This is a snap shot of all the gear I put on to go on a long run in the winter. Today is was in the low 20's and friggin' windy. Instead of choosing the beautifully warm Sauncony mittens pictured, I chose a thinner pair of gloves. Fail.
Winter running is all about finding the right layers and accessories to make you as comfortable as possible. Obviously, everyones comfort zone is a little different. I have noticed that I am quite a bit colder than everyone else, so I layer on more. Sometimes I regret it, but usually not.
Anyway, I ran outside in the small town of Ely, where my in-laws live. I planned on watching Eclipse and running on the treadmill, but when I got out there the sidewalks were clear and I thought "What the hey, might as well."
Smart choice? Not sure, I did wipe out once... yes... horror of horrors. Falling is my biggest fear, but really it wasn't bad... nothing slammed into the pavement. Turning a corner my left foots caught a patch of ice and I basically just fell on my side in a pile of snow. No biggie. Whew. I was only a mile and a half in, so I had to keep on.
It wasn't the best run of my life, but I put my miles in (training plan said SEVEN MILES). Good news? I could have ran more which tells me that I kept the pace slow enough.
Now, I'm in my robe and slippys watching "Easy A" and I'm gonna be cooking a pot of Chicken Tortilla soup soon. Happy Sunday peeps. Rest day tomorrow.
In the latest issue of "Runner's World," they encourage you to find a mantra. A mantra is something you can repeat to yourself when you hit a wall or when you're stuggling on a run. On the first long run of my training program, it was cold and miserable and I was not pleased. Then, as I passed under a bridge on the trail and there it was... my mantra.
Was it anything about being harder, better, faster or stronger? Uhh no... that just ain't me.
So, what did I repeat to myself halfway through a run I prayed would end?
Now that is me. Running makes me feel alive.
Here's some other mantras of the pros: (feel free to steal, I won't tell)
Well, not for me and not for running. Most of my friends say they just aren't productive working out in the morning before work and I am just the opposite.
Since I overslept this morning AGAIN, I had to run after work and it was brutal. My energy was seriously lacking- I must have spent it all answering phone calls at work. I did find mojo about 25 minutes into a 40 minute run.
Yeah well, at least I found it at all.
In one of my running books they claim that if you work out regularly at the same time of day (for me that would be 6am) you will perform at your very best during that time. Amen those peeps is smart.
Guess what? Grandma's starts at 7:30a.m.! So, hopefully I'll be trained to perform my best at that hour. Woot.
Yay! I was on the mailman this morning as he sauntered in with my amazon order! YAY!
I got two more pairs of compression socks, since I love them. Two more of my awesome sports bras and a book. After my initial glee wore off, I began to dig through a dense book called Racing Weight by Matt Fitzgerald. The book is fantastic and of couse not all the information applies to me since I'm not an Elite athlete and I don't plan on ever trying to be one. Anyway, I have a crush on Matt Fitzgerald's brain. The only reason the book is so dense and slow to read is that he insists on backing up all his assertions with actual scientific data.
Now, to be clear, I do not run to lose weight. Even though I am quite certain running helped me drop my last forty lbs, I am not running a marathon to lose weight. I run because I love it- pure and simple. Running is a battle of will and no one can help or hurt my performance, but me. However, that being said, I would not mind unloading a few more of my extra lbs. Why? Well, I am happy at my current 173-174 lbs, but every pound I can shave off is another bit of weight I don't have to drag 26.2 miles. Also, 1lb equals 4lbs on your knees and since they are my weak link, I gots to treat 'em right. This book focuses on how an athlete training for an endurance event should lose weight. Obviously a saltine and a diet coke ain't gonna do it.
Anyway, as I get more in depth with the book, I will share any and all pearls of wisdom.
ps: Workout wise: I did a 30 minute hill climb on the stationary bike at the gym this morning for cross training and follow it up with some weight lifting. Definitely ready for my speed workout tomorrow though.
ps #2: Tomorrow night is my last night meat slaving. WOO HOOOO
So, this morning I laced up my kicks and ascended the stairs of the Y. I did my warm-up on the elliptical real quick and was content to see the track nearly empty.
I took a swig of water and psyched myself up for a mere 40 minute jaunt. The laps came nice and easy as more people filtered in to run, but there were mostly walkers. After I've put in a good mile and a half, I catch my reflection in the glass rounding a corner, I notice a mid-aged brunette trying desperately to "Catch a Runner". "Catch a Runner" is a great tactic in a race as a way to pick up the pace, you say to yourself "If I can just pass this person" and once you pass them, you fnd someone else continually bettering your time.
Well, seeing the effort in her eyes, I decided to be her "runner" and give this broad a run for her money. Funny thing is... she did the exact same thing for me. IT WAS FANTASTIC! This unknown woman turned my sleepy maintenance run into a battle of wills and this time- I came out the victor... barely.
Now, our whole exchange probably wasn't this dramatic... we probably looked more like two semis trying to pass each other on a hill, but it felt like the effing Olympics.
Cool thing was that I ran into her in the locker room and she said that I really gave her a boost this morning. She is new to running (obviously not new to fitness) and she really enjoyed trying to push herself to catch me. I said that the feeling was mutual and I worked quite hard to stay in front of her- which is TRUE.
Well, I spent another day not working out and sitting on my ass since today is my scheduled rest day. It feels weird, but I guess I should be grateful for the rest and get ready to kick ass on the track tomorrow morning.
How do I know that I'll be kicking ass?
Oh, because some of my loot came today.
Yep, I bought two pairs. The theory behind two pairs is that alternating them gives the rubber and cushioning a chance to "bouce back" making them last longer.
My shoe of choice is the Brooks Adrenaline GTS. I have had the 9 and the 10. Of course the 11 is out now and I soooo want to try them on, but I opted to buy the 10s at a discount off Zappos. Since I am a little bit of an over-pronator, I wear a moderate stability shoe. THIS ONE IS THE SHIT!
If I have any valuable advice to pass on it would be "Get Good Shoes!" Go to a running store and get your feet fit properly. It makes running easier and recovery too.
Since shoes are only good for 300-500 miles and/or six months, I'll probably buy another pair to break in the month before the marathon so I get the max cushion and support.
I am ready for a strong run tomorrow... see you on the track foo.
Well, it is hard to write this blog because either I blew it or today blew it. Either way it was a disaster and I spent most of the day chasing my tail and/or acting like a total psychotic.
First complaint, Cedar Rapids, clear your effing sidewalks, trails and paths. Seriously! I got bundled, I mean seriously bundled because the temp was 8.9 with 13 mph wind chill and I drove to the Cedar Valley Nature Trail. Bahhh. The trail was totally snow covered.... as was the Marion trail. So, I guess I just wasn't down with running in the road and I decided it was best to surrender to the Y.
6 miles around the Y track is a total of 72 laps. Sweet Jesus. So, I decided that since I can't count to 72 while running, I better get on the dreadmill. Ugh. Well what do I hate more than the dreadmill? Not much comes to mind... maybe pelvic exams... maybe.
I pull up to the Y... not ONE effing parking place. The place is hopping. Kids running all over climbing on shit and all the treadmills are occupied except one. I go to put my kicks on and realize that I dropped my damn socks somewhere. Gah! I find it and I get on the treadmill. After my warm-up, I try to reset the time to 90 minutes. Nope, I can't. Meaning that I'll have to reset the time, my age and weight every 30-effing-minutes. Apparently, the Y has a rule about working out for more than 30 damn minutes. A-holes.
So, with a touch of dramatic flare I launch off the treadmill and storm the hell out of the joint.
At that point I have pretty much decided that a run isn't in the cards and I start to question the whole schedule. Why did I pick a June race? Did I not consider that the bulk of my miles would be in inclement
DOUBTS DOUBTS DOUBTS
Oh well, tomorrow is a new day. Also, although this is completely un-related to my running or lack thereof... the register I was checking out on at the grocery store today froze and I had to wait 23 minutes while it re-booted. Yep, couldn't leave since they weren't sure if it charged my credit card or not. Like I said... screw today.
ps: Now, I'm just trying to decide if i should make up my long run tomorrow morning on the track or do I just keep going with week three? I can't find it in my book, but if I remember correctly they said to just skip it. But, tomorrow is a rest day and it seems like a waste to have two loser days in a row.
Well, today was a busy day. I meat slaved from 8am-2pm. Hustled over to the Y for some elliptical time and then I met my gals for a movie.
Now, it is after 10pm and I am just now icing my knee. It has been kind of sore and hot... meaning I am pretty sure I over did it on the elliptical. I find that it is hard to really get my heart rate up on the elliptical so I tend to set the resistance really high. High as in 10 to warm up then 12..14...16...too high idiot! I think that may have been a mistake as tomorrow is my long run.
Hopefully this frozen bag of blueberries and a little Voltaren gel will help. No pain, just soreness and honestly, every little creak freaks me out. I am an injury-a-phobe. Anyone else get that feeling? My knees have just taken a beating in life because I was overweight for so long and now I want them to carry me miles and miles and miles. Am I asking too much?
I am really trying not to dread Sunday and the long run. Flipping through Jeff Galloway's Marathon: FAQ book at Barnes & Noble I got to thinking that maybe I'm not running slow enough on Sunday? I also found out that his training plan gets you running 29 miles three weeks before the marathon and I know he is a pro, but that just seems effing crazy. What happened to the whole "It is better to undertrain than to overtrain" motto?
Running is a fiercely contradictory sport... I'll have to devote a blog to epic running debates.
So, this morning when I rolled over in my warm bed only to see my clock burn 6:15... I was bummed. Waking up at 6:15 is about an hour too late to get to the gym for an adequate run. However, since it was Friday and I didn't have to work Hell-Vee I rolled over onto my husband and decided to snuggle away my last hour of freedom before work.
It was pointed out to me, by one of my co-workers, that me not running before work makes for an irritable bitchy bitch. Now, the question is... was I bitchy because I didn't get my runner's high before going to work? orrrr was I bitchy because no morning workout meant that I had to hit the Y AFTER work? Ick. For some reason, Friday nights are full of annoying kids and parents filling the track aka getting in my damn way.
Good news is that I sucked it up and put my time in. The run was quality and I tried to keep my heart rate below 150 and not push too hard. I am often tempted to finish at a broke neck pace- just to prove that I ran strong and I'm not tapped out. But, Fridays are about recovery according to the plan, so I did my best to stay true.
I have decided that the key to training for me is a solid program. Marathoning for Mortals lets you choose what kind of race you want to run and then it spells it out for you to the letter. Something about my training being in print, scheduled down to the day just makes me just get off my ass and do it.
Look at my calves! I could crush some fools!
Saturday is all about cross-training which I have actually started to look forward to.
Speaking of things to look forward to, I decided to return some cute shoes I bought and I cashed in my living social 20 bucks.... so I have a nice Amazon order coming! YAY LOOT!
So, since I have taken my training to the Y as a result of harsher temperatures... I have come to learn something very important. My sports bra sucked. No really, when taking a lap on the track, there is the opportunity to see your reflection not once, not twice, but FOUR TIMES! Seriously(!!!) and the first thing I noticed... my boobs running harder than I was!
I started with a Champion Sports Bra from Target, I was a fan of the thin straps... thinking less strap, less chafe. Wrongo. After being accused of having a hickey I took action... guess what I found!?!?
Bra-Vana is the comforted state one achieves when their boobies are adequately holstered in lycra. My own personal Bra-Vana comes from the brand Moving Comfort, the style is the Fiona. Ahhhh Upon first glance it looked wimpy, I almost didn't try it on... but I did and thank goodness!
Now, you can buy this bra for $44 bucks a pop at Dick's or you can try it on for size at Dick's, then go home, get on Amazon.com and get it for half that. Guess what I did?! It also comes in a varied assortment of colors.
Priorities can be a bitch, especially for someone who likes to do everything. I often spread myself thin and have the best intentions of finishing everything I start, but often don't.
Setting priorities makes you choose what is essential in life and what isn't. Last night, I went to my second job, a job I took on to make some extra cash to get ahead (ha ha) and realized that I simply cannot to do it all. To be more specific, my body- even in the earliest stages of training will not let me run 4 miles in the morning, work an eight hour shift only to turn around and work four more hours. The time has passed for 64 hours work weeks. Working in a deli is a physical job, which is what originally drew me to it. Now, the physicality required is taking me away.
Until Grandma's has come and gone, my night will be dedicated to rest. Tonight, I left my boss a note to call me so we can discuss a Hy-Vee hiatus. It may be permanent, but for now I am quitting until after the marathon. I decided that the marathon takes priority over everything else in my life... if I didn't make it number one... it would be just another task on a long list of unfinished business.
Now that I am continually getting my ducks in a row... let's talk training. Last night I was a little nervous about my knee, prompting my Hy-vee flip out. So, I rubbed some Voltaren anti-inflammatory gel on my knee and hit the sack. I woke up feeling rested and ready to focus on cross training.
While most runners don't love cross training, I look at it as a rescue boat. Cross training is going to keep me running injury free. I got on the elliptical and kicked the resistance up to 12 and just focused on taking nice even strides, engaging all my muscles for 30 minutes. After a few cool down turns on the track, I did do some weight lifting. Good news is- it wasn't as terrible as I remember! As recommended I want to do two strength training sessions a week which should supposedly make me a better runner.
Even though I was pain free, I still used ice throughout the day in an attempt to keep any swelling and inflammation down. Today was a good day and I'm looking forward to my run tomorrow. I'm also looking forward to taking a few laps with my partner in marathon madness, Katie.
Thursday is one of the harder training days where I focus on speed and form so I hope it goes well.
Well, when the alarm rang out at 5:20 a.m. Though I was not thrilled about leaving the warmth of my bed or my husband, I managed to get to the Y by 6:00 a.m. If I don't get up in the morning, I have to either run on my lunch- which seriously shorts me for time or not run at all... I spend most evenings moonlighting as a grocery store deli clerk. Glamourous... I know.
Like last week, I had to put in 40 minutes on the track which wouldn't have been such a tall order... but I ate too many chicken wings the night before. Ick.
Good news? I'm off of fat nasty chicken wings for life, bad news I had to run 4+ miles with them sloshing in my gillet.
My advice is: Eat to Run.
Since chicken wings don't provide me much nutritionally, they are off my plate for good... or at least until I finish the marathon and get that terrible stench out of my nose.
So today, I ate some Kashi, Tuna with Wasa Crisp Bread, Hummus with Veggies and a lean Chilli for dinner which should lead to a much less bloated session tomorrow.
Wednesday... the elliptical and weight bench are all mine.
So, today is my very first rest day that concludes my first week of training for the marathon.
Here's an overview of what last week looked like:
Tuesday: 40 minute Run (Used the indoor track at the YMCA)
Wednesday: Cross-Training (30 Minutes on the Elliptical)
Thursday: 40 minute run with strides (@the YMCA)
Friday: 40 minute recovery run (@the YMCA)
Saturday: Cross-Training (30 Minutes on the Elliptical)
Sunday: 5 Mile Endurance Run (Outside in 15 degree Iowa temps!)
(ps- I am using Marathoning for Mortals as my guide- no I am not doing the Run/Walk plan... even though I should... what can I say... ambition killed the cat)
Estimated Mileage for the Week: 17 (I say estimated because the plan I am following has me base three training runs on minutes instead of miles.)
Aches: Knees are sore, as expected. Nothing a little Bio-Freeze and ice can't soothe.
Not only are they a dead sexy accessory... my little leggies did feel nicely swaddled in them after my long run Sunday.
The winter... hot damn it has been blustery and unforgiving.
Also, I hate that my awesome Saucony Balaclava (AKA Super Sweet Ninja Mask) fogs up my sunglasses. So, when a girl is forced to choose, I pick shades in lieu of feeling my face.
Ice Bath. After my long run I sat in a chilled tub to cool down my muscles. How did it go? Well, I had a teeny panic attack and summoned my husband... who thought I was a ra-tard. I assured him that this is normal behavior and his skepticism annoyed me back into the tub. I made it six minutes and I think it did help... of course I could be just telling myself that to appear less crazy.
Keep on keepin' on. Week Two only adds one more mile on Sunday- so I should survive okay. Focusing on form and I need to get one day of weight lifting in... even though I hate it.
In 152 days, I plan to take my place somewhere in the middle of the pack and prepare to cross the starting line of my first attempt at marathon.
Grandma's Marathon is Saturday, June 18, 2011 at 7:30 a.m. It is a point to point race running from Two Harbors into downtown Duluth. Supposedly it is flat and fast and even in June the weather tends to be quite cool. I chose it for a few specific reasons:
Timing. Six months out gives me plenty-o-time to complete a training plan and lord knows I need one.
Location. It is far enough away to be special and close enough to arrive comfortably.
Point to Point. Running such a crazy distance, I didn't want to double-back and see the same scenary twice.
Alright, that's the skinny on the race... here's the skinny on me.
I'm Falon. I've been running since May of 2010. Am I fast? No. Do I have a chance at hell at ever winning one of the bizillion races I plan to run this year? Hell no! I am 5 feet 9 inches tall and I weigh 173 lbs. . So, why do it? I do it because it makes me feel amazing. If I can run, anyone can run.
I started racing just like most other runners... I ran a 5k. I was happy to finish and then once the happiness wore off... I wanted to run it in under 30 minutes. So, I signed up for more races and spent more time on the road searching for speed. I ran six races over the summer/fall... my favorite being an 8k Turkey Trot. I like the distance... I still struggle with the 2nd-3rd mile so a little longer distance gives me plenty of time to grab up my second wind.
I decided to undertake a marathon because it is the ultimate task for any would-be runner. Yeah, they're doing ultras and shit now, but seriously... who sets out to run 50 miles? Not me now and not me ever. Though, I don't think I'll becomed hooked on marathons... I am excited to just complete one in my life time.
Did you know less than 5% of the world's population has ever completed a marathon? Neato, huh?
Anyway, this is my boring introductory blog and truth be told... if you aren't that into running (and you aren't my mom)... this whole blog will probably be a bit dull.