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!

Uncharted Territory

Marathon season is here. I ran 17 miles Saturday. Holy Moly.

I have had so much going on recently I don’t even know where to begin.

#1 I’ve been a crazy busy girl but I’ve still fit in my runs.

After a week’s hiatus from running I’ve come back alive and motivated. I’ve found a couple of times where I’ve been kicking myself for missing that week/altering my training plan so much because of traveling but like any situation in life, negative self-talk doesn’t take you far. Especially when you’re trying to cross a marathon’s finish line.

So instead, I lace up my worn out, need new shoes SO badly running shoes and run baby run.

PDR= Personal Distance Record

I’ve had 3 in the past month and it’s not slowing down anytime soon. First was the 14 miler before Vegas, then 15 miles last week, and finally 17 miles this past Saturday.

Let’s Recap.

15 Miles:

Done after work because we were going out-of-town for the weekend.

Did not hydrate/fuel properly throughout the day.

Experimented with Hammer Gel Espresso.

Took 2 slurps of it and it almost came back up. Sorry for the visual. That one was not a winner. So in addition to not properly fueling BEFORE the run, I had no fuel DURING the run.

That was probably the hardest run ever. Talk about hitting the wall. For the first time ever, I walked during a long run. Albeit for only 0.5 miles but still. At that point I felt like I was walking faster than I could run.

Just when I thought I couldn’t go any longer, at mile 14 the heavens opened up and it POURED RAIN. It was amazing and I made it the full 15 miles. Never again without proper fuel/hydration though. Lesson learned.

On a positive note, I did find a new route to run. It connects the entire Greenway together and it’s safe and not terribly hilly so it’s perfect for this particular marathon.

17 Miles: On a MUCH happier note, the 17 miles went very smooth compared to the 15 miler.

It was a normal Saturday morning, I got to sleep in a little bit, had some breakfast, a gel in hand and out the door I went.

I found the most amazing gel and this is what I will use during the marathon.

It’s light, it’s fruity, it feels better than Gu. I ate the whole packet without feeling queasy. Two thumbs up from this runner! 🙂

I took it at 6.5 miles and felt pretty good until mile 14. It looks like I’ll take 3 during the marathon. Mile 6, mile 13, and mile 20. I’ll be experimenting more with that as the weeks approach.

I ran the new route again and went a little further on it, actually reaching the end of it. Weird to run until there is no road left…

So here I am, 7 weeks out from my first marathon. 18 miles is up next for this week! Here We Go!

Find Your Passion

Another week of training here and gone. 

 

 

We had unusually cooler weather here in NC this past week so I took advantage of it and ran outside 3 of my 4 running days this week. Not looking forward to the nineties returning this week.

I got to take Owen on my 3 mile run Thursday, which he loved! He still had lots of energy afterwards; I thought he’d be pooped!

Yesterday was a 9 miler. Mother Nature let me sleep in and since it was cool, I didn’t get out there until 11am. I was actually a little chilly as I began the run – quite refreshing! I ended up running from Military Park on the Greenway to Country Park, around the lake and woods, back to Military Park for 2 big loops there and finishing out strong right back at my car. Couldn’t have planned it better. I got to enjoy the smells of families cooking out at Country Park for birthdays and gatherings and could practically taste the burgers as they cooked. Yum!

As I was running yesterday, I couldn’t help but congratulate my body on how far we have come in the past 7 months. While I’ve always loved running, I never imagined myself training for a marathon. Now, with a half behind me and this training going so well *so far* I can see myself running, finishing, and being proud of being a marathoner. It’s hard, too, to imagine just this February I began the half training and now I’m only a few miles shy of running a half marathon every weekend. That will be coming in the next few weeks!

My body amazes me at how fast it can adapt to the training, how fast it can gain strength, and how fast it can recover in just the 2- 2.5 months I had “off” between the half marathon and the marathon training. Every week I have the opportunity to push it a little farther, and it always responds back with, “is that all you got?” The 9 miles yesterday seemed stronger than the 8 miles last week. I wonder how far I could have truly gone had I not stuck to the training plan and just kept going.

That’s another part of training. No matter how much you want to run farther than the set mileage that day – it’s not a good idea. The training plan was developed this way for a reason, so stick to it. Why mess with success? You’re putting your body at risk for premature injury and fatigue. Patience.

Anyway, this “my body amazes me” attitude started back in college when I began to run. Since then I’ve gained the attitude and confidence that I have today about body image. I know I’m petite, but I’m not a stick, and I am perfectly, 110% okay with that. My legs power me up hills, my abs keep me injury-free by having correct form, my hips stabilize me and also prevent injury so long as they are given proper attention. I love to feel my feet strike the ground and power me forward. I love to know my heart is getting stronger with every hill. I love that my body is getting more efficient at using oxygen. I just love running.

It’s not just the running that I love; it’s the nutrition knowledge to nourish my body in between runs that I love, too. Since I know what these nutrients do biochemically in my body and how that correlates with exercise, I love making different meals to get all my nutrients in for the day. I love to see how my body responds to pre and post run meals/snacks. I love reading about it and I’ve even busted out my undergraduate metabolism and exercise physiology textbooks. Did I mention I am also a nerd?

This is how I can get so much satisfaction out of my job, too. I have the amazing opportunity to work with college athletes and students to help them figure all this out. To work with all students to begin lifelong habits (or at least gain the knowledge) as undergraduates is nothing short of amazing. I can’t tell you the amount of gratitude I’ve seen working with this population.

I feel as if I’ve completed my circle. Personally and professionally they intertwine and I am fortunate to get to do something that I love. Running has provided so much clarity for me this year and I’m so excited to see what the next 16 weeks of training has to offer. I’m excited to see what else I can learn about my body and how I can put it #1. Nourishment, recovery, and rest are just as much part of training as the actual running itself. I love all aspects of it. I’ve found my niche, my hobby, my release from everyday life.

I realize I may not always be able to run. Due to injuries, schedules, or one day, old age. You can bet I won’t give up though. It’s not in me. It’s not who I am. I’ll run for as long as I can.

If you aren’t as passionate about running as I am, that’s perfectly fine. Just find something you are passionate about. A life is a terrible thing to waste.