Friday, December 30, 2011

Day 13

1 mile today the 13th consecutive day of running. It almost felt like cheating. I felt like I could have gone further. And maybe when I get further into this I will boost my minimum to more than 1 mile. For now though I'm happy to still be doing it.

I'll be running most Saturdays with the group from here through the start of Phillyfit. I'll use that for my longest runs as best I can making up any difference on my own. I'd like to do trail runs with Pete's group. That will certainly keep my pace down for the longer runs. I can work on speed during the week.

One run at a time. :)

Right now looking forwad to trails tomorrow with Pete's group and New Years day run on Sunday with a bunch of Phillyfitters.

I just did some addition on my training schedule and as of tomorrow (assuming I complete the miles) I will have completed 40 miles since December 18. Not bad for half a month. And there are 99 miles on the schedule for January. At this rate I'll need to start breaking in new shoes in mid Feb to be ready for Lehigh Valley.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Gymboss Fail

Today I went out for a run around Media. I took my gymboss not really sure if I wanted to do intervals or not. I strated off pushing the button on the Gymboss figuring I'd see how I felt after the first 3 and decided then. Well the Gymboss decided for me as it went kaplooey after the first interval. It got stuck on notifying me that the interval was over. Thank goodness I had it on vibrate not high beep or I probably would have had to go home. As it was it vibrated on my wrist for the entire 3 miles. I probably don't have to tell you how annoying that was. The upside is I ran about 99% of the distance.

I rebooted the Gymboss and it stopped buzzing. I think it needs a new battery. When it works though this is a fantastic tool for run / walk intervals. I can set it to whatever interval I want and I can have it vibrate when it's just me or have it beep loud when I'm with a group all doing the same interval.

Here's another challenge for this week. I had hoped to get a running buddy or two to meet me to run but I guess more folks have to work this week. I used up the rest of my vacation days. So the challenge is to keep getting out there Wed, Thurs and Fri alone. There are plans for group runs on Sat and Sun already.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Happy Boxing Day

So today would have been one of those days that I would have blown off if I were not trying to create a habit.

My husband and I had plans today to go to NYC for the day via train. We wanted to get the 8:09 out of Media and planned to be gone all day. (In fact, we just returned about a half hour ago). I set my alarm for 6 go up in the cold and dark and went out alone for a 1 mile run around my neighborhood. The alone is significant because getting up in the dark and the cold is not usually a problem when I'm meeting running friends.

So 9 days and counting.

Oh and 13 years since my husband and I met. Today is the anniversary! :)

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas Trail Run.

Yesterday marked the completion of one week of at least 1 mile running or walking. 6 of those days I ran. On Monday I walked. I've decided that from here on out if I decide to walk it should be more than a mile. But truly the purpose is to keep moving so it's not a big deal really. My total for the week; 19 miles.

I knew I wanted something a little softer on the knees today but I didn't want to ride all the way out to the Perkiomen or Betzwood trails. Pete, one of the Phillyfit coaches, runs on trails in Middletown Twp so I decided to check out that option. All these years and I didn't even know these trails existed. I decided on the Linvill Trail. Checking the map I felt comfortable that it followed a route that was safe for me to run alone. It was.

The trail was by no means flat so I power walked up the steeper climbs. I was not breaking any speed records but I was moving well the entire time. The trail was covered in leaves and in one spot they covered a puddle with a thin layer of ice which I ended up crashing through. It was cold! I was having fun.

The trail connects to the Indian Echo trail which I remember comes in off 352 where the (former, I think) Girl Scout Camp is/was. I ran 15 mintues out and turned around. It was very quiet and pretty. I saw a lot of squirrels and smelled a lot of wood burning from the fireplaces in the nearby homes (many of which I could see from the trail). It was a cold morining - low 30s- but clear blue skies.

I crested the last hill on my return and I heard the dog coming. I couldn't see it but I could hear the chain around it's neck and the footsteps (pawsteps) through the leaves. I stopped. Out of one of the yards comes this adorable sheep dog looking thing. It bouned up the hill, ears flapping and greeted me. Adorable looking or not I am not fond of strange dogs. "I won't hurt you, if you don't hurt me" I told the dog. The dog continued to dance around me urging me to continue to run. I didn't see or hear anyone at the house, but I was still a little hesitant to run as the dog would likely have tripped me up with its enthusiasm. Then I heard someone call "Maaaagiii". I looked at the dog "Maggi! Go home!", I said. To her credit she looked torward home but looked back with a tilt of her head that said, "Yeah, I don't think so".

Another minute passed and I didn't see anyone coming from the house and whoever it was didn't call again. So I decided to start walking toward my car and Maggi followed. I heard the storm door on the house slam and out came a man in sweat pants with bare feet trying to get a jacket on as he ran toward the trail. "She just wants to say Merry Christmas" he said. I smiled back at him. "She seems friendly enough". He called to her and she started to go to him so I continued my run toward the car. Maggi was beside me in a flash. I ran back toward her owner and she began running wide circles around us - just out of reach. If dogs could laugh, she was. Finally the man, barefeet and all, began running up the hill away from me and Maggi bouned after him. When she was a good distance, I hightailed it to my car laughing all the way.

I will go back to that trail. It was fun and there is much more to it than what I saw. I'm wondering if I'll meet Maggi again.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Running Streak

I hear all the time about people who have - or are starting - running, walking or other fitness streaks. I even signed up for one on Facebook. I'm not even sure why I did it. I will either keep one going on my own or not. I guess I did it for support. It will be fun to read what others do to keep their streak going and be motivated by the group mentality. Afterall, that's really what USAFit/Philly is all about isn't it? The power of the group helps keep you going. (Hmmm I think this is the beginning of a post over there). Focus, Paula.

The "I love to Run" streak starts January 1st encouraging folks to put in 1 mile per day. I decided to start mine already and 4 days later I really do think it has made a difference. I ran 3 miles on Sunday. On Mondays I get home late and I was tired and it was cold but I was thinking about the streak so after dinner I went for a 1 mile power walk. I ran again on Tuesday and Wednesday 3 miles each.

I also tried something different for Tues and Wed. I brought my running clothes to work with me and changed there. My thought was if I get home already dressed to run I'm less likely to bag it. I'm not sure if that helped or not but I did run immediately after getting home both days.

This morning I woke up extremely tired. Bone tired would be a good description. My legs hurt a little too. Not injury hurt. They are sore because I don't usually run this many days in a row. And I have not taken any walk breaks. (except for Monday of course). I know I'll run after work today. I might only do a mile but I have no thoughts of skipping it. I like this. :)

I've thought ahead to some events coming up that might normally disrupt my running schedule. But all I need is one mile a day to keep my streak alive. Even walking, I can finish a mile in less than 15 minutes. How hard can it be to find 15 minutes a day.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Running a Half Marathon with My Daughter

I am excited. Emma has decided that she wants to run a half marathon and she wants to run it with me. About a month ago she sent me a message saying she wanted to and this past weekend we settled on the Lehigh Valley Half Marathon on April 29.

I am honored that she wants to do this with me. Her interest has given me renewed energy to train and major incentive to work hard this winter so that she won't leave me in the dust. Although this will be her first distance race she is 30 years younger than I. I know she'd wait for me at the end if we get separated but I'd love to see her through the whole race. I've written her a schedule and perhaps we can run some of the longer training runs together. Since we live about 45 min - an hour away from eachother that won't be easy but I'm sure we can work something out for a couple of weeks.

So motivated was I to keep up with training that I went out last night to run in the dark in the rain. I had appropriate reflective gear and a headlamp of course. I ran 4 miles without stopping (except at a few traffic lights) and felt awesome. Very different from Saturday when I struggled through run/walk intervals. Go figure. One run at a time :)

Saturday, December 3, 2011

The Power of a Running Buddy

Today was my first run since the Philly Half on November 20th. I met John T at Forbidden Drive and we set out for a 5 mile run (roughly to Valley Green and back). I was really looking forward to this run today. I found myself getting really excited about the idea last night as I went to bed. No dread of the early alarm on a Saturday morning. I was psyched. My enthusiasm for running had returned. I lost it somewhere over the summer.

The morning dawned exceptionaly bright and clear. I arrived at the entrance to the trail about 7:45 and stayed in the car until I saw John coming down the street. It was in the low 30's and the car was warmer. John arrived and off we went.

We decided to run the first mile before taking a walk break then go for 1/2 mile chunks after that. Well at the first mile my legs felt great. In fact, they felt great the entire morning and could have gone for more. My lungs on the other hand were not happy campers at all. I was failing the talk test miserably. I wish I could say I have a cold and let that be the reason. I don't. We weren't going to fast either. We averaged just under 12 minute miles for the run which is about right for me for a Saturday run.

Plain and simple, I am paying for my two weeks off with no exercise whatsoever. I've got my mental mojo back but I have some work to do regaining my aerobic strength. No problem. One run at a time.

It's a very good thing I was out with John this morning. The temptation to turn around at mile 1 would have been great had I been alone.
--------------------------------------------------------------------
5.21 miles
1:02:08
11:55 average pace
Clear; about 34 degrees at the start.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

My tenth half marathon - Philadelphia Half Marathon 2011

2 hours and 40 minutes. 23 minutes slower than my PR in this same race in 2009. I have a goal to get back to my PR (or better) in 2012. Count on it.

Today's race was fun nonetheless. I knew I'd be slow and accepting that makes all the difference. I crossed the start mat 24 minutes into the race. I got a high five from the mayor and off I went. I purposely elected not to start out with any of my phillyfit friends. It's not that I don't love running with them - quite the contrary. However, I knew that at my current level of fitness I would not be able to keep up with any of their run intervals. As it was for the first 5 miles or we leap frogged a bit but I resisted the urge to latch on to anyone. I needed to keep my own pace in order to finish.

I decided to forgo the 3 and 1 intervals this time. I just had a feeling that I'd get too comfortable with the walk portions. I decided to run and just walk for one minute at water stops and/or mile markers. I ran to the first water stop (2.2 miles) and took my first walk break. Did the same for water stop #2 and #3. By now we were just past the 5 mile marker. I knew the next water stop was 2 miles away so I made sure to walk at the 6 mile marker and more or less kept up a run for a mile walk for a minute interval after that.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Philadelphia Half Marathon

On Sunday I will run my (calculating.......) wow 10th half marathon. I didn't realize that until now. Hmmm.

Well my training is what it is so the race will be what it will be. How's that for profound? Seriously, though, I am aiming to just get through this one happy and in one piece. Although of late I've been feeling better and running better, I'm still way behind in my training. So my focus is on enjoying the 13.1 miles and then heading out onto Kelly Drive to cheer in the Phillyfit folks who are running the full marathon. I even have my sign all figured out but I can't say it now in case any of them happen to read this before Sunday. :)

After that it will be a week of no running. Instead I'll be enjoying a week off work; painting the living room and of course walking in the Thanksgiving Day Parade. Then it's back to work and planning for next year's running season. More on that later.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

A Duh moment

First, you have to know that it reached 72 degrees today. Ten days ago it snowed. Weather is fascinating!

Now back to my "duh" moment. I had a great 5k on October 30th and an even better 10k on November 6th. For both I did something I haven't really done much - stretch before running. I've paid too much attention to the warnings that stretching cold muscles is dangerous. On October 30th it was freezing (no exaggeration) and I had arrived early to the race start and was trying to keep warm. I walked and jogged around a bit and stretched. At the November 6th race, I was also early. It wasn't cold but the plantar fascitis was bothering me and I thought stretching my calves would help.

Tonight I walked out the front door and started running. I felt stiff and clumsy. At about 2 miles I was stopped at a traffic light and decided to stretch. The last 2 miles were awesome. DUH.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

2011 Bridge Run

The weather for today's bridge run was gorgeous. It started out cloudy and ended up bright sunshiny. I'll spare you having to read the whole post and say now that I had an awesome time.

I arrived early. I was in the parking lot around 6:45. I did that on purpose remembering from two years ago that the traffic backs up quickly on Cooper Street leading to Campbell Field. I woke up at 6 am; grabbed my bagel and water and got in the car. I ate the bagel and drank the water to pass the time while I waited in the car. Around 7:30 I headed over to the stadium. There were quite a few phillyfitters running this race; John C, Kristie, honarary member Jamie, Jim, Roy and Julius. Sophorn elected to save her legs for the 50 mile run she is doing on November 19th. Maggi woke up sick.

I headed to the field and immediately spotted John C's orange hat. Roy was there with him. We stayed there through the opening ceremonies which featured the best rendition of the "Star Spangled Banner" I have heard. I don't like the song - but I have to admit this woman sang it very well. Among others, Carl Lewis spoke for a minute or two and reminded everyone not to go out too fast. Then we began the walk to the base of the New Jersey side of the bridge. On the way over we saw Sophorn and her camera. She returned my gloves that I had loaned her last week when she did her 30 miles in the snow and glop. They were toasty warm from being in her pocket and I was glad to have them. I saw Julius and his friend Karen when I arrived at the bridge.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Three days in a row

For the first time in a long time I ran three days in a row this week. There's nothing magical about 3 days. It's just a fact that I haven't run three days in a row for a long time. More often than not for the last 6 months I've NOT run 3 days in a row.

3 on Tuesday; 4 on Wednesday and 3.5 today. I took walk breaks tonight when I thought I would run straight through but I'm still ok with that. I have 10.5 miles for my first week of "Pile on the Miles". Not bad.

I'll take off tomorrow and Saturday and then do the Run the Bridge 10K on Sunday. I ran this race in 2009 in 1:04:04. It's not realistic to expect to do that well this time. That happened while training for the Goofy Challenge. I was in way better shape; running much more than I am now. I'll be happy with a finish and to have fun. Finishing in under 1:10 would be pretty awesome.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Pile on the Miles

A week or so ago I signed up for a November challenge called "Pile on the Miles" It was brought to my attention by Jamie. Another blogger challenged folks to pile on the miles rather than pounds during November. The goal is to log your miles running or walking and report them each week. Anyone who puts in more than 5 miles in a week is entered into a drawing for prizes. I signed up and the organizer promised to notify is November 1st with instructions and links to the place to record our miles.

This morning I woke up tired - a common occurrence these days. I also felt kind of flu like and was quickly writing off my after work run. Then I opened my email and saw the message that today starts "Pile on the Miles". Ok I couldn't give up before I started. I decided I would go out tonight even if it meant walking.

Long story short, I ran 3 miles comfortably and feel great! Go figure.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Lupus Loop

Great day and 5k race for the 20th annual Lupus Loop. After yesterday's Snowtober mess, today was a pleasing bright sunshiny day. Still very cold and breezy but sun sure makes a huge difference.
My friend Kristie and her family organize a team - Linda's Loopers - for this race and I was pleased to make it this year. (Last year I woke up not feeling well). I crashed early and hard last night after supporting Phillyfit's 13-21-30 milers yesterday so by 7:30 am I was ready to go. Due to traffic issues every where else I was one of the first of our group to arrive. This proved to be an issue for my feet which were frozen by the time the race started and so I clumped along for 2/3 of the race.

There were several phillyfitters on Kristie's team in addtion to her friends and family. John C (who ran 30 yesterday) and Sherry (who ran 10 and hung around freezing to support her teamates) were there. Maureen was also there and she and I ran together. That was especially nice for me. I haven't run with her in over two years. She kept me moving and smiling.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Good week #2

I followed up the 6 miles on Saturday with 3 on Sunday. On Wednesday I went out with Jeannie and John on the Chester Valley Trail. At their pace this would have been a tempo run for me. I'm pretty sure they slowed it down some for me though so it was somwhere between their pace and mine. Still I kept up. We ran 15 minutes out. Took a short walk break and came back.

I was happy to have a run with Jeannie. She will be doing the Marine Corps Marathon on Sunday. She looks strong. Has a slight case of nerves but that is normal. John will be doing his first 21 miler on Saturday in preparation for Philly Marathon in November. He looked good too.

Thursday was an off day and today I went out for 30 minutes around the neighborhood. I'll be off tomorrow supporting Phillyfit for their 21 miler and then doing the Lupus Loop 5k with Kristie and her team on Sunday.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

6 miles of sunshine and crushed stone

Today I drove out to the Graterford Trailhed on the Perkiomen Trail with Mark. We were assigned to a water stop out there for our friends doing 21 miles today. I decided to do my 6 miles from there. We ran 3 miles toward Oaks and back.

I had picked this route for a variety of reasons. The top two were that it is mostly crushed stone/gravel at this point and I don't get to run out that way often so I thought it would be nice to have something new. BINGO! I had an awesome run. It was a gorgeous day; cold and crisp with bright sunshine. We ran 3 and 1's and I was surprised when the walk break came every time.

My knees and ankles felt good the whole way. I noticed my left hamstring toward the end but no real pain. I took an alleve the night before and this morning which probably helped the joints.

I left my watch at home today. I didn't want to be tempted to look at it at all. I didn't want to know our pace. I know I pushed it a bit because Mark was running with me but I was proud that I let myself lag a step behind keeping him from pushing me too hard. In the end, according to his watch we averaged 12 min miles almost on the dot. Not bad for all the struggles lately.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Permission

40 minutes on Sunday; 2 mile walk on Monday; 45 minutes on Tuesday; off Wednesday and 25 minutes with only 2 walk breaks today. I've set the bar to zero now and will be taking it one day at a time for now.

A friend wrote in her blog a week or so ago about giving herself permission to walk and that's how she is going to get through the marathon coming up. I've given myself permission to suck** and that's how I'm not being disappointed in my workouts right now.

My goal was to be out 4 days this week and I did.

I will take off tomorrow and I'm supposed to run 10 miles on Saturday. I'm setting up a water stop for one of Phillyfit's new runners who is doing her 21 miler early. The water stop is out on the mostly gravel part of the trail. I'm going to drive out there and run 3 out and back from there. I'm hoping the grave (which I prefer) will feel better. At any rate it is motivating me to not just bag the whole thing. Yes, I know that's only 6. But I want to make sure I will be finished before the runner gets to the stop. If all goes well I'll do another 4 after group meeting or later in the day.

**Yeah i know that's harsh but I can't find another word at the moment. The important thing anyway is that I'm not giving up completely.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Moving forward

10 miles today. We ran the loop then over to the 2 mile tree on River Trail at Betzwood and back. I ran with Elaine and Mary. The loop was windy (but not as windy as it likely was later).

I'd rate this run a 2.5. I wasn't entirely comfortable to make it a 2 but not stressed enough to call it a 3.

I rolled my feet on a tennis ball before heading out in the morning and I think that may have helped with the plantar fasciatis. I've been rolling the tennis ball while sitting at my desk at work during the week as well. I'm still having tightnes in my left hamstring. I was only a slight pain at the beginning. Mostly just a naggin annoyance. By mile 8 though it became really bothersome. I must do a better job of stretching it before I run. Probably a warm up walk and some stretching. I'm also going to get a foam roller. So many people say good things about them. I did a little research online about how to use one and it seems like a good idea. At the very least it won't do any harm.

I'm looking forward to the yoga class on Wednesday. I've never tried yoga but I've read that it's good weight bearing excercise and good for flexibility; something these old bones could really use. Let's just hope I don't lose my nerve about going.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Needing direction

It seems like all I do here anymore is whine about things or talk about starting over. I need to do one and quit the other. Really.

Recently, I revisited posts from my training for the 2010 Goofy Challenge. I felt strong then. I had discipline and direction. I don't feel any of those now. How do I get it back? Having a goal is not the answer. Despite having races on my schedule I haven't held it together. Maybe I need a different kind of goal? Right now I think I have to start with one day at a time.

I think this funk may be affecting my leadership in Phillyfit too. I don't think my personal running activities influence my ability to organize the group (my natural obsessive dorky tendencies do take care of that) but my funk does seem to be affecting my enthusiasm for the job and likely is showing. The group is coming into the final weeks now - longest run of the season in three weeks - I need to be more attentive to their needs.

Here's hoping for a good week. Stay tuned.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

OCNJ Half Completed

First let me congratulate Jamie for her awesome PR (20+ MINUTES) at this race. She trained well, she ran well and I'm so proud of and excited for her. I think a marathon may be in her future some day :)

My weekend started with Phillyfit's Saturday miles. I did not run. I was just there. Kristie came over about 4ish and we headed down to OC. We chatted the whole way and before I knew it we were on route 9 heading into Marmora. With Kristie navigating we worked our way to Jamie's in-laws house. I wrote the house number down as 13 but it was actually 31. There was no 13 which was a bit disconcerting at first. Then I remembered she told me what was on the mailbox and that helped us get straightened out.

This was the first time I met Jamie in person and I was also introduced to her two adorable children, Ben and Elijah. Jamie's father in law had prepared an awesome pasta dinner for us. It was an early night. Everyone was in bed by 9:00 p.m. I slept better than I thought I would being in a strange place. Guess I was just that tired.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Ocean City Half Marathon

I'm running the Ocean City Half Marathon this Sunday, October 2nd. There are a lot of things to be said about this race.

The best is that I'm looking forward to running with my friend Kristie and with my new friend Jamie. Kristie is a better athlete than I am. She will pooh pooh that but it's true. She takes her health and her fitness seriously. I admire that. Jamie will be running her second half marathon ever and, as I read her blog and FB posts, I can see that she has taken her first experience (which was much more respectable than she gives herself credit for) and applied it diligently to her training for this one. I admire that too. I'm excited to be able to start the race with both of them.

After the Rock N Roll Philly on the 18th I was on vacation and didn't even try to get any runs in. I came back from that and chased my nephew for a 5k on Saturday the 24th and had a hard Art Museum plyometric workout yesterday. That's it. It's anybody's guess how I'll do on Sunday. I know I'll have fun. I always do. And I should finish as long as my left hamstring behaves. I tweaked it during the Rock N Roll and it wasn't happy about the nephew chasing either. This is not an excuse. It is reality and the reason why I think it's foolish to make a time goal for this race. I'm really not prepared for this race. I haven't even figured out my strategy. I like run/walk but Jamie doesn't and I'd kind of like to see if I can keep up with her running the whole way. I've run an entire half marathon before but it's been awhile and I was better prepared then. Without a time goal, I think I will try though and if I can't keep up, I'll switch to run/walk and meet them at the finish line. No pressure, just do it.

Some other things to be said about this race:
- I get to run on the boardwalk. This is a big deal for me. My family started going to OCNJ in the summer when I was 9 or 10. I've always seen people running on the boardwalk but I never did it myself. Walked and road my bike but not run. When I started running for sport (2008) I knew I had to run the boardwalk sometime. This will be my chance. The race finishes on the boardwalk.
- I love the Shore but because of Hurricane Lee I did not make it to OC even once this season. It's not summer anymore but it is still 2011 so this will be my only trip. Whew!
- I want my picture taken with Mr. Peanut.

Monday, September 19, 2011

I Can Still Do This.

I had a blast AND I finished. Mission accomplished. I missed 2 1/2 hours by 2.06 seconds. I finished with no foot or joint pains. I am a very happy runner. So that's the end of the story. Here's how I got there.

For the first 9 miles I kept pace with Sammy, Anne, and John. I knew in my head that their pace was likely too fast for me but I stuck with them anyway. The worst that would happen, I figured, was that I would crash in the last few miles and walk more than I wanted/planned and that 'worst' was not the end of the world. I decided that I was willing to trade a crash and burn for their company and chatter as long as I could.

I was pleasantly surprised to still be feeling strong and still with them at mile 7. By mile 9, though, I called ahead to Sammy to use her watch for their intervals. At this point although my pace slowed from theirs I was ok. I kept up the 3 and 1 intervals just at a slower pace. We had run the first mile then turned on the interval timer. I had had it in my head before the race that I wanted to run 1 mile; do 3 and 1's for the next 11 and then run the last 1.1 mile. So when mile 12 came I finished my walk interval and ran the rest of the way home.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

The Distance Run

Sunday, September 18 will be my fourth running of this event which is now called the Rock N Roll Philadelphia Half Marathon. It is my favorite for mostly sentimental reasons as it was my first distance run. The weather is usually tolerable if not downright beautiful and the course is enjoyable. 5 miles through the city and 8 around the Kelly Drive/MLK loop between the Art Museum and the Falls Bridge. Despite my August struggles and lack of miles since then I am looking forward to the race.

I am in corral 15. I had delusions of speed when I registered for the event hoping for a 2 hour 15 minute finish. My best half marathon (November 2009) was 2 hours 17 minutes. My best on this course is 2 hours 25 minutes. Like I said I was somewhat delusional when I signed up. No big deal. I can always move back to start. I think that will be a game day decision.

What are my goals? By now you know first and foremost it is to have fun and finish. I should have no issue with either. I am looking forward to seeing the running group at the start and finish and despite my recent struggles I should have no issue finishing in the 4 hour time alotted. I'd really like to come in under 2 1/2 hours. Really not sure if I'm up to that or not but that's what I'd like to see.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

August is behind me

Fantastic 8 mile run today. I felt awesome before, during and after. I'm taking this a sign that I will recover and have three great half marathons coming up. After 5 miles I even toyed with the idea of doing the full marathon schedule of 15 for today. Only briefly though. I decided it was better to finish a strong 8 and carry the confidence into the coming weeks.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Progress report

So on August 18 I said I wanted to try for 30 minutes every day running or walking. I've done fairly well so far. The past three days I have not done a formal 30 minutes. We've been traipsing around Gettysburg, HersheyPark and Crystal Cave with the grandson though so I've more than covered my distances. Technically I wanted to do 30 minutes in addition to daily activities but these three days were more than typical so I think I'm good.

My foot has been feeling better too. The recovery from getting up in the morning or from sitting (in the car for example) for long periods is much quicker. I finally put some tennis balls in the freezer for combination of stretching and icing. No one has noticed it yet but I'm sure it will generate questions when they do.

I did not run with Phillyfit last weekend due to the family bbq. I had planned to skip tomorrow too because we were going to be at the shore today and figured on getting home very late. That was cancelled due to Hurricane Irene. Theoretically I could go tomorrow but I think I'll stay home. This vacation has been really good for my me and I think it's a good idea to see it through as a vacation from all my working responsibilities. I do miss the group though and I am anxious to run with friends again. I hope I can entice someone to come out with me on Monday. :)

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Moving on; creating a habit

A friend from USAFit/Philly posted this link to our fanpage today. The line that got to me was this one "Maybe I’ll get in peak form eventually, but I’m not rushing it. I’m going to enjoy the open road. And a drink or two along the way." This really boosted my mood. Bagging MCM was by no means giving up on marathons completely but I have been struggling with the question of why this summer has been so difficult. I think the answer is, it doesn't really matter. That's not easy for me to accept. I like to know the reasons for things. But after reading this post I think maybe I can deal.

The next two weeks will be a challenge for me. With company visiting I will not get to do my long runs. I did get to 16 before quitting MCM so I know I can do the half marathons coming up but I can't just stop running altogether and accormplish that. So I've made a committment to do 30 minutes minimum every day. I can run, walk, or other exercise as long as I do at least 30 minutes. I should be able to do that on any day for the next 12 (the length of Cole's visit) and then see where to go from there. I'm not averse to doing more than 30 but 30 minutes is a number I know I can squeeze in somewhere every day.

I'll let you know.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

MCM cancelled

Well it's official now. I will not be running MCM this year. I've put my bib up for transfer and begun a search for someone who might want it.

I went for new shoes this past Tuesday. According to the store I had purchased them in March so they were 5 months old. That was a bit of a lift as I thought maybe that was the issue afterall. But my run on Saturday was still painful. I got to 5 miles before I started to experience pain everywhere from my hips to my toes on both sides. Ugh.

Once at home I took an alleve and a nap and I felt fine when I woke up. I have to face the fact that I'm old and running is going to be harder now. I do believe I have a case of plantar fascitis in my right foot. I hate getting old and I'm finding it rather difficult not to be saddened by it lately.

Trying for a happier note I have three half marathons on the schedule and I'm going to do my best to make all three and to do well. I'm especially looking forward to the Ocean City NJ half with my friends Kristie and Jamie. Finally, Jamie and I will meet. :)

Saturday, August 6, 2011

MCM update

I've been considering this for a few weeks now and have all but decided after today's run that I am going to give up my entry to the Marine Corps Marathon. I will use my 24 hour rule (even though today was not a race) and not decide until tomorrow at the earliest.

I've been in a lot of pain after my runs the past few weeks. I'm fine through about 6 or 7 miles and then it hits. I don't feel tired but my feet hurt. Then it works up to my calves and by the time I hit 13 I'm ready to cry. I'm not sure what it is. It could be shoes although this pair probably only has about 200 miles on them. I may go to the running store this week and see if they have a suggestion and perhaps try one more week with new shoes. I am concerned about putting it off too long though. If I act soon I have a chance of selling my bib (MCM allows that). Will one more week make that much difference.

It would be great if it were shoes but I also have to face the fact that I'm old. My body is fighting with me these days and I'm not sure how much more time I need to come out on top.

I hate to give up and if I do it will only be on this race. I'm not ready to give up marathons completely I just have serious concerns that I can finish this one without hurting myself. Regardless I will still do my three half marathons RNR Philly (Sept 18); Ocean city (Oct 2); and Philly Half (Nov 18).

Stay tuned.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

I O me

This is Tuesday so it must be Museum Steps workout night. Julius and Michelle from Phillyfit were there too. The group in total was a pretty good size considering just coming off the holiday. We met Giselle originally from Texas who is going to law school at Drexel. She was in much better shape and faster than us; but that's ok.

Today we did 5 up and downs; 4 around the ramps; 5 more up and downs and one suicide up and down. We finished up with some balance work and 20 pushups. Oh and it was 91 degrees out according to the Peco tower.

At the end I owed me 1 circuit around the ramps; 1 up and down and 10 pushups. I'm really going to have to get better at full pushups because bent knee pushups hurt on the hard sidewalk. I did my make up work and then Julius and I did a slow jog down hill back to Lloyd Hall. Julius also did the extra around the ramp with me.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Blue Trail - Ridley Creek State Park

This morning I set out to run on the Blue Trail at Ridley Creek State Park. Over the years I've hiked all of the trails at RCSP although in recent memory mostly the yellow and white trails. I studied the map before I left to get my bearings and then off I went. The blue trail is an out and back lollipop trail and, as I quickly found out, is not as well travelled as the others in the park. It is overgrown in some spots. I didn't mind that although I did a very thorough tick check when I got back to the car.

It begins with two decently steep descents with a small flat in between the two. I knew I'd be power hiking those on the way back. After that it settles into an up and down meandering. Next time I'll bring the camera. It had rained over night and I drove through a shower on the way to the park so the trail was wet but not messy muddy and the trees and bushes were lush and dense with humidity. RCSP is generally a quiet place to begin with and when you get on the trails it is even more so. I spooked a chipmunk in one spot, met another runner going the opposite way and one hiker with his two -fortunately friendly - dogs. On the return trip there were several fisherman out.

Fortunately I did not run into any kids on their bikes. They are not supposed to be on the unpaved trails in the park but I know they do it anyway. There were a few bad accidents in recent years. The kids thinks it's a cool place to get a thrill ride on their bikes. Unfortunately for them it's not cool it's just plain stupid given the steepness and lack of sightlines.

I really enjoyed the run. I did have to power hike the last 1/4 mile back up the hill to the parking lot and had to slow down to practially a walk in a few very rocky spots and to jump over a few tree limbs. I also went gingerly over the makeshift bridges because my shoes were so wet that I didn't want to slip but other than that I kept moving and feel really good about this run.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Fidgety

*Sigh*. Missed last night's art museum workout. It was Dave's Lions Club installation night and the timing was such that I could not do both. No big deal I thought. I'll just do a hill workout on 8th Street in Media on Wednesday instead. Ahh the best laid plans...

Woke up this morning with a horribly uspet stomach. Actually I went to bed with it. It was worse when I woke up. I went to work briefly to take care of one meeting and then came home and sipped ginger ale and green tea and slept alot. I had small hope to go out in the evening to run anyway. But that didn't happen either. I dressed for running and even went out the door but did not get very far.

*Sigh*. Now I'm still tired and fidgety. The nasea is gone though. I guess that's something.

Monday, June 27, 2011

New running spot

Tonight I met Jen and Mark at Washington's Headquarters in Valley Forge National Park. From there, according to the map we could take a short walk to the Valley Creek Trail or head out on the Chapel Trail. We opted for the Chapel Trail because none of us had been on it before. The trail  more or less parallels Route 23 behind the Valley Forge Chapel along the railroad tracks and river.

The description said large tracks of level trail with some steep hills. There was a lot less level than I expected based on that description and it was awesome. It is a 2.5 mile trail total. We ran out 1.5 and back. It was rocky and full of tree limbs and other trail obstacles and I loved it. I will absolutely go there again.

The really nice part about meeting here is that we could have done either trail. In fact, from there we could have contiuned on the Chapel trail and connected to the River Trail. I wouldn't bring the group here... I don't think everyone would enjoy the trail running and I'd be too worried about folks betting injured. But for the small weekday runs - where it's every person for themselves and not an official USAFit run - it's great.

I can see it becoming a good winter run spot too! It would be easy to put together 15+ miles of trail running from this spot. And if you add part of the Joseph Plumb trail ..well ther is one nice long run spot!

So long story short I had a blast tongiht! Who knew trail running could be so much fun! :)

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Heart Rate Monitor

So using about half a dozen different formulas and calculators my max heart rate comes out to 175. I think I should test it for real some day but since all those different methods came out the same I'm using that for now. My resting heart rate - found by taking my pulse for 15 seconds and multiplying by 4 - is 64. That sounds about the same as when the doc takes it too. I really should test it when waking up in the morning but that means remembering to put the strap and watch on when I go to bed and reading it when I first wake up. I dont think that's likely to happen. So this puts my long run training pace at 130-147.

Today I went out at 6am for a 40 minute run. I can't read the heart rate icon on my watch without my glasses and I am not going to run with my glasses (I'd likely trip over something since I dont need them for much but reading and everything else is blurry) so I couldn't check as I went along. That was good anyway. I focused on running slow and comfortable and figured I'd check the numbers later. I ran just over 3 miles in just under 40 minutes.

At 7 the group met and we headed out for our scheduled 8 miles. I did not wear the watch for this part of the run. Today was 'run relaxed' day as I'm trying to get folks to get less absorbed in the numbers and run by feel. So I set the examle by leaving my watch in the car.

When I got home I checked. The average of the three one mile laps was 144. At the high end of the 'zone' but I think not bad. What I didn't do (silly me) was also note the pace. I deleted it as soon as I looked at it. I realize now that I should track the heart rate, pace and other conditions for awhile and see how things progress or change depending on the workout.

I'll start that next time.

Friday, June 24, 2011

SEI Rush Hour Run

For the 4 years that I have been with Phillyfit people have raved about this race. It's a 5k on a Thursday (yesterday) evening on the same trail where we do most of our training runs. The course is part of the first 3 miles of our runs so phillyfitters are very familiar with this stretch. That's not the part everyone raves about though. For $25 entry fee you get a tech tshirt (nice one too) and a post race party like I've never seen or heard about. Not just all kinds of food but all kinds of drink too! I resisted (not really sure why) but figured I could afford the $25 this year and so many from the group go and we typically run together on Thursday evenings anyway... why not.

I arrived at the SEI complex just before 5. The race started at 6:30 but it didn't make sense to go home first. Slowly other Philyfitters arrived and evenutally 15 of us were there to start. We all ran our own races, the earlier finishers cheering on the ones who came behind. So by the time the last of us finished we were altogehter in a group again to head up for the party.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Mick Jagger has Nothing on Me

So these Tuesday night workouts at the Art Museum have the odd combination of making me feel like I’m 100 while I’m doing them. They kick my butt. And when I’m done I feel like a rock star…. just because I did it.

Now I’m not kidding myself. I have a lot of room for improvement. However, I can proudly say I finish every one. One of these weeks I won’t finish last. For now, finishing is a huge pride point. Finishing tonight meant doing one circuit on the ramps and one set of doubles by myself when the group was all done. But I dare anybody to show me the rule that says that doesn’t count!

I was the only one from Phillyfit there tonight. Kristin may have been there (I’ve only met her once so it’s possible I missed her.) but I don’t think so. Here is what my friends missed:

3 sets of singles
1 time around the ramps
A set of singles stopping at each landing for 10 jumping jacks
A set of singles stopping at each landing for 10 squats
2 sets of doubles
3 times around the ramps
3 sets of doubles – 1st set easy, 2nd set @ 50%, 3rd set at full speed.

Ok by this time I only had one speed left but I did three of them.

Now here is a benefit of a public training blog. I wanted be able to honestly say that after doing my ‘make up’ sets I jogged back to Lloyd Hall…. so I had to do it and I did. And in the interest of FULL disclosure, for those not familiar with the area, from the Art Museum to Lloyd Hall is downhill. But still…..

Thursday, June 16, 2011

First official tempo run

Although I'm currently training for my 4th marathon, I've never really done a tempo run. Till now I've stuck to just getting in miles. This time I've decided to try to keep up with all the specialty workouts; hill, speed and tempo. Tonight was the first tempo.

It did not go exactly as planned but I'm still pretty happy about it. The plan was 30 minutes total. 7.5 minute warm up run, 15 minute tempo pace and 7.5 minute cool down run. I went to the Radnor Trail tonight. I've never run here before; having walked it years ago I didn;t recall how it went. Well the warm up run was uphill. This was good though, it kept me slow although I had to work a bit harder than I would have on flat obviously. After 7.5 I went to tempo pace and stayed there for the entire 7.5 minutes. Unfortunatley I didn't feel I could keep it going so I dropped back down to slow conversational pace for 5 minutes and then went back to tempo pace for for the remaining time. I did a cool down walk before meeting my friend Julius for another 30 minute easy run.

Tempo pace for me is 10:28-10:58 (According to MacMillan). I had trouble maintaining the pace. I actually went too fast part of the time. I guess I'll just have to keep practicing :)

Tomorrow is a rest day and then group run on Saturday.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Almost 100%

I'm addicted to these art museum step workouts now.

I was so tired after work tonight. I've bailed with less levels of fatigue but I couldn't not go. I'm really liking the challenge. This was our third visit to this workout. It was 30 degrees cooler than day one and pouring rain. This made quite a difference in how I felt after. So far all three weeks have begun with single steps up and down the steps at least 4 times. After that the routine has been different each week. I like that. It helps not knowing what's coming next.

This week I did two pushups shy of 100% of the workout. I was on #8 when everyone else was done (10) and moving on to something else. I did not want to be left behind so I skipped my last two. Still I did the entire rest of the workout. No cheats, no walk breaks.

Tomorrow is rest day and then a tempo run on Thursday.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Hill or H*** Workout?

Paula: The first thing I'm going to do when I get home is post that this was YOUR idea.
Julius: It was Maggi's idea first.
Julius: Does this count as a hill workout?
Paula: Did you say hell workout?
John T: (a minute later) Who's idea was this?
Julius: I'm not saying anything
Paula: It's a good thing I love you, Julius.

Later, probably half way through - "What were we thinking? It's 90 degrees out!"

When it was over? - "We're going back".

That is more or less the conversation we had tonight. All while huffing and puffing our way up and down the Art museum steps (at least a dozen times all told). That was followed by a variety of things including plank walking, lunges, side stepping and high knee running across the width of the Art Museum Steps courtesy of the Fairmount Running Co.

It was hard but in a strange way felt good --- when it was over. I estimate the three of us did about 2/3 of the enotire workout. We informally challenged ourselves to get to the point where we can do the entire workout AND follow it up with an easy run.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day Run at Forbidden Drive

USAFit/Philly is the best thing that has happened to me in a very long time. Knowing that a group would be meeting at Forbidden Drive this morning got me out of bed to meet them at 7. At first I only knew that Pete, Kristie and Jeff would be there and they are much faster than I. I saw that Sonja said she was going to try but I didn't know where she was in the pace spectrum so I wasn't sure I'd have anyone actually running 'with' me but knowing my friends were out there and would likely wait for me at the end was enough for me to get going. As it turns out Sammy and Lynn and Marjorie came too. John C was there to run with the faster folks. So more or less we all had somebody nearby. And a group 'high five' at the end. Ok not a real one cause we would have just slid off each other but the mood was there.

It's going to be a hot one today. A good reason to get out early. My phillyfit schedule called for 30 minutes. I knew I wanted to do at least 4 miles. Someone suggested 5 which sounded good especially since 5 meant the turnaround was the Valley Green Inn. This meant I didn't have to watch the mile markers - just run. I like that :) Sammy, Marjorie and I did 3 and 1's and we started out much faster than we should. By mile 4 I was feeling sluggish. The humidity, ugh. As I've said before this "not going out too fast" thing, is something I really have to work on this season. I plan to be very mindful of it on my long runs but perhaps on the weekday runs - the ones that aren't speed or tempo workouts- I should as well. No real harm done though and Forbidden Drive is such peaceful place to run. I finished a strong last quarter mile.

And now I'm home, had breakfast and showered and it's only 9:30. :)

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Longest run since Gettysburg

So I've been slacking since Gettsyburg. I did very little in the two weeks between the marathon and the start of USAFit/Philly and in the two weeks since USAFit/Philly started I really haven't been giving it my full potential of enthusiasm. (odd phrase but it works for me). I've done all the minutes and miles (except the one evening where i forgot my socks) but not with any gusto.

Today, part of Memorial Day weekend, was a unoffical Saturday for Phillyfit. We had 4 miles planned and met at Pawlings Road. I was happy to see about a third of our group turned out despite the holiday. Nice! I set out with one of our newer members who was on the fence about working with the walkers or our slowest running group. We had a nice chat in the course of four miles. We took it slow with lots of walk breaks. In the end she decided to start out with the walker group until she feels more comfortable with her endurance. I think she did a great job today and respect her choice. I believe we'll be seeing her in the run group before too long.

After we were done, I mentioned I wanted to go back out and Julius said he did too. My miles with our new member were slow and although they counted as time on my feet I felt the need for something more. So Julius and I did another a tour of the Audobon Loop at 3 and 1 (run/walk) intervals. We took some extra walk breaks on the back side of the loop and finished in good form. I probably went a little too fast on the run portions; something I have to work on for my long runs this season.

It was warm and very humid today. I drank water at every walk break and took an endurolyte about halfway.

So my total for the day was 8 miles. It felt good. My run group for Phillyfit is the slowest group and although we should run slower than normal pace for long runs this may be too slow for me. But I am their coach and that is my job. So I think I'll be doing extra miles before or after the group run. It will be good for me.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Going out too fast

So day two in Harrisburg, I had plans to run with my friend Terry at 6:30 this morning. We met in the lobby a little before this and I suggested we wait until 6:30 to leave because another friend of ours, Jim said he might join us. Jim never made it but as we were about to leave Tyler came off the elevator and the three of us headed down to the river.

On the way, I told Tyler (who is 20 years younger than me) that I would not be offended if he went ahead. I did not want to hold him back. Tyler said, no he'd be happy to run with us. This is not unusual - I've run with faster runners (my friend Kristie being one) on many occassions and it's not a problem when faster runner is willing to bring his/her pace down to mine and maybe I try to pick mine up a little bit (emphassi on little..lol).

So off we went. The first few minutes of any run (especially mornings) can sometimes be stressfull as my body gets with the program. So I thought nothing of feeling a litte uncomfortable in those first few minutes. As we made our way around City Island I lagged a few steps behind but held my own that way. As we returned to the river bank we went downhill and picked up the pace a bit and here is where I got in trouble. We never backed off from the downhill. By the time we got to the turnaround to head back to our hotel I was really feeling the effects of pushing hard. I begged off a walk break and Terry, too encouraged Tyler to go on if that's what he wanted.

Poor 'kid' was all apologetic about going fast. I told him that was nonsense. Every runner must be responsible for their own pace. I should have dropped back or said something sooner. So anyway we walked for a half block and then finished our run.

Later that day, I saw Terry in a meeting and asked her how she felt on the run. She said she was really glad I asked for the walk break. :) All in all, it was kind of nice to push the pace a bit. I was just embarrassed to have to beg off. Not ashamed ... just a bit embarrassed. I should have been paying more attention.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Protective Parents

So today I want for a run along the Susquehana River in Harrisburg. (I'm here for REALTOR state business meetings through tomorrow). I often go out in the morning while here to do this run. There is a nice path along the river. Today I went alone although (as I will tomorrow, I often have a REALTOR friend or two with me).

I woke up tired but made msyelf go out knowing that I'd feel better if I did. The river route here has an upper and lower trail. I went out on the upper trail and returned on the lower trail. On the way back I came upon a group of goslings with 4 parent geese. The parents started hissing at me. They made moves threatening to attack. I remembered what I'd been told about meeting dogs on the trail. The advice was to stop running and walk slowly. The geese, however, were not having any of this. I had two choices; scale 10 foot wall or turn back to the last set of steps back up to the upper level. I wasn't in the mood to run that far back and the wall.. well you probably figured that was not an option. So I decided to try walking slowly past the geese. It took a couple of tries but I finally got past.

Oh and I had a very nice run finished with a run up the steps to the upper level.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Running in the rain isn't quite the same as running in the snow

Ok that's probably a bit obvious. I'll elaborate.

This winter while training for Gettsyburg I decided to run depsite the weather. Running in the bitter cold with snow and ice on the ground was an adventure that I really enjoyed.

When the new Phillyfit season started and we were faced with a week of rain I decided I would not let the rain deter me. I really can't stand cold rain but it's not cold anymore. So I ran three days this week despite the rain. And actually it didn't rain on any of the three days but it had been raining on either side of all my runs. I was soaked after all of them; more from acquiring moisture out of the air then from any exertion on my part. I'm happy I ran them all but it's not as exciting as running in the snow, cold and ice.

Having said that, tonight at Ridley Creek State Park it was very pretty. The park felt like what I imagine a jungle rain forest would be like. Bright grees trees and bushes, thick with rain. Birds singing. It was peaceful.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Negative split?

Not by much but I think it still counts. Here's what happened.

We had a group minutes meeting scheduled for 6 pm at Valley Forge tonight. I am done work at 4:00 Tues-Fri so I was there by 4:30. Doesn't make sense to drive home and back out again. Although there would be plenty of time to do that; gas prices just make that silly. Usually I'll take a nap or read my book while I wait (if I don't have reason to just stay late at work).

The weather being what it has been (rainy and intermittently stormy) I wondered if anyone else would make it at 6:00. Only Sue had said maybe and then left a second message saying probably not because of the weather. So I decided to do my 25 minutes at 4:45 and if anyone showed I'd do it again or go home at 6:00. As it turned Sue came anyway and so did John T. So I did too sets of 25 minute runs.

I used my watch to mark the turnaround point. At the end of the first 25 minutes I had run 2:21 miles. (11:18 pace) At the end of the second 25 minutes I had run 2:35 miles.(10:38 pace). *shrug*. Not much maybe but it's something.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

What's next?

So I proved I could keep training through the winter. I think I will consider a spring marathon for 2012 and do that again. I mentioned the Marine Corps Marathon in my previous post. I'm also scheduled for the Rock N Roll Philadelphia Half in September, the Ben Franklin Bridge Run in November and the Philadelphia Half Marathon in November.

This post though is about what's next with training. Although I'm likely fitter than many 51 year olds I know there is so much further I can go with that. I'm still overweight by at least 10 pounds, I have poor core strength and almost no upper body strength anymore.

So I'm going to spend some time looking closer at what I can do to work on the strength issues. I've done some research and reading in the past. Now it's time to focus. I may ask some of my friends who have experience with this to teach me the exercises I can do with and without the ball. Mostly though I need to get a routine going and stick to it. I need accountablity so I've written it down here since I know some folks read this blog and I expecct to be badgered about whether I'm following through.

I refuse to obsess about the weight issue. It is what it is. My eating habits are not perfect but they are not all that horrible either. If I focus on training and keep my eating habits in check the weight will likely come off. Of course there is that 51 year old thing adding on to the weight issue (literally) but I'm still convinced it will work itself out (and hopefully off)

I want to add heart rate training this season too. I began researching that a bit and need to do more.

Monday, May 2, 2011

24 hours later

So now that it's 24 hours later I can start to properly look at the experience. Around mile 21 I was actually thinking about selling my bib for Marine Corps. I was convinced that I was just fooling myself trying to run marathons. I even rationalized an excuse for quitting on Marine Corps. The MCM (October 30) is the same weekend as Phillyfit's 21 miler (October 29). It will be a lot of finagling to support the group that day and still make it down to the expo to pick up my packet without going nuts. So this is what I would tell people if they asked me why I quit. Man, what a cop out!!

Today, with a much clearer head (remember don't make any decisions in any direction within 24 hours of completing a race) I decided that not only will I run Marine Corps but I will also take a vacation day from work on the 28th and head down to Washington (probably by train) to pick up my packet and come back. The train will likley be about $90 round trip but I have room in my race budget for that and the piece of mind it will give me on the 29th during the Phillyfit 21 miler will make it worthwhile. Now I can support the team on the 29th and then head down leisurely on Saturday night in preparation for the race the next day.

So I'm still running Marine Corps. The hill at the end of that race can't be any worse than the ones we tackled (over and over again) yesterday. Right? Having this goal also gives me renewed motivation to really work the Phillyfit schedule this year; including all the speed, hill and tempo workouts. I'm going to continue to chase that 5-1/2 hour marathon!!

A few more comments about yesterday and then it's time to move on.
1) GB helped me accomplish my goal of training through the winter. Outside.
2) I finished the marathon despite having a mental breakdown at mile 21.
3) The mental breakdown did not occure UNTIL mile 21 - my previous races I was done in at mile 18. So progress has been made.

Thanks to all my friends and family who support me and listen to my rants and endless obsessing about these things.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Marathon #4; the good, the bad and the ugly.

Let's take them in reverse order because the good was very good and the other two can be dispensed with quickly.

THE UGLY
This is a totally personal thing and has nothing to do with the event itself. I'm very frustrated with myself for having a delusional goal for this race. I worked hard and I really thought I was finally going to break 5 hours and 30 minutes. Not only did I miss that mark, I came in 7 minutes slower than my previous best (my 1st in 2008). I'm not disappointed (afterall I did start and finish) but I'm frustrated at my failure to be realistic in my abilities.

THE BAD
And really this is minor. The race was great. But all except the first and last miles were open to traffic. This was an issue early on when runners were still bunched up. At times there were cars coming in both directions. In the end, the cars had to figure out where to go we just kept running. I did not hear about any people accidents but I did see a dead rabbit, a dead racoon and a dead turtle. Not sure if they were casualties of the race or not but they were pretetty ugly.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Down to hours

According to my little countdown widget there are no more days left, just hours. 22 hours and change until the start of the Gettysburg Marathon. It is a gorgeous day here in Media, Pa. I'm hoping it follows me west and holds until tomorrow. Weather.com is forecasting temps from 51 at 7 am to 62 at 2 pm.;humidity hovering around 50-60%; partly cloudy. I'm not sure it could be any more perfect! It will be a chilly start but will be fine once we get moving.

This is my second travel race. Hershey being the first. Well I guess technically Disney was one too but it felt different since I was staying with KT and JL (sister and brother in law). Anyway, packing was crazy. I have two of everything which is probably a mistake cause then I have to take time to decided what to wear. I'll make a decision tonight in the hotel room and stick with that. I'm glad I packed my ear covering for the early chill. Guess I'll use a trash bag for early morning warmth. Small race so not sure if they will pick up clothes if I bring an old sweatshirt. Maybe I'll go throw one in and ask at packet pick up if we can discard along the route. I also packed a bagel and peanut butter, water and fruit cups. Don't want to have to go looking for breakfast in the morning.

Leaving here around noon. I'm going to take route 30 rather than the turnpike. This will probably add about 20 - 30 minutes to the drive but it will be very relaxing especially on a day like today. I'm taking my camera for pictures today. I'm not carrying it with me running though. I just want to run this one. It won't fit in my belt anyway. I needed 8 gels with my every 3 mile strategy. I managed to fit them all in my water belt no need for an extra pouch. My belt is going to be a bit heavy to start and it will get ligther as I go. It's all good.

No camera means no after race pictures but I will make sure to get a pic of the medal to post :)

Ok I guess I better finish getting ready; go grab a trash bag and sweatshirt. See y'all again last Sunday :)

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Going a little it crazy...

I honestly don't remember being this nuts before my previous marathons. (pause while someone makes the joke about my degree of nutness). Seriously, I am going crazy. I feel fat (I'm not), I feel klutzy (ok I am that but not quite in the way I feel it right now) My left ankle and my right foot hurt. I can't figure out if it's phantom or not. I want it to be Sunday so badly. I'm too old to be wishing my life away but I'm doing it anyway. I'm restless. All I can wish for now is that all this nervous energy will come to some good on Sunday.

*sigh* ...

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Taper activity

So I may have found the perfect taper "get-your-mind-off-the-race" activity for me.

Last night it starting raining...and raining and raining and raining. I've had enough running in snow, ice, rain and related gunk. There isn't anything I can do to improve my readiness for Gettysburg so I went to bed knowing that I would not run this morning. I also knew I'd likely wake up questioning that wisdom. Which may explain why I didn't really sleep well last night. Fits and starts through most of it. But I did  manage to stay in bed until 7:45.

After a quick breakfast I donned my painting clothes and painted the ceiling, two walls and trim in our back bedroom. The roof had leaked into it. We finally saved the money to have the roof repaired. Dave finished the prep work yesterday. (that's our deal; he preps, I paint). It's a small room and only two walls needed repainted. I spent 2 hours, painting and cleaning brushes and rollers. And not once during that time did I think about the race.

Of course I am now which is why I'm bloggin right now but for two hours I let it go and didn't fuss about not running today. If I do two marathons a year I might actually finish painting the rest of the house in good order. :)

Friday, April 22, 2011

Thoughts before Gettysburg (Marathon #4)

One week from Sunday is race day.

My number one goal is always to have fun and finish and this race is no different.

I will admit out loud this time that I really want, almost need, to score a PR here. That means beating 5:37:51 - the time of my first marathon (Philly 2008). I really believe I can do that. In fact, barring any unforseen (knock on wood) major physical breakdown, I should beat it significantly but I will stop short of defining significantly right now. This race will be 'won' or 'lost' in my mind and on my fueling/hydrating. I've trained well, including the hills. My body feels ready and I know I can do the distance; I've done it before. My two 20 mile runs were good. Although my running since the last 20 miler has been sporadic, the ones I've done have been well-done.

Fueling/Hydrating
I'm going to steal an idea from my friend Pete's 100 mile run to get my fueling right. I'm going to write down what I want to do and tape it to the bottom of my shirt. This will look funny no doubt but I have never been (nor do I aspire to be) a fashion statement and especially not while running. I want to take gels every 3 miles and an endurolyte every 5. Instead of trying to remember that and remember when I last took my stuff, I'm going to write it out; Mile 3 Gel, Mile 5 Pill etc and tape/pin it to my shirt. I have to remember to tape it upside down so I can read it. Standing on my head during a marathon is not a trick I've mastered yet. As for water, I will wear my hydration belt and take sips every walk break and at the water stops. Since I generally don't drink the entire cup I'll use the extra to keep my bottles filled.

Staying strong mentally
The mental toughness is going to be necessary for all the hills. I have no idea what they actually look like. I have studied (and studied and studied and studied....) the elevation chart from on mapmyrun.com and read the comments from folks on the Gettysburg Marathon Facebook page. Everyone's definition of rolling hills is different. But from all that I imagine nothing more difficult than I have to do when I run around Media or at Valley Forge but that it's hill after hill after hill. I will not let that get inside my head. Here is my strategy:

3 min run/ 1 min walk intervals for the first 20 miles. I may run the first mile depending on how crowded it is. It's difficult to do intervals when elbow to elbow. I don't want to annoy other runners. After a mile it should thin out. I will channel last night's run for that first mile though and go easy and relaxed. Easier said than done sometimes but I will do it. After the first mile I intend to stick to my 3 and 1's without fail for the first 20 miles regardless of where I am on any hill. I'm going to focus on posture during the run portions. I find I run better that way. The less hunched over I get the less tense I get in my shoulders and back. But I have to focus on it. I also find I can hold my pace better that way too. I will concentrate on keeping the pace up while walking with a few duck walk steps to keep my back and hips loose. More proof that I don't care what I look like when I run.

At mile 18.5 the course is almost all downhill through the end. Being an out and back course I will have climbed up this same 7.5 miles at the front end of the race so I'll know what to expect assuming I can remember that long. I will continue with my 3 and 1's until the 20 mile mark or the first water stop between 18 and 20. Then, if my legs are feeling good I would like to lengthen the run portions. I'd like to start running to water stops at that point. Water stops are allegedly every 2 miles. I'll channel last night's run again and try for relaxed and easy. The hard part here will be what to do if my legs do not feel good. I will have to remain strong and not give up. I can stick to 3 and 1's for the rest of the miles if I have to. I don't want to give up and walk the whole way. Another minor issue will be resisting the urge to run through my walk breaks on the downhill portions before 18. I have to remember the purpose of the intervals is to save my legs for the later miles.

So there it is. One more week and I can test it out. I. Can't. Wait. :)

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Can I save this one?

Tonight I set out to run for fun. No watch, no gymboss. Just me, my legs and my lungs.

Dave was umpiring a softball game at Widener. The field is about 4.5 miles from our house. I left the house at 6 p.m. figuring that I'd get to the field in the middle of the second game; watch the rest of it and get a ride home from Dave. I called his cell to tell him the plan and my route in case the game finished early he could come by and pick me up.

I can't explain or find the words to explain this run. I just ran. I had some twinges in the usual spots (not my calf though) but nothing lasted more than a few minutes. I paid attention to posture and took inventory of all my various parts. Everything was working just as I would like it to. I wasn't doing any walking and I wasn't feeling like I had to or wanted to. This is good as I have been doing 3 and 1's so long I sometimes wonder if I can go longer. I can :)

I did experience one odd thing and I stil have no idea what it was. I was about 3 miles in and my right side started acting up. At first I thought it was a stitch but it wasn't a sharp pain. It started out as a dull pain; not an ache just a dull presence. It started out just at hip level and moved up so that my entire side felt like I was wearing armor. It was a hard gripping feeling; but not hard enough to stop me or hurt just tight. It didn't affect my breathing or my stride. My brain was still on board with the run so I kept going. When I stopped to navigate crossing a very busy street the feeling eased and continued to do so through the end of the run. By the time I got to the end it was all gone. Very strange.

When I got to the softball field I was disappointed to see that the game was only in the first evening. Dave said they had a 2 hour and 10 minute first game. :( And unfortunately for me the second game went 2 hours as well. I had to borrow Dave's extra umpire jacket to stay warm.

None of that could take away from the feeling of the run. It was awesome. :) Gettysburg here I come!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Taper madness has begun

I missed the 12 miler this weekend. It was rainy and windy on Saturday so I decided to go Sunday after the VF Revolutionary Run. Friends were running in it and USAFit/Philly had a booth there. Well the rain stopped but the wind was still horrible and I bailed. I feel sluggish. Is that real or imagined?

Somebody posted on the Gettysburg Marathon FB page that the forecast (still 12 days away) is for 55 and rainy. So despite the rain and temps in the 50s today I was determined to go out. I tried to focus on form and running relaxed. I was wearing my watch because it was set to alarm every mile and I wanted to do mile interevals. I actually felt good the first mile. Then my calves on both sides felt stiff. That could easily be due to the lack of regular running lately. Could it be something more? The stiffness went away but my left ankle pain came back a bit. I believe that IS real. I did some extra stretching for that when I got home.

All in all it was a good run (weather notwithstanding). I stuck to the intervals regardless of the hills. I ran around Media by the way. The original plan was the Loop but no one could (or wanted) to go with me so I opted for Media which is just as much if not more of a hill workout.

BTW, the same poster put up another check of the weather for Gettsyburg on May 1st and now it's 77 and cloudy! LOL

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Confidence run

I hadn't run since the 20 miler on Saturday. I had planned to take Sunday and Monday off. Tuesday and Wednesday it rained. Cold rain. I hate cold rain. Warm rain is ok. Cold rain really sucks. There's no other way to say it. So tonight I had plans to meet Julius at 6 at Pawlings Road.

I finished work at 4; messed around a bit there, changed, ran a few errands and still was at Pawlings Road before 5. So I decided to go out for a run around the Audobon Loop on my own first. I started thinking about it on the drive over. I wondered if I should take that chance. What if I had a breakdown on the course and didn't get back to the parking lot by 6? That was silly since even at 12 minutes miles I'd be done in less than 48 minutes. So I went for it. I decide to run comfortably and relaxed and take walk breaks when I felt like it. In the end I took three short walk breaks and ran the rest. It felt good and I made it back in 44 minutes. When Julius arrived we did the loop again in the opposite direction using 3 and 1's and walked up the big hill. I really enjoyed the company and the run.

Just under 8 miles on a weeknight. Cool.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Getting by with a little help from my friends...

With lots of advice and supprt from my running buddies I tackled the second 20 miler training run toward the Gettyburg Marathon.

On Thursday evening I took Mary's advice and used the jacuzzi in my hotel room (thank you Marriott upgrade) on my calf. On Friday night at home I wrapped it in a heating pad. I took an aleve before bedtime and wore compression socks to bed (Thanks Maggi..although I had to take them off halfway through the night). On Saturday, I ran 5 miles with John, 12 miles with Kristie and walked 3 on my own.

The calf was fine. It was tight when I was finished but not sore. I iced it when I got home and I'm wearing compression socks now. The walking of the final three miles had nothing to do with the calf. My legs just weren't with the program. I've only run three days in the two weeks since the last 20 miler and I was feeling the effects. I will run short 3-5 mile runs 3 days a week for the next three weeks with easy runs. I think I'll be fine.

The run itself was good. Not as wow as the last one but still a good positive run. I took gels every 3 miles (used to do every 5) on Pete's suggestion that I needed more calories on the run. I had a bit of trouble deciding when to take the endurolytes and waited too long at one point. I could feel my heart to that hard pump thing. The endurolytes are really hard to judge. I need less in cold weather and as we move into warmer weather... I'm just going to have to be more conscious of it. I struggled with hydration a bit too. The fountains as Valley Green were off so I started taking in less to make sure I'd have enough to take gels and endurolytes. My body let me know it was not happy with this. I had a dizzy spell (could also have been the endurolyte mistake) around mile 14-15. Not serious but before this I would take sips of water every walk break (3 min run/1 min walk) and then more water with gels and endurolytes. I wasn't doing that and I really think my body was upset at the break in routine. I will be wearing my belt with full bottles on the marathon so I can stick with the routine.

Despite the minor mishaps above I never hit the wall (as I know it ,, and I do know it..lol). So I'm very happy about that. My recovery from my mistakes was quick as well. My calf held up and although I'll be tending to it carefully to be sure, I think it will be fine.

I'm ready and excited! Bring it on.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Please don't let this be anything serious

Went for a modified Media 5 mile run tonight.

Since last Thursday I've had an uncomfortable pain in my right calf. A few times this weekend I limped because of it but usually worked it out after a bit of walking. So today, after getting past the typical inertia issues beginning a run I tried to pay attention to the pain. Oddly the pain was all but non-existent on the hills but came back on the flats. I would have thought it would be the othe way around. It didn't get any worse from the beginning to the end of the run but it didn't get better either. I took extra stretch time on it when the run was over. It's still there though. :(

I still have a weird pain around my left ankle and achillies area as well. The weirdness with that one is that it does not bother me at all when I'm running. Not even a hint. But it frequently aches when doing nothing or twinges when walking. This has been going on for weeks. No worse, no better and there is no sign of it when I run.

*sigh* I don't need this right now. Really not sure how to deal with it between now and the marathon.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

WOW!

That's the word to describe today's run. I am still in awe of it. I'm going to bask in the glory of it for another day and then get back to the reality of training. The race is still 1 month and 5 days away according to my nifty counter :)

My prep for this began last night. Well really two days before. I've been thinking about it and picturing the route and thinking about strategy. Knowing that I was going to do two Valley Forge loops I felt like I had to think about and psyche myself up for it. You'd think this was the race for all the checking and double checking I did on my gear, gus, endurolytes and water. With a forecast of 29 and sunny to start, I put out layers for the run and warm clothes to change into. I commented to Dave that I think I packed less for my weekend to Houston a few weeks ago. I was in bed by 10; not asleep but this forced me to turn off the computer and stop watching TV. I was up at 6:30 for breakfast and on the road by 7:15. I'm not sure where my head was at exactly as I headed west on 422. I went past the Valley Forge exit. Fortunately, I noticed it before Trooper road so I could get off and turn around. And fortunately this was not an omen for the day.

At the vistor's center I  met up with Brenda, Marjorie, Jeff, Craig and Roy. I got a fist bump from Roy before he and Craig headed off to do their thing and the rest of us headed to the loop round 1. I started with my 3 and 1's right from the start. Jeff ran off to do his own thing and Marjorie and Brenda were content to do 3 and 1's with me. The first loop was all about just getting through it and trying not to go too fast. I don't like looking at my watch though so this was done by feel. I wore the watch because it would beep out the miles for me and help with the final 2-3 miles which would be over unmarked or unmeasured ground. I wanted to focus too on not taking my walk breaks too slow. I know that's hindered me in the past. The transition then to running takes too long. I finished the loop on it's downhill ignoring the walk break that came in the middle of it.

I continued run/walking back to the car. There, I topped my water bottles and grabbed my gloves. I had taken an endurolyte at the 4 mile mark and now, as I headed over to the Betzwood trail, I took a gu. As I went up the hill and over the creepy bridge I thought about my first season with Phillyfit. Going up that hill killled me back then (I dreaded it) and now I was just doing it. I still don't like the creepy bridge but it's a necessary evil to get from the visitor's center to the river trail.

On the river trail I set my focus on my posture. I tend to slump and that makes me tired quicker. (I also need to put more focus on my core and I'm determined to get a routine for that after Gettysburg) So the faster walk breaks and focus on posture kept my mind busy out to the Pawlings Road end of the river trail. Once there I stopped to shake gravel out of my shoes and retie them. I also took the opportunity to stretch my legs out a bit and began the return trip. On random walk breaks I did this goofy walking thing that was a combination of something I learned at the USAFit conference and twisting my upper body. When I do it I can feel the tension release in my back and hips. It probably looks really weird but it works.

About a half mile into the return trip, Kristie called. I was expecting her to call as she said she might try to meet up with me. She said she would meet me at the visitor's center to take me on the final 7-8 miles. This was great news to me!  When we chatted earlier in the week she had planned to meet me at Betzwood. And while this would have been nice I was secretly wishing she could meet me for the loop since I knew I would be much more tired. I didn't want to ask her to do that though. She was taking time out of her Saturday to run at my pace (considerably slower than her norm) so I was just happy that I would see her at all. My wish being answered though put an extra lift in my step.

Shortly after the call from Kristie I looked up and saw a blue and orange figure heading my way. That could be no one other than John Carre. He had met Pete White at Oaks to run some miles and heard I was doing 20 today and came over to meet me after finishing with Pete. Awesome! Phillyfitters are the friendliest, most supportive folks ever! So with John's company and chatter I finshed the river trail comfortably. We kept up a good conversation and John didn't even laugh at my crazy walking thing.

So at the end of the river trail I took another gu on a walk break and continued back over the creepy bridge to the visitors center. I said thank you and goodbye to John, topped off my water bottles again and off Kristie and I went. Kristie kept up a steady chatter which was awesome. She was also very good at breaking her train of thought to coach me when I needed it. She also put up with a moment of crankiness from me. When we had 5 miles left she commented something like "That's nothing you can do this!" to which I replied "Tell that to my legs". Sorry Kristie.

At this same point, 15 miles into the day (near the arch) I also commented that this is where I usually wonder why I signed up to do a marathon. It was different this time though. My feet hurt and my legs were tired but I didn't feel like stopping. I think I thought about 5 miles left and had a knee jerk panic attack. So we continued around to 'the hill' that no one likes. Here is where I almost faltered and Kristie coached me out of it. To this point I had faithfully stuck to my 3 and 1's (except for the skipped walk break down the end of the loop hill earlier). I seriously labored up this hill and came close to quitting at least twice. I was breathing so hard I had snot coming out my nose and I was making whiny noises. Kristie talked me through it.

That was a  major turning point. There was only one yukky hill (the rest were rolling) and I managed that one by riding the downhill into the uphill. We got to the final downhill and once again I skipped the walk break. My feet and legs hurt more than the first time around but gravity is a wonderful thing and this meant getting to 20 just a tad faster. At the bottom we were at 18.5 miles. I decided to go out the County Line Road to 20 and then turn around to walk back to the parking lot. I was amazed at how 'good' I felt. Good is relative of course. I was tired but I was not in the least bit ready to quit.

Ok folks, if you dont know this already, County Line Road past the parking lot goes uphill. I cheated 40 sceonds off one run interval (my only cheat of the day I'm proud to say) and when we came to another hill, I said "No, I'm not doing that". So we turned around and ended up going back out to route 23 and turning around again. We arrived at the parking lot with .2 left and so ran around until my watch ran out the 20. I announced this milestone loudly. Kristie took in all in stride and high fived me.

I had taken another endurolyte about mile 17 because I felt my heart beating too fast. I probably should have taken one sooner. I only had two gus on the day when I usually have three. I don't think that hurt me although the last half mile I suddenly felt hungry. I will have to be careful of that in the race. I had a slight intestinal thing about mile 19 but it went away quickly so I'm not concerned. I was good with my water. For the most part taking sips every walk break and more with the gus.

I came home and did not feel an overwhelming need to take a nap. That was a pretty good feeling too. So like I said, this run was a WOW!

I have a second 20 miler before race. This second one is on April 9th. I'm treating myself to Forbidden Drive for that one. I'll do more hills runs in the coming weeks too but I'll do them on either the VF loop or the Media 5 mile loop on weekdays. I'm really excited about the race now.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Thoughts before a 20 miler

So I never did make it out Wednesday or Thursday. Wednesday it did rain and it was cold (I'd rather run in snow) and Thursday I was too tired. A poor excuse but it is what it is. Still I'm looking forward (more or less) to my 20 miler on Saturday (tomorrow).

The weather is still cool but no precipitation in the forecast. I do well in the cooler weather so I'm ok with that but I do have to wonder what weather will be like on Marathon day, May 1st. Hopefully my second 20 miler will be warmer so I can have a training run in cool and warm. There's really no telling what May 1st will actually be like.

So the math in my previous post about tomorrow's 20 miler was inaccurate. It didn't sound right when I posted it but I didn't stop to think it over until now. I will do the loop (5 miles) then the river trail (6 miles) then the loop again (5 miles). Including the over and back between loop and the river trail that wil be approximately 17 miles. Then I'll have to decide how to make up the last 3 miles. Likely I'll go out 1.5 miles on the loop and back. Or I could head over toward the river trail and come back. Either way it's hilly so it really doesn't matter.

Stay tuned. I'll post the results tomorrow.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Much better

I went out for 4.5 miles today with Kristie, Susan and Julius. Felt great! I feel better now that Sunday was just a blip on the radar.

Tomorrow and Thursday are looking yukky weather - wise; including some snow in the forecast. I'm packed to run tomorrow after work but I'll decide when the time comes. If it's not pouring and above freezing I may go out anyway. We'll see.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

In the interest of full disclosure....

I have to post my crummy runs as well as my good ones. Today was in the latter category for sure. I went to the Art Museum area to cheer the folks running and walking in the Get Your Rear In Gear run. There were close to 4000. It was an awesome turnout. After that I met up with Julius for 5 miles together. Then I'd do 8 on my own (one loop around MLK/Kelly Drive).... or so I thought.

We began and almost immediately I felt stiff and off kilter. I chalked it up to not running in over ten days and hoped I'd loosen up soon. Julius was a step or two ahead of me the whole way. We were doing 3 and 1's and I was so grateful for the 1's. I was distracted from the stress by our chatter; we hadn't run together in quite awhile so we had a lot to catch up on as well as talk about the upcoming season for Phillyfit and our coachign duties. We ran through the crowds gathered for a high school rowing regatta and at 2.5 miles we turned around and headed back to Lloyd Hall.

I forgot to pack gus this morning (not sure where my head was at) but I had some granola bars in the car so I ate one of those while we walked around the front of the Art Museum and then I headed off to finish my miles. At MLK I decided to head left on the path along the river bank hoping that the change of scenery would perk up my run. It didn't. My legs felt stiff and heavy. I stopped to stretch them out but the relief was short lived. By the time I got back to the Art Museum area I was at about 7.5 miles and the pain in my legs from hip to ankle on both sides was just too much. I felt like I had run 20 not 7! I bailed on the rest of the miles and headed back to the car for a total of just over 8 miles.

So what are the reasons? Could be any number of things. I haven't run in 10 days. We did have that ATP workout at the organzier confernce but there wasn't much running in that; although we did a fair amount of other work. Still I've missed time before and not felt this bad getting back. I haven't been feeling well or eating well and the travel has probably put me off as well. Still the difference between how I felt today and how I felt after my 15 miles on the VF loop is strange. I was tired after the 15 but the muscle tiredness in my legs was nowhere near what I felt today. It's discouraging.

I have to focus now on knowing there are still 6 weeks left before Gettysburg. I have 20 planned for next Saturday and if I don't recover enough to manage that I still have more more chance at 20 on April 9. The weather this week is for cooler temps and possible precipitation but i'll just have to ignore that and get out on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

Keep smiling and keep moving.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Course comparisons

When I initially signed up for Gettysburg I remember reading something from the race director that the course was no worse elevation wise than Philly. So the other night I went to mapmyrun.com and compared the two course elevations. Lo and behold it's actually true. Gettysburg has more ups and downs but the climbs are generally no worse than Philly in terms of steepness. It will be a more tiring course for all the ups and downs; and the ups are longer in mileage... but still my confidence is renewed.

Training update: I bailed on today's meeting with the Phillyfit gang. Just too tired. I woke up just before the alarm (6:30) turned it off, turned over and next thing it was 8:00. My plan now is to run tomorrow along Kelly Drive. A bunch of us are getting together down there to cheer on the "Get Your Rear In Gear" 5k/10k participants and Maggi suggested a run along Kelly Drive after.

I hope to get out at least 3 days this week. The weather forecast is weird though; actually calling for snow. At least it is DST so there is a chance of having company some of the time.

The first 20 miler of this training schedule is next weekend (March 26). The group is meeting at Valley Forge. I plan to do the loop then cross over to Betzwood and then the loop again. That should be about 16-17 so I'll run the final 3-4 either going back toward Betzwood or If I'm really feeling brave back up on the loop.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

At least nobody threw up...

That was the comment of one of the group after our participation demonstration of the ATP (Advanced Training Program) at the USAFit Organzier conference today. Judging from the strangled laughter that followed that remark I think many of us were thinking something similar.

The ATP sessions combine a series of calistenic and strength and balance exercises followed by short fast bursts of running. It kicked most of our butts. The idea is to train your body to run tired. In the 'real' training program the group runs for 4 -6 miles after. We skipped that part today.

I found it a tremendously humbling experience. Here I've been  feeling pretty good having comleted 3 marathons and currently prepaing for my fouth. I know I have neglected core and strength work; today I found out just how much I had done so.

*Sigh* at least I wasn't the only one.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Changing Course

Email from the race director for the Gettysburg Marathon informs me that due to logistical and safety issues with the local municipalities there will be only one course on Marathon day. Instead of running north vs south everyone will run the same course. And the course they dumped was the South course the one the folks from the North were slated to run. So my plan is now officially meaningless. Hey, a marathon is still 26.2 miles whichever course it's on. 3 and 1's all the way for this one.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Confidence buster

There is nothing like the Valley Forge Loop to smash a hole in the enthusiasm balloon. That's what I was thinking through mile 1 of the third time around the loop. What was I thinking signing up for a Spring marathon let alone one in Gettysburg? My 'plan' for the race suddenly seemed like a pipe dream.

With 1.5 miles to go I recovered however. It's the Valley Forge Loop (I told myself) and YOU are not superwoman so it's going to hurt on the third time around. And this is training afterall; hopfeully I was stretching my limits.

So here is how it went.

Lap #1: I arrived at the Visitor's Center parking lot at 7 and took off for round 1. It was drizzling off and on and very quiet. I passed only a handful of people going the other way (including Pete who had been out since 6:30 and was hoping to meet some running company back at the Visitor's Center at 7:30). I was passed by the gentleman who was in the only other car in the parking lot. He 'congratulated' me for being out on such a day. I returned the greeting although I wasn't sure "congratulations" was exactly the right word; it's the thought that counts. I ran 3 and 1's the entire way up to the last hill going down. There I skipped the walk breaks and cut off the corner (across the grass). Kristen was going to be waiting for me in the parking lot and it was already 8. I called her quickly to let her know I was almost there. Given my rep for starting on time I didn't want her to think I had left without her.

Lap #2: I asked Kristen if we could do the second lap in reverse rotation. I was sure that if I did all three in the same direction it would just make me crazy. This way I would do the last lap in the direction I was used to. She agreed and off we went. Ok that hill going back up is really not fun; but we did it. We ran 3 and 1's the entire way around and I could feel my legs getting angry but my head was still in the game. Coming around the Arch my shoe lace had worked itself loose and I had to stop to retie. My foot was starting to move around in my shoe. I retied it but did so too tight. By the time we got back to the parking lot my toes were starting to go numb but I didn't want to stop again we were amost there. We skipped the walk breaks down the hill on the opposite side and met up with Pete in the parking lot.

Lap #3: I needed more water but the bathrooms were closed. I knew that from earlier weeks. I should have brought extra with me. Thanks to Pete I was able to refill with a bottle he had in his car. Pete wished us well and headed home. I retied my shoe and off we (Kristen and I) went. One more lap. My legs burned on the first hill. I had to walk before the walk break. That pissed me off and as I wrote at the beginning of this post I went into a mental tailspin. At the Arch again I told Kristen that I would totally understand if she wanted to move on without me. She didn't. We weren't side by side the whole way but she stayed close. We didn't talk as much this lap but she silently kept me going. Don't ever let anyone discount the power of the group or even just having one other person with you. I 'cheated' on the walk break one more time before the end and there were times when it was a stretch to call what I was doing uphills 'running' but as we came around to the chapel again I felt like I was on remote control. My legs hurt but I wasn't quite so focused on that anymore. I was moving and that's all that mattered. And as I said before, this is where I remembered where I was and who I wasn't.

So Gettysburg is still on. I may re-evaluate my thought to skip the walk breaks between miles 6 and 13. Although if water stops are every 2 miles as promised there is likely 2 or 3 in that span soooooo. Fortunately I have time to give this more thought.

I'm giving myself tomorrow off and then going to try for at least an hour Tues, Wed, and Thurs. I'll be travelling Fri-Sun and although I'll bring my running gear, I'm not sure I'll whether I'll get out or not. 13 miles the week after that and then the first of my two 20 milers.