Sunday, November 26, 2006

My running support group

I want to thank everyone reading this post - posting to my blog - and blogging / podcasting about running. Someone asked me if I have joined a training group for my marathon training. I said no, I just train on my own. But really that isn't true. I train with all of you.

I take Phedippediations out on my long run each week, and have my running companion Steve talk about all kinds of running topics, notable running legends and the Red Sox. I take Adam Tinkoff's Burning 20 with me and he talks about his training and traveling around the country and the world. Nigel of Running from the Reaper also runs with me - so I can imagine I am running on a gravel path in the English countryside dodging swans instead of a sidewalk on a busy neighborhood street dodging squirrels.

As I blog my way through my training, I have lots of friends who encourage me along the way. Besides the folks above, Susan of I Run for My Life reads and posts encouraging notes. I also hear occasionally from Melisa of Irishblue in a Running Shoe. There are other folks who have been posting lately as well, including my own sister!

I should say there is one person who I get to train with in person on occasion. Shirley has run with me a couple of times, particularly on the tail end of my really long runs. We end up talking the entire time which helps those last couple of miles! And as a certified running coach, she helps me improve my running!

And finally my biggest husband. Who watches the kids while I disappear for 3-4 hrs on Sunday morning, who helps me out of my ice baths and feeds me healthy foods to keep me going.

So thanks for being part of a team with me! :-) I am not alone.

Squeezed in 10 miles....

My schedule called for 15 miles today - but because of my current work situation, I had to be at work by 9 am. I don't have the constitution to get up at 4 am - so I got out to run at 6 am, ran 10 miles in 1 hour 53 min, and hustled off to work. My heel gave me hell today since I did a little 3.4 miler yesterday. With a little ice pack and ibuprofen, it is feeling ok now. Tomorrow I will need to take a break (maybe the elliptical).

My 3.4 mile run yesterday is worth mentioning. One of the guys working on this proposal with me wondered if anyone would run with him. He usually goes for about 2.25 miles. I offered to go but warned him I am slow and I take walking breaks. I also suggested a 3.4 mile route (I was feeling a bit over confident I think). Well, I tried to go a bit quicker so he wouldn't have to go too slow, and ran the first mile in 9:15 before taking a much needed walking break. We ran another 0.7 and took another break. On the return we walked at the 1 mile mark again before bringing the last mile in at 9:30. You could call it a speed workout. A rather tough 33 min run, but a good run.

This is going to be a very busy work week for me, and I have a half marathon coming up on Saturday!!! I am going to do my late nighters early in the week so I can get lots of sleep the 2 nights before the race. The next major work deadline is the night before race day....ack!

Sometimes I imagine my work schedule as a much harder "marathon" than my training has been. I would much rather do my 22 mile run than stay awake some of the nights I have been working lately. It is starting to drag on me. The good news is that the proposal is due on Dec 18th - so I will have 3 weeks to rest (and taper) before the marathon.

Now I need to get some work done! Run strong!

Thursday, November 23, 2006

5 miles for Thanksgiving!

Well, rather than push it, I decided on 5 miles (plus we have company and I didn't want to be gone for more than about an hour). So after sleeping in a bit, I got outside for an easy 5 miles. It was a bright sunny day, about 55 degrees.

Tomorrow morning I want to try to run again....but working tonight - so lets hope I finish up quickly and not too late!

I have talked my husband into an early Christmas present - a Garmin!!! At first I was looking at the 301's, since they are on sale - but I think that spending the extra $100 might be worth the upgrade to the newer Garmin Forerunner 305. If anyone has any thoughts on that I would love to hear it. I think I will be ordering through Amazon. I want to get it in time to do some of my marathon training with it (just a little over 6 weeks left).

So today as I ran, I thought about being thankful for (not in any particular order):

- that fact that I CAN run at all - many folks cannot
- for beautiful weather to enjoy
- for having the privilege to train for a marathon
- for finding great info and "meeting" great people in the running community online
- for a marvelous family
- for another day!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

All work and no run...makes life for marathonchris no fun!

Ok this isn't me but it is what I am feeling like. Since Saturday I have already put in 50 hours at work.

I missed running today - I was up until 4:30 this morning working, then off to work at 8:30. I got home around 9:30 and right now, I am just packing it up - too tired to go on. I am faced with doing some work on Thanksgiving day! Not my first choice but I need to sleep - and tomorrow I definitely need to run.

I am in proposal hell for the next 3 weeks - so the long hours are going to continue. I was able to squeeze in my long run last weekend (and will this weekend) but I don't want to lose my mid week runs!

Sigh! Just trying to stay relatively healthy and keep up with the training. Tomorrow - I am going to try for 8 miles. Legs and foot feel fully recovered from the long run so I am ready to go.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

22 miles Closer to the Marathon

This pic is near the finish of the Race for the Taste 10K I did at Disney last month. I probably felt today like I looked there - but I also felt a high level of accomplishment:

First - I breached the 20 mile distance!!! I ran 22 whole miles today.

Second - I didn't hit "the wall". I was able to run all the way through without battling the wall or its evil effects.

Third - I ran for a longer time than ever before (well, it stands to reason since I ran a longer distance than ever before). 4 hours, 41 minutes 34 seconds. This is 50 minutes longer than my last really long run of 18.75 miles. My pace was 12:48 - a good pace for a long training run.

The weather: It was a great day for a run in Central Florida. When I started, right about at sunrise (6:45 am), the temperature was about 45 degrees F. It was a bright sunny day, so it did warm up, but not too much - probably to about 65 degrees by the time I finished.

What I wore: I wore shorts, a long sleeve running shirt (wicking capable), a running hat and gloves. The gloves helped keep me warm through the first 10 miles of my run. I wore my sunglasses for the bright sun I was going to finish in. I put Icy Hot on my legs to help keep the muscles relaxed. I used Body Glide on my feet and areas on my body that tend to chafe. I wore my Fuel Belt which allows me to carry 28 oz of water and Gatorade, my gels, my iPod, my cell phone and my pepper spray ('cause you never know).

What I ate: I ate some Sharkies about 30 minutes before I ran, to begin the fueling process. I took 5 Cliff Shots (Chocolate - no caffeine) to keep me fueled while I ran.

Who I ran with: I ran with my iPod for the first 10 miles, then I had the privilege to run with my friend Shirley for the last 12 miles (she ran with me a couple of months ago on a previous 12 mile run). It was great having the company - especially as we finished up the last couple of miles. (Thanks, Shirley!!).

And the run....

Since this was a particularly long run, I planned to take walking breaks more often than on my midweek runs. I ran 8 min and walked for 1 min. Walking breaks allowed me to consume gels, drink water, etc. I had planned to meet Shirley 2 hours after starting. It took me 2:02 to get to our meeting point - so it worked out well. I stopped to refill my water bottles and off we went. At about 17.5 miles, I was nearly out of fluids so we stopped at a convenience store for water. Then from there it was just hanging in there. At about 21 miles both my feet were hurting (my heel started around 10 miles) but my muscles felt ok. When we reached the finish, I had a little energy left to sprint a bit to the end.

After the run: Ice bath. This time I added more ice and kept a shirt on (it gets a bit cold). It took about 6-8 min for the shivering to stop :-) But I soaked for a good 12 minutes. My husband took care of me by bringing me a banana and apple to eat, vitamins to replenish and then to help me out of the tub (the legs were a bit numb and my left foot was very sore).

Epilogue: Tonight we had a wonderful dinner - and afterwards I went with my husband for a stroll around the block - around a mile. Legs felt fine and even my foot felt ok. The sky is full of stars - what a day!!!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Treadmill lessons

Ok, lesson learned today: When you have plantar fasciitis, and you need to run on a treadmill, don't use it at an incline!

In the past, when I have run on the treadmill - it seemed really easy (which it is, easier than running outside that is). Today, I didn't run until the late afternoon, and it was a bit warm, AND since my heel has been doing well I figured the treadmill would be easier on it. So, I decided to use the treadmill at work.

Ok, treadmills are BORING!!!

A recommendation I had heard about treadmill running was to set it to a 2-3% incline to give a bit more resistance like a normal run. So, I did that.

About a mile or so into my run, the tendon running under my foot (that would be my plantar fascia) ached like it was tired, then the ache got worse, until after about 1.5 miles I had to stop. Stretching didn't seem to work... but I figured out what it was, took out the incline, then had to take it a bit slow for while. I was able to get another 4 miles in - but at a slower pace because it would ache if I went faster.

So I got my 5+ miles in (I think 5.6 - I accidently reset the machine after I stopped to check my foot). Heel feels ok - tendon feels a little tight.

Tomorrow is elliptical day. I skipped it on Tuesday - working too many hours!

Friday - I am going to take it on the road instead! :-)

Monday, November 13, 2006

Good days and bad is a good one!

I felt a little guilty for not going for the long run yesterday (I had that 10K race), but I do remember when I did that last time (also the day of a 10K) I was hurting pretty bad.

Soooooo, today I took that 8 mile run - and it went really well. It was a cool 49 degrees and, as I tend to, I over dressed a bit (long sleeve cotton shirt, capri length running pants). Next time - short sleeves! I finished in about the usual time (1:29). My heel felt pretty good today, even after the 8 miles.

To continue the good feeling heel, I will do the elliptical tomorrow and run a shorter 5 miles on Wed.

For Sunday - I am going to "simulate" the marathon by preparing for it and running the 22 miles like I will do the race (complete with resting, eating and other such prep). I am a little concerned since my last long run over 8 miles is that 18 miler I did a few weeks ago - but I should do ok. We will find out!

So, today is a good day for running and heel!

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Founder's Day 10K Race Report

Founder's Day 10K
November 12th, 7:30 am
55 degrees F, High humidity, light wind
Participation: 897 runners (finishers)
Goal: Beat old PR of 1:06

Today I was going to run my race. I was not going to allow myself to start out too fast and I was going to take my scheduled walking breaks....and I succeeded! I also got a new PR for my second 10K.

For race morning prep, I ate "Sharkies", gummy shark things, about an hour before the race while I drove there. I don't normally eat before I run or before a race that is early - usually I do a gel pak. I ate the sharkies because I wanted to get some energy stuff into me (and, though I tried, I couldn't eat them on the run...they stick to my teeth!).

It was a cool but humid morning - probably about 55-60 deg and cloudy. The humidity made it feel cooler, but it was a great temperature for racing - and I was ready in my tank top. Since there was a bag check, I could wear a light jacket until just before starting.

(For those of you who are not of Floridian blood, this is actually a cool morning. Many showed up at the race in long sleeves - later regretting it.)

This time, I lined up further back in the pack and set up a 175 bpm Podrunner song to keep me paced during the race. My times were:

Mile 1: 9:46 (a little fast, but it felt comfortable)
Mile 2: 10:37 (a little slower than I wanted but ok since there was a water stop right before mile 2)
Mile 3: 10:01 (more of the pace I was looking for)
Mile 4: 10:29
Mile 5: 10:52 (water stop in this mile, and I was feeling a little tired but still ok)
Mile 6: 10:29 (I ran this last bit of the race for my daughter Carolyn who couldn't be there)
Mile 6.2: 1:44

Net time: 1:04:00 (Beat my previous time by over 2 and a half minutes!)

The race took us through the town of Celebration, Florida, not too far from Disney World. It was built to look like the old towns in the North east (verses the stucco style houses of Florida). It was a nice run through town where folks sat out on their front porch to watch the race go by.

Heel report: A little achey but not more than normally after a run. I was supposed to do a 14 mile long run, and was going to run another 8 miles after getting home, but I am going to pass on the extra miles and try to run them in the morning instead. This is an easy week leading up to my 22 miler next Sunday. I am going to treat that run like a marathon and prep for it as I would the marathon. It will be a good dry run.

7 weeks and 6 days to Disney!!

Friday, November 10, 2006

Another 8 miles and some progress

After my elliptical day break, I got up early this morning to run. Uncertain how far I ought to go, I decided to try 8 miles and figured I could turn back early if I wasn't feeling up to it. The run felt pretty good - and at the end, although my heel ached a little, it wasn't too bad. 1 hour, 28 minutes - an 11:07 pace.

As I went through the day, my heel didn't hurt nearly as much as it has in the past and this without even icing it. I am hoping the extra day off and the new shoes and insoles are helping! We will see.

Tomorrow is an off day - Sunday a 10K race, followed by a few miles of running if I am feeling up to it.

Happy weekend all!

Thursday, November 09, 2006

The Elliptical Alternative

Let me preface this by saying that I have used an elliptical machine, oh, maybe 4 times in my life, today being the 4th time.

So if I can run 8 miles in an hour and a half and go through my day like it was no big deal, why is it that 1 mile, or 20 minutes, on an elliptical machine leaves me dripping in sweat, out of breath and feeling completely out of shape?

It's not like I can go slower to make it easier - it fact it seems to be harder if I go slower. And then try to go that was really slow!

Welcome to my running it cross training if you like. What I needed was something other than running to give me a workout while giving my heel a little break. Ever since my 18 mile run, it seems my heel is aching more - not recovering as quick. I think it needs more of a break, but with 8 weeks until the marathon, I am at a critical part of my training. So, my cunning plan is to take a day break between runs, and augment the running with elliptical during the week - saving myself for the weekend long run - the critical portion of the training.

The elliptical seems to work my quads more - so I think it is a good addition. Hopefully as I use it, I will be able to last longer than 20 minutes!

Monday, November 06, 2006

New shoes

I have been rotating two pairs of shoes in my running of late. Both pairs have mileage approaching the 300 mile mark, so it was time to work a new pair into the rotation. Now like most everyone else, when I find something that works, I stick with it. So it was easy to call up the local running store and ask for a pair of Brooks Addiction size 8 and a half medium. I finally picked them up last week along with new insoles called "Super feet". I am told these will give better support for my plantar faciatis.

This morning I took them out for an 8 mile spin around the neighborhood. We shall see later today how my feet have done. The heel felt good during the run, though I think I have a blister on the arch of my right foot. I am not too worried about that - I can probably prevent that next time with a bandaid or some body glide. And I logged a new time of 1 hr 28 min for 8 miles or an 11:05 per mile pace - my fastest time yet for that distance. Running 10 minutes and walking 1 seems to be working well for my mid-length runs.

It's great being out on the road again. After not running for 4 days, I was beginning to feel like a blob. But this morning I felt light and in motion! :-)

Sunday, November 05, 2006

4 Day Running Hiatus and 16 Years of Wedded Bliss!

Where can you spy ostriches wandering around outside your hotel window? Why at Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge, of course! While on a break from my running this weekend I celebrated 16 years with my husband - and we brought the kids along for a day of the fun!

Though I haven't run all weekend, my heel has been aching with all the walking around at Animal Kingdom and around the lodge (very frustrating, after all, I am resting it!). I am going to start the week off with an 8 miler and see how it does. I am rested and ready to start my training back up again!!

Jambo, everyone!

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Rest is good

Today I slept in and I didn't run. My heel thanked me all day long by not hurting. The rest of me was happy not to be dragging at 2 pm. It was a good day.

I can't help but think that if I had just given myself an extra day after that really long run, I would have come back better. Pushing myself so soon after running nearly 19 miles really wore me thin. Next long run, I will take at least 2 days to recover.

I will also resist the urge to run before my 3 day break is up. My body will thank me next week. Besides, it is my anniversary weekend (16 years) and we have some fun things planned.

Today's picture is compliments of a North Carolina hike we made during vacation! What a RESTful place :-).

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Learning to listen to my body

This morning was one of those days that I ran when I probably shouldn't have. All the signs were there. I was still pretty achy from my long run on Sunday (legs and heel), I was short on sleep for the past 2 nights, we had been out walking around for Halloween, and I was sooooo tired! But some habits die hard. In a way, I told myself to stop being a wimp and stick to the schedule. The schedule had me down for 7 miles. And my type A personality insisted on sticking to it.

So when the alarm went off at 5:45 am, I was very comfortable, and could have so easily reset the alarm and fallen right back to sleep...but duty called and I rolled out of bed. As usual, I had laid out my running gear the night before, so I just had to pull it on and get on out the door. With 7 miles ahead, I had to pack my fuel belt as well. This was going to take me over an hour to do.

I set the iPod to a 170 bpm song and headed out. It was still dark, but already it was getting lighter outside. I was happy for daylight savings being over. Just over a mile in, I set out to cross the 4 lane road I run on and halfway across my left ankle turned on me. Another sign I should have stayed in bed! I hobbled over to the other side of the road and tested it out - it ached for a little but running on it did not hurt. I figured if it bugged me I would head home. But as I passed my street it was feeling fine so I kept going.

The best part of my run happened around mile 5. As I ran along a brick wall, at the end of the wall, sitting on a wooden fenced area, was a large red-tailed hawk - just sitting there watching the world go by. I caught sight of it just as I was going by. It was about 10 ft from me. I ran past and then stopped, turned around, and just enjoyed the view for a moment. Then figured I would check him out again when I ran back by on my return (which I did). A little ways down from the hawk I encountered another runner/walker and told her about the hawk so she could enjoy it too.

The last two miles were pretty tough. I felt spent. Somehow I managed a respectable time of 1 hour 22 minutes (11:28 pace) - about the average pace I have been doing for my 7-8 mile runs. However, I have been limping around all day because my heel is really bugging me. So, to give myself and my heel a break, I am going to take the next 3 days off from running. Tomorrow, if I am feeling up to it, I will hit the elliptical machine at work. I feel like I need some recovery time - and this time I think I will listen to my body for a change.