Sunday, June 26, 2011

Marathon training week 1/18

Time to get back to weekly blogging!!!

       I just completed week 1 of my 18 week marathon training program for the Chuncheon Marathon in South Korea. I will be following Hal Higdon’s Novice 2 program with the slight modification of shifting the days to meet my needs. Everything will be one day earlier so that my long run is on Friday, leaving me Saturday for cross training and Sunday free. My cross training will consist of the stationary bike and a few miles here and there with the local Hash House Harriers.

       Hash House Harriers is definitely not for everyone, but if you can get past the adolescent humor and beer consumption (or embrace it) the runs are tons of fun and consist more of walking and hiking than actually running (although groups can be vastly different). The best part is we run in a big chatty group so at least once a week I am not running alone.

       One other detail that I have made a goal is to run the marathon barefoot. The weather should be good enough on race day and I have all summer to get out the door at 6:30 before the pavement heats up, so I’m shooting for most, if not all of my training runs to also be barefoot. With the exception of the hash run, all miles were bare this week. Hashing barefoot is not an option!

Week 1

Mon: 3 easy miles. I typically HATE runs like this, but they definitely serve a purpose by knocking off the cobwebs created by the previous week’s pace and long runs and loosen me up for Tuesday’s effort.

Tues: 5 mile pace run. Since taking off at full speed is very hard on the body and not easy to do, I start by warming up with an easy 1 mile run and then step it up to my training pace for the assigned distance. This pace should be the pace you plan to run your marathon. The Chuncheon course includes a lot of hills and I am contemplating running a second marathon 2 weeks later to qualify for Marathon Maniacs so I am training as if I plan to run a 4 hour marathon, but will actually hope to end up running at a 4:30 pace on race day. For my pace run I had to push to keep the proper pace, but it was more of a mental issue than a physical one. As the temperatures rise and the distance increases, I’m sure it will get harder.

Wed: 3 easy miles. I did not mind 3 miles so much this time, LOL. I was tired from my run the day before and this was just to keep the rust from settling in. It had rained just before I ran so the air was like molasses. After getting cleaned up from my run I went for my first deep tissue massage. I hope to make this a regular part of my training plan as I definitely have a lot of knots to work out. I was sore the next day, but felt good!

Thurs: Rest day. I am so ready to run and train that it is hard to take a rest day. The first 3 days felt very easy and it was tempting to lengthen a run or two, but I know I need to build gradually and that the mileage will be more than enough very soon.

Fri: LONG RUN!! Once a month, I have managed to get in a run of 10 miles or more so only running 8 this week actually felt wimpy. It was my favorite kind of weather, 65F and pouring rain! I love stomping in puddles and feeling the rain on my skin. My hat keeps it out of my eyes and I was never too warm or too cool. I could definitely have gone longer, but decided to stick to the plan and headed into the gym for stretches and a little hip/core work. The Korean cleaning ladies were not amused with me dripping all over their floor.

Sat: Hash House Harrier run! We actually did a bit more running than usual, about 5 miles total on my feet and since we didn’t head up into the hills there were no hiking or steep climbs. We did do a lot of standing around and walking so it took a couple of hours to cover the distance, but it was fun and gave my muscles a break while still keeping me moving.

So there you have it, my first week done, 17 left to go!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

On the Road Again

    I haven’t blogged in a while. Well, actually I blogged on my notebook and the whole thing disappeared, so it didn’t make it to the internet.

       Mostly I haven’t had much to blog about. The three week long virus really took its toll. Then I had a good week before going on vacation where I busted a toe (either sprained or broken, but definitely purple,) and strained my already over sensitive Achilles. So I have been resting and fighting an RA flare.

       One thing I have been working on lately is running for the fun of it and not letting running run my life. Being on the verge of marathon training, I’m looking at my 18 week plan and realizing this will be my life for the next 4 ½ months. Often, after a course of marathon training, people are burnt out and swear they will never do it again. Most eventually forget their negative feelings and start up the next year, but my goal is not to get to that place. I want to enjoy my training and finish my marathon thinking about the next one. I want to work my training around my life so that I don’t feel like I am giving up living to run. Part of the way I am doing this is by picking a less aggressive training plan than I had originally intended and rearranging the days so that my long run is on Friday, I can cross train by doing an extremely easy run/hike with a fun group on Saturdays, and take Sunday totally off to be ready to start again on Monday.

       I’m also learning not to be a slave to a schedule. I love to count things, nearly to the point of being obsessive so it thrills me to see my miles adding up, calculate my averages, and fill in the pages of my log. Unfortunately, I often get lost in the numbers and fail to listen to my body because I don’t want to fall behind on my mileage goals, but this is a recipe for disaster. I will track my training miles, but if it miss a run, oh well, I’m not going to let it make me a worried wreck about race day. I know I can finish a marathon, training is just about how fast and how I’ll feel the next day. Yes, I’d love to set a personal record, but more importantly I want to ENJOY the process and race!

       I hate when I feel like RA has won a battle so I was really unhappy when I finally caved and went in for a steroid shot. I really didn’t want to resort to steroids again, but after all the things that have added up to set off this flare, I just could not seem to get a handle on it on my own. RA is about staying ahead of the flares and once you get behind the 8-ball it is hard to get ahead of it again. Maybe I should have been patient and let it subside on its own, but I have run out of patience and want to get on with my life. It has been 7 months since my last dose of steroids, which is longer than I have gone in a couple of years so I guess I have made some progress. I nearly had a car accident Wednesday morning because I was so tired I wasn’t paying attention. That was what tipped the scales. I won’t take steroids just to run, but when I become a road hazard, it is time to do something.

       The good news is that I ran 4 lovely miles yesterday with great splits. The first mile was really rough as I was sore and my muscles felt like leaded rocks, but once I was loosened up I felt great. Today I’m hitting the gym and tomorrow I have 2 runs with different Hash House Harrier groups!! They are the most fun people I have ever run with and even the long bus ride to and from the first Hash will be a ton of fun. I needed more raw fun in my life and this has really done the trick! If you are ever in the mood for abject silliness, I highly recommend finding a group near you.