Marathon Countdown: 23 Days

Training for my first marathon has surprised me in so many ways.  This past week has just been a complete roller coaster of emotions.  I’m starting to obsess over this race.  I’ve planned for races before. I’ve looked forward to them, but I’ve never obsessed quite like this.  I think I’m probably driving my family bonkers with my constant running chatter.

Last weekend I ran my first 22 miler.  I ran it in the evening after traveling all day to get home from (an awesome!) visit with my little sister and her new baby in NC.   It was just a really long way to run after an already full day.  It took me over 4 and a half hours which just felt like a long time.  I did feel very strong at the 16 mile mark which is usually my “yikes, this is really hard!” mileage.IMG_3133

At this point I have no doubt in my ability to run this race.  I feel completely confident I can run it.  Which feels pretty darn good!

But I don’t want to.

What!?  I’m just really sick of running at this point.  I don’t want to do it.  I don’t like doing it.  I want to do other things for exercise.  I used to take lots of classes at the gym.  I used to cycle.  I used to jump rope.  I used to do HIIT and tabata and kick boxing and weight lifting and paddle boarding.

And now I run.  I run a lot (for me anyway).  And I’m tired of it.

But marathons are hard right?  There are supposed to be moments that aren’t super fun and rainbow sparkles with sunshine!

I think the problem may be that I’m doing a lot of running and not a lot of racing lately.  I am so close to this thing I really want to see it through.  I don’t want to be this close and say “yeah, I almost ran a marathon and then didn’t”.  I’ve already been there and done that.  So I need to figure this thing out and learn to like running again.

As it turns out, I actually do have a race tomorrow morning and I’m hoping that will jump start my love of running, racing and training again.  Because I am going to run this marathon.

It would be nice if I didn’t hate the next 23 days of preparing for it. 🙂

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Big Milestone – The 20 Miler!

So excited and relieved to have been able to run this distance today!  Feeling more excited about and committed to my training than ever this week.  No long blog post today but here is a short video recap of today’s marathon training run.

The Super Soggy Sixteen Miler

What’s fun about running 16 miles when the first five are through a cold rain?  You might think not much but when we look for it, we can find the sunshine in just about anything.  Even what I’m calling the Super Soggy Sixteen Miler.

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Wet and rainy view from this Saturday’s long run.

I spent most of last week not allowing myself to recall past difficult 16 milers (see Race Recap: Zumbro 17 Mile Trail Race and Marathon Training is Hard).  Or the fact that I’ve had issues spring up including “the injury” and now this pneumonia right around the 16 mile training run.  It would have been very easy to allow myself to start thinking some really negative thoughts such as “I’m not meant to do this”, “the universe doesn’t want me to do this”, “my body’s not cut out to be a marathoner”, etc.  Every time I would start to think those things I would purposely stop myself and remember that it’s just about a half marathon followed by a 5K.  Piece of cake right?IMG_3003

The first few miles were cloudy with mist.  Not lovely but not bad either.  And then at about mile 3 the heavens opened up and the real rain came out until about mile 5.  Two miles of rain is enough to get seriously wet.  I felt like a swamp monster for the remaining 11 miles.  But that was IT!  That was really the only problem with this run.  Just the sheer discomfort of running in wet clothes.  No injuries, and I finished the planned distance.  My feet were a little more raw than they might have been from the wet shoes but I’m hoping that will turn into better callouses.  (A girl can dream right?)

On to 18 or 20 and beyond from here.  It’s about to get fun.  Trying to find new routes and ways to keep it interesting.  Look out Delaware Marathon.  I have 6 weeks.  And I’m coming for you.

 

Race Recap: Rock n’ Roll New Orleans

It finally happened!  I ran my first race after injury recovery.  This was also the first race I’ve ever traveled to via plane.  Here’s a breakdown of the weekend’s events and the race itself.

Friday
I took Friday off of work.  I woke up and ran, dropped my husband Luan off at work, came back home, ran again (had to catch up on the Fitbit challenge!) to total 4 miles.  Showered and finished packing.  I’d had a sore throat for the past couple days and continued chugging airborne every chance I got.  Tara got to my place right on time.  We loaded her stuff into my car and went to pick up Luan so he could take us to the airport.  Check in was a breeze (we used the super secret extra checkpoint with virtually no line for security clearance) and had a leisurely lunch before boarding our direct flight to New Orleans.  Once there we checked in at our gorgeously historic hotel (so pretty, we lucked out!) and had lunch with some friends from one of our running groups online.

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Our Hotel: Le Pavillon

Saturday
On Saturday we slept in a bit and had lunch at the Ruby Slipper.

The food was amazing!  After breakfast we picked up tickets to the city bus tour and rode that to the race expo.  After picking up our packets, gels, and a few other unnecessary items we got back on the bus.  We were especially excited to visit one of New Orleans creepy cemeteries.  At least I think they’re extra creepy since the dead are kept in tombs instead of underground.  On our way we went to stop at a restaurant for lunch.  Turns out it was only the 4th day this place was open and the service was extra slow.  We wound up waiting an hour for salads before leaving with only mimosas in our tummies.

After touring the graveyard we got back on the tour bus and enjoyed a tour of the rest of the city before returning to our hotel.  We had Mexican food for dinner at Juan’s Flying Burrito – yum!  IMG_2861.JPG

Sunday/Race Day
I didn’t sleep well the night before the race.  Big mistake but what can you do?  I was a giant bundle of nerves and just extremely excited for the race the next day.  I was still nerves and anxious energy in the morning and didn’t have an appetite so breakfast was not what I was used to.  My usual giant bowl of oatmeal or bagel was substituted by a cereal bar.  We then went down to the start which was only a couple of blocks from our hotel.  So completely convenient!  I’m used to spending 30-45 minutes driving around trying to find parking and walking to the start so this was really amazing.

I’m not sure how many people ran but it was a very popular race.  We were back in Corral 22 and waited maybe 45 minutes to an hour after the gun to start.  As I was waiting it hit me.  I was starving.  Bummer.  With only 3 gels I knew this was going to be a challenge.

Mile 1-3: I was just so happy to be racing!  I kept an eye on my Garmin to make sure I wasn’t going out too fast.  I new I wanted my pace those first few miles to be at about an 11:30 minute mile.  By mile 3 my stomach couldn’t take it anymore and I popped the first gel which I wouldn’t usually use until mile 4.

Mile 4-8: The next few miles I just really did my best to keep my pace and not slow down too much.  At this point I knew the lack of fuel was going to turn into a real problem sooner than later.  My left foot also started to get numb around 5, which I was actually really freaked out about. Usually when that starts I can’t get it to go away but it was gone by mile 8 (small victories!).  Wound up using the second gel at mile 7 (again, ahead of schedule).

Mile 9-11: Used the 3rd gel and just tried to hack it as best I could.  They had a different kind of nutrition I’d never heard of before but I didn’t know if something new would be better or worse than nothing.  The heat started to mess with me at this point a bit too.

Mile 11-13: I had been looking forward to these last few miles of the race and had hoped I’d be able to pick up the pace.  I was just completely exhausted.  Started taking a couple really short walk breaks here and there but just slowed overall.

Mile 13-13.1: I finished!  I can’t explain how happy I was. I was tired, spent, starving, nauseous but no joints or ligaments or tendons were hurt and I was done. 🙂

Moments after finishing I started feeling really ill.  All the cold/flu symptoms I had been fighting just hit me all at once like a ton of bricks.  I took a few minutes to just sit and waited for Tara to finish.  After the race we were both ready to call it a day and head back to the hotel for some serious R & R after the Rock ‘n Roll.  A few hours of sleeping and cheesy movies later and we were ready to check out Bourbon Street.

Bourbon Street was (I think?) relatively peaceful on the evening we were there.  It was Sunday night and there were people milling around with a party atmosphere but nothing ridiculous.  This was my first time to New Orleans but my assumption is also that most of the crazy was probably going on a few weeks earlier during Mardi Gras.

And just as we were settling in for a quiet balcony dinner, there was a parade!  A parade!  On Sunday night!  Totally random but we really enjoyed it.  It almost felt like celebration for finishing the race. 🙂  And maybe it was.IMG_2896.JPG

 

Is Treadmill Season Over Yet?

I cannot tell you how completely excited I am for Spring. It’s been a relatively mild winter for Minnesota but it has been cold enough and icy enough to keep me inside and on the treadmill throughout the majority of my training runs. I need to get outside soon for pure peace of mind if nothing else. 🙂

The half marathon I’ve been training for (RnR New Orleans) is now less than 2 weeks away! I am so completely psyched to get out and race again. It’s been over 6 months! I have also never actually trained for a half marathon before so I’m excited to see how the training will affect how I feel during and after this race. I am not aiming for a PR this time considering the injury recovery but I would really like to finish pain-free and happy. 🙂

Let’s Try this Marathon Thing One More Time

When I decided not to run what would have been my first marathon in October 2015, I more or less dropped this blog too.  Grad school and a promotion at work consumed my life and I focused on those things and recovery.  But now I’m back and feel like I have something to write about again!

I’m registered for the Delaware marathon on May 8th.  I am very excited for this race and am trying to do everything completely by the book this time as possible.  I’m running my miles to the very best of my ability, working with a coach, watching what I eat, and this week even started adding back in strength and cross training.  It’s actually feeling like it can happen this time!  I’m especially excited for what will be the first race post injury: Rock and Roll New Orleans half marathon.  My only goal for this race is to genuinely have a good time and not hurt myself.  I think it’s a reasonable goal. 🙂

 

Updates: Running Vegan?

If you could think of the worst time of the year to give up meat, what would it be?  Early summer before all of the cook outs?  What about before an annual fish fry?  Or…How about a couple weeks before Thanksgiving?  Well, that’s what I’ve done.  And actually, it’s not awful.

A few weeks ago I started watching a few YouTube videos and found myself watching Gary Yourofsky’s “Best Speech Ever”.  I heard him talk.  Cried for half an hour and decided I couldn’t eat animal products.  Then I cried for another half an hour when I realized we hadn’t had dinner yet and I had no idea what to make.  I was internally freaking out.

I declared it a “snacking” dinner.  We just got a bunch of small things and called it good.  I think had a bagel and some grapes.  Not an awesome meal, but I realized there are things available that really don’t include meat or animal products.

The next day I dug in with research.  I watch lots of YouTube “what I eat in a day vegan” videos, read blogs, poured through recipes.  I went to the store and came home with a trunk load of vegetables, some Earth Balance (amazing vegan butter substitute), bread and pitas.  I joined a couple Facebook support groups, listened to podcasts and found some helpful iPhone apps.  I tried some new recipes, then some others.  I started to experiment with tofu, tempeh, vegan cheeses, agave, and nutritional yeast (or “nooch” as the cool kids call it).

I started to feel absolutely incredible.  My face started to noticeably clear up almost immediately.  I lost a little bit of weight.  My running didn’t suffer at all.

I’m not ready to commit to this for life, but right now life is pretty good.

Now I just need to survive Turkey Day. 🙂  I’ll keep you posted.