Tuesday, February 26, 2013

16.2 miles!

16 miles in one day.  I guess, if you want to be all technical, I did do the Walk for Hunger when I was in high school.  It was not a good day.  My dad dropped me off at a friend's house and I was wearing jeans, crappy  sneakers, and a t-shirt.  I was not an active kid, but I didn't really realize how much walking 20 miles would be.  Oh! I did bring an extra pair of socks because someone in our group recommended it.  He said at the half way point, we would all stop and change our socks.  (he wasn't wrong)  So, 20 miles is a long way.  It's even longer if you only walk from class to class and home from the bus stop and then one Sunday decide to join your friends for a 20 miles walk.  It was a long time ago, but I remember my hands swelled up to twice their size, changing socks halfway through was a wonderful idea, I got a ride home from a friend of a friend and could barely get out of their car, and then next day walking class to class was torture.  14 year old me would not believe that 32 year old me would run a marathon.

So, snow again last weekend.  I did end up running my long run on Thursday again.  I woke up with a bit of a stomach ache (totally not from ice cream the night before, why would you think that?) and slept in a little bit.  Plus, the dog seemed tired and I didn't want him to sleep in alone.  (he is currently asleep under my feet near the space heater)

Something I really need to keep in mind is just how long long runs take.  Getting up late and then running for 3 hours or so is really going to put a dent in your day.  Just FYI to future me. 

Because I felt better after some extra sleep and because I knew schedule and snow-wise that this was the only day I could really make this all work out, I packed up my GU, mixed up some Gatorade, and went for it.  I am always amazed by how quickly time can pass when a run is feeling really really great.  I really enjoy my running route and have come up with various modifications of it so that I can use the basic loop for almost any distance.  The sidewalks were still not amazing, so I stuck to the side of the road when I needed to.  The weather was beautiful and the wind wasn't too bad.  I made it maybe 6.5 miles and decided I should probably eat some GU.  Now, I hadn't really thought about the combination or flavors, but do yourself a favor and get peanut butter GU and grape Gatorade.  It works.  You're welcome. One more suggestion- make sure you buy regular Gatorade and not G2.   It's good, but I probably could have used the extra stuff in the regular kind.

Too low

Just don't look at it while you eat it.

Something else I've noticed about running later in the day- all of the pizza places are open for business and smell amazing.  And they are everywhere.  Winchester and Woburn are full of pizza places, funeral homes, and cemeteries.  I'm not kidding, check it out.

I made it through about 11 miles with only breaks to walk on the snow and ice and then a couple of stops for traffic lights.  Nothing too crazy. I decided to mix a little walking in now because of the "walk before you think you need to" advice.  It's a hard thing to gauge.  

I really felt great during this run for about 14.2 miles.  Then (as I said on DailyMile) I wondered if I could call a cab.  Is that allowed?  My toes were sore, knees have seen better days, and I had stepped in a big puddle around mile 12.  I was out of Gatorade and water and the wind picked up just enough to make things a little annoying.  I made it. It wasn't pretty, but I made it.  I got home and had to take the dog out.  If any neighbors were looking out the window at the idiot in running tights trying to clean up after her dog, they must have had quite a laugh.  It was an ordeal.  A long and painful ordeal.  

I got home to stretch and "foam" roll.  Oh! So, the roller I bought wasn't quite enough.  I got some advice from my boss at the YMCA and bought PVC pipe.  No kidding.  


It works. It is 10x more effective (for me) than a foam roller.  I'm not a doctor or an expert, so please don't do anything I say without checking in with one!  I will say, it's a little weird to get used to because it's more slippery AND it's staticy, so there will a hair/fur situation.  Also, your dog will try to put all of his toys on your lap as you roll your hamstrings.  

Thursday afternoon and night was little tough.  Not as bad as I thought, but not super comfortable.  Plus I had to face these at rehearsal:

COME on!

This week is a little step back week, so my long run is only 12 miles.  That sounds wonderful.  This week, the snow is supposed to come tomorrow and Thursday, so I may even get to run on the weekend.  

Please don't forget- you can donate here!   

And March 9th is the long awaited return of Close Enough!  All of the cover charge goes towards marathon fundraising.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Oh the weather outside is weather...

Something I hadn't thought too much about when I signed on for the marathon was what the weather was going to be like during training.  I know I live in New England and it's winter, but it was just so mild last year that I didn't think about it too much.  I've run in the winter before, but I wasn't really training for anything, so if it was bad out, I'd go inside and run on the treadmill or use some other machine.  I took a lot of Spin classes instead of running.  There's really no way around running outside in the winter if you're planning on a marathon in April, though!

There's nothing wrong with treadmill running.  In fact, I've read that if you set your treadmill on a slight incline, you can duplicate a little bit of the effort of running outside.  My problem is, I can only run for about half an hour indoors before I want to scream.  I vary the speed, I listen to music, I even watch TV and I just can't mentally do it.  3 miles indoors is my mental limit, so long runs are out of the question.  I feel like a 10 mile run outdoors goes by way faster than 3 on a machine.  

Last week, I ran longer than I ever have in the past- 15.5 miles!  I've run two half marathons and run one long 13 mile training run, and at the end of all of them I thought "Yeah, that's enough", so I wasn't sure how this would go.  In my last entry, I talked about the group 13 mile run in Boston.  There were ups and downs and at the end, I was pretty done.  The week after that was a 'step back' week in the long run miles, just 10 (just).  It was fairly uneventful.  I did it on Thursday instead of waiting for the weekend because we had some ("some") snow coming.  I practiced adding in some walking per the advice of my new running friend at the gym Bob.  He's run 16 marathons, so I feel like his advice is worth listening to.  He said that if you add in some walking as the mileage goes up, recovery after is a little easier.  Sold.  PS- there was quite a lot of snow, so it turns out that was a good plan.  

Winston is not a fan of the snow.

Ok- back to last week's 15+ miler.  I'm really really trying to not worry about my speed.  I'm not fast to begin with, and that's fine, but I need to remember that my goal is to finish this time around.  15 miles felt pretty good.  I did it on a Thursday again because, wouldn't you know it, we had more snow on the way.  It was beautiful out, but the sidewalks sucked. I tried to stay on them for the first few miles, but after slipping a few times, I just ran on the side of the road.  The streets on my route are pretty wide and I got back to the sidewalk when I could, but it was much much safer this way.  I walked a bit here and there (some of it was because of snow or ice, some was intentional).  I can't decide how I feel about the walking.  Cardio wise- the walk isn't needed (slow, remember?) but I wonder if it is helping my knees/legs/feet at all.  Sometimes the short walking break is welcome, but it's harder to start back up again at the miles get higher.  

Also- I faced my fear of geese.

They're plotting something.

I had one hiss and chase me last year, but it was with a bunch of little baby geese.  I kept my distance, but man they're mean!  These guys just moved out of the way all three times I passed them. (most of them moved to the left, but one of them just kept running forward in front of me for a while until it figure it all out). 

Overall, the run was great.  (I did sink into some snow trying to hit the "walk" button at an intersection.  I figured it out for the second and third pass)  I actually enjoy the long miles by myself.  I was worried I would go a little crazy just running for that long, but it's weirdly relaxing.  You can't really do anything else but run, enjoy some music (if that's your kind of thing), and take in the scenery.  Since it was a long run, it did require my super sexy Fuel Belt and some GU.  That stuff totally helps, but wow the last thing you want to do is down something that tastes like frosting while you're working out.  Some people seem to be into those jelly beans, but I feel like I would bite my tongue while I tried to chew and run.  

So this week, the long run is 16.  I'll probably do it tomorrow because I hear there's more snow coming. Awesome.  

Monday, February 4, 2013

What, no medal?

I am at the point now where I'm not 100% sure how I am going to run 13.1 miles twice in one day.  I know that I have weeks and weeks (and miles and miles... like almost 300) of training left to do, but wow.  I love a good half marathon.  One. Just one a day.

This week of training was not without its challenges.  Wind, cold weather, longest long run so far, getting a little sick, and insomnia for some reason.  Tuesday's run was still a little snowy.  Wednesday and Thursday were just right into the wind.  Wednesday was a 6 miler and the first half was just awful wind-wise.  When it let up, it was perfect.  Thursday, more of the same, except the wind never let up and it seemed to come from every direction.  

Saturday was my first group training run.  I did not get much sleep the night before.  Friday, I had a pretty relaxed day and didn't go out at night so I could rest.  I ate pasta, I laid out my clothes and watched a bunch of Stabler heavy episodes of Law and Order: SVU with Winston.  And then ate some pita chips. And then some baby carrots.  And then probably more pita chips.  And, for some reason, a whole bunch of mushrooms.

I had a hard time getting to sleep.  I'm not sure if I was nervous about the distance, running with new people, maybe being the slowest person, getting lost, not waking up in time, would I be the only one with a Fuel Belt? 

I was woken up at around 5am (an hour before I wanted to get up and have breakfast) with some terrible ear pain. Awesome.  I laid in bed for about an hour trying to get a little bit more sleep and then just got up to eat. 

Again, Winston had no trouble sleeping

I decided to take the T in since we were meeting at MGH and I didn't know how much parking there would be.  Seemed like an awesome idea.  I'll get to that later.

I left my coat in the car, pulled on my hat, strapped on my iPod and Fuel Belt, stashed my keys, parking ticket, credit card, license, Charlie Card, GU, and some cash in my pockets, and headed in.  It's not too long to MGH from Alewife and I bumped into someone else heading over to run at Central, which was good, because I had no idea how to get to the actual meeting spot once I got there.  

There were about 10-15 of us, I think?  It seemed like a pretty nice and straightforward route a little over 13 miles.  Around the Charles from the Longfellow to the North Beacon Bridge in Watertown and back.  This is the longest distance I've ever run, so it was familiar, but it would be pretty tough still.  


We got started and right from the beginning broke out into groups of similar paces.  I ended up running most of the time with a group of four other ladies.  At least one had run the marathon last year, one had run 22 miles last weekend (what?  I'm fairly certain I had heard that right), and this would be the first for the other two.  I really had a great time running with these ladies.  There was some great conversation, I think I pushed a little harder than I would have by myself, and I realized that I am not alone in all of my training and fundraising worries.  The first half of the run flew by!  I had set my Nike+ app to just a basic run so it wouldn't alert me at every mile.  We got to a stopping point around mile 6 or so when we realized we didn't know where the rest of the group had gone.  There was a point to run back around the Charles, but we hadn't got to the North Beacon bridge.  We also couldn't tell where we should cross the street or even which street to follow... we decided to run back towards MGH and make up the miles at the end (two of them had those GPS Garmin watches).  

This is where we should have ended up.

Smooth sailing still, beautiful scenery and great company!  Then around mile 11- hip and knee pain!  I kept going because every now and then (for me) something that is just a little sore feels alright if I push through.  I decided to walk every so often to see if that helped.  I did, however, have to catch up to the group because I wasn't totally sure where we were headed or how far we had left (the Nike+ app can not always be trusted).  I felt a little better around mile 12 when one of the ladies said "My body is done".  I was glad to not be alone!  We finished a little over 13 miles and said our goodbyes.  

WHY does it have to be outside?!

Back to the T.  The one plus about running at home is I just have to walk up my street in the cold after I'm done (to cool down a bit) and then I can go take a nice hot shower right away.  In Boston, I have to wait for the train, get to my car, drive home, and THEN I can take a hot shower.  My running gear is super warm before and during a run.  It's great until you sweat for a couple of hours and then you stop moving.  Especially when the T stop is outdoors.  My fingers were freezing and three of them started to tingle a bit.  I put my mittens back on, but they were wet and it just seemed to make it worse.  The ride back felt twice as long as the ride to MGH that morning.  My parking ticket was bent and sweaty from being in my pocket, my hands were still tingly, and my legs were killing me from the run and from the cold that was totally on it's way.  I got off the train at Alewife and walked up the stairs hoping to get rid of some of the soreness (didn't work).  I got back to my car and cranked up the heat. I just sat and let my hands warm up before I started home.

My first finger is the color it normally is... the other three are kind of corpse-y.

I showered, I ate, I got some coffee and ibuprofen, and then I napped.


Winston also napped

I purchased a foam roller that evening, too.
This one.

Or was it this one?

I think the foam roller helped because I felt pretty good on Sunday.  Only sick/cold achy, not ran a half marathon the day before achy.

I also discovered/already knew that running a bunch of miles isn't really a good reason to eat whatever I want.  Don't get me wrong, I need to eat more than I would if I were to not run a bunch, but maybe I don't need to eat pizza, for example.  It's tough because I do find that I am considerably hungrier than I am when I am not running as much, but I just need to be sure I'm eating the right foods- foods that will help in recovery and performance.  

This week is a step back week for the long run- just 10 miles (10 years ago, I would never have said "just 10 miles).  I'm not sure if it's Saturday or Sunday for the group run.  If it's Saturday, I can't go because of my Zumba class, so I may be on my own.  Anyone want to run 10 miles with me this weekend?  Kind of slowly?

I have two fundraisers coming up.  There will be more details as they become available, but the first one is a Zumba class at Stoneham Theatre on February 23rd at 12pm!  The second is a Close Enough show at Dockside Restaurant and Bar in Malden on March 9th at 9pm!  Facebook events and emails will go out soon and I hope to see people there!  

This is what I learned this week:

1) Wind + running = not a whole lot of fun
2) I hate the T after a long run
3) Running in a group is awesome!
4) Cut the crap with the snacks
5) Foam rollers are totally a good thing
6) I can still take a nap after drinking a venti coffee