Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Stress and Running

To say the least, I've had a stressful week.  Life cannot always go according to plan, or just how you envision, but I have had a few things this week happen where I seriously thought they would never happen. 

It in times where I am super stressed that I need to run the most.  I need to calm all of the emotions that have built up inside of me and just take a moment to breathe.  Running helps me think about things that have happened or process other events.  It also allows me to dream about things that i want to happen and think about ways in which to accomplish them. 

Who needs to see a doctor to talk about their problems?  The road is my therapist, and a mighty good one. 

Monday, September 26, 2011

Favorite Quote

I'm sure you have a Facebook account.  As a matter of fact, I'm quite sure the majority of Americans  have Facebook, except my parents.  I've always said that the day my parents get Facebook is the day I stop using it. 

Facebook has, along with many other websites, a place where you can put your favorite quote.  Some people go the funny route: "I'm a manbeast extraordinaire."  (I saw this on one of my friend's profiles the other day and just thought it was funny.)  Some list the entire bible out, or so it seems.  Others, like myself but  not many others,  list  just  their favorite quote, whatever  that  might be.

My favorite quote  is:

"To give anything  less than  your best is to sacrifice the gift."  - Prefontaine

I've loved this quote since the moment i heard it, back  in  high school.  It has  stuck with me and motivated me on days where it  would be  easier to run slower/less distance.  I  am a big believer in  using your talents and gifts to the best of your ability.  If  I give anything less than my best, than I am essentially wasting my talents and gifts. 

As I've been thinking  about the races  I've run this  year, I know I  tried my  hardest and did my best, whatever  it  was on  that particular day.   Some  races were  awesome, while others were utter disappointment and learning experiences.  My biggest race is just a few days away - 12 to  be exact.  It could not come any sooner.  And you can count on the  fact  that I'll be using every ounce of talent  i have to do well.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

These Legs Ran Fast - 5k Race Report

Park Ridge Charity Classic 5k
Time: 20:12
Overall Place: 98/476
Female: 20/198
Age Group: 7/23

 When I got convinced to run the Park Ridge Charity Classic 5k at my speed workout on Tuesday, I didn't know how well I'd do.  I know that I am in the best shape of my life right now, and even though people were guessing my race time at running club on Thursday, I wasn't sure what I was capable of achieving.  I had a few goals in mind, most notably number 3. 

As I posted, here, my goals were:
  1. Have fun!
  2. PR
  3. Run 20:59 or faster
  4. Properly warm-up and cool down
  5. Do not have a low blood sugar
What actually happened:
  1. Yes, the race was great.  I had a lot of fun.
  2. Yes, I PR'd by a minute.
  3. I ran 20:12, so that was accomplished.
  4. I did a mile and a half warm-up, but didn't cool down, unless shivering counts.
  5. No lows were had today.

As I was making the 45-minute commute at 6:15 this morning, I decided that I was going to treat this more of a track workout as opposed to a race.  I tend to over analyze things when it comes to racing, so not thinking much about it was good.  I knew that I needed to run around 6:50/mile pace to achieve a sub-21 5k time...but that is all the thought that went into this race.  Honestly, I think that might be the reason why I ran so well.

For the first time, I ran based on how I felt.  I knew the course was fast based on what other people had told me, and many elites come for the race.  When I pulled up, I could tell they were right.  The majority of people had matching race singlets to accompany their shorts and shoes.  The Fast Track racing team was there, all decked out in their neon orange attire and were hard to miss.  Then, there were people like me.  Shorts and a t-shirt...just there to run. 

My first mile felt great - 6:26 pace.  The second was going well, too, and had a cone turn-around.  I clocked a 6:34 according to my Garmin for that mile.  At that point, I was trying to decide if I could achieve a sub-20.  I ran as fast as my legs could go, and mile 3 was another 6:26.  I tried as hard as I could, and ended up crossing the line in 20:12, which is a PR by exactly one minute. 

I am happy with my time, although it makes me want to sign up for another 5k to see if I can break 20 minutes.  Maybe after the marathon I'll run another.  But, right now, my focus is the marathon.  It is hard to believe that in 14 days it'll be here.  Where has the time gone?

Does running well in a race tempt you to sign up for more to see how well you can do? 

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Racing a Run

First, and maybe most importantly, I got the coveted Pukie Award given out by Big Daddy Diesel for my near-puke, I-want-to-puke 8k race in August.  Thank you BDD! 

* * * * *

I love the conversations that happen during my Tuesday night track sessions.  They are some of the best running conversations.  Also on Tuesday we were talking about racing runs.

Racing a run means that you are running a training run at your goal pace for your race.  I have a lot of knowledge on this topic.  I used to do it until I started to train for the marathon.  When I was training for my  half marathons in the spring, every long run I did was done at goal race pace.  Now, I realize, how bad this was for me.  It was essentially like I was racing every weekend, which is not good. 

The topic of racing runs came up when a man who was running the 9-minute pace group with one of the other women completing the track workout with me came down to the track saying his legs were hurting from "leaving it all out on the trail during the 22 mile training run."  It is true - he was sprinting the last few miles and huffing and puffing to get it accomplished. 

Racing a training run, especially one for a marathon, is not good for your legs.  I couldn't imagine racing my 22-mile run on Sunday and being able to recover enough to run well during the week.  I don't know all the scientific background and theories, but I do know a person should not run that fast.  Staying aerobic is a-okay!  There are other opportunities to run at race pace, as in speed work and tempo runs.  These are not nearly as long as the race but still give your legs the opportunity to move at goal race pace. 

I wish I would have learned this lesson earlier, but I am glad I realized it before I started marathon training.  Runs would be hard every week if they were raced, instead of enjoyable.  I would never want to take the fun and calmness out of running.  Running helps me stay relaxed and focused in my everyday life, and I would never want to lose that for a long period of time. 

Do you race runs?  Or, do you like to train at an easier pace than your race goal time? 

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

5k Goals and Tapering

Tapering for the Chicago Marthon has started, as well as my tapering for my 5k on Saturday. I find it both nice and challenging to taper. I like to run a lot of miles, so running a lot less is a drastic change to my work-out routine everyday. However, my legs always enjoy it.

I don't think taping has officially set in with me yet, as yesterday I did an 8+ mile day, consisting of 6 1-mile repeats at the track (which went awesome....sub 7 for my last one = great feeling). Today I was supposed to run 5 miles, but decided only to run 4 because I was battling a low blood sugar all day. Running while low is extrememly exhausting. I am glad I stopped when I did.
Tomorrow I am supposed to run 8 miles and then 12 on Sunday, which will seem incredibly short after 22 last week. However, I plan on doing things a little bit different because that is how I work:
Thursday: 9 or 10 miles, depending on how I feel plus biking, ellipticle and weights
Friday: off
Saturday: 5k race in Park Ridge where I am hoping to PR big time
Sunday: 12 or 14 miles, depending on how I feel

* * * * *

It is interesting to taper for a race within training for a race. I've run a few races while training for the marathon, and my taper has been rather non-exisistent. Considering that I've had a lot of PRs, I only imagine tha I'm in pretty good shape. What if I ran on well-rested legs?

Tapering in marathon training mode, for me, means taking a day off. I run 6 days a week, although my training plan calls for running 5 days per week. I have learned to run easy some days, a concept I would have never baught into in my previous training cycles. I'm learning to love the easy miles.
I guarentee that my 5k on Saturday will be my last race before the marathon. Originally, I was going to run a half marathon on Sunday, but I decided to forego that option because I would have ended up racing it and want to make sure I am 100% ready for the marathon. I have some big goals which I'll be posting about closer to day of the marathon.
For Saturday, my 5k goals are:
  1. Have fun!
  2. PR
  3. Run 20:59 or faster
  4. Properly warm-up and cool down
  5. Do not have a low blood sugar

I'm thinking this race is going to be awesome. I used to hate 5ks, thinking they were so short and pointless. Now, I'm starting to love them. They are so short, it seems like you don't even have to run. You are done in the blink of an eye. I think the main reason why I love them so much is all the work I have done on the track this summer and fall. I never did traditional speed work before, and now I can definitely see the benefit of it. It has helped a lot.

Here's to the last race of the marathon training cycle...and a new PR!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The Running Debate: Pacers

As I was doing my track workout tonight with 2 other women in the group, we were discussing pacing and pacers for races.  We mostly agree on the topic, but it was first mentioned because other people in our running group do not hold the same opinions as us.  A little background...

A pacer is a person in a distance race - typically half and full marathons - that carries a stick that has the goal time on it.  For example, a pacer may carry the 4:00 sign for a marathon.  That pacer should run 9:06/mile splits and theoretically cross the finish line at 3:59:59. 

There is a lot of stress put on a pacer.  Many people depend on them to meet their goal times.  They need to be excellent at pacing.  If they go to fast, they will have people drop out of their group because they will not  be able to keep up with that speed.  Those people will get mad, especially if they worked hard and really want to achieve that specific goal time (read: me in the Rockford half marathon).  They also cannot go too slow because then they will not cross the finish line at the designated time. 

Most likely, people sign up to be pacers for a group that is much slower than their normal time.  In addition to running even splits, they also encourage the runners to keep going and tell them how wonderful they are running during the race.  In essence, they are also the on-course cheerleader.

A few people from my running club signed up to be pacers at a marathon last weekend.  One lady, who has paced many marathons, crossed the line 12 seconds ahead of her time (4:30).  I was impressed!  Another was close to his time as well.  Then, the debate comes in...

One girl from the group paced the 3:55 group for the marathon but ended up dropping out due to a hamstring issue.  (Side note: I'm not sure if I believe her, as she was a speed work tonight running hills with the other track group...if it was that serious, I wouldn't be running, let alone hills.)  She was the only pacer for that group, so the group was left on its own after she dropped out. 

I feel like pacing 3:55 is a really important job; more so than other pace times.  Many people want to break that 4-hour barrier so running with 3:55 is a reasonable thing to do.  The girl that signed up to be the pacer isn't that fast...I honestly don't know if she could run that on her own right now.  I realize that sounded like a snotty comment, but it is just honest.  I'm actually a nice person...I swear!

I personally believe that a pacer should never pace a group where the pace is too fast or even causes them to breathe a smidgen hard.  They should be anaerobic the entire race and be able to easily converse with those in the group to provide motivation for all 26.2 miles.  I would not understand why you would sign up to pace at a pace that you could not is selfish and very self-centered.  Think about everyone else relying on you to get them across the finish line. 

It makes me sad that some people cannot think about others' goals before their own.  I have no desire to sign up for a pacer right now, but if I did, I would do it at least 1:30+ my average time for that race.  For example, if I were to pace a half marathon, I would pace a 9:30 or 10:00 group.

What do you think about pacers?  How important is their role?  Would you drop out of a race?

In other news, I signed up to run a 5k on Saturday.  I'm excited for it. 

Monday, September 19, 2011

A Successful 22

Can you believe there are only 20 days until the Chicago Marathon?

It seems like I've been training forever, and the end has come....except I have to wait another 20 days.  I am more than excited and ready to run Chicago.  I'm ready to run, both physically and mentally.  Bring on the 26.2 adventure!

Yesterday was my last long run before the marathon - a great 22-mile run at an average of 8:31/mile pace.  It was cool, with the temperature in the 50s and it was raining lightly the majority of the time.  It was of those days that you wish you could capture and replay for a race. 

One unique thing that my running club did was the had a race simulation yesterday.  They always have Gatorade set  up for us on a table every 3-4 miles during our training runs, but yesterday they had people "working the aid stations."  The Gatorade cups were filled and volunteers were handing them out to us, just like in a race.  They had Gu at a few of the tables as well, just like there will be in the race.  There was even a race photographer.  The pictures were put up on Facebook and it is interesting to see all the different reactions to the photographer.  He was at a few different spots on the run....just like in a real race.

Perhaps the most beneficial thing about yesterday was that they filled the Gatorade cups with Endurance Gatorade, which is what will be used during the actual marathon.  Typically we just have regular Gatorade, but there is a huge difference between the two drinks. 

I like Gatorade.  It does not upset my stomach, and although blue is my favorite, I don't mind lemon-lime or grape and I'll tolerate fruit punch. 

The first drink I took of Endurance I wanted to spit it back out.  It is soooo sweet!  Even for a person who consumes Gatorade regularly, this stuff was hard to stomach.  I'm not sure of the carbohydrates per glass, but judging by the sweetness I'd say it would have to be a lot. 

My original plan during the marathon was to take 3 Gu's during the race and Gatorade halfway between the Gu's.  I'd drink water to wash the Gu down.  Now, my plan is changing.  I still haven't finalized what I'll specifically be doing, but it won't involving drinking a cup of Endurance.

If you are running Chicago and never tasted Endurance before, I would strongly suggest doing so. 

This makes me even more thankful that my running club did the simulation marathon.  I would have been out of luck during the actual race.

Guess what came in the mail for me today?

My confirmation ticket...and the all-important details,.

Back of the ticket.  It bothers me, but just a little bit, that there are only old, white men pictured above.  How about a little diversity?  I do think the man in purple resembles Santa, though. 

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Three Things Thursday

It has been a busy week to say the least.  I feel like my head would've fallen off if had not been attached this week (quote stolen from a very good friend).  If you see one rolling around, please pick it back up for me.  That would be helpful, very helpful.

1.  I'm trying to get mentally ready to run 22 miles on Sunday.  If I can prepare mentally, I know it will go well.  Physically, I am there.  It is all mental with me.  It is the last long run before the actual marathon, which is both exciting and terrifying at the same time.  How come time moves so quickly?!?

2.  I was trying to explain to my students that running 26.2 miles takes hours to do, not minutes.  I attempted to explain that the distance was close to running from the suburb where I teach into downtown Chicago.  I think that helped a little. 

3.  Tonight was Parent Orientation at school.  There is nothing like repeating my little speech 3 times in a row.  Luckily, the parents were cooperative and listened.  Sometimes they act worse than the students.  They were supportive and asked quality questions.  They actually gave me compliments.  Hopefully it is going to be a good year. 

Are you as tired this week as I am?

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The Ladder Workout: Going Up and Down

I firmly begins that running is mental.  Although tonight's track workout called for a ladder, I was  excited to do.  Ladder workout's are challenging and teach you how to race, but I was up for and think I conquered that challenge tonight. 

There are a couple variations of the ladder workout, but mine consisted of: 400, 800, 1600, mile, mile, 1600, 800, 400.  I was supposed to run my 400s at 5k pace, 800s and 10k pace, 1600s between 800s and half marathon pace, and mile between half marathon and marathon pace.  I was fast on all of them.  My splits were:

***Warm-up - 1.1 miles - 9:12 - 8:24/mile pace
400 - (0.26 miles) -  1:28 - 5:48/mile pace
800 - (0.51 miles) -  3:11 - 6:14/mile pace
1200 - (0.77 miles) - 5:06 - 6:36/mile pace
mile - (1.02) - 7:02 - 6:53/mile pace
mile - (1.03) - 6:49 - 6:39/mile pace
1200 - (0.78) - 5:04 - 6:28/mile pace
800 - (0.51) - 3:12 - 6:15/mile pace
400 (0.26) - 1:29 - 5:50/mile pace
***Cool down - 1.1 miles - 10:31 - 9:33 pace

Did you catch all that data?  My times would not have been accurate if I went solely on the given distance, as each time I ran farther.  Each step counts in speed work and in races!

When I look at that data, I can only think of how far I've come as a runner in the past year.  I am proud of my accomplishments....the races I've competed in and the workouts I've done. 

One thing I've learned is that track is challenging.  I have to focus hard in order to run well, but it makes me so happy.  Almost all of my paces, except my first mile, were done faster than my current 5k pace.  Although speed work is beneficial, it cannot predict everything. 

But, after running tonight, I just want to go out and run a 5k for the fun of it.  Maybe next weekend?  It might be nice to get in one more race before the marathon. 

Have you ever completed a ladder workout?  Did you enjoy it?  I've done a wide variety of workouts this summer.  One of the best aspects of the ladder is that it is not boring - the different distances of the ladder make it interesting.  Here's to the last ladder of the outdoor track season!

Monday, September 12, 2011


How much trust do you put in doctors or others in the medical field? 

I constantly wonder how much of my trust I should give to my doctors.  It doesn't really matter what kind of doctor they are, although the ones I typically see are my endocrinologist and, unfortunately, sports medicine doctor.  They talk to you for a few minutes and are somehow certified to give you a diagnosis or tell you exactly what adjustments to make so everything will be better.  I want to ask them if they know the old saying about walking a mile in my shoes before judging me (or, more appropriately, diagnosing me)?

Contrary to what you might be thinking from the above paragraph, I actually trust my sports medicine and endocrinologist a lot. 

Recently, my right leg has been hurting.  It is not every run, but it was definitely become more frequent.  It hurt during speed work and during a few races and felt okay on most easy runs.  Although, the pain was starting to occur when I was not running.  Therefore, given the fact that the Chicago Marathon is less than a month away, I made a safe decision and called up my sport medicine doctor and saw him today.

My diagnosis?  Strained calf muscle. 

The first words out of my mouth were: "I am so glad it is that and not something else!" 
Translation: "I think I can run with a strained muscle!  Because I'll do anything in order to run this marathon."

I think he actually laughed out loud after I said that. 

He told me that I could keep on running but I should really work hard to improve my relatively non-existent stretching routine.  And....go to physical therapy.  Nooo (cue baby crying)!!!!  Really, I don't want to go back there. 

If you remember, I had to go to physical therapy last fall for a weird knee injury in my left leg.  It eventually healed.

I was going to do some biking at my gym tonight and decided to stop by the physical therapy place because it is on the way to the gym. 

Long story short:

I came out of the physical therapy office rather mad.  It takes a lot to get me mad.

I was lucky enough to get an "initial consult" today when I went in, only to talk to the same PT that I had last year.  He felt my legs to see where the problem area was and then made me walk back-and-forth in a variety of ways. 

Then, he proceeded to tell me the following:

1.  I probably don't do enough cross training
2.  I don't lift weights enough
3.  My form is most likely wrong given how many injuries I've had in the past 2+ years

Here is what I think about that:

1.  I feel like I cross train a lot.  I told him that I do a good job of cross-training and keep a detailed spreadsheet where I record everything.  I would be happy to bring it in for him next time.  Translation: eat your words.

2.  I lift weights enough for me.  I will never lift weights 15 times a month (every other day) because I don't like it that much.  I know it is good to do, so I do it.  I think lifting weights 6, 7, or 8 times a month is enough for me.

3.  I have had 4 injuries in the past year.  They were:
           a. Stress Fracture, right leg, May 2009.  The cause was the fact that I didn't take rest days.  This would be called an overuse injury, not one dealing with running form.
           b.  Knee injury, left leg, Fall 2010.  This could have been a form injury, so I'll give him that.
          c.  Achilles tendinitis, Winter 2011.  This was due to the fact that I increased both speed work and mileage at the same time, and too quickly, not from running form. 
          d.  Calf strain, right leg.  I have not done enough research on it, but plan to start soon to figure out the cause.  Perhaps it is poor running form...or maybe it is something dealing with speed work, since that it is when it hurts the most.  Not sure yet.

Conclusion: I trust doctors, but not my current physical therapist. 

I know my calf is in fairly bad shape.  I know I need to get better.  I want to run a great marathon and think I have the potential to run well.  If that means tolerating physical therapy, I'll do so.  Right now I just don't believe a thing that he says.  I would type some other words that my friend Scully might write, but I will refrain.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Take Two: "I Never Thought THIS Would Happen to ME During Marathon Training"

I'm learning that I used to think that I was invincible.  Normal rules that applied to everyone else simply did not apply to me because...well, that is just the way it is.  However, I am, albeit slowly, realizing that I cannot do everything.  I'm also learning that it is okay not to do everything.  Small steps!

Last week I learned that I would not complete my marathon training cycle without missing a long run. 

This week?  I will gain weight during marathon training. 

I read a lot of articles, none of which I can find right now (how convenient), that said the majority of people who are training for a marathon gain weight.  I thought, "how crazy are those people?  how is that even possible?!?" 

Fact: You gain muscle when you run all of those miles.  Muscle weighs more than fat.  Therefore, you will most likely gain weight.

I noticed back in August that I gained a pound, but didn't think much of it.  I figured that since I was drinking a copious amount of water that it was just water weight and I would sweat it out another day while running.  Except, that never happened. 

Although I have only gained 1...or 2 pounds, depending on the day, I think it is mentally taking a toll on me.  When you are lighter, you can run faster.  During my recent half marathon, it crossed my mind that it was like I was carrying a 2-pound weight for the entire race. 

I am confident that the weight I gained is, in fact, muscle because my clothes fit the same.  They are not any tighter than they were before, which is encouraging.

Now....will the weight go away after the marathon?  Or, will I keep this weight on long as I run? Hm...

Thursday, September 8, 2011

The Missed Long Run

I've read and heard about a thousand times....everyone missed a long run during marathon training.  It is going to happen, and you are not supposed to dwell on the fact that you missed it.

I had high hopes on Monday to do a 1 mile warm-up, 13 mile half marathon race, and then an additional 7 miles after the race.  I completed the 1 mile warm-up and the race, for a total of 14, but couldn't finish the remaining 7 miles.  I considered this a big fail.

You have to understand - I like schedules.  If the schedule says to run 21 miles, I will run 21 miles.  If it says do 5, I will run 5.  I know how important 20+ mile runs are in marathon training, and missing one was not something I wanted to do. 

Originally, I thought that I would do a 21 mile run tonight (Thursday), but after talking with another runner decided that probably wasn't the best option.  My training calls for 12 on Sunday, and he thought that running 14 Monday, 21 Thursday and then 12 Sunday would not give my legs adequate rest.  The compromise?  Try 15 instead.

The most I've ever run on a weekday night is 9 miles.  Tonight I set out early to get in 8 before my running group met and thought I could do 8 more with them.  The first 8 felt amazing.  I was listening to my music which I haven't done in a long time while running and it was a great form of distraction.  I ended up running these miles too fast, though.  For my second 8 I was with one of my friends.  It was nice to talk to him for 8 miles on the path.  Our pace was around a 9:15 average and felt good.  I did, however, get extremely tired at the end.  I know I didn't eat enough today to fuel for that many miles.  Live and learn, right?

My legs are super tired right now.  Running 16 miles and running for over 2 hours on a weekday is hard.  I'm hoping that I'm able to get out of bed tomorrow morning!

What is the farthest you've ever run on a weekday? 

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Labor Day Half Marathon

I've spent quite a few hours thinking about my race yesterday.  In the past 5 years, I have run over 27 races.  They have each been memorable for various reasons, but this race was, by far and without a doubt, the most special race I've ever run. 

I had high hopes going into the race, hoping to break the 1:40 barrier.  I was 100% mentally ready for the race.  Sometimes mental preparation is exceeded by physical ability or other issues.  With that being said, I did not PR.  Although it would have been nice, it does not change how special the race was for me.

After getting to the start and starting warming up for a mile, I felt good.  My brother and I started the race, running 7:30 miles or under for the first five.  We passed and ran with a few people my brother knew.  It was interesting because it seemed like people were surprised he was running that pace.  He told everyone he was pacing me.  We had a nice conversation with another runner about my upcoming marathon.  Things were going relatively well. 

However, at mile 6, things turned ugly for me.  The previous night I had been up multiple times with stomach issues.  Although a nice dose of Pepto Bismal provided some relief during the first 5 miles, the stomach issues came back.  To say I was struggling at mile 6 might be an understatement.  I looked and felt awful.

At mile 7 there is a huge hill that goes up into a park.  In the park (miles 8 and 9), there are a few more rolling hills.  Through my struggles, which included running up the mile 7 hill at a pace that was in the 11's for the majority of the mile, my brother kept encouraging me.  As a person who is a perfectionist and easily gets disappointed, this helped a lot. 

I took a Gu in the park and walked when I did so.  I needed a break, as did my stomach.  That helped a little and I was able to regain some speed in the park.  We passed some people that had passed us going up the hills and I was thrilled to be leaving the park on a nice, long downhill.  We then had a few miles left on city streets before finishing.  The last mile seemed to go on forever and although I tried to muster up a sprint at the end, I had nothing left in me.  As we approached the finishing area, the announcer said, "here comes ultra marathoner (brother's name), who runs 100 mile races."  He let me go across the finish line first, being the kind person that he is. 

What else made this race so special?  I've tried to think of an analogy to compare it to, and the only one that came to mind was the following.  Imagine that you are running like a pauper, but being treated like a prince(ss).  Some little things that my brother did for me that made a big difference...

  1. Block the wind for me at all times - and it was a windy day.
  2. Let me run the inside corners, while he took the outside every time.
  3. At all water stations, asked me if I wanted water.
  4. Would pour some of the water out of the cup for me because they were full.  Then, took the cup back after I had my sip.
  5. Constantly offered me encouragement, multiple times per mile.
  6. Put the race in perspective - it is a hard course.  He told me his times running it and other people's experiences on it.  It was a great training run for Chicago.
  7. Commented on my mom's enthusiasm that we were running the race together.  She took a few pictures and her and my dad cheered every time we ran by.  My mom would always yell "Go team (our last name)!"  That made us both laugh.
  8. Reminded me to stay loose while running...I often get really tight.
  9. Had a conversation with me during the race, although he was the one that had to do all the talking, with very few comments from me.
I think part of the reason this race was special to me is that my brother is moving to another state soon.  I won't be able to see him as much.  However, I do plan to visit him this summer and do another race with him.  And that race will be awesome.

If you are wondering about the stats from this race:

Official Time: 1:43:31
Place: 37/135
Age Group Place: 1st
Females: 6/66

Monday, September 5, 2011

One Word

I'm still trying to wrap my head around half marathon #9, which I ran this morning.  When I figure everything out, I'll do a post.  Until then, here is

Concept: Use only one word to describe the items listed below. 
My Interpretation: Use one word where applicable, two words where necessary.
Important Detail: Nothing has to be explained.

Yourself: determined

your boyfriend/girlfriend (husband, whatever): runner

your hair: untameable

your mother: giving

your dog: will never have one

your favorite item: watch(es)

your dream last night: never remembered

your favorite drink: coffee or water

your dream car: my own

the room you are in: dining

your fear: animals

what you want to be in ten years: happy

who you hung out with last night: family

what you're not: outgoing

muffin: blueberry

one of your wish items: plane ticket

time: 8:38 p.m.

the last thing you did: ate

what you are wearing: running clothes/North Face

your favorite weather: today's

your favorite book: Still Alice

the last thing you ate: Peanut Butter Panda Puffs

your life: routine

your mood: content

your best friend: T

what you are thinking about right now: running recovery

your car: blueish-gray

what you are doing at the moment: blogging

your summer: too fast
what is on your TV: nothing

what is the weather like: cool

when is the last time you laughed: today

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Details, Details, Details

One thing I've done differently with my training this year is actually keep track of how many miles I am running, biking, etc.  I have found it incredibly beneficial, too.  My workout log is simple, where I just input what I accomplished everyday.  Some days will have zeros in every box, while other days will be rather intense.  It is neat to see how much I've done since January 1st.

Perhaps the most beneficial thing for me has been the ability to go back and look to see how many miles I was running earlier in the year and how I tapered for my races this year.  For my first 6 half marathons, I followed the same tapering plan.  It was:

4 or 5 Days Before: 10 Miles
3 Days Before: 5 miles
2 Days Before: 3 miles
1 Day Before: 1 mile
Race Day - 13.1 miles

As I'm sure you've noticed, it was not much of a taper. 

For half #7 (in March), I changed some things around:

Instead of doing 1 10 mile long run, I completed 2.  My taper looked like this:

5 Days Before: 10 miles
4 Days Before: 0 miles
3 Days Before: 3 miles
2 Days Before: 3 miles
1 Day Before: rest
Race Day - 14 miles (I decided to warm up)

I once again changed things up in hope for success in half #8 (in May):

5 10+ mile training runs
7 Days Before: 11 miles
6 Days Before: rest
5 Days Before: 4 miles
4 Days Before: 4 miles
3 Days Before: 2 miles
2 Days Before: rest
1 Day Before: rest
Race Day: 13.5 miles (a short warm-up)

For my upcoming half #9, once again things have changed.  Are you starting to notice a pattern? 

8 runs of 12 or more miles since July 1

My tentative taper schedule looks like this:

8 Days Before: 12  Miles
7 Days Before: Rest
6 Days Before: 5 Miles with 3 at half marathon pace and practicing on hills
5 Days Before: 2 Miles
4 Days Before: 4 Miles
3 Days Before: 3 Miles
2 Days Before: 2 or 3 Miles
1 Day Before: Rest
Race Day: 13.1 mile race + 1 mile warm-up very slowly + 7 miles after at marathon training pace

My legs have felt pretty good all week, and I'm hoping that they'll feel even better come Monday morning.  Today's run, 4 miles, went well given the super hot conditions (over 100 heat index = hot). 

As each day passes and Labor Day draws near, I am getting more and more excited.  This race is going to be special for me.

How do you taper for half marathons?