Sunday, November 1, 2009


Ok, so I really sucked out there today. I'll cut to the chase- watch time: 1:44:48. Thing is, I started out halfway in between the 1:40 and 1:45 pace groups, and the first mile was 7:35. Next two were 7:45 and 7:48, but I never really got into a groove.

I could list all my excuses: my hip started hurting around mile 7, I didn't sleep well last night, blah, blah, blah, but the truth is- I didn't have it today. I have fallen into a BAD habit of starting out too fast in races, and I end up with a crappy time, but more importantly, have a crappy time during the race. I feel pretty sure if I would have stayed back with the 1:45 group the first 5M or so that I would have enjoyed myself MUCH more.

Now-- here is where the numbers thing comes into play. Last year I ran a fast, flat 1/2 marathon in 1:40:12, and the past two years before that, did the same race in 1:40:48 and 1:41xx. Now granted, I was not coming off an injury those past years, and the course was much faster. So-- would I be that much happier with 2 minutes faster? 120 seconds = happiness? YEP.

Am I THAT out of shape that my training (previous post) doesn't predict what I should run? Or, am I that lazy/lame/gutless to go out there and get it done? I had miles today that were slower than miles on LR, and felt MUCH harder. UGH.

So... where does this leave me? Besides pissed off and doubting myself? Well, I AM going to still run the Philly Half Marathon, and cheer on my friends from RWOL, but after that I am going to take a break from training. I ran for 19 years and had many successes and built up my confidence, but the past year I have had nothing but injuries and crappy races. Something needs to change b/c I work too hard through too much pain to feel this sh*tty during races.

Tomorrow is another day....

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Feeling the Same Way All Over Again...

... ok, so maybe not exactly the same way all over again, but it is a great Norah Jones tune, and sort of indicative of how I feel the week before a fall 1/2 marathon.

Running: had been going very well! After spending July, August, and September getting my hip stronger and so it doesn't hurt with each step (seriously), I FINALLY feel like my old (running) self again. I am not sure if it was the strength training, the stretching, sports massage or chiropractor adjustments, but whatever it was, it worked!

I actually have two fall 1/2 marathons: one on 11/1, and the Philly 1/2 on 11/22. My plan was to try and run a 1:42 or better this coming weekend, and shoot for 1:40 at Philly. I have been running my LR faster, and feeling good doing so, but have only been running 3x a week.

BUT, I have been doing 8-10M/week on the elliptical with another 4-8 miles a week walking hills at a decent pace. That combined with the upper body/core work I have been doing is leaving me cautiously optimistic that I can achieve both of these goals.

I went back to look at the training the 5 weeks prior to the half marathons I did last year and in 2007: both of which I ran in under 1:41.

# weeks out 2 3 4 5
LR/pace 9/8:59 14/9:10 10.5/8:56 10/8:48
mpw 19 26 20 15
speedwork 2M@7:30 2M@7:30 2M@7:32 2M@7:48
elliptical elliptical

2008-result 1:40:12
LR/pace 14@9:25 7 @ 8:48 12@9:06 12@9:03
mpw 26 10 31 30
speed 4M@7:28 800s at 6:58 4M@7:28

note: hurt quad in week 4-- did a lot of XT the weeks before the race

2007- result 1:40:45
LR/pace 10@8:30 14@9:15 12@9:30 12@9:30
mpw 22 17 28 26
speed 7M@7:49 10K@ 7:31 3 x 1M @ 7:19

so-- I'm not really sure what this tells me. In 2008 I was dealing with a sore quad muscle the 2-3 weeks before the race, and did a lot of XT the two weeks prior to the race. Race day everything went great, and due to a tactical error (thinking I needed 7:40 pace instead of 7:38) I did not go sub 1:40.

2007: just trained for this fall 1/2 marathon. Obviously did more speedwork, but LR were at slower paces. More of a Pfitz-style approach.


Digging up these #s actually has me feeling better about my two goals. If I run well this upcoming week, and have a good recovery, I can still get in two more solid LR before Philly. As always, race-day weather will also affect how hard I push it this coming week. As they always say, it IS only a number, right?


Monday, August 10, 2009

On the Road Again....

So I have been slowly building up to running 3x a week, with the August goal of getting 3-4 runs a week in and getting mileage up to 20-25 mpw. Last week I ran 5,5 and 6 and find that the hip does not like paces faster than 8:30 min/mile, which I only know from wearing my Garmin. It was super humid for yesterday's run, so keeping an easy pace was... well easy.

I have two more Training sessions, and the past two weeks added a third day of 30 minutes lifting on my own. I do think this will help my physique as well as my metabolism. My last Training session is next Monday the 17th, then I will take two weeks off while boys are in Penguins Hockey Camp and the week that school starts. Have been going to Training at 6 a.m. which, like many things in life, is a Blessing and a Curse.

I emailed the Philly Marathon folks and am in the process of officially downgrading my registration to the Half Marathon. There's always Pittsburgh....

Other than that, life is pretty good. It has been nice having these couple of weeks with no set schedule, but I am looking forward to getting back to a routine.

I will start scouting Half Marathon Training Plans next week...

Friday, July 17, 2009

I'm gonna be sore tomorrow!

So, I had my first training session today-- they ask you to do 30 minutes of cardio before you start, so I walked 3M (sub 14 min) on our hilly roads, then went in. They had me doing some circuit training: 10 minutes on the elliptical (they have several different types, including the cross training kind so you can go forwards and backwards) followed by 2 upper body strength moves (i.e. chest presses with bar 3 x 15 reps followed by lat pulldowns 3 x 15) and then repeat- so a total of 40 minutes of cardio (they did have me on the TM once-- more on that later) and 6 different focused sets of upper body.

They also had me work my quads, and did 12 minutes of ab workout on the Bosu ball. Then, she stretched me out afterward and asked how I liked everything. I told her (the owner) that I did not want to do any TM while I was there, so I could keep my running separate from the stretches and strength training, which she said was fine.

The cardio portions she told me were all designed to help with the quads as well, as they were all hill workouts of different intensities. I was there for 90 minutes, so coupled with my 41 minute walk it was a good morning! I am anticipating feeling VERY sore tomorrow, but liked what they had me do. Of course I could do most of it on my own in a gym, but having someone set the weights, program the elliptical/cross trainer and of course, lead the ab exercises was key, as was the stretching she did on me at the end.

I found out that when you are currently in a training program at this place, you can use all of there cardio equipment when you want, and they have a 20 minute ab session every other hour that anyone can drop in on, as well as spinning, yoga, and cardio-push (interval cardio class) classes. So, I just have to keep at it at home.

We'll see how I feel tomorrow.....

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Hip, Hip, Horray! (at least for today!)

I have been mainly walking the past week and doing the hip stretches/strengthening exercises as proscribed by my sports doc last week. Last Thursday and Friday I tried to run a bit- 10 minutes walking/5 minutes running, and it HURT. LIKE HELL. This weekend was my dad's family reunion in Indiana, so 6 hours of driving each day, but no exercise at all.

Monday- walked 5M
Tuesday- 7M total- 2M running. 10 min walk, 5 min run pattern. 1 M swim
Wednesday- 7.5 M walk on trail (concrete section)

So, yesterday went to see about getting some Personal Training/Therapy at this place run by a woman who has run 12 marathons, and has also come back from injury. She did a full evaluation, including HR/resting HR analysis, strength, flexibility etc. and they design a plan to work with you. I am intrigued by this for two reasons 1) I KNOW I need to get back to some sort of scheduled weight training in order to get stronger, and to tone up, which will make me much happier overall and 2) I also KNOW I need to work on flexibility.

So, I went ahead and committed to a 10-session package, and we'll see how things look at the end of that- I figure it will be about 5 weeks total. First session is Friday. Since I have never had any kind of personalized program drawn up for me, it should be interesting. She said she wanted to strengthen my quads and calves to give better support when I run, and then to work on flexibility in the hip area, and to tone up my core and upper body. No surprises there!

I have also REALLY come around to the idea that I should NOT train for a fall marathon this year. I had signed up for the Philly full, and was planning to maybe train quietly for that, but am really going to focus on getting stronger and doing the two halves that are on my calendar: Spirit of Pittsburgh on 10/25 and the Philly 1/2 on 11/22. Then, maybe, maybe train for Pittsburgh full next spring. We'll see.

Other than that, summer is crusing along nicely.


Thursday, July 2, 2009

Now I'm REALLY pissed....

So... hmph, as part of my effort to scale back my mileage to a measly 20-25 mpw in order to let the knee rest a bit I decided if I couldn't run LONG, I might try some repeats and run FAST.

Last week ran 3 x 800 as part of a monster 3.5 M run , and ran them at my recent (not PR) 5K pace. 7:13, 7:13, 7:08

This week ran 4 x 800 (all of these on TM) as part of 4M run and ran 7:08, 7:08, 7:03, 6:58 (ok, so a teeny bit faster, but heck it felt good!). Well, my LEFT hip decided to balk at the notion. It was a bit sore after the run, but I stretched it out pretty well afterward.

Tuesday I ran 7M pretty easy (9:15 pace) around North Park and felt a twinge or two, but not for a more than a minute at at time.

Wednesday I woke up and it hurt to WALK. Seriously, WTF? I have been running for 20 years, and during the past year have had more problems than the previous 19 combined. Am I getting that old? If I can't run far and I can't run fast what the hell sort of goals can I set for myself.

Hmpf. I'm sure my AARP form is arriving any moment now.

Thing that really sucks about the situation is that the Firecracker 5K is in two days, and I have run it every year since 1996 that I have been in town, except the year when Tommy was 3 weeks old. Even ran it the year I just found out I was pregnant with Danny. It is a tradition for me, and I tend to place in my age group. UGH. DH says its just another 5K, but to me it is more.

So-- as for now I am not running, but haven't 100% commited to it.

It doesn't help my self image that I weigh more than I ever have in 16 years, except when I was pregnant. Sigh.

Hopefully next post will be more cheery.


Friday, June 26, 2009

Lessons from Boston

Two months later, and I still don't feel that happy about my Boston experience. Woulda-Coulda-Shoulda is sort of where I am now. But here is what I have learned:
Top Ten Things I've Learned about Training/Running Boston:
#10 Be realistic about your expectations on race day
#9 Get to the buses earlier than 7 a.m.
#8 Cross Training does NOT equal running
#7 Treadmill Training will NOT prepare you for the hills
#6 Treadmill Training will NOT prepare you for the hills
#5 Stick with the training program that worked best
#4 Run Long Runs outside; see # 7 and # 6
#3 Don't expect much success on 30-40 mpw training
#2 Skiing for 7 days in a row two weeks before Boston is a B-A-D idea
#1 No matter what happened leading up to race day... just embrace and enjoy the race itself!
So, that in a nutshell is where I am right now with my Boston experience. I have come to realize that my sh*tband has dominated my running/training for a year now, and I am sick and tired of it. But, going back to #10 and #3, I have also realized that until I can train easily at 30 mpw, that I can NOT think about running another marathon.... and THAT IS OK.
My running social life centers mainly around the wonderful women in the BQ Thread at RWOL, and while the support is wonderful, training advice sound, and other snippets of everyone's life so interesting, I have to remember not to get caught up in other people's training. I can still have my friends and support even though I'm not training for a marathon... at least right now.
Being a 'marathon runner' has been a label I have enjoyed having the past 3 years... and in the early 90s, but fact is, I'm a RUNNER. I would run without races, and usually my run is one of the highlights of my day. So, if it means I race 10Ks and 1/2 marathons instead of 26.2 so be it.
at least for now.....

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Boston in a word: Bittersweet

As the Big Head Todd and the Monsters song proclaims: Bittersweet; more sweet than bitter, bitter than sweet.

Boston 2009 was, as I texted to friends back home "the most amazing and suckful things I've ever done". I have had some time to process what happened, and I am pleased with my ability to enjoy the experience, as disappointing as the race was.

I have to consider myself so lucky: DH took time off work to come to Boston with me- we spared little expense and had some wonderful dinners. He and my folks supported me in every way that they could: from scoping out the race course to giving me space after the race. THANKS!

When I qualified for Boston last year at the Flying Pig, I was on a high. My training had gone great, my race went pretty smoothly, and I just KNEW it was going to be my day. This capped off a calendar year in which I had set PRs in the 5K, 10K, 1/2 marathon, and then marathon- at age 42. My legs felt great, and I was looking forward to running a fall marathon, and then either Boston or Pittsburgh in the spring.

Long story short: as often in life, things do not go as planned. My knee started hurting in June, and never really fully recovered. I took many precautionary measures: did not do a fall marathon, took 3 weeks off from running, did yoga, massages, followed a minimal-running training program for Boston, yet still was getting on the plane on Saturday with knee pain. As I said in my last post, I knew that my knee was going to be a factor in the race, the question was how big.

I tried to shove that fear into the back of my head, and enjoyed a great dinner w/DH and my folks Saturday night. The best part of my Boston marathon experience was on Sunday, when I met up with Sara, Jackie, Barb, and got to get to hang out with them and their SOs, and meet Sara's family. Sitting at lunch on Saturday I realized this was truly an amazing experience: having lunch with running friends from across the country. We had a lot of laughs and it was so good to meet these wonderful ladies who had been so supportive during my training.

Saturday night we had a yummy dinner at Cantina Italiana in the North End, which was crawling with marathoners intent on carbo-loading. I got a good night sleep (surprisingly) and headed out to the buses around 6:45

As I stepped out of the hotel, a woman came up behind me and asked if I minded if she walked with me. She was from Cincinnati; had a very similar running history to mine, and was fun to talk to. We ended up hanging out together for the next 3+ hours, until it was time to go to the corrals. (We didn't even make it to Athlete's Village until 9:00 or so, and I missed hooking up with the girls.) I had to make one last pit stop, and she went off ahead. Thanks to her, I was pretty relaxed and the time passed by quickly.

The start for me was pretty anticlimatic: at NYC I was in line on the bridge while they played the National Anthem and then 'New York, New York'. Not this time--when I was walking to the corrals I heard the announcement that the second wave had started. I found my corral, and set off.

Now, keep in mind that I was at the back of corral 18, so most of the folks around me were women of my age, older men, or charity runners. The charity runners added an additional dimension to the race. It was truly inspiring to read some of the messages on the backs of their shirts, especially those running for specific family members and friends. This is an element to Boston that is unique, and probably many people don't see, b/c they are w-a-y ahead of were I was. The slightly annoying element they bring is that they tended to lump together in groups, but yesterday was not a day for me to be passing people.

My #1 goal was to run pain-free: something at that point which was out of my hands. I thought if I ran a 9 minute/mile or so pace that might help the situation. The first few miles I was on target overall, but either was hitting 9:15 or 8:45 or so. By the 10K point, I was on the 9 min. pace, but that was when my knee started to hurt. I tried to ignore it for a mile or so, and took some Tylenol around mile 7. I kept looking for the downhill segment of the race, but the course was really rolling hills the first 10 or so miles.

I hit the 10 mile point, and was starting to feel cautiously optimistic: I hit it right at 1:30-- on target. After that the knee sort of took over. Several thoughts went through my head at this point-- one of the them (gasp!) was even to DNF. But, this was BOSTON, and that was not an option. So, somewhere between mile 10 and 11 I just let go of my goal pace, and tried to have a good time. It was really hard to do, but I figured it was the only way I would finish with a smile.

I saw my folks and DH between miles 16 and 17, which was a great boost- I knew they were getting text messages of my times, and would be worried as to how I was feeling. So I plastered a big smile on my face when I saw them. The hills were next-- that famous right-hand turn onto Commonwealth set them up ahead. I am very proud of myself that I did not walk on any of the hills. I was going very slowly at this point, but kept running.

I also had been feeling lightheaded from time to time. I knew from past experience that Gatorade was not my friend, neither was GU, so I started taking offers from the crowd. I took a Twizzler and thought of one of the girls from the RWOL forum who had just run Paris with a horrible cold/sinus infection. I took some jelly beans, oranges, and an Oreo at mile 25~ not that it was going to help me any, but damn it-- I was hungry at that point. My Clif bars had worked fine, but I dropped one of the bags pretty early on. Then, when I went to take the last couple of bites from the second Clif Bar, they fell out of the bag onto the ground. At this point I was almost laughing at how absurd my run had become. I turned around, and to the dismay of some behind me, picked up the turd-like pile of chocolate chip clif bar pieces that had fallen out. I actually was grinning b/c I was thinking of the scene in Caddyshack with the candy bar in the swimming pool. The lightheadedness came and went throughout the race.

The one thing that sort of baffled me was the lack of porta-potties on the course. I had been warned about this, but when I did HAVE to stop, there was actually a line... all of the porta-potties had lines. That took up about 4 minutes, but when a gal's gotta go....

After the hills, I sort of picked up a bit-- the crowds were dense from this point on, and loud!!! The gravity on the downhills really helped at this point, plus I was running through a part of town I knew pretty well from when I lived there. Seeing the Citgo sign was such a boost-- I was going to make it! I somehow missed seeing my peeps again at mile 24, but met up with them back at the hotel. I was running from time to time around a guy who had a banana top on his head, and the crowd loved 'Banana Man'. This was a nice boost, even if it wasn't for me!
During the race I thought often of the gals from the RWOL forum: when my knee started hurting early, I thought of how one gal's daughter is battling cancer and how much harder that is than running. The twizzler and gummis I took reminded me of another, as I mentioned. Banana-man reminded me of another gal, and I knew she was posting little cheerleader emoticons for us all during the race. Thanks girls!!!!

After I finished and completed the death march that is the post-marathon chip return/medal receiving/drop bag retrieving process, I made my way back to the hotel and found one of my friends in line at the hotel bar. We were trying to meet up there. I got to give both of the girls a quick congrats before they headed off-- they both looked great, and I was so happy to hear they had both had great times!
Our trip home was uneventful, which is good. It was so amazing to hug the boys when they got off the school bus. Friends of ours had dropped off congrats balloons, which we all enjoyed bringing in to the house.

One of my girlfriends just dropped off a Boston Cream Pie and bottle of my favorite wine for me (now, is that a friend or WHAT?), and asked "was it the most amazing marathon experience". I answered as truthfully as I could: it was and it wasn't. I feel blessed to have had the opportunity, yet wish that I had not limited during my training and especially on race day by my knee. On the other hand, considering I have had problems with said knee since 1993, I should be grateful. should... not my favorite word right now.

The memories of the Boston marathon will be most likely the fun I had with my DH and folks, and of the great time I had at lunch with my RWOL friends. The race itself.... I guess I'm still processing that part. As one of the gals on RWOL said about a recent destination marathon: the trip was great, except for the marathon part.

What's next? Well, I'm signed up to do the Pittsburgh Half Marathon in two weeks, but if the knee is not pain-free I will bag it and either try to volunteer at the last minute, or take the boys down to cheer on my friends who are running the half and full. Most likely that was my last full marathon. A bittersweet way to end the marathoning part of my running perhaps, but I'm not sure I can put my body and my emotional self through that again.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Deja Vu.... all over again

I am limiting myself to 10 minutes for this RANT.

After the 2006 NYC debacle, I SWORE I would NEVER AGAIN run a marathon in that much pain. I have tried so hard to keep my knees healthy this last training cycle: only running 3x a week, yoga (which to me is a form of torture), swimming, have had massages every 2-3 weeks, stretched, lost a few pounds, etc. The ONLY thing I did that was probably not in the best interest of my knees was to take a ski trip with the boys April 2-9. WTF? What am supposed to do? Cancel an 8 day ski trip b/c I may or may not run well at the Boston marathon? Disappoint myself, my kids and my parents?? I honestly did not even ski that hard-- not like some years. The knee did NOT bother me at all in Colorado, but, like in January, started hurting when we returned.

Note: I have suffered off and on from ITBS since 1993. This current pain/soreness is in BOTH the ITBand/knee area, and the patella area. So, it is different. That is both GOOD and BAD in my book.

Had a good run on Monday 10M- didn't push the pace too much-- felt great! At one point the knee started feeling a bit wonky, but it was not painful.

Had a deep tissue massage on Tuesday, and since then have been in some sort of discomfort and/or pain in the knee and also my right hip area. Again- this is GOOD and BAD.

Bottom line: I am praying-- seriously praying-- that the patella area/hip area soreness is a result of the deep tissue massage, and that 3 days from now will be better. If I had to line up today, I would do so knowing that I would be in pain for part of the race. It is hard to get excited about the race/weekend knowing that pain may be in the forecast.

I am TRYING to be optimistic that everything will click into place by/on Monday. It is also hard to rest b/c I have so many things to do to get ready.

OK- rant over. I seriously hope when I post tomorrow my final thoughts that things will feel better.


Thursday, April 2, 2009

30K from Hell and a new time goal.

Ok- so last year when I did the Just a Short Run (JASR) I nailed my 15M @MP with an average MP of 8:35. It was such a great confidence booster, and let me know that I COULD get my BQ.

Well... one year later and the same race let me know that I needed to make an adjustment on my time goal. It was sort of a cluster all around, and a good reminder of why I DO NOT like going to races with other people.

I went with my neighbor, who is training for Pittsburgh, and is a person I really like. I always thought that if our kids went to the same school and/or she didn't work full time that we could be really good friends. I was happy to support her doing this race, as this will be her first marathon. Anyway, we didn't drive together, but since they were going to have record crowds, she asked it we could follow each other up there so we could park together. She asked if we could run the first few miles together, and in hindsight, I just should have stayed with her all day.

Anyway, when I went to meet her I realized I had left my Kinesio tape at home. Now, if it were just me, I would have gone back and gotten the tape, but I didn't want to throw her time-table off, so sucked it up. Drive up there was good. I left my Imodium in the car, and again, if I were solo, would just have gone back to get it, but didn't want to leave her in the lurch. LESSON LEARNED.

I took the first 5K easy, as planned: 36:31- similar to last year. Then I tried to nail down my MP- goal was 8:40ish. I really would have loved to hit 8:35 for the 15M like last year, but have not been running the miles, AND IT SHOWED. The other major cluster was that the mile markers seemed to be a bit off, so in hindsight I just should have noticed the miles splits, but gone on the 5M time as I crossed the mat.

1st 5M: 8:18-- WTF??? Had I know that at the time I would have slowed down immensely~
2nd 5M: 9:09

10M @ MP of 8:43- exactly where I wanted to be, HOWEVER those first 5M at 8:18 pace kicked my arse. Did the last 5M as a warm-down and had to stop 2x to visit the porta-potty (damn lack of imodium) and actually had to walk for 5 minutes or so b/c my knee was killing me. yes, I shed some tears along the way, and felt like crap afterward. My neighbor finished with ave. pace o 9:18 , which would have made for a nice LR pace for me. DAMMIT! I did get in the last 1.5 miles so it was 20M total. Ave pace for the 30k was 9:32, but I felt like complete CRAP! Leg hurt, ego hurt. Decided to change my Boston goal time to 3:55, which is a 9:00 min/mile pace.

NOW I just got those splits today 5 days afterward, and had I know that I did the first 5M at 8:18, I would have felt better about the whole situation. NEXT TIME I WILL WEAR MY GARMIN! UGH.

So- last week total mileage was 41 miles.

This week-- Tuesday did 10M w8@MP (8:50)
Thursday- 8M with 3 x 15 MP minus 20 seconds (8:27 for the first one and 8:19 for the second two.)

So..... I am left with a quandry about race day. I KNOW I will not PR-- that ship has sailed. But I would like to give the BQ a shot, but am hedging my bets at this point.

NEW GOAL FOR BOSTON: FINISH WITH A SMILE! also- under 3:55. I think that is doable, and if the weather cooperates and my taper goes well, maybe I'll get in under 3:53.

We leave for Colorado today- yippee!!!


Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The Bad and the Good-- two days apart!

Ok, so Monday I took the car in for state inspection (after getting a hefty warning/ticket) and thought I'd get a nice, easy 15 in while they checked the car. WELL.

First, it was COLD- 30 degrees or so, and my asthma kickec in a bit-- not so much that I was actaully wheezing, but my breathing was labored. Didn't help that I was on a hilly route. I was having trouble breaking 10min/mile. Several thoughts went through my head, and in the end I decided to HTFU and just run as many hills as possible, albeit slowly.

My legs were dead-- I actually cannot remember the last time they felt that way-- just like lead slogging through mud or something. I stopped a few times for BR breaks, and to buy some water, and to talk with the guys from Sears Auto. Turns out they needed the car for a few MORE hours... so ended the 15 at home (embarassing pace: 10:04) only to find that I had locked myself out. So- used my secret way to get in, showered and then had to WALK the 3M over to get the car. By this point in the day (1:30) it had gotten MUCH warmed, so the walk was actully pretty nice-- my legs felt better after than before. Count that as my CRAPPY LR for the training cycle. Ran 60 miles in 8 days though.. legs need a break.

Tuesday- walked during DS's piano lesson for 25 minutes, then rode stationary bike for 30 minutes. Easy-

Today- (Wed). Wasn't sure what to do-- original thought was 8M outside, then when I looked at the weather, changed that to 4M inside and 4M outside. Got on TM, and ended up doing 11 on TM-- ave pace 9:15. My legs felt like I go have gone for a few more miles, but do NOT want to hurt anything this close to 4/20. I did some hillwork (up to 3.0) which made for a great workout. The new tunes are really helping to get/keep me motivated!

Saturday is Just A Short Run (JASR). Weather forecast: warm- high of 58, but rainy- ugh. Am planning to do 15M @MP of 8:40. We'll see how the legs feel-- I might adjust it down to 13@MP and do the full 20. Still up in the air-- a lot will depend on the weather.


35 miles in 3 days!

So- I finally got my 20-miler in on St. Patrick's Day. Quite a change from 'drink free 'till you pee' at the Red Onion from 20 or so years ago! Average pace was 9:30, with the last 4M at MP or better. Did it on the Peters Trail, with the last few miles on the uphill section. Felt good most of the time. I uploaded a bunch of new songs from ITunes the night before and made a new playlist, which helped a TON! Not knowing what song was coming next was fun, and the new tunes mixed with old favorites kept me going.

Wednesday the weather was just perfect-- 55-60 or so (at least if felt that warm) so I did the unthinkable of late and ran again. Just a little 4M recovery... and I mean recovery-- I think the pace was 11/min mile-- really! On the trail again-- it was too nice to be inside- I went during CCD for the boys. There were tons of people outside, so that was nice.

Thursday I ran 11M outside and do notice a BIG difference in pace/effort on hills. Vowed to get as many runs between now and Boston done outside-- need that hill work! A very hilly 11M at 9:30 pace. Legs felt good, but tired.

Friday I swam 1M-- recovery.

Saturday-- 10M w/3 x 15M at MP minus 20 which turns out to be 8:12, which is really closer to MP minus 30, but felt ok. I actually did the last segment for 20 minutes, as I was REALLY on the clock with DH. Got. it. done.


Saturday, March 14, 2009

10 miles and Garmin revival

Last night went out with GNO gals for b-day dinners at Six Penn-- yummy and fun! Got home pretty late (12:30) and had 3 vodka drinks, so was feeling it a bit this morning. Had a good morning with the boys and got them off to see Chitty Chitty Bang Bang with MIL and SIL. Then, went to get my 10M run in.

On my way there I noticed my Garmin was not turning on. Was pretty pissed about it, b/c I took time to charge it before we left. Was thinking at the time it was dead, but I had my Ipod, and was going to the trail, so the markers would help. Parked at the 'top' of the trail, so that I'd run downhill the first 5M and uphill the last 5M. It was a very different physical and mental run than the same ten miles (in opposite direction) last week. Used my car clock for time estimate; I think it was 10.2 miles in 1:38. I actually felt like I was going a bit faster than that the last 5M (based on effort/breathing) but did take it really easy the first 5M. Good news: nothing hurts and I feel pretty good.

Better news: one of my friends from ROL helped me re-set my Garmin and its working again! What a relief! I actually enjoyed the run today without it, but really benefit from knowing pacing; at least every mile from a watch.

SRD tomorrow, then I AM going to get in that 20 Monday! I think I can! I think I can!

Friday, March 13, 2009

I rode the Short Bus to Yoga today....

yep... that would be me- the one requireing LOTS of extra attention from the yoga teacher. Nevermind that I selected a spot in the FAR BACK corner. This was 'Yoga 2' and I actually really LIKED this class- more movement and challenges--- somethings I definitely and am not flexible enough for, but I feel as though I held my own with the strength moves. I hope to take those Wed/Friday yoga classes more often.

Yesterday I got a short run in-- 5M around North Park. It was pretty windy, and I was blowing some pretty impressive (for me anyway) snot rockets, which seemed to end up on me or my clothing no matter which way the wind was blowing. oh well- that is what the washing machine is for, right? I was actually pretty pleased b/c I did not wear my Garmin, did not really get accurate mile splits, and was taking is really easy. 5M in 46:56 = 9:24 pace.

So, I have officially accepted the fact that I missed one long run this training cycle, and I'm trying to focus more on the runs I HAVE gotten in, rather than that now I'm obsessed wtih getting in a good 20-miler on Monday, or at the latest, Tuesday. That will really be my only chance to get in 2 20 mile runs this training cycle. Keeping my fingers crossed, and trying to not do too much.


Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Still no running-- day 4- UGH!

So I not only have not run since Saturday, but have not done ANY exercise since Sunday's measly stationary bike ride. I cannot remember the last time I went 3 days in a row without some sort of exercise. To top it off, I've been taking a 2+ hour nap the past three days while the boys are in school. Still feel like crap, but at least I'm feeling somewhat better today. Good enough to realize I WILL feel better someday.

So, my pity party continues....

I am trying to be positive and realize that at this point starting running again too early and too hard is going to be very bad for recovery and training. So, am going to try a slow 5m tomorrow, then 10 Saturday and maybe 15 or so Monday. Then pray that I feel well enough to get at least 1 20 miler in before the Just a Short Run. At least 18... UGH.

At least my IT Band and hamstring are rested....

TTFN from GT (grumpy Tara)

Monday, March 9, 2009

Welcome to my Pity Party~

Ok, so remember in the Lion King when the young cub Simba says 'Ha! I laugh in the face of danger', right before almost getting eaten by the hyenas? Well, Saturday I felt like 'Ha! I laugh in the face of a sinus infection, and it has come back to bit me on the ass, big time. Saturday's run went great, then we went to the Pitt b-ball game, and Saturday night I went to dinner and movie with a couple of friends. Nothing too strenuous, right?

Well, yesterday I woke up feeling like complete crap, and after Church and the Dude's b-day party (which went really well, and he totally enjoyed) I was till draining and wiped out. Went to bed early, slept ok, and this morning we ALL overslept! Now, I could blame it on the time change, but am going with the culprit de jour for all the ails me: the sinus infection. Got the boys off to school, and am sitting here feeling completely sorry for myself as far as my training goes.

Here are my woes:
I feel like this whole training cycle has been plagued from the start, and it is SO FRUSTRATING to me for 3 reasons:
1) it is Boston, which I have wanted to do since I cheered people on in 1989 at the race
2) I have tried to be so patient and smart with my training; skipped Philly this year, cut back to running 3 days a week, have been doing yoga, stretching, core work, etc.
3) I am not even shooting for a huge PR! ALL I WANT TO DO IS TRAIN FOR AND ENJOY THIS RACE~ I guess the running gods are not in my favor this year.

It would be one thing if I were shooting for a 3:35, training 6 days a week, running doubles and putting my body and family through all sorts of challenges and self-centered scheduling hoops, but I have remained positive and tried not to talk about my training setbacks. (except to the gals at RWOL- thanks gals!) I've arranged my schedule so that I only have a short workout on one weekday, the other weekday is a rest day. Done all my LR on Mondays or Tuesdays so as not to interfere with family activities.

All in all I guess my main complaint is WHY THE HELL CAN'T I JUST TRAIN FOR THIS THING? UGH!!!!

When I pull myself back and realize its just one day I'm taking off, and that it really doesn't make a difference if I run my 20 this week or next, I can step back from the proverbial ledge. It just gets to me sometimes. First the ITBand, then the hamstring, now the sinus infection. I hope and pray that this is it! I guess I keep telling myself that....

Ok. Enough bitching. In some weird way I feel better for getting this down.

Thanks for attending my pity party! Here's hoping there are no more scheduled in the near future!


Saturday, March 7, 2009

What Sinus Infection?

Yesterday I went to the Take Care Clinic and the P.A. said I have a sinus infection, which explains why my throat has felt like crap and I've had no energy the past couple of days. I get these a couple of times a year-- usually when the weather changes. She noticed my 'Marathon Mama' t-shirt and said I should not run for a few days. So... I did take the day completely off from working out yesterday, which was actually really nice btw, but went ahead and did my 10miler this morning.

Went out to the Peters Trail, which has about a 1-2% steady grade depending on where you park. So, I did the last 'ego run' I'll do before Boston, which is to park at the downhill end, so the first 5 miles were uphill:
9:44, 9:35, 9:28, 9:25 and 9:14

then I turned around:
8:46, 8:44, 8:38, 8:17, and 7:56! The last couple of miles I was trying to catch up with this women who was moving along pretty well... I did just at the last half mile of the trail.

So- the trail is ready to run on again! The drinking fountain and porta-potty are not up and working yet, but soon! Also, I will be parking at the 'top' end of the trail from now on to simulate the hill situation in Boston: downhill during the first part of the course and uphill during the second part.

All in all I feel pretty good about it, and am curious to see how things go on Monday, when I'm going to get in my first 20-miler of the training cycle.


Thursday, March 5, 2009

Putting my training in the hands of Esined....

Ok, so in an unorthodox move, I have officially committed to running 3x a week, with 1.5-2M swims on one day, and other recovery XT the 5th workout day. Will try and get at least one yoga day in there somewhere and a step-mill workout. (so, I guess that is 6 days a week). I hope to get to Hopkinton in the best shape possible, if not the best running shape.

There is a forumite in RWOL, Esined (I do know his real name, but want to keep the paparazzi guessing), who runs sub-3 marathons on 3x a week, with tough cross-training and lifting. Without going into details, I have gleaned enough about him through thread on the website, and he has been kind enough to answer my questions.

Thing is, what he does makes sense to me. It is not a FIRST-type training with super-fast or precise paces, but more Pfitiz-ish in the running portion of the training. This week I did my first of his suggested 'speed' workout.

10M with the 3 x 15 minutes at MP minus 20 seconds
w/u 2M
3 x 15 minutes at 8:12 pace, with 5 minute 'recovery' at 9:30 pace. The recovery pace might technically be too fast, but it felt good at the time.
The last 15 minute set I pushed to 20 minutes mainly b/c the looming boredom of a 1/5M warm down.

This was a GREAT workout! The 10M went by quickly, and my legs felt tested, but not tired.

Below are the questions I sent him:
1) next week, should I add more time to the sets (3 x 20) OR
2) add more speed to each set (MP minus 30 seconds) OR
3) add more of an incline to this workout. (this is what I think might be best for Boston, but wanted to get your opinion)

All in all this was a good confidence booster. For me, the endurance is my goal this training cycle, not additional speed, so I hope to continue the good week of running.


Tuesday, March 3, 2009

What a difference a day makes!

16M... CHECK
last two at MP..... CHECK
better mood........ CHECK!!!

Today's run could not have gone better, well I guess running outside would have been better. Bitter cold again- some schools around here had two hour delays... not ours thank goodness!

First 6.75M 1:05 9:37
Second 6.75M 1:03 9:19 pace
last 2.5~ 2M at MP 17:00, then last .5 cooldown.

Average pace for first 14M was 9:30, which is exactly where I wanted to be today. I was a bit nervous after running those 4M last night how the legs would feel, but they feel great! A good overall run, and good confidence booster. Now- I do need to get outside for these long runs! I did mix in some 1% grade during the first 14M, but that is not really hill work.


Mama told me there would be days like this....

So yesterday was an unmitigated disaster from a running standpoint. The Dude has been sick, I was home with him all day Sunday, and figured I'd let him sleep in, and take him to school around 10:00 and get my 16 in. He has this horrible hacking cough, and it was so strong it had made him sick a couple of times. I felt so badly for him, but he was really brave, and by Monday morning (yestereday) seemed to be doing better. So, when it was time to take him to school, the cough got really bad, and I kept thinking that I'd better make sure it was bronchitis or pneumonia or something.... so took him to the dr. There goes my daytime run....

Dude was 'fine', and actually in good spirits the rest of the day. DH volunteered to come home at a decent hour, and let me go run while he put the kids to bed. So, at that point I was looking at running from 6:30-9:0o PM--- not the best of times, but I was happy to be able to get it in.

Well, DH didn't get home until 6:30 (No fault of his, it is tax season) and when I got to the gym, I realized I didn't have my socks. At this point I was going to exchange the 16 for a speedish type workout of 10 with some sub-MP miles. When I started in at the 15 minutes at 8:12, the meat sauce I had been making for dinner and thus tasting in copious amount decided it was time to make a second appearance. I DID manage to keep it all down, but between the sick tummy and blisters that were starting to form on my upper foot, decided to call it a day. Got in 4M. UGH.

Now I AM lucky b/c my schedule is so flexible, but with running only 3x a week (more on that tomorrow) NEED, and I mean NEED to get all 3 runs in with their specific type of workout. So, I moved a couple of things around, and will inconvenience DH a bit again on Saturday, having to run that day, but will keep on moving on.

Here's hoping today is a better day for both me and the Dude.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

50 days to go... where am I?

Boston is 50 days away. I am trying not to freak out, and last week helped a good deal. I got in my 18 miler on Monday, which went great! Did it all on the TM; had to stop twice due to nature calling-- loudly, but felt good otherwise. First 16M at 9:44 pace; last two at GMP, 8:34.

Second run was OUTSIDE!!! yippee! 12M total: 6M on track, then the rest up past SCCC on the big uphill. I realized that I really need to run outside more b/c my breathing changed pretty dramatically on the hills. Average pace 9:33.

Third run TM run again: 10M w/5M at GMP. This run really helped my confidence. The MP felt good, and I could have dialed it up a notch or two, but didn't want to push things.

XT #1 was swimming: 2M with 3 x 10 length kick sets. Since the kick sets seems to tire out my legs, I am going to continue them. It makes the workout take about 15 minutes longer than otherwise, but I think it will help.

XT#2 will take place today. The little Dude was sick last night, and from 4am on, so DH took DS#1 to hockey game up in Indiana, PA. I am sorry I can't be there, but know it is so important to both of them that DH be there. They are going to play for the Playoff Chamionships this afternoon. So, I most likely will hit the stationary bike for 45 minutes or so.

So-- where am I? I am definitely on my own training plan-- and emailed a helpful RWOL forumite for pacing suggestions. I don't want to do the FIRST paces b/c I am afraid that running too many miles too fast will aggravate the ITBand. I know I have the speed to get the 3:47 again, but need to work on the endurance. If things go well the next few weeks, I'll add some VO2 workouts closer to the race date. It is still sinking in that I'm going to actually run the Boston Marathon!!


Saturday, February 21, 2009

Finally... a good run!

Yesterday I had the best run I've had this month~ FINALLY! The weather has turned biting COLD and WINDY again, so the TM it was. I am not fully back into the Pfitz plan, did 8 on Wednesday, so wanted to do 10 Friday, and hope to run 15 or so on Monday.

My legs felt fresh... sort of like the end of a taper for the first time in a couple of weeks. The ITBand also stopped hurting... it had been a noticeable twinge 24/7 for the past week or so. So-- first 4.2M did at 9:35 pace, then did the last 5.8 at 8:54 pace-- most of the last 3M were at or faster than MP. It just felt good to go fast again!

Followed that up with 10 minutes on the stair climber, so a good overall workout! We had dinner with our neighbors, which was fun.

Today both boys had hockey games-- Tommy's team won, and Danny's lost, but both boys played great... really fun!


Thursday, February 19, 2009

Swimming my way to Boston?!?

Ok- so I have not posted in over a month. Training was going really well until the week after our ski trip (two weeks ago) I ran a short run outside on February 3rd or so, and tweaked my hamstring on my left leg. IT Band/knee issue still in play on right leg, and I think the skiing did not help that. SIGH.

So, learning from past mistakes, I cut my 16 miler during week 11 down to 14 miles, and then did not run for a week. Swam 2M, 2.5M and did work on the Cross-trainer in attempt to not lose too much fitness during week 10.

This week is 9 weeks to go, and I am basically running to my own plan (pun intended). Did 8M yesterday, last 2M at MP (somewhere between 8:30-8:40 at this point in time). Today I swam 1/5 miles, including two 10 length kick sets, which really took it to my legs, in a good way. I have also added the stair climber to my routine. (goal 10-20 minutes 3x a week) in attempt to strengthen my legs. Am also committed to stretching every day at least 10 minutes a day. I figure I have 9 weeks to go, and want to get in as good of shape as possible. Hoping it will be good RUNNING shape.


Saturday, January 17, 2009

I'm Training Again

Yippee! It feels great to finally be on a training program! Boston is looking REAL to me now, as we are 13 weeks out.

Shhhh..... my ITBand is sleeping, and we don't want to wake it up! Seriously-- it has not hurt in awhile. I thinkin retrospect the boot camp I did was not the best idea. While it was a great workout, and I do think it helped control my weight a bit over the holidays, I think all the sprinting and jumping was not good for my knee. I may or may not try it again after Boston.

Two runs thus far this week on Pfitz 12/55

8M GA run: did the last two miles at MP- averaged 9:11 and
9M GA run: first 4M at 9:30 pace, then last 5M I did sort of a fartlet, moving all over the place- average pace 8:40.

I am thinking about checking the McMillan calculators and training for a 3:35 or so marathon. I am NOT going to go for that at Boston, but think that I might be doing myself a disservice by not running a bit harder on some of the runs. We'll see.

Today is SRD, tomorrow recovery, then Monday (MLK day) I will have 13. It has been so cold (below zero, school cancelled, etc.) that I am looking to be a TM queen for the next week or so.

All in all, a good start! My transition should be smooth also- last week I did 32 miles, this week Pfitz calls for 35. My LR last week was 12, so only adding a mile onto that.

NRR: this is the weekend of the MLHA tournament-- boys have combined 4 games today! Should be fun---