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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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Word on the street is that it’s spring  but yesterday I spent four hours outside in rain, wind and 47-degree weather (yay track and field) so I’m not entirely convinced…

Anyways, in honor of spring, first, my favorite color combo- blue and yellow!

Aren’t those Ranunculuses (Ranunculi? What?) so, so delicious?

And second, running.  Specifically outside.

My girl Terri at TryAnythingOnce was looking for some advice on transitioning from running on the treadmill to running outside.  I’ll be honest, I rarely use it anymore but I used to be a treadmill beast back in graduate school, so I’m drawing from then…

I think that it’s important to ease back into running outside, rather than hit the pavement running (HA!).  I am a huge fan of run-walking, so throwing a few 3:00-run/1:00-walk sessions outdoors can help get your running legs back.

Don’t forget, the treadmill is a bit easier than running outside, simply because it pushes you along. There’s less fighting against gravity, so it makes sense that going from the treadmill to the streets might be a tough transition.

Another idea for making the transition to running outdoors is to increase your typical speed on the treadmill- basically, making it *that* much harder and, by comparison, running outside *that* much easier…

For me, running outdoors is one of the perks to being a runner and now that it’s finally getting nice out there, I’m enjoying the lack of layers and warm (ish) temperatures during my runs.

Which do you prefer, the treadmill or outdoor running? Have you had any trouble transitioning from the treadmill to outside?

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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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I know, the title sounds like an oxymoron (*snicker, that word is so silly) but yesterday, Pete, Perri and I roused ourselves at an ungodly hour of the morning (especially for a Sunday!) and trekked out to Central Park, where I ran a 4-mile race on a gorgeous (albeit chilly) fall morning.

I organized my school’s participation in the races, as well, and it was so fun to see so many of my students out there running.  As a PE teacher, I firmly believe in the power of physical activity for children and am dismayed at the increasingly sedentary childhoods being shoved on our kids…

Whoops, sorry, got caught up on my soapbox…*steps off.  Anyways, the point being that it was personally awesome to witness everyone’s face glowing with both exertion and excitement.  Plus, one of my second grade girls won her division.  What’s up, PE teacher extraordinaire? (Yeah, I know she’s 8, I never said I wasn’t a competitive one!)

It was also totally gratifying when another second grader told me today that she “can’t wait for the spring race, because that was the best thing ever.” And the cherry on the top? Two of my Kindergarteners brought in their participant ribbons for show-and-tell.

As a teacher, these are moments where you realize that you are somehow making a difference in these children’s lives…*tear!

Well, huh, look at this, what started off as a recap of my race turned into a philosophical moment about my chosen profession.  Didn’t see that one coming but I’ll take it (and hopefully I didn’t bore you silly.)

I ran the 4-mile race in 27:36 (averaging just under 7:00 min/mile,) which I was happy with since I didn’t train for this race and expected to run it much slower (maybe 9:30 min/mile?) but I couldn’t find any of the other parents before the race, so I was on my own.

I can’t say enough about how fun road races are.  I highly, highly, highly recommend that you sign up for one.  Not only will it motivate you to actually get out and run but it will also be a great experience that will leave you wanting more (I don’t mean to sound cliche but in this case, it’s totally true!)

So have any of you guys run a road race, like a 5k or 10k? What did you think? Anyone doing a Turkey Trot?

 

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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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I know what you’re thinking.  You’re thinking “Gee, isn’t this a running blog? And yet there’s been exactly three posts thus far and all are entirely devoid of actual running!’ (Or maybe you’re like me and you’re thinking about how to get your grubby little hands on more Halloween candy…)

Well, here’s a quick li’l running post for you all (all meaning the um, four friends I”ve told about this blog so far, ha…) Anyways, with this four-mile race coming up in a few weeks, I thought it would be appropriate to run four miles.

The only problem was, I had an awesomely delicious Vietnamese sweet and sour udon noodle soup for lunch and didn’t quite give myself enough time to digest.  After about 3.5 miles, I had to add a few minutes of walking in between a few minutes of running for my poor tummy.

I don’t mind taking a walk break every now and then when I’m running.  It really doesn’t change anything.  Sure, I might burn about 3 less calories but that’s not why I run.

And I still did the four miles in about 32 minutes, including the two minutes total that I walked. That comes out to a 7:30 per mile pace, which is a little quicker than normal but not too far off the spectrum (I’d say my average pace is between 7:45-8:00 per mile.)

I think half the reason I ran a bit faster was because I knew I’d be telling you guys about it.   See? Motivation increase already! I knew this blog was good for something (besides being a general time waster.)

Anyways, it was a good day.  The air was completely clear, the sun was shining and I ran four miles.  Doesn’t get much better than that.

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If you’re reading this, that means you somehow managed to find this blog before I’ve actually started it.  I’ll get there soon, I promise.  But a quick blurb about what it will be to hopefully entice you to return once I’m actually posting…

Running keeps me sane and healthy.  I’ve run 3 full marathons and 5 half-marathons and I’m planning to up both of those numbers in 2011.  I’ll discuss every and all things running and perhaps dabble in the worlds of fitness and health (or my lack, thereof.) Plus, a few other odds and ends, should I feel so inclined…

Hope to see you around again soon!

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