Thursday, September 29, 2011

Finding My Marathon Mojo

I've been thinking a lot how I'm going to stay motivated while running 4.5+ hours on October 9 and I've come up with a few key ideas/strategies...humor me while I share them with you:

1. iPod rule: I've decided my iPod is staying in my Spi belt (if it arrives in time!) until I absolutely need it.  Since I'll be running with Stacey for hopefully most the race I think it would be more fun to take in the scenery, the spectators, and chat about the course as we go along.  Plus, then I'll be able to hear my friends and family trying to cheer above everyone else to get my attention.

2. The 2 mile rule: My friend, Lindsey, implemented this rule during her first marathon and basically it means when you think you can't run anymore during the marathon just give yourself 2 miles to see how you feel.  The thinking behind it is that you can do ANYTHING for 2 miles and after those 2 miles you'll probably be over the mental hurdle and able to least 2 more :).

3. Dedicate each mile after 20: Another friend/blogger (sorry I don't remember!) game the idea to dedicate each mile after 20 to someone to make me push a little harder and get through the miles I've never encountered before.  I'll likely be dedicating these to my amazing spectators but haven't decided the specifics yet.

4. NO stressing about stopping to stretch/drink/pee: Stacey and I have already agreed to run this marathon together and we have also agreed that we will stop to stretch when needed, stop to pee, and not sprint through aid stations.  This is my first marathon so time is really not an issue...I'm even thinking about leaving my Garmin at home...I know...craziness!
I think I can manage to wait in a porta-potty line :)

5. Warm up for 20 miles: Everyone I talk to who has run a marathon says the real race begins at mile 20 or wherever your longest training run ended.  My goal is to focus on running slow and steady for 20 miles, enjoying every single minute of the race, the city, the spectators etc.  I'll reserve the last 6 miles for pain, freaking out, self doubt, etc.  I mean once I get to mile 20 I can just keep telling myself...only 6 miles to go...I ran 6 miles every single week for the past 3 months, no big deal.

Of course I have many other thoughts running around in my head about race day including stressing about the weather and what to wear, where to store all my sports bean, injuring myself before race day, sleeping through the start, eating something unfriendly to my stomach, etc. etc. etc.

Hopefully the heat trend doesn't continue into marathon weekend, I will not stress about the weather, I will not stress about the weather...

Question: What else do I need to be thinking about to have the most positive marathon mojo possible?

Monday, September 26, 2011

Week 12 - Marathon Trainin Recap

I am officially mentally DONE training for this marathon.  Luckily, I read some great advice from the Fitting in the Windy City blog that Kate's trainer sent to them about tapering:

"Do not do anything crazy. You may feel that you are not ready. You are! Nothing you do now will improve your fitness level. Trying to squeeze in a few extra runs or workouts will not help, but will hurt… literally, if you get injured."

Reading that actually made me feel better and I'm going to re-evaluate my running for the next two weeks in order to maintain sanity and REST for 26.2 miles.  
fresh flowers always brighten my mood and paying $5 for this bouquet helps even more!

Monday - 5.0 miles easy - 6.0 miles FAST
57:00 - 9:30 pace
My good friend Carol came over for a run after work and she is a tad speedier than me so we kept the pace pretty quick for the whole run.  At mile 5 Carol said "let's just keep running" and I'm never one to turn down a good running partner so we ran to 6 miles instead.  We re-fueled with Lemon Garlic Tuna Burgers that turned out pretty darn good!

Tuesday - 6.0 mile run - REST
Oopsies!  I did not realize how early I needed to leave my house to be downtown for a Sounders game with my bro so I just made Tuesday a rest day.  Instead I stuffed my face with a hot dog and half a bag of kettle corn plus 2 giant beers at the game and I paid for it by feeling like crappola on Wednesday.   It was worth it!

Wednesday - Personal Training - DID IT
Sara decided it would be fun to do the entire workout with ankle weights on including shuffling down the soccer field one million times, lunges, kickbacks, ab holds with feet out, etc. etc. etc.  What I love most about Sara is that every week is completely different and challenges my body in new ways.  My last session before the marathon is next week and I'm sad that I can't afford to keep her on forever and ever!

Thursday - 5.0 mile run - DID IT
The pup and I hit the Burke Gilman trail after work and it was a hard run.  I was sore from personal training the day before and just had low energy.  But we both got through the run!

Friday - 12.0 mile long run - 11.0 mile run
1:58:00 - 10:43 pace
This run was honestly the worst run of my training cycle to date.  It was pretty warm and humid out and I just never found my running groove.  I stopped at mile 6 for a while at a community center to drink and splash water on my face and spent the last 5 miles run/walking. 

Saturday & Sunday - REST
Although the weekend definitely did not feel like rest.  I was running around all weekend with a friend who was in town around downtown Seattle and a Seahawks game on Sunday.  FUN weekend!
lunch at the Edgewater on Elliot Bay!
Go hawks...and they actually won!
Total mileage: 22 miles
Total strength: 1
Total yoga: none

Marathon Training Week 13 - Say It Do It - September 26 - October 2
Monday - REST --> wasn't feeling well today so taking a rest day
Tuesday - 5.0 mile easy + YOGA
Wednesday - personal trainer
Thursday - 3.0 miles moderate pace
Friday - BodyFlow at gym
Saturday or Sunday - 6.0 mile long run and rest the other day

Question: How do all of you deal with major lack of motivation while training for something?

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Three Things Thursday - The NON Running Edition

I'm getting burnt out from running, talking about running, reading about running, all things running.  It's a good thing this marathon is in two weeks because I think I hit my training wall!  Don't get me wrong, I'm still insanely excited to get to Chicago and run this thing but the preparing for it part is bringing me down.

So, this post has nothing to do with running (except what I just ranted about above).  Here are three things I'm excited about this week:

Three Things Thursday - NO RUNNING!

1. Fall TV is back!  For every 10 minutes I'm out running each day (darn...I talked about running again!) I'm probably watching 30 minutes of new TV a night.  My DVR is starting to fill up again from all the new shows and I get excited for a lazy evening in front of the TV when I get a chance.  The shows I'm most excited for returning this season:

LOVE Parenthood...and I'm not even a parent.
Guilty pleasure #1...I was OBSESSED with the original 90210 so I can't help but watch this one.
GLEE! I heart Will Shuster!
2. Being a tourist in my own city!  This weekend I get to play host to a close friend from high school/college and her friend who has never been to Seattle. I'm excited to play tourist/host for the weekend and our plans include lunch downtown, Pikes Place Market, the waterfront and a Seahawks game on Sunday.
Last year's December game where I FROZE, at least Sunday will be warmer, now if only they could pull off a win?
3. Accomplishments at work: I apologize for this being ridiculously vague but I have to keep some of my life private, but I taught myself how to do something at work this week that I've been working hard on for a couple days and when I was successful I did a little happy dance in my cubicle...I hope no one saw.
Okay, I can tell you it involved figuring out how to get satellite imagery data on this ball of educational fun
QUESTION: What is one thing you accomplished this week not related to running? Because remember, we aren't talking about running right now.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Week 11 - Marathon Trainin Recap

Have I really been working this hard for 11 straight weeks?  Week 12 will make 3 solid months of running my butt off!  In some ways I think the time has flown by but when I always thought of how far away the marathon was it seemed so long...well not anymore.  3 weeks until the Chicago Marathon.  The weather is turning into fall across the country and I couldn't be happier, I'm just hoping it doesn't decide to revert back to summer or skip into freezing winter anytime soon.  

Week 11 was good, I felt strong and actually looked forward to my runs or exercise after work.

Monday - 5.0 miles SUPER EASY + Yoga - DID IT
Since I could run the 5.0 mile out and back on the Burke Gilman trail with my eyes shut in my sleep I didn't bring my garmin on this run.  Just me and the pup and my legs felt really strong for having run 20 miles only two days before...yeah for ice baths and proper stretching! I followed the run with a 20 minute Exercise On Demand yoga sesh.

Tuesday - 6.0 mile run with repeats x4 - 6.0 mile tempo run
56:00 - 9:24 pace
I was feeling the need for speed on this run so I warmed up for about 2 miles and then picked up the pace and ran miles 3 and 4 at about a 9:00 mile.  Mile 5 was about 9:20 and mile 6 was a little under 10:00.  It felt good to pick up the pace and remind myself that I can run faster than 10:30/miles since I feel like that is all I do with all the mileage associated with long runs.

Wednesday - Personal trainer - DID IT
I made the mistake of telling Sara I didn't have to run an insanely long run this weekend so she kicked my butt with a 12 circuit routine.  1 minute for each exercise, repeat circuit 3 times.  The circuit including horsey which is demonstrated in the video below.  After I did horsey for the first circuit my heart rate was sky high and never went down for the rest of the hour!

Thursday - run with Sonia - 3.25 mile run
33:00 - 10:00 pace
What a random distance you say?  Well my running plans fell through and I really didn't want to run 5 miles on the training plan so I just went out running with no plan in mind and ran 3.25 with the pup.  I finished the evening by making Peas and Thank You Thai Fried Rice which was delicious!

Friday - REST - Body Flow class
I have been meaning to take the Body Flow class at my gym forever and decided to use my lunch break to do it today.  It is a great mix of yoga and pilates and it wasn't too hard but provided some great stretching, hip opening, and core strengthening that I need.

Saturday - 13.1 mile long run - DID IT
2:10:00 - 9:55 pace
In honor of all my bloggy friends running half marathon's this weekend, I decided to run my own half marathon.  In order to truly make it feel "race like" I decided to pick up the pace a bit from my normal long runs and I felt strong the whole way.  Unfortunately, I didn't get a medal or post race food at the end :(.  It also helped that Fall decided to arrive in Seattle over the weekend so it was cool and cloudy the entire time...perfect running weather!

Half marathon runners - go check out their recaps!
Christy at My Dirt Road Anthem
Kerrie at Mom vs. Marathon. She SMOKED her sub-2 hour goal!
Mel at Tall Mom on the Run
Runner's Kitchen 

Sunday - REST - DID IT
Today was me day! I went and got a new haircut, bought some much needed work clothes and met a good friend for a late lunch.

Total Mileage: 27 miles
Total Strength: 1
Total Yoga: 2...woohoo! 

Marathon Training Week 12 - Say It Do It - September 19-25
Monday - 5.0 miles easy!
Tuesday - 6.0 miles - run last half faster than first
Wednesday - Personal Training
Thursday - 5.0 miles moderate
Friday - 12.0 long run
Saturday & Sunday - REST!  I have a friend from Cali coming into town so we are going to play all weekend!

Question: How on earth to do you decide what to pack to wear for a marathon where the weather could potentially be unpredictable?  I'm thinking about just shorts and a tank and I know I'll eventually warm up right?

Thursday, September 15, 2011

My Cheering Squad

I have run plenty of local races and while I have had amazing support from my parents and friends at most of those races, nothing compares to the people coming to Chicago just to see us all run.  I am overwhelmed with excitement and gratitude and the feeling of support from all of these peeps! 

Here is the rundown of our support, in no order of importance of course :)

1. Lindsey (EY) and Mandy - Coming all the way from Seattle, EY and Mandy are going to be our full course support/photographers for the 26.2 miles.  EY has already informed me that she will have a backpack full of everything we could possibly need mid race...sports beans, water, extra socks, a charged ipod, Vaseline, body glide, am I missing anything?  Mandy will be in charge of my camera for the event...I hope she has taken some photography classes cause I want some professional pics!
Thanks good lookin ladies!
2. Janel, Brad, and Brady - Coming from the great state of Indiana, my first cousin and her hubby and kid will be coming to cheer us on.  I hope Janel is already teaching Brady some cheers to yell at me as I run by!
Is this is not the best looking family you've ever seen?  Too bad Maddy can't come and cheer (um..woof) me on.
3. Andy the husband - Andy is Stace's hubby and he is in charge of finding us the best steak house for a post marathon meal.  Andy is good at a lot of things, but finding the best red meat to consume is one of his finer qualities.

Yes that bouquet is ALL orchids!

4. Mike and Sharon - Parental support! Mike and Sharon are Stacey's parents and since my parents can't come to Chicago they will be my adoptive parents for the weekend.  They have yet to see Stacey cross the finish line of one of her races, they definitely saved the first for the best!

5. Kath's Aunt and Uncle - I don't know their names but they are local Chicagoans (is that a word?) so they will be an excellent source of information on where we should eat, where to watch the race, and how to get around this new to me city!

Of course ALL the support I've received from my blog friends has been amazing and has definitely helped me along this training journey.  I never imagined when I started this blog that I would actually make friends and be obsessed with following their training journeys as much fun!  I would list all the blogs I try to read on a daily basis but then this post would be 5 miles long so I'll just give you the top 5 that have inspired me from the beginning (again, in no order of importance):

1. Redonkulous Runner - I think Ashley was one of my first non-family non-friend followers and reading about her training and receiving such thoughtful comments from her has been awesome and I still can't believe we didn't meet at Rock and Roll!

2. Tall Mom on The Run - Mel is seriously the woman that does it all...runs, works a big girl job and has a family.  I got the chance to meet her in person during the Seattle Rock and Roll and she is super sweet in person, I hope we get to run together again.

3. Fitting into the Windy City - Kate is training for the Chicago marathon with her husband and lives in Chicago!  Reading her training recaps and especially seeing Chicago through her pictures is getting me really excited to get to the start line. 

4. MegaNerdRuns - I think I love this blog because MegaNerd reminds me of myself in lots of ways from running to living life.  Plus, I'm kind of a nerd so I can relate!

5. Runner's Kitchen - I'm pretty sure this was the first blog I started to read on running and I think I found it from goggling "running blogs".  Megan is a super duper crazy fast runner chick that still managers to have a full-time job and have fun NYC at the same time.  She believes that preparing for some runs with a night of wine and good food with friends is quite alright and I like that!

Other blogs that deserve attention because they are also running the Chicago Marathon!
These Happy Miles
The Running Historian
Pain is nothing

Question: Who is your biggest support when running a race in real life and blog life? 

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Week 10 - Marathon Trainin Recap

With all the thoughts twirling around in my head realizing that the marathon is only ONE MONTH away, I didn't really have time to stress about actually running 20 miles until the morning of.  I was feeling tired all this week and decided to skip one of my runs in favor of resting my legs for the 3.5 hours of torture I was going to put them through.

Monday - 5.0 miles easy - DID IT
I didn't take the Garmin on this run so I would just run it for myself.  It was a hot evening and I decided a Mexican lunch included a margarita was a good idea...NOT.  My stomach was cramping for the first 3 miles but I just ran through it since I knew I wasn't near a bathroom.  I survived!

Tuesday - 6.0 miles marathon pace - DID IT
1:02:00 - 10:20 pace

Love these marathon pace runs.  Did 3 miles out and back on the Burke Gilman trail right after work and it provided some much needed shade in the 80+ degree temps Seattle has been witnessing lately.

Wednesday - Personal Training - DID IT
Sara was kind to me this week since she knew I had a big run in a couple days.  We focused on the core and did a lot of yoga flow moves and stretching of the IT band and hips.

Thursday - Run with Sonia - REST
My legs were telling me to rest today so I listened to them.  Instead I took Stacey on a walk and we had a photo shoot since I got my camera back...FINALLY!

really bad self portrait!
Friday - REST - DID IT
Didn't do a thing except cooking a healthy salmon dinner and got to bed early before my 5:30 wake up call to run.

Saturday - 20 mile long run - DID IT
3:27:00 - 10:21 pace
Stacey (the human friend) and I set out at 7:30 for our 20 miles.  Outfitted with our hydration belts packed full of sports beans we ran on the Burke Gilman Trail to Montlake Park, around Lake Union, into Ballard and back to my house.  It was SUPER sunny and we filled up our belts at Gasworks Park before conquering the last 6 miles.  My right hip started hurting around mile 14 which was not welcomed.  I had some shooting pain down my leg for about a mile and then I think I just mentally blacked the pain out.  We were thrilled to hear the Garmin beep 20 miles and we hobbled back to my place where we chugged Gatorade and drank some recovery chocolate milk.  After hearing all these amazing things about ice baths I figured I should try one and man I'm glad I did.  The minute I got out of the ice my legs were pain free and I felt surprisingly good the rest of the day!

Sunday - Yoga - REST
I'm bad at doing yoga, but I'm going to try and focus on it much more in this last month of training since I know it will help with my long run pain.  I spent the day with my best friend and we went to the Puyallup fair and looked at the animals, ate super greasy food, and brought home fair scones!
This beast weighed over a TON!
Super weird looking chicken!
Rach and I with our fair scones!
Total Mileage: 31
Total Strength: 1
Total Yoga: none...FAIL again

Marathon Training Week 11 - Say It Do It - September 12-18
It's TAPER TIME.  I've read a million blogs and articles about how people struggle with reducing their mileage and feeling guilty about it...umm...what is wrong with those people.  I can't wait to reduce my mileage and prepare my body to run 26.2 miles WELL RESTED!
Monday - 5.0 miles easy...really easy + YOGA
Tuesday - 6.0 miles with 4 repeats
Wednesday - Personal trainer
Thursday - Take two with run with Sonia, run is her call
Friday - REST or YOGA
Saturday - Long run (haven't decided the distance for this one...)
Sunday - REST

QUESTION: Have any of you marathon runners out there had troubles tapering? 

Check out all my marathon training recaps here!

Friday, September 9, 2011

ONE Month Until 26.2!

It's official, ONE month until the Chicago Marathon....see that ticker at the top of my blog...that little runner chick is almost to the end!

Well in Chicago time it's less than 30 days!
I thought I would break down my current fears and excitements in an attempt to talk myself out of my fears and get more pumped about my excitements :).

1. WEATHER - There is no reason this should be my number 1 fear because I can't control it at all but I've heard of past Chicago marathon's in the blazing heat and then some in the freezing cold.  I would like to put in an order for partly cloudy skies with temperatures from 55-65 degrees please...thanks! And don't even get me started on the wind and thunderstorms.
Source: weather.GOV <---the only trusted source for accurate weather

2. INJURY - I'm certain everyone has this fear going into a marathon and while I've been injury free during training so far (knock on wood) I'm still nervous that at mile 6 or something super early in the race I'll start getting hip/IT band/knee pain that will make it unbearable to run.  I know I just have to trust my training and my body that this won't happen but it doesn't mean I won't worry about it and analyze every little twinge of pain I feel on race day.

3. GETTING SICK - This has never been a race worry for me, since I'm a very healthy person and rarely get sick.  Well, that changed with the Kirkland half marathon that never was and you better believe I'm starting a Vitamin C regimen right now to boost my immune system anyway I can.

And now for the positive stuff:


1. RUNNING 26.2 MILES - Never in a million years (okay 4 years) did I believe I would be running a full marathon when I began running in 2008.  I know the emotion of crossing that finish line will be overwhelming and I hope I can keep it together and not start bawling for the last .2 miles.  My friend Lindsey and the motivator behind us all running this marathon had the BIGGEST smile across her face as she ran the last stretch of her first marathon in 2010 and she said she immediately started bawling at the finish line and a lady ran up to her and started hugging her and said "I'm a crier too!".

2. I FEEL STRONG - As corny as that sounds I definitely feel as strong as I've ever been since I have run more than I ever have and been consistent about weight training.   I'm confident that my body will survive the marathon and am actually looking forward to doing it.

3. MY FRIENDS - I can't say enough about how excited I am to be sharing this experience with two of my best friends, Stace and Kath!  We have shared countless emails, phone calls, and runs with each other leading up to October 9 and I'm just as excited for them to cross the finish line as I am myself!
I have hot friends...don't be jealous!
Another one of my best gal pals, Lindsey, will be coming to cheer us on and support us along the entire course (stay tuned for a post on all of our fabulous support peeps). I can't wait to explore the city of Chicago with all these ladies, we have traveled together plenty before and there is never a dull moment!
See...we are fun! In case you're wondering I am being superwoman, Lindsey is being some strong person, and Kath is being a flamingo.
I'm running 20 miles tomorrow, wish me luck!  Stacey and I are headed out around 7AM to beat the blazing heat that has decided to finally show up in Seattle and by blazing I mean 80 degrees, all Seattleites are heat babies. 

QUESTION: What goes through your mind one month before a big race?

Monday, September 5, 2011

Week 9 - Marathon Trainin Recap

Week 9 was a tough one, not gonna lie.  I'm getting a little burnt out running so much and I had to talk myself into every run this week.  BUT, I did them all, so that is what matters most.  I think the fact that I have completed every run on my training plan to date (yeah!!) motivated me the most since the end is in sight.  In fact it's almost a month away!
Wasn't feeling too strong this week but I can fake it

Monday - REST - DID IT
18 miles on Sunday means NO movement at all Monday and I didn't move a muscle. My legs weren't sore at all but they were just tight and tired so I spent most of my evening on the couch and then on the floor doing some stretches.

Tuesday - 5 mile easy run + Element 5 Boot Camp - DID IT
49:00 - 9:48 pace
I set my alarm to run 5 miles in the morning but when it went off at 5:30 it was pitch black..oops, I forgot it was almost fall.  So I ran after work with the pup and then high tailed it to boot camp class that consisted of lots of burpees and other things that I can't remember because there were so many burpees! 

Wednesday - Personal Trainer - DID IT
It was very unwise to go to a boot camp class the day before my personal trainer but I managed to do most of what Sara threw at me.  She brutalized my legs since I told her I didn't have a super super long run that weekend.  I did box jumps for the first time and realized that they look easy but they ARE NOT...after the session I could barely walk home my legs were made of a good way of course :)

Thursday - 6 mile run- DID IT
1:00:00 - 10:00 pace
My legs were really really tired but I'm glad I did this run because I have a feeling it gave me a glimpse into what it might feel like at mile 22 on the marathon.

Friday - 10 mile long run - DID IT
1:40:00 - 10:00 pace
Got the long run out of the way before the holiday weekend and it was nice to only run 10 miles for a long run this week.  You know you are marathon training when a 10 mile long run is like a walk in the park

Saturday - REST - DID IT
Went to visit my mom in Eastern Washington and spent the day wine tasting with friends!

Sunday - 5 miles - DID IT + 3 mile hike
48:00 - 9:30 pace
Perfect sunny, but cool morning in E. Washington and I decided to push it a little.  Later in the afternoon my friend and I climbed Badger Mountain.  It is a 3 mile round trip climb in the desert and we sweat out the glass of wine we had for lunch an hour earlier.

Total Mileage: 26 miles
Total Strength: 2
Total Yoga: none..oops again!

Marathon Training Week 10 - Say It Do It - September 5-11
It's the BIG week...the 20 miler run is coming on Saturday and I am determined to be very ready for it by resting, taking it easy during mid week runs and eating right.

Monday - 5 miles easy
Tuesday - 6 miles marathon pace
Wednesday - Personal trainer
Thursday - hills or speed workout with running buddy Sonia - run is her call!
Saturday - 20 mile long run
Sunday - Go to YOGA!

Finish this sentence: You know you are training for a marathon when _____

Thursday, September 1, 2011

The 100 Mile Club!

Okay, I just made up that club, but when I realized it was the end of August I took a peek at my Daily Mile stats and WHOA!  125 miles in the month of August!  Far and away my highest mileage month of my life, which clearly makes sense since I'm training for a marathon but it still surprised me.
I officially started training for the Chicago Marathon at the beginning of July, but was in training mode for half marathons since March.  It is really amazing to see my mileage creep and then BAM...over 100! 

You can visit my training page for details on all the marathon training weeks. 

I can honestly say I feel like I'm in the best shape of my life right now and I'm ready to take on this marathon with everything I have!  I guess you could say after realizing that I ran 125 miles in August I had an "a-ha" moment as Oprah in "a-ha, I really can run a marathon".  Something I never dreamed would happen when I began running 4 years ago. 
I just got a mac at work and took some time yesterday to discover the photo features that I'm sure will be useful in my everyday job duties.

This is called "comic book"...I don't know why I decided to be scared about it.

Question: What has been one of your running a-ha moments?