Archive | April, 2013

flower city half marathon–i didn't puke at the finish line!!! (i puked on the bridge instead hahaha)

29 Apr

First: to explain the title of the blog for those unfamiliar with my racing mishaps, I puke after races.  Pretty much every race, ever since the first Flower City Half I ran, 4 years ago.  The normal protocol is to run the race, puke almost immediately as I cross the line (often into my hand because I am trying to stop myself from puking by somehow holding it in via my hand???). 

So today was the Flower City Half.  I have not trained at all for a half marathon.  I have been working really hard to get my mileage where it needs to be to run a successful (read: I don’t want to die) marathon in a month.  Last weekend, I ran a 20 miler.  Normally, last weekend would’ve been a taper, aka much fewer miles.  Unfortunately, I can’t afford that so close to the marathon.  However, I figured this would be a really good indication of what kind of shape I’m in for Buffalo in a month.  That being said, there are some important points to keep in mind:

1.  As I’ve already mentioned, I did not taper.  On Thursday, I actually ran almost 8 miles on trails.  Not necessarily the best plan (for someone who doesn’t normally put in a lot of miles, like me). 

2.  Buffalo is apparently pancake flat.  Flower City is not.  In fact, I’d forgotten just how many hills and rollers there are on the course I ran today.  There’s never anything serious (well the Goodman/Pinetum 1-2 is not “un-serious” haha).  But it is NOT flat by any stretch of the imagination.  Word on the street is that Buffalo is MUCH easier.  Thank.  God.  Eric said he figures on a flat course, I’d run a 1:55 or better.  The uphills really killed me today, but we’ll get to that.

3.  I am a head case on this course.  The minute I hit the river, my brain immediately says, “Stop, bitch.”  It’s a struggle to get myself to continue. 

So here’s how the race went down, along with some of my hilarious (and not-so-hilarious-self-pitying) thoughts along the way.

Mile 1–9:24  I couldn’t get around people who were too slow and it was frustrating me.  And then people stopped to walk and I was like seriously why did you line up so far in front????

Mile 2–8:40  I thought maybe I was too fast, but I felt good (well duh.  it’s mile 2) and I knew I’d settle in.

Mile 3–8:44  Perhaps mile 2 wasn’t too fast?

Mile 4–8:49  Slowing down a bit, but well on track to go sub-2.

Mile 5–9:02  Saw Oliver here I think.  And started to kind of struggle, which made me struggle more because it was so early to be struggling.

Mile 6–9:05  Coming into the mega-hills of Goodman/Pinetum, I decided to drop the pace a little bit.  I knew the hill was going to crush me, so I wanted to make sure I didn’t go into it balls-to-the-wall.

Mile 7–9:34  The hill killed me.  At one point, I high fived some kids to try to take my mind off of it, and then I got all choked up.  Funny, this is where I almost had a melt down last year, too, when I passed a mom with a newborn in the stroller.  Apparently that hill is kid/baby central.  In any event, I ignored the kids/babies from there on out, knowing that it was a bad idea to get emotional during this race.

Mile 8–9:25  Coming through a bit more hill in the cemetary.  As you get into the cemetary, you come up this cobblestone hill.  I got to the top and said, “oh shit I’m gonna puke” (and if  you know me, you know that I thought this in my first half there, 4 years ago, and my problem is puking in a cemetary–where do you puke? I don’t want to puke on a dead person!)  Eric said, “no you’re not, it’s in your head.”  And then I stopped and dry heaved.  At this point, the 2 hour pace group had caught up to us, and Chris was screaming for me.  I pulled myself together.

Mile 9–8:46  Nailed it.  Seriously.  But by this point, I was REALLY struggling.  “Don’t let your mind give out before your legs do,” I kept silently telling myself, when I wasn’t counting my footstrikes (which is a trick I learned from a pro in a Runnersworld Magazine–when you’re tired, count your footsteps, that way you forget about being tired/hurting). 

Mile 10–8:46  And then my legs wanted to give out, not just my head.  Count your steps, count your steps.  The faster you go, the faster it’s over.

Mile 11– 9:06  Somewhere in this mile, I think the 2 hour group caught me again.  I was pretty devastated, which Eric knew without me saying it.  “They have a cushion built in, Shme.  Just go with them.  You’ve got this.”

Mile 12–9:14  Just go.  I can do this.  Just go.  I get up over the Ford Street Bridge.  As Eric is congratulating me, I say, “Fuck. I’m gonna puke.”  “Yeah like you did in the cemetary? Stop.”  And then I puked a little bit.  And Eric’s words of wisdom were, “Puke and run! You can’t stop now or you won’t do it.  Just go!”  So I did.  I puked and ran.  It was glorious.  Into my hand (as per tradition) and then squirted it off and asked if there was any puke on my face so that pictures of me would not be compromised, but that didn’t matter, because…

Mile 13–9:09  I was dead.  Eric kept telling me to go.  I was pretty unaware of people around me, all I could think about was getting to the finish line so I could lay down on the road.  Yeah.  That was my thought.

the last .1–(which by my watch was actually .28)  2:11 or a 7:45 pace.  We got close enough to see the clock and Eric was screaming at me (and Chris in the distance ahead) that I had to sprint or I’d never make it there.  So I sprinted.  And in my head, I was thinking “Oh God there are going to be some really awful pictures of me at this point).   

So by my watch, I ran 13.28 in 2:00:20 (I started it a little early because I forgot at the start line that you don’t actually CROSS the start for a while bc there are so many people there).  That works out to a 9:04 overall pace. 

Thoughts moving forward:

1.  I need to get stronger on hills.  I am a baby, and trail running has not helped because I have pretty much given myself permission to just walk the uphills (which, to be fair, are often more like mountains–they don’t really compare to road “hills”).  We used to do hill repeats on Tuesday nights, and I may need to revisit this, even if it’s just once or twice a month.  My struggles were undoubtedly on the hills–this is where the 2:00 pace group kept reeling me in.  Not cool.

2.  I need to figure out why I puke all the time.  Eric and I think it may have something to do with my breathing, which obviously gets labored going up hills (and the asthma doesn’t help with that).  But we’re not sure.  If any of you have thoughts on this, I’d love to hear them.

3.  I need to stop puking in my hand.  Seriously.  If puke is going to be my thing, then I can at least “do it right.”

4.  I am going to work on setting some good Buffalo goals.  Stay tuned.

5.  When the Buffalo Marathon is over, there will be no more major races (halves or fulls) until at least the fall.  I’m tired of long runs and it’s awful to be in discomfort/pain for 2+ hours.  I’m ready to just do a few fast 5ks, which hurt, but for so much shorter time.  🙂

Thanks to everyone who came out today to support–it is unbelievably motivating to see people I know and love on the course running with me OR on the side, screaming, cheering, OR running along in flip flops (Oliver).  You guys are awesome!

The end of NIAW

27 Apr

I am not good about talking about my feelings.  Or talking at all, actually.  You might laugh at that if you know me.  But most of what I talk about it just chatter, especially around people I don’t REALLY know.  I don’t talk about real stuff.  But I like to write about it.  I used to want to be a writer, actually.  Writing is easy for me, it comes natural.  As a kid, my nose was always buried in a book, and I like to think that my writing developed as a result of all that reading.  Writing helps me to process what I’m thinking and feeling, and it is unbelievably cool to look back on what I wrote a year, two, more ago and see where I was and how far I’ve come.

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I wrote countless posts about infertility on my old blog.  When I reread it, I realize just how dark my views were, just how low things were.  When I wrote The Truth blog, I said that it was one of the lowest points of my life.  I don’t know if I really understood just how true that was until this week, when I started rereading the old blog.  Looking back, it was such a dark time for me.  I still feel guilty sometimes for deciding I wanted to take a break–I knew it wasn’t what Eric wanted–but I think it was probably for the best.  I’ve seen all too often what happens when people who are not mentally stable have kids.  It’s not pretty.  And if I can’t get pregnant on Clomid, then I need to be in a good place to deal with that, and I was most definitely not in that place a few months ago.  There are posts I wrote but never published that scare me a little bit because they are so dark.

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When I started this blog, I made the decision that I would make it more public (the old blog was only given to a few of my closest friends), and therefore stop writing about infertility.  I really thought I could just forget about it–that the pill was a magic mind eraser.  Silly me.  I debated sharing our infertility with a wider audience.  I wasn’t sure if it was appropriate to talk about–which is exactly why it needs to be talked about.  Because when we don’t talk about it because it’s “shameful” or a “secret,” we incorrectly reinforce that it’s shameful.  It’s not.  It’s not my fault that I have the problems I have.  It’s not the fault of the millions of other couples facing this problem.  I have received so many emails, comments and private messages about friends who are having a hard time getting pregnant, too.  People who are not comfortable sharing their own personal stories.  The stats say 1 in 8 couples has a hard time conceiving.  I think that must be higher based on the people I know.  It has to be a result of the foods/chemicals/lifestyle that has become common in the US.  But that’s a whole different topic.  Now that the truth is out there, I feel better, more authentic.  I don’t like lying or hiding things. 

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 I wasn’t going to share our story.  But the thing is, I’ve taken a lot of comfort in reading what other women and men have to say about their experiences.  Infertility is a super-charged emotional roller coaster.  And none of the emotions are pleasant or nice.  Hopelessness, depression, rage, anxiety, jealousy, guilt, shame…these are not good things, and they make an already upset person feel even worse.  It’s a downward spiral, and I rode that train once already.  I am scared to ride it again.  I will, but it’s scary.  So if I can add my voice to the millions of voices already out there and provide a little comfort or a little confirmation that it’s ok to feel like this, then why not?  And if nothing else, the writing will help me process my own feelings and thoughts. 

I had put all of my uncomfortable feelings up on a shelf when we started our break.  This week, I’ve started to revisit them.  It’s hard to acknowledge some of them. But I know it’s important to “fess up” to them.  That ultimately it will help me to become a stronger, better person.  And reading that other people have these same thoughts and feelings…it makes them easier to deal with.  It makes it easier to think that I’m  not a bad person and that it’s OK to be mad at the bad parents I see, cry when I see newborns or commercials about family time, guilty for being jealous, less of a woman for not being able to do what I’m “supposed to do.”  I know it will all work out.  And until then, I will just keep runnin’.

juxtaposition

23 Apr

I am working with a new student.  Well several new students (that’s a whole different story), but in jail, my remaining student (one got translated somewhere else) is finally out of lock-in (basically solitary confinement), which means that I can actually work with him, in the same room.  Hooray.  He’s been a doll, following my directions, doing what I ask, trying really hard. 

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Today we were talking about how I know Spanish.  Apparently, even though he was in lock-in, he was able to confer with my former student, who was recently transferred.  They discussed the fact that I am white, yet know Spanish, which fascinates most of the students I’ve worked with over the years. 

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So I was telling him how I lived in Spain, explaining what that was like.  And then it hit me.  I was only a year older than him when I went to Spain.  He’s locked in jail while I was out traveling the world.  The difference in our lives really hit home to me.  How do things get so bad in a kid’s life that they end up in jail? 

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 At his age, I had a head full of dreams.  The world was my oyster–I could do whatever I wanted.  He is in jail.  He will never live that down, even when he gets out.  He’s barely traveled within Rochester.  He moved here from Puerto Rico and hasn’t even been to the beach.  I actually don’t know if he even knew there WAS a beach in Rochester.  Life’s so unfair.

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This week is National Infertility Awareness Week.  And I am sad.  Because I KNOW beyond a shadow of a doubt that I would be a great mom.  That Eric would be a fantastic dad.  That our kids would have such a great life.  They would know the beach, the zoo, the parks, the museums, cities in the US, hopefully cities in other countries.  They would know people from other cultures.  They would know our family histories, who they are, where they come from, who their ancestors are.  They would be great readers because we would read together.   And there are just so many children out there who don’t have that.  And it’s so incredibly judge-y of me to think that other people are not fit to be parents or that I would be a better parent.  But that’s just how it is.  And it’s unfair and it sucks and it makes me sad because this kid who I work with every day, this man-boy, has made bad choices that have landed him in jail.  But I can’t help but think that his bad choices are the results of bad choices made by his own parents.  And that’s really sad and unfair.

for real???

17 Apr

Here’s the run down of my workouts thus far this week:

1.  Monday–Fit 1 is seriously the hardest thing ever.  Gustavo is amazing and encouraging and I find myself once in a while forgetting that I’m in a class and out in the open where people can actually see me exercising.  [Side note: I wouldn’t run outside in the middle of the day for a long time because I didn’t want people to see me.  The first time I ran on a “major” road, I was on Ridge Road by the mall.  It was a momentous run for me because I was on a road where people could *gasp* see me and what I was doing.  I went to some Fit1 classes over the winter, and they were at night, and it was great because it was dark and I felt like no one could see me.  There were some dicey parts of class when YNN news showed up with cameras to interview runners about Boston.  I hid and tried really hard to avoid the camera.]

2.  Tuesday–I woke up feeling the Fit1 workout from yesterday (and shoveling a gigantic pile of mulch for a couple of hours before class probably didn’t help matters much).  We went to Tuesday Trail Trots at Powder Mills Park and ran 4.5 miles nice and slow.  It was really fun, the trails were perfecto (well…a little bit muddy in a couple sections, but overall it was awesome).  But my legs were SUPER sore before, and now they were even more sore.  I foam rolled and went to bed.  I had a MISERABLE night–I could not sleep–I was up, then I’d drift off, then I’d wake up with a dream, because I was too hot, because Picasso was making me uncomfortable, because something tickled my shoulder and I thought it was a spider.  It was a rough go, and I was exhausted when my alarm went off this morning.

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So I got up and decided, given my very sore quads and my very tired body, that I would switch up my training plan a bit.  I was slated to run a tempo run today (5 miles at 8:50 w/ 1 mile warm up and 1 mile cool down) and a long-ish easy run tomorrow (6-8 miles).  I was planning to flip flop them and just do an easy, long-ish run today.  But as the day went on, the weather looked so good.  I wavered in my decision.

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I came home from work, changed into some running clothes, and decided to scrap both runs and try some Yasso 800’s.  The premise of Yasso’s is pretty simple:  If you want to run a 4:00 marathon, you are capable if you can run 10  800 repeats (that’s a half mile) in your time goal (in that case, 4 minutes for a half mile).  Your recovery time should be the same amount of time you ran your 800 in (so 4 minutes) and you can pretty much do them however you want, as long as you’re moving (so you can walk or jog).  I figured I’d give it a go and see what happened and if it wasn’t looking promising, I would just go to the long-ish easy run plan instead.

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Well…I ran 8 800’s.  I took less recovery time than I should’ve a couple of times.  It was strangely windy (I noticed wind chimes in my warm up mile and immediately thought to myself, “fml. gotta try to get the 800’s with the wind at my back”).   In any event, I ran my 800s in 3:42-3:53 pace.  Even the ones that were into the wind or up a hill.  Boo ya.  Now I know a lot of people say that Yassos don’t truly predict race performance, that they’re off by 5-10 minutes.  Even if they’re off by that much, that means I will run close to a 4 hour marathon!!!  I will do at least 1 more Yasso workout–even if it doesn’t predict exactly, it’s a huge confidence booster for me.  So yay.  Things are looking up in this training plan.

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In addition, my overall pace for all 8 miles that I ran was 8:45.  So my tempo run of 5 miles at 8:50 pace happened inadvertently!  Hooray!!!

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The marathon is so much a  mental game.  Eric tells me all the time that I’m a head case, that I am capable of more than I do, that I need to trust the training and be willing to put myself in pain/discomfort because it will pass and I will be fine.  Today’s workout really showed that.  I am ready for a 20 miler this weekend–slow and steady.  I don’t think I NEED a 20–I’ve been reading a lot about how in other countries, where they use the metric system, most athletes top out at 18.6 miles.  I’ve done 18 milers a few times now.  But I guess a 20 will just be an extra boost in confidence.  Game on.

and then it didn't matter

16 Apr

I’ve been a little stressed about my upcoming marathon.  I’ve put in a lot of work.  I know I will be fine–I will finish this marathon and likely finish much faster than I finished my first.  I’ve still got 6 weeks, which really means about 3 weeks of real training left.  The bulk of the training is what I’m doing now.  I can be an extreme type-A personality and following a schedule/plan makes me feel like I’m in control of things–every workout I’ve done has become critical in my mind, so when things don’t go according to plan or when twinges in my quad start to bother me, I get nervous about how things will go on race day.   I get stressed, I get upset, I get worried that things are not going to go according to plan or that I will fall apart and run a 6 hour marathon.

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And then yesterday happened.  Yesterday–when over a hundred people are in the hospital and at least 3 are dead.  Hundreds more are mourning loss–loss of family, loss of friends, loss of limbs, loss of a dream, loss of innocence. 

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And suddenly I am reminded that I shouldn’t take life too seriously and that this is just a race.  That HOW I finish doesn’t really matter.

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Yes. I’ve put a lot of hard work and effort and countless hours into training for my marathon, just like all of the people who lined up at the start yesterday.  And those hours are what matter more than the four hours that I’ll run the race. 

 The hours of running with friends, having conversations, laughing and having a good time. 

The hours of runs with my husband, my self-proclaimed sherpa, who has been everything from my water carrier to my cheerleader (who signs me up for marathons because he knows that I would never say I’m going to do one on my own, that I need him to encourage me and yes, even force my hand by signing me up for a race so that I have no choice). 

 The hours of runs with my dog, the greatest companion I’ve ever known, the one who doesn’t care how fast or slow we go (because he will just pull me along faster), the one who will collapse on the living room floor with me post-run, utterly and contentedly exhausted. 

 The hours of runs with my younger siblings, filled with inside jokes, playful banter and reflections on our family. 

The hours of runs alone, just me and my thoughts. 

The hours spent on roads, on the Riverway trail, along the lake and ponds, on the canal, on the countless amazing trails here in Rochester and Buffalo.

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I find myself getting really emotional today.  Every time I see a TV or hear the radio (I was at jury duty, so TVs to keep us “occupied” and radio in the car), it seems they’re talking about Boston.  I can’t stop listening, even though it hurts.  I don’t even know anyone who was hurt or killed, but it still hurts.  Marathoning is a journey.  I have 6 weeks left in my journey.  My heart breaks for all of those who had embarked on the same journey that I am on, only to have it end in this unthinkable tragedy.  I can’t stop thinking about it…and I don’t think I’ll ever look at a marathon in the same way. 

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Before I started running 4 or so years ago, I don’t know that I would have been this emotional.  Sure I’d have been upset, as I think most people are.  But this is something so deeply personal for me, as a runner and a marathoner.   It’s hard to explain or define the relationships forged with other runners, the instant closeness I feel when someone reveals that they, too, are a runner.  When I first started running, barely making it to the end of the block, I never would’ve thought I’d be where I am today–about to run my third half marathon, second marathon, with countless friendships forged over those miles of training runs and fun runs.  Running has changed me, and I am so thankful for that.

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Anyway, the point of this blog is that I’ve let myself get very wrapped up in the specifics of training and the goals I want to set and the finishing time I want to run, when the reality is that none of that matters.  In the long run, it will not matter how fast I run this race.  And yesterday reminded me of that.

breaking rules

14 Apr

I am not a newbie runner anymore.  I know the “rules” for running.  And yet I seem to keep breaking them during this particular training cycle.  One of the cardinal rules of running is to eat the same things the night before/morning of an important training run and/or race.  I have ALWAYS kept to this.  For about a year now, we eat pizza on Friday night before a long run.  I’ve heard some people say that’s gross, that it’s not healthy enough, but I’ve never had issues if I do it.

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Last night, I went to monthly Girls’ Night Dinner, which we had to change from a weeknight to Friday night.  When we were deciding on a place to eat, we picked Half Moon Salads in an attempt to try something new.  I was excited–I really love salad, and it’s nice to find “fast food” joints that are also healthy.  Or at least comparatively healthy.

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As I was driving to meet the girls, I started thinking about the wiseness of eating something new the night before a planned 20 miler.  I wasn’t too sure that it was a good idea, but at that point, it was too late.  I got to the restaurant wishing I had eaten some bake-n-rise pizza and just gotten a drink and snack or something.   I ate my salad and hung out with the ladies for some good convo and girl bonding time.

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Last night, when I went to bed, my tummy was gurgling.  When I got up this morning, it was still not feelling right.  I really never have stomach problems on runs (or really ever, except if I eat something really fatty/greasy because we don’t eat that way often)–I’ve heard of the dreaded runner’s trots, but really never experienced them.  This morning, I nervously shoved some toilet paper into my water belt, just in case. 

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Sure enough, about an hour into the run, both of us needed to make a pit stop.  The lady at the gas station we stopped at wasn’t going to let us use the bathroom (only for employees) but then she let us (she must’ve seen the desperation in our eyes).  Eric went first and by the time he was done, my tummy had settled again.  We carried on.  When we got to Charlotte Beach about another hour in, I was so thankful for another bathroom chance.  Except the only bathrooms available were porta-potties, which have been out all winter (I’ve had to use them a few times on long runs this winter), and they no longer lock.  Lame.  I still couldn’t go to the bathroom, so we continued on.  I was happy with my time at that point–over 11 miles in and at 1:45:00.  I was remembering a time, not too long ago, when 9 miles took me that long.  Yay for progress.  My legs still felt good at this point, and the stomach issues were manageable–sometimes I’d have to slow the pace a little bit to let some cramps pass, but really I seemed OK.

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As we started up Lake Ave, the wind started whipping–right into our faces.  And I fell apart.  My stomach started cramping, the wind was SO cold, and I felt like I couldn’t move.  We decided to cut things short to be closer to home for bathroom purposes.  As we continued on, I started feeling like I was going to throw up.  At one point, I stopped at a sewer grate, hands on me knees, just waiting for it, while Eric encouraged me to “just let it go.”  Nothing came up, though.  Then I got a cramp that went from my back all the way around my side and under my boob–every breath I took hurt.  My stomach was still cramping like crazy, and I was alternating between feeling like I was going to shit my pants or puke.  I was miserable.

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We got home around 15 miles in–I used the bathroom and felt moderately better, so I changed shirts, Eric grabbed his bike, and we headed out for a little more.  I was another mile in, considering a run/walk for another 25 minutes, but Eric said he didn’t think that was going to help me much.  I thought about it, then agreed.  I’ve pushed through runs where I felt like puking, and then had to lay on the couch the rest of the day, recovering.  It’s just not worth it to do that.  I’m glad I called it when I did.  I had a really great run for the beginning 11 miles or so, and I know I would’ve been just as strong had my stomach been better and the weather remained calm (Eric actually said as we were in our last mile that he was glad we had started at 6:30 today, which is earlier than usual, so that we had as much time as we did running in relatively calm weather).

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Tonight, I feel mostly better.  My legs feel good.  I’m going to run tomorrow–probably 10ish miles?  Next weekend, I will try to get in 18-20.  I am not worried about not finishing–I know I will finish this marathon.  But I really have high hopes of running well and taking significant time off of my first marathon time.  I guess I will just run my long run next weekend, then race the Flower City the following weekend, which should give me a good indication of what my fitness level is and help me set more realistic marathon goals.  Stay tuned for updates on how that goes…

long run reflections

6 Apr

I like long runs.  I bitch about them a lot (especially while in the midst of them, and super especially when it’s just Eric and I–when other people are around I tend to behave much better).  But they are a chance to give some good perspective.  Today, I feel like I had plenty of good revelations…

1.  We saw a couple getting engaged.  We were running up and I heard exclamations and someone was down on the ground, and at first I thought someone had fallen, but then I realized what was going on.  I was like oh no we’re about to ruin this couple’s moment with our smelly, sweaty runner-ness.  The guy was psyched, though, waving the ring wildly (I was a little nervous it would fly out of the box and end up in the pond and we’d be compelled to help look for it).  Eric high fived him, we both said our congratulations and then continued on.  I was a little choked up.  I get really emotional on long runs (working out in general–there’s this one series at Bikram Yoga where I did, too, and one of the instructors used to say that it was the posture that encouraged it, so maybe it’s the same with running somehow?).  I need to work on getting that in check, because it can be a problem on race day (i.e. coming up the big hill during flower city half and i see a man, woman and newborn and almost lose my shit).  It was cool to see, though.

2.  We saw a beautiful “hound” dog (I call hunting dogs/pointers hound dogs haha).  It was brown with white spots and so excited to be out running–even though it only had 3 legs.  It was bounding next to its owner, happy as could be.  We saw them at the end of our run, when I was feeling beat up and exhausted, and this was like a reminder to me of how lucky I am to be able to run enough where I can feel beat up and exhausted because there are people who can’t and that would really suck.

thank you, runner dog, for giving me some much needed perspective

3.  I was supposed to run 18-20 miles this morning.  About 5  in, I was really doubtful how much longer I could go.  We did a couple more loops of trails, then a little stint on the roads.  I decided about an hour and a half in that I needed to worry about time on my feet today, and not miles.  So today I did 2 hours and 40 minutes.  My second longest run (2 weeks ago I did 2:50).  I could not figure out why I felt so bad–everything hurt, I was exhausted, my stomach was grumbling even though I’d eaten half a package of shot blocks.  Then I plugged in my Garmin for the first time in about 2 months (no joke).  My elevation change today was over 3000 feet.   I looked back to my other long runs–the ones that have been on roads.  About 500 feet of elevation change.  That means I went up 3x more than I went up AND down 2 weeks ago.  THIS is why I didn’t run as many miles.  THIS is why I felt like shit.  THIS is why I will be a stronger runner come race day.  Hills hurt, but they make you way stronger and faster.  And I am counting on this come race day.

todays elevation--cant even spread it out because its that intense...

elevation a couple of weeks ago...which for some reason looks big, too, but if you compare the numbers on the y axis, I guess you can really see they are incomparable...

4.  We came off the trails and I knew I wanted to do a couple of miles on the roads, where I’d be able to push the pace a bit more.  I was in rough shape by this point–walking pretty much every uphill and having a pretty awesome pity party for myself (while Eric inserted “hilarious” smartass comments about how I should wait to die til I got to the car and how I was still moving, so that was a good sign).  I changed shoes and we set off.  And I rocked a sub 10:00 pace.  Tired, beat up, legs on fire, lungs not really wanting to cooperate…but I went with it.  And that gives me confidence that on race day, when I hit those 20’s miles, and I’m feeling like being done, I will be able to pull out some halfway decent times and run strong at the end.  Last marathon, I fell apart a lot at the end.  I’m hoping (and all signs indicate that) I will be able to maintain a decently strong pace this time around.

5.  As I was putting on my road shoes, I was sitting cross legged on the tailgate, stretching my hips and groin, when I noticed a GIANT hole in the crotch of my pants.  I have no idea how long this monstrosity has been there.  I’ve been talking about how I need to get some new running capris for a while now.  I’ve had the same ones literally since I started running.  Yes.  That’s like over 4 years.  I love these pants, and I think I can sew the hole, but obviously I need to get some new pantalones anyway.  So the rest of the morning, there have been countless jokes about my giant crotch hole.  I am slightly mortified to think that it’s been there for a long time and that people may have seen my underwear and been embarrassed to tell me.  But I think I’d have noticed it if it were there for any length of time.  At least, I hope so…

6.  I have been looking at my plan as a whole, rather than focusing on individual weeks/workouts, and it’s been stressing me out.  But when I break down the plan and go week-by-week, it’s not so bad.  My plan is at the end of the page this week, so I could only see this week’s workouts, and I felt fine about it.  As soon as I turn it over, I’m going to freak out.  I may cut it apart and just put the next week’s plan on the fridge instead.  haha.

7.  I also am very close to it being over.  When I think about the marathon being another 2 months away (ok 7 weeks now), I get discouraged by how much longer I have to do this hard training.  But in reality, I only have another 3-4 weeks of hard training to do.  Then I start my taper, and while there will be some faster runs, there will also be a lot shorter runs and a lot more recovery going on.  So I’m almost there.

8.  When I start to get discouraged and/or feel beat up about my running in the next couple of weeks, I just need to remember that this is really when I’m doing the bulk of the training–all the weeks leading up have mostly been just that–the build up.  This week and the next few will be a combination of distance and speedwork that will hurt, will test my limits, and ultimately make me stronger and better.  And then it will end and I will have more time to relax and let my body recover and prepare to run an amazing time at Buffalo.

So that’s that.  A few more really long runs (really only about 3, plus the half marathon race).  And a few more really tough speedwork sessions.  And some nice, easy runs.  And then I race.  🙂