Sunday, May 29, 2011

Day 46C--Running

Saturday was my six mile official training run and I went into it a bit worried. I hadn't run at all during the week and had neglected my cross-training, too. I had done softball practice, but that was basically the extent of all my physical exertion over the entire week. Luckily, I was worried for nothing. The run went just as well as the five mile run from the prior week. Even though I was ok this week without doing my training, I will try to do a lot better on my Sunday through Thursday activities than I did last week. I already got in my cross training for today, which is a big step above last week.

Next week's run is seven miles, longer by almost 1/2 mile than I've ever run in my entire life. I'm really looking forward to most future training runs being the longest I've ever run. I know that I've taken on a big goal, but it will make it seem so much easier if I know that every week is some new goal for me, just like the marathon is.

Next week is also the first time they want us to start trying mid-run energy food. That actually has me more concerned than the running. Many of them seem to be gummy and chewy, something I really don't like. I haven't enjoyed chewy candy at any point in my life. I have always wondered why anyone would ever eat a Tootsie Roll. I will try some of them to see which ones are actually palatable to me, though.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Day 45C--What is a runner??

Many times since I told people that I was running the marathon, some version of, "Oh, you're a runner" has been uttered to me. I always respond with some form of, "Not really." It's really gotten me thinking, especially when I heard another person in my training group say the same thing, even though she ran a Half Marathon last year. I told her that, yes, she is a runner. I do know that by the end of this summer, when I've finished the marathon, I hope to be comfortable with the label "Runner."

When I was a child, I never heard of runners, except in the Olympics. Carl Lewis was a runner, but people who ran at home were joggers. I have no idea what the difference between jogging and running actually is, although some put the line at 10 minute miles. Based on that line, I'm not a runner, I'm a jogger. George Sheehan said, "The difference between a jogger and a runner is an entry blank." I like that take on it better, but I still feel that the word jogger is basically the same as runner.

None of this has actually answered my question of what is a runner. I'm starting to feel more like a runner because I miss running when I go more than a couple of days without running. I also am scheduling my life so I don't kill the buzz of the runner's high. I will never be a morning runner out of choice because I like the high too much to ruin it with work.

If any of you have a good definition for "What is a runner?" please let me know. I do know that it's technically just "a person who runs" but that's a bit nebulous for me. Normally I love the strict definition of words, but "runner" seems to have connotations beyond just the dictionary definition.

Inspiring Person #21

John MacLean. He became paralyzed after being hit by a truck. Always an athlete, he went on after the accident to do even more. He has competed in the Ironman Triathlon, written a book, started a charity for wheelchair bound children and won Olympic medals.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Day 44C--Missed days

I was kind of lazy on Monday and didn't get much cross training in at all. That wasn't bad, but then I tweaked my back yesterday. All I could do last night was use my foam roller to stretch out my back muscles and lie perfectly prone. I'm feeling much better today, so I hope I can get in my 30 minute run before my softball practice, unless that's called because of rain. Even if softball is called because of rain, I will get my run in. I have to learn to run in the rain and the warmer temperatures today make it a good day to try it out.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Day 43C--Accoutrements

I always kind of thought that running was a great activity because it didn't need much equipment. That may be true if you're young and/or not running very far. Training for the marathon has caused me to get many items to help me get through the training and the actual marathon.

Body Glide. It's like a very, very soft candle in a deodorant tube. It helps avoid chafing. I use it by my bra.

My sports bra. It's something that Jane Russel and Howard Hughes would approve. I did a lot of research to find one that would really work and after seeing other women running on the path, I'm glad I made the investment. Very often I see other women running and I just want to cross my arms over my chest in sympathy pain. No, I'm not going to show a picture of my bra, just thought I'd share a younger, less fundamentalist Jane Russell.

My new foam roller. It's designed to massage muscles in the legs and back that are hard to massage on your own. I've had tight/sore calf muscles since early last week. They feel better after I start running, but stiffen up the minute I stop running, so the first steps really hurt. I tried my roller yesterday and it worked wonders on my calves. The roller can also be used for strengthening and I will try that out tonight with my cross training.

Interval Watch. Because we do 5 minutes run:1 minute walk intervals, I needed a watch that had intervals, something I didn't have. I ended up buying a men's Timex Ironman watch because it has memory for enough laps. It's really nice when I'm out running to have the watch tell me when to start walking and when to get running again.

This doesn't count the non-cotton socks, shorts & shirts that are needed. I had the shirts, but have purchased many socks in the last few weeks. I'm sure there will be additional products being purchased before the marathon in November, including a new pair of running shoes, but these are the only items that were needed and not all were expected.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Day 29C--Charity Auction

This Mets fan package can be yours. Bidding starts at $35 and will run until the end of May on my blog, twitter and facebook. The package includes a pair of Mets FanMats for your car, 6 Mets handles, 2 Mets Robe Hangers, Shea Stadium Plaque, 2000 NL Champs Plaque and team plaque. The car mats are worth $30 and the 2000 plaque is currently $35 on eBay. The highest bidder's price will go to my marathon fund raising.

Day 42C--Running

I ran my maintenance run yesterday. Went back to my route from last year. It's exactly 3.1 miles and, because it goes around a cemetery, has few street lights. I ran it in 33 minutes, which isn't great, but not too bad considering how sore/tight my calves were. I stopped at least once on the route to stretch my calves on the run and spent about 10 minutes doing nothing but stretching and massaging my calves when I finished my run. Luckily, they seem to be almost normal today, so they shouldn't pose any issues tomorrow when I run 5 miles with my pace group.

The weather for tomorrow morning's run looks ok. 30% chance of rain, but 62 degrees. I think I'd rather have rain with warmth than the cold, but dry weather I ran in last Saturday. Tomorrow will be the last group run under an hour. I'm really glad I like the two women in my pace group. T2 doesn't allow headphones during runs so conversation is a must. It makes the runs go quickly, but if I didn't like my group, I think it would make the runs drag and be miserable. I even ran into one of my pace group members when I was starting on my run yesterday. It was a nice bit of motivation.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Day 41C--Cross Training

I didn't really do anything different yesterday than the same core workout on the Wii. I am noticing that my balance is really improving. I can do the Tree Pose (pictured) without swaying the entire time. Holding the plank for 30 seconds is just starting to tap into my limits. The first time I was doing it, I was straining at 15 seconds.

I did do a couple of extra things before my workout, though. I did the plank challenge and the push-up challenge. The "challenge" on the Wii Fit Plus allow you to go as long as you can, rather than having some predetermined number of reps. I was able to hold the plank for 43 seconds and do 19 push-ups. They're still girl push-ups, but I can do more than a few, so I'm good with them.

Inspiring Person #20

First-timers Aivan Villalon lead the survivors of the 60km FrontRunner Magazine’s Coast to Coast Ultra Marathon. He finished in 6:22, averaging almost 6mph for the race. He slept on a cardboard box the night before the race and ran the entire distance in broken shoes.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Day 40C--Running

I ran some last night and did some speed work on the nearby track. Unfortunately, I thought the track was longer than it was. I ran fast, but walked way too much in between my bursts of running. It was also hard because my calves were really tight from the day before. They're still really, really tight today. I've spent a lot of time the last two days stretching out my calves. I think my yoga will help with that a bit tonight.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Day 39C--Cross training

I've made Mondays my cross training day, even though my schedule says it's supposed to be a running day. I spent 35 minutes trying to find all the flags on the Wii island bicycle ride. I will never be able to find the 20th flag. I've tried so many times, but have never actually found it. The ride is actually more of a marching/calf raise on the Wii balance board and steering over the on-screen island course and finding the flags. There are 20, but I can't ever find or reach the last one. I also did some Wii hula-hooping. It's much, much harder than it sounds. It's also really funny to watch. My abs are a bit sore, but not too bad. I also did 30 minutes of free step on the Wii. I just stepped up and back for 30 minutes while watching "How I Met Your Mother" My calves are a bit tight today, but I feel really good for having done so much yesterday.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Day 38C--Cross Training

Saturday was my official run, but I also ran an additional 1.5 miles later that day. I honestly thought it would only be a mile, but miscalculated how far east it was, in addition to the mile south. It was a good run though. I had started to stiffen up from the morning run and this short run warmed up my muscles before I was able to get in a really good stretch. I wasn't stiff or sore at all on Sunday, which was nice.

Sunday was my cross-training day. That usually ends up being my softball game, but that was canceled due to soggy fields. Instead, I woke up and did my core workout on the Wii. That may have eliminated any possible soreness that I would have had from Saturday. I really enjoy the core work that I'm doing on the Wii, but may need to step it up a bit with some yoga workouts from Comcast onDemand or Netflix Streaming. I don't think I need to make that step right away, but I think it's coming soon.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Day 37C--Pace run

Today was the first pace run. We ran 4 miles at what was supposed to be an 11:30 per mile pace. We ran a bit faster than that; closer to a 10:45 pace. We had some issues with our intervals. I had just programmed my new Timex interval watch with the coach, but instead of 5 minute intervals, we put in a 5 hour interval. That caused our first 5 minutes to end up being 6 minutes. We did eventually correct the watch issue, but had already shaved at least a minute off of our time. I think the cold also played a huge part in our extra speed. It was so cold when we began our run that I was shivering and our coach had blue lips. The wind didn't help either. It was at our back for the first half of our run, but then hitting us in the face on the way back.

The extra speed didn't cause the pace to be beyond conversational, though. The three of us in my pace group talked the entire time. It was a lot of getting to know each other talk; what do you do for a living, where do you live, why are you running and what's your running history type of questions. It really made the time go quickly, though. When we reached our turn-around, one of our group expressed amazement that we had already run 2 miles.

The run-walk plan also helps make the run seem easier. Even when I was getting a bit tired, I never had more than 5 minutes until my next walk break. It seems a bit weird to have 2 walk breaks in the first mile, but it makes it seem really easy and accessible. The full marathon would only be 50 intervals.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Day 36C--Running

Blogger has been down off and on since Wednesday, so I have a few days of activity to catch up on.

Tuesday night's run: I ran a very, very slow two miles. I had been asking for warmer weather and finally got it. Then it was too sudden and too hot and humid for me. It was not good at all.

Wednesday night's cross training: Softball practice. The weather was threatening, so only a few of us showed up. We threw the ball around, practicing grounders and fly balls, then we batted a bit. We ended up practicing for about 70 minutes, and there was no sitting or standing around because there were only five of us to cover the entire field. It ended up being a lot of running after errant balls.

Thursday's night circuit run: I joined a T2EA drill run at Foster Beach. The run was only two miles total, but with strength training every 1/2 mile. We did planks, side planks, push-ups, burpees, jumping jacks, squats and other exercises to work our core and upper body. The run itself was great. We covered the 1/2 mile runs at about 4:40 each. Having a group of people running faster than my normal pace pushed me to run faster.

Tomorrow is my 4 mile training run with the full group. I should have a better understanding of the run/walk pacing after that. I bought a watch with intervals and memory for 100 laps. I should know how to use that after tomorrow, too.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Day 35C--Inspiring Person

Katherine Switzer. My marathon pace group is named for this inspiring runner, so I thought I should look into her story. The picture at left is of a Boston Marathon race official trying to remove her from the race in 1967. She managed to get a number in the race, despite being a woman. In 1996 the B.A.A. retroactively recognized as champions the unofficial women's leaders of 1966 through 1971. In 2011, about 43 percent of the entrants were female.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Day 34C--Cross Training

Technically, Monday is supposed to be a run day, but that makes Wednesday a run day and that's softball practice. I have decided to move my runs to Tuesday and Thursday to fit my schedule better. That made last night a cross training night. I went back to the Wii for 36 minutes of core work. It was a lot of standing on one leg and moving around while trying not to fall over. I didn't do too badly, either. I'm getting much better at my core exercises. I keep practicing in the elevator at work. I just bring up one leg and try to maintain my balance. It seems to be helping. Although the last exercise I did last night was so hard that my abs were shaking with exhaustion. I was amazed that my body actually did that. Much of my core work is yoga and I'm also doing some stretching yoga poses and feel like I'm getting more flexible. I can actually touch my toes, something with which I've always struggled.

Tonight, I will be running for 30-45 minutes. I may hit the track that's a couple of blocks from home so I can do a little bit of speed work. Track work seems boring, but I haven't run on a track since high school, so it may be a nice change of pace. Plus, the park with the track gets a lot of kids and dogs so there will be a ton of people watching.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Day 33C--Pacing Run

Saturday morning was the first official group run for my marathon training. Our job was to run three miles to establish our pace for the summer and the marathon. I ran my three miles in 31:13 this weekend, which is slower than I had hoped, but I would have needed to shave 1:14 off of that to drop into the 11:00 pace group. The training program works on a run-walk ratio based on the pace per mile established this weekend. For people who ran 16 minute miles, they will walk more than they run. For people running 8 minute miles, they won't walk much at all. For me, and the others in my pace group, the ratio is 5:1. Our overall pace will be 11:30 per mile, or a total marathon time of 5:01:20.

My pace group seems really, really small, though. I'm hoping people missed the first week and end up joining our pace group later. Right now, my "group" is three of us. The other groups seemed to have more people. It's not that I want a group of 30, but 3 creates some actual issues. If one person is out, the remaining are required to wait for any stops for restrooms. That means both of us. If two of the group miss, that leaves no group at all. I'm sure it won't be the end of the world, just a bit weird.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Day 32C--Running

Last night I ran for just over 30 minutes and ran just over 3 miles. My pace was 10:14/mile. This is the fastest I've run this year, but not as fast as I'd like. My first official run with my training group is on Saturday morning at the butt-crack of dawn. This run will determine my pace group for the marathon. They'll take my three mile time, add a minute to my minutes/mile time and that's my marathon pace. I don't know if they have an 11, 11:15 & 11:30 pace group, so my marathon pace will put my finish time between 4:48 and 5:01. I'm ok with that. Puts me in the middle of the times for my age group. At least based on 2010 results.

Tomorrow's training begins at 7am, and I'm supposed to be there at 6:30. I'm tired just thinking of that. I'm sure I'll get used to it, because that's my regular Saturday training time for the next 5 months.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Day 31C--Cross Training

Yesterday was supposed to be a run day, but I had softball practice so I bumped my run to today. Practice involved a lot of running after balls and around the bases, so I don't feel like I slacked. We started with many of the stretches that were given to me by NovaCare, the official sports therapists for my marathon training group. That and throwing a ball in from the outfield involves more than just arm muscles. I probably should have done some yoga when I got home, but after 1 1/2 hours of practice, stopping at Target and eating dinner, it was time to get some sleep. Of all the keys to training that I'm supposed to be hitting, sleep seems to be the hardest to get right. To get a full 8 hours, I would need to fall asleep by 10:30 and sleep through the night. I usually wake up for a few minutes once or twice a night, so I need to be asleep by at least 10:00. Looks like I should start going to bed at 9.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Day 30C--Cross training

Yesterday was my second official day of cross training. I went back to the Wii for some yoga and core work. Did some planks and side planks. I always forget how good it feels to do yoga. My body feels stretched and strong, not tight and sore. It's really nice. Plus, from everything I've read, working on my core and balance is one of the best things I can do to help with my running. I will continue to work on yoga and my core on my cross-training days. Hopefully this will add some flexibility to my hamstrings, too.

My first day was Sunday and I played softball. I was up to bat twice and reached once on a fielder's choice, so my batting average is .000. I'm ok with that as I did score a run and my team did win. More accurately, the other team lost. With bases loaded, and one out, our batter hit an in-field fly, so she was out. The other team then let the ball roll out of play, giving every player a base on the overthrow, so the go-ahead run scored.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Day 28C--First training run

And it sucked. I was supposed to run 30-45 minutes, but the weather and my leaden limbs were not having it. I ended up walking the majority of my 1.83 mile route, so it took me 28 minutes. I will watch the weather more closely on Wednesday and bring my workout clothes to work so I can use the treadmill. I also forgot to use Body Glide, so I had some chafing. Overall, not a very good start to my marathon training.

Inspiring Person #19

Amy McDonaugh. She won the Flying Pig Marathon in Cincinnati this weekend despite having to sight in one eye and only 23/100 vision in her other eye. She has no peripheral vision. Her time was 2:58:14