Marathon Training 2013

27 Oct 2013

I’m happy to report I completed my first marathon, 26.2 is in the bag:)  It was a wonderful, fun experience.

0400 AM  ~  Got up ready to go.  Surprisingly I slept the night before with no problem.  I was calm and I was glad none of my cats decided to “play” during the night.  Maybe I should chalk it up to inexperience but I didn’t have a case of the jitters.  Ate a banana drank a glass of water and a cup of coffee.  Checked the temperature and it’s 31 degrees.  Not happy about that, but at least it wasn’t raining or windy out.  If you’ve been to the Midwest, you know what I’m talking about.  Put on my gear and I was out the door.

0515  ~  met Kathi at the train station.  There were a lot of other runners already waiting (this was kind of neat) so the excitement was high on the train.  By the time we arrived in St. Louis the train was already packed with runners.

Getting started
Kathi and I on the train.

0600  ~  Arrived in St. Louis and made our way to the venue.  I was beginning to worry a little because it was cold.  I’m not a stranger to running in the cold, but I was really hoping it would be warmer for this first run.  Again, oh well and suck it up.  The first thing Kathi and I do is roll on over to the porta potties.  That’s right, no line you’re going to go even if you don’t think you have to go.  It’s one of those things before you run, I don’t have to go now but maybe later I will, so you try.  After that we strolled over to the gear check.  I was still wearing my pants at this point realizing that I would have to shed them at the gear check.  After about 5 minutes of banter between Kathi and me, “Are you going to take your pants off? Yes, are you?  Yes, right now?  Yes, are you…right now?”  Crap we have to take our pants off…it’s cold:(  We finally take our pants off and check the rest of the gear.

cold morning
No estoy pantalones!

0630  ~  we make it on over to the Soldiers Memorial for a picture with one of the local running groups the Road Warriors.  They are a great group of people that enjoy running and offering support to other runners.  Always a pleasure to be around.

Road Warrior Photo
Where’s Laurel and Kathi:)

0635  ~  We decide that we want to go to the bathroom… again.  Directly in front of us is a string of portas that are heavily backed up…no pun intended.  I was starting to get nervous and I didn’t even have to go.  Then out of the corner of my eye I see another string to our far right and no lines.  I point and we literally start running to these portas.  It appeared that others were catching on as well, STEP IT UP.  The jog became a little faster.  Whew I’m in the front of the line baby! It was dark and difficult to see which ones were occupied and which ones were free.  Then there was the occasional battle cry, “don’t use this one…it’s out of paper!”  The tsk, tsk of another runner, “that is not how I want to start my day” and all the affirmations of yes, yes.  Finished there and bolted to my corral.

0650  ~  Arrive at my corral, 10, and begin the wait game.  This really was a very interesting aspect of the race.  You’re pumped and ready-to-go but waiting for the race to start.  The sun was just beginning to rise and you could see that beautiful sunrise of bright orange and yellow mixed with a splattering of clouds against a struggling dark blue background.  It was electric.  I started my Garmin at least three times before I actually got going.  Since I was in corral 10, 1 – 9 went first.  This was new for me as I’ve never participated in a race this size.  So you would move up as each corral left the gate.

0710  ~  I was off.  I started strong and felt good.  In past races I usually dislike the start.  You’re always trying to dart around to find that nice hole that you can run your own pace.  It was really difficult to do this with so many people so I didn’t even try.  I went a nice normal pace and just really enjoyed the run.  I also wanted to make sure I didn’t start off to fast and had energy for the end.

I’m not going to mark time anymore because honestly after the first two  miles there was no point in me watching the clock.  I had a long way to go.  Instead I focused on the mile markers and how I felt.

Around mile 2 my hands were starting to get hot.  I grappled with throwing away my gloves so soon, but decided to do it anyway.  I should have waited a couple more miles because my hands were cold, but there you have it.  Throw-away gloves were a very good idea.

Around mile 4 I was hot and ready to shed the throw-away headband and take my long sleeve off.  Chucked the headband, danced around to take the top off, dropped my iPod and cracked the screen and Walla finally felt a little better.

Mile 4
Here I am at mile 4. My shirt is secured. Thanks to Karen Conley for supporting me and taking this picture.

Everything was easy breezy at this point.  The run was fun and I felt pretty good.  I made sure I drank plenty of water not passing up too many of the water stations.  Everyone is different when it comes to water, but I wanted to make sure I didn’t get dehydrated.  I tend not to drink as much when it’s cold, so I forced myself to take little sips.

Around mile 9 or 10, I forget, they offered the first GU gel.  Let me personally testify, chocolate and GU, uh no.  I picked up the small packet, ripped it open and began to eat it.  Nasty, is not the proper word.  Let’s just say, licking the asphalt, might have been better.  Dang!  That was bad.  Maybe they meant to do that.  Here, little girl I’ve got something yummy for you.  So yes, I did need water with that treat!

My first mental hurdle was at mile 12 when they started peeling the half marathoners away from the full marathoners.  I admit I looked at them in envy.  Wow, they’re almost finished and me I’m going to run this…again.  It’s easy to get sucked into that mindset, but I made that left turn and kept fighting for every mile.

At mile 17 I looked across the street and saw mile 24 with the lead runner heading toward the finish line.  That’s a mental mountain.  Look forward and keep going.  There were a couple of points on the route that intersected.  You might be at mile 18 and to your right you could see mile 21.  It’s tough.

My right hamstring started acting up at mile 18.  There was a lot of pain.  I had to focus and slow down a bit.  When I had to slow down I did, when I could pick it back up I did.  Mental, mental and more mental.  I kept fighting for every mile.

Another GU gel was offered at mile 19.  Oh no you don’t!  I’m not falling for that again.  This gel was mandarin orange.  Oh…really…sure it is.  I took it anyway.  Yes, it tasted like man….CRAP!  It did give me a boost.  The things we must endure for a boost.

Miles 20 – 23 were tough.  The pain in my leg would come and go and I had to adjust the pace the best I could.  As Ron the pace guy neared me with his bright shiny placard with 4:45 in big black writing, I was determined that he shall not pass!  So, I pulled it together and moved forward to mile 24.

My good friend Karen was able to make it to the 24 mile marker and take a photo.  Let it be known, if you are going to do something ~ go big or stay at home.  Folks, this may be one of the best photo bombs yet.  There is no measurement for the level of awesomeness for this quality of photo bomb.  I will say this, we’re both smiling at mile 24, therefore brother, and you’re alright with me.

Photo Bomb
Mile 24
Photo bomb1
Just because one isn’t enough.

Mile 24 became mile 25 and you know the rest of the story.  I finished with a time of 4:41.  I’m happy, empowered and ready to do it again.  A special thank you to my husband Dave who has supported me through all my training and my friend Lorene who was at the finish line.  A hearty thank you to everyone who offered well wishes and encouragement.  Happy miles to you.  With hard work, determination and the right attitude…

Anything is possible…..

FinishedKathi and Me

….even drinking Michelob Ultra Light afterwards.  (If you follow this blog you understand!:)

After Beer

21 Oct 2013

Last weeks run began the slow decline leading up to the St. Louis Rock and Roll Marathon this Sunday.  I wouldn’t say I’m nervous yet, maybe more agitated.  I’m trying to focus on nutrition, sleep and those little pains that crop up.  My right hamstring is hurting, I think I’m getting shin splints in the left leg and the left knee hurts a little.  Can you say ~ overuse.  Not bad, but none-the-less they have caused me some issues on my long runs.  I am using the foam roller, stretching, icing and trying to keep all things in check.  So nervous no, but agitated yes.

My short runs during the week were fairly uneventful.  My long run on Saturday was eight miles.  I started out sure-footed and into a mile of it my right hamstring started acting up.  Not bad, but the pain makes my right leg feel heavy.  I found myself having to concentrate more on my form.  It was a little easier because I had just taken my first Gu Energy Gel.  I was trying to gauge if I really felt that kick of energy.  I think I did!

MarathonI don’t care what flavor you want to call it.  You can call it “Best thing since slice bread”.  It’s still an energy gel.  It tastes like an energy gel.  Ice cream…it ain’t!

I also ran with compression socks for the first time.  Pink compression socks!  Every so often I would look down at my calves and sigh.  I love you pink socks…eh hem sorry, but it did take my mind of the pain a bit.

compression socksI LOVE THESE ~ they really helped and felt great.  LOVE THEM.

Around mile four I actually caught myself yawning.  Thank goodness for the skunk on the side of the road.  It was a close call.  If the stink hadn’t been so bad I might have stopped for a nap and thank goodness it still stunk on the way back too.  Really.  I’m really glad.

skunk

The week unfolded as follows:

Sun ~ rest

Mon ~ 3.33 miles

Tues ~ 1:15 yoga and 3 miles on the elliptical

Wed ~ 1.83 miles (walked)

Thurs ~ Rest

Fri ~ Rest

Sat ~ 8 miles

Total for the week = 16.16.  Pain and all…grateful that 10,442.42 remains.

14 Oct 2013

Another week of training down!  I’m beginning to taper for the St. Louis Rock and Roll Marathon on 27 Oct.  I’ve read a lot about different people’s experience on tapering.  The common denominator seems to be the restlessness and anticipation before the race, i.e. sitting still and going on shorter runs to give your body a break.  I’m going to go out on a limb here….I LOVE TAPER TIME!

Taper Week
Courtesy of tubefilter.com

                

Yeah, that’s right ~ I love me some taper….

I’ve been working hard and have a lot of mileage under my belt, so I welcome a little bit of lower intensity to focus on my body, eating properly and easing my mind about the race.  The runs this week were normal and fairly uneventful.  Had the pleasure of running with my friend Kathi this Saturday for the long run.  Kathi is fast, but I enjoy the push.

The weather here in the Midwest is very unpredictable.  Wanted to get out of the house at 7 am and received an update on my phone that lightning was within 5 nautical miles of the base.  I look out the window and everything looks great.  Eh, I’m going.

It’s a cool morning, slightly overcast and an easy run of 9 miles ahead of us.  Kathi is so polite; she can tell when I need to slow down.  She just finished a marathon the week before (her fourth) and was giving me some good advice.  If you are running your first race, doesn’t matter the length, it’s always good to get advice from someone who has completed that length of a race.  They will give you the true ups and downs of what’s going on and how they felt during the run and what to expect.  Granted each race is a little different, but you get the picture.  Nothing beats experience.

Out running on our main road the road kill is in full force.  Sigh….running side-by-side I find myself dodging this and that.  I’m beginning to think I’m running an obstacle race this morning.  What is that?  Kathi, “It’s weird how it gets so flat“.  I’m just bracing for the stink!  Me, “Is that seven or eight now?”  We get to our turn around point and we see the weather off in the distance.  Around mile 5.5 it starts pouring.  You know when you’re with a good running buddy when you both start laughing.  I love running in the rain.  There’s something so freeing.  It’s beyond the fact that you are getting soaked.  You remember when you were young and it was raining outside?  Your parents would yell at you to get into the house.  You’re going to catch a cold!  And you would run around in defiance!  Hey, at least I did.  Well, let me tell you, that feeling you had at five feels the same at forty-five.  The way the drops hit your face.  It was cool and warm at the same time.  Lean your head back and watch those big drops fall down.  We laughed all the way home.  Being rained on…look at it as a blessing and character building and we Army folk like to say ~ good training!

Last week’s workout:

Mon ~ 4.7 miles

Tues ~ 1:15 yoga

Wed ~ 8 miles

Thurs ~ 5 miles

Fri ~ rest

Sat ~ 9.01

Sun ~ rest

Total miles for the week = 26.71 with 10,458.58 (rainy possibly) miles remaining.  Happy miles to you!

6 Oct 2013

It’s true…

Michael Jordan QuoteI won’t lie, marathon training is getting ha**…challenging:)

I’m tired this week.  Not super tired, but I can feel this marathon training starting to take a bit of a toll.  It’s challenging.  I woke up with every intention of running the long run on Saturday like I always do, but I was just too tired and sore from cross training on Thursday.  I was up all night Friday.  I just couldn’t seem to get to sleep.  I will admit, I was worried about the long run.  How will my body react?  Am I eating the best I can (uh, no)?  What if I pass out on the side of the road?  Hey, some other runner can write about stuff they see on the side of the road and include me~ lol.  By the way I did see Marlboro Silver Pack, nail clippers and road kill.

Marlboro Silver
When you need Ultra Light – yeah!

It’s challenging and I’m scared.  Admitting you’re scared to do something you’ve never done isn’t a sign of weakness.  It’s an affirmation of treading into the unknown, trying something new, or stepping outside your comfort zone.  The results will be good or bad.  So, I got myself together and moved my long run to Sunday.  I was supposed to run the 5K Graffiti Run today, but I sacrificed that for marathon training.  Yes I know, why did I sign up for that race ~ eh, don’t ask that question, poor planning.

I started out around 7:30 a.m. this morning.  The funny thing about the long runs is you want to get started early as possible, because you don’t want to waste the whole day!  I felt really good until I got about 7 miles down the road and I had to…go to the bathroom.  Sigh.  When I run to Mascoutah there is a little man-made lake to the right. People go there and fish or feed the ducks.  There is also a Porta-Potty in the parking lot.  It’s been there for ever ~ not the same one mind you.

Porta Potty
It looks just like this one!

It is also very clean.  Ok, as clean as a porta can be.  I shuffled right on over and took care of business ~ then back on the road.

It was a beautiful morning to run.  Clear, about 55 degrees and only a little windy, perfect running weather. Pace was respectable and breathing wasn’t a problem.  Plenty of water, had a pit stop for a banana, some gels, and part of a Cliff Bar along the way.  I’ve noticed on these longer runs I need a little something extra besides water.  I get hungry.  So, a little bit of energy is good for me.

My feet started hurting around mile 10.  I made a concerted effort to mentally move that pain.  Focused on my hips a bit more and was able to get past the discomfort.  Around mile 15 the foot pain was back and I really felt I was shuffling.  The rest of the body felt great but the legs were heavy.

The will to train must be greater than the will to win.  It was a challenge.  Instead of focusing on the pain I took in the scene around me.  The wind is rustling through the trees and golden leaves are slowly floating down in front of me.  There are bursts of cool air mixed with warm letting me know Fall is here.  The soy beans in the field to the left are slowly transitioning from green to dried brown and soon will be harvested.  Then I start to think about my Aunt who passed away last Saturday.  She was in pain but the drugs made her “comfortable”.  I felt a little guilty about my foot pain.

Challenge accepted ~ 16 miles completed for the long run and 10,485.29 remaining.  Happy miles to you.

Workout recap starting Oct 1

Tues ~ rest

Wed ~ 8 miles

Thur ~ 4.67 miles and cross training (kettle bells, pull-ups, weighted wall ball, and burpees

Fri and Sat ~ rest

Sun ~ 16 mile long run

30 Sept 2013

Last week was a fun.  It took me off my regular training for the marathon but that’s alright.   A few niggles here and there, but feeling pretty good.  I have ended the month  of September completing 95.41 miles.  Happily have 10,513.96 miles remaining.  Hope you are reaching all of your goals, running and otherwise.  A very happy day to you.

Schedule is as follows:

Sunday – 22 Sept – Rest

Monday – Too much motorcycle riding on Sunday 🙂

Tuesday – Yoga 1:15 hrs

Wednesday – 8 miles

Thursday – 5

Friday – Rest

Saturday – 3.1  Warrior Dash!

Sunday – Rest

Monday – 5.02

21 Sept 2013

Moving right along with marathon training.  I did it!  This weeks long run was 14 miles.  I’ll be brutally honest – I didn’t want to run Saturday.  The body felt fine, but I just wasn’t into it.  I laid in bed until about 6:00 am and finally trudged out of the house around 7:30 am.  It was a nice cool morning.  I love when the weather isn’t too hot or cold.  Fall is the best time to run.  There is a crispness to the air, leaves are beginning to litter the ground and excitement that the holidays are right around the corner is building.  This is my favorite time of the year.

I started my run out with my Aunt Patty heavy on my mind.  This is probably why I was dreading this run.  I feared the mental chatter would be at its peak and that this run would be brutal and undisciplined.  I let the tightness in my shoulders sink down and proceeded to glide along.  Mind over matter.  What’s done is done, there is no changing the past and I know in my heart that she wouldn’t want me to dwell.  So I won’t.

As I made my way down this familiar path I found my footing with little complaints.  The only pain was in my feet.  Funny how running pain seems to migrate from one part of the body to the next.  Just strange.  I’m happy to say the first 4 miles I kept the pace in the 9 minute range and the remainder in the 10 minute range – not bad I think?  Seemed consistent and that’s good.

I could have done without the bloated possum road kill that stunk to high heaven, but what can you do?  Hold your breath and move on…yes it stunk that bad:)

I did see a pack of Kool cigarettes.  Yeah that’s cool with a “K” baby not “C”…woot woot!

Around mile 13.55 a song by Fleetwood Mac streamed across my iPod, Storm sung by Stevie Nicks.  It’s one of my favorite songs.  It’s a passionate song and it drug me back to thinking about my Aunt. All of-a-sudden it was hard to breathe.  Thank goodness the run was almost over.  Running is mental, no doubt about it.

Call someone special today – don’t miss out on the chance to tell them you care.  Life is short.

I have thankfully completed 28.03 miles for the week ~ 10,535.08 remaining.

Sunday = Rest

Monday = 4.01 miles

Tuesday = kettle bell work out and 1:15 hrs of yoga

Wednesday = 6.02 miles

Thursday = 4 miles

Friday = Rest

Saturday = 14 miles!

15 Sept 2013

Week three of marathon training down!  The beginning of the week started off hot but now we are really feeling some cool weather here in the Midwest.  Perfect for running.  My training week consisted of:

Sunday – Rest

Monday – 4 miles

Tuesday – 30 minutes Kettle bell workout 1:15 yoga

Wednesday – 5 miles

Thursday – 4.01 miles

Friday – Rest

Saturday – 11 miles and 2:00 yoga/meditation.  Total for the week 24.01 miles

Felt good on all the weekly runs.  Saturday’s long run was okay.  Started around 6:30 am with a temperature in the 40’s.  It’s great running weather but now comes the conundrum of layers of clothes.  Start off cold end up hot.  I hate being cold and I hate being hot!  I wasn’t tired on this run at all.  Felt like my breathing was even and consistent.  About 3 miles into the run I felt like I had to….can you guess?  Sigh, go to the bathroom.  Good heavens!  Really?  I try to plan, ah hem, accordingly but this was just one of those days.  I know when I’m eyeing the cornfields, thinking, “ok will that one be safe” I’m in trouble.  But I managed to survive.  The arches of my feet were hurting a bit, but I battled through that too.  Noteworthy items on the side of the road this run you got it – light beer, an inhaler and….drum roll please – a pillow!  Let’s analyze and make this interesting shall we?  Hmmm – a pillow, with pillow case mind you, on the side of the road.  Fell out of the back of a truck?  Sleep-over gone bad?  Angst on the family road trip?  Do tell.

Well my friends, I hope your weekend was pleasant.  Gratefully, 10,563.11 miles remaining for  this gal.  Happy miles to you.

5 Sept 2013

I’m nearing the end of week two of my marathon training and have decided that I will run the St. Louis Rock ‘n Roll Marathon on 27 Oct 2013.

Details are here:  St. Louis Rock and Roll Marathon

St. Louis Marathon

I tried to find a marathon in late November, but it doesn’t look good.  The weather here starts to go south in the Midwest so I imagine that is the issue.  The program I’m using to train is marathon rookie.  Although, I’m farther ahead in my training I thought that I would follow the full program.  Lesson learned when training for a marathon there is some backwards planning involved:)  Not a problem I’m going to shorten the plan and  be ready by Oct 27.

Hope everyone is achieving their running goals this week.  Happy miles to you.

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