Sunday, September 27, 2009


I really don't feel like writing up a report for a race that wasn't.

I had a great number (F8) and was feeling super excited. However, the long and short of it is that I got to the starting line and my legs were tree trunks and would not go. 3 weeks ago I ran 1:31:50 for 13.125 miles by myself and yesterday I struggled to run 1:34:30 for my first half. I ran 7:05; 14:30; 14:40; 7:24; 7:30 and then the 3:10 group caught up to me so I picked it up and went with them. Got back down to 7:01 for that mile and then hovered between 6:58 and 7:18. Right before mile 11 there was a huge downhill and the pacer decided to make up over 20 seconds on it. Stupid in my opinion. I had to catch back up to him on the flats. I knew if I let the group go I was done so I hung with them, but when we passed the halfway mark I knew something was just not right and I should not be feeling so bad to be going that pace. Around 14 we hit a boardwalk and my legs felt like they were on fire and I knew right then and there I needed to make it to 15.25 where my mom would be to drop. As luck would have it mrp just appeared right around mile 15 and he ran with me until I saw my mom holding peanut. I stopped running, tears streaming down and hugged my baby, but needed to give it one more shot just to make sure. Mrp came with me and I slowly eased back into a non-embarrassing pace. Mrp said I sounded great--feet were light and my breathing was good. However, my legs would not go, at least not without serious pain. By 17 he knew and I knew it was pointless. I don't need to just finish a marathon at this point, especially it means not walking normally for days to do it. It's pr (or at least close) or bust. Plus, seriously, something WAS NOT RIGHT.

I dropped and mrp hugged me as we started the walk back to peanut and my mom. I cried. Mrp hugged me tighter. We laughed. I cheered for friends. I cried some more. More hugs. Some jokes. We made it back and I had fun holding peanut while he cheered very enthusiastically for the runners and saw their happiness as a result. My cousin came by and I got to cheer for her too. It was nice. I hitched a ride back to the finish to get my gear bag. When I saw the stadium I cried some more. I found a very kind volunteer who helped me fight the crowds and bypass security to get to my stuff. I saw a few friends in the invited runner finish area and chatted with them while I waited for a massage. Got the massage and again fought the crowds, stopped and chatted with my buddies who of course made me feel tons better and found mrp and peanut, finally.

We headed over to a restaurant for some much needed food and E happened to be there too! She joined us for a while and the three adults hashed out what the hell happened to me. There were a few small things I can do differently next time, but the one big thing that seems to be the issue is my taper.

Ok. Here's where I need to back up.

A couple of months ago I was laying in bed tossing and turning trying to hash out my training schedule when I freaked out and e-mailed my old coach and asked him to coach me for the last 8 weeks before the marathon. Of course he agreed and it was a huge weight off my shoulders to not have to write workouts up and obsess about my training. I could just do what I was told. Perfect, I thought!

Things went along fine. He had me do some weird workouts, but honestly I felt like I just needed to run the miles, do some structured quality and I was good to go. I was running almost dead-on to my pr's in races (or even setting new ones like my 1:05:21 10 miler), so being fast enough to break 3:10 did not seem to be something I needed to worry about.

3 weeks ago my coach asked me to do 5 x 3 miles at MP with 2:00 walk breaks. I thought this was weird and not a beneficial workout for me, especially since I was doing mostly fartleks for the previous 5 weeks. I needed a long solid block of MP miles. I asked him to explain why the 5 x 3 miles was better via e-mail and his response was an e-mail back to just do 13 at MP in the middle of a 20 mile run. So that's what I did and it went super well so I was very very confident I could go into Akron and break 3:10 with time to spare.

Fast forward back to yesterday and 7:00 pace HURT! I ran 15 miles averaging 7:14 pace and I am pretty sore today. I ran 17 miles averaging 7:17 pace (with the 13.125 at MP) 3 weeks ago and was totally utterly fine. So what happened during those three weeks?!

5 weeks out I ran 83 miles
4 weeks out I ran 75.5 miles
3 weeks out I ran 71 miles
2 weeks out I ran 51.5 miles
1 week out I 22 (in 5 days) before the marathon.

I did not taper enough.

It's like my legs were just hunkering down and focusing on recovery yesterday when I asked them to quit it and refocus on running hard. I would have been better off not tapering at all I think! Mrp made a good analogy. He said tapering is like sleeping after a long bout of sleep deprivation. When you're chronically sleep deprived not getting sleep is no big deal, but once you start sleeping again you feel like crap because your body suddenly knows what it's missing and goes into recovery mode, trying to get you back to rested. Same thing. I ran just 8 miles in the three days before the marathon. It was like much needed sleep to my so tired leg muscles. Then on Saturday when I said, "hey go out and party all night," they were all like, "F You!" in response!

So. Yeah. I had no choice. It was like when I got the epidural after 2 solid days in labor. What are you going to do? But hopefully, I will recover from the 17 miles quickly and possibly just maybe jump into another race in 2 weeks. We shall see what F8 holds for me!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Marathon Eve Eve

I'm running a marathon in a day and a half!

Thursday, September 10, 2009


I accidentally ran 9 miles on 9/9/09. I took peanut to the park in the a.m. I wasn't sure what he'd be up for so hoped for 8 but would settle for 4-6 and just run more in the p.m. At two miles he conked so thought for sure 8 miles was in the bag, until right as we passed the parking lot at mile 6 he woke up. 6 it is!

Then later in the evening I put peanut down for the night while mrp headed out for his own 4. After peanut seemed settled I headed to the basement for 4 miles. I was ambling along watching Big Love. I was about .75 miles into the run and mrp came downstairs to inform me peanut was upstairs wailing. Ugh. So I went upstairs and we both assessed the cry level and decided to wait 10 more minutes to see what happens. So I went back downstairs and ramped the mill back up and trotted along and sure enough at 10 minutes mrp came back downstairs. Cry level rose a few notches. So I came back upstairs and he was SCREAMING. So, I headed upstairs and it smelled really bad and got worse as I approached peanut. The poor little guy pooped! He was not going to go down with poopy pants! So, we got him out and mrp and I tagged teamed a very calm and quiet diaper change and I put him back down. I ran downstairs to try to eek in my last 1.85 miles but at .85 my episode of Big Love was over and I said forget it and went upstairs and made dinner.

Monday, September 07, 2009

Half a Marathon

I am one of those people that gets stressed out and tense very easily. I don't even know it's happening most of the time. Unfortunately, it really screws up my running and in retrospect I am sure it screwed up my last two marathons (I'll have to link to posts about them later). So, in preparation for my next marathon I am working on relaxing. The funny thing is when I tell myself to relax, I get more tense. This is a tougher problem than one might think!

I have been working on running in the moment and focusing on the here and now and not how fast this next mile needs to be or how much that last split sucked. That's all well and good, but I still struggle. Cue mrp. He is really the best. Saturday night we discussed this over dinner.

"So what do you think I need to do to not run like a tense freak?"

"You think too much. Quit thinking and run."


"No buts. Just run. You have the physical capabilities to reach your goals. So get out there, quit thinking and run. Left foot. Right foot."

He's right. On Sunday I woke up early and headed to a towpath at the local National Park to do my big marathon paced long run all by myself. It was me against me. I warmed up: 8:03, 7:58, 7:48, 7:46 and then I started my very own half marathon at marathon pace/effort. I still don't have a real goal. I ran what felt like marathon pace: 7:10, 7:07, 7:00, 6:58, 6:57, 7:11 (chocolate gu = bad); 6:59; 6:58; 7:00; 6:57; 6:59; 6:52; 6:48 (and then .12 more for good measure). Half a marathon in 1:31:50. I then gimped along for 3.4 more miles and finished 20.5 miles averaging 7:22 pace.

Every time I started to think I pictured a bulldozer clearing my head and I replaced the space with "You're doing great. Execute the plan." I was allowed to have thoughts about things I was sensing: smells, sights, etc. and I was allowed to positively visualize the marathon, but otherwise nothing about running other than my little mantra there. It really helped a lot. It was kind of a lot of work to keep battling the thought creep, but I did it. I am more proud of that than the actual workout!

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Choose Your Own Adventure

Here are three workouts:

1. Marathon Paced Intervals: 20 with 2 miles easy w/u + 5 x 3 miles @ MP with 2:00 full rests followed by 1 mile with 10 x :15 HARD + 2 miles easy c/d


2. 1/3's Progression: 20 with 1 mile w/u + 6 @ MP+1:00; 6 @ MP+:30; 6 @ MP + 1 mile c/d


3. Long Continuous Marathon Paced Run: 20 miles with 4 miles easy + 13 @ MP + 3 miles easy

I'm curious what others think of these workouts. When would each be appropriate in a marathon training cycle if at all? What would be the benefits of each? Which would you do if given the choice? I'll kick off the discussion in the comments. Hopefully I won't be talking to myself :)

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

A Round of Applause

Out of the blue two days ago, peanut started to clap! I had worked with him a couple of months ago to get him to do it, but the best he would do was help mrp and me clap when we clapped, but he'd never do it himself. So, when he put his two little hands together all by himself I just about melted. What a cutie!

But even better, I think he did it because he was getting ready to celebrate: he slept 10 hours straight last night! I won't tell you how he woke up tons the night before and it turns out it wasn't because he's a whiney parent manipulator but rather because he was cold. Do I need to tell you I felt like a huge ass? But! Warmer jammies a night later and we have our best night ever! Woo!

In other news I just finished up my peak week of training before slowly descending downward to the marathon in 3 weeks and 4 days! (I won't really taper until two weeks out but I'll be back down in the 70's this week and probably next). I ran 83 miles. Many of those did not feel so hot. For the first time this season my legs felt the miles hard core. They felt heavy and pinchy on almost all my easy runs. My hard runs, however, were fantastic. Guess that means something's going right!

M 8 easy with peanut (he was fussy so had to stop half-way to play a little)

T AM 6 with peanut; PM 4 with peanut (his first double!)

W 14 including 6 x 7:30 at half-marathon effort with 2:30 rests + 6 x :30 @ 3k effort with 1:00 rests all on hilly trails. Did this on an out and back and ended way past where I started so that made me happy.

Th AM 4 on the TM (9ish pace and that felt hard!); PM 8 with Evie and peanut

F 10 easy from home in a thunderstorm (no lightening thank goodness!)

Sa 8 easy from the in-laws on the wonderful rolling country roads

Su 21 with FD averaging 7:30 pace (FD is a local masters runner who is a bit faster than me, so worked out great!): alternating 2 easy/1 MP (8:01; 7:52; 6:56; 7:35; 6:58; 7:42; 7:39; 7:00; 7:41; 7:34; 6:41; 7:36; 7:50; 6:49; 8:29 (Mt. Everest); 7:52; 6:48; 7:58; 7:53; 6:30; 8:09)

Total: 83