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.