Friday, November 28, 2014

So I'm doing a marathon next week....

The big day continues to draw closer. I have a tab constantly open on my browser with the home page for CIM. I've studied the course map, read all the FAQs, watched the videos, looked at past results. I go from being serenely confident in my probable success to scared to death of what will happen. I drive by the finish line going to and from the gym and picture myself running across it. Honestly, I'm pretty sure I got this. But, I can't help letting those little thoughts pop up...what if? What if I don't? What if something happens? What if it's too hard? My biggest goal for the day is just to keep a positive attitude, because that will be everything. Attitude will make or break me, and I'm choosing to make it!

Whatever happens, it's been an amazing journey and I don't plan to give up running once the marathon is over. I'll take some time off and start again in January, and maybe next year it'll be easier. I'll get stronger and faster and finish in 5 hours instead of 6.

I'm incredibly proud of my achievements. It's been difficult and I've stuck to it, thanks in large part to the support I've received from my family and friends, most particularly my running group, and most of all, my friend and coach, Kim. He's been absolutely amazing in getting me here and I'll be eternally grateful for that.

Here are some interesting stats from my training. This is just what I have tracked on since I began official training on June 1 of this year:

  • I have gone 413 miles. This includes running, stationary bike (only a few times), and swimming. This is .02 of the distance around the world.
  • I have logged 100 workouts totaling 103.6 hours.
  • I have burned 28 pounds. Sadly I ate enough to offset it that I really haven't lost any weight although I do feel leaner.
  • I have burned 544.33 donuts
  • In the beginning, I was happy to break a 15:00/mile average pace. Now, my short runs are often faster than 12:00 and my long runs are regularly under 14:00.
  • In the beginning, 3 or 4 miles was tiring. Now that's a short training run and I have gone as far as 20.
How can I not be proud of that?

Just a little over a week until the marathon. Thank you all for your support. If you happen to be there and watch, feel free to hand me a piece of banana or a triple berry Gu. :)

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

I'm tired!

This past weekend I did the Clarksburg Country Run 20 miler. The good news is, I finished and under the time allowed. The unfortunate things is it was really hard--harder than it should have been. At around 10 or 11 miles in, I started to get tired and slow down. However, even then we were still doing OK pace-wise until I started feeling nauseous around mile 15. My stomach wasn't upset, but I felt like I needed to throw up. This kept me from fueling like I needed to as well as forcing me to walk more, and I really lost my rhythm. I started the self-defeating self talk and it just spiraled downward from there. I even had a moment where I was staring at the shoulder of the road, which was raised a bit so if you stepped off the edge of the shoulder you'd fall a couple feet. I pictured myself tripping in my clumsy state and falling. I actually had the thought, "Well, if I fall, at least I can lie down for a while." It was not good. Kim and Dante pulled me through, though, and I got to the end. I cried a bit when I finally crossed the finish line.

There are several factors that probably led to this. First of all, I should have been carb loading and hydrating for two whole days before the event. I did some the first day, but ate for crap and drank hardly any water the day before the event. That will not happen again. I will be super diligent about that from now on! Secondly, the weather had cooled down and then was warm again on the day of the race. I don't do well in heat anyway, and I suspect I got a little acclimatized to the cooler weather. Finally, the nausea might have been because I ate a flavor of Gu I've never had before. That may be nothing, but you never know.

The final possibility, and a real one, is that I was just fatigued. I've asked a lot of my body in the past few months. It's responded to everything I've asked of it like a trooper, but I'm tired. I've also been cross training and dancing and it seems like there's just so much happening. I'm overwhelmed. Part of that will be when our dance studio's showcase that I've been practicing for happens this coming Sunday so I can stop thinking about that and take a break.

So we talked it over and decided to alter our training schedule. We were supposed to do 23 miles this weekend, but decided to start tapering now instead. Many people only run 20 miles before doing a marathon, so I know it can be done. I'm strong. I just need a chance to recover a bit and I'll come back even stronger and ready to go. Meanwhile, I'll work on my cardio while swimming and I'll still run of course. We'll do 6-8 miles on Monday with some hills, I have a half marathon next weekend, and the rest will be short runs.

I got this. I just need a break! I'm still sore from Sunday. It's never taken me this long to recover from a run. I'm getting there, though.

I'm glad I'm in such good hands!

Sunday, November 2, 2014

23 weeks in

Another month has gone by, and I'm one month closer to the CIM. I have to admit I'm getting tired. When this started, I had no idea the number of hours I would be spending on this! Not only the time spent actually running, but travel time, needing a nap after the long runs and losing most of the day, etc. Don't get me wrong--this is an amazing experience. But it is demanding!

Since my last entry, I have done a few really long runs. I did the Urban Cow Half Marathon and while I finished in decent time (for me--13:54) and had no real problems, I had hoped it would be easier since I'd done the distance several times before. However, it was hot and that really got to me. I do not do heat well.

Because I struggled so much with my 13 and 14-mile runs, I was a little worried about doing 16 a couple weeks later. However, we went out and did it, and I made the whole distance! Woot! Doing that was a huge mental breakthrough. It made me realize that even though the last distance was hard, that doesn't mean I can't keep going up because my body will just keep getting stronger and responding to the training. I was starting to have doubts again that I could do the marathon, but the day I did 16 restored my faith. Average pace was 13:56, so I'm starting to regularly finish in under 14. I'm a little worried about the marathon, which has a 6 hour time limit so we need to average 13:44.

The next week, we were supposed to do 18 but started in the wrong spot and it ended up being 17.55...close enough. There were a lot of hills that day, which I have not trained on very much. Yet, I had my fastest pace at the 10+ mile distance with 13:43, and it was faster than all but one of my 5-10 mile runs. So, I was absolutely thrilled. AND I had energy left at the end--I felt like I could do another mile without much of a problem. I still felt mentally sharp, which is not always the case after a long run, at least until I get food in me. So, that was another triumph. This is something I love about running: you keep going a little further or a little faster and it's a constant rush to see those milestones and evidence of improvement. The weather was much cooler that day, and I think that made a big difference. Good thing it should stay cool now until the big event!

Yesterday was a cool down week and we "only" did 14 miles. We pushed hard at first and my hamstring started bothering me so we slowed down, which did the trick (along with a little stretching at the bathroom stop). We ended up finishing with an average pace of 12:56. Wow! Of course this is because it was a shorter distance, but that's great. Again, it gives me hope. It was pretty cold and threatened rain...perfect running weather.

Next week the Clarksburg Country Run, a 20-miler. I'd love to hit that 13:30 pace, but as long as it's under 14 and I stay sound (don't injure myself) and finish, I'll be happy. I know I can do it because my training is paying off. This will be the first time I do an event where I haven't already done the distance. On the one hand, I don't have the assurance of having already done it (not that I'm worried), but on the other hand, I'll have all the excitement of the event spurring me on. Cheering crowds, people holding funny signs, and....ahhhh....a finisher medal. Ok, and the t-shirt doesn't hurt either.

After that, we do a 23-mile training run, and then we start tapering off for CIM. I'll do the Davis Turkey Trot Half Marathon and the Run To Feed The Hungry 5K as part of that tapering.

The marathon is just about all I think about and I'm nervous and excited by turns that our goal is almost  here. I worry about hitting the wall on course. Or getting sick/injured beforehand and missing out. But I also picture myself crossing that finish line, and that will be an extremely awesome feeling.

And now to put in some time with my foam roller!