09/23/09

Just got back from a tempo run. Schedule called for: Distance – 5 miles – warm (1 miles), 3 miles at 10:00 pace, then 1 mile cooldown. Things went well. I did a bit better than goal — my splits were: 9:50, 10:00 and 9:20 (with walk breaks and no pause on the Garmin) for a total of 29:11 with an average pace of 9:44. During the cooldown, I hit a stretch of road with no sidewalks. It was dark. It was full of goathead thorns!!!!! UGH! I had no choice but to run through them. By the time I found a parking lot to check the damage — it felt like I was walking on high heels. I swear to you, there were over 100 stinking thorns in my shoes!  It took me no less than 10 minutes to pull them all out (I know since I still had the Garmin on. ) Anyways…it was pitch black by the time I finished up the run and made it home to stretch.

You know what… I just thought of something I forgot to mention about my 13.1 run with my buddy B. We saw a pair of raccoons that day!!! Honest! One was two feet from me peeking out from the trees! It was SO CUTE! I can’t believe I forgot to share that. It was pretty darn cool. I also probably forgot to mention that night B and I sat in the river as usual — and it was PITCH BLACK out! What an eerie feeling it was sitting in the chilly water with darkness all around. Since it was so late we only stayed about 5 minutes compared to our usual 20.

Back to tonight’s run….. my head is still all screwed up about this upcoming race! WHY can’t my thinking just chill out? I wish my brain had chosen a better time than NOW to start being competitive because it’s killing my joy! I am such a snappy, crabby, little grumpisaurous right now! I hate this! I can’t wait to just get out there and start running. I hope my common sense will return once the gun goes off. I think somewhere between this moment and that one I need to make peace with the fact that my first marathon time is likely not going to set any major Christie records.  If I can just accept the fact that it’s ok to be a slow runner — I’ll be fine. If I can just get over the fear of embarassment if it takes me 5 1/2 hours to do this — I’ll go back to myself. Someone tell me it’s totally OK to be slow and steady and that there will be oodles of other races to do down the road where I can gradually improve my overall pace.

09/21/09

I think the combination of getting a proper night’s sleep last night (without the aid of my herbal supplement, which I think may have been partly to blame for my extreme exhaustion this week), getting plenty more carbs in my diet the past couple of days and a really good easy run tonight has put me in a much better mood. 

So, tonight’s recovery run was only 2 miles (I swear it feels WEIRD to run that short of a distance after everything else the schedule has asked me to do the past few months.)  I admit to adding one more mile — but I walked it as I kept reminding myself “Trust the training! Don’t mess this up so close to the end!”
So, 2.01 miles – 21:45, ave pace – 10:51. It was so much harder than I thought it should be to go slow tonight! I kept having to remind myself to slow down since my legs and body actually felt GREAT tonight again! I kept telling myself “Save it for the race!” There was a slight chill in the air tonight — and it was heavenly.  I’m really, really glad I had a good experience after my bad one on Saturday evening! I think mentally and emotionally — I needed another “good” run to cancel out the bad one! Back to normal now! Whew!

13 sleeps until Marathon Day!!!!!!!!!!!! It’s getting close! 

My running pal, B, showed me the craziest thing online today! My race takes professional photos along the course and last year B and my old running pal, D both ran the 1/2 marathon of this same race. B sent me a link to some photos of her in the race passing this pretty girl in blue — MY OTHER PARTNER!  I had noticed their race times were both 2:11 a couple of weeks ago when looking at the results –but neither gal has ever met the other. So this series of photos has been such a fun treat to see today! Two of my best buddies RACING each other to the finish line — without a clue to their common link to me! Funny, huh?  I can’t wait to introduce them to each other on Marathon day. It should be a fun 26.2 miles with those gals along!

09/21/09

Symptoms and Treatment of Taper Madness

by Amy Hunold-VanGundy in Training and Racing
September 9, 2008
‘Tis the season. There is a wicked strain of Taper Madness sweeping across the world. Since fall is the prime racing season for so many runners, you can’t trip over your own shadow without falling into a runner with a full case of delirium and the shakes from Taper Madness.
Taper Madness is real. Don’t let your doctor tell you any different. It isn’t a figment of your imagination – it strikes all runners who attempt to take their training down a notch a week or so before the big race. It is a necessary evil that runners live in order to arrive at the starting line with legs that have a bit more spring in the step instead of feeling beat to hell. But the contrary nature of the taper is what you gain back in physical rejuvination you lose in mental reasoning capacity. The term “madness” wasn’t happened upon. It is a full and complete description of the feeling a runner gets as they anxiously await for the race. Their thoughts race – most times in circles of repetition. They sense and feel aches and pains of the tiniest amount and then worry them to the greatest extreme. All their conscious waking moments are consumed with preparing and running their long awaited event.
But there is a bright side to your condition – it is entirely temporary, 100% reversable and completely harmless to your long life. But the symptoms can be confused with other more serious conditions, such as truly losing your mind, life ending not yet discovered diseases, and obsessive compulsive disorders that need to be treated.
To help you decide if you need to ride it out versus see a specialist, here are some of the common symptoms of Taper Madness:

  • Out of Control Phobia of Germs. You have converted your hydration belt, cell phone holder, purse or other items on your person into hand santizer and Lysol toting equipment. You find yourself spraying down desks, keyboards, phones, bathrooms, and even your loved ones to keep them 99.9% germ free. You easily move out of the way of handshakes and hugs of most people – even the ones you live with now. Your children and spouse are instructed to stay within arms length and even blowing kisses down wind are prohibited. Even if you have never been a self proclaimed germ phobe before your taper, you find that your eye sight is accurate enough to now see possible viral and bacterial infection lurking around every public surface. No infection, flu, or cold will stand between you and the starting line.
  • Self Proclaimed Expert Meterologist. Through your running training, you rarely studied weather except to decide how much sunscreen to wear. You withstood all temperatures, wind gusts, precipitation – hell even a tornado and hurricane. But now with weeks to go, you have your email, Twitter, IM and cell phone set up to provide up to the minute reports on the 3, 5, 7, and 14 day forecast for race day. You have enacted a “no talking” zone during nightly weather and find yourself switching to the Weather Channel ten times a day. Some runners will even go so far to try to strike up a relationship with the local meterologist to get the inside scoop. And others will channel ancient forecasting methods to forecast the weather themselves using moon position, clouds and the path of birds.
  • You can’t get enough of the details. The race website you glanced at a few times before signing up you now visit regularly in the lsat few weeks. You have a minute by minute schedule mapped out for the days before the event through the starting gun. You have studied the maps to figure out bathrooms, parking, meeting spots, and more. You have doubled checked your confirmation number, hotel reservation, and your bib number. Every other day of the year you let the little things go but for a few weeks each year, the details are everything.
  • You wonder if you are losing your mind. In the same hour you think to yourself, “I can!” “I can’t possibly..” “I will!” “What the heck was I thinking…” “I can’t wait!” “Am I really ready?” “I am going to rock that race!” “What if I am last?” “I can’t wait to cross the finish line!” “What if I don’t finish?” “My training has gone so well.” “I should have pushed harder on the miles in the middle…”. You flip flop between positive energy and mental anguish in the blink of an eye. Every other month of the year you are a rational, logical human being capable of dealing with complex emotions. But for these few weeks, you can’t seem to get seem to talk sense into yourself.
  • You see people talking and hear words, but you really don’t care what they are saying. And that’s not like you. Most times, you try to pay attention in those boring meetings. You can usually remember what your better half told you last night. You can even stay lucid in a conversation with your kids about video games and cartoons. But not during Taper Madness. Not a chance. You hear people talking. You see their lips moving but you can’t focus on the message and you really don’t care. During Taper Madness you would you really like to stand up and scream, “Can we talk about what I want to talk about….MY [FILL IN RACE}?!?!?”
  • Your race gear achieves high status. Instead of being throw on the floor, in the laundry or stuffed in a bag, your chosen race gear is clean, folded and perched on a shelf, chair or other place of high honor a few days/weeks before the event. Family members are instructed not to touch it, move it or refold it. It has a purpose.
  • Excursions require safety reviews. Someone casually mentions going out for a meal, drink, shopping, whatever, and you do a mental scan of the route, the establishment, and company before deciding if it is worth the risk of a sprained ankle, chance of eating the wrong food, or picking up a stray germ.
  • You think about the race – ALOT. When you get up you think about what you will be doing that time of the day on race day. When you go for a run you think about what it will be like to start or finish the race. You have visualized the finish line so many times you have your never-to-be-used finish line speech to perfection. You have practiced, secretly, the fist pump, jump for joy, double arm ‘yahoo!”, etc that you will do for the picture that really counts. And smiles….you know which smile you will try for and at which miles – instead of the death snear – even if that is how you feel. You think about the race at every meal, walking to your car, brushing your teeth, while watching the news, singing your favorite songs (but with new taper related lyrics)… with every step or breath you take.
  • You know you are dying … or at least facing a race ending injury. You held off minor and major injuries throughout your training, but now in just a few days you have aches, pains, tweaks, tight spots all in places you haven’t before and in ways you haven’t experienced before. You wonder how your body could betray you now! You spend time on www.webmd.com and www.sportsinjuryclinic.net hoping to find the answer to your mystery illness – only to find that there is nothing that specifically covers what you are experiencing.

If any of these sound like a current symptom you have, congratulations – you have Taper Madness. There is a wonderful home treatment.

The race.

Just go with it for a few days. It will come to a quick end as you cross the starting line.
In the meantime, know there are many runners like you dealing with the same infliction. If you need a place to vent, talk about your race or absolutely nothing, stop by the Taper Madness forum in the Lounge and talk about what you are thinking about, how you are coping or heck, even about what you really want to talk about ….YOUR RACE!
***If you are wondering, the pictures have nothing to do with running. They just made me giggle and thought they would bring a smile to your face too.

09/21/09

Yesterday, Wayne came home with flowers — for no reason. I think he’s proud of all the work I’ve done getting ready for this marathon and juggling things with the kids and their schooling and it meant a lot to have him do something so thoughtful just when I was feeling so beat down and emotionally spent. 

In fact, after I  and shared all of my deepest fears about “failing” at this marathon, Wayne in his usual cool-as-a-cucumber yet VERY sarcastic way said “Oh no! The world will definitely end if you can’t finish this marathon, you know! I’d say don’t worry. There will always be other races you can enter later –but of course, the world WILL end if you can’t do this one, right?” He’s such a goof –but — that attitude of his made me laugh and see a better perspective. I giggled right through my tears when I realized how silly I was sounding. And, it’s true — no matter what happens out there on race day –I really have only been running a bit over a year (with 3 months off for my injury last year I’ve only been running for a year and one month.) So, I am proud of what I’ve done so far! So many people told me not to even try for the marathon first. They said I should lower my goals and do a half marathon first. My awesome friend, Bertha was the one who encouraged me to go for the big race. It was the answer I wanted and I’m SO glad I took her words and “ran with them.” I did face this training and I DID do well on most of my runs — strangely — my best happened on those really long runs.

I found an article on Tapering Madness last night that was SO funny it had me laughing until tears were rolling down my cheeks. I saw myself in every one of the “do nots” and it just made me feel so much better. I haven’t laughed THAT hard in a long time and it was a release that I needed badly. 

I’ll print the article in the next post for anyone else who’s dealing with a taper and needs someone to tell them they’re not insane (well at least not in a way that getting the race done won’t cure!)

09/20/09

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125.4 on the scale today!!!! Yahooo!!!!!!!!!!!!!! That’s some consolation since my right knee is hurting this morning and I still feel like shaking my head about last night’s abysmal run!

09/19/09

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Oh my word! Last Saturday I felt like a bird with wings on my 20 mile long run — tonight running 13.1 (we ran the race course for the half marathon of the full marathon we’re running in two weeks since both races share the same start and basic beginning course) well, let’s just say the little birdie had her wings clipped!  Oh my word! I sucked so bad tonight!!!! Seriously!!!!! It was that bad!!!!

I haven’t felt like myself all week. All of the obsessing brought back my insomnia, so I haven’t been sleeping well. I missed my speed work session this week (I actually was so tired I laid down and rested instead), and today Wayne played in a local tennis tournament and at the tournament they served a BBQ, so I ate a hot dog at around 1 pm, then went running in 85 degree weather at 4 pm. I felt sick.  I ended up having to race to the bathroom as soon as the run was over. It was bad….

I’m so humbled. Maybe this is what I needed. A really, really, rotten run before the marathon, so I’ll stop thinking about how fast I “might” go if I get lucky. After tonight’s run, I have to say, I’m back to believing just finishing this thing will be worth celebrating enough! Running long distances can be tough at times. It still brings me great pleasure and does that more than it brings me pain —- and I’ll likely go on to run many more marathons after this one — but —– as of this moment — I. Don’t. Care. How. Fast. I. Do. It. In. (Wow, what a load off my own shoulders to say that!) I’ve been pressuring myself all week to really push it on the big day —- but — Oh man…. after tonight’s run — I think it was naive, wishful, hopeful thinking that just got my head too big for a minute there.

SO..the stats. 13.1 miles. Hills. Ugh. (Have I mentioned I have not trained on hills hardly at all? Oh I didn’t. Well, yup.) 2:50:28. You read that right — 13:01 min miles, gals! I think I saw an old lady speed walking faster than that the other day! There were three longer stops — one at mile 3 for a bathroom break in a restaurant and one at mile 7 so my running pal could buy some Gatorade at a convenience store and one at mile 12 when my pal bumped into this nice running guy she knows and they caught up for a few minutes. I left the watch going the entire time –but I cannot blame the breaks for the dragging rear or the legs made of lead I had the entire time tonight.

Please someone remind me that there are indeed good runs and bad runs and tonight was just one of the bad ones. It’s my AF week. Maybe that contributed. Maybe my body was just worn down from all the miles I’ve done lately and is not gonna give me what I want for another few days.

I think I’ll go soak in a warm bath (a no no — but I think I emotionally need it!) Oy!

09/15/09

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Recovery run tonight. Legs felt heavy, slow – as they should after running at tempo for 20 miles on Sat.  – I swear that smiley really does look like me running. Hee! Anyways…ran the neighborhood and local college campus tonight. 3 miles. 36 minutes. Just slow, gentle and easy. My right hip is a bit sore but nothing bad. All other body parts and feet seemed fine. I admit that after Saturday’s efforts I wasn’t sure how I’d feel today, so it’s better than expected. I was sore Sunday but felt normal again by Monday, so thankfully, nothing flared up. I think once you’ve had a serious running injury, you spend a long time looking over your shoulder afraid another will just creep up on you. I’m so gratetful to my training program this time for keeping me in check and I’m proud of myself for playing it safe and staying injury free through this training (KNOCK ON WOOD!!!!!!) I’m mentally willing my body to continue to behave itself nicely for three more weeks.  If I can show up at the start of that race ready to rumble — I’ve completed much MORE than I was able to accoplish when I trained for that half marathon last year and failed. 

I almost didn’t get a run in tonight. Wayne worked overtime. I fell behind in chores and homework grading and I hadn’t even eaten dinner when Wayne showed up at 7 pm. I handed him a spatula (dinner was in the oven and on the stove) and kissed his cheek and said , “I’ve GOTTA run, baby!” I really am eternally grateful for the support, love and encouragement my husband has given me during this training!  He hasn’t complained at all — though three times a week — he’s fully in charge of the kids while I’m off doing my thing. I think he’s a keeper!

09/15/09

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Don’t mind me – I’m still in obsessing mode. 

I dug up my splits from my only race this year — the 10k in June. I was 10 lbs heavier that day, the temperatures were comparable to what they will be on race day and I played it conservative at the start (I was the LAST runner the entire first half of a mile and it was my plan.) In that race, I let my legs warm up the first two miles, and then gradually picked up the pace. There was one killer hill in mile 3 (there won’t be any big hills in my marathon that I’m aware of) and I didn’t need to walk at all – other than stopping twice to drink water at the aid stations. I finished feeling very strong and powerful that day. I’d like to have a similar finish for this run.

Here’s my splits for that day.

Mile 1 – 10:57 (speedwalkers were eye-balling me wondering what I was doing in their turf!)
Mile 2 – 10:25
Mile 3 – 10:39
Mile 4 – 9:54
Mile 5 – 9:51
Mile 6 – 9:27
Mile 7 (last .21 of race) – 44 seconds (I was racing in this lady in orange shorts and I overtook her!)  This was my final kick and I loved it!
Total race time – 1:02:00 (ave 10:00 min/miles on the nose)

Sorry to be so annoying. I’m kind of using this journal as a way to “talk myself through” my race strategy and tactics right now. I. AM. A. NERVOUS. NELLIE!

09/15/09

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AF’s here. So my last cycle was 27 days. It’s been irregular for years, but all this exercise seems to be getting it closer to being the way it was before kids (always, always 28 days apart from my first period at age 10.) Today’s weight 129. I looked back at May’s day 1 and last month’s day 1. I’m down about 6 lbs from my May period and 3 lbs from last month’s day 1. So – even though I’m still bloated — I’m still seeing a slow, steady downward trend! Sweet!!!! Though I’ve seen 126 and 127 alot this last month, I have not seen 125 yet. I hope I get to see it this month! 

I’m looking forward to running tonight. I’m on my taper, so things will be gentle and lower in miles until the big day!