Saturday, August 16, 2014

Marathon Training Week 10

Some of the 11 min group.
That's me in the back with the white hat.
Fifteen miles today. It's the first time I've run that far since the marathon two years ago. I felt pretty good, but around mile 13  I actually got a little nauseous. I think it was partly my body saying "hey, 13 miles, that's when we stop right?" It was probably really because of a combination of too much water/Gatorade/Gu or just the fact that we were out there for so long and it was kinda warm.

A little before mile 13 my left leg starting acting up. It's not too bad, just tight. So I'm going to make an effort to stretch and roll it out. This last week, I've been good about doing my strength exercises. I downloaded a new app, Seven, which goes through twelve exercises, working the whole body. It's supposed to be the most effective way to get your heart rate up and do strength training without weights. One circuit takes just over seven minutes (hence the name). The app makes it fun by giving and taking hearts for workouts done and missed. I've only missed a couple because even if I don't want to do it, I know that I'll be done in seven minutes, so I do it anyway.

I'm starting to get into the right mental space to run the marathon again. Last night I was worried about covering the 15 miles since it's been almost two years running that far. So much of a marathon is mental and frankly, the thought is scary. It may be scarier when you've done it before because you know what it takes. I may very well finish and say "yep, that's it, never again." But I didn't think I was going to do a second one either.

Oh - I almost forgot. After our run, and our ridiculously long plank (that I took a few seconds break in the middle of), most of us went down to the lake and jumped (hobbled) in. It felt so good and I think counts as much as an ice bath does. I didn't even mind biking home in wet shorts.

No update on the fundraising front. I need to send my coworkers another plea - if I have to put up with them every day, the least they can do is kick in a few bucks towards Road Scholars. 

Stats for the week:
Miles run: 29
Miles left to go: 254.2
Raised so far: $734.20
Left to go: $265.80

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Marathon Training Week Nine - I am a runner

I know I'm kinda late with this update - mainly because what can I say that I haven't said before about training for a marathon. You get out there, you run, you wash running clothes, you do it all over again.

I did have an interesting experience on Tuesday of last week. I didn't go out for my early morning run with S. because I was tired. Sure, I could have dragged myself out of bed, but I just wasn't up to it. So I didn't do it. All day I felt like something was off. I felt like maybe I had left the garage door open, or the stove on or something. But I knew what it was - I hadn't run. And so I now realize that this is who I am. Not all that I am - but a big part of who I am. I'm not the fastest runner, or the most accomplished and I'm not the person who was "born to run". But now, I am a runner. And even when I'm not running, I will still probably consider myself a runner. Just like I consider myself a writer even when I'm not actively writing anything. Or a reader even if it's been weeks since I've picked up a book.

It feels weird to say that because I feel like a poser. Someone who is just trying to fit in. Maybe it comes from surrounding myself with people that are faster than me. Maybe it's because (in my mind) I don't "look" like a runner. Maybe it's because I rarely run more than 25 miles in a week, and if I'm not marathon training, probably hardly more than 15. But I think if missing a run gives you a nagging feeling like you forgot to do something, like something's missing, well, that gives you the right to call yourself a runner - regardless of what you look like, how fast you run or how many miles you log.

I know I'm the only person who's telling me that I'm not a "runner". It feels good to give myself permission to do so.

Stats for the week:
Miles run: 21
Miles left to go: 283.2
Raised so far: $734.20
Left to go: $265.80

Monday, August 4, 2014

Marathon Training Week Eight

Our mileage this week was 13, so basically a half marathon. We ended up doing about 13.5 because we're over achievers like that. When you run 13 miles at an 11 minute pace it takes you .... doing math .... two hours and 23 minutes. When you go that extra half mile, factor in water stops and what not, you're out there almost three hours. And when you run for that long with a bunch of other people you think of different ways to keep yourself entertained - or at least we do.

Our 11 minute pace group has decided we'd be the fun group on the path. We say "good morning runners" to just about every other group we go past. A lot of the groups also say good morning back, though we did notice a trend that the, ahem, faster runners (those clocking in around 7:30-8:30 min miles) tend to be a bit too serious to say hello back. Also, and I don't want to disparage the different training groups in any way, but those there were not of the CARA variety sometimes seemed to not offer us as many greetings. I'm sure it was a "don't talk to strangers" thing.

One of the runners in our group coaches rowers in lagoon in Lincoln Park and knows the people out rowing. So we thoroughly confused them as we ran past shouting their names. Other things we do while running include: thinking up inspirational t-shirts slogans; talking about chocolate chip pancakes and butt moles; and calling our pudding (actually footing to let someone know there might that a pothole or something is coming up, but it sound a lot like pudding). I never knew running could be so much fun. 

In other, more important news, the July knitted monster raffle has ended and on Friday night we picked a winner. 

Karen is a co-worker who in addition to being totally supportive, knows what I'm putting myself through as she ran her first marathon in 2012 and is super excited to have her own knitted monster. I'll post pics when I finish it. Thanks to everyone who donated during July. We made good progress on my goal - just a couple hundred left to go. If you're reading this and you haven't made a donation, click the button over on the right. I may even come up with another raffle prize - or do the monster one again since there were quite a few people who seemed to enjoy that one.

Stats for the week:
Miles run: 25
Miles left to go: 308.2
Raised so far: $734.20
Left to go: $265.80

Monday, July 28, 2014

Marathon Training Week Seven

I am in such a different place with my running that I was the first time around. I knew this marathon training would be different. I have a much bigger base. I have run three half marathons and have already run the marathon distance, so I have a lot more knowledge of what to expect. There are even times that I catch myself thinking about what I'm going to do when I train for my next marathon. Which is just craziness.

So I remind myself to get back to the present. I try to focus on what I need to do today - be it go for a run, or strength training, or just resting. This weekend, after my long run on Saturday, was all about resting. I've been feeling my calves and IT band lately, probably because I'm not using the foam roller enough. So Saturday afternoon, I did the whole RICE thing by donning my lovely compression socks, laying down in my bed with my legs up on a pillow, and icing and taking a nap. My nap fulfilled two purposes: first, running 12 miles is tiring; second, later that evening I attended a fundraiser for my brother's theater company which didn't start until 10 p.m. Seriously past my bedtime.

The nap and the RICE did their thing and I felt much better. The rest of the weekend was used for laughing at my brother (the fundraiser was a roast of him) and lazing around. I suspect next weekend my lazing around will also be accompanied by some knitting. There's just one week left (four days really) to make a donation to enter the raffle for a chance at your very own knitted monster.

Stats for the week:
Miles run: 24
Miles left to go: 333.2
Raised so far: $619.20
Left to go: $380.80

Monday, July 21, 2014

Marathon Training Week Six

Week six is kinda where marathon training hits you that this is going to be a long (and for some) slow road. The funny thing is, this week was a cut back week, so we ran just seven miles. After this, all long runs will be in the double digits until the week before the marathon. At least my mid-week runs aren't too long.

Nothing really exciting happened this week. I got all my miles in. I ran home again on Wednesday and took my second Divvy ride which was fun. I didn't do as much strength training as I needed to do so that 70 second plank was pushing it (next week's long run is 12 miles - that's a long plank). I have no injuries to speak of (luckily). My brother watched baby H. on Saturday morning which he really enjoyed. He's been asking if Uncle J. will be there when he wakes up pretty much every day since. I was able to charge up and sync the old Garmin my sister gave me, so I didn't have to spend any money on a new watch. And, I received two more donations (thanks Jayme and Brian). So all-in-all it's been a pretty good week marathon wise. 

Stats for the week:
Miles run: 18
Miles left to go: 357.2
Raised so far: $619.20
Left to go: $380.80

Monday, July 14, 2014

Runnin' in the Rain - aka Marathon Training Week Five

A little fall of rain / can hardly hurt me now...

OK, so the Saturday morning run wasn't quite as dire as Eponine's situation, but the thought of slogging out 10 miles in pouring rain didn't sound too enticing. But let me back up this tale of woe a bit.

First, I had the pleasure of searching for a babysitter who wants to come over at 5:30 a.m. Apparently this is not a desirable time to get up, even if the baby four-year-old you are sitting won't (most likely) be up for another hour and a half. So I spent the last week texting and calling pretty much anyone and everyone who I thought could use some extra cash. Eventually I found a couple of people ready to contribute to the sacrifice the running gods demand.

Second, when I put my running watch on Saturday morning it seemed to have some issues. Namely, it is dead. And not dead as in not charged, but dead as in the display is burned out and even though the buttons still make a beeping sound I can't see anything on the display and of course it's out of warranty so now I don't have a running watch dead.

Third, it was raining. Well, technically it didn't start raining until we started running, literally - and I mean that. It wasn't raining while we were waiting around to go run, we all line up to leave and then we start running and then it starts raining.

But, just as Eponine knows the flowers will grow, there was some good from all of this. First, I did find a couple of babysitters and, as we are always looking for sitters even when it's not 5:30 a.m., it's good to have some who know us and are available. Second, I have been contemplating switching from a Nike+ watch to a Garmin watch - now I can. Third, it didn't really rain all that much and it was nice and cool on the run and 10 miles seemed to go by pretty quick.
Donations make monster's happy!

On the fundraising front, my raffle for a monster has motivated five donations, and I've raised another $100 (thanks to Jenny, Amy, Andrew, Yaz and Ali). Those are pretty good odds. So, if you want to get in on this month's raffle for a one of a kind, knit expressly for you monster, donate today: Click here to donate.

Stats for the week:
  • Miles run: 18 (missed a 3 miler)
  • Miles left to go: 375.2
  • Raised so far: $594.20
  • Left to go: $405.80

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Mid Week Run and Divvy Bike Ride

Last time I trained for the marathon, I had a hard time finding time to complete my longer mid-week run. I would try to do them on the treadmill at work, but once they got up over 5 miles, I was spending too much time away from my desk (not that I cared - but other people might have). I tried getting up early to do them in the morning, but that too became difficult as the miles increased. 

This time around I started thinking of other ways ways to get the runs in. Mr. H. has run home a lot - the direct route being slightly over 6 miles. But the direct route is not very shady, along heavily travelled roads and generally sucks. It would be so much nicer going along the lakefront path. So I figured I could run along the path and then take the bus or train. But then a friend suggested I take a Divvy the rest of the way and an idea was born.

I mapped out where I'd end up for each week's distance and then found the nearest Divvy station. Serendipitously, there seems to be one within a couple of blocks every time. So that's what I did today - my first 5 mile mid week run. I "ran" from work to the lake and then up the lake to Fullerton where I hopped on a Divvy and rode home, docking the bike at the station a couple of blocks from my house. I say I "ran" from my office to the lake because I happen to work in the west loop, so running through the loop at rush hour, during Taste of Chicago no less, was a lot of walking and going slow to get around people. Added to that, stopping and starting my watch while I waited at stop lights meant that once again I forgot to start it and so lost some mileage.

Once I got to Fullerton, getting the Divvy was easy. An added bonus, I get a little cross training in. As we all know, the path is crazy and Wednesday's directly after work is no different. While I'm comfortable riding a bike, I hate riding when you have to dodge people and worry about speed demon bikers who won't slow down for anything. So, I took it slow and stayed to the right. Once off the path, it's pretty much a straight shot to my house on side streets that have bike lanes. It may have actually taken me more than half an hour to get from Fullerton to my home. I'll have to check to see if I incurred an overage charge.

So my take aways from this experience:
  • "Running" downtown during rush hour is not advised. Next time I may run/walk to the lake but not start my actual run until I get there.
  • That construction they're doing at Navy Pier for the path flyover - yes, I know in the end it will be great - but right now, it SUCKS!
  • Fullerton to my house on the lakefront path is pushing the half hour allocated for Divvy rides. This will cease to be an issue once miles start going up. 
  • I am not the only person who thought up this brilliant plan (duh). I saw at least two other runners stop and then get on a Divvy. We should start a club or something.
  • One final note about the Divvy, I saw the elusive Divvy Red this morning (failed to get a picture). I took this as a good omen about my Divvy riding experience.
  • Running along the lake is one of the many great things about this city. Today was a perfect day, there was a nice breeze (but not too much); it wasn't too hot (or humid). 
In other news, I've only had a couple of donations this month. Remember all donations during the month of July are eligible for a one-of-a-kind knitted monster