Saturday, December 1, 2012

Weeks 3-5

I have been slacking on writing my blog lately because I have been slacking on my running a little bit. I spent a lot of time traveling during the month of November and work was really busy. Running was quickly moved to the bottom of my priority list, but I was pretty good with my training other than the week of Thanksgiving. So here is what I did over the past 3 weeks.

Week 3
My focus for week 3 was working on improving speed. When I get out and run by myself, I tend to run 1-2 minutes faster per mile than when I am running with someone else. My schedule that week forced me to run all alone except for one of the days so I was really happy with my running during that week. I have been running 3 shorter runs during the week and then one longer run during the weekend. I do a long run on Saturday's usually and then Sunday's are reserved for cross training, which is usually an easier run for me. I did not get in a long run during week 3 because that was one of those weekends I spent in my car so I just did what I could. During that week, I did manage to get in a day of mile repeats and was extremely happy with my times. Mile repeats are where you run one mile as hard as you can, walk for 2-3 minutes and then run another mile as hard as you can. I did 3 mile repeats and each one was less than 8 minutes, which I was completely shocked by. I guess running with my cross country team all fall has really paid off! Here are my distances, times and paces for week 3:

11/13/12 - 3 miles in 26:24 (8:48 min/mi pace)

11/14/12 - 1 mile in 7:35
11/14/12 - 1 mile in 7:41
11/14/12 - 1 mile in 7:36

11/15/12 - 4 miles in 44:29 (11:07 min/mi pace)

11/18/12 - 3.5 miles in 32:54 (9:23 min/mi pace)

Week 4
Week 4 was the week of Thanksgiving and I was a major slacker during this week. It was a short, busy work week and I headed home to be with my family for the holiday. I did do an hour of Zumba with my mom one night and it was nice to get a workout in other than running. I love going to Zumba and I love shaking it like there's no tomorrow! Other than Zumba, the only workout I got in that week was the Buffalo Turkey Trot.

Here is where I am going to get on my soapbox about the Turkey Trot! The Turkey Trot is hands down my favorite race that I run during the entire year. This was my 5th year running the Turkey Trot and it is the best race that I have ever run in. The Buffalo Turkey Trot is the oldest road race in America, which it is so awesome to be a part of something so historical. Usually the race is capped at 12,000 runners, but this year the race was capped at 14,000 runners. Where else can you go on Thanksgiving morning and run with 13,999 other crazy people? Most young adults in America enjoy going out the night before Thanksgiving and partying. I enjoy staying home the night before Thanksgiving to carb load, hydrate and go to bed early.

There is nothing that beats the excitement of race day and it is even bigger and better when such a large crowd comes out for the event. The best part is that so many people get dressed up in costumes for the race. There are all sorts of people who come out for the Turkey Trot from serious runners to casual walkers. There are people dressed as turkeys or Thanksgiving themed costumes or elves or Christmas themed costumes and there is even a group of young men who run in their underwear. I only wear a headband with a turkey sticking off of the top, but it's still nice to be a little festive. My first mile of the Turkey Trot was a little slow because it takes awhile to break away from the pack since there are so many people in the race. It took me over 3 minutes just to cross the start line, but luckily we wear chips so that our time is recorded from the time that we start the race to the time that we finish the race. Once I was at mile one, I was able to easily weave in and out of the slower runners and get running at a pace that felt good for me.

The Turkey Trot is an 8K, which is 4.97 miles but I consider it a 5 mile race technically. My race times had been really inconsistent for the Turkey Trot in the previous 4 races. My time from the first year began with 48:17, went way down to 56:05 and then slowly improved to 53:18 and 50:48. My goal this year was to get a personal record. I cannot believe that there was a year when I ran 56:05 so I was determined to break my fastest time this year. I felt good running the race and I knew that I had a really good pace going. When I saw the finish line, the clock was at 49 minutes and I knew that my actual race time would be 3 minutes faster than that so I was really happy when I crossed the finish line. I finished my 5th Turkey Trot with a 46:37 race time, which is a 9:23 min/mi pace. That was 1 minute and 40 seconds faster than my best race time ever, which was my very first race 4 years ago. I was so happy with my time that I think I let the race justify the fact that I was a slacker the rest of the week. The best part is that you can then be a bum all day and eat whatever you want on Thanksgiving and not feel guilty about it at all!

Week 5 
Week 5 came right after Thanksgiving and I knew it was time to get myself back in gear. I will never be able to run a marathon if I cannot stick to a training schedule. I know that there will be times that I will have to miss a run, but I really slacked off during Thanksgiving week. It was so nice to have someone to run with all week and there was only one day that I had to go out and run by myself. I had to run alone the day that I had to run 5 miles so I headed out into the hills in my neighborhood. I honestly could have run further than 5 miles that day, but it was beginning to get dark out and I refuse to run out in the dark. It's not only dangerous, but I find it creepy too. So I hauled it through 5 miles of nothing but hills and ended up having my fastest pace of the week! I concluded the week with an easy 6 miler this morning and will do an easy run tomorrow for my cross training. I am extremely happy with how my running went this week and am beginning to believe that I can actually run a marathon one day. Here are my distances, times and paces for week 5:

11/27/12 - 3 miles in 32:09 (10:43 min/mi pace)

11/28/12 - 5 miles in 47:55 (9:35 min/mi pace)

11/29/12 - 5K in 33:16 (10:44 min/mi pace)

12/1/12 - 6 miles in 1:05:37 (10:56 min/mi pace)

67.5 miles complete in 11:07:10 and only 179 days until conquering 26.2 miles!

Monday, November 12, 2012

A Weekend in Virginia

I spent the weekend in Virginia for a wedding for one of my closest friends from high school. Traveling, a wedding, celebrating and seeing long lost friends are all factors that could easily prevent you from working out. Since I am serious about training for this marathon, I made sure that I fit in time to get in all of my workouts. It was an absolutely gorgeous weekend in Virginia and the temperature was in the high 60's all weekend. It was so nice to see friends that I do not get to see often and to just get away for the weekend. I arrived in Virginia Friday afternoon and went to the bar next door to the hotel for dinner with one of my best friends from home. That evening was the bachelorette party, which was pretty low key, and we stayed up late catching up with the bride since we do not get to see her very often. We were able to spend some time with her early Saturday morning while she was getting ready for the wedding. After we went to breakfast, I knew that I needed to get my workout in during the morning or else I would not have time that day. I went down to the fitness center in the hotel and planned to do a quick 4 mile run on the treadmill. There were two treadmills in the fitness center and one of them did not even work. I turned on the other one and it sounded like it was going to break so I got off. I knew that running outside was now my only option. I am so glad that I went running outside because it was an absolutely beautiful day out. I was out running in shorts and a t-shirt in the middle of November in a beautiful town in Virginia. I completed a 4 mile run in 36:51, which is a 9:13 pace. After my run, I got ready for the wedding and it could not have been a better day for one of your closest high school friends to get married. Everything at the wedding and reception was fall themed and it was such an incredible day. I am so happy that I got to see some of my closest friends and share in such a special day. On Sunday morning, I decided to get my workout in before I left because I knew that I would be on the road all day. Since Sunday's are cross training days, I decided to do 3 miles on the elliptical, which took me about 30 minutes. After my workout, showering, packing and breakfast, it was time to head back to reality. The trip was way to short and I was not quite ready to leave Virginia yet, but it was the perfect way to end week 2 of training!

39 miles complete in 6:01:34 and only 194 days until conquering 26.2 miles!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Sunset Run

Today was one of those days that I had to force myself to get out for a run. It's not that I did not want to run. I just needed a little kick to get out of the door. After standing and moving around your classroom all day, sometimes all you want to do is sit on your couch and be a bum at the end of the day. So that is exactly what I did when I got home from a meeting after school today. This whole daylight savings time is really messing up my running schedule. When I noticed that the sun was quickly getting lower, I realized that I needed to get out for a run so that I did not have to get stuck on the treadmill today. Once I laced up my beautiful running kicks and got outside, I was more than ready to run. All of a sudden the thought of a nice three miler really got rid of any laziness that I was feeling. I started out at a pretty quick pace and was feeling pretty good so I decided to go through some of the hills in my neighborhood today. I have been doing a lot of running on flat land lately so I decided that it was time to kick my workout up a notch. I was maintaining the quick pace as I began to run up the first hill and I sure was feeling the burn today. It was the good kind of burn though because I knew that I was pushing myself and getting a much better workout in today. Today's run was quick and a little tough, but I felt so good once I was finally finished. I also was able to watch the beautiful sunset as I was finishing my run. My favorite time of day to run is at dusk. I love being able to run as the sun sets and watch the sky turn into such beautiful colors. I also love the cooler temperatures that come at dusk, especially in the summer time. And let's not forget the fact that I am not much of a morning person. I do run in the morning quite frequently, but I'd take a dusk run over a run at dawn any day. And the best part of the run was that I finished a hilly 3 miles in 27:03, which is a 9:01 pace.

32 miles complete in 4:54:43 and only 198 days until conquering 26.2 miles!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The Back of the Pack

I am really liking the beginning stages of marathon training because the workouts are so quick and easy. Sandy and I headed to the rail trail after work today for an easy 3 miler. Today's run felt really good and I felt like I could have ran further or faster even. We ran 3 miles in 31:01, which might seem slow to some. That was one of the fastest runs that the two of us have ever had together. It was only a year and a half ago that the two of us were completing 5K's in 33 or 34 minutes. It's amazing to see how far we have come as runners since we became running buddies. It's even more amazing that I am not always in the back of the pack anymore. I admit that I am a pretty slow runner and it really does not bother me. I have never really cared too much about speed, but I have always cared about going the distance. However, it can be discouraging sometimes coming in towards the back of the pack.

There was one particular race that I really was in the back of the pack because I came in last place by a good 1-2 minutes. It was my senior year of college and a friend of mine had started a running club. The running club would go out for runs during the week and then sign up for local road races on the weekend. I was a little skeptical because most of these kids were runners in high school, but my friend and my college roommate encouraged me to join the running club. I was running a road race almost every weekend during the fall and absolutely loving it. When the running club registered for the McQuaid Invitational, I decided to sign up too. I had never run a cross country race before, but I really thought that I had nothing to lose. I never really knew how serious McQuaid was until we arrived that day. There were hundreds of middle school and high school runners from all over the northeast competing in this huge cross country competition. We were registered for the open race, which was the only race of the day for runners who were not part of a middle school or high school team. I thought for sure that there would be tons of runners just doing this for fun, but there ended up being many alumni and serious runners.

When the race started, I was excited and nervous all at the same time. I started off extremely fast and tried to keep up with the other members of the running club. I always had a pretty fast start whenever I ran with the running club because I was embarrassed that I was such a slow runner. This plan often backfired and I would fall much further behind everyone. There were about 100 runners in this particular race and I quickly found myself in the back of the pack. I was running just a little behind another girl from my running club. We ended up being so far behind that we almost missed a few of the turns because we had no idea where we were. I fell further behind during mile 2 and gave up any hope of catching up to anyone else. It would have been so easy to quit and give up on the race, but I knew that the other runners would be waiting for me at the finish line. I am now proud to say that I came in LAST PLACE in the McQuaid Invitational. The last place finish was really what motivated me to become a better runner. Since I now had the distance down, it was time to stop coming in the back of the pack. I have never come in last place in a race since then, but I no longer register for serious runs either. I truly believe that it takes more courage to step up to the start line than it does to actually cross the finish line.

29 miles complete in 4:27:40 and only 199 days until conquering 26.2 miles!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Week 2 Begins

So week 2 of training has officially begun! Monday's are typically supposed to be rest days, but I made a little switch up this week. I knew that I would not be home before dark tonight and did not want to run on the treadmill so I made tonight my rest day. That meant I had to do an easy 3 miler yesterday. I brought my running clothes to work yesterday and got a run in before returning to do some more work. I have decided to pack running clothes for work whenever I know that I need to run that day. I was able to stay at work late yesterday and get my run in before dark. I followed one of our cross country routes that we run on long run days. The first mile and a half is a slight incline, which you really notice when you're out alone. That meant that the way back was a slight decline and my half mile splits were much quicker on the way back. I decided to turn my splits back on yesterday, but I was not going to let them guide my run. I actually ended up running 3 miles in 27:19, which is a 9:06 pace. I think that there were many factors that contributed to an easy run turning into such an awesome run. I run so much faster when it's colder out and I was hoping to avoid the snowfall that had been coming and going all day. I also run faster when I am alone because I get bored more easily and have no one to talk to. I also ran right at the end of the work day so that alone speaks for itself. So I would definitely say that the week of running is off to a great start. I have headed into week 2 of training with no real goals other than to get my mileage in. I do not really care about splits or pace times or speed workouts. I do not care how fast or slow each run is this week because I am just focused on following my training plan and ending week 2 with an optimistic outlook on this whole marathon thing.

26 miles complete in 3:56:39 and only 200 days until conquering 26.2 miles!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Burning it Off BEFORE Breakfast

Since Sunday's are cross training days, I decided to do an easy recovery run today. There is a group of us that run together on Sunday mornings at the rail trail during the winter months. Today was our first Sunday group run this year and we were greeted this morning with a light snowfall throughout our run. I do not think that anyone really minded because the thought of a nice warm breakfast and a coffee or a hot beverage after kept us all warm. We always go out to breakfast after Sunday morning runs and Panera is our favorite Sunday morning spot. If you run first, then you do not feel guilty when you see all of the calories listed next to every item on the menu at Panera. When you burn off the calories before breakfast, there is no shame in ordering something that is double the amount of calories that you just burned off. Meals are a very important part of running and training. Before I was a runner, I used to live my life from meal to meal. However, I now live my life from meal to run to meal to meal to run to meal, etc. After all, doesn't every good run deserve a caloric reward?! And this morning's run led me right to that bacon, egg and cheese sandwich. Sandy, Lori and I ran an easy 3 miles and completed it in 31:19. I had my splits turned off again today, but I did check my pace at the end of our run. I would say that a 10:27 pace was pretty good for what was supposed to be an easy run day. I was quite happy with our run this morning and it felt good to be out for a pressure free run. This morning's run ended week 1 of training. I have run 23 miles total since last Sunday, but I was not totally happy with every run. I'm heading into week 2 more focused and with a better attitude. I do have 29 more weeks to go and it's only going to get harder from here, but I am more than ready for this.

23 miles complete in 3:29:20 and only 202 days until conquering 26.2 miles!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Hal Higdon's Training Program

Today's run was exactly what I needed after such a bad run on Thursday evening. Friday's are rest days according to the training plan that I am using so I was really ready to run this morning after a day off. I am using Hal Higdon's Novice Supreme 30 Week Marathon Training Schedule. If you are a serious runner, then I highly recommend checking out some of Hal Higdon's training plans. I used a combination of the Novice 1 and Novice 2 Half Marathon Training Schedules for the 3 half marathons that I ran this past spring. He has training plans for 5K's, 10K's, 15K's, half marathons, marathons and so much more. Each specific distance also has training plans for everything from beginner runners to advanced runners who want to increase their speed. The training plan that I am using combines a 12 Week Spring Training Schedule and an 18 Week Novice Marathon Training Schedule. I chose the novice supreme instead of a novice because most of his training plans for longer distances recommend that you have already been running for quite a few weeks. It's much easier to follow a training plan than to decide how much I should be running before I get into the real marathon training. I really like the novice supreme because it gently eases you into the harder parts of the training. The novice supreme has Monday's and Friday's as rest days. Tuesday's, Wednesday's and Thursday's are shorter runs between 3-5 miles and those runs get a little longer as it gets closer to the actual marathon. Saturday is my long run day and Sunday is cross training, which will probably just be a recovery run/jog most weeks. I tweaked the novice supreme schedule a little bit because the mileage was extremely light for the first few weeks and it ranged from 1.5-3 miles most days. I did quite a bit of running during the fall months so I am a little ahead of where this training begins.

I anticipated running 4 or 5 miles this morning and planned to meet Sandy at the rail trail at 9am. If you know me well, then you know that I have an extremely difficult time hearing my alarm in the morning no matter how early or late it is. So it comes as no surprise that I never heard Sandy's 8:30am text or the 5 alarms that I set to begin going off at 8am. I rolled out of bed at 8:45am, texted Sandy to let her know that I wasn't blowing her off, threw on my running clothes and grabbed a banana as I flew out the door. The winter temperatures have arrived so I had to dig out the under armour, spandex, headband and gloves today. I even threw on my "I'm training for the 2009 Buffalo Marathon" t-shirt over my under armour this morning. I actually enjoy running on cold days much more than warm days so I did not mind the 35 degree temperature this morning. We all know that I still will be drenched in sweat after running just 1/4 mile. I sweat way more than most people that I know when I workout, but at least people can tell I got a good workout in. You are not always the most attractive person after you finish a run, but I think that it makes you look a whole lot better than all of the lazy bums sitting at home on their couches. I am so glad that I was not one of those lazy bums today because this morning's run was really great. After Thursday, I decided that I would not focus on speed for my next few runs. I needed to get back in the right mindset before I began to pick up the speed again. I still turned on my MapMyRun app on my phone this morning, but I turned off the splits and the voice feedback. We both felt pretty good when we got to 4 miles so we decided that we would run 5 miles this morning. I thought for sure that we were running an 11:00 pace today, but much to my surprise we finished with a 10:44 pace. We ran 5 miles in 53:39, which I was very happy with because that is probably what my marathon pace will be. Needless to say, I left today's run feeling much happier and motivated again. It's not always going to be easy, but I am really beginning to believe that this is something that I will be able to accomplish.

20 miles complete in 2:58:01 and only 203 days until conquering 26.2 miles!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Run

There is no better way to describe today's run other than IT SUCKED! Ever have one of those days where you just have a terrible, discouraging run? Yes today was one of those days for me. It does motivate me to work a little harder next time when I have one of those days. I am going to attribute today's awful run to the fact that I had to do it on the treadmill today. After my posts about the treadmill and being an all-weather runner, you are probably thinking that I am being a bit of a hypocrite. So let me explain how I ended up reading the latest issue of Mathematics Teaching in Middle School, while completing a 3 mile run on the treadmill. I arrived at work today shortly after 7am and found myself still at work shortly before 7pm this evening. Today was one of those days that I was really productive at work. I had really planned to get out for my run following a meeting after school today. After the meeting, I just got so caught up in my work that I never even noticed that it had gotten dark outside. I do not mind running when it is cold or rainy outside, but I will not run outside when it is dark out. It's not only dangerous, but running in the dark creeps me out.

So after my nearly 12 hour work day, it was either skip the run or resort to the treadmill. There is a small gym at my apartment complex, but it has everything that I need. The gym was empty when I arrived so I chose my favorite treadmill to run on. There are only 2 treadmills in the gym, but my favorite is the one in the corner of the gym. It has much better features than the other treadmill and makes the run a little bit more bearable. However, I still worry the whole time that I am on the treadmill that if I fall off, I will be thrown into the corner of the gym and my body will get sucked under the treadmill. Needless to say, I found myself constantly grabbing for the bar on the treadmill so that there was no way I would fall again. Maybe I kept grabbing for the bar because my legs felt like lead today. I do not know what it was about today, but this was definitely the worse run that I have had in a long time. I think that I can attribute most of the problem to my attitude and lack of motivation today. I knew from the moment that I walked into the gym that this run was going to be the longest 30 minutes of my life. I wanted to get this stupid run over as quickly as I could so I set the treadmill to a pretty fast pace. By the time that I had run 1/4 mile, I was sweating like a pig and had to slow my pace down a lot. The whole time that I was on the treadmill I just wanted to push the stop button or get off or let myself fall off or whatever would get me out of doing this run. I ended up being able to run 3 miles on the treadmill in 28:23, which is not a terrible pace for me.

Today's run was really frustrating for me. I really struggled to complete those 3 miles both physically and mentally. My body just was not doing it today and gave me resistance the entire run. As I was running those 3 miles, I thought to myself how are you ever going to be able to run 26.2 miles when you are struggling to run 3 miles right now. I have consistently been running throughout the entire fall so today's workout should have been easy for me. I know that I went into today's run with the wrong attitude because I was not happy about having to run on the treadmill. I usually leave a workout or a run in a really good mood, but today just left me feeling discouraged. I even struggled to write this post because I am mad at myself for today's run. I think that today was even more discouraging because I had such an awesome run on Tuesday and a really good run yesterday. I know that there will be good days and bad days when it comes to training. I just need to use today as a motivator to work a little harder next week and go into each run with a positive attitude. I sure am glad that tomorrow is a rest day and then I can work a little harder this weekend.

15 miles complete in 2:04:22 and only 205 days until conquering 26.2 miles!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Goodbye Fair-Weather Runners

The fair-weather runners have apparently gone into hibernation for the winter already. I really enjoy when the fair-weather runners go into hibernation for the late fall, entire winter and early spring. Nobody enjoys when your dog does his business right in the middle of the trail. Nobody enjoys when you see a long lost friend and take up the entire pavement holding a conversation. Nobody enjoys when you try to pass someone and they speed up until you fall back behind them. Nobody enjoys when little children or inexperienced cyclists practically run you over with their bikes. Nobody enjoys when you get chased by a loose dog, even if it does give you a nice speed workout. Nobody enjoys when you get nasty looks, no response or yelled at for saying hello to other runners or walkers. These annoyances do not just apply to the rail trail, but they also apply to the roadway as well. If you are a true runner, then you probably get annoyed with most of these things too. I could really go on with the list forever, but I will instead commend the all-weather runners for making the winter running months so much more bearable. It takes a lot of motivation to run in the rain, snow, sleet, hail, wind and subzero temperatures. I know that this is dedication because I run outside for as much of the winter as I can. I do give in to the treadmill occasionally, but I would much rather fall on the pavement than a moving treadmill. So thank you all-weather runners for reminding me that I am not the only crazy winter runner and for always being so friendly on that lonely winter pavement.

Today's 40 degree temperature did not stop Sandy and I from hitting up the rail trail after work. After running in negative temperatures last winter, today's weather was nothing to us. Sandy and I have been running buddies for almost two years now. We often hit up the rail trail after work or meet up on Sunday mornings for an easy long run and breakfast. Having someone else to run with really makes a huge difference and helps to pass the time so much more quickly. We have run several races together and even trained for a half marathon together with some of our coworkers in the spring. Sandy and I both have those 13.1 stickers on the back of our cars, but mine looks better because I did not slice mine when I was trying to open the package. When we arrived at the rail trail today, I happened to notice that my 13.1 sticker was sliced now too. I made a comment to Sandy and she starts laughing hysterically because apparently she switched our stickers about 3 weeks ago. Since Sandy is really into practical jokes and it took me so long to notice, I do have to applaud her for doing something that she knew would really bug me when I saw it. We swapped back our stickers and Sandy probably patted herself on the back at this point. Once the sticker ordeal was over, I noticed that the parking lot was practically empty. The only other people that we saw out on the trail while we were running were either all-weather walkers or bikers. After yesterday's fantastic run, I decided that today should be an easy day. Sandy and I did a modified version of a tempo run where we alternated between an easy run and a fast run every 1/4 mile. The only goal that we had was to complete a 3 mile tempo so we did not really care how fast or slow we were. We ran 3 miles in 30:09, which is the fastest that the two of us have ever ran together. I would say that a 3 mile tempo run followed by a 1 mile walk was a pretty good workout for today.

12 miles complete in 1:35:59 and only 206 days until conquering 26.2 miles!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The Tale of the Treadmill

I fell in love with running on the treadmill my freshman year of college. We would always see a lot of snow in the winter and that was my least favorite kind of weather to run in. I often opted for the treadmill during the winter for several reasons. No one really knew how fast or slow I was running on the treadmill so I did not have to be embarrassed about being a slow runner. If I could not get my workout in until late in the evening, I did not need to worry about running in the dark. I could easily spend an hour running on the treadmill. I would watch a favorite television show, read a book for class or study for an upcoming test. By my sophomore year of college, I would lose track of time on the treadmill and found myself running for almost 2 hours sometimes. The best part of the treadmill was that I could quit running whenever I wanted to. I did not need to worry about being 2 miles away from my dorm and either having to walk or run back. I would run on the treadmill whenever it was late, cold or wet outside. I was spending more time running on the treadmill than I would out on the roads.

I quickly fell out of love with the treadmill during the spring of my sophomore year. It was a late weekday evening and I had not gotten my workout in for the day yet. Since it was already dark and cold outside, I opted for a run on the treadmill with one of my favorite television shows on in front of me. I was 1/2 mile into my run when my shoelace came untied. If you know me well, you know that I trip over my own feet very easily, especially when I am running. This was the day that I learned why people attach that little clip from the treadmill to their shirts when they run. Once my shoelace came untied, I tripped and fell down on the treadmill. Due to my lack of common sense, I chose to try to crawl back up the treadmill. I should have just let myself fall off the treadmill, but of course I did not. I frantically tried to crawl back up the treadmill and hoped that I would be able to push the stop button. Once I realized that I was never going to be able to hit the stop button, I just let myself fall off of the treadmill.

There were only a few people in the gym when this happened, but I was still majorly embarrassed. So I tied my shoe very tightly and got back on the treadmill to continue my run. By the time that I had run 1 mile, I began to feel something wet dripping down my leg. Of course I was bleeding because that is what happens when you try to crawl back up a moving treadmill. The bleeding quickly ended my workout so I went back to my dorm room to cleanup the gash on my leg. Just when I thought that the story could not get any more embarrassing, one of my future roommates told me that she had a hilarious gym story to tell me. Her friend had been at the gym and had seen some girl fall off of the treadmill and try to crawl back up it. It only took her one look at my leg to realize that the girl her friend had been talking about was actually me. News sure travels fast when you go to a small college. I was so embarrassed from the treadmill incident that it took me several weeks before I would get back on one again. Thanks to the tale of the treadmill I became an all-weather runner. I began running in snow, sleet, rain, extremely cold temperatures and even hot sunny days. I was not going to get back on a treadmill unless I was absolutely desperate. It took me about two years to be able to run on a treadmill without holding on for the entire run. Needless to say, running on a treadmill is not something that you will find me doing very often.

With all of the rain and wind from Hurricane Sandy yesterday and today, I was tempted to go for a run on the treadmill today. We all know that I do not enjoy the treadmill, but I really do not like running in the pouring rain either. I would rather run in subzero temperatures, which I have before, or snow than be running in pouring rain. When there was a lull in the rain, I went out for a quick 3 mile run. I do not mind running in a light rain because it is actually pretty refreshing and gets you to run a little more quickly. The thought of a nice warm shower or being in your nice warm bed also motivates you to run a little faster. I use the MapMyRun app on my phone to track each of my runs. I usually keep the voice feedback on for every mile, but decided to switch it to 1/2 mile today since I am focused on my speed. When the voice feedback told me that I had completed 1/2 mile in 3:57, I knew that I was going to be in big trouble if I did not slow down. I really wanted to push myself today and see how far I could go so I made sure that each mile split would be around 8:30. This pace was actually not too difficult to maintain thanks to all of the speed workouts that I did with my cross country team this fall. I found myself at the park across the street from my apartment complex at mile 2.5 and I knew that it was time to give it all I had. I kept checking my phone to see if I was done yet and even found myself yell out loud at 2.9 miles that I would be done running in 1 minute. I ran through the parking lot as fast as I could until I reached 3 miles. When I finished running and had a chance to catch my breath, I could not believe that I just ran 3 miles in 25:50 when I checked my phone. I have never been able to run 1 mile in 8:37, let alone 3 miles at that pace! I think that a fantastic run like that calls for a nice big bowl of ice cream after dinner tonight!

9 miles complete in 1:05:50 and only 207 days until conquering 26.2 miles!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Marathon Training Begins

Today marks the beginning of my 30 week marathon training program. If someone had told me 6 years ago that I would be training for a marathon, I never would have believed them. I was not a runner back then and I really despised running. When I was in high school, I used to walk most of the mile when we had to run it in P.E. class. I never understood the draw towards running until I became a runner myself. I blame my college roommate for turning me into a runner, but I do not consider blame to be a bad thing in this case. I slowly began getting into running during my first two years of college. There were many days that I would rather just lay in my bed than drag myself out for a run. I was a very slow runner and would often finish a run several minutes after my college roommate did. I did not care if I was fast or slow because there was nothing that could make you feel as good as you did after a run. There were plenty of days when my body was physically spent after a run, but the runner's high often masked any pain that I might have felt that day.

I quickly discovered that there were so many benefits to running. To this day, running is still the best stress reliever that I have. No matter what is going on in my life, I cannot help but feel happy or good about myself after I finish a run. If you are a runner, then you will understand just how good you feel after you run. You can easily get endorphins from any other form of physical activity, but there is just something about running that sets it apart from any other sport. The camaraderie between runners is a bond that most athletes in other sports do not share. Whether you are out for a run in your neighborhood or running in an actual race, runners are the friendliest people that you will meet. People always smile, wave or say hello when you are out running. And just when you think that your body cannot run anymore, there is always someone there encouraging you to keep going. I think that runners are so kind to one another and really push each other because they understand just how grueling running can get. Running is really an individual sport and sometimes you need someone other than yourself to motivate you.

I ran my first 5K 4 years ago and I never thought that I would really run much more than 3.1 miles. In the past 4 years I have run in 33 races and put in countless miles of running on my own each year. I have run in 1 XC race, 18 5K races, two 4 miles races, 5 8K races, 3 10K races and 4 half marathon races. I never thought that I would be able to complete a half marathon and I ran my first one 3 1/2 years ago. During this past spring, I ran in 3 different half marathons. Being able to finish a half marathon is such an incredible feeling and I felt so proud of myself for such a huge accomplishment. I proudly display that 13.1 mile sticker on the back of my car to remind myself of just how far I have come as a runner. After this past spring, I was in the best shape that I have ever been in throughout my entire life. I knew that it was time for me to try to conquer something bigger and better. I spent the summer letting my body recover from all of the half marathons and continued to run casually. When school began this school year, I found myself coaching cross country and really pushing my body as a runner whenever I would push my athletes. I am now as ready as I am ever going to be to conquer 26.2 miles.

It has been on my bucket list for 2 years now to be able to run a marathon. I know that this is not going to be an easy task to accomplish. I know that there will be a lot of blood, sweat and tears along the way. I don't know if my body will actually be able to run 26.2 miles when race day comes, but I won't know if I never try. My only goal for this marathon is to actually be able to finish it. I won't be upset with myself if I have to stop to walk during any point of the race. My only goal is to be able to run across that finish line and have that 26.2 medal put around my neck. I can see myself crossing the finish line now and I know that this is something that I am ready for. Today was the first day of my 30 week marathon training schedule. The first few weeks of my training are pretty low mileage so I am going to focus on my speed until New Year's. From January to May, I am only focusing on my endurance. I know that I am a slow runner, but I do not care how long it takes me to cross that finish line. I kicked off the morning with a 2 mile speed run and completed it in just 17 minutes. That might sound slow to some of you, but I do not think that I have ever run that fast in my entire life. After my 2 miler, I met one of my coworkers for an easy 4 mile run in the rain, which we completed in 42 minutes. The rest of the week will consist short runs and I plan to really focus on improving my speed this week.

6 miles complete in 42:00 and only 209 days until conquering 26.2 miles!