Saturday, June 20, 2009

Timlin 5K

I hate 5K races. To me, they are like sprints. As a marathon runner, I greatly prefer the longer distance races. That's because I can slow down my pace. And I like a slow pace. But with a 5K I feel like I am sprinting the whole time. So why did I run it? Well, I'm a member of a running club that has a Grand Prix Series where you get points for running Grand Prix races, and this was one of them. Why I really care about this, I don't know. My busy schedule doesn't allow me to run enough Grand Prix races to place in the top at the end of the year and get me an award. But I guess it's still enough motivation. I also knew I'd see some friends at this race, so I figured it was worth attending. But when my alarm went off at 7:10am, I was very tempted to sleep in and skip the race. I'm glad I went, but now I'm sleepy. And I'm going to be up late babysitting my nephew. Perhaps it's time for a nap!

Side note about the race that reflects one of my race pet peeves: the race had about 1,500 participants. There was chip timing (the new disposable D-tag) but there was no timing mat at the start. Without that chip mat at the start, you don't get your actual time that you ran the race. Your time reflects not only your race time, but the time it took you to cross the starting line. For me, that was about 30 seconds. I wore a Garmin 205 watch which tracked me via satellite and I hit "start" when I crossed the starting line. That way I could at least know for myself what my actual time on the course was (30:18, by the way). So I'm sure my "official" time will be around 3:48-ish. Oh well! The race is for charity (ALS) and I was told the chip mat at the start would cost 3 or 4 thousand dollars, so I can't complain too loudly.

Another interesting note: the Timlin in the name of the race refers to former Red Sox pitcher Mike Timlin and his mother Sharon, who passed away from ALS. Although Mike is no long with the Red Sox, he still got Tim Wakefield (Sox pitcher) to come to the race to sign autographs. It's a great event; not only do they typically have Sox players, but there are a ton of vendors giving free samples and a lot of activities for the kids. Giant slide, anyone??

Tomorrow it's a 9 mile run in the warm rain. Longest run since the NJ Marathon.

Friday, June 19, 2009

one pain ends, another begins

So I decided not to run the trail race last weekend. I really, really wanted to do it, especially because it was wet and muddy, which is just awesome for me for a trail run. Plus, I would get to run with my friend Sue. Everyone (on Facebook and email) told me not to run. They said the race would be there next year and it was best to rest my injury. As hard as it was, I took their advice, slept late, and didn't get out of my pajamas until 4:00. It was the best decision, as now the pain seems to have subsided. Let's hope it's gone for good.

But another pain has begun. My upper back and neck are so sore, the kind of sore where you can't turn your head to either side. I attribute it to a lot of time at my computer at the office lately and very bad posture. I am getting a massage on Monday and I'll ask her to spend most or all of the time in that area. Hopefully that will help. And I'm trying to improve my posture. I'm sure stretching would help, too!

So far so good in terms of the marathon training runs and mileage. I think I have mentioned before that I follow Hal Higdon's Intermediate I training program. I have made just a few changes to the schedule so far. I reduced my long run during week one to 6 miles (from 8) because I was still recovering from injury, and it's looking like I'm going to be eliminating one 3-mile run this week (though I still have a few hours tonight to get it in if I get motivated). And tomorrow I'm running a 5K race instead of a 5 mile run. Minor adjustments, in my opinion. Sunday I'm due for a 9 miler and I do plan to do that. May have to wait until the evening if it's too hot during the day. I simply cannot run in the heat especially when the sun is out.

Week two almost done! Woo hoo!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

training begins with injury

Okay, so my first official day of training was a cross-training day which usually means rest for me. On my second day of training, the first day of running, I became injured. Not a good start. I ran 5 miles at lunchtime on trails and on the roads. About half-way through I started getting a pain in my butt. Not to be uncouth, but that is where the pain was. The pain worsened as the run went on but I did finish.

The next morning I woke up and could barely walk. Okay, so how was I going to run 3 miles at lunchtime that day if I could barely walk? Well, as it turns out: very slowly and very awkwardly. It was sort of a "gimpy" run with lots of breaks. Pace was 11:51 or something like that. But I did it.

My friend Jen thinks it is piriformis (or something like that) which I think is something like sciatica. She sent me some suggestions, which include a stretch. She sent a link to the stretch that included pictures. I can't quite figure out how to do the stretch so I will ask her for a demonstration when I see her this weekend. I am getting a massage next week. I hope that helps!

Today I ran 3 miles at lunchtime again and somehow managed a 9:58 pace. Either I am learning how to run through the pain or I am getting better. I did take like 3 breaks during the run, though. One of them was for a bunny! He/she was happily eating and I didn't want to disturb the cute little thing. Eventually I had to get going, though, and somehow I still didn't disturb the bunny.

I'm signed up for a 6.7 mile trail race this weekend. Either I'll need to start early or they'll have to wait for me at the finish. I'll be lucky if I can hobble to the end! Will do some stretches this weekend and see if that helps.

Oh what fun this first week of marathon training is turning out to be!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Training Begins!

Marathon training starts today, but it's a cross-training day, which usually means rest for me. So I start training without running. :) I’m still not sure which marathon I’m doing, but the two I am deciding between are both on October 11th so the training schedule is the same. I’ve gone back and forth between the Steamtown Marathon in Scranton, PA and the Towpath Marathon near Akron, OH. There are great reasons to do both, but what is making me lean towards Steamtown at this point is that I think I want my Ohio marathon to be at my alma mater, Kenyon College. They have a marathon there in April. It is VERY small and fairly new, so I guess I should check to make sure they plan to continue it for a few years.

The bonus to doing Steamtown is that my friend Peter from NJ said he would travel with me, but that is only if he is still in NJ (he is possibly relocating this year). So I can’t guarantee that. The bonus to the Towpath, though, is that my friend Deb lives near there and could possibly come with me to cheer me on. But it’s her birthday weekend and is not sure she’ll be in town. What it boils down to is that I know I will eventually have to run some of these marathons on my own with no one on the course out there to support me (at least no one specifically designated for me) but I’m not sure I’m ready to go solo just yet. What do I need this person for? Many things….such as supplies (i.e. GU energy gel, water, Gatorade, Body Glide), cheering, and picture-taking. It’s also a huge motivational boost to know someone is out there waiting for you at certain mile markers. It helps motivate me to get to that mile. And of course it doesn’t hurt to have someone there to drive you after the marathon, since your body is not in great “driving shape.”

The main reason that I am deciding between PA and OH is that in the fall I want to go on a trip to visit friends in these states. You see, I just turned 40 and I decided that for my 40th birthday I wanted to spend some time with people who had a wonderful impact on my life, but who I don’t get to see often. Some I haven’t seen in years. So it will be special to visit with each of these people, if only for a cup of coffee (hopefully more!). If I run a marathon in one of these states, I can combine the marathon with my birthday trip. Of course all of that driving won’t be easy after running a marathon but I’ll manage somehow. I think I’d rather run the marathon first and then visit everyone, as I don’t want to expend too much energy the week before the marathon.

Once I complete my fall marathon, I will have finished 9 marathons in 7 states. By the end of 2010 I hope to complete my 10th state so that I can join the 50 States Marathon Club! So far in 2010 I am planning on the Gasparilla Marathon in Tampa, FL at the end of February so that I can visit my brother and his family, who are moving to that area this summer. And I’m thinking about Kiawah Island in SC in December so that my parents can be a part of that one. It would be cool to have them there when I finish my 10th state. We’ll see!

Now that I am back to training I will be writing more updates to this blog. And I’ll let you know what I decide to do on October 11th! :)