross-training last Wednesday I ran 4 miles then on Thursday did a 5 mile tempo run. Last weekend was also the first Saturday I’d gotten up to run a long run and actually felt like I was in training. I slept in my own bed, woke up before the sun, ate my usual waffles + PB and water, grabbed my sport beans and was out the door for 11 miles.


                                            (Not my picture)

That was honestly the first run of training where I felt like I’m getting stronger. The distance seemed easier, my form felt good, breathing was in sync with everything, and I loved my route. I decided there is no. way. I am going to be able to train with gel this year. I bought several packages/flavors of sports beans and wanted to give them a shot this summer. Verdict? I really like them, just not the fruit punch flavor. It reminds me too much of the gel that I used last summer and when I’m running and think of that, I literally almost vom.

Seeing how I need all the electrolytes I can get, there will be no vomiting while I run. No thank you.

The Sport Bean package was easy to carry; it’s even resealable so I can eat a few then close it up so they don’t spill everywhere as I run.

Pink Ribbon Sport Beans - Fruit Punch Flavor
(source)

I like the actual size of the bean. I like Clif Blok Shots but they’re so gummy and big it’s really hard for me to run, chew, and breathe all at once.
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                                Sport Beans                            vs.                Clif Blok Shots
                                                                 (source and source)

The small size of the jelly bean is good for me, even though I eat them one at a time. Safety first!

Coming into this week I’ve had some pretty strong workouts following suit with Saturday. Tuesday was my best ever speed workout to date. Not in terms of actual speed, but in the way I felt during the workout and hitting good splits.

tuesday speedwork splits

Time to play a guessing game! Which splits were my intervals?

SPOILER ALERT: Miles 4-6!

The whole workout looked like this:
10-20 minute warm-up
6 x 800m (90 sec. RI)
10 minute cool-down

(800m = 0.50miles)

That workout really did a number on my legs. They were killing me the rest of the day/evening despite wearing my compression sleeves to work all day.

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I did a lot of foam rolling on Tuesday evening and even iced my hip and knees as a precaution. Bedtime was an early one at 8:45 and I slept for 9 glorious hours. I awoke to refreshed legs, but I didn’t want to overdo it, so I grabbed Owen and we were out the door for an easy 1.5 mile run.

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It was his first run since he was sick a week and a half ago, plus he hasn’t been running with me in the heat so I wanted to take it easy with him. Even though the run was short I came inside and did plyometrics focusing on core and back strength along with some PT exercises for my hip to keep me strong and pain-free.

Thursday was a 5 mile tempo run but as I was running it on the route I chose, I realized it was going to be more of a hill workout than a tempo run. I tried my best to bust out the splits, but those hills are no joke.

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I.E. mile 2 and 5.

Now I rest until Saturday when I have a 12 mile run at 9:00-9:15min/mi pace planned. My parents are driving down from Indiana tomorrow, so it’ll be an early run to maximize family time!

One other note I’ll add is that this humidity is AWFUL. I usually start my runs around 6:15am-6:20am and it’s so hard to breathe through the thickness of the air.
I think I already mentioned this, but since my hip injury I haven’t been able to use the treadmill. I am missing it sorely these days.

Last year I’d save my weekday runs for the afternoons when I got off work and hit the gym to bust out 4-8 miles 3 days per week. This time around I’m running before work Tuesday-Thursday and it’s not exactly a walk in the park with the weather. In addition to the humidity (even though temps are between 71-75 degrees) there are hills no matter which way I turn out of my neighborhood. If it’s downhill on the way out, it’s uphill on the way back.

Yeah yeah, “hills are speedwork in disguise” but I’d really rather just have one route I could run that’s relatively flat!

This has turned into a novel but now you’re caught up!

Enough about me:
Are you training for anything?
How do you deal with the heat and humidity?
When do you run during the day?

Yoga and Speedwork

In going with my theme of quality over quantity this training period, I have designated Monday’s for Yoga, Tuesday’s for interval runs, and Thursday’s for tempo runs.

I started the week off on Monday with a Yoga for Athletes online class. (The link will take you to the class if you’re interested in trying it.) It’s taught by Sage Rountree who practices yoga in the Raleigh-Durham area; about an hour or so away from me. Here’s more about her background and the class:

(Source)
This online yoga class for athletes and everyone is part of a weekly series taught by Sage Rountree, an endurance sports coach, runner and triathlete herself. She regularly writes for Runner’s World and Yoga Journal online and has several books and DVDs. In this particular class, we look at our nemeses: poses that frustrate us. Find more freedom in Warrior I; fly into crow; open into camel; experiment with really letting go in corpse pose. Along the way, you’ll build strength, flexibility, focus, and the equanimity to approach both the poses you love and the poses you find challenging.”

It was a good class, the first of hers that I’ve practiced, but it was pretty slow for me. I like power or (vinyasa) flow style yoga the best, but I still learned a few good stretches I can incorporate during my post-run cool downs.

If you’re interested in more Yoga for Athletes- style classes, here is a list of DVDs I found on a Runner’s World forum.

Yesterday was my first speed work day and I must say I am a huge fan thus far. It was a cool morning here in NC (around 60 degrees!) and I got a tough workout in before 7:15am; a great way to start any day. 

intervals

Breakdown:
10 min warm up
6 x (1 min fast, 3 mins easy)
10 min cool down

I saw lots of other runners in the neighborhood I ran in; just another reminder that I love doing this!

(Source)

And.. I’m back!

3 months later I promise I’m still alive.

I strongly believe that if you’ve got nothing to say, don’t say anything. So that’s how it’s been lately.

Sure, things have been happening and I’ve been running (infrequently but we’ll get to that…) but I really didn’t feel the need to update you on my daily life, seeing how this is a running blog.

About that infrequent running.

After the NYC Half Marathon I felt like I needed a break. Mentally and physically I needed a break from running. The physical therapy and the “training” leading up to the half was exhausting and stressful. That’s not why I run. I run to be free, happy, and healthy.

Although I made a huge PR even coming off an injury I definitely needed some time off. So I took it.

I ran a totally of 5 TIMES in April. May was a little closer to 10 but definitely not the standard I’d made for myself over the past 18 months.

I had some good and bad runs, but I was still running and that’s all that mattered.

I needed the time off to prevent burnout from my upcoming marathon training, to get my head in the right place, to figure out some goals, and to enjoy a social life again.

Thankfully I can say it was just what the doctor ordered, because now I feel like I’m supposed to be where I am at.

Last year during marathon training there was a stint of time where I traveled about 8 out of 10 weekends in a row between weddings, celebrations, and beach trips. This summer was much like that but instead of falling during marathon training it fell before hand. I am SO thankful for that. I feel like I can 100% focus on training this bout and not feel guilty about cheating myself.

So what have I been up to?

In April I celebrated my 25th birthday at the beach in Hilton Head with family.

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In May I organized a beach camping trip with a group of our friends.

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Then Brandon and I went on a cruise leaving out of Puerto Rico and sailing the southern Caribbean to St. Thomas, St. Kitts, Barbados, St. Lucia, and St. Maarten.

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In June we visited my little brother in D.C. who is interning with a major company for the summer.

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I also realized I was less than a month away from marathon training so began to up my mileage. Imagine my surprise when I was still pulling out runs in the 8:xx min/mile.

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Then we celebrated a friend’s birthday in Charleston, SC..

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And I wrapped up my travels with my best friend’s bachelorette party in Las Vegas last weekend!

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(view from our hotel at The Cosmopolitan)

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(early at Marquee)

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(Bride and Matron of Honor)

During these exciting few months I’ve been thinking of my goals for the Marine Corps Marathon and what kind of training plan I’d like to follow.

Since running my last marathon I was surprised at my speed when I began training for the NYC Half Marathon, so I’d like to incorporate speed work in my plan this time around.

It seems as though I could be prone to injury, so I’m looking for quality than quantity out of my next training plan.

Going along those same lines, I want to practice yoga at least once a week to help prevent injury.

Today I sat down and vowed to not get up until I had made my plan. I did just that and am excited for the next 18 weeks leading up to my second marathon!

I’m glad I got fueling mostly under my belt during training last summer, but I definitely need some tweaking in order to feel 100% confortable on race day.

Here’s to another training cycle to 26.2!

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What my last marathon taught me

As with all things you experience in life, once you’ve done it you know better for next time.

Here’s a list of some of the things I learned from my first marathon. Some things I’ll keep and others to improve on.

1. You can’t run every training run at race pace.
 
Otherwise you’re running the race. Mixing up your run speeds gives your body room for improvement in speed, agility, strength, and the prevention of injury.

Tempo runs, hill intervals, mile repeats, fartleks (Swedish word for “speed play”), long runs, Yasso 800s, recovery runs, easy runs. They all serve a different purpose and help you in training.

I plan on mixing up my training this round and quit trying to be a speed demon for every workout.

2. You don’t have a license to eat everything in sight.
I haven’t touched much on nutrition throughout the blog and that may be surprising for some considering that’s what I do for a living. I’m being honest when I say eating to fuel your body for a marathon is completely different than a “healthy diet” or eating for fat loss.

Proven fact: You cannot follow a fat loss diet if you’re training for a marathon. Unless you want to continually bonk out.

Carbs give us marathoners fuel to burn for our long runs in training and for the actual race. Fat loss diets (I’m not talking Atkins here) include restricted carbohydrates, particularly simple carbs (white breads, pasta, even candy..that’s all Gu and block shots are, anyway). Simple carbs are the carbs most valuable to marathoners before training runs and leading up to races. Complex carbs (whole grains, sweet potatoes, brown rice, etc.) are our recovery carbs.

So, while I’ve noticed since I’m getting closer to the NYC Half and my training runs are increasing in distance, the hungry monster has returned.

(source)

It’s everywhere I tell you.

While anyone that knows me, knows I love food (hence the name for this blog) it’s kind of annoying being hungry all the time now.

Since I had from December-February to “eat normal (every 4-5 hours)” a.k.a not every 2-3 hours, I realize how much I actually had to have been eating during marathon training. Granted, I choose healthy foods 80-90% of the time, but that other 20-10% you can bet I was eating cookies.

Those healthy foods were also pretty heavily focused on carbs and processed foods.

This time around my goal is to be smarter with my diet. Over the past several weeks/months I’ve been making the switch to less processed, more whole foods. The other side of that is the more whole foods one eats, normally it’s harder to get in all the calories you need because whole foods are naturally lower in calories and fat. That’s where nut butters and cooking oils come into play.

As a registered dietitian I obviously know what to eat but sometimes all that just gets thrown out the window. It’s all about balance.

(source)

This just goes to show that knowledge does not equal action.

 3. Sleep
I feel like I always win in this category. However, it didn’t always start out this way. When I started training for my half marathon in February 2011, I noticed how continually tired I was when I being upping my mileage each week. Each night I was forced into bed at an earlier time because I just was not functioning on 6 hours of sleep.

When marathon training came around in summer of 2011, I was used to a 9:30pm bedtime. So my 8.5-9 hours of sleep each night are now a staple in my life.

Sleep is when our body regenerates, repairs, and moves learned information from short-term to long-term memory. Crucial factors while training and life in general.

4. Alcohol
If you’re a runner, you know alcohol doesn’t mesh well with the running lifestyle. Even in college I was never pumped to spend 2-3 nights a week drinking with hangovers lasting the entire weekend.

Now that I’m an adult not only is that frowned upon, it certainly isn’t conducive to productive training runs.

I’ll go out for drinks maybe once a week and usually limit it to 2-3 drinks while I’m out. Drinking just isn’t a priority to me and hasn’t been since I graduated college. Being hungover is not worth it anymore, even if I don’t have a planned run the next day.

Research has proven that not only does alcohol affect sleep, it reduces muscle recovery, cancelling out gains made from workouts. (source)

5. Hydration
I was awful at hydrating during my long runs outside over this past summer. I got this for Christmas and am changing that stat.

(source)
                                    Nathan Speed 2 Hydration Belt

6. Race Fuel
I did a pretty good job of experimenting with difference race fuels during my long runs last summer. However, my fueling strategy wasn’t 100% on race day. I hate Gu’s; the texture makes me want to barf. I tried other brands and PowerBar is good, but I still can’t suck down the whole packet.

Cliff Block Shots are yummy, but they get stuck in my teeth. Smile pretty for the race pictures with gummies smeared across your teeth! Yuck.

I didn’t hit a wall or anything during the marathon, so the calories, electrolytes, and hydration were good for me. I just need to figure out what kind of fuel I’m going to use in October so I can stop wasting time at aid stations.

I’m seriously considering Swedish Fish or Starburst jelly beans. Better stock up this Easter!

(source)

(source)

Epitome of simple carbs, remember? I’m not too worried about the electrolytes I’d be missing if I were using an engineered sports product (Gu); I’ll get that from the sports drink on the course or put it in my hydration belt.

So there’s my quick list of some things I’d change and others I’ll stick with.

Now you tell me:
What things (if anything) do you want to change for your next race?

Marathon #2.…

I’ve decided! After contemplating several fall marathons and whether or not I would actually be able to/should run a marathon this year – I decided a couple of weeks ago that I wanted to register for….

                                  THE MARINE CORPS MARATHON!
                                      Sunday, October 28, 2012

Better known as “The People’s Marathon” it is the biggest marathon in the U.S. not offering prize money to the top runners.

Outside Magazine readers voted MCM “The Best U.S. Marathon” beating out Boston, Chicago, and New York City. The Marine Corps Marathon honors the dedication, sportsmanship, and patriotism of its participants. (source)

I have only heard good things about this marathon from people I know, other blogs I follow, and even complete strangers who’ve said how great it is.

From a previous MCM runner, “The Marines are awesome, the spectators amazing, the amount of work that obviously went into this is mind boggling. I was told this was one of the greatest things ever experienced and I absolutely agree. We all cried at different times for so many reasons. The emotion of the day was totally unexpected. The thought behind this race is what it’s all about. God bless our troops!” (source)

Coming from a family who has had many generations serving in the armed forces, I felt this would be more personal of a race for me to participate in. My grandpa, uncle, several cousins, and now my “new” family on Brandon’s side can add to that list with his grandpa and cousin (that I know of) serving our country.

I’ve heard of Marine’s running in their uniforms and the crowd support is phenomenal throughout the entire 26.2 miles.

The course starts in VA and takes us through all of the historic landmarks in the D.C. area.

coursemap 

Up to this point in my life, I’ve never been to D.C. and I’m pretty stoked to see all the of landmarks by running the city.

Apparently everyone else is excited to run MCM because on Wednesday, March 7 we runners came together and set a new marathon sell-out record!

I saw this pop up on my newsfeed just 90 minutes after I registered:

then 70 minutes later…

mcm sold out

Beating the previous record holder, Boston 2011 Marathon which sold out in 8 hours, the 2012 MCM sold out in 2 HOURS and 41 MINTUES!

15,948 runners secured their spot in the race in just the first hour. (source)

I was one of them!

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Last year MCM sold out in 28 hours..quite a difference!

Here is what MCM Headquarters looked like during the record breaking sell-out.

I’m very excited for the race and very excited to have family and friends running the race, too.

It’ll be interesting to see how this training period will differ from my last marathon. I won’t be traveling so many weekends, for one, which will help me out tremendously. I’ve already begun thinking about other areas I need to improve on and am looking forward to making this training plan!

After the NYC Half next weekend (!!!!) I will really be able to focus on what my goals/training should look like for October.

OORAH!

One Foot in Front of the Other

As the days are flying by to Saturday I’m REALLY getting excited for it to get here!

I started my packing pile this weekend and will finish completely packing tonight! We’re leaving right after work tomorrow and I don’t want to be rushed and accidentally forget something.

I know I haven’t actually run the race yet, but I’m so excited for the challenge ahead of me. Training in itself was a challenge and I got through that, so I’m excited to see what the new challenge I face will be like.

I’ve gotten a lot of questions: Why do you get so excited to run? Why do you run so far? Don’t you get bored? You’re might get hurt.

The way I see it, there are parts of life as an adult (generally speaking) you just don’t get to experience all the time.

Sometimes there’s not much excitement. I’m all about having a routine but sometimes it just gets mundane.

Sometimes there are no surprises, no good ones at least. “Oh the car needs fixed again..”

Sometimes you’re so stuck in a rut you forget what you’re capable of doing. “I have these responsibilities and I have no time for anything else.”

Some people combat this by finding a new job, traveling to new places, learning a new hobby, adopting a puppy, having a baby..but for now, I run.

Nerd alert: In college, I kind of liked exams because it was a challenge to me. I studied and went to class, did homework and then took a test to see what I knew. It’s probably bad but, it was almost as if I was seeing “how good I was” at that topic.

In running, I now like races to “see what I know.” I do core exercises, focus on fueling, read articles on various running topics, follow my running schedule, then race and see how well I do. I know there’s only a certain amount I can keep improving, but as long as I’m doing something I’m content. That’s enough to keep me confident, keep me excited, and always shooting for a goal. If I’m doing nothing, I’m definitely not improving so that’s not going to help anything.

Sometimes I know I set my goals pretty high. What’s that cheesy line? “Shoot for the moon, if you miss you’ll land upon the stars.” Yeah.. that’s my relationship with running. Don’t get me wrong, I’m zealous but not over-zealous. I don’t want to end up on the injured list. I think that would be pretty horrible. But that’s another post..

Anyway, here’s to setting goals and achieving them.

Here’s to putting your mind to something you thought you would never do.

Here’s to starting AND finishing.

Here’s to believing you can do it. Don’t mind anyone else.

Here’s to you.

It’s Race Week!

Is it really here?

I’m down to the week I thought was SOO far away all this time. I’m running a marathon in 5 days!

Tapering has went pretty well…considering.

Week 1 of Tapering

This was just after I completed my last long training run of 20 miles. I got sick the very next day and it took 4-5 days for me to finally get rid of it. I normally kick a cold in 1-2 days. My immune system was definitely beat up because of all my training.

I made sure and took it easy that week, trying not to push myself too hard. I ran 2.5 out of 4 miles on Wednesday, (I completely missed my 5 mile run on Tuesday), and on Thursday I ran 3.5 out of 5 miles. I felt pretty good about it considering all I wanted to do was lay on the couch and drink tea…which I did a lot of afterwards. I made sure I got at least 8 hours of sleep each night. I think one night I even got 10. I drank lots of great tea and ate A. TON. of fruits and veggies. Filled up on Naked Juice, ate minimally processed foods, and I was back in the game for my 12 mile run on Sunday.

The 12-miler went well considering I was coming off a week of sickness. I did have to stop to blow my nose in the bathroom at the park though (TMI?). I was fine after that!

Week 2 of Tapering

After I’d gotten over the physical stress of being sick and I could re-focus myself on being well, I began to freak out. In every way possible.

At the top of my list was my recent realization that I would probably not be using gels during the marathon. During my 19 mile run in FL I somehow got an aversion to them and I am lucky to get more than a quarter of the packet now.

No big deal, right? They make lots of other nutritional supplements for runners. However.. this was TWO WEEKS before the marathon, no long runs left, and no time to experiment with chews.

The only experience I’ve had with chews was during the half marathon in April. I used the Clif Block Shots but they are so sticky and get stuck in my teeth. Attractive.

So my cousin recommended Power Bar energy blast chews. They actually taste delicious (strawberry banana flavor) and don’t stick to my teeth. Problem solved. Except I have no idea what the timing should be for eating the chews.

Since then I think I’ve figured out a plan, but I’ve not tested it so *curse.*

While all of this mental agony is bearing down on me, instead of being able to run to release stress, I had to run less. That is the point of tapering, after all. You can see how quickly I lost my sanity..

All in all, last week was a huge mental game. I started to doubt if I did enough (classic). Remember how I missed weekday runs because I had to run my long runs during the week because of all the traveling?

Again, I freaked out about nutrition and fueling during the race. Oh and just when I decided I was ok with using the chews, I realized I had nothing to carry them with. Therefore, I ended up priority shipping this baby to my house on Tuesday last week.

I also made a trip to Goodwill and got some sweatpants, a sweatshirt, and a long-sleeve shirt so I can wear it to the starting line at 5:30am and then toss it at 7:30 when the race actually begins. Those clothes get donated back to Goodwill so it’s all good.

As far as actual running, I ran 4 miles Tuesday, 3 miles Wednesday, 4 miles Thursday, and 8 miles Saturday. Easy peasy.

Week 3 Tapering

So far, this week has been a complete turn around of last week.

I’m mellowing out (despite running even less), I’m getting confident, and I’m starting to realize that this will still be a great triumph, even if I do end up hitting “the wall” or I don’t finish in my time goal, as long as I finish.

Realistically, since it is my first marathon my goal should just be to finish. But anyone that knows me, knows that I’m too competitive with myself to accept ordinary. This I why I freaked out about the fueling aspect.

Beth’s mental talk, “If I don’t get it perfect, I’ll hit the wall.” “If I hit the wall, I’ll have to slow significantly or walk, losing minutes, losing reach of my time goal.”

If, if, if.

This is actually pretty hard for me to admit. I’m normally a really positive person. I work to block out negative talk from others because I believe if you’re surrounded by negative people, you’ll become a negative person, or at least develop those thoughts. And how happy is a life like that?

So.. I’ve been working on that and as I mentioned, this week is going much better and much more positively than last week!

I’m not quite sure where or when I began imagining that I could run like Kara Goucher or some ridiculously fast time. Probably because I read too many articles about running..from experts. Olympic experts. Duh – I am not an olympian. I mean, I know I’m small and mighty, but not that mighty. My 8:30-9:00 minute miles are still fast… just not that fast.

The running schedule for this week looks like this:

3 miles Tuesday

2 mile walk Wednesday

2 mile easy run Friday

I think I can handle that. 🙂

We leave for Savannah on Thursday after work. It’s 6 hours from our house, so we’ll get in at a reasonable time that night. Friday is the expo and I’m really excited for that!

We’ve organized who is bringing what for our homemade pasta dinner that night – yum! Carb loading begins on Wednesday!!

Saturday is going to be a super early morning. I will probably set my alarm for 4:45 or 5:00. Our shuttle leaves Tybee Island at either 5:30 or 6:00 (our choice) and takes a half hour to get to the starting line for a last minute stop to the port-a-potty. Eeee!!

I still need safety pins. Dang.

I can’t wait to share how the race goes!!

Thank you for all of the supportive comments I’ve got over the course of training, via Facebook, Twitter, e-mail, on the blog, in person, etc.

While I do love to run, there have been times where it’s been a struggle to get out the door. All of your positive words have made a difference in my attitude, so thank you again. I’ll be thinking of you as I pass each mile marker. All 26.2 of them!