Thursday, April 30, 2009

First Marathon Dream

I had my first dream about the marathon last night. I say "first" because I'm sure there will be more to come as my anxiety about the event grows and my training intensifies.

In my dream I was running along just fine for a while, but then there was a mandatory part of the course where you went into a school gymnasium and had to grab a basketball and make three shots before you could continue the race. I was totally upset, not knowing that this was part of the requirement. I've never been good at basketball (or any ball sports, for that matter), and thus was anxious about making my shots, which made me shoot worse.... Oh, it was terrible. Much angst. Many missed shots while other runners continued on past me.

I won't spend too much time psycho-analyzing that dream (though there are several themes/sources for the images). But as I'm here in this rest week before a big month of building longer and longer runs, I do have some anxiety, and it's obviously creeping into my subconscious.

Will I be able to run these distances? Will my body hold up? Are there unexpected obstacles? How will I deal with them?

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

How Many Miles?

When I first started marathon training, Amy asked me "SO, how many miles will you run in training to run 26.2 miles?"

Good question. But one that's maybe a little dismal to think about! But curiosity finally got to me, and I did the math.

If I include what I've already run (since starting training on March 8), and then follow my schedule exactly between now and July 11, I will have run a total of 319 miles.

Thus far I've run 69 miles. That means I have about 250 miles yet to run in the next 11 weeks.

Oh my. (I knew I shouldn't have done those calculations!)

Monday, April 20, 2009

Sweet Run

Yesterday's run was kickin'. I felt terrific, my form was great, running felt good, the sun was shining.... all in all just terrific! And for some reason, my pace was amazing, too-- I averaged 10 min/mi for 8 miles. That's fast for me! It just felt great. I even had some good conversation with a gal in my running group for about 2 miles ('til I had to veer off for a potty break).

Better look back at my journal to see what I did the previous few days, and see if I can try to replicate that run. Next week is a rest week, with just a 5 mile "long" run. Then the miles really start to climb in May: 10-12-14-16! So anything I can do to get that good feeling again will be appreciated.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Weather Report

I just found this picture on my computer. It's from my birthday, when several of us went to Lolo Pass to x-c ski. When we started out it was -5 degrees. We warmed up fairly quickly once we started moving, but brr those first few minutes.

Today, however, is a gorgeous spring day, about 50 degrees and sunny. I just woke up from a nap in the sun-- I drove back to Missoula from Seeley Lake after a meeting, and got kinda sleepy on the drive. So when I got off the interstate near my office, I pulled into a trailhead, turned my car so the sun was shining in the back window, put the back seats down, and crawled in the back to nap for 30 min in the sun. It was terrific! Now I'm ready to face the rest of the day!

The weekend promises to be stellar, with sunshine and temps in the low 60's Fri and Sat, and up to the 70's by Sun and Mon. Holy cow! I'll have to swap out my running tights for shorts!

I'm headed out this afternoon to buy some clipless pedals for McDreamy (my road bike). I got shoes a few months ago, and have been practicing on the spinning bikes at the gym. This weekend will be my virgin voyage out with the real deal... scary! Jenny's going to go with me, and she'll be trying a road bike for the first time. So it could be quite the clown show. That'll be Saturday. Then Sun. a.m. is an 8 mile run. Should be a fun weekend! Yay SUN!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Make-up Day

After riding (horses) hard on Saturday and not feeling like I got a good rest day... and being how it was Easter and there was no group run yesterday, I decided to postpone my long run til this afternoon. So I'll be heading out solo, on this route:

If anyone wants to join me, come along!

Friday, April 10, 2009


Thoughts during my 16 mile bike ride in to work this morning mostly centered around the prefix "Brrr":

Brrr...rrr. My toes are cold. 39 degrees may be a bit cool yet for an hour-long ride.

Brrr... akes. Easy does it riding across the gravel patch at the bottom of a downhill stretch.

Brrr... eakfast. Man, I'm looking forward to a turkey bagel once I get to work.

Brrr... ave. Yep, it takes a bit of courage to commute this far on my bike.

Brrr... eak. Looking forward to a rest day tomorrow!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

22 more to go

Alright, the knee's cooperating pretty well these days. Yay. On Sunday I made it thru 6 miles using a run/walk plan (ran 5 min, walked 2 min), and did just fine. Yesterday I ran a full 4 miles without walking at all. I started getting a little knee twinge a time or two, but then I'd fix my form and it would go away.

So I'm now running 4 miles straight again. Just add 22 more miles to that, and the marathon's over-- no sweat, right?

Uh, right.

The one thing I have decided, based on my learning experience with the knee thing, is that I really need to focus on recovery as much as on the running. That way hopefully I can make it without any more over-use issues. It's influenced my plan-of-attack a good bit. Here's what I'm doing these days:

  • I'm running just 3 days a week-- Sunday long runs, Wednesday mid-distance runs, and a short (3-5 mi) easy run on Fridays.

  • Other days of the week I'm spinning and/or swimming, plus trying to stick with my PT exercises to balance out the strength in my legs. And making sure I have good core strength. So I'm plenty busy, but letting myself have good recovery from the runs.

  • The runs are taking top priority, and the other workouts are meant to be "active recovery" sessions, and/or intended to help better prepare my body for running. For example, this morning I went to a spinning class, but instead of really pushing it hard with high resistance, I just ignored the instructor and continued to spin at a high rpm but low resistance, helping to work out my legs without asking too much of them. It felt good (and the instructor didn't mind me doing my own thing!)

This weekend's long run is 7 miles, and I'll try running the whole thing. Or perhaps I'll just hop...

Friday, April 3, 2009

Training Log

I've been keeping a pretty good training/eating log for the last month or so, jotting down what I've been eating and what workouts I've done, along with some notes about how I feel physically and emotionally. The hope is that
1. writing things down will make them more real (like when I eat 10 malted easter eggs at work in the middle of the afternoon), and
2. I can start to see some trends in how I feel relative to what I've eaten or how I've trained in the past few days

Today's a good example. I'm beat. Ever since I reluctantly dragged myself out of bed at 7am, I've felt like I could easily just lie down and go straight back to sleep. My brain's not fully functioning at work. I'm just not all there today. And I know that my run and strength training this afternoon will take a lot of effort to get through because I just don't have much energy.

So why might that be?

Well, let's look at the past few days: Wednesday I swam in the morning, then ran that evening. And I only got about 6.5 hours of sleep (but ate pretty well all day). Yesterday I did a spinning class and big upper body workout in the morning. I had yogurt & granola for breakfast, pretzels for a snack, a salad with tuna for lunch, a whole wheat roll for a snack. Then I went for a 2 hour hike. Then out with girlfriends to a shi-shi wine bar for a delicious bottle of wine (split 3 ways) and fru-fru appetizers for dinner (savory cheesecake, spicy pork lettuce wraps, and vegetable napolean). All were delicious, but maybe not a complete meal. So then I got home late, got to sleep a little before midnight. And wonder why I'm lethargic today. Is it the slight lack of sleep? Is it the slight lack of calories after workouts yesterday? Is it the wine? Is it a case of the Fridays? Or is it a combination thereof?

I suspect the latter. But it's good to notice and evaluate the proximal causes. I definitely don't want to feel like this on race day. Or before long training runs. So I need to figure out what makes me feel good and energetic, as well as what makes me feel like all I want is my blankie.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Catching up

Golly, didn't realize it'd been this long since I last wrote. There's so much to catch up on. When I last wrote, my knee was bothering me a bit. So I didn't run for a week, and it was still somewhat swollen and sore, even with the rest and just walking. So last Thursday I talked with the coach for the marathon class I'm in, and he suggested I see a Physical Therapist about my issues. So I did. Here's the gist of things since:
  • basically, I don't have any serious injury, just irritation under my patella
  • the PT suggested that I do some strength training to increase my quad and glute strength, some drills to get me used to landing on my mid-foot or balls of my feet while running instead of landing on my heels (which puts a lot more of the shock of impact on my knee), and a return-to-run program for the next few weeks (similar to the Couch-to-5K plan I did a few years ago)
  • the irritation and swelling have decreased a bit, but not all the way yet; I'm itchin' to run, but being careful not to push too fast thinking that I'm better when I'm not
  • so I've been doing a lot of cross-training-- swimming and biking, mostly (indoors for both... it's still snowing here)
  • I even tried a water aerobics class. I had some preconceived notions going into it, but thought I'd give it a try-- "who knows, it could be a good workout," I told myself. Uh, no. 'Twas not a good workout. 'Twas little more than me and a bunch of severely overweight and/or over-aged ladies bobbing around in a pool for an hour. It sucked. I tried quite hard to get my heart rate up, which mostly just got me some bad looks from others because I was making too much splash. At the end the instructor asked how I liked the class, to which I said that it was okay but not nearly the intensity of workouts I'm used to. "Oh," she said, "it's deceptive-- you actually burned 20% more calories doing a workout in the pool than you would have on land." Bull$*#! You can't tell me that splashing around in the shallow-end with my heart rate not over 120bpm burns as much as an hour long run in which my heartrate is around 165bpm and I burn about 500 calories. Nope, I don't believe it.
  • So no more water aerobics for me. But I'll continue to swim laps and spin, and run every other day (low miles, high frequency is the prescription for the next few weeks).
  • By mid-April I'll have to decide if I'm better enough to go for the full Mary or to shoot for a good half. I'll keep you posted.