Sunday, November 23, 2008

13.1: Been there. Run that.!

That phrase was on a t-shirt that I didn't buy (I also didn't buy the ones that said "I'm slow, get used to it" and "this IS my race pace.") I did get nice socks and tons of other gear (went kinda crazy in fact.)

And yes, I finished. Time: 3:12. Started strong and on my 13 minute mile pace for quite a while but cramped up horribly starting around mile 5 - right quad from hip to knee, lower back, achilles tendons. The rest of the race was varying shades of torture. I will post a longer race report tomorrow but the upshot is: there are lots of little things one could complain about - my physical problems (resulting, I believe from inadequate training, some aspects of the race and of our group that were poorly organized, but overall it was a great day. Some of our teens are hugely talented and did extremely well, placing VERY high overall and winning or nearly winning their age groups; others to 7 1/2 hours to finish the full event. But absolutely everyone finished their event and so we went home with 100 medals (and 99 "Kicking Asphalt" t-shirts -somehow I left mine behind - WAAAH!)

More details to come, but now: sleep.

Friday, November 21, 2008

This is it

Alarm set for 6am. Out the door by 6:45 to meet my crew at 7, drive to Poughkeepsie to meet the other 100 people going to Philadelphia. We'll drive down, arrive around noon, head to the race expo where I hope to score the Perfect Socks, try on some jackets and winter gear, and browse the offering.

2pm, sneak away to meet my mom for coffee, and maybe be back in time for the tour of Independence Hall. But I've seen it before, so might just hang out til the big Pasta Dinner at 5:30. Movie after (maybe that one about Fred LeBow that just came out, and bedtime at 9pm. Sleep? Hard to say!

4am alarm. Shower, eat, meet at the Rocky Steps at 6am for photos, race time: 7am.

It will be about 32 degrees at dawn, going up to a high of 39. My plan is to wear:

My brand-new race ready driline tights with the five mesh pockets.
A wicking duofold long-sleeve base layer
A fleece half-zip top (from Target.)
A yellow cotton Marathon Project shirt over all that (we're all told to wear them to be recognizable) that I cut the neck out of and the sleeves off - it's kinda uncomfortable but at least it's long.
Light cotton gloves that I won't mind losing if I lose them.
A fleece earwarmer - I'm in love with it. (I bought 2, at 2.99 each I figured I could splurge. One for my neck, one for my head. Or, if need be, one to wrap my water bottle into my hand.)

If it feels really freezing I might switch from the fleece to my white "shmoo" top - it is a warm fabric with foldover hands and a hood.

In my pockets I will have: 2 packets of clif shot bloks (or maybe one packet of those and one bunch of pretzels.) Tissues. MP3 player maybe. (They're forbidden.) A spot for my gloves. perhaps my mini-water flask but I'm guessing it won't fit. An ID, I guess.

At our tent I'll leave my down coat, hat, and whatever layers I decide not to bring.

My race plan is to stick with 3:1 the whole way no matter how energetic I feel early on. If I feel crappy I'll try 2:1 or even 1:1. My sole goal is to maintain energy and stamina to finish.

I expect to finish in somewhere around 3 hours, maybe a bit more (I'm starting in the 3:15 group.) We'll mill around, eat, maybe head back to change and shower and come back to cheer on the full marathoners. Hit the bus around 2pm, back to POK by 6, home by 7, sleep by 7:01!

Check back in 2 days to find out how it all went!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Taper compromise

I did 5.5 or a little more, today - started out too fast, I guess - running to each half-mile marker at a good clip, then walking a minute (so for me, that translated to about run 5, walk 1. The first few miles went by fast - a better-than-12 pace - but then I hit a wall and slowed WAYYY down - couldn't sustain the full half-mile thing and reverted to 4:1 and then 3:1. The whole run was an hour, sixteen minutes - roughly 5.5 miles, maybe a bit more as I turned around based on time, not distance. (And was 6 minutes slower on the backside.) But - every training run is worthwhile even when they don't feel great!

I would love it, though, if it was as warm next Sunday as it is today - I ran in shorts and a t-shirt. Nice!

Friday, November 14, 2008

I really don't like this taper business

Earlier this week I had my plans made to go out today for my last, and longest run, yet - 11 miles. I felt I needed just that one last proof that I could do it - some insurance I guess. But then I reviewed the training plans in "Marathoning for Mortals" which said DON"T give into the temptation to run long this close to the event - I should be doing no more than 6 this weekend. TGTina told me the same. I don't actually understand the science of it - if I do a long run one weekend, and do a few short easy runs in the middle, I usually feel fine by the next weekend, and the marathon is 9 days from now (next Sunday.) But - I defer to those who know more than I do. It's just a bit frustrating!

Plus, I've been eating everything in sight - there are certain situations, like parties with platters of chips and dip and brownies, where I have absolutely no self-control. All the marathon mentors got together last night to go over plans for next weekend (there are 100 of us going, including adults and kids!), and everyone brought goodies. My weight is up from my lowest two weeks ago, but down from my recent high over the summer - somewhere in between. I just know I'm going into that winter danger zone where my appetite just goes up and up and up, and exercise opportunities go the other way. Must. Not. Give. In. Better go re-read Beck a few more times!

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Not exactly what I'd planned

I thought I was doing 11 miles today but left the house too late -I had less than 2 hours, so only did a little over 7. I tried to push myself - since the time and distance would be less, I tried to run harder. I started out doing 4:1 instead of my usual 3:1, and to increase the intensity. The hills on this route are serious - nothing like the marathon route will be. I went out fast - too fast - and slowed down too much for a while on the hills. The final result was similar to my run on October 19 - same distance, roughly same time (maybe a few minutes faster, overall.) Not sure what the training value is of a run like that where I push hard and then falter later!

Back home, I'm watching old John and Faith Hubley videos on YouTube with my 6 year old. Sweet!

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Two weeks and one day left

Here's a helpful hint to anyone planning to travel and break out of their usual training schedule with little time left before a big event: don't do something dramatically different, or risk consequences.

I went to Ohio last weekend (see my other blog, for details). The first day, I ran a little but had some asthma problems so quit. The second day was blustery and cold, so I decided to try the elliptical thingy in the hotel gym. It was the kind where the platforms your feet are on can tilt to simulate hills. I did a hard workout for about 45 minutes and felt great. A few hours later, I was walking around the streets of North Royalton, a suburb of Cleveland, and notices my calves starting to hurt - a lot. At first I thought my shoes weren't supportive enough but soon realized that my muscles were seizing up as a result of the unfamiliar workout. If I walked long enough they'd loosen, but we were getting in and out of the car constantly - every time I sat for more than a few minutes they'd tighten up horribly. The pain lasted about three days - by my last day I was fine again, but I didn't do any more running until I got home - just a LOT of walking. Now I know what it's like to be on my feet for three hours straing (or more!).

Back in the groove now: did 2 easy miles on Thursday morning, and a couple of fast miles yesterday (the first mile in about 10:40 - surely the fastest mile I've ever run. Give me hope that I can improve my speed over longer distances if I keep at it.) Tomorrow, my last really long run - hopefully 11 miles - and then I'll focus on speed and form for the next two weeks til the big day!