Monday, February 28, 2011

monday - 4 days and some change

5 days, or to get technical, 4 days and 20 hours. this morning i informed my spin class that today's class would be more moderate and wednesday even more so. surprisingly, i heard no complaints! we still had a good class and it really helped give my legs a bit of loosening up that they needed.
today, my mind is focused on my diet, keeping what i take in this week healthy, and the calories smart. i keep telling myself, you can let loose saturday and and maybe sunday! so, i know i can do it this week. for the last couple of months, i've been really dedicated to my diet. i have been keeping a log of what i eat as well as the approximate caloric intake. it's been difficult at times, but once i started seeing the positive results, it got much easier.
i think the key to any successful daily diet is allowing moderate splurges here and there, and the focus being moderate. we've all heard the phrase 'everything in moderation' and well, it's true. i couldn't have made the progress i have made without my moderate splurges. i allow one cheat meal a week and then back on track, which for me makes it much easier to get through the week. keep in mind my cheat meals are relative to what i did in training that day. an 18-20 mile run might allow a mugshots burger or a full breakfast with pancakes from cracker barrel. 10-14 miles might only allow a few chips or a few fries with a healthy sandwich or something sweet. i love to eat bad foods as much as anyone, but i've learned that there is no place for it in a lifestyle of training or exercising on a regular basis. plus, it's just not good for you.
ok, i'm stepping on my soap box. as i watch people go through daily activity, i've noticed that someone's diet is much like their exercise. i see folks in the gym just going through the motions - improper form, low intensity, and short sessions. i see folks at restaurants ordering a salad - fattening dressing, cheese, bacon, croutons, and bread on the side. just because you are on an exercise machine doesn't mean you are getting a quality exercise session and just because you order a salad doesn't mean it's healthy. and what i've learned over the years is just because you run doesn't mean you're fit. a very skinny friend of mine once told me, in an answer to my question of why was she was only on a 2.0 on the treadmill, "this feels much better and is easier." as i tell my spin class often, if it was easy, everyone would do it. that applies to anything in life that challenges you to grow - whether it be diet, exercise, education, or just in general daily life. ok, stepping off my soap box.
in a little while i'll go fix my turkey sandwich on whole grain bread and eat one serving of pretzels with it. and i'll love it, because it's marathon week. :)

Sunday, February 27, 2011

ready for a breakthrough?!

yesterday was the last long run - 10 miles - before race day. i ended the week today with a very easy 3 miler and a .75 mile walk. the good news, the run today felt better than pretty much all my sunday runs the day after a long run. sure i only ran 10 miles yesterday, and i kept the pace more conservative since i'm a week out, BUT it really does help the confidence. the bad part was it felt gross out - warm, humid, and extremely windy.

this week will be nothing more than to keep the legs in tune, but mostly i need to focus on my nutrition, hydration and avoiding anything silly to get myself injured. i don't want to gain anything beyond the normal taper weight gain, meaning more than a couple of pounds. and i certainly hope i don't gain that all in 1 week!

i will be traveling to albany with 3 really good friends, all great running friends. two i have known for years, one of them being a steady running buddy for the last 6 years and the other a true source of inspiration and motivation. and the other is a new running friend who has become a steady running partner and great friend. it will be great to ward off the jitters by having 3 of my favorite people with me. yesterday, one of these friends texted the rest of us saying in one week, we'll be celebrating 4 great races. i reminded her that i would need lots of help keeping calm and shaking off the nerves. she assured me she would and told me that i was ready and this was going to be a breakthrough race for me. she knows it's been 4 years since a PR and during these last 4 years i've had LOTS of ups and downs. i needed to hear that.
i'm really looking forward to the trip, not just for the race, but to get away with 3 good friends and share lots of laughs, but more importantly to share in the celebration. it will be good for me to share the trip, pre-race meals and routines with 3 other runners who i know and trust.. i can count on them to make me laugh and enjoy the moments. the best part is, we get to celebrate together. i love celebrating with runner friends. we can laugh at each other when we moan just from getting up or when we need help stepping off a curb. we won't laugh at each other when we eat everything in sight and look for more.

my favorite part of this trip, and i am so not kidding, is when i'll eat more than one of these!!!! hey, it is the SNICKERS marathon!!!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

tempo thursday - gonna miss it

8 days away and counting. counting fast it seems too. 11 1/2 weeks ago, terri and i started training, and boom, we are here!

11 1/2 weeks ago, we started out with 6 mile tempo runs and steadily increased to 10 miles. we have grown to love them, and we are excited to see the pay off of these runs. not only did our tempos become more aggressive, our tuesday speed work did as well. we started off doing some 800's, but added in 2 mile repeats, eventually doing 3x2 mile repeats. those we didn't grow to love quite as much, but i would say we had a lot of respect for them. i think we will reap the benefits of those runs too.

our tempo runs have been steadily growing in distance, but our paces stayed more conservative, needing to average to 9:15. most days, we took it a bit less conservative and ran them faster, but today, we stayed on track and finished up at a 9:12 average. terri and i usually start slow, on our long runs too, and gradually increase speed, so our last few miles are always really great - usually well under 9. today we still finished faster, but we didn't get too out of control. we didn't want to risk anything being only 8 days away. we went home feeling satisfied that we did well.

there is something extremely satisfying about waking up at 4:30, running 10 miles of tempo, then going to work. it's invigorating to have a quality workout under your belt before most people head to the shower. i feel like that old army slogan that said, "we do more before 9 a.m. than most people do all day."

i will miss tempo thursday for the next few weeks, but i know it will be back. saturday is our last "long run" of 10 miles and tuesday we'll have a little more speed work, and then it's pretty much go time. the tempos are done, long runs are done and its time to go put it all to the test. after the recovery time, i will be back.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

taper time - am i ready?

this is about when the pre-marathon jitter begin to set in, but i'm usually pretty excited about the taper. this time, the jitters are starting to set in, but i am not that excited about being in the taper. could this be a change in me? does it mean i'm now more confident in my running? not sure about that just yet...

i usually taper for 3 weeks, but this go round i was on a 12 week training schedule. i did two 18 mile runs and one 20 mile run, which is a bit different for me. i think i might like it better. in 10 days, we'll see how it much of a difference it makes in the run. this training has already gone better than my last. for one, i started out with no breathing issues thanks to my inhaler. second, it's MUCH cooler! and third, i started off on the right foot with an agressive schedule.

this morning, the question was asked, "what is your race plan?" now that i am pretty much done with training, what is my plan for race day and my goal finish time. scary question, but one i should start considering. my answer was this, to go out a bit slower, and slowly pick it up. yes, that's ideal, and doesn't always work, but in ALL of my training runs, that is exactly what i did. my first goal is to reciprocate that on race day. second, my goal pace is average 9:20 to 9:30. my goal finish time is 4:05 to 4:15. given the fitness condition i am in now, a 4:05 would be great, and a 1 minute PR. 4:15 would be great also as it is a step forward after a few years of digressing.

my answer was well received by my runner friend who made my schedule, and i value his opinion. so, there is my plan. now the question is, am i ready? yes, i think so!

Monday, February 21, 2011

back to blogging

in november i vowed a return to blogging. you see it's the end of february, and my return wasn't successful. that's what school will do to you. i'm in my second semester of graduate school, and i'm finding it a bit more challenging mostly because of the professors. they aren't as organized as i'd prefer and it's causing me some stress. the good news, i'm adjusted to juggling the load of school, work and training. that doesn't mean i love it though.

since i last wrote, i not only ended my first semester of grad school with a 4.0, celebrated christmas and turned 38, but i also started training for another marathon, which is in 12 days. 3 friends (one being Happy Feet 26.2) and i will be driving to albany, georgia for the snickers marathon. i'm excited about this trip for several reasons. my last few marathons i have traveled to alone (even though i met friends, the travel part was lonely and left me more anxious about the race) so i'm really looking forward to a girls road trip made up all of runners! another reason is i plan to eat a HUGE snickers bar as soon as i feel like it at the finish of the race, and maybe more than one. and another reason is i'm hoping to turn a corner in my training. the last few years have been difficult for me for many reasons, and my training hasn't escaped the effects of these reasons. i'm not blaming circumstances, but i am admitting that i haven't cared about my training whatsover. i'm returning to my old self and i'm ready to get going with some serious work! last week, i met with a fellow runner here in hattiesburg, PowerMultisport who i wil most likely enlist with coaching me, ultimately to get to boston. i'm excited about this opportunity and the possibilities than can lie ahead. now that boston has tightened the grip on their race, qualifying can prove to be a bit more difficult so i need all the assistance i can receive!

also since my last post, i have run a few races. i started the new year off with a 12k here in town, then the next weekend, with a half marathon in mobile, al. even though i'm not running my fastest, i 'raced' the 12k, but the half was a training run with my good friend and running partner terri. since that half, the training intensity for the marathon picked up following a schedule another local runner created for me. this schedule is very aggressive, and terri and i can say we have run it well. we hit our long runs under pace most of the time and had a few really strong, fast weekends. our speed work was either 800's or 2 mile repeats with a tempo following two days later. the mileage for the speed and tempos reached 10 miles. we loved it!

one week ago, the crew headed to new orleans to run the mardi gras half marathon. this is a big marathon now that it is on the rock n roll circuit, and i honestly don't love it as much as before. this was my first marathon and home to a PR at one time. this year, while running the half, it is home to my first major fall in a race. terrible road plus heavy legs equals falling. i fell hard and fast. i sat in the road, stunned, and two really nice runners helped me up and off to the side. a race photographer kindly came to my assistance alertng a NOPD officer. i was just about to faint, i'm guessing from the pain, and the photographer helped me lay down and covered me up with my long sleeve shirt i had tied around me waist. the police officer called the paramedics, and the next thing i know, i am being helped onto a stretcher and carted across the street to the cheers of the marathoners. once inside, they sort of cleaned me up, although not very well (i spent the next few days cleaning dirt and tiny bits of gravel out of my left hand and left knee). i was informed they could not take me to the finish area, where my friends were waiting, so they drove me a couple of blocks to an aid station, where a shuttle driver KINDLY took me to the finish. i was so happy to reunite with my friends, and celebrate their PR's. terri snapped this photo of me at the finish. we had a great time, and even though i fell at 11.4 miles and was unable to finish, i am happy with my effort until then. the goal wasn't 13.1 in new orleans, it is 26.2 in albany. i'm lucky to have no broken bones or torn anything. my cuts and bruises are healing nicely, and i haven't had to miss a training run following the accident. it makes for a great story and a great facebook profile pic!

school work won't be letting up, but my training has as i am now tapering. hopefully despite the busyness of life, i can get back to regular blogging.