Thursday, March 19, 2009

That's What Friends Are For

The following is an email conversation I had this morning with my good friend Sally*

(*actual names have been changed to protect the not-so-innocent!)

"i'm in a sad funk today. don't know if it's hormonal or build-up from all the relationship stress this week (not mine, other peoples'), and/or my knee is hurting and swollen from a run yesterday... whatever the cause, all i want to do today is go home and go back to bed. and cry. it wouldn't take much to get me to bawl today.

that's not what i need help on-- this funk will pass. but while i'm in it, i know i'm vulnerable, and there's a bagel store right across the street. and chocolate shouldn't be hard to come by, either. i could totally binge.

remind me that i don't want that stuff. i don't need it. my yogurt and granola will make me feel better than 3 bagels will."


"Sounds like all of the above and I can totally empathize - I had a super hormonal day last Thursday and this Tuesday a super emotional day where I did come home after work and cry super hard - but it was GREAT and cleansing - sometimes it is just really really good to cry and feel your emotions. We had a tea ceremony in my meditation class and we have been working on opening your heart - so I am spouting "feeling"

AND you are right, you will feel much worse if you binge on a bunch of stuff - take my burger episode last Thursday when I was hormonal - I felt full and heavy and not better at all. Maybe this afternoon you can treat yourself to a really nice piece of chocolate - not alot, but a fancy one - because it is also okay to be good to yourself and giving yourself a break and chocolate is a really nice treat in small doses (I am not doing a very good job here, am I). My point is, for me, I do better when I am not as strict and let myself have the small treats here and there. But, do not just eat a bunch of crap or crappy hershey's chocoloate - go spend a bunch of $$ on a really small piece if that is what you are going to do - and wait until much later to do it - because then if you really want it you will still want it. And NO BAGELS - they are stupid, empty crappy carbs and really not that great. LIKE MY BURGER Everyone has days like this and you should not be too strict with yourself. Sorry about your knee - what happened. Did you guys make spin this morning??"

"Thanks-- you're the best!

I'll keep the chocolate option open for the afternoon and see if I need it. Good suggestion on getting really good stuff (plus, I'd have to walk to Worden's to get it, so I'd burn some calories doing it, rather than waddling across the street to get a pack of M&M's).

We did go to spinning this morning, but I only span (is that a word?) for a minute or so, and decided not to do it. My knee was still swollen inside, and I didn't want to push it. I don't know what happened to it-- probably just over-use. Although I've been running 2-4 miles 2-3 times a week (so about 5-10 miles per week) throughout the winter, I didn't run much at all in mid-Feb/early March after my wisdom teeth and such. So I was only doing 5 or 6 miles a week for a month or so, and then jumped it up to 17 miles last week. Too much too fast, I think. Even though it felt good cardio-wise, that jump might have been a bit much for the joints. I started getting a pain in my knee last Wednesday on a run, but shrugged it off to getting-back-into-it pains. It didn't get any worse, but didn't go away for my next 3 runs. Then last night I did a big hill run, and it definitely started feeling worse and I got some internal swelling. So rather than push it right now, I'm going to rest a few days, then start back in slower-- do the beginner marathon plan, which has shorter mileages and smaller jumps in the amount of miles each week. And on the "optional" days, choose to cycle rather than run most of the time-- to keep my cardio and leg strength up without putting so many hard miles on. Hopefully that will help. It's tough not to get immediately discouraged when something's not right physically, but I need to be smart, take the rest, and remain hopeful that it'll get better.

So here I sit with an ice pack, and a couple jars of glucosamine and ibuprofen. Let's heal!"

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Checking In

Just a quick check in to say training's going well so far. Last week I ran a total of 17 miles (over the course of 4 days). Crazy to think that in a few months I'll be running 17 mile in one day!!!

I also did some cross-training (spinning class) on two days, and also did some strength training (mostly core and upper body) on those days. And I took one day as a rest day.

I'm trying to plan ahead for my meals, so that I make sure to always have good, healthy foods on hand, and avoid getting super hungry and pigging out on crap. For the most part that's been going well-- but beer can sure put a kink in a plan. I've shed a few pounds already, which is nice. I have quite a few more to lose to get back to where I was last summer at the peak of my triathlon training. So more work to go. But if I stay pretty smart about what I shove in my face, those pounds should shed pretty quickly as the mileage starts to increase.

I'm looking forward to my mid-week mid-distance group run this week (5 miles). The cool thing about these group runs is not knowing where we're going... makes it a little exciting, something to look forward to. It's a sunny day and supposed to get decently warm (after a dusting a snow last night), so should be a good evening to run.

I'll check back in soon.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Thinking Ahead

Right now, the thought of running 26.2 miles is fairly unfathomable. But, as I begin slowly increasing my miles, it's never too early to start thinking about strategies for getting myself across the finish line.

I've heard experienced runners say that in a marathon you run the first 10 miles with your head, the second 10 miles with your legs, and the last six miles with your heart. So what does running with your heart mean? What strategies will I use to push thru those last 6 miles?

I found an article on Runner's World that reported some tips used by a marathon pacer-- (pacers are experienced runners who'll run a set pace for the whole race to help others run their goal time.) Here's what this one gal said to help keep runners focused in the last 6 miles:

"Okay, everyone, this is where we start taking the race one mile at a time. For each mile, I'm going to ask you to focus on something. For mile 20, your focus is on the reason you're in this race. Is this a Boston qualifier, a personal best, a dare from a friend?"

"Five miles left. Now for this next mile, I want you to focus on all the work that you've done to be here, and how it's all paying off now."

"For this mile, 22, we focus on the personal support system, on our families, friends, children, parents? -everyone who has helped you over the past few months. Give them a silent shout-out of thanks."

"Three miles to go. We all have a personal hero, someone who has been through something so much harder than a marathon. Let's think about what they got through, and use that strength."

"Just two miles left, guys. Remember a time in your life when you demonstrated great strength in some other arena. Tap into that strength now. Only one tenth of one percent of the U.S. population finishes a marathon every year, so you're about to achieve something special."

"Last mile, everybody. You are going to do it! Every step at this point is erasing that distance to the finish line."

I like the idea of a new focus point for each mile. What about you? What strategies have you used-- in a marathon or in other situations where you've had to rely on more than just your mind and/or your body to get you thru a situation? I'd love to hear them!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

I'm Back!!!

Whew, that was a nice 2-month break from blogging. I honestly was running out of things to write about, and just needed a break from training and blogging.

Now I've had my break, and I'm ready to be WalkerRuns again. This year I'll be taking my running to a whole new level-- shooting for a full marathon in July, and then perhaps a speedier half in November (but we'll cross that bridge after July).

Unlike last year where I had lots of races and lots of goals and new activities (swimming, biking, triathloning), my non-workout life is just too complicated now to handle multi-sporting. And so I've decided to have one clear and simple goal: to run the Missoula Marathon on July 12.

Because I can't imagine running 15+ miles on my own, I've joined a training class that's organized thru the local running club, Run Wild Missoula. Over the next 18 weeks we'll meet twice weekly for group runs-- a mid-distance run on Wednesday nights, and a long run on Sundays. The routes will be pre-determined (and chalk marked!), and there will be aid stations along the way! We'll have guest speakers come and talk about various aspects of training-- PT, nutrition, etc-- and will have access to several seasoned marathoners for advice. And everyone was given a training schedule that will at least lay the framework for the training-- with options for modifying based on personal needs/schedules. But Sundays and Wednesdays are the group runs.

I'm psyched for the class. It takes a lot of the thinking & preparation off of my plate. I don't have to worry about taking time to map out a route, drive around and drop of water bottles, beg friends to run part of it or ride their bike along with me for company... I just show up and run with other folks who are crazy enough to want to run a marathon, too! I don't know anyone doing the class yet, but am looking forward to making some new running buddies as time goes on.

I'll write more in the coming weeks about why I've decided to do a full marathon (I'm sure that question will run through my mind more than once!), and the experiences I have along the way. So stay tuned!