Well Duh!

nutritionI had one of those moments this weekend.  I met up with my marathon friend and we went for a walk along the Charles River in Boston chatting about our recent marathons.  For me it was Chicago for her it was her hugely successful New York Marathon where she PRd by 23 minutes and got even closer to the elusive Boston Qualifying time.

Before I get started on my Duh moment, I have to say how impressed I am with her.  She did incredible and I am so happy with her accomplishment.  She worked so hard this summer through the crazy heat and lots and lots of miles under her feet.

As we discussed our races and things we did leading up to the races (well everything besides the running because we had already spent quite a bit of time talking about the running each week during the summer) we found ourselves spending a lot of time discussing nutrition.  I started to have another one of my Aha moments but we will call this a “well Duh” as in you should have thought about this way before now moments.

My nutrition is pretty good, basically meaning I eat well and drink lots of water.  I do overindulge in sweets but I always say that is why I run, “to eat desserts!”  But really something I have never focused on in my 5 marathons and 10 half marathons is the pre race nutrition.

You know…. What to eat for the week or 3 days before the race, primarily the carbo loading.  Shockingly (insert sarcasm here) one bowl of pasta the night before a marathon does not last you a whole marathon.  I thought you could eat well, eat your pasta the night before the race and then fuel during the race.  Well that works okay if you run a half but this is not enough food to fuel you through the marathon. pasta

As I described the wall I hit during all my marathons and discussed my nutrition to my friend, it became glaringly obvious that I need to make some changes to my nutrition plan.  But it also gave me hope that if I can finish a marathon like I eat right now, what could I do if I did the fueling part correctly.  As my friend put it, “the wall is 3 things, mental strength, training, and nutrition.”  I have the mental strength because I have done 5 of these crazy things.  I have the training although, I will up my miles to a little more for my next marathon.  But it was the nutrition that was what I was lacking.  My body got so tired during my last race that I forced it to even drink and had no desire to eat during my last 6 miles.  This will not happen again!

So instead of feeling defeated, I have found my new focus for my next training.  I have even begun to start about running a spring marathon instead of just looking for a fall one.  I’m not sure why I continue to push myself so hard other than I just want to do better and feel successful and I don’t feel like I have gotten anywhere close to what I can do for a marathon.  Now it times to research nutrition a little more and create a plan for the next marathon and maybe even sign up for one….

Well Duh can be a moment of “I feel so stupid for not thinking of this” or a moment of “Wow, that was the thing that was missing.  I can do so much better with this knowledge.”   I have had both of these thoughts go through my head but I am going with the positive one and setting new goals.nutrition3

Have you ever had one of these moments? 

What did you do with it?

Chicago Marathon #2 of 2

So it got warm and it got warm fast……(if you want to read the first post start here)

Here is a pic just 3.5 miles later at mile 16.5 and I was hot!  But don’t worry, there is no stop in my head, maybe slow down but never to quit.

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I was thankful for carrying my fuel belt with water because I was able to utilize the water stations to refill and then drink freely as I continued on and try and fight off any leg cramps that do happen to me at most marathons (big accomplishment #2).

Since I had no idea how I was doing on time, I just kept pushing on and when the clocks read 5 hours and 28 minutes at one point I was thinking, “this might be my slowest marathon ever but let’s just enjoy the race”.  I think that really helped me relax and realize it is just finishing the race that makes me a marathoner not the time (accomplishment #3).

At mile 25.5 we found ourselves running through a huge crowd that was very quiet and for fun I threw my arms up in the air and got the crowd cheering.  It was so much fun to hear them cheering for us marathoners because at this point, we were all going to finish the race.  Even better was the fact that when the race signs said one mile left, I had started to run and did not stop running until I crossed that finish line (accomplishment #4).  This was the first time I have been able to run the whole last mile.

When I finished I was in tears.  Happy Tears, exhausted tears, some upset tears because I thought it was my slowest ever, but then back to happy tears because I did it!  #5 was in the books.  I was able to talk to my daughter shortly after I crossed the line.  She was getting texts while she was at school and called me to tell me Congrats right after I finished.  So sweet!

Marathon #5 in the books

Marathon #5 in the books

I finally found Dave after what seemed like forever and a very long walk to the runner family reunite area.  We were able to hang out in the beautiful park, enjoy the wonderful weather and reflect on the huge accomplishment that I had just completed, oh and see that really my finish time was 4:49:39 with an average pace of 11:03.  Yeah, not my slowest and really when I look back to April (5:13:58 with 11:59 pace) what a huge improvement (accomplishment #4).

We all have lofty goals when we begin training for huge races like marathons and sometimes these lofty goals tend to block the whole idea of doing something because we love it and it really is something that not a lot of people attempt.  I am no different.  I wanted to have my fastest time ever but that was not to be.  I wanted to run sub 10 min miles but again that was not to be.  I wanted to have fun and that did happen.  I wanted to be more comfortable and not start the self-doubt early in the race making the race miserable and I was more comfortable and really never had a doubt that I could and would finish.

This church was at mile 13 and loved the sign on the side of it.

This church was at mile 13 and loved the sign on the side of it.

Most of all the biggest accomplishment of the Marathon #5 and Accomplishment #5 was my recovery!  I did not struggle with the major calf cramps from the past although those were there.  I was able to take a 3 mile walk after the race although very slowly.  I had a great massage the next day and was still able to put quite a few miles under my feet touring the city the next two days post marathon.  I would say if nothing else besides the fact I just ran a marathon, my body said, “you are strong and if you want to (no rush) we could do it again.”

Right now, I think I will just focus on some halfs but I am sure another full or two will be in the future.  🙂

Three days later my first run post marathon and last run in Chicago before heading home.

Three days later my first run post marathon and last run in Chicago before heading home.

 

I hope the recap was worth the wait.  Thanks for reading.

 

Chicago Marathon Recap #1 of 2

chicago8Sorry for the delay in my Marathon Recap of the Chicago Marathon and let me apologize about the length but it is full of pics too so enjoy and I did divide it up into two different posts so you have to come back tomorrow to get the end.  🙂

Well…. I finished.  I also finished over 23 mins faster than my marathon in April.  Unfortunately it was still not to the goal I had set but more on that in a little bit.

The weather for the trip could not have been better (well, it could have been a little cooler on Marathon day but definitely a beautiful day).  We arrived in Chicago on Friday afternoon and made it to our Airbnb residence for the next 5 nights.  Here is the view:

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After taking Uber to the expo to pick up my bib it was time to relax and get ready for my first ever group shake out run with Another Mother Runner.  On Saturday morning, I woke up and ventured down to take my first adventure on the Chicago Transit system to make it to the meet up location.  I do have to say I was impressed.  It was easy to get around and pretty cheap too.  (Let’s just say that we did not use Uber after we figured out the subway)  Here are some pics of the run on Saturday morning…..

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Sarah in the middle is one of the creators of Another Mother Runner. Go check out their website here and get some cool another mother runner bling.

Great shot at Lake Michigan and the background of Chicago

Great shot at Lake Michigan and the background of Chicago

At the "Bean" in Grant Park with another running group we hung out with. So much fun.

At the “Bean” in Grant Park with another running group we hung out with. So much fun.

I was so happy to have spent some time getting the nerves out of my system and thankful to meet so many other mother runners.  But we all know that the day before the marathon you should not walk around too much so we opted for a River Boat Architecture Tour on the Chicago River.  It was a great idea and there are some fabulous buildings along the river.  Take a look….

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Sunday morning arrived and believe it or not, I was not really nervous.  After all, as my other half says, “You’re a pro.  You have done 4 other marathons.”  Well I am not really a pro but I am beginning to really learn what works and does not work before races and have developed a sort of routine like visiting the bathrooms early because they fill up as the race gets closer and then sitting in the corral because we didn’t even get started until 8:20 which was almost an hour after the race started (that’s what happens when you are in the slow group but I did not mind.)  I look pretty ready for the race here:

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Right before I said Goodbye to Dave to head for the Corral.

Right before I said Goodbye to Dave to head for the Corral.

 

Once we got going I was very excited.  I also tried to not let the excitement get me to go out fast and I would like to say I did a great job of that but really I have no idea.  Why you ask?  Well, let’s just say that my wonderful Garmin watch does not like the very tall buildings of downtown Chicago and since that is where we are running I was at a loss for pace from almost the very beginning.  My first mile went pretty well but when my 2nd mile chimed on my watch and I was nowhere near the 2 mile mark according to the course and the clocks where off because they started with the elite runners I knew I could not trust the watch so it was time to just run based on feel.  Now I am not sure you have ever tried running by feel in a huge race (45,000) runners but if you haven’t and I really didn’t train that way, trying to do it for 26.2 miles is a little bit of a challenge.  Really I did not let this factor into my mind though and focused on enjoying the race.

Right after mile 2. Who needs a working Garmin? Im having fun.

Right after mile 2. Who needs a working Garmin? I’m having fun.

Even though the weather got up to 75 by the end of the race, it was a beautiful day to run.  The first 13.1 miles where pretty much in the shade of the huge buildings of downtown Chicago and through the parts of Chicago that had lots of trees and were very beautiful.

In fact, a little side note… I did something I never thought I would do.  At one point in Lincoln Park, I did jump off the course and find coverage in some of their draping trees and gave back to nature.  Hey, when you have to go and you are only at mile 5 and the bathrooms are all 10 deep at each water stop you do things you would never do before and really I had no desire to pee down my leg which I have heard some people do.  Yuck!

Anyway, back to mile 13.1… I felt great.  It was the best I have felt at the halfway point in a marathon EVER!  (big accomplishment #1)  Here is photo proof:

A big thumbs up for just over halfway!

Little did I know that after mile 13 was the heat wall.  Apparently when you leave the downtown area there are no more tall trees and the buildings are shorter too so it’s just you and the sky (oh and those 44,999 other runners)!  So it got warm and it got warm fast but more on this tomorrow…..

Motivational Monday 9/28/15

 

Less than 2 weeks!  In less than 2 weeks I will be done.  Okay maybe not done but my 5th marathon will be in the books (I am optimistic that it will be a success).

I have now almost completed training for 5 marathons and it is true if you want to change your life train for a marathon.  Each one has been different.  My spring marathon I completed during the snowiest winter ever, completing four 20 miler runs on a treadmill (needless to say I try to stay a long way away from treadmills for this training plan!).

This summer brought it’s own challenges of relentless heat and humidity which only started to subside last weekend right after I finished my last 20 miler.  That’s okay, my hope is that it will not be this hot and humid in Chicago in two weeks.

So this brings me to my quote for today.  It’s one of my favorites and something to think about on this wonderful Monday!

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Happy Monday!  I hope you have a fabulous day!

 

Motivational Monday 9/21/15

Happy Monday!

As I taper towards my 5th Marathon on 10/11/15 this quote has jumped out at me.  motivational115

My last 20 miler was completed this weekend and now I begin to taper and with it comes the mind games of whether I have done enough.  I fight with myself to not go out and add on lots of extra miles.  I know that I have to trust my plan and with this comes the confidence that I have completed 4 other marathons and yes it’s going to be hard but it can be done!

 

The Post Marathon Funk

My friends Troy and Nettie who finished the half marathon and waited around for me to cross.

My friends Troy and Nettie who finished the half marathon and waited around for me to cross.

Well the marathon is over, the one I trained so hard for.  17 weeks of training completed and the results… well not at all what I trained for.  So bring on the post marathon funk.  I was ready, I had done everything, and then it happened.  I flew to the race and could not stop sneezing for days.  Basically making it near impossible to meet my goals.  To say I’m sad or in a funk is an understatement.  I felt like this was going to be the one to get me near the 4 hour mark.  But if you have not ever tried to run a marathon while only breathing through your mouth I don’t recommend it,  I found it pretty much impossible.

With the crazy winter we had in New England, I was thankful to hear that the weather was going to be nice and cool and pretty much ideal.  But this is not about the marathon (I promise I will do that recap soon) this is about the funk I have been in since the moment I crossed the finish line. runningquotes2

Let’s just say there were lots of tears and some were from exhaustion while others were from missing the mark.  It was great to have my family and friends at the finish line and be able to share in the finishes of two of my friends for the half marathon.  It was also helpful that two days later I found out that I had been chosen in the Chicago Lottery to run the Chicago Marathon in October.  But then there was the how to get back at it without pushing too hard and still letting my body rest.  This is really hard because running has always been where I process, where I figure out how to deal with expectations when they go awry and how to move on when feeling stuck.

I was able to get a massage which was helpful and then my mom dragged me (it was fun) to Jazzercise with her on Tuesday which was helpful to do something different than the usual routine.  Over the past week I have also had a long run of 8 miles and a few short ones outside (still mouth breathing because of allergies but at least I’m outside.)  Then there is the crazy moment I had last week where I signed up for a half marathon coming up this weekend for my 43rd birthday and mother’s day.

I guess I’m telling you all this to let you know that even though the race was hard and I have been in a funk, I am trying really hard to get back to a routine and move past this disappointment.  Also I’m remembering that running is a gift.  Not everyone can run a marathon and this was my fourth one!  Not everyone can stick to a crazy training plan and keep the motivation going when things get rough and I made it.  So now to focus on my next race, read lots of racing blogs and books and prepare for the 5th marathon in October and who knows… I may meet my goal in Chicago or at least enjoy the adventure. runningquotes

Training, Training, Training….

Over the past 17 weeks I feel like my life has been consumed with training for the OKC Memorial marathon.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy about it, it has just made it a little harder to have the energy to blog, blog, blog.  Sorry.

Well the 17 weeks has come to an end, okay almost that will happen on Sunday.  But the good news is that I’m tapering and now I have all this time because I can’t exercise as much.  So I thought I would tell you about something fun I did with my marathon friend, Judy.  You remember her, she was the one that we cheered and carried each over my last marathon and her first marathon.  Nothing like finding new friends during a race.

Anyway we both live outside of Boston so she texted me to say that Meb was going to be giving a talk about his book and the admission price included the talk plus a signed copy of his book, Meb for Mortals.  (I haven’t started reading it yet but I am looking forward to it.)  So that was the plan on Friday to go in, have a little dinner and hang out with Meb.

Friday morning she texted me and said that she might be able to get out early and wondered if I wanted to go to the Marathon Expo.  “Yes” was my immediate answer and I could hardly wait!   So off I went.

As I stood in front of the expo center I was overwhelmed by all the runners and did find myself saying, “One of these days I will be picking up my number here” (or least that is what I really want!).

We had a great time exploring the Expo and didn’t stop talking about running the whole time.  She had just finished the Rotterdam marathon the week before and it was fun to hear about her experience as I prepare for mine.  After a quick bite to eat it was on to see Meb.  All I can say is “he is awesome”.  He was so humble and so inspiring.  He answered some questions that were contributed from the audience but for the most part he told us stories about his life and his running.  If you ever get a chance to see him or hear him talk, please do.

Now off to clean the house a little because I have all this pent up energy with no place for it to go.  I love to taper, I love to taper, I love to taper……

Here are a few pics from the day:

The sign I thought was so funny on the subway because I can so relate!

The Subway gets into routing too.

The finish line

The finish line

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The memorial for the 4 who died in 2013

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Waiting for the Meb talk with Judy

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High fiving the crowd

High fiving the crowd

Amby Burfoot  on the left and Mebs cowriter Scott

Amby Burfoot on the left and Mebs cowriter Scott

Love the stories he told.  Go Meb.

Love the stories he told. Go Meb.

 

 

Last Very Long Run Day

How was your Easter Sunday?  We had a great day.  Started the day off with church and came home for a late breakfast and hopes that the sun would finally break through and let us go on our adventure outside.    The plan was for my favorite pit crew to bike alongside me and provide me extra water if needed and encouragement when the miles got tough.

We loaded up the bike and headed to a place where the snow had melted and we could safely ride and run for 20 miles which is my last very long run before the marathon at the end of the month.  It was wonderful to be outside even if the wind was blowing us all around, I’ll take it!  So much better than the treadmill any day!!!

I was also excited that I was having calf pain and yesterday I went and picked up some calf sleeves to try out.  The good news is that I only had calf pain at the end when my legs were so tired they were just pushing me to finish.  I also figured out that the treadmill has ruined my gait and that is what brought on the leg pain to begin with.  After mile 2 on my run I noticed that my heals where already killing me and I pushed myself forward on my foot to a mid-strike (which I thought I was doing because that is how I usually run) only to discover that the heal pain went away and that my calves immediately found relief.  Yeah!!!  Now don’t get me wrong I am thankful that I have been able to train through this crazy snowy winter but I think over the next 3 weeks I’m gonna try to do most of my running outside to work on getting that gait back before the marathon.

So the countdown is on!  I am so glad that this training plan is coming to an end.  I have enjoyed it and I think it has really helped me but the true test will be at the marathon.

Here are some pics from the run:

And we are off!

And we are off!

Figuring out my gait and making some corrections.

Figuring out my gait and making some corrections.  Lots of concentration!

I figured it out!! Happy Girl!

I figured it out!! Happy Girl!

Did I mention it was windy?!

Did I mention it was windy?!

Getting towards the end.  I think I was saying only 3 more miles and a few more hills!

Getting towards the end. I think I was saying only 3 more miles and a few more hills!

So I might be stuck!

So I might be stuck!

Very surprised how little hip pain I had but it never hurts to stretch them out.

Very surprised how little hip pain I had but it never hurts to stretch them out.  Oh and that is a smile not a grimace.  🙂

Dave my pit crew.  Best pit crew ever!

Dave my pit crew. Best pit crew ever!

The final results

The final results

 

How was your Easter?  Do anything fun?

Happy Easter!

Finally Outside!!!

IMG_0996I was so excited today.  I got out of work and it was over 60 degrees with clear skies.  I raced (okay drove and tried to keep it within the speed limit) home so I could throw on my shoes and get a run outside.  Did I mention I was sooooo excited?!

Off I went with a goal of 6 miles because, of course, that is what the plan called for.  It became apparent very quickly that I was not going to make 6 miles.  My calves tightened up even after my repeated stops to stretch them out.  I started to get mad and aggravated but just decided to enjoy the weather and turn the run into a walk run because I didn’t want to hurt myself, after all I have a marathon in less than 4 weeks!

After making it home I spent a good 20 minutes stretching and rolling my legs and changing my attitude.  I wanted to run 6 miles but I only ran 4 so I changed my thought to, “Yeah, I’m glad I got to get outside and run.”

Ignore the reflective white legs!

Ignore the reflective white legs!

I was stressed about getting hurt and what am I going to do about the marathon so I changed the thought to, “I’m glad I took it easy because I would hate to get hurt before the marathon.  So glad that I can roll out my legs, put on my compression socks and relax so my legs will feel better tomorrow and for my long run this weekend.”

This is what I teach my clients all the time.  It’s about changing your attitude and your thoughts.  I try to practice it on a daily basis and I can say it was helpful today.  Now don’t get me wrong, I still want to get out there and run those two miles that I did not finish today but in thinking about it, I would rather be healthy to continue my training than push myself and get hurt especially this close to the race.

Do you ever have runs that don’t go like you planned?  What do you do?

Running and Running, never actually getting anywhere but making progress!

DSC_0955I’m back.  I know, I feel like I say that a lot or at least once a month.  Over the past few months my running has taken over and when I get home the last thing I think you might want to hear about is my running.  I’m finishing up my marathon training which means I have one more 20 mile run and then the tapering begins.  Yippee!!!

This training has been very different from the other marathon training I have done in the past because of the treadmill running.   When I say treadmill running I mean, almost all the runs I have had since January have been on the treadmill.  I have completed even my 20 mile runs on the treadmill.  All I can say is they are as hard as they sound.  So that is the part where I am running and running and never actually getting anywhere!

Fortunately this past weekend I got to participate in a race the Savin Rock Half Marathon.  An actual race that was outside!  Running with people!  It seemed like it was so long since the last time I ran a race and it was because it was on January 1st.  My half marathon in February was canceled due to you guessed it, snow!

I was looking forward to this race because it was along the sea coast (I’m fairly certain that I am attracted to races that run along the sea).  I was watching the weather forecast (you know you do it too!) and was just hoping for the best.  Well I guess I should have known I was in for it when it started snowing on the way to race and just got worse as we drove the 2 hour drive (which actually took 3 hrs).  I, of course, had to spend a little time watching the forecast again because I was thinking surely this won’t last.  The weathermen were predicting snow to stop and it to clear up by race time.  This allowed me to at least get a little sleep (actually I slept like a rock until about 4 am which I think is pretty good when you have a race at 8am!).

And we are off!

And we are off!

After a shower and a little oatmeal, I took a glance outside the hotel room and noticed it looked a little slick but the snow had stopped.  I went downstairs for a little orange juice and met up with a fellow runner.  We chatted it up a bit he was running the marathon and it was going to be his 31st marathon.  Holy crap, I thought training for my 4th marathon was a big endeavor but I can’t even imagine running 31.  He is part of the marathon maniacs who run a race in all 50 states.  I think that sounds fun but I might have to do the half marathon part of the maniacs (haven’t signed up for any of that at this point though).

We got to the race with about an hour to spare before it started and grabbed the last parking spot!  Yeah us!  Spent some time warming up and hanging out inside the convention center waiting for the start.  It was just cold out with a little spitting of rain but nothing really unexpected.  I loved this race, they had plenty of space for all of us to keep warm and the start line was right outside the door so we didn’t have to stand outside and get to cold before it began.

Looking good the first 200 yards!

Looking good the first 200 yards!

Soon we were off, it was a little crowded at first because we started on a path but after the first mile it dumped us out on the road where it all opened up including the sky!  Yes, I said it! It started to snow!  Oops weathermen were off AGAIN!  Anyway on we ran up some hills that seemed to never quit (mental note: maybe arrive in time to drive the route you are going to run before you get out there!)  It was a gentle snow (if there is such a thing).  It got crazy snowy the farther we ran and the longer we were out there.  I mean the snowflakes were so big that when they hit you in the eye you had to wipe your eyes because it blocked your vision.  This became a little difficult on the hills because you would go up them and your feet would slide backwards and then going downhill you had to go slow because your feet would slide out from under you and you would end up ice skating.  It made it a little tricky but really I had a good time.  Then the last three miles it was snowing so hard you could almost hear the snow hitting the ground which made for very soggy feet because it was thick.  Honestly I think this was a fitting race to demonstrate how hard marathon training in New England has been this year.

As I neared the end of the race, I was having some doubts about whether I had even made progress during my marathon training especially since it had been almost DSC_0977exclusively on the treadmill.  Luckily the doubts mostly went away when I crossed the finish line in 1:54:17.  It was a really great time for this race course and the hills and it really did feel good.  When I found out that I got 4th in my division, I felt even more confident.  I am happy that I chose the training plan I did and I am hoping that it translates into a great marathon race.  I have some big goals but really the idea of the marathon in April is to make it to the finish with a smile on my face and confidence that I can do this.  The time I do it in will be secondary (don’t get me wrong I have a big goal’s for time).   1 month of training left!!!

So running and running, never actually getting anywhere but making progress.

Progress has been made.  Feeling stronger, a little faster and more confident that OKC Memorial Marathon will be another one of those Runs to Remember.

Enjoy the rest of the pics:

Here I come but it's a little snowy!

Here I come but it’s a little snowy!

Huge flakes at mile 9 and one last hill til I'm close to done!

Huge flakes at mile 9 and one last hill til I’m close to done!

Done!!

Done!!

Not the most flattering but look at that snow!

Not the most flattering but look at that snow on my hair and eyebrows!