Sunday, February 27, 2011

21 Miles!

I did it!  So, first the basics:

I ran with the awesome posse from Off n' Running, the best local running store ever.  If you want to argue this point, I am an excellent arm-wrestler.

My job was to set the pace for my three fellow 21-milers.  They tend to speed up, and since their normal long-run pace is my just-trying-to-hold-on long-run pace, I like it when they ask me to lead.  I can run 8:50-9:00 miles forever, apparently.

I ate two Hammer Gel Espressos and a packet of Gu Chomps Watermelon, which I love.  The gels are getting harder and harder for me to stomach, but I know they provide much-needed energy and I do like the caffeine.  The water stops included Gatorade.  I am quickly falling in love with Gatorade during long runs.  Forget water; it's so boring and unsalty.

My favorite shoes (Brooks Ghost) are dying and I'm too cheap to buy another pair with so many other perfectly good shoes in my closet.  This week I wore my new pair of New Balance 758s.  They are fine, but they're not my favorites.   I have a pair of Mizuno Creations waiting in a box, too, but I've never run in Mizunos so I should probably wait until post-race to experiment.  I guess I will do New Balance for the race, because I simply cannot justify spending money to have preferred shoes when I already have good shoes.

As always, my sports bra drilled two lovely holes in my back, but other than that there was no chaffing or blisters.

And now for a little refection...
January was the month of the flu.  February was the month for ankle weirdness.  I started to doubt my ability to compete.  For me, all competing means is running in a way that makes me proud.  I don't have to BQ, I don't have to beat my previous time, and I don't even have to get a certain time.  I do have to run strong.  That's what competing means.  So if I wasn't sure I could do that, how was I going to even get my butt to the start?  And what would that mean for the generous people who have helped me raise money for Girls on the Run?  I am so thankful that this last long run was so strong.  I haven't put in as many miles as I wanted to, but Saturday's run proved that I will be fine.  March will be the month of the race!

Not only do I get to run a race, I get to run a race in Washington, DC around monuments and the Mall.  My family gets to come with me.  We get to stay with my parents, and they have colluded to create some plan for being visible during the race.  I can't wait.  My dad has already asked me about post-race food (mac and cheese, ice cream, cider).  I am so excited and so grateful.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

New use for a the wine chiller

My mom left her high-tech, bendable, velcro, freezable wine chiller here after the marathon New Year's Eve spades tournament.  There it languished, ignored in the freezer, until last week when I needed something to ice my ankle/foot unpleasantness.

It was heavenly.  It stayed cold, fit onto my foot, and stayed there because of the little velcro strips.  I should have taken pictures!  I will return it to my mom, but not until I get through the race with no more injuries.  IT would be just as good for achilles or calf injuries, but my thighs are definitely too big.  My favorite part was not feeling little broccoli spears poking me as I try to ice my injury.

Thankfully the foot is all better.  I really had to dial back the running last week; my long run was a whopping 7.5 miles!  By Monday it was just about better- just a twinge here and there.  I ran 4.5 Monday and 3.5 today; I would've run Tuesday, too, but my wardrobe choices were appropriate for 70-degree Monday, not 40-degree and windy Tuesday.  Oops.

Saturday my running group is doing 21 miles, so that will be my twenty miler for this race.  I know that most of the runners will be faster than I am (around 8:30 pace), but I'll keep up as much as I can and enjoy the camaraderie at the end.  I think I'm mentally prepared for 21 miles, but physically I am far behind.  January was the month of the flu.  February was the month of the ankle.  Now March is race month!  Where did the time go?  I am simply unprepared for this race, but that won't stop me from running it.  Come race day, I have no idea what to expect from myself and maybe, in some weird way, that will free me up for greatness.  If nothing else it's important to know that I'm not in peak shape.  I will run more marathons in the coming years. Maybe they'll be faster, maybe not.  I will be proud of this race, too.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

National Marathon, here I come!

Six weeks from today, I will run my second marathon.  The race is in Washington, DC and I am running for Girls on the Run, a great cause that empowers girls through training for a 5k.  Today was my longest run yet, and all in all it was good.  Here are the juicy details:

The Good...

  • I love running with this funny, entertaining, and fast group of people.  There were seven of us who stayed together for most of the 13 miles, so there was always someone to talk to or listen to.  I love hearing about other people's training and racing plans.
  • Gatorade on the water stops kept me going without needing as much food fuel.  In 17 miles, I only had one pack of watermelon Gu Chomps, and I gave two of those away to show how great they taste.
  • Getting to know people a little better.  I now know someone who worked at the Grand Canyon.  How cool is that?
  • The slowest mile was 9:05, and my last mile was 8:13.  My average over 17 miles was 8:47!

The Bad...

  • My ankle, which I thought I had angered by tying my shoes too tight but which I have apparently strained, behaved during the run but is now swollen and tender.  We're going for a bike ride this afternoon; I hope that doesn't exacerbate the issue.
  • The hills were crazy evil on this course.  I know it's not the mountains or anything, but the hills were numerous and rather steep.  I'm sure there were downhills, but who remembers those?
  • Although I ran for just under 2 1/2 hours, which is awesome, the elapsed time between beginning and ending the run was 2:49.  So would I be able to keep that pace without the frequent breaks?

And The Funny.

  • Running the first four miles on a less-than-attractive street, I mentioned how grateful I was to be running with two guys.  These two gallantly  told me that in the event of an incident they would run away and I'd only be safe if I could run as fast or faster.  Darwinian running, anyone?
  • I refused to take a course map because I knew that having one would give me an excuse to not keep up.  Fear of being lost was my motivation.  Very effective.
  • We had about 5 minutes between the first 4 miles and the other 13 with the big group.  I knew I needed to pee but didn't want to cross the street to find the bathroom.  So instead of a very short walk, I ran desperate for a potty for 13 miles.  Never again!

If my ankle feels up to it, I'll run a few miles tomorrow.  Since my goal for the rest of February is to keep the mileage up, I plan to run Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday as well as sneaking in a few miles during a church retreat this weekend.

So, it's six weeks out from the race and, barring anything horrible, I will run tolerably well.  Four more weeks of training and two weeks of taper, and then at this time on March 26 I will be reclining on a couch, eating copious amounts of ice cream, and probably sporting a shiny new medal.

Monday, February 7, 2011

All Better (but is that rib broken?)

First, if you cough a lot while sick and then one of your ribs suddenly sticks out, say, 1/2-inch further than its partner, can you safely assume that you broke it?  Is there another reason that a rib would protrude?

I guess it doesn't really matter.  It doesn't hurt any more, so I'm not going to ask someone to put it back or anything.  I once broke my nose in a car door (I have depth perception issues) and didn't find out it was broken for, say, a month or two.  The doctor then kindly offered to put it back where it went, but who would voluntarily have their nose broken again?  That's just wrong.  It still works, and you can't really tell it's crooked.

But I digress...

I'm all better, with a whopping seven weeks to train up for this race.  I ran 14 miles Saturday, and they weren't that bad.  My legs do still hurt, but that's to be expected when your weekly miles aren't what they should be.  I even managed to sneak in three miles today between school, picking up little man, and going to a Magnet Fair open house to brag about my school. (I love doing that since I love my school).  I'll run 18 or so Saturday and try to keep my weekday miles up.  I'm optimistic that 18 won't be that bad, especially since my buddy Brian wants to run 17 of them with me.  Do I believe that he'll really run slow enough for me?  No, but he's really funny and running out-of-breath but amused trumps running at a comfortable pace but bored.  It's true.