Jingle Bell, Here I Come!

November 30, 2007 at 12:56 am | Posted in Racing, running, Socializing | 2 Comments

Yes, I’ve decided to run this Saturday’s race.  I’m giving up on the idea of obtaining a PR or an award; instead, I’m just going out to have a great time at a fun race with my friends.  Sometimes it’s healthy to run a few races just for fun without placing pressure on myself for a PR or a medal.  (Although, last year’s award was a really cute Christmas ornament.  Sure would be nice to have one for my tree!) 

Thanks to all who offered advice regarding my participation in this race.  Believe me, I considered all of your opinions, but ultimately I decided to run this race because I need a little fun in my very hectic life.  The friends I’ve made in my little running community (including you blogger friends) are so wonderful and so much fun.  How could I pass up an opportunity to spend a Saturday morning with such great people doing what I love most?

I hope you get a chance to run a Jingle Bell race in your neck of the woods.  Really, it’s a great way to merrily ring in the season!

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To Race or Not to Race?

November 28, 2007 at 4:08 am | Posted in Racing, running | 4 Comments

One of my favorite races is coming up this Saturday: the Jingle Bell 5k.  I haven’t registered for it yet, and I don’t know if I will.  In fact, I may just take a break from racing for a while. Indecision, indecision.

While I love racing and have met some nice people while racing, I feel like my legs may need a break.  Plus, I don’t feel like getting slaughtered by the fast women in my age group.  I don’t know what to do.

Guess I’ll make a decision by tomorrow.

Training for Week of 11/19/07 – 11/25/07

November 26, 2007 at 7:41 pm | Posted in Post Marathon Recovery, Racing, running, Yoga | Leave a comment

I probably should call this post, “Post Marathon Recovery Runs for the Week of 11/19/07, etc.  Believe me, I’m running very cautiously for the next few weeks.  Also, I made the decision to go back to my FAVORITE yoga place, Breathe Yoga, in Pittsford, NY.  If you are ever in Rochester and you want to go to the very best yoga class ever, take a power vinyasa class at Breathe.  You’ll be amazed at the quality of the workout – talk about total body!

Below are my runs for the week of 11/19/2007 – 11/25/2007 (yoga class included).

Monday, November 19, 2007 – 5.3 mile run at 4:30 am.  45:00, pace = 8:30 per mile.  Nice easy run before work.  Still sore from injury, so I’ll focus on running slower tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007 – 5.3 miles at 3:30 pm, 45:30, pace = 8:35 per mile.  My leg/hip still bothers me.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007 – REST

Thursday, November 22, 2007 – 6.1 miles, 4.4 miles Webster Turkey Trot.  Actually, my GPS registered 4.3 miles for the race which I ran in 34:37.  If you calculate pace for 4.4 miles, mine was 7:49.  For 4.3 miles, my pace was 8:00. Muddy and messy – LOVED IT!

Friday, November 23, 2007 – 5.1 miles with group from Fleet Feet.  Pace – 8:54.  This was a fun run with a large group of local runners.  The course was interesting, and just for giggles, a few of us did a lap of Cobbs Hill (tough!).

Saturday, November 24, 2007 – 8.5 miles in 1:13:23.  Pace = 8:40.  Given that I’ve been sick lately and the temps were quite cold (25 degrees), I opted to run on my treadmill.

YOGA CLASS – Great Workout!

Sunday, November 25, 2007 – REST

Total Miles for the week of 11/19/07 – 11/25/07 = 30.3

Total Miles for 2007 = 1660.75

Running with Thanksgiving

November 21, 2007 at 3:16 am | Posted in Attitude, Gratitude, Racing, running | 1 Comment

Ahhhh, the holidays! Or is it, “Arrgghh! The Holidays!”  While driving home from choir practice tonight I began thinking about all I had to do to prepare for Thanksgiving and Christmas.  I immediately felt queasy and started to itch.  Holidays (especially Christmas) can be expensive, exhausting, and filled with tension and pressure.  That is, if we allow them to be. 

Really, the choice is ours.  Is it more important to stay up late to make one more batch of cookies than it is to get a decent night’s sleep and enjoy a serene winter morning run?  I’ve come to the conclusion that when I take good care of my physical and emotional health, those closest to me benefit from my well-being.  (A happy mom makes for a happy home!)

With Thanksgiving only 2 days away and lots and lots of cooking staring me in the face, I’ve decided to relax and chip away at it bit-by-bit.  I will not sacrifice my run for sake of baking one more pie.  Instead, I’ll go for my early morning run and list all of the people for whom I am thankful. While I run through my list, I’ll think about very specific reasons I am thankful for these individuals.

Fellow blogging running friends, I am so thankful for you.  These past several months I’ve really enjoyed reading your blogs and getting to know you.  Thank you for the concern you’ve shown me throughout my injury, and for all of the kind emails and comments you’ve sent my way.  Truly, I look forward to hearing what you have to say each and every day.

As you prepare to run your local Turkey Trot, may you experience the love and support of a wonderful community of humans who happen to enjoy traveling by foot.  I’ll be cheering you on in Rochester, NY!

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

The Marathon: What This Runner Has Learned

November 17, 2007 at 10:12 pm | Posted in Marathon Suggestions, Reflection | 12 Comments

I am a firm believer in self-reflection.  You know, objectively evaluating your performance, attitude, ability, preparation, etc.  Maybe I overdo it, (I’ve often been told that I over-analyze myself, my relationships, my performance) but I feel that reflecting helps me grow as a person. 

Reflecting on one’s marathon experience is essential, especially if another marathon is in the plan.  After each of my seven marathons, I’ve spent a great deal of time pondering over what I did wrong and what I did right.  This time, I’m considering the ENTIRE marathon experience, which, in my mind, includes training.

  • Training needs to be balanced. You may be scratching your head right now, but don’t worry, I’ll explain what I mean.  When you train for a marathon (especially when you train with a time goal in mind) you must strike the perfect, delicate balance between hard and easy runs.  Let’s face it, the only way you’ll get faster is to practice at a faster rate.  But speed work should be done once a week, not several times per week.  At the height of my training, I was running an “easy” 8 miles one day, followed by 10 miles of speed work the next, followed by another “easy” 8, followed by 10 miles of hill repeats.  Add racing and long runs with the last 7 or 8 miles at goal pace, and you’re looking eye-to-eye with an injury.  (Trust me on this one!)  An easy day should at least a 1 minute per mile slower than your 5k pace and should be no longer than 6 miles.  
  • Running a marathon while injured is STUPID!  That’s right, I said STUPID!!  Worse yet, it’s idiotic.  Lucky for me I’m no worse off than I was when I began the race last week.  But I really took a risk running 26.2 miles with an injury. 
  • The first 5 miles of the marathon should be used as a warm-up.  I’m not suggesting that you run at a 10 minute pace for 5 miles if your goal pace is 8:00 per mile, but I am suggesting (as Tom suggested to me) that you run your first few miles 20 seconds slower than your goal pace.  This allows your body to conserve energy to run the latter miles faster.
  • Have a nourishment plan.  I chose to wear my hydration belt for the marathon and would do this again.  I emptied 6 packs of GU in my GU flask; however, I don’t think I even ate 2 packs.  I simply forgot to eat the stuff!  This was, perhaps, one of the dumbest things I did last Saturday.  A MARATHONER MUST KEEP NOURISHED AND HYDRATED!  In fact, I hardly drank water (I know, you’re shaking your head right now).  What I did do was drink Powerade (it was provided along the course and I carried it in my water bottle).  Thank God I had the good sense to do this otherwise I could have landed in the hospital.
  • Have regularly scheduled walk breaks worked into your plan.  Some folks walk for a short time at each water stop, others walk every 10 minutes.  Whatever your preference, practice this strategy during your 20 mile training runs and don’t veer from it on race day!  (That is, until the final 10k IF you’re feeling up to it.) 
  • Have fun!  This I did right.  (Phew! I can finally give myself a pat on the back!) While running Richmond, I slapped every child’s extended hand, chatted with people I met along the course, studied the scenery, and smiled.  It was wonderful.  In other marathons, I focused so intently on pace, goals, form, etc that I didn’t take time to enjoy the whole experience.  This time I did, and I’m glad I did.
  • Run a marathon with people you know.  Richmond marks the 5th marathon that I ran alone (without friends or family, that is).  Trust me, it’s lonely.  My first marathon I ran with 5 other local runners and we had a ball.  We all traveled together, stayed in the same hotel (separate rooms), carbo loaded together, waited for each other at the finishline, and then drove home together.  There’s nothing like having a support group!  Some folks who work at my local Fleet Feet are talking about taking a van to Virginia in the spring to run the Shamrock.  Count me in!

I’m sure I’m forgetting something here.  If you’d like to add to my list, please do! 

First Run of 2.5 Miles

November 16, 2007 at 1:15 am | Posted in Racing, recovery, Richmond Marathon | 1 Comment

Yesterday I decided to test my sore leg with an easy 2.5 miler.  Please note the stress placed on the word easyIndeed, my ran so easily that I really didn’t break a sweat.  Although my hip flexor is still letting me know it’s injured, I really didn’t feel too bad.  My quads and hamstrings (which normally are very sore after a marathon) felt great.  Nonetheless, I maintained a very slow pace of 9:13 for the short distance.

Next Thursday I’m planning on running the Webster 4.4 mile Turkey Trot along with 800 or more of my closest friends.  Quite certain that I won’t place, I will go out and have fun and talk with a few folks whom I haven’t seen since September.  (Seems hard to believe that I haven’t run a race in Rochester since then!) 

I’ve been thinking about all of the mistakes I made at Richmond as well as what I did right.  Tomorrow, I’ll write about some lessons learned at my 7th marathon. 

Pictures from Richmond

November 14, 2007 at 2:09 am | Posted in Richmond Marathon | 5 Comments

prior-to-richmond.jpg

 November 10, 2007 – Race morning, anxiously waiting to begin!

richmond-mile-20.jpg

Mile 20.  Notice the red streak down the front of my white shirt?  Note to self:  Next time use vaseline or another lubricant on chest where the band of the sports bra lies. 

richmond-finish.jpg

 I DID IT! 

Virginia is for Lovers

November 13, 2007 at 2:04 am | Posted in Gratitude, Richmond Marathon | 6 Comments

Virginia is for lovers.  Lovers of marathon running, that is.  A more beautiful marathon than Richmond I just can’t imagine; I’m so glad I ran this race!

Saturday morning just before the gun went off, I stood in line to use the restroom and struck up a conversation with the woman behind me.  Turns out, it was her first marathon and she was really excited, nervous, anxious to get started.  As we continued to chat, I learned that she and her husband are from my hometown.  Small world!

I’m not the best at recalling every detail of a marathon, but I’ll try.  The first few miles were a straight shot through downtown Richmond and basically flat and filled with cheering fans.  Then, I turned the corner and came face to face with Stonewall Jackson (his statue, that is).  Remarkable!  Much to my delight, the next few miles were run on Monument Avenue which features beautiful, historic homes and wonderful statues (can’t recall all that I saw but Arthur Ashe’s monument was fantastic). 

My favorite section of the Richmond Marathon was between miles 7 – 13.1, the run along the James River.  It’s difficult to capture in words the beauty I witnessed, but I’ll try.  Imagine enormous stone and brick mansions with huge pillar columns set in a backdrop of autumnal greens, oranges, and reds on one side of the road and the river on the other.  Absolutely breathtaking!   (I guess I should mention that this portion of the course features rolling hills, so you really need to pace yourself.)

If I’m honest, I’ll tell you that I positively hated miles 15 to 18.  First of all, approximately 2 miles of this stretch was run across a slick bridge that was a bit of an uphill climb featuring gusty, cold winds and traffic.  It was somewhere during these miles that my injured hip flexor started screaming, too.  My leg actually felt like it could easily have been detached from my hip.  Painful.  Thankfully, a very, very nice man named Ray ran along side me for a few miles chatting and joking the whole time.  Still, I thought of dropping out, but remembered Tom’s encouraging words, “Never, never, never give up!”  Instead of quitting I opted to slow my pace, take some ibuprofen, and trudge along to the finish. 

Before I knew it,  it was mile 20!  The final 10k!  Wow!  I couldn’t believe it!  I was really going to finish this marathon, injured and all!! I smiled, no I beamed.  (At least that’s what one of the volunteers at the 23 mile water stop told me.)  As I slowly pressed on to the finish (my pace had slowed to about 10:00 per mile) I just kept thinking about how lucky I am to be a runner.  At one point (I guess it was mile 24), I started to cry a bit and just kept saying thank you.  Thank you, legs, for carrying through this distance once again.  Thank you, heart, for beating strong.  Thank you, mind, for tricking my body into finishing this course.  Thank you, friends and family, for all of your support and encouragement. 

At mile 25, I knew deep in my soul why I run.  I run because it makes me feel strong emotionally as well as physically.  I run because it brings me peace.  I run because it boosts my self-worth, and while my feet are moving and my body is sweating and my heart is accelerating I feel like a beauty, something I’ve never been.  Once again, I muttered an audible thank you and moved toward the finish.

The final stretch of this marathon was AWESOME!  The finish line was at the corner of 10th and Cary Street, and when I turned onto Cary St. and saw the finishline at the base of the hill and the sea of humanity lining both sides of the street, I started to run with all of my might.  Waving to the crowds as I ran, I let out few shouts for joy.  I DID IT!  I FINISHED!  My time was 4:07:00, not a PR and not a Boston qualifier.  But it was the very best I could do under the circumstances.

My mindset for this marathon was much, much different than any other I’ve ever run.  When I awoke Saturday morning at 5:00 I promised myself that I would run easy and just enjoy the race.  Honestly, that’s exactly what I did. 

I would be lying if I told you that I’m thrilled with my time.  But it’s nothing more than a memory now; there’s nothing I can do to change it.  What I can do, however, is learn from this experience.  The most valuable lesson I learned (I think) is that I MUST listen to my body and throw in more easy days along with the hard ones. 

Countdown: TWO DAYS!!

November 9, 2007 at 2:38 am | Posted in Goals, Gratitude, Richmond Marathon | 5 Comments

Two days remain till I hit the roads at America’s Friendliest Marathon in Richmond, VA!!  This will be my final post until Sunday or Monday as I’m leavin on a jet plane first thing tomorrow morning.

My final thoughts include:

“Ohhh!!! I’m so excited!! Can’t wait to see Richmond!”

“Damn! I’m scared!  Hope my leg will let me finish!”

“I wonder if I’ll make any new friends?”

“Okay.  Focus.  When the going gets tough, remember your 10:1 strategy.  After 10 minutes of running, allow yourself a 1 minute break.”

“Remember to whisper a thank you for the strength to run.”

“Send positive energy to your friends.”

“Never, never, never give up!”

“You can achieve anything into which you put your heart, mind, and soul.”

“Enjoy every step of the journey and SMILE!”

Thank you, BRFs, for your encouragement.  I’ll send a post on Monday. 

Count Down – 3 Days ’til Richmond

November 8, 2007 at 2:58 am | Posted in Attitude, Focus, Marathon training | 1 Comment

YIKES!  Only three days to go until my legs have to run 26.2!  I must begin focusing my mind on the positives.  Prior to my injury, I worked like a beast, completing at least 5 – 19 or longer mile runs.  I ran hill repeat after hill repeat and track workout after track workout.  My body just couldn’t have lost a significant amount of fitness over past 3 to 4 weeks, could it??

My mental focus for today is, “Life’s only limitations are those you set upon yourself, for as long as you strive hard enough anything is achievable.”Chad Williams

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