Monday, June 29, 2009

The excitement has worn off

It happened. It actually started to happen late last week. My excitement of training for the NYC marathon has worn off. This is really tragic because I'm miles away from my taper and months away from the race.

The thing about training for a marathon is that it my be top priority in your life. Running becomes more important than most other things in your life. All this for a race I won't even come close to winning. I won't win any money, in fact will spend lots of money to run the marathon: running clothes, sneakers, GU, entry fee, hotel, food, souvenirs that say I ran it. The thing with running 26.2 is that you can't cheat. If you don't train right it will kill you. Even well prepared 26.2 is a strain on the body. I have to want this marathon more than the training annoys me, and I do.

What to do, what to do. Last week I called it a draw, admitted to Bob that I didn't hit my miles and enjoyed the recovery. No long run, only 22.8 miles for the week. This week I'm out of excuses. The next three weeks I have to hit my mileage, 35, 38 and 40, all three with long runs, 10, 12 and 14. Next recovery won't be until 7/20! Ugh!

I'm going to stop thinking about it and just run. I made it through a track workout today and am 5 miles closer to the end of this week and 5 miles closer to the marathon!

Days till NYC: 124
Miles trained today: 5

Friday, June 26, 2009

The run that came close to not happening

We got up early this morning, 4:40 to be exact. Got up and got dressed, made it down to the sofa and no further! I'm exhausted, which is expected at the end of a week before a recovery. It didn't take much convincing to get Joe out of his running clothes and back into bed. "We'll run later"...the dreaded words. There have been times I have said this so often I have completely ruined training weeks. I had promised myself that it wouldn't happen this time, I lasted 2.5 weeks.

Most of the time I can get myself moving before the draw to return to bed becomes overwhelming and especially now that we aren't running in weather with a below 0 wind chill. The problem with this logic, is that I'm a morning person. I always wake pretty early and get more done earlier in the day, running included. Typically the only time I run later in the day is for a track workout and that's only becuase I don't have much of a choice. I'm stuck tonight, if I don't run tonight I'm going to have to run 8 miles on Sunday and that won't happen after running 10 on Saturday. This is another thing that happens with training, I'm constantly doing math to find different ways to get my miles in for the week.

Finally at 7pm we got back into the running clothes from 4:40am and headed to Lincoln Woods. I have to say, if there is one place where you can appreciate the recent weather, it's there. It was beautiful! We headed out and within moments I realized I was not going to enjoy the scenery, I had my head down and focused on those hills. Let's be honest, no one enjoys running hills, but you have to do it. Joe has been told that the last 6 miles of NYC has some rolling hills and to prepare we should be running Lincoln Woods weekly. I don't really care, the last 6 miles of any marathon is pure misery, but I'll go along. Tonight I was sore from all my previous runs and my legs were clearly working hard to get up the hills. After one loop we called it a night, no need to kill ourselves. I wasn't pleased without time so will be interested to see it improve if we can build that into a regular part of our training, although my Achilles' would disagree.

Days till NYC: 127
Miles trained today: 2.5

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

2nd Helping

So this is my last week before a recovery week. I have been very good about hitting my mileage for the last 2 weeks and not coming up short. Like clockwork, things are starting to fray this week.

Up until this point we had been running 6 days a week, I'm sick of that. So this week we decided for 5 days of running with 2 days off, one being Sunday after a long run. It was all good until we missed a run on Tuesday. I know, I know, but we were on vacation and we had the dogs. Excuses, excuses, that's how it all begins! Regardless we could still get the 5 days in, but we are running 10 on Saturday and I do NOT want to run on Sunday. What does that leave me with? Running twice a day!!! Yeah, I'm not thrilled about it either. I've read about other runners doing this and talked to other's in the running club who partake. I've even planned to do this in the past and chickened out in the last minute. Come on now! I like running, but to do it morning and night, you have to be certifiable!

I found myself out there at 5 this morning for a nice easy 3 miles. It felt good, of course it did....3 miles after 2 days off!! All day long track weighted on me like a root canal. Work went by fast and before I knew it I was lacing up my sneaks for the second time today, and it was not for a walk. To top it off, I had to run extra at track to get the miles in. We did 10x200m, meaning the workout was only going to be 2.5 miles. I was going to have to extend both the warm up and cool down. This was going to be torture, I should contact the CIA regarding new interrogation techniques! I would have done close to anything to get out of track tonight! Things were going a long well, my legs had forgotten about this morning's run and before I knew it we were in the midst of the workout. We made quick work of that and I even convinced my compadries to run extra with me on the cool-down. I felt things tightening up on the last lap.

Overall, not as bad as expected, the bigger problem is that I have to do it again tomorrow. I know I am yet again breaking a cardinal training rule, don't try to make up for missed miles. What can I say...I'm going to run the NYC marathon and going to run every training mile even if it means running twice a day, two days in a row!!

Days till NYC: 129
Miles trained today: 8.8

Sunday, June 21, 2009

It's all in one's perspective

Today was the Will Speck race. It was also the last day of running for me this week and the day we leave for VT. Needless to say I was anxious to get it over with. Running 8 miles yesterday left me with sore and tired legs today. I knew going in to it today was not going to be a PR. That's the nice thing about being a back of the packer, if I'm off by a minute no one really notices or cares. As predicted my time was slower than last week, 28:00. It felt as good as expected, a little tight. The real story is in the comparison.

I first ran this race 2 years ago. Spring of 2007 I got a flyer in the mail about a running club. At the time Joe was in school 3 nights a week and I was looking to meet some new people. I showed up at some meeting at Brown and people seemed real nice, I decided I would join. When I told Joe he laughed out loud, "a running don't run!". I think just to prove him wrong, I joined and continued to show up on Wednesday nights. I was the slowest and had no idea what I was doing. I ran in cotton sweatpants and t-shirts. Joe's curiosity got the best of him and he ended up joining, even though he too was not a runner at the time. The Will Speck race was the first race I would run with the club. I had done a few (2) 5k's prior to this. I remember my goal was to finish without walking. I was so nervous, Joe was away that weekend so I was on my own. I finished and did not walk, my time was 33:53 a PR for me! Although I didn't know what PR meant. I was so pleased. Getting off the track that day I called everyone I knew to brag about my accomplishment.

2 years later I have run countless races, wear real running gear and can talk like a runner now. It's not often I think back to how i started but I couldn't help but be reminded today!

Days till NYC: 132
Miles trained today: 4.2
Miles trained this week: 33.4

Saturday, June 20, 2009

longer and longer

Today was finally here. Long run day! I don't really like long run day. A lot rests on today. My mileage has been carefully allocated and I only have tomorrow left so if I tank today I'm outta luck. I was shoes = new attitude. FOr moral support Mia (the dog) came along. She is trying to loose some weight to get ready for bikini season. She would also help to ensure we didn't go out of the gate too fast (she's a 10 min mile dog).

It was a small group at the edge this morning and Joe and I were the only ones going the entire 8 miles. No matter, lets get this done. Off we went, we had company for the first 3 miles. I realized as we turned from Roselee to finish on our own I was feeling great. No pain in the toe or anywhere else. Maybe I'll be able to get through this training after all!

The funny thing about running I have found is that it's hit or miss. There are days I can go out there and like today feel like a million bucks. I could have run forever today. On the other hand there are days where I go out and each step is brutally painful and boring. I accept that that will happen and for the most part it's out of my control. When you run 6 days a week, they can't all be pleasant.

Things were going right along, we had to take a breather around 5.5 for Mia. She might have winded herself on some of the hills. After a short water break we were back at it for the last leg. This was the most familiar part, straight up Hope to Waterman. At this point I can run Hope St with my eyes closed. Finishing up we ran by a woman we passed earlier in the run. I wonder how her run had been.

Days till NYC: 133
Miles trained today: 8

Friday, June 19, 2009

another dreary Friday

I went to bed listening to the rain fall and hoped that I wouldn't hear that sound when I woke for the run today. I didn't hear it, but a peep out the window showed it was still pretty wet. We had a hard time getting out of the house this am. I think that Friday is the hardest morning to run. W take everything else easy on Friday, but still get up at 5 for a run. I think my body gets confused but regardless we had to get those miles in.

Even when Sue approached the car in the parking lot, I would have been completely content if we decided to call it and go back to bed, although by the time I got back home I would have had to get ready for work. We started to run, I'm not sure if it was the rain or the fact that all three of us were deliriously over tired but before we even hit Rochambeau we were laughing. The laughing got louder and louder and didn't stop till we ended it seemed like.

Like children, there were screams when someone hit a puddle, laughing when we got hit in the face with the sprinklers and good old fashion banter happening. It was hysterical. I knew we had lost it when we were trucking up Doyle Ave, barely breathing and someone muttered out a sarcastic comment that sent us into breathless laughter. At one point I wondered what people in their homes were thinking. The great part about it was, without that laughter today's run would have sucked. We were all still sore from Wednesday's workout and then last night I had been on the g-trainer. Like I said in the beginning our bodies needed and wanted a break. We got a break, a break from taking this running thing too seriously.

Days till NYC: 134
Miles trained today: 4.5

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Sub 8 min miles!

Before I get to the highlights of my run today, we have to start at the beginning, I needed this one. I was pissed off when arriving at the track. Over the last 2 weeks I have been breaking in a new pair of orthotics (fancy inserts for my running shoes). Things had been going well until last week. I started to develop this terrible pain in my big toe. I'm thinking it has to be related to the orthotics, I've never had the pain before. It seems like the inserts are too thick and my toe joint is being crushed between the top of the sneaker and the insert. The pain has become bad enough that I have been taking tylenol and wearing flats for the past 5 days, for me a big deal. I go yesterday and have the inserts adjusted. Rather than listen to me and remove some material, the woman adds material. Whatever! She is supposed to know about these types of things. Yesterday I didn't run, this afternoon I put on my shoes and instantly my toe starts to ache. Now I'm pissed. This injury is not from overuse. It is not related to my poor stretching habits. I did nothing to deserve this one! Screw it, I ripped out the new inserts and went back to my old ones.

By the time I get to track I was very unpleasant. I'm sick of not being able to just run. I hate PT. I hate the g-trainer. I hate the MD. But here I am at track with a throbbing toe. I get through the warm up and it's time to jog down to the Blvd. for the workout. This is my lest favorite workout. 3 times 1 mile on the Blvd. By the time we reach the Blvd, I'm ready to go home. The goal is to do this in the same time as last week, 8:25ish. This is going to be hard, it's easier to go fast on the track. I can pace myself, we know what the pace is every lap. The Blvd is a wild-card. We are going to have to dodge walkers, strollers, runners, kids and dogs. This is going to be messy and I haven't even factored in the hills and my throbbing toe.

Jon yells go, and I take off. Joe was right in front of me. I ask Dennis what he's aiming for and he was looking for 8:00, too fast I mutter and keep going. The trick to these workouts is to find someone going the right pace and stick with them. I find Rick and run with him for a little bit and before I know it am edging out in front of him. What the hell, right? I keep going. Now Joe is in front and Erin a little bit in front of him. I decide just to run. After a few mins I'm in a rhythm. Not thinking at all, my body is doing what it knows what to do. I just run, before I know it we are on the downhill, I can see the condo's on the right side of the road. Almost there. Breathing is fast now. I can see Jon at the end. I hear him calling out the seconds...36. What the hell, this hurts too much to be 8:36 I think. Oh well and i push a head. I finish and hit my watch, 7:54. HOLY SHIT! Under 8 minutes and this was on the road! I was close enough to hear him call the time for 7:36!!!

Now the hard part, repeat this again. Going up the Blvd and up the hill I just pushed down. I tell myself the 7:54 was an error and not to expect it again. Someone says just before we take off, pace yourself up the hill and it will feel good. We take off, I don't look at my watch on the hill. Before we know it, things are flattening out. Joe is in front again, I can hear some people catching up to me. I look to my right and there is a house I recognize, it's the last house before Butler. I just have to get to the gate by Butler, I keep going, someone behind me yells "only a few more yards". Done again. Time...8:58! AGAIN!!! What is wrong with me, I'm not supposed to move this fast!

We are ready to head out for the third and final mile. I can tell right away I'm not recovered fully. I took off with the group and my lungs started to protest. I was breathing in and the O2 wasn't doing it for me. I couldn't breath fast enough. I had to pull off the road. I just had nothing left. Of course I did not follow the directions tonight. The goal is to complete 3 miles and not be slower than your first mile. I left it all on the road with the first 2. You know what, I don't care!

When I joined the club my goal was to run a 10 min mile and here I am today running 7:54! UNREAL! I am so proud and this is what I needed to get me though all the injuries, pain and different appointments. All this work is starting to pay off. This is why I run, the feeling I had tonight was enough to get me through. Yes, there are plenty of people who can run faster than me, but how many have improved the way I have!?

Days till NYC:136
Miles trained today 4.5

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Sunday = Long-Day

We got up this morning (after a late night, including giving the dog a bath at mid-night after she rolled in something dead) to find it was raining, AGAIN. Now I still wasn't over the downpour we ran in on Friday and not really motivated to get off the sofa so we decided to wait it out. I was a little nervous about it as I had to get the miles in, and can't run tonight. Luckily the rain subsided and we headed out a little after 10am.

During yesterday's race I really lost some time on the hills and feel like I need to build some hills into my regular routine. We ran up Hope St and I tried to stay on pace, but my legs had not forgotten the race from yesterday. I was a little slower than I would have liked but couldn't expect much more. The other issue we faced today that it got hot pretty quickly. I know I shouldn't complain, but it really sucks to run with the sun beating down on you.

We had headed out for 8 miles and decided to break it up into 2 loops. After the first 4 miles we were all pretty warm, I have to admit there was some debate about finishing the run. It being Sunday and all of us facing a call from Bob tonight we decided we had no good excuse and kept going. I didn't have it in me to run up Hope again so we headed down the Blvd. Things felt pretty good at that point, with most of the miles behind us things started to pick up. Heading down Elmgrove for the last time I was exhausted. This was my 5th day in a row of running including 2 days of speed work. I tried tofocus on my form but even that suffered a little. There is only so much my body will put up with. We came up to the car a little short of the 8 mile goal, 7.6 but that was close enough.

After recovering with water, iced coffee and yogurt I have to admit I'm feeling great after the run. Part of it is really loving coming back from the injury and being able to put in the miles and also being out on the roads for a chunk of time is just good for the soul. Nothing really matters when you are out running, it's time to just unwind and get re-centered. I needed it after this past week!

Days till NYC: 139
Miles trained today: 7.6
Miles trained this week: 30.8

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Off to the races

Today was the Gaspee Day 5k, my first 5k since last Memorial Day. For the first time i woke the morning before a race with a calm stomach. In the past I have been a ball of nerves before races, no matter the distance. Today, I didn't care. I know I can run 3 miles and I know how fast I can do it. The only problem was, rather than hydrate with water last night I chose adult beverages and wasn't feeling in top athletic condition. No matter, I can do this.

We parked about a mile from the start and jogged in. I don't believe in warming up but after today I might be sold on the idea. In the end I think it helped my finishing time. My plan had been to run with Roselee and pace myself. The plan had been for 2 9 min miles and then to go all out on the last mile. Just before the gun went off I said "lets be sure not to go out too fast". What did I do? I went out too fast. The start of a race is like being sucked out to sea by the ocean's currents. You just go and pay for it later! The first mile was an 8:30. We had been passing people left and right. Of course I paid for it on the second mile and lost some speed going up a hill. I was surprised to see how many spectators were out there. The race is followed by a parade and there were people lining both sides of the street for the length of the race. Mile 2 we were at 17:35. At about this point I started to curse the pomegranate martini from last night. I was so thirsty, at times thought about grabbing a drink from someone hands but decided that might be unacceptable. We turned to the home stretch at 27 mins and finished at 27:42. An 8:54 pace!! YAHOOOOO!!!!

Now I need a few lines to complain here, so bear with me. I ran well and ran hard but the finish was ruined by piss poor organization. I was told to stop running several yards before the finish line and spend the next 2 minutes walking across the finish line and through the chute. Some volunteers were telling us to stay in order, others were yelling to just keep moving. It was completely unacceptable and in very poor form. Get it right people. Runners care about every second and to have to waste minutes at the finish is disgusting. I have to say I'm not sure I'll keep this race on my list for next year.

Ok, I feel better after my vent! I can't complain about my time and learned that next Friday before the race I will stick to water :)

Days till NYC: 140
Miles trained today: 4.2

Friday, June 12, 2009

rain, rain go away

It pretty amazing that with the weather today was the first day in a while I've been forced to run in the rain. Now in my own defense I am usually the first one to cancel a run due to weather, all I need is a slight mist to call it off. Alas, on November 1, 2009 I'll be running 26.2 regardless of the weather. So we went this morning after a flurry of text messages!

I was prepared with my Save the Bay wind-breaker, but when I went to find it was surprised to hear that my husband had left it with my father after a fishing trip. This news was enough for me to think about canceling, but by now had caused a big enough stink about going running I couldn't back out now. I grabbed another jacket thinking it would serve the same purpose.

It was only going to be short. Maybe it was due to the weather, maybe due to the distance, or due to it being Friday but we hit the road fast. It didn't take long to find that my jacket was not as waterproof as once thought. After the first mile it was like a second layer of skin. There were 2 other weirdo's out there running this morning, I can only imagine what got them out of bed.

In hindsight I'm glad we went this morning, we might have gotten soaked but we didn't have to deal with the humidity!

Days till NYC: 141
Miles trained today: 2.5

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Making some progress

So I may have had to give up 2 hours of my life per week for the g-trainer and I have had to return to PT twice a week, but today I ran with NO pain! Something I had given up all hope on! Mind you it was all on the track so a softer surface, but I'll take it. I could have also been due to my coffee overload this afternoon, but regardless of the reason it happened and I'm psyched.

The workout was a tough one, 3 one mile repeats. Surprisingly it was pretty nice, as nice as track can be. This same workout last year would have been unmanageable for me. The goal was to get all laps in under 2:13 and I was faster than that. Miles were 8:28, 8:25 and 8:27. Working at a threshold pace meant that I should be pushing but no where near all out and I felt that way. Success all around! I'm starting to wonder what kind of pace I will be able to hold for NYC. My road work has been faster since the injury and the days on the g-trainer are also at a quicker pace. I would be pleased with something close to 4:30 for NYC, that would be about 10:18 per mile. Who knows there is a lot that needs to happen between now and then, but I'm always thinking about it.

The next thing on the horizon is a 5k this Saturday. It will be my first one in over a year. Last year I decided I was over 5k's and now this year my running club has entered into a competition with other clubs. The prize, a keg of beer, therefore I am running 5k's this year!

Days till NYC: 143
Miles trained today: 4

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Saturday at the Edge

Ugh! Today was the first day of a 7:30am start time for the Saturday run, bad idea. When it's hotter I'll appreciate the earlier start, but today there was no need for it. Regardless we got there, earlier that usual. Typically we are the last ones to roll in, which makes it interesting since I'm the once charged with bringing the map.

The worst part about this recovery is I never know how a run will feel. I had planned on 7, but knew that I couldn't trust that my legs would cooperate. Those who know me, are aware that this not knowing really cramps my style. We headed out and immediately I could tell it was going to feel better than earlier runs, but how long would it last for. I was cautious about not going out too fast. That's also hard because I have found I'm slightly faster that where I was pre-injury. I'm not going to complain about that at all. The first several miles were slightly uncomfortable but when I realized we had hit 3, I knew I would be able to go the 7. My time was good, below a 10 min mile.

This week I got in 1 track workout and 4 runs and after all is said and done feel slightly better than were I was last week. This upcoming week I'll return to the world of PT as well as runs on the g-trainer, but if it will help to make me stronger for NYC I won't complain that much about it.

I can't help but wonder how long the glow of getting into NYC will last?

Days till NYC: 147
Miles trained today:7

Friday, June 5, 2009

15 minutes darker

It's amazing what a little kick in the butt can do for your motivation. For the last week or so I have been complaining about my legs and not completely committed to the idea of a fall marathon. NYC changed all that, there is now no longer the debate before a run, I just go. The alarm went off at 4:45am this morning. It's amazing the difference 15 minutes makes. Getting up at 5 and leaving at 5:15 means we are leaving when it's fairly light out. This morning it was pitch dark. All three of us were pretty cranky about it. Could have been it was Friday and no one wanted to get up, but I"m thinking that if it had been a little lighter we would have been slightly more chipper. Regardless we headed out. Down the the Blvd, like most days. I have to day I think at this point I could run that road blindfolded as many probably could. We added another mile to our morning route, the first of many small extensions over the next 20 weeks I'm sure. I was pretty uncomfortable for the first 3 miles and then started to settle into the run. The last 2 miles definately felt good and the pace was quicker. Let's see how tomorrow goes, I would like to go 7.

My goal for NYC is 4:30, I have a lot of work ahead of me, strength building as well as speed work. I read in the NY times today that marathon runners tend to be a bit obsessional, I laughed out loud, it's all starting to make sense now!

Days till NYC: 148
Miles trained today: 5.9

Thursday, June 4, 2009

NYC or bust

Well, the unexpected happened today, both Joe and I got into the New York City Marathon via the lottery today. Unreal! I entered us about 2 weeks ago as an afterthought. "We'll never get in but who cares". We did get in! When I saw it at work I couldn't help but yell out. I then spent the next several hours educating people as to what a marathon is. No it's not a 5k. Yes it is 26.2 miles. Yes I will do the whole thing. Yes, it's the same distance as Boston. Yes I will still wear high heels to work. It's hard to celebrate a running victory with non-runners. Now the games begin! I'm sure my physical therapist will not be jumping for joy when I share the news with him. Just yesterday he was trying to convince me that a fall marathon might not be a good idea. This puts the kabbash on him!

As for the training, my legs continue to hurt like hell. I thought after Monday we were getting somewhere but today I had hoped for 6 and cut it short after 3. To get me up the last hill I recalled the pain of the last marathon and pushed my way through it. I did score a $5 dollar bill along my route, today was really my lucky day. The nice thing about New York is that it's about 2 weeks later than the marathon we were going to run so I'm feeling a little less pressured. I can spend 2 more weeks working on the legs. I've decided to return to the world of PT and the dreaded g-trainer. Let's face it, right now I can't pull off 10 miles on the roads, but on the g-trainer it won't be difficult. I'll be able to work on my miles without the added stress on the legs, works for me as well as the coach and the PT. Shocking that all 3 of us are agreeing on something, guaranteed not to last long!!

I still can't believe that I have become this much a runner. The girl with asthma who hated anything athletic is psyched to be running NY!

Days till NYC: 149

Monday, June 1, 2009

New Beginnings

It was another 5:30am run today. Not nearly as warm as the other day, but none the less we got up and got it done. Funny that I am complaining about 44 degree weather, after this winter I should keep my mouth shut. My legs definitely feel like they are improving, which is good. The new orthotics come in tomorrow and those should also help. We got in 4.8 which I'll also take.

Most of the morning was spent thinking about what's next on the running radar. If I am serious about a fall marathon, the training starts now (deep breath). To be honest as much as I want to do it, I'm worried. It really sucked to put in all those miles (391.2 to be exact) for the Providence Marathon to sit back and not be able to run it. If I train for a fall marathon I'll log over 700 miles, go through 2+ pairs of sneakers and eat countless GU's. I have secretly enjoyed not loosing my weekends to long runs, but in the same breath have missed the feeling that comes with running 2+ hours. If I've learned anything from my previous training it is that the marathon will take over my life. Before engaging in any activity, from getting dressed in the morning to eating dinner at night, the question will always be "how will this effect my training". And be sure if I don't question the impact on my training, I'll be reminded on Sunday nights.

I don't know why I am perservating about this, you know as well as I do that I am going to try and as long as the feet and the legs hold out will be successful. I will train again. I will not let the fear of injury stop me. I will have a good time over the next 20 weeks (or at least pretend to).