Wednesday, May 27, 2009

What's to Come

Wow, I just looked at the schedule and realized I only have 6 more weeks of training for the marathon. Holy cow-- I can't believe how quickly this thing is coming up!

After my big 16 this past weekend, I ran 3 yesterday and am headed out for a 10 mile run this afternoon. Tomorrow I'll bike to work (16 miles), and Friday morning bike about 20 miles with Eleanor. Friday at noon, when I have a massage appointment, is the official start of a Rest Week for me!

We've been building every week for quite a while, with rest weeks interjected every 3-4 weeks. But from here on, the training shifts to adapt to the higher mileage and try to avoid burnout (or injury). Instead of building for several weeks at a time, we'll be alternating build and rest weeks.

So what does the rest of my training look like? Well, I'll show you below. I've posted my general schedule-- what the week will typically look like. And below that is the break-down of the long runs and mid-distance runs.

General Schedule:
Sun: Long Run
Mon: Rest, or short recovery bike ride
Tues: 3-5 mi run OR 1 hour bike PLUS Yoga For Runners class
Wed: Mid-distance Run
Thurs: 3-5 mi run OR 1 hour bike ride
Fri: 1.5 hour bike ride
Sat: Rest

Long-range Plan:
WEEK: Long Run/ Mid-Dist. Run
May 31: 6 mi/ 4 mi
June 7: 18 mi/ 8 mi
June 14: 8 mi/ 4 mi
June 21: 20 mi/ 8 mi
June 28: 8 mi/ 6 mi
July 5: 6 mi/ 4 mi
July 12: 26.2 mi

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Amazingly Recovered

Seriously, I'm amazed at how good I feel after Sunday's run. I'm not sore or tight anywhere! I spent yesterday totally chilling-- an easy half-hour bike ride, followed by a nice drive to St. Ignatius, an afternoon of lounging in our friends' yard (they live at the National Bison Range-- so a rather nice yard!), and an evening at home watching "Australia." We went on a short walk mid-afternoon, and I realized going up the hill that I was kinda tired (granted I was carrying a 14-lb baby in my arms), but not sore or stiff at all.

Whatever I did for recovery worked! Was it the soak in the ice-cold river? Was it the Aleve I took immediately after my run? Or was it the beer and fried chicken I ate that evening? Don't know which it was-- so I guess I'll have to do all three again after the 18 miler (weekend after this). ;)

Monday, May 25, 2009

Sweet Sixteen

Yesterday's run was monumental in building my confidence for the marathon.

Not that I can really imagine running 10 more miles than what I did-- but I can imagine running 2 more, or even 4 more. And they say that if you can run 20, you'll finish the marathon.

I was pretty nervous starting out, and it took me the first few miles to relax and get into the groove. Then just as I was getting into it, we hit The Hill. We were running the last 16 miles of the marathon course, and the one big hill in the course comes around mile 12-13, so we got to experience it yesterday.

Maybe I'm crazy, but I liked it. It's a great hill-- not too steep, not too long. It'll go up for a few minutes, then a little plateau to catch your breath, then on up again. It's gorgeous scenery, winding up above the Clark Fork River. I felt really strong running it, and hope to remember that good feeling on race day when I meet The Hill again.

Other than that, the run was pretty uneventful. Patricia and I ran together for all but the last half mile or so. We had great conversation and story telling for the first 10 miles or so, and then started tapering off our talking as we got more tired. But it was still nice to have a buddy to hang with. She's a riot, and a total trooper. We're probably the slowest people training for the full marathon (we got passed by most all of the folks who ran 20 miles yesterday), but that's okay with us. We're not in it to win it!

I'm still experimenting with nutrition, and don't think I've got it down yet. I decided yesterday to go with just PowerGels, plain water, and Endurolyte tablets. Seems like if I mix any electrolyte drinks (Gatorade, Heed, etc) with gels, my stomach has a tendency to revolt. So I'm thinking that gels will be my source of calories, and the tabs can help with electrolytes. But, I have to find a better solution for carrying my pills-- the back pocket of my running shorts on a muggy day isn't the answer-- they dissolved in my pants!

My stomach wasn't psyched about the run. After just 4 miles or so I was feeling sloshy, and I really hadn't drank much water at all. But I often get this yucky feeling in my belly, and it makes me worry that it'll turn into a horrible cramp-- sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn't. Luckily yesterday it didn't. But I didn't take in much for the run. In all I think I had:
- less than 2 full PowerGels (100 calories each)-- about 3/4 of one at the first aid station (mile 4), then another 1/2 of one after the second aid station (mile 8-ish), and another 1/4-1/2 of one in the mile or so after the last aid station (mile 12-13)
- one Endurolyte tab
- maybe 20 ounces of water (max)

When I look at that I wonder how in the heck I finished. But I did. And I never really felt like I was "bonking" or running out of energy. I did get a side cramp at the very end, though, and a bit of a headache after we were done, which could've been due to lack of electrolytes. My face and skin definitely felt very salty, so I know I was losing some. But I wasn't hungry at all for many hours after the run-- I forced myself to eat a part of a bagel and some watermelon when we got back, but that's all I had for several hours afterward.

It's odd for me to not have any appetite! I guess when I run I just turn into a camel! This week on my 8-mile mid-week run I think I'll try some solid fuel-- ClifBlox or something like that. See if those work for me better than the liquids. Who knows. Running is such a personal thing, and there's no set formula for what will work-- just have to figure it out for yourself.

One thing that did work, though: after cooling down and stretching and driving back to the starting point to get my car, Patricia and I soaked our legs in the cold river. Ice baths are supposedly a great tool for recovery. They hurt like heck, but I for one believe in them. When we got out of the car, we were both walking around like a couple of old ladies-- stiff, stiff, stiff. But after just 5 minutes or so of plunking ourselves in the river waist-deep, the stiffness wasn't quite so bad. And today I feel great-- I'm not really sore or stiff anywhere, which I think is incredible!

Okay, enough writing-- time to go out for a short easy bike ride in the beautiful morning sun. One step closer...

Friday, May 22, 2009

9 AM

and I've been up for nearly 4 hours already. Morning looked like this:

5:00- alarm went off; hit snooze bar

5:10- got up, got dressed (this took a while 'cause I had to dig thru the dirty laundry to find the perfect shirt... laundry day tomorrow)

5:20- made tea, ate 1/2 a granola bar, grabbed my already-packed bag of clothes, food, etc

5:30- drove in to Missoula

6:00- got to my friend Eleanor's house; got my bike out and pumped up my tires

6:02- broke a valve on my tube

6:20- with Eleanor's help, finally finished changing my tire (the first time I've had to do it on McDreamy, took a little while to figure out)

6:21- took off on our ride (a 20-ish-mile loop from town out to Blue Mountain, up Big Flat road (for those who aren't from around here, Big Flat is a total misnomer!), over the Kona Ranch bridge, up Mullan, across Reserve, and back into town to Eleanor's house)

7:50- ran thru the shower

8:00- ran out the door with promises to do it again next Friday morning

8:15- got to the Chiropractor's office for a much-needed adjustment

8:45- grabbed a bagel sandwich (egg, tomato, sprouts) and a cup of coffee

9:00- sat down at my desk to work

9:01- busted! decided to blog for a while instead of work

now- seriously, better get some work done today!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Redemption Run

After my last post, I took off for my 14 mile run. I met up with Kevin after a mile or so, and was already huffin' and puffin', and my heart rate was at about 90% of its maximum-- something I usually only achieve if running up a super steep hill or doing sprints or in the last half mile of a fast 5k... not a heart rate zone that's ideal for the first few miles of a 14 mile training run!

Kev ran a mile & a half with me, then headed for home so he could go kayaking (much nicer activity on a hot day!). This was my response to his email asking "how was the rest of your run?":

terribly. i didn't go much farther than where you peeled off before deciding to turn around. too hot. and not just from a whiney perspective but from a there's-a-real-chance-i-could-get-seriously-ill-if-i-continue perspective. so i jogged as slowly as possible the way back, but still was quite queasy, totally drained of energy, and with a way-too-high heart rate.
lesson learned= when cooking with high heat, the object is merely to sear the meat, not to cook all the way thru. slow-cooking requires low heat so as not to burn.

Ugh, so overall, my long run this past week didn't happen. I'm realizing that I can't keep doing the things I usually do and still train for a marathon-- I have to really pay attention to rest and recovery, more so than ever before. And I can't go from running in (max.) 60 degree weather to running in 87 degree late-afternoon heat without some consequences!

It was just a series of bad choices that were making me really wonder again WHY am I doing this? Do I REALLY want to run a marathon? Is this worth having at least one body part hurting at all times? Is this goal more important to me than being able to work on the ranch all weekend? Is it worth not being able to hang out and drink beer on my back porch on a Saturday night because I have to run the next morning?

I had a few days of uncertainty, but then in a parallel train of thought with a project I'm doing at work (in which I'm realizing I need to narrow the scope and really clearly define my goals, and not try to accomplish too many things with one project), I decided that YES, I am going to keep trying. I'm going to dedicate myself to the goal of crossing the finish line of the marathon, and not try to simultaneously lose weight, get in overall-body shape, improve my riding, etc. etc. I'm going to focus on the goal, and do what it takes to reach that goal. And then 7 weeks from now, I'll be done, and I can set some new goals that may include being more well-rounded. But for now, I'm going to go out and have a good run.

So that's what I did.

It was a beautiful afternoon-- sunny, blue skies with white ploofy clouds, a perfect temperature (maybe 60?)-- and I ran with my training group for the first time in a few weeks and was able to grab some good energy from being around a lot of other runners. And I had a few gals to chat with as we jogged along, including my new best running buddy P.

And it was a perfect run. Everything felt good the whole time. I had fun.

Now I look forward to 16 miles this weekend. I look forward to making plans to do some mellow activities on Saturday-- rather than "give up" the opportunity to work with Jim on the ranch, I'm "taking" the opportunity to go to the Farmer's Market for the first time this year, to hang out with my friend (and former running buddy) Amy for a while, and to spend a nice relaxing day tootling around.

I'm sure the pendulum will shift again... but for now, I'm going to enjoy the upswing!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Poor Planning

I worked on the ranch too much Saturday and wore myself out, so decided not to run on Sunday (a few other factors went into that decision, too, but I'll spare you the details of a sore knee, a seriously bad mood, and a strong desire to not HAVE to do anything for just one day in several weeks).

Then last night I started feeling bad about skipping a run, so I decided to make it up today after work. Now it's 87 degrees and sunny and windy.

At least by 8pm when I'm getting done with my 14 miles it should be cooling off quite a bit.

Friday, May 15, 2009


I just got a massage. Much better than a rolling pin.

I think I might have to make that a regular part of training-- every other week, maybe?

Not just for pies anymore

Last night after my run my legs were tight. Imagine that-- after running 23 miles in the past 6 days, my poor little muscles were a little whiny.

I did some stretching, but that wasn't getting me the relief I needed. So I started rubbing my quads, doing a bit of self-massage. Which was okay, but still, I needed something... more.

Something hard... Something to dig into my muscles... Something I could roll down my leg...

I had just the thing.

In the kitchen drawer, with the measuring cups and flour sifters, was my new best post-workout tool: my ROLLING PIN.

It works great-- just roll out your quads like you're making a pie. Then think of those calves as biscuit dough-- you don't want to completely flatten it, but you want to get it into a workable form.

Oooh, it hurt in a good way. But I couldn't quite get my glutes and hamstrings myself.

So I employed Jim to run the rolling pin. I laid down flat on my tummy, and he helped work the backside for a while. Not without some snarky comments about using kitchen utensils on myself ("what, are you going to start using the fork to comb your hair now, too?"). But I didn't care. I just laid there and drooled as he rolled up and over the tight spots.

Maybe we should open up a new shop-- C&J's Pie Shoppe and Massage Parlor

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Running on Empty

Saturday morning I did my 12 mile run. I had lots to do that day, so I got up decently early (for a Saturday, at least), but not early enough to eat breakfast and let it settle before running. So I just ate a few bites of a banana and hit the road. It was totally gorgeous-- sunny, mid-50's, green grass and lots of tulips in peoples' yards. Good running.

But after about 4 miles I was famished. I ate 1/2 a PowerGel, but didn't have any water with me (my "aid station" was at the Scheffer Ranch at mile 6), so I couldn't really choke down the rest until I got to mile 6.

I had my second PowerGel at mile 9.5 or so, at the Frenchtown Pond State Park, where I could get some more water. There was a Subaru parked there handing out water and snacks to cyclists who were participating in a 50 mile charity ride. I stopped to say hi, and was hoping they'd offer me some of their orange slices... but the old guy didn't get the hint. So I continued on for home.

Once I got home, of course, my stomach was too tired/jostled to be hungry right away. So I made an easily digestable source of calories-- a mango/yogurt smoothie-- for a quick recovery meal.

I was never super weak or feeling under-fueled for my run. Gosh knows I have enough reserves to keep me from starving out there. But I learned that I really do need to make time to eat something a little more substantial before heading out on a 2+ hour run. Lesson learned.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Must See

If you haven't heard of Team Hoyt before, you must check out this video:

(warning: have tissues handy)

It's all in my head

This past weekend I ran 10 miles.

It was the 3rd time in my life I've done a 10 mile training run.

The first time was in Oct of 2007 when I was training for my first half marathon. My friend Katie rode her bike alongside me to keep me company and give me sports drink as needed... but mostly to help give me the moral support I needed to get thru the run. And again, last June I did another 10 miles with Amy while training for the half marathon, and again it seemed like "whoa, this is the big one."

For both of those 10-milers, they were the longest training runs I'd do in prep for my race. So it was a big deal. I knew if I could do 10, I could complete my goal of 13 miles.

This past weekend, however, the 10 mile run wasn't a big deal. It was a mere step towards the goal, nowhere near the longest training run I'll do. So in my head, I didn't make it out to be anything special. And it wasn't. It was easy. I didn't feel like I had to schedule nothing else for the rest of the day. I wasn't overly tired or sore afterwards (unlike the last two 10 mile training runs I've done). It was just another Sunday run. No big deal.

So what's different? Am I in better shape? Maybe a little, but if so, not much. Was the run route easier? Nah. Was it that I had it in my head that the 10 miles wasn't a big deal. Yep. That was totally it.

Distance running makes me realize how much I can change reality by changing my perception of it. If I tell myself it's going to be a hard run, it's going to be hard. If I tell myself, though, that it's no big deal, just a nice long fun run... that's what it turns out to be.

The same applies for other aspects of life. Giving work presentations, for example. If I get myself psyched out, thinking "this is a turbo-important meeting; everyone's going to be critical of me; I hope I don't screw up and say the wrong thing; what if they ask questions at the end that I can't answer..." then I typically don't do as well as if I walk in with the attitude of "well, I'm just going to give this a shot and hope everyone appreciates that I'm trying hard, and hopefully they have some good ideas and compelling questions for me at the end."

It's really empowering to realize that I can control a situation by controlling my perception of it. Of course there are always external factors that are beyond my control. But there's a lot I do have a say over.

So this weekend I'll be doing a nice, easy 12 mile run. By myself. It'll be just shy of half the distance of my goal. No big deal, right?