Archive for August, 2011


For those following my journey, you may have noticed I’ve been a little discouraged recently. My runs have been chores instead of joys. I haven’t felt great and I’ve been super stressed out. I greatly appreciate all the comments and support being offered here and on Facebook. Today I can tell you that the messages definitely helped me get through my long run!
My challenge for today was a 9 mile run. My mid-week runs this week were pretty crappy and last weekend’s 4 miler was something I trudged through. I was a little worried about how my morning run would go. I woke up to a glorious day in NY. It started in the low 70’s and was sunny and nice. By the time I was up and dressed and ready to go, it was around 7:30am. I plotted out a run on one of the mapping programs and made the very smart decision to make the high school track/parking lot my home base, instead of my house.
My house is at the top of a steep hill. This is great when we get torrential rain storms (like we have for the past week) but less ideal when your long run involves multiple loops past your house to get new water bottles. I realized during my 7 mile run that I could leave water in my car and leave my car at the high school and save myself the steep hill.
I planned to do two 4.23 mile loops and then finish with 3 laps around the track. This would leave me about 0.04 miles short of my 9 miles but I don’t think that will really affect my overall marathon performance. The weather was nice and I felt pretty good this morning. I did a run 1, walk 1 ratio and had my little Galloway beeper with me. I really love that thing!
I finished the first loop around 53 minutes. I noticed the high school football team was practicing on the field in the middle of the track. I thought I’d better get my 3 laps in now before I looked really bad after my 2nd loop! I was also worried they might decide to use the track. The 3 track laps were fine. I made my brief stop at my car, grabbed a new water, re-fueled a bit, and headed for the 2nd loop. I kept my ratio for the whole 9 miles and finished in 2 hours 2 minutes and 17 sec. About 13:30 per mile. A reasonable training pace.
The run went pretty well and felt pretty good. I’m having some post-run re-fueling issues still. I find that I’m toast for the rest of the day after a long run. I made myself eat more today than I wanted (including 2 slices of pizza at the birthday party where I took Jessica) and that has helped. I’m also trying to drink plenty of water this afternoon.
Current concerns: I’m going on vacation soon. How do I maintain my running while on a family vacation with 3 little kids? Is walking all of Disney with small children and strollers good enough to maintain fitness? I can probably do my 4 mile run on Saturday morning before we head to the airport. The following weekend has an 11 mile run which will have to take place on Sunday. And I have my doubts about that actually happening (I’m being honest here!), although Labor Day weekend makes it a bit more likely. Mid-week runs in Disney are doubtful, unless we have a rainy afternoon and the kids are watching a movie in our hotel room. There is a fitness center at our hotel. How hard should I try to get those runs in? I’m thinking it’s not *that* important and I should just go with the flow.
My brother-in-law who is an experience marathoner (qualified for Boston) has given me some helpful fueling advice (chocolate milk, mixture of protein and carbs, etc.) but I’d love other ideas. I’ve also gained about 10 lbs since I started running (more than a year ago). People try to tell me it’s muscle but, trust me, not all of it is muscle. How do I maintain good fueling without getting fat?

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I feel like I’ve been whining a lot. Not without reason but whining nonetheless. So I’m going to start by making a few positive comments.
1. My vacation is about 205 hours away (based on plane departure time). I won’t be on-call for an entire week.
2. Despite many obstacles I have only missed one run in (almost) 8 weeks of training. And I’m proud of that!
3. My job, even with my whining, provides a sense of personal achievement (in addition to providing income).
4. My running has inspired my husband and my kids to want to run.

Ok. Enough nice. Wow this week was tough!
Monday started with a 5am wake-up (thanks Zachary). Work was crazy busy – one of those days where nothing useful gets accomplished because you are just putting out fires. Then I had the “privilege” to return to the dentist. I’ll spare details but instead of a temporary crown, I ended with unexpected oral surgery. Ouch! I missed running clinic but chose a treadmill run at home. Luckily I failed to read the post-procedure instructions which said no exertion for 48 hours. Oops.
My run was mediocre at beat but I did 35 min on the treadmill.
Wednesday was a weird day. And a long day. And the only day this week I wasn’t on call. So I chose my husband’s homemade margarita over running. It was the right decision.
Today I *had* to run. I left the house before 7am, saw 49 patients, and stayed late to get caught up. Got home around 6:30pm. I did another treadmill run, this was not a good run. I’ve eaten to much crap this week and feel blah. Hopefully I’ll find my pep for Saturday’s long run…

Ah. The long run. The “key” to marathon training. At this point in my training my Saturdays alternate between long run and shorter long run. Thankfully this weekend was the latter.
As previously stated my week was super stressful. I’m exhausted and just, well, stressed. As much as I know I’ll feel better if I run, it’s so hard to motivate when feeling bleh.
Saturday morning I woke up tired and crabby and unmotivated. My husband moonlights as a mohel – someone who does ritual circumcisions for Jewish babies – and had 2 ceremonies scheduled. Leaving me home with 3 kids while on-call for my own practice. That’s enough to make me cranky. I also had to run 4 miles while feeling cruddy and supervising the 3 little monsters, I mean adorable children.
Zachary joined me in the basement for my treadmill run (it’s not possible to run outdoors while supervising my brood, at least not using currently available technology). This meant I had the good fortune of enjoying a Mickey Mouse Clubhouse marathon while trudging through the run I didn’t want to do (that was filled with sarcasm).
I did a very slow 5 minute warm-up walk and then started with a run 30 sec, walk 30 sec interval. Blah, blah, I know I should increase my run intervals on my shorter runs. But it was amazing that I was running at all! After the 1st slow mile I increased to run 45 sec, walk 45 sec. The 3rd mile was run 1 min, walk 1 min. And my final mile was run 1:15, walk 1 min. I finished with a 3 min run and a short cool-down walk. Overall stats were around 55 min for 4 miles, including the pre and post walks.
This wasn’t a pretty run. I hope I don’t feel the way I felt on Saturday come race day. But I did my run and finished it, despite the obstacles. And, as often is the case, the biggest obstacle was in my head.

One thing that week 7 has brought is nicer weather. We had some afternoon thunderstorms on Monday but they cleared up before running clinic. The rest of the week has been gorgeous. Or so I’ve heard.
Work has, once again, gotten crazy. I had a lull last week and vacation coming up so I really shouldn’t be surprised. But somehow I never see it coming! Monday was one of those 7-5 days. Only I was waylaid in the parking garage and couldn’t escape. I was literally racing home to change for running clinic. And I made it.
The weather on Monday following the storms was a bit cooler but super humid. I didn’t get my usual pre-clinic snack bar and I definitely paid for it later. In my little 2-3 mile group there was only one other woman with me. She’s really about my pace and we enjoy running together. We took a faster pace than usual and finished the 2.5+ miles at about 11:30 per mile pace. My knee was a little tweaked from Saturday’s long run and I was way under fueled. I felt super dizzy after the run and sadly had no hidden stash of Clif bars in my purse. A mistake I will try not to repeat!
I did get a chance to talk to my running partner after the run. I told her about feeling slow and debating quitting the clinic. She was super nice. I appreciated her comments which were: #1 Nobody cares if you’re slow. #2 You’re here almost every week which shows that you’re dedicated. That impressive by itself. The other thing we noticed is that the women on the longer runs go SO fast that we’d really struggle to keep up! Anyway I felt much better and more committed after talking it over.
Wednesday was a 7-6 day at work. And not a particulrly good one at that. I was not feeling the run after a long and frustrating OR day so I gave myself permission to slack. I knew today was iffy, given that I had office hours but I also decided to be mellow if I missed a run.
Today was a long day. 50 patients in the office and then phone calls after. I got home to an empty house at 6pm. I knew Tom had done his run today and my competitive nature kicked in! I fed our dog Buffy, changed into running gear, and took off. I chose an easy run 1 walk 1 because my knee isn’t perfect and I’m exhausted. The weather was great and I enjoyed my run. It wasn’t terribly fast – about 13 min/mile – but I did it. And during a week when I could have easily excused myself.
Now I just have a 4 miler on Saturday…

My challenge for this weekend was a 7 mile run. I was aided from a few surprise sources. First, my nanny also sometimes babysits for an adorable 3 year old boy in our neighbor. Alex and my Zachary will go to school together for K-12 and are already BFFs. Alex became a big brother on Thursday (congrats!) and our nanny was staying with him overnight after leaving our house. She thought it would be easier for him to have a friend so she ended up taking ALL 3 of my kids to sleep at Alex’s house on Friday night. This meant NO kids to worry about on Saturday morning. Let me tell you, this training for a marathon thing would be much easier if I didn’t have to worry about supervising kids or getting them to weekend activities!!! The one downside is that I started my run at 8am because there were no children to wake me up at 5:30am. Life is all about trade-offs!
The 2nd source of assistance was more divine in origin. The weather was reasonably comfortable, especially considering my late start. My run started in the mid-70s and got up to the low 80s. That’s about the best I could hope for in August. Towards the end it started warming up considerably but it was still a great day, weather-wise.
My biggest challenge was finding a 7 mile course. Remember, most of my previous long runs have been done on a treadmill. I don’t have pre-set routes to use. It look a fair amount of time on various run mapping sites to find a good route. And even then I realized there are some modifications to make for future long runs.
One issue is that I don’t have a water carrying system. The water belts look uncomfortable and the bottles are so small. The backpack looks hot to me and maybe heavy too. As a treadmill runner I’ve become used to unlimited water access during long runs (and I probably drink too much because of that). I soon realized that my best choice would be a double loop with a stop at home. I would leave a 2nd water bottle in my driveway and exchange an empty for a full. The major downside to this plan is that I live on the top of a fairly steep hill. Please trust me that I didn’t relish going up the big hill twice but it was still a decent plan,
I stole back the Galloway run/walk timer that I had purchased for myself, until Tom stole it. I realized he wasn’t using it (still in the original packaging and without a battery) and I knew I’d like it better than staring at my watch for an hour and a half.I need to practice with the device more but I already love it. You set your run interval and then your walk interval and it beeps (and may even vibrate if I can figure that out) when it’s time to switch.
I started with a run 1 walk 1 ratio and was able to maintain that until the end. I packed my spi-belt with a cliff bar and some sports beans. These are jelly bellies with sugar/electrolytes for running. I found em to be quite sweet, especially at 8am. I’m also starting to realize that Clif bars and I may need to part ways. My digestive tract seems to disagree with them. I also have a bottle of water/Gatorade mix (pretty dilute). And off I went.
I tried to keep my pace slow but I returned to my house at around 52 minutes. The first loop was 4 miles and this is a few minutes faster than I usually manage for a 4 mile training run. I definitely felt the fast start in the 2nd loop (3 miles) but kept my run/walk interval to the finish. It felt good overall although I’m a bit sore now which means I probably needed to slow down the first loop a bit more.
Final stats 7 miles (or close to it – I think it mapped to 6.97) in about 1 hour 31 minutes (and some seconds). Just slower than 13 minutes per mile. That’s a faster pace than Galloway recommends for my long runs but I was able to feel good at that pace,
I think for my next long run I’ll drive to the high school track and park there. I’ll leave back-up water in the car and use that as the start/stop point for my loops. I don’t need to do serious hills for the Disney race and there are enough small hills in the neighborhood for training purposes. The big hill by my house is just silly at is point, especially if I do it twice. My mid-week runs end on the hill anyway and I think that’s good enough!

My week started off with a bang. Sunday night into Monday morning was spent as a near all-nighter due a surgical emergency. I returned home from the hospital around 4:30am and then was up and ready to head back to work by 7:30am. Not an auspicious start to my run week.
Various work and family commitments prevented any napping on Monday and running clinic was started to look unlikely. Divine intervention prevented any guilt when the skies opened up and lightening, thunder, rain, and hail showered us. I was too tired to even contemplate a treadmill run and was happily in bed around 8pm (but not before 2 of my 3 children asked if I’d stay up to put them to bed).
Tuesday was luckily a decent day and I got home in time for a run. I recently treated myself to a fancy (read: costly), high tech shirt which promised to keep me cool. I also bought some compression shorts to prevent any dreaded chafing (TMI?). I’ll have to discuss my love of shopping for running clothes in another entry! In the 85+ degree heat I was excited to test drive my new gear. I realized that my basement treadmill isn’t much cooler than outside so I might as well enjoy the weather! I grabbed a small water bottle, my various phones, stop watch, and iPod. And off I went.
I used a run 1 walk 1 interval and felt pretty good. It was definitely hot and sweaty. I have come to understand that I let myself drink too much water on my runs so I tried to conserve the water to make it last. I listened to the Galloway Extra Mile Podcast for inspiration. I finished 2.9 miles in just under 38 min. It felt good, if slow.
Today’s run was in jeopardy because I had a 2pm root canal scheduled. I wasn’t sure how I’d feel after some lovely dental work so I had mentally allowed myself a bye, if necessary. Luckily I felt up to running since it was a gorgeous 80 degree day. I waited until the novocaine wore off so I could drink some water without drooling…
A wise man once said, “In order to run faster, you have to run faster.” I’ve been a little frustrated with my slow running and would like to get my speed a little faster. Every time I try to pick up my pace or do speed drills, I get injured. Nothing major but still frustrating.
I decided to do 30 second sprints with a 1 min walk break. Even with 2 phone calls requiring longer walk breaks, I still finished slightly ahead of my Tuesday time. I’m still slow but maybe this is a speed drill I can do?
I know speed is really an ego thing. I’m not aspiring to qualify for Boston anytime soon. If I can finish a marathon at all I’ll be proud. But I would like to know how people who started running when I did are so much faster than I am. I feel like my body doesn’t do well with running 2 days in a row. Should I try to increase the distance of my mid-week runs? Do more speed work? Or just focus on finishing?