Sunday, May 31, 2009
My running buddies wanted to meet Saturday morning at 6:00am at a park about 30 minutes away from where I live. That meant I'd have to be ready and out the door at 5:30 a.m. Which meant I needed to be in bed by 9pm the night before. Getting to bed early was going to be tricky because on Friday night we were babysitting 3 extra kids (one who was actually sleeping over) So it was all business making sure everyone was fed bathed and in bed in time for me to get my running gear together and get myself to bed at a decent hour. Taber was awesome, making sure I carbo loaded amidst the chaos and taking over kictchen duty so I could get to bed. He continued his awesomeness the next morning by watching not only our two girls but two of their friends (ages 3 and 11 months) while I ran. Yeah, that's basically like watching two sets of twins under the age of 3, alone!!! He totally earned the husband of the year award for that stint!!
So anyway, I got a great night of sleep and was out the door at 5:30 to meet with my friends, Jessica, a 6 ft 2 former college basketball player and Rebecca, a 44 year old marathoner who doesn't look a day over 30! It's funny because even though I log a lot of miles these days and can even keep a decent pace it's still hard for me to think of myself as a runner. So I was pretty intimated by these ladies when I first got there and was praying I could keep up with them for 20 miles! As we clipped along at a 9 minute mile pace I actually felt really good and my confidence started building. I don't know if you've ever seen the movie What About Bob when Bill Murray is tied to the mast of a sailboat and he's shouting, "I'm sailing!!! I'm a sailor! I sail!!!" Well anyway, that's how I felt while my feet pounded the pavement between these two ladies, "I'm a runner!! I'm running!!! I RUN!!!" It was kind of a cool moment.
The trail was beautiful with some good little hills and plenty of shade and nice scenery. In the beginning we were all really chatty and took several short stops for stretching and water. As the miles tallied up though the conversation slowed down and our concentration shifted towards putting one foot in front of the other. By mile 16 we were all feeling it. We took one last quick stop and then Jessica said if she stopped again she wouldn't be able to start up again. I knew the same was true for me so I strapped on the fuel belt, turned up the iPod and put my body into auto pilot. I was so glad I wasn't by myself for those last 4 miles. There's something about running in a group that bouys you up and pulls you along. On our last two miles Rebecca got a cramp and fell back. Still I just kept an imaginary rope tethering me to Jessica knowing that I could keep going as long as she was. There was a really steep hill on the course and when we got to the top of it for the last time with just a mile to go I started to smile! Jessica let out a celebratory "Wooo!" and said, "just one mile to go, we've got this!" I knew she was right, and I was celebrating too.
When we finished the loop we actually ended up with 21 miles in 3:15 minutes. That's including all our stops for potty, stretching and drinks. I'm pretty sure we were doing close to a 9 minute mile pace while we ran so if you take 9 minutes off of that then I'm guessing we did our 20 miles in about 3:06 minutes (including stops.) As soon as we stopped running my muslces tightenend up and I had to limp to my car to get my water bottle. It's weird how I can feel really good while I'm running but right when I stop my body freaks out. My lower back and quads hurt the worst (as usual) but my calves were putting up some good complaints and my knees were begging for ice. We stretched out a little then I got back in the car for the 30 minute drive home. I ended up stopping half way there to stretch out and get a smoothie because after your burn 2700 calories in a workout you've gotta replenish right?
When I got home, more stretching, more ice, Aleve, and a big fat Culver's oreo milkshake (what? I earned it!) I wore my knee braces for the rest of the day and took it easy on the stairs but overall I actually feel pretty good. I'm still just kind of in shock that I ran 20 miles! Could I go 6.2 more? Guess I'll have to in three weeks. I think I can though. Every time I do one of these long runs I'm always amazed at what my body can actually do. It's like my quote says at the top of my blog, you can go a lot farther than you think you can't! I'm living proof of that!
Saturday, May 30, 2009
Sunday and Monday I took off because of our Chicago trip and because I've been trying to give my legs extra time to recover to avoid injury. On Tuesday I did a 45 minute Spin class. Probably should've run too but man it was hard this week!
Wednesday I ran 6 miles thanks to my swap with Darci, otherwise don't know if I would've gotten that in. It was a cool day so I was really booking. Finished in 52 minutes.
Thursday my legs were hurting (IT band issues) So I just did an easy 3 miles and then I did an hour of strength training. Friday I took off and today it's 20 miles. yikes.
I hope my slacker week of running doesn't kill me today. I'm going to listen to my body and if I need to stop I'll stop. We'll see how it goes!
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
The only way that knee is going to heal is for him to stop running on it. So, I did a little research, talked to a few of my running friends and came up with a new training schedule that will build strength is his legs and give him plenty of cardio without actually having to run on his knee. He already had a personal trainer design a strength training program for him that would specifically target strengthening his legs and body for the marathon. So now he'll be doing 20 minutes on the elliptical plus his hour strength training program 3 times a week and and hour of cardio on the elliptical and stationary bike 3 times a week. On Saturdays in place of a long run he'll do an hour on the elliptical, 30 minutes on the bike, and 30 minutes walking on the treadmill with a steep incline. If he does this for two weeks he should be able to jump back into our running schedule on the taper down week before the race and if all goes well, we'll be crossing the finish line together.
He tried it out last night and for the first time since his injury he came home sweaty and smiling. He said it was the best workout he'd had in a while and that his knee felt fine the whole time. It was so good to see him back on his game. He even turned to me and said, "We can do this babe, we're going to do this." I know he's right. We may not have any record breaking times, but I feel confident that we're going to be just fine.
Monday, May 25, 2009
It helped that my brother in law is a runner too and is training for his 2nd marathon in October. Since I knew we'd be visiting them over a weekend where I needed to do at least a 16 miler I called in advance and told him to prepare! I didn't give him a lot of time to get ready but even though his most recent long run was 8 miles, he's in such good shape that 17 was no problem. I'm sure it helped that we were doing a nice easy pace of 9:30 minute miles. (He ran his first marathon in 3:40, which is just over an 8:20 minute mile)
Anyway, the run was great! We ran around a nature preserve near their house in the suburbs of Chicago. We did about a 10 mile loop and then ran back in for 3.5 miles and back out to give us 17 miles. There were a lot of people on the trails and it was fun seeing everything from serious runners to joggers, bikers, hikers and walkers. I ran with the fuel belt and we also stashed some water bottles so we had no problem staying hydrated. We faithfully took our gels every hour and even stopped for a potty break after mile 6. The first 10 miles really flew by. The second half of our run had a lot of hills and by the time we were coming back I was feeling it in my quads and calves. At the very end of the course was a pretty decent hill. Nothing too crazy but after running for over 2 hours it looked like Everest to me. Kevin started doing this little "aye aye aye aye!" yelling chant to pump us up. He took the fuel belt to lighten my load and I used my mind to will my tired legs to the top! At first I was mad at him for picking a course with so many hills at the end. But when we finished I have to say it felt so awesome to push so hard and feel like we conquered it!
I can also tell that I'm getting stronger because my legs didn't hurt as bad and my lower back didn't kill (which it usually does after a long run.) Kevin has this neat-o massage stick that we rolled on our quads and I think that helped too. That afternoon we did A LOT of walking in downtown Chicago and by the end of the day I was a lot more sore than I was after the run. Still, I feel like I'm improving and hopefully if I can stay on course and keep doing what I'm doing I'll be ready when it's go time.
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
We are trying to stay positive though this and just really working on getting him better. He's been wearing a knee brace, icing it every few hours and taking Aleve. Next week he'll probably ease into some cross training. Thankfully he has a great base with all the miles he's already put in so I feel like he'll be able to bounce back just fine. Right now the goal is to take care of his body and not worry about anything else.
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
2) I really like running without headphones! I was devastated when I realized I'd left my iPod at home and almost made Taber turn back. He convinced me I'd be better off without them and he was right! It was so awesome to be in tune with everything around me and it was easier to keep a steady pace because I wasn't driven by the different beats of different songs. I still like running with music for training runs but in a race it's awesome to go sans music and just connect with everything happening on the course.
3) Water stops are tricky and take practice. I didn't actually swallow any of the water until the 3rd stop when I realized I needed to slow down.
4) Have ice and ibuprofen on hand for the finish. We definitely needed ours!
And now I leave you with some footage from the race. Please excuse my cheesy faces and commentary. I never really know what to do or say on camera ; ) (Also, you'll see the lovely yellow balloons of our pace leaders that carried me through the race. Pace groups are awesome! I'm now a huge fan!)
In this picture you can see the little yellow balloon that was my guiding light throughout the race. When we first kicked off the pace leaders got a little excited and started running too fast. We were doing around an 8:40 minute mile and I'll admit, I got nervous. I hadn't warmed up very well and I started to wonder if I should've ran with the 2:15 group. After our leader realized his error we pulled back a little and kept to a pretty solid 9 minute mile pace. It was perfect and I really felt good! The race really seemed to fly by and I felt strong the whole time.
The course was pretty diverse. We ran on main roads, neighborhood streets and on trails. Here's Taber heading into one of the prettier sections on the trails. Those were definitely my favorite.
Here's another favorite trail. It wraps around Rice Lake and has such a pretty view. I wish we could've stayed on it longer but with so many people running I'm sure the streets were easier to avoid congestion.
Here are the official results:
1:59:10 time/9:06 minutes per mile/28th out of 80 for my age division/76th out of 315 women/
202nd out of 569 runners total.
Taber: 1:59:03 time/ 9:06 minutes per mile/50th out of 104 for his age division/124th out of 255 Men/ 197th out of 569 runners total.
On Friday night Taber and I got some friends to watch our kids so we could go on a pre-race date. We picked up our packets, hit the Running Room for some last minute gear, bought a new camera that was small enough to carry during the race and fueled up on carbs at Noodles and Company.
Not only did we both order large bowls of the oh so delcious Penne Rosa with Parmesean chicken, but we decided to have them throw in a bowl of mac and cheese just for good measure.
And just in case that wasn't enough, on the morning of the race we woke up at 5:30 a.m. to pack in one last "power meal." My favorite for long runs, peanut butter, jelly and banana on wheat bread. Anyone else have any favorite power foods for their long runs? Please feel free to share!
Thursday, May 14, 2009
So, today I met with a personal trainer who developed a program for me to really strengthen my legs (especially my quads), my lower back, arms, and core. I told her I was a busy mom who can't always get to the gym so she focused on using medicine balls, arm bands, free weights, and other strength building exercises that don't the require use of a machine.
The program she had me do was awesome! It had a lot of simple things like wall sits, planks, lunges, and squats, but just having them organized in pairs and knowing exactly how to do them was great. She also had me do some new things with an exercise ball and free weights that I think are really going to help me. I told her to go easy on me because of our half marathon on Saturday but by the end of our session my arms and legs were shaking. Oh well, if I'm sore tomorrow at least it's a rest day so I can take it easy and recover. I'm pretty pumped about this new routine though and I know that if I do it consistently I'll be a lot stronger and more prepared for those long runs!
I've eaten this salad for lunch for the last 5 days in a row and I don't think I could ever get sick of it. Who knew that the combination of baby spinach and romaine, sliced red onions, strawberries, sunflower seeds, feta cheese and creamy poppyseed dressing could be heaven in a bowl? It also beats my former everyday lunch of frozen pizza. Trying to be better about eating the right fuel for my body. I can tell it makes a difference!
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
The weather was overcast but warm. It had rained earlier in the morning and the trail was still wet and smelled like fresh rain. Some parts were surrounded by thick trees and it totally brought me back to the girls camp days in the mountains in Utah. I passed by a lake and several ponds and saw bunnies, geese, squirrels and a white heron. It was so so beautiful! Taber had the foot sensor so I'm not sure how far I ran. I just went for 50 minutes and called it good. Anyway, I'm excited to have a Wednesday swap with Darci and am glad she lives by such a cool trail!
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
My goal yesterday was to push for speed. 5 miles is a good distance for me because it gives me time to warm up but it’s not too long that I run out of gas. Anyway, I started out a little bit slow but by mile 3 I was running! There were some good hills on my run but I charged up them and didn’t hold back. I’m mad that I wasn’t wearing the Nike Plus sensor because I wish I had a more accurate measurement of my run but according to the clock I finished in 42 minutes. I think that’s around an 8:24 mile. On my cool down walk I felt so awesome! You always hear about the runner’s high, well yesterday I was feeling it. As I walked back to my house I lifted my arms up to the sky and let out a couple victory shouts. I’m sure people in my neighborhood think I’m a nut but man, when you feel that good it’s hard to keep it in!
After my run I hit the shower and then drove over to the gym at Taber’s work for a fitness assessment. I met with one of the personal trainers there and she stuck a heart monitor on me and then put me to work. We did a treadmill test, a flexibility test, then finished with push-ups and sit ups. She also weighed me on this fancy body composition scale and did the good old caliper fat pinching test. I remember having tests like that in high school and HATING them!! And while I still didn’t like the fat pinching the rest of it wasn’t so bad this time around. I’ll find out my results on Thursday and then I’ll do a session with the trainer to work on my weak spots and get a good cross training program down to carry me through the next 6 weeks.
And speaking of cross training, that is what I did today. My knees have yet to recover from Saturday’s long run and with our half marathon this Saturday I really don’t want to overdo it this week. So yeah, I did Debbie Sieber’s Burn it up work out which has great squats, lunges and leg strengthening exercises. Tomorrow I’ll probably run easy and I’ll keep icing my knees and wearing a brace till they feel better.
Sunday, May 10, 2009
2 miles later that awesome feeling went away. 15 miles were behind us but now my quads were starting to burn and my knees! Oh my aching knees! We left the lake trail and headed back towards the streets. We had to stop at a traffic light and when I stopped all my muscles just locked up. I tried to jog in place but the pain was so bad! The light was still red so I tried stretching a little, OWIE!!! When it turned green we starting jogging again and every step felt like torture. My lower back started to ache, my quads were on fire and my knees felt like they were going to give out at any minute. I looked over at Taber to see if he felt the same way but he was just galloping away like a happy horse. That's when I kind of started to panic. With two miles to go I just kind of lost control mentally and started really doubting myself. "I can't do this! I can't do it!" I kept thinking. I started groaning and jabbering my negative thoughts out loud and Taber told me to get my head back in the game and focus.
"I can't do it!"I blurted out on the verge of tears.
"Yes you can, just do what you've done for the last 16 miles, relax your shoulders, find a steady breathing pattern, unclench your fists and put one foot in front of the other."
Taber kept coaching me through, helping me focus and relax and I finally got back into a rhythm. In our Marathon training book it talks about the pain you experience at the end of a long run. The author refers to it as a "friendly pain" HAHA! nice friend! Still, I kept chanting "it's a friendly pain, it's a frienldy pain" Over and over during that last mile to get me through. With about a half a mile to go I started realizing that I was really going to do it. I could see the end in sight and I was going to make it! I picked up the pace and ran hard (well, as hard as I could in my worn down state) till the sensor showed 18 miles and Taber said we had finished!
I gave one big celebratory hoot and then I limped over to the trail to cool down and stretch. Every step hurt, my knees and lower back giving me the most complaints. Still, I coudn't deny the giddy sense of accomplishment I felt for achieving our goal.
I would also like to take this moment to say that Taber is AWESOME and the best running coach in the world. I definitely couldn't have finished without him by my side and I'm so glad he's decided to run with me during the marathon, even though I'm sure it will slow him down. That's true love for you right there! ; )
Lessons learned from our run yesterday:
1) Pacing is huge! When we slowed down for this run it made it so much more do-able.
2) I really need to step up my cross training! I think my knees and back will appreciate it if I cross train more consistently so they won't be tortured so much on these long runs.
3) I have to stay mentally focused. My body can do this, I just need to stay positive and not lose sight of the goal.
4) Taber is the best running partner in the world : )
The icing on the cake was that Taber surprised me by scheduling an hour and 1/2 full body massage that night for my mother's day present! HEAVEN!!! Today I'm really not that sore (except for my knees) and I swear it's because of that massage!
So there you have it. Next week is our half Marathon. I'll keep you posted on how it all goes!
Babysitter for 4 hours: Check! Jacey, my amazing, wonderful, super awesome friend (who will also be running on our Ragnar team this August) Agreed to take the girls for four hours in the morning so we could tackle our 18 miler. We are lucky to have such supportive friends out here!
Route: Check! We decided to run from Jacey's house down to Rice Lake (1 mile and 3/4) and then do three loops around the lake (5 mile loop) and run it back to Jacey's.
Pace and distance tracker: Check! We learned from our last long run, which was 14 miles, that pacing is everything!! We tried to push too hard and I barely made it through the last mile. This time we wanted to keep around a 9 minute 30 second mile pace so we wouldn't run out of gas. Taber wore his trusty Nike Plus iPod foot sensor to keep track of how far and how fast we were going. Thanks to the sensor we made sure we covered the full 18 miles and our average pace was 9 minutes 36 seconds. Not too shabby!
Fuel during the run: check! When you're running for 3 hours straight you burn up a lot of calories! (According to the Nike plus we burned 2,133 during our run) So to replace those calories and keep our energy up we carried Gu energy gels, which are basically little packets of syrup packed with glucose, electrolytes, carbs, etc... We choked a packet of that down every hour and it really kept us going.
Water: Check! Since you don't exactly have water stations on a training run they now sell these lovely little water belts that are a little pricey, but definitely my favorite splurge (besides my shoes) for running. Taber wore the belt loaded with two bottles of powerade and two bottles of water. We also stashed a bottle of powerade on the trail. We ended up drinking every last drop of liquid we brought, (which necesitated a bathroom stop for me at mile 7) but it was great to be able to stay hydrated.
Friday, May 8, 2009
Thursday, May 7, 2009
Teya had her own ideas though. She got super hyper after her bath and it took us forever to get her dressed, brush her teeth and get her settled down. When we tried to get her to go potty one last time she threw a huge tantrum which woke up Brinley and things just got a little chaotic. Anyway, by the time the girls got to bed it was 8:30. By the time I got my running clothes on it was 9 o'clock and dark outside. Since I am a girl and not that good at karate I don't feel comfortable running outside when it's dark so I decided to go to the gym. Lame!
I hate running on the treadmill but that's what I get for procrastinating. I did 5 miles, finished in 44 minutes and 14 seconds. Half way through the first mile I got a pinched nerve in my lower back that never went away. It was a pretty torturous run but I just tried to block out the pain with my mind and get through it. Afterward I limped over to the stretching area and did some yoga stretches and some pilates. That helped the pinched nerve but this is the second time that's happened so I'm thinking about scheduling a visit with the chiropractor. Anyway, tomorrow is just a cross training day so maybe the break from running will help too. We shall see...
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
On Monday when I ran it was kind of cold in the morning so today I wore long running pants, a long sleeved shirt and a headband for my ears. When I walked outside though I had a feeling I was going to regret my outfit. The sun was already shining brightly and it was almost 60 degrees. (That's hot when you live in Minnesota!) I went out anyway and figured it coudn't be that bad.
6 miles again, same hilly run as Monday. Started out slow and started picking up around mile 2. Mile 3 I was feeling good but by Mile 4 I'm getting hot! All I can think about is how hot I am. The sun is right in my face, wish I wore sunscreen. Wish I grabbed Taber's running sunglasses. Wish I wasn't wearing a long sleeved shirt! Hot hot hot. jog jog jog. One foot in front of the other. I need to stop thinking about it and just finish this run. Last mile has some decent hills. Oh mercy this is hard! I finally realize I can at least take off my headband. Ah! what a relief! I pushed it in on the last 1/4 mile. Finished in 50 minutes. Note to self, shorts and a t-shirt next time!
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
Monday, May 4, 2009
When Taber got home we put in Debbie Siebers Slim and 6 pack DVD and did her 11 minute ab routine. I'm definitely gonna be sore tomorrow but if we keep this up then Holy Cow! I might have a defined stomach for the first time in my life!!! We'll see, that could be cool.
Of course last night Teya got up 3 times and Brinley was up twice. I don't think I got more than 2 consecutive hours of sleep. When my alarm went off my arm felt like it weighed 1000 pounds as I tried to lift it towards the snooze button. Before I could hit snooze my brain remembered why my alarm was going off so early. Dang! I have to run! I rolled out of bed (to Taber's great surprise) grabbed my running clothes that I so geniusly laid out the night before and headed into the bathroom to get ready. It took me a good 30 minutes to get ready and really wake up.
Once I got outside though man did it feel good!! The sun was shining, the birds were singing, seriously, they were! 6 miles was on the schedule. I decided to do 3 miles out and back on a hilly trail with a nice steady incline up to the 3rd mile. Monday runs are always pretty good for me, maybe because it's a new week and I'm feeling really motivated. I didn't have my foot sensor on so I don't know my exact pace but I felt like I was booking! I think I finished around 50 minutes.
When I walked in the door Teya was up. She ran to me and said, "Mommy I missed you so much! I was worry about you! Are you all sweaty?" Guess it's not too often that she wakes up and I'm not there. It was nice to get my run done early and not have to worry about it during the day. We'll see if I can keep this up!