Sunday, January 31, 2010

tough cold day

Well, "only" two weeks have passed since my last post...much better than the 7 or so months between the previous posts. :) Last weekend I was scheduled for a 5 miler on Saturday and a 20 miler on Sunday. However, I was in Bethel, Maine with a group of 12 people renting a house for the weekend. I was a bit stressed out about this; I mean, in January in Maine you want to ski, snowshoe, etc. but running is not usually on the agenda. I brought my running clothes and shoes just in case, and thought maybe I'd do 10+ on Saturday and x-c ski on Sunday. It was not to be. I spent 2 hours x-c skiing on Saturday and another hour snowshoeing. Sunday I spent 3 hours x-c skiing. No running. Not a step. I felt somewhat badly about it until one of my running friends told me that the x-c skiing "did my body good" and it was "enough" to replace the running (or at least enough to not have a major overall impact on my training). Besides, I have another 20 miler scheduled for 3 weeks before the marathon. And the novice training schedule only calls for the one 20-miler. And I have successfully completed 3 marathons using the novice schedule. So I should be fine. At least that it what I have told myself and now I need to move on.

Today I was scheduled for 12 miles, but that was when I was originally supposed to do 20 last weekend and 20 this weekend. My wise running friend suggested I bump it up a few miles but not to do two 20 milers in a row. So today I did 15. It was a tough 15! It was cold and I had diarrhea right before I left. (TMI? Stop reading!) This was not a good way to start, but I took some Immodium and headed out. I was not feeling motivated so my strategy was just to go really slowly. In fact, Hal Higdon says these long runs should be one minute slower per mile than marathon pace. Given that my marathon pace is always over 11 minutes/mile, these runs should be 12+ min/miles. Which never happens. So I decided it would be okay to do one long run closer to what Hal says to do. I definitely kept a consistent slow pace throughout the run. And I chose a new route, since I was sick of doing the same old out-and-back on the Boston Marathon course. Unfortunately the new route was much hillier than my regular route. But I figured since I was going extra-slow, I'd just do the best I could on the hills. This strategy worked, as I ran most of the hills (most, but not all!). Luckily the sun was out and I was well-dressed so though the cold was tough I was able to handle it. As always, the only thing that got cold was my gluteal area. Despite wearing "bun toasters" by Sugoi (yes, a real product), thick long underwear, and winter running tights, my butt got cold. But I decided that the best way to handle it was to keep moving! So move I did. Slow pace, but still I was moving.

After the run I felt really sick. Might have been the fact that I chugged a can of Coke Zero, plus a ton of cherry juice. Not a good combo?! :) I laid on the couch and whined (not out loud, I'm too tough for that). About an hour or so later the diarrhea returned. Guess I was lucky I didn't have any episodes during the run. I think I was dehydrated.

Next weekend I need to do those 20 miles. Long term forecast says snow the day of the 20 miler. Just my luck!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

I'm back!!

Many times over the past 6 months I've thought "I should put that in my blog." But I never did. It's quite shameful that I haven't written in this blog for that long. Tonight I had dinner with a friend who also runs and who also has a blog. In talking to her, I realized I need to stop making excuses and start writing. So here I am. I am going to blog again. And I am hopeful to keep it going.

Since I last wrote, I completed another marathon, the Steamtown Marathon in Scranton, PA in October. It was the best-organized marathon I have ever run! I could write paragraph after paragraph about how awesome that marathon was. In fact, I was so impressed that I wrote a letter to the editor of the Scranton newspaper and they published it!! Mostly I wanted the local residents to know how much their support was appreciated. So many of them were out there to cheer us on. The most memorable one, by far, was an elderly man in some sort of military uniform in a wheelchair. He was in the middle of the road on the yellow line. He could barely keep his head up but he was cheering. I went up to him and gave him a high five and he said something really positive to me. I can't remember the exact words, but I was so grateful to him! It was truly humbling to have the many residents of the Scranton area (a relatively depressed are) show us so much support. I will rave about Steamtown for years.

I took a short break but was back at it again in November. Unfortunately, training for my next marathon got off to a bad start when I experienced a neck/upper back injury in late October. I had to take a week off from running. And 18 week marathon training program turned into a 16 week program (I had already taken the first week off to continue recovery from Steamtown). Oh well! I was getting regular treatment on the injury (still am) and was back out there after a week of rest.

Now that "next marathon" is 6 weeks away! Today I completed an 18 mile run and felt great. This was good news, as I had struggled a bit with my long runs up to this point. The weather certainly helped; it was near-perfect conditions for me (40 and cloudy). Tomorrow I have the day off from work and will certainly spend the day resting.

I have decided to attempt 4 marathons this year. If it goes well then I will go for more than that next year. We'll see. 9 marathons down. 7 states. 43 states to go. As of right now, my 2010 marathon calendar includes FL, OH, NY, and VA. We'll see what happens!