Monday, October 19, 2009

I AM A MARATHONER! feels great to say that. It's hard to believe it's all over. All those months of training, and anticipation, and it's over in a matter of hours.

It was great day, and perfect for running. It started out cool. It was only 33 degrees at the start of the race. I was really concerned about how to dress for this, because I really haven't run in cold temps yet. All my training started in June, so it was never really cool. I wore some old sweatpants and sweatshirt just to keep warm while we hung out before the race got started. Thank goodness I did that. It was REALLY cold. We went inside one of the downtown buildings to stay warm for about 15 minutes before the race started, and that helped, but it was really chilly.

We started near the back of the pack. We weren't all the way back, but probably back further than we should have been because it we were weaving in and out of walkers for the first mile. It took us 18 minutes to even GET to the starting line! But in all reality, it didn't matter, since our time started getting clocked once we crossed the start line.

It was Kathy, Jeff and I running the first half together. Jeff was running the half marathon, and would turn off at the 13 mile mark towards the finish line. The first half of the race was great. All the excitement and all the people really made it so much fun. I loved having the music every half mile or so. We kept a pretty good pace for the first half. My goal was to have us maintain a 5 mile in an hour pace throughout, and we were just short of that in the first half. Jeff has some issues with shin splints, so that was kind of holding us back a little.

After Jeff took off near the finish line, Kathy and I moved on. We ran up high street, through the short north, towards campus. I was really surprised by the sudden drop off in support at that point. Really, hardly anyone around. At the same time, it was a cold sunday morning, so I don't blame people for not being out! I was most surprised going down 15th avenue on campus, which is fraternity and sorority row, and there was not a sole supporter out there! Definitely not like you hear about in the Boston marathon!

Things were going well until about the 19 mile mark. For some reason, I just really started to struggle at that point. I think part of it was that I needed my inhaler, and thank god I brought it along. I ended up using it twice in the second half of the run and both times it seemed to help pull me through. But at the 19 mile mark, I couldn't tell if the problem was my breathing, or if I needed more fuel. Hard to tell. I didn't feel like I had hit a "wall", but I was just struggling. But by mile 22 I seemed to pull through it okay. But for whatever reason, miles 19-21 were really tough for me, even tougher than the last couple miles. We still ran, but our walk breaks were longer.

I really enjoyed the run down Neil Avenue in Victorian Village. It was just really pretty. I love the houses there, and it was nice to run through my old stomping grounds, since I lived down there for 5.5 years. We passed an older runner who was basically be carried by a spectator. Their picture was in the local paper today. The runner was a 75 year old chaplain from a nearby air force base, and he collapsed in the last 5 miles. That spectator was there to cheer someone else on, but he carried that 75 year old the last 5 miles across the finish line! I'm telling you, those are the things that just make me love this sport. I feel like running brings out the best in people.

As we approached the finish line, I began getting chills. It was hard to believe it was all coming to an end. All those months of training, all those long runs on the weekends, etc. It was an incredible feeling. Kathy grabbed my hand as we started down the stretch to the finish line. What an awesome feeling! It was the best! And in spite of all the nutritious food they had available at the end, the first thing I ate was a krispy kreme donut! I figured this was the one time I really didn't need to have any guilt about eating one! lol!

We didn't stay long after the marathon. There wasn't really a reason to, as the activities were winding down at that point, and there was really nobody around to celebrate with that we knew. I really wanted to get home to get in an ice bath too.

Once home, I took my ice bath, and then laid down in bed for about 1.5 hours. The longer I laid there, the more sore I was feeling. I couldn't sleep, but remember laying in bed thinking "i'm so sore...I should be in the hospital where someone can care for me". LOL! That should give you an idea of how sore I really was feeling (and maybe how mentally drained I was feeling too!). I think part of the problem was that I couldn't eat. I was so exhausted that the thought of eating made me feel sick. Once I was finally able to eat, I started to feel much better.

I managed to get up at my usual 5 a.m. wake up time and make it into work. I worry about tomorrow, because typically I'm more sore two days after a long run than the day after. We'll see how it goes. My quads and inner thighs are still very sore (thank goodness for handicap stalls in the bathrooms!). I'm taking ibuprofin right on schedule through tomorrow, to keep the muscle soreness at bay. But I know I'll be fine.

Several people have asked me if I'll do another full. Kathy and I were discussing our next full marathon at mile 25, so that's a good thing. Of course, today, I'm not feeling quite so confident! I know that the half marathons are great. They are challenging (although seem easy at this particular moment in comparison to what I just did), but the halfs are just the right length I think.

I totally do not want to stop running. I get something from running that I've never gotten from any other type of exercise that I've done. I can't even really explain it, but it helps me in many ways. I feel like I can think better, relieve stress unlike any other type of exercise allows me to do, I sleep better, and I feel like I really accomplish something when I finish a run.

The only thing I need to work on is not being disappointed in my running speed. I will never win a race, and will never be fast. Our marathon time was 5:27:57, which I'm THRILLED with. But when I look at the stats, I see how close I was to finishing so far behind thousands of others, and how slow in my age group, division, etc. I need to work on that, because I really DID run a marathon, and that is quite an accomplishment in and of itself.

Running this marathon has proven to me that if I set a goal, and follow a reasonable plan to achieve that goal, that I certainly can do it. I suppose you can say that it really put some faith into myself that I really can achieve something if I really set my mind to it, and work hard for it.

So where do I go from here? I'm moving into maintenance mode with the running. My plan is to run 4 miles twice a week during the week, and on the weekends maybe do a 6 mile run or so. I need to shift my focus to strength training three times a week. I've only gained a pound or two since training for this marathon, but I'm up a half to a full size in my clothes. I need to shed the fat, and back off of the carbs now. I decided that I need to attack my desire to lose weight/inches with the same dedication that I put forth in training for the marathon. So that is my plan for the next couple of months.

Kathy and I are looking at the various schedules for fulls and half marathons for the spring, and will probably pick something to work towards. I need to have races as goals, because they are just great ways for me to stick to a plan and stay motivated. I think training for a half would be best for the spring. We'll see. Kathy and I also talked about getting involved in our running group and seeing if we can rope more people into training to run halfs or fulls, people who have not run before. We'll see how that goes. Maybe we'll talk to the running group coordinators about it at the post race party that is next week.

And last but not least, I just have to say how much I love my husband! He's been the greatest throughout all this training, and has been so supportive. On top of it all, because Kathy had conflicts for two of the half marathons during our training that we had signed up for, Jeff jumped in and took her place so I didn't have to go it alone. He walked the first one and ended up with horrible blisters, and couldn't walk for a week. He ran the second one, and did GREAT! Since then, he has continued running, and he ran the first half of the marathon with Kathy and I. I'm just so proud of him for getting into this with me. And although his reasons for running differ from mine, I love having him beside me doing something that I love to do. He'll never read this blog, but I just have to say how wonderful of a husband he is. I'm really, really blessed.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The Training is Complete

Last night I ran the final run that is in my training program for the marathon. It was a 3 mile run. And honestly, it went GREAT. I ran after work, outside. The temp was around 53 or so, and I wore shorts and a short sleeve shirt which was perfect for the temps. My time was good too. I ran the three miles in 31 minutes and 20 some seconds.

I'm getting a little nervous now for the race. It's not bad nervous though. It's more about the unknown. I have some things that I'm trying to do to get ready. I need to go buy a cheap pair of gloves to wear during the race that I can pitch when it warms up. I might also grab a cheap sweatshirt or something to throw off to keep me warm early on. Moreso for pre-race. I know I'll be plenty warm once I get through the first two miles.

I've already started hydrating really well, which is probably why my run was so good yesterday. I drank a ton of water. I'm trying to increase my carb intake this week too.

I'm taking some time off on friday and will go down to the convention center with Jeff and the boys to pick up my race packet. The nice thing is that the running group I'm training with has their own booth and they've picked up all our packets for us, so we just need to find their booth. I don't think the lines should be too long anyway on friday afternoon.

So, my goal right now is simply to remain healthy. Alex is home with the H1N1 virus. He's on the recovery side now though, and by last night, had a great improvement. Zach is also home sick, with a terrible croupy cough. Neither are going to school today. Thank goodness Jeff can be home with them, although he also needs to stay healthy for Sunday, since he's running the half!
I'm SO proud of him. This is his third half marathon in the last three months! Who would have thought? NOT HIM! lol!

Don't know if I'll post again until after the marathon. Wish me luck!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Wednesday October 7th - 5 mile run

I did my five mile run last night after work. I just ran it inside because it was so windy outside, and I didn't want to fight the breeze. It was a good run. These taper weeks are mentally tough. Although it was a good run, it felt long. I started thinking to myself "geez, how in the world will I be able to run 26.2 miles when this five mile run feels SO long?". But I know its all mental. I mean, just two weeks ago I ran 20 miles with no problem. I'm going to guess that the taper next week will be even tougher.
Our long run this week is 11 miles. We're doing this one with the training group on saturday morning. We've missed the last several because of the 20 mile race, and also because we had other things going on during the weekend so Kathy and I moved our long runs to friday afternoon. It will be nice to do one last long run with the group before the marathon.
At this point, I'm now starting to hope and pray for good weather that morning of the marathon. I know I'll still do fine even if its nice, but it sure would be great to have "perfect" weather!
I really can't believe this is the home stretch. All I have left to do is the 11 mile run on saturday, a five mile run on monday, and a 3 mile run later next week. Then the marathon. Wow. I really can't believe the time is here now for this. I know I can do it. But I'm still feeling some nerves. It's strange though...the nerves didn't set in until today. And I don't even know what I'm nervous about!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Only two more weeks

Did our weekly long run yesterday with Kathy. We lucked out and the rain stopped about an hour before we met up. it actually ended up being a pretty nice afternoon for the the mid 60's, slight breeze, etc. But boy, Kathy and I were both saying we can really tell the difference between running first thing in the morning after a good night of sleep, and running in the afternoon after a long day/week at work. We just don't feel as strong. Anyhow, we were scheduled for 16 miles, but we stopped at 14.25. I honestly think that we weren't fully recovered from running the 20 miles on sunday. But it wasn't bad. But it just seemed really LONG, and our pace was much slower than it was for our 20 miles on sunday. Of course, the 20 mile run was a race too, so maybe that made a difference. But whatever. I don't feel bad. We're in our taper now anyway.
I also didn't take an ice bath yesterday after the run. I just didn't feel like it, and didn't feel like I would be so sore that I really would need it. And I felt perfectly fine this morning. So that was kind of nice. Still having some issues with my two toenails. It appears that I really have some blisters UNDER the nail. That sure is what it looks like. I'm SURE its from running in the wet socks and shoes when we did the 20 miles. I'm sure I'll lose those toenails too. Its not pretty!
So next week looks really good to me. I have a five mile run, a six mile run, and an 11 mile for our long run. I'm doing the five or six mile run tomorrow. I'm just going to run in the neighborhood, something that I've not done in a long time, and I'm actually really looking forward to it. I "could" run the rail trail, but I think I might just do the hood. I'll see what kind of mood I'm in. The only nice thing about the trail is that I don't have to worry about traffic at all.
I really cannot believe the marathon is only two weeks away. I was telling Kathy that I hear all the time about how you should "enjoy the journey", and not just focus on the destination. I can honestly say that I truly have loved the journey. In fact, I told Kathy that I've really enjoyed the journey SO much that I fear that I'll be disappointed at the destination! I have read about post marathon depression, and fear that I will quickly fall into that. I love training for "events". I have finally found what it is that keeps me going and its events. I love having an event to work towards, and to have a plan all laid out for me, so all i have to do is follow it, and it requires little "thinking" on my part.
Kathy and I talked about our plans after the marathon. We both really want to focus on weightloss and strength training. Starting the week after the marathon, I'm back to ST three times a week. Running will go on the back burner but I'm still going to do it for cardio. I'll probably run 2-3 days a week. And the diet is getting hit hard, with the same intensity in which I put forth in my marathon training. I'm frustrated at having have gone up a size in clothes. WTH? Since I started the marathon training in June, I'm up 1.5 lbs. Not much eh? That would be FINE if I haven't ALSO gone up an entire size. I'm confused how that has happened. Seems as if I were building some muscle in my legs and butt from all the running that I would be LOSING or getting smaller in those areas. My only explanation is that I'm also gaining fat? But then, the scale has only increased 1.5 lbs? I don't know. I can't figure it out. However, I miss how I feel when I'm strength training, and its the only way I can think of to get back to how I was feeling, and get smaller. But again, I will focus on that AFTER the marathon.

Monday, September 28, 2009

20 mile run

Kathy and I did our 20 mile race today. It was set up for people training for the marathon, and what was great was that the course was laid out, water and gatorade provided, and of course, we get a medal and a shirt for being in it.
I got up at 4:30 a.m. to get there. While getting ready, I could still hear the rain. UGH. It seemed to let up by the time I got there, but after waiting in the bathroom lines in the building we had access to, just before the race started at 7, it started to downpour. They told us that they were starting at 7 a.m. no matter what. So at 7 a.m. we all ran to the start line. It rained for, gosh, the first 11-15 miles or so? hard to remember. My feet were soaked. My shorts were soaked. It was not fun.
However, in spite of that, it was one of the best runs I've ever had. Kathy too! Our pace was great! For 20 miles, we came in at under four hours. Our finish time was 3:54! Awesome! And honestly, we felt really good afterwards! This totally gave us the confidence to know we can push through another six miles with the marathon! I took an ice bath, but a short one, because I was soaked through when I got home, and chilled to the bone already. I also really didn't feel the need for the ice bath, but figured it would do me good anyway. I'm a little tired, but not really sore or anything. But for some reason, when I do long runs, it hits me two days later, not the day of the run or even the next day.
Anyhow, now begins the taper. I only have a six mile run, a seven mile run and a 16 mile run this week. The runs only get shorter from here on out! Yeah!

Monday, September 21, 2009

The 16 mile run, and gearing up for the 20 miles!

We got our 16 mile run in on friday afternoon. It was a really good run. The weather was a little bit cooler than the previous week when we did the 18 miles, and temp plays a huge part in how good I feel during a run. Jeff ran with Kathy and I. He was scheduled for 12 miles, but ran 13 with us. He's doing great! And it was nice to have a third person along with us for a change. He also helped to keep our pace down a little which I think helped in the long run. However, I think it was almost too slow. I've found that there is a fine line between running too slow and not slow enough. And sometimes when I don't run fast enough, I feel more sore and fatigued.
I did an ice bath after the run, because I think they help. I had started to wonder if the problem was my shoes, because although they only have maybe 250 miles or so on them, in the past few weeks, my knees and feet have been getting more and more achy. Well, I ordered a new pair of the same shoes and got them on friday. I ran in them yesterday and did 9 miles yesterday in the new shoes, and WHAT A DIFFERENCE! Clearly, my shoes had been breaking down, and my body was feeling it. I felt GREAT after the 9 miles yesterday, and didn't even feel the need for the ice bath. HUGE, HUGE improvement. No achy feet, and no achy knees.
Anyhow, today is a rest day, and tomorrow I run 6 miles. I'm then not scheduled for anything else until the 20 mile run next sunday. I think on thursday or friday I may run 2 miles, just to kind of shake things out before the race. Otherwise, I plan to enjoy the break and give my legs a rest. Sunday will be a big day, as its our one chance to experiment with pace, fueling, etc. before the marathon. I can't believe it's almost here!

Monday, September 14, 2009

The 18 Mile Run

Kathy and I did our 18 mile run on friday afternoon. Well, a couple things to say about it. It was getting really tough near the end. I honestly feel there were a couple of things that really made it tougher than the 17 miles we ran the previous weekend. First, I'm so freaking tired at the end of the work week, run or not. I knew running at the end of the week after working all day and getting up at 5 a.m. everyday, was going to be tough. I've gotten accustomed to running after a good nights sleep and in the morning when I'm refreshed.

Also, it was 80 degrees out. When I am used to running in the 60's, that's a HUGE difference. Also, I think we started out too fast. When we are running that far, we have GOT to slow down. Our pace was a 10:00 - 10:30 pace for a good amount of the run toward the first half. My garmin had our overall pace down to a 13:20 or something like that, but we did a lot of walking in the last few miles. I don't really care about the average pace. I just want to get through the marathon and cross the finish line, but I don't want to be one of those people that are barely coherent when I do! Anyhow, I know what the issues were, and I know I will have better runs. But overall, its wasn't bad.

I went home and did an ice bath. I used an entire bag of ice, and sat in the bath for 25 minutes. I SWEAR that helped. I really didn't feel bad. IN fact, on the drive home, my knees were so achy that all I could think about was submerging them in ice water, and god, it felt great! I'm seriously starting to love those baths!

I didn't feel too bad the next day either. In fact, I felt a little better than I did after the 17 mile run, so I'm thinking that the long ice bath, as well as the ibuprofin regime I'm doing, totally helped.

Looks like we may do the next long run, 16 miles, this friday afternoon too. Its supposed to be cooler out which will help. I'm just happy to get the run over with. This week I have a four mile run to do, which I will do today, and a seven mile, which I may do tomorrow. Wow, those seem like a walk in the park! only 7 miles? I feel like I'm in heaven! lol!