Saturday, March 30, 2013

Making Lemonade?

All I can think of is the saying "When life gives you lemons, make lemonade". That's how I feel about turning today's 20 mile run into a 4 hour walk.

After Tuesday's success I was feeling good leading up to this morning's run. I slept fairly well. Not great but better than I have been and I did not feel tired when I got out of bed at 5:15 a.m. I dressed, ate something and drove over to Pawlings Road to park my car. I was taking off at about 6:25 a.m.

I decided to head 2 miles out and back along Pawlings Rd/Audubon Loop and then go down Pawlings road the other direction to pick up the back end of the River Trail. I felt great until I tried to run. About half a mile in and I was breathing way too hard. I tried slowing down but nothing worked. I walked - got my breath back - and tried to run again. Same thing. I tried for about 2 miles and the same thing kept happening. I even tried using shorter intervals with the gymboss. It didn't help. I kept walking and pouted for the next 5 minutes or so. I contemplated going online and trying to give my marathon bib away. Fortunately I kept walking and saner thoughts prevailed and I resolved to walk for the same time it would have probably taken me to run 20 miles - 4 hours.

I manageed to get to the restrooms at Betzwood at 8 am to meet the group gathering there. I told John T and Caroline B that I would not be running with them afterall and instead headed out to walk with Mary. We did about 4 miles together. It was nice to catch up with and spend time with her. It was a gorgeous day for a walk today. The gang humored me for a shadow picture before we went out.

After leaving Mary at her car I headed out on the River Trail toward Pawlings Rd. I cut off the trail after the 1 mile marker and ended up on the SRT. I followed that up to the parking lot where my car was. I dropped off my gloves and emptied my pockets and headed back out. I decided to explore the PAwlings Road farm. I havent' been over that way for a long time. I explored the farm grounds and the trails between it and the River Trail ending back on the River trail. I kind of made a circle and came back to the car again. In total I walked about 15 miles. Here is the record of 12.75 of it. I had operator issues in the first 2.5. I tried running again after I left Mary. I managed to go a little longer this time but still did not feel good. It felt like I couldn't get enough air.

The downsides to today -
  • I didn't do my 20 mile run.
  • I almost let that make me give up my marathon
  • The breathing issues were scary and frustrating
The upsides to today -
  • I walked about 15 miles in 4 hours
  • My legs feel like they did that but I don't feel beat up
  • I spent quality walking time with a fitness buddy - Mary
  • I met two new fitness buddies - Wendy and Sandra
  • I got to chat briefly with my favorite stalker - David - who's been out since the Philly marathon with knee issues.
My fear is that I gave up on the running too easy. I really don't think so but I find myself second guessing it anyway. I need a nap. I'll feel better after that.

Here are some photos from my tour of the PAwlings Farm.

The house

The Barn

Beautiful Tree

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

8 Miles; 98 minutes 14 seconds

So I went over my planned time limit by 2 minutes and 14 seconds. Here's the thing. At 96 minutes I was 2 tenths shy of 8 miles. What would YOU do? Yeah, I thought so. :)

All in all considering that this is my first run in 17 days it went pretty well. As 4 pm approached today I did have some thoughts of "OH boy I gotta do this" but I never thought not to do it. I went to the Chester Valley Trail which is only a mile or so from where I work. I could have reached out to the group for company but decided it was better to go it alone tonight since I had no idea how it would go.

I tried hard to conentrate on going slow in the beginnning. Keeping my breathing even. It felt really good to be running again and that made it difficult to stay even. In hindsight this would have been a good run for the heart rate monitor. I could have deduced an average easy run HR from my earlier runs and forced myself to slow down or walk when I went over that. I know I went too hard in the early miles as I always tend to do. I was good through the first three miles and then I had to take more frequent walk breaks.

Two mistakes right off where being over dressed and miscalculated hydration. The over dressed part was a tough call. It snowed yesterday and there was ice on my car this morning. And as it was on the second half of the run I was glad to have the extra layers because I felt chilled but that could have been due to the hydration issue.

I hate carrying anything in my hands while running. So I left my water bottle in the car and figured I'd go out 2 miles and back 2 miles and then take some water and do it again. I was feeling good on the way out and decided to see if I could get to three before turning around. Typically I can do 5 or 6 -especially in cooler weather- without needing water. I forgot to figure in this cold which is dehydrating me faster than usual. Brain cramp on my part.

I finished it though and I'm glad of that. I'm not sure about doing it again and then half again on Saturday so I just won't think about it that way. Time to go stretch, hydrate some more and rest.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Now What?

Between periods of sleeping, coughing and blowing my nose this weekend, I've been thinking a lot about "Now what?" I never made it to Saturday's run. There is no doubt that it was the right choice. I could barely manage the stairs without wiping out. Yet, the question of how to adjust my schedule plagued most of my waking moments over the weekend. With no where to go and Dave doing softball most of both Saturday and Sunday I had little to distract me from obsessing about fixing my marathon training. Thank goodness for Temple and Lasalle basketball on Sunday. That helped!

Congrats to both teams, by the way. Temple lost but really gave it a good show. Now it's everyone in Philly behind Lasalle! Go Big Five!

Back to marathon training. See? I've got a maddeningly one track mind until May 26th. I've decided to do as much of my original schedule as I can this week. I plan to go for time or planned miles whichever happens first. Tuesday's schedule calls for 8 miles. At an average 12 minute mile that's 96 minutes so I'll be out for 96 minutes running or walking OR 8 miles whichever comes first. Thursday's runs are always for time anyway and this week it's 30 minutes (instead of the usual 60 because of the planned long long run on Saturday). On Saturday, I'll go for 20 miles or 4 hours whichever comes first. Unless I completely fail at running on Saturday I'll simply pick up the schedule from there and keep going. I'm not sure what ratio of running and walking - or what mileage I achieve - will constitute fail on Saturday. It's going to be a 'how do I feel' thing after the day is done.

Just in case, so that I can concentrate on Saturday's activities and not obsess the whole time about what happens if..... I've also reworked my schedule. In the event that I don't feel accomplished after Saturday I reworked the 20+ milers so that I'll do 20 on 4/6 and 22 on 4/13 and stick to the original schedule after that. If it comes to that then the weekdays in between 4/6 and 4/13 will be minimal running so that I can recover. It won't be easy to do two long Saturdays in a row like that but I don't think it's impossible either especially if I'm careful during the week.

I also removed my week off in May. I will not be running that weekend because I'll be out of town on Thursday eveneing through Saturday evening but I put some of the weekday workouts back in. I don't want to take a chance with getting sick again and missing two weeks of workouts.

Gotta be flexible and I have to keep believing. I still go to bed every night imagining myself running the marathon and crossing the finish line.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Being Sick is Harder Than Training

When I came here to write this I was greeted with  Sunday's post. I laughed because I have not taken one training step since I wrote that.
The cold probably started over the weekend as I remember being very tired but too busy to take stock of what was happening. By Monday evening the cold made its presence known and it’s been a nuisance ever since. It ebbs and flows and today I have a cough. My thoughts over the past few days have see-sawed back and forth between “No big deal. Just get better and get back to running as soon as you can” to “Maybe I should adjust my training and skip the extra 20+ mile runs”. This second thought sends me spiraling into a mood of despair and anxiety.

I’ve done a Google search of every combination of phrases revolving around ‘missed training’ in an attempt to feel better about being sidelined 9 weeks before the race and two weeks before my first 20 mile run. If you are an athlete of any kind, you know you’ve done this (or will) so stop smirking. :) Fortunately, my energy levels are low so my time for searching is limited since I’ve been in bed by 8 or 9 pm every day this week and mostly asleep on the couch before that. My imagination has been helping a lot. I can still see myself running smooth and crossing the finish line in May.

The truth is there ARE 9 weeks until the marathon. If March 23rd were my race day, I’d be tapering now anyway. I wouldn’t be doing nothing that’s true but I would be bringing things down a big notch. And truth be told if I were sick this close to race day I WOULD be doing nothing. I’d have no choice but to have faith in the training thus far and do the best I could on race day. So on Saturday I’ll tackle 15 miles the best way I can. Take it slow and if I have to walk more than I run well that’s just the way it is and perfectly ok. Despite my roots I keep forgetting that. I'll feel a whole lot better when Saturday afternoon is here and I've finished those miles- one way or the other. For now, please pass the Kleenex and my pillow.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Am I Ready for This?

Tomorrow starts the section of my training that will find me running 20, 22 and 24 miles before taking another break the week of April 29th. I have yet to be satisfied with a 20 mile training run and I've never run a 22 or 24 as part of marathon training. Obviously, I've completed those distances in my four previous marathons but only as part of the race not in training.

I'm at the point now where I have to have faith in the training. It hasn't been perfect. I've missed some days. I'm proud that I've completed more days than not and finished some that I might have skipped in previous training cycles. I feel better before, during and after most workouts than I've every felt in any other training cycle. I've said it before and I'll say it again now I think the two keys are a) No excuses and b) the variety in the schedule.

Today I saw this on the wall of a new FB friend Carolyn G. I asked her to send it to me and she did.

What perfect timing. I think the words are true for training and also in life. They go well with Keep Smiling and Keep Moving, don't ya think?

So thank you Carolyn for sharing these words. Carolyn is going to do her FIRST full marathon in Chicago this year (October 13). You can follow her and support her progress on her FB page. Meemaw the Marathoner

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Week 13: March 4 to March 10

Monday - today I get half credit. I did not go to my room after dinner and do any yoga or yayaog. But I did do some work during the day. See I have a goofy secret. On days like today when My time at work is my own - no presentations, meetings etc. I take breaks every hour or so. I go to the rest room and do exercises in the handicap stall. Usually things like squats, lunges or balance yoga poses. Sometimes I'll do pushups against the wall. About 5 minutes or so then I wash my hands and go back to my desk. It's a great little pick me up and doing it in the restroom is easier than explaining to my co- workers why I'm doing squats at my desk. I did that enough times today that I get partial credit for my workout.

Tuesday - great night time run with Maggi, Julius and Amy. I now have run with 4 different people in March. Garmin

Wednesday - Yoga. I almost didn't go. I haven't been feeling well. Monday my sinuses started bothering me. Tuesday I had a sore throat and an earache. Today I have all of the above and I'm exhausted. I went anyway and I'm glad I did but I'm still not feeling great. I'm thinking there is a good chance I will not be running tomorrow.

Thursday - I desperately need sleep. And obviously I did. I slept about 10 hours overnight. It was aided by taking a decongestant but it worked. I need to research some natural sleep remedies. My bouts of insomnia seam to becoming more frequent. This week's bout was fueled by not feeling well too.

Saturday - You can read about my 18 mile tour of the John Heinz Wildlife Refuge here. Some additional notes: I'm pretty sure a lot of my issues at the end were from going too fast at the beginning. Some of it was caused by the health and sleep issues during the week. I do not feel like it was a fueling or electrolyte issue though. That's a big plus.

I am concerned about carrying stuff for the marathon. I won't be wearing a jacket so food and electrolytes must be carried in pockets. My old hydration belt worked great for the 16 mile run but one bag fell off early in today's run. That could be that I should change bags each week or get thicker ones. The bag simply separated from the pin. I'll post a photo of the set up next time.

The hydration pack and the belt combo started to bother me in the last three miles. I'll hold off judgement until after the 20 mile run though. Given my mood at mile 15 today I think discovering a pot of gold would have bothered me. Garmin  According to Garmin I did not go out THAT fast at the beginning. Could have slowed it down some but I went out faster for longer on the 16 mile run two weeks ago and didn't have nearly as much struggle at the end. Going to have to shake this one off and look toward the 20 mile in three weeks.

Sunday It's Sunday morning as I type this. I'm not going to bike ride. This is a shame since it's the best riding day yet. My legs are in pretty good shape after yesterday's run. The only dissenting vote goes to my left hip flexor (the one that caused my trips to the PT this time last year). So today will be a day of careful stretching and flexing and I think I'll take a walk later instead of biking.

Next week is my off week.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Harder than 2 More Miles

Let's start with the positives for today.
  • Running friends rock (not just today of course)
  • Chocolate Milk
  • Beautiful, peaceful wildlife at the end of a hard run
  • Finishing 18 miles
And now let me get the "not positives" out of the way. It was harder to finish 18 miles than 16. Much more than I expected for only 2 additional miles. Two weeks ago I never doubted during the run that I would finish 16. I was super glad it was over when it was but I knew I would. My mental focus faltered a few times but only in a minor way.

Today, I lost focus at 13. I had a terrible time trying to get back into it. I couldn't find an easy rhythm of running. I could chalk some of that up to the terrain which switched back and forth between mud path to big rock gravel but that can't be all of it. At mile 16 I was berating myself for even thinking I could do another marathon. I had to do some serious talk to get out of that funk. After 15 I broke my intervals into half miles at a time. I finished mile 17 as whole though.

At 18, I pushed the button on the watched, stopped running, looked to my left and saw this -

This photo is blurry but s/he was beautiful
and so peaceful standing there in the water
And with that I started to come back to the reality that I had finished and that's what matters most.
Back up with me to the beginning of my run...actually earlier in the week. I decided to run at the John Heinz Wildlife Refuge. I could piece together 2-9 mile loops there. Maggi told me earlier in the week that she and Russ were going to meet me for the second loop. YAY! . This morning I got a message from Julius that he would meet me for the second loop. YAY again!
At 8 AM Julius and I took off. We made a few 'wrong' turns as you will see on the map of this run. There a few loop-de-loops. Julius was a great partner for the first loop. We more or less ran 1 mile and 1 minute walks. I don't think he was really up to 9 miles but he stuck it out with me and for that I am so grateful. My friends are the awesomest.
We arrived back at the parking lot with 2 minutes to spare. I unloaded my gloves and jacket in the car and took off with Maggi and Russ. By the way, Russ is the 5th person I've run with this month. 25 to go! Maggi and Russ and I had a very pleasant run at 3 min run/1 minute walk intervals for the next 3 miles. That's when they were smart and turned back so they could keep their total at a reasonable 6.
I continued on and finished my 18 miles as I told you above. At 16.5 I turned around and went a half mile in the opposite direction before turning around and heading back to the visitor center. I wasn't sure exactly how far I was from the parking lot but I remember that Julius and I were actually short of 9 miles on the first loop. I did not want to get back to the care with mileage undone. So I had about a quarter mile walk back to the car after I hit 18. And that allowed me to see the Egret.
I arrived at the parking, tired, drained a still a bit sad about the finish. Then I see Maggi and Russ! They waited for me. AND they got me chocolate milk. My mood took a 180 degree turn!! I told you my friends are the awesome awesomest.
18 done. In three weeks 20 miles. Stay tuned.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Week 12; February 25 - March 3

Monday - I did 35 minutes yoga followed by 10 good form pushups knees bent.

Tuesday - 8 miles! This is now my longest weeknight run! I ran 4 miles on my own then joined Julius and Maggi for another 4. I feel pretty good. We got hit with some sleet off and on but managed to finish before the steady rains. My left calf is still misbehaving though. It's an inconsistent pain. It 's not getting worse but I'm not sure if it's better or I just wish it was. More stretching. Garmin

Wednesday - Yoga started again today. 45 minutes and I feel great.

Thursday - I ended up about 30 seconds short of 1 hour. Ran 15 minutes on my own  (Garmin) and then 4 miles with Julius. (Garmin) Looking forward to DST when we won't need headlamps.

Saturday -  I had a fun drop back week.  You can read about it here. Garmin

Sunday - I had a rather unsatisfactory bike ride this morning unless I count that I got outside instead of on the trainer at least. You can read about it here. Garmin

Halfway to Bob Potts now! :)

Battle of Wills

Today's ride turned into a battle between my rational self (RS) and my irrational self (IS). The wind and hills added fuel to the argument. Here's the gist of it as I struggled to comlete 7.5 miles on the bike. You need to know that my irrational self goes back and forth betweeen "What were you thinking, you are never going to make it" to "Failure is not an option, ya big baby"

RS - It's colder than I thought. My face hurts. Keep going if you still feel uncomfortable after one loop around the neighborhood you can go home. But I really want to get some outdoor minutes so I hope that doesn't happen.

RS - (after leaving the neighborhood and heading out on 252 toward the Springton Reservoir). Man this wind is rough. I feel like I'm hardly moving and I haven't even hit the hills yet.
IS - You can't use the wind as an excuse. Suck it up.

RS - (about 4 miles in). These hills with the wind are killing me. I need to ride outdoors more and get stronger. The century ride course will be much flatter so if I can work through the hills of Media I'll be in good shape.
IS - You really should go out and drive the century course. Maybe it's hillier than you think. Maybe you should reconsider doing the century ride.

RS - I'm starving and lacking energy even on the flats. It can't all be the wind. (Start thinking about what I've eaten today). Breakfast at 8 but then you caught up with Dave and the news and then did your taxes. It was three hours later before you headed out here. Maybe you should have had something else to eat before the ride.
IS - That's just another excuse. You just aren't cut out for this biking thing.

RS - Shut up. I've got plenty of time. I need to keep riding as much as my marathon training allows. Give myself a chance to get used to riding longer. When Bob Potts is over I'm switching my emphasis to bike miles and I'll have 4 months until the ride. I can do this. I have to be patient.
IS - Are you sure? (evil laugh)
RS - No, of course I'm not. But it makes sense that I'll have a lot of rough days until I get used to riding and less rough days as I get further into the schedule. I've been through this with running. I just have to be patient.

RS - Now that yoga is at 5:30 on Wednesdays and daylight savings time starts in another week, Maybe I'll be able to put in some easy miles on the bike after yoga. Two days a week on the bike will give me more confidence and shouldn't hurt my marathon training.

RS wins this round. Some days it's more of a struggle than others. Keep smiling and keep moving, right?

Saturday, March 2, 2013

2 out of 30

I have challenged myself to run, walk or bike at least 1 mile with 30 different people in our fitness group, Perkis People. Today I ran with Caroline B and Maggi. I have 28 more to go.

Now in the interest of full disclosure I must tell you that I completed just 6.77 of my planned 8 miles today. I'm ok with it though. I feel fantastic. I'm halfway through my training program (week 12 out of 24 finishes tomorrow) and I feel strong and ready to tackle anything. One day at time but ready nonetheless. I stopped today because I felt like it. We had been out and back to the parking lot twice from different directions and I was not in the mood to go over the same ground again. To avoid that I was going to climb Mt. Misery and that was not going to happen. After Potts, though, I'm determined to earn my shoelaces  with the trail group.

Nothing hurt, I wasn't drained. I felt like I could have done twice the distance today. Truly after Tuesday's 8 miler I felt like I turned the corner. It's not all downhill from here - not with 18, 20, 22 and 24 mile runs left to do - but I am not dreading them either. I think I said this before but the variety in my training has been a huge factor. The alternating days of cross training and running have kept me moving and stretching and excercising without wearing out my legs or my mind. I can run 8 miles on a Tuesday because the next day I get to do yoga!

Today we met at Knox Headquarters in Valley Forge Park. Caroline and Maggi and I ran out the Valley Creek Trail to Washington's Headquarters then up the long hill to the Von Steuban turn on the loop and followed the loop in reverse (of our usual) down to to 252 and back to the parking lot. Caroline and I went out again on the Valley Creek trail and back for our total. (Map of VF Trails) It's the light blue trail that starts in the lower left of the map then the dark blue trail back to parking lot.

February totals: 80.46 feet miles 207.12 feet miles since starting Potts Training December 15.
In February I spent 480 minutes on the trainer for my bike time. Hopefully I'll start my March bike time outdoors.