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Archive for the ‘Marathons’ Category

How do I know I have my “running legs” back? Because this morning I went for a 15-mile run (my long run for the week) and for the first time since I returned home from vacation and started training for realsies, I did not genuinely contemplate chucking myself over the railing and into the Hudson River as a means to end what felt like real and true torture.

Oh, the dramatics of the long-distance runner.

Anyways, seriously, today’s run was the first one I’ve had where I did not feel, to put it bluntly, like complete cr*p.  Instead, I actually felt pretty good! It helps that the weather was perfect (mid-70’s and low humidity) and I think my insane few weeks of training are paying off.

I’m definitely going to cut back a little bit though, now that I feel caught up in my training.  Obviously I’ll still be running absurd distances but the last four weeks, I’ve really been pushing myself to train a bit more and bit harder than I would have otherwise.

Just for fun, here’s my weekly workout log:

Thursday, 8/4- 5.5 Mile Run

Friday, 8/5- 45:00 Medium-Resistance Elliptical

Saturday, 8/6– 14 Mile Run

Sunday, 8/7– One-Hour Total Body Conditioning Class

Monday, 8/8– 45:00 Medium-Resistance Elliptical

Tuesday, 8/9- 7 Mile Run

Wednesday, 8/10– 40:00 Low Resistance Elliptical

Thursday, 8/11– 15 Mile Run

I had to switch my long run from Saturday to Thursday this week because I’m going out of town and I’m not about to let marathon training get in my way of having a good time!  I did my run today so that I could enjoy myself both Friday and Saturday night this weekend (can I get a ‘wut wut’ for white wine?) and not have to worry about being hydrated and well-nourished andrested for a long run.  Win!

Also, here’s what I typically wear for a long run, in case you’re curious:

I’ve been doing a much better job of applying sunscreen before I go out (Mom, aren’t you happy?) and lately I’ve been adding an old Reebok hat that’s made of a water-wicking fabric (it’s not your typical baseball cap) to keep the sun off my face.  I make sure my shirt is technical (aka not cotton) and I love my Sugoi compression shorts (read-booty shorts!).  Although I’m obviously less than thrilled to show off my massive, muscly legs in this manner, when it comes to preventing chafing, these shorts are clutch (chafing is the worst.  THE.  WORST.)

Speaking of chafing, if things do start to rub together in an unpleasant manner, throw some Body Glide on the parts that hurt, I swear by the stuff!

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And finally, even though I wore a pair of technical socks, it wasn’t enough to prevent the dreaded blisters. Lucky you guys, I’m going to show a photo of my bloody sock so I can feel uber-hardcore (don’t look if you’re squeamish.) Yikes!

I also wear an iPod and use my Garmin Forerunner 305 (it’s the bomb-diggety!) but I’m going to talk about those guys in another post.

So that’s all for now, folks, I’m just gonna keep on keepin’ on with this whole marathon training stuff, I’m finally starting to feel excited by it all and not actually scared outta my mind!

 

 

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Once I got back from all my traveling (more recaps coming soon) and took a few days to recover, I looked at the calendar to count down the weeks until the Chicago Marathon.  As of July 23, there were 11 weeks until D-Day.  Oh crap! I was so far behind in marathon training, I was practically starting from scratch.

I unfortunately  did not run very much while in Europe.  I naively brought lots of work-out gear, genuinely believing I would manage to run the majority of days but the combination of wine, site-seeing and having too much fun basically killed that plan from the get-go.

According to my original training plan, I should’ve been running around 14 miles for my long run the Saturday after I came back.  Yeah,  ain’t no way, no how that was happening.

So I’ve been a bit frantically training, trying to catch up to where I should be.  After taking a few days of working out on the elliptical for 45-minute stretches to get my general cardiovascular abilities back, I started training for real on Monday, July 25.  Just for fun, here’s what my work-out schedule looked like:

Monday, July 25– 6 Mile Run

Tuesday, July 26- 45:00 Elliptical at medium resistance, 15:00 Strength Training

Wednesday, July 27- 8 Mile Run

Thursday, July 28- 55:00 Elliptical at medium to hard resistance

Friday, July 29- 12 Mile Run (Long Run for the week)

Saturday, July 30- 30:00 Elliptical (Recovery, very low resistance)

Sunday, July 31- 30:00 Elliptical at medium resistance, 15:00 Strength Training

That is an intense week of training, with far more running than I normally do but given my limited time to catch up, there just wasn’t any other option.  Luckily, I’m on summer vacation so I had plenty of time to do all this.  I’m going to shoot for 14 miles this coming Friday (8/5) and 16 miles the following Friday (8/12), which will finally put me back on schedule.

Bumping up my long runs by two miles rather than my usual one mile is a little bit intimidating but honestly, it’s only an extra 8-10 minutes (depending on how spent I am) so it shouldn’t be too terrible (HA. I say that now, we’ll see how I feel after it’s done!)

I’ve also been taking between one and three 1:00-walk breaks during my longer runs at evenly-spaced intervals (approximately every half hour or so.)  No shame, I think they’ve been helping, at least with my mental state.  I’ll probably continue these until I feel like my running stamina has truly returned.

With only 9.5 weeks until the Chicago Marathon, it is seriously go-time.  No more excuses, no more dragging, no more minimal whining, time to git ‘er done!

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I ran the More Fitness Magazine Half Marathon in Central Park yesterday! We had perfect (perfect, perfect, perfect!) weather and I ran it with my best friend since seventh grade, whom I corralled, cajoled and somehow convinced to run it with me.

It was her first half marathon and my fifth.  Since I may or may not have strong-armed her into signing up in the first place, I ran with her for the entire race at whatever pace she was comfortable with.

Congrats, Pip, on your first (and maybe last, haha) half marathon!

While I didn’t get a “good time” by race standards, I definitely had a good time by my standards (didja like what I did there with the pun?)

Our other best friend Cara (seriously, the three of us have been BFFs for.ev. er- Sandlot Style) came to cheer us on, as well as my dad, Pete and little Perri. It was so fun to have everyone yelling for us at the finish line, we felt like rock stars! Or track stars, I guess…

Heart you girls!

I also had six co-workers who ran the race and everyone finished and (I think) had a great time, which made the coach in me quite happy.  I really enjoyed leading training sessions over the past few months in order to get everyone ready for this race and I’m planning on doing it again next year! Go team!

We ran most the course at about a 9:45/mile pace which is significantly slower than what I would typically race at (for a half-marathon, I usually average between 6:30/mile and 7:30/mile, depending on what mile I’m at, ha!)

As much as I loved (LOVED) running with my friend and enjoyed the leisurely feel of the pace, there was a small part of me that missed the true adrenaline rush from racing my hardest and sorta longed for that dead-tired ache that comes from running your heart out.

Which is why I’ve decided to register for the Bronx Half Marathon in August and make the two months leading up to the race all about training, which means doing work-outs like mile repeats (ouch) and hard-core long runs.  Imma go balls to the wall because I want to see what I’m capable of!

So, to sum up: Half marathon yesterday, sore today and as always, had a blast.

Have you ever run a half-marathon? Would you consider it? I highly recommend!

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The animal below is a tapir…

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But in case you didn’t see through my corny pun, I’m going talk about tapering (but HOW perfect is that photo?!?)

Tapering (in the running world) is when the athlete lessens the distance they run each day as the race approaches.  The idea is to have your muscles be truly rested for the big event, thus maximizing performance.  In other words, we don’t want no “dead legs”!

I’m running a half-marathon on Sunday, so the past ten days or so have been “taper” days.  I ran my longest run (11 miles) about 2.5 weeks ago and since then, I’ve been gradually reducing my mileage, running 6 miles as my last “long run” just over one week beforehand.

Luckily, my spring break vacation (Ahhhh, one of the true joys of being a teacher- spring break!) coincided with my tapering week and we just happened to have a trip to Florida planned. While March in New York City is a cold, blustery wench, it was 85 degrees, sunny and (miraculously) not humid. Perfect running weather!

Here is my pre-race training, starting from 7 days out. Running in Florida was awesome.

Day 7- Run 1:00, Walk 1:00 for 30:00 total

Day 6- 15:00 Water Aerobics (in the pool, yeah!) and 20:00 Walk

Day 5- 4-Mile Run

Day 4- Rest

Day 3- Run 1:00, Walk 1:00 for 30:00 total (same as Day 7)

Day 2- 30:00 easy Elliptical

Day 1- 20:00 easy Jog

RACE DAY!

I’m very much looking forward to this race, probably because I have no goal time and plan on just enjoying myself.  It’s the first race I’ve ever run like that and I think it’s going to be fun.

Have you ever run a half-marathon? Do you taper before a race?

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I haven’t had a bad run in a while but man, yesterday’s kicked my arse! I set out with the intention of running 12 miles (my long run for the week, got two weeks until the More Half Marathon!) but only managed to complete 10.5 before my legs just quit on me completely.

Honestly, the entire thing was a mental battle that, while I did win, was fairly intense.  Usually in a long run, the first couple of miles go by quickly but on this one, I was wiped right from the get-go. My legs felt like they had 20-pound weights strapped on to them and I lacked the usual spring in my step. There were SO many times where I wanted to stop and walk but somehow, I managed to keep trudging along at a pace far below what is typical for me.

It probably didn’t help that it was 74 (!!!!!) degrees and sunny out, quite a departure from the typical 40-degree and raining weather I’ve been running in as of late. Plus, I forgot a hat and/or suntan lotion so I wound up with a wicked lobstah face and a funk leg tan. Oooooops (Don’t tell me mother, she’ll KILL me!)

The only thing that made this run less than a total disaster was that I didn’t poop my pants.  Yes, laugh, laugh all you want but it’s happened an embarrassing number of times.  It’s a runner thing.  Actually, that topic probably deserves it’s own post, stay tuned…

What’s frustrating is that I don’t really know why I felt so poorly during the run.  It would be understandable if I had done an intense work-out or weight lifting session the day or two before but I didn’t.  On Wednesday, I ran 4 miles easy with a co-worker and then on Thursday, I ran about 3 miles.  Neither of these should give me dead legs but I sure as sh*t had them on my run yesterday.

I used to get really upset when I had a bad run, one where I didn’t feel like I went fast enough or far enough but I think I’m finally at a point where it doesn’t bother me as much (OK, being honest, it still bothers me a little because I kept getting passed by other runners and I HATE THAT!) because I know that it’s not necessarily an indicator of how I’ll do come race day.

And even better? I’m not running this race aiming for a certain time (I’m leading a group of co-workers) so there’s zero pressure, which is really nice.  Although, truthfully, the only pressure there ever is is self-imposed but giving myself a break isn’t always the easiest thing to do.

Long story short: Bad runs happen.  It’s how we react to them that matters and in my case, I guess I’ve finally got enough running experience to shake it off.

Whoohoo, another level of maturity gained!

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go pick my nose and laugh at my farting dog because while I may have matured somewhat as a runner, in the rest of my life, I’m still five years old.

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No, I didn’t run in it, although several folks at work asked me if I did today (apparently my reputation precedes me!) I ran it in 2008 and while it was totally, totally awesome, I’ve got a lot more marathons on my list to get through before I start repeating myself.

Just for fun and nostalgia though, here’s a photos of me from the 2008 NYC Marathon:

HahahHA! Fooled you! (or didn’t I…) That’s actually Paula Radcliffe cruisin’ on by.  My thoughtful (then) boyfriend (now husband) took this shot in an effort to motivate me to um, catch up,  I suppose.  I should also mention that Paula managed to make us mere mortals feel even less worthy by winning the marathon after giving birth less than six months ago.  What a bad-ass!

Anyways, where was I? Oh right, a photo of moi from the race:

Ahhhh, good times, good times…Yeah right, that was at Mile 19 and all I wanted to do was stop.  RUNNING! But I put on a good show for the camera.

Also, I love that Pete is wearing his Miami Dolphin’s jersey.  Sure, his girlfriend’s running the marathon and he’s out there supporting her and all but let’s not get priorities out of wack (it was a Sunday, afterall…He may have even missed the game to watch me race, therefore bringing a new level of sacrifice to the relationship.)

Um, well, anyways, the point of my ramblings is that I went to go watch the 2010 NYC Marathon yesterday.  It was a perfect, late-fall day and we (by we I mean, my dog and I.  Pete was watching the Dolphin’s game.  I ain’t lyin’ about his dedication!) walked to Central Park and stood a mere 200 yards from the finish line.

Perri hates looking at the camera. Dumb dog.

The excitement and emotions were running high.  If you’ve never had a chance to watch a marathon, you really should (I know, it sounds boring, watching people just like, run and all, but it’s really fun!) and the finish line is the best part.

I’m a crier, so of course I shed a few tears watching the emotional victories of those who were about to be able to cross “running a marathon” off their bucket list or those who held the hand of their sister or husband while they finished the grueling event.

Oh geez, I’m tearing up right now just thinking about it.  I’m such a softie.

Look at all those people, all 45,344 of ’em. Crazy, right? And yet, within that surging mass, each runner that passed me by was an individual fighting for the right to be able to say (all nonchalantly, obvi) “Oh yeah, the New York City Marathon? I ran that.” Pretty awesome, I think.

I loved seeing runners from all over the country and the world.  I saw runners with signs on their shirts, runners running for a cause, runners walking, runners crying, runners cheering and most importantly, runners believing.

Because there are moments in a marathon where it’s genuinely hard to believe that you’ll ever finish.  It would be so easy to stop, pull out, say “This is too hard, I’m done with this.” But no, we believe.  The crowd believes and the runners believe that somehow, in someway, you will cross that sweet, sweet finish line and raise your hands in moral victory, overcome with the realization that you just ran a marathon!

Oh, it’s a glorious moment, indeed.  Probably why I keep torturing myself by continuing to run these damn races.  Finishing a marathon is a momentous occasion and the memories push me through all the tough training times.

To all you New York City marathoners out there, huge congratulations are in order.  YOU DID IT!

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