Sunday, August 30, 2009

Ode to the Pigs

There comes a point in marathon training where my pigs quit. They hate it and make it very clear. In all honesty it's not their fault, they are cute and little and not prepared for the pounding day in and day out. I don't think mine are the only ones who do this. I have heard of those who have the unfortunate experience of loosing a nail, thank god I haven't reached that point, yet. To be honest that would be enough to make me give up marathoning. I try to pamper the pigs in an effort to make them forget about the miles, we go bi -weekly for pedi's but I'm at the point where that doesn't help. They are upset with me. I'm sorry guys, you are important but short sighted, this will be temporary and in a few months we will be back to normal and you can calm down again. Please hang in there with me. I've purchased special socks that are supposed to make you happier but you don't like those either. I've given up the heels to make it more comfortable for you during the day and that's not enough! I'm not sure how else I can make it up to you, just trust me that it will be worth it and I appreciate all the support you have given me.

Days till NYC: 62
Miles trained today: 10

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Perking up!

Yep, I am, I'm perking up. Today wasn't awful! Besides the weather, which was pouring rain. We ran the with club today and started off with Melissa and Erin heading up Angell St. I was waiting to see how long till the pain set in. We reached the 1st mile at 9:40, must have been the excitement of running with others, so far so good. I held back a little running up towards the pedestrian bridge going over the highway, but still no terrible pains. This was going to be ok. For a while I debated going the whole 10 miles but decided that would be an act of stupidity. Joe cut it short after we headed up the Blvd and turned down Elmgrove. Since it wasn't hurting I decided to just keep going. Things just felt right, and thank god for that, it had been too long. It's funny how running messes with your head. A good run and you're on top of the world, ready to go. A bad run or a string of though runs and you start to question your whole existence, I'm slightly exaggerating but not by much. After the run I consulted with the group and think I'm going to make some changes in the training going forward. I have to remember what the goals are:

1. Get to the start of NYC without injury
2. Finish NYC without having to walk or crawl

To do this I need to keep the long runs strong every other week, the off weeks I'm going to back down slightly. During the week I'm going to focus on 5 strong runs a week and try to not get so caught up in the mileage. There are those of you who are doubting my ability to let go a little, but I'm really going to try here. Lets see if I can have a few more good runs over the next few days, my running ego could use it!

Days till NYC: 63
Miles trained today: 7

Friday, August 28, 2009

Looking for reasons

Running continues to feel terrible, so I'm focusing on why I continue to do this:

1. I got in!!
2. Even better we both got in!!!
3. I can handle long distance running when many shy away from it.
4. I even kind of enjoy it.
5. I have my health and have been able to avoid injury.
6. There are so many people offering amazing support and encouragement!!!
7. A week a bad runs is better than a week of skipping runs :)
8. I have a point to prove, I will run better than I ran last October!
9. I've done it before when I was a weaker runner so I can do it again.
10. Weeks like this and runs like these make me appreciate those runs where it feels like I'm flying and can run forever.
11. I'm the only marathoner in my family and not about to allow any of them to catch up with me!
12. 3 years ago I couldn't finish a 5k.
13. There are only 2 months until the race, I'm getting close!
14. The finish will be unreal!
15. Sticking with it is a sense of pride for me.
16. From the girl with asthma who smoked and skipped gym, I'm now an athlete!
17. I'm neurotic even with this amount of running, imagine what I would be like without it, meds please!!!
18. Even at the end of a few rough miles, things seem calmer and more clear.
19. I run with good friends :)
20. Joe won't quit and I'm not going to let him beat me!

Days till NYC: 64
Miles trained today: 6.5

Thursday, August 27, 2009


I did the unthinkable...I cut my run 5 miles. Yep, I did it. And I don't plan on scrambling to make them up either. Today is Thursday, I should feel better. I don't. Limping through the miles isn't going to help anything, and after hanging my official NYC marathon map in my office I'm going to run this race no matter what.

Interestingly enough though we had dinner with another back of the pack runner tonight and discussed what training means for us. For someone running a 7 min mile it is going to take them less time to get through their miles, both on the track and during the week. For me to run 7, I'm out there for 70 minutes and that's a good night. Do that 5 times in a week and I'm out there for close to 6 hours and that doesn't even count my long run, add another 2-3 hours. That's a long time to be upright and pounding on your feet. I'm not claiming that I am working harder than those who can run faster, but it's a much different wear and tear. Unfortunately there is not a lot out there geared to those of us who run in the back of the pack, please NEVER call me a jogger, I'll have to hurt you. And there are even fewer of us who run longer distances and even fewer who have the gall to compare ourselves to the faster runners. Just because I take longer doesn't mean I don't take my training as seriously and maybe it's time to really look at what it means for people like me. What should a training plan look like for someone who is training for a 10+ marathon pace?

So what does this all mean? I'm not sure, today I backed off the miles. I'm hoping that tomorrow I feel a little better and can handle finishing out my miles. I will continue to aim for high miles every week, but I have to know when my joints and muscles have had it, and that may come sooner than I like.

Days till NYC: 65
Miles trained today: 2.5

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

a little good, a little bad

So it started pretty rough, the whole day of course, but for now I'll focus on my run. I was planning on running to track and was putting it off. It finally got to the point that if I was going to do it, I had to leave or just call it. I was definitely still feeling my 16 miles and it felt awful. It was only 3 miles but felt closer to 30, I couldn't get out of my own way. I really lost it when some dip wad hooted at me while I was doubled over at the light waiting to cross North Main St. Please leave runners alone when you drive by them, unless you are offering me a cold bottle of water just drive by without a second glance. I'M NOT LOOKING AT YOU! By the time I got to track I was questioning my ability to get through the workout. To make it worse I had arranged with Bob to run repeat 800's rather than the assigned workout. There would be no one to blame but myself for this one. The goal is to focus on marathon speed not 5k pace. Somehow Joe and I got through 8 of them, and for many had a good time. It's funny because we don't know of many couples who both run and almost none that run together. There is no way that on my own I would be this into running. I was nice to hear him fill me in on his day, a nice distraction from the punishment I was inflicting on my legs. God though, we were on that track forever. This part of the run did feel much better. We got the miles in, I'm not sure I'll be able to move tomorrow! But then the icing on the cake, we get home and what is waiting but our official New York City Marathon Handbook! All I have to do is stay clear of injuries, drag myself through the next few weeks and I'm there. August is almost over, September is going to be running hell and October is the glorious taper. I can do this, right?!?!

Days till NYC: 66
Miles trained today: 7

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Dead Legs

I need some advice...thinking we are doing something wrong. Sunday was a 16 miles and it was a long and hard 16 but not the worst run ever. We took yesterday off and ran this evening and it was pretty close to terrible. We have this pattern where we have a good week, ending with a long run and then suffer terribly for the next week. In an ideal world I would run hard for a week and recover for the next week, that's not how we do it. We run hard for 3 weeks and recovery for a week. After the 16 miles I stretched, worked on drinking copious amounts of water over the next 24 hours but was still feeling awful tonight. Nothing in particular just very dead feeling legs. We were able to get in the 6.5 but I'm wondering how others feel after these longer runs. Over the next 6 weeks or so we will be tackling several long runs and I would like to keep my miles up in between and not suffer so much. Don't get me wrong it feels better than it has during previous marathon training but I think it could feel better. Maybe I'm delusional and it's awful for everyone it will make me feel better and if there are some secret tips that will help that's good as well.

Days till NYC: 67
Miles trained today: 6.5

Sunday, August 23, 2009

it was bound to happen

After a week of great runs, I was due for a rough one. Not sure why it had to happen when I was scheduled for 16, that's bad enough. We did a 4 mile loops so I only focused on finishing each 4 and getting to the car. The first loop was tough and tight, at times I was kicking myself for all those hills in Lincoln Woods. By the time we hit the car the first time things were slowly starting to feel better. The second loop my body felt better but I was faced with a husband who was running on fresh legs. He's a peppy runner when he's tired, today was the first day out after 5 days off he was in rare form. God help me, he didn't stop for then next 4 miles, at times talking to himself. Next time he's on the DL, I'm not running with him the first run back. It was downhill from there. To be completely honest I wasn't really planning on running the full 16, before I knew it we only had 3.5 left. It was the most god awful 3.5 of this training. In the last issue of Runner's World there was a quote about how running is good for you if it doesn't kill you first and that's all I could think about. Somehow all the pain I'm in right now will be good for me, I haven't figured out how yet. Please just let this be the worst long run of this training!

Days till NYC: 69
Miles trained today: 16

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Open letter to Mother Nature and Vipir Radar

Hi All, Can we have a frank discussion about how you've been calling things lately? I get that you screwed up some how in the months of May, June and most of July, but enough with the punishment. I can take the heat but can we lower the humidity some and how about a nice cool breeze? It's been a good 2 weeks now and people have had their fill. If you can lower the temps back to the low 80's high 70's it's warm enough for all of us to enjoy activities. I try to beat you and there is no winning. At 6 this morning the humidity was at 90%, there is no reason for that other than for your cruel enjoyment. I'm ready to bargain with you. Tomorrow I'm headed out for 16 miles and would appreciate it if you could be slightly more accommodating. Marathon training is trying enough, please stop toying with me.

Days till NYC: 70
Miles trained today: 5.5

Friday, August 21, 2009

embracing the ugly

That's what I'm doing this week and it's paying off! Yet another great run in horrific weather! I found my missing mojo and want to hold on to it. Again tonight I found myself after work needing to run and the weather was not ideal. I don't know if it's because work was hell and I didn't have time to dread my run or because mentally I knew I needed it. But I came home and was ready, lets do this. Joe is still on the DL but Sue survived court and was ready to run. We hit up Lincoln Woods again and just knocked it out of the park. Things felt good, we pushed up the hills and recovered coming down them. There was no bitching, no whining, just running and hard running at that. To be honest I was feeling it in my legs more today than yesterday and just pushed thought it. Imagined what it would feel like come mile 25 and embraced it. This is going to hurt, it's meant to hurt and I need to want it to hurt. If I keep dodging it, I'll never move beyond it. Here's to another run and I'm beating the humidity rather than the other way around!

Days till NYC:71
Miles trained today: 5

Thursday, August 20, 2009

All by myself

Less than 24 hours after declaring ourselves morning runners, I find myself outside running at 4:45pm tonight. To top it off I was alone, never fun. Joe has been sidelined with a bad case of poison ivy and Sue ditched me this morning for a court date. I could have gone this morning, in fact I was awake, unfortunately I read too much news and scared myself out of going. It's creepy out on the roads at 5am, and that's with others never mind alone and Mia has retired for the summer.

So here I am, Lincoln Woods, it's hot and I'm determined. Off I go, at first a little creaky from last night's track workout, but before long I loose myself in the hills. Lincoln Woods is a 2.5 mile paved loop with very little traffic, it's all rolling hills. Nothing too bad, but bad enough to make it a work out. The first part of my run was focused on getting away from the car, I had to get far enough away I wouldn't turn around. Once that happened I was quickly focused on getting back to the car and talking myself out of walking there! After cresting the third hill there is maybe a quarter mile to the car and during that time I faced a big decision, to stop for water or keep going. I wanted water, it was hot, but I wasn't sure if I would keep going. There were pros and cons, once I passed the track I just kept going. I couldn't trust myself, it was too tempting.

Now all I had was three uphills and 2.5 miles till water. This loop I focused on who else was dumb enough to be out there. There was the walking woman in the black shorts, I passed her three times out there, she never met my eyes, never a hello. Then the man in the red shirt, he was running in the opposite direction with a water hydration pack on his back. Looked like he was going my pace, almost switched directions to run with him but decided he could have been a weirdo and kept going. We did say hello at every pass (2). Then there was the man I wanted to be, the man I envied for the whole run, the man on the yellow shirt on the bike. He passed me 7 times, each time whizzing by on his bike. It seemed like it was timed, every-time I was plugging up a hill with all my might he came flying by with the breeze in his face. Once I thought he seemed like a frosty glass of water, god to switch places with him. Did he know how jealous I was? I don't know who you are, but I wanted to be you in the worst way, you became my obsession. The biker in the yellow shirt got me through my summer evening run, thanks dude!

Days till NYC: 72
Miles trained today: 5

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Over the wall

10 weeks, that's all that stands between us and 26.2! We are almost there! I'm feeling some renewed energy. Maybe I'm getting used to the heat, maybe it's from airing out all my beefs, who knows but I'm back and ready to run! Complaining is not going to get me to the finish line and I've decided it short changes all that I've accomplished. So last week sucked, after talking to others, I think it sucked for all of us. Even with that we are further ahead in our training than we have been for previous marathons, and imagine how good this will feel once the humidity breaks. That and when we are standing at the start with 40,000 other runners who have gone through the same terrible training all for that race, I can't even imagine how great it's going to feel! If training for a marathon was easy, more people would do it. They can't hang, I can. I got a shirt today that reads "to hell and back, 26.2", sounds accurate to me.

Days till NYC: 73
Miles trained today: 7

Monday, August 17, 2009

Oh the sights you'll see

There is just something about a summer evening on the Blvd. It was just what we needed, a good distraction from the weather. I spent more time wondering why other people were out there dressed like they were then wondering why we were out there! There was the woman running in sandals, yep leather sandals. I love my heels but haven't tried to run in them yet. Then there was the woman running in jeans and a long sleeved top, god help her! Just when I thought we were going to die an older man (maybe late 70's) ran by us and told us we were looking good. If he's out here in a good mood, so can I. This weather is only temporary and I'm not injured so lets try to make the best of it. Can you tell I"m trying some cognitive restructuring? Next time I plan for a fall marathon, someone please sit me down and discuss what it means to train in August?

Days till NYC: 75
Miles trained today: 5.6

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Just damn unpleasant

This has been a week of analyzation. When is the best time to run? When will the humidity be lowest? Is the heat or the humidity worse to run in? Did we run in this last year? No matter how you cut it, running in this has been terrible and I couldn't get my miles in. When you are sucking in the air and it's going down like soup you know it's awful out there. I'm sure we have run in this during previous summers and can guarantee you we complained about it just as much and probably missed our miles due to it.

Tonight we headed out to see what we could accomplish. This was going to make or break our week and we were going into it with some hesitation. Let's see how far we get. Well, we got a whopping 1.6 miles before deciding to walk it back to the car. Yeah, what can I say, the weather sucked. On the walk back though the 3 of us were laughing, we laughed the whole way back to the car. There was no complaining about what we should have done, or what this meant to the training. It was just three runners who got beat and were accepting it for what it was. To any runner that accomplished their goals this week, congrats! To any runner who felt like us this week, at least it sucked for all of us!

I'm hoping next week will be better, and can tell you right now that if by a fluke of nature the weather is like this in NYC on 11/1, I'll be on the side lines cheering on the fools while I drink a beer with friends!

Days till NYC: 76
Miles trained today: 1.6

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Just keep running, running, running

Ugh! I'm pooped and it's only the beginning of the week! We decided to take 2 recovery days this week, which is risky. One day off means less miles per day but after this last weekend of running I just wasn't feeling ready yesterday. That and it was unbearably hot. So today we were off and running, luckily the weather was better for running and we were off of work so we had more time. Our long run this week will only be 12, so we decided to really amp up the mileage today and aim for 12 today as well. I feel like if we can get comfortable with this distance it will pay off come November. We took it easy, or as easy as 12 miles can be. 3 miles this morning, that was meant to loosen us up and test for any lingering aches and pains. Things felt ok at the end of it. The ankle that was very sore after Falmouth was feeling better and the feet are still quiet (knock on wood). We weren't done though, later today we got changed again and ran to the track. It's a nicer run with someone else that's for sure. By the time we hit the stadium things were still feeling ok. We did cut the workout short and skip the last mile to keep our run home manageable. Overall I'm pleased, we'll aim for 12 again on Saturday, this time straight through. It was the right decision, we needed the extra day. I keep reminding myself, this week and next and then RECOVERY again. That and only 6 more days till the next day off, until then I'll be running, running and doing more running (that and worrying about injury)!

Days till NYC: 80
Miles trained today: 12

Sunday, August 9, 2009

The Falmouth Road Race

A big thanks to all who donated, we raised close to $1600 for the Providence Ronald McDonald House!

The problem with fundraising for a race, is that then you have no choice but to run it! I didn't know how this would go, we had run 16 miles the day before and last year this race felt awful. It the corral I was nervous, very nervous. We don't usually run after long runs, never mind 7 miles. I think some of my anxiety stemmed from the potential pain I was fearing. Too late now, we are here and are going to run this.

We were in the last wave to start and made no attempt to move to the front of our group, last year we were in an earlier wave and smack in the front. Before I knew it the gun went off, but we were walking. I don't know how far we were from the start but walked a good 3-5 mins! Finally here we go, the first tentative steps over the start. So far so good, but I was just waiting for the pain to set in. Thankfully we had to run slow due to the crowds. This forced us to stay within ourselves and warm our legs up very gradually. A good thing. Pretty quickly in this race you escape the sun and run a few miles (2) in the woods. During this time I noticed that things felt ok, (probably due to the ibuprofen I downed before leaving the house).

Coming out of the woods the next stretch is a long stretch along the beach, in full sun. Last year I melted down out there, it was pretty ugly. Coming out of the woods there is a nice downhill and I just went with it. After flattening out I didn't back off the pace as planned. Let's go with it and see what happens. What happened was amazing, or at least for me it was.

For the first time ever I felt like I was racing, not just running. My form was tight, breathing was rhythmic, things were just going well. We continued to weave in and out of the crowd and I couldn't believe how many people we were passing. I don't know our mile splits but checking our pace periodically we were btw a 9:40 and 9:10 pace for the next 3.5 miles. Never did I feel like I was out running myself. It really hit me when I realized that for a good mile I was pacing Joe, he couldn't go any faster! This NEVER happens!

It felt great, arms were pumping and the legs were doing what they have learned on the track. I stopped thinking and just let my body go and enjoyed it. Before I knew it were were back into town and the roads were lined 3 people deep with cheerleaders, a mile to go! We had one last climb before the downhill to the finish. I dug in and just ran it. Before I knew it, there was the huge American flag hanging over the finish. Joe grabbed my hand and we glided across it!

For sure I was convinced that I blew last years time out the water, to my dismay we were only 20 seconds faster. This was so much of a better run, I controlled it rather than the other way around. I'm psyched, it felt great and we knocked it out of the park!

Days till NYC: 83
Miles trained today: 7

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Calculated Risks

The biggest lesson I have used in training for this marathon from previous training is knowing and understanding how a run should feel, specifically the long run. The long run is by far the most important piece of marathon training. You aren't going to finish 26.2 without putting in the miles during the training. It is also the most daunting for me. It means I'm going to be out on the roads for hours and to be honest feel like crap for several hours afterwards. I never really look forward to them and always get anxious about how I'll do.

This week we were facing 16 and given how awful 15 felt last week I was feeling the pressure. There was much discussion about when to get it in as the Falmouth Road Race is tomorrow. We decided on Friday night. It was going to be a 4 mile loop with planned hydration stops at the end of every loop. We weren't even a mile in before I realized that I was too tight, it didn't feel right. We stopped and stretched but the rest of the loop didn't get any better. Two options presented themselves, either do another loop to see how things felt or try it again tomorrow. I know at this point that if I'm hurting this early on there is no point in limping through if it can be avoided. But there is also no guarantee that things will feel better the following day. Luckily things worked out and today felt MUCH better. Within the first few steps this morning I knew we had made the right decision. It was by far the strongest long run we have had over the last year, I'm feeling like the training is finally paying off. Even several miles in I was surprised that things were going well. We met our running club around mile 12 and fully expected to be dead, but still had some pep in my step. Tomorrow is going to hurt like hell, but I'll deal with that later for now I'm going to bask in the glow of a strong run and the pay off of putting the run off a day :)

Days till NYC: 84
Miles trained today: 16

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Am I really ready for this

I know I have written about injuries before, but I'm still anxious about them. I feel great now, but can I make it last until 11/1? This week we have really changed our track work to focus on the marathon, meaning we are running slower on the track so we can sustain our marathon pace. Ideally I want a 4:30 finish (10:20 per mile), people have warned me that NYC isn't the place for goals and I should go and enjoy myself. Providence was really where I wanted 4:30 and I got nothing but 3 months of PT. To be honest though I didn't train for Providence like I am now. Maybe it's being done with school, or wanting it more because of Providence but I am completely focused on my training this time around. I can stomach holding with the training and not reaching my goal finish time, but will have a hard time if injuries pop up again. Any little pain makes the alarms go off, should I mention it or let it go? I can do this, I know I can, but where is this doubt coming from?

I've made great sacrifices for this, going on close to 2 weeks without high heels. I know doesn't sound like much, but I have a thing for shoes, a BAD thing for 3-4 inch heels. I'm taking a supplement, until this point I have consistently refused a multivitamin. I will do almost anything not to get hurt, but I have to run and running is what got me hurt to start with. I guess I have to just accept that I don't know how the training will play out. Let's be honest, marathon training is not pleasurable and pushes the body to extreme limits. It's getting close and things seem to be going well, I guess I'm just waiting for the other shoe to drop (no pun intended)!

Days till NYC:87
Miles trained today: 5

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Impacts of running

So there is a lot of good that comes with running. We are healthier, more fit people. My moods are better after a run, we are slowly but surely getting faster. It's getting easier to stomach the alarm buzzing at 4:45am! A negative is my insatiable hunger. We have run daily since Saturday and aren't scheduled for a day off until this coming Saturday. It's only Tuesday, and I can't stop eating! We ran this morning, it was a good run, but not overly hard, a recovery from track the night before. Since getting out of the shower, I have been eating, thinking about eating or planning my next snack!! This is getting out of control, I was starting to picture my co-workers as giant ice-cream sundaes today!! I'm hoping it will subside over the next day or so, but am starting to worry that it won't! Is there anyway I can get an IV hooked up with portable nutrition between meals? The other issue is that I try to eat healthy, but when you are this hungry it doesn't matter, I just want food!! I'll remind you again it's only Tuesday, I have 33 miles yet to run this week!

Days till NYC: 88
Miles trained today: 4

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Oh what a weekend

My issue with running is that you can't predict the good runs from the bad runs. I understand that not everyone is going to be my best performance but it can really be a downer when you unexpectedly have a bad run. We did on Saturday. Oh, it was terrible. This was our first long run beyond the half marathon distance, and sort of the kick off to the long runs we'll be facing over the next few months. If it was a predictor of what's to come, I'm going to pass, I'll go back to the pool please. In hindsight we made some very obvious mistakes in terms of hydration and being prepared for the humidity, things that we'll change going forward. I can't spend too much time complaining because we got in the 15 miles and didn't feel terrible afterward. It's hard you want to analyze your training runs and understand what you can learn from them, but also have to be careful to not beat yourself up over them either. It's one run among many and will be quickly forgotten!

There was no time to rest though because today was the Run 4 Kerri. We don't normally run after our long runs but today we were determined. What's 4 miles? We can do this! The nice thing about today was that it was a better run than yesterday's and helped to restore some confidence. It forced us to get over ourselves and move on. I am pleased to announce that even though we decided we would not "race" today, it was just going to be a run, I beat my time in 07 by a full minute! I'm still not the fastest runner out there, but I'm better than I was. Gives me hope that when we finally hit the roads of NYC I'll be ready to tackle it with the same confidence I had today.

I'll move on from Saturday's run, and accept that I'll probably have a few more rough runs before 11/1, but is it too much to ask for a warning first?

Days till NYC: 90 (Yikes!)
Miles trained today: 4