Long runs….

If you have ever trained for a half marathon or a marathon, you know that the weekends are dedicated to the long run.  I usually complete mine on Sunday but have altered it if the weather is going to be nicer on a Saturday.

This weekend I was lucky enough to have two days to choose from for my long run.  I, of course, picked today, Sunday and I think I picked the best day.

My plan called for a 16 miler with 8 miles at marathon pace.   For me my goal pace is around 9:30 per mile.  I am hopeful that I can keep the 9:30 pace for the whole 26.2 when it comes time to tackle the marathon.  I have to say that it is still a little odd to slow down but I completely understand.  The goal is to get to the end still running and typically I have slowed down a lot in the second half of the marathon.  Basically running 9 min miles in the first half and so slow in the second half that when I finish my average time is 11 min miles.  Although this is not bad, I want to be more consistent and get faster.

IMG_3662Back to today’s run.  It was awesome.  The weather was in the mid 40’s with a light breeze.  I went to my favorite “go to place” and was greeted with lots of hills and wide open streets.  At one point I was even singing out loud to my ipod because no one was around and it just seemed like something fun to do to pass the time.  Today was a day I was thankful to be a runner, thankful to be able to enjoy the beautiful scenery, and thankful for those moments of alone time to think.

This week I finished with 55 miles completed.  I think that is the most miles I have run in a week since the final weeks of my last marathon.  And to think I am only in my 2nd week of this training plan.  Looks like every week after this will be a new mileage record per week for me.  That’s kind of exciting to think about and terrifying at the same time.

Tomorrow is rest day.  I am looking forward to it but it also means that I will do a little cross training because really I am supposed to rest from running.  So the plan is to bike a little at the gym and then work on the core as well as lots of stretching.  It is also one of my favorite Mondays at the gym because it is free massage Monday with a 10 min chair massage.

The rest of the week looks like this:

Monday: rest

Tuesday: 11 mile run

Wednesday: 13 miles

Thursday: 5 mile recovery run

Friday: 9 miles w/ 4 miles @ half marathon pace

Saturday: 5 miles recovery run

Sunday: 15 miles

Total: 58 miles  Holy cow that’s a lot but here goes!

How is your training going?IMG_3663

Still training…

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Beautiful Oklahoma sky!

So there I was ready to write a blog a lot more often and talk about my training for my upcoming marathon and then it happened.  Life again got in the way.  This is not to say that the training came to a stop because it didn’t, it was just the blog that came to a stop again.

Now I am hoping to get back on track…

Recently I had an impromptu trip back to IMG_3588Oklahoma to see my mom, family, and friends after my Grandmother passed away.  Even though this was sudden, it was a blessing in disguise.  My mom had been spending a lot of time taking care of her mother and was suffering a few health issues from the stress this was causing her, so I am glad she can get back to taking care of herself.  This is a great learning moment because it is always so easy to put yourself last in life.  I believe if you do not take care of yourself, how can you possibly take care of others in your life.  This is the one main reason I run.  It helps me regain focus on my life and what needs to get done.  Sometimes if the day at work is long, I find it better to leave at a normal time, go for a run and then spend a few moments during the evening finishing some of my work projects.  It is such a better use of my time and does make me feel better.

Back to the marathon training……

The month of January was a great training month.  In fact I ran more miles (168.21 miles) during the month than I have ever run and ran more days than ever (24 days out of the 31 days).  The good news is that it felt good.  I started my training plan having run 50 miles the week before which is a very aggressive plan but something I think I need to do to reach that goal of a new PR marathon.  Unfortunately I was unable to hit all my goals last week due to my travels to Oklahoma but have been right on track this week.    So far I have completed 39 miles and have a 16 miler planned for tomorrow.

IMG_3621I was spoiled while I was in Oklahoma with some incredible weather and was able to get outside for all my runs.  I even got to run a 10 mile training run last Saturday with about 200 people from the OKC Landrunners.  This seems like a great group of people who are all training for the OKC marathon.  I will hopefully see some of them when I return in April to run the half marathon on this same day with these marathoners.

Some of the most interesting things I have found about this plan are the variations of the runs.  Most of my runs are not even close to marathon pace.  I knew this was going to happen but when you are doing it, it feels so strange.  I spend a lot of time running at a slower pace which I think is the hardest because I want to get the run done.   There is also speed work involved and half marathon pace work which is not really speed work but holding a faster pace for a long period of time.  I think before this most of my runs were at the same pace all the time which is not really a good way to train.

Something else that is hard are the midweek long runs.  Yes I meant for that to be plural.  Think about trying to get in 55 miles or more a week…. Did you figure out how to divide up those miles?  Well this plan has you completing a 13 miler on Wednesday, 10 miler on Friday and a lot longer run on Sunday 15 + miles.  I am use to only one long run on Sunday so I am having to figure out how to give myself the time it takes to run this much.  I do know that in the end this will pay off.   I am also fairly certain that there is no way I could have done this plan when I still had kids at home so I feel so lucky to have this time at the end of my day.IMG_3613

Please don’t think I am complaining, I’m merely explaining the plan.  It is a very involved one, mainly because it is “Advanced Marathoning”.  I think what I am learning in all this, is that in order to be more serious about this marathon thing is that I need to run more to prepare for it.  When you really want something, you have to work hard towards it.  Like I said in my last blog my new motto is:

“Things you want, don’t come easy”

With this in mind time to get some rest for tomorrows long run.   :-)

How is your training going?  Any new plans you are trying out?  Any goals for your next race?

Here we go….

running motivationI haven’t written very much in a while, mainly because I have not had much to say.  Okay maybe that is not a great way to start a blog, with a lie.  I always have a lot to say.

I have started a few blogs but found them whiney so I deleted them.  Today when I was at the gym, once my music stopped and I actually had to think, I was thinking I could just start talking about my training that started officially today.  Maybe this will help Dave, so he won’t have to hear about it every day when he gets home.

So here goes….

Because I am crazy, I signed up for my 6th marathon about two months ago.  It’s called the Vermont City Marathon and we are excited to go up and spend a little time with the oldest child.  When I signed up I was thinking I would maybe hire a trainer to help me with my goals but then thought about it and realized that if I bug my friends enough about their trainers than I can gain their knowledge without the cost (wink, wink).  Okay maybe that is not the truth (what is it about you all that I seem to be lying left and right now).  I really don’t know the first thing about hiring a running trainer but I did ask my friend who has had a lot of success lately what she is doing.  She said she has been utilizing her trainer and they are working through the book “Advanced Marathoning”. IMG_3548

Well that I can handle.  I can buy a book, read it, follow a plan and get better.  So that is what I have been doing.  Although the plan starts today, there is a lot of ramping up you have to do to follow this book, I mean after all it is “advanced” marathoning.  First of all I had to get my running to 6 days a week.  Then I had to get my miles up which made me start to feel I was in marathoning stages way before today.  My plan is to do the medium level training which is 55 to 70 miles a week.

The good news is that I got my miles up to 50, I’m completing the 6 days of week running, and that I am smart enough to realize that my plan is going to be a little modified smaller than the 55 miles but at least it will be more than I am use to.   So with that, today I begin.  And here is what that means…..

Monday =  Rest Day/Cross train

Now don’t get me wrong, I struggle with rest days so I did get to the gym for a light bike ride (10 miles), upper body and core workout.  Some stretching and then the highlight to my every other Monday’s at my gym, Massage Monday.  It’s a 10 minute chair massage but felt so great at the end of the day.

I have to say that this training plan seems a little daunting and I am somewhat scared of it but really things we want don’t come easy.  Well I guess I just found my theme for my training plan.

“Things we want, don’t come easy!”

Here we go…. I hope you will join me on this great adventure.  My real hope is to complete the marathon more successfully.  What that means to me is:

  • Not hit that wall at mile 20 where I start to question why I am even alive, not to mention why I do this to myself
  • Run or some type of continued forward movement without stopping or walking through the length of the full marathon
  • Not have leg cramps so bad in my legs that the next week after the marathon do I question my ability to walk nor do I want to be in the med tent for two hours like my 3rd marathon
  • Enjoy myself. I have enjoyed my running adventure and most of the time I think I should stick with the half marathon distance but apparently twice a year (oh yeah did I mention I am hoping for a fall marathon maybe NYC I registered for the lottery but if not that one, I will find one) I like to test myself and my sanity!  I am clearly insane, glad I have the mental health license so I can diagnose myself!

So join me as I make my quest towards a successful Vermont City Marathon on May 29th and this training adventure to get me ready.   If you have any tips, please let me know.  :-)running motivation3

 

Feeling Fearful…

fearfulI know this might sound a little crazy but this weekend I was not myself.  I woke up on Sunday morning with the expectation to go for a long run on a beautiful day.  But that was not to be.  When I placed my foot on the ground, my whole leg hurt so bad that I could hardly walk.  I still tried to rehab it all morning.  Foam rolled, had Dave rub my leg and some stretching with no good results.  Not only did this not help but I started to become stressed about my next half marathon which led me to “I will never run again”!

Wow, isn’t it amazing how fast fear takes over our thoughts?!

I was also in a very bad mood because when I get scared I go to a very bad place, not to mention I use running/exercise as my mood stabilizer anyway.  I was glad my family was away for the day because I spent the day struggling through and kind of moping.  It seemed like everything was going wrong too.  I went grocery shopping and when I got home I dropped a whole gallon of milk on the floor when trying to put it on the counter.  If you have ever heard the expression “don’t cry over spilt milk” and thought it was crazy, you have never spilt a full gallon of milk all over your tile floor, under the appliances and cabinets and need I mention the fact that my leg was killing me and oh yeah I had not run since Thanksgiving and I was under the impression I would never run again!

The fear was real…

On Monday, I still had pain.  It was getting a little better but yet I was still concerned.  I’ve worked hard for the past 5 years staying in shape.  Even on Sunday when I was struggling with pain I went to the gym and rode the bike and did some stretching.  Monday I also went to the gym and rode the bike and got my free chair massage which helped for a little while.

This morning I woke up and was pretty much pain free.  Not sure how that happened but I was really thankful.  I was able to go to the gym after work and run 5 miles, pain free.  Just like that the pain was gone!  It seems really strange.  My focus was back and now I can focus once again on my training for my next race.  (But I am still trying to figure out what happened in my leg that caused the pain)

Isn’t it crazy how things can change very quickly in our lives?  Isn’t it crazy how we can go from perfectly normal (okay I am not perfectly normal but normal for me) to a crazy stress bag overnight?  I can go from being very confident that I can complete anything I try to I can never do this again?

When we take a moment to step back and face the fear that is happening in our lives, label it, we are able to come up with a plan to overcome it.  But often we just get swallowed up by it.  We have a pity party in it, we don’t look for a better outcome, a positive solution.

I like to think if just like that my running days were over, I could find something I liked to do to stay healthy maybe some crossfit (I see a lot of friends doing that).  I usually can reframe just about anything into a positive solution.  Life is short and I don’t know about you but living in fear is not where I want to live.  Of course having a good run at the gym really did help my thoughts go from fear to “I can handle this.” fearful1

Always thankful….

Thanksgiving Contest - What Are You Thankful For?

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving here in the good ole’ US of A.  This just happens to be my favorite holiday.  I love the fact that we all take a moment to think about gratitude, things that we are thankful for.  In my life I tend to practice this on a daily basis.  I love to spend a few moments daily reflecting on at least 3 things that I am grateful for either from the day before or things that might happen in my life today.  For example: I am grateful for the long run that I had this weekend and I am also grateful for the strength that will be there when I need it today to conquer today’s challenges.  I really feel if we live in a gracious state of mind, we tend to see life in a different more present experience.

You may not be celebrating tomorrow this holiday of Thanksgiving but I challenge you to make thanksgiving part of your every day.  How will you do it?  I will continue to keep my daily journal of gratitude and be focused on the present because afterall it is a gift (present).  :-) thanksgiving4