Holy smokes…I can’t believe I’m already into week 8 of marathon training! It feels like just yesterday I was nervously awaiting the start of my training program. Looking back over the last 7 weeks, I have learned some very important lessons (as long as I follow through and don’t make the mistakes again) and have made some decent progress toward reaching my goal of finishing my very first full marathon. I’m really looking forward to the next 11 weeks of training, but I know the hardest part is yet to come. I’m still working on pushing through the negative thoughts and the tough summer heat, but with every completed run my motivation increases and the Negative Nancy in my head retreats to her time out corner.
When I started this process, I wasn’t expecting to experience some of the changes my body has been going through – some good, some not so good – but through research and reading I’m learning more about what to expect and how to “fix” any issues that may arise. I’ve been reading a lot of articles from Runner’s World and Active.com and have been reading the Runner’s World “Big Book of Marathon and Half-Marathon Training” as well as Nancy Clark’s “Food Guide for Marathoners”. All have given me a good idea of how to train, eat, hydrate and work through any mental barriers that may arise. Talking to other marathon finishers has been a great help too. The most important fact that I have learned is that everybody and every BODY is different. What works for one, may not work for all. It is important to use this time as a learning opportunity, to test out what works and what doesn’t work for me. Just like the last 7, this week has provided may learning opportunities or me. Here is how it went:
Thursday– 7/25/13 (Easy Run – 5.5 Miles):
Another lovely day in Chicago! The weather was a little bit warmer today than it was on Wednesday, but the humidity was still pretty low, making for great running weather. As you know, Thursday’s are the day I meet and train with my Beginning Running buddy. After an incredibly boring day at work (both of my bosses were out of the office), I rushed home in an attempt to get home, grab my bike and get to The Foot before our 6:30pm meet up time. Of course, the pug had to take her sweet time doing her business (we must smell EVERY blade of grass to find the PERFECT spot, you know) so I was felling a bit rushed. Luckily, I got the bike out the basement door without injuring myself (not an easy task) and was on my way in no time. I made it to The Foot and found a “parking” spot for my bike with 5 minutes to spare. After a great Q&A with a nutritionist, we stretched quickly and headed out. We were scheduled to do 4 miles today, but since my buddy and only one participant in the 10K and Run/Walk programs showed, we decided to tag along with the 10K pacer and participant. So, instead of 4 miles, we ended up doing 5.5 miles! I was so proud of my 5K buddy, she had never run that far before, but was able to easily complete the run. Heck with a 5K, this girl is ready for a 10K! She seemed pretty happy about the run too…both the distance she covered, and the speed. She is doing really, really well – I’m glad she is enjoying herself and is discovering what she is capable of. Here are the stats for our run, sandwiched between my ride to/from the store:
Friday – 7/26/13 (Rest Day):
Friday’s are a rest day, and I took full advantage of this rest day. I was able to take advantage of summer hours and left work a little early, which gave me some time to run a few errands before heading home. After a quick ride around Oak Park/River Forest in Betty (my husband’s shiny new black Mustang), we enjoyed a nice relaxing evening watching movies. I went to bed early, knowing I would be getting up early to get my long run in so I could spend the day preparing for guests we were having over Saturday evening.
Saturday – 7/27/13 (The Long Run That Didn’t Happen):
The alarm went off at 4:45am and I groaned as I rolled out of bed. My stomach was feeling a little upset but I chalked it up to nerves about running the 12 miles I had scheduled for that day. Things were only getting worse as I attempted to choke down my CLIF bar. I know I say that I choke down those CLIF bars a lot, but this time I really mean it. After letting my stomach settle for a half hour or so, I geared up and headed out the door. I still wasn’t feeling that great when I started out, but just after the one mile marker, I stopped in my tracks (there may even have been a screeching sound…lol) and began contemplating how I could get home…QUICKLY. I was supposed to do a trail run with my run club today, but canceled last minute because my new hydration belt hadn’t arrived yet and there is only well water on the trail (well water and I don’t get along well, I break out in hives, I think it’s the Sulfur), so at this moment I was really glad I didn’t go! After a very uncomfortable walk home I decided to go back to bed for a while. Feeling much better, I got up again around 8am and decided to hit the local farmers market before meeting a friend for a cup of coffee. Feeling like I needed to get at least some exercise in for the day, I decided I would ride my bike.
The farmers market was awesome…there were so many fresh fruits, veggies, plants and flowers! I ended up with a gigantic bag of fresh green beans (for $2.50!!!) and a jar of Jalapeno pickled asparagus for my hubby. I really wanted to get a beautiful bouquet of fresh flowers too, but I was sure they wouldn’t hold up well in my backpack.
I left the farmers market and made my way through Oak Park/River Forest to meet my friend, taking the long route to kill some time. I finally made it to Starbucks and had a nice time chatting with my friend(s) over coffee (iced Green Tea for me) and pastries. I think I could have done without the pastry though, since my ride home was less than comfortable…I have never wanted a TUMS so badly in all of my life! After I got home and ate that magical TUMS, I rested on the couch for a little bit before tackling the house cleaning and guest preparations. Unfortunately, our guests had to cancel at the last minute, but we still enjoyed a nice evening with our neighbors and a fire in the backyard. Again, I went to bed early knowing I would have to get up early and try my long run again. Here are the stats for my bike ride(s):
Sunday – 7/29/13 (12 Mile Long Run – For Real This Time):
After the previous failed attempt at this long run, I just wanted to stay in bed when the alarm went off at 5am today. Though I felt much better physically, than I did the day before, I wasn’t mentally in the game. After eating my CLIF bar and taking my sweet time getting ready, I finally got out the door around 6:45am. The first half of the run was good. My legs were a little tired and sore from riding my bike the day before (I don’t usually ride my bike so my muscles aren’t used to it), but I was able to push through. I stopped at mile 4 to refuel with a gel and kept trudging along. Too little too late, I think. As I discovered during last weeks long run, my energy level falls off a steep cliff somewhere around mile 4 to 4.5, meaning that I should eat a gel closer to mile 3 or 3.5 – unfortunately, I only had two gels (another online order that hasn’t come in yet) so I had to space them out a little further for this run. I was still hanging in there when I stopped to refill my water bottle that had been empty for a while near mile 7. I was running out of juice again but forced myself to keep going for another mile before stopping to eat again at mile 8. I have no idea what happened, but my Garmin decided it was tired too and it reset itself while I ate. Luckily, I planned to do an out and back run, so I knew retracing my route would get me to the mileage I needed. The rest of the run was slow going, I was really running out of gas into mile 10 and started to feel dizzy and exhausted. The last few miles were pure torture, but I made it through – not giving up! Unfortunately, I forgot to factor in the detour I made so I could refill my water bottle and ended up running about three quarters of a mile more than I needed! By the time I got home, my hips and legs were toast. I chugged a glass of Gatorade and hopped in the shower looking forward to meeting up with another friend and then grabbing some breakfast with my husband. Oh boy was it slow going for a while after that run. I fell asleep in the car a few times on the way to breakfast and felt like a 90 year old in desperate need of a hip replacement every time I went to stand up. My protein and caffeine filled breakfast seemed to help a bit, as I was moving around a little better by early evening. I wrapped up the day with a really nice steak dinner on the deck with my husband and brother-in-law. The glass of wine I had ALMOST made me forget about how much that run hurt. 🙂 Here are my stats:
Monday – 7/29/13 (Easy Run – 3 Miles):
Guess what finally came in the mail today?! That’s right…my new Amphipod RunLite Hydration belt! I was so excited when the mailman came, it was like Christmas morning. I excitedly opened the package and immediately tried it on. I was impressed with how comfortable it was and the convenience all of the little compartments provided. In addition to the four 8 oz. bottles, the belt came with a pouch which is perfect size for my phone and keys and an additional expandable pouch (similar to my SPIBelt) which will be perfect for energy gels.
Naturally, I HAD to rush home to take it out for a test run. I was a little afraid that 4 bottles of water would add a ton of weight and I would have to fight the bounce my entire run, but I was pleasantly surprised. Yes, the water filled bottles added a noticeable amount of weight (I wish they could come up with some space age weightless hydration supplement) and there was some bounce and ride up, but it was not nearly as bad as my single bottle Nathan belt. I figured out that placing the bottles closer to my sides helped to reduce the bounce, but the ride up was still really annoying. What is the key to keeping these hydration belts on your hips? Overall, I’m very pleased with this belt and am looking forward to the next club trail run. In the meantime, I plan to wear it at least once a week on shorter runs to get used to it. My stats for last night’s run are below. I’m not sure if the “slower” time was due to tired legs after the 12 miler on Sunday, or if it was the added weight from the hydration belt, but my legs definitely felt “heavier” today.
Tuesday – 7/30/13 (Rest Day):
I had no choice but to take a rest day today. I have to say, I wasn’t really sad about it either, because instead of running 6 miles, I got to watch a Cubs game from an awesome seat at Wrigley Field! 🙂 My husband was lucky enough to score tickets to the game from his office so we enjoyed a nice evening of baseball and junk food. I felt just a little guilty eating a slice of pizza, nachos and two beers. By the time we left I was so full it wasn’t even funny! Unfortunately, the Cubs lost, but we still had a great time.
Wednesday – 7/31/13 (Mid-Week Long Run – 6 Miles):
After Tuesday’s late night, I struggled through the day today but made it through thanks to my little friend, caffeine. By the time I got home from work, all I wanted to do was curl up on the couch and watch some TV. But alas, the training must go on! Since I skipped my scheduled training run on Tuesday for the Cubs game I had to make it up, which meant no Wednesday night speed work…again. That’s three weeks in a row now…ugh, I’m never going to get faster if I keep slacking on the speed work. Darn Tuesday night commitments! I’m thinking about substituting my weekend cross training day with speed work on the weeks I can’t make it on Wednesday nights.
Anyway, this run was pretty awful. Not only was I exhausted from lack of sleep and a crazy busy day at work, but like an idiot I decided it was OK to consume several sugary pieces of candy late in the afternoon. I’m not sure if it was the sugar crash or my junk food choices the night before, but I definitely felt sluggish and my stomach ached something fierce for the first few miles. I wasn’t sure I would make it through 2 miles, let alone 6, but I pushed through and finished the run. I am not too pleased with my pace for this run, considering I did the same run last week at a sub 10 minute pace, but as I’ve said before, we all have bad days and clearly yesterday was a bad day, full of bad nutrition choices. Lesson learned…I will be keeping my hands out of that candy bowl from now on! Here are my stats for the run: