Sunday, February 26, 2012

China Marathon Training

      Once again, everything about my training is ending up abnormal. It might be time to reevaluate what is normal!

       The first 5 weeks of marathon training have been a bust. The never ending illnesses plaguing me have been relentless, but they are finally abating and I actually completed a full week of running, YAY! One of the best things I have added to my arsenal of running gear is a pair of Merrell Trail Gloves. I love my Vibram Treks, but there is safety in numbers and having your toes out there individually makes them much more susceptible to damage. Several purple toes later, I decided it was time to give up on the toe shoes for trail running. The Merrells are fantastic. Not only do they have a very wide toe box to accommodate my monkey toes, by buying them as big as I could get away with, I can wear thick wool socks for warmth in snow and ice, and then crank down the laces later when it gets warm. They breathe very well and have successfully protected my toes from rocks that would have left them looking like I dropped a hammer on my foot. I bought the men's Trail Glove for the extra width and because they haven't seen fit to make a women's Trail Glove yet. No big deal, they are black and simple and wonderful to run in.

       I am totally re-evaluating my training plan though. As fantastic as CrossFit is, getting up at 4 am two days a week is rough me. It would be possible if my family would settle down by 8pm so I could go to sleep, but our house is small and they are noisy so I rarely get to sleep before 10 or 11. Missing hours of sleep does not agree with my RA so unless I’m considering backing off on that if it doesn’t work out over the next couple of weeks

       The other thing is my long runs. Pace is totally out the window since I am running the mountain and not just a flat road, but I have also taken to heart the advice of many people that have told me the long run is about time on our feet so I have slowed way down and am really enjoying my long runs again. Yesterday I ran the first 6 miles with a beginner so we did more walking than running. It took almost 2 hours to cover the first 6 miles (including bathroom breaks etc.), but no worries, after I dropped her off I headed back out and ran 9 more miles in the next two hours. The air was surprisingly clear so the views were spectacular from the summits of the hills. For all 4 hours of running 15 miles, the elevation gain was over 2,000 feet! I really hope this is enough to keep The Great Wall from being so grueling. At least I know up front that I only need to average about 18 minutes per mile to finish. If I can run up and down the mountain for 5 or 6 hours at a 15 mpm pace, I should be covered for race day. My goal for China is to savor every minute of the race and not be miserable afterwards, so I need to put in a lot of hard work now.
Where did the poodle go?

Friday, February 10, 2012

Quick Update

Just a quick update to say the 11 miles (well, actually 10.8) went well. I took it very slow, but at least got it done and didn't feel too horrible afterwards despite the full fledged head cold. The best part about running with a head cold is running works like an anti-histamine so you can actually breathe when you run!
  I should also add a caveat about CrossFit, I only do the workouts twice a week. I can't do CrossFit on the same days as a long or pace run and I definitely need rest days! Twice a weeks seems to give me enough time to get over being sore, but still build strength.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Back on Track for Marathon #4

       I had real delusions that I would keep up with marathon training while my daughter, that I hadn’t seen in 18 months and who had never been to Korea, was visiting. It might have happened had I not been hit with another wicked case of bronchitis the day after she arrived. That coupled with multiple long days on my feet touring tourist attractions and theme parks, left me facing week 4 of training with a massive mileage deficit.

       Better the first few weeks than the peak or last! So, I’m ready to be back on track and am doing my best to ignore the new head cold that hit today (geeze, really?!?) I made it to CrossFit, which included 1.5 miles of laps spread through the work out, so I only need 1.5 more after the work out to get my easy 3 finished. Despite the many rounds of push-ups, wall balls (where you squat and then jump up and toss a medicine ball at a 9 ft. up the wall), the running laps were my chance to catch my breath and relax before the next round (it took almost 30 minutes for 5 rounds). Of course, when my coach found out I was taking the running laps easy, he said I wasn’t pushing hard enough. Ummm, I wanted to barf through the first of each set of 3 laps, I guess it isn’t hard enough until you actually barf your morning cuppa.

       Anyway, after 3 months of CrossFit I now feel I can say it is great and good for my RA riddled body. I have looked for years for something that would do as much for my upper body as running has done for my lower and have finally found it. Lifting weights on my own just aggravated my joints, but the faster pace coupled with constantly changing up what you are doing seems to be working. I admit, I am nowhere near lifting the kind of weights that are prescribed for accomplished CrossFitters, and I need modifications for many things like push-ups because my RA damaged wrists don’t bend much anymore, but with the proper attention to form and modifications AND not letting myself get carried away, I am gaining strength at a nice rate and my joints are handling the increased work load. I’m actually really excited about my half marathon test race in March 18th to see what kind of improvements CrossFit has made to my running pace. Following workouts that make my shoulders sore, I can sure tell how much we depend on them to run!

       I’m not too worried about my 11 mile long run this weekend, at least not about the distance; the weather may be another story….