Tag Archives: marathon training

Making Decisions

14 Apr

When training for a marathon (or half) you come across a lot of decisions you have to make. Sometimes there’s the small decisions like “What should I eat for dinner the night before a long training run?” or “Which flavor energy gel should I buy?” Then there’s the bigger decisions … the ones that can make or break your race day run.

Currently I’m dealing with the latter.

After last week’s failed 20-mile run, I knew I might be in trouble. Usually when my IT band starts hurting towards the end of a long run, I’m okay after some ice and a few hours. But this was “I just ran a marathon” pain, yet I had only run 12 miles. It hurt to walk on the beach the next day. It hurt to roll and stretch my right leg. It just hurt.

Tuesday morning I woke up for a 4-mile run in the morning. The first thing I did was stretch and immediately knew I wasn’t ready. I texted my group and went back to bed.

Wednesday night I went to yoga for a Hatha class. It felt like my instructor knew what I needed, and every muscle in my legs and hips were stretched. I felt amazing!

Thursday I woke up for a morning run and again stretched. I thought I was ready, and met my group for a 5-mile run. Three miles in, I felt that old familiar twinge and as we were nearing our ending point (a conveniently chosen Starbucks), I started to feel sharp pain. If you’re wondering why I didn’t walk it in as soon as I felt any pain, it’s because I was on a schedule. Not only did I have to go into work early that day, but I also had to pick up bagels for a friend’s birthday. If I walked it in, I would be late.

As that run was ending, I knew a second attempt at running 20 miles wasn’t going to happen today. I made the hard decision of skipping this morning’s training run.

I don’t know how many times I’ve heard the advice “It’s better to run undertrained and injury-free on race day than trained and injured,” and how many more times I’ve actually told fellow runners that.   Oh, how that’s easier said than done.

Not unfamiliar to IT band issues (I’ve blogged about my pains here and here and here and here and here), I know two things:

  1. The irritation might not go away before my marathon. It’s only three weeks away.
  2. But if I’m diligent with my icing, Advil-taking, stretching, rolling and strength training, I may delay the IT band irritation and limit how many miles I run in pain.

So I’ve made two decisions:

  1. No running for one week. That means I didn’t run this morning, and Tuesday and Thursday are out as well. I will do yoga, stretch, roll and strength train in it’s place.  On Saturday I may join my group for a short run.
  2. I am still running the Flying Pig Marathon!

Mind over matter. Who cares if I can’t run today? Who cares that my longest run this training season was just over 18 miles and it will have been over a month before race day?

I can let myself (easily) go down a road of self doubt or I can focus on the positive. I choose the latter. Before my right IT band acted up I had two great runs!

And I hope it makes all the difference on race day. Weeeeeeeeeeee!

Have you gone into a race undertrained and healthy and/or trained and injured? Tell me about your experience in the comments.

I could stand to be reassured that I’m not alone. 😉


Pick-Hey-Up-From-Failed-Run Day

7 Apr

This AM was scheduled to be my 20-miler. I woke up feeling good. I twisted my hair up, brushed my teeth, dressed and was out the door, eating overnight oats as I drove to meet up with my group.

The run started off good. I was optimistic and looking forward to freeing up my weekend from this wicked run. I was laughing and practicing my “weeeeeeeeeeeeeee…. weweweeeeeeeeeeeeeee!” for Flying Pig Marathon.

Then a couple of miles in I became distracted. I had to use the restroom and it now became the focus of all of my attention. This is what I get for recently bragging about my lack of bathroom issues during runs.

Finally around mile four we ran by a 7-Eleven that could fulfill my needs. Sure beats a port-o-potty.

Back on the road I was happy that I could finally relax and enjoy the run. This feeling was short-lasted. Around mile seven I started to feel a familiar twinge to the side of my right knee. I was running with my IT strap on my left leg, because that’s where I’ve been having the problems, and contemplated whether I should switch legs with the strap. The problem is, I know that once the pain starts, it’s not going to go away. The point of the strap is to keep that agitation from starting in the first place. I left in on my left leg. The last thing I wanted was for both of my knees to hurt.

Around mile 10 I moved it over in vain.

A little less than 12 miles into the run, we were minutes away from a water stop when I felt a sharp pain run up my right leg. Expletives flew out of my mouth and I started to run with a visible limp. The dull pain had become sharp and unbearable.

My group was awesome. Immediately they started to tell me that I should stop running and spend the week rolling my leg and icing it and try again next weekend… It wasn’t worth making the injury worse today, especially with plenty of time before the marathon. They are wise women, and I decided to heed their advice. I called it a run at 12.23 miles. I called Donnie and asked him to come pick me up.

Here were my stats (I didn’t stop my watch for any breaks, including 7-Eleven):

  • Distance: 12.23 miles
  • Time: 02:58:19
  • Avg Pace: 14:34/mile

He came to get me with the dogs in tow. It was genius on his part. C’mon… It’s hard to stay disappointed in yourself with a pug trying to lick your face.

We decided to grab breakfast with the dogs at the Briarpatch on Park Ave. The pugs were pretty excited to be dining al fresco on such a beautiful morning:

Rex trying to make new friends on Park Ave.

The conversation went something like this:

Donnie: (to the dogs) You don’t get to come to Park Ave. every day. This is a special occasion.

Me: What’s the special occasion?

Donnie: Oh, it’s Pick-Hey-Up-From-Failed-Run Day.

Sometimes you have to know when to say when. And it doesn’t hurt to reward your smart, yet disheartening, decision with a delicious breakfast afterwards. I had the truffle fried eggs, over medium. The eggs were served over vegetables: peppers, mushrooms, onions, tomatoes and fresh basil. It was delicious! Briarpatch really never disappoints.

Truffle fried eggs at the Briarpatch.

Next week is a scheduled mock half marathon with Marathonfest. I’m going to have to wake up early and run seven miles prior to it. To be honest, I’m not particularly excited about spending another week thinking about running 20 miles.

Have you had a run recently not go according to plan? How did you improvise?

Rock My Face Off Yoga, New Shoes and a Lovely AM Run

5 Apr

As you may have already read, I’ve only recently started yoga. I’ve loved my few practices, but as a noob I underestimated the sort of experience I could have. Walking into the Full Circle Yoga studio last night, I had no idea what was coming.

In short, our Hatha instructor, Suzie, worked us last night. I twisted and turned and balanced and held and breathed like no other. And then at the end I was so relaxed during savasana that I think I dosed off! When I left that studio, I felt like I needed a cigarette. WHEW!

I came home last night, ate some fried chicken (I know, I know… poor life decision), showered and went right to bed. A few hours later I awoke in a startle and grabbed my phone to see what time it was… it was 4:30 AM and for some reason my alarm was turned off. Props to my internal alarm clock for getting the job done!

Tuesday night I came home to find that these babies had been delivered:

My new shoes: New Balance 20 Minimus Trail

I had tried the Minimus trail running shoes when I bought my New Balance 10 Minimus Road running shoes and thought they were the most comfy shoes in the world. However, I was transitioning from Nike Free Run+ shoes to these and was training for my first marathon, so I figured I should play it safe with the road version of the shoe. I ended up loving these shoes, and have had two pairs already:

My first and second pair of New Balance 10 Minimus Road running Shoes

I had forgotten about the trail versions of the shoe until recently when I came across the New Balance 20 Minimus Trail shoe at a store and stopped to admire them once again. And then suddenly I get an email from Amazon offering these shoes for 40% off. I jumped at the offer!

I only ran 4 miles this morning and the shoes felt great! I even think I might be able to go sans socks in them (for shorter runs). I’ll post more thoughts when I’ve had the chance to get a few short runs and a long run in. I’ll also work on a post about my slow transition from ‘more supportive’ running shoes to these more minimal shoes too. They’re not for everyone, but definitely worth some research and testing if you suffer from shin splints like I did!

Back to the run this morning. It was hot and muggy, and my body was a little tired from the yoga. But considering all that, I felt pretty good this morning. I don’t have official stats because I failed to charge my borrowed Garmin yet again. That reminds me, I need to charge my Garmin. 😉

Here’s the guestimate version:

  • Distance: 4 miles
  • Time: fifty or so minutes?
While I don’t have official stats, I do have a photo of the Rice Krispy Treats that my group mate Rachelle brought in:

I promise we don’t usually have this many snacks. 😉

What kind of shoes do you run in?

Will Run For Cupcakes

4 Apr

Yesterday’s 6.6 mile morning run featured a yummy treat at the end:  yummy cupcakes from one of my group mates!

Yummy lemon cupcake

The day before our running group received the following email from Lauren:

 I made 24 lemon cupcakes last night (lemon cupcake w/lemon cream frosting). 20 of which have not yet been eaten by me as of this moment but will be if I leave them in my house. A hypothesis I am trying not to test. Would anyone be interested in such a thing first thing in the morning? Perhaps a post-6 miler treat? They will be in my car tomorrow morning 😉

Immediately the replies started coming:

“We have been known to eat such delicious treats following a run.” – Sue

“That’s the whole reason we run!!!” – Rachelle

“Is this a trick question? I believe I am available to assist with this… ” – Beth

“I have never been known to turn down a cupcake…” – Me

I see shirts…’We never met a cupcake we didn’t like.'” – Sue

The replies continued and I couldn’t help but smile and be thankful.

Surely you can see why I absolutely love these ladies. Three times a week we get together and run. We are women (and our token one man) of all different ages, sizes and income brackets. We fare from all over our country (and some from abroad) and can’t seem to agree on our favorite breakfast joint. But for all the differences, we share our love for laughter… and most certainly our love for cupcakes.

As for loving running, that’s only on the good days. I’m pretty sure it’s the laughter and cupcakes that gets us out of bed in the morning.

Here’s to the ladies of Sue and Emily’s 5:00 pace group… the fairest ladies of them all!

Now off to yoga!

A Strong Fourteen Miles

1 Apr

Earlier today I posted my April Fool’s blog for the day, announcing that I was going to quit running. If you read down to the bottom, you caught that I would denounce this decision by Tuesday morning, when my next run is scheduled. Hee hee.

And while the reasons were quite honest (I really do hate waking up early and I miss sleeping in on Saturday mornings), I do believe that the benefits of running far outweigh these cons. Besides, running keeps me from going cray cray. 🙂

Since yesterday’s long training run was to be 10 to 14 miles, I set out for our run at 6 AM with the intent to run 10 miles. This is what happens when you give me a range… I mentally commit to the lowest mileage.

However, the stars were aligned yesterday and I felt so good that I ran just over 14 miles. Aside from the bug that stalked me for two blocks, I thoroughly enjoyed the run. Maybe it was my new favorite yummy running snack, the Vanilla Organic Stinger Waffle, that put a pep in my step. Or maybe it was the Mexican food I had for dinner the night before. Whatever it was, it worked!

Around mile 13 I convinced my wonderful Marathonfest group leaders to pose for this pic with me. I’m pretty sure they were welcoming the sit down break. 🙂

My group leaders, Emily and Sue, and I cheesin' at 13 miles

It really was the perfect day for a run! And with the Flying Pig Marathon only five weeks away, it was good to have a positive run!

Afterwards, one of my group mates and I doubled back to Panera. We wanted coffee badly.

Here were my run stats:

  • Distance: 14.29 miles
  • Time: 03:18:01
  • Avg Pace: 13:51/mile
Afterwards I headed home to begin a weekend of much needed rest.
Did you get your sweat on outside this weekend? 

I Ran 18 Miles and Didn’t Want to Die!

20 Mar

Yes, it’s true. Almost every time I’ve set out to run anything over 16 miles, the run usually ends with me feeling like I’m going to die. Or at least feel like I’m going to pass out in the middle of the street.

Except for this past Saturday. This time, the stars were aligned and everything felt okay. Well except for the horrible blister I got on my right foot from wearing a cute pair of flats earlier in the week, but that’s not running related. And I may never, ever wear those shoes again. 🙂

We were starting our run at 4:30 AM, so I woke up at 3:15 AM and did some foam rolling and ate my favorite pre-long run breakfast: a toasted wheat bagel with peanut butter and banana slices. It was nice waking up with so much time, so I wasn’t rushing around the house like a mad woman. Well, except for the part when I remembered I needed to find some green earrings so I didn’t get pinched during our St Patty’s Day long run.

I met part of our group at 4:30 and off we went for a 10-mile jaunt. We would circle back around and pick up the rest of the group for the final 8 miles. This time I remembered to start my run with my IT band. And my borrowed Garmin.

This was the first long run where we had so many runners joining on the back half. I loved it. They were fresh and still had pep in their step, which kept me motivated. If you’re running with someone and they are only running a portion of your distance, I suggest you try meeting them for the back half of your run!

Along the back half, we came across some poor little kids and a dog that had been turned into statues by an evil witch. I had to stop and take a photo with them!

My group leader insists that these are merely replicas of the house owner’s niece and nephew, but I don’t know if I believe that. Poor kids.

Oh, and only in Florida (and some parts of Georgia) do you find energy sources decked out in camo:


However, when my wonderful, but slightly evil group leaders tossed in some slight inclines (or “hills” as I say) in the last 3 miles of the run, I may or may not have started to say expletives. I’m sure that they would point out that the Flying Pig Marathon has hills and they were only doing me a favor by exposing me to them in our training run to which I’m sure I would respond with an eye roll too and  a “Pfshh.” Nevertheless I do appreciate it now that it’s over and done with.

We restarted our watches after the first part of the run, so my stats are broken into parts. We are not the kind of runners that stop our watches each time one of us has to use the restroom, or wait to cross an intersection, so our paces are slightly faster then what’s reflected below. And by ‘slightly’ I mean hardly at all. 😉

Part 1

  • Distance: 10.33 miles
  • Time: 02:22:47
  • Avg Pace: 13:49/mile

Part 2

  • Distance: 8.38 miles
  • Time: 01:57:50
  • Avg Pace: 14:03/mile

TOTAL DISTANCE: 18.71 miles <– Wait! I was tricked into running more than 18?

After our run we celebrated with breakfast at Panera Bread. Rachelle brought this little piece of motivation to remind us what we’re working for:

Me posing with our Flying Pig Marathon motivation

Only one more long training run scheduled before race day!

Do you keep any items in plain view to motivate you? Generally I usually just hang my training schedule, but I think I want to find a little pig to put on my desk.

I Was Bad This Weekend

12 Mar

This past Saturday I missed my long training run (10 miles). I simply woke up, felt that my back was achy, and decided that this was a good enough reason to go back to sleep and do what most normal people do on Saturday mornings: sleep in, roll out of bed and drink coffee in my PJs with disheveled hair.

So I did just that. I slept. And when I finally did wake up, I didn’t jump out of bed with the startle of one of my many alarms. Instead, I took my time with arising from my slumber. No alarm, just the aroma of coffee to awake me.

Unfortunately, I did not send the obligatory “I’m not gonna show” up text that I should’ve sent my group. For that, I feel badly. I wish I was the lying type. I would tell them later that not only was my back cramped, but so were my poor fingers and I couldn’t type out a text. Or perhaps I would play the “Oh, you didn’t get my text?” card…

Training-wise I did feel a little guilty for skipping my run at first. I even made plans to run an “atonement run” (my group leader’s name for a make-up run) on Sunday morning. However, when I woke up Sunday morning and saw I had the obligatory “I’m not gonna show” text from a running partner and it was raining… well, heck, I thought “this is my lucky day.”

So instead of a make-up run, I laid in bed listening to the rain as it fell for what seemed like forever. And then afterwards I got out of bed and drank coffee in my PJs with disheveled hair for the second day in a row.

So, to all you crazy runners that dragged yourselves out of bed in the wee hours of a Saturday morning to run before you started your weekend, I salute you.

As for me, I enjoyed my weekend of being bad.

Do you run weekend mornings? If so, what do you miss most about sleeping in?

Double Up Tuesday

7 Mar

Yesterday I did something I don’t normally do: I worked out twice in one day. Like at separate times. On purpose. Whoa!

You see, this might be a regular occurrence for others. But I have this mop of hair on my head that takes a long time to dry, so I pretty much hate having to do it more than once a day.

Because of my busy week, I could only go to yoga last night. But I also had a marathon training run scheduled for yesterday morning. And I didn’t want to cancel either of these. So I went to both.

I met my running ladies at 5 AM for an easy 5 miles. By ‘easy’ I mean we took it an easy pace, not that it was an easy run. I think my legs were still heavy from this past weekend 14-miler. Plus, I was tired so I spent the bulk of our run thinking about coffee… about its aroma, how delicious it would taste after our run, what size coffee I would order at Starbucks, etc.

Afterwards I went to work and… well worked.

After work, I went home and let my dogs out, ate a snack (pita chips and hummus… yum!) and threw on some spandex (really just my running clothes) and off to yoga I went. This was my second class ever and I am happy to confirm that I still liked it. I met up with Carolina from Peas in a Blog (who had just come from a run) and my BFF Rox and this time we took a yoga basics class. Our instructor, Debbie, at Full Circle Yoga was pretty awesome. You know when someone exudes peace? Yup, that was Debbie. Tranquility just flows out of her pores.

I think that the reason I like yoga so much is how I feel afterwards. After a run, I’m on that runner’s high, which is nice and I can very much use it to get through the day. But I hate having that runner’s high at night… when I’m supposed to be getting ready for bed. After yoga, on the other hand, my body is completely relaxed. From head to toe.

I slept like a baby last night. 🙂

Do you ever double up your workouts in one day? If not, what keeps you from doing it?

Hands down my hair keeps me from doing it. But I’m thinking I just need to twist my hair up in a bun in between and suck it up. I woke up feeling amazing this morning!

Fail Run

4 Mar

Yesterday’s long run was scheduled to be 18 miles.

In the end it was 14 or so miles.

I can’t confirm the exact distance or time because my run started with realizing that I hadn’t charged my borrowed Garmin. My run ended with an irritated IT band because I forgot to wear my IT strap. Quite frankly, it would’ve ended sooner, but I forgot my iPhone.

There’s a lot of forgetting when you wake up late and don’t allow yourself enough time to properly think in the morning. I need to start going to bed earlier.

Afterwards, Donnie and I went to the beach where I soaked my left leg in ice cold water. Hands down, that was my favorite “ice bath” to date.

Tempo Thursday

16 Feb

This morning’s workout was a tempo run:

  • Run an 800 at 10k pace around track
  • Run 2 miles out at tempo pace (30 seconds per mile faster than goal race pace)
  • Drink water
  • Run 2 miles back at tempo pace
  • Run a 400 at 5k pace around track

My personal goal for this run was to run it without walk intervals, which I managed to accomplish. Though it did take some mind trickery along the way:

Naysay Hey: I can’t do this. I have to walk. I feel like I’ve run one million miles.

Happy Hey: You’re almost done. You can do this.

Naysay Hey: What? But we haven’t even gotten to the 2-mile turnaround point! I need to walk.

Happy Hey: You ran 3 miles on Sunday without stopping. You can do 4.

Naysay Hey: But…

Happy Hey: But nothing. Keep running. This is fun! Weeeeeeeeeeeee!!!

Yes, sometimes I talk to myself while running.

I wish I had stats but I forgot to charge my borrowed Garmin. It died after the first 400 on the track. I do know that my second half of the run was slower than the first. It was hard, but I felt great afterwards (once I caught my breath, of course).

Do you ever talk to yourself while running?