Sunday, November 23, 2014

Four Things

The latest blog survey going around has you list four things in a series of questions. Of course I am jumping on the bandwagon because, as Bridget Jones would say, "I love quizzes!" I will try to restrain myself to the mandated four things....

Four names that people call me other than my own
Ms. Brice (my law partner, sometimes judges get us mixed up)
Kretchen (this is what my mother used to call both me and my sister, Gretchen

Four jobs that I have had
Summer cleaning crew
Temp worker (receptionist type jobs)
Law Clerk for a judge

Four movies that I have watched more than once
Bridget Jones's Diary
When Harry Met Sally
Sleepless in Seattle
Notting Hill

(Honorable mentions: You've Got Mail, Love Actually, Four Weddings and a Funeral. And I completely omitted Christmas movies; otherwise White Christmas, Holiday Inn, Miracle on 34th Street, and It's a Wonderful Life would top the list!)

Four books I'd recommend (oh there are so many!)
Iron War: Dave Scott, Mark Allen, and the Greatest Race Ever Run by Matt Fitzgerald
White Oleander by Janet Fitch
Moloka'i and Honolulu by Alan Brennert (yes, I snuck in two)
Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden

I restrained myself to only one running book! I have many more I could include. The others are all fiction. Even though my favorite genre is probably memoirs, my most intense reading experiences have been novels.

Four places I have lived
Tacoma, WA (college)
London, England (study abroad)
Washington, DC (internship)
Seattle, WA (law school)

Four places I have been
Five of the Hawaiian islands (Oahu, Maui, Hawaii, Kauai, Moloka'i)
Norway and Denmark

Four places I have run marathons (I added this category)
Boston (Boston Marathon)
Bar Harbor, ME (Mount Desert Island Marathon)
Minneapolis-St. Paul (Twin Cities Marathon)
Hawaii (Honolulu Marathon and Kauai Marathon)

Four places I'd rather be right now
Hawaii (any island)
I can't really come up with anything might be easier if I were doing this at work instead of home! As it is, any other option would require me to go out into the cold and change out of my sweatshirt and yoga pants, so....

Four things I don't eat (This one is hard because I pretty much eat anything and everything, but....)
Lutefisk (this is a Norwegian cod dish, and I just don't like it...but I could eat it if I needed to)
Pumpkin pie (I don't like it, but I made a pie with Kabocha pumpkin, and it's pretty good!)
Tapioca or rice pudding (I think it's a texture thing)
Liver, heart, gizzards (I don't think I like these things, but maybe with the right preparation....)

Four of my favorite foods
Wild Alaskan Salmon
Sweet Potatoes
Raspberries, blackberries, blueberries (possibly tied with watermelon, cantaloupe, honeydew)

Four TV shows I watch
The Middle
The Goldbergs
Modern Family

Pretty much keeping ABC Wednesday night in business--I DVR them and watch throughout the week if I don't watch on Wednesday. I also watch Once Upon a Time on Sunday nights and Hot in Cleveland on DVR (so bummed it's been canceled). And Orange Is the New Black on Netflix (I only watch about one episode a week so I haven't binged through the whole series yet!)

Four things I am looking forward to
Maui trip in January
Vancouver Marathon in May
Going to see Wild, the movie, in December
Three running movies coming out in 2015! McFarland, USA (cross country, big studio, Kevin Costner, opening in February); Tracktown, the Movie (indie film set in Eugene, created by runner Alexi Pappas and her boyfriend/business partner); the Boston Marathon film, a documentary directed by Jon Dunham. Exciting!

Four things I am always saying
"Jeez Louise"
"What?" (People mumble.)
"Grande Americano, light room."

So there you go. A few of my favorite things. What are your four things?

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Ten Years

It's been ten years since my last blog post...not really. It just seems that way. I really fell off blogging, mostly because of computer struggles. My iPad app wasn't working, my laptop at work was dying (finally replaced a few months ago), and uploading photos seemed to get harder and harder. My adult ADD would not tolerate sitting around trying to make things work.

But I did get the new laptop, my iPad is all updated, and I don't know about pictures yet but we'll see how that goes. If I ever write another post after this.

Here's a super quick running update for 2014. I started working with a coach in hopes of regaining some speed (I was really burned out after all the fall marathons on 2013). I made some decent progress in the spring with strong half marathons. Then I ran the North Olympic Discovery Marathon on June 1. I thought I had the potential for improvement over 2013. Turns out I did not. My 2014 time was virtually the same as 2013--actually three minutes slower but I'm giving myself a break because they changed the course so that the first half was quite a bit harder than before. I think my second half might have been faster this year than last. But that hardly matters, my overall performance was basically mediocre (4:31). Still, that was substantially faster than my last three marathons in 2013. And even though the NODM course was harder (I would call it a moderately difficult marathon overall), it is beautiful, and fun, and I would recommend it to anyone. I probably won't run it again because my fate seems pretty much sealed as to time. I wouldn't mind running the half, though. And I'd be happy to take another trip to the Olympic Peninsula.

NODM was on June 1, and I took a week off to recover, then started running again. Then I hurt my knee. I still feel it's ridiculous that I trained for and ran a marathon (not to mention 15 marathons before that) with no problems, and somehow got injured in a minor training run. To try to make a long story short, I tried to keep running after my knee hurt, I probably made it worse, I saw my doctor, a PT, a sports doc, had X-Rays and an MRI, and was tentatively diagnosed with a meniscus tear than was probably more due to wear than traumatic injury.

So for the rest of June and all July, I stopped running. I used the elliptical like it was my job (ask me about elliptical workouts that will kick your butt), started bike riding long distances, went to weekly spin classes, and even went swimming sometimes on weekends when it was hot enough. And did PT exercises, core work, and yoga. (Still, I managed to gain a few pounds over the summer.)

In August I was able to start run-walking. Running was so hard! My legs felt heavy and foreign to me. Eventually it got easier and I was able to run "normally" (though slowly) starting about in September. I'm up to 13 miles and on November 30 I'm doing the Seattle Half. With no expectations. Over the summer I had to miss four half marathons that I had registered and paid for. Two of them I was able to transfer the registration to someone else, but Seattle RnR and Portland were a complete loss.

I am also registered for a marathon in December, but I'm not going. It breaks my heart a little bit (not just because of the money down the drain), but I am not a person who is willing to go just do a marathon when I'm not properly trained. I know lots of people do.

Also, this was supposed to be my big attempt at a long lost marathon PR, after a summer of hard training. That didn't happen (not as far as running goes), and I don't want to ruin my positive, optimistic feelings about CIM being my best chance for a fast marathon. Maybe it will be next year.

This has gotten really long, and I haven't even gotten to the topic from my title. "Ten Years." Ten years ago, November 2004, I was 39.25 years old and I decided to change my life (health and body-wise) by the time I turned 40. I'd actually had it in mind for a while, but (of course) procrastinated until pretty much the last minute. I don't know why this time it worked when it hadn't before, but over the next nine months I lost about a hundred pounds (estimating wildly here), and then after my 40th birthday continued on until I was about 10 pounds less than I am now. By the time I was 40 I was running and walking a lot on the treadmill. I took up outdoor running the following year, and haven't looked back.

How's that for covering my whole topic in one paragraph?

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

And so ends 2013...

Also known as the year I became a slacker blogger! Okay, don't mean to start on a negative note. Maybe my one resolution for 2014 will be to write more!

I can't remember if I made any 2013 resolutions. Basically I just wanted to live my life well, run, be healthy, nothing super exciting. I hope I didn't plan to run faster. Well, I probably did, because I ended 2012 pretty slow. I was both faster and slower in 2013. All of my 2013 marathons were faster than my slowest 2012 marathons, but my fastest 2013 marathon (NODM - 4:28) was slower than my fastest 2012 marathon (Eugene - 4:21). And I'm pretty sure that my average half marathon time was slower this year. Only one under two hours (Heroes' Half), a couple 2:00 (Whidbey, Portland Rock & Roll) and one 2:02 (Mercer Island).

I did set a goal of running 13 half marathons in 2013. I thought that was such a clever idea--turned out it was a thing. Everyone was doing it. In the end I ran 15. So two don't count (I'm counting them as long runs because in each I ran extra miles before and after to make 20-21 miles).

Here are the half marathons of 2013 (the ones that "don't count" are in parentheses):

January 20, 2013 - Maui Oceanfront Half Marathon - 2:09:50
February 27, 2013 - Birch Bay Half Marathon - 2:08:19
March 24, 2013 - Mercer Island Half Marathon - 2:02:12
(March 30, 2013 - Cupcake Run - 2:06:32)
April 14, 2013 - Whidbey Island Half Marathon - 2:00:31
April 28, 2013 - Heroes' Half Marathon - 1:58:37
(May 12, 2013 - Kirkland Half Marathon - 2:06:56)
May 19, 2013 - Portland Rock &Roll Half Marathon - 2:00:10
June 22, 2013 - Seattle Rock & Roll Half Marathon - 2:09:49
July 27, 2013 - Anacortes Art Dash Half Marathon - 2:04:34
August 10, 2013 - Georgetown to Idaho Springs Half Marathon - 2:21:41
September 29, 2013 - Bellingham Bay Half Marathon - 2:10:14
October 13, 2013 - Biggest Loser Half Marathon Seattle - 2:07:59
October 27, 2013 - Snohomish River Run Half Marathon - 2:12:50
December 1, 2013 - Seattle Half Marathon - 2:13:44

I ran four marathons in 2013.

June 2, 2013 - North Olympic Discovery Marathon - 4:28:19
September 1, 2013 - Kauai Marathon (Hawaii) - 5:09:23
October 20, 2013 - Mount Desert Island Marathon (Maine) - 4:53:38
December 8, 2013 - Tucson Marathon (Arizona) - 4:44:05

I did a bunch of 5Ks and 10Ks, one 5-mile, one 12K, two 15Ks, and one 30K. None of them were PRs. I didn't expect them to be. It's all good. (That really should be one of the phrases of 2013 that is retired in 2014!)

My total mileage for the year is something over 1,850 miles. I'm not sure of the exact number because I lost track of a couple runs with my non-functional Garmin. But that's about right.
One of the reasons I have many unfinished posts is that I want to add pictures and it is such a pain (to get them onto the computer, not to upload them into the blog post). I had several pictures to put in here's too much of a pain. So here is one picture to end the year, the finish of the Kauai Marathon. (It may have been slow, but it was sort of awesome!)
I have some plans for 2014...but that will be for another post.

Happy New Year everyone!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Tucson Marathon - Last Marathon of 2013

On Sunday I ran the Tucson Marathon.* Since I finished before noon, I can legitimately say it was morning. The marathon started at 7 a.m. But I was up at 4 a.m. and got on the bus from the hotel to the start before 5. The drive up took about 45 minutes. Luckily we were allowed to stay on the buses as long as we wanted, which was good because it was cold out! Not bitterly cold like at home, or in other parts of the country where marathons were cancelled due to snow and ice, but it certainly felt cold. I heard later that it was around 40 degrees up at the start, but there was a cold wind that certainly brought the "feels like" temperature much lower.

Which leads me to my primary topics--"What Went Well" and "What Could Have Been Better"!

What Went Well

I dressed appropriately for conditions. This was not as easy to accomplish as you would think. Even when I left home I was unsure how the weather would turn out. At one time they were projecting freezing at starting time and upper 50s by the end. As it turned out, it was probably in the lower 40s throughout. I went with capris, a sleeveless NuuMuu dress (with sunblock on my arms in case I got down to that layer), a light half zip over that (which I bought at the Expo, even though I had one with), a zip-up hoody which was supposed to be a throwaway layer, a running cap, gloves, and a warmer fleece jacket which I left in my drop bag. I started with the hood over my hat (the wind was cold) but was fine when the hood blew off after a couple miles. I took my gloves off for an early bathroom stop and carried them the rest of the way. My throwaway stayed on--comfortably--for 23 miles! At that point I took it off and tied it around my waist to save for future use. I pinned my bib on my fuel belt to accommodate changes of layers. My bare arms were never exposed.

My easy pace was good in the early miles. The beginning miles had downhills which I know helped my speed, but it also had some rollers. I was feeling strong then, though, and it didn't hold me back. I don't feel like I went out too fast. Miles 1-10 were all where I wanted them to be, except for mile 4 with a bathroom break, and one might say mile 6 was too fast but it felt okay, and I was catching the 4:30 pacer (a somewhat temporary endeavor). See--9:53, 10:04, 9:51, 12:23, 9:49, 9:12, 9:46, 10:02, 10:14, 10:18 (BTW, 10:18 is the pace for a 4:30 marathon.

Miles 11-17 were acceptable, given some hilly sections of the course and my "banked time" from the early miles. (Although I suppose you could say I had already used up the banked time with the bathroom stop.) Miles 11, 12, and 13 were out and back on Biosphere Road. Out was largely uphill. This was where the 4:30 pacer passed me, on the out. Although he was ahead of pace because I passed 13.1 at under 2:15, yet never caught up (while running, anyway). 10:44, 10:45, 10:24, 10:33, 10:29, 13:20 (another bathroom stop, ugh), 10:33. By the way, I saw the 4:30 pacer for the final time at that 15-mile bathroom stop--he was coming out of the porta potty I went into. Obviously he was off pace at that point. But I assume he is a naturally fast runner and would make up the time and catch up with his group, who were presumably staying dutifully on pace in his absence.

You could say miles 18-19 weren't bad, compared to what happened after that. 10:48 and 10:49. These miles had my first walk breaks, and I still stayed under 11 minutes. At that point.

I used walk breaks pretty well, and didn't get sucked into long walking spells. Which can totally happen. As in Honolulu. (Although in Honolulu at least I only had one, quick, bathroom stop.) Starting in Mile 18, through 24, I allowed myself one 30 or 60 second walk after the mile marker. Obviously I should have stuck with 30, but I succumbed to a little weakness. I also walked briefly in 2-3 aid stations while getting water. Once I combined this with my other walk, but there were a couple supplemental. The walking did slow me down. I honestly don't know what my splits would have been if I'd plugged through without walking. Miles 20-24 - 11:17, 11:09, 11:32, 12:19, 11:19. Miles 23-26.2 was a deviated course due to road work, and there were some evil hills as well as some hills that would have been easy if it wasn't the end of the marathon! I stopped walking after my break at the beginning of 24 but honestly you can't see the difference. Mile 25 was 11:20 and mile 26 was 10:47 (a bit of attempt to finish strong). I did finish strong in the final .42 mile at a 10:14 pace (back to goal pace, haha).

I used a podcast to get through the deadly middle miles from 15-ish to almost 22. I wasn't going to do this because I do think that I run slightly slower with audio than music, but the distraction value was worth the potential few seconds different. Plus, it made music seem fresh and uplifting when I went back to it at mile 22. I listened to The Marathon Show's latest episode, an interview with Gary Allen and Reno Stirrat, both of whom have run many sub-3 marathons. NOT like me. Gary Allen is also the founder of MDI Marathon.

I fueled...okay. I had a Gu around mile 8-9 and another around 13-14. In the upper miles I started to feel nauseous and didn't want Gu. I did have some Gatorade (just a few sips though). Somewhere after mile 20 I dug out another Gu and ate about half over a couple miles. Then I threw it away. I never felt like I hit the wall but obviously I did slow down.

What Could Have Been Better

Bathroom management. Obviously. I don't want to go into TMI details about what didn't happen before the start and what did in the lengthy stops, but although it was necessary at the time it clearly added several minutes to my time. I only went to the porta potty once before the start--I like to go three times. It was just too cold to spend an hour standing in lines. I stayed on the bus as much as I could. In an almost ideal marathon I would have one bathroom stop of about 90 seconds. I calculate these two totaled about five minutes.

Not fading after mile 18 (or 17). Although I slowed after mile 10, things didn't really get semi-ugly until near mile 20. Not unheard of. But I need to work on that. Especially if I plan to have a goal pace next year that's faster than 10:18, or 10:00, or 9:45....

Not walking. Although the walking was not a bad thing, I've run many marathons without walking at all. Why I have I succumbed to the walk?

Fueling better. An ongoing problem for me. Although, I will say that in my faster marathons I don't think I fueled any more than this one. I may have made it through three Gu's once or twice...maybe. Never the four I plan for.

Running through discomfort. Not bathroom discomfort, although there is a line there too between when to hold it and when not to. What I am really talking about is making myself hold on when running feels hard. It's great that mikes 1-10 felt easy at goal pace. Goal pace should feel at least sort of easy for as long as possible. But at some point, it's not going to. Somehow, I've got to get better at sucking it up.

What I'm Not Saying Is the Answer

Just running faster. Obviously that would be nice, but I trained for a 4:30 marathon at 10:18 pace (that would be the pace without bathroom stops), and the important thing is maintaining the range of that pace, not trying to run faster. When it's time to run faster I need to train for that.

In the end, I think it went well (enough).

My fastest marathon this year was NODM at 4:28, and my other two were much slower. Kauai was 5:09 and MDI was 4:53. This one? 4:44:05. This was supposed to be an easier course (and overall it was), with a lot of downhill (and it did have, although much was very gradual), but it was NOT easy and with the changes in the last three miles it was quite challenging. So I'm okay with finishing my last marathon of 2013 as my second fastest of the year.

P.S. I've tried to find some significance in the numbers--4:44-- but I can't. OH WAIT! (Honestly this just occurred to me.) This was my 4th marathon of the year, on the 4th anniversary of my first marathon, and I'm in my 49th year, which if you add the number together numerology style to get a single digit, it is 4. Yes, I had to stretch on that one. The first two came easily. So clearly, I was destined to run 4:44 today.

*Yes, I know I haven't blogged since October 8 (two months!). So many unfinished blog posts. Maybe someday I'll finish writing about Kauai, Mount Desert Island, Honolulu 2012....

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

My thoughts on marathon taper

I've just started a two week taper in anticipation of Mount Desert Marathon, coming up on October 20 in Bar Harbor, Maine. I often read about runners who don't like taper, who find it frustrating and difficult to get through.

That's not me. I embrace the taper! Maybe I'm just lazy and welcome an opportunity to cut back on running. But I don't think that's it. (I am lazy, but in other ways!) I actually do get restless on non-running days, or during the real rest period after the marathon is over. But tapering doesn't bother me.

It's not like you give up running during a taper. Just laying around for two or three weeks would truly be a problem and impact your fitness. Taper includes plenty of running, just in gradually decreasing amounts as the marathon date occurs.

Generally speaking, a taper is two or three weeks long. I actually prefer a three-week taper, even though I'm only doing two weeks this time, and did two weeks before Kauai. This is because my training period between Kauai and MDI was less than two months, so I didn't want to spend a great portion of it in taper. I had three months between NODM and Kauai, but somehow the two-week taper worked better for scheduling then too.

This is what a good three week taper looks like to me. (On non-running days, I generally continue to cross-train on the elliptical.)

Three weeks before the marathon - final long run of 20-22 miles. The week after that long run my weekday runs don't change, typically 6-8 miles three times during the week. If I am doing speed work and tempo runs in the training cycle, I would continue with them as well.

Two weeks before the marathon - long run is 13-16 miles. This is a great time to do a half marathon with a two-mile warm-up. You can either run at faster than marathon pace (there's still plenty of time to recover from a strong half marathon effort, as long as it isn't super hard) or practice running at marathon pace. Again the weekday runs would stay at 6-8 miles, though perhaps trend toward the lower end. I think it's fine to do a little speed work or a tempo run as well. I have been known to do a 5K on a Saturday one week before the marathon, if I am not doing a half that weekend.

One week before the marathon - long run is 8-13 miles. I would likely do 10-12 unless I am running a half marathon. I like to do a half marathon at marathon pace (if I didn't do one the prior weekend).

The final week before the marathon - in this last week it is time to reduce both duration and intensity of runs. I might do six miles on Monday, five on Wednesday, and four on Thursday. (Or, given my propensity to overdo, six, six, five.) If I want to do a little speed work I might do a few 400s on Wednesday (but only if I've been doing speedwork regularly). It is really important not to do anything that might cause lingering soreness or injury at this point. So no hill repeats or barreling down hills too fast. It's not a bad idea to do all your easy runs this week at marathon pace.

I like to take two days off running before a big race. That would mean cross-training (sort of easily) on Friday and real rest on Saturday. I am not one who likes to do a shake-out run the day before the marathon. (However, that might change a little this time around.) On occasion (like in Kauai), I did do my last short run just two days before, and then just have the one rest day. That was more of a travel and scheduling fluke than any plan on my part.

This time around I am doing a two-week taper, but my longest run (20 miles) was actually four weeks before the marathon. On Sunday I did my final long-ish run of 18 miles. The rest of my planned taper schedule looks like this....
  • Monday (yesterday) 6.5 miles at marathon pace (average 10:15, miles 3-6.5 were around 10-minute pace).
  • Tuesday - 53 minutes elliptical (I was short on time) and going to hot yoga tonight.
  • Wednesday - I'll do 6-7 miles at a moderate effort, hopefully averaging 10-10:30 pace. I'm also going to test wear my marathon outfit! That will give me time to wash it and pack before leaving for Maine.
  • Thursday - Planning an hour on the elliptical.
  • Friday - 6-7 miles at moderate effort.
  • Saturday - Yoga (not hot) and some time on the elliptical.
  • Sunday - Biggest Loser Half Marathon at marathon pace effort. What does that mean? Don't try too hard! Historically, I almost always try at least moderately hard in a half marathon (results may vary). I really want to work at a pace that I can sustain for further than 13 miles. Slow as that may be.

Next week I'll do about six miles on Monday, fly to Maine on Tuesday, five or six on Wednesday, and then a few (no more than five) on Thursday. Rest on Friday! The switch-up is that I'm doing a two-mile fun run on Saturday morning, en route to a pre-marathon breakfast. This will be my first stab at a shake-out run! Not something I plan to continue, it just worked out that way. Still plenty of time for rest after that. Hopefully with blueberry pancakes in my tummy.

My 18-mile run on Sunday went really well. I was determined to do 18 miles instead of another 20, because I feel like I recover really well from 18-milers and I didn't want to drag myself down so close to marathon date. After two slower warm-up miles I was running around 10-minute pace through mile 10. Then I slowed to 10:30ish for four miles, and finally finished the last four miles back at 10-minute pace. (Average overall 10:20.) At mile 17 my sister drove by on the way to my parents', so I told her to drive ahead a mile and wait for me. I had over-run the distance at the beginning and it was still an extra mile to my parents' house...and I didn't want to run that last unplanned mile.

Then we went to my parents' and ate lots of good brunch food. The end.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Things I've learned about running over the years

I have a few unfinished posts waiting for me, but I keep getting bogged down in finishing them. So I thought I'd do a little free writing instead. I was sitting here reading a blog where the writer said she wasn't worried any more about trying to run PRs and get faster all the time.

Of course it made me think about how I don't foresee any PRs in my near (or perhaps distant) future, either. I think it's one of the myths people like to believe about running...that if you train regularly and try pretty hard you can keep improving and getting PRs. That's not necessarily true. You can run regularly, and do speed work, and not get laid up with an injury, and really try to run fast in races, and still just keep getting slower. Or get a little faster but not as fast as you once were. It's a roller coaster, really.

Some of the other things I've learned (that were a little surprising to me at the time)....

  • You really have to run more than two or three miles before a run becomes enjoyable. Maybe it's just me, but the first two miles of a run are usually slow, awkward, and not fun. That's why I almost always do warm-up runs before a race. My warm-up distances are one (or two) miles for a half marathon, two miles for a 10K or similar distance, and three miles for a 5K. I don't do warm-ups for a marathon, generally, although I suspect it wouldn't hurt. When I was in high school I ran regularly (for off and on stretches of time), but I never did more than two, occasionally three miles at a time. I never liked running back then. But when I started running five or six miles, the endorphins kicked in, and I found out I really did like to run!

  • Never say never. Any time I have said never again it has come back to bite me. For example...I'll never run over a two hour half marathon again. Um, yeah....I've been under and over more times than I can count. (I definitely do not intend to say I'll never run under a two hour half again!)

  • You can run for about three hours before your body starts to break down. Again, at least for me. This is why 18 miles is my favorite long run distance. (Granted it usually takes more than three hours, but it's in the neighborhood.) I'm not saying that 18 miles or three hours doesn't hurt, but it's fairly easy to recover from.

  • You run a lot slower on trails than on roads. That's normal. But if you run on trails a lot, your legs will adapt to that slower trail pace, and it might be hard to recover your road running pace. I'm sure trails build a lot of fitness in many ways, but they do nothing for speed.

  • It's okay to walk. I'm not a run-walk person, generally speaking. If I'm running, I prefer not to walk (although I will stop as needed) and if I am walking, breaking into a run seems like the most impossible, awkward thing. But I have discovered that a judicious use of walking in some races (and especially in trail runs with a lot of difficult, hilly terrain) is not a bad thing. It's best, in my opinion, to put some structure around it (e.g., walk for a minute every mile), so that you don't end up walking and dread starting to run again (e.g., Honolulu Marathon).

  • You can run faster in a race than in a training run, no matter how hard you try in the training run. I know, everyone already knows that. But it shocked me, in my early days of running 10Ks and half marathons, how I could take off and go faster than I thought I could. Even though that's abated a little bit--after running so many races, the race-day adrenaline is a little weaker--I can still usually find my git-up-and-go and pull out a decent finish time. (I said decent. Not great.)

  • However, when you get to the marathon, most likely your marathon pace is not going to be all that much faster than your long run pace. I know that contradicts most every training recommendation to run your long runs 1-2 minutes slower than goal race pace. And maybe if you are a super fast talented runner that works. But almost invariably I have found that my marathon pace turns out to be only a little faster than my typical long run pace for that training cycle. (And if the marathon gets ugly, it might even be slower.)
And finally, the most important, and shocking thing I've learned in my seven or so years of adult running....
  • You can run 26.2 miles and live to tell the tale. I know, it shocked me too!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

The good and the (really) bad

Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water....

That's actually a non sequitur. There's no swimming here. Or sharks.

How about, just when you thought it was safe to go back out on the roads? That's not quite right either.

But I did feel like my small running-related woes and worries were decreasing. My dodgy Achilles discomfort had subsided to almost unnoticeable. My non-working Garmin sprang back to life on Friday morning, and was still working for my long run on Saturday. Everything was a go.

I headed out for my 20-miler around 8:30 on Saturday morning. I had really intended to go at 8:00, but Book Club on Friday night kept me out until midnight, and what is a Saturday morning for if not being able to stay in bed a little longer than a workday?

The weather Saturday morning was cloudy and comfortable, not too warm, not too cold. I started with a loop through North Everett. August 3 happened to be "The Mother of All Garage Sales," so I had to dodge various crowds of garage salers along the way. Aside from the obstacles, I felt slow and steady for the first six miles.

Then I headed towards Mukilteo. The road to Mukilteo is hilly. Long rolling hills. That's why I love it. Okay, love it might be an exaggeration, but  I did intentionally select the route for hill training. Between the ups and downs, I was still keeping a pretty steady pace between 10:30 and 10:45. I had hoped that I would get to the Mukilteo Ferry at 13 miles, but it wasn't quite far enough so I took a side trip through Mukilteo to add a little extra distance.

I took a bathroom stop at the ferry, and sat on a bench for a few minutes. Then I had to stand and wait for an entire ferry to load up before crossing the street and heading on my way. I was a little sluggish after the long break, and it's all uphill from the ferry out of town, so I was a lot slower starting my trip back than I had been earlier. Actually it took me about five miles before I got back to my original pacing...which would coincide with finishing the final hill by Forest Park before heading back into downtown Everett.

I stopped for my now traditional rainbow pop at around mile 16.5. There is something so refreshing about frozen fruit-flavored sugar water! I had originally thought of doing 21 miles, but due to lack of time I cut it to 20.20. I had also been using MapMyRun without pausing, and it said 20.65 which included some stuff that wasn't on my Garmin. My Garmin pace for the run was 10:50, and my MapMyRun pace (without ever stopping the timer at all) was 13:19. (I seriously thought it would be slower, especially considering the long stop at the ferry!)

Once I got home I had to hustle because Rod and I were meeting my sister, her kids and my parents at the Stanwood Fair. By now the sun had come out and it was a lovely afternoon. The Stanwood Fair is a small town fair with animals, crafts and food displays, carnival rides, and a pretty good selection of food.

I accompanied Hans on the pony ride. His twin Erik didn't want to go, but changed his mind after watching Hans and then Eva. The pony ride is pretty long and it's more work than you would think trotting around in a circle making sure the toddler doesn't slide off!
 Rod and I with Eva and Hans on the carousel.
 Me, Eva, and Rod on the Tilt-a-Whirl, which is a lot scarier than I expected!
I also accompanied Eva through the House of was a narcissist's dream.

Then Eva went on some more of the kiddy rides unaccompanied. She had the wristband for unlimited rides...the rest of us had to buy tickets. Carnival rides aren't cheap.

By 7:00 I was ready to eat, and we dragged Eva away from the giant slide to get some food. Since it was late in the day, things were running out...specifically the turkey legs (which is what I had wanted). I got a brat instead, and corn on the cob. Then we were all tired enough to head home.

I think the walking and activity was good for my legs, because they never got really achy. Sunday I rode 22 miles on my bike (not fast).

Sunday night was when the bad started to happen. Actually it had started a few days ago with a slight sore throat that didn't go away. It never turned into a cold either. But on Sunday the sore throat got much worse, and Sunday night I had to sleep sitting up in a chair because when I was lying down I was having too much pain. Swallowing hurt so badly that I would start choking on my saliva because I didn't want to swallow. I was a mess. (Still, no cold.)

Despite the sore throat, I managed to go out for a moderate 6.25 mile run on Monday morning. I was back on MapMyRun because, guess what, my Garmin had died again. That was minor compared to the misery of my sore throat. I decided I would go to the Group Health Urgent Care after work.

Then, rushing into work, I pulled the building door into my foot and ripped off my big toenail. Well, it didn't detach completely but it was excrutiatingly painful and once the pain subsided (which happened quite quickly) I was gushing blood. I limped into the building and one of the guards helped me to a bathroom and called the detention nurse who bandaged me up. After my court calendar I drove down to Group Health and begged to be seen (for the toe and, while they were at it, the sore throat).

All they did for the toe was re-bandage it. As for the throat, they accepted my self-diagnosis of night-time reflux making my throat sore, and gave me a prescription for an acid-blocking med.

I don't know if that is the real cause, but happily, my throat seemed less painful that afternoon and, while it's still somewhat sore, I can swallow and eat without wanting to die. Obviously I was not cured by the medication (yet) as I just got it, but I'll go through the prescription for three weeks and see what happens. I pray that the sore throat will be all gone by the end of this week.

Because that's when I'm going to be in Colorado. My dad and I are leaving on Thursday for Denver, then Idaho Springs, for the Georgetown to Idaho Springs Half Marathon this weekend. Yes, I know it is possible that I will not be running. I have no idea if my toe will be healed enough to run. Well, I know it won't be healed, but the question is whether I can run without much pain and without injuring myself further. If it doesn't seem like a good idea, then Colorado will be just a trip, not a race. I'm considering doing a test run tomorrow. If I can get my shoe on. Today was a rest day. I have also eaten cookies, cake and candy today, even though it is my least moving day ever!

In addition to everything else, yesterday I booked tickets for Tucson in December, for the Tucson Marathon. And...I got trip insurance. Just in case.