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!