Thursday, February 28, 2013

Three Things Thursday

Okay, really quick, because I'm running out of time this morning.

1. Mother Nature.

I'm pretty sure she doesn't approve of me running the Sugarloaf marathon, because she's being a major b*tch with the weather this winter and screwing up all my running plans.

2. My new blog.

I mentioned this last week, but things are finally really getting done...at least in this first room. I even got a post up on my new home improvement blog, HomeRevived. You can check it out here.

3. Happy Birthday!

Happy birthday to my good friend and running buddy, Jen! Make sure to wish her a happy birthday, too!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Three Things Thursday

Easing in to training.
Run number two of my marathon plan happened this morning. Of course, not quite as planned. Maybe I should call it my marathon non-plan. It seems much more fun and exciting to just fly by the seat of my pants and see what happens. Originally, I had 6 miles to do, but after walking the dogs I only had half an hour to run. So I decided to run 15 minutes one way and see how far I got then turn around and come back. It was so much fun. I love looking at all the beautiful houses and the fact I can run straight for over a mile and be on semi-well-kept sidewalks. I love that, even though we're living in the city, I can run at 7 AM, down a major artery and come across two cars. I'm sure there would be more traffic if it wasn't school vacation. Well, I did have to wait a little bit before crossing under Route 1, and it probably added about 45 seconds total. I ended up with 3.1 miles in 28:31 or a 9:14 pace. Not all that fast, but I was distracted at exploring the community and I didn't stop my watch when waiting to cross traffic. It turns out that the husband didn't get out of bed until 8, so I should/could have just done 6 miles. I guess I need to discuss when he really needs to be at work.

Room number one is almost done.
The first room I've been renovating in our new house is our oldest son's bedroom. I'm now down to the last few things, but it still seems like it's going to take forever. Once I get all the painting done, he'll be ready to move in, but then I'll still have all the crafty stuff to do to make it complete, like curtains and I have been wanting to make him a quilt. I did refinish one of the beds that we found up in the attic. I love how it came out. 


A criminal among us.
Ian went out to the car on Tuesday to head to work and came immediately back in to the house. His glove box was open and his owner's manual was missing. Seriously, who steals an owner's manual and leaves the GPS and numerous CDs? The manual was in a black case that they must have thought was a Kindle or other tablet. Surprise, it's just a book about where to put your washer fluid! Needless to say, we are now making sure our car doors are locked at night and Karma's out to get someone.


Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Marathon Training: Take Two

This is truly a "take two" as I had just about completely written this entire post and it disappeared. I can not believe that I have to retype this. Thanks Blogger for completely wasting an hour of my day...anyway...

Thirteen weeks or eighty-eight days, are all that remain between now and the Sugarloaf Marathon in May. The lack of motivation I had been experiencing is gone, I think...I hope. 

I wrote up a new training plan yesterday that is roughly the same mileage as the Run Less, Run Faster program I had been using. I've removed the track workouts on Tuesday and will be adding in timed fartleks and hill training on those days to mix it up. For the long runs, I worked backwards from race day, through the taper and filled in from there gradually increasing the mileage with a few mini-tapers in between. I'm still able to get in a 20- and 22-miler and three 18-milers, though one of them comes on the weekend of the Race the Runways Half Marathon. If my legs allow, I'll just add on five miles that day.


I am by no means an expert on marathon training, but I do know what my body can comfortably handle. I'm hoping that this will help me have a successful marathon and get through training and the race injury free. I'm hoping this plan will alleviate some of the stress I was feeling with the specific paces and distances of my previous plan.

I do know that I was not 100% committed to this marathon before yesterday and I think that was adding to my lack of motivation. Although I had planned on running Sugarloaf immediately after finishing the Maine Marathon in September, one of the recent reasons I was doing it was because my friends are. The choice to run a marathon should be a personal one. You want to challenge your body and mind. You want to cross it off your bucket list. You want to run Boston someday. If you want to run a marathon, then do it. But it's not going to be fully enjoyable if the reason you are going through all the training is because others are doing it. I am now committed to running Sugarloaf for me. The fact that my friends are training for the same race just makes it that much more awesome and fun!

So today was day one of my "personalized" training plan and it went great! This was the first time I had run since the Mid-Winter Classic over two weeks ago, so I didn't know quite what to expect. Ian is able to go to work a little later on Tuesday and Thursday, so I can run at 6:30 instead of 5:30, when it is light out and I can get an extra hour of sleep, seeing that I can't get to bed any earlier. 

I had planned on a 5-mile out-and-back, but once I got to mile two I wasn't sure I would have enough time to get back and turned around to make it four miles. It turned out that I would have had time, but I'm not sweating that missing mile. The only problem with this route and time of day is the droves of Bath Iron Works employees walking to work and the smoke from their cigarettes that I have to run through. It wasn't all that bad and is only for less than half a mile at the beginning. The rest of the run I was surging up the hills, relaxing on the declines, enjoying the scenery, and appreciating the fact that I get to run. I finished in 34:22 with an average pace of 8:33. I was running comfortably hard, but not straining at all. I am very happy with it. Now if only the next 38 runs go as well...

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Motivational Quotes and Mantras

When looking for motivation to get out there and run (or do anything for that matter), I sometimes like to read and repeat quotes that get me thinking and give me the will to get out there and "just do it." Some of my favorites are:

"Love yourself for who and what you are, 
protect your dream and develop your talent to the fullest extent." 
~ Joan Benoit Samuelson

"We all have dreams. In order to make dreams come into reality, 
it takes an awful lot of determination, dedication, self-discipline and effort." 
~ Jesse Owens

"To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift." 
~ Steve Prefontaine

"Running is the greatest metaphor for life, 
because you get out of it what you put into it." 
~ Oprah Winfrey

"Without ambition one starts nothing. 
Without work one finishes nothing."
 ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Success is the result of perfection, 
hard work, learning from failure, 
loyalty, and persistence." 
~ Colin Powell

"There is only one way to succeed in anything,
 and that is to give it everything." 
~ Vince Lombardi

"Every morning in Africa a gazelle wakes up. 
It knows it must run faster than the lion or it will not survive.
 Every morning a lion wakes up and it knows 
it must run faster than the slowest gazelle or it will starve. 
It doesn't matter if you are the lion or the gazelle, 
when the sun comes up, you better be running." 
~ African Proverb

"Satisfaction lies in the effort, not in the attainment. 
Full effort is full victory.
~ Mahatma Ghandi

Another way I stay motivated during a training run and especially during a race when I'm hurting, is to utilize a mantra. Like the above quotes, mantras motivate and inspire. But if you are like me, my brain doesn't work all that great when I'm going at an all-out effort. Quotes are way too long to remember, but a mantra is something short with a few words (or even just one word) that makes you focus and push through. The dictionary defines mantra as "a sound, word, or phrase that is repeated by someone who is praying or meditating" or "a word or phrase that is repeated often or that expressed someone's basic beliefs." Mantras are great because they can be spoken (or thought) to the tempo of your feet hitting the road or to your breathing. Doing this helps to relax and focus.

Some examples:

Better. Faster. Stronger

Believe.

Just do it.

Pain is temporary. Pride is forever.

Hills are my friend.

Trust your training.

The faster you run, the faster you're done.


Just typing those out have given me the strong desire to get out there. Unfortunately, it's the middle of the day and with the boys here and no treadmill to jump onto, I'm stuck until late tonight after work or first thing in the morning. 

My main reason for writing this post is to try and give myself a jump-start on this marathon training. I am getting close to the make or break point in doing this. With less than 14 weeks to go, I've yet to successfully complete a run in my plan. Sure, I had a pretty good race at the Mid-Winter Classic 10 Miler last week, but my long run called for 13 that day. This past Sunday I had a 15-miler in the line up, but worked a VERY busy double at work (running around for over 11 hours) that left my legs so sore I felt like I had already run the marathon. Maybe I should have worn a pedometer to see how far I went. And during the week? Major fail. Slippery roads and no extra cash to join a gym to use a treadmill have me stuck and stumped. But, at the risk of sounding cliché, if there's a will, there's a way. There has just got to be! 

Do you have a motivational quote to share?

Do you use mantras when you run?

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Mid-Winter Classic 2013 {Race Recap}

On Sunday, the girls and I headed down to Cape Elizabeth to run in the Mid-Winter Classic 10-Miler, along with over 600 other crazies that race in Maine in February. It seemed like our little group knew a ton of people running this race this year.

We carpooled with Stacy (thanks for driving!) and got there with plenty of time and even scored the best parking spot ever, literally right next to the starting line. We ran into the high school to go to the bathroom and met up with Jen and Ward who had driven down separately then went back to the car to take off our outer layer of clothing and huddle in the warmth until the announcer started talking. Once we figured out where at the start we'd like to stand, a few snowflakes started falling from the sky and we were off.

I didn't really have a goal in mind for this race. Given my lower mileage in the last few months, I knew a PR would be tough to get (less than 1:21:28, 8:08 pace), but I hoped to keep it under 1:24. It seems pretty crazy that this was my first road race since the marathon at the end of September and the only other race I did was the Bond Brook 5-Mile trail race.

Andy, a Reach the Beach: MA vanmate, and I ran together for the first few miles. I didn't keep track of my splits (for the first time ever) and had contemplated not even wearing a watch, but I did just to get an idea of how I was doing. The first mile came in around 7:30 which completely surprised me. It did not at all feel like I was going that fast. The next few miles were in the low 8's, and I only really know this because I was running in front of two guys during these miles that would say the splits out loud.

Andy and I (photo courtesy David Colby Young)

I skipped the water stop at mile three and was feeling pretty strong on the hills, but lost Andy soon after. At this point I started thinking that I really might be able to come close to how I did in 2012, but there was still a lot of race left. There was another water stop at mile five so I took some water, but did not fuel with the Sport Beans I had stuck in my back pocket. Mistake? By mile six, my legs were pretty much toast and it really became a mental game not to stop and walk. But I didn't, well once I did at mile 7.5 when there was another water stop, just so I could regroup and focus on the last two and a half miles that are practically all uphill. 

Right before mile 5 (photo courtesy David Colby Young)

There was a decline down to the mile nine marker and then back up a gradual incline the rest of the way. There was a headwind at this part, not too stiff, but definitely noticeable this late in the race. I really had to focus on reaching the next cone that was placed along the course to keep myself going. It was really tough mentally, but I needed that challenge. Finally, the finish was in sight and I coasted to a time of 1:23:26, an average pace of 8:21. Nearly two minutes slower than last year, but within my unofficial goal of 1:24. 

Heading toward the finish (photo courtesy Roger Morse)

I am happy with the outcome, it's not always about a PR. This race was more of a test of my current fitness in a race situation, to see what I need to focus on for the marathon that is in...101 days! I was surprised to find out that I haven't lost a lot in terms of my lung power. I always felt in control of my breathing through the ten miles. It was my leg strength that gave out, but that is something I feel I can get back in a short amount of time with some hard work. In hindsight, I probably should have taken some fuel around the five mile mark, just to get me through the last three in better fashion, but it is what it is. 

Final results:
Finish time - 1:23:26, 8:21 pace
276 out of 611 overall
91 out of 289 females
25 out of 47 in age group (35-39)

What I love about this race:

The 9:45 start time. Even living an hour away, I didn't have to get up at the butt crack of dawn and rush out the door. I enjoyed a leisurely morning and even got to get a good luck kiss from the boys before I left.

The course. While it is challenging with several rolling hills, it's not overly difficult. Part of the course follows the Beach to Beacon course, not the pretty part along the water, but the breakdown lane is wide without too much of a slant. Being a loop makes it easy to quickly get to the start and back to your car at the end. Also, since it starts at the high school, we can use real bathrooms and not stinky port-o-potties.

Course support. The volunteers are awesome. Every single one of them offered me words of support. With the temperature in the low 20s, I can only imagine how cold they were standing still in that weather for over two hours. Thank you so much!

The food. While there was the standard selection of yogurt, bananas, oranges and bagels with peanut butter, they also have fresh pizza. I might have had three slices. And the fact that it was inside the high school, not outside under a tent in the cold is a huge plus. 

Overall, it was a great weekend with friends and I'd highly recommend running this race. I'll probably be back next year!