Saturday, July 30, 2011

the few, the proud, the marathon runners of summer

that's what i told my coach today in an email. each weekend, my running partner and i see the same runners sweating it out logging long runs, working toward a marathon. we are out early, before the sun comes up, trying to avoid as much of the heat as possible. we are dripping with sweat. we stink. we are hot. we are tired. but we do it each week, earning a spot in a club few want to join. we are the ones who train for a marathon during the summer.

i am 5 weeks away from my 12th marathon. terri w., ginny d. and myself will be running 26.2 in tupelo on september 4. it will be early, hot and hilly. while running on these hot, humid mornings where the temperature is 80 at 5 a.m., and the heat index is pushing
90 some mornings, i wonder, why in the heck i am doing this. it's hard, and pretty much every morning i hate getting up at 4:30, but for some crazy reason i enjoy it. why? because i am a mileage junkie (sounds like there should be group therapy for this or something). training for this marathon over the summer has been tough, but it's bringing me to a new level of endurance. i am able to run 40 + mile a week and run it fairly well. it's teaching me how to train in tough conditions, while building mental strength and conditioning. i am pretty much running this crazy marathon partly to say i did it. to run one in the hottest months in the south and survive. the image to the right is the race logo. i hear it is ranked one of the top shirts and medals in the U.S., and i want one! you can't get one unless you finish though. and finish i will do!

i will be recovering this week after two weeks of some hefty mileage building. i have two more intensive weeks of training after the recovery week where i'll hit 46 and 50 miles respectively. i'm excited! i've never done 50 miles in one week that i know of, maybe 45. i told my coach that i'm either sick or ginny d! ginny won't mind me saying that cause she's a bigger mileage junkie than i am so it is meant as a compliment!

i really do hate the summer months for training, but we must keep going. but come september 4, i will be looking for my tie-dyed shirt, my skull and cross bones finisher medal and fall weather! one of those i might have to wait for a little bit longer.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Blood, Sweat, and Tears - almost literally!

As I've mentioned before, I am working with a running coach. And as I've mentioned before it's going super well. I'm loving it, and I am finding it very beneficial to me on top of my training. He manages my schedule for me on a weekly basis, based on my reports of how I feel following a workout or other circumstances. After each run, I upload my Garmin report to Garmin Connect and send him a detailed email of my run, including everything from how I felt to how much I sweated. He provides trainng feedback, congratuatlions when it goes well and encouragement and support when it doesn't. Like i said, it's working. The text below is from my email I sent him this morning. I began it with a note to get a cup of coffee and a snack, cause it was a story.

Let’s do the run portion of this post first. But before I get into my email to him, let me go back to Tuesday. On a scale of 1 to 10, Tuesday's run was a 10. My schedule was a 10 mile run at marathon pace plus 30 seconds. The run was dead on. I was kicking butt and taking names! Ok, now on to the email. Today's schedule was 12 at the same pace, and it was tougher than Tuesday. I was feeling some fatigue and not very fluid. After a couple of miles, I did loosen up and started feeling better. I was able to get on pace and managed it fairly well. We were going to run 7 then Chris was going to come for the last 5. We held the pace steady and huffed and puffed our way back to the car. We made the turn to go toward where we had parked, and Terri asked, what’s our mileage? I looked down, the Garmin was blank. I think it might have died for good this time. I knew where we were so we kept going and finished the first 7. I don’t feel like we slipped off our pace any. Chris had his Garmin for the second half, and we ended up pretty well on pace the last 5, On a scale of 1-10, I was at a 10 on Tuesday, easily, but today was probably a 6. It wasn’t an easy run, but I’m proud of my perseverance.

Let me add that my Garmin has been dying for weeks, maybe months. It's been doing some strange things, so this was not a surprise, and really almost funny. Terri and I joked that we should have a service for it because it has been with me a long time. It's been a good Garmin. So, I'll be making a new investment probably today. Garmin update: looks like it still might have a life, or two if I am hopeful. It's on and has power. CPR might have worked!

Anyway, back to the story.

Now the fun part of the run. First, we thought we were being stalked in the first 2 miles, but luckily it turned out we weren’t. It’s creepy when a car approaches you slowly, passes you and the turns around. I told Terri if he pulls up next to us and stops, we are running into the highway. Turns out he was looking for a house, cause he parked, got out and went in. Not to mention, there was a creepy old guy on a bike at 5 a.m. too. And he was not a cyclist. So, we meet Chris later, and probably 2 miles from being done, so we are at a very tired 10 miles. It’s daylight at this point, and we are easily visible. A car is coming toward us, and Chris was moving over to where we were pretty much single file on the edge of the street. This guy was not moving over though. As we protested his complete ignorance of us being there, he was motioning for us to move. He came within inches of hitting Chris. I think I yelled something, probably ugly, and we all stop, amazed, and look back at him. And he is turning around! I immediately got mad. It’s funny how when I’m angry I am not afraid at all! So he pulls up next to us and for about 3 -5 minutes, yells at us for being wrong. Says we should go run in a park. He was not going to cross the double yellow lines, etc. I did not stand there and take it. I yelled back, and a lot. I’m ashamed at how I acted, really, but I was SO mad at the ignorance of this man and his complete disregard for human safety and how willing he was to hit one of us to avoid crossing the double yellow line. No wonder Mississippi is the fattest state. I don’t know if I’ve ever been as mad as I was this morning, but I was beyond. I called him some names, and told him to go, to mind his own business and leave us. He drove along beside us for about a block or so. I realized my yelling was doing no good. I shouldn’t have even started, but when my life and my friend’s lives are in danger because of his stupidity, I got fired up. About a half mile or mile later, I had to stop and walk because my blood pressure was sky high and it was making me feel bad. My quick burst of adrenaline had just as quickly left me. I’m still mad and embarrassed by my behavior, mostly because I stooped to his level. But that’s how runners and cyclists get killed – because someone wants to prove their point on the road and not move.

I have apologized to Chris and Terri for my behavior, and thought long and hard about how I reacted, but it still doesn't take away that runners and cyclists are easy targets for those out there who don't see it as important to give us a small piece of the road. In their eyes, we are wrong. Not only should I have not acted how I did because it wasn't going to solve anything, I shouldn't have acted that way because he could have reacted differently himself. So, lesson learned, you can't fix stupid. Next time, I'll do my best to keep moving and pick my battles.

So, a good, hard fought, 12 mile run today. 28 miles of 42 completed for this week. Up next, 14 with friends! I will be avoiding traffic on Saturday also.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

good for the soul

recovery week has once again found it's way to me. and it's almost over. fortunately i get to look forward to a relaxing recovery week after two weeks of mileage building. let me say again, i don't dislike the mileage build weeks, but everyone needs a rest. and i always enjoy my rest.

there is something exhilarating, while difficult, about the high miles and the long run. high mileage weeks challenge the body and the mind. you really start to test your limits, especially in this heat, and i love it. the testing, not the heat. so far, i have reached about 40 miles, and with 7 weeks to go til tupelo (i think 7), i will climb a little higher. my training for tupelo is mostly about building mileage while maintaining a base speed. the heat has simply been too much to force tempos and speed sessions that will just leave me frustrated and overly fatigued. sadly we still have a long ways to go before summer will end, however, i'm happily managing in the heat. i'm nailing paces on my long runs and finally hitting the slightly quicker paces during my weekday runs which are now between 8 and 12 miles.

tupelo looms like a giant something, not sure what. but i'm feeling more and more confident as the summer rolls along that it will go well. well, being as well as can be expected in the mississippi summer. my goal is not for time, but to finish standing up. or maybe it should be to finish! houston follows tupelo by about 4 months. i have slightly bigger goals for that one, but i will save that for another day.

after last week's rolled ankle, but still very successful 16 miler, i came into recovery week a little tired but happy. the week started slowly, my body still feeling the last two weeks, but just like it's supposed to, i started feeling better as the week went along. my legs woke up, my body felt better and now i'm ready for the next two weeks. recovery weeks are like little rewards for the hard work. they are good for the legs. the body. the mind. but really good for my soul! just like that, i'm ready to work hard again next week. bring it!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

81 degrees

that's how warm it was at 5 a.m. this morning. not the kind of air you want as you start a 16 mile run. armed with gu's and chomps, we set out. after the first mile, we were on pace. as i told coach, that wasn't planned. i was going to ease into the pace. i have been letting the pace come to me on these longer runs and today, it appeared at mile 2.

we stopped for water and nutrition at jackson road, and terri had dropped some G2 at clyde so we had a little extra once we got there. we had decided to go out about a half mile past the turnaround so we could have some recovery time at the end of the run. so we hit clyde depot twice. we took our time at the water stops to make sure we had all the hydration and nutrition we needed since it was warm.

heading back from clyde on our way to jackson road, terri spotted a snake. i was oblivious. we waited for it to pass, while i snuck a closer look at it. to me, a snake is a snake. all are scary. my favorite part of the run was not the snake, but terri's high stepping moves once the snake passed. she was NOT going to be caught near the ground in case this snake had a friend behind him. i lost it laughing at her. if you aren't sure what a high step is, refer to the photo to the right.
once back at jackson road, because we went out a bit further, we had only 3 miles left. all we needed to do was stay on pace and finish it. the miles really clicked by quickly, and before we knew it, we were in our last mile. we were steady and strong. perhaps because we had planned a little treat at the end of our run, and we were running toward it. a big reason we decided to go out a bit further was to hit up the sonic on 4th street for a powerade slush. we have come to love these in the summers after long runs. it's a reward and an enjoyable way to replenish electrolytes. we eased up the hill to 4th, got our slush, and enjoyed a nice mile walk.

another successful week is wrapping up. i will wake up in the morning for a recovery run, unless my ankle that i rolled on thursday is feeling a bit sore and painful. it's healing, but after today's 16, i don't want to take any risks tomorrow. it's a faint shade of purple (i'm not a bruiser), but the swelling has gone down a good bit since yesterday. it is most painful in the high ankle area, and mostly when i rotate it. otherwise, it's ok and will be better quickly i believe. i'm clumsy i guess!

next week's schedule includes two works i'm growing to love - recovery week. me loving recovery week doesn't mean i don't love the hard training weeks. it just means i'm ready for a rest. training weeks are intense, challenging and exciting. recovery weeks are restful, easy and pleasant. both weeks have their place.

and by the way, i ate $24 worth of outback tonight. most of it was healthy. :)

Thursday, July 7, 2011

it is just 10 miles...

40 miles - that was my total for last week. what a great week it was. every run was nailed. every run had a purpose. and every run was good. i had a lot of confidence and extra motivation coming into this week, and i was ready.

i enjoyed the 4th on monday with minimal activity. i took it easy, enjoyed the pool and my family and got some extra rest. tuesday's run was a 10 miler, and i attempted to head to bed early so i could be rested for the 4:30 wake up. i slept horribly, and i felt really weird when i woke up. i felt weak, a bit nauseated and my head was very fuzzy. i shrugged it off as being the morning blahs, and got ready to run. i met up with terri, and we headed out. i knew immediately it wasn't there. there would be no forcing it or easing into it either. i figured i'd forget the planned pace and just do the distance. after about 2 miles, i was quick to learn i couldn't even do that. that course is two five mile loops, and after 3 walk breaks in those first miles, i knew that was all i had. I had no issues calling it a day. i went on to work, but i felt pretty crappy all day. battled some stomach issues and just felt yuck.

i really thought i'd crash that night, but no, another sleepless night. i felt better when i got out of bed on wednesday though and enjoyed a great spin class. i even had my yearly evaluation. so i figured wednesday night i'd crash after two rough nights. no again! but poor sleep doesn't really affect my running, so i felt ok when i woke up this morning. once terri, vicki and i got loose in the first few miles, the run was right on point. nailed it. but....we stopped for water just before mile 3 at the track. after a lap around, when leaving the track, i stepped on a big rock, really more of a piece of concrete, and rolled my ankle. i didn't fall (shocking), but i was in pain. i walked it off, caught my breath, and realized i could go on. the thing with a rolled ankle is when i'm running it doesn't hurt, but rotating it sideways and around KILLS it. i have a nice big egg on the side of my ankle and it's a bit blue. however it's nothing major or severe, and i'll be fine.

definitely some ups and downs this week, but i came through on top. see, i've learned that ups and downs are inevitable and really shouldn't be a big deal. it's how you deal with them that makes the biggest difference and can be a big deal if you let it. in years past, i have been bothered by days like tuesday, but you have to realize that there will be days when you're sick, the weather is bad or you just don't have it. you have to put it behind you and move forward. you have to realize that one run doesn't make or break your training. that's exactly what i did. i put it behind me, and tackled today's run with no problems. i mean, it was just 10 miles....